Friday, August 29, 2008

Are we looking at another capital move push?

Someone had better tell Governor Palin that we can't move the nation's capital to Wasilla.

Also, that means my new claim to fame is that the Republican Vice Presidential candidate likes my hair.

Another big day, another big change on the campaign.


Looks like Obama's not winning Alaska though.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Picnics! Conventions! Danger! What an adventure!

Today, my candidate was in town. We stayed in the office late last night cleaning, making signs and calendars and maybe enjoying a beer or two. Or three. By this morning the office was definitely presentable and we showed up, a little tired but ready for a big day.

Between setting up for press conferences, costco runs, and data entry, there was little to no time for rest. We don't need rest, though. We are field organizers. We need only caffeine, deadlines, quotas, and of course, a cause to keep us going.

I have to say, I like my candidate. I like him as a person. He is a nice guy, very down to earth, a little nervous and fidgety when he speaks, friendly, good natured, funny, and honest. I was talking to a former customer from my credit union days, and I was explaining how nice it is to have a job that means something, to work for a goal and a change rather than working for money. I feel pretty good about all of it.

Today, we almost killed a supporter, or rather, our faulty tent did. Our first arrival at the picnic was a woman who seemed to be traipsing along in her own reality. She stood there printing her information neatly on our sign-up sheet, humming, as a gust of wind blew our tent down, three little pigs style, nearly on our heads. Luckily the boys saw this and rushed to hold up the tent while I tried to coax the lady into the stable shelter just feet away. She didn't respond. She continued to hum and print neatly and precisely while the boys stood there, looking confused as to why this woman would remain standing under a tent which nearly collapsed onto her head. I literally had to suggest that she get food so I could move the table and allow the boys to remove the irreparably damaged tent.

The picnic was a big success. My candidate showed up and was wonderful with people, talking to them about their concerns, shaking hands, smiling for photos, and giving a brief but gracious and powerful speech. Special guest at the event aside from my candidate? Gary Garble. He stopped by and chatted with me for a bit before careening off to less rational pursuits. I recognized faces from other events and had a good time heading up the sign up table.

After the picnic, Mr. A and I rode with my candidate to the Convention Watch Party at Centennial Hall. We watched Obama's speech and then my candidate went up to speak. There was a great turnout at this event as well. We mixed and mingled and handed out stickers to people who would most likely support us as well.

Now we are back at the office and doing data entry and having conference calls. It may not sound like much, but we had a good day. We had FUN.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Learning to deal:

With red, white, and blue.

Patriotism is something I have at times defined as the following things:

Flag related kitsch.
Stars & Stripes.
Xenophobic country lyrics.
Unconditional support of elected officials.
Fireworks and parades.

That's why I didn't like patriotism.

What is patriotism, really? For me, at least, it is being dedicated enough to my country that I will always consider it my home, no matter where I may travel, and therefore I will do what I must to facilitate the changes necessary to make my country a country of which I can be proud.

The one thing I still have trouble with? The fact that I still have to deal with a lot of red, white, and blue. Seriously. Had I not been getting somewhat of a buzz from the marker fumes, I may have had a less fun time making a poster encouraging people to sign up to volunteer.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Halfway from a full moon.

I just consulted a lunar calendar. Because I was convinced that this weekend could only have existed in tandem with a full moon. Or some other lunar rarity. Maybe it wasn't the moon at all, but the way the stars were aligned. Very strangely, I'd guess.

In parallel universe weekend, I found myself assaulted with seemingly normal but definitely off-kilter situations. Formerly platonic male friends were making advances, formerly flirtatious male friends were sending very mixed signals, and former lovers were nowhere to be found - the last is not a bad thing, I suppose. I was at the Imperial and the Viking instead of the Alaskan and the Rendezvous. I was wearing jeans and a tee with my hair in a ponytail instead of wearing a dress and being done up. I also walked myself home alone and went to bed wondering why the night had been so strange.

