31 May 2006

the world is conspiring against me

I'm leaving Wisconsin in a little more than 24 hours. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that. I miss New York, but I know I'm going to miss Wisconsin as soon as I get back. I'm pretty sure I've convinced my cousin and his awesome girlfriend to visit me later in the year, and I'm working on a couple of my friends. They're as broke as I am, but I'm very persuasive. Also, everyone wants to go to New York. I think it's hard to leave Wisconsin because there are so many people here that I sort of know and would really like to spend more time with. (I'm too sad to fix that sentence so it doesn't end with a preposition.)

Anyway, I always get all sad and nostalgic when I leave Wisconsin, and then I always feel much better within a few days of returning to New York, so this is all entirely ridiculous. I'm moving into an awesome apartment, my roommate is one of my favorite people, I have a part-time job for the summer, I'll probably find a full-time job by the time I have to start making student loan payments, and I'm going to be living in New York. Everything is going to be okay.

25 May 2006

"the main thing to remember is that writing happens by doing the writing.”

When I sporadically attempt to write fiction, something beyond the normal self-absorbed crap that comes fairly easily to me, I can’t write the unsettling. I can’t really handle writing about sadness, or rather, writing about ugliness. Maybe someday I’ll be able to, but I can’t manage it now. I can handle writing about sadness, sometimes, but not very often, and it’s far more than I can do with ugliness. When I took creative writing, we would do writing exercises, and our teacher would have us write about the unsettling. Once, she told to create a thoroughly unlikeable character, and I was so bad at it. I wrote for awhile, it was an in-class exercise so I had to do something, but the result was ugly, and not in the way it was supposed to be. Maybe someday I’ll be able to do it; that will be a good day.

I hope one day I can write the unsettling like Mary Doria Russell. She’s able to write about the worst of humanity, write a passage that makes me want to cry pages after I’ve finished reading it. Even when I’m not reading the worst of it, when it’s only a memory or a sense of foreboding, it’s still there with me. I finished reading The Sparrow today, and I felt like I was on the brink of tears the entire time.

It’s science fiction, although it doesn’t read like sci fi, if that makes sense. I won’t ruin the story by giving away even a little of the details because Doria Russell uses foreshadowing and the slow revelation of details both major and mundane better than any author I can recall at the moment. I can’t remember the last time I was so invested in a book, so moved by a story. I can’t even explain why I’m so moved. I don’t think the theology really struck me as much as it did some of the reviewers whose blurbs are on the back of the book. I think I was just moved by a well-crafted story, the fully developed characters and arresting story line that Doria Rusell created.

Anyway, that’s enough sincerity for me today. Click on the link and buy the book; you’ll enjoy it and I’ll get a commission from Amazon.com (somewhere around $0.05, which will really turn things around for me).

23 May 2006

questions are decadent

Okay, so I haven’t been so good at writing every day. That’s all right; it means I have something to work on. I’ve done very well at giving myself projects to feel busy, but I need to work harder at actually staying busy. Or actually getting things done. Whatever, it’s all semantics.

Lucy, one of my cats, has the most plaintive meow; she sounds like the saddest cat in the world whenever she makes a noise. Sasha doesn’t make any noise at all, and Lucy and Frank sound like they’re being tortured, or maybe just consciously ignored.

Oh wow, this is the best website ever. No wonder I’m so popular; complaining about finding a job and talking about my cats. I mean, the cat thing is just clichéd. Oh, speaking of my cats, they go in and out of the house at least 43 times a day, and whenever one goes out, another one comes in. It’s like they’re maintaining some sort of feline equilibrium.

Yeah, I’m beyond clichéd.

The job search is going okay in the sense that I’ve applied for… five more jobs, including one that I’m actually really excited about. I had to submit a writing sample and everything; I’m hoping that I’ll at least get an interview; it’s frustrating because I haven’t gotten any feedback. Although I guess that’s not completely true; I do have an interview at another company on the day that I get back.

