fj: (health)
I think one of my breakthroughs in handling my weight in what I consider the toxic US environment was when I realized I simply couldn't keep consoling myself with food just because I felt somewhat bad, like had a rough day or was upset by circumstances or felt under the weather*. My emotional set-point is low to begin with anyway, and it's not like annoying or mildly bad things were going to stop coming in my future, so either I stop or I might as well right now admit I had set up a never-ending stream of regular excuses to eat sweets of all kinds. The comfort-eating neuropeptide boost? I know it so well, I can feel it. It doesn't stick anyway, I ended up feeling double crap afterwards: I had a rough day and more coming and I just finished that pint of ice-cream. Same for 'earning' or 'celebrating'.

The other side of settling that was making a place in my life for my vice because it was simply not going away anyway, and a place for the balance on the other side required to deal with it. Now I go for cookies because I want to and I planned it, and eat ground turkey & beans and skim everything and Splenda because I know the cookies and Sunday brunch are coming, and I'd better be ready.

*For real crises I use heroin**.
**Ok, I made that up, but you get the idea: food was just for the minor things. Real crises make me numb anyway.
fj: (talking)
People always say "Trust your gut. Trust your instincts."

So I started listening to that voice inside. Did this job feel right? Is this a good friend? Will people understand this? Did I leave the lights or the gas on? Will this be a fun party? Will I get a callback from this letter? But I also started observing: what was the actual outcome? How was it really, a day after, few months after?

Turns out my instincts or gut or heart are 50% right or. In other words, nothing to go by.
fj: (USA)
Been a week since I got on a plane for a quick jaunt to DC.

I was too late to get the super special Premium Economy deal upgrade anymore. I realized I could have put it on the US AmEx card and used my travel points to get it for free. Instead I upgraded to emergency exit for £50. So worth it. Stretched out and everything. Good food, not as good video entertainment, though. Screens were washed out, channels were off.

Which means I sat across from cabin crew during take-off and landing. The one on the way to looked like a blond Victoria Beckham, prompting me to wonder what she would have been as a Virgin Atlantic stewardess. I asked her if the little water landing two days ago in New York unnerved her. Her first reaction made her so-far blank face light up and she said something along Heck no, I wish something would happen. Then she caught herself and said no, this didn't faze anyone at all. I confirmed she had actually done a live water evac during training.

I had to get used to people speaking to me again in the US. Super Shuttle personnel guiding us so that we would be inside and not stand in the cold while the van came, hotel staff showing interest, waiters introducing themselves and bantering, and just people in general ready to talk. I walked up to people and they did not have to adapt.

DC was hopeful and alive and I was so right to not do 2008 in the USA. I mean, when I entered Whole Foods and saw Obama's face on cheesecakes I was like um, euw, a whole year of that kind of national banter just through my flist was bad enough.

The disastrous and mean result in California overshadowed the news of the election for me, so it was like I was catching up with how it was. I was so giddy to hear that the night of November 4th blocks had to be cordonned off in DC for celebrations, that people on Penn Ave were chanting "Pack. Your. Bags! Pack. Your. Bags!"

I was doing a test here to see if I could fulfill the primary goal of being in Europe, seeing my family, while living on the East Coast. How bad would it be to dip into NL four times a year or so over a weekend if I lived in NYC? Then I remembered I already did this in 2001 when my mother was dying, and this last week reminds me I have not gotten any better at handling that jetlag.

"So where's home for you now?" asks the acquaintance on my right during dinner. My friends accross from me kinda sigh and grimace, they know how I am.
I waffle, I um, I hesitate. Finally I say: "The other side of this table."

When I went back, I upgraded again. For nothing, because the plane Monday night was practically empty. Everyone could get a middle row to stretch out in. I asked for any leftover desserts, after dinner service was over the nice lady brought me two.


Nov. 19th, 2008 11:54 pm
fj: (Default)
Strike One )
From a comment I wrote in [ profile] bitterlawngnome's journal on an entry about 'posing':
Oh god, I had my first shoot (clothed, and "tests only, dammit") by a pro last week. He begged and begged because he so hates my profile pictures, having met me IRL first, and I basically gave in so he would get over it, and also, since he seemed to be kind of a pro, to find out what it was like. Turns out he used to do fashion features in Brazil and for the Daily Telegraph here and massive amounts of portfolio shots for aspiring models agencies would send him.

