Random thoughts and opinions that pop into my head

Moving, yet again

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I wish I looked this cute when I move!

 

The time has come, once again, to move. Thankfully, this time I am only moving a few blocks instead of the usual several hundred kilometers. I have spent the summer unemployed, developing hobbies and generally being a hobo. But that all is about to change! Not only am I moving this weekend but I am also starting a new job. Nothing like having everything come at the same time. It’s not like I have had ample time to move or start a new job in the last few months, nope, it all had to happen on the same weekend. Yay stress! It really shouldn’t be too bad, I’m sure I will manage.

As much as I despise moving I am actually very excited about this move. Mainly because I am currently living in what I lovingly refer to as a “hovel”. I call this place a hovel so often my boyfriend asked to to look up the definition so he could know exactly what it was  I was calling it. If you too are unaware, a hovel is a “small, squalid, unpleasant or simply constructed dwelling” (as defined by Google). As soon as I read that he said “yup, that just about covers it”. “Are you living in a barn or a hole in the ground?!” you may ask. No, but close. We are living in, what I assume, is an illegal basement suite. At first it wasn’t too bad. Sure, the blinds were mainly all broken, there were weird stains on the floors and everything looked like it was constructed by a one armed blind man, but it wasn’t deplorable; yet. Then we had about a month of non stop rain which caused flooding in the surrounding area. We thought we were safe since our place didn’t flood and we didn’t need to be evacuated. We were wrong. Ever since then, this place has become unbearably damp. Everything, and I mean EVERYthing, molds! I was packing up my shoes the other day and discovered mold in the soles of two pairs! I was throughly grossed out and threw them away. We can’t keep bread or baked goods out or they will mold within days. Places where only water and soap ever touch the surface, like the bathroom sink and the dish rack in the kitchen, started to mold. If anything is left on the ground in the bed room, it becomes damp. Pages of books have become warped because of this.

So yeah, I’m excited to move!

 

The underemployed

I just finished listening to a documentary on CBC called “The Double Grind” (unfortunately I believe you can only stream it in Canada but I am sure there are other ways to listen to it). I hope you are able to give it a listen since it is really fascinating, extremely depressing, but fascinating. The podcast interviews various baristas at Second Cup, all of whom have are university graduates.
One of the biggest challenges for the underemployed is getting out of debt. If you finish school with $40,000 in debt then work a minimum wage job how are you ever going to catch up let alone get ahead? I am extremely fortunate that my parents paid for my schooling so I don’t have any student loans. I don’t think I would be able to function if I did. I feel it would be this big dark cloud constantly overhead, overwhelming me with anxiety. Many of my friends are not so lucky and not only are having a hard time finding work but are starting off in the red.
A couple of the subjects who were interviewed were graduates of Queens University, which is basically Canada’s version of an Ivy League school. Even with a degree from a prestigious school they are in the same boat as everyone else. Why spend more money to go to a “fancy” school when in reality it doesn’t make a difference. One of the girls realized this and decided to transfer to a college so that she would be able to do a co-op program. Now a days it seems like colleges or trade schools may be the way to go. They are usually less money, less time and give you hands on experience. Seems like the most logical way to go. For some reason it was looked down on to graduate from a college instead of a university but in today’s job market it might be the only way to go if you aren’t independently wealthy.
University is a great experience to broaden your mind. You have the opportunity to take courses like philosophy, history, foreign languages etc. but if you want a job it may not be practical.
We are at a point where we need to decide if we want to gain knowledge in general or if we want an education that can actually help get a job. I wish it wasn’t a choice that has to be made but it seems like it is.
I think the best point of this program was about how we identify with how we pay the bills. In other words, what we do for a living defines who we are as a person. I am beginning to realize that this doesn’t have to be true anymore. We can’t all make money from our passions. The best we can do is get a job that allows us time to still do what we love. Try and find a job that is somewhat enjoyable and pays the bills but it doesn’t have to define you as a person. Like the one girl said, she works in a coffee shop but if someone asks she says she is an actress and a boxer. Her passions are what define her, not her pay check.

