10 Best Lateral Career Moves for 2011

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I have recently landed a dream job in network programming and am extremely grateful. 10 best lateral career moves for 2011I’ve been waiting an eternity for an opportunity like this. Please however, do not think for one minute that I haven’t shuffled along with the rest of my fellow Americans during this economic maelstrom. I have.

But I made the best of it.

Certainty, being what it is, forced me to dig deep into what I knew and what skills I could bring to the table. Not once did I shirk any opportunity that came my way. I guess you could say I’m resourceful.

Media and news pundits have been advising us for over 2 years to look to our latent talents, develop new skills where applicable and not to be afraid to step out of the box. Try something you have fantasized about but never dared attempt. You may find your dream job is out there waiting for you.

So I took Madonna’s advice,Express Yourself and her incredible ability to re-invent          herself over and over and over. And voila! With that in mind, here are the10 best lateral career moves for 2011 that you can make during this financial landslide.

Many of these skills you already have and can be easily transferred to land you a very profitable means of income during these trying times. You may think your skills are very niche specific, but I beg to differ.

1. Pet Groomer/Farm Hand: Dominatrix (Consider the possibilities of switching species)
2. Inner city school teacher: Drug Rehab Counselor (Hey, you’re already half the way there).
3. Pharmacist: Drug Dealer (no brainer).
4. Pastry Chef: Drag Queen (c’mon, you know you’ve thought about this one at least once).
5. Housewife, Divorcee or Prima Ballerina: Stripper (obvious choice).
6. Insurance Agent: Gigolo (You’re already selling stuff that has no future, real value or pays in the end).
7. Human Resources Administrator: Organ Transplant courier (Human beings are replaceable to you).
8. Mortgage Rep: Repo Man/Woman (Indian giver: One who gives then takes away).
9. Corporate CEO: Superfund landfill backhoe operator or grave digger. (The perfect transitional career for sociopaths looking to make career changes).
10. Banker: Lethal Injection supervisor at San Quentin (You’re nickname at work was The Grim Reaper).

Well there it is folks. There’s plenty of jobs out there. Just keep your heads up, a stiff upper lip and consider stepping sideways.

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Beware terminators from the outer Blogalaxy!

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I admit it. I am not very good at reading lots of blogs or commenting on them. When I have any spare time at all, (and I am always surprised to find that so many people have so much of it), I read and comment on blogs I find interesting, provocative, humorous or even just cute and furry. I am always very happily surprised at the amount of excellent content that is out there. It inspires me to write more better and it makes me appreciate that we’re all one big happy family living in some Sibylline Blogalaxy together.

I try to be a team player but those kindly suggestions by our unflappable Happiness Engineers to get more readers by commenting on other blogs, never really spurs me into action. Plus I feel like I am being ordered to do something and I hate being bossed around.

I don’t even have a Gravatar. Just the “unknown man icon”, which is probably reserved for hackers, geeks and freaks hiding from the FBI and trying to keep their web footprint down to a bare minimum. Every time I see one of these, I shudder. Probably some kind of psycho serial killer I reckon. Nevertheless, this is what I chose to represent myself. So what does that say about me? Perplexing to say the least.

Today I clicked the, “Comments I have made”, link in my dashboard, and unbeknownst to me, I had several replies to my previous comments and even a few requests for my url dating back months ago. When I tried to respond to these blogs, a big mailer-daemon type thingy appeared, admonishing that the blog had been deleted! Dreaded horror engulfed me. My cyber-digit friends from planet Blog had been vaporized!

I won’t envisage anyone self-terminating their blog. After pouring out your heart, posting your favorite photos, making friends with fellow midnight writers; What would cause someone, with such riveting, well thought out and even researched material, to simply evaporate?

At first I pondered some type of planetary abductor from Blog, maybe whisking the blogger away to be forced to send out massive emails for all eternity via AOL with nothing but dial-up because they broke some kind of cardinal blogging rule. Or worse yet, they wrote something against the Proletariat and are now languishing in a frozen cell on Pluto with some anthracite and a slab of rhyolite. See, this is why I have my blog. If I told a therapist this stuff, I’d get locked away for sure or at least be put on psychotropic meds. Fo Sho...

