Monday, June 26, 2006

Come One, Come All...

It's a freak show out there.

Saturday night I had a night out on the town with the girls. There was Heather, "A."," N.", "S.", and myself (they're just getting initials because I don't intend to write about them again... I'm afraid of running out of fake names). The plan was to have dinner at Red Lobster, then go to the beer tent at the local Polish festival, then we would be off to Midland Street for some dancing (maybe... I'm typically not a dancer).

Before I left, I sent a text message to my friend "Richard." He's always wanting to meet up with me if I'm out, so I thought I'd offer. Correction. He's always trying to get me drunk so I'll sleep with him, though I have assured him that he will never be successful because I know him too well. Any of you who were reading my former blog in November last year might remember him as the friend I was babysitting for and his estranged-yet-live-in girlfriend (not the baby-mama) came home when we were watching a movie. Anyway... I digress.

So, I met Heather at Red Lobster at 7:00. A. has a bad habit of always running behind, so we joked that we should have told her 6:30. Sure enough, when Heather called her as we were being seated, we found that A. was just doing her hair, and since N. was riding with her, she would also be late. S. wasn't much better as she was just leaving her house. Luckily, we had a very entertaining waiter who kept us stocked in iced tea and appetizers while we waited. First A. and N. arrived, then S., so we were ready to order, but A. had to make a snide comment along the lines of, "It would be nice if we could ever order."

Freak #1=A. Like she had any place criticizing anyone else for being slow.

Dinner went well and we were just getting ready to head out when I noticed that I had missed a call from Richard. I called him back and learned that he was already at the beer tent and that I should look for him when we got there. A. and N. went on ahead as the rest of us went back to Heather's apartment so that we only had to find one parking spot rather than three.

Richard was very anxious to see me as he called me repeatedly on the way there, but the beer tent was packed and I couldn't find him anywhere. When I finally did, I realized that he was feeling no pain. He had spent the day drinking at the River Roar, then continued at the beer tent. We stood and chatted for quite some time, and Heather and S. even managed to find us, at which point Richard began to leer at S. I understand this, as S. is much hotter than she will allow herself to believe. She looks a lot like Sarah Jessica Parker. But the fact that Richard would stare at her, then whisper something letcherous in my ear was a little difficult to stand. Oh, but it gets better. Just as my girls and I were getting ready to go wander again, who should appear with a fresh beer for Richard, but H., his aformentioned girlfriend. You know, the one he has been trying to get to move out for over a year. The one that he swears realizes that they aren't really together anymore. The one who walked in on the two of us cuddled together on the couch as we watched a movie a few months ago. Yeah, that one.

We bolted to the other side of the beer tent in search of A. and N. I sent Richard a text message of "U R such an ASS." He called me immediately to ask why (duh!), then asked me to "Hook [him] up with [my] hot blonde friend." I told him that I would prefer to keep her friendship.

Freak #2 and #3=Richard and his girlfriend. Him for so many reasons. Her for staying with him even though she's got to know what he's really like.

The rest of the time at the beer tent was relatively uneventful, with the possible exception of having to wait for-freaking-ever for A. to get done talking to her ex-boyfriend. So off we went to Midland St.

After entering at Lucky's and moving into Westown ($5 cover charge! Are you freakin' kidding me?), we found ourselves shifted off to the side where we could watch the action. This is where Heather and I (neither of us are huge fans of dancing) like to pick out the biggest dorks in the bar. Usually it's some guy who is at least 55, but that night we also had one with a sweatshirt tied around his waist. I guess you had to see it.

A group of guys walked by Heather, S. and I, but one of them literally stared at me as he passed. It was unnerving. After he passed, I shifted my gaze to Heather where we exchanged looks of amazement. And then he came back. And he growled at me. Yes, I mean it. He growled at me.

Freak #4=Guy who growled at me. Enough said.

And then we get to the point of the evening when S. started to get all pissy because we weren't dancing. S. loves to dance. I see it as an illness. Finally A. and N. took her out to the dance floor so she could dance. But the really great part came later when she complained about how many black people were in the club. Loudly. Several times. Heather and I wanted to pretend we didn't know her.

Freak #5=S. for whining when she doesn't get to dance, then complains about the diverse crowd on the dance floor.

