September 2005 Archives

Post-Serenity Blurt

JOSS!!! I love you! I hate you! Aaaaahhhhhhh!


Note: There will be a more in-depth review later, involving things like the amazing nuance of expression the actors are able to convey. However, it will have to wait until I've recovered, and figured out how to do it without spoilers.

Can't beat the feeling

Of, while looking rather fine and surrounded by four good looking young men, catching a glimpse of a loathed ex and thinking, "Pity you shaved that scrawny goatee; you've got a rather weak chin."

Not sure whether to cry or scream

Once again, I got my paycheck from the Madison Metropolitan School District and found that it had been significantly shorted. Not only was money I was owed from last school year (which I had been assured would be paid) not on the check, but they had dropped an entire day from the first pay period!!!

The first pay period was ten days long, and I got three assignments in that period. They paid me for two. My second assignment (which had been quite challenging) disappeared entirely.

Even if they fix the error, the money won't get to me in time to do any good for this month. They will want to add it to my next check--which will be paid on November 1. I may be able to wrangle an advance, but Monday will be the soonest I can get that (if I light a fire under someone's ass) and it will be too late to do any good for the weekend. My bills are due whether I get paid or not.

This sort of thing happens with almost every check. There are two classes that I taught in the spring of 2002 for which I still have not been paid, and probably never will. I work very hard for the District, and I keep getting slapped for it. I'm about ready to write to the Isthmus about it. I've been writing to MTI for a long while now. They do a lot to get me what I'm owed, but it KEEPS HAPPENING!!

Dear lord, please get me a new job.

Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate

Lev Grossman interviews Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon together for TIME. How awesome is that? It's a really fun piece. Go. Read. Now.

Pain in the Arse

While I'm very happy to be included in the upcoming CPM show at the Overture Center, I keep being annoyed at the hanging requirement. Not only do I need to spend $30 or so to get a stupid silver frame to replace my current black frame but:

"All work needs to be delivered to the Overture Center, Gallery I between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Friday, September 30. We only have a defined length of time to get everything hung and "be gone" so as to not interfere with any Overture planned events, so it is imperative that your work is delivered in a timely fashion between 10:30 and 11:30. (You don't have to personally deliver it; but if it arrives via someone else, just be certain that you can depend on it arriving within that time span). "

What a wonderful time to have to get things delivered. A one-hour span on a weekday. Not early enough to be "before work" and not late enough to be "after work". I'm probably going to have to take the day off to get it there. Bastards.

Till Death

The sadness of this took my breath away...

"You live in dread for the last job of the morning though, it is fairly common to have a 'suspended' call as one half of an elderly couple wakes up to find that their partner has died in their sleep. Not normally a good end to a shift."

While almost everyone wishes to die quietly in their sleep (me included) I'd never given much thought about how one leaves a partner this way. It is never easy to lose someone, even to a natural and painless death. However, even unexpected death tends to come to us (the survivors) when we are walking around and in some way ready to deal with it. I cannot imagine what it must be like to go sleep at night beside the person whom you love, the person with whom you have built a life, and wake up beside a cold, empty shell. I'm never at my best while waking up, especially in the morning. I think such a thing would devestate me completely.

Wheels

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I am, god help me, thinking about buying a new car. I am pre-approved from my credit union for a 5 year loan at 4.75%, and I've been considering a Hyundai, specifically the Accent.

As much as I love my Jeep, and as little as I am paying (and owe) for it, the maintenance and repair costs are getting to be a bit much. On the one hand, so many things I can repair myself or at least obtain the parts on my own. On the other hand, what good is it to have a car if you are always worrying that this time you are going to have to take the bus home because it wouldn't start? In addition to the problems I've had with the clutch, the fuel pump, the seat belts, and the battery, there is the fact that random screw keep popping out of worn threads, that the rust is getting rustier, that the rear defrost never worked, etc.

I need a car in order to substitute teach, and given that other employers aren't exactly falling over themselves to get me (the job I hoped for all summer went to someone else, and I didn't even get and interview) I'm going to be needing it for the foreseeable future. I wasn't able to get the roof off this summer, and I hardly drove anyway, so the allure of driving with the wind in my hair is diminished.

