Monday, December 22, 2008

Flying Away

A bitter cold Monday in town for xmas shopping--they've carved some paths through the heavy snow. Ugh! The good news is tomorrow I leave for Florida for a week, hopefully to some nice warm and not rainy weather so I can thaw out a bit. I'll certainly need to recharge my batteries if I am to face 2009 and the challenges that lay ahead! This cold weather is numbing me.

Here's hoping for an uneventful trip--though with airlines what they are, that's probably a tall order!

Weekend Wrapup

An event-filled weekend is coming to a close--Friday night was Erin's graduation (where she was noted as a magna colada! What honor!) and it went on despite severe snow that made driving a bit hazardous. Still, it went off well and then I headed up north with her fambly to celebrate with food and drink. The roads were pretty bad so I stayed over and watched movies by the fire.

We got a late start on the morning and essentially accomplished nothing--NOTHING--on Saturday. It was hard to get out--the sidewalks were still terrible, and it was so warm inside. A no-brainer! Though we did have to head out eventually, for Christrees' and Brendan's surprise party. That event was a nice one, and worth braving the bitter cold and snowy sidewalks--much of the usual gang was there, plenty of silliness and all that--and as it turns out, ole fancy-pants Erin is a fan of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer! Wonders, they never cease.

We left around the time I ran low on beer and felt a bit loopy, and woke up Sunday to the beginning of what is now a good ole blizzard. Well, that's Maine. If only snow were a valuable natural resource, this might be a state flush with money! I did manage to visit Jake, Allie and Hokie for a bit to watch some football and catch up, and now watch the evening come under a blanket of frozen drops. Another week begins.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursdays Are For Player Haters

Tuesday night we had our first "happy hour at home" hosted by our East End pal, Paula. It was successful--about a dozen showed, a good deal of bawdy banter, and high hopes for a repeat of this on a nearly weekly basis. The elusive Chris McClay has offered to host another one next week, but you know what they say about McClay sightings--they're like comets. They appear rarely and cause a lot of space dust.

Last night went to the Daigles' for tree trimming, which is an activity I haven't done since high school (since normally the trees are fully trimmed by the time I get home from school/visit). We had some good treats while listening to holiday music and making the place all festive. We also had something to celebrate, as Erin had earned Magna Cum Laude, despite her attempts to be all humble by calling it Magna Colada and acting like it was no big deal. Having never even made cum laude myself, I think it is a big deal!

Today among my errands I went to get a new phone. So I ask the good fellow at Radio Shack if I can still access the numbers saved from my old phone. Here's how it went:

Brando: Good fellow, once I activate the new phone, which you seem to be doing now...

Clerk: Yep, almost done.

Brando: I'm wondering, can I still get the numbers I have saved from my old phone?

Clerk: Certainly, good sir. You just won't be able to make or receive calls from the old phone.

Brando: Splendid!

Well, I get home and sure enough, can't get to those numbers! Which means the next few days I'll be slowly adding numbers as friends call and email. Dammit!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Blues

The past weekend was relaxing, as there was just not much that could be done outdoors what with the ice storm. One might think that would lead me to do more indoors, but no--I treated it as a weekend off from everything. Erin took me to dinner Friday for a belated birthday celebration, which was nice since we hadn't really done any celebrating up to then what with the sore throat and her busy schedule. Saturday night Mark and Nichole had us up for a home cooked meal, and to see their fancy holiday decorations and try the new pale ale that Mark had made. Our signature ale.

We need to produce more of that, and make it our contribution to all future "Happy Hours At Home" that will hopefully become a weekly event. By getting our friends and well wishers to taste the beer we brew, we can build up a ready market for low cost, high quality suds. This I believe is how Adolph Coors and Phil Pabst and Johnny Rolling Rock got their start.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Brando Syndrome

Portland is now caked in a sheet of ice, making the trees quite beautiful and the sidewalks quite hazardous. Unfortunately it also means power failures for many, which is more than just a nuisance--it's dangerous when this means no heat or hot water. Ice storms are God's way of reminding us that He hates us and wants us all dead.

