Friday, September 26, 2008

Interesting Times

I don't know if it's urban legend or a true curse, but I do believe we are living in some quite interesting times, no?
Here's an excerpt from an AP news story on the current political response to the consequences of excessive and irresponsible deregulation:

A bad day for the GOP on politics, bailout plan
By Charles Babington, Associated Press Writer
Friday, September 26, 2008
A White House summit meeting on Thursday meant to shore up John McCain's shaky campaign "devolved into a contentious shouting match." And that's how McCain's own campaign described it.

The meeting revealed that President Bush's $700 billion bid to combat the worst financial crisis in decades had been suddenly sidetracked by fellow Republicans in the House, who refused to embrace a plan that appeared close to acceptance by the Senate and most House Democrats.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson begged Democratic participants not to disclose how badly the meeting had gone, dropping to one knee in a teasing way to make his point according to witnesses.

And when Paulson hastily tried to revive talks in a nighttime meeting near the Senate chamber, the House's top Republican refused to send a negotiator.

"This is the president's own party," said Rep. Barney Frank, a top Democratic negotiator who attended both meetings. "I don't think a president has been repudiated so strongly by the congressional wing of his own party in a long time."
Ordinarily a Republican president's problems are with Democrats, especially if they control the House and Senate. In this case, Bush seemed almost over that hurdle.

To be sure, Democrats demanded a number of changes in his $700 billion bailout plan, but administration insiders signaled they probably were acceptable. They included greater oversight, more protections for taxpayers, efforts to head off home foreclosures and piecemeal allocations of the federal money to buy toxic mortgage securities.

What caught some by surprise, either at the White House meeting or shortly before it, was the sudden momentum behind a dramatically different plan drafted by House conservatives with Minority Leader John Boehner's blessing.

Instead of the government buying the distressed securities, the new plan would have banks, financial firms and other investors that hold such loans pay the Treasury to insure them. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., a chief sponsor, said it was clear that Bush's plan "was not going to pass the House."

But Democrats said the same was true of the conservatives' plan. It calls for tax cuts and insurance provisions the majority party will not accept, they said.

At one point in the White House meeting, according to two officials, McCain voiced support for Ryan's criticisms of the administration's proposal. Frank, a gruff Massachusetts liberal, angrily demanded to know what plan McCain favored.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

happy birthday

Hey, it's my birthday! Seeing as I'm working as a temp and I've only been there for 5 days now, I think it will be a fairly anonymous birthday out of the house unless I call my friends on campus and announce it. And that's kind of, eh. Most of my good friends from campus are hardly ever on campus anymore and I'm not in the mood to round up a half hearted not well known posse of birthday support. I have been assured that I will be made a nice dinner and given chocolatey cake when I get home though. This is good. And tomorrow's Friday, which means one whole week of fulltime work under my belt. Also good.

I'm no stranger to the "new kid" birthday phenomenon. In primary school, there were many years when I had some well intentioned teacher who would organize a birthday calendar or board but by the time they were able to get around to it, all of us September kids' birthdays had passed. On my 18th birthday, I had my first day (post orientation) at my first remotely adult job as a unit secretary on a surgical inpatient unit, then I went home to my dorm where birthdays hadn't even come up yet (the kids were still quite absorbed in that heady early period where they engage in flirtatious/competitive comparisons of SAT scores, class rankings, high school social inventories, and stories about trips overseas).

Who else has this birthday?
Bell Hooks
Shel Silverstein
Barbara Walters
William Faulkner
Also, Will Smith, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Christopher Reeve, and Heather Locklear.

* = I'm not age-phobic. Everyone who lives long enough to get old will live long enough for their bodies to let them down in the most primal ways - e.g., no taking for granted that you can move yourself around with or without assistance. Mine body has already started and so I have had a preview of this process. In case you were wondering, yes, it sucks.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eye catching

When I log into my yahoo mail account, I get a screen that has a little news blurb box in it. I usually glance at them so passingly I actually have to click back if something catches my eye.

This one sure did.


I got a job! It's a temp job working at my (former) university as an administrative assistant and it starts tomorrow. Yikes! I'm happy but I'm freaking out because I have, as usual, work jitters.
What if they think I know how to do all sorts of Excel magic?
What if they give me all this shit to do and I have NO IDEA how to do it and they're like "PFG is a moron, what the hell did we hire her for?"

