Posts Tagged ‘LC Fashions’

You may not need a recap of three previous parts of ‘Deus Ex Machina’, particularly if you are a binge-reader… I do, just because I’m struggling to balance a short attention span and a long interruption…

Back in February and March, I had gotten myself into serious trouble at Giovanni’s culminating in a ‘Step II disciplinary meeting’, which was essentially a meeting to convince management that I still wanted my job and that I could, if given another chance, ‘straighten up and fly right.’  Difficult.  On one hand, even on bad days, waiting tables is both profitable and interesting.  Given my A.D.D., the constant mental stimulation as a waitress may actually be more important than my tips.  Although as a spendthrift with a fashion addiction, the tips are pretty damn important.  On the other hand, I had been crashing rather than flying because I was completely overwhelmed as a single parent with no support net.  Trying to be a good enough mom for Piper was burning me out and exacerbating my A.D.D, which only left me even more overwhelmed.  So while I desperately wanted another chance, if I had possessed the slightest clue on how to regain control of my life, I already would be doing it… another chance was only another chance to make the same mistakes.

One of the ways I had tried to regain control was interviewing for the job at Thatchtower gallery, but after the interview, Cao Richards had been avoiding me.  The day before my step II, she sought me out (part I) to introduce me to Conner, the man who actually got the job for which I interviewed.  She also let me know (part II) that I actually had a second chance at the same job if I interviewed a second time with Carlton Thatcher.  That night, (part III) I met up with Carlton at a Thai restaurant in the Oregon District, and the interview went well.  I got the job!

Casually dressed to meet my fate…. Firefly BBQ Softball Jersey by Sn@tch Laica Pants from LC's World of Fashion

Casually dressed to meet my fate….
Firefly BBQ Softball Jersey by Sn@tch
Laica Pants from LC’s World of Fashion

I actually felt pretty good, possibly even sassy, as I bundled Piper with me into the Step II meeting.  I still needed and wanted my job at Giovanni’s, of course.  The Thatchtower job is part-time, and the base pay isn’t much more than minimum wage, although whenever Carlton makes a sale, the bonuses trickle down nicely.  In addition, I have very good insurance through Giovanni’s; the restaurant even pays half of my premiums and a quarter of Piper’s.  As a part-time assistant, I wouldn’t qualify for insurance through Thatchtower.  What Thatchtower did have was on-site daycare that they would even let me use when I wasn’t actually on the clock.  I was overwhelmed as a single parent with no support net, but Thatchtower offered me some rudimentary support.  I had been frustrated because I couldn’t see a way to regain control of my life, to break the pattern of one-step-forward-two-steps-back that haunted everything I tried to do since Piper was born.  I just had to tweak my Giovanni’s schedule a little bit- cut out my weekday lunches so I could work at Thatchtower, work three or four nights plus Thursday and Saturday lunch so I could keep the twenty-five hours a week to keep my insurance going, and everything would finally be working out for me.

Sitting at the party table in the corner of the restaurant with Stefano, Jonas, Joe, and Justin before the restaurant opened, I explained that.  I’m sure I bubbled pretty enthusiastically, both because I was excited about the game-changing prospect of decent daycare and because poor filtering between impulses and words is an A.D.D. hallmark.  So I felt a little ambushed when Stefano didn’t share my enthusiasm.

“Let me get this straight.  You’re in Step II because you’re generally late, because you’ve missed shifts, because you’ve manipulated and altered the schedule without permission, and your solution is you want to rewrite the schedule for your convenience.”

The words, “You make that sound like a bad thing,” were already forming on my tongue, and probably wouldn’t have helped the situation, so it’s just as well Stefano continued on relentlessly.

Hair & Headband: Despina from Tameless Hair Bollywood Make-up from Errant

Hair & Headband: Despina from Tameless Hair
Bollywood Make-up from Errant

“Everyone knows dinner shifts are more profitable than lunch shifts.  You’ve been unreliable enough to put your job in jeopardy, and you think I should ‘punish’ you by giving you the best shifts, you think I should take night shifts away from servers who haven’t screwed up so you can have them, you think I should be grateful that you still deign to work one lunch a week when that’s just to keep me paying for your insurance…  Where do you get off, Emily?!?”

I glanced quickly at Joe and Justin.  Justin looked like he shared my opinion that the meeting had grown painfully awkward very quickly, but he also looked like he’d just rather be elsewhere, not like he was going to stick his neck out for me.  Joe and I butt heads a lot, so Joe was actually smiling at my discomfort.  Jackass.  “Steve, I’ve worked here almost five years, and I thought you knew me by now.  I invest a lot of ego in being good at whatever I do, and I’m competitive enough to define ‘good’ as ‘better than my coworkers’.  I bust my ass to make sure that Giovanni’s is the sort of place customers want to come back to, to make sure my tables have the dining experience I would want, and to make serving look easy even when the kitchen is a train wreck and the host stand is a cluster fuck.  Yeah, I do it so that customers want to tip me, but I also do it from sheer bloody-minded, arrogant pride.  I know I’ve been off my A-game since Piper was born.  I want to be just as good a mother as I am a waitress, and I’m not, and I’m burning myself at both ends trying to make things work.  I’m in this inutile meeting- pardon my French, I meant to say fucking- because we both know I’m too valuable an employee to just fire, and you wanted to make sure I knew that if something doesn’t change, you will have do exactly that.  Well, I found a way to change things, because I love my job, and I’m good at it, and I want to make it work, and I thought you’d appreciate that.”

I must have been a sight as I finished.  Red-faced, eyes flashing, so angry I was trembling.  Stefano drew a deep breath, ready to blast back at me with both barrels, only to be interrupted by something neither of us expected.  Jonas clapped a few times, slowly, and said “Bravo, little firecracker.”