*sigh* I think I'm getting too old for that world.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Idiocy Update

Ben's author presentation was tonight. They are supposed to be five minutes long. His went on for Twenty Minutes. He talked about Anne Rice. A fabulous author, I will concede, but young adult author? I think not. But at least I now understand why he didn't have time to finish our group books since he had to read two Anne Rice books for the author presentation. Apparently he didn't quite get that the beauty of young adult literature is that they are, for the most part, short and easy reads. Most definitely shorter than The Vampire Lestat and Memnoch the Devil.

Ugh... just one more week (or less if I can get my final paper done sooner) and that class will be done. I just told Heather tonight that I think my time would have been better served this term if I had just gone to the library and checked out a dozen YA books and read them. I would have learned a lot more about YA literature without the idiocy of my groupmates.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Is It Just Me?

I don't think so, but here goes.

For my young adult literature class this term we have been doing literature circles. Our instructor had us group up by our current or future jobs, so I am in a group with two other future media specialists (the other groups include elementary and secondary teachers and public librarians). Our group is smaller than the others (most of which have six or seven) for some reason, but I didn't think it would be a big deal. Except that it seemed like every time we met in our groups, one of my group members would be absent (I admit I was gone from class one time, too, but I knew we weren't meeting in groups that night).

First, no one wanted to pick which books we were going to read, so I finally picked two and said, "Are those okay with you?" No one complained, so we went with them. The first time we met to discuss the first book, I was the only one who had even started it. "Meg" had gone online to print out the Spark's Notes. "Ben" was absent, but informed us the next time (by which time I had finished the book) that he had seen the movie. Being the sarcastic little wench that I am, I simply commented, "Silly me. Here I actually intended to just read the book."

On Monday, Meg was absent, so I met with just Ben to discuss our second book, which I was about two-thirds done with. Not only had Ben not even started the second book, but he still hadn't finished the first one! We were informed by our instructor that, during today's class, the literature groups would be informally sharing their readings with the entire class. I wasn't too worried, as I was nearly done with the second book, but hoped it would be enough to get Ben's ass in gear so he would at least finish the first book.

Once again, silly me.

Meg was absent again. The class sat in a big circle around the room and the groups started to share. I leaned over to Ben and said, "I'll talk about Summer of the Monkeys, since you haven't read it yet, and you can do The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." He got this frightened look on his face and started stammering. And then he tried to get me to talk about both books because, "Well, I'm not at all prepared because I was trying to get my author presentation done." Which is crap, by the way, because he didn't even do his author presentation today, which means it's not until next week!

Absolutely stunned that this grown man (he's a good ten years older than me) was trying to get out of his share of the work, I finally said, "Well, I don't have anything prepared either, but we're just sharing what the book is about. You can do that much." And then I pretty much refused to even look at him the rest of class. And you know what? Something about how his presentation started out very detailed and then got very general tells me that he still hasn't even finished reading the book. He better hurry... our notecards are due a week from today.

And it gets even better. The next group to share was talking about Hoot, and Ben felt the need to chime in with details about it. The only problem is that the details he was sharing were from the movie that came out last month, not the book. When people started looking at him like the idiot he was being, I did him a favor and leaned over to say, "That's not in the book." He then, wisely, stopped talking.

So, am I unreasonable to expect that my classmates in a graduate level course actually do their work? I mean, it's not like we had a ton of dry textbook reading to do. We were reading books for kids and teenagers for God's sake. I guess I should just be grateful that no part of my grade depends on the work of those nitwits.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

You Say It's Your Birthday...

No, wait, that's me. Actually, I'm taking a cue from my Dad. He no longer has birthdays. He has anniversaries, as in, "the 32nd anniversary of his 39th birthday." So today is the fifth anniversary of my 27th birthday.

And what did I do on my birthday? I went to class. Very exciting, but I really had no choice as it was the second of three required class meetings for my web-centric class (that means it meets primarily online, but in person a few times). If I miss even one in-person session, I fail the class, so off I went.

But tomorrow I have a breakfast date with a friend who is driving through town on his way to Mackinac Island, and I have dinner and drinks plans with "Heather" (that's what I'm calling her until I get a chance to ask her what she would like to be called... I won't use anyone's real first names anymore). Oh, and a meeting with my attorney in between. That should liven up the day.

