Friday, June 30, 2006

Today Means Something

In a year from today, give or take a couple hours or minutes, I will no longer have a fiancee.

I will have a wife.

As my mom put, today is our -1 wedding anniversary.

We celebrated it by going out to a suburb, going to a job interview, buying a whole bunch of crap from Ikea for hanging up curtains and other things to put electronics on then eating nachos.

I probably should pay some bills, too.

At least I've got a couple years to get better at this celebrating anniversaries.

Please remember to let me know your opinions on this possible job prospect. Thanks, folks.

Don't Trust a Cat to do a Human's Work



Max may look like he's working intently on some report. . .



Afer all, what cat doesn't want to become a productive member of society?



But what you don't know is that he's stealing office supplies and printing a picture of me to chew when I'm not looking. What a bad cat. BAD CAT, MAX!!!!

Had an Interview Today, Looking for Opinions

Met an event marketer supervisor at Blue Green Resorts today for the interview.

My duties pretty much include: looking pretty and convincing people at various events, like motor racing, auto racing, art festivals and so forth, to sign up for presentations about the company's time shares and resort rentals.

Base pay comes out to $10, and I get approximately $100 commission for every person that signs up for a presentation.

The interviewer told me that he got $2,400 in commissions a week when he started. Supposedly, the good marketers get 3 to 4 people signing up an event.

So, my quick run down on the positive and negatives:

Positives --

+ Good money if I perform well,

+ Flexible hours for benefits, 30 hours, which can get fulfilled by working weekends and one weekday, leaving me with 3-day weekends,

+ Because of flexibility, I can dedicate more time to working on my bachelors project and possibly work more on freelance projects,

+ Opportunity to learn a little more about sales, marketing and social psychology and

+ A seemingly fun and open atmosphere among my associates, in which I can be free to talk about my other projects.

Negatives --

+ Possibility that I may not perform well, thus not good money,

+ Sounds too easy to be true, and I'll be fodder,

+ Possibly not enough structure for me because work locations won't always be in one place,

+ At least twice a month, I'll have to travel out to the suburb, which will probably mean horrible, horrible up to an hour and a half commutes back home or finding a Wi-Fi hookup to do work until rush hour ends and

+ I might be jumping on this opportunity because I haven't had an interview since I started job searching about a month ago.

So I would like to hear from you, my readers, on what you think of me taking this job. Do you think I'll enjoy it? Do you think I will find enough success in it until I find success in my writing, publishing or academic career? In your opinion, will it work out as a good choice for me?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ideas, Religion, Job Interviews, Cats and a Date

THANKS FOR THE IDEA

Props to the long-haired blond girl who hsa more shoes than anyone else, or, at least, the fiancee says she does. She gave me the impetus having an announcement e-mail list for The Lextopia. Props to you, girl, props to you.

HARD RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES DON'T LIKE BARAK OBAMA

OK, maybe it's really just the guy at Southern Appeal, but he's really the only religious conservative who I view on a regular basis.

The other one would take wayyyyy too much of my productive energy away by making me hyperfocus on a political discussion. At least, for now. . .. That one has so much more of an attitude.

GOT A JOB INTERVIEW!!!! (NOW CAN I KEEP UP THE IMPRESSION AFTER I GET HIRED?)

Woohoo! A fellow from a marketing company finally caught up with me today.

We talked a little -- actually talked, not just him telling me stuff or just asking questions -- we actually had something of a conversation. My dad made a little jealous for having that ability when I worked for him. He would talk up people real good, make them feel comfortable and have something of an interesting time talking about insurance. Go figure.

I had originally thought that my issue with it came from not involving myself with the type of people who have more than just auto insurance or other minimal types. Maybe I didn't tap into the culture of most people.

Recently, though, from Driven to Distraction, however, I learn that a lot of people with ADHD have issues with conversation. With having to organize the attention of the knowledge in your brain and also the social cues inherent in conversation, especially without preparation for the conversation, trouble in a conversation for people with ADHD shouldn't surprise anyone.

But we set up an interview for tomorrow. Inconveniently, I'll have to drive between a half-hour to an hour and a half, depending on the traffic, out to a suburb for the interview. The guy said that I'll still mainly be working in Chicago.

I'll probably do well enough with the interview, especially with the preparation I will do and should have done already, if the phone conversation indicates anything. The interview should also provide a novel situation. I don't have that much information about the position yet, so it will also provide me with the opportunity to learn the actual duties of the position. A good job interview should work like a date in a way, or, at least, a date evaluated on rational terms to answer the question: "Will we work well together? Will I give you what you want? Will you provide me with a position that I want?"

Nonetheless, I kind of worry about me performing once I get this kind of position. Will having ADHD get in the way of me doing well in a position that could require conversation skills?

Now that I've discovered that ADHD, a biologically neurological situation, gives me the trouble of having conversation, not a lack of profiency in having conversation, I'll have to learn more about coping techniques.

I believe Strattera helped me deal with conversation at the insurance agency, but I'm in the middle of not having medication and experimenting a little. The medical insurance this company provides could help, but it wouldn't fix the problem.

Simple enough, I'll have to research up on coping techniques. I know at least two that can help: preparation and knowledge. They can help anyone in conversation but stressing it will help me a lot.

Another one: Keeping things simple, not overcomplicating matters.

Then there's also admitting that you don't have a particular piece of information, but you'll find it out and get back to them. In a professional situation, that tact has to work, especially if it's regarding your profession. At least in casual conversation, you can simply admit that you know nothing, state what you know then work with the other person to discover more.

I guess trying to view every situation as novel and new could help, but I don't know how well when trying to cope with a neurological issue. . .How much can you make your physiology believe something when it's not true?

I really should prepare for the interview tomorrow, though. Tonight hasn't worked out for me keeping my priorities straight. Ugh.

SOCIALIZING MASS AMOUNTS OF CATS

Volunteered at a cat shelter with the fiancee today. We just get to wander around and play and pet cats.

Kind of fun, even though I got a little annoyed when other humans tried to tell me about the cats or engage me in conversation. Apparently, some of the more shy and unhappy cats liked me more than other people. I, honestly, believe that cats personify ADHD.

OUT ON A DATE: ETHIOPIAN FOOD AND CHILLED DESSERT

The fiancee also went out on a date after playing with the cats.

We ate at an Ethiopian restaurant, called The Ethiopian Cafe, on Broadway. Can't say that it tasted any better or worse than any other Ethiopian restaurant, even though the one we went to in Montreal rocked for taste.

The spinach sambusa really tasted good, though. Sambusa never really stood out for me before.

