Monthly Archives: September 2002

My Funk Is Multi-Layered

My boss came up to my desk and said those fateful words:

Can we grab a conference room? I have to talk to you about something.

This always makes my stomach turn – so we came into a conference room. Deep
breath. My boss and her boss had been talking and since I’ve been so accomodating
– working extra hours beyond my part-time hours – and that they were going to
give me a performance bonus in November. And you know what that means:

LAPTOP!

Woohoo! I was stunned. I couldn’t believe it… maybe the massive panic attack
I had in a meeting of a dozen people in a conference room meant for 6 actually
made an impact. It was bad – I had to leave it was so bad.

So Brigitte is driving Ron and I to Best Buy tonight to get me a laptop – we’d
gone to the one on North and I almost – almost! – bought the floor model since
they didn’t have any in stock or in their warehouse – the guy said he had four
of the them at the Best Buy on Howard. So that’s tonight’s adventure.

Plus, they forgot to mark me as part-time the past two pay cycles so I’ve gotten
full-time paychecks. I’m sending that extra to the credit cards directly.

And I’m wondering if this has anything to do with the fact that I went to Church
last Sunday. I don’t know what was with me – I went to a 4:30 mass at St. Something’s
on Belmont – boring-as-hell liturgy. I got panicky sitting there – remembering
all the panic attacks I had as a kid in church listening to the priests rant
about hell and damnation and knowing that I would be punished for my wrong thoughts.
That or worrying about screwing up as an altar boy and ringing the bells at
the wrong part of the consecration of the Eucharistic. I tried to keep the irony
of the words: “Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ” muttered with total
empty spirit by the mass of people. I do always love the phrase “as we
forgive those who trespassed against us” the collective hissing of the
congretation as all the ‘S’ sounds tumble over eachother as the words are said
in different rhythms and modulations. I still contend the best part of the part
of the Catholic church is the music and architecture – I also noticed a distinctly
yin-yang like motif in the molding of the upper border of the church.

I tried to go to church tonight. I say tried because I didn’t make it to communion.
As soon as I entered the church I started to feel a panic attack begin to build
up – I even went and sat outside to try and ebb the oncoming rush. I went back
inside and a slow burn of sweat and flushed face began and lasted through the
entire time I was in the church. I finally faked coughing on something to give
myself and excuse to get up and leave and I left the church and walked home.

Maybe this is because I was reading the book I never finished, Power Over
Panic
. It advocates meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy to overcome
panic/anxiety disorders. Regardlesss you feel like a complete failure when you
can’t even stand to be in church for 40 minutes – I even sat in the very back.
And one of Ron’s friends, Moses saw me on my way out and I’m sure I looked like
I was going to stroke out right then and there.

I am starting to think that this might also be a seasonal occurence – it seems
every fall I start to have more and more attacks as the days get shorter and
shorter. It is so embarrassing and crippling. You feel like a complete fuck-up
that you can’t even sit still in an audience without flipping out. And of course
– reading the book about panic started to really make me realize how awful it
could really be – that eventually some people can’t even leave their own houses.
That they contract their life so much that they area shell of their healthy
self.

I bought a laptop – I love it. It is a Sony Vaio SRX87 – the one I have been
lusting after forever. It is nice and small and light (2.7 lbs!). I also figured
out how to hook up a wireless connection so I can access my DSL and the files
from my desktop. I made a Briefcase that syncs up the files I’m working on each
time I get home as well as my MP3s. Right now I am listening to Lauryn Hill.

I’m holding steady at one coaching client. One sample session this week. The
one that agreed to last week hasn’t called back and a sample session last week
stood me up.

I talked to Winchell today – she is officially a lawyer – she passed her bar
exam. She and the Dougster bought a house out in Shelbyville – out in the rural
area. I told her that her wedding gift from me was going to be a cast iron skillet
and a gingham check pattern apron.

Had dinner last night with Brigitte’s family. The guy her sister had converted
to Mormonism for was in town to see her sister’s socker game – along with the
other Mormon that had brought his family to see her sister’s last game and had
proposed. Plus Brigiite’s mom and dad – we went to Leona’s. Yum yum. As Brigitte
encapsulated: “This is just like Dawson’s Creek, the
second season.” I think that that was the season where ‘Her choice changed
everything.’

Brigitte had met her soulmate and they were out having drinks and of course
he turns out to be gay. Poor gal. She and Sara seem to attract the extra-fabulous.

