06 December 2009

on Teeth.

There is a song that goes, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth." Well, since I am missing my Upper Left Lateral, this song seems quite fitting. I wrote my parents a note saying that I am saving up money to buy my tooth for Christmas, and they set up a cool thing for me. So for the one person (maybe two) who ever read this, you can help me buy my next body part.

Dear friends and family members:
As most of you know, my status as a 'slack-jawed yokel' has far run its course, as the hole between my Upper Left Central tooth and my Upper Left Cuspid has become quite an annoying presence (or lack thereof). Though I have had my fair share of fun pretending to have my tooth fall out if someone accidentally bumps into my mouth, or taking it out to be a farmgirl for Halloween, it is time to fill that hole with a shiny new piece of porcelain tooth. As we look towards a new year, I am also looking forward to having my Dental insurance run out, so I am in need of filling this toothless gap as soon as possible. What a fantastic gift it would be, to find a shiny new tooth under my Christmas tree!

In other words, all I want for Christmas is my one front tooth, and I can't do it without your help (aka money). I know that money is really impersonal, but really--you have no idea what a personalized gift this would be for me. You could even tell all your friends that you helped buy someone a body part for Christmas.

Yikes, no Upper Left Lateral here!

29 November 2009

on Chips

I will never be able to move to Mexico if I don't stop wasting all my money on these damned potato chips:

Best Chips EVER.

09 November 2009

on Thailand

What is it about a warm beer buzz in the early morning hours that makes me want to move to Thailand?

It wasn't my idea. It was just a thought at first, spawned by Lord knows what crisis or contemplation. It was a "Let's move to Thailand" that didn't have any seriousness or weight. And hell, why not? With a 500$/month price tag, it doesn't sound all that bad.

Enter logic and reason, telling me that I couldn't survive a day without HEB or Family Guy, or that it's probably pretty difficult to pay student loan bills on time while living across the world. I suppose this is where the beer buzz comes in. The logic and the reason start to fade away and I'm left with the burning urge to go somewhere, anywhere, if just to have the experience of starting something new.

A simple Google search in the middle of the work day brought the logic and reason back to reality. Evidently, it's not that easy to move to Thailand... but doesn't that make getting there all the more intriguing? Evidently, it's not that easy to find a job in Thailand, unless you planning on teaching or making your own. Evidently, it't just not what you might expect.

Honestly, Thailand, I didn't have that high of expectations in the first place. Sure, it wouldn't be the United States--not Texas or Boerne or a 900 square foot apartment with central air and heat. But there you go: it's not the United States. And, sure, I'd miss my family and my three or four friends, but what is life if you don't go fucking crazy and just pick up and move to Thailand?

At 2:30 in the afternoon, I've been staring at a computer for 6 straight hours today, and though I don't have that warm beer buzz yet this afternoon, I am starting to realize why that "Move to Thailand" voice is getting louder and louder.

Ugh. I don't think I even know where Thailand is on a map.

15 October 2009

on Health and Health Care

I'm torn. I am too poor to afford Health Insurance but I do not want anyone else paying for it for me. I'm supposed to be a good Conservative here, but I'm torn.

Before my recent medical debacle, I have always considered myself a fairly healthy person. I eat right and don't like dessert. I don't really exercise that much, but I love being outside, and figure that I get enough exercise being mad and storming around the office all day, running amok when possible.

But the time has come for my fantastic medical insurance to run out. And I mean fantastic. I had coverage for anything and everything thanks to my short time at the Express-News. Obama (yeah, I know) even extended my COBRA coverage and helped me pay for it--and I didn't even have to ask him!

However, now I must ween myself off government assistance and dive into the world of the self-insured. Self-employed, self-sufficient, I might as well be self-insured, too; right? One small problem: I flat out can't afford it. I cannot afford to pay some dude to sell me some other dude's promise that IF I get sick I MIGHT have some financial assistance for it.

Perhaps I am way too uneducated on public policy to even begin to understand this debate. Or too conservative at heart. Or something. Do conservatives even have hearts? Anyway. I'm torn, and I don't know that there is any easy answer besides "Get Richer."

08 September 2009

on The Horrible yet Undeniable Fact that One Cannot Possibly Repossess Lost Time

I was sitting on the couch a couple of evenings ago, watching Seinfeld re-runs on TV, scratching my way-too-spolied cat under his cute little chin, when it struck me: I am sitting on the couch, watching Seinfeld re-runs on TV, scratching my way-too-spolied cat under his cute little chin. Not just any couch: my couch. Not just any TV: my TV. And not just any cat: my cat. All these things are mine mine mine.

