Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day's Tiny Heart Attack:

I nodded off on the subway today.

Woke up to the recording announcing we were pulling into a station two stops away from my home. I looked around - crap! My heart seized -- I must have slept all the way to the station where I should have gotten off to catch a bus to work, and continued to sleep almost all the way back home! I looked at my watch -- how late am I going to be for work? -- it's 7:43. Crap! My watch must have stopped! Dammit, no way to know how late I'm going to ... wait. 7:43?

...I had nodded off on my way home from work today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day's Tiny Joy:

-- Getting home early enough to watch Judge Judy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Forgot to add:

... while on hiatus, I wasn't walking past the outside of sets all day. (watch the show? this is what The Ash's Throne Room looks like to me everyday I walk past it to get to my office)



So, we're shooting episode 19 of 22 ... when I had been hired for only 13. Now, on the one hand, that is 69% more employment. But on the other hand, around episode 15 you start wanting to raid the prop department's stash of weapons and go medieval on your coworkers' butts. It's like you had prepared yourself for 13 episodes of people sticking their noses in where they don't belong, people "forgetting" to keep you in the loop of things you need to know in order to do your job, holier-than-thou people looking down on you, condescending people patting you on the head telling you that you wouldn't understand because you're not [insert whatever professional] and people who are just simply jerks -- only to be told that you have to figure out how to summon the strength to keep doing it even longer. You manage to hold out for a little while more... then you find yourself whispering with coworkers in the hallways or congregating in the kitchen to share your fantasies about the demise of certain other coworkers.


Then around episode 17, you remember that you're working on this really cool show with pretty damn creative people, and if some of them are so nasty that they can't get into the spirit of the ridiculous fun of being paid to create a pretend world for a Succubus and have to screw you over to make their day mean something... well those people probably also scrutinized the toys from Santa in their Christmas stockings and thought the Easter Bunny was in cahoots with their dentist -- and really, are those the kind of people you want setting the emotional benchmark for your workday?


Thank you, but I'm a little busy making up names for a strip club that can spell out naughty words when certain letters of its neon sign burns out. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Three of my favourite syllables:

Hiatus: [pron: hi-AY-tuss] When television productions shut down for a week to prevent cast and crew from ripping apart one another's flesh due to the work-related stress and frustration of television production.

So I have the week off again, and this time I'm just lounging in my newly clean apartment (thanks Denise, for visiting two weekends ago thus forcing me to clean up for your stay!). With the down time, I thought I'd share with you what I am not doing this week:

I am not going into the writer's room:


There's the pin-board for sticking up index cards to plot out the stories. The large flat screen tv to watch the previous day's footage. The table to gather around and "work". You can't see the whiteboard that we use to... well, play Pictionary. (after taking the picture, I realized some important story beats were on the back of the easel -- whoops! Can't let those out prematurely!)

I am not going into my office, scanning all the schedules and call sheets and calendars to see what I need to do immediately and what can wait for ... oh, five minutes:



This isn't in the office -- but on Friday we got little "thank you" gifts from the Executive Producer:


It came wrapped in a sticker that said "I work on the highest rated show on Showcase and all I got is this lousy T-shirt!"

[p.s. After 29 months without cable, I finally got it hooked up yesterday. I positively could not pull myself away from all the channels to go to bed last night. Is there a Cable Television Watchers Anonymous? I'm willing to admit I have a problem.]

Monday, August 8, 2011

"In the unlikely event of a water landing..."

"...please ensure your safety vest is securely fastened, and proceed to the subway doors in an orderly fashion."


(I guess some people are just afraid of drowning where ever they go)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One bonus regarding odd hours:

It appears to have made me more proactive during the work week.

If I have some time left in the day after work is over, I actually run errands -- walk over to a mall to pick up the shoes I need (did you know you can't wear open-toed footwear if your office is technically "on set"? I didn't. After months of walking the other way if I saw the production manager coming, I finally picked up "proper set shoes"), or swing by a post office to grab a few stamps, or even grab the carton of milk I've been doing without for the past few days. It isn't so much that I am just that jazzed to keep my day going -- it's that I just don't know when the next free moment is going to come. "What about the weekend?", you may ask. Puh-lease. I have a day job now. The weekend is the only time I have for the mindless couch-potato television-absorption that has come to define my existence.

