erinptah: (Default)
Signed the lease for one more year in Boston.

My current job has zero paths for advancement, but at least it's going steady, and I'm making more money than I spend. So I decided to stick with that for now. Save money toward the "move to a swing state" plan, instead of leaping into it earlier than necessary.

(First thing I checked: If you move to Madison or Cleveland in May/June 2018, there's plenty of time to register to vote for November.)
erinptah: Vintage screensaver (computing)
Fictional stuff:

Drop a letter, get a new canon, the return. "His Ark Materials: God wants to kill everyone, but Noah has a plan..." And the variant thread: Change a letter, get a new canon.

How to tell if you're in a fanfic. ("Do you ever catch yourself thinking about people you've known for at least a decade as 'the taller blonde'?")

Your guide to fictional injuries! "Loss of eye - Classic indicator of badassery. Rarely causes any issues with depth perception."

Nonfictional stuff:

Weirdest job experiences. The funny, the creepy, the bizarre.

Kinks you wouldn't admit to unanon. ...Also the funny, the creepy, and the bizarre, come to think of it.

"Hilariously wrong things you believed as a child."

"How are you a special snowflake?" I just really like the collection of mundane, everyday weirdnesses.
erinptah: (The Newsroom)
A recent study: The longer you're unemployed, the less eager employees are to hire you. Goodie.

"Recently, Rand Ghayad ran a follow-up experiment, sending 4800 fictitious applications for 600 job openings. The applications differed by length of unemployment, how often they switched jobs, and experience. What he found was long term unemployment dramatically lowers your chance of a callback. In fact, long term unemployed with relevant experience were less likely to get called back than those that did not have relevant experience, but who had a shorter unemployment."

"I would say between April and August I probably had 45 to 50 different meetings that I would just initiate on my own, asking someone, 'Can we just go have coffee, or just go to lunch?'...from an Internet standpoint, I have filled out and put in resumes for about 380 to 390 positions....Interview-wise, I would say I’ve gone on maybe 40 interviews over the last 17 months...I learned, obviously, now, after 17 months, that it has not necessarily [been] easy to secure another position."

The minimum wage would be $16.50 an hour — $33,000 a year — if it had kept up with the growth of productivity since 1968."

"'After nine months of ignored letters and legal threats, I filed an online complaint with the CFPB,' writes Charles, referring to the agency’s mortgage complaint portal, which requires lenders and servicers to respond to each complaint within a given time frame. 'I heard from Wells Fargo’s executive customer service office within 48 hours. Within three weeks, the lien was released. This saved us the trouble of filing a lawsuit, which would have been enormously costly and exhausting.'"

"One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income."

"Each year, the government doles out tax breaks worth $1.1 trillion. That is more than the cost of Medicare and Medicaid combined. It is more than Social Security. It tops the defense budget, and it tops the budget for nondefense discretionary programs, which include most everything else."

"But the big news here isn’t just about the politics of a Republican House speaker tacitly admitting they agree with a Democratic president. It is also about a bigger admission revealing the fact that the GOP’s fiscal alarmism is not merely some natural reaction to reality, but a calculated means to other ideological ends."
erinptah: Cat in christmas lights (christmas)
Apparently playing bad music is a calculated strategy to get you to buy more. When you're frustrated and overstimulated, your system panics and you'll make the decision to buy something just so you can feel like you have closure and can get out of there.

This explains so much.

So, yeah, I work in retail now. A couple weeks in, and I have a whole lot of Feelings about their playlist. Like: No traditional carols that namecheck Jesus are on it. Okay, that's understandable -- they're trying to get that holiday mood without annoying the non-Christians too too much. Except that the rule doesn't apply to Taylor "here's to Jesus Christ who saved our lives" Swift. What's up with that?

Also, for some reason "Little Drummer Boy" doesn't get nixed. (Do they think Muslim customers won't get that it's about the nativity?) Meanwhile, lovely classics like "Silver Bells" and "Deck The Halls" don't get played in any version. I object.

There's a sharp contrast between the "buy more stuff!" songs ("Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town", "Santa Baby", the insufferable "Toy Town", etc) and the "Christmas is not about the stuff!" songs ("Christmas Must Be Something More", endless variations of "All I Want For Christmas Is You", "One Wish (For Christmas)", anything related to The Grinch). Maybe the latter category is there to give them plausible deniability about the former.

They have three separate songs about celebrating Christmas in a tropical place. ("Christmas in the Caribbean", "Christmas on Christmas Island", and "Mele Kalikimaka"). It's cute and trope-twisting when it comes in the middle of a bunch of more typical songs, but starts to grate when the idea is being smacked at you all the time. Call me back when you've decided to let "White Wine In The Sun" in on the action.

There's one Mannheim Steamroller song. It's a great song. Did they just buy the one? What, was the rest of the album not good enough?

You can make some inferences about the customer base from the playlist. We get a whole lot of Spanish-speaking customers, and there's a decent amount of Spanish versions of carols. I can't vouch for how well they work (my sample size of one, a co-worker, said she thought they were trying too hard). There's also a fair proportion of black customers, so the playlist has one single Kwanzaa song, which I cannot for the life of me find online in video or lyric form, in spite of the fact that it's stuck in my head right now. ("It's a Kwanzaa celebration! Honor elders from the family tree! If not for them there'd be no you and me receiving glory from above. It's a Kwanzaa celebration! Come together with your family. Something celebrate our history and the harvest of our love!")