I didn't eat the meat, but the fiancee said it really didn't have much spicy kick to it. Veggies did a good job of it, though, even though I had to eat halfway through them before noticing it, and I don't have that much of a tolerance to spiciness.

They had this interesting dish called something like the Chick Pea Fish or something. Apparently, they shape chick pea flower into the shape of a fish. It didn't really look like a fish to me, even though it had somewhat of a meaty taste to it. I hope that the fiancee and I didn't get mixed up by the layout. It didn't really strike my fancy, though, with that meaty taste.

The fiancee also mentioned that other than her favorite Ethiopian restaurant in Boston, she has found the veggie entrees much better than the meat entrees at Ethiopian restaurants.

Ordered an African beer. It actually tasted like a Heineken. They've got three other African beers, though, and a Brazilian one. If we go back, I'll have to experiment more. With all the other Ethiopian and African restaurants in the area, I don't really know if we'll get the chance to check out this one again.

Really good service, though. When we ordered everything, we ordered some pretty good tea along with beer and wine. The waitress asked if we wanted the tea with everything else or wanted it after everything. We took it after the meal, and it worked really well there.

The waiter who wanted to collect the check also made sure to let us know to take out time. Other than that, though, I can't remember much else outstanding about the service. I have the thought that something good did happen at the edge of my mind. It just won't enter into my conscious mind. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the service there.

We also ended up going to a Windy City Sweets on Broadway. The fiancee had some ice cream and I had a mango sorbet. We agreed that the sorbet tasted like fresh frozen mangos rather than some kind of artificial mango taste. Can't say I have an opinion about her ice cream, since I didn't eat it.

I need to go prepare for that interview tommorrow, though!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bad Time Management

Frankly, I could have done sooooo much better with my time management.

Once again, though, I won't beat myself up about it. I've learned some interesting, important stuff and accomplished some cool stuff.

You can see one cool thing up at the top of The Lextopia. I created an daily announcement list to let everyone know:

+ When I make entries and

+ Announce anything that might be so important that I can't wait for people to reach The Lextopia.

As for learning important stuff.

+ Supplementing myself with tyrosine might not be as important as I thought.

+ Making sure I get enough niacin might be the important stuff.

+ For phenylalanine to get converted into tyrosine in our bodies, we need niacin.

+ If we don't take in enough niacin, our bodies use tryptophan, instead of using the tryptophan for other important things like making me sleepy.

+ So, very likely, the Strattera I took probably kept the norepinephrine created from my tyrosine, which was, in turn, created from phenylalanine through some kind of reaction with niacin and other elements. And since I didn't take in enough niacin, my body made it from tryptophan, which left me with bouts of insomnia and inefficient thinking, which probably contributed to my ADHD.

+ Now whether taking in niacin might correct ADHD, I don't know. I guess we'll just have to see.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Marketing, Politics, Medication and ADHD

Some quickie stuff before possibly getting into a traditional long entry:

THE Dixie Chicks and marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Guy points out the interesting marketing byproduct of the Dixie Chicks making their comeback after their political suicide. To me, the general principle reflects my decision to just stick with Blogger.

As an aside, though, I find the chick, making comments about the Chicks still facing the flack for their political suicide, humorous.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE RECENT RIGHT WING BACK LASH AGAINST THE NEW YORK TIMES FOR POSTING THE TERRORIST FINANCIAL TRANSACTION TRACKING

"Me: I just think the Right argument that breaking the story helps the terrorists.
"Me: Won't it make things harder for them to accomplish their goals of blowing things up in the States?
"Me: Maybe it will cut down on how many we catch, but it will also cut down on how many things they blow up.
"Me: Idiots. . .
"Me: Sometimes disclosing this type of shit actually helps.
[. . .]
"Me: It's like, let's make abortion illegal but not tell anyone, so we can arrest people who get abortions!
"Me: Yeah. . ."

PROPS TO ARLEN SPECTER FOR BEING A REPUBLICAN WITH A SPINE

NO MEDICATION: DAY 10

Today marks the day that I've taken the most of my Tyrosine powder supplement.

Some minor benefits:

1. Outlining this blog entry in my head before writing it.

2. Generally able to stay on task. It requires a little effort, but I can do it easier than usual.

3. A little more easy going with my shortcomings. More on this later.

4. Reduced anxious rumination.

5. Actually feel tired at a reasonable time.

Unfortunately, 2 and 3 may actually come somewhat out of educating myself more on ADHD and cognitive re-thinking of things. Other than above, though, I think I've done some good structuring of thought and have felt more of a "here feeling" than I usually do.

MY NEED FOR STRUCTURE

Do any of my loyal readers remember my talking about my need for structure probably about a year ago?

According to Edward Hallowell and John Ratey, in their book Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood, people with ADHD need that structure.

I guess if they don't have that structure, they'll kick into effect reactions, like anxiety, depression, dangerous behavior, fights, etc. etc. simply to kick the brain to attention. I'm guessing those types of things push norepinephrine into action, since it's a stress hormone. After all, even having a bad thing happening can be better than the disorganized chaos that occurs while in ADHD dysphoria.

To some people, what I just described may sound like OCD. The explanation probably can't get made simply, but I guess the major difference is that OCD kicks in because of the anxiety from the obsessive thoughts.

In the case of someone like me, however, who exhibits a form of ADHD with an anxious edge to it, my body kicks in the anxiety and the thoughts that come with it because it kicks in the neurotransmitters and hormones that help keep the physiological brain dysphoria away.

No Medication: Day 9

I've stayed up later than I would like. Not trying to let it bother me or think about it too much. Probably the worst thing I could do to cause obsessive rumination.

I'll have some catnip tea, instead. It should help to calm down any ruminating that I could have in a half hour or so when I try going to bed.

But yeah, worrying about trying to sleep would become a big mistake. It would just create an obsessive rumination loop, which would keep my brain going and going and going.

That last paragraph reminds me that I may have used a misnomer of a title for this entry. I haven't officially started any medication or gotten a script from a doctor to address the ADHD.

I might have found a couple things that might help calm down the ADHD symptoms, though. My theory revolves around Strattera, the medication I had taken for awhile, being a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.

Finding any kind of natural dietary source of norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor probably lies somewhere beyond my skills and knowledge, but I thought maybe I could find a way of putting more norepinephrine into my body to provide my body with more than it usually has at ready.

Apparently, our bodies create the hormone-neurotransmitter norepinephrine out of the amino acid tyrosine. Norepinephrine then affects our brains in a way that influences our attention and impulsivity.

