Archive for the ‘Somewhere in between phases’ Category

ShyThis is my first memory of it: I am five years old, shopping with my mother at Kmart. We run into a friend of my mother’s. The friend says hello to me and asks me how I am. I stare up at this unfamiliar adult; I don’t know what to say. I’m not sure how I am. The person’s fixed smile and expectant gaze makes me uncomfortable but I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to say anything about it. My silence goes on for too long. Then my mother says in an apologetic tone, “She’s shy.” And that’s when I know how I am – I’m shy. My mother will say this many more times throughout my life with her. Eventually the apologetic tone will change into one of annoyance and embarrassment as I remain shy well into my teens.

When I reach my 20’s I begin to recognize that certain goals I have set for myself can only be achieved by meeting and talking to people. I feel this most sharply when attending classes at the Film Arts Foundation. I want to make movies in a serious way, but as I sit through a seminar on screenwriting or a workshop on Super-8 cameras, I take notice during the breaks that people are talking to each other. At first I tell myself these people must all know each other from previous classes, but as I eavesdrop in on conversations I realize that no, they are meeting right there before my very eyes. Not only that, but they are talking about their film projects, they are talking about working with each other, they are networking. But I am shy, which based on the tone and context my mother and teachers used when discussing my introverted nature, is a bad thing. If only I had stopped being shy when my mom pointed it out to me, when teachers coerced me to speak up in class, when my college advisor told me I was too quiet and that made me boring. But instead I just felt embarrassed and ashamed and then defiant. Screw you, world, I had thought on those occasions, you think I’m quiet now? Just you wait, I will never speak again.

Of course I did speak again, but it wasn’t until my 20’s that I started trying to figure out ways to become less shy. There were many, many well-meaning people along the way who would tell me I just had to get out of my comfort zone and do it; they had been very shy but now they had become comfortable talking to everyone. A therapist recommended Toastmasters, I perused the Learning Annex catalog, a bastion of self-help and self-improvement seminars, and considered taking “How to Make Small Talk” and “Become a Master Conversationalist” but I doubted a 3 hour lecture would take me from being unable to make eye contact to being the life of the party (or film-making class). Finally I started consciously running a reminder script in my head, “Make eye contact. Say hi.” Surprisingly, when I remembered to do it and made the effort, it actually worked! Soon I found myself with another problem: making eye contact and saying hello gave many people the impression that I wanted to talk to them.

To be fair, I did want to talk to them, but only about the things I wanted to talk about and I quickly observed there was an anticipated flow of conversation with someone you had just met. Apparently there had to be a neutral starting point, small talk involving trivial observations about the weather or the class we were taking. Following this was a low-key getting to know each other Q & A: who are you, where are you from, etc. etc. If you could make it past all these hurdles then you might be able to gracefully bring up the thing you wanted to say in the first place – “Will you do the special effects make up for my film?”; “Can I be your camera assistant?” If I didn’t stall out during the small talk portion, I usually hit the “getting to know you” questions too hard and the other person would bail out, most likely feeling as if he was being grilled by the cops rather than enjoying a casual chat.

Thank the universe for the extreme extroverts of the world who are not bothered or unnerved by a mostly silent conversation partner. It’s not surprising that many of the people who came in and out of my life in my 20’s and early 30’s were flamboyant, outspoken, and enjoyed being the center of attention. It was a mutually beneficial relationship for the most part, although I confess to intentionally using their boisterous personality for my own purposes, especially when it came to film making and putting people in front of my camera.

When my first son came along I decided it was time to really grow up and quit being shy. I wanted him to have a good role model for social interactions.  While I never thought to do this for myself, I was willing to do almost anything for him (later I would completely rid myself of my fear of spiders on his behalf, but despite best efforts, my fear of heights remains intact). I joined a mother’s club and playgroups, volunteered at school events, and hosted birthday parties. I tried very hard to act like the other mothers, to fit in, in hopes that my son would learn to fit in as well. It didn’t work out.

