Monday, May 31, 2004

Another Month Already?!?!?

Holy Cow, tomorrow begins the month of June. The month of summer, the month of my birthday, the month of our Halfiversary (Mark and I will have been together for three and a half years), the month where warm weather mostly decides to settle into Colorado and give up the strange 80s one week, 50s the next see-sawing of spring and fall. And let's hope that June also becomes the month in which I at last see the end of Unemployment.

So, catching-up. I didn't get the job I was really excited about; my brother's doing great and will be in Iraq in August after a couple months of training; my writing's in a strange "holding pattern" that I'm trying to break out of; don't see the movie "Troy" if you harbor any appreciation for the actual Trojan War mythology; do see "Van Helsing" because Hugh Jackman kicks just as much ass in a trenchcoat and hat as he does in that pleather-ish "X-men" outfit (also see it because it's overall a fun flick).

Now for the details; don't go on a week-long trip the week before your significant other is set to go on a week-long trip of his own.

The interview did indeed go very well. And I suppose I should be impressed that I even got the interview considering the two other candidates had PhD's and at least five years more University level instruction experience on me. Still, it would've been nice to have gotten that job. True, I would've had to face a decent amount of demons from my past to enjoy the experience and get the most out of it, but I don't like the idea of letting those demons linger much longer.

But there's an upside. I got a call from a company I had previously applied to with Kelly Scientific. They wanted a phone interview for a Technical Writer position. I obliged them on Thursday, at which point I discovered that they didn't have the resume I submitted through Kelly Scientific. No, they had my resume from, the one I had fashioned in the hopes of finding an entry-level administrative assistant position with a biotech/pharmaceutical company. This same resume is so horridly set up due to it just being sloppily transferred from an MS Word document to the Monster format. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the worst of what I've got out there in "Please Hire Me" Land. And they wanted to interview me. And after the phone interview, they wanted to interview me on-site. I'm extremely jazzed about this job, and I'm also fairly confident in my chances of landing it (barring, of course, the appearance of another couple of PhDs and their hoity-toity five years plus of experience). The only problem is that the woman who interviewed me hasn't emailed me or called me about setting up an interview time and she's gone this week to the same conference Mark is abandoning me for. I'll probably give him a copy of my best resume to bring with him on the off-chance he bumps into her.

The week with my brother was a good one. We got to chat a bit about his previous experience in Iraq and his combat training in general. My mother didn't appreciate it too much, but it made me feel oddly comforted. I don't like that my brother's going back to Iraq. I don't like that they're going to give him a gun again and expect him to use it. I don't like that he will use it. But at least I have confidence in his ability to deal with the situation. And that goes a long way toward settling my nerves. It does nothing to change the fact that I'm going to kick his ass for a month straight when he comes back for putting me through this again.

The writing.... That's a topic for another post.

The movies were fun. And had I known that "Troy" was only called that because it served as a backdrop for some good dramatic representations of the lives of Hector and Achilles, I probably would've enjoyed the movie more. I think the fact that the whole Helen-Paris story was relegated to a thin subplot should tell you a lot about the historical accuracy of the flick. Also that the last lines as given by Odysseus were "If they remember my name, let them remember that I walked with giants. That I knew Achilles. That I knew Hector" (or somesuch). I mean, come on. People are lucky if they remember that the whole reason Odysseus is at sea in the first place is because he's starting his voyage home from the Trojan War. Don't even get me started about how they decided to end the damn movie. It should be explanation enough that I would have to provide a spoiler warning for those who know the history. The only reason to see this movie is to watch Achilles fight. Whoever choreographed it did a fantastic job.

And the last thing is Mark being out of town as of tomorrow. That's another post as well. Suffice to say, I'll be happy when this week's over.

Friday, May 21, 2004

And Now For The Bad News

No, the interview went great. I'll be hearing the Verdict next week. The bad news is that my brother is going back to Iraq. You might be confused, seeing as how my brother got out of the Marine Corps in November, and also seeing as how his reserve unit was set to go to Okinawa this year. Well, my brother, in all his Marine Corps honor, bravery, etc glory was asked to volunteer to reactivate and go back to Iraq, should the Corps need him. Brad said yes a couple months ago, Corps said, "we need you," a couple days ago.

Here's the one really good thing about being unemployed: I'm able to drop everything and fly out to Arizona next week so I can chill with my brother before he starts the training and shipping out process.

Let's hope this is the only bad news for a while. It'll keep me occupied for quite some time.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Good News

I've got an interview tomorrow. This is a Genetics Instructor position with my old department at CU. The call setting up the interview was very positive, and I'm really excited about this job, so keep your fingers crossed. And adding to the fun tomorrow, I'm going to a Writers' Munch in the morning. Should be a fun and productive day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Yes, I Want Tires With That

The 8-page synopsis and entry into the writing contest has gone right out the window. Sanity is in high demand and short supply these days, and the minimum amount required to write the synopsis far exceeds my stock. Then we can start talking about the cash required to enter the contest and go to the conference where the results are revealed, and we'll see an even greater supply-demand imbalance. So the synopsis has been ditched. How does this relate to tires? An excellent question.

