Sunday, March 30, 2008

Waiting...

The day before yesterday, I made it through my interview with the folks at the Main Library. Now, I am waiting. The picked me and three other interviewees out of a massive pool of applicants, so I can only hope that my ability to sell my virtues will take me just a little farther...up, up, and away into the land of real salaries, state benefits, and stable schedules.

I am optimistic, though. I made my interviewers laugh a lot, and whenever they asked me those, "what would you do in this circumstance" questions, my answers were always identical to the institutionalized procedures they told me about afterwards. Exactly why they would ask me how I would handle a situation when they already have a system in place with which they will train me to comply is a mystery to me, but I am supposing that the correlation of my answers with their policies is a good thing...

So here's to checking out books, enforcing late fees, patting people on the head when they complain about materials, telling hobos they can't sleep between the shelves, and enjoying pizza and cake every week that is paid for by the aluminum tax!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What is a Job, Anyway?

Given my recent distress at work, I have been noticing how other people treat their jobs. It really is fascinating how occupations mean such different things to everyone.

To CC, a job is a loyalty. She devotes herself to an employer even when she gets the short end of the stick. She sacrifices everything she has to so that her relationship with the company can continue.

To JW, a job is a pastime. His life is focused around his hobbies, and work is just a way to wile away the rest of the time and make enough money to pay rent.

To JM, work is a means to money. Everything else is irrelevant. An employee should do what he must to get paid, receive his reward, and move on.

To MT, work is an opportunity to gain life experiences as well as a means of living. He is where he is because it is where he wants to be, and knows he won't be there forever.

To DS, a job is a duty and a craft. He takes pride in knowing that he is a skilled craftsman and religiously devotes himself to keeping his shop going.

To JS, work is a professional game. It is an opportunity to create her own space, make her own mark, and then maintain and grow her structures to keep them working for her.

To KW/S, career is a calling. She does what she does because it is the most predominant thing she can imagine herself doing.

So many different perspectives...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's Mine, Precious...

I am now a proud owner of Battlestar Galactica Season 3. Season four starts in a little less than a month, and I am uber-pumped.

The saw BSG for the first time on one of those lazy undergrad afternoons. You know--when classes end in the early afternoon and you want to pass the few hours you have alone before supper doing something brainless and non-engaging. I chose channel-surfing as my occupation that afternoon and stopped on the scifi channel. They were playing one of the episodes from early in season two. Some people were trying to hold out against a cylon siege on some planet, a drunk old man was running a gritty-looking ship like a wannabe Hitler, some woman vaguely referred to as the president was rotting away in a cell in need of narcotics, and some other old guy was in critical care in what looked like a poorly-framed medical drama... I changed the channel. I might have even turned the TV off.

I knew that Battlestar was happening at that point, but I didn't know what the critics were raving about. It was like Stargate to me--one of those things that would probably be good if I got into it but wouldn't be worth the time. Then came finals week of my fall semester as a junior. One word sums up finals for a high-achieving undergraduate at a public university on a BA track: boring. By that time, you have a full semester's worth of 96-98'ers to keep your GPA solid. All you have to do is get three mini-essays right and doodle on the rest (not that I ever did). Perhaps they weren't that easy all the time, but that semester they were. I started killing time in a buddy of mine's apartment and picked up season 1 of BSG off of his floor one day.

I took it to my apartment. I put in the first DVD. I didn't get up except to use the restroom until it was over. I watched the miniseries in one sitting and finished off the entire season over the course of that day and the next. I loaned the DVDs to Kerry. Her reaction wasn't quite as drastic, but would have been were she not in med school. Mom and Dad got me the DVDs for Christmas. Then Kerry got Season 2.0 for her birthday--in April. We finished that in the course of a week or two and then had to wait until August for the release of 2.5. By that point, I was a senior. Senior year, I watched season 3 with my buddies in the dorm. The finale was, poetically, during finals week.

Since last May, I have been waiting for season 4 to come out. Few shows have ever gripped my attention like this, but Battlestar is worth it. I'm obsessed, and I love it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Battlestar Galactica Season 3

It is finally here. Today, BSG Season 3 is released on DVD. Wish me luck in attaining it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Patience, Tolerance, Strategy

These are qualities I have to possess right now. The situation? Things have gone intolerably south at work. The reason? Regime change. I will not divulge much since I am still officially employed by...that company I work for...but suffice it to say that this one is on the job hunt like a blood-crazed hound.

The issue is that Kerry and I have insurance through...that company I work for. And we both need it. It is likely that I will be able to get insurance through whatever new job I find, but it will not kick in for a while. I want a full time position, so picking up a part-time position somewhere so that I can have decent availability at both places is not an option. What to do...hmm...

Monday, March 10, 2008

OK...so I'm a music fundamentalist...

Most of the young, fresh people I work with are really into the music scene. They tend to be in the know when it comes to what is nationally chic, locally hot, and classically golden. Since Starbucks markets quite a bit of music, my world is even more permeated by a sense of musical eclecticism with which I just don't seem to identify.

Well...I say I don't identify with musical eclecticism, but what I listen to varies widely. Let me explain what I mean. Music comes to us packaged in various vehicles. It doesn't spontaneously explode into the air. Someone thinks it, communicates it, and then it either spreads or doesn't. It may become "that song I heard on the radio," "something they sang in church," "a tune I picked up off that dude's computer," or maybe even "a jig I heard at Starbucks." The kids I work with seem to be capable of picking up favorites from any vehicle, anytime, anywhere.

