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Tuesday, December 31, 2002


"Monday and the Weekend."


Well, yesterday, Monday, it was yet another wonderful April -- er, I mean December -- day. Yep, when I went off to work, I could have gone in shortsleeves. It felt like mid April outside, sun shining down, cool breeze, and people driving by in their cars with the windows down. ... Not a common sight for this time of the year. Normally, here, in the Upper Midwest US, we have at least a foot of snow or more on the ground, ice everywhere, people wearing parkas to keep warm, and nobody in their right mind just standing around outside. Hey, I sort of like this weather, especially since I'm one of those people that has to stand around outside, waiting for a bus everyday.... [grins]

It's too bad I had to work indoors. I would have loved to go for a walk, or done something outside. But, alas, I had to work 8+ hours at Barnes and Noble. ... It was a great day at work, making the best of things, and smiling and chit-chatting with customers, so just becasue I had to be indoors, didn't make it a bad day. [chuckle].

I have noticed at work, for the upcoming weeks in January, that I am being scheduled for less and less hours each week. This has begun to disturb me. I have been getting by on around 35 hours a week on my paycheck, but during the holidays it has been less, obviously. I can understand that, but then next week and the week following that, I'm down to only twenty hours. You can see why I have been a little concerned.

Yesterday, Monday, I finally flagged down the person in charge of scheduling and brought my concern up to her. I though I had done something wrong and that warrented me getting less hours that I had been pulling, or that I have been given when I was hired five months back. As it turns out, I guess, for B&N, the fiscal year ends when January comes to a close. That means that I'll be pulling fewer hours each week until then, as they wrap up the year, decide who to keep on and so forth. Then once February comes upon us, I should be back to pulling regular hours each week. So, until then, I get a few more days off each week.... Oh, what to do with them... [sigh]

....Oh well, just don't complain and make the best of it, right? ...[smile] ... I'm sure I can find things to do during those days off... like jump back into finding another job. [grin]....

Oh, speaking of Barnes and Noble, I found out about a very intruging contest that our store is part of. For some reason, selling gift cards must be a very important element to the holiday shopping season, so much so that all the B&N stores are competing to see which one sells the most. Ironically, out of our region (this part of the Upper Midwest US), my store is pretty much neck and neck with the one in Wausau, WI. The contest has ended, but we don't know which store(s) won until this coming Monday, January 6. Here's the kicker though, ALL employees of the winning store, with the most gift cards sold, each recieve a $500 gift certificate to B&N! How cool is that! .... Needless-to-say, a lot of us are waiting with baited breath... and still others of us are wondering what we'd purchase with a $500 gift certificate. Oh, the possibilities. I wouldn't mind edging out Wausau for that! Pretty cool huh.

Well, anyway, jumping back to the catch up on the weekend (becasue this is my blog and I can do things like that.... lol), Friday was a typical full workday. Not much to say there.... just the typical 'terminally happy' mindest, as one of my co-workers likes to say about me. It was a rather busy day in the store though, mostly due to people returning gifts that they didn't like. Why people do that I have no clue. Honestly, I'm sure there are legitimate reasons here and there, but just returning a gift becasue you yourself didn't like it, is stupid. But that was Friday.

Saturday, was a pretty good day. Rachel (my sister) is staying with Noah and I since she is unable to stay in her apartment on campus over the holidays. So, she and I decided to head out to the mall (same one I work at) and take in a movie and perhaps do a little Christmas shopping, especially since Christmas for me is this coming weekend when I go home. Unfortunately, we were unable to actually go see a movie due to time constraints, but Rachel and I did do a little shopping. I rather missed going out and hanging out with my sister. We've rarely been able to do that lately. That made my Saturday all the more enjoyable, and productive too as I hate buying into the Christmas 'shopping season' hype.... although, one can't complain with having Christmas celebration after the holiday... [whispers: "I totally forgot about the deals!"]. [grin]

Sunday, well, it just a relaxing day around the apartment pretty much.... and it gave me some time to update my Star Trek Roleplaying PBeM website a little. ... 'PBeM', meaning, "play by email'. Feel free to check it out sometime! Readers are always welcome....

But, oh, my, my clock here says it's 2 pm on Tuesday, New Years Eve Day. I gotta get ready and head off to work today. The store closes at 6 pm, due to the 'holiday', and I work starting at 3 pm. Four hours isn't bad I guess.... and it looks like I'll actually be home for the evening. I certainly can't complain with that... no-siree!

Well, I hope you all have a Blessed New Year, and by all means, please lay off the alcohol. .... and don't drive home drunk!

Until the next post,

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Friday, December 27, 2002


"Thursday: Day after Christmas."


I was scheduled to work today (Thursday), but "on-call" to start at 5 pm. I called in like required an hour earlier, hoping that I would be needed. Unfortunately, despite my request to come in anyway, the store was doing fine, so, I was given the day off from work. (If I knew this would be the case, I could have gone home for Christmas.... [sigh]..). Oh, well, smile and make the best of it right? ... [smile].

I used the unexpected day off to take care of a few outstanding projects that I have not been able to finish yet, so, essentially, I was still quite productive today. I just didn't get to follow the plans I had in mind for the rest of the week. Maybe this is just a little reminder not to plan so seriously. Things can be turned upside down just like that. It makes life all the more interesting I suppose. I can't complain though. Other than a few hours less on my next paycheck, no harm was really done.... Hey, and it was a good day off, so it's all good.

I guess I am all the more prepared for my full day of work on Friday, and I intend to once again be 'terminally happy!"

God's blessings on a wonderful weekend, and a blessed New Year!

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Thursday, December 26, 2002


"Christmas Day, 2002"


You'd think that since I was unable to go home for Christmas, that I'd have a rather simple Christmas, without many plans at all. Truth is, not so. Customers at Barnes and Noble always seemed to get this 'I feel sorry for you look' when I answered them about my Christmas plans. In all honesty, my Christmas was a truely wonderful one, despite what others may have thought! Truely.

