Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Excercising Graditude

If you follow my instagram account, you'll notice I've started a daily photo routine every morning.  I take a 20 minute morning hike through my neighborhood of Beachwood Canyon and post 5 photographs of details that I came across on my walk.

It's a way to get my brain and body going before I head off to my job.  I don't post anything until I return from my hike to avoid constant intagramming in the middle of an experience.

As an unexpected side effect of this practice, I have become very aware of details, the small things, stuff that we generally pass up while we are caught up in the hustle of our day too busy getting somewhere to notice the path we took there.  This has truly opened my eyes to notice, really see what's around me.  I'm finding details that I simply never saw.  And I'm grateful for the homeowners, the architects, the neighborhood for continually surprising me.

My photos aren't the most exciting in the world, but they are a visual "Thank You" for those who go above and beyond to make this world a little more beautiful and interesting.

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Shot at Rediscovering My Passion

In 2002, I received a degree for Photojournalism, from the University of Texas. (Hook 'em!) I loved taking photos!  In the end, I wasn't too keen on being a newspaper photojournalist, but I still loved toting a camera around.

However, I just haven't really been indulging my camera craving as of late.  Earlier this summer, I blogged about having an Energy Bank, and how I have just enough energy to allot to my daily tasks, hobbies and relationships. 

Like many people who fall under the category of "Middle America," I work 9am-6pm, at a desk, 5 days a week.  My job is the 2nd biggest relationships I have, after my marriage.  While it comes with great perks and coworkers, it also drains me.  And due to the time commitment, I have focused more on my paycheck than my passions.

When the most recent issue of National Geographic arrived last week, I started taking my time, page-by-page, devouring the photos and stories.  And something caught my eye.....Your Shot.  There were three pages devoted to fantastic images captured by hobbyist.  Whaaa???? 

So I look up Your Shot online and see this FANTASTIC photo community that catalogues their favorite original photographs with the hope of being featured or published.  National Geographic photo editors regularly issue Assignments...an open call to photographers to complete a photo assignment including direction, parameters and deadlines, which will be original content based on their point of view, location and interpretation of the assignment.

Well, HELLO, passion!  We are back on track.  It's like being back in a photo-class of my peers without the tuition, required chemistry hours and bad 90's hair.

I feel alive with the desire to create again!  I am not a professional photographer nor do I necessarily wish to define myself as one.  But I'm an artist, who loves to take a beautiful image, even if I'm the only one who likes it.

Will I ever be published In National Geographic?  I don't know.  I'm not counting on it nor expecting it.  But I'm enjoying the community, the photos and the inspiration this outlet has ignited.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Not a Place for a Selfie

When I receive submissions for a job posting that I placed, I am not a fan of an applicant throwing in a headshot.  Unless looks are something required for the position, I do not need to see that the applicant once sought to be an actor and has a commercial headshot that now serves to land them administrative positions.  Because, honestly, that's EXACTLY what I think when there is an attached headshot.  In fact, I am often hesitant to call a person in for an interview who attaches a headshot because I assume they are still chasing the dream and will bail on a stable job for that chance to be a featured extra on a deferred-pay reality show.

Today....I was privy to an all time low. A selfie, attached to a resume and cover letter.

In this selfie-obsessed generation, we have songs about it "Let me Take a Selfie," a new abc comedy show called "Selfie" and I'm fairly positive that if you own a smartphone, you've taken a selfie.

I am not among the throng of selfie-haters....being that I can't drum up enough energy to care about how often a selfie is taken or posted or why.

HOWEVER, there is a time....a place.....a situation....

What is NOT appropriate is to apply for an office job at a agency and attach a selfie.

It wasn't just ANY selfie.  No, no.  It was a bathroom selfie, complete with, as my associate calls it, the asshole-face.  You can SEE the metal stall behind her!!!

The farthest this selfie got this applicant was to be blasted on my blog. 
As 20-year olds say these days.....I just...can't.
PS.....if you type "References upon request," I assume 1 of 2 things:
#1.  You have absolutely no friends, co-workers or cousins, twice-removed, who would speak favorably of you.
#2.  You are too lazy to perform a simple task.

Friday, June 27, 2014

READ: If you are currently job searching

I am currently dealing with incoming resumes for a position at my company and I am APPALLED at the way resumes are handed in now. 

They literally email over two attachments (their resume and cover letter), nothing written in the body of the email.

My opinion is as follows: if you cannot manage to cut-n-paste your cover letter into the body of your email, then I cannot manage to consider you.  This initial act of laziness, lack of communication and lack of respect towards a person in a hiring position shows your disregard for work ethic, at a glance.

Level up, people.  This is so pathetic.

Here is a snippet of what I get to read through:
"I have experience for what you need. I have been doing customer service over the phone. At one company I was one of eight given an award for helping to grow that company. I work in the entertainment industry, and I have a reliable  car. Also, I'm good with people."

*GAG* The lack of transitional skills from one line of thought to the next pains my writer's soul.

Frankly, if you can compose two three lines of text that show some semblance of cognitive thinking, you are head and shoulders above today's job submissions.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Like Thinking You Might be Miserable

Your ex found a new girlfriend...and she's hot

Your best friend is out on a night you are home....and having the time of her life.
Your sister makes more money than you...and has a great family.

And they are posting online ALL about it.  Big smiles!  Victory declared!  "Best-day-ever!" seems to be every day.  And you feel jealous, annoyed, disappointed that your life isn't as glittery and glamorous as their instagram/Twitter/Facebook feed suggest.  You block them.  You unfollow their feed.  You roll your eyes at their #hashtags of awesomeness.  You look for a way to find a crack in the armor, some dirt amongst the brilliance.

