Flights of Fancy

Marianne Dashwood's journal intime

What's going on here anymore? Howcome the posts on my friends page don't have any dates or times on them? What if one of you is in a dire crisis and so I, like, ship you a package of first aid gauze overnight FedEx only to find out you posted that six months ago?

Also, why will it only show me like 15 posts? 

Bug or feature?

Hey! I still have a livejournal!
Sorry I'm an internet flake. It's weird how phases of your life change how interested you are in writing long things online. Writing things isn't even hard.

I'm in Taiwan, eating fruit and sweating. Seeing a lot of people, and they are people that I love. They keep buying me food.

I saw an art exhibit of Salvador Dalí in Taipei. It's funny seeing art exhibits in Asia because they "produce" them instead of just curating them. Like the time I saw a Rodin show in Japan and in the gift shop they were selling a video of "Rodin stretches," an exercise tape where you pose like Rodin's statues. The Dalí show wasn't that cheesy, but it was funny because it was subtitled "The Crazy Genius" and the gift shop was full of funny moustache merchandise. Did you know he did a series of lithographs called "Les Douze Tribus d'Israël?" I want to do one now too, but it would be totally derivative, right? Except they wouldn't be lithographs they'd be wacky digital illustrations. I don't know if that would come across as TTH (Trying Too Hard). I should have good reasons to finish art projects because when I do I really enjoy it.

I'm moving to the PRC in two days. How do we feel about that? My husband is a pirate, so I probably won't disappear from Facebook. I'm not sure how they feel about Livejournal. They probably nix it. They nix anything in which you can contact real human beings that isn't directly subject to the Chinese government's review. And then they make new versions of each of those products of their own. Like "Yay! This looks super legit and just like the other social networking sites! How nice of the central committee to provide it for me!"

I just watched the 1-year-old in whose house we're staying ride up the stairs on her grandma's back. She really likes that. She's super cute. She can say words, like calling me "yiiiiiiiii," instead of "a-yi," which is apparently too tricky to say so far. Why do we enjoy watching children trying to speak languages? We get super excited: 'He just said bye! Oh my gosh! Do it again!' You would think it would get old but it doesn't. You're like "DID YOU HEAR THAT? He just said a word. He said hao. I love when Chinese babies say hao.

I'm gonna do a meme!
Hey, remember how I used to post here all the time? I've been all resigned to thinking it was taken over by Russian spambots but then I came back and, lo and behold, it is still populated by friends. Moral: don't assume your friends are Russian spambots. So I'm gonna steal this meme from narniadear and then maybe I'll write about that one time I got married. 

I am...

:: Training my diet to be more sustainable in the long term. I got pretty thin for my wedding (vanity of vanities) but I did it pretty sensibly and I'm thinking I'm gonna just have to face the fact that sugars and starches are not an everyday thing. The nice thing about this long term solution though is that it gives you a day off once a week. So you don't have to vilify New York pizza, you just move it to Saturdays.

:: Loving my family in law. Isn't that funny to have in-laws? Isn't it funny to find yourself living with them for a month? And aren't they sweet and adorable? My parents in law are Honduran immigrants and they're all spunky and sweet and just lovely people.

:: Scheduling hardly anything, which is a weird change. It was school school school FINALS wedding WEDDING and then all the sudden I have absolutely nothing I have to do other than work for a couple hours a day making pieces for an iPod app. It's amazing how you can have such a sudden change in the pace of your life.

:: Eating lots of lentils. Lentils covereth a multitude of sins.

:: Trying to stay fresh and interesting. 

:: Repressing a little bit of stress for the future. As in, when I have to move to China in the fall and all the sudden be a full-time student again. I freak out about it every now and then but then I remember how it's the summer and I just got married and everything is just fine.

:: Failing to write or keep in touch like I should. Why is that even hard?

:: Debating nothing at all. Do I even care about anything? Maybe. One's deep-seated opinions have a way of petering out when one is all adjusting to a new phase of life. I wouldn't even have the energy to rebut your dumb assertions on standardized testing if you made them now. 

