Showing posts with label Unemployment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unemployment. Show all posts

Monday, October 20, 2008

Started, Merchandising, Baby Bug


New job started today. Looks like its going to be really interesting. Anyway, expect short posts this week until I get my feet under me and am no longer adjusting to getting up a bit earlier.

My office is a curious shade of green. It's sort of like the same green as Jamie's home office, but a smidge brighter. I also have huge windows that open onto... a long, white hallway. Luckily, I also have mini-blinds which I will never open. My office is in the basement level of a huge, windowless building (UT people will remember the PCL as a large, cement block).

I have need of going up two flights (long flights, if you recall PCL) ona frequent basis, so I will try to use the stairs and see if I cannot become slightly more healthy.

Also, my bosses seem cool. Smart, smart guys and they've got a plan I can get behind. The guys I'm sharing space with in the basement are both pretty cool so far, too.

Help Me Update the LoM Store

I haven't really updated the League of Melbotis shop at Cafe Press in a long, long time. Mostly because I don't remember anyone actually buying anything from the shop.

But I'm going to mess with the store again here fairly soon. After all, who doesn't want to think of League of Melbotis as a lifestyle product?

When you think "League of Melbotis", what is the first thing that pops into your head? What might look good on the side of a coffee cup? What might be good on a t-shirt?

In short... help me make a mint off your ideas.

Erica (Bug) Foster has a kid

KOHS alumni and the Trinity crew will be interested to know Erica Sevigny (formerly Foster) and her husband, Scott, have welcomed a new lil' gangsta into the world.

From the e-mail: Isaac arrived October 20th at 12:08 p.m. weighing in at 6 pounds and 13 oz. and 20 3/4 inches long

I hope Erica still found time for a good lunch.

Bug will make a good mom. Plus, next week is her birthday. So happy B-day to 2/3rds of the Sevigny's.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ends, Starts, Football and Hollywood Glamour

End and Start

So Friday was my final day as a contractor with Enspire Learning, my employment home, more or less, of the past year and a halfish. I'll miss the scrappy little elearning company that could, and I wish the company, its leadership, and my friends who I leave behind the best of luck. May you continue to give learners better product than they're expecting.

Monday I start with a new venture, but I'll save that for later when I can speak more intelligently about the folks I'm working with. What I can say is that I am lucky to have found the position as it matches pretty much exactly what I was thinking I might like to try as a career path should I eject from the world of eLearning (although I'm staying in education).

I am considering how I can approach this new position without becoming an overbearing freak for my supervisors to deal with, but I am honestly so excited, I am looking forward to really digging in and making the absolute most of the opportunity.

Lunching with the Hollywood Elite

So I've been friends with Ms. Shauna Cross since I was about 14 and we shared Mr. White's Geography class at Westwood. At this point, that means I've known the lady for something along the lines of two decades, which makes me feel insanely old.

Anyhoo, Shauna's script "Whip It!" was produced this summer with Drew Barrymore directing and Kristen Wiig and Ellen Page co-starring. I guess there's a phrase she's been using or has been used in Hollywood (I missed wre it originated), but "after eight years of working she's an overnight success". The message being, of course, she's been working her butt off to get to this point, and now she's seeing he fruits of her labor.

She was in town this weekend for the Austin Film Fest where I guess she was on panels and whatnot. I was to meet her at the Driskill on 6th and Brazos, but I got a call while en route to swing by and pick she and a friend up on South Congress and race them back as the friend was supposed to be on a panel in a few minutes.

Turns out the friend was a/ the screenwriter of "Legally Blonde". Go figure.

I was also excited to meet Shauna's kid, Roscoe, who I think is 6 months (you people keep having babies, and I can't keep track anymore. You're lucky I remember their names). Roscoe was really very good. I also met Shauna's Significant Other, Fred, who does work for a music label. Very cool guy (which is good. You always hope that your friends are not married to/ getting serious about some twit).

