Mar 28, 2005

spring is in the air

But at work it is Christmas. And Halloween.

Mostly Christmas and a little bit Halloween. I spent the entire day styling a mantle for a catalog that will come out this fall. I attached douglas fir pieces using putty, pins, wire. It took all day. When I get the knack of things, it will supposedly only take me a couple of hours to do this sort of thing (I asked). I later arranged books to look casually placed in another set. It's incredible how fast it all comes together. Then the client calls and tells the set designers what needs to be changed/adjusted. I'm still figuring out where everything is, and I'm afraid of ruining the final product. It takes me a long time. I re-did the garland a bunch of times. I have a million pin holes in my fingers and pine tree gunk (with dirt stuck to it) all over my hands. It will take thirty minutes to remove it. It's a dirty job. And I still (one week later) love it. Even more so now.

This morning I put shave foam in a mug swirled around to look like whipped cream. And then sprinkled cinnamon on top of it. Yum. Then I stuck two chocolate candies in it. I smelled like my dad's aftershave the rest of the day as a result. But that was OK with me. And I watched the soft stylist make the bed for the bedroom set. They use all this bunting to jack everything up into supreme cushiness. It's an art what they do. He makes a piece of fabric look like it's just thrown over the side of a chair in this very methodical way. I couldn't replicate it. The back of objects in the sets have tape and wire and molding putty holding everything in place. The back of my Christmas tree was a ghetto. It wasn't even lit. Everything just out of the range of the lens is this wonderful disaster. The mantle and everything on it, pure Christmas, just a darling domestic scene. A fireplace at a brick wall. But the wall ends. And it is lifted up on jacks to be the right height. And immediately outside of these parameters are screens and lights and ladders, and concrete and a bunch of metal carts filled with product, and wire cutters, props, glue, hammers, a thousand rolls of tape, a thosand pieces of evergreen, and everything I've gathered from around the building as tools, and sketches, and notes, and coffee cups, and dust. As well as all the debris that falls to the floor in the process of putting this thing together. In this case anyway, the mantle set doesn't show the floor.

And I'm dead tired. Hungry. My hair is a mess. And I need a bath..

Mar 26, 2005


There's weirdness. It was all very Stanley Kubrick..

1) A couple of days ago, on the el train, someone plucked a hair out of my head. Then he leaned in and asked me my name (so I moved to another seat).

2) Someone at work introduced themselves to me three seperate times.

3) That night at a clothing store I heard a guy and girl in the dressing room next to mine talking about someone that I know (and it was not nice).

4) The next morning I recieved an e mail that was intended for someone else (also not nice).

5) Then I checked my cell. And one of my messages was of a conversation where one of the people talking "didn't realize" that they pressed my number in their speed dial/phone This, too, painted an ugly picture.

6) Then, as I was checking my messages, a guy got onto the train and started laughing hysterically and stomping around the aisle, yelling VICTORIA (of all things) over and over. We were the only two people on that car, so I tried to be still and invisible until the next stop. Then I bolted over to the next car.

7) I found amongst the props at work an old peg board that is the exact size/color of the one that was in my parent's kitchen when I was little. Thirty years later, and I know it's the same peg board.

8) A photo was shot Friday afternoon where the stylist (who was in the middle of the shot) didn't appear in the photo. And he wasn't moving. It made no sense.

9) And I literally got lost at work for a while. I had no idea where I was. This isn't weird (the distance between certain departments is about three blocks) but it happened right in the middle of all this other stuff. I almost called my sister-in-law to ask her where I was.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something..

Mar 22, 2005

it's design

And I love it.

Where else on Earth would I get to run around and do things like style a Christmas tree, look for Halloween/Christmas props in the prop room, get to hang out in the prop room (a facinating room, that's so cool I stayed and ate my lunch in there my first day) where there is everything imaginable under the sun on those shelves (I even found a photo of my neice in a box of photos used when a set needs real-people-photos for frames), assist my sister-in-law (so talented is she, I'm so proud of her) in finding paint colors appropriate for this account's sets, then look for sets (that alone is an adventure, just whole parts of houses warehoused and waiting to be picked), then look for appropriate furniture (there is A LOT of furniture), hang out on a set of a porch inside the studio while I figured out my Christmas tree, use a drill (for the first time in my life I drilled a screw into a wall), and be around so many different facets of design in one enormous building where everybody works together to make it all happen (and it happens fast). People who build sets, who care for the sets, who paint sets, who prepare rooms, who sew, iron, catalog items, soft stylists, food stylists, set stylists (that's me, in training), photographers, a woman who shops for everything..

Where else?

