gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Monday, May 31, 2004 Become a Living Memorial Memorial Day is a day to remember those who gave up their lives so that others could live free. Although this day has come to symbolize sales at the mall, days off from work and the start of "Summer" it's important to reflect and give thanks to those that aren't here to enjoy all that Life has to offer.
One of the greatest ways you can pay homage is to become a living example of what they fought for. Become all that you can be... live free and openly pursue your life, your liberty and your happiness.
Saturday, May 29, 2004 It's not always about you... Sometimes it's important to do something just because it's important to someone else. You don't have to get anything out of it. You do it "just because."
Today my friend E had her grandson's birthday party. I know her well, and her daughter, but not many others. It was out of the way, in a small park, in the middle of the 'hood. I knew I would stand out there, but again, it wasn't about me.
Her daughter is a chef, so the food was absolutely worth the trip. After overstuffing myself on chicken, ribs AND sausage... and watermelon... and grilled mangoes... and SpongeBobSpongeCake... it was time to hit the Pinata, then hit the road...
An hour of good time, a little off the center of my universe.
Thursday, May 27, 2004 Slack Attack This was it, we were finally bidding the boss goodbye. A nice quiet lunch meeting in a conference room, with Big Big Boss and Interim Boss in attendance. Interspersed with sentiment were announcements of vacations by all those in charge... so basically there won't be much supervision til some time into next month.
We assured them that as adults we could pretty much keep business as usual. That said, almost everyone filed out of the meeting, sat at their desks in a lackadaisical mood and drifted out of the office by 3 pm.
Business as usual.
I felt the temptation, certainly. It's not easy to be motivated when surrounded by so many drifters. Especially when they're acting like you're the fool for staying. It's just I subscribe to this philosophy
"When the wind stops blowing, row!
Despite the Big Big Boss's claim of "I know you all very well" I have to disagree. I haven't seen any effort to really get to know me. B3 has an impression of me... from hearsay and backstabs; miscommunication and misunderstanding. B3 wasn't here during the "peak" of my performance, only during the spoils after the war. B3 has promised private lunches after vacation, and I want to be ready for it.
I'm reapplying for my job... redesigning my future. Slacking off now will cost me dearly in the future... so...
Wednesday, May 26, 2004 Simple Solutions My little project threatened to get out of hand, as they are apt to do. It started with a simple plan, then ballooned... until it almost became a "thing." It's a good thing I was working on it all by myself, without talking it over with anyone. The minute you involve others, they bring in opinions, ideas and "things."
Today, being Day Two, I decided to take a hard look at where I was going with this "thinglet" to see if I could get the same results, only with a lot less work. I did. I tore it apart (in my mind anyway) and put back only the pieces I really needed... then I grouped all the little pieces into one (they surely would have sprouted things like tribbles if left to their own devices).
A few more thingees here and there and I should be done by tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004 Fantasia Fantastico... I don't usually comment about Pop TV all that much, but tonight's American Idol brought up a very good point I wanted to make.
During the very first episode of this season, Fantasia Barrino opened her mouth to sing and I said "stop the show, they found their star." She has the elusive "it factor" as they say... and it goes to show you that success is just an expression of a successful person.
I had the same thing to say about Scott Wolf and AJ Melendez and mentioned that in a post last year.
Sunday, May 23, 2004 Rebuild and Rejuvenate... Rebuild On Friday, a little glitch on my computer, and it turned my jumpdrive into a chumpdrive. It was a good reminder of the importance of making backups (which I hadn't in a while). The damage wasn't as bad as I feared, but I did have to work my way back from the fall.
Rejuvenate Sometimes it's not just about being prepared for problems, it's also about getting away from them for a while. I got out of town and stayed away from computers as much as possible. Oh, I couldn't go completely techless... I still had my pager with keypad, so I could pseudo-mail when I had to... but the change of scenary and pace made for a great chance to recharge.
Recover Note to self: Purchase that new SPF70 sunscreen... SPF15 just doesn't cut it.