It was fun to catch up and hear about Shauna's past year with everything going on, and also her next project (which isn't listed on IMDB, so I'll remain mum as I don't wish to jinx anything).

So, anyhoo... go see "Whip It!" when it comes out.

UT Plays like the #1 Team

Sadly, I had to ditch team Cross to meet up with Jeff, Keora and Patrick for a pre-game slice of pizza and a beer before we hoofed it over to DKR Memorial stadium. Patrick lives much closer to DKR than my previous parking spot, so from now on Pat is getting all my spare tickets.

I don't know if you watched the game, but... if there was any doubt about who should be at the top of the Big 12 (at least this week), UT played like it was the Rose Bowl. Mizzo, sadly, didn't show up until the second half, when they proceeded to disassemble our secondary and put 4 touchdowns on the board.

cough... Heisman... cough...

The crowd was going CRAZY, and I don't think I've ever high-fived people that much in my life. Also, my voice is kind of shot today from the 3 hours of straight yelling. (I think when I yell "Go Horns!" repeatedly, or "Go TEXAS!!!!", it really influences their play.)

I am now looking forward to OSU and Tech, where I'd sort of dreaded those games before. We have the opportunity for a legendary season with UT Football. So here's to Colt, Jordan, Ogbonnaya, Muckleroy, McGee and the rest staying healthy.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Unemployment Chronicles: The Great American Novel

Despite the crippling unemployment, I'm trying to keep a bit busy. As I posted last week, a good part of my day during the week is spent looking for employment. I'm doing less reading and writing in my evenings than I feel I should be doing. Being unemployed has led to the discovery of a truckload of shows I probably wouldn't notice, and a whole network (Channel 250 on my dial) which shows nothing but hour long documentaries about serial killers. Seriously. 24 hours a day. I don't even know what the name of the network is, but its "DTMS" in my cable info. Watch more than one of these in a row, and you'll find yourself tucked into a ball in a corner and weeping for the evil that brews in the heart of man.

I wish I spent more time writing. At one point in my life I'd started something of a lengthy prose thing, but I cant ever seem to really get going past the first major story turning point. I think I can understand the appeal of writing workshops at this point. Forcing you to turn in pages at least keeps you going, even if its not in the right direction. You can't just freeze up and start second guessing yourself, nor can you tell yourself "it's going to be awesome... if I ever finish it" because you've got pages out and feedback coming in.

The funny thing is that it's something I've touched on and off since college, and while the beginning and end have always been pretty solid in my mind, as well as many of the characters, it still hasn't exactly gushed out onto the page. Even funnier to me is that the story does take place in a pretty specific time and place when I started writing it, and I'm glad I have a few tidbits in there, like the price of certain items such as the $2.00 caps you used to be able to buy at Fiesta, because it reminds me of details of my 20's that I'm pretty sure would otherwise now be gone forever. It also takes place pre-cellphone, and just as the world was becoming networked and computers moved into the workplace on everyone's desk, and its hard (already) to remember what it was like to find a phone. Or that answering machines used to have tapes in them.

While I'm unemployed, I should really take a greater stab at it, but part of me is also older and more cynical than when I started. Not that it effects the story, but I'm no longer graced with the college-kid naivete and ego that makes you think you're going to be the next big thing. 10 years on, I know now that I'm not some undiscovered diamond in the rough. I'm a dude, like 6 billion other dudes, and even if I finish some "book", it doesn't mean anyone would want to pay for the privilege of reading a word I wrote. I think five years of losing money on LoM is evidence enough that if you build it, nobody will come.

But it seems like a good goal. Finish what you start. Let the characters at least finish the journey you started instead of leaving them hanging at the end of the first act. Give them some closure, if not yourself.

And, more than anything... how many words do I need to burn online criticizing the work of others but being too sheepish to make anything myself?

Anyway, I guess I'll go off and take a look at this thing again. It isn't going to write itself.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Unemployment Chronicles: I need a job

I apologize for the radio silence the past few days. I don't have a particularly compelling reason WHY I was unable to post. I just sort of looked at the blogger editor and that flashing cursor, and, man, I had nothing to share.

