Saturday, March 30, 2013

My vacation is over

I got the call. I go in Monday. My vacation is over. And by "vacation" I mean "not having a job after I was fired." I'm sure most of you know all about that by now. If not, go read the last few blog posts. I don't think it was fair, but as I've learned over the last few years, life really isn't fair. Bad things happen to good people.

One of the things I miss the most about not working at Outback is that I don't get to see my friends as often. I used to see the majority 4-5 days out of the week, I have now seen a select few at the bar 2 times since I was fired. And there are still some that I haven't seen at all. Again, that's the way life goes. We have to make plans to see each other now, so we'll see how many of my "work friends" transition into "real life friends." Hopefully it's a lot.

The best thing about not working there anymore is that my head is a lot clearer and I'm happier, relatively speaking. I'm not happy that I haven't had an income for nearly two weeks, but I feel good that I don't dread going to a job that I didn't like.

I spent the first few days doing nothing but laying around watching wrestling and The Simpsons on DVD. I enjoyed being able to relax and not worry.

I wrote a blog months ago about how I had the Pixies "Where is My Mind" stuck in my head one day while I was at work. The reason for that was because you don't have to use your mind in a job like that. All you have to do is have working arms and legs to carry things and clean. You know the saying, "If you don't use it you lose it"? That's very applicable here.

I hated waking up to go to work so I didn't wake up. I layed in bed all day feeling sorry for myself until I had to go. Then at night I was usually too physically and mentally wiped out to do anything of substance so I would usually go hang out at a bar or sit in my bedroom and watch wrestling. It was a pretty pathetic life.

My mind turned to mush. I didn't do anything creative so I had no creative spark. I just lived day-to-day not worrying about anything except how much I hated my job. I did that for most of a year.

I have been out of that existence for barely two weeks and I already feel confident that I'm turning my life around. I've been on Concord's campus probably more times in these last two weeks than the previous year combined. I'm officially registered in classes and am a student for the fall 2013 semeseter. I just have to get financial aid stuff sorted out and then I'll be good. If you fail your classes for years, they don't really like to give you money. They just think you're going to fail again.

I have plans in place to do some things in the next couple weeks and months, journalism related. I have things I want to research and write. I haven't had the urge to do that on a steady basis in a long time. Speaking of ideas, I've been emailing story ideas to the Princeton Times newspaper lately. They've been ignoring me, which I figured would happen, but I'm still sending them.

I wrote something creative for the first time in a while on Friday, a satirical piece to potentially be included in this week's coming "April Fools" issue of The Concordian, Concord's student newspaper. It wasn't my idea to write it, but I don't disagree with the sentiment. I had a couple Concord employees say to me, "Have you heard about this?" I looked at the information and processed it. Later they both suggested that I write about it. So, as a favor to them I did it.

I think it's kind of funny and gets the point across that I'm trying to draw attention to. We'll see if they print it. I believe the only school year since 2004-2005 that I have not had anything printed in The Concordian was the 2010-2011 year. I submitted an album review to the paper in the 2011-2012 academic year.

Historically, the "April Fools" issues of The Concordian have been bad. The problem with that is that a lot of the writers didn't understand satire. They would just write fake articles with no rhyme or reason. It's good satire if you're using it to bring attention to an issue or to spoof something or make fun of somebody. If you can read it and go, "Hmmmm I see why they did that. Let's pay more attention to [this issue]" then you've done your job.

One of my favorite things about being the Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian was when I got to announce to my staff that we weren't having an April Fools issue. My official reason was because we didn't have time to produce an extra issue. I didn't want to tell them that I thought all of their stories would suck.

In the Spring of 2006, the staff decided that instead of an April Fools issue they would have a "How the year should have been" edition to be included in the final paper. That was when Jesse Call was in charge of the paper and we weren't on the best of terms. Click here to find out why. Our fake articles were snarky little digs at each other. I wrote about how students finally realized how corrupt and morally bankrupt their SGA was. Jesse wrote about how students had finally learned how to settle their issues without being petty and spiteful on their blogs.

So, that's where we were at that point in our relationship. It's kind of funny to look back at it now and think about how dumb we were. You live & learn, I guess.

That's where I'll leave us for now. I'll keep you updated on how my life goes in the next little bit.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Concord University SGA meeting [03-27-13]

I have a job, but I have yet to start working there, so I had this Wednesday afternoon free and as a result attended the 03-27-13 meeting of Concord University's Student Government Associaiton. On a sidenote, not working is one of the most fun things that you can do. I understand why so many skanks around here fake getting on welfare and abuse the system. I'll eventually start working once my background check comes back. Until then, I'm enjoying my vacation.

