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News from a Micro-World

6 Sep

Another Tuesday. Jeff found out that he’s gainfully employed once more today, at my current place of work no less, so I took him out for too much sushi and a walk around Barnes and Noble. We’re both very full now and getting ready to watch some Castle, though I’m also webbing and he’s turning the air blue trying to figure out what the hell trying to make Dead Island work has done to his graphics card. Kettle’s on, waiting for a boil and some tea. So far a hot cup of tea is the closest thing I have to a cure for insomnia.

When we were at the bookstore I saw that they’ve started making statues of Stainboy, and they’re selling them along with statues of Oyster Boy for Tim Burton’s new book, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. I may go back. I’ve always loved Stainboy. Because I’m a closet goth and Burton hipster who used to watch the Stainboy cartoons before anyone knew what they were.

This show, Castle, it’s really good except occasionally the songs they play before the intro and the end credits are so awful it makes me want to die a little.

I’m actually not doing that all right. Sad to say. Not to go into it here, but life’s definitely throwing a few emotional curve balls my way. I’m surviving, but the early mornings, long hours and high stress situations aren’t helping. It could be worse, it could always be worse, but that’s small comfort when I’m feeling stuck. Very stuck. No way to turn in my box. it’s a spacious box, and it’s fairly comfortable, but it’s still locked. Still a prison.

/melodrama.

Still posting comics. Still happy with how the art is progressing and the story’s unfoldings. Those have minimal chance of stopping soon, so that’s another good thing.

Sunday night Jeff and I couldn’t figure out what to do while we hung out, having just marathoned TV shows and gone to a cookout at my folk’s house, so we decided to start a comic project together. More on that later, we’re still in the conceptual planning stage.

And I’ve decided my previously determined upcoming NaNoWriMo 2011 novel, Undertaker, is going to happen earlier than predicted. The characters won’t let their little hooks out of my brainstem. More on that later too. If I can get it done before November, as well as going insane I’ll have another novel ready to go.

My life is a juggling game of creative projects. I do prefer it that way.

Other than that nothing to report. My brain is still damaged and I’m spontaneously bursting into tears for no good reason. I’m also not eating much. Working on it though. Jeff helps. it’s what he does. That and fix his computer. Dead Island is running again. And get jobs. Good jobs. I’m proud of him, and looking forward to seeing him around the office. It may be a little weird that we work in the same place, but we’ll be doing different things and both stupid busy to boot. So it’ll work out. I rather think it’ll be great.

I’ve been watching the new season of Doctor Who with my friend Beta. It’s awesome, but Matt Smith’s head still looks like a potato.

That’s all for now. Hope you all have survivable weeks with swiftly impending weekends.

 

Home, Time Passing, Perseverance

31 Aug

Currently curled up in bed surrounded by fluffy pillows and small stuffed animals. In the kitchen I hear Jeff cooking fresh vegetables he picked up at a little farmer’s market on the way home from school today. It smells like garlic and onions, delicious flavours I know he’s going to mix together with some peppers and mushrooms and serve over pasta. The only thing missing is a loaf of crusty french bread to make that perfection.

Work has been devouring my soul slowly, Sarlacc style, throwing more long hours and challenges my way. On my worse days I find myself holding back tears from the stress, simply because a combination of insomnia and not eating due to stress has left me a bit fragile. On the bad days. Most days that bad is combatted by audiobooks and caffeine coupled with frequent breaks to daydream or sneak out to way hi to Jeff when he’s walking by my building. He has a second interview at my company tomorrow afternoon. If he gets the job he’ll have the perfect schedule: flexible work hours and two classes. I’m very, very hopeful for him. Long as he doesn’t get promoted like I did, he’ll enjoy it.

I found out that I’m not the only person who feels swamped and overwhelmed by everything at work – an outside advisor talked to my team today, and we spent an hour and a half explaining what we were having problems with – my biggest problem being “I need a bigger desk!” (no seriously). It was somewhat depressing to know my colleagues have it just as bad as I do, if not worse, but also something of a relief. I know I’m not the only one with more than they can handle. Not being alone is the key to survival.

