Saturday, August 23, 2008

Call Me An Ambulance I'm Fading Away

I fucking hate retail

Ok, so I'd written this line in the blog at some point before I left for most of the rest of the evening, and I feel like I have to do some justification of it. I'm not going to go on a tirade like I did yesterday expounding the awesomeness that isn't my current retail job (for that just follow this link). It would get rather boring if I did that after every day of work. Instead I'll tell you what I did do this afternoon.

I got out of work at 2, came home, wrote this line at the top of the page, called my dad and asked about a few application related questions, filled out a new job app for Ann Arbor District Library, promptly went over there and turned it in. Later I spent some time with my friends Evan and Brett, playing board games, watching Olympics, discussing the finer points of our political views and listening to angry people calling themselves Christians lambasting people on the street. All in all it was a good evening full of not working retail.

I don't have to work retail tomorrow. Instead I'll write, maybe go to the women's soccer game over in Yspilanti. I may also do laundry and clean my room. And when I fold my clothes it will be for me, and not for some big tanking company. Part of me hopes it closes before I quit so I don't have to deal with the guilt of leaving so soon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Retail Sucks

I'm sitting in my basement bedroom looking up to ground level and at the very dark very gray sky above, listening to it boom and thunder, watching the tree limbs whip in bursts, their weakest leaves being torn away, and I'm worried that when the rain does come (as tomorrow it is supposed to) am I going to be flooded in my basement. Logic tells me no, but after two flooded basements at my parent's house I tend to be a little leery on the whole subject.

I've also learned a very valuable lesson tonight. Retail sucks. I worked an eight hour shift today (9-5) which was monotonous and full of folding clothes and organizing cubes of folded clothes. Unlike the library gig of reshelving and shelf reading (it's funny, reshelving is not a word my spellcheck is telling me (neither is spellcheck...)) I'm not allowed to have my iPod on me to listen to books or music. I'm hoping tomorrow, in the moments before I go to work, I can be at a place in The Rider where I can be spending the long monotonous hours dictating passages of interesting prose to myself, which I will then scurry home to record from memory. I realized I had to work tomorrow and I groaned. First day on the job and I'm already groaning.

I'm hoping that if a work study job comes through (or this awesome library gig over at AADL) I can take it, because I'll quit at Steve and Barry's. The people are nice, don't get me wrong, but the work is just dreadfully boring. With every shirt I fold I ask myself, "Nathan, you have a bachelors degree. Why are you folding shirts for minimum wage?"

I'm at about 65 pages into the Rider rewrite right now (say that three times fast). The chapter I'm editing is one that got workshopped at Columbia in their Fiction Seminar class. I wish I could find the notes from there because a lot of really good things got said. I think I've got some of them jotted in my journal from class discussion.

I need to go grocery shopping, but I'm terribly nervous about spending money until I am sure that my loans are in place to help bolster the paycheck in paying for rent.

So instead I'm going to make a PB&J and watch the UM Women's Soccer play Notre Dame online.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beginning Grad School

I still have one week to go.

Things are looking up a bit from where they were just a couple days ago.

I came home yesterday from Haslett and went over to Steve and Barry's (inexpensive campus clothing) and applied and immediately got a job. Then I've got 2 emails from different places about possible Work Study jobs. One is over at Michigan radio doing something called "Development Assistant" which I think means glorified go-for. I've got an interview for that next Friday.

Loan stuff got hammered out, and though I'm going to be further in debt I at least feel a little safer starting the year this year, and I'm hoping and praying that it rubs off on post grad school career in terms of making money and paying debt off quick.

I had a random idea strike me when I was biking in to Steve and Barry's today. Haslett is not terribly far from here (an hour on the highway). So just a moment ago I google-mapped it (amazing how google has become a verb) and I discovered that it is only 57 miles when not on the highway. But why, some of you may ask, would you not want to drive the highway, Nathan? It's easy, I will tell you. I have a bike. I like to bike. I like to do random things. I think one of these times, when I have a nice large block of nothingness for at least 2 if not 3 days, I may take a trip back home to visit my parents, via a bicycle. It's about a day's ride one way, and unlike my lake shore rides I would do in Chicago, this one has a very visible finish some 57 miles later at home. I'll keep you updated as the plans flesh themselves out.

