economy


If there is one thing that every young radical who has the misfortune of reaching their late-twenties and discovering that non-profit work fails to pay the electricity bill will discover, it’s that her cooler friends will accuse her of selling out.  And in all likelihood, the accusation will be just, and the “victim” of said insinuation or outright accusation will find herself with only a shaky stiletto on which to stand.

To many people, it doesn’t matter how much I recycle, that I walk to work, or how much money I donate to Planned Parenthood and the Red Cross.  The fact that I listen to NPR only consolidates my place in the affluent white liberal ranks.  I am a meat-eater who feels guilt because I am too lazy to make it to the organic farmer’s market every weekend.  I have a Banksy coffee-table book.  I am friends with my housekeeper.  I yearn to be a roller derby girl but don’t have time and was rejected by Teach for America.  My best friend bought me a Kindle for Christmas.  I am an embarrassing living embodiment of Stuff White People Like.

And yet, last week, when my best friend from high school jokingly emailed me something about my job as a “corporate shill,” I about spluttered my Merlot all over my Netbook.  I am far from moneyed, after all!  My apartment doesn’t even have a dishwasher (and I will tell you, I never thought I would be practically 30 and living without basic mod-cons like central air).  I do have a classic dryer from the 1970s, and a television that, as best I can tell, was the finest model on offer in 1995.  I have a mouse for a roommate and a potentially murderous mold problem in my bathroom.

If I were a proper corporate shill, I would have a condo and a standing appointment for a weekly bikini wax.  I would fucking know how to ski.  I would not have a deep-discount wine habit and holes in the toes of all my socks.  Just because he’s living in one of the Carolinas and getting his PhD in Hippie Pot-Smoking does not mean that I suddenly know how to iron. (more…)

I guess I’m going to get used to looking at this man’s forehead because David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party here in the UK, has just left Buckingham Palace as new Prime Minister following Gordon Brown’s resignation.  The Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition with the Tories to take the Labour Party out of power for the first time since Tony Blair’s historic election in 1994.

I’d love to offer some devastating and insightful analysis of this development, but even after attempting to follow the debates and news programs for the last two weeks, I’m still scratching my head.  Since I can’t vote here, I spend much more time and energy keeping up with US politics, but here’s the wee bit that I’ve gleaned: (more…)

This weekend I went to see Iron Man 2. I should have walked out ten minutes in, but as I am wont to do when it comes to a movie I just spent $15 on and waited on line outside to see…I stayed. Bad decision. Iron Man 2 a terrible movie overall. Tony Stark is a douche of massive proportions with a hateful personality. In Iron Man, Stark was a narcissistic jerk who learned a lesson: caring for people and doing good is better than being a war profiteer. That was the first movie. Inexplicably, in this second installment, he’s a bigger dick than he was before his big redemption in the original. Stark’s character is so insufferable that it’s really quite a feat he is the alleged “hero” of this story. And the sexism. Good god, the sexism. It comes with a dose of Fox News-style wingnuttery!

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So, I’ve been in this long-term relationship – five-and-a-half years, to be exact – and things haven’t been going well recently.  To be honest, it’s been a rocky relationship from the start, and I can only ascribe its duration to my own complacency, oft-misplaced loyalty, and perhaps a mutual recognition of tenacity.  There have been good times, no doubt, but also a fair share of bad times, and throughout it all, a nagging sense of boredom and of things left undone and unsaid.

When Johnson and I got together, I was 22 years old and coming out of a nasty patch; I latched on to him with enthusiasm.  He was a foreigner in my hometown, we were both looking for some security, and the mutual benefits were immediate and obvious.  It didn’t take long for me to invest my heart and time, shrugging off the occasional errant suitor in the face of Johnson’s promises of longevity and fulfillment.  If I was good and devoted to him, he would be good to me, and together, we would go places.