It’s still not enough though. I want to go back to school. I want to be a graduate student working towards a day job that I can at least like, if not genuinely enjoy. I want to move out of this too-hot too-cold hard to live in state, want to study and learn and live instead of dragging myself out the door at too-early in the morning. I miss having the energy to be creative at work. I’ve been drawing, but that’s all I’ve had time for. My novels are gathering dust, my new ideas shoved to the back of my mind to make way for numbers and tasks and drudgery.

I don’t know if I can make it two years.

What keeps me sane? Friends. Twitter. A boyfriend who cooks dinner when I’m too exhausted to move and lots of hugs when I’m feeling down and miserable. a wonderful fanbase of people who read my comic. I love drawing my comic, coming up with new ideas for novels. I’m going to buy a bicycle as soon as my new credit card arrives in the mail to replace my stolen one. In 39 days I leave for a week to visit my wonderful friend Karen in Washington for GEEKGIRLCON and a much needed vacation.

Having things to look forward to is the key to surviving.

It could always be worse. I turn 24 in October. I have at least two ideas for NaNoWriMo. The new season of Doctor Who is excellent. I’m starting to look into getting a Masters in Library Science in a couple of years. I want to be an archivist. I’m eating better (when I eat). My friends and boyfriend rock. Life is pretty good, even if I’m stressed and overwhelmed sometimes.

It still smells like garlic and onions. It’s warm and delicious and makes this apartment, this place Jeff and I have lived in for a month now, really feel like home.

As long as I have that, I can keep going.

Having a place where you feel you belong is the key to surviving.

I belong here.

The Kindness of Strangers

27 Aug

Last night Jeff and I went to see my favourite band. Well, favourite band that still actively tours, but they’re still in my top three bands I love of all time. The Hold Steady playing a free outdoor show; sounded like the perfect evening.

For the most part it was too; we ran into some friends, the openers were moderately entertaining, we drank bad beer and people-watched and let the exhaustion of our weeks slowly slip away from us. It wasn’t too hot out and we got a good place to stand. All in all, an excellent concert.

During the wait before the band came on (which was long – I’m compulsive so we got there early) we sat on a picnic table drinking beer and talking, and when Jeff got up to get a beer this guy wandered over. Fairly nondescript, lanky, brown hair and bearded, and a pretty sweet tattoo of a robot fighting a dinosaur on his left forearm. He asked if he could sit with us and I said okay.

That’s the thing about shows like this. People are chill. The Hold Steady attracts a crowd that’s sort of a weird hybrid of hipsters, hippies, party people, druggies, college kids, older folks… you name it, we saw it there. He sat with us and we talked after Jeff came back with beer. His name was Zack, he’d just gotten back into town (Lincoln) from Austin Texas, he liked bands like The Hold Steady and Radiohead and Modest Mouse.

As the conversation progressed he realized that he’d left his phone in his friend’s car. His friends were supposed to come back to the show, but he had no way of contacting them without his cell phone, and the crowd was getting large and milling, making finding people next to impossible. He was clearly stranded, stuck in Omaha over night, with no real way of getting back to Lincoln save for camping out in a doorway overnight and then hopping a train in the morning (his idea, not ours).

So Jeff and I offered to give him a ride home. It seemed reasonable. The guy seemed nice even if some aspects of his personality were (in retrospect) a little shady and weird. It was the kind of crowd where drugs were easy to come by, and it’s a fair chance that he was on something, or several somethings, by the time the night was over.

We met him after the show outside the Slowdown. He thanked us profusely for letting him tag along with us to Lincoln. We get to the car, my sister’s Honda Civic, and I start climbing into the backseat, shoving my purse and sweater and other things in front of me.

It was at this point that several items from my open purse spilled out into the backseat.

Zack insisted that he sit in the back, that he didn’t want to inconvenience me by making me sit in the back all crunched up (2 door cars are a joy like that), and so I let him into the back and got into the passenger front seat. That was how we rode home.

I did not grab my purse out of the backseat at this time.