Wow, I'm vapid and narcissistic and it's only 9 p.m.!

But back to me: for a fleeting moment, I looked around my wonderful and wonderfully clean apartment and realized that I am proud of myself. I am proud of the efforts I have made to be who, where, and what I am today. I'm a pretty decent person, though sometimes I drink too much. I'm mostly nice to people, and believe that getting through the day with a smile on my face is one of my best qualities. I have an amazing job that I absolutely love and wouldn't trade for anything, I have a cat who wakes me up in the morning with cold little nose kisses, and I have a fireplace. A fireplace!

For a 23 year old with bundles of student loans and a car that I don't actually own, I think I'm doing pretty well. I work, I make money, I pay bills, and I buy myself a bottle of wine at the end of the week. I'm happy; I'm supposed to be.

I guess this is the point in my life and in this ridiculously redundant blog entry that I go ahead and admit it: I would give anything to NOT be where I am today.

I remember when I could stay up till 5 or 6 in the morning, crash for a 40 minute nap, and then ace a final exam at 8:30. I want it back. I remember when I could sit down with a different group of friends every day for lunch, happy with pizza or Ramen or an extra-large Coca Cola from the fountain. I want it back. I remember vodka and kool-aid, the ability to study for 48 hours straight, the sanity to deviate from a schedule for a road trip or a trip to the room down the hall.

There was a piano in the practice rooms in the music building; a grand piano, and the keys were perfect. It wasn't always in tune. It didn't matter. I had a magical card with a magical magnetic strip that would open the door to this magical piano. Maybe I just miss that card the most.

Jeanna, here's your lesson: the couch that's yours, the TV that's yours, the cool orange light-up flowers and the Teflon frying pans don't mean shit without the things that actually do mean something. And since, it seems, I can't get those things back--no Coates or piano practice rooms or hammocks and 6-packs--I must do my best to get them again.

I feel like I'm writing fiction, or a terrible Lifetime screenplay. But it's how I feel: I want these things again, the things that aren't "things," but memories and smiles and laughter and energy. And I will have them.

27 July 2009

on Last-Minute Mornings

It's 7:06 a.m. and I've been awake for two hours and two minutes now. After propelling myself groggily out of bed and stumbling over to the coffee maker—a pot this morning, instead of a cup—I sat down in front of my computer and told myself something I haven't told myself since the end of my thesis days in college: Write, Jeanna, just effing write.

It feels like it's been forever since I've truly procrastinated. Have I been procrastinating procrastination? Before I confuse myself, I'll get to the point: why is it so damn exhilarating for me to do everything last-minute? I'm staring at a 2000 word essay here; why the hell am I staring at it on deadline morning? Shouldn't this have been done days and days ago?

Well, yes. Should being the operative word. I can think of so many "should"s when it comes to producing work last-minute, and they all, now in retrospect, make me smile. My best piece of art for 2D class was done in 15 minutes; my favorite (and final) essay for American Lit was done five hours before class started, most of it in my head while listening to the Quadrophenia album in its entirety; my senior thesis, for the year I had to work on it, wasn't essentially even started until 6 weeks before its final due date. Yet these are works that I remember, that I remember being the most proud of. Why?

With all of the college memory throwback—hell, I talked to my best UNT friend on the phone last night and relived half of my best college days anyway, might as well go all out this morning (in light of the theme of procrastination and still not getting my story written)—I remembered a website that Career Services or Academic Advancement or some department pointed us to during our first weeks of school: the CalTech Counseling Center site on Procrastination. Notice their reasons for procrastination: Avoidance, A Matter of Will, A Matter of Time, of Approach, even the Failure of Success. If you really read the list, you might find it as bogus as I do.

This website, and the countless others in the Google searchbar like it, all list the same, common factors in procrastination and a procrastinating lifestyle. The psychological evidence seems to prove beyond a theoretical doubt that putting things off is just a superficial way of putting one's self off, not giving the self enough credit to do the things the self strives to achieve. Studies show that procrastinators have to completely change their lives to make room for their last-minute habits, and that, when those habits are not psychologically dealt with, they can have physically adverse effects on things far from homework or getting to the game on time.

However, every single one of these bullshitters probably put together their respective websites last minute, forgetting the one and only thing that makes procrastination fully, truly, vividly worthwhile: the amazing caffeine buzz from the two—or five, or seven—cups, instead of one, of amazingly dark coffee and the warmth, the rush, the elation one feels inside, saying, "Hey, look at me. I did that, it's DONE, and I'm bad ass."

