Saturday, November 15, 2008

some GOOD news...

Yes, we have recently heard that all countries that use the Euro are now claiming that they are in a recession...

Yes, the automobile industry and three major cities are looking to be added to the present or given their own "bailout"...

And yes, George Bush is actually meeting with global leaders right now to try to (cough) fix things... (forgive me as I just don't see Bush leading this conference as a good thing)

BUT...I did get hired at The N___. It is the few-hours-a-week night staff position with the great perq of free seminars. I start training next week. Woo Hoo!

I also will start working weekly for my friend and fab jewelry designer/facilitator Sam the Ring Man as of Monday.

They are small jobs, but added to other small jobs, they can, well, add up. We shall see.

And who knows, I may even get a call from one of the temp agencies.

And Mr. President-Elect, if you need a singer for the inaugural or a future state dinner or something, feel free to give a call. Just putting that out there...(and in these economic times, wouldn't it be better to support a lesser (okay, barely) known artist than, say, splurge on the luxury of, oh, I don't know, Renee Flemming?...just saying...:p)

KEEP PAYING ATTENTION...particularly with the way the media is playing out the Minnesota recount.

Peace --Alex

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

economic hoo ha

To my left, is the TV. The news is on, and it's all about the "dismal economy". Consumer sales down from 6.8% at one store chain, to 11.4% at another. Best Buy is down 7.6%. And then stocks are down...again...Oil dropped to below $50/barrel (great for drivers!). I even saw a headline on one of those elevator TV's that online job listings are down. (I can confirm that from personal experience, thank you.)

(Please send a hug to my financial planner friend Shawn who I imagine these days wakes up curled up in a small ball wishing it would just "go away!!!!"...or rather, wakes up, hands clenched around the pillow after dreaming that he was strangling bad bank people...George.)

Last night, I was able to indulge in my creative endeavors, performing in the Stories At The Creek storytelling series along with host Brad Lawrence, Jen DeMerritt, Tracy Rowland (ask her about the "bucket of blood for Christmas") Peter Aguero, and one of my fav comics from the Boston area, DJ Hazard.

Today, it was all about the in, my continuing search for a new one.

This has gone on far too long if ya ask's been since the end of March, and while I did qualify for the unemployment extension, that extension ain't gonna last forever. I am sooooooo lucky the man remains employed at this time, but you know, he can't cover everything (much as he would like to).

Most of my days are spent on the job hunt whether it be on line, checking with friends, trying to remember to go to auditions, etc, but today became a day that felt a bit above and beyond.

Here's the schedule for the day:

10:00am: Dropping by the P__ E__ temp agency to sign up. I got through the paperwork and the Excel test before I had to leave for appointment #2. (Will be returning to complete word and power point tests tomorrow at 10am)

11:30am: Interview at N___ (thank you Doug for recommending me). They are looking for an administrative night staff person. It would be a few hours a week, $15/hr, and - major perq - I could do their seminars for free. It felt good, so that may be a nice little part time thing should it work out.

12:15pm-12:45pm: Hot chocolate at Starbucks while I wait for the to look up the address of a job fair my former co-worker Kymberly told me about yesterday during a random subway meeting. I, of course, forgot to write down the address.