We drive the 50ish minutes or so back into Lincoln, and we’re all very conversational and nice. Zach asks us questions that seem innocuous, like what kind of car we were driving in and what jobs Jeff and I had and other things of that nature. Things that only seem suspicious in hindsight.

We get to Lincoln and he asks us to drop him off at 14th and O street. He complains repeatedly that he really, really needs to go to the restroom as we’re driving into Lincoln, and as we pull up to the sidewalk and we let him out he’s definitely in a hurry, stopping to give high fives and handshakes but definitely in a hurry.

No worries, I figure. He just needs to pee. Look, he’s even walking funny he has to pee so bad.

We drive the mile or so back to the apartment and as we get out of the car I head for the backseat, starting to gather up my things.

It is at this point that I realize my wallet is missing.

Genuinely missing, not just misplaced or shoved under one of the seats or under a sweater. We tore that car apart, which didn’t take long as it was small and recently cleaned. And we realize there’s another reason this guy was walking funny. Probably a reason he asked so many questions about our lives. A reason he hightailed it out of there before we noticed anything was wrong.

I go inside, immediately call my bank to cancel my credit card, and begin taking inventory of all the things I had carried in that wallet, that long rectangular bright red ladybug wallet I loved so much. My driver’s license was in Jeff’s wallet since I’d needed it for the show and didn’t want to take in my whole purse since I knew I’d be dancing. My cash was in my pocket. Overall my net losses were my library card, my now-cancelled credit card, my insurance cards, my old student ID, my birth control pills, a couple of expired giftcards and some receipts.

He also took my day planner. Why he did that is completely beyond me. It doesn’t even look useful.

He got nothing important. Everything in that wallet is replaceable, even with a little hassle. He didn’t get anything like my social security card or my computer passwords. The planner had my address in it, but we live in a secured entry building two blocks from a police station. I have my driver’s license. I can replace my insurance cards. I have another pill pack I can use to take my medication. Inconvenient, but manageable.

It just sucks is all.

It sucks that we do this guy a favor, two normally not very trusting kids, and he thanks us by stealing something of no use to him. He tells us what kind of person he is. That he judged us by our well-maintained car and the answers we gave about our lives and our jobs. He determined that we were clearly doing well enough that he needed my things more than I did.

Or he was just high out of his mind. That’s also a possibility.

Jeff and I are doing well for ourselves. It’s easy to judge people by their covers, we all do it all the time. I work a damned good, well-paying job. We were driving a very nice, still very new looking car. We gave the impression of being college kids even though I’m not and Jeff’s only part time.

Impressions are dangerous. Judgments are dangerous. I don’t work any less hard for my money because I work in an office for a corporation that gives me benefits and paid time off. Jeff doesn’t work any less hard because he’s a part time student. We still get help from our parents, yes, but we’re young, and extremely lucky, and we’re grateful. Painfully grateful. We never acted like we were better than this guy. That was something he invented for himself.

So it hurts. It makes me rage that this is what kindness to strangers will net you in this world. It makes me want to track down this guy and punch him in his face. Or at least get Jeff to punch him in his face.

We were up until 2 or 3 sorting things out, and sleep was nearly impossible.

Once I got there though, I did okay. I woke up and felt better, not just from getting the rest.

My memories weren’t tarnished. The show was still fresh in my head and it was still as glorious as I had remembered.

It really was an amazing show. This is the third time I’ve seen The Hold Steady, and they just keep getting better and better. We muscled our way close to the front, and after six solid months of listening to their music at least daily I knew all the words to all the songs. I was that kid, screaming along with the songs and pounding my fist in the air.

I forgot everything in those moments. Music profoundly affects me, and there’s a reason I love it. Normally my brain is a hyperactive chittering mess, like a squirrel on speed suffering from ADD. I’m always dealing with at least five things on my mind: work, impending grad school, my comic, my novel, what to make for dinner, various songs I like. It’s busy up in here.

The music and the crowd washed it all away. I thought of nothing in those moments but being right there, right where I was, singing along and feeling exuberant joy at experiencing The Hold Steady the way they were made to be experienced.

Nothing can take it away. Not even some asshole who decides to rip off a couple kids who did him a solid.

Thanks for trying buddy.