Saturday night was strange as well, mostly because a formerly packed event - KY Jelly Wrestling at the 'Vous - was strangely unpopulated, another night of cover-charge at the Alaskan, and despite being surrounded by people I didn't really feel connected to any. I sometimes make life harder on myself and got stuck in a conversation with a particular bouncer with whom I had no particular interest in conversing, I just didn't want to pay cover. Turns out it was late enough in the night that nobody was getting stuck paying anymore. The Great Alaska Bluegrass Band played one more song while I was inside. I sat with Miss J (whom I have drunkenly combined with another of the same age) and Miss L, who once interviewed me for a position. I am going to have a lunch meeting with Miss L. After the band quit playing I left with these two and associated others, accepting an offer for a ride (on Miss J's lap) up the hill. How many people can you fit in a Subaru station wagon? I think we had... seven or eight. Not bad.

In another uncharacteristic move, I stayed in and read a book and played Oregon Trail on my cell phone Sunday night. Miss J must have thought I had gone out because she texted me to be quiet when I got home since Miss T would be crashing on our couch. I got this when I woke up this morning after at least eight or nine hours of sleep. More than I had gotten in a long time. Sunday wasn't dull though. I went to Miss E's baby shower, but not before going to Wal*Mart to get a gift from her registry. This is probably the second time I had entered the store since its controversial opening here in Juneau. Once I had been directed to the registry computer, I found Miss E's registry and hit the print button. "This registry contains approximately 6 pages." Now, it's not that I am some genius or something, but shouldn't a computer know EXACTLY how many pages it would be printing? I then expected five and a half pages or something like that. Five pages printed. No more. On the phone with Schwesterlein, I told her, "Even the computers at Wal*Mart are stupid!" After snagging the gifts and a gift bag for Miss E, I ran to the nearest checkout and was disappointed but unsurprised when the clerk attempted to put the largest item in after she had placed the two smaller items in the bag, having not the foresight to put in the largest item first. Then when I asked for a gift receipt she looked as though I had asked her to prove some complex mathematical procedure and suggested I go to customer service. I didn't bother. Thanks Wal*Mart, see you the next time someone needs a breast pump...

This weekend and today has been part of GOTV, which meant staying in even later last week and this weekend having two of my three co-workers out of town, while Mr. Boss and I run the office and keep track of volunteers on our own. Saturday was a great turn out, Sunday was somewhat lacking, and hopefully this evening will be good. Tomorrow is the Primary. Honestly, it's been far more relaxed this weekend, despite the big push. There isn't so much stress on us doing everything because we have volunteers to help with a lot. Tonight I doubt I'll have to make a phone call at all, which is good since I have basically no voice. I've been popping Halls honey-lemon lozenges like they were speed and I needed it oh-so-badly. So far I've seen no noticeable improvement. Miss N, whom I met at the ADC was telling me about the same miracle product, optibiotica, that Miss N from my old job had been telling me about. Looks like I need to get my hands on this cure-all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The good times are killing me.

I mean to stay home sometimes, maybe read some, maybe watch a movie, maybe go to bed early... it rarely happens.

Last night I went home and was relieved that I had gotten home before 10pm and that I had nothing planned. Then Miss LS called and dropped by. When I found out she was playing at open mic at the Alaskan I decided to head down there. That's when I ran into everyone else I knew.

I managed to:

(1) Get us a table at a Rock the Vote event on September 6th. You should attend.

(2) Concoct a brilliant idea for volunteer recruitment with lasting benefits for the Juneau Dems, Young Dems, and UAS (assuming all works out as planned).

(3) Set up a lunch meeting with Mr. R, one of my former co-workers. We definitely talked about the important issues but also talked about what we've been up to since I jumped ship.

Today it was just me and the boss at the office. It was ridiculously quiet but we were pretty productive. I get to go home as soon as I enter these numbers... so I'm going to get on that.

Plans for the weekend?

Birthday party for Miss S and the Hardcore House & KY Wrestling at the 'Vous. I won't be participating, merely observing and trying to avoid getting splashed with personal lubricant.

P.S. That is a Modest Mouse reference.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

If I cared more, my ego would be more bruised than my bum.

After a two day heat-wave/sunny streak we got our rain back. That's fine, I got my fill of vitamin D and I got my annual sunburn. I'll get skin cancer but at least I'll be happy for a day or two.

