Sunday, December 20, 2009

New celebrity death pool?

I take you back six months to when I posted my picks for my own celebrity death pool, after Thom told me about the morbid pool he had at work with co-workers.

Well, none of my picks came through, but I'm willing to try again for 2010. Anyone else in with me? Maybe you can enlighten us with some of the rules, Thom. How many picks do we make?

Friday, December 18, 2009


So, today I finished jury duty. Have any of you ever served on a jury? It's kind of a painstaking process, but I still recommend that every citizen get the chance to do it at least once. It gave me a better appreciation for the judicial system and yet it made me realize how very flawed it can be. At the same time, I think it's probably one of the best justice systems in the world, however imperfect it might be. What has everyone else been up to?

Friday, November 27, 2009

I moved in!

I finally moved into my condo with the help of my friend Mark today. I was really happy to see that my furniture and the rest of my stuff should fit in pretty well. Also, since I bought the place with the purpose renovating it, I was happy to hear Mark, the carpenter friend, say "Oh yeah, this will be really easy to fix up." And then he started spouting ideas about what to do and how easy it would be. Although I'm sure it'll be a year or so until it's started, it's something to look forward to. Plus, my view of the lake from my windows hasn't gotten old yet, and I don't think it will. It's just so peaceful to see a big blue expanse that stretches out as far as your eye can see. I hope you can all come down and see it some time, and know that whenever you need a place to stay it's always open, even if I'm doing nine hot chicks. In fact, especially if I'm doing nine hot chicks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Here you go, knuckleheads.

Notice the fantabulous photostream to the right. All you have to do is post a photo to Flickr and tag it "smithgroundblog" and it'll show up. Do it. Do it now.

I'd make it so you knuckleheads can add photos as I have them now, but there's all kinds of coding involved. Wapes, how's yer CSS and HTML these days? Maybe Mike should do it. Or Randall. They're both web friendly.

Monday, October 26, 2009

adding photos

Anyone know how to add photos to the side of the blog like the two that have been there forever? I want to put some up. This blog needs an injection of new spirit.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Not sure anyone still reads this, but I will rant here anyway.

I got fired yesterday. For real. It came out of nowhere, I walked in to what I thought was my normal weekly meeting with my boss, and there's the HR director sitting there, telling me they're making some changes to the therapist position, and one of those changes is that I'm "dismissed." They gave me a sheet describing what I've been doing wrong, mainly that they think I'm not doing enough to push the kids to work on their issues, and that my skills and experience aren't a good match for the severity of the kids we work with. I've never been written up or given any kind of formal warning about my job performance before this. I got an above average rating on my yearly evaluation in May. However that evaluation was written by my old boss who loved me. But she quit in june and was replaced by a new boss who apparently does not love me and thinks I'm a bad therapist. I had to clean out my office and leave immediately, I couldn't say goodbye to anyone. My coworker, who is black, has also been written up twice in the last two weeks and is about to be fired also. She's convinced the agency is discriminating against non-latino people, and wants me to join her in a lawsuit against them. When I was fired they offered me a $1200 severance package if I sign a contract agreeing not to sue them. The fact that they offered me that shows that I do probably have grounds to sue them, or else they wouldn't be bribing me to shut up. However, I'm not really a vengeful person and would much rather just take the money and move on, instead of putting effort into a lawsuit that probably won't go anywhere. I don't want to work in a place where I'm not appreciated anyway.
Obviously I was crushed when this all happened, but I'm trying to look on the bright side now. I hadn't been happy with my job for the last few months anyway, I didn't like my boss, the commute and the hours were killing me, and I agree the kids deserve a better therapist than me. So I'm excited to look for a new job where I fit in and can use my strengths and excell. Ideally with a much shorter commute, or a commute into the city so I'll have a reason to then move into the city. I'm also kinda excited about all this free time stretching out in front of me, I'll finally have time to go to the gym everyday, clean the house, hang out with people on weeknights, and all the other things I never had time for before. So, I'm kinda at a crossroads in terms of what to do with my life, but hopefully it'll work out for the best. Let me know if anyone knows of any social work jobs.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Thom Yorke's new band

In case you missed the news, Thom Yorke has a new band! I'm pumped! By the way, this doesn't mean Radiohead is broken up; they're just on hiatus. Yay for supergroups!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I file-system-checking HATE this town. Honestly, can't a guy have a new car for more than like a month before someone rear-ends him?


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Some more live Radiohead

The site with live Radiohead shows went down for a while, and much to my surprise, is back up! There's a nice live show they have on there to download from a BBC3 broadcast. Not the whole thing, but what's there is nice.