So maybe I’ll be more reluctant to help strangers now. I usually am anyway. But it’s not all bad. My friend Jen saved a guy’s life last night by being a kind stranger, calling 9-1-1 when she noticed him passed out on the sidewalk. When I first met Jeff he was a stranger, in a friend-of-a-friend just met kind of way, and I DD-ed for him so he wouldn’t have to drive on his birthday.

I’m cynical. I’m jaded. This incident has lowered my opinion of humanity, made me feel foolish and caused me a lot of trouble.

But everyone’s different. We all have our reasons for the stupid shit we do, even if this guy’s reason made no sense to us.

As Jeff said, he’ll get his. Especially since we have every intention of filing a police report.

But I won’t let the best part of the evening be taken away. That concert was fucking amazing. So, nice try buddy, but your assholery is just a tiny blip on the radar in my life, and after time, I’ll forget you, and just remember the music.

Stay Positive.

Self-Deprecation Seems Okay: Mini-Essay

5 Apr

You can’t live right if you hate your life.

I’m serious. If you hate your life, what you do with your days isn’t living, it’s an uncomfortable imitation. We sit and we stare at the world passing us by, converting oxygen into CO2 and food into feces. Breathing and shitting isn’t the only purpose to our existence, but sometimes it might as well be.

It might as well be because we hate who we are, hate who we see in the mirror every day even if we try to paint our faces and pin the corners of our mouths into smiles. Self-loathing is the new status quo ladies and germs, and its so cliché it’s accepted and expected.

I don’t live right most of the time. Most days I wake up hungover and feeling like last night was a mistake I won’t live down. I feel hungover even when I spent the night before sober, my mind a mess from the dreams of the night before, from the toils of existing. My working day is a haze of computer screens and fingers on keyboards, my nights mostly solitary, also mostly in front of screens. My computer is less an accessory and more an appendage, my gateway to an outside world I try to avoid even on my good days.

I make elaborate plans for self-improvement involving work-out schedules and the proper intake of sustenance, but find myself sitting on my ass three days later surrounded by empty bags of chips that smell of fake cheese and somewhat of shame.

Shame smells like cheese in a can. It smells like snack cakes and delivery pizza. Once or twice a week I scrub off my shame with a home-cooked meal, pasta or a grilled cheese, because I’m too poor to afford shame 24-7. I spend my money on long nights and poor decisions, on videogames and liquor, on cake mix and frosting, on the gas I need to run my car, on groceries that I select in the store carefully, trying desperately to do math in my head despite suffering from discalcula because what loser carries a calculator in a grocery store to make sure they only spend ten dollars on food to last a week?

Self-deprecation comes to us as naturally as breathing. It’s ingrained in us from the beginning and holds on with sharp and sticky fingers. It’s like a little monkey, a gremlin, some mutant creature clutching our back and whispering hateful thoughts into our receptive ears.

I hate myself most of the time. I wake up and stumble into the bathroom, staring at my hair that never sits right and my ass that isn’t perky enough and my tits that refuse to stay the same size as each other and the same shirt I’ve worn to bed since high school and I glare at my blurry reflection and tell it I hate it and wish it would just go fucking die already so I could stop dealing with it and everything it represents. It represents the degree I got that wasn’t worth anything. The half-dozen half-baked novels sitting on the hard-drive of my computer, all of them mediocre when read despite hours, days, weeks, months of hard work. The job I go to with the hope of advancement even though I’m only working part time at a job a monkey could do better. The friends who clearly don’t know me well enough or they would have run for the hills by now. The boyfriend I feel I don’t deserve no matter how many times he tells me I’m wrong.

When I was a kid I hated myself so much I was violent. I didn’t start fights or ram my head against walls, but that would have been less stereotypical. Less cliché.

Maybe that’s part of being a writer. Being a bit of a cliché. At least I’ve quit the cigarettes, even if the alcohol shows no sign of stopping.

We keep trucking though. We’re human, and we know we aren’t perfect no matter how many people try to put us on pedestals with their words and expectations. No matter how much we hate ourselves for our lack of perfection.