Now, and this could be another of my made up scientific theories, but it could be true... I think that when it is hot out (which it totally was in Juneau, I swear) the asphalt (a derivative of petroleum) releases some oils or something. When it rains again, the asphalt is particularly slick. I feel like this is legitimate, but then again, it wouldn't be the first time I made up a completely legitimate sounding theory.

The reason I am theorizing about asphalt and weather variations is because this morning, I looked like an ass.

I'm an aggressive pedestrian, I believe that, since I am out in the elements and in just as much a hurry, a car should allow me to cross. I saw cars coming at a reasonable stopping distance so I crossed the street, holding up about 5 cars in their morning commute. I put my hand up in the, 'thanks' wave and then immediately slipped and fell on my ass in the middle of the road. I feel like I was sitting there for ages but it was probably only a half second before I righted myself and continued on my way with my head held high. When I got to the sidewalk safely I swore like a sailor, cursing the slick asphalt and going over the asphalt theory.

Overall, I find it hilarious. I am lucky to be one who can laugh at herself, rather than being a horribly serious type. That doesn't mean I didn't try to come up with an excuse for my lack of grace though. I've been researching the properties of asphalt in an attempt to prove my theory:

Asphalt, black, cementlike material varying in consistency at room temperature from solid to semisolid. It can be poured when heated to the temperature of boiling water and is used in surfacing roads, in lining the walls of water-retaining structures such as reservoirs and swimming pools, and in manufacturing floor tiles and roofing materials. It is not to be confused with tar, a black substance derived from coal, wood, and other substances.

Asphalt is found in natural deposits, but almost all of the asphalt used commercially is now derived from petroleum. Straight-run asphalts, which are made up of the nonvolatile hydrocarbons left after petroleum has been refined into gasoline and other products, are used for paving. Air-blown asphalts, produced from petroleum residues at temperatures of from 204° to 316°C (400° to 600°F), are used to make roofing materials and similar products. A small amount of asphalt is “cracked” at temperatures of about 500°C (about 930°F) to make some insulation materials.

Natural asphalt was used extensively in ancient times. Ancient Babylonians used it as a building material, and it is referred to several times in the Old Testament books of Genesis and Exodus as a caulking material (see Bitumen). Natural deposits of asphalt occur in pits or lakes as residue from crude petroleum that has seeped up through fissures in the earth. Typical of these deposits are the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, in which the remains of prehistoric flora and fauna have been found. A natural asphalt pool is Pitch Lake, Trinidad. Deposits of asphalt-impregnated rock, called rock asphalt, are found throughout the world. An asphalt deposit of some commercial importance is Gilsonite, also called uintaite, found in the Uinta River Basin of Utah and used in the manufacture of paints and lacquers.

The use of asphalt for street paving in the United States began in 1870; by 1903 more than 35 million sq m (about 42 million sq yd) of U.S. streets were paved with asphalt. Today, asphalt derived from petroleum is used to surface about 90 percent of paved roads in the United States. About 75 percent of the more than 24 million metric tons of asphalt produced in the United States each year is used for this purpose(MSN Encarta).

THIS JUST IN: 5:53pm

Either I'm a genius or this journalist made up the same theory...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My 100th Post!

So, you would think I'd want my 100th post to be special, but I may just ramble for a moment about music, politics, and getting a sunburn. Actually, that is pretty worth posting about.

Last night I saw Deering and Down perform AGAIN, since the weekend of the 4th of July, I've seen every show they've played. I'm a live music junkie.

Tonight I'm going to see Brooke and the North Douglas Folkin' A's for their last performance of the summer before the lovely Miss B heads back to that soul-killing town of Los Angeles.

In the world of politics, we did lots of canvassing today and lots of calling as well. Had a few meetings but mostly spent the entire day outside. Today, canvassing and community day was fantastic. It was sunny and hot enough that Mr. AP and I went to our respective homes to change into summer clothes at some point.

I got a sunburn! Actually, that's not happy news, but it does clarify just how nice the weather was today.

