Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Too Much & Not Enough

Since my hours have been cut down to half of what I'd like them to be at my job, I started looking for work in my spare time.

I am not a fan of pounding the pavement or doing job searches online. I just get so frustrated with the whole process.
I thought the internet was supposed to make everything immediate. Then why don't employers hire within seconds of receiving your resume? Or at least email you back for a webchat interview or something.
And people complain all the time about how technology has ruined face-to-face contact and real conversations, but have you gone into a business lately asking if they were hiring? The employees look at you like you're crazy. Jobs don't even want you to mail paper resumes or applications anymore.

My problem is that I have too many ideas. I watch television and I see different commercials or news stories about things and I think, "I bet I could do that. I wonder if my degree in education would help me get hired. I don't have experience doing that but I bet I could learn very quickly!"

My other problem is that I care too much. I get angry about the state of the educational system in this state, in this country. I get upset when I hear that the low-socio-economic neighborhoods get the least attention but need the most help. I want to run out and tell them to hire me. I want to run out and tell them I'll give them the attention they need. I want to find the organization that is out there to help the less fortunate and show them I have the experience and the passion to help those who need the help.

But these organizations are run on grant money. My last two jobs have been for non-profits. The theory is that the worse the economy is, the more people give to not-for-profit organizations. And while that may be true in theory, at a certain point people are in such dire straits that they CAN'T give to charities.

I'd love to work to help the less fortunate, but I can't afford to live on little or no money. And the government is too busy fighting three wars and trying to balance the budget to worry about the low socioeconomic neighborhoods.

Until it's election time.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Does anyone live in Portland, Oregon?

Let me rephrase that. Does anyone who reads my blog live in Portland, OR?
Or maybe you know someone who lives there?

Any thoughts on that city, that state, that area? Does anyone have any thoughts on moving to a city you've never visited?

All I know about the area is what I've read or heard second or third hand. I've never been there and I don't know anyone who lives there. So help me out if you can.

Fill me in. Give me the pros and cons. I'll weigh my options and decide eventually, but I just need some details and some specifics.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thoughts on 'Thumbtack'

This song is stuck in my head today.

Every time I hear it, I get filled with a strange feeling of nostalgia and the need to escape.
And with my current mood of anxiousness and frustration and unhappiness, this song is doing strange things to me.  I used to put myself into the role of the singer or "narrator" of the song, but lately I just think about the back story of the song:  Moving to a new city. Putting the map up on the wall and just seeing all the new places there are to explore and visit.

Here's the town we live in
This is how the land lays out
I bought a map
So I could find my way around / way around

Taped the map on the wall

Studied every avenue
I Found my way around
Tried to feel at home for once

We worked out a system

When one of us would leave
A thumbtack stuck showing
where we were going

Like I said, I used to imagine my significant other leaving me soon after moving to a new city.

All the time you wore a hole
The same place tacked over and over
And I never go there, I never go there

But through that hole, you see

My faith in you boring deeper and deeper
Finally through the wall

Map began to rip apart

I watched it fall to the floor
I didn't bother moving my thumbtack any more

But not lately. As of late I am just thinking of the idea of NEW.
I need somewhere new. I get like this. I get antsy and anxious and I need to just leave. I need to just drive and drive. I need to run away. But I usually talk myself out of it or get busy with other things and I stay put. But this time I mean it. This time I need to leave. For good. This town has damaged me. This town has depressed me. This town is killing me.

Maybe the south will do me good. But there's huge storms that would take my home away. And there are earthquakes in the west and tornadoes in the mid-west. The more and more I think about it, the more I believe the north-west would be best. When I was a teenager I wanted to live in Seattle. I could deal with rain better than I deal with snow. And Portland seems like a cool place to put roots down. I don't know. I'm just afraid I'll get stuck in the same rut I'm in now. Maybe I'll never be happy. Maybe I'm destined to be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Here I am talking myself out of it again. I'll never know if I don't just GO.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

No Apology Needed

I complain a lot.
If this is a turn-off, I'm sorry.