I’m occasionally guilty of loving myself. Of being okay with my out of shape body and never sits right hair, of liking my wonky tits and the shirts I’ve had since high school that I still wear for the memories. Of sitting down at my computer desk and typing up a novel that I want to write because even if it sucks, it’s a story I have to tell. Sometimes I think about how hard I worked to get through my BA, how far I’ve come since high school and the sad, broken girl lying on the floor of her bathroom, not caring if she gets blood on the tiles because then at least she’s feeling something. I feel lucky that I work in a basement with a dozen other nerds who type at inhuman speeds, that I can read at the speed of light and make ten bucks an hour part time practically right out of college. Lucky that I have people in my life who love to watch funny movies and mix strange drinks and make really bad penis jokes. That I have a boyfriend who loves me no matter how down I get on myself.

Maybe I’m mediocre. Maybe I’ve fucked up in too many ways to count. Maybe I’m just a hack.

But hating myself for it is no way to live my life. It isn’t living.

So, sometimes, if I try really hard and nobody else is around to see, I love my life. And in doing so, just for a little while, I really live.

 

 

The Spark of Insanity

16 Mar

I spent an hour at work today typing up heights and weights of various people on medical surveys.

That stereotype about Americans being overweight? As far as I can see, not a stereotype. Do you want to know how many people’s data I typed up that listed them as under five feet and over 200 pounds?

Answer: You don’t want to know. It will just depress you.

Related note: If you ever have to fill out a survey for a hospital, please write in block capitals as clearly as you can. Deciphering other people’s handwriting is the cause of more headaches in my life than I can count these days.

Mini-Manifesto: On Belief

9 Mar

Author’s Note: I spend that majority of my formative years being raised Catholic, something I’ve come to for the most part reject in my recent years. I’ve been pondering my spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof, as of late, so here’s some stream-of-consciousness in an attempt to explain what I have that can be loosely classified as  a ‘belief system’:

I believe in a lot of things.

I believe that human beings are neither inherently good nor evil at the start of things. The world is what shapes them one way or the other (or neither).

I believe that I know absolutely nothing for certain except that I exist. Descartes put it how I see it: “I think therefore I am.” That’s all I’ve got on the definite front. Everything else? Open to debate and new discovery.

I believe in karma, or something like it. What I do to others will ultimately come back to me in one way or another, even if the only effect the universe gives to me is  my own guilt and realization of my own wrongdoing. I also believe in the human capacity for forgiveness, and our ability to make amends for our wrongdoing. Redemption. It’s a beautiful thing.

I believe that if there is an afterlife, it’s not dependent on a Judeo-Christian morality system. I don’t think it’s a simple as keeping a score-sheet of the good things you’ve done versus how many bad things you did. I don’t believe in a ‘heaven’ or a ‘hell’, or acts of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ that cast you into the pits of hell. As far as I’ve seen, a lot of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ acts that get you into heaven and hell by fundamentalist standards are pretty relative and based in dogmatic tradition, not integrity or truth.

I like the idea of reincarnation as a part of the afterlife, but my ever-present uncertainty prevents me from calling it a ‘belief’. I’ve definitely had feelings that I, or at least some part of me, has existed in this world before in the past, but also that that wasn’t MY life. I, the person I am now, will only live once. My consciousness as it’s connected to this body, this soul, this metaphysical entity in time, is only here for my lifetime. Anything before or after that was part of another life, even if it was technically mine.

I believe in science. Explanations, reason, logic are all beautiful things to me, because they give me answers to all my questions. I believe in questions, and that they are necessary even if we never get the answers.

I can’t say I do or don’t believe in some Higher Power because I just don’t know. I have no systematic evidence one way or the other that I consider reliable (even if other people do have things that are evidence for them, I still haven’t found anything that proves anything specific).

I don’t believe in the ‘Power of Prayer’. I do believe in the power of positive thinking in every aspect of my life, and also in the power of hope.

I believe in love. Every kind of it.

I believe in treating others the way I’d want to be treated: with respect and attempts to be understanding and rational.