Other interesting or disturbing experiences today include:

One girl (currently unregistered) saying she'd be voting for VIC VICKERS. Which is absolutely impossible because the deadline to register in time to vote in the primary is way past and there is no way Vic Vickers will make it to the general election.

One door I knocked on had someone call out, "Come in." I cracked the door and leaned in to see a morbidly obese man in sweats with his hands in the waistband of his pants. Ted Stevens supporter. All of it horrifying.

The other interesting moment occurred when I was walking down a flight of stairs (considered a "street" in Juneau) and happened upon a house on my canvass list. The current resident was obviously not the listed resident(s) so I figured I'd two-dub him and ask who he did support. When the much treasured answer, "Not Stevens" was uttered, we got into a bit of a discussion which led to his agreement to sign my supporter list. When he got to the phone number slot he asked, "Will you be calling me?" and I responded that "We don't usually call numbers from these lists." and he came back with the flirtatious, "No, will you be calling me?" and I told him that I "don't call people. I'm anti-people right now." Overall, very nice guy, but I am not out to make dates while I'm canvassing.

GOTV is seriously killing everyone's social lives right now. We're in the office from 9am-ish until 10pm-ish every day. We also just learned that the boss-man actually added shifts to our GOTV schedule. Oy vey.

Quote of the day: From the Big Boss: "Keep up the amazing work and keep kicking the shit out of the goat fucker because that's what we need you guys to do."

Campaigning is so professional.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Neva Egan & Mark Begich

Neva Egan & Mark Begich
Originally uploaded by MarkBegich
What is the most important thing I've done so far in my job?

I managed to call the first first lady on the phone, talk to her for a while, then take Mr. A to go visit her. We also set it up to have our hopeful future Senator meet with our first first lady, who is a supporter.

This was during my first week of work, too. Awesome.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekends make me happy.

Even though I work EVERY DAY I still enjoy weekends.

Well, Friday was technically a day off, though we still worked for about 4 hours. We also managed to go to Sandy Beach to walk around aimlessly on the sand, enjoying the bit of Vitamin D (in the form of SUNSHINE) Juneau provided us. Delivering road signs wasn't bad though, especially since it aided us in developing a new theory on in political identification.

American flag kitsch = republican. Also, Miller Light.

Pot smoke = democrat.

We also complained for a long time about how we let the Republican party claim both the flag and God. We, however, argue that Jesus would totally have been a democrat.

Deering and Down played during the weekend, so of course I found myself spending a great deal of time at the Alaskan. Enjoyed the company of the guys from work and also managed to enjoy a fancy assortment of appetizers at Zephyr with Miss C.

Nothing particularly exciting or out of the ordinary really occurred in the Juneau scene. Guess there is nothing to report.

Today was the Juneau Dems' picnic, with many candidates and activists in attendance. We volunteered to help out, setting up, manning tables, and overseeing the happenings. You can tell that I am or have been (1) a bartender, (2) an event planner, and (3) some sort of leader in a group. I also managed to meet the man I am working to put in office, talk with a lot of people, and get a lot of mosquito bites. We ended up taking a lot of the leftovers back to the office - feed the poor field organizers - please! If we had a shower at the office, we might not ever leave.

It seems sort of weird to me that I am enjoying life so much, yet I have been working ridiculous hours and doing very little which seems exciting. I guess it is just a sign that I actually kind of like my job. Which is awesome. It took me a long time to get my foot in the door, but now it is here and I'll sidle the rest of the way in at any time.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Just one of the guys.

On the shared calendar, the top of August 11th read, "THE NEW GIRL STARTS!!" and I did, I joined the staff of three 22-23 year old guys in the Begich campaign headquarters. This week I have spent at least 60 hours with these guys, but I'm pretty positive it's been more. That's fine though, because they are pretty awesome.

One of them, another Mr. C, reminds me so much of one of my best friends from high school that I have on at least 3 occasions called him by the high school friend's name. Oops. It doesn't help that the high school friend shares a name with one of the other guys.

Mr. A is another one, who will sadly be leaving to Ketchikan in a couple weeks.

Both these two are from New York and I've spent the most time working closely with them.

