youngraven: (Default)
See, the trouble is that I never can think of anything at all to write about when it's timely. Come to that, I can scarcely think of anything to write about when it isn't. I went for...janey, most of my youth with people telling me I should be a writer. One sort of has to Dig Writing in order to do that, don't you think? I admire all of yez who have made this your calling: you're putting to good use all those words that I can't be arsed to do anything with at all.

Sort of thing. Actually, this is about me surviving St Pat's this year. I know, yeh? The shortest distance right? Ain't no thing. 

I had two gigs this year, which considering I don't work with a regular band anymore, is plenty really. If I were working with one? I think I'd want perhaps two more, but I'd no complaints for what I had (...and actually, I'd a chance at a third one, but for reasons best not gone into publicly, I turned that one down). It used to be that I was convinced that the regular, rehearsed band was the best way to go...and perhaps it still really is if one wants to do amazing things with one's music. Only a handful of years ago I had an experience with a pick-up band that was so phenomenal that it changed the way I approached performing. 

So since I'm not working with a band at all, I'm fairly game for pick-up work, and this has shaped my last few St Pat's experiences. Mostly, I work with two chaps: John and Mike. John is a mainstay in the local Irish scene and is one of the best Irish guitar players going. Mike is a fiddle player who used to live here, but now does dwell in Sunny Portland and makes the trek down to play with John (and myself) in the bars every March. 

With John on guitar, Mike on fiddle, and myself on vox and drum, we've fairly got it sorted.

So this year was much like last year: we played at Fred's and the Bull and Bush. The Bull and Bush is John's signature St Pat's do - everything builds up to that one. Last year, I liked Fred's best, cos it was low-key, casual, and I was fairly just after coming back from Atlanta and blowing rather much dust off the lot of it. I mean, I played in the seisiunna in Atlanta, but hardly performed there (my own choice), so. At any rate, Fred's was grand last year. 

This year...they'd changed the orientation of the stage (and in fact had built a huge new one), and the feel of the place was seriously different. And thus, I was seriously Off. It was...I'm glad there was nobody really paying me much mind, 'cos jaysus bloody mercy. Alright, in my own defence, I could hardly hear myself - which is never terribly good for a singer. I did manage to shush the crowd a bit during one song, so. Hurrah that. I lost them in the bridge, but oh well. We live and learn, don't we though? My mum had nothing critical to say about it, and she surely should have let me know if she thought that goats were blown. 

Once we'd done with Fred's, we decided we'd eff off to the Bull and Bush and sesh for a while in preparation for the next night's gig there. Wasn't that a fine idea? Well it was, truly, and I'm highly in favour of doing it again that way. We had a few punters, a few jars, a few tunes, and the people there got to listen to me singing the same Bob Dylan song Five Times Over. It was brilliant.

So I was well prepared for the next night's do and it went really well. Far better than Fred's had done. It can get quite noisy there during St Pat's, but since most people had done the momentary Irish bit the previous night, the crowd was thinner than usual and more interested in listening to us and interacting with us - and not once were we asked for some daft pub song that we're sick to our guts of doing. So I offered up Bob Dylan and Mumford & Sons, and it all worked rather well.
So. I managed a handful of paragraphs, yeh? :D
youngraven: (suffer)
So as of last week, Bríd acquired a sister: Ainé. She's a 12" amber coloured goat. I jokingly remarked to my sister that if I manage to come across a drum with a white rim, I can row them up and make a Tri-colour. Up the Republic, indeed. It occurs to me that doing this might be taking things a bit too far.

So. I think Bríd is a bit jealous, but needn't be, as I fully intend to give both drums their due.

...'cos they're so different like. Bríd is quiet, polite, and mellow - whereas Ainé is shaping up to be a force of nature. Bríd's head seems a bit more susceptible to changes in a room's overall climate than Ainé. Since I've only a case for one drum, I left Ainé out on a table for a week. Bríd's tone would have run the gamut (I believe calfskins simply do this), whereas Ainé stayed steady. 

So that at the outset was interesting - and she only varied the wee-est of bits at sesh last night, and that room can never make its mind up whether it wants to be dry or wet. 

Ainé is never quite so forgiving as is Bríd. Bríd is warm and mellow-sounding enough to hide the occasional dodgy pitch or dropped beat, whereas Ainé calls out 'OHAI! Heard what you did there! Guess what - so did everybody else!!11 XD' 


I really did need the excuse to tighten it all up. Laxity amidst one's mates is all too easy, really. This isn't the first time that I've been manoeuvred into changing up my style by Mr Alfonso's wares. XD

youngraven: (suffer)

Do you believe in love at first sight?

