“Pictures of Success,” Rilo Kiley

I first heard this song about a year and a half ago, and I loved it. This song, along with “Does He Love You?,” began my obsession with Rilo Kiley, a band that is now in my definite top five. I have since come to think of “Pictures of Success” as My Song. Not necessarily my favorite song, or a song I believe to be better than any other song, just mine. It’s a song that doesn’t remind me of anyone, any failed relationship or even any memory or place. It is something I have that is just for me in my mind. It’s beautiful, yes — but my connection to this song transcends beauty. To me, this song sounds like independence and freedom. It’s a song for someone who is stupidly optimistic, idealistic, adventurous. Someone who quits a job before they have a new one in order to follow their dreams. You know, a moron. And her name is me.

Build your own television receiver
Staying home can’t be that bad for me
Because I’m not scared, but I’d like some extra spare time
Easily earn me big money
I’m a modern girl, but I fold in half so easily
When I put myself in the picture of success
I could learn world trade or try to map the ocean

When you’re dead, in hospitals and freeways
When you’re dead, in resting homes and clinics
When you’re dead, it must be nice to finish
When you’re dead

I’ve had it with you, and Mexico can fucking wait
And all of those French films about trains
Because I’m not scared, but I’d like some extra spare time
I’m not scared, but the bills keep changing colors

When you’re dead, in hospitals and freeways
When you’re dead, in dress shirts and neck ties
When you’re dead, in apartments and on beaches
When you’re dead

They say California is a recipe for a black hole
And I say I’ve got my best shoes on, I’m ready to go
Ready to go, ready to go, I’m ready to go
Ready to go, ready to go, I’m ready to go

These are times that can’t be weathered
And we have never been back there since then
These are times that can’t be weathered
And we haven’t been back there since then

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In a word, thankful

And relieved. So two words. There is a God, and I don’t think he wants me to be completely miserable. Today I was offered a fact checking position at Groupon, which I readily and over-enthusiastically accepted. My prayers have been answered, and I don’t have to come home after all.

I feel so lucky and happy and amazed at my sheer, dumb luck right now. It feels good.

I start a week from Monday, which means I get to go to Caldwell (and Columbus) next week like I was hoping. This is pretty much the best case scenario: I got hired, AND I still get to come home for a visit. And when I get back, I’ll have a job to begin.

So Caldwell folks, look out: I’ll be in town Tuesday and I’m leaving either Saturday or Sunday, depending on whether or not I’m working at the department store. Yes, I still want to work at the department store.

It’s been a wild and crazy ride. Thanks for cheering me on and coming along with me via this blog. My life here is actually about to begin and it feels amazing to finally know that for sure.

Interview: Check

My job interview was yesterday. I think it went pretty well, and everyone I met was really pleasant and helpful. I was asked to email them my references, which I did yesterday when I got home. I also emailed all the people I’d listed to give them a heads up that they might be contacted, and one of them let me know they got an email from the company today. So it sounds like they are working pretty fast, which I hope is a good sign. I am on pins and needles now because I’m afraid I’ve really gotten my hopes up.

The office seemed pretty relaxed and laid back, and you can wear jeans to work if you want. The vibe of the place reminded me a lot of SNP’s newsroom, which would be great, because I really missed that after I left. The people I saw working there seemed young and happy and a guy who gave me a demo of the work I would be doing seemed to like it. Everyone said the same thing about the company: they liked it there, it was a lot of hard work but in a fun environment.

Also, an update on my iTunes dilemma: I found a way around it and used a program called Senuti to get all of my music from my phone into iTunes. Hooray! No music lost. Thanks everyone for your offers of both mp3s and advice. Please disregard that giant list of music below.

Musical emergency

A problem has occurred. Actually, it’s been occurring and I have been ignoring it fiercely. My iPhone is in dire need of some major updates and I need to connect it to my Macbook to do them. However, when I connect my phone into this new computer, I’m probably going to lose all my  music (Note: If you know this to be false, please let me know ASAP). This wouldn’t be a problem if I was a smart person who backed up music files before moving, but as we have reviewed, I am not a smart person.

So, I made a list of all the albums on my phone that I am going to slowly and diligently borrow from the Chicago library system to rebuild my musical empire. I decided to post the list on here in case any friends have copies and might be willing to email me files and / or mail me hard copies. You all came to my musical aid before I moved so I am asking you again, from one music addict to another, for assistance. I will thank you in leftover Valentine’s Day candy!