Despite putting myself into all those social situations, I was still shy, or I suppose socially anxious as it’s called now. I did make a few good friends, other moms who, like me,  did not easily fit in at mom-centric events like PTO meetings and Pampered Chef parties.  There was also another problem; by age 2, my  son was actively avoiding his peers. Things did not improve in preschool and by age five, at the behest of his kindergarten teacher, we had him evaluated by a child development specialist. Asperger’s Syndrome was the diagnosis. Considered a high functioning form of autism, Asperger’s Syndrome can make social interaction very difficult: “The social communication deficits in highly functioning persons with Asperger syndrome include lack of the normal back and forth conversation; lack of typical eye contact, body language, and facial expression; and trouble maintaining relationships.”  Huh. How about that?

My son has just started high school and I don’t think any of his classmates or teachers would classify him as shy.  He’s not the most talkative kid around, but when he has something to say, he says it without hesitation.  I also have a second son who is a natural extrovert.  He makes friends every where and talks to everyone.  At seven he is far more socially savvy than I have ever been.

As for me, I recently made a conscious decision to no longer work towards becoming the extrovert I had long believed existed inside me if only I put myself out there and really tried. I have tried, and with age I’ve gotten better at successfully negotiating social situations, but I feel it’s time to honor the introvert that I am. It feels wonderfully rebellious to no longer beat myself up over my given nature. Obviously I do need to function and interact with society at large, but if I fail to have a conversation with other parents on the school yard at pick up time I’m going to be okay with that. I’m good at smiling and nodding, so when the chatty cashier at the grocery store begins to monologue about something or other, I’m not going to shut him down, instead I’m going to appreciate what he has to say and also that I’m good at giving others room to speak. I very much enjoy listening. Also, I can be talkative when with the right person, so if I’ve ever talked your ear off, know that in my book we’ve made an honest connection.

Finally to all the people who, for whatever reason, love to put introverts on the spot by pointing out how quiet they are I have to say – Stop it! Seriously, cut that out. It’s not helpful and you look like a jerk. I know it’s hard to see in the moment, but I’m not being quiet because I dislike you; I don’t dislike you unless you say something like, “Wow, you just never stop talking . . . ha ha ha.” At which point my newly rebellious introvert self will reply, “Well, you know how the saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say . . .”

Then again, perhaps I will defiantly say nothing at all.

only loversjpgI spent Saturday afternoon at The Opera Plaza Cinema watching Only Lovers Left Alive, exactly where I had wanted to see the movie when I first heard about it. While the film does have a very 90’s feel – Jarmusch, vampires, Tilda Swinton, a soundtrack of moody, heavy guitar, it did not allow me to time warp back to 1995 as I had hoped: Indie Movie  Time Machine. You can travel back in time, but only while the movie is playing. No, I didn’t get that experience.   Instead I felt anchored to my present reality, one in which I’m rather busy with my family and new music and the slightest attempt at starting my own business. It’s nice to be so connected to my current life, but I do enjoy getting lost in a good movie and I’m afraid this one just wasn’t powerful enough to make that happen.

When it was over, my fellow film goers agreed it was visually beautiful, but slow-paced, with moments of dry humor. It seemed to me that seventy percent of the main characters’ dialogue consisted of historical and scientific facts, a constant reminder of the ages and information the vampires had witnessed and absorbed in their long lives.

“Do you think it was written that way out of sarcasm or irony?” asked one of the women in our group. “I mean they were such snobs. Was he  making a point about snobbery?” I’ll go with that. Perhaps the point is that the thinking-man’s vampire will become turgid, not with blood but knowledge that, while impressive, can become just as much a crutch as violence or melodrama when used so extensively.   Or perhaps I’m the real snob here. . . But then, Tom Hiddleston.

Meanwhile, back in my everyday life, I’m excited to be part of KnightressM1’s upcoming show at the Milk Bar in San Francisco on June 5th. Violinist/vocalist Emily Palen is the creative force behind KnightressM1, and she is one of those rare people with a direct connection to the music god(dess).   I first saw and heard Emily at The Red Devil Lounge with the band, Dolorata and she has since gone on to play and record with many groups in the Bay Area as well as the Foo Fighters. The music I’m helping her bring to the stage is more electronica influenced than the music she regularly performs with her power trio. It’s beautiful and compelling and I was immediately drawn to it. It’s also subtly complex and nuanced. It is definitely challenging me in regards to knowledge of my gear, Ableton Live, as well as my musicianship.

Here’s a song we will be performing on June 5th.  Enjoy!

 

 

I’ve been meaning to write.

