Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bob called me earlier tonight to let me know that the movie Godspell was on. I'm watching it now. I hadn't seen the film in nearly 20 years...

... which, coincidentally, is also how long ago Joe M. and I were in an amateur theater company's production of Godspell. Yes, Joe, we're both old.

I'd forgotten that the film was shot in the streets and at landmarks in NYC. There's a certain type of painful poignancy, undreamed of when the movie was being shot, when the camera pulls back and you realize that the place where the characters are dancing and singing the last verse of "All For The Best" is the roof of one of the Twin Towers. :o(
LOL! Check out this 15 Unfortunately-Placed Ads website!

Here's their blurb:
15 Unfortunately Placed Ads
Published on 7/17/2007

Advertising can be creative and even purposely funny. But sometimes, an ad on a bad place can have unexpected results! Here is a list of 15 unfortunately Placed Ads.


Have I ever got my assignment for the week!

I had my latest appointment at CareerLink today. I now have guidelines for how to re-write my resume to highlight how my experience and knowledge fits into my intended vocational rehabilitation career path.

Wheee. What's going to make this challenging is that I can use only a wee fraction of my current resume. At least I can use the basic FORMAT of the existing resume... I always like to have a template to work from. But the new vocational-rehab-oriented resume is going to contain a ton of items that are nowhere to be found on my current Professional Experience profile. The interpreting in church, the numerous AADB conventions, two NFB conventions, the volunteer work for two different statewide deaf-blind groups (both of which are now defunct), taking part in deaf-blind interpreting workshops, volunteering with the Deaf Adult literacy program... and if I sit and think some more, I'll probably come up with more items. Boy, I have a lot of writing to do! Which is a Good Thing. :o)

My next appointment is a week from today, when we'll review the results of my work.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I had my appointment yesterday with PA Careerlink. Here are the topics that were discussed, some of which are informational and some of which are steps in my New Game Plan:

- Vocational Rehab jobs, for the most part, require a Master's degree. So if I'm going back to school, that's likely the level I'll at which I'll be studying.

- I will need to create a new resume, based on my work as an interpreter and as a volunteer in the deaf-blind community.

- Instead of calling the SCHOOL to ask what I'll need to study, I'll be calling OVR (Office of Vocational Rehabilitation), ASB (Associated Services of the Blind), and a few other places, to ask them what their requirements are for a person whom they'd like to hire to do the kind of work that I'd be doing. THEN I'll have an idea of what to study.

- Remember that these agencies hire two ways: they can bring people on board as their own employees, or they can hire free-lance trainers.

- Focus on multiple schools, not just the one where I got my Bachelor's Degree back in the day.

- Since it's likely that any Master's Degree program I apply to now won't have a slot available until next summer, I can call the school where I received Interpreter Training and find out what it'd take to finish their Associate's Degree there. (I only went through their Interpreter Training Program, but didn't take any other courses there. As a result, I'm several credits away from actually receiving a degree from their program.) I can also find out if I can sit in on some interpreter classes which I already took, albeit 15 or more years ago, as a refresher course. The ones I have in mind are the ones that discuss disability-related laws in the educational setting and as part of ADA. Those are things I'll have to answer in the written portion of the intepreter certification test, and my knowledge of those laws is no longer current. This particular school offers free(!!!) tuition to people who are on unemployment, so this might be a more viable immediate option than I'd realized.

- PA Careerlink hasn't got current information regarding what impact returning to college would have on unemployment compensation benefits. (GRRRR....) I have to call the unemployment office directly for that info.

Basically, I got a lot of info about research I'll have to do, which is good. I got ZERO concrete info about the things I was hoping to find out about (particularly that last talking point I mentioned), which is frustrating.

I also got another appointment with them on Wednesday, to discuss what my "Transferable skills" are between my current experience and what I'd like to be doing.