:: Reading nothing. What should I read? I need something compelling and fun. When I think of compelling and fun I think of Pathfinder, which I read last spring. I want to read something but I'm so insufferably snobby that I'll only read something as awesome as Pathfinder.

:: Laughing at Parks and Recreation. Parks and Recreation is SO FUNNY and never ceases to be funny. I'm sorry for being one of those people who never shuts up about the same thing.

:: Looking forward to going to TAIWAN in July. We're making it kind of a little honeymoon but it's mostly a stop on the way to China. Remember how Taiwan is full of people I love?

:: Avoiding writing anything. Even the story about my wedding day. Why is that? It's not even hard.

:: Watching Doctor Who with my husband. Everything in the world is wonderful.

:: Enjoying being married. Sorry - I don't even want to be sappy. But it's totally true and you know it.

:: Deciding whether I have to keep this haircut that looks super curly but sacrificed like half the volume of my hair to get there. It might be mad fuzzy if I try to grow it out.

:: Listening to This American Life while I run. And other podcasts. I like it because then the memory of what they talked about is all tied up with where I was running when I heard it.

:: Realizing that life probably isn't always this easy.

:: Planning my reception in Montana kind of half-heartedly. Let's just have a bunch of rainbow-colored food and call it awesome.

:: Rolling in … the deep? What does that mean? Oh,I guess I could say "I roll a lot of Ls." That was for you baby.

:: Playing Draw Something! narniadear is apparently playing that too. You can all add me but it's being weird and won't synchronize with my facebook so you have to do it with my email address.

:: Thinking about culture and identity and language and love and futures and what is going to happen if the global food supply chain breaks down. I think about that all the time, actually. I also think how weird it is that after years of worrying about it I finally found someone to marry and it was great and he accepts me with open arms and thinks I'm fantastic. How does that happen? Is life all about walking around and a around until we trip secret little switches and then we head down totally different tracks? I guess so. There's so little we do to control it. I guess we just hang on and make sure we've been doing the best we can to be our best selves.

Sick days
I've been home sick basically for four days in a row. Weird. I think the monster cough has finally decided to be on its way out, though, so tomorrow is back to school, which is hard this semester but at the same time not hard. As in, two of my classes are extremely difficult but actually getting up and going to them is not.

By the way, did I mention here that I'm getting married? Because I am. To Hot Sauce. He's not so much about personal stuff all up in the blogosphere so I won't say much about it, but there you go. Part of me is weirdly worried about vague things that are probably not real, and I think that's because it was exactly this time of year that I was engaged before. Makes it kind of hard to enjoy being engaged. But I'm relatively sure in my conscious, rational mind that things are Awesome. Also, I am making 1,000 paper cranes.

Anyway, so while I was sick I didn't do much that was useful or productive. On the worst of the days I coughed so severely all the time that my head and my neck and my chest would hurt and I kind of just wanted to lay there in a pile. But I did manage to sew a blanket out of some flannel I bought when I was visiting Pooka in the Salt Metropolis - it has Chinese lanterns all over it. Turns out blankets are weird shapes when you just make them the shape fabric is when it comes off the bolt. But good enough. It can at least keep my toes warm.

Also, during my days of convalescence here I may or may not have watched two entire TV series. They each only had one season, but there you go. They were Downton Abbey and Flash Forward. I secretly really enjoyed them both. Only thing is, I think I appreciated BBC stuff because their actors tend to look like actual people you might meet in the real world. Some are still attractive, of course, in the commercial sense, especially if they are supposed to be according to the plot. But not everyone is attractive in the commercial sense and yet they still manage to fall in love with each other. Imagine that! I did like Flash Forward, though, in spite of the fact that in that world female members of the military, female police officers and female doctors all look like this:

Just photoshop the appropriate uniform on her and that's what all the characters look like. Also, for some reason, lesbian women at gay bars look like that too. Because, you know, that's what women who aren't into dressing up for men look like in the real world.