My sore throat is a mysterious thing now. During the day it hurts almost not at all, but at night it becomes seriously painful and stays that way until morning. Only extra strength Tylenol makes it tolerable. What sort of throat ailment only happens at certain hours of the day?

At this point, I have no faith in my immune system. I've been working on this thing (with tea, vitamins, oranges, etc.) for weeks now and the throat is the same as it was on day one. If I knew any medical researchers I'd suggest they do a case study on me. I could be carrying some mysterious new ailment. In fact, I think I am! I shall call it: "Brando Syndrome". Set up the next Jerry Lewis Telethon, folks! Help fight Brando Syndrome today.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Possible Moves

The job search is a slow and often discouraging process, since more businesses are cutting back than hiring, and the holidays aren't the best time of year to be looking for work anyway. Still, hopefully there is something out there, and I can find it soon before my money runs out.

More likely the opportunities will be in major metropolitan areas (like NYC) or in the Sun Belt (like North Carolina, or Texas) so it's possible that this will be my last winter in Maine. But it also means I may have to sell my condo before long, and this isn't the best market for doing so. Had I known a year ago what I know now, I wouldn't have bought. Still, now is the time for figuring out what to do next.

Here's hoping that 2009 brings some bright prospects.

Snow Doubt About It

It's cold and drizzly out, but right now I'm just glad it isn't snow. I remember when as a kid it was great to see it snow, that meant playing outside and making snowmen and throwing snowballs and coming inside for cocoa, and better yet, if it snowed enough on a school day you could get a day off. But the novelty wore off around the time I was old enough to have to shovel the driveway, or drive in the muck (which also meant cleaning off and digging out a car which was not garaged). The novelty wore off still when I got to the age where even a snow day wasn't so great, because it just meant you had to make up the work when you did make it in. And the white beauty of the first snow usually turned to dirty, slushy muck quickly, and just looked nasty.

As an adult, I see nothing good about the snow--it means hazards on the roads, slippage on the sidewalk, and having to dress practical rather than nice. There has yet to be designed a good shoe for the snow and ice and salt that actually doesn't look like shit. And unless your head is shaved down to a crew cut or less, a winter hat means forget having your hair look nice.

Some people try to defend the snow. Let me demolish these arguments in turn.

Point: But Brando, I like to ski and snowboard!
Counterpoint: They invented artificial snow for the slopes, and besides why should everyone suffer risk of injury and stranding in inhabited areas simply so a tiny part of the population--upper middle class white people--can enjoy a hobby in the mountains? Besides, you can have your snow up there. I just don't want it down here at sea level.

Point: But Brando, isn't the snow pretty when it falls?
Counterpoint: It is, and if the snow simply melted upon contact with the earth, I'd have no problem with it. But a brief moment of enjoying it while it's falling quickly becomes weeks or even months of the crap on the ground.

Point: I don't care, I look good in sweaters!
Counterpoint: Only fat people look better in sweaters than they do in anything else. Try laying off the Twinkies. If you're not fat and you look good in a sweater, you'd look even better in a normal shirt.

Point: Ooh, but I love a winter wonderland!
Counterpoint: Fuck you.

Point: Snow is just something that we all have to deal with, if we live north of the Carolinas. Why not just cope with it and make the most of it?
Counterpoint: I do make the most of it--it's important not to let the snow keep you from going out and about, or finding enjoyable indoor activities. But that doesn't mean I have to like the snow itself.

Here's hoping for a mild winter for a change!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Haven't been able to blog yesterday, as my sore throat finally prompted me to go to the doctor. Normally, the routine is--get sore throat, eat soup, NyQuil, cough drops, vitamins, Zicam, tea, juice, and bedrest, until the sore throat turns into a regular cold, with runny nose, sneezes, coughs, fever, then back to normal. Usually this takes about four or five days from start to finish, and the sore throat itself is gone after the second day. A predictable routine that interferes with beer drinking, potato chip eating, and other happy affairs.

