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Sep. 25th, 2011 @ 10:16 pm Television
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Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: The American Analog Set
When people say they don’t watch TV, that’s usually a strong statement. Maybe they don’t even have one because they think it’s so harmful or worthless. I’ve never been one of these people. For a couple of years though, I was a person who said I didn’t watch TV. There were two dumb reasons for this, first shows I liked kept getting canceled and secondly I was lazy.

Wonderfalls was probably the last straw for cancellations. I can still remember how excited I was after seeing the ads and previews for the premiere. I told myself there was no way it could live up to my anticipation, but then it did. It was quirky without being obnoxious, it mixed magic into ordinary life, the show (and the men) were beautiful. What kept me entranced though was Jaye. 15 year-old me was entirely enchanted by and identified with her (I think this both confused and alarmed my mother). Jaye wasn’t particularly happy or content, but at least she wasn’t working hard and still being discontent or hiding how she felt. Then Fox started moving the show around and finally canceled it.

This happens to everyone who ever grows attached to a show. They all end eventually, and it’s not a unique observation to say too many great shows end even earlier. Most people suck it up and move on. I did too. It was going to take more than one dumb reason to stop me.

But then increasingly shows seemed more demanding. I started to feel like I had to catch every new episode if I wanted to follow a series. Even when I wanted to watch every episode, sometimes that just didn’t happen. Why put in the effort when any show I really liked would just disappear?

In just a few years, I went from someone who was (perhaps too) deeply invested in shows to someone who barely even knew what was on. The reasons are simplified here, but the point is I let something that I enjoyed, that mattered to me, cease to be part of my life.

I had to go to freaking Austria to re-discover TV. Not only could I now watch TV online, but it was my only option unless I wanted to watch Scrubs in German. I also had absurd amounts of free time, and was with people who preferred to watch shows with people than alone. Also, the Wonderfalls people came out with a new show, Pushing Daisies. TV was back in my life, and I couldn’t believe I’d ever pushed it out.

It was still really easy to be lazy about my TV watching. Especially when I came back to campus and the suggestions of friends on what to watch. Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the options, I still kind of am. But I like TV, even when I wasn’t watching TV, it was bizarrely enough in part because of how much I like it. TV matters to me, and that’s why with this season starting, I’m ready to start acting on caring about TV again, not being too lazy or just following what others recommend. No new shows have me as excited as Wonderfalls did back then, but I can also watch whatever, whenever after it airs. I’m out of excuses, and it feels good.
Jul. 18th, 2011 @ 11:09 pm Community
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Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Best Coast - The End | Powered by Last.fm
DC is a terrible place. My big brother tried to warn me. Unfortunately I didn't take him very seriously since he mostly griped about gun laws and proclaimed it a "liar" city.

He's been using "liar" as an adjective for over a decade, and I still couldn't really figure out what a liar city was, but now I know. It's a city that exists because someone picked a spot on a map. It's a city with very few natives. It's a city that doesn't even have transplants because they don't stay. It's a city that's full of culture without any of it being distinct to that city. (Except go-go music and Mambo sauce)

It's a city where the cost of living is absurdly high and the traffic is needlessly terrible.

The really sad thing is I was so convinced this was a good place for me to move. This was the place with jobs for me. I've gotten a much better handle on what I want and need, where I fit, and it turns out that's not here. Yes, I can get jobs here. I could probably get a job I like more, move closer into the city. These would make things better. It'd just be temporary though.

I do like being connected to the non-profit world. I do like the idea that somewhere what I do apparently helps someone (I hear clients and grantees say so, but I don't believe it). But I really don't think me fiddling with websites is the best I can do for the world. DC and the DC area are all about the national, sometimes the international. That's how DC gets lost, and I feel lost in it.

I don't want to just live in a city, I want to be part of a community. Those are the best organizations and non-profits or even businesses for me, ones that are intertwined with where they are. With more clarity and less desperation maybe I could've figured this out. Whoops. I would very much like to work for somewhere rooted in a community. DC has all kinds of museums, non-profits, organizations, but they're focused on the big picture. There must also be locally focused ones, but I don't want to stay here.

Just the clueless little girl from the Midwest who didn't understand the idea that there could be a liar city.

