Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Reckoning and Developing

Have to say, working at Fannie Mae has become one of the least productive but one of the most fulfilling jobs I've ever had. I haven't done too much this week, even though someday, when I get my pin number and password for the computer system, I will take part in making it easier for less priveleged people to own homes and, overall, help make homebuying less expensive for everyone, including me.

RECKONING/ADJUSTING TO GETTING MARRIED

As the day of the wedding grows closer (approximately 10 months = 300 days = 7200 hours = 432,000 minutes = 25,920,000 seconds from around this moment), I've started realizing how much I'll need to live for more than just one. Not to say that I haven't lived reponsibily for one, but living even responsibly for one when two people have become one really just won't work. Being something of a miser just won't cut it.

Reading a little about the Ethics of Care today in a book about political philosophy and thinking my bachelors project (which has begun focusing on the importance of peer support in communities and without it, people lose that sense of meaning in and with the community.

Pretty much, the fiancee and I will solidify our community in about 300 days, and we have a responsibility to support each other and to an Ethic of Care. We will take some vows, and I plan on making damn sure I can keep them (while also giving myself the tolerance to accept my failings, if my failing happens because of ADHD-type issues).

I bet I'll probably write a bit about this stuff as the day draws closer. . ..

Can't Get Things Right in My Dreams

This morning, I pretty much overslept because the waiter in my dreams couldn't get my order right.

He forgot the first time to take out the obvious meat: bacon, so he had to go back and get it again.

Second time, I took a couple bites and noticed something strange. I think it was pastrami (which took me all morning to remember the name). By this time, the waiter had gotten off his shift and it grew closer to closing time.

Apparently this diner only did breakfast. . .these small towns in Green Dream Vermont! I had to order from the owner of the place, and she couldn't re-issue the order because the kitchen had already closed.

I just said forget it. . ..

And in the meantime, my fiancee goes off and buys a hair salon in small town Green Dream Vermont and starts giving a haircut to one of my current (soon to be old) bosses. Fiancee gives old boss one of the best haircuts ever.

All the while, I keep hitting snooze on my alarm clock because I want a good breakfast done right.

Sheesh!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Want Bush to Succeed at Getting His Bachelors Degree

Another day at the 8 to 4:30 grind. Don't have a workstation or network password, so I couldn't do anything more than file and use the paper cutter. Not bad for the wage I'm getting, and much much better than working in outpatient emergency reception with computer access but not enough training to use their system, so I have to bother the only other reception person during the busiest parts of the day.

Fun.

THE BACHELORS PROJECT

Last night, finished up a somewhat long outline for my current paper, the one I've been working on for two years. . .just trying to come up with an angle that I could argue. The outline came out to 9 pages, but I doubt I'll use all the information in it. If anything, I had to write all of it just to put it down on paper and get my mind thinking in something resembling an organized manner.

Spent about an hour today writing the first written page of the paper. Had to pause a couple times to gather my thoughts, and it hasn't come down into the prose as I originally intended. I don't plan on thinking and overly organizing it while writing the first draft, though. For now, I just want to get the first draft down. I feel all excited, though.

Oh yes, Abel, I wish both my sponsors agreed on the get the Plan done at all costs, no matter the quality. In a way, I like that I had to go through all this trouble so as to learn and understand every thing that I do now. On the practical pragmattic level, though, I would like to have my bachelors degree now. Can't change the past, though, so why bother dedicating too much energy to it.

Onward and henceforth!

DON'T ALWAYS BELIEVE THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

As a Stupid Question. Dang it! Fox News pisses me off. Anyone who has been in legit market research or social research phone studies knows better than to ask a vague question that could be used for ANY angle. Now the Republican news pundits have decided to use it to spread the "news" that liberals will do anything to screw George Walker Bush, including hurt the national interest of our own country.

Screw them.

THOUGHTS ABOUT FUTURE STUDYING AND VOCATION

Today, I did some thinking about a disagree a friend and me had the other day about people like Bono (even though, after reading the Wikipedia article about him, I may just have to re-think my position) and Angelina Jolie ( who doesn't come out nearly as bad as Bono).

Basically, my friend thought it was pretentious for non-politician celebrities to get involved in politics. Same goes with Bill Gates. He would even look at me as being pretentious if I became famous and rich because of my writing career then got involved in politics.

I have argued that these people seem to be doing some (maybe a lot) good with their fortunes and time. Barring Bono, I still believe this argument.

After some thinking today, though, I did a lot of thinking about politicians and law. I didn't come to any conclusions other than I would like to study more the history of law, the philosophy of law and how law acts as a way to codify tradition.

Thinking about all that stuff involving law and some other things really struck it home how much I want to know, potentially want to know, do and how much I don't know how to figure out how to approach all these diverse topics.

Kind of annoying, considering that it has taken me more than 10 years to reach the point where I'm at with my bachelors project. I really will need to find someone, whether a personal/ADHD coach or therapist to come up with some plans, tactics and strategies to approach these issues.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Finally. . .The Announcement

I told the news to the person I needed to tell. I can now release it to the public:

I've engaged myself into a job transition. Through one of my temp agencies, I got a temp-to-perm assignment at Fannie Mae, supposedly proofing leases. The assignment starts tomorrow.

In the meantime, I've given Blue Green two-weeks notice for my resignation, effective at the end of the day on September 10, 2006. This arrangement means that I will end up working a little more than 15 days straight without any days off. After this stretch, though, I'll have weekends off to spend with the fiancee and take on other projects.

Some other perks:

+ Better and more reliable pay
+ Shorter commute
+ Commute on public transport, so I can read and not have to worry about traffic
+ About 2 weeks of not worrying about the job search, even though I'll still work on networking
+ Getting out of work early, even though I'll have to get into work early and
+ Possibilities to meet people for lunch and after work downtown.