Body: GiGi shape by Kids5B Skin: Celine II from LC Fashions

Body: GiGi shape by Kids5B
Skin: Celine II from LC Fashions

Stefano, Justin, and Joe all stared at Jonas with mixtures of stun and confusion on their faces, and I’m sure my expression matched.  “Stefano, we’ve got a good crew.  We’ve got a turnover rate that other restaurants should envy.  Our staff is competent and comfortable and consistent and content, and those are all very good things.”  The stun was clearing from everyone’s faces, but the confusion was only strengthening.  “But for most of our staff, Giovanni’s is just a job.  It’s a better job than most, which is why they stay, but it’s still just a job.  Emily is passionate.  It’s not ego or arrogance, it’s pride and that’s something we need, and something you can’t train into people.”

I’d like to claim it was my sense of maturity that kept me from sticking my tongue out.  Truthfully, I didn’t think of it at the time because I was too busy being scared about what would happen next.  Stefano disagreed with his father’s view of my ethic, and argued that reliability was more important than pride, and I wasn’t reliable anymore.

“Pshaw!” scoffed Jonas.  I thought ‘Pshaw’ was a literary convention, an exclamation only used by writers to represent more generalized impatient disdain, but Jonas actually pshawed his son.  “Machines and tools should be reliable, Stefano.  People can’t be a hundred percent reliable, but proud people are more likely to rise above than to let you down.”  Stefano tried to interrupt to classify me as one of the let-downs, but Jonas overrode him.  “You weren’t here the day Emily went into labor, and I was.  Her water broke in our restroom, she was freaking out, and she was still worrying about taking proper care of her tables.”  I  remember that day well, and I would say it was probably shock not dedication driving my worries about getting table 302’s order in, but this was no time to argue with Jonas.  “Emily will move mountains to give customers the experience she thinks they should have.  Look, Stefano, she doesn’t even realize she’s nodding agreement.”  I stopped, a little self-consciously.  “It would be better if she would move mountains to give customers the experience we think they should have, if she was driven by pride in Giovanni’s rather than pride in herself, if she would be a little quicker to follow instructions and a little slower to question authority.  But she’s right: her pride, her initiative, makes her too valuable an employee to just fire.  If Emily was like most employees in Step II, sniveling for one more chance, I’d say give her the one more chance and then fire her ass.  If she tried to deny she had a problem, or claim that other servers were a bigger problem so we should let her slide, I’d be the first to throw her ass to the curb here and now.”

Ah, yes.  There was the warm, fuzzy Jonas I generally expect.

“But Emily didn’t just show up today, she tried to find a solution to the problem.  She just wants us to work with her so she can continue to work for us.  That’s fair, Stefano.”

Another surprise.  Steve didn’t argue with Jonas.  He just sighed a little.  “Maybe it is fair to work with her, but Emily still wants to move away from shifts I already have trouble finding people to work, particularly while college is in session, and towards shifts where I don’t have enough openings on the floor for the servers who want to work.  I don’t have full time hours to offer her with that kind of availability.  I can work her part-time for a while.  The insurance is based on average hours per week, so it will take time for average to fall below twenty-five hours per week, and then take some more time for the paperwork to notice her average fell and to cut the insurance off.  Sooner or later, though, she will lose her insurance.  Maybe someone will move on or change schedules so we can up her hours again before that happens, but maybe not.  I’m not going to fuck someone else over to give more shifts to Emily, particularly while her dependability is in doubt.  That’s not fair, either.  And two lunch-shifts, one, maybe two dinner-shifts.  That’s under twenty hours, under fifteen hours a lot of weeks- it won’t take long for the insurance to go bye-bye.”

“What about that computer stuff Emily does?” asked Jonas.  “You’re the one talking up why Giovanni’s needs social media, so why not hire our blogging waitress to do social media stuff for us?”

I’ll admit I briefly zoned out of the conversation.  I was startled enough that Jonas knew about my blogging that I jostled Piper and she started to fuss and I had to rock her back to sleep.  Plus I was growing a little sickly pale as I tried to remember exactly what I’ve written previously about Giovanni’s in general and about Jonas and Stefano in particular.  ‘An asshole with some redeeming values’ no longer seemed quite the deft turn of phrase it once did.  When I zoned back in, Steve was saying Giovanni’s still had a very small digital footprint, and that they wouldn’t need enough computer time from me to get me to full time status.

It was Justin who exclaimed ‘Billable hours!”

Jonas verbalized the thought everyone was thinking: “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“If you take your car to the mechanic’s, you pay both for parts and for labor.  If you hire an attorney, you pay for the hours that go into working your case.  But you don’t pay for how long your specific job actually took, you pay according to a list of how long general tasks will be assumed to take.  For example, changing brake pads might be assumed to be an hour or an hour and half’s labor.  Most of the time, an experienced mechanic with a full shop can do it in fifteen to thirty minutes.  Occasionally, something is really screwed up and it might take two or three hours.  Regardless, the job takes the hour as far as the bill is concerned.”

“Um. Can I refer us all back to Jonas’s previous question?  I’m still not sure where you’re going, Justin.”

“No, look.  We’ve talked about this is some of the marketing courses I’ve taken.  A salaried, full-time social media marketeer makes fifty or sixty thousand a year.  If Giovanni’s hires a free-lancer, we’ll have to pay him twenty dollars or more an hour.  Emily lacks the marketing degree of the true professional marketeer, so she can’t expect to make as much.  Conversely, she knows our business better than an outsider and she’s going to stay in contact if she’s coming in regularly to serve.  So we have to negotiate a little on a fair rate to pay Emily to be our marketeer anyway.  So why don’t we just say she will officially receive minimum wage, and instead negotiate how many hours she will bill us for.  It won’t make a difference on her pay check if we pay her two and half hours at eight bucks per hour or one hour at twenty bucks, but the extra padding on hours will help her keep her insurance intact.  After a few months, once we see how she’s doing, we can keep going, renegotiate, or call the experiment off.  Worst case scenario, we’ve still postponed the point where Emily’s insurance expires and given us more time to rearrange the schedule.”

