Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view." - Henrik Ibsen

     March is women’s history month! And, wow, this March haas been interesting for women. Between Rush Limbaugh’s colorful choice of word’s to Sandra Fluke and Danica Patrick, the “Women’s Right to Know Bill” which would force women to undergo a invasive vaginal ultrasound before getting a LEGAL abortion, the attacks and cuts on Planned Parenthood, all the ridiculous articles from the Yahoo! sponsored match.com on how women should change who they are so the “man will marry them”, a rather long and heated facebook argument with a VERY conservative male friend of a friend about the right to know bill, and the fucking Bachelor/Bachelorette shows, there has been a lot of negative focus on women lately. And it’s kinda annoying.
     There are some positive silver lining in the aforementioned examples. The “Women’s Right to Know” bill has been shelved in PA (PA politician Bill Patton said the House should instead be addressing jobs, transportation, education, and health care (thank you for infusing common sense into Harrisburg for a moment Bill), citizens in Texas are fighting back against the Texas governor and the recent dramatic cut to Planned Parenthood, advertisers are running away in droves from Limbaugh’s show, the “friend of a friend” as ignored me (and I’m not at all upset by this) ever sense I pointed out to him that he was more concerned about the size of his bank account and the taxes he pays and the troublesome “feminist lobbyists”, the the violation of rights to a group of people. A group his wife belongs to. 

     Finally, I’m pretty sure there is nothing positive about Yahoo!, match.com, or the Bachelor/Bachelorette shows so I’ll move on. 

     Instead of the never-ending [insert preferred negative adjective such as “war”, “discrimination”, “belittlement”, etc.] of women of the world, I’d like to focus on the positive for once. Here are some feel good stories about women.

The girl scouts who chased after thieves after their cookie money was stolen. The other girl scout who saved her brother's life. This place that helps women veterans through art and community. Pittsburgh and our awesomenessThis lady blogger  who calls goldfish out on their bull shit. And this 101 year old Steeler fan! Just a few to get you through the day. :)

 I’d also like to note, to the more conservative crowd, I am not an idiot. I’m fully aware of the left’s discrimination and bashing of women. I know about Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann “bimbos” and “twats”. Although I do not like Palin or Bachmann because of their politics, they have been the subject many times over (Hilary Clinton as well), of misogyny from the media (and well everyone else). This can only add to the argument that this is not a political, but a gender issue.

Word count 461

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies." Elizabeth Bowen

    I met with a man the other day who was giving me job searching advice. Once of the things he said to me really, REALLY bothered me. We were talking about the education section on my resume. I have two B.A.'s, one in English Literature and the other in secondary education (yes, they are two separate degrees). And I finished my M.A. in Literature last May. I also mentioned that a young Pitt student (majoring in Rhetoric and Language) told me that I should just simply omit my M.A. off my resume. You, know to give myself an edge over the competition (yeah, I don't get that backwards logic either). Needless to say, I took this person's comment with the proverbial grain of salt. One, this person is an idiot for a myriad of reasons, and two, I worked my ass off for that piece of paper to help improve my job prospects! It's staying on there.

     Turns out, I'm the idiot for leaving my higher education on the resume. "Well, you should probably take [the Pitt student's] advice." Turns out, and I should mention that the person I met with yesterday was a large chain manager for 20 odd some years, having a B.A. or even a M.A. makes some older employers jealous. My jaw went numb. 

    This person went on to explain that when reading over resumes, especially when it comes to lower paying or entry level jobs, the more education displayed on a resume, the less likely the employer will consider it for the job. "More than likely, the boss or the HR recruiter, will be jealous that you have managed to successfully achieve a level of education that's very difficult to complete." And to add the cherry on top of this very harsh realization, "... and your degree is one that a lot of people pass off because they don't know exactly what English majors do." 

