Monday, March 30, 2009

Dispatches From the Edge: Alternative Career Fair

Day 50:

The days are ticking by and by, and still no jobs rests obvious on the horizon. Soon I will probably have to face the fact that I will not be returning to my normal life. I am going to have to change careers, and the sooner I can accept that the better. The truth is that there are a lot of opportunities out there, I just have to decide which one is right for me.

So I thought I'd do a little preview here, just to get a feel for these things, and see if I hear one of them whispering my name in soft and sweet fashion:

McDonalds CSTM (Customer Service Team Member):

McDonald's numbers are up during this recession, in large part thanks to me, and so they are a very real possibility. I think I can bring a lot to the table for them. I'm a former employee, so I have very relevant experience. Would I be willing to backtrack on my career path all the way to my sophomore year of high school? Of course—that isn't the issue. The issue is how long would it take for some form of passive-aggressive suicide attempt to fully manifest itself. You see, I would never purposely choose suicide—it's morally wrong and can be detrimental to your health. But I wouldn't put it past myself to sort of trick me into it. I don't know if I would lock myself in the walk-in freezer, or if I would submerge my hands in the deep-fat fryer or what, but the bottom line is that I know this would be a potential hazard for me if I worked there.

And maybe it's one of those things where I have to inform them ahead of time. "Hi, I'm really, really excited to be working for your organization. Unfortunately, because I do have a degree in English, because I was making three times as much somewhere else for even less physically and emotionally demanding work, there may be issues with me trying to take my life while on the job. What I can promise you is that as long as I'm here, and I haven't doused myself in lighter fluid and laid myself out on the griddle, then I will be giving 110% the whole time."

Car Detailer: (Hey man—YOU try finding a funny picture of a car detailer—it's not happening.)

For the time being we still have a lot of cars in the United States, so this career path might be a viable option for me. I have experience in the field because who doesn't? I own a vacuum and a car—it was bound to happen. Again, I forsee problems in the passive-aggressive arena. The thing is that I'll throw myself 100% into absolutely anything that I'm doing. If I've got a keyboard in front of me then I'm going to make it melt. If I've got a mop in front of me I'm going to make it sing (?); at the same time a man has limits. I'd say you need between a 3rd or a 4th grade level of education to do this job well. Me in my right mind has no problem with that. I really don't have any pride, and I'll be just thankful to have any job. But my subconscious is another story. I think that my subconscious has some fundamental disagreements with my right mind with respect to how the ship should be ran.

In the end I will not be able to personally guarantee that I will not go burning into the good night on some idle Tuesday after I get behind the wheel of the first Porshe that comes into the shop. I wish this were not so, but I've basically been myself for 26 years so I know how I can sometimes be. I think it will be too much for passive-aggressive Jason to push a vaccuum tube around a bench seat and listen to my coworkers bitch about the real Aholes they have for parole officers. Really, it isn't them and it isn't the job—the problem is me and I wouldn't want to inflict that on an employer.

So I don't know what I'll do. Those are really the only two fields that seem to be hiring right now. I'm not opposed to developing a circus act, but Barnum & Bailey's dental plan is a friggin' joke.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sacrifice of Ball

I kind of lost it the other day. I wouldn't worry about it too much, though.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Seattle Sports: Why Are We Cursed?

I have been a lifelong sports fan. Apparently God wanted to punish me, so he made me be born in Seattle, A.K.A. a barren wasteland where sports dreams come to die.

We haven't had a championship in this city since the Sonics won the NBA title in 1979. At this point many people will point out that no, that isn't true, the Seattle Storm won a WNBA title not too many years back.

To which I say, "Yeah sure."

I hope you'll understand that I don't count that. My reason is simple: In the sports world, women are less than. I don't care about women's basketball. It doesn't excite me, it doesn't command a care from my limited pile that I have stocked up. I'm sure you understand and that you can relate. I'm not sexist; I just choose to see the world how it is.

