Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Low Interest Rate

So I went to get my medications today from ye old Walmart pharmacy and, as they have done once before, the psudo-insurance Walmart offers to people they feel sorry for that takes about 30% off of your bill didn’t kick in which bumped my bill up to nearly $100 for a very small bottle of very small pills. Thankfully the lovely lady at the counter helped to fix the problem/ computer glitch/ voodoo doll daily jab and my total went back into the still too damn expensive but livable norm.

This got me to thinking about an article I read of the top five reasons it sucks to be poor. In it, the author describes the vicious cycle of too broke to get ahead. When faced with a medication I need to survive possibly being out of my economic reach, I knew exactly what he was talking about. I’d be able to make more money to pay for these meds and my bills and possibly a new shirt that isn’t stained to death with color or jeans that didn’t fall off of my ass by noon if I could invest in product to sell and earn a profit. Only, I haven’t got that initial boost of money with which to invest. So, I won’t make a profit. But I need to sell product to make a profit. And on and on and on.

Hand in hand this is the reason why I am still in Arkansas and not saying, “Eff you, New York State Board of Cosmetology! I don’t need your stupid tests and rules! I’ll just move anyway and sweep hair or bust tables until I can get my license! There’s no getting me down!!!!”

That’s a great theory. The blind dash to the big city in hopes of striking it big. Being able to tell your grandchildren as they roam the halls of your mansion that you came to New York with fifteen dollars in your pocket and a dream.

Thirty or even as soon as twenty years ago that may have been a possibility. Not now. That is one very expensive city. Even the shit-hole apartments are expensive and cockroaches don’t pay rent. Unless you want to commute an hour every day (which costs money as well) you will have to get a place close to where you want to work. And who wants to work in some po-dunk salon in the middle of BFE that charges the same for a haircut as they do in po-dunk BFE Arkansas? Where would that get me? It’s all about learning and growing and going up in the world. Not staying exactly where I am financially coupled with being too poor to actually go out with my friends and, ya know, learn and grow and shit.

I know damn good and well I have it pretty easy where I am now. I’m incredibly lucky to have the support of my family. I know that if I said to them that I wanted to move tomorrow, they’d do anything and everything to make that happen. But I don’t want them to have an empty investment. Because I do consider this an investment. It’s an investment in my future. I want to be the best at what I do. I am willing to work hard and sacrifice and start at the bottom and work my way to the top. But I’d rather that bottom not be rock bottom and the top not be head stylist at Fantastic Sams.

If what it takes to make it is a lack of fear then we may have a problem. I actually don’t see a bit of fear as a bad thing. The adventurous caveman discovered life outside the rock walls, but the adventurous reckless caveman discovered the saber toothed tiger. Of course fear can be crippling and can leave you with no forward momentum at all, but a healthy respect for not having to sell my body to feed my body is a good thing I think. I’m not afraid of the city. I feel safer walking those streets at night than Ozarks. Trust me, you will get murdered here in this quaint rural town and it’ll be at the hands of your meth addicted second cousin Bubba Ray Billy John. What I’m afraid of is being unable to pay my bills. Being unable to stand on my own. To be a bad investment.

Will I get there eventually? Yes, I will. Will I move without a plan and no sense of security? Never. Thus the problem. To achieve security one must be able to support ones self. I need to find a way to break the cycle. I made more money last year than I’ve ever made. Far above the average for Ozark. None the less I have little to show for it. Because I invested that money in product and classes and supplies, the money I made went into making me a better stylist but a broke one. At some point, the scales do tip and money is made and saved and available. When that point comes, who knows?

A safer move to Salt Lake City may be the step I need to take to get out of this terrible rut. I know that if I continue the way I have been, I will never be able to achieve my dreams. I will have to find a way to invest in myself.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day

All night I dreamed of the computer virus that struck late Wednesday afternoon. It was the kind that completely shut down every file and command. I had to pay blood money to get it running again and then immediately cancel my credit card and will have to file a dispute to, hopefully, get my money back. I woke up thinking of the rash steps I’ll take to exorcise the demon from my hard drive and plans to run all day scans to ensure its complete removal. My head pounding from the frustration of loosing hidden files that no matter what I do, I still can’t find. This extreme inconvenience.

