Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ahhh, Technology

I would like to take a moment to thank all of the computer/phone geeks in this world.

I don't mean geeks like me, either. I'm a bit of a geek, but the only reason I can do so much with a computer/phone is because I've learned the value of Google. And I use it quite often.

I mean the geeks who actually sit at home and work out the solutions to our everyday computer problems, then post their findings on the Web for all us lazy geeks to Google. You guys are awesome.

See, I was in a period of need. My laptop has probably breathed it's final breath (piece of shit HP...goddammit...way to put out an extended warranty and cover all laptops BUT mine...motherfuckers...mother board problems...you know how much mother boards cost???).

Unfortunately, my LIFE was on that computer. Meaning, of course, my music library and my iTunes. Now, my iPhone used to be synced to Jay's computer, which worked out just fine because his piece of shit computer at least will TURN ON. But I sacrificed over 1.000 songs from his computer so I could put my 1300 or so from my own computer onto my phone. Then I copied as many songs as I could from his library onto a flash drive and transferred them over.

Yeah, that was a lot of work.

Needless to say, that's all gone. And my iPhone is currently the only proof that I have a music library. It took me well over a year to rebuild my library after the LAST time my computer fucked up and I had to restore to factory settings.

I'm not wiping out my music again.

But I'll never use iTunes again. So what do I do? Google!!

How to put music on iPhone without using iTunes.

I found some interesting little tidbits, but I was directed to a program called CopyTrans Manager. So I downloaded it...and it's A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

Then I downloaded another nifty little program called iRinger. Now thanks to my CopyTrans Manager and iRinger, I not only have stolen all kinds of music from Jay's computer (muahahahaha) but I also have created custom ringtones for my iPhone. So whenever my phone rings you hear:


(That would be from the song "Do Whatchu Wanna Do" by Psychodrama.)

I like to think about it this way. The price for an iPhone is highway robbery any way you look at it. You're paying an exorbitant amount for it, whether your money goes toward the purchase of the phone or towards the damn near $100/mo plan.

I'm sorry. I'm not gonna pay $250 for the phone, then $100/mo for the shitty plan AND some ringtones.

Honestly, people will do anything they can to make a dollar, even off something as stupid as having a special song when your phone rings.

And don't get me started on Callback tones or whatever THE fuck those things are called...you know when you call somebody and the ring is a song?

No offense to anyone who has that. But it doesn't make any sense.

Why would I spend money so OTHER PEOPLE can enjoy a song? If I'm gonna spend money on a song, I want that song to play whenever I call someone else.

I mean, are the people who call me gonna contribute to the cost of that particular call back tone?Probably not.

More than likely, they won't even mention it. I won't get a "Hey girl, your callback tone sure is neat!" or "Demiera, I want a callback tone just like yours, where'd you get it?"


If I'm in the company of someone else with an iPhone who has not yet learned the (not-so-huge) secret of putting your own custom ringtones on your phone and my phone happens to ring, I will get a "Whoa, dude, you got ringtones on your phone? How'd you do that??"


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Plazo Sesamo

So last night I came to a huge conclusion about why I can't speak Spanish fluently given my 11 years (okay, okay, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now) of Spanish class in school.

I mean, it's kind of embarrassing to have devoted that much time to learning a language you still aren't fluent in.

If you want to learn a language, any language, you need to make sure you're learning it by associating the foreign word with an object, not a word.

Let me say that again. Associate foreign words with objects, not words.

This is going to sound crazy, but Jay and I watched Sesame Street... en espanol... it was the best learning experience ever. It's a completely visual process, and I was intrigued by how well I felt I could grasp the show, even though it was entirely in Spanish.

Yes, I know. It's a kid's show. But I was learning, dammit.

I learned that a mariposa is a butterfly, how to say the letter "M", and that if you can't sleep, you say no puedo dormir.

The fundamental error in the way most advanced Spanish teachers teach Spanish is that they tend to associate words and phrases in Spanish with words we use in English. In other words, it's a huge conjugation exercise.

This method of teaching leads to failure, because a person cannot feasibly learn to speak a language when they force their brain to follow so many steps to communicate. You make yourself do extra steps.

Let's say the task at hand is for someone to say a phrase to me in Spanish, and I have to also respond in Spanish.

Sounds pretty simple and straightforward, right?

For me, it's not. Let's say the phrase is "Que quieres comer?"

