Monday, April 21, 2008

Fatal Execution Engine Error?!

I bought a new computer because mine was over 3 1/2 years old and I feared a major crash. After researching, decided on another Dell, and stuck with XP after hearing many Vista horror stories.

Spent the better part of two days setting it up, loading and downloading software, transferring files, customizing settings. I even managed to open my old PC and remove the firewire card.

I'm quite proud that I was able to do all this computery stuff myself (with the help of the Internet) tho I confess to several periods of extreme frustration.

The surprises:
--how many programs I use.
--how much updating a brand new computer needs
--all the fairly common software, like iTunes and QuickTime, it didn't already have.

The good:
--my new Dell is SOOO much quieter than the old. Amazing.
--it's SOOO much faster, since I went with the new Intel Quad core processor. Amazing.
--love, love, love my wireless mouse.

The bad:
--I turn on my brand new system to see: FATAL EXECUTION ENGINE ERROR.
AARGH! Something to do with the JIT debugger, whatever that is.
Instead of freaking, I clicked cancel.
Everything seems to work fine. Whew.
A bit of Internet research led to a couple of fixes. I tried the easy one, which is unchecking the script debugging boxes under Tools/Internet Options/Advanced ...we'll see if that works. The next way seems to be downloading a dotnetfx.exe file. Hmmm.

--the widescreen monitor, which is awesome for my voiceover recording program Audacity, has the tiniest, most infinitesimal font and many attempts to change the settings/display seem only to affect fonts in randomly selected locations. I fear I'll need a magnifying glass to read my AOL. Advice, O techies in Internet land?

--can't get my PC speakers to play music and leave my headphones for recording only, the settings I had on my old PC. Tried and tried.

--let's just say Word 2007 has quite the learning curve.

--while my wireless keyboard has some nifty features, it doesn't fit with the nice gel wristpad on my keyboard tray and so far isn't as comfortable to type on...and some keys are in different places. like end and page up. So far I automatically go to where those keys used to be.

To think this is a process most of us will go through every fewe years...there must be an easer way?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Too Stupid to Live

When reading/critiquing romance novels, when the heroine does something completely out of character, something totally stupid, we say she is TSTL, or too stupid to live.

(For more on the issue, Jenna Black recently blogged quite nicely here.)

Unfortunately, TSTL moments also occur in real life. Though I'm usually a very together person, I've recently experienced more than my share.
1. Sunday, went with my brother to clean out a family storage locker we hadn't been to in 4 years. I had the keys, the locker number, and a key card. We followed my Mapquest directions until we saw the storage place. The place required a code. Which we didn't have, and I didn't remember needing. No problem, we'd go to the office. I'd written down from the Web site that the place opened at 9, about 15 minutes. But the door said 10. So we went to breakfast. When the office opened and I asked the clerk for a code, she realized we were at the wrong place...the right one was around the corner. No wonder the info we had didn't match.

2. Monday, worked as an extra on The Unborn . After I was done, got the shuttle back to crew parking. Got off, went to get in my car and realized I'd left my garment bag in extras holding. Like I haven't been an extra enough times to remember my clothes.

3. Wednesday, had an appointment in my calendar for 4:30. For some unknown reason, I thought it was at 4:00. Since I'm always early, arrived at 3:45.

Why this sudden rush of carelessness? Maybe I'm thinking too much about other things I need to do and where I'm going instead of focusing on where I am, instead of being in the moment.

I sure hope these aren't "senior moments!!!"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Trusting the Universe

Last week happened to be great, acting wise...but this week loomed with nary an audition or booking on the calendar.

Sunday evening (for some reason my least favorite time of the week) arrived with lots of blanks on my schedule. A couple of lunches with friends, though fun, do not make for a productive week. I have contest entries to judge and could work on a new book, but if at all possible I don't want to have a week without something developing on the acting front.

Many people, including those behind and following The Secret, believe if you put those good thoughts of what you want out there and believe it will happen, the universe will provide. Well, I've been doing that for YEARS about selling a book. Faithful readers know I'm still waiting for "the call."

It's a challenge for me to sit back and trust, and rely on all the irons I've worked so hard to put in the fire. So I usually tend to take a proactive approach, and find some online auditions to submit to. Remind people I've worked with of my existence. Monday, Tuesday...this approach yielded zip. Hmmm. Hard to keep the stress from boiling through the top of my head.

Then on Wednesday:
--a talent agent called with an audition for today.
--got asked to do a quick reshoot later in the week because of a script change.
--tho I wasn't chosen by a major film director for a scene I'd been asked by an extras casting director to submit for, he's considering me for another, much smaller scene.

What a lot of good news in one day! On the other hand, the roller coaster continues...

--received another rejection for my newest novel.
--the smaller movie scene conflicts with a commitment I'd made to give a workshop. So do I accept the movie, which I believe could have more impact on my career, and back out/find a replacement for the workshop? Or honor my previous commitment?

The universe giveth, taketh away, and occasionally confuseth...

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Scheduling and previous commitments continue to be a bane of my existence. And I'm not getting better at adjusting my time or not being bummed that I can't do it all and take advantage of every opportunity.


1) Overbooked: I was hired for two days of mock trials, something I've been interested in doing for several years. Not only is my nephew's birthday party one of the days, an agent called with an audition for an even better paying gig that would shoot on the other. So I had to say no to the agent and my nephew. Friends/classmates are in a show I want to see but it's at 11PM the night before the mock trial, which starts at 8:30AM. Of course there were days that week with nothing specific on the calendar.

2) Over-YESsed: I can't seem to say no when asked to judge writing contests, because I've appreciated and benefitted from feedback I've received over the years...but each entry takes a lot of time and mental energy. Some days, work for the board of directors I'm on requires immediate and significant attention. My sister asked me to help her with something. My writing group invited me to do a workshop. All things I want to do and enjoy doing.

But adding these activities to auditioning, rehearsals/learning lines, acting jobs, improv class, self-marketing and critiquing friends' books means many workdays go way beyond 9-5. Which means less time to read the books on my overflowing 'to be read' shelf and less time for a social life: two of the reasons I quit my day job in the first place.

Worse, I wonder if I'm using all of these commitments to avoid dealing with more serious issues/projects. Like working diligently on a new book.

Lately I've been falling into the trap of believing I have no time. I say, "Oh, I have this, this, this and this I have to do today. And, hmm, I really need groceries. And look, I have a Dr. appointment. And I'd better buy this birthday gift." Thus whittling away the day with things I do need to do, because I said I would. I need to get back to choosing how I use my time, vs. letting busy-busyness choose.

But what is the best use of my time? How do you decide the best use of yours?