You know how people have certain types of days, like fat days, skinny days, pretty days, ugly days, bad hair days, good hair days, good days, bad days, happy days, sad days, etc. etc.?

Today I am having a defeated day.


They say that "what goes up must come down." Maybe this is what I get for the excited exhilaration I have experienced over the past couple weeks at the ways I have decided to change my life. Maybe it's because I am finally winding down a bit and understanding more of where I'm going and what I'm doing.

Maybe it's because I feel let down...

"Spinning wheel, go round and round..."

::Poke! Poke!::

I love roller coasters. They are fun and challenging and exciting and scary as all shit. So I should love my life. And I do, mostly.


There it is again! That nagging poke at the back of my head, saying, "Hey! Are you sure about this? Don't eff it up!"

This voice sounds oddly like my parents.

Right now where I could really use the loving support of my family. I want them to be proud of me. I want them to see the kind of person I am becoming and how hard I am working and to be there when I need to talk about the hard times. I want to be there for them.


But I can't carry this weight anymore.

Tomorrow, I move into my first apartment. It will be a long moving process, without aid from my parents or sister. Luckily for me, I have friends who are willing to help out- a family I have been gathering over the years.

After a day of heavy lifting, one would expect that I will be tired and sore, but I expect quite the opposite. Tomorrow represents a bigger metaphor for me. I will be lifting the immensely pudgy pest of a tot off my shoulders and setting him down in my old LI bedroom, where he belongs. Sometimes, when I visit home, I will pick him back up and we will play the old games for a bit.

Sometimes, I will miss him.

::Poke! Poke!::

But mostly, I hope to be free...


A Narcissistic View on Change, Part Duex... (That's Freedom for Dos)

Moving forces out a plethora of emotions. Not only in the fact that it is a frustrating, tiring, sometimes sad, sometimes happy movement from one place to another, but also because of the actual process of packing. In the midst of my packing frenzy, I have unearthed many items which were packed away somewhere in my room and had been long forgotten about.

This only helps to draw out the packing process, as memories flood back and one must take a moment to reflect, which in turn adds to the frustration and worry of not finishing your packing on time.

However, it is necessary to look back on the ridiculousness of our former selves and laugh, cry, and gain closure.

Which is exactly what I did when I found a letter from myself in my "Memory Box" (a device given to me by an ex, a clever idea for a girl with little to no memory capabilities.) This letter was an exercise that my "friends" and I decided to do at the end of of Freshman year of college. We were to write to our future selves, or others who will follow in our footsteps, put the letters in bottles, head to the beach, and toss them out to sea.

We were dreamers... or drunk, I can't remember.

The letter is as follows:

Thursday, May 13, 2004, 11:35 PM

Well, I've just completed my freshman year of college, and I have to say, I learned more in this year than in the rest of my life. And I'm not talking about book smarts. Here are some examples:

Everything happens for a reason. Little moments in time that seem insignificant now may mean the world tomorrow.
Remember each and every person you meet. A chance meeting may be your best friend, soul mate, or arch enemy.
The most important lesson in life is just
to be. Let life roll- you can't force it to be something it's not.
Learn to let things slide off of your back. It doesn't matter what others think of you -
you are all that matters.
Don't try to please others. You'll spend all your time doing things you don't like, and that's dumb.
Sometimes you can have the best time doing nothing.
There is nothing like lying in bed with your love interest/lover/partner in crime, especially when you keep each other up until the sun rises.
When life gets really bad -
DON'T DRINK - it's never a good thing. (Author's note: Still don't follow this one... it's a toughy.)
Life gets really rough sometimes. When it seems like it's at its worst, remember, it can only get better.
Sometimes all you need is music- like shouting "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf out the windows while driving with your closest friends at 2 A.M.
Don't take anything for granted. Take every opportunity you can and run with it, otherwise, you'll regret you didn't.
Every single thing in life is a sexual innuendo.
The best conversations are the ones in which you talk about the deepest topics for hours, fight the entire time, and come to no conclusions.
Nothing is better than cuddling after a long day.
Nothing is better than cuddling on a rainy day.
Nothing is better than cuddling.
Kings can be one of the scariest experiences in life.
It is possible to hate someone and to love them at the same time.
Sometimes it is necessary to act before thinking- experience is the best way to learn.
Love every moment, you can only live this moment once.
All in all- live by this Swedish Proverb:
"Fear less, hope more;
Eat less, chew more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Love more, and all good things will be yours."
Good luck- Lord knows we all need it. Share your experiences with those you love, but let them experience for themselves. Wherever you're at now are the best days of your life- enjoy them.
Always, Stevie

I sat in shock and remembrance as I read through this letter. Shock because I couldn't believe how smart I had been five years ago- how I had had these revelations and then forgotten about them for five years, only to come full circle and finally really understand what they meant and live them out five years later.

