Point Me

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No more Teachers, No more books

I've been meaning to post some updates about the house for awhile now. Things are finally starting to come together, and it's starting to feel like a true home. We got new hard wood floors over the weekend, and have almost finished painting and sanitizing everything. At some point, very soon, I will post pictures and updates. I've also been meaning to show you guys the crazy shit that the previous owners have left behind. They left so much random stuff behind! I'll endeavor to post this stuff before the week is out

In other news though. Friday is my last day at Learning Skills - Correct Read, after a year and a half of not-so-hard labor. I complained about working here a lot. But it was never really because the job was that bad, in a demanding sense. It was just because working there was ridiculous. Period. As my time here is coming to an end, I find myself not feeling sad, nor wistful, nor nostalgic at all. Mostly I'm just excited to jump this sinking ship.

Here are the things I will miss:
- Getting to knit all day long at work.
-Getting to surf the internet all the live long day.
- Getting to read so many books and get paid for it.
- In summary, the copious and unwaveringly boring downtime.

Here are the things I will not miss:
- Hearing the same monologue over and over from helicopter parents about how busy and important their kid is because they play a sport. And how stressed and overwhelmed they are because of their freshman year workload....which is the least amount of workload you can possibly have in college. What do they want me to say? I'm sorry your child is in school?

- Having to deal with the careless/ stupid mistakes that my boss makes and his inability to deal with reality. I tell my boss that there's a pivotal issue with a class that needs his attention and he responds by running out the door to do his personal banking. Most recently, Lew cost us $90 in overdraft fees by accidentally using the business card to pay for his groceries.

- Coming back from my lunch break and smelling that my boss has most definitely been smoking inside the office, and finding ash on my desk planner.

-Working with another office that doesn't have e-mail, and having to fax them everything. Now that I'm leaving, the other office is thinking about getting the internet. Lew told them not to worry about paying for a router, and just to sign on to some other unsecured networks for free. He told them "we do that here all the time!". So. Untrue.

-My boss basically assuming that I am incapable of doing anything. When I was first working here, it was suggested that I write new test texts for the classes. He told me that it was "too hard". I'm and English Major who has done almost nothing but write. I also offered to revamp their terrible website. I learned that it was only re-done about 2 years ago. Also, Lew again told me that it would be "too hard for me". It's like, because everything is so hard for him to accomplish in his daily life, he doesn't think that anybody can do anything.

- Having to give my boss rides to his doctors appointments and the DMV.

-Fending off the telemarketers that call the office 24 hours a day. If Lew doesn't want them to hassle him at work, why is gods name does he give them all this number?

- Having to explain simple computer concepts like sceensavers and desktop wallpaper. Also, having to hear the internet get called "aol" all the time.

I really could go on forever, I have a year plus worth of craziness. But like I said, it wasn't hard or difficult to work here. Just unendingly bizarre and astonishing. Someday I'll write a book.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Today, I had what I would call a life changing experience. An awesome moment that totally changed my perspective on the last year or so of my life, and made me feel, honestly, a lot better about myself.

I had to sort through resumes to find my replacement. My good friend Meredith wrote this funny post on the same topic a little while back.

The amount of response to the Criagslist ad I put up, in just under 48 hours, was really impressive and kind of overwhelming. Sorting through them all, I really started with the intent on reading them carefully and considering people's needs and feelings. But I realized pretty quickly that this just wasn't feasible. My job, quite frankly, is so easy a monkey could do it, so almost everybody who applied was qualified. It just became a matter of superficially sorting through things and trying to find a way to narrow my options down.

- People who clearly didn't tailor their materials to the job, out. Why would you tell me you want to work as a medical transcriptionist, when this is not the advertised position? Also be sure that if you use a form letter like "Dear (Insert Person Here) I am interested in (insert position here)" That you actually do the inserting.

-As Meredith pointed out, a cover letter is a really important aspect of making your skills known, but you really need to keep it short and sweet. I don't need a 2 page essay about your time at Walgreens. Nor do I want to read a dissertation on the importance of a cover letter, that barely talks about you or why you want this job (really.) Just tell me briefly why you'd be good for the job. I figure out the rest from your resume.

- Don't forget to attach your resume and references. "Please find my resume and references attached" is impossible to accomplish if they're not there!

-With such a big pool of applicants to compete with, little things can totally ruin your chances at an interview. Like using waaaay too many exclamation points in your cover letter, or having grammatical errors and typos.

The whole process made me realize, that this past year of job search failures wasn't really my fault. That even as a very strong applicant, I had so many other people to contend with that I easily got lost in the shuffle. Also, that the fact that I even got a new job (working here, through Commonwealth Corps) is basically a miracle. It was really a positive experience to actually see what I was contending with as an applicant, and it made me feel silly for having so many negative thoughts about myself as a result of it. It also gave me some attention - grabbing tricks to log away for the next time on the job prowl. Overall, helpful and eye-opening.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I know it's not Caturday but...