Not this time. The sore throat came the 26th of November, so as usual I started my curative routine which continued through Thanksgiving weekend. Only this time, the sore throat stayed, being very painful in the morning and late at night and only a mild annoyance during the day. At no point did the sinuses get clogged, or sneezy, or coughs, or fever. Curious! And then it continued for what is now almost two weeks. Something's afoot, so time to go to the doctor and see what this is.

Brando: I gots me a sore throat. Or "thorat" if you prefer.

Doctor: Any other symptoms?

Brando: Yeah, all the sudden I can't dance.

Doctor: For that, I can only prescribe ten days of tango.

Brando: Just out of curiosity, you're not planning to quit your day job, are you?

So the Doc took a thorat swab, found it wasn't strep throat, which is good because strep sucks, but bad because at least with strep, you know what it is and you can take antibiotics which sounds a lot like "robotics" and makes me think of superpowers. Instead, I have what he suspects is just a long lasting virus that my immune system has been unable to destroy yet. For my trouble (and about an hour delay in the waiting room!) I got advice to take some heavy duty Tylenol.

I really should have become a doctor!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Black Friday Tragedy

Apparently a week ago a bunch of fantastically cheap shoppers crammed into a Wal Mart in search of the infamous "Black Friday" bargains, and in the process crushed to death an employee of the store. When the managment tried to clear the people out of the way so that paramedics could get through the reaction from the crowd was that they waited since 4 AM to get in the store and weren't about to back out now.

This Onion piece--particularly the third satirical quote--captures it perfectly. It's really sad when people have that little regard for the lives of others when rushing to save money on these bargains. If aliens were watching over such an episode to determine whether humankind was worth sparing, it's hard to imagine they'd be favorable.

Anyway, if I ran a Wal Mart, I'd equip all my employees with tasers. Sure, there'd be a lot of unauthorized tasing going on (especially when one considers how many ex-cons and teenagers work at Wal Mart). But it'd still be pretty neat to see some yuppie get tased next time he tries using an expired coupon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

Back from Thanksgiving--it was quite the adventure. We headed down to Northern Connecticut on Thursday morn, making it in time for a feast at Erin's fambly's place, and overstuffed we headed on to NY in time for dessert with my own fambly. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a sore throat which prevented me from truly savoring the food and drink, but it was fun nevertheless. Friday we saw the old home videos which my dad had converted from 8mm to DVD, and there was a bit of spookiness when the camera focused on a blurry portrait of my aunt (who had died young). My father couldn't explain why that image was on the tape, so we had a bit of a ghost-camera thing going on. (Note to self--when I go, I'm going to haunt people in a helpful way, maybe to give them stock tips and warn them when their car oil is low).

Friday night we headed to NYC, met with Andy, Jer, Gwynn and the baby, who was quite cute and didn't cry much. Which is more than I can say for Gwynn's bad dog! The dog was of course barking constantly, but we didn't let that get in the way of our conversation. That's just how we are.

Stayed over at my sister's in Brooklyn, then headed into town Saturday morning, where we took Erin around the various neighborhoods of NYC, and Lou and Jer met with us as well. It was a relaxing Saturday afternoon, and we briefly saw Erica and her baby daddy, Aaron, before rushing uptown to meet the parents for dinner. We were 20 minutes late though, because the traffic was blocked up and the tourists were out in full force, looking in wonder at novel new things like sidewalks and glass. And taking pictures of each other, looking at sidewalks and glass. Is there anything worse than a tourist? Maybe a terrorist.

Dinner was very nice though, and we saw an off-Broadway show, before heading back to Westchester. Sadly, I suffered a pretty severe stomach ache which kept me up most of the night, though it was gone by morning. The sore throat was still there though.