It is so weird how our minds work. How we realize things that are good for us, or understand how to live our lives, but sometimes, we are just not ready to follow the right path. The twists and turns we make finding our way shape us into the dented, broken heaps we are- people with character and stories to tell.

I had to share this moment with you, readers. I am in a turning point in my life in many ways, and with that, an emotional mess.

An emotional mess who is getting things done. EFF YEAH!

It feels great to be going forward, one foot in front of the other, but the journey is long and scary and frustrating and difficult.

Very. Difficult.

Sometimes it helps to stop and take a look back at where life has brought me. I only hope that, at 24, I continue to learn and grow and reflect and be able to share my thoughts and experiences with those around me. It is a gift that I hope will never be taken away from me. However, if it is, I will always have that letter to myself dated May 13, 2004, 11:35 P.M.

But really, readers... SPF 30, it's the way to go...



Good morning, my one reader!

I apologize for my last entry, which was totally bogus. Truthful, but bogus. I will try harder next time. Maybe.

I arrived into work this morning and a co-worker had left papers on my desk with a post-it note on top asking me to mail some letters for her. Which is fine, I mean, I don't mind helping out when necessary.

You know what I greatly dislike, though? The letter "x".

See, this is how she signed the post-it:

"Thanx, [insert co-worker's name here]"


Who gave the letter "x" the right to take over so many different words? It's like, one day, someone said to himself,

"Hey, Self, I think that letter "x" is lonely. He barely ever gets to come out and play. Let's spread rumors that he's really, really cool and maybe he can take over some more common words and start to feel better about himself."

For real, people? Let's see... there's thanx, xoxo (kisses and hugs, for all of you who live under rocks), xippie (click the link, it makes me too sick to actually write what it is), Spanx (c), AND the ever loving X-mas (how lazy are we, people?!), among many others.

Then we have the words where we felt that the "x" got a little jealous of our favorite letter, "e". Xtreme, xplain, xactly...

Will it vr nd?

So we do all of this to help out little ol' "x", and then wonder why the kiddies can't spell ANYTHING.

Now, if ull xcuse XmeX, my bff .:Steph:.s having a xobile xplosion! im xcessively xcited! ttyl!!!!11!!!1!



I hate mondays...

That is all...


A Slightly Narcissistic View on Change

Over the course of the past couple months, my life has turned topsy-turvy. I experienced a big break up, an epiphany surfaced about my job and current living arrangements, and I really got underway in my journey towards a Masters degree. To be fair, I'm in the twenty-something phase that reeks of change during the transition to adulthood. This fact doesn't make it any easier, however.

I'm not even going to lie to you, I'm scared shitless...

However, I'm also the most excited I've ever been in my life. Change can be the most liberating experience on the face of the planet. It is envigorating to be taking control of my life and determining my own future. Do I worry that I might be making some hugely wrong decisions? Sure, don't we all. But the journey is going to be one hell of a ride.

I had gotten to a place in my life where I was the most unhappy I had ever been. Life definitely could have been worse, but getting myself stuck in multiple situations that made me miserable caused so much stress that insomnia and nightmares made me a walking zombie. If you haven't been in this spot before, Congratulations! You are one of the lucky few. Unfortunately, due to the fast paced, dog eat dog world we live in, the streets are full of these sleepwalking brain suckers. I wasn't alone, I knew that. But I sure felt like it.

Which was odd, considering my boyfriend, many great friends, and the fact that I lived with my family and a full time job with 30 fellow co-workers.

As a freelance lighting designer and technician, my life had rocked, but I had no job security and no health benefits. Instead of sticking to my guns and following my dreams, I panicked, and took what I believed was the easy way out. I took a steady 9-5, continued living at home with my parents, and stayed in my comfortable but going-nowhere relationship. The only thing I did was added my schooling on top of things, which, while making me feel somewhat better about myself, only took away my small but precious social life. One day, after drowning in my 42nd ounce of coffee, the lightbulb clicked on.

To be frank, I had become a bored hermit with no connection to anything stimulating. Hence the brain sucking.

So, the incandescent popped on above my overly-caffeinated head at a time when I realized that I was not ready to surrender myself over to a life of numbness. My first step was to break the ties to my sweet but non-relationship-savvy boyfriend. The hardest part for me was hurting him, if that shows you anything about how into the relationship I was. We had been sticking band-aid upon band-aid over deep-reaching wounds, smothering it instead of giving it the air it needed to mend. The break-up came with that same quick pain of pulling the band-aids off. It also was as liberating for me as it was for the wound, and I could feel myself begin healing ever so slightly.

