Thursday, June 30, 2011

While Greazy's Away

The stuffed panda will play. Sure, Inky is around but she is so busy working on her next novella that she hasn't noticed that I've been running amok for the past few days. Yesterday when she was downstairs clacking away on her laptop I was hosting a high steaks poker game up in Greazy's home office. The really nice thing about being less than a foot tall (other than all the free upskirt action I get) is being able to host a lot of my friends in a very small room.

During the poker game things got kind of out of hand and before I knew what was happening Whitey, a polar bear friend of mine, had caught Silky, one of Inky's friends, cheating. Whitey confronted Silky and the next thing I knew the knives were out.

There's nothing more scary to a stuffed animal than a knife, believe you me. So they go back and forth with the threats and taunts and the next thing you know Silky had cut Whitey's fucking head off. There was stuffing everywhere and we had to call in the wolf to clean things up. Not Harvey Keitel's character from Pulp Fiction, an actual stuffed wolf who's really good at covering up that kind of shit up.

Inky was still down stairs typing way when we got that taken care of, but then I got a bit of a booty call from this little stuffed bunny that lives up the street. She's got this total Toy Story 3 thing going on with the chick she grew up with, you know how it goes: best friends for years and years and now she's old enough to drive and the stuffed bunny gets no attention.

Well I fixed that!

As much as I miss Greazy I have to say that not having him around has been great for my social life. He can be a real where my cock would be if I had one block sometimes. He'll be back tomorrow night, so I guess I'll have to cool out a bit for the weekend, but come Monday night it's Stuffed Animal House!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Home Away From Home

In my past jobs I've been required to travel from time to time and sometimes extensively. So I've gotten used to the occasional business hotel stay, which for me means two things. Number one, I'm not on vacation even if a ton of other people there are. So while they are making merry by the pool or yucking it up at the bar, i'm thinking about the task at hand. The second thing a business hotel stay means for me is no Inky.

Not to get too mushy on you but, this it by far the hardest part for me. In the past these jaunts always came to an end rather quickly, however, so it didn't bother me too much. After two or three nights on the road, I'd be home to the lady I love. In rare cases like trips to Seattle and Nashville it was more like a four or five days, which seemed like an eternity.

Now, I'm faced with that eight times over. My new job requires that I spend 39 of the next 55 nights out of town, which is I find daunting. That's a whole lot of time away from Inky, Bedford, Teddy and all the other trappings of our lair. It's also a lot of meals to be eating out, which could really wreck all the good work I've done losing weight. Lucky for me this place has a pretty nice gym.

All in all I'm trying to see this as a net positive, even though the loss of time with Inky can't really be overcome by anything. I'm happy to have a new job, and excited about what that can mean for our future. I just wish there was some way I could train closer to home and closer to Inky.

Maybe one of these weeks I'll have to kidnap her and bring her along...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting Called Back Up to the Show

As I mentioned yesterday I'm starting a new job today. But more important than that is what type of job it is. It's in the big leagues! Not literally, of course, since I've already worked in baseball once and I'll never do that again. What I mean by the big leagues is what a lot of people might take for granted. Things like benefits, 401K, vacation time and good pay.

Sadly, those were things that seemed like a pipe dream during my career interregnum. So when my time sucking the dole banana was coming to an end I had to find a job even if it didn't have all the trappings of the bigs. So I did, and I quickly became aware that I was in the minor leagues, and not the cushy AAA minors. No, I was in the bus riding low minors.

The job was better than the alternative, but only just. Working six days a week selling people things they don't need would be bad even if you were doing it for a top quality company. But when you're doing it for a company that seems to revel in being shady it is hard to get out of bed in the morning. Add to that the fact that they shorted me money in my paycheck the whole time I was there and I knew almost immediately that I needed another chance.

Then I got a great birthday present.

I got a call from a number I didn't recognize while I was sitting at my desk selling. So I let it go to voicemail and checked it at my break. It was a headhunter calling about a really great opportunity after seeing my resume on line. The funny thing is they might not have called me if I hadn't been at that shitty job. So in the end it ended up being like a rehab assignment where an injured big leaguer gets send down to the minors to get a few at bats to get the skills sharpened.