KINDA COOL RESIGNATION

The actual event of announcing my resignation went along kind of unexpectedly but cool enough.

It happened after a staff meeting. Immediate manager and I went into another room ostensibly for another task. I quickly made the announcement to him and handed him my letter of resignation. Not even a pause, he said, "Cool. Wow. . .this is so professional. Hey guys! Check this out. . .he's resigning, but he wrote a letter about it.

"Is that what that call this week was about?"

"Yeah," I said, "Cool? Huh?"

"Oh yeah, well, most people when they quit from here, it's more like 'I QUIT!' then they run away."

Mind you, this guy probably ranks up there as one of the best managers I've ever had, and Blue Green turns out to be a real cool company. The job just involves a lot of commuting, can get repetitive and has a lot of potential for frustration if you don't make a lot of appointments.

And honestly, from my experience, a lot of people in the world just don't have the mettle to realize that success requires hard work and not slacking (even though I won't stop myself from taking an easier job for more money, just because it requires more knowledge, specialized knowledge and patience).

Albeit, I just about quit that job a couple times. I almost did it once because I doubted the integrity of the company, but Blue Green, through the mouth piece of my manager, regularly and without stop impressed me. They care about quality, their word and keeping customers happy.

Second time, I almost quit out of frustration and self doubt. My manager gave me a great pep talk and gave me tons of great advice. He also showed me a lot of confidence in me that not many people in the past had before. Not only as my first manager in Chicago who has made my transition here a lot smoother, but this guy really ranks up there as probably one of the top three managers I've had in my whole life. He might even rank up there, if we stay in contact after this job, as a highly influential person in my life.

But yeah, seriously. . .I never had such an easy time springing bad news on someone before in my life. Kind of pleasant, for once.

ACCEPT PEOPLE AS FRIENDS ON MYSPACE

So, I've been on both Friendster and MySpace since probably 2001, I believe. I've always liked Friendster better. MySpace has always scared me because I:

+ Never could get used to the user interface and

+ The anarchy, lack of user verification and lewdness always made me wary.

Now I'm thinking that I might start accepting as many random people as possible as MySpace friends. Some of you may not know, but I use my blog there as a way to promote the Lextopia. Accepting friends at MySpace could make my readership increase quite a bit.

Thoughts or ideas about accepting as many MySpace friends as possible?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Not Even Sick?

My brother deserves some credit for realizing that I may not have a cold or any kind of infection. I may have just found myself suffering from allergies. "Go figure. . ." he would say.

Can't say for certain one way or the either, but he probably knows best out of most people I know, being an EMT and dealing with similar allergies, himself.

He told me to go out and get some allergy medicine. I did so and took one of the shorter duration antihistamines. Tomorrow, before work, I'll try a 24-hour dose.

Otherwise, I did a couple chores here and there around the house. Still have a couple more to do.

Also worked a little on my bachelors project, which takes some interesting directions, even though I'm not satisfied that I have the necessary information to continue. I think the fact that it writes itself, even with my doubts, means that I've gotten to a good point and follows the path that a lot of people tell me to follow, the one that doesn't have to be perfect. . .just done.

Then I also have some other news that I don't feel privvy to disclose to the public. Some people I have told because they're in my private circle. After I tell someone the news, though (which should be tomorrow), I'll let you, my readers, know the news.

Unfortunately, my brain hasn't made a full recovery, even with the antihistamines, so you won't find any reflections on much of anything.

INSTEAD, NEWS YOU MIGHT ALREADY HAVE

Astronomers say Pluto is Not a Planet

Poor Pluto. This decision changes my view of the universe. Fortunately, I didn't have a very comprehensive view of it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Recovering

I'm feeling all strange right now.

Woke up without too much of a sore throat and had no trouble talking.

Didn't have to take a nap during the day.

Had to blow, blow and blowwwwwww my nose all the day long.

The day went by pretty quickly, too. Very different from my other sick days, where the days took a good amount of time to finish. I miss the slow, relaxing days. . .but I also really want to get back into the groove of real life, interact with people and feel like I'm accomplishing stuff.

Today actually started as a good "accomplishing stuff" day. Folded some laundry, washed some dishes, finished some preliminary financial paper organizing stuff, bought a new book to read from down the street (and getting a good deal on it because of a loyalty program that gave me a discount).

Getting sick does do a number on my motivation, my meta-motivation thinking, my conceptions of time and, on another level, my long term planning. I don't totally know how to approach the topics, but it has a lot to do with giving myself the OK to let go, sit back and just relax.

In the back of my head, whenever I give myself permission, my long-term goals come to something of a fore. Being sick gives me opportunity to totally take it easy, but I just get a combination of bored and frustrated that I don't move forward on my projects and get deeper into topics that interest me, which will allow me to move even more forward and even fall deeper into my interests.

But right now. . .somewhat tired and having more trouble than usual focusing.

I should get moving on toward sleep.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Being Sick Sucks!!!!

Still sick. Woke up this morning not being able to speak, again. Spent at least 4 or 5 hours sleeping this afternoon. Not really much else to report.

And, as today's consolation, read the Wikipedia article on Frankl's logotherapy. Honestly and as usual, though, the Wikipedia doesn't really provide all that full of an explanation on the topic.

Sometime, later tonight, I'll have some melatonin and maybe some catnip to put myself to sleep.

I hate being sick!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sporting Some Meaningful Sick

Today really has come out the worst when it comes to the sinus infection. I think I've done a good fighting it off. The infection has taken a good beating and will go away soon. Unfortunately, though, I have to deal with nasal drip from the infection.

This morning, I woke up without a voice. It doesn't surprise me, frankly. Yesterday, I spent nearly seven hours yelling a lot at work. I have the job of attracting people over to the registand then trying to set up them up with an appointment for a tour at our preview center. Yelling takes a lot out of at throat when it has infection in it.