Here is the link to the podcast, hopefully you are able to take a listen!
http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/shows/2013/04/21/the-double-grind/

The secret to becoming invisible

Okay, so it isn’t really something everyone can do, it is more something you are born with. If you are me, or my sister, all you have to do is walk into a store with the intention of buying something and voila, you are invisible. Not a single sales person will know you even exist. I am not sure what it is, maybe we have a certain look about us, even though we think we are giving off the “I want to buy something” vibe in reality we are saying “don’t notice us or help us or even acknowledge us in any way”. Thankfully I live in a big city with many malls and shopping locations. If I am ignored I will walk away. If you are rude or condescending, I will walk away. I don’t care if I have to go out of my way to go to another location, I will.

Yesterday I went shopping with the intent of buying new running shoes. I wasn’t browsing, I knew what I wanted and all I needed was someone to acknowledge me so that I could give them money in exchange for a pair of shoes. Sounds simple, does it not? I went to two different athletic shoe stores, not once but twice, and all four times I was completely ignored. I wandered around waiting for someone to ask if I needed help, and nothing. So I left. I drove to another mall and went to another store and gave them my money instead because they acknowledged me.

It is not much to ask for. If I am carrying a bundle of clothes please ask me if I need a fitting room. If I am looking at shoes, ask if you can get me a size. Maybe I am just browsing but if you ask then you will know for sure and I will feel like I exist. Feeling invisible and like you don’t matter is a terrible feeling. Even if it is just at a clothing store; you leave either feeling angry or hurt. I probably sound dramatic, which I usually am, but it is true. When I go shopping for something, whether it is shoes, clothes or electronics, I want to know that I matter. I don’t want to be treated poorly. If I have a good experience I am much more likely to come back and even recommend your store to other people.

Lesson of the story: Treat people well, especially if you work on commission because you never know…

The search for the perfect word

Have you ever experienced that feel that there is a perfect word out there to describe everything you wish to say? A perfect word that encompasses more than any other word could. And the sheer joy you experience when you discover said word? Okay. So maybe you aren’t such a nerd but I’m sure you can relate at least a little. There is actually a psychological disorder that makes a person unable to properly articulate their thoughts or forget key words or names. It is called Lethologica; pretty sure I have this. It doesn’t affect me much when I write but almost always when I speak. But really that was a side note. Another side note: My mom hated when I took psycology becasuse I would always come home having self diagnosed myself with one disorder or another.
Back to the perfect word. I often turn to the thesaursus when writing essays or papers because so many words can have almost identical meanings yet can also mean something more. I love going and finding the original orgins of words. I used to do that when coming up with names for pieces I did in art school. I love to try and find words with multiple meanings. One piece I did I titled “Tainted“, which most people know to mean contaminated or affected negatively but the original Latin tingere meant ‘to dye, tinge’.
I got in to a debate with one of my instructors over a word in my grad paper. I had chosen, very carefully, the word suggestive to describe something. It is not a complex word but it said exactly what I wanted it to. His thought was that people often think suggestive to mean something scandalous or sexual. I wanted it to mean exactly what it says, to suggest something, doesn’t have to be sexual, could be anything. It seemed simple to me. Suggestive means to suggest. The piece was very minimalist and the idea was that I didn’t want to tell anyone want to think about it or how to feel about it. I simply wanted them to let the piece speak to them anyway that it did. Anyway, I won, it was my paper and that was the word I wanted. I doubted anyone would be reading it besides me or my instructor. Grad papers are not exactly riveting reads for most people.

Here is a picture of Tainted, in case you were curious.

100% hand dyed, hand woven silk

100% hand dyed, hand woven silk

Gettin’ your hair did

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Ah salon days! They are like a mini vacation and depending on the salon, could cost nearly as much. If you have never experienced a ‘salon day’ I would highly reccommend it. You come out feeling refreshed and pretty. The whole time you are there people tell you how good you look, what a great color your hair is going to be and essentially just make you feel good. They bring you coffee or tea and all the trashy magazines you could ever want. It is quite lovely.
It had been quite a while since I had my hair colored. I had recently moved so I didn’t have a hair dresser or a job to pay for it, so I kept putting it off. Normally, when you have colored hair, you get it done about every 6 weeks, tops. You really don’t want to wait any longer than that. I was going on 3 months. It was bad. Fortunately, I am skilled in the art of cleverly hiding my roots. Tip: Roots are much less noticable if you curl your hair. So here I am, with 3 months worth of roots coming out and I am getting people complimenting me on my hair! I thought they were clearly insane, obviously this was not an intentional look. Apparently, if one was to look through magazines, it is.

