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A how to guide on properly presenting yourself in a job interview where editing and writing headers is also part of the job, and how to prove you are very grammatical and never stray from the topic, oh look the snow is so lovely outside what was i saying?

January 13, 2012

This year I’m getting a well-paying job, even if it starts at McDonalds, and I’m writing a book. I don’t care if motherfuckers don’t read anymore. I mean maybe you do. You’re reading this. I mean words on paper. That shit’s addictive. I read words on all types of paper. I even went and got a degree on reading words on paper. It’s called a MA in Lit. I liked it so much I went and learned how to edit. Now I’m going to go apply to McDonald’s.

You killed the written language and now you want news for free! Now all I got is a blog and all the words are free. Someone told me I was incompetent once. It was because I wasn’t reading. I excel at that. Somehow that doesn’t translate into work.

All this circles back to simply getting into the habit of writing. Meeting people who write is impossible if you aren’t being published. I mean really, anyone can string a sentence together. I listen to children tell stories about their ice cream cones.

I had a thought. I forgot it, but a buddy, who is a giant of marketers in Canadian book publishing, reads my stuff once in a while. I write it for giggles, half-finished pieces. Here’s the advice he gave to me. Get published, make friends with other writers, and get them to promote your work.

That’s all.

As this is a learning space for me, you might find it entertaining, I will chronicle this simple advice. I’ve begun writing a short piece of fiction for the Star writing contest. It has trees, snow, and a blizzard. It has isolation, Kitche Manitou, and it takes place in Cochrane. I don’t want to reveal more because it took a lot of thought to come up with this idea. I believe it’s unbelievably new.

I began writing a sci-fi piece, because after some research on short fiction submission I found that people are still reading and buying sci-fi. That’s actually pretty cool. I was obsessed with horror and sci-fi growing up. I had all those Books of Blood. Captain Nemo was a hero to me.

Someone asked me, don’t you need to know science to write science fiction? I don’t know. But it’s called fiction. I’m not gonna tell people how to break down atoms and make their own microwave. That’s how it works right, mini nuclear explosions in your kitchen?

I’m actually writing a sci-fi piece. It’s coloured by my traumatic life experience and some Goines, Iceberg Slim, Ed Lacy type of stuff.

When the aliens find our charred remains all that will be left are our computers full of useless blogs, porn, and baking recipes; also, probably a lot of pictures of cute animals, and more porn. They might say SDRAWASDFAFASTTUYIYUIJYK which means good riddance, the universe sure didn’t need them.

I’ve read three books of short fiction beginning this journey to writing. Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, The Umbrella Man, and Hot Water Music. This is no book review but Umbrella Man is definitely worth a read. Better Living was good. It suffered from all the praise heaped on it. I don’t know what I was expecting from it; I liked it once I actually got my hands on it though. Hot Water Music, seemed to resonate most with me.

That’s my problem with book reviews. I’m not impartial. I like what resonates most with me. Any book review I write will be that. Pawn Stars offered a succinct review of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. “Sounds like hippie shit to me.”

See, that’s what happens when you stop reading.

There you have it. I was all crunched up with anxiety because of an interview and editorial test for a job this afternoon. I aced it. Here’s how, and you don’t have to send me money through Pay Pal. I’ll let you in on this little secret:

Hyperbole

  1. I’m the best at this shit
  2. If you don’t hire me your dumb
  3. I got a PhD in universal knowledge.

I read this blog. It’s so funny I kinda peed. Honestly, this girl needs a man in her life and she’s got me rock, like piratinera guianensis.

I like this one too http://www.matadorofbananatown.com/

I took my friend’s advice and sent an email to J. Sawyer for some words of wisdom. Then I read his blog that asks wannabe writers not to do any of that. So I wrote an apology and said I have aspergers.

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How to have a happier new year or try not to repeat a bad one

January 3, 2012

Holy Cow! We’ve survived the new year without the sun careening into us or a zombie apocalypse. I’d say that makes this the best new year’s ever.

                                              Whales

So, you’ve got new year’s resolutions, huh? Well throw them out because the only way to get things done is to do them. You’ll probably throw them out anyways after a week at the gym. I appreciate the effort but damn, every lane at my gym is full of slow ass people.