This post is inspired, as you might have guessed, by the dismal performance the Huskies gave this Saturday in their unceremonious exit from the NC dubble A Championship tournament. First of all I have to get it out of the way that I feel like a real poser caring about Husky sports. I am a Viking, and, for better or for worse, always will be. The Vikings are NC2A division II—which is another way of saying no one gives a sweet pint of care what in the hell happens with them. Because Western does not have a sports program that deserves respect I feel obligated to pick a real university to support. Yes it makes me a poser, but it's better than not having any team at all, right? I haven't been able to bring myself to actually buy Husky paraphernalia, and I have been tempted in the past, but my unemployment and the recent Husky play equals no purple shirt with a big-ass "W" on it anytime soon.

The Mariners have had a few good years inside of 3-plus decades of talentless ass clowns cycling through their program. The Seahawks have always had good players but for some reason have lacked that cohesive something that should have pulled all of them together and made them champions. Holmgren did a hell of a job, and I'd take a silver bullet for the man, but still no championship banner do we have hanging from our Seattle rafters.

It's heartbreaking. I've been waiting in vain, in quiet desperation all of my life while the Bostonians experience championship after championship like they are party favors for an 8-year-old. I need that thrill. I want to writhe on my floor in ecstasy as they announce the Mariners as the winners of the World Series. I want to chuck a celebratory Molotov cocktail at a parked car and not get in trouble for it. I want my life to be vicariously validated by a bunch of men who I will never meet or break bread with.

But I'll keep moving on down the road. There is always next year. At least Griffey is back.

And hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dispatches From the Edge: Panic

Day 38:

People always ask me how I'm doing, you know, in light of the little unemployment situation I find myself in. In general I tell the truth: I'm doing fine. Look, last time I checked God is in control of this thing, I'm holding up my end of the bargain and searching high and low (and sometimes middle) for jobs–what else can be done?

But there are sometimes. There are moments. I hit them, like a pocket of turbulence; usually gone before you can get your panties in a full twist (though that doesn't make them all the more bearable).

They start the way you would start if someone pushed you out of a car moving 30 miles an hour and told you to start running. It's coming and upon me and, yep, there it is. It is a rushing wind and soon I am seeing the shopping cart full of all my earthly possessions. I look down to see my shoes, ratty and worn with no material covering my toes. Oh the humanity lord the humanity. What is wrong with me why coudn't I get a job? Why couldn't I work? Why did I fail? Now I will be friends with bums and I'll begin to care about the things that they care about. Collecting bottles. No one will help us. The social safety net will not break our fall. I won't be able to find a footing. Now, now right now I have to start taking stock of well-covered areas. What will cover me, Jess and Gretel in the rain? It would be nice if we could find a heated someplace, but dream on. Oh me. Oh lord, lord no. I'll never have stuff again. I won't be able to escape poverty. I'll be on the streets.

There is my bedraggled wife beside me, she has an eye patch on, though her face still shines. She's looking at me, looking into my eyes and it's awful to see her believing in a man who couldn't provide, who dropped the ball. There are verifiable idiots out there who have made it, who have not shipwrecked their lives, and they have done better than me. They helmed up. They made it.

Just thinking about the cold, the sheer hell of it. And now the knowledge that there is no out, this is your life, you are a street person and now you have a street family. The wind is going to blow and it's going to freeze me and there will be no escape.

There is this scene in American Splendor where Harvey wakes up in the middle of the night in absolute terror. He clutches his chest, eyes wide, then breathes a sigh of relief and says, "Oh, I have a job." Restful sleep ensues.

That stings so badly now.