I don’t believe in religion, and think it exists as a security blanket for the masses, a hand to hold when things are hard. I think it’s much more difficult to face the harshness of the world without a religion, some person in the sky who can make it all better, to cling to. I don’t believe in an all-powerful GOD sitting in the clouds passing judgement or sentence upon our existence. If there is one, I don’t believe He or She is attached to any one religion or the man-made writings and practices that are associated with it. I don’t believe in the bible or other religious texts. I don’t believe in Jesus or other historical figures as religious icons. I believe religion has done more harm than good for our world in the grand scheme of things.

I believe, simply, in people. We exist as pure accidents of science. We have the ability to live, to love, with power and strength. I think that can come from whatever we want, because it’s what WE want. We have the power, the energy, from within, to move forward with our lives. Whether we get that from religion, philosophy, fiction, each other or ourselves is our choice. Our decision. Our path.

If there is a GOD up there, I don’t think He or She is involved. I think it’s just us down here, us and our personal power. We make things happen, in whatever ways we choose, we feel are right, and we are here to experience everything the world has to offer.

I believe that it’s so hard for me to pin my beliefs down because I was raised in such a rigid belief system.

I don’t believe in a God, but I think that there is something more out there than can be explained by religion or science. Things that cannot be explained. Maybe we’ll find the answers with time, but I accept and believe that some things will never be explained, because we humans don’t have the capacity to understand the answers.

I believe that I am a child of humanity and nature, not of a God. I exist on this planet to learn things, to understand that it is impossible to truly be an authority on something, and that we must always strive to be proven wrong that we may find new answers to those new questions.

I believe in the necessity of constant humility, but the importance of not letting that lead to simple-self-deprecation.

I believe you should never knock something until you’ve tried it. That includes everything from alcohol to skydiving.

I believe in the importance of trust and honesty in interpersonal relationships.

I believe in fluid sexuality. I don’t think a sexual preference must be ‘proven’ to the world or have labels slapped on matters of the heart. I believe that it’s okay to call myself pansexual and open to relationships with other females even though to this point I’ve only ever been in serious relationships with straight men. I believe that there are more important defining points to a person’s life than who they want to fuck. I believe that you can fall in love with anyone, regardless of their gender or sexuality.

I believe in respecting the beliefs of others around me. Mutual appreciation and understanding have more value than arguments of semantics. We each reach the beliefs we do through our own life experiences. We’ve all lived different lives. How do we judge who is right and who is wrong when we cannot truly live in each other’s shoes?

I believe that no matter how hard we try, we will never be able to accurately predict the weather or the way that nature works. I believe that certain things are inherent in human behavior, are in our ‘natures’ and not in our control, but how we react to those natures is something that CAN be controlled.

I dislike ritual in spiritual practices, but respect the need for it in other people’s lives. What works for me won’t work for everyone else. We all get to the same result in different ways. It’s just how we are as people. Different. Unique. Fantastic.

I believe I exist for the purpose of deep personal connections with the people around me. I also believe that risk is an essential aspect of existence if you seek to live life to the full.

I believe in maturity. Honesty. Integrity. I believe in morality without gods. Good for the sake of good, not good for the fear of punishment. I think that morality is shades of gray.

I believe in balance and harmony, and that darkness is essential to our beings, almost more so than light, because without darkness light has no way to shine.

I believe that there’s no situation in life that can’t be improved through indulgence in dance and song.

I believe in maintaining an open mind, and exploring all possibilities with boundless enthusiasm and endless questions.

I believe in the precious nature of all life. I don’t eat meat because I think it’s wrong to eat animals, not just because I have problems digesting it.

I believe in real-sugar colas, ghosts, true love, aliens, the power of imagination, friendship, family and full-fat mayonnaise.

Most importantly.

I believe in myself.

And I think that, right there, is more than enough.

