Thursday, May 27, 2004

The First Degree

I doubt this blog will be funny or interesting in the least. I have been trying to think of different topics for a new post, but have decided to go with a different kind of blog, one where I complain and bitch and moan about the evils of being unemployed blah blah blah.

But before I delve into the lameness that is my psyche at the moment, I need to clear up something about my last blog 'Miracle.' I doubt anyone of my two readers have noticed that I put a good deal of effort in titling my posts - I try to be witty and stay away from go-to easy titles like: "My First Ad" or "My Dinner Last Night".

Alas. I have let myself down. 'Miracle' was actually supposed to be a brief review of the recently released DVD of the same name, where I would compare and contrast the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team's triumph over the unbeatable Russian team to the ups and downs of freelance work and looking for a job. The post was to end, like the movie did, with Al Michaels screaming, "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!!!" as the team wins and my spot was played.

This obviously did not work out as planned. I forgot to include the movie comparison, thereby making the title seem rather awkward and lame.

Ok. Now to the bitching part.

I am sick of looking for jobs. There are tons of job openings out there, but none of them are remotely what I want to do. I want to write for a living. Not in the stereotypical wood-paneled office, pipe smoking, tweed jacket kind of way. I want to write copy. For ads. Thats it. My life in a nutshell. I want to get people to fall in love with a product or service because of the ads, the brands. I don't want to answer phones, set appointments, sell cars or lotions or knives or motor oil. I want to write the ads that sell. I don't want to operate a cash register - I did that already and know more than anything else right now that I can't do it anymore. I might actually die. I mean it.

But here's the thing: beggars can't be choosers. I know this. I know I can't sit here on my ass bitching about not having money because, well, I don't work. Kind of a simple cause and effect relationship. But still - it sucks. The other day, a friend of mine posed a question to no one in particular, but seemed directed at me. He mused, "I don't understand why anyone would go to school right now. Most people I know who went can't find a job. Why waste all that money when it isn't going to do anything for you?"

I would be lying if I said that I have never shared his sentiments at one point or another in the past year. I can't even begin to count the number of times I have felt like taking my diploma and shredding it. Five years of school and all I have is this lousy paper.

But here's the thing: my friend lays carpet for a living. He does something that I have no idea how to do. He makes a very good living. It's great. I am very happy for him. However, when I think of his question, I can't help but wonder if laying carpet is his life's ambition. Maybe it is, but probably isn't. I doubt when asked in second grade what he wants to do when he grows up he responds enthusiastically: "I want to lay carpet!"

But then again, I never said: "I want to be unemployed!" and look at me.

Friday, May 21, 2004

It's a Miracle!

Well, the job stuff is going okay. Well, not really. I haven't had many (any) callbacks from the 5 jobs I just applied for. This has been a tough week for me, honestly. I normally do okay with the unemployed thing; I usually just turn it into a joke and laugh it off.

But that was before.

Before what you ask?

Before I got a taste.

The last two events to occur in my professional career (I know, I giggle when I say that too) have been glimpses into the industry that I want to get into. The first event - see my first two posts - started this blog because I was so devestated. And bored.

Mostly devestated.

The second event occured recently: a few weeks ago I was commissioned to write an ad for a local ad agency's auto dealer client. I was told I would be paid a few hundred bucks if everything went well.

And things actually went well.

My first radio ad was produced and aired yesterday. I still haven't heard it on the radio yet, and I am not altogether looking forward to it. You know that feeling when you were called on in elementary school to recite a poem you wrote and didn't think it was very good in the first place? Yeah...that's kind of me right now, except the poem happens to be a sixty second radio ad read by someone else and the class happens to be the entire Portland Metropolitan Area.

Anyhow. Now you see what I mean, right? For the past 5 weeks I have been dabbling in the backwards art of advertising, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. And now I have had two (limited) experiences in it. Now I can't keep my mind off of it. Like a first kiss.

Or crack.

Hell, I even majored in it. I love the stuff for some reason, I just do. I can't help it.

Except to keep trying to get into it.

That said, I think Wal-Mart is hiring...

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Mud Slingin'

Besides having a lot of free time to write and look for jobs, being unemployed also opens up a world of interesting television that, in my 24 years of existance, have never been privy to. Of course there are the inevitable soaps, but I can't get into the cheezy acting and dialogue, not to mention the stupid plot twists. But hey, to each his own, right?

