Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Do I Put This Stuff on a Resume?

I've finally started to face the fact that I need to put some serious effort into looking for a job.  This half-hearted approach isn't gonna cut it any longer.  There are some hard truths I must face in regards to my employment. At some point in the relatively near future (the next 12 months or so) I will need to find a new place to live.  I will also need my own health insurance.  I won't be able to have either of those things without a reliable income source.  I am also planning on at the very least sharing custody of our kids with my husband.  Again, a reliable income source and a place to live are rather important factors when it comes to custody issues.

I've been working on my resume.  Boy, that's a fun chore.  And looking at things on websites.  Everyone wants things categorized.  The big question is in what industry do you want to work.  Or, what is your specialty?  Well, as many of you should be able to guess by now, I am not an easily definable person.

Here are the things I think a potential employer should want to know about me (who I am, what I believe, and what I enjoy):

I am...

an introvert by nature
very extroverted with people I know
a team player
a people person
a problem solver
a "Why?" and a "What if?" kind of person
a quick learner (I make it a point to learn something every day)
a creative person
a thinker
a writer
an idea person
a leader
a follower

I believe in...

kindness and courtesy
treating people with respect
speaking plainly
truth and honesty
being positive

I enjoy...

working hard 
playing hard
a challenge
making goals
making mistakes
learning from mistakes

I am not looking for a career. So, I will not view my job as simply a stepping stone to something bigger and better. I am probably best suited for customer service but my skills are general and broad, my attitude good, and my willingness to learn high.  In fact, I probably need to be learning new things to stay happy.  At my last job I was cross trained to do every job possible.  I thrive on learning new things.  So, I'm not really sure how to go about looking for the job that this covers.  I could probably be happy doing almost anything.

So, if you happen to know of an opening for someone with general skills, the desire to help people or solve problems, a good attitude and pleasant demeanor, and a need to be constantly learning new things; could you give me a yell and/or put in a good word?  Thanks, I appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Friends' Writing

I watch the movie
in my mind
as I write
the words.

Words and thoughts
who says
they have to make sense.

Brain matter
fecal matter
blood, guts, and gore
Geesh! The things my friends write
I love them in spite of it

Every once in a while
I find myself getting sucked in
their words crafted so artfully
the build-up so slow and delicious

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Unfocused Mind

When I write poetry I usually stick to two forms, haiku and gogyohka.  I also usually stick to one central idea or theme.  It may be in the form of a single word (like "lust" for example) or something I can't get off my mind (like an argument with a friend).  So, most of the time I am focusing intently on that one central idea.  I write until I can't any more; until it feels like I've made my point or have exhausted the topic for that day.  I average five to seven of these little poems on a theme.  I then group them together, format, and post them.

Haiku or senryu is what I do most often.  I've only recently started doing the less constrained gogyohka.  For whatever reason, yesterday I was in the mood for these sweet little relatively free form poems.  The only real requirements is that is is just five lines (usually short) and that it expresses a single thought.  There is also usually, but not required, a breathing line where one of the five lines is just a word or two and you would naturally take a breath or break here.

Without any particular idea in mind I simply wrote.  As thoughts hit me I pondered and wrote.   So, there were some natural groupings of three or four where the first little poem wasn't enough to get the thought out of my head.  I moved on to the next theme as soon as the ideas came.  There were times when my mind returned back to an earlier idea but from a different angle.  All in all it was very freeing to just let the words flow.  I've sifted through them all and arranged them into a number of different posts.  

I will definitely keep this lesson of the unfocused mind in mind from now on as I write.  It's great to be able to focus on a particular topic but I wonder what I was missing before when I clamped my brain onto that one idea and refused to consider other things?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Guest Post: Philippa Ballantine with Tips on Getting Started Podcasting

When I was a young podcaster….

we lived in a discarded microphone box, and recorded using a contraption of cans and string.

Yep, things were different back at the beginning of 2006, and it seems really hard to believe that it’s been over four years. Back then, Podcasting for Dummies had only just come out, and I still had very little idea what I was doing—but I knew I liked it.

Along the way there have been microphones developing weird buzzes, new programs to master, hundreds and hundreds of hours spent splicing audio together, and maybe more than a little bit of swearing at computers. But there has also been connection with people all over the world, friends made, and yes… even an award for podcasting. It’s been a blast.

So, when Susan asked me to put together some tips for new podcasters, it was like jumping in the TARDIS and heading into the time when I first started.

But here we go

  • Find the best place in your house to record—and by that I mean the quietest. It is always easiest to have a quiet environment rather than spend hours futzing around trying to take out sound.

  • There is a good reason that many podcasters record in their closest—all those clothes add as a baffle. If you’re like me and have a tiny wardrobe, then the other thing you can do is hang a comforter on the wall in front of your mic to do just the same thing.

  • Slow down. This is the ultimate newly hatched podcaster mistake. You’re uncomfortable with the sound of your voice, you just want to get the recoding done, and so… even if you think you are speaking slowly, most likely you are not. Relax. Take a breath. Imagine you are talking to your friend, not into a mic.