Step one: I must translate this phrase into English. The phrase means "What do you want to eat?"

Step two: Now that I've translated the phrase into a language I speak fluently, I can finally think of how to answer the question. Suppose I want chicken (no black comments please...JAY :P). Now I formulate my response in English: "I want chicken."

But wait. The task is for me to answer the question in Spanish, not in English. So the third step is for me to translate my response into Spanish. My answer would be "Quiero pollo."

It may not sound like an unreasonable task, but imagine your brain having to follow this process every time you attempt to understand a sentence in Spanish. I spend so much energy and attention translating the phrase that I don't have a chance to understand what's going on.

Thus, the fundamental flaw in my learning: the association of Spanish to English words, not to the objects they represent.

I can look at an apple and tell you it's a manzana. I can look at the color green and tell you it's verde. I can look at the number 15 and tell you it's quince. Anything I was taught through simple repetition, however, is gone.

Likewise, I picked up a couple of words they don't teach you in class, like pendejo. What's funny is I don't even know the English translation for this word, but I can use it in everyday language. Like when I called the cat a pendejo for knocking everything off the table.

If you're trying to learn a different language, don't try to read a book about learning it or buy those stupid computer programs that make you repeat phrases from English translations, because at the end of the day you're only going to end up frustrated. I really believe if you do it right you can become fluent in a language for (almost) free.

Immerse yourself in the language. I live around a couple of Mexican restaurants and supermarkets, so whenever we go to the store I'm associating names with meats and fruits. I look at menus and try to learn there. It's a never-ending process, but I must learn Spanish before I have children... I want them to be bilingual but I have to be first, or else I'll never know what they're talking about...


Friday, November 20, 2009

Should Have Seen It Coming...

Dear Life,

Today, I got fired.

Never been fired before...but I suppose there's a first time for everything.

The general manager was nice about it...and he may have been lying, but it seemed like he really didn't want to fire me. I guess that's why I'm not mad. He said I'm a great employee but not for the job I was working.

Which I was expecting. I knew by the end of this month I probably wouldn't be there anymore.


Let the record show that I worked my ASS off at that job. I never gave up. I asked for help, I researched, I did everything I could. I trained another person so well they bumped her up TWO departments. So obviously I did know what I was doing. I had the mechanics of the job down, the steps to follow, the scripts to read.

At the end of the day, though, I'm just not a collector.

I had hoped that in this job, I would learn to be more aggressive. I had hoped I would learn to be less afraid of doing certain things. I had hoped that through this experience I would learn how to be more assertive, how to go after what I want. I learned a different lesson from this. I learned that sometimes, desire to do well isn't enough. I learned that others can help you only so far...the rest comes from within. Yes, I worked hard and that was obvious. Yes, I put forth my best effort. But I was really just running at top speed on a treadmill...wasting all my energy and not going anywhere. It was a waste of time for both me and the company.

Of course, I'm being completely logical minded on the outside. But I still have tears waiting to fall. I won't say I'm not accustomed to failing but I'm certainly not used to failing at things I put real effort into. But I will not allow myself to think this was all for nothing.

Time to dust myself off, listen to some feel-good music, clean up the house, eat some comfort food, and start the search for a new job. No time to sit and dwell on failures or setbacks...life moves way too fast for that...

Monday, November 16, 2009


What do you want to be when you grow up?

The time I ever answered that question (that I can remember) was when I was around 3 or 4 years old. I wanted to be a firefighter, and I was convinced I'd grow up to be the best fire fighting machine around.

Ah, how times change.

Over the course of the years, my dreams evolved. I went from fire fighter to nurse to teacher to lawyer to forensic psychologist to lawyer again to high powered business woman.

Now that it's time for me to actually put my dreams in motion, I'm at a loss.

Somehow when you're younger it's much more fun to think about what you want to be when you get older. Maybe it's the fact that when you're young, your dreams remain largely that: dreams. You can't really do much for your dream of what you want to be when you grow up because you normally need to grow up first.

I'm being faced with this decision much earlier than I expected or wanted to be, but in a way it's my fault. I'd rather not be one of those people who spends 20-30 years at a job they hate because they were too afraid to confront their dreams and make them work.

The thing about a dream is there is a reason a dream remains a dream. There's always some obstacle between it and reality.

What do you do when the obstacle lies not in achieving the dream, but in determining the dream itself?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Talk Like You're The Ish

So, Jay and I were conversing on the eloquent art of collecting large balances from a big company.