The Accent is a fairly economical car, and would at least double my gas mileage. Plus, Hyundai has that amazing warranty. Almost everything on the car would be under warranty for the whole time I was paying, and some things would still be for several years after I owned it outright. I know that the conventional wisdon is to buy used, but I want the full warranty and I don't plan on trading up every few years. Unless my career and financial outlook change dramatically I will probably have my new car until it is a very, very old car.

I haven't made up my mind yet. I have until then end of October to decide and still get the loan I mentioned above. I'm a little nervous about the prospect of buying a new, new car. (Large purchases usually make me hyperventalate.) I've also got more research to do. And who knows, I may score a fabulous new job in the next month that would allow me to resume my bus commute. And pigs might also be airborn.

Corpse Bride Sneak Peak

The sneak preview of Tim Burton's new Corpse Bride tonight at the Memorial Union was well worth the hour and a half wait. Beautiful. Cool. Creepy.

Gothic in tone and setting, yet with a lighthearted tone: such a Burton balance. Johnny Depp gives voice to the frail, pale, and nervous groom Victor. Emily Watson is Victoria, his similarly frail and pale (though decidedly less nervous) arranged bride-to-be. Helena Bonham Carter is Emily, the bride of the title, who has the best excuse to be frail (bits of her keeps falling off) and pale (a lovely shade of deathly blue).

The world of the living, of Victor, Victoria, and their dreadful parents, is colorless and drab. Blacks, whites, and greys prevade the tonal palette. It's a place of arroganes, stiff manners, and greed. Contrasted to this is the underworld. The land of the dead is brightly colored, raucous and warm.

Much of the plot is telegraphed far in advance, but since it really is a melodrama that isn't a flaw. It's like watching a silent film--you know that the man with the curly black mustache will tie the beautiful and pure heroine to the railroad track at some point, and you know that the dashing hero will be along to save her just in the nick of time. Surprise isn't the important part. (You want twists, watch an M. Night Shyamalan film.) Still, I'm not going to tell you what happens.)

The movie is far from being silent, however. Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride is a musical. I'd love to report that I came home humming all the tunes, but alas I can remember none of them. This is more the fault of the sound in the Fredric March Play Circle than of Danny Elfman. The musical numbers were a wee bit garbled out of the speakers, so I spent all my attention trying to catch the lyrics.

The movie will open in regular theaters on Friday, and I can definitely recommend it.

Better Late than Never

I'm finally reading William Gibson's Neuromancer. I'm liking it so far. I've also got a strong urge to play Shadowrun.

A Room of One's Own

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Anyone who has spent time around me will eventually hear about my driving goal to become a homeowner. (I can be a little obsessive about it at times.) So there was something about Jay Shafer's Tiny Houses that made me sit up and take notice.

Not only are the wee little dwellings adorable, but would actually be within my price range (ok, assuming I had a wee little plot of land on which to put one, too). Alas, I am a massive consumer of space. I'd say that it comes from growing up in a giant Victorian rooming house such as Irving Place, but my siblings can each fit almost all of their worldly goods into my living room--when they move, they only need a car....or a grocery trolley. I'd have to totally rethink my relationship with furniture and possession. Which might be good for me, actually.

via indigoblog

Near Miss

Have you ever written someone a snarky email to relieve your feelings, with no intention of every actually sending it? Yeah. Bad idea. The delete button and the send button are awfully close to each other, and "send" is kind of a habit.

Just about had a heart attack.

Fortunately, I was able to quit my email program in time, disconnect from the internet, and then delete the email from my outbox before it sent.

Now that I've had my adrenaline rush for the day, I need to promise myself never to do that again. All snark written for the purpose of venting must be written in a non-sendable, non-publishable form. Possibly on toilet tissue. With chalk.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

I re-potted my cayenne plant earlier this summer and it has really been thriving. It has gotten huge and bushy and I've been harvesting quite a few peppers. Of course, I don't use many of them, so it's about time to start pawning them off on other people--people who eat spicier food than I do.

