Thursday, July 29, 2004

Headin' North

Yep, that's right. Tomorrow morning I fly to Montreal, home of cheap Canadian money and (hopefully) cheap, cool clothes. I intend to shop like mad on this vacation; I've been jonesing for a pair of leather pants and Philadelphia ain't the place to get 'em.

I found out that the plane in which Ed and I will ride is a double- prop. That's a first for me, and I'm wondering if I need to settle any philosophical questions before I board. Just in case I don't come back, I want my books to go to Dan, my furniture to Sean, and I want everyone to fight over what little money I'll leave behind. Considering the paltry amount that is, I expect the conflict will be as titanic as, say, a red bolster pillow doing battle against a toaster.

Monday, July 19, 2004

If I Were A God...

Believe it or not, this came up during pickup Saturday, and it's stayed on my mind long enough to make it to the blog. Now you must suffer it! The question: If you were a god, of what would you be the god? My answer: near-successes.
I know that sounds odd, but think about it. How many near-successes do you encounter in your daily life? A train just missed, a lottery ticket one digit off a winner, a dropped cup of coffee almost caught...there are too many to list. Each time one of those things happened to someone, he/she would think of me, thus ensuring that My divine name would ne'er be forgotten. That's certainly a better deal than you'd get being, say, the god of space shuttle launches that happen on odd-numbered days.
Also, after watching my brother play Black & White, I've learned that being a deity can be a real hassle. This one wants a good job, that one wants his leprosy healed...there's no end to the demands people place upon the divine. However, as the god of near-successes, no one would appeal for My attention; in fact, they'd beg for My neglect. Think about that: Millions of people offer Me rich sacrifice on a daily basis to do absolutely nothing but ignore them. I ignore lots of people in my life, but as a god I'd get paid for it. People send Me all kinds of cool stuff just so that I'll look the other way when they're interviewing for a job or bidding on a house or what have you. No work and sacrifice? That's a deal I can get behind.
Being the god of near-success would not be all sloth and avarice, however; there'd be a healthy amount of whimsical sadism as well. "Hey Mr. Sleazebag Lawyer, you almost managed to blow that stop sign without incident, but here comes that truck just a wee bit early." Mortals would never know when I would exercise My divine right to bitch-slap them, thus ensuring a steady flow of rich sacrifice. See? Even sadism has its uses.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Profile of an Interviewer

I've been thinking of changing employers, and to that end I registered today with an employment agency. I don't find agencies particularly useful, but this one was free (for job-seekers) so I figured I'd give it a shot. The experience got me thinking about job interviews, and about the different kinds of interviewers I have met. I'll list 'em, and the ways to deal with them.

The Sphinx: This interviewer asks you a question, and then stares at you expressionlessly even after you've finished your answer and the silence spins out. Don't be fooled into filling that silence with more information, because that's just what she wants. By maintaining a stony silence, the Sphinx is hoping you'll volunteer something you shouldn't. Therefore, when you've sufficiently answered her question, simply return her stare and live with the silence, and let her speak first. Trust works.

The Bumbler: This interviewer really doesn't know how to conduct an interview, and he sort of blunders his way along, sometimes asking you questions, sometimes talking of irrelevant things. Beware losing your focus, which is easy to do when the Bumbler has the stage. Since the Bumbler has zero control over the interview, you can use his ineptness to your advantage by politely taking control yourself.

The Chatterbox: Similar to the Bumbler, the Chatterbox isn't the best interviewer. She talks on and on about everything and anything even tangentially related to the job, whether or not you need to hear it. However, since the Chatterbox's loquacity knows no bounds, you can sometimes find out more about the job and the company than she meant to reveal. Ask leading questions and she'll give you ten times the answer. Since more information means you can make a better choice, the Chatterbox is definitely a boon to the skilled interviewee.

The Adversary: Since this is the most dangerous interviewer of all, I'll spend more time on this one. The Adversary regards you as a potential enemy, and he will do everything in his power to trip you up or twist your words into something negative. If you say you are skilled at working independently, he'll ask if that means you have a problem with authority. If you point out your extensive experience, he'll wonder if that means you're too set in your ways and open to new ideas and methods. In short, the Adversary is out to get you.

There are ways to deal with the Adversary, however, and none of them involve telling him to kiss your ass. Try these:

1) Your words belong to you. You know what you said and what you meant, and if he tries to twist either one, politely and firmly correct him. If he persists, keep politely correcting him, as many times as it takes.

2) Don't get riled up. The Adversary wants to rattle you into making a mistake, but you can cheat his hope by staying cool and collected. Take a deep breath between his question and your answer, and speak slowly and carefully. It's hard to argue with someone who's upbeat and confident, and if you are both of those it will be hard for the Adversary to provoke you.

3) Shut your pie-hole. The Adversary is ready to pounce upon any misstep, so if you keep your answers short and your comments spare, he'll have less room to prowl. Once you answer a question, shut your mouth, and if he wants to know more, he'll ask.

Hopefully, this has been instructive. If not, too bad!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Out and NOT proud

As you may have heard, there are persistent rumors that the Washington Blade intends to out gay Congressmen (and their gay staffers) who support the Federal Marriage Amendment. If it's true, I say, "Faster, pussycat...kill! Kill!"

I normally disdain involuntary outing, since it can devastate our own community, but this situation is a bit different. We're not talking about gays who vote for Bush, or who are members of the Log Cabin Republicans. We are talking about gay people in positions of power who by day strike a direct blow for the forces of bigotry, and by night expect to play in the gay scene with anonymity. Sorry, but people like that have forfeited the courtesy the community normally affords to individuals of coming out at their own time. Therefore, those gay publishers who choose to show these people for the hypocrites they are fall solidly in the "justified" column in my scorebook. Those gay politicians choose to stand behind the FMA are the enemies of the gay community, and they should be treated accordingly. I have zero sympathy for them. None.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Dear Universe,

I am dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, and I thought I'd write you a letter pointing out some improvements you may not have considered.

- Broccoli is my favorite vegetable, yet it seems designed to get in between my teeth. Please correct that, and not by making my teeth fall out.

- Littering bugs me. I recommend altering the laws of physics so that whatever refuse (of any kind) a person deposits anywhere but in the proper receptacle will immediately appear in that person's bed.

- I know that spiders protect us from an overrun of insects, but I think it's possible to design an animal that can serve the same purpose without being eight-legged, hairy, and with more eyes than any creature has a right to.

- Although I really appreciate your chocolate, it would be much better if it contained no calories. Really.

- Cinema is cool. Way to go on that one.

- Swimming in the ocean would be much more appealing if seawater tasted more like milk and less like something unspeakably horrible.

- Straight people are nice, they are, and we need them for species propagation, but do they have to outnumber us so dramatically? A 50-50 split be more equitable, and would take care of the overpopulation problem quite handily.

- Milkshakes are also cool. Yay universe!

I know you're busy, so I'll leave it at that. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Apropos of Nothing

While listening to the weather forecast on the radio, I heard, "Friday: partly cloudy. Saturday: partly sunny." What's the difference? Did the meteorologist making the forecast just feel more optimistic about Saturday?