When someone asks me what is playing over the system at work, I am stumped one-hundred percent of the time--unless I have switched it to the all classical program. I'll have to run to the back, read the display for the artist and title, and then return with said information. Then everyone's eyes around me will light up in recognition, heads will nod, and I will shrug. Happens nearly every day. All these people know, recognize, and enjoy tunes that they have picked up everywhere from Woodstock to Scrubs. Musical Eclecticism.

I, however, only have one vehicle through which I pick up music, and that is the movies...and TV to a lesser extent. A few exceptions are when people give me CDs, make me copies of their hard drives, etc. But even then, nearly all of the music I listen to comes from a soundtrack. I can identify what movie (or movies) it plays in and what kind of mood it evokes. That is really why I listen to them. Music sets my mental and emotional rhythm, so I pick it out very carefully and listen to it repeatedly. I don't seek out new sounds. I wait until they pound their way into my ears in films such as The Fountain. Then, I hear something I think I can live to, not just listen to. And so my music collection grows...

At home, I listen to albums on my computer. In my truck, I make a CD that has whatever I feel like listening to at the time. I won't take it out of my CD player until I am bored with it, at which point it is time to simply discard it and make a new one. They are usually short, like the one I am currently playing:

1. Molossus, by James Howard--played in Batman Begins.
2. Prelude to War, by Bear McCreary--played in season 2 of Battlestar Galactica.
3. Duel of Fates, by John Williams--played in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
4. One Winged Angel, by Nobuo Uematsu--played in Final Fantasy: Advent Children.
5. Tachiagare Okori Yo, by Daisuke Asakura--played in Gundam Seed.
6. Klendathu Drop, by Basil Poledouris--played in Starship Troopers (and modified for the game Conquest: Frontier Wars).
7. He's a Pirate, by Klaus Badelt--played in Pirates of the Caribbean.
8. Furious Angels, by Rob Dougan--played in The Matrix: Reloaded.

Molossus is what I have sort of adopted as my personal theme right now. It dramatically beats its way through four minutes and forty-nine seconds of strings and brass without going over the top. It is a little dark and mysterious. I realize I am not, but I like the dark knight anyway. And I'll mention that the next Batman movie is the only one I can't wait to see right now. Prelude to War is the musical embodiment of suspense. Being perhaps a bit worrisome, I spend a lot of time in suspense--it fits. Duel of Fates is just plain exciting. One Winged Angel is melancholy for me more than anything else. It reminds me of creative media experiences I've never fully explored that are now hopelessly dated...and brings to mind images of a ruined Midgar. Tachiagare Okori Yo is a good get-up-and-go song that plays when my favorite anime character of all time steals my favorite anime spaceship of all time. It also autoplays every morning at four to wake me up. The Klendathu Drop epitomizes the sound of determination--struggling on through latte after latte like a hero while baristas are being slaughtered by the thousands all around me. He's a Pirate is playful...like me. And Furious Angels is cool...like me. Yeah.

So looking at my list, it is apparent that I need to stop telling people that I'll listen to anything. Because I won't. Not even once. If a piece of music doesn't grab my attention rapidly in a very visceral way, I won't pay attention to the rest of it at all. Outside Vivaldi, his buddies, and one particularly insane and annoying summer jingle, I can count the songs I remember from the programs I listen to all day every day at work on two fingers...and I don't know the names or artists.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Blindsided

After four days of sixty to seventy degree weather, I had assumed winter was over. It felt like spring. It smelled like spring. Starbucks had just switched over to spring seasonal merchandising. I went to work yesterday with the expectation of a nice spring day, making a nice spring trip to Bradford to attend a visitation and celebrate some birthdays, and returning to Little Rock today to spend some much needed quality time with my medical student of a a wife.

So I sauntered into the store yesterday morning at five and set up shop, noticing that the sky was a bit gray as the sun came up. I figured it would be cloudy. Then torrential downpours drove all our customers away. At that point, I assumed it would be rainy. So I drove up here to Bradford in the rain...taking an hour and a half to get from Little Rock to Jacksonville, I will add. I attended the visitation and overheard a few people making skeptical remarks about a little sleet. But that stuff never pans out...

This morning I woke up and looked out the window. The solid sheet of gray I saw made me think it was just beginning to dawn on a foggy day. Mom made a comment about school being cosed for my sister, and I was like, "What, did it ice last night?" Mom balked, pointed, and said, "Jussstinnn," in that tone of voice that makes me feel as clueless as a Russian in a certain forties winter. I put on my glasses, and muttered a "huh" probably much like Mal Reynolds on Firefly would. It was snowing. And it is still snowing. We have about three inches on the ground so far. I've had fun sledding down the hill and tromping all over the yard and all traces of it have been erased.

Surprise!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sleep or Society?

Over the past week or so, I've been trying to do a little less reading, internet surfing, and game playing. I have lots and lots of friends, but I hardly ever see most of them. When they tell me stories about all the fun things they do, I tend to just smile an laugh with them about it. I am starting to catch lots of comments about how boring I am. I don't feel boring. I don't even feel bored. But perhaps I should make more of an effort to go out and meet people, go places, and do things.

Problem is, I am on a sleep schedule that ends at four a.m. nearly all the time. That is only about six hours after peak socializing time begins. I like my sleep, and I get cranky without it. I like my sleep in long doses, too, not spread out whenever I can catch it. People give me strange looks when I ask them if they want to go out and do stuff during the afternoon or early evening, but that is my late evening.

I love opening consistently, and I don't want that to change. I guess I'm going to just have to be a big boy, cowboy up, and lose some shuteye if I want to to fun things with people.