Sunday, May 22, 2005

Yoshida Fine Art Gallery

So tonight is the big event, the first time my art is going to be displayed in a gallery in the art district of town. It’s a pretty big deal for me, although not a big deal in general. I donated two pieces of functional glass art to my company, a 16” rainbow fishnet iridescent and black bowl. This simple yet complex bowl puts the fun in functional. The other piece I donated is a large three-sided rainbow iridescent, clear iridescent, textured and sandblasted pattern bowl, approximately 21” on the long side of the triangle. It kind of reminds me of an ornate, giant Star Trek communicator.

The gallery event is from 5PM to 8PM, and I’m bringing my own personal business cards with me. Nothing fancy, just my name in a woodcut font, my phone number, email, and my generic web page that I still have to update. I’m selling art faster than I can make it because I am between studios, having out grown my current and not quite into the next studio.

I’m a little nervous about the event tonight, all of a sudden I feel like everyone’s going to be focused on me. A lot of times people ask me how I make something. I explain how I do what I do, but most people get lost in the technical aspect of what I am doing, and I have the ability to pick apart my art in ways that nobody can comprehend. I can troubleshoot, and when I get up and running at the next level I feel that I will be satisfied with my quality, and can start creating more complex and mixed media pieces.

We’re bringing a camera, so hopefully I can post some pictures soon.

Friday, May 20, 2005

glass cubicle wall

One of the walls in my cubicle is glass, and my neighbor is this older guy named safety Ray. He watches me eat every day, and I know that I take bites that are too large to be lady like (or at least office like) and chew with my mouth often. I also involuntarily suck the stuff out from between my teeth all the time, making a sssstt noise.

I should probably bring some floss to work.

old lady stunt actor

I've decided that if I stick with martial arts and general fittness and flexibility, it would be cool if I was 60 to be an old lady stunt actor. I don't have any grey or white hair now (that I know of), so I think if I entered a stunt career now, not only would I be underqualified and inexperienced, but I don't make a very good old lady.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

personal good-bye policy

I've decided to adopt a personal good-bye policy. I am not going to say good-by to an acquaintance that I've made recently, such as people I see at class, or business contacts that I have regular meetings with, or anyone in general that I see frequently. I feel that saying good-bye a few times a week to the same person just causes me to have to say hello again, which in turn causes me to use more oxyagen. Unless someone is going on a trip, having surgery or quitting, I won't say good-bye. If I don't say good-bye to you, and we don't see each other for a long time, a hello will definatly be in order, and I will adjust my policy as needed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Potato Leek Soup

I'm eating a late lunch, and my instant potato leek soup is pretty hot. I figured I'd blog while it was cooling.

I work with alot of people who feel the need to give me way too much information about things I would rather not know about. Are people so miserable in their individual lives that they don't feel satisfaction, or fill the gaping void of their need unless they are elaborating on something that I don't want to know about anyway? TMI, too much info. Besides my obvious body language, I do blatantly cut people off and tell them that I don't need to know that information.

I guess sometimes that isn't enough...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

chicken preserve

The other day, I was thinking that it would be nice and very humane if I was rich and had a large amount of land, and could have free-roaming chickens living in my preserve. I know anyone can go to their local health food market, and get free-range, hormone free anti-biotic free chickens, which is probably the best available.

I've seen "free" range chickens. The are all in a giant warehouse, with high ceilings and stadium lighting all over the place. They are in a giant crowd, thousands of them, pacing around, looking around, and shitting. Heads darting in all directions. The bok-boking must be deafening.

I suppose that it's better then the alternative de-beaking and poor genetically mutated chicken-like gelatinous blobs.

I think if these farms wanted to be really humane, they should look into a chicken's natural environment, whatever that may be. People could pay to hunt them and process them themselves at home. Have the kids de-feather them. That's how society could obtain their dinner, and if the local government controls the situation, that could pay for education and social service programs.

I bet a lot less people would be eating chicken.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

mo duk pai = martial + ethics + method

I've done it, I re-registered for Kung Fu, and had my first class last night. The Academy moved to a new beautiful location, and the training facility is gorgeous. Nice large floor area, 1/2 wood floor and 1/2 mats, complete with 3 hanging heavy bags, a punching bag, a climbing rope (insert gym class nightmares here) hanging rings, and several bars for pull ups or chin ups, or just hanging. A nice array of staffs and blunted weaponry are stacked in the corner, and there are high ceilings with many skylights. Our school has a new seal, because my instructor has become a Sifu since I last took the class.

