Help! Do you ever have days where you don't want to write or revise but you know you should? What do you do to get through them?
Okay, so this is a thing that happens. Maybe not to everyone, but it happens to me, and when it does it is almost always for one of two reasons. Each of these reasons has a slightly different solution (there is also a third reason, which we may get into in a minute, but it’s more of a crisis than a reason, so mileage may vary).
Reason number one is, I’m easily distracted and full of thoughts and kind of lazy. So if I’m being that, there is only one solution and it is “Brenna, sit down in front of that screen and make a book, it is your JOB.” It usually works—boredom maxes out after about five minutes of staring at my document file and I start working. And there are some secondary tricks too: I work in coffee shops a lot because I like the background noise. I have big headphones that feel good squeezing my head and fill me with a sense of wellbeing. I find a song and listen to it on repeat. I always drink or eat the same thing. I wear a sweater that I like. (I fall into habits very easily and have learned to use this quality to trick myself into working.)
Reason number two, though. Reason two is that sometimes my brain is empty. I’ve been working too much too fast and not refilling my thoughts and now all the fuel is gone and I’m just grinding metal. Sometimes that means I need to not work and do something mindless, like wash dishes or vacuum or repot houseplants or drive or go outside and dig a hole and then fill it back up. Or sometimes it means I need to not work and go read a book or watch a movie or go to a museum and see things other people made when they were expansive and excited and not out of thoughts. And then, once my brain has had enough food and enough rest, I’m ready again.
Both of these reasons for not writing are totally normal (for me) (for you?) but it’s important to be able to tell the difference, because one is solved by powering through, and one is not. Which brings us to the third crisis reason.
Sometimes, I am on a brutal deadline. Sometimes it’s non-negotiable. Sometimes I have pulled two all-nighters in a row and am staring down the barrel of a third, and I know I’d want to work if I could just have a second where I’m NOT working, but that is only a beautiful dream. This is a problem. You know those people who only ever seem to operate at 100% when under extreme duress? *raises hand* A weird thing happens where I don’t WANT to work anymore, but the overdrive switch has flipped in my brain, and it will do the work until the job is done, whether I want to or not. And trust me, I DON’T. It is like being dragged through a drippy alligatory swamp by a robot—you’re just like “please, robot, stop moving my legs! This was the actual hardest thing for me to figure out a solution for, because:
1) Deadlines are a part of my job, and sometimes they are quite tight, and the work still has to get done anyway.
2) As much as I absolutely hate it, there is another part of me that likes it.
But I know more now than I used to. Back when I was 23 and completely unwise and taking a course overload in grad school while interning and also working 30 hours a week, I was just like “this is how we live a life!” That is not true. Can you hear me in the back? THAT IS NOT TRUE.
But sometimes you still have to do stuff and there’s a lot of it and you also have very little time to do it in. So let me tell you a deadline secret, it is very important: the answer to Brenna’s acute deadline crisis is, drink water, eat almonds, divide each 24-hour cycle into two discrete sections, allowing for one 3-hour sleep cycle and one 4 to 5-hour one. This is because if you are me, you start to feel like you are not allowed to sleep. This is a lie. And in fact, if you don’t sleep, I promise your work won’t be as good. At very best, it will be pretty weird. Also, drink less coffee. You think you need it, but you don’t.
I realize the answer to this question escalated quickly. Probably just focus on points 1 and 2—telling the difference between when your brain is empty and when it’s just dragging its feet. Unless you are a person who is currently living my 23-year-old life. In which case, you are not just allowed to sleep. Dude, you HAVE TO.
Why is the animation so good on MLWA? I feel blessed to even witness it
Honestly, it isn’t even a matter of production quality. Take the following scene, for example.
It starts out with same, what is it, 4 frames? cycled about 4 times, but the cartoony nature of it does a great job at expressing the emotion of the scene. They follow it up with what really makes the shot great: watching the thing blow up as Akko’s face contorts. The thing starts growing in a couple of short bursts to get the viewer’s attention, before quickly expanding. Akko’s face, meanwhile, contorts and deforms in a number of expressive and quirky ways.
What makes Trigger awesome is that they make sure as many scenes as possible are expressive. As opposed to the anime standard of having nearly still shots where the people stay in place and just move their mouths, they make their characters move around as they talk, even if this means they half to use less detailed frames.