It didn’t take long before I could see we were going to have problems.  He had a roving eye, as is his wont, and I was going to have to fight to remain in his affections.  Over the years, other pretty girls came and went, but I continued to declare my commitment and one by one, they dropped by the wayside.  I wanted to prove I was dutiful and in it for the long-haul, but sometimes the frustrations of all this struggle to stay visible and important overwhelmed me.  I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just sail on an even-keel; maybe we weren’t so well-matched after all, and I should be seeking attention elsewhere. (more…)

I posted a week back about a certain resume that made its way to my inbox some time ago that remains a valued source of delight.  Favored commenter London_Calling was thus inspired to share this little tidbit from another jobseeker out there in the world, who introduced herself thusly:

What my resume does not reveal is my professional demeanor and appearance.  In a business environment, these qualities are of the utmost importance in dealing with clients as well as co-workers.   In me, you’ll discover a reliable, detail-oriented, and extremely hard-working associate; one who will serve as a model to encourage other staff members to demonstrate the same high standard of professionalism.

Alright, it’s a  tad arrogant, but I like her forthrightness.  She expects a high standard of professionalism from herself and those she works with, and believes in the importance of presentation – got it.  This is no bad thing and, personally speaking, if the rest of her CV fit the needs of the job for which I was hiring, I’d be intrigued.

I expect the potential employer who received this resume felt the same way.  Unfortunately, when her name was Google searched, one of the first things to pop up was this image from her Facebook profile: (more…)

Several of you, our 420 friendly readers, have written asking about generation joints.  As luck would have it, I got laid off from my job of 7+ years last month and found myself eyeing up the stash with a serious budgetary eye.  It’s bad enough to have to ration the bud stash, but without money coming in I was headed for panic mode.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I chose cannabis for my recreational fun, but it’s also my choice for medication which makes it a necessary expense.

Lately I’ve been smoking cones, (saving up for a new vape) which are bigger than the average joint and therefore require more to fill them (a little over a gram per).  But I usually split them with another person, or if not it takes me two sessions to get through one.  Still, I have a bad habit of not smoking all the way down to the filter, mainly because the draw is so hot and it’s uncomfortable to inhale.  So I grabbed a little tupperware container and would toss in the roaches “for a rainy day”.  And now it was raining.  I turned to the roach bin the other day to see what I had….. (more…)

Recession or not, it’s a hard world out there in general, and there are few things I hate more than turning away eager job applicants.  As a sub-middle-management type (more like the hiring front lines), I am inspired with a great deal of pathos on a regular basis.  I’ve placed a few Monster ads seeking administrative support in my time, which basically makes me a combat veteran (never again).

I’ve suffered the Walmart cashiers applying for highly-specialized technical roles, and the desperate immigrants with PhDs applying for janitorial jobs in a pitiful bid to stay in-country.  Having all these people call you on the phone to plead their cases will make you want to claw your soul out, as you have no lifeline to throw them; your false words of encouragement ring in jaded ears, and you reveal yourself as yet another, seemingly heartless, dead end.  Never include your contact number, for your own sake.

I don’t often find mirth in poorly-written resumes, or people battling for positions above or below their qualifications.  Mostly, it makes me feel sad, and then lucky to have a job, whether I like it or not.  In times like these, a good friend and I sometimes turn to a certain resume that made its way to our inboxes some years ago, and I have decided to share it with you here.

It goes without saying that names and locations have been changed to protect the witless.  However, the content remains unchanged, and so does, I hope, the enterprising spirit of one Miss Petunia Alexander:

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large_healthcare-somersetHere is my fun new game.  It’s called:  Let’s compare healthcare costs!  It’s very simple.  In the comments, write down what you have to pay for healthcare.  Why?  Because we all need to compare what the average person is paying, and the more answers we get, the more we learn (and if you live outside the United States, please do weigh in).  Here’s an example!  I was talking to my parents last night, both of whom are self-employed (this makes it extra fun) and it turns out that their price per month, which has been $2,000 (and that’s just for the two of them!), is being increased to $2,500 a month.  As Wayne and Garth would say, “Whoooaaaaa!”