I couldn’t do it. My blog is my baby. It’s  a part of my anatomy. It’s my friend when no one else is around to listen to my prattle and my demented stories and therefore my therapist. I love this doggone thing more than most people. That sounds really bad doesn’t it? Maybe that Gravatar is a good representation then…

So now, I’m really getting nervous wondering where those bloggers went. Some of my blog posts are about the truly bizarre and peculiar people that have crossed my path and how the revelation of their irksome strangeness came as quite a shock to me.

Does this mean that even in the blogalaxy I cannot correctly assess a cogent entity? That I am completely unable to recognize the lunatics, the fruitcakes and screwballs and now this? Alien terminators from planet Blog? What’s the world coming to?

Well, at least I’m partially safe, hiding behind Unknown Man icon. No QR codes for me folks. No aliens are terminating or vaporizing my blog. Heck, Big Brother doesn’t even know my real name.

In a New York Minute

It’s been raining here in south Florida all day. A welcome respite from all that damned sun and terminally blue sky. A time to relax and reflect. Believe it or not, I occasionally miss grey skies and cool temperatures. Even a good wicked snow fall would suit me well right about now. Perhaps it is the Autumn most of all that brings forth lost friends, old memories and the smells of a New York night, the brisk chill with smoke filled skies and dirty puddles.
I’ve spent the last few days watching Wood Storks, with their massive white wings that spread out 7 feet and tipped in black, as if they had fallen into a paint can, feeding on brine shrimp and tiny crustaceans. The leering alligator hovering just beneath the surface keeps nearby, worrying the smaller spoonbills and egrets at the water’s edge. A raccoon, boldly walked onto the sun porch late last night, looking for morsels. My twin white cats, Odin and Loki peered out through the sliding glass doors as if the raccoon was somehow a familiar friend. Yet with all of this exquisite Everglades menagerie and fantasia it has made me long for some gritty New York weather, honking horns, cold chills and sweaters and boots. And so I’m off. For a New York minute…
I have people to see and bands to hear. I need to put my feet into my boots, put on my Pea coat and step into a smelly darkened night club and hear the sounds of raucous rock and roll at The Stone Pony or maybe some sultry blues. Life goes by too quickly and while glorified in sunshine, I’m afraid I may miss something. And so I do.
I miss my children’s hugs, my son’s wonderful film making stories and my dear mother, alone now with nothing to keep her company but her own piss and vinegar and Burlesque tales. But still, she is my Mom and I love her dearly. I love her humor and her crazy politics. I love hearing her reminisce and being with her brings me closer to my father, now gone 4 years. I am the prodigal daughter returning for her yearly or bi-yearly trek. Although I have shunned the sun of late, they will all tell me how tan I am. And just when the noise, the frenetic pace and the weather has taken its toll, I will return. So I am off for a New York Minute.
While there, I will look up musician friends and maybe sit in on a few sets. I will continue to write and work remotely as I have been doing. And when I return I will bring with me the flavors and sounds of New York. The bright lights and the big city. I will don cashmere sweaters and darker lipstick. Things not appropriate here in south Florida. One can only don yellow sundresses and pink tanks tops for so long. Some may find it odd that I return north for the autumn. But why I wonder? I love the gorgeous maroon and gold treetops and black cold skies at night. I love the smell of a fireplace burning in the distance. I love the way the stars look piercing the black velvet heavens.
In Florida it is always summer. I long for winter now. I long to sleep under thick blankets and be so chilled in morning that only the hottest coffee can cure, for a New York minute. I look forward to sleeping late, no being blasted out of bed at 7 am because the sun has crept right into the room, emblazoning itself to your eyelids. I need a hibernation of sorts. A temporary hibernation from paradise. And when I return, just as the sun will wait for me here like a lover, I will open my arms widely, kissing my adoring hot seas, the sanguine palms and my home far south of the border. Both the cold bluster of New York and the sublime heat of the deep south, you fill up my senses, come love me again.
I will return soon my love.

