Thursday, November 27, 2008

Life Update...

I need one of those loft beds. You know, like a bunk bed without the bottom bunk?

I found a place to live. It seems like it will be a good place to live. But the room is rather small, and my queen size bed would take up all the room. And I have other stuff I need in my room. Books, clothes, you know, stuff like that.

So I think I'm going to be without a bed for a little while. I'll give my queen to my sister to use in one of her kids' rooms. I may use my nephew's twin size bed, but I'll have to eyeball it and see how it looks. I may just end up sleeping on the floor for a little while until I have a paying job and can buy a loft bed. They have one at Ikea for $250. I like the looks of it, I just want to visit the Draper store and see if it has a weight limit.

I'm kind of half-way considering going to Massage Therapy school. If I go full-time, it would take me seven months to get my license. The school I looked at also has about a 90% placement rate for its graduates. To remain accredited as a vocational school, it needs at least a 70% placement rate. So they are exceeding the requirement, which is positive.

I also think it would be a good thing to have in my pocket for when I go to grad school. If I get a teaching assistant position, I wouldn't be able to have another job, which is a requirement of every grad program I've looked at. But with a massage license, I could do a couple massages on the weekend to get some extra cash, but I would also be able to limit the clientele I accept.

I'm not 100% sure on getting the license, as it would all be paid for by more student loans. Having a bachelor's degree, I wouldn't qualify for grants. I'd say I'm hovering at a 50% chance of doing it.

But I do suddenly have a school I would like to go to for my grad schooling. The University of Miami. I got an email from them. They have a PhD program that lasts 4-5 years, but skips over the Masters degree. I would work directly on my doctorate. And every grad student they accept by the earlier deadline gets a teaching assitantship, which includes a $20,000 a year stipend and a tuition fellowship.

Yeah, I like that idea.

Anyway that's what's been going through my head lately, besides the trying to find a job thing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Results Are In....

It's been an interesting morning.

I didn't pass the test. I got 73, and needed 80. I have rather mixed feelings about it. I wasn't impressed with the training process and felt like I wasn't given information I needed to perform the job. At the same time, I need a job.

But life goes on.

The other fun thing is that I managed to leave my lights on when I went in to work, and didn't hear the warning bell. Not sure why, but I'm guessing it's due to being worried about my results. So my battery was dead when I went out to go home.

After calling my sister, who was going to travel to my location and give me a jump-start, I let the engine sit for about 25 minutes and tried again, and it started up. I figure it built up enough of a charge to fire up. I don't know how.

My current favorite theory is that the power lines I parked under charged the battery. You know those huge power lines crossing Arizona? The ones I parked under aren't quite that big, but fairly close, and I could hear them crackling every morning. I don't know how likely this theory is, but I like it.

And, anyway, my car started up, then got a nice charge in the 40 minute drive home.

Today I'm filling out applications for Barnes and Noble, Toys R Us, and Best Buy.

Wish me luck!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Job Issues....

It may not be up to me whether I keep this new job or not.

I just got done with an intense test covering what we've been presented this week in training. We were allowed the use of the computer, so the possibility was there of looking up the answers, if we know where to look. Good for while you're on the phone in the future, right?

Anyway, I didn't quite get all the way done, and I have to get at least 80% to pass and move on to the controlled environment next week.

I guess we'll find out. I don't know when they are letting us know the results.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Job...

Yes, you read that right. I have a new job.

I'm working for the Guitar Center call center in Draper. How's that for repetitious?

Anyway, I'm in the middle of training this week, trying to learn the system and how to get orders into the computer. I'm picking it up fairly quick, but I'm a little doubtful as to how good a fit the company is with me personally.

Training is this week. That's it. Then we get one week with guided live calls, and then we're on our own. They don't train us on products, or what accessories go with a complete DJ system, or anything like that.

And as for the trainer himself, if you aren't female or a professional musician, it seems like you are rather second class and not as worthy of attention.

So, I don't know. I'm trying to keep an open mind and give the job a fair chance, but it just doesn't feel very right.

I guess we'll see, right?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Top Five....

.....Graphic Novels.

When I say graphic novels, I am referring to, basically, extra-long comic books, bound in book form, or collected editions of monthly comic books. The collected editions generally unite around 6 months worth of comic book, usually collecting the complete story arc. Original graphic novels are long-form stories, usually not released before in a monthly fashion. Make sense? If not, and you want to know, ask me. I'll try to help you understand.

So, anyway, here are my top five, not necessarily in any order, it's hard enough limiting it to five. These are all books that I would recommend if someone were to ask for something to read and had never read comic books before.
I'll mention the writer and artist names. If there's just one name, that means he wrote and illustrated it.

Blankets by Craig Thompson. An original autobiographical graphic novel. Set in Craig's adolescence. It's a very touching tale of growing up and young love. It tells of his first love, his struggles with his home family life, some of his difficulties with religion, and how he attempted to grow up. Very, very good stuff.

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon. Based on the true story of a group of lions that were set free from a zoo by the bombing of Baghdad by American troops. A very emotional and politically charged tale. I can honestly say I did not see the ending coming, and that's pretty rare for me. The art is as incredible as the writing, and the animals look like animals, while still conveying relatable emotions.

