Monday, July 9, 2012

Crazy Weather We're Having, Eh?

  Gigantic heatwave? Check. Untamed wildfires? Very much so. Flash flooding? Cherry on the sundae of a rough Colorado summer. Being home all day has been a challenge with 90 to 100 degree temperatures burning through most of the day hours. Me trying to be green/being cheap, I've been running a small oscillating fan instead of the AC. It's been pretty effective most days, but some days it's worse than others and I have to resort to the AC. 

    And then, after about three or so weeks of hellish heat, rain. Not just the usual rain we get here, where it goes for about ten minutes and quits. It poured for a couple days and even caused some flash flooding in some places.

    They're still calling for storms over the next few days, but at least the temperature's dipped below 90.

    In other news, I sold my first few copies of my book! To people who aren't me! I started talking about it at a 4th of July get-together the other day and suddenly everyone wants to know how I did it and where they can get it. I don't expect everyone who said they wanted a copy to actually get one--it's not the next Harry Potter or anything--but it was nice to have people support me and ask me about it.

    Also, a bunch of people have signed up for my giveaway on GoodReads! I'm glad I don't have to pick who gets the copies or I'd probably go nuts trying to narrow it down. (I think they do it semi-randomly anyway--incorporating info from people's profiles and previous book interests.) But yay for people being interested enough to get a copy. Some people have even added it to their list of books to read, which I hope means they might buy it if they don't win it with the contest.

    Double bonus, I'm THIS close to finishing the story I'm working on right now. It's not going to be a full novel, probably closer to 20 or 25 thousand words, but it's coming along. Next step, I either must invest in a new printer or new cartridges for my existing printer to start editing. I would like to have another self-published book out by the end of the year, if not sooner, and so I need to find a new printing solution to manage my editing.
Upside: there are 171 shopping days left 'til Christmas :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Renewed Fandom

  Since I saw the Avengers, I have been on a bit of a Joss Whedon kick. Old school. Buffy and Angel, all the way. I'd started watching Buffy off and on before then since I found it on Netflix, but since The Avengers, I've been pretty dedicated. I'm on season 5 of Buffy and season 2 of Angel, and watching them in tandem so I can enjoy the crossover eps more thoroughly.
    Even though these shows are a little dated (no cell phones on Buffy and mostly pagers and old phones that are infrequently used in Angel), I love them just as much as when I first started watching them back in the late 90s. They're funny and kickass and just as entertaining as ever.
    However, in the spirit of the Joss Whedon fandom, I have branched out. Yes, Firefly and Serenity are on the list, but I think I'm going to finish Buffy and Angel before I get hooked on anything new.
    But, I did watch all TWO seasons of Dollhouse and have to say, how in the name of all that is holy did this show get canceled?! That show had at least another two to four seasons in it and seriously, with a lead like Eliza Dushku, how can you go wrong? (I was a fan of Faith even AFTER she turned superbad on Buffy/Angel.) Plus, the man who plays Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) is a new favorite. I've now added Battlestar Galactica to the watchlist to round it out.
    In fact, I liked it so much, I'm thinking of watching the two seasons over again! It's just too much fun. And now, having immersed myself so deeply in the writing style, I notice connections between dialogue across shows and recurring actors. There are so many actors I see in these old episodes who were just starting out who I didn't recognize then, but know by name now (case in point: Christian Kane in Angel is now of Leverage renown). Alyson Hannigan is a household name for many because of both American Pie and How I Met Your Mother. And even the guest actors who only appear in one or two episodes have gone on to become something more since their cameos or even just appearing as extras in these shows (Aldis Hodge--also of Leverage fame--has a line and is credited in one older Buffy episode).
    In any case, ubernerds, Joss Whedon fans, or those who are just Buffy fans, should take it upon themselves to catch up with both new and old shows. You really can't go wrong with any of them. 
    And now, I'm going to get back to watching Angel :D
Did I fall asleep?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Keepin' Busy

