December 2, 2009

this web is my web

Posted in blogging, DIYDesign, internets, nostalgia, technology, work, writing at 11:37 pm by Marise Phillips

So I got a new job today. More precisely, I got to go permanent after contracting for 14 months at a place where time has flown by in the best possible way. In the official announcement this afternoon, my new manager mentioned that I came to them with 15 years of experience working on the web. All very surreal as I mused on a) how long 15 years is and b) what a different direction my career — my whole life — would have taken, had I not been ‘desperate’ enough to turn to the Internet as a source of friends in a new town.

Looking back on my digital life, it occurred to me tonight that some of the first things I ever posted online were poems. Poems of lust and loss that poured out of me as fast as I could post them, not things I’d already written longhand or kept stored on floppy disk. (Because of course that was your average “high-tech” person’s backup solution in 1994. Tee hee.) But yeah, back to the poems. That unexpected, easy willingness to expose myself online rather surprised me.

Then again, when you consider the explosion of websites and apps such as…

  • my yahoo
  • blogger
  • myspace
  • flickr
  • etsy
  • blurb
  • twitter

…one of the Internet’s most enduring qualities is its revolutionary broadening of the means, and the potential reach, of self-expression. Of artistry. Of feeling. You know, those things we used to keep locked up inside, while making our living doing the more mundane things the world was willing to pay us for. And someday, maybe if we were really lucky, and tried really hard, we’d ‘get published’ and, at long last, achieve immortality. But now? Au contraire! I literally spend a part of every day sharing something about myself or taking a headlong dive into someone else’s life. And it all happens online, of course.

See, the corner of the web I like best is the one where we all have a voice (and call ourselves ‘writers’, ‘photographers’, ‘artists’, ‘comedians’ or ‘collectors’) as we show off to — and riff off of — one another. It’s funny to think that the celebrities I follow are no longer the ones splashed on billboards and magazines; these days, they’re the ones who craft the funniest/most poignant blog posts, crochet the twee-est baby quilts, take endless photos of men with impossibly ornate mustaches, and so on… *They* are the ‘cool kids’ now 🙂

Just this morning, however, I felt an uncomfortable mixture of disdain and desire creep into the shower with me, as I reflected on the new ‘celebrities’ I follow who sell ad space and hold giveaway contests on their blogs. Such a strange thing to do, I thought. Shouldn’t that be considered kind of… I don’t know… uncouth? Like having a corporate sponsor for your wedding? (“And now it’s time the happy couple’s first dance! Brought to you by Kitchy-Brand pressure cookers!”) But as the day progressed and I continued to chew on it, I had to retract my opinion as disingenuous. Making money off ads on your personal website? And how is that different than writing advertising copy for a living? Because you can hide behind the anonymity of the latter? So: better just to be out in the open about it?

Hmph. Sometimes I hate ambiguity 🙂 They say that women are unhappier than ever these days. They say it may be because we just *care* more. Enough to think twice (or three times or ten) about whether something we thought or did or said was the right thing. It’s all very very complicated, but a big chunk of what gets churned out online represents the space in which we’re hashing these things out, together.

Anyway, this has been my web. (Brought to you by our sponsor, Al Gore 😉 It’s messy and it’s weird and it can be ugly at times but, on the whole, it’s still beautiful.

February 3, 2007

updates updates

Posted in dieting, weekend, work, writing at 3:27 pm by Marise Phillips

i’ve been going to a great acupuncturist, and she’s inspired me to cut down on some unhealthy habits (smoking & overeating) and to take on some healthy new ones (more vegies & water). i am feeling a lot better already after 6 days of said improvements. my energy is still low, and i’m finally getting over my third cold of the winter, and a spot on my chin is taking a loooonnnnng time to heal – but all in all, doing better.

i’m also cheered by the fact i somehow lost 10 lbs since the last time i weighed myself (who knows, maybe 5 months ago…) now i just gotta convince j to hand over the new wii, play me some sports, and the rest of the weight will come melting off, i tellya…

in all seriousness though, i did put in about 40 minutes of gardening today and i think that was good for both my ass and the backyard.

oh yeah, one other thing: i get to choose the blog platform we’ll be using for work. suggestions anyone?