But really I'm not.

I think I have problems. I have in my mind a way things should be and the way i want things to happen, and if they don't go the way I envisioned them, it's upsetting. And then I complain.

Everyone is like this, though, right?

I can't be alone here. But now I have this platform to complain and moan and whine and scream and yell and it seems more real for some reason. I can look back at all my complaints and my bad moods and my depressed ramblings. I'm not 100% sure that's a good thing.

Is it good to be able to look back at your moods?
Have you ever read your old journals or diaries? It's scary! I always thought that when I eventually died that all my journals would be published. There would be someone out there that would go through them and take all the curse words out of them and then publish them for everyone to read to see how deep I was. To see how brilliant I was. To see how ahead of the curve I was.

To see how emotional and jaded I was more like it.

I don't mean to complain. I wish I could look on the bright side of things. I wish I could see the glass as half full. But my brain or my soul or my eyes don't work that way.

College students should have good grammar.
Drivers should use their blinkers.
If I leave you a message, you should respond in a timely manner.
The snow should stay away after February.
People should look where they're going.
Everyone should show up on time.
If something is broken, it should get fixed.
People should park between the lines.
Etc., etc., etc.

Am I wrong?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happiness Is Elsewhere

I just heard about another young, smart Buffalonian making plans to move out of the area.

While I was reading her blog post, I was thinking, "No! Don't leave! Buffalo needs you." And she's a cool person. With awesome ideas. But this city has sucked her mind and soul almost dry. She probably doesn't see the point in fighting this city and many of its close-minded citizens (& politicians) to make those ideas bear fruit.

And I can completely understand.

I've lived in Western New York all my life (10- years in Buffalo). This place sucks your energy and your motivation and your happiness right out of your soul. Maybe it's the nine months of cold weather. Maybe it's something else. But part of it has to do with the fact that BUFFALO IS NOT A CITY.

Toronto is a city.
Pittsburgh is a city.
Chicago is a city.
Buffalo is just a big town.

The people here believe the more they say "The City Of Buffalo" the quicker Buffalo will take on the personality of a city. But it won't. It's a factory town. And now that the steel factories and grain elevators have left, it's just a town.

Think about it: everyone is separated by two degrees (at the most). There's no Six Degrees of Separation here. There's a pretty good likelihood that you'll meet someone who knows you or a friend of yours. Buffalo is just a larger version of a one-stop-sign town in rural America.

So it's no wonder people are leaving. While the idea that everyone knows everyone seems like a good thing if you're trying to make moves to do something positive, Buffalo still has a small town mentality.

"Why would you want to change what we have here? We like our miserable existence."

And while that may be an exaggeration, it's not too far off the mark.

This town will suck you dry like a hungry vampire. GET OUT BEFORE IT GETS ITS FANGS INTO YOU!

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Monday, March 21, 2011

No Gumption, or Why I Am A Curmudgeon

I feel like I didn't get anything accomplished this weekend. And I don't mean that in a "I wish the weekend was longer" kind of way.

This past weekend was actually quite slow moving, but I feel like I didn't do anything.
That's not true. I watched about six NCAA basketball games on TV at home. And I read for about four hours or so. And I did a load of laundry. And I went grocery shopping and went for brunch. But I don't feel like I did anything.
If that makes sense.

I could have gone to see a local Irish band play at a bar, but it's the same bar I hang out at and that would have made three consecutive days at the same bar, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to be that guy yet. But after I decided not to go, I found out a few of my friends that I never see were there. And then I saw pictures online of the bar packed full of people and everyone smiling and laughing and having a good time and I felt depressed.  Not really depressed, but upset. There were people having fun somewhere that I frequent and I wasn't one of the people having fun!


There were huge chunks of time this weekend where I just sat on the couch and flipped the channels. I had the time to have fun, but I just couldn't motivate myself to get up and do it.

