Thursday, March 23, 2006


Urgh. I recieved my bank statement today...and found three withdrawls with the debit card I didn't make. Two were for an online casino. The other was for...well, I looked it up online, and I'm not sure WHAT it was, since the page was very ambiguous, but it seemed to have something to do with cashiering, so I'm assuming it was also for the online casino and/or gambling. I HATE gambling. I would never go to this site, much less place bets with my card.

How could this have happened? I've never lost my debit card and have only shopped in three places online - a large, well-known New York store that specializes in Broadway cast albums, eBay, and I haven't shopped in the former two in three years and haven't used since last summer.

I called Bank of America and told them what happened. I wish someone could invent a way to get straight to who you need to talk to and make things as simple as possible. Do you really need to talk to a claims person AND a fraud person AND sign something? I just want my money in my account as quickly as possible.

Every time I think of getting a decent, normal job I could actually use my college degree on, I get nervous. How can I find a job? I sent resumes to all the Cape May County and Atlantic County newspapers and many radio stations, and no one ever seemed interested in my work. Only once did anyone ever ask to see my portfolio...and I didn't get the job.

Most of the openings are for medical companies who need techincal writers, or contractors, or financial institutions. Um, hello, my resume says "communications." I'm not interested in finance, and I know nothing about medicine. I didn't study medicine in college. I studied COMMUNICATIONS. I want to WRITE. I want to do something CREATIVE, or at least organize files for a radio station or do copywriting for a small-time paper.

And even if something right comes will I know? I'm scared to death! I hate doing applications. I never remember all the information they want, or have all the identification they need, or have enough references. And don't get me started on interviews. Just the thought of sitting in a room with someone asking me questions like "how do you think you can help us?" and staring at me like I have two heads gives me a nervous stomachache. It's not easy to just "go out and do it" when you don't know anyone, don't know the company, don't know anyone who knows any companies who are willing to hire you...and don't know HOW to get to know anyone.

How do you meet people? Where do people my age (27 next month) congregate when they don't drink? I've seen a few people my age around here, but they're always so busy. Is there some place offline nerds, nutcases, eccentrics, weirdos, and oddballs go? Where are all the people like me?

And I just scratched one of the lovely Monkees photos Lauren sent me. My favorite one, too. : o (

Friday, March 17, 2006

Minty Bliss and Selenite Secrets

I celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a Shamrock Shake from the McDonald's in Westmont. Now, I normally hate McDonald's, but I don't like liquor of any shade, so I figured this was the only green liquid I'd be getting today. It was actually quite good, a nose-clearing vanilla/mint greenish swirl. I drank it (too fast) while riding around a gorgeous park (too slow, so I could catch those river views).

I found a film I haven't seen since I was a kid at the Audubon Acme a few days ago and bought it last night - "Moon Madness." It's an animated version of Baron Munchausen's discovery of a lost civilization living in the center of the moon, the Selenites, and his quest to bring their Talisiman of Eternal Life back to Earth.

That's about all I can tell you, other than, according to the back, it was made in France in 1983 and (not too badly) dubbed into English in 1985, and it used to run frequently on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel in the 80s, which is how I remember it. In fact, there was a commercial for another 80s Nickelodeon French attraction, the animated series "The Adventures of the Little Prince," after the main feature.

(How nice it is to see the commericals AFTER the film instead of wasting 20 minutes BEFORE it! Why can't they do that now?)

The animation, with it's strange, sketchy moon monsters and round-eyed human (and Selenite) characters, is quite attractive for being an independantly made foreign cartoon from the 80s. Though not nearly as lush as Disney's finest, it feels something like one of the foreign cartoons Nick liked to run in the 80s done as a comedy ("Arcadia of My Youth," "Spartacus").

This movie seems to be completely and utterly forgotten; even the Internet Movie Database has nothing on it, and the few remaining copies cost a small fortune at

(I only paid about $6 for the original Vestron Video copy at the Acme! : O 0 )

The most memorable aspect of "Moon Madness" (or at least, it's English dub) is the theme song. "The Secret of the Selenites" opens and closes the film and may be its most memorable aspect. The 80s rock-synthesizer tune is completely out-of-place in a sci-fi fairy tale set in the 18th Century, but it's nevertheless so catchy, I still recalled some of the lyrics and riffs 20 years after most the rest of the film had faded into the mists of my childhood.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


This article from the Star-Ledger outlines one of the primary reasons I left Wildwood - I simply could not stand the demolition anymore.

