Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I am GOOD Enough, SMART Enough...and gosh darn it -- PEOPLE LIKE ME!

So kids, the last week have brought some positive energy my way! About freaking time -- I am not bitter!

When seeking a job, the process is most certainly: grueling, boring, uninspiring and painfully redundant. The idea of adjusting your cover letter, one more time, makes you want to take a pen and shove it deep into your eye. Goddammit, I have even got sick about learning about all my skills and qualifications!

So fast forward to last week. After a month and a half of aggressivly seeking interviews, I have finally getting some response! Out of the darkness and into financial light!! Lord knows those bills are not going to pay themselves.


So this week I have three (3) interviews lined up. Now my bigger picture questions lay with; what position is the best for me? For my future? To build and acquire new skills? To gave a genuine and positive impact in and on my life?

Here is a little of my 411:

My first interview was yesterday, was with a reputable marketing company. the position I interviewed for was Project Manager. This company has a very professional, client-oriented environment. [But don't cry for me Argentina--there are some young hotties, I checked!!] If I nail this position, I think that it will be a good and reliable position. Also, there is defiantly an ability to grow within this company, which is always a good quality for an ambitious person like moi!

This was my second interview with this organization. To tell you the truth, the first interview was off-putting. It was very cold and allowed me little room to talk. Hence, I was hesitant to return -- but now I am glad I did! Dust yourself off and try again!

My second interview, took place on the GO yesterday!! Not literally on the GO, but it was a telephone interview with the Toronto International Film Festival. This is for the position of a Scheduling/Volunteer Assistant. This was a preliminary phone interview, from which they build a list of candidates to call in for an interview...so keep your fingers crossed! The downfall of this position is, the pay is not great. However, having TIFF in your resume is not a bad thing! I would at least like to be called to interview for this positon -- so I can remember just how fab I am!

Lastly, tomorrow, I have an interview with the Art Gallery of Ontario. This is for the position and Membership and Volunteer Coordinator. This is one hell of an intimidating process. This interview involves and hour interview with a panel and a 1/2 hour written portion! Yes kids, no lie. If I managed to nail it, through the grace of the art gods, get this great opportunity, I would be thankful. For me to gain experience working in a gallery, is key to my future aspirations. One of my dreams is to work in Italy...at a galleria!! Perhaps the Uffizi??!!

Shoot for the stars, kids!

However, the image that seems to haunt my brain, is through a comment my brother made after I told him that I got the interview. "Everyone that works at the AGO has a bun!"

Nightmares of bad style, old white women and buns have been haunting me in my dreams for the last few nights. But one thing I have decided. Whether I get this position, is irrelevant. You can learn a lot about yourself through the process of interviewing for employment. Always remain confident in your skills, your uniqueness and your qualifications. I am sure that the competition will be stiff for this position. But one thing I have decided, I am gonna walk in there and own it.

Here is my aside. Being some one that was a former hiring extraordinaire -- here are my thoughts on the process, and how to handle it from both ends (candidate vs. company) In my opiion, this is what works:

-- Guide the interview, but allow the the interviewee to talk; generate a free-flowing conversation, in order to see whether the person is capable of representing your company in a enthusiastic and professional manner.

-- Try not to ask to too many canned questions. What are your strenghs, weaknesses? Think of something more interesting, kids! Those with great interviewign technique, manage to code these questions within a better thought out question(s).

-- Make eye contact and make the interviewee feel comfortable. There is no reason to make someone feel intimidated by the process of interviewing. People are always at their most productive professionally, when they feel comfortable in there environment. First impressions count on both ends!!

-- Allow someone who is personable and knowledgeable, to conduct the interview for your organization. Just don't judge someone on their qualifications in HR -- watch them interact with potential candidates!

-- Remain calm and confident. We are all tryign to sell ourselves, in one capacity or another. Make sure that you are able to communicate what it is that you possess, that makes you unique to any of the other candidates. Personality DOES COUNT!