On my birthday morning, my folks made us Eggs Benedict, and we hit the road at noon on Sunday after Thanksgiving. That is, the belly of the beast! Traffic was blocked up from NY to the end of the Mass pike, which meant a 5 hour trip became an 8 and a half hour trip. Ungodly! I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I made it home. At least it was a fun weekend though.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Trivia Win

Last night our trivia team the "Smartbuckets" managed to win at Ri Ra yet again, which makes us three for three and now officially beginning a reign of terror. (Which is different from a "rain of terror" which is what happens when you really really really don't want to get wet but what can you do, it's raining out). We now even have an official "Smartbuckets" war cry, which goes "Smart-buckets" sort of like how the Hot Pockets commercial goes "Hot-pockets". (If you haven't heard the Hot Pockets commercial, then you'll have no idea what I just wrote, and for that I envy you).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trapped in the Cold

Portland is suffering a severe wind and rain storm that has me hoping my windows were properly installed. (I'm not even sure what I'd do if a window blew out, I don't have sheets of plywood laying around). On the plus side, it's not as cold as it was a few days ago. But it does bring up the fact that the weather here is generally abysmal, with short stretches of "not so bad". Why am I here? Let's break it down:


1) Charming town, with plenty of old-style New England character.
2) Strong social network.
3) I own my condo here (something I'm still kicking myself for, considering this market).
4) Summers are very mild.


1) Job market sucks relative to anywhere.
2) Taxes and cost of living are still way high. Anyone who doesn't think so is either not paying taxes or not buying their own stuff, or has never lived anywhere else.
3) Winters are horrible. There is nothing "charming" or "beautiful" about snow and ice on the sidewalk that requires you to wear rubbers and dig out your car. There is nothing remotely cute about your nose freezing off if you're in -10 degree weather for a minute. And it lasts way too long.

One of the downsides of homeownership is it reduces your mobility. Being on a job hunt sucks anywhere, but especially so when you have to worry about making your mortgage payments. True, I can still sell, perhaps for not much less than I paid, or perhaps by keeping it on the market for a bit, and for the right job it would be worth that hassle. But it's not as easy as if I was just renting now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lazy Sunday

The weekend had its fair amount of activity. Friday after work, some co-workers took me out for drinks, as it had been my last day at my job (in a way, celebrating the start of a LOOONG weekend) and after that I wasn't in any shape to drive so was unable to join the folks who were going to see our friend Shawn's band in Freeport. Saturday Erin had some free time from her studies and so we invited a bunch of her nursing buddies over for a pot-luck turkey dinner, which now means I have enough leftovers to carry me through this week. Also, I'll be all turkeyed out by the time Thursday rolls around. But people had fun, and sampled some fine brown ale which I had brewed.

The next morning, Erin had a bit of a cardiac event, so we headed up to her folks' place to check out the heart monitor and contact her doctor. (The heart rate was well above normal and fluttery, so the doctor said to check again at 5PM and if it was still like that we'd have to go to the emergency room.). It was looking dicey at one point, but then all of a sudden her rate dropped back to normal, and the situation was under control (although she was quite exhausted). Meantime, we watched the Patriots play the Dolphins and then saw some of the original "Rocky" and had some pizza. That was our Sunday.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Well one way to look at this is I have some serious vacation time ahead--though unlike previous vacations, this one cannot be spent frivilously since I have to find work and can't spend too much money since it isn't clear just how long this one will be. However, this does give me free time to do some painting and writing, and assorted other projects that have been neglected lately.

As they say, the Chinese use the same word for "crisis" as they do for "opportunity"--and that word is "crisi-tunity".

Last Day

Well, today's the last day at the job--the managing partner sent out a kind farewell note to the firm yesterday and I sent my own farewell messages as well. It was sort of like a series finale for a TV show--everyone coming by to say their goodbyes, various kind emails indicating sorrow and expressing best hopes in my job search. I almost expect the return of popular characters who left the show two seasons ago! But today's a day of wrapping up, and just about everything's done. I will certainly miss this place.