Anyway, DC is still a pretty okay place to visit. So, less moping, more visiting and exploring. That's the goal. All this other stuff, it's not an excuse to be a sad sack, it's actually shaping into helping me look for something better instead of just knowing I haven't found it yet.
Some days I still just need to kick myself and remember that. Thank you for your patience when I don't have much to say. Thanks for being there, I know I'm not the only one that's tired or dealing with wishing they were somewhere else or life were different. I wish us all luck.
Apr. 18th, 2011 @ 08:19 pm Waiting worries
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Current Mood: nervousnervous
Current Music: Zero 7 - In the Waiting Line | Powered by Last.fm
For those that don't know, I went to DC for an interview. It turned out to be meeting with four different people for 45 minutes each.

I felt like it went really well. The people seemed to like me. I can really imagine working there in that position knowing more about their projects and the work environment. I've got the background, the enthusiasm, I'm no dummy. One of them graduated from Notre Dame and makes no secret of his desire to get other Domers into that division of the company. Sitting there, talking to these people, that was all really non-stressful. It was oddly exhausting, but it wasn't intimidating. I sent off my thank you emails, and now the stress starts because I just have to wait.

Wait to hear from the recruiter lady who has an office probably in Minnesota. This is a weird division of a company run by a larger firm/conglomerate. HR is based with the conglomerate. Just setting up the interview was a string of complications. An email got lost (apparently this still happens), they switched the date (as I was driving), and just needless stress and confusion.

So, as if waiting to hear weren't stressful enough, I'm afraid an email will get lost or something similarly absurd. Also, my phone is on the fritz, so that doesn't help.

This is the terrifying part. I hate feeling like there's not anything I can do, but maybe there is something I should do that I'm missing! I don't even know when I'm supposed to hear back. The ND grad walked me out and said they'd meet and talk, then they'd talk to HR who would contact me "about the next step."

I'm stuck in this strange feeling. I don't want to get a rejection back, but I do want to know. Any moment could bring an email or phone call that either starts my career off or crushes me. It's exciting, but it's painful. I don't want to get my hopes up, but I don't want to get down over nothing either.

I have to keep looking for and applying for other things too. I have to keep waitressing. I have to keep waiting to know if I can stop soon.

The worst is the fear that they won't want me. If they don't want me, who will? I've got an enthusiastic alum, I have enlisted the help of someone else in the company, I finally made it to an intense interview step and it all seemed to go well. If I face a rejection with all this, it'll be harder to believe I can get anything else.

I know they say not to take job rejections personally. I know they say it just isn't a good fit, etc, a better fit will come along and you'll get that one. But my desperation is born of wanting this job more than wanting a job. Or at least it's added. Please pick me. I'll do such a good job. Please pick me soon.

I'm going to go try and not think about it.
Mar. 6th, 2011 @ 04:53 pm Corporate burnout
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Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: Cut Copy - Sun God | Powered by Last.fm
I never say much about work online partly because I signed some weird agreement about social networking/ blogging.  So here's my disclaimer that I don't represent corporate's opinion etc.

I'm not bothered by the McDonaldses and Taco Bells and Burger Kings of the world.  I'll eat fast food without question.  It's fast, cheap, and you know exactly what you're getting.  Sometimes it's just what you need, and at certain times it's all that's available. No one over the age of twelve is fooled into thinking fast food is a dining experience.

Places like Applebees and Chilis and even where I work, these are my least favorite kind of restaurant.  The chain "casual dining" places. They're not evil, but if I'm going to have a decent dinner and sit and enjoy a meal, I want there to be  something unique and personal.  I like when the owner is there and involved in every aspect at least some of the time.  Food is important, and running- let alone starting- a restaurant is incredibly hard work.  I don't think I could do it.  These chains make it a little easier.  You have fewer decisions.  There is less risk.  The success will be due to the owner's hard work and good decisions, but the product of that success would be no different with another capable person in charge.  These restaurants cease to be about ideas and people and are just about product and money.  I work at one, I know there are local people invested and involved.  We're a corporate store, but we've got a part owner who is local.  He came from Texas to open stores, but he's here now.  The managers are excited about growing with the store and hoping to open new ones.  If it fails, people will get hurt.  But the people who had (/appropriated) the idea, I don't know who they are.  Their ideas have been turned into guidelines and corporate gobbeldy-gook.  I imagine them in offices instead of restaurants.  To me all the effort removed from the people who started it doesn't seem as worth it.