I'm also starting to do some hard core work on rewriting the first 200 pages of The Rider that I've got done. I finished the section introducing Shane, I'm hoping that it may be good enough, and enticing enough to publish as a standalone short, a sort of dabble into what is coming. I sent it to a teacher to take a look at and get an opinion on. More on that later as things come back.

Now I'm all excited about biking, I'm going to figure out what it would take to go to Chelsea Michigan and back tonight (if it's too far or what). Have a good night

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Nervous Post

I shouldn't be doing Grad School right now. It something I keep feeling more and more sure of as the days go by. I'm almost $100,000 in debt and that's just the undergrad. I don't have means for paying this. I don't know if getting this masters will really get me the means to pay it later. I keep having these terrifying visions of drowning in mountains of money that I owe other people, and I wonder why people do this? I want to help people but in order to do so I've got to cripple myself because I am terribly unprepared. And trying to find real help to get prepared to deal with this whole financial thing is so confusing. The people are so nonchalant about everything. It leaves me with the distinctly serious feeling that I SHOULD NOT BE DOING THIS.

My parent's are very sure otherwise. Don't worry about it now. You have to spend a little to make a lot. But it's not like I'm going into an exactly lucrative career. It's not like I'm going to be making large sums of money to pay back the even larger sums of money I owe. The amount I owe is going to be disabling me from really doing the good things that I want to do.

I keep thinking that on this one I really should throw the towel in. I really should call it a day, and just go find a way to earn money until I've paid for a large portion of my undergrad. Like 40,000 or so. Just knock it down by a fair amount and then, once you have to footing necessary to stand strong, go back and kick ass.

I'm very scared. I'm very out there. Things are out of my control and it has me terrified.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Put Stickers Everywhere

I just saw some wedding pictures from a girl who had a crush on me a few years back. I told her that I couldn't date her because of her proximity to an ugly situation with an ex. Now two years on she's hitched. It's not that I have feelings for her or anything, but there is this little nagging sensation that I may have missed out on something there.

I canvassed the town for jobs today and got about 10 applications out. I figure it's like spaghetti. If you throw enough soggy noodles at the wall, eventually one will stick. Lets hope I've cooked them long enough. Other than that I ran some errands to different locations on campus (Registrar's office, Student Financial Services, etc) and I got to see a lot of the buildings I'm going to be in and around. It has this bizarre feel of being in Animal House. It made me happy to be getting the college experience, something I never thought I'd be craving.

For my hard work I rewarded myself with lunch at the Fleetwood Diner, a little hole in the wall place on Ashley Street. It's the diner of my dreams. The quiet cook in the back making food. The waitress hustling you for tips. The grease of the food so thick you can see it in the air. It's 24 hours. It's exactly what I've dreamed of in my Interlude story and in The Rider. It's so awesome.

I also saw a bumper sticker on a wall today that said "Put Stickers Everywhere." I thought it was ironically funny.

I've also started writing again. I'm doing a redraft of what's done of The Rider to fit in with my reformatted synopsis. So far it is a lot of copy and pasting, but eventually I'm squeezing in the new character, Shane, and his ghastly exploits. More to come.

I'm going home tonight to do dinner with the family, pick up the speaker wire so I can plug in my electronics and throw away the electronics box and finish cleaning my room. Very exciting these happenings. I can't wait for school to start. Sitting around makes me bored and overthinky.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Lost Weight?

I biked most of the northeast side of Ann Arbor today. Saw a large chunk of North Campus (though I'm still unsure where my buildings are). I'm now sitting and watching some of the Women's Triathalon via It's only slightly more exciting than the marathon, which I watched yesterday with my roommate Adam.

