Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Temp Work

I'm sitting on the 14th floor, surfing the Internet at my temp job covering someone's vacation. It's total nepotism because my aunt got me this gig. I used to work in this department years ago as causal employee, so it wasn't like I was unfamiliar with place. It's a research institution studying astrophysics, similar field as seen on the mega-popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory. I used to tape their seminars, and it was interesting up to a point. The ideas, like thinking about how stars or the universe were formed, were easy to understand but the math and models weren't. It was a good job that kept me busy enough for a part-time job.

This week's job isn't as exciting. I'm doing office work, but since I'm super temporary, I'm just manning the phone and accepting deliveries. That's about it. It's really boring, like supply teaching. I guess I want to challenged a bit by my work (I also want to gain mastery at it so it gets easier over time).

But this fills a gap in my employment, means I won't be super broke by the end of the summer. Things worked out pretty well.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Visiting Detroit, then Pittsburgh

My partner and I have been to Detroit several times over the last couple of years. This is the first time we've had more than a day and a half in the city. We usually stick to similar places, throwing in some random new new ones each time. We start each visit at Slows, my partners favourite restaurant. Yes, she's a vegetarian and yes, this is a barbecue restaurant but they've always had a good veggie option (or two).

We also always go to the downtown location of John K King Used Books, the best (and probably largest) used bookstore I've ever been to. I mean there's a good used/new bookstore in Cleveland but this is four floors of only used books and great prices. The last couple of times I've purchased old genre novels for a couple of bucks and haven't been disappointed.

While my partners combing through designer discount stores, I went to a record store in a suburb north of the city. Got some records.

Saturday was almost all new stuff. First we started the day at the Eastern Market. It's awesome. Just so big and tons of local produce. Someone had a milk crate full of puppies they were trying to sell. It took all of her power to ONLY pet them (they were pretty cute). We wandered all around, just taking everything in. I don't think I've seen anything like that. After the Eastern Market, we were off to more random locations around Detroit. One of my favourite record stores didn't have any interesting wares so we went north, finding a "retro" store that was having an absolutely fantastic back issue sale, letting buy tons of stuff without spending too much. Ended the night by seeing a bad film, but eating excellent El Salvadorian food.

Sunday was our travel day. Got up early and started driving across Ohio. Stop at a Chili's for lunch (my partner absolutely LOVES Chili's. Me, not so much). Got to Pittsburgh a little early, which meant a trek to local mall for my better half and record/comic shops for me. Comic book shop was great (again with relatively cheap back issues meant that I was able to complete my run of Uncanny X-Men). Suburban Pittsburgh is interesting because it's so hilly it doesn't have a very suburban feel to it. One quirky fact - there were TONS of ice cream places everywhere. Like one almost every block in some places.

Started Monday with a short hike (3 miles) through the Panther Hallow Run. Didn't exactly get lost but definitely made my trail in some parts. It was pretty nice park in the middle of the city and great way to start the day after two of driving and eating. Finally saw the Roberto Clemente statue, which was really nice. Took full advantage of having a GPS unit in the car. Went to see a movie and right before it started the fire alarm went off. Ended the night at a student dive bar whose deals made me question how they made money. We ate dinner, had a pitcher of beer, two pints of cider, and another pint of beer for $24. Seriously, how was the possible? (The was pretty bad).

Tuesday was driving back to the city via Buffalo where stopped for dinner at the home of the Buffalo wing. While stuck in traffic in Toronto, after driving almost five hours, a bolt broke off and caused the car to make this awful rattling noise. At the time I didn't know exactly what went wrong (thought it was something minor because the car drove fine just sounded bad) but it stressed me out. Thank god my partner was able to be the calm one in that situation.

If I had my way, next time we'd go further and spend only a day in city, picking one thing to do so we could see more. I think, however, our next trip will be overseas somewhere.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Caravan

I'm listening to the Juan Tizol composition as I write the beginning of this post. The version I'm listening to is from Monkey Jungle, an album that featured Duke Ellington playing piano with bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach. It's probably my favourite jazz record. I like how chaotic is sounds, with the musicians' different styles playing off each other.

Anyway....

End of the academic year (June) was not unexpectedly a busy time for me. Aside from the usual testing and administrative tasks, I was also tasked with creating a "celebrating success" booklet and an end of year video. Got both done, but it meant that at the end of the day I had little focus left to write a follow-up June's blog post.

So I'm here now, twelve days into the new month. Applied for a job, went through three rounds of interviews and didn't get it. Silver lining - don't think I would have been terribly good at it.

So now I've got the summer to focus on "me" projects (as promised in my last post). Here's my public list:

  1. Continue with my current regiment of two hikes a week, averaging between 22 & 25 kilometers a week. So far I've been doing good, not injuring myself or doing anything terribly silly. This needs to continue for the next month and a half.
  2. Cooking at home more often, even if this means going to the grocery store two to three times a week. The last couple of weeks have been bad, and it's affected my budget. 
  3. Listen to some new music. Been better about it lately but need more new music. 
  4. Create new ideas for next year (including getting learners to create audio podcasts).
  5. Buy and create my personal website (maybe even business cards). This will be an area where I can write and create documents, tasks, and resources for my portfolio.
That's the short list. There are other things like organize my comics but I'm less sure I'll get that done with my three weeks of scattered "vacation" time. 