First thing he does is, well, snap me out of my own stance and start posing me. This is good, because I can't see myself, and really really difficult because "he wants to portray me as he sees me, not as I see myself". So he keeps telling me to 'soften' my expression. Bill, people think I am steaming mad when I am lost in thought about children's books, and somehow I had to make 38 years of facial muscles having grown a certain direction go away. It was tremendously hard work, and it kept me from relaxing, and then later becoming playful, and thus, I think, from us together having done more and better.

Was posing hiding 'who I am'? Inside I am a lost and cynical gangly 17-year-old, so I doubt either one of us would have gotten that one on camera. But considering how much this guy knows me (we have, um, [barely met]) I wonder who that will be on the prints. I have been holding off seeing the results. I am sure it's not the person he had in mind either, though he claims there are 35 'excellent' shots in the 150 he shot. (Yeah, a 20% yield from this scrunched up face. Sure.)

("Stand against that, yeah good, but no, I don't want your shoulders square there."
Me, internally: "Look, mofo, do you know how much work it took to get these shoulders this square?"
Me, externally: I pretend I am a pro, or on a reality show with Tyra Banks, this is an assignment, move my arm up and lean.)
fj: (Default)
James The Insane Movie Director was getting his short screened in a major museum in London, on a 16 foot screen on an endless loop in the evening as part of a late exhibit. Of course I'd be there, so I tucked the skinny dark green low-rise check pants nto leather Wellington boots, put on my Captain America T-shirt I feel I can now wear again in London, and the Miyake black suit jacket, and was ready to go. I was not repeating last week's mistake of looking bland. In fact, I didn't like any of my overcoats with it so I grabbed a fleece gray trow off the sofa and wrapped it around me for a Yamamoto Meets Jean Valjean look. These people do not know me, they don't know I am a meek nerd most of the time.

Of course, when they said 'late' the museum meant 10 PM, so I got to see all of two minutes of the film but I did get to see how busy it had been, and James introduced me some, and I mingled, after which we went to a local pub, where we talked and mingled more. One person congratulated me on my new president-elect, which I had to correct, but then we talked anyway, another one was appalled at the Porp 8 passing in California of all places! and I had to explain that 'Liberal Everything-Goes California' is a Hollywood / TV export snowjob just like the idea that 95% of the US does not have awful weather most of the time. Which it does, and much of California is very conservative, it's just that neither meme makes it on Lost and Scrubs much.

And it was all great fun because I met new people and it was just a great Friday night. After which James and I needed food and his partner and friends wanted to go home and smoke, so the five of us said goodbye to the rest and piled into a taxi to Seven Dials, and James and I had late night cheap noodles and beef in a gleaming white plastic joint I'd never have gone into alone and talked about self-worth when your deals fall through, and needing love, and just picking yourself up out of holes when you stupidly made yourself believe you were Golden but you were not, and making rent, and just find meaning and fuck, nobody is hiring but the sites and the shows still need to be made so we must be able to get in at some level.

And I go "Dude, get this: we're having noodles at 11:30 in fucking London after a night of watching your movie be screened in the fucking Tate and everyone came by to see it. That's pretty special. Not everyone gets lives like this, you know." Then we went to his house and joined the others, where I got to hear from a Social Worker about bizarre cases, we discuss having sex with USers, and the actor waxes on working with a major movie star in the movie he is now shooting, does random local accents, tells me Belfast and South African are the hardest ones to do, trades camp accents with Jonathan, James' partner, from different backgrounds so accurately it sounds like I walked into my gay gym, and does the Hamlet speech in one single breath as a party trick. I came home at 4.

These people now think I wear big shawls out when it is cold. Hey, maybe I just will.
fj: (phkl)
What always bothered me about "Mommie Dearest" was just how bad the movie was at portraying its subject, completely undermining its credibility. Joan Crawford was terrible actress, but she knew what the fuck she was doing in front of a camera, and she wasn't nearly as decrepit in the early years as the movie tries to make us think.