And that, in a nutshell, is the latest news. Gotta scoot.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Thumbs-up for the Swiffer Wet Jet! I gave it its maiden run in the kitchen this afternoon, and it's as easy to use as advertised. No buckets, no scuzzy water, and since you throw away the cleaning pad, no scuzzy mop to deal with either.

Now I'm entertaining the cats with the Roomba. Stanley's on the windowsill and Captain's on the stairs, watching it whir its silver-grey self around the living room.

The minutes for the Phan Club's board and general meetings are complete (thanks, Mark, for printing them on the laser printer!), the kitchen floor is clean, and the first floor is getting cleaned. Now that's a productive day. :o)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Welcome to my rant-fest. Today, we have two topics.

First, there's the dress code, or lack thereof, for the laypeople serving in various capacities during Mass at my parish. Our cantor was in jeans(!) and worn-looking sneakers. I learned at age 16, which was when I first started volunteering as a musician at the parish where I grew up, that jeans are VERBOTEN on the altar. So the sight of jeans on the cantor this morning activated one of my Pet Peeve circuits.

Then our two altar servers, both of whom were boys, were wearing sneakers. Not just unobtrusive sneakers, either, but ostentatious, boldly-colored ones that were designed so that the kids who like to See and Be Seen wearing expensive clothes would stand out while wearing them. One of the boys was also most likely wearing shorts under the alb, since the alb only was shin-length on him and there was no sign of slacks or long pants of any kind.

I really need to find a diplomatic way to suggest to our pastor (whom I've known for a long time, as he was stationed for years at the parish where I grew up) that the people who are serving at Mass need to be asked to follow at least a Business Casual dress code when they're up there. I'm not saying that they should be running out to rent tuxedos and formal wear before they set foot on the altar. But for goodness sakes, if the people who are standing in full view of the congregation, and serving in some capacity, don't show some reverence in the way they dress, what kind of example is that setting for the rest of the parishoners?

Again, dressing appropriately for Mass volunteers (and paid workers like the cantor, organist, and interpreter) is a concept that I've had drummed into me since I was in my mid-teens, so this is a Pet Peeve of mine. I hasten to add that I wouldn't criticize if we were talking about people who couldn't afford to augment their wardrobe on a moment's notice. I understand full well that people aren't made of money, and some people's disposable income is limited or nonexistent. In that case, if they were willing to volunteer for the church, there's no reason for the parish not to help them get at least one pair of dress slacks and dress shoes. IMO, if the church can't find a way to assist parishoners who are genuinely in need, then they need to re-read their mission statement. But we're not talking about people who would have to make a choice between buying food for their next meal or buying altar-appropriate articles of clothing. And in the case of the altar servers, if they attend the parish school, they already OWN slacks and dress shoes because it's required for the school uniform.

Like I said... all they have to do is institute a Business Casual dress code for the people assisting with the Liturgy, and that should resolve this issue instantly.

OK, so that was Rant One. On to Rant Two.

Our parish is doing a very positive thing for itself and for the environment. We have a huge recycling bin in the parking lot where people can bring paper goods. The recycling company brings the bin, collects the paper, and pays the parish for letting them have the bin on their site, so it's basically free money. Parishoners can help the parish at no cost to themselves, and we have a way to get rid of paper without waiting for the city's recycling collection that only occurs every two weeks. Win/win for everyone.

So why am I ranting? Because two days ago, some senseless hooligan kid(s) torched the nearly-full recycling bin. A few thousand pounds' worth of paper went up in a huge fire that could have burnt down half the neighborhood if the winds had spread the flames. It's probably the same senseless hooligans that our pastor has called the cops about repeatedly, since they repeatedly infest our church parking lot after hours and break the school windows.