Also, I spent a long time on this list and I wanted it to be more than a Google document I refer to while making library requests.

This is in order of priority, from high to low:

  • Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
  • Tegan & Sara, The Con
  • The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
  • The Wailin’ Jennys, Firecracker
  • Rilo Kiley, The Execution Of All Things
  • Rilo Kiley, Take Offs and Landings
  • Metric, Fantasies
  • “Garden State” soundtrack
  • The Beatles, Rubber Soul
  • The Beatles, Abbey Road
  • Ani DiFranco, album with “Both Hands”
  • Rogue Wave, Asleep At Heaven’s Gate
  • Sufjan Stevens, The Avalanche
  • The Beatles, 1
  • Tegan & Sara, If It Was You
  • The Weepies, Hideaway
  • Ben Gibbard and Andrew Kenny, Home
  • Rilo Kiley, More Adventurous
  • Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career
  • “O Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack
  • “Once” soundtrack
  • “(500) Days of Summer” soundtrack
  • Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard, One Fast Move Or I’m Gone
  • Death Cab, The Open Door EP
  • Jenny Lewis, Rabbit Fur Coat
  • The Weepies, Say I am You
  • “Scrubs” soundtrack
  • Stars, Set Yourself on Fire
  • Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
  • Tegan & Sara, So Jealous
  • Death Cab, Something About Airplanes
  • Death Cab, Transatlanticism
  • Rilo Kiley, Under the Blacklight
  • Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Up From Below
  • Weezer, blue album
  • Weezer, Pinkerton
  • Weezer, green album
  • Weezer, Maladroit
  • Regina Spektor, Begin to Hope
  • Fuel, “Shimmer” single
  • Jack Johnson, Brushfire Fairytales
  • Silversun Pickups, Carnavas
  • John Fogerty, Centerfield
  • Vampire Weekend, Contra
  • Brand New, “Jesus Christ” single
  • Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.
  • The Essential Billy Joel
  • Jimmy Eat World, Futures
  • Guster, Ganging Up On the Sun
  • Radical Face, Ghost
  • Glee: Journey
  • Glee: Vol. 3
  • Guster, Goldfly
  • Phantom Planet, The Guest
  • Elton John, Honky Chateau
  • The Best of Elton John
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz
  • Jason Derulo, self titled
  • Nelly, “Just a Dream” single
  • Jimmy Buffet, best of
  • M.I.A., Kala
  • Ani DiFranco, Little Plastic Castles
  • The Velvet Underground, Loaded
  • Nelly Furtado, Loose
  • Guster, Lost and Gone Forever
  • Maria Taylor, Lynn Teeter Flower
  • Katy Perry, One of the Boys
  • MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
  • Company of Thieves, Ordinary Riches
  • Von Iva, Our Own Island
  • Guster, Parachute
  • The Decemberists, Picaresque
  • No Doubt, Return of Saturn
  • Ani DiFranco, Revelling/Reckoning
  • Ben Folds, Rockin’ the Suburbs
  • Ben Folds, any others
  • Eisley, Room Noises
  • Levy, “Rotten Love” single
  • “The Royal Tenenbaums” soundtrack
  • Santogold, self titled
  • Beck, Sea Change
  • Loquat, “Swingset Chain” single
  • Timbaland, Shock Value II
  • Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
  • The The, Soul Mining
  • Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing
  • The Police, Synchronicity
  • The Eagles, best of
  • Third Eye Blind, self titled
  • Sleigh Bells, Treats
  • Ben Folds, Way to Normal
  • Dixie Chicks, Wide Open Spaces
  • Peter Bjorn and John, Writer’s Block
  • Does It Offend You, Yeah?, You Have No Idea…
  • Jordin Sparks, “Tatoo” single

It’s a long list. And a lot of music I am about to (probably) lose. Again, if anyone knows a way around this I am all ears.

Peachy Green

The contents of this photo made four smoothies that I drank throughout the week.

Spinach, frozen peaches and berries with a splash of OJ

I’ve also decided to do a work out DVD for every day I don’t have a job. Working out is my new job, on top of my full-time job of finding a full-time job. And also on top of those other jobs, where I occasionally work retail and write news stories.

Ughh. I hope my interview next week goes well. Thanks to everyone who called and emailed to wish me luck!

Putting a lot of eggs in one basket

Last week I got called up for my first job interview since I got here, or at least my first full-time, for realsies job. I don’t want to say what for, because it’s probably in poor taste to boast about an interview that has yet to take place or result in any kind of offer. But if you’d like to know more, call or email me and I will happily gush in great detail.