Then I realized what I hadn’t dreamt of. Why did I not have nightmares of the devastation I had seen yesterday? No more than fifteen or twenty miles from my home, a mile and a half wide F-5 tornado leveled a small community. There are houses still standing, but they are few and badly battered. What the storm didn’t destroy, back hoes and dump trucks will have to finish the job. It was as if a large hand had placed its palm across the earth and pressed down slowly and inexorably.

Why did I not dream of the friends I had lost? Clients? The amazing woman who worked so hard to keep her beautiful and spoiled little girl happy. That she died protecting her. And that the little girl was found later walking amongst the rubble with a collapsed lung and internal injuries.

Or of my co-workers brother-in-law and his wife. They found them together. Her dead and he with nearly every bone broken in his body. Their daughter whom I have attended to many a pageant who has lost a mother and who may yet loose a father.

The other little community I haven’t seen that was devastated. Is my grandparents old house still standing? Is their damage worse than others? It’s hard for me to imagine.

As frustrating as my problems are, they are such small things. I am faced with choices and it’s hard for me to set my mind straight. But I have choices. I have a home. I have a place to work, no matter how I feel about it. If the best I can say about my week was “I wasn’t killed in a tornado” it’s a bad week, but I can still say “I wasn’t killed in a tornado.”

This Memorial Day weekend I will remember Tina and pray for Piper. I’ll remember that Cheryl was always nice to me and others. I’ll see the devastation of Denning and be amazed that amongst so much wreckage only four lives were lost. I will remember looking across a pasture to three oak trees, each 100 years old if not more, plucked as if they were so much blades of grass and laid to the side. Of twisted metal flung high into broken topped trees. Of a trailer on its side sitting where another home used to be.

I will remember Tina Evans. And I will pray for her daughter Piper.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Plan B

Hello Readers! I’m glad everyone liked the Johnny blog. If I happen to have any more plans for his future, I’ll be sure to jot them out for all of you to enjoy. Today is going to be about me thrashing around blindly while I try to figure out the future, life, the universe, and everything.

My tunnel-vision has blinded me for the last umpteen months to anything but New York in June final end finito that’s all folks. So for me to squint my gimlet eyes outside of the tunnel to what will have to be a new future is unpleasant, but necessary. Like going to the dentist and fixing up that pesky abscessed molar.

From what I can figure I actually do have some options. I can stay here in Ozark until January when I’ll be licensed for five years and New York will grant me a license very easily. This, by the way, is not an option so don’t even go there. I may be going to a new salon here in about a month, but one more month of slow grinding mental abuse is unacceptable. I’ll start illegally doing hair in my kitchen first.

Option two is New Jersey. Sorta. The New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology is similar to New York in that it is very confusing if not more so due to the fact that they have Barbering lumped in with Cosmo which is just silly. They also have a Hairdressing option which would be fine by me, but damned if I can find any solid information regarding that clause. It’s as if they wrote the legal jargon with an attitude of “Imma give these silly hairdressers thiiiiiis much info then we’re just gonna start fucking with their minds!” Which isn’t nice. Also a con is that I don’t really know anyone in New Jersey. And have no idea what their salons are like. And no idea where to live. And it’s New Jersey. Pros? Um, well, like most Jersey folk have to say at night so that they can sleep, it’s close to New York.

I could also go with option three which is the one that’s most tempting; I could move to Salt Lake City and live near or with my best friend Nicole. That’s right people, if I can’t get to New York I can sure as shit get to Utah.

It’s funny the directions life takes us, no? Oui.

So, yeah, I’m seriously considering this. The cons being I’m not familiar with the area but in comparison to NYC, SLC is so utterly not intimidating. And one of my besties lives there and we could be happy and I wouldn’t feel like I were hurled out to the wolves and we could frolic amongst the Mormons and be sister-wives! Okay, I probably won’t turn quite that native, but it’d still be lovely. And the biggest pro there is to this situation: Utah is not Arkansas.

Need I say more?