It sickened me. By the time I moved, I was avoiding the Crest all together except for the library. How could ANYONE stand to live there? How could anyone live in a place where forty historic buildings are going to be empty lots? Where you live with the constant threat of the possible demolition of your home over your head, even if your landlady and the owner of the hotel next-door says they have no desire to sell? How can you trust them NOT to sell when everyone else is?

I SAW them demolish the Shore Theater. I passed by that on my way home just a few days before I moved. I was so mad when I found out the Nile nightclub down the street from me was demolished to build condos, I threw my DVD player's remote control against the wall of my old place and broke it. Ok, that was stupid, but you see how this angers me.

Hey, Wildwood, wanna get young people and young families and people my age back? Leave our damn hotels ALONE! Build nice, normal, small-sized hotels that resonate with Wildwood's history. You're not Disneyland and you're not the Rivera, so stop trying to be that. You're a family resort in New Jersey on an island that can only stand so much building. Condos are NOT the way to go to bring the young people and their children back. Most people my age can barely afford the basics of living, much less some fancy-shmancy piece of Victorian-esque junk. Build simpler, smaller hotels. Build houses. Nice, normal houses for nice, normal families. Blend them in with the island's architecture. Yeah, it's tacky, but it's OUR tacky. It's the tacky that made Wildwood what it is, and you wouldn't be having a Reneissance without it.

The jerks in charge of Wildwood have no appreciation of it's history or the importance of those hotels. Eliminate them completely, and you'll just have another boring little resort with an oversized beach and a collection of dull, meaningless condos where a bunch of decrepid, snot-nosed matrons from the cities live for a week in June. What will happen when all those snots die? Do you think their children will want to come to an overpriced, meaningless collection of crappy condos?

I hope you like living in ghosts towns...because in a few years, that's all Wildwood's gonna be.
A Bit Of Phildadelphia Kids' History

I found some more information on three of the Philadephia children's shows I mentioned a few years in this TV Party article:

If nothing else, it explains why that computer the boy in "Starstuff" used was so out of date - the show and "Candy Apple News" were both from the EARLY 80s and re-run later in the decade. I must have seen the mid-80s re-runs. I'm just glad to see someone else remembers them, because my sisters don't and most of my friends look at me like I'm completely off my nut when I bring them up.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Moving On Up...And Other Pressing Stories

Ok, first and foremost, I DID finally move. I wasn't kidding when I wrote in October that I was sick and tired of Wildwood. I now live in Oaklyn, NJ, just outside of Philadephia. The location is mostly ideal, as Oaklyn is the kind of nice little town I've always wanted to live in, with a nice little historic main street and library and even trains going by, all situated on a lovely river. I originally looked at the apartment in 2003 but opted not to take it, and I always regretted that. My Uncle Ken, biological father Bruce, and adopted sister Jessa live down the street, and Rose is about five minutes away in the next town over, Audubon. The apartment is gorgeous, too, with a huge living room, a porch the size of my old apartment, a big back storage room, two big closets, and an amazing view of a park and the river...all for only 50 more than my old place (less if you factor in my not paying utilities here). My landlady is a kindly older woman named Eleanor who brought up a real printed lease the second day I was here and fixed the heat right away when it was broken.

I've had more problems with the Acme. I was originally supposed to move on February 1st, but Bruce said he could only get help on the 29th. I had to tell work I was leaving earlier, and then I found out I would be making less money, since I was hired at the shore. I called the Union (and even THEY said Acme treats its employees badly). Long story short ("too late"), due to a number of factors, it took three weeks for my transfer to go through. I didn't start working again until about two weeks ago. I'm making pretty much what I was in North Cape May, though the Union couldn't do anything about my senority, meaning my hours have been terrible.

On the other hand, the folks in the Audubon Acme are nice and far more sensible and laid-back than the strict staff at NCM, and the store is the largest Acme (and one of the best grocery stores) in the area. It's in a brand-new shopping center complex that also includes a FYE, a Staples, a Fashion Bug, an International House of Pancakes, an Applebee's, a Deb Shop, a Quizno's, a Eckards', and a Wal-Mart. And it's within biking distance of my apartment; no more having to take a bus to work everyday. (No more having to take a bus at all unless I want to go to the Cherry Hill Mall or job hunting in Center City Philly.) If the weather is nasty, I work late, or the bike is broken (like it is now - more on that later), I can just call Uncle Ken, Bruce, or (if she's avalible) Rose to pick me up.

