Nonphenomenal Lineage

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Archive for May 2007

T Minus 1 Til No Sweets June

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Well, tomorrow marks the end of No Alcohol May, and begins No Sweets June. I’ll bet you think I look a lot like this chipmunk right now, except instead of nuts, I’d be stuffing my cheeks with Peeps or something.

But, my body surprised my mind by not actually craving much sugar today. That’s a good thing right now, but I may regret having not loaded up on sugar, later.


Written by pocheco

May 31, 2007 at 9:28 pm

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ball room

You know in all those Jane Austin/Bronte sister novels, how there were always these big parties where the girls would get dressed up in these giant gowns and frilly corsets and then parade down an elegant staircase into an enormous ballroom while everyone turned to watch? Oh, they’d prance around and bow to people and act all proper and polished. It was the kind of event that seventeen year-old high society girls participated in so they could officially present themselves to the community as women. It was a public display of their bodies and their charm; an overt announcement that they were officially ready to start being pursued for marriage.

God, I hate the formality, pompousness and horribly tedious social graces of the Romantic era, although sometimes I can’t help but feeling, that at age 27, I’m still hiding in a little room near the top of a grand staircase, breathing into a paper bag in order to get my nerve up to put down that bag, to open the door of the little room, and to walk down that staircase.

However, it isn’t that there are men waiting to greet me as I descend into the ballroom. Instead, what’s waiting for me at the bottom of the staircase is my life.

Currently listening to Pomp and Circumstance ?

Written by pocheco

May 31, 2007 at 4:12 pm

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The Jungle

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Upton Sinclair was 26 when he wrote The Jungle. He saved up a little money and spent six weeks living near a meat factory in Chicago. He wore old clothes and carried a lunch pail, and that enabled him to pass as one of the factory workers. He spent six weeks talking to the employees of the factory, committed every scene to perfect memory, and left, dirt poor, to New England. He locked him self in a tiny cabin he had made, and wrote this book. To do that at 26, is, I think, pretty amazing. And if you read just the first few pages, you’ll realize his vocabulary and sentence structure are super evolved and articulate.

I picked this book up at the library last night, in an attempt to read it before Book Club. I’ve joined a new book club to be hosted at Allison’s house. I’m excited about having the challenge of reading something to be discussed in a group. I haven’t been involved in a book club in some time…probably a year ago since I read Lolita for the last book club in Boston.

This book cover is garish and macabre, but I happen to really like it. The one I have is just a plain white cover with the title in red serif letters. This book has been reprinted so many times that there are a million covers for it, but I think this one above, by Penguin, is the best. Penguin has done a series of books with great cover illustrations like this one, all printed on very thick, toothy paper covers with a matte finish and French flaps, called the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition. They’re awesome. I’d eventually like to own all of them, just cause I think they’re so well-designed.

Here are a few more of my favorites from the series:

portable dorothy parker

dharma bums


lady chatterly's lover

Written by pocheco

May 30, 2007 at 3:27 pm

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Drinking Water

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the letter i, originally uploaded by *MarS.

It’s a little funny to admit, but sometimes I’ll do anything to avoid drinking water. Water is a given, something you always have lying around your house, like white rice or apples. But even more accessible than those. It’s such a common staple that it becomes uninteresting and unappealing to me most times. I get to assuming it will always be around, and endless supply of it streaming from your toilet or showerhead or faucet. And I take it for granted.

And I underestimate the power that it has on my body as well. Living in the desert, you’d be surprised, but you do get thirstier easier. You have to drink more liquid because the absolute lack of humidity in the air leeches moisture from your body at a surprisingly fast rate. If I don’t drink enough liquids, I will wake up the next morning with the feeling of something like a hangover, only even a little scarier. I have never been truly dehydrated, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about anyway.

When I sit around my house, relaxing, and then I think: man, I would love something to drink, my first choice is rarely water, especially if I already feel cool and relaxed. Well, water is preferable when I’m out of breath and hot from exercising or being out in the heat, but for most normal times, if there’s juice or Coke or even milk around, my instinct is to forego the water and choose something with a little more interesting flavor.