And as my Mom said, since I caught her and Dad in the midst of reconfiguring their finances, “It would be really nice if we could put that money towards something else like, say, retirement.”  I agree, Mom!  After, all, this is my inheritance we’re talking about (cue laughter).

I’m not linking to anything, because I don’t have to.  I’m just angry.  The UK may take 30-some% of my wages in taxes, and I may bitch about the NHS all the livelong day, but I am absolutely shocked that my parents are being extorted like this.  Also, my dad is a doctor, and do you know how often doctors go in for medical treatment?  If you have one in your family, you’ll know that the correct answer is never.     

I don’t know about you, but my blood is simmering to a nice boil.  Fortunately, I live in the UK, so I can see someone for that.  If you live in the States and your own blood is boiling, let’s hope it’s not a pre-existing condition because, well, you’re shit out of luck, aren’t you?

overwhelmed_leadYou ever been absent in your own life?  That’s sort of where I am right now, although I’m hoping things are heading back to tolerable.  This blog, which I think about every day, is really important to me.  I’m not under the illusion that folk check in to consume my (and my co-writers’) every word, but I am so very happy with this tiny corner of the internet we’ve set up and the incredibly cool people who choose to hang out with us.  I know every regular commenter by heart, and I actually do hang onto their words, because it’s sort of like wandering into my favorite cafe and joining my random group of friends who always have the table in the back with the busted seats and it’s our space.  It’s like an awesomely ragtag group of people who are arguing about politics, laughing at a fashion magazine, and comparing oral sex travesties in a raucous manner and there’s always an interesting story to walk into.

So, I’ve basically been absent for six weeks or so, which is my longest “break” from the blog since we started it up.  And, honestly, it’s been both bad and good.  Here’s what’s been up with me:

1)  I got swine flu.  Okay, it wasn’t officially diagnosed, but that’s what I got.  I was exposed to it the weekend of July 4th by a friend who has a fully-functioning immune system (I do not), and about three days later I got sick.  It was undoubtedly the sickest I’ve been in a long time, but I went into work every day because we had a bunch of important meetings and this is not the economy in which I felt I could take a few sick days without imperiling my job.  For whatever reason, I always think of the flu as vomiting/nauseau/diarrhea (incorrect).  Since I didn’t have exactly those symptoms, I didn’t even consider swine flu until I was past the point of contagion and had been dragging my ass into the office every day for almost two weeks.   I went to bed at 8:00 every night and would get up feeling like death even after 11 hours sleep.  By the time it was pointed out to me that I had flu, and I practically crawled to the office of my GP, I was greeted with a sign that said “IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SWINE FLU GO HOME.”  (more…)

Ahoy, fellow Bargain Shoppers!  If you’re anything like me, you take great pleasure in picking up a cute, functional purse from Target or H&M or Forever 21.  What’s not to love?  It’s thrifty, fashionable, and you can wear the hell out of it for six months and then toss it, satisfied you’ve gotten your twenty bucks worth out of a bag you’ve enjoyed.  You’re not worried about leaky pens or loose tobacco or half-melted breath mints or snotty kleenex in your purse, because it was cheap to acquire and fun to carry.  Am I right?  I am so very right.

So here’s the bad news.  Apparently, those cheapo purses from which we derive great pleasure and utility are chock-full of THE CANCER.

Only four of the purses from my Target collection, actively trying to kill me

Only four of the purses from my Target collection, actively trying to kill me

 Here’s part of the total lady-bonerkiller from the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Center for Environmental Health filed the complaint in Alameda County Superior Court and sent separate notices to manufacturers of at least 26 brands notifying them that testing showed their products contain lead at levels high enough to pose a health threat. Most are vinyl and faux leather items. (more…)

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