Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brief Life Update No. 23: WSJ-NY---The First Two Weeks

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - After a long delay, it is time for a quick, long-overdue update about my first couple of weeks working at The Wall Street Journal's office in the World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan.

First things first: I am, for the most part, really digging my commute. You would think it'd be a strain to have to wake up at about 6:15 a.m. every morning to try to catch a 7:40ish NJ Transit bus to get to a Jersey City train station, and then hop on a PATH train to get to the World Trade Center site (which, for those who don't know, is right across the World Financial Center). Actually, though...well, it's been an appreciable boon to the amount of free time I have every day to indulge in my pleasure-reading and pleasure-listening. I have about an hour or so each way to read and/or to listen to my iPod---which is about the amount of time for each activity I gave myself many days before I got this job in New York. So now that I can get that stuff done during the day, that theoretically frees up time in the evenings to really catch up on, say, my DVD-watching. (I say "theoretically" because that hasn't quite worked out in the practice so far...but it will soon, I hope.)

And to continue along the lines of movies: my job in New York also means that I am in fairly close proximity to art-house theaters like the Film Forum and the IFC Center---now, those two theaters are only three or four MTA subway stops away if I want to go see a movie in either theater right after work! I've taken sweet advantage of this the past couple of weeks and have caught two (highly recommended) films: Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World (a rambling and irascible but wondrous documentary about, among other things, science, nature, freedom, and the spirit of exploration in all its glories and absurdities) and the recent theatrical premiere of Milestone Films's restoration of Kent Mackenzie's 1961 feature The Exiles (a moving, empathetic, sometimes lyrical evocation of the apparently dead-end lives of Native Americans who have decided to forsake the reservations and live in a big city---in this case Los Angeles). More great discoveries will hopefully follow!

Finally, there's the job itself. As I might have mentioned before, right now I'm back to doing my old proofreading and index-compiling bits that I did for the two international papers before it was decided that the monitor desk would fold. I make no complaints---hey, I'm comfortable doing it, and once in a while it has its rewards---but I am already thinking about what else I might want to try to do in addition to my usual daily dose of reading and catching fixes and such. Maybe this would be a good time to ask to start back up with some mild copy editing. Considering that I'm usually in the office way before my official shift start time---sometimes a whole hour before my shift begins at 10 a.m.---maybe I could put that extra time to good use to point the way toward some kind of career advancement. (Of course, that begs the question of which kind of career I would really like to advance to. Readers, that is a whole other post, one that I'm not particularly in the mood to conceive of right now.)

All in all, things are generally looking up for me right now. I was transferred before the company's recent announcement that it was cutting back on copy editors and shifting most of the South Brunswick operations---copy editing, paginating, etc.---to New York, so I feel like I might have dodged some kind of bullet there. (Imagine if I was still on the copy desk right now. Maybe jumping over to the monitor desk did eventually work out in the end.) And, again as I have probably mentioned before, I'm in a prime position to go somewhere in this company, if I was so inclined.

(Time to start plotting and scheming...)

Friday, July 04, 2008

May It Please the Court

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Another quick life update: yesterday (July 3) was the date of my court appearance regarding those four tickets from my hit-and-run accident a few months back. The result: my lawyer was able to---if I understood it correctly---whittle down the four charges to three, plea down two of the charges to lesser offenses, and thus leave me with two points on my license and a little over $400 in fines, all of which I paid off on the spot. Ugh. Well, I obviously wasn't going to get away scot-free, what with four tickets from one accident---so I'll take it, warts and all.

At least I have money, although today I was spending it like hotcakes; I also purchased my NJ Transit rail pass for the month of July, which cost about another $200. Double-ugh. Money sure does make the world go 'round...

Once I start my new job at the World Financial Center next week, though, I'll not only be possibly cutting down on the chance of more unfortunate traffic accidents/violations; I'll hopefully be saving a lot more of the money I would usually be spending on $4-a-gallon gas and other weekly expenses I might incur driving to and from South Brunswick. More money to spend on pointless shit, yay!

Enjoy your Independence Day, everybody!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Let's Get It Started

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Yes, I know---My Life, at 24 Frames Per Second hasn't been as introspective and exploratory as it used to be. I guess I'm just in the midst of one of those whirligig times in a person's life when stuff just keeps on happening and you don't have much time to stop and think too deeply---or at least, in my case, don't have much time to give voice to deeper feelings on a blog like this.

Well, here's hoping I will regain some of that time soon---now that I've got reasonably settled what my new job up at The Wall Street Journal's New York office at the World Financial Center will be.

Basically, it breaks down like this: I'm back at my old international-edition stomping grounds. I will be working during the day, about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. And I will be doing a lot of what I used to do at the monitor desk---proofreading, double-checking page refers, indexing, etc.---with the possibility of taking on extra duties. I'm not sure what those extra duties would entail, but I'm eager to find out.

This comes as something of a relief, actually. I feared the difficulty I would encounter in trying to figure out how to commute to New York from East Brunswick during the afternoons without having to spend ridiculous amounts of money parking every day (I found out the hard way that parking permits are all but impossible to obtain in such a short amount of time as a few days in both East Brunswick and other cities like New Brunswick, Edison and Metuchen---all with waiting lists of up to 4 years). But a day shift, as far as I can tell, works out perfectly for me---I can take one of the NJ Transit buses that stop by sites near my house in the mornings, and thus not worry about parking costs and such.

And working in New York? Well, it's not exactly living near the city, but for now, it'll do. More opportunities for advancement, for sure.

I'm excited for, and intrigued about, what's ahead. (Maybe a byline in the paper soon...?)

And once I get settled in over there, maybe I can get back to some of the life rhythms I had developed before this state of transition shook things up (in a good way, ultimately).