The truth is, water is boring. It has no flavor (or, perhaps, Water IS a flavor?). Or worse, if it’s not properly clean, it has a bad aftertaste. What’s the point in drinking something that has no flavor or is mildly gross when you can have something that tastes delicious?

Also, I remember growing up and asking my mother for treats like ice cream or chips for snacks before bedtime, and instead of letting me eat late at night, she would always say “Why don’t you drink a big glass of ice water? That will quench your hunger.” #1, I didn’t believe her, and #2,I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do less than drink a big glass of ice water to curb my cravings on sugar/salt/carbs. So unappealing.

This has been my opinion on water most of my life. Sure, I will drink it, with dinner or during the day or at the gym, but it’s never been my best friend. At the root of this, I have come to the conclusion that my relationship with food and liquids is one of how I percieve them as a like/dislike, rather than as a benefit/detriment.

I typically take the opinion that food is to sustain/quench/entertain, rather than sustain/nourish/energize. And I know that’s wrong, but it’s so hard to change. What I really need to do is visualize my body as a separate entity from my mind, one that I must take care of with proper nutrition and water so that it can do the best job of supporting and hosting my mind.

I need to switch my mindset from always attempting to placate my desire for sugar and salt and other things I don’t need, and instead focus on what kinds of things to eat that will make me the most healthy. It’s a simple thing to say…but.

I mean, of course a big part of bad eating habits is emotional eating, or eating when I’m bored or eating just because it’s there. Part of that is going to go away when I start buying my own groceries, but until then, I thik I’m going to try an experiment:

You know how he nutritionists always recommend 8-10 8oz glasses of water a day? And how no one really makes a point to do that every day? Well, I am going to try it. For one month. Just to see what happens to me. Maybe I’ll end up loving the effect it has on me, maybe I won’t even be able to tell.

So, in addition to giving up sugar for June, I’m just going to piggy back on this project the goal of drinking nothing but water, and drinking a minimum of 8 8oz glasses of it a day. It’s an experiment to see if my body loves it, or if it makes no difference. Because I’ve never given water the chance to prove it’s benefits to me over a long period of time. I keep hearing it’s good to drink nothing but water, but now I want to see.

I don’t plan to do it for ever, of course. I’m just going to drink only water for one month. You can do anything for a month. What will I miss most? Pop and coffee, for sure. And, yes, this means that I’ll be giving up alcohol for a second month in a row. But thirty days goes by fast, and then I can go back to drinking other stuff once again, with hopefully a new respect for water.

Written by pocheco

May 29, 2007 at 3:44 pm

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Kelso Dunes and the Scientists from Zzyzx

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Panic Grass on the Kelso Sand Dunes
Panic Grass on the Kelso Dunes, the Sierra Nevadas just beyond

Allison and I drove to the Mojave National Preserve in California on Friday. Aside from camping in the most desolate and possibly most terrifying + lonesome campsite ever, we had a great time.

The Mojave Preserve is in the very southern region of the desert, but it encompasses a fairly large area, probably 80 miles or so across. It’s managed by the BLM, which always does a pretty good job of keeping up the roads. We drove into the belly of the park, down a long, narrow, red paved road flanked with miles upon miles of dense forest of Joshua Trees.

We got lost a couple of time on some slow going back dirt roads. There would be nothing for miles and miles except the abundance of rather crepuscular black tailed jack rabbits playing chicken with my tires and the occasional scary lone double wide at the end of a sandy driveway.

We finally got to our campsite around eight thirty or so, and it was pretty dark. It looked like a fire had gone through the campsite, because all the pinion-junipers were stark and black. There were little green creosote bushes growing up like phoenixes around their predecessor’s skeletons.

There were no crickets in this part of the desert, so it was so quiet we could hear the beating of wings of black desert hawks as they passed by. I sprayed around our tent to keep out the scorpions and tarantulas, and we set up camp.

We ate some cheese bratwursts and kettle chips. We kept seeing these things swoop down by us and we thought they were bats but we realized later it was the little gray desert hummingbird. We heard weird, unidentifiable bird calls somewhere in the distance, toward the mountain range just 2 miles beyond. We talked for a long while and then after the fire died out, we went to bed. We thought we were alone for miles in any direction, but we kept hearing voices.

