Monday, April 25, 2005

Hey Movie Night folks!

I made the first post on the Movie Night blog in more than a year, so go read it!

Monday, April 18, 2005


I opened my thesaurus today to the page on which "bumpkin" resides, and I see the synonym listed was "clodhopper." I find this enormously amusing.

More miscellany

I just found out that Dhaka, the capital of Bangledesh, is home to nearly 3.5 million people. Who knew there were that many people in the whole nation, much less the capital?

I just turned down a third interview for a job in Conshohocken. Although the job sounded challenging (in a good way), I just couldn't deal with that commute on a daily basis. Also, I currenly work in Nowhereville; I certainly wasn't looking forward to driving 50 minutes to work in a nowhereville that's more traffic-choked and even further away. I phoned up the HR rep and respectfully withdrew my application, and that usually gives me a charge but this time it didn't. Sigh.

I have another interview today, in a place even more remote than Conshohocken. Why did I bother accepting the interview? I'm asking myself the same thing. Kill me.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Moral but not legal

That's the title of my letter to the Inquirer editor, which you can read here.

This kind of stuff really troubles me. The state can't begin providing legal protection to this moral viewpoint but not that one, but of course you can't tell that to the LaHayes of the world.

Film Festival Redeemed!

I saw my fifth and final film last night, "The Edukators", and in it the film festival has won its way back into my heart. This German film doesn't have the most original storyline, perhaps, but it tells the story very well. The actors are very good, very real, and very likable, and even the "bad guy" leaves you feeling ambivalent. (One of the actors is cute as a button, too, which never hurts.) The soundtrack rocked, too, except for Jeff Buckley's cover of "Alleluia." I've got nothing against Jeff Buckley, but I've heard that damned song covered at least three times in the last five years, and given that I never liked it in the first place, by now I am really tired of it.

I think this movie will appear at the Ritz at some point, or at least on DVD, so watch out for it. Not in a it's-coming-to-get-you sort of way. In a good way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A blogger's miscellany

Yesterday in work I was passing through the elevator lobby when a coworker said, "Hey, you've got a bit of toilet paper on your shoe." I checked and discovered it was neither toilet paper nor on my shoe; it was a fabric softener sheet poking out of one leg of my jeans. (It still smelled dryer-fresh, too.) Should I be more or less embarrassed than if it had been toilet paper?

I'm angry that the "Pretty in Pink" sequel was merely a hoax.

A woman driving a newer Corolla than mine nearly forced me off the road today. Not out of malice, mind you; she just wasn't paying attention to her driving and she changed lanes without looking. I was in that lane, and my repeated horn-honking had no effect on her behavior. I'd been following her for about a mile, and inattention was pretty characterstic of her driving style. Say what you will about my driving, but when operating a motor vehicle I always have my mind on the road. Unlike the guy I saw this morning driving whilst reading a newspaper. Sigh.

I had another interview this week, and a call about yet another. That will make six so far in 2005, but I'm starting to get Interview Overexposure Disorder (IOD). Some of the symptoms of IOD are extreme indifference to typos on a job application, and growing impatience with the question, "What would you say is your greatest weakness?" I've begun to toy with answering in a number of unorthodox ways.

- "Um, I'm pretty lackadaisical about getting in on time."
- "I tend to slack off when I'm not being watched."
- "Internet porn has an unholy grip on me."
- "Rage. Uncontrollable, unreasoning rage."

I can't really say any of these things, and none of them are true anyway. (Except for the rage.)

To attend this interview I was in an office building yesterday for the second time, and for the second time the security guard was absent from the station that featured a sign admonishing visitors to sign in. I guess building management is primarily focusing on protecting its tenants from threats like Mothra or Ghidra instead of something outrageous like, say, a person with a gun. How would Mothra sign in? Would Ghidra sign in three times? How would they fit into the lobby, much less the elevator?

Speculating about how security would react to one or more of Godzilla's nemeses is another sympton of IOD.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Film Festival Blues

Ugh...this film festival hasn't worked out very well for me. I've seen four films (Cellar, Quiet as a Mouse, Right Now, and Frozen), and none of them impressed me. Actually, I should tell you I tried to see "Frozen", but the festival switched the venue at the last minute and only told people who were there 15 minutes early. I arrived only 5 minutes early, so I got stuck with a different movie.