It was the latter days of 1990; I was seventeen and full of the usual sorts of pipedreams and frippery. You were a small drum played in a way that I'd never seen before, and to be quite honest, couldn't quite work out by simply watching. 

But the sound of you. It was deeper than a heartbeat and older than primal. I could liken it to the echoes of the Big Bang and not only would that be grossly florid, everybody knows that the Big Bang remnants sound a bit more like eeeEERRNNNKKkkk (seriously - look it up, it'll set your back teeth vibrating. Ah, the dulcet screech of the creation of everything). 

All silliness aside, I was instantly fascinated and fixated on this thing: I had to get my hands on one to find out what it would do. A few months later, I was afforded my chance. Not long after that, I began spending rather much time in its presence, working out how to give the sound of it that primordial thrum. 

Now I feel strange when it's not somewhere nearby. So much for being a rock star. 
youngraven: (Default)

Who is your look-alike?

So I'm a bit late on this one, but I wanted to chime in, 'cos despite what I may think about it, mine isn't a unique face. Over the years I've been compared to: 
Kirstie Alley - back in the 'Cheers' day

A woman wearing stripes in a magazine  - somebody tore the page out and gave it to me. Hang me, but I may still have it

Jodie Foster - this used to be The One. For a while, whenever somebody would say 'Do you know who you look like?!' I'd draw a breath and (patiently, mind) answer 'Jodie Foster'? And inevitably they'd go 'yes!' I had a table full of randy English business men calling me 'Jodie' in Dublin. I did the 'Dr Lector?!' bit just to piss with them. They were going on about mistresses (nudge-nudge-wink-wink, we're staying here in Temple Bar? Yourselves?); we got away from them quick-quick like.

(Oddly, never Meg Foster)

Rene Russo


Adam Lambert - somebody on somebody else's friends list thought my profile icon was a photo of himself.

Gabrielle...janey what was her name? The French girl in 'Inglourious Basterds'. Melanie (what? Sounds just like 'Gabrielle') Laurent.

Anna Colliton - who happens to be another bodhranaí up in New York. This one proved a bit awkward. She came down to do the bodhrán class at O'Flaherty two years ago. Albert stood us up side-by-side so that he could compare us. Mostly, we're roughly of the same height and figure. She's younger than myself, so she's a bit more svelte, but otherwise. (And often very similar hair! What the hell? It's not as though we're consulting with each other first. I've lately let mine grow a bit, and am sporting the long jagged layers. I saw a recent photo of her a few days ago, and so is she?! I think our hairdressers must be cahooting or something.) I mean, I almost see the resemblance - but you'd have to stuff my friend, Jenna, between the two of us. Then Jenna and I look like sisters and Anna could be a cousin. But...the result was that people I know in passing called me 'Anna' all week, and at least one of my friends reported racing up to Anna only to find out she wasn't myself at the last dying moment.

At least nobody asked me 'is that your daughter?' XD


youngraven: (suffer)
That's an odd title for an entry, innit?

Only it's true: the smell of the curing contact cement adhering the neoprene made my head a bit swimmy.

Or in English, Bríd's back home, and I think she'll be alright. She played well tonight, I think. I'm going to mind how I treat her though. I'm still a bit spooked.

youngraven: (Default)
My word (literally, as it worked out), was that a fucking gas. I don't think I've ever had as much fun in an office, for realz like. So. The project. The way that the hunter of heads presented it to me was 'they want you to bring something into compliance with company brand' - which I can do in my sleep providing you give me all the specifications, colour palette, fonts, &c. Only he didn't exactly understand the scope of the project, 'cos headhunters often approach job descriptions at very high levels. It's been more than once that I've gone into an interview to find out that the description and the reality are about eighty miles apart from each other. It can be awkward.

Here is what they actually wanted: somebody to read a book about leadership that their consultant had written, and then distil it down into a work book and other materials (little cards, to be precise) that complied with corporate brand. There was no extant workbook, thus it fell to me to do the writing of it. Hence my (correct) use of 'literally' in the first sentence.

It's the first time I've ever been paid to write in my life. It's daft, usually I feel I can hardly string two sentences together, and my grammar (it might be noted) is colourful. However, since it's for a training workbook, I can keep it fairly conversational, but having to strip my own voice out of it has meant for mental gymnastics. It's as though I'm thinking with another head. I'd write something, spin round in my chair a few times (thus invoking said other head), and then I'd think 'would this make sense to me if I were a corporate suit? If the answer was '...merrrgh?' then I'd know that clearly something wanted changing. 

