29 January 2009

The blog must go on... (despite a TERRIBLE template that has ruined everything!)

Job hunt continues. I applied for 7 real and 4 fake jobs last week. 'Real' means it's working for a company that pays you money. 'Fake' means it's working for a company that used to pay someone money but, when the economy died, fired this person and is now trying to hire an unpaid intern to do their job.

I only apply for intern positions for the sake of applying for something. It keeps me off the streets.

Yesterday, surprise, 3 of the intern companies contacted me to schedule interviews. Sigh... I'm too old to be the intern! It's embarrassing! However, I've done internships in the past that have led to employment, and being the intern is better than being the girl who watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer all day on teevee.

I went to one of these interviews today. And, surprise, I got the (fake) job.

I'm going do it. I've even a little bit excited to do it. It's just a shame my amateur career (real ladies don't make money from their hobbies) is not sustainable beyond a few months.

Meanwhile, just a minute ago, I got an email from one of the companies I applied for a 'real' job at. They want to know what my salary requirements are. I know this game. It goes:

1. 200 people apply for a job.
2. 20 people are asked what their salary requirements are.
3. 2 people are asked in for an interview (the 2 people with the most 'competitive' requirements).
4. 1 person is given a job (the better dressed person and/or the person with the least offensive Facebook profile pic).

I've actually made it to level two. Yippee. But progressing to level three is really hard. I need to think up the most realistically horrible salary. Not too high. But it can't be too low, or they will think I'm pathetic; Dear Mr Man, I'm willing to work for you for $2 an hour because my passion to work in the arts it what drives my ambition to strive for the best and contribute to a company that improves humanity's lot on this wretched planet and if I can be part of that then, well, that's a way of achieving immortality and that's enough reward for me, Sincerely Ms Suck.

I know, I know... how is this different from interning for free? Because interning is honest. And you don't pay tax on honesty.

$25,000 a year?

26 January 2009

Dear Dot,

Have we really been keeping this blog four years?


24 January 2009

Dear Mars,

I've taken the opportunity, while you're in Spain with another blogger, to change the template. Please don't yell at me.


23 January 2009

I went to the weirdest job interview yesterday.

The position I interviewed for has the ridiculously inflated title of 'Junior Executive Project Coordinator'. Let me translate:

Junior, means you don't get paid very much.
Executive, means despite earning minimum wage you still have to wear business attire.
Project, means you are responsible for everything in the office that requires some effort.
Coordinator, means you are accountable when things go wrong.

I won't say the company's name because there's a very very very small chance I'll get a job there. However, it was predictably pretentious, so for the sake for this post I'll call it 'Gold A'.*

I checked out the gallery's website before heading to the interview. I was a little bit dubious about a company that describes itself as a "premier vanguard gallery established in direct response to the discerning taste of the sophisticated collector, searching to discover foremost avant-garde contemporary artists who will be the trailblazer masters of the twenty first century..." etc etc. Aye carumba!

Also, having seen the artists represented by the gallery I didn't have high expectations for Gold A. Although, I did still believe it was a legitimate gallery existing in real time.

Upon arriving at Gold A for the interview (on time!) the first thing that hit me was the smell. Dusty, musty, warm, stuffy... I got a flashback to my grandma's living room. It was nice. Then I took in the furnishings and realised I really was standing in my grandma's living room; pastel upholstered chairs and dark-wooden sideboards lined all the walls. There was a giant Franco Cozzoesque dining set in the middle of the gallery, and sitting upon every flat raised surface were dried flower arrangements in ugly vases and collectible dolls.

The strangest thing was this entire gawdy tableax was arranged in a typical Chelsea gallery white-cube space. If you looked closely enough there were even a few paintings hanging on the walls. Like a real gallery or something.

I was standing stunned in the doorway when two life-size dolls drifted up to me and introduced themselves as the owners of the gallery.

"I am Captain John William Edward Crossmarch III, but that's a bit of a mouthful so you can just call me Captain," Said the 60-year old man dressed up in a Scottish Military uniform, complete with kilt and sporran. "This is my wife, Miss Janie Crossmarch. You may call her Miss Janie." Miss Janie was a plastic (surgery) faced woman wearing theatrical makeup and wig of giant bleached blond curls.

"Hello Captain and Miss Janie," I just started playing along, "It's lovely to meet you."