Next, I figured that maybe my body and most ADHD bodies have an issue converting tyrosine to norepinephrine. I have yet to find any natural place where I can get norepinephrine.

My next step came down to "how do I get more tyrosine, then?" Everywhere I looked on the Internet says that tyrosine falls into the category of "nonessential amino acid," which essentially means our bodies can synthesize it.

Our bodies can synthesize tyrosine from phenylanine. Unfortunately, our bodies synthesizes plenty of other things from phenylanine, so I really need to depend on some other source for tyrosine to test my hypothesis. After all, my body, apparently, doesn't address norepinephrine issues correctly. . .or possible dopamine issues, either, since it (A) is another hypothesized issue for people with ADHD and (B) our bodies also synthesize dopamine from tyrosine.

Having this information on hand, I intuitively explored the Internet then read some labels when I went to Whole Foods. I settled on a powder that has a mixture of greens, including wheat grass and oat grass (apparently, they both have a good amount of tyrosine and plenty of other good health benefits), and a brewer's yeast that has a formulation with a good amount of tyrosine in it.

I've worked with these two powders for the last couple days. No solid results that lead me to any conclusion yet. Nonetheless, I have experienced similar side effects similar to those that Strattera gave me along with a subjective feeling of having more control over my attention. Nothing drastic yet, though.

The test subject (me) needs to have a longer term of observation to find out more.

Interesting enough, though, plug tyrosine and ADHD into Google, you'll find some interesting articles on the topic. Maybe I am onto something.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Might There be Hope for Charlie Jade?

Someone got an interesting e-mail from the people who produce CJ, which pretty much says that if it gets broadcast in the United States, a second season would probably get produced, too.

Woohoo! Now to work on that viral marketing promotion again. . ..

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Betrayed by Customer Service

Yesterday, I received my first ever correspondence from a collection agency. The whole thing happened because of the move to Chicago. I closed our landline account and gave the phone company a friend's address in the Chicago. The friend only gave me one piece of mail: the invite to my 10th year high school reunion.

When the fiancee and I moved into our current apartment, I switched my mailing address at the USPS a week or two later.

Some fault probably does lie with me. I never got back in touch with the phone company to see why I didn't get a bill. After all, they said that they would send me a bill, which I never received. The obvious reason that I resolved after talking with the phone company: they sent it to the friend that never gave me my mail except for one piece that doesn't mean much to me.

Despite the lapse on my side of things, though, I feel really betrayed. I had good standing with this phone company, generally always paying my bills on time. Maybe I paid a day late or so every once in awhile. I even paid well ahead of time when I moved into one place. Once, I even payed for a month and half or so of service that I could never use because of some wiring problems in the building.

They wouldn't even, in that case, help me to communicate with other people in that apartment building to arrange installation of new wires and fix them. That whole situation really miffed me, especially since I stayed home for work and used a personal day for it.

I guess that's one thing about utility companies, except for maybe cable companies, that annoy me. They only come on weekdays. I'm sorry, but a lot of people work in the world and can't spare the weekdays to let you in and watch that you don't steal stuff. With that kind of hands on stuff that requires the presence of a resident, I think they should use a little something called courtesy.

So, anyway, after about a month and a half of not hearing from the phone company, I get this invoice from a collection agency. I even had forgotten that the whole situation existed because the phone company said they would send me a bill, and they wouldn't let me pay online since the "account had been closed." Since the phone company for my landline also did my cell phone, I actually thought it was for my cell phone. Either which way, I thought it was all a mistake.

I call the collection agency. They tell me the situation, as they know it. I get really angry and miffed, tell him that the account was closed, I never received any such bill, etc. etc. to the point where the phone called ended with me refusing to pay the bill.

So I decided to call the phone company. They told me that they sent the bill to the address I gave them, which was one the friend's place. I asked them why I couldn't have paid online or why didn't they e-mail me, since they had my e-mail from the online pay service they provide. The customer service person there tells me that it's not their policy to send e-mail about the final bill nor to allow people to pay their final bill online.

Point blank: I think they have a stupid policy there, discontinuing e-mail contact and not allowing final bill pays online because that's just how things are done. Maybe it makes things easier for them, but it makes things really difficult for the consumer.

On top of the inconvenience, I feel betrayed. As I said before, I believe I had a good standing with this company. I have good standing credit-wise, in general, and I'm really annoyed that something stupid like this will affect my credit score.

Nonetheless, I had a very good standing with this company and even provided them with many ways to contact me, like my e-mail, which could have been used to warn me of the situation rather than let a collection agency get involved. The least they could have done is once they've seen that the collection agency has found a new address for me or something like that, contact me before the collection agency, realize that the whole thing was an honest mistake, not something like I'm trying to avoid paying a debt dishonestly. If the phone company had contacted me, I would have just said something like, "Oh, I never received that bill."

They would tell me that the address they found as current was different than the one I gave them.

Then I tell them, "Oh, that's because I moved a lot in that time. The fiancee and I didn't have a place secured right away, so we had our mail sent to a friend's. Unfortunately, I hadn't heard from that friend since we got here. See -- she takes care of her 5 year old twins, keeps the house nice and clean -- at least, as best she can -- then also helps her husband run a psychiatric practice. Someone that busy, can't you understand how having to take care of someone's mail could be trouble.

"I'll just write up that check and send it to you. I couldn't pay you with my credit card over the phone or anything, could I? No? Well, then I'll just write the check and send it to you. It won't be a problem at all. This has just been a hectic month or so, with the move across country and all. . ."

After which they can say something like, "Thank you, sir. With your history with us and seeing that you had just disconnected your service at the end of the month, we figured it was just all a big mixup like this. Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to getting that check."

But, of course, things didn't work out like that. See, we live in this huge world with 6 billion people in it with these big phone companies that buy out other companies that have tons of customers. They just pile up and pile up and pile up. One customer or even a few doesn't really matter when they have so many customers. They can just set up a hierarchy and when things don't fit into the hierarchy, they can just send the problem to someone else then report it to the credit score company (or how I like to call it, the trust score company). Then they don't have to deal with the problem.

I think that's just stupid, bad customer service. Hopefully no apartment building in the future will force me to use that company. And even though they provide some really good cell phone coverage, I don't want to ever use their cell service.

Verizon treated me like crap once, kind of like "friends" in the past who just disappear and don't have the courtesy to stay in touch and keep up a good friendship. I'm not going to go back to them unless they give me damn good reason and show me that they have improved their customer courtesy service.

You get a wag of the finger, Verizon. Quite lame of you, quite lame.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Maybe Climate Change is a Temporary Thing or. . .

