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The Ramble Rouser
Monday, 21 August 2006
The up to date update
Topic: Jobs! Oh the Jobs!
Well it seemed like it was time to update. Last week was long and tiring. I wasted time Tuesday with an interview with Farmers. I accepted thinking that it was another claims position but when I got there I soon realized it was a sales position. Another position where they expected me to come out of pocket.... I have nothing in my pocket. Why do they require such an investment why can't they help you get started and set up a reinvestment program that a portion of your money made would go back into your business. They could even set it up that if you quit before making certain numbers you would have to pay a portion back. It would get the more serious people in the door and it would provide incentive to keep plugging away. Of course we all know that insurance companies do not like to part with money so none of this is relevant. They will keep doing things the hard way and not allow poor people to get started in their business.

Speaking of the evil insurance companies. Thursday morning I had another interview with a different company. Nationwide insurance. It was for a customer service position. I did the interview my way which was comfortable and then I went to work. Today I got the offer. They want me to work for them as long as I pass the drug test, background check and the credit check. I am sipping on a huge glass of water right now so that I can take care of the drug test. Doesn't it always seem that when you need to pee you can't? The drug test center is right up the street so I will head there in 30 minutes and then I am off to the Borders store for a book reading by Adrienne Barbeau. She was the lady who played 'Rizzo' in Grease. She has been in a lot of things but that is where I know her from. Anyway she wrote her own autobiography and she will be reading from it and it sounds like fun.

In the Tuxedo world, they have hired and fired 3 people last week and they are in dire need of help. People all over the state will be leaving for college and there are major gaps everywhere. I am not sure what they will do about people and I am sure when I give my notice they will be a little dismayed.... I am waiting until the final go ahead from Nationwide. I want to make sure it will happen before I put myself out in the breeze. I have a large amount of debt floating around so that is the only thing I am currently worried about. Well wish me continued luck and have a great day.

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Posted by Michael Williams at 3:42 PM PDT
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Monday, 14 August 2006
The Job and my last 2 day weekend in the near future.
I survived my first 5 days of work. It is a lot of running around and pretending to have a clue about what is going on. Today we got 3 other trainees and one came in wearing a t-shirt. I was pretty amazed. I am slowly getting the hang of measuring people for their tuxedos. I am pretty good at walking the floor with them and helping them select styles. The other guy that started with me took an hour and a half with one couple. I was floored. Like anyone wants to spend that long talking to him. Speaking of the guy I started with this is an interesting story. I got to work on Friday, later then I would have liked but 5 minutes before I would have to start. SO I clocked in and went to work running around, measuring people, and talking to the guy who was leaving the company. I was at work for a half an hour before I noticed that guy was not there yet. We will call him J for the sake of this story. Anyways J was not there and he hadn't called. 2 hours later he was still MIA. They called his phone and he didn't answer. He did not call at all on Friday. So we wrote him off. We figured he had moved on to bigger and better things. So I show up today and we are looking at the schedule because he had figured prominently in this week's schedule and we had figured we had seen the last of him. It started getting busy and I was checking suits back in and sorting them out to be cleaned. All of a sudden I hear Carolyn (the store boss) say "J! What are you doing here?" He went into some stupid story about being on his way to work and having his car break down. He tried to get it startedbut it was not his lucky day. After 15 minutes he called someone to have it towed somewhere. At this point Carolyn says "Oh well we hadn't heard from you and we were worried. We thought you liked it but you just didn't show up or even call." J says well I called Pam (the regional mgr) because all I had was her number around 1 PM. She did not get back to me until Sunday. Carolyn and I were talking during J's hour and a half sale. She doesn't believe him and neither do I. First of all how do you not have the number? It's in the yellow pages. Don't you think if it is your first week you would be trying to get in touch to tell people you are having a day of bad luck as opposed to being fired? Seems fishy right. Let me help you read between the lines. For whatever reasoin J got up and did not want to go to work. Maybe he overslept, maybe it was the 9 am to 8 pm shift he put in or maybe he had a sweet interview to go to. I am not sure but for whatever reason he decided to not go to work today. He waited until late enough in the day to call Pam and wiggle out of it with a car break down story. Except she had had a full week and she had called it a day early. She got back to the phone and called him when she felt like dealing with it. Then J pulled out all the charm and talked his way back into a job. Meanwhile that day of having him gone really earned me points and helped me build confidence in how I do my job. I can handle a lot of scenarios now. So work is going well. I can't say I love it but I can handle it. My weekend was good though. Unfortunately it is the end of the 2 days off in a row as long as I have this job. My dad rolled into town Thursday for a Friday conference. Thursday night we headed to a Chinese food place in my near vincinity in his big ol' (make that new) Dodge Ram. Friday night my dad cooked. Saturday we hung out all day in downtown Portland. We rode the bus into town and we just went romping about. We headed to Henry's for the burgers. I had a Brewery BBQ Burger and he had the Mushroom Swiss Burger. We split them up so we could have half of each. I learned that I prefer my burger to his. We cruised around on the street car and ended up at Bridgeport Brewery. We shared a sampler and decided that if we had our druthers we would go somewhere else but we did find a few beers that we could stomach.We liked the Amber, the porter and (suprisingly) the ESB. We could tolerate the Stout and the IPA. We did not like the Pale Ale or the Barleywine. The Supris made us nearly revisit our lunch. From there we headed to Borders and spent some quality time with books we had no intention of actually buying. Then we headed back to Henry's for a beer during happy hour. My chice, Paulaner Octoberfest, had went bad and it soured my experience. Even the excellent Hoegaarden did not revitalize the experience. We threw in some great crab cakes into the mix and then headed back home on the bus. Sunday I cooked breakfast and we ran a few errands and then he headed back home.

