Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fours years gone

Hard to believe it's been four years since we lost Rob Smith, a/k/a the inimitable Acidman. While the loss doesn't cut quite so painfully as it did when I wrote that memoriam post, I still miss him a lot. To this day, sometimes I'll read something and think, Rob would have loved that story.

I don't really go to the blog there anymore, although I still sometimes get hits from the blogroll. I recall how excited I was to make it on that list. Felt like I had arrived somewhere unfamiliar, even a little scary, but a good and important place. Rob and I couldn't have more different but I still wonder what would have happened if I had been able to take that trip with him. I wonder if he would still be alive if I had been there.

Idle conceit I suppose. Rob was who he is and I probably wouldn't have made any difference at all. But still, I can't help but think, we could have been something if only he had lived. I used to have visions of sitting together, rocking on the porch in our old age and trading stories about our misspent youth. Anyway, that gaping hole in the universe that was created when he left us never filled in for me. Hope he is resting in peace.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Falling apart

I am so screwed friends. I'm so desperate for a job I applied yesterday to be a server in a ribs joint for 2 nights a week. The good news is it was a very short application. The bad news is before I left the woman who took it, asked for my birthday. She made it pretty clear that I'm too old for the job. That's not even legal of course, but who's going to sue over a two night job? I didn't get the good bartending job either. I see the ad is out of the paper.

But that's not the worst part. I got a letter from the bank. They cut off my credit card. I was depending on that to pay my bills this month. I won't even be able to afford my medications now, much less buy food. Not that the food is so important. I don't eat much anyway and I have enough in the cupboards to last a while. Besides I'm so upset I haven't been to able to eat anyway. I can barely hold down the food. Not to mention the heat is making me sick. I haven't turned on my AC because I was trying to keep the electric bill down. It averages from 85 to 90 in the apartment and it's too hot to eat anything but pasta salad. It doesn't help that I haven't been able to sleep more than five hours for a week since I was already freaking about the job situation. I wake up in a panic. Sometimes I vomit. I lost five pounds this week.

I don't think I've ever felt this desperate in my life. I have nothing worth selling to raise cash. How I got here is a long story that I'm not ready to tell yet. All I can say for right now is I made a lot of decisions based on promises that weren't kept.

At this point I have no choice but to plead for help. I know times are tough for everyone, and some of you have already helped me before, but I'm hoping people can hit my paypal button and give me $5.55. Why 555? Because paypal takes the extra change to process the donation. Of course any amount will help and if you would rather just send five bucks in the mail, email me for my address.

Thanks in advance if you can help me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome to my world

Well I suppose misery loves company, but this sort of story isn't doing anything for my anxiety. I'm not the only person who is too young to retire, too old to get hired. This woman could be me.
One woman from Warren County, New Jersey, wrote: “I am (or was) a legal secretary with several years of experience (30+ years). … I have applied to jobs that are more than one-half less than what I was earning. I search for a job each and every day. … Where do people in my age bracket go? Too young not to work but too old to work?”

Such stories of older workers too young for retirement but struggling for months if not years to find jobs have policy experts concerned as the recession drags on and long-term unemployment continues to rise. Experts say that age discrimination is severely compounding the jobs crisis for older workers, although the phenomenon is difficult to quantify or to prove, and remains under-examined by the government. This time, it is not just making it more likely that these workers will be laid off. It is also making it much harder for them to gain new positions.
The other problem with getting a new office job is that it's been so long since I worked in one, all the technology has advanced and they all want skills in software I have no experience with. The law firm was always five years behind on the latest stuff anyway, so I'm effectively ten years behind.

It's all feeling pretty scary today.

Job Hunting

The job hunting has been dismal. I've had no calls from the applications I put into the retail stores. The most humiliating experience so far was when I tried to apply to a new Dairy Queen franchise at a local gas station/convenience store. I asked for an application and the guy literally sneered at me and told me they didn't have any. When I asked him when they would get more, he said he didn't know. I asked him when the manager was around and he didn't know that either. He then informed me they probably wouldn't be taking any more apps anyway because they got so many already.

