Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Any Club That Would Have Me For a Member...

Yesterday in my mailbox, I received a mailing from the "Consumer Product Survey of America", located in Buffalo, New York. Everyone else in my building received the same mailing. I know this not because I looked in all of their mailboxes, but because the mailing was too big to fit into our little slots and so were left on top of the mailboxes for us to take.

I opened the mailing to run the pages through my shredder, as I do with all mail that has any identifying information. The following paragraph caught my eye:

"Dear Shopper,

Once in a while we carefully select individuals in your community -- those whom we feel represent the smartest, most value conscious customers. Then we use some of our research budget to find out exactly what these smart shoppers really want. If our hunch is right, you are such a person."

Oooo! A faceless company thinks I'm smart! And value conscious! Yet they couldn't seem to remember my name when they addressed the letter!

And what a coincidence that everyone else living in my building is also in this elite group of the "smartest, most value conscious customers"!


Monday, August 28, 2006

Busy Little Bee

I'm back from a short trip to D.C. with Ash, working hard to get ready for my teaching gig-- which starts in just under a week (gulp)-- and sending out a bajillion resumes. God, I hate writing cover letters. Oh, GOD, do I hate it! I've had a few bites, but nothing that's worked out yet. I wonder how much having the J.D. is actually hurting me, since I'm not looking for legal work. I'm worried that people are looking at my resume and then assuming that I'm overqualified or something, but I don't really know what to do to combat that at this stage.

It's amazing how much time job hunting can take. I'm sick of it already, but at the same time, I don't want to just take a job for the sake of taking something, then end up making them-- and probably myself!-- miserable. On the other hand, I need some money coming in for rent and such, and I don't mind taking various temporary and part time jobs while I'm waiting, even if they're relatively low paying/ low status. I may even go back to waitressing for a while. I'm also toying with the idea of submitting some work for publication, possibly some of the writing I've done in the past for my own enjoyment. It wouldn't be enough to live on, I know, but the reward of being published might just make up for the sting of going back to waitressing. I've also got an interview for a short term, unpaid internship related to a field that I'm interested in, so I'm feeling good about that, too.

Send me good job vibes, y'all! I'm trying not to worry, but it's in my nature. Plus, I'm BORED of being at home. I'm actually looking forward to working for the structure, if nothing else!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

Verbatim (with identifying details omitted) from a posting for a part time job:

Yes this is the same company, posting the same job again.I see why the women I hired were looking for a job in the first place.
I need a woman to be my secretary and personal assistant. We are a small electrical contractor. You would be responsible for re-organizing our office to your taste, help make us more efficient, pay our bills, balance checking accounts, filing, faxing, expenses, data entry, determine total job costs on jobs we finish, opening and dealing with all mail, keeping office clean, helping occasionally with bids due, you handle all my personal bills as well, calling in our payroll, feeding the office cats when I am out of town, like I said, it is a secretary/perosnal assistant position.
Computer skills are a must, previous office experience a bonus, especially if it is with a construction company of any type.
If you have a new born baby you want to bring to work with its play pen, don't bother, if you have a jealous boyfriend who will get upset and make you quit if I take you to lunch with me instead of leaving you sit in the office by yourself, don't apply, if you do not have use of all 10 fingers, keep browsing, if you think you are going to steal from me, think again, if you are going to have a different excuse why you need to leave early every single day, lose this add, if you are going to be out drinking until 4 am and need 2 days to recover when I really need you, then get a job at a bar, if you are not going to show up for work, then avoid my calls, good luck keeping your next job, if you live 50 miles away, find something closer to your home.
I know I sound like a bitter old man, that is not the case, I am in my 30's, and I am just tired of people wasting my time. I am trying to run a business, not waste time with unreliable, irresponsible people, I am not a baby sitter. This is a very casual job, my office is my living room, you dress how ever you want, you can have the TV on while you work as long as you work, the hours are flexible, you have 2 cats to keep you company, I am very easy to get along with, I am just tired of women costing me time from the work I need to do with their lies, and lack of responsibility.
The job is typically Mon-Wed-Fri 8:30-4, but it is best at first that it be 5 days a week until you get settled in. These times are flexible to a point. An outgoing personality is a plus, because somedays I will be in the office with you all day, and I am a talker, other times you will not see me all week.
Please send me a resume of any type, either by email or faxing to 555-WAR-NING and then please call me afterwards at my office- the number is also 555-BIG-JERK or my cell at 555-DONT-DOIT. Thank you- ProblemBoss

