Book Report: Winter’s Bone Has Come…and Hopefully Gone

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(Not fun, but a wonderful book.)

Not everything I read is great. Maybe if somebody as cool and awesome and funny and smart and handsome as me brags about all the smart and cool and well-written books he reads, maybe more people will read books more often. Wouldn’t it be neat if they actually read more of my stuff too?

My aunt just finished this book, so she wanted to watch it on my last night in Washington. I never heard about it. Jennifer Lawrence starred as Ree, who’s kind of like Katniss Everdeen, only meaner, tougher and uncaring about the cute boys in her district.

The book is a quick read. It’s written in a dialect from the Ozarks. Seeing the movie painted the characters for me, but the book fleshes those characters out even more. “Gone Girl” is another book I read recently that’s just as good as the book in a lot of ways.

Ree is an incredibly admirable character. You could mix this book up with a Jack Reacher or James Bond novel because of her toughness and bravery. Then you realize she’s only 16 or 17. If my parents disappeared today and I needed to take care of my two little brothers, the three of us would starve faster than a lost Dominoes truck.

Daniel Woodrell is a great writer. I’ll have to check more of his writing out.

I suggest this book, but, yuck. It’s not for the faint of heart. There are a few big scenes that scare the crap out of me or gross me out, but there are two that are pure phobias of mine that I don’t even want to think about.

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Moneymakin’ Time in Montana

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(Phew!)

I just received the phone call…

Montana State University hired me!

Starting on October 1st, I’ll be helping MSU students out by working as a financial aid specialist. Bobcats (that’s MSU’s mascot) will come to me for questions about loans, grants and scholarships.

It’s been a stressful 10 days.

My interview was on Monday, so I needed to quit my job in Washington without a two-week notice, which I’ve never really done before. This was a sour thing to do, because the folks at the tutoring spot were really nice and I hated to leave them out in the cold like that. But this was a job with benefits at a university in a city that I actually liked.

After interviewing I waited and waited, which is absolute torture. Like I wrote yesterday, waiting for the results of a job interview is like waiting for that really cool girl you just went on a first date with to text you back.

Is this my dream job? Nope. But it’s a job and I’m happy to have it. I plan on making a life here in Bozeman.

I have a ton of stuff to do, so I’m going to have to start making moves. I may head back to Colorado tomorrow to pick up the rest of my junk. At the moment, I’ve been living out of a backpack for about four months, so I’m a bit tired of wearing the exact same five T-shirts, two pairs of jeans and ratty socks. I sent a few boxes to my parents’ house with some of my other dress clothes, other clothes, Jiu Jitsu stuff and who knows what else.

Honestly, I moved into my aunt’s place last month and put my clothes on hangers for the first time in a few months. Geez, that’s a relief. Now I’ll be able to do that in my OWN APARTMENT!

I’ll be able to wear different clothes!

Hopefully that all gets settled quickly. And that my parents can drive me back here. Or somebody can.

Best of all, I don’t have to write any more resumes or cover letters!

My Heart to Washington

My family used to visit Washington every summer to visit my mom’s side of the family. I always had a ton of fun out there. I have one cousin who just knew music. I’d visit and have a great mix tape of Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and plenty more. That was before MTV and the interwebs.

Up until Sunday, I was living in Washington for about a month. I stayed with my aunt who was more than kind to let me chill with her

The last time I stayed in Washington was with her. In early 2017, I made a trip around the USA to try and decide where I’d live. I didn’t see much in Seattle, and wasn’t crazy about the weather — and kind of had my eyes set on Portland.

Portland fell through so I moved to Chicago. Chicago turned out to be a mess for me, so I ran around again.

This time I decided to give Washington a little bigger of a shot. Things went well. I met some folks and liked parts of the areas. Honestly, I think I’m done with big cities for the moment. Seattle had its cool bits, but now I really don’t care about the best Thai food or cool shopping centers.

My aunt lives further out and I enjoyed that. Peace and quiet. There were some neat things around. I had a good gym. I worked as a tutor. I was walking distance from two 24-hour grocery stores. Luckily, there weren’t bum fights or gang shootings like the 24-hour Walgreens outside my place in Chicago.

There were problems though. Seattle is expensive. I couldn’t believe it. Also, it is not a very walkable or bikeable city. The transport is alright and I don’t know if I’ve ever met nicer bus drivers.

All in all, Washington was great, but it just didn’t add up for me.