Posted by Michael Williams at 3:54 PM PDT
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Wednesday, 9 August 2006
The new gig...
Topic: Jobs! Oh the Jobs!
I never knew how much choice went into selecting a tuxedo. I guess since I have never selected a tuxedo before I never really understood how many choices there were. I have definately worn tuxes but I have always been part of the wedding party and the marrying couple do the picking. I never went to prom and as best as I can recall I never got married not even all those drunken nights spent in Vegas. There was no Britney Spears moments that I recall. So if one day a lady shows up at my door claiming to be my wife I will be as flummoxed as you will be. So all these choices are being presented to me and I am trying to remember there crazy numbering system on top of it. Another thing that is completely new is having to measure people. I did it twice today and I was downright flustered. The other new guy I am training with seems to be a better fit for this vocation. He seems to be a little more in tuoch with his fashion sense and has opinions about things. I am pretty much good with all the styles but he can talk for hours about what he likes and doesn't. I am not sure that he is gay but he definately would be metrosexual. If you are new to the term google it. The first day we spent reading, walking the floor and looking at the various styles, exploring the warehouse facility where they dryclean, press and configure the tuxedos. Today we started off reading about measurements, practicing measuring and then we spent the rest of the day helping out on the floor. I felt like an idiot measuring people because I could never get the tape to work with me. I did enter an entire order from walk in to walk out. I also assisted in the checking in and out of tuxes. It was pretty exciting, action packed and getting a chance to do it started putting things into perspective. I still feel timid about all this but I know that soon I will feel right at home. Tomorrow we start at 9AM and burn until 7PM. We will start in the back wharehouse where we will put together several tuxes to be pulled for tomorrow. Then we will head up front and check out tuxes all day. It should be slamming busy and that will be a good way to learn. I have to tell you that my feet are killing me. My dogs are definately barking! I have a good idea what I will be investing in when I have a few bucks to spend. Comfortable dress shoes made for standing all day. Do you have any recommendations? BTW no one has commented on the new blog layout.....