It's hard getting back into the groove of writing. I intended to write last night when I got home from class, but then got distracted by my iPod (had to download new software and reformat the evil little minion of Satan). I also intended to write on Monday as that actually was a full day, but I was pretty drained. Let me tell you about Monday.

Monday was the day that I was allowed back into my place of employment for the first time in a month. While someone had been filling in for me in my absence, and I was doing some work from home, I needed to be on-site to do some things now that the scheduled extended vacation has begun (like how I'm not even mentioning what I do for a living, but you are so able to figure it out? I'm crafty like that.). Then I had a meeting scheduled in the afternoon with my immediate supervisor (who wants this over almost as much as I do, BTW) and the head honcho. I barely said two words in this meeting, but instead let my local and regional union reps do all the talking for me. It was a meeting suggested by my employer's attorney to try to come to some sort of agreement short of having me dismissed. Now, I find this interesting that their lawyer is so confident that they will prevail, but thinks they should work out some sort of deal. Anyway, nothing was decided, but we gave the big boss a proposal to take back to the higher ups (although he stated over and over that it wasn't enough and they wouldn't agree). They can take my offer, or else we have no problem proceeding to the labor court because the only way I'm not going to win this is if the first amendment is repealed. I don't see that happening.

So, it is possible that I will be back in my same job after this extended vacation period if I don't find a new job. If finding a new job wasn't ultimately what I wanted, though, I'd be pretty tempted to sit back and collect a paycheck from my current employer for the next year to year and a half and just wait for the courts to side with me. I'm so grateful that I live in a state where people in my profession are strongly unionized. I will never again complain about paying union dues.

Anyway, that lovely situation left me wiped out, so I was in no mood to drive the hour and forty minutes to my class that night. I sent a quick e-mail with my assignment attached to my instructor and started working on homework for another class. The phone rang about 5:30 and it was Heather saying that she and another of our co-workers were going to Don Pablo's for dinner and I was required to join them. It didn't take much twisting of my arm. It was great to get out of the house and I was so glad that I got to see this other co-worker because I had missed her over the last month. She had lots to fill me in on, too, as she had been doing all kinds of lobbying for me (she's on our union e-board). And she's just a lot of fun!

But I guess that's about it. Tuesday I worked literally non-stop on my web design homework. I just don't get JavaScript. I typed everything in just the way the book told me, but things still wouldn't work. I'd pour over the source code over and over just to find a missing quotation mark or something similar an hour later. Wednesday was more of the same except it was reading for collection development and then I had to go to my young adult literature class (since I missed it Monday).

Alright, off to bed. I promised Copper we'd get there earlier tonight as last night I got sucked into the freakishly addicting game of spider solitaire (I had to wait while the iPod software downloaded... it's not my fault). Oh, and I expect a wake-up call about 7:00 when my friend gets close to my house. Man that's early.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I Guess It Wasn't MySpace Afterall

This post has been a long time coming. It's been about a month and I've had to completely reinvent my blogger identity. Why? Well, it appears that people who do what I do for a living don't have the same First Amendment rights as everyone else... at least not at my place of employment. Even though I never named said place of employment or even its location (or even talked that much about work, for that matter), I seem to be joining the ranks of bloggers who are finding themselves out of a job. Well, it's not to that point, yet, and I have high hopes that it won't get to that point, but in the meantime I am searching high and low for a new place of employment. And aren't most of those fired bloggers getting book deals anyway? Where's my share of that?

The title of this post refers to how the trouble all started... through MySpace. Like many people, I had a profile. Some people, who obviously lack a sense of humor, didn't quite get that something I said on that profile was intended to be humorous. I'd tell you what it was, because I still think it's darn funny, but I can just see someone Googling the phrase and finding this new blog. And I guess I made a mistake by naming my previous blog on the profile because, before I knew it, they had dug back through two months of posts until they found an opinion that they didn't like. Who knew that writing an opinion (one that is shared by most of your co-workers, none-the-less) on your own free time wasn't allowed? I sure didn't.

So, that's about all I'm going to say about work from here on out. Instead I'll have to stick to stories of the lovely Copper and Coal. And the trials of being a single gal in my 30s (but not too far in). And trying to finish my Master's degree. I have no doubt that brighter days are ahead, so I'm sure I'll be filling you in on those.

Long live the First Amendment!