Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Irresponsible? Not this girl...

I just returned from a trip to Anchorage and it was absolutely necessary and perfectly responsible, especially since I bought my ticket when I was employed AND with my PFD money.

In any case, Miss S, Miss J and I booked tickets a while ago for this trip with the main goal of seeing Miss E, who has been living oh-so-far-away in Vermont. It also happened that a gaggle of roller girls (Miss E is a roller girl as well) from Juneau were also attending, which put us at a group of between 8 and 10 people depending on the night. I can't even begin to describe how fun it all was or how silly or rambunctious we got. I don't think Anchorage was expecting us.

I don't want to get too crazy into it, but we had good food, good drinks, good fun and good company all around.

Despite the overwhelming stress of being un(der)employed and straight up poor, I managed to have a bit of fun. And when I started to be a downer, I tried to be aware and pull myself out of it. I would really like to get to a point again at which I am happy more often than sad or stressed. I have an interview on Thursday, so maybe that will help.

As part of this whole job search fiasco, I have asked a few potential employers, who did not even offer me an interview, what criteria I did not meet. I hope I'll hear back, because if there is something I am doing wrong, I'd like to fix it. One (no longer) potential employer I asked at least three weeks ago and I determined today that I should send a follow up e-mail. So I did that.

Edit 12/15: I got an e-mail from the HR person for the former potential employer and she has been supremely helpful and has gone above and beyond what I expected. She walked me through everything specifically and when I asked if she would be willing to conduct a rehearsal interview, she agreed. It is notable that I do know this woman beyond this interaction. Still, even if it had just been the initial Q&A, it was really helpful and I highly recommend asking such questions.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I want you to want me (hire me)...

I am still unemployed. It's been a month now.

I don't really know what else to say. It's definitely making me get a little more creative with how I spend my free time. Here are my hobbies, in no particular order:

  • Looking for jobs
  • Applying for jobs
  • Occasionally interviewing for jobs
  • Getting regularly rejected by potential employers
  • Volunteering
  • Meetings and organizing
  • Baking
  • Cooking
  • Crafting
  • Altering clothing
  • Drinking random cocktails at home that I've concocted
  • Netflix instant watch
  • The internet in general
  • Coming up with ideas of novels and then not writing them
  • Random haiku attacks
  • Drawing some
  • Sleeping
Now the real problem is how I will fit in all of this (minus the job related stuff) once I finally find myself employed again. I just hope it is soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Post Election Blues

I know, I know. I'm a liberal in a wacky conservative state. What did I expect?

We lost, we all lost. The only consolation, and it is a small one, is that the Teabagger candidate Joe Miller didn't win. Everyone in Alaska seems to be saying "Yeah, we're satisfied with mediocrity."

I drank a bottle of champagne watching the results and yelled obscenities at the television screen. Don't worry. That was the worst of it.

Then I spent a day or two not talking to pretty much anyone. I did manage to accidentally threaten a stranger in Tennessee with death because my friend Miss C must have changed her phone number. Seems people who have never met me and have no idea who I am don't quite grasp my sense of humor. The funny thing was, after I apologized profusely for my joking death threat, he asked if he could text me. Any good relationship starts with death threats, that's what I always say.

Then I started hanging out with people again, just a little. I am unemployed now, so I can't be super social unless it is free and doesn't involve spending money, which makes going out to the bars a little dull. I have been baking a lot of scones and most recently some carrot cupcakes.

I went to Las Vegas and met up with Mr. CP and for a night also Miss B and Mr. K, who were on their great American road trip a la Kerouac but with fewer drugs, I suppose. It was a lovely trip which included a trip to Hoover Dam, setting foot in Arizona (Nevada and Arizona are two states to add to my list), a Cirque du Soleil performance - Mystere, and a performance of the Blue Man Group. We also had a super fancy dinner at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, who is this amazing, award winning French Chef with 3 star restaurants through out the world, though this was one of the slightly less fancy restaurants at only 1 Michelin star, which is still pretty spectacular.

I've been applying to jobs, but rather selectively. I suppose I ought to cast a wide net and then I can pick and choose, but I don't tend to like to go to the trouble of writing cover letters for jobs I don't particularly want. I am currently guest bar tending at the Rendezvous, where I worked in Summer of '08. It's now Sunday afternoon and I've had about 5 customers. It's also already dark. Winter in Juneau has its ups and downs.

I have a new roommate starting at the beginning of November, he's the male version of me, perhaps. A politics geek with a sarcastic and sometimes inappropriate sense of humor. Sometimes we sit and watch weird indie films or documentary films.

So, there's life. It's not too bad, except for concerns about paying bills. It may not sound particularly optimistic, but my thought is that I've never been homeless or hungry yet, so I doubt it will hit now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Feelings

I've always been pretty rational, rarely one to get emotional, and when I have strong feelings, these feelings are elicited by an action or event or person or thing or words that very reasonably would elicit said emotions.

One night that I stayed at my childhood friend Audrey's house, she explained to me that she could feel the unhappiness and the pain of others and it moved her to cry. It wasn't a reaction to a particular trigger, it was as if pain and suffering had taken the form of some invisible vapor that had filled the room and that she had inhaled, causing hysterics and bawling. It went beyond empathy and seemed like a terrifying affliction; I called home and insisted that her mother take me home. I think about this now and while I still lack understanding of what exactly brought on this behavior in her, I think that she must be a pretty wonderful person today.

Today I found out about the tragic death of a man in my community. I had met him once or twice but didn't know him by any stretch of the word. I knew of him, knew that he was an active member of the community with similar beliefs, who did work I respect and appreciate. When I saw his name in a headline, when I read about his sudden and too-soon death, I felt a sense of loss. It stuck with me throughout the day. In the late afternoon I saw some new haiku posted by a local woman; as I've said, I am rational, but this haiku moved me:

What I Want To Believe About Grief

Some days our hearts are
rocks, too big to skip. But tides
will tumble them right.

TSUNAMEE 10-13-10
You can commission your own haiku from TSUNAMEE at her etsy shop.

What I love about this haiku is that it shows recognition of the weight of loss and the process of healing over time with beauty and deliberate words, with a real sense of hope.

The feeling of sadness was paired with this sense of anxiety - it might be campaign stress. All day I felt tense and uneasy, like I was meant to be a million places and doing a million things, all the while I felt like I was always in the wrong place, fumbling life. It is the sort of vague feeling that brings about sneaking frowns and makes one's body vibrate with the involuntary contraction of every muscle. All day I felt like my body was bracing itself for some impending trauma. I think it is proven that a person will survive a great fall with less damage if one relaxes, but my body seems intent on doing it all wrong.

I would probably do well to just go to bed, but I'm wide awake and my mind is a mess of tangled thoughts about death and emotions and politics. I think that my brain is trying to match yesterday's weather with gale winds and torrential downpours.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Twenty-Eight Days Later

We've seen it in the movies, a lot can happen in twenty-eight days - disease can spread rampantly, societies can collapse, and zombies can wreak havoc upon the world we once knew. In twenty-eight days, in this reality, I will be fighting off fatigue on E-day, too tired to consciously hope for success, though I will have spent months prior doing just that. And fighting for it, too.

Today marks four weeks to the general mid-term election. It's as refreshing as it is frightening, because there is finally that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, but maybe it's just the spotlight of a train coming head on at you. Either way, it's almost over.

Aside from this, I haven't much to offer in the way of stories because, well, this is no Chelsea Handler memoir. I expect that you should all simply be relieved that I managed to survive my twenty-fifth birthweek. For those of you concerned that I might have died, I understand, but that was just the zombie walk.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Quarter-Centennial

I'm still here. And I'm almost twenty-five.

You'd think I'd have something really interesting to tell, but campaign work kind of takes up most of my time. The things that are most exciting to ME are my bed and drip coffee (cheaper than espresso), while the things that might be exciting to you would be me actually having thoughts or activities that do not pertain to my campaign.

Tough luck, you may have to wait until November. There's a good chance that the next time you hear from me it'll be mid-November and I'll have drunkenly eloped in an Elvis themed chapel in Vegas.

What?!

Maybe I'll want to make up for lost time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Obituary

When I participated in Leadership Juneau, one of the exercises was to write my own obituary. I doubt I still have it, but I remember it reasonably well.

I think I went to law school or got a masters degree in something interesting, maybe environmental policy, I worked in the non-profit field and I started a charity, I was a world traveler, married just once, when I was older and wiser, maybe I had kids. The part that stands out is that I listed my cause of death as follows:

Melissa and her husband died in a small aircraft crash near Lake Baikal after attending a conference pertaining to the devastation of the surrounding environs. She was 91 years old.

Seriously, I decided that I'd be an old, old lady and that I'd die happy and accomplished in a friggin' plane crash.

We had to share our obituaries with another person in the group and I got paired up with a guy in his 50's probably. He was (still is) a put together guy, works in real estate, and he seems pretty rational. He told me:

"You don't live to be that old and then die in a plane crash."

