Thursday, May 31, 2007

My beautiful deck has become Pigeon Patio.
Mamma pigeon introduced her babies to my deck for some shade, sun and peace.
They are very cute.
Their shit is everywhere.

Shit on the landing
Shit on the railings
Shit on the steps
Shit on my hands, as I run about with a bucket, brush and water doing battle

...and more shit is on the way. If you don't leave the house to seek the shit, no fear. Shit will find you at home. Guaranteed.

And in about 15 min., more shit will arrive. I'll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Does this job interview make me look fat?

Yesterday I unintentionally appeared at an employment cattle call. When answering ads, I try my best to avoid employment agencies, but sometimes it can't be helped. Sometimes good comes out of it. But nothing good can come out of an employment cattle call.

The room is always filled with identically dressed people, and there's always the schmuck who interviews you, who seems more interested in the fact that you have a heartbeat than a resume. You then have to endure a 30-45 min sales pitch about what he does and how it's fantastic work, rather than the anticipated 45 min. sales pitch you planned to sell yourself.

Warning signs in his pitch:
  • "Ground Level" opportunity
  • "Possibility of 6-figure income"
  • Defining cold-calling and door to door sales as "Public Relations"
  • The words "We are a legit business" are spoken at ANY time during the course of the interview.
  • About 30 min. into the interview you are finally given enough information about the company where you can figure out what they do - and it is nothing like what is described in the ad.
  • If the interviewer makes a joke about taking you to dinner behind your husband's back, and continues the joke saying we can go couples after you clearly give the impression that you get the joke, but are not flattered or amused by it.

Look. I'm 31 years old. I have been out of college for 9 years. I am not a child. I am not a moron. I am not falling for a ploy. This "opportunity" is selling discount coupons door to door for restaurants. Coupons that's creative is done in India. I have already done door to door sales, back in the 80's with the Girl Scouts. THEY don't even go door to door anymore!

And of course what's better is that these coupons encourage people to consume more. They pay for the coupons so they can have a bargain at a restaurant, and of course will use all of the coupons because they paid for them. Eat eat eat. Consume consume consume. Feed more oblivious cattle who feel they have "benefited" from your product, then invite some of this new American Cow to your cattle call to sell more. "Again, we're a legit business," he says. "Look for our seal on the back of the coupon sheet the next time someone comes to your door". Like hell I will - there won't be time to look for anything, as I will be too busy slamming the door.

So there are lots of ways to make money in America. Many "corporations" of one sales guy lay hiding in industrial parks, behind the masks of fresh faced girls answering phones. I wonder how many people were "recruited" yesterday. I'd call back to say thank you for the opportunity to meet, but I feel this guy already wasted enough of my time. And I wore my suit for that?!?!

Employers: If you cannot describe your opportunity in 1-2 sentences (3 if you have tendency to ramble), do not reply to my job inquiry. Save us both the hassle.

I will do my best to stay true to the mantra:

"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that. " -John Cusack as Lloyd Dobbler in Say Anything

...but I'm beginning to loose hope. Is there any other way?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I came across a blog post today, which spoke a bit to the level of consumerism we as a country have reached...

http://www.chrisbarton.info/blog/2007/05/what-hath-shrek-wrought.html

Being without excessive expendable income, and having just reduced the amount of "stuff" I own due to moving, I have become acutely aware of how my own consumption over the years has unfortunately defined me.

We as a culture have been reduced to one of fear and consumption. What would happen to us if we stopped buying out of compulsion? Would we then have to face our fears of want? It only leads us to consume more - pills, alcohol, food - all industries that profit from insecurity. An insecurity which keeps a passive generation from action.

I am ashamed of myself. Mostly because I'm still having a problem getting past my own fear. Will future generations have it any easier?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


We are quickly approaching the 2 month mark, ladies and gentlemen, and there's still time to get in your pledge of any gainful employment!

You can help a woman in Baltimore Maryland reach her goal of contributing to her mortgage as well as to the good of society. Maybe you need help watching your kids, planting some bulbs or power-washing your deck. Perhaps you need an administrative associate, marketing guru or voice-over actor. Ever think of opening your own teashop? Help her help you by offering her a job!

Time is running out...this offer will expire once enough time has elapsed that our "B'more Hun" looses her mind to vapid afternoon television, fruitless hours of Craig's List job hunting, and the ever-present sense that her in laws have nothing to say about her to her husband other than "why is she still unemployed?" Please pledge now - operators are standing by!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Back in B'more, 1 hour behind mentally and 7 pounds heaver physically.
Thank you to the midwest for the minor jetlag and the lovely bbq...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I am a Yankees Fan.

Clemens is a sell out.

Enough said.
Pouring rain, flash flooding, and now a second tornado in Oklahoma.

Get me the fuck out of Dodge.

I do hurricanes. That's what I know. I don't do tornadoes.