There are tools and wires and cameras and fabric and furniture (and sea shells, autumn leaves, rocks, lamps, books, plates, glassware, vases, framed art, plant life/flowers, pretend cakes, real cakes, pretend apples, pears and pumpkins, shoes, candles, jack-in-the-boxes, piles of old christmas cards and letters, typewriters, balls of yarn, spools of thread, drawers filled with buttons, bottles of laundry detergent, antique baby rattles, turn of the century wedding photos, tooth brushes, door knobs, bathtubs, spoons, African, Asian, Indian, and European artifact, a box filled with glass orbs and marbles, fire places.. all of it sorted by color) everywhere. It's a giant old industrial building (with a couple places way off in the seams of the building where people go to have secret cigarette meetings). And I have my own desk. And I can wear whatever I want.

It's DESIGN. I can't believe I'm going to be paid for this.

My sister-in-law is great, even when I'm a complete dork, she's cool. She's a absolute pro and she's already taught me a million things. And I love the fact that it is her that is teaching me all of this. I will always be able to say that she was my mentor. That is the cherry on top of this many layered chocolate cake. I'm actually sad that my first week (of the two that I'm sure of) is half over.

I love this job.

Mar 20, 2005

maintained largely by vitamins and tylenol

Ok. I woke up at eleven am as planned. I worked last night and went to bed at 7:00 am. But this was OK. I didn't want to sleep late because, for one, I've got a ton of things to do, and more importantly, I need to be able to fall asleep at ten or eleven pm tonight, so that I can wake up at five am tomorrow. So that I can get to the two week job I'm starting in the morning.

But I went back to sleep. I don't remember doing this. Last thing I remember is getting up and getting dressed. So, for some reason, today, when it actually matters what I'm doing sleep wise/waking up wise, I went back to sleep.

I slept until one pm.

This scews everything up. So I put together a plan: No coffee today + tylenol pm x 2 tonight = sleep/waking up on time in the morning. Wait. Let me amend that a little bit. The On Time part isn't a big deal. I'll get up on time. The question of will I get any sleep before an important day, that's the problem. Add to this question the fact that I'm nervous about tomorrow. Nervous = 0 sleep. Sometimes 5% sleep. It's a toss up.

Update: I had a cup of coffee.

What am I doing?

About Getting Nervous: In my estimation, getting nervous makes things official. To not be nervous about tomorrow would be to not take it seriously. I do better under my own self-imposed pressure. The coffee I've had isn't really part of that, though it smacks of self-sabotage (it really does). The conundrum is that I need coffee to operate (efficiently) today, so that I can operate (efficiently) tomorrow.

I have several things I need to do today.

Yet I'm doing this..

Yeah. This is bad.

I think I better call my mom..

Mar 18, 2005

perfect gingerbread house plan worked

Update: I typed in the key phrase: how to build a gingerbread house printerfriendly, and frankenmonsterblog is the first listing. Sans printerfriendly, it might be there, but it's probably the fiftieth result or something. But, still. Wow. First. That's good.

Actually, I thought I'd be more excited about this.

Mar 16, 2005

if this is the algonquin round table, it's purely incidental

I stumbled upon something that I found disturbing. A serious writer let their seriousness about writing bleed rather bitterly out in the form of judgment onto another blog.

Another blog.

It was nasty to witness someone who is clearly not interested in the art/world of writing, to be confronted so rudely by the abuse of this particular, so called serious writer.

It appeared to be a frustrated attempt to pick on someone, anyone (afterall, there are so many victims to choose from) because the serious writer was afraid to pick on his/her own peers. That is, other serious/aspiring writers.

Of course critique, within context, is good. Critique was an important and necessary part of the design process when I was in school. I definitely wanted feedback about my work from other people who were in my field.

But this serious writer, who I assume doesn't need a blog to get published, yet blogs quite a bit, did not issue a thoughtful critique of this blogger's blog. And this blogger, who was clearly blogging for blog's sake, did not in any way request said critique.

And blogs, per se, are not necessarily the peer base for serious or aspiring writers.

Of course, this serious and abusive writer was well aware of this fact.

On a lighter note: in a few minutes I'm going to out to get a burrito. I then plan to spend a few hours getting some things organized, and then, later, to possibly view a DVD, as I have been jones-ing to watch movies for weeks.

Mar 14, 2005

finger bandaged and doing ok

The other day. It started out good. I was happy that I finally addressed some school loan issues, along with some other things that I've been putting off. And I exercised. And most importantly, I did things before work, that is, hung out, did some errands (happy errands), got a coffee. All so that I sort of wound up at work, rather going immediately to work. Because, normally I leave for work at 9:30 pm. Which is dismal. So, the other day I decided instead to leave at around 7pm, and do things along the way. I was attempting to Live My Life. And that is just not like me.

