Friday, February 17, 2012

Money's Too Tight.

Dear Globlets,

What do you mean I've been away for ages? I've been posting consistently for weeks!

Okay, no more lies.

I'm sorry for my absence. This is the part where I tell you I'm going to write more and try harder and explain why I've been gone.

And this is the part where I write like nothing's happened.

-----

My brother got a job yesterday. My itty bitty baby brother is not so itty bitty anymore, it seems. Though he's 16 years old and as tall as my mom, he'll always be my little brother. (It is likely that there are, as we speak, readers laughing at the thought that something might be little compared to me. Well, ha ha ha I never hit my head on anything because I'm too tall to be alive okay? That's right! TOO TALL TO BE ALIVE.) Moving on... He'll be working as a car-wash boy at a dealership in town.

Oh, the poor baby. He'll have to make nice cars look even nicer, and he'll even have to sit in $100,000+ cars sometimes. Because physically touching and sitting in fancy cars is so not what Adrian has been dreaming about ever since he was an infant. He'll be like the dealership's Stig! Except instead of high-speed racing he'll be doing 10km/h and moving cars back and forth. He has to start somewhere...

He'll be working 8 hours per week, a full day once a week, which is the same amount of time that I work per week. I usually get two 4-hour shifts, which isn't much but it's a good amount with school. The funny thing is he'll be making more than minimum wage. And more than me.

This ties in nicely with what I've been talking about with a number of my friends, though I've only really talked about the difference between pay in Alberta vs. BC. People in Alberta tend to make lots of money. There are a lot of manual labour jobs that, on average, men tend to do. Some friends of my friends do mindless jobs, pushing buttons, sitting on their butts, and they get paid $20/h or more. I hadn't thought about it much until Adrian got his job, but it's possible that the situation can be local as well.

It bothers me. I'm sure there are plenty of retail establishments where the employees do nothing and care about nothing, and maybe they don't deserve $20/h, but those who do their job well... do. In this business, there are a lot of responsibilities - probably more than many manual labour jobs. Money is handled, inventory has to be kept accurate, and fraud must be dealt with. Little mistakes can have costly impacts. Theft is a real thing that, of course, everyone tries to prevent, and knowing what to do during and afterwards is important as well.

So maybe, on the surface, it seems like providing fashion advice really isn't that worthy of higher pay. After all, they're just clothes. Everyone has clothes. You put on a t-shirt and a pair of jeans and you're golden! (Except you're not.) What's the big deal? Well, it is a big deal, and it's harder than you think. In any case, how is fashion advice worth less than pushing a few buttons? Especially when you add on all those responsibilities I mentioned, while still making sure every customer leaves the store wanting to come back and knowing that we actually care. Real emotion goes into it. Actual thought. Physical exertion. But most retail companies only offer minimum wage, whereas manual labour will pay significantly more.

 The cost of living is too high for minimum wage to be so low.

And, wow. Amazing. They're finally increasing it. Except wages should have been going up as steadily as the cost of living has. Going from $8.00 to $10.25 is a good thing, and I suppose it's better late than never, but it really should have come in much sooner. And employees who serve liquor will only earn a minimum of $9.00 as of May 2012. [source]

I'd like to draw you a little picture:
Someone who works full time and earns $10.25 will earn a maximum of $21,320 in a year, assuming they worked 8 hours a day, five days a week, 52 weeks per year - no sick days, no holidays. One semester at school costs over $3,000 (5 courses), not that you could work that much and go to school full time. But let's say you're a wizard and you do. $6,000 goes to school for two semesters. That leaves you with about $15,000. Paying $700 each month for rent leaves you with $6,600, which you can use to pay bills and groceries. That might cost you $300 per month (maybe more), which means you would have $3,000 at the end of it all, assuming you had no other expenses like toothpaste or socks or shoes or prescription medication.

Which is why young people have four options after high school: a) get a student loan and acquire serious debt; b) go to school, live at home, and maybe work some; c) don't go to school and just work; d) have mommy and daddy pay for everything.

It's not a very nice picture.