Let's play Spot the Warning Signs, shall we?

1. "
I see why the women I hired were looking for a job in the first place."

He's already run through multiple women for this position. Also, the first of many instances to come where he places the blame entirely on the other person/ people.

2. "
You would be responsible for re-organizing our office to your taste, help make us more efficient, pay our bills, balance checking accounts, filing, faxing, expenses, data entry, determine total job costs on jobs we finish, opening and dealing with all mail, keeping office clean, helping occasionally with bids due, you handle all my personal bills as well, calling in our payroll, feeding the office cats when I am out of town, like I said, it is a secretary/perosnal assistant position."

In other words, you are his bitch. Now, that in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, and is-- to a certain extent-- what a personal assistant does. However, he expects you to run his whole life on a part time basis:

The job is typically Mon-Wed-Fri 8:30-4, but it is best at first that it be 5 days a week until you get settled in. These times are flexible to a point."

2. a) Also, please note that the lucky applicant will be working in this man's home:

my office is my living room"

I think it's not an unreasonable prediction that "keep the office clean" will actually mean "be my maid"

3. "
if you have a jealous boyfriend who will get upset and make you quit if I take you to lunch with me instead of leaving you sit in the office by yourself, don't apply"

What if your secretary/personal assistant doesn't WANT to eat lunch with you?

My guess, based on the combination of the comment above, plus this: "
somedays I will be in the office with you all day, and I am a talker,", plus my own experience? This man a) is very needy, b) will expect you to be his friend, his mother, and his admirer, as well as to stroke his ego contantly, c) is a sexual harrassment suit waiting to happen.

4. "
if you do not have use of all 10 fingers, keep browsing".

Hello, violation of the ADA! (Though I suspect this company may be too small to fall under the Act.)

5. "
if you are going to have a different excuse why you need to leave early every single day, lose this add,"

Spelling and punctuation matter!

Also, I would bet that this guy considers leaving at the time your shift ends to be "leaving early". After all, your job-- and his needs!-- should be so important to you that you will be willing to work as many hours as he thinks are necessary on any given day. Then, when you try to collect the pay you deserve, he'll claim that he only agreed to pay you for an eight hour day. So you'll resolve to walk out the door the minute your paid work day ends and he'll fire you for "having a different excuse why you need to leave early every single day."

6."if you are going to be out drinking until 4 am and need 2 days to recover when I really need you, then get a job at a bar"

Now, again, I have nothing to base this on but my intuition, but I'd bet the real story goes something like "I called at 11 p.m. on Friday and again at 6 a.m. on Saturday and how dare she have a life outside of my needs and whims!"

7. "
if you are not going to show up for work, then avoid my calls, good luck keeping your next job"

Hmmm... I wonder if the woman finally just couldn't take your needy crap anymore and quit? And then you made abusive and harrassing calls until she had to start screening you out via caller id?

8. "
you have 2 cats to keep you company,"

I bet the place reeks of cat urine and is covered in cat fur. Oh, and part of "keep the office clean" is guaranteed to mean "clean the litterbox because I can't be bothered".

9. "I am not a baby sitter"

Translation: "I will not train you. You are expected to read my mind and learn everything there is to know about my industry and my company by osmosis or to simply have been born with the knowledge."

10. "I am very easy to get along with, I am just tired of women costing me time from the work I need to do with their lies, and lack of responsibility."