Monday, August 24, 2009

October 10th

I'm excited for Charles and my birthday celebration. Let's us this as a forum for ideas. Sara already came up with a Jungle theme, but last time we tried a theme (vampires), we only got as far as a cape, red cups, and Ben talking in a hilarious accent. So maybe a theme is more than we can handle. If we really wanted to, we could do that. I do love Rainforest Cafe, and there is Congo River for putt-putt, but beyond that I don't know.

Questions to answer:
Where? City/Suburbs? House? Bars? My potential place in the city?
When? I'll be busy from noon-3pm on Saturday and in the city already, if that matters.
What? Drinking is always fun, but I always enjoy just the company of friends, and so far we have me, Mike, Sara, Thom, Mark, Tim, Charles (& Janet, I assume). I think I want to see Charles drunk, and Janet. And Sara. And everyone.
Gifts? No. Well, maybe a drink. And a hug and a smile.
Dinner? Sara suggested Rainforest Cafe, which is good, but I'm not tied to it by any means. Personally, my favorite restaurant is Cheesecake Factory. And maybe we can go somewhere that takes coupons to make paying the bill that much more complicated!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A place to call my own

I am putting in an offer for a condo tomorrow. I'm excited, but I still have a long way to go until I actually have a place. It might not even be this one in the end, but I'm going to be buying something. It's the orange one.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Mike and Waple go to Memphis! And come back (a photo essay)!

Jesus really IS everywhere! Even Bumblefuck, USA!
Hah. Can't find us out on my uncle's farm in southern IL, can you, Jesus?
I wish Jesus was here to help me cool my swamp ass. Instead, I'll have to struggle to funnel the a/c into my shorts. Nice.
At the Memphis Zoo. It's all Egyptian because Memphis is named after Memphis, Egypt. Highlight of the trip. Three words: Otters fighting Gibbons.

Don't let his cuteness fool you. He's got like 10 friends that'll beat your punk ass. It happened to a bunch of gibbons. Seriously.
Where you get herpes.
Stay classy, Conway.
While Mike was getting drunk off shitty booze, I chose to play it cool and just have some apple juice.
Mike tuning his guitar for NerdHero.
The competition was fierce for champion Nerd. Mike won.
Lowlight of the trip: Civil Rights Museum where Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. My fault. I heard it was good. It was tons of reading and standing.
Note: it looks like Steve is saying something about the Motel sign, and I imagine it's something racist and offensive like, "Hey, I bet there's a vacancy now." Get it?
We ate at a famous burger joint downtown called Huey's. The burgers were good, but the best part was shooting toothpicks into the foam tile ceiling as you can Steve demonstrating. Beth approves.
We then stopped at the Peabody Hotel downtown to see the ducks that live in their fountain in the lobby. Don't ask.
On the roof of the Peabody. Nice photo ruined by a bunch of morons.
That's better. That's the Mighty Mississippi/Big Muddy/Old Man River in the background.
We found a time machine and jumped back to 1931 so I could get a black and white photo of downtown. AWESOME!
When we returned, we found that somehow we'd altered the space-time continuum so that all drinks only came in gallon buckets. AWESOMER! If only that were true and we weren't just on Beale Street drinking a gallon of booze in the middle of the day at a bar with goats...
Another great photo ruined by those same morons. Mike kept the bucket-o-booze.

At Rendezvous waiting for our table, which was reserved under the name "Bieznootz," per usual. And mispronounced, per usual. "By-ez-notz." Morons.
Back to Beale Street for a night photo.
If you want to know how big that thing is, go find out! It's got its own website! Bible Belt Five!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Things I learned this week

1 - Memphis is an extremely poor city, but has an awesome zoo

2 - Otters are the greatest thing ever

3 - Driving long distances sucks

4 - A 4 and a half ton ford truck will sustain no damage when flattening a Honda Civic hatchback. The hatchback will be totalled.

Protip: Watch both ways before driving across the street. Stay safe, everyone!

Friday, July 10, 2009

yo sup

To Waple I recommend live in the city - it is fun!
I am currently not "in the city" (Austin is half-suburb half-city), though i have new apartment and it is perched quite lovely in the trees! cawww!
So um, to Thom - sorry I missed your call. I've been working 9-5 this summer in our Arabic program, then I walk home in 104 degree Fahrenheit and pass out on my futon.
Then I awaken at midnight, to have a cup of coffee, grade homework, dance and then try to bang my head against the wall for not resisting the vicious cycle of pass-out naps, midnight coffee and banging my head against the wall.
It's not likely i'll be able to get to Chicago this summer - our midsummer "break" is saturday and sunday, and then we have only a week and half between the end of the program and the beginning of the fall semester. yikes! right?
Peace out to y'all in yo' comfortably below-hundred-degree North.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Buying a house

So I'm probably going to start looking at places to live soon. Any input on whether I get a place in the burbs (if so, where? Closer to the city or out here?) or in the city?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Creepy News to Start your Monday

First off, we'll go with the slightly ominous, but also slightly cool:
Biological fuel cell - A device with a lot of useful potential for implanted devices, such as heart monitors or blood sugar detectors (for people with diabetes). Not so bad, though a little odd if you start thinking about 10 gallon drums filled with blood to power heavy machinery.