Didn't go to work today. The fiancee went to the Chicago Diner for breakfast, which probably turned out the best thing for me to do. I had a vegan mint chocolate shake. After drinking that thing down, I had my voice back sufficiently to hold a mellow conversation, but not to yell at people to come over to a registand or even to have a spirited conversation.

Got a couple books from Borders: Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning and Clifford Chase's Winkie.

Read the whole of Man's Search for Meaning, which has inspired me a ton for my bachelor's project and life, in general. Maybe I shouldn't say the book has just inspired me in life, but it has also reaffirmed my general sensibilities and has given me a grounding to stop living life as a simple materialist and that human dignity really does have a lot more to do with the value of human beings than what human beings have to offer other human beings or society. If anything, their example as someone with dignity and feeling fulfilled by life creates value and provide an example for other human beings and society. We have more than our material bodies, instincts and electrochemical processes in us. Even atheists can have souls.

I've only read a couple passages in Winkie along with a couple reviews. I like the writing style, and the premise really just has so much potential. A teddy bear that gains sapience then, pretty much immediately, gets arrested by the FBI for terrorist charges. Apparently, the novel takes place while the teddy spends time in prison and during the trial. Mixing mistaken charges of terrorism on a cute teddy bear, come on, you've got to see the potential for a great satire. In addition, the reviews say that the teddy really has a touching personality and isn't superficially so because he's a teddy bear.

WHERE I COULDN'T GET INTO THE RED SOX, I THINK I CAN GET INTO THE CUBS

I've lived in Chicago, about a quarter-mile from Wrigley Field for about 3 months now. I lived in Massachusetts practically my whole life and had pretty good access to Fenway Park.

In my life, I've gone to a fair number of games at Fenway Park, mostly before I became a teenager. Baseball kind of bored me, and I had lost interest in sports. When it came to spectator sports, only basketball really kept my attention.

My opinion of Red Sox Nation went downhill really fast after living in Boston between 2001-2006. During games, foot and car traffic would pretty much get completely gridlocked and become almost impossible to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time around the whole Fenway-Kenmore area. Parking sucked around the area all the way out to Brookline, Cambridge, Newton and practically any of the other suburbs. It SUCKED!!!!!

The main thing that really got me to hate Red Sox Nation, though: THE RIOTS!!!!! They really just embarassed me. I know, people also rioted when the Patriots won or lost the playoffs or the Super Bowl in the past, but I got especially miffed during the Red Sox riots, especially with the death of Victoria Snelgrove. Yes, the Boston police have reponsibility for her death, but I can agree with Kathleen O'Toole when she puts a good amount of blame on the rioting hooligans. All of that rioting, whether for the Sox or the Patriots embarassed me. Nothing to do with sporting events should lead to civil disorder.

On top of that, those "sports" rioters really struck a mark against actions of civil disorder that attempt to have real bearing on human existence.

Now, Cubs fans, from what I've seen, show a good sense of dignity. I have never heard of a riot in Chicago because of a sports team. For race tensions, yes, but not for a sports team. That, there, says a lot.

From my exposure to the spirit of Cubs fans (which, honestly, has mostly been over the radio), I feel a sense of dignity and also a deeper sense of that spirit. Unlike the pessimistic fatalism of Sox fans, Cubs fans really seem to have something deeper. They have a sense of the history. They have an actual sense of meaning. They feel the wins and losses of their team at the core of their soul, but they keep cheering and going to Wrigley Field with gusto throughout the season.

Yes, maybe they've gotten angry one guy who screwed up their team's chance at winning the World Series a couple years ago. I can understand that kind of anger, though. That makes sense and has dignity compared to people rampaging through the streets, AFTER THEIR TEAM HAS WON!!!!

But the spirit of the Cubs fans feel like an enduring one, a steadfast one, and one with that sense of history, that story behind it. That kind of fandom comes off a lot more dignified and something worthy of pride as compared to one that expects the world of a team, tears apart the city when they don't get what they want then stop paying attention to the team.

And then there's also the fact that Chicago handles the traffic around Wrigley Field so much better. Sure, around the time games start and end, I have some issues walking or driving around the stadium. It doesn't come close to anything around Fenway Park throughout the game. I just have to deal with a couple seconds of inconvenience as compared to a half hour.

I bet the actual logic behind Chicago city planning has something to do with it compared to the chaos of Boston roads laid down on old cow paths. Nonetheless, I think the dignity of the fans have a lot to do with it, and also the lack of lawlessness, too.

In the end, though, I've got to show my wonder that both the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox are two of the few teams in the Major Leagues that fill their stadiums near consistently. I can't imagine living in a city that couldn't do it or have good fans, too.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Consolation in Play

Still feeling sick, mostly a sore throat and tiredness. No real dizzyness. Kind of scared about going back to work tomorrow after only 6 hours sleep or so and feeling under the weather.

Why do I stay up so late before going to work the next day? I think it may have to do with my boredom with everyday life and wanting more from it.

With boredom and my tendency to stay up late on mind, have a couple links to the topic of play:

An Everything2.com entry for play.

The Wikipedia entry for play.

Enjoy!

Friday, August 18, 2006

More Consolation

Sadly, feeling sick again today. Probably a sinus infection or something. Stayed home from work. Darnit.

So, today, as consolation: Scientists add years to ozone recovery.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Have Consolation

I feel like crap. All day, I've felt tired and crappy. I even took a nap for an hour or two, and still feel somewhat like crap.

Hopefully I feel good enough for work when I wake up tomorrow.

So. . .why not have consolation? Read this tasteless training story of a karate kid at The Philosopher Queen's blog.