Again, he places the blame squarely on the other people. And the fact that he harps on the secretary being female all of the time makes me suspect that he's also a misogynist or at least a chauvinist who thinks that women belong in such subordinate roles. Also? Women are liars. And irresponsible.

I mean, he's so easy to get along with! Such a fun guy! Hey, let me hit you with a clue by four: if every woman you hire "cost[s] [you] time from the work [you] need to do", maybe the problem is YOU!

Also? Anyone who needs to specify in their employment ad that they are easy to get along with, isn't. At least 90% of the time. BTW, kids, this is a great tip for personal ads and roommate interviews!

11. "
An outgoing personality is a plus, because somedays I will be in the office with you all day, and I am a talker, other times you will not see me all week."


" You will never be able to find me when you need me. If there is a problem on the job site, or an angry creditor calls because I don't take care of my payables, my cell phone will mysteriously lose its signal. However, if you are busy, I will suddenly be in the office all day. You will never get any work done when I am there because I will never shut up and your day will be taken up with pretending to marvel over how awesome I am. I will probably tell stories that are inappropriate for the workplace, and if you object or complain, then you will be fired for not having an "outgoing personality". Also, when you haven't accomplished the 50 hours worth of work I want done in the 20 or so hours I'm willing to pay for, I will yell at you and eventually fire you for being "lazy"."

I would love, love to hear the other side of this story. I bet the tales his previous secretaries/ personal assistants would tell are illuminating to say the least.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Taking the Bar, Part One

The Monday before the bar exam was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I cried off and on all day from sheer nervousness, and in between crying jags, I was overcome by long periods of zen-like calm in which I *knew* that I will fail and *accepted* that fact. Everyone always advises you to take Monday off, or at least to take it easy, but I thought I'd be better served by having things as fresh in my mind as possible, so I took Sunday off instead. The weather over the weekend was wonderful, and it was nice to get a chance to enjoy it a little. Still, on Monday I found myself trying to read outlines for Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, Evidence, and Criminal Procedure-- the subjects that I considered my weakest-- and feeling doomed, utterly doomed.

I went to bed around 11 p.m., hoping that I'd worn myself out enough to just fall asleep. In fact, I felt bone tired, and when I collapsed into bed, I felt as though I was sinking into the mattress-- a sensation familiar from my college years when I was working at least 45 hours a week while carrying a full course load. Back then, if I felt that sensation when I laid down on my bed, I knew that I needed to stand up immediately or else I would fall asleep in a matter of minutes. Over the years, I came to think of that feeling as my warning system, telling me that exhaustion was very close to taking over, and I should try to cut something less important from my schedule so that I could catch an hour or two of sleep as soon as possible. So Monday night, that feeling was actually quite welcome. I thought it meant I'd drop off from sheer exhaustion and that would be that.

Haaaaaa haaaaaahahahahahahahhaha!

I laid in bed, caught in that place between awake and asleep for hours. At 2 a.m., I got up to go to the bathroom. At 4 a.m., I got up to find out why Ash hadn't come to bed (he was working on a deadline). Finally, around 5 a.m., I fell asleep... and at 6 a.m., the alarm went off. A quick shower helped drag me into the land of the living and the very strong cup of coffee that I drank while eating breakfast and reviewing Estates and Trusts notes didn't hurt either, but I was quite worried that I might actually fall asleep during the exam. It was one thing to go to school on 3 hours of sleep when I was 23. It's another thing to try and take the bar on 1 hour when I am 30. I cannot function on less than 7 hours anymore, I'm just too old! Then I read my Professional Responsibility notes while scarfing cereal and it was time to catch the bus.

