Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rosie in Portland

My favorite song bird Rosie Thomas, played a short, but sweet show Weds night in Portland at the Doug Fir (one of the main concert venues around here). Rosie has a gift of a hauntingly beautiful voice that outshines about every female vocalist I've ever heard. At her best, she can make a platoon full of marines start sobbing (OK, that comparison might be a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea). Her songs are personal and touch on life, family, love, searching, and God.
It is of no surprise when you look at her, you see she is a bit quirky and entertaining when she is on stage. She started off by telling us about her new "Suri" haircut named after "Tomcat's" daughter. Then she goes off and tells us how she just got back from visiting family in Kansas and watched Kirk Cameron movie "Left Behind" while she was there. I totally agreed with her when she said that the movie was so painfully bad that it was funny. Lastly she talked about her upcoming marriage to her guitarist.
As far as a set list, she played a couple songs from each of her four albums and closed with her cover of REM's "The One I Love." She could have played all night and I would have been happy. I don't see how I could ever get tired of her voice.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

When to give up

I was looking through "" the other day, and found this picture of the cat to be rather appropriate for my career ambitions.
Recently, I have been looking into working at DHS (Department of Human Services) as a Child Protective Service worker. You might ask "Why would anyone want that job?" The answer is in my field and education level, it pays the highest and the benefits are great. Sure it's high demand and often a thankless job, but it also has some mobility to move up in the world. Currently in my position, a opportunity for advancement comes around about as often as Halley's Comet.
Don't get me wrong, I don't hate my job. I like my coworkers and I'm pretty cut out to work with marginalized kids in the foster care system. But every now and then, I dream of something better.
Following my pipe dream, I applied at DHS several months ago. I've been called for three interviews at 3 different locations, and so far nothing. They have an interesting hiring process where they interview about 10 applicants for one position. Usually, when you arrive for you interview, the secretary gives you about 5 situational questions and tells you they are going to ask these questions. 5 mins later, you are called inside and answer those questions to the people conducting the interview. Then they give you a chance to ask questions.
In case you don't know, I hate interviews. There is very little science to them. Often the best people don't get the job. My evidence is based on some pretty incompetent DHS workers that I have worked with. You think to yourself "Who did you sleep with to get this job?"
The first interview was before a panel of about 7 people. I hate big interviews, but thought I managed to pull off a good one. I discussed teamwork a lot since I've heard they like that. A week later a rejection letter. Interview number 2 was a few weeks later. This time, it was a just a couple of people (which I feel comfortable with). I even got in a few laughs in. A week later, another rejection letter.
This week, I had a third interview. This time it was a panel of about 9 people. My first thought was "Shouldn't some of you be out working, this is Child Protective Services?" Then I noticed half the panel was "man hating "lesbians. Now I don't want to sound prejudice (after all I am a social worker) but I tend to find that I don't get along with women who like women. Historically, they don't understand my humor at all and look at me in disgust. Most of the questions asked at me where to discuss how I work out disagreements with coworkers. At the beginning of the interview I stated that generally I have never had major disagreements with coworkers. In truth, I try to be as cooperative as possible. This of course made very short answers to their questions. About five minutes into the interview, I had pretty much answered everything. Then it was my turn to ask questions. After two other interviews, I really don't have any more questions, so I asked the same ones again and tried to act grateful when they gave me their answers. As I was shuffling out of the interview I wanted to ask "Can I have my rejection letter now? It will save you some postage."
Anyway, I haven't gotten my rejection letter yet, but I'll bet that it is on it's way. I'm wondering if I should just give up. It gets disheartening doing interview after interview and getting the same rejection letter. Is it possible that I just wasn't meant to work for the state and enjoy those nice benefits? Since I'm on their interview list, I'm sure I will have other interviews coming, but when is enough enough?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Nibbles and school