1:00pm: Stood in line for an hour trying to get into aforementioned job fair. If anyone needed evidence of the present economic situation, at least when it comes to unemployment: if they needed to put faces to those numbers they've heard about on the news or read about in the paper, they should have headed down to 32nd Street and Broadway, and looked at the line of folks in their best suits and business attire, holding envelopes, folders, and portfolios stuffed with resumes. It brought back images of Depression Era bread lines, save for the fact that everyone was dressed so nicely. There was indeed a TV camera there, and the guy I saw them interview talked about how he had been laid off 6 months ago and was feeling "the dread" of not finding anything else anytime soon.
I thought I had found the end of the line near the corner of 33rd, but then, a gentleman asked me "Did you just join the line?" I replied "Yes," to which he remarked, "You know the line goes around the block...?" I had been fooled by regular folk who had cut through the line to just, you know, walk down the street, leaving me to accidentally cut in line. I hit the corner and found myself facing the continuing line of business-clad folks which, as I walked...and walked...and walked looking for the end, appeared to be about halfway down the street. And, no doubt, during the time I (and the rest of us) stood there...waiting...that line bumped up on to 5th Ave. I was not the only one on my cell-phone goin' "Duuuuude, you should see this line..."
By the time we got into the hotel, we were a) happy to be inside and a bit warmer, and b) expecting to walk into the job fair. But oh no, mon frere, we merely were joining the indoor line. Yes, the line snaked from the ballroom where the event was being held, down the hall and back to a no man's land behind me.
And then...oh yes...then we finally got into the ballroom. It was time to fill out a name tag and get that job, baby!
About 25 companies had tables in there, some had lines behind them, some did not. The MTA was looking for bus drivers, a catering company that works out of JFK was looking for lounge and service staff, and everybody else appeared to be looking for sales people. Sales are important right now as basically, if these companies don't sell, they will not be around for much longer. I am not a sales person. And most sales folks really annoy me (I guarded the main office from LOTS back at City Center..perhaps this is payback). But this did not keep me from giving out some resumes to these companies, and one of them actually seems more promotions than sales. It is a graphics company called Optima Graphics and they need a New York rep to push large banners for large events (they are pitching to the Superbowl and the Inauguration). I found myself intrigued, liked the rep, and suddenly my resume was in his hand!
No one was looking for reception/pres tech/admin/actor people, but they appeared ready to train you for sales. I found myself handing out a good number of resumes...and thinking about only ONE of the jobs I looked into...and really hoping I get this part time night staff position at N___...

2:30pm: I leave the chaos of the job fair and see the line remains long, even though this thing apparently was only going until 3pm.
As I hit the lobby, I check my phone and see that I have a voicemail (like I could have heard the phone ring amidst the job fair hoo ha). I check it, and it is my friend Sam the Ring Man saying hey, if I still want to help him with random secretarial stuff, he'd love to have me come on down. Sweet!

3:00pm: I meet the man at work to pick up music he's found and printed up for Sunday (solo time at church!). I get to hug him. This is good. I also finally get the address of the catering company I worked a gig for a couple of weeks back and am able to pick up a check! YAY!

4:30pm: I walk on over to Tiffany to see if they need seasonal sales people. The floor manager is very pleasant and tells me to talk to the concierge. The concierge, also very pleasant, gives me a card with the internet address I should submit my resume to, as that is how they are handling that. Therefore, flashing my Gehry "fish" engagement ring to prove I know (some of) the product, does nothing. Nor will telling them that I would also could be very pleasant at Tiffany.
It is time to go home...

8ishpm: While typing, I get a call from a number I recognize, but can't think of from where...I wait for the voicemail. I check it, and find out that it is Charlene from the temp agency with whom I worked Credit Suisse. I find myself trembling with excitement over potential pres tech work as she talks about a weekend gig. Turns out the gig has nothing to do with Credit Suisse, but with working for $10/hr essentially helping visitors at the newly reopened Intrepid Museum. They need the same person Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Due to the church gig, I can't do Sunday, but I am apparently on stand-by for Friday and Saturday. In all my years here, I have never been on the Intrepid, so what the heck? I'll do it, AND I'll be getting paid! (if they call me...)

All of this will be very fun to explain on my taxes...

All right, time to hit the Tiffany website...and then a bubble bath...

In the meantime...KEEP PAYING ATTENTION...and do a little happy dance that Obama is already planning to get executive on George's a** by turning over various of W. "orders" (can we really call them "executive orders" if he stole the election(s)?)

Peace --Alex

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Is it just me..."

"or does the air smell sweeter this morning?" my husband asked after he got out of bed.

No, it's not just you.

It may be overcast outside, but through that thin layer of clouds is the dawn of a new era. And it is a happy one.