So, that said, I think I have found something much better than traditional daytime television: drag racing on ESPN2. Now, normally I wouldn't watch racing. It's just not me. Don't get me wrong: I love cars and engines and horsepower. I have a subscription to Car And Driver and everything (though you'll find the 'Racing' section in said magazine to be a little less read than the new car tests and previews). I guess there is just not a lot of long term staying power with me in terms of watching cars race around a track or, even worse, just going straight ahead on a drag strip. Sure, its fun to watch...for about the first two races. And then the remote is back in my hands searching for a movie or The Fairly OddParents.

Or Spongebob.

I know that the technology in these cars is outstanding and the fact that some of them can get to 330 mph in a few seconds is simply too much for my imagination. But how can scenarios like the ones played out on every drag show keep even the most dedicated canned beer drinking fan focused? I mean, come on! The cars will line up in their lanes, do a burnout for about 50 feet, reverse back to the starting line, inch toward the light, and then fly down the strip at incredibly fast speeds and low times. The routine is then repeted. Not exactly engrossing television to say the least. So how do the producers of ESPN2 keep it interesting?

Well, they do little side stories.

And this is where it gets interesting.

Ever wonder what you would do if an engine belt burst on your way to Granny's? Well, you'd fix it with this handy dandy epoxy that bonds rubber! Yessirie! Now, I wouldn't believe it m'self, but the proof is right here in the puddin' if he didn' take that belt and stretch it. I can't believe it!

Or maybe yer a wrenchhead and jus dyin' t'know what kinda octane or tranny or nitrous delivery systems these beasts'r sportin'?

Well, ESPN2 has your answer.

That said, I feel kind of bad for the announcers sometimes. I mean, do these guys really want to be out there interviewing gap-toothed hayseeds? I have to believe they got into broadcasting to things like the Olympics or sports that actually require strength and finese on the part of human beings.

Or who knows? Maybe they went into broadcast journalism soley for drag racing. I wonder if there is a specific degree track for it? I wonder if you have to take "Redneck Accent Development 101" before "Fuels 206" or "Transmissions 522"?

These questions need to be answered.

Monday, May 17, 2004


I asked my wife last night to read my latest posts to this blog, thinking that she would find the humor in how crappy the 'Fall of Rome' one was when compared to 'I can see clearly now.'

I mean, come on. 'Rome' was terrible; it was an unfocused ramble of material that never really came around to the point. I know this. So I think I fix it with last night's post. It was straight forward and got straight to the point while highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of my imagination. And on top of it all, making fun of Eddie Murphy's career.

I thought it was funny.

She did not.

She insisted that they were depressing. I immediately became upset and started to wonder how my last posts missed the point so drastically that they were saddening. Not something that I pride myself on.

But here's what I found out after a few hours of blog searching:

My wife is to close to the issue to be able to laugh about it. That has to be it. See, she is on the front-lines of my unemployment stuff; she sees the interviews and the rejection letters the same time as I do and has been there for it all. And all the time supporting my broke-ass with hazelnut lattes and coffee. I don't think I would be in the mood to laugh about it if I were in her place either.

See? Isn't it funny to see how your position in life has a direct correlation with your views on society and life itself. My wife, being so close to my non-income earning lifestyle, can't exactly see the humor in a poorly laid out blog post. Just as some old republican man would probably not be able to find the humor in 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show.'

Okay, maybe not just like that, but its a killer segue into the republican dude, isn't it?

Anyhow, two weeks ago, I am at the gym. I go to my treadmill directly in front of the 'ESPN' big screen, which happens to be right next to the 'NBC' big screen. This particular day I am jogging on my treadmill right next to two old guys who are walking and talking to one another. About midway through my run, the 'Ellen' show comes on alongside 'Sportscenter' and the old guys immediately jump into this exchange:

Republican WASP #1: "Look at that! Can you believe that? I don't get it; she's always dancin' around like that."
Republican WASP #2: "Hmmm...I never really watch the show."
Republican WASP #1: "Well, I just don't understand it. I don't think its very funny at all."
Republican WASP #2: "'re right; she's dancing again."
Republican WASP #1: "Look at her with that wedding ring on, flaunting it. You know she's a lesbian? I don't believe it - it just ain't right."