The third, the regional director and another Mr. C - see how confusing this gets - is from Kentucky and is also quite nice, though completely strange in the sense that he is so liberal but also so... whitebread American. It baffles me at times.

Some highlights from our adventures include:

2 dinners cooked
2 cases of Natty Ice consumed
1 family sized pizza
4 shots with a rubber bracelet to knock the beer can off my head
3 times I've hit Mr. Boss C with the rubber bracelet
1 karaoke attempt

...and numerous coffee breaks, lunch breaks, and random adventures in campaigning.

Today I canvassed for 4 hours in the rain. It was not that bad, overall, and it was a pretty decent workout.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rockin' 'n' rollin' 'n' sugar shakin'!

Saturday night had the Sugar Shakers of Sitka playing at the 'Vous.


I was uncertain as to whether I would make it, but luckily I recovered from the hangover from hell with enough time to even doll myself up and meet up with Mr. Paddle-Boat at the Hangar before heading to the 'Vous.

Mr. PB has been visiting me for the past couple months at the 'Vous when he has been on break. Since he was switching vessels, he had an overnight in J-town and was interested in hanging out and witnessing Juneau's nightlife. I obliged.

There was no place else worth being that night, the Sugar Shakers had everyone at least bobbing their heads and drooling over the sultry upright bassist. Many of us managed to, in our rock-a-billy attire, get out on the dance floor and have a fantastic time. There was an old couple in attendance who blew us all away with their dance moves, they were an added bit of entertainment.

The band members were some of the nicest people in existence and on breaks were mixing and mingling with the crowds.

It happened to also be Miss L's birthday/farewell party so we had cake and had a lot of fun doting on her.

I didn't go to bed until 6am. You'd think that this would imply an after-party or something of great interest, but Miss J and I watched 2 more episodes of this IFC series on Sex in Cinema. Riveting.

Saturday night definitely beat Friday night and Saturday day.

A couple things to note about Saturday day:
1) I woke up in sitting position on the loveseat in the living room.
2) I didn't wake up until 11:20 am and I was scheduled to work at 8 am.
3) I looked and felt terrible (though this didn't stop Jean-Pierre from proposing).
4) I called in sick to the other job.
5) I puked up the breakfast Mr. E picked up for me from Costa's.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Disco dancing and exposing political corruption are some of my hobbies too!

In the morning I read about politics.
In the afternoon I talk about politics.
In the evening I call about politics.

For some, this would be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
For me, it is pretty awesome.

I don't mind that I am working the same number of hours.
I don't mind that I can't have a life until after 9pm most nights.
I don't mind that I will be working most every day, surprisingly (like I wasn't doing that already!).

I actually enjoy what I'm doing. So far.

My co-workers are fun, we played pool and had a couple beers at the Hangar last night, a couple of us had lunch at the Sandpiper today, and I'll be having dinner with them tonight.

But tonight is also girls' night!

I'll provide a further update about the past weekend in the near future - it was a fun one, aside from a most awful hangover on Friday...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Good times with the girls!

A girls' night was the reason I took Wednesday off work. Miss J had been working together with some of our girlfriends to get a girls' night going at Miss H's place. I had spent the earlier part of the evening with the guys - 3 50-60 year old miners - but I parted ways because it was time for girls' night! I went home and changed, walked across downtown to Miss H's apartment, and discovered that everyone was leaving. The whole concept of staying up late is apparently far different for: baristas and pregnant women, who made up most of the crowd. I sat with Miss J and Miss H for a few minutes, but with both yawning and dreaming of pillows, I went to meet up with some other ladies.

I met up with Miss A and Miss M, to find Miss D and Miss K present as well. Miss A rocked the 'Vous with her karaoke stylings, while the rest of us had fun talking and enjoying (or being horrified by) the night's varied performances. Miss L called and convinced me to head over to the Alaskan, worthwhile since Deering & Down was performing, and then I headed back to the 'Vous where I was invited to a lunch date the following day. I walked to the wharf with Miss T, Mr. L, Miss L, and Mr. C, where some got Döner Kebabs and some of us were just there for fun. We had the misfortune of meeting someone who probably watches Nascar and definitely had a shirt with General Robert E. Lee on the back. He thought we were quite ignorant when our "guesses" included Karl Marx as well as other famous bearded men who most definitely weren't his heroes. He didn't seem to get the joke. Poor Miss R who works the Kebab shop was trying to close the place up when he remained inside harassing her. I used my bartender skills and told him he had to leave and let her close up shop. He listened, but according to Mr. I (Miss R's boyfriend), he was back one more time before she had to lock herself in and him out.