And Sunday was the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  It is literally two blocks from where I live. And I'm sure it was packed. But I decided to leave the city to avoid it all.  I drove somewhere to do stuff instead of walking to where fun was. And as I tried to get back to my apartment I had to ride through huge crowds of people stumbling around and ignoring (or just not noticing) traffic signals and traffic patterns and cross walks. And I gave them all the stink eye. It pissed me off that they were in my way and were not crossing when and where they were supposed to.

But I think I was actually angry that they were having fun and I wasn't.

What's wrong with me?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Teacher & Twitter

I found this image on my friend's blog and I thought it was great... Luckily (hopefully) none of my students are following me on Twitter... as far as I know..?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reading v. Real Life

I'm reading this professional journal article about raves. Well, it's not really about raves as much as it's about people who go to raves. And what happens at raves.

The paper is called "The Rave: Spiritual Healing in Modern Western Subcultures" by Scott Hutson

He theorized that ravers reach an altered state of consciousness (ASC) with the help of flashing lights, dancing, and strong drum beats. The question is: do ravers NEED all three of these to enter ASC or can they achieve this with just one of the three stimuli? For example, can they get ASC with just the strong drum beats?

I've never been to a rave. They became popular in the US when I was an undergrad and I was more into punk music and drinking by that point. And I've never really been into dancing.

I also have never reached ASC as far as I know. I've been content. I've been happy in retrospect. But even with the help of aids I've never reached what Hutson describes in his paper.

I've been to concerts where everyone is united and it felt like we were all feeling the same thing RIGHT THEN AT THAT MOMENT, but I'm not sure if that's the same thing as ASC.

Any comments or answers from past or current ravers would be greatly appreciated.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can't Get Up From Falling Down

Maybe it's because I've been listening to so much Tom Waits. Maybe it's because I wouldn't have any luck at all if it wasn't for all this bad luck I have. But suffice it to say, I've been down so long, it looks like up to me (to steal a infamous blues line).

Or at least it feels that way.

Sometimes I exaggerate.

All my readers and friends and family know I had a rough go of it lately. I lost my teaching job this summer. And try as I might, there wasn't ANYBODY out there willing to give me another shot. Finally, by mid-autumn, I was hired as a per diem substitute teacher. But it wasn't full time and the pay was NOT cutting it. So on the days I wasn't called to work, I continued to look for work. And then I was hired at a local community college. And I was thrilled!

A few days into my first week I was informed that I was hired as a part-time instructor on an "as we need you" basis. The pay is great but it's stressful not knowing if I will work from one three week contract to the next.

And then my car started acting up.

First it was the fuel filter. Then the alternator. Then the ignition coil pack. Whatever the hell that is.

And now my breaks are squeaking and grinding (slightly).

I can't win!

I guess I should be happy my car waited to start acting up until AFTER there was money coming in, but still. I'd love it if I could get over the hump. If I could get back on my feet.

I just want to give up.
Sometimes I hope someone cuts me off while I'm driving home and totals my car. I actually (not so) secretly wish for my car to get stolen, but the thief would just leave my car abandoned about 100 feet from where they got it from.

I just can't win.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Monday, March 14, 2011

This Weather and These Women

When the temperatures start getting into the fifties, my body starts looking forward to patio weather. That way, by the time the weather gets into the mid-60s, I am all ready to enjoy beers outdoors.

I realize that it is not even in the 50s yet, but it was sunny today, so my car is warm. The warmth in my car messed with my internal drinking clock.

As I drove through Niagara Falls to go from work to school, I had to make a conscious effort to NOT drive past my bar. I had to go out of the way so that my car didn't instinctively take me for beers. And even though my car is patio-less, just the sight of it might have put me in the mood for a cold one.

"Chaz, I think you might have a problem."

After the work day I had, I had to try even harder today to go directly to school without making a beverage stop. I have a serious problem when there is a breakdown of communication. It is very frustrating when everyone doesn't just talk to each other. I am usually pretty good getting people to open up and tell me what's what, but today it was hard work. It doesn't help that I'm the New Kid at work.