I’ve been meaning to write about pain and loss and grief and the importance of finding small joys.  I’ve been meaning to write about uncertainty and inevitability, the uncomfortable position of navigating a friend’s mourning process in hopes of offering solace and support, and the even more difficult conversations you have with people for whom hope is not an option, but neither is defeat.

I’ve been meaning to write about my own anxiety and the endless one-note symphony of my creative failure.   I’ve been meaning to write about the hard, dull thud in one’s soul when, just for a moment, you catch of glimpse of your place in the universe.   I’ve been meaning to write about fear – fear of having traveled the wrong path for too long, the fear of aging and the unspoken powers of youth.    I’ve been meaning to write about the inequities of physical beauty, and raw, tangible talent versus much-practiced, lesser abilities.

But when I sit down to arrange any of this in a reasonable, logical fashion I get stuck on how unreasonable and illogical it all is.  And I feel helpless.  I cannot give myself the attributes I do not possess and I cannot change the circumstances of those I see around me.   And really, they aren’t in the same realm are they?  Absolute loss and misguided expectations are two different aspects of the hard parts of life.

And so I haven’t written at all because I don’t know what to say.

I tell myself to keep seeking out the small joys – dancing in the living room with my kids, singing in the car, enjoying that first cup of coffee in the morning.  I tell myself that as long as I’m alive and healthy with a roof over my head I can still work out the feelings of inadequacy and failure.  I tell myself that the time to save face and hold back is over.  There’s nothing to save; let people look and laugh or look and admire or ignore it all.  But there really is nothing to be saved for later.

Give it all now.  Give it all you’ve got.

small joys

A poem for Wednesday

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Somewhere in between phases
Tags: ,

Life, I understand you perfectly
in that you make no sense
Those brightly colored
moments of joy exploding against
the grey, solid, structure of every-day
before sliding sluggishly
into the mundane
feels like you
are egging me
on

An ode to independent film, San Francisco in the 90’s and my inexplicable obsession with an actor who had a role in War Horse.

I have hit rock bottom.

There’s a red Netflix envelope sitting on my kitchen table.  I meant to mail it yesterday but somehow didn’t find the time.  Today my kids and I are sick, hacking and coughing and generally just being miserable; in short, housebound.  Tomorrow my husband returns from his business trip.  If I haven’t gotten that movie off in the mail by then he will notice it for sure and ask, “Which movie is that?”warhorse

“Oh, just a movie, a movie you don’t want to see.”

“Really?” he’ll ask.  “Which movie I don’t want to see?”

“Oh you know – a movie. There are a lot of movies you don’t want to see, I can’t even remember all the titles.”

“But which one is that?” he’ll ask.

Finally, unable to bear the shame any longer I will exclaim, “War Horse. I’ve watched War Horse!”

How did I get here?

Just two Christmases ago I recall sitting in my in-law’s living room listening to an aunt gush about this amazing movie she’d just seen – Spielberg, horses, war. Epic!  I shot my husband a bemused look.  The amount of overblown, emotionally manipulative tripe contained in just the trailer was enough to cause my past self, a community college film school dropout, to rush outside for a clove cigarette and a snide, Gen-X patented rant on all that is wrong with mainstream movies. War Horse! Really?

I haven’t always been a mainstream movie snob.   My mother loved the movies; musicals were her favorite and she passed that love on to me.  I grew up watching late night TV showings of Gigi and Brigadoon and Singin’ in the Rain.  Movies were beautiful and fun and uplifting.  Never mind that usually after the main feature was over, my mom would change the channel to catch The Twilight Zone or Night Gallery. (Submitted for your approval: The Nightmares of my Childhood.  Demonic dolls in a lavish musical production, singing and dancing their way up my basement stairs to carry me off to the grave!)

When the home video industry began to take off in the 1980’s my mom was ready to lay out some cash to watch the movies she wanted to see when she wanted to see them.  There were a lot of flavors of home video  on the market at first and a particularly loquacious sales person at our local appliance shop convinced my mother that the RCA Video Disc players were the wave of the future.  They had an eclectic, but limited (probably because RCA Video Discs were not the wave of the future), rental section and my mom never vetted my choices.   By the time I had graduated high school I had watched The Who’s Tommy and Quadrophenia, Pink Floyd The Wall,  and Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange – those are just the films I felt I “got away with”.  There were plenty more that weren’t as gratuitous with the sex and violence and occasional rock and roll, but those three things summed up my favorite flavors of cinema. 

