Tuesday, June 27, 2006

That Guy...

Last winter break, when I was talking about my plans to come home permanently in the Spring, the Bear said to me, “Chewie, you realize when you come home, you’re going to be ‘That Guy’. You know what I’m talking about.”

And so I do. 28 years old, jobless, moved back in with the parents, eating the parents’ food, and borrowing the family car. Pretty pathetic really.

It’s been over a month since I got back from Japan, and still no job. (Subtracting the time I was out West, I think it’s been about a month even). That’s a bit discouraging, although by national averages I suppose that’s not too bad yet. Brett and Sarah were telling me the national average is about 6 months. I suspects that’s for “real jobs”, and not for the kind of service industry/temporary type jobs I’m looking for at the moment, but most people I know who came back from overseas (whether coming back from Japan, or back from the army) did have a rough transition period finding new work.

Part of the problem is that not only do I not have a job, I’m not even sure what kind of job I want to do. As I wrote before on this blog, I’ve been thinking about going on to graduate school (it seems everyone with a history major eventually ends up going back to school sooner or later) but the more I think about this I’m not sure this would be realistic with having to support Shoko as a dependent. (Perhaps the easiest thing would just be to just go back to Japan. I’m reluctant to do this because at the moment I’m so happy about being back in America, but Shoko already has a job in Japan, and English teaching jobs are never hard to find.)

Initially the magnitude of the task of figuring out my future somewhat paralyzed me to action. I would look at job postings, and think of all sorts of reasons why I couldn’t do it. (I read recently that first borns often tend to be “frustrated perfectionists”. They want to do everything perfectly, and so often end up putting off major tasks instead of slowly chipping away at them. I think some of this might apply to me). Now that I’ve settled into a routine a little bit, I make it a policy to try and send out two applications a day, whether or not I think I’ve got a good chance or not. I’m still applying for temporary jobs as well. I had an interview last week at a well known supermarket chain in West Michigan, although I’m not sure if this will lead to a job. (My sister wrote about this in somewhat critical terms on her own weblog).

Other than that, I’ve been doing my best to renew my involvement in the West Michigan activist scene. I’ve been going to a lot of interesting presentations and meetings. A lot of people have been asking me how I find out about all these events, but it’s pretty easy actually. West Michigan is a lot more politically active than you might think, you just have to know where to look. Media Mouse is always a good site to follow, as well as the West Michigan Peace and Justice Calender on IGE’s Website. I’ve put both of these on my list of permanent links to the left, and if you’re in Grand Rapids I highly recommend checking them out from time to time. I’ve really been learning a lot from the various teach-ins and lectures that are posted on the Calender.

And of course meeting old friends, and good conversation. As Mr. Guam noted on his weblog, he and Lucretius and myself had a very good night discussing Roman history and comic books (as separate topics that is.) Those are the kind of conversations I really missed having when I was in Japan.

Useless Wikipedia Fact
Tentacle rape is a concept found in some erotic horror Japanese animation titles, where various tentacled creatures (usually fictional monsters) rape or otherwise impale young women (or, less commonly, men). Much of the genre also consists of domination/humiliation and bondage fetishes, since the "victim" is typically restrained by the appendages. Tentacled creatures appeared in Japanese erotica long before animated pornography; Maeda explained that he invented the practice to get around strict Japanese censorship regulations, which prohibit the depiction of the penis but apparently do not prohibit showing sexual penetration by a tentacle or similar (often robotic) appendage.

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky spoke at West Point Academy in April, but for some reason it's just starting to make the blog rounds now. It was on "This Modern World" recently, and off of Phil's blog as well. As Phil says, this kind of thing sure warms the heart. Unfortunately it's the exception rather than the rule, but when it does happen it makes you proud to be an American. This is the diversity of opinion that America should be. If West Point can listen to Noam Chomsky, maybe Calvin can get well known commencement speakers who aren't right wing politicians.

The whole thing is availabe here. It's about an hour long, but worth the time (and you can always put it on in the background while you do other things). If you can't spare the hour, then at least watch this 5-minute clip which contains several excellent points.


Chris Powell said...

hey, if u do come back to japan have you considered studying at APU. I dont know of they offer the courses you want but its a possibility

SN said...

honestly joel...tentacle rape? i'm going to start looking up jobs for you...