Posted on March 31st 2009, 4:17 am
The freelance seems to never end. OK...well it sort of does. As of today, I got final approval on two 30 second spots I had been editing last week. The producer and I had gone back and forth on fixes and I think we're both really pleased with how it turned out. With all this editing work, I feel like I'm starting to feel that creative groove come back slowly. It's that groove I had when I left college. Now that I'm shooting and editing all the time, I am just in the moment more. It feels good.
In other freelance news, I've decided to dump the flash web project. It's a bit too much for me, and I've been really stressed out about it for a long time now. I have yet to hear back from the guy I asked to take it over, but I'm sure regardless, it'll all get worked out. The web is good for me when it's a personal thing that I have passion about, but I have trouble finding my creative drive for a web client. I think I'm just going to remove it from my freelance offerings unless it's simple. I'd rather be editing or shooting.
Once I get the final ok on that switch, I'm going to start working on Genderverse.net. I've got the database structure set, but I haven't felt comfortable donating any time to the project while I've got other responsibilities. So, hopefully with much of my video work done and the web project off my plate, I can get moving.
I feel bad that I haven't had time to work on my podcast. I've done nothing but work for the past several weeks, which is a good thing. It just means I've had to put other things aside, and that included the podcast. The good news is that I wrote up the rundowns for the next podcast this weekend. I'll be shooting it this week. I'm aiming for a two podcast a month release schedule. I have the next two already blocked out. Let's hope that schedule works.
I'm doing a photo shoot this weekend. For once, it's not me taking the photos. My friend Ken asked me about a year ago if I'd want to do a shoot with him. It'll be a little different being in front of the camera. I fully expect to be uncomfortable at first, but I think I'll loosen up and have fun as time passes. I'm bringing a bunch of fun clothes to wear. I'll have a whole bunch of fun as well as professional pictures after this. I think I'll use some of them for this site's design.
This past weekend I got something I really really needed: Down time. I spent most of my weekend catching up on movie watching and some TV. I've caught up on all of the Legend of the Seeker episodes out there. The show has gotten better. It was good to begin with, but I really like it now. I also watched "Super Size Me", which has helped me commit to never going to McDonalds again. I didn't like the place to begin with and rarely went already. So it won't be hard. I also watched Chocolat, which was a charming and beautiful film. The next two on my list are "The Invisible" starring Justin Chatwin, and Chicago with Rene Zellweger.
I feel a little bit of a need to respond to a lot of the comments I got on my last blog post about my voice. I don't have a bad voice by any means. I realized recently that if I wanted to, I could sing. I might subject my podcast viewers to that too at some point. I feel like I should explain. I have a strong history with music. In college, I actually got into the University of Wisconsin: Eau Claire school of music, which is actually a very good music school. The Jazz band has won many a Grammy. While majoring in music wasn't for me, I did enjoy the subject enough to complete the music theory classes. In that time we had to do some singing in class, and I was surrounded by women with these beautiful Soprano and Alto voices. I've always wanted to sound like that...to sing like that. Instead I would sing along with the class and feel embarassed that my voice didn't really fit in either the male or female categories. I felt kind of awkward.
So that's where my vocal discomfort came from. It's taken me a number of years, but now, while that jealousy is still there in some form, I am comfortable with the way I sound. I have a unique voice that people have often complimented me on. It's just another aspect of myself that I'm proud of.
The joys of cooking have continued for me. This Saturday I made myself a lovely dish. It was chicken coated in Italian breadcrumbs, baked in olive oil to a nice crisp, browned exterior. The inside was moist and delicious. I had sugar snap peas and broccoli as the vegetables. I also had some long grain rice to complete the meal. My dessert was a package of fresh strawberries. What a fantastic meal.
Tonight was not as fantastic. I was going to make spaghetti, which I don't make often. I bought some sauce on Friday when I went grocery shopping. One of the jars was on clearance. It was Barilla Roasted Garlic pasta sauce. I love garlic. So naturally I thought it would be great. It wasn't. In fact it was terrible. I was shoving the sauce out of the way to try to just eat the noodles. Now I know why it was on clearance. Let's hope the recipe I have for homemade mac and cheese turns out better.
