Thursday, June 30, 2011


One of the benefits of going back to work is I now have weekends back. I'm aware that many a reader will argue that  weekends continued to exist during my six months of unemployment; however, they miss the point, entirely. 

Weekends only exist in relations to a work-week. The work-week and weekend are those complementary parts of the week devoted to labor and rest respectively. The weekend comprises the two traditionally non-working days in the seven-day week. Without the work-week Saturdays and Sundays are merely days no different than say a Monday or a Tuesday. 

The best thing about the weekend? Well, it's the weekend. And in the summer, when the air is warm and the pace is slightly slower, there's nothing quite like two days of freedom to explore the farmer's market, meet up with friends for morning coffee, wander leisurely around the city, and then later step out for evening cocktails.  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Six Month Layoff

After being unemployed for six months almost to the day I returned to work last Monday. It is nice to be employed, although I'm not sure how long it will be before I am on the dole again.  In large part due to the nature of the job. I am now working at an inbound call center providing tech support for high speed internet service. 

The downside is that I didn't have to move to India to be outsourced. The upside is that I that I will receive a check and work with a number of over-qualified and under-employed individuals. 

Which leads to another upside:  the interaction with other humans... the motivation and drive to take a shower, get dressed before 1pm, and leave the apartment. There are only so many reruns of America's Next Top Model available on cable. Yes, I do love that show as well as Top Chief, Top Chief Master, Chopped, and Glee. [There are others; however, I will discuss them a later posting.]

One of things that I missed during my time off was the chit-chat, conversations about movies, music, books, and television with my previous co-workers. While not as romantic as the Algonquin Round Table, most of my co-workers, university students, were fairly literate and had a variety of tastes in movies, television, music, graphic novels, and books.

I had worked at Hastings Entertainment an anachronistic retail chain that failed and still fails to understand the effect that Netflix, Redbox, ITunes, as well as other alternative sources of media had on traditional brick-and-motor stores. Ironically, Hastings wasn't mentioned in the 2011 Best of Lawrence, while Border's which had closed it's door received an Honorable Mention. 

How to Speak Hip

A obsession with hipster slang had been prevalent in the mainstream culture since the late-30s/1940s when jazz music became a popular form. 

Cab Calloway released a recording of a song called the "Hepsters Dictionary" in 1938 (along with a published booklet). 

In the film The Song of the Thin Man from (1947) the "straight" Nick and Nora have trouble following the jargon of the jazz musicians in the story. 

During the 1950s, as people became conscious of the Beat Generation phenomena, amid fears of juvenile delinquency, there was an increased urgency to understand the language spoken by the new youth culture.

And the beat goes on  La de da de de, la de da de da

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Mornings

Sunday Mornings are generally spent listening to NPR Weekend Edition and jazz with my mongrel terriers, Miles and Coltrane, drinking Starbucks and reading the Sunday New York Times.

NPR had a couple of interesting features this morning: An American Jazz Diva Plays French Chanteuse, and A Spirited Celebration Of America's 'Cocktail Culture'.   

The American jazz diva referenced is Stacey Kent, a recent addition to the Blue Note roster of recording artists.  Her voice has been compared to many things fine and distinctive, including the taste of vermouth and the compositions of Erik Satie.

Kent boasts seven best-selling albums including Breakfast on the Morning Tram (2007) and The Boy Next Door (2003) both of which achieved Gold status, a string of awards, including the 2001 British Jazz Award and 2002 BBC Jazz Award for 'Best Vocalist,' the 2004 Backstage Bistro Award for best live performance and the 2006 "Album of the Year" for Jim Tomlinson's album, 'The Lyric' on which she was the featured vocalist.

Cocktail Culture: Ritual and Invention in American Fashion, 1920-1980 is an intoxicating exhibit at the Rhode Island School of Design's Museum of Art that explores the social ritual of the cocktail hour through the lens of fashion and design. 

I realize that drinking Starbucks is no longer hip; however, it is just down the block from my apartment and the baristas are genuinely friendly, and I can get a free refill. And while this not my neighborhood Starbucks, it is one that I have visited often. 

I love Foamy as much as I love Starbucks

As much as I love spreading the Sunday Times on the floor, the cost [$6.00] has become somewhat prohibitive, at least now that I am unemployed. Its not like I'm broke, I have an income that keeps me comfortable, but there are definite trade-offs. Then again can one really place a price on sharing the Sunday Times with a friend.