And yet, I did it. I now can say I've been a professional writer. For fuck's sake, yeh? How the devil did this happen?
youngraven: Ah, I've had better days, me. (Drownt rat)
It actually started in 2009. Since this one garage had done so very well in sorting out rather an irksome woe, I felt confident in trusting the people there with my car. 

Well. Fools bloody rush in, dunnit. 

The battery cable thingummy went well. The back brakes went well. But when my clutch wanted replacing? They bloody banjaxed it - and by that, I mean to the point that a piece of the linkage fell out and bounced away whilst I was driving down the 75 towards the city (there's a 75 in Atlanta as well). What followed was a great lot of hire cars and strife that culminated in an angry letter and the car being towed to the Sandy Springs Subaru. Oh, and this was in the midst of the Christmas as well. Bucking. Frilliant. 

Fast forwards one year's time. My car has been squeaking. It's actually been squeaking since Atlanta, but I'd convinced myself it was a belt wearing out, and had taken the decision to squeeze every last bit of life out of it. (I understand this isn't wise, so.)

Lately, a bit of undercarriage trim had rearranged itself such that it made a ghastly sound whenever I rounded a corner. Since my dad's no slouch when it comes to the finer workings of things with combustion engines, I asked him to lash up that trim to something. Since we'd already got the car up onto the ramps, he had a listen to it with a Car Stethoscope, and determined that the squeak originated in the clutch. Apparently, the throw out bearing is bodgered.

SO YAY, LIKE. Four times in the fucking garage, and the bleeding clutch is still effed up. I mean, the hell sez I - should I have resorted to voodoo? Would that have done the trick? Janey bloody mercy. 

As I mentioned, I've already done the bit with the Better Business Bureau, and they've made 'good' by me as best they'd do. Grr. So, we'll be making a hike up to a Subaru dealer in the back of beyond (alright, McKinney), 'cos that's where our local, trusted rep ended up.   

Aaaaand...that piece of trim? In his opinion, it looks as though somebody left a few pieces off when it was replaced after all of last year's work had been done. So hurrah fucking that. Poxy rat bastards. Never again in my life will I go to Pep Boys. /spits

I'm fairly decided that my next conveyance will be a donkey with a cart. 
youngraven: Mo isteach (Orion Rising)
But for a few people (many of whom were told out of necessity - such as the ones at work), I said nothing about the passing of my cat. I prefer to do my mourning in the solace of my own house, and as much as I know people want to Be There, I usually need space and time before I can accept that care. Don't mistake me: this is never about whether I deserve it, or am grateful, or feel compelled to Look Strong. I'm an introvert; I'm hard-wired for solitude. When I'm injured in any way, I've got to have time alone (and by 'alone', I mean by myself or with Shaddow - nobody else) in order to sort myself out. Them's the breaks with me, like.

She went into hospital on the New Year's Eve, and she died a week later. We'd go to see her every night. Some nights, she'd seem to rally a bit, and we'd think we'd be able to bring her home and maintain her. Other nights...we felt otherwise. By that Thursday, we realised there was nothing to be done. She was never going to well enough for us to keep her comfortable in her decline, and that was that. 

It's been three weeks, but I'm still palpably aware that Orion Rising is missing some vital being. I wish I believed in ghosts, then I could trick myself into seeing her wee spirit rattling about. I do not, thus I cannot. I don't know whether, ultimately, this is bane or boon. She'd gone sixteen years of age. Per this site, she was 84. I don't know how much more I could or should have expected of her. I suppose within all of us is a five-year-old who refuses to take 'mortal' for an answer. I need to believe that we did everything we could do, but I'm not sure. 

On the last day of her life, she bit one of the vet's assistants. Ever my Irascible Beancat. 
youngraven: (suffer)
So. Here's how it happened: I was in the middle of a gig when a circular patch in my drum's head went slack - never mind that the outer rim of the head surrounding that patch was alarmingly (as in 'take cover, she's going to blow') taut.

I did what any staid and stoic semi pro would do: I panicked. At the break, I raced behind the pub to phone Albert and gibber like a scared wee thing whose drum has just gone thmok when it should have gone something near to a G.

