This is the Week of Interviews…

…You know how you can send out résumés for weeks or months with absolutely no feedback, to the point where you figure perhaps your email server is malfunctioning, or something, and then suddenly in a 48-hour span you get four calls for interviews?

Well, that’s been my week, anyway.  Yup, four calls in 48 hours.  I’ve also made a ton of progress on the new site and have to whip up a post for BlogHer, as well as answer some interview questions for an column my pal Kyria Abrahams is writing, and it would seem there are some media interviews coming up regarding a campaign about inspirational women that I’m a part of, and I may even get to travel to an awesome, prestigious conference next week!  This means pretty much the most über-hectic window of time in quite a while.  You know I’m loving it.

Of course, I suppose none of the potential jobs could pan out.  But I’m thinking positive.  I’m gonna rule the world and rock those interviews, baby!  To top it all off, one of these companies in particular is offering what is pretty much my dream job.  They all seem like awesome positions – but this one is absolutely, by far, my favorite.  It’s right there for the taking, therefore I’m throwing all of my energy and hopes and dreams into that one.

So cross your fingers and toes and eyes for me and send me a few waves of positive, “yes, your dream company will hire you!” vibes, please.  Kthxbai  ;)

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On the social issues/homelessness front:

This is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in the U.S. Fittingly, it’s the week before Thanksgiving.  You can learn more about it and how you can help out from the National Coalition for the Homeless here.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, most major metropolitan areas offer programs like this one in Seattle, where you can “adopt” a low-income or homeless family by donating a cooked/uncooked turkey, or even an entire Thanksgiving meal.  Such a seemingly small thing as a holiday dinner makes a big difference to a homeless person, and until you’ve faced homeless, it can be difficult to grasp just how much of a deal it is to feel included in something bigger than yourself.  Please consider contacting your local shelters/churches/city departments to see what similar resources are offered in your area, and volunteer.

If you’re in the SoCal area, the Los Angeles Poverty Department is presenting a gallery installation and performance event at The Box called “State of Incarceration”.  The stated mission of the project is:  ”This exhibition’s goals include contributing to the public’s ability to visually and viscerally imagine the conditions resulting from policy choices that have made California the state with the largest prison population in the US. Another goal is to create an opportunity for former prisoners to share their lived expertise, about the prison experience, the state of incarceration and how to survive it. And the ultimate goal of the project is to create a moment of exchange and reflection on how we the people of California, as a state can recover from living in a state of incarceration.”  There will be 5 performances, each one different, interactive and experimental.  The exhibition takes place today through Saturday, and all performances are free to the public.  I’m really excited about this and hope to make it to L.A. this weekend to check it out.

Finally, I’d like to feature two articles I read this week that discussed poverty and the recession, that really resonated with me:

One is an older article from the Washington Post (about a year and a half old) that my friend sent me, which explores and demonstrates in vivid detail the adage “you have to be rich to be poor”.  I felt like I’d had the wind punched out me after I’d read it.  It was one of the most comprehensive explanations I’d ever read of the challenges that the poor face, and the way they are, for all intents and purposes, bilked and “charged extra” where ‘higher’ social classes are not – and thus prevented from ever ascending out of p0verty.  There was so much I could relate to about it – from the descriptions of check-cashing venues to unethical payday loan scams to the constant waiting – waiting at the laundromat, waiting for the bus (which often doesn’t arrive on time or at all)…always waiting.  The poor are the waiting.

The second article is from this week’s NY Post.  It makes quite a convincing case that, with the economic collapse, the “middle class” has been pretty much completely obliterated – to a degree, we’re kidding ourselves if we self-identify as “middle class”; that comfort zone buffer is gone.  There is no more gray area and it’s pretty clearly delineated that at this point, you’re either rich or poor.  Depressingly, the author doesn’t seem to hold out much hope for the middle class as we know it to return any time soon.  I, of course, am keeping my hopes up that she’s proven incorrect.  I have a feeling that she would rather be incorrect, too.

