While my friend was out of town for Thanksgiving, I took care of her cat. While she was gone, I set up this cute Christmas wall art for her since she doesn’t really have room I her small space for a Christmas tree. I used thumbtacks and 100% natural hemp cord (20lb.), and small glass ball ornaments (and hooks) I found at my local drug store.
Photo I took of the Los Angeles night sky from a balcony in the West Hollywood Hills (Laurel Canyon)
Why you will rarely see me at the movie theater July 4, 2013
My friends want me to go to the movies with with them, but I nearly always politely refuse. I think I’ve outgrown mainstream movies. They bore me. True, I am no longer in the targeted demographic. I’m not male. I’m not between the ages of 14 – 35. There’s a greater issue, though. I’m sick of the same formula and the same actors. Sure, movie structure has been a successful formula and the most of the actors have great talent and are beautiful to look at, but I want imperfect looks, unknown actors, unexpected talent. I suppose this is why I can be talked into seeing an independent film. My heart lies with the obscure, the struggling, the unknown. I don’t want to see Johnny Depp playing a Native American. I want to see a Native American actor playing a Native American. I don’t want to see the same famous actor in the same formulaic movie again and again. Not to mention, I have a natural rebellion against formula and ritual. I can’t get up at the same time every morning to save my life. I can’t do laundry on the same day every week, and I can’t eat the same thing for dinner every night for a week.
I am a television fan, though. Especially but not limited to premium channels like HBO and Showtime. Television shows have better stories, rely less on formula, special effects, and the same 12 or so male actors (who, frankly, are all starting to all look the same to me). The plots on television drama are more often unpredictable and character-focused. I prefer the actors, too; they are relatively unknown but often have exceptional talent.
So if you don’t see me at a movie theater or banging way at a movie script, it’s because I’m at home happily watching television and eating fat-free microwave popcorn, in between banging away at my novel.
How do you know when you’re old? June 24, 2011
[philosophizing and lecturing]
Lately I’ve heard a lot of my peers complain about social media, mobile phones, texting, instant email and the perceived burden and imposition of being reachable 24 hours a day. They don’t understand the benefits, or they “don’t want their worlds to mix.” They either choose not to participate or only do what they absolutely must in order to sustain their businesses and they do it begrudgingly. They say curmudgeonly things like, “I don’t get this whole Facebook [or Twitter] thing.” or “Why does everyone walk around typing on their phones? They’re missing out on life.” or “I don’t want to be available 24/7.”
The thing is, your unwillingness to understand or embrace the new world of connectivity means you are the ones missing out on life. There is an entirely new layer of communication going on and you’re missing all of it. It’s one thing to put the phone down so you can spend time with your kids or your spouse. It’s another to reject social networking all together. My friends who refuse to participate on Facebook miss parts of my life as they happen. They miss the opportunity to converse with me about it, laugh with me about it, or sigh with me about it. I miss out on parts of their life and the opportunity to converse or joke or laugh with them about it.
Part of being connected means learning to set boundaries and learning to say no unapologetically or without offering a reason. If someone texts me and wants something and I can’t or don’t want to give it at the moment then I have to say exactly that. “I can’t right now.” No explanations. No apologies. Just a boundary. But here’s the great thing about that: When you can or want to do something, they know you really mean it, that you really do want to. They will know you’re sincere. No more resentment. People who do things and then resent it later are only hurting themselves, their emotional health, and their relationships. Resentment is not invisible, people can see it, feel it pulsating in you no matter how hard you try to hide your feelings.
I wonder if people are afraid to be “connected” because they are afraid to own themselves, afraid to stand up and say no. I’m not talking about saying no to connectivity, I’m talking about saying no with diplomacy to a human being, to someone’s face or phone or email. There is nothing wrong with saying, “I don’t want to do that.” If someone presses on, pushes you for an explanation, don’t answer. Ask them why the reason is important. Ask them if they want to know because they want to judge your reason. They probably do (unknowingly), and they probably will back off once you ask that question. Don’t let them judge your reason. It doesn’t matter why you can’t or don’t want to. It only matters that they respect your ability to make your own choices, and they will, if you say it with love. Love for yourself, love for them. How is saying “No” loving someone? Because you are letting them get to know your authentic self, and you build sincerity.
You have to learn to live openly if you want to embrace the new connected world. Be yourself. Let your freak flag fly. Adapt. Adaptability is a major component of intelligence. When you stop adapting, a part of you you stops growing intellectually. When you stop growing, you start dying. This is what makes people old, not wrinkles or age spots. It’s a state of mind. They stop adapting, stop learning. They sit around watching TV and
relax wait to die. Adapt or go straight to the grave. Adapt or go extinct. This is why we’re attracted to some older people and not others. The ones who are interesting are the people who’ve adapted, who’ve embraced change and who learn from it. They are not the crotchety old people who walk around saying things like, “Why do people do [insert anything new and interesting], in my day we just [insert anything outdated].” If you ever catch yourself saying that, you’ve chosen to be old, you’ve chosen to slide brain first straight into your own grave.
living is an act of faith June 1, 2011
Living is an act of faith. We get a new apartment or house because we have faith that the rent money will be there when we need it. We buy a new car because we have faith that we will be able to make the car payments and that we won’t lose our jobs. We drive a family member from point A to point B because we have faith that we will get there without dying. We have no proof that these things will come to fruition. Just because the outcome was the same in the past doesn’t mean it will be true this time. In other words, just because we reached our destination the last 40 times, doesn’t mean that we will this time. Statistically, probably yes. In truth, we don’t know. Statistics are not truth. Statistics are probability predictors. Faith is “belief that is not based in truth.”
The spiritual leaders tell you to live in the moment, to notice what is around you now, to appreciate it. Ram Dass, Eckhart Tolle, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, they all espouse the same philosophy. Be in the moment. There is value in it. I think they say this because worry interferes with the faith it takes to live from day-to-day without going insane.
So I wonder if the opposite of faith is worry. Worry is anxiety over possibilities: 47.3 people die while driving to work every day (I made that up) therefore I could be one of those 47.3 people so I should worry and be extra careful on that drive every day especially tomorrow because tomorrow is my 95th time driving this route so now my chances have doubled. Insanity. So much easier to say, I have faith that I will get there alive. What do you have to lose? It’s not like you can control the outcome anyway.
Control. Let go of trying to control everything and you will naturally lean into moment-by-moment appreciation. Trust me, life becomes much easier that way. You will naturally lean into ‘the flow.’ Flow is really just our own flexibility. If I’m too busy thinking about how my flowers might get eaten by aphids, then I may never notice the gorgeous rose that just bloomed. Fuck worrying about aphids. Notice the rose. It’s so much more pleasant. If aphids attack, fine. As the character Mike said from House of Games, “…we’ll deal with that thing then.” In other words, just go with the flow, baby.