And dangit. . .I'm annoyed at the ads for strip clubs that pop up on this blog. What have I written that has attracted such smut? I've tried to keep this place decent. . ..

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Unproductively Elitist

Should I feel surprised that after kayaking last night for about an hour and a half then getting an hour-long massage from a great masseuse this morning, I didn't really have much focus today or get much done?

Suffice to say, I didn't make the connection until a couple minutes before I started writing this entry.

CONFESSIONS OF AN "ELITIST": PART 8 -- CONCLUSION

This conclusion comes more from the desire to be done with the general discussion of the topic and not have it hanging around my neck like some kind albatross. After all, I have plenty of them already to cause me plenty of trouble.

The argument works pretty simple: Supposedly, liberal "elitists" want to make the world better by structural changes. This weekend, on NPR, I heard a discussion amongst black intelligentsia say often said that despite all the improvements in the last few decades, structural issues needed to get addressed.

Addressing a similar edge but also exhibiting the flipside, on the Chicago SF forum today, I read a pretty heated discussion about stereotyping and racism, the main issues being that not acknowledging that racism exists means today belies a big problem against the idea that European ethnic groups, like the Irish had to deal with racism and overcame it, so why can't other ethnic groups in the US.

The conservatives in the US call Northeastern liberals hypocritical "elitists" because they try to instate policies and laws that help minorities but don't create effective ones or show the willingness to make sacrifices for knowledge about minority experience or to improve the minority experience. Conservatives further argue that since Northeastern liberal hypocritical "elitists" do it in regards to obvious minorities, then the liberal Northeastern liberal hypocritical "elitists" do the same to another minority: the regular everyday person, or in other words, the Nixonian Silent Majority.

From my exposure to conservatives, they actually do more for the disenfranchised and not so well off. Their motivation mainly comes from their faith. On the other hand, though, there's probably plenty of other conservatives that just don't care and feel just as well bathing in their greed, so they, at least, can feel good about not being a hypocrite. Nonetheless, from my experience, liberals simply don't actively and directly do as much for the disenfranchised and needy as conservatives (even though through taxation, they arguably do their fair share of subsidizing the more conservative areas of the US.

So as subsidiary effects of the above, someone could argue that through liberal hypocritical "elitist" attempts at bettering the economic situations of ethnic, gender and sexual> minorities, the "elitists" attack the dignity of minorities, the Natural state of existence that God did or did not create and disenfranchises the working class.

From my own experience, I think the conservatives make a good criticism of the liberals in the US. Albeit, the liberals may try making their policy with sincerity and may make some kind of good difference. I believe, however, that liberals don't have a good enough idea of the minority experience because they fear going into the areas and social circles of the real minorities, rather msotly mixing with the superficial minorities that have white-washed themselves to fit into mainstream America.

I remember an experience that I had with my Unitarian-Universalist (a group that acknowledges its own "elitist" tendencies) young adult group. Some people put together an initiative for more organization in the attempt to reduce future elitism. In my own opinion, it lead to more elitism, but that's really a whole other topic that I shouldn't air on my blog, even if it makes for an interesting case study in situational irony.

The main event that struck me involved something that occurred during a meeting the initiative brought about. We discussed some organizational principles to follow. I kept on bringing up the point that the people running things and taking initiative should take the time to get the opinions of those people who didn't take as much of an active voice, mainly the ones who didn't feel confident or comfortable enough to speak up and take initiative within the group. If anything, I viewed the responsibility of those with the initiative to train those without initiative to take on more of it, in the attempt to:

+ Retain membership,

+ Create more of a feeling of ownership,

+ Have the group cater to the everyone rather than just the natural leaders and

+ To also take the pressure off the people taking iniative, which was one of the reasons that some people wanted the group to have more organization.

As a thought that I have now but not necessarily then, if the group didn't train the quiet ones to take iniative, then it would require the group to work harder on attracting leaders. In some sense, somewhat an easier task than molding leaders out of non-leaders but not one that necessarily allows for a transference of group tradition or even survival of the group.

All that comes as a tangent, though. My main memory comes from one group meeting. I unsuccessfully fought for making sure the leaders work to make sure that the quiet ones have their voices heard and even take on group responsibilities of their own. During one of the debates, though, someone made the argument that the leaders and people with a voice didn't have a responsibility to those who didn't speak up. The quiet ones got the chance to make their voices heard formally enough without anyone else having to give them encouragement or asking them for their opinion. If they didn't make their voices heard when given the chance but not the encouragement, then they shouldn't receive special treatment.

The initiative went through with this kind of attitude. The group went into a very different direction, one that still worked according to the principles of the group and to Unitarian-Universalist goals. Nonetheless, the organizing initiative ironically gave more power and permission to the natural leaders while disenfranchising the not so natural leaders or the people, like me, who got disenchanted by the direction the group went and the attitude of "change has to happen, no matter what anyone thinks."

I can see many minority groups in the US feeling the same way I did with this Unitarian-Universalist young adult group. The natural leaders wanted to make things happen and create organization, in the name of curbing elitism. In the end, however, the organization initiatives simply worked to create elitism and exacerbate disenfranchisement in the group.

So the initiative I would push to reduce elitism in the US: those with power overcome their fear, expose themselves to the minority experience more and trying to get the real minority voice heard and addressed instead of providing superficial, structural remedies that hurt everyone. And I think the initiative should start with me (and you).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Success, Tedium and Politics

First of four days off, for now. I may get a temp assignment, which I will gladly accept, especially if it provides the kind of opportunity provided by assignments I had to pass up last week.

Pretty tired today. All that standing and "coerced" gregariousness at work took a toll on me. Had a beer and a shot of tequila last night, but that actually helped me to relax.