While biking today I saw a couple funny things that I didn't snag pictures of. The first was the Prickly Pear Cafe (It's uhhhh.......). I also saw a robot repair shop. Not entirely sure of the roads I found myself having made tracks all the way to the south side of town. I also passed over the Huron river.

My room is starting to take on a semblance of roominess and no longer messiness.

When I made dinner (a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some carrots) my roommate, Adam walked in and for a second my mind kept throwing up warnings that I was intruding in someone else's home and I should be ashamed for getting food out of the fridge. Here I am a rent paying individual living in this house and I feel like an outsider. I hope I can shake this feeling in the next day or two, or else eating is going to be a rather awkward task.

Here's something else that's kind of funny. In the basement bathroom there is a scale, I'm assuming my roommate's. I went and stood on it just before taking a shower just for the hell of it. At the beginning of summer I weighed myself out at about 175ish. Today I clocked in at around 160-162ish. I can't believe I lost almost 15 pounds. I guess that's what happens when you start running, though I have to admit I've been eating like shit all summer long. I'll be interested to see what happens to my appetite now that I'm reformatting it to be a little more healthy, and when I start lifting after school starts.

I would've made a blog post last night, but by the time I was able to connect to the internet I was sitting in a chair watching Michael Phelps go for his 8th freakin' gold medal. At that point I'd packed up a trailer, drove to Ann Arbor, unpacked the trailer, assembled a desk a futon and two bookshelves, unpacked maybe 4 boxes, and walked a couple of miles. Needless to say I was exhausted.

This morning I've been unpacking. Just like the last time I realize that unpacking stuff in one room amounts to pushing it around in circles over and over again until those piles disappear. It's a very slow and grueling process but I have definitely made some serious headway.

I think I am going to stop for a while now and go explore Ann Arbor a bit, maybe figure out some loan stuff, and then come back once the weather gets bad (which it's supposed to do today).

Friday, August 15, 2008

And Away I Go....Again

Ok, except for the next couple weeks of getting settled and moved in and finding jobs and other such preschool nonsense, summer is over.

I spent the majority of today packing my stuff up (which actually translates into watching a lot of Olympics, getting breakfast, and reasoning myself into sitting some more) and moving it out to the garage. It's now sitting in a meager pile waiting to be loaded onto a trailer and moved to Ann Arbor tomorrow. I'm not sure of what stuff I'm going to need, of what stuff my roommate's have, if my roommates are cool, or even if they are crazy axe murderers and I am only days away from a bloody gruesome worthy of Saw VII death. I just keep telling myself something my dad always says to me.

He likes to tell me, "Nathan, you have the ability to fall into shit and come up smelling like roses." I like to believe that's true, and I like to hope that things are going to work out (because they do always have a tendency to do just that) but it doesn't stop that slight niggling doubt in the back of my mind.

I've decided to fight it by being efficient in my first few days in town. Move in tomorrow and also catch a Men's Soccer game in Ypsi, and then Sunday and Monday start aggressive job hunting/finding loans for school. I've also decided above all else that I am going to put myself into a very aggressive exercise/weight training program. As a UM student I've got access to world class weight facilities, pools, and running paths. Just to see what I can do, I'm going to have my dad take a picture of me tomorrow, and then again in May so I can see the progress of a year. It's something to do, and another goal to shoot for.

Speaking of goals I was looking at an earlier post where I was laying out my plans for summer writing domination. And I'm ashamed to say it hasn't panned out even remotely at all like my original intentions. The only thing I actually finished was one short story, edited and almost ready to go. SO this fall, if my load doesn't prove too daunting (great little caveat I can use as an excuse), I am going to ramp up my writing productivity.

And on that note I've got to crash because I still have so much work to do tomorrow. Pack clothes, load trailer, disassemble Xbox, drive to Ann Arbor and unpack everything... Just remember, I fall into shit and smell like roses.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not A Happy Post

I don't really like making angry posts. I've liked trying to keep a mostly neutral air about my life and keep the focus of this strictly on the goings on of writing and trying to write and trying to get published. Maybe an update here or there about where I'm at in my travels, a bit about school, but above all my writing. But I'm taking a minute here to gripe and complain about the awesomeness of some people in the world.

