Saturday, October 07, 2006

I was waiting in the car and I had some seemingly profound thought that flashed across my mind, and then I realized that it probably wasn't really that profound at all, but rather it was just something that I have known all along. I was just trying to ignore it because it's a little hard.

It's about percentages. I think I really suck at it. I think everyone deals with percentages, and if those percentages are even a little bit off, that the balance of life follows along with it. I used to blame it on youth, that when you're younger, you have more time, more concentration, less things to worry about so your percentages are spread more evenly. When you're a wanker like me, you're just all over the place. As a result, all your percentages are low, even those of a leisurely nature.

When I edit, I imagine I'm usually at 20%. I drift off to do other things. I take a lot of breaks. I get bored a lot. I surf, I play with the kids, I goof off. I will even see there and stare at the footage, trying to imagine what it's like to be a person in that group. I think 15% is even not that unfair.

When I relax, honestly, it's not even 100%. I'm full of tension, I'm full of anxiety about the work that I'm not doing, and I'm just not able to full relax. There's something I should be doing, and I can't wait to get back to not doing it.

When I play with the kids, I have to admit, I fare rather poorly. I think 55-65% is a little frightening, but I believe that may be the truth. If I'm not actively doing something that has nothing to do with the kids likes tapping away at the laptop or keeping busy with the camera, I'm just worried. Again with the things I could be doing. I know, no lecture required. The Beatles said it best, "The love you take is equal to the love you make." I don't want to be a parent to two teenagers who don't give me the time of day because I didn't give them the time of day when they were younger. I mean, that's what really happens nowadays, isn't it? Parents don't give their kids time and the kids adapt. Nobody wants to be sitting around, pining for attention. Unless you're a teenager who lives in my house. But I digress.

People just adapt and then suddenly when you're ready for the attention - they've learned to do without.

I need to focus. I need to increase my percentages in everything I do. Work, play, kids, sleep. I need to be closer to 100% on everything, and not be so non-committed and disinterested in what I have to do at the moment. Work hard, play hard, parent hard. I can't coast on this half-assedness that I've been doing, because it'll eventually destroy all the aspects that make up my life.

And right now, I'm really not supposed to be blogging. Back to work.


So we're at the playground, and Alex is playing when he sees one of those voice-speaker things. Basically it's a pipe of some sort that allows one kid to speak into it, and on the other side of the playground, another pipe allows another kid to listen in and converse accordingly. What does Alex say? Happy Halloween. Over and over again. This causes amusement in some parents, and slight embarassment with this particular parent.

I suppose it's natural for kids and anyone really to preoccupy their minds with some kind of obsession. Whether it's perfection, their vanity, or a particular person, I think we all have to be obsessed about something in order to stay motivated in life. If we got everything we wanted, I don't suppose there's any real reason to keep doing anything. Alex's obsession is Halloween. The boy loves Halloween. As much as birthdays, even. Everytime we got to the store, he'll yelll "Halloween! Halloween!" And he'll want to push every button on every dumb animatronic. Zoe's slightly less interested in the spookfest, mostly because she's only 2 and doesn't like things that are too creepy, like ghouls, ghosts, and big-haired mumbling freaks. Our neighbor's house has become a destination because they decorated their front patio with Halloween garb.

We're trying to keep the Halloween stuff at a minimum, and so far he really hasn't had any nightmares, or Goth tendencies like wanting to put on black lipstick or mope incessantly at the local 7-eleven. He's still pretty normal. For now.

Beginning of this week, seriously, I was a little annoyed at the crap that was going on. At the end of the week, there is slightly good news to bear with, depending how you look at it. For my business, it's great, and for the light at the end of the tunnel, it's looking a lot dimmer and harder to spot. I scored two weddings in October out of nowhere, and they're not even like tiny weddings. Well, one of them is smallish. But it's still a bunch of work that I gotta do.

My wife and I are trying to get on some kind of schedule. So that we can maximize our time and spend more time together.

Hmm, my attention is trailing.

I guess so am I.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Some Rants, Some Raves.

Too much editing to do, and a little camera shy to boot.

To keep the pessimistic ego of mine stroked, we'll start with that.

It sucks to have to deal with a certain client who doesn't seem to understand that editing is not like - I don't know, I don't have a proper metaphor to which to compare it to. But anyway, I've been giving this client previews. Jpg previews, as well as actual footage to view, and she's blown it off. Too busy, looks good now, whatever. And then when I think I'm done with her, she's pulled it out and pointed out mistakes, or things to her disliking. It is a giant pain in the ass because I'm already backed up as it is, and changing something on a final DVD ain't easy. Reedit, rerender, reexport, reauthor, reencode, and reburn. And since I'm using Pro Apps on a Mac Mini, it does take a huge chunk of time. Hopefully tomorrow will be the last time I ever see her.