Then I got to work, and it was this horrendous private party which filled the club to capacity. I knew over a week ago that this was going to be the case. That we would be insanely busy. And that was OK. But, still, I felt horribly guilty. It was too busy for me to do my job well. Or even poorly. It was going badly. I lost all control over my tables. And there was no getting it back.

Then I cut my finger.

The whole club was out of kilter because of this party. And especially because there were caterers present. As the caterers needed any extra space there was in the club as staging areas. So everything was wrong, and everyone, as busy as they were, were doing things they normally wouldn't be doing. In areas they wouldn't normally be doing them. For instance, I was cutting limes and lemons in an area that can only be described as outside, near the dumpster. This is an area I've never worked in before. An area reserved for delivery trucks. Crime. And probably hookers. This was were I was cutting my fruit. Because my bar-back was in the storage room doing dishes for the caterers (in what was THE MOST makeshift sink I've ever seen). Which led to my bouncer taking orders for me. Which naturally led to me bar-backing for the main bar. As well, the waitresses on the main floor were doing security checks. And I saw the DJ restocking beer. It was a mess.

All I needed was one slice of lime.

I had already laughed earlier in the night, when my bouncer went outside to cut a lemon, and came back with just the one slice. But I wound up doing the same thing about forty times. There just was no time to worry about future slices. So, I went outside to again slice a lime and the knife went clean through my finger.

Several things went through my mind:

cut=bad>sharp industrial strength knife+finger=not OK>emergency>go to hospital=(embarrassing)x(no time)+waiting people=angry people>blood>shock>swear word>cry


(envy of lesser problems of just a moment ago) x (magical thinking)
= brief second of believing I can undo cut. Just go back and not cut my finger.

Then I went into denial/damage control. And proceeded to the bandage area, with a bunch of saturated cocktail napkins wrapped around my hand. And I was afraid to look at my finger because I was afraid it was gone.

(PS finger condoms: not embarrassing)

So, I was having a bad week work wise. Then my sister-in-law, called me back and asked me if I'd like to come in next week for two weeks. This is a real gig. A design job. She is amazing. She will train me. Show me the ropes. That kind of thing. She says she wants to see if I like it there. Hopefully they will like me/my work. I'm going to be working a lot during this period. And it might be a while before they need someone permanently. But this is a great turn of events. I want to send my sister-in-law flowers. Or pizzas. Or cashmere sweater sets. I don't know how to begin to thank her.

And this makes me happy.

Mar 7, 2005

how to build a gingerbread house/ printerfriendly

About a week ago I googled frankenmonsterblog to see what would happen. And I found out that frankenmonsterblog was considered, among other things, simple, step by step instructions for building a gingerbread house. I was surprised by this as well as curious. So I typed in the key words how to build a gingerbread house, to see if this worked in the inverse. And frankenmonsterblog appeared. And it was ranked ninth.

This made me happy.

But not right away. It broke down as follows:

Upon first noticing that frankenmonsterblog was inappropriately considered instructions for building a gingerbread house (a better gingerbread house, any gingerbread house) it felt alright. It was alright with me, and I got on with my life.

But this became something more like ok with me as the day progressed.

Then I found myself to be pleased.

And then I laughed about it. To myself. No one was around to hear me. But, I promise you, I did laugh.

So it was around this juncture that feeling pleased became feeling amused.

Which ultimately led to feeling happy. Which, by the way, is a good feeling. (Tough to describe. It's kind of like a sense of well being or rightness with the world. It's fleeting, but can be accessed at later times in memory. But remembered happiness doesn't feel so much like happiness (in real-time), as it does jealousy (in real-time). That is, jealous for having once been happy/not knowing if you will ever feel happy again. All in all, worth the risk. I give it an 8: Happiness = OK)

So, naturally, I wanted to keep it this way.

Meanwhile, I should mention, I have no idea how my blog got confused with websites that are devoted to the subject of gingerbread houses. I understand there's an algorithm involved. But I've purposely used the words gingerbread house very sparingly in my posts. But whatever happened, I was happy about it.
Then, this morning, the worst happened: my google result for gingerbread house was gone.

And I want it back.

So, roughly six hours and forty pieces of notebook paper later, where I tried unsuccessfully to brake it down mathematically (then took a break to make a lasagna), then spiritually (because it's the opposite of math), which required trips to both the library, and La Boutica Religioso (where I bought a mess of candles, as they were having a sale), I finally enlisted the tarot (which, it turns out, isn't just another pretty card game, more on that later), and, NOTHING. No ideas. No way that I could find to get frankenmonsterblog re-associated with gingerbread houses. At least, in the eyes of google.