Summer

Spark of Genius

It is important to take stock of your life from time to time. When surrounded by ignorant and asinine people and situations, it is as though you won’t ever wriggle out from under them. As they say, “if you walk with a cripple, you start to limp”. What is fundamental is the ability to recognize the truly puerile and expose it for what it is. A spark of genius is then called for.
I want to take stock of the exceptional parents I had and the experiences and education they afforded me. It’s rare in today’s world. Our educational system is not what it was. Gifted and talented meant you really were gifted and talented. Today, everyone is gifted and talented. I beg to differ…

Sometime after 1977, during the infamous and heavily ridiculed “Carter” years, amongst a host of inept social programs and a massive deficit, our educational “tracking” system was eradicated. The kids that were slower to learn or in classes modified to meet their needs, were suddenly in classes with the “accelerated” group. I was one of those “accelerated” kids and it changed the face of American education forever and it also changed the direction I would take. Suddenly everyone was “regular”. Believe it or not, they actually instituted that label to differentiate from “accelerated” or “modified”, the latter meaning unusually slow to learn. Bless those liberals.

The kids destined for “vo-tech” and took “shop” class, in other words, the not-ready-for-prime-time-players, were now in my Algebra and English Lit class. While raising my own children and putting them through the public school system, it was common practice to lump all the students together and create a simpler curriculum that everyone could grasp. (Against my better judgement, I adhered to my then husband’s Canadian wishes and kept them in public school). It was brutal to watch. Smart kids sleeping, bored out of their wits while the poor little dumb kids were catered too. One of my son’s teacher’s took offense one afternoon and sent him home with a note that read,”Your son feels the need to “shine” constantly and it is not fair to the other students”. He was in the third grade at the time and had corrected her that on that particular year, Pluto was not furthest from the sun because every 12 years Neptune trades places. Vexed she was as I recall. (Readers, please don’t take offense here if I am hitting a nerve, I am not judging the less scholastically inclined nor the mentally acute, I am merely making a statement of fact.) Fortunately for my son, by high school he had one teacher that applauded his brilliance and had him teach the sophomore astronomy class the entire year. She was unable to explain dark matter, black holes, “spaghettification” or the time space continuum to 16 year old’s. And apparently, he could.

Liberal minded governing entities decided it wasn’t fair that some kids were labeled “smart” and others were not. Ask yourself this: How many people do you know with a college degree that got into college when they probably never should have graduated high school? Or take a look at a local newspaper, a sales ad, a real estate slogan or what some people refer to as art or music. Have you noticed the plethora of idiotic ramblings purported by so called specialists in their fields? College graduates now speak and write in juvenile mumbo jumbo as if it were grammatically correct and are no closer to realizing that,”wuz”, “cuz”,”wanna” or “i be” are actual words than my cat realizes his own sentience. Even while perusing job ads one finds typos, text message style abbreviations and absurd remarks. It’s disheartening to say the least.

We used to have structure in school. Our curriculum’s made us think and work. I studied ballet my entire life and played violin at the age of 4. We had mandatory language classes starting in the first grade. We had to WRITE our papers longhand. Which meant we needed to spell correctly and understand diction, phonetics, syntax etc., and not rely on spell check; which never works anyway because it cannot recognize the difference between “there”, “their” or “they’re” for instance. It is astonishing the drivel one runs into today. I refuse to watch any television for this reason, especially local or national news. I am fully aware that if you allow yourself to be duped and manipulated by the propaganda regurgitated by the corporate media whores, whose main interest is consumerism and not the welfare of the nation, you will mindlessly plod through life with the rest of the herd idling towards the slaughter-house sitting in an easy chair while watching Jackass or Jersey Shore. We should all be terrified of where the future of the American intellect and ingenuity is heading.

I suspect there is at least one social program afoot, (please note the inherent sarcasm) to blame in the dumbing down of our nation’s educational system. Having been raised by a Yale PhD, Columbia U professor and NSA/CIA father, I received an exemplary education. An education is not exclusive to being able to graduate from college and walk away with a piece of paper. A good education begins in the home and is cultivated by capable parents and a well rounded experience.