Last year, I jumped into a shark tank and had fun. That was one of my resolutions, to write fiction. You should try it, too. Broken Pencil hosted my story in their Death Match. You can check it out here.

There’s a call for submissions until January 8.

Most resolutions come with some kind of beat down. I think writers enjoy a certain amount of punishment. James Baldwin never seemed very happy, and Hart Crane jumped into the ocean. He’s with the whales now.

Ah whales. I bet they don’t care about new years. They just hope we don’t eat them and dump oil all over their homes.

Lots of resolutions this year probably start with getting a job. Luckily Google has 118 million sites to help you with that. It’s really simple.

1. Look for a job

2. Apply for that job

3. Repeat ad nauseum

Writing about the best way to search for jobs is very popular and gurantees hits. It may soon overtake pornography as the most searched item. I don’t know what that says about the job seeking public. Maybe many have turned to porn.

Happy new year!

I’m Only 11% Happier!

November 9, 2011

As a permanent temporary worker, I’ll often salvage my sanity by looking up unemployment stats and reading about a hopeless and jobless future. Pretty morose, huh? I actually have some way more fun hobbies, but I couldn’t think of a better exordium to introduce the Canadian Index of Well-Being.

Here’s a picture of Happy Stephen Harper.

There’s a competing hyperbolic rhetoric in Canada that’s being played out in Occupy movements across the country.

While one side claims there are no dream jobs, an education does not ensure you a career, you will not be well paid when you enter the workforce, your work-life balance will be all work, you will struggle to pay your rent, raise a family, and afford healthy meals. And I’ve heard politicians do not care about your interests or the environment.

Another side is saying the opposite. The older generation took any job they could get. They knew what kind of world they were going into. They worked hard long hours to get where they are. They didn’t whine and expect the world to give them things. They worked for it, and now they have to work past retirement to support those younger people who refuse to work.

That kind of rhetoric does not change the situation in Ontario, where the unemployment statistics from Stats Can in August read:

17.2 per cent: 15- to 24-year-olds
7.0 per cent: 24- to 44-year-olds
7.3 per cent: Overall population

The Canadian Index of Well-being has just been released and indicates that while the GDP has steadily increased, well-being has not. The report only goes back to 1994 and is thus an indicator of Canadian progression since then.

Money doesn’t equal happiness? No, and it shouldn’t. Other factors certainly come into play and are also reasons why Canada is great.

The index looks at eight central domains, Community Vitality, Democratic Engagement, Education, Environment, Healthy Populations, Leisure and Culture, Living Standards, and Time Use, to assess a score to Canadian well-being.

While you should certainly check it out and give it a quick read, it reports on something remarkable. While Living Standards, Community Vitality, Democratic Engagement, Education, and Healthy Populations have improved. Yet, Environment, Time Use, and Leisure and Culture have not improved.

Canadians are certainly enjoying some degree of wealth, safety, and health, but they certainly are working harder, longer and enjoying life less.

Importantly, the CIW shows that values change. They should change, and society would be stagnant without change. The values that seem to be of importance indicate that greater wealth does not improves happiness.

GDP is certainly no indicator of individual wealth.

Unrelated to the CIW, is a report put out this month by Dr. Paul Kershaw. He writes, “the new reality for parents with preschool kids is a decline in the standard of living.  Compared to the previous generation, young families have less time together, less household income after housing, and insufficient services to balance work and young kids.”

Perhaps there are concerns that are real. The Occupy Bay Street does unveil some real concerns. Young people are working harder and longer. They will take any job they can get, and there is a general feeling of dissatisfaction.

The obvious reason why unemployment is so high is change. The market has changed drastically. The younger generations are facing the challenge of reinventing themselves, finding new goals, and ignoring established ways of doing things. The established way of doing things is not making life any better. It may be much easier, but it isn’t make things better.

Rob Ford and What’s All That Noise?

July 20, 2011

I’m a truck driver living in the core of the city, and on my long drives I dial in to a number of stations. Admittedly, CBC and AM 1010 make up the most of my morning listening.