The bar was being administered at the convention center. I know how to get there in a car, but given the levels of road rage I experience every time I try to drive during rush hour in this city and the sorry state of parking in the downtown area, I thought it better to take the bus. So on Monday night, I went to the port authority website to look up which bus to take. Imagine my surprise when I was told that there is no way to get from here to there! I tried the convention center website, hoping that they, like many places nowadays, might include a blurb like "This location is served by the following bus lines: 1, 53, 5, 39, 60, 48" or whatever. Nope. Next, I tried looking up the convention center as a bus stop on the port authority website. Nope. Finally, after a bit of sleuthing, I found that the bus that stops at the head of my street-- you know, the major busline that runs from the east suburbs to downtown? The one to (or from) which you can transfer from a million other bus lines?-- would take me straight there and let me off about a block from the convention center. But there's no route, according to the port authority, that runs from my neighborhood to the convention center with 3 transfers or less and a destination stop 1/2 mile or less from the convention center.

Anyway, the bus ride there was uneventful and I arrived at the convention center by 7:20 a.m. It seemed so strange to be riding with a bus full of people for whom this was just another work day, not the culmination of years of education and weeks of intense study, a day that could make or break their next career step. It reminded me quite a lot of when I was in Germany for Thanksgiving and everyone was just off to school and work, like every day, and I was feeling incredibly homesick, knowing that back home, my whole family was going to be getting together for dinner at my aunt's farm, without me.

I'd left a little early because the schedule said that I'd arrive at that stop by 7:38, so that left me enough room for error that I didn't have to stress. Instead, there I was, with 35 minutes to kill. Yes, 35 minutes; we were to report to our room at 7:55 a.m. It was kind of weird walking down the sidewalk with a stream of other applicants, everyone vibrating with nerves and/or fear. We proceeded up a series of escalators to a huge, open lobby area slowly filling with people, some of them milling about, chatting to their friends, sharing stories of last minute meltdowns, while others poured over notes one last time. I promptly ran into two of the three members of my 1L study group, and instantly, my nerves disappeared. I can't explain it. It's not like I was putting on a calm front to impress them: they witness all of my 1L freak outs, so it's a little too late to pretend that stuff like this doesn't bother me. It was just that all of a sudden, the bar exam didn't seem to be anything more than one more law school hoop. I'd take a leap and hope to pass through, but if I don't, oh well! A disappointingly low part of me is wrapped up in the idea of being a lawyer or even a law student. This is good because it's kept me nominally sane. It's bad because I haven't really ever caught the study-till-you-drop train.

Anyway, those 35 minutes flew by and suddenly we were being called into the computer based testing room. It was part of an enormous ballroom with a cavernous ceiling, and at first glance, the lighting seemed strange and dim. I was all set to get irritated, but once you got into the room, it actually wasn't bad at all. My seat turned out to be in the very last row, just in front of the proctors' table. I couldn't have asked for anything better: no distractions, no people walking past, and the proctors so close that I don't have to wait for their help if I need it. The girl seated directly in front of me was chatting with her tablemate, telling him that she and her husband had come up from Virginia, and for some reason, that was the first moment that it really hit me that there were lots of people there from somewhere else. I don't know why that never really occurred to me, because as soon as I thought of it, it was like "duh!". Still, at that moment it was totally a revelation to me.

The morning session was the Performance Test and the first two essays (each of which had 4 subparts), for which we had 3 hours total. Dirty Birdie and I had been joking on Monday about how we were sure to pass because of the sheer numbers of people we had praying for us. Specifically, I had been praying that the topics would be things that I knew about. The PT was based on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which we covered extensively in Elder Law. Now, you aren't supposed to rely on your own knowledge of the law, but rather on the materials you are given in the file library in composing the item they request. But still, it was nice not to start the day in an unfamiliar area.

I was pounding away on the keyboard, and in the back of my head, I felt that I was rocking the PT. Then I looked up and realized that I had already used nearly 2 hours on just that. Damn. I moved on to the essays and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could articulate *something* on each of them. I was unpleasantly surprised to find that two of the eight subparts asked about Federal Income Taxation, aka, "The Only Subject I Didn't Study Because Everyone Said They Never Ask About It". And lord knows I didn't learn anything in Professor MacPherson's class. I didn't get much written, given that I really only had an hour to do what I really should have had 1 1/2 hours for-- entirely my fault, but still. Nonetheless, I think I at least got a rule, an issue, and some analysis for everything. I can't remember whether I was stating full conclusions or not by that point. I think I may have been able to go back and add them to one or two things, but I figured the analysis was more important. Still, when they called "Time!", I'd answered everything.