He's the brilliant mind with the talk. So he, joking around, rolls off the tongue with this smooth operator ass talk off. I mean, it was perfect. He showed no hesitation, no shame, no stuttering. His voice was strong, convincing. He could care less if the person paid the debt and you could hear it...made me wanna go get my checkbook.

And I'm sitting there listening to him, trying to decide whether I should grab a pen and paper and take notes or just be jealous as shit that he can talk like that and I can't.

Teach me to talk like that, I begged him.

"Talk like you're the shit," he says, and leaves it at that.

I couldn't talk like I was the shit if I literally was a pile of feces.

My biggest problem is that I never took the time to develop confidence...I'd always thought that if I weren't the highest form of modest, I would come off as arrogant. In doing so, I think I've wandered to the most extreme end of the modesty spectrum and become rather comfortable with not having that face that point in my life.

And now, I have to. My job requires it, my living situation requires it, my responsibilities require it. I need to learn to have my own voice and not be afraid to share it.

So what should I do? I mean, should I stand in front of the mirror every day and just tell myself I'm the shit until I start to believe it? Should I find a mantra and post it on my desk to look at on every call to remind myself that I'm in control?

Not gonna lie...for about a week, I did feel like I was the shit. I was popping big payments left and right, and I was feeling great. Then something happened and BOOM...the confidence was gone. I never found it back.

So guess what...if it takes chanting a mantra between each call, I'll do it. If it takes waking up 5 minutes early so I can give myself a proper mirror pep talk before starting my day, so be it. If while I'm bored I gotta write down my frustrations to keep them out of mind so I can stay focused, then I'll write away. Put my phone away during work. Do nothing but focus on doing what I need to do to get what I need.

I'm not going to go in there tomorrow with my chest all puffed out, thinking I'll get paid on my first call. It doesn't work that way.

But it IS about time to get in, kick ass, and take names later.

Let's do this.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Prayer

Dear God:

I haven't prayed in a while, I know. It's got nothing to do with a lack in faith in you and everything to do with me wanting to be an independent spirit and make it on my own.

But I can't do it. Something's truly wrong. I wake up nauseous almost every morning, and I'm not pregnant. Staying up past 10 is an accomplishment, and once I'm sleep I'm OUT. I don't eat, I'm always worried, and reportedly I talk in my sleep now too.

I'm sure my afflictions are my emotions breaking through to a physical medium, where they may actually be acknowledged. I start crying out of nowhere, and honestly if you asked me why I was crying I wouldn't be able to tell you. I get angry at the snap of a finger at the smallest things...to the point of almost cursing out unsuspecting jewellers or almost jumping out the car to destroy a UPS truck that cut us off (true story).

Could stress really be the driving force behind all of this? Or is there something more serious?

I don't want to wake up crying anymore. I don't want to continually pass out at 8 at night anymore. I don't want to snap at Jay anymore, I don't wanna wake up to find out I've called him something truly derogatory in my sleep (I'm so sorry, by the way). I don't want to wake up asking "Can I quit today?". I don't want to go into work knowing that I may be suspended today, or knowing that the end of this month could be the end of my employment just because I've been threatened with the pink slip twice already.

Yes, God, the solutions are easy. Keep your head up. Find a new job. Don't complain about it. Talk to your managers, talk to their managers, talk to HR, talk to somebody. Keep a positive attitude. I've been listening, I swear I have. But as logical as I like to think I am, I also know that I'm an emotion-driven creature, and that if I stifle or try to falsely confront my emotions, eventually they're going to affect me in other ways...like physically.

So first, I pray that you give everyone around me the patience to deal with me...especially Jay. He gets the brunt end of my frustration, depression, and anger and it's not fair.

I'm so confused, God. I don't lead a bad life. I have a wonderful fiancee, my own apartment, and a job where truthfully if I didn't feel so stressed I'd probably have the potential to do really well. I've got a great set of best friends, and even though I haven't seen them in a while I still do care about each and every one of them. I'm finally getting the family support I've wanted for years and years. Why can't I just embrace that and be happy? Why am I continually depressed?

Please, just give me the strength to make it through this. Give me the confidence to not come out of each day beaten. I need to be able to stand on my own two feet and know that no matter what life throws at me, the only thing that can truly make me fall is myself.

Please and thank you, God.