November 21, 2006

why it so hard

Posted in aging, depression, family, home, lovey, work at 11:38 pm by Marise Phillips

  • to write well?
  • to concentrate on how I’m feeling and reacting, as opposed to obsessing about how everyone else is doing?
  • to react “appropriately” when others around me lose their shit?
  • to see my laptop’s screen?
  • (oh, did I mention that i wear BIFOCALS now? once again: OLD)

ugh. i think i just need to vent a bit.

yesterday, I had to deal with my anxiety-attack-tastic mother who was having a freakout over a plumber being “rude” to her. all i could think was “oh fuck. this is only going to get worse until the move. no, wait a minute, this is only going to get worse until she dies. fucking great.”

my dad didn’t help, either, of course. both of them are completely useless at dealing with the world most of the time. yesterday their helplessness irritated me so much, it was all I could do not to scream “shutthefuckupdontyourealizeiamsavingyoufromcertaindestitution sowhycantyoujustbereasonableandsaneforonceinyourlives andmakesomethingeasyformejustonceforfuckssake?”

which is always fun.

work and home life are also a real joy. not only is my job continuing not to live up to the title i’ve been given (my fault, i suppose) — it’s quite clear that my boyfriend is mourning the impending loss of his beloved city. i noticed a marked silence tonight as he slowly, dolefully wrapped each of his (vast collection of) plastic aliens in a paper towel, filling and stacking a pile of precisely-labeled, neat banker’s boxes in the long hallway near our door.

i suppose, however, it’s worth it because the house we are moving to is beautiful, peaceful, well-situated, graced with a fabulous garden, and a provides a palatable way to care for my crumbling parents.

oh, and we will be removing all contingencies first thing tomorrow. woo! hoo!

November 3, 2005

not a bad day at all

Posted in travel, work at 12:21 am by Marise Phillips

considering it was my last day of work before leaving on a long-ish vacation, it turned out pretty well.

i approached it with a fairly consistent sense of calm and willingness to play certain things by ear, most notably how much work i would do before i left for the day. and i got 95% of the way there!! plus i feel good about the prioritization i did as i went along, and which things i ultimately decided not to over-worry about.

true to form, pretty much my biggest priority was a lunch with my project team to celebrate my being "done" with a fairly big chunk of work. it's the first time i've worked alongside a formal, cross-functional UE team on a digital music project here. by "done," i mean: there are still some unresolved issues, but they're fairly picked over by now, and i feel confident that the team can figure it out in my absence.

the lunch ended up being just me, Peter and Aki, but it was really nice just hanging out with the two of them. i've gotten to know Aki quite well during this project, and absolutely adore him. always have, always will. you just know it with some people. Peter I didn't know much at all until recently, and I'm really glad he came too — and glad that the group was so small, it made it much easier to get to know him better.

plus, the food was great. can't go wrong with Chez Maman — and what an excellent bit of news to find out they opened a (much larger) 2nd location on Cortland!

anyway, all that was of course the best part of the day… i've really enjoyed my job on a social level, and this was just another instance of a nice time to be had with very good people that i'm glad to have met.

October 29, 2005

why my week was from hell

Posted in family, pets, travel, work at 9:36 pm by Marise Phillips

not only am i getting ready for my big trip, working on 4 projects at once, plus recruiting for our 5 open headcount… i've got to deal with all the normal work-related crap that comes my way on a regular basis.

such as, project managers who repeatedly announce in cross-functional team meetings that their prd's aren't as detailed as they would like, because they're "not allowed to describe functionality" because "riseyp told me not to do her job for her."

"imagine that," i retorted under my breath. fucking passive-aggressive cow. good times.

and engineers who send emails cc:ing the entire company (practically) with a long list of questions they have, followed by more questions, and more and more, each time cc:ing the planet, with the kicker being one e-mail closed with the following charming phrase:

I am totally confused about these pages data .I hope at least you have a clear picture.

and if that weren't enough, my tenant found a house to buy, 4 months ahead of schedule, and is therefore breaking the lease. so i've had to be very firm and gruff with her, insisting that she find me a suitable replacement which, fortunately, she was savvy enough to know was her responsibility. so i've been screening a steady stream of applicants all week, and finally found someone responsible, credit-worthy and responsive enough to fill out the application and pass the credit check, then sign the lease and send me the move-in money.

