Monday, January 30, 2012

if it seems easy you're doing it wrong

this classy image was hanging from a bent paperclip to the side of the bulletin board above my desk at my old job. i never knew where it came from, and never remembered to ask until i was packing up my stuff on my last day. amazingly, no one in the office had ever noticed it before--this thing i'd been wondering about for like two years, assuming there was some funny story behind it. (i don't know who the guy is, but the image appears to be from the meme generator.)

so i claimed it as a going-away gift, and i intend to hang it above my new desk.

my last day was bittersweet--they gave me a wonderful card, a kindle gift certificate, a water bottle that everyone signed, and they laid out a spread of treats clustered around two signs, one labeled "VEGAN" and the other "NON-VEGAN." i made delicious vegan cookies, and no one even touched the non-vegan stuff.

i'm three days in to the new job and things are going well. the very first day was overwhelming, but first days always are. i have so much to learn.

luckily a few months ago i had to learn how to use html. at first i thought it would be like learning a new language, but it was more than that--i had to construct an entirely new schema around this new language. i challenge you to remember the last time you suddenly and consciously needed to build a new schema, and to do so very quickly. it's unusual and exhausting. after a couple days and a lot of online tutorials i had enough of a grasp on it that all webmaster duties were handed off to me. my knowledge is full of holes because most of what i did was just work on an existing website--if someone told me to build a whole new site from scratch i'd be clueless.

but thank goodness for that few months of experience with html. this new job involves using xml, another new thing to learn, but it's a thousand times more user-friendly/intuitive and much easier to grasp because of the html experience.

the assignments aren't what i was expecting, but that's not a bad thing. it sounds like i'll do more editing than writing, and a lot more in-depth tech-y stuff than i anticipated. that's kind of exciting, if you can believe it. i feel genuinely interested in this whole world of things that i never even considered becoming interested in before. it won't be long before i'll know about all the parts of a computer, all the bits and pieces of the peripherals, printers and webcams and blah blah blah...i'll have a nice feather to put in my nerd cap.

the campus is awesome. scattered around the private parks and courtyard there are over a dozen huge cherry trees gifted two decades ago by a company from japan (the same company that makes the cameras i use all the time...and that dream camera of mine. i think it's a sign.) i can't wait to see the cherry trees in bloom this spring.

one of the best things about my job is sadly going away after tomorrow. last weekend i met up for coffee with the person whose job i'm taking over (she was promoted and will now work exclusively from home). we totally hit it off. right now she's training me and it's really fun, but tomorrow's her last day. she said she's going to make vegan cupcakes for a combo going away/welcome to the office party for us! we're still going to hang out after she's gone, but it's a bummer that she won't be around at work anymore. my other coworkers are great too, but not like her.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012


i start my new job on thursday! i have a huge stack of paperwork to do this weekend, finalizing everything. i still don't know what time to show up or which building to go to next week. the company i'm working for is spread out all over the world (although it's small in terms of number of employees--most of them work from home from wherever they happen to be), but the actual offices are on site at the campus of a computer company. i'm being cagey about this because i signed a confidentiality agreement, which makes me paranoid enough to not want to share any details online. i never mention the names of my employers on here anyway, for privacy reasons. tomorrow i'm getting coffee with one of my future coworkers so she'll fill me in on the hours and exact location.

i'm confronted with the possibility of having my shit together pretty soon. this job pays three-and-a-half times what i was making before, which is about twice as much as i realistically could've hoped to make any time in the next decade or two. i have no debt, never live beyond my means and i'm always good at saving money, even with a small income, so i don't expect my frugality to budge a whole lot...but if the job works out i'll finally feel stable enough to make some major purchases i've held off on. like the $2.5k full-frame sensor camera i've been lusting after for two years now. i almost pushed the button on that one the other day, but it's too soon.

there's a lot of change going on in and around my life right now. so much has piled on that it's not overwhelming anymore, it's time to let go and go with it, be happy for myself and everyone else. my cousin (with whom i have a close, sister-like relationship) got engaged. my friend bethany took a job sewing samples for a fashion design company, her first job in five years, and she's moving back to boise (from nampa, which might as well be in canada for as often as i'm willing to drive over there). jason was offered a tempting new job at an organic bakery and he might move to king hill where another friend of ours lives, over an hour away, but he'd come back to town on weekends. laura is probably going to law school next fall, and same goes for the owner of the magazines i used to work for.