And that’s how I ended up gaining a second hat to wear at Giovanni’s, that of ‘social media consultant.’  I basically tweet about our specials twice a day, occasionally post pictures of meals on Instagram and Facebook, help write copy for each month’s ‘Monthly Specials’ insert in the menu, and sometimes send shout-outs to some of our regulars.  If I’m nearby, I’m probably drafted for anything in the restaurant that involves the written word, so there are lots of random little chores in the job as well.  I’m also the only waitress who has permission to be on my phone while I’m waiting tables, which is a cool perk.  (Mind you, most of the waitresses still read and send texts and update their Facebook from the side stand when they think nobody is looking.  But I’m actually supposed to find at least one thing to send out during my shifts…)

…Info about tagged vendors is in my closet

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So late last night, (or early this morning, it’s all in perspective), several coworkers and I held an impromptu philosophical forum.  That is to say we all gathered on the porch of Madi’s new apartment and bullshitted about life, the universe, and everything.  As is customary for such forums, there was much smoking and drinking and eating.  This actually serves a two fold purpose.  Firstly, lubricated throats and relaxed filters contribute to a better grade of discussion.  Secondly, when the booze and weed are all gone, you know it’s time to disband the forum and go home.

My philosophical axe-to-grind last night was about how and why and whether people actually change.  For the last six months, I’ve been keeping a journal of story ideas and prompts.  Looking thought the bits and pieces I’ve collected, the ingredients I want to cook into a story, I’ve noticed redemption is a powerful theme that keeps popping up, that I want to see people change for the better over the course of a story.  For example, one of the potential ideas I’m working on involves a career criminal attempting to ‘go straight’ for romance.  But I need to write the story so it feels real, rather then superficial or ‘after-school-special’, so I’m introspecting about what I actually believe about why people change.

I came down to the Abbey looking for the right backdrop for impromptu philosophical forums...

I came down to the Abbey looking for the right backdrop for impromptu philosophical forums…

So can people change?  The trivial answer- I’m not sure whether it is a smart-ass or dumb-ass answer- is “Sure, people can change.  Look at the outfit I changed into!”  Smart or dumb, I’m going to give that answer anyway.  It lets me make a blatantly contrived segue to my postly style card before I return to my actual topic of redemption and transformation…

  • Shape: Pregnant Teen Katie, wk 31, by Cukabebe.  (Side note: before any one sums two and two to get five and sends me a flame about the gathering at Madi’s, I didn’t personally do any of the boozing or smoking.  Even if my pregnancy is merely a show of support for Mrs. Firsty, I still used it as my excuse not to drink or smoke.  I’ve always been too nervous to try being high or drunk- I joke that just being me is enough of an altered state for anyone- but I have enough sins of my own that I’m not interested in throwing stones of judgement at my coworkers.)
  • Skin: Dark Mystique in Copper by Kyxe Skins.  The little leaf design under my right eye is part of the skin.  The word ‘Slut’ under my left eye is a tattoo from the slut shop that I’ve worn many times before.  There’s also a Prozak tattoo of a cross on my back, hard to see with the veil I’m wearing today.
  • Hair: Penelope in Strawberry from My Pretty Pixels.  This hairdo is seriously cute, and scripted so that the flowers and veil are color-change.
  • Base Outfit: Seduction from Undisclosed Magic.  The corset-style top, neko ears, tail, and big paw-printing boots are all part of this outfit.  I was very under impressed with the daisy duke style booty shorts from this outfit.  They weren’t all that flattering to begin with, and my third trimester belly certainly didn’t make crotch hugging shorts look any better on me…
  • Jeans: Laica, a dollarbie from LC’s world of fashion.
  • Jewelry: The sherbet colored bangles and the ‘I’m Hot’ pearl necklace are both from Grumble, Grumble; the earrings are from *JStyle.  I’ve said before these two brands make my favorite accessories, so it’s hardly surprising they seem to pop up in every look.
    That's right.  I'm sexy and I know it...

    That’s right. I’m sexy and I know it…

     

So do people change?  Can people change?  I’m not really sure what I believe.  The problem isn’t that I don’t know what I believe; the problem is that I recognize my beliefs contradict each other, and therefore form an inconsistent system.  That actually doesn’t bother me per se.  Most people have inconsistencies in their belief systems, and the holes in their beliefs don’t really matter until or unless the people begin thinking or acting near those inconsistencies.  And by most people, I don’t mean people, more often than not, have inconsistencies.  I really mean everyone has inconsistencies, but I’m allowing for a theoretical person who has examined their own beliefs enough to find and resolve all of the inconsistencies.  Unfortunately, as a reader, two of the most emotionally powerful stories I know are the coming-of-age story, where an immature youngster accepts responsibility and becomes a better person for it, and the redemption story, where a person who has harmed the people around him in some way atones for his past actions and becomes a benefactor or protector.  Which means as a writer, I want to write stories where the protagonist changes into a better person.  I also agree with what Ayn Rand has written about a writer’s moral philosophy being unavoidably revealed by their writing, that it inherently shapes how they abstract and specify values and actions.  So if I’m going to write about people changing, I need to resolve my inconstancies.

In general, I don’t think people really change that much.  My god father claimed that by five a child’s adult personality had already developed, and I always accepted that statement.  I’ve done some research into baby personalities- (I confess, I’m both excited and a little bit terrified by the impending arrival of Firsty, Jr.)- and experts claim several key personality factors appear to be hardwired at birth.  Certainly my own personality has been fairly constant over the years as I’ve grown up, and few actions I take as an adult surprise those who knew me as a little girl.  And most of my patience and calm acceptance of people is predicated on the assumption they can’t help their flaws.  There’s no sense getting upset about the fact Jonas Giovanni is an asshole if Jonas just can’t help being an asshole.  If people can change; if, in fact, Jonas is an asshole because Jonas has chosen to be an asshole, then I suddenly have a lot more rage issues…

I'm setting sail in search of wisdom, adventure, and really cute outfits...