I’m going to work with my mom tomorrow. She works in Minneapolis, so I’m going to find a café (hopefully with free wireless) and apply for jobs and generally get things done. Or I’ll fuck around on the internet and generally waste time. Whatever, it’s all semantics.

19 May 2006

just shut up

The jobs-applied-for count is at 14, soon to be higher. I finished my master application for Columbia, and I'm hoping to apply for 5-10 jobs there. I think I've applied to at least 16 total jobs at NYU, some on Tuesday and some last month (I've heard nothing about any of them). Once I've finished with Columbia, I'm going to do New School University and City College. Then it's Monster.com and craiglist, and back to NYU and Columbia early next week when they post new jobs.

This whole job hunt thing has made me so boring. Jobs and resumes and cover letters and (lack of) money is all that I can talk about. I can't relax because I don't have a job. And this is a new kind of unemployment, because not finding a job means not paying rent and not eating when before it just meant less money for beer. I have to start paying rent in about two weeks, I'm probably going to start paying off my federal student loans in July, and I'll have to start paying off my private loans in October or November. My health insurance runs out in August, so I really need to find a full-time job with benefits by September.

See, that shit is boring. No one wants to listen to me obsess about money problems because everyone has money problems. No one wants to listen to me freak-out because I'm not sure what the point of it all is, because no one knows what the point is (unless you do know what the point is, in which case, please share it with me, because I'm really feeling sort of lost). No one wants to hear me whine that I'm scared of what I'll do with my degree, because seriously, how ridiculous is that?

Unfortunately though, I can't think of anything else to talk about.

just pretend you can go back in time

(this is the post i wrote on thursday that i never actually got around to posting. sort of silly to still post it, but i really want to stick with my original 'post every day that i'm home' plan. which means i'll have to write something else to post later today...)

I have been home for... let's see, Tuesday, Wednesday, and today is Thursday. So... three days. Yeah, that's right, history majors can do math.

So in the past three days, I applied for 11 jobs, got one interview, mowed the lawn, emptied and filled the dishwasher (twice), spent seven hours at 3 hats coffee, had lunch with Beth, went grocery shopping with my mom, watched Wallace and Gromit in Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Notting Hill and Good Will Hunting along with a whole lot of TiVo, read The Polysyllabic Spree and Sammy's Hill, spent about 10 hours fighting with Photoshop and Dreamweaver, made salads for my mom and dad to bring to work, made six or seven quesadillas for myself and others, and swept the kitchen floor. Oh, and I went on a bike ride.

I should've listed everything on it's own line; that would have looked far more impressive.

To counteract all that productivity, I've spent most of today on the couch. I learned some stuff on photoshop, but that's about it. I'd explain what I learned on Photoshop, but then I'd have to kill you.

(wow... this is lame. posting every day is fine and all, but maybe i should be more worried about posting something interesting, even if it is only every other day.)

17 May 2006

laziness is counter-revolutionary

I don't think I've ever been this productive on vacation. Or while living in Wisconsin. Or possibly ever. I won't bore you with all the details, I'll just give you highlights.

First of all, I've applied for 10 jobs so far, which puts me at 10% of my goal for this vacation. If I apply for 100 jobs, I'm sure to get at least 2 or 3 interviews, right?

(I've been sitting at 3 Hats Coffee in Hudson since 7 am. My friend Meghan works here, and they have free wireless, so I'll probably spend the majority of my vacation here. I'm not applying to 90 more jobs on my parents' dial-up connection. Anyway, the point is, I've been sitting here for hours, and finally some moderately attractive guys have arrived. They have tattoos and they're sitting right in front of me; they're also about 10 or 15 years older than me, so... I guess that's that.)

