the original kStyle blog.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Bid

Today I called two companies to request bids for artwork. After taking down the pertinent info, the woman at the second company asked me an additional question, explaining that her company was restructuring (unstated: "and so I'm new to this position"). She asked:

How much do other companies usually charge you to put together a bid?

Despite my shock, I managed to explain that no company charges money to bid on a project.

Wednesday Writing Assignment
Inspiration strikes on Tuesday edition

Joseph Campbell’s writing has been my companion lately, and it gifted me with a strange and beautiful dream last night: a dream containing a myth. Campbell said that myths are shared dreams and dreams are personalized myths. He also wrote of the importance of mythology in culture, how it provides touchstones to interpret what happens in the individual life in terms of the mythic human experience. For example, we all undergo trials—an exam is something like facing a dragon; we all embark upon hero’s journeys—such as starting a bakery or entering a marriage; we all die and grapple with the question of death. (He adds that our culture is ill because it has no mythology.)

Your weighty but hopefully fun assignment is to write a myth, long or short. You can create a myth to interpret something in your life, something eternal (seasons, love, and so forth), or anything else you like.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday Questionnaire
Post-Holiday Edition

1. This holiday weekend, what did you have far too much of?

2. Name something that has already annoyed you on your first day back in the office.

3. I am tired. Think of your own question, ask it, then answer it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Holiday and Movie

It was, indeed, a happy Thanksgiving; one of the happiest I can remember. In recent years, Thanksgiving at my family's house has been somewhat stressful, but this year was not. (The difference was largely, I think, because my mother cordially disinvited her brother-in-law and his family from sleeping over, although they came for dinner. They are wonderful people and gracious (if loud) houseguests (who rather enjoy arguing with each other); hosting them was a stress on my mom, and also meant that my sister, brother, & I were kicked out of beds and sent to toss and turn on air mattresses.) This Thanksgiving, however, was a great day, filled with various family members, immediate and extended, who chatted, circulated, ate, chatted, and ate some more. An ever-rotating group played many spirited games of Sorry! between snacks. I won one game.

The next day G. and I visited his family on the Cape. It was a smaller bunch--5 of us rather than the 15 at my homestead--and also very enjoyable. But OH! can his family talk and talk. I was dying for some sort of boardgame, but contented myself thumbing through the beautiful photos in Vogue when I needed to tune out for a minute.

Ah, Vogue.

Yesterday G. and I went to see Rent. Neither of us had ever seen the stage version, and both of us were disappointed with the movie. (G. didn't care for it at all.) My expectations were simply too high. There were touching moments, and the song "Seasons of Love" never fails to choke me up (even out of context). The scenes at the Life Support Group were beautiful, their songs moving. Many songs, however, were plain silly, with weak melodies and strained rhymes. Despite the dynamic cast, I couldn't care about the characters themselves (except for the generous, gentle, fabulous Angel and his lover, Tom Collins). Rosario Dawson shone as addict/stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold Mimi, but Mimi was a tired stereotype (archetype? hmmm...). Maureen, attention-grabbing performance artist/slut with a nasally voice, is a grating character, but frightfully accurate; I went to college with several of her. I wondered why her lover, successful lawyer JoAnn, spent time with this gaggle of pretentious, ineffective people.

The song much-touted as the "anthem of a generation", La Vie Boheme, smacked of self-importance. The moral center of the movie seemed off to me. Even as it serves as a sort of morality play about the Creative Spirit and Artists, their morals seem amiss, arrogant, and silly; and as it serves as a morality play about Kindness to the Homeless, it does so in a patronizing, ineffective way. I too often found myself agreeing with the Establishment (personified in former-Bohemian-turned-entrepreneur Benny Coffin III, played by a coolly confident Taye Diggs). The movie's most touching moments are its most honest and subdued, when the motley crew of artists grappled with the ravages of AIDS.

Although the two-and-a-half hours flew by, there was plenty of time for eye-rolling. When the credits rolled at the end, G. heard a woman behind us say, "See, I told you we should have gone to Harry Potter."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm thankful to all my float friends for sharing your ideas and pieces of your lives here. I've had lots of fun writing with y'all.

Zen mealtime prayer: We thank the many beings who have brought us this food.

Have a holiday of many delights, everyone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wednesday Writing Assignment
Brevity is beautiful edition

I wrote a long paper over the weekend, the culminating project for my shiatsu studies. I'm low on words now, having used most of them up.

Listening to a beautiful meditation CD by Thich Nhat Hanh, I'm sometimes unable to understand his gentle Vietnamese accent. He twice says one particular word that slips past my comprehension. In the following sentence, please fill in what you think the great teacher might be saying, or what you might say yourself. If so inspired, please elaborate on your sentence.

To me, a tree is as beautiful as a __________.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday Questionnaire
"Answers that might be long, but which should be kept brief" Edition

1. Describe your last interesting encounter with a stranger.

2. Name something you expect to happen to you or around you over Thanksgiving, since it seems to happen every Thanksgiving.