Election season is underway in the SGA. The candidates were released Thursday, 03-28. I wasn't supposed to find out before then, but I heard from three different people who was running for what. I don't remember who is running for everything, so I tried to look online for a list. I couldn't find one. We all know the issues with the Twitter and Facebook that I've blogged about. I tried to look for their webpage, but I could only find one from a few years ago that still listed Wes Prince as the President. That's a travesty I didn't need to be reminded about.

So, if you care, you'll find out who's running. The popular rumor for a couple months has been that current VP Chelsey Rowe is running for President. I'm pretty sure that she is. I heard Richard Babich was also running for President. That's all I remember off the top of my head.

Here's where I reveal my age - here's a fun story from "back in my day." Check out the blog, "Memories from the campaign trail" and take a look at the 2006 SGA elections. That's the first time that "tickets" were ever used in the elections. Also, I believe it was the first and last time that tickets were used effectively. The pictures that I embedded were from Rocky Seay's facebook page and he has since deleted them, so they just show up as boxes with a red "X" in them. So, apologies for that. But, the story is still good.

Anyway, it was a fairly underwhelming SGA meeting. I guess that's the theme for this year's Student Government Associaiton. They haven't ruined anything, but nothing really looks like it has gotten done. I don't attend regularly, so if anything of note has gotten done and anybody wants to let us know, feel free to leave a comment.

I attended the meeting again with Ashley Green, Concord graduate and former SGA Faculty Senate rep, Senator, and SGA Affairs committee chair (among other things). Yeah, we're hanging out [cue shocked gasp from the audience]. It was a decent crowd at the meeting. Click here to see a picture. I believe Josh Hanna, the SGA President, is smiling because he noticed me taking a picture of him and tried not to laugh. Next to him is the Parliamentarian. Richard Babich is next in line, followed by Sam Dobson, SGA Secretary.

Notes from the meeting:

Board of Governors student representative Adam Pauley announced that the next BOG meeting will be April 9. That's an important thing to follow, as we're getting to the point where they're going to have to decide whether or not to raise tuition for the next academic year.

The Ombudsman noted that the curtains in the Wilson Hall recreation room were broken. He spoke with Housing Director Bill Fraley, who said that he would replace them if there was room in the budget.

Richard Babich, the Attorney General, in his report said that one of his job duties is to verify the GPA of students running for positions in the SGA elections. He said that since he was running, to avoid a conflict of interest, his GPA would be verified by the Prime Justice.

Vice President Chelsey Rowe noted that Spring Fling was coming up soon. "I'm kind of keeping everything a secret," she said of the events that will be there. I guess we'll find out more in the coming weeks. It would probably be in her best interest to say, "I got you all this cool shit for Spring Fling. Vote for me for President." That doesn't mean she'll make a great President, but the uneducated voter doesn't know that.

President Josh Hanna noted that graduating seniors can take an assessment to critique Concord University, but only if you have attended CU since your freshman year. It's called the "CLA," and I wrote down what it stood for, but what I have in my notes is "Col. Learning Assessment." Maybe the "Col." stands for Collaborative? Contact him for more information if you're interested in taking it. I believe the test is sometime next week.

In the Beckley committee report, the committee chair noted that students there would like to see more honors courses available. She also brought up that they have to pay for all copies they make there, despite paying the same technology fee in their tuition that gives students on the main campus free printing. She also brought up whether or not Beckley students would be able to vote for SGA President. Somebody (I believe the Prime Justice) said that they would be able to and he was attempting to organize a trip for candidates to appear on the Beckley campus.

In an example of a committee report that says nothing, VP Rowe said that the Concord University Student Affairs Committee (abbreviated CUSAC, pronounced Q-Sack) voted on "expungment" or something along those lines.

The Dining committee chair said that more information about the new restaurant "Wing Span" opening on campus should be available next week.

The Green Sustainability committee chair said that a "Black Out" was planned for sometime this semester. I guess that's where they try to get people to turn their lights out for a period of time?

Sam Dobson gave the Higher Education committee report. He said, "Higher Ed. Day was last week. It was fun." Maybe one day we'll find out what they did. My guess is nothing.

Genevieve Hatcher gave the Publicity committee report. I finally learned how to spell her name. She said the SGA webpage should be done soon. If you have any information that you want tweeted, get it to her. She is still attempting to get an advertisement in The Concordian for the Facebook and Twitter information. She said she will try to keep everything up to date. I'm just going to slowly shake my head and move on...