I don't know why I didn't mention this earlier, but I had a meeting with Chris and another one of my good friends, Erika, about starting a non-profit and what it would take. I have amazing friends. They want to help and were guiding me in the right direction. I think the most amazing thing was that throughout the whole meeting, the term in use was "we". It's as if there was no question that they would be directly involved in the cause. I can't believe sometimes how awesome my friends are. I've been asking around to some friends who are close to both me and this cause about being on the board when we get going, and they've been all for it. I'm excited to see where this door leads.
On that note, it's time to head to dreamy land. It's an early night for me...just past 11:00, but I need the rest. With all the sleeping in over the weekend, I didn't sleep much last night. Thanks for sticking with my blog post until the bitter end. Haha...g'night all.
Posted on March 23rd 2009, 4:05 am
A few weeks ago I had the flu, and I was glad to see myself get past it. Being sick isn't fun at all. Then this weekend happened. Saturday was a blast. Chris was in town, and we went to the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Calatrava is a stunning building, and the artwork inside is also. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant on the east side called "County Clare". It's an Irish food place. I've eaten there before, and it was good.
This time I decided to get a burger. I know...not very Irish, but I hadn't had red meat or a hamburger in quite a long time. I figured...why not. Seems it wasn't cooked very well. A few hours later, the toilet and I were spending some quality time together. It was a one way conversation mostly...I don't vomit very often, but I managed to do so a lot last night.
Sunday we had planned to go see "the Watchmen", but I was just drained. I ended up sleeping most of the day. Finally at about 6:00 I was up and moving around. Here I am...not 5 hours after that already in bed again. I hope I'm back up to 100% tomorrow.
I've been meaning to blog all week, but my free time disappeared. I've been working on freelance all week, and it looks like this next week will be no different. I guess that's a good thing, but my personal life has taken a dive because of it. I didn't really have time to do much of anything besides work and eat. Even my sleep was cut short. The check will make it all worth it though.
I had something interesting happen over the past week in regards to gender. I've been thinking about my voice and how it's still somewhat gender neutral. For the longest time that bothered me. If there's anything that gives me away, it's my voice. But why do I care if I'm "given away" as trans? As the past few weeks have progressed, I've thought about this a lot, and I've come to the conclusion that I like my voice where it is. In fact, I think my voice being gender neutral is great.
One of the things that bothered me is that when i went through voice training, the entire purpose of it was to teach me how to conform to the social expectations of female speech. Basically it was forcing me into a gender binary normative behavior. But I don't accept that gender is a binary. So, my voice truly represents me as the transwoman that I am, and I'm proud of that. I like the fact that when I'm around, I make people think. Screw gender norms.
In other news, I did my taxes last weekend, and I was relieved to discover that I am getting a return. I thought I was going to have to pay due to my business, but I had enough items to write off and not nearly enough income to have to pay. So that's good. I also will be finally paying off my medical bills. Apparently my account went to collections, which I felt bad about, but since I was willing to pay them straight away with my tax return, they were willing to give me a discount. So that's great. I'm soon on my way to having less monetary stress on my plate.
I have plenty more to say, but I think I will save it for another day this week. I am rather tired despite my sleep. I better get some rest so that I'm recovered for the work week.
Posted on March 11th 2009, 4:27 am
Well it certainly seems like Tuesdays are my blog update days. Maybe it has a lot to do with it just being the only day of the week I don't find myself swamped....wait...no that's not true.
I'm almost completely over being sick. I'm at about 93% right now. All I have left is a little bit of a runny nose and a slight cough. I think I'll be back up to 100 % soon. All things considered...I'm not surprised at all about getting sick. I've been super stressed and I've not been getting enough sleep. I get sick once or twice a year at most. I guess it was just my time. At least this time I didn't get a sinus infection like last year's nasty cold. Yuck.