On the bright side, I did get interviews for the two bartending jobs I applied for downtown. I thought they went pretty well, but I haven't bartended in over five years and I think they were worried I couldn't handle it without more recent experience. Or maybe they just didn't want to tell me I'm too old. In any event, they haven't called me but I'm holding out a tiny hope that the new bar still might call since they haven't opened yet.

Meanwhile, the only place I haven't considered trying at this point is WalMart. It would be pretty ironic if the only job I can get is as a WalMart greeter. Sometimes I wish I had never left Northampton. If I had stayed, I would still have a job, and a savings account and a retirement account and wouldn't be in this mess right now.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trash Talking

I recall certain vignettes of my childhood remarkably clearly. I mean I remember right down to the tiny details, certain moments from when I was five years old. Playing Go Fish and marbles with the neighborhood kids. Hanging out in the mysterious hollow in the woods behind Michelle Shadeed's house. Swirling in my circle skirt. entranced by how it would stand straight out. The pink crystal bracelet I got for my birthday.

But just had a sudden realization that I have no memory whatsoever about what we did with our trash when I was kid. I suppose we must have had a garbage man, but I don't remember ever seeing him or even moving a trash can to the street. Heck, I don't even remember where we kept our outdoor trash can. Weird.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Where was I

Just realized I haven't posted all week. Been busy with the job hunt and trying to get my life in order here. Going to the laundramat was the highlight of the week. And it's been hot for most of the time. If it wasn't for pasta salad, I would probably starve. But enough about my boring week.

My friend Brian had the most brilliant idea I've ever heard for a birthday gift. He's a musician with lots of musical friends of course. The musicians community is very close in Noho. They sit in on each other's bands and hang out together in their personal lives.

So for Thane's birthday, Brian got a bunch of them to record covers of Thane's songs and made it into a two disc album. It's a rare and magnificent compliation. Especially if you know the local bands. You can listen to it here,, and download it for free if you like.

Not a gift that's easily imitated, but wow. Wish I could do something that great for the people I love.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

House of the Week

Now that my sister's real estate office is established I'm thinking of making this a recurring feature. Knowing me, it won't actually be exactly weekly, but she does get some really great listings in really beautiful areas of North Carolina so I'll do it more than once anyway.

I'm just enchanted by this place on 609 Rock Hill Church Rd in Ararat. The house itself doesn't look that glamorous, but comfy and very liveable. I love the old-fashioned kitchen and probably wouldn't update it much except for the appliances if I bought it. And while it's not very modern, it's got good electric capacity and central air. And really love the giant oak tree and the views.

But what really makes me want this one is the brook with the little waterfalls. Good natural water features are a rare commodity in the south and you can hear it from the deck. Not hard to imagine sitting out there with a cold drink and listening to it on a cool summer night.

Great price too. Only $121,900 for 8 acres, 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. More details and lots more listings at the link.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hot time in the Little City

Went downtown to catch the end of the bi-monthly Friday night concert. Better band than last time. Didn't quite catch the name but they were from Chapel Hill. Older front man with a bunch of younger guys who were good musicians. They were playing some rockabilly thing when I got there and weren't really connecting with the crowd. Interestingly, breaking out the 60s to 80s covers got the people dancing.

Crowd wasn't as big as last week but it was decent. The upper class crowd gather around the beer and wine tent and make earnest small talk.

The more colorful types and older folks hang around the fringes of the dance area. I got the impression this tattoo guy was kind of big wheel in his crowd. Lot of people came over to talk to him. Think they're party people. Lots of tiedye in that group. And his wife had a really nice camera that I coveted.

There's a big playground at the church that borders the block they close off. Lots of kids. Loved these three.

And I was just entranced with this little girl with the silver beads in her hair. Missed some great shots. She didn't really dance. Mostly stood out in the middle watching. But she didn't stay in one spot long. Was lucky to get this one as she was running back to her mom just as the light was failing.