Then you get into the nightmare fuel:
Carniverous Clock - A clock that powers itself by capturing insects, dumping them in a vat of bacterial solvents and harvesting their life force to power its terrible difference engine.

The matrix wasn't THAT far off, it looks like. Except in the future the robots wont bother keeping us alive, they'll just be breeding us like cattle and tossing us into big dissolution vats after sucking out our blood for their fuel cells.

I'm going to go cry in a corner now.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Celebrity death pool

Thom, wasn't it you who told me a year or so ago that you and your coworkers were in on a celebrity death pool one year? Someone has gotta be raking it in right now, although I don't know if I'd put pitchman Billy Mays on a list of celebrities...

If I had to guess who's going to go next, I'd say Nelson Mandela or Queen Elizabeth II. They're both so OLD.

My dark horse in the race would be Kirstie Alley.
The person I most wish would die: Dick Cheney or Fred Phelps (of the Westboro Baptist Church).
Others that are likely to die: Wilford Brimley, Joan Rivers, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger

Friday, June 26, 2009

My favorite candy

I am curious as to what everyone's favorite candies are. Here are my top 3 chocolate and non-chocolate, in order.

1. Twix
2. Kit Kat (close second)
3. 100 Grand

Non-chocolate (this was tough)
1. Jelly Bellies
2. Skittles (all kinds, but has anyone seen those chocolate skittles? WTF?)
3. Lemonheads

Honorable mention:
Plain Hershey's
Malted milk balls
Rock candy
Those swirly multi-colored lolli-pops
Lifesaver Wint-O-Green mints
Any candy stolen from children

Thursday, June 25, 2009

IQ test

I'm tired of just assuming I'm smarter than everyone and want to prove it. Have any of you ever taken an IQ test? I want to take one.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


I am going to go to Beale Street and the MLK museum and Graceland, and I'm going to be stone drunk every step of the way and it's going to be awesome. I'm going to puke on Beale Street. I'm going to puke on the spot MLK was shot. And I'm going to puke on Elvis' garage door.

Get ready to get puked on, Memphis.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Grossly inappropriate

Anyone care to guess why? We can make a game of it!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Your daily dose of madness

Presenting ... ZLAD!

5... 4... 3... 1! OFFBLAST!

And of course, the clear follow-up!

Best cantaloupe imagery used in a fake balkan state keytar assisted 80's metal anthem? I think so!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Them's fightin' words, boy.

that's enough of that.

All right, I have made a promise to post when I visit again. I have been too lax and now Mike is getting out of control with his sometimes pointless posts (see below).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two blondes are walking through the forest when they come across some tracks.

The first blonde turns to the second and says "those look like bear tracks, we should be careful"

The second looks and says to the first "No, those are clearly deer tracks, we should be fine"


While they were arguing, a train came and killed them both.


Friday, May 22, 2009


... Yeah, so it's a long and tiresomely boring day at work today. That is all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's quiet around here...

... Too quiet. Someone must be up to something.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

things to do

Since turning 26 this week, I have been contemplating my life and reflecting on all that I have accomplished. I remember the first time I ordered pizza sophomore year of college, my first time pumping gas at age 20, my first train ride by myself... I've really come quite far! So it made me think, what else is there to accomplish in life?? Here's a list of random things I have never done, despite being 26 (note: this is not necessarily a to do list, as I have little desire to do any of these things):

1. ordered food at a drive thru window (talking in that intercom freaks me out)
2. taken my car in for an oil change or maintenance (my dad does it for me)
3. called information to get a phone number or address
4. used a coffee maker
5. done taxes
6. washed my own car (although I have washed other people's at fundraisers)
7. used power tools, or maybe any tools, I can't really remember
8. mowed a lawn
9. been to a dry cleaners or travel agent
10. ordered in any type of food besides pizza (chinese, sandwiches, etc.)

I'm sure there's more, I just can't think of it right now. I'll let you know if I accomplish any of these this year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

These next few weeks

So, Sara's b-day extravaganza, skates and all, will be next Friday night, May 1. I expect to see you all there; I know I'll be there. I also wanted to take this moment to suggest something for the following weekend, be it Friday, May 8, or Saturday, May 9. I think we should all go see the latest X-Men flick and possibly before or after it we can have a marathon of some of the older ones at my place. Anyone interested?

How you know the global economy is tanking

On the one hand: it's scary that even whores are having to start offering discounts to stay in business.

On the other hand: discounted whores! Who wants to take a trip with me to the rheinland?

Berlin's "Pussy Club" has attracted media attention with its headline-grabbing "flat rate" -- a 70-euro admission charge for unlimited food, drink and sex between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.