I rented Paragraph 175, a documentary about the persecution of homosexual
men and women in Nazi Germany. What was crazy to see was the swiftness at how
Hitler was able to implement and escalate his control of the entire country
– and eventually Europe. One of Hitler’s top officials was a widely known gay
man, Roehm. Eventually he would be executed with many of Hitler’s other top
officials for treason and betrayal. The character of Weimar Berlin – the Berlin
of Cabaret between the World Wars, was a city of decadent permissiveness,
where Paragraph 175 was largely skirted and ignored – until the arrival of the
National Socialists. Archived films and photographs of men and men and women
and women holding hands and dancing together in the Jazz Age was something so
interesting to see when American LGBT history is so transfixed with the Stonewall
protests and the resulting rights movement. 10,000 men and women were deported
to the concentration camps and many of them were exterminated along with Jews,
political prisoners, criminals and Jehovah’s Witnesses. And none of these men
or women would receive reparations on the scale Jewish survivors did.

Also rented, Bamboozled, an absolutely stunning and indendiary satire
from Spike Lee. Damon Wayans plays a buppie TV producer who decides to sabotage
his job and create the most offensive show possible and he and his assistant,
Jada Pinkett Smith, dream up the New Millenium Minstrel Show, starring
Savion Glover as Man-tan and Tommy Davidson as Sleep ‘n’ Eat. Other characters
were Aunt Jemima and Li’l Nigger Jim. It is the kind of film that if I was a
black man I’d make – something totally outrageous and wicked. It is similar
to The Producers – except the comedy is totally corrosive. By the end
of the movie a multi-ethnic audience is cheering and laughing in the studio
audience – all of them in blackface and proclaiming why they are ‘the biggest
nigga” in the audience. This coupled with the intercutting of films and clips
from Amos ‘n’ Andy, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Judy Garland and Andy Rooney
in blackface, Shirley Temple dancing with blackfaced dancers and the variety
show’s fictional sponsors: Da Bomb, a booty-shaking soda pop and black youth
touting Timmy Hillnigger jeans (OUCH!) make the movie as much of an irritant
as possible. And I think that it is an important documentation of the permissiveness
of the entertainment industry that still refuses to believe in the value of
minority characters and families as anything other than fodder for comedy. The
movie was a little too long – but when it is sharp it cuts really really deep
and hard.

I feel like a complete asshole. I was sitting here at a table at Borders and
there was a guy reading books who got up to look at other books. A guy comes
by and grabs his seat and I mention that there was someone sitting there but
I don’t know if he is coming back or not – so he goes off and sits a little
aways. Then another guy comes up and sits down and I try to explain the same
thing – he compalins of his aching back and then sits down. The original seated
comes back and tells the guy that the chair was his. I feel like an asshole
on many levels. The first guy that tried to grab the chair was black and then
the second guy was an older white guy. So I’m just convinced that he’s thinking
I’m some stupid uptight cracker. And then the original seated guy thinks I didn’t
have the common courtesy to save his seat. And the older guy – well – I’m sure
he’ll think of some reason to curse me before he goes to sleep tonight.

We also rented Best In Show, which remains one of the funniest movies
ever. So damned funny. Ron had never seen it before and loved it. I love when
the rich lady says (regarding her near vegetative state husband): “We both
like soup. We both like talking. And not talking. Sometimes we could talk or
not talk for hours and still not run out of things to not talk about.”
So funny. And then when the guy is hassling his partner for packing seven kimonos
for a 48 hour trip: ‘How many tea services can you do in two days?’

We also watched Monsters, Inc. which I still think kicks the shit out
of Shrek. So damned funny. I just love Roz, the gravel-voiced secretary.

Read Euripides’s The Bacchae on the stationary bike a few days ago.
What a crazy nutty play – since no one is properly worshipping Dionysus all
the women go nuts and ravage the towns and villages and farms – ripping apart
cattle and eating them with their bare hands… I imagine the Tasmanian Devil
whirring sound.

