Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Impressions

The man driving a small car, with a huge dog in the passenger side, both of them looking as though this was the most normal thing in the world, a level of peaceful intimacy between them that was enviable.

A youngish man in an SUV, turning slightly to look incredulously, and say, "What?!" to some toddler, who had no doubt said/done something very funny.

Flash Blogging

So, is this a thing?  Will this work?
New idea: Flash blogging.  Stream of concseriousness blogging, done on the fly.

First one:  On way to work, second week of new cool job: crossing guard.  On the bus now, happy to be getting there fast.  Feeling blessed.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Onion Thoughts...

Here we go, I'm about to commit an absolute blogging crime:  writing a post about food.

You've heard what the experts have had to say--"No one is interested in what you had for lunch!  Stop tweeting and Facebook-ing  your food!"  And I have disregarded that advice and tweeted about food before.  It's fun to break the rules sometimes!

And I suppose that they're actually right, those experts, in a way.  Taking a photo of your pan-seared ahi tuna or whatever, and saying, "Out with the gang at that great new restaurant!" may be a pretty good thing for your inner circle of internet pals, the folks you work with, your family, your down the street neighbor who's on your Facebook, and whatnot, but it's not something that will generally hold the interest of anyone outside that tight-knit inner circle.

I think that a posting of any kind having to do with food should be something that causes people to sit up and take notice--you've got to have something to say about food.  You don't necessarily have to be Jacques Pepin, but you have to have a reason for writing what you do, an awareness of what you like and don't like and why.  Some kind of an observation or perspective on a food matter.  These are the kinds of things that will draw more people than your Aunt Gertrude (who reads all your stuff!) to be interested.

And now, I'm sure people are going to hate me or something, because I said all of that simply to set up a few words that were rattling through my brain about onions.  Whoever has read this far can judge whether or not I adhered to my own self-imposed expert rules.

The Whole Thing About Liking/Not Liking Onions

Almost everyone starts out as a kid not liking onions.  It's something about their texture, it can be kind of "papery" in a weird way.  Certainly, if your mom or whoever was the cook when you were growing up can really ruin your experience of onions by not cooking them properly or throwing them on badly cooked meat, especially if you're the type of kid like I was who also had a hard time liking red meat.  Fried onions can seem kind of slimy and weird.  The whole thing leaves you feeling like you'd be fine if you never ate another onion again.

But then, at least in my case, things happen as you get a little older.  You start noticing that nice, fresh, thinly sliced onion tastes pretty darn good on a cheeseburger.  In fact, onions and cheese tend to go together really well, "cheese and onion" is sort of a food institution.

You realize that red onions are delicious in salads, pasta, and on pizza.  In fact, if you're making roasted vegetables, they're really good by themselves.

And then, it happens:  someone serves you Roasted Cipollini Onions, which are the kind of thing that absolutely melts in your mouth.  The first time I had these, it was so good I nearly came unglued.  The way this dish is made, the onions have a sweet/savory nut-like flavor that can send you over the moon.  

Not everyone crosses the bridge from hating onions to liking them, they can almost be classified in that snooty category of foods thought of as "an acquired taste."  As a person who has made that jump, I can tell you that I feel a little more like a real adult, knowing that I have embraced onions as a culinary friend.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

An Elite MBA...

She's Doing An Elite MBA For Under $1,000 | LinkedIn



Interestingly, just last week I was in a video chatroom where they were debating on the value of online ed solutions like Coursera. I'm taking a writing class there, and I piped in with my opinion that it may be good for learning stuff on your own, such as punching up your writing skills, but that it wouldn't be sufficient to prepare you for a job in business.  It seems that Laurie Pickard is gearing up to prove me wrong.



This is a discussion that needs to be had, obviously.  If you read "DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education" by Anya Kamenetz, and a few of the other books like it, you'd see that there are a lot of people looking at this issue.



There are so many reasons today why traditional higher ed is not a good fit for many of us out there.  One example would be the high cost to parents who send their kids out to college, pay a lot into it, and wind up having to pay even more $$ because instead of buckling down and studying, Jr. has been doing nothing but drinking, partying, and getting into trouble.  Jr. then has to come back home, and, rather than gain an MBA type position, he has to work the fry station at McDonald's.



No disrespect to McDonalds, though, because as I recall when I worked there, they actually worked *with* me to work out a schedule where I could take some college classes.  Not enough of the entry level workplaces out there are willing to do that these days.



As a person who's had to balance work and school, and now these days with an added load of having to take care of elderly parents, having an educational resource that I can slip into the narrow cracks of my free time is an immense blessing.