Trimming Fat, Cutting Costs

8 Mar

In case you haven’t noticed, gentle readers, I am poor. Unemployment lasting almost two months and having to wait for my first paycheck until close to the end of the month will do that to you. What with the cost of gas and food rising exponentially with every passing day, it’s a wonder any of us in entry-level wage-slave positions can afford to exist in this climate. Thus, as I look at my sad bank account desperately trying to keep afloat in this depressing time, I look at my budget and consider various things I can do to reduce costs in my daily life. Here are three small ways I”m trying to cut costs, some comedic and others in all seriousness:

1) I’m being Less Picky

I’m a foodie at heart. Food hates me and my finicky digestive system, so being able to eat food that tastes good is the only joy I get from sustenance. This is definitely difficult when good food costs you an arm and a leg. I’ve managed to save myself a good twenty bucks a week by cutting soda out of my diet, but that doesn’t account for how much juice costs (almost as much if you want stuff that’s good for you), or how much the rest of your grocery supply costs you. So I’ve been reducing everywhere I can. I just keep telling myself that when I start getting regular paychecks, I’ll have enough to eat well, and should resign myself to PB and J for a month or two for the sake of my bank account. Much as I want to shop at my local co-op and buy perfectly fresh organic foods all the time, my wallet can’t take it. Thus, it’s off to the trenches of Hell-Mart for a dose of cheap bulk and scary people.

2) The Commute

I now work downtown. Downtown Lincoln is a parking ordeal, and if you have to go there five days a week, you end up spending thirty to fifty dollars on parking. Awful. Balls-ass awful. Thus, I’ve come up with other ways to deal with my commute. Including taking the bus, which will work for me at least once or twice a week when I don’t have immediate post-work obligations or I get done with work early enough (the last chance I have to catch the bus is 5:45. Won’t help me on a day I work until six). The bus plan has the double benefit of saving me gas money, since gas is definitely about $3.60 a gallon in my neck of the woods. My other commuting option is parking in one of the nearby neighborhoods where parking isn’t restricted and then walking the rest of the way downtown. I could use the exercise, that’s for sure.

3) Be a hermit

I don’t eat out. I don’t go out, or if I do I don’t drink. Going out costs money. Eating in nice restaurants? Also costs money. Going to movies? I already pay for netflix (well, Jeff does, but you get my point). I remain sequestered in this tiny room, occasionally lonely, but not spending money. Of course, I also have incredibly generous friends, who insist they pay for everything when we go out. They are my heroes, and I owe them my life.

Those are the start. Hopefully I’ll find a few more to add to that list as my money supply shrinks and shrinks.

Moments in Uncomfort: First Days

4 Mar

Today was my first day at the new job. I don’t expect I’ll be saying anything bad about it, but I still don’t really want to name the place in case anyone there reads this blog and freaks out even if I do nothing but say lovely things about them. I spent half the morning going over non-disclosure agreements and non-trade policies about stocks and other things I’d never even heard of, so it’s best to just say I work for a shiny corporation that does cool things.

First days are classic moments of being uncomfortable; you’re whisked around an office in a blur, meeting people whose names you will immediately go on to forget, shake sweaty palms and smile awkwardly. Paperwork will be filed, voided checks collected, you’ll be shown the breakroom, the bathrooms, your workstation, meet a few coworkers and your supervisors. It’s a mess of colors and sounds and confusions, and you’re left feeling confused and overwhelmed.

All melodrama aside, it was a really good first day. Everyone I met was really friendly, did a (mostly) good job of explaining themselves, and I didn’t just spend the first day derping around with paperwork and tours. I actually did some of the work I’m going to get paid to do for the next week. Then I’ll be rotated into another department and have to learn a whole bunch of new things and have a different schedule.  Though I have to say, setting my own schedule is pretty kickass. I may only work 28 hours a week, but I don’t come in any earlier than 11 AM, the latest I leave is 6 PM, and I don’t have to work weekends. That’s a winner in my book.

So yeah, the work. I work in the ‘comments’ section of the company, which means typing out the comments on the medical surveys we process. I spent 3 and a half hours (with a break for lunch) typing in data, mostly the names of doctors. I have discerned from this several things:

1) A majority of the American populace has atrocious handwriting.

2) They also have atrocious grammar.

3) There is a real Doctor House. I typed up that name today and felt gleeful. I didn’t check the phone number to see if it was a New Jersey area code though, so hopefully he’ll show up again.

4) People don’t understand questions, and answer them in stupid ways on surveys.