Silently, I did lament to myself how it seems I end up with a drum with a fouled head (although, in honesty Caitrín may have a fine head; I simply don't like the tone she produces). Got to be player error somehow. I'd got used to plastic drum heads that don't require the care and feeding of natural heads.

Since Albert's convinced it can't be a dodgy skin, there are two possibilities that come to my mind barring the skin being wonky:
  • I've been too hard on the head
  • It could be the weather
(I heart bullets, don't you?) 

If I've ballsed up the head. it's for lack of a crossbrace (this is my first ever drum without one, so I could have done). Over the years, I built my playing style round using that crossbrace for leverage. I'd use a crossbrace, 'cos till recently, most drums were too large for me to control without one - I've explained this many's the time before, so. Only I never felt myself pushing that hard, and Albert (who's seen me since then) has never said 'AAAAHWhatAreYouDoing1111!!11Eleven!!BBQ!11' And he would do. In fact, that would be a direct quote, barbecue and all. 

(Sings) Oh, god - could it be the weather? It could be, in fact, the weather. Albert's the first to say that his drums favour a certain level of humidity, and there's still rather a drought. A few times when I fetched her out, it required me using both hands to work the tuning keys. It startled me once; I feared the head would split, and so I began the practise of downtuning her after a night's play. Apparently, that's the very thing Albert had told me not to do for at least six months. I've no recollexion of this, but in my haste to get my hands on her, I could have spaced on that one. I do know, now, without a doubt that I'm bonding to this drum: I was reluctant to have her back to Albert for repair. I mean, I had to make myself hand over the drum, and then I felt weird watching him leave with her. 

I may well see him tonight - whether he's got Bríd all sorted out...I doubt it. I suppose I'll bring Caitrín to the 'work seisiún' and we'll see what I get out of her. Sigh. Or I could bring Grainne - never mind the plastic head and the fact that she doesn't much like me, she still sounds better than Caitrín. 

I'm exing digits. I want my Bríd back. 

Addendum: Albert's just after phoning, and I will have her back tonight. He's not thrilled with the sound she's giving, so it may well be that she goes back home with him tonight for a new head. I really want this drum to be The One, so I'm actually a bit tense about it.  
youngraven: (Default)
 My friend Mark is re-releasing his bodhrán CD. I highly recommend it if you fancy learning to play.
Click me:
youngraven: (Default)
I've been up to ninety the past few weeks, so I've not felt terribly compelled to make a posting (by that I mean even less so that usual). So... yez get bullets, 'cos I'm still not particularly arsed to write whole! omigod! sentences! Snrk. 

Oh, and since one bullet is of a sensitive (to myself) nature, comments will be switched off. Here is the rule (as I don't believe I've stated it here): if I write about something and announce that comments are switched off, it means I want no discussion of it in my presence, by any means (physical talk, email, text message, carrier pigeon, any communication medium at all), unless I bring up the topic myself. No exceptions. Full stop. I'm more than willing to spill every gut I've got if need be, but ever on my own terms. 

So. With the fine print over and done...

  • 2011 -> 2012 was a bit more of a bump and a skid than hurrah, it's the new year!
  • Shaddow and I got riotously sick towards the end of it, and I'm still sorting myself out. It's meaning some lifestyle changes. Irksome, but 'I'm a tree, I can bend' (--Lily Tomlin).
  • My cat, Beanies, passed just after the new year. 
  • I won that contract, and it's been an effing blast. 
  • I've blown out Bríd's head. 
  • My car's making A Noise, and my dad thinks it's yet another thing that the eejit garage in Atlanta ballsed up. 
And... now I'm bored of this, I think. So the bullets worked out to be a bit more like sentences. Ah well, eh? Next time I'll remember to be terse. I've since gone back and turned the sentences into bullets. I may write actual entries about each one, or I may smile at the text I copied into a text editor, and then close without saving. My prerogative (which is a word I cannot really say). 
youngraven: (Default)
In recent days, these things have happened:
  • A headhunter has come courting me (hey-ding-derry-down) about a contract
  • I've made it to the second-interview stage
Now, I'm hardly complaining - I'm gladdened by his attention, and I'm excited to have a spot on the coveted 'short list'. Along with these feelings, I do confess, is bafflement. Not that I should be considered, and re-considered, and can you come back and chat a wee bit more. I'll own the project is daunting (the headhunter's description and the actual scope have only marginal things to do with one another). What's got me scratching my head is, well, it's an eight-week gig. Since I'd be brought on for a very specific project (turning a person's book about leadership into a branded training course), there isn't the chance for any sort of permanency. At least, not for the foreseeable future. 

