Friday, March 15, 2013

Time To Move On

I've been doing plenty of everything lately and have neglected this favourite form of expression, the no-holds-barred, 2,000 word essay. Prob is, time is money and I have precious little time. Thanks, Ma, for the big brain. Appreciate it. Really.

So, it's time to monetize this bitch a little better than what's being doing on Blogger*, hence, I'm planning to move this hole, excuse me, whole thing to a dedicated domain of its own and then, see how it goes. Sure. I have hopes and dream like any red-blooded American boy that yearns for adventure with a wolf or something, but I want to take it slow, okay? I mean, I really like you and, that's why. Okay?

Therefore, I'll need a little help. I need a name for the new site so that I can register it then Wordpress it up, y'all. I want you. To help me (silly!) choose a new domain name. Now, don't be annoying and register a name then try to sell it to me because I'm just not a-gonna do that, but DO send me your idea in the comment and if I select yours, you WILL get a $10 gift card to Dunkin Donuts. Hey. you don't even have to tip the poor immigrants, you cheap person, you.

"But you never publish the comments," you say. That's right, because I f*cking hate the spammy crap that comes in with the good stuff, but I read each and every one, so I know who's been naughty and who's been very naughty. Heh, heh.

Please. I am begging you. I need your help. I want your help. I desire and require it. Don't let me down, now. Gotta keep that Web Hand strong, yo.

Write it up.

(*Blogger is a superb vehicle for this kind of thing, but because of technical reasons, an independant domain is preferable, especially if I gonna get paid for noodling away tons of hours writing this highly entertaining sh*t f'y'all. Dig? I love Blogger, fo' sho' and why they haven't ported it to a Wordpress-like deployment is beyond me, but I don't have time to research it. Here's an idea - you research it, write a witty column about it and I promise I will feature you on the new site. No free coffee card, though. Sorry. What am I? Made of money? Peace out.)

What Goes Around . . .

A few years ago, I had a brief stint at a giant company that was, to put it mildly, a bad experience. Funny how things work out, though. So, I wrote this, meaning to appended it to the end of that shakily-written story:

"Epiloque, 2013 . . . Ha, ha, ha, ha! OMG! OMFG! Every last one of those people were fired, no notice, out cold. Some of them, I hear, have been out of work since the mass layoff, going on two years. As for me? No worries, mate. After penning that diatribe, I wrote up a wrongful discharge and defamation action, sent their house counsel a courtesy copy and got as follows: an apology, cash money, and unopposed unemployment benefits in exchange for F*CK YOU, you lying pack of criminals. Your country-club hoppoing, golf-addicted in-house didn't even bother to get a quash or even a release, so there's nothing, nothing at all, stopping me from telling this story over and over and over again, to whomever I like, as long as it's true and since your papa says it's true, it's true.

"You're all out of work now! Ah hahahah! Benefits running out soon, yes? House on the market in an immovable economy? Yes? One of your key people tried to stick and stay at my company and what happened? I found out about it, naturally. We used him up and spit him the f*ck out. Gone baby gone. Did any of you fine folks ever bother to find out who I knew in the industry and who knew and respected me? No? Next time, instead of behaving like arrogant, manipulative school girls, size up the "enemy" before you cobble together a downright stupid plan to maximize your overtime while exposing your company to enormous legal risk. You just can't lie and lie and expect to get away with it forever. Or, actually, you can throw up enough stuff on the walls and see what it gets you. You're lucky I was knee-deep in a divorce then. Today, I would personally enjoy having your attorney empty your bank account while I turned down each and every offer to settle and carefully and thoroughly wound my way through each case management conference and motion hearing, knowing that it was an excellent bet that I would prevail. See, I don't settle when it comes to my honour and to my reputation. I will NEVER deal from weakness - ever. Better to figuratively die on one's feet than live on one's knees, to paraphrase. And though it's not in my nature, truly, I promise that I will change your life forever the moment you bully mine. Your boss has been hiring lately - did you know that? Did you know that your boss will never hire back any of your idiots? Do you know why? He told me exactly why. Last week. At the club. It was a chance meeting. I swear."

After looking it over, I thought that it seemed trite and very angry and not particularly clever. I like being clever, especially when it takes the form of stream-of-conciousness writing. I truly get hoots when I read back old essays, sometimes shaking my head and muttering, "Now, that's really f*cking funny."

There's a bird that's taken up residence at Chaos Manor II. He's a cockateil named Ozzie.His crown has tall yellow feathers done up in London Punk fashion, circa 1977. And he has a punk attitude to match. I had a similar hairdo during my brief rise to musical obscurity in the early '80s.

Sure, he was nice enough at the store, but now? I didn't know that birds could hiss. When I put my hand into his cage to change the water, it's full-on Assault On The Humans. The dog is mostly bored, but somehow, secretly, mildly amused. I can take his pint-sized pecks, but the anger . . . it hurts, okay?