Wife got a ticket on the way to work. Evidently, our tabs expired in Feb. and nobody noticed. Who remembers their tab? We didn't update our address with the DMV, so they probably sent our tabs to our old address. Usually that's our reminder. The damage? About 200 bucks. Hell yeah, we're going to court to appeal that.

The whole JL got elevate into crazy ass ex involvement on Monday, when JL's father wanted to bend some rules and wanted us to break our punishment on his behalf. Then he got into crazy-boy mode and threatened to even call the cops. The following is an imagined re-enactment of his phone call with the police.

D. 911. What is your emergency?

B. Hello, I need to call 911.

D. This is 911. Can I help you?

B. Are you Christian?

D. Sir, do you have an emergency?

B. Are you watching me right now?

D. Sir, do you have an emergency you'd like to report?

B. I do. My ex-wife is holding my daughter against her will.

D. Is she in immediate danger, sir?

B. No, but my ex-wife used this term I'm not familiar with. I think it's Parent-speak. It's evil. I don't understand the word. I think they're trying to plant her or something. Horticulture.

D. Sir? What term did your ex-wife use?

B. She said my daughter was... grounded.

D. Sir? This line is reserved for emergencies only. Is there anything else I can help you with?

B. My wife is preventing me from seeing my own daughter. That qualifies, right? Am I making you happy now, Daddy? Sob.

D. Sir, this is 911.

B. I know. Don't judge me. Only God can. And he's in Cabo.

D. Sir, are you not granted visitation rights?

B. Well, I can drive down and see her, but just not drive her back here in Bellingham. I have another freakishly tall troll I think she'd like. He writes poetry and dances to video games, and... oh wait. It's the same troll. Excuse me.

D. So you can see her.

B. Well, not from here. I'm in Bellingham. It's like 90 miles. I can't even walk that far.

D. I mean, you can visit her, right?

B. Well, yeah. What's your point?

D. When was the last time you saw her?

B. Two weeks ago. But I know she won't be allowed to come here for another month. That's violating a court order.

D. Sir, we can't act on something that hasn't happened yet. Besides, you can still visit her. Who has primary custody?

B. My ex.

D. Sorry to say sir, but this is something you need to call during office hours, and they'll probably tell you to call your lawyer. This is a custody issue, and not an emergency call.

B. I don't have a lawyer.

D. Sorry?

B. Ted Bundy, Zacarias Moussaoui, Slobodan MiloƂ?evi?, John Allen Muhammed were their own attorneys. I don't need a lawyer.

D. At any rate, I have to hang up now unless you have an emergency.

B. I sometimes swallow my own ejaculate. But that's a dirty word. I like the term, "Holy Juice."

D. Take care of yourself, sir.

B. It was very nice talking to you.

D. You too, sir.

B. Hmphlx.

(Dial tone.)

Onto the good stuff.

I tuned in Monday to watch "Heroes", which wasn't bad, but I stayed on to watch "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip" and just liked it a lot. I downloaded the Pilot and episode 2 and watched the pilot and I'm now officially a fan. Great writing, great actors. I hope it gets picked up beyond the ordered 13 episodes, but we'll see. Aaron Sorkin seems to make these quality dramas, and even though I wasn't into it when it was on the air, I liked "Sports Night" too. And I don't care for sports. So, go watch it for free on the painfully slow, and then once you've fallen for it, buy it on iTunes. Great great writing.

My iBook finally came home, freeing me up to do some actual work like blogging, downloading Studio 60 from iTunes, surfing, and the other thing that I'm supposed to be doing. Editing? Who knows.

Oh yeah, Zoe's been a pain lately. She ain't listening. And she's all cute about it too, no remorse, all cheekiness, and stubborn to boot. That little girl's got charm, but man she can be bull headed as hell. I wonder where she got that from?

Alex, on the other hand, has decreased in his manic laughing, thus relieving me of thinking that there's some kind of faint nitrous oxide leak going undetected in this house. It seems like the kids have some primitive toddler form of Scissors, Rock and Paper game and they decide who some be terrorizing the Parents for the next period.

A. Alright, I'm done laughing at everything and nothing. And not listening. Your turn.

Z. I'll call your not listening, and raise it with blantant stubbornness, and I'll even mug and act cute - and they will forgive me.