The only thing left to say is that these panic (attacks?) aren't unique to my employment status, they just happen from time to time. Many times they're tied to my salvation—what if I burn like charcoal and the devil is going to be sticking a fork in me for eternity? What if a meteorite slices through my head, what if a nuke goes off? What if I someday have to stalk my dinner?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dispatches From the Edge: Gretel In Weird Places

Day 36:

Me and Gretel were just sitting there:

And I think that was the problem. Gretel seems to be getting tired of me just sitting around all day, alternately crying and watching Judge Judy. I've sensed a level of disdain coming from her that previously was not there. So I don't know if she did this to cheer me up, or to point out that I'm not being very creative or what. But she grabbed my camera and started doing silly shots, so I thought it was probably her will that I share those with you.

I thought this one was fairly obvious.

King of the mountain—ha ha.

I like how she kind of looks scared in this one.

She loses points on this one because it is
practically the same pose as the last one.

This one hurts me because how low does
your self-esteem have to be to be willing
to do this pose?

I like this one a lot because I've never seen
a dog look more like an eagle.

This is not a very weird place to be. Uninspired at best.

This one is scary to me because it looks like
she is actually thinking about jumping.

See how she's bearing her claws? Nice touch.

She said she calls this one "The Sentinel."

She said she wanted, "One normal one."

The end.

(By the way, I had to do this while my wife was at work because I knew death would be imminent if she actually saw me doing this with our dog. If you don't see me in the coming days then you know why—please check under the floorboards, she has always said that's where she would put me if this day ever became necessary.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dispatches From the Edge: Rounding Up the Week

Day 33:

It was a productive week. I got a blog about my slippers up, I watched 16 movies and I did a soulful painting of my dog, Gretel.

I also attended a mandatory unemployment workshop. Because of my general antipathy towards government I only wanted to scoff in lofty self-righteousness the whole time, but it was actually pretty helpful (damn. One point government, zero points me).

This week I also reached the conclusion that we need at least a six month moratorium on the use of the phrase "taken out of context." From what I can understand, if we ever say anything embarrassing, stupid, ridiculous or some combination of those three then we can simply employ this phrase like some kind of magic ointment for which we can then be absolved of all consequence.

That's bullcrap.

According to my rapier observation almost every dumb thing that gets picked up and used against the speaker has most certainly not been taken out of context. And it gets some kind of weird respect. Instead of calling the people out on their copout, we just kind of go, "Oh, ok, sorry about that." Really what it is is a power play back at you. The speaker is saying, "you're ignorant and ill-informed and you're being like some shock jock on the radio and taking my words out of context." And because we don't want to look stupid we just go ahead and cowtow, lick their boots or suck their kneecap, and shamefully exit the room whilst walking backwards with head bowed.

Not in my America.

From now on if anyone ever tells me that I'm taking a statement out of context I'm going to get right up in their face and do a silent scream. For a silent scream to be effective you have to be within two inches of their face, and then open your mouth as wide as you can and reduce your eyes to mere slits. In a lot of ways it's more effective than a real scream because people just don't know how to react and so it kind of shorts their circuits.

The movement of the silent scream will grow like legion and soon the plague of the "out of context" copout will be no more.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dispatches From the Edge: The Latest in Unemployed Fashion

I'm so excited to share with you my latest piece in unemployed fashion. Everyone knows that if you're going to have an unemployed robe then you need a good pair of slippers to match. I do have a pair of Hush Puppies:

And pretty regular slippers:

They suit me well and I like them, but they don't completely satisfy. They each have their downsides, which I won't get into right now. But as you know Jess and I were away to the luxurious Woodinville Wine Country for the weekend, and low and behold these beauties were nicely shrink-wrapped in our hotel bathroom:

Let me just tell you that they're a real dream. The "slip in, slip on" factor cannot be beat. These things are going to stay on your feet come hell, highwater or stairs, guaranteed. They're also really cushy. The hotel only wanted $4 for them, so I said you got it.

It's strange because as much as I like them, I also would like it if I didn't have to use them all that much, i.e. I would be at work and so wear more normal things on my feet.

It's a tough call.

It's Link to My Other Blog Time

I just wrote a blog for my church entitled "Why Is Christianity Going Down?" Is that a provocative title? I hope so, gotta catch people's attention somehow. I'd like you to read it, study it, meditate on and then pray over it.