One incredibly cool thing that happened after I met with a guy that told me all about copywriting. He was an awesome help with some great ideas — mostly I learned that I don’t really want to do any copywriting. After our meeting, he told me to check out the Ballard Locks.

At the locks, you can watch a boat go into a thing that meets the ocean and a river. Doors close and the water rises or falls so that the boat can get up.

Decades ago, I’m sure I went to this place as a little kid — and was bored stiff. And honestly, I thought it was neat for about 20 seconds. Then I walked over and saw the salmon ladder. I didn’t know what I was going to see, but check it out!


(Check out those salmon swimming!)

I thought that was a real kick. There were quite a few of them. But, I needed to get moving home. When I passed the locks, I saw a bunch of ripples and saw a whole school of salmon swimming this way and that! They were way too fast for my camera. I assure you, I saw some salmon rushing around.

Then, did somebody lose a teddy bear?

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(That’s a pretty active teddy bear…)

Nope, that’s a seal! There was a buddy nearby, watching them play was more important that taking photos.

As I walked through the Botanical Gardens — another worthwhile stop — I saw a hummingbird! That’s not the first time I’ve seen one of those, but I was pretty close to that blue birdie. Again, my phone wasn’t out fast enough, but it was really neat to see.

All in all, I liked Seattle and Washington, but more of a visiting place. Not a home.

Where is home going to be? I have no clue. But hopefully I’ll get to see some animals here and there.

I Give Some Advice

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(Seek wisdom from this man.)

As a kid, first I read the comics in the newspaper. “Dear Abby” was the always the next thing. I admired that she could offer such great advice on such a variety of topics. How could she know all that stuff? Part of me has always wanted to help people out with whatever problems they’ve got.

I wrote my last textbook in Korea to read like an advice column. The chapters would be about tattoos, eating disorders, drinking, etc.

My students would read about stuff like somebody that wants to get a tattoo of their girlfriend or boyfriend. “Do you think that’s a good idea? Yes? No? Why?”

“I keep gaining weight, but all I do is drink beer. What’s happening?”

“My roommate drinks all day and never goes to class. I am worried about her, what should I do?”

I believe all of these questions were great ways to get the kids to talk and use English, but also a great way to sucker them into learning some important health and life skills. Korean kids don’t really get an education on alcoholism, depression or eating disorders.

Writing that book and teaching some life lessons is a big feather in my cap. Woohoo!

Today I read up a little bit on the possible Supreme Court Kavanough stuff. There’s something about how he may have raped — or almost raped — a gal in high school. I’m not getting political, but I think boys really really really need to be taught more about consent.

At Catholic school, you learn that you go through puberty, get married and have children. That’s pretty much it.

I write a column for the Colorado Daily and decided I want to either try to sneak a few advice columns about consent and sex into “Popular to the Contrary Opinion” or maybe start my own sex/advice column. I think it would be a lot of fun and probably interesting. Or maybe it would be really fun to give the questions out to my Facebook friends or something. Hey, I can’t have all the answers.

I still need to write a lot more than 1.5 columns on sex and/or relationships to make this a viable column, so this is in the beginning stages.

Right now, I’ve written about consent and starting to finish one about advice for nerds trying to learn how to talk to girls. Both are very important, in my opinion.

I hope all this works out!

The Big 100!

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(I wrote 100 Comfy Confines blogs!)

This isn’t actually my hundredth blog post, but I just found out that I’ve written a hundred blogs here at the Comfy Confines.

I started this blog just because I wanted to write and didn’t really want anything stopping me. It’s wonderful having a voice and a platform.

My first blog was in 2001 and I was actually working for a blog. I think it’s long gone now. Back then, my writing was so awful I don’t want to link it. So I won’t. I know I wrote about a drinking competition and wanted to write about the Comic Book Code Stamp — this was a sign that the big censors approved a comic book. Marvel Comics decided to stop paying for it and I thought that was the story of the century.

Then I wrote at www.ZZZComics.com (The LAST Name in Comics!), which I am pretty sure is defunct too. I quit paying for the website. I wrote three issues of “Popular to the Contrary Belief,” which was my skit comedy comic book. I still have some unsold issues in my parents’ basement. Luckily, that whole failed idea only cost me a few hundred dollars.

I probably wrote 999,999,999 blogs on MySpace, and 999,999,989 were about how girls sucked because they didn’t like me. My writing and I have both improved, I hope.