Happy hour, indeed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April Showers

Why isn't anyone giving any love to April? It appears that we haven't posted anything for April and it's already been 20 days. What did April ever do to you? I mean, sharing a name with the teenage mutant ninja turtles' secret lover isn't bad, and sometimes a cleansing rain as is common during this month can be the difference between a salt-stained car in the wake of winter and a sparkling-clean pimp mobile at the start of spring. So, I implore you, show some love for April!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kings of Leon - Only by the Night

I'm sure I'm pretty behind the wagon on this one, but I finally got a listen through this album. Wow. I think each song builds and gets better than the last, when it starts out with an amazing opener. I had actually written these guys off a long time ago for some reason. Maybe my tastes are continually changing? Regardless, when I listened to it this time, I thought it was pretty damn spectacular

... but not as good as Mike and his stache.

Friday, March 27, 2009



That's my gift to you all today. That is all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I just need to vent for a moment...

As some of you may or may not know, I was dating a guy named Mike for the month of february, until our relationship became an endless game of phone tag and then we just stopped talking to each other all together in early march. I assumed he was too busy and stressed out for me, or things just fizzled out on their own. I was also confused by the fact that he asked my roommate for my email address weeks ago and never sent me anything. TURNS OUT, HE BROKE UP WITH ME IN AN EMAIL HE SENT TO THE WRONG ADDRESS TWO WEEKS AGO!!! HE TYPED IN SARA.SUTTON INSTEAD OF SUTTON.SARA! SO WHEN I NEVER RESPONDED (BECAUSE I NEVER RECEIVED IT!) HE ASSUMED I HATED HIM SO HE STOPPED TALKING TO ME. FIRST OF ALL, YOU CANNOT BREAK UP WITH SOMEONE IN AN EMAIL, THAT REQUIRES AT LEAST A PHONE CALL. SECOND, WHAT A FREAKIN' IDIOT DOUCHEBAG! I GOT DUMPED AND DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT!

(sorry for the excessive caps)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Waste of my mind

Something an acquaintance of mine once told me: take a picture of an Asian lady holding something if you want it to look bigger. I don't quite remember the context of the conversation that led to that but....

The above was one of the highlites of last week. Taking advantage of a coworker bringing in a five pound bag of gummy bears and the knowledge that freshly bitten gummies have adhesive properties akin to superglue, I endevoured to construct a chain of gummy torsos that was at least six feet in length.

It's made of over 300 gummy torsos, weighs half a pound, and is six feet, one inch in length. The one in the photo above broke when she tried to hold it above her head; it has since been reaffixed.

To make it I had to eat 300 gummy bear heads and feet, again roughly half a pound, and you had better believe I felt sick afterwards.

These are the things that I do to entertain myself nowadays. Anyone else doing anything particularly exciting? I know at least one grounder is building 3000 piece puzzles in their spare time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

An Unlikely House Band

I was watching that new Jimmy Fallon show recently and noticed that the house band is The Roots. I'm not sure how I feel about this. What do you all think?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Going to Disney World for free

Not much else to say but that. I'll have photos and stories. I'm going for free cause I'm chaperoning the Saint Viator high school band's trip there over spring break. Gone a week and back on Wednesday. I'd tell you to call me and say hi, but my land line doesn't stretch that far.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chris Cornell - Scream

I read an article interviewing Chris Cornell on his impressions of his new album "Scream." He thought it was some of the best work that he had done in his career. This instantly caught my attention. I mean, if Chris Cornell could rank this album higher than anything he had done with Soundgarden, then it has to be good, right?

Well, I made it through the album and I think I only had to go to the bathroom and vomit twice. Cornell's two previous solo efforts have been just that, solo with him on guitar and vocals, with some other chumps filling the other instruments as needed. I was expecting a little bit of the same thing.

Good lord. Most of the album is all synthesized instruments that you would find on MTV. After I listened to the first song, I thought maybe he was just experimenting with ONE song and that the rest would fall back into form. WRONG. Track after track... it went on and on. This is one I'm probably going to be deleting from the computer.

RIP Chris Cornell.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lollapalooza 2009 headliners

The first set of headliners for Lollapalooza 2009 have been leaked. It will be Depeche Mode, Beastie Boys, and Jane's Addiction with three more major acts to come. Check out the full story here. Remember: $60 three-day pass tickets go on sale this week.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Okay, seriously Japan, what the hell.

Japanese scientists shocked when robot "programmed to love" tries to love too much? Haven't they ever watched ... oh... I don't know, just about any sci-fi movie involving robots .. ever?