so that's a relief. the only small hiccup was when one of the applicants got pissed off when she found out she wasn't chosen. apparently, my current tenant told her she was "first in line" and would definitely get it. well, NO — not when I email you the application and you don't send it back for two-and-a-half days, let alone call or otherwise acknowledge my email and we've never ever spoken. DORK.

finally, on friday afternooon, i had to take off early to drive up to downtown Novato (which is the very, very last Marin County exit and takes an hour to get to with no traffic) and sign all the papers for my parents' re-fi. so that means I am now on the title of their house and will be paying their mortgage, while they take away over $10K in equity to live on while they try & find jobs.

i do not feel great about their prospects, personally, which is depressing. on the way home (thankfully, traffic wasn't terrible), i got so sad, thinking that while *i've* been happier with the fact that i have far less frequent contact with them than before, my mom seems *very* unhappy about it, to the point where it might even be compounding her depression and making it even harder for her to get out of the house and get a job and a life.

fortuntely, bernice, rob and nellie (whom I'll be dogsitting when i get back from Japan) were waiting for me at their place with champagne, crackers and stinky cheese.


October 12, 2005

flipbook is FUN

Posted in internets, toys, work at 10:07 pm by Marise Phillips

i just spent a couple hours playing with this… oh, how i love the internets!!

kinda bummed when i put david's glasses on today, and realized how much more clearly I could see with them. So much for $7K LASIK with schmancy waveform technology and no-blade corneal searing action!

speaking of david, it was both his and mallomar's last day today, and i raked in the boo-tay:

  • One Aeron chair
  • Three barbies, with extra clothes and shoes
  • One dry erase board, marker and eraser
  • One Homer Simpson, sitting in his La-Z-Boy and drinkin' a Duff ™
  • Two Simpsons scenes (backgrounds with the outlets you can plug em into to make em talk)
  • One Quintessential Comic Book Salesguy (also from the Simpsons, just don't know his name)
  • One very myopic potbellied guy (Simpsons again, don't know his name)

So that was keww.

Me, Aki, Menka, David & Mlomlo went to lunch at Ali Baba to send them off. I'm glad we could do that with such short notice. It was fun because all we did (besides eat middle eastern food) was tease D about his new place of work. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course!! 😉

Susan came over for a smoke later on which was a perfectly fitting farewell gesture.

Ten minutes after they left the building, a fire alarm went off.

Hmmmmm? 🙂 !!!!

July 8, 2005

hap’r brifday 2 ME

Posted in nostalgia, work at 2:16 pm by Marise Phillips

the title comes courtesy of my sweet lil bro who was found singing it to himself in the tub at the crack of dawn on his 3rd birthday.

this is the card my work buddies gave to me today…

we all went to the ramp and had burgers and fries, the highlight of which was when two of us spilled diet coke all over ourselves in comedically short succession.

the other person actually had a good excuse, as a gust of wind knocked his over. my spillage happened thanks to my very own, wildly gesticulating hands — as I was telling my colleague david that I would make him an all-mayonnaise dinner for his birthday. this was meant to be a taunt, as he has a bizarre and irrational fear of mayo. but karma caught up with me mid-sentence, as the entire diet coke came tumbling into my lap.

thank god I'm wearing brown today.

June 15, 2005

Do you like what you do?

Posted in quizzes, work at 10:45 am by Marise Phillips

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about career aspirations… which is funny, because I'm actually very happy in my job. But anyway, next week I'll be taking a work-sponsored training course called the Birkman Method, advance preparations for which required me to take an online personality test.

One of the questions was "Do you lie to get your way?" — I mean: come on. Do you actually expect people to answer that question honestly if they're taking the test for work?? It's like that question people sometimes ask you in an interview: "What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?" Uh-huh, yeah.

Anyway, there's a pretty cool "MeMe" questionnaire going around that I saw on Stacy O's blog. And then yesterday, I stumbled on this page (but whatever you do, please don't click here! OK! I warned you…) It got me to thinking about whether the careers favored by my personality "type" actually fit me.

I'm assuming most people know about the Myers-Briggs personality test. I found a link to a very brief version (the full version takes at least an hour.)