At Paul Kedrosky's, someone mentioned that in 2012, the sun spot cycle will reach its peak , and the temperature will lower by a ton and maybe send us into an ice age.

The carbon we put in the air will have nothing to do with it. A natural process, beyond our control, will kick us into it, not our use of fossil fuels.

A friend of mine made a crack that, then, we would need to burn fossil fuels to keep ourselves and the climate warm enough for Earth's eco system to remain similar to it as it is now.

If you've read the Wikipedia entry that I've sited for 2012 or have kept up with Terence McKenna, Mayan prophecy or anything connected to New Ageism, you'll know that something significant has been prophesied to happen sometime in December of 2012 that will change the consciousness of man, bring about the end of history, instill spiritual change, something. . ..

Wouldn't it be a great practical joke on the liberals and progressives if the great change of 2012 is the beginning of another ice age? The conservatives had it right, we should've just kept burning those fossil fuels and releasing the carbon into the air.

I guess, on a cosmic scale. Too bad we don't live on a cosmic scale.

All this confluence around 2012 just makes me think that we had better get something important right. As to what that important thing, our idea about climate change, morality, God, novelty, whatever is the important thing, WE HAD BETTER GET IT RIGHT.

Here me, human race? WE HAD BETTER GET IT RIGHT.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Reverting to the Old Ways

So, some in the know have already heard about my plans to downsize my blogging efforts.

I plan on keeping the ads at the top, but I really do any excessive marketing beyond participating in other people's blogs.

For people who don't know, I had posted entries a total of three times on three different blog sites. I will now keep it to just the blogger site.

If you had become somthing of a regular, you also would have noticed that I posted entries somewhat compulsively, whenever I had a thought. I used it as something of a marketing tactic that worked on Soulcast and Writingup but not Blogger (if Blogger instates visible tags for entries, that would rock). Suffice to say, I'm cutting my entry writing down to a minimum of one a day, and I won't feel that bad if I don't write that one entry.

Simply put: focusing so much on blogging and trying to get more readership took me away from family, friends, the job search, my bachelor's project and other activities. A man needs to have his priorities.

So for those people on Soulcast and Writingup, you'll need to head on over to The Lextopia on Blogger to get your dose of me.

I don't know how many news items I'll post, either, so if you came to my blog for news and politics, you'll have to subscribe to my news feeds. You can find links for doing so at the The Lextopia on Blogger.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Producing and Consuming Media 3

The majority of the fault lies on me, but I spent A LOT of time today going through news e-mails to reach a link the fiancee sent me for a job ad. I've subscribed to a lot of these news feeds and have taken on the responsibility of sending them onward to people who have signed up to my news feeds.

I should really be focusing on the job search, though, even if I do feel isolated from the world if I don't read the news or, at least, the headlines. Well. . .I don't know the integrity of that statement if I had more interaction with people in the physical world.

Nonetheless, if a citizen needs to read as much as I did today, esepecially if they want to act responsibly politically and even on the everyday level, imagine how much a writer needs to read and do to both (A) act as a responsible citizen and (B) produce material for the responsible citizen to consume.

The other day, at Southern Appeal, I ran into an article that profiled, seemingly legitimately, some climate scientists that disagreed with the science behind Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Supposedly disinterested climatologists with no ties to corporations made up this body of naysayers, except maybe they voice some protest against Gore not using any climatologists, but rather biologists and drummed up statistics.

The other scientists and pundits that argue against Gore make it easy to disagree with them. Oil companies fund them, or they have some connection with oil companies, scientist or not. Or I get to hear from Michael Crichton, and even though he's probably a smart guy. . .his reasoning just simply doesn't jive with me, whether it has to do with the climate or not.

The scientists in the article found via Southern Appeal supposedly had no such connections. I haven't heard anything more about it since reading that article, but I bet I could probably dig up something.

I have the feeling that I could dig up a whole bunch of other stuff in the realm of politicians -- the whole WMD in Iraq issue, the shouting matches between Bill O'Reilly, whether George Bush served in the National Guard or not.

In the first couple minutes of the Charlie Jade pilot, The Big Bang, Charlie does a voiceover, explaining how Vexcor disproved the fact of parallel universes through a marketing campaign. Charlie, himself, had been so convinced by the propaganda, himself, that when he gets transported to one of these other universes, he can't even fathom that he got blasted outside his own universes.

A friend of mine couldn't understand how Charlie didn't know, but I'm starting to think that the propaganda was simply that effective.

In the end, I mainly want to bring up the fact that we have a lot of information out there, and a lot of it seems to depend on certain viewpoints. Somehow. . .the truth has come to depend on a viewpoint, instead of some kind of objective physical truth that we can't deny. Nonetheless, I still believe in this undeniable truth. It, unfortunately, just requires sifting through an overwhelming amount of information that flows through our Internet and boob tube. If a responsible citizen has this much work to do, along with supporting themselves and their family, how does a writer do their job effectively, too?

Dang Automated Responses by Politicians

I received this e-mail in response to one I sent to my senator about not supporting raising the minimum wage but to support workers by not allowing additional legislation that hurts them. Increasing the minimum wage could hurt them but hurting society through the aggravation of inflation.

Other, more effective iniatives could be done than just increasing the minimum wage. How about tax cuts for the unwealthy and increased taxes on the wealthy?

June 20, 2006

Dear Mr. Lex:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for increasing the minimum wage. I appreciate your interest in this important issue.

Raising the minimum wage is an important way to address the needs of hard-working families as they strive to make a living and put enough food on the table to meet their basic needs. Today's minimum wage leaves the typical family of three $5,000 below the poverty level, even if a parent works full-time, year-round. Many people are surprised to learn that 44 percent of minimum wage workers work full time. The average minimum wage worker earns more than half of his or her family's weekly earnings, and 37 percent of minimum wage workers are their family's sole breadwinner.

The minimum wage has not changed since 1997. I have joined in introducing legislation in each of the last several Congresses to update the minimum wage. Most recently, on March 3, 2005, I cosponsored an amendment to the Bankruptcy Reform bill (S. 256) that would have increased the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over a 26 month period. With the Senate voting nearly along party lines, the measure failed by a vote of 46-49. While Illinois has increased its minimum wage to $6.50, this measure would have offered a further wage increase to approximately 333,000 Illinoisans who struggle to make ends meet.

I will continue to work for a long overdue increase in the federal minimum wage. Thanks again for sharing your views on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator
RJD/aw

No Medication: Day 3

Haven't had any problems with headaches over the last day or so.