No sign yet of a Hanukkah song, btw.

I had thought, previously, that "Feliz Navidad" would be the song I hated most. I was wrong. It helps that they have a couple of versions that are sung prettily, crooned and harmonized, instead of the weird exaggerated Speedy Gonzales-esque cover that was the only one the radio back in MD ever played. No, the song that makes me want to punch things, or at least go hide in one of the young-adult corners of the store (tiny enclaves with TVs that play pop songs) until it's over, is "Run, Run, Rudolph". Multiple versions of it. If I never have to hear one more male singer happily imitating a girl whose greatest ambition in make-believe is to clean up baby pee, it will be too soon.

(It's very disorienting to come out of one of the teen sections and transition from Taylor Swift singing "We are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together" to Taylor Swift singing "Santa, Baby".)

Also up there on the DNW list: "Little Saint Nick". It's apparently a riff on one of the Beach Boys' other songs with Christmassy words put in, but since the other song ("Little Deuce Coupe") isn't played any more, nobody gets the joke and the result is just kind of teeth-gritting. Oh, and the speedy polka version of "Step Into Christmas"! Who thought that was a good idea? (Elton John's version can stay.)

There are a couple of songs that have come up, but don't seem to be on the endless-repeat list. Springsteen's iconic "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" was there earlier, but I feel like I didn't hear it at all last week. Same with Glee's "Extraordinary Merry Christmas". And I swear they played the SpongeBob version of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" (which I had not known existed until then), precisely once. It has not returned.

Some bright spots: "2000 Miles" is pretty, as is "We Need A Little Christmas". There are a bunch of covers of "Last Christmas", all very lovely. I haven't even ranted about all the ones with adults trying too hard to sound like cutsey children, which apparently means they're not a lasting annoyance. And there are some notable terrors that they haven't even touched. (Three words: "Dominic the Donkey".)

So that was my Christmas music rant! Next up: customers: why don't they notice that we have trash cans? Even if you don't, come on, at least carry your kid's used juice box out into the main mall and throw it out there, instead of leaving it on our T-shirt displays.
erinptah: (Birds)
Presidential support for Stephen Colbert is variable in meaning at the best of times, but when 66% of surveyed voters say they would be less likely to vote for Stephanie Colbert, that's not hard to interpret. Either people think gender is a significant factor in competence at being a fake candidate, or they think the question is low-stakes enough that they don't have to make the effort to hide their blatant sexism.

Dementia among aging criminals: in lieu of enough [funding for] outside professionals, their fellow prisoners are being brought into the job.

Historical treatments for depression, starting with the ancient Greeks.

Dress like a doctor, make yourself smarter: the way our psychology is affected by what we wear.

"43 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits, and 40 percent of those on Medicare say that they 'have not used a government program.'"

Recent graduates in career limbo. Also, fine-tuning the keywords on your resume, or the exhausting grind of nothing to be done and the urgent pressure to do it. Grad school has me out of this stage...for now, at least.

Breakdown of the current employment status of one class of 2011.

Drug abuse down by half in Portugal over the past ten years. Note that ten years ago is when Portugal decided to decriminalize...everything.

A four-year-old boy comes out as straight to his gay parents. Adoooorable.
erinptah: (Default)
CoverJust spent my evening finishing off the ebook for But I'm A Cat Person #1, then the rest of the night promoting it everywhere I can.

It's stuffed with bonus content - see this post on the main site for more information. There's going to be a print edition with the same, available just as soon as I get a chance to look over the proof copy. You're invited to buy either. Or both, if you're a completist. I won't complain.
erinptah: (sailor planet attack)
So, hey, we can get married in NY now! Rainbow parades for all. Check out this commentfic meme, if you haven't already.

Scattershot summary of what else has been happening lately:

I've been formatting the first chapter of But I'm A Cat Person for print. What used to be a simple, no-hassle Internet strip all of a sudden has to worry about dimensions and margins and print-safe areas. My baby's growing up.

The bottom popped out of one of my IKEA dresser drawers. For the second time. My roommate was asleep the first time it happened, but this time I got to knock it back into place with a hammer. Hopefully it'll take.

I keep trying to cut down on the number of things I read online...then one link leads to another, and all of a sudden I'm adding a bunch of blogs about Reactive Attachment Disorder and raiding the library for books on adoption. The theory is relevant to some of my writing, but that doesn't mean I have to read all of it, right? And yet.

Have found a couple of geeky people nearby to hang out with: a former classmate and some of her friends. They have an ongoing D&D campaign, which is not my cup of tea, but makes a great background soundtrack while I'm working on comics.

Sent off an application for grad school, and two separate applications for money to pay for grad school. In the meantime, will keep filling out 50-question applications for retail jobs that need multiple confirmations of my belief that stealing is wrong.

