A New Year 2016

“No matter what the source of a sorrow may be, the sorrow itself is respectworthy.” -Mark Twain, Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 3


2015 ends today.

I gained a part-time job this year and that is going well for the most part.  I also saw Star Wars Episode VII.  I’ve started reading novels again and finished several Mark Twain books.  I’m currently getting through the third volume of his autobiography and Life on the Mississippi.  Unfortunately, the latter has been more boring than A Tramp Abroad, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Letters from the Earth.  I’ll get to it again in 2016, probably after finishing the autobiography.

Since coming off the antidepressants in mid-2014, I have not been happy.  That is to say, I am happy, sad, angry, and depressed at times and intervals that make no logical sense to me which spiral into a repeated pattern of happiness, sadness, anger, and depression.  There is no end and no relief.  I’ve dealt with anxiety since I was a young child.  I thought over time it would dissipate, but it never did.  It morphed and some aspects of it I could resist.  For instance, I never really think I’m overly stressed at work, only to realize coming home that I am thoroughly exhausted.

The last time I talked to my doctor about returning to antidepressants, he didn’t even want to consider it unless I was considering harm or suicide.  I have to threaten suicide to get medication for anxiety?  I mention my anxiety still being a problem, and he completely ignored it.  I no longer want anything to do with him, yet my health insurance limits who I can go to and he’s one of the few doctors still accepting patients.  I’ve searched for local psychiatrists specializing in social and general anxiety only to find they primarily focus on children and/or adolescents.  I’d have to drive for a hour or more to the nearest big city for someone specializing in it for adults.  I’m certain there has to be a specialist in my area, but Google and the ADAA‘s “find a therapist” function hasn’t helped.   I have a hard time explaining my symptoms to my doctor, I have no idea how I could explain them to a therapist.

There are quite a few “Christian” therapists around, yet I’m not religious.  My dental hygienist recommended one years ago.  I certainly have philosophical and existential issues that couple with my erratic mind, but talking about those with someone dedicated to a Christian worldview certainly wouldn’t help me.  It would make me more depressed.

Like most people, I’m likely to break a New Year’s resolution rather than fulfill.  So, I’ll do what I did last year and focus on some broad goals with a higher chance of success, like finding a part-time job.  Blogging more, reading more, and listening more are a few I can think of at the moment.  I’m going to stay-the-course with my part-time job and see where it may take me.

Retail work can take a lot out of an introvert like me, but I do like my colleagues, managers, and most customers.  The machines there hate me.  However, they hate everyone, so its not personal.  Bad moments and rude people usually don’t stay around long, though the anxiety can make me fixate on an error or bad experience.  I’ve only been there a short time and everyone says I’m getting better.  The anxiety says I’m not, but if I’m getting positive feedback from repeat customers, managers, and colleagues, then I must be getting it right.  I mean, they threw me in amidst the holiday rush and I survived, so that’s something.

On a meta note, what on earth did WordPress do with the “reblog” option?  I can’t find it under the “share” options when I want to reblog someone’s article.  All I get with the share is a sentence fragment with a link to there article.  I know the reblog function is still around.  Just when I get my head around WordPress, they change things around!

Happy New Year to you all.

Rebirth

“Move over, God!  Prepare for rebirth!” -Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Futurama, Rebirth (Episode 89)


Slowly, but surely, getting this blog back on track.  I have a few drafts being crafted over the next few days.  I don’t know how people blog multiple times a day.  It takes awhile for me to find a pocket of inspiration, only to drain it dry in a short period.

Now, I’ll have to remember where on earth everything is in my WordPress Dashboard…

Never Enough Time

“The best laid plans of mice and men…and Henry Bemis…the small man in the glasses who wanted nothing but time. Henry Bemis, now just a part of a smashed landscape, just a piece of the rubble, just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself. Mr. Henry Bemis…in the Twilight Zone.” -Rod Sterling, The Twilight Zone


There are days when I’m on top of the world and days when I’m at the bottom.  More the latter, it seems.

Honestly, where did everybody go?  I had minor surgery and concentrate so much on job searching, I’ve only just recently noticed several writers I followed on WordPress have either left or locked up their blogs to selected readers only.  Is there something going on with WordPress no one has told me about?  It’s like a scene from The Twilight Zone where a man wakes up and finds everyone gone.  I hope I don’t break my glasses.  Where ever you all have gone, I wish you well and hope you stay in touch!