See, I was still toying with the idea of writing the synopsis yesterday when I brought the car over to Firestone so one of our tires could get checked for a leak (some of the roads we traversed at Great Sand Dunes were a little mean to our poor car). Silly me, I thought this would be a lunch-time endeavor, leaving me the entire afternoon to write. They gave me an estimate of an hour, so I went wandering in the nearby Wal-Mart and mall. Then I came back and waited patiently for another fifteen minutes until the hour was up before I asked for my car.

Now, when they had asked me for my information, I had given them my home phone number. Had I known that they wanted to be able to call me while I was waiting for the car, I would've given them my cell number. Had I also known that they had tried to get in touch with me, I certainly wouldn't have sat around for fifteen minutes in the friggin' place, reading an old and insipid issue of Entertainment Weekly. But wasting time seemed to be the theme of the day, so I guess it all works out. Anyway, upon my request for my car, I found out that they couldn't patch a hole in the tire because the tires were bald and it was illegal for them to do anything other than replace the tires. I was a bit shocked to hear this as Mark had told me that the tires had another year to go before they needed to be replaced. Feeling very much like I was getting scammed, I called Mark and had to play Info Relay between him and the salesperson.

It turns out that tires can look just fine on their outer edge but be bald on their inner edge when the alignment is shot to hell, thus fooling someone who's looking at the tires from any other angle but underneath the car. Our car now has four brand-new tires on it, our credit card is wincing (though not nearly as much as Jerry's - see the May 15th entry), and I'm now entirely convinced that the synopsis idea is even worse than I thought if it's jinxed like that. I mean, if I tried to write the thing again, we may have to replace an engine or something.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Oh, Great

One of the related searches listed in the top banner of my blog is "middle finger". Perfect. And I thought my life was complete before with that odd boyband related search. Yup, life is good. Now, if only I could figure out how to quell the clamoring voice in my head that insists on listing all the issues I need to address in my writing so I can focus on the synopsis....Oh, and a job would be nice, too. Then life will really be perfect. Until the next strange or amusing related search comes along.

Monday, May 17, 2004

A-Campin' We Have Gone

Went camping this weekend in Great Sand Dunes National Park. It was a great trip. It felt really good to get away, even if that did mean not showering for a couple days, smelling like a campfire the entire time, and finding sand in all sorts of places. We took our buddy PJ with us as he's having some wicked knee surgery in a few weeks and wanted one last hiking hurrah before going under the knife. With his knees, my knees, and my general lack of endurance, we hiked up to the highest dune in the park in true leisurely fashion. But my quads and calves are still killing me. Note to self: hiking up 650ft over the course of a mile isn't a big deal unless it's all sand. The hike back down was fun, though.

PJ's one of the more serious amateur photographers I know, so he had a fun time playing with all of his lenses and filters and films. Mark and I brought our own point and shoot cameras. We realized the necessity of this during our trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Mark takes the pictures for photo albums and the website (assuming he'll ever update that thing again), and I take pictures of little images that inspire story ideas or belong in my fantasy world. I had a lot of fun with that on this trip. Great Sand Dunes will be a prominent feature on a continent of Velorin that I hadn't really fleshed out a whole lot yet.

There were two problems on the trip, though. The first was the wind at our campsite. There are 88 sites at the park, available on a first come, first serve basis. We got the very last one, and there was a reason why it was the very last one. There had been a slight fire near our site in the recent past, robbing the immediate area of trees and large bushes. And it was at the very edge of the campgrounds. So Mark and PJ had fun making sure our tent was secure enough to withstand the wind. It held up fairly well until we woke up Sunday morning with one side of the tent blowing completely over PJ with each gust. The second problem was the meat we brought to grill. PJ doesn't eat red meat, so we decided to bring nothing but chicken breasts since the only other thing we had was hamburger meat. As we're sitting over the grill on Friday night, we remembered that we have not just one but two stacks of cheddar bratwursts sitting in our freezer that we had completely forgotten. So the phrase, "I can't believe we forgot the cheesy brats," was uttered frequently. They would've been the perfect camping food - in addition to the barbecue sauce smothered chicken.