Friday, May 21, 2004 Winning with nothing to lose... Now that my boss is leaving, she's gone into overdrive. With nothing to lose, she's laying it all out on the table; aggressively asking for what she's wanted all along. Things are finally getting done.
I needed this side of her all this past year.
Since joining her team I saw the reactive moves; the whimsical changes brought on by some meeting with the upperlings... fear-based decisions. Things were put on the back burner because "you have to choose your battles." I saw as they attacked her, like lions on the hunt for the weakest prey.
I've also seen the fearless people at work... usually they're the new ones. They too have nothing to lose because they've yet to build their empires. It's that fearlessness that helps them get what they want. They ask and don't take 'no' for an answer.
Come to think of it, I was fearless when I was new too.
All you have to do is read some my archives and my cartoons to see how fear crept in over the years.
Thursday, May 20, 2004 Good idea... Not that I've run out of ideas, but I came across Blogideas.com and thought it's a pretty handy site in a pinch. It just has little conversation starters like "Best compliment you've ever received" which I just got when I went there. Nice huh?
What was the best compliment I ever received? Hmmm, well... it might not be the best, but this one was most recent...
I read your site for hours. I'm intoxicated with Gurustu!"
It came from Pua, a wonderful woman whose paths have crossed with mine several times, that it was just a matter of time before we met. I hope to one day get to meet her in the offline world.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004 Razor sharp focus... The little girl wouldn't hear it, if it weren't "Mary Kate and Ashley." I took the day off to show some out-of-town guests around Hollywood and every other conversation that came from the backseat was Mary-Kate-and-Ashley-this and Mary-Kate-and-Ashley-that. You could tell that her parents have heard this like an overplayed song on the radio. The tune so dull that they just wanted to get it over with by this point.
After calling a coworker to "please look up Mary-Kate-and-Ashley-Mary-Kate-and-Ashley-Mary-Kate-and-Ashley on the web and tell me where her star is" we succeeded in finding her star right in front of Hollywood and Highland. Ironically, it was the first place we were going to park, but everything else in Hollywood hadn't opened yet, so we started the tour on Rodeo Drive.
That made her happy for a moment... but what we didn't find was their footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater (I don't think they have theirs there) or their home (it's not listed on the overpricedoutdated Star Map they bought).
We did however get a picture of Madonna's neighbor's gardner... ooooohhhhhh.
So were we successful? We found SOMETHING, but somehow we just never ran into Mary-Kate-and-Ashley on Rodeo, Graumans or McDonalds... go figure.
This razor sharp focus of hers helped create a goal and achieve some of it. That's a pretty start in Life. However, along the way, she missed out experiencing beautiful homes, fancy shops, good food and good company.
The parents' goal of seeing "someone famous" wasn't successful in Hollywood either. A lot of famous people don't go to the touristy spots. I was explaining that as we drove through Studio City, on the way back to their hotel. As luck would prove it, George Wendt jogged by. He's somebody, at least everybody knows his name... NORM!
Monday, May 17, 2004 Prep pays... It was a good thing that I took the time to prepare for today's meeting. Because it involves the future of my department I decided to write down all the options with pros and cons. It kept my "turn" short and to the point. I figured that we don't really have the final decision, so the wisest thing to do is just to present the options and let the chips fall where they may. Besides, once the group decision is made, we're all free to make personal choices after that.
One of the attendees came up to me afterwards and said:
"You did really good in there. We looked like a bunch of whiney babies. I wish we had a matrix like you did."
Saturday, May 15, 2004 10K Run... This isn't one of the busy days for my site, so I'm sitting staring at my site counter like I'm stuck in traffic with nothing better to do. Today, my site meter is going to pass 10,000 visitors... I think... it's almost there... wait (refresh)... not yet...
Now I know some of that is me... some of that is dear ole mom showing some of her friends... coworkers checking to see if I'm going to talk about them or share some juicy office gossip... but a number of them have been strangers... some whom have come forward to become friends... others whom have read and moved on.
