Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday is Just Like Any Other Day Lately

Life on the dole is a curious existence. On the one hand, you desperately search for gainful employment, while on the other, you have time to do things you didn't have time for when you were driving one hour one-way to sit in a generic office building in a cube, pumping out copy for taskmasters more suited to pushing a broom in a warehouse than making strategic marketing decisions. (And even then, I'm not sure I would trust them to sweep correctly.) Here's some of what I've been up to.

Presented a series of logos to a Jacksonville-based company, which is funny, because I'm not a designer. They actually loved one and are already using it on their in-development, internal site. I didn't charge them, since they're friends. And yes, I impressed them with the much-maligned (and deservedly so) faded reflection feature. 

Went on a job interview down in Tampa. Met with the lead person, who said, "My team would like to sit with you and discuss some things." In walked 11 people, who proceeded to tell me about the company and pepper me with questions such as, "What superpower do you wish you had?" "What animal would you be?" and "Pirate or Ninja?" (I swear.)

Took delivery of a 50" Sanyo Plasma. (Long story, but it was a prize.) This thing is imposing. Our "old" TV is now in the bedroom, a 42" Sony Bravia. I am now Winston Smith from 1984, trying to escape the giant visages screaming at me about healthcare reform from every room.

Presented a very cool idea to my favorite grocery chain. It was received well and is now being passed up the ladder, where it will likely meet its death in committee. Currently it remains a secret, but if and when they adopt it, I will be its loudest and most constant promoter, to the point that you will say, "I wish he'd shut the hell up about that stupid f-ing grocery chain." I made the pitch in Powerpoint - and yes - I am ashamed of that.

Got an up-close, inside look into how homeowner's insurance works. Basically, you make a claim, based on the recommendation of a professional whose job it is to determine these things, and then you watch as the insurance company spends thousands of dollars to fight your claim. I understand the need on their part to guard against fraudulent claims, but when you approach a long-standing policy holder as someone trying to get one over on you, then you pretty much suck in the customer service area. Are you in good hands? Now there's a feel-good slogan that doesn't mean a damn thing. Fuck you, All-State.

Went to a home-brew party at the neighbors'. They're Americanized Brits, the husband being some sort of mad-scientist for a defense contractor. I think he makes lasers that shoot out of cats' eyes. He also makes a great beer, or three. I came up with about six names for his concoctions with accompanying label designs, which again is funny, because I'm not a designer. But to a physicist like my neighbor, if you're "in advertising," then you can do that thing with The Photoshop, right? And when a physicist tackles a hobby like home-brewing, the results are very impressive. I am pushing him to "Take it to the Next Level!"

Added actual ads to this site. Am I a sell out? Yes, but it doesn't pay off until you have actual traffic. 150 visitors a day is not going to fetch me any serious coin. Also added a "featured video" in the sidebar, which will rotate with stuff from my YouTube account when I get around to it.

I have been living like a European, riding my bike each day to the market and loading up an old child carrier / trailer I found on Craigslist with the day's groceries and the evening's dinner. So far, no stalks of celery or baguettes sticking up out of the bags in that grocery cliché seen in the movies. I'm even using those damned reusable canvas grocery bags. I justify this disgusting transformation in me as "exercise with a purpose." We need groceries and I need exercise. Ya know, two birds. I'm sure people think I'm being "green," when actually I'm just trying to get in shape for the Apocalypse.

It is estimated that as many as 75% of American homes have within them a guitar. Granted, that guitar may be stringless and in the attic, but it is still there. It is also estimated that as many as 80% of all American males have attempted at one time to learn to play the guitar*. I knew how not long ago, but life has a tendency to get in the way of such luxuries. Dusted off the dobro and greased the strings, trying to remember where to put my fingers to make it sing like it used to.

* Both estimates based on pure fantasy with no data to prove them.

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