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.