So of course, I fired up bit torrent to finally make my point. I have a Mac after all, this shit is easy now, and actually was loads and loads and loads of fun to do, snipping here, titling there... my first YouTube video is the Old School Gayest thing ever done, even more than the PHKL considering 10 year old gorls won't like this:

I am really crossing off the items off my To Do list on Hiveminder:, this, financial stuff, portfolio, getting a proper chair (only 4 more weeks, yay!). At the bottom, still, that entry: Get Job. It stares at me.


Oct. 9th, 2008 11:43 pm
fj: (bqw)
I would like to thank[ profile] bobaloo for all his tireless work on the "No on Proposition 8" campaign in California.

I am angry and heartsick at the prospects of yet another set of my friends' marriages being invalidated. I know some went in thinking it was "Mostly just a piece of paper", but having attended my number of weddings and having thought a lot about marriage, I know that actually standing up there is transformative, that getting that paperwork done and the changes that follow from it actually do make you think of your relationship in a new way, that it is, still, a hit to the brain of "wow, I never though in my closeted kid days we would get there. That this would happen. That we'd be just as real."

I can't stand the thought of that being taken away. Not there, not in the place I was so happy. I can't contemplate that so many people living among my friends would want to take it away from them.

I am not allowed to donate as a foreign national, as I found out, so I haven't. Oddly, it turns out that [ profile] pinkfish is donating more, and at the same time my share of the current bills for The Loft has gone up by the same amount; it is very strange how that works. Yeah, I am still unemployed, but I know I will work again and this money is necessary now. Donate.

If you too want to donate some time in the LA area, get in touch with Bob. He is overworked, and needs volunteers. You don't even need to call people, I believe.


Sep. 6th, 2008 01:41 pm
fj: (bqw)
Well, I have to face facts that for some reason the one superhero comic I owned and kept has not made it through the move. It was the issue of Alphaflight in which the first major Marvel hero comes out (see icon). I always wanted it since I had read of the event. When I first came to the US I asked a friend if she could ask the guy she was dating, who worked at a comic book store, to buy me one and I'd pay him back. Next time I saw her she gave me the issue and told me it was a gift. I always wanted to frame it or display it somehow but I never had the right place. I simply just liked knowing it was there.

Any recommendations on a mail-order place?
fj: (Default)
Since my contract with Voda ended, I went to Düsseldorf to clean up, Amsterdam, and my Dad's, then went to SF & LA and have now been back for almost two weeks, but I have not worked. I do not have a new contract yet. I had a job interview the day after I returned, and yesterday they got back to me and said it was a bad fit for the open position. I had to agree, but I hadn't send the No Thanks email myself.

There's no urgency money-wise; Voda paid buckets to compensate me for me having to pay for the commute, and by British tax laws I got most travel and lodging expenses deducted from the taxes that go off every paycheck. I am good, and need to remind myself to use this money to hold out for something good and not give in to that fear of not working by jumping in too early to any opportunity.

Of course, there's no open offer to give in to right now. Since I re-activated my resumes I got a call from a recruiter most every morning. These British ones are not as bad as the ones I dealt with in the US: they do not offer me wildly inappropriate jobs, and they get the salary space right. We'd agree intial stuff over the phone, they send me the req in email, I send them email back with a .doc version of my CV, I never hear back.

Then again, maybe I am too impatient for Europe. Sunday I was at Nigel's, checking out what normal TV looks like on a 32" HD panel by watching the pilot of Space 1999 and a documentary on Blake's 7, and we were bitching about "Remember rejection letters? You know, actually getting them? These days they won't even tell you if you didn't get the job, and I was actually interviewing in their offices! Is it because I didn't send the 'Oh thank you so much for letting me interview' email seconds after I left?" and then I see his expression and I have to follow with: "Wait, you don't know what that email is? All the rage in the US, especially during recessions. It reads like..." and he gets the confirmation again that the US is insane and I get told I needn't send that in the UK, and then one day later I actually got the rejection email totally denying my whining. I just wasn't patient enough.
fj: (phkl)
Horrible jet lag. Unable to go to the gym yesterday; after I came home from my job interview and the supermarket, I felt so tired I had to briefly lie down, and fell asleep at 6. Woke up at 10. Made dinner at 11.30 in a brain haze, went to bed at 1. Recruiters are calling me at 9.30 (two this morning) so at least I do not sleep in too much.