So anyway, I'm an INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving). This type makes up .2% of the population (which makes sense, given that most people are the diametrically opposite type: ESTJs (extroverted, sensory, thinking, judging). The INFP is sometimes also known as "The Healer" — awww… ain't that sweet?

Here are the careers supposedly favored by INFPs (along with my reaction to each):
poet: done it, not too bad. but no money in it 😉
painter: would like to try
freelance artist: done it, liked it
musician: Hey! I'm learning bass! Does that count?
writer: Do it every day.
art therapist: Hmm… sounds a bit funky. I'd like to *do* art for therapy, sure… not sure if I want to oversee others doing art for therapy. They might throw paint at me.
teacher (art, music, drama): thought about it.
songwriter: eh. so-so.
art historian: sure, why not?
library assistant: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
composer: sure, if I can use GarageBand 😉
work in the perfoming arts: did it (in college) – this seems *wide* open to interpretation. Kinda like: does being an usher at the local movie theatre count??
art curator: yeah!
playwright: tried it in college. it's hard.
bookseller: sounds good!
cartoonist: I'm not a good enough "draw-er," but I like *reading* cartoons!
video editor: done it, very fun.
photographer: do it as often as possible.
philosopher: um, I guess I'm pretty philosophical. But last time I checked, this is not a paid position.
record store owner: I'd love to have a shop like the one in High Fidelity… complete with Jack Black and that mumbly guy, Dick I think his name was.
digital artist: done it.
cinematographer: would love it!
costume designer: would have to be a better "sew-er"
film producer: this one seems out of place. i think you'd have to be all strong-willed, pushy and good with budgets.
philosophy professor: my friend/colleague is one of these. seems like something I'd rather do at the graduate level in France, rather than at the undergrad level in the US. But then I'd reall need to learn philosophy, and to speak French *much* better.
librarian: Nahhhh. Blech. Plus, I got LASIK, so no more sexy librarian look for me!
music therapist: Again with the creative therapy. What about good old regular therapy?!
enviromentalist: Requires cold-calling or going door to door, which I did one summer in college. I cried and quit after one day.
movie director: sure! but again, seems to require a lot of pushiness and yelling.
activist: I'm just not that *active* 😉
bookstore owner: How is this different than "bookseller" — would being a store owner make me "The Man?"
filmmaker: Yeah!!!!

May 19, 2005

ComPLEtely Unable to Work

Posted in knitting, pets, work at 3:23 pm by Marise Phillips

At least this time I've got an excuse!!

First, someone in IT decided it would be a good idea to install some Windows XP update while I was out to lunch. It forced my computer to restart, meaning that I lost all the work I did right before lunch (and didn't think to Save before I left my desk, assuming no one would touch my machine).
Then our internet connection went down.
Then our LAN went down.
Then my phone went down.

Some of the above are up and running again, but not the all-important LAN, which is where I save all my work files since they don't run backups on our PCs.

Plus I got new yarn today!
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Plus N got her kittens today!
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So the last hour I had to actually put in some work today, in between the 8000 meetings that I've had to go to, is completely lost.

I'm just glad I can BLOG… Thank god for small mercies!

April 26, 2005

Scooting to Work!

Posted in knitting, scootering, weekend, work at 9:30 am by Marise Phillips

Sooooooo exciting – Larry fixed my Mojito on Saturday and it sounds soooo lovely and quiet and is much more zippy now! I've driven it to work two days running now, and I'm ecstatic!! Even got meself a full-coverage helmet (mostly to get J off my case). I love being able to smell the spring grasses alongside the road right after I pass the SF dump. Ha 😉

I rode all over town on Sunday, first to K's, then to Zeitgeist which was mercifully overcrowded with a line running out the door. If it wasn't the memory of me blowing out everyone's eardrums a couple Sundays ago, the knitting would get my ass kicked.

Speaking of which, I am finally persevering with an actual scarf, thanks to the very fluffy, forgiving yarn I bought at ImagiKnit.

K also pointed me to some online yarn porn, and I bought a few more cute skeins which I'm hoping will arrive later this week.

This is the project I hope to be good enough to embark on someday:

But first, must learn to bind off.

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