Today I got off work early -- and by early, I mean "on time" for the first time in about six weeks. So did I kick back, put my feet up, and engage in some unexpected television time? Nope. I did laundry. Might even have been inclined to do dishes, except it's pretty darn sticky in my apartment, and if sorting hot clothes fresh out of the dryer didn't knock me out for the count, my hands in hot soapy water would surely have pushed me over. Literally. (did you know it's supposed to hit 38C on Thursday? I may just stay working so late at the air-conditioned office that before I know it I'll have to pop over to one of the bedroom sets and catch some zzz's until Friday)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day's Tiny Joy:

-- A bus that came within minutes of me arriving at the bus stop to go home (when I'm usually waiting anywhere from 10-40 minutes ... bus schedules on my route home are apparently just ballpark guidelines)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I missed my anniversary!

It was two years ago yesterday that I landed in Toronto! Totally forgot. Might explain why I was in a nasty mood most of today -- my subconscious was pouty because I hadn't paused to pat myself on the back. My mood perked up a bit when I realized my boss and I were in the middle of a serious conversation about which sexually expressive pun he prefered me to clear, from a list of puns I had created. (-- I'd let you in on the choices, except perverts everywhere would then find my website when searching for their relative fetishes) Nothing tickles the funny bone like having a job that requires you to take the absurd seriously (and no, that wasn't the pun). Which also kind of leads to the basis of the back pat...

The idea that someone who fears change with the ferocity that I do would get it into her head to drop everything, drive over three provinces, and begin all over again purely on her own impetus is lunacy. Lunacy! I remember once I got here, I felt like I could do anything -- largely because I would never have thought I could move to Toronto. What else could I do that I always assumed I couldn't?

Looking back on the last two years, I learned what I could do. I think what I learned the most about myself was my resilience. Do you know I was a month away from having to move back to Alberta when I got my job at the tv series? I only had enough money left to stay here one more month, then I would have had to use the remaining money to move back. (I can hear my Mom clutching her fist to her chest and saying "oooh! we were so close!") Every thing I tried that didn't work out, every opportunity I took that didn't lead anywhere, every time I got close to a job but just couldn't seal the deal -- every time I thought about it logically and wondered if I was just fooling myself by even being here -- every time, I just knew I was doing the right thing.

Oh, sure, I'd bitch! The doors slammed in my face were what was happening in my life at that time -- it was share what was happening to me or stare at the wall mute. But I soon figured out that venting the trip-ups helped make space for what I really needed to have: the inner voice that said "forward - even if not far, even if not fast, as long as I move forward, I am on my way". After all, I had moved to Toronto when that was the most ridiculous thing I could imagine a few years ago... apparently I'm not who I thought I was before getting here, and it turns out I can do anything. :) I learned that you can't pick up as much as I did, and move it as far as I had, without blanketing yourself in the mantra of thinking positively -- believing that each closed door is locked for a reason, and that reason is that a door that is an even better fit for you is just around the bend in the hallway.

Turns out I was in the right hallway the whole time, trying the right doors along the way, and found a good fit where -- pen and paper in hand -- I can sit down with my boss to evaluate the relative merits of funny terms for naughty bits. Yay me!

Friday, June 24, 2011

"You have six 'craps,' Steve - which ones do you want to lose?"

Oh, it was a rollickin' week at the ol' script factory.

Earlier in the week, every department got a copy of the official production Sexual Harrassment Policy. Nothing sets tongues a waggin' like a mid-season distribution of a Sexual Harassment Policy. (Personally, I think it was because of when one actor did an impromptu take with his pants around his ankles and... well, use your imagination for what he said to his costar) Ironically, such a policy also opens the floodgates on intentional sexual harrassment amongst friends. I work with saucy, saucy people!

Then the American broadcaster distributed a list of twenty-one naughty words that we can either no longer use or have to watch how often we use them. Nothing opens the floodgates on naughty words like telling a room full of writers what words they can't use. (Saucy, saucy people.)

