Monday, May 31, 2004


I'll make this short and sweet.

1. I'm definitely pursuing the Starbucks job. I can't say no to the benefits, and after all the rounds of interviews, the timing would work out rather well (in terms of not starting before Mark and Stef's wedding, which would be a nightmare.

2. I'm getting glasses! It's not that either of my eyes are terrible in and of themselves, but that they're poorly matched. I'm nearsighted with my left eye, and yet i can see better with the left than with the right because the right eye has a stigmatism. And, oddly enough, i can see better with my right eye than my left eye up close despite the left's nearsightedness. They just don't work together very well. I'll be picking them up tomorrow... perhaps even today.

3. Dan and i are going to go to the Arboretum down in Jamaica Plain today. It sounds REALLY nice. And free too!

4. I have another sinus infection, so Dan and Matt wondered what was holding me up with sinus surgery. Honestly? It's the $250 copay, which is NOTHING compared to the $5000 it would cost otherwise, but it's still more than i have. So Matt contacted friends from home and started the Save Lindsay's Sinuses Fund so i can finally get underway on my surgery. I started crying.

That's already too much. Time to get ready. Coffee, clean the bathroom, shower, go to the Arboretum. !!! Yay!

Friday, May 28, 2004

On the job search again?

So when i was looking for a job still in October, and i was really desperate, i applied for a management position at I didn't want to bother submitting a paper application to be a barrista, because i figured that if i was going to bow to working at a huge coffee company that i consider not only inferior but also evil and detrimental to small businesses, i was going to make it worth my while. Management pays more, and i might be able to get something out of it.

Flash-forward to the end of March, when i hear from a certain recruiter/hirer for management at Starbucks regional headquarters for the Boston area. I get an email from her that tells me they're impressed with my resume and would like to talk to me more about my opportunities at Starbucks. I ignored it. I didn't feel like getting into it, for one, and secondly, it didn't seem personalized enough (aka something over email lacked expression and urgency) for me to think she was interested in me. '

Friday she called and left a message with Dan for me. So i thought to myself, "huh." If she actually bothered to contact me about it over the phone in person, she must actually be impressed with me. Who knew? So i didn't know... but then last night i called and left her a voicemail. She had an extention with regular 9-5 hours and everything. She called back today, and now we're officially playing phonetag.

Here's the thing: tonite i had the first cup of coffee from Starbucks that i really LIKED that wasn't sweetened. The tanzania makes a dang good espresso! Talk about their campaign of "personalizing" coffee. And then Matt mentioned that managers have salary. Hm. It is suggested that it's dang good, too. I guess i should entertain it. Perhaps i'll have an interview with her at some point.

Meanwhile, i'm not exactly on the job search right now, but salary would certainly take care of things, and i'm bound to have a better benefits package than what i have right now. I'm also in the midst of trying to plan a bridal shower and study for the GRE's, as well as find a new apartment for Dan and i in August. A little overcommitted? Perhaps. But the nice thing about the whole Starbucks thing is that if it gets going, it might not get going for quite some time. Which would give me a chance to get my time off for the wedding and the Fourth before i leave for another job.

Here's the other problem: i might have been at this job too long to want to switch. It's bound to happen sometime. But now i know this one in and out, and i keep getting great compliments from the people who it means something to there. Sigh. I don't know. But i'll go with the flow. Perhaps Starbucks seeking me out is a way of placing both an opportunity and a learning experience in my lap. I mean, the fact that Starbucks has done so well in expanding the public's definition of coffee has contributed to small coffee shop business' abilities to have business at all. It's a give and a take. And as far as companies go, they're not actually all that evil. Omnipresent? Yes. But can i blame them? Probably not.

But Dan made a KILLER pizza tonite. His best crust yet. It rose a lot, and yet it was still extremely moist. Great stuff. Kudos to Dan!

Monday, May 24, 2004

All Political and Stuff:
Post Graduate Education and Why Many Young Mainers are Leaving

A little over a week ago, i was complaining to Dan about not having a desk. The next night Annie called me up asking if i wanted her desk since her new apartment will not have enough room for it. I said sure... the only hang-up was that i'd have to somehow get it from Cambridge to Allston, and it's too big for my car. The next night, Q called up saying she would be in Boston the following night, with her truck. I called up Adam (Annie's ex in whose basement her desk resided), and he happened to have that next day off. So now, through the help of FOUR friends, i have a desk. Yes, the universe sat that one on my lap. It all fell into place rather nicely. And now that i have a desk, or "a room of one's own," as Virginia Woolf might like to refer to a space for a woman to write, i suddenly feel enabled to write a LOT. And i have been writing, for those of you who have noticed, academic article type stuff rather than journal type stuff. Yes, i guess having a desk makes me want to write. And it turns out my true calling just may be academic writing. Or at least i have a lot of bull shit to spew.