Common sense, don't you think kids?? So wish me luck, to whatever the future holds for this little brown girl. I will let you all know what unfolds.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ever Wonder? : Fireworks

In the honour of the passing of our May-24 weekend, I have decided to add a little education to your life!! Don't you think you need it?? Especially after your pot-smoking/with the possibility of other narcotics consumption, mixed in with excessive alcohol intake weekend!!??

That is what I thought!

As many of us enjoy fireworks on the 2-4, I thought why not a lesson on where it comes from! From my nerdy historian brain, into yours!

Fireworks originated in China some 2,000 years ago. The most prevalent legend has it that fireworks were discovered, or invented by accident by a Chinese cook working in a field kitchen. Little did this chap know that his mix of charcoal, sulphur and saltpeter (all commonly found in the kitchen in those days)-- would lead to a explosion!


The mixture burned and when compressed in an enclosure (a bamboo tube). Thus, the mixture exploded.

Fast-forward one-thousand years to China. Enter, Li Tian, a Chinese priest. Li Tian is credited with the actual invention of firecrackers. Firecrackers, were thought to have the power, through there loud bang, to fend off evil spirits.

CHA-BANG! Take THAT ghosts and evil spirits!

Oh ethnic paranoia is so fun! Cheers, Li Tian, for taking the initiative to ward off evil! The Chinese people celebrate the invention of the firecracker every April 18, by offering sacrifices to Li Tian (you the man, DOG!). The man is a celebrity in his own right. Without him, there would be no "Symphony of Fire!"

NOW YOU KNOW...where fireworks were invented, firecrackers were born and who was the first to use them!

Joss & Amy's Caucasian Flavour

So, here at the House of Provocation, we identify soul[full] music to be a central source of emotional and physical joy, reflection and relation. Generally, when we think of our favourite soulful musicians in North American society, we are transported to an earlier time of history.

In my opinion, the spirit of soul is most popular and transparent when listening to Motown Classics. I just can't help but get excited every time I see the commercial for the Time Life Soul Collection...I get sucked in every time! Oh Girl...the Delfonics. Just My Imagination...The Temptations. Damn, these are the oldies, but soul goodies.

So this got me thinking: what non-black artists out there today, are successful and respectful at appropriating the powerful and ultimate proto-type, that African Americans have molded soul[full] music into?

Two artists quickly jumped to mind:

1) --Joss Stone--

It is hard to believe that this girl is not even twenty yet! I was first introduced to Joss, when my brother bought me her first album, Soul Sessions , a few Christmas' ago. Damn, the minute I put it on, this saucy-Brit had my attention. With soulful ballads like, "The Choking Kind," and "Victim of a Foolish Heart," this white girl was working it out! Her music was simple, not burying the meaning of her lyrics, or hiding the rawness of her young, yet wise voice.

How do we know that this girl has succeeded in connecting within the already established realm of soul[full] music??

Joss Stone has sold more than 7.5 million albums worldwide; been nominated for four Grammy Awards; appeared onstage with the Soul-Gods: James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Patti Labelle, Mavis Staples, Donna Summer, and Smokey Robinson. Damn, the girl was even on Oprah! Joss has managed to capture the hearts of many music fans with her warm vintage soul, Motown girl-group harmonies and fiercely jazzy grooves. Respect.


2) --Amy Winehouse--

They tryed to make her go to rehab, she said : "No! No! No!" Another vocal threat from the UK! Fresh from her triumphant performance at the Brits, where she picked up the British Female Solo Artist award, Amy Winehouse has her much anticipated new single, ”Back To Black”, released on April 16th. This album is yummy to the soul and quenches the appetite. Another young-mature star recieving international acclaim, Amy seems to workout some darker personal issues then Joss. Joss' music seems to pivot primarily, around the fullfillment and angst of love.

In fact, Ms. Winehouse was in Toronto this past weekend, lamenting it out to a sold out crowd. Check it out:


In comparison to Joss, Amy has one key artistic advantage: she writes all her own music. That is not only refreshing, but exciting to a sould lova like me!