I discovered, though, why humans aren't supposed to sit at home in their pajamas on couches surrounded by tissues watching sci-fi thrillers written by Brannon Braga, though. It's because after all those hours you go back to thinking about real world things and your real world thoughts are all messed up about what your true future is supposed to be like and if you can change it and there are FBI agents running around through your school assignments and you get really confused about what the real things are. Which is probably something Homo Erectus didn't develop any good robust traits to handle so we should be careful.

Oh, the one other thing, though, that I liked about Flash Forward is that it had Asian people in it. Maybe more of our entertainment is including them these days? There are an awful lot of them on the planet, even in America. And I liked the Japanese girl - she was one of the best characters. 

Just had garbanzo beans and rice for dinner. It was lovely - just add some cumin and salt. Instant fancy dish with basically no effort. Here's hoping my cough is now ready to take a back seat and I can for reals get into the new semester.

Monsieur Pinet died. He was my French professor. The one who gave me a C not because my essay was "worse" than anyone else's but because he knew I could do better. And then I did better.

I worked for him - he was the editor of a scholarly journal and I was his assistant and came to his house and answered letters and mailed things all over the world. He had an old blue heeler named Charlie who really loved to bark at me.

Every time I taught Ed Psych, I'd start on the first day of class by asking everyone to think of an excellent teacher they'd had in the past and listing some of the characteristics that made that teacher so good. Every time, I used Monsieur Pinet for my example.

New excuses to write things
I started a new blog. Seems a little stupid since I've already got this journal I always forget to write in and a cooking blog that was super cool until it wasn't and a group blog I contribute to that I haven't written for in years.

But this new one is more about stuff I care about, and really, who are the blog police that tell you when you have to start and stop? If it's good work, and useful, and you've got intrinsic motivation it seems like it will perpetuate itself. And so we'll see how this one goes.

You can find it here - it's mostly about science and environmentalism and how you can still believe in such things if you're a Christian. We'll see how it goes.

I'm terrible for thinking this
So, the people who didn't like my cover art went ahead and used the altered version that someone's friend threw together at the last minute. I was tempted not to let them use it but they were up against a publication deadline and I didn't want to punish all the authors and contributors just because the one guy had been such a jerk. I just told them not to put my name on it anywhere.

And I'm terrible for thinking this, but the end product looks a lot worse than mine. And I'm even more terrible for thinking this, but that makes me really happy. Just to know that my work wasn't crappy, it was this guy's particular decision-making. Here's the cover I did:

And here it is after they "fixed" it:

Have fun with that, kids. Glad I could be of assistance.

I guess the answer is that it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. I guess that's always the answer.

My mom's going through more hard stuff than any one person should have to go through. But who am I to say that, I guess? If I had thousands of dollars and could fix everything would that make a difference? At the same time I'm worried about that, there are other things that are going just wonderfully. I'm dating one of my favorite people, and I get to spend time with him and laugh and learn things together and it couldn't be any better if I would have dreamed it up myself.

I alternate between feeling terrible, feeling guilty, feeling content, feeling excited. I guess that's how it all goes.

New Coldplay album... I don't care if they're super popular. They're dang awesome. They play the kind of sounds I like to listen to - the happy, ethereal, angry, witsful sounds that remind me of U2 in 1983. Once when I was going through terrible stress in my early years in college, U2 kind of saved my sanity in a weird way. I wonder if it's OK to let rock music save your sanity. I really hope there are drums in heaven.

Dreams and stress and throwing an artist's tantrum
I hardly ever have bad dreams - only when I'm stressed out. Every once in a while I convince myself my dreams mean things, but there's a good chance they don't. 85% of my self says that bad dreams merely mean I'm stressed out and my brain is trying to make sense of it or act it out. Maybe 93%.

There's super terrible things going on in my family. And the way we find out about it is, my dad calls my brother, my brother calls me, and tells me to call my mom. My dad won't talk to my mom and my brother won't talk to my mom. My dad won't talk to me either, even when my brother gives him my number and tells him to. So information is fed from my dad to my brother and my brother to me and my brother is so mad he won't talk to my mom but he tells me to tell her what to do. I'm all distressed about it all.