The interview isn’t until next Wednesday, and I’m going crazy already. This news may have come at the best possible time because I have been feeling borderline-depressed about my situation. Some encouragement, even a call for an interview, is like God’s way of saying “You do not entirely suck. Your resume is not a complete piece of crap that you are aimlessly sending out into the world via the interwebs.” Or at least that’s how I like to think God talks to us.

I’ll spare you my usual “I’ve been here three month and what have I got to show for it?” whining and wrap this up. Please send me some good vibes/thoughts/karma/prayers my way. Because I’m going insane.

The day the blizzard came

Snow removal in the 'burbs

Nothing really went the way I planned it to go Tuesday, but it was an interesting day to say the least.

I was supposed to go to Highland Park to cover a story about that kid performing in the Grammy band, but my editor mercifully called and told me not to go. I knew the weather was going to be bad, but I still probably would have gone if he hadn’t called because it would have been my last chance to interview the guy before he left for LA and I needed the story to pay my car insurance. Still, it turned out to be a really good thing I didn’t go because I grossly underestimated the power of this snow storm, and I experienced some unanticipated car trouble.

My editor from Hinsdale called me early in the morning and asked me to get some video and do a story about grocery stores in the area, since everyone and their mother was stocking up on essentials before the “blizzaster” began. I called a local grocery store and also a regional chain, and I can tell you there was a big difference between those two. The local store owner answered the phone when I called and while he declined being on camera himself, he told me I could come film inside the store. The owner of the chain store asked me to call the company’s corporate office, which I did, and I was handed on to three different people. I had to leave a message with the last person, who didn’t get back to me until the following day when it was too late. To be fair, it turned out I’d been directed to still the wrong person, and I was given the appropriate contact info should I ever need to seek permission for an interview with them again.

When I left the local grocery store I got back into my car to move along to the next part of my assignment. That was when I realized my car battery was dead. Not only was it dead, but it was dead for the second time in two weeks when it shouldn’t have been. Anyone who has worked with me knows I am infamous for leaving my headlights on and killing my battery at least once every four months or so, but both these recent times that wasn’t the case. Alas, my days of leaving headlights on have caught up with me and the battery I only bought in March of 2009 has come to the end of its life. Luckily a guy in the parking lot gave my car a jump, but advised me not to shut my car off again until I was either home or in the parking lot of an auto shop.

I went to a local park I was asked to get video of next. I left my car on and hurriedly shot video of the area from within 50 feet of my car and sped off again. That was when the corporate office for Walgreen’s, the third place I’d contacted, called me back to give me permission to take my video camera into the local store and interview a manager. I thanked them and spent all of five minutes in Walgreen’s, shooting video and interviewing furiously, my car running in the parking lot all the while. Lucky for me, no one in Hinsdale stole my 2004 Cavalier during that time and I rushed home.

I got home just before 3, and twenty minutes later it was almost a complete white out. I heard later that people getting on the road around that time got completely stuck in it and weren’t rescued from their cars until several hours later.

I edited the video that evening and it ran first thing the next morning. It was an exciting assignment, although I could have done without the added drama of my car troubles.

I got some bad news Tuesday morning in regards to my work for the paper. I guess there was a big budget meeting and as a result of cuts, the video-of-the-day project I was so excited about was taken away. I am trying not to dwell too much on the loss of a job I never really had and just focusing on regrouping and doubling my other efforts. That’s all I can say about that.

The thing about Patch as a company is, I like it a lot. It’s young, it’s fun and it’s exactly what I want to be doing. I think I would really enjoy being an editor for one of their papers, although that would then mean I’d have to live in a suburb. But it would be a great job with a fun, innovative company I care about. The editors get to post fun things and have random contests with poetry as prizes and they have a lot of freedom in what they do.

Hyper-local journalism is kind of weird for me, because I know full well any other paper wouldn’t see a couple’s 50th wedding anniversary as something newsworthy, but what’s so bad if Patch does? Maybe we are pandering to our audience, but they’re the ones coming to the news site. Who better to cater to? And it’s not like they’re not also covering hard-hitting news — they’re covering ALL news. They’re versatile, creative, cutting edge and they seem to be flourishing. If hyper-local coverage is the future of journalism, they’re getting at least a few things right.

Anyway, here’s a link to the grocery store piece I did. I am not sure if these budget cuts will mean I get fewer assignments to cover, but I really hope not. I’m trying to stay positive. And warm. There’s like three feet of snow out there.