My favorite was easily www.pointsincase.com. I think my name is KayCee JayFree or something now. I’m trying to hide my jokes about sex, violence and farts from my future employers. Writing for PIC was easily the best thing for my career. I finally believed I was funny enough for people to see my stuff.

Comfy Confines isjust for fun. I’ve enjoyed it. I don’t know if more than three people read it, but (hopefully) nobody has ever read my handwritten diaries, but I still wrote those.

I don’t know what I’ll write about next for the next hundred blog posts. I’m sure there will be some “Rick and Morty,” farts, sex, violence, disappointment, how my writing career is going and some funny stories here and there.

Job Interviews and Dates

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Pexels.com

(I don’t know who this is, I just wanted a photo of somebody exhausted.)

Job interviews are like first dates.

During both meetups with ladies and meeting potential bosses, I tell some of the same stories. I answer how did I go from here to there while studying this and that. I laugh about writing textbooks and almost always say, “If you still have nightmares about the SATs, thank your stars and garters that you’re not in Korea taking the TOEIC test. It’s like an SAT on steroids, but with a listening portion added on.”

I dress nicely. I sit properly. My sailor mouth doesn’t come out. I do my best to talk nicely about past jobs. I generally skip talking about my old relationships during job interviews. And dates.

While I believe in staying serious, for part of it I do my best to let one big part of my character shine through — I like to make a few jokes. I believe nobody wants to work with — or date — somebody boring. Or at least, I don’t. On the flip side of that pancake, nobody wants to be around somebody joking all the time. Especially if they’re not funny.

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Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

(ANGRY!)

Wait…Maybe my unfunnyness is why I’m single and unemployed…

Dear me! Wait…Let’s worry about that when it’s time to worry about it.

Anyway, today is Thursday. I interviewed for a job on Monday. I actually want this job. It’s been a while since I went on a first date, so I’m a bit rusty on this waiting thing.

But I’ve been waiting for four days!

I need to find out if this job will see me for a second date! Maybe we can make a commitment to be together for more than just a year. We can wear matching T-shirts, I can put her name above my name tag and tell my parents all about “us.”

This is stressful. I have been watching my phone wondering when the Big Boss Lady is going to reply to my email. This is like after going on a date and waiting for a reply to your text that says, “When would you like to meet again? I know of this really good Thai place…”

Then you wait and wait and wait.

I know you need to be patient with relationships and possible jobs. I mean, I guess I did learn about the job from the internet. You can’t always trust the old World Wide Web, you know.

But what’s taking so long? Could she be lost in a rainstorm? Accidentally dropped her phone in the toilet? Gotten sick? Still has other folks to interview?

Or. Goodness gracious nooooooo!

Could she be so happy with the new person she found that she can’t even remember which other nerds she even considered earlier? To contact those nerds would bring her back to the horrible time when she questioned her own joy while searching for a relationship!

Hopefully I hear from her soon. If this relationship doesn’t go through, I might just become a monk or something.

Blogs of the Day

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(Look at this guy type!)

This is my fourth or fifth blog of the day. It could be fifth if I counted writing one that I never published. Who knows? I’m rocking and writing. That’s what I’m here for.

Books, movies, jobs, goofing off and all the other things I like. Or like to dislike. Whatever. This is probably my last one of the day…

Job Applications

(Maybe this has never been published before? This could be from March 2017. WordPress just told me to click on it and I did.)

I filled out 15 job applications. It’s no longer a thing where you fill in a few boxes. You’ve got to attach three letters of references, a personalized cover letter, transcripts, teaching philosophy, some other stuff and a resume.

Sometimes you’ve got to manually fill out all the resume stuff. Then maybe the reference contact info. If you’re like me and most of your references are in Korea, well, you’re in trouble. You need those reference’s phone numbers. But, sheesh. If they’re in Korea, they have Korean phone numbers, not American phone numbers.

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

You’re not done though.

You need addresses for your old jobs, references and whatever else. Do you know your old manager’s current address?

How about, will your old boss from five years ago pick up the phone from an unknown number?

I’ve answered the same questions about 20 times today — sometimes they make you answer things twice. I was all excited to write a lot today, but doing these job applications really took the brains out of me.

Hopefully you all have jobs you like and aren’t going through this process.

The good news is that I’m currently on the clock so I’m getting paid to do all this. Woohoo.

MSU Interview: All the Beans…

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(This is the “After” photo. The “Before” photo probably would have looked shaky. I was really nervous.)

