Sunday, July 1, 2012

Crossing the Country

So. My life is nuts.

Things hadn't really been panning out in Boston, and I was ready for my money to go somewhere besides rent and minimum payments on loans/credit cards, so I decided that the door to Boston was shut. So I gave my two weeks' notice to Quantia and Eastern Mountain Sports and finished a project for Slate magazine, sold my apartment, had a farewell campout with all of my friends, packed my car, a job.

I got a job teaching freshman English. At Boston University. Two courses. And BU pays enough for me to not have have any other jobs, plus time to write, plus stay in Boston, plus rub elbows with the best of the best in the poetry world. So technically I'm relocating to Boston. I have to find a new place to live, but I can handle that.

My interview was maybe 15 minutes. Chris Walsh, the associate director of BU's writing program, had heard about me from Bill Pierce (my boss at AGNI magazine last year). Turns out he also knew Alberto de Lacerda (the guy I translated at BU and in Europe last summer) before he died. So when I walked in he handed me a rubric for the syllabus and asked if my perfect situation was one class or two. Then he said, "Well, Bill recommends you, and I guess that Alberto does too, so I'm just going to give you two courses. And if it blows up in our faces then that's ok."

I've sent out application after application for the last year. And now the door has opened. I am hugely blessed.

I literally got the job last minute, and a plane ticket was a ton of money, so I got to drive across the country. A week or two before that, I was in New York City for Rich and Cherise's wedding. So I guess I'll just picture dump a little bit starting in NYC and going west to Idaho.

Reed (taking picture) and I stayed with Nishan (on my back) on the West Side.
We hit up a BBQ, the wedding, an improv comedy club to see the group Grandma's Ashes,
Central Park for a picnic, Times Square, the Met Museum of art, and food places galore.

I got lunch with Dan Kraines, one of my poetry mates from BU.
We went to Vaselka, a Ukranian place in the East Village.
After that we went to Strand book store, where I spent way too much money.

Only had two hours for art, but I did alright:

Monet's "Garden at Sainte-Andresse" - 1867

Van Gogh's "Wheatfield with Cypresses" - 1889

This is the part of central park where we saw the two hottest Swedish chicks ever.

Once back in Boston I went to the temple before heading out.

Spent a few minutes at the Hill Cumorah (outside of Palmyra, NY).
I hiked up the back side and had it all to my self.
It was a beautiful experience.

Moroni monument.

In the middle of Nebraska on my second day, a very large and very metal hubcap came off the truck in front of me. I didn't have any choice but to hit it, and my car dragged it. I pulled off and saw that it had trashed my front left bumper and ripped part of the plastic underside of the wheel well. So I put on my flashers and drove 40mph to Brule, Nebraska.

The guy at Duke's Auto Body told me to go explore the abandoned hotel across the street while they wired the plastic into place so I could make it home.

It was pretty.

There was reading material.

And the cliche rotting-deer-head-with-a-rake-in-its-eye.

The front desk.

The stairs (yes, I wanted to go up them; no, I didn't make it far)

This was the outside.

This was the back room.

Downtown Brule, NE

Town map.

Stop sign AND a stop light.

The North Side.

Post office.

This is what the rest of Nebraska (and the states that touch it) looks like.

In Wyoming's Medicine Bow National Forest (which is gorgeous) there is a rest stop with a Lincoln Memorial. Kind of awesome.

Southern Utah.

I-80 going down into Salt Lake City was greener than I've ever seen.
Utah is beautiful in June. It'll be brown by August, but it's gorgeous now.

Time for a few weeks of home sweet home.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Home Sweet Watertown

Right after Christmas, I moved into a new house with three guys from my ward: Jake Wheeler, Matt Blakely, and Curtis Cannon. They're my heroes.

It's a good place. We have DirecTV, a very large television, a grill, a guest room, an office, and so on.

I'm looking to sublet my spot for the summer (maybe forever), so I took pictures of the place. So, just so I have a little bit of a record of the last few months of my life, here they are, in no particular order.

The view from my bed. 

My freaking sweet guitar rug.

Desk and art. 

I don't know why I took a picture of my closet. 

The adorable bathroom I share with my little Curtis. 


 Biggest backyard in the greater Boston area. That hammock = my life.

 More kitchen.

 Dining/Front rooms.


Le Couch.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The World Is Too Much With Me

I always wondered when the doors were going to start shutting.