I’m setting sail in search of wisdom, adventure, and really cute outfits…

And yet, and yet… In rare instances, people do seem to change.  There are big dramatic instances, like Saul on the road to Damascus, or the personality change from being the victim of a crime.  There are milder stories like my own.  I’m generally regarded by my coworkers as the informal morale officer at Giovanni’s.  I’m generally cheerful.  When someone else is in a bad mood, I generally probe to find out why and do what I can to fix the problem or advise them on how to get over it.  I freely let fly with my catty and snarky sense of humor, helping others laugh rather than stress out.  Several coworkers have told me that its always a better night at work when I’m there, because there is less stress and drama.  So would it surprise you to hear that two years ago, I was a seething kettle of rage?  That I once stormed through a swinging door so angrily that the door came off its hinges?  That every time I saw a floor plan or a new schedule, my mood soured because worse servers were getting better sections and better shifts and I was falling ever further behind on my charge cards and student loans because I was getting fucked over from shifts and stations that I deserved and had earned?  That every customer who gave me a crappy 12% tip after I busted my tail, and every meeting that blocked my table from turning for an hour while some mid-level office flunky slowly nursed a soda and showed off his spreadsheets had me clenching my fists and looking for someone to punch out?  I made a conscious decision that I don’t like the person I am when I’m a petty, vindictive, angry bitch, and decided not to be that person.  I forced myself to let it go when I was angry, to look at the half-full side of the glass, to forgive people until it became less of a continual decision and more of a reflex.  I changed.

Or did I?  I’m still the same person.  Listing some of the things that made me angry back then was still enough to cause my jaw to clench and my eyes to narrow.  I’ve learned giving vent to that anger is counter-productive and that keeping a cheerful spin on things helps me obtain my goals- pleasant social interactions, profitable shifts, less attention from bosses.  For that matter, when I’m at low ebb- if I don’t get enough sleep, or I’m sick, or during certain other private health concerns- I devolve, and can feel my patience bleeding away.  Did I actually change, or did I just alter my priorities enough to override my basic behavior patterns?  Or is altering priorities really all change is?  Here’s a really trivial example.  Lasagna is one of my favorite meals, and Giovanni’s does a lasagna special every Tuesday night that is simply incredible.  Every Tuesday, Donnie, one of the cooks who has been there forever and a day, comes in an hour early to help Jonas or his son Stephen prepare and bake the lasagna.  I’m generally off on Tuesday, so I would often come in to use my employee discount and get some awesome lasagna.  About a year ago, Marcus, another server, confided to me that he would no longer eat anything Donnie was involved in preparing since he had twice seen Donnie leaving the bathroom without washing his hands.  Eww.  There is a sink and some soap in the prep kitchen; it’s perfectly possible that Donnie doesn’t wash his hands in the bathroom because he washes his hands in the kitchen.  It’s equally possible he doesn’t wash his hands in the bathroom because he doesn’t wash his hands anywhere.  I haven’t been back for lasagna Tuesday since.  So, I used to love our lasagna, and now I refuse to eat it.  Did I change?  Or is it more appropriate to say that I remained the same, but altered my behavior because new information- i.e. Donnie’s dirty crotch germs are the secret ingredient in the sauce- changed the calculus by which I make my decisions.

This is more than just semantics.  As I debated change back and forth with increasingly drunk and stoned coworkers, I realized my examples of change all had one common ingredient.  Something happens to modify a person’s worldview, and as a result the person transforms.  A woman who is raped becomes more distrustful of men because she now knows just how horrible some men can be and that you cannot always tell which men are safe and which are not.  After a religious epiphany, a new believer begins to prioritize actions and relationships according to a different set of more spiritual standards.  I still like lasagna- I’ve eaten a family tray of Stouffer’s all by myself; it’s my default choice if I’ve never eaten at a given Italian restaurant before- but my liking for lasagna doesn’t outweigh my aversion to Donnie’s dirty crotch germs, so my behavior changed.  My goals for work didn’t change.  My attitude about whether I like my job or not didn’t change.  My attitude at work changed when I altered my world view because I recognized bitterness and negativity were biting me in the ass, and acted upon my new world view.

I'm in a cemetery because my thoughts are very grave...

I’m in a cemetery because my thoughts are very grave…

Sometimes people change their world view, but don’t seem to change.  An alcoholic who recognizes he has a problem, and keeps drinking anyway.  The chronic philanderer who continues to cheat.  But given that people lie to those around them and even to themselves about what they believe, that people don’t really think out the consequences of their beliefs, that people don’t always line up specific instances against general beliefs, I’m willing to still categorize those instances as unchanged, or insufficiently changed world view.  For example, the alcoholic who ‘recognizes he has a problem’ may have decided he needs to drink less, but until he realizes that he cannot control his drinking and that he therefore cannot drink at all, he isn’t going to have true change.  People put their money where their mouth is when they act on their beliefs- if you feel there are exceptions, or loop holes, or other priorities, then you do not act and you cannot change until you are acting.

So to pull things to a semi conclusion: people change when their beliefs change and they act upon their new beliefs.  If I am toying, for example, with a story idea where a career criminal decides to go straight to become ‘worthy’ of a woman, I must either establish that such a change is already within his world view, that he values love enough to choose love over the difficulties of going straight or demonstrate believably that the romance is enough to change his world view.  In either case, I’m operating in that hazy area where seeming outward change is actually being true to inward values.  And forgive me for rambling a bit today, but the mixture of listening at Madi’s and talking to you here has helped me have a greater understanding of what changes us.  So I suppose I have changed for the wiser…

"The only problem with morning is it comes too damn early in the day"

“Morning is wonderful.  Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day”– Glen Cook, Sweet Silver Blues

I laughed a little bit when I saw this recent Daily Post prompt: “How often do you get to (or have to) be awake for sunrise? Tell us about what happened the last time you were up so early (or late…).”