In the midst of that, a couple weeks ago, I dreamed there was an earthquake and I went looking for my boyfriend and my roommate's boyfriend told me he had found him dead in his house. I then walked in and saw him dead though it looked like he was just asleep. This was totally distressing.

Then things got better for a while and then my brother called me again this week and talked to me again. And I went to bed that night and dreamed I got kidnapped with a bunch of other girls and they were making us work at this store in the mall but they'd keep one of us behind every day so they could kill her if the rest of us tried to escape or say anything.

Then the next day I talked to my mom again and dangit - my mom is the most adult person I know. She's also been through more crap than anyone should have to go through in one lifetime and she keeps going. She told me to tell my brother that my dad needed to work things out directly with her and he needed to answer her calls. She told me it wasn't our job to sort through our parents' 10 year old divorce and that it was OK for me to let go of it. Nevermind that me letting go means just one more burden that she has to pick up herself.

So then I felt a lot better, but it was poignant that my feeling better came with the realization of how hard everything is on my mother.

Then last night I dreamed that I got bitten by a rattlesnake. It was just on my finger, but I kept walking around doing work and homework and stuff and nobody thought that it was a big deal or that I needed to go to a doctor, but I was really worried. My finger started to turn blue. So I kept making a big deal about it but everyone kept telling me I would be fine. And then I was all guilty about whether I should trust my friends or my own worries.

Then today I heard back from the people who commissioned me to do some art for a book cover.

Let's see how quick I can make this story: they told me the content and that they wanted it to look like a 1930's pulp scifi novel. I painted it in Photoshop because I don't have any actual art supplies and can't afford them. Also, they're not paying me, but they did promise me royalties on the book sales.

I gave them a first draft. I didn't get any feedback. I asked for feedback and found out there had been a conversation going on that I wasn't being CCed on. Got the feedback. They wanted it, among other things, to look more painterly. I did a second draft and sent it to them a few weeks ago - the book is going to press this month. I didn't get any feedback.

Earlier this week, one of the guys emailed me and asked me to send him a picture of the cover art without any of the wording or layout. I did so. Last night he emails me with this: "I printed out your piece and had another lady paint on top of it so it would look painterly. This is really wonderful, aren't we all happy. I'm going to have another friend finish the layout of the spine and the back so you don't have to worry about anything else."

I answered back with "Um, sorry, but that actually makes me kind of angry. Why did I not get feedback? Why did you just do this behind my back?"

"Oh, you didn't know? I'm sorry. I didn't CC you on those emails I guess."

I called him out on it. "I'm pretty sure it wasn't just an oversight. I'm pretty sure this all happened behind my back - I can tell by the vague request for me to send the original artwork. You knew full well I didn't know what was going on."

Him: "You're right, I'm sorry. I misled you. It was close to printing time and I panicked. It's OK - we're going to give you credit. Tell me how you want to be credited."

So right now I feel like I got bit by the snake. And I feel like no one else thinks it's a big deal. I want to just tell them to kill my part in it - I certainly don't want them to grudgingly publish something they don't like. But the problem with that is the fact that it's going to press so soon and who else are they going to find to paint exactly what they wanted? For free? As a volunteer?

And I don't want them to publish something that's not my work - something they took and had someone else paint over - with my name all over it. I feel like that's insulting and condescending.

So I told them that they can use the altered artwork but I don't want my name on it anywhere. They said that's not a good option - they want to either work it out or kill the cover.

I am so mad. I know it's not good to be mad. I know it's good to be conciliatory. To me, the best way I can be conciliatory is to give them rights to use my artwork and alter it, but I don't want that out in the world with my name on it - it's an unfair representation of my work. If they went ahead and used my work unaltered that would be fair to me, but apparently it was so far from what they wanted that they're going to hate the finished product.

I don't know at this point whether I'm being petulant or assertive. I'm aware I'm  throwing a tantrum, but I feel pretty justified in it. And I don't like walking around with stress and anger, but I don't know what the right choice is in this situation.

Once, an animatronic bear at Disneyland told me "You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far." Then, a few years later, President Monson quoted that same animatronic bear in General Conference. Which, in some views, makes it scripture.


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