Once in college I sought out more underground films, but it was Central Pennsylvania in the late 80’s and art house theaters wouldn’t be popular for another 20 years.  I watched a lot of movies on VHS– Sid and Nancy (not really underground, but it had no theatrical release in my hometown), Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, Suburbia.    I still recall taking my boyfriend/future husband to see Dogs in Space, a film about the Australian punk scene starring Michael Hutchence.  As she handed over our tickets, the theater cashier looked at my husband-to-be and asked earnestly, “Now you know this movie isn’t about dogs or space, right?”  He looked at me for guidance.  I nodded reassuringly.  Did I seem like someone who wanted to see a movie about dogs and space? Did I seem like someone who would grow into middle age and want to see, War Horse, a movie that is actually about war and a horse?

I moved to San Francisco in the 90’s and discovered indie films, art house films, repertory film houses and the Film Arts Foundation.  There was so much to watch!  By this time my husband had decided he could only handle a small portion of the films I found important, so I went to the theater alone quite often.  We lived in the Haight, the famed hippie neighborhood of the 60’s, and just a few blocks away was The Red Vic, a cooperatively owned repertory house where I watched Jan Svankmajer’s Alice for the first time.  The Embarcadero, The Opera Plaza, and The Clay were all owned by Landmark, and showed only independent and foreign films.  In those theaters I discovered Jane Campion, Todd Haynes, and Mike Leigh. Over in the Mission was The Roxie, which showed first-run independent films and repertory films.  It also hosted a lot of film festivals and I had the pleasure of watching two of my own movies on the big screen there.  For everything else there was video rental – Leather Tongue in the Mission; Into Video, my local video store on Haight Street; Le Video over on the avenues.  Le Video is the only rental store that still exists from that list while  The Red Vic is the only theater mentioned here that is closed.

But back to War Horse, and my desperate attempt to illustrate why I am too savvy a film goer to be sitting home alone watching it on DVD.  First, obviously I am not because I did. Second, you can’t really diss Spielberg. He is a master at what he does (But, really?  Did the boy have to return home at sunset?   Did no one in the screening room laugh out loud and say, “You’ve got to be kidding!  He literally rides into the sunset?!?!  That’s so trite, even my grandmother would be insulted”. Perhaps not.  Perhaps you don’t say that if hope to keep your seat in a screening room with Spielberg.)  Even though the movie is clichéd (it is after all based on a children’s book) it hits all the emotional marks at the right time.  I can hate it for that, but I still cried out when it reached its darkest tone and things weren’t looking good for the horse.

But the true reason – well, there’s this actor . . .

Celebrity crushes are embarrassing, particularly at my age, but following an actor’s career, that’s different, right?  Even though I first came across the actor in a Hollywood Superhero Blockbuster movie, this particular Hollywood Superhero Blockbuster movie was written and directed by Joss Whedon and I can’t say anything bad about Joss Whedon.  I named my first born after a character he created for a TV show (no, I don’t have a daughter named Buffy), that connection alone makes Joss practically family.  So I was just being supportive by watching his Hollywood Superhero Blockbuster movie.   Of course after that I had to  watch another Hollywood Superhero Blockbuster movie, just to make sense of the storyline of the first Hollywood Superhero Blockbuster movie.

The second one was directed by Kenneth Brannagh.  Dead Again is a very good film and hasn’t Brannagh done his share of Shakespeare?  This kind of cred made it perfectly fine to be enjoying mindless, mainstream schlock because it was in fact very entertaining and I was certain it was a higher quality schlock than the usual blockbuster schlock. In the meantime I decided my attraction was for a character not the actor himself.

Then I came across a blurb about said actor having played a vampire in a film by Jim Jarmusch. Jim Jarmusch.  I confess I have not seen Stranger Than Paradise in its entirety, but at some point in every film class I’ve ever taken, the instructor has rolled a media cart to the front of the room and  shown us a scene from this film  as  perfect example of whatever they were trying to teach.  What I do know about Stranger than Paradise is that it features Eszter Balint, and she went on to play in The Linguine Incident alongside Rosanna Arquette and David Bowie. Bowie of course has just recently released a new album, The Next Day, and one of the accompanying music videos features Tilda Swinton who is also in the Jim Jarmusch vampire film with my actor obsession.  (All this in my brain and I can’t remember to pick up cooking spray at the grocery store, not one, not two, but three weeks in a row.)

