Archive | December, 2010

2010: A Review

31 Dec

So here’s the run-down of my 2010, complete with the occasional picture:

JANUARY:

Started the year with new friends, a new boyfriend, an old boyfriend crashing on my couch and a kitten who liked to attack my feet in the mornings. New semester started, which included my second semester of Latin and a lot of English classes. Joined another D&D group. Started going to karaoke regularly.Met Jeff at a party.  Got my first hangover. Got unceremoniously dumped by said new boyfriend. Picked up smoking briefly. Finished my NaNo 2009 novel. Skipped a lot of class.

Me in early January.

FEBRUARY:

Awkwardness ensued with the recent ex at various D&D games. School continued to be slack-filled, but I started going to class again. Survived Valentine’s day by going out dancing. Got my hair cut and dyed:

Yeah, there’s a little blue in there, just for fun.

Stopped smoking as it was too expensive. Continue going to karaoke. Finally fixed my crappy old laptop and played as many games as I could find, including Starcraft. Things became slightly less awkward with the ex, but only slightly. Such drama, really, I swear.

MARCH:

Started hanging out with Jeff more. Signed a lease with current roommate for a new apartment. Went on a date with the ex to see if we wanted to try things again (I wanted to hold off for a while). Played Halo for the first time and sucked at it.  Spent spring break with family in Oregon. Returned to the ex pulling a complete 180 and deciding we would never work out. There was drama. Got my tattoo. Got my car. Started going to class more.

APRIL:

Started dating Jeff. Moved into new apartment. Got in a huge fight with a close friend. One D&D group disbanded. Studied for impending finals. Panicked and flailed a lot. Still more drama. Discovered Netflix.

MAY:

Finished the semester with straight A’s. Started driving up to Omaha on weekends to visit Jeff. Got Morbo the hamster as a gift. Worked 30 plus hours a week at the campus Library. Saw Motion City Soundtrack in concert.

JUNE:

Started working on a new novel. Watched a lot of TV on Netflix. Visited Jeff a lot. Played through Portal for the first time. Didn’t sleep enough. Decided I liked being a blonde and that was how I was going to stay. Continued being fairly hermity. Played less D&D.

JULY:

Jeff moved to Lincoln. Starcraft II came out. Everything else kinda fell by the wayside due to starcraft II. Discovered my laptop was dying. Attempted and failed JulNoWriMo. Watched even more TV.

AUGUST:

Spent an inordinate amount of time at Jeff’s place. Close friend got married. Went a little crazy waiting for the semester to start. Went out drinking with coworkers. Visited my parents on the other side of town a lot. Started scheming for NaNoWriMo. Semester started, immediately became consumed by school. New D&D campaign started. Ex unfriended me on facebook and began fleeing the room every time I showed up, which was amusing.

SEPTEMBER:

Sister left for study abroad in England. School escalated. Made amends with some friends, grew apart from others. played some D&D. Hated my writing class with the fire of a thousand fires. Applied to graduate. Continued to be a hermit.

OCTOBER:

Continued planning for NaNoWriMo. Celebrated six months of dating Jeff. Got eaten alive by school and studying. Drove to Kansas City over fall break for a weekend away. Helped recently married friend with her husband issues. Helped friend with a painful breakup. Had my 23rd birthday. Started playing thr0ugh Bioshock.

NOVEMBER:

NaNoWriMo. Plus school. Got sick with the flu OF DOOM and didn’t write as much as I would have liked. Realized my Nano novel would work better as a graphic novel. Started working on creative final projects for classes. Had a weird Thanksgiving with my sister absent from the country. Started applying for post-college jobs. A lot of friends got engaged.

DECEMBER:

Finished finals and got straight A’s. Started drawing more. Helped friend begin the process of divorcing her abusive husband. Graduated college with a BA in English. Sister returned from England in the midst of an ice storm. Started new job as a cook. Ended the year with a few good friends, a new boyfriend, and a mostly stable view towards the future.

So that was 2010. I wonder what’s in store for 2011?

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Let’s Give it Up for the New Year

30 Dec

I’m not great at resolutions, especially not those of the New Year’s variety. I’m a person of resolve, certainly, but when it comes to big official goals, those tend to fall by the wayside in favor of Real Life and Slacking Off, two of my greatest challenges in my attempts at productivity.