There are still restaurants being opened and run by people.  People who live and breathe their work.  Restaurants where decisions are made on site.  Things change and shift as makes sense and as new ideas develop.  And the kind of restaurant where I work pushes these places out. Economics and quality are stronger arguments for local business, but working for a corporate restaurant has turned my mind to the less quantifiable, sentimental reasons.  Local business is more human and personal.

A lot of the time when it comes time to eat, I just pick from whatever is there.  So yes, I have and will again eat at these chain casual dining places.  But eating there is part of a packaged, artificial experience.  There's something sad about so many people investing so much time, energy and resources in  the service of ideas that came from someone they'll never know.  I love when the restaurant is busy because I get more tables, more tips, more money.  I'm glad people like it and enjoy it.  But it also makes me sad to hear people say it's their new favorite place.  Looking out over a loud, bustling full restaurant makes me sad as I think about all of these people happily supporting the system where our food and dining is manufactured and removed from people and the community.  It makes me sad while I'm part of it, as a server and customer.
Feb. 9th, 2011 @ 05:39 pm Forced optimism
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Current Mood: worriedworried
Current Music: The New Pornographers - My Shepherd | Powered by Last.fm
I went through a brief dedicated, excited phase in my job search.  It's a new year! Companies are hiring again! Ooh, and I've even figured out better how to find jobs that could be a good fit.

This culminated recently in actually talking to an HR representative on the phone and being asked to do a writing exercise.  It's been a week since I sent it to them, and the longer it takes to hear back, the more I expect bad news.

In a few more months, "recent graduate" will be an even more inaccurate description of myself.  I was skimming through this article on youth unemployment, and it played into my fears of being passed over as "damaged goods" for newer grads.

My earlier outlook is being replaced by a new motivation, fear.  Now is the short time when companies are hiring and I'm from the most recent graduating class (January grads don't count).  I don't know when this new year hiring spurt is going to end.  I can't bring myself to believe it's a larger change in employment.  It's here now, but it will end soon until later.  By the time they hire again, there will be even more people to compete against.

I don't know which approach makes it easier to force myself to crank through the internet re-writing cover letters and applying to jobs.  Is it the bubbling of hope?  Now is the time when I'll find a job!  Or is it the panic?  If I don't get a job now, I'll be stuck juggling part-time jobs indefinitely.

I keep reminding others that desperation counts against them in the jobhunt.  I keep telling others not to worry and something will come along as long as they keep looking.  I have to say these things.  I need the reminder.
Jan. 16th, 2011 @ 02:50 am Advice
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Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Deerhunter - Coronado | Powered by Last.fm
marzipanbaklava pointed out over the Christmas holiday that I don't take my own advice. She's right, but I can explain myself. I will, however, not admit I'm wrong, my advice just can't be taken as an iron-clad rule.

The basic advice is, go out and do things! Spend time with people and be open to getting to know them. Maybe they'll surprise you, and then you can make new friends and have fun and stuff. (the best advice ends with "and stuff")

I still think it's basically sound advice. I also think it is very limited. You can waste a lot of time doing this blindly. I certainly didn't obey it tonight. When I got off work I had a text from a co-worker, "Girls night out at taco night at 7. If u want to go let me kno" I didn't even initially realize it said "taco night." If taco night were a place (event?) that you could have girl's night out at, well...then maybe it'd be harder to say no. She meant Taco Mac, an area chain bar/restaurant. I'm not a big fan. I have trouble understanding how anyone really could be. That's not the main reason I didn't go though.

She's really nice. I like working with her. Probably other nice people I like working with were there. I like most of my co-workers. I was hoping when I started waitressing that I'd meet some people I could hang out with. Now I get these invitations to, but I keep saying no.

It's not good advice to force myself to go spend time somewhere blah not doing anything in particular with people that don't make it worthwhile. These are people who don't share interests or really anything with me beyond a job. This is a job that is temporary and arbitrary.

I was also tired, and I probably had a much better night bumming around back here watching football and Exit Through the Gift Shop with urthstripe321. Also, planning to go to bed early except I'm alert and awake.