Does anyone else feel like the clouds opened up and rays of light just came down from the sky? (angels singing, flowers popping open randomly, dry earth becoming green with grass and trees, the sun finding its way to formerly dark corners and alley ways...) :p

Last night, Jeff and I headed to Times Square with the initial intent to watch the Daily Show live broadcast, but a) they were not going on until 10ish...and it was around 8:30pm and b) the crowd in Times Sq. starting around 47th was already heavy. We went to the CNN set of two jumbo-trons at the TKTS set-up and as the crowd poured in around us, didn't move until after midnight.

Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and Campbell Brown wandered the CNN set around their two sets of pundits, while John King stood faithfully by his giant touch screens, which I am sure he will be so glad never to have to touch again. (If he has an iPhone, he's probably thrown it out just so he will not have to deal with touch screens ever again.) And every time a poll closed and a projection could be made, the music started and a huge graphic of "CNN PROJECTION" splashed across the screen (in case you were watching some other network. By the way. CNN also that must have some sort of military technology contract as they used 3D table-top graphics and interviewed artist Will.I.Am by rivaled Star Trek and the X-Men for sure).

The crowd was mildly apprehensive, and who wouldn't have been after 2004? I personally was treating it like a Red Sox game: it is not over until the last out, rather, until the last vote was counted. And speaking of the Sox, in 2004, we got the World Series, thus we were not allowed the election. This time, we did not get the World Series, hence, it appears the election was have had both would have been too much joy to have asked for...and would have been a sign of the apocalypse for sure. In 2004, my mom came to visit, we had dinner at Rockefeller Plaza, watched NBC crew members paint various states red or blue on a map on the ice rink, and watched the rest of the painful, gut-wrenching returns in her hotel room. We all have some sort of memory like this which we have tried to block out. But as the returns came in last night, more and more often, the states came back...BLUE. The crowd went wild when Obama got Pennsylvania...and then Florida...and then Ohio...(we got OHIO!!!)

There were some who figured it was all good; that is was a done deal: they cheered, held up bumpers stickers that read "Mission Accomplished: Obama for President", but one could tell that others were more like me, holding back and shouting at the pundits to "SHUT UP!" as they began to predict an Obama win before the west coast was called. It just seemed too good to be true. After eight years of darkness and a near complete lack of faith in the judgement of the American people was this really finally going to happen?

There was a countdown at 15 seconds to 11pm...and Wolf Blitzer didn't even try to say "California goes to Obama" he just said "It is official. Obama is president..."

CHEERS! SCREAMS! JUMPING UP AND DOWN! TEARS OF JOY! I remember just looking up at the screen, near tears; moved, surprised, thankful...and then I just started hooting and hollering with the rest of the folk.

John McCain came on later to make his concession speech, which was gracious and thoughtful...and went on a bit too long. (It's hard to leave the stage sometimes, I know.) As the cameras panned the crowd in Phoenix and my husband muttered, "Come black person. There has to be one in that crowd..." Upon closer inspection of the John McCain faithful in Phoenix, it appeared difficult to even find a brunette. There was one Latina girl that was glossed over, but the crowd remained...well, just surprisingly (or not so much) white. And was it just me or did Sarah Palin look like a teenager not picked from prom queen? (oh Sarah, don't cry...we all know you are going to go after Ted Steven's senate seat...)

And then they showed the dancing crowd in Chicago...

There were white people, black people, Hispanic people, Asian people, mixed people, young people, old was a true representation of our present nation, and by midnight, the new representative and leader of this great mix of peoples we call the United States of America came to the podium. Horns were honking, people were cheering, and then as Obama began to speak, the crowd went quiet...

and then the screens in New York went out.

Yes, CNN either just screwed up or there was a disgruntled Republican intern who messed with the picture, so instead of looking up and listening to our new president on TWO jumbo-trons, both screens showed the rainbow flag of technical difficulties.

