Day 13-24 -30 Day Challenge

(These are flashback blogs from when I transferred domains. I thought they were worth keeping – this was written during a course of taking 30 days off of social networking and working on my creative projects – a screenplay in 30 days being one of them. I just thought this was good because it dated my experience with the whole “convention experience”.)

Isn’t this beautiful? I haven’t written in almost two weeks!! That means life has been happening and the writing has been happening on my screenplay and not on my blog. Blogs are great, but sometimes you just have to prioritize I think. And that is where I have found success in my challenge. I haven’t felt compelled to get online all the time and waste precious time and energy.  I go online and check my RSS feeds and get my news. I check my email. I do my actor thing. And that’s it. When I do make a blip on the social networking scene, there is going to be some scaling down on my Facebook profile page. Those that have not communicated are going. Those that added me for their “friend count” are going.  Those who only see me as a network connection are going. That’s what my business page is for so I am sure people can catch me there if they really want to network. I am reclaiming my space and time. So the experiment was refreshing and good.

Project 365 been going great. Still haven’t figure out the format I want to use, plus I have discovered that some moments I want to take pictures of merit a bit of privacy. So that has been happening, albeit only on my laptop in iPhoto for the moment. I will probably post some here or there.

Part of my absence online can also be attributed to John Cleese and Comic-Con. The studio I study acting at often hosts legitimate, major industry players, and John Cleese happened to be the amazing guest we had. What a funny and outgoing guy. I got to speak with him on a personal level and was just blown away at the life he lived to become the person he is today.

Comic-Con was amazing. Last year, I was blessed enough to have received a comp pass. This year I paid. Next year, I will have graduated to my own “Professional Pass”. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it this year, what with the many financial obstacles I have been facing. But the universe provided and I was able to go.

Last year, I got a surprise offer of a comp ticket. I had never been to Comic-Con before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I went online to look at what was on the schedule and saw that Smallville was doing a panel. I figured, cool, that would be fun. I LOVE Smallville. And then I started seeing all the stuff pour in through the newswires about was going on at “The Con”. I had NO idea how big it actually was.  On a limited a budget, I found a hotel room in Lemon Grove. And I was only able to go for a short stay, despite having a full four day pass. The time I spent was a total of a day and a half. Not nearly enough time, as I discovered. It’s overwhelming the amount of stuff there is to do and see there. I had gone purely for the Smallville panel, (as they were unsure if there would be another season or not) but found myself caught up in MUCH more that just that. There was other panels, the exhibitor’s floor, after parties, guild dinners. And I had brought homework. No lie. I was in the midst of summer term. Last minute (literally DAYS before the panel), Tom Welling announced he was coming, so I was excited to be there, as he had never attended a Comic-Con panel in the 8 seasons the show had been on the air.  What a happy coincidence, I tell you, that I happened to be there on this day. By the time I was done with my whole day and a half of Comic-Con, I vowed that was about as far as I would take my “fan girl” experience. I’m actually usually low-key about that whole celebrity culture thing, I don’t get star-struck. There are people I admire for their work, not because they are a celebrity. Hence, I don’t do the convention circuit.  So I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to do this again, it was a one time thing.

This year, the probability of a comp pass was in the air. But when it fell through, I was cool, simply because I had gone last year. But then, some of my friends said they were going to go, and it was announced that Smallville Season 10 would be the last. And I had made a vow to network more. Then a bunch of friends announced they were going. So,  I decided I was going to take a leap and buy a ticket, and go for the whole shebang. That meant four and a half days of networking, panels, lines, exhibits, walking, and general overall chaos.  Becoming engulfed in the WHOLE experience.  Now, for those who know me, crowds often overwhelm and aggravate me. (I do Disneyland because I LOVE Disney. It’s my price to pay. But I don’t do it much beyond that.) But I didn’t want to judge the Comic-Con experience without having actually thrown myself into it.  And again, last minute, (although not as last minute as last year, we had about a month to plan this one) Tom Welling announced he would be showing up again. Being that I already had scored a ticket I was pretty excited. (In case you haven’t noticed, Superman is my favorite super-hero).  And I have to say: it was an amazing ride, (despite my car being broken into) I stayed with some awesome friends and filled every waking moment of my time with Comic-Con. And I STILL DIDN’T SEE EVERYTHING!!!! Fucking amazing that is. It took two days to recover. But I had fun. And I won’t be doing the 4 and a half day experience again. Once is enough for me.

