25 February 2009

secular lent

even though i'm not a catholic anymore, i enjoy the challenge of lent. it's a time of year where i set a goal for myself and then end with a reward. at times when disappointing things are going on around me - such as derek losing his job - it's a great excercise in restraint and payoff. this year i'd like to look at getting a new digital camera (polaroid pogo!) and figure if i can hold off for a while, the purchase will feel more worth it in the end.

let's see... been curbing my impulse buys when i go out. been getting more things used. been eating at home more. been devouring spinach and avocados by the truckload. (i refuse to give up avocados for lent - it's a challenge, not torture!) been taking my medication and not throwing so many tantrums. in fact, i've been strangely pragmatic in general as of late.

so my new challenge? shopping local only. no chain store or internet buys until after easter. it might not sound like a big sacrifice for me, as i currently support many local businesses, but i assure you i'm already feeling the strain on day one. perceived loss is always greater than real loss, remember? thinking ahead, it's only a matter of time before i take that familiar turn into that familiar lot and realize i can't go into that familiar store.

no more target! au revoir, mon ami... boo hoo, sniff sniff. it's my biggest corporate weakness. i can forgo the sale jeans at the gap and the random sundries at big craft stores, but target is hard to give up. is that weird? maybe it's the endcaps of happy clearance products. maybe it's the weird dollar section at the front of the store. maybe it's the socks. whatever the case, i can rattle off a whole shopping list of things i "need from target" now that i've put myself on restriction. will i crack in the end? arrgghhhh!!!

of course, last year i took the money i was going to spend on a new pair of vogs (it was a no new clothing ban, to keep me from impulse buying super fancy shoes) and gave it all away to nonprofits in the area right after easter. perhaps i can humble myself in the same way this year. i found that waiting to make an extravagant purchase led me to thinking of all the other things i could be doing with that cash. those fucking spring fund drives get me every time. it must be my leftover inappropriate catholic guilt being activated.

there is good news to balance out my target loss. quiktrip is local. ladonna's is local. steve's and southern agriculture are right next door to each other. several other places i already shop on a regular basis are local. my oh my, there's always the thrift store on half price day! see how i'm helping my peeps with this pledge? it's all about stimulus, baby.

in other financial news, i'm trying to live on more of a cash diet overall. having to scrounge in my bag for an extra dime really makes me think about where my money goes. instead of being in a panic about the economy and our jobs, i've got more of a "suck it up" attitude. we've had it so much worse before and there's no use in being chicken little. (though i am partial to chickens...) instead i will sit home and watch the movie chicken little while gluing random things together. that's entertainment!

what i hate most this week:
those endless forms in online applications
listening to the news
keeping my mouth shut at rehearsal

14 February 2009

"it doesn't matter what kind you have..."

cat update: mr. bubbas is self-petting with the front of my left shoulder while purring away like a chainsaw. stuart copeland has his face burrowed into my right elbow as if the world is too bright for him. princess dizzy is sitting on the new rug a few feet away, staring in contempt of the boys' neediness. it's hard to type with two cats on your desk and a third passing judgment nearby. on with the show!!!

after my job interview, i started doing research to figure out what's going on with my college degree. i knew i was close, but just how close would probably make some people sick with "oh just finish it already!" syndrome. my guess was correct: one heavily loaded semester? maybe two at part time? go ahead and shoot me now. i got too busy with my shop and theatre projects and other things that were more engaging than school.

so now i'm left with an almost-completed degree that should be done by now and people telling me how there are consequences to my actions and still not much desire to ever write another paper. school papers are often graded by weight. (this many pages is an A, this many is a B, and so on...) how is it going to do anyone any good for me to count the number of pages i write in an attempt to get an education? and furthermore, if i can find a loophole - changing to a bigger font, ridiculously massive block quoting, taking a lower grade in place of writing a paper - to get past all this supposed academia, i'll do it.

the rub, as they say, is that many jobs these days require at least a four year degree in order to be considered for hiring. to date i have had the same unfortunate incident happen to me at least twice: i get recommended for a job, i get offered the job based on my experience, the people in charge find out about my lack of degree, the job offer gets retracted. they would rather have someone who "shows they can complete a goal" in the job. (and these aren't specialized things like career-track stuff... just JOBS.) then i get the lecture again about how i should go back and finish.

i am juvenile. this lecture activates an immediate NO! NO! NO! FUCK OFF!!! in my head. if i can run a business and teach kids and direct a play, sometimes all at the same time, don't i show the capability to complete a goal? just because i have experience out in the world instead of in the classroom, it is assumed that i am uneducated and flaky. would these people prefer to pass on the person they chose and go with someone else based on a little piece of paper? apparently so.