I'm very fond of this plant. I've had it the entire time I've lived in this apartment (since fall 2002). It went through a bit of a dark time when it was outgrowing its pot and I hadn't been able to re-pot it. At one point it was almost entirely dead, so I cut off the whole top of the plant and let it re-grow from the sprouting at the base. I'm amazed at how lush it has gotten since then. It's bigger now than it was when I was first given it.

I see it as somehow symbolic. Most of my other plants are spider plants (blah), wandering jews, or philodendron, so they will thrive not matter what. It takes a lot to kill them. My poor little English Ivy died last year. But this plant is the one that I have the emotional attachment to--at least, as much of an emotional attachment as you can have to a potted plant. It's pretty and spicy and useful and somehow manages to keep going despite the odds being against it.

You go, little cayenne!

Tight times

Yesterday was the end of the first pay period for Madison substitute teachers. It was 10 days long, and I got work a grand total of 3 of those days. The new pay period is 20 days long, and though there was still no work today, I'm pretty confident that I'll get sufficient work over the period. The only problem is that our pay periods are one month long. My first wee little check will come on 9/30, but the next one won't be until 11/01. Suckage.

Time to keep tightening that belt and hoping that the job I've been praying for all summer finally comes through.

Looking for a Leader?

I have a tendency to hit neighboring keys by mistake while typing. A little to the left. A little to the right. Frequently I have to switch around o and p. So I wasn't very surprised tonight when I found myself trying to load up "maoquest". Woops.

What we got

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I'm a little overdue in reporting on the school supply project. So here it is:

We received $65 in cash donations, plus a materials donation of 60 pocket folders and 25 boxes of 24-pack crayons. While it wasn't quite enough to meet our ambitious goal of 30 complete sets of supplies, we were able to get quite a bit of stuff. I shopped for the supplies that are most frequently needed: pencils, looseleaf paper, spiral notebooks, more crayons, erasers, glue, and the like. All together, it looked like this:

I seperated it into two equal groups, one for each school. The bundle for Lake View Elementary was delivered last Tuesday and they were very happy to get it. (Foolishly, I decided to walk up to the school, carrying the box. Bad! Idea! By the time I realized how hot it was and how heavy the box was, I had gone too far to turn around. It was an exhausting walk.) The half for Lincoln Elementary is still waiting to be delivered, owing to a bit of a transport issue, but it will get there soon enough.

I'd like to say a big thank you to Kimberly, Leann, Steph, and Pete for helping out with this project. Couldn't have done it without you.

*grumblegrumble*

I'm having an "end of summer cranky" fit tonight. Part of it is due to the fact that sometime today I lost one half of my very favorite pair of hairsticks. Wah! <cue the teeny tiny violins> Part of it is due to the fact that the job that I have wanted since 2001, the job that has been advertised since early June, the job that I have actually set three copies of my resume and cover letter for, the job that has been vacant since early August is STILL BEING ADVERTISED!!! Argh! I'm perfect for this job and this job is perfect for me. It's like chocolate and peanut butter. Human resources needs to call me.

In the meantime it's back to substitute teaching until something comes through. Which means I need to go to bed early. <sigh> I'm hoping that maybe, in a flash of symbolism, I'll get a call offering me an interview on Tuesday, September 13, which will be the 4th anniversary of my getting laid off.

Singing again

I made it into Choral Union again this year, and for the first time ever I didn't have to audition. Beverly Taylor said she'd heard me enough times before. I'm officially an "old-timer". Wee!

!!!

I sometimes cannot believe the assholes in this world.

I was heading to the bus transfer point to grab my bus downtown (the next one wouldn't be for another half hour) and got held up trying to cross the heavy traffic on the street. So by the time I got across, and was about 20 yards away, the bus pulled out. I started running for it and waving, but he looked at me and drove right past. I chased it to the stop sign, where it also had to wait for all the traffic before it could make a left. I banged on the door and he just looked at me and did nothing.

At this point my temper took over. I walked around in front of the bus and refused to move until he opened the door. He just sneered and shook his head. I even said please. He just picked up the phone and called someone--probably the cops. I didn't give a shit. I was going to stay there until he opened the door or the cops showed up.

Fortunately for everyone, a car drove up and a woman with two babies offered me a ride. They were just as shocked as I was by his behavior. That is one bitter bus driver.