In Old Business, a budget had been tabled from last week while they looked into the legalities of providing state funds to spend on food. Business Manager Derek Cline determined that it was okay, so the organization Blue Key received a full allocation of $932.93 for whatever they needed to do. I guess they said it last week.

In New Business, Amemdment 3202013 was brought forth. It's part of the 3-week process, so they voted to discuss it next week, then the week after that they'll vote on whether or not to adopt it. It looks like it takes away a task from the Vice President and gives it to the Parliamentarian. It's not really written clearly and is kind of confusing, so hopefully they'll fix all of that next week.

A new Judiciary committee was created, as the previous AD HOC committee had disbanded. The members were announced, but I didn't catch the names. The Chief Justice is a member of the committee and Ashley told me that he's not supposed to be. She's a former chair of the committe, so she knows what she's talking about.

The SGA also created an Election committee, designed to make sure all of the rules are followed and whatnot. Somebody said, I believe the Chief Justice, that "Nobody on the committee is running for a position, so they're not biased." While that's not necessarily true, it does make for a good sound bite.

At the end of the meeting, Rick Dillon, one of Concord's Vice Presidents, made an announcement about the asbestos removal from the Fine Arts Building. He wanted to make clear to everybody that this was not something unexpected. They knew of the asbestos and it had been contained years ago. The removal was part of the ongoing repairs to the building. Nothing is dangerous, as he noted, "These are certified, legitimate, long-serving asbestos-removal professionals." He said that while the removal people were on campus, they would be checking the library for asbestos.

That was it for the meeting. In one final note, I mentioned in my last blog that I was attending Concord University's first annual "Lebowski Fest," an event held around the world based on the movie The Big Lebowski. One of the biggest problems with anything at Concord University is apathy. If you've ever wondered why you're seemingly not allowed to have nice things, it's because nobody comes out to anything. If you're not going to watch this movie and listen to the live music, why would they want to spend money on anything else? That money, by the way, is mostly from your tuition.

That was probably the least-attended Boatmen concert ever at Concord. To again show my age, I had classes with lead singer Nick Durm back in the day.

Here's my disclaimer:

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Look at me, I have a job!

I have a job! *

*pending a successful background check

That's just a formality, so within the next week or something, I should be selling phones and accessories and whatnot at RadioShack, located at the Walmart plaza. That looks like it should be fun. At the very least, it looks to be less stressful than my previous job. And, that's what I need right now. My mind was fried at Outback. I was miserable and probably making life miserable for others around me.

A toxic environment is not good for anybody. I got out of it (was forced out of it) and it's for the best. We'll see where life takes me. I tweeted from the Mountain Slate twitter account for the first time in a couple months. Hopefully I'll have time to really develop that. I'm not going back to school until the fall, so I need something to keep me occupied. I feel bad that I finally unveiled my side project and then basically quit working on it. I'm sure a lot of people aren't surprised. "Oh, he never finishes what he starts." Well, this isn't school - this will actually be fun, so I intend to finish it. It's just taken a lot more time to get it off the ground than I anticipated.

So, we'll see where I go from here. At least I'm not going to experience those "hard times" I mentioned in my previous blogs. Maybe I'll start to experience life more along the lines of Ric Flair, the man Dusty Rhodes was going to give "hard times" to in that video. Click here to see where I may go one day.

To sort of segue to wrestling (I'll be done soon...), the WWE's biggest pay-per-view of the year, WrestleMania, is coming up Sunday, April 7. I'm kind of sad to say that I'm very underwhelmed with WWE's promotion of WrestleMania XXIX. This year's offering has jokingly been referred to online as "RematchMania," as most of the main matches are things we have seen before. The Rock and John Cena were the main event of last year's WrestleMania. Brock Lesnar and Triple H were the main event of last year's SummerSlam. The Undertaker and CM Punk have feuded before, but I am intrigued in this match. The only reason is that I have a faint glimmer of hope that Punk will finally be the one to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania.

The other wrestling promotion, TNA iMPACT Wrestling, has got my interest. Their ongoing Aces & 8's storyline was starting to drag, but the reveal of Bully Ray as the leader and his capturing of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship is very interesting. Ray has been one of the top stars in TNA for a couple years now, to the surprise of everybody. He had been a tag team wrestler for years and reinvented himself as a legitimate solo threat. And now he is the top wrestler in the number two promotion in the world. It shows that hard work really does pay off.

And, that's it for wrestling talk today.

Filming has officially started on "Girl Meets World," the official spinoff of "Boy Meets World." Boy Meets World has officially entered cult classic status, as new generations have discovered it and consider it their favorite television show. It was one of my favorites and I anticipated every Friday night that I could watch it on ABC's "TGIF" lineup.