At this point, the women in the gym - a considerable number - are starting to arm themselves with headbands and 5 pound Swiss balls in preparation to defend Ellen's honor.

It just goes to show you that humor is in the eye of the beholder. I mean, can you imagine? An old, white, republican man doesn't understand 'The Ellen Show' humor?

I don't believe it - it just ain't right.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

I can see clearly now...

Alright. Here's the deal: my last post was a little, uh, for lack of a better word, unfocused.

At best.

See, I originally planned it to be an intriguing insight into how I always jinx myself with jobs by thinking of some awesome sequence of events occuring in the near future that ends with me happily employed at an agency.

So, to sum up what I was trying to say without going into the Fall of Rome or the Collapse of Galaxies or Eddie Murphy's career to get my point across, here it is:

I have an overactive imagination. I know this. Its great when I want to zone out while waiting in line - don't want to think about the smelly guy in front of me? No problem. I just think of some outlandish plot that usually stars me fending off machine gun wielding terrorists from where ever I happen to be. Trust me. Time hardly seems to be running when you are arcing through the air in slow motion taking out four black masked guys with AK-47s with my handy-dandy dual nine millimeters. And it always ends with me hooking up with the hot deli or bank chick.

Seriously...try it sometime. I highly recommend it for the Friday bank lines - there are tons of things to hide behind and the tellers are usually young girls dying to be saved. Unless you happen to be female or Gay, in which case feel free to substitute genders as needed.


While my imagination is great for burning time waiting for the bank or deli line to move or for porn to download, it isn't so great when faced with employment stuff. For example: I am in the waiting period to find out how my "freelance" radio gig has worked out. The agency rep was to speak with the client and hopefully discuss the three different scripts. This is great and I enjoyed the whole thing immensly, my imagination has been playing out scenario after scenario of far-fetched occurances: maybe the client, when read the spots, was so overcome by emotion that they insist on having me and only me write the copy in any of their upcoming ads. Or perhaps the agency rep would like the copy so much that he would have no choice but to hire me than to lose me to a competing agency.

Guess which scenario played out? Yep, thats right: choice '3' - none of the above.

Thursday, May 13, 2004


I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if my imagination were not so...vivid. It can be a good thing too, don't get me wrong, but man, it can lead to some serious disappointment. See, when my imagination and firm belief in jinx karma, I possess the ability to not only maintain my terrible luck, but level entire civilizations. Remember Rome? Yep, that whole 'Fall of Rome' thing was all because of me in a past life.

I was sitting there by my cozy fire, thinking about roasted meats and the upcoming orgy and - blame it on the lager or opium - I start thinking about the future. But not like the future everyone else was thinking about at the time, all marble and collosol, nope. My thoughts start turning to things going wrong, citizens uprising, riots, a hostile takeover by some irritated...well, look what happened. Maybe not all in that order, but Rome fell...hard.

Because of me. Or someone like me who had terrible luck and for one second thought of a far fetched idea and it actually happens.

Okay, so this isn't Rome. Roasted meats and orgies are not part of my everyday fare, but one thing is the same: bad luck. Yep. That's it. Rome fell because of some drunk toga-guy with horrid luck had a passing thought that Rome might not have the best of times ahead of it. Now, historians will probably rebuke me and point to geopolitical climates or unsteady economies or something like that, but, believe me: bad luck.

And that's why were alike. I think of something bad, and it happens. Hence my firm belief in jinx karma. Now, a jinx karma newcomer might think of a way to counteract the jinx karma by never thinking negative thoughts, thereby eliminating the karma altogether.

But this is an impossibility.

First off, no one can forbid a negative thought to enter their minds.

Secondly, jinx karma KNOWS. No matter how much you try to outwith the karma, its always a step ahead. See, even if you are temporarily successful in thinking only positive thoughts, it will know. And then comes the worst part of jinx karma. For your penance for trying to outwit the karma, your positive thoughts become jinxed; you think of something good, and it doesn't happen.

So, now you can understand why having an over-active imagination and a belief in jinx karma has me in constant turmoil. Anything positive I think of, no matter how far fetched it is, it doesn't happen because I thought of it beforehand.