Granted I did have to work on Christmas Eve day, so I did miss the traditional Christmas Eve church service. I got home late, but there really wasn't much that I could do about that. I had to work that day. ... Good 'ole retail you know. [sigh]....

Christmas morning, I had plans to hop on the city bus and head down to the nearest Lutheran church (St. John's), but my friend Scott called and invited me to join him, his sister, and two cousins down at Grace Lutheran, downtown. I accepted the invitation and joined them down there for church....

Grace is perhaps the oldest WELS Lutheran church in Milwaukee, and quite honestly one of the most beautiful Lutheran churches I have ever been to. There were a lot of people there for the service, but Scott and I found our way up into the balcony.... where, I might add, there rests a beautiful pipe organ, played by a very skilled organist. I'll tell you, if I had the means to get downtown each Sunday for church, I might consider becoming a member there. Odds are, though, I'll probably make St. Johns, Tosa, my home church since it is closer. Fairview is a good small church, but a cold 23-block walk every Sunday, especially in winter.

Well, for the majority of the day following church, Scott and Diana (his sister) hung out at my apartment and we celebrated Christmas together. Their father is a WELS Lutheran missionary in Africa, so they were unable to travel home for the holiday as well. It was truely a blessing to be able to spend time with the two of them. I love them both. I couldn't ask for better friends... and they are just two of the wonderful friends I have been graciously blessed with! ... [smile]

In the evening, after a wonderful day spent talking, laughing, enjoying the special features on the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Directors Cut DVD, watching a truely odd film with a young Tom Cruise ("Legend"), and so on, we parted ways...

It happened that my parents called right about then, from up in Minnesota, so I have a wonderful chat with them too. I felt bad that I had been unable to get in touch with them earlier in the day since Scott and Diana were over, but all was well, and we chatted for some time. They had sent two Christmas gifts through the mail earlier that week, so, while we chatted, I opened a CD by Christian Contemporary singer, Rich Mullins, and the CD Soundtrack to the animated film, Spirit of the Cimarron (which I am listening to right now). They also sent a digital image through email of yet another wonderfully unexpected gift.... -- My father (and brothers?) had built, from scratch, a new computer for me -- a significant upgrade from the one I have! Wow! .... -- ...Talk about unexpected! Thank you Dad, Ben, and Joel! ....

Surprisingly, however, my day doesn't yet end there!.... No, it just so happened that after such a wonderful day, it continued to be wonderful. I was online on instant messenger, when my friends Keith and Matt (college friends) signed on and we chatted for some time. Matt lives here in Milwaukee, and Keith out in California. We had a great conversation catching up on some things and just enjoying the internet company of each other. I really love those guys -- great friends! I do wish sometimes, though, we'd all be able to get together in person. Now wouldn't that be great!.... Like the good 'ole college days. .... [chuckle]

After a great conversation, both of them signed off since by now it was late. Shortly thereafter, though, two more friends happened by online.... Mariah lives up on Minnesota. Jen lives here in Milwaukee. I have not seen either of them in quite some time, so again the conversation was a splendid opportunity. This conversation, however, had the side-splitting effects of laughter, sarcasm, and great wit. Man, I really miss those two! What a truely great way to close out a wonderfully blessed Christmas Day!

Christmas Day 2002 -- A day full of friends, family, and blessings beyond measure. Yeah, I was forced to remain at home here, but yet the Lord provided the means for a truely meaningful Holiday Celebration. I was thinking at the start of the day that this just didn't seem like Christmas Day. Yet, the Lord had other plans. By the time I went off to bed, this had become a wonderfully unexpected day of joy and friendship. I couldn't ask for a better Christmas!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas celebration too. May God be with you and keep his angels ever at your side as the New Year approaches. Many hugs and chuckles from me,

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Monday, December 23, 2002


"Wow! Is it Monday, already!?"


You know, I must have lost track of all time these past few days. It's already Monday, December 23, 2002 -- Two days before Christmas! Where did the time go? ... [chuckle]

I'm sitting here now listening to a CD my friend Scott burned for me, ... a Christmas gift. Have no fear, it's music from MP3.com... but it's pretty good stuff! Have you ever heard of a musical group by the name of 'Galbatron"? Look them up on MP3.com sometime. They work with a lot of synthesized keyboard music. That (and a few songs of other upbeat genres) are what I'm listing to right now. It was a clever gift, and a much-liked musical collection of 16 songs. Many thanks Scott!

Yeah, time went fast these past few days. I oddly was flying high and enjoying my Thursday at work. Customers seemed to think it was odd that I was so happy. I guess they don't expect that to come from someone working in retail, especially this time of year, but, hey, you've read my previous post here, right? Life is what you make it. Enjoy what you've got!

I will have to be honest, though, for some reason, Friday was tiring. Maybe it's true too that being so friendly to so many people can be tiring. It must be. I can't imagine that will stop me from being just as friendly today though. It's two days before Christmas, I'm going to enjoy it!.... and maybe try something different... Maybe try some fun 'stuff' while I wait on people. [wink, wink] ....

...We'll see how things go. Who I come in contact with sort of has a bearing on what kind of accents, characters, and such I can employ. And no, I won't do anything that leaves a negative impact on Barnes and Noble.... Silly! .... I'm just going to have fun at work today and tomarrow.

Yeah, that's right, I work today and tomarrow,.... which means 'no go home for Christmas' for me. I'm a little saddened that I won't be home for Christmas this year, but with the holiday falling smack dab in the middle of the week, traveling to Minneapolis to visit my family is a little out of the question on Wednesday. I have to be back to work on Thursday. That short of a timeframe just wouldn't work.