For those who want a general overview:

The trouble all started when a young female intern began to spend several hours each day with Kenji, testing his systems and loading new software routines. When it came time to leave one evening, however, Kenji refused to let her out of his lab enclosure and used his bulky mechanical body to block her exit and hug her repeatedly. The intern was only able to escape after she had frantically phoned two senior staff members to come and temporarily de-activate Kenji.

“Despite our initial enthusiasm, it has become clear that Kenji’s impulses and behavior are not entirely rational or genuine,” conceded Dr. Takahashi.

Ever since that incident, each time Kenji is re-activated, he instantaneously bonds with the first technician to meet his gaze and rushes to embrace them with his two 100kg hydraulic arms. It doesn’t help that Kenji uses only pre-recorded dog and cat noises to communicate and is able to vocalize his love through a 20 watt speaker in his chest.


Final quote: “This is only a minor setback. I have full faith that we will one day live side by side with, and eventually love and be loved by, robots"

I hope he names his next robot "Skynet".

Skynet just wants to love us too much.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My day at the job fair

Some of you have heard the story already, so for those of you who haven't, this is for you.

On Saturday, January 31, 2009, I headed out of my house at 8:30am to one of the largest teacher job fairs in the state, and I went to it in a chicken suit. I had been nervous about it during the days preceding fair, but when I woke up that morning I shot up out of bed excited. However, a part of me was still going to be happy when the job fair was over because I usually don't like making a big scene of myself anywhere, and this was obviously doing the opposite. The suit was ridiculous. It included a gigantic chicken head (see the photos), a furry yellow top that went down to my mid-thigh, a pair of yellow tights, and two orange chicken feet. It was awesome. But I came to the fair prepared to come off as a great candidate. I had seven resumes (about as many as I'd need for the six hours of the fair - almost one an hour), and was confident because I had been there so many times before I knew what I was going to be asked. Plus, how can you not be confident when you're in a chicken suit? I had nothing to lose. I also brought a camera with me, stored inside the yellow fur in a waiter's apron I put on.

When I got out of my car I was rather nervous because it was a long walk to the building during which I knew I'd pass lots of cars and people. When I entered the building I felt a little better, but was still anxious. But just like when I used to do stand-up, I was nervous until I got that first laugh, and just about the second I walked through the doors to the building into the crowds of people signing up for the fair I heard a big boom of laughter from someone. I went to register for the fair with a lady who also laughed and was happy to see me and then sat down nearby to familiarize myself with the materials they handed me - information about the districts present and where to find their rooms. I sat next to a very pretty girl who initiated conversation with me. I even stopped talking to her for a minute while I looked at stuff and she started up the conversation again. I was really thinking she was interested in me so I took off the chicken head so she could see my attractive mug and asked her for her number. I said that if she wasn't too busy or taken, I'd love to have her number. She gave it to me happily, but did mention she was taken. I never called her, but talking to her in the chicken suit was awesome. I felt like I had some strange allure to her that she loved, and I actually sort of regretted taking the head off because I thought it disspelled a lot of that. After I got her number, I said goodbye and moved on ready for the day.

The fair is absolutely huge. It's housed in one of the buildings of a large community college. The classes are converted to interview rooms and the hallways are the waiting areas. The hallways stretch for what seem to be 1/8 of a mile and are filled with hundreds of people all over the place. Thousands come to this job fair. The sad thing is, they all think they have some chance of making a good enough impression to stand out in the interviews. The numbers just aren't in their favor. All day I enjoyed thinking about whether the suit gave me an advantage over all the others, and I'm sure many others wondered the same thing.

When I got to the interview hallways, I was really excited to see the reactions on people's faces. The whole day I kept a straight face as I walked up and down the place and had interviews. I smiled for photos with people who asked. About ten people asked to take a photo with me that day, which made me feel good. An hour or so into the ordeal I was approached by a woman who said to me, "Dude, they're exchanging photos of you all over the place on cell phones." I acted surprised, but I was sort of expecting it. I mean, I'm in a chicken suit at a job fair. Randomly all day I'd have someone tell me, "Awesome suit, man," and that made me feel good. The highlight came about two hours in though, when I was waiting in a line for an interview and a man came around the corner and stopped to talk to me. He had two cameras around his neck and the first thing I remember him saying was, "I've been looking for you for half an hour." His name was Warren and he told me he was a photographer for the Tribune getting shots for an article to be written about the glut of teachers and lack of jobs. He had been taking photos somewhere else at the fair and heard there was a man in a chicken suit and went on a search to find me. He stayed with me for about a half hour and spoke with me and took photos while I was in lines and even in an interview. One of the photos he took ended up being the one Thom posted a few posts below. It was an 8x6 photo on the front page of a section of the Tribune. It was awesome. There wasn't anything in the article about me except for the caption that explained in my own words why I was wearing a chicken suit, but that was enough for me. It was by far the best surprise of the day.