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To be clear, my hair was not ombre. It was at one time platinum blonde but now had my dirty blonde colored roots coming through. According to celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, it is a “look”. Well, good to know! Maybe now I can save some money. If people are going to still think my hair looks good when I have inches of roots who needs the salon! Here I am, hiding my roots with shame, thinking I looked trashy when in reality I’m in style. Who would have thought.

Does your major say something about your personality?

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Does the degree or major you chose really determine the amount of respect you receive? You might read this and say “yes, of course, some degrees are more difficult and those graduates deserve more respect because they are clearly more intelligent”. I don’t think that that is a fair assessment. Maybe it is more a matter of over simpiflication. I don’t know if you can accurately judge a person simply by the degree they chose. There are many people that only choose a major because they happened to have the most credits in a certain department.
I have a reason for being skeptical about this since I am one of those odd ducks that really can’t be described according to my schooling. I have taken courses in almost every department; not because I am indecisive but because I have so many interests and I don’t want to limit myself. In high school I was in advanced placement course and always on the honor roll. I was accepted to a top business school but after a year of that I realized that even though this was a practical degree it wasn’t something I was remotely passionate about. I ended up going the complete opposite direction and went to art school. Many people are pretty surprised when they find that out. There are few people that are accepted to both business school and art school. I could have graduated from business school and maybe that would have looked better on a resume but I didn’t. It doesn’t change the type of person I am. It doesn’t change my work ethic. So what can you really know about me from knowing that I graduated from art school? I guess that I am creative, I know how to pull an all nighter and I can take criticism. But I’m sure those qualities apply to a lot of individuals who went to many different schools and studied different subjects. In an ideal world, the specific degree you took wouldn’t matter as much as the person. More jobs should offer to train new employees, mould them to be exactly what they want. Not expect people to graduate school and have all the skills and experience that they require; it is not very realistic. I always thought that graduates were supposed to bright and eager but it seems that they are seen as priveldged and entitled.
I supposed there must be some true stereotypes out there. Usually stereotypes are based on some sort of commonality. Maybe a majority of engineers love to eat tacos and their favorite color is red. Maybe history majors are obsessed with Steven King and sleep in satin sheets. If you couldn’t tell, these are completely made up characteristics, but who knows, maybe it applies to some of them. I don’t know enough of one group to make statements like that. Even if I did, I wouldn’t feel comfortable making claims since I am sure there are a few like me who are “well rounded”. It seems weird to say that about myself but I think it is an appropriate word. I have never fit into one group; I have always been able to drift between different groups because of my wide range of interests.
I guess my question at the end of all of this is really, what is better? Should someone be focused on one speciality, one or two interests and dedicate everything they have to that or should they try different things and different hobbies. I always say “I’m a jack of all trades, master of none”. I guess that is what you give up if you try to widen your circle of knowledge. I’m sure if you wanted to become a brain surgeon most of your time, if not all, would be devoted to medicine and the brain. Personally, I am happy being how I am. I don’t think I will ever burn out because I dedicate myself to a varitey of subjects. I am usually above average at whatever I try my hand at simply because when I do something I do it all the way but I doubt I will ever become the best at anything. I think I am okay with that. I’ll stick to my reading, writing, designing, weaving, drawing etc.

How the older generations view new graduates:

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Money well spent?