It's all good.
Such a milestone makes one reflective. Back when the site meter was 10, it was all me and that darn graphic that wouldn't go where I wanted it. I sat in an internet cafe, sipping some mocha blend, not really knowing where this was going to lead, but I knew it was some place I had to go.
By 100, my friends all knew about it and had plenty of suggestions. I made it to the search engines. I won my first web award (seems everyone else who applied did too).
By 1,000 I had my blog and was on the front page of the search engines for "Words of Wisdom." I started to meet people. They started to expect an article a week, and a newsletter twice a month. I realized that this is a lot of work.
5,000 arrived and I arrived at a blogger's site that changed my world. He did cartoons and I said "I can too!" They were intended to be all light and airy, but exposed the darker side of my days at work. I'm just now starting to "recover" and will be bringing more light into those.
9,000 hits and a fateful moment at a traffic light. I noticed a "Life Moment" and LifeWatch was born.
My site had 100 articles, letters and newsletters, 40 cartoons and 69 awards. I've come a long way, baby...
So now here I am (refresh)... ok, so now I'm almost here at 10,000. I'm not sure what the next 10,000 will bring, but I welcome it like an open road.
Friday, May 14, 2004 Too good to go... As he smiled from ear to ear, and patted me on the back, I thought "ut oh, did I just overdo it?" Oh, I was thrilled that he was overjoyed with my work (I just turned his simple concept into a "high impact presentation")... but I had my lunch delayed and missed my chirpractor's appointment to do it. I'm good at creating conceptual "punch" but with all the changes going on now, have a made too good an impression... one that would make them want to keep me doing this, instead of moving forward?
At work I want to lead... to inspire... and empower. Much like what I do on the site, but in a different way. If I get too known for being able to DO, will they ever free me up enough to BECOME?
An interesting quandary, and one which will play out soon, I'm sure.
I almost was going to be late for dinner with my dear friend, Missy. Luck was at least on my side here, and I got over to her new home within five minutes of our scheduled arrival.
I've written about her before... over the years she has had a strong impact on my life. As she changed jobs and friends, she kept getting into something I needed at the time (she actually sold me my first computer, and introduced me to people whom are still close to me).
We sat at an Indian restaurant, and I tried to keep up with her 100 miles an hour conversation. Sometimes I think I need TiVo in real life, so I can slow it down and watch it again. We talked about everything and anything, and they had to politely suggest that we move on since they were closing.
We went back to her place and a couple of hours later, I'm became the proud Papa of a brand new blogger.
I joked with her about not staying up too late, knowing she would anyway. Check out "Pawsitive Talk" (and just imagine that first entry being said in under a minute)
Wednesday, May 12, 2004 The calm before... Today's quiet seemed a bit more intense, even eerie. Although Wednesdays are usually the quiet days (it's lind of like "lunchtime" being in the middle of a weeklong day)... today had no "wind." The work didn't change at all, just the usual pressure that comes from above with ever-chaging priorities, has gone.
I just kept rowing my one oar. Without the wind, going in circles today became excruciatingly apparent. I wish I took this opportunity to "right" myself... step back and get organized... but, alas, I did not. I made phonecall and sent emails in preparation of the upcoming storm, so I feel good about being "proactive" it's just it feels like I'm in Troy and not quite ready for battle in my little row boat.
The winds are still expected to be still for a few more days, so I'll pick up both oars and see how far I get tomorrow.
Can I get into a movie, and get a personal trainer for a year so I can look like they did in Troy? Or would that just make me Stu Pitt?
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 Solitude... The Managers were away at a strategic planning meeting today; creating a silence that allowed most people to just sit and get their work done. The announcement from last Friday weighed heavily on my coworkers, as they huddled together and filed out of the room (on several occasions) to go to some "important meeting" somewhere.
I felt like a lone traveler walking slowly alongside a country road.
I've tried for so long to ask for more people, so that I can truly manage projects like they mean something. Every time I'm met with rhetoric and excuses, so I've stopped asking. The work, like the road ahead of me, is long... and treacherous in spots (and there are bandits ahead that are known to steal even from those with very little).