For the last two years, I’ve been looking for jobs. I’ve applied to be a swim coach, teacher, professor, tutor, admissions guy and now a financial aid worker. I’ve had plenty of interviews: most over the phone. I’ve talked to folks from Germany to Japan to Nebraska to Colorado to Montana and some more.

While residing with a friend in Bozeman, Montana, I applied to a ton of jobs at Montana State University. Eventually, MSU’s admissions department interviewed me. While they were incredibly kind, I didn’t end up with the gig.

My Aunt Nancy in Washington had a stroke earlier this summer. She offered a place to stay in Seattle. I would need to take care of her, so I decided to get moving.

It was Friday. I bought a ticket for Saturday. A little bit afterward, I received a phone call from one of the folks at the financial aid department. This MSU Financial Aid big boss lady wanted to know if I could come into the office on Tuesday for an interview. I asked if I could do it over the phone. She declined.

Honestly, by then my faith in myself had sunk to a new low. I needed a change of scenery after consistently striking out. By now, my friend moved and I was staying in a hostel. I needed to get out of the place.

Waiting around for another three days, and then waiting a few more to find out if I’d get the gig or not hampered me. I’d already been turned down once by MSU, so I wasn’t keen on waiting to hear again.

I took an 18-hour bus ride from Bozeman to Seattle. The trip wasn’t too bad, except I listened to some guy chatting on his cell phone for a few hours. When I asked him to please wrap it up, he kindly finished. Then yelled at me because, “Hey! I’m started to get hard of hearing!” I told him that’s too bad, but I shouldn’t need to listen to him talk all the time in a public bus.

Seattle and Washington were both great. That’ll be in a later blog.

Out of nowhere, MSU’s Financial Aid department called me again. This time, she found me on a public bus to meet a guy and talk about copywriting.

E-Rock is name of MSU’s Financial Aid recruiter. Well, that’s not her name, but I don’t know if she wants to be associated with a fart joke blogger…like me.

E-Rock called me while I was at the library, walking into the gym, going to the bathroom, eating and maybe even waking me up from a nap.

Every time I felt confused. “She’s calling me? Again?”

Most job interviewers give you one call, and then they call it a day and move to the next person, but E-Rock seemed genuinely interested in me.

Finally, I needed to do something. I feared this something might get me wiped clean from the list. Over the past two years, I’d applied to hundreds of jobs, so I’d forgotten her job’s details. I’d be helping students figure out their financial aid. While this isn’t what I sat up and dreamed about, this is something I truly believe I could help students understand.

Most important to me, it’s a permanent job, has benefits, sounds doable and is in Bozeman. Bozeman has been my favorite out of the last cities I’ve “lived in” such as: Seoul; Denver; Chicago; Cincinnati; Bloomington, Indiana; Bozeman, North Bend, Washington; and Seattle.

The city is just nice all around. Nice people. Cool stuff. Clean and clean and clean! How could you not want that?

But what the heck was I going to do about my current life in Washington?

I started a tutoring job in North Bend. I worked about 15 hours a week. That’s cool, but it just wasn’t enough money.

My feelings and ego started tumbling. While at the gym one day, I decided that I’d stick around Washington for two more weeks and then go back to Colorado and work at my friend’s store. This wasn’t my dream life, but I decided to think seriously about doing something full time.

I sent off more emails to more jobs. Then, E-Rock called me back! I thought I’d fudged things up by asking what the job was. She asked me if I could come in. I asked when. She wanted me in the next day! I told her I needed a little bit of time to get things figured out. I asked her if she could tell me as soon as possible if I received the job or not. She agreed.

I needed to tell my tutoring boss that I needed to go seek out a uni job. She’s not thrilled with me, and I understand. But I told her I wasn’t going to stay there when I started out, and I just needed a new opportunity.

What about my friends? I made friends with Garmany and Lexy. While both of them are supercool, again, I need to take a chance on this possibility. What about my family? Uncle, aunts, cousins and second cousins! Again, I needed to take a chance and make a change.

My Aunt Nancy and I drove from Seattle to Bozeman in less than nine hours. We made great time. She liked the generous speed limits in Montana. We shared a room in a cute motel. Neither of us snores, so that’s a relief! My mom does.

Yesterday, I ate some breakfast and then some lunch, and then took a hike to MSU for my job interview.