Mr. L, Miss T, and I had a continued adventure, swinging in cope park and narrowly escaping a bear. We then stopped back at my house, where I stayed and went to sleep after they borrowed "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and left.

Wednesday I woke up and my first order of business was to join the ladies for lunch. Upon my most punctual arrival, I found nobody there so I went on a couple adventures. I walked down Franklin where I ran into the woman I've worked with at the temp agency, but whom I've known longer than that. She and I talked for a moment and she dragged me down into "the cave" or my future office (come Monday). I met the regional Field Organizer and got to see where my desk would be. I then went and peeped into the restaurant again, slightly late, and didn't see anyone. I stopped by Mr. EJ's place of employment to say hello and hear of his most recent plans for escape. After chatting for a bit I went back and found Miss R and Miss T, who were still waiting for Miss D. We had a lovely lunch which perhaps resembled a Sex and the City lunch date.

After that I went and spent a bit of time with Miss B, walked around in the sunshine, and had an ice cream cone. I then decided it would be a good idea to grab my book and head to cope park (despite the mosquitoes and no-see-ums). I spent some more time swinging and a bit of time reading, then went home to take a nice nap. The nap was a terrible idea. It felt great to just curl up on the couch and sleep, but when I woke up almost 5 hours later, I was in trouble. I tried to go back to sleep at around 11pm, but I don't know actually if I made it to a deep sleep stage before being awakened at 3:00am. I hit the snooze button a few times and then got up with not enough time to pull it all together. I managed to get most everything together but my food for the day consists of Kefir (yogurt drink), miso (soy paste for soup), and dried apricots. I guess I'll be healthy today by accident...

Today is my last day on Island, my last day at the mine, and word travels fast. People in different departments already know of my upcoming departure and even of my career plans. The seat-buddy stopped by to wish me luck just now. He's in exploration geology. I'll miss some of the people, but I won't miss the job or the early and long hours...

Bear-y scary!

Tuesday night, while walking with Miss T and Mr. L from our perch on the Cope Park swings, I saw a large, very large, black bear-shaped shadow cross from one side of the road to the other. I used the mom-arm stance and blocked my accomplices from walking further and alerted them to the bear. We then stood around talking loudly and discussing what tone of voice to use with a bear while we waited for some unspecified length of time, long enough, we thought, for a bear to be beyond striking distance.

What tone of voice should one use with a bear? We all agreed that high-pitched wouldn't be effective at all. Mr. L thought that something low and perhaps menacing might be best, so you aren't confused with prey. I was thinking that using a voice that sounded in anyway aggressive might make the bear consider us a threat, though. The conclusion then, as with most things bear related, is not very helpful: Somewhere in between a falsetto and a growl. Good luck!

It occurred to me that I've seen far more bears this summer than last and not just due to my summer job on the island with the world's densest bear population.

Summer 2007

1) Bear near funeral, possibly actually a very large dog or a sinister shadow

Summer 2008

1) Bear on the road on Admiralty, apparently it is/was missing an eye and attempted to swipe at vehicles. Luckily the mighty bus was a worthy opponent and intimidated the bear into standing still, looking deceptively adorable.

2) Hungry bear chooses grass over human flesh. On a small ridge outside my office window, a bear seemed to be chewing on grass rather than feeding on the abundant supply of miners.

3) Fearless city bear lopes through neighborhoods. This smallish black bear seemed to be enjoying its jog through the Governor's neighborhood. Standing in front of the apartment building, we were sipping on beverages and saw the bear head up the street and up into the neighbor's yard. Before Miss J could get her camera, the bear decided to go seeking adventures behind the neighbor's house.

4) The Cope Park incident.