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Women like jerks = myth

Don't believe his lies

Don’t believe his lies

This is kind of a serious situation. There is a theory out there that in order to ‘get women’ a guy has to be rude to her. I have a lot of issues with this. It is never okay to be rude to someone you just met especially in order to attract. I will admit that being a jerk to some women does make them interested in somehow pleasing you but that is because they have issues with their self-worth and you should not be taking advantage of that. If you have to act badly and insult a woman for her to be interested in you you should probably take a good long look at yourself and figure out why you think that is an acceptable way to act; chances are you have some issues of your own you need to sort out.
I think there is a nugget of truth in this insanity that has been grossly distorted. Women like confidence. A lot of people see being a jerk as confidence but it is just a show. In reality, being confident has nothing to do with poor manners towards other people. I posted a link below to a podcast about a book this women wrote about (what she misguidingly thinks) women want. The interviewer has a hard time a) taking her seriously and b) not getting upset at what she suggests and honestly I don’t blame him. A lot of her advice is completely misguided and much of it is extremely superficial. This may work on her but I very much doubt it works on many other women; unless they too have issues about being controlled and enjoy being treated like they are helpless and brainless. She endorses the man ordering for her at a restaurant (every time, even on a first date), reading her emails, to ensure she isn’t being scammed (because a poor little woman couldn’t possibly figure out that that email asking her to send a stranger money is a scam) and ‘treating her like a dog’ (yes, she actually compared women to dogs). If that all wasn’t bad enough, at the end of the interview she essentially promotes rape culture. She states that if a women agrees to come to your apartment, after the third date, and accepts a beverage she is giving you the go ahead to have sex with her. I think that this kind of thinking can get a lot of people in trouble. Maybe, I know it’s hard to believe, the woman is enjoying herself and simply wants to spend more time with the man; have a conversation, watch a movie, get to know each other better. Just because she is in your apartment or you are in hers does not mean that is an invitation for anything more. I am not saying she is not wanting to take things further, I am merely saying one should never assume that that is the case.
The interviewer asks what the author’s background is; brace yourself to be unimpressed. She has attended seminars and she is a women. That’s basically it. She also is probably not the best person to be giving relationship advice since apparently she is recently divorced and from the sounds of it it was not amicable.
I think the best advice anyone can give is probably the oldest and corniest: be yourself. I know, it sounds too simple to be true, but it is. If you are changing yourself to attract someone and putting on an act you are not going to have a real relationship. If you want someone to love you for yourself you have to be yourself. I mean to an extent. Everyone hides a bit of their craziness or weird quirks at the beginning (don’t want to scare them away before they can see how awesome you are). But the person for you is the one that will, if not love, accept your crazy.
Moral of the story: Be yourself, find someone to love your crazy and don’t listen to the idiotic advice this woman gives!

BTW I tried to find her book and thankfully I couldn’t so maybe there is still hope!

PS listen to this podcast, I dare you to do it without getting upset at the author. What women want (according to one, likely disturbed, woman)

 

Skills vs. Credentials

I feel this is a debate that often goes on during the hiring process. Which should be placed higher, skills or credentials? If someone teaches themselves how to code is that better or worse than someone who learnt while getting a degree in web design. They know how to do the same thing but one of them has the paper to back it up. What about something someone is naturally skilled at, does the skill count if there isn’t a certificate to confirm it?

The problem I often encounter with job postings is that I go down the skills needed, check, the responsibilities and tasks of the job, yup, I can do those, then I get to the school/experience part. Many times employers want a specific degree, it doesn’t matter that you have the skills to do the job, if you don’t have the degree which they request your resume isn’t going too far. Definitely not going on the short stack. It used to be that as long as you had a degree, in anything really, it counted for something; showed you are capable of completing something, were committed to working towards something for at least four years.

Another pet peeve is extensive experience required for entry level positions. Isn’t the point of entry level jobs that you don’t need too much experience? If I am just coming out of school how am I supposed to get any type of job if I need five years experience to get an entry level job; one most likely below my skill set to start with. Most jobs like that you can learn pretty quickly, if it is taking you five years to master answering phones you may want to reevaluate your life. The whole idea behind ‘entry level’ jobs is so people right out of school can work up the ladder. Back in the day, going to college meant you could skip the entry level and go straight to a mid-level career. Ah, the good old days. Of course I was not in the job market during that time but I have heard the myth from my elders. The myth of how going to college guarantees you a decent job. Oh elders, how you have led me astray.

I understand the theory behind these methods. They are put in place to weed out applicants. But it makes it really hard for people trying to enter the job market when employers are being so picky. Is the job market really so much different now than it was a few years ago? What changed so much that a college degree can get you a retail job but not much else?

Can we revolt? Start a revolution of some sort? Well if I do become the face of a revolution at the very least it will be one more thing to put on my resume!

Now everyone’s favorite: Memes!