But, have no fear, I am resiliant! My sister, currently off somewhere (Arizona or New Mexico or some such place like that) volunteering for a TCW (Travel Canvas Witness) event, comes back to Milwaukee sometime this coming weekend I think (?). She'll be here for a friend's wedding on New Years, and then she, Noah, and I will drive across Wisconsin up to Minneapolis on that next weekend. Though it's only a weekend trip, that's 'Christmas with my family' for me. Where there's a will, there's a way, right? ... [smile]

But, alas, Christmas Day I am here in Milwaukee. However, thanks to modern technology though, I'll still be in contact with my family back home. It'll be an interesting Christmas. Next year though, I'm going to strongly stipulate, wherever I am working, that I intend to be home for Christmas in 2003. I intend to have more freedom to make such requests by then. .... Where there's a will, there's a way, right? ... [chuckle]

Oh, speaking earlier of Scott, Saturday he came down here to the big city and we hung out, eventually going to see "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers". Excellent flick! .... You know, I think I can now say I have an ultimate favorite movie, and without a doubt, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy has moved into that spot! I loved "The Two Towers".... I can't wait for "The Return of the King"!

... Hey, you all know that the character of Golum was digitally added.... Do you think this could be the first time in the history of the Academy Awards that a non-living actor is nominated?... [sarcastic chuckle]. ... (yeah, yeah, I know there was a real actor involved, but it's the sentiment of the thing to which I am referring.)....

[chuckle]

Well, I'll leave you with that thought. ... [smile]... The time has come for me to prepare to head off to work today. Time to have some fun!

Merry Christmas all!

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Wednesday, December 18, 2002


"Whistle while you work."


You know, strangely, these past few days at work have been rather enjoyable. I don't really know why. You'd think, during the worst time to be working in a retail store (for one's sanity that is), I'd succumb to the 'affectionate' phrase that many of my co-workers have coined for the weeks during this time of year -- "Hell Week." Oddly, not so. I'm actually having fun.... Seriously.

I've been going into work full of energy, happy, cheerful, and working hard to make the best of it.... even though deep down I'd really rather not be there. It's strange. I've had customers coming through my register, regularly saying things like, "Wow, you're pretty happy! Why is that?".... I just am I guess. .... [shrug].

Yeah, I still am seeking a new job in my free time, that hasn't changed. But I guess the best thing to do each day is just make the best of what you've got. That's my plan right now. It seems to be working too, so I guess there really isn't anything worth complaining about. Life is what you make it, right? If you let it be "Hell Week", it will be. If you make the best of it, smile, and make it an adventure, it will be.

Maybe I'm just strange. ... [shrug]

Whatever the case, I'm just going to go with it. Today I'm back in to work for another 8+ hours. I'm just going to do the same thing. Why change a 'good' thing right... even if it does seem a little strange sometimes when compared to everything going on around me. I'm probably going to end up having a little overtime (over 40 hours) by the end of the week. (Especially considering that on the schedule I'm listed as part-time.).... I won't complain. It'll be a slightly larger paycheck for Christmas, right? [smile]

It's very interesting too, .... I'm working in a temporary job that's not my favorite, yet I'm able to find the joy and excitement to muddle through the worst shopping season of the year. Maybe this is a blessing straight from the Lord? Perhaps the thanks is entirely due Him.... Maybe He's just allowed me to see the joy in the negative, and to see it much clearer than usual? .... Hmm, I guess I truely do have nothing to complain about! ... I like this mindset!

I wish you all the best this Holiday Season. Find the joy in everything and may your Christmas be a bright one!

Much love from your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Monday, December 16, 2002


"Oh, to be a Cowboy...."


Saturday night I decided I wanted to watch a romantic comedy or a straight-up romantic movie. Yeah, yeah, I know I like those kinds of movies. Unfortunately, there are no DVD's or videos of such in my apartment. Noah, my roomate, is not the romantic comedy type, rather preferring war movies and Disney films. He has a lot of those. Granted, I do enjoy some of the war movies and other DVD's he has, but I wasn't in the mood for a gritty film. I wanted something lighter, less violent.

I own five Hollywood films (VHS): Life is Beautiful, Patch Adams, Hope Floats, Men in Black (the first one), and The Horse Whisperer. Thankfully, The Horse Whisperer I have not seen in quite some time.... so, I watched that one.

Basically, if you aren't familiar with that film, it's about a young girl who loses her leg in a friek accident involving a semi truck, a horse, and an icy road in winter. Following the accident this girl then becomes a bit of a recluse, while the severly injured horse, once a gentle and maginificent animal, becomes emotionally unstable and tough to handle. The girl's very-busy-with-her-career-in-New-York-City mother eventually learns about a man (played by Robert Redford), out in Wyoming, who is almost 'supernaturally' good with horses. She decides that this man can help the horse, and by helping the horse, the daughter can open up from her shell a little more and get over her own emotional scars. So, she (the mother) hauls the injured horse, and her reluctant daughter half-way across the country to see Redford's character. Then, for the rest of the movie, the plot covers the characters as they learn more about themselves, and each other, out in the majestic setting of the West.

It's a great film, and one that resides in my list of favorites, but there is one other thing about the film.... I makes me realize, whenever I watch it, how 'country' I am inside. I live in the city -- have for the past ten years of my life. But, somewhere deep inside, there is that cowboy that longs for the open spaces of the country. I don't want to be a farmer. I don't want to herd cattle. I just want to spend some time out in those open spaces. ... Strangely, I'm the kind of person that loves the simplicity of life. Everything moves so fast in the city. Everyone has to be somewhere, and they have to be there now. Out in the country, life moves slower. I grew up in the country, I know this. Somewhere, deep inside me, the country is calling.

Maybe that's why I love romantic comedies, country music, a good beat, the open spaces, pioneer history, the country envorinment, as well as the many other things that feed that cowboy deep inside me. I've always had this theoretical plan in some part of my mind to go live in some small town out in the country for a period of time, but it's always been just a thought. I love living in the city, don't get me wrong. I guess I just miss the country too.

Maybe I'll retire to a small town, I don't know. But I do know that my career would get snuffed out in such a setting. There aren't a lot of good acting opportunities out in a small country town. Maybe someday I'll get my foot further into the acting biz. Maybe somewhere down the road, I'll get to play a role set in a small country town. Maybe then, I can bring that cowboy somewhere down deep inside of me out into the light and fuel that role.... Who knows.