Sometimes being jobless means there's very little going on. Then, last night, I was struggling with a post for Comic Fodder, and finally finished it up tonight. I feel the post is a little incoherent, as I had to give up several times and come back to the post, but hopefully I made my point.

Working out

I started working out this week for the first time in two years. I've made two jabs at running since I moved back, but I get bored running, so I'm trying some exercises that I can do in the house that I used to do at TKD. Unfortunately, this has meant that the past two days, my abs, neck and tri-ceps have hurt. Hurray, exercise.

Unemployment has meant that I'm buying cheaper food and getting out of the house less, which means I'm a bit concerned about atrophying into a person-blob. And while I know Jamie would still love me if I turned into Jabba the Hutt, I think I can do her a solid and not just merge with the couch (although Jeff the Cat would make a nifty Salacious Crumb analog).

I'm also getting tired a lot earlier at night, which I'm figuring has to be a good thing.

I dunno. I don't mind a certain panda bear shape, but when I start looking like "My Neighbor Totoro", it's time to start cutting back on the potato skin sour cream bombs.

Bat Commentary of the Day

I've also been pondering how to follow up on some of Steven's comments from a few days ago regarding his reading of The Dark Knight. By and large, I agree with him. I don't think it's unique to DC's pantheon of characters that their bigger characters and their conflicts can draw out these kinds of readings. Maybe Spidey or Cap could do the same at Marvel. But I do think that characters who've become modern myths, such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman (and even Flash and GL) lend themselves to working as both icon and character in a way that other superheroes may not.

I really, really want to see the movie again. And maybe that'll get me going on that second post on Dark Knight. We'll see. It's also in IMAX here in Austin, so I suspect that'll be my excuse for going back to see it.

I'm also enjoying seeing people actually take to Batman as I've known him since the mid-80's. Not all writers handle the character terribly well, or even seem to get the character entirely as he's been defined for the past 30 years. But it's gratifying to see a film maker who is seemingly unconcerned that someone might laugh if he takes the character seriously (and let's be honest, that's what happened with the Schumacher movies), and to see people discussing the movie the same way Bat-geeks have discussed Batman and his rogues gallery all their lives.

TV I've Been Watching

BBC America has been running episodes of "Spaced", the Simon Pegg sit-com from a few years back. Comic geeks have known about it for a while as Pegg's character is a comic artist/ asst. manager at a comic shop. So there's some reference to comics, etc... but mostly its just pretty funny, so far.

I've also been watching a LOT of "Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares". It's a weird show as I really know absolutely nothing about cooking, and I've never seen "Hell's Kitchen". But, I always end up watching shows about people in the workplace (I find the vocations of others endlessly entertaining in small bursts), and I think its interesting to watch people have to actually think about what they've been taking for granted as part of their process and go through the mental change required to keep their business from imploding. Food just happens to be something everyone touches to a degree, so you can keep up.

I don't know if I even recommend the show, because, seriously... its a show about restaurants being run into the ground. But its probably better for me than Jerry.

The Job Hunt

Here's my basic job hunt schedule:

Monday - Pretty much all day, on and off while I'm awake. This can go from 11:00 AM to 2:00 AM. A few hours for dinner.

Tuesday - Usually from 1:00 - 5 or 6:00. Usually again after 11:00 PM.

Wednesday - Maybe some in the morning.

Thursday - 1:00 - 4:00.

Friday - By the end of the week, you've seen the postings for the week and you're not seeing much new. I'll look again, maybe Sunday, but with how things seems to work, the posts mostly go up Monday and Tuesday, with a decreasing number of new listings after Tuesday, slowing down to nothing by the weekend.