That night, I slept like a baby. The first real sleep I had gotten in probably half a year, if not longer.

And it AMAZED me. I almost felt human again, even throwing out my brain straw and returning to solid foods!

Not long after that, some old friends started to contact me again. Different people from different times, reaching out to little ol' me. Instead of turning these friends down, like I would have done in the days before, I found a balance of juggling school and social life. It was the best decision I have ever made. At 24, I was wasting my life away, not experiencing my time with the kind of carelessness only the young and unattached can have. I reconnected with people I had missed, and met some new friends along the way as well.

Ironically, this refreshing new pace led me back to nights of no sleep. The difference is, I'm enjoying myself now, living instead of hiding.

It is e n v i g o r a t i n g.

It also led to my two other big decisions right now- to move out on my own and to focus on following steps that will lead me more toward my desired job goals instead of focusing on safety nets. These choices have come with overwhelming frustration at times, especially with the way things are out there right now. Last I heard, even McDonald's wasn't hiring, but don't quote me on that.

Why, then, am I so overwhelmingly determined to follow these choices?

I feel alive, people! Pro-activity about one's own life is something that nobody else can take away from you. You are doing something, FOR YOU! When you finally get to where you want to be, you can say, "I did this. Me. Look at what I accomplished."

Looking back, I am astonished that I let my life get to where it was before my 24th birthday. It is so hard to see what your life is like while you are living it. However, that is the most important thing that anyone can do for themselves, especially when he/she may feel malcontent. Most of us are creatures of habit, and we get used to doing the same things because we are comfortable with them.

WARNING: DANGER AHEAD is what I have to say to that.

I'm not saying that you all should quit your jobs and go to clown school, or whatever. But I am saying that this is our time, fellow Generation Y-ers, don't spend it rising from bed, brushing your teeth, commuting to work, writing TPS reports, looking for your Red Swingline stapler, commuting home from work, eating a frozen TV dinner, brushing your teeth again, and laying awake in bed, repeat. Don't settle for comfortable; don't let the fear take you down. Take action. Maybe things will work work out right away, maybe it will take years and many failed attempts. But with failure, at least you tried, and eventually, you will find the way.

Take control of your life while you still can. It is yours, YOU should hold the reigns.

And trust me on the sunscreen...


And then there were none...

Hey Ladies and Gents! Thanks for coming back!

I have the luxury of having a full time, steady job complete with health benefits. I'm happy about that, I really am- especially with the way things are in the economy and the fact that I'm racking up even MORE school bills while reaching for my Master's degree. While my savings account has taken a couple of nice, big meals and is growing up nice and fat, I feel nervous and oddly detached. Why is that, Red, you might say? Well, readers, let me give you a visual...

This is me before my current job, back when I was using my hands and being an artist (to a degree):

And this is me now:

Okay, not really, but the sentiment in the pictures illustrates my point. Being an artist is hard! I tell people I'm going to school for Animation and Visual Effects and the number one response is, "Wow, that must be SUPER easy!"

NO, ::insert angry name in New Yorker accent here::, IT'S NOT!

Not only do artists have to have skill, talent, and knowledge, but also persistence, humility, and the ability to take life with a grain of salt. Also necessary- the ability to live on little to no money, which I naively thought I could bypass with blinders on throughout my whole Theatrical Design undergraduate program. Now, I'm not saying I'm high maintenance, but I like me some comforts, such as the ability to not have to eat fast food for every meal. My body just can't handle that shit all the time, and yeah, I might adjust, but dang, I don't want to get to that point.

Let's hold the phone here for a second: what exactly do I mean by artist? Well, pretty much any job where a person conveys a story, emotion or feeling to another person. This encompasses the fine arts (painter, sculpture, photography, etc. etc.), writers, story tellers, designers of all kinds, musicians, all the way down to my genre areas, theater and film. Now, I definitely do not want to omit actors/actresses from the subject of artist. I have seen some incredibly touching actors already in my short time on my career path. However, I feel this line gets thoroughly blurred when it comes to the term, "Celebrity."

As a newbie in the film industry game, it has really come to my attention how terrible most film actor/actress "celebrities" are, and how most should NEVER be classified in the artist category. Now, I don't want to include everyone in this statement, I love me some Brad Pitt (for his actual ability, and his damn fine looks don't hurt it too. All I'm saying is, watch some Snatch, Fight Club, and Burn After Reading... 'nuff said). But the pay scale for these so-called actors is just bogus.