     Needless to say I spent the next 24 hours with a major headache. I've put myself (and my mom, who is currently helping pay off the student loans because I currently make $14000 a year in the service industry) into a lot of debt to accomplish something I'd never thought I'd be able to do. The day I graduated with my M.A. (with a 3.5 QPA no less),  considering I was in remedial English and Reading classes for all of middle and half of high school, I was damn proud of myself. Now, it all seems like a total waste of time and a giant waste of money. I worked my ass off to prove I can handle high levels of stress, manage my time while balancing an outside job and an intense education program, develop knowledge and understanding of the English language, research and writing skills, to be effortlessly tossed away from an invisible person who is only looking at a piece of paper and being jealous of bite of information on a resume from a person they’re never seen.

     The more I think about it (because that’s all I do, think about crap until a migraine irrupts in my skull) the more of the frustratingly injustice of this situation. My generation is constantly accused of wanting instant gratification and not wanting to work from the bottom up. My question is, how am I going to work from the bottom up or prove that I am a good employee when I’m, not wait, when the piece of paper in HR’s hands is viewed as “over educated”, “not experienced enough”, “over qulitified”, and my personal favorite “too expensive”? Wonderful Catch 22 the baby boomers have created for my generation; can’t get a job without experience, and can’t get experience without a job. So why meet me face to face when it’s easier to delete a resume. 

   So future employers and HR moles, you want me to prove I can work my way up from nothing? Then my hard earned Master of Arts degree in English Literature is staying on my resume. 

Word Count 668

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Classic--a book which people praise and don't read". - Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar by Mark Twain

I hate Dracula

There I said it. Well I typed it. And I’ll type it again, this time in bold caps, I HATE DRACULA! Everyone looks at me like I’m nuts when I say this. And I’ve come to learn that most people who say this to me have never actually read the book. They’ve only see clips (not the whole movie) from Nosferatu, or the laughable Francis Ford Coppola version (which, ironically, is pretty faithful to the novel). And Keanu Reeves is in it and he’s terrible (but, ironically, a perfect casting choice for Jonathan Harker). Coppola redeems himself because this version also stars Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins. And let’s face it, they’re pure awesome. These are the same people who also slap me in the face with the oh-so wonderful argument of, “Well you just don’t get it”. No actually, I do get it because, as it turns out, I am not an idiot. (Though admittedly I do have my moments. And if you don’t have these moments, then you truly are an idiot for not being able to see when you screw up). I am quit capable of reading, comprehending, analyzing, and interpreting literature through a plethora of different points of view and criticisms. I have three pieces of paper from two different credited University’s saying so. So there.

I had to read this god awful book three times in my life; once in high school high school, once in undergrad, and once in grad school. The first time I read it and didn’t like it, I thought it was me. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough to “get it”. The second time was in my history of the Grotesque in undergrad, which was an awesome class overall, but still didn’t like this book. This time around, I thought, it’s really close to spring semester finals and I’m just stressed out and unfocused. Finally, in grad school, I realized it wasn’t me. I really loathed this book. BUT, as I said, I am not an idiot, so there are aspects of the novel I do appreciate and do see and understand why it is part of the literature cannon in academia. Doesn’t make me like the book though. 

Ok here is my list of reason why I hate Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
1.) Jonathan Harker (and his gang of idiots, John Seward, Arthur Holmwood, and Quincey Morris, but I’ll get to them later) is the dumbest “hero” in all of English Literature. If he’s not the dumbest, then he’s at least in the top five. If you go to a foreign country and you say to the natives, “Hey, see that big scary castle over there! You know, the one that’s home to a enigmatic, creepy dude. I’m going to stay there a while.” And the natives response is to shove garlic and a crucifix in your pocket while begging you not to go to the castle also known to them as “The place no one comes out alive”. You probably shouldn’t go. Harker is the one who started this whole mess of a book by excepting Dracula’s invitation to help him secure a real estate transaction. Seriously? Real estate? Boring. 

Now as I’ve stated before, I am not an idiot. I know that Harker has to go into the castle, because if he didn’t it would be a five page story (which would have been fine with me). And the fact that Harker ignores the natives plea is also a point about self-importance of imperialistic England thinking they knew better. I’m not 100% sure if this was Stoker’s intention, because many Stoker scholars has stated that he was oblivious to the sexual undertones in his own novel. So, a political statement about imperialism seems unlikely. 

