Monday, February 27, 2012

The Moment, The Movement

At any given time, there are moments. Moments of happiness and moments of grief. Moments on greenhouse rooftops and in her church basement.

made are these exact points in time: are indications of life, and life in death.

Points fevered for, points forced to be forgotten
others to live on.

Points clung to:
          in desperate adoration

There may not always be love, and there may not always be pain.
but moments will be moments either way

They will come at times of surrender, with natural and naked & barefooted love
and they come for times of emptiness, in a street corner's crowd: vendor-washed

My moment can be your moment too but it won't be The Moment,
and it might not be at the moment or in the moment, that becomes your moment.

He moves. She motions. In white palaces. 
On green Malls. In suits of blue and black.
In greed. In corruption. Moments. In hate--
Moments. In re-elections and titles won.

In endless caskets of folded flags. On trumpeted-salutes
Moments. In jobless mothers and dirt-pinched pennies.
In Christmas's past and present. In comparisons.
Moments. Of shame. Moments. In fear. Momentous Frustration:
                                        She moves. And he moves.

Distressed and fractured
We move

movement and moments are synonymous 
          without causation
No movement by Parks had US move on the Nat'l park
and a moment made in 1955.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Advice from Graduates with Jobs

As a recent college graduate one of the best things I've done in my job search is to ask other graduates how they got their job and any other techniques. Probably the most well-rounded advice I've received comes from Danny Holley, a UMCP alumn with a Masters from George Washington University. He currently works for an accounting firm.

Holley, who took time away from his busiest season (taxes!), said: "It takes about 40 hours a week when you're starting from scratch between research employers, making phone calls, emails..."

Talk about scary! He found that blind emails and phone calls really got him nowhere. "You have to find a way to talk to people face to face," he said.

His best sources? "Network like crazy."

This means joining societies and local chapters, attending conferences, and going to professional networking events and career fairs. Even try to set up a visit to the offices of the company you want to work for.

Last: "Make use of your school's career center for resume critiquing and career coaching. Theyll help you narrow the scope of your search. calls are just a waste of your time."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Paranormal Romance Overcrowded and Going Under

A quick and dirty video on the facts about overcrowding of literature in YA paranormal romance genre, and why it won't be around long. Inspired by Striphas's Late Age of Print quote "[Cheney] disparaged editors and publishers for their lack of creativity in developing the talents of first-time authors and scolded them for ‘murdering’ potentially successful titles by releasing them into a field already so overcrowded they simply ‘cannibalized’ one another." (29)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

College Grad Message on Finances 2

I demanded a lot of you with my 5 finance tips. I told you to cut back on spending, cut back on alcohol. That's hard post-college, and I didn't even tell you how to do it. I'm not talking about rehab, I'm talking about 5 ways to learn how to cut back!

1. Rationalize saving.
Find reasons to save that you care about. Create a wish list of things to buy and how much they each cost. Is it a new stereo or a membership for the local rec basketball league? Are you really craving an expensive haircut or fancy summer vacation? Make these things visual. Put a picture on your door so that you see it every time you leave, and you are reminded to use discretion.
*Use restraint. Don't just go out and purchase them, furthering your debt, or get your parents to pay for it. Save up until you have nearly double the amount before spending that way you don't spend it all and end up back at square one.

2. Credit Cards
Do not use that credit card for anything except hospital appointments. No more pizza runs or booze. No spending it on gas to go see your boyfriend. (If you must put gas in, only enough until you get paid again or can puppy dog your parents for more.) Otherwise, you better have gotten lost in the desert somewhere with your bank account at zero, you haven't eaten in two days, and there's no one from which to borrow money. Only then should you use it to get to a place where money can be wired to you or to signal for help by reflecting the sun from the plastic surface through the windshield of a passing car.

3. Check the apps.
  • You probably have a smartphone so download your bank's app for easier banking and quicker access to funds and info. 
  • Mint - Combines all your financial woes into one app. Make and monitor your goals. Best is it's free.
  • iCredit Calculator - Shows you how much debt you've acquired in credit cards and how long it will take to pay off. I'm sure this will give you pause next time you got to swipe it.
  • Debt Minder - Nearly the same thing as iCredit, but it combines school loans as well and sets the best and likeliest path to paying them off.
4. Don't fill up the tank.
When you go to the station, fill the tank up to half or a little under. It will make you mind how much gas is in there. Think about it: If you have a full tank and a friend invites you out, you'll just jump in the car and go. If you are low on gas, you will evaluate your options like maybe get your friend to drive you. The more you drive, the more gas you burn, the more money you have to spend.

