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5:19 pm - Sun 7/15/07
Stuff Written On Envelopes

Stuff Written On Envelopes...And A Couple Of Post-It Notes

Sun 7/15/07 (11:06 a.m.)

On my computer desk, I have a number of envelopes, and a couple post-it notes, on which I’ve jotted down odd bits of info, quotes, lists, random observations, etc.

I’ve wanted to toss those envelopes and post it notes for awhile now, but can’t bring myself to do it, because the stuff jotted down is stuff I’ve meant to get to in here, but haven’t found time for.

So now, in no particular order, here are those jottings (With additional notes from the “jotter”), for your amusement and enlightenment, and so I can get rid of this crap.

_________________________

“I came to know my life from the telling of it.”

-Spalding Gray-

That quote reminds me of another quote I jotted down somewhere, from Frida Kahlo–“I do so many self portraits because I am the subject I know best”.

Clearly, having journaled for 27 years and counting, I hunger to “know my life from the telling of it”. And apparently, since I’ve been online for quite awhile now, I hunger for you to “know my life from the telling of it” as well.

And at the same time, like Frida Kahlo, “I am the subject I know best”. I may have thoughts and opinions on other subjects, mostly ill-informed and not particurly well thought-out, but I’m the world’s only expert on “Jim Hoffmaster”.

_________________________

Shortly after the Virginia Tech massacre, Time came out with a list of traits commonly shared by people who go on these murderous rampages.

1. Narcissistic personalities.
2. Depression.
3. A history of sexual/physical abuse.
4. Feelings of powerlessness.
5. Opportunity.
6. Blaming the world for their troubles.
7. The loss of their “defining situation” (ex. Being fired from a job).
8. Homicidal and suicidal tendencies.

I wrote down the list because I was struck by how much of myself I saw there. For awhile, it had me thinking, “Gee...why haven’t I gone on a killing spree?”.

I felt like a bit of a slacker.

But now, as I look over the list, it actually breaks down pretty clearly–I definitely have the first four things going on, but not so much with numbers 5-8.

So it looks like I don’t have to put “Kill Everyone” on my “to do” list after all.

_________________________

“Schadenfreude”

This word comes up in my thinking on a semi-regular basis.

For one thing, I just like the word. I’m impressed by it–For one word, it does some pretty heavy lifting (The way I’ve usually seen it loosely defined/translated is “taking pleasure in the suffering of others”).

It’s a thought-provoking word. At least it is for me–I don’t think I typically take much “pleasure in the suffering of others”...but it’s been known to happen (It depends on who the “others” are). And when it does, I wonder what’s going on in my head, and in my heart, that I need other people to suffer in order to feel better about myself.

And in a larger sense, that seems an affliction of our society at large. Without an audience looking to exult in other people’s suffering, a lot of “news” would have no reason to exist (Imagine, if you can, our present-day society without tabloid journalism...).

These days, it’s never seemed more clear to me that the media builds up people who are intrinsically worthless–in terms of having anything interesting or enlightening or helpful to offer their fellow man–specifically so their audience can feel guilt-free pleasure in their (often media-orchestrated) downfall, appealing to one of the more unappetizing parts of human nature.

_________________________

Jon Gindick, author of many books on harmonica-playing (And who runs a series of harmonica “Jam Camps”, one of which I think I’ll be attending in September), thinks the following is a very important riff/scale to know.

(B=Blow D=Draw)

6B, 5D, 4D, 4B, 3D, 2D

Thus ends our harmonica lesson for today.

(That wasn’t really something I’d planned to put in here, but what the hell?)

_________________________

Celebrity blogs that got–I believe–a “B+” or better from Entertainment Weekly (It’s become my latest dream to make it onto this list someday):

1. Pam Anderson (pamelaanderson.com)
2. Rosie O’Donnel (rosie.com)
3. Lily Allen (myspace.com/lilymusic)
4. Jenna Fischer (myspace.com/pambeesley)
5. Kevin Smith (silentbobspeaks.com)
6. Meredith Viera (meredithtoday.ivillage.com)

_________________________

When I first started working at ArcLight, I assumed, with 15 theaters, that we’d get pretty much every major film that was playing at a given time.

Not so. And especially not so, it seems, in the summertime–this summer we aren’t showing Pirates of the Carribbean, Oceans 13, Ratatouille, Knocked Up, Live Free or Die Hard, Surfs Up, or the latest Harry Potter (Though in terms of big “summer movies”, we have had Spiderman 3, Shrek The Third, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and are currently showing Transformers. But in my opinion, we got the bad end of the deal this summer).

It’s disappointing, since a big reason to work at a movie theater is free movies; I had to pay to see “Oceans” and Knocked Up, and might pay to see “Die Hard” and Ratatouille as well.

(It’s more complicated than this, but basically, ArcLight has a hard time competing with big theaters chains that can offer studios hundreds of screens for their movies, not to mention some studios having part ownership in some theaters. But in the fall, things change a bit; ArcLight is a big movie destination for industry types, so it becomes a very attractive venue, if you want your film to get seen by people who might vote on it for an Oscar.)

_________________________

Author Chuck Palahniuks (sp?) guide to life:

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home...It’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.”

Again, there’s potential for a number of journal entries based on that sentiment, but I’m already running long here (I will say this, however–Of the three things mentioned, I’ve been least successful in loving my jobs. I’ve never “loved” a job I had in “the real world”).

_________________________

“The marketplace has spoken, and the marketplace likes shit. Maybe we shouldn’t hate the directors so much as the audiences.”

That was a comment on an online article at The Onion.com (I believe the article was titled something like “A Dozen Directors You Didn’t Know You Hated”).

I wrote it down because I wrestle with the idea that “the marketplace likes shit”. It’s an overly broad statement–there are any number of good things “the marketplace” has responded to–but it’s true that “the marketplace” responds, big-time, to a lot of stuff that can, indeed, only be accurately described as “shit”.

It makes me think about the “acceptance”, the “love”, if you will, that I’m looking for on a mass scale (Why am I looking for acceptance, in effect, from people I don’t respect?). It makes me think about my deep desire to be part of something that’s worth my involvement.

And it makes me wonder, not only how I’m going to make a living in this crazy biz, but how I’m going to do it, and feel good about myself in the morning?

Well, there’s actually more of this stuff–I know. You’re thinking, “Damn Jim, how much shit do you have on your desk?”–so I think I’m going to do a “Part II” after I get home from work tonite (Thankfully, after two long days at Guest Services, a short shift on Phones).


 

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