not that there's anything wrong with going to college. in my twenties, i took classes here and there because i wanted to learn something. it started to add up and i found myself with enough credits for a two year degree in history. from there i took a lot of things related to sociology and political science. it was interesting and fun. then i came to the point that my choices were narrowed. my path took me in other directions and i chose to to wander away from college and explore my options. it's no wonder so many kids hate school these days. now in my thirties, i see that academic credentialization is just a money racket like the john casablancas modeling school.

they push you through so you can get a job. you find out that two years, four years, even six years isn't enough anymore. it's all for the master plan of a dissertation on shit. (once again, i am speaking of "just jobs" and not those in a specialized field, so all my friends with masters and doctoral degrees can forgive me, please.) if you don't get past the four year hurdle, you get told the same thing every time: "it doesn't matter what kind of degree you have, so long as you have one to show you can follow through on a project." so you go to an advisor and tell them you just need to get finished as fast as possible for a job, and they look at you with disdain. they don't understand what it's like to really need that piece of paper in order to make more than ten dollars an hour. they keep missing the news on the economy. they have tenure and think that you should just learn how to grasp the joy of learning. they grade by weight.

no one fucking grades by weight in real life! they grade by productivity, by speed, by quality of service. everyone has a C average during working hours. it's up to you to create a higher bell curve by living your life to the fullest. if you have fulfillment in the things you do outside of work, you get a shiny gold star. if your heart is big and you care for others, you get massive extra credit. and yes, if your career is something that makes you excited to be alive, you've just gotten a higher grade as well.

to tell me that it doesn't matter what my education is, so long as i can bring out the dancing poodles... that's just crap. how fucking insulting can you get? in spite of all appearances to the contrary, i take education very seriously. it's not just an orderly notch in my bedpost on the way to a job. to grade me by weight only shows that you aren't paying attention to anything more than a page number. if you want a volume of tiresome bullshit, go read the directions for how to use your new cell phone. sure, you'll find a useful nugget buried in it, but wouldn't you rather just pick it up and use the damn thing? i would, but i'm realistic that way.

will i finish my degree? yes. eventually. in the fastest way humanly possible. i'll vie for any credit i can squeeze out of them and take whatever piece of paper they give me in the end. i won't worry about the merits of studying sociology or politics. "just get it over with" is going to be my new mantra. practical, efficient, speedy. that's what my new educational goals are from now on. grade point averages be damned, i will be done with it. dance, monkey, dance! that's what i'll say to myself when i'm passing those last few required courses. someday.

what i'm contemplating with more seriousness:
it's almost lent and i love a challenge. even though i'm not a catholic anymore, it's a good opportunity to push myself. last year's "no buying clothes" drive was a success that ended up with me giving my new shoes money away to charity. what to go for this year?

11 February 2009

the month of almost

in yet another case of serendipity in my life, i've come across the theme of "almost" as of late. this isn't necessarily a bad thing in most cases. it can be a one-door-closes situation if i seize on the right opportunities. does that sound too positive? oh no! trust me, i'm nowhere near as chipper as it might appear. i can pout with the best of them.

  • a job interview: not so much a no... as a not right now. they're definitely interested in me as a person, but not for this position. i'm keeping tabs on this for the future.
  • the play i'm in: didn't get the lead, did get cast in the show. but now i only have to go to rehearsal a few times a week since i have a smaller part. hence, i still have a nightlife.
  • derek: has almost been laid off. we're not quite sure yet what's going on with his employment status and likely won't find out for a few more weeks. did i mention how bad i am at waiting?!?
  • my current job: i'm almost on vacation, considering the number of hours i've been scheduled in the past few weeks. people keep calling in sick. i pick up shifts when i can, but it's only going to get worse in the coming weeks.
  • new cat litter: the troops have begun to adjust. there has been some pooping revolt going on near the box and in the bathtub. we got a new litter box and they have since calmed down about the whole thing.
  • college: yes, it's true - my hours almost add up to a degree. i still have at least one more semester before i'm in the clear, which totally sucks. fall is the soonest i can get that stupid shit over with and be done.

all of this almost has me stilted. today i wandered through a craft store, a record store, and even a makeup store looking for inspiration. the best i could come up with was to come home and blog. veronica will be happy. she's addicted to the internet lately and needs something else to read. (HI THERE VEE!) jeez, at least you can count on mary to put up cute pictures and liz to write something witty.

i guess you could say that i'm "almost inspired" today. holly taught me how to use her sewing machine this weekend, so i'm now confident enough to give one a go without fear of losing a finger. i emptied another couple of mystery boxes in the bedroom. one day i'll be unpacked from the initial move to suckifornia. i have eaten my own cooking because it's good, not just because i didn't want to waste the food. not really super-inspiring stuff, but i'm hoping for the lightning bolt to hit soon. perhaps i should've run out into the storm last night.

something to make you and vee happy on the internet:
cute things falling asleep