Follow the official(?) twitter account for more information. They've been tweeting pictures from filming. Most of the original gang is back, but it's unsure if they're regulars or if they're just cameo appearances for the first show. They posted pictures of Mr. Feeny, Shawn, and Eric.

In music news, My Chemical Romance broke up. Apparently they have a very rabid fan base, as I've read reports and have seen a few people I follow on twitter react to the news in a very negative way.

I discovered MCR probably when most people did - 2004 and 2005, when they were at their peak. The mtvU channel for colleges had "I'm Not Okay" in heavy rotation, then their second single "Helena" hit and they became pretty mainstream for a while.

They were a good band. I didn't hear a bad song from them. But, I'm not really losing any sleep that they decided to break up. They released an album in 2010 and nobody really said anything about it, so they were on the downslide anyway.

In embarrassing music news, I'm digging this new Fall Out Boy track. Disregard that last sentence. But, seriously, I've liked them ever since I first heard them. I hate their music videos, though. That's mostly because I hate music videos that stop the music and do stuff, and they do that in most of their videos.

I mostly like them because the name Fall Out Boy is an obscure Simpsons reference. They get points for that.

A final note. If you're a fan of "The Big Lebowski," (and if you're not, WHAT!?) then you need to come out to Concord University's first-annual "Lebowski Fest." It's a real thing; they have them all around the world. There's even a legitimate religion based on the movie. It is this Wednesday, March 27, starting at 6 p.m. There will be a trivia contest, Wii bowling, live music, and a screening of the movie. That should be a fun time. Click here to see a 2 minute video of every "Fuck" uttered in the film. You can fit a lot into two minutes.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Living the unemployed life

It's been a little over a week since I got fired from my job. I'm still unemployed. At this point, it's still being viewed in my head as a long vacation. You can take a week off from work and still be fine. I'm relaxing and sleeping a lot.

We're not quite up to the "hard times" that I mentioned in my last blog. Sometimes I get an idea in my head that I think is clever. If I don't have an opportunity to throw that idea out there, then I sit on it for a while. For at least a couple years now, I have had the idea to write about "hard times" and put a link in to the famous Dusty Rhodes promo when you click those words. And, I finally was able to do that in the last blog. So, now you know how my sad mind works.

Sometimes I wait too long to break out my idea and it's no longer relevant. Back in the summer of 2009, twitter had been around for a little bit, but was not quite the mainstream social media network that it is today. I had gotten into twitter a little before the mainstream curve and was telling anybody who would listen that it was awesome.

One of the issues people were having with twitter was that they were unsure about the character limit. Can you really express yourself in only 140 characters? As people got more tech savvy, they realized that the character limit was really nothing to worry about.

One night back in the summer of 2009 an idea hit me. Usually, inspiration hits me in the form of a single sentence or group of sentences. I have that **AHA** moment where something witty or powerful or funny comes into my head. I have my hook. Then I usually form an entire story or post to build up to that one line.

I was going to write this big thing about how cool twitter was. I was going to mention all of the features, like how you can connect to people, how hashtags were important, etc and whatnot. Then I was going to address the space issue. I was going to end the article by writing something to the effect of, "And, people worry about the space issues. Can you accurately express yourself in only 140 characters? Well, there is no need for one to worry about such a silly issue as expressing yourself in only 140 characters as there is ample room to fit everything you would need into less characters than your standard text message. And, if you've paid attention, you'll notice that every sentence in this article was 140 characters or less (except for that last one)."

At the time, I was being used a little more regularly by the Princeton Times as a freelancer. I couldn't blog about this idea, it was so good I needed to be paid for it. The problem was that there wasn't any room in the freelance budget for me. Time kept passing and passing and suddenly my idea was no longer relevant.

Now if I write an article about how cool twitter is, people would shrug and say, "Yeah, we all know that, bro. Go write about something original." It was a cool idea back in 2009.


What have I been doing with my free time? I originally made plans to attend the March 20, meeting of Concord's Student Government Association. What else was I going to do? But, plans, as they say, change. And, I didn't make it there. So, fair warning, unless I'm employed, I'll be at the March 27 meeting.

I have been doing something productive lately, which is good. I have a schedule of classes picked out for the fall semester. So, all I have to do is sign up for those whenever I'm able to and I'll officially be a student again. I know, isn't that crazy?

I've been working with Trena Bolin in the "Academic Success Center" about getting me back in school. I have a few issues I have to work out regarding financial aid and the FAFSA and whatnot and then I should be set. We'll see how it works out.