After a phone interview I had about a week wait till I got my in person interview up in Harrisburg. As I drove home from it I told both Inky and XL that I felt really good about how it went, and I hoped I would hear soon. As it turns out I heard about four hours after the interview that they wanted me.

A whirlwind week followed and now I find myself in Jersey for training. I'll be here during the week and heading home to Inky each weekend. I'm not sure what it will be like living out of a suitcase all week long, but I am very excited to have this opportunity. Or, as Crash Davis would say: "We gotta play 'em one day at a time. I'm just happy to be here, I hope I can help the ball club. I just want to give it my best shot, and the good lord willing, things will work out."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Quick Little Game

It's been a bit of a hectic weekend around these parts so I haven't had a whole lot of computer time. Inky and I went out to celebrate a few things last night most notably the release of her second novella, which you can find out more about by going here. The other thing we were celebrating is my new job. Not the new job I started back on May 24th, my new new job that I start tomorrow. But more on that later.

As I said, with all this going on around me, I've had very little time to spend with the computer. But, I took the time to play a little minesweeper last night because I won't be able to while I'm on the road training for my new job. For the next two months. Sadly, the best I could muster was a 102 second game but I only played a couple so I could get back to spending time with Inky.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Song Spotlight: PB&J - Dig a Little Deeper

There are three realy top notch songs on the new Peter Bjorn and John record, and this is one of them. It's hard for me to day Dig a Little Deeper is better than Second Chance or May Seem Macabre but it's the one I'm going to feature today because it's the one that's been stuck in my head for the last few days. That is when I'm not bopping along to Contact High by Architecture in Helsinki. It's been a good year for music so far... enjoy the tune:

You think you’ve got it made
I’m trying to have some fun
You think you know it all
I’ve only just begun
You’re sliding on the surface
I’m reaching for the bottom
The past is always present
The future fades away
And if you think your brain is hollow
You just have to scream
And dig a little deeper

All art as been contemporary
Dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper
All art as been contemporary
Dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper

You enjoy the silence
When I want to discuss
You like to keep tidy
I wanna mess it up
I defy definition
Of what’s supposed to be
I don’t want recognition
If you don’t recognize me
And if you think your brain is hollow
You just have to scream
And dig a little deeper

All art as been contemporary
Dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper
All art as been contemporary
Dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

But I Don't Drink Coffee...

It's a scenario we've all seen it a million times, like for instance, in the case of ballet dancer Maureen Cummings. Born with the talent, but not the will. For her, ballet was "a life of wishing I found something I loved instead of something I just happened to be good at" but for me it's sales. I'd make a lousy ballet dancer anyway, I'm not very turned out, so that needs work...

I don't know if there is a more overdone yet spot-on archetype in pop culture than the salesman. From Ben Affleck in Boiler Room and Michael Douglas in Wall Street to the granddaddy of them all: Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross this roll has been done again and again to great effect. It makes for interesting characters but the one problem with larger than life characters is kids (notably little boys) want to grow up to be like them.

There are scores of men my age who wanted nothing more than to grow up to be Maverick from Top Gun. There are also tons of Italian-American men who saw one too many mob flicks and thought they were wiseguys. But both of those groups are positively dwarfed by the number of douchebag sales guys who grew up wanting to be Jim Young, Gordon Gekko or Blake barking about how "coffee's for closers only". I think of that line as the sentence that launched a thousand shitheads.

I am who I am, not what I do. I sell things for a living, and I'm pretty damn good at it. It doesn't light my fire or get my competitive juices flowing. It doesn't make me feel superior or alive. It just pays the bills, and even that is an accident. I was a senior in college working at a TV station as a sports photographer when the sales manager said I should put all the BSing I was doing to work and offered me a sales job for after I graduated. Fast forward 13 years and I found myself deep in my career interregnum and having to go back to the sales floor.

I downright loathe the very mindset of sales. If I had a dollar for every time a sales manager has quoted the "nothing happens till someone sells something" line to me I would never have to sell anything ever again. But, in the end, I'm pretty good at it. It basically comes down to the fact that I've never met a person I couldn't talk to from strangers on a plan all the way up to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or my childhood hero: Cal Ripken Jr.

I like to talk, and more importantly, I like to listen. I have a pretty good knack for picking up on people's subtext and body language and perhaps most importantly I have empathy and the ability to put my self in someone else's shoes. So if I'm selling how I like to, the person buys what they need and no more. They will buy from me again and again and they will never feel like they've been taken.

