Friday, November 19, 2010

For Katie & all the girls that LOVE Star Wars!!!

(Me & my Brother in our Stars Wars Underoo's)

So I read a blog article, another blog article & A Star Wars website about an awesome first grader named Katie that was recently teased about bringing a Star Wars water bottle to school. Apparently some boys told her Star Wars wasn't for girls. WHAT!? Silly boys, who told them something so wrong! Boy are they going to feel silly when they find out how many girls of all different ages LOVE Star Wars!

(Girls can be X-Wing pilots!)

I fell in LOVE with Star Wars when my Mom & Dad took me to see it at the Comet Drive-In when I was only 3 years old. I was very lucky to have parents that didn't think anything of getting me Star Wars toys for my Birthday or Christmas. I don't think they really bought into action figures being boys toys. Assigning gender specificity to material objects is a little absurd. That being said I do remember being teased, mostly by other girls, about playing with boys toys. It was hurtful, but never enough that I would give up on playing with or loving anything Star Wars! In fact, I haven't stopped playing with Star Wars toys to this day!

(Lots of Star Wars toys!)

So, Katie, if you read this, don't believe those silly boys. I'm 36 years old now & I work at a University & do you know what I have decorated my office with? Star Wars! I have the movie poster & pictures on the walls, and even a few cool Micro Machine Star Wars ships on my desk. I have someone, almost every day, tell me that they like my Star Wars decorations. Girls & boys.

(Look! I'm a Jedi!)
The very best part is that I found someone who loves Star Wars as much as I do to share my life with. We watch it all the time & talk about it & even write stories & draw pictures about it! I'm an artist partly because of the influence of Star Wars. So if you are a girl & you like Star Wars & some silly boy tells you it's not for girls, don't believe it! It's totally for girls, boys, & even Wookies! Just follow your heart & remember, The Force will be with you, always!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's almost Black Friday

So, if you scroll down, you can read the first part of my little story on retail. This is the next part. Black Friday is 8 days away. Two years ago, at a Wal-mart, customers trampled a holiday or temp season worker named Mr. Damour to death in their selfish greed frenzy. Four other people had to be taken to the hospital for treatment, including a woman who was 8 months pregnant. Here's a link, in case you missed it: Death by shoppers

Okay, so why am I bringing this up, right? Well, it's just to make you think. There is not a single item in any retail store anywhere in the world that is worth getting that crazy about. Black Friday is something that retailers & giant corporations created in the guise of saving you huge amounts of money so that they can control their sales & know whether or not they are in the red or black for their share holders before the end of the year. The "sales" are directly related to how good or bad the company has performed the rest of the year. Makes you think about the mark-up these places have on the stuff the rest of the year, doesn't it?

Now, what happens in retail during "Season", the period from late October to mid-January, is that retail chains hire temp workers, usually under the title "Seasonal Employee", which is a fancy way for these companies to hire min. wage workers with no experience to man the crap jobs & just fill empty spaces as quickly as humanly possible. This is why during the holidays the store employees seem like complete idiots & can't tell you where anything is. They really don't know. They aren't complete idiots though. To treat them as such is unfair. These people were thrown into a job, only trained on register for about two weeks, and not very thoroughly usually, and not shown how anything else works or where anything is other than what they are supposed to be filling, shelving, & merchandising. Those not on register are shown the basics of where stuff in the back is & what part of the store they are responsible for keeping full. Here in lies a problem.

You come in & find an employee shelving or merchandising in the kitchenwares. They look hard working & competent because they are indeed working. They probably are if they are working & out on the sales floor at all during season instead of hiding in the back with the supervisors & managers who make twice what they do. However, when you ask them where the digital camera chargers are, they don't know & seem hesitant to walk you over there & try to help you. This angers you & you change your mind about them. You instantly judge them as being lazy & stupid. Well, congratulations, you're a complete asshole.

First of all, the employee in the kitchenwares has been assigned by their manager to do a specific task & most importantly not to LEAVE their area if they have stuff out on the floor. They have also been told to help customers, but seriously, don't leave your stuff because someone might trip or say they tripped & sue. No, seriously, happens a million times a year. Now, the person wants to help you, but has no idea where camera chargers are because they haven't even ever been over to that side of the store & have worked here approx. 3 or 4 weeks, so you are both just as likely to find them. The employee knows that if they leave their area to go take you over to do a search for you item before loading up everything they are trying to shelve & taking it to the back, that some assistant manager or manager could write them up or just be an ass to them, or someone really could be a dumbass & trip & sue. They got this job as temp, with the promise that if they were really good, they might get to stay on, so this poor min. wage worker is torn between what the managers & supervisors want them to do & helping you & worrying about some idiot suing the store. It's a no win.

The best thing you can do is ask, if they seem unsure or hesitant, thank them & go over to that department & see if there is anyone there that can help you. No? This is where the patience part comes in. Wait approx. 2 minutes. Seriously, keep time. I almost guarantee whoever works in that department is back in the stock room hunting for something or they had to go to the restroom. Yep, employees poop too. Just be patient. If no one shows up within 2 minutes, there is a chance someone didn't show up for work & this person was THAT person or they are trying to juggle two positions because they are covering for the bastard that overslept. Remember, min. wage. Sometimes, it just doesn't seem worth the punishment to come in. Now, your next step is to head to the customer service desk or to try & find it yourself. Yep, buck up lazy ass & look. Use those logic & critical thinking skills.