With no one around to tell me what to do, I simply chose something that I could do... all by myself... and took that step.
By the end of the day, I had taken two steps forward, and no steps back... so it's been a very productive day.
Monday, May 10, 2004 Separate and lift up... It's a fairly known fact that crabs in a barrel will continue to drag down each other, so that none escape. Recently, the group of homeless bloggers that I regularly read began to get a little crabby.
This recent round started last week when news organizations around the world started to carry the story of Steve Stanzak, a Sophomore at NYU who lived in the library because he couldn't afford housing. He went by the name Homeless at NYU and had a website thanks to a friend of his.
Needless to say, this irked the homeless bloggers. For whatever reason, some of them didn't think he deserved the free housing that he got as a result of the publicity. He didn't ask for this level of notoriety; he didn't even ask for a handout. Yet, Kevin of TheHomelessGuy.Net wanted him expelled, while James, The Homeless Guy In NYC, thinks the library counts as shelter, so he doesn't deserve any special treatment. Then add to this, Jonathan from Alabama is angry at Kevin for his comments.
Now I respect these gentlemen, and lend them my support every chance I get. It just saddens me to think that instead of being supportive, since they've all been through tough situations, they would choose to judge one another so harshly. They really hate it when others judge them, so why make it so hard on each other? Would Steve being kicked out onto the street really make Kevin's life any better? How is it advocating for the homeless, when you want to create one more? And what if Kevin gave up the free meals, would that help Jonathan in any way settle into his new life out of homelessness? James has a lot more in common with Steve than he may realize, why should the walls of a library or the walls of a subway define the separation of homelessness and homed? All it succeeds in doing is building the walls between people. I didn't think that was the kind of world these people wanted to live in. It's certainly not one I am trying to build.
Gentlemen... gentle readers... everyone out there... when I tell you all now to "get a life" I mean that in the most sincerest of ways. Stop stopping others... and go get a (good) life.
Saturday, May 08, 2004 What a rush... It'd be nice if the title implied having a wild fun time... but alas, mostly it was just a day to catch up on EVERYTHING. The weeks are travelling like one giant long day, which can be a good thing, cause the weekend is here quicker than you know it... but it can also be a bad thing, cause the weekend is here quicker than you know it.
Every week is an article, every two weeks is a newsletter, daily thoughts and lifewatch pretty much every day. It's not really as much time as it seems, but cram that in with life stuff - laundry, groceries, cleaning (oops, I forgot to pick up the cleaning!) - and before you know it, the weekend is gone too. So today's pace was hurried, so I could get it out of the way as quickly as possible.
Plus with the sun shining (hello, this IS sunny Southern Cal !!) and summer's here early... you can't just stick with the mundane tasks of maintenance, now can you?
OK, so there's probably a family of dust bunnies expecting babies under the bed and a mismatched sock playing hide and seek behind the bathroom door, but hey that's Life.
Enjoy the big stuff.
Blog-hopped today as well, and came across Paul's "People and Places weblog" ... like my Lifewatch, but he does it with pictures. I'm a new fan.
Friday, May 07, 2004 Another chapter Maybe I read the book too many times before... or was too busy to notice... or had my suspicion radar off, who knows. "No one schedules a half hour meeting first thing on Friday, unless it's really really big" someone said on the way down to the cafeteria.
Sure enough. As far as farewell speeches go, it was very good. My manager set up the visuals, then talked about opportunities and finally "an offer I couldn't refuse." I'd heard the same time of speech before; in fact three times before, in the past three years. This one didn't even last a year, but I certainly don't blame her, after what she's been through. Still it didn't take long for someone to shout the obvious next question,
"But what about US??"
Again there were talks about opportunities and uncertainty. Now I don't know if it's because I'm an opportunist or an optimist, but I always see these changes as a "window of opportunity" ... especially around that place. Much like a vulture, if you want something, these are the times to swoop down and get them.