Everything Is Everything

Let the world know how much saner I am when I am not at work. I was up
at 5:30 this morning – gave Ron a peck good morning – and was on the bike
machine for 30 minutes – reading Blowback. It’s a good book because
it gets me pissed off again – and I find that for me I can get a lot of
fuel and energy and motivation from anger and dis-satisfaction.(when Kate
and I would chant ‘status quo! status quo!’ in Health class as the precarious
balance of Emily and Brian’s relationship (the big couple on (high school)
campus) hung by a thread). I was back at 6:15 and got some eggs and made
breakfast mess – my attempt at a poorly flipped omelette – in this case,
green peppers, snow peas and 10 eggs with mozeralla cheese. Woke Ron up to
eat – he went back to bed. Sent about 15 emails off to prospective coaching
clients and I already have three sample sessions for this week – two of which
are friends so they should be shoo-ins. Went through My Documents and categorized,
deleted and renamed all of those files that I’ve been meaning to move around.
I’ve started keeping all of my email on the server so it is backed up nightly
– so I have an Action folder (email I need to act on) so I sent alot of Action
items into the Read (dealt with) folder. Waited for the DSL guy only to
learn in a phone call that they never ordered my equipment – but I will
say that the two support callers were excellent – really really good guy
and gal – I never expected any sort of class from Ameritech. The modem should
be here in three days or so and then I’ll be back in high-speed land.

Had a great phone call with a coaching colleague who contacted me out of
the blue because she’s starting a website built around self-help type instruction
and classes. Really amazing contact.

Alright. Now I feel like a big drama schwing for being so down in the dumps
the past few days. Like I wrote above – I am so much saner when I am not
at work. I am totally wired right now. I have a meeting tonight with MookieJam
about their website design (they’re paying me this time around…). Matt
sent me a possible web design client. I have been very good and making categories
on my Palm for Leads – so I am notating interactions and deadlines so I can
keep track of everything. I feel embarrassed at how I let some people go
more than two weeks before a follow-up phone call – but I’ll soon be to the
point where I’ll have cut and dried emails to send out so there will be no
delay. Part of me loves the idea of constructing this big Andy Device that
farms leads and sends out queries and gets replies and brings business. On
the recommendation of Bill I’m gonna get ACT Contacts which centers all of
your interactions around your address book – I guess I realize how important
a network is lately. I want to make a big map of all the people I know and
their magnitude in my life and how/why I should stay in touch with them. I
guess I’m starting to see the mammoth proportions that I want to operate in
and I need to make sure I have tools to support that. And to keep it fun.

Dear Ron,

I don’t know how to tell you this so I thought putting it on the internet
for everyone else to see would be just fine. I just know that I can’t live
a lie anymore. Today I looked at the nutrition content of my Peanut Butter
Moo’d smoothie from Jamba juice. I then compared it to a chocolate milkshake
from Baskin-Robbins. The smoothie has 840 calories. The ice cream milkshake?
750.

I don’t know how I can live like this anymore. I hope you’ll understand.

(I’m kidding darling)

(subject goes here)

It is Sunday at 11:30 – I have come to the coffe shop – not the one in Boyville
but the one that is directly across from the apartment. Having an iced tea and
trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do with my life. I already had
one panic attack at the OfficeMax and one while I was orderieng my tea. I am
going back up to a fulll pill of Zoloft – with the shorter days… Haven’t done
a whole lot this weekend. I feel like I’m either being over-dramatic or totally
numb. I bought a copy of the book Blowback: The Cost and Consequences of
American Empire
– a scathing look at how everything the United States does
blows up in our faces 20 years later. It makes me deeply saddened at the current
state of world affairs and how it doesn’t seem likely to ever stop.

I was thinking just now about the whole Nick situation and how that has really
damaged my trust in compliments from people. I think that clarity that I finally
arrived at with him – why I put up with such abuse of friendship and professional
misconduct – was that I fell in love with the way he saw me. I became enamoured
of the image he sold back to me – so much so that I was afraid of losing that
source of support and I put up with an eleven-thousand dollar delinquent payment.
I had put so much into the image he had of me that I wasn’t willing to exchange
and reconsider the image I had of him. That if he wasn’t this successful businessman
then maybe I wasn’t all that either. That is why I think I am so suspicious
of compliments from others – I suspect other motives at work – or deny that
I could ever have any kind of talent or ability that they ascribe to me. The
most frustrating part of it all is that I know – I know – I know that it all
has to come from within myself. That approval from external sources is always
a endless chase… and that quitting my dayjob, piercing a nipple, bleaching
my hair, having a boyfriend, coming out of the closet, getting a modeling gig,
getting a good review, having a thousand customers or a hundred-thousand dollars
is not going to do it. Margaret Cho made a very apt point when she talks about
this entire industry created to make us feel shitty about ourselves so we buy
their products. I become suspicious of all marketing all the time. And it comes
back to one of my main coaching points – you are te dragon – you are the grail.
You are your biggest prize and your biggest obstacle – all at the same time.
It makes me want to de-brand my lving space – to buy blank canisters for all
of the shampoo and soaps and put the cereal in a nameless container. Ditch all
of the visual noise. A big challenge lately has been that since I don’t have
cable TV right now is that the channel with the best reception if FOX – so I’m
relegated to watching Fox news every morning… though I have developed a crush
on Michelle Leigh – the hot piece of meteorology that does the morning weather.
Something about her delivery on-screen is like a come-on… a little wink to
you as she talks about the warm front approaching and the gusts of wind sweeping
the valleys and leaving everything all moist and humid. Did I mention that Ron
has a crush on JenOz? He’s decided that if he was straight that JenOz is the
kind of girl he’d go for – sporty and brash and fun. He loves when we meet her
because she gives him a hug and she loves the feel of her breasts against his
chest (I, of course, told Jen to give Ron extra long hugs when she can – she
thought it was hilarious).

