Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stuff: Whiskey in the Tub-O

Ah, the photogenic duo of Pat and Heidi...

Many, in America, might not think much of former president Jimmy Carter. But, he did give us back the right to home brew; sparking the micro-brew beer revolution. This, thought, did not repeal the ban on home distilling. However, you can buy an aging kit, where the distilled whiskey is already done, and all you do is add the barrel and a little of your time, and patience.

And a bathroom fixture.

Pat and Heidi are dear, close friends made back from on old contract gig with a travel agency. Both have the gift of a great eye for photography, as well as being talented artists and crafters. It's there work that's featured on NTA's last CD give away. You can also see more of Heidi's work at her Flickr gallery.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stuff: Drunken Sage...

At some point, I'm sure Kris had some wise wisdom about something, or other, that she saw going on in my life. But, somewhere between her observation, and her intervention, there were a few drinks.

At least she meant well, that's for sure. And it's not like I haven't seen my way to give much needed advice by passing by... or through... a bar, or two, in my time. It is, of course, important to note, as I Tweeted, that drunkenly saying "I'm not gonna be a character in your comic" is a sure fire way to end up a character in my comic.

Please don't consider that a challenge...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Stuff: Big Brother, My Employer...

Okay, so... WHAT. THE. HELL?!

As we've been discussing, here on Stuff, I've decided to return to school, get my degree, and start doing this whole legitimate artist thing. But my financial aid is only going to go so far. I'm going to need to go and get me some part time work in order to make up the difference.

No bid deal, right? I mean, I used to do retail; even a little management and third key type stuff.

But, just to get a job stocking shelves at one particular art store, I had to fill out a one hour online application that included 260 personality questions and a ten minute timed math and logic test. (More shocking if you've ever been to this store and seen who actually stocks the shelves.) It took my a half hour of the same nonsense just to apply to a big box store tool retailer.

And, yes, in every case - for each of the ten, or so, applications I've filled out, now - I've had to authorize a full background and criminal check, list where I've levied over the last seven years, and sign off I'm prepared to submit to a drug test.

And all this just so I can work a part time job for near minimum wage putting junk on shelves and running a register.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stuff: Getting Schooled

First off, sorry that this isn't quite a complete page; it's a last minute substitution. That episode will appear next week.

Those following the adventures of IronChuck, here on Stuff, know that, recently, I made a big life decision. And so, I quit my day job, up ended Grand Central Station, and moved the lot of everything up the peninsula so that I could attend school to, finally, get my degree; now changed from Animation, back in the nineties, to Graphic Design - armed with pre approval from FAFSA for the aid I would need to go back to school.

Then my old college transcripts were plugged into the equation.

See, it turns out, fifteen years ago, I was just four classes from a degree in film animation. Not that I knew that, mind you. No; time, money, and unexpected tragedy forced me to leave school in 1999. Suddenly survival became my top priority. So, I had to go get a full time job.

Now, in 2012, I'm trying to get back into school; to get a degree, and move up from the dead end life I've found myself in. There's just one problem. FAFSA now believes I have, or am so close to, a degree that they've decided I no longer qualify for aid.

So, I saw a school counselor, made an educational plan, and petitioned FAFSA to let me return; as my classes were, in some cases, over fifteen years old and completely outdated from the current animation market. Literally. There was no CG animation when I was in school; it was still emerging. And no one in America produces traditional cell animation, anymore. It's either all over seas, or, in some cases - like Disney and Warner Brothers - has been totally shut down.

Then, yesterday, I got this email:

I am writing to inform you that your Petition For Over The 'Average'
Timeframe has been reviewed and is in a pending status. The Financial Aid
Director will not be able to make a decision about your appeal until you
have registered in the classes listed on your educational plan for Spring
quarter 2012 (GID 50, GID 54 and MUS 8). Please contact the Financial Aid
Office as soon as you have enrolled in your Spring classes so that we can
finish processing your petition.

I've replied with my concerns and issues, but have yet to hear back. Understandable, as the office is jam packed with students desperately scrambling to also secure the means to go back to school to do better for themselves. And I know FAFSA is also actively screening applicants to weed out those folks who spend their life abusing the system for a free ride.

Still, all my understanding isn't doing me any good, as my life is now in a bit of free fall. Not that I don't have back up plans and workarounds now moving into place, mind you. it's just annoying that, to get a better education, to be a better worker, and help revitalize the economy, I have to fight through such utter crap.

But then I just keep remembering that the most beautiful of stones of the earth and sea are made by the churning of the roughest of waters and the greatest of pressures.

So, soon, I should be a freakin' diamond.