Insomnia still remains a problem, similar to my adolescence and early college days. The random, obsessive rumination just keeps going on and on and on. . ..

Even after taking 3 mg melatonin, I still had to wait another hour or so to fall asleep. My body started feeling more relaxed, but my mind just wouldn't turn off.

I'll have to see what happens tonight if I take melatonin with catnip tea.

In the meantime, I have come up with a freelance article. I won't get into it here, though, because I'd actually like to make somtehing off it, be able to keep it as a writing sample and get to say that I've published something.

Spicy Peppers

Capsaicin: the chemical in chili peppers that makes them spicy and hot.

WOOH!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Media Consumption and Production 2

Last week, a friend of mine had a rough week. He had to go into the hospital to get monitored by the staff there. Suffice to say, he has some health and economic issues. He also works as a reporter.

I won't really get into too many more details than that except that he has worked hard to become a reporter and works hard as a reporter. He doesn't really get paid well, nor does he have a good nest egg to lay back on or even really a car to get around the small town in which he lives and reports about.

In a lot of ways, living day-to-day gives him a challenge that I, luckily, don't have to face, even now, unemployed and looking for work. Even if I run out of my personal nest egg, I don't necessarily have to fear, either. I may stress about my situation and may moan about not becoming a successful writer, but man, this guy lives the life of the struggling writer. . .even if he hasn't really strived to live beyond the day and write his two articles.

This guy hasn't been the only writer in history who has had struggle or even died for their loved profession. The authorities found Edgar Allen Poe in an alley, "cause of death unknown but attributable to alcohol, drugs, rabid cat bites, and other agents." Jack Kerouac died from internal hemorrhaging aggravated by alcoholism.

Sure, these two fellows deaths can be attributed to some kind of character flaw. Still. . .a lot of work goes into writing. My friend, the reporter, for instance, has had to put in a lot of work without necessarily the economics means to live adequately, so he ends up in the hospitals.

Freelance writers sound like they have something of a dream job. Consider the fact, however, that they need to pay for health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, dental insurance or self-insure for all these things. They would have a harder time getting personal liability insurance. They have to make sure they have enough money saved up by April 15 to pay their taxes. Taxes also makes a huge thing to consider throughout the year, figuring out what to deduct, keeping records for all that, actually filling out the forms and having the knowledge to do so or hire a tax professional to do it.

And that's just the hygiene/maintenance side of things.

Freelance writers also have to market themselves and their ideas. Even before doing that, they have to come up with their ideas, which requires the consumption of media and experience. Once they've got the idea, they need to present that idea to editors, who might or might not accept the idea, have some amount of researched substantian -- enough to show what you're talking about -- and present all that information in a good, digestible way.

Then upon acceptance, there's doing the research quickly enough to submit the story and negotiating the terms of the sale. Even after all that, the story may not get published and/or the writer won't really get great pay. And even better, that freelance writer needs to have three or four of these projects going at once, just about every week. They also need to keep churning out ideas and coming up with unique, interesting slant on the topic.

The freelance writer may not even get any money when they first start out, when they acquire writing samples. Those will eventually equate to money because it will demonstrate their skill, but it could take awhile before the freelance writer pays their due and makes good money. Until then, and even then, the freelance writer will end up working 5 to 7 days a week, 10 - 12 hours a week.

And somehow. . .somehow. . .these creative jobs, which do prove important to society on some level I will explore later, are considered glamourous jobs that make getting a paycheck for them difficult.

"Google Generation"

Looks like the BBC has taken to calling one the current generations the "Google Generation".

Oh. . .That Bill O'Reilly. . .

O'Reilly again attacked Daily Show viewers as being "stoned" "dopey college kids"

What Did Your Representative Say?

What did your Representative say during the troop withdrawal planning debate on Friday?

No Medication: Day 2

Well, apparently, the headache side of things has calmed down a little. I felt it a little while waiting for sleep that didn't come, but nearly as bad as the other night, no huge pain in my eyes that looped up then eventually down to my absent wisdom teeth. The fiancee says that I probably just had a tension headache.

Strange thing about the headaches I had: they only bothered me when I didn't have something to occupy my attention.

Insomnia still plagued me, though. I don't think it comes as a symptom of withdrawal, though, more like the symptoms of ADHD rearing its head again. The insomnia comes as more of a byproduct of an ADHD symptom, actually.

Someone on an ADHD had a good word for this symptom: obsessive rumination. All types of topics, images and subjects just keep popping into my head, and I explore the different angles. Without a practice of mindful meditation, clearing my mind just doesn't work. . .I end up having to constantly think and ruminate about clearing my head, which then even gets more annoying.

The obsessive rumination shows up, again, mostly when I try to sleep or don't have some interesting activity to hold my attention. It can get annoying.

I would have taken some melatonin last night, but I just took some earlier that day.

So, instead, I had a couple mugs of catnip tea. I fell asleep about a half hour or so later.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Out of It

That about says it all. Last night, I had a big headache and a case of insomnia. Read and browsed the Internet until about 5, after which I went to Walgreens for some Melatonin.

Took one of those but had this head splitting headache, so I took a couple Excedrin.

I got all dizzy immediately after taking the second one, so I crawled into bed, bumbling about how I'm just feeling the withdrawal effects of the ADHD medication.

Woke up at about eleven. My teeth and gums hurt like I had wisdom teeth coming out of my gums. . .even though I had them removed by an oral surgeon years ago. Felt that pain until I fell asleep again.

Apparently Miriya, the kitten, got worried about me, but I don't remember anything about that.

Finally woke up at about 10 of 4 or something like that. Really have done much with my day, and I don't intend to do much more.

So there.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Consuming and Producing Media

I had a pleasant day, spent most of it reading Babylon 5 -- Legions of Fire: The Long Night of Centauri Prime. Reached the halfway point in it, so I don't have much criticism of it, other than I really looked forward to pick it up tomorrow for more and to see what happens between Babylon 5 Season 5 before the last episode, A Call to Arms and the time traveling episode in Season 3. Further criticism will have to wait until tomorrow or some other time.

For now, though, I want to address my thoughts on the consumption and production of media, especially social media like blogs, dating sites, discussion boards, etc. etc. I also want to include, however: news, literary criticism, comics, TV, movies and other works of creativity.

Quick note: I will cheat again, today, in not directly discussing Charlie Jade or utopianism directly. I may touch on these topics, however, in the way that media can influence us -- as was even demonstrated to some degree in Babylon 5 -- Legions of Fire: The Long Night of Centauri Prime and the consequences to those who hold authority in a society. I can't say, for sure, but I could possibly touch on those aspects.

