Monthly Archives: November 2011

Where I’ve Been – Overview


Today’s Music: Huey Lewis and the News – Working For A Living

I’ve asked where I’m going. There were some interesting observations and questions, comments about being glad to see what got me to the point I’m at now. Here’s more detail on that…

Hello, Hiring Guy,
I’m looking for a job. I have one right now, but I’ve improved this place as much as I can and I’m looking for new challenges. I would be a great hire because I’m really smart and will make you look good…until I’ve made all the improvements to your company that I can and then move on…like the Lone Ranger… into the sunset (room at the Hilton).

So here’s the list of stuff I’ve done. For money. Or booze.
Stuff with an * weren’t really “formal” jobs, but I got money. Or booze.
And at the bottom, I even threw in 2 that got away. Guess which one I wish I’d taken.

My Resume (and other stuff I’ve been paid to do)

Babysitter
Hey, all you parents out there, remember when you got paid to watch kids?

*Sang for some older folks for quarters for video games

High School General Store
Hey, it kept me out of the cafeteria.

Gas Jerk
Like a soda jerk, but I pulled the gas pump handles. Actually, it’s the boss who was a jerk. Dare I say Bozo?
And the smell does Not. Come. Out.

*Bar Back
This wasn’t a formal hire.
But as I was always broke, my friends (the bartenders) let me drink free in exchange for bringing up a few cases of beer at the end of the night

*Stuck a pickle in my nose for 3 minutes
It covered my breakfast tab. Don’t judge me.

Movie Theater Usher/Concessions
Eating that much popcorn isn’t good for anyone. But it really tastes good. And I got to see movies as often as I wanted!

King Kong
Coolest. Job. Ever.

Pouring Concrete
Best. Job. Ever.

*Poker on a road trip.
Paid for my food for the trip

Deli Man in a Supermarket
There are some odd meats at the deli counter. And the people that order them look like the people that would order them.

Waiter
All the food you can eat…

Line Cook
…Until you find out what’s in it…

Restaurant Manager
…and learn that waiters (including me) suck…

Restaurant Project Manager
…and then you get to build a restaurant

Cook in a private club
Chef used to say that we cooked for the people who ran the world.
This is the only job I’ve ever had where I was so far out of my league, I felt bad about it.

NOC Engineer
The boredom was spectacular…

Professional Services Engineer
…until I changed departments

IT Administrator
I work on ‘puters…

The ones that got away:

General Manager
Of a start up “Boston Chicken” type operation in Westchester.
I’m telling you now, I was too young, and I was too inexperienced
But I’d have done a hell of a job.

Attendant at a MiniGolf/Arcade/Sailing lake in Montauk.
The one that got away.
This is a great story (I think) and will be it’s own post as I work my way through them.

Future:
Lotto Millionaire (????)

So I’ll start next week.
Oh, and I’ll need Tuesday off.
And a raise.

Sincerely,
El Guapo

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An Insipid Cautionary Tale


Today’s Music: ABBA

CAUTION: The below is bad in ways too numerous to describe. But it’s my soapbox and I can yell what I want.
Do us all a favor and don’t encourage this behavior from me.
It’s for your own good.

INTRO VOICEOVER:
Join us now for a Lifetime Network Afterschool Special – “Peple With Stupid Problems – A Black Friday Tale” An insipid cautionary tale for the holiday season.

FADE IN

A MALE, ABOUT 38, LIES ON A BED. THERE ARE TUBES COMING OUT OF HIM. HE IS DRESSED IN SEVERAL DIRTY LAYERS AND A TATTERED CHRISTMAS SWEATER (You know, with the reindeers or snowmen or something), HIS HAND CRUSHING A STARBUCKS HOLIDAY CUP.
HE IS DIRTY, UNSHAVEN. HIS HAIR IS SCRAGGLY AND DIRTY, HIS FACE COVERED IN UNKEMPT WHISKERS

HIS CHEST IS COVERED IN RAVAGED BOXES, WE CAN ONLY MAKE OUT SOME OF THE LETTERS – XBO, LMO, KA LERS, OKSTON, WEBE.

THERE ARE PRICE TAGS STREWN ACROSS HIM LIKE NEW FALLEN SNOW.

AND BLOOD. SO MUCH BLOOD.