In this economy, people are less willing to shell out the bucks to an institution whose idea of improvement may be only beefing up the sports program, or a cosmetic overhaul of the cafeteria/food court.  When you consider the ever growing unlikelihood that a brick and mortar degree will lead to a job, large colleges setting up free MOOCs may be their first effort at remaining relevant to the needs of the future workforce.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

21st Century Problems

So I was succumbing to the "internet productivity" thing, forging ahead in the "quest for inbox zero",  diligently cleaning out my Gmail account, when something weird happened.

I was searching and deleting, getting rid of whole swaths of email I would never read.  Click, and gone were hundreds of crappy messages from the Democratic party, click, now giant blocks of pagan message board communiques erased.

After getting rid of a couple thousand emails, I thought I should surface in the front room, come up for air and get something to eat. A nice salad from the store, perhaps.

As I was eating, my brain started cycling over the task I had been doing.  Emails began to scroll through my head.  All of a sudden, I felt as though the part of my brain that was emotionally prepared to eat green onions was missing.

There was one in my mouth.  "This is crunchy in a way I'm not in the mood to deal with!" I thought.

Clearly, I am not the type of person who needs Google Glass...

Thursday, December 05, 2013

First Day at Work!

The first half of my day was spent in training,mostly we went through a script I am to read when I do calls.  As we discussed it, we also got a little bit into the theory behind cold calling and how it works.  I would be starting out with a script, but eventually I will become so comfortable I will be able to put a lot of my own spin on things.

The thing that struck me the most about this place is how nice everyone is.  Of course, they all like that show, "Coven", which I could barely stand the first half hour, so that is something funny, there will be a lot of laughs with this group, I expect.

And Yet More Good News!!!

Went down to the DMV today and passed the written test!!!  It took three tries, but I got it.

Then I went to the library and looked up books about cold calling and sales.  I sat there for awhile, thinking about what it will be like to start work tomorrow. 

Something occurred to me while I was sitting there.  My new job is as an appointment setter.  What do things like cold calling, sales, advertising, and marketing all have in common?  And what skill do they most use, while at the same time honing that same skill?

Writing, that's what!  There are so many different directions I can go with this.  Using words to persuade and capture hearts and minds.  As I sat there today, my head was swimming with possibilities.

Also, forgot to mention that this is a company that serves the LGBT community.  Is that cool, or what?  This job is gonna rule! 

Jupiter is certainly giving me lots of Xmas gifts this year!  How's that for Law of Attraction?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A Good News Day...

Today was a very good day.  I got a brand new job today.  The one I had didn’t suck, it was just becoming obvious to me that it was the wrong job for me, it didn’t fit.  I’m very grateful I was able to get it, but there are certain times when one needs to move on.

And today I saw the ad in Craigslist, a shiny, new ad that had just been posted, and said to myself, “Why not?  The worst that can happen is I don’t get it, but if I want to advance my career, I’ve got to do something now, and why not this?  It could just as easily be me as anyone else.”

I think what helped me was the fact that I *did* strike while the iron was hot, thereby securing the fact that I’d be one of the first they interviewed.  I’ve heard that’s one of the best job hunting tips:  always try to be the first one they talk to.

And this job is so great:  it’s entry level, yet it’s doing something very important.  I can learn a skill that I’ll have--this is a sales type of job, I’ve never done this type of thing before, but I feel like I’m up for the challenge.  Even if this eventually doesn’t work out, it is *still* an excellent experience to have.

I feel very “new chapter in my life” right now.  There are so many positive things about this job, and how it will help me in all kinds of areas of my life, and the other good things that are going on...There is something very “fresh and un-stale” about my life right now.

Monday, December 02, 2013

I don't have a shorthand.

Ernie Souchak, the columnist played by John Belushi in Continental Divide, invented his own.  There's something very cool about that to me.  Something that said he was a real writer.

I have no idea why, but that movie didn't have the critical acclaim that his earlier movies did.  I happen to like that movie a lot.

It's the story of a Chicago journalist who goes up against the Mob and corrupt politicians, has to go into hiding where he falls in love with Blair Brown, who I believe was cast due to her similarity to a young Katherine Hepburn.  There is romantic tension, and Belushi has to get back to Chicago, where he once again takes on corruption.

I like that he's a guy who is on the ropes, and rallies his way back.  And that he was a writer doing this.

It seems like during the eighties there were a whole lot of movies that revolved around writers and their problems.  Probably because they were being written by screenwriters.  The kind of screenwriters, it seems to me, that would be the type of guys who would have lunch with Robert Evans and those type of guys.

I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to have lunch with Robert Evans, but I sure wouldn't mind being a real writer, like Ernie Souchak.