Well, if former Senator Ted Stevens can live to be 86 and then die in a plane crash, John's theory is proven wrong. But, of course, now that Uncle Ted has done it, I need to pick a new way to go:

Melissa and her husband, both old as sin, died in a fiery explosion as their spacecraft collided with a meteor, saving the planet earth from certain doom. They were on their 65th anniversary "cruise."

Also, I eulogized today that it was "an epic death for a kind of epic guy." and I hope that when I go, I'll get an equally as awesome eulogy stamped on my tombstone.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Not My Fault

I've always been one to take responsibility for my actions. Almost always, in any case. Sometimes, though, I'm not to blame when things go wrong.

Today I did my hair and dressed cute so I could go get dumped, or so I assumed, because maybe you can't be "broken up with" by your not-boyfriend, but you can ALWAYS get dumped.

So, I have been "seeing" this guy, another smart one, a real go-getter. Problem with them is that Juneau is too small a town to contain that much ambition. He's been accepted to a PhD program and is headed out of here in September. Pretty much as soon as he found out, he started pulling away so I decided that I would open up the lines of communication.

I have this theory, you see, that open communication is a good thing. Let's test it out:

First I rambled about completely irrelevant things like making an enemy in an acquaintance's ex-boyfriend by getting in between them and helping her get into a cab and away from him and the bars (don't care, he's not worth my time anyway). Then I stated my case and because I am a sane and rational person, I apologized for Juneau's active sabotage of our not-relationship. You see, he did pull away, in part because he's leaving and wasn't sure what to do, in part because Juneau tried to force a label. Every time a girlfriend would ask "Is that your boyfriend?" and every time a friend would ask him "Where's your girlfriend" the impression building was that I was running around telling anyone who would listen that he was my BOYFRIEND and probably also that I wanted to have, like, ten-thousand of his babies. Only I wasn't.

I can say that we are clear about what we are not. I can say that we are clear about when what we are ends. I can't say I'm 100% clear about what the hell is going on between now and September, but I do know that we can figure that out pretty easily.

In any case. I've got another "failed relationship" under my belt but it's not my fault. It's not my fault that I like smart, ambitious men who go into PhD programs at prestigious universities. It's not my fault that there are no such prestigious universities in Juneau, Alaska. It's not my fault that gossipy Juneau tries to fuck with my casual dating mojo by forcing labels upon us.

It would be my fault if I didn't value this relationship for what it was. It would be my fault if I didn't gain some wisdom from this experience. It would also be my fault if I got disheartened and lowered my standards, going after less intelligent, less ambitious men.

Luckily, I'm doing this right.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hipster Cred

I may be self loathing, but I'm honest: I'm kind of a hipster.

I have thick framed glasses and bangs, I have a quirky sense of style and I listen to indie music. I avoid pop-lit like it might kill me. I really want a mac (I'm too poor to actually have one). I own one of those checked scarves that are common in the Middle East and I wear it around my neck. I have two pairs of converse sneakers and wear skinny jeans. I read webcomics and graphic novels. I have tattoos and stretched lobe piercings and my rook pierced. I went to a liberal arts college. I owned a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer knock-offs until they broke. I make comics. I want to learn to play upright bass and be in a bluegrass inspired band. I drink PBR sometimes.

A couple friends of mine recently discovered Stuff White People Like and were trying to describe it. I looked at the guy to my right, a friend of mine, and declared that I was the poster child for Stuff White People Like and that's part of why I find it so hilarious. I also accused my friend of being, likewise, a poster child for the type of white person being described. He tried to deny it, citing his hatred of Ray-Ban Wayfarers, but it was a weak defense.

As we were all attempting to leave my friend's apartment after drinking PBR and talking about all this hipster crap, he handed me his ear-buds and requested that I listen to this new song by this band that he was sure I would know.

Holy shit, I had to defend my hipster cred. If I didn't know who this band was, I was going to be embarrassed. I don't know why, it's not a big deal, but I felt this pressure - I needed to know who it was and I needed to not say the wrong thing. "Uh, it sounds like the New Pornographers." Bingo. I was correct. It didn't just sound like the New Pornographers, it was, in fact, the New Pornographers. SAVED.

Lucky me, the New Pornographers have been part of my music collection for a couple years at least, I also have music from the solo projects of A.C. Newman and Neko Case. But ask me about someone brand new - I don't have a clue. I'll admit that when it comes to music I have hipster taste but I don't have the hipster habit of keeping up with what's new and exciting. How I get music is less and less a secret: I receive "donations" of music from guys I date or guys I have a crush on (sometimes in part for their music collections). My music collection is a conglomeration of the musical tastes of this guy in college, this guy I had a brief fling with one winter, my first love, and hopefully I'll have some new music soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Confused

I've been right here this whole time. I haven't gone anywhere. I haven't moved to Haines or DC or San Francisco. I haven't moved apartments, I haven't made any giant life changes. I'm still here and still entrenched in my quarter-life crisis.

My life hasn't been completely dull, but what may be some of the juicier details about my life, I can't bring myself to actually share on this oh-so-open forum. You guys, it's a secret! It only adds to my confusion about what to do and where to go, though. And eventually I'll figure it out.

After taking leave for so long, I won't leave you with only this vague and uninteresting post, I'll tell you about what is interesting about my life: 8 wheels.

That's right, roller skating! I may be the clumsiest thing on 8 wheels, but damn it, I am skating. I feel like I start from scratch most every day that I skate, but by the end of each practice I am improved. I even skated with a hangover this Sunday, making almost 25 feel like old age since I can't drink as I did in college and face no consequences. I guess, really, it's not that interesting since I am terrible at skating and really haven't done anything interesting, but in case you were wondering, I'm totally cool for being involved in Roller Derby, even if I wind up being the badass-est towel girl on 8 wheels.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Three Options

I'm giving myself THREE options. I must make up my mind by the end of the month (which means I had better get my life organized).

1) Stay in Juneau (or move to Haines) - this is the cost effective, safe option. I will stay here if I get a job in Juneau or one or two of the jobs I applied for in Haines. So far I haven't heard back about the really cool job in Haines, so I have a feeling that's not going to pan out, so the other one probably won't be worth doing either. I did apply for a job here in Juneau that would be really good for me, so if I get that, it is probably enough to keep me here. But if I don't get a job here at all, then I'm kind of tired of trying to piece things together with multiple part-time jobs. I need something more.

2) Move to San Francisco (more likely the East Bay) - I have family in the Bay Area, my dad and step-mom, aunts, uncles and grandparents, cousins and who knows who else. They may not all be in the position to help me, but I know I could crash at one of my Aunt's houses and I am sure that I could receive some financial help should the need arise. The job market for San Francisco was #14 on a list, but it wasn't that long a list, so I don't think that makes it the easiest place to find a job. I have heard it is easier to find a job once you live someplace, something that might well be true. A friend of mine declared that I absolutely should not leave Alaska because he came back because he couldn't find a job in the Bay Area. We have different backgrounds, but that wasn't the most welcoming news.

3) Move to Washington, DC - DC is listed as having the number one job market, it is where many non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations and, hell, even government has their headquarters located. It's a thriving city with lots of young people and, apparently, a pretty good chance that I'll find a job that suits me. I know some people in the DC area, though I think it might be putting a bit more pressure or stress on these people than on the family in the Bay Area. Also, the weather is shit. But I would have a good chance at getting a job, according to news sources and I have some good friends and some decent connections over there.

So, if you read this, what is your opinion?

Juneau? California? Washington, DC?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Vacation Tally

January 1st through 22nd - Oregon and Mexico
February 26th through March 1st - San Francisco
May 1st through 17th - Oregon
May 28th through 31st - Haines, Alaska

It's been quite the first half of the year.

I was in Haines, Alaska this past weekend for the annual Brew Fest, known also with less brevity as the Alaska Craft Beer and Home Brew Festival. It was glorious.

There is not much point in going into great detail about what went on, you can probably guess: Friday night we ferried over and had fun and drinks and danced at the local bars. Saturday we got up and started drinking again, there was a lot of hula hooping going on, I had breakfast with some friends with eagle eye vision, then we went to the beer tasting.

Now, many people, some of my friends included, barely made it out of the tasting with the ability to walk or form coherent sentences. I managed to make it out just fine. I got to taste a lot of beers, mostly from Alaska breweries, and many of them were really delicious. I also learned that a "breakfast beer" is an "oatmeal stout" which goes against my initial instinct that a breakfast beer ought to be light since it is so early in the morning. Different logic...

After that, instead of going to the bars, I sat around with Miss S and Mr. M and whoever else happened to stop by to hang out, including Miss JB aka Farmer Girl and many others. We drank a lot of whiskey. Obscene amounts of whiskey. We played MASH and Miss S and I ended up staying up suuuuper late talking total nonsense. I then wandered back to tent city (where we were camp-squatting) and passed out from exhaustion and possibly also from whiskey consumption.

Sunday most people left, but Miss B and I stuck around and played around Haines. It's beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. We went to Chilkoot Lake which was too numbingly cold to even consider jumping in, then we went back to the beach by the docks and waded in up to our necks, which lasted all of five minutes. We played fetch with the dogs, did more hula hooping (I think I actually had mild bruising around my waist) and then we went to Miss S' place for a delightful homemade dinner of fresh halibut seviche and gourmet rice with homemade pesto made from locally gathered herbs and there was also this tea drink made with locally gathered and steeped herbs, homemade blueberry juice and strawberry lemonade.

