My Friday Links

Just a roundup of what I’m doing, listening to, watching, etc.

https://www.gofundme.com/darcymedical

First, I have a GoFundMe page for my doggy Darcy. She’s currently dealing with bladder stones and on antibiotics and prescription diet food. In a month, the vet wants to see her again for x-rays and urinalysis. Hopefully she’ll have gotten rid of them by then. It’s tough for her when she’s trying to pass one of these bladder stones (and for me because she’s going outside about every 10-20 minutes). This looks like something we’ll have to keep an eye on for the rest of her life.

Currently watching:

On regular tv:

https://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/deadliest-catch/

‘The Deadliest Catch’: It’s the only reality show I have ever watched and these don’t consider it a reality show but a documentary. It’s about the crab fishermen in Alaska and if you think you’re having a bad day at work, you ought to see what these guys battle at the office (30-foot waves, boats breaking down in the middle of storms, crazy crew members). I’m bummed though because this season my favorite captain, Johnathan Hillstrand, is retiring. John has always been the funniest guy and also one of the toughest, too. But I’m happy for him and I think it’s taken a lot of guts for him to walk away from something he’s done for almost forty years.

http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/doctor-who

‘Doctor Who’: It’s Peter Capaldi’s last season and I’m going to be a mess at the Christmas episode when he passes the torch. He’s become one of my favorite Doctors for all the things he’s brought to the role.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/shows/grantchester/

‘Grantchester’: This I’m watching on Amazon Prime though Season 3 starts this Sunday on PBS. It’s about an Anglican priest turned amateur sleuth and his police detective buddy. They’re a Mutt-and-Jeff duo that really work well together. But what makes this series really work is that it focuses on the characters as much, if not more, than the mystery sometimes.

Music: I’m a 30-day free trial with Amazon music and in all likelihood I’ll keep it because it’s giving me access to certain artists that I can’t get with the freebie edition. Currently I’m listening to a band called ‘The Call’. They were mainly around in the 1980’s and sadly their lead singer Michael Been passed away a few years ago. It’s really driving rock with synthesizers (hey, this was the 80’s) but Michael Been’s voice was amazing and powerful.

To-Do Lists and Anxiety

I’ve made a ton of To-Do lists over the years and every single of them has ended up in the garbage can, and very of them ever had all the items crossed off. So why did I make them in and why did I want to throw them out as soon as I made them?

The answer to the first question is pretty obvious as I was trying to figure out what I needed to do and bring some organization to my life. The answer to the second question is this: whenever something crashed into my life and forced me away from the To-Do list, I focused on that crashing item and nothing else. So when I went back to my To-Do list, I kicked the crap out of myself for not keeping to it despite whatever calamity was crashing through my life. I figured that if I could multi-task through a calamity then I should be able deal with the calamity and my own life at the same time.

I felt like the calamity at hand deserved all of my attention, even when it wasn’t needed. And if during said-calamity I felt like doing something I wanted to do, I instantly felt guilty. That guilt would in turn set off a lovely round of ass-kicking myself that always ended with me in a bloody heap. Now I know that sounds harsh but so many times over the years I have felt tremendous guilt for doing what I wanted to do instead of what I felt like had to be done, or what other people wanted me to do.

Now recently I haven’t felt that level of guilt and anxiety but this morning I felt a frisson of it and that’s why I’m writing this out here. One thing about anxiety is moving past the shame and guilt behind it to talk it out and work through it. This is hard for me to write but I know it’s necessary. In fact, I had to tell myself that the guilt-shame voice of anxiety is a lying sack of shit. Because I think anxiety is something that you don’t ever completely get rid of, but just work through and deal with some days more than others.

Over the last year I’ve proved to myself that I can survive without a regular, sit-down day job. Now I just need to move on to the next stage, and that’s what that To-Do List is about. And I don’t care what calamity comes crashing through my life, I’m going to keep working on those To-Do list items. Because the only reason a To-Do list should end up in the garbage is if every item is checked off.

I think I’ll frame mine when it’s done. 😊

Here’s the sign that’s pinned above the To-Do List by my desk:

The Over-Qualified Paradox

In science-fiction, specifically in the time-travel sub-genre, there is something known as a paradox. For example, in time-travel it is how can a person go from the present to the past if he didn’t exist in the past in the first place. Or to simplify it a little: how can someone or something be this or that at the same time?