It wasn't all smiles, though. The first line I got into there was some snotty girl near the front who saw me and yelled across a few people the most obvious question in the world, "Why are you wearing a chicken suit to a job fair?" I responded kindly, "It makes things more interesting, doesn't it?" Perturbed, she answered, "No." I quickly asked, "Then why are you asking me about it?" Some people laughed and smiled and she didn't answer. I think she realized she'd been outsmarted by a chicken. Later, I went into a line for district 211 - the most coveted district to work in, and the one I went to high school in - and she was right there at the back when I got in line. The job fair had been going on a few hours at this point and as soon as I got in line she asked me, "Are people actually talking to you in that thing?" She had said things in the first line I encountered her in that I didn't appreciate, some snide comments about me to other people. So I took her question as an opportunity to put her in her place and said, "Yes. Are they talking to you?" We had a brief exchange where she accused me of being mean, and I mentioned that I'd heard her say things about me before and quoted her exactly. She stumbled her way through an excuse and after that I let it be. During my time next to her in that same line I realized exactly how dumb she was. In education, you can't confuse terms like "certified," "endorsed," or "highly qualified" for each other, because they all mean vastly different things. She wasn't aware of this and when she asked me what I was certified in I told her. Psychology and US History. I can teach anything in social studies, but that's what I'm certified in (in other words, those are my specialty areas). I asked her what she was certified in and she made a claim that she was certified in "Social Sciences." This is not a certification since no one teaches a class that is just called Social Sciences. It's a subject area. It doesn't matter if you don't know the difference between all those terms, but it did for her because she was stupid and should've known. When I tried to explain to her that that doesn't exist, she tried to explain to me that it did. Others in line jumped in on my side and tried to explain the same thing to her (for her own good, mind you), but she wouldn't have it. She reminded me of me the first time I came to the job fair - nearly out of college and thinking I knew it all. I just wasn't as snotty or retarded. So I don't think she was much like me, actually.

By the time I entered the district 211 line, I had been in five other interviews and was just about ready to go. The line for district 211 was the longest at the fair - over an hour. I waited and waited and finally got to the front. The whole time in line I had been listening to the principal from one of the schools schmooze with the applicants at the front. When I finally got there, he asked me one question. "Why should we interview a man in a chicken suit?" I responded, "Well, because it shows that I'll do anything to get the job and that I'll do it in a creative way. But, if you don't want to interview me, I can take my services elsewhere." That last part just came out. I regretted saying it afterward, but I think his mind was made up already. He wasn't really listening to me and when my turn came for an interview, he peeked his head inside the classroom and spoke with a man for a minute. When he came out, this man was with him and I was asked to step aside and speak with him. His name was Bob Grimm, he told me, and continued, "We at district 211 take this job fair very seriously. We don't feel like you're taking this fair seriously enough and we're not going to interview you." At that point, he took out his wallet and $2 and said, "I'm going to reimburse you for your time in the line. This is 10% of what it cost you to get in here today." I was shocked, but kept my head on straight (chicken head) and said, "Keep your money." He then told me he was the assistant superintendent and if I had any problems I could contact him. I was polite and told him to have a good day, but I was, and still am angry when I think about it. In hindsight, I wished I'd told him I didn't need his chump change and made a big, overdramatic scene where I wailed and cried in a corner regretting my decision to come to the job fair in a chicken suit. But as it was, I stood there and contemplated where I would go for my next interview. As I started walking down the hall, not 30 seconds after this encounter, I was approached by a man who introduced himself as Mike, from Leyden school district. I forget what he said his position was, but he was very enthusiastic and told me he had to get a photo with me. He then related how I reminded him of someone he knew who would've done the same thing 20 years ago. I said, "Is his name Mike?" He said yes, and we walked down the hall and talked about the prospects in his district. I virtually walked right in to the classroom and interviewed with a department chair who loved me even more than Mike did. The whole day I had encounters similar to this. Many had heard that there was an applicant in a chicken suit, but it's one thing to hear about it and it's another to see it. Several times during the day I would walk into the interview classroom and the two or three other interviewers who were in the middle of interviews with an applicant would burst out laughing. The same thing happened this time. It was a great feeling. The guy who interviewed me had Mike take pics of him interviewing me, including one where he was kissing my beak. He also insisted on calling me "Chicken Man" instead of Andrew. I told him my story about district 211 and he said, "Forget them. We love this stuff here." He even went on to tell me at the end of the interview that they'd be contacting me, which is absurd because no one says that at that job fair. It is a desert of hope and opportunity. I was psyched. I came off as a great candidate for the district and actually wouldn't mind working there either. So I'm really hoping that turns into a second interview. Mostly, I was just happy to have such a happy experience after such a negative one at district 211.

There were other interviews that went really well. Some people even had trouble interviewing me because they couldn't stop laughing. I took photos with some of them, as you can see. I love how big the beak is in some of them. You can hardly see the interviewer.