Take for example, Vin Diesel. This man got his real start in the movie "Saving Private Ryan." (1998) For that blockbuster movie, he got paid a whopping $100,000, more than triple my current annual salary at a job where I try to make a difference for the everyday Long Islander. It gets better, though, peeps, because at over $216 million, that was Vinny's highest grossing film to date.

Now let's talk about the movie "The Chronicles of Riddick." (2004) My main man, Vin, had made his mark on the world by blowing things up in the stunning film, "The Fast and the Furious" (2001) Okay, scratch that... dude made his mark on the world by having big pecs, a bald head, and pretending to blow things up, while his stunt double did all the hard work. The "Riddick" film consisted of enough effects to entail the employment of well over 200 visual effects and special effects artists (closer to 300, I'd say). "The Chronicles of Riddick" did not do so hot, pulling in only a cool $57,712,000 (1/4 of "Ryan"'s total), and Mr. Diesel took home $11.5 mil of that. Dame Judy Dench was in that movie as well, and we all now Dames make a lot of dough!

Now, let's try some math for a second (I know, I know, I ask a lot of you.) $57.7 million minus $11.5 million equals $46.2 million. Take half of that ($23.1 million) to divide among the remaining 50 credited cast members, and divide the other half by the 300 special effects artist, and you get $77,000 each for those special effects guys. But, wait! There are still producers, writers, directors, cinematographers, camera operators, editors, designers, sound people, make-up artists, wardrobe, lighting techs, PAs, extras... all to be paid.

Where is their pay?

But, Red, you say, people don't go to movies to see the special effects artists, they go to see the actor or actress in the movie.

I call BS on you!

Look at todays "talent" pool. I'm sorry, kids, but it is SLIM pickins. And with the way technology is running today, people ARE going to see movies FOR the visual effects. Chris Pine did a phe-nom-i-nal job as Jim Kirk in the new Star Trek, but damn, if the effects sucked, people would be pissed! Today we are watching less and less of the actor, and more and more of the computer's fixes to make the actor look like something he is not. That is where the experience of going to the movies comes from- the detachment from reality. Heck, I just spent three hours of my life watching a digital Brad Pitt head do a bang up job of aging backwards and reattaching to his body!

I want to know what the average vfx salary was on "Benjamin Button". According to SimplyHired.com, the average vfx salary throughout the industry is $61,000, as of June 1, 2009. Hey, I'll take that in comparison to the average artist salary, which is $40,000, and on Long Island, means diddly squat.

So, why is it that we give the Vin Diesels of the world millions of dollars (which they usually end up using for ridiculous things that ruin their lives) for their insanely bad artistry, while the over worked, under payed, seriously forgotten, no-name visual effects artist has to pan handle on the street corner in his spare time?

Maybe without hard times and starving, we wouldn't have artists, but that's another load of stinky stuff, I say.

Anyway, this brings me full circle back to my doom behind a desk. While I know that I am striving for that knowledge component of my "artistic ability," it takes good, cold hard cash to get what I need in order to hopefully "make it" someday. (By "make it," I mean work on a movie that I am proud of telling people about, and maybe get a reasonable sum of money for it, but I don't want to push anything.) The problem lies here within- I put my work as an artist on hold for my current 9-5er and full time schooling. This means that I am no longer working on my resume for my ultimate goal- which consists in an area where it's all about experience and networking, but where it is also impossible to get into regulated, steady jobs unless you know someone or have a good amount of experience.

Is this Catch 22 blowing your mind yet? 'Cause mine's been gone for a couple of weeks now.

What was I talking about?...

Oh, right. So I go into my office, work, come home from work, sit at my computer and do my classwork, get a couple winks, rinse and repeat. The weekends consist of random gigs as a stagehand in order to keep my name still hanging on to something in this industry.

I'm sorry, social life? What does that mean?

But I angrily digress. The issue at hand is that I can't seem to figure out that balance between both of my worlds, as well as the proper time to dive into my dreams. I KNOW that I have it good with a steady paycheck and the promise that if I get appendicitis, I won't end up in the gutter somewhere because I can't pay for my medical bills. But that comfort in my safety net is holding me back, because I've lived the artist life before (thank you, college!). I also know what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck and to not know when your next gig will be and to finish the year with (-red) all over your budget.

The world would definitely be a boring place without artists. We depend on artistry everyday, and in everything we do. Why, then, is it such a forgotten and discouraging job, and why do we proudly support the "Celebrities" of the moment, such as Octo-Mom, Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears?

Oh, right, because they make us all look sane, which in turn makes us feel better about ourselves...

Hey! There's that ugly Birken bag I saw Jamie-Lynn toting around the other day! I gotta get me one of those...