One of them was for a luxury woman's apparel website, and the email asks to respond with anything besides my CV that would indicate my suitability for the role. I wondered how to write down and back-up a professional version of "I am a style-obsessed homo." I sent my portfolio instead, it includes some concepts I did at previous gigs for Moms, and the PHKL.

Incidentally, no PHKL mail in months. I still have the top results in Google for "pink hello kitty laptop" and "hello kitty laptop", but the availability of officially licensed laptops is focusing the efforts of the computing 11 yo set better, I think.
fj: (Default)

Memory Waiting
"Memory Waiting", Nokia N73, Amsterdam, 2008

fj: (Default)

We Drove Closer
"We Drove Closer", Nokia N73, San Mateo Bridge, 2008

fj: (Default)
I didn't want to blog because there is so much to say, and now i am ready to say it i am here in a cafe with just my phone to type with.

Short, then. Every minute in LA was a blast. My friends and the things we do are such fun. Gossiping in gyms, moonlight parties in altadena, rescuing happy drunks, watchine trash TV, hanging, beaching at the Geffen's, everything. The Loft is still so beautiful to me leaving it broke nw heart. I love DTLA.

I am completely torn now. And San Fran will not sort me out, but that is not what this city is for, anyway.

My apologies to everyone i did not get around to seeing in LA.
fj: (LA)
I haven't been able to blog because when I come home I am so tried from having been everywhere and seen people. I can barely keep up with just reading before I fall asleep at my desk.

It's like I never left, but condensed into a week. Everything is here and I can't fit it all in but I am having fun trying.

I left behind a lot when I left to London. A lot.

7 Musics

Jun. 20th, 2008 05:48 pm
fj: (Default)
Wel, [ profile] philhasablog tagged me, so here I go.
It's a Summer Song Meme

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.
Not sure if I will reach seven, there isn't much that is constant right now. Not like when I was growing up glued to the radio and thus would hear the Summer Hit(tm) 27 times an hour, whatever that Summer Hit was in Europe that year. I suggest [ profile] zurcherart for that.

But hey, let's go.
  1. "Touch My Body", by Mariah Carey. Look, I am not seeking it out, but it seems to be following me. From that YouTube moment where during a live performance she decided to direct her back-up vocals -- someone is gonna get fired -- or the remix used in some of [ profile] djmattconsola's podcasts, to the time that I was waiting for [ profile] iejw in a bar, and this guy who had caught my eye, and I his, stands next to me, looking around, singing it as it played on the music system. --"Well, if you insist..." I say. And he's "What's that?" And I say, well, you were singing Touch My Body, so if you insist... and he's all happy and we hug around and I find out he has been up over 48 hours now for this lay-over in London, but he's not on anything, oh no. Then [ profile] iejw comes in and the guy is all smitten with Ian and he was amusing but we had this party to go to.

  2. The sound-set called 'Tokyo Train Station' in Admium. I have this meta-chat program running on this new laptop day and night, and the little chimes of people joining and leaving fill my day.

  3. When I am home, I am running a 4-day long playlist of my top rated songs in iTunes non-stopon random. As I have more history than present, it is of course heavily skewed towards 80s and 90s electro synth stuff, embarrassingly so. I need to get an Audioscrobbler plug-in to work on iTunes for Windows so you can all see my shame on my account. Here's the widget:

  4. The 'Hard Candy' album by Madonna. I dislike it for the favorable reviews it got compared to 'Confessions' or even 'Ray of Light'. Reviewers say this is more authentic or heartfelt, to me it sounds just as mechanical but with an AI set to "Nile Rodger's Early 80s". Now I kind of expect to hear it when I am in London going to a gay bar or to my Very Gay Gym, but one day I walked into the hardcore musclehead gym I belong to in Düsseldorf, and it was playing and I went what the hell?...

  5. That British Airways tune. Because of this.

    I've heard it 20 times or something by now in the last 8 weeks.