[It was like a music video I saw where the band was acting out a meeting with some music label executives. The main singer said "So we went down to the damn grocery store." The executive said "You can't say 'damn'." "Okay," the singer replied, "So we went down to the f***ing grocery store."]

So this afternoon I had to go through one of the scripts with the writers, pointing out where he has the verboten words so he can decide which few he wanted to keep, and what he wants to change the others to. For about 20 minutes, he stood behind me saying "Okay, change that 'hell' to 'torture', remove that 'hell' there, keep that 'hell' -- oh there's a 'crap' there already? Okay, get rid of the third and fifth 'crap's, keep the first, and the fourth, and... oh, screw it, see if we can slide the second one by them too." 'Crap', people! We're not allowed to use the word 'crap'!

I really love my job. :)

(p.s. I got more hugs today. But that's a story for another day.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

All Clear!

Displayed on the TTC's overhead system status monitors in the subway Friday morning:

"ALL CLEAR! The family of ducks has been safely relocated away from the tracks and regular service has been restored to the SRT subway line."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I got my first Bestest Best Buds Actor Hug today!

You've all seen it. Two actors spot one another across the room. Arms thrown out in front of them, teeth gleaming in a wide smile, they launch into one another like long lost relatives found after twenty-seven days on a slow boat across the Atlantic based on only a whisper that the other will be there.

I got that hug today. :) One of the principal actors saw me sitting in the corner of the room for the readthrough today, and stepped over to me with a big ol' smile, his arms open wide and leaned down for a been-too-long-how-ya-been embrace and back pat.

Completely unexpected. But I must say, it was nice. I'm hoping it will be a habit. Hugs are nice.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The red light controls my destiny

My office is just to one side of the set area. Which is great for the whole, in the thick of the action, experience. But not so great when the thick action prevents me from getting back to my office.

When they are rolling, there are strategically placed bells and flashing red lights on the entrances to the set. If the lights a-flashing, shut yer pie hole and don't dare take a step with those squeaky shoes of yours.

If they're shooting just down from where our office doors open, I can't tell if they're rolling or not. There is no flashing light "inside" the set (...the idea being that everyone on set knows when they're rolling... but the door to our offices swing right onto one of the sets... and there's no flashing light in our offices, which means I have more than once burst out the door to a gathering of very pissed off people staring at me, whirling their index finger in the air above their heads, the universal sign for "we're rolling you dolt and probably have to redo this take because of you!"). If there are no pissed off people staring at me, I have to press my face against the glass of the exit door to see if I can detect the reflection of the external flashing light on the hardware of the door that faces the exit. On my return, I may be standing in the outside hallway, staring at that flashing red light, waiting for it to stop winking at me so that I can get back into my office.

I've spent a lot of my time today with my nose pressed against the exit door's window, and twiddling my thumbs staring at that blinking red light.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meh. Blog boredom

Should learn HTML. Won't. Must settle for predetermined blogger templates.

This template's kinda fun, though. Reminds me of my childhood. I foresee it staying for a bit...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

P.S. Abandon hope for the plants...

...maybe not all hope. But if you had high hopes, you may wish to reevaluate them.

They are still alive. Zippy is even thriving on top -- still can't get his stalk to sprout more leaves, though.

FourPointFive is like a Borg: he is half-organic, half-manufactured. And by that, I mean he is spread out amongst six pieces...one "main" cutback plant, and five make-shift terrariumed clippings that aren't exhibiting phenomenal successes, but can't be completely ruled out yet either. It would be cruel to show photographic proof of their pain at this juncture. I'll just let them rest in their hacked apart sorrows for now. Perhaps if any make a remarkable recovery, I shall celebrate it with a picture. Otherwise, it may be most humane to simply let them slip away in anonymity knowing that they tried...their path was simply too ambitious and fraught with foreseeable dangers (ie. Me).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Anatomy of a Work Week

I have not really had much of a chance to process this week yet. In the span of one phone call, I went from 20 months of unemployment assuming I would have to continue searching for my dream job in television in my free time after I returned home from some dead end clerical – or worse, retail! – position, to pretty much having my dream job handed to me. And I started 20 hours later!