At some point during the morning, I had to leave the room to go to the bathroom.

I ate lunch with Dirty Birdie and a friend of hers. I'd packed one of those little insulated lunchbags with an enormous amount of food because I was afraid that I'd get the growlies and not be able to concentrate. As a side note? I bought Frappucinos to take along for a caffeine boost in the afternoon. When I stopped at Target, they didn't have the caramel ones I favor, so I thought I'd just run over to the Horribly Overpriced Chain Store and buy them. I thought they'd be maybe a dollar more expensive. When I got there, I discovered that they were $2.70 more expensive. AND they didn't have caramel either. I stopped back at Target on my way home and got the vanilla flavored ones instead. Some of the men either had really huge appetites or no access to normal lunchboxes because at least three people had brought their lunch in those big styrofoam coolers you use to take beer on a fishing trip. I overheard many, many people telling their friends that they had difficulty finishing because they struggled with timing. That made me feel a little better about my PT-heavy morning.

The next thing I knew, they were calling us back in. We had a bit of a wait this time because the applicants taking the bar on their computers were required to be there early just in case there were any problems, and during the very boring wait I began to nurse an admittedly unreasonable hatred for the guy sitting four rows ahead of me wearing a BarBri shirt with the motto "Do It Once, Do It Right, Never Do It Again". The shirt seemed to be taunting me with its message, whispering to my insecurities, telling them that everyone else but me knows what they're doing.

The afternoon essays included the only two things that I didn't actually know, but in both cases, I thought that the issue they were heading toward was pretty obvious and made up a rule based on that. I know that in at least one of the two cases I was either right or very, very close to it, so hopefully that bodes well for my chances of success. Time was still a problem, though not the critical issue that it had been in the morning. I suppose that there's always just a little more you would have liked to added or a section that you might have liked to reword. In many cases, I felt that my answers were really more "short answer" than "essay", and I'm pretty sure that they were more IRA than IRAC. Still, I don't think I did too badly.

I couldn't believe how quickly the day went. I'd expected it to feel like a marathon, but it wasn't that bad. Not that it was easy, by any stretch of the imagination. But I didn't feel my energy flagging, even though I was working on next to no sleep. Ahhhh, adrenaline is a wonderful thing. When they called time, I stopped typing in the middle of a word, properly frightened by the dire warnings before each section about how refual to stop writing or typing on command would be "considered a serious character issue" and promptly "reported to the Bar". I think I got the main points all covered, though, and was only fleshing things out by that point. There was one question on the afternoon portion that I really didn't know, but I think I made a good guess and a decent analysis based on that guess.

It took forever to get a bus home because the busses kept passing me by, crammed full with people. I finally got on one, and even managed to get a seat a few stops down the line-- thank GOD, because I was starting to feel a little unsteady on my feet as the adrenaline started to ebb. I was sitting there, staring off into space and thinking about how much I wanted to see Ash and how much I wanted to sleep, when the guy sitting next to me asked "Are you French?"

I goggled at him in disbelief. See, this question is a bit of an inside joke with Hulio. We were at a concert once when a guy used this question as a pick up line, sending the two of us into gales of laughter. Since then, it's been our code for cheesy pick up lines and the guys that use them.