Posted by Michael Williams at 2:10 PM PDT
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Monday, 7 August 2006
The Rambling Review of CHICKEN LITTLE
There has been a lot going on in the past week. I have given up my cable because I couldn't afford it. I have taken and quit a job. I am about to start a new job o tomorrow. It seemed like a day to see a movie. I had canceled Netflix but apparently not before they took their $15.00 charge out. So when I checked the mail I had 2 films waiting for me. Chicken Little and Aeon Flux. I looked at the two and I thought Chicken Little is the safe bet..... so now I bring you the RAMBLING REVIEW of CHICKEN LITTLE!!!

(These reviews so need theme music)

 This is a Disney movie that is retelling an old fable. Familiar country for that kid friendly giant with the mouse ears. Unfortunately everyone that made this film is a comlete and total idiot. Ok, maybe I am going to far. Maybe kids shows don't have to be good, I mean they are after all for kids. The same group that love Barney, Teletubbies and the Wiggles. It's not as if they are charging money to both child and adults to see this. Oh wait they are. This is not ok there is no excuse for this movie. This movie was just plain awful. It is not funny, entertaining or even all that clever. Hold on this is a review not a bash so let me step back for a minute.

 The story. A small crazy chicken freaks out his town, not a barn but a town. Yes there are no humans in this town it is just like a Richard Scarry book brought to life, if Richard Scarry was the worst writer in the world! Anyway so he freaks out the whole town by telling them the sky is falling. Mayhem ensues and then they figure he must be crazy. His dad hurriedly pushes the my son is crazy angle. His dad is lame, there are no redeeming qualities in his dad. He doesn't believe in his son until the end and he basically makes Chicken Little feel like a failure through the whole movie. Great fun... laugh riot. I love movies about disfunctional family relations and I bet so do the kids!! Anyway so everyone turns it into a big teasing game. The other animals are mean to him except an ugly duck, a pig so fat it can't hardly move and and a fish with a divers helmet full of water. Yeah, gee, I wonder why he gets picked on. Of course we find out that something really did fall from the sky. It was a piece of an alien spacecraft. The aliens seem mean and chase Chicken Little and his homies around until once again Chicken Little alerts the town and the town misses the show completely and they think he is crazy again. Dad comes back in apologizing for the kid. Then Chicken Little discovers a little alien that was left behind. At that moment the aliens start invading but they don't want to conquer the world they just want to find their kid. So a lot of senseless and stupid mayhem ensues, Chicken Little and his dad make up, Chicken Little shows the ugly duck some love and then he, his friends and his pops save the day. Woofreakinghoo! But wait there's more! The end has them all watching a movie abut what happened. It was like channeling Pee Wee's Big Adventure's ending. This was the best part. The last 2 minutes. They have some serious star power in this movie: Garry Marshall, Zach Braff, Don Knotts, Patrick Stewart, Wallace Shawn, Joan Cusack, and Adam West. I mean they have quite a list of people but the movie was just bad. There was nothing redeemable about this movie. It wasn't cute, the story was horrible, and the characters were annoying. This screen shot of the pig shows exactly what I thought of the movie - A real stomach turner!


Posted by Michael Williams at 2:14 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 7 August 2006 9:19 PM PDT
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Sunday, 6 August 2006
The amazing allure of the dollar
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: One Ramblin' Ranter!
So my life and my job status are in upheaval.... An interesting series of events have made me switch career paths already.... It seems that the best thing to do is write a blog about.... About shopping.