5. Quit bad habits
Those things you picked up in college. Weed, smoking, online poker, drinking (though we've already talked about that) need to be cut back on if not paused momentarily. Most are bad for your health anyway. EX: Stop smoking and it will save you about $60. Replace those hobbies with healthier, free options like exercising, reading, camping/backpacking/geocaching, photo-blogging. Men: Here's 45 hobbies just for you from Ask Men.

Monday, February 6, 2012

College Grad Message on Finances

I know I said keep your part-time job and live with your parents, but your finances aren't all peaches and fuzz like high school. As a recent college grad, I've learned your savings will only go so far. Your parents will give you parameters, whether its paying your car insurance, phone bill, groceries, or all three. Time for another 5 tips!

1. Try not to blow all your money on alcohol.
You're back in your hometown with friends and family, and you're all 21! You want to go out, meet up, rehash the past constantly. Well, it'll add up and your parents aren't going to feed your drinking addiction. So unless you're a hot girl who gets drinks for free, it's time to cut back. This means # of drinks as well as # of times you go out.

2. Count your monthly spending.
Oh the groans and moans. But seriously, at least sit down and look at your finances. Most banks even lay it out for you. They show you how much you budgeted and how much you overspent. When I looked at why I was dipping into the red every month, I found out that my part-time job really doesn't pay enough when gas is figured into it. Because its the slow retail season, I make maybe $40 more than I pay for gas each month. That's not near enough to pay for groceries or my credit card bill, and I was partying on top of that and blew away all my seasonal money.

3. Make a budget.
This is a finance tip sheet so stop the boohoo-ing or GTFO. It's not hard. Start with how much money you have, how much you make monthly, and how much you have in savings. Then subtract every necessary monthly spendatures like prescriptions, doctors appointments, payments (credit card, insurance, phone), gas, and the little groceries that you always buy. However much you have left should probably go into savings for emergencies, the irresponsible but infrequent night out, or (as you probably hope to have) a deposit on your own place. Remember: You have to pay back loans in six months. What happens if (in the semi-likely event) you're still haven't found a full-time job?

b. Negative? Quitting as the best option - If you're income is in the negative and you are not saving, you want to consider picking up a second job or switching part-time jobs completely while you look for that full-time position.  It's what I had to do. 

*It's easier to get a job when you have a job than to be unemployed and looking.

4. Talk to your bank.
PNC has the Virtual Wallet geared toward college students or those FOB graduates like me. I can manage most of my planning online: pay bills, transfer funds, set a budget etc. Ask about different savings methods and programs. Open a CD: You put away money to gain interest over a definitive period of time, and you aren't allowed to touch it until the time is up. Talk to them about paying back loans, consolidations, and managing debt. Money is their life. They know it.

5. Talk to your parents.
Okay, yeah. Admit it. They've been around the block. They pay for things all day. While we got care packages, they got bills. Even if they didn't go to college, they'll have insight on payment plans, loans, and spending. Extending a hand to them and acknowledging their "superior" experiences is not only respectful, but it will butter them up. Maybe they'll throw the stray Ben Franklin your way.

*If they suck at finances, water getting turned off every three months, learn from their mistakes until you can get out.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Love/Loathe Oprah by the Reluctant Hipster

Reblogged from my Academic blog at Seton Hill
“Love her or loath her, it is difficult to deny that Oprah Winfrey spans a broad cultural landscape.” (Striphas, The Late Age of Print)
I have always felt just so about Oprah. I get tired of hearing about her, I don’t understand the draw to watch her, and I have never looked to her for guidance on anything from relationships to literature. (I feel this way about all talk-show hosts.) Still, I cannot deny that for whatever reason, she has become a lighthouse for all kinds of people (especially women).
As discussed in the chapter, she now uses the power or “Ophrahfication” to motivate people, and really it’s all been for good causes: better schools for the underprivielged (like girls in Africa), reading in America, etc. I cannot complain.
For someone interested in literature, I understand she is no expert on literary analysis or literature, and I prefer not to buy into the conglomerate that is Oprah or “what’s popular.” (Maybe I’m a hipster.) I will read on recommendation of those I trust, and I see evidence of good selection.
I’ve read very few Oprah books so I cannot back up what I’m about to say. Still, I wonder if those books became popular because they were “good” or because they had Oprah’s stamp. Would they have become best sellers? What qualifies as “good,” the number sold or the critics review, lasting power, or my own personal tastes? Branding is powerful as I learned in last semester’s Public Opinion and Propaganda class.
Just because it got people to read, made the work accessible to the general public, it does not mean her work should be unconditionally praised. It’s important to study the idea of what’s good, and of branding when it comes to Oprah.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Message from a College Grad: Motivation

When you've graduated and nothing is going your way, how do you stay motivated? It's not easy.