At any rate, this is a letter that i recently wrote to the Governor of Maine. I also sent it to the congressmen, senators, secretary of state, head of the Maine Department of Education, The Courier Gazzette, Lincoln County News, Portland Press Herald, & The Camden Herald.. Please feel free to react, or, more importantly, write a letter of your own regarding either why young Mainers are leaving or post-graduate education in Maine or both.


To: Governor John Baldacci
Office of the Governor
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001

From: Lindsay B. LeClair
121 Glenville Ave. #2
Allston, MA 02134

May 24, 2004

Re: Post-Graduate Education and Why Many Young Mainers are Leaving

Dear Governor Baldacci:

I am writing to you with great concern for the topic above from the perspective of a young Mainer who left.

Six or seven years ago, Governor King spoke to my class at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, Maine and implored us to stay in Maine after graduation. Even if we had to go to school out of state, he pleaded us to come back and make our lives in Maine. Governor King stressed the importance to Maine’s future to have us stay. It would perhaps prevent Maine’s economy from being entirely tourist based, and he suggested that if there were more young people around, more jobs would eventually be created by supply and demand.

Six or seven years down the road, young Mainers are still leaving. When Governor King spoke to my class of ’98, many career-oriented high-schoolers were planning on going to college, but not necessarily graduate school. The times have changed rapidly since then, and when I completed my baccalaureate degree at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts in 2002 and was ready to work for a while until pursuing a doctorate in Literature in Cultural Studies, the only job opportunities available to me involved customer service or manual labor. I am not above either of those, in fact, I am 24 and have 12 years of customer service and 6 years of manual labor under my belt. But that’s not why I went to college. So I couldn’t work in Maine until I started school again. Furthermore, there was no suitable graduate program. There are a couple of masters programs in English, but no doctoral programs. Considering that I want to be a literature professor, which requires a doctorate now, there was no program in Maine for me.

Please realize that I am not attacking the educational system in Maine. I know many people who have received impressive educations through the University of Maine system, and I always express with pride the incredible opportunities I had through the Maine public school system. I would not be who I am today if it weren’t for those opportunities and the community’s encouragement. I am, however, asking that the board members for the Maine Department of Education to consider expanding the extant graduate programs from catering to those in business and the sciences to also catering to the humanities and liberal arts. For example, there happens to be a wonderful location in Camden where MBNA has moved out that would make a perfect location for a graduate school extension of the University of Maine. Such an expansion would contribute invaluably to the surrounding community. Real estate opportunities would increase for students looking for off-campus housing. The jobs that the university alone would provide would allow many looking for opportunities in office management, clerical work, administrative and assistance opportunities, not to mention maintenance and landscape possibilities to find employment, and also, perhaps, a place to me to be a professor someday. Is all this a pipe dream? Maybe. But I dreamt it up with some fellow Mainer-in-exile friends of mine, and we all hope that someday when we come back, there will be opportunities like that to come back to.

So I have left again, gone back to Massachusetts after having graduated from college here to work in Boston while I look for a doctoral program in the liberal arts that will allow me to be competitive in the workforce of professors someday. There are very few things I am sadder about in my relationship to Maine than the fact that what I want to do with my future is incommensurable with what is available for me in Maine. I know a lot of other young Mainers who feel the same way. Please keep this letter in mind when you make future decisions about education in Maine.

Sincerely a Mainer in exile,

Lindsay B. LeClair

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Voting in America

Three years ago, I never thought I would be paying serious attention to the hit TV phenomenon "American Idol." It has, however, become clear not only that sometime soon i should audition for it, but also what a good example of the average voter's consciousness in America is. Or perhaps i should say that it is incredibly indicative of how Americans vote.

Last week the office was up in arms because Latoya was voted off. Furthermore, i was infuriated too. She was CLEARLY the best. To the point where the other three girls were crying knowing that Latoya should have taken any of their places. Allow me to back up and explain how it worked. There were four last week. America first voted to choose the "top two," and then one from the "botton two" was selected to continue on to the next week with the "top two." It is basically a way to drag out the show even longer. However, it became evident fairly early in the season that people weren't voting for who they thought the most qualified because they assumed that the most qualified would get all the votes anyway. No, they assumed that their one vote wouldn't matter much but to make the underdog contestant that person is voting for feel better. And that right there is the heart of the problem in America.