To point, for the past year I have been gainfully unemployed. In that time I have had numerous interviews in phone and in person. Most of the positions were at places that I didn't care for doing things I could care less about. But every now and then, an opening would come around that actually piqued my interest and I would apply for it. Knowing my karma is right around the corner, I don't think of anything. I just write my cover letters and send off my resume and think nothing of it.

And then the interview will come around. I'll go to it and it will either work out well or not; the ones that work out leave me feeling good and hoping I get another interview. If they don't go that great, oh well, right? There will be more to come. But it is the good interviews that kill me. At least with the bad ones I know nothing is going to come from them, right?

Ugghh. I am just going to end this now before I ramble on anymore.

So much to say but too many words to say it.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Worst. Movie. Ever.

I can't believe I forgot to write this on yesterday's post, but I was unfortunate enough to view what just might overtake 'Battlefield Earth' as the worst movie ever made. As you will probably guess, I am speaking of 'Van Helsing'; a campy, dimwitted piece of crap that somehow masquerades as a Blockbuster.

Let me just say that in no way did this movie actually look good on its trailers. I remember seeing the ads and laughing at how outrageous the whole idea was: Take monsters from literal and cinematic sources, mix them up with a lame "plot", and then blow shit up. Oh, and talk in that stupid overdone Dracula accent: "I VANT to SUCK your BLOOD!" Uggh. Seriously, every character in the movie spoke like this. "Please PASS the SALT and PEPPER," and "Your HAIR looks VERY good FOR having JUST fought A WEREWOLF." If Transylvania existed (I honestly don't know if it does or ever did. Does anyone actually know this? I need to find this out.) and I had wanted to visit, I couldn't do it only because of that irritating way of talking.

But what really sucks is that I don't have anyone else to blame for this. I willingly handed over my wife's hard-earned money to see it. In a couple of words: that sucks. But what's even worse than that is the news that there are three or four more sequels set to come out and thereby destroy all that is good about movies: writing, acting, and editing; basically the Triple Crown (as I see it) of movie making. If a movie can attest to having those attributes with the word 'good' in front of all of them, chances are the film is going to be decent.

I would go over the plot points of the movie to analyze them, but because there were so few of them, I really can't. See, that's the problem with taking such generous leeway with various movie and literary monsters: how can you fit them all in to a movie and have it all make sense? 'Van Helsing' is cinematic proof that you cannot. Seriously, how are you going to fit in Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolves, and Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde in one movie and have it make any sense whatsoever?

A quick note: those out there who are worried about becoming a werewolf should definately check out the film. See, there are tons of caveats to being a werewolf that I had no idea of previously. The outworldly strength and the ability to climb up sheer walls like spiders is pretty cool, but can't possibly compare to the benefit of never having to worry about clean underwear. No. Seriously. See every person who turns into a werewolf in 'Van Helsing' outgrows their clothes and even their skin. They howl and run around and demolish things, but then when they turn back to their human forms, they are always naked. Naked, except for the loin cloth that always covers the shaken person's nether regions.

This is a comforting thought for me because, you know, just in case I ever turned into a werewolf, what would happen to all of my clothes? I would turn back and I would be flat out naked. What if I turned back and I was in school? Or in the car? Or at crowded food court? There I'd be, minding my own werewolf business and boom, I would turn back into myself, without any clothes, embarrassed and unassure of what I should to: cover myself with my Sbarro tray and look inconspicous or just make a run for it to the nearest clothing store.

But now I can rest easy. Whew.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

A nice, fresh feel

It has been a couple of days since my last post, so I decided to do a quick update and let my readers (which number around 2 at the moment) in on some actual good news on my job search. Yep, that's right: good news. Now, don't get me wrong, I still plan on being cynical and reasonably unhappy with my current (un)employment situation, so don’t worry – I’m still here for you.

Anyhow: the news.

Last Wednesday, a job contact at a local agency actually called me back after about a year of calling and hounding. See, it happens that the number of worthwhile ad biz contacts that I have happens to match the number of readers of this blog. That said, I have to make sure I get the most mileage out of my good business contacts.

Anyhow, I get an actual call back from a contact and an actual radio copy assignment instead of the usual runaround. I was practically speechless and had a fantastic time researching the client, roughing out ideas – basically doing what I want to be doing for a living, only full-time and not at home. It was great – I even turned off SpongeBob and everything to focus – and banged out three potential drafts that are going to be presented to the client this week. In a word: awesome.