On the plus side, I'm starting on a Friday which means even if it SUCKS, I have the weekend to regroup. Wish me good, productive thoughts.


I'm not uploading a lot of them because they have other folks who I'm not sure would want to be making an appearance on my blog. But here are a few...

A____ and I getting married in our living room.

My sister brought us ring pops.

My siblings showed up with a florist bucket full of flowers...

...which when you split them up don't look anywhere near like as many as there were.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

oh boy

Today I noticed an ad for a book called "The Trouble with Boys". That tired shit again? It's so January 2006. Oh wait, it turns out the author of the article (Peg Tyre) has written a same titled book which was just published.

I can sum up the arguments in the article as follows: boys' needs aren't being met because boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dogs tails, thus they like to get up and move around and girls like to sit quietly like little sugar and spice-full ladies. Therefore any educational context where students are not treated like monkeys in a zoo is an environment where boys will not thrive (and by "thrive" we mean dominate) and everyone knows boys just DESERVE to thrive even if it is at the expense of not only other students' learning but safety.

I'm going to assume Ms. Tyre expands on this general theme in her recent book devoted to the topic of the boys' entitlement movement.

Interestingly, within just 9 months of Tyre's Newsweek article alerting everyone to the crisis of boys not thriving in schools, prompting the claims that boys were "under attack", the US had two high profile mass assaults which provided what I'd consider clear evidence of girls being under actual attack. Platte Canyon High School - September 27, 2006 and West Nickel Mines school - October 2, 2006.

So my thoughts on this Wednesday morning are this. When our boys are similarly systematically hunted and assaulted, then I will respond to calls of boys being under attack. Until then, Ms. Tyre and the other boys' entitlement advocates can fuck right off.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yay politics!

One of my local papers just ran a story about a couple of folks here in CT who decided not to wait for national democratic party censure of Senator "Traitor Joe" Lieberman.

Back when Lieberman lost the state democratic primary in his last run for US Senate, he refused to give up on his senate seat even though he had clearly given up on the people who had previously elected him. "Traitor Joe" made his own party so he could get a line on the ballot that November. The party was called the "Connecticut for Lieberman" party (or CFL). Lieberman, as stated in the Hartford Courant article, "...abandoned the name and the embryonic party as soon as he won".

Since then, John Mertens, a Trinity College engineering professor and John Orman, a Fairfield University political science professor have put the abandoned party to use. Here's a statement of the revived CFL party's new purpose from their website:

The Connecticut for Lieberman Party (CFL) rejects the fraud perpetrated on the members of this party and the citizens of Connecticut by Joe Lieberman when he used the creation of this party to get on the general election ballot in 2006. The CFL is an independent, anti-war, anti-corruption, pro-fiscal responsibility, pro-democracy party, that stands for individual liberties and real problem-solving in government. The CFL wants everyone to know that in the United States of America, voters are free to join any party they wish, and participate in the democratic process according to the laws of Connecticut and the United States.

I have one word to describe this move and that is BRILLIANT!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

married, etc.

Hey I got married yesterday! I gotta say, small and casual is definitely the way to go. My siblings were down, A____'s siblings (some) were up. We had the ceremony here in our apartment (and Skyped to some of A____'s out of state family), then we went out for chinese food. It was much lower stress than the big frufru wedding and really nice - even with scorpion bowl/zombie induced mayhem (we think all that differentiates a scorpion bowl from a zombie is whether the shitload of rum and "fruit juices" are served in bowls or a tiki cups...yes BW, there were tiki cups!). I'll post pix later. Now I'm off to bed so I can get up early tomorrow because I have TWO job interviews tomorrow! I'm cautiously excited. Man I hope I get one of these jobs. That would be a super nice wedding present.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Lordy that sounds like a cult or something. Well Blogger has a new widget, it's called "followers" so that you can display the people who read your blog. This is all well and good for the people whose blogs sport intentional hits rather than the folks coaxed here by google searches for heat miser costumes and the lyrics to the I am a pizza song.