that regular freelance writing/photo gig is no more, along with the magazines themselves for now. there's a small group of longtime, frequent contributors, myself included, who might leverage the debt they owe us to buy part of the publishing company and start up the magazines again. we'll see how that goes. no hard feelings no matter how it turns out. they paid me well and treated me well for years, and i was ready to move on. this frees me up to write other things. i even started writing a poem the other day, for the first time in ages.

other changes are more subtle. my informal new year's resolutions were to "read more" and "do more stuff." by "stuff" i mean experiential social stuff that involves more than just hanging out with friends. i signed up for groupon and livingsocial and all those discount sites, which are awesome not only for the pricing but also as notifications. i miss a lot because i'm not on facebook or twitter.

the resolutions are successful so far, making me branch out and de-rut-ify in certain areas. jason and i went to see MOMIX: botanica last weekend (check out the youtube video, it's phenomenal.) last night i went to red light variety show with jeanne. in the last couple weeks i've read mary roach's "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" and patton oswalt's "zombie spaceship wasteland," now reed and i are both reading "one hundred years of solitude" by gabriel garcia marquez.

yesterday i was talking with this guy who works at moxie java--incredibly kind, gentle person, reminded me of the paul rudd character in "our idiot brother”--and he was asking me about my new job. i'd already been feeling plenty strange about the idea of having a full-time professional job, but somehow talking to him drew that out more than ever. i think what i wanted to convey to him was something along the lines of, "i'm like you! i'm poor and part-time and that's what i'm comfortable with. i enjoy my job, but my occupation is incidental to my identity, and i'm a complicated and well-rounded person." the new job won't change who i am, but it will change how some people perceive me, or at least how i perceive people perceiving me.

with my last job i felt a stronger sense of occupational identity than with any previous because it incorporated so many of my skills and passions. it felt like volunteer work. i have mixed feelings about occupational identity, just like i do about every other goddamn thing in the world. on one hand it's crucial to enjoy your occupation, because in our unfortunate system it's an enormous, obligatory, and relatively static part of everyday life. it's wonderful when people can feel fulfilled by and gain happiness from their experiences at work.

but that can easily go too far. people can become so wrapped up in their occupational identity (including that of "mother" or "wife"--though rarely "father" or "husband”) that it flavors nearly everything they do and talk about, it even alters their personality--they lose dimension and become grotesque. society can use occupational identity to simplify, categorize and dehumanize an individual--bad, but not as bad as when the individual uses it that way on themselves. i've seen it happen multiple times in varying degrees and it's always disturbing and painful, though thankfully reversible.

the obvious answer is balance. i think it's totally possible for me to maintain the proper balance if i'm vigilant and proactive about it throughout my life. it’s just that major life changes throw me so off-balance, it’s easy to imagine myself teetering on some potential ledge.

my dad recently made lots of calls to family and family-friends to tell them i'm not a fuckup anymore. i keep getting emails congratulating me on the job, using the c-word (career). it's not that i feel like a sellout, it's more like i'm mourning the loss of a lifestyle, or an anti-occupational identity, i guess. i'm going to miss being seen as a fuckup. i'll miss people looking down on me and reacting to me with condescension and disappointment because it feels so reassuring to ignore them and recognize that their values are different from mine. i enjoy having secrets about me that only certain special people can see and appreciate--i like the convenient exclusivity of not being obvious. that won't change, but now it's a whole different set of attitudes, assumptions and expectations that i'm faced with the task of merrily disregarding.

Monday, January 16, 2012


i saw this post from bee girl and decided to get into this monthly photo challenge from an offering of love. the assignment for january is you/self-portraits/home.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


this lovely morsel appeared in my inbox today. i’m not sure who designed it but i LOVE what they did with the photo. (RLVS's own james sharpe did the poster design--not only can he build a pole dancing studio, make fantastic props, hoist two women at once and play a bethonged sasquatch onstage, apparently he is also skilled in graphic design! amazing.)