I headed out last night to get a gallon of milk. I had found out that the nearby Walgreen's had milk for sale at a $1.99 per gallon of milk. That is the most I am willing to pay for milk. Anything higher is too high. That was the only reason I was in there and that was the only thing I was going to buy. I was wandering about looking at things because you should always shop at a leisurely pace and you should never shop for groceries on an empty stomach. I was slowly making my way to the cooler when I spied a box of Crunch n' Munch for a dollar. Now had it been a dollar and change it would have been overlooked but something about the magical price of a dollar seems to make sense to me. Anything for a dollar has a higher chance of being bought by me. Once it goes over a dollar I debate the merits of the purchase. A dollar is the magic price for me. So I grabbed a box. I continued on and as I neared the milk cooler I first passed the frozen food section. Last week I had bought a small pint of ice cream at the dollar price and I was checking to see if that sale was still going. It wasn't but that was when I noticed microwaveable french fries for a dollar. I soon realized that I needed to stop leisurely perusing the store because all I had was 5 dollars to spend anyway. So I grabbed the milk and dragged myself away from everything else that was priced with a huge dollar sticker. I would have bought a pair of blinders had they been a dollar just to make it out of the store. I paid for the items and hopped into the car and headed home wear I dined on Crunch n' Munch and french fries. Talk about health nut!

So what is the deal with my compulsion to buy things at a dollar price range? What makes me spend so much at the dollar store? Something about knowing that my items only cost a dollar a piece give me the illusion of frugality. In reality I spend 20 dollars easily every time I hit the dollar store. I love Albertson's as well because they have the 10 for $10 sales all the time. I try things that I would normally ignore if they are at the excellent and amazingly tantalizing price of a dollar. It is crazy! I have decided that I want to let major manufacturers realize that I am more then willing to eat smaller portions if they price those at a dollar. I am more likely to get on the bandwagon of new items if I can get them for a dollar. That being said I still think Mac and cheese should be 10 for a buck, candy bars should max out at a buck, I should be able to get a six pack soda for a buck and a gallon of gas for a buck. I might be a little behind the times on somethings but you know that if everything had a quantity for a dollar you would buy it too....

I think next time I get a date I might take her to the dollar store and say anything you want is yours... hehe

Posted by Michael Williams at 1:26 PM PDT
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Friday, 4 August 2006
My day or a lesson in the proper use of mental shielding
Mood:  energetic
Topic: One Ramblin' Ranter!
I should be in bed already....

I mean it is way too late to be up and writing a blog entry that I could have wrote hours ago. Unfortunately someimtes I can't fall asleep until what I need to do is done. This time I think it is a quick or semi quick entry and then maybe then I can fall into sleep. It's a big day tomorrow and I am nervous....