I read the newest issue of The Concordian while I was on campus earlier. Again, it is what it is. I could go through it with a red pen and mark it up with all the little things I don't like about it, but that's nitpicking (and I preferred to use a blue pen back in my day - it's less threatening than red). It should be somebody's job to nitpick and work with the staff to correct minor errors and things of that nature; I don't know if anybody's doing that, though. And, honestly, I shouldn't call certain things "errors." The thing with journalism is that there's honestly no right or wrong, there's just different ways. Some work better than others. Some of the things that they are doing aren't working as well as they could be. That doesn't mean the staff is doing anything wrong.

I really enjoyed most of the Opinions section this week. Or, this bi-week, or however we say that. Sara Cameron had a nice article about trying to get healthy by quitting smoking and eliminating caffeine from her diet. It reminds me of a similar piece I wrote in 2009 about trying to get healthier. The best opinion pieces are things that resonate with people and they can relate to. Being healthy is important. I wrote about it. She wrote about it. I'm sure more people will write about it in the future. I like it. We need more common-sense pieces that are easy for people to read and go, "Yeah, I agree/disagree with that."

Jonathan LLoyd had the potential to write one of the best things I had read in The Concordian in years. Instead, he just wrote something that amused me and made me smile. He quoted a 2002 article of The Concordian where the columnist complained about the slow Internet speed. He looked at the conditions she listed and wrote, "I laughed when I found this article, and couldn't help but be amused by the sheer irony. Eleven years later, and I hear students complaining every day about problems with Concord Internet. I hear talk of upgrades and the like, and I wonder to myself... What do you think? What will Concord students of 2024 be saying?"

The only problem with the piece is that it's too short and basically turns into an advertisement for students to submit letters to the editor. He could have developed something very nice about how people complain too much and don't realize how good they have things. Just look at these facts he dug up about the Internet 11 years ago; appreciate what you have. Instead, he says, "Here's some stats. Write a letter."

There's a confusing cartoon with it, showing a robotic horse jumping over a clock. I guess the horse represents "horse power" and the clock illustrates that the horse power (the Internet?) is slow? It probably shouldn't be that complicated.

The other article on the opinions section is by Cody Neff. I'll try to tread lightly here, because I don't want him to leave another snarky comment telling me that I'm wrong to criticize one of his articles and to stop being a whiny baby. He also made fun of my occupation in his last comment; imagine the field day he'll have with talking shit about me getting fired.

Ironically, his piece is about maturity. As a supplement to his piece, Cody creates a flow chart that illustrates if you're being immature. You have two questions to answer. If you answer yes to one or both, you are immature. The issue here is that we don't need the approximately 1000-plus words he writes on the subject. The 6x4 inch picture of his flow chart says everything his rambles ramble on about.

Now, I'm not one to talk against rambling. I don't even want to count how many words you've had to suffer through to get to this point. But, if he needs that many words to express himself, then more power to him. The last thing I'll say on the subject - and hopefully it resonates with him - is that I didn't finish reading it and I doubt many others actually finished it. Look up the word "concise" and live by it.

That seems like enough for now. I'll leave on a personal note. I shaved my beard. Everybody at work will be shocked. I was "that guy with the beard" for a while. And, I think that's why I got away from it the other day. That part of my life is over for right now and so is being identified by the - at times excessive - amount of hair on my face. I updated some pictures on my Facebook in that "progression" album I have of my hair growing over the years. Click here to see how bad the beard got at one point in December.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm unemployed

For the last year-plus, I was a server and waited tables at Outback steakhouse, located in Princeton beside the Walmart plaza. I was fired from that job on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Why? I'm still trying to figure it out. I'm sure the official store reason is "Chris gave a table bad service and didn't care." I think the actual reason is more along the lines of "Chris said something I didn't like, so I fired him."

The Outback is run by a woman named Kate. She fired me. I liked her before she fired me, and I still think I like her. I didn't like the corporate shill that she was forced to become as part of her promotion to running the restaurant that happened a few months ago. And that's nothing against her. You have to do that to ascend to a top position in a corporate environment. You have to be a "team player," aka "drink the Kool-Aid."

With a job like waiting tables, it's not really fun. But, the people there are fun, so you don't hate it that much. And that's how it was at Outback. It gets busy and customers get mean and rude, but you tolerate it because your friends are in the same situation. We all hate it together and rely on each other to make the days bearable.

The thing I have never understood about the restaurant industry that I work in is this belief that employees have to be moving constantly. If you're not doing something, you need to be cleaning something. You're not allowed to sit down, because you have to be doing something. If you're not doing something, then you're going to get reprimanded.