For now, that cowboy stays inside and continues to influence who I am. I may long for the open spaces sometimes, but for now, I'm just a city boy, with a bit of a country mind, living in the big city pursuing big dreams.... and I'm content with that.

Life can be funny sometimes can't it.

Have a blessed day all, and an even more blessed Holiday Season.

Your blogging friend,
-Jon

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"Star Trek: Nemesis. (no spoilers)."


Friday I finally got to see Star Trek: Nemesis! I've been waiting for that movie for quite some time, and now, it has finally opened! ... Woohoooo!!! ... [jumps up and down in excitement].

After work, Friday afternoon/evening, I was able to get together with a few co-workers and go see it. My friend Andy (co-worker) had been able to take the day off, since he usually works Fridays, and get a good-sized group together and see the noon showing. Unfortunately I was unable to switch my schedule around, so I missed that. Luckily, however, there were still three of us that went in the evening, including Andy, his second time seeing the film. He raved about it to the Sarah and I, and that coupled with a few other good things I've heard prior, made me all the more excited to see it!....

Now, for those of you that have not yet seen the film, I won't give anything away, but I certainly will recommend it. I have, strangely enough been hearing some really negative buzz about the film, after the fact, from Star Trek fans on the internet. It seems there is a large base of fans that are rather irrate about some things in the movie. I warrent such comments, though, to the Star Trek crowd that just likes to nitpick things to death. Personally I thought it was a great movie. Yes, I'll agree with some of the points that I have heard brought up about the film, but the truth is, in my mind, and from a strictly entertainment viewpoint, Star Trek: Nemesis is the Wrath of Kahn of the Next Generation series! Seriously. Go see it. It is worth the ticket price no matter what you hear from the 'nitpickers'.

I was talking with my friend Scott, when he came to visit on Saturday,... The "rule of evens" certainly rings true. There is a saying that all the even-numbered Star Trek films turn out to be the best, while the odd-number movies tend to be the less favored among fans. Star Trek: Nemesis rang true to this. The Wrath of Kahn remains my favorite Trek film, but I think Nemesis comes in second, followed by First Contact. ... and I think Insurrection remains one of my least favorites.

If you haven't seen the film yet, I recommend you go see it, if not other than to say you have. I enjoyed it, and I think you might too, that is, if you aren't in favor of picking things apart. Just enjoy it, and hey, feel free to email me your review. I'd love to hear what you thought of the film, even if you didn't like it....

.... I am especially interested to hear what some of you think of some of the 'plot twists' and surprises in the film.... such as when the ... oh, wait, you might not have seen it yet. [sarcastic sigh]. Fine, I'll be nice and not give anything away.... [sarcastic pout].

Enjoy! ... and until you see it, have a blessed week.

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Thursday, December 12, 2002


"Wednesday: Training Day, Mothers, and Movies, oh, my!"


Well, it's Thursday afternoon already. I'm not sure if the week is flying by fast, or if it's going by at a slow pace and I'm just sitting here in anticipation of the weekend (Star Trek: Nemesis opens on Friday, remember.... lol).

I'm listening to my Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring CD soundtrack (I think one, if not THE favorite soundtrack of mine). It makes great background noise, though I do have it up a little loud at the moment.... [chuckle].... I think I was kind of inspired to listen to it today though. Last night at work, as the store was nearing closing, and as we were straightening up the shelves after closing, the soundtrack for The Two Towers was piped throughout the store. Great stuff! You know, I may even have to pick up that CD too sometime soon. ... And I am very excited to see The Two Towers in the theatre shortly after it opens -- Almost can't wait! This is such an excellent month for new films!

But alas, now that I have my excitement out of the way, on to calmer things. ... [chuckle].

Work yesterday was interesting. I actually was 'training' a new employee, Ryan. He was on the register next to me in the children's section, and if I recall correctly, this was his second day on the job. He seems to learn the ropes rather rapidly. I will have to say though, he wasn't much of a talker -- very quiet actually. But, then I think back to my first couple days on the job there and I can see why... New place, new people, and he's obviously still a little unfamilar with things. Makes sense. Odds are too, the fact that I am older than he is, and know what I'm doing probably intimidated him a little... I hope, though, that I'm not THAT intimidating of a person?... [smile].... I doub't it. I'm pretty much a softy at heart. Ryan will fit in easily though, just give him a week or two and he'll open up more -- just like I did.

You know, I've noticed something working up in the children's section. Customers are much more UNFRIENDLY up there than anywhere else in the store. There always seem to be overly annoyed or frighteningly forceful mothers coming through my register. They seem as though they are trying to prove that once a friendly young woman becomes a mother, she becomes a bit of a demanding, forboding force in the universe. Very strange. I do understand parenthood comes with a whole new level of responsibility, but does that have to be at the total loss of patience and an honest smile? Apparently with some people this is so.

It's kind of sad if you ask me. I know it's a challenge to remain patient when you have a little one (or a few little ones) running around while you're trying to do something else. But, I'm a little apprehensive when it comes to some of these mothers. They let their children get away with some pretty 'iffy' things that I'd be shocked if I ever let my kids get away with! -- ...in the future when, and if, I ever have children that is.

I guess my perspective is a little different than most. I grew up the eldest of six siblings -- the eldest of six in a family with strong Christian morals and values. My mom would NEVER have let any of us get away with half the stuff some of these mothers at work put up with. Granted I am happy to see that these forceful, and sometimes 'spineless', mothers are only a moderate percentage of the parents I see up there at work. It is nice to talk to the mothers who have NOT lost their sense of descipline. There are those intimidating mothers, and then there are the 'friendly', more patient ones. Honestly I seem to feel more respect for the latter. I think they deserve it a bit more too.

My, my, my, I sure do notice a lot at work don't I. ... [chuckle]

Well, alas, it's almost time to prepare for my Thursday shift. Take care all, and until next time, have a wonderful Thursday!