It was hard to get to sleep, and the night seemed to get creepier by the minute. We kept hearing voices and then we thought we heard some footsteps by the tent, at which point, Allison and I spent a long, scary moment completely still, staring wide eyed at each other in anticipation of death. However, I opened the tent, and there was nothing there.

We finally got to sleep, and woke up around 7 am. We saw some people walking by us, which was surprising because we thought we were isolated from humans at like a 30 mile radius, but at least it explained the voices from the previous night. Turns out, we realized later, a few hundred yards down the road there were actually several people camping in a lush part of the campsite that hadn’t been ravaged by fire. We had to laugh at ourselves.

Our Camsite on the Barren Grounds of Midhill, in the Mojave National Preserve near Cima, CA
Our campsite, with my new tent from Eureka

We ate some breakfast and packed up camp and drove on to Kelso. Kelso was a hard place to reach, we had to drive deep into valleys and along several slow-going roads that were rickety gravel.

Kelso Depot
Kelso Depot

We reached Kelso about 10:00 or so and stopped at a little old train depot that had been converted into a museum/gift shop. There wasn’t much else in Kelso, except an old post office that seemed to no longer be in use. I didn’t see any sign of houses or anything. It was a weird little town. But we toured the museum and then drove on to the dunes.

Blackbrush on the Kelso Dunes
Blackbrush (aka Tumbleweed) on the Dune Plane

The dunes are 600 feet high, and stretch for a mile or so. You have to walk through about a half a mile of sandy stepped ground until you reach the dunes. It is hard walking through sand, especially when it’s 100 degrees.

Kelso Dunes and the Scientists from Zzyzx
Scientists from Zzyzx

We passed several scientists from Zzyzx who were recording the behavior of lizards, birds, sidewinders and other animals crawling in the sand.

Grass on Kelso Dunes
Dune Grass with what look like to be Kangaroo Rat tracks in the upper right

Well, we had a limited time frame and it was really hot, so we didn’t make it to the base of the dunes. However, we did get pretty close to them, so that was good enough for the moment. I would like to go back and spend a real day there, climbing the dunes and taking pictures on them, but that will probably have to wait until the winter, or at least the fall, when it’s a bit cooler.

Kelso Sand Dunes
View heading back to the car, away from the dunes, Sierra Nevadas in distance

Kelso Dunes

Kelso Dunes

On the way out of the park,we took a different exit, out towards Baker. The roads were so empty. It was a single two way road that crossed through miles and miles of empy desert, rocks and cacti. I saw some teddy bear cactus, which was exciting, but I didn’t stop to photograph, because I was on a time schedule. There were so few other cars on the road that I ignored the 55MPH speed limit sign and started barreling through there at about 80. Why not? It was perfectly sunny, perfectly empty, and almost perfectly straight. At one point, I even got up to 100…which was the first time that I’ve gotten going that fast. It was a little scary, because cars start to shake a little when you approach those speeds, so as soon as I saw the needle cross the 100, I slowed way down again to 80. But it was thrilling, just for a moment.

Alien Fresh Jerky
I saw this sign on the way back to Vegas, in Baker, California, where gas is $3.85 per gallon.

Currently listening to Cure for Pain by Morphine

Written by pocheco

May 28, 2007 at 8:09 pm

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Successes, Too

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Morgan's Birthday Cake (detail)
Detail from Morgan’s Birthday Cake, 2007

Well, I just wrote a big blog two days ago about how much I’ve been failing as far as the job hunt goes. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, tho, cause I’ve had some great successes, too. And I feel like I should acknowledge and be thankful for good things that have come my way.

Part of the reason I wrote that blog about all the interviews I had, and all the times I was rejected was to itemize my effort. I wanted to see how hard I’ve tried. And if I truly have given the job market a good effort here, or if I’m just blowing smoke up my own ass.