A co-worker had clocked out and was leaving the other day. Before he left, he was telling me about his upcoming wedding and the details of it. Kate came around the corner and told me to go clean something. I told her I was getting information about this wedding. She again told me to go clean something. I patted my friend on the shoulder and told him that I wasn't allowed to care about him because I had to go clean.

I've been told countless times, "Don't ever let me catch you sitting down again." And that's not how things should be. People would kind of laugh at me because I was open about what I was doing, but it's really sad when I think about it - I would go hide in the bathroom just so I could sit down and relax for a minute. And that's the kind of environment I worked in.

The most recent Saturday, a bunch of employees were at work. It was approximately 1 p.m. and the store was not busy. There really was nothing to do. As a result, a couple employees ordered some food from a Mexican restaurant and were eating it. I wasn't eating anything, but I was standing around. Kate came out, looked around, got angry and told us to all start cleaning something and how we shouldn't be standing around.

Another employee did not hear the initial anti-food outburst, so she was unaware when she rounded the corner holding food that she was planning to eat. Kate saw her, flipped out and sent her home. This employee laughed in her face, and as a result was fired. Kate then held an employee-wide meeting where she angrily explained that she had just gotten rid of some "dead weight" and that she liked us all, but would fire us if she had to.

This leads us to Tuesday. It was a busy day for being Tuesday. I don't believe we were understaffed for what we expected, but we were understaffed for the business we wound up having. It was just a hectic environment.

I had a table and I made a mistake. They ordered two appetizers and I only rang in one. When I took it out, they were like, "where's the other one?" and that's when I realized what I did. I played it cool and was like, "Let me check on that for you and figure it out." The next was a kitchen mistake. I rang in their entrees. A cook said, "We're out of [that]." I confirmed with a manager on duty and went back to the table and asked if he'd like to order anything else. He did. I went back a few minutes later and saw that the original entree was being prepared. We had not been out of it. I went back to the table and asked the guy what he'd like to do, eat his first or second choice.

Things were taking a little while for them. They were drinking their drinks quickly and I was dealing with my other tables and wasn't able to get refills for them as quickly as they'd like. They finally got their food and they seemed content. I checked in on them a few times. When it came time for the bill, they started complaining. They had ordered some shrimp and said that it was too spicy. But, they had eaten all of the shrimp. And they complained about how long things were taking. You can look at people and read them. And, I read them for what I thought they were: people trying to complain and get free food.

They asked to see the manager, so I got Kate and she went out there. She came back looking angry and asked me why they were mad. To me, that was a rhetorical question. It was busy and things didn't go the way they wanted. That's the answer. It didn't need to be said, so I said "Because they're a bunch of skanks." She angrily walked away from me. I followed her and actually tried to explain what the problem was. She said, "Don't talk to me right now" and walked away.

One of the hosts, who takes people to their seats when they come in, came up to me and asked why my name was scratched off of the seating list. I had no idea. I assumed I was getting sent home. Since I still had two tables, I couldn't get sent home until they left. Kate and I avoided each other for a couple hours. We would walk past each other and kind of look away and didn't say a word to each other the whole time.

The rumor was spreading that I had been fired. That rumor was spreading because Kate told another employee that. In an incident similar to mine, Kate asked this girl why her table was having a problem. She replied, "Because they're a bunch of douche bags." Kate told her something to the effect of, "Watch it, Chris said something like that and he doesn't work here anymore."

By the time my two tables left, it was 9:30 and the restaurant closed at 10. So, it didn't make sense to send me home now. Before you leave, you're assigned something to clean. I was put on the list of stuff to clean, so I guessed we were just going to chalk this up to a bad day and pretend that nothing happened.

Another reason I thought nothing would happen was because another situation similar to mine happened. Kate had to talk to another complaining table and asked the guy waiting on them what happened. I was standing nearby as I heard him say, "They're just a bunch of assholes!"

After I was done cleaning everything, Kate and another manager, Jason, took me to a booth and started talking to me. We talked about the incident with the table. Kate said she had planned to fire me, but that she was giving me a chance to make it up to her. I wasn't being very apologetic about things and Kate basically said, "I'm giving you a chance to apologize and save your job." She asked me if I knew why she was mad. I thought about it and calmly said what I thought: "It was busy and you were mad at everybody."

And then she fired me. Was it justified? It doesn't have to be. She has the power to fire me for whatever reason she wants. Did I deserve to be fired for that? I don't think so. Yeah, one table complained about me, but my other ones that night didn't. One left me a $24 tip. You don't give people $24 if they do a bad job.