I wish everyone could just speak their mind (in a civil tone). Things would be so much easier that way.

Needless to say, work was a bit stressful. And I could have used a beer.

And I do not have a problem working with women. I'll be honest: I am not used to working with all women, but I don't hate it. It is definitely different than working with all men (like at my last job), but it's not impossible. To be honest, I think I prefer to work with women, but I'm not sure if they feel the same way. Sometimes it's hard to read women.

But I'm a professional. I'm a grown up. I think I can do it.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tell. Better. Stories.

Maybe it's the writer/editor in me.
Maybe it's because I've been on Twitter for a few years & I've started to think/talk in 140 character bursts.
Maybe I just like to get to the point.

I've sat through TOO MANY long, drawn out stories and it's just started to get to me.

Just give the bullet points.

Does it really matter what color the car was? Then don't include it in the story. Do I need to know what she was wearing? Then cut it. Why are you telling me how long the traffic light took? Why are you repeating the same information?

I'm tired of sitting and waiting for people to get to the point.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Everyone Has A Little OCD

I like to do things in a specific order. I like to do things in a certain way. But does that mean I have OCD?

Maybe. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I don't think something bad is going to happen to me if I shave before I brush my teeth in the morning. Not consciously anyway. But now that I'm thinking about it, maybe something bad will happen. Maybe I'll be late for work or maybe something will happen to me while I'm shaving because I'm not awake enough to be operating machinery. And if I switch teeth brushing and shaving, will I also shower before my teeth are brushed? What if I get dressed before I shower? That's just a mess waiting to happen! Chaos, I say! Chaos!

So like I was saying: everyone has a LITTLE bit of OCD in them.

I also cannot have a conversation while walking up or down the stairs or while a train is passing because I'm counting the steps or the train cars.

But everyone does that.


Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just a Ghost

I was in Niagara Falls the other day wasting time and I made the mistake of driving around Cayuga Island.

I used to have a lot of friends that lived in that part of LaSalle. I spent a big chunk of my youth on that island.

I can't think of the name of it now, but there's a road all the way in the back along the river. There are some beautiful houses back there. There was a girl who lived for a short time in one of those houses.

Of course this is about a girl, Chaz.

I used to go over and help her with her math homework. There was one day I remember so vividly: it was a sunny spring day and she's waiting for me on her porch. It's a big red/rust colored brick house with a big porch with fire wood stacked in one corner and a swing/bench thingie on the other side. And she's sitting on the edge of the porch in her Doc Martens and plaid skirt and black wife-beater tank top. Although we didn't call them "wife-beaters" back then. We went for a drive and cranked the tunes up and went real fast.

She was friends with all my friends.

This little group has always been and always will until the end.

The problem is she was only in town for the school year then she disappeared. She told us she was from Toronto, but that could have just been a story. There are also no pictures of her. I found one I took in the lunchroom or something & she's in the background, but she's totally out of focus and blurry.

And when I was driving down her old street the other day I couldn't find her house. There were houses with big porches, but they weren't brick. And the brick houses didn't have the same kind of porch. Or they were laid out differently. Or they weren't as close to the road as her house was.

Maybe she was just a ghost. Maybe we just imagined her. Maybe she was a figment of my imagination.

But she seemed so real.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Question. A Discussion.

Is being predictable a bad thing?

Isn't being predictable better than the opposite?

If you were dating someone or married to someone or best friends with someone, would you like to have a good idea what they were going to do next or be completely in the dark about their next move?

I know being predictable sounds boring and being spontaneous is a more likeable quality, but I am not 100% sure being unpredictable is such a positive thing to look for in a friend or mate. But obviously this is just my opinion. If you'd rather hang out with someone who changes his evening rituals each night, go for it. If you enjoy trying to guess which side of the bed your girl friend is going to sleep on, be my guest. If you like dating a guy who goes from watching figure skating to playing a first person shooter video game to writing poetry to making chicken soup from scratch, more power to you.