Four and a half years ago, when I first came to the firm (and Portland, for that matter) we had a growing, big client and a practice group that was expanding. (It would double in size during the time I was here). Of course, those years were gravy--I was consistently meeting billable hour targets and getting the bonuses. But alas, the collapse of the securitization market meant an implosion in the credit industry, and this caused a precipitous dropoff in work earlier this year, requiring us to let go of two employees almost immediately. The hope was that we could hold on until more work picked up, but this sadly has not happened as more and more banks cut back. Finally, the axe had to fall on me and another of our attorneys, bringing the practice group down in size to handle a smaller workload. Unfortunate that this has to happen, but understandable. It's just not a good time for this economy.

Where to now? That's the tough question. My experience is in a niche area of law, but that niche is hurting right now. I'm going to have to find something somewhere though.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Warren Buffet Should Open a Place Called "The Warren Buffet Buffet"

Had an enjoyable lunch with my old pal Nichole, where we hit the new Thai Buffet place on Congress Street. What a calorie-laden, carb-loaded feast that was! I used my usual buffet strategy--make a first round to taste everything, then find out what you like best for the second round. It's a marathon, not a sprint!

Nichole at least had an excuse for the carb-loading, she has two soccer games tonight. Way to make me feel guilty, Chole! Though tonight I have a more important task, namely to come back with the car to take my paintings and framed diplomas out of my office. A day from now and the idle period begins....

We Need a Tunnel

We're being hit with a particularly nasty cold snap, as though it's God's way of saying "get the hell out of Maine, fool!" Yeah, God sounds a lot like Mr. T and he's pitying this fool. Some have argued that God sounds more like Johnny Cash (which would explain why so many country music fans are religious) and others have argued that God sounds more like an elderly Jewish mother (which would explain why s/he was able to get Moses to do all that stuff in the Bible).

Portland could really use a series of underground tunnels (perhaps lit by glass skylights and some electric lighting) for this time of year. Maybe I need to drop by city hall, and propose it, sort of like I'd be doing the city a big favor.

Brando: Hey, city commissioner, my crew and I just got done putting in an amazing tunnel system for Del Mar, Minnesota. Don't bother looking that town up on your atlas because it's unlisted.

City Commish: Really? Why are you telling me this? And who let you in my office?

Brando: Yeah, the tunnel paid for itself in a few years, since they set up stores and vendors in the tunnels, and they saved on having to plow sidewalks and get sued by people falling on ice.

City Commish: Hmm, I always dreamed of not getting sued so much....

Brando: And that's not all! If you act now, we can do it with a minimum of overcharges!

City Commish: Sold!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Temperament

Had my exit interview today at work--it was very cordial, mostly checklists of items that need to be covered prior to my departure on Friday. One thing I noticed was that through the process it has been remarked that "we appreciate how professionally you're handling this." While I like that they acknowledge my professionalism in handling a layoff, it does make me wonder--what do people normally do when they lay them off here? Scream and yell, beg for their job? Freak out? Well, I'm just not a very dramatic person--I always thought of myself as dramatic, as per my Mediterranean roots, and all the legacy of Opera and grandiosity. But when it comes to big life changes and decisions, I usually handle them with the stoicism of a Scandanavian. Not sure where I got that from--my parents certainly aren't that way.

But I guess my main reaction to all this is "well, this is the economy, it sucks, and I need to hit the ground running pronto" rather than "EEEEEEKKK!!!" There just isn't time for being unprofessional. I'll have plenty of time to be unprofessional during my time off!

Trivia Win

Last night I ventured into the cold to join my friend Paula's trivia team the "Smartbuckets" (don't ask--it'd take another blog post just to explain how that name came to be) at Ri Ra. Sure enough, we won, beating out the toughest teams in Portland for the $50 gift certificate and plenty of undersized t-shirts and hats--and frankly, during times of thrift any little bit counts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

Whenever you're looking for a new job, the first question anyone--whether it's a potential employer, or a headhunter, or even just an interested friend--asks is what happened to your old job. There's not really a good answer for that--

1) If you got laid off due to budget cutbacks, it implies that your employer wasn't doing their job. After all, you had been hired to benefit the company, and the company should have been able to pay you, right? If you're a good employee and they have to let you go, then they must have screwed something up in the way they ran their business.