1. Start a schedule and start small.
You know what feels good? Crossing something off your to-do list. Make a schedule of just a few things and stick to it. If you give yourself a deadline and a schedule, you are more likely to stay on task. It will feel great to accomplish something. For example:

Monday - 11am to 1pm: search for potential jobs online and bookmark them
Tuesday - 12pm to 2pm: prepare resumes and CV for five positions
Wednesday - 1pm to 1:30pm: send out the applications for the five positions
Thursday & Friday: repeat Tuesday and Wednesday with five more positions.
Saturday & Sunday: Rest
Next Monday: 11am to 1pm: follow up with phone call to prospective positions

2. Rope in friends.
Get a friend to come over or work via Skype and GoogleDocs with you during your designated schedule times. Trade resumes, edit each others emails before they are sent out. They'll keep you on deadline because they tie you to responsibility. You've made a commitment to getting this done and helping your friend. Just make sure its someone that really cares about your future and theirs. 

3. Make it a competition.
Friendly competition. See who can submit more applications or who can reach their goal faster. I don't suggest counting sensitive subjects like who gets more interviews or a job faster. Different positions, the economy, and other factors are involved in those processes. Plus that can really cripple motivation.

4. Be productive in other aspects of life.
Schedule your own appointments (like to the dentist) instead of having your parents do it. Taking small bits of responsibility will make you feel confident and in control of your direction in life. Another aspect is connecting with your field. Talk to professionals, not to get a job, but about their job, how they got it, pros and cons, and where they're going. Attend conferences. It gets you onto the scene, learning about your field of business, and connecting with professionals whose tips and insight are invaluable.

5. Wake up early. 
Oh the moans and groans. You don't want to do that until you have a real job. I'm not saying wake up at 7am, but having a regular sleep schedule with maximum daytime helps motivation. According to this Healthy Living article on Yahoo, "Studies have also correlated early-rising larks with character traits like optimism, stability and conscientiousness. And while night owls are associated with greater levels of creativity and intelligence, they are also more likely to exhibit pessimism, depression and neurotic behavior."
*Also, interviews are more likely to be conducted in the mornings. Practice makes perfect.

This stuff is just part of growing up. You have to take responsibility for your own life, step by step. Your parents won't always do it for you.

More Messages from a College Grad

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Message from a College Grad 2

Last December I was safe walking the streets of my university. Now I'm navigating the fields of part-time employment in retail and an endless sea of applications. Last time, I talked about a general after-college life. Here are 5 more tips, focused on getting that job:

1. Beware of volunteer and unpaid positions.
While it may seem like a good way to get a job, beware of the ones that ask you to commit a lot of time or energy without pay. Only join if it is for a cause your really believe in. Likely, they will not hire you for pay afterward. They will just hire another out-of-college volunteer. Also, many employers will not take the volunteer position as seriously because you were working for pay, or they will seriously low-ball you in potential wages. After all, someone else got away with it once already.

2. Stay at your part-time job.
Don't quit your part-time job just because you're home with your family and don't have to pay rent. Yes, job searching is almost a full-time job itself. Still, unemployed time looks bad. Even if you stay at the same part-time job that has nothing to do with your major, it shows discipline and loyalty. It's a lot better than jumping from part-time to part-time. If you're out-of-state, see if you can transfer to a store near your hometown.

3. Make a list: of what you want.
No, this isn't the same list as last time. This list is to focus you on figuring out what you want. The list should start with your dream job and work down on all the potential jobs. It should include positions that you worked in college or related fields of interest. For example, my major is in English but I've also worked in the campus library and in child care so I've added potential places of employment as a substitute teacher and operations assistant in the library.

4. Update your résumé and highlight your top achievements in the CV.
All those little jobs I talked about above, add those and any relevant award. Create different resumes for different positions. I have three: Creative Writing, Journalism, and Educational. If the word resume appears in the document, make it have those funny é's. Delete things from high school. Likely, they are no longer relevant. Use the CV as a teaser for the resume. You want employers to look at you more closely so highlight your best and most relevant achievements. 
*If you excel at one of their listed qualifications or have an extra certificate, say so. You want to stand out as their best fit.

5. Stay active in the community.
As long as its not a committed job, it's not bad to stay involved in the community you wish to work in. As a writer, I freelance and blog. For an education major, volunteer to read to children at the local library. For math and science majors, tutor. Spring and summer is also a time for conferences. If you have the money to spare, attend ones in your field and add it to your experience. Conferences can give you an in into what's going on in the field, who's hiring, and networking with professionals. I attend the Maryland Writers Conference every year that I can where I met the author and entrepreneur Georgia McBride, whom I currently work with on