Second, I finished re-reading The Polysyllabic Spree, by Nick Hornby. The book is a collection of fourteen months of essays Hornby wrote for The Believer magazine about which books he bought and which books he actually read. That's such a shit description; the book is about the experience of reading, about buying more books than you know you'll ever have time to read, about which books you do read and why you choose them over all the others. I'm really happy I reread it; on the original read and on the second go round, it has pushed me to think more about reading and to put more effort into finding time to read. Okay, I haven't actually found more time to read yet, but I'm confident I will. I just started Sammy's Hill by Kristen Gore, which should be a nice break before I start on my list of Books That I Should Have Read By Now.

I've done other things, including going on a bike ride (which was preceded by pumping the tires on my dad's bike as well as re-learning how to change gears) and... there was something else, I swear. Right now, I'm going to go back to applying for jobs.

16 May 2006

the future is now

I suppose waiting over a week between "blog" entries isn't the best way to hold people's interest. I've decided to try to write every day while I'm home, as I don't have a whole lot to do anyway.

I'm not sure where to begin. In the last week or so, I took my last final exam as an undergraduate, went to my college's baccalaureate ceremony, went to my university commencement, moved out of the last dorm I'll ever live in (fingers crossed), moved my belongings into my first apartment (where I'll officially live as of June 1st), house-sat in Queens, went to Sonia and Kira's graduation party, and flew home to Wisconsin for a nice relaxing vacation.

Except it's not exactly relaxing as I'm completely broke and sort of afraid (read: scared shitless) of how I'm going to handle paying rent and paying my student loans when I don't have a job. I do have some sort of hope that I'll find a job... and I'm excited about a couple of (non-income producing) projects that I'm working on. I'm learning how to use Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and I'm hoping to work on making websites with a friend of mine.

I can't quite decide how I feel... I vacillate between absolute terror and giddy excitement nearly constantly. I've gone back and forth twice since I started this paragraph. I think my indecision comes from the fact that I've been inadvertently preparing for this moment since junior high or so. I say inadvertently because I worked hard in high school to get into a good college and worked hard in college to... I'm not sure what I thought I was preparing for, which is what makes it inadvertent. Do you see what I mean? I've been out of school for a week now, so my powers of explanation and clear-writing skills are quickly disappearing. Oh man, clear-writing skills? I am clearly screwed.

I'm not sure exactly what my point is... maybe just that I went into debt (I'm not going to try to horrify you by telling you the exact figure) and went through a lot to get to this moment. I'm a college graduate, and now it's time to be an adult. Well, it's at least time to be responsible and independent. I have to actually do something worthwhile after preparing to do something worthwhile for so long, and that is a frightening prospect.

08 May 2006


I was going to write a post more appropriate to livejournal, what with all the OMFG and all-caps screaming that was going on. But I realized something--it's time for me to be mature, to "act my age," so to speak. After all, as of half an hour ago, I finished my undergraduate coursework. I am, for all intents and purposes, a college graduate. That means that it's time that I start acting like the responsible adult that I clearly have become.

Yeah, clearly that's all crap. Maturity is for suckers. I'll expect all of you to have a celebratory drink or six with me this week if you're in New York or next week if you're in Wisconsin. If you're in neither of those places, you'll just have to buy me a drink next time I see you.

07 May 2006

exciting news everyone!!!

From: NYU-TV
Date: Friday, May 5, 2006 6:54 pm
Subject: NYU Commencement Webcast

> Dear Graduating Senior,
> This year's commencement exercises will be broadcast live on the
> web. Friends and family who cannot be present at graduation can
> still join in the celebration by logging on to:
> http://www.nyu.edu/commencement/webcast.html
> On this webpage, you will find information about May 11th's
> Commencement Webcast
> as well as a link to Real Networks. You will need the RealPlayer
> to watch the webcast and can download the software for free. This
> year's festivities promise to be exciting, and you don't have to
> miss a minute of it -- just tell everyone to log on to the URL above.

Yes, that's right, now all of you can see me graduate through the magic of the internets! Of course, you won't actually be able to see me graduate because they don't read anyone's names at commencement. But as I understand it, they'll have one representative from my college's class accept a diploma (well, a folder that looks like it has a diploma, I guess) on behalf of all 1500 CAS graduating seniors. Or maybe it's 2000; either way, you can watch it happen!