I could understand there being a multi-partite vetting stage for a six-month or longer stint. But for eight weeks? I'll be there and gone before most of them notice; it seems oddly cautious. I'm wondering whether it's because this is a massive project (perhaps moreso than they even realise - if I win this particular prize, my first order of business will be to make them a truthful gantt chart); or whether that's how things are done in this 'post recession' economy. 

I suppose it does remain to be seen.
youngraven: (Default)
 I've been making things: go and have a look if you would, please. :D

youngraven: A shamrock in flames with an instructional message (annoyed)
To better illustrate why the 99% aren't merely laying about doing effall when they should be out working as decent folk are a few of the responses I've got from applications I've submitted in the past few days:

13 October 2011
Dear Leah,

Thank you for your interest in the position of Graphics Assistant - Requisition 998603 for RadioShack location Corporate Office and for the time you spent completing our online candidate process.

Unfortunately, we have decided not to move forward with you for this position. We will keep your information on file and contact you should our needs change in the future.

We wish you the best of luck in your career search.



So, did I have have too much experience? Did I bollox the ethics test? Did I bollox the intelligence test?

Or was I merely one too many out of thousands:

14 October 2011
Greetings! Thank you for expressing interest in our position(s).

Due to the volume of resumes we receive, we can only contact those candidates whose qualifications match our needs for current openings. We cannot provide updates on where resumes are in the hiring process. If you are a match we will be in touch shortly to discuss your candidacy.

We pay particular attention to matching the right people with the right positions and will review your resume for any available opportunities we may have. We will also keep your resume on file for future consideration. Again, thank you for your interest.

19 October 2011
Your resume has been received, thank you!

Due to an overwhelming number of submissions, we may not be able to contact you in person, but your resume will be reviewed.

Thanks again, and best of luck to you!

Wait - what was that you said? 'Overwhelming number of submissions'? What does that mean in common speak, please? Am I one of hundreds? Thousands? Millions? Are there so many responses to each and every posting that there's no time in the day to give even one of them more than a cursory glance? Thus it's only the very first ones that ever go anywhere? This brings to my mind images of blackened-eyed human resources underlings howling 'uncle' from beneath literal rooms full of applications - as in if every received CV and covering letter were printed out the resulting run on paper would put Staples out of business. If there are that many people clamouring for work, then clearly Houston, we have a problem.

So, Monday, after admitting to myself that perhaps it is too much to ask that I find work in my field of experience (see how well I've been trained not to say 'expertise'), I registered with every staffing agency I could think of and/or find in a Google search. That summed to about six - and this isn't counting the creative ones (Creative Circle, the BOSS Group, The Creative Group) with which I'm already registered. One of them sent back this:

18 October 2011
We appreciate your recent inquiry regarding employment with Express Employment Professionals and your interest in becoming a part of our team.

We are in the process of reviewing your qualifications and comparing them with our current staffing requirements. If we determine that your qualifications match our present needs, we will contact you within the next 45 days, to discuss available opportunities.

Again, we would like to thank you for the interest you have expressed in Express Employment Professionals.

We also invite you to visit regularly and apply to openings that are suited to your qualifications and of interest to you along with calling our office to inform us of your online application and to learn of any other job opportunities that are available.

We appreciate your interest in Express Employment Professionals and wish you success in your job search.

Warm regards,
Express Employment Professionals

Forty-five days, is it? As in a month and a half it may take you to respond back to me? Janey mac, it's a good thing I'm not starving. Alright - fine, sure: the counter argument to that is you should never have let it go that long, right? But for people in hand-to-mouth situations, waiting as little as one day is letting it go that long. Really? Let's crucify them for one day spent slumped in the daze that comes from suddenly finding themselves in hard situations? Wow. And when you get to those famed Pearly Gates, have your explanation for that line of thinking ready for St Peter. He's put the kettle on and lit up a fat cigar; he's got the time to hear you out.

So, in forty-five days, I can expect to find out whether I've a future as a file clerk. Only maybe I haven't got to wait that long:

18 October 2011
Thank you for taking the time to complete the application for Express Employment Professionals. Unfortunately, after closely reviewing your application we do not have a position at this time that meets your qualifications.

We wish you success in your search for employment. Please feel free to view our web page and apply for any positions you would like for us to consider you for in the future.

Thanks Again!

The Express Team Dallas (West)

In short, I've been rejected by frigging Kelly Girls. 'Cos that's a fine ego booster. Indeed.