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002


"Meeting the friendly foreign people!"


You know, I really don't know what to say of Tuesday. It was just sort of a normal day....

Surprisingly, I again rather enjoyed my eight hour shift at Barnes and Noble. I think all the credit for that goes to the people I met and work with there though. No celebrities, (that I recognized -- like on Monday), came through the store, so nothing too out of the ordinary there. But I do find it interesting the amount of foreign customers that come through the store on a regular basis. There seem to be quite a few who've moved to the states from places like England, Australia, and Asia -- lots of heavy British and Australian accents. ... [smile].

There is even a new co-woorker of mine who works in the cafe part of the store. She's from Australia, and, like many of those customers, has just moved to the states herself. I ran into her while I was ordering something for dinner during my break, and had a lovely little conversation with her as I awaited my order. I don't know why, but I love her accent. She's quite friendly, not a bad conversationalist, and yeah, surprisingly 'cute' too.... [chuckle]. ... I'm kind of eager to run into her again. ... [grin]. We'll see.

I guess that's really about it from the annals of Tuesday. I'm hoping my string of bearable (and somewhat enjoyable) days at work continues. I'm kind of liking this. To bad I'm seeking out a different job for sometime in the near future. I really am going to miss the people I come across at Barnes and Noble.... [wistful sigh].

Well, I'll catch you all later on. Have a blessed Wednesday.

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Tuesday, December 10, 2002


"Monday: Celebrity Sighting!"


Ok, ok, it was probably more like a 'celebrity meeting' to be honest, but whose keeping track of these things anyway. ...[lol]...

Well, first there was one of the three major Wisconsin candidates for Governor, Ed Thompson (brother to Senator Tommy Thompson). A month or so back he came up to me in Barnes and Noble, said hi, shook my hand, and then asked me to help him find a book. Granted, Mr. Thompson didn't win the election for Governor, but just to be one of the three state candidates can't be half bad, can it? ... [grin]. ... But, ok, ok, so you're probably wondering, what celebrity did I meet this time? ... Well, ... have you ever heard of actor, Dustin Diamond?

Yeah, for those of you nodding your head, yes, that is THE "Screech" from the old show, "Saved by the Bell." No kidding! I was, once again, working at one of the sales registers in Barnes and Noble today. An hour or so before close, a young couple came into the store, and were having problems getting our system to recognize their Barnes and Noble discount card. They explained that they had just moved to the Milwaukee area from out in California, and it was probably just an inter-state problem. Honestly problems like that do pop up relatively often with out of state customers....

My co-worker standing right next to me, Dennis (who was actually ringing the young couple up), and myself were actually oblivious to who these two were at the time. We eventually cleared things up, chatted a bit as we do with most friendly customers, and bid the two a wonderful evening (yadda yadda...). We then proceeded to continue in our regular cashiering duties. It wasn't until an hour later after the store closed that we were informed just how oblivious the two of us were. Yes indeed, we had just been chatting with the infamous Screech from "Saved by the Bell!"

Honestly, it's just been years since I've even watched "Saved by the Bell". No wonder I didn't recognize Dustin. I'm sure, he was hoping to keep a low profile, so it's probably a good thing neither of us recognized him at the time. If I were in his shoes, a low profile would be on my list too. Kind of a cool feature to work today though, if you ask me .... And you know, some people laugh at me when I say it's the people that I work with or come across that keep me interested in working there.... Ha! ... But it's a proven fact, I DO meet very interesting people working there!... So there! ... [sarcastic chuckle]

Oh, and hey, if your interested, after I got home from work I did a little search online for info about Dustin. I came up with this linked interview he did for the Onion. There's a picture included. Enjoy!

Other than the 'celebrity meeting' at work today, the day overall was a very good one. I actually enjoyed myself at work, and that's been relatively rare lately. I won't complain though. There surprisingly was a lot to enjoy about today. Cool-cool!

I was actually congratulated by the store manager too, shortly after I came in at 4 PM. Apparently the store had been shopped (secret shopper), a week or so earlier, and I was the cashier who the shopper came in contact with. Oblivous, I did everything right, and helped earn the store a 100% score. In retail terms a score that high is very nice to have. Needless-to-say, Barry, the store manager was very happy. Hey, I'm just doing my job. :)

But, that was my day today. Not bad huh? ... [grins]. I hope tomarrow turns out to be just as enjoyable. We'll see. :)

For now, tis late, and I've probably already stayed up longer than I should. I think I'll head off to bed now.... [rubs sleep out of his eyes]....

Take care, and until the marrow, have a blessed Tuesday!

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Monday, December 09, 2002


"Sunday, December 8, 2002."


Well, today was a pretty relaxing day... Not too much out of the ordinary. I did spend most of my day going through that book my father gave me when I saw him on Thanksiving -- "What Color is your Parachute?". It's been a very helpful resource for me as I have altered my methods in searching for a new job.... As the book put it, I am now embarking on a "Life-Changing Job search" rather than the traditional, and statistically less effective, job search that most people undertake (aka, answering job ads, visiting job boards, etc...).

As I am discovering, I think these new more intensive methods I am learning of in more detail will prove 90% more fruitful! ... Seriously. I'll actually begin to employ them in a few days as soon as I have gotten through the whole book. I can safely say though that I am both finding myself very encouraged by reading this book, as well as much closer to what appears to be my destined job.... and let me say, I'm pleasantly surprised! .... But, you'll have to wait until a subsequent post to learn of my findings. .... 'Muahahaha...' .... (Don't you just love suspense!) ... [chuckle]

Well, anyway, aside from the hours of self-analyzing that I did today, I also took time out, during dinner, to see what was on television. I came across "The Preacher's Wife", starring Denzel Washington as an angel, and since it too was a film I have wanted to see, but as of yet, have been unable, I stayed around to watch. I'll certainly have to agree with my mom on this one... Great film. ... [smile].