He must have sensed my... confusion, because he guestured toward my chest and said "Your sticker-- is it French?". I looked down and realized that I was still wearing the admission sticker they'd given us that morning, and that in some universe there might be a way in which the abbreviations on it could be construed to be French...-ish. So I laughed a little and explained that, no, it was just the admission sticker from the bar exam, as I peeled it off and stuck it inside my laptop bag. He immediately jumped on that, snagging the "honor" of becoming the very first person to ask "Did you pass?". I controlled the impulse to roll my eyes, since he obviously had no idea how obnoxious that question is for bar takers. I kind of chuckled about how I still had another day to go, so it was too soon to guess, and we talked about licensing exams for the next 10 minutes, until he got off, wishing me good luck for the next day. I thought that was very kind, and it really boosted my mood, which was teetering on the edge of a breakdown by that point.

Finally, finally, I got to Ash's place and took a very long nap. We ate dinner and I reviewed my Contracts and Evidence outlines... getting ready for the MBE.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Job Update

I didn't mean to leave you all hanging, but I just didn't think to blog about it. I was, in fact, hired by Kaplan, and if I complete training successfully, I will start teaching in September. I've already had one day of training, and I have to say that so far, I'm quite impressed by the company. I really liked some of their philosophies, and there's not so much fake corporate rah-rah. Instead, it seems like the people I've met so far genuinely like working for Kaplan and enjoy what they are doing, which is usually a really good sign. I think I'm really going to like it. Hopefully, they'll like me too, and I'll get lots of hours, or maybe I can even move up to something else full time within the company-- after all, the president of Kaplan started out teaching GMAT courses!

It Takes an Uncommon Mind to Think of These Things

I listened to a report on NPR earlier about how rising oil prices are affecting communities' ability to perform road repairs and construction. It was given by a man named Joel Rhodes. I wondered to myself if he felt funny calling sources for this story:

"Hi. I'm Joel Rhodes, and I'm calling to talk to you about roads."


Who's That Lady? (I'm That Lady)

...but only slightly more than half.

You Are 60% Lady

You're part lady, part modern woman.
Etiquette is important to you, but you brush aside rules that are outdated or silly.

I was, however, confused by the question about purse size. Is it considered rude to carry a large purse? Why?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lake Wobegon It Ain't

So I was listening to the radio while stretching after a run tonight. It was the first time since several weeks before the bar that I got out for a run, and I am appalled at how out of shape I am. There is no way that I will be able to run the 5K at the end of the month, not even if they promised me a large sum of money or a lifetime supply of poppyseed pastries from my favorite bakery for finishing. Anyway, the station I was listening to is one of those "we'll play anything" stations that tries to pretend like it's not actually owned by ClearChannel or one of its ilk. The music on this station is great. It's on both my alarm clock as well as Ash's, and I love how one morning we wake up to Prince and the next morning it's Maroon 5 and the morning after that it's Steely Dan.

It just so happened that the station went to a commercial break as I was in the middle of doing crunches (good LORD, what have I done to deserve these pudgy abs? Ohhhhhh yeahhhh... too many poppyseed pastries, not enough crunches. Note to self: reverse this ratio and you might just find that those hot jeans fit again.), so I didn't bother to turn the station. I wasn't really paying attention to the commercials, but it caught my ear when a voice came on between two commercials with obnoxious jingles to say:

"Remember, half of the people you know are below average."

I almost pulled a muscle from the sudden spasm of laughter trying to escape my hard working abs. It was just so random! And man, I guess this place is no Lake Wobegon if even the corporate radio station noticed it and gave up 10 or 15 seconds of air time to publicize it.


Thanks to the very practical advice from a friend of Hulio's, the laptop is up and running again. Paca and Krista should be gratified to know that her advice echoed theirs (which I didn't get until just now). Unfortunatly, neither of those things worked, and I had to follow some rather more complicated instructions, which (THANK GOD) worked. I cannot wait to send this stupid thing in to get a good working over as soon as it's practical to be without my laptop for an extended period again. Plus, maybe they'll also replace the 7 key that keeps falling off. And put a new door over the one port that won't stay closed anymore. And replace the mouse. This laptop is starting to remind me of my old car: much loved but a real pain in the butt to maintain, and there's always something minor but very annoying broken on it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

This Is Not a Good Time For This

I thought it would be nice to check my email before I left Ash's place this morning, so I pulled out my laptop and pressed the "on" button... and got the message "Operating System Not Found".

