Fight the Amoral Fight


By: sp34n119w, 7:58 PM GMT on January 31, 2009

2008-2009 Super Bowl Fight Song

Need to hear it again?
Me, too!

Steelers City

(I have no attribution for this pic - if you know, please tell me)

"I LOVE Black and Gold"
From this corny tune - "Fans makin' Myron proud..."

This is the worst fan song EVER!!!
I love it ;)
"Stairway to Seven"

So, here's an antidote to that one...

My very humble shrine :)

Ahhh... this one just feels good...

Here we go.

Need a job?

By: sp34n119w, 1:42 AM GMT on January 23, 2009

Section The Rest (1638) below the second ------'s
Because I will be in and out, and because I want to hear from all of you, and because it is almost time to put up a Steelers blog (!!!!), I'm putting up the last of what I wrote on this topic, today. I know it's long but THIS IS THE GOOD STUFF, people!

Section 2 (624) below the ------'s

So, is 2,923 words too long for a blog entry? LOL
I'm going to do this in pieces, newest beneath the oldest, because if I try to edit it I'll get bored and it will never get posted.

Need a job? Section 1 (841):

Employment – noun
1.a) The act of employing. b) The state of being employed.
2.The work in which one is engaged; occupation
3.An activity to which one devotes time.

From the definition it is understood that being employed does not necessarily mean being paid or working full-time at a paying job. It can apply to mowing the lawn, knitting a scarf, or even obsessively checking the weather on the computer.
Most of us, though, think of employment as meaning working forty hours a week, outside the home, with pay and benefits, on a permanent, long-term basis.

Unfortunately, I know many people (more all the time) who are looking for the usual type of employment, and I've learned a thing or two from them and from my own experience that I thought I would pass on to others who are struggling in this economy. Maybe you've thought of this, maybe you haven't, but hey, you have to get outside the box when things are tough.

Volunteer – paid or unpaid
Volunteer work will benefit your search for full employment in ways you can not imagine (unless you've done it this way before!) and it is sometimes paid work. That's right! There is such a thing as a paid volunteer!

Some of the benefits include:
Feeling productive and contributory when unemployed. About the worst thing about being unemployed, and it seems to affect men more than women, is the feeling that one is no longer of value to one's family or community. In the U.S. we place a high value on money and paid work. That is derived from a sense shared by all humans that every member of society should be contributing to that society in some meaningful way. When one is unemployed for a long period of time it can become profoundly depressing. Aside from the obvious downside of being depressed, be assured that that state of mind is reflected in everything else one does, including searching for work. Very quickly, job hunters will find ways to avoid their search, just to avoid feeling worse when a job doesn't materialize. By volunteering, the job-seeker boosts their confidence and sense of purpose, and that will be reflected in every interaction with prospective employers (and family and friends, too!).

Staying in work mode. It isn't always easy getting out of bed to get ready for work. It is much more difficult to get up and get ready when there is no job to go to. By volunteering, even part-time, even only evenings or weekends, one can maintain structure and purpose in the work week.

Meeting like-minded people – and potential employers. There is a misconception that only housewives and retired persons choose to volunteer. Not so. I have met people from all walks of life, including many professionals and business owners, through volunteering. In fact, I recently met a long-time volunteer who is also a professional head-hunter (one who seeks employees for employers). You never know. In addition to fellow volunteers, there is likely to be some organization in charge that may have paid positions open at some future time. Anyone with experience in the field is a prime candidate for those positions. Yet more opportunities are in the form of donor organizations. That is, if one is working with a group that gets private funding through local businesses, one may find employment opportunities with one of those companies. And even those housewives and retirees know people who may take their recommendations to heart.

Showcase one's talents and abilities. In a tight job market, volunteering is a way to show off one's talents and skills to all those prospective employers mentioned above. This is so much more effective than a piece of paper! Everyone that a volunteer comes in contact with will have the chance to see what that person is made of. Can't beat it.