Then there was the homemade ice cream. Heaven in mismatched jars.

Monday was our last day in Haines and consisted of breaking down our tent and cleaning things up, running around on the beaches, trying to avoid mosquito bites, playing with the dogs, reading in the shade and ferrying back to Juneau while Miss B and others played music.

Now I'm back in Juneau.

Miss B and I are talking about moving to Haines. It sounds crazy because I was just talking about moving to a big city, but there is something so charming about that tiny little town. I actually sent in my resume today for a pretty decent little job.

In any case, it's back to trying to find a job and trying to recover from being irresponsible and spending a weekend drinking and playing in Haines.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

IDENTITY CRISIS!!!



When I was in third grade I had to give my first presentation in front of the class. It was a book report? Or maybe it was that "how-to" exercise that is meant to teach children something. I still haven't decided if it is to teach children that stupid people need extra detailed instructions or just to teach children about implicit instructions or something. Anyway, I had to stand up in front of my class and present something.

I was TERRIFIED. The thought of standing in front of my class and giving a presentation was, to that point, the most horrifying feat I was ever faced with accomplishing. Mrs. Mulrooney (for whom I have generally fond memories) told me that if I didn't do my presentation then, I would receive a 0. A ZERO. A big, fat, red F. I cried. I did not deliver my presentation.

Somehow I passed third grade. Somehow I was able to coax myself into giving presentations in the future with no similar failures (except for that one time in that masters level seminar in Germany). I even felt so evolved that I thought I was extroverted.

Apparently, I am not. Apparently the ability to force myself to speak in front of people does not mean that I am not fidgeting or shaking uncontrollably. I guess I just don't notice it.

I have been receiving subtle hints over the last several months. I was once described as "reserved and thoughtful." Who? Me? I guess, maybe. I have been told by a friend that he and another friend thought I shouldn't be so down on myself. What? Conan O'Brien is FAMOUS for his self deprecating humor. Not that I would want my own show, I'd probably die. And recently I had the great fortune of talking with someone who had interviewed me about what I could improve upon and what my weaknesses may have been. Apparently, I was visibly nervous and this cast doubt upon my ability to handle this job well.

You guys, I have just come out of the closet, er, gone back into the closet, er, I guess I'm an introvert.

I suppose there have been many signs over the years: I spent my entire life reading and drawing and, most likely, the most extroverted things I may have done growing up include having less than 10 lines in two separate plays and being on the mock trial team. In college, my most extroverted thing was doing sorority recruitment, which, I'm pretty sure, was never my best experience on either end. I didn't even get invited back to two of the three houses when I went through.

And I know what you are thinking, "You're a bartender, you have to be extroverted!" Not true. I work in the least busy bar ever and I literally shake after I have to kick someone out. Or maybe you are thinking, "But you have, like, a thousand million friends on facebook and you are always out doing things with friends!" And that's true. But I guess my friends think I'm quiet (relatively) and reserved and thoughtful. And everyone needs a friend like that. I probably make an excellent wing woman.

The world wants me to be an extrovert. The world wants me to be fierce and aggressive and oozing of confidence. The world wants me to be composed during an interview and the world wants me to want to be president.

You guys, I am probably supposed to be a librarian.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mood Swing

Melodramatic? Me? Nah.

Maybe sometimes.

Sometimes I get a little down. Don't we all? Especially after my relaxing vacation, it was especially disappointing to discover that I hadn't gotten the job I had interviewed for. I was most disappointed because I was shocked. Not shocked as in "how could they not hire me?!?" but shocked as in "Wait, I didn't even have a second interview!?!" It happens like that, sometimes.

It's not the end of the world and I know that. It's an opportunity to expand my horizons some. It was completely by chance that I ended up in Juneau, Alaska and perhaps fate would have it that I embark on a new adventure now.

I've been applying to jobs, slowly but surely. Options aren't quite limitless, but there are a lot of choices out there. I am looking mainly in the Bay Area, DC and Portland. My reasoning is that these are places where I know people who wouldn't mind me sleeping on their couch while I figure a few things out, where I have family or close friends to provide support of some kind. They are bigger cities with bigger opportunities. If only the competition were only what it is here.

Though I may have seemed despairing, worry not, I am far from giving up hope. And who knows, maybe I'll end up in your city!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Wise Man Once Said

"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need." - Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones

"Love is all you need." - John Lennon, The Beatles

So, wise men, musicians, they say a lot of things. There is truth in each, but you probably can't take it just as it is.

And to add another cliche to the mix, it may be time to put my money where my mouth is.

I know what you're asking yourself: "What money?"

Me too.

I did not get the job and despite scouring the state jobs site and the Empire's top jobs I have found not a single position in Juneau that I really want.

So, what's a girl to do?

Do I take some job I don't want for the sake of having an income?

Do I call it quits, give up, say that Juneau has defeated me?

Do I crawl into a corner and hope that my fairy godmother comes to grant me a wish?

Do I look elsewhere for jobs?

What the hell, guys? I don't know. I'm at a loss.

All the stress relief from my vacation is negated because I am still in the middle of my quarter life crisis with no plan, no ideas and certainly no answer.

I have a lot going for me here, but if I can't survive here (and I can't live on love) then I'm left with some tough choices.

I put it to you, Mick Jagger. And you, ghost of John Lennon. What the hell do you wise men have to say to this?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Decisions, Decisions.

I will be doing a second interview for this position and then I will hopefully find out if I get it or not within a reasonable amount of time. It seems like it would be a great opportunity, but as well as I think interview #1 went, I can't be certain that I will get it.

If I don't get it, I might have to admit to myself that there's not really much of a future for me in Juneau. I've been here for 3 years at the end of this month and I have not held a real adult job for longer than 10 months. I don't want to work 2-3 jobs at a time to make ends meet, I don't want to find a new job every 3-6 months. I want to find something that I can stay with, that will pay the bills and leave me content. I want to start a career, not just work.

Already, only in May, I have been gone about 6 weeks out of the year. Approximately three and a half weeks were spent in Oregon, two weeks were spent in Mexico and approximately half a week was spent in San Francisco.

Sometimes I dream of traveling abroad again, teaching English if I must.

Sometimes I dream of moving to a big city with more opportunities (and more competition).

Sometimes I dream of moving to Oregon where I'll be closer to my family.

Sometimes I dream of moving to someplace completely new and completely random, for the sake of experiencing something new and starting over again. Everything will be novel, including me.

Mostly, though, I feel like I'll just be here until there is something that draws me somewhere else. That I'll continue to straddle the poverty line, drink lots of beer and whiskey, wondering what life might be like if I had done one thing differently.

Speaking of doing things differently, sometimes I have these fleeting thoughts, little "what ifs" that are completely outrageous. Today I wondered what would happen if I poured my beer on the couple in front of me on the plane. Think about it - we're stuck on a tiny plane with nowhere to go, we can't just land, we can't be separated. What would come of it?

I didn't do it, but what if I had?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Because I Can't Afford Therapy

My big complaint about family gatherings was that there would be fighting. Ridiculous, stupid fights. Fights over politics and religion and just caused by drunken stupidity.

New complaint. Far worse, I think.

My parents and my grandma and her boyfriend returned to the house in a great mood and began calling for a cab to go out. I was invited to go out with them and I considered it because going out and drinking with family can have its advantages - like free booze.

Then I dug a little deeper.

"Where are you guys going?"

I didn't get a straight answer.

"OK, seriously, where are you going in the cab?"

I hope you are sitting (I assume you are) and please refrain from drinking any liquids while you drink this.

"The titty bar."

New plans for the evening: curl up in fetal position and rock back and forth. I can only imagine my poor step-dad, with whom I rarely sympathize, will be doing the same thing.

Hell, this is getting friggin' Oedipal here. He'll probably gouge out his own eyes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Inspirational

My mom has this metal and glass wall hanging in our main bathroom. It has a silhouette of a couple damsel flies amongst the reeds, then two panels below, one a cut out of the word hope, the other an inspirational phrase:

Learn from yesterday.
Live for today.
Hope for tomorrow.


An insect was probably not the best imagery.


1. Pretty sure insects don't have the mental capacity to learn or hope.
2. The life span of an insect is a little short for talk of tomorrows.
3. Maybe this works if your only goal in life is to breed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Poop Poop Song

I made up a song for my 4 month old nephew. It goes like this:

Poop poop poop
Poop poop poo-poop
*raspberry* *raspberry*
Poop poop poop
Poop poop poo-poop
*giant raspberry*

Do you believe me yet that I've been spending a little too much time with a baby?

In other news, we had a family get together with extended family included that did not include drunken antics, fist fights or people passing out naked. How is that even worth writing about?

Also, and I suppose I should have expected this, there is a second round of interviews. I did make it through round 1 of the interviews, so now I need to come up with some way to be super awesome for round 2.