So this year, 2011, is going to be different.

This year, I am going to:

1) Have a source of steady income

I’m not gonna tell myself to get a better job. That’s hard work people. The job hunt is exhausting, miserable and frustrating, and while I know the need for something better than burger-slinging is pressing, I can make that happen in due time. So I’ll keep working my cook job, keep hunting down things with a higher by-the-hour pay, and start offering to draw and write stuff for people for money on the internet, or something similar.

2) Write

It’s that simple. I need to write more, because it’s what I want to do with my life. I need to make the time for my novels and my stories. I have some ideas of what to do. I have a novel sitting and staring at me on my hard drive begging me to frakking finish it already, it’s sick of doing nothing. I have a serial webnovel in the works that looks to at least start off by satirizing / paying homage to Disney Princess stories.  I’ve got a graphic novel to script. And that’s before anything new pops up.

3) Be a Writer

And by that I mean, make this shit get real. I’m going to query agents and publishers. I’m going to post things online and consider self-publishing. I’m going to submit short stories to magazines and websites. I’m going to put myself out there.

4) Draw / art things

Because I love art, and I’m actually pretty good at it. This includes figuring out how to really use photoshop, and maybe hunt down a tablet so I can start getting digital with my drawing.

5) Stop being an unhealthy bum

Which covers all the typical ‘eat better’, ‘exercise’ and ‘stop eating junkfood’ resolutions all in one. I’m horribly unhealthy, I’m gaining weight in all the wrong places and I’m going to die of a heart attack if I don’t start giving a shit and eating more fresh food that isn’t full of crap that will make me sick.

6) Travel

Because damnit Nebraska, sometimes you’re boring. This year I hope to visit my sister in London, and go on a Writer’s Retreat with Jeff to Colorado. Stanley Hotel, here we come. So I’m saving all my money for hotel rooms, gas for my car and plane tickets.

So there’s a few things I’ve got up my sleeve for 2011. I’ve also got a new laptop on its way, evil plans for new art-related things, and a whole slew of videogames to play.

It’ll be the year of fun, scary new adventures. In other words, a year of awesome.

An Important Announcement:

29 Dec

D’Leon’s Burritos are the best thing ever and are the best way to recover after a long afternoon at work.

Seriously. If Jesus, Buddha, Moses and the FSM could incarnate and smoosh together to create one ultra-delicious superbeing in burrito form, it would taste like this burrito.

And I’m betting what makes it taste so good is all the lard.

That is all. Carry on with the rest of your day.

My Glamorous Life as a Fry Cook, Part I

28 Dec

I work as a cook at my new job. The kitchen where I spend around 30 hours a week is part of a bar/bowling alley/pool hall (which I am inclined not to name should this ever fall into the wrong hands). The fare is simple: burgers, sandwiches, french fries and other simple flat-top grill fare is offered for reasonable prices, provided for hungry bowlers and keno players alike seven days a week.

It’s not a bad gig; I get paid more than minimum wage, and most of my shifts haven’t topped five hours so far (which might change if I start working weekend nights, but money is money, so I can’t really complain). My coworkers and supervisor are very laid back, nice people who I’m enjoying getting to know as the days go by. I don’t have to work overly early mornings or horribly late nights. Fairly peachy circumstances so far.

I mean, I do stumble home with aching legs since I’m not used to standing for so many hours in a row. I have to shower right after my shift because I stink of grease and meat (something my boyfriend doesn’t complain about, but I rather object to). When I’m not cooking, I’m expected to be cleaning, which is somewhat backbreaking in it’s own right.

Cleaning can entail a lot of things. Yesterday I had to clean out a ketchup pump, which involves taking an awkward plastic mechanism apart and running hot water through it until the worst of the actual ketchup is gone. The smell lingers though, there’s no way around it, and I discovered splattered ketchup on my clothes and hair on more than one occasion over the course of that twenty minutes. Glamorous, I know.

There’s also the prep work. Keeping the kitchen fully stocked is a prime concern for day shift workers, since the night shift involves more people and more food being served, so when I work the day shift I enjoy the thrills of preparing various food items, including taco meat.

One day of making taco meat and I remember why I’m a strict vegetarian.

Here’s what we do at work to prep taco meat:

1) Allow ten pounds of beef to thaw.