Then I thought of this:
how to build a gingerbread house

Mar 4, 2005

not a trick:

I went out tonight to go get some rice at the rice place that's just a few blocks away from my house. I put in my order and went out to walk around for a minute, because, for some reason, this restaurant always takes forever to put together my rice. So I walked over to the new antique store. And it appears that there are now at least two couches that I need. As well as a couple of lamps. Then next door, at Una Mae's, I found two skirts, and a pair of tennis shoes that I love. And then, while at the 7-11, I saw that the fabulous, big green can of ice tea that I've had my eye on for weeks is still available. But, no, I told myself: not today. And I bought none of those things. I just wanted to get my rice and go home. So, I went back to Mucho Gusto and, lucky for me, my rice was almost ready. That's how the woman at the counter put it. Almost ready. Suggesting to me from her tone that this was (as we both well understood) a very special order of rice. And that they were probably, right then, as we lived and breathed, just putting onto my rice some very special, final, finishing touches. And, as everyone knows, such a masterpiece of an order of rice takes time. So I waited. And I looked around. And I noticed that I was the only one left in the restaurant. Yet, curiously, from what I could glean (through the ever swinging kitchen doors), the cooks appeared to be very busy. And I need to pay my phone bill. The end.

Ok. That was a trick.

My question is this: If I end a story in such a way, is that a non sequitur?

Really. What is a non sequitur?

The dictionary defines it as: an inference or a conclusion that does not follow from the premises.

And I get that.

(I don't. That was another trick.)

It all started years ago when someone I worked with accused me of ending all of my sentences with non sequiturs. Now, even though I'm not certain what a non sequitur is, I don't think it's possible that I ended all of my sentences with non sequiturs. Maybe he was exaggerating. And maybe he didn't realize that I was joking around. There was some kind of misunderstanding between us. Which, as I recall, was never quite cleared up, and led to lots of attitude from both sides.

Meanwhile. Non sequiturs. This has been bothering me for some time.

pinocchio versus finger puppet

I'm not going to lie to you. This is ridiculous. Not to suggest that I've ever lied here at frankenmonsterblog. Now fiction, that's a better word. Something factual happens, I strain it through a fictionalization machine (an Industrial Age, circa mid 19th century very, very British machine), then repackage the resultant glob into lots of green cellophane shrink wrap, and send it off on a truck. And I never think about it again.

But is that blogging?

Recently I read a blog about knitting and dried flowers. And thought it would be really funny to satirize it.

But, isn't that kind of mean spirited, Vic?

Yes it is. But to change my blog to The Wonders of Yarn and Dried Flowers, or some such thing (with a pink and purple interface and swirly, swirly girly font) makes me laugh. And why haven't I? WHY HAVEN'T I? What on Earth is stopping me?

I wish I could knit. And I love to sew. Don't get me wrong.

I think I'll call it Yarn Talk.

I wonder what it would have been like back in Shakespeare's day had there been computer access. Nothing else being changed. Just 1605 AD. And there are computers. Not cars. Not space travel. No other technology. Just computers. They run on kerosene. Maybe windmills. My real question is: would Shakespeare's blog still be out there today. And is that how it's going to be? Will my blingbling blog still be out there in five hundred years? Because I forgot my password/how to access it, and I'm afraid that it's just out there. Period. Forever. My only lasting contribution to this world. A fake ghetto blog.

That's about right. Sounds like me. That would happen.

I once drove somebody crazy with all of my talk about time travel.

(I'm sorry I was so ridiculous. I was just being myself. You know.)

Some of the blogs I read are people that I personally know. It all started with Winky (how many times has that sentence been uttered). Which brings me to an idea, but it would be such a rip-off on Winky, that I just can't do it.

But I will say this: impressions have been formed, people. They have. Though, again, half are people I already know. None the less. Impressions have been formed. And it's not good. Not good at all.

Just kidding.

I thought of integrating a photo of my Pinochio puppet into my blog. Just his face. I would spend some time getting the photo/lighting just right. Dramatic shadows would be necessary for me to pull it off the way I see it in my head. Or, I thought of using a photo that my brother took of a finger puppet that he had abducted from me about fifteen years ago. It's a long story, but this photo was a ransom note/birthday card. It's really harrowing as there are flames positioned behind the puppet. The flames are out of focus, but it's unmistakably fire, and my puppet looks so scared and out of it's element. But I'm afraid either of these images would limit frankenmonsterblog somehow. I mean, which image to choose? Meanwhile, human being need faces. And we'll find faces, conjure faces, look for faces even where there are none. It's the Gestalt Principle. Designers manipulate this to no end. Houses, cars, eyes, noses, mouths, headlights, windows, doors, grilles, bumpers. Kittens. We find faces because facelessness is scary.