I was about the only one alone there, but people were friendly. It was more fun than I expected.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Astounding video of a vintage airplane crashing in DC. The reporter was wearing a head cam and recorded it. Nobody hurt but pretty dramatic.

If you don't see an arrow, you should be able to just click on the picture to start it up. It might take a minute to load. And I had to shorten the view to make it fit so if it doesn't work for some reason, here's the link to the post where you can view it full size.

And on a brighter note, this is an amazing coincidence. A couple about to married discover they were in the exact same spot at Disneyworld when they were little tots, but their families didn't know each other. The husband-to-be noticed his Dad in the background of her childhood photo. How cool is that?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Cherry Picking

Had a great day with sister. She took me cherry picking just over the state line in Virginia. Beautiful orchard with stunning views of the mountains. We arrived hot on the heels of an ambulance. Apparently someone fell out of a tree. Was climbing this ladder listening to the injured guy screaming and moaning in the distance. It was a tall ladder. I went up as far as three rungs from the very top.

Then sis drove me all over creation showing me the sights. Some beautiful country up there. And I finally got to see "Mayberry" which is really Mt. Airy. More going on there than in my little city. She took me to lunch at Goober's place. Very funky.

Not sure why they named it Goober's since it had more of hippie beach vibe and there wasn't even a picture of him in the place, but the food was fabulous. My sister is so good to me. She really rocks.

Fly away

There's some kind of air show going on in Detroit and they were practcing their flights, apparently right inside the city, over the river. Love these photos. This was my favorite.

The whole gallery is great. See it here.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Clean your plate - or else

My Dad, who is a big believer in cleaning your plate, will like this story. A chef and restaurant owner in Australia demands her patrons clean their plate or else!
Chef Yukako Ichikawa has introduced a 30 percent discount for diners who eat all the food they have ordered at Wafu, her 30-seat restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, that describes itself as "guilty free Japanese cuisine." [...]

This list includes finishing all dishes ordered. The chef and her staff also tell people who don't clear their plates to choose another restaurant next time.

"Finishing your meal requires that everything is eaten except lemon slices, gari (sushi ginger) and wasabi," says the menu.

"Please also note that vegetables and salad on the side are NOT decorations ; they are part of the meal too."
Makes the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld look like a sweetheart. To be fair though, the chef is commited to sustainable living and not wasting food is a big part of her philosophy. You have to give her credit for being willing to lose customers in order to stick her principles. [graphic]

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Well you can see I actually managed to restore a lot of the blogroll before I fell asleep last night. That coffee I had in the afternoon kept me up anyway and I just got brave and decided to go for it. Kind of embarrassing after taking all that time to figure out the template that it was so easy to add the links. Next project is to change the colors on the sidebar. I can hardly read the links myself with the dark on dark color scheme. I wish I could figure out how to shrink the sidebar a little narrower too but I guess I can live with it as it is.

I can't believe it's been since February when I switched the template. Of course, in the interim, a quick cruise through the links tells me a lot of people have stopped blogging or slowed down considerably so I'm going to need to do some editing and rearrange the categories. And I forgot to restore my sitemeter so I've been getting zero readings for all those months. Not that it matters, not many people read this silly little blog anyway, but I do treasure every one of you that still shows up after all these years.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Memories, in the misty corners of my mind...

I'm in post family reunion letdown. It was so great to spend time with my brother and his family after not seeing them for 14 years. Now that the fun is over, it's back to the battle for me and I have a lot to catch up on. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by it today. But the good news is, my internet access seems to be stable again so I'm determined to restore the blogroll here before I go to sleep tonight. I haven't visited anyone in months because it wasn't there and I'm really missing my old friends.

Meanwhile, speaking of visiting, I ran across this link to this living carpet in Brussels.

I've actually walked in that square many years ago when I took my trip to Europe. The carpet wasn't there then, but I'm telling you that square is huge. It must be awesome to see this in person. It's made of begonias. Close up shot here at the link.