mister fox, what time is it?

What do those women expect? When you sign a contract with Fox, you know you're gonna be betrayed and humiliated.
~Bart Simpson

Ah, so many of the blogs I follow seem to be taking time to look at complex social and political issues. Things larger than themselves. I salute them for it. But as for me and my blog, I will keep it up with the diary entries. Because that's what I need it for right now.

Today's topics: job search, money stuff, psych stuff, and American Idol.

Still applying for jobs over the internet. Not with the same manic intensity as in the first few days, but I've kept it up and hopefully will stay in the habit this time. There's a snag with my state of Illinois applications, though, which may delay my ability to be hired by the state. Apparently when I was filling out my online form, I checked "Yes" for "did you graduate" but "No" for "do you have a degree." This was because of my apparently not-uncommon situation: I've earned enough credit hours to be awarded a degree, but it can't be released to me because of an unpaid institutional loan. The state worker who emailed me said I need to go back and check "No" on both questions. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure this means I'll have to wait thirty days to re-apply with the corrected version of my application. Arrrgh. Such are the Catch-22s of modern poverty. Have to get the job to be able to afford to wait long enough to get the job. Have to get the job to pay for the loan to get the degree which will get me the job. Et cetera.

Next week, Dave and I will be heading over the the DHS for our appointment where they determine if, and how much, we can get in terms of welfare and food stamps. Props to Dave for taking the initiative and filling out the online application for us. We should have done this months ago. Apparently none of the aid they give you can be used to pay rent, which is a bummer. Looks like we'll still be going through the apartment to find things to sell. But if I'm not spending my precious, precious unemployment bucks on, say, utility bills and groceries, that leaves more to pay rent. Not enough to catch up, but enough to remain at the same level of behind-ness.

Due to various reasons, the two of us are now on the same meds. I'm finishing up week two; he's working up to a full dose while transitioning off the first one. With pretty much the full dosage in my bloodstream, I'm feeling more like my normal self. And the early side effects have pretty much cleared up, which is good.

On a possibly related note, we've both been having vivid, complex dreams, and I want to write down a couple of mine. I would log them in detail, but they're kind of...obvious. So I'll summarize. There was one where, at the beginning, a sort of evil shadow dog/seal type thing (like a Kingdom of Loathing seal, only in 3D) was standing in front of me, and every time I moved it would sidle forward and bite me. It really hurt. Later, I was wandering around through various buildings. In each one, at some point I'd turn a corner and there'd be a closed metal gate with a shadowy monster behind it. It would scare me, but it'd be behind the gate, so I could keep going. Basically this one is all about how deep down, I'm convinced Bad Things is definitely about to happen, and that fear is repeatedly hurting me and stopping me from moving forward. But on a conscious level I'm able to stop myself from being constantly aware of it.
Then I had one, last sleeptime, where I tried to buy some iced coffee and a chocolate-covered strawberry, but the strawberry (from which the chocolate had somehow fallen off) was super expensive and more than I had in my account. When my debit card was declined, the card reader shredded it. I had to leave the coffee and the strawberry behind, but I kept casting longing looks at the coffee over my shoulder on my way out. Needless to say I made myself coffee as soon as I got up. Yay coffee.

Today and tomorrow are registration for American Idol, and auditions are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Registration and auditions are all being held at the United Center. Which I can see from my apartment. It is literally walking distance. Which is the only distance that I am currently able to afford to go, at least for any non-job-search-related reason.

But my feelings are profoundly mixed. I don't really like or enjoy the show; I just follow along with it while Dave watches it. Which has given me a lot of time to think out all the Boolean algebra in my mind. But I've never really written it down, so here goes.

If I don't get selected for the first round, I have to live with the letdown of having my voice and persona judged unmarketable by four highly famous professionals, and the frustration of having wasted two days of my life standing in lines. That's actually not so bad; I could even work out the self-esteem thing in therapy.

But if I do get selected for the first round, I'd have to go to Hollywood. Since the initial Hollywood rounds, before America gets to vote, are not done live, I have no idea if this would be an immediate trip or something that happens this fall. Either way is really bad. If I leave now, I'm not here looking for a job, applying for welfare, and selling off my stuff to try and catch up on rent. Meaning we'll lose the apartment, and Dave and our families and friends will have to move our stuff and our cat and put it somewhere while I'm off in California singing covers with a bunch of crazy teens. If I leave in the fall, in order to do it I'll have to likely quit a job that I've had for at most a couple of months and that I desperately need to keep. Because, c'mon, what's Fox going to do, pay my rent for me? Give those of my peeps who can leave Chicago an apartment in Hollywood so they can be in my audiences? Not for the friggin' first round.

So, okay. Best case scenario. I get selected for the first round, we somehow in an orderly fashion move everything and everybody out of this apartment and that all works. I make it through group week somehow, and get to the part where America gets to vote. You know what that means? That means being part of the Idol "family." For starters, that means being contractually obligated to show up to any Idol-related event at which they want X-place contestants to show up. Having all the fame and none of the money, if I'm one of the early eliminations. Finishing anywhere in the top ten means having to be in the Idol tour next summer, at minimum. In any case it means losing my anonymity everywhere except on the internet. And I like anonymity! A lot!

The good part, the only real good part about it, would be getting a recording contract and getting to record my own stuff on somebody else's nickel, with the help of a professional band. Sure, I'd be paying for it by giving away a lot of my privacy, by giving control over the use of my face and voice and big chunks of my time to Fox. But it's not like I'd be taking all that time away from a lucrative career and a house with a mortgage on it and a bunch of babies. Just people I would really, really miss and who would miss me. And I'd be putting my geeky self out on television where, if I make a fool of myself, it'd be a matter of public record. And anyone who knows me knows I have a knack for making a fool of myself.

Those are all my doubts and misgivings. They are rational and valid and all of that stuff.
But as people close to me have pointed out repeatedly, I might as well go and try. If I don't, I'll regret it, and wonder what might have been. So I'm pulling yet another all-nighter--my second of the week!--so I can go stand in line for when registration opens. Probably I'll head over there in a couple of hours. It's been rainy and chilly tonight, so only the die-hards will be out in front of me. Hopefully I'll be awake enough to read all the fine print before I sign anything.

I don't know whether or not I want anybody to wish me luck, even. I just hope that whatever happens, I'll be able to appreciate the irony.