I expect everyone to keep their fingers crossed. PERMANENTLY. Or at least until I say when.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

10 Things vs. 2 Things

I just had a suggestion on facebook (via a college acquaintance) for the page "10 Things a Woman Can Do to Keep Her Man from Cheating."

I don't think there are 10 things I need to do to keep my man from cheating. I think there is one thing my man needs to do: NOT CHEAT.

And, should my man cheat, there is one thing I need to do: DUMP HIS ASS.

It's a much simpler system.

---

It's not really a black and white "if he cheats I dump his ass" situation for me, as I have known some people I really have a lot of respect for who have slipped up and I think I could forgive and forget if the circumstances were deserving. I do, however, stand by my statement that there are not 10 things I should do to keep my man from cheating. And if there were things I ought to do to keep my (again, hypothetical) man from cheating, it would not be limited to some stupid list of 10 arbitrary things featured in Cosmo along with their 100 ways to please your man.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The company you keep

I've been spending an overwhelming amount of time with my 4 month old nephew. I think he is absolutely adorable and love everything about him, even when he pees on or pukes on me.

I'm concerned that spending all my time with someone who doesn't speak or even sit up on his own might affect me negatively. Sure, I'll be all relaxed and cuddly, but I'll probably gurgle instead of speak, try to talk about bottles of formula instead of beer, I'll probably make funny faces at people rather than discuss current events.

What's that? Shiny!

Good thing this is only for a couple weeks.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Karma

There is something so satisfying about seeing one of those bitchy girls from high school working retail, 50 or so pounds heavier, and with a bad haircut.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The mysterious disappearance of Melissa Leeanne

If you read my blog, keep up on my comics - you might have noticed that I have had a pretty scarce presence on the internet lately. Little things, a couple tweets a day, maybe sharing some links. No blogs, no comics, no new projects.

It's not you, internet. It's me. I'm in a funk and I can't give you what you need.

It's pretty reflective of my entire life, my best friend right now might be a bottle of whiskey. You know that will end badly.

There's no need to go into details about what's going wrong or what's simply not going right, but I should have things figured out soon.

I have an interview Wednesday (cross your fingers, please) and I might leave town for a bit to clear my head.

When I return to my regular ol' everyday life, hopefully I'll have plenty to share and whiskey will be a mere acquaintance.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hey, whatcha drawin'?

The problem with the daily comics is... well. It's hard to pin the exact problem or cause of the problem, but there is one.

Today this guy came into the bar with a friend of his. I have met him a few times before. The last time I saw him, or maybe the time before, he was in the bar on a Tuesday night again and I was drawing comics. Comics that included the exact people and surroundings of that night.

So tonight he asks what I was drawing, if I did comics. I said yes. He declared that it was so cool that I did comics and seemed really interested. Luckily he lacked follow through and despite being interested he didn't ask for the web address because, well, the comic from exactly a week before? It kind of made fun of him.

It's kind of like how I made that comic of that one girl that was always mean to me but now she's nice to me and I just have to hope that she never develops a real interest in my life because then she would find out that I call her an ogre.

I could solve this problem in a few ways:

  • I could be nicer.
  • I could be private with my mean thoughts.
  • I could delete a post if I think someone might read about himself or herself.
Most likely I'll do none of these things, constantly risking having people resent me for my comics.

Speaking of these comics - I finished Monday's but have not yet finished Tuesday's comics. I'm a day behind and crossing my fingers that I catch up without hating myself. Oops. Maybe if I hadn't had to have been attentive at work tonight I would have gotten more done. More on that in comic form soon.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Many Lives of Melissa Leeanne

Oh man, I feel like I've led a couple lives sometimes. Today was a day that somehow showed off that dichotomy!

My two major passions are the arts and politics - today I spent a good amount of time on both. They aren't mutually exclusive, but it feels like they are totally different sometimes. I went to work and, of course, drew my daily comic. But I also volunteered at a fundraiser and attended a function with lots of political figures present, including my man, Senator B. Now, sometimes I don't always like everything that he does, but I recognize that he represents more than just me and I also happen to like him a lot as a person, face to face.

Today also had me looking at my old life vs. my new life; I finally parted with my Oregon driver's license in favor of an Alaska driver's license. I took a picture of my old license because they confiscate it, but it's crazy to think that I've really severed my ties to Oregon enough that I don't have any legal ties there any longer. I don't have a license there, I don't have a car registered there, I don't vote there, I don't go to school there, I don't pay taxes there. It's just a fond memory, now. A fond memory that is also a state where my family lives.

I also got to bust out the ORIGINAL last name. That's right. I have an ALIAS. Just kidding, at some point in my childhood my sister and I got switched over to our stepdad and mom's last name instead of the last name on our birth certificates. When I fill out legal paperwork that asks for former names, I always put that down. When I found people on facebook from elementary school, they all thought I had gotten married because of the name change. Nope, just weird, complicated shit that goes down when your parents divorce and want to go bein' all complicated.
Procrastinating, bad decision making, overwhelmed Melissa also came out to play. I may have looked like I had my shit together but I was pretty stressed out with all the stuff I have going on. When this happens I have such a hard time even picking a place to start! Tomorrow I don't have anything extra going on, so hopefully I'll be able to take things one at a time and get them done.

Oh, and because I got my Alaska driver's license I was able to e-sign for my PFD which means I made it, I have officially applied for my SECOND Permanent Fund Dividend, which I will receive during my... 4th October in Alaska, after my third Juneau-versary in May. May is also the month in which I get to celebrate having graduated college three years ago - and look what I have to show for it. Uh. Not much, I guess.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Uphill Battle - Both Ways!

I'm mixing my colloquialisms here, but trying to be creative and productive is an uphill battle. Both ways. In the snow. With no shoes.

I'm lucky. Spoiled, even. So many things have come so easily to me in life. I never had to try that hard in school, never had to work that hard at anything. I think it gave me this false sense that all things should come easily, without much effort. I think it is especially hard for me to grasp the fact that I may have to work hard at a natural talent.

I didn't update my comics site in months. Half a year, about. It's because, for a half a year, I didn't feel like the art I was producing was good enough. OK, so my 24 Hour Comic was pretty good. And maybe I liked my paintings that were in the show. But I was in a rut, things weren't coming as smoothly as I had expected (that's what she said).

I was talking with my friend Mr. DL and I discovered that he spends hours every day drawing. Practicing. Working his ass off at what he loves. Mr. PR spends hours upon hours working on a single comic! Mr. MW can whip out a great sketch in moments, but even he puts a lot of effort into his really great works of art. Here I was, expecting to spend a minimal amount of time and effort to produce something great. I'm such a lazy artist!

I've decided that I need to develop better habits; I need to practice daily. Today, the peak of my productivity involved drawing a picture of the elusive Mer-mer via a very tangent filled conversation with Miss ER and drawing a comic of my day. My very boring day. It turned into sort of a meta comic, which I illustrated in the final panel. I think I could end up in a Synecdoche, NY sort of situation at worst. Anyway, I've decided to draw daily, a daily comic. One page minimum. I will draw from life. It will help me keep track of what I'm doing with my days and it will get me practice drawing, so I can improve, hopefully.

But I am only human and I am prone to distraction and lack of self restraint. Also, whims. Friday was Miss L's birthday, which involved a fancy dinner and a (mostly) surprise party, which didn't suit me in the end. I ended up leaving to hang out with Misters K and D and co.;we had a mellow night. Saturday was meant to be fully mellow but after watching 500 Days of Summer and being sort of melancholy about the idea of love lost and broken hearts, I needed some whiskey. It's not necessary to comment on what happens when I drink whiskey. I needn't imply that it involves poor decision making skills. Also, dancing.

Today was the fully mellow day that Saturday had promised (fail) but without the productivity I had required of myself. I could argue that I was fairly productive since I made a comic, at least. Low standards. I know.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Juneau's Most Wanted?

My paranoid grandma who watched America's Most Wanted religiously would be proud:

There's this man in town, known to many as "creepy mustache guy," who is or is merely steps away from being a sex offender, I'm sure. It's not the mustache that tipped me off, either. It's that he's a creepy, lonely, instantly clingy, way too touchy-feely drunk. He's everywhere, too. He came into the bar while I was working one night and the next day while I was volunteering at Wearable Arts he came up to me acting like we were old friends and gave me an uncomfortably prolonged shoulder pat while I undoubtedly looked horrifically disgusted (I can't hide my emotions well). He can be found lurking at the State Office Building on the 8th floor, sitting in on hearings at the legislature (wtf?!?), or drunkenly creeping people out anywhere around town.

My roommate said he came into her workplace drunk one time and was really creeping out her and a co-worker, staring at their t-shirts and asking what they said (too drunk to read, apparently) and the owner of the shop kicked the guy out. One of my friends said that he used to work for one of the seasonal jewelry stores in town, but that they fired him because he creepily insisted on walking one of their 17 year old employees home/followed her home on multiple occasions. Yeah, it's hearsay, but if you have encountered creepy mustache guy, you'd believe it. He was also fired from his job at a supermarket, recently. He is unemployed and apparently living at the Glory Hole, may go by multiple names, and he is definitely a creepy old drunk who makes inappropriately sexual comments and gives off that sex offender vibe.