And you know what I figured out? The advertising agcencies here, are, by and large, are carniverous and aggressive. I mean, damnit, there is some design that is SO cool. And I’ve seen evidence of it. Not all agencies do that design, but some do, and that work, at least for me, is really, truly rewarding. And I would like to do something that’s rewarding. But maybe…just maybe, I shouldn’t be working for an ad agency? What else can I do?

But I feel like I’m getting nothing. No design job. And I’m starting to wonder…Is there a reason for that? Is there some reason why I’m not supposed to be working for an ad agency? I mean, aside from their reputation of being a soul-sucking indutry, full of unrepenting buzzards and cagey mountain lions, what’s not for me?

I mean, truly, I would love to do mostly illustrations and music posters and I would be happy being my own boss. And I’d love to travel a lot. How do I mix those into a career that’s going to pay the bills? I need to figure it out.

So then, what am I supposed to do? How am I going to be successful? Well, for now, if I want to see my successes, I have to look to other areas of my life. And pondering these have given me a lift. So, for balance, here are some things in my life that I have to be happy for:

Freelance Design: When I had no money, freelance jobs really saved my life. I did a ton of them! There were so many I felt like I never had enough time to do them all. I worked on them most nights in January and February, as well as major parts of December, March and April. I’m doing it way less now, but that’s kind of by choice. And I’ve had some really good companies. One of them still owes me $900, so I need to get that. But the rest have been good about paying me and have really made a difference in my financial life.

Family: How great have the Clarks been to me!? Letting me stay in their house, rent free. They’ve embraced and encourage and aided me in so many things. And I appreciate it, I really do. I love being with my sister. She is such a great person, and I really do love her very much. She’s never anything but the sweetest to me and I couldn’t ask for a better sister. Also, Allison! She’s such a cool person, I’d like hanging out with her even if we weren’t related. And that’s rare indeed, haha. Plus, I got to see my mom in April!

Friends: I’ve really been able to spend a lot of great time with Andrea. She’s been such a good friend, and we’ve had a lot of great times so far. I’m looking forward to much more. She’s been there to help me out when I was sad or broke, and for that, she’s great. She’s fun and adventurous, too, up for pretty much anything, and that’s a great quality to have. And I’ve met Justin, and Sherrie and Bobby and Lisa. And there are others, too. I’ve had a great time getting to know then, they’re all super people.

Desert: I have said it before, I’ll say it again: The Mojave Desert is the best thing about my life. It just is. I love it so much. The Sierra Nevadas, Red Rock, Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Sand, Cactus, Creosote, Burros, Jack Rabbits and Mountain Goats. All of these things are so wonderful, and each time I go back to visit them again, I love them all a little bit more. The desert is one of the major reasons why I’ve stayed in Nevada this long, and it is the reason I continue to stay here.

Photography/Art: Since I’ve come here, I’ve really done some fun photoshoots, and they’ve really been satisfying. Friends, family, Vegas, the desert. There are so many things to photograph and I feel like I’m getting better. It’s satisfying. Also, I am so excited about this comic that Justin and I have conceived…now we just have to execute it. Whenever I’m in a bad mood, I just have to work on it a little and I get happy again. This comic is really giving me a purpose, something to look forward to when I come home.

House: A new house to stay, and a nice roommate. Through Allison, I’ve met Carly, and Carly has a new house being built that she’s invited me to come live in. The rent is reasonable, the area of town is new and nice, and the house is brand new. I’ve never lived in a brand new house.

New Experiences: I moved to the west side of this country so I could experience something totally different. And boy, let me tell you, I have gotten my wish. But, you know what? Good and bad, it all ends up enriching me in some way, and I am thankful for that.

So, I am happy today. It’s Friday, and we have a three day weekend, and my work day is almost over…

I am excited about my camping trip with Allison. I’ll post pictures this weekend.

Currently listening to Wincing the Night Away by The Shins

Written by pocheco

May 25, 2007 at 8:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Every Game in Town

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Screen shot from PIE Design + Marketing, the latest notch in a string of rejections from agencies.