To me that's how business should be done, but that's not how sales managers see the world.

They want you to get every last penny out of the mark's pocket. Sadly, I can do that too. I can scare an old lady into buying something that I know she not only doesn't need, but that she can't afford. And unlike many of my brethren, I can make her feel like I did her a favor.

I am not a salesman. I am a man who, thanks to a few twists and turns on my career ladder, sells things. I really don't know what else I could do anymore. My resume screams sales, and to borrow a line from another Affleck movie, when it came to sales "I could always just play." I won the Dale Carnegie Sales award at 22 besting a hotel ballroom full of guys who had been selling since before my mom met my dad.

But then again, that meeting was nothing more than sales. The old man walked up to my mom at a party and upon seeing her in a two piece bathing suit asked her "does that tan go all the way up?"

But then again, he drank coffee.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Things are starting to look up a bit around here. I'm on my way to getting called up from minors (the very low minors, like rookie league) to a major league job again. Inky is back from 10 days away, which I never enjoy and to top it all off I played another game in the 80's. I got a great assist from Kate Upton yet again and this time my musical support came from Glasvegas since I was listening to their new song Shine Like Stars while I played this game.

I've found the hardest thing to do as an adult is to navigate the highs and lows that life can throw at you. I've had my fair share of lows over the last two years, but I'd like to think that Inky and I have weathered the storm as well as any two people could in our circumstance. Now that it looks like that storm may be passing I'd really relish the chance to be a gracious winner for a bit.

I promise that if I get a few breaks my way I won't be a dick about it. Hear me world? I'd like my breaks now.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Song Spotlight: Architecture in Helsinki - Contact High

Here's a one of the new tracks from another Aussie band I really love. I'm not sure just what it is that I like about this band, but I really love them. The new track is just the perfect song to blare through your speekers as you drive around on a summer day. Enjoy:

If one of these two walls could speak
I'd turn the lights down long enough to hit repeat
Right now my vision is gone and magic's to blame
It's silent down here, hey I want to get loud again
You'll hold the thunder while I bring the rain

I might be dancing doing nothing but I've had my share
You've got a strange infatuation with the elements in the air

Contact high
I'm done dreamin that we can fly
Am I guilty? Boy you decide
I've got nothing to hide

Four letter words won't hold any sway
And in a paradise that shakes the word romantic to the bone
Mystical forces are circling me, while perfect nostalgia is dating the enemy
Lost in the ether with no one to blame
It's silent down here, maybe I want to get loud again

Contact high
I'm done dreamin that we can fly
Am I guilty? Boy you decide
I've got nothing to hide

When we touch I get a
Contact high
I'm done leaving if we can try
Am I guilty? Boy you decide
I've got nothing to hide

I might be dancing doing nothing but I've had my share
You've got a strange infatuation with the elements in the air

Contact high
I'm done dreaming that we can fly
Am I guilty boy u decide
I've got nothing to hide
When we touch I get a
Contact high
Contact high
Contact high


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Aussie Slang: Flat-Track Bully

As Inky and I have immersed ourselves in Aussie culture over the years we've picked up quite a bit of the language. Sure they speak English, but so do people in Birmingham Alabama and England and I can assure you that it sounds like a totally different language. It's not all accent either, although that can play a huge part in understanding well. What really gets you bogged down in trying to understand another English speaking country's pop culture is lingo and slang.

In Oz and the UK alike they love to use rhyming slang which is all but impossible to pick up with out some help. Another main source of slang is sports, which isn't all that different to us Americans. You can hit a home run in business or go to jail after your third strike and so on. Likewise, in some of the Dominion countries cricket slang has crossed over into everyday life. And that is where today's slang term comes from.

Flat-Track Bully (f-lat tr-ack bul-ly) Noun. 1) One who dominates inferior competition but cannot beat top-level opponents, usually in the realm of sports.

I first started hearing this term used during Aussie Rules games, and most recently it has been hurled at Geelong's James Podsiadly. The J-Pod seemed to kick a lot of goals in games that the Cats played at home and won easily but sometimes went missing in big games against top level competition. As a Geelong fan, I vehemently deny these claims and throw them right back at Nick Riewoldt, but that's not what this post is about.