Not much more detail there, but I spent a lot of that time listening to music, because we’re allowed to do that. ❤ I started off with some Radiohead, but the new album, while awesome, makes me sleepy and serene, so I switched to the Homestuck soundtrack and then some Lady Gaga to wake me up. It worked.

The only downer is parking. Downtown is hell to park in on a good day, and parking garages are pretty pricy. I’d end up dropping a good hundred bucks a month on parking if I go for the regular rate. Not a fan of that. I’m investigating other options. Like finding monthly parking somewhere else. Or taking the bus. Or learning to teleport.

So that was day one, in a roundabout way. I’m off to a good start. My next challenge is figuring out healthy, filling lunches to take with me to the office, because if I eat bagels every day (which is tempting, since Brueggers is right around the corner), I will regret it in my wallet.

I don’t work again until Monday now, so I’m going to spend my weekend relaxing. And getting the headlight on my car replaced. And buying some new makeup, since mine is pretty old and I’ll actually be wearing it more now that I’m in a professional office environment.

How have your first days at jobs been, reader folk? Any amusing stories? Any disasters? I’d love to hear about it.

Marching Ahead

1 Mar

March is apparently going to be the month of awful puns, so you’re welcome in advance for the groan therapy you will experience.

Other things March is going to be good for:

1) Rediscovering my local libraries. I dropped by there this afternoon to pick up the next Dresden Files book and also grabbed a few other fun reads (A Meg Cabot book and the first in the Scott Pilgrim series). That and the facilities are crazy shiny awesome and modernised. I think I know where to go to study for the LSAT next time.

2) New job! I start this Friday, and I’m crazy excited about it. Call me a dork, but I’ve been unemployed since January 16th and that’s made me just a little on the crazed side. I don’t react well to a large expanse of nothing on the horizon. Plus the job involves things I rock at: data entry, computer work and copying.

3) Pokemon. I already babbled about my HeartGold team earlier this week (and they, plus or minus a few team-members), and this Sunday I get to run to the mall like a six-year-old on Christmas and get my brand-spanking new copy of Pokemon Black! Which I will then play obsessively and blog about incessantly.

4) Income. There are no words for how much I miss being able to go to the grocery store and not obsessively try to do math in my head and give up my favourite things for the sake of being able to put gas in my car. Rest assured, my first paycheck will mostly be spent on grocery items. I’m cool like that.

5) Body art. It’s been almost a year since I got my first tattoo. I very much hope to have another one in the not too distant future. ❤ I’m thinking it’ll be my Star Wars tattoos.

6) Friends. I owe a lot of really awesome people a round of drinks, since my friends have been here for me every step of the way during my little unemployment stint. So, crazy amounts of thanks to all my awesome friends: Sam, Jess, Kelsey, Karen, both Dans, Caryn, Andrew, Paul, Adam, Beta, Clay, Heidee, Steven, Mark, all my other lovely and amazing friends, and of course my ever tolerant, somehow-hasn’t-murdered-me-despite-my-whining, awesome boyfriend Jeff. Thank you all for being fantastic and awesome and putting up with my unemployed rambles. My first paycheck comes out, and the drinks are on me. 🙂

7) Writing. I’ve got novels coming out of my ears, short stories flailing around for attention, sketches to work on and a huge music library to inspire me. It’s a good month for creativity folks.

8) Health and well-being. I’m on day eight of no soda, and even though it’s getting a lot harder to keep that going, I’m surviving with cranberry juice and delicious green tea. Exercise is also still going all right, as is eating better, though I still have miserable cravings for pizza.

Onward to March! Here’s hoping it’s gonna be a fun month folks! New chapters in life abound for all!

 

Because I’m Nuts

2 Feb

And I’ve been doing what I can to post at least one thing every day…

I’m signing up for the Post a Day 2011 challenge. My goal is to post something on this blog every day from here on in, be it something insightful, an update on my life, or something inspired by the idea generating blog posts wordpress keep popping out. Or maybe just more rants about TV shows. Whatever.

The point is, here I go. Posting once a day in 2011. Wish me luck! 🙂