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My friend the compulsive liar

I had this friend that I had known for a years. She was one of my best friends, we told each other everything. She knew everything about me and I knew everything about her; or so I thought.
She had a story for everything, some were ordinary but some were completely outrageous. They ranged from eating strange objects as a child, having ghosts in her house that had to be exercised, knowing someone who was a drug addict on skid row and everything in between. I would tell my mom these stories excitedly because they seemed so crazy and interesting and after a while my mom started to doubt their authenticity. How could one, ordinary, middle class girl, have had so many things happen to her and her family? But she was my friend and I believed her; every word. To me it didn’t make sense that she would be lying. What was she gaining? I was already her friend, I had known her for years, why would she keep lying?
She was a really spontaneous person. I never knew what I would be coming home to (oh, did I mention we were roommates too?). A couple times it was a new pet, sometimes a new piercing or tattoo, maybe a new craze diet. Whatever it was, she would get it in her head and be obsessed with it. She would decide that facebook was evil and delete her account (for about a week then reactivated it), she would be really into yoga one week then it would be the gym everyday instead. Whatever it was she would go all out for a few days then it would calm down. Looking back I wonder if maybe she had something going on like OCD or some other kind of obsessive disorder.
One day she decided that she didn’t want to be my friend anymore. Moved out when I wasn’t home and left the key under the door.
I often look back on her stories and wonder how much was true. When a couple stories started to unravel it made me question everything. That’s the trouble with lies, they aren’t just stories you tell, it is a trust that you are breaking. When someone discovers a lie it makes them question everything else that they are told. The person becomes a ‘liar’ in their eyes and it is hard to come back from that.
It is sad to think of our friendship because, like I said, now I don’t know how much was true. How much did I actually know about her? Currently I don’t even know where she is living, my attempts to stay in contact after she moved out where rebuffed. I guess I’ll never know what was real and what were lies.

Stress leads to ostrich-ing

Stress is a funny thing. If you look it up it apparently leads to everything from the common cold to the big C. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it and some could say it could almost be beneficial. Having the stress of a deadline makes some people focus and work harder. Some people deal with their stress by running or going to the gym. Other people clean, because if they can’t clean their mind at least they can clean their surroundings. Then there are people like me. When I get overwhelmed I sleep. It really is not productive and probably makes my stress worse because then I just end up having less time to do whatever it is that needs to get done. I wish I was one of those workout people. Can you imagine how great that would be? Every time you feel stressed you go to the gym? I would be a body builder within a month at the rate that my mind worries about things. You still don’t get done what you need to do but at least you will have abs to show for it.

I have come up with a term for my coping technique; I call it ostriching. Like the ostrich, when faced with some sort of threat I hide from the world and avoid the situation. (Okay, so ostriches don’t actually bury their heads in the sand, it is a myth, but I still think that it illustrates my point quite well). Some days I just feel overwhelmed, like the whole world is on my shoulders, and on days like that I can’t function. I can literally lay in bed and stare at the wall or ceiling for hours. When I try and be productive I just can’t. Then, because I know I am being extremely useless, I feel worse, so I try and be productive but can’t and so on and so forth. It is really a vicious circle. I could be completely fine and back to my happy, bubbly self the next day but that previous day is a write off.

I find naps can really help, for a few different reasons. It gives me a bit of an escape from my reality. If I can manage to sleep my brain will focus on dreams and not on everything I need to do, remember, accomplish etc. It gives me a break from my mind battling about whether it makes sense to take a break or not. It is a little like the angel and devil on your shoulder idea. One part of me says ‘take a break, it’s good for you when you are stressed, you deserve it’ then the other part says ‘why do you deserve it? What have you accomplished today?’. Sleeping is an escape from that. Another great reason is that right before I fall asleep I get really creative. I come up with ideas for projects, solutions to problems and everything in between. Some times just laying there thinking helps me break down what I need to do in steps and allows me to visualize the task/s at hand.

Moral of the story: If you are not productive when dealing with stress, that’s okay. You aren’t alone. It is about balancing, like everything in life. Sleeping all day, everyday is not healthy but neither is going until you break down. If you feel overwhelmed, take a break, regroup and maybe take a nap. It could make all the difference!

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