Rantage

From: Andy
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 12:09
To: Heather
Subject: True Stoyy

How about if the developmnet server is down for 5 weeks because some f_ckwit
installed a patch without permission and it takes weeks to get the server
restored since it’s config files weren’t backed up – yes – you read that
right – we don’t back up our developmnet servers nightly. And how about it
you try and install server level Java JRUN and then realize we never bought
a support license for it. And then let’s take the October 14th ‘drop-dead’
date and not move it at all in response to these delays since it wasn’t our
side’s fault that the server went down – we can just ignore logic and keep
on the same schedule and then try and cram user testing of 50+ courses in
under 2 days and then surprise the business owners that they have to supply
testers with 4 hours notice to complete testing in 36 hours. And then let’s
repeat everything again next week in production since development and
production have never matched environments – rendering all of this weeks
testing moot.

F_ck this job.

Counting the daze.

From: Heather
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 12:21 PM
To: Andy
Subject: RE: True Story

O ma god!

You are working with/for MORONS.

Let me get this right:

No backups
DEVELOPMENT server is down for weeks?
No licenses?
No production testing?
AND production doesn’t = lab?

You truly win the WORKING FOR IDIOTS war. Congratulations. You’ll get a
purple heart, a gold star, and a brown bruise on your forehead from banging
it against the wall. With honors.

Sanctimony

Tomorrow’s goal is not to watch a damned thing about 9-11. No TV. No internet. I saw it. We all did. That experience is a private event between me and the rest of the world. Not for the media to beat me to death with the day American changed(tm).

There Are No Monks In My Band

It is amazing the amount of time you can spend wishing ttat you were someone
else. Someone taller, younger, tanner, richer, stronger, leaner, straighter.
It is interesting to note that the one thing I rarely ever wish I was – is smarter.
Why can’t I translate the same security and grounded-ness in my intellect to
the rest of my attributes? I am very adept at low self-image. And it’s a quick
drop down. Before I know it, I’ve talked myself down into a whole as I have
a panic attack on the train in to work. As I sit at work and try to stay stable
amid the chaos. Today was totally craptastic. Unrealistic deadlines like getting
50 courses tested and QA’ed in a day and a half. What a fucking waste. Mark
and I are, needless to say, prety honked off about the whle thing. They create
these emergencies that we all respond to and then it sets in others in-boxes
for a few days. Meanwhile they request reports for the first itme on something
in three eyars and expect us to have time to o tborough 18,000 rows of data.
Suck my choad. Nobody wants to gives us test users because they’re all so pissed
off from last time – but if we don’t test outside of home office then when things
break they’ll blame us. It is a no-win, zero-sum situation where basically Mark
and I get to absorb all the abuse from pissed off callers when the business
owners didn’t heed us in the first place. What a waste of my talents. What a
waste of my time.

Taking Liberties

(I know it’s obnoxious to post this article in it’s entirety but it really blows my litte Indiana mind)

Some of the fundamental changes to Americans’ legal rights by the Bush administration
and the USA Patriot Act following the terror attacks:

* FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political
institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigation.

* FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once-public immigration
hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges
, and has
encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records requests.

* FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any
other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information
related to a terror investigation.

* RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse
conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans
accused of crimes
.

* FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans’
papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

* RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely
without a trial
.

* RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being
able to confront witnesses against them
.