Finally, after a successful day, I met up with Thom whose apartment is near the college. We had planned to go to lunch and he decided KFC was as good a place as any. We were in there at a weird time, 3:30, so there wasn't really anyone there to get a kick out of it, but Thom took some pics and we ate up our meals and the irony.

Four days later, my photo showed up in the Tribune and lots of copies of the paper were given to us from all sorts of people whom I didn't even know knew me. It was cool to have so many people send me copies of the paper that I didn't even know. Lots of people at school laughed about it with me, students, teachers, and administrators alike. They know I'm job searching and have been very encouraging, but I have doubts about whether I'll be able to find a job next year due to the economy and other factors. We'll see, though. And if I get any further with anyone from the fair, I'll be sure to let you all know. Mostly, I was just happy to make so many people's days at the fair. It's such a miserable place and I think it was made a lot more enjoyable this year.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Things that piss me off (add your own)

So this past weekend was a four-day weekend of sorts. Friday was no school, but was an institute day so I went to work, but didn't have to work, and Monday was Presidents' Day. It sounds nice, but really it was all a waste of life for me. Let me explain:
Friday: already mentioned I had to go to work for virtually nothing (every institute day is considered by at least some of the faculty every time we have one to be a waste. This time I was the one who felt that way). Then, in the evening, I hung out with my friend Mark and played Wii. During the night, I had a whole Jack's pizza and then two hours later started feeling sick to my stomach. Fast forward to a few hours later early, early Saturday morning and I'm spending hours in the bathroom with pizza coming out both ends. If you think it's unpleasant to imagine, just think how it was for me. I had to basically time the rotation of which was I was facing the toilet. I don't know if you can blame the pizza or some 24-hour flu bug, but I can tell you that this wouldn't be the first time I got the flu this year, which brings me to the first thing that pisses me off:
Regular flu.
Let me explain. If it were flu of the avian variety, I would at least have something to blame - avians. I would probably die from it, but that's to the avian flu's credit. Regular flu is more torturous. It leaves you on the edge of survival only so it can get some joy out of striking again later after you've recovered. I believer that if the flu ever kills you, it's purely by accident. Now, I never get the flu, ever. This year I have had it twice. If this were avian flu, I would've probably died and not had to deal with it a second time. So regular flu, if you can't finish the job, don't come and stay in my body for a measly 24 hours. Much less, don't bother coming back for a second try only a month later. Seriously, a month? You were just here. All you did this time was waste one of my precious three days of weekend, which bothered me more than having to puke up supreme pizza a few times (it comes out orange). That brings me to the next thing that pisses me off:
With the three days of weekend I was expecting, I was going to get a lot done, one of them being my arch enemy every year: taxes. Now, let's take a moment to mention that if the flu had done its job and killed me, I would've been free from taxes, but that's another argument. Every year, I struggle with my taxes because they are a major pain in the ass. For the first time, however, I thought I was going to have it easy because I only worked two different jobs this year, thus decreasing the number of W-2s I had to deal with, and sold very few stocks (I'll get to the bad economy). I also was apparently under the mistaken impression that I was going to be getting money back on my taxes this year for a change. Last year I paid a lot, and it seemed like an anomoly because I had made money from stocks, but I did not this year. So what's my reward? Instead of paying $500 like I paid last year, I get to pay three times that much this year. FOR A GOVERNMENT THAT'S JUST GOING TO GIVE IT AWAY TO A BUNCH OF GODDAMNED MORON BANKS. So I waste my time toiling over how to get the numbers right and checking and rechecking and pulling my hair out and asking my dad all sorts of stupid questions, only to give it all away to a government that doesn't check its own numbers. I swear to God.
Next: The economy.
You all know I'm "cheap." Of course, I always argue I walk the line and am "thrifty." Forgetting that argument, I want to explain the basis for my spend-thrift ways. I have always thought of myself as more mature for my age and very forward-thinking. Case in point, I have had retirement in mind since the age of about 8. Anyone else do that? I hadn't even started working yet and I already understood the importance of compiling savings. The basic logic behind all of my tightwad spending was the (until recently) dependable logic that the stock market, over time, goes up. I knew that the more I saved, the more I could invest, and the sooner I invested, the larger, stronger, and more diversified my portfolio would be, virtually guaranteeing me a massive amount of money barring ANY WORLDWIDE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE. Now, what do I get for being responsible by putting my money in investments and not spending it? A kick in the teeth and in the wallet. I lost so much money this last year it's unbelievable, at least for someone my age and level of income. Kind of blows when I think about the fact that if the government had just done what I did when I was 8 - saved - then we wouldn't be in this crisis. It's just one more reason for me to think about starting my own utopia.