Today wasn't bad after a string of days that just sucked. I wish I could tell you why too. There's a lot of reasons, and I'm not allowed to talk about them. Yeah, I'm being serious. Let's just say...there are a lot of things I'm not happy with right now and there are a lot of possible things that may change that in the near future.
Anyway, back to today. I stopped to help out two people today, and it made me feel great. I was at the grocery store, and a woman was calling for some help. I looked over as I was walking, and it was a woman in an electric wheelchair. She needed help getting something. No one else was paying her any mind, and that really bothered me. I walked over and helped her. She was a very nice woman and was very gracious. Why don't people stop to help others more often?
Also, I went to check out and swiped my two items at the self check station. I looked at the price and was like "Gah!!". It was several dollars more than it should have been. I had two items: a pepsi and a donut. The bill was six dollars for some reason. Turned out someone had scanned dishsoap and forgot to void it. So I did. I went to swipe my card afterwards, and the receipt was already on its way out. Turns out someone had gone through but didn't finish their transaction. So instead my two items were on that person's card. Most people would walk away claiming a freebie. I have a conscience. I told the clerk, and she took care of voiding that transaction. I rang my stuff up and paid. I was thanked for my honesty.
That transaction was the last one I'll get this week. Payday is Friday, and I am literally flat broke until then. When I got home from work today, I opened my mail box to find a collections letter in there in regards to my medical bills. I called the number and had a long conversation with the man on the other end. They expect me to pay back $700 in five months. I have literally no room in my budget, and they want me to pay 150 a month or so. I have no idea how I'll manage that. I don't get it. So many people hold off on paying medical bills. I was specifically told to put that last on my list. Why am I dealing with collections? How do other people manage when they have bills outstanding for much longer and at much higher rates? I hate money.
At least there's some light at the end of the tunnel. I have some new freelance lined up. Another editor backed out, and I got the gig instead. That's always good for me. The videos are 3 minute clips for a set of restaurants in the area. There will be five of them, and they pay $350 each. Starting this month. Maybe I will make it through ok. In fact, I may come out with even my furniture paid off! Who knows. Maybe in a couple months...I'll even have some money in savings?!!
I have to do my taxes yet, and I'm not looking forward to it. I may have to pay. Due to my sickly financial situation, I never was able to put any of the money I earned through freelance away. I overpay on my full time job taxes and I can write off a lot of things for my business. So we'll see. There's also a possibility of a return. Here's hoping. I'm putting money away for taxes this coming year. That'll make me less stressed next March.
There's some potential change coming in my future. I've been thinking about what I want to do in the coming year, and one of the things that has come up recently is grad school. If things continue, I may have a lot of my debt paid off by the time I could start grad school. I've missed the deadline for applying for this coming fall. That's actually ok. I still have to take the GRE. I am thinking about two options. The first is the more likely of the two. I'm considering the Mass Comm graduate program at the University of Minnesota. My major would be Mass Comm with an emphasis on communication processes, structures, and effects. The minor would be in feminist / gender studies. The second option would be at the Annenberg School for Communication, which is part of USC. That's like...the premier of schools for communication, and it'd be difficult to get in...and pay for. But I might as well try, right?
There's a position opening up in Chippewa Falls at a dentist office. It's not glamorous. It's a receptionist position. I know the owner / dentist, and she's a really awesome person. She's a friend of mine and Chris'. She actually mentioned it to me. It'll be opening up in July. If I apply and get that, I'd move in with Chris. He's moving into a house that costs $700 a month to rent. It's much bigger than my current place and is cheaper. We'd be splitting costs. So bills would be cut down by a significant amount. I'd go from $760 a month in rent to $350. Plus, I'd be living with my best friend. We've done that before and we know it works. So neither of us is worried.