That is a 400% increase in bear sightings! I feel like I am possibly missing a sighting or two as well...

Also increased this summer:

Deer sightings! I didn't see any last summer, so the increase is undefined. I have seen deer on at least three to five occasions.

Live porcupines! I saw some dead porcupines last summer, but this summer I have seen at least one live porcupine as it enjoyed the luxuries of the neighbors' carport.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Gambling: The Lucky, the Unlucky, and the Despairingly Downtrodden.

Part of my bartending gig is not slinging drinks or serving espressos, part of it is not very glamorous at all.

Some less glamorous jobs include:

Stocking the beer - it doesn't seem particularly awful, until the moisture of the cooler causes the cardboard to become moist and mildew-ridden, until the cardboard loses its integrity and beer bottles push their way through. When attempting to remove the deteriorating boxes, one must remove all the beers, lest they spill out and break, and then pull up the sopping wet, falling apart, dirty belly-button smelling boxes.

Dealing with daytime drunks and alcoholics - it may, surprisingly, sound worse than it is. I rarely have to kick people out, when I do they tend to go peacefully, but seeing these people can be mighty depressing.

Pulltabs - a form of gambling in which a person pays $X for X (or 1/2X or 2X, 4X or 10X) pieces of two ply cardstock with tacky themes and tabs to pull. Most regular tab players, or tabbers as I'll call them, have pulled so many tabs that they have it down to the most efficient "art" and can just bend the tabs in just the right manner that all three to five tabs pop open at once, revealing whether a person has lost, won a playback, or won big.

The lucky... Mr. J of the paddleboat, who has been in to visit me most every Saturday for a couple months now, came in this last Saturday with a friend from the boat. Somehow they decided to try some pulltabs, spending less than $10 I believe. I was already off shift, counting my till and sipping on a Ruby-red Madras, when Mr. J opened up a tab and gasped, "No way." He had opened a $300 winner, after the two had put in a total of $3 in the ten-centers. They tipped the bartender at the time, they tipped me, and Mr. J was in a state of Euphoria.

The unlucky... There are people who come in weekly at least to play the tabs. These tabbers will drop hundreds in a sitting or at least hundreds over the course of a week or two. One woman who frequently pulls had the company of another woman who doesn't do it. The new woman asked about it and I commented that most people tip 10% on a big win, which makes the tabs worth while for the bartenders. The old time tabber, who tips little if anything, said something rather depressing, along the lines of there being people who spent so much gambling that they can't afford to tip.

Then there is Gary Garble. He qualifies as despairingly downtrodden. Gary Garble, who is best described by my friend Stickpaste in his blog, will spend hundreds of dollars in a night, hundreds of dollars in the course of a few hours. He will drink Blue Moon after Blue Moon, sucking the beer-soaked flesh of the orange slice from the rind every pint. Sunday afternoon, Gary Garble was wearing a shirt with a large red graphic on the front. It had a wheel-barrow full of a substance which, out of context may not have been apparent, but in context was most definitely shit. The shirt read, in a ring around the shit filled wheelbarrow, Manure Movers of America. Gary Garble drunk and Gary Garble sober, if I've ever witnessed it, or I should probably say Gary Garble at the beginning and Gary Garble at the end - they are the same person, basically. At no point does he not mumble, stutter, slur, repeat himself, drone on about mindless things, or moan and groan to himself in despair. At no point does his gait seem to stray from its usual falter. At no point does he seem to become any sweatier or any less focused. The more Gary Garble guzzles his pints and gambles,actually, the more focused he becomes. He'll cash checks, he'll consult his check register, he'll go to the atm, and he'll spend hundreds on beers and tabs. To give Gary Garble credit, despite not winning big on Sunday, he tipped me $23 overall. He makes sure to tip before the end so he knows he won't run out without tipping. In the end, I think he tips so well not out of generosity but as an impulse. The same impulses that drive him to drink pint after pint, the same impulses that drive him to drop hundreds on tabs, those same impulses drive him out the door, leaving his last bills on the table with his empty pint glass and the pull-tab husks. Gary Garble didn't say goodbye, he just wasn't there when I next looked in his direction.