But I got downtown faster than I would have on the bus, without paying a fare. And I got to sit next to two of the cutest babies in the world.

" Things Iíve learned from British folk ballads

Donít ignore warnings. If someone tells you to beware of Long Lankin, frigginí beware of him. If someone tells you not to go by Carterhaugh, stay away. Same goes for your mother asking you not to go out hunting on a particular day. Portents about weather, particularly when delivered by an old sailor who is not currently chatting up a country maid, are always worth heeding. ..."

Go read it.

What?!?

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I literally woke up this morning to the news that Bush was nominating John Roberts for Chief Justice. Say what? Shouldn't you been on the Supreme Court for a little while before you get to be Chief? He hasn't even been a judge *period* for that long.

God help our country.

Noises Off

I'm hating on my neighborhood right now, though usually I love it.

Someone has a hound that has been baying dolefully on and off for the last few days. It just stopped a little while ago, thank the lord. I was close to going insane from it.

Now my white trash neighbor is trying to get her cat inside. At least, that's what I think she's doing. She's shrieking at it so violently I had to check to see if it was a domestic disturbance.

And now the hound has started again.

"Ooorooo! Oorooh! Oorooh!"

Trying to keep my nose out of it.

Dear ladies and gentlemen of Madison,

Must you leave the house drenched in scent? I don't care if it is perfume or aftershave, body wash, or lotion...if the smell preceeds you into a room and hangs around long after you are gone, it's too much. If I can smell you farther away than I could touch you with my outstretched arm, it's too much. If I can smell you farther away that I could touch *your* outstretched arm with mine, then it's really too much.

I'm sure it's a lovely fragrence, and it is so generous of you to want to share with everone, but really....no thanks.

Now, there are some of you who go a little too far in the opposite direction. No fusty perfumes for you! But a little bit of soap and maybe some deoderant probably wouldn't kill you. I'm sorry if you think that The Man is keeping you down, but I'm gagging over here.

Take pity.

Feeling ill

Shocked and Outraged

They are not letting the Red Cross into New Orleans.

"Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city."

I highly doubt at this point that people are remaining in New Orleans by choice. The idea that they have to remain there without food or drinkable water while the slow, slow evacuation takes place is disgusting. Especially since the evacuation from the Superdome has stopped for a few days.

This whole situation disgusts me. The callow indifference to human suffering and death if those human happen to be poor. Also from the Yahoo artice above:

"At one point Friday, the evacuation was interrupted briefly when school buses pulled up so some 700 guests and employees from the Hyatt Hotel could move to the head of the evacuation line ó much to the amazement of those who had been crammed in the Superdome since last Sunday.

"How does this work? They (are) clean, they are dry, they get out ahead of us?" exclaimed Howard Blue, 22, who tried to get in their line. The National Guard blocked him as other guardsmen helped the well-dressed guests with their luggage.

The 700 had been trapped in the hotel, near the Superdome, but conditions were considerably cleaner, even without running water, than the unsanitary crush inside the dome. The Hyatt was severely damaged by the storm. Every pane of glass on the riverside wall was blown out.

Mayor Ray Nagin has used the hotel as a base since it sits across the street from city hall, and there were reports the hotel was cleared with priority to make room for police, firefighters and other officials."

The Bush administration has been downright criminal in their disregard, as have the adminstrations apologists at Faux News. They laugh and joke about it and blame the victims for "choosing to stay". Let's hope that people remember this come November 2006.

Update: I guess they've finally gotten them out.

Madison Area Job Hunters, Beware!

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Check out this extremely lame reply I received today, in regards to a classified ad I had answered. Note, the ad I answered stated that they were looking to fill a positon:

From:
Date: Thu Sep 01, 2005 10:04:29 AM US/Central
To:
Subject: Thank you for your reply

Thank you for inquiring about a creative position. Katherine, your email was a pleasure to read. I can tell you are someone who is passionate about creativity. The most important aspect of getting in a creative department is to have a stellar portfolio with examples of your creative thinking and abilities. There are hundreds, even thousands of people trying to show they deserve a job by solving the department's client creative problems. Your enthusiasm and intuition have to be displayed and perfected.

I wish I was replying to you to set up an interview for the job. But I am not.