I will also make a warning that I only plan on writing an exploratory essay rather than say anything definitive, as I might do in any literary criticism or anything about utopianism.

Let me start with a statement: producing media requires consuming media or experience.

Another state to throw out there: with the phenomena of intertextuality, consuming and thinking about media affects how we consume more media. How these effects occur really depends on each individual case (the effect of one work can be so strong that it creates skepticism of some later -- or possibly previous -- work or experience while it could also bisociate together to create a whole different conclusion).

To connect to Charlie Jade and utopianism, I will state that the control of media can control the minds of people and how they relate media and experience intertextuality.

But I mainly want to focus mainly on the balance of consuming and producing media and experience.

Right now, because of my recent spate of spending too much in front of the computer and not enough time with consuming non-computer media and experience, I want to start with something I saw on the only episode of Shalom in the Home that I've ever seen.

The father in the family spends a lot of time behind a video camera or digital camera, recording his son. He even tries to have the kid pose for the camera, so he can put it on the Internet or watch in the future to enjoy the experience again. The rabbi tells the guy that he needs to get out from behind the camera and have more direct experience with his kid. Supposedly, one reason for the kid misbehaving comes from his father not having direct experience with him and also because he has learned that he will get attention if he acts for the family.

I have a tendency to take pictures of our cats a lot, but it doesn't necessarily seem to be a problem for some reason. They behave around me and even try to cuddle with me and spend time with me. A lot of the time, I even feel guilty that I don't spend enough time with them because I spend a lot of time on the computer, trying to get "underground" news I receive out to people, looking for work and, lately, blogging, whether that means writing in my own or checking out other people's.

At the same time, I don't feel as I'm really writing anything original, other than maybe stuff about Charlie Jade or utopianism, both topics which SOOOOOOOOO attract people's rapturous interest, as shown by the lack of discussion. I don't really produce much for original news, announcements, reviews and not necessarily views. And kind of annoyingly, a lot of the non-original stuff gets most of the attention. Does that mean I have "original" connections to information that other people don't have?

Now, as much as I do complain a little (I would really like to get my fiction, academic or whatever original production career going, except that I have many extrinsic motivation and other intrinsic motivation factors getting in the way) about not getting enough attention on my blog or in any other media, I mainly get frustrated with the work it takes to balance extrinsic survival factors along with consuming media, producing it, marketing it and also spending important time with the fiancee, cats and other people in my social network, like friends and family.

On that note, I'll finish tonight's entry because I want to get some direct experience with the fiancee and cats.

4 Things Cool, 4 Things Lame

Cool:

+ Not incredibly humid.

+ Got a book to read that I ordered from Amazon.com.

+ Planning on taking some time away from the computer most of the day.

+ Can resort to coffee and tea for self medication.

Lame:

+ Despite the humidity being a little higher than moderate, still 102 to 103 degrees.

+ Ran out of my ADHD medication -- probably will have to do a bunch of entries about it, at least any withdrawal issues and to see if the stuff really did help.

+ Had to walk up and down the main strip to find soy milk. Convenient stores don't carry soy milk (I would think by this time, for the lactose intolerant, they'd carry it).

+ Treasure Island, where I got my soy milk didn't give me the choice of paper or plastic ("Plastic is only for purchases more than $10), and the plastic bags they do have don't have the crossover convenience of carrying your groceries home then using it to clean out your cats' litter box.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Some More Blogs -- Science Fiction Authors -- I've Found

Sadly, I haven't even looked at all the blogs I found today, and I still at the computer way too long and annoyed that I haven't spent enough time with the fiancee and the cats.

Anyway, I found the following blogs, all of them written by science fiction authors (I won't vouch for any of them, I only have exposure to Neil Gaiman, Ian MacDonald and, apparently, Cory Doctorow):

Karl Schroeder
Cory Doctorow
Neil Gaiman
Nalo Hopkinson
Ian MacDonald
Elizabeth Bear

Blog Marketing Thoughts

Quick note about my usual Charlie Jade and utopianism readers: I won't make an entry on either of those topics today, since this entry does address them a little. It does on the level of the public consciousness of them.

While walking around today, I did a fair amount of thinking about blogging and marketing.

My first thought centered around crossing interesting but not-popular-yet topics and subjects with more popular ones. At least, trying to find the best way to put popular tags and keywords into an entry about something that doesn't have tons of attention yet.

For instance, my entries about Charlie Jade or utopianism. Not too many people go on the Internet looking to read about an esoteric topic like utopianism or a show that doesn't get broadcast in the United States like Charlie Jade.

In fact, I have been ignored and blown off by some "major players" in the science fiction community on the Internet whenever I try unofficially promoting Charlie Jade. I don't know how much of it comes from my passion (coming off as sounding fake, like I'm someone getting hired to promote some dinky little show and get attention) or from some kind prejudice against something that isn't American, Canadian or European.

Someone I know from South Africa even voiced the typical South African prejudice against native productions. Apparently, South African production doesn't have a good reputation at home, and they pretty much watch American fare.

But I'm getting somewhat off the topic. . ..

One way I could try mixing Charlie Jade and utopianism with more popular tags and keywords include using: science fiction, tv, books, literature, South Africa and possibly some other oens. I don't know which ones, but I have the feeling that the more general I would make them, the better. So a principle to set forward for blog marketing:

Use as general and popular words as possible for tags, keywords, titles and in the body of your entries.

My next track revolved around how general/diversified or particular/specialized to make the blog. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. By keeping entries diverse and often, I have the possibility of attracting a lot of attention but not necessarily keeping reader loyalty who will check back often or get involved in the conversation. Having to filter through entries that don't interest them may try their patience.

Also, since I'm just one person and don't have all the time in the world to focus on all types of diverse topics, I may not get as deep into a topic as the people interested in my topic would want to get. They may stop getting anything out of it, after filtering through a whole bunch of entries that don't strike their interest them.

A possible solution to keeping the specialized people interested: Keep up multiple blogs that address the different areas of specialization. I guess that makes for a good option. Only a couple things strike me as something negative about this one: for the people who want to read everything, they have to run around to all these different blogs, which would cause attrition there.

The other bad aspects include ignoring one blog while working real hard on another. Designing and maintaining them all could get annoying, especially for someone who doesn't expect to make much money off them or anything.

Another negative issue: Where to draw the line between topics, when to start a new blog and how to direct people to other blogs, if they have interest in the other topics. It would really make for something of an annoying mess for me. Kirk at kisrael.com seems to pull it off pretty well, but I'm not sure if I could. He may beg to differ, too.

