Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I would swallow my pride

So I went to see Eve 6 on Monday night. I was basically satisfying a need from 13 years ago, but it rekindled my love of their music.

I was really, really into their first two albums (which are self-titled and "Horrorscope" but I tend to refer to as "the one with the fly" and "the one with the blue chick"), but not so much their third, so I kind of forgot they existed. Don't get me wrong -- "Inside Out" is on every list I make, mental or otherwise, celebrating the 90s. But I neglected the rest of their catalog.

The self-titled album is a really solid pop-rock, bordering on pop-punk, record that's got great songs from beginning to end. It's got a youthful vibe (which makes sense since they were young when it came out) but it isn't as obnoxiously and deliberately immature as, say, Sum 41's "All Killer No Filler." "Horrorscope" has a different sound. There's more of a pop bounce with some creative use of autotune as an aesthetic device.

The third record, "It's All in Your Head," didn't grab me as much. The single "Think Twice" is alright but the sort of possessive vibe that comes across in the chorus kind of rubs me the wrong way. I haven't really listened to the new comeback album, but what they played live from it sounded really good.

I will complain that the opener wasn't great. I didn't see the first band, Fall from Grace, save for the last song, which wasn't enough to form an opinion, but the second one, The Audition, was annoying. Maybe I'm biased. My opinion of their vocalist went plummeting downhill the second he made fun of moshing and called it "so 2002." But I found them to be generally insufferable. I did laugh pretty hard when he ripped out the crotch of his skinny jeans, though.

And I seriously don't know how to act in crowds where you can't elbow people. I don't go to a lot of non-punk gigs.

Monday, May 7, 2012

This is what I do when I'm not working

I've taken up sewing. Not in any technically-inclined way. I'm certainly not headed toward a stint on Project Runway or even one if its copycats. But I've busted out my sewing machine (OK, my mom's; mine is in storage) and I'm hacking some things together.

It started because I was cleaning out my drawers and realized I have roughly 17 trillion t-shirts that I don't wear, mostly because they are ill-fitting. My initial plan was to make a quilt out of them, but there are so many that I could probably make several king-sized quilts, a dozen pillows, and enough tapestry to outfit a small castle.

I started with pillows. I thought I'd do this so that I could use shirts that have printing on both front and back, like tour tees and the grimy old thing from my graduating high school class. I've made about six of those now.

Then I got a little sidetracked. I haven't been working on the quilt or many more pillows, but I've been working with the shirts I'm still wearing.

See, t-shirts don't fit me well. The ones made for women are often too small, and the ones made for men are cut for, well, male bodies. So I usually buy t-shirts up a size to go around my hips/belly, and am left with baggy, sloppy neckline and arms. To fix that, I cut the sleeves and collar, which curls and frays and looks sloppy.

So I'm sewing borders on my cut up shirts to make them look neater. Sometimes I use the same color, sometimes it's a decorative edge. (Part of) a finished product:

Today I decided to work on another one. I took my Choking Victim t-shirt, which I had cut into a tank top a long time ago. Now, I've washed and worn it many times, so the edges were already frayed and curling, so I had to work around that.

So I cut bias strips from other t-shirts, iron them lengthwise so they have a crease, and attach them to the shirt. First I pin one edge to the outside of the shirt, with a strip around the collar and each arm hole.

Than I sew them down. Yes, my mother's sewing machine is avocado green. I believe it's from the 1970's.

Once the first edge is sewn down and the pins are removed (I do that as I'm sewing) I fold the borders along the ironed crease and pin them again. Then I sew both edges together. I find it easier to keep the seams aligned if I flip the shirt inside out and sew from that side, but other instructional sites have said to leave it right-side-out. I guess it's a preference thing.

 Once that's sewn down, trim the edges and that's it. You might want to iron it so the border sits upright, but it will sort itself out after you wash it a few times.

This is a really easy thing to do. Seriously, I have no sewing expertise and I figured it out with a couple of instruction sites and trying it hands-on. And it makes my cut up punk shirts look a whole lot nicer.

Besides, I'm out of fiberfill and bed space, so I can't really make any more pillows.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Funemployment is a lie

That might seem a little harsh. But I keep hearing the term "funemployment" and to me, it's wrong (it's also short-sighted and privileged; we can get into that in a bit). For me, being unemployed has not been fun.

Since I finished grad school in December 2010, I haven't been able to find a full-time job. It isn't for lack of trying or laziness, contrary to some Republican 1% views. I can't even begin to count how many applications I've sent out in the past year and a half. I've tried for jobs that seem ambitious, jobs that I think I'm overqualified for, jobs that excited me, jobs I'd have to acquiesce to performing every day, jobs withing my field, jobs outside but vaguely related to my field, day jobs like retail and bartending, basically everything you can imagine. I've considered NYC Teaching Fellows and the Peace Corps as back-ups.

I've had some freelance work and part-time gigs, but still nothing lasting or full-time. And then, in March, the job that was my primary source of income (but still part-time) informed me they were low on funds and couldn't pay me. So I was let go, though with the caveat that they'd like me back if they got their act together and I was still searching.

So aside from a once-a-week unpaid knitting column, two short (volunteer) shifts for a punk news blog and the occasional photo slideshow (the only one that pays a little), I've been unemployed for nearly two months. It sucks. I've been sending out my resume everywhere that I can, and I've had two interviews -- one was on the phone, and I didn't make the cut to in-person, the other got as far as a writing test, but I still didn't get it.

I know, there are a few perks. I can sleep late and run errands in the middle of weekdays when the city is less crowded. But that's about it.

Want to hear the downside? I am almost out of money. I'm still living with my parents with no prospect of leaving any time soon. I feel like a worthless human being, who contributes nothing to the world. Basically, it's like I'm in a waiting room, biding my time until my life starts.

So I'm going this week to meet with a staffing agency. It isn't a career move. They only do receptionist and office work, and just temporary assignments. But it's something. It gets me out of the house and making a little money while I work on finding a longer-term position. I hope it works out, because I need it to.

I said we'd get to why the term "funemployment" is privileged and short-sighted, and here it is: anyone who can use the term is very lucky. You've clearly got something keeping you going, whether it's a trust fund or savings from a past job, or a supportive partner, or whatever. Many people who are unemployed are far worse off. I'm not including myself in that because I have parents who let me stay with them for free. But there are millions out there who are unemployed and having no fun whatsoever. They are losing their homes, relying on food stamps to feed their families, and falling way behind on bills. They aren't relishing in sleeping until 11:00 and wearing sweatpants all day. So that's another reason I don't like the term.