Thursday, October 19, 2006

May I Take Your Pledge?

Fun times. I volunteered for phone answering duty during the GREATEST RADIO STATION IN THE WORLD's--90.3 KEXP-- fall pledge drive. Only two days, though. It was a good time. Sat next to a guy who is in a local band called Water Kill the Sun, they've recently released an album. (See? It's easy to date yourself when you say things like "album", "new album" or "which record was that on?") He was a nice guy and actually had a connection to a friend of mine, now known as the "fake Verizon guy." (Sorry, Deron, but that is the way I described you when I asked if he knew you. He knows Paul Willis. His name is Gavin.) The internet seems to be the main means of pledging, now a days, at least during the mid day show, so the phones were not ringing off the hook. And we were still needed. Our presence appreciated and, like I said, it was fun. I've been wanting to volunteer to do this for as many years as I've been listening to the station. FINALLY, I figured out that you have to sign up to be a volunteer and then you get e-mails requesting your services for various tasks throughout the year. Ah ha! Hope I get to do it again, those slots fill up fast.

I am procrastinating working on my personal statement. I've received very helpful feedback from almost everyone I sent it to. And I am rewriting it, a little. Fresh start and incorporating much of the main body. I keep seeing all of these news stories that talk about how difficult it is to get into college, these days. Well, I realize that they are focusing on undergraduate admissions, and mostly big name schools. Still, even that doesn't put my mind at ease. This essay is really going to tell them a lot more about me than just whether or not I can turn assignments in on time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Guess I DO Care

I just sent the draft of my grad school personal statement to some folks. As soon as I hit "send", I was gripped with the fear that it is really a terrible essay and that I'll have to scrap the whole thing and start all over. It only took me a month to write this one. Of course, that is not to say that I worked on it every day. No, probably a week, all told. Whatever, it was hard to do. I realize that I've never written that kind of essay. Undergrad was, MAYBE, a paragraph of why they should accept me, and it was a state school anyway. So I think they would have taken me even if I'd written nothing besides my name. I didn't want to write the essay to get into the honors college, I am. Extolling my virtues, the ones I assume I possess, and hoping that I'm as clever as I think I am. Wish me luck.

This whole grad school thing is suddenly feeling more and more real and important. I've gotten two of the three letters in my possession. (I'll have the third, I just have to make a phone call.) My essay is in a finished draft form and sent to others to critique. I need $400 extra in my bank account for the application fees, which I'll be getting this week. And then, I'll finish up those on line applications before mailing the letters, etc. Oh, and my transcripts. Gotta get those. (Welcome to my checklist. Sorry to bore you...) What if I don't get in? I think, how sad. I think, how embarrassing. I think, crap.

Let me not think on it, until I have to.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Neighborhood Destruction, Capitol Hill Style

I've been noticing that my lovely little street has started to turn into a not so lovely, garbage cluttered, shattered glass strewn, graffiti sprayed street. Soon, this same street will be home to inidviduals and couples who can afford to live in newly built condos (starting in the low 200,000's for a 400 sq. ft. room), and between the two extremes, I'm a bit nervous. I fear that my rent will go up AND that I won't feel as safe walking home in the dark after yoga. What is going on, I wonder. I get that people don't have money and that the poor are just getting poorer--this is a world destruction, your life ain't nothing, the human race is becoming a disgrace. The rich get richer, the poor are getting poorer--and when one neighborhood gets gentrified then those forced to move out have to move somewhere else, only to have it happen all over again. Is my little section of Capitol Hill the next to experience this cycle? I didn't realize that we weren't gentrified. All the hipsters that live around here, and all. Though, there are some buildings that I am sure have managed to keep their rents reasonable--including mine, I pray it continues--up 'til now, which makes it affordable. Maybe notices are being slipped under doors explaining the rent increases and causing stress and anger in those who don't make enough to cover it.

Yesterday, when I was walking to work, I passed an apartment building that is constantly in a state of flotsam and jetsam. It's as if everyone who moves out is so angry that they throw everything they own away, AROUND, not in, the dumpster--which, by the way, is on the sidewalk, therefore all of the garbage is also on the sidewalk. I think about the people that live in that building, who are probably perfectly nice human beings, and what they must think when they go to take out their own trash. "Why us?". It's not really every day, just that end of the month move out period. Kinda sad. I can't help but think that it's not as simple as a lazy ex-tennant who doesn't feel like packing. There is a violence to the mess punctuated with a "screw you" exclamaition point of glass shards all over the sidewalk.

Same street, different building, there is a window, curtains always drawn. On the sill are two plastic Virgin Mary figures, what looks like a music box (the actual mechanism that produces the sound) and a bookmark size sign that reads, "TIME IS RUNNING OUT". Next to the sign, the music box is more like a bomb than anything that might produce a tinny, sweet, tinkling melody. I believe that to be the intention of the messenger. This window dressing is honestly the most enticing reason for me to want a digital camera. I want a picture of this window. When I see that message on the same walk as the new condos and the exploding garbage, it really speaks to me. I get a little scared. Time does feel like it's running out, though I'm not sure how quickly. Though the owner of the display might be refering to the end of the world, I'm thinking in terms of the end of comfortable, affordable living quarters. This city is headed for the fate of San Francisco, building on every bit of free space, demolishing buildings to make room for more high rises and squeezing out the rest of us. Soon, there will be nowhere else to build and rents and housing prices will be out of this city's cost of living range.

The first apartment buidling I lived in is being converted to condos. What a shock that was. The weird, confused motifs of the Fireside Manor are now being whitewashed, literally, into bland bland bland. Chinnoiserie meets 60's Renainssance Revival is gone, daddy gone. The day they take down the Lord and Lady of the manor fake stained glass doors is a day to weep. I'll bet the flocked wall paper inside is gone, already. They've probably replaced the robin's egg blue stoves with plain 'ole white Kenmore knock offs, too.

Let us all send lovely messages to the powers that be to keep my dear home affordable, for all who live in my building. Thank you.