  6. The album 'Melanchólia' by Matia Bazaar, an Italian group. One song was a summer hit in the late 80s. Recently rediscovered it, and I keep playing it like I played it then. Synt cheeze, love it.

  7. The sound of rain when I fall asleep. Didn't get much of that in LA, do get it in London and Düsseldorf, as beautiful weather comes and goes. I haven't had enough of that soft pattering yet.

Tagging [ profile] iejw, [ profile] danger_chick, [ profile] likethecandybar, [ profile] dendren, [ profile] krimon
fj: (UK)
As said, I consider a weekened in a new city a success if I do one social thing. Two weekends ago on a Saturday I thought the weekend was a bust, and then by the end of it I had watched Eurovision with [ profile] iejw , met 3 new people, been to a landmark pub, saw a bunch of LJers of which two on their way to Africa, and had dinner with a former colleague and friend from LA and her boyfriend. Last weekend I ended up meeting a completely new person on Saturday, having brunch at the overpriced restaurant of an overpriced furniture shop with friends on Sunday, scones at the Tate Modern (sorry, jam really does go first), and then dinner with [ profile] spwebdesign at a cute new restaurant in the NW area where I ended up with new appreciation of the vocal technique of crying babies.

I am writing this to let myself know it is ok if I just putter around this weekend. I have scores of little things and paperwork to catch up on. It is ok. Maybe you should go outside, though, maybe to the grassy area behind the RVT, a short walk away, where all the hangover homos (some still tripping) hang out when the weather is nice. And have nothing to do and know no-one, but at least be outside.

But I really need to sign up for Direct Debit with British Gas and write some forms for the tax people up. It is ok. You're doing fine in this new city. Although I should walk up to the shopping center at Elephant & Castle (still needs to be bombed) to get a Big container so the mice stay out of my protein powder while I am gone the next two weeks (I am staying over at my father's next weekend). I really don't want to bread extra-muscular super mice.
fj: (travel)
I keep getting into little skirmished with the security people at Düsseldorf airport. First time when they decided they needed to hand check my whole bag and I asked for him to put on gloves. This made the machine guy call a security guard who started quizzing me on whether there was anything dangerous in my bag. No, but I didn't like somebody going through my stuff with his bare hands. Well, gloves were impractical because the machine people had to go through so many bags and they couldn't put ongloves for every one. I named some airports at which they did, but this is of course always a losing battle, and I do not want to get too agitated while I am on sock feet and holding up my pants with my hands already.

I always carry my passport in my hand with me through the security gate: it is important and I want it with me since I already gave up all my other ID with my wallet. I am sure rationally there's no reason for the fact that I want ID on me for the whole 3 feet that walking through the metal detector while my bags are in the machine next to me takes, but I do, with my boarding pass, and it has never been a problem, for over a decade now. I think it has something to do with having had such a tenuous hold on the place where I lived for 13 years: without the proper papers to be produced at a moment's notice, airports are the place where I was most likely to suddenly be deported. You want to keep those things in order and under control.

So, after a decade of walking through metal detectors with my passport in my hand, the machine guy today insisted, insisted it had to go in the tray, just on top of the rest. I told him I didn't like to do that, and I wasn't all smiles about it. He started challenging me what could possibly happen when it went through the machine. I told him, as I flung on to my tray and had walked without a beep through the gate, that sometimes things going into the machine do not make it out in places. He was really cranky at that. "Wir sind ja eine sicherheidsdienst!"

Ha. Ha ha. Check the "loss" points in any mjor airport some time, it always involves security. My bag required a manual check while machine guy was glowering at me, and after that I walked away.
fj: (travel)
It happened every time I drove on Sunset Boulevard. Not Hollywood Boulevard, not the squares, because those look in reality so tacky and run down compared to what you see on TV. Not in West Hollywood, because you don't see that Starbucks across from the 24 Hour Fitness much in popular consciousness either. Not just a palm tree in North Hollywood, or anything in the Valley, because I had never, and still haven't, seen Valley Girl. It happened on Sunset, when I tuned on to it from the 101. Every time. At night.