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Since I’d rather end on a happy-ish note…pictures from Hallowe’en!!!  In case you’re trying to figure out what the heck I am, I’m some sort of vaguely steampunky/airship-piratey personage.  I had only four days’ notice that I was invited to attend with my friends, so I threw together my costume in that span of time.  Everything you see there, with the exception of the goggles, was either thrifted or vintage stuff that I had lying around.  I’m pretty proud of the bustle, especially.  I soaked several thrift-store, faux-hippie prairie skirts in tea to age them, cut them up, and stitched/pinned them into something of an anachronistic bustle.  I don’t know how to sew, either, which makes me feel all the more accomplished – hooray, I did something nominally creative!!!

Obligatory Satanic smurf shot for my ex-JW pals (who are the only ones who will get the reference, of course!) Quick summary - there's a JW urban legend about a demon-possessed smurf. Yes, the Jehovah's Witnesses honestly believe that smurfs are little blue demons. I was not allowed to watch Smurfs growing up.

Group shot, refueling at the Starbucks on Santa Monica Blvd. Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man (we couldn't walk more than a couple steps without people wanting pics with them!), Flynn from Tron, Helga the German barmaid, Steampunk Pirate, and Amélie.

These guys had to have neckaches by the end of the evening.

Not the best pic of me - I'm rocking the deeply desirable and currently oh-so-in-vogue "chinneck" - however; the best pic of my costume! The corset is actually this vintage 1930's medical corset and I'm wearing it backwards - it has this very cool fan-lacing effect at the bottom that I thought was too awesome to hide in the back beneath a bustle!

Bustle! I made one!!! And sewed it to a belt! I had to take it off while riding in the car. Also, it was kinda heavy, so by the end of the night, a bit of a backache. SO worth it, though!

Why, yes. Yes, that is me, Lena and Brigitte swooning over the Old Spice guy and his dog, Antoine Dodson.

This is the photo that, on the very slim chance that my book is a breakout hit and I do become a world-famous author, the tabloids will publish with the caption: "Does world-famous author sensation Brianna Karp love cocks?!" Seriously, though, this guy was such a sweetheart and you can probably tell I was totally bashful in his presence. Scantily clad, cutie-patootie gay guy + hipbones that could cut glass = seriously smitten, slightly flustered Bri.

And we did indeed help to break the Guinness world record for group dancing the “Time Warp” – 8,239 people dancing at once!  Check out the vid:

I wish our stage was this awesome, but ours seemed to mostly consist of drunk and confused people who weren’t quite sure what the hell was going on, and perhaps fittingly, the guy leading the Time Warp onstage had no idea what the hell he was doing – he was reading the lyrics and moves off a flip pad, no joke!  Still…I was there, and I danced, dammit!  I contributed and I can say I’m one of those 8,239 people!  Yay!!!

Anyway, I’m off to a job interview.  *Insert renewal of plea for positive hiring vibes!!!*

Happy Hallowe’en, and I’m Sorry!!!

Why do you hate me, Bri? WHY?! What have I ever done to you, that you should torment me thusly?!?!

First off:  Happy Hallowe’en, everybody!

*Disclaimer – I actually had absolutely nothing to do with dressing up poor Fezzik in drag. This is all Sage’s doing. I just took photos as quickly as possible so the poor miserable boy could escape his torment.

I know, I know…I’m just postponing the inevitable question, here.  Where have I been, right?!

Crazy busy, that’s where!  I’m building this new network of sites, see, and it requires an exhausting amount of time and effort to set in motion and get to the point where the network is self-sufficient.  Plus, I’m kinda just learning all of this as I go along.  I’m so, so sorry to have disappeared for so long.  I sort of let myself get overwhelmed and I’m not proud of that.  Gonna try to keep more on top of everything from here on out.

I am looking for work as well, maybe an administrative job to keep generating a little income, at the very least until the tGGtH book release in May (and hopefully beyond, since first-time authors rarely become rich). There is still behind-the-scenes work ongoing for the book, but since I’ve finished all the major tweaks, at the moment it’s not as all-consuming as it was before, for which I’m grateful.  If you know anyone looking for either temp or permanent office help in the Inland Empire or Orange County, please feel free to pass them along!