And you will find it....in articles like This is why you shouldn't take people's Facebook lives seriously which lets you and the world in on the secret that some people don't post the bad crap going on in their lives.  This blog writer consoles you by letting you know: "Everyone on Facebook looks like they're having a great time. Fun adventures, deep romances, amazing jobs. It's enough to make you feel inadequate, but it's also a lie. Nobody is really as happy as their Facebook wall claims..."

No shit, Captain Obvious.

In fact, I bet your ex did find a new hot girlfriend and that new hot girlfriend has psoriasis.  Is he going to let you and the mass media know that her scalp is flaky?  Is he going to do the just and honest thing and point out her flaws so you can feel a little bit better about yourself?  No, he probably isn't.  He's going to be a TOTAL douche and only post about his adoration for the good he sees in her.

Your best friend that is out without you is most likely not going to alert the world that she went home with a stranger that never texted her back after they hooked up.  Is she going to post about her inner insecurities and how she feels no one will ever see her true beauty?  Is she going to metaphorically slit her wrists and bleed out her deepest pain for her 1,685 "friends" on Facebook, so that they can understand her nightly partying helps her hide her loneliness, so you won't feel so lonely?  Probably not. 

Your sister bought a new car, is going on a 10-day vacation and is neck deep in Louboutins.  She makes more money in a month, than you do in 4 months and it has clearly bought her happiness.  Do you want to see how much caffeine she takes to make it through another grueling 80 hour work week?  And how that constant supply of buzz-inducing liquid has given her a stomach ulcer, not to mention constant diarrhea? Would you like to see her post how soul crushing it feels to barely see her kids, just so you can feel like money isn't everything?

People have lives.  Complete, complicated, dysfunctional lives.  And if you want to truly know how someone is doing, try calling them.  And if they aren't someone you would call and check up on, then why does their online media affect you?

You know what I REALLY can't stand is when someone uses a Facebook status to garner attention, self pity and becomes simply that bummer of a "friend" who it pains you to follow (*quietly unfollows the feed*).  Cause you know what? I enjoy a stream of cuddly puppies, finished racing medals and people finding success, happiness and love.  I have enough worries, bummers, and enough bad shit that simply happens in my life....which I won't be posting about.

Oh...one last thought....if you need to "take a break from Facebook"....I need you to do three things:
#1. Place your computer in the street
#2. Drive over it
#3. Go find your misplaced grasp on reality and what actually matters

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Schmuck

The general meaning of schmuck is a fool or idiot.  That's not what I'm inferring when I call myself or someone else a schmuck.  It's my way of saying, "You're someone who gives beyond what is right, just and healthy for your own existence."  In the Penny Vital Dictionary of Awesome Words, the abridged version, a schmuck is someone who gives of themselves foolishly, whole heartedly and with abandonment.  Sounds lovely, right?

Not always.

More often than not, a schmuck attracts a sponge.  A sponge is someone who soaks up the love, the gifts and the adoration from the schmuck and gets fluffier, fatter, fuller....without truly returning the favor. A sponge isn't necessarily corrupt in their essence nor taking these sacrifices with ill-intent, but is more or less ignorant of just how much it might be costing the schmuck to give it.  Whether that ignorance is feigned or genuine, that depends on the sponge.

As a former schmuck, I dated a lot of sponges in my life.  They reveled in how much I gave, contributed and sacrificed....all in the name of love and wanting to be loved.  And when it was over, I was in debt, full of resentment and feeling like I had been robbed.  However, everything that they had taken, I had freely gifted.

Over the course of my life, I have become to understand that resentment is a metaphorical destination and it takes your willingness to place yourself within its confines.  So I usually reroute myself these days.  I just go around or avoid it altogether.  When I give of myself, I proceed with a healthy measure of caution and discretion.

I no longer date or interact with sponges.  In fact, I married a schmuck.  He is the most loving, giving, self-sacrificing person I have ever met.  And the greatest way I can love him back is to limit his giving.  I don't need him to pay my bills.  I have my own job.  I don't need him to buy me expensive things or trips.  I pay for my stuff and I can pay my way.  My husband can love me in so many more ways without me depleting his funds or starting a precedence that my happiness relies on what or how much he gives me.  It's not his job to make my life easy or happy.  It's just his job to love me and be my best friend.

This train of thought stemmed from a Huffington Post article I read this week, titled Three Pieces Of Marriage Advice You Should Actually Listen To, by Michael Griswold.  Within the article comes this excerpt:

Marriage takes sacrifice: Saying that marriage takes sacrifice isn't exactly "stop the presses, breaking news"; most people are aware of this. But, what they might not be aware of is that both parties should sacrifice as equally as possible. Sacrificing in marriage isn't the problem — most things in life take sacrifice. But, when one partner sacrifices as often as a pitcher bunting with a runner on first and the other partner sacrifices almost never, you run into problems. This isn't to say there needs to be a tally (one sacrifice for me, one for you), but it should be as fair as possible. Good marriage relationship advice is to be cognizant of who is sacrificing more (or making the bigger sacrifices) and put forth an effort to even things out.

In essence, a necessary sacrifice is an ok thing as long as it's not an everyday thing.  And if you are dating a schmuck, know when to say no and have them scale back....it's the greatest way you can express your profound love for them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Who knew?
Well, if you actually know me, you knew.
For those of you who equally share a love of zombie flicks and pop art, go over and follow my alter ego and love of fluffy, brain-sucking shufflers at:
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I appreciate all of the love and support!
-Penny Vital