Suddenly my interest went beyond the character and to the actor.  Suddenly it seemed perfectly reasonable to seek out this actor’s body of work.  I couldn’t let my husband know of course, because he wouldn’t understand, and was already privy to my secret The Avengers viewing habit.  But I had already decided: Let the Tom Hiddleston film viewing frenzy begin!Deep Blue Sea

I started with low hanging fruit, The Deep Blue Sea, a watch-it-now selection on Netflix. I waited until my husband went to bed and then eagerly turned on this post-WWII period piece about a woman who leaves her husband for a younger man.   A promising premise, but the story seemed as inane and lifeless as the main character, a beautiful woman named Hester (a classic name for an adulterous woman) who leaves her stodgy older husband for Tom Hiddleston(‘s character) and then remains mired in indecision and depression.  The lack of any substantial movement or character motivation was the most impressive feature of this film.  I later discovered it was originally a stage play written in the 1950’s, which would explain the spot-on dialogue of the era.  Ultimately there’s no real payoff other than the final visual of a bombed out building suggesting perhaps that Hester’s affair and emotional aftermath are just one small part of the devastation created by the war.

In the morning my husband asked me what I had watched and I told him.  He had the title up on IMDB in less than five minutes.

“Just as I thought,” he teased. “Loki.”

The next movie was Midnight in Paris, which I actually had to add to my Netflix queue, return a Pokemon movie and then wait for it to arrive in the mail.  This was a little more work than I had anticipated and made the whole obsession seem – well obsessive.  However, slipping this movie past my husband was easy.

“Hey, you want to stay up and watch a Woody Allen movie with me?”

“No.”

It was that easy.midnight in paris

For the most part I have enjoyed every Woody Allen film I have seen and Midnight in Paris is no exception. Owen Wilson plays the lead, Gil, a screenwriter with artistic aspirations beyond Hollywood who feels he is living in the wrong time. He’s about to marry Rachel McAdams’ Inez, a shallow woman who cares more about appearances and social standing than supporting his creative endeavors.  Naturally only sensitive writer males are searching for more meaningful work in life while females are simply looking for shopping bargains. If women are not shallow then they are hollow, a beautiful vessel in which to store the sensitive male writer’s hopes and aspirations, a muse like Adrianna, the woman Wilson’s character meets when he mysteriously travels back in time to Paris of the 1920’s.

It’s in the Paris of the past where Gil meets the literary greats – Hemmingway, TS Elliot and of course F. Scott Fitzgerald played by Tom Hiddleston.  Fitzgerald, who in real life only thrived financially by writing for Hollywood in the 30’s, but also found the work disheartening, would seem like  a natural sounding board for Gil’s character, but instead we only get a couple of scenes with him.   That’s okay, because once we get to Paris of the 20’s it’s all about Adrianna, and cramming in as many Jazz age cameos as possible.

After Midnight in Paris I checked into IMDB for other titles and decided I had tracked down all that were easily obtainable.  Sure there was still War Horse, but I was not going to watch that on principle, not in a million years, even if someone paid me.  I figured I was done.  I’d wait for the new Thor movie and keep an eye out for the opening of Only Lovers Left Alive and hopefully by that time my interest would have passed.

A day or so later I found out that The Hollow Crown was going to be broadcast on the local PBS station.

With my husband still wide awake and playing a video game on his computer in the kitchen  I nonchalantly turned on the TV and kept the sound down as to not draw attention to myself, but all I could hear was my husband’s Diablo III warrior wench yelling “I require aid!” and “I am overburdened!”.  For heaven’s sake, I thought, get thee to an auction house and pay the necessary gold to properly armor that girl and buy her a few more bags for loot.  While you’re at it, would it kill you to get her some pants. What? The auction house wants real money?  Fine, I’ll turn up the sound!  Catching only every third word of dialogue in Shakespeare is a special kind of hell onto itself.  So up went the sound.  Within moments my husband’s head snapped in my direction.