Will I go next year? I am going to say yes with this aim: that people will be seeing Witch Creek at the Comic-Con indie festival. And that I will be on a panel, paying homage to the fans and the people who supported us thus far, getting it out there for everyone to see. And that I will also be on another panel as the surprise-last-minute-guest-addition hosted by a TV network that produced the surprise hit of the season that I am starring in. I’m just sayin’……

Love to all.

Day 9, 10, 11, 12 -30 Day Challenge

(These are flashback blogs from when I transferred domains. I thought they were worth keep – this was written during a course of taking 30 days off of social networking and working on my creative projects – a screenplay in 30 days being one of them.)

Yes I know I didn’t blog for 3 WHOLE DAYS!! What is the world coming to? Well, part of making my own rules, is breaking them, right?  I decided I needed a minor break, so I took one.

I had class. I spent some time with one of my dear friends who always has a way of making me feel better about myself simply by just being HERSELF. I love her for that.  I also took some long walks, one being in a brief shower of rain, hoping for a major thunderstorm but being content with some sprinkling instead. I also slept…I was just really tired.

I also happened to finally watch a movie called “The Blind Side” which is an amazingly touching story about family, loyalty, rising above your circumstances, forgiveness, love, courage. There is a particular moment where the hero of our story is writing an essay on a significant battle that he is studying in his history class.

Michael Oher: Courage is a hard thing to figure. You can have courage based on a dumb idea or mistake, but you’re not supposed to question adults, or your coach or your teacher, because they make the rules. Maybe they know best, but maybe they don’t. It all depends on who you are, where you come from. Didn’t at least one of the six hundred guys think about giving up, and joining with the other side? I mean, valley of death that’s pretty salty stuff. That’s why courage it’s tricky. Should you always do what others tell you to do? Sometimes you might not even know why you’re doing something. I mean any fool can have courage. But honor, that’s the real reason for you either do something or you don’t. It’s who you are and maybe who you want to be. If you die trying for something important, then you have both honor and courage, and that’s pretty good. I think that’s what the writer was saying, that you should hope for courage and try for honor. And maybe even pray that the people telling you what to do have some, too.

It was one of many touching messages in the movie. It also made me ask myself what the definition of courage and honor are. Some people think they have the right definition, but are too ego-centric to see that they have made it all about themselves. I feel like the people who truly have courage and honor, strive for it daily, but have no need to broadcast to the world. They define the terms, simply by being and doing, and in the end become the symbol or figure that people trust and look to for hope.

Here’s another thought: We have uphill battles in our life, people we depend upon, people we love that may not have our best interests in mind.  But in life all we can do is “hope for courage and try for honor”. In striving for those two things, we can automatically align our purpose in integrity and authenticity.  And we never give up. There is a passage from “Moon Over the Capital” taken from “Letter to Nike” written by Nichiren Daishonin, when he is encouraging a disciple to overcome his obstacles. The most profound message that I take from it is as follows:

Be diligent in developing your faith until the last moment of your life. Otherwise you will have regrets.  For example, the journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven, but stop with only one day remaining, how can you admire the moon over the capital?

 

We can’t give up. No matter how many obstacles we face, we can’t give up. We can’t bury our heartaches in alcohol, drugs, addictive tendencies, and unhealthy relationships. Life will call us to overcome, till our dying day. It’s up to you to listen and answer the call as soon as possible. Should you choose to ignore the call, you will live in a miserable state of existence. But the call will still go out to you. We have to believe that our lives have meaning, have value, as do others’ lives.  We all have to treat each other as such. Even when people may shut you out, or act with irrational and inexcusable behavior, we must continue to live giving out love, compassion, understanding,  and being of service to the best of our human ability. Even if you have to walk away from someone who has the phone on mute. This may mean that somebody else has a message for them. Just not you. But you can be there when they seek you out later.  Life is about multiple chances to try again and grow. Try again and grow. Try again and grow.