It’s been a lot of getting up to speed...not the least of which meant getting back into the habit of rising each day and actually going to work! :) I was so tired on Monday night I went to bed pretty much as soon as I got home. But for a first week, doing a job I haven’t done in about nine years, I think it went pretty well. Got a few looks like “Really? You don’t know how to do this?”, but then maybe there’s something to be said for beginning by lowering others’ expectations of me. Then when I catch on, I’ll look bloody brilliant.

Even though production hasn’t started yet (this week it’s largely just been the writers and a few producers in the building), it’s still as awesome as I remembered it. Okay, my office is one floor below the printer ... and the bathroom ... and the kitchen. But there’s a stocked kitchen! (And I have an office!) The people I’m working for are really good, too. Sometimes you get really huge egos in a writer’s room, but so far, I haven’t seen any over-inflated heads. And those looks of disbelief that I don’t know some things are quickly followed by congenial explanations. And because production hasn’t started yet, lunch wasn’t brought in to us so we went out to lunch each day this week – paid for by the production company. (yes, once production starts, we’ll be provided with lunch each day) And the writer’s room/offices are right next to the soundstage where the show will be shot, so I’ll be right down in the thick of the action each day (that they’re shooting on set, as opposed to on location, that is).

It’ll probably be long days through to September, and taking work home with me on evenings and weekends every now and then. If memory serves, there will probably be days where people expect me to have 12 hands and complete seven tasks simultaneously ... but you know what? Government expected that of me all the time. This is going to be way more fun.

Now I have to go watch 12 DVDs of last season’s episodes, and read through last season’s story department files to figure out how to organize myself this year ... I’m so happy! :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Scythe Remains Sheathed

Let us check in on the life I have been endeavouring to nurture:

FourPointFive? Check.

I know he doesn't look all that impressive -- but I've been trying to find the best place for him, a place where he'll get nice bright but not direct light. He keeps sprouting new leaves, and although none of them grow all that big I'm taking the sprouting as a confirmation that he isn't completely unsatisfied with my care. I think he likes where he is right now. I'm expecting big things from him.

One lil' guy broke free, though, and secured himself a place in my makeshift peanut butter jar terrarium. The terrarium may still have the whiff of many deaths wafting within it. We'll have to wait and see how FourPointFive-ette fares... but he's been in there for about two days now. In the past, begonia clippings have rarely lasted a few hours in this situation (how much water does one put in the shot glass of soil if you're going to enclose it in a peanut butter jar? I never know..and that usually shows), so again, chalking this one up under the win column so far.

How's about ol' Zippy? You can't really tell, because I think I cheated angles in earlier photos of the ol' Zipster -- but this is actually progress. Yes, Zippy remains a little top heavy, but full of life top heavy. Where the top sprouts used to be maybe a few centremetres, they are now a few inches and growing strong. So Zippy remains filed under "success".

In conclusion, the touch of death has not returned to my apartment to date. Good going, Deb. So obviously not everything in your life is fated to shrivel up, rot and fester through your association with it. Good to know.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm bored...

...and I don't know HTML, so I have to stick to pre-designed templates for my blog.

It's nice. For something hundreds of others probably have.

So I relived my youth...and went to an employment services agency today. The one where they look at your resume, and your cover letters, and tell you not to have spinach in your teeth when you interview for a job. Yeah. Not sure I even needed to be told that 25 years ago when I got my first job as a teenager. But hey, something's not clicking here. I'm qualified. I'm competent. Yet I'm unemployed. I could blame the economy. I should probably blame the economy. But since I can't do anything about the economy, I might as well throw myself into busy-work like reorganizing my resume. (Apparently my cover letters are inspired pieces of introduction: my words, not the cousellor's -- I gotta take something non-humiliating out this afternoon -- but she did like them)

Bleh. I want a dog. It would love me unconditionally. And would be less hassle than having a kid for the same reason. (ha ha)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

S-no Day

I always knew that one of my favourite things about living in Alberta was the existence of seasons. With few exceptions, you could look outside your window and know what time of year the world looking back at you was experiencing.

When I decided to move to Toronto, many many many people regaled me with stories of the frigid, painful winters I had in store for me. If I could remember exactly who those people were, I would ask if they had ever in fact actually experienced frigid or painful in association with winter before. I know not to take people's word for things...but they got me. I feared Toronto winters. Turns out, that was like fearing that there was a gangly garish clown lying in wait for me under my bed after seeing Poltergeist as a child. Pure fiction.