“What are you watching?” he asked.

“Shakespeare, on PBS,” I replied smugly, feeling all kinds of cultured.

He paused a moment and listened.

“I know that voice!”hollow crown_

Busted.  He did end up watching the final two parts with me and admitted that Loki could really deliver a Shakespearean speech.

You can’t criticize Shakespeare.  I tried once when I was an English major at a liberal arts college (before I was a community college film school dropout) and the professor gave me such a tongue lashing in addition to a C on my finished paper that I learned never to speak badly of the Bard again.  That said, The Hollow Crown, a BBC production of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V, is excellent!  Shakespeare presented with the production value of Game of Thrones, plus Jeremy Irons?  What’s not to love?

I had reached the end of my viewing list.  There were plenty of interviews and such on the internet but I only care about movies. I wanted the damn vampire movie, but the release date seems to be up in the air.

Then my husband was unexpectedly sent out of town on business.  I could watch whatever I wanted in the evenings after the kids had gone to bed.  I could even watch . . . War Horse.

It arrived on a Wednesday, smack dab in the middle of my husband’s leave.  It was in my DVD player by 9 pm that evening, right after the final goodnight to my oldest son.  Tom Hiddleston’s character, Captain Nicholls, shows up early enough.  Just like King Henry in Henry V, he gets sent to fight a war on England’s behalf in France.  However, Captain Nicholls isn’t nearly as lucky as Henry V (although I suppose dying of dysentery at age 35 isn’t particularly lucky either . . .) Without giving too much away, in case you haven’t watched War Horse (and I don’t recommend it)  – he dies, as do a lot of other characters who come in contact with the horse.  War Horse of Death would have been a more apt title.

Here comes the part I have had hard time admitting -even though Tom Hiddleston’s character was clearly out of the picture, I kept watching.  I watched all the way through to the garish, golden-lit sunset ending when the boy, now a soldier who has gallantly faced the horrors of war, rides that damn horse, the only thing he really wanted for the entire picture, up to the gates of his parent’s farm house, proving you can go home again.

And who doesn’t want to go home again?

I myself would  feel at home again sitting in a darkened theater at the Opera Plaza  watching a movie about a depressed rock star vampire (one who is not named Lestat) ; for the duration of the film I could pretend that outside the theater it is still 1995. Why 1995?  Because a film about vampires by Jim Jarmusch starring Tilda Swinton sounds so very 1995 to me.   Because in my San Francisco of 1995 all of my friends are still alive and healthy and hopeful.   The Film Arts Foundation is still the backbone of the local film community and YouTube has yet to arrive.   San Francisco has yet to be remade by the dot com boom and it is still  affordable to all who find themselves drawn to the city. Don’t get me wrong,  I wouldn’t consider abandoning my present,  like Gil from Midnight in Paris.   I love my family, my house by the ocean and all the people who have come into my life since I left San Francisco in 2000.  But an afternoon of brief, inconsequential time travel would be lovely.

Especially if it takes me back to a time and place before I watched War Horse.

He did not mean for it to happen
He was just doing what kids do

Capture and release
Wanting to hold something beautiful

But when he  uncupped his hands
A delicate pair of wings  stuck to his palm
A newly flightless creature crawled across his knuckles

Put it down, I said, before you hurt it more

There, he said, as he flicked it off his hand,
Now it has a new life

We watched it crawl along the ground

Yes, I replied
Remembering
It can happen that fast

word pressButterfly

A stretch limo, broken down in an underpass

I pull up behind because I know that this is my last chance

The driver reads the paper, he’s waiting on a tow

Do you mind if I sit in the back for a while?

We both have no where to go

And let me ride

It’s the ride of my life

Let me ride

It’s the ride of my life

The TV is broken, the wet bar is empty

It reeks of puke and perfume from last night’s bachelorette party

The windows are tinted to keep the rider in anonymity

Which I find ironic, since I want out of this obscurity

So let me ride

It’s the ride of my life

Let me ride

It’s the ride of my life

Let me ride to my glory, I want to ride to my fortune and fame

Let me ride to the big time where I can stake my claim

And all the kids from my high school

Now grown up and so mundane

Well they can still have the last laugh, because I am still the same

So let me ride

It’s the ride of my life

Let me ride

Yes, it’s the ride of my life

limo