Things that blow my mind:
-When employers won't let you just upload your resume and want you to fill out their weird form
-The Craigslist postings where they neglect to tell you how to contact them
-wonky websites that fail multiple times after you spent all the time filling out the weird form
-a list of skills and attributes, degrees etc... that anyone would be proud of, and then listing a salary somewhere near the poverty line (see: UT)
-filling out a job form, and then realizing you took the bait for some spammer before Craigslist flagged the post
-Jobs listed in Austin, which really aren't

Things that are nice:
-Sites where you can upload your resume and cover letter
-job descriptions that make sense
-job descriptions with a salary range listed
-Sites that have a follow up question or two to make sure you're the right candidate to begin with, and nobody is wasting anybody's time
-call backs

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Unemployment Chronicles: Tuesdays in the Park

-Went and saw "Frankenstein" at the Paramount this evening. It was sort of amazing seeing the film on the big screen.

The magic of the movie was somewhat diminished by the plus-sized gentleman who plopped down in front of us as the film began, had something of a running commentary with himself, which ceased only when he would fall asleep and begin snoring loudly. Which he did three times. Curiously, I was happier with the snoring than the commentary.

-Is anyone else waiting for the seemingly mild-mannered Disney boy band "The Jonas Brothers" to realize they're bajillionaires and girls love them? And looking forward to TMZ's coverage of the inevitable spinning out of control?

I am a bad, bad person.

-Did you know Tyra is on TV somewhere 24 hours per day? And yet I've never actually watched any of her shows.

-This week's Comic Fodder post got me a link from Dirk Deppey's Journalista!. So, good for me, I guess. I'm not particularly passionate about the bizarre and illogical manner in which comics are distributed, etc... but I also think its a far greater culprit in declining numbers of comic readers than things like "continuity" or "complicated stories".

-Went to Barton Springs today with Jamie. We floated for a while, and Jamie went off the diving board for the first time. I wish I'd had a camera to capture the ridiculous grin she had on her face when she jumped off the end.

Then the lifeguard blew his whistle at Jamie for wearing her aqua shoes off the board, so now Jamie refuses to ever go off the board again.

We also hit "Dog Almighty!", a hotdog shop. And I was pleasantly surprised by the Pfluger Dog, which was covered in sauerkraut and onions (two items I could put on any food). I mentioned the sauerkraut being very good to the owner, and she gave me the secret, which I refuse to share here, so you'll maybe try the Dog Almighty! yourself.

-Looking for jobs is weird. The internet is such a black hole. I send off a stack of resumes every day, but you rarely hear anything back. Even a rejection. And then, from some places, they let you know more than once you were rejected. And it's sort of like: Hey, I got it the first time, but thanks.

-Jason's pup, Cassidy, had tooth surgery today to remove and/ or fix a broken molar. So I'm wishing our three-legged pal a speedy recovery.

I love that ridiculous dog and her ever-wagging loop of a tail.

-Almost done boxing up comics. After more than a year, this has been a bit more of a chore than usual. I'm also considering what portions of my collection I could begin pondering unloading. For example: why do I have that crate of X-Men I'll never read again? Would anyone want to buy my run of Hitman?

It's also slowed my reading of comics. I just got my now-monthly dose of comics from my pusher, and I've only made it through my Super-books, the first 3 issues of Trinity an Final Crisis.

Seems like a lot, but, ya'll. I don't have a jobby job. So I have time on my hands.

-My folks are coming in for the Fourth, so if I promised anybody a 4th of July Extravaganza, those plans are now but a distant memory of a dream. It's also only a few days after their 40th Anniversary, so we're more or less celebrating that, too.

-yeah, happy belated 40th Anniversary to my folks. They're two peas in a pod, but they also taught me quite a bit about how you have to work at a relationship and never take one another for granted. A better example, I could not have had.

-I might take Lucy and Mel to the spill-over tomorrow so we all get out of the house.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

a TTSNB special: If I had a million dollars!

I may be jobless, but if I had me a million dollars, I know what I'd buy.

First, I'd get this, this and this. Then this. And then, improbably, this.