The End, or is it? Part III: Goodbye, 3am wakeups!

Remember how I said my boss was awesome and that he wouldn't even require 2 weeks notice of me?

Remember how I said I was applying to a new job?

I got it. I've got two more 3am wakeups to go, then I will have to be at the office at, and I quote, "Nine A.M. promptly."

I open the bar before I start this job, how absurd is that? I could go and drink an alcoholic beverage at the 'Vous before I go to work. I could overthrow a small country before I go to work. I could at least go to the gym instead of being a bum and I could probably manage to eat a healthy breakfast rather than munching on chewy granola bars and drinking drip coffee.

I figure a week is enough time to finish my projects. All I have to do is actually, you know, work. Everyone is impressed with my work so far, but I'm afraid this week will ruin my once perfect persona because they may realize that I am capable of so much more, reminding them that I had them fooled all along, thinking it took a day to do some data entry - oops. I really can't often do it much faster though, the toll it takes on my wakefulness and my brain is intense. It is almost as though the jobs which require so little brain will attempt to deteriorate your brain to only the level required to complete such menial tasks.

Anyway, I start the new job on Monday and I couldn't be more excited! I feel like everything in life is fresh and new after this weekend and its events!

Oh, and I would like to thank Miss E, current president of my old sorority, my old sorority, and the wonders of social networking. Were it not for the following chain of events, I would not have this job!

I received an e-mail from Miss E, who received a mass e-mail from a sorority sister at another school, who was informing people of a job for which her sister was hiring. In Alaska. In my field. A job I would not have otherwise heard of. So, for those of you doubting the effectiveness of social networking, the worth of Greek connections, or any such nonsense like that - here is your proof that it is for the best!

The end, or is it? Part II: The Fall of an Empire?

Imperialism of the heart. No good.

So, everyone is familiar of the ups and downs of my love life, including the ups and downs with a certain Mr. A.

Friday night I was hanging out with Miss A and having a great time. We were sipping on drinks and catching up after nearly a month apart. Midway through a conversation with Mr. L, who taps on my shoulder, but Mr. A.

For some bizarre reason I was suddenly repelled. I wanted nothing to do with him. He didn't make himself any more appealing when he managed to insult pretty much everyone in my company. After a couple shots of Jameson on top of my grapefruit-madras drinks we got the hell out of there. I went to bed once I got home and when I awoke in the morning (late) I discovered a missed call, a voice message, and a text. All along the lines of, "Where did you go? You disappeared! Call me." and all inciting an adverse reaction within me.

The spell was broken.

Many thoughts went through my mind, including such witty retorts as "You'd have noticed my leaving were you not so busy insulting all of my friends." I settled for the classless yet effective "SMS Text Break-up" and I must say, I am as good at writing break-up texts as I am at writing resignation letters. Which I've been doing a lot in the past 6 months...

I left the option of talking it out, but asserted that I was unlikely to change my mind. Much to my surprise, he apparently cares enough to want to talk it out and he even apologized. We haven't talked it out yet and I don't know when we will, as he is once again out of town... but I suppose it'll be good for us to finally communicate. I'm holding steady though, I will not be swayed by empty promises or well crafted and lyrical apologies! It's been a rocky 6 months or so and I am so over it. The best either of us can hope for is some closure, finally.

Part of the reason I am so sure of this decision, even after an apology and a request to work thins out, is that our communication is no better and he is no better at calling when he says he will. Expecting a call at 8:30, I'm glad I didn't wait around because I got a text at 9:20.

The end, or is it? Part I: The rise of the undead.

I can still see the flashing, neon, madras pattern clearly in my mind. I can hear the fans whirring. I can remember when my laptop died so clearly.

Then, for some reason, I decided to turn it on again.

The black screen fades into not weird lines or random patterns, but into the normal start-up screen.

I log in as normal.

My recycle bin is empty.

My computer works.

Now, it died, and has been re-animated. This means that it may behave a little strangely and it may be a little slow and lurchy...

But the ol' gal's back.


This is Part I of however many because I am going to try this new thing called organizing my thoughts, rather than just spewing out stream of consciousness soap operatic drivel. Sounds good, no?