Saturday, August 27, 2005

reflections on a consumer life

I have officially decided that I have probably broken the "thou shalt not covet" rule in regards to Banana Republic's Fall 2005 line. 'Cause I want it. ALL.

That being said, what I want in particular is this gorgeous satiny skirt in a deep plum color that would, I know, look great on me . . . and would be just perfect to wear to my friends' wedding in a couple of weeks. And the cashmere short-sleeve sweater hanging just above it wouldn't hurt, either.

This, from a rare window-shopping trip to the "big city" (hah!) in which I began to drool over some things and turn my nose up at others. Here are my observations, in no particular order.

1. Profitt's has turned a corner of it's little girls section into a magenta and silver "boutique" featuring make-your-own pucker candy (sour sugar powder strangely reminiscent of those beachy sand art kiosks) and big, bold signs screaming "bling it on." For 10 year olds. Please.

2. It is fun to walk into Hot Topics in completely normal clothing and get a confused, "can I help you?" from the girl behind the counter who has hot pink hair and a ring in between her nostrils. It is even more fun to buy something. My something was a bumper sticker that reads "I *heart* carbs." Yummy! Bonus points: read all of the t-shirts on the wall and giggle to yourself. Almost buy the one that references Pac Man.

3. Mall bookstores are sad. Where's the Starbucks??

4. Are you old when you begin to walk past American Eagle or Aeropostale and you aren't even tempted ONCE to walk in.

5. Speaking of which, wearing clothes that essentially make you a walking billboard is just weird, if you think about it.

6. And, while we're on the subject, why doesn't Abercrombie & Fitch just hang up a mirrored disco ball, shoot out some fog, flash some lights, and hand out glow sticks at the door. It already sounds like a rave. (I can picture the waif-thin employees bobbing trance-like to the music while folding jeans).

7. Indie boutiques are the BEST.

8. The ultimate spend-free window shop is a trip to the antique store with a friend. "Wow, look at this! It's a wall-sconce-candle-thingy from Tibet." or "check out these salt and pepper shakers," or "wait a minute! I had that Ninja Turtles lunchbox in elementary school. I'm not antique!" Occasionally, break down and buy the 1st edition 1910 book called "Audrey's Obessesion" or something. Or the 1940's couch with authentic cigarette burns. It'll be fun.

9. Cold Stone Creamery's Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate ice cream is yummy!

10. Sequin belts. I need one really, really bad.

11. Green corduroy hats look good on me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

ooookaaaayyy

So after posting my diatribe on the futility of being me, I went to bed, fell deep asleep, and dreamed.

Specifically, I dreamed that I had visited my old job at the publishing company. And then I dreamed that I kept a bunch of rather large tropical fish and hermit crabs IN MY CLOSET. ????? Helloooooo? It wasn't even like I had a fish tank in there. The water just stayed in my closet, even when I opened the door. Stranger yet were the fish that simply swam on out into my room in the air. I was particularly disturbed by the giant hermit crabs. I did NOT want them rambling across my walls and onto my face while asleep.

Weird. I don't think I'm even gonna TRY to figure that one out.

1 a.m. sleep-deprived delusions

I snuck up to the den to go online in the middle of the night because my mind is going a mile a minute (or more!), and I can't sleep because the thoughts won't stop running around inside my head. They are self-doubting thoughts, ugly "I won't get anywhere ever" thoughts, scary "I'm running out of money" thoughts, bloated "I'm fat, fat, fat thoughts." So I am typing them out. Spilling my guts. Naming my demons. Be gone!

Fact is, I'm terrified, but I'm trying hard to ignore that as I get used to being a couch potato. One month into my third bout of unemployment in less than two years, and I'm beginning to feel worthless. Again. The worst part is, in the midst of sending out perfected resumes and flawless cover letters, I've become more and more desparate to do my own thing. I have good ideas--great ideas! I have the drive, the desire, the focus. I just don't have the money with which to begin. It makes getting passionate about working for someone else . . . well, much less attractive.

If it wasn't everything at once, I might be able to relax, to reassure myself it will all work out. But then my mind chides, "you need to lose weight and get in shape", "you must pay off your credit card", "you should get a boyfriend and go out more", "you have got to send out those manuscripts you've written!" And, of course, lest for a moment I forget, "GET A JOB!!!!!"

1:16 a.m. now. Tomorrow is another day, or at least Annie says so. Actually, today is already another day. Now, if I can just convince my brain to let me go to sleep . . .