Well, after not hearing from PIE Design and Marketing for almost two weeks, I made the call today. To see if they wanted me to work for them. They were gracious. They said no. Their explanation? They said they were unsure of how they wanted to proceed with their budget. They had decided to go with more of a junior designer. Translation=They couldn’t afford to pay me. I asked for $33,000. That was a 2.5K pay cut from my last design job in Boston. I was willing to take that dive for the job. I wanted the job. During the first interview, they said my work “is great”. They said my experience “is good”. Yet, even though they are so busy with work they can barely breathe, paying me less than the average designer makes was too much for them. Well.

Time is running out. I’m moving out in 5 weeks. I don’t have a job that can pay my bills. I’ve feel like I’ve whored myself out to the design community, the one place I have experience and potential. But no one wants a dirty old used up nobody, which is what I feel like. Read on to find out why!!!

Taking a little inventory over the past nine months, here are some other tries, but failures:

One11. An awesome studio in a kick ass district of town, the Holsom Lofts, right on the edge of the artsy First Friday area. They were my first interview. I thought I did ok, but to be honest, I felt a little in over my head. That didn’t stop me from crying when they told me. They were my first heartbreak. Reason for not hiring me? “Not enough experience.” Fair enough.

Then, There was V2. To be honest, this guy up front pretty much said he couldn’t afford another designer. But he still wanted me to come in. He said he would throw some freelance stuff my way and then if I did good, would consider hiring me down the road. That sounded promising, at the time. I realized later that’s what they all say.

Schadler Kramer Group. Number 2 ad agency in town. Gorgeous office, amazing staff. I nailed the interview. Why didn’t I get the job? I will never know. Said they would keep my portfolio on file.

Wicked Creative. A sexy, strip-oriented agency making pretty billboards with pretty people for fancy clubs. All the people running the show were from Boston. Thus, the cheeky name. They said that I didn’t have enough experience. But seemed to love my work. Alright. Next.

Zappos. Despite their chaotic website, they’re an amazing company, and an amazing company to work for. My friend Andrea works there, and can’t stop talking about how much she loves her job. She’s an assistant buyer. I go to Zappos parties (still) all the time. They’re fun and young and crazy drinkers. I thought I had a good shot at this job, cause Andrea’s worked there for a long time and has pull with the art director. I was hoping the nepotism card would work for me. Did not. I suppose it was because I have very little web experience. So it goes.

PLSN: A lighting and stage equipment company that needed a designer for their newsletter. I was perfectly qualified for this job. They said they needed someone immediately and would call within the next two days. Even though this didn’t pay a whole lot, I thought the job was good because it almost seemed in the bag. They never called. I said ok, and moved on.

This company seemed perfect. Had a beautiful office, paid their employees well, was a small, cozy environment and seemed relaxed overall. I got along so so well with the boss. I thought this job was in the bag, too, and I was so excited. I went for a second interview. Turns out they had another office downtown near the Flamingo, and I was meeting with one of their major clients who had almost reached partner status. The lunch with their partner/client was a little off. I knew I wouldn’t get the job after that, but I lamented it very much. It was a hard one to lose. To their credit, they later did make good on their “come in to do some freelance work and maybe we’ll hire you” bit, but I had just gotten the solid, steady job with Taylor and was reluctant to leave it. So, that one was lost.

Point Distribution; a skateboard company. Their website is no longer active, for some reason. So I couldn’t get a screen shot of their site. However, the place was awesome. Very young, very hip feel, a little industrial and filled with sexy skater guys silkscreening on skateboards. That job, although the interview felt a little awkward, mainly because I was way overdressed, seemed a little elusive from the start. I never heard back from them. But that would have been such a great job, sigh.

Had this interview and they went on and on about how talented they thought I was. Then they said I didn’t have enough experience and they flat out told me that I wouldn’t get the job. I appreciate their honesty, but I was frustrated that they lauded my talent but refused me the position on a nominal amount of experience. They too, offered me freelance work with promises of hiring me down the road. I even got home with all the information for the freelance project, but then they backed out the next day. Sigh.

This company’s website was questionable, but at this point, I felt like I was running out of options. Their office was alright, though, and the job seemed easy. The art director praised my portfolio and then brought me in for a 2nd interview test. Designing a–what the industry calls a–down and dirty (meaning quick and maybe not all that planned) ad. I aced it. ACED IT. I did SUCH a great job, of that I am confident. I didn’t get hired, and they wouldn’t tell me why. I felt indignant. I asked what I could have done better, they had no answer. I smelled a rat.