So, right, I didn't actually come on here to warn you about creepy mustache guy, I guess, but to tell you about how I'd make my paranoid grandma proud. I decided there is a really good chance this guy is a sex offender so I decided to check out the registry. If you didn't already know, you can look up sex offenders by name or location, etc. I didn't find him under either of his supposed names, so I decided to just browse the registry by zip code. I haven't finish ParanoiaFest 2010 yet, but I did discover a familiar name in the registry, someone who happens to follow me on twitter, actually. His twitter handle references a sports team and he happened to be wearing one of their jerseys in his mug shot! How convenient that he would make it so easy to make the connection. I am probably just being paranoid, but I blocked the guy on twitter. He didn't say anything interesting and his picture for a while was pretty degrading to women, so he's not worth following and I certainly don't want him following me. I don't know the circumstances, I guess, but I feel like "better safe than sorry" is the rule to follow.

I need some interweb advice - I don't know if I should "out" this guy as a potential skeeze-bag because I don't know the circumstances. It could be really unfair for me to say "@skeeze-bag is a skeeze-bag" if, for some reason, there were extenuating circumstances surrounding his conviction. On the same note, based on my superficial judgment of him, he seems like he could be pretty shady. Do I have a responsibility to my twitter friends to warn them that a registered sex offender is following them on twitter and that sharing too much information could be a really bad idea or suggest that they, too, block him? I'm leaning toward feeling an obligation to warn my twitter friends. What the heck should I do?

By the way, I'll update later if ParanoiaFest2010 leads to finding creepy mustache guy in the registry.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Working

I'm working. Things are working out.

I finally got paid a little of the money from one job and I am anticipating getting paid at the end of each month from my new job.

Both of these things are great because apparently receiving unemployment benefits was never going to happen.

I'm pretty excited about the new job, I think it is a great opportunity for me to do a lot of the things necessary to a successful arts organization, helping me to know what to do in the future and hopefully making me a better candidate for a graduate program in Arts Administration.

It's exciting to think about applying for grad school, while being completely unexciting to actually apply. I don't know how I don't have miserable memories of applying to 5 or 6 colleges or universities for undergrad. The applications online are obnoxious and the prospect of writing essays and letters, soliciting recommendation letters, ordering transcripts, shelling out money, contemplating costs, filling out FAFSA, applying for grants and loans and scholarships - it's all quite daunting.

I need to take one full day to just write out a reasonable template for personal statements, essays, letters, etc., another to fill out all the stupid applications, another to request transcripts and recommendation letters, another to fill out FAFSA and search scholarships, then who knows how many days writing essays for scholarships and crap like that. I am pretty sure trying to get this in order could be a full time job. I should probably give up my social life.

The good news, the executive director went to one of the schools I am considering (she's my inspiration, actually - a woman my own age who was motivated and has a great job running an organization) and a friend from college did the program at another school to which I contemplate applying. I've got a phone date with Miss S on Saturday to talk about that particular program. I think she's been very successful with it.

I also talked to the program director at the community art studio and will be doing two classes in May, which seems slightly daunting with the music festival being in May, but I think it might be a necessary reprieve and the dates don't clash at all. Then in June I'll probably avoid teaching at the community studio because I'll be teaching three sections a day of "Creating Comics" at the fine arts camp and will probably not want to teach any more than that.

I'm already thinking about how I have nothing planned after fine arts camp in June. IF I end up going somewhere else for grad school in the fall, that could leave me with an awkward period of time to find temporary employment, or if I stay, it means that I'll again be on the hunt for the next big thing.

Someday I'll have it all figured out. I will.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Commitment Friendly

In the past I've probably referred to myself as commitment phobic, but that only refers to my fear of being in relationships (which isn't so strong a fear anymore) but I've never been a real commitment phobe, I think I might be commitment philic, just not necessarily concerning relationships.

We all know I was president of one organization, am now president of another organization, regularly work two to three jobs, that I am politically involved, plus I put together that art show, am helping plan Roller Derby, I now teach some art classes, and I am doing costume design for a play with a lot of costumes.

This is a busy, busy weekend and it involves many of my different commitments. Today I woke up earlier than usual to get to the workshop for the play by 10am - we had readings and discussed characters and I sketched out some preliminary drawings for costumes for some of the many characters.

After that I went to teach my first comics workshop, a valuable learning experience and pretty fun. I had a group that was mostly 8-11 year olds and it was interesting to work with all the kids and see the differences in their behavior, comprehension, and abilities. Everyone was really creative and there was a lot of talent, I had a lot of fun and I hope that the kids did, too. I hope, in the future, that I can do more than just a two hour workshop, maybe having 3 or four classes so that I can focuse on drawing and format and building stories in one, work with kids on their stories and art for a second class, and for a third one, try to put finishing touches on the comics and get them ready to share with people.

Directly after the comic workshop I went to work and hosted the Roller Derby meeting about a half hour after I arrived. The group was fantastic, people were really excited, committed, and motivated. A friend of mine shared that when she was young she broke both her arms skating, but she's back for more! Some of the women at the event had skated in the late 80's, I think, and were excited to get into Derby. We made a lot of progress and will be electing a board of at least three women at the next meeting. We should have our first skate practice in about 6 weeks!

Tomorrow I am happy to get to sleep in after such a busy day. I do have commitments later in the day in preparation for International Women's Day. I am not sure how many women will make it, but I hope we can make some signs and then get women to commit to brave the weather for a bit to hold up our signs on the Bridge. It is apparently a world wide event, though I don't know how many will be standing on a bridge in sleet and wind over a channel connected to the North Pacific. That will tale place on Monday. In theory.

Also on Monday I'll be starting a new job. It's only part time, but I think it is a great step forward toward what I think is my best career path. I really loved organizing the Alt Art show, so I think that arts administration ought to be the right path for me. I am also looking into obtaining my master's in arts management, so that I can hopefully have the basis to run an arts organization, one in existence or possibly turning Alt Art AK into a viable organization.

So, that is life, falling together as it ought to.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Weekend Getaway

As some know, I went returned on Monday from a weekend getaway. Usually I try to take long vacations, visiting everywhere possible in a period of time so I don't end up spending quite as much on plane tickets in the end. Sometimes, though, I apparently make weekend trips. Like that time when my sister got married. Or this last weekend.

I went to the San Francisco Bay Area. I was requested to update, but I have to say, I didn't do much that warrants talking about. We were basically hanging out, doing things we'd normally do, just in a different location.

Oh, you caught me, I said WE. I didn't go to visit family or friends from the area, I actually went for a very specific reason to see a very specific person. After six months, it was great to see Mr. CP again. And congratulations to him for being done with law school and the bar exam.

And because I can't NOT offer something interesting or amusing, I will think of something exciting right now and type it here:

  • We were only offered pot about 3-5 times walking down Haight street. Less funny, it's kind of depressing that we apparently look like such squares that only 3-5 people thought to offer to sell us drugs.
  • While in Golden Gate Park we found the outdoor roller disco. Instead of disco, though, it was old school hip hop and included beginners to people who could do jumps and rock some sweet moves, I got somewhat inspired and really want to buy outdoor wheels for my derby skates so I can do something like that at Marine Park.
  • We went to a Moroccan restaurant in San Francisco and there was a belly dancer. I guess that's normal. I'm not sure if it is normal for the belly dancer to recruit women in the restaurant to dance around with her. I guess I'll have to eat at more Moroccan restaurants in the future as a study.
I think all we really did on the trip was drink coffee and eat at restaurants. Exciting, right? Well, sometimes vacations are just meant to be relaxing, I think.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chat Roulette

Did I mention that I don't ALWAYS live under a rock? I don't learn about things the way a lot of people do - I don't watch television and I haven't touched a print newspaper in ages. Mostly I read blogs. Lots of blogs. I would probably die without google reader.

So, I think I read about it on Huff-Post or something. Then I read a Text From Last Night about it. Chat Roulette. I had a morbid curiosity and my roommate is usually game for anything. We sat in front of her Mac Book (I have mac envy) and went to the site. We then sat with bated breath, waiting for our first match up.

Have you heard about Chat Roulette? Basically, you get connected with a random person via video chat and it's really taken off. It's taken off in part because it allows everyone to be both a voyeur and a total exhibitionist. If you are thinking to yourself that this probably just turns into one big wank-fest you would be correct.

Roomie and I poured ourselves some rum drinks and declared that we'd drink every time we saw someone masturbating and we added "every time a guy asks to see boobs" to the drink list. I think we started around 11pm and by 1:15am we were black out drunk, if that is any indication of how often you encounter something inappropriate.

I don't think it should be a regular thing; my liver can't handle it. If you are ever bored and need some entertainment or a reason to drink copious amounts of alcohol - here you go.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Born to Lead

It's an accident, I swear. I don't do it on purpose. Somehow I just always end up taking the lead.

When I moved to Juneau I became president of a local chapter of an organization within the first 6 months. I became president of another organization after attending only three meetings. My friends and I decided to host an alternative art show and it fell to me to make things happen. A friend of mine decides she wants to organize Roller Derby here in Juneau and somehow I become the person everyone contacts about everything. They young democrats decide to host a regular event and I became the most frequent attendee and actually chose the day and time and location. It's getting to be out of control.