The interview began. I sat at the 'Grand sale! Grand sale!' table** and spoke about my experience working in galleries and the skills I could bring to Gold A. It was a remarkably straight-forward interview considering I was talking to a life-size little bo peep Barbie (while Military Ken hovered in the background).

After the interview Miss Janie asked me to email her a list of all my computer skills and we could then "take it from there". I suspect Miss Janie doesn't really do computers and is looking for someone to take dictation for her. Fine, fine, whatever.

The strange thing is I actually believe I could work at Gold A.

I'd look at it like a career break so I could play imaginary for awhile. It would just be a matter of getting into the right mind-set in order to enjoy the 'make believe'. I would obviously need a name (Miss Dottie?) and costume (sexy scullery maid?) and perscription (valium?) and, voila, employment!

I'm willing to do what it takes to get a job in this city.


*This is also a tribute to the only gallery in Melbourne that advertises on late night tv, the wonderful Silver K.
** People not from Melbourne can see here for my stylistic reference. Another late night advertising favourite.

22 January 2009

Before i went to visit Dot in NYC, she tried to warn me about the cold.

"It's cold here in NYC, make sure you bring a coat..."
"Yeah, i know cold" says i... "Manchester's no Jamaica"
"Hmm, but it's really cold. And the heating in our apartment isn't so good..." she persists with this warning.
"I get it Dot, cold. We've got cold here too"
"But no, i'm not sure you understand how cold it is. So make sure to pack warm..."
"Okay Dot..."

Went to NYC - still cold, colder than Manchester but i will not be out-done with talks of -12 degrees and snow cover twelve inches thick. So i've created here, an ode to Manchester's snow.

Snow: The Movie

21 January 2009

We, the people! Huzzah!

Obama's kids are so cute.

Michelle Obama looked lovely. Although, I think Jill Biden is pretty stylish too... there's something more unique about her. I think it was the knee-high boots.

White people like cowboy hats, black people like fedoras.

Obama was adorably nervous, stumbling over his lines when he was sworn it. He is normally so well-spoken, it was nice to get a glimpse of this human side.

I like Hillary Clinton's super happy enthusiastic face. She looks kind of childish. She does it a lot. (See here.)

Big George Bush is getting quite old and stiff. It's deceptive because he still has a decent hair of hair with a fair bit of brown in it, however he's walking very slowly. On the other hand, Little Jimmy Carter seems in good shape.

I don't like those Bush twins. Don't trust them.

I really liked Dr Lowery's speech. It felt more natural than Obama's.

President Obama is left handed just like me.

Goodbye Bush!

20 January 2009

I swear to god I just remembered...

Today is my wedding anniversary! And there's only two and a half hours of it left.

Just called Blane to see if there was any chance of him coming home before midnight so we can celebrate together. He says not. Oh well.

So what are you supposed to give your partner for the second anniversary? I remember it's paper for the first. Cardboard for the second? My love is certainly becoming less pliable and slightly corrugated... Weird.

Anyway, I did have a good day. After I stopped sulking over the library being closed (yet before I remembered it was my anniversary) I went for a walk in Central Park. Here is what I saw...

The place where they dance in the film 'Enchanted'.

The view that always pops up in films set in New York, just to establish it's a film set in New York.

This one is hard to see, but it's actually children skating renegade on the Conservatory Water pond. This is the place where they sail electric boats in Summer. The kids have swept a section of the ice clean of snow and are skating. For free! Screw you Mr Trump and your stupid ice rink with rules and rock music. These kids are so clever.

Maybe I should have a baby?
As the end of my legally allowable time here in the UK looms, i have done a bit of a panic upon the realisation that i'll be leaving this isle in about 14 weeks. Thusly, i have begun to create a list of things i must see and do before i leave, in an attempt to make the most of the time (particularly the weekends), i have left.

Today i trundled off on the tram and took myself somewhere i've been meaning to go to for months, ludicrous that i've not been before now considering its proximity to my general self; The Lowry. And it wasn't what i thought it was going to be.

I thought it was going to be more art gallery, less outlet shopping centre/entertainment complex. All that was missing was a Pizza Hut and Time Zone. Anyway, there was a gallery amongst all that guff and as the name would suggest, the main focus was on the work of LS Lowry, a local(ish) artist of last century. To be honest, i found most of his work a bit blah... maybe because there is still so many of them around? Maybe because i've seen lots of it printed on postcards/tea towels/neck ties etc before, so that the originals are now unimpressive? I don't know. The main gallery space, which was pretty big, at least four rooms, was dedicated to Lowry's work, and to that of a photographer who works around a similar area to places Lowry used to paint.

