Thursday, January 31, 2008


I was walking home today and noticed some kind of film production on Nostrand about a block from Fulton. Fully aware that the writers' strike is still going on, I made a rash decision-- now was my chance to break into the industry. Here was what looked to be a multimillion dollar production-- I mean there was a million in honeywagons alone! They had actors, makeup people, lights, bullhorns, pyrotechnics, line-producers, assistant-directors, bagels, cream cheese, script-girls... but obviously no scripts! This was my big opportunity.

As I approached the picket line, manned by angry writers (you could tell they were writers because... well, you can just tell), I held my laptop high over my head as if I was forging a stream or something, trying to keep it dry. Really, it was just so the producers (more obvious than the writers, as they were a large group of well-dressed white people doing nothing) would see that I indeed had a laptop and was ready to start cranking out scenarios. Pretty cheesy, I know, but I have not had a single call back for all the crap office jobs I've been applying to-- so right-- I'm desperate.

As I parted the line of unshaven, poorly dressed writers and began signing contracts the producers and lawyers placed in front of me, I made the mistake of looking back at the poor bastards as they pathetically hurled objects at me. Not rocks, not rotten fruit, but ineffective things like plastic water bottles and latte cups. An Altoids tin nailed me on the shoulder, but that was the worst of it. The thing was, then, I looked at the faces of those writers-- and they weren't just anonymous stepping stones in the river to a new career-- they were human beings, with feelings, and souls, and some of them kind of famous. I recognized Ethan Coen and Shane Black. Was that Charlie Kaufman? No, just Ethan Coen again. And there was Nora Ephron, I think, and Hampton Fancher. David Mamet wasn't there, but what would he say? And was that Joe Eszterhas? No, just a guy who looked like Joe Eszterhas. And another guy who looked just like Joe Eszterhas. A whole line of guys who looked like Joe Eszterhas, all yelling at me, pleading with me to reconsider.

I woke up then, my bedbug bites throbbing, a cat lying on my face, his butthole directly over my nose. Thank god it was just a dream!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


WHILE being aware of craigslist, I've pretty much avoided it, until now, as it seems to be one of the places one now goes to look for jobs. Maybe just the current version of the classifieds, where every idiot out there looks, one thing strikes me as being different: there are more amusing and insane help wanted ads than I've ever remembered seeing before. Indeed, it's tempting to just let yourself be entertained while you should be sending out resumes and cover letters in an organized and sane manner.

Here is part of one I just read, the requirements for working at some kind of hedge fund fueled new media company: "must be able to work in a rock'n'roll environment, from full vol deathmetal to Norah Jones. Must be able to work with your dominant arm ripped off and shoved half-way up your arse while set on fire with gasoline, if necessary. Ideal candidate eats ibuprofen for breakfast and adrenaline for lunch. Long hours, sometimes several weeks at a time. This is an unpaid internship, but you will meet movers and shakers in both cutting edge entertainment and high-flying financial circles. You will learn what it's like to live on the edge and you'll make valuable contacts. Position also includes mundane tasks such as office clean up, doing the principal's laundry, and shopping for his girlfriends."

I'm wondering if my cover letters are too boring. With all the people who must answer these ads via email, I'm wondering if I should do something to make my reply stand out. Maybe I should write something totally insane. I could try it and see what happens.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One More Cup of Coffee

In the best of my estimation, the last time I looked for a job was 1996 or 1997-- at that time I was doing temp work, and one of my temp jobs turned permanent-- and I worked in this pleasant library of a law firm for three years. Following that I moved to Milwaukee and worked for 0tv and Bluemark Productions for nearly eight years. At any rate, it's been over ten years since I've looked for a job.

I pretty much feel like a person who has followed a long career with a brief retirement, and deciding to get back into the job market has found that it resembles nothing he remembers. After all, the last time I looked for a job it was by using the newspaper classifieds and the yellow pages. Only computer geeks used email, and no one had heard of Google, much less Craig's List. I am now in an ever more competitive job market with people who were TEN YEARS OLD the last time I was looking. They are full of energy and self-confidence, have grown up with computers, know more about popular culture than I care to, and a lot of them are in the position of being able to work for free, as interns. I don't FEEL old, not at all, but I'm sure I'm perceived as old by much of my prospective employers. Maybe I can impress some young boss with how I saw pre-Henry Rollins Black Flag and countless other examples of having lived in their pre-history, but those bits of esoteric folklore are interesting to a very limited group of people and probably won't get me very far.

I can think about this a million different ways, but it comes down to me needing money, and needing money soon. Some things never change-- while at the same time are completely different. It's a Tuesday morning in the job hunting world, so what am I going to do today? First, anyway, I'm going to have a second cup of coffee.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Must Possess A Positive Attitude

Instead of being depressed about emerging from eight years of retirement and being thrust into the ever more harsh and unforgiving job market with less chance than ever for success or fulfillment, much less happiness, and the prospect of now having to expend all of my creative time an energy to find a low-paying, unhealthily stressful, soul-destroying crap JOB, I decided I could at least TRY to embrace the entire process and whole experience as a necessary part of life, like, say, diarrhea, pain, and death, and celebrate it to the best of my ability.

I guess one nice thing about the world is that it keeps becoming new, whether you like it or not. It used to be a new world every time there was some upheaval like The Industrial Revolution, but things sped up to the point where there would be a new world with every new generation. Today, however, things have accelerated to the point that there is a new world every 14 seconds. Obviously that is an estimate, and quite variable, but the point is, things are now changing must faster than human beings can possibly keep up with. Yet we are all still human beings, and until that changes, we all, at least, have something in common.