I love it here. This is a beautiful area, filled with trees, parks, rivers, and history. People don't VISIT here. They LIVE here. They live in houses built in every era of the 20th century, from stately Edwardian two-family duplexes to small, 50s-and-60s era family homes with an apartment in the back like Miss Eleanor's house. They live over 30s-era shops on the White Horse Pike and in 70s-era apartment buildings. Trains chug past the VFW across from the house; airplanes fly overhead. Children walk to and from school on West Clinton Avenue. The VFW, the churches, and the old restored Ritz Theater are the center of community events. Collingswood has a well-restored historic downtown shopping area so remincisent of Cape May and Ocean City I feel at home there; Westmont is the home of the Super Fresh, Blockbuster, a library, and a couple of really cool dollar stores; Haddonfield has stunning parks that are fun to ride around in.

I am still having problems finding a job and meeting people. I've slightly improved on the latter front; one of Uncle Ken's friends manages a thrift shop in the Collingswood Historic District and I offered to volunteer there whenever I can, as I love thrift shops. Erica is a very sweet and helpful woman, and I've really enjoyed helping her orgainize clothes and price items and dress manniquins and set up displays. What I enjoy most, however, is the customers. They're always so happy and seem to be having so much fun, or are regulars who come to the shop often. I'm glad to see people actually enjoying shopping. I often forget, listening to grumpy customers at the Acme, that people go shopping sometimes just for the pleasure of seeing new merchandise (or new-to-them merchandise) and being around other people.

The lack of job opportunities has been more frustrating. I went to two of the three local libraries my first week here. The Camden County Library System apparently has a hiring freeze until 2007; the Oaklyn Library isn't hiring, either. Staples isn't hiring, FYE isn't hiring, I know nothing about clothes, Blockbuster isn't hiring, the dollar stores are family operations, and I have no desire to work at Wal-Mart, given what I've heard they do to their employees. (Not to mention they aren't that far removed from a grocery store.) This is such a big area, I didn't think I'd have any problems finding a better job than the Acme. I can't believe there isn't a nice, normal little non-fianancial, non-medical office that needs a copy clerk or a secretary or a receptionist. I'm going to start making trips into Philly to look around there once the weather and my bank account improve; I'd also like to take my first ride on the Speedline trains. The only train I've ever ridden on was the subway to Queens and back during my June 2001 trip to New York City.

This week's been up-and-down. I finally got my W-2s and my back paychecks from the North Cape May Acme, got some money in the bank, got my taxes and bills out, and got an idea for what to buy for Mom's 50th birthday next week. Oh, and the weather suddenly turned from a normal-for-March-in-New-Jersey mid-40s to a very spring-like lower 70s. However, on the way back from a quick trip to deposit the back paychecks in the bank, the pedal on my bike broke off, and I ended up on the street in tears. I'm fine. My left elbow is scraped-up and sore to the point where it hurts when I put my arm straight or lean on it, and I have a purple bruise the size of a salad plate on my right thigh, but nothing was broken. I didn't even put a hole in my sweater (thank goodness - I LOVE that sweater; it must have gotten pushed up when I fell on my elbow).

The not in as good a condition. The metal that connects the pedal to the bike snapped clean off. I called Uncle Ken after it happened and he took it to one of his numerous friends to be fixed, hopefully by tomorrow. I NEED that bike; I can't get far quickly without it. Walking is fine if I'm just running to the store for some milk, but it takes too long to go everywhere that way, and I certainly can't grocery shop like that. (Trust me, I tried in Wildwood.)

The CD player on my stereo also died. It just got stuck one day and wouldn't unstuck, no matter how much I shook it or pushed buttons or turned it on and off or unplugged it. Uncle Ken did what he could to get one CD out, but the others are still jammed. Bruce knows more about electronics; he might know what to do when he gets back later this week or know someone who would know. I don't even really care about the CD player (they aren't that expensive to replace). I just want the CDs, three of my most costly, back. Thank goodness I found a great oldies station the second day I moved here that almost makes up for only being able to play my CDs on my computer.

Oooh, and I owe Uncle Ken and his son Mark big-time for their homecoming-present. There's only one phone line in the entire house and it's in the bedroom, so they got me a wireless phone instead of trying to add a second wire through the storage room into the living room. Owe Rose for her homecoming present, too - the computer chair I'm sitting in as I type this. It's a good, simple, tough model from Wal-Mart. The chair I used at the old house for the computer is now in the living room (where it really belongs), and I sat on the floor when I used the computer for the first week I lived here. I don't recommend doing that often; not the most comfortable way to surf the 'Net.

Coming up - Mom's big 50th birthday dinner with all of her and Dad's side of the family on Saturday, Rose's birthday, my 27th birthday, Easter (including an Easter egg hunt at the VFW), getting the bike back on the road, getting a new stereo, and updating my online resumes with my volunteering experience and a new reference.