The shape of the tall palm trees and how they related to towering billboards, the chasing neon signs, the architecture I had seen a thousand times over my life from establishing shots, the shape of this wide road, Donna Summer's "Sunset People" starting to play in my head, and my brain goes "Holy shit, you live in Los Angeles". This is an amazing feeling for a middling Euro boy.

It's not going home. It's like stepping into the UFO you have heard about all your life. One of the values that are important to me Helen helped me tease out was that I want a certain level of glamor, of interestingness in where I live and what I do (although we should get in touch again to nail it down better what that means). And living in Los Angeles, yeah, even with its challenges, really had that for me, being from far and having grown up Gen X TV, in a way that Boston never did. Fuck hell yeah, I was there now. Sunset Blvd. Every time. It made me constantly miss the supermarket I should have been looking out for to turn into Poinsettia.

I get it now in London too, in spades. It's not The River. It's not any bridge, or Regent street, or Carnaby or Seven Dials or Soho, although I like going to all those places. For some reason it happens now every Thursday or Friday, after having stepped out of the Heathrow Express train from Heathrow to Paddington Station, having walked off the platform into the station, my back straight, backpack pulling my shoulders back, walking briskly after all the sitting, going down into the tube station to take the Bakerloo line to Lambeth North. I take my wallet, where I have just put my Oyster card and Tesco Clubcard and British Pounds back in from the compartment I keep them in my backpack in when I am in Germany, out of my pocket and without changing my stride, slap that wallet on the round yellow reader so the RFID chip in the Oyster card can be read and the gates can swing open and I can go home. Because home is in London, you see. I live in London now. Holy shit fuck yeah.
fj: (phkl)
So there's this woman, right, and she has a blog, in which she details how she fosters kittens until they are old enough to be adopted. And then she gets a new batch of kittens to care for, which she looks after with her husband and her own two beautiful cats and the neighbors. So she works from home, which she has to, because sometimes the kittens come without a mom and she then has to bottle-feed kittens, handling itty bitty cute furballs every day.

And then she gets new kittens. Again.

Screw this work, I'm moving in with her.
fj: (Default)
I have a slight social anxiety disorder, which I have mentioned before, about talking to people who work in shops or over the phone for services. I can trace it to regularly having been confused for a girl in my very early teens, both in person and over the phone, and then later always having had problems explaining what I wanted. That stare of non-comprehension, that I am asking for something completely insane, it just got to me.

Then I moved to Britain, and I had to call tons of people at rental agencies and utilities and banks. Helen the lifecoach fully understood my anxiety, but pointed out having to extend myself to desensitize this blockage was probably a good idea. Yet there I was, having to psych myself to go into a a storefront office of 4 bored looking guys in suits and somehow I have to find the one that does rentals for my area, or find out through a thick plate glass window and thicker accents whether I can turn this piece of paper I signed into money in my account (YES IT IS IN DOLLARS SORRY!) . I spent so much time pacing in front of storefronts, until I had the gumption to walk in. Telling myself to consider myself being an actor, playing an improv part, breathe once breathe twice, phone in my hand, waiting to dial. All completely irrational, since I was the one trying to part with money here, not asking for it. My exchange basically went --"Hi, I'm helpless and stupid!" with the response "Thank you coming, and yes your are, but we'll see what we can do, you poor thing." Really made me feel good about myself, where 'good' means 'useless and stupid', until I got a handle on the scripts after doing them over and over, and knew the key sentences. I love shopping at IKEA because I do not need to talk to anyone, and usually I know the catalog better than the help anyway. But I was glad when the crush of it was all over and I was settled in. (I still am not getting electricity and gas bills to my name. It is up to them to get them to me then I say.)

Now I had to do it all over again. Call the recommended agency, call the agent I am assigned to, email the agent who doesn't answer the emails, calla gain, meet the landlord. Go into gyms and try them out and ask what the price plans are. Go into phone shops to get a SIM card for wireless internet.

In German.

Oh God. I have died a thousand deaths, rehearsing sentences over and over while pacing on the street, sentences I never ended up using anyway. I have everything done now, sitting here typing in my flat, but the gym; the three I have been into failed for various reasons. One more left. I can't wait until it is all squared away and I don't every have to talk to anyone about anything.

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