Is it because I purchased him for money, like I might a slave? Perhaps he's angry because I tore him from the warmth and bosom familiarity of his brood. But maybe he's just angry. Just because.

So, he can bite me. I've made that vow. The world's been sympathetic to my wiring, so I should return the favour. Chomp away, little bird. Dig in.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Identity Crisis

I've been seeing a lot of ads on TV lately for Vistaprint. They're a printing company that I would have to say revolutionized the marketing and on-line printing of small-quantity business goods. I get about ten e-mails a week from them with incredible offers for printed hats, cups, pens, lawn signs and refrigerator magnets. Since I've been seriously considering re-branding myself, I jumped at the chance to get 250 PREMIUM (that's right, not the crappy ones they apparently usually sell) business cards for the ridiculously low price of ten bucks. Can't buy much for ten dollars these days. Even the liter and a half of cut-rate Zinfandel that counts as the house swill around here tops up at eleven bucks. So, spending a Washington less than that to improve my image with my adoring public is kind of a no-brainer, which is good, since I'm fairly brainless.

One of the best things about Vistaprint is that they make ordering printed stuff very easy. There's an online interface that allows the user to select a design, enter whatever they want to and click to order. In olden times, like ten years ago, to order business cards, one would go to a local printer, choose a layout from a big, dusty book on the counter, fill out a 3 x 5 card with the desired information and a few weeks later, receive a box of cards. Typically, the local printer did NOT print the cards in-house as they're a pain in the ass to print, most people would want raised lettering which uses special thermal ink that bubbles up when heated which required an oven with a conveyor belt which most local printers had no reason to own, as well as a business card slitting machine. What? You though some refugee sat around with a pair of scissors, snipping each one of your precious cards from a giant sheet of them? Or that the cards were printed one at a time on tiny little sheets of paper? Huh. Really.

Anyhow, Vistaprint has thousands of designs available online, obviously created by Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates with massive college debt. With so much choice, it's not easy finding the "look" that best represents me -ME, dammit. Using their search tool, I looked up ME - no luck: I was prompted to upload my own design. Sure, as a person with massive mad design skilz, I could mos def do that, but it kinda defeats the porpoise, though why anyone would want to battle such an intelligent and friendly creature is beyond me.

So, I tried a different search, starting with my best qualities and interests, since I don't have a specific business to promote. I mean, how can I boil down all that I am into a single function? Impossible. So, let's see . . . my best feature is that I'm incredibly sexy. This is what I got:
Mmmm . . . a red head, just like the sumptuous Joan Holloway character from Mad Men. Good start, excellent, in fact. Is that a love potion she's pouring onto her palm? It must be, since there are little hearts floating skyward. GAH! This is a card design for a sex worker! I'm not a sex worker. Wait. No, definitely not. And as it turns out, there's a whole page of similar designs. Two pages if you enter "sex worker" in the search box. Hey, listen, there's jobs that need a-doin' and I ain't no hayter. Yo.

Right - moving on. In what I write, which is often a distillation of my persisitent mental noodling also know as obsessive thought patterns, if you want to get all clinical about it, despair, regret, lament, sadness, mortality with just a hint of death are just a few of thirty-one flavours of depression I neurotically feature. Naturally, I searched "death" and this is what their search engine suggested:
Yikes! Is that . . . yes, it is: it's a person dressed in what seems to be an Army uniform, in a flag-draped casket. The very first thing that popped into my head is how the Westboro Baptist folks might find this card design eerily appropriate. So, how did this design come about? Is that actually a dead serviceman? Is it a model? If it's a model, how does this shoot figure into his portfolio? What would the company name of this business be? Slogan? "Back From Iraq, Stiff Yet Slack" Oh, my. I'm going to heck. Sorry. Not the card for me. Time to get a little religion:
Um, I searched "Buddhist" and this is what I got. Religion, death - yeah, I can see how it all ties together. I could also see that some designer somewhere was in a hurry to get out the door some Friday in the past and decided to PHONE IT THE HELL IN.


Naturally, this whole process is spinning me downward, and I don't make it a habit of adding scotch to my corn flakes, which are, by the way, both excellent inventions on their own but are far too sad-making to be consumed together. So, I search for "drug dealer." Nothing. "Pills" gives me predictable designs with pharmacist-looking characters with mortar and pestle logos and colourful pills - it's a wonderland of apothecary. Drugs - I want drugs! Which gives me:
The actual name of this design is "drug addicted female." Not my words. I could see how this card could also be used in the sex worker category. Clever bifurcation of purpose. But I've spent far too much time trying to find a design that represents all that I am and all that I could be. With thousands of layouts available, is it really possible that I can't find anything, or is it that I'm not looking in the right place, which ALWAYS seems to be the gol-derned case. Finally, after almost twenty-nine hours on the site, with blood clots having already formed in my legs, my shoulders more sore than a five-dollar hooker on payday, I succeed. Herein you will find my new calling card, designed to fully represent me in the best possible light. Enjoy!