Rob Ford and the changes in Toronto are making big waves, but I don’t know what’s really going on. If anything, media reports make it sound like a more divisive Toronto is emerging. Bike lanes are being taken away, driver’s are bitter on the AM talk stations, and the KPMG report is being touted as pointing out the gravy or pointing the way to the demise of the city.

David Hume wrote, of Mayor Rob Ford’s agenda:

His goal is less to make the city better than to make it smaller, to diminish the role it plays in our lives, whether at the park, the library, riding the subway or putting out the garbage.

How can anyone really know what’s going on when media has been so drastically polarized. Since, I live in downtown it doesn’t matter which way I vote, but that’s a different topic altogether. What I want to know is what matters to me? What happens to the services I care about? What will happen in the future, mostly to those services (although I’d love to have a crystal ball)? How will we care for ourselves and each other?

That last part sure does sound like some commie-pinko-socialist-leftist-small-mouth-piece-of-rhetoric, but I believe many people do care about services that can provide support to the most vulnerable and needy.

Though Jerry Agar laid out his three simple steps to not being poor and rationalized cutting childcare all at once by saying:

    1. stay in school
    2. don’t be on alcohol or drugs
    3. and don’t have kids until you’re ready to raise them.

Valid points, and so are the ten commandments. So simple that no civilization has been able to abide by them. People make mistakes and when they do we must work together to help them. That’s also simple.

Witty (I use the term loosely) phrases like “gravy train,” and aphorisms like “Toronto has a spending problem, not a revenue problem” don’t amount too much or getting things done.

Last Tuesday KPMG, the consulting firm hired by the city to examine more than 100 city services, released a report examining Toronto’s core services in hope to find a solution to the $774-million budget deficit next year.

The report outlined how The City of Toronto could save $20 million a year by 2013 if it acted on consultants’ suggestions to consolidate, merge and outsource the 311 discretionary administrative functions.

It found that 94 percent of the programs and services under government management are mandatory or essential. That means 6 percent of the programs are discretionary which include 311 development and organizational effectiveness services.

These services would be phone call centres (e.g. that answer questions about garbage delivery), outsourcing cleaning and security at city buildings, outsourcing payroll, computer stuff, fleet servicing, pay roll, the handling of pension plans, and payroll.

You can check this story here Core Services Review Part 6 and here Merging, outsourcing internal functions could save city $20 million, report says

What gets a lot of media hype and voter awareness are comments from councillors like Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti who said Tuesday, Toronto residents could be faced with a 20 per cent tax hike if the government fails to cut and slash properly.

Then, recently, Councillor Mammoliti said Toronto should look at stopping the funding to immigration resettlement. Yet, these acts, from a Ford supporter, sound like a lot of distraction. It sounds as if he’s saying “I’ll be over here making all this noise and making people afraid of Dyke marches and immigrants, and hey Ford go over there and slash while they’re not looking.”

Anyways, I’ve laid out a little about it. I’ll read the KPMG report because I have it now, and it’s so hot what else is there? The spat between Councillor Mammoliti and Councillor Janet Davis is pretty funny.

I hear murmurs of childcare, old age homes, and libraries being cut or scrapped or whatever. I’m going to wade through the filth of media and see what’s real.

No wonder we can’t get any real information. The councillors are calling each other names. I’m going to try that at my next board meeting and see how that goes. “Hey Bob that idea is bullshit, and you stole it from me anyways.”

Also, Jerry Agar needs to have David Hume on his show.

I didn’t edit this yet, please send disgruntled messages to me.

 

 

Fear, Loathing, and Unemployment

June 28, 2011

You miss one hudred percent of the shots you don’t take. So don’t take any. Or aim carefully. Or shoot like mad hell and hope for the best.

The cigarette smoke idled in front of my computer screen. I took another sip of hot chamomile and tried to ignore the 3:30 A.M. at the corner of the screen, hoping something would work. Insomnia rattled my brain all the night. The spectres of anxiety could be eased by a few beer, but a few more beer would be a few too many. Then I’d just be an unemployed drunk.

The bats that hounded me were the fear of being unemployed past another month, the loathing of maybe having to resort to welfare with a university education, and the stigma of already being unemployed for a few months and working in unrelated fields (making me an H.R. nightmare).