Personally, I'm feeling a little vindicated now. As I have always said; "I know my daughter."
Ever since the beginning of this year, Woogy's preschool teachers have been asking me when I'm going to sign up Nibbles for school ? I've told them on several occasions that I don't think she's ready for preschool. She will be 3 in a few months, but she doesn't talk or is potty trained.
Week after week, Woogy's teachers have said that the sooner I get her in school, the sooner she will start talking and develop some social skills. They even said they are holding a spot for her. I can see their logic, but I said that I can't even leave her in Sunday school, much less for 4 hours in school each week.
This week, Woogy's teachers then offered me to bring her in to the 3 and 4 year olds to see how she does. I thought their was no harm in that and it would just prove my point that she isn't ready for school. This morning, I took Nibbles into the classroom. Nibbles was excited for about 2 mins, but then when the other kids came up to her, she got scared and hid behind me (this is pretty typical for her). I'm sure it was overwhelming for her too. I then tried to get her a little involved in some painting. At that point, Nibbles ran out the door and to the car saying "Home!"
I drove Nibbles back to her sitter and felt a little vindicated. Sure, Woogy's preschool teachers have background in early childhood development as I do, but I know my daughter too, and she is not ready for school. We held Woogy back a year for preschool because we just didn't feel he was ready despite his teacher wanting to put him in the older class. We insisted and things at school have turned out pretty good for Woogy at school. In hindsight, I think it was the right thing to do. I've worked in child welfare now for close to a decade and I always work on the assumption that nobody knows their kids better than the parents. Hopefully, this will be the end of the Woogy's preschool teachers pushing Nibbles into school. I want to give her another year.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Febuary's Music

Since I kind of had a slow start to the new year, I've spent this month trying to catch up with some of new Cd's.

The Mary Onettes This has been one of my best new finds in a long time. They were recommended to me from itunes, which sometimes has some good advice. If you love 80's alternative rock that mixes Echo and the Bunnymen's and Joy Division's foggy atmosphere, with New Order guitars, then this is the album for you. The Mary Onettes are from Sweden and have been trying to get their music out for years, but had a lot of record deals fall through. One of the most retro sounding outfits out there.

The Smiths This Charming Man EP Finally, I have every last song recorded by The Smiths. The Smiths were one of the greatest bands of all time. They had a profound impact on my life and really opened my eyes to alternative music, way before the 90's hit. They were a band worth collecting, since their b-sides were as good as their singles. Most of those b-sides found their way on to compilation albums, but the three b-sides on This Charming Man never found a full album to fit onto. Consequently, the three songs here Jeane, Wonderful Woman, and Accept Yourself have been sought after by "die hard" Smiths fans (like myself) for over two decades. I don't know if I'd say that these three songs were worth waiting two decades for, but they are better than anything Morrissey has done lately.

The National Alligator Like everyone else who reads "Paste" magazine (and takes their music collection seriously) I loved The National's latest album Boxer. So I thought I would try one of their earlier albums. Alligator took a few listens before I started to like it. There are some good tunes here. I think it hints at the creative genius to come on Boxer.
The Editors The Back Room (Bonus Disc). Another band I truly love are the Editors. I really love their debut album, The Back Room, so I was pretty surprised to find a bonus disc floating around on the Internet. These are 6 new songs that didn't make the final album. These are not B-sides, but songs that are just as good as the final album. Wherever they came from, they are pretty good and are a extra treat to have.
Kate Nash Made Of Bricks After receiving the approval of her friend Lily Allen, Kate Nash hit it pretty big in the UK and is slowly making her way over to the states cussing up a storm. Vocally, she has this "posh English" voice that swears more than sailors in a bulk of her songs. Not an album for the faint of heart. Kate sings about truly dysfunctional relationships where she's been hurt or taken advantage of. She has some "choice" names for the men that have betrayed her in her songs. Musically, it is pretty easy to take in, with it's poppy alternative sound.
Radiohead In Rainbows (Bonus Disc) Another great disc I found floating around on the Net. This is a must for us "die hard" Radiohead fans. Everyone knows In Rainbows is a great album, but the unreleased bonus disc makes it better. These 8 additional songs are in the complete In Rainbows package with all the fancy art work. This is offered through the website at a reasonable $80. I didn't feel like spending that much, so I obtained it through other means. Some of the new songs are just "fillers" but others like "4 minute Warning" and "Last Flowers" should have been on the regular album.
Glen Phillips Mr. Lemons I loved Toad the Wet Sprocket (the "Walk on the Ocean " band) but Glen's solo career has been a lot of "hit or miss". His first solo album sucked big time, but his second album Winter Pays for Summer is a masterpiece that out does a lot of Toad albums. Mr. Lemons is sort of a step backwards for Glen. Not a complete bust, but not his best or worst work. I only got it because I found it for a good price. Includes a unrecognizable cover of Huey Lewis's "I Want a New Drug" that I would rather forget.