July 25, 2007
When It Rains, It Pours
Let me tell you. For a long time I've been trying to get out of Boston. I've been here for, what, 6 years now and find it absolutlely... blah. It is NOT a city that I would want to put down roots in, most espeicially because it is not cost affordable. For example, rent for a two-bedroom apartment around here ranges from $1500 to $2600... which is just ridiculous. And has totally prompted me to start saving for house.

In order to do so, I have decided to work three jobs next school year. So far, we're looking at teaching at a Local College (two classes, three days a week, with 2 hours of office hours), working at a Major Bookstore (two-three days a week, including the weekend), and working as an office monkey (three days a week). I'm also toying with the idea of getting a second teaching job and cutting out the office monkey job.

Awhile back, I was desperate to get out of Dodge and get back to my hometown. As a result, I applied to a plethora of schools within a 40 minute driving radius. One school in particular looked hopeful until I didn't hear back from them for weeks and weeks DESPITE a follow up email and phone call. I wrote them off as yet another place that wasn't going to hire me.

Until today.

Apparently, they want to interview me. And they want to do so next week. Which is crazy, as this particular school starts back up mid-August. Which would give me a week to wrap everything up here in Boston, pack and move. Whew! Assuming, I get the job of course.

In the mean time, I have already submitted a work schedule change at the Major Bookstore and applied to the second teaching job. Which means I potentially have a lot of options, with a lot of decisions, all at once. Do I take the pay cut for a positoin with more responsibililty? Do I move home with mom (which kind of negates the pay cut stress as I won't have rent)? What about friends? Do I even stress about this yet, as I haven't gotten an offer?

Which is TOTALLY stressing me out. Completly.

And I still want to move to Savannah.

posted by Tina at 12:42 PM
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July 23, 2007
Potter-ed Out
So I read the book. I estimate my accumulated number of reading hours to be approximately 7.5. My thoughts (and no spoilers here folks) is that the book was exactly what I expected it to be with very few surprises. In a sense, it completed the story, wrapped up any loose endings, but had a few incredibly smarmy moments that I could've done without. I also thought that there was a stretch in the middle there where I wasn't so sure if JK had a plan or not in regards to where the story was going. The characters spent a lot of time just moving from place to place with little action or relevant plot development that hadn't already occurred. I felt like saying, "We get it, JK, Hermione and Ron are madly in love in that awkward teenager way and Harry has a Mission to complete with little to no plan. We get IT." And, I thought that JK was a leeeetle too expository at the end--a little too tell-y and not enough show-y. All Blah blah blah, lets explain what juts happened and re-explain what's been happening for the past six books before we conclude this story. As both a writer and a student of writing, I shuddered a little bit and found that nasty little voice in my head going "Show DON'T tell!" Over all though, a satisfactory ending, cause at least she had one.

'Nuf said. Now... back to our regularly scheduled reading....
posted by Tina at 9:38 AM
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July 19, 2007
The Times, They Are A Changin'... and I Don't Like It One F*cking Bit
When my parents first built our house I hated it. I was at a point of transition in my life, and generally miserable all of the time. I was graduating high school, my friends were leaving for college, I was leaving for college and my parents were selling the house I had called home for all 18 years of my life. I knew that everything was changing and would never be the same ever again and I was rebelling with every fiber of my being. I screamed and cried and sulked. I got angry and didn't talk to my family and friends for days at a time. I proclaimed that I would never live in the thing that my parents were building and I definitely would never call it home.

Yet they built it, making sure to include a room for me complete with curtains of my choice, and over the past ten years that new house has become my home. It is not just a place that I crash at when I'm passing through or on the holidays, but a place that I long and yearn for.

Since the beginning of this year, however, that's slowly started to change. Home no longer is a palce to go for a homecooked meal, a round of train dominoes, and a good late night chuckle over a can of beer. Home no longer means every seat at the table is filled. Home means that my mother sleeps alone in a bedroom with a an half empty closet, and that my sister's room echos with the ghosts of her memories. Home means that I sit alone late at night with a rapidly warming beer.

I want my old home back. I want the security and feeling of luck that comes from a stable two parent home. I want back the blissfully unaware ignorance that comes with thinking everything is ok. I want back the idea that sure, we might not have a lot of money, but damnit we had each other and thats a hell of a lot more than some people. I want to stop pretending that this is ok, that we'll be ok, that everything is the same even when nothing is. I want my sisters sleeping in the basement and my parents snoring above me.

So I say, f*ck you change. Get the f*ck out of my life.
posted by Tina at 9:34 PM
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July 18, 2007
On Male Strippers
Went to a bachelorette party this past weekend. While the night was by and large exactly what I have come to expect and accept (and enjoy) as the norm for such events (pre-gaming followed a limo ride and bar crawl through various establishments) this one had a twist.

