Sunday, July 09, 2006

This has been a fairly eventful few weeks, so I guess my few and faithful readers will have to excuse the lack of entries. The usual routine - wake up, do stuff, eat something, do more stuff, eat something else, hop on bus to Vancouver for my regular Capoeira class, go home, eat something, sleep - has been shaken up a touch.

Since my last post, I've gone through a bunch of different jobs, mostly through a temp agency (which shall remain nameless, due to the size of the local work pool). I initially singed up for the organization as a graphic designer/writer, responding to an ad on Craigslist. But, in an effort to keep me busy, the agency gets me work doing a variety of things while waiting for the design work to materialize.

Hence, my first job is data entry/research/telemarketing for a software company, followed by folding clothes for a major department store, distributing translator radio receivers for the Chinese head tax apology forum held in Vancouver, and stuffing plastic yo-yos into plastic bags for an event sponsored by a major oil company. Somewhere in the middle, I am informed that the expected design job has failed to materialize. I don't know if it's fair to assume this, but does it seem odd for a person with a university degree to be stuffing yo-yos in plastic bags?

I am much happier in my current situation, having recently taken a position for an electronics and media retailer as a graphic designer, which will also be unnamed, due to a series of non-disclosure agreements I have been made to sign. When compared to freelance rates, my salary is low, but considering the number of paying freelance assignments I've been doing, I'm in really good shape right about now.

But, that also involved ditching my previous employer, which I had no problem doing. What I did take exception to was the fact that "I'm not supposed to be looking for work" while I'm with the agency. I do understand the rationale, considering how much time and effort is taken in finding workers for the clients and for finding jobs for the workers. However, when I'm only working an average 12-hour work week at around $10/hr, that isn't even enough to feed me. That, and stuffing plastic yoyos in to plastic bags is about as far away from graphic design as one can get.

I recently celebrated my 29th birthday, and for once, it was actually ON my birthday. Given the fact that many of my friends have moved to other cities, it's slightly challenging to get anyone together for any reason at all. Plus, as we get older, responsibilities and other lives start taking over.

The day at work was fairly uneventful. Having recently started my job, I barely have any contact with people outside of my department, except for someone I used to work with a loooooong time ago, I didn't even bother telling anyone that it was birthday. Outside of work is a different story.

As mentioned in previous blogs, at my Capoeira studio, we have a tradition called the birthday roda, where each student has to play against everyone else, with the added challenge, as they have the mandate to attempt to take you down. Given the fact that I've been studying Capoeira for over three years (I am going to test for my next belt in September), the other students have an understanding of my abilities and are going to be a lot less likely to hold back (and I don't even consider myself that good, especially compared to some of the other students). As a consequence, I hit the ground several times, I have been kicked in the head and took a hard kick to the ribs. It now hurts to laugh, cough and sneeze, even three days after the initial injury.

It's no wonder why fellow birthday girl Elaine ("Canela") opted out of birthday rodas two years in a row. But, because of that, I made a point of informing EVERYONE at the studio of the fact that her birthday was the same as mine, and that she missed the last two birthday rodas. I admire her spirit - despite her unwillingness, she actually played a lot longer than I did, considering the much larger class. However, I haven't seen her at class since. Hmm...

Karaoke night followed, in which I had my other crew, apart from my regular Print Futures/Karaoke peeps show up. Apart from pressuring my friends into singing (why should I have all the fun making an ass out of myself in front of a bunch of total strangers?), I was up on stage a few times, most notably taking a crack at Five For Fighting's "It's Not Easy" (you can sort of make out some of the lyrics in the photo) and Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places."

And then there was dancing at Chicago's afterwards. I don't remember much from that...

I should be moved into my new digs by next week. I've been doing lots of painting in the meantime. I used to have a job as a house painter (mostly exteriors), and I gotta say, it's not so much the paint that I mind doing as the preparation work. Paint will peel off of improprerly prepared surfaces like sunburnt flesh. Disgusting analogy, yes, but I realized this as I was applying TSP (trisodium phosphate, a cleaning agent) to the door frames, on which the previous occupants used water-based latex paint over oil-based paint.

This compounded with all the other number of DIY housing mess-ups reveals a bunch of stuff that we didn't see when we first bought the place and the furniture was still in place. So far, all the flooring has been torn out and is being replaced, which is a very slow process. They should be fixing up the walls for painting soon...I've only done the fixture painting so far (ie: behind stove, toilet, and refrigerator).

Before/after pics of the digs to come.

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