So that was my weekend, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I have to get back to the grind this week and finish my 8-page synopsis for the RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest. I'm hoping to mail my stuff off by the end of the week, but writing a synopsis this long is a very hairy process.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

A Month of Books

That's what April was. Every time I turned around, I was in a bookstore, a used bookstore, or a library and walking away with an armload. I found all sorts of cool books, some non-fiction, some fiction, some reference. It was really sweet. Sales everywhere, bargains galore, freebies for volunteering some time at a book sale. I still have two boxes worth that I haven't been able to place on our already crowded shelves anywhere. I'm afraid to count how many books I bought in April, but I know that I spent less than $100 for them all. You should see the gorgeous books on Mythology, Egypt, and Archaeology I nabbed from a sale at Borders. Not only will they be invaluable for research for my intergalactic archaeologist series idea, but they're also pretty swanky coffee table books. I'm pretty excited that I scored all but one of the Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series. I could go on and on about all my finds. The take home of this post is: I have enough books to last me through two years at the very least, and I'm afraid to set foot in another bookstore or library again lest I walk away with more books.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Giving You the Finger...Update

So it's now been five weeks since I battled with canned peaches and lost. There's a nice white scar forming, and it's still a bit sensitive to the touch. After not being able to feel the top right side of my middle finger, sensation seems to be coming back, though it's still not back to normal. And that makes gripping small things with my right hand a real joy. I didn't find out that fun fact until this weekend when I kicked Mark's butt in SolarQuest (the little fueling station pieces proved a tad too tiny for my impaired finger). But at least now I have complete range of motion back in the finger with only the occasional odd twinge. And, if you really want to look on the plus side of this whole mess, I now remember clearly when I had my last tetanus shot. That will come in handy for the next Can vs. Hand show-down.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Drop off the Internet for a while, and Blogger goes and changes everything. Don't get me wrong, I like the switch. But it just makes diving back into a connected life seem more...monumentous? So, uh, thanks go to Blogger, I guess, for making my return feel all the more spiffy.

And why exactly was I gone for so long? It's not as if I'm really busy or anything. Well, sleeping until 9 or 10 and then playing Final Fantasy X and X-2 for twelve hourse straight does have a way of eating up your schedule without you realizing it until suddenly two weeks have gone by. Yes, meet Kellie the Industrious Unemployed Writer/Scientist/Jill-of-all-trades-if-it-will-get-me-a-friggin-job.

So about a month ago to do the day, I had a Cooking Accident that resulted in four stitches and the start of a minor depression. I had enough going on with Human Dignity to keep me from admitting that I was getting a tad depressed. And then I started my Final Fantasy binge, which resulted in my further denying that Anything Was Wrong. To be fair, I started the binge in order to keep from over-analyzing everything in the days leading up to and just after my two interviews. Seemed like a good plan at the time. My writing projects were all in beginning or end stages, making it hard to just sit down in front of the computer and let the words consume me. (It's funny: I hate writing the middles of books, but being in the middle of the book is the easiest time for me to immerse myself in a project, apparently. Or perhaps I'm just a big-ass font of excuses. Methinks the latter.)

Why did the Culinary Incident kick off a depression? Mainly because it was a noticeable blip in the system. My first week of unemployment went fairly well. I was working out everyday, pounding the Internet pavement with gusto (I'm still pounding it now, but it's rather half-hearted), working on my books, staying connected with my on-line haunts, and just in general eager to make the most of the time I was going to have unemployed - however long it should be (and I really didn't think it was going to last much more than a month). Then I sliced into my finger and was out of commission from a surprising number of things: writing, swimming, holding anything resembling a weight for my workouts. Pain was a big issue as was general dexterity (which wouldn't have been such a big deal had I decided to mutilate my pinky or any finger on my left hand; but no, I had to hack into the middle finger of my right hand, and right by the spot where a pen rests when I write). Seeing as how I had decided to write away my unemployment, the Can of Peaches Pop-top From Hell proved to be an extremely cruel foe. And then all the job leads started to crumble, not helping anything.

I actually kept any sign of depression well-hidden. Sure, I wasn't happy for most of April. Sure, I spent a lot of time thinking I was never going to find gainful employment, that a certain former science boss had been right and that I was Dumber Than Shit. Sure, I overanalyzed every dark corner of my self and decided that Mark was either a saint of an idiot for sticking with me even this long. And sure, I'm even being overly dramatic in describing how melodramatic I was in my not-quite-depression. But it wasn't until I started sleeping ten hours a night and wanting to sleep more that I realized just what was happening.

Mark's got this great ability to just tell himself that he's being stupid about something, or that general sentiments about something are just dumb, and the problem is solved. He's determined that his thought process was wrong or just unhelpful, so it's immediately fixed. Anytime he starts down the path of these thoughts, he remembers that he realized it was stupid, and he stops. I'm hoping that I'll learn this neat trick from him at some point over the course of our marriage. I'm only beginning to understand how it works for him. But it's painfully obvious how dumb all my self-pity and depression is. "Dumb" doesn't mean I'm dumb for succumbing to it. But it's dumb to continue it, and I don't like to do dumb things. So off I go on the Road to Wellness.

Starting now, I will not just give up on myself. I will get my revenge on that infernal Pop-top. And I will not let some idiots in Corporate America - who thought they could save a shit-load of money by axing me and a bunch of others - determine my worth. Good. Glad that's done. Now where's the chocolate and Playstation 2?