Today was a good day. Ice Cube wrote about a 'good day' in a rap song but this was a good day completely different from that one. I don't live in the 'hood and I don't get harassed by the police. I don't even get to duck during drive bys.... So not having those things happen is not a new experience or a good experience it is just a normal experience. Today was a good day because I went out and explored a little and it didn't even cost me gas. My mom hooked up the bus pass for the month of August. So all I had to do was get to a bus stop. On the bus I studied collegiate promotional materials and tried to decide what programs made sense. I was at a stopping point and still on the bus. So I took a few minutes to look around. I noticed other people buried in books, plugged into iPods, and otherwise staring out the window. No one spoke to each other. No one made eye contact everyone created a mental barrier and hid behind it. I returned to my perusing of the course catalog for Marylhurst University and retreated back to my secret wall. In reality I was staring at the book and periodically flipping the pages while I thought about the reality of today's world. We are so scared of bad people and awkward situations that most of us do our living in specific places. With a core group of friends and family, people from work and hundreds of people on the internet. We actively guard against unwanted contact so much that the person right next to us might have been the friend or special someone we always look for. I started thinking about my barriers and I started to slowly take them down. I put the book away. I sat up straighter and I let my mouth position itself into a smile. Unfortunately the bus and the tram that followed are not the places to make direct eye contact. The more you look around and watch the more people develop a hole in their vision for where you are. I was determined to not let that affect me. I stepped off the tram and, still wearing that smile, I went into the library to return the books I had had for a month and a half that I probably spent 10 minutes looking at. Then I headed into the fiction section and selected a few books to peruse. It happened to be busy and every table had a person (not people just a person) sitting there. One table was particularly long so I headed over there and I asked to share the table and was met with a mumbled ascent and the person reengaged themselves to reading their book. The smile had not worked so far. I read for a while and after getting a wee bit antsy I decided to look for a few other books. I headed up the stairs to the third floor where the art books were. I was looking for a book on bookbinding and figured it would be a good place to start. I was wrong and I had to descend a level. I was wandering around looking for my section when a librarian asked if she could help me. My instincts and reflexes produced "No, I'm ok." Then I remembered my promise. I turned back to her and I said: "Actually I am looking for this series of numbers but I must have missed them." She took me over to the section and I thanked her and she went back to collating or whatever it is that librarians do... I had made contact... not significant contact but it was a step in the right direction. I selected a book and headed own to the checkout area. I was heading towards the machines that let you do it yourself but I realized what I was doing and changed course. The lady checked the book to me and asked about whether I had done any bookbinding and next thing you know we had a conversation. Success! Unfortunately another person was waiting to check out and we said our good-byes. I headed from there to the art supply shop to look at expensive paper and try to price the book binding equipment suggested in my book. I had a few dollars in my pocket so I bought a paper awl and as I was checking out the art school kids running the counter were discussing the merits of Gone With The Wind. One girl behind the counter had only made it to the horse death scene where Scarlet rides and whips the poor thing to an early grave. She had quit there and had never looked back. Two others including the girl that was helping me were extolling the virtues of the movie. Calling it the greatest movie ever. I had been debating whether to get into this ruckus and this was my chance. I have never been a huge fan of the movie so I said "You have to see it. You have to watch it all the way through. You don't have to like it but it is a part of American cinematic history. It is referenced in pop culture still. You have to see it for the referencing alone. Then once you have seen it you never have to watch it again. I haven't." This got a laugh from the girl who had abandoned the movie and a newcomer who added his two cents "Worst movie ever made". The two lovers of the movie were shocked and with a giggle I left with my paper awl. I continued wandering around with my smile and my urge to socialize. I wandered a mall called Pioneer Place which is a 4 story indoor mall. It has two sections which means if you walk in on one street you come out 2 streets down at the other side. I rode the escalators up and down every level and then headed out and caught the tram back to the bus stop. Along the way the tram was crowded it was rush hour and I remembered why people put up a mental wall on the bus. This guy got on and he looked older then dirt. A lady kindly offered his seat which he exclaimed "I am only 39!" Then proceeded to ramble in his slurry speech about this horrible story and that horrible story. He survived cancer but his wife left him, his neighbor skipped town and left an annoying cat whining in his house that he was taking to the pound, every young person thought he was old even genuinely old people offered their seat to him, did I mention he was slurring his words and looked like he was older then dirt? So I put my smile back in my pocket and I brought the newly borrowed library book out and I checked back in to my mental barriers. I realized the likelihood of sitting and trying to fake my interest for a 40 minute bus ride would be to much and I decided to avoid that. SO smile when you can escape but be protective when there is no escape.

Good Night (or good morning depending on where you read this),
Reverand Michael James Williams

Posted by Michael Williams at 1:46 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006 1:47 AM PDT
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Thursday, 3 August 2006
A quick update and 2 quick movie reviews
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: One Ramblin' Ranter!
My idea of a position that needs to be filled quickly and the pub's idea seem to be two different conclusions. I figured I would be working by Wednesday if not Tuesday. They have me coming in for orientation on Friday. They still haven't given me any idea on hours I will work. So I am still in the dark. I hate waiting. I do have a pretty big interview before I go to the orientation and with any luck that interview will go somewhere. We shall see.

In the meantime I am completely caught up with my dvr'd shows and I have watched all of my netflix movies and I am a day away from replenishment. So I have nothing to do really. So I have decided to head downtown via the bus. My mom bought me a month pass and I am aching to use it.