Only a month until Otakon. I'm so not prepared.
erinptah: (Maggie)
1. Okay, why is Jeeves and Wooster, of all things, setting off my embarrassment squick? It's never done that before.

2. When I describe how I've spent my summer to other people, it sounds very busy and productive. So why don't I feel like I've done much that's useful?

3. The top floor of my house (where my bedroom is) is twenty degrees warmer than the basement. What gives, AC?

4. Remember when fandom-at-large would take on one issue at a time, and you could talk about it in terms of specific discussions and phases? Did you ever think you would be nostalgic for those days? Because now it's more like a huge overlapping spiral of intertangling frustration.

5. I have clearly had too much socializing in the past couple of weeks. From con to con to family vacation to another con to concert - I got back from [community profile] con_txt and spent a large part of Monday napping. And then some of Tuesday. This has totally thrown my schedule out of whack, as you can tell by the fact that this morning I was awake at half past seven. (Mom keeps asking "Did you stay up all night?" She can't quite believe I'm waking up this early of my own volition.)

6. The concert, by the way, involved Eric Eid-Reiner (a former classmate) and Ken Kolodner (who is perhaps the world's most accomplished hammer dulcimer player, which may or may not mean anything to you, but it ought to sound impressive either way). Eric has a new CD out, On a Meadowlark Night. Take a look. While you're there, please take a minute to admire the cover art.

7. Per an artbunny [personal profile] xuanwu handed me a while back, I keep thinking about designs for moe!anthropomorphic!Sweetness-tan. I figure she's more than a little yandere (warning: TVTropes link). KILL THE AUDIENCE STEPHEN, THEY WILL NEVER LOVE YOU LIKE I LOVE YOU, and so on.

8. I posted something to [ profile] yourthoughtson a couple days ago. Hasn't shown up. Posting is moderated; nothing else has shown up recently either, although I have no idea whether that's a function of "mods not checking the queue" or "nobody posting." Any thoughts on what the etiquette for this is? How long is it polite to wait before poking the mods, and so on?

9. I'm stuck on close-to-the-last-chapter of this fic and have been churning in circles around the same scene for weeks now. Come home, [personal profile] stellar_dust. I need my beta back.

10. Finished the art for the first [ profile] tardis_bigbang fic assigned to me. (They're still hurting for artist signups, by the way, so if you're interested, don't hold back.) Was randomly inspired to break out the colored pencils for this one. The effect is completely different from all my computer-colored stuff. All soft and subtle and textured. 'S pretty.

...This post is ridiculously mood-swingy. Which makes it something like three weeks now that I've been on this weird emotional seesaw. Can somebody stop it, please? I'd like to get off.


Oct. 2nd, 2007 03:10 am
erinptah: (Default)
Dear Boston Globe:

You include the Parade supplement this Sunday, but fail to have included it last Sunday, when Stephen was on the cover?

Fail, Globe. Fail.



In other news, it's been One Of Those Weekends. I got sidetracked several times and accomplished approximately nothing. On the other hand, I've started posting guest strips for a few weeks, which is a great relief on my workload. And I'm ready to scan my first commission; they say money can't buy happiness, but it's certainly morale-boosting to get paid for something I'm doing.
erinptah: (Default)
The Senate is 50 to 49 Democrat, with Virginia's seat the last one to be called. Anyone else on the edge of their seats?

In other news, I'm going to try for an internship at Equality Maryland. That means actual gay rights activism, not just posting colorbars and sending emails. I'm so excited. ♡


Nov. 26th, 2005 10:03 pm
erinptah: (Default)
Yesterday was Black Friday, and I spent five hours of it working in retail. Believe it or not, it wasn't as crazy as I'd expected. Aside from the extra people in the aisles, and the one woman who paid for a $418 purchase in cash, it was fairly normal.

I also spent two hours watching RENT, and another one talking about how awesome it was.


They did a great job of adapting the musical to film format. Musicals have all kinds of restrictions - you have to do everything lyrically, you have to make it all fit on one stage, and so on. Movies have their own restrictions, of course, but RENT was well aware that it could throw away the limits of the stage.

The settings were vast and varied and cluttered and very present. The cameras were all over. It was sweeping.

During I'll Cover You, Angel and Collins start dashing exuberantly down the street. You can't dash exuberantly across a stage - not for very long, anyway. It was exhilarating to watch.

Mimi and Joanne - the new kids - were awesome. Joanne was hot and exactly right, Mimi was very alive, and the other cast members - the originals - were wonderful.

The songs were all redone, but not in a bad way. There are times when you hear remakes and they just sound weird, but these felt like the original songs - just more vibrant, more powerful. They rocked harder. Even after you take the surround sound into account.

A;akdljtapweithapfbnasl;djirasldk it was great and I want to see it again! *spasm*


Oct. 13th, 2005 09:55 pm
erinptah: (Default)
I've got a job =3

I'm going to be seasonal help at Michael's, a wonderful nearby store that carries, among other things, art supplies. (25% employee discount on sketchbooks, here I come!)

Conveniently enough, I start the day after I turn 18, meaning that I won't have to worry about any complications of being a minor.

La vie, c'est bonne ^_^


erinptah: (Default)
Where the towels are oh so fluffy


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