Also, it’s pretty easy to get your license. All I need is a letter from my employer saying I’ve worked over 4,000 hours. I may beg my nice lovely wonderful Fort Smith boss to do this for me. I’m not completely sure my other boss would help me out. We’ve both reached the point where we each can’t stand the other in equal amounts. Oil and water. Plus a lit match when I get one more little note from her husband on how better I should do my job. Really, it’s amazing I’ve made nearly $40,000 a year for the last four years in a small town without him telling me how to improve myself. Honestly, how did I ever manage?! JFC.

I’m going to have to do a lot of thinking and get my brain back from its “can’t cope” vacation. Painful? Yes. Will I possibly get a nose bleed? Possibly. Will I over eat and gain weight like a killer whale gorging on penguins during plump penguin season? I’m already there, baby!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Johnny Weir needs to pwn the interwebz!

Yup, this is going to be a Johnny Weir blog. Don’t like him, don’t read. Do like him, do read! Because this is all about wanting to see more of Johnny and to help him be seen by even more people so that some of those people could buy tickets to his shows, watch his television series, and make all of Team Weir a nice comfy living.

That may sound benevolent, but it isn’t. Not completely. It’s been ages since the last new Be Good Johnny Weir and while random television interviews and guest spots on morning shows help me to keep the addiction at bay, regular hits of Johnny-time are essential to my survival.

You have to understand that I can’t imagine how crazy his life is right now. He has a new clothing line, possibly a movie role to perform, the second season of his television show, friends, family, and that whole competitive skater thing he’s been doing since he was a child. One day in his Louboutins and I would be a quivering pile of exhausted goo.

Because of his crazy busy insane awesome life, he may not have time to do “edit heavy” videos like Wheezy Waiter. Though I’m sure there’s a line around the block of talented video savvy fans girls that would happily edit anything and everything for him including and not limited to his next novel, writing his bills, making his grocery list (whipcream, Pledge, low-fat lettuce), sacrificing small reptiles, you know what I’m sayin’.

Maybe he could do more direct videos where he talks about his day. If most of us were to do that it would be dreadfully boring. “Yeah, so, like I woke up. I checked the mail. I played Lego Harry Potter for, like, three hours. Walked the dog.” You get my drift, but like the fabulous Lady Gaga, his days are a bit more interesting than ours.

And that’s what makes him a perfect YouTube fit! It isn’t always about the fancy editing or catch phrases (I refuse to mention Fred though I suppose Viacheslav could be considered a “character” but at least that’s interesting and funny and doesn’t make me want to claw my eyes out.) It’s all about personality. Charisma. Wit. He has so much charm oozing out of his non-existent pores it makes me squint at George Clooney and say, “Hm. You’re cute but I gotta tell ya, you could not pull off a rhinestone onesie.”

Or he could do a straight up no-edits ranting vlog. For example, Charlie McDonnell has nearly a million subscribers and YouTube is his full-time job. And he makes a pretty damn good living as a YoutTuber. He’s able to pursue a music career and highlight his work and appearances. Charlie can promote himself in a totally classy and charming manner that never makes you feel as if he’s trying to sell you something, all the while you skip merrily to iTunes and buy his albums, go to http://www.dftba.com/ and get his t-shirts, and drive thousands of miles to see him at various conventions oh God I want to go to VidCon so bad but I can’t it SUCKS to be poor! What was I saying? Oh, yeah, Charlie does a mix of practically everything, but my favorites are always his simple talking-to-you-like-a-friend vlogs.

So, it isn’t all about “here’s my day blah blah blah.” It’s also about free, fun advertisement for shows and products like his eDressme line. He can act like a massive dork and get creative with the wigs and sillies and make us all laugh. He could chat up his favorite charities and help people around the world reduce world suck like the amazing VlogBrothers’ “Project for Awesome” which has raised thousands of dollars for charity. He can have a really bad day and sit in a dark room and bitch adorably about running out of Windex at a critical moment or something.

The possibilities are limitless but the point is that we miss him! One television show isn’t enough! Twitter, while fun, is so limited and sometimes messages can be a bit mixed when you can only use 150 characters. His new website is amazing and this would be a perfect companion to add to all the awesome. New content and intimate but not invasive fan interaction that allows him to speak directly to us without it being, ya know, creepy. The less tempted I am to stalk him, the better off we all will be. Restraining orders are a bitch. Not that I would know. Ahem.