Ended up taking the car out to the auto shop in Schaumburg. Some bar involved in the front suspension on come loose, so the two ends of it flopped around. Every once in awhile, when I hit a bump or something, the ends would hit the ground and make this huge clang. Fortunately, the bar doesn't prove too vital to the operation of the car. It just cuts down on the bumpiness for passengers, supposedly.

I still got it fixed, even if we intend on selling the car and evertyhing. I figure good maintenance to a car leads to a long, good efficient life to a car.

Otherwise, not too much else accomplished except for getting amused by the first Hawaii episode on that plot arc for the Brady Bunch while at the shop. Funny, the showing of that famous episode, since I had thought about it awhile ago.

Seeing the Brady Bunch really brought to mind my upbringing, the TV shows I watched compared to the TV shows today, and the different perceptions of morality then and now along with the different types of character displayed by different generations. Thinking on that tip, however, I also noticed all the product placement and nationalist propaganda. Then I also wondered about any monetary exchange between the Hawaiian tourist board and the broadcast executives for having the show there with all the shots of the tourist sites.

I felt equally entertained when I saw the end credits for Eight is Enough and the beginning of the episode of The Partridge Family in which Danny and his two younger siblings try to start a business breeding hamsters then selling them. The capitalist-business jokes-propaganda made me chuckle but disturbed me at the same time.

Wow, I'm such a deconstructionalist.

WORKING ON MY PITCH

Turns out that the time spent at the mall, where I got horrible results for the Company bore some fruit, after all. On Saturday, at the Track, I had great results. I set up 7 appointments, which ends up as more than $19 an hour, even if none of the prospects show up. If they do take their tours, however, I'll do pretty well.

Didn't do so well on Sunday at the Track, though. Only got 2 appointments, and one of them I don't count because I just filled out paperwork while a co-worker of mine did the major persuasive work. Nonetheless, she owed me for covering her for one of the mall shifts, so I don't feel so bad about taking the tour.

Three things strike my mind about the weekend at the track along with the week at the mall:

+ I took on some initiative when I showed up early on Sunday, setting up booths and making sure they both had the necessary supplies. Part of my iniative probably came from the fact that the boss trusted me to take responsibility for some valuable things overnight and to make sure everything gets done at the end of the shift. Kinda cool, getting that kind of trust.

+ The importance of knowing your demographic and the venue. At the mall, I didn't get any appointments and probably wouldn't get that many. I still improved my skills by working on the discovery portion by making it more about trying to find out if the pre-prospect had an interest in vacations, first, then getting them even more excited about them or maybe even getting them excited in the first place.

From there, I mixed the pitch and discovery by introducing the Company then asking them what they did for work. . .a fair exchange, I disclose a little about me and my company for them to say what they do for work and where. So far, this disclosure exchange has not proven awkward, at all, even for people I thought it might prove a problem.

These adjustments to my pitching really made the mall experience a little more pleasant. On the first day, one guy even did a major rejection by asking me why I was asking him these questions. He totally exposed me in my discovery, then shot me down by saying, "I don't want to have a coversation with you" in response to me saying I just wanted to have a conversation.

By the last day, Friday, I didn't make any appointments, but no one reacted negatively and many of them even acted positively. I wonder, however, how much of that had to do with politeness, not wanting to disappoint me then coming up with irrefutable excuses for why they couldn't set an appointment.

I used the adjusted pitching, however, to net 7 appointments at the track on Saturday, so I found something that worked in one situation (I even got the best productivity for all the appointment setters there) The audience changed the second day at the track, though. Two prospects balked at the deposit while most of the people simply showed no interest or came up with the polite out. Sadly, most of them showed no interest, even though my co-workers made more appointments than me.

So, alas, the audience and venue do make a difference for what kind of pitch to make. Unfortunately, I'm not totally sure how to adjust my pitch accordingly.

+ I also saw the benefits of rapport and teamwork. Keeping up good morale with co-workers, doing favors for them, etc. etc. can really make my job easier. They can cover for me and will even give a door to productivity after doing the work themselves. Also, they'll help to keep things light, help relieve boredom and, if anything, help motivate me to work harder because I'm in the trenches with a team that has a common purpose.

CEASE FIRE IN ISRAEL/LEBANON

So, a cease fired has been brokered, but every side of the issue, from Israel to the US to Hezbollah wants to claim that they have won.

Uhhhhh. . .folks, not everyone can win a war in the ways that would be considered a win for a nation or group. It sounds more like a truce or a cease fire, which means a win for the human race, even though it's not much of a win. Now if they could figure out that they've got huge relationship issues that need to settled, then we might come out of this situation in a way that makes everyone a winner.

PRESIDENT OF IRAN, AHMADINEJAD, HAS A BLOG

Click on one of the flags in the top right corner to get English translation.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Living With Hope

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS I WROTE TO A FRIEND

Further, all that I wrote to the list was stream of consciousness, and like I said, probably the brightest light to my day and possibly even my week. I loved the mass amounts of communication going on between everyone. It got me carried away. Kind of sad that my life has gotten reduced to disliking my job more than working in insurance, not getting paid enough to pay my bills, not getting enough time to work on the job search or be available for great temp opportunities and having a work schedule just about completely opposite from M. Nonetheless, I've got this life to live until I get a more dependable job and have more energy for M and the cats. The day you writing "bla bla bla" in an e-mail to a lot of people cuts me deeply, after everything we've all been through, is the day that I give up on myself.

Sorry, man, for not counting your pissing on my spirit as strong as my own.

Besides, I view myself as part of the solution, from my conviction not to have more than two kids (ideally, one), to get a hybrid eventually if I need a car, wanting to make my home green, purchasing socially reponsibly and green, investing my money and consumerism into socially responsible and green resources, when I can, using fluorescent bulbs instead of incadescent whenever I can, using Shell V-Power or BPs high octane gas, using the most expensive oil for the car, buying organic or locally, etc. etc. I also hope to bring up my children with similar values.

