Month: October 2012


The biggest problem with my interview clothes is that I've lost a bunch of weight and now they're all baggy. I didn't really think about this until I put them on right before my last interview -- by which point it was of course too late.

So since then I got a new pair of pants, and dug out some old dress shirts from my grandparents' house.

The pants are fine but today I discovered that one of the shirts is still too baggy, and the other one is sheer enough to see my nipples through. So I guess next I'm going to have to buy some undershirts.

I went back and forth on whether to wear my sport coat. On the one hand, I've never worked for anyone who wore them -- not even company VP's. On the other, they're inline with the salary this place is offering.

Finally, after actually putting the thing on and looking at myself in the mirror, I decided that yeah it was a little over-the-top. Think I made the right call; nobody in the office was even wearing a tie, including the company owners.

And the company owners were interviewing people directly. And between that and just generally being busy, I did spend a good big lot of my time there just sitting around waiting. And I had to wonder what the protocol for that is. Can you whip out your cell phone and just find something to do while you're waiting? I didn't want to chance it, so mostly I looked at the wall and scribbled some notes in my notebook. Most of which formed the outline for this post.

I'm not complaining, though. I think it all worked out pretty well; I like the company and I hope I get this gig. Nice bunch of people, and a good, growing industry.

But I should still buy some undershirts. Just in case I do have more interviews on the horizon.

How's Your Bird?

And speaking of birds:

Uploader mewrth sez:

One of Frank Zappa's early records from Cucamonga, with Ray Collins on vocals. This record is the A-side to 'The Worlds Greatest Sinner' on Donna Records, cut at Studio Z in 1963. Snork r&b at its best!

Such as Seals

Welp, another Halloween, another Rifftrax Live. This year: Birdemic.

It is increasingly clear to me that House on Haunted Hill is far and away the best movie Rifftrax Live has ever done.

I mean, House on Haunted Hill has Vincent Price and a handful of other colorful characters, is competently written and directed, and is unironically fun to watch all by itself.

Birdemic...Birdemic doesn't even have the homemade charm of Manos.

I mean, it is homemade. It's homemade as hell. But it's homemade in an era when any-damn-body can make a homemade movie.

Manos was shot on a shoestring budget with primitive equipment in 1966. Birdemic was shot on a shoestring budget with primitive equipment in 2010. Manos took effort to make; it's surprising the damn thing was finished at all.

Referring to Birdemic as "finished", on the other hand, makes for liberal damn use of the word "finished".

Not only does it feature CG that actually looks substantially worse than if they had just used stock footage or rubber birds (and presumably cost more, too, unless it actually came with the video software they used to make the movie -- which, to be fair, is a distinct possibility), it is the most amateurishly, sloppily edited film I have ever seen, and that's coming from a guy wearing a Crow T. Robot T-shirt who has namedropped three separate Rifftrax Live events so far in this post. I have seen some bad movies, is what I am getting at.

Manos -- well, the entire damn film is dubbed because it was shot without sound. And yet, the inevitable sync issues aside, the audio editing is solid. The audio of Birdemic cuts out, constantly -- just straight-the-fuck-up cuts out. No sound. And that's without getting into the multiple scenes where you can't hear what actors are saying because they're shooting on a windy beach, the multiple times actors clearly flub their lines and they don't reshoot, and the bits where going from one character to another comes with a very long pause in the dialog and a substantial difference in background noise.

Of all the bad movies I've ever seen, this may be the only one where I wasn't struck most by the quality of the acting, the writing, the shooting, or even the effects (and trust me, all of them are pretty terrible), but the editing. It is shoddy, shoddy work. This movie makes Sci-Fi Originals look like...well, at least as good as House on Haunted Hill.

Birdemic 2 is slated for a 2013 release.

Music is the Best

And here, for contrast, are Ossi Duri and Ike Willis 3 years later, performing Packard Goose. Vinadio, Italy, July 2004.


Applying for more jobs today. Hitting up some old contacts, shakin' some trees.

Despite the vexations it actually feels pretty good -- there's a sense of momentum you get, like you're at least moving in the right direction, that doesn't come with a temp job.

Course, if I'm still doing this a month from now I don't think "momentum" is going to be the thing I'm feeling. So, y'know...fingers crossed.


Covered by a group called Ossi Duri, 2001 -- according to uploader ossiduritube, they were only 15 or 16 years old.

The man on lead guitar and vocals is, of course, the great Ike Willis.

Doctor Who: The Ribos Operation

All right, so I'm phoning it in with another Doctor Who review I already wrote. Just because I've got free time doesn't mean I've got ideas for things to write about -- hell, the opposite may even be true.

So here goes. Originally posted on Brontoforumus, 2008-09-03.

The Ribos Operation is a mediocre story saved by interesting characters. It's probably most remarkable as the first appearance of Romana, who isn't one of them. At this point she's just a know-it-all college girl and general ice queen (as made less subtle by her costume). While this is the only serial I've seen with Mary Tamm in the role, I can reasonably assume she and the Doctor warm up to each other over time -- but I can also reasonably assume she never achieves the same chemistry with Baker that Ward had, what with Baker and Ward sleeping together and all.