I'll share one last message, conclude, and then hold my peace for a while.

18 October 2011
Thank you for registering with Elite Staffing.

Please take a moment to login and make sure that the information you have submitted for your profile is up to date.

And…don’t forget to visit our Facebook page and “like” us for more information and to stay current with our career opportunities!

Thank you,
Elite Staffing Inc short, you might chuck me in a bone if I'll advertise for you? Sigh. I know, I know - everybody's got to Do Business lest we all be sunk. It seems a bit questionable is all. I suppose by signing up with the agency and, in effect, saying to them 'I'm offering to make money for you', I do give them leave to say back 'Oh? Prove that by making some money for me in advance'. 

It's times like these that make me want to go back up into the trees and eat a banana. 

Now then, let me head any who might accuse me of sloth for the time I've spent writing this entry. I've tapped out for the day (I've even re-applied to positions posted last month - who knows, perhaps if I apply six or seven times, I'll get noticed). I've written to Freeman Leonard (another creative staffing agency) four times over the course of a few months, and I have got no responses. Not a form letter, not an acknowledgement, nothing but frigging crickets. I've addressed everything at CyberCoders that I could possibly do. Everything posted to CareerBuilder, I submitted applications to last week. Half of those are at as well. It's very simple for me to shoot the bloody lot in an hour of a Monday morning. There's one position at craigslist to which I plan to apply. After that, the well done run dry, and that's the reality of it (incidentally, I've been turned down for retail as well). 

So, it's not that I'm some great lazy shirking thing. With great teeming hoards of workers from which to choose, employers not only have a tyranny of riches ('arrrgh...too many people...meltdown imminent...'), they've got all of the power as well ('but what I really want is a person who's versed in this One Thing That 98 Per Cent of All People Do Not Know, and I want it painted pink'). It's rather a task to stand out amidst the crowd when by 'review' what is meant is 'click-delete, click-delete, click-delete, click-pause for two seconds-delete'. I'm related by marriage to a human resources director: this isn't exactly hyperbole. 

It comes back to 'You are not owed a living'. I responded to somebody at Facebook (who'd espoused a similar statement) with: Alright then, what's to be done with these people? I wanted an honest answer, since I got silence (which could as easily be 'cos the original poster doesn't check Facebook often; I'm reading nothing at all into it), I've been pondering it on my own. This morning, I read an op-ed piece, which stated that the OWS bit first assembled at the Famine Memorial. I thought about my forebearers - people whose names have been lost to me by time (I know they came from Ballykrissane, but little else). I remembered being driven past countless famine graves disguised as empty pitches with grass and sheep on them. And I knew exactly what's to be done with these people. 

Fair play to you, society. 

youngraven: (Default)
There's a reason I eschew making politically motivated posts more often than I make them: I'll own I'm grossly under informed. I don't want to add to the static and hiss by chucking yet another half-baked theory based upon something somebody might have said in or out of context; I don't think that's part of the solution in the least. There's enough divisiveness as it is, I really can't be adding to it. 

But I've been seeing and hearing flickers and soundbites from both sides of this Occupy business, and it's got me thinking thinky thoughts. 

There seems to be a huge disconnect between what each side believes the other side wants - on a colossal other planet scale. The one side is claiming that the trust fund protestors are howling because they've spent themselves out of house and home, yet they want to buy iPods and shite, and the other side are claiming that it's more to do with the banks using their bailout money to pay themselves rewards. 

As well, I've seen the right wonder where the protestors are finding the time to be in the streets when they should be working to earn the toy with which they want to play. 

See the addled oversimplification? 'S why I usually hold my tongue. 

I'm trying not to skew my words in favour of one over the other, but I do tend to come out standing nearer to the 99 than the 1, for a variety of reasons. Oh - lest I forget, this post's inspiration is a photo that's been running round Facebook. It depicts a sheet of paper in which a college student has stated that s/he's got through school mostly unaided and free of debt. The one side is pointing to it and declaring: see? It can be done, whilst the other side is saying '...erm, are you sure the person is telling the truth?' 

There are inaccuracies meant to tease the mind and tug the heartstrings on both sides this row. I'd even go so far to say there are as many inaccuracies and spun claims on one side as the other. Persuasion's a dodgy art at best. I don't know whether it's possible for a student to come away from uni debt free and smelling of a financial rose. I know my cousin didn't do, and I can hardly call herself nor her parents daft wastrels wont to chuck their dosh at any shiny thing that strikes their fancy. I mean, they're thrifty. And she got scholarships. So...if my modest- living cousin came away from her experience with years and years of debt... I'm sceptical that it's all that simple. 

