They’re doing some trail improvement where I normally take my weekend morning walks, so I’ve taken an alternate route around that, which is neither here nor there, except: I’ve discovered Narnia in my own backyard.
It’s a lamppost! In the middle of nowhere! I love it!
Actually, there used to be a house here, not that you can tell (except for the lamppost, of course). At one point, people were living there. Then it was boarded up. Then, overnight (almost), if vanished. (Eminent domain, perhaps? Magic? We may never know.)
But someone, a closet Narnia fan maybe, left behind the lamppost.
I’m hoping they don’t take the lamppost away. I’d hate to lose the Narnia in my own backyard.
Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, currently on display until Sept 09 at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one’s aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you.
Naturally I had to find out how the internet sees both me and Darcy. Here’s the screen shots of what I got:
Here’s me (click the thumbnail to see the full image):
That really big bar, or really, the biggest bar? Books. Personally, I think the description should match the bar. Instead of books, it should be BOOOOOOKS!!!!
And here’s Darcy:
Clearly Darcy has a few more interests than I do (or perhaps it’s pulling info on more than one “Darcy Vance”). And, *ahem* illegal? Wow. The things one doesn’t know about one’s writing partner.
The Geek Girls glommed this video from fellow Deb — author of Shadowed Summer, Saundra Mitchell. She always finds the coolest stuff. Check her out here.
So. I know this boy. He’s fifteen years old and trying to extricate himself from his first real relationship. Plus, he’s trying to do it kindly, with respect for the girl — because although he thought she was a great first girlfriend, she is clearly not The One. What’s the best way to be broken up with? You know, the one that doesn’t leave your heart all shattered like tempered glass?
Maybe relationships (at least teen and young adult ones) should come with a User Agreement?
Fun but time consuming. I could see spending way too much time at that site. So, instead, I’ll work up some posts for this week (I hope) with actual words in them. Stay turned for mini book reviews and an possible excursion into the former East Germany. Darcy may have a few things up her sleeve too. She never fails to surprise me.
I love baseball. I always have. I probably always will. I attended my first professional baseball game when I was just two years old. And, in the big backyards behind Spring Garden Drive, there was always a ballgame going – though shortly after I moved to the neighborhood we were forced to switch to Wiffle Ball at Mrs. Massey’s request. According to her, once was enough when it came to baseballs sailing through her dining room window.
We moved again when I was nine. (My parents divorced.) I missed my dad. I missed my old school. I missed my friends. I missed those ballgames too. About the only positive I could find about the move was this: the town we moved to had a minor league baseball park.
My mom took my brother and me to almost every home game. It was cheap entertainment (and she may have had a small crush on one of the players). We moved another time or two but never too far away for a quick trip to ballpark. Eventually, my mom married again. Not to a baseball player, but to a fellow baseball fan. And so the nightly games continued.
I think I was twelve when the purpose of those trips to the ball field changed for me. Don’t get me wrong; I was still a fan. By then I’d found a BFF who like baseball too and, whenever the score was close, our butts were parked in the bleachers, rooting on our team. But the rest of the time, we wandered the stands and the dim and dirty concourse downstairs. Why? Well, you know who else liked to come to baseball games on warm summer evenings? Boys. Cute boys. Lots of them.
With all of this history, it is probably no big surprise that my first summer job was at the ballpark. I sold programs before the games and through the second inning. I was paid two dollars a game. That doesn’t sound like much – but there were benefits too. Free tickets to the games, for myself and my BFF. One free hot dog per night. All the popcorn I could eat. And more…
I learned how to talk to boys and I honed my flirting skills at that ballpark. I got my first French kiss there, under the bleachers with Steve, the hot dog boy. I learned how to say no there too. The team had made the playoffs and Steve thought we should celebrate by taking a trip to second base. When I declined, he pressed the issue by telling me that Nina, the slushy girl, wouldn’t say no.
Maybe it was all those innings of watching those players claw back from the jaws of defeat – I don’t know – but from somewhere I had learned that it’s not always whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts. So, as cute as Steve was, (and he was major league cute) I gave him my best wishes with Nina and let him go.