So that sums up my weekend. I was going to write about the chicken costume today, but because of the flu I was more compelled to take the time to write about my rantings because if I didn't, you were going to read about it in the paper tomorrow. It would be something to the tune of, "Teacher punches everyone in the face. Fired." Except substitute "punches" with "kills" and "Fired" with "Utopia." So the chicken costume story will have to wait, I'm sorry to say, although most of you have heard it already. It's really just for you, John.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

New Music by P.O.S. - he's been around for a while, but just released a new album, "Never Better." I've been rocking to a couple of his songs:


Maybe you dig it, maybe you don't. I do.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The job fair experiment

So in only six days I will be standing in lines for interviews at a teacher job fair at the community college in DuPage. It will be my fourth time at the job fair and the previous three have been pretty bleak. Basically, it's one of the largest job fairs in the nation and most of the best paying schools in the state are there interviewing candidates for jobs they may not even have available. The lines are packed with candidates who are foolishly expecting to have a snowball's chance in hell of getting a second interview and an even worse chance of getting a job from the fair. They wait an hour for five minutes or less of talk time with a representative from that line's particular school district who won't remember them and only want the day to be done. The same can be said of the applicants.

The three times I've been there have been really depressing. No one is happy. The hour you wait in lines is passed only by boring chit-chat with other anxious job seekers. They share stories about other lines, how long they've waited, what school district supposedly has shorter lines and job openings, where they currently work/go to school... It's so goddamn boring. The only highlight is when you see some chick in a hot pant suit. UNTIL THIS YEAR. After this year's job fair, there will be hundreds of job seekers talking to each other and everyone they know about the guy in the chicken suit. I'm sure they'll be asking each other things like:

Why the hell would you wear a chicken suit to a job fair?

What statement is this man/woman trying to make?

Does he/she have any better chance of getting a job than me?

Why didn't I think of that?

But I think mostly, they're all just going to be so thankful to have something to entertain them for the worst six hours of their lives. There's no food. Nowhere to sit down. No hope. But at least there's a man in a chicken suit. With a camera. And resumes. You go, Chicken Suit Man. Thank you for liberating me.

If you have suggestions for how I should behave or things I should do to make the most of this situation, I'm all ears. A number of you also expressed an interest in helping fund this ordeal since I had previously expressed reservations about the expenses of doing this, because I'm cheap. The total cost will be $85. The chicken costume will be 65 to rent for a day and getting into the job fair is 20. If you want to donate to this cause, reply to this post so I can figure out the cost per person. I obviously will be putting my own money up to do this and will just hope some of you can pay me your share if you so desire. I suppose I'm not holding anyone ransom here, but I think we'll all share in the joy of the Chicken Suit Man stories and photos for a long time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SNL Digital Short: Doogie Howser

Click here or on the title of this post to watch the SNL digital short orchestral performance of the Doogie Howser theme song, performed a few weeks ago. Pay particularly close attention to the end. It's hilarious!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Let's hear it for the blog!

The rebirth of this blog was not just a brief, one-time thing! We posted over a hundred times in 2008! Hooray for continued friendship! In case not everyone sees it though, I will respond for most:
Thom: I'm a writer! What do you expect!?
Mike: I need somewhere to vent my frustrations at the world/ostrich raptors.
Ben: Caw!
John: Bleep. Bloop. Blip. Windows error: 404.
Sara: This blog needs to be more sparkly for me to frequent it more.
Randall: I'm too busy snowboarding, taking pictures, "architecturing" to check this blog.
Weinberg: We only have internet access in two places in Kansas City: the Internetmobile that inconveniently provides roaming service away from your home, and the library that provides internet service at a geriatric pace of a 14.4 modem. It takes longer to load a page than it does to draw it.
Brad: I'm just too busy banging my hot girlfriend that Waple hasn't even met.

There you go. That's everyone's explanation.


Contents are very Fradgul. Do not drop.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jay-Z + Radiohead = JAYDIOHEAD!!

Oh man!! A coworker just shared this stuff with me. In the spirit of Dangermouse's "Grey Album" and "Jay-Zeezer," I give you "Jaydiohead."

It's free, although throttled download:

Rock on.

New Andrew Bird!

The new Andrew Bird album, "Noble Beast," comes out on Inaugural Tuesday (January 20, 2009) next week. An exclusive deluxe edition will include a disc of instrumentals. Go here to stream it free at NPR.

Monday, January 05, 2009

SNL this saturday

I saw that Neil Patrick Harris is going to be on SNL this weekend. Just thought you'd all want to know in case that was something that interested you. I might tune in in the hope that it just turns into an hour and a half long episode of How I Met Your Mother.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

play with my wii

Since the girls never do, you all need to come over and play with my wii.

Well, most of you have, I guess. John - is there a way for us to hook up and play against each other in stuff? It'd be awesome if I could get Mike and Thom and Sara here to play against you, too.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy 2009.

Take care,