I’m a waitress and a bartender.  Morning is something that happens to other people.  Morning is a dirty word.  Morning is the devil.  No, really.  The name Lucifer, which we all use as the devil’s proper name, actually comes from latin and translates as light-bringing, and as a noun generally referred to the morning star, the planet Venus seen just before daybreak.  The implication (to me, anyway) is clear: God enjoys his sleep, and bringing day, ending that period of peace and tranquility, is an act of evil and rebellion against God.  Sure, once upon a time when I was a little kid, I was a morning person.  But I grew out of that habit, just like I am now potty-trained and say “please” and “thank you”.

“Mornings are like almost clean slates. I say almost clean because the residue of yesterdays is sometimes stuck on them.”  ― Medeia Sharif, Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.

“Mornings are like almost clean slates. I say almost clean because the residue of yesterdays is sometimes stuck on them.”
― Medeia Sharif, Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.

I live a life where, unless I’m blessed with a rare night off, I get home between midnight and two a.m.  I then need to fix myself some supper and let my mind crash.  The mind crash is essential.  My mind naturally tends to run at very high rpms; it’s part of the mixed blessing that is ADD.  Because Giovanni’s is so busy, every shift is six to eight hours of stimulus, so I generally come home with my body and soul weary but my brain cranked to maximum.  Generally I nuke something or go through a drive through that’s open late, and eat in front of the oldest show stored on my DVR.  Ruthlessly fast forwarding through the commercials allows me to watch an hour show in forty-five to forty-eight minutes, and by show’s end, my mind has reached a curious place.  On one hand, television generally has a numbing effect on the processing portion of my mind: stories just passively wash over my awareness with much less active engagement and thought than the same story as a book.  On the other hand, there is a growing body of research that suggests the light from an electric screen, be it smart phone, computer, or television, stimulates something in the nervous system that interferes with sound sleep.  So by show’s end, my brain’s engine is running at a lower speed, but my body is no longer ready to crash.  So I generally dim the lights and curl up on my futon with a paperback or my ideas journal and let my nervous system slow back down until I drift off to sleep.  The whole process, from arriving home to falling asleep, takes almost two hours, and that’s assuming I come home tired and ready to sleep.  Some nights I still feel so frisky that I go ahead and do something- laundry, cleaning, write some poetry, whatever, before I start the two-hour awake to asleep transformation.  So I generally get to sleep between two-thirty and four-thirty, usually around three.  I generally try to get to bed early on my nights off; I feel like my sleep pattern is unhealthy.  One night every week or two, however, isn’t enough to really change things, so an ‘early’ night is getting to sleep by one a.m.  When I have to work a lunch shift, I have to be up by ten thirty, but generally I wait until the right side of noon to wake up.

quote here

“Rise early.  It is the early bird that catches the worm.  Don’t be fooled by this absurd saw; I once knew a man who tried it.  He got up at sunrise and a horse bit him.”  –Mark Twain

So the last time I saw a sunrise?  Um, with or without wind lights?  That is one of the joys of my life as me… by focusing my will and my wind lights, I can create a beautiful sunrise where ever and when ever I happen to be.  Every picture I took for today’s gallery has been at sunrise, with the rising sun visible behind me.  Even the picture I took in the surreal sim of Two Fish Too, where normally there is no sun, just an ambient glow.  The last time I saw a sunrise without wind lights, well that’s harder to remember.  I guess it would have to be  winter two years ago when, since my brother, his friend Norm, and his partner Alec were all unavailable, my dad dragged me along on his annual exercise in sado-masicism known as the Marik winter fishing trip.  Ice fishing.  Not traveling south and east towards warmth and water, but north west into the land the sun forgot.  We were on the road by five in the morning.  So sunrise occurred at some point while we passed through Indiana, I must have seen it through squinting bloodshot eyes, but I cannot tell you anything about it.  Blah.

"Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first."  --Josh Billings

“Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first.” –Josh Billings

I dressed up rather formal to go questing for sunrises… These pictures are actually coming home late, not heading out early.  Still, here’s the style card:

  • Shape: Nina, Month 7 from Baby Bumps. (Mrs. Firsty is just rounding the corner into her third trimester.  Yay!)
  • Skin: Salma from WoW Skins.
  • Tattoo: Psychedelic from Infected.
  • Hair: Miss Mess in Emerald Green, source unknown freebie.
  • Dress: Ayla Ballroom Gown, green, from LC’s World of Fashion.
  • Jewelry: Necklace and earrings from JKTrend‘s Cotton Candy set; source unknown lip ring.
So, how do you like them apples?

So, how do you like them apples?

WHAT I’M WEARING: I needed something easy and casual.  Any jokes claiming that I am easy and casual receive no bonus points today.  Not only are they too obvious to be clever, but I’m letting my sense of humor take a vacation day.  I’m not depressed or sad or anything, just tired.  I feel stretched thin and in need of a recharge.  So I quickly threw something together from my closet, and headed out in search of a restful, mellow adventure, something relaxing and uplifting and not too stressful.  And yes, I’m familiar with the hobbit definition of adventure: A nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable thing that makes you late for dinner.  I don’t want to be late for dinner…

  • Shape: ChildGirlAge15 (AladyIsland) (Gee.  It’s so lovely to be twenty-five and told you have the body of a 15 year old…)
  • Skin: Jessy  (*JStyle)
  • Hair: Paloma/Black5 (Dark Mouse Hair)
  • Outfit: Valery Dollarbie Top (Egoxentrikax), Jeans from the Summer Glam Complete Outfit (B-C Creations), Red Leather Kicks (Prozak)
  • Accessories: Summer Glam Clutch (B-C Creations) (part of the same complete outfit as the mesh jeans.), Nerdy Glasses (Envious), Rose Tattoo (Prozak), Razor Wire Bangle (Grumble), Red Blush Makeup (LC’s World of Fashion), Lip Ring, Silver Earrings (source unknown).