Much obliged.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Getting back in Shape

I've got to face facts that I'm not the lithe figure that I once was. If I want to be around for much longer then I've got to think about getting back in shape. The problem is that I just don't have the heart and will for such traditional forms of exercise as running, walking or weight lifting. So I started thumbing around the internet and I found some great alternatives.

This is what I'm going to get started with. If I do 20 or 30 of these every morning I should be doing pretty good in no time.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dispatches From the Edge: Unemployment Robe Photo Shoot

The day the doo-doo hit the fan I promised my wife that I would buy a ratty robe. I wasn't serious, but I was just thinking about Lebowski and how cool he looked in his robe and how he really made it work, you know? The truth is I've never been much of a robe guy. But I've got a lot of down time, and I prefer to be comfortable if I'm going to be somewhere for awhile.

I had a JC Penney coupon and wouldn't you believe it: a ding dang plush robe for $4.97! Life couldn't be more perfect, unless I had a job, actually.

Anyway, here are some of the better shots.

Full body shot.

I was going through work withdrawals, so I pretended
to be yucking it up in the break room.

This is me getting all artistic and whatnot.

Doin' it right, workin' it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

All the News That's Print to Fit

I've got a problem on my hands. If this blog is going to make it to the big time, we're talking Drudge big, then I'm going to have to do something more. A lot more. It seems that most big blogs are breaking news. It's true that the last thing I broke was a toilet handle, but at least it is some place to build from. But seriously folks, if I'm going to start raking in primo American U.S. dollars then I'm going to have to get down, fairly dirty and starting pedaling the news and information that people crave.

This just in:
What if sugar is bad for you? We all know that it's kind of bad for you, especially your gums (a lot of people try to say it's the teeth; breaking news, that isn't true, sugar is bad for your gums), but what I'm saying is what if it's even worse? All people might want to start eating a lot less sugar because maybe too much will dissolve your liver or give you monkey throat. Or maybe it will bring about early onset Alzheimer's (which happens to be one of my ultimate fears). Best for the general public to stay away until I am allowed to do further research on the subject. Normally I would say that you can trust scientists on this but they have all been compromised.

In other news:
Gretel, my dog, just did this weird thing where she ran around the room, barked twice, then stared straight into my eyes for approximately 30 seconds. She did this once before and then vomited immediately after our sustained eye contact, but so far we're sans vomit.

Yet more news:
I just drank a whole bottle of soda, after 10 p.m., which is so freaking rare for me. I'm better at most people at not drinking pop, and frankly I'm surprised at myself. The problem is that pop contains a lot of sugar, which reportedly is very, very bad for you.

When the world will end:
This is a hot one. A lot of people want to know when the world will end so that they can properly plan for their retirement. The problem is that there are so many theories out there that it is tough to know who to trust on such an important matter. I've done mental interviews* with many of the world's top scientists an theologians, and this has given me some good perspective on the subject. But more importantly I have read the Bible from cover to cover, so there is no one more qualified than myself to tell you when this thing will come to a crashing finale. When the moon cobalances with Africa, and left-aligns with Pluto and Planet X; when arms have evolved to fork and spoon; when God disrupts the longest running comedy act ever; when asteroids need no longer fear: In other words, kiss everyone goodbye, but don't quit your day job.

*Because money, time and staff are short I have to conduct many mental interviews in lieu of real ones. There's really nothing to worry about, they're actually quite accurate. All you do is pose questions to your subject, either in your head or you can write them down, and then you imagine what their responses might be. Not just anyone can do these; you need to be a journalist. If the technique falls into the wrong hands there is no telling the damage that might be done. Like I said, it's a good process, but if dishonest people catch wise, then basically they can put whatever words they wish into the mouths of the most influential people in the planet. (If this does not have you frightened then I'm watching you—you clearly have sociopathic tendencies.)