Oh, saw two acts during NXNE - St. Vincent & Run the Jewels. Both were excellent, but St. Vincent was on another level. She's fantastic and it made me love her newest record even more. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Prepaid for the movie

I've had a tons of random ideas recently. Can't remember any of them, mainly because I didn't write anything down. I believe they most revolved around the ideas of what I should be doing with my time. Need to focus my spare time, especially with the summer coming up. Small goals. In the next couple of weeks I'll put together a list and then I'll publish it to keep me honest.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Interaction

How do you interact with people online? Short and sweet. I'd publish this on tumblr but that's where I'm having difficult navigating the etiquette. You can follow people, like things, and such BUT like in real life, how can you do so without it being awkward. That's the question. I don't expect an answer or anything. Just wondering. I'm taking the approach of being overly cautious and polite, which is my standard approach.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Drafts

I'm considering creating a professional website to beef up my presence online. I mean, I'm on all the social networks using various aliases mainly so that isn't the first thing that comes up about me online. It wouldn't be terribly difficult for someone to figure out who I am. So, I need something with my legal name on it beyond a LinkedIn and Twitter account. A website sounds great but I don't know what I'd do with it. Can't just have a website without a purpose.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Manic Pixie Dream Girl Revisited

So... Here's a poorly written blog post from 2005 where I doing a poor job of expressing what would later become the manic pixie dream girl theory. Re-reading myself, I come off  at the very least problematic and at the worst incredibly sexist. I was a naive and a little off with the "girl's don't make mix tapes like that" point. What I was trying to get at was the scenario seemed... unlikely? No, that's not right. Elizabethtown went against everything I had experienced as a young person dealing with others in those semi-romantic/more-than-platonic-friends situations. There was a lot about Clair (Kirsten Dunst's character) that seemed unrealistic to me, but specifically the commanding taste in music. I realize now I lacked the necessary language to express my thoughts without sounding like a jackass. I think it's the "... and she's pretty to boot" part that makes me cringe the most. What does how she looks like have to with anything relevant? Or is it relevant to everything since it's in the context of a Hollywood movie that exploits her femininity? I'm unsure. If I'm being kind to my younger self, I saw some part of this and just filtered it through the lens of the music selection. If I'm not, I was just another sexist 20-something boy who couldn't imagine a woman applying a vast knowledge of music and history to create what in my mind was a work of genius.

Maybe I'm making things worse. I don't know if I have all the tools necessary to express myself properly without coming off like an ass. I fully admit that I have under examined my privilege concerning gender issues. I've been called out about this in the past. It's difficult to confront but I'm trying.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Lie to me, I promise to believe

Love, however, has its own dialectic. There was a young girl I was once in love with. Last summer at the theatre in Dresden I saw an actress who bore a deceptive resemblance to her. Because of this I wanted to make her acquaintance, and succeeded, and then convinced myself that there was a quite considerable difference all the same. Today I met a lady on the street who reminded me of that actress. This story can go on as long as you like. 
Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, pg 344-345 (Penguin Classics)

I picked the title because I found a clip of Lorde and Haim doing a cover of the Sheryl Crow song "Strong Enough". 

I then randomly opened up to a page in Either/Or. That's the first bit I saw. Not sure if they relate to each other but it's certainly interesting. 

Give me a couple of days to think about this. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Soda, Pop, Cola, & Soft Drinks

In an effort to be healthier person I'm giving up soft drinks. It was something I had been meaning to do for a while but always found some reason not to. It was never a good reason, but there was always a reason. So for my birthday last week I decided to go cold turkey and I haven't had one since. So far it's been going well. My goal is to avoid drinking any soft drinks for two months but I'd settle for a couple of weeks.

I was inspired by my partner who has been making lots of lifestyle changes recently (last year or two). She's given up caffeine, going to yoga class two to three times a week, and incorporated more vegan dishes into our diet. None of these changes has really affect my quality of life so they've been easy changes. I think when I finally try to tackle meat consumption and dinning out that I'll really feel these health choices.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Double Digits

Quick trip down lane.

11, 1992 - 5th grade. Wasn't my best year. Picked last for everything, not doing terribly well in school and basically super nerdy. Things changed but I don't recall being very happy for my 11th birthday.

22, 2003 - Third year of undergrad. Went to dive bar. One of our friend's birthday was the 16th (or maybe the 18th... I don't remember) so we did a dual party. It was a good time surrounded by all of my university friends. 

33, 2014 - Had to work. Didn't sleep well the night before. Best part was being taken to a surprise restaurant for dinner. Also made a resolution to stop drinking carbonated drinks.