Sunday, December 11, 2011

Current State of Mind...

I came to a realization the other day. It's not really all that revolutionary or earth-shaking, but I feel like it's a pretty accurate barometric reading of my mental state lately.

I realized there were two songs on my iPod that were receiving more play-time than the others. I just kept repeating them over and over, alternating which song I was listening to depending on how I was feeling at the moment.

The two songs? Iridescent by Linkin Park and Al Fin Me Armé de Valor by Reyli Barba. I've started putting playlists together based on these songs, but I wanted to discuss why I was listening to these two so much.

Iridescent comes from Linkin Park's most recent album, A Thousand Suns. It's a surprising album, differing from the Rock/Rap that brought the group such popularity. I think it shows a group that's not afraid to mature and evolve in the music they perform. It will be interesting to see where the group goes from here.

The lyrics that have been speaking to me from Iridescent are as follows:

"Do you feel cold and lost in desperation?
You build up hope, but failure's all you've known.
Remember all the sadness and frustration
and let it go."

It's a rather concise and straightforward way to say, "Pick yourself up and brush yourself off." Part of the reason this speaks so strongly to me is the way Chester Bennington sings the lyrics. Guy's got a pretty amazing voice, truth be told, and he injects a lot of emotion into this song.

I've been listening to this on the days when I've been feeling more down and sad. I just keep hitting repeat until I feel better. And it has been working. It usually only takes a couple listenings before I'm ready to move on and be happy again.

Al Fin Me Armé de Valor is the basis for a new playlist I've entitled "Kiss My Ass." Really, the whole song is pretty key to making me feel better. If I wasn't usually wearing headphones when listening to this song, I would sing along as loudly as I possibly could. 

Basically, Reyli sings that he's tired of all the crap his girlfriend has put him through. He's dumping her. He's finally armed himself with valor, with bravery, and he's dumping her, because really, he's put everything into the relationship and she's just abused him. 

On the days when I'm fed up with the tensions at work and the changes and stupidity that the teachers have to put up with I listen to this song several times and I feel better. Happier. Vindicated. 

It also works on the days when the students are little bastards that I want to squish under my feet. 

I like these songs. I love listening to them. And I am so glad that I can vent through songs and I don't have to find another way to feel better.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I feel the need to work through some thoughts I've been having.

See, I enjoy my job. Quite a bit, actually. Sometimes I have rough days when the students are pains in the butt and my coworkers aren't much better, but overall, I have a pretty good time while I'm at work. 

I feel appreciated and valuable, and that goes a long way to making me happy. There's nothing I dislike more in a job than feeling like my employers or coworkers are taking advantage of me.  I like to be willing to help wherever and however I'm needed. When I start feeling oppressed, I want to say "no" to new requests, and I don't like being in that mindset.

In a couple weeks our winter month-long VIP program will be starting. We will have students here and they will stay for a month. It's a big deal and there's a lot of prep that goes into this program. I requested to work in Special Programs. Special Programs will still have new students every week and won't work with the ones here all month. I particularly enjoy working with the Special Programs coordinator (basically an assistant manager). She is an amazing supervisor and there's not much I wouldn't do for her.

At the Village, the teachers rotate between various shifts. There are two shifts running Monday through Friday. One shift works 9 to 6, the other 1 to 9. There is also a weekend shift. Whenever new shifts are being scheduled, I've requested to be on Monday through Friday so as to attend church on Sunday. I've never specified what hours I want to work. I prefer 9 to 6, though. It just fits me better personally. 

For half of October and all of November I worked on the 1 to 9 shift. On the 5th of December I was switched  back to 9 to 6. Hooray! Unfortunately, three weeks after back onto my preferred shift, I'm getting switched back to 1 to 9 for the duration of VIP. 

I'm a little bummed. 

I wrote an email to the manager. All I told him was that I was excited to be working with Special Programs but a little bummed to be shunted back to the night shift. That's all. And that's as far as my complaining will go. I don't see any point to bitching and moaning and begging to be on the morning shift. Sometimes I wish I was the type of person that could do that. I really do. I'm not that kind of person, though. I'll just do the best I can with what I'm assigned to do.

I'm a little worried about how this will affect the shift rotation following VIP. Will the manager in charge of shift assignments take into account that I've been working 1 to 9 for Special Programs? Or will she just look at the shift assignment email she sent out, see that she assigned me to the morning and condemn me to an additional two months of night shifts? 

That's my big worry. I don't want to have to work the night shift for four and a half months with just a three-week break of blissful morning schedules.

I guess as long as I keep ending up on the Monday through Friday schedule I'll just try to be grateful for that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On My Kindle...

South Korea is a country that does not mind at all if you download torrents. I would say that the vast majority of internet-using people in South Korea use torrents. 

While in Rome....Right?

Here's my plan. While here, I will enjoy using torrents. For a variety of reasons. One reason is that I just don't have the space to buy DVDs and books, then take them home. It just won't work. I did bring some DVDs with me, and I could probably take some home on top of what I brought, but there's not too much extra space. Books? Yeah, I could go nuts, but I probably wouldn't be able to get them home. 

So torrents are a good thing. 

I'm treating my enormous (over 3,000) collection of ebooks as a library. If I start reading a book and I just don't like it at all, I delete it. Then I move on to the next. I'm keeping a list of the books I love and will buy when I get back to the States and have the money to purchase a book or two. 

I think it's a good plan.

Anyway, I figured I would share what's on my Kindle at the moment. After I downloaded well over 6,000 ebooks, I went through and sorted them. I got rid of the books I knew I would never read. Mostly romance novels and books by James Patterson. I feel kind of bad for singling him out, but really, with the quantity of books he supposedly writes, how can they be of any decent quality?

After winnowing out the chaff, I went through and sorted the remainders into genres. I ended up with fifteen categories, including "Books that look really intriguing." Whenever I finish the books on my Kindle, I reload using one from each genre. Or, if there is a trilogy or series of two, I take the entire series. It's a system that makes sense to me. 

So here's what's on my Kindle at the moment.

My Name is Memory by Ann Brasheres.
The Heir Trilogy by Cinda Williams Chima.
Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul by Deepak Chopra.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen.
The Perfect Woman by James Andrus.
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony.
Googled by Ken Auletta.
Gutshot Straight by Lou Berney.
Deadwood by Pete Dexter.
The Spirit Books (two of them) by Rachel Aaron.
The Horns of Ruin by Time Akers.
The War of the Roses by Warren Adler.

I already deleted a mystery book. I read another in the same series earlier and didn't like it. So, once I realized I had a second from the same series, it went to the limbo that is deletion. 

I am reading Googled at the moment. It has been interesting so far. Also, most nights before going to sleep I read a chapter from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz out loud to my wife. I have the entire Oz series by Baum on my Kindle for just that reason.

And now, back to reading, as I don't have as much time for reading while at work. I managed to create quite a bit of work for myself.