Since 2011 I’ve been told or it’s been implied that I’m over-qualified for every job I’ve applied for. The reason I consider this a paradox is that how can I be over-qualified for a job I’ve never done? Now, you can say that each job has a skill-set and that I may have more knowledge than that skill-set requires. But how do I, or anyone else know that? The reason I ask is that although jobs may seem similar in many ways, there are numerous differences in their details and as such, each job has required me to be trained in those specific details. So the smart-ass question I’ve wanted to ask for so long is this: how can I be expected to know something if I’ve never seen it, heard it, done it, or been taught about it? It’s like I’m just expected to immediately pick up something like Neo did in ‘The Matrix’ simply by having it uploaded into my brain.

‘The Matrix’ is brilliant science-fiction but nowhere near reality. So, why do employers seem to think that this is possible? Granted, a lot of skill-sets can be applied to different jobs but those skill-sets still have to be tailored to the individual details of each job. Now I can learn pretty fast and utilize resources and such, which is something employers either see as a potential asset, or an expression of ego. Yep, they think I’m an ego-centric know-it-all that will try and take over everything. Trust me, I’ve never wanted to do that and I honest-to-God don’t think I’ve ever come off like that. I’ve worked with some ego-centric pricks and bitches over the years and they were few and far between because sooner or later their egos got too big for their britches and they managed themselves out of a job.

Getting back to me: I have a resume showing where I’ve worked and when and what I’ve done. But just because I have a work history doesn’t make me over-qualified. Nor does the fact that my job history doesn’t include the position I might be applying for. I mean, it is crazy-hard to change job fields. Doing delivery work is been the easiest segue way I’ve ever been able to do because I didn’t have to interview for the positions (basically, if you have a car, can pass a background check, and use your phone you’ve got the job). But I think climbing Mount Everest would be a lot easier than the amount of groveling or shit-swallowing I’ve had to do to get a job. Now I’m sure my prospects aren’t helped by the fact that I don’t have a college degree as I’m sure that would have helped me over the years but I’ve worked with people with degrees and with some of them, I honestly wonder what their grades were in college. I also know that some people just are just good bullshit artists and can bullshit and back-stab their way up the ladder. I know that sounds nasty but trust me, I’ve seen and heard about crap behavior that never failed to completely surprise me.

Now yesterday I said I’d quit applying for jobs and such. I’ll back-track on that a little if I see something I’m interested in. It doesn’t take long to apply for a job but I won’t grovel in an interview. I’ll be polite and charming and funny if I can, but if I get any implication from an interviewer that I’m over-qualified… I don’t think I’ll let my inner smart-ass loose but I will be seriously tempted.

No Second Interview For You

Warning: this is more than a bit nasty and does contain some bad language because of that.

I’ve been telling myself to keep applying for part-time positions to try and get a steady W2 gig. Not anymore. I applied and interviewed for two positions but didn’t get a call-back for a second interview on either one of them. Now, less than two weeks after I applied and interviewed for both positions they’re posted again. And I decided not to apply again.

Some might say I’m getting my back up on this but I’m not going to play mind-games or penny-ante bullshit for a job. I know I don’t have a lot of experience in retail but it’s not a job that requires a degree in rocket science. Two, the money is not an issue for me. I’ve worked for a lot more but a lot less, too. But most of all, I think I’m seen as some kind of threat. And that’s something I’ve battled for a lot of years and I’ve reached my limit of tolerance for that kind of bullshit.

Years ago when I started back at a company I had left previously for personal reasons, the training instructor sat down with me and for close to twenty minutes basically told me to keep my mouth shut and not say anything in class because my previous experience didn’t mean jack. I was shocked and a major wimp back then thinking I had to eat that kind of crap in order to keep the job. The problem was, I had several classmates who wanted me to help them but I told them in a roundabout way that our instructor didn’t want me to. Now, I honestly don’t recall coming off like an arrogant know-it-all bitch but if I knew the answer to a question I felt like had a right to say so because the newbies didn’t know the answer and shouldn’t have been expected to know something they hadn’t been taught.

And speaking of the job I jumped to, the training instructor I had actually said she was a bit leery of me at first because of my previous experience but that I quickly gained her respect by how hard I worked to learn the material she was giving. She gave me a chance and treated me with a lot of respect, and when she became my manager she went to bat for me even though I didn’t ask her to (my gallbladder flared up real bad and I was out of work for a few days and I thought I’d have to beg and plead for her to excuse the absences but when I came back she said she excused them all simply because I’d kept her informed of what was going on- but she also called and checked on me while I was out, too). But managers like that are few and far between and that’s a crying shame.