Transitional training on the cheap. Many job search books and articles will tell job seekers to go back to school to learn new skills or expand and update current skills. That's great if the job seeker has the time and the money to do that. Few will take that route simply because they really just want a job. Also, for many, school doesn't feel productive and leads to further depression and lethargy (and procrastination) regarding the hunt. Volunteering offers an opportunity to expand knowledge, learn new skills, or even start a whole new career. For instance, construction workers can look for work all they want but, in the current job climate, they just won't find much. Perhaps such a seeker has some dream they were always putting off chasing because they were always working. Now is the time to pursue other interests while contributing to the community and making contacts. There is no telling where that can lead.

Feel good about yourself, keep working, surround yourself with good people and potential employers or contacts, show the world how awesome you are, and develop personal and professional skills. What could be better than that?


Well, making money while doing those things could make it better, right? I'll get to that.
First, here's just a few thoughts on volunteering, both paid and unpaid.

Volunteering requires only as much time commitment as one is willing to offer. You can work 2 hours a month, 2 hours a week, 2 hours a day, or, you can make it a full-time vocation with one or more positions. Now, in most cases, that doesn't mean you can come and go as you please. It does mean that a potential volunteer can choose a position that suits their schedule. But, and I really mean this, if you say you are going to be somewhere at a certain time on a certain day to do certain work, be there. People are depending on you.

Last week I met a woman who volunteers just one afternoon a week to meet and greet folks at a visitor's center. It is not a huge commitment of her time and it doesn't seem like a terribly important position. If she weren't there, though, someone else would have to stop what they are doing to do what she was supposed to be doing. Not cool and totally undermines the purpose of the volunteer. Just show up. It's a job whether you are getting paid or not and, if you are trying to impress potential employers, skipping out on your duties is not the way to do it. I can tell you that this is the number one complaint of volunteer coordinators – that too many volunteers see their work as last on their list of priorities, if it's even on the list. I have known people to blow off work for things like going to a neighbor's kid's Little League game, just for something to do, or to a hair salon appointment that was scheduled during hours they knew they were supposed to work. This is not okay. Okay?
Having said that, let me also say that there are volunteer positions where one can come and go as one pleases. If you want a job like that, go find it, just don't treat a more schedule-dependent job in the same way, and don't expect to get a lot of job leads, either.

Times are tough and getting tougher. If you have kids, stop and think about what their job prospects are going to be when they come of age. Volunteering as teenagers is a great way for them to gain a serious edge on the competition. As you will read in the next installment, it can also be a great way for young adults to start a career, earn money and, in some cases, college funds!

It can be surprisingly difficult to volunteer. Some organizations are really good at following up on inquiries while with others you will practically have to sit on someone to find out how to get involved in the work. It has a lot to do with the type of work and the management skills of those in charge as well as their past experiences with volunteers. Regarding past experiences, as an instance: many people will express interest in helping out at an animal shelter if they happen to see, say, an exhibit at the county fair. These folks fill out information forms and then, when they are contacted, turn out to be too busy. Repeatedly. It is a true waste of an employee's or active volunteer's time to call and re-call all the people who mean well but are not willing to commit, so, they don't. Therefore, if you really want to work for a particular organization, you may have to just show up and pitch in, rather than waiting for them to contact you.

It doesn't have to be that difficult, though. Here it comes – the easy way to volunteer and possibly get PAID -

Americorps – this is the huge, bureaucratic nightmare of an organization that, it turns out, works pretty darn well. What has happened (I think) is that this one organization has become a clearinghouse for various non-profits and other community groups to find workers. There are three different programs, one of which is age-dependent (17-25, I think), another deals with existing state or local programs, and the third is national service.
The cool thing is, they make it easy on you. Go to the website, fill out a form, choose the type of service, and they contact you with opportunities and information.
The downside, if you can call it that, is that most positions require a 6-month, one-year, or two-year commitment. Some require travel or even moving but many may be local to you. Some require previous experience or education while with others there are no requirements (well, you have to be a citizen, and things like that, naturally). I'm saying that there are lots of choices! Check it out!

California Conservation Corps (CCC) is an organization in California and it has been around for about 30 years. For youngsters, ages 18-25(?) it is a fantastic chance to get work experience and learn about the great outdoors. Among many things, they do trail clearing, camp maintenance, brush clearing, and fire fighting! In fact, it is one of the best places for a kid who wants to be a fireman to get started. And, CCC pays! For kids who aren't ready for college or are undecided about their future, this is a good place to go for a year. I believe that Montana has a similar organization and I'm sure other states do, too.