Brand. I had an interview here, but to be honest, don’t remember anything about it. Needless to say, no job.

Out of need of money, I applied to this job. A friend of my sister’s works here and makes awesome money as a pharmaceutical rep. I have no experience, but said friend didn’t seem to think that was a problem. I filled out a million pages worth of applications, and went through a phone interview only to be told I didn’t have the proper sales experience. Oh well.

Had this interview right before Christmas. This was the perfect company. PERFECT. An awesome glossy mag, with fun photos and great design. I met with the designer, and she was such a cool person. Awesomely cool dresser, great personality, the kind of person you want to be friends with. The job fit my experience to a T. It was perfect. I met with HR, and the designer chick made it kind of clear in the interview that I practically had the job. The company paid well, there were great benefits, and the office life seemed awesome. When I got the letter in the mail that I was rejected, I sobbed. Why? I asked the designer girl. She meekly said that they had found somonelse who had better qualifications. How was that possible? That WAS the job for me. I asked her what I could have done better. She had no answer.

When I did get reasons for not being hired for jobs, they usually said that my experience wasn’t thorough enough. I would be better as a production artist, but production artist “isn’t what we need right now.” So, when DRGM opened a position for production artist, I jumped at it. SURELY they would hire me, I had 5 years’ experience in production. Awesome company, too. One I had scoped right away while looking for design jobs in while still in Boston, in prepartion for my move to Las Vegas. The interview went well. I showed them my portfolio, told them about my experience in production.

And after all that, you know what they told me? That I had too much designer experience and wouldn’t be happy in a production job, that it was beneath me. They still had me do a little production design test, which, of course, I aced. But they didn’t hire me.

So, too much design experience for a production job, but not enough production experience for a design job? Go figure.

Then Christmas happened. I took a little break to do some freelance work, but was back out on the job scene in February.

CDI Studios. Awesome company, really nice designer guy. Fun work, fun atmosphere, encouraged outside creativity and even encouraged designers to do freelance work so they would stay “fresh”. How awesome was that? I was so calm, cool and collected. I felt so good about that interview. I didn’t hear from him for a week. When I finally did, he said that it turned out that they weren’t able to budget a new designer. That they were interested in me coming in for a few days of freelance. I couldn’t sacrifice more than one unpaid day from my temp job at the time, so I said no, because they wanted me indefinitely. Sigh…

Then, a couple of weeks, ago, I had the interview with PIE. The company that wanted someone with less experience overall than me. Can a girl ever win?

These above, of course, don’t include companies I tried but couldn’t even get interviews with, like:

R&R Partners (Biggest game in town. Can get anybody they want…that was kind of a shot in the dark, but, oh well.)
Crear Creative (not hiring)
Virgin Advertising (never returned my several emails/calls)
Brown and Partners (not hiring)
PR6 (not hiring)
Nevada Gov. Parks designer job (What? You don’t have your Master’s? Sorry, Charlie)
Fried Mutter (no reply)
PRA (seemed promising before the interview, a friend of Jay’s. It was pretty clear during the interview, however, that they didn’t need a designer. Hm. HOWEVER, I will say that they did make good on their freelance project. I did some work for them, of which the compensation for that work saved my ass around Christmas time when I needed money for gifts.)
and probably about 3 or 4 others I am forgetting

I could go on and talk about the 8 or 10 companies I have been working for through temp agencies but this post is already ridiculously long, so I’ll spare you that.

I’ve experienced a lot of rejection. Why can’t I get a job in Las Vegas? Sometimes I feel like praying, like holding on one more day. But dude, I’ve been doing that for so long. I am feeling like I should give up. Just keep my mediocre job at the Venetian and eek by on my wage of $12 an hour.


Thomas Edison, please help me. I’m feeling sorry for myself, and it’s getting the best of me.

“I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work”
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Currently listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Written by pocheco

May 24, 2007 at 5:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized