Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Life as a (true) Sitcom

(This was originally written as a comment to a post on the blog Speakup)

Why are job interview stories almost always the same yet you can't get enough? It's the stuff sitcoms are made of. Predictable with only one of two possible outcomes, but everyone in the world can relate.

Mine should be no exception...

One day after class in my second-to-last semester, a professor, that I got along with quite well, approached me in the hall and asked me into her office. She held up a piece of paper. "I got a fax this morning from a local design firm, they need an entry level designer part time. Let me know if you're going to call, because you are the only person I've showed this to."

Of course I was going to call! I felt honored that my professor chose me, and this was my shot at my first real job.

Fast forward one week. I pull up to the almost 100-year-old car factory, made of crumbling red brick, that has been converted into office lofts, buzzing with excitement. The building is neat, but is in a really bad part of town. Mental note: lock the doors, and leave anything valuable out of site.

I entered the building and found my way to suite 204. I walked in and expected to find my way over to the receptionist's desk. But all I found was a huge empty room with hardwood floors, 25ft ceilings and windows that went all the way to the ceiling. "We're up here" cried a voice. I turned to my right and climbed the stairs into the loft. I ducked under the precariously place huge black pipe, and shook hands with the man who introduced himself as the owner of the company.

I showed him my school portfolio, and he silently turned the pages, showing no emotion. So man things go through your head at this point. He closed it and said, "Well I like what I see here, when can you start?" I don't even remember what I said, but I'm sure it was along the lines of "immediately."

So my new boss was telling me a little about the company and himself, and suddenly blurts out "Oh by the way... my business partner and I are gay. Is that a problem for you?" Although it wasn't, I didn't even know how to react. If the man had said the converse "by the way I'm straight" its still the kind of thing that totally takes you off guard... especially in a job interview. Next I was told they didn't have a computer for me, but they would be buying one from a designer they had worked with on a freelance basis.

Later that freelancer with the computer was hired. Who also ended up being on meth, yes meth. I don't know how many times his Camaro IROC-Z broke down. Or how many times I was told about how he couldn't get any sleep because he fought beasts all night in his dreams. Or how many times he told me he wished the aliens would just come and take him away.

Like I said... sitcom. After growing and merging with a magazine publisher, there was talk of a studio that wanted to make a reality show out of our office. Whether that was actually true or not I never found out, but I gotta tell you, it would have been a show worth watching.

I ended up working there for two years, and leaving on bad terms with the owner. Although when I left it was way past due, in some ways it was the best job I've ever had. And that's the story of my first interview....

Now almost 5 years later, I work out of my house, and hope to never have another job interview again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bad Art... Worse Beer

The other night, we had some friends over to house. It was a laid back evening of Nintendo Wii, Cranium, and drinking. As you know it can get pricey to supply a get together of 10 people with alcohol of any kind, so we requested everybody bring at least chips or something. You always get a mixed bag, when throwing that request out there, so you can really complain about what you get, especially when it's for free. However I want to know if anyone actually likes Flying Dog beer. We had a 12 pack show up, and at least 6 of them are still in the fridge (the only beer left).

I recently was talking with a friend of mine who visited their brewery in Denver. He said he went just because it was something to do. I also believe him when he claimed that he told the people giving the tour that their beer was horrible. I can't remember if I high-fived him or not, but I should have. Seriously, I don't understand the mystique behind this beer. It tastes horrible, and I absolutely can't stand the labels. Yes I know who Ralph Steadman is, and I really like his work from the Hunter S. Thompson days, but every one of the Flying Dog labels is not only ugly but just annoying.

I mean check out these other two pieces by Ralph Steadman, they rock. I'm kinda glad these weren't wasted on such a substandard beer. Has Steadman simply passed his prime, or has he intentionally given a crappy product to a crappy beer?
Scathing comments to support either side will be appreciated.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Grey Army

Since I now work from home 3 days a week, life is quite different. I get to sleep in til pretty much whenever I want, I get a nice breakfast every morning, and every now and then I catch a little Price is Right (like this morning). Anyway, although I have work it isn't enough to keep me busy all day long. And because I'm not a very structured person, I mix a lot of random other things into my day. Today however was the first time I have been to the grocery store in the middle of the day. Usually I tend to go after work at night, which sucks, because that's what everybody else does too. And that's exactly what I intended to avoid.

I was surprised as soon as I got there, so many cars for 11am. Once inside I realized day shopping at the local Kroger is a completely different experience. I was definitely the youngest person in there. I was swimming in a sea of crests. Everyone there had white hair. There were motorized scooters blazing all over the place. I paused for a moment to reach out and grab a box of delicious blueberry cereal bars off the shelf when my arm was almost torn off by a low-riding battle scarred scooter as it whipped around the corner of the aisle, it's driver wearing an evil grin. Scary stuff really. Most of them don't even look like they know where they're going, adding a George A. Romero element to the experience.

I did finally see someone of my own peer group. He could have been an older version of myself (sporting a beard and infant in the cart). We exchanged nods as if to say "when this crap goes down and these oldies start biting heads I got yer back." It was a good feeling... then I got some frozen pizzas and beer.

Disclaimer: I love old people. My shopping experience today was actually better than usual.