Ha! 24 minutes later, I can get back to music review crunch time. Let me just go pour myself another cup.

14 July 2009

on Games

I was really, really sick on Friday, and I tried to start writing a blog entry. I was watching a movie, and I heard a quote that struck me with a great conundrum. I couldn't figure out how to begin the entry, so I just started: "I'm watching this movie, and one of the main characters just said, 'Life is not a game.'"

So I started thinking: if life is not a game, then what is it? And I tried to look up quotes about life not being a game. Turns out, I found more quotes about life being a game instead of not being one. Life seems to be a game of basketball, chance, checkers, chess, cat and mouse, Chutes and Ladders, football, Life the board game, poker, roulette, soccer, tennis, volleyball, wit, and wonder. And a whole bunch of semi-famous people all had advice to offer me on how to play the game of life, and what rules I should (but don't have to) follow in order to win, albeit gracefully and with little controversy mixed in.

This, however, is where my conundrum begins to fester. According to [insert random quote attribute here], the rules of life tell me that I can't double-dribble, catch a bullet, have an Ace in the hole, go first if I'm black, set a mousetrap, roll the dice out of turn, use my hands, or let the ball drop. When I go out of bounds I have to start over, when I land on the "Go to College" space I have to pay 40 grand, and when I score no points it's "love". King me.

09 June 2009

on Timing

I've more than once settled on the fact that I have impeccably imperfect timing. For as long as I can remember, I have made decisions that have missed some mark or some moment, causing a ranging scale of distress or disturbance. I don't know if this character flaw is a recent addition, or if I've just started to notice it more, but I can recall several instance where it has definitely not worked to my advantage.

As a senior in high school, my best friend Ashley and I spent our entire Spring Break on South Padre Island, partying with my brother, his friends, some random guys we met from (guess where!) Trinity, and, of course, my parents. After enjoying a delicious fish sandwich at a bar where my parents had gotten us both sufficiently liquored up, we decided that it was a bit chilly for us to stay there--why not make the 200-yard walk back to the condo to pick up a sweater? The walk took all of 5 minutes, but it wasn't until we were up to the condo gate that we realized we forgot the key. So it was back to the bar to grab the key to come back to grab the sweater.
"Not so fast, ladies; where do you think you're going?"
The voice was coming from the driver's side of a purple Camaro, from a man in an all-black police uniform. We'd seen that same Camaro less than 15 seconds before, and we'd both commented on how ghetto it seemed. So, of course, what else would we have been doing? We were obviously trying to run from the highly undercover police officer, break into a condo, and, when noticing we'd be unsuccessful, turning around to run away. Obviously. Our obvious mistake got us both slapped with MIPs that were induced by our parents. Why the hell not.

My first semester in college (at UNT) I acquired a pretty head-over-heels crush on my best friend there. He, of course, had a head-over-heels crush on his girlfriend who was still at home, a thousand or so miles away. Throwing basic human respect to the wind, I did everything I could to show him how much he meant to me.
I transferred schools after one semester and pretty much gave up, but missed him every day. Months went by, and eventually I settled on procuring a boyfriend of my own; less than 48 hours after I'd committed myself to doing so, my beloved Pat called to inform me that he was single now, "too".

After graduating from Trinity, I spent my second summer as a counselor at Knox, thinking that I'd spend my spare time looking for "real" jobs. Well, not only did I not have any spare time, I didn't want a "real" job at all. Coming home from the summer, I hit frantic mode and started applying for every single job I could possibly find. After countless hours of searching and applying, I'd come across only one that I really wanted: ladies and gentlemen, a Post Office position had opened in Olmos Park, a whole 3 blocks away from my apartment. My application for the job was clever and smart and shiny and who wouldn't want a spunky college graduate to be their mail carrier?
Evidently not the USPS, or so I thought. After at least two dozen interviews I was offered a job at the San Antonio Express-News (about which I have already complained) and in the middle of my third day there, I read a voicemail message on my lunch break asking me if I'd like to come in to the Olmos Park Post Office to see what working there was all about.

Most recently, though, I succumbed to a materialistic urge to purchase a MacBook Pro. Last night, I gathered up my courage and signed my soul away to BestBuy for an on-sale, open-box, generally-fantastic-deal MacBook Pro on which to begin my Mac foray. This morning, I was confronted with the online invitation to try the *new* MacBook Pro, starting at a cost approximately 300$ less than I literally just paid for mine. A newer Mac, a cheaper price. My stupid timing... and I'm still in over my head.