When they have people running down a hallway, they make them run down a hallway in a way that is visually interesting. When they are fighting monsters, they fight them in visually interesting ways. Hell, they even make the characters looking into a glass case interesting.
Trigger just straight up knows how to animate better than anyone else in japan. They often times use less detailed frames in order to make sure everything they put forward is dynamic and fun.
But they save a ton of their production budget for a few, important scenes, and boy, when they put their all into a scene…
Humans as a whole have each of their own ways to communicate with either short bursts of activity or an unimaginable amount of time sending a message that resonates with another of their ilk.
I am Tznnek of Zenzubir under Sector 737-E and I have been tasked to gather as much data as possible about on Human Gestures in different countries.
I hope this will not prove as disastrous as my colleague sustaining injury from observing leap-beasts in Australia.
Observer’s Log – Earth Cycle #4
The younglings (called “teenagers”, see chapter 10.3 for clarification) perform hand gestures they call “fist bumps” as opposed to a nod or a handshake. Some adolescent males would also participate in leaping at each other (???) in mock-attack and bump their shoulders, chest, and abdomen against each other before baring white dentals in a form of a grin.
Perhaps it is a form of assurance in both of their so-called “masculinity”. Perhaps it is merely a source of fun like most humans said. Regardless, this is a good start. Maybe now I will understand exactly why other life forms fear, idolise and dote on these species.
Many people like to think that their preferences and choices are their own. But to what extent is that really true? How much autonomy do we really have to make our own decisions?
If you know about MBTI and Enneagram, you already know that these two orientations of personality can make a huge impact on the style with which you approach life and the direction you choose. However, one theory, the Strauss-Howe generational theory proposes that even the timing of our birth can cause us to take on the attributes of the our generation’s zeitgeist in cycles of 4.
There are 4 different generation archetypes: the prophets, nomads, heroes and artists. The emergence of these archetypes are centered around two distinct periods of heavy activity.
The first distinct period of heavy activity is described as the crisis, where “institutional life is destroyed and rebuilt in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s survival. Civic authority revives, cultural expression redirects towards community purpose, and people begin to locate themselves as members of a larger group”.
The second distinct period of heavy activity is described as the awakening, when “institutions are attacked in the name of personal and spiritual autonomy. Just when society is reaching its high tide of public progress, people suddenly tire of social discipline and want to recapture a sense of self-awareness, spirituality and personal authenticity.”
Prophet generations are born near the end of a Crisis, during a time of rejuvenated community life and consensus around a new societal order. Prophets grow up as the increasingly indulged children of this post-Crisis era, come of age as self-absorbed young crusaders of an Awakening, focus on morals and principles in midlife, and emerge as elders guiding another Crisis.
Nomad generations are born during an Awakening, a time of social ideals and spiritual agendas, when young adults are passionately attacking the established institutional order. Nomads grow up as under-protected children during this Awakening, come of age as alienated, post-Awakening adults, become pragmatic midlife leaders during a Crisis, and age into resilient post-Crisis elders.
Hero generations are born after an Awakening, a time of individual pragmatism, self-reliance, and let-things-be attitude. Heroes grow up as increasingly protected post-Awakening children, come of age as team-oriented young optimists during a Crisis, emerge as energetic, overly-confident midlifers, and age into politically powerful elders attacked by another Awakening.
Artist generations are born during a Crisis, a time when great dangers cut down social and political complexity in favor of public consensus, aggressive institutions, and an ethic of personal sacrifice. Artists grow up overprotected by adults preoccupied with the Crisis, come of age as the socialized and conformist young adults of a post-Crisis world, break out as process-oriented midlife leaders during an Awakening, and age into thoughtful post-Awakening elders.
So how does this correspond with our present day? Keeping note that the age ranges of these generations are not set by any one authority, we are still able to see the formation of a plausible model that fits within the generational trends we see today.
Baby Boomers, who would be between 52 and 70 in 2016, would be the Prophets. They experienced unprecedented good fortune within their youth having been born in an economy post-world war 2.
Generation X, would be between 35 and 51 in 2016, would be the Nomads. Think The Breakfast Club.