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

economy, my foot

As if I wasn't discouraged enough about my job hunt, I have to go to CareerJournal.com after reading a book that mentioned it, and there I find a discussion board about CEOs and other yuppy types that are in a similar bind. Yuck. Double yuck.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

a pleasant shock!

Here I was, surfing the web for jobs, when I decided to check in on the ol' alma mater. I went to the College of Mass Communication website and almost shouted in surprise. My heart was fluttering with pride, for I found this!

I won a competition to design a logo for the College my last semester of my senior year in '04, but I never heard anything about it after graduating. And then there! Bam! I floats onto the main page out of nowhere.

Now, to some it's no big deal to see a logo they designed in use, but this was a first for me. At a prize of $300, it was the best money I've made to date on a design I've done.

p.s. the design is based on the Mass Comm building's "face" and the concept of information being "broadcast" outward on waves.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

observation

It is nearly impossible to find a decent address book when shopping in a small town!

I tried, and failed, today to find a nice, practical, semi-attractive, LARGE (who can write in those tiny pocket-sized ones!), and, most importantly, MODERATELY PRICED address book.

I need an address book, because, as much as I love paper, keeping my friends, family, and business contact's envelopes (so I can find their addresses) in a box is getting just plain ridiculous. For the last two years, only a fraction of my Christmas cards have actually made it into the mail, merely because I couldn't find an address! How bad is that!

My search, alas, was unsuccessful.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

my dream house

A really good friend of mine recently asked visitors to her blog to describe their dream homes. This was my long-winded reply that I liked so much (I want to buy this place!) that I decided to share it here, too.

My dream home is no more than 2,000 sf. It is either an Arts and Crafts bungalow, or a really nice cape cod cottage, circa 1920, with wooden or new white vinyl windows and window-sill flower boxes, a white front porch, cozy siding, and a yard that is impeccably landscaped in English Country style. Inside, it has quaint architectural touches that make it historically authentic and visually pleasing.

The dining room is painted a deep, bright red (my favorite), with a white chair rail. The kitchen is an Italian-villa aged yellow with sponged or rag texture in varying shades of that color. The cabinets are new, with a medium brown stain and glass windows in the doors. The refrigerator has an ice machine in the door (I've always wanted one of those!), and on the walls are metal or wooden signs saying things like, "Hamburgers, 5 cents each," or "Latte."

The living room is white-on-white, with leafy-green accents and a few red items here and there (because every room needs a little red!). The fixtures are golden, and there is an adorable chandelier with real crystals hanging from the ceiling. Ferns keep you company. The couch, while beautiful, is completely sittable. And you can prop your feet on the coffee table while watching TV (which, incidentally is a widescreen LCD on the wall with Bose surround sound). A couple of my most recent novels are on the end table. Just in case you want to read them.

My bedroom, and the guest bedroom, would be retreats from the world, full of homey comforts and good books to read. If they get a little messy, so what? That's why they have DOORS. Oh, and my bedroom has an attached full bathroom with separate shower and Jacuzzi garden tub.

The third bedroom is my office. Floor to ceiling bookshelves and state-of-the-art technology are in this room. You can see the wide flat-panel cinema screen of my Mac from the door. The floor is tile, because it MUST be easy to clean, after I get paint all over it from my latest art, or perhaps paper clippings and glue from my stationery business. Oh, and I have one of those nifty hands-free, cord-free headsets to wear, because they're just COOL.

Oh, and outside, in the backyard where is is just slightly less beautiful landscaping (the better to fit a sun room, big deck, and small in-ground swimming pool, my dear), is a fenced area for Zoe, my dog, to play in and chase squirrels. And, just after the driveway, there is a separate workshop where I do the letterpress printing of my custom invitations and high-end notecards. Can't have a 2,000 lb. monster in my office, now, can I? Besides, I have to fit the dozens of wooden drawers that hold my metal type, wooden "furniture" to hold the type in place, and pieces of "leading" to fit between the lines of type. Not to mention my expansive collection of 1800s and early 1900s "dingbats" and "printer's ornaments."

I guess that about sums it up nicely! Not too much to ask is it?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

oh, dear



This message brought to you by the Friends for the Responible Use of Fonts.

things to do

1) Get Zoe's nails clipped at the vet's, for goodness sake!
2) Oil change. Again.
3) Volunteer at local library to stay busy and rack up brownie points.
4) Send out sci-fi short story. Stop questioning its saleability. (Is that a word?)
5) Sneak the money from savings account and register business in county.
6) Do not tell unemployed self that I have sneaked money from my savings.
7) Work on promised logo for friend.
8) Work on Christmas postcard/card idea for kick-off design this winter.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

deep in the hunt

The papers have begun stacking up. Newspapers, printouts, real estate/apartment guides. They sit around my room as testimonies to my search for an income.