I can swear up and down that I'll never do it again, but I can't seem to help it. Responsibility just gets thrust into my hands, whether I like it or not. I think that the biggest problem is that I don't like to see things fail, so I do what I can to make it a success. I pour hours and hours of time and effort, even money at times, to make things happen. People see that and they see what I'm capable of and the next thing I know, I'm president.

I really hope that I never try to get elected to office because that is a slippery slope.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hibernation

Sometimes you don't see a friend for what seems like ages, perhaps it has been months. Where did this friend go? Usually it is a combination of things, but usually the winter seems to be a combination of hard partying nights out at the bars or complete hibernation.

How many phone calls did I answer with "I'm staying in tonight" this week? Quite a few. I think hibernation for bears is meant to last a whole season, but if I stay in for a week, that is pretty good.
It appears that we are embracing the spring like weather and starting bonfire season early. I'm pretty excited for this for a couple reasons:

1. You don't have to dress up for bonfires. Xtra-tufs, jeans and sweatshirts are the uniform.
2. You don't have to pay $5 a drink at a bonfire and you don't have to tip.
3. You get to go home with the lingering memory of summer - and that smoke smell.
4. You get to see a lot of fun people hanging out together who are bonfire friends only, it seems.
5. You have the best view ever while getting drunk, way better than in any bar.

I'm working on getting a ride right now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tact

Today I have a hoarse voice. I don't really know the cause, I just sound horrible. I guess maybe I have the world's mildest cold, consisting of symptoms like a sort of stuffy nose, an occasional cough and a disappearing voice. Vicious.

Anyway, I went to go talk to someone about teaching a comics workshop for kids. I met the two people who were in the office today and one of them, with concern in her voice, told me my face "looks really red!"

I am pretty sure a red face isn't a symptom of the weakest virus ever, it was probably a combination of having recently washed my face with an exfoliant, maybe walking around in the chilly weather, definitely the lack of makeup. Thanks for noticing. Thanks even more for pointing it out. Guess I know why she's in the upstairs office and not on the floor interacting with visitors?

I told her that it was the natural, horrible color of my face without makeup. I realize that this may have made her feel sort of bad about commenting on my rosy complexion, but perhaps she could take that awful feeling of guilt and apply it in a positive way. You know, maybe she won't tell people they look like shit. Then again, she looked to be in her early twenties, old enough to have developed a skill like tact were it to happen ever.

When I got home I scrutinized my face in the mirror and determined that it was a pretty good face, despite having some pink to it. I know at least a handful of people who would agree.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Time & Money & Why Volunteering Is Worthwhile

A person might wonder why a person would work without getting paid - i.e. volunteering. I can provide some reasons that might convince even a selfish and horrible person to volunteer. And if the end result is positive, perhaps the intentions don't matter? That's another subject for another time, perhaps.

  • The cause is good. If you care about something deeply, volunteering for this cause is a great way to further said cause. And if you really do care, why wouldn't you do something?
  • By volunteering, you are often doing something for yourself. You want someone from your political party in office? Volunteer, help them there, then you are more likely to get YOUR legislation passed! Want a cure for a disease common in your family? Volunteer so that organizations funding research can afford to find it. I guess this starts to get a little self serving, but who wants to volunteer for something they don't believe in?
The best reason to volunteer is Altruism: doing something good for the sake of doing something good. But now I'll appeal to the selfish people out there, too.

  • Sometimes the benefits of volunteering are superior to the benefits of being a lazy ass. I volunteered at the Wearable Arts event this weekend and really didn't put in much work at all. I was an auction table guard and that mostly involved standing by a table and chatting with friendly patrons of the arts. I did this for a total of an hour and a half. If I were working at a retail job for an hour and a half, I'd probably make about $15 before taxes. After the event I spent about a half hour peeling stickers and stacking chairs - I think that event staff for the convention center make somewhere from $10-12, so for that extra half hour, I would make somewhere from $5-6. I was rewarded for volunteering by being allowed to see the show for free. Putting in the equivalent of $20-21 of work I saw a $25 event. It's almost like being handed $4. Plus one of the board members was nice enough to buy me a mimosa during the show. Maybe I'm just lucky to volunteer with such a great organization, but wouldn't this make a selfish person want to do it?
  • Sometimes it is really fun. I have volunteered at some rather unpleasant things before, like canvassing. Making calls. It's important because volunteers really do make a huge difference. But sometimes volunteering is FUN. Rotaract volunteers at Rotary's day at the lake every year and all you do is play with kids. I volunteered at a cabaret event and got to pour drinks and see the show for free. When you volunteer with an organization with really cool people, like JAHC and some of its affiliates, you have a great time, even if the work isn't traditionally fun.
  • Some other perks might include taking home some leftover goods. I walked away with beer, wine and food after at least a few events for which I've volunteered.
  • Think about the future - if you volunteer with an organization or in a field of interest, you might charm your way into a paying position. I know that my reputation volunteering in a few fields definitely led me to some great things.
So, now the altruistic and those who need ulterior motives alike can take part in the joys of volunteering! I would anticipate I've gotten a lot more out of volunteering than I've given and I don't think that's an uncommon thing. Plus, think about how well I must sleep at night!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Defenders of the Universe

The last few days has felt like a couple weeks. I've been keeping busy and I keep losing track of what day it even is - it's Saturday and I have to work tonight.

Tuesday I went out with Miss L and we were joined later by Miss JR and we consumed drinks galore. And whiskey. Wednesday I went to breakfast with Miss L and I got a call to do another workshop on comics! Hooray! I didn't do much else that day, though. Thursday is when things started to get really busy. I had some great company for coffee/lunch for him/breakfast for me. I then went to the Brewery with Miss A, where I tried the delicious bourbon smoked porter. Mmmmm. Then we went to the Hangar for some sustenance before I went to participate in the dramatic reading of chapter 2 of Going Rogue. After that, things got... interesting.

Defending the Universe: Part I

After losing a game of pool, Miss K and I walked down the hill to the Alaskan to enjoy some open mic magic. OK, a lot of times it really sucks, but sometimes it is magical. When we arrived the music was performed by a guy from Homer who always rocks it, this woman in town who is sort of strange but undeniably talented, and another guy who was putting some energy and talent into some sweet guitar riffs. Miss A wandered in at this point and was super intoxicated, black out drunk, and behaving in a fashion more accepted at the Imperial than at the Alaskan. I shrugged my shoulders and suggested to all the bartenders within a stumble from us not to serve her. She's a happy and lively drunk, a lot of energy, a lot of boobs. Oh well, people just smile and chuckle. Except my new ARCH NEMESIS, whose name I don't know.

This guy got up on stage and took the mic. He held no instrument and he had a mischievous look to him at best. He started doing stand up comedy. BAD stand up comedy. My criticisms are as follows: Know your audience - when you are in a room full of liberal white people, maybe your routine should not be black stereotypes, even if you are black. How would we know whether to laugh or not - one one hand, racial stereotypes are pretty low brow, on the other hand, will we look like a bunch of white assholes if we don't laugh? Laughter as affirmative action. Check. Second part of the routine was bringing up Tiger Woods. My initial complaint is that I was tired of hearing about his drama two months ago. The second complaint is that I expect a segue from topic to topic - black stereotypes to Tiger Woods? I don't get it! Tiger Woods is whiter than I am, playing pro golf, living in a gated community in Florida with his Norwegian wife. During this act, the only person drunk enough to laugh was Miss A - upset that he wasn't the center of attention, he adjusts his "routine" and starts mocking her, while she obliviously laughs and feeds into his routine. When he attempted to lead the audience in chanting "Ho!" I had had enough. Not only is he mocking someone who cannot defend herself, he is being slanderous and sexist. I walked up to the stage and I suggested that he stick to his routine and not mock someone defenseless to his disrespectful jokes. Then he cried out, "Oh, looks like we have an ACTIVIST in the house!" (As if it were a bad thing!) I walked away from the stage, middle finger held high, and I dragged Miss A out of the bar.

I tucked Miss A in when we got back to my place and Miss J, Miss B and I stayed up later, Miss B and I eventually rather drunkenly painting with acrylics on canvas.

Friday I managed to stay relatively busy as well, taking advantage of the good weather and heading to Sandy Beach with Miss B, her friend Mr. B and their friend's dog, Dumpy. Dumpy is the world's dumbest, fattest pug - which, of course, means that I find him to be extremely charming. We had a great time on the beach, went to lunch at the Island Pub and then headed back downtown where I decided to get domestic and make some soup from scratch (with beer based broth!) and do tons of dishes. I tried to have people over to help eat the soup but the company turned out to be only Miss P and Miss J. Miss J and I primped and then hit the town, hoping for an exciting night. We had no such luck.

