Saturday, September 24th

From One Job To Three

Music: Helium
Mood: relieved
"Workers of the world...relax." -Richard Linklater

What a difference 24 hours makes. Yesterday morning, I was woken up by a call from the library. The woman told me that I did not get the position, but I had competed against at least 3 people with MLS (Masters of Library Science) degrees and relevant work experience, which led to her offering me a position as a substitute librarian/ office assistant. Since I was still lying in bed, I asked her if I could think about it and call her back. I made some coffee and thought about it while I washed the dishes. Pros: It's pretty good money, and she said it might lead to a full-time position eventually. Cons: I might work for a whole week and then not get a shift for a month. While I was thinking, I got a call from a drugstore near my house where I had filled out the afternoon before. They wanted to hire me for the night shift position and start training me ASAP, but I had to do a drug test as a condition of employment. Realizing I should not look two gift horses in the mouth, I accepted both positions. All of a sudden, I have employment up the ass, and the jobs I got are the first and last ones I applied to. Cozmick.

I went and took the drug test (boo- I think they are an invasion of privacy and fucking degrading to boot, and yes, I could have chosen not to look for employment with companies that do not have a drug testing policy, but when your choices are between betraying your principles and um, homelessness...) and passed (yay). For the library, I had to fill out a medical questionnaire for the county, and once that is looked over, I may have to have a medical exam (but I don't think I am much of a health risk, IMHO), it will all be over.

This is definitely the longest job search I have ever had to do. Up to this point, I have been pretty lucky and picked up jobs rather fast. After all this, I didn't really need to worry so much after all, but things were pretty tight for awhile. I have learned a lot about the value of frugality and hopefully next time this happens, I will be better prepared. But all in all, I didn't do so bad this time, considering I saved enough money to move up here and stay afloat until I found work. Go me.

I am finally beginning to feel like I live here. I have jobs, I know my way around, I have friends, and I even wrote the first chapter of the lucid dreaming novel. Nice.

santo26 on 09.24.05 @ 07:20 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

Wednesday, September 21st

Gotta Stay Conscious

Music: Creedence
Mood: waiting
Today is the day that I am supposed to hear from the Humboldt County Library about whether I got the librarian job. I applied for the job in early July when I was still living in LA, and they are getting around to making a decision now. Life certainly moves a lot slower around here, and for the most part, that is a good thing, except when it comes to people making decisions about hiring me.

I have spent so much time worrying about finding employment. Its not like I haven't been trying, its not like I don't have A part-time job, so theoretically when I am not actively looking for work, I should try to relax and enjoy the free time, because I won't have much of it when I am fully employed. I should be doing all the things that I have been wanting to do, like exercising, writing (and realizing that just because what I am writing is not "working on my novel," it still involves writing), eating better, learning more about automotive repair, reading, hanging out at the Arcata Marsh, etc. In fact, I have been doing these things, but I have let my worrying about my job/ financial situation overshadow the fact that I am a lot happier than I was a couple of months ago.

Worrying is a habit, and habits can be corrected. I have been re-reading my Moshe Feldenkrais books lately. Feldenkrais believed that if you were aware and conscious of your posture and how you moved, you could improve your health accordingly. I hurt my hip shoveling snow back in Boston a few years ago and the physical therapist I saw mentioned attending a Feldenkrais class. I took some of his books out of the library instead, and began to pay attention to where I was putting my weight, etc and my hip pain disappeared. Of course, it reappeared earlier this year, as I had forgotten to continue to pay attention.

It's all about the follow-through, isn't it? You can discover the solution to some problem, and it works, but for some reason you stop paying attention and it reappears. Gotta stay conscious all the time- its the only way. What is so amazing is how hard it is to pay attention to your own life sometimes, and how seductively easy it is to fall into habits and patterns. At least I know I am conscious right now and am trying to stay that way, which is more than most people can say.

I think I shall go for a bike ride down to the Arcata Marsh, bring a book (currently reading "The Crystal Empire" by L. Neil Smith), maybe write a couple of letters, and enjoy my afternoon. Hopefully I will have a phone message waiting for me, but sitting at home waiting for a phone call is not going to make it happen.

santo26 on 09.21.05 @ 05:19 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

Monday, September 19th

Be Conscious And Ride A Girl's Bike

Music: Jazzmusique (An Internet Radio Station)
Mood: conscious
The jobhunt continues. Sure I have a job at the cinema, but I did not get any hours this week. I sure needed them too. I'm supposed to hear from the library on Wednesday, man I need that job. In the meantime, I am continuing to apply to other jobs.