We're just outside of Kansas City MO tonight. Got to walk around their downtown and Westport. Fantastic tea at Teadrops* - solid variety of teas, beautiful selection of BeeHouse teapots, and affordable matcha accessories. The people behind the counter were very pleasant, and I felt welcome. They are very much what I want my tearoom to be - they have "it".

Anyhoo, enough about tea. I'm stalling with my impressions of Kansas. Mostly because I am having problems with finding its redeemable qualities.

I learn something from just about every state I visit, and usually fall in love with one area where I hope to visit again. Branson was something else, as I mentioned. There is a new area called Branson Landing which features local as well as national chain stores in an outside promenade, complete with a huge fountain (complete with show - read lights, fire and FRAMPTON!!! FIIIIRRRE!!!). It was peaceful and lovely for an evening walk. Silver Dollar City is a gem of an amusement park, layered with character and tons to do. Stayed at a swanky hotel and was very pleased with my time there - glittery, gaudy and great.

Kansas has prairies. They are beautiful. Lots of cows. They're everywhere. That's about it.

Something that has me upset for days is the midwestern brand (I do mean brand) of religion.

Even for someone who considers herself faithful, the heartland is over the top. "Christian" religion is everywhere. It made me uncomfortable. Between billboards condemning the sinful and the pro-choice speckle the highways, as well as other instances of this kind of expression, which, due to the reasons why I'm here, I can't elaborate upon. Please trust that the messages was coercive and subversive, conservative and exclusionary and frankly made me mad.

And people are making crazy money off of these messages - kids are wearing t-shirts with altered logos to read something religious. G-d merchandised. And where is the money from that shirt going? Do kids wear this stuff because they believe it or to insure fitting in? The billboards, the huge churches, the flamboyant shows of praise among other things make faith feel less inspired and more socially imposed.

I could not imagine being anything other than a conformist in this place. Perhaps I distrust the midwest because I can feel it's pressure in my chest. If this culture (for what I understand of it) was all I knew I could see it crushing my heart. It'd probably eliminate my acceptance and love for others (which incidentally I learned in church) that have brought a different perspective - and ultimately greater love and joy - to my life.

My soapbox now has a broken board from the length of my rant, and needs to be fixed. That being said I will put it away.

I guess that's all I have to say about that.

-Aj

*Aj approved for delightful tea!
Teadrops
4111 Pennsylvania
Kansas City, MO 64111
(located in Westport)
Made it through a second night in Kansas - it's damn windy out here.
Leaving this morning, heading toward Kansas City MO.
Checkout at 11:00 am - gotta pack up.
More details on my time in the land of Dorothy Gail later tonight (if we have WiFi)...

-Aj

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The tornado touched down about 100 miles west of where we are staying.
My thoughts are with the people down the road who's lives have been altered.
On the news stations, the first question is "how can we help?".
It should be interesting to see how the rest of the day pans out.
Tonight we drove 300 miles from Branson to Witchita, Kansas.

There are many familiar town names to my ears along the way - Oswego, Fredonia and New Albany to note a few. Must have been a migration from the hills and mountians of upstate New York to the prairies of Kansas. Talk about one extreme to another - cause let me tell you, if you have never been to Kansas, it is flat and grassy. Beautiful, but flat and grassy. For miles and miles and miles. I think the people hide in distant valleys or underground, cause the only sign of life you may see for miles are cows, horses, goats and sheep.

The sunset over the prairie was breathtaking.

Then, clear out of nowhere, civilation strikes and you're in Augusta.

It's late as I write, and my body is still recovering from the battle of the bowels. Off to sleep - more Witchita tomorrow.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I have spent the past 24 hours in Branson, Missouri.
The "Capitol of Live Entertainment".
Home of Yakov Smirnoff & the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre.
It's like Lake George, Wisconcin Dells & Niagra Falls had a child, and it grew up to become a God-fearing, America-lovin' drag queen with a yen for floral prints and madris.
I also now know where all of the sequined American flag baseball caps and fannie packs of the "grannie" set came from.

Middle America is very different for me. I grew up on the East Coast. I don't even know where to begin. I'll take some time to wrap my head around it, and get back to you.

In the meantime, I will now go to sleep, resting on a stomach filled with sausage, peppers, beef jerky, bbq brisket sandwich, kettle corn, chocolate dipped strawberry, peanut brittle, beef and shrimp shish-ka-bob, a glass of reisling, and a cup of mango sorbet. I will fart all night, which will keep the bed plesantly toasty. It will also make the tummy ache go away.Thank you Silver Dollar City (most underated and Aj friendly amusement park ever - just needs some good tea - as if I needed to consume anything else).

Hugs and kisses from the Ozarks,
-Aj

Ps. Sonic Limeade is not what I remember. It sucked. If you go for the Sonic Limeade, I highly recommend adding a cherry flavoring to it. Otherwise, it just tastes like sprite.

Pps. Heading to Kansas tomorrow. Left ruby slippers at home...