How great is the this saying? At first blush it appears very simple, but when you take a second to think about it and play a scenario out in your head it is wonderfully descriptive. I'm sure everyone knows more than a few people either at work or in their personal lives that embody this saying. I can think of four or five who are currently running for the Republican nomination right now. If you've ever wondered what the un-tough did when the going got tough they just might have turned in to flat-track bullies.

I intend to upload this term into my own personal slang-waggon as of this moment and I suggest you do the same.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Scent of Greazy

I'm a big brand loyalty kind of guy. When I find a product I like, I stick with it for years. And years and years. Inky is the same way, and over the years I've adopted some of the loyalties she had when we got married. For instance, when I was a kid we ate mostly Jif peanut butter but Inky is fiercely attached to Skippy's Super Chunk, and I became a convert. I suppose we're not unlike a lot of other people who can be picky about one brand over another. Like the people that will only drink Coke and if the place they are at doesn't carry it they will have water rather than drink Pepsi.

The first thing that crossed from the "I'll get that if they have it at the store" category to the realm of "if they don't have it, I'll go to another store" for me was deodorant. Namely Old Spice High Endurance Fresh deodorant. After hitting puberty I would put on whatever deodorant my mom got for me and my family begged me to use. When I went off to boarding school at 14 I remember that I used Mitchum spray, but sometimes she got me something else and I just rolled with it.

When I came back home to go to public school for Junior year I stumbled upon my brand loyalty. My dad wore the original Old Spice that came in the cream colored cylindrical container with the screw on top. Some times mom would get a deal on it at Price Club and give me one to use, but I didn't want to wear the same thing my old man did. So one day Mom got me the High Endurance Fresh scent and I liked it immediately.

Back then I also wore cologne because I was legally mandated to as an Italian-American male resident of New Jersey who worked in a pizza parlor. It goes without saying that I wore way too much, so if you asked someone what I smelled like they would have said Drakkar Noir.

I know. Such a stereotype. What can I say? I was 16.

By the time I got to college I hardly ever wore cologne any longer, but I still wore my High Endurance Fresh. Now nearly 20 years later, I can't imagine wearing anything else. It's just what I smell like since I don't wear cologne or aftershave and god knows I have no need for shampoo these days. A few years ago I picked up another one of the High Endurance line by accident and I only made it a few days before I went back to the store to get the right one.

I'm not OCD or anything. When it comes to a whole lot of other products I couldn't care less what I get. Most times I make my choice based on price. But with deodorant there is only one that smells like Greazy. If they ever discontinue it I'll have to buy cases of the stuff like Elaine did with the sponge on Seinfeld.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I'm Still Alive

As much as it kills me to admit that my little 9 inch tall stuffed buddy is right, he is. I've been pretty lax about blogging these days. To say going back to work has been a damper on my "Greazy time" would be a massive understatement. I work noon to 9 Monday through Friday and 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturdays. So when I get up in the morning before work and when I get home at night I'm always more interested in spending time with Inky than surfing the web, blogging or playing minesweeper.

So this afternoon I sat down to do a little of all of the above. First I put together this 104 second game while listening to Megan Washington cover Paul Kelly's "Everybody Loves You Baby". Then I caught up on some web surfing before writing this blog post and a few others that will post during the week. It looks like Sunday is going to have to be my do everything day until I find another job with a more traditional schedule.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Anyone Seen Greazy?

I know Greazy was upset about turning 35 a few weeks ago, but he didn't have to up and disappear. It's like a ghost town up here in the computer room these days. If someone asked me what he's been up to I'd have to shrug my shoulders... if I had shoulders. I rarely see him since his so called "career interregnum" ended three weeks ago. He was still blogging during the first few days but I think the long hours are taking a toll on him now.

Greazy and I have spent our whole lives together, and I've seen him in some situations he wasn't happy with, but this current scenario looks like it may take the cake. Not only are the hours long, but he seems to complain a whole lot about his co-workers, the in's and out's of the job and company. In short, I don't think it's his dream job. In fact, when I do see him at the computer early in the morning or late at night it seems like all he's doing is applying for jobs.

I sure hope he works it out soon. God knows he can't lose any more hair over this.