I have also been thinking about those who are lost to me. I honor those people everyday when I spend time in prayer and meditation.  I think about their effect on my life. I think about what they contributed. I think about how I can learn and grow from their presence. How can I better the world around me with what I have learned and with honor to their contribution?

Deep thoughts on a Sunday afternoon I know. I have more. And maybe I will jot them down later.

Love to all.

How Do You Relate?

I have been observing social behaviors lately. And it’s gotten me thinking. In this day and age of “reality” TV, new media, and online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, boundaries have become increasingly vague on how we interact with each other as human beings and how we present ourselves. I think there is such a thing as “Too Much Information”. It has also been breeding a new mentality of “Me, Me, Me, Give Me, Give Me, I Need, I Need”.

If you know me personally, you know that I am not prude by any means. We are human and less than perfect. However, there are things that I keep to myself. There are things that NOBODY wants to see if they don’t have to.  Where do you draw that line? How do you relate? What do you present?

For instance, have you ever been talking to somebody, and mid-sentence-as you are talking about your take on a movie you just saw – the person starts picking their nose. I don’t mean a light pinch because something tickled them, I mean FULL ON digging in the nostril. It’s so f***ing awkward. How are you supposed to respond to that? Do you ask them, “Hey, did you get that elusive booger?” or “Do you need to go get a kleenex and wash your hands?”. The even more awkward moment (as if it couldn’t be awkward enough) the person wants to shake your hand, or give you a hug goodbye, or even reach out and touch you to make a point about something they are saying. EWWWWWW. I don’t want you to TOUCH me after you just dug all that shit out of your nose! What makes you think I would even want you to????

Here are some more gems:

You wanna know why swine-flu is being passed around? Because people won’t COVER THEIR MOUTHS WHEN THEY COUGH or SNEEZE. I don’t want your germs. Don’t sit next to me and then fail to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. What is wrong with you?? Whether you think you are sick or not,  I don’t want to feel the spray of your saliva as I am sitting next to or across from you. COVER YOUR DAMN MOUTH!!!!

Then there’s the dining conundrum: chewing with your mouth open. On top of that? Trying to talk with food in your mouth!!! You should take a bite that is small enough to chew with your mouth closed, nobody wants to see what you’re chewing, nor does anybody want to HEAR the sound of you smacking your food.  It’s gross.

Another personal fave: adjusting your underwear/thong in public. Yes we all know that it goes up your ass. That’s what a thong does! Why the f*** are you wearing one if you don’t want underwear up your ass? I don’t want to see your hands down your pants, digging in your crack, trying to dislodge your thong. And don’t try to touch me after your done doing that either!

There’s more. But I am going to stop here. Otherwise this blog will rival “War and Peace” and that will just get awkward.

Next I could comment on general common courtesy. For instance, when you are out running your errands or just spending time in public spaces, people seem oblivious to those around them. There is no sense of personal responsibility to contribute to a pleasant public environment.  There seems to be this lack of thought, courtesy, and manners. Now I could run through a whole host of things that people are rude about in this day and age. But we all have those complaints, we all know when they are. I am going to refrain here because I don’t think I need to re-iterate points that are probably posted in many blogs throughout the world.

Moving on to: Life online. I guess sitting in front of a computer screen gives you license to speak in ways that you wouldn’t normally speak in the real world. Apparently you don’t have to know how to spell, nor do you have to use good punctuation.  Amazingly enough, you don’t have to be nice or respectful either. You can insult, yell, talk smack and send inappropriate messages to people. All under the guise of a fake name that doesn’t reveal your identity. I feel if you are going to say something, have the balls to own up to what you are saying and be held accountable for it. If it’s not something you would normally say in your “real” life, what are you doing saying it on a computer? It’s time to look inward and investigate whether you have control issues.

But there is also some very passive-aggressive behavior that happens too.