But after that...

Is an original Barris Batmobile too much to wish for? If so, I will take this.

The great thing about this $100 lawn ornament (2 feet tall) is that when Jamie would complain about it, I could tell her she was crazy for believing in Bigfoot Lawn Ornaments. I could pat her hand and tell her that maybe she'd seen a bear lawn ornament or something.

I found this in the SkyMall catalog while flying to Costa Rica, and its been on my mind ever since. But to dwell on the items of the SkyMall catalog is to invite madness.

"Suffering from head-weight exhaustion? Seeking better neck health? Noted Phrenologist Professor Poppycock's amazing new Spine-o-Extractor has already led to rejuvenation for others. Why not you? Only Professor Poppycock's Spine-o-Extractor provides the proper amount of lifting power necessary for the correct separation of vertebrae of the human backbone, which allows the nerve clusters to oxygenate. Enjoy better neck and head health! Professor Poppycock's Amazing Spine-o-Extractor is to the skull-support area what Cod liver Oil is for the humors of the human food-tract!"
Yes, I found this in SkyMall, too. $55 before S&H.

This really isn't that expensive if you have a job, but I don't. When it come to Trek, I'm Trek Classic all the way. And while I think phasers and communicators are cool, Tricorders are simply awesome. Buy me a tricorder here. And, yes, i would walk around with it in the background on all of your away missions.

This things is, like, 7 feet high. And costs $2500. Here's a link, if you want to buy it for me. I think it would look awesome in the corner where Jamie keeps the piano.

I have a Wii. Jason has an Xbox. There is no GTAIV for Wii.
I want to rob people and take their cars and go on shady missions around Liberty City.
But I, otherwise, really am happy with the Wii. But if I had a million dollars...

Mattel does a tip of the hat to Hitchock and Hedren. It's kind of weird, but... you know, if you're going to have really random crap in your millionaire mansion, why not this? Buy here.

Also, this Wonder Woman Barbie. No, seriously. I want a Barbie for the first time in my life.

While the arm in the photo in no way resembles The League's own guns, why not the Hammer of Thor?

You don't actually need to be worthy to lift this hammer, but you're going to need about $450, plus S&H.

Yes, truly I would impress all in an interview when they would ask for one of my strengths, and I would hold Mjolnir aloft and call the thunder down upon their brow.

While, of course, wearing my official Thor helmet.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Unemployment Chronicles: Team League (plus Lauren) get some culture

Today Jamie and I met up with Lauren at the interminably-just-about-to-close Las Manitas on S. Congress for some lunch. Apparently, as we were circling to park and I was discussing parking options on the phone with Lauren, a hobo was making idle threats upon Lauren's person.

We did not know this, and so when we jumped out of the car, Jamie gave the hobo a few quarters. So, you know, if you want to make some easy money by Jamie, just threaten Lauren a bit.

After a delightful lunch, we headed to the Bob Bullock Museum (aka: The Story of Texas) to try to squish a bit more Texas pride into Lauren, who did not have the good fortune to be raised in The Friendship State. I should also comment how different the Bob Bullock Museum is from the Jim J. Bullock Museum, which doesn't exist (yet), but which I would endorse.

I think it was a bit of a challenge for Lauren getting past the subtle delivery of the Bullock Museum to try to understand how Texans might feel about their state. Its a well-concealed message, but I think we were able to come away with a sense of the humble dignity Texans carry in their hearts.

We enjoyed the Spirit of Texas Theater, which is a multi-sensory entertainment experience, in which they spritz water on your face for rain, put a low rumble under the floor for a stampede, and shoot off a piston to represent a snake surprise (a piston, which, in 2000 or so, when I went to see the same show and slouched, got to know me a bot more intamtely than I would have liked). They also really spin Texas history like crazy, sweep racism and institutionalized bigotry under the rug, and suggest that all those crazy Indians should have done was put on a tie, and everything would have been cool to begin with.