I wanted to show off the new member of the Barba household. We got her on Sunday and she's awesome.

Her name is Roosevelt.
She is a doll-face who likes cuddling and belly rubs. Yay for kittens!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Band Concert - 1935

This short was another one from my childhood VHS collection. It takes us back to when Mickey Mouse was a bi-polar band conductor, on an especially manic episode.

1:40- Donald Duck is wicked funny in this. It's from the era when he had a really long skinny face. The trombone bit @ 3:15 really cracks me up! So many flutes!

5:10- Oh wow, this is getting a little sexual.

6:45- I miss when everybody wore hats, even the park benches...

7:16- From here on, this is the part that I really have strong memories of. All the people (slash animals?) flying around in the air playing this intense music stuck with me. The part where the pig loses all his clothes in particular.

Apparently, this cartoon is going to be the inspiration for a new ride at Disney's California Adventure. How random! It'll be a swing ride, emulating the tornado at the end.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I noticed this when Paul and I were doing the great LOST re-watch over the spring. What do the Others and the Barbas have in common?

Our drinking glasses! We've got the same ones as Benjamin Linus.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Selling on the Radio

Though there are a lot of differences between the conservative and liberal versions of the 96.9 talk station, there are also some similarities:

1. They both throw out horrible and unsubstantiated generalizations about the other side of the aisle. Like this whole "children's address" issue. Some liberal lady was screaming about how people who keep their kids out of school for the speech are just "cowards" who are scared of the president. Saying that they're fearful is just making them more angry, which is what they actually are. Listening to this stuff just convinces me more than ever that civil discourse is dead.

2. They both sell gold, with almost the identical commercial script. "Governments and their currencies come and go, but gold is real money, for life." "The dollar is more like play money every day!" Haven't you all been listening to Good Ol' Tom? Gold is at a 20 year high!

It's value will probably depreciate, so why not wait until it's less expensive to make this investment? Craziness!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yelling on the Radio

Life has been kind of busyt and exciting for me lately. Other than the chaos of moving to South Hadley and the ongoing mayhem of unpacking and making the house livable (which seems like a bonafide never ending story), I've also had a few job interviews this week. It's been lots of driving back and forth on Rte. 9.

One of my interviews was at the Higgins Armory Museum, where I will start working as an intern next week. I'm pretty excited! It's a sweet museum for lovers of weaponry and the art of battle. I'll be doing a little archives work, but mostly working on guest services for their new exhibit "Beyond Belief". It's a neat interactive art show about Mythology. All you Worcester-ites should come visit me once I start being there regularly on Saturdays. I might get to wear a costume!

I noticed as I was driving back and forth, my favorite talk radio station (96.9) switches from progressive programming to conservative programming almost immediately as you cross in to Ware. Living in the valley, the liberal mind set is pretty saturated, so I kind of enjoyed listening to what was being discussed on the other side. It was an interesting comparison study.

What Liberal 96.9 discussed:
1. The amounts of money that various politicians have taken from the Health care industry.
2. The use of religious rhetoric by politicians to manipulate the confused and unknowing
3. How crazy Glenn Beck is being, and other talk pundits inciting revolution.
4. How Obama needs to grow a backbone and start being more like FDR in response to Republican obstructionist behaviors ("No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it")

What Conservative 96.9 discussed:
1. Handicap spots. Are there too many of them, and do people get too upset about able bodied folks parking in them?
2. Rep. Michael Rodriguez got caught buying liquor in NH after voting for a booze tax hike.
3. President Obama's planned national address to children as an instance of untoward propaganda. The host constantly referred to Obama as "the great leader" and ended the segment by shouting "Deutschland uber alles!"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sucks to be Nadine!

I remember when I was about 8, My dad took me to go see "Nickelodeon Live!" at what used to be called the Worcester Centrum. It was one of the most memorable and exciting times of my kid-hood, as all the awesome game shows I used to worship and dream of being on were played right in front of me on stage. They picked random kids out of the audience to play Double Dare games, pie their parents, and even climb the agro-crag!

The hosts of Nick Arcade and GUTS were even there, in person, to host and pull people out of the audience to participate. I didn't get to play, but Mike O'Malley ran up the aisle past me, mere feet away! When I called up my childhood friend Laurie Santora to tell her about the amazingness, she hung up on me! Apparently, she was in love with Mike O'Malley, and was overcome in a jealous rage. She wouldn't speak to me for days...

I remember being most dissapointed though by seeing behind the scenes of Nick Arcade. I think, watching it on TV, I really believed that the kids were inside real video games, and that they were really experiencing it as reality. I was kind of dissillusioned learning it was all done on green screen.

That being said, watching this video of "The worst player on Nick Arcade", I totally see that these contestants have absolutely no connection with what's being projected around them.

Right of the bat you can see that these kids have zero enthusiasm for fighting Merlock. Watching this poor girl trying to orient herself, and then run out of power at the worst possible time, it's painful. But also very very funny. At the end too, that kid who didn't get to play is so sad!