Thursday, April 29, 2010

I catch things with my face

Two years ago, I heard news that changed my life for the better. At the dentist, I was informed that I have a dead tooth, one of my front ones.
The nerve's retracted and discolored to a brownish-yellow. I did not know this; I know when it happened. I face planted while ice skating on a second date with a girl named Heather. I got up, and my tooth was on the ice in a pool of blood.
Punchline: I wasn't supposed to be out; my father was out of town.
So I'm strapped down in an ambulance with a whole bunch of neck stabilization stuff, and then dropped off at a dentist. Nobody ever looks at my neck. "Let's make sure you don't move your neck too much until we get you into a dentist's chair." They then charge my father $100 for said "service", in addition to the remainder of the ambulance bill.
The dentist shoved the tooth back in and wired me up, and tells me it's probably going to fall right out in 3 months. I was pretty sure it wouldn't because when I was eight, my brother and I were playing catch and I caught a ball with my mouth. It knocked the same tooth out for the first time. It had been an adult tooth for all of 2 years.
They stitched it up that time and bam, it regenerated like a troll.
So I figured 8 years later that guy probably wanted to jump out and look around for a couple of hours.
Frankly, I'm thrilled the tooth isn't BLACK.

But I wish it had turned gray; I knew teeth could turn gray. I didn't know they could turn a color approximating plaque. That's why the news is so freeing; I've thought I was horrible at brushing my teeth for YEARS.
It really fucks with you. Whenever you approach a task, this seed of doubt is in you saying, "man you don't even have tooth brushing down yet, how are you going to master Python?"
So when I found out that the yellow front tooth was Totally Not My Fault? Freedom! I am good at personal hygiene!
The dentist followed up with something about not flossing and gum disease but I assume it wasn't that important.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My favorite thing in job hunting

My favorite thing to look for in job hunting is the harried HR rep trying to figure out how to spin the downsides of the job. This company has absolutely zero benefits:
[company] recognizes the large contribution made by our employees. [company] rewards our employees by offering competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits package that provides financial security, as well as the opportunity for employees to support and improve their professional and personal lives.

Employees are offered a variety of health insurance choices depending on their needs and location. Our retirement plan, which includes a pre-tax 401(k) is designed to provide financial security in retirement.

We offer professional development through an excellent in-house training program and a tuition reimbursement program. In addition to paid holidays and vacation. We also offer many resources to help you manage your life outside of work, including an Employee Assistance Program and personal development programs.

Three paragraphs of benefits! This must be a great place to work! But let's break it down paragraph by paragraph:
[company] recognizes the large contribution made by our employees. [company] rewards our employees by offering competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits package that provides financial security, as well as the opportunity for employees to support and improve their professional and personal lives.
The one thing that strikes me: no mention of annual increases or anything like that. There's weasel words in here that make it sound like they give raises but they don't say it. Clue 1 you're in trouble: in describing the benefits, they cite their competitive benefits package.
The last sentence is nonsense. "opportunity for employees to support and improve their professional and personal lives." Huh? Why would they mention our personal life at all, do they expect to be involved in it? This is probably something about training, one of the next paragraphs must talk about how much training they offer.

Employees are offered a variety of health insurance choices depending on their needs and location. Our retirement plan, which includes a pre-tax 401(k) is designed to provide financial security in retirement.

Wow, a 401(k)! Oops, nothing about employer-matching. You'd think in this day and age with a ton of companies no longer matching they'd advertise it. Oh, they must be a company that no longer matches. I like the health insurance choices. There's a variety, depending on location!
Their health insurance is the only thing they don't label as competitive. Good sign.

Their final paragraph concludes not with a bang, but a whimper:
We offer professional development through an excellent in-house training program and a tuition reimbursement program. In addition to paid holidays and vacation. We also offer many resources to help you manage your life outside of work, including an Employee Assistance Program and personal development programs.
Ah, here's the training. In-house training and tuition reimbursement. In-house training? Uh-oh. Why were they so specific? I think that's only a good sign if this is a job at a learning center or a market leader in something hard. Unfortunately, this is an IT support position in a company that doesn't have a core competency in IT. In-house training opportunities are probably scarce. (I'm a skeptic here though - I think you should be offered training opportunities in whatever you're hired to do, from outside sources. Nothing frees up myopia like hearing a different way to do things)

There's bright sides though: they offer paid holidays and vacation! Also, here's that threat of interfering with your personal life again - "We also offer many resources to help you manage your life outside of work". I don't even think I'd take that sort of guff from my wife!
The thing that I love most is the next line. What kind of assistance could we offer?
Depressed? Addicted to drugs? Approaching financial ruin? We have an Employee Assistance Program for that!


I like looking at job postings these days because I'm wrapped in the warm blanket of an awesome job a few minutes home. I am not actually seeking other employment.
Also, if you're looking for a job, my condolences. The horseshit you have to put up with these days is disgusting. Best of luck. (don't apply at above position)

Monday, April 12, 2010

taxes, schmaxes

That time of year again. . . taxtime.
Everyone's crying about it on the facebooks. "The democrats are spending us into oblivion!"
NO, YOU JERK. IT IS NOT DEMOCRATS. IT IS ALL OF THEM.
Get it the FUCK right or I'll spit in your coffee.
In fact, the deficit grows the most under Republican presidents!