I don’t think I’ve acted like people should bow down and kiss my ass but damn it, my experience does mean something. I’ve been around the block a few times and I’ve learned a lot of crap along the way. And I have never gone after someone else’s job or tried to undercut them. Years ago I had three people gunning for my job and one of them almost got me fired one night so I would never do that to someone else. But do I have to come right out and say that? I’m almost beginning to think I might have to, but even if I do find a way to say that I might get written off as a bullshit artist. Trust me, I can bullshit with the best of them if I have to but most of the bullshit artists I’ve met don’t know how to do that in the first place.

Yes, I know this is a nasty read but this is shit I’ve been putting up with for years every time I’ve gone back into the job market. So you know what, I’m not going to play this damn game anymore. I’ll keep doing the work I’m doing and focus on building up my writing and creating revenue from that. I’ve got one application out right now and I’ll give that one a shot if I get a call-back on it. But anything else… not unless I don’t have a choice.

And right now, I still have a choice.

Intuition: The Great Unknown

The word ‘intuition’ has been on my mind for a while now and I’ve been thinking about why that is. Intuition by definition is knowing something sometimes without having hard evidence to back it up. As I like to say, intuition is playing a hunch, a hunch being something you’re not entirely certain of. For me, a hunch is like going down a road that I don’t know where it will come out to. But that doesn’t scare me, and it never has. I’ve always been one to want to go down a road to see where it leads. It’s a natural curiosity that’s not just following the road itself. Because intuition is fueled by knowledge, more than most people realize.

I think another reason ‘intuition’ is on my mind is that it will be a year next month since I struck out on my own by quitting my last sit-down day job. When I quit that job I didn’t have a firm idea of what I wanted to do. I figured I’d take a couple of months off to rest and heal up then find another sit-down day job. That hasn’t happened because I keep turning away from that. And those turns have involved going down roads I don’t have a destination for. But I’ve made it this far so I know it can make it further.

So I will say that intuition is knowing, and not knowing.

More to come…

Don’t Take Things Too Seriously

I think I just figured out why I’ve been in such a pissy mood for so freaking long. I’ve been taking myself way too seriously along with everything else in my life. And I can tell you right now: unless it’s literally life-or-death, down-to-the-wire decision time, things are just not worth taking that freaking seriously. Or better put, I came to the conclusion that I just wanted to dance around my apartment doing chores while listening to the Spice Girls.

Yes, that was my big revelation: dancing around my apartment by myself while listening to the Spice Girls. I needed to do that to clear the mechanism like I did last night when I feeling a bit down (though I also rocked out to Linda Ronstadt and the Beastie Boys- yes my musical tastes are that all-over the place).

But there’s a bigger lesson here: I think we all need to rock out more often. Way more often. I just think that the world wants us to be so freaking serious and smart all the damn time when in reality most things in life have a healthy dose of idiocy and that no one really knows what they’re doing most of the time anyway. I sure as heck don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing except earning money and paying bills, which is about as exciting as watching a car rust. I guess that’s why I try to inject humor and jokes into whatever I do but because of that stupid-serious thing I come up against a lot. Because I’ve come to another realization: deep-down I just want to be a big goof-ball.

Now I know my goof-ball tendencies come from a few places: my mother loved to joke around all the freaking time (which I know was a rebellion against her super-strict upbringing), my father’s healthy disdain for authority and bulls**t, and my own deep-seated desire to try and find the good in this world (I’m a ‘look on the bright side’/’glass half-full’ type of person). All of those are good to be and I just hate when I forget that because it seems so easy to get bogged down in the daily grind or this stupid-ass need to be serious and smart all the freaking time.

I think another thing that was fueling this downer-mood of mine was that I’ve been thinking about where I was a year ago. I was in a s**t-ton of pain, hating my job something my fierce because of it, and not able to really think about anything else but that. And that feeling of not being able to see beyond your own bulls**t and pain is one of the worst feelings ever. The thing is that when I kick my way out of it, I feel like I’m a member of the Rebellion against the Empire or the First Order (Star Wars reference if you need to look that one up). Now if I was fighting alongside Princess Leia, Poe Dameron (who I would run off with in a heartbeat), or kicking butt beside Rey and Finn, I’d feel really cool. But I’m not in the Star Wars universe. I’m stuck in this one but by God I’m going to make the best of it.

So whoever is reading this here’s some free advice: don’t be afraid to kick it with some music of your choice (no matter how bubblegum it might be like the Spice Girls) while saying ‘F**k it, I’m not going to take all this freaking s**t so damn seriously.’ As Obi-Won Kenobi said to Luke Skywalker: “Let go of your feelings.” In this case, let go of the ones that are bringing you down. And if someone doesn’t like that tell them to shove it up their backside with a good laser-blast.