And this business about how those protesting ought to be spending their time. Well, firstly - have you had a go at finding work these days? I have. I've spent months and months doing just that: baiting my hook and reeling like a mad, mad thing when a fish nibbles. I've been turned away every time but once - and that resulted in me being chucked back into the water again 'cos the Powers That Be had over estimated what their sales would be. You could say to me 'well, it really is your fault 'cos nobody's ever made redundant who didn't deserve it'. In fact, I welcome you to say that to my face - go on, do. 'Them's fightin' words' so say ye? Sure, possibly. But come down into the trenches with me and see how it is before you decide that I've made my own bed, and thus I should be made to lie in it. 

'Cos, a chairde, I did everything I possibly could to keep my household's head above water. When the company to which I'd given the whole of my adult years presented me with an awful dilemma (in short, they shut all of my department's offices but three: so I could stay, but I'd have to go), I uprooted myself and carved my life in half. They praised me, and lauded me, and they could have made an exception and kept me - hell's bells, they'd done it for others whom they'd deemed as irreplaceable as myself - only they didn't do. They whinged and moaned about how hard it'd be once I'd gone ('this is the thing I've been dreading' so said Fearless Leader - fucking dreading, sez he), yet they did little beyond begging me to extend my time by two months. 

Sure, thanks. No, really - it was a great help. 

You might be wondering why I simply couldn't transfer into another department, right? Sure, so did I. I had it down on paper that my work record was stellar. Stellar. Do you know how often I boast of my own skills or accomplishments. Never. In fact, I find doing so to be rather uncouth. So that I should stitch that word to myself ought to show how much weight it holds. I do not know why all other doors were shut to me. I'd proven my worthiness, and it wasn't enough. I was even told by one group that people from my department wouldn't even be considered, so I shouldn't waste my time. 

Wow. Grand. 

All of this I'm saying from the perspective of somebody who's actually farther from the brink of catastrophe than many others. Now then, one big nasty blow could shit the lot. I'm tangibly aware of that. 

So, I'm wondering how I've cooked up this stew into which I may yet fall and boil. What have I done wrong? I'm not addicted to anything (as has been bandied about recently), I don't spend all of my money on the women and the drink (I need a pair of trainers, actually, but will I buy them? No. I will not.), and I tend to believe that earning a meagre bit of brass is better than none at all (which I put into practise - knowing full well that we'd still be sunk should that Nasty Blow befall us). So. I can see how I'd tend to be one of the 99, but I fail to see how it was my own avarice and stupidity that put me there - and if this is true of myself, surely I'm not the only one. 

I think it all comes down to mis-conceptions. Would I be more employable were I, say, a nurse? Oh, absolutely. As the numbers of aged and infirm people grow, so do industries meant to serve them. It's a positive correlation. So, bootstrap it and go be a nurse or something, right? I could do that. There's no guarantee, though, that at the end of those four years (we're assuming - I've done no sort of schooling thus far that would prepare me for nursing in any way, it would be starting afresh) and 90,000 (if I'm lucky) I'll be in any better shape than I am in now. I doubt I'm eligible for grants or scholarships (for fuck's sake, I've been away from acadaemia since 1997 - how could I get scholarships - enter contests?), so if I want to pay for a new career, I've got to either get loans or divest my 401(k). 

In four years, I'll be 42 - nearly 43. 

Good luck with that, ducky. 

Sure, this might be an extreme scenario. I'm sure that there are other sorts of retraining that can had for less gold and in less time. It still comes down to experience (which I've got in my field. Damned pity that hundreds of thousands of others do as well, right? /ironical) Only I know the sort of time it took me to build up to that modest level I had with the fit hit the shan - it was fifteen bloody years. Sure, I can do it again; I cannot ignore that my age does put me at a disadvantage for Doing It Again. 

I've heard it said recently 'the world doesn't owe you a living'. I suppose that's true. 'The world', being a mental construct is incapable of owing anybody anything. I think what people are actually saying here is 'I don't owe you a living'. Alright...but shouldn't all of our lives be a damnsight more pleasant if I had one? If all of us had one? You're right in that there are some people who are dead set against doing a bloody lick of work at all if they think they can get by without doing. I am hard pressed to believe them the majority. My skin crawls when I've no work to do. I've spent most of today frantically doing the wash, 'cos for fuck's sake it's Something to Do. And I'm sure there are those who'd latch on to that, wave their judgements in my face and crow that 'Aha! You're freely admitting to wasting time. Layabout!' 