So, what now? Co-workers have told me that I could probably get my job back if I wanted. They cited the example of the girl fired on Saturday (the "dead weight") getting hired back on Tuesday, ironically the day that I was fired. I don't want to work there anymore. I was actually relieved when it happened. After I left, there were a couple co-workers in the parking lot, so I talked to them for minute. After that I got in my car and sat down, and I felt good. It was like a weight had been taken off my shoulders. I don't have to hide in the bathroom anymore. I don't have to deal with a boss who gets angry and takes it out on people unfairly. That's a negative environment and I don't want to go back to it.

Ultimately, this is my fault. By not graduating from college yet and having a decent job, I'm stuck in minimum wage, menial task Hell where people can decide on a whim to make my life miserable. I've had a couple people tell me that what I did was stupid and that I should have just pretended to be sorry. I'm not comparing this to some huge human-rights issue or something important, but I think I stood up for what I believed in. I could have been a bitch and rolled over and said what Kate wanted to hear, but I told her what I felt. It cost me my job, it's given me hard times, but I feel good about myself. And I think that's more important right now.

So, I guess we'll see where my life goes from here. I'll keep you updated.

Story of my life

Friday, March 8, 2013

Observations from March 8

To quote the ancient philosopher Ice Cube, today was a good day. Sitting at Starbucks sipping my iced chai tea and felt like throwing out a few random notes.

My ringworm is clearing up. Check my last blog post for more information about that. Again, it's not a worm. It's like athlete's foot on a patch of your skin. I've been applying my topical cream and it should be gone before you know it.

I received in the mail today my copy of "The Last of McGuinness," the self-made documentary chronicling Nigel McGuinness' retirement tour from professional wrestling. For those local people, the former Ring of Honor World Champion's last match was in West Virginia. And, for trivia, Mick Foley's first match ever was in Poca, West Virginia.

Perhaps my most popular piece I wrote for Tricycle Offense was a look at the career of Nigel McGuinness. Click here to read it. Ring of Honor had recently released a retrospective DVD of his career and it included an interview w/ McGuinness. I wrote about that and about the secrecy surrounding the end of his career. He answers those questions in "The Last of McGuinness." Click here to see a trailer. This is the version for wrestling fans, and word is he's re-editing the documentary to be more "mainstream" for potential festival circuits and whatnot.

If you're a Concord University student, check out this week's issue of The Concordian, their newspaper. I am indirectly involved in the main story. It's an article by Sara Cameron, a staff writer, about the Badfish concert Concord hosted. Badfish are a Sublime tribute band.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I was talking to Trena Bolin about going back to Concord. I went into her office and was exchanging pleasantries with her. I noticed a girl was sitting in there. Suddenly, Trena (remembering my newspaper-ing past) said, "Chris can probably help you out." Turns out that girl was Sara Cameron and she was coming up with questions to ask the band. While I figured out what I needed to do to go back to school, I cranked out some questions for her.

I read the article and looked at the paper today. I'll leave it at that. If they're happy with what they're producing and feel like it's what the students of Concord need to read, then more power to them. It's not what I would be producing if I were in charge of it and it's not really what I would be interested in reading as a student, but I'm not the typical Concord student.

I stopped in and saw Trena again today. We're one step closer to me being a student of Concord University. I'll keep you updated on that.

Related to Concord, the Jerry Beasley Student Center has been renamed the "Jean and Jerry Beasley Student Center," after Jerry's wife passed away. I don't know when that happened, I would assume sometime in the last month or so, since she hasn't been gone that long. Click here to read a blog I wrote about Jean Beasley.

Today is March 8, 2013. What were you doing on March 8, 2002? Eleven years ago, over a decade. Well, eleven years ago, I was 15-years-old and working up the courage to ask Kelly Goodrich to date me. I finally asked her outside after school before I got on my bus. I had been wanting to do that for a while but had trouble doing it. I get nervous sometimes.

We maintained our relationship in various forms (including living together) until the end of 2010. It's taken some time, but we've worked ourselves back into being really good friends since then. I saw her a couple days ago and it was odd. We see each other so infrequently now, it's almost weird to think that we spent nearly every day together for almost a decade. We slipped seamlessly back into telling old jokes and making fun of people and giggling nonstop. It was nice.

I haven't talked much about the Mountain Slate project lately. It's on hold for the time being. I'd like to get more involved as the weather warms up. I got bogged down with work and "real life." It's hard to work on a passion project when your job destroys your will to live. Well, not that bad, but it is oftentimes mentally and physically exhausting.

