Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm still looking for a job. The odds of finding a job in the Bay Area seem pretty good at first glance, since there are approximately 500 new job postings every day on craigslist. But, upon further inspection, of the 500 new jobs listed:

-150 are for Java/PHP/Linux developers, none of whom are actually looking for a job
-75 are paid studies for (a) crack addicts, (b) migraine sufferers, (c) mommy bloggers
-50 are ****DO YOU LOVE THE ENVIRONMENT????**** street canvassing jobs
-another 50 are not actually anywhere in San Francisco, but are telecommuting positions for shady startups that pay on "commission"
-30 are for extremely specific positions like "Cantonese-speaking Paraplegic Paralegal" or "Queer-friendly Attack on Mars Pinball Technician with 1985 Ford F150 Pickup"
-20 are for upper management positions
-100 are for service industry positions, of which half are for bartenders/servers with "fine-dining experience"

The remaining 25 positions are various office positions that I could be qualified for, depending on which areas of my resume I feel like padding.

This morning I attended an "open interview" session at a cafe downtown for which I'd received a call-back from an application I submitted one or two weeks ago. I filled out a three-page application that didn't contain any information they didn't already have on my resume (except my shitty handwriting), and waited alongside seven other women, half of whom were dressed in SUITS. After waiting for almost an hour, the owner came out, asked me my name, paperclipped my written application to my email that she'd printed out, and told me today was purely a "matching faces to names" day and that, if selected, I would be called back the following week for a second round of time-wasting!

Stuff Unemployed People Like

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

faking it

Sunday afternoon, Older Brother's pet bird flew away while his cage was being cleaned. He's a three-year-old African Gray parrot--a bird that can actually be quite charming and snuggly. For a bird. I talked to Older Brother and his wife just an hour or so after this happened, and they had already given the bird up for dead. They wandered the neighborhood looking for it for a while but, given that the bird had never been outside before, and given the prevalence of bird-eating wildlife in the area, they put his overnight chances of survival or finding his way home at approximately zero percent.

Marido and I visited them the following evening for dinner, and the mealtime conversation took their natural turn of Older Brother orating on a variety of "family-friendly" topics like affirmative action, genocide, and organized religion. Whenever this happens, I get vaguely queasy and stop breathing. Not only is it really unpleasant to sit through these pointless stands, but I hate the way he talks to me if I ever try to question his point of view. That said, I get the feeling he saves these specially pleasant conversations for family, the only safe haven where he can say anything he wants without anyone hating him.

After dinner, he asked me if Marido and I wouldn't mind posting some of his Lost Bird signs he'd printed on the mailboxes in the subdivision. I suggested we all take a walk together, seeing as I don't know the exact locations of said mailboxes, and perhaps we could actually take the time to look for the bird once again. The night before, every time I woke up I couldn't help but think of how scared and cold the poor thing must have been, if indeed he were still alive.

Once outside, I realized just how improbable it was that we were going to find the bird. It was completely dark, and with the airplanes passing intermittently overhead, it was difficult to hear much of anything. After emitting his bird whistle every few moments, we would sometimes hear a tiny sound in the distance--but it was hard to tell if the noise was a bird, or what direction it was coming from. We trudged around the neighborhood grimly, coaxing each other along.

Older Brother and his wife aren't doing so well lately. The two of them have no kids, few common interests, and treat each other increasingly poorly. However, they are also incredibly loyal to each other. It's quite unpleasant to be around them, but I am trying to spend more time with them so that maybe I can help them somehow. My sister-in-law specifically asked for my help, and I'm not sure what to do, but I figured just being there would be a start. Trudging around in the darkness, I couldn't help but feel that this was going to be the last fucking straw between them. I began to understand, sort of, what it felt like to be my Older Brother--being pulled around this subdivision in the darkness, grudgingly seeking something that he didn't even believe was still alive. I also began to understand what it was like being my sister-in-law, and constantly dealing Older Brother's negativity. I began to resent him for not being more supportive and hopeful in looking for the lost bird, and I also began to feel like it truly was a lost cause. I was on the edge of giving in to Older Brother's idea of going inside, drinking scotch, and forgetting the bird ever existed.

Then something sort of amazing happened. We were dragging our heels down an alley of garages, and Older Brother would reluctantly call for the bird at my or his wife's insistence, and suddenly we heard a distinctly pet bird-like noise that couldn't be mistaken for some far-off hawk, an electronic blip, or otherwise. He called again, and the bird called back. Or, rather--he meowed, like a cat. That's the kind of bird he is. We surrounded a bush between two houses and found the shivering bird stuck in a pile of branches. It was something like a miracle to find that little guy mewing in that bush in that dark alley.

It just made me think that sometimes we do things that may seem like complete long shots, but we do them for a reason--just to go through the motions of something that we know is right, as futile as the may seem. Also, sometimes all you need to save a relationship--even if it is with a mewing bird--is a little effort and a little faith (of the non-religious kind).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Shortly after making my new year's resolutions last year, I had a personal crisis following a night with a friend, two Germans, and a plate full of blow. The fallout, I think, really weakened my resolve, and to pull myself out of that shame spiral, I had to rely on the two bad habits I was trying to break with my resolutions: sugar and sloth.

That was back in a time when I wrote more prolifically in this blog, a time when my life was filled with spectacular failures--universally entertaining because they typically involved some combination of sex, drugs, and idiocy. Things are different now. I am still dealing with failure on a daily basis, but the failures are a lot less interesting and really only deal with some combination of writing, unemployment and monogamy. The lack of dramatic failure is a welcome change, but it also leaves me feeling a little stagnant; I am used to confrontation as a vehicle for change and growth.

Sometimes I can be really hard on myself and then things get pretty dark. I have to force myself out and talk myself up like a kindergarten teacher. I list off all my recent endeavors, and try to frame them as positive, even if they were failures. Failures are the best kinds of learning experiences. If I don't have a lot of endeavors to tick off to myself, well, that's the problem right there: Not Doing Shit. So I resolve to do more shit, whether it's starting some new project, however large or small, or tackling a big, bad habit.

But making the same resolution I've made for the past ten years (gonna finish my novel) has become more depressing than inspiring. I have to finish this and move on just so I can begin making some new resolutions.

Anyhow, I just wanted to tell you Happy New Year and that dammit, this is going to be the best fucking year ever. It's going to be hard to be last year, but it's off to an even better start. Instead of being sort of desperate and alone in Argentina, I'm calm and in love and in San Francisco. And tonight I'm making soup.