The thing that sealed the deal for me was that he personally came over to me and shook my hand, and said that he was excited that I was coming back to class. I feel really out of shape, and the class kicked my butt. I also know from taking the class in the past that the class I attended last night was nothing compared to how it really is.

I missed taking Kung Fu, and I am glad that I am again.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I’m listening to the news and they are talking about another incredibly violent scenario in Bagdad. (You can view the story here: The reporter made mention that it has been the most violent week yet, resulting in a new death toll.

While they are reporting facts about the incident, what group claimed responsibility, the significance of the target people or areas, etc., they play background recorded at the scene right after it happened. Sometimes these reports have footage of what was going on just before and as the suicide bomber ignited or drove a car into something. That’s freaky. It’s as if the journalist was at the wrong place at the wrong time, recording something else.

It’s pretty horrible, if you really listen to it. Most people are desensitized or reprogrammed not to notice. Or pre-occupied. There are a whole lot of people who are so self-centered and pre-occupied that they have no clue what is going on with the government, the international scene, or locally.

I notice when there is audio footage of some horrible violent act, there is screaming or frantic yelling. Sometimes they play people wailing, and people arguing and verbally escalating. At some point there is an emergency siren, and I noticed this time the emergency siren sound was different than the traditional emergency siren wail. If you know me ask me to hum it sometime, I can’t explain it. It was a high pitched, soured sound that would verbally equate to jumping on a trampoline with high, solid slow bounces that caused you to hover a superpower second in the air, on the brief plane between launching and gravity’s effect.

Men's treatment group

Well, I've just returned from a presentation at the Men's Drug and Alcohol In-patient recovery treatment and recently out of prison transition group. They were a pretty rough crowd, but I brought them some doughnuts to keep their mouths occupied so they didn't heckle me while I was giving my schpeil.

It was a success, I ran into someone who I had presented to a couple of months ago who is working with us, making $10.00 an hour! That's more than my partner makes, who hasn't been in prison and isn't in recovery. Things like that make me feel like my job is a success. For all the chaos of the bullshit office politics and pettiness, lost files and insane demands on work output, the positive results make it all worth it.

The doughnuts made a difference, definitely. The group was kind of rowdy, and I had to use my "outside" voice to speak over the commentary from people who are ineligible for employment with us due to a felony or misdemeanors theft or person-to-person crime conviction in the last 7 years, and weren't interested but had to attend the mandatory meeting. For all the non violent felony and misdemeanors offenders we can put them to work, and support people trying to make a positive change in their life.

Friday, May 06, 2005

database training

I met an interesting woman at work this week, named Ronnie. She flew over to my office this week from Minnesota because she is a trainer and presenter from a company that we bought a big new crazy data base program from. I was in the computer training classroom on Wednesday, all day, with Ronnie and about 14 of my co-workers learning how to use and the improved features of the version of the database.

It was a great, state of the art training, complete with a large In-focus live instruction as we all worked on our PC’s. One of the things making the training so entertaining is that the database wasn’t loaded on our PC’s properly, and every time we would try to input a new customer or generate another profile, we would all get different error messages. This was visibly pushing Ronnie to her limit. But she didn’t snap, and was really good at firmly redirecting some of the upper level administrative people in the classroom who felt they could have a conversation amongst themselves, regardless if Ronnie was explaining something.

I personally think the database is going to be a nightmare to work with, it seems there are way too many unnecessary features on it. The great thing about Ronnie is that she immediately picked up I was from the east coast. I noticed when she walked around the room to see how we were doing with the get to know the features assignments she gave us, she would put her hands on my shoulders or joke around with me. During the breaks, we would talk about different areas of NYC that we had been to or lived in. I was getting to know Brooklyn when I left, so I was familiar with some areas of town she talked about.

I didn't mind the class, and was limited with what I could do due to the bugs in the database, so I just made several ficitcious message notes about non-existant employees. That turned out to be really funny because for some werid reason later people across the room would get the messages in the stuff they were working on. About 2:20 PM, I heard the sales guy from the south office exclaim and break the silence and keyboarding "Yak herder and is often found grating cheese while directing traffic?!? What the??"

Ronnie returned on Thursday to teach the same class to all of the people in the office who couldn’t make it on Wednesday, and again on Friday for the Payroll department. Each day we would talk a little, she would come to my office after she was done with the class and B.S. a little. I guess those classes went better because they worked all the bugs out of the database and she had tamer groups.

After her last class on Friday, she stopped by my officer and informed me she was flying back. We chatted for a little about what brought her to Minnesota (her husband). Before she left she hugged me and was calling me honey.