Diversification, on the other hand, has the advantage of attracting a lot of different people. They have less guarantee of sticking around, though, as I've addressed above. I may not discuss topics they want to read about as much as they'd like. They may grow bored with the user interface, of having to cycle through entries that don't hold their interest to reach the ones that do. Nonetheless, diversification does allow for entryway entries to attract people that could get them interested in other topics I address.

As, for instance, I would like to happen with the Charlie Jade and utopianism topics. Maybe someone has never heard of either of them or doesn't have much knowledge of either of them, maybe if they knew a little more about them, their interest in them would grow, so by diversifiying, I'm introducing people to new topics and subjects. They'll become loyal readers and participants because they like that they've gotten introduced to a new topic, they're up to speed with it here as they might not be elsewhere and they can also feel some gratification by adding something to the discussion that they learn from somewhere else. And, in time, maybe, just maybe, their growth with The Lextopia could lead them to talking about it and the topics on it with other people, creating a viral marketing effect.

So. . .I think I will settle on the way that I'm currently blogging now. Even if I don't get the participation and loyalty that I would like, I think that I'll do a good job of promoting topics, subjects and issues that I believe need to get out there and more popularized. Not a principle, but a decision.

Besides with the blogging technology out there, such as with Soulcast and WritingUp, viewers don't have to scan through so many entries that don't interest them. Good technology, good technology.

A Writing Resource

Writerswrite.com.

Check it out. You might find some good information regarding writing there.

Serenity on the Big Screen Again to Benefit Equality Now

Get the details at Can't Stop the Serenity -- Big Damn Movie, Big Damn Benefits

Complaint About the Green Party

Have to admit, I got a little annoyed with the Green Party because after signing up for the mailing list, I stopped receiving updates from them.

Well, I just signed up again. Hopefully I get updates because I want to know more about their activism, stances and what's happening with them for elections.

PunkSpeak

Jello Biafra will speak at a theater near the intersection of Belmont and Broadway in Chicago. I bet he'll come to a big city near you, so look our for him.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it. I don't necessarily consider seeing him speak live as a frivolous expense, but compared to food, utilities and other such necessities and not having a job, I have to make a decision.

And if you don't know who Jello Biafra is, I advise you click on that link above.

Another Vote in Congress Against Iraq Withdrawal

This one another PR move by the Republicans to try keeping power at the upcoming midterm elections in four months?

Green and Social Consumption and Investing

Want to starting consuming and investing in a more environmentally and socially friendly way? Check out Co-Op America.

They've got good ideas.

Help Shake the World

By venturing over to the everyone has admin powers blog, Strayz, and help brainstorm ways to shake the world.

Really?!?! Is Gore's Science Wrong?

Southern Appeal found another interesting article.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Contemplating Utopianism for Charlie

Over the last couple days, I've done a lot to think about the modes of utopianism. Thinking didn't touch much on Charlie Jade, but I think a little exploration of these modes with less focus on CJ can help bring about more appreciation of the show.

I, as many of you know, have done work on a dystopian novel and project on utopianism over the last 13 years or so. The novel came first, then my adviser had me take on the project to bring about more understanding on the topic.

Considering that I've taken on this challenge to demonstrate my merit for a bachelor's degree, many, myself included, would probably think that I've worked a little too long on it. My answer: if someone else or myself had finished the work as I plan on doing it, I wouldn't have had to work so long on it. Please don't interpret that in thinking I wouldn't have done original work. Instead, I would have done work more appropriate to a bachelor's project: I would use the "theory" behind my current ideas to comment upon other pieces of work and historical communities.

I want criticize the current scholarship on utopianism before touching upon my own. My criticism doesn't revolve around these other scholars doing a bad job or even not contributing anything worthwhile to the scholarship of the topic.

Rather, my criticism centers on these scholars jumping ahead of defining the conventions of utopianism or of talking around. An ironic situation, if you ask me, since utopianism has a lot to say about boundaries.

Case in point: Ruth Levitas's The Concept of Utopia. She does a heroic job in her attempts to define utopia, but I don't think she takes the final step, especially since it proves somewhat difficult to flip around to use with dystopia or even to get used as a blanket term for all utopianism, even though she does a great job of exploring the topic from Plato's Republic through More's Utopia, Marx, the Utopian Socialists, Georges Sorel, Karl Mannheim all the way up to Krishan Kumar. She even makes a point that most of these theorists simply come up with a definition then include the utopias and dystopias that bolster their argument and neglect the ones that don't.

On p. 191 of the 1990 Philip Allan edition of her book, she defines Utopia as:

Utopia explores and expresses what is desired; under certain conditions it also contains the hope that these desires may be met in relaity, rather than merely in fantasy. The essential element in utopia is not hope, but desire -- the desire for a better way of being. . . . The definition goes beyond that of an alternative world, possible or otherwise.

Unfortunately, it's getting late, so I will need to continue this topic at some later date.

What You Can Do to Lower Gas Prices

For those who have hybrids, fuel efficient cars, don't have the money to do what I have to say or need their car for weather or terrain reasons, please ignore what I have to say. Otherwise:

SELL YOUR SUV, FORD F-X50, HUMMER, LAND ROVER OR WHATEVER AMERICAN CAR YOU OWN AND BUY A DAMNED FUEL EFFICIENT CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The other day, I saw some lady from the Wall Street Journal on an old Daily Show. They talked about the windfall profits that Exxon-Mobil and possibly other gas companies were making. Jon Stewart kept on going off about the subsidies to the gas companies while the lady kept on talking about the oil companies needing the profits for research, development and searching for more oil and Chinese energy development creating a huge demand for oil.

Why didn't anyone bother to bring up the fact the price of gas has gone up because so many people in the US are driving huge gas guzzlers?!?!?!?!?!?! Oh right. . .no one wanted to offend the entitled people of the US, who believe they have the right to burn up the Earth's resources then fill its atmosphere with temperature-raising, climate-changing carbon.

Want to talk about defending our freedom? Lets do it by stopping our gas guzzling ways, so we don't have to violate human rights outside of the US. It'll help the economy, too.

Want to know another way to help the economy and reduce the pace and maybe reverse climate change. Change one or more incandescent, or regular, light bulb in your home to a compact fluoroscent light bulb. You'll save money and cut down on carbon emissions.

So once again. . .for those who don't digest information so well:

SELL YOUR SUV, FORD F-X50, HUMMER, LAND ROVER OR WHATEVER AMERICAN CAR YOU OWN AND BUY A DAMNED FUEL EFFICIENT CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And to think. . .that's just a first step to saving the human race and civilization, too. Makes me sad that it takes so much work for the first and probably one of the simplest steps.