That said, who knows what's going to happen this week?

God knows I can't wait to apply to more BS jobs after a taste of what I actually WANT to do.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

The Squeeky Wheel...

Its been a bad couple of days of unemployment for me. So much so that I am now starting to think that going back to school as a viable option to keep me busy/interested and hopefully get me employed. Then I remember how much work it was and all of those Godforsaken group projects, and then I think unemployment isn't really all that bad, is it?

A necessary part of being unemployed is the never-ending task of errands. Pick up prescriptions, go to the bank, go to the’s the little trips that'll kill you, trust me. But who am I to complain, right? I mean, seriously, I don't work and I am bitching about having to drive around and listen to CD's. But still, it would be much cooler if I could just go straight home and watch movies. I mean…look for jobs.

Not that anyone would care, but a tire or belt or something on our car is making an ungodly squeaking noise. It’s so loud that people will stop mid-sentence, smoke, shoe-tying or whatever else just to see what the hell that awful noise is. And that's when they make eye contact with me. And sneer.

Or laugh.

Usually sneer.

A friend of mine told me he thought it was a tire-balancing problem. Taking it as Gospel, I ran to everyone's favorite WalMart and got them balanced. I was told by the tire-balancing lady (official title, I'm sure) that it would be about a 45 minute wait.

So, not having anything better to do, I decided to waste time in SlaveLabor-Mart. I can't be sure, but it was around the time I was around the denture cream or RV sewage link-up that I had a revelation: no one reads my blog.

I remember thinking that I should update my blog, which naturally led me to realize that no one reads it. I mean, a few people that I have told read it, but that’s it. And I am pretty sure they read it only because they're obliged to. Being one of the Marketing faith, I started wondering how people hear about blogs and concluded that word of mouth is really the only way people can know about this or that person's/org's blog. Not that it is very important that people read my blog; my self esteem isn't directly correlated to the amount of people who read my meandering journal entries, but still, it would be nice to know someone, somewhere, enjoys reading it.

I was just starting to wonder why I should even bother with blogging in the first place when my name was called. I put down the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. combination toothbrush/beer can opener and headed back to the Auto section.

I paid for my stuff, got my keys, and headed for my silver Taurus. I got in the car, fired up the engine, and hoped that once I hit ten mph on my newly balanced wheels that the only thing I would hear were the rednecks in the parking lot as I left it.


The squeak, like the rednecks, is ever present.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Made for Blogging

You know, its the little things that I miss about being happily employed. I figured I would miss the pay, but it turns out I miss the social aspect of it more. See, its been a close to a year of staying home, looking for jobs, training the dog, cleaning house...just staying busy. And its driving me insane. Not so much because I hate looking for jobs or cleaning my house - I do - but I miss the camaraderie and watercooler BS sessions that constant employment allows. And not having those sessions means that I am missing out on very crucial aspects of my happiness: complaining about stuff to actual PEOPLE and not my dog. You wouldn’t think so at first, but getting true feedback above a tilted head and perked ears is pretty exciting stuff - just one more thing that sucks about being unemployed.

Anyhow, last night I happened to catch just enough of a wonderfully terrible made-for-TV’er. Seriously. Sets the bar for tacky writing and dismal special effects. The movie in question: “10.5.” I only caught a few minutes, but believe me, it was plenty. From what I can tell, a giant earthquake with a magnitude of, oh I don’t know, let’s just say…10.5? Yeah, 10.5 sounds good – rocks the West Coast and subsequently ‘falls’ into the Pacific Ocean. Which sucks because it’s really freakin’ cold. Living in Portland, Oregon means that I, too, would die a horribly liquid death. Oh well, what can you do, right?

Well, according to the writers of “10.5,” you dig some deep holes in strategic places in California and throw some nuclear war heads in there and blow ‘em up. Now, if it weren’t for the show’s President’s overwhelming calm persona, I would be skeptical, but he didn’t seem worried, so why should I? Plus, the ‘other’ guy from “Tremors” was in it. You know, the ‘I’m not Kevin Bacon’ actor with the goatee? Yeah…that guy. You know you are working with a quality cast when that guy shows up.

Anyhow, I am sure the warheads are exploded and some unexpected thing happens and chintzy special effects ensue, but by that time I was in bed reading.