You can also watch Justice Anthony Kennedy (or maybe it's David Souter... no, I think it's Kennedy... if in fact there's a Justice named Anthoney Kennedy...) talk about... whatever it is people talk about when they give Commencement addresses. The future? If it's anything like my college application essay for NYU, Justice Anthony Kennedy's future will include robot monkey butlers and me ruling the world.

(I'm completely, 100% serious. My essay in response to NYU's "Describe the Future" prompt included robot monkeys, me ruling the world through a puppet-like figurehead (think Bush-Cheney circa 2001, only slightly less evil), and an ending wherein I told Oprah my grand success was all due to my NYU education. And they let me in!)

Enough of this nonsense. I need to study so I can get an A on my last college exam ever (until grad school).

04 May 2006

it's a cap, not a hat

I picked up my baccalaureate tickets, my commencement tickets, and my cap and gown today. I wore the cap for the first 1/2 hour I was at work, but then I had to go to another lab, and I decided I'd feel a little too silly walking down the street in my cap and my tassle and my t-shirt and jeans.

My cap is black and the gown is purple; explain that to me. I got a super special gold tassle for being a nerd, and I also got a purple tassle with a tacky green "commerative" 175 anniversary medallion. Why is the medallion neon green if the school's colors are purple and white? At least I think that's what the school's colors are... Can you sense the depths of my school spirit? Can you?

I finished my take-home final earlier today. Fifteen minutes before the noon deadline, to be exact. I have a final tomorrow and a final on Monday, and then I'll be done. Except for the baccalaureate ceremony on Tuesday and commencement on Thursday. I'm planning on being drunk for one or both of them. They're both in the morning, which makes my decision to be drunk just a little bit classier.

I'm glad my full name isn't anywhere on this blog, because if potential employers started googling my name and saw how much I talk about getting drunk, it would probably make a bad impression.

Good lord, this is boring. That's all that's going on in my life, though--graduation and drinking. Speaking of which, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, so those of you who are reading this in New York should contact me and come drink with me tomorrow night. It will be awesome, I promise.

02 May 2006

statement of purpose

My statement of purpose is that I have no purpose.

Oh, doesn't that sound dramatic? Really things aren't so dire, mostly because I'm too exhausted from seventeen straight years of schooling to really care about anything beyond graduating next Thursday. What's that you say? I should be studying for finals so that I will actually graduate instead of writing in my 'blog'?

You clearly don't know me very well. Seventeen years of school has done little to curb my propensity for procrastination.

Back to my original point--I have no purpose.

Well, I won't, as of roughly noon on May 11. The two goals that I had growing up, the two things that I wanted to do with my life, were to get out of Wisconsin and to graduate from college. I never thought beyond graduation; hell, I rarely thought beyond getting accepted.

And now, as I sit here and worry about how little motivation I have to study for finals because I already feel like I'm done, I'm worrying even more because I have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I don't really know where this is going. I don't even know that worrying is the right word for how I feel, because I'm really looking foward to being a college graduate and having an apartment in New York, and I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to find a job and support myself and pay back my student loans. I can honestly say that I'm happy right now, and that's a pretty new thing for me.

I don't know what to do with myself though. I've spent the last eight years or so working towards this moment, and I'm so close to being done. I don't know how I'm going to feel next Thursday; I'm wondering when all of this is going to hit me, really hit me. I wonder what I'm going to do, what my next goal will be. I wonder if it will be grad school; that seems like a pretty good possibility right now. I like this whole "BA" thing, but "PhD" sounds much cooler. If I get my doctorate, I'm totally going to make everyone call me "Doctor Marina." And I will continue to say "totally" and "dude," because I am just that awesome.

In conclusion, there is no conclusion. I haven't figured out how I feel about any of this, and I'm too worried about my anthropology take-home final to concentrate on any one idea for longer than ten minutes.