For a good idea of American intellect, ingenuity and strength, Alexis De Toqueville’s, Democracy in America outlines this superbly well and is one of, if not the best read and should be required in middle school along with classes in civics so our populace has a grasp on who is really in charge here. The Washington pundits have all read it. It’s required reading for anyone studying political science or law and somehow, they have tossed the book on the back of the shelf as if it were some sort of nasty little secret. Toqueville even prophecies on what will happen when capitalism and democracy fall into the hands of the ill-equipped, illiterate and  greedy. Smart populace=Strong nation people.

Did you read my post about the Social Disaster? How on earth can a person claim to be a specialist in the field of social work or in helping battered or abused women in a shelter, when they have never had children, been married or divorced, survived a battery or rape or have any practical social skills to bring to the table other than a piece of paper and a measly year in Africa at the governments expense? You’re kidding right?

Take the music industry today. Everyone thinks they can be a rockstar or get a signed record deal. All they have to do is either get the funding, (many times through illegal activities as in some Rap artists) or know someone, as in the nepotism running rampant in the music and film industry. Talent is no longer necessary nor is paying your dues. Everyone gets a free pass, makes a million overnight and gets their asses all over the television. Re: The Kardashian dolts.

Though, I must ponder. I’m a humanist, an animal and environment lover, with a brain and an extremely versatile education and background. Where are we going with all of this degradation? What do we have to look forward to 10, 15 or 20 years from now? A welfare, “socialist” state saturated with the socially and scholastically inept? Where is the spark of genius that America is known for? Our strength lies in our populace. Our populace is getting weaker by the second as millions gorge themselves on national news, the disasters and the mayhem, the fear and loathing and political scandals all designed to keep our eye not on the ball. Why are we taking political sides as if one is any better than the other or care about what Lady Gaga or Charlie Sheen are up to? Who really gives a crap?

Has not one person noticed that a bi-cameral system doesn’t work with over 300 million citizens and that Lady Gaga, (who actually is quite a talented pianist, go figure) and Charlie Sheen pay their publicists to start fires to increase their notoriety? Are the American people this inane? What happened to taking pride in our hard work and ethics? We were founded on that principle and farmers with pitchforks and 12 year old boys with muskets proved it to an entire armada of British soldiers.

Please America, wake up from this nightmare. Please bring back the genius, the spark and the reason that the entire world envies us and leans on us for leadership.

For those who do not possess this spark of genius, please refer to our neighbors to the north for assistance and asylum. They love to feed and house drug addicts, tax over 60% to your income, permit known terrorists entry and club baby seals. They certainly do send a mixed message to all those tree hugging liberals don’t they? Sure, they’re a pacified bunch I guess when it comes to having a military industrial complex, but then  why do they do hang onto our skirts, pockets, purses, technology and charm? And then have the audacity to snub their noses?

If something doesn’t happen soon, I am going to find a third world nation rife for a takeover, where its absentia inhabitants are here, getting American financial aid, starting businesses and getting college grants and start my own social reforms and government.

Screw it. 😦

Islands in the stream

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Something magical happens as soon as you get to Florida City. The United States of America ceases to exist. It is where, at the first gas station, it is a common ritual to crack a beer and head towards the Overseas Highway with a Keys state of mind. You are now entering the Conch Republic. Mind you, I don’t condone drinking and driving. But this is different. This is a rite of passage.

If ever there was a place to let the world slip away it is the Keys. You only need a few bathing suits, some shorts and tees and maybe a little sundress or wrap. In fact clothing is optional all together in many places. Where I just spent three days, it was.

The “Rugby” camp is located on the ocean. In the Keys you have two options, be on the ocean or be on the gulf of Mexico. Since I had never been to the “camp”, I assumed we were staying on the ocean side. I was surprised to find that the camp is literally on the ocean with the deck hanging over and into the ocean. We are abutted directly against a small sea wall. It’s the closest thing to being on a boat while still being on dry land. Waking  every morning on the ocean is intoxicating. Watching the sun crack through the horizon is a sanctifying experience. A comforting solitude.  A great heron greets me and my coffee. Water is all around you from every angle except for a small point of land stretching out a few hundred yards. It’s more of a jetty than anything else and just slightly breaches the vast turquoise briny sea all around you.

