Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Change Of Plans

Lo and behold, I sit here again at L.TV, a half-hour early for my 11 to 4 shift. I'm booked here for the rest of this week, then 3 days next week at C.B. I'm hoping Select will fill in the blanks. I almost got a 4th account, an advertising agency that wanted to know if I was available for work over the July 4th weekend. Of course I said I was, but they never called. Oh well, at least I'm on the radar. Now, you may ask, why am I sitting here if I'm supposed to be training at Le Hotel W. Well... I decided after 2 days of training and around 3 days of heavy consideration that it was never going to work out. I thought about it long and hard, and I did not make the decision lightly.

In order for me to undertake the training at the Hotel, I would have had to put my freelance jobs on hold. It took me like 4 months to build up my portfolio, if you will, and reach the point where I am consistently considered for freelance work at 3 different places. First, the freelance stuff pays a lot more. The hours are normal, not 11pm to 7am. Now, what would have happened if two months down the line the hotel didn't work out? Then I would be left with nothing -- no freelance work, because they would have just gone on to the next available proofreader. And I just had a gut feeling that the hotel was not gonna work out. I didn't like it at all, there was a ton of stuff still to learn. I was stressed out about learning all the stuff, but still confident that I would eventually learn it all. With all the stuff to learn, I was looking at a mininum of 3, 4, maybe even 5 weeks before I could begin the night shift. By then all the freelance stuff would be gone to some other proofreader. It just didn't seem like a good fit. So I took a chance. Time will tell if it was the right thing to do.

I found myself outside the Hotel W at 5 to 10 last Friday, wondering if I should go in and resume training or if I should find R. and tell him it wasn't gonna work out. I had just moments before received a call from K. at my freelance agency telling me that C.B. wanted me for at least 3 days during the week of July 10. I already knew that LT wanted me for this week, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. So I was sitting there pondering all this when a bus rolled by with one of the very posters on the side that I had proofread! I took that as a sign. So I went in and told R. of my decision. Now, in any event, the benefits were not gonna kick in for 3 months anyway at the hotel. So what am i really losing there? I have 20 years of experience in publishing, zero experience in the hotel game. I think the freelance stuff is only gonna get more steady from here on in. All I need is two more good gigs to go with the three I'm jugging now and I will really be in business. I'm gonna stay positive.

Now, I know some of you are not gonna agree with my decision. But I had to go with my heart on this one. The big differentiating factor is that I actually like my freelance work, look forward to it, while I don't think that was ever going to be the case at the hotel; I was never going to be comfortable. And the hours! Plus it paid like 10 dollars an hour less. The only upside was the steady nature of the work. All I need though is 4 days a week freelancing to match the 5 days at the hotel. In the back of my mind i'm counting on the catering work in the fall to make up for any shortfall. That's if Tony still lets me do it once he finds out I "bailed" on the hotel. After all, he got me the interview thru a friend of his. We'll see. I don't consider it bailing.

Ironically, I applied for a night proofreading gig, 8pm to 2am, on craigslist last week. Pays 24 bucks an hour. It's a night shift, but not the graveyard shift. If I get that I would really be on my way; then I can pick and choose the occasional freelance assignment. I feel like a fool because I called everyone and their mother as the saying goes as soon as I got the hotel job, telling them how excited I was to finally land a ful-ltime, permanent position. But the more I think about it, the more I know I made the right decision, as much as we can ever know something with certainty. That's it in a nutshell.

Reprogrammed my iRiver over the weekend, deleting about 5 hours worth of music (out of a total of around 17 1/2 hours) & replacing it mostly with Vintage Punk that was heretofore in short supply. I got rid of stuff I already had in other formats, like Hendrix and REM, and put in a lot of Clash, Gang of 4, XRay Spex, Buzzcocks, Dead Kennedys, Stiff Little Fingers, old Bowie & some much-needed Jayhawks, Son Volt, early it feels more like me somehow.

Been on a major reading kick, the best spate in literally years and years. Started with the Columbus Last Voyage book, continued on through Massacres of the American West, then read a few sports books, bios of Bill Bellichick and Roberto Clemente, continued with a definitive bio of Cambodian madman Pol Pot, then finished Red Scarf Girl, a memoir of the Chinese Cultural Revolution as seen thru the eyes of a teenager. I guess I gravitate toward political extremism.

One interesting aspect of the Cambodian revolution was how closely it mirrored the French Revolution in its use of terror, how Robespierre was in fact a direct historical antecedent to Pol Pot, even more than the more obvious communist models. Not to be overlooked is the part the U.S. played in setting the conditions that allowed political extremism to flourish: the indiscriminate bombings, its support of corrupt right wing regimes, etc. Even more mind-numbing is the reaction by the U.S. to the fall of Pol Pot's regime; rather than elation, administration after administration saw fit to lend their support to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, in hopes that a new government would eventually oust the one installed in Cambodia by Vietnam. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, seems to be the guiding principle, then as now.

Now I am reading an account of North Vietnam circa 1967 by Times correspondent Harrison Salisbury that I found for a buck at Argosy on 59th Street. One book usually leads to another when you're on a good roll. Also reading an account of the Greek resistance during WWII. Turns out that America and Britain basically prevented the Communists from having any say in the postwar process even though they valiantly fought the fascists during the war. Then America had a big role installing the brutal reactionary government of the Colonels from 1967 to 1974.

More to follow as details make themselves known.

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