I could go on, but I'm finding myself dangerously near to wasting time when I've other things need doing. So I'll close by saying this is why I can't point to the Occupy Everywhere lot and call them shirkers (it strikes me as odd as well that it's assumed that the same people are standing in the streets day in and day out). Will they effect any change? I suppose we'll wait and see, won't we.

youngraven: (suffer)
...unless she's a boy. Then surely, he's a pretty boy. The manifestation doesn't much matter to me really. What matters to me is whether we can be friends. All of the elements are there: decent head, 12" diametre, rock-solid construction. The only thing that could possibly get in the way of it being a love connexion, Chuck, is myself. 

In which I will go on about certain pastimes... )

Even if I am sick to my guts of the Kesh Jig. 

youngraven: (Default)
What was the longest road trip you ever went on? How did you pass the time?

I can't be sure of the actual physical longest driving journey I've made. My family were fond of motoring about places and often great distances were involved. 

The longest feeling one was the time my sister and I drove from Alta Loma to Castro Valley. We'd two choices: the PCH and the 5. Since the 5 was the shortest distance between the two points, we chose it over the 101 (where all of the interesting things can be found and seen). 

It started off well enough, really. We thought of topics for natter, moved along at a fair clip, and then everything got yellow. The local flora took on this shade of interminable ochre that seemed to cover everything: the side of the road, the foothills, the sky at the horizon, and soon enough it got into our brains. There was nothing to break up the monotony - and then? Traffic ground to a dead halt. In the middle of the back of beyond. With no apparent cause. Simply stopped. 

We'd thought to save time by going up the 5, but a journey that should have taken us round six hours (surely less than seven) took closer to eight and a half. Had we opted for the 101? It still would have taken us a year and a half, but at least we could have seen people attempting to hunt for whales from their cars - or whatsoever it is that people are thought to be doing. 

Somewhere, I've got video I shot through the window when the scenery was still novel. Now, I never want to see that particular yellow again. 
youngraven: (Default)
I had wanted to go down for it - in my mind, I was decided. I'd even told various of my mates in the Atlanta scene (Atlanta's a Comhaltas town) 'if you come, I'll be there'.

Then I moved house back to Orion Rising (literally - there's an entire other dwelling shoved into my permanent abode; the cats find it interesting); then there was Irish Fest a mere week after that. Thus dawned the absolute realisation that there wasn't a logical way for me to achieve two massive weekends in one month. Not with the aforementioned overlapping residences. Or something. That sounded wittier in my mind. 

So one had to choose. One did. 

What one chose instead was a soiree for Saturday night and sailing for Sunday. Some years ago, Shaddow and I had stumbled upon the most charming sailboat in a carpark hoping beyond hope that somebody would come along, bring her to a new home, and take her out on the water now and again. Her name is 'Liberty', but upon closer inspection, it can be seen that her former name had been 'Irish Rover', so clearly she was meant for us. 

We've managed to sail her once thus far (she's a right sprightly wee thing - fine for racing, I'm sure), but life and all its trappings will get in the way. We're neither of us terribly experienced at sailing (although Shaddow's been out a few more times now than I've done) as well, so there was that lobbed into the mix.

The best way to learn the ropes, as it were, is to go and learn the ropes. So when the talk wandered over to sailboats at the last Tuesday's seisiun, I asked our resident expert when was the next time he'd take his boat sailing. His answer was 'Sunday, would you like to crew for me'. 

So...I won my first sailboat race today. Or, rather, I tacked, jibed, got tangled up in and/or sat upon the sheets, raised the spinnaker, took the helm, and didn't fall off of the sailboat that won today's race.

Shaddow crewed on another chap's boat, so we both got a few hours' of informal sailing instruction. At the end of it, Andy did confess to throwing rather much at me at once - and all on a less than blissful day: the wind was perfect for sailing, but the cold and mist made it a bit less of a pleasure cruise. Perhaps the bite in the air served to make me pay closer attention. After the boats had been pulled from the water and put away for the day, Shaddow and I joined Andy and his wife for 'painkillers': it's a Tortola concoction of pineapple juice, orange juice, coconut, and rum; I very much need to learn how to make it. 

Here's hoping for a lovely sailing season. 


youngraven: (Default)

April 2013

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