Tired as hell of Republicans "getting religion" when the dems come into power. The Republicans are now deciding all spending must end.
Except, you know, all the wars we got us involved in almost 8 years ago. Make sure you fund that.

But if you're really tired of taxes and wish they were lower, get in line.
But we're not going to get there by cutting entitlements. There's an easy, meaty way for us to get there - ending corporate welfare. Most of the Fortune 500 doesn't pay US taxes. Sometimes through domestic shelters, other times through offshore shell games, companies hide or deduct their way to zero tax liability to Uncle Sam. Meanwhile, they want 30% of ours.

So next time you piss and moan about either side's retarded spending/debt management policies, remember this: billions of dollars go uncaptured through tricky tax law. The people who write these loopholes are Democrats and Republicans.

The bottom line is this: your 20 grand or whatever you owe, while it hurts you, is nothing compared to what an Exxon or a GE gets away with. Capturing those tax monies should be the real priority to balance the budget. Ours is a pittance.
(and think of how much lower ALL of our taxes would be if GE and Exxon had to pony up their fair share)

At least cry about the right things on April 15th. Thanks.

Friday, April 9, 2010

shaved mah beard off

I hadn't shaved since November. Did last night.
Awkward day at work, but I needed to trim it off for work tomorrow. Can't be a raggedy mess when I'm repping us to outside peoples. Gotta look SHARP.
I may be drunk but I'm totally serious about that: I'd prefer a solid impression while I represent our company.
We're good, and I'm proud of that . . . for reals.
We fucking play magic on lunch breaks. WE'RE SMART NERDS!

Drunk right now.
I am featuring in comedy tomorrow. I find it magical to say "I am featuring."
It's not what you want; one-nighter* where I'm pretty certain there's no emcee.
It's anybody's guess on whether or not the people in this bar KNOW they're getting a comedy show tomorrow night.
Hopefully they do.
When they don't, I like to call it combat comedy. You're running an insurgency at that point; take no prisoners and see if you can't win the hearts and minds of the people. BUT be prepared to blow yourself up for massive casualties and news coverage. You might not have to, but hey, any publicity is good publicity right?

I drove a bunch of people home in my tiny car tonight. I cracked them up the entire time, and they asked why wasn't that in my act.
Christ wept.
If I could be the person I was with them, onstage, I'd never have to do anything but manage my drug intake. Life plans? Taken care of: being funny.

But I'm a pale shadow of that guy because that guy for some reason doesn't give a fuck. The problem is when you're onstage, you do give a fuck. Put a camera on you, or indicate that this gig is more important than previous gigs . . . you're not the Fun Guy.
You're the fight-or-flight ibex running up a cliff-face, chased by a fox. You're not going to beat the fox - the best you can hope for is finding part of the cliff that a fox can't go.
That's me when I think it matters.
The worst and( and most inaccurate ) part is I somehow think performing in front of comedians I like matters. I deserve a beating.

Tonight's set went well. I pulled together a few NPR asides and built an honest to goodness bit. The "I don't know spanish" bombed but I thought it would. It's a true story that is fundamentally funny, I just haven't figured out how to do it in few enough words.

I'm happy with where I am in a sense - I like performing but don't work to do it enough. It's more of a sweet taste than a meal.
It's the cost that hurts; comedy muses desire a pound of flesh.

Comedy aches in me, though. I don't know if I should be doing comedy, but I love doing it. I do it for free, because.
That's the sort of thing you want to get paid for.

I almost hate I'm awesome at computers.
Not really, I have a job and most comics don't! Ha ha! Comedy pay for features hasn't changed significantly with inflation since the late 80s! haha!
I've never had to call a bingo game! ha to the ha!

In other news, I fucking HATE all sorts of grapes, operating on the premise that they're all sour.


* a one nighter in comedy parlance is a non-comedy club gig. These can be awesome, shitty, somewhere in between. It's a crap-shoot where shitty tends to clock in better than awesome, but you get about a hundred bucks for twenty minutes worth of work. As a rule, you earn every penny of it. When you would have done the show for free if it was that good, well, that's why we have such trouble stopping this silly ride.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

well I probably pissed off a neighbor

Driving home, 2 blocks from my house.
I'm approaching the stop sign, and a woman is crossing the street blabbing on her cell phone.
No big deal, she's going to be long gone by the time I get there. NOPE.
She stops (STOPS) in the middle of the street, just standing there slack jawed on the phone.

Because I abide by the rules of society, I honk rather than run her over.
It's a healthy, "hey look, vehicle" honk.
She gives me the finger.
This wasn't finger-worthy. Standing in the middle of a cross-walk is finger worthy.

So I yelled "Fuck you!" and drove past.
Which, is a brilliant comeback.
Just, de facto moronhood in two words. Said in a weird voice, to boot.

Running her over would have been less embarrassing.