Also, it turns out that some disgruntled person turned in the owner of the lot to code enforcement.  This is one of the reasons that I’ve always been very reticent to let people know my exact location.  I keep it very vague, like, “somewhere in Riverside” (which is a pretty huge area)…because I know it’s technically pretty darn illegal for us to be here, and 10-15 homeless people will be put in jeopardy should any NIMBYs get ants in their pants.  Only my best friend – and one or two interviewers who have done stories on me in the past – know the exact location of the lot.  Otherwise, I meet all individuals elsewhere.

Anyway, it happened.  An acquaintance of the owner with a bone to pick turned him in, and now it looks like we’ll all have to bail out and find somewhere to go very soon.  I don’t know for how long, or if/when anybody will be allowed to come back after code enforcement does their thing.  I’m sure I’ll find out in the next week or so.  What I do know is that everything has to be emptied out, all people on the property need to vacate, and the electric/water utility hookups to all the trailers/sheds/garages/guest houses need to be disconnected, etc.

Sooooo…yeah.  I’ve got that on my mind.  I’m not too worried about myself, personally.  You know me. I always manage to be OK, somehow, and if I can just hang on for 6 more months, until May, I think things might pick up considerably with the book release.  It’s more everybody else who’s living here that I’m worrying for.  Where will they go?  Will they be OK?  It’s such a sad social commentary that the city would rather crack down on someone keeping homeless people in sheds and trailers on his property, and have the people sent back out to live on the streets, or the riverbed (yes, plenty of homeless people are staying there right now).  And of course, when they’re on the streets, the city will be telling them they can’t stay there, and to move on to somewhere else.  The perpetual cycle.

In any event, I need to get my mind off things.  A few of my friends are taking me to the West Hollywood Hallowe’en Costume Carnaval tomorrow night, on Santa Monica Blvd.  It’s my first “real” Hallowe’en since leaving the JWs – costume and all!!!  I’ve hung out with friends on Hallowe’en before this, but never dressed up and really thrown myself into the whole experience.  And I love to dress up.

So I’ve worked myself up a vaguely Steampunky/Victorian costume, mostly out of things I already had lying around in boxes.  I also grabbed three or four faux-hippie prairie skirts from the thrift store, soaked them overnight in black tea from the $1 store to age them, and have hacked and slashed them up, then sewn/pinned them into a sort of bustle of which I am very proud, since I’ve never sewn before and have absolutely no idea how.  I should probably note that I didn’t do a proper sewing job, but it’s OK because anachronistic steampunk bustles can totally pull off the haphazard DIY look.  It’s part of the rough charm of it, I think.

A bit proud of myself.  The first really creative thing I think I’ve done in a long time.  The costume came out far better than I could ever have hoped.  I feel slightly accomplished, which puts me in a good mood and raises my self-esteem (yay!)

On the downside, one of the couple of items I did order for my costume (Victorian-style boots) did not arrive at all, and the store I ordered them from has not been responding to my emails/calls, which greatly bothers me.  I’ll deal with getting myself a refund later, but it looks like tomorrow I’m gonna have to drive around and try to find even just some boring brown ankle boots or something.  I suppose I could be a steampunk chika with Converse sneakers and get away with it on attitude alone, but I’d kinda like my first Hallowe’en costume to be complete.

Yup, yup.  That’s about it for now.  Come to the Carnaval on Santa Monica Blvd. tomorrow, from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.!  I’ll be there, along with 1/2 million other people, helping to set a world record at 10:45 p.m. – the most people dancing the “Time Warp”, from Rocky Horror, at once.  Thing is, I haven’t ever seen Rocky Horror, actually (so much JW-forbidden pop culture to catch up on; so little time!) but I’m just excited to feel like a very small part of something big.  How often do you get to say that you helped break a Guinness world record?!