I take some solace in that at least I’ll do anyhing for a job. Mainstream media propagates the myth that anyone my age is self-entitled, lives at home, and is unwilling to put in the work. I must be some kind of superhuman. Lately it’s been construction labour jobs. Yet, I think it’s that attitude that’s hindered my progress. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

You can’t wait for the perfect job.

The last job interview was something like, “Wow, you have so much varied experience.”

There’s only one thing I’ve been consistent with, and that’s writing.

“This job only pays X. How do you plan on getting by?” I was asked in another interview. That really was a question.

I just put a 10 foot by 10 foot cedar deck on the eleventh-floor balcony of a condo downtown. We walked the two-hundred pound sections up 4 flights of stairs and then dropped them ten feet to the deck below. Whatever pays the way. Like Ralph Ellison said, “You can’t live by your wits.”

So, what do you do when you can’t sleep, and you feel paralyzed? Read blogs. I read blogs and became enlightened. Unemployed people blog a lot.

Unemployment is a depressing time. After a year it becomes impossible to get hired because H.R. people don’t want a liability. You lose faith in yourself and what you have to offer. It is demoralizing. Everyone has advice on how to find a job.

So, it must be you, right? You are a wholely unlikeable person. You smell like week-old fish rotting on the dock next to a jar of assholes. That’s why you can’t find a job.

You are unmarketable and you have an English degree. Woe unto you. “Woe to you scribes…” (somewhere in the Bible).

Or perhaps, as I read from this really neat blog, written by Archemdis:

The world is not letting you choose what you want to be anymore, it is telling you what it needs and if you choose to study something else then you will need to be very lucky if you get hired after you complete your studies.

This topic of this blog post is interesting in what he states. I had never thought of that. I thought I’d go to school and invent myself, but the more you think about your education and what doors are opened by it you realize maybe it was the other way around the whole time. Most Entrepeneurs didn’t finish graduate and post-graduate studies. They did it.

This brings up two interesting themes I’ve found. One relating to school. The other relating to action.

I chose to go back to school to try a different career. I found I shouldn’t have gone back to school at all. It was a waste of my time. I only did it for an internship. An internship that taught me a lot but hung me out.

Archemdis  writes that school is meant to keep you busy. Sure, I felt that way in school. Unless we were discussing something really cool, like Milton. Those discussions were fun because no one cares about crusty old literature outside of academia.

I read further and found a blog that touches on both, and in its harshness really illuminated how rethinking you goals can paralyze you. I always think maybe I just I need to go back to school. Maybe I need a marketing certificate, or a management certificate, or any number of certificates that make me more marketable. No way. This blog made me rethink why I believed that. The blog was,

Careers With An English Degree: How Reading Books Can Paralyze You After Grad School

It laid out why school makes you think you need more of it. You get stuck in a cycle of waiting. You become accustomed to waiting. Learning is a process of repetition but of also trial and error.

In First Nations Education, a study I completed in university, I learned that traditional education focuses on letting the child learn by doing, and therefore he will learn his way of doing it. The 25/25/50 rule goes against everything Western education has inculcated in us. Read the blog about the 25/25/50 rule.  It’s basically 25% reading, 25% study, %50 do.  Western education dictates you can’t do anything unless you have a certificate saying you can do it.

On the Career Professionals of Canada blog I found a great article, Why Capable People Can’t Get a Job. Even if you smell like fish guts, maybe being unemployed isn’t abnormal.

What is normal is not having a job.  What is abnormal is having a job, even for professionals, despite conventional thinking to the contrary.  While most professionals are accustomed to being employed, little do they recognize their good fortune in having a job, especially one that is personally fulfilling.  They only realize this when they become unemployed for a while.

The blog lays out some interesting job hunting tips like where to look and how to deke gatekeepers.

And finally, I read something that made it clear. Job hunting is demoralizing, but don’t let it take you out. Work Coach Cafe has some advice to stay positive, When you can’t find a job…do you forget how good you are?

The post addresses how job hunting eats at you and perhaps some creativity is needed in continuing.