The Rightness and Truthiness of Morality

I feel the truthiness of humanism, diversity and the wrongness of prejudice. Nonetheless, I also acknowledge and feel the truthiness of not having an intellectual foundation to support my intuition.

The guy who writes the Stories from the Intersection blog postulates that "Diversity drives innovation." This argument makes sense, especially from an evolutionary and a Survival of the Fittest/competition approach. With diversity, we need innovation to survive. And with more innovation, we have more ways to survive.

Even on a Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway approach, we need innovation to face the diverse fears that we face, and the more fears we face and transcend, the better we will take on future challenges and transcend.

Nonetheless. . .nonetheless. . ."nature" and "rational arguments like these feel cold and heartless. I would rather have an argument about diversity and innovation help us to experience life in new, better and more fulfilling ways. By sincerely connecting with other people, we grow and have more fulfilling experiences.

Still, there's a little more coldness about this psychological argument. It still revolves around the individual and what other people can do for me. This approach even allows for a utilitarian begging the question fallacy that could possibly lead to another mass hysterical Holocaust: someone demonizes a group of people, so a bunch of other people look to get rid of them.

I don't support that kind of thinking, but I can only think of one argument against it: "I better not do anything to said people because if I were them, I wouldn't want them to do it to me" but that can get flipped to "If the cow had a chance, they would eat you. . .so you better eat it!"

This question really does go through my brain a lot, and I have yet to find a satisfactory intellectual grounding for my truthiness.

I guess there's always the dignity argument -- you make yourself undignified by hurting others.

There's a lot to explore, that's for sure.

Something Cool, Something Lame

Cool: Meetup.com: The other day, the fiancee and I went to a used bookstore. We saw a posting for a Lord of the Rings meetup group. Went to check it out online and found tons of interest groups with meetups in the Chicago area. What a great way to meet people in the material world rather than the virtual one.

Lame: Weak coffee. Need I say more? The embarassing part: I made it. I'm just one step above a novice, though! Just getting into drinking the stuff. . .especially since I'll have to soon self medicate with it. No more ADHD meds in a couple days with no refills and no good long-term medical subsidization, just short-term health insurance (which seems to fit the principles of insurance better than medical programs most of us are familiar).

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Not Much More from Me Tonight

I probably won't even write more literary analysis on Charlie Jade today.

Today hasn't really provided me with much stimulus. Spent most of it working on the job search, which mostly consisted of informing my "consistent" temp agency that I'll be available next week and going through want ads on the Chicago Craigslist, which didn't come to much because other than the responses I sent out for the writing section, I didn't see much of anything appealing or viable in the nonprofit and marketing/advertising/PR section.

On an interesting note, I did write up some copy for people to hear when they're put on hold on the phone. A guy who works at a marketing company gave me a couple hypothetical examples to do. I, unfortunately, did more work than needed because I misintepreted one part. Recovered from that mistake rather quickly, though.

The guy responded pretty quickly to say thanks for the quick turnaround time and that he'll check out my work next week.

Yesterday and the day before, I took a two-hour break for a walk. I meant them to be one-hour breaks originally, but things would get away from me.

Today, I didn't take any breaks, though. The fiancee and I plan to go out tonight to hang out with a friend who bartends at some hamburger joint up in Andersonville. We haven't seen him for awhile, so that'll be good. Nice to actually see a friend in the city, too. And maybe, just maybe. . .he'll have some way to help me in my quest for some career networking.

I didn't even read anything today. The job search and the voice copy writing really just overtook the day.

And unfortunately, when those prospects don't look good, it doesn't help my mood or really inspire me to write.

Ugh -- The Job Search

Have to say that I'm getting discouraged with this job search. I've finally sent resumes to all applicable ads on one page of the Chicago Craigslist Writing section. I've gone through one page of the nonprofit section and a couple pages of the advertising/marketing section.

The career counsellor I saw and my girlfriend tell me I've got great qualifications. Lots of people tell me that I can write great.

You know what, though? I have nothing to demonstrate my writing ability. No writing clips or no good jobs in the past for this type of thing.

Ugh. Anyone have any ideas?

Well. . .at least I can start my networking campaign soon. I guess I just hate having to put aside things I'd rather be doing with my time and not having a steady income.

Ugh.

Tip for Cooking

Want to avoid frying away all your butter or margarine in the pan, which in turn will help avoid burning your food?

Put some olive oil in there with the butter/margarine.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Same-Sex Marriages Impacts Religious Liberties?

Interesting conversation and a link to an article about Catholic adoption agencies in Massachusetts

The Topian Modes of Charlie Jade

Charlie Jade, the show, obviously fits into multiple modes of utopianism. The three main parallel universes are:

Alpha verse: Charlie's home. Corporations rule, with Vexcor being the strongest. The corporations have polluted their world, so Vexcor has set up reactors that can go between the parallel universes to steal water. There's three classes of people: 1 - The top, executives and those in control, 2 - Middle management and populace with good jobs, 3 - The cast outs. A pretty amoral place, where people give their allegiance to the corporations for security.

Beta verse: Our universe. Not much to say there, except that it takes place in Cape Town. Strange accents and different sensibilities. Otherwise, familiar enough to an American audience.

Gamma verse: We don't really get to know this universe all that well. We see glimpses and Reena compares it to Alpha and Beta verse very favorably. She can't stand either Alpha and Beta. In sum, though: we know the place has a beautiful natural environment, the food tastes better than in our universe and the people care a lot about each other. Otherwise, not much.

Obviously, Alpha is dystopia, Gamma, utopia and Beta is mimetic.

But how do these three parallel universes get characterized into topian modes? I originally wanted to explore this topic without an end result, but thanks to Northrop Frye and his Anatomy of Criticism, I have something of an idea of how these characterizations occur. Unfortunately, I don't have the time, right now, to go much deeper into it. . .and I probably don't even a solid grasp on it, but I will just throw something down real quick:

Utopia ~~ social "classical" Comedy, somewhat up there with the Divine Comedy. I say this one in the sense that the utopia integrates.

Mimesis: Not much to say here. Mimesis used on its own explores something in the everyday world that doesn't usually get explored or can get used as Comedy or Tragedy. It can also become either which one when compared to utopia or dystopia.

Dystopia ~~ social Tragedy, or even moreso, tragic irony because the main character generally doesn't deserve what they're getting, their isolation, so the dystopia comments upon the inherent isolation of certain situations.

I really must go and do some grocery shopping, though. This topic will REALLY need to get explored more later.