Other people don't necessarily have my convictions or the ability to take advantage of those options. History and tradition proves to be our enemy in this situation. Maybe someday I can become part of a marketing or promotions team beyond my writing to make these avenues easier for people to follow. Hell, I even would love to go into the inner city and face ex-cons to teach them the humanities, show them they can amount to more than gang banging, drive bys, knifings, drug dealing, the social insurance practices they follow, that they essentially have the power and the ability to make their own lives and the world better.

In my blog, http://thelex-topia.blogspot.com, I'm even trying to provide an example to the world of ways that I challenge my own thinking, from being a liberal "elitist" because I'm scared to go into Dorchester, Roxbury, South Chicago, Bucktown, South Africa, Cape Town. . .practically anywhere in Africa or the Middle East, and sometimes just because of my dietary decisions. I know someone with whom I attended college that just arrived in Iran. . .she has no idea what she's doing, but she's exposing herself to new environments rather than just sticking around in the United States and living in her Fear.

But yes, while I'm alive, I have children to donate to the human gene and intellectual pool and while the human race is alive, I believe there's hope.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Silly Movie Game and Politics

I don't feel all that with it today. Not sure how well I can think. Might as well go with it until I get bored, though.

Got woken up in an interesting way, especially since it happened in the middle of a dream. I heard someone say something and a knock on the door. One of the maintenance guys then poked his head around the corner of the bedroom door. He said something about a pigeon flying into a window and wondered if he could take a look. I said sure. Unfortunately, I couldn't fall back asleep afterward.

Didn't accomplish much for the job-career search. I ended up doing more personal stuff (like setting up a package to be sent for my passport renewal, getting some stuff for the cats and addressing some personal and news e-mails). I've rationalized the more personal direction, however, in that this stuff has been hanging around my task list for so long that I should just get it over with.

XXXXXXX ON A PLANE

I probably haven't invented a new game. Someone else must have invented it. How about this for a game, though: Instead of Snakes on a Plane, fill in the blank for "_____________ on a Plane."

For my first turn, I'll say "Children on a Plane," because, of course, we all have horror stories of flying with children sitting behind us, in front of us, next to us. Now imagine if the whole plane was full of them!!!!!!!

Thanks, Kirk, for inspiring the children parody, which lead to the game idea.

How about you? Do you have any funny fill in the blanks for "________________ on a Plane" and what would make it funny?

CONFESSIONS OF AN "ELITIST": PART 7 -- MORE FEAR

As I said before I cut myself short, the liberal "elitist" fear probably originates in a pretty primordial place: the fear of bodily harm.

Here, in Chicago, I've heard that you (meaning the general "you"), especially if you're not black, shouldn't go into certain neighborhoods, like the South side or, at one time and possibly still, Bucktown. Not knowing where the South side started, I guess the South Loop didn't have a great reputation, either (even though after working a fair their for The Company, I've heard it has gotten better and more gentrified).

In Boston, you've got Dorchester, Roxbury, parts of Jamaica Plain, parts of the South End and, possibly if you're not white, Southie.

(BTW, what's up with the places with the name South that just attracts danger?)

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, people told me to watch out for Lowell, especially since I'm not Southeast Asian (particularly Cambodian, even though I once had an interesting conversation with some Cambodians from Lowell without feeling threatened for my life at a party at the local gravel pits). I even had a friend once who feared going to Cambridge or downtown or any other safe part of Boston more than going to Lowell, which, to me, still sounds crazy, even if Lowell has gotten some rewards for the state of life there.

Long story short, I, and probably many liberals, have been told not to visit certain urban areas.

As it stands now, I have even heard plenty of warnings of not to visit South Africa because of my skin color. I've also heard that I shouldn't visit Cape Town (or Cape City, for that matter =D) because of the danger it presents. I don't know how much it has to do with skin color, or if crazy, scary stuff just happens there (like chop shops for body parts -- is that just something mentioned in Charlie Jade or is there really some kind of black market for body parts there?)

For now, though, I have food to eat. It just got dropped off by the take out man. This topic will have to wait for a conclusion.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Work Morale Taking a Bong Hit

My Blue Green (and, of course, any opinions I express are my own and not that of the company) has taken a hit again today. There's just something about hanging out in one part of a mall, getting pretty negative responses from potential leads, my co-worker not really all that enthused about working who just reads a book the whole time and being left alone with my own, anxious and compulsive problem solving mind looking for anything to figure out.

Just not fun. No.

On another work note, though: I plan on cutting back my hours and becoming part time. I had to refuse a temp assignment that had the potential for opportunity and network making. I'm sick of giving up opportunities.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Back to THE INDUSTRY Review and a Flashback

SETTLING ON THE INDUSTRY

I found some resolve yesterday that compares to my decisions to go through with fixing the air conditioner in the car. After driving many long distances for practically no good reason and having filled the gas tank twice in a week for two weeks, I've decided that I really should just go back to doing insurance.

With the wedding in less than a year, not paying my share of the rent for the last few months, not being able to put money away into savings and calculating how long I have until my savings disappear when I get to depend on the fiancee, I'm convinced.

There's also the fact that the fiancee and I work on opposite schedules. Going to the Thievery Corporation concert and kayaking pretty much puts the cream on top of the cake.

I've gotten in touch with someone back in Massachusetts, who pretty much took some information from me and said he could something for me. Last night, I also sent an e-mail to my current agent. While checking out Kelly Services, I applied for a policy services position at one of their clients.

If, somehow, I find a really amazing job outside of the insurance industry, I'll take it. Unless that one shows itself, though, expect me to get back into an insurance agency sometime in the next couple months, hopefully just one month.