You can “lurk” online. Which means you can observe people without them knowing, and engage in crossing inappropriate boundaries such as adding friends and family of your ex in hopes to somehow stay in their life instead of just letting go. And then if your ex stops talking to you, you can email their friends and family asking “Why?” instead of speaking to your ex directly.  All from the protective shield of sitting in your home in front of your computer screen.

Another fun one: Someone can comment on every picture and every status update, to the point that your friends assume this person must be your new love interest.  Then the comments start getting bossier. The person can “butt” into every conversation you have because they now feel like they “know you so well” and start addressing your friends instead of you.  Nobody questions it. Pretty soon you can’t say ANYTHING without being topped by this person.  Then your real friends stop commenting because they don’t feel comfortable anymore. They can’t have a quality experience on your page because of this person.

My favorite though is when somebody starts drinking and then logs into Facebook. Oy. You don’t even have to go to a bar anymore. You can be on the receiving end of blatantly uncomfortable inside jokes, comments, drunken “PM’s” and all sorts of inappropriate behavior, all in the comfort of your own home.

Wow. How the world has changed.  It’s enough to make you start “de-friending” them but then you have to deal with the fall out. Of course you can adjust privacy settings or block someone. But you think they don’t notice? You think there will be no drama? Think again. The online flame wars commence. (Really? How old are we now?)  Then in a fit of temper you close everything. And then you realize there were people that you actually wanted to keep in touch with, so you take it all back.  And you do your best to manage. Lesson here: be sure you are not one of “those” people I have described above. If you are, get a therapist and change it up for the love of all that’s holy!!

And what is up with posting every single thing you do and everywhere you are going down to the minute details of : “I am at the store buying TP.”  What makes you think people need to know that? Are we so insecure in our daily lives that we think nobody cares about us? Are we trying to garner love through our status updates? What has happened to our sense of belonging and community? Since we don’t run into anybody we know in the store anymore, do we feel the need to announce it to feel less lonely?

While I do maintain a Twitter account and Facebook account, I keep my status updates vague. And should I choose to share where I am, it’s usually something that is common knowledge and I adjust privacy settings. I refuse to turn on the “Location Feature” of any of these. I don’t want people knowing where I am every minute of the day. Nobody needs to know where I am 24/7.  I don’t need to “Check-in” anywhere unless it’s beautiful hotel in Hawaii.  What gets me, is the reaction of those engaging in such an open display of their lives. Should you choose to utilize these features, don’t be surprised when that awkward moment with your ex happens because they knew where to “happen” to show up. Or your boss fires you because you called in with “the Plague” on a day of deal-breaker meetings and general busy hub-bub, but then tweeted that you are having a blast at the Coldplay concert at Stonehenge.  What were you expecting to happen?

Since I refuse to partake in any of the revealing aspects of these sites, I have been left to wonder, what am I doing on networking sites then? Lately, I have been toying with the idea of taking a hiatus from these online networking environments. I have completely cleaned my Facebook page and have really not participated as much as I used to.  I don’t do apps or games. I use it to interact with others though.  But I am not sure what value it is adding to my life at this point. When I figure that out, maybe I can come up with an alternative. Who knows.  I find it’s bit overwhelming to process the information of so many people all at once.

With any evolution of culture, we venture into new territory. I feel we have almost evolved so fast, we have blurred the lines of being “human” and being appropriate. We haven’t learned how to adjust yet. Just because bad behavior sells on so-called reality shows, does that mean we should engage in said bad behavior in our real life?  Just because we can engage in sketchy scenarios on the internet, does that mean we should?  Does everybody really need to know where everybody else is, what they are doing, what they are thinking etc….?  What’s the line between being human, maintaining appropriate boundaries and asking for love and companionship of our friends and family online?

As with everything, it all probably boils down to personal choice.  But when you are out in about in the world, on or off line, it’s worth taking an inward look to see how you are presenting yourself. Is that how you want to be known?  Is that what you want to be remembered for? Are you being authentic to your spiritual growth in this life?

I’m just sayin’………