We also went to the 3D IMAX, which was about an hour of new-age music, images of whales and dolphins swimming around, and Darryl Hannah's soothing voice DARING me not to fall asleep.

For the first time ever, Lauren is able to see things in 3D. Normally she sees objects in 4 dimensions.

I like me some 3D IMAX action. But someone needs to tell children "hey, kids... these are not solid objects. You don't need to wave your arms and squeal everytime new objects appear on screen."

The displays at the Bullock Museum are pretty good, but you sort of wonder if they mean much to the folks who weren't raised in Texas with the sort of basic level of understanding to really put the pieces together. For example: There are pieces of French and Spanish weaponry from the 17th Century, but there's no real context around those items. What were those guys doing? Did they succeed?

The Bullock museum paints everyone as a good guy (expect the Mexican military of 1836), and that's somewhat problematic in explaining what was going on.

There was also a mostly dismantled T6-Texan on the 3rd floor of the museum, which had the nose taken off so you could see the radial engine. Which led me to Wiki-search Radial Engine, and hey... now I understand how they work. I also confirmed the vast difference between a radial and rotary engine. Thanks, internet!

We also toured the exhibit on the TV show, Dallas. Which, for legitimate reasons, Lauren believed to be a huge, permanent fixture. Which would be awesome, if true.

Anyhoo, I hope Lauren got something out of this mess.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Unemployment Chronicles: Things I have realized from watching TV

From American Idol to the shows where people compete to become a dancer on a cruise line, it seems all of these shows have bizarre fashion and hair stylists who make-over the contestants to look like nothing resembling people on the street. And the contestants are forced, by contract, to go along with the bizarre styling choices of the show's staff. If not true, the only common denominator for people (specifically dudes) who make it on reality game shows is that they all use spackle to hold their hair-do's together and, in their regular life as the guy who re-fills the lettuce at the salad bar at Applebee's. Also, the Hollywood approved "urban" outfits that one normally only see on commercials.

All Soap Opera characters are dangerous to themselves and each other.

In the past decade, Jerry Springer has done nothing but up his game exponentially.

The Writers Guild strike has left the evening TV schedule a lonely and bleak place for the remainder of the summer.

I don't care if Astros games are occurring on the West Coast. I don't want to start watching a game at 9:15pm.

When it comes to new episodes, Mythbusters is on an erratic and unfathomable release schedule.

Not all reality shows about people chasing ghosts around in empty houses are equal.

The non-romantic pairing of Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin is the best pairing on TV comedy today. Except for maybe Tracy and Kenneth. Also on the same show. So, hey, an episode of 30 Rock is a pretty good bet for your TV dollar.

"Raiders" holds up a lot better than "Temple of Doom". There are a lot of problems with "Temple of Doom", from mild racism/ white man's burden type stuff, to the inane antics of Kate Capshaw as wacky vocalist, Willi Scott. One wonders if Spielberg weren't so enamored of Capshaw, would he have left so much of her in the final product.

The new ads they have on during day time TV shows and late, late night TV shows make me want to go to technical college and fulfill my destiny as a 20-something woman in scrubs handling charts.

American Idol is rigged. For no apparent reason. Well, not entirely rigged, and I think I know why they want to manipulate the results to an extent. And his name is Taylor Hicks.

There is an amazing amount of TV on each day wherein they discuss the ongoing lives of "entertainers" whose work I have never seen or heard.

Somebody, somewhere is excited about the "Sex in the City" movie, but we don't know who that person is. I assume its the same people who sit home with their cats pretending that the show reflects their lifestyle in some way. Who will rent the movie or buy it at Target.

The dogs don't really watch TV. Even when you explain the plot to them.

All Lifetime Network movies were filmed between 1991-1994 and star women who look sorta familiar, but you can't place.

Telenovella actors have taken vaudevillian melodrama to a whole new level that American soap actors can't even begin to match. It's almost like a life or death struggle to see who can chew the most scenery.

And, hey, feel free to add your own observations.