The other thing is money. It is so sad and disheartening when the only thing stopping you from your dream is money. That's where I'm at right now. I have no doubt in my abilities to create a magazine. I can do it and it will be amazing. I know that for a fact. I just can't make money appear out of nowhere.

I had been talking to people and exploring avenues. I'm going to get back into that. Like I wrote previously, 2012 was the year I slept away. I need to change that in 2013 and getting this back off the ground will be a positive step.

As a final note, if you haven't seen the trailer for "The Hangover: Part III," do so. It looks interesting. Click here to see it. The first movie was awesome and the second had its moments. The problem with part 2 was that it was basically part 1 but in a different locale. I've read that's not the case with the new one; that it's a different type of adventure.

That's all for now. I'll check back in later.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Concord University Student Government Association meeting [02-27-13]

I had another Wednesday free, so I attended a meeting of Concord University's Student Government Association. It was low-key; not much of interest happened. Probably the most exciting thing was that I tweeted about being at the meeting and Eric Proffit, a Concord alum and former SGA member, started texting me. We made jokes that only SGA members circa 2007 would understand.

Speaking of SGA members circa 2007, I attended the meeting with my friend Ashley Green. She graduated but has a job on campus and we made plans to be lame and attend an SGA meeting together. We reconnected over the fall season after we found out we had mutual friends who worked together at Pizza Hut. So, we hung out and talked about the differences between then and now.

I tweeted a picture as the meeting began. Click here to see it. Guy in the middle is the SGA President, Josh Hanna. To his left, on the computer, is Richard Babich, the attorney general. Babich is one of three people that I recognize from "back in my day" of the SGA. When he was just an organizational representative and I was still that weird guy who blogs, we would sit together and goof off. We initially met in an English night class, then spotted each other at the SGA meetings. We figured that since we saw each other twice a week we should start talking. When I decided last semester to start attending meetings again, Richard was the guy I Facebook messaged to see what was going on and who was who.

Anyway... Here's what happened at the meeting.

The Business Manager, Derek Cline, mentioned that the fraternity Pi Kappa Phi submitted a budget that failed in the Budgetary committee's meeting. A group submits a request for money, the committee meets to see if it makes sense, then they bring it before the SGA and the voting members decide to give them the money.

There is now a Beckley committee, who is the liaison between Concord's main Athens campus and the Beckley campus. The chair said she was setting up two different kinds of meetings - one with a small, focused group and another open-forum style meeting with a bunch of people. She had an open forum meeting and brought forth to the SGA things that the Beckley students like and don't like. They like once-a-week class meetings and that the Concord advisers will travel to Beckley to help them occasionally. They dislike that there are not more night classes at 7 p.m. and a lack of higher-level classes.

The Concord University Student Affairs committee, abbreviated CUSAC and pronounced Q-Sack, did not get to meet last week due to the inclement weather. Committee chair Chelsea Rowe said that in the future they plan to meet with Kathy Ball (of the Bonner House) to discuss matters relating to Concord's tobacco policy.

Here's where it might get a little confusing. The Green Sustainability committee and Housing committee are working on something relating to new dryers in the dorms. But, I guess they've talked about it in more detail previously, so I have no clue what they're talking about.

The Green committee chair said they they met with the Housing committee and are going to speak with the Head of Housing Bill Fraley about getting new dryers in the dorms.

This segued into the Housing committee report. The Housing committee chair said that Bill Fraley has said that he will look more into the dryer situation after Spring Break. The chair said that the dryers would be expensive due to wiring concerns.

I'm guessing the dryers are more "green" or something along those lines. If anybody wants to elaborate here in the comments section or on Facebook, feel free to.

The Publicity chair committee gave her report. She said that they were still working on updating the SGA's social media platforms.

And this is where I editorialize a little bit...

It's probably time for the SGA to get a new Publicity committee chair, because that committee has obviously failed at its task - to publicize the SGA. I keep asking this and nobody ever answers. How hard is it to use social media and relate it to the SGA? I did it. I tweeted a picture of the meeting. Why can't they do that? Why can't they send out tweets or Facebook status updates that say basically everything in this blog post? Why can't they post a Facebook status that says, "What do you think about _______?" and let people get involved?

The SGA's twitter (@CUSGA) is embarrassing to look at. Same with the SGA's Facebook. I sent it a friend request a long time ago and it has never accepted. I don't know if I'm missing some reason why it is so hard to figure out how to do this. It's Facebook and it's Twitter. These things are not complicated. Either they need to figure something out or the SGA President needs to take a stand and appoint a new committee chair who can actually get something done.

Here's my disclaimer:

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.