The camera pulls back, we see he is in an ICU OR, glass doors separating him from the main area. In rushes 2 SURGEONS (one male, one female) and a NURSE (male)

The SURGEONS are disheveled, BLOOD staining their scrubs. The nurse has a run in his stockings.

SURGEON1
Every year. The same madness. (HE WIPES THE SWEAT FROM HIS brow with his sleeves)
Nurse, I need a price scanner over here, Stat!

NURSE hands her a scanner. SURGEON1 waves it over the body, it’s red light illuminating impossibly damaged boxes, gift tags, holiday flyers.

SURGEON2
My God, this is the worst I’ve ever seen it. I don’t know if I can do another one of these.

SURGEON1 responds without looking up.
Hold it together, Tavison.

TAVISON
You don’t understand Jillian. My wife is out there. My kids.

JILLIAN doesn’t even look up, her hands now reaching in to unseen places while she speaks.
I’m sure they’ll be fine Tavison. Nurse, I need suction.

JILLIAN looks up as NURSE hands her a nozzle from a Tyson Dirt Devil

NURSE
What? It was on sale. I got a great deal before I came in.

JILLIAN takes the nozzle and moves it below the body, tucking it in out of sight. NURSE hits the power button.

THE MAN arches in pain and begins groaning. We see a stream of small gift boxes spinning in the vacuum collector. The vacuum starts to whine – something has snagged.

JILLIAN pulls the nozzle and begins working at it to free the object.

JILLIAN
Damn. I hate Black Friday. 3 years ago, my boyfriend went out to catch the sales and I never saw him again. This day is just evil.

She has managed to free the OBJECT and is now turning it in her hands examining it.

JILLIAN
He said he had to get something. That it was a surprise for us together. I thought he was going to propose, but he just disappeared.

She is looking at the OBJECT more closely. The light glints off it as she brings it closer to her face. The camera comes over her shoulder to focus on it as she reads aloud TO MY LOVE AND MY HEART,…
The camera shows JILLIANS face, a tear running down her cheek as she turns the OBJECT, which the camera cuts back to …JILLIAN

JILLIAN looks up, both eyes wet now, her face turning to the figure on the bed, who is looking at her now, his eyes alight with crazy

MAN
I couldn’t get back to you. Oh how I tried. But the sales, the bargains. I get swept up in the crowd, carried away form store to store, deal to deal.
We ravaged the Midwest. They called out the National Guard in Tuscaloosa to control us. There were firehouses to break us up in Alameda.
Binjago, Utah was wiped off the map completely. But those deals, oh those deals.

He collapses back to the bed, unconscious.

JILLIAN holds her face in her hands and cries.

TAVISON pulls off his scrubs.
Finish up here nurse. I’m going to save my family.

He strides out of the OR

FADE OUT

Friday Foolishness – Post Thanksgiving Edition


Today’s Music: Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant

Happy Day After Thanksgiving.
Hope you are all fat and happy.

Arlo Guthrie’s traditional Thanksgiving classic is above. Enjoy the performance.

Now to old business.
Last week’s poll brought some interesting Other answers:
– Anything. ‘Cause me juggling anything is comedy. And sad.
– jugglers
– Volkswagens, cause that would impress the chicks
– I’m combining two of your choices and saying wet, soapy cats.

I personally like them all, the first because it gives voice to the joy and pathos of life (hey, it’s Friday Foolishness. Yes, I can say things like that). The second, just for the meta-ness of it, and the third because I think it would work (despite what Weenie Girl says.
And Cats and soap? How could you not love that!

And the winner, with the most votes, is
Time (but I’m too busy to schedule a class)

Thanks to all you lucky guessers out there.

Today’s question in keeping with the season, is

Voting ends 1 December 23:59 (Thursday Night)

Have a great weekend!

A quiet interlude


Today’s Music: Ray Charles & James Taylor

Yep, thanksgiving is tomorrow.
As I will be joining the throngs of other drivers tomorrow, vigorously visiting, eating too much and enjoying just being alive, this is it until Friday.

I know it isn’t for another day, but I have to start getting ready.

I hope it doesn’t look like this

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

!!!There is still time to vote on last weeks Friday Foolishness poll.
The next one should be up on time.

Now where am I going – Metaphysical Edition


Today’s Music: Johnny Clegg & Savuka

So last time, I used this title to show off a bunch of compasses I own.
Because I’m the kind of guy who thinks compasses are cool. (much like bow ties.)