It wasn’t that hard to do. There was always Eric, or Jeff, or Scott. And while any of them would probably have been happy to score, they were just as content to sit with me up in the bleachers, swatting at mosquitoes and counting balls and strikes. They were willing to just be my friend.
I worked at the ballpark for four summers. In that time I graduated from programs to souvenirs to raffle ticket girl, from flirting with boys to flirting with men. I grew up to the sound of the crack of a bat and the roar of a crowd.
A couple of weeks ago I was in town, visiting family. From across the dinner table my stepfather looked at me over the top of his glasses. “Ballgame tonight,” he said. “We got you a ticket.” There was no question in his voice. There didn’t need to be. It was a warm summer night – of course I would go.
I bought a program and a hot dog, and climbed the bleachers to my favorite spot – halfway up on the first base side – and settled in to watch the game. Sometimes my eyes wandered though, and instead of watching the players on the field, I spied on the players in the stands. Boys still go to baseball games. Cute ones. Lots of them.
Girls still go to baseball games too. They still sell programs and raffle tickets, though I didn’t see any souvenirs. They still flirt with boys. When the 7th inning stretch came, I wondered if they still kissed those boys beneath the bleachers and I almost left my seat to take a look. In the end, I decided against it. I wouldn’t want to interrupt them – they had work to do ; )
Ah, the summer job. Back in the day, it wasn’t so easy to get–for me. I went to college out of state, but came home for the summer (to a town almost-but-not-quite like Bethany’s Prairie Stone in Geek Girl’s Guide).
Local employers didn’t want to hire someone simply for the summer. Sure, I had friends who lied and claimed to be transferring back to the local state college. But, I don’t like lying. Plus, that’s really a trick you can use once (the employments options being limited in town).
What’s a geek girl to do?
Enter manual labor.
For a couple summers during college, I worked for Green Giant corn pack. It wasn’t difficult to get hired; it was clear after my first night that many people only worked one night (oh, yes, they started you on the night shift) and never came back.
They liked to put the newbies on the niblet cutter. If you were good, you could make extra money, move up the line for the more choice corn cobs to put through your cutter, to earn even more money. If you could swing it, it was a pretty sweet deal.
I, on the other hand, got motion sick. Standing still. I know. But watching the conveyer belt (with corn) move past was too much. Although at the time, I didn’t know I was about to faint.
Hey, I was in ROTC and soldier girls didn’t faint.
I did feel dizzy and went to sit down. As I headed for the bench, I remember thinking:
Oh, that bench is so far away … I think I’ll lie down on the floor right here.
Which I guess is how my brain rationalized falling down and thudding against the wet concrete. Some strapping young man picked me up and carried me to the office. (Actually, I don’t remember if he was strapping, but I’m hoping he was.)
Luck was with me. The shift ended early that night; I wasn’t fired. To my surprise, they said I could come back the next night and try a different station.
So I did. I became a “corn on the cob” selector. I worked with the husker, who caught all the corn that didn’t make it through the husking machine husk-free, pulled out stalks, etc. I was tasked with selecting the nicest, prettiest, most mouth-watering cobs to be frozen for year-round enjoyment. (Because sometimes you really want corn on the cob in February.)
Quite the responsibility–with just enough back and forth movement that I didn’t get motion sick. As an added bonus, during the rest of the year, whenever I passed the frozen food section, I could annoy friends/family with:
Hey, you know I could’ve touched that corn. Sure you don’t want to buy it?
I didn’t do much with my friends during the last part of summer. Twelve on/twelve off plus the hour bus ride to and from the factory doesn’t leave a lot of time. And maybe smelling like corn silage isn’t the way to attract a guy (unless he was working corn pack, too).
But, I got to know a lot of different people: housewives making extra money, migrant workers who followed various harvests, college students, college dropouts, high school kids, people at a crossroads.
And in mid-August, we were all up early enough that, together, we watched the Perseids Meteor Shower. We waited for the bus, chins tipped toward the sky, and for once, I don’t think any of us minded being there.
What about you? Have an interesting/sucky summer job story? Any unexpected benefits from one?