Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cooking and Reading

... about sums up my life right now. There's gymming in there as well, but I'm down to 3-4 times a week instead of the coveted 6. Blame my social life.

To be honest, I've quite happily traded those two days of cardio for extra bedroom shenanigans. Same general end result, tho, yeah?

This week's most exciting thing was being reminded that The Women of Our Occupation has been published in Swedish. I received my contributor's copies and $50 this week. I promptly spent the $50 on a new director's chair (which finally caved in after 6 years of use and numerous repairs) and a proper spice rack.

Looking back on it, I probably should have bought a printer. Eh. Budgeted for that next month. The spice rack makes me happier.

Though I love my life, I've recently felt that old, lingering ache for a proper kickboxing class. I can't find any at my gym or at the Y. They'll hold them on occasion, but there's no regular month-to-month class, and most of the ones at the gym are held at 10am (WTF?). Fuck this spinning shit, where's my kickboxing?

Yeah, I miss it. You can only do weight training and triathlon cardio for so long before you just want to... you know... hit things. Hard.

I'll be starting college classes again in January, working toward that company-paid-for degree in Marketing. Because hey: who doesn't want to defer their student loans and broaden their skills base? And not have to go into debt for it? (epic win!)

I've also been spending a lot of time looking for freelance jobs, which are about as tough to find as you might expect. Generally, the freelancing gigs you get aren't going to be from blind resume submissions where you fight for attention with 300 other people - it's gigs you get from friends/colleagues who know that you write.

Overall, life is busy in a good way. Doing tons of research for book 3, which involves a lot of reading about murder, Islam, the Middle East, assassination, and bugs. It's a steady diet, right there alongside my new diabetic-friendly pecan cookies.

Work continues to feed me a steady stream of interesting projects that keep me in health insurance. I do love my day job, for all the craziness it sometimes brings. You just can't beat being paid (and health insured) to write for a living, even if you're sometimes stuck writing handouts about the difference in dependent status between a "qualifying child" and a "qualifying relative."

Life is bloody wonderful.

Off to Cincinnati on Friday.

"I No Longer Recognize Marriage"

I no longer recognize marriage. It’s a new thing I’m trying.

Turns out it’s fun.

Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend.

She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband,”
“Oh,” I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.”

The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,

“How’s your longtime companion, Jill?”
“She’s my wife!”
“Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage.”

More Reasons Not to Live in Dayton

There's been a bit of an uptick in crime here around Dayton, for good reason. I often joked that I didn't have a problem walking around downtown Dayton at night cause hey, yo, I lived in South Africa. But now that thing is happening here that used to happen out there: all of sudden there are more and more people talking about how they or someone they know has been raped or had their car/house broken into. Downtown, broad daylight, nice neighborhoods, you name it. Random smash and grab.

Obviously, it's still nothing like South Africa, but as your poor of unemployed starts to grow - particularly as winter approaches - and they're not seeing any help, hope, or end in sight, people get desperate.

Dayton's been a dying town since long before I got here, but closing GM may just shut most of it down for good.

It's not that there aren't industries - there's aerospace and Wright State and lots of government jobs at the base. But there's not a whole lot of entry level unskilled jobs around here anymore, and Dayton still has a huge, huge pool of unskilled labor. Who are getting totally fucked right now. Not that things weren't bad before.

Why don't we have government-funded workers' programs that retrains people for new jobs after major layoffs? I met a couple of tower guys working in telcom who were retrained after major layoffs at a manufacturing plant nearly two decades ago. They got trained in telcom and suddenly had a future.

A lot of these jobs are dying jobs. It's why I'm lukewarm about bailing out the auto industry. It's in trouble because it's not working. Let's shift our focus to something that works. We have new and emerging technologies. We have job needs. We just don't have the skilled labor to put in there. And nobody wants to foot the bill for retraining, so a whole city dies.

Columbus and Cincinnati are nice, at least.

EDIT: It turns out Dayton *does* have a place like this (thanks, Tyim!). God knows Dayton has enough jobs in aerospace and the health industry. There are people to do the work. They just need the training.