Bow ties are cool.

At the bottom of that post, I promised I’d give you the Metaphysical Edition. Because I’m an idiot.

So come now, as we delve into the sludge and confusion that slosh and ooze inside my head. (No, not the eggs I put in my nose when I was 6. I’m talking about my brain. Sheesh, this is gonna be a long post…)

Any good psychiatrist will tell you that in order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been.
I’ve worked in kitchens. I’ve worked in offices. I even once assembled newspapers (that lasted one day).

Sunday NY Times. Lots and lots of pages.

I’ve traveled (not extensively, but a bit), gone to 5 or 6 countries, many states and countless bars and restaurants. Not that the number is so high they can’t be counted, it’s just hard to use numbers when you’re that drunk.

I’ve been ridiculously happy. Extremely sad. Criminally mischievous. Incredibly well dressed. I’ve worn Hawaiian shirts to work, and tuxedos to bars. I have a wicked sense of humor and enjoy being the perpetrator of a well played joke, as well as the victim of one.

Way back when I used to sweat for a living, it was my job to keep a semi-homicidal group of immigrants/junkies/alcoholics functioning well enough to serve 800 dinners a night out of a hellishly hot kitchen. I yelled, threatened, cursed, and when necessary, I showed my guys that the way I said to do it was right by doing it in front of them.

Those were their choices.


This led to a long and destructive period of aggressively enjoying the hell out of myself, and drinking way too much. It was also during this time that I met IrishPaul.

At the point where my knees decided they didn’t want weren’t going to work in restaurants anymore (and after I almost cut someone’s finger off for eating a french fry), I went back to school for a computer certification.

For that stretch, I worked as little as possible, relied on friends (bartenders) for food and drink, and generally recovered my head.
When I was about 28, I started a job as a pc tech. I had just moved in with a friend (bartender), went in for a drink that night on his shift and saw a girl (the most wonderful girl in the universe). And eventually married her.
(all that will eventually be another post.)

Everything up to this point had been a whirl of drink, food, road trips, good friends in bars, too little sleep and a ton of late nights.

3 months after I got my pc tech job, the dot com I was working at closed and I started a new job in a Network Operations Center (sounds cooler than it is – no windows, canned air and the constant whirring of server fans), working 2nd shift (noon to 10 pm).
Then they moved me to mornings.

I had a great boss (despite him thinking music began and ended with The Beatles), who didn’t fire me when it took two weeks for me to actually show up on time for the day shift.
but I couldn’t stay out all night if I had to be in at 7am. So I stopped staying out all night.
I grew mellower. I was sweating less. I was holding intelligent conversations that didn’t loudly speculate about an individual’s questionable intelligence or favorite farm animal.

Things were going well with the girl. She came skiing with me and learned to love it. She introduced me to new music, some of which is great. She got me to start cooking again (really, when I left restaurants, if I couldn’t nuke it, boil it, or eat it out of the bag, I wasn’t eating it). She suggested day trips, vacations, kayaking.
It was a perfect life.

I slowly started waking up in the morning. Looking forward to the weekend.
Speaking in a socially acceptable manner (i.e.every third word wasn’t a curse). I relaxed a bit more.
I became accustomed to the joys of the daily rush hour commute. To drink and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. To sweat less and smile more.

That’s continued for about the last 10 years. My girl and I have a simple life. I do most of the cooking and ironing, she makes sure the bills go out on time and (occasionally) laughs at my jokes. We have things that only move one of us, things that move both of us, nad each supports the other pretty much no matter what.
She knows (probably better than I do) what’ll piss me off or set me on edge (she doesn’t linger at/near/in smelling distance of the perfume counters at malls or department stores!), and always manages to keep me calm.
I tell her I love her several times a day, which she does too – not for reassurance, but because it’s nice to hear when it’s sincere.

So, I get up, I go to work. I come home, make dinner, lie on the couch with my girl as we read our books or she surfs the web and I watch tv.
I have time to play my guitars, or video games, or to work on my model railroad.
On weekends, we do our grocery shopping and other chores, visit friends, go to museums/restaurants/stuff we want to see, and live what I guess are normal ordinary lives.
I go to as many concerts as I can (sometimes with, sometimes without her), she also has stuff she does on her own.

It’s a stable, good life.