But since the mistress of Bubble was nice enough to add herself as a follower for my blog, I've added the feature. See, it's up there under my profile link on the right side of the screen.

not on crazy pills

I was just doing a little research on the US and CT legislative candidates. I ran across this gem from US Rep Joe Courtney (D, district 2):
(from 2nd District Race: Candidates for Congress address high fuel prices, By Adam Bowles, The Norwich Bulletin, Aug 24, 2008)

Locally, Courtney insisted the state take a fresh look at how it retains its younger workers, calling the current thinking in Hartford "reactive" at best.
“Other states are more predatory when it comes to growing their job bases," he said. “If you take a look around, there’s not much available (in Connecticut) when it comes to entry-level jobs...”

Ok so I'm not crazy.

Also, if you're eligible to vote in the upcoming US election (not to mention any possible state primaries between now and then), please check out Project Vote Smart for information about candidates who will be on your ballot.

If you already know what US and state legislative districts you live in you can access candidate information in the following way:
From the link/navigation bar near the top of Vote Smart's site frame, select the header "Candidates" and you'll get a drop down menu which includes the items "US Congress" and "State Offices".
Here's what you get if you select US Congress and then Massachusetts.
And this links to the results for State Offices, Massachusetts, Senate.

If you don't know your US and state district info and if you're not in the mood to track it down via internet search of phone call to your town clerk/city hall, I suggest you use your zip code to zero in on your candidates on Vote Smart. Here's what to do:
You'll need your full zip+4, which you can find here. Once you have your zip+4, type/paste it into the field on the upper left side of Vote Smart's site frame titled "Find Your Representatives - Search by Candidate's or Official's Last Name, or Enter Your ZIP Code". This takes you to a page which allows you to navigate to all your area's candidates for state or federal office.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Worst job?

Job searching has me thinking a lot about what I want in a job - not that I'm in much of a position to be choosy. This line of thought is more or less an obsessive stream I go through after sending an application in somewhere. It starts with "God I hope I get something" then, depending on the job, moves through "but really, I don't know if I want that job..." Because it's far away, or working under a person I already know and already know to be unstable and prone to crankiness. Or it's working for too little money. Or it's too few hours. Or it's in insurance.

So I've been thinking about what I do want in a job. More on that later. For now, worst jobs. I want to hear from you about what was the worst job you ever had, and why. Mine was working at a hallmark store in my home town the summer I finished high school. Really, it was for about 3 weeks, if that, at the beginning of the summer I finished high school. I applied hoping I'd get to work in back a lot. This was back in the days of typewriters and handwriting, the accoutrement for which I found endlessly fascinating (much as I like hardware stores and lamp shops).

Alas, no, I did not ever get to work in back with the stacks of linen stationery or crisp typewriter paper. I was exiled to the front of the store which was pretty much what you usually see in hallmark stores these days. Cards - lots of cards, but also figurines, small stuffed animals, and various doodads, thingies, and whatzits themed for festive/ornamental/quasi-religious (these days you can add spiritual, but not then and not there) intent. What got me worst was the figurines. And June. June was the older woman who ran the front. This was silly as there were, as far as I could tell, only two employees. Mike, the guy who hired me and who inhabited the cool side of the store and June, who glided through the front noticing every stray hair or smidge of dust on the floor to ceiling mirrored shelves that supported many nurseries worth of creepy snow babies and at least an entire village of apple cheeked hummels. June did not like me. I did not like snow babies. Also, I have this problem with being surrounded by breakable things on breakable surfaces. We don't mix. My brother and I firmly established this first in our youth (we took down mannequins and knocked over rickety tables covered in merchandise). We were nearly ejected from the Urban Outfitters in Ann Arbor after an "incident" in the hipster homewear section.

At the hallmark store, my job was to dust.

I hated being there. It was not bad in an overt and evil way, it was just this low level WTF feeling all the time. Kind of like a David Lynch shot of an otherwise normal room. There's just something wrong, you know? June's attitude was 100% frosty, whether she was speaking to me or not and I was still very, very ego centric and overly self conscious thus I interpreted all of June's frost as a seething hatred of my very being. I tried really hard though, obsessed over straightening the cards, going very slowly so I could avoid the figurine shelves. We had approximately one customer every two hours, so getting "stuck" on register wasn't even a remote option. Each day came down to this passive aggressive war between me and June, played out on the figurines and cards. I'd straighten, then reorganize, then straighten some more. I'm sure my face was a picture of adolescent panic whenever June would approach me with a dust rag and a bottle of glass cleaner.