A REVIEW OF THIEVERY CORPORATION, GOVINDA AND SOMEONE ELSE

Frankly, the fiancee did a grand job reviewing the concert, so I'll just copy her words from her blog:

We went to see Govinda and Thievery Corp. at the Metro in Wrigleyville, a totally awesome club/performance venue (we saw the Orb there while visiting the city this past March). It's like Avalon in Boston - there's a main floor and a balcony overlooking the stage and bars on both floors - but it's internal architecture is like the Coolidge Corner Theater because there are these fantastic bas relief plaster ceiling tiles, classic-style statues/sculptures over doors and archways and a big stage with those heavy, crimson stage curtains.

Govinda opened for Thievery Corp., and if you ever get a chance to see him perform, I highly recommend that you do. I've heard a lot of his stuff on my various lounge/chillout mix CDs (he's on practically every Buddha Bar collection), but I didn't realize that aside from being a great DJ, his signature sound is a violin that he plays very Middle Eastern-styled music on that gets mixed into the rest of his music. Aside from his playing & mixing, he also had 2 exotic dancers performing on stage to his music.

Now, when I say exotic dancers, I'm not talking strip-club exotic, I mean REAL exotic - as in one belly-dancer/performance artist and an Indian dancer. They were gorgeous, graceful and had the audience eating out of their hands. It was a total trip watching them perform, because at the same time I was admiring their grace (I would LOVE to be able to move like them, playfull, aloof, seductive, delicate and powerful, all at the same time, instead of bouncing around like a head-banger wannabe), beauty (who wants to look like a swizzle-stick sleepy-eyed Victoria's Secret model when you can have a body with curves that are smooth and soft but still hard and strong) and hold on the crowd (practically every male in the place had their tongues lolling out or their cellphone cameras snapping away), I was also envious, mystified and somewhat depressed.

The envy, well, that's easy enough to get, right? How can a girl not feel even just a little envious watching 2 beautiful, exotic women entrance an audience with a perfect little turn of the hip or a teasing little twirl that somehow becomes a whirling blur of artfully curved hands, arms, color and light?

Mystified? Well, mostly because that analytical part of my brain was cataloguing their movements and desperately trying to figure out how it could coordinate my harder techno-dance/rock 'n roll-moving body to move like that. It hasn't figured out how to solve that problem yet.

And depressed? Well, the Indian girl was more smooth muscular curves (god, I envy girls with longer waists) while the belly-dancer had defined rock-hard abs. It's hard not to be when you're watching ladies like that and realizing that even though you're in the middle of a darkened room, squished by the crowd and probably too short for anyone to really notice, you're still wondering if the shirt you're wearing is adequetely hiding your none-too-subtly jiggling middle. I know I'm not ridiculously overweight, that it's going to take time and work to get myself back to where I was 2 years ago, and that really, it's not that much weight to lose, but who ever said one's body image was based on logic and rationale?

But to take a positive angle from the experience, it was also more motivation to keep busting my butt at the gym (the trainer has asked me to keep a food log to bring with me on Monday - oh dear, I HATE recording what I eat, it means I actually might have to THINK about what I'm really eating *disgruntled sigh*). And if it's grace I'd like to learn, there are always belly-dancing or other dance classes to be had. I'm not going to get anywhere by moaning about it. I have a friend who dances with poi - I saw her do it a few times, loved it, and after a little bit of feeling intimidated, decided to try it. I've practiced enough that I'm fairly comfortable with the basics - not enough to try it with fire yet, mind you - and it was definitely a much more constructive way of dealing with my insecurities.

Plus, I got some great ideas for jewelry and accessories for the wedding. The belly-dancer was wearing this fantastic headress/elaborate headband and upper-arm braclets, and the Indian dancer had what looked like miniature white lotus blossoms woven into her braid - definitely ideas I'd love to fiddle with in figuring out my bridal attire.

Speaking of spectacle, I think the Boy and I may have made one of ourselves a little bit during Thievery Corp.'s performance - and it was a blast! Who knew lounge music could be so sexy played live?


Sadly, making ourselves such a spectacle made judging and analyzing Thievery Corp.'s music and performance difficult. I have the feeling, however, that spectacle-making really has to say SOMETHING about a band's performance.

A CHARLIE JADE FLASHBACK

On the long drive to work Sunday morning at 6 AM, I started listening to a show on the Chicago NPR affiliate, 91.5 Chicago Public Radio about same-sex marriage and religion.

I forget the biscoiated context, but the first interviewee on the show got me flashing back to a Charlie Jade episode, the one in which he either hallucinates or imagines (who knows, these days, with TV?) that a recently deceased childhood friend, as the child (they had recently run into each other for the first time in YEARS according the story line).

Now that I start recounting the story again, I think I made the connection because the guy on the radio show was conservative, but he also seemed to show an atypical tolerance (if not endorsement) for a Christian media personality. Something about this man's tolerance and belief in his possible fallibility, even if he promotes a certain belief structure, really just brought to mind the scene of Charlie walking down the steps of a church, Amazing Grace going on in the background and his childhood friend memory/hallucination singing along with the choir, an interesting disjunction, in itself, just by the fact that she came from another universe, possibly never heard the song, herself, but sings it in the universe, as the remembrance of a dead person.

Then there's the thematic issue of Charlie pretty much going on his selfish path but on the verge of finding out what's really important. The placement of Amazing Grace at this point in Charlie's hero cycle could probably make an interesting essay.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Night Haiku #4

Time escapes from me,
   commuting, working, resting;
Bah! I've got projects.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Another Serial Topic: Supporting the Troops but Not the Administration

Working at the mall again today (originally written on the Palm Friday). A lot of sailors walking around. They have just graduated from training school. One of them told me that the school has graduation every Friday.