But alas, the hour has now come upon me, and at nearly 4 AM Monday morning, I am off to bed. I go in to work at 4 PM Monday, so sleep will still be plentiful. I certainly hope this week at B&N is a less stressful one though. Last week ended on a rather sour note....

I do have Friday to look forward to though.... You know why?.... [jumps up and down in excitement] ....

... Star Trek: Nemesis hits the theaters! ... (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I'm a 'Star Trek Geek'...lol) ... I hear the plan is that a whole group of us Trekkers at work are going to get together and see the film in one or both of two showings that day. Cool-cool!

Well, catch you all later on the marrow.

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Sunday, December 08, 2002


"Saturday: Friends and Films."


Today was a good day. I suppose even better when it's a day off from work right? ... [grin].

I walked down the few blocks to my old college to take care of a few errands today. Unfortunately, I didn't get to that little trip until mid afternoon. I must have been quite tired last night; I ended up sleeping until 1:30pm! Granted that was a little longer than I had intended to remain in bed, but hey, no harm done right?....

Anyway, when I did get down to campus, it turned out to be a nice diversion. I had to drop off a few items with a friend who had lent them to me, and while I was there I stopped in the campus library, checked out a few items, and then later stopped in and visited my sister in her apartment for a little bit. All-in-all, nice visit. I ran into a few old friends, said hi to a few faculty/staff members I had not seen in a while, and was on the recieving end of the familiar "WLC Friendly"... (aka, smiles and a hello from people that don't even know me!)... Things like that make me miss that place.... [wistful glance off into space].

I returned to my apartment as the sun was setting. I decided to grab the bus the few blocks and save myself walking in the cold. Since the bus didn't pass by the stop I was standing at for almost twenty minutes, I stopped in at the grocery store kitty-corner to the stop. I ended up picking up some delicious crispy fried chicken for dinner from the deli.... Mmmmm... [licks lips].... I haven't had crispy chicken like that in who knows how long! ... Good stuff! Add in the mozzeralla sticks I also picked up and I can happily say, that was one heck of a delicious dinner! :)

While I savored my dinner, I turned on the television.... and eventually came across a very interesting movie. Have you ever heard of a film by the name, "Three Days"?

Well, the gist of this Christmas film was that a successful young married advertising executive helplessly watches his wife hit by a car on Christmas Eve. The accident proves fatal. The doctors are unable to revive her, and to her husbands sorrow, she stops breathing. ... But then an angel answers the man's prayer, and let's him relive the past three days. The idea is that he has this opportunity to truely express to his wife how much he really loves her. The kicker is, his wife would still die on Christmas Eve. He has three days, but cannot alter her fate. Throughout the course of the film the husband comes to realize exactly how much he loves his wife, and in the end he actually chooses to sacrifice his own life at the last minute to save hers -- the ultimate gift of love.

It was a wonderful movie, and one that I think will have to go on my list of favorites. Christmastime affords for some great movies doesn't it? [smile]

My movie-watching did not end here though. As it just so happend, when Noah got back for the day, he popped in his recently purchased DVD of "Behind Enemy Lines." This film I greatly enjoyed as well. Irnonically, before this evening, this was one film I've always wanted to see, but had not yet.... But, now I have. Great movie.

It turns out Noah also picked up "Hart's War" and "Black Hawk Down", also two movies I have wanted to see, but have not as of yet. That and I checked out the DVD of the movie "Gettysburg" from the campus library. Gettysburg is one of my all-time favorite movies, and now that there is a DVD player in the apartment, I get to see the film on the new 27" television Noah also got as an early Christmas present... Cool-cool. I'm eager to see the added features on the Gettysburg DVD too.... Should be an excellent viewing opportunity for sometime in the near future!

But, anyway, that was my Saturday. It was indeed a good day.... after a long week of work. I'll certainly take days like this whenever I can get them! Well all, it is very early morrning on Sunday already. With the conclusion of this entry, I am now at a point where I can go to bed. I hope tomarrow proves to be as enjoyable. I shall have to see, shan't I? :)

God bless, and have a wonderful Sunday!

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Saturday, December 07, 2002


"Yay! It's the weekend!"


I'm happy. My weekend has come. .... But what to do... what to do... [smiles sarcastically].

I do have some ideas. We'll see what I get to. I'm not planning on stessing out over anything. I do enough of that at work. The weekend is supposed to be two days for me -- for me to do things I actually LIKE to do!

Well, anyway, Thursday at work wasn't too bad. It was a relatively slow, yet steady day. I was scheduled as being on-call, but was called in since there was need. I'll probably start making a habit of insisting that I go in on on-call days anyway. I could use the cash and the hours. ... When I went in, I was 'assigned' to shelve a good deal of books in the children's section. I guess the store shelves were getting a little thin. I fixed that though.... [grin]. ... I guess too I must have really helped the store out, because I was getting a lot of compliments afterwards, which was nice... I was just doing what was needed though.

Friday wasn't really as enjoyable as I would have hoped though. I was, as usual for a Friday, located at the register in the Children's section. Between the screaming children, those annoying electronic 'song books", and the never-ending line of people waiting to be checked out, I was happy to finally be done for the day. Eight hours of that can really stess an employee out. Ironically, Friday reminded me so much of last Friday, the 'largest retail shopping day of the year.' I overheard the store manager mentioning that he expected almost seventy thousand dollars in sales today at our store alone. I don't doubt we came close.... but again, at the cost of the sanity of some of us employees.

Why the heck do we settle to live in such a retail-saturated society? Everything is at our fingertips. All we have to do is go bug some poor retail employee with often silly or completely idiotic questions, demanding that he/she bend to our whims. Poor employee. He/she is probably clinging desperately to his own sanity and patience, while trying hard not to let sour moods and impatient customers get the best of him. Ah, the joys of customer service.... [sigh].