You're saying, "Couldn't you tell from the title or content that this was the wrong movie?" I was putting my book away and I missed the title, and to be honest I didn't realize the content was, uh, different, until about ten minutes into the film. When I pick movies I tend to forget what they're about in the interval between reading about them in the catalog and going to see them. Anyway, this was a French film (obviously I don't know the title) about sexual perversion. Now, you'd think that a French film about sexual perversion could not possibly be boring, right? Wrong! It was ninety minutes that seemed like three hours, and I can't tell you how many people left the film early. The movie was dreadful, just dreadful, easily the worst film I have ever seen at the festival.

Being the ornery sucker I am, I phoned the festival office yesterday and asked what the hell happened. They admitted they didn't advertise the change in venue the way they should have, and I was like, "You think?" Those of you who know me know that when I feel I've been burned on a service for which I have paid, I go for the gold. I've gotten free shipping from UPS, free service from Comcast, free charges from FirstUSA, free food from Houlihans (for what it's worth), and once got a $75 credit from Verizon. I do this by taking the issue in my teeth, digging in my heels, and shaking it, dog-like, until my victim screams for mercy. Not literally, of course; in real life this translates to me making phone call after phone call until the organization finally pays me off to get me out of their hair. I contemplated giving the festival the old pit-bull treatment and demanding a refund for the "Frozen" ticket plus another free ticket for my time. I am usually pleased with the festival, however, so I held off.

If I may digress (and it's my blog, so I may), I once got a $100 credit from FirstUSA in a way I found pretty amusing. I wasted the requisite amount of time with the customer service folks, whose job it is not to solve your problem but to put you off, and then I got serious. I found an old marketing letter I'd gotten from FirstUSA, took note of the name of the veep who'd signed it, then got dialing the corporate office. I got a recording that asked me to enter the name of the person I was trying to reach, and of course Veep's didn't register. I put in "Smith", and sure enough I got poor Patty on the phone. Here's the conversation:

Patty: "Accounting, Patty speaking. Can I help you?"
Me: "Oh...hello. (Feigning confusion). My name is [insert name] with MP Industries, and I had a conference call with [veep name] but I think your receptionist misconnected me."
Patty: (Sounding eager to please) "I'm sorry...please hold on and I'll connect you."
Me: "Thank you Patty. May I have the direct dial in case the transfer doesn't go through?"
Patty: "Certainly, sir."

Well, let me tell you that Veep was pretty surprised to hear from me. He was very polite and accommodating, but of course he asked me how on earth I'd gotten through the phone net. I just smiled and said that I thought it was more important to focus on solving the problem instead of talking about the past, and he dropped it.

The lesson of this post is: Lying is good.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The New Interview

I had another job interview yesterday. Yes, another. I've had five since January, and not a job offer among 'em. I know you could say that so many potential employers wanting to meet me is a good thing, and it is, but you could also say that someone who's tried to do something five times and failed should try something else. Would you go to a doctor who failed his certification exams five times? I'm not easily intimidated (some might say "not ever intimidated"), so I persevere.

The job sounded good, although it's in this almighty terrible office park in Conshohocken. If you haven't been to Conshohocken, picture all the traffic of Center City without interesting shops and restaurants and you've got it. The interviewer was clearly impressed with me and said so, but, still jaded from my last experience, I just thought, "Uh-huh." What bothered me most was the way they were trying to hurry along the process, and at my expense. Apparently, their client is pushing for more work, which necessitates a fast hire. In response, here's what I wanted to say:

"I appreciate the fact that you're under pressure to fill this position, but I refuse to be rushed in making any kind of life decision of this magnitude. I already have a job, and the pressure your client is placing on you doesn't mean that much to me. In short, this is your problem, not mine."

What I did say:

"It might be possible to speed up the timetable, depending on how the rest of the process develops."

Isn't that statement just dreadful? It includes everything but says nothing, which, come to think of it, describes most of what you have to say in interviews anyway. Sort of like the crap that comes out of the White House these days, except the bullshit I spewed at yesterday's interview didn't get anyone killed. As far as I know.