2) If you got laid off because you're no longer worth more to them than you're costing them (in salary, benefits, office space, extra coffee, frustration) then it implies you're not that good a bargain for the next employer, unless they pay you less, or give you less office space, cut back on your coffee, or somehow get you to work harder. Even though the previous employer hadn't been able to do these things.

3) If you got let go because you were running a cockfighting ring in the breakroom, then your new employer has to wonder about animal rights laws, laws against gambling, and the large number of Guatemalans who keep wandering past reception.

It's sort of a pointless question, since it really doesn't matter if you got laid off for a "positive" reason (such as budgetary cutbacks), and if you got laid off for a "negative" reason (like washing your socks in the coffee maker) you're certainly not going to say so in the interview (this could be found out by examining a police record, or asking the former employer when checking references. Anyone who doesn't provide a former employer as a reference, well that you have to watch out for.).

Online Web Comic

Maybe the saddest thing about leaving at the end of this week is that now that I've been cleaning up the files in my office, my office actually looks clean and pleasant to work in! But then there's the pluses--from now until I find a new job, I can actually sleep in which is key at this time of year when it gets horribly cold out and the last thing you want to do when you're in your bed coccoon is get out of it and into a cold morning.

The time off will be partly used in creating a web comic, one in which photos will take the place of drawn panels, and dialogue will be filled in (either in bubbles, or in text below the panels, depending on what works). The whole project will require a webmaster (to get the whole thing up), a photographer, and "actors" to pose in the panels. A new medium shall be exploited!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Money Saving Tips

Someone left a can of whipped cream in the fridge at work, so I've been making myself "poor-man's cappuccinos" this morning. The fact that this is my last week at work is starting to hit me, not only because of the lack of paychecks (once my severance runs out, that is) but because of the lack of little perks, like the coffee maker, fancy teas, and little holiday luncheons that I've grown accustomed to. Not to mention my sweet office view! But alas, this is what happens when the economy takes a downturn.

What tips do I have for trying to live on less during these tough financial times?

1) Return all returnables to the grocery store. This is rather piecemeal--you could return a hundred bottles and still not have enough to afford a six pack. Makes more sense to buy less bottled beverages in the first place.

2) Eat out less. Gonna have to do that. Still, grocery costs are surprisingly not that much less than costs of eating out. In any event, portion control is the key.

3) Use library instead of buying books. Well, I can't remember the last time I bought a book--normally I reread what I have, or read books borrowed from friends, or read online.

4) Postpone any big purchases that can be put off. I guess no new car for a while, and no new suits (I do have a couple good suits for interviews. I just wont' have to buy new suits for work, which is just as well, as most places are going casual these days).

5) Use cheapest gasoline option. Makes sense, though I drive so little anyway it won't make a huge difference.

6) Rent out spare room. This is a tricky option--after all, if I end up moving away I may need to rent the entire apartment, and it may be easier to rent it as a whole rather than room by room.

Looks like lean times ahead.


Looks like the government is going to bail out the U.S. automakers, since nothing makes more sense than giving taxpayer dollars over to big companies that manage to lose money every year by producing cars that no one is buying. Apparently, the American dream is (1) create a big company that doesn't make any money; (2) make sure it employs enough people that it would be devastating if you go out of business; (3) get the government to give you other people's tax money; (4) profit. Splendid plan! Sure beats actually doing something useful for society.

Seriously though? Wouldn't it make more sense to just give the cash directly to the employees of these defunct car companies, paying them to not work? At least then they wouldn't be wasting steel and glass on making cars that won't sell.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Clever Business Plans

My friend Mark is the sort of guy who can follow you into a revolving door and come out in front of you. Always wheeling and dealing! Like when a month or so ago, he brought us together with a co-worker of his who wanted to start an art gallery/knicknack shop in downtown Portland, and we'd advise as to the business and legal plan for this venture. After all, who better to provide guidance on opening an art gallery/knicknack shop than a consumer finance attorney and a controller for a clothing manufacturer? Exactly. Qualified--we are it.