... That's why I generally appreciate the elderly customers more than the young 'gotta-go-someplace-fast-and-gotta-do-it-NOW" ones. And the general opinion is that the general public looks down on the elderly.... Why? Well, they seem old-fashioned.... and curteous... and patient,.... and foolishly the general populace usually chooses to focus on other 'more pressing matters.' The elderly are wise. Society needs to take better nootice of these wise ones.

Ah, but that's enough musing for today. I am tired. It's late. My pillow is starting to call me. I'll catch you all tomarrow.... on a sweet sweet day off!... [grins].

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Thursday, December 05, 2002


"Catch-up: PART III ... The week begins anew."


Well, it it now early afternoon on Thursday, exactly a week after Thanksgiving. I am back to the familiar grind of a new work week, and strangely enough have been finding it rather bearable. Monday and Tuesday were rather relaxed at the registers. Wednesday was again rather easily paced, and now Thursday looks like it could be rather similar.... although I probably shouldn't hold my breath too much. I'm scheduled to be 'on-call' today, so I have to call in at 5pm and see if I'm needed to work. If not, I don't have to go in, but if I can, I think I will try to. I can definitely use the extra six hours on my paycheck next week.

For now, as I make good use of my few free hours in the afternoon, I'm finally able to catch up on things that were put on hold while I relaxed and unwound during my Thanksgiving 'weekend'. I'll probably finish up my daily computer tasks, do a little more writing, and probably even get in some time with that book, "What Color is Your Parachute?". I know I'm already looking forward to things that I hope to do this coming weekend, but I can't get too far ahead of myself. I've still got the rest of today and Friday to get under my belt first.

Oh, and now that December is here, I can look forward to a few other things as well.... Two new movies have me waiting in eager anticpation -- Star Trek: Nemesis, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I'm a huge fan of Star Trek, and I love J.R.R. Tolkien's Ring Trilogy. ... I may have a strict budget right now, but I'm certainly going to fudge a little to see those two new flicks. I'm hearing good things about both, so I think it'll be well worth the price of the two tickets.... Hey, you wanna come see them with me? I'd love the company! ... [grins]

Well friends, I think that wraps up my three-part series of 'catch-up' posts. Feel free to read the previous two if you have not already, and by all means, feel free to drop me a note if the spirit moves you. I love coorespondance.... and I'm thrilled that you have taken an interest in my humble life via my postings on this little blog. May the Lord bless you, and grant you a joyous Holiday Season!

I'll catch you all here again either later today, tonight, or tomarrow (Friday) evening. Until then, take care.... and don't forget to smile. You'll be amazed at how bright it can make your day.

Your blogging friend,
-Jon

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"Catch-up: PART II ... A Weekend at Scott's."


Thursday evening I returned home from Thanksgiving dinner, via the same ride earlier in the day, and headed off to bed. Friday I had to work, though as was the case for the first time on a Friday while I have worked at B&N, I had to be in an hour earlier. That meant that instead of the store opening at 9am as usual, it opened at 8am. I suppose that made sense though.... in retail, Friday was supposed to be THE biggest shopping day of the year.

What gets me though is why people need to go shopping all on THAT day?! Christmas isn't for another twenty-some days!.... plenty of time to shop at a reasonable pace, right? Apparently I'm one of a very few people who think that. On Friday B&N, and the mall the store is connected to for that matter, was literally an ant hill -- pretty close to standing room only. I could have used one of those 'cow-catcher' contraptions that old train locomotives used to have. People just standing around, looking, gazing, thinking.... while dozens of others weave in, out, and around the oblivious traffic jam caused by those 'stationary thinkers.' Nothing annoys me more than people who stop in the middle of a crowded walkway to think, talk with someone nearby, or start digging in thier shopping bags, and paying no attention to the fact that they just created another obstacle in an already crowded walkway.... Hmm... some people.... So intent on something else that they forget there's a world still moving outside themselves. Oh, well... tis the season I suppose. ... [grins wistfully]

It was interesting too to note that, ironically, B&N didn't really have any 'special sales' for this shopping day. The prices were pretty much the same as they usually always are. Maybe the throngs of shoppers didn't know that? ... [shrugs sarcastically]. ... I guess it was good business for the store anyway. Bad for my sanity, but good for the store.

Well, thankfully, 4:30pm came around, and I jetted from the store. I was glad to leave too. I'm not a huge fan of big crowds. I had plans to spend the weekend with my very good friend Scott, and his brother Adam. Adam is a 'high school' student at Luther Prep in Watertown, and pretty new to the states. See, Scott's dad is a Lutheran missionary over in Africa, and Adam had lived over there until old enough for high school, whereupon he came back to the states to study.

Well, the idea was that the three of us would head up north to where Scott currently lives. Adam and I would stay there for the weekend, and essentially, we'd just 'hang out.' And actually, that's pretty much what we did. We talked, laughed, watched the DVD's of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, and the Directors Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, traveled to the 'big' Wisconsin city to the north and bummed around doing a little 'shopping' (well, if you consider returning a defective DVD player shopping... [lol]..), and then returned to Scott's place. By Sunday evening, Scott drove Adam back to Prep, and then he and I returned the lengthy distance back south to Milwaukee where both of us kind of 'bummed' around again for a while.

I was intruiged when we stopped on my old campus, where Scott's sister Diana is a Junior this year. She's the artist type, and quite good at it too. I love her work, and am thrilled to see the process she is going through to find her style. If she keeps up at this pace, I think she'll have a very nice artistic future ahead of her.... Not to mention the fact too that she is turning out to be a very good photographer as well. Aside from the art though, she's a good friend and a wonderful personality. I'm eager to see where the Lord leads her after she graduates college. Her future is full of wonderful possibilities!

Well, after a little bit of a visit, and seeing a sample of Diana's artwork, Scott and I departed our old alma mater for the evening. He dropped me off at my apartment and hit the road again, returning to his abode to the north. That evening, I couldn't help thinking.... 'I've been blessed with some phenomenal friends. The Lord has indeed been good to me, and for these undeserved blessings I am eternally thankful. I couldn't ask for better friends!'