Now what?

I'm kind of scared to try anything because I took the bar on my laptop, which means that I am not allowed to mess with the hard drive until the results are released. But I cannot wait months to use my laptop again. For one thing, all of my job search stuff is on it, including my CV.

But truly, I don't know where to start. Any of you have some advice for me?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Adventures In Job Hunting, Part 1 Of a Hopefully Short Series

I had an interview-- no, wait: "audition"-- with Kaplan tonight, for a job teaching LSAT prep courses. I had very high LSAT scores (and GRE, too, which is relevant because I'm hoping to get more hours by teaching GRE as well), so I made it past the first hurdle with no problem. Tonight's fun and games involved presenting a five minute speech on how to do something.

I hate this speech. I've had to give them before, both in high school and in college, in several different classes, for times ranging from 4 minutes to 15. These speeches are idiotic for several reasons, including the difficulty of picking a topic that will hold your classmates' attention, the often-required props, and the time limits. What, exactly, can you teach someone in only five minutes? Not much, I can tell you that. For this go-round, I chose "How to Throw a Cheese and Wine Party", a.k.a. "Parties for Grownups: Beyond the Kegger". It seemed like a good topic: just involved enough to justify talking about it for five minutes, but not so complicated that you can't do it justice in five minutes.

There were about 10 other people there, all applying (oops, auditioning for different test prep jobs. Before I left, I commented to Ash that I'd probably be the oldest person in the room, including the interviewers. I was almost right: I was almost certainly older than both of the interviewers, but there were two other people who looked older than I. Of course, in one case, I may just be projecting based on her prissy little old lady attitude. There was a wide range of skill exhibited in the presentations, and for the most part, I thought everyone did very well both in picking a topic and in giving the actual presentation.

However. The prissy old lady woman? First of all, her speech was terrible. By far the worst of the evening, although again, I may be projecting because of what I am about to tell you. She was "explaining" to us how to solve a Sudoku. I was actually quite interested, because I know several people who looooove them a good Sudoku, and I just don't seem to get it. I can honestly say that I know no more now than I did prior to her speech, which went something like "First, I solve part of the puzzle. Then I use that part to solve the rest. Sudoku is fun." and lasted less than two minutes.

I didn't go directly after her; there was one other presentation in between. My speech went, I thought, quite well, except that it was too long. They actually cut you off at five minutes, so I didn't quite finish. I think that, had I been permitted to keep talking, I would have finished at about 6 1/2 minutes, so it wasn't too bad. Anyway, I went back to my seat and she leaned over to me and whispered in the fakest "sincere" voice, "Well, at least you didn't totally freeze up."

I wanted to punch her right in her soppy little prissy old lady face.

However, the last laugh was mine because one of the interviewers asked me to stay and talk when everyone was leaving. Nothing is official yet, but he said that they really liked my audition and wanted to talk to me about teaching an upcoming course. I'll talk to him some more later this week and hopefully that will work out for me. It's not a "real" job in the sense of something full time that will pay my bills, but it's certainly something, and I think I'll be good at it.


I'm also keeping my eye open for other short term or temporary work to tide me over while I try to find a "real" job, and I saw a posting on craigslist that required the applicant to supply the following:

- Must own a digital camera, computer with high-speed internet access and reliable transportation
- Ability to work outdoors in various weather conditions
- Basic knowledge of computer and digital photography
- Automotive experience is preferred
- eBay experience is preffered
- Excellent communication skills
- Must own cellular phone and willing to use for business calls
- Reliable transportation, willing to drive to dealerships and valid drivers license with insurance

In other words, the employee supplies everything and the employer pays for nothing. Spare me!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Weasel Words

In my bathroom, I have this handsoap. It smells great, by the way, and they usually have it on sale for a ridiculously cheap price during the semi-annual sales. Anyway, I picked it up yesterday to wipe it off while cleaning my bathroom and noticed the following message in bold face type on the back label:

Finished product not tested on animals.