Her raw and sultry voice is something that just seems to stay in my head all day long. I hear it and I can't stop singing it! Not your a-typical soul/jazz singer. Big-ups to this twenty-three year old, English-Jew from North London. Pass me over some Winehouse!

So kids, if you get the time, check out these two extremely talented female soul artists. It seems the UK is a breeding ground for some exciting, non-conventional soul singers with talent. So to that, I say OYE!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Family Portrait

So my family is not exactly what you would consider, a typical nuclear-functional family. I have learned that, as I have aged. That red wine can be my most precious and constant companion at a family gathering. Sometimes we all need to loosen up to let the good times role!

Exposing the entire dysfunctional nature of my family to the world, is not my primary concern or intention in this post. In fact, it is quite the opposite. From all the tales I have heard or been witness too, in my lifetime -- I know this. No family is perfect.

We all hold our own histories, behaviours and insanities, in accordance to the way we have been raised. Whether it is nature or nurture that makes us who we are, I can not say. Though I myself, think that at the end of the day, we are a product of both.

We all know the admirable qualities we inherit from our parents, as well as the not so attractive habits. I know mine is defiantly my temper. Bad bad temper! Though it is not half as heightened as it use to be, I know that it is often laying latent, looking for a reason to reveal its ugly face!! The recognition is there, now it is time to deal. We all must choose to deal.

Covering our family problems or issues with a layer of soil, does not stop them from resurfacing. Within a certain time or place, your scars will show. We can run, but we can't hide from who we are.

Our families are a true testament to who we are, or who we are not. So take a look at your family portrait, and appreciate it for all its worth. Fond memories, utter disappointments. Kind words and discouraging behaviours. Reaching understandings and really forgiving someone. We are all made from the DNA of our families. Unless we take the time to learn about them, we will never comprehend the thread that binds us all together as a family. Blood runs thicker than water, but we all bleed.


I Dedicate this to Mama.....

To all the mama's, baby mama's and baby mama's, mamas....

Wishing you all a very Happy Mother's Day!!

To my mama. Thanks for all your love, affection, strength and wisdom. Love you and you guide me to be a kinder person and a better human being.

Raise your glasses, to all the special ladies in your life. Chin, chin.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Destiny....I'm Gonna Look From Where You Call Me

Appreciate. It is simple to take the smallest things for granted. The clearness of a blue sky, the smile that forms across your lovers lips when you say " I love you", the laughter of children on the playground.

We are all faced with choices in our lives. These choices reflect not only your desires, but also your convictions. We make the choices we make based on our experiences. School exposes us to the various palettes of knowledge. We feel inspired, curious, outraged and often discouraged by the challenge it may present our minds. But we must not run at the sight of a challenge. We push through, not through choice, but determination.

Family allows us to learn the dynamics of a forming relationships and learning how to make them survive, unconditionally. We understand what it is to provide, to feel deprived, to feel anger, resentment. But also, we learn that nothing runs thicker than blood. We are merley a reflection of those around us. We either embrace them or reject their sustenance. Work teaches us to occupy ourselves and receive compensation through striving to better our skills, personalities. Monetary or personal, hopefully work is an environment that allows you o develop. Like school, it teaches us to dedicate ourselves to a goal.

Lovers allow us to unwind, break-free of all the hectics and ill-fate that the world has within its chaos. Laying in the arms of one-another, with mercy, compassion and vulnerability. You form a bond and you try to grow together with the best of intentions. You both merge into each others dreamscapes and reality fields. You learn to be strong through them and weak around them. It fills you up with joy in the present, and with hopes of the future.

Life may not be easy and at times, not even kind to you. But this is where your power lays: in your choices. You must be at ease with the knowledge that though it may not be easy, you have made a choices about how you act and behave towards your family, education,career and lovers.

If you can look in the mirror and tell me you like what you see, honestly, you are one of the few. Laziness and ignorance does not allow you to lead a life of fulfillment and joy. Rule your destiny, it is yours to create.

Don't get discouraged, get determined.