And if we think about the kinds of jobs women typically do (customer service) and the types of jobs men typically do (manual labour), it's probably safe to assume that the majority of male workers earn more than female workers. I'm being very general, and I don't have all the stats, but from what I've seen and heard, this seems to be the case quite often. What are typically man-jobs pay better than typical woman-jobs.

I'm happy for my brother. I'm glad that his first job gets to be something he'll probably enjoy and actually earn a decent wage from, even if it's only once a week. And I'm not making the case that my employer should pay me more, but rather that the difference in pay between certain kinds of jobs is something we should be thinking about, especially since the cost of living is so high.

I guess I should just write a best-selling series that gets turned into seven movies and makes me lots of money.

No problem-o!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Computers in Class.

Dear Globlets,

I wish there was a PC version of this, too, just so I could mess with all the people checking their Facebook in class.
I
Image from: www.geeksaresexy.net/2012/01/08/how-to-troll-mac-users

There's nothing more distracting. Could they not at least have the decency to sit at the back of the class? Because when they're on Facebook and they're on Tumblr, and images of parties and flashy .gifs are flickering in front of you, you get distracted. You may not stare at the screen over their shoulder, but you'll look over and miss a slide or a helpful tip from the prof.

As much as I'm for the use of technology in school, especially for assignments and checking grades, taking good old-fashioned notes is still the best way to go. Until people are responsible enough to turn off the internet while they're in class (Microsoft Word doesn't require internet access!), then I don't think taking a laptop/Macbook to class is a great idea. Do it if you promise to leave the internet alone. But if you're going to check Facebook and browse Tumblr, sit at the back. The very back.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Frothy.

Dear Globlets,

Have you Googled "Rick Santorum" yet? Because if you haven't, you are behind. Behind. Behind, like a bum. Behind, like your rear end. Behind, like it was almost some kind of pun. A frothy, frothy pun.

Do it now. I'll wait. I'll just sit here until you've Googled it. You might have to scroll down a couple of links due to his recent surge of popularity.


Seriously? You want me to do it for you? Okay, but only if you promise me you'll do it on your own and share it with all your friends...

The definition comes up sooner when you search "Santorum," but I don't feel like re-screen-shooting.

"What is this? How vile. What could have this senator done to deserve this?"

Well.

Ricky, it's the 21st century. People can't get away with saying things like this anymore (nor should they ever have):
“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything… It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution... You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong healthy families... In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing."

(Emphasis added by me.)
Maybe "can't" isn't the right word, because the recent Iowa caucuses imply that they can. Santorum didn't win, but Mitt Romney only won by eight votes. Eight votes. Not eight percent. Eight votes.

(You should follow the @BorowitzReport if you aren't already. Hilarious and clever political tweeter guy.)

If this is all you know about this U.S. Senator, I'll be happy with that.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas: Ori's Version 2011

Dear Globlets,

I work in retail. We don't say "Merry Christmas" when we answer the phone or when we say goodbye to customers,  we say "Happy Holidays." Not everyone celebrates Christmas at this time of year, but it's a rather pathetic attempt to be politically correct. There are Christmas trees everywhere, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas sales, Christmas clothes, and everyone is shopping for Christmas presents. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. It's inescapable. For some, it's too much and they hate it. Others like it, and some don't care too much about it.

When a customer says "Merry Christmas" to me, it's physically impossible for me to reply with "Happy Holidays."

Not everyone knows the true origin of Christmas or the reason we celebrate the way we do at this time of year. But Christians believe it's the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, which is fine. However, a lot of the Christmas-y things we do don't have much to do with this religion. You could then say that Christians celebrate their own version of Christmas, perhaps with Jesus at the centre.

Many others celebrate their own version of Christmas, too, even if they're not Christian. The only difference is that Jesus isn't the star of the celebration. Christmas has turned into something that everyone can participate in.

I'm an Atheist, and I love Christmas. I really do. I love the lights, the decorations, the pictures of snowy scenes with merry children building snowmen, and I like Christmas carols - even the religious ones. I love getting together with my family, dressing up a little, making a big deal about the delicious meals we'll eat. But the main event at Christmastime, after we've stuffed our faces with the most delicious foods that we've been waiting all year to eat, is the gift-giving.