The news here has been touting the arrival of "the storm of the Century" today. The Toronto School Board declared a snow day because it is just so very...I couldn't even tell you. White? That's all I can think of - because it certainly isn't that windy, the falling snow is big and fluffy, and the temperature was absolutely not low enough to prevent me from stepping out in my bare feet and pajamas to leave a joyous handprint in the snow on top of a storage container on my balcony this morning.

I was at the University of Alberta for the only day in its history (at least at the time ... I don't know what has happened since) that it closed due to inclement winter weather. Gangs of students who lived in the residences would cluster at the exit doors awaiting great enough numbers to venture out against the wind and the driving snow, in hopes that a large enough human mass would get us through to our classes. In class, we would discretely point to one another's faces, because while our nose contents had thawed, our faces actually hadn't -- so we couldn't feel the puddle of mucus that had subsequently collected above our upper lips unbeknownst to us. Invariably, our classes were cancelled because either not enough students had fought their way onto campus, or the professors couldn't. The solitary trek back to the safety and warmth of our residence towers was harrowing once we no longer had the strength of numbers we had enjoyed when we set out that morning. Cresting snow drifts twice our heights that we had only managed to successfully climb by dropping on all fours, the gray site of Lister Hall in the distance spurred us forward, holding its promise of shelter and hot chocolate.

That was a snow day. (... and if it had been my father's story, fighting off rattlesnakes on the journey would have figured prominently in the memory ...) Being able to stand in bare feet on a balcony is just a lovely morning.

(I really don't want to be one of those people who move somewhere new and constantly complain that where they came from was so much better ... but good golly does Toronto make it so very hard sometimes)

p.s. Nothing new to report re: plants. Still alive. Still thriving. Whoo. Hoo.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I love it when a plan(t) comes together

I was hoping that some of the little itsy bitsy bits on Zippy's stalk would sprout, but they appear to have dried up. The watering schedule is obviously not flawless, but has proven to be adequate to keep the top leaves energetic and healthy:
And yes, FourPointFive has kissed its big blooms and some of its big leaves goodbye -- but guess what? New blooms! New leaves! Instead of dying, FourPointFive is regenerating!
And that was even after a failed repotting attempt. I had thought FourPointFive was two plants in one pot ... not until I pulled it out of the pot did I realize nope, just a really stalk-y single plant. FourPointFive allowed me to put it back from whence it came without punishing me with its demise, though, so I think that evidences some mutual trust and respect going on!

Perfection! At least compared to past attempts...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shhh ... don't make any sudden movements ...

Zippy's top leaves are coming in nicely:
And FourPointFive isn't dead!
Phew!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolution: Cheat Death

I eyed a Christmas cactus the other day, thinking maybe a cactus could survive under my care. I don't really want to concede the point that I am death to flora, though. I don't want to think that living organisms are handed their execution papers when I am handed the nursery receipt. I'm tired of potted sobs emanating from my environmentally-conscious canvas bag on my way home. This can't be who I am, a figurative wanted poster on plant-frequented post offices warning all from crossing my path.

So far, I've managed to keep this guy alive for the past few months:
I call him Zippy. He's a Zebra Plant. Initials ZP ... which obviously leads, yes, to the name Zippy.

Of course, Zippy's supposed to look like this guy:
And ... well, he did kind of look like that when I bought him. But, hey, Zippy's still alive isn't he! So I can't be categorized as a complete failure in this instance!

Buoyed by Zippy's lack of immediate doom, I have adopted FourPointFive:Now, the fact that One, Two, Three, and Three's makeshift-terrariumed-off-shoot Point Five, all bit the dust has FourPointFive really REALLY worried. FourPointFive is refusing to let down his guard by relaxing his leaves into a more horizontal, less don't-touch-me-don't-touch-me-please-please-please-I-want-to-live-don't-touch-me kind of stance. But Zippy is being a good plant-mate, cooing across the front room to FourPointFive that it isn't CERTAIN he'll die ... be positive.

I think we can all take something away from Zippy's example: Be positive.