Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What do you do all day?

I've been unemployed for a month now. I'm trying to limit the whining because I knew this was happening. I made the choice to be unemployed. I made the choice to move to a new state which would necessitate a new job. I have to say, I'm very, very happy in my new environment. Most of the time, I'm much less stressed and I'm spending a lot more time laughing and being social.

But there's still the day time. The time when people go to work. The time when those of us who aren't currently working look out the window and wish we were. It's an odd feeling. I don't look out an office window and dream that I'm doing what I really want to be doing. I just dream of having an office window to look out of and dream about doing what I really want to be doing.

So what do I do all day? I really, really try to treat unemployment like a job. I still get out of bed by 7:30 and take a shower. I put on clothes (albeit not the clothes I'd wear to a job). I still eat breakfast and drink coffee. At 9 AM, I go back to the office. I sit at my desk. I check Craigslist, Indeed, SimplyHired, Careerbuilder, and Monster for any jobs that might interest me and that I might be qualified for and I apply for them. By then, it's 9:15-9:30. It won't help to check all those boards again for at least a few hours.

So I take surveys for $1.50-$3.00 in Amazon credit. I mute promotional videos and let them play in the background for Amazon credit. I hope to earn enough in 3-4 weeks to buy myself a new board game or video game or something. Just so I don't have to spend money on it.

I read articles about how to improve my job search. How to improve my skills.

I try to better myself. I'm exercising. Not as much as I should or could be, but much more than I used to. I'm trying to learn computer programming languages. I feel like I'm going too fast seeing as I've been at it a month and I'm on my third language. I'm sure when I go to do a practical application, I won't have much in the way of retention. We shall see.

Believe me, though, when I say I have no regrets. I really do like living here. I like having friends over for dinner and board games. I like seeing my family/in-laws on a regular basis. I like knowing the support is there. I like that day to day life is a lot easier. I love that my wife is working in the field she wants to work in and that she's far exceeding the expectations we both had one month in. Things can only keep going up.

I just wish I could find work. It's only been a month and I know I shouldn't get discouraged. I know there are a lot of people out there who are unemployed not by choice but by circumstances outside their control. I know there are people who have been looking for a lot longer than I have. I know that I could walk across the street to the McDonalds and probably get a job there, but we're not to that point yet. I know that I'm being looked out for. I know that job will come. I just have to keep moving. At least I'm not spending my days playing video games and watching movies.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The First Week Back

We've been moved into our new home in Michigan for about a week now. I thought it would probably be a good time for an update.

Our first full day in Michigan couldn't even really be counted. Since our car was at the wife's grandparent's house, just waiting it's sweet, sweet registration, we spent Easter Sunday out there with them and spent the night. It was pretty great to be visiting family and know that when it was all over we could (sort of) go home. I say sort of because we were going to be camping out at the in-laws house for the first night so that we could get the car registered. It was still a very enjoyable night.

Monday we woke up and went straight to the Secretary of State. It was a relatively painless process. The only real kick in the nuts was that I didn't know I needed my birth certificate to get a new driver's license. Oh well, it'll get done eventually.

We saddled up our new car and headed back to our apartment. By the way, this joint is gigantic. We've been living in shoe boxes for the past 4 years, but you could easily fit our last apartment into this place 3 times over. We're still adjusting to not being able to see the TV in the living room from virtually every other part of the apartment. It's weird to yell to each other "Can you bring me this?" and for the other to respond "Sure. Where are you?"

One thing I'm having no problem adjusting to is the new social life. We've been meeting for drinks, having lunches, going to Tigers games and just hanging out. It's been pretty amazing. It's also been pretty expensive. The wife got a part-time trainers job, which I'm very proud of her for, but until we're both employed, we definitely need to start watching it a little better. I'm sure we'll start inviting people over to our place for movie nights and such, which will save us some money.

Other than that, it's just been unpacking, job hunting, more unpacking, and just trying to decide how I want to better myself. I'm going to start taking some free online coding classes soon to learn some computer programming languages and just play around with it a little bit. I think web design could be a fun little side hobby for me. I'm also going to start noodling with my guitar a little bit more. Who knows, maybe inspiration will strike and I'll get the band back together. My brother's been bugging me about it since we decided to move back. All I know is that I'm feeling the desire to be creative again which is really making me feel great.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"42" Review

I love baseball. It's probably the only true "symbol" of America that I embrace with my whole heart. Even if I can't spit back stats or know enough about which players will make my fantasy team stronger, nothing makes me happier than sitting in a ball park.

One of the things I really love about baseball is it's storied history. One of the most important moments in that history and in the history of America in general is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League player. When I would see trailers for this movie, I would get so pumped. The use of the Jay-Z song Brooklyn (Go Hard) in the trailer was especially effective. I just couldn't wait to see this movie.

In the interest of full disclosure, I missed the first ten minutes of the movie due to a combination of getting lost (I just moved to a new city) and long lines at the concession stand. Here's the plot recap from when I sat down. The movie follows Jackie Robinson on his journey from the Negro Leagues to playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. It's a pretty simple plot. He's a black guy and white guys don't like that he plays baseball. The end.

Let me cut to the chase. As much as it hurts me to say it, you should wait to see this movie. You should wait until it's on DVD or at the very least, in a second run theater. Sadly, it's just not very good. There are some excellent performances. Chad Boseman as Jackie Robinson had a quiet power about him that was really effective. Nicole Beharie as Rachel Robinson, Jackie's endlessly supportive wife, also turns in a really great performance. However, my favorite performance came from John C. McGinley as Red Barber, the voice of the Dodgers. He's got so many great 40's expressions that are almost throwaway lines, but will make you chuckle if you catch them.

That's one thing that really surprised me about this movie. It's really pretty funny. Watching Jackie rile up his opposition is as humorous as it is inspiring. But in the end, it's really, really hokey and heavy handed. There are a couple of lines that sound like they should've ended with "Everyone caught up now?" for how expository they are.

The big disappointment for me was Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, the owner of the Dodgers. He was almost like a cartoon character. The same could be sad for Johnny C's announcer character, but it works for him. I never met Branch Rickey or even saw him interviewed, but I thought that Ford put way to much jowl in his character. I don't know if that sentence makes sense necessarily so to clarify, basically it sounds like he's shaking his cheeks back and forth the whole time he's talking.

I think baseball fans will enjoy this movie for it's chronicling of the time when Jackie Robinson forced the baseball world to move forward. It definitely makes you love baseball. But as far as biopics go, it's very middle of the road. It's got all the biopic and sports movie cliches, even the slow motion shot of the 3rd base coach swinging his arm in a circle during the home run. You don't need to signal him home, it's a home run!

Verdict: Rent this movie one day. I suppose you could do worse.