We have a real soft spot for the underdog. I don't even need to go into the racist aspects of the voting that occured last week, because it seems fairly obvious. The most qualified singers happened to be black, and they were voted into the bottom two. The top two were horrible, and they made it the top two. But i'm not talking about racism or politics or political sway involved in voting. No, i'm talking about the fact that people in America don't vote for who is the most qualified. In the same way, people who voted for Bush in 2000. About half the population did not step back from their emotional biases and try to choose the most qualified candidate. No, they picked Bush because they simply liked him better. I acknowledge that this is not the same thing as voting for the underdog in American Idol. I'm simply saying that the same kind of mindset goes into it. I would argue that both are good examples of the lack of personal responsibility the American voter accepts. In one case, it's because they like someone better, in the other it's because they feel bad about not liking the underdog better. In both cases, the most qualified candidate does not make the cut.

Does this problem stem from the American voter feeling disenfranchised and therefore does not think that his/her vote actually counts? I would argue that the problem does come from disillusionment due to the lack of action that political leaders take when concerning decisions for the people they represent. Perhaps the system doesn't work because our republic is not accurately representing our democracy. For this reason, the current system we have is not working. It makes me wonder if we can really carry on a republican democracy and have it actually work without having the under-represented minoroties feeling disillusioned and becoming apathetic. Because apathetic is the worst thing a voter can get. That's when you stop thinking it matters, and start voting based on some unheard emotion of your own.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

"From Piecework to Peacework: The Gentrification of Idealist Immigrants"

From the inception of the Americas, there has been a (mis)conception that one can go from rags to riches here. In 1876, Irish immigrants fleeing the devastation of the potato famine arrived in Boston seeking fortune, all of whom were under the impression that there were vast tracks of land free for the taking in the pioneer lands. Talk of feast and freedom, autonomy and toleration were abound. However, when they got here they found that they couldn't go much further than Boston. There were few jobs, the land was hundreds to thousands of miles away, and was prohibitively expensive for the poor. Thus, they worked in overcrowded textile factories to make a better future for their children founded on the ideals they found lacking in the United States for them. Generations later, their descendents became the hippies, the yuppies, and eventually, the disillusioned and ineffectual Generation X. But there have been other immigrant groups. This plight has been the trend for the Japanese, the Indian, the Latin Americans, and the continuation of American idealism depends upon the continual influx of optimistic, dare I say, naive immigrants.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


So, Dan and I have recently been on a kick to perfect pizza. It was, at the beginning, his quest, having been raised by a woman who makes the most phenomenal pizza you've ever eaten. Atkins dieters, eat your hearts out because this lady's crust is the shit. Well, today i called him up while he was at home and asked if he wanted pizza tonight. The last time we were in Maine, we purchased two things at the local mill: dutch chocolate powder and Debbie's secret ingredient, yearst. Yearst is, of course, just really really really good yeast. So we made pizza tonite with yearst. And HOLY SHIT what a difference. We had the same recipe as before, which we had hitherto dismissed as a crappy recipe. It turns out the recipe is fine -- it was the yeast that sucked! But now that we have our amazing yearst, we're all set. And this stuff was $2.89 to fill a peanut butter jar with! And it's so good! Our dough not only tasted far superior to the previous batch, but it rose about twice as much! Now, this recipe is good for four pizzas! (Mini -- we make individual pizzas in pie pans.) So tonite, Dan had keilbasa and garlic on his, and i had BBQ tofu, red peppers, garlic, and onion. The sauce also happened to be excellent. What a fabulous meal. The only downfall? It's friggin' HOT out, and i can't stand to eat when it's like this. So i have 6/7 of a pizza left. That's lunch and dinner tomorrow, i guess! I'm just so thrilled that it came out well. Our pizza is far from perfect, but now with super-yearst, we're getting closer. Next to conquer? Ginger snaps. Any good recipes?

Sunday, May 09, 2004

The New Post on the New and Improved Blog

I apologize for the length of time that has gone by, but as I am beginning to notice, time flies faster and faster as I get older. My friend Claudette from Hampshire College currently lives in Somerville, which is about a 15 minute drive away, and I probably see her every two or three months. I blame it partially on the 9-5, which I have realized really doesn’t suit me very well. If I work earlier in the day, like a 7-3, or even earlier, then I have the rest of the day to do something. If I work a 12-8, then I have my mornings to sleep in so I can do something when I get out of work. But if I work 9-5, as I do right now, I don’t get home early enough to do anything with my evening after eating dinner and still manage to get to bed in time. It doesn’t work out very well for me. I know I’d do more with my time off work if I had different hours. Not to mention the fact that I work during business hours and can never make it to the post office, and I work out in the middle of nowhere (for Boston), so I can’t do anything with my lunchbreak.

So I don’t know if you’ve been reading my blog regularly or not (I don’t blame you if you haven’t – I can barely keep up on my blog myself), but I took a much-needed mini-vacation down South myself last weekend. I went to visit my college friend Patty at Duke University in North Carolina, and we drove up for a night and day to see another college friend in Richmond, Virginia. It was so great! It was so lush and green down there with trees and vines growing in every crevice. It was so nice to be lazy for a few days and to visit friends. And nice not to be working!