Later Harker, a long with the rest of the idiot squad (Seward, Arthur, and Quincey), are unaware and question for far to long, if Dracula fed  on Mina or not. Really??? The third act of this novel, Mina is happy, then she’s sad, then she can’t stop crying, then she’s happy again, then she can’t get out of bed, and then happy aga... oh wait she needs a tissue cause she’s crying again! Clearly either she is being controlled by thousand year old demon, THAT YOU’RE CHASING!, or she has the worst case of PMS ever and is in serious need of a Midol. And remember, these are the same geniuses who decapitated Lucy earlier in the novel, who had similar “symptoms” as Mina. Which brings up another point of why I hate this book; good girls who follow the rules get saved, other chicks get metaphorically gang-banged (Seward, Arthur, and Quincey all taking turns putting their “stakes” through Lucy) and have their heads cut off. Oh yeah, these are the heroes I want saving me. 

2.) Van Helsing. Okay, I can hear a few people in my head right now. “Van Helsing is awesome!”, “He’s the smart one!”, “He knows how to defeat the Count!”. Yeah Van Helsing is a cool IDEA for a character. Van Helsing is a rarity in Victorian literature because, while very religious, he is open enough to learn and understand Dracula’s capabilities and true evil. He also takes a logical and scientific approach when trying to figure out how to defeat the mystical Dracula. Awesome!

Van Helsing..... does not..... shut.... the hell.... UP! Frodo and Sam made it to Mordor and back before this double-talking jag-off makes his point! His letter’s (<-- and if I have to explain that, you clearly haven’t read this book) go on and on and on and ON! And he repeats himself more than Polonius! (That’s a Hamlet reference. And a great one if you’ve read Hamlet). Basically, he’s just an annoying jabber mouth he needs to zip it after so many words.

3. Count Dracula. What a let down! The first 200-300 pages when our idiot hero, Harker, is in the castle is fran-freakin-tastic! Stoker creates the ultimate supervillian. He’s immortal, he can kill with out conscious (this includes killing babies), he can CREATE immortality in others and control them (“the sisters”, Lucy, Mina, and Renfield for example). Not only that, he can control the four elements on the planet; earth (the boxes of earth Dacula draws strength from), air and water (the giant ass storm that scares the living day lights out of the ship’s crew that Dracula is hitching a ride on), fire (the random bust of flames Harker sees while riding up to Dracula's castle in the beginning of the novel). So to review, our thousand plus year old super villain, who can kill, create immortality in other, and can control the four elements on the planet.

.........He can’t beat three British guys and a Texan. Are you kidding me!?! Now is al seriousness, I use to work at a bar that was frequented by Texas oil rig rednecks and I will say they were pretty scary. But for a supervillian?? Come on now. There is a point in the novel, when Dracula is feeding Mina his blood, they idiot gang burst in. Now this whole scene is just weird. For starters Dracula doesn’t kill the servants (all of whom are female and Dracula loves the ladies) he just knocks them out. Someone drops a bag of money, I forget who. And when Dracula and Mina’s metaphorical oral sex scene is interrupted, he grabs the bag of gold (why??), and tumbles out a window. That’s right he picks up gold and TUMBLES out a window. That is Stoker’s word choice..... tumbles! Our badass supervillian TUMBLES! NO! Toddlers learning how to walk up hill tumble! UGH! Worst of all, the idiot Harker kills Dracula while Dracula is still in his coffin. That’s right the supervillian takes it lying down. 

I’d rant more but I have to eat something and get ready for work. I’ll come back to this later. 

Word Count 1322

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Did you know that the iconic Valentine's heart shape is not actually based on the shape of a human heart, but rather on the shape of the buttocks of a female bending over? " - Amy Farrah Fowler

It’s Valentine's day! And according to my facebook needs feed, my friend’s are either; 1.) super happy because their significant other has sent them an array of typical Valentine's day gifts, such as flowers, candy, cheesecake, cards, stuff animals with “I wove you” signs sewn into the cheap Chinese made fabric, 2.) Proud of themselves because they please their significant other by surprising them with an array of typical Valentine's day gifts, such as flowers, candy, cheesecake, cards, stuff animals with “I wove you” signs sewn into the cheap Chinese made fabric and are probably going to have sex as a reward for a job well done, or 3.) very aware and very bitter by the fact that they have no one to give or receive an array of typical Valentine's day gifts, such as flowers, candy, cheesecake, cards, stuff animals with “I wove you” signs sewn into the cheap Chinese made fabric and are more than likely not going to have sex with another person today. Or even tomorrow. 