I am trying to stay positive. I have cut my expenses down to the bare minimum, and might just barely pay all my bills for this month. I guess you can say I am really finally learning what you really do need to be happy.

Yesterday I wanted to check out this marsh near my house. I thought about walking, then driving, but when I went outside, I saw Laura's bike chained up outside the door. I borrowed it and headed off to the marsh. I don't think I have been on a bike in the 21st century. As I started down the hill, I immediately started to feel better.

I checked out the marsh, then as I was biking back the long way, I saw a sign for the Mad River Boat Access so I started down that road. It led me deep into the Arcata Bottoms, the part of the city that is still real live farms. Save for the occasional car or other biker, the only things around were lonely farmhouses and cows. I stopped for a moment and looked at the cows, and they looked back at me. How long has it been since I have seen a cow close up? I made it to a pedestrian bridge that spans the Mad River before I turned back. All in all it was quite a glorious bike ride and I got my mind off of my finances and writer's block for a couple of hours. Just do me a favor and tell anyone I rode a girl's bike! ;-)

So here I am the day after. My legs aren't sore, but my perineum is from sitting on the bike seat. I have rediscovered a great (and absolutely free, since I didn't pay for the bike)form of exercise. I have a list of places to apply to that I am gonna hit just as soon as I finish shaving off my Frank Zappa mustache (hopefully I will appear to be a clean-cut go-getter to my possible employers) and take a shower.

I just finished reading "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, which I hope will inspire me to continue this life of frugality I have found myself living. When I got home from the bike ride, I started re-reading "Awareness Through Movement" by Moshe Feldenkrais. If I can change how I deal with money, then I can certainly go back and continue to change my posture. All it takes is being conscious and aware of what you're doing. It's quite disturbing to realize little you have been paying attention to everything when you are thinking too hard about something.

santo26 on 09.19.05 @ 03:35 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

Sunday, September 4th

santo26 on Consumption, part II

Music: Neko Case

I am currently working behind the concession stand at a movie theatre for minimum wage. I have worked in movie theatres for years now, but since I began working at this one, I have been disgusted by the consumption. A customer comes in and purchases a ticket for a movie made by committee somewhere in Hollywood, cursing the exorbitant price they have to pay to see something they will forget in a few hours. Then they waddle their way over to the concession stand, and I chirpily ask them what I can get for them. They look up at the menu board, squinting and thinking hard about how to waste their money on the toxic food products we have available to choose from. After much deliberation, they choose some combination of soda, popcorn, candy or processed meat, and they hand over their money. They know the prices are severely marked up, that the food is bad for them, but they bought it anyway, because they're supposed to.

They go in and watch the movie, and afterwards I go in and clean up after them. So few of them actually take the time to put their garbage into a garbage can. The way they leave the trash strewn about leads me to believe that either they are completely oblivious or they enjoy the fact that it is somehow socially acceptable to act like a pig at a movie theatre. I don't know which one is worse. At the end of the day, the trash from over 40 performances of these movies goes into the dumpster and deposited in a landfill somewhere.

I've watched this go on for years but it has never bothered me before like it does now. What is it that is different? In a lot of respects, I feel like I have seen the error of my ways. For so many years, I was a good little consumer. When I was a kid, I watched TV and bought the toys I saw on there with my allowance money. When I got my paper route, I bought comics and punk rock tapes. When I was in college, I bought beer and CDs. When I got out of college, it was pretty much the same thing. Sure I saved some money and paid my credit cards every month, but I was still casually consuming whatever it was that I felt I needed. Even my politics to a certain extent was apologism for all this consumption.

So maybe after all that, here I am, working a minimum wage job serving other jerks until I can find a "real job" that pays me enough to actually cover my bills. All I have is the stuff I have. I can't afford anything but food, gas, bills (barely) and some vodka. It has finally sunk in. I don't need much. So why did I used to buy all this stuff I have now? Am I nothing but a collection of consumer impressions? Why do I have random snippets of old commercials run through my head at inopportune moments? Was I making conscious decisions or was I just like these people I deride after all, immersed in a life of False Slack?

I am in a state of flux right now. I moved across the country and left everything behind to pursue a dream, only to realize that it was just another illusion. So I moved to the country and I don't have a TV because I can't afford one- but I don't mind. I like where this is going.
santo26 on 09.04.05 @ 01:07 AM PST [link] [No Comments]

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