I could always sketch something. Like a certain Ho that I know (but you do realize, Ho, that that is how I see you.) I don't know. I'm sure it doesn't matter. I'll figure it out.

Wait a minute. What the hell am I blathering about? I have no idea what I'm doing.

I felt like doing this right now. Just blogging. Like a Japanese school girl.


I regroup. That is, I get a Corona out of my refrigerator.

Note: Blogs are public. But who reads blogs?

I should mention that I had to go into work briefly for a meeting tonight, and what nobody knows is that I was wearing my pajamas under my long coat. They're black, so my pants legs didn't give me away. Ha. I get away with wearing my pajamas outside all the time.

Right now I'm listening to T Rex.

And I'm avoiding something.

And I'd give anything in the world for a piece of chocolate.

Mar 2, 2005

angry couple sold separately

It's March. The only reason I know this is because yesterday, when I went to check the time on my cell phone, March abruptly appeared on my phone's screen saver. Which just so happens to be a calendar. Which is no mistake, as I have yet to get a calendar for 2005. And I didn't realize that it was leap year. But I didn't care about any of that. I gasped and quickly snapped my phone shut, that is, tried to make March go away (rudely confronted by March as I was) as March was such a shock to my eyes. Because, according to my cell phone, March is quite a different story than February. And my cell phone, or more specifically, Samsung, definitely wanted me to understand that February is NOT to be confused with March by employing a not so subtle method of surprise via sudden and contrasting images. That moment (that first moment of March, when a Samsung customer with this particular screen saver first becomes aware that it is March, NOT February) is so shocking that it's reasonable to assume that such a Samsung customer will never manage to surpress the memory. And I believe that that was Samsung's objective. Because there is no other explanation.

Let there be no misunderstanding: March. It's not the same as February.

Consider last month. February. February's screen saver was a horribly desolate snow scene. February. Innocent enough. Probably not intended to inspire suicide, so much as something just short of suicide. Like an especially debilitating case of seasonal disorder. Malaise. Certainly the Blahs. Because a grittier, more in your face look at February does not exist in any other cell phone that I've ever seen. The foreground of the photo was filled mainly by a terrifying tree with it's bare branches reaching out into the bitter cold like so many skeleton's fingers. And, save for one decaying leaf, which remarkably had managed to hang on presumably since Autumn, there was no reason to believe it will ever again be Spring for this tree. The rest was just a lot of swirling snow against a twilight sky. That moment just before the sun goes down. Once and for all. Forever. Grim, indeed. So, as cell phone screen savers go, Samsung must have felt, after many a meeting and lots of deliberation, that this haunting, relentlessly unforgiving portrait of February was the way to go. Their gift to us, you might say.

And believe me, I said, thank you, Samsung each and every day. I did.

But now suddenly it's March. Not just March, but March. Samsung's March. Just twenty-eight days later, and I guess it's all going to be ok, and you can put away your gun, because according to my cell phone, March is fabulous. It's 75 degrees warmer than it was yesterday, and all of a sudden there is no limit to what you can do with your life and imagination. I mean, if I'm to believe what my cell phone is suggesting, March brings a profusion of red tulips. Millions of tulips. A seemingly endless field of flowers. On a fantastically sunny day. Fantastically. Frighteningly sunny. It's an overwhelmingly happy scene.
There's spinning. Mania. Love is everywhere. You've been assigned a muse. Inspiration grows on trees. Everything is funny. And you are free. Yes. And the sky is sapphire blue with only just a few wisps of clouds. Wait. Don't worry. Those aren't really clouds. That's sky writing. An airplane has written crazy cryptic messages across the sky just for us to read. Just for us. Down here. On Earth. Incredible.

So, as you can imagine, I was shaken.

But then I noticed something. When I looked at this scene a little more closely, I saw in the background what can only be identified as an angry Asian couple. They were way in the background of this image, almost imperceptibly hovering in the margin. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and the pixels were killing me, but from what I can glean about this couple, he seems to be accusing her of something. And her head is turned defensively, as if in reflex. And she's wearing pink. I imagine she had no idea that morning, when she put on that dress, that it would always from that day forward be thought of as the breakup dress. My guess is that the sudden field of tulips proved to be too much pressure for this couple. This part of the image is sort of airbrushed out. Sort of. But not quite. And Samsung thought no one would notice.

..thank you, Samsung.