So instead of writing bitterly about, yet another “singles awareness” day alone, I decided to research a quote that has interested me for quite sometime. For those of you who are fans of the awesomely nerdy show The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon’s, “girlfriend”, Amy Farrah Fowler says the above quotation. As it turns out, because the writers on this show are clearly awesome and do their research, it is true.... to a point. It has also been suggested, and I’m not going to lie I googled/wikipedia this information because actual scholarly research would take to long and I’m getting hungry, the seed of the Silphium plant, which was used as a herbal contraceptive in ancient times, was the inspiration for the modern day heart symbol. Also, and a more obvious inspiration, is the Lamprocapnos spectabilis “bleeding heart” plant. I’m not sure what the ancients did with this plant, but I’m sure it was used for either medical or recreational benefits. Apparently smoking plants for fun has a long linage in human history. Thank you Egypt.

It has also been suggested that, not only the buttocks, but the “pubic mound” and the “spread” vulva as inspirations for the modern day heart symbol. Oh, gentlemen, if you have no idea what the “vulva” is, please google it. Just heed my advice and don’t google it at work. And don’t tell anyone that you did. You’re welcome. And that’s all I have to say about that. 

And finally, the image on the cover art for the movie Secretary makes more sense.

Happy bending over buttock day folks! 

Word count 438

"Every morning I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work." Robert Orben

     It has been suggested that posting my resume on this blog spot might now be such a bad idea. I can't think of any reason why I shouldn't, so I'm pasting it on here in the vein hope that someone with hiring power will see it and say "YES! This is someone we want to hire!"
     For safety reason, I've felt out my name and phone number, because let's face it, the world is filled with a lot of creepy people. Also, any suggestions on how to improve this resume would also be appreciated :)

Recent graduate from Slippery Rock University with a diverse experience in the fields of Education, Food and Beverage, and Medical Records. Excellent research and analytical skills, and  working and leading groups and working independently. Maintained a 3.5 QPA average while working 20-30 hours a week while taking on a full course load.

Ability to handle fast-paced environment * Able to multitask and work well under pressure * Able to regularly lift/move up to 25-50 lbs. * Honest, trustworthy, and punctual * Excellent analytical skills * Strong research skills * Critical thinker * Microsoft Office, Excel, Power Point proficiency * Planning/coordinating * Quick learner and self-starter * Strong verbal and written communication

Slippery Rock University, May 2011 
Slippery Rock, PA
English Literature
Master of Arts

Point Park University, May 2006
Pittsburgh, PA
Secondary Education, English Literature
Post Baccalaureate of Arts

Point Park University, May 2005
Pittsburgh, PA
English Literature (Philosophy minor)
Baccalaureate of Arts

Program Services: Wish Coordinators 
January 2011 - May 2011  (240 hours)
Make-A-Wish of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia
Learned how to coordinate travel wishes and learned about the logistics involved. 
Prepared doctor approval forms, itineraries, alternative travel arrangements, and reservations. 
Used microsoft word to create travel itineraries for wish families filled with rental car information, air travel information, and lodging reservations. 
Organized and closed out files making sure all required paper work was present.

Work Experience:
July 2011 - Present
Bravo Cucina Italiana - Pittsburgh, PA
Communicated with kitchen staff, to assure compliance with complex and frequently changing requests of clients. Responsible for set up of four stations. 
Assigned patrons to tables suitable for their needs and according to rotation. 
Checked patrons' identification to ensure that they met minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages. 
Cleaned and maintained the beverage area, display cases, equipment, and order transaction area.

Supplemental Educational Services (SES) Tutor
November 2010 - July 2011
Sylvan Learning Center - Robinson/Washington, PA
Tutored students in reading (phonics, comprehension, reasoning, and vocabulary) and math (short and long multiplication and division, word problems, application, and fluency). 
Assessed skill progress writing monthly reports for the students’ parents. 
Made executive decisions concerning scheduling student’s tutoring sessions, behavior issues, and the individual student’s program design. 
Knowledge of inventory practices. 
Experience working special needs students. 
Staff scheduling knowledge.