Generation Y, or millennial, 18 and 34 in 2016, would be the Heroes. The millennials were the last generation to see life without the internet yet on the cusp of new changes with technology. The Hero Generation comes of age during a crisis period, and with the emergence of The Great Recession and issues like ISIS, it makes sense that we are currently in a crisis period.
Generation Z, will include those below 18 and those who have yet to be born, featuring as the Artist generation.
What we can learn from observing these theories, is that each archetype is formed in response to the previous generations. Generation X incited a spiritual movement from the lack of soul within the strong and cold institutions they saw. The Baby Boomers sought to create unity as embodiments of society’s idealistic visions for the future. These different generations of people were all influenced by their predecessors and their births at specific periods of time. The personalities of these people, despite likely seeing themselves as autonomous individuals with their own goals, created a unique faction that represented an overlying message. It makes you wonder what our personalities could have been like, given the same experiences as our predecessors, what our dreams and goals would be like and whether we would understand people from different generations more.
Given these theories of MBTI, Enneagram and Strauss-Howe generational theory, we can almost get a sense that we don’t choose our own destinies, but our destinies choose us. The real battle may be a matter of whether we choose to embrace our roles or fight against the tides.
Completed walk cycle!!! Took 4 weeks (12 hours/week) of work! Many rounds of revisions, tests, erasing, and re-testing. It’s annoying that the cleaned portion of the video is slightly off-alignment, but you get the idea :D
ANTMFunny: Were you ever contacted to be on the All-Star cycle?
Tiffany: Never. Ever. Never.
ANTMFunny: I can’t imagine you would have wanted to be on it anyway…
Tiffany: Are you fucking serious? I would have been on that so fast. I wanted a chance to really model. I just hate that my kids had to see me go out like that. I could really give a freak what anybody else thinks, it’s about what my kids see and I don’t want them to see mommy losing like that. So of course, any opportunity I would have got to be on another reality show – still to this day – I would be on it. They could call me right now and I would be on it!
I think I didn’t get that chance because I’m a wildcard. People don’t like to deal with me cuz they can’t control me. I’m learning how to ease up to a certain extent but I just got to do what I believe in.
ANTMFunny: Do you think in All-Stars you would have tried to play along better?
Tiffany: How did I not play along the first time?
Tiffany: I’m listening.
ANTMFunny: I feel like a lot of the girls realize the show’s basically a joke, but they’re like, “I’m going for the $100,000 at the end.” Like, I interviewed a guy from the last cycle, and he knew they were making a fool of him but he played along because he knew he might win a big check at the end.
Tiffany: Right. Well, now I would [play along.] The Tiffany that I am now… I don’t even know who the hell that girl was! But I’m glad it happened cuz it changed me in so many ways. Not financially, no, but I learned a lot from watching myself.
To tell you the truth, I have so many different emotions that every single year I feel different about it. One minute I’ll feel like I learned a lot from it, and one minute I feel like it ruined my life. I would like to give you this great answer, but I still really don’t know.
ANTMFunny: I think that’s totally fair. So I’ve got to tell you – I live in Los Angeles where most movies and TV shows are filmed. I don’t care about doing most Hollywood things, but you better believe I went to Barney’s Beanery so I could get a drink where that stank ho poured beer on your weave.
ANTMFunny: You got a bad reputation from that incident, but I still don’t see how any of that was even your fault.
Tiffany: I thought that was all fake to be honest with you! Like, why were we there in the first place? They give us this whole speech beforehand about how if we get in trouble, they can’t do anything for us and they can’t bail us out of jail. Something about it just didn’t feel real. It wasn’t until someone threw a bottle that I was like, “Oh, maybe this is actually happening.”
But yeah, that was all a blur. To be honest, I’ve been in how many fights in how many bars, I didn’t even remember that one happened until I read it on the website the other day. I saw people still comment about that bitch pouring beer on my weave.
ANTMFunny: And did you get rid of that weave after it got blood and beer on it?
Tiffany: [sarcastic] No, I kept it and cherished it forever and ever and ever. How could I afford anything else?… No, of course I got rid of that weave, come on now.
ANTMFunny: Did the show make you go to anger management or was that something you chose to do on your own?
Tiffany: They told me I had to go. The first time I tried out for the show, the psychological test came back a little weird because I was kind of aggressive. They told me I had to cool down and go to anger management and then I could possibly come back. I feel like they asked us so many things [on the test] so they know what emotions will trigger you.