So while that was all going on, I couldn't help but think, "Brando" I said to myself (that's what I call myself during my darkest moments. And my lightest moments.), I said "what sort of small business should I be running for my own benefit?" After all, I always say that the real fulfillment and security is in having your own business.

But of course now, the government is preparing to nationalize the auto industry (since it worked so well with Amtrak) and the financial industry is basically saying to the government "thanks for the several billion dollars, now we can pay out bonuses to our rich executives who caused the problem. Hey, can we get a pony?" In other words, other words which I should have used instead of that rant, the economy is in Suckville, which is the seat for Suck County in the state of New Suckvania. So this would be a terrible time to start a business, right?

Not necessarily, my hasty-to-conclude-things friend(s)! There's something that economists call "counter cyclical businesses" and I don't know what that means exactly, but let's just say that some businesses will thrive when the economy's bad. Like, the guy whose business it is to fix clogged toilets. Who on earth ever says "well, money's tight, I'll just leave that clog for a few more weeks"? No one! And if I'm wrong, make sure I never rent a room to that guy.

But also, when the economy's bad, people drink. A lot! So maybe at some point my business partner Mark and I will find a way to produce or sell booze. That's one industry that's not about to go to China. When's the last time you drank Chinese whiskey?


Well, I'm in full job search mode--always a humbling experience, as you try and condense all the work you've done over the years into bullet points. Imagine putting other aspects of your life into bullet points:

  • Good friend, saved Jeffy from drowning that one time
  • Efficient parallel parker--saved friends plenty on meters
  • Bought flowers on seven occasions in sixteen-month period

Now that I'm looking for work, it opens up a lot of possibilities--stay in Maine? Move to bigger city? Move somewhere I've never lived? Move to warm climate (but with the tradeoff being that giant spiders live in warm climates)?--but the biggest problem is that I bought a condo earlier this year. Ack, the one flaw!

There's not enough tequila in the world . . .

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Culture Vulture

Tonight I'm going to catch a bit of "culture"--Erin and her fambly are kindly taking me to see a modern dance show downtown. The conversation went like this:

Erin: My fambly and I are going to go see a modern dance performance.

Me: Neat! I'll be home watching TV and maybe having a beer! Though I'm not sure what kind of beer.

Erin: Do you want to come with us to see the performance?

Me: Sure, so long as you're not just inviting me because you feel sorry for me sitting home and watching TV, since I do enjoy the Thursday Night Lineup and need to make more space in my fridge...

Erin: No, I understand your way of life....

Me: What makes it "modern" dance? Isn't "bump and grind" techinically "modern"?

Erin: (grumble grumble)

Cultural evening, here I come!

New Group In Town

My friend Paula and I were chatting about ways to survive this coming Maine winter--there's a lot of reasons why people are going to get completely antisocial at that point, namely, it's too cold to go out; my (insert name of significant other) wants to stay in and watch TV and that frozen pigeon on the sidewalk makes me easily convinced that s/he is right; I can't guarantee that the next terrorist attack won't be on the bars of the Old Port. To that I say, for shame! The cold weather is all the more reason to be social and have stuff to do.

So we're setting up a "happy hour club" except unlike most such clubs, this one:

1) Holds the regular happy hours at people's house/apartment;

2) Requires that rather than random strangers just respond to flyers, any invitee has to be known to someone who is already a member of the group; and

3) Will not be completely lame.

Is this all about weekly happy hours, rotating from home to home? Yes. But in a more accurate way, no. Because we plan to do so much more! Remember how "Fight Club" started with, well, a fighting club, and then it turned into a soap business and then somehow they blew up a bunch of buildings and SPOILER ALERT the Ed Norton guy ended up with that goth chick? Well, we're not going to quite do that, but I thought it was a cool movie and you should see it if you haven't.

But we do plan other events, charitable events, professional networking, road trips--but we need some nucleus to start the whole thing. Stay tuned!