    Sitting and resting and watching the world… This is my kind of adventure!

    Sitting and resting and watching the world… This is my kind of adventure!

WHERE I’M AT: My article title and place to visit were inspired by the Event Newsfeed, so I’m here experiencing Time Out.  The Taxi is here.  The description from the news feed is, “Timeout is fun and unique.  It is quiet but dynamic.  It is calming but frightening.  It is for lovers but adventurers.  Timeout is a high quality sim with beautiful scenery and many interesting spots.  It is an addictive sim with the best Irish Pub in Second Life for the perfect pint.”

In other words, since I’m feeling rushed and frantic in both of my lives, this is just what the doctor ordered!  So far I haven’t found the parts of Timeout that are supposed to be dynamic or frightening, and I’m perfectly OK with that.  I’m wandering around, enjoying the facts that the scenery is beautiful and that I am beautiful within said scenery, resting, and writing on my blog and on a few short story ideas.  A calm, pretty backdrop.  Lovely weather to sit and think.  Plenty of benches and pretty trees.  This spot is idyllic and ideal for me.

OK, I think I found the frightening part of Timeout...

OK, I think I found the frightening part of Timeout…

WHAT’S ON MY MIND: I hate secrets.  I really do.  I hate other people’s secrets.  Mostly, I admit, because I’m nosy and curious, but also because I’m not always good with subtle social cues, and if I know what’s going on, I can act accordingly, but if I have to rely on non-verbals I’m probably going to piss someone off and not know why.  (And possibly even fail to notice.)  I hate having my own secrets.  I don’t have the sort of mental organization to keep track of who knows what and who is allowed to know what.  I’m not a good enough spontaneous liar to keep a secret properly hidden.  (I simultaneously worry that I’m not a good enough liar because I don’t what to say when the lie is ‘off the cuff’ and that I’m too dishonest because I lie very easily once the proper lie to tell has been decided.  The conflict between those two worries is fairly obvious.  Welcome to the tangled mess that is my mind.)  But the worst is having to share a secret.

Right now I share a fairly big secret.  If it were my secret only, I would probably blurt it out and be done.  I’ve always tended to just throw it all out on the table and let the chips fall where they may, even when that isn’t such a good idea.  Moreover it is a fairly ‘open’ secret by this point- only a very small cabal is supposed to know, but two of the cabal members, including the one who most wants to keep it secret, are lousy secret keepers.  I am reminded of Luke, a gossipy former boss, who’s half-joking line was, ‘Don’t worry.  I told everybody not to tell anybody.’  Everyone who gets the secret also gets to know why it’s a secret: it’s a time sensitive matter, involving a probable future outcome.  If a less probable outcome should occur instead, the cabal would rather not have to keep rehashing how or why the plans fell through.

I got to witness something similar while playing First Life.  My firsty works two jobs, one of which is for a very popular family owned restaurant.  The family was looking into starting a second venture.  They didn’t openly discuss venture 2, which lead to a great deal of curiosity and speculation among employees and customers.  A few details leaked into the gossip pool anyway.  A couple employees from the restaurant were used in filler roles in the business the family was going to buy for venture 2.  A few contractors, who are also customers at the original restaurant, were approached with jobs and/or for estimates.  As the start up date drew closer, the family bragged a little bit about the process with some of the favored regulars.  Then the deal fell through, went sideways, crashed and burned, pick whatever idiom you like.  What had once been the best-laid plans of the family ganged aft agley.  (If you are neither an eighteenth century Scot nor a fan of Robert Burns’ poetry, just accept what started as best laid ended as f–ked…) For nearly a month, customers have been asking for details about a new venture that is now on indefinite hold and with a schedule anywhere between imminent and impossible.  It was already irritating the first time, so after a month of the same…  I certainly don’t want to repeat such a hassle with my secret.

The one silver lining is in the word ‘time sensitive.’  Before long, and probably sooner than later, secrecy will be a moot point.  At the rate I’m posting these days, probably within my next post or two I will be free to tell all and sundry what’s on my mind rather than dance around the issue.

But I wanted ninety-nine RED balloons!

But I wanted ninety-nine RED balloons!

WHAT’S ON MY RADIO: I’ve just been shuffling through my iPod, looking for songs that fit my mood.  I found these…  Mama Said There’d be Days Like This by the Shirelles, Welcome to The Family by Avenged Sevenfold, a cover of Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle by Guns N Roses, and No Son of Mine by Genesis.

The Hair Department at My Pretty Pixels.

The Hair Department at My Pretty Pixels.

WHAT I’M WEARING: As I started putting my outfit together, I was thinking red carpet.  Haute couture.  Cutting edge elegance and style.  As I accessorized, however, I ended up with a look that reminds me more of a silver age comic book heroine, fighting crime in an outfit defined by its bright primary colors and utter impracticality…

  • Shape: AngelieJolieDCup from Alady Island.  (Is it really supposed to be modeled after a famous actress and adoptress?  I can’t tell, but also don’t really care.)
  • Skin: Angelina from Mr. Bloch.  (OK, I do care.  However, even with a shape and a skin supposedly modeled after Angelina Jolie, I don’t think I look like her.  Or even particularly close.  So I’ll just pretend to sound jaded and uncaring, OK?)
  • Hair: Brandee in Shamrock Green from Tameless Hair.  (The bright green hair is really where the look started to devolve from the red carpet…)
  • Dress: Yanru Club Gown in Red from LC’s World of Fashion.
  • Boots: Classic Red Thigh High Boots from <P3>  (Boots only suitable for a mistress or a super heroine/villainess… And my inner geek-girl tends to distract me before I can put together a good mistress style card…) 
  • Other Accessories: Dolly Makeup from Blue Blood, Red Collar from *JStyle, Plain Lace Stockings from Sugar Emporium, Kalma Tattoo from GrungeInk, source unknown ‘Bollywood Earrings’ and piercing ring.