There is no one at the camp now. The entire place is deserted and so we had the whole place to ourselves. It’s a great place to come to get centered with who you are and to let your mind wander free. My cohort on this excursion is an ex pro Rugby player from New Zealand and I recently found out a pretty darn good photographer. Although he wasn’t interested in taking photos of the natural surroundings like I was, he prefered to do a partially nude photo shoot of me with the ocean and coral scree as a backdrop. I must say they are the best and most aesthetically pleasing shots I’ve done to date. I’d place them here on my blog because they really are so beautiful and so artistically done but I think it may come as a shock to many of my readers. He captured something in me I haven’t seen in quite some time. Au naturelle in Islamorada. He wants to submit them to Conde’ Nast. I’ll have to think about that. For now, they’re safely tucked away on my hard drive.

For three days we lived on cracked conch, fresh fish and “dark and stormies“. We visited some museums but I was most impressed by a full sized model of Ernest Hemingway’s boat, Pilar. I could visualize him, motoring in the back bay catching snook or mangrove snapper, or to and from Cuba smoking his pipe and plotting his next great novel. I felt the wood, the decking and all along the transom. It seemed to vibrate back to me the words and images so that for a second or two, maybe I could tap into it; tap into Papa directly. Even though the real Pilar is in Cuba, I still picked up his essence and imagined even more vividly his adventurous and colorful life. I strive to live life just as he did. There’s always an adventure waiting.

Islands in the Stream was part of a trilogy, the last being The Old Man and the Sea,  and was published post-humously. In the novel there were to be three parts, “The sea when young“, “The sea when absent” and the “the sea in being“. Somehow they are indicative of me as I’ve grown through the many changes in my own life. I feel now I am the sea in being.  A knowing, a constant flowing. Vast and fertile. To place my dreams within this vessel and to know that they teem with life.

Woodfish opening for Blue Oyster Cult, Three Dog Night, Pat Traverse, LA Guns!

Woo Hoo! I’m extremely proud and very excited to be attending this 3-day event. Woodfish, if you will recall, is a an indie band from New Jersey that I profiled a couple months ago on Blogcritics. They’re very good friends of mine and I’m looking forward to this gig.  A few years back they opened for Foghat in NYC and that was a really good time. I spent my time backstage with them and Foghat and if I had played my cards right at the time, instead of using Charlie’s dressing room to take a call from Vancouver,  I probably would be dating Charlie by now. He looks great wrapped in only a towel from the waist down by the way…

My plan is also to meet up with the members of Blue Oyster Cult, specifically Buck, and ask him if I may write a review of the band for Blogcritics. If I’m going to write a review, I prefer it be after attending a live event; just listening to the material isn’t quite the same. I met Buck several years ago at Nicki Beach. I wonder if he’ll remember me? Charlie did. He was at the same gig. How very weird.

Three Dog Night will be a child’s dream come true. If there ever was one band that formed my childhood listening experience, it would be them. Just hearing, the songs, One, I’ve Never been to Spain and Shambala, transport me back in time. A time when the sun was always shining and skies were always blue.

Drowning Mona, a very quirky film with Bette Midler and a whole lot of Ugo’s, that I absolutely love, uses Shambala as the theme song throughout. A must see flick. Apparently, I’m not the only one that sees the irony in that song.

LA Guns??? Now this will be a trip. Sleaze Rock was definately not in my repertoire, so I have no idea how I ended up with a heavy metal guitarist in leopard tights for 5 years, but none the less, it happened and I did, so this show will be a voyage back down memory lane as well. With a somewhat creepy feel. Something about a man in leather pants after 50 that is just wrong. In so many ways. But what the heck!

Pat Travers? What can I say. Just another Canadian down the long line of the many I’ve known, worked with, been married to and had kids with. Here we go again!

Well, tthhhaaat’s all folks!!! 😉

Right now I’m heading down to the Keys for a few days of fishing and snorkeling. We’ll catch up later.