Yeah, I hate the job again. Sigh. I know there are always ups and downs, but things have been on a steady downward spiral for over a month now. And now they’re working on making everything more beaurocratic and stratified. We'll now be documenting and formalizing everything like a big company because we're trying to meet a certain kind of certification. They’ve made it clear it won't change out accrual of vacation days or our pay. Or health benefits. In the same meeting that he told us that we need to keep better track of our vacation days, because next Christmas we'll be expected to be there between Christmas and New Year’s even though Production gets it off. Also, now I do have levels of people ahead of me instead of feeling like part of a family. Not, perhaps, umpteen level, but they've made it clear that Denisse and I are ENTRY LEVEL, and then there is ASI, production, and management, and administration. And it's all cleared up now. The HR manager really went out of his way to make us understand that we were lowest on the totem pole. It just is feeling less like a small family there and more like a big unfriendly corporation. So I’ll be working at a big company without getting the actual benefits of it (I only have 5 vacation days a year, and I have used 3 of them already. One for NC, and the other for Dan’s grandmother’s funeral. That pissed me off. I shouldn’t have to take a freaking VACATION DAY for a FUNERAL. The worst part of it is really that I stopped looking for a new job about a month ago when I registered for the GRE’s (which I’ll be taking on June 26th) and I was able to feel ok about it because I knew that no matter what, I had Christmas through New Year’s off (like it always used to be), and I still felt like I was an important part of something. But that rug got swept up from under my feet and tossed out the window last week. Ah well. I’ll resume the job search when I finish the GRE’s. I don’t know if I’ll look for another office job or not. I just don’t think they’re for me.

Otherwise, things have been going well. I feel like I’ve been using a lot of my time wisely, and my overall mood has changed tremendously since the springtime has hit in full bloom here, the lilacs are out, grass is growing (in some places) and the trees have leaves on them. It’s beautiful! It’s wonderful to go walking around and see people smiling and things growing. And I repotted a lot of my houseplants, and that was really nice too.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Why Must it be So Bloody Humid?
The Fucking South

Business First I would first like to point out that i have changed a link or two -- Junglemate, having gone under, no longer offers not-half-bad free email. They offer what i am sure is great email through norada at a price, which i am not willing to go for. There are plenty other email places out there though. This all came as a great surprise to my poor mother, who is, she admits, a technophobe and computer illiterate. I have therefore removed the Junglemate link from the page, gods rest its soul. And for those of you who still have not heard enough from me about how crazy Hampshire (my alma mater) is, please check out its site, which is now linked here on my very own blog.

Pleasure second It's quite disgusting in North Carolina right now, and i know because i'm there. it's hot and terribly humid, and that's just unacceptable. I'm currently down here visiting my dear college friend Patty Oskar Miller (my prefered nickname for her), and it's so good to see her! I flew down on Friday -- i managed to take a couple days off from work, much to the chagrine of the corporately-inclined HR manager. Despite the heat, i'm having a blast, and one thing that is really nice is the opportunity to solidy relax. What else do you do when it's hot? I'm not looking forward to boston in the summertime, though Dan and i succumbed to reality and bought an air conditioner for our bedroom so we don't kill each other because of heat. It's for the relationship. i felt conflicted (we both did) because of the obvious environmental detriment it causes... but we don't use much heating feul, and so we rationalize it that way. it's for the relationship. neither of us does well in heat.

so yesterday patty, kat and i wandered around in downtown richmond, virginia, which is lovely! yes, kat is yet another college friend. richmond is but a couple hour drive from durham, so it was totally conceivable to do so. it was really great to be with kat yesterday and the night before. it was just like old times. if it weren't for it being in the south and therefore unbearable due to the heat, i would consider living there for a year. it's very nice, and one thing i love about it down here is that there is greenery EVERYWHERE. even the suburbs are pretty, and that's saying A LOT. (you all know what i think of suburbs.)

we drove back to durham last night and left kat, which was sad, but then patty and i went to an "end of the semester" party at one of her friend's houses. it was fun. there was some controversy going on about someone's drunk girlfriend hitting on everyone, but hey - people do silly things when they're drunk. we danced as much as we could, but it was SO FUCKING HOT. oh my god. it's so fucking hot down here.

otherwise, today we're going to hang out in chapel hill so she can show me the area, get some food, get some coffee, chill out. it will be great. it's really cool to see her again, and i am fortunate to have made such great friends at college. it's too bad we're so far apart.

On a final and unrelated note, i am considering also looking for jobs further on the outskirts of the boston area, possibly because they might be more worth it and slightly less competitive. what i really want to do is work at a coffee shop, but hey. i might put together a coffee guru resume and leave it at all the coffee shops i like in boston. what could it hurt?