Bone by Jeff Smith. This was a monthly comic, now collected in two versions. All in one volume, as thick as the really big telephone books and in black and white, as the individual issues were. There is also a series of smaller collections that have been colored by Scholastic, with Smith's blessing. I like both. Bone is a great fantasy tale, with a healthy blend of comedy. Jeff Smith is truly a master of comedic timing in graphic form.

Mouse Guard by David Peterson. What if field mice had their own culture, built their own cities? What would it be like? Mouse Guard presents this story. The Mouse Guard are mice charged with escorting normal citizens between the distant mice cities, keeping them safe. The writing was wonderful, with a great story. And the art is breathtaking. I had never thought of crabs as being deadly until I read this story.

Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. This is a story set in a future where Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and all their comtemporaries have been forced into retirement by a younger, more violent generation of superheroes. In this story, they have to come out of retirement in order to save the world from the younger "heroes." Very intelligent and touching story, and Alex Ross' painted artwork shows us how superheroes might really look if they walked among us today.

There you go. My favorite graphic novels.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to searching for a place to live in Draper. I start work there on Monday, and I don't want to have to make the 40 minute commute any more than I have to.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Casting Call....

I've been reading "The Belgariad" recently and I just barely started on "The Malloreon." I don't really think there's much of a chance that this series will ever be made into movies. It's way too big, for one thing, and it's just not popular enough, for another. However, I did decide that I want to do a very geek thing and cast the actors who I think would fit the characters.

The nice thing about a fantasy cast is that I can choose from a lot of actors. Some of them might be dead already. Some may have only fit the role 10 years ago. In those cases, I'll make special mention. For some characters, I may have 2nd or 3rd choices, but not necessarily for everybody.

Belgarion: Jeremy Sumpter, aged to the right age, of course. This is a character I just don' t have a clear idea of who I'd want to play him. Jeremy did a good job in the live-action Peter Pan, and he looks the part, mostly. Suggestions for alternates?

Polgara: Marina Sirtis, she played Deanna Troi on Star Trek: the Next Generation. She's beautiful, has dark hair, and a very womanly figure. Plus, playing Troi, she was very compassionate and empathic. Very important. My second choice would be Kate Beckinsale, of Underworld and Van Helsing fame. In Underworld, she projected a sense of power and confidence, but she just seems a little too skinny to me.

Belgarath: Richard Harris. For basically all the reasons he played Dumbledore. He can be wise, playful, caring, and powerful. Plus, he could play a double role, and do Zedar as well, since they are described as being nearly identical.

Durnik: Russell Crowe. In Gladiator, he had the beard, and looked good in it. Have him play the gentle smith with the same touch he played a warrior and he hits it out of the park. My other thought is Jonathan Frakes, who played Riker on Star Trek, Next Generation. He rocks the beard, and has a nice, gentle nature to him.

Ce'Nedra: Amy Adams, of Enchanted fame. Maybe get her when she's in her late teens, to play the range from 15 to 18 or 19. Use some of the Lord of the Rings effects to make her a little bit smaller than she is and it works. Plus, she's a natural redhead. Second choice? Alison Hannigan, particularly from the first season of Buffy.

Silk: Seth Green, but when he's older, and dye his hair black. He's small and wiry, and has a wicked sense of humor. My only other choice would be Bradford Garrison, an actor I knew at SUU.

Barak: Abraham Benrubi, who played Olaf the Troll on Buffy the Vampire slayer. He's big (6'7"), jovial, and looks pretty good in a red beard. I say let him have the role! He's not a known actor, really, but just look at pictures of Olaf, taking away the horns and greenish skin. I can see Barak there, can't you?

Hettar: Oded Fehr, who played the Egyptian warrior guy in the Mummy movies. He can be very intense, with a sly and understate sense of humor. Shave his head, give him the scalp lock and we're set, right?

Mandorallen: Karl Urban. As Eomer, he proved he can play a mounted knight, and his natural hair color is black. I think he could pull it off quite well.

Lelldorin: I'll admit. I'm completely stumped on this one. Book says reddish gold hair. Any ideas?

Relg: Joaquin Phoenix. Not perfect, I'll admit, but the dark hair, dark eyes works. And he was rather fanatical in Gladiator. Make him pale, have him work on his upper body, and it works well, I think.

Taiba: Jennifer Connelly, from when she was in the Rocketeer. Lustrous black hair, very tempting body? Check. Her face doesn't quite fit what I picture in my mind, but I'll go with it for now.

And the lesser characters we get to know better later on? Here's some, that I've thought of anyway.

Beldin: Anthony Hopkins, from Legends of the Fall. With some computer magic to make his body look right.

Beltira and Belkira: Let's go with Joel Grey, who I considered for Belgarath, but didn't like for that part.

Zakath: Alan Rickman. From the Dogma era. I would argue my case strenuously for this one. Of course, I really like Alan Rickman.

Velvet: Probably Scarlett Johanssen. She's got the blonde hair and the dimples. My only other thought was maybe Kirsten Dunst, but I don't like that as much.

Toth: I would actually make him black and give the role to Michael Clarke Duncan. The guy's huge!

Anyway, there are lots of others, but I'm out of ideas and really, really sleepy.