September 2008 - July 2011
Jay's Sports Bar and Restaurant - Canonsburg, PA
Trained several new employees for correct facility procedures, safety codes, proper recipes and plating techniques.
Checked patrons' identification to ensure that they met minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages. 
Cleaned and maintained the beverage area, display cases, equipment, and order transaction area. 
Attempted to limit problems and liability related to customers' excessive drinking. 
Cleaned and maintained the beverage area, display cases, equipment, and order transaction area. 
Cleaned bars, work areas, and tables. 
Bartending experience.

Medical Records Abstractor
March 2007 - August 2008
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center - Pittsburgh, PA
Abstracted patient medical records into the Epic Care medical record system. 
Interpreted physician's notes from patient medical files for current and pervious diagnosis and/or symptoms required by the clinic. 
Entered the information into the system under the most accurate ICD9 code. 
Researched the symptom, diagnosis, and medical terminology as needed. 
Scanned certain outside information, such as lab work-ups, procedures, and correspondence letters.
Compiled and entered statistical data, such as patient medications, discharges, deaths, births and types of treatment given.

Medical Records Clerk
August 2006 - March 2007
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Solano & Kokales Internal Medicine  - Oakland, PA
Filed medical documents into patient charts under the correct section for the physicians connivance. 
Pulled doctor schedules for the day, updated last minute patient cancellations and additions. 
Closed terminated records and insured that all documentation has been received and filed.
Retrieved and re-filed patient charts in proper sequence to maintain organization and up-to-date  paperwork information.

Office Assistant School of Arts and Sciences 
September 2003 - May 2006
Point Park University - Pittsburgh, PA
Arranged, scheduled and coordinated professor contracts and miscellaneous mailing projects for the department secretary and Dean of the school.
Corresponded with students through phone, fax, email and in person to schedule appointments and answer inquiries.

Office Assistant Office Assistant Humanities Department
May 2005 - September 2005
Point Park University - Pittsburgh, PA
Performed administration tasks such as filing, developing spreadsheets, faxing reports, photocopying collateral and scanning documents for interdepartmental use.
Prepared student records and paperwork, closed files, completed and insured that all documentation has been received and filed.
Ensured staff was equipped with all necessary office supplies.

     If you are a job recruiter, you are awesome, and you can research me through this email nfsupernova@gmail.com. I have a more professional email account, but like I said, there are a lot of creepy people in the world who stalk random strangers on the internet.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often". Mark Twain

I love to write. It’s probably the one thing that I actually love to do. Ever since Mrs. Lovich’s 5th grade reading class when, for the first time in my school career, I was the over achiever on an assignment. From what I recall of the assignment, and bare in mind this was circa 1993/1994, we had to write an ending for a short story we read. The boy in the story was given wings as a secret gift, and the bratty girl next door threaten to spill the beans unless he took her on his flying adventures. We had to write the ending, would he give into her blackmail, or would he refuse her? (Trust me when I say I’m annoyed at the gender stereotyping, but it’s besides the point at this time). 
Anyway, we had two choices in this assignment; 1.) we could write/draw it as a comic strip that had to be so many frames; 2.) or we could write a paragraph. I mean a WHOLE paragraph. Like a minimum of five sentences, people! To a fifth grader, this tasking option is the equivalent of telling high school seniors they have to write a five page research paper, or college freshman they have to write a ten page one. Mind boggling!  

dant dant DAAAA!!!!!!!