Male stripper. That's right folks, a man who is gainfully employed to travel from abode to humble abode and take off his clothes for highly intoxicated groups of giggling women.

Now...let it be known right here and right now I do not, I repeat, do NOT enjoy male strippers. I find them to be obscene, gross, and a plethora of other disgusting and disturbing adjectives. Often they are sweaty, and smelly, and have long nasty hair (on their heads, not their bodies which, sidebar, I find it fascinating how far our culture's love of hairlessness extends...but more on that in a second) that they love to rub all over drunken unsuspecting female spectators. And, unlike female strippers, male strippers seem to have no bubble of personal space (this is your dance space, this is mine...) and freely enter into the drunken unsuspecting female spectators space. Worse yet, they seem to think that not only do we want them to touch us, but we want to touch them.

Ummm... no.

Let it be known, right here and right now, this was not my first trip to the rodeo. Oh no, dear reader(s), I have seen the male stripper in his full glory: the Revue.

During college, some of my younger sorority sisters decided to *surprise* use older sorority sisters with a trip to see a male stripper revue at a delightfully hick establishment called The Stump. Needless to say, large quantities of Pepe Lopez (Jose Cuervo's white-trash cousin) were ingested just to cope with the heinousness of the situation. I vowed, as I prayed to the porcelain gods much later that night, that never again would I allow a slimy man sporting any sort of banana hammock, be it striped, spotted or solid, to ever touch my person ever again. Ever.

So needless to say, imagine my surprise when I heard the vicious little rumor that the bride-to-be's mother-in-law had procured a stripper for the little shin-dig I was in the process of attending. I nearly dropped my beer, ladies and gents. Nearly. Dropped. My. Beer.

We were instructed to act surprised when a gent in "fireman gear" knocked on the door. Let me just say, it didn't improve from there. The man, who identified himself as "Billy the Kidd" proceeded to crack every "is it hot in here or just me?" joke that he could think of before taking off his jacket, hat and tear-away fireman's pants. He just ripped those suckers right off... but not before "teasing" us by sliding them down and then back up his hips. At one point, dear readers, I thought the man was fully nude under those pants as there was no evidence of any sort of under-roos what so ever.

The rest of the...event... consisted of dear Billy the Kid grinding his hips, ass and any other part of the groin area in the bride-to-be's face. At one point, and I kid you not, she actually said, "could you please back up a little?" And when he wasn't grinding up in her grill, he was busy dirty dancing with the... elder... ladies in the audience. Let me just say, if I were EVER to see my mother getting her freak on with a nasty-ass male stripper, I think I would vomit. So much love and kudos to the bride-to-be for her fortitude and ability to keep her lunch down. Not that my mom (or any other mom) for that matter is disgusting or vile. Quite the opposite. Just... its mom... with a nekked man. Who had a LACERATION between his but cheeks. Seriously, a LACERATION. I am happy to say that I missed a large portion of the cottage-cheesed ass grinding and banana hammock swinging from my vantage point at the basement bar which I (and my like minded friends) beat a hasty retreat to upon the first hint of grinding and swinging.

However, upon (drunken) threat of death I was ordered back outside by the bride-to-be, where I was fortunate enough (insert sarcasm here) to participate in Billy the Kidd's grand finale: The Turning of the Tables.

Dear old Billy handed the bride a wad of dollar bills and instructed her to place them on various parts of her loved ones and friend's bodies. Which she did. Then, with boom box blaring (did I mention that like some perverted Ken doll, Billy the Kidd not only had clothing, but his own accessories?) he travelled from woman to woman, sucking--yes, SUCKING--the bills off of wherever the bride had (drunkenly) placed them. Suffice to say, I moved mine from my cleavage, to my shirt sleeve. It was at this point that I experienced the Billy the Kidd Experience up close and personal. Details are as follows:

Billy the Kidd definitely stuffs his hammock. Either that or he suffered a freakish accident while in the circus and had an elephant shlong sewn on by some dwarf clown.

Billy the Kidd shaves his arms, legs, and chest but not his face. And apparently was suffering from a full body five o'clock shadow that day.

Billy the Kidd has flabby butt cheeks that are as dimpled as a baby's knees.

Billy the Kidd apparently bathes in cheap cologne.

Billy the Kidd might be a farmer in his other life, as evidenced by the tan lines half way down is non-existent bicep.

Billy the Kidd clearly wears socks with his flip flops.

As I recovered from the horror of my experience with a healthy shot of tequila, Billy the Kidd packed up his boom box and left some cards on the pool table just in case we ever required his services ever again. Based on the tanned, bulging and well oiled biceps in the picture on his calling card, I assume that Billy the Kidd is a wiz at Photo Shop.