My erratic and anxious mind makes it difficult to explain if I am doing well or not.  I have a hard time looking at my success and failures from an objective point-of-view.  I am still applying to jobs and it feels hopeless at times, yet I am getting interviews this year for the first time since 2007.  I have dozens of jobs on my Indeed.com list and I spend some days just staring at the list with the feeling I have no enthusiasm for any of these positions.  Sometimes I apply and sometimes I don’t apply at all.  Even the library positions provide me no zest.   My computer used to give me joy, but now I see it as just a job search kiosk.  Whether I get up early in the morning or sleep late well into the day, there’s never enough time.  I have a hard time having fun or enjoying anything until I’m assured of a job.  Ironically, this anxiety makes me postpone applying and I just surf the Net for hours.  It’s a Kobayashi Maru problem.  It’s June and I thought with my new vigor and job hunt strategy, I would at least have a part-time position now.

My job coach has encouraged me to apply to non-library jobs in addition to librarian jobs.  I’ve gotten several interviews for retail jobs, but I can’t help thinking that my bachelor and master degrees weigh against me in those positions.  It doesn’t help that I’m an introvert and I have trouble showing “enthusiasm” for anything, even if I genuinely enjoy it.  You just have to believe me when I say I want the position and would do my best at it.  My word is all I have.

The myth I’ve been told about libraries refusing to hire people with Master of Library Science (MLS) degrees due to pressure from the American Library Association (ALA) apparently isn’t true.  I have been getting calls and invites to interview for paraprofessional positions now.  The fact that they are considering me means something has changed in the library world.  In academic libraries in my area, you have to have an MLS for part-time positions.  A few years ago, even a year ago, this would have been alarming.  I’m not sure what the ALA thinks of these new developments, but I’m always glad the ALA gets proven wrong.  Being a ALA member certainly hasn’t given me an edge or opportunity.  There’s also a greater chance those in my position who got their degrees from the height of the Great Recession might have a chance at a job now.

It’s a mixed bag with this blog post.  Some hope and some despair.  It’s better than my last post, but it could be brighter.  I suppose things will get better in time.  I feel, though, there’s never enough time.  For anything.

 

Erratic

“Of course, no man is entirely in his right mind at any time.” -Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger


My apologies yet again for the long hiatus.  My grand plans to post more often and add more content have not gone well.

My job search, Photoshop class, and my anxiety issues keep me feeling that I cannot do anything fun.  I hate job searching.  It is so easy to procrastinate from it (like right now), especially when I am being encouraged to find work outside of my specialty areas of libraries and museums.    Everyone says job searching is the worst job you will ever have.  I have no idea or measure if I am on the right track.  For example, should I be working 8 hours a day searching?  5 hours?  As I am able?  I have started getting interviews, however.  One at a retailer (that ended in rejection) and two librarian job interviews.  I supposed that means I am doing something right.  I apply to every library-related job in my geographic area I can find.  I even applied to jobs in far-flung places in the state, though I stopped doing that months ago.  Employers are not too keen about helping with moving expenses or compensating job candidates (unless you’re a bigwig) for traveling anymore.  Also, I honestly do not want to move too far away from my family.  The poisonous rhetoric against the unemployed and the condescending, contradictory, and confusing job search/interview advice further tear me down.  I no longer read any job advice on the Internet since it drives me mad.  I over-think and over-analyze to a point of sickness.  At some point, you have to “publish or perish” your cover letters and resumes until something sticks.  You have to make a stand like Leonidas at Thermopylae.

I spoke about my anxiety in a previous post.  There are days and moments when I feel so ready and accomplished.  Then, there are the days and moments when I am despondent and unable to focus at all.  I lean towards a depressive and anxious nature, though I do hide it well in public.  That is one of the reasons Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors.  He had a humorous and funny side, but also a dark and depressive side.  An erratic nature runs in my family and it frightens me that I may get worse over time instead of better.  I keep chugging along and try finding something to do that makes me happy, like volunteering.  I wish I were more successful at it.

Now, if you, dear reader, do have any advice for my predicaments and even have a link you want to share, feel free.  If you have any questions you want to ask, feel free.  I have no problem with it.  If you have any job leads, want to network, etc,. let me know and I will see what I can do.

As with my previous post, I will try to update the blog more in the future.

 

I’m Not Dead!

“It’s only a flesh wound!” -The Black Knight, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail


My apologies for the long hiatus.  I hope everyone had a happy holiday!  Mine was simple, but fine.  No one had to go to the hospital, at any rate.