ANTMFunny: Yeah, part of the reason for those psychological tests is to know what buttons they can push to make you react. Do you think anger management helped you as a person?
Tiffany: Lately, I’ve been working on it more and keeping calm. It’s because of where I work. I work with mentally disabled adults and they’ve been… [putting it delicately] “shaping my behavior” more, so I’m trying not to react to everything.
ANTMFunny: Yeah, and I imagine that line of work though super rewarding, is also super stressful.
Tiffany: Yeah, it is, but it’s rewarding at the same time.
ANTMFunny: The Top Model nonsense is fun, but there’s also more important things going on. From your Instagram I can see that you care about things like child hunger and police brutality. Do you consider yourself an activist?
Tiffany: My Instagram is just basically what I feel. I’m not one of those people who try to please everybody, I don’t give a shit about whether I get one like. I’m not trying to be an activist or this that and the other, I’m just saying how I feel.
ANTMFunny: What are you passionate about?
Tiffany: My family is my passion, every day I live to be a better woman for them. Also, I do my part in giving back to my community. My job – just being able to give back every day to these people is a blessing to me. I’m getting ready now to start an organization for homeless.
ANTMFunny: Awesome, that’s great.
Tiffany: My best friend died two years ago and things changed for me – the things I used to live for were not important in life to me no more. I don’t club as much – there’s just certain things I’d rather do with my time. I like to feed the homeless. I like to do things that’ll get me into heaven. I always tell people, “I sold my soul so young, and I’m just trying to buy it back.”
Tiffany: I could give a fuck about shoes, I could give a fuck about clothes. My passion is trying to help my people, my black people. I’m not racist by a long shot, but we get beat up a lot. If you see where I’m from, I lose a lot of little homies, a lot of little homegirls to the streets.
ANTMFunny: I just wanted to bring that up because that’s one of my favorite moments.
Tiffany: I was the devil! I was the devil! I love Michelle, she was so sweet.
ANTMFunny: Yeah? I would have guessed you were genuinely annoyed by her.
Tiffany: Nooooo! That was crazy because we got along way more than people thought. I used to lay in her bed, Michelle was so cool.
ANTMFunny: I watched the clip the other day and I laughed so hard when you went to check if her face fell off.
Tiffany: I was the devil! She was fine, the girls just blew that all out of proportion.
ANTMFunny: My other favorite part of that is your grandma telling you to “read a book or something.” Since she was a fan, did she get a kick out of being a part of the show?
Tiffany: She liked being on the show to a certain extent, until Tyra yelled at me, and then she wanted to kick her ass!
ANTMFunny: How is your grandma these days?
Tiffany: She’s good, she’s good. My grandma is still my everything. She’s just always there to keep me calm. You know, I’m such a dramatic person at times and some people don’t understand me. She’s always there to pull me back from the ledge.
Tiffany: [sarcastically] Oh, lucky me… Okay, we can talk about it, I don’t give a shit. The thing is I was used to drinking liquor – I wasn’t used to drinking wine. I figured, okay, I’m not going to drink hard, so I’ll drink wine, not knowing that that shit tastes really sweet but it still really messes you up. I drank like one glass and didn’t feel anything so I had another one. By the third one, I was a little loopy, and then I drunk a fourth and it was bad. I didn’t even know freaking wine does that to you! But I learned that night.
ANTMFunny: I think most of us are lucky that we weren’t on reality television when we were 21 or we’d all have moments like that.
Tiffany: When I was throwing up, I’m like, “Oh god, my grandma’s gonna kill me.” I knew that they were going to show that, but I prayed that they wouldn’t.
ANTMFunny: Okay, that’s about all of my questions. Do you have any lingering dirt about the show or anything else you want to say about the experience?
Tiffany: Not really… I just think Tyra’s a bitch for not trying to do more. I’m not saying that she owes us anything cuz we’re grown as hell and we need to figure out stuff for ourselves, but I just felt like there was no compassion. How can you bring all these girls here and they tell you all these stories about themselves and then it’s just like… nothing? But you know, everyone’s different.
ANTMFunny: Well thank you, Tiffany. Tyra told you to “take responsibility for yourself” – and even though it probably had nothing to do with Tyra, you definitely have taken responsibility for yourself, it seems like you’re on a great path. Thanks so much for your time.