The Classic Show

In their Winter 2012 show, Red Light teams up with the Fool Squad, Off Center Dance, and the Frim Fram 4 to pay tribute to the vaudeville tradition! Their usual assortment of burlesque, hooping, belly dance, pole acrobatics, corde lisse, and comedy will take on a classic spin. The Fool Squad are natural emcees, and with the Red Light, they can really let their raucous side show. Live accompaniment from the Frim Fram 4 lends an authentic old school feel while a guest performance from Off Center Dance provides a Boise-based collaboration with world-class style.

Doors @ 8pm ~ Curtain @ 9pm ~ $15 in advance and $20 at the door ~ 21+
Jan 20th, 21st, 27th, 28th


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


i got the job. i’ll have to put in my two weeks’ notice tomorrow. my supervisor’s going to have a meltdown. i’m going to have a meltdown.

i went to jason’s 26th birthday gathering this evening, just half an hour after i got the news. on the drive over i suffered some ugly combination of ultra-rapid-cycle bipolar disorder and full-blown tourettes. then i got there, made a big fuss over the birthday boy, eventually told him the news, and immediately one of his (extremely high) friends started enlightening me about some of the negative aspects i’ve already given plenty of consideration to. the weird thing is, that actually helped. i was in such a crazy place at the moment, trying to process what just happened, and her shitting on it calmed me down and made me feel better about my decision.

it seems like this was meant to happen. i feel more confident about it than i do about most things.

Monday, January 9, 2012

eek, adultyness

it’s looking more and more likely that i might get a new job soon. my current job is a “for realsies job,” my affectionately juvenile term for something like “career.” i hesitate to use the c-word because it sounds so official and final, like this is what i do no matter what. that’s unrealistic in this sort of miscellaneous, editor/writer/photographer/webmaster/graphic designer deal i’ve carved out for myself currently. careers are for people who do one thing and stick with it.

i’m not a one-thing person. it’s one of the simultaneous perks and pitfalls of never having felt a calling, never knowing exactly what i wanted to do “with my life”/“when i grow up” (blegh). i studied writing in college not only because i like to write but because it was the best subject to facilitate highly varied interdisciplinary study. i could dip my toes into anything and everything while writing about it.

i’m all over the place with my interests, which makes for an interesting life that’s all over the place. not very stable or certain.

this new job would be much more like a career. it would be my first time as a full-time, salaried employee, first time with benefits and a 401k and other things i don’t exactly understand. (FSA or HSA? my preference? ummm…)

my job right now is adorable. i go to work and create something new every day. i participate in so much that’s valuable and wonderful, and my work is valued and crucial. i solve new problems, face new challenges and learn so many new skills all the time. i get to witness firsthand the positive impact of the organization on the community. by no means is it happy fun times forever and always, but overall it’s a fantastic environment and i’m passionate about what i do.

a couple months ago my mom told me i have to find a new health insurance policy, because when i turn 26 in two weeks i can’t piggyback on hers anymore. the first quote i got, to continue the same kind of coverage i have currently, was close to $500 a month. that’s for a 26-year-old woman with no diseases or chronic medical problems, non-smoker, with a pretty high deductable. $500. holy fuckballs, right?

i was eventually able to find a totally affordable policy (with no coverage for makin’ babies, because i guess that’s a large chunk of the price tag for women my age). still, that sticker shock money crisis meltdown persisted a while and made me wish i could pull in more of a paycheck for a number of reasons. i don't like feeling uncomfortable about money. i don’t want to be rich, i don’t want a lot of things. i just want enough income that i can not worry about it. there's plenty to struggle with in life--i don't think i need brokeness to add to my character.

this new opportunity fell into my lap almost as soon as i asked for it. kismet! it was so. much. money. i lunged at it. i spent four hours revamping my résumé. i visualized getting the job. i got all twitchy and high-pitched like i do when i really want something. adulthood! future! VANQUISHED!

now it’s materializing so of course i don’t know what i want anymore. would this new job be fun? it sounds like it might be. i’d still get to write and edit. i’d learn new things and parts of it would likely be easier. can i give up what i have now and take this risk? if it sucks would it be worth it for the extra money? does wondering that make me a soulless capitalist whore? a large part of me wants everything to stay as-is. to that end i even took a little semi-intentional dive in part of my last interview, just by being overly honest about a particular experience i lack. they still seem interested in me.

i guess if i’m offered the job i’ll go for it. gulp.