Eventually, I was called into the back among the carbon paper and tracing pads and let go. I don't even remember the reason Mike gave, not that he needed one, but he was polite enough that I'm sure he offered something. I was too lost to notice and feeling heady with my impending freedom. My mother's insistence that I have a job for the whole two months between the end of high school and the start of college was why I had this shitty job in the first place. Getting fired was the perfect out.

I know this is far from horrible. I've asked this question at parties (btw, a nice "chit chat" conversation and you get to find out some really interesting things about people, their experiences, but more importantly their attitudes) and heard some truly terrifying, gross, shocking, outrageous, and otherwise just plain awful examples. There are a lot of ways a job can suck. So what's yours? Worst job, or at least bad.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Teeth, etc.

I had a dream last night that my tooth was falling out. And lo, I woke at 3:40 AM and my tooth hurt like crazy. As I fumbled with NSAIDs and light switches, I recalled my dentist saying something about a root canal the last few times I saw her. Now which tooth was it that was a ticking time bomb of expensive fuckery, I thought. Was this the one? Maybe. I didn't and still don't remember. The whole pain and scraping and drilling thing has a way of driving details like which tooth might be in for even more of that right out of my head.

I got some some semi-good news today. Actually, I just got news, mixed news, but I'm so desperate for any good I'm happy with the mix in today's bag o'news instead of a bag full of uniformly shitty shit. The shitty news was that I didn't get chosen for an interview for the job that the temp agency sent my resume in for last week (which I had sort of figured on account of not hearing anything after Thursday when they called to tell me they sent it in). The good (comparatively) news is that there are two other jobs now and the agency sent my resume in for both of those.
Ok, so I'm not doing backflips over this news but at least I'm not feeling as totally depressed as I would have if all today's news entailed was a confirmation that I was passed over for another interview. All your good wishes and good job karma/juju and whatnot are appreciated.

gay marriage - good for economy

Over this summer, Massachusetts and New York have made same sex marriage more accessible. NY governor Paterson ordered that same sex marriages be recognized in NY and the MA state legislature repealed an old law forbidding out of staters to be married in MA.

A Milestone for Gays, A Boon for Massachusetts

Nonresidents' Same-Sex Weddings Bring Economic Boost
By Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Staff Writer
September 3, 2008
The two steps, taken independently by New York and Massachusetts within about two months, marked an unexpected summer milestone for proponents of same-sex marriage, even as more than 40 other states have enacted constitutional amendments or statutes limiting marriage to a man and a woman. California is the only other state that has legalized same-sex marriage, though that decision by the state's highest court will be subject to a statewide referendum in November.
The recent changes have prompted a flood of gay New Yorkers coming to Massachusetts to get married -- and that seems to have made same-sex marriage big business for the Bay State.

There are no firm figures on how many gays from New York have come here to marry in the few weeks since the law took effect. But anecdotal evidence suggests the numbers are huge and likely to grow. Hotel rooms are full, flower shops are doing a brisk business, and everywhere, it seems, pedicabs adorned with "Just Married" signs are hauling gay couples down the town's main strip.
Town Clerk Doug Johnstone said Provincetown has become "the premier destination for gay marriage." He said the town first saw a boom in same-sex weddings after they became legal here in 2004, even though out-of-state couples had to express an intent to reside in Massachusetts -- although how to define that intent was left vague and was often at the discretion of local officials. "Now, with the repeal of the 1913 law, we're seeing another little boomlet," Johnstone said.

For the town, that boomlet means an influx of cash at a time when the state is suffering from high unemployment and the effects of a sluggish national economy. "There's got to be some residual economic benefit," Johnstone said, considering the meals, the hotel rooms for family members and friends, and the rings -- a bonanza for local jewelry companies.
A report prepared for the Massachusetts economic development office estimated that 32,000 same-sex couples are likely to come to the state to marry over the next three years, pumping about $111 million into the economy. The report said the state stands to gain about $5 million of that from sales taxes and the cost of marriage licenses.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

License, etc

A____ and I applied for our marriage license today. It's officially down on paper and stuff. A friend who is a justice of the peace is officiating and the venue? TBA (tbd, actually...gotta pick a wall of my apartment to get married in front of).

Also, did I mention I really need a job?! Still nothing. Man, this is starting to make me feel like a total loser...