I don't know what I'll do. I have a lot of thinking, planning and talking. It's just change; and change can be good, if we make it so.
Next chapter The afternoon was a celebration of another chapter about to begin. My designer had left last week to begin maternity leave. It's a month early, so she had to come back just for her Baby Shower. I'm not usually invited to those, so it was a fun experience... though how I got roped into playing the "Diaper Bag Mystery" game, I'll never know.
I spoke last Friday about not being about to talk to her during her leave (Company Policy and all...) so I needed some way to bridge the silence to come; a statement, if you will, that would echo until she returns. I decided that a "generous" gift certificate from Osh Kosh B'Gosh would do it. It made her speechless... so silence meeting silence is a good thing.
Of course silence of another kind wasn't so good.
Me: You gonna tell her?
Manager: I will at the end, now is not the time.
Me: (as she's leaving at the end) You gonna tell her?
Manager: I don't want to spoil her event.
Mouth: (soon after) So you know the manager's leaving right?
Me: (to Mouth) No she does not.
Me: Well, she does now...
I felt she needed to know before I left the party anyway, it's just not the way I would've written it.
A lot of chapters come to a close... and a whole bunch more are on the way.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004 One degree of separation... Once a week I work out of a different office. It's a "get-away" that let's me work in a much quieter environment. It's easier in some ways, because of less distractions, but it also gives me a sense of being one degree away from all the "stuff" I need -- like all those notes I took to put together that report due today... and now had to squeeze my brain for answers. It doesn't help that my teammate and I always try to sneak earworms into each other's head (Thanks William, for "She Bangs"... that pretty much steamrolls any "la la la la la" and "tra la la" that's in there).
Any reason I talk about one degree of separation is because my lifewatch came not from observing an event in life but from observing a painting at the mall, about observing a life event. The painting, A Days Wages, truly captures a moment so real that I just stood there captivated by it; instantly becoming a fan of Harry Roseland.
I wasn't there, but he made me feel like I was. Life doesn't always have to be a direct experience to be enjoyed. A few degrees here and there can also make a difference.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004 A Repeat performance... Today was a day to be center stage. This morning my boss comes up to me and says "I have to go home, you're the MC for the employee event this afternoon. Bye!" For a lot of people that would be the end of it all... did you know that more people fear public speaking than they do their own death?
Well, I'm not one of those people. I just adapted my whole schedule (it's amazing how many things you can put on hold when an emergency comes up) and got to work to make sure it turned out alright. The "big boss" who does most of the event thought; so I'd give it...
Then tonight I got a chance to reprise my role in a staged reading at the Filmmaker's Alliance. I was actually honored to be called back, since it means they thought well of me last time. I felt a little typecast this time, since another part they asked me to read was very similar to the first role... an angst-ridden Jew with family issues... so vat are dey tryink to tell me? Did my mother call?
Once again, I had a very fun time. I could tell that I was a visitor. Since I haven't paid for membership, nor visited more than twice, I haven't earned the close nit camaraderie that was around. However, they all made me feel like a welcomed guest. It's definitely something worth repeating.
I give it a...
Monday, May 03, 2004 Jumping to conclusions... Heading to work this morning, I heard that the freeway was completely shut down due to a jumper on the freeway. I felt sad, thinking that someone was feeling so bad that their life meant nothing to them; that the only option they had was to end it all.
Two sentences later, they said that the police were trying to talk the person down. I sighed with relief. At least there was hope.
What surprised me (well, actually it didn't surprise me all that much) is the comments that I heard from other people:
"Why doesn't he just hurry up and jump so I can get to work."
"I wanted to go over there and push him."
"I can handle an hour of waiting, but if it's two, he'd better jump."
I know these people were "joking." They're basically good and wouldn't want someone to actually do it, but as long as it's just an inconvenience miles away, their insensitivity starts to show.
We all need to be careful, because if we stop caring, it's us on that ledge; and all it'd take is a little push to send us falling into inhumanity.