Absolutely, stores love this time. Consumerism is bad, bla bla bla. And maybe some people do get carried away. But to sit around a beautifully lit-up tree with the people you care about to give them gifts that you have lovingly wrapped, and watch their faces light up when they find something that they really wanted tucked inside tissue paper that has been used for at least three Christmases already, is just really nice. The look on their faces when they find a perfect gift, or a funny gift, a gift that has some kind of meaning or that shows that you care and have been listening, is probably my favourite thing. This can include things you've made for them, too: their favourite treat, a mixed CD of their favourite kind of music or new music, a decoration, a photograph, whatever. It's so they know that you've thought of them. It's so that they feel loved.

Gift-giving around the Christmas tree (and eating) is what my Christmas is centred around. For some it's about the food or the company or Santa or the kids waking up early to open their presents, and for others it's about Jesus. But for a lot of people, it's a combination of these things. The variations of Christmas traditions are endless, especially when you factor in other traditions like having the Yule Log or mistletoe, both of which I never recall seeing in our home.

But whatever your version, whether you have a ceramic nativity scene set or a Flying Spaghetti Monster tree-topper, Christmas is for everyone. Call it Saturnalia, call it Yule, call it Pastamas - whatever the name, the sentiment is the same. Get together with the people you love (this means friends, too), set your differences aside, decorate a tree, share meals, give gifts, and spread joy during some of the darkest and coldest days of the year.

And I know I've posted this before, but I especially feel like this when I'm putting together a box for a customer:


Oh, and Happy Holi Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All work and no play.

Dear Globlets,

All work and no play makes my glob a dull blog.

I'm sure you can understand. Before, it was school, and now it's work-work. I'm begging for lots of hours and putting off fun things. It's been too long, though. And all the blog posts stewing in my mind are kind of blending into one. I would anticipate a very long Christmas post in the near future. I'll have to make the time in the next few days. I need to post at least one more before the new year.

And for the record, I do feel terrible for not posting more. I miss it. I really do. Which is why, for an unlimited time, you can now donate thousands of dollars directly to me. Just leave a comment on this post with some contact info and we'll go from there.

Maybe I should set up a paypal account.

I only need two grand. I'm sure you have that lying around somewhere in your New York loft...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Swiss Wedding?

Dear Globlets,

There is only one person in the entire world whose marriage proposal I would accept. Her name is Marissa. And some of you might wonder, "What about her is so special? Why her, and why not me? Why, why, why? Why couldn't it be me?"
And I understand that. But unless you can prove to me that you are of equal of greater value than Marissa, it's impossible. And this is why:



(Asha is her sister.)
Original image:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/howzey/6049620705/

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Perfect Endings.

Dear Globlets,

Apparently I got 50 pageviews the other day. I checked the sites people have been using to find my blog, and, well...

Really?

From Google searches:
"FSM touching"
"nude thirty nine year old women"
"draw a naked woman showing her charms"

And referring URLs:
"naked Jean MacLeod"
"big booty porn"

Awesome. But still, 50? Who are you and where do you come from and why don't you stick around and comment? I'll love you forever.

In other news...

(Lucy, what an awful segue...)

In my WRIT100 class, I found myself defending the creative nonfiction genre. I can't say I loved the CNF section. It was alright. But my classmates have something against creative nonfiction, it seems. In fact, I had to correct them every time they called the genre "Nonfiction." I demanded that it's CREATIVE nonfiction.
"Right, right. Creative nonfiction. In fiction, you can do this, but in nonfiction - "
"Creative nonfiction!"
"Creative nonfiction."
"Creeeaaaative... nonfiction."
"Whatever."

There's a difference. A microwave manual, technically, is nonfiction. A science textbook is nonfiction. Creative nonfiction is something different entirely. I have more to say on this, but for now I'll just bring up the quote I found that made me think of this.
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next." - Gilda Radner
This is what can really separate fiction from creative nonfiction. Real life can be just as interesting as fantasy, if the story is told right. The mundane, as I have said before, can be just as intriguing as the grandiose. The end doesn't have to be the end. Sometimes, the fact that life rarely turns out the way we expect, the fact that shit happens, the fact that humans have flaws and are ungraceful and make mistakes, reminds us of our humanity. And there can be beauty in that. There can be meaning in that. We don't have to go to Oz or to Cloud City or Mordor to find these things. Sometimes we just have to go to the bus stop.