I write even if I don’t get paid to because I enjoy it. The blog article, Careers with an English degree, points out that you should just publish an article yourself. Job searching is sadistic. After a few months and  bouts of insomnia, the job boards look like they are really not looking for you or your qualifications. Yet, you must have something to offer.

Hey, if you read this and need a copy writer or editor hit me up. I’ll even work gratis, since I’m not working at all.

Exercise Your Right to Vote

February 21, 2011

Democracy is really coming into its own right now. And why not? The power to shape one’s life, to control a destiny that can make a person feel impotent when things seem out of control, is a powerful need. Imagination is a powerful tool for change.

Through some miracle I wrote a story that has been chosen for the Broken Pencil Indie Writer Death Match. Super sweet, I thought. Out of 180 stories 8 were chosen. You can vote for my story, Fatty Fatty Fat Fat, tomorrow. So, click the link and vote.

The process of writing fiction made me think of writing. I volunteer some weeknights with high school students tutoring them in English and History. My style of teaching stresses imagination. I ask the students to imagine their stories, thoughts, feelings of the characters, and even of the soldiers or pioneers in their text books.

I find it helps the student to think of things they hadn’t discovered yet. If I have a student writing a piece of fiction and their character seems drab to me, I ask them what emotion does the character have. It opens up the possibilities. How are those emotions expressed, internally and externally? Now you have a story worth reading.

I’m an amateur writer but a professional reader. So, these are just my thoughts. Sartre wrote:

A novice painter asked his teacher, “When should I consider my painting finished?’ and the teacher answered, “When you can look at it in amazement and say to yourself, “I’m the one that did that!”

Which amounts to saying never.

I get a kick out of that. My story is the first piece of fiction I’ve put up for public discourse and approval. I feel like changing so much of it now. Then again, I’m really looking forward to the feedback. And quite honestly I want to win.

Sartre’s essay is called Why Write? I can only speak to my own motivations. It’s fun, and I can bring my imagination to life. I have a lot of swirling crazy ideas in my head, and sometimes they want out. They need expression.

Ignoring your creativity seems like an awful thing. The first step in bringing something to fruition is imagining it.

So, this is a short blog asking for your vote tomorrow. Click this link and vote for Fatty Fatty Fat Fat.

Also, it’s family day in Ontario! Also known as an extra day to get laundry done.

 

 

Is There a Doctor in the House?

February 15, 2011

With the flu for a week, and laying mostly prostrate on the couch, I was left with plenty of time to consider things. Daytime television is horrible. It’s almost worse than the flu. Its only redeeming factor is that I can turn it off, but turning it off is almost impossible because it has a weird hypnotic hold on me. So, instead of fighting it, I gorged on day time television and realized Dr. Phil is a lot more fun to watch than Dr. Oz. But how do I get you to believe me?

Doctor Phil Versus Doctor OZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A no-holds barred fight to the finish is the only way to logically end this debate.

What witch doctor powers do Dr. Phil bring?

  1. Physically, Doc Phil looks imposing, but he’s old.  Born on September 1, 1950, he’s 61 years old. That probably doesn’t make him the spriest of the two. Yet, at 6’4 and 240 pounds, he might win an arm wrestling match against The Oz.
  2. What about that education? Psycho Phil received his B.A. in psychology from Midwestern State University in 1975. His M.A. in experimental psychology followed in 1976. And in 1979 he received his Ph.D. from the University of North Texas with a dual area of emphasis in clinical and behavioral medicine. His Dissertation was entitled Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Psychological Intervention. His original dissertation on curing male pattern baldness through brass tacks advice was abandoned at the behest of his crown. He is a real doctor after all.
  3. Is he really legally allowed to give advice? Sure! Advice is like assholes. Everyone has one. He retired from psychology in 2006 to dole out entertainment. He probably can’t prescribe you Percocet or Valium but he can tell you that cheating on your spouse makes you a douche bag on national television. And therein lies his power.
  4. Oprah says he’s alright and so should you. Oprah’s well known for her omnipotent powers of judgement and even Rudolph Otto described Oprah’s infallibility by simply stating mysterium, tremendum, et fascinans. Since her first incarnation as Cleopatra, thousands of years ago, Oprah has reinvented herself time and time again (much like Madonna), and she continues to strike fear and admiration into her peons. She met The Philster, as he prefers to be called, in 1995. His “get real” approach saved her from flying to the Galapagos islands and eating every last sea  turtle, her favourite delicacy. They have been BFFs ever since.
  5. His website says: Dr. Phil uses his “get real” approach to help guests solve their problems by stripping away their emotional clutter, and providing them with the tools they need to move confidently ahead in their lives. Dr. Phil also champions those who suffer from such silent epidemics as domestic violence, child abuse, depression, racism, substance abuse and other health issues that are prevalent in society (including stupidity).
  6. He’s an author of 13 books.
  7. According to television ratings last week in America Dr. Phil beat Dr. Oz by scoring 2.7 to Dr. Oz’s 2.6. It’s almost negligible.
  8. According to Celebrity Net Worth, The Philster is worth 150 million USD. That’s a lot of cabbage.
  9. More than 860 episodes have aired since his debut in 2002. But he has a shitty time slot at 3 PM. You gotta TIVO that shit if you want to watch it.
  10. He saved Britney Spears (kind of) and he saved that homeless guy with a “golden voice.”