I’m still dealing with job searching and the anxiety that comes with it.  I did get an interview for a part-time job.  It was an unexpected interview.  I got a phone call and they wanted to interview me in one hour.  Yes, you can get a business suit on in only a few minutes (it helps to pre-tie your tie).  The job is not library or museum related or full-time (as I thought it was based on the job description), and I fear I was not as ebullient as I should have been.  Still, I answered as honestly as I could, and I tried to be myself.  It’s not easy as an introvert and shy person to do interviews.  I do enjoy helping people, though I worry that I’m not “clicking” with them.  The snap interview may actually have helped me as I did not have time to brood so much about it.  Even if I do not get the job, I learn more about the interview process and more about myself.  Next time, I’ll learn more about the hiring company and their services/products.

I have taken something of a hiatus from the dreaded retail stores that require Applicant Tracking Systems and bizarre exams I haven’t seen since high school.  I can only handle so much of the same, inane, impersonal, inhuman, inhumane questions over and over again.

I’ll do best to start posting again  in the near future.  I just wanted to make a quick blog post to say “I’m not dead!”

On Writing and Onwards

“Get action.” -Teddy Roosevelt


Writing is a difficult thing.  If it’s not remembering your grammar and style structure, it’s disciplining yourself to write anything at all.  I dreamed of writing a blog post a day, yet I lose interest and energy fighting myself to get anything done.  Still, old Teddy said to “get action,” and he used it to push through his problems.  Maybe that’s the way to go?

I’ve always been a fairly cautious person not wanting to make waves.  I’m finding that doesn’t get you very far.  I suppose I could go on about politics, religion, abortion, taxation, imperialism, and other wedge topics bound to make me greatly loved or greatly despised.  Actually, I do plan to talk about politics and religion, though I don’t intend of being a firebrand.

Some ideas I’m considering discussing at some point in no particular order:

What is art?

Job search

PHP, web development, etc.

Basset Hound Christianity

Police technology

Military technology

Police power

Charity says I hate babies

Confederacy of the Mind

Culture Wars

The U.S. Constitution

Military history

Adobe

Multimedia Extravaganza Bonanza

Media incompetence

Education is the key

Internet comments (shudders to self)

Libraries

Vulcan logic that, if spoken out loud, will get you killed

Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Christianity

Frank Uruquat of House of Cards

These are only “seed” topics to get me going.

Introduction

“The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”  -Mark Twain


Welcome to Ripberger’s blog.  He has studied history, library science, and web design.  Here, you can read his miscellaneous thoughts about life, the universe, and everything.

Pardon me whilst I figure the WordPress doohickey out and apologies to my 3 or less Twitter followers if things start going awry.

I once had an old Xanga blog, but it never went anywhere.  I honestly can’t say this blog will go anywhere.  However, it’s worth a shot.  I’ve been meaning to have a blog partly as a hobby, partly to improve my writing, partly as therapy, and partly to see if there are people on the Internet with something good and important to say (aside from myself, of course).  I’ve always put a quote from some figure (famous or not) on my blog posts in homage of the Sid Meier’s Civilization games.   You will see a lot of Mark Twain, by the wary.  On my interests, I enjoy military and social history, library cataloging, and web design.

I always enjoyed history with it’s strange characters and the stories of humanity.  At first, I desired to teach high school history, but that didn’t work out.  Profound disrespect and anxiety attacks put me off.  I thought of going to graduate school to study history more, but the idea of writing hundreds of pages of dry writing few people would read dissuaded me.  I have nothing against the traditionally dry academic writing (some historians can actually write exciting and ebullient monographs, though it can be hard to do).  I wanted to work in museums, yet a Masters in Museum Studies was highly desired by institutions and, at the time, I had no desire for more schooling.  Years of wondering what to do lead me to library science and a masters (MLS) in that.  I do enjoy some aspects of library work, particularly the behind-the-scenes cataloging and acquisitions.  Unfortunately, it’s difficult now to get a library job.  Even with an internship under my belt, getting any sort of position (even a volunteer position), is somehow daunting.  So, I am thinking of alternatives and other possibilities while holding out for something related to either history, museums, or libraries coming about.  I recognize that may never happen or at least happen anytime soon.  I continue to undertake personal development/hobby projects (like web design) and volunteer work to occupy my time and maintain my sanity (and improve my resume).

This blog will talk about the aforementioned aspects of my life and more.  Welcome and enjoy!