This is something I found on Wiki when I looked up Gilda Radner: "Gene Wilder had this to say about her death:
She went in for the scan – but the people there could not keep her on the gurney. She was raving like a crazed woman – she knew they would give her morphine and was afraid she’d never regain consciousness. She kept getting off the cart as they were wheeling her out. Finally three people were holding her gently and saying, "Come on Gilda. We’re just going to go down and come back up." She kept saying, "Get me out, get me out!" She’d look at me and beg me, "Help me out of here. I’ve got to get out of here." And I’d tell her, "You’re okay honey. I know. I know." They sedated her, and when she came back, she remained unconscious for three days. I stayed at her side late into the night, sometimes sleeping over. Finally a doctor told me to go home and get some sleep. At 4 am on Saturday, I heard a pounding on my door. It was an old friend, a surgeon, who told me, "Come on. It’s time to go." When I got there, a night nurse, whom I still want to thank, had washed Gilda and taken out all the tubes. She put a pretty yellow barrette in her hair. She looked like an angel. So peaceful. She was still alive, and as she lay there, I kissed her. But then her breathing became irregular, and there were long gaps and little gasps. Two hours after I arrived, Gilda was gone. While she was conscious, I never said goodbye."
This is nonfiction, and it's one of the most powerful things I've read in a while. Having read this, I feel like I've learned all I needed to know.

Friday, October 28, 2011

How I Don't Start Writing.

Dear Globlets,

In my last WRIT100FictionSection class, we talked about how we start the writing process. One person said they go to sleep, because they find dreams to be a good source for ideas.

Well.

I had a dream last night where I was drunk. Surprise, surprise. And the city I was in was a triple-city combo: Victoria, Portland, and San Francisco. And maybe some third world country, too, at some point. First, I was in downtown Victoria. Similar to what happens in real life sometimes, I couldn't remember what order the streets were in because the intersections are all similar, and they get jumbled up in my head. I said, standing on Johnson Street, "I've lived here for two and a half years; I should know the streets like the back of my hand by now." Was I with someone? And I've been here longer than that. But I lived in Chile for two and a half years.

Then, I was waiting for the #14 bus, the one I take almost every day, but on the #6 route way out in Esquimalt, and when I realized this, I hopped on the #4 going down the cross street, and then I was in San Francisco. A couple of friends were on the bus, too, and I said, "This bus is not going to UVic, is it?" And they were like, "No, to Hillside." Which might have actually made sense if I hadn't been in San Francisco, because Hillside Mall and UVic are on the #4's route, but the scenery, of course, was totally different.

I jumped off the trolley (yes, trolley now) and started running to Yates Street, because I knew the #14 would go down it (in the opposite direction from UVic, mind you). I ran, and I ran, and I remember there was a lot more running after that. I ran past the courthouse on Blanshard Street in Victoria, and could see where I needed to get to again. My face was bright red, I was out of breath and drenched in sweat, so I stopped at the Red Lion Inn on Douglas Street, except it was actually a colourful tent in a China Town I didn't recognize. There was Johnny, the owner of the dim-sum restaurant in the Red Lion Inn, who we see every six weeks after we get our hair done. There were a lot of old Chinese men, and they all looked at me.
Gasping for air, I said, "Can I have a glass of water, please?"
Johnny turned around, and turned back with a glass in his hand.

At this point, I distinctly remember thinking whether or not I should chug the water, or drink it slowly so that my thirst would be better quenched. A compromise: I chugged half of it. The men were staring at me. I was wearing a black suit (somehow I realized this at that moment). I sloshed a sip of the remaining water in my mouth. The men kept staring. I swallowed the water, took another long sip, sloshed the water around in my mouth some more, letting every corner of my mouth get a little water, and I swallowed again. I'm surprised I didn't gargle. I did this four or five times, still being stared at, still in silence.

