Archive for February, 2007
It’s funny how you can’t see something until you believe it could exist, even when it’s been under your nose for a long time.
I learned and re-learned this concept a few times, only to forget about it until time and again my nose had been rubbed in it, but enough about my nose.
The first time it happened was when I read a book called “Think and grow rich”, written a ton of years ago by Napoleon Hill, wherein I found out about the C-B-A principle, Conceive, Believe, Acheive. First you have to come up with an idea, believe it’s possible, and then do it. Sounds so simple in retrospect, but it has a reverse way of being in how you might not know that it’s possible for you to do something until someone points out to you that it’s been done by others, or you stumble on to that fact. The solid example of this for me is when I got my first “Sports” car, a Bricklin. I had wanted something non sedan like for years, but it just wasn’t practical and I couldn’t see myself in one. Sure enough, a self fulfilling prophecy, one Chevy or Ford after another for years, until a friend pointed out that I should cut out a photo of myself and paste it into the window of a picture of a Pantera, and use it as a goal. Well, the Bricklin with it’s gull wing doors jumped ahead of the Pantera during the year of learning to believe, and then one day there I was driving one with a custom license plate as my tribute to Mr. Hill, EZASCBA for eazy-as-Conceive of the idea, Believe it, And drive it.
Years later I had this way of seeing reinforced when I took a class with a career coach. Maybe life coach is a better description, as my career and life were intertwined so much that that my usual answer to “Who are you” was “I’m a photographer” instead of my name (movie set photography was my previous work field), it wasn’t until I was able to separate myself from my work that I was free to really see the world around me. One of the first things I saw was how my environment was always changing, and I was still relating to it as I always had, not adapting to the new real world. Paul Roth was my coach, and he did wonders for me in my learning to see. Sure sounds strange now to say that as a photographer I was unable to see, all those damn trees got in front of the forrest and all that. With his help, I was able to open myself up to the world of possibility that allowed me to move on. One of the first questions he asked me at the start of his group was, “What do you want?”. Sounds stupid simple now, but it took a few weeks of thinking about it before I was able to say all I wanted was to be happy again. This was shortly after my divorce, but stating aloud what I wanted worked on several levels beyond that. Being shown that it was not only possible, but easy, I was able to define who I was by where I had been. Once that hurdle was passed, setting course to where I wanted to go became sort of a manifest destiny. So here I am, several years later, doing better things with my life. With my new perspective, I can see that I’m still moving up the food chain and far, far more happy.
The UCLA hassle continues, a many headed hydra to deal with. Last fall, I took a short job working on a UCLA Film Department project for a few weeks, I had no idea that something that started out as an attempt to earn back some positive karma points (Ala “My Name Is Earl”), to maybe help create some sort of balance for some of the less stellar things I did in the ’70’s, could turn out to be such a major pain in the ass. The first warning that perhaps I’d pissed off the gods, maybe more than usual: When the project was completed, I received a check from UCLA that was 10 percent smaller than I had anticipated, and this was not because of the deduction for taxes. They had taken out that percentage and put it into a forced, and unrequested savings account. When I asked that they return the money to me, I was told that it’s a mandatory savings plan for all university employees done by their system, and that if I took the money out in less than a year after deposit, I would have to pay an early withdrawal penalty. The fact that I was only hired as a one time, short term employee didn’t make any difference. So I figured, fine, I’ll leave the money in there, and then I’ll take it out when a year has passed. Six months later, I received a check from Fidelity Investments (the place where the funds were deposited, and, as it turns out a major investor in the bad things happening in Darfur) for the deposited amount, less a penalty for early withdrawal. It seems that if you don’t have any account activity for 6 months, they’re allowed to close the account and send you the remains. But wait, there’s more. A few weeks ago I received a form letter letting me know that the computer system at UCLA had been hacked into, and all my information, including my social security number, home address and phone numbers, birth date and birth location (why did UCLA need so much information?) had been compromised. They suggested that I contact the three major credit reporting bureaus and have my records frozen so no new accounts could be opened in my name using that stolen information. Two days after that shock, I received yet another form letter from the school, saying in effect that they would be sending me my 1099 tax form electronically, unless I opted out and requested a printout version. When I called the financial office to make that request, the walking waterbed that had forgotten to let me know about the forced savings before I agreed to work there, said that I would need to give her my employee number to make this request. Employee number? WTF is that? She had that number in her files, and I’m sure the hackers had it as well, but that would meant the office queen would have to stand up and walk across the room, so instead she insisted that I would need to dig through boxes from the previous tax year on as yet unsorted receipts and such to find the number and send it to her. Growing up in the L.A. area, I had often heard that USC stood for “Unbelievably Spoiled Children”, and the UCLA was “Unbelievably Crowded with Little Asians”, now I think I’ll have to come up with a new word group for “UCLA”, any suggestions are welcome.
A little over a week ago, I attended a meeting of my union. We had several guest speakers from FTAC, which I found out meant :”Film and Television Action Comittee”, a logo I had noticed on car bumpers and on t-shirts on the sets I work on over the past few years. As I heard that this group was working to stop runaway production (films being made out of California) in the movie industry, I was sure that the initials T-A-C meant Those Australians and Canadians, feel free to fill in what you thought that I thought the F stood for.
Anyway, it was strange to hear that they wanted to urge the U.S. government to keep the industry in America (California, to be more specific), and wanted to rouse the American people to give their support to this drive. I had to wonder why we should hope to get this kind of support from Americans, when the meeting parking lot was full of almost entirely German and Japanese imported cars. To me, this indicated there was not much in the way of an endorsement of our union members of the American auto industry, which I hear is in need of a big shot in the ass to keep going. Someday soon I’ll start up a group that I’ll call FTGJ. Please feel free to pick the words to match the initials.
P.S., Blessed art thou, O Ford my car, cruiser of the highway, long may you roll
“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
For a long time I wanted to see Big Dick Cheney rolled out of his office on a gurney after his (to sorta quote Redd Foxx) “Big One”, mostly to find out if he actually had some sort of a heart to start with. Now, I’ve come to wish for his health as he’s, sadly, the last / best hope for survival we have, the only one in the highest part of the Bush camp that’s really, really, really in it for the money, not for the wishes for a soon to come rapture. Cheney won’t leave office (other than in tar and feathers or under house arrest) until he and his cadre have extracted every possible penny from the contract laden Iraq war effort.
The still unresolved puzzle: How did we come to have a person that believes, or at least says he does, in the waiting paradise without virgins, who has in his daily possession the mechanism and the launch code to start the REAL “Big One”?
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,
will make violent revolution inevitable.”
John F. Kennedy