At this point, I probably won’t throw my gear and compii into the car and just go for long ride.
I’m never going to be a Marine Biologist. Or cure cancer. Or headline at Madison Square Garden.

I will work every day to justify my wife’s faith and love in me. I will still say as many inappropriate things as I think I can get away with. I will keep playing with my food.

One day, if I’m lucky, I’ll go see a man about a horse (in this case, a horse is a kayak/motorcycle/sailboat/small island…). I’ll keep having mini adventures (skiing, surfing, paragliding, driving in midtown) as I can fit them in.

I will probably work, retire when I can, worry about health, money, the Mets…
I’d like to do that someplace tropical. I’d like to understand more of quantum physics (thogh I do finally understand Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle).
I don’t know if any of that will happen. And, despite the beginning of this post, I don’t really know where I’m going.

But, for the moment, I’m content.
Because I got the girl.

Everything else is noise.

Now where am I going? – Physical edition


Today’s Music: Stray Cats

I can get within 5 miles of my target on a 500 mile trip. It’s that last mile that kills me.
But I’ve gotten smarter. I have a GPS for the car. I have maps. And I have a compass.
Actually, I own several compasses. I have analog ones, digital ones. I have GPS, I have them bundled in other tools.
When making screened t-shirts was on my list of things to do, the front logo was a compass.

It came with the car!

I love my compi (plural). When I’m on a car trip, I take note of where I’m going, and never fail to laugh during the large east/west section of I-95 North/South. It makes me feel kind of smug that I, outdoor adventurer, have a better idea of my bearings than the guys that built a road from Florida to Maine, but couldn’t even get the orientation of the road correct.

But sometimes I’m on foot.

Fits in my pocket!

For that, I have this little gem. It came with a carabiner! It has a little Canadian flag as a souvenir of where I bought it!
It worked for two whole weeks!
But the key ring on the other end holds all my keys, so I keep it even though the compass doesn’t work anymore and is not worth the effort to recharge and recalibrate. Besides, I have an Android.

It's on my phone!

With a compass App! It’s pretty accurate. It also has other features, and with the phone’s GPS, I can keep a record of my path and (more importantly) find my way back out.

Which has been really helpful sometimes. When I remember to turn it on.

Though, there are times when electronics are just persnickety.

I could have been an arm model


So I can align my watch with the sun and adjust the bearing dial to find general direction. Doesn’t work as well at night though…

Of course, sometimes I’m not tramping about on roads or through the woods. Sometimes I’m doing it underwater.

I could have been a hand model

Sadly, I have no idea how to use this underwater. But it’s really cool. And is my second favorite compass I own, behind…

My wife (the most wonderful girl in the universe) gave me this, one of the first gifts I ever got from her. It means more to me than a lot of other things I own, because for me, it’s a perfect gift. It’s small, it is elegant and it works.
I love this little box compass.

So there’s really no reason for me to get lost in the world anymore.

Next time we’ll do the Metaphysical Edition…

Friday Foolishness – With a bit of Serious too


Today’s Music: Gossip (A great band that never caught fire. Check ’em out!)

First off – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a great idea, with a terrible execution. It protects media producers, but goes way overboard – if a kid posts a YouTube video of themselves singing a Justin Bieber song, they can be sued for piracy and infringement.
While they are guilty of many things for singing Justin Bieber, piracy probably isn’t one of them. Congress should write a law that is more specific to the problem, instead of this, which is very general and can be applied almost anywhere.

If you agree, please click the black bar over the logo, or here if the bar isn’t above and sign the petition.
If not, hey, that’s cool too.

And on to the silliness…

Last week, we asked about jellybeans!
And The winner is “STEAK! (Because jellybeans suck)”. I couldn’t agree more.

Although, kudos to Brian the Kwyjibo, who actually used logic for this (really?!?) to not choose Black Licorice so that he wouldn’t be eaten, or as he says…
“I voted for black licorice after a little internal debate, because I also like pina colada. But then I thought, Wait, what does he mean when he asks “What flavor of jelly bean would you be?” If I wanted someone to eat me, I’d pick black licorice (or pina colada) since those are the best. But if I wanted to survive, I’d definitely NOT choose one of those.”

And now what you’ve been waiting for, This weeks Friday Foolishness Poll:

Again, voting ends Thanksgiving night at 23:59.

While you wait for the results, please enjoy some Cat Juggling.
Roll the ugliness…