I need to find ways to take my advice, because sometimes it would be nice to have a Girl's Night Out (capitalized). One with people who pick a better place than Taco Mac. One with people that would make it fun and interesting even if it were at Taco Mac.
Dec. 9th, 2010 @ 04:26 am Shampoo
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Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
"Why are you wearing your hair all the way up today?" "It was being weird, and I couldn't fix it. So I just put it up."

True, but not the whole truth. I put it up because it looked kind of greasy. Maybe it didn't really, but it did to me. I've wanted to excuse it because there are reasons. I'm not just gross and unclean, but the reasons don't really make that point.

My hair isn't gross! This is just a phase because I stopped using shampoo. It'll eventually adjust and my scalp will produce appropriate amounts of oil. See, I'm not gross.

What? Not using shampoo is gross? But I have a reason, I had to stop using shampoo because my hair starts to look pretty greasy by the end of the second day if I skip a shower. I'm not gross, I'm just not using shampoo because I'm trying to shower less!

Whoops, guess I am gross.

I've had an overly complicated, demanding and thorough shower process. That I can describe it as a process shows that. It takes too long, and it's probably not actually good for me.

I wouldn't make the change to showering less because I didn't want to deal with feeling like a grease ball. Then I kept hearing about shampoo alternativesCollapse ). I didn't stop washing my hair, just shampooing. I've got really fine hair, and for some time now I've been trying different shampoos and products. I won't claim they made things worse, but they didn't help long-term either. Cleaning my hair without stripping all the oils and protection off to replace them with stuff from conditioners is working out pretty well so far. It feels fuller and healthier with some substance rather than just baby fine. Right now I'm feeling a bit like my greasiness is noticeable, but that's from weaning myself off of the every other day cleaning.

I'd really like to get down to washing my hair about once a week. Then it can legitimately be an excuse for turning down invitations. I can just shower when I feel like I need it or start to smell or just think it would be nice. I'd like to do it sensibly rather than be part of this pretty common feeling that I have to take a shower or be gross. I'm not gross. My body's not gross. It just needs to be left alone so it can adjust back to doing its own thing.

Most people that stop using shampoo do it for two main reasons. Either they're super eco-friendly, or they're scared of chemicals. I'm just sick of this pointless obligation. It isn't required or natural to shower (let alone scrub and shampoo) every day or even every other day. I'm not doing it. I'm not even going to pretend I'm doing it to save plastic or keep chemicals out of the environment or off of my body.I also refuse to take part in using the term "no-poo" or describing this as a lifestyle. Do you have a shampoo lifestyle? And "no-poo" sounds like constipation.

This isn't to say that daily showers or shampoo are horrible. But, I've got nothing else going on, seemed like the next thing to try.

I could create some false overly complicated idea of how regular shampooing and daily showering are blindly accepted norms in our culture that I'm rejecting. Alternatively it could be me struggling for more control in my life. But that's not what's going on. It just made sense, and I finally bothered to do something about it despite greasy hair for now.
Oct. 11th, 2010 @ 03:16 pm I used to think I was tough
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Current Mood: draineddrained
Current Music: We Have Band - Honeytrap | Powered by Last.fm
I used to think I was pretty tough. My stomach could take whatever I threw into it. I didn't get sick much, and when I did it was just my semi-annual sinus infection that annoyed me but didn't put me in bed or anything. I've never been the strongest or fastest, but I haven't been one to complain about carrying my share either. I have often felt like I could walk everywhere forever and still be fine even if I avoid running.

I'm someone with a surprising amount of confidence in my body to do what I need it to do and well. I am guilty of rarely pushing it very far, but it has taken good care of me for upwards of twenty years.

But lately (in the last year or so), I feel betrayed. I don't know what could be the cause. I get sick, and it's bad. I spend time feeling not so great without being out and out sick. I've always bruised easily, but it is out of control. Where are they coming from? I drop weight without noticing any changes in my other habits, and then I struggle to get it back. I sleep for 12 hours and still feel tired. In the past few months, I've been waking up in the night more than I ever remember doing.

Maybe it's the stress and anxiety of uncertainty. The problem with this theory is I don't feel that stress or anxiety. Sure, I don't know if or when I'll find a real job or what that will mean, but I feel more excited about the possibilities or frustrated depending on the day than stressed. However, it has been pointed out to me that the very fact I don't feel stress could be why it comes out in ulcers and chest pains. Who knows what else it could be doing?