Now our church is looking into various security options, including cameras. (I'd suggest a pack of rabid attack dogs, but then people wouldn't be able to safely drop off their recycling donations. Bad idea.) I think that our parish should team up with the pentecostal church that's on the adjacent property, since the Senseless Hooligans probably do their share of loitering and vandalism on both sites. I'd like to see cameras go up on their buildings, our buildings, and the apartment complex that's adjacent to our church on the OTHER side. All three properties have parking lots and if the Senseless Hooligans are driven from one site, they can easily access the other two. The same way entire neighborhoods should exterminate when termites are found, so that the pests don't simply migrate into the nearest available untreated houses, these three sites should band together to send the human parasites packing.

Oh, and if surveillance cameras aren't the answer, then maybe a band of baseball-bat-wielding Neighborhood Watch people consisting of apartment-complex residents, parishoners, and pentecostal church members will do the trick. As long as they successfully get the fargin' Senseless Hooligans out of here before any more damage is done, I don't much care what method they employ.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

After taking the day "off" from attending the Flyers prospect camp yesterday, due to battling a migraine, I took Imitrex last night and I'm back in the saddle today.

On my way over the bridge into NJ, my car odometer reached the 40,000 mark. It's almost too bad that I've got so few miles on such an old car. Nobody's going to believe that's the right mileage for a 1989 vehicle, but it is. It's a function of living in the city and being able to walk or take SEPTA to a whole lot of things.

Anyway, I discovered on Monday afternoon that by using the White Horse Pike instead of I-295, I can cut 1.1 miles off the trip to or from the Skate Zone. So this morning, I tried to use that technique on the way TO the Skate Zone. Wouldn't you know that I missed the fargin' turn onto Nicholson Road? The two attempts I made to backtrack (including yet another missed turn, &%^*#$) wound up making my trip here take half a mile MORE than I'd have needed, had I taken the I-295 route. Freaking jughandles! Sometimes I want to bean the person who designed some of the traffic patterns in S. New Jersey.

Anyway. This morning's practice session finished up with a nice round of pond hockey with Rejean Beauchemin (in contention for one of the Phantoms' spots) in goal. I don't know what's more entertaining than watching a bunch of adults having fun and being silly like a bunch of oversized kids, for the better part of an hour. :o) One of my fellow fans described this phenomenon as "little boys in grown men's bodies", and I have to say she makes a good point. Gotta love it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A couple of my favorite people: Neil Little (coach taking a shot on goal) and Rejean Beauchemin (in goal)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

And now it's time for a Very Important Announcement:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARK!


I hope your Big Five Oh is a great one!

In other news... remember those posts I wrote a few weeks ago, mentioning that clubphoto.com had gone dark, winkflash.com had purchased their photos, and that I was awaiting my photos to be migrated to a winkflash account?

Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the photos are, in fact, in place. The bad news is that I lost ALL the freaking captions because it appears that winkflash doesn't HAVE captions! Ratsin' fratsin' goshdarn flippin' miserable rotten sufferin' freaking SUCCOTASH!

I am going to have to get creative and work my tail off to reproduce the captions I had on some of those albums. Eeeee, my nerves! I wonder if winkflash will add caption capabilities if they get enough emails from former clubphoto members?

Friday, July 06, 2007

I had that appointment today with PA Unemployment. There might be more opportunity for me to return to school full-time than I'd realized. I filled out paperwork with the Standard Information (personal info, work history, education history, etc) and I have an appointment for two weeks from now to speak to someone one-on-one about returning to college full-time.

Apparently, some grants and financial aid are available specifically for persons who are on unemployment. When I heard that this morning, I thought, "Tell me more; I'm all ears". I'm looking forward to two weeks from now. I've got my list of questions ready.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I had a bit of a shock last night. I got home from our July 4th get-together at John R's apartment, and logged on to find a note from Donna H. She said that she found out, somewhat by accident, that her ex-husband (with whom she's been out of contact for quite a long time), passed away last year. She's not sure of the circumstances surrounding his passing, but as he was only in his mid-40s, it's still somewhat of a shock. I wrote back that I was sorry to hear that, which I am. I always felt that he had a lot of intelligence and potential. What a shame those gifts will go unrealized.