Although it is hard for me to do so, I'm going to admit to being discouraged lately. Discouraged and lost. World must have read the title of my blog, realized that Calvin has been kicking its butt, and fought back. When I sat down to write it out, the first line of a famous sonnet written by Wordsworth (a poet whose work, as a whole, I hate). Here's the sonnet:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.

Wordsworth is kicking against the industrial revolution, and it's not hard to tell that he's pretty bummed out with his world. I think I'm mostly just kicking against the crap hole that is America's economy as of late (thanks for nothing, Obama) and the fact that rejection wears many masks as of late. 

I have a part-time job working as a translator for a medical company called QuantiaMD. It is my personal version of Hell (see also: cubicle), and they feed the flames by limiting my hours and employing me as a contract worker so they don't have to give me benefits and can fire me without a second thought. I have another glamourous job working retail for Eastern Mountain Sports. I love the people I work with, but EMS pays a wopping $1.50 over minimum wage (good thing I have two degrees) so even if I worked there full time I would have to forego one of the following every month: making rent, appeasing the debt gods with a slough of minimum payments, buying groceries, and paying tithing (which, for the record, has never and will never be foregone). 

My car's timing belt has started a constant screaming and the clutch is iffy coming out of first gear.

I got rejected by 12 PhD programs after an application process that broke my brain and my bank account (I knew I should have used that $1400 to buy a motorcycle).

I don't have enough teaching experience to be a strong candidate for any of the three whole teaching jobs open in America right now, and I don't even get responses about applications I send for lower-than-dirt online adjunct teaching positions at world-class academic power houses like BYU-freaking-Idaho.

Don't even get me started about dating.

My confidence, my patience, and my options are all running on empty, and the effects are spreading. Here are the two ways I gauge my difficulties: I don't sleep well, basketball has ceased to be enjoyable. BASKETBALL! I can't believe it.

I'm about ready to join the army and be done with it.

^ most likely future

Anyway, there's more to complain about, but I'm tired of feeling like this. It's not like me to get discouraged and hopefully it doesn't last, but I'm tired of knocking on doors that don't open and getting no direction on which door I should knock next. 

The future is foggy to say the least. I just hope it doesn't take too long to get my bearings. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mr. Calvin Goes to Washington

When I first got home from Europe (shoot, that's six months ago now), I applied for a job with the Foreign Service. There is/was a Consular Adjudicator position open in Brazil. The first leg of the application was six essays and an autobiographical statement. I passed that, and so I had a phone interview in Portuguese. I passed that, so they invited me to come to Washington, D.C. for two tests and an interview.

I can't tell you much (they swore me to secrecy), but I can tell you that I owned the interview. My final score, however, was .25 points below the cut-off, so I didn't make it onto the final list. Not gonna lie, it was a lot of fun to be walking around DC in a suit and getting clearance to enter government buildings. I kinda felt like James Bond.

So, I didn't get the job, but I stayed for the whole weekend and got to do quite a bit.

Took this on my way to the interview.

The Washington Monument was closed.
It's cracked from the earthquake (which I felt in Boston).


I could spend years at this monument and never get sick of it.

I went to check out the Washington, D.C. temple.
It's awesome.

Even the door decorations are awesome.

I got to see Sister Jones (the artist formerly known as Tiff).
She hasn't changed a bit.

I went to the National Gallery of Art.
I had been to Scotland's, England's, and France's National Galleries.
I guess it was time to go to ours.
This and the next few pics are from Thomas Cole's series called "The Voyage of Life".
"Birth" is above.



"Old Age"

"Take Your Choice" by John Frederick Peto

"Right and Left" by Winslow Homer.
I love the way the hunter changes the perspective of the title.

I took random pictures of the Mall.

The one and only Brad Meehan.
He put me up.
He entertained me.
He introduced me to beautiful women.
He is the coolest person alive.

We showed modern art what we think of it.

We took pictures in front of cannons.
It's a tradition I'm not going to explain here.

Brad's not as in to art as he'd like to be, so we I suggested the National Gallery of Art.
"Houses of Parliament" by Monet.

"The Dead Toreador" by Manet.

"The Northern Whale Fishery: The 'Swan' and 'Isabella'" by John Ward of Hull.

"Daniel in the Lions Den" by my boy Peter Paul Rubens.
I love the immensity of his paintings.

That is a mean kitty.

Brad and I walked around the Capitol.

It's pretty.

Great place for some man talk.

If only my camera could capture sunsets like I want it to.


I have always loved Washington, D.C., and this trip did nothing but remind me of that fact.

I left with no job and seven poems.

Totally worth it.