Many people in the office were put off by her. They thought she was very loud, brash, talked with her hands in a very aerobic way and too up front. People weren't hesitating to talk about her in hushed whispers around the water cooler and at the reception deak. One of my co-workers, Lana, would shush Ronnie every time she paced by Lana’s workstation as she lectured about another unnecessary feature.

I thought she was neat, and really liked her.

It’s funny how you can meet some total stranger and feel connected to them in a weird way. I really liked her, and just met her. I should have gotten her e-mail address.

turtle neck

I'm wearing a turtle neck short sleeve nightmare today, it's casual Friday and I woke up kind of late and didn't feel like ironing something. Turtle necks make me feel like someone is slowly choking me throughout the day.

Who invented the turtle neck, anyway? Who came up with "turtle neck?" What a funny word for a shirt. You don't hear giraffe neck, or cat neck or anything-else neck.

Marcus is doing better, I think. He's almost out of antibiotics, and still drooling but not as much. He has periods of high activity, then he seems uncomfortable and hunches down for a little while. He isn't smelly, and is back to fighting with Jim, which is a step in the normal direction.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

throwing stones in glass houses

my computer is so....... . . . . s l o w

It's dial up, of course. Except when I'm at work. Then I can blog with ease at the speed of light.

I participated as a vendor at a Job Fair for veterans last week. The Job Fair was set up by Veteran Representatives, Vocational and Services counselors, and organized with the state's employment department and various other splinter groups to make civilian life transition as easy as possible. Many veterans showed up well dressed, armed with resumes and gift bags of the free loot all the vendors give away. I was giving these cool looking but actually lame pens, but other booths were giving away stress squeezie things and food and candy. Many pencils and pens, of course and mini useless stacks of post-its in a myriad of colors and emblazoned with company logos. The coordinators treat the vendors like rock stars, we usually have a V.I.P. area with great food and beverage selections to snack on, away from the mobs of unemployed people with unrelated skills trying to market themselves simotaneously.

Some of the vets weren't job ready, that's for sure. A very quiet and strange guy was looking at some material about a training course we were offering, and nervously looking around. I approached him and introduced myself and asked him if I can help him with anything or does he have any questions. He replied by telling me that he doesn't really know what he wants.

His name was Frederick, not Fred or Freddie. He had just come back from IRAQ about a month ago, after serving there for 2 years, after being home for a 45 day break from Afghanistan for 1 year. He definitely had PTSD, and was starting to get jumpy as the masses of eager job seekers gathering around him (the booth next to me was giving out brownies! and they were warm, too, although I suspect microwave activity). I invited him to stand on the inside of the booth towards the corner because it is against a wall and a good vantage point to see the rest of the auditorium in the sea of pathways and vendors. He stood over against the wall for about a 1/2 hour, talking to me while viewing the room around him, rarely making eye contact.

Frederick told me many things, that he was feeling bad, his girlfriend didn't understand and thinks he is selfish, his friends don't want to talk to him anymore. I asked him if he was seeing a counselor and he said the counselor said, "Get over it, don't kill yourself and don't kill your family."

He was a medic on a helicopter transport. He also told me that there were people in IRAQ who hated the Americans, and would mob the helicopter before it could take off again, thrusting wrapped babies at them. After the other medics received one of the babies, it turned out to be a fake, and really a IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Frederick had seen his friends die, and tried everything he could and was unable to save them.

Frederick also said that as he drives around town, now that he is home again, he finds that if he turns down a residential street, and there are no kids playing in the street or no people outside doing things, he feels it is an ambush, and backs out of the area immediately.

He told me a lot of stuff, then a quickly as he appeared, he took off again, without so much as a goodbye. I noticed him across the auditorium talking to the state corrections department, then to a power company, then he was gone.

While he was milling around, my co-worker and buddy D came by, and I told him about Frederick. D is in the military, too, and served in IRAQ last year. Later, D told me he talked to Frederick, and gave him the number of an excellent counselor that D goes to for military related stress.

I can't stop thinking about that. I thanked Frederick for his service, and offered as much consolation as I could. I felt bad for him because he seemed like a brainwashed person that is realizing that something is not right, but not sure what and really angry.

...and now for something completely different:

Recent music recommendations:

Beck's new album, "Guerro" is awesome. 5 stars
Queens of the Stone Age's new album "Lullabies to Paralyze" is very rocking and awesome to play loudly while driving through the shopping mall district.

Monday, May 02, 2005

fuji apples

Right now I am eating the most delicious fuji apple. It is very crisp, flavorful and juicy. I highly recommend fuji apples. I also like Pink Lady and Gala, but right now Fuji is hitting the spot. Apples are a natural source of caffiene, you know.