But how do I eliminate stress I don't feel? How do I make myself stop worrying about things I'm not aware of worrying about?

I used to think I had a body that would tolerate and thrive with whatever food, activity and sleep I gave it. Now I think I have a body that demands to be taken care of. If I don't eat properly and regularly, it's going to bruise, or have hair fall out or get sick.

I miss being tough, but maybe if I take good care of myself, I can be that way again. It's tempting to say, "when I get a real job and am living on my own and have a regular schedule it'll be so much easier." That's probably all true, but it doesn't mean I shouldn't do it now. It makes it hard to feel like myself when I can't rely on my body. That bothers me more than any of this pain or irritation.
Sep. 14th, 2010 @ 03:04 am (Un)employment
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Today was my last true day of unemployment. It wasn't much of a day, but it was also a perfect last day of true unemployment. Time begins to have a different feel after awhile. I find myself doing things that don't make the list of "things I would do if only I had the time." Instead it's the list of "things you wouldn't even think about doing if you didn't have the time."

Before anyone gets too excited about my employment, I'll clarify, I'm working two part time jobs now. I've known for awhile that I would have a job at a restaurant that will be opening soon. Wednesday will be the first time I actually go in, but it's just a short orientation. Then today I had an interview at the headquarters of some tutoring centers. They called me back today, and I start training tomorrow.

But today, today I was still unemployed. I was upset at waking up before my alarm-- my alarm was set for 2 pm. A friend who lives in the area but far away was interviewing after me. We ended up hanging around in Borders for quite some time. I got there before 6 pm (and he had already been there). We didn't leave until right before 9 pm.

I've never spent so much time in the Mysticism section of Borders. Too bad, I'd been missing out on things like the Book of Spells for Teens. I did actually buy something. It was not Kitchen Witchery or even from that section. I've been wanting to read Lolita, and now I will, just as soon as I can force my way through the last chunk of Anna Karenina.

We left because urthstripe321 was finally off work, and we were all hungry. I'm not a huge fan of the Taco Mac chain, but the one we went to had something special. It has a pinball machine, a Lord of the Rings pinball machine complete with Balrog and broken screen. I didn't even play, but suffice it to say that we didn't leave until 12:30 am. I do like to play pinball, but today I was content just to watch. I've always liked watching pinball. I have never seen such passionate pinball playing, nor the 5 stages of grief run through so quickly. Taco Mac has ever heard such swearing, too bad they didn't throw us out.

So yeah, wandering Borders and watching pinball. That is where my day went. I also gained employment and memorized a recipe for beer-battered apple fritters. All in all a very successful final day of true unemployment. Now I have to go to bed so I can report to work bright and early at noon. What on earth am I going to do when I get a real job?
Aug. 21st, 2010 @ 02:17 am Vision
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Current Mood: discontentdiscontent
Current Music: Yeasayer - I Remember | Powered by Last.fm
My vision isn't so bad that I can't walk around without my glasses. This means that I'm not very good at keeping track of where they are. Usually I manage to leave them in the bedroom, sometimes in the bathroom. But earlier today they got left downstairs. Tonight I was eating a snack and on my way upstairs picked them up and put them on. I cleaned them since everything was kind of blurry. Still blurry! I looked at the lenses, and they seemed plenty clean. Then I figured it out. I'm wearing my contacts. I was looking through my glasses with the eyes of normal vision. I don't like what I saw.

When I first got glasses, my prescription was a lot weaker. Even when I first got contacts, my eyes were better. Since I haven't made any changes to how I use corrective lenses since then, it's really easy to forget that my eyes have gotten worse. Easy to forget until I put my glasses on over my contacts. People used to accuse me of having fake glasses since they couldn't see any difference. They wouldn't anymore. I still consider my eyes to not really be so bad, but I wonder if that's even true. There will always be people with worse eyes than mine, but is it time I admit that I have bad vision?

Mostly it doesn't matter, but perhaps I'm lying when I say, "My eyes aren't really so bad." Where's that objective line? On the spectrum from perfect vision to blind, what is less than perfect but not yet "bad?"

My prescriptionCollapse )

If I started wearing glasses earlier, I think it would bother me less. But as it is, my eyes getting worse make me feel like I'm old aging too early when really it's just the result of being too hard on my eyes too often for too long.