"Thanks," I said, and wiped my face with my black blazer, put on a pair of badass black sunglasses that I don't actually own. Then, remembering I was drunk, I thought about how drinking water and sweating would help me sober up. When I started running again, I dropped my iPod, keys, and sunglasses, which were now my mom's brown sunglasses. I picked up my stuff and shoved it in the ridiculously deep pocket of my black trousers.

And then I woke up.

I think I'll stick to other means of story idea formation.

I'm Gonna Live Forever.

Dear Globlets,

BM47F6HT76WP

By posting this code, apparently I'm going to get famous.

Or, you know, not.


(How have 17 people looked at my blog today? Who are you silent, mysterious people?)



Or better yet:

I confess. For the longest time I thought it was "Babe" Bowie was saying, and not "Fame." That's how brilliant I am. Like you didn't already know.




Ori

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Storytime.

Dear Globlets,

After completely over-thinking my creative nonfiction story for the last several weeks, after trying to work with the truth as creatively as possible, the other day in my scriptwriting class, I wrote a short fictional scene for the first time in ages. And man, did it feel good. It felt like I didn't have to worry about anything. I just wrote. I just became that serial killer who walked into the Starbucks. I became the redhead for whom he held the door open. I became that 16 year-old girl he kept looking at in an overly nice but ultimately creepy way. Come to think of it, I should have become the girl's boss a little more, but it was just a scene. And I have the power to change things as I please.

It was an exercise we started in class. We created characters to walk into a coffee shop, gave them some physical description, came up with a few details of their past and character, and established why they were in a coffee shop at that particular moment. Then, we put our notes in a pile, mixed them up, and picked a page to create a scene from. The one I picked happened to be about a serial killer. Then, my prof said to make the character lose the struggle we create for them. Interesting, huh?

I missed writing like that - with just a couple of guidelines. It just flowed. I didn't have to stress over it. And I don't really know why, but I seemed to be really stressed out in my CNF class. To make matters worse, I don't think I did very well on the exam. I don't know what was up with that/me. Maybe I gave too much detail on the definitions and that's why I didn't have enough time for the essay question. At least my scene got 90%. I think my story will do well, especially since my friend Tom helped edit, plus at least 10% of the class's stories weren't actually creative nonfiction. I know my exam was only last Thursday, but I really want to know my mark, simply so I can accept it and move on.

While I have yet to move on, the class has. We're onto fiction now. The introduction to it consisted partly of bashing creative nonfiction. Apparently, I'm the only one in my class who likes the genre - or at least it seemed that way. I don't have to like a CNF class to like the genre. On one hand, I hope the class hasn't ruined the genre for anyone; on the other, if it did, that means less competition for me! Contrary to popular belief, reality can be just as emotional and sensitive and interesting as fantasy. CNF writers can't tell stories about aliens, so there are some limitations, but that doesn't make CNF dull. People are interesting. Beauty can be found as easily in the mundane as it can be in the grandiose. And sometimes it's the littlest of things, the quickest of looks, the sincerest of moments, that make real life interesting and worthwhile.

It is interesting, however, how little I wrote for the CNF section of WRIT100, and how little I'm expected to write for the fiction section. It's one story each. One story? Each story for WRIT100 has had a maximum word count of 1,500. I wrote eight or nine short stories for my fiction class at Camosun, and I believe each had the same maximum word count as these two stories. One of my short stories turned out to be over 2,000 words. I'm not trying to belittle what we've been doing in my WRIT100 classes because I do value it, but I wish we had more opportunities to actually write, as opposed to read and react. Why can't we do both? Read and react, and then workshop a thousand-word short story? A scene. Flash fiction. A conversation. The description of a town. A character sketch. Anything.

I'm probably just being impatient. To do so much at Camosun and then go to UVic to do much less has been weird for me.

But scriptwriting... Scriptwriting at Camosun is getting me thinking. I'm coming up with ideas again. It's like the CNF course sucked the life out of me, sucked the stories out of me. I couldn't think about anything else. All I thought about was, "Dear Lucy, how am I going to end this?" and "What am I trying to say with this piece?". But not anymore. I'll keep writing my own creative nonfiction, but now it's time for something completely different.

It's storytime, Globlets.