What witch doctor powers do Dr. Oz bring?

  1. Mehmet Cengiz Oz was born on June 11, 1960, making him 51. He’s also the size of Dr. Phil’s dinner.
  2. What about his education? He received his undergraduate from Harvard in 1982. He received a joint M.D. and M.B.A. from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and The Wharton School.
  3. The guy is so smart that he was the inspiration for Buckaroo Banzai. Between replacing hearts and fighting creatures from the 8th Dimension he plays a mean guitar. Ok, that’s not all true but his website states: He directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital. His research interests include heart replacement surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, complementary medicine and health care policy.  He has authored over 400 original publications, book chapters, and medical books, has received several patents, and performs more than 100 heart surgeries per year.
  4. He likes vaginae, and so should you. The first episode I ever saw was all about vaginas. I will never look at vajajays the same way again.
  5. Oprah says he’s the man, too. He appeared as a health expert on Oprah for five seasons. He didn’t save Oprah though. But he is a chief medical consultant to Discovery Communications’ show “Transplant!”, which won both a Freddie and a Silver Telly award.
  6. Dude looks like an elf. While I’m aiming below the belt it should be noted that The Philster looks like Shrek. I’m not sure either comparison is a bad thing.
  7. He’s authored six New York Times Best Sellers. He’s no Author Phil.
  8. He’s worth 7 million USD. That seems bogus to me but, whatever, the internets don’t lie. It’s the figure from celebrity net worth.
  9. His first show aired September 14, 2009. He doesn’t have the momentum of Doc Phil.
  10. He hasn’t saved anyone famous yet, but he’s saved a whole lot other people.

In Conclusion

Television is about entertainment. Dr. Phil is just more entertaining. I doubt I’m in the demographic that either of their marketing teams is aiming for. Especially since Dr. Oz’s audience is full of screaming Oprah rejects.

The format of Dr. Phil’s show is easier to digest. Dr. Oz jumps all over topics and changes his outfits constantly. I think he’s got some kind of compulsive disorder, and I’m sure Dr. Phil can help him out.

They are both obsessed with obesity. They both have penned diet books. I’d probably listen to the skinny surgeon’s eating advice over the rotund psychologist’s, though.

The Oz hasn’t been on television long enough to be caught up in an imbroglio. Dr. Phil, on the other hand, loves law suits. The Philster has had his share of trouble in court, but he’s rich. The Oz has managed not to walk into a celebrity treatment centre and tell the world they need to cut that shit out. I suggest he start fame whoring with Charlie Sheen. What’s wrong with that guy, anyway?

There you have it, more or less. Dr. Phil entertains me. I don’t care about getting old, fat, and nasty and how my vagina isn’t working like it used to. I want people with mental issues being told shit we all know. Or even better: there’s that Dr. Phil episode where he gets a bunch of teen girls in a room so that they’ll all gang up on the “nerdy” one. Then they all cry about it on stage. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT.

Also, Taco Bell is Soylent Green people!