Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

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Lemonade. Or, perhaps, some sort of lemon salad

It’s weird when life hands you lemons. And you’re like, “Sour yellow fruit.” And everyone says you’re supposed to make lemonade and there’s this big metaphor and it makes you feel better, or, usually, doesn’t.lemons_5836497465

It’s weirder when life hands you lemons and you look around and think, “Well, shit. Turns out that’s the only ingredient I was missing.”

I was recently laid off from my job. They gave me three weeks of warning, which is a fair amount of time and gave me the security of rent for another month, if not car and student loan payments. I made the preemptive call to my parents. Not quite an SOS. Just making sure the channel is open.  Because we see an iceberg coming and we don’t know if we can avoid it. With years of experience in the job market, they have the context to know what to expect.

There was the rush of calculation. How much money do I need to survive? How many years of experience? Am I even good at anything? I had the same job for 6 years and now it’s gone. There’s no paycheck. There’s no clocking in. If I have to move back to Texas…I won’t move back to Texas. I will become homeless before that happens.

In three days, I applied for a California driver’s license and became a Lyft driver, thinking, “It’s something.”

I applied for jobs. Hundreds of jobs. Tons and tons of jobs. Maybe one in a hundred got me an interview.

I didn’t really realize anything was wrong until I met with a rep at a temp agency. I gave him my salary requirements, more than I made at my last job, and he laughed. He literally laughed out loud and said to me, “You’re being robbed.”

It was a sobering moment. I didn’t particularly like or dislike my previous job. It was something I did. It was something I did well. It was something I was paid to do, but I didn’t know I was being robbed.

Then, I got a paycheck from Lyft.

I was being robbed. Driving my car for 10 hours over the course of two days netted me over $200. I can make $20 an hour if I drive smart. Plus, fuel rewards were saving me on every fill-up, I was meeting and talking to interesting people, I was getting to know Los Angeles better than I’ve ever known. Lyft is the best job I’ve ever had.

A 9 to 5 job interview came up and I actually had to weigh the options of accepting a “real job” position over just driving my car whenever I felt like it because the material rewards were balanced.

I mean, when was the last time I had to sit down and think, “What am I doing with my life?” That kind of thing is left to college students who have the luxury of wasting time.

A slow realization has dawned.

Getting laid off may have been the best thing that happened to me.

It’s an interesting feeling to be handed lemons and open the cupboard to find sugar, a juicer, filtered water, and a frosty pitcher staring at me like, “Where you been?”

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Or, maybe the ingredients for some sort of lemon salad. I could really go for a lemon ice right now…

Adventures in Cosplay

It all started with a text.

Joe: Hey, that foam you need to make armor. Can that be any color?

Me: Yeah. You just spray paint over it.

Joe: I have something for you to see.

Someone in our apartment complex had used EVA foam pieces to try to sound proof their walls (they were a music student) and they were throwing out all of their pieces. All of them. I ended up around 30 pieces of foam. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s this stuff.

EVA Foam

You may recognize me from children’s playrooms.

I had been doing some research about armor material for cosplay. I had bought some of this and built a Loki helmet over the course of a weekend. Now, here I was, with a surplus of foam. What to build?

Having fallen in love with the movie Frozen, I decided to make a warrior Elsa costume. Not just Elsa in armor, but Elsa in armor that she forged out of ice herself. It all started with a chestplate design, a slab of ice that she would conjure up.

Chestplate

I carved it out of the foam, experimented with some cutting techniques and there it was. Just as I envisioned. More or less.

It wasn’t until three months later that it got its coat of paint.

And started to look bad ass.

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With that as the center piece, I went to work on the other pieces. Shin guards were supposed to be ice spikes.

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Before

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After

The vambraces followed suit with some snowy accessorizing.

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The collar and shoulderpads were equally snowy.image1What kind of weapon would Elsa wield? A sword? Spiky and destructive.

Of course not. She needs something that makes more logical sense. A hammer. Freeze her enemies, then smash them to pieces.

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The (near) final product.

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One does not simply let it go.

There you have it. Ice warrior Elsa will be debuting at WonderCon in Anaheim in April. See you there.

 

 

 

I Bought a Couch

I bought a Couch.

Note the Dharma Initiative pillow and large cat

Note the Dharma Initiative pillow and large cat

Now, at the risk of the post digressing into “The Many Sofas of Your Lifetime,” let’s rewind and talk about the significance of couch purchasing. Before January of 2015, I only lived with people who already owned couches. My butt is not so discerning. Most couches are all comfortable. The only thing is, none of these couches were MINE. These were the couches of others. The sofas they had chosen. My butt was a guest upon their cushions.

Now, every time someone comes over, they’re butt is my guest.

Another thing about this Couch is the…officiallity of it. While I’m not particularly proud of this, I took some comfort in the fact that I could pack everything I owned into a car and move it. When I first came to LA, it was with everything I could carry. The next move only took three big trips to get everything out. No moving vans. No truck rentals.

But, now, the Couch.

The Couch cannot be shoved into the back of a hatchback. The Couch is the death knell of the notion that I could simply fill up the car and drive back to Texas. If I move again, the Couch will require help. The Couch will require two people to move it. The Couch is practically insistent upon itself, for, if I ever desire to move without hiring someone, I will most likely call on someone who has been a guest-butt on said Couch. For, if I do not have that help, the Couch goes into the garbage (I’m not a fan of used upholstered furniture, and wouldn’t sell it).

The purchase of the Couch is a milestone. And adulthood achievement. So, what comes next? What is the next marker in the adulthood road map? Because it took me 28 years to get to this one, and I would appreciate some kind of time estimate.

Now, I just need to figure out what to name it…

The 12 Things of LA

I’m back in LA after traveling for the holidays, so now I will share a song with you. I think you can see where this is going.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Nine preaching Vegans
Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Ten bucket drummers
Nine preaching Vegans
Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Eleven gluten-free restaurants
Ten bucket drummers
Nine preaching Vegans
Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Twelve aspiring actors
Eleven gluten-free restaurants
Ten bucket drummers
Nine preaching Vegans
Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law!

The Power of a Moment

ILightning Bottle‘ve been mocked and scoffed at for my movie collection in the past (and not just because they are on my shelf in alphabetical order.)

But, lately, whenever anyone gives me grief about the movies I’ve deemed good enough to own, I have a response:

There’s a moment.

When we think of our favorite movies, do we think about how great the movie was, how amazing the cast performed, how wonderful the soundtrack is?

Well, yes. Those are things you take into consideration.

But, usually, you have a moment. You have that one scene in the film where you were all in. It’s not a forgotten art. The Moment is a gut-punch. It’s the emotional moment that grabs you by the throat and pulls you in. When you see the Moment, you know there’s so much more, something deeper there. Something more to be mined.

And, there can only be a Moment. You can’t make a whole movie of Moments. Without what surrounds it, a Moment is nothing. The rest of the movie can be awful, as long as it has that one, great Moment to raise it above everything else.

The Moment is more prevalent in dramas, but it also comes in other movies. It doesn’t matter how many fight scenes, how great the CGI, without a Moment, it’s just another movie.

I’m a Moment Hunter. And, it’s not easy. Not every movie has one. You have to dig through a lot of garbage to find any treasure. As a writer, I always wonder if I can capture a Moment. Will I recognize it when it floats through my brain? Will it mean as much to me as it would to a reader or a viewer?

What’s your favorite Moment? Is there a movie you love just for its Moment?

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