Now, the customer service desk is your friend. Think of it as the INFORMATION HUB of the entire store. The Brain. It can find & contact anyone in any department for you. Before surprising random employees with questions, find the customer service or information desk in the retail store & ask them for help. Their only responsibilities are directing employees to customers & answering the phone & saying hello. These people have usually worked at the store far longer than the 4 weeks the employees out shelving stuff have as well.

There are also huge signs hanging from the ceiling. Learn to read. Look up, read signs, find what you were looking for. I was always amazed by the amount of people, probably 95%, that never even bothered to look up & read these enormous hanging signs dangling throughout every store. They would stand directly under a 6 foot sign that reads "FICTION" and ask where the fiction was. Or directly behind them would be a huge display of calendars & they would ask where th calendars where. Lol. Now whose the idiot? Seriously though, learn to utilize the enormous signage in stores. You will have to rely less on the employees & learn to be a self-sufficient shopper.

So back to Black Friday. You may have noticed the trend this year of pre-Black Friday sales. It has gotten so dangerous for employees & customers that many retailers have decided to try and space things out a little. They are hoping perhaps the crowds will be a little more manageable if they offer some great deals the weekend before & the weekend after Thanksgiving. Besides the trampled to death employees, many criminals have figured out this is a great weekend to rob people as they come out of stores. There have been more & more armed robberies in parking lots & people breaking into cars every year. It's a virtual Smörgåsbord of pillaging for the "bad" guys. With a terrible economy & more desperate people now than ever before, this year promises to be the worst. All of this just to get a great "deal" on a giant TV or that Tickle Me Elmo toy. People shoving each other, swarming into aisles, fighting, swearing at employees as well as other shoppers, anger, frustration & the thrill of the deal, in what is a disgusting display of desperate desire to have material possessions. All in the name of that sacred Christian Holiday...Christmas.

If you do go out this Black Friday, I urge you, don't be an ass. Treat people the way you would want to be treated. Do unto others... Please pay attention while you are driving. No cell phones & no TEXTING! Don't fight over parking spaces. Don't stand so close to the person in front of you that they can feel your breath on the back of their neck. Remember, PERSONAL SPACE. Say hello & thank you & don't get pissed off if the over-worked under paid employee forgets to. You have NO idea the amount of stress these poor bastards are under right now. Have some compassion. Check with your bank before dropping more than $200.00. Banks often monitor purchases & if you don't usually spend larges sums of money in several transactions in one day, they may put a hold on your account. This means when the employee swipes your card it is going to come back denied. It isn't their fault. It's a safety precaution from the bank & for you. It will save you all sorts of frustration if you call your bank & make absolutely sure this won't happen BEFORE you go out. Swearing at employees will not make your card magically work. No one thinks you are trying to pull a fast one so don't get all bent out of shape & embarrassed. Chill.

One more thing. All of these people working on Black Friday have been pulled away from their families all over the country & forced to come in at ridiculous times like 3am, just to serve you. Most of them got less than 24 hours of time with their families to enjoy Turkey & Dressing. They not only had to work Black Friday, but the day before Thanksgiving as well. Many of them, college students, didn't even get to see family because their workplace makes it mandatory to work on Black Friday, so if their family is more than an hours drive away, they have no way to get to their families, enjoy Thanksgiving, and get back to the store by 3am or 4am or 5. All of this just so you can save $50 bucks. So, please, be nice. Practice patience. Be compassionate.

Part three will be about Shopping Vampires. Coming soon.

Expressive Dance

There are only a handful of times that dance has moved me in film or video. This music video is one of those times. The dance in this video is amazing. The choreography The whole feel of the video is really nice. Wonderful directing. The song & the singer aren't too bad either.

You can also check it out here on Youtube: Christina Perri

It's a little small on the blog here to capture the wow of it.

Music to Paint by

Official Website: Shadows Fall

Friday, November 12, 2010


As you might have been able to ascertain, I collect stuff. A bunch of different stuff. Star Wars being my main addiction. However, it isn't the only passion I have. I also love Robert E. Howard's Conan & Red Sonja. Sometimes it seems much more fun to collect because it's harder to find. I like to go on hunts for things. I don't tend to be a big internet shopper. I like to hold something in my hands & really check it out before dropping any dough. Unfortunately it is also harder to collect because it tends to be pricey.

The above is a Polystone Diorama from Sideshow Collectibles. It runs right at $299.99

This one, which I absolutely feel that I NEED prices at $334.99. Eek. I just can't do that.

Red Sonja's tend to be a little less, but not enough that I can afford them.




Even Belit, Conan's woman will run you a good $150.00 to $200.00.

What's my point? I don't know. I guess I'm just wishful thinking out loud & sharing with you, my devoted blog readers, how much I love Conan & Sonja & Robert E. Howard. Maybe I'm secretly hoping you will remember that, and someday if you come across a really cheap amazing deal on one of these things, your brain will click & you will remember me & think, "I have to get this for Jen!" and I will love you forever.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A holiday gift list in pictures

Pencil Holder


Pepper mill

Belt Buckle




Katie Melua-The House

So, I love Katie Melua's music. Who is Katie Melua? She a singer/songwriter, Georgian-born, who sells millions of albums in the UK. I haven't been able to get hold of her new one, released May 2010, titled the House. Below is a single from that album called, "The Flood". Enjoy & go buy her albums because she's good & she makes beautiful music.