  • And speaking of best friends—buy the best microphone you can afford at the right time. If you are just starting out and don’t know if you are going to keep podcasting, then don’t splurge on an expensive mic. (I’ve upgraded my mics three times) The exception to this is if you are doing a podcast novel—you can lose listeners with sub-par sound—so in that case start as you mean to go on. Buy the best you can afford. (I use a Rode Podcaster mic- USB mics are generally not that good. But this and the SnowBall are pretty good)

  • To make up for spending money on hardware, the software is free! Yep, after four years I am still using GarageBand on my Mac. For those PC inclined Audacity is also free.

  • Get yourself one of those clickers they use to train dogs. When you make a flub or trip over your own tongue, do a double click, wait a beat, and continue on. Those spikes in your audio will be super easy to find when you come around to editing.

  • If you are going full-cast for an audio production, triple the amount of time you would have used for a straight read. It can be worth it, but be realistic.

  • If you are doing a podcast novel then do give yourself a buffer of episodes in the can before you start releasing. I’ve had a buffer and I’ve not had a buffer. Believe me, having one is better!

  • Finally podcasting has a wonderful community—make the most of it by networking. You’ll not only get support, but also some people to play your promos, and maybe supply voicework. Get in there and don’t be afraid to talk to these folks—they are generous individuals. Use Twitter and Facebook and other forms of social media to enhance your podcasting reach.
Podcasting has enriched my life in so many ways. It’s why, despite some bumps on the road I keep doing it.

Philippa Ballantine is a fantasy writer hailing from Wellington, New Zealand. In the coming year she will have three books hitting the real and virtual shelves. The first of which a supernatural fantasy, Geist that will available in late October 2010—just in time for Halloween. Find out more at and

Thursday, September 16, 2010

To Podcast or Not to Podcast

Most of my friends are artists of one sort or another. A bunch of them are fiber artists: knitters, crocheters, spinners.  Some are visual artists: photographers, painters, graphic designers.  And then there are the writers and podcasters.  I lump writers and podcasters together because for the most part the podcasters are also writers.

Most of the podcasters have at one time or another inquired as to when I will be joining their ranks.  I'm not sure if they do this to every non-podcasting person they stumble upon or if I just look like a joiner in some way.  Come to think of it, I saw people spinning and thought it was cool.  Now, I spin too.  I saw my writing friends producing some really cool stories.  Now, I write too.  I've listened to podcasts from many of my friends, watched them record, even watched some editing and thought it looked complicated but cool.  Now, I'm on the fence deciding if I and when I get off the fence, do I jump down into their camp or run screaming into the night...

A friend of mine, Nobilis Reed, has decided to give me a nudge in the direction of podcasting.  He will be going on hiatus during the month of November and has asked me to write a short story and podcast it on his feed.  I am almost done with the writing.  It is taking me forever. Mainly because I have no discipline whatsoever in general but especially when it comes to writing.

I did take a first little tottering step toward the podcasting camp...I bought myself a really cool (and highly rated) microphone for my birthday last month.  Allow me to introduce you to my uber-sexy "Snowball" mic from the Blue Microphone Co.

Now I suppose I should plug the darn thing in and figure out how to use it...

Then comes the really fun part, learning how to do the editing.  *SIGH*

In the meantime, I have asked the insanely amazing voice actress, talented author, and award-winning podcaster Philippa Ballantine if she would be so kind as to do a guest post and give wannabe podcasters such as myself some advice. Her newest book, Geist, will be coming out October 26th but you can pre-order your copy now.

So, please come back tomorrow for her post...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

5 Stars

Many of my friends are writers. Some of them trust me enough to let me read their work fresh from the oven. There is nothing better than a fresh-baked story all warm and gooey in the middle. I prefer mine with a nice malty beer or as their corruption of me continues unabated, a bit of scotch on the rocks.

In the past week or so three of them have handed me things that made me want to run screaming. Not because they were awful. Rather because I was full of awe when I finished each.

The problem with these works (2 short stories and 1 novella) is that I can't tell you about them. I can't tell you to go buy them at any price. I can't forward them to everyone I know and say, "Whatever else you were doing just now, Stop! You have GOT to read this. Now!". I can't buy them as holiday presents for my best friends.

It isn't like I've got one really talented friend churning out all of this great stuff while the rest of my writer friends are sucking eggs, incapable of writing a decent fortune cookie let alone putting out a few thousand words coherently. I think that might be a little easier to deal with. No, this is three different people all saying, "Here ya go" and handing me a ticking time bomb.

Pardon my language, but the only response I seemed able to generate when I read these was, "Fuck! Yes!" They were THAT good. So I've decided that if I ever start doing critiques or reviews of things my top rating will be if something is FuckYesable. I'll have to figure out what my other ratings should be. Hmmm.

Oh, and as to the authors in question? Check out these sites for other things that they have already published. Not that I'm naming names or anything.

Keith Dugger
Jason Warden
Paul Cooley

You can follow these guys individually on twitter at @KeithDugger @ShadowCastAudio @paul_e_cooley and @theFiendMaster or you can follow them and the rest of the authors I know at @BrightEyedDyer/TAO .
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