My busy week ended on a high note, and for that I too am thankful. A wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family, a weekend spent with three great friends.... How can I be feeling down. I can't. So, I won't. ... [grins].

Sure, it's back to the grind of work and job hunting for me, but the truth is, I'm feeling a bit rejuvinated. My soul has been warmed and my heart set on even greater sights. I think I'm more than ready to jump back into the frey, and this time, I feel more ready to take on the challenges that are looking my way! .... To God be the glory and all thanks and praise, especially at the end of this Thanksgiving week!

Until next time,
Your thankful blogging friend,
-Jon

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Wednesday, December 04, 2002


"Catch-up: PART I ... Thanksgiving Day."


Well, Thanksgiving day was a welcome change to the day to day of the past few weeks or so. I was presented with the opportunity to travel about an hour and a half or so deeper into the heart of Wisconsin countryside to spend Thanksgiving with family at my Aunt and Uncle's House. My Uncle, is a WELS Lutheran pastor serving dual parishes. In other words, he preaches at two Lutheran churches every Sunday. His main, larger church, is the one who's parsonage he lives in (and is in a small town), and the other church is a small (very small) congregation in the middle of the countryside, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It was this parsonage we would be sharing Thanksgiving in, and this small country church that my uncle would be preaching at for Thanksgiving service.

As it just so happened, and perhaps has become tradition the past few years, as much of my extended family as was able, all came to this uncle's house for Thanksgiving. This included my own immediate family, coming all the way down from Minneapolis, MN. My sister, Rebecca, currently a 'sophomore' at VMI (Virginia Military Institute), and one of the few women in attendance at that US Military school, also traveled halfway across the country to share in Thanksgiving dinner. ... And then, of course, there was my sister, Rachel, a senior at my old college here in Milwaukee, and then myself, a graduate from there and also obviously still living in Milwaukee. She and I got a ride from family on my uncle's side of the family.... (my aunt is my mothers sister...).

So, all guests aside, it was a pretty big gathering, considering that I am the eldest of six siblings in my family, and there were at least the same amount of cousins in my aunt and uncle's household. It was nice to get to see Rebecca again too. With her off training in a military officer training school, seeing her is seldom.... I was also grateful for the opportunity to see my parents and the rest of my siblings as well. Unfortunately, I rarely am afforded the chance to get back up to Minneapolis anymore. I'm hoping I can though for Christmas, but there I have to work that around my employment, wherever that may be by then.

I particuarly relished the opportunity to get to chat in person with my father. A lot has happened with my family in the past couple of years, and I appreciated being able to chat face to face with my father rather than just over instant messanger on the computer. As we talked, he offered me some great insight into my current dilemma's with a new job search, and so on down here in Milwaukee. I really missed chatting with him. Back when I still lived at home (in Minneapolis) we talked often, especially since I am from a very close-knit family. But now that I live down here 300 miles across the state of Wisconsin, such opportunties are rare. ... He actually provided me with a lot to think about though, and new ideas to persue as I muddle through certain things in my end of the world.... For that, I am very thankful that I was indeed able to get together over Thanksgiving. Afterall, isn't family what this holiday is all about? ... [smile]

He also gave me a new book to read through while I was there,.... "What Color is Your Parachute?". I've been able to read it some these following days, and I'm finding it to be of immense help as I seek to get into a suitable career to support myself. If you're looking to get into a new career, or, are like myself, a recent college grad seeking to follow his/her dreams, I recommend giving the book a read. Go through the self-assessment exercises. It'll definitely give you a lot to think about, and provide you with a new mindest that will better help you pursue what you want out of a career.

And you know, I think I've come up with a new plan to things, regarding my job search. This week/ weekend, I will be assessing my own dreams, goals, skills, and so on so I can better start to search for that job that I want. Next week, I start to follow a new course to my job search, contacting prospective companies, career professionals, and intensify my networking. I'll continue the same through the third week, and by then, who knows.... I could have a new job! We'll see. It's all a matter of dedication and a slightly different kind of open mind.

Now, I'm finding a renewed sense of eagerness to things as I am back here in Milwaukee seeking to make my goals and dreams more of a reality. No longer will I seek to employ a traditional job search. The time has come for a life-changing job search.... And time to remove some of those dreams and goals that have been forced thus far onto the back burner. ....

... And to think, all this technically stems from a wonderful, and much needed Thanksgiving visit with family. And, I almost didn't go.... In retrospect though, I'm glad I did. I really needed that diversion to the norm, or refresher if you will. It's amazing how much a little vacation from the monotony of life can lighten your spirits!....

It is my prayer that your Thanksgiving was as joyous and refreshing as mine was. But if not, have no fear, I still care. ... [smile]. I hope and pray that this month of December is a safe and warm one for you all. Afterall, this is now getting to be the heart of winter here in colder areas of the Upper Midwest USA. And all of us that live here know, with snow comes cold, ice, and frigid temperatures. Stay warm.... Keep smiling, and from me to you..... Happy Holidays (albeit, a little early.).

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Tuesday, December 03, 2002


"Catch-up I must play....Hhmmm?..."


Well all, fear ye not, I have returned to the norm of things following a splendid Thanksgiving spent with family (that I almost decided I would not have been able to attend.... Glad I did go!), a painfully killer Friday back at work (the largest shopping day of the year), and then a weekend spent up north a ways with my friend Scott and his younger brother..... Oh, yeah, and then a rather nice day at work on Monday....

But the unfortunate of all this is that I have not yet had time to write about it. I shall though within a day or so. It is only now that I have been able to get online and take care of matters,.... since I was last online on Tuesday that is. Pretty pitiful huh.... [lol!].

So, in other words, I just write to wish you all a blessed Tuesday, and to let you know that some nice stuff is yet to come regarding the days I have as of current been unable to post about. Stay tuned.

(FYI -- Due to a Blogger update, this was written and intended to be posted on Monday.... It was pushed to Wednesday. Sorry about that....)....

Catch ya all on the flip side.

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Jon Baas

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