Rejection stinks.

Unfortunately, it comes with the pursuit of working as a Creative in
advertising. Everyone in the creative business has gone through rejections.
Getting a job in a creative department is very difficult. Almost impossible.

My name is Scott Kirkpatrick. I have been in the creative business for over
twenty years. I want to help you get the creative job you are looking for.

I ran the classified ad you responded to because I know there are people like
you out there who want to know how to get into a Creative Department. And I
hope I can help. I am sorry that this sounds like an infomercial. (I'm an Art
Director by trade... this copy will never win any kind of an award.)

So, yes, there is no position. What I do have to offer is a way to get
experience you need to get a creative position.

There are schools like the Portfolio Center and Creative Circus who will
educate students about how to get jobs as copywriters, art directors, etc. But
these schools are located in Atlanta. Or like The Miami Ad School, they have
schools all around the world. But there isn't anything here in Madison. That's
why I'm opening a school here. Extra Bold - The Madison Portfolio School.

The reason I'm doing this is because I was just like you. I lived in Madison
and had to go to Minneapolis to get into the Creative business. Starting 2006,
Extra Bold opens and you can get what you need right here. Classes will be
taught by local advertising professionals. Our teachers have had experience
from Minneapolis to Atlanta to Chicago to New York to San Francisco. We have
worked on Fortune 500 companies like - Harley Davidson to Porsche and Best Buy to Target. We've seen it all and done it all. We have hired hundreds of
hundreds of creative talent. You will network with Creatives here in Madison as
well as guest we bring in from all over. The school will prepare you to
interview for a job and send you out on mock interviews with real agencies. So
you're ready for the REAL one.

Our teachers and I have connections that can get you in the door but it all
comes down to what's in your portfolio. Extra Bold's classes will give you a
chance to show off your talents.

I would really enjoy talking with you about your goals. I think that my school
and our teachers will help you do something in Madison, you couldn't do
before...learn how to get a Creative job. It doesn't matter if you have
experience or have none. You could be in school, out of school or just want to
change careers. Or you may want to advance in the advertising career you have
already.

We can talk you about the classes, which include everything from idea
brainstorming, being strategically smart, doing thumbnails to doing radio and
television.

So if you have a portfolio already or if you haven't had any experience at all,
I'd love to talk. I'd love your input and insights.

Thanks for responded to the classified ad. Thanks for listening to me ramble on
about something very exciting to me. I know what it's like to want to get in to
this business but not know how. I'd like to help.

If you have an interest in Extra Bold Portfolio School, please send me a reply
and I'd love to talk with you. I'll buy the coffee at Starbucks to make up for
getting your hopes up with the classified ad.

Thanks,
------ scott

Yup. This guy put out a "help wanted" ad just so that he could use it as an opportnity to shill for his stupid "school". Whatever, dude. I have no interest in your "school", however I will warn other people to watch out for your ad, so they don't waste their time, too. You smell like a scam artist. If you are willing to place a bogus ad to get attention for your "product", why on earth should we trust you to deliver on anything else?

Better left unwatched

Why is it that so many literary adaptations are so horrifying? Not all of them, but many. I understand that when adapting a book to the stage, screen, or television, some changes need to be made. Sometimes this is done deftly, and the changes are scarcely noticed. For example, the Harry Potter films have been rather well-adapted.

The 1985 Anne of Green Gables movie was a very nice adaptation. However, the two following films drift farther and farther afield. I had a hard time watching the Anne the Sequel film, though it was enjoyable. I don't think I will ever bring myself to watch the "Continuing Story". (Hello? Chronology! It's Anne's youngest daughter who is busy growing up and finding romance in WWI. Anne is a middle-age woman by that time.) I've also never watched any of the Road to Avonlea episodes, which seems loosely based on The Story Girl, The Golden Road, and an assortment of L. M. Montgomery's short stories. They are probably well done, but I can only take so much.

So today I discovered that there was a TV series made of Emily of New Moon and I was a little bit excited, though also very leary. Judging by the episode list I am right to be leary. Yikes! Honestly, when you have such wonderful source material, why would you take such a 180 away from it? Why bother having source material in the first place?

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