The main difference between Americorps and CCC is that Americorps mostly works with people and the various conservation corps mainly work in the outdoors. Also, the age thing – all the CC's that I know of are for youth, while Americorps has something for every age.

Other volunteer opportunities are all around you and cover just about every interest.

Art Most museums have volunteers working in them doing everything from docent work to meet-and-greet. How would you like to spend a portion of your week surrounded by your favorite artworks and, perhaps, teaching others about those works?

Nature/outdoors Indoors or out, there are numerous opportunities here. Again, museums (as natural history museums and the like) always appreciate help. The National Parks have volunteers working visitor's centers, leading tours, teaching students, clearing trails and cleaning campgrounds, just about everything they do for regular maintenance either is or can be done by volunteers. NOAA has a fairly exhaustive (not exhausting) training program here for docents to the Channel Islands. I imagine they do similar things elsewhere. The docents that I've met are pretty high on the whole thing – they learned all about the flora and fauna and they get to tell others about it and they pick and choose when they work. State Parks have similar programs with varying levels of knowledge or training being necessary – all the way down to “none”. One woman I know goes to a State Park every Sunday making sure that visitors follow the rules. Since nearly everyone does, she spends most of her time bird watching!

Elderly or disabled Call shut-ins, deliver food, run errands, read aloud, for the elderly or disabled. Look for a hospice center and see what you can do there. Hospitals desperately need volunteers in a wide variety of jobs.

Kids Coach, tutor at schools, libraries, and community centers. Mentor a child through Big Brothers/Sisters (big commitment there) or other program. Become a foster parent or a provide a safe house (really big commitments) or become a child advocate (not so big commitment).

Animals Pick your critter and find a rescue organization who needs your help. Dogs and cats are obvious, but, look for raptor centers or other bird rescues, reptile and amphibian rescue, large mammals, small mammals... you name it and, I guarantee, someone's rescued it and needs lots of help keeping it fed and clean. They also can always use help with fund raising and event organizing so, if that's your deal, go talk to them.

Books/Libraries/Reading Obvious choices are things like literacy programs. My local library participates in FLAIR, which is a State funded program to teach English-speaking adults how to read and write. There is also an after school tutoring program which is mostly staffed by teenagers but they'd love to have adults there to help out. Many libraries have fund-raising groups associated with them, usually called “Friends of the Library” or something equally self-explanatory, and that's a volunteer job, but may end up costing you a few bucks. If your local libraries and/or schools have seen funding cut back, they could probably use help with the little stuff, so that the paid employees can be free to do what only they can do.

Government/Politics/Community Action Join a political group like, I don't know, NOW or something. See if your city or county has boards that citizens can sit on and you can have a direct impact on your community. Sometimes there are support organizations for police and fire.
Other – Kiwanis, Rotary Club, VFW, Optimists or Soroptimists... the list is really endless.

You know what happens, sometimes? People are so caught up in their own ego, their rightful pride over their past accomplishments in their work, that they insist that they deserve the job they are looking for and never see all the other (maybe better) possibilities. Expand your horizons! Volunteering is a great way to do that.

Okay, so I have said my bit (quite a bit!) about volunteering – what it is, what it is not, how it can help you find a job, and some leads on where to look for opportunities.

This is about getting a real job, though, not just volunteering. What other ways can that be accomplished?

Temporary work, through an agency, can lead to a permanent position at a company and keep you financially solvent, in the meantime. This is often overlooked by professionals, government workers, and by folk who have been in the same job for a long period of time, for various reasons. There are temp agencies that specialize in placing upper management, medical professionals, educators, and others, and they should not be discounted if you're seriously in need of work.

Part-time work in a less than ideal job. Waiting tables, customer service, office work or, if you are young and strong enough, hard labor. Here's one for educators (or, in fact, anyone with either a college degree or any experience) - tutoring for one of the large companies that tutor school-aged children for a fee.
Also, if you like tutoring (or can teach basic computing or guitar or whatever), tell your friends you are available to them or their children. I know a couple who tutored part-time to put themselves through grad school and ended up with a business that allows them to never leave their kids without a parent at hand. They now charge fifty bucks an hour.

