18 June 2008

The Pugilist Laureate

Decided: I want to write and I want to fight. I don't, however, want to rhyme. I really love telling stories. I also enjoy writing out my thoughts in order to help me better understand what I'm feeling. What I'm feeling lately is trapped. I'd gladly write my way out, if someone would only pay me to do it.
I write for a living. I tell stories for a living. But the stories are not mine and the impact is not the one I envisioned myself having. There are things I really fancy about my job. There are things I really detest about it as well. But I'm at a point where it's about more than likes and dislikes. It's about time. As in 'how long can I really see myself doing this?' I''m not saying I'm going to quit my job any time soon, I still need to decide how to be when I grow up. I have to decide the life I want to lead before I can decide what means I'll need to lead it. I know I could be happy as a writer. Tiger Woods gets to do what he wants. So does Jesse. Why not me? I've been pushing to find my passion. And it's been exacerbated by the growing need to fight.
The more I train Muay Thai, the more I want to train. Everyday I learn something new and -- because I only train two hours a day -- I don't get to prefect it. Jesse put the bug in my ear to go to Thailand and train there. We do have a sister school there. And I'm pretty sure Master Toddy would let me just transfer my membership. The idea of training with the best -- and of having days and weeks to do so -- is fanciful. But being me, I have to think about the logistics. Namely, paying for my adventure and paying my bills while I'm gone. I'm not saying I'm going to Thailand, just that I will if I can.

10 June 2008

Adventures In Marriage: Invitations

My friend is getting married. The wedding is in August on the East Coast. I won't be going, but I am helping throw the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. I also helped with the invitations. And I have to ask: why do people get married?

Kate's excited about the wedding. She's held on to that through the process of planning a wedding on the other side of the country. I have to admire her enthusiasm. This business is not easy. And I wouldn't call it "fun" either.

This Saturday, I sat with Bride Kate and Co Planner Melissa. We mapped out everything that needs to be done in the next three weeks for the shower. Then we got down to the business of invitations. Kate ordered invitations that needed a little added love. They were nice, but she wanted the nicer. So Melissa had the fantastic idea of adding silver ribbon. Kate's colors are black and silver, so it really was a good idea. All Kate had to do was buy the ribbon. That turned into a two month, bi-state adventure. But by Saturday we had all of our ingredients.

All we had to do was glue silver ribbon onto the center of the invitation banner. Once the glue was dry, we inserted the actual invite card. The end result was beautiful. Too bad the work didn't stop there.

Complete invitations are not stuffed invitations. So don't ever be fooled. We couldn't stuff the envelopes until we had stamps for the reply cards. We also needed registry cards. Melissa left, Kate and I shut down shop, and went shopping. That was another eye opener.

We learned the following:

  • Not all post offices have been upgraded in the last 50 years. There are some that still have that small town look, without the post office logo and with just a small set of letters declaring it a United States Post Office.
  • The USPS changes its rates in May - possibly as a conspiracy against brides. Kate's invitations (with registry information and reply cards) weigh a little more than a pound. That means they need $.59 stamps. As the postal rates changed last month, there are only two $.59 stamps available. One has a beautiful landscape with big letters reading "Minnesota." The other has an old smiling man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a lei. The old man is James Michener. He's a deceased Pulitzer Prize winning author. He is not, however, what any bride in her right mind would want to send on wedding invitations. Unfortunately he's what Kate's got.
  • There is a cluttered store near Decatur and Oakey for people planning weddings. It's called Chic Favors and Gifts. It has everything for every bride in a very small space. I even found a black bride doll wearing an off white fishing vest over her gown and casting a line. There are hundreds of items, very few are in stock, but the saleswoman is very insistent she can help.
  • There is a very specific way to stuff wedding invitations. There is a specific way to stuff reply cards. There is a specific way to address envelopes to couples, doctors, married women who keep their maiden names, etc.
  • One day is not enough to assembly and package wedding invitations.
Kate continued the madness on Sunday. Melissa had to work and I had a hair appointment. I just can't wait until we get closer to the shower.

08 June 2008

Don't Expect What You Pay For

Generally I don't mind paying for what I want. If something is worth it - either because of quality or functionality - I'll spend whatever I need to spend. But I am finding I can't always expect what I pay for. This is a disappointment delivered by iTunes.

I don't remember having any other complaints about iTunes. I used to buy music through Napster, back when the legal version was first available. I paid $9 a month and thought I was downloading all the songs I wanted. The songs appeared on my computer, and I played them whenever I wanted. But my privileges stopped there. I couldn't make CDs - meaning I couldn't take the music with me. I asked myself what good it was to pay for something that couldn't do what I wanted and the answer was 'no good at all.' I gave Napster its music and it returned my money. I don't know if the company is still in business, but I can't see how it survived.

Part of the reason I enjoy iTunes is because I can make CDs with music I buy. I can take that music to go, and even store it on up to five computers. But I can't convert it for the Pinkberry.

BlackBerry phones allow people to take songs saved on their computers and use them as ringtones. It (I imagine) is supposed to make up for not being able to easily download other ringtones. BlackBerry can accept and play several different formats, just not the one used by iTunes. There's a simple way to convert songs uploaded to iTunes. But there is no such option for purchased songs. Once again I don't feel I'm getting everything that should come with my purchase.

I'm practical. I know I'm only paying $.99 per song. I know I get plenty of use for that price. I know if I could convert the songs, I could likely upload them to other sites. Still, I want to really own something when I buy it. And to own it is to use it however I wish. I wish to use The Charlie Daniel's Band for my ringtone and I can't. Of course I can get the song from someone who has the CD, but then why did I bother paying for it in the first place? I guess the only way to really buy and truly own is to go and actually get. But who does that? Apparently this girl will have to start

03 June 2008

A Good Day For This Yellow Belt

I had fun today. It started with rumors of Hillary Clinton's concession. And while those did not pan out to be true, she's not going to be president. I don't dislike Hillary, but I don't like her for president either. I want fresh, because I think the county needs fresh. Hopefully John Edwards comes around for the vice president spot.

My fun continued with a relatively smooth day at work. In Muay Thai, I again felt the responsibility of having a belt, and I believe it pushed my workout a little further. There were only four people in my first class. Two of us were yellow belts, while the other two were white. Master Lookchang used the other yellow belt (a lummox of a dude) to demonstrate the first few techniques. But Lummox was not getting it. He was blocking when he should have been standing, and punching when he should have been kicking. And even though there was another dude in the class, Master Lookchang chose me for demonstrations. I'm not sure if Lummox was offended, I think I would have been if I were demoted from technique demonstrator.

In my second class, there was one green belt (next up from yellow) and two yellow belts. None of us were selected for demonstrations, as we were only target punching. But while most of the class had to hit four targets, we yellow belts had to hit six. The green belt had to hit eight. It felt good to be pushed. Jesse says I need to be training for something in order to do my best. I think I just need to know someone is watching. Either way, I feel great.