I am happy to announce that I sent out three resumes and handed in one application this week, with the prospect for more to come early next week.

I have, in particular, one job that I am practically salivating over. I want it. Bad. It's not a design job, but it's something I have 4+ years of experience in. Unfortunately, my experience is nearly five years old now. I'm trying to create a hybrid functional/chronilogical resume that will highlight my experience an downplay the time since my last employment in the field, but that will also honestly portray my work history and abilities. Any suggestions??? I don't want the resume reviewer to think, "oh,this girl is hiding something undesirable. She doesn't have enough experience." Which isn't true. Not at all.

In fact, while the list of functions for the job does include a few things I have not done before, I recently took a printout of the job posting to my former employer in that field and she looked it over and said I qualified for the position! She told me to list her as a reference and said she would do everything she could to help.

Basically, the job post said that the position required a minimum of a college degree in either that particular field "or similar degree." Check. "Some" experience of work experience in the field. Check (4 years). And proficient in Microsoft Office. Check! (OK, so I need to improve my Excel . . . but I can still use the program effectively. And I know how to click on "Help.")

The clincher for me is the salary and benefits offered. For someone like me they are GOOD. Good enough for me to not only move to a nearby city, but also rent a decent apartment or rent a cheaper one and save for a down payment on my cottage of dreams! It would also help support Ruby Red, by helping finance my start-up.

And I could go clothes shopping again. Without guilt!

Did I mention I want this job?!!!!

I'm almost afraid to admit how much I would love to work at this particular place. I'm afraid I'll get my hopes up so high that I'll come crashing down again when I don't hear back from the organization. I actually applied for a lesser position at the same place during my last job-hunt and was sent a generic letter 3 MONTHS LATER saying they had selected a more qualified and suitable applicant.

This time around, however, I heard about the job from the Career Center for my local area. Supposedly they have "referred" me, and out of my entire state, only 10 people can be "referred" for this position. Whatever that means.

Granted, the position is also listed on the bulletin board of said organization, as well as online. So, many other people can apply outside of the Career Center.

Am I rambling? Am I hoping against hope?

We'll see.

(But I want that job!)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

can you hear the Twilight Zone theme song???

I've been having crazy thoughts lately, people. CrAZy.

Crazy, like, "well, since I don't have a job, why not . . . go to school again?"

The thoughts are in the works. It's all rather hush-hush at the moment, so I can't divulge any particulars, but let me say these thoughts have definite life-changing potential if I decide to follow through on them.

Monday, August 08, 2005

making me glad I haven't bought Quark 6.5 yet!

Did you hear? Did you know?

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

For those who might be a tad slow to pick up the faster-than-a-speeding bullet rate of the technology business (i.e. ME) I am pleased to belatedly announce the astonishing, amazing, completely and totatally, like, awesome news that Quark is expected to release QuarkXPress 7.0 by early next year and maybe even sooner! This, according to last month's creativepro.com story, which you can read here.

Especially juicy features of the brand-new QuarkXPress is OpenType capabilities, transparency settings that give Photoshop a run for its money, and better screen drawing . . . sharper images on screen.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

see?

I am upbeat once more.

Did a "stationery company" search in Google News to perk me up and found an interesting little story about Crane & Co. papers on the Boston.com website.

Unfortunately, the direct link was too long, but you can access it by going to the Technology section and signing up for a free registration to read the articles. The one I'm referring to was published August 1, 2005 and is titled "Nothing Counterfeit About Success." Here's a little snippet:

"In the mid-19th century, Berkshire County paper maker Crane & Co. devised a way to stop counterfeiters from bleaching bank notes and reprinting them as higher denominations. Crane weaved silk threads into its paper, distinguishing $1 notes with a single thread, $2 notes with two threads and so on."

The article then goes on to discuss how Crane & Co. has once again helped the good 'ol US of A keep our bills from being forged in the present day.

Just goes to show that paper people are the innovators of society! (well, maybe a bit dramatic . . . but you know what I mean.)

ok, i'm done whining now

really.

tennessee is not graphic-design friendly this month

There is hardly any graphics jobs open at the moment, and even fewer that I qualify for (most are art director type positions).

On one hand, I am hearing my little benefits-hungry voice saying "Go get a job! Any job! Now!", and on the other I hear the creative monster inside saying "NoooOooooOoooOOOo!", "I don't wanna!", "Do your own thing."

Shut up, you two.