A. You won't.

Z. Watch me.

Thus the adventures continue. I really should get back to work here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Thing about Vlogging

I think I'm going to try to do a little bit of both, since they both have their advantages. For instance, when I have video of the kids, it's great. When I'm just a talking head rambling on about seemingly boring going-ons, it's not. Also, the 15 minute clip I had had to be trimmed down to 12, and then encoded, then uploaded, and then listed. It takes seriously about a good half hour just to get a vlog up, excluding the upload times. I enjoy vlogging, but I do summarize a lot because I don't remember details when I present the oral history.

So anyhow, here's a good old-fashioned written post.

One of the things I cut out from the vlog was about one of my biggest pet peeves. And in order to discuss the context of the pet peeve, I had to describe what went on this weekend, and the whole context of that - and it became a huge freaking mess. But here it is.

On Friday, JL was supposed to be picked up by her dad to go to Bellingham for the weekend, and then he called to say that he couldn't make it, and that his car was really in no shape to be driven anywhere. My wife worked that night, and the usual procedure is that we drive her up every third weekend, and that's it. Any additional visits to her boyfriend - I mean, her father, would be up to her and her dad.

So she tells her mom that she's going to the Teen Center instead, nothing out of the ordinary. So she leaves, whatever, and my wife goes to work. When my wife came home from work, she was wondering where she was, and I said she was probably just with one of her friends or still at the Teen Center, since she wasn't the kind of person who would call if she was running late. Well, she went out looking for her, and then called her boyfriend, and the BF's mother said that JL was in Snohomish.

Gist of it is, she decided that she was going to WALK to Bellingham since she wasn't going to get a ride from her dad, and she told no one about her intentions. Only when it got dark outside, she decided to knock on a stranger's door, and call her boyfriend to try a wrangle a ride. If we had not called her boyfriend's mother, who deserves to get some Parent of the Year Award, we would not have known about it.

So she got in trouble, and here are the main reasons.

1) She approached it with a toddler mentality. I want to go to Bellingham, and I want to go now. I don't care what anyone thinks.

2) She didn't let anyone know. Us, the primary caregivers, or anyone in Bellingham. That means she could've had her ass kidnapped, raped, and murdered, and nobody would know for days. Weeks. Or if ever. If she was in the wrong place and the wrong time, she would be a spot on the earth and no one would ever know where she was last heard from. A search party would have no radius to search around.

3) She had no F-ing idea where she was going. She ended up in Snohomish. She was headed in the right direction for a while, and then she was heading east. She would've ended up over the mountains.

4) She knocked on a stranger's door for help. See number 2. Wrong house, and it would be all over.

5) She didn't think any of it through. Plan A was Dad with broken car, and at work to boot. Plan B was boyfriend's mom who doesn't even have a car, for Chirssakes. And please, even if she had made it there, we would've just went over there and yanked her ass back.

6) Nobody ever said she couldn't go to Bellingham. She just didn't want to wait. Even her boyfriend didn't know. See #1.

So that pissed us the hell off. To further piss us off, we thought we might call some people in her life to let them know, hey, she tried this, please tell her it was stupid as hell and tell her that she's hurt people in the process.

And that was a half bad idea, because evidently, running away from home is not universally a bad idea. I guess to some people, it is encouraged, and even rewarded. Her dad said to my wife, well, maybe you should take her to a movie once in a while. So there you have it. Run away from home, and you'll get a large tub of popcorn to go with your matinee. The further you run away, the more fucking snacks you'll earn. You make it to another state, it's an upgrade to an IMAX feature, man.

Other stupid advice was that the person should take her out to lunch, or just "listen to her". Sorry, but we're not retarded. There is a truth in trying to understand your teenager, or listening to her, but anyone who has struggled with raising a teenager will know this. Teenagers are hyper aware of themselves. To the point whereby they transform into selfish, self-centered egotists who think they should have everything for nothing. Not true for a lot of kids, but very true for a lot of them too. What happened on Friday was not because she was misunderstood, or as she dramatically quipped to me, "I'm trying to go home." No, it's not that she misses her Dad. She misses her stupid boyfriend. That's it. I would take their relationship with a little more weight if he weren't a prospective deadbeat who cheats on her, but as it is, he is looking to be as promising of a husband as a drunk, unemployed, disrespectful punk ass would be.

Then my mother-in-law was visiting today to celebrate my belated birthday, and when my wife was out of the room, I heard my mother-in-law say to JL, "If you ever need bus money, come talk to me, and you know, when your mom and your aunt was your age, they ran away too..." And I yelled for my wife, "You mom's saying stuff!"

Seriously, people. If you're not going to back our play, just play along and say nothing. Seriously. Do not patronize a kid by being her best friend, and offering her options to defy people who care about her. If people really cared about her, they'd show her the right thing to do, not the easiest thing to do.

So that's my pet peeve.

Reflecting on turning 30, 50mm lens.