No Nukes Today

WARNING: Some very colorful language and talk of puny penises

I grew up in the 1980’s and in the early 80’s it did feel like both the White House (The good old US of A) and the Kremlin (aka old-school Communists we now refer to as Russians) had their damn fingers on the buttons to blow us all to kingdom come. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed, and the idiots in charge were made to put their dicks back in their pants. Because in reality, that’s all it really was, and is with these assholes: a dick-swinging contest. The problem is, you can’t be entirely certain they’ll put those puny peckers back in their damn pants and not hit the button.

The reason I’m writing this is that last night the US fired a series of cruise missiles into Syria in retaliation for a poison gas attack against civilians. The problem is, it seems the Syrian army was alerted to it and moved crucial elements out before the missiles hit. It’s a smoke-screen saber-rattling dick-swinging contest that’s currently driving up oil and stock prices. Hopefully that’s all it will be but in all likelihood, not (see Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 onward).

But I’m also seeing a bit of a freak-out from some people saying we’re going to nuclear and all die. Okay, now that I have to call ‘same old shit’ on. One, if things go nuke all you can do is put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye as my daddy used to say. Second, unless you can make off with the codes or the briefcase with them, you can’t really do much else about the nukes. Third, if you’re a praying person you can pray to whatever Deity you believe in for the dick-swinging to stop.

But I’ll also say this: go on living on your life. We still got a day to get through. I’ve been up since 4 am because people had to get to places and I get paid to take them there. I got to meet some nice folks this morning (had a couple that I got to chat with all along the ride) and then I came home and walked my dog and had breakfast. Now I’m doing laundry and working on this till I have to go deliver packages and play in Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic. And I’m writing this to burn out some energy and because I want to write.

The way I see it is this: you can either play into the dick-swinging fear-mongers, or you can call bullshit on them and go on living your life. And if the shit really does come down, all you can do is deal with it. My daddy always used to say that sometimes life was going to hand you a bucket of shit and that you were going to have to carry it for awhile. But I’m not going to carry a bucket of shit that I don’t need to. I’ll keep tabs on the assholes of the world via the media and if I do see a freaking mushroom cloud I’ll watch it and try to remember all the best bits from all the post-apocalyptic stuff I’ve ever read or watched.

But right now, I’m going to finish this, finish up my laundry, make my bed, walk my dog and feed her before I go back to work. I’ll get some more over-priced gas and battle some bozo-filled traffic jams. I’ll deliver packages, come home, eat something, then go to bed. Then I’ll do it all over again tomorrow.

So if you want some free advice that you can take or leave: limit your media unless you hear the Emergency Broadcast System or air-raid alarms go off, put on some good music, do whatever chores you need to, remember to eat something, drive safely, and look after your families, friends, and neighbors. Because we’re all in this together so I’ll sign off with one of my favorite 80’s tv-show quotes:

(from the tv show ‘Hill Street Blues’):

“Let’s be careful out there.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Off the Freeway

When the vast majority of people look at me they don’t see a rebel, or think of me as someone who breaks the rules, or listens to heavy-metal music. But I’m just a bit quiet about it.

Take last night: I inverted my delivery route because my first set of deliveries was way out in the sticks. And despite having daylight till almost eight o’clock now, I don’t want to be out there when it’s getting dark. Second, the traffic on the freeway was nuts and I moved quicker on city streets. I had to explain this to the guys at the warehouse last night and as I walked out to my car I really wanted to say this: “I’m not some dumb idiot who can’t think for herself. I got the job done before eight o’clock so my way worked.”

But unless something is against the law and could get me thrown in the slammer, I’ll do it if it works for me. And I’m still surprised (though I know shouldn’t be) that people still feel they owe blind obedience to shit that doesn’t freaking work, or to people that don’t always know what they’re doing. Yes, I am sounding a bit ego-centric here but if I see a better, quicker way to get the job done, then why not deviate and make it work? That’s the freaking problem with our world: people being so afraid to deviate because they think they’ll get stomped like a cockroach.

Guys, I’m still alive and kicking and I’ve never been arrested. I’ve also never been canned for taking an alternate route or finding a workaround to a problem. And because of that, I’ll continue to do what I do. The thing is to put it bluntly, I’ve run out of f**ks to give. I’m not perfect, but then I’ve never claimed to be. I make mistakes and I do my best to fix them and learn from them. And once I get the hang of something, I get good at it. In fact, every job I’ve ever worked at I’ve worked my way up the ladder so to speak. And I’ve done that not just by learning the job itself, but by getting off the grid-locked freeway and making my way around on city streets.