Defending the Universe: Part II

It was a quiet night downtown and Miss J and I found ourselves having a drink at each bar and looking further for the best place to settle down and spend our time. We eventually decided on the Rendezvous, but encountered my ARCH NEMESIS during our time at the Alaskan. Just as we were finishing our drinks (and after Miss J and I attracted all sorts of attention for being tattooed and pierced "freaks") I was setting my glass on the bar leaning across a stool and past a beam - to better balance myself at this angle, I stuck one of my legs out behind me. Mr. Arch Nemesis walked behind me, nay, into my leg at this time. I turned in surprise and found myself faced with an angry and irrational arch nemesis all up in my grill accusing me of trying to trip him. I had had about 4 margaritas at this time and was not about to take shit from the arch nemesis like that, so I explained rather loudly and with sufficient sass that he had run into my leg and that I had done nothing malicious. Jumping in, to the rescue, Miss J got all up in his grill and faced with two of us, apparently, he decided to quit being a douchebag. At least for now.

Defending the Universe: Part III

Though it took place before the second run in with the ARCH NEMESIS, this story is probably the least exciting. After placing orders at the bar at the Imperial a large guy walked up behind us and barked an order at the bartender: "J├Ągerbomb. Diet [and] Crown. Cran, uh, vodka!" There was a pause, he was done. As a fellow bartender and with a little tequila in me, I interjected, "And he meant to add a please." Then he added a very exaggerated "please" to his order and patronizingly asked Miss J and I our ages. Miss J, having a great sense of humor, piped in with a superbly bubbly "I'm 19!" While I looked at him rather indignantly and thanked him for thinking I must be so young (he assumed 21 - an insult) and informed him that I had breached my mid-twenties thank-you-very-much. Like age has anything to do with it, as a bartender, I like the courtesy of a please and thank you.

Don't call us super heroes, no need to thank us, we're just good people, defending the universe. You know how it is.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dating? From which decade is that practice?

Setting the scene:

A guy and a girl hit it off, they are chatting and smiling and having a good time. The guy realizes he'd like to get in this girl's pants (or poodle skirt) so he invites her to go for a burger and shake at the local diner. They sip on a single shake with two straws and later go park off some scenic road to neck or something.

A guy and a girl hit if off, they are chatting and smiling and having a good time. The guy realizes he'd like to get in this girl's pants so he hopes she buys herself enough booze to get tipsy. Maybe he'll buy her a drink. They'll get shitfaced on cheap beer and whiskey and maybe share an order of Pel'meni (probably Taco Bell for people "down South"). They eat their single order of horrifying drunk food with two plastic spoons and later go to someone's house and drunkenly have sex.

---

The guy and the girl realize that they are really compatible: they both bought that new single from the record store, they both hope the football team makes it to state, they both aspire to have a house with a white picket fence and 2.5 children. They go on more dates, they dance together at the sock hop, they fall in love. Unless he get's killed driving Dead Man's Curve, they will get married and live out the American Dream. How romantic!

The guy and the girl realize that they are really compatible: they both have that really obscure album from that really obscure band on their iPods, they both read that brand new novel from the old great and thought it was terrible, they both aspire to live in an apartment with a garden, fully energy efficient. They see each other out at the bar, getting drunk on cheap beer and just above well level whiskey, they dance together to that local band, they sleep together a bunch more. Unless he's a closeted republican, they remain in relationship limbo, avoiding commitment and paying for their coffees separately. How romantic!

---

The idea of romance and dating seems so quaint to me, but the practices of my peers today aren't really fantastic, either. One of my friends threatens to leave Juneau because she says that there is no one to date. Another of my friends is thankful that she was already engaged when she arrived because dating here would suck. And I am asking myself, what is the definition of dating anymore, any way? It would seem that it isn't the traditional dinner and a movie that we once held as the standard. It's hardly even the quirky dates that are considered so sweet. At the same time, dating cannot be redefined as meeting at a bar and hooking up, can it? That's not romantic, often it's not healthy, and very rarely is it in any way conducive to building relationships.

Many of my "relationships" in the past have revolved around going to the bars, spending the night together, maybe having breakfast in the morning, exchanging text messages, the occasional evening at someone's house doing some activity that isn't drinking at a bar. But these are the same "relationships" that never got labels, that never went very far. These are the relationships that skirted the borders of "mature relationship" but never quite lived up to the standards. I've had one relationship that involved going on dates, talking about feelings, even some romantic gestures. And I think that it was a relationship from another decade because, well, he started dating in another decade. Not the 5o's as I used in my parallel dating universe, but he's a bit older than I am.

Having a crush on someone in my peer group seems like an exercise in futility. What I described happens, there are awkward quasi-dates, attempts to hang out in a location that is neither a bed nor a bar, and eventually it fades away for heading nowhere or someone freaks out that the other person is getting too attached or maybe someone just moves to Portland or Seattle. I'm not looking to get married any time soon, neither are most of my friends, but I can't blame us for being disappointed in dating in this day and age (and city?).

Monday, February 8, 2010

I've straddled sexier things...

I've straddled sexier things than the poverty line, but mostly just the poverty line.

Oh no, blogging about money again?

I did my taxes once I finally received all my W2 forms, some were harder to come by than others, and it's official - I'M POOR.

My taxable income was somewhere between $15k and $16k, but for the sake of a little math problem we'll do later and because I think it may actually be closer to it, we'll call it $15k.

It sucks to live paycheck to paycheck, especially when paychecks are sometimes far apart. I have to say that I'm pretty happy and that, despite 2009 being a financially astoundingly pathetic year, it was a great year for a lot of other reasons.

Brief recap: I had a great year with friends, with love, and with developing my art and myself. I learned a lot about who I was and what I want and as I'll always say, I hope, each year is better than the last!

That being said, you know, that I live this bohemian lifestyle, I want to compare my taxable income to another number:

There was a NYT headline that read something like 'Goldman Sachs chief receives bonus of ONLY $9 Million' and I thought to myself: "Only in NYC, only on Wall Street, and only New York Times could say ONLY $9 Millon." Here's that math problem I foreshadowed (is it foreshadowing if you say blatantly that you are going to use that number? NO.) and that is the magic number of $9,000,000 divided by my magic number of $15,000 which leaves us with our quotient of 600. Now, let's say I make $15k every year (this is actually above the poverty line!) - I could live for 600 years on that bonus. Let's say I make a much more comfortable $30k a year (almost 3 times the national poverty level) and I could live for 300 years on that bonus. Let's say I make an even more comfortable $60k a year (poverty? Is that something they have in Africa?) and I could still live 150 years on that bonus. Now let's get really crazy here and say I could earn $120k a year and I could still live a very, very comfortable life on that bonus for 75 years. Only $9 Million. What the fuck?

The good thing is I am probably a much happier person than this Goldman Sachs chief guy. Seriously. I don't know him or anything, but I'm a friggin' happy person. I have fun and I am working toward doing what I love, working in the arts. I'm going to be teaching a workshop at the community art gallery and teaching classes at the fine arts camp in town. I will also be doing temporary and part time work for various arts organizations.

I'm done with the stress and the false pretenses of politics and I'm ready to make the world a better place through art and music. I don't know who I was kidding when I decided to not go to art school, when I decided that art ought only to be a hobby, I am an artist and that is who I should be. And if I'm a starving artist, well, maybe I'll actually lose some weight and then I'll be a SEXY starving artist. Still happy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Sleuthing!

Sooooooo, if you've read this even somewhat regularly you've likely noticed my propensity for getting a little too intoxicated on some occasions. There have been tales of the good things that come of it and the bad things that come of it and maybe also the things that I don't remember at all. Oh yes, it's time to solve a blackout drunk mystery!

I might venture a guess that it was a few months ago, or somewhere between three and six months ago that I had a ridiculous night out on the town which included a number of things I don't remember like apparently going against everything that is right in this world and making out with my friend who drinks himself straight occasionally. I mean, he's pretty gay, he refers to my type as breeders. But that's not the mystery because he told me the night after that we made out and tried to do it again.

The mystery was a phone number that showed in my call log. Every super sleuth checks her call logs and sent text messages after a blurry night. That's why the site Texts from Last Night exists. It's part of piecing together the great jigsaw puzzle that is the life of a lush. I found this number and a full name in my phone and for the life of me I could not place a face with that name. I couldn't place a conversation with that name. I sure as hell couldn't figure out how I was able to exchange phone numbers with someone and have no recollection of it afterward.

So, like any tech savvy and internet addicted young woman would do, I facebooked that name. Nothing. First thought was probably "Oh shit, he's not on facebook, he doesn't exist!" but since there was a phone number and a full name, obviously I had met and hit it off with one of the few off the social networking grid people who aren't geriatric or living in a cave. But it's Juneau, maybe he lives in a cabin with no running water. In any case, I went for the next best thing and googled. Nothing that would give me a clue who this mystery person was, no pictures, at least.

I was at a loss. Eventually I deleted the phone number because I sure as hell will not be calling someone who could be Quasimodo, I mean, I have no idea what kind of judgment I may have had in my drunken state!

The other day I contemplated the mystery number and checked to see if I still had it. Not sure why, it was just on a whim.

Then I was volunteering for this event with a couple friends and they were announcing board members and important people involved in the organization and the name of mystery dude popped up. Not only that, mystery dude is apparently the guy I was sort of checking out all night. So mystery guy and I made friends that night and when he declared that he'd be headed home I suggested we exchange phone numbers. I took his down and called his phone from mine.
I wonder what popped up. It would be really amusing if it was my full name, already there.