Oh, well then! I guess you must be a really animal friendly company, then, Bath and Body Works! I bet PETA gave you a medal!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bad Doggie! Bad!

In a move that reminds me of Turbo, the guard dog in a teddy bear museum went on a rampage, mauling some of his charges, including the teddy bear that belonged to Elvis.

*Link via Flummel, and you should totally go look at the picture of this on her blog because it is just hysterical with a clear view of the carnage and a suitably sheepish looking Barney.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Silver Screen

Sunday night, Ash and I had the wonderful opportunity to see Casablanca on the big screen. The tiny art house theater in our neighborhood has been showing old movies on Sunday evenings all summer-- in fact, they're starting a series of "classic" (read: MST3K-worthy) horror movies in the month of August-- and we decided to make a date of it. The place was packed, far more crowed than it's been the handful of times that I've been there in the past, and the crowd was in a good mood. It was really great to see the wide range of ages there, and there were quite a few families who'd come out together to see Bogart and Bergman.

I love this little theater. There is only one screen, and the whole place is ever so slightly shabby, but lovingly maintained. The tickets are still reasonably priced, and with a student discount, we got in for only $5 each. The concession stand sells popcorn and soda, but they come in human sized containers and are about half as expensive as what you get at any of the multiplexes. They also sell tea and coffee and juice, all good quality stuff, not cheap Lipton crap. The staff is all youngish, maybe in their 20's or possibly early 30's, and they're extraordinarily friendly and helpful, almost as if they're happy to see you there, excited to share something good with you.

The movie started with no previews, which was a little jarring. I don't think I've ever been to a movie with no previews before. But almost immediately, we were sucked into the story. I've seen bits and pieces of Casablanca over the years, thanks to Turner Classic Movies reruns, but I've never sat down and watched the whole thing start to finish. Now that I have, I'm totally suckered in; I think the movie is magic. And seeing it together with Ash made it even more so. It was just lovely to lean my head against his shoulder and watch the movie with our fingers intertwined. I guess we're a little past the age where people go to the movies to make out with each other (do kids still do that nowadays?), but he still brushed his lips against my hair a few times, and we snuck a small kiss in at the urging of Ingrid Bergman, probably grossing out the gossipy teenage girls in the row directly behind us ("Ewwwwww, gross! Old people making out!), but who cares? We're in love!

Another thing that made the experience so much better than just ordering Casablanca on Netflix was the audience. They were extremely appreciative, laughing at the jokes, gasping in the appropriate places. People were, for the most part, far more courteous than any of the other crowds I've had the "pleasure" of sharing a moviegoing experience with in the past few years.

After the movie let out and people were leaving the theater, happy and content, the magic seemed to linger on the air. Couples held hands in the night as the stars began to peek out from the rainclouds that lingered from earlier in the evening, friends laughed softly together as they walked to their homes or to their cars, more than one of them humming "...and when two lovers woo, they still say I love you...

*Make sure to click on the title of this post for a little mood music!


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I Love Smart Aleck Columnists

The best quote yet regarding this whole Mel Gibson debacle is at the end of this piece:
"One does not abruptly decide, between the first and second vodka ... that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion are valid after all."

Exactly. Time to get that nutjob off into obscurity, where he's always belonged. I've never found him handsome or a compelling actor. I've never understood his popularity at all. In fact, I find him mildly distasteful in almost everything I've ever seen him in. It's not quite to the level of my hatred for Jim Carrey, but I will think twice about seeing a movie with Mel Gibson in it. I don't care how much coke you did or how many fifths of Jim Beam you just downed, remarks that nasty aren't an aberration, they're your real personality peeking through the veneer of normalcy and respectability you've so carefully cultivated for your public persona.