To be fair, the Billy the Kidd Experience was... educational. I learned that when confronted with male strippers, ones best defense (and offense for that matter) is to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. Because anything and everything is more fun when you're inebriated.

posted by Tina at 10:46 AM
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July 13, 2007
Wanted: One Chill Roomie. Must Like Cats and Plants
When I moved to Boston some 6 years ago now, I did so because I had recently graduated from college, did not relish my hometown job prospects, and my parents were quickly driving my insane. I needed to get the heck out of Dodge and fast. So when a good friend from college called and said that she was lonely and that there was a free room available in her apartment, I couldn't pack the Pontiac fast enough.

My first year of roomie experiences lead to a beautiful relationship (purely platonic) with another one of the roomies. We lived together in relative harmony for four years and then she bought a condo. I was devastated and heartbroken. I nursed my wounds in a roomy studio apartment, during which time I acquired the second of my two cats. One day I found myself talking out loud to my furry felines and realized that a future as a crazy cat lady scared the bejezzus out of me.

After many tearful calls, I managed to swindle, er... I mean convince my baby sister into moving to Boston with me. She stipulated that this arrangement would only be for a year until her future hubby got back from Afghanistan. I said that was fine cause, Lord willing, I wouldn't be living in this cesspool of a city beyond one more year if I could help.

Well, a years almost up and it appears I couldn't help it. Though I'd love to pull up roots and move to my (never seen yet) beloved Savannah, GA, I just can't bring myself to do it. The strong desire of my waning youth is for stability. Here, in craptacular Boston (which may or may not be getting a casino--even less incentive for me to stay here) I have a job, but the expensive of living in this city is astronomical. I would love nothing more than to move home for a year, live with the Mom's pay for food and maybe chip in on some other bills, and save money for a house. But no job there. And I don't want to not teach next year as I feel if I lose momentum now, its just too large a horse to try to crawl back up on.

So that brings me to the current dilemma: finding an apartment and a roomie. So if you know of anyone who is chill, laid back, doesn't party too hard, doesn't do drugs, is reliable, and won't skitter away to their bedroom and hide from me, and is willing to tolerate 2 cats and a gaggle of plants, please do pass along my info.
posted by Tina at 12:34 PM
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July 11, 2007
Hot in the City
So recently, around these here parts, its been getting a little toasty... and humid. I love the toasty, not so much with the humid. Not only does it do terrible things to my normally straight and glossy locks (i.e. makes them into a ginormous, poofy mess of snarls that refused to be soothed by any sort of product, expensive or inexpensive), it makes me hot and sweaty. Which I don't like to be unless I'm purposefully making myself hot and sweaty (i.e. burning off all those margaritas--which I just learned can contain over 300 calories a piece (times six, carry the one...) and grill goodies). So I bought a (second) air conditioner, as the first one went into my sister's south facing (and thus all day sunny) sauna of a room about a month ago.

Now, we like to think of ourselves as responsible air conditioner users. We don't turn them on when we're not at home (the cats can suffer) and we only turn them on when the heat (and humidity!) is unbearable. And trust me, when you live on the top, south facing, corner apartment of a five story building, the accumulated heat of the four floors above you plus the baking power of the sun's rays can make it pretty darn hot.

Here's the problem with the air conditioner.

When I was in college, I was in a sorority (judge if you must and whatever, you wish you were as cool as us) and there was apparently some mythical rule that we all had to sleep in one spot. All of us. In. One. Spot. So what would have been traditionally attic space became a large-sized Little Orphan Annie-esque dormitory. Picture if you will, 20-some identical beds lined up in three rows. To go along with this law or rule or whatever it was--we never "really" successfully found out if it was an anti-brothel law or some antiquated tradition left over from when a women's virginity actually counted for something--we were required to keep all of the bedroom windows wide open. Something about a confined area, too many people and disease. Now, keep in mind, I attend college practically in Canada (seriously, St. Lawrence University... look it up). So it gets pretty damn cold at night.

This was some of the best sleep EVER. Seriously. The women were not allowed to wear any sort of swishy gym pants, as there were no alarm clocks someone gently woke you up (reminiscent of when I was just a wee lass and my mom or dad would get me up for school), and lots of blankets which I love snuggling under (I can't even sleep in this hot, humid weather unless I've got at least a sheet pulled over me), and fresh air blowing across your body. Maybe you had to experience it love it.

ANYWAYS... the point is, now I can't sleep with shut windows. Even in the winter... and trust me, it gets pretty cold here in craptacular Boston. So now that I've got this air conditioner in the window, I've been having some problems sleeping. Yes, I still have air blowing across me, and the hum of the air conditioner as it kicks on and off through its energy saving cycle is delightful but it just... lacks something.