I can't figure out what any of this has taught me. Should I reconsider "living in the moment"? Or should I just tell the "moment" to go to hell?

07 March 2009

on Obama

Well, it all came together for me rather beautifully last night. I was at First Friday with David, when behold, we witnessed the most interesting of modern-art novelty items: an Obama prayer candle.

I kid you not: a screenprinting company in Southtown mass-produced some tall, skinny "Our Man of Guadalupe" prayer candles for the new God Himself. Styled like the red and blue "HOPE" campaign posters, Obama's beautiful face was printed onto these glass jars, vigil-ready.

This struck me as funny for many reasons, but two stuck out. One, that Obama has finally been elevated to God status, and two, that most of the liberals who "believe" in Obama don't even believe in the Christian God these candles were made to represent in the first place. Perhaps this makes the fact that they're prayer candles irrelevant, but I can't help but notice a hilarious hypocrisy beginning to surface here.

I suppose people have to have something to believe in. If it's not God, it might as well be someone that masses of people have elevated to fix things, to change things, to build a hope and a trust and a faith that this mass of people can believe in.

If I remember correctly, the tight-ass conservative tax payers/collectors 2000+ years ago didn't believe Jesus was the guy for the hope/change/faith job. Now, those same tight-ass conservatives are the ones who uphold Jesus for all he's worth, and all they're worth as well. If Republicans are rich and also Christian, then the Democrats aren't rich and don't believe in God. Stereotypical, judgmental, and close-minded on my part, but from what I've seen on social networking sites, favorites sites, and in diggs, reddits and stumbles, my generalization seems for the most part to ring true. Comments from Obama supporters bash comments from Bush supporters. Comments from atheists slam comments about intelligent design. Comments about change challenge comments about tradition and the list goes on. No one is right and no one is wrong, but the voices are loud: there is a clear division between those who support conservative Christianity and those who promote a liberal freedom from religion.

But enter Obama: a lowly, selfless politician preaching hope and change, a beacon of light from the Republican darkness. No longer will the poor suffer at the hands of the rich. No longer will nationality be synonymous with greed or bloodshed. No longer will we take take take--we will give give give, to those in need and those in need of a handout.

Seems only fitting that Obama has a prayer candle. If we're putting in His hands the power to hope and to change, then why the hell not toss a little homage His way? If this man can open the minds of the anti-religion, anti-fish-school, anti-God-in-general masses, then more power to him.

In my opinion, he's going to need all the prayers he can get.

02 March 2009

on Jobs

"Express-News to lay off about 15% of workforce"
Read here

Yeah, part of that 15% was me.

I don't count for much in 15%. 75 people in the newsroom were laid off; 60 from the other departments. Sure, it sucks. It sucked getting the news and it sucked packing and it sucked saying goodbye.

But I'm 22 years old. I have an amazing degree and an amazing future ahead of me. I am still able-bodied enough to be a UPS driver or a waitress and I am not yet too cynical to do anything in between.

No, I don't count for much in that 15%. But what about the guy sitting next to me, who was commuting from Austin every day without his own car? Or the lady who trained me, who is wondering if she has to find new homes for her animals because pet food is expensive? Workers with car payments, mortgages, children in diapers, children in high school, children in college? Workers caring for their parents? Workers with spouses who also lost Jobs in "this economy"?

I was sad to leave my little cubicle and 24" monitor behind, but I was even more sad to see the people who had legitimate reasons to be really sad. My boss with a brand new mortgage; my boss's boss with a family of five. As whiny as it sounds: it's not fair.

It's Monday morning at 10:18 a.m., and normally, I'd be panicking that I was way late for work. Instead, I'm enjoying my morning by drinking a cup of tea, cleaning my apartment, and clipping my cat's toenails. Later, I'm going to the store and later after that I'm having lunch with my boyfriend. Maybe I'll work on some freelance stuff, maybe I'll play Guitar Hero. And I feel way too lucky to be in the situation to do so.

As of Marc 20, 2009, there will be 75 people with amazing skills and talents in the field of journalism without a Job at which to use those skills and talents. There will be 75 people looks for the same job in the same small town. There will be stress and anxiety and resumes and interviews, and I can only pray that every single person with whom I worked will be able to stay on their feet, as strong as they were on the 3rd floor of Avenue E and Third Street.