So my advice is always this: don’t be afraid to get off the freeway. I mean, if you can get out of a traffic jam before you get stuck in it, why wouldn’t you want to do that? I think the thought of occasionally defying ‘s**t happens’ is really problematic for some people. But I don’t have the time or the inclination to stroke their fear-filled fragile egos and no one should have to do that. I’ve spent way too much of my life living in fear of things I had no business being afraid of.

Oh, and I listen to heavy-metal music because I like the sound, and I also love the fact that listening to heavy-metal is an act of defiance. Yep, I’m a rebel without a tattoo.

With or Without You – the 30th Anniversary of ‘The Joshua Tree’

Today is the thirtieth anniversary of the release of U2’s album ‘The Joshua Tree’. I remember listening to it all those years ago and feeling like I was a different person after that. With that album I realized what immense power music could have to make you feel such a range of emotions.

The songs range from spiritual quests like ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ and ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ to political songs like ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’, ‘Exit’, and ‘Mothers of the Disappeared’. Then there is ‘Running to Stand Still’, which is about drug addiction but which spoke volumes to me with this stanza:

You got to cry without weeping

Talk without speaking

Scream without raising your voice

 

Because at times in my life, I’ve felt like those lyrics. I just didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol to numb myself out. Instead, I turned to music and books and my imagination to get me through those tough times. And I think that’s another thing this album showed me: that I could get lost in the music and come out for the better.

This record is amazing in that it’s both personal (‘With or Without You’ for example) but then it’s also political (including ‘Red Hill Mining Town’). Then there’s ‘In God’s Country’ and ‘Trip Through Your Wires’, which are two really great pop-like songs that I still love passionately to this day.

I think with this record U2 proved that you could be more than just one thing. That you could be personal and political, and fun and introspective all at the same time. They proved that you could follow your vision wherever it lead to you and make a record with heart and soul (and that’s what Adam Clayton said they were trying to do with it and they did it that very well).

I’ve been a big fan of U2 since 1983 when I discovered them on MTV and I still listen to their albums now and when their songs come on the radio I crank them up. And the fact that the first three tracks from this album are still in regular rotation on the radio makes me feel good. And I love the fact that they’re still out there making music and that they continue to follow their hearts regardless of what anyone might think. I mean, I know they’re filthy-rich rock stars but they have not rested on their laurels or tried to make another ‘Joshua Tree’ or anything like that.

Because my friends, there is nothing like this album. And as I finish listening to it yet again, I realize that not only has it aged like fine wine or whiskey, but that it’s just as relevant as ever.

Delivery Tales

I’m sorry I’ve been radio-silent for so long but I’ve been up to my eyeballs in delivery work and sinus-allergy crap (which means that in between delivery runs I have to rest up as much as I can).

But what is delivery work really like?

Well, I do two delivery gigs: one is food-delivery and the other is package delivery for Amazon.

The food delivery gig works like this: customer places the order through an app on their phone and I go pick up their food and bring it to them. I get a flat fee and tip per order and the bigger the order the bigger the tip. Not too complicated unless there is a foul-up with the order but that doesn’t happen too often. And I work in a pretty close-in radius and I’ve been doing this for over six months so I’ve got the navigation part down.

The package delivery gig works a little differently. I go to the warehouse and check-in with our dispatcher and pick up a device we use to scan packages. Then we get a route assignment and our packages, and then we scan them into our devices and load up. Then we head out and start delivering.

The biggest thing with delivery work is navigation, and you’d probably laugh at some of the conversations I have with my GPS. God love GPS but the voices they get are atrocious. I mean, why can’t I have a sexy guy telling me where to go instead of a bitchy computer-generated woman?

But the best thing by far about delivery work is people are always happy to see you. No bitching or complaining like phone work- you just hand them their stuff then you’re on your way. Every so often I do get a semi-smart ass comment about taking a little while but I’ve never said this: “If you think you can do this job better than me (or get your food faster than I can), then by all means do it yourself.” Instead, I just say have a good night and let it go at that. It’s not worth tangling with the occasional idiot and besides, they’re not flesh-eating zombies so they don’t warrant a Daryl Dixon-style response.

And I know there is talk of delivery drones and self-driving autonomous vehicles but I think that’s a ways off. I mean, sometimes you have to think on this job and a thinking computer is getting into AI (artificial intelligence) territory. Maybe AI delivery stuff won’t become like Skynet (a la ‘The Terminator’) or HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey) but I’m hoping that won’t be the case. And hopefully we’re a long way away from that AI-stuff anyway.

In the meantime, deliveries will be made by a bunch of people like me who don’t want to work in an office or call center out on the road with your stuff.

Writer and More