3. Float is a pretty pacifist space, making it a nice oasis in the hostile internet desert. (Maybe this should be Strained Metaphor Edition.) Tell us about the last time you were frustrated to the point of wanting, if only in your imagination, to slug somebody.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Arthritic Hiatus

I'm having a bout of what we in the business call bi syndrome. I have to save my hands for typing at work or doing shiatsu, so no bloggies for a little while.

It'll be fine once I start on some herbs. Don't cry for me, Argentina. The truth is, I never left you.

Thinking fondly of y'all--

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday Questionnaire
Late afternoon edition

1. What was the last thing you only pretended to understand?

2. Fill in the blank: _______ is not a real sport.

3. My graduate program is offering a whole course on Ulysses next semester. What book would you like to spend an entire semester reading and studying?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

This Time Last Year...

float: November 2004: "Kitty's First Snow

We were so excited about Luna seeing her first snowfall, certain she would be lost in enchantment, eager to frolic in the magical white stuff.

When I came home Friday, I scooped her into my arms and carried her to the front stoop so that she could see the powdery, glistening flakes fall through the dark sky into the light by the door.

I'd forgotten that Luna hates getting wet.

She crawled up onto my shoulder like a scared parrot and let out these pathetic meow-shrieks until I brought her inside. Oh well, maybe next year."

I've Been Cooking A Lot

I'm in the last 2 weeks of shiatsu school! This program has taken me almost 3 years to complete. I can hardly believe how close I am, and how close to moving beyond the job I've held for the last 4 years, working fiendishly to make books in order to pay my way through shiatsu school.

I'm excited, scared, and a little tired. Okay, a LOT tired. (This weekend is the first in 3 weeks that wasn't spent entirely in workshops.) Between all the school work and work-work of the last few years, my creative pursuits have gone out the window. It's hard for a lover of all the arts to have scarce time for reading for pleasure, listening to live music, or dancing. To compensate, I've been cooking up a storm. I have to eat, after all. A good meal is akin to the collages, choreography, or beaded jewelry I used to construct. And so, ever the list-maker, I bring you...

Some things kStyle has cooked this week
NOTE: cookies are dangerous because they're both fast and easy. And delicious.

  • Portuguese soup
  • popovers
  • chai
  • oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies (henceforth known as "Nirvana cookies")
  • roasted tofu & yams over brown rice (joint effort with G)
  • cardamom-whole wheat pancakes (these became an instant favorite when I first made them a week or so ago)
  • eggs over millet (with a sides of miso soup and green beans): a very macrobiotic breakfast...except for the eggs
  • cardamom butter cookies (words cannot adequately express my love for cardamom)

The end.

Good Night, And Good Luck

Is an incredible movie. Powerful, inspiring, and timely, and refreshingly short in this era of bloated, 3 hour epics. True epics need only 90 minutes. I can't recommend it highly enough.

My Top 12

Emma listed all of her top values in response to the WWA, and she even added a few thoughts about each one. It was very interesting to read, so I'll share my top values. I haven't the time to annotate, unfortunately.

Here are the Top 12, in the order I thought of them. Asterisk indicates a Top 3.

  1. creativity
  2. peace
  3. community
  4. questioning mind*
  5. compassion/love*
  6. wisdom
  7. humor
  8. forethought
  9. balance/middle way**
  10. appropriate selfishness (self-care)
  11. joy
  12. movement
I found this exercise incredibly illuminating. Having named my values, it's easier to stay true to them.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Wednesday Writing Assignment

This is a recent homework assignment that had immense value for me. I'll tell you about my results later.
1. Make a list of your top 10-12 values, characteristics, or ideals.
2. Narrow that list down to the top three.
3. Further narrow the list down to your Number One Value. Use it as a guiding principle for each day.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday Questionnaire

1. Name something that turned out to be worse than you thought it would.

2. Fill in the blank: "I'm fairly sure that ten years from now, I won't _______ anymore."

3. What do you keep doing even though it does you no good to do it?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

RIP Sitcom

Where have all the sitcoms gone? It's a distressing situation when trying to watch daytime TV.

And I've never liked Friends. They annoy me.

Home Sick, Day 2

It began as a stomach bug. Yesterday I watched "Maury" (Make over my geek!) before G. reminded me that we'd rented Spanglish but not watched it. Spanglish turned out to be an ideal sick-day movie: it's good, but slightly too long for nornmal circumstances, which means it ate up plenty of not-feeling-well time. G. & I went for a walk in the afternoon--the weather is unseasonably beautiful--and I began to feel better.

Then, yesterday afternoon, the virus snuck into my sinuses and I started feeling worse. I breathed through my mouth all night and had strange dreams about West Wing characters studying Zen meditation.

Today I'm home again, head pounding. I'm more savvy about the daytime TV, however, choosing "Starting Over" and "Martha" over "Maury" and his ilk.

I'd like to feel better.