  Despite being out of work at the moment, I am far from lazing about on my butt all day. I'm finally getting around to writing my blog again (ta-dah!), all three of them--yeah, this isn't the only one I write, dear readers. I've also been helping my boyfriend with some of his entrepreneurial projects. While my writing is the only thing I have found I have to market to the public, he has plenty of ideas for products and books, and even videos.
    I've been helping with the SEO, content and web design and I must say it looks pretty good even though web design is something I know very little about. It's all based on Blogger templates, of course, since I don't know nearly enough HTML or CSS to do a site without a template, but it's way customized and I think it passes for a semi-professional job. 
    In addition the website stuff, I also started a Twitter account for the current project we're working on. Two days at it and I've got three followers. I thought that was pretty good for a beginner. I'm not new to Twitter, but I'm new to trying to promote something on it. My personal Twitter is what most people's personal Twitter accounts are--link sharing and brain farts. If I do a decent job at gaining some interest for the product and the website through Twitter, I might add this to my resume too. (I.E. Double bonus!)
    As to the blogging, I am hoping to get back to Insistent and Persistent more frequently. I've got a portfolio site for my professional stuff that I'm trying to keep up with at one post a week. And, on to the big one--for me, anyway--my author website.
    In April, I used CreateSpace to publish my first book. Of course, it's not really my first book, but it's the first one in print and I love it. I did the book cover design myself and it came out pretty well, again for an amateur designer. With that, I created an author website and an author profile on GoodReads to try to create some interest in it. It's not the next Great American Novel by any means, but I think it has the potential to be something that some readers can relate to.
    If anyone here is a member of GoodReads and interested in my book, go ahead and check out their giveaways section and throw your name in the hat for one of two free copies of "Realistically Yours". Make sure to read the description to find out if it's your cup of tea first. It definitely won't be everyone's. Or, if you're feeling spendy and impatient, find it on CreateSpace or Amazon. Reviews welcome, but please be kind to my fragile ego.
    All in all, I'm keeping busy and I'm so glad to have some time to work on these things now. I feel like my stress levels are way down and I feel healthier just being out of the fluorescent lighting and the office chair.
And now for your viewing and listening pleasure, Skynyrd!

Get it? ;)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Quest for Employment

  So, I did it. I quit. After almost six months of thinking about it, and over 3 months of actively searching and pursuing interviews, I decided that it would be better for me to take the time to actually pursue jobs rather than treating it like a hobby in my spare time.
    It isn't easy searching for a job. I don't take the rejection personal unless someone's going to criticize me after rejecting me (yes, that one happened). Generally, I figure they went with someone who was more qualified, settled for less money, or had a more extroverted personality to assert themselves with. But, it's a much different experience now than when I was searching a couple years ago. I have the experience now, and in actuality, I have more experience than my resume's timeline might indicate. I learned a LOT at my last job, and that's given me every confidence to find another one.

However, looking for a new job has given me some insight into improving my game.

1. Don't rely entirely on your resume
    I'm not going to lie, I have a really good resume for someone who doesn't have five years, or even three years, of experience. I was given a fair amount of responsibility and I learned how to handle it by creating my own systems and organizing things that worked best for me. However, I think that's made me a little overconfident going into the interview. Relying on my resume skills means that I haven't exactly been selling myself at the interview as well. For a lot of people, your skills and experience speak for themselves and personality or confidence aren't as important. I've been approaching most interviews as a chance to interview them as to whether I think it's the right place for me.

    On the other hand, many hiring managers are looking to find a person who's "a good fit", whatever that means. Unfortunately, me not being all bubbly and sparkly, I don't always come off as being a good person to have around the office. However, smiling and at least appearing confident can help make a good impression, so I think I'll try that a little more often...

2. Location matters
    Applying for jobs in one city when you're still technically living in another is challenging. It makes interviews a half-day event with the commute, and it confuses employers who think you're going to be making that commute every day, possibly coming in late all the time or trying to leave early to beat the really long wait in commuter traffic. While some people will still give you a chance--and at least bring you in to ask if you're planning to relocate a little closer to the office--others may see this far-off, distant town listed as your address and think you're not worth the trouble.

    With this in mind, I have implemented a new strategy: put a more local address on the resume--i.e. Dad's place. It's not really a lie, because that's probably where I would be staying and commuting from until I found another apartment in the area. I just started with the new address plan a couple days ago, so no results yielded yet, but we'll see if it makes a difference. Considering I've been asked in interviews twice now about my commute situation, I have a feeling it might help.

3. Stay positive
    Rejection is rough and when you've sent out dozens, if not hundreds by now, of resumes and had only a handful of interviews, it can seem rougher. On the bright side, I have had two offers, but I didn't think they were the right fit for me. What this means is that while I may not get an offer for every job, or even the few that sound really great, getting an offer from time to time reassures me that I am qualified enough and smart enough and perhaps even bubbly and confident enough to get one that eventually will be the right one.

Just keep swimming :)

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