And it would totally cheer me up. I need it. Really, it’s all about me isn’t it?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Emotional Whiplash

So a lot has happened in the last 24 hours. Equal helpings of good and bad as is normally the case. Let’s do the good news first then the bad which will totally negate the good so don’t get your hopes up too much.

A little back story first. As I’m sure you’re already able to deduce, I can be a bit funny about some things. About seven years ago, I was so “funny” about things that I was unable to leave my house. For about two years. God bless the modern marvels of outpatient therapy and an amazing family without which I’d still be sitting in front of my computer in my pajamas. Oh. Wait. Okay, today doesn’t count. I’m off work!

I’m now able to function fairly well in society and have gotten over a great deal of my depression, but there are still a few lingering shadows from the dark days. One of those is my inability to help myself. That isn’t to say I’m helpless. I would go to any lengths to help my friends and family. When I set my mind to something, some goal they have that I want to help them with, I generally can move mountains. A part of me has never let go of that horrible inner voice that sometimes comes with long term depression. It’s a voice that says, “You can’t.” It’s a bloody stupid bastard and nine times out of ten I am able to ignore it, but sometimes I can’t. Thankfully, I have some of the most amazing friends anyone could ever dream of having and one of them saw that I wasn’t quite able to move this mountain myself and got out her climbing gear.

How hard is it to make a phone call? For me, at times, it’s impossible. That would be my phobia. I think it’s a fear of rejection or bad news. Once quick call could build me up or crush me. That’s a lot of pressure. So one of my besties called New York for me to get the information I needed to proceed with getting my license. I had already found a great deal of my old testing supplies. Mannequin heads, rollers, my old Cosmo book. I had printed out page after page of test preparation and guidelines. I had fully resigned myself to having to take that damn test all over again.

Here comes the good news: No test! Apparently New York and Arkansas have “limited reciprocity” which means that all I have to do is write up a few letters, have a client and co-worker write a letter, and send it in! That’s all! Do they say any of this on either state’s website? Hell no, but who cares, I don’t have to take the bleeding tests! There is a pretty serious wait of about two months, but that’s fine because I was planning on moving in July anyway.

Here’s the bad news: I haven’t got a roommate.

I told you it was bad.

I’m not terribly surprised. We have an annoying psychic streak in our family and I’ve been having nightmares of this very thing happening for the last week. One dream was so horrible I forced myself awake in a panic. When you say, “I hope all of my dreams come true!” this wasn’t the one I wanted. I’ve also been dreaming of getting stung repeatedly by wasps. I’ll let you know how that one turns out.

Like Confucius say, shit happens. I’m still going to get my license. I may fight harder for my New Jersey license and even look into some other states.

I suppose that right now the only thing holding me back is me. Because I am bone deep scared.  I feel that if I look behind me I may see a chain from my ankle connecting to a very large boulder made of self-doubt and fear. Sometimes the chain is long and the boulder is so far behind me I can barely remember what it’s like to be afraid. And then I can be normal for a little while. But the links have an uncomfortable habit of disappearing. The chain shortens and I’m faced with reality or what I think is real but I can’t see beyond the hulking mass to find the truth hiding in its shadow. The chain went from a mile to a meter very quickly today. I’m going to allow myself the time to be a bit pathetic. Then I’m going to start adding links. One by one I will distance myself from fear and with each accomplishment distance myself from doubt.

It wasn’t fair of me to put so much pressure not only on myself but on my friend as well. We have to be able to stand on our own, right? Right! In a city filled with serial killers, right? Er, right! And a population of millions and you know exactly two and a half people, right? Um. Okay.  Maybe not.

No one ever said this was going to be easy. Here, watch this. A little wand-work always makes me feel better. And thanks again for all of the wonderful support from my readers and pimps. I’d especially like to thank Misfit Mimes without whom I would have exactly half of my readership and Nicole for listening to me all day every day do nothing but bitch and moan. Thanks, UTB.

Turns out that the dimwit my friend talked to about my license mixed up Arkansas and Arizona.  I can't easily get my license.  I have to test or wait until December when I've been licensed five years.  At this point I don't even care any more.