2) Fill multi-gallon pot with about 3 to 4 inches of hot water.

3) dump meat into the water.

4) reach in and begin breaking up the meat with your hands. At this time the water and meat will begin to cool. Pull your hand out. See that? That’s fat that’s gotten stuck to your hand. It came from the meat. You now look like a horror movie extra from the elbow down. Tasty, no?

5) When meat has reached desired consistency (no big lumps), take the pot and place it on the stove. Let it sit and cook for at least an hour.

6) Drain the meat using an old colander. Mix meat with taco seasonings. Place in storage. Clean out colander, which will take at least fifteen minutes since the tiny meat chunks will get everywhere.

7) Prepare to smell taco meat everywhere you go for the next twenty-four hours, as the scent gets stuck in your nostrils and refuses to leave until you replace it with ketchup smell.

Things like taco meat aren’t prepped every day, just when we run out. Tortilla chips are made almost every day. Veggies need slicing. And we don’t have a dishwasher, so I spend the bulk of my day doing dishes.

Like I said, clearly this is a glamorous, prestigious way to live. I work for hours and scrape the meat and grease smell off of me when I arrive home. Then I get up and do it all again the next day. I come home sweaty and exhausted, unwilling to do anything but lie down and stare blankly at the television.

And that’s only after day shifts.

Today is my first taste of the Night Shift, which is reported to be more about cooking than cleaning, and that part makes me nervous. People are never less anal than they are about their food. They get up in arms about it if it isn’t just perfect, and that’s the danger of working in food service. Yesterday a lady sent back a bowl of chili because it wasn’t hot enough. It certainly felt hot enough to me, since I burned myself on it twice pouring it into the bowl, but apparently she was aiming for a reenactment of Mount Vesuvius in her mouth with this stuff. Who knows? My point is that people can be complete dickwads about their food and how it is prepared, and having to deal with that is nothing if not stressful.

So that’s my life. When I’m not dicking around on the internet or lazing around thinking about how behind I am on my Christmas Commissions, I’m slaving over a hot stove. Or washing dishes. Or scrubbing the same spot on the floor over and over again because I should always be cleaning. Always.

Guess I’m Cinderella now.

Time to finish this commission, find my hat (that still smells like bacon no matter what I do) and head for five plus hours of fry cookery.

Seasonal Musings

25 Dec

So the Christmas season is great for at least one thing: making me suck at posting anything on my blog. I’ve been so run around with my hair on fire shopping, cooking and gift-wrapping that the internet has been sorely neglected. Hello internet. I’m sorry that I’ve been ignoring you in favour of knitting, shopping and Bioshock 2 (which I beat last night at about one AM. It was awesome). I missed you.

Christmas is always an odd time for me and my family. My parents, who are rather rabid about family time during the holidays, tend to pull out as many stops as they can get away with without being tacky (which means a well-decorated, real fir tree, multiple nativity sets and enough cookies to feed a really hyper army). My sister and I return from wherever we’ve been for the last few weeks (England in her case, my apartment in mine) and assist in the gift-giving and cooking frenzy.

You think I’m kidding? As I type my mother is covering a 12 pound turkey in butter and is about to wrap it in bacon. Yes world, sometimes I regret vegetarianism. Sometimes.

The gifts have all been unwrapped at this point. Most of my gifts these days are clothes, since I’m a 23-year-old and my mother knows I hate like hell to shop for clothes. Or anything else for that matter (except books. I can shop for books like it’s going out of style). However, my parents are also contributing a kind sum of money to help my purchase a brand spanking new laptop, which I will track down on the internet like an overexcited five year old and then bounce up and down in front of the mailbox for.

Of course, the best gift I’ve gotten this year was from my ever-awesome boyfriend (who I gave Fable III for Christmas; he hasn’t stopped playing it since), who gave me this:

Does he know me or what? Finally, a companion cube I don’t have to incinerate. Talk about holiday cheer.

The most challenging part of holiday seasons for me is that Church Thing. My family is Catholic, and I, for lack of a better descriptor, am rather not. I’ve considered myself a comfortable Agnostic-Pastafarian-Skeptic for the last few years now, and this makes attending church on the high side of unpleasant. I never go of my own accord; I spend my Sundays sleeping in in favor of being told by a man in a dress that his big Sky Daddy in the clouds has deemed that I will go to hell unless I vote Republican (yes, this happened. Welcome to the Midwest).