    The kids' department at *Fierce Designs*

    The kids’ department at *Fierce Designs*

WHERE I’M AT: Still landmark sorting/hopping.  The most interesting landmark was about a dozen copies of an defunct landmark that once lead to a skybox shop and now lead to a fall of several hundred meters.  And the landmarks all just had the name of the shop, so I had to check each one looking for a landmark to the shops new location, so I popped in, started falling, popped back to the top of my fall, continued falling, over and over in one horrific loop.  I’ve had this dream before, by the way.  It doesn’t end well.  (Unless, of course, you think red is a pretty color for ground cover…)

Warhol's House of Mirrors and RLV Traps.  Be warned...

Warhol’s House of Mirrors and RLV Traps. Be warned…

WHAT’S ON MY MIND:  Much and nothing.  I’ve got a couple fiction projects that are coming well, but not in any place or condition to share.  I’ve gathered some tidbits of juicy gossip about First Life, both about my firsty and about some of the other avatars he is routinely required to interact with, but if you aren’t playing First Life near me, they are meaningless tidbits.  And if they aren’t meaningless, than I have even less permission to share them.  I’ve read a few really good reads recently, but I try to avoid the geek trait of giving long winded after the fact play-by-plays.  To my mind, the ability/compulsion to obsess over something fictional- be it Star Wars, Dr. Who, Twilight, Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, or Fantasy Football- is the definitive trait of the geek.  I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if I am a geek or not when I actively fight my obsessive tendencies and when I geek shallowly in many geek fields rather than with excessive focus on one.  I’m good for geek trivia, and I generally speak the lingo well enough to convince a non-geek that I’m a geek for most geek-obsessions, but I can’t keep up with the true dedicated geeks.  The final score is I feel like an outsider wherever I go… Normally, I’m surrounded by non-geeks, and I feel isolated because I’m struggling to keep my inner geek bottled up.  Occasionally I get to hang with some true geeks, and I still feel isolated because I really just can’t get that obsessively consumed by something that isn’t real.  My individual geek-dom is for the concept of ‘story’, whether it is told through performance art (theatre, movie, TV), through words (novels, short stories, poems), or through collaborative efforts (games, role-playing, etc.)  I’m concerned with the quality of the story, the shape of the story, how to create one myself.  When I come out of the movie theater, I want to dissect what I just saw, but almost always for how the story was told and crafted and rarely for what the story was.  I think the isolation is that I’ve yet to find a fellow ‘generalist story geek’.  I’m like the Trekkie at Star Wars convention- I can’t mix well with the mundanes who aren’t geeks, but my obsession doesn’t match up with any of the geeks around me either…

Still at the house of mirrors.  Apparently I didn't heed my own warning...

Still at the house of mirrors. Apparently I didn’t heed my own warning…

WHAT’S ON MY RADIO:  Since I blundered into an angelic transformation, why not a few angelic songs?  She’s An Angel by They Might Be Giants… Angels by Within Temptation (I’ve explained elsewhere I’m too fickle to have a favorite song, but at this moment, Angels is a strong contender to be the favorite song I don’t have…) I’m Sailing Away by Styx.  (Well, I thought it was an angel song, but to my surprise, they climbed aboard a starship and headed to the skies…)

Augusta Creations.  Lot's of gifts that can be picked up here...

Augusta Creations. Lot’s of gifts that can be picked up here…

 

WHAT I’M WEARING: I’m not really the sort of girl who wears silks, so I decided today to wear silks.  It made sense in my mind.  Anyhow, here is the style card of relevant details…

  • Shape: Skirt35SlaveGirl from Alady Island.
  • Skin: Lou Chocolate Skin- Equatore from Tuty’s.
  • Hair: Mina, in ebony, from Tameless Hair.
  • Outfit: Golden Silks from Roawenwood.  Oriental Heels from LC’s World of Fashion.
  • Accessories: Bracelets from G&S Team, Bad Girl Tattoo from -UtopiaH-, source unknown lip ring, belly button ring.

WHERE I’M AT: Once again, (or yet or still,) I’m clearing out duplicate and out-of-date landmarks, which is an excuse to visit the landmarks that have been accumulating in my inventory.  So I’m not in any one spot, I’m doing the grand tour of places I’ve visited before and places I’ve bought goodies from.  That’s a lot of places…  Looking around Java Fashions, I see classy stuff of the sort I should buy more often…I wonder to myself where I got this land mark and why I don’t come by here more often.  At the next stop, Toxic High, I see lots of stuff that is inexpensive or a gift… I also see Toxic High in many hunts, so I’ve got lots of Toxic High gear, much of which makes me look easy and cheap.  I’m apparently feeling introspective today, because normally I cheerfully go with easy and cheap.  (And so I pick to wear silks on a day I have qualms about looking easy and cheap… If anyone figures out the random chaos that is my thought process, please let me know…)

Toxic High: Skins, Skimpy Clothing, and other essentials...

