Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Tell You're in a Toni Morrison Novel

Yes this is a Mallory Ortberg fanpost.

You walk into town. A plague of robins follows you.
You find out your family history by the song the children sing.
You are named after a Bibical character or a random object.
A aura of incest surrounds you.
Ghosts haunt you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another PSA

Employed people: There has been some confusion on what a job lead is. So let's play Goofus and Gallant. Goofus says "Hey! I saw a sign at a fast food place that said it was hiring!" "Gallant says "Hey, my workplace is looking for an office assistant. Here's the manager's number". Goofus thinks our applicant can just show up at a random fast food place and get hired- despite being over/underqualified. Gallant realizes that matching the experience of the friend to the job is important, finds a spot that is actually hiring, and gives his friend the hookup.

Goofus says "Here's some random links I found on the internet!" Gallant says "I told my professional contacts that you were looking.". Goofus thinks his unemployed friend doesn't have the internet and can't use a search engine. Gallant knows that giving material help that the jobseeker couldn't get by just using google is important.

Goofus says "Man, why are you on the internet if you're looking for work?" Gallant says "Let's watch movies at my place." Goofus still believes that pounding the pavement will get you anything other than "apply online." Gallant knows that the process is long and hard- and life can't be put on hold for people who may take months to get back to you. If ever.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

What Salt Sugar Fat Reads like

I read the book Sugar Salt Fat, and it's ripe for parody. Note: while many of the facts in this parody are exaggerated, and all quotes by officials made up, there is such a thing as 'exercise addiction' and a 'runner's high'. The exercise classes are real. The thing about kids 'twerking' also real.

The exercise industry keeps pushing more and more variety to get us hooked. Pi Yo, Soul Cycle, Pole Fitness, Zumba.. ever increasing ways to get us coming back. A member of the exercise industry admits "People don't want the same old class. We need to change it up and keep it fresh". When asked if he himself goes to these classes he says "I'm pretty busy so I don't go as much as I should."

We go to the lab. An important scientist shows me the data. Exercise lights up the same opiate pathways as black tar heroin. Once hooked, the same reward pathways as crack cocaine light up, leaving you wanting ever longer workouts at ever greater intensity. Heavy users have been known to run over a 100 miles a week, putting themselves at risk for lifelong foot problems and death. More and more people have been keeling over from exercise related causes, and many more are undergoing knee replacements and other surgery due to excessive exercise. The pushers in the industry are blase'. "Sure, some people injure themselves exercising. That's why we have labels warning you to consult with your doctor before trying a new regimen.". With that as cover, the carnage goes on.

The industry has even gotten to our children at younger and younger ages. From Pee Wee football to Mommy and Me yoga classes, children are being encouraged to take up exercise. During kid orientated shows such as SpongeBob and My Little Pony - exercise is being pushed by kid friendly characters such as NFL players who suggest exercise is fun, and healthy. The industry is creating child sized equipment such as hula hoops and jump ropes out of cancer causing plastic to hook young consumers. Research suggests children exposed to exercise are more likely to become heavy users as adults and to try more varied regimens. Children have a higher capacity for exercise than adults as any parent who has tried to keep up with a game of running around and screaming for no particular reason knows.

The industry has even infiltrated our schools with 'workout leaders' leading children in 'twerking out'- the better to encourage heavier and heavier use. With every park, tree lined street and school as a site for exercise, things seem bleak. It's a minefield with every turn leading you to biking, dancing and at extremes-  fucking around with a giant weighted hula hoop. What can we do? Nothing. The industry is omnipresent. All we can do is cut down on exercise time, and hope.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Provide Your Own Tools

stuff I was expected to provide for jobs:

My own work ID - a job I had
My own SUV -  a job I got turned down for, for that reason.
My own 'reliable transportation' - every job ever
My own laptop - the same job that I was to provide my own work ID for.
My own cell phone - ditto.

I'm glad I'm not a poor person.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I've been unemployed for nearly a year.  Of course I know that it's harder to land a job when you've been out . Personally, I think this is a stupid system. Then again, I don't think you need years of experience to answer phones. Basically, our employment system is horribly inefficient, full of hoops to jump over and is a ridiculous parody of life. I've got nothing useful to say. Just saying.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


In today's employment environment, there's a lot of what I call bullshit. For example, computer applicant screening.  We'll have people who can be qualified to say "this is Staples. How may I help you?" or sort through boxes of stuff, but can't get hired because the computer says they live too far away or they can't figure out the right combination of answers- good but not too good, to fool the system. So people are frozen out.

On interns, fuck you, pay me. Why? Because if they can work someone 12 hours per day for free, they won't hire anyone on for a job. So the economy is stifled since you can't buy anything nice on $0/hr, so no jobs are created in other industries, so it's a horrible cycle.

What connects these two? Barriers for otherwise qualified people. It used to be that it wasn't considered 'entitled' to expect to be paid for working like a dog or at least something more to show for it than student loans and credit card bills. It used to be that you could stock shelves without a complicated test on what you'd do if you knew that some other employee was smoking weed. And to be honest, the low level employee shouldn't worry about whether their store makes a profit. They should be concerned about customer service, about making sure everything is done properly, not about the stock options of the guy in the corner office.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Jobs Project

Oddly enough, when I lost my job, I stopped blogging. Or maybe it was before. It's difficult for me to remember now but I had so much to say that I had three blogs. Right now, I am obsessed with jobs and work. What others are doing for work, how do they get jobs, how the economy works. I read Hidden America full of the sort of hard working Americans  (Ok, and some undocumented workers, but anyway, Americans) who are my opposites. I feel them scoffing at me, saying 'You afraid of a little hard work?" I admit I am. I'm scared of the bright white cubicles. I'm scared of being on my feet twelve hours a day. I'm afraid of doing my best and becoming beaten down and exhausted and thrown out like last week's trash. I'm scared of breaking my health, sacrificing myself for someone else's god who I am not sure I believe in. I would like someday to have my own desk.