It’s been a while since I’ve been this nervous. This is kind of my last hurrah. If I failed this, I’ll be moving back to Colorado and working at a store. No benefits. No way to move up. Nothing as majestic as Bozeman. Dirty Denver with some douchey dickheads.

I prepared my questions and answers to their questions. I tried mumbling the words out without looking like a psycho — I practiced in the uni’s cafeteria. I showed up early. I was a pro.

Everybody at the financial aid office was nice. There were some flustered students. Yesterday was the 15th School Day of the semester, which means there is a change. Everybody at the windows did a great job of explaining things. I didn’t understand anything, but they seemed nice.

The job interview started at 4 p.m. I finally met E-Rock and the other interviewer J-Rock.

Both were super nice. As it happens in this small world, E-Rock lived in Korea as she was growing up and J-Rock is from Colorado and some of her family is from Indiana — which I didn’t really make fun of while explaining my home-searching summer (but I said, “Bloomington is a lot like Bozeman, but flat and no mountains.”)

During the interview, if I did anything poorly, it was starting on Chapter 4 before explaining Chapters 1, 2 and 3. Will that kill my chances? I don’t know.

To combat this, after about five minutes of being confusing I stopped and rewound everything. I explained that I worked with and explained all types of material to uni students in Korea and at the Colorado Daily. I talked about making copies, writing headlines, shaking hands, how to write a resume and plenty more lessons. I know how to start one project, get interrupted, start again, get interrupted again, get told to do something sort of different but similar to the first thing and then to make coffee for everybody.

I think I did a great job explaining how I’d be great for this gig. I’ve worked with students. I work hard. I have great customer service — I talked about working at KFC, being a bouncer and being heckled by a student at Gachon University.

The ladies were both laughing. That wasn’t really my point, but I guess that’s the side of my personality they witnessed. I felt like I did a great job. I explained my good points and how I’d succeed at this job. I said I didn’t know how to do things just yet, but I would like just like I learned about commercial real estate in New York City, NCAA football, insurance, power plants and whatever else I’ve written about in the past.

Afterwards, I talked with my mom. She wants me to get the job — as does everybody else I talk to. I think she’s worried that I made the folks laugh instead of hitting them hard with a great interview. I think they can be one and the same.

That’s fine for me. This department can easily find somebody that’s better at math than me. But, they’re not going to find somebody who can be likable, hard working and easygoing as me. If I have something to do, I do it.

I like this city and want to stay. I like everything from the library to the Jiu Jitsu gym. I hope this place keeps me so that I can stay.

Keep your fingers crossed!!!

If I get turned down, I’m down to Denver to work with a friend at his store. While I don’t think it’s a terrible job, it’s not what I want to be doing.

Why the heck would I want to work in a store then?

Well, I’m sick and tired of looking for jobs. I’m tired of being on the computer, filling out applications, rewriting resumes, buzzwording cover letters, researching jobs, searching for jobs and waiting and waiting and waiting some more to hear back from people.

Having steady income will hopefully help out my mental state. Free time is fun and everything, but enough is enough. I want to work, get some benefits and watch my savings account grow — even if by just a little.

And, MSU is the Bobcats. I’ve already been a Bobcat before. At NYU, but who’s counting?

Book Report: Shadow Prowling

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(I read this, but selfies with a Kindle book never turns out right.)

Not everything I read is great. Maybe if somebody as cool and awesome and funny and smart and handsome as me brags about all the smart and cool and well-written books he reads, maybe more people will read books more often. Wouldn’t it be neat if they actually read more of my stuff too?

Somebody ranked “Shadow Prowler” by Alexey Pehov as one of the top ten best science fiction books ever written. Usually, I ignore these lists, but since I’d been writing my own book, I wanted to check this out. But I waited. And I waited. And waited some more. Then a little bit more.

Finally, I started this book.

Wait a second?!?! Gnomes have beards and dwarves don’t? Elves have fangs? Orcs know magic?!?!

What the hell am I reading?!?!

This confused me a bit at first, but that didn’t matter. I really liked this book. It was like watching a long movie. I wish more happened, but the characters, story, magic, history and all that good stuff is great.

I am very interested in reading the next one and will definitely check it out.

My entire read would have been less confusing if I bought the paper version of the book. However, since I used my Kindle, I didn’t know until I finished that there was a giant glossary with vocab and history lessons.

That’s nobody’s fault, but I could have learned his take on species, history and weapons.

All in all, check this out.