Toxic High: Skins, Skimpy Clothing, and other essentials…

WHAT’S ON MY MIND: Apparently the programmer of First Life (or as I affectionately like to call him, God) has quite a sense of irony.  Thanks to the contrast between Java and Toxic High, I was already thinking about the, …, let’s call it the propriety level of certain looks.  Then I logged into First Life to play at being a server for a while.  It was a busy night at the restaurant, and one of my tables was a party of five young women (my initial guess was eighteen or nineteen years old, but as I talked with them I kept revising that younger) who were very provocatively dressed.  Their dresses were lycra and spandex, tightly form-fitting, and very short.  I overheard Jack, one of bartenders, try to draw a laugh from one of the bar regulars by claiming that if the hemlines were any higher, they would be above the girls’ waists.  I’m actually not sure where to find such an dress within the in-game context of First Life, but I own similar outfits from Toxic High and Moda Mia and Egoxentrikax and…  The girls were also wearing stiletto heels- the shortest heels in the party were probably four inches, and the tallest of the girls looked like her heels were adding another six inches.  Their hair was teased and poufed and blatantly colored.   Normally when I see outfits like that, my thoughts go down one of two well worn tracks.  Track one is to judge how well the girls pull the look off, whether I find them to successfully be attractive or whether they are unpleasing to my eye.  Track two is to imagine how well I would pull the look off, whether I want to find a similar outfit for my inventory.  I was very thrown off this evening to realize that tonight I was going down a different thought track, reflecting that whenever old cop shows or movies from the eighties and nineties wanted to portray hookers, they would show a poorly lit street with multiple pawn shops and porn shops where models wearing similar outfits would teeter up to car windows to ask drivers if they were looking for a good time.  I’m actually quite OK with looking like a slut or a hooker.  I certainly can’t claim otherwise when I post pictures of my current look with every blog entry.  But I also feel like women should project and use such a look intentionally, and waiting on young women who seemed genuinely oblivious that they might be projecting a message made me want to grab them by the shoulders, shake them, and ask, “what are you thinking?”.  It was very odd, and made me feel old, like I was somehow channeling some sort of universal parenthood spirit and that I would be telling the story of walking five miles to school, through the snow, uphill both ways, et cetera, ad nauseum, before I knew it.  It was very disorienting.

Tameless Hair.  Truly a go-to hair establishment...

Tameless Hair. Truly a go-to hair establishment…

WHAT’S ON MY RADIO: I’ll go ahead and run with the ‘feeling old before my time’ feeling, and pick a few appropriate tunes.  (As an aside, I also run with scissors.  Dammit, I refuse to be mature.  In-game or out.)  But some songs about aging… My Back Pages(I didn’t know this was a Bob Dylan song, as the only version I’ve ever heard was this cover by the Byrds.  Although through the wonder that is the internet, I’ve learned that there also exists a Ramones cover.)  Old And Wise by the Alan Parsons Project.  The Older I Get by Skillet. Live Young, Die Fast by Alkaline Trio.

SHEY: A boutique of classy elegant gowns.

SHEY: A boutique of classy elegant gowns.

Zippedy doo dah, zipped day!

Zippedy doo dah, zipped day!

WHAT I’M WEARING: Yep, that’s me looking all pretty and spring-like.  I semi-recently picked up an inexpensive ‘complete’ avatar, the Celine, from LC’s World of Fashion.  I finger-quote complete because this avatar was not actually complete.  The shape and skin were included, and they are cute, but even though the poster showed a cute blonde hair-do, I had to provide my own hair.  Likewise, the blouse I’m wearing was included, and some jeans, and some cute tattoos, but no shoes, and no bra.  (It hasn’t been that long since St. Patty’s Day, so I’m still willing to do the Erin-Go-Braless routine, but sometimes I actually do have to look respectable.)  The jeans that came with the outfit are falling off, so I swapped them out for a different pair of jeans.  Plus, I love accessories, so I wanted a few more than the avatar came with.  So my outfit ended up being…

  • Skin and Shape: Celine from LC’s World of Fashion.
  • Hair: Ema from Muchly & Muchness.
  • Blouse: LC’s world of Fashion.
  • Jeans: Tartan Bellbottoms from Blue Blood.
  • Shoes: White Converse from *JStyle.
  • Necklace: Old Padlock from Bite & Claw.
  • Lingerie: Peach bra and panties from Aimee Weber
  • Source Unknown Stuff: Hoop earrings, nose ring.
Some times it takes a lot of princes to find your frog...

Some times it takes a lot of princes to find your frog…

WHERE I’M AT: ‘Tentation Island’.  I’m pretty sure they meant Temptation Island, but I double-checked the coordinates and Tentation Island it is.  I’m in a lovely enchanted garden taking cute pictures, and on the other side of the hedge wall is a shopping mall.  Cuteness and shopping in one area… this really is a Tentation…

Here bunny, bunny, bunny!

Here bunny, bunny, bunny!

WHAT’S ON MY MIND: So, I wanted to put together a quick post or two because my interview with Roderick took for-bleepin’-ever.  (I’m not blaming him…books are just about my favorite subject ever, even more so than cute fashions and punk music, so I had an awful lot to say.)  And there, ‘Lo and Behold, in my Mailbox was a notice from the I love Models group that Catriona Dagger of Body Bazaar was going to try her hand at some new makeup and was looking for twenty guinea pigs, that is to say test victims, I mean volunteers, to try it out and fill out a quick survey about what they thought.  So I dropped her a note card saying I was interested and warning her that I am a blogger and that I won’t just fill out a card, I will take a few snaps and share them with the admittedly small, select, and elite portion of the world that follows Time Well Wasted.  Hence my title, because I’m hoping I will either be one of the first twenty respondents or that she will let me be number 21 because if I like it, I won’t just tell her, I’ll tell anyone who will listen.  Which is fewer than I might hope, but one detail at a time, right?

(UPDATE: When I logged back out of First Life to finish taking pictures and polishing this post, I already had a delivery box with the new makeup in it.  It will be a featured part of my look in the next quicky post coming soon.)

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, Here I am at Camp Grenada...

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, Here I am at Camp Grenada…

WHAT’S ON MY RADIO: The shuffle on my iPod was apparently in an 80’s sort of mood, so I’ve been listening to (Don’t Put Another Dime in the) Jukebox by the Flirts and I Love Rock N’ Roll by Joan Jett.  I am now conflicted, because I just can’t figure out whether I should or shouldn’t put that dime in the jukebox…