I have to say: these kids look YOUNG!! They look like they just turned 17 or 18! This young, and we send them off to war. What are we thinking?! Or maybe I should ask: what aren't we asking?

CORRECTION: I don't think the kids I see today can get sent off to Iraq or Afghanistan today or anything. One of them just let me know that he starts 12 weeks Corp. training tommorrow.

But then I think to myself: “Most of these kids believe that they're doing the right thing." I won't demur to the whole they have the right to do what they believe is right in this case argument. I can't stop anyone from going, mind you. I'm also too fearful to get into a conversation with one of them about the whole thing, especially while working.

Nonetheless, my "elitist” doesn't stop me from questioning, trying to understand and even reconcile my beliefs with reality or bring reality closer to my beliefs. And, you never know, I might actually overcome my fear enough to talk to someone of different beliefs with exposure to other realities and situations. By critically thinking about this stuff, I may get the motivation to shed my fear and open my mind.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

More Confessions of an Elitist: FEAR

Woke up late and spent the day researching temp agencies and sending resumes.

I had the fortune of one of them calling me back with some frank edits, criticism and questions. Pretty cool, her being frank, even if it concerned cliche criticism of my life: finish school and get my degree. I won't even get into it because I think most of you know the story.

Sadly, my current temp agency called me with a great sounding assignment for tomorrow. It didn't go anything beyond stuffing envelopes, answering phones and other such stuff, but it would have been at a publishing company. Seemed like a great opportunity to network and get some exposure to the publishing world. Unfortunately, I have shift for Blue Green (and make sure to remember: any and all opinions I express regarding anything to do with Blue Green are my own and don't reflect the views of Blue Green).

Yesterday sucked a little, but we got something great out of it: working air conditioning for the car. I had to drive all the way out to Schaumburg to get it done at an affordable price. Got to experiment with a great new route and had to drop off stuff at work, anyway, so it provided me with a good excuse for doing those little, important things.

But yes. . .working air conditioning!!!!!

We got to catch up some TV last night, too, but by the end of the night, I felt kinda exhausted yet hyperfocused to the point of frustration because it lead me into another useless corner for the project.

Some ruminations, conscious or unconscious found a new compromise and direction to go, though, which could provide some good results. I, essentially, will need to pare down my ambitions and expect that the interesting stuff will get presented on their own.

The personal stuff has stopped following any necessary logical progression, so I'll move onto the main topic of the blog these days:

CONFESSIONS OF AN "ELITIST": PART 6 -- FEAR

"Eitism", of a certain type, revolves back to fear, in my opinion. I'm not referring to the type of
"Eitism" in which someone refers to the People then comes up with legislation, rules and laws contrary to their self-interest. I want to address that version later because there can be a place for that kind of "Eitism".

For now, though, I think altruistic but "hypocritical" "Elitism" revolves around fear. I believe that I fit this category, whereas David Korten transcended this kind of "Eitism" when he left his conservative community then went to foreign countries.

He really earns my respect with his overcoming of his fear, too. Unlike other people who travel to foreign countries and instinctively judge the United States the best place on Earth without any critical thought, Korten doesn't hold himself back from seeing the damage that corporations have done to the world outside of the United States (and probably a good deal of social damage inside it, too). After, they might be multi-national corporations, but where do they usually start and from where does the attitude of profit before people come?

So from Korten's conservative example, we can see that hypocritical "elitism" doesn't just originate in the hearts of liberals. Mmmmmmmmm, actually, maybe I should take that back. "elitist" conservatives aren't necessarily hypocritical. They have the arrogance to not critically think about the benefits of different ways. On the flipside, though, they don't have the hypocrisy to compliment a way of life with one hand then try to better the lives of those people with the other hand. They just observe the Other then beat it upside the head with their sledgehammer of "reason" and a better way of life.

As I said, I think these negative forms of "elitism" come from fear. I honestly haven't thought much about the conservative "elitism" that much, so I don't have many thoughts on their fear.

Since I have personal experience as a liberal elitist, however, I think that I can shed a little light on that form of fear. I believe it starts with fear of bodily harm.

TO BE CONTINUED. . .

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My Absence and More Confessions (Without Hyperlinks)

I've had a hectic last few days, working a couple different jobs.

Something I've gotten to learn in the midst of it: commuting for hours at a time without air conditioning SUCKS. Commuting, in general, sucks, when it takes 3 hours out of the day and about a quarter tank of gas.

Why do they have things so far apart in Illinois, anyway?

CONFESSIONS OF AN ''ELITIST'': PART 5

I won't approach the epistemological topic unless the Muse takes me there. As fascinating and potentially useful topic as it is, I didn't mean to breach the topic. Hopefully it doesn't become vital to the topic. I fear it might hold a vital key to the divisive issues of today.

So I'll go back to the topics of hypocritical liberals, race and fear. Maybe I should just the topic of the Northeast in the United States.

I'll start with an observation that I've heard. Dealing with racism in the South can be easier than dealing with it in the North. People in the South express it much more openly. In the North, racism has a more passive-aggressive edge to it along with emotionless systems that can do wrong.

Not so sure about the systematic part, but a black friend of agreed with the observation. He also re-affirmed the Spike Lee dramatic statement, in Boyz in the Hood, about black people not really helping out by shooting each other and fighting, not even bothering with the white man - ouroboros, if you will, the snake that twists around so much that it eats its own tale.

See, the issue of race relations has some root causes in economics and geographic segregation. If people in the North don't see or interact with people different or less fortunate, they can ignore the issue.

Liberals may try pay lip service these Others, but when they government money toward solutions that don't work and don't live or expose themselves to the Other, we can see the epistemological issue and why Conservatives label Liberals elitist and hypocritical. Though they may attack for political reasons, their argument has some basis to it.