Not all Catholics are bad. Not all Christians are bad, in face many of them are kind, reasonable and pleasant human beings I don’t want to stab in the face with a salad fork. It just depends on where you are, and around here, there’s a pretty heavy amount of extremism. Example? The Catholic student group on campus likes to picket outside the local Planned Parenthood. Just saying.

Being Catholic is a lot like being Jewish to me; you just celebrate different holidays with different food and you intersperse your conversation with Latin instead of Yiddish. That and we don’t get cool hats. So part of me still accepts catholicism as a part of the way I was raised. I went to Catholic School for ten years as a kid, though that did little more than turn me into a near-atheist and have a healthy dislike of school uniforms.

That said, my least favorite part of the holidays, and by extension the catholicism, is the Guilt Trip. Catholic Guilt is unprecedented in religious belief systems – ask any Catlicker you know and they can tell you about it, even if they aren’t part of the church any more. Catholic Guilt is used by parents and grandparents alike to crush the younger generations of their family to convince them to do everything from go to church at Christmas to take out the trash to get married to someone you hate.

It’s a time-honored tradition, and one that my family holds up with no regret. Every Christmas I find myself attending a Christmas church service with my father, mother and sister, where I sit and try not to burst into flames or kick the fussy small children in front of me (and there are ALWAYS small children in a Catholic church). A small price to pay for avoiding a scene I guess (my mother, when I bring up my non-theism, always insists that it’s a ‘phase’ I’m going through and that when I’m older and ready to start a family and get married i’ll come back to the church. This is something we disagree on at a deep, fundamental level, and will not be resolved any time soon, and I want to put off the inevitable explosion for as many years as I possibly can), and I did get a lot of knitting done this year during the service, and now I don’t have to set foot in a religious building until next Easter.

Regardless, it’s a difficult way of life. Not to pity-party it, there are far worse things to be in America than Agnostic. The way some people feel about Muslims in this country, I’m hardly in a dangerous minority. But it’s still rough, especially since for a country that claims a freedom of religion, the government can be rather hard on people who aren’t at all spiritual (link via Blag Hag). Apparently freedom of religion doesn’t include freedom of NO religion. Who knew?

I’m not saying other people can’t enjoy this day as the birth of their Lord Jesus (even though it’s historically factual that Jesus was born in March and they shifted his birthday to accommodate the pagan conversion back in the day. So sayeth my Classics Professor, who is also an Episcopal minister and a total badass). That’s their prerogative, and I invite them to do so. Go ahead. I’ll never stop you. Just let me enjoy my cozy skeptic corner over here?

I may be a godless heathen, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. Actually, I’m really quite a nice person. I buy people gifts at Christmas. I’m no Scrooge – no humbugs here, just cheesy grins and piles of cookies. I give to charity. I love others. I’m not a dick to random strangers, not even if they’re a dick to me first. I live a morally upright existence without the doctrines of a religion or faith poking me in my head with the threat of eternal damnation. That doesn’t make me better, it just makes me different. Different and deserving of respect just like the rest of you.

So that’s my Christmas Spiel. Christmas started out as a Christian conversion mechanism, and now it’s a corporate playground that encourages greed and malice along with love and joy. Everyone loves or hates it for a different reason, but the important thing is the love thing. Call me a dirty hippie, but that’s what it’s all about. Not presents. Not commercialism. Not santa. Not even Jesus. It’s about family. Friends. Giving people shit they don’t need but they appreciate anyway because effort was made. Having a day off from work. Enjoying yourself. Eating yourself into a coma. Maybe it’s a different spin on things, but welcome to being a non-believer during the holidays. Still festive, just not for the same reasons.

So merry holidaymas, blogosphere. I hope you enjoyed my seasonal ramble, and if you didn’t I still hope your Christmas is festive and full of people you enjoy being around. Also food. Food is the best part of Christmas, and you all know I’m right.

Now if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to go knit a scarf and watch Scrooged until my Mum summons me into the kitchen to peel fifty pounds of apples.

Insert Witty Blog Here

20 Dec

So I was going to write a shiny, witty new blog post for your amusement, dear readers. I was going to sit down here and compose something thoughtful, insightful and intelligent for you to ponder.