Anyway, interesting enough fellow, probably a bit of an odd-bod, but without doubt one of the north-west's most celebrated artists of his time.

In the other exhibition space, which they called 'the Promenade' was the works of six Guardian staff reporters over the last 100 years. Which was amazing. All black and white photos, they weren't necessarily all taken in Britain but the fair majority were... one that struck me the most was an image by Don McPhee taken during a miners strike in the 80's.

The summer of 1984 and the Miners Strike witnessed some of its most violent scenes as battle lines were drawn between the police and pickets at the Orgreave coking plant near Sheffield, South Yorkshire. The police removed their shoulder identification numbers and blocked off the plant's entrance as up to 5,000 pickets lined up on an adjacent field to try to stop two lorry convoys leaving the plant One picket wearing a toy policeman's helmet strolled across to the massed ranks of police and exchanged banter, before the lines parted, and mounted police charged through with batons raised up the field.

This picture has been reproduced and printed directly on the wall and it was enormous, the detail captivating. Now i know i usually keep the art talk to Dot, but i've been to my fair share of galleries over the years and a couple of things were glaringly obvious to even me, about this exhibition... For an exhibition i found far more interesting than the main focus of the gallery, i thought it was put is a really poxy pokey space, with crap lighting. The pictures were all hung really low in what i thought was a kind of cluttered way, which was a shame because in my opinion, each picture really did justify its own space. I still enjoyed it though, and would definitely recommend a look-see.

Anyway, typically i'm very late late with my 'discovery' of Don McPhee and almost certainly the last person jumping on the bandwagon... especially now that he's dead. Further research tonight tells me that the writer over at Mancubist was also a fan, so it's kinda nice to know that i'm looking in the right places and finding the best Manchester has to offer...

Tune in next week for tales and discoveries of Manchester's underground tunnels and canals!
What's the worst thing about being unemployed?

Public holidays.

Because everything is shut and everyone is out there walking around, with such smug looks on their faces, on my time.

Martin Luther King Jr., you really messed up this time.

Dot, I'm sorry but civil rights are more important than a library being open.

19 January 2009

I'm a housewife... Get me out of here!

2008 was my big year. I finally moved to America (yay, green card!) and finally started working full-time (yay, earning minimal wage in the most expensive city in the world!).

I was magnificent!

Unfortunately 2009 has taken a turn for the worst. On the 5th of January I became a victim of downsizing. That's right, the economy got me.

It's a condition of my green card that I can't become a "ward of the state", ie. get the dole, so it's really really important that I find another job. This is very hard as my desired field (gallery/arts administration) is firing EVERYONE and replacing them with unpaid interns.

It hasn't taken long for me to fall into the cycle:

I spend most of the day in the house (it is -12C outside!).
I only ever leave to run errands (thank god for the supermarket, library and laundromat).
I clean a lot because it makes me feel productive.
I obsess over interior design (Mars, you should see what I've done with the lounge room!)
I cook special meals (because husband coming home for dinner is social highlight of the day).
I drink on my own (because husband never comes home in time for dinner).
I've been thinking about baby names I like.
I really really feel like a cigarette.

How did it come to this?

18 January 2009

Disaster struck this morning.

I washed all my clothes last night and set the dryer off before I went to bed but, predictably, when I woke up this morning, stuff all still damp. So I had to dry my jeans off with the hair dryer, but I didn't have enough time so.........wet bum.

12 January 2009

What do you do when you find yourself not actually wanting to live anywhere.

Don't get me wrong - it's not that i don't want to live... i just don't know where to live. I wouldn't mind staying in England, but pretty soon i wont be able to. Besides that, i'm increasingly feeling like this whole expedition has come very close to having run its course.

And i don't particularly want to live in Australia either. In fact, i would even go as far as to say that i actually don't want to live in Australia, it just happens to be the place where i was born. This last week, while i've begun to make arrangements for my imminent arrival home, i have again realised why it was i left.

So to this end - where in the world now?

Furthermore, i wanna know where my fucking husband is. I'm sick of waiting and i need him now to start my own, new, better, less thoroughly shit, family.