*Sigh* I want my fresh(ish) air back.

Side bar: last night I woke up to this weird scrabbling noise under my bed. It would start for awhile, then stop, then start up again. I used to have these nightmare when I was a kid that there was something under the bed that was coming to get me. My daddy told me (and maybe there is where the thing about always sleeping under a blanket comes from) that if I fell asleep under the blankets, the monsters couldn't get me. So after much debating, and blanket burrowing, I grew a pair, found my bedside flashlight (good for late night reading when one is too lazy to get up and turn on the bedside lamp that is stupidly placed at the foot of the bed) took a deep breath and peered under the edge of the bed.

And promptly scared the ever loving sh*t out of Pretty Kitty, who bounced off the walls of my room emitting little sounds of panic until I got up, opened the door and let her out.

posted by Tina at 12:14 PM
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July 08, 2007
Look to the Future...
Recently an elderly relative mine, upon deciding that paying taxes on her accrued wealth was just plain silly, gifted me a sizable amount of money. She stated, rather kindly, in a letter that this sizable sum was to "help me get a leg up" on life be that paying off debt, investing in my retirement or starting to save for a house.

Which got me to thinking. I am part of a generation that has been taught and encouraged to spend, spend, spend with little thought as to the amount of debt that we're accumulating. I feel as though that there has just recently been an inundation of concern regarding our future. Sure, we're told to invest aggressively as our youth can afford the ups and downs of the stock market, and if we invest wisely as well, we'll all retire millionaires. Yet, are we truly retiring thus with our various school, credit, car and mortgage debts?

The quintessential American dream is based the idea of a house with a picket fence, 2.5 children, and a Humvee. At the risk of sounding "old timey," this is a dream that is not achievable by mere sweat on our backs but rather, with a flourish, signing away 20-30 years of ones life.

Yet, with my two degrees, 10 year plan, 401K and savings for a house, I am living this American dream. And I've got the debt to prove it.

Tags: ,
posted by Tina at 8:38 PM
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July 06, 2007
In Need of a Little (Tech) Support
So, as I can not currently afford a new computer, my computer was sent to the shop for a little tune up. Something with the fan and the internal works heating up and burning my legs just didn't sit well with me. I mean, it is a LAPtop which means I should be able to safely sit it on top of my lap and work, right?

Anyways, lovely Major Computer Company fixed it for free, despite the fact that my warranty ran out. So we packed it up sent it off, and made special arrangements for them to deliver it back to me post-sister's wedding. Everything went fine until I tried to re-insert/install the hard drive last night and...

Blue Screen of Death.

I attempted to reboot, figuring the computer was just being cranky. I even turned it off and walked away, hoping to lull it into submission.

No dice.

After approximately 3 hours of hair pulling and teeth gnashing, I caved and called the number that Major Computer Company has supplied on their summary of services sheet.

Now, I'm fully aware that most major computer companies--hell, any communication company at that--has outsourced their customer support to India. In fact, I wrote a whole long piece for my thesis on this very subject that, if you're interested, is posted some place on this blog (I'm too lazy to try and find it right now). So I wasn't surprised to hear the bubblingly melodious voice from half a world away. What I was surprised at however, was the conversation that unfolded.

After thirty of my precious cell phone minutes had ticked away, and I have informed the voice MULTIPLE TIMES that I have reinstalled the hard drive, that the Blue Screen of Death with the clearly stated ERROR message will, in fact NOT disappear, and that I need tech support, the voice on the other end of the phone asks me this:

CS: Ma'am, did you re-install the hard drive?

Me: (for the millionth time) Yes, I reinstalled the hard drive.

CS: And you still have a blue screen?

Me: (for the millionth time) Yes, I still have the blue screen.

CS: And the error report?

Me: (again, millionth time) Yes, the error report is still there.

CS: And you can not turn the computer on, access your files or the internet?

Me: (*sigh* millionth time) That is correct, I can not turn my computer one, access my files or the internet

CS: Ma'am, it is appearing that you need customer support.

What I want to say: No sh*t Sherlock! You're powers of deduction are astounding!

What I actually say: Exactly!

CS: Ma'am please write this number down. 1-800-gof*ckyourself

Me: Thank you.

CS: And one more thing ma'am. You should try logging on to www.thiscomputercompanysucksbigfatfloppydonkeydick.com. Once there, you can access an online chat with one of our tech support technicians and they should be able to clear up the problem for you.

Urm...Right. Log on. To the computer that won't turn on. Yeah, I'll get right on that....

posted by Tina at 10:29 AM
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