A few weeks ago I got hit by a car. It wasn't a fun experience. It was exciting. I've still got a bit of pain in my rib, and my left hand still has limited grip from time to time. The scars on my right hand have almost healed, and for the most part I'm back to normal.

I took my bike in today to get an estimate about the repairs and it came out to a fairly pricey replacement of both wheels. So I decide to call up the woman who hit me and see if she could help pitch for the cost.

She was rude. Told me that there was a big dent in her hood and that if she is going to pay for my bike I would have to pay for her hood. Or we could call it a wash. She hit me. I totally had control over the damage my body made to her car while flying over the hood and on to the cement. People are fun.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pirating internet at the Fowler's in Wisconsin.

They went to Madison to pack their daughter's apartment up to prepare for her move next weekend, and left James and I alone at the house. We're eating cereal and watching the Olympics, and we're thinking of popping over to Starbucks for a pick-me-up.

Last night's concert was a lot of fun. We had lawn seats in about the same spot that we did last year. It was nice this year, a little cooler, and no mud. James ended up dancing with a girl that he met (and I think was rather inebriated) for the entire night, and I got heckled by the most obnoxious and most shit-faced bro ever. Tonight we have reserved seats, so I'm hoping the cost is enough to whittle out the annoying people. If I can figure out how to get a picture off my phone and on this computer I'll upload what pictures I can (though most of them are explosions of indiscernible color because my camera isn't the most advanced).

Right now women's quadruple sculling is on the Olympics. It's not anything I'd normally watch. More than anything it makes me hope that Chicago gets them in 2016. I'll go down (if that's not where I'm living) and spend a couple weeks there watching the games.

James just finished his cereal, so we're heading over to Starbucks. More later (maybe some writing this afternoon).

Friday, August 08, 2008

Off Again

Just popping in for a quick one.

Leaving for Wisconsin today for two days of Dave Matthews concerts.

I stuck a note on my door asking my parent's not to wake me up. They woke me up over four times this morning. I guess that must make today opposite day...

Ok now I need to pack and get really ready to go.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Back Home

Alrighty! I am back home and have internet.

I got in yesterday evening and discovered the internet was down, and by the time that it popped back up it was so late that I didn't really have the energy to go make a post. So, a day later, here I am.

This last week was (as it seems to be every year) one of the highlights of my year. It has, as it did last year, left me recharged and also very exhausted. I've got a lot of things to do to get ready for the move to Ann Arbor and beginning Grad School. But here are the highlights to my break.

I ended up driving up late last Friday because I agreed to pick up my friend, Ben from Lansing Airport. My family and our friends from Wisconsin were already there when I arrived. We played three days worth of volleyball this year, instead of five, and my team lost this year, which is ok because we swept them last year. We ran about seven miles twice while I was there, and I realized that in terms of endurance and stamina I'm in the best shape I've been in years. We had hobo pies. I edited a short story. I got really tan. We water skied and went camping on Sleeping Bear Dunes.

I realized when I went camping this last week that it is high time that I sit down and examine just exactly what I need in order to properly camp. My tent was in shambles and is far too large for a hiking back pack. My sleeping bag is good if you're not hiking and if you're going to be spending time at the north pole. I need a multi stage bag, like the military one my old roommate has. Something with the zip out insides to make it an all weather all purpose (and very light) bag. So the quest now is to find the bags and equipment I need.

I've got a wedding to go to later this afternoon, and a trip to plan with James for the Dave Matthews concert next weekend (our annual escapade). I've got to figure out my work schedule. Tomorrow I get my laptop back (I had to take it in when the keyboard mysteriously stopped working). I also have to get my suit ready for today.

This was a rather wandering post... Sorry about that. Expect something a little better soon. Maybe some pictures or some links or something.