This was the first homework assignment I remember being excited about. And the first assignment I knew I’d get an “A” before even starting it. Everything formulated in my head before I even got home. I sat down right after school, which was a first, to write down work on this assignment. Sitting at our massive, wormy chestnut hutch, closest thing to a desk we had back then, and played a Johann Strauss CD to help the creative juices flow. I found out something about myself, I really enjoyed writing. Not only did I enjoy it, but it felt like a natural thing to do. And considering I had always had a lot of trouble reading and spelling (as I still do today), the focus and ability to complete this assignment was euphoric.
About an hour or so later, not only had I formulated five AMAZING coherent sentences, I wrote about two and a half pages of sentences! That’s about four whole paragraphs! That’s right paragraph in the plural! Strauss’s face paced, “Eljen a Magyar!” providing the perfect soundtrack for the moment. I couldn’t say, “fuck yeah!”, back then to celebrate so I’ll needlessly add it now, fuck yeah! No wonder overachievers are so damn bubbly! The feeling of accomplishment, and being proud of it, is like being jacked-up on Jolt cola while riding a giant roller coaster.
The following day, I gave Mrs. Lovich my assignment in the morning, way before reading class. She was so impressed with the effort and outcome of my assignment that instead of making me do the scheduled lesson in the computer lab, she let me type out my story. When I was finished typing, which took FOREVER!, I had a full page (plus one sentence on the back) double-spaced, in print. PRINT! I know it is hard to contemplate now, but back the (about 18 years ago oh-my-god-I-just-gave-myself-a-gaint-reality-check!) having computer access was a privilege, not a necessity. When the page come out the printer and I held it in my hand, I was proud of myself for the first time in my life. I overachieved and easily aced an assignment and loved every minute of it!

.....And then reading class started. Mrs. Lovich said we had to share our assignments with the class. I almost crapped myself. Another of life’s firsts.

I’d rather not recall the feeling of everyone staring at me while I read. Blood rushes to my cheeks just thinking about it. ..... *shudder*. Of course, Mrs. Lovich started at one side of the room, while I was on the other side. Meaning, I was one of the last people to share my assignment. And I realized another thing about myself from this experience, I sweat and blush profusely when I’m nervous. 
As everyone began to share, certain things started to jump out at me. The first thing was, almost everyone did the comic drawing with the minimal frame requirement. Of course, there were a few who did above and beyond for this choice. It was the kids who showed exceptional talent in drawling at an early age. I’ve always been jealous of people with this talent. Most of these kids live in New York now, and have really awesome creative jobs that pay well. I’m still jealous of these people. The few who did the paragraph option only wrote a single paragraph. The exception was one boy who wrote two. He didn’t look happy when he saw my filled page that was typed on fancy computer paper.
  And the second thing that jumped out at me was that everyone wrote the scenario of our protagonist boy with wings giving into the bratty girl’s blackmail. I was the only one who chose to explore the “tell the bitch to shove it” scenario. I don’t really remember how I worked the story out, but I know I didn’t give the brat hat she wanted. Foreshadowing of my personality.
When it was finally my turn to share, I had to read the whole page. That’s a lot for a fifth grader! And the sweating was now accompanied by dry mouth! But when I finally finished, I got a hardy round of applause. And I actually felt good about myself. 
I want to find that proud feeling of accomplishment again. I haven’t written anything in over a year. The last thing I wrote was describing in detail what work I did during my graduate internship and a giant research paper for 19th century British Literature (the last piece of writing I did, two years ago, that I was proud of). I haven’t written anything creative in almost three years. In that time, I’ve worked as a waitress in a sports bar that was a small step above a honkey tonk (which I’ll be writing a lot about, I know it), a tutoring job that I loved but was sent to hell in a hand basket due to corporate greed and idiocy, and another waitressing job and a bartending job that recently came to an end (fortunately, I wasn’t sadden for long, nor surprised by this outcome). 
A former professor of mine once said about blogging, “One day we woke up and became interesting. And felt the need to share it with the world.” He was right in a way. A lot of bloggers are really self absorbed or shallow entertainment that allow us to forget our own problems for ten minutes. Of course we all know that ten minutes on a single blog, easily turns into three or four hours of internet surfing. But i want to use the blog tool to accomplish two things in my life; the first is to write everyday. Write about anything that comes to mind and get back into the hobby of writing. To find the excited fifth grader who was so excited to write a story down on a piece of paper; and the second is to get over the fear of allowing others to read and judge my writing. 
So far I’m off to a great start. This entry is almost two pages, single-spaced this time, long. I haven’t quit found that fifth grade girl yet, but at least I’m now looking for her.

Word count 1254