It's a big move, but at the same time, I think it's the right one. I'll be happier. The job is much lower stress. Paying bills will be easier. And with the lower stress job...I might be able to get more done on goals of mine. Right now, I work my job and when I come home, I don't want to go back to work. So nothing gets done. If I had a low stress job, things might be different. So I'm strongly considering it.
My big concern has been freelance and whether I'd keep it. Honestly, I can't see why I'd lose work. I have an ftp site, and most of the work I do has web delivered content. I'll probably be down in Milwaukee once a month to meet with people and work on some longer term projects. It could prove even more lucrative than staying here. That's my hope at least. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Podcast news...I'm working on an ambitious approach to my next few. This upcoming one will be about the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. I'm going to start shooting this weekend. I'll probably shoot some of the middle of it during the week, and hopefully it'll be online sometime late next week. I'll post about it. The ones after that one will be a three part series. :D Aren't you excited?!! I am.
OK...I have to get up early tomorrow. I'm leaving work for an early lunch tomorrow to help a friend go to a doctor's appointment. I want to get to work earlier to make up for the time. Hopefully I'll find some time to post another update before next Tuesday. Have a good week otherwise. :D
Posted on March 4th 2009, 3:56 am
Wow, I got hit pretty hard with the flu today. I wasn't feeling sick yesterday up until late in the evening. At that point, I was starting to experience a dry cough. When I woke up this morning, I felt like I had been hit by a bus. My body ached everywhere. I was still coughing, and by then it was starting to hurt. I also felt like I was going to fall right back to sleep. I had no strength or energy, and I was experiencing the telltale dizziness that I usually get when I'm sick. I climbed into the shower and very slowly got cleaned up. I went in to work, and when I got there, I turned around and went right back home.
I passed out from 11:00 am to about 6:30 pm. I was sweating a lot...which is abnormal for me. I must have had a fever. I made myself some chicken soup, and after eating that, I started to feel a little better. I've been up for just over 3 hours now, and I'm still a bit achey. I took some generic tylenol, which has helped a lot. I'm not sure if I'll go to work tomorrow. I'll have to judge that by how I feel in the morning. Ugh...I hate being sick. I think this is the first time I've gotten just the flu. Usually I get a cold. I'm not used to the body aches and pains. It's particularly hitting my lower back, which makes it difficult to sleep.
Otherwise, things are ok. Yesterday at work, I had some very stimulating watercooler chats. If you read the review, I saw "A Clockwork Orange" this weekend, and I mentioned it to my friend Tom. We ended up discussing the plot, which turned into a discussion of dissonance. That turned into a comparison between Stanley Kubrick and Igor Stravinsky, the composer of the Rite of Spring, which is all dissonance. That moved on to talk about Debussy, another composer. That's when Joe walked in and said he was impressed with the content of our chat. He wasn't expecting something so intelligent I guess. Most people talk about their weekends and stuff I guess. I've never been one to be "normal" though.
Later, that conversation continued with Ben, another coworker, and somehow we got to talking about 2001. We branched off to discussing multi-dimensions, and I pointed out a video I saw a while back about the ten dimensions of existence. You can find that video here. It's a fascinating look at visualising how dimensions beyond our every day 3 dimensional existence look. Ben and I ended up talking about time travel and existence off and on throughout the day when thoughts appeared in our heads. What a stimulating Monday!
OK, I think I should get to sleep since I'm still sick. Until next time.
Posted on March 2nd 2009, 6:53 am
That's right. I went to a drag show. If you've read any of the posts from years ago, you may have noticed that I'm not a fan of drag shows. I've often found them to be degrading and insulting to the trans community. Of course, I was watching drag shows done by college students...specifically the college students at UWEC. Needless to say those weren't very good.
The show I saw on Saturday night was performed by a group of professionals that put on these shows regularly. There wasn't an offensive aspect of them at all. For the first time, I was able to see the statement that drag shows were intended to make. I had a good time. A few years ago...I don't think you'd hear me say that.