But you may want to ask yourself why they are acting so randomly.

Maybe you'd be better off with a friend or significant other who follows the same daily patterns.

Am I wrong?
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Teasing Sun

I feel the need to bust out my shorts from storage. Maybe it's the fact that the sun has been shining all day. Maybe it's the fact that my apartment is so warm today.

I should mention that I haven't looked or gone outside yet today.

Maybe it's the time of year. This time last year I was on the beach in Florida. And the year before that. My body has been rebelling against the cold and snow for months & this tease of sun is just messing with my mind. With my body. With my soul.

If I could have it one temperature all the time, forever, I would make it partly cloudy and seventy seven degrees. And if it could stay around one o'clock in the afternoon, that would be even better. I love having the sun high in the sky. Not too hot & humid, but warm enough to wears shorts & a tshirt.

I wish I could have my bare feet in the warm sand. I wish I could trace my footsteps from one length of the beach to the other. I wish I could feel the sun on my face, my back, my chest. I love smelling the salty water. I love tasting frosty blender beverages. I love hearing the crash of the waves in the Gulf.

I need to end this now before I get too depressed.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Friday, March 4, 2011

No Luck But Bad Luck

I wish I lived in a city with a better transit system or in a city where I didn't need my car.

Wait, that's the same thing, isn't it?

As I've mentioned before, my car kind of hates me sometimes. I try to treat her well, but she's a moody ol' thing and she needs a lot of attention.

Don't tell her this, but if I could afford to replace her, I would.

I can't win for losing. Just when I think I'm back on top, something happens.
I lose my job.
My car breaks down.
Or any number of other things happen.

I want a do-over. I want things to go my way. I want to stop waiting for the next shoe and the next shoe and the next shoe to drop. But instead I'm sitting in my broken down car waiting on AAA.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bad Mood

Let's be honest. Some times you set goals for yourself that you fail miserably at reaching.
At the start of this year I started setting daily goals. Benchmark goals. Today's goal was to not let the things my students or coworkers do or say bother me.

I was doing well until about thirty minutes before my work day ended.

I'm not going to get into the details of who said what or who let this conversation snowball or anything like that, but needless to say my mood went from great to good to PISS POOR right quick.

So what do you do when you're put into a bad mood?

I wanted to go straight to the bar and throw back a couple few cold ones.
I wanted to speed.
I wanted to listen to loud, aggressive music.
I wanted to break things.
I wanted to drive the EXACT speed limit in the left lane and not move for anyone.
I wanted to scream and yell and curse.
I wanted to quit and run away somewhere warm.

But I didn't do any of those things. Well, except for the aggressive music.

The old me would have done all of the above, plus a possible unprofessional outburst or three.

I am still seething a bit inside, but writing & breathing & sitting still is helping.

Venting goes a LONG way.

And taking this tie off will help too.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Do Titles Matter?

Whenever I write a blog, I think of the title last because to be honest, I don't really know what I'm going to write about until I'm finished.

I don't want to write a title and then be trapped my it.

"Damn, I titled today's blog 'The Visor In My Car Is Too Short.' Now I have to write about THAT for THIS ENTIRE POST."

I realize I could go back and change the title after I write, but I like to fool myself into thinking anything I write is permanent. Like I'm blogging with a chisel.

But do titles make or break if you're going to spend your time reading a blog? Are you judging a blog by its cover? Are you sometimes upset you spent fifteen minutes reading a blog because you thought "The Hub Doesn't Exist" was about airports?

People say DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER all the time, but let's be honest: how else are you supposed to judge it? We can't be expected to read every book ever. That's like talking to every ugly person in the world to see if they have a good personality. NO ONE DOES THAT.

When you started reading this blog, did you expect it to be funny? A commentary on life? A rant from a semi-sane thirty-something? None of the above?

Going back a bit: wouldn't it be great if you DID have to blog with a chisel? How many less blogs would you have? Can someone invent a red pen chisel so I can correct grammatical errors set in stone?

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7