In other news, Joe M. asked me to stop by and have a look at his misbehaving iPod Shuffle. It's a first-generation iPod Shuffle and his PC was no longer recognizing it.

Long story less long: it seems that the problem was triggered when he updated his version of iTunes to 7.0 or 7.1 (I forget which). SURPRISE: it's not backward-compatible with the first-generation iPod Shuffle, nor with SEVERAL older models of other types of iPod.

My response was that as much as Apple devotees like to refer to Microsoft as the devil and Bill Gates as the Antichrist, Apple pulled a dirty trick by magically rendering thousands upon thousands of their own devices obsolete in the blink of an eye, *with their own software*. See, the iTunes version 7.x offered to restore the iPod to factory settings, but then at the very end of the process said it couldn't because of Error 1418. So I upgraded to the very newest version of iTunes, 7.3. I was hoping that the issues with the older iPod devices would be corrected in the latest version of iTunes. Nope, no dice.

So I asked Joe for the CD that came with the iPod, which had the older version of iTunes on it.. the one that happens to WORK with the freaking iPod. I uninstalled version 7.3 and installed version 6.x. Then I rebooted and crossed my fingers.

Well, the unsuccessful attempt that version 7.x made to restore the iPod's factory settings appears to have fouled something up. Now the PC itself can't access the iPod because of an I/O (input/output) error. In English, the PC can't talk to the iPod and vice versa.

Now you may feel free to call me paranoid, but I find it to be a dirty trick that a device Joe has had for about 14 months can be abruptly rendered unusable by ITS OWN MANUFACTURER'S SOFTWARE. Mark said that this has the makings of a class action suit, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. Especially with Apple's complete lack of acknowledgement that a problem exists, other than deleting posts that complain about the issue from their discussion forums, that is described on the http://1418hell.com/ site.

Personally, I wasn't in the market for an iPod, as I already have invested in Another Brand of mp3 device. But if I *had* been thinking about purchasing an iPod, this episode would be enough to make me direct my attention elsewhere. Why would I want to trust a company whose own software upgrade will cause my device to figuratively blow up someday? Built-in obsolescence is one thing, but this is borderline obscene and downright underhanded. As far as I'm concerned, if Microsoft has horns and cloven feet, then Apple is carrying the pitchfork.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Yesterday was great. My parents, Mark, and I spent the day with my cousin Michele and her kids Mary and Connell. Her husband is attending the NEA convention, which is in town this week, so they all came in. While he's attending to business, Michele & Company are making the rounds and visiting family and friends.

We started out by having lunch at the McD's on Oregon Avenue, which has a HUGE play area that the kids really liked. Then we followed it up with an afternoon at the park at Marconi Plaza. They have swings and a bunch of playground equipment for climbing on, sliding down, etc. In particular, I pointed out to Michele the site of the "train" that has two slides, a tunnel, a steering wheel, and various bars to climb on. "Remember the short stories I used to write? Remember the wooden fort that made an appearance in several of them? It used to be where this train is now." Which is true. When I was in grade school and high school, I wrote a series of short stories. Anyone who knew my friends and me also knew which of the characters corresponded to each of us... I'll just say that we had our share of adventures in those stories. :o) But not only did WE appear in the stories, so did various neighborhood landmarks, and the wooden fort that was in Marconi Plaza at the time was one of them.

Anyway, on the heels of that 30th Anniversary I posted about a few weeks ago, it was nice to spend a day with my cousin and her family, enjoying the same park that I spent plenty of time in while growing up. We got a laugh when my dad, who apparently got tuckered out after a day with two young'uns, dozed off while sitting on the bench and took a cat nap. LOL, well, now Mark knows where I got my Nap Attack gene from.

What a great day! I wish I could schedule about 365 more just like it. :o)