If you know what you want to do and are unable to find such a position currently, consider a combination of part-time and temporary jobs that will have some of the same benefits of volunteering that I mentioned at the top, and will also help pay the bills.

Two anecdotes:

I have a friend who is working on her MBA (on the 5-year plan, it seems, and wants to go for the PhD, next - yikes) and she is an accountant, by trade. She hates accounting and knows just what she wants to do... but she's not qualified to do what she wants to do. In the meantime, she is working, on average, three jobs during the week (it varies). She got a part-time gig as a tutor with one of those companies that advertises on TV. She serves on catering jobs on weekends or whenever she can get it. She does temp work as an accountant, despite hating it, because it pays.

Another friend is a Realtor. He isn't making much money at that. Besides selling real estate, he works as a store clerk, and at a museum doing maintenance, elsewhere as a security guard, and at a community center with kids, regularly, all part-time. He also does handyman work, or gardening, or whatever anyone will pay him for. He's never home and that's okay because he's going to lose his house to foreclosure, anyway. But, he won't starve.

Both of these folks (and others I could tell you about - and others that you know) are doing what they have to do. They aren't going to win any status awards and aren't padding their resumes. They don't have company paid health insurance but they do have car insurance. They survive. One day, I hope, they will thrive. There is no guarantee of that, though, is there?

They are also, both, volunteers. She tutors an adult learner, for free. He mentors at-risk children, for free.

It won't surprise you to learn that they both get leads to employment from the folks they meet at all of their paid and non-paid jobs.

So, if you can, if you have the means - or the desperation - get out there and work for the sake of working. It will bring you into contact with people who will lead you to the work you want and need. In the meantime, it will make you feel good, it will boost your confidence, it will relieve stress and worry, it will help put things in perspective, and it will add immense value to your community!

Here We GO!!!

By: sp34n119w, 8:34 PM GMT on January 11, 2009

My own little Steelers shrine...

Are the Ravens going to the Superbowl?



Found my cloud cover

By: sp34n119w, 5:27 AM GMT on January 05, 2009

In Beaumont, of all places! Well, it was in Santa Paula, too, but I am in Beaumont (Cali – not Texas, lol) so that's what matters to me at the moment. Friday night it was profoundly foggy. I could barely see across the street and it was misting – more like condensation, really.

Saturday it was cloudy all day with just one brief shower in the morning, fantastic cloud formations all day, and a short but fun episode of hail at night. Yep, hail. I looked on radar and didn't see anything at all until I zoomed way in on the town. The storm cell (if you can call it that) was really small and nothing else around it. Cool, huh?

Sunday has been clear and cold and windy. The only clouds left were over the mountains to the north, south, and east of me. Mt San Jacinto was almost completely encased in cloud all day – very pretty.

The cloud cover did its thing Friday and Saturday nights, keeping the temps in the mid to high 40's. Tonight it is crystal clear and a little breezy so the temp is dropping. I'll live, I suppose, but won't spend much time out there.
The half moon is so bright that I can see the snow glowing atop Mt San Gorgonio. That just about makes up for the cold :)

Not only that, but, there was a mag 2.8 earthquake practically under my bed this morning at 4:34 AM. It didn't wake me up, which is too bad, since I like the little ones.

Just thought I'd drop in with that... hmmm, what else have I got?
Oh, I was out on Anacapa Island last weekend, again, and had another unique and wonderful time there. I took pics but haven't even looked at them, yet! Busy busy.
Now I'm dog-sitting for a few more days and there's no ideal spot to set up the computer and I don't know how long I can sit here because I'm not comfy. Besides, I'm on FIOS and don't want to get spoiled since I can't get it at my house ;)
Enjoying the HD TV, too.
Poor Miami :(
Yea, San Diego! We're gonna crush 'em! Grrrrr!

That's it, my back hurts - think I'll lurk around and try to catch up, at least!

[My plan, when I left the Tao verse on its own last week, was to come back (in a couple of days!) to the translation discussion. Clearly, that hasn't happened. Perhaps another day. Though, they say you can't go home again. All the theys in my life tell me I'm easily distracted. What's with those theys, anyway, always telling people what's what and who's who - that's what I want to know! Think I'll go have another look at the moon... ]

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Fight the Amoral Fight

About sp34n119w

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. - Edmund Burke

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