Then I worked the first two shifts at my new job. I spent hours cooking, de-greasing, scrubbing and learning the ins and outs of being a cook. I also spent this afternoon helping one of my best friends move out of her apartment at the last minute (really bad roommate situation), and haven’t gotten much sleep.

So, now that I’m done whining about it, I’m going to spend my evening relaxing, eating soup and playing videogames with my boyfriend.

Real blog post tomorrow, I promise. I’m going to sleep for at least ten hours. It will be glorious.

B.A.

18 Dec

As of 11:00am on Saturday the 18th, I’m a college graduate.

 

 

I’m going to let that sink in there for all of you. And go pass out and sleep until my head stops aching from all the human interaction I’ve had to put up with today.

For my compatriots who sat through graduation today – and four plus years of academia – congratulations. Damn did we earn these diplomas.

New Doors Open

17 Dec

I have a job now. I’ll be working as a cook at a bowling alley / bar. I should be getting 30 hours a week minimum, and I’ll be working nights.

That’s right, I’m back to the glamor and prestige of being a fry cook. My family must be so proud of me.

Starting tomorrow, at around noon, I’ll be a college graduate. People will start breathing down my neck asking me about my future, where I’m going, what I’m doing. They’ll even start asking me when I’m going to find myself a career.

And for the most part I’ll just tell them that they aren’t going to like my answer.

‘Writer’ isn’t the clear-cut career most people aim for in their lives. It’s what I’ve wanted since before I can remember, and here I am, able to get to it, able to devote my time to it. Have a job that doesn’t have work I have to take home with me. Enough time to sleep.

This is it. I’m playing with the big boys in the big bad world.

New job starts Sunday at noon.

Career? Starts now.

And if anyone doesn’t like that? I invite them to suck it. We’re on my time now.

On Rejection

16 Dec

Today I found out that the super sweet, awesome-with-benefits job I interviewed for a couple weeks ago decided they were looking for someone else.

To say this is a massive bummer is an understatement.

Guess I’m only cut out for two things: Burger-flipping and graduate school.

We’ll go with option A first (for serious, I have a job lined up as a fry-cook at a local bowling alley). Then maybe B. But the real objective is option W. Which is, of course, to write.

Now excuse me, I’m going to work another hour and a half, then drink a lot of vodka and curse drunkenly at Big Sisters while I play Bioshock 2.

Stay in school kids. Even after you’re mega-qualified with a Bachelor’s Degree, you’re still probably gonna end up a fry cook.

At least if you’re going the liberal arts route.

Wasting Time on the Internet

15 Dec

I’m no stranger to procrastination. Something tells me you aren’t either, reader dearest, as you are lurking around this pathetic excuse for a blog waiting for me to entertain you or give you reasons to put off whatever unpleasant obligations you have cause to avoid.

So here’s the first, possibly weekly installment of Wasting Time on the Internet, a pile of interesting and amusing links to keep you occupied in your search for procrastination:

TVTropes.org: This website might be god. I say this with honest seriousness to all of you, because this website will take all of your time and make it it’s bitch. Go to this page, type in your favourite movie or TV show and follow the links. To the end of time. Prepare to lose six hours of your life. You’re welcome.

Bubble Shooter: The game that’s even simpler than tetris. Shoot bubbles at other bubbles to make groups of three bubbles or more. get rid of all the bubbles. Sounds easy, yes? Think again. This has been my go-to time-waster since my Freshman year of college. Four years of procrastination can’t be wrong!

Reasoning With Vampires: Not a fan of Twilight? Like a good laugh? A bit of a grammar Nazi? Welcome, for ye are among friends.

High Expectations Asian Father: A little bit of harmless racism combined with image macros. Prepare to laugh, and feel bad about your laughter

Wanna know the best way to waste time on the internet? Start a blog. It’ll take at least half an hour to think of a username, a website name, to set up all your little widgets and things. Not to mention coming up with stuff to write every few days. Do it. You won’t regret it. Even if all you do is post pictures of your pets, you won’t regret it.

That’s all for now, kids and cats. I’m off to enjoy some Mandatory Family Fun Time as my relatives all get into town for my impending graduation today. And then go home and take out all my bile on splicers.

Because I’m playing through Bioshock 2, that’s why.