This show was a little different. It was a drag king show. For those of you that don't know, a drag king is a female identified person that dresses as a male identified person. As with any drag show, the goal is to make fun of stereotypes while entertaining the viewers. The performances were fun and I laughed a lot. I have two friends that are directly involved with the group, and they were also thrilled to see me there. I believe the statement made when I came in the door was "YOU FINALLY CAME!!!". Haha.
I was invited to go to the show by my friend Tracy, of whom is awesome. She's nerdtastic like I am. She knew so many people there. I'm not very connected to the community here at all. I felt a little awkward, but turns out I know many of the performers. I shot the video for the wedding of my two friends that are members. So I saw a lot of the performers there. I doubt they'd remember me though. One or two did, which was nice. :)
After the show, Tracy decided to go to the after party. So I went with. I haven't been out to a bar in ages. Aside from the usual cloud of smoke, it was fun. In fact, I ran into a friend there. Kate, a girl I met on myspace about a year and a half ago, was also there. Oddly, despite us living near each other and being friends for so long, we'd never actually met in person before. It was really cool getting to say hi and talk for once. Turns out we have good in person chemistry. It's always the worst when you have a friend from online, and in person you have nothing to say. She'd like to get coffee sometime. I'll take her up on that. It'd be nice to have another friend to hang out with in the area.
The other random thing that happened...the drag group has a person shooting video of the events with a Sony HDV prosumer grade camera. It's a V1U type variety. I've used them before. I was eyeing it up, and later on I said hi to the camera girl. We chatted and she gave me her business card. Later, she was at the after party, and we got to talking. She seemed really nice. We chatted a lot about the biz and what kind of work we do. It was a good conversation, and I think she likes me. She told me to e-mail or call. So I will. Though it'll be difficult if she is interested. As I pointed out in an earlier post...I'm not really dating.
I've started work on the next podcast. I set up a more standard format as suggested by my friend Mike. I think it'll work very well. I also have started brainstorming future podcasts. I'm thinking it'll be fun to start doing series of podcasts on one subject. Like...do one episode, expand on the concept the next, and complete the issue on the third. There's so much to talk about, and it's hard to pick each one.
Oh I have to write about this since it's so karmic. I tend to make myself nice meals on the weekends. I figure, I have the time, I'm relaxed, and well...I need good food once in a while, right? So Saturday I set out to make myself some szechuan beef and chicken. I found a great recipe online and went out and got the few ingredients I needed. It took me about two hours to prepare with the mincing of the ginger root, garlic, chopping up all the vegetables, slicing up the meat, etc. It was one of the best meals I've ever made though. I had to have a kleenex box on the table with me because my nose was running due to the spiciness. Holy crap was it awesome.
Sunday night I decided to make myself a Chicken ranch pizza since I don't make those often. I started making the crust dough in my bread machine, and for once, it wasn't turning out very well. The recipe was short on water. That was an omen right there. I used the dough anyway. I prepared the pizza like I always do, but this time, it got very overcooked. What a waste! I ate the food anyway, but it wasn't the most fantastic thing ever. What a contrast between Saturday and Sunday!
I've been fighting with Scarlet lately. She's been being naughty. I can't seem to get her to stay out of the couch. She climbs inside thinking its a play area, and she chews on parts of it. She's surrounded by all the mechanicals of the couch too. So it's not very safe in there. She's not quite associating getting put in the bathroom by herself with what she did yet. I think I may have to get some animal repellent and put it in the couch on a rag or something. I need to somehow associate negativity with it. If you have other suggestions, let me know.
I've had a lot of ideas lately for site designs. I get very frustrated trying to see them into fruition. My perfectionism holds me back as usual. I can't get it to look exactly as I see it in my head, and due to that, I get discouraged. I'll press on though. It'll just take me longer. I know what colors I'm going to use for my JessicaJaniuk.com site design. It's going to be a much brighter palette than is there now. I think once I get it done, I'll feel a lot better.
OK. I better leave it here. This post is almost as long as "Twitterpated". Sorry Adam...it's still not 1337 words long. I'm short by a couple hundred. Maybe next time. :)