This is the first part of The Key to Time Series, AKA Collection Quest: The Movie, wherein a generic good-guy overlord tells the Doctor he has to collect a series of MacGuffins before a generic bad-guy overlord can get to them first. The plot from there is simultaneously simple and needlessly convoluted: as the Doctor and Romana seek the first piece of the Key, they find that a royal exile and a pair of small-time thieves want it too. The series shows the pacing problems faced by so many early Who serials in that nothing really happens until it's half-over.

That's saved, as I said, by a good cast of characters: the lovable con-men, the ambitious villain, an alien version of Galileo, an entertainingly over-the-top augurer, and a rubber-suit monster that doesn't get nearly enough screen time.

It ends with what I've so often complained that RTD simply can't seem to do: a short but satisfying goodbye scene.

All in all, it was probably worth the rental but leaves me fairly nonplussed about the whole Key to Time series. I assume I will find the next serial, The Pirate Planet, much more impressive, as it was written by Douglas Adams.

I expect I will get to reposting my Pirate Planet review at some point here; suffice to say it had its moments but I was largely disappointed and I didn't stick around for any of the rest of the season arc. I did watch the Black Guardian Trilogy from the Fifth Doctor Era, and wished I'd stopped after the first serial.

On Mozart

It's interesting -- Zappa talks about Mozart the man (or, more accurately, Mozart the boy) and doesn't say much about him as a composer -- obviously everybody else has that one covered.

The plight of fetishizing dead creators to the detriment of live ones is something I've often thought about -- remember the story a year or two back where people in Tucson freaked the fuck out because the local paper was going to pull Peanuts?

Adventures in Unemployment: Contact Quotas are Dumb

I reapplied for unemployment on Friday afternoon, right after completing my last day of work.

On Sunday I logged in to see if I was in the system yet and if they'd let me start filing claims. Sure enough, I logged in successfully and it let me fill out information for the week -- even though it was last week, when I was still working. (Before I go any farther, let me make it perfectly clear that I reported all my income for last week and will not be receiving any money from unemployment for a week I was still working. All I did was go through the motions to make sure everything was working for next week.)

Everything worked much the same as a year and a half ago when I last did this, except that I was already in the system after two days (rather than having to wait a week like last time) and -- and here's the part this post is really about -- they've added a section where you have to log the contacts you've made over the past week in your job search.

Now, that in and of itself isn't a bad thing. I've been keeping every contact in a spreadsheet anyway. And I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask my to copy-paste that information into a text field and submit it every week -- hell, if I do get audited, that's going to save on paperwork.

The problem is that, thanks to a new federal requirement which I assume was a condition of the latest extension of unemployment benefits, they now require that you contact people at least four days in each week. To prove you're seriously looking for work.

This is one of those things that sounds like a good idea to government bureaucrats but is just fucking stupid out here in real life.

Yes, by all means there should be a standard for determining that someone is seriously looking for work and not just cashing unemployment checks and sitting around playing Xbox (provided he hasn't pawned it yet because he's unemployed). And "looking for work four days a week" is a pretty modest standard for that.

But when you actually make it a requirement? A quota? Now you're giving people a bare minimum. And when you give people a bare minimum, you're going to find that a whole lot of people only meet that bare minimum. Think "pieces of flair" in Office Space.

This sends the message that a person who looks for one job Monday, one job Tuesday, one job Wednesday, and one job Thursday is more serious in his job search than a person who looks for ten jobs Monday, ten jobs Tuesday, and ten jobs Wednesday but then spends Thursday and Friday doing other Responsible Adult Things like paying bills, going to the doctor, applying for warranty repair on his laptop, getting his tires rotated, and studying up for certifications that might help him in his job search.

Obviously this is designed to encourage people to Seriously Look for Work instead of just collecting unemployment while doing nothing. That's a laudable goal. But in practice, people who are out just to collect unemployment while doing nothing aren't going to expend any more effort than before this regulation passed -- in fact, they might actually expend less now that they know they only have to apply for four jobs a week.

Meanwhile, it's an inconvenience for people who are seriously looking for work, because now they actually have to game their way through and make sure they don't just apply for multiple jobs, they do it across four days.

I got a call from the agency this morning, and they scheduled an interview for Friday. Boom -- that's two different days; I was halfway done with my required job search for the week by 10:30 Monday morning.

If I was the kind of guy who was only interested in doing the bare minimum to collect unemployment, instead of actually getting a job, I would call it a day and then look for two more jobs later in the week.

But of course I'm not. I'm going to spit-shine the ol' resume, update my profile on a few different job sites, and go hunting for other positions that are available.

But I'll make sure I don't actually click the "Submit" button on any of them until tomorrow. And then save some for Wednesday, too.

I sure hope CareerBuilder's fixed that damn memory leak in its JavaScript since the last time I had to do this. Because I'd very much like to be able to leave a few of its pages up in a browser window without worrying about my entire system locking up.

Took me weeks, and multiple browsers, to figure out what was happening last year.

Nope, Not Just Me

So the current tally stands at:

  • Nice Clean Shave: Merkur, Blue bird, Bic
  • Cut the Hell Out My Face: Shark, Gillette, Feather
  • Untested: Astra

I'll get back to you on Astra in about a week.

The irritating thing (currently mentally irritating, and soon to be skin irritating) is knowing that I still have all those mostly-full containers of Shark, Gillette, and Feather razors, and I'm not the sort of guy to let them go to waste over a few nicks. But when I run out of this sampler pack, I'm going to have to find a nice cheap box of razors I like. I think Bic is my current favorite and it sure shouldn't be hard to find.