Suddenly the chants changed from "OBAMA!" and "YES WE CAN!" to "CNN SUCKS!" and "WHAT THE F***?!" Jeff and I took this moment of brief dispersal to finally make our way out of the crowd to meet with friends we'd been trying to join and when we cound each other, we all headed out through the masses for the Playwright's Tavern up the street. We paused only once on our walk to join a small crowd surrounding a van who's owner had turned on the radio so people could hear the speech. I pulled out my own transistor radio (yes, I own one), but the volume would not go high enough. We hit the bar, joined the overflow crowd and watched the end of Obama's speech. As he spoke if the things a 106 year old voter had seen and lived through, describing the evelution of our nation, I could not helped but be moved and feel the power of the moment. I looked around at the people around us and then back at the screen...It was real. This man was actually up there, making this speech in front of his fellow Chicagoans, and to the nation.

I so wish my father had been alive to see this...though I am sure he was watching :)

America spoke last night. America said eight years of a stolen, secretive and criminally prideful and incompetent presidency was enough. America said over 200 years without a black president was enough. America said that this is a new generation where a man's actions are indeed more important than his race. America said it is time to get over old prejudices and just elect the best person for the job...and that one day that person may be a woman (you know I had to go there...)

In the meantime, I feel, this morning, the continuation of the evolution of our nation. I am proud. I am happy. And boy am I feeling for the Obama people as they prepare to take on the mess and the pressure - the pressure on historic level - to follow up on promises made. As we got ready for bed around 3am last night, I thought about how mice it would be if later in the morning the stock market immediately would shoot up, peace in the middle east would be declared and I would wake up with a job just because of the seismic shift caused by an Obama win; but I know better. It will be a long, hard first couple of years...and we will, like with any president, have to hold him to task...keep him honest and focused...but at least a change has really has and it does feel like the nation has finally decided to see the light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

Woo Hoo!

Peace --Alex

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


This morning, a lovely, surprisingly warm fall day, I found myself getting dolled up for the polling place.

After hearing on the radio about the long lines, the heavy turnout; the calls from poll workers across the country talking about voters showing up well before the polling area was open; about having to handle overflow and machines that were already causing trouble, I found myself feeling electrified...the excitement of this day finally coming was and remains palpable.

As I got ready to head out this morning, I caught myself actually thinking very carefully about what I was going to wear. I wanted to remember what I wore on this day, November 4th, 2008 when I went to vote. I got out the nice jeans, my orange turtleneck sweater, my black oxfords with the flame decorated toe and heel, my rubber ducky earrings, my orange pea coat and orange/yellow/black/red shag scarf. I even put on lipstick! It was as if I was putting on my Sunday best! But I felt I had's an historic day...why not look decent?

I walked the 16 or so blocks to my polling place and was almost a bit disappointed when I did not see a line down the block, but then again, I thought, there's hardly ever a line here: it's a large space, they tend to have a good number of machines...And then I walked in, as did a few others behind me. Suddenly, the line was pouring outside on to the steps, and the line ahead of me, was nothing I'd seen at this polling place since I'd registered there. Not even in 2004 did I have to wait more than a few minutes. Today, the poll workers looked a bit frazzled, were understaffed, a machine was being difficult (not completely broken, but definitely had issues and was constantly being kicked or shaken by one staffer, while a coordinator paced around the room, cellphone glued to his ear, trying to get someone to come up to Inwood to look at it, as well as trying to wrangle a few more poll workers), and it was forty-five minutes before I got to pull the lever.

As I stood in the booth looking at the wall of choices, I have to admit, I still wished that Hillary had been one of them. I would have been so thrilled to pull the lever next to her name and see the 'X' pop up. Still, to pull the lever and see the 'X' pop up into place next to Barack Obama's name was an exciting and moving experience. I even took a picture of it with my cellphone.

My mom is writing in Hillary, not sure who my sister is voting for (she was leaning towards Bob Barr last I recall), but whoever you may be voting for today, I hope you took a moment to appreciate it. This truly is momentous occasion...and should be every election day.

You might also just want to raise a glass somewhere that, no matter what the end result, this ridiculously long campaign is finally frickin' over.

If you haven't voted yet, GET OUT THERE NOW!!!!! VOTE!

Peace --Alex