At least I still have really good taste when I'm blacked out.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Home is where your shoe collection is.

I'm back. In Juneau. I think I was disappointed when I got on the plane and didn't recognize anyone, usually I know someone. I was not disappointed when I saw that it was actually sunny and beautiful and not disappointed that my friend Miss T would be picking me up from the airport.

I was also not disappointed when I had lunch with four of my friends, when I continued hanging out with one of my friends, when I met up with even more friends to attend Lunafest, or when I went out to the bars with my friends to have some drinks and dance.

I was also not disappointed when I put hot sauce on my tongue and put some boys to shame at a friend's house after leaving the bars.

I was also not disappointed to sleep in my own bed, even if it was cold.

I was also not disappointed to go to the Sandpiper with Miss C, run into other friends there, do my grocery shopping and relax, then go to work to be kept company by Miss S and Mr. J, among other friendly faces.

I was not disappointed to sleep in my own bed once again, even if it was cold.

I was not disappointed to have craft brunch today. And I'm not disappointed to have Miss M playing at the bar tonight while I work.

Going on vacation doesn't make the bad things about a place disappear, so it can be sort of unsettling to see the face of someone you'd rather not see, to hear about drama you had hoped would have blown over, but it does make all of the good things seem even brighter.

It was also nice to be home after a rather obnoxious connection at LAX, though I was not stuck airport sleeping, thanks to an old high school friend.

And now I am back in my cozy little apartment which has a kitchen table now, with my messy room and my full sized hot water heater that allows me to take unreasonably long, hot showers and with my plants that have still not died and with my roommate who is always full of energy and with all my dearest friends.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Money Makes the World Go 'Round

I used to work at a credit union, the same credit union, in fact, that I keep my money at now. I am a paycheck to paycheck type of gal. I don't make that much money and most of it already has a place to go, places like rent checks and cell phone bills, credit card bills and buying food. And booze. I don't generally have much in my savings account and as a general rule it is more of a place to stash a wad of money for some specific purpose. I have over $800 in my savings right now, all for paying rent and bills and whatnot next month, since I'm not anticipating a paycheck from my non-existent day job.

So, here I am in Mexico City in a pinch. I've got M$50 or roughly $5 USD. And I have some real US dollars, approximately $9. I requested a new PIN for my ATM card 12 days ago, to be sent from a location in Alaska to my Alaska address. My roommate has been checking the mail every single day. Sources say the PIN was sent on the 8th, though it has not reached my mailbox.

I don't consider this to be my fault. I guess I could have requested a new PIN sooner, but had I done it a week earlier, the PIN still wouldn't arrive in time. Had I done it two weeks earlier, there is no estimating whether things could have been worked out in time.

Being the clever and former employee of the institution in question, I poked and prodded about what could be done. I asked if the "choose your own pin" option had ever been implemented, I also asked if the wire transfer fee might be waived, should I need to resort to borrowing money from my friend and would have to wire money back to her to pay her back.

NOPE. No options. Everyone was sweet as effin' cherry pie on the phone, but nobody offered solutions, nor was my own solution accepted.

The worst part is that I remember how well we had to treat the members with money. Hundreds of dollars worth of fees would be waived despite disclaimers about costs of different actions. They'd do anything to keep the big money. If someone had $100,000.00 in the bank, they'd waive $5 fees and $25 fees and $50 fees and do whatever it took to make members happy. If a member complained that their account was short $5, they would put $5 in the account to keep them happy. Whatever. It was petty shit.

I am poor and I am in trouble and my financial institution says, "Sorry! Nothing we can do!" But if I had $100,000.00 in the bank I would get whatever the hell I wanted.

Here's a nice empty threat - if I ever have $100,000.00 that needs a place to live, maybe it won't be in your institution. Maybe it will be under my mattress.

Anyway, if you were questioning whether money made the world go 'round - it's does.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How's this for culture?

Today Miss A and I went to the Frida Kahlo house - it's a museum that is in the house that Frida Kahlo shared with Diego Rivera, it had a bunch of art and many belongings still in tact and in their places. I'm a fan of the art and I also think that their strong political stance was pretty awesome. Also awesome - the fact that some of their furniture was highlighter yellow. And that the house is bright blue.

But that's not all the culture I absorbed - oh no - Miss A, Miss J, Miss V and I went to a Lucha Libre match. We watched a bunch of masked men (and women) fake wrestle with bright lights and bright colors and crazy costumes. We drank beer and heckled and chanted and cheered.

When I get back to Juneau from Mexico I may have to do a series of photo posts. I think I promised to do that before and didn't, because I'm a slacker, but this time I will provide some access to photos at the very least.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Los Piramides

The pyramids at Teotihuacan are amazing. There was a whole city there, once. Dwellings and temples as well as platforms and pyramids.

It is estimated to have been built in around 50-100 AD, you know, about 2000 years ago. AMAZING. And to continue with being badass, Miss J, Miss A and I climbed the Piramide del Sol and as much as was permitted of the Piramide de la Luna. The Piramide de la Luna isn't as tall as the Piramide del Sol, but the view is the best - you can see straight down the Road of the Dead, which has platforms lining it and the Piramide del Sol on the left.

Climbing the Piramide de la Luna was tough because the steps are really large, too large for our legs or for the legs of those that built it. The Piramide del Sol was a rough climb because it is enormous. From some meters away, the people climbing up look tiny, like insects or tiny toys.

We also got to go down inside some structures, which was neat. Especially since you could see some original frescos. There was a museum too! It took up pretty much the whole day and we were pretty tired by the end.

The bus rides there and back were interesting. There are so many things in Mexico that are very foreign to me and I don't know if I'd get used to how seemingly disorganized so many things are. Also, how many laws seem to be completely disregarded or maybe they don't exist - people in the aisles of buses, riding in the backs of trucks, swerving, cutting people off, ignoring red lights - totally nuts.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Officially Badass

I think I do a lot of pretty cool things, you know, like getting drunk and making an ass of myself and... wait. No. But I do cool things. I went to the zoo and the Museum of Anthropology on Friday. That was pretty neat.

On Friday night Miss A, Miss J, and Miss J's novio and I went to Garibaldi plaza and saw a super kitsch Mariachi show and consumed a bottle of tequila. That was probably my most expensive day to that point, having spent over $50 dollars.

Most expensive day until yesterday when I JUMPED OUT OF A MOTHAFUCKIN' PLANE! I don't know if it was ever something I had really desired to do, not enough to go out and do it, anyway. If y'all remember a couple summers ago when I was dating Mountain Man, he was big into crazy shit like that and I witnessed him BASE jump. I think, even when it was something frequently discussed, my attitude was, "Oh, I'm just not that crazy." But when Miss J asked if I'd be interested in doing it I said yes. Then I talked it up to everyone and got all excited but without really thinking about the fact that I would be jumping out of a mothafuckin' plane. It didn't really get to me until I was in a harness and sitting in a tiny plane with no seats, cramped in with the pilot, two instructors and my friend Miss J.

Even during the plane ride up to the proper altitude I managed to calm myself, my heart wasn't beating too quickly and I was breathing regularly. Then the door opened and I was strapped to my instructor, Luis, who luckily used to be an English teacher (so I could understand what the hell was going on) and then I was told to put my leg out of the plane.

NO TURNING BACK.

That was it, I was going to be jumping out of a plane. I could feel tiny bits of ice pelting my face (good thing I had goggles) and the wind, air, whatever was hitting.

"One. Two. Three. READY. GO!"

Then I was free falling with a dude strapped to me. My stomach was who knows where in my body. I was face down, I was upside down, I was falling from a plane. Then, as I clutched my harness again, Luis released the 'chute and we were gliding. The rushing sound in my ears was gone, the feeling of impending doom was gone, and I was looking at Mexican countryside.

I got to steer a bit, pulling down on one strap or another to go right or left. I wasn't panicked at this point, I was sort of dazzled by the whole idea of floating through the sky. For my landing I gave up on the running with Luis and landed on my butt.

IT WAS AWESOME.

After that we had some beers while waiting for videos and pictures and certificates before we headed to the house of some of Miss J's friends on the lake. We had grilled meat and vegetables and had rice and tortillas and drank more beers while we looked out at the lake. There were even fireworks! Tequesquitengo knew that it was a day to celebrate!

I told this to my instructor and I believe it firmly - I've risked my life in cabs in Mexico City many times now, if I can live through that, jumping out of a plane is totally not risky. Then we had another scary drive back to Mexico (City) and we went to bed because jumping out of planes and eating a lot is tiring.

Side note:

A friend of mine spent 10 days at a silent meditation retreat, she explained to me that it was difficult to clear one's mind of all thoughts, that it took days upon days of meditation but that it was amazing to finally reach that state. I think I've found a shortcut. Jump out of a plane. I guarantee you will have no thoughts. Your medulla oblongata, the most primitive part of your brain, is in full control. Your lungs breathe, your heart beats, and apparently you can still scream.