I wanted to just quickly review 2 movies I saw this week. The first was Dave Chapelle's Block Party. I saw Dave Chappelle and was sure it would be a lauhg riot but what it was was a big concert that Dave put on with several hip hop stars. Sure he was being Dave in it but it wasn't a comedy. It was kind of interesting. They showed Dave going out promoting a free concert in Brooklyn. He invited several people from his Ohio town including the local college band. He provided their transportation as well. Then he was in New York promoting the show. It was free! It included acts like Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, The Roots, Erykah Badu, and a reunited Fugees group. It was actually a very entertaing movie and a great concert. I would recommend this to people who like hip hop music or people that used to like rap music. I was amazed that they actually said something in their music. In popular rap music today they are too busy telling you how rich they are and how many cars they have or how much Cristal Champagne they guzzle. So it was fun to hear some people who still think hip hop can say and mean something.

The other one was The Ringer..... Yeah don't bother. It was painfully stupid and very hard to watch. It took me 4 hours to watch it and it is only an hour and a half long. Apparently Special Olympics signed off on this movie, it doesn't make fun of the people a whole lot in fact many of the actors in this movie are "special". It is still a horribly painful movie to watch. So just walk by it.... or better yet run away from it.

Posted by Michael Williams at 12:07 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2006 12:06 PM PDT
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Tuesday, 1 August 2006
A little update
Mood:  spacey
Topic: One Ramblin' Ranter!
It is a new month. I have a new job.... that I am not sure when I get to start. That should be answered today. I am supposed to get a call from the boss. She will let me know what the shifts will be. In the meantime I am heading to a few schools to see about going back to school. Today I will be talking to Marylhurst and Portland State University. I have an appointment with Marylhurst but I plan on just showing up at PSU.

I still have a few interviews this week. One of them is a hold over from last week that I set up not sure if I would have a job or not. Now that I do that one is one I want to cancel. I looked up the company and from what I can tell it is not my scene. The other is a well paying gig that would take advantage of my insurance industry knowledge. I do want that one.

Other then that everything is going as good as it can when you are unemployed and have no money. :)

Posted by Michael Williams at 7:32 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006 7:37 AM PDT
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Friday, 28 July 2006
WOO(freakin')HOO
Mood:  vegas lucky
Topic: One Ramblin' Ranter!
I am adding another report to let you know I was offered a job. I did indeed accept it as well. I was offered a position at McMenamin's in West Lynn, OR. I will be part of the pubstaff. My job duties will include: Serving, pouring drinks, waiter, cook, cleaning crew, prep crew. I am looking forward to starting although it is a bit hazy about when that is. The boss lady has the weekend off so she will be calling me Saturday to let me know when and possibly where my training shifts will be. I may need to train at another facility because apparently the pub I will work at will be mad crazy busy. Which is good. Don't ask about money because I didn't. COnsidering the job it probably is hugely good that it is tip aided. The tips are community so everyone shares the tip pot at the end of the shift.

This is also the job that stirred me to write the previous entry (Employers and their words of impending doom!) about the doomsaying ways of employers. She talked about the kitchen being 107 degrees because they can't air condition it and get all made to order food out properly..... which made no sense but I just nodded and smiled. She also talked about upset customers and sometimes the kitchen being slow. She talked about every horrible thing she could think of and I smiled and nodded politely. Apparently that was a good move because later in the day I was awarded the job with the kitchen from Hell.

You win some and you lose some.....

Posted by Michael Williams at 10:46 PM PDT
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Employers and their words of impending doom!
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: One Ramblin' Ranter!
I have noticed a disturbing trend with employers lately. They are extremely negative about the jobs they hire for. They tell you about the worst possible situations and conditions they can think of. They tell you about the non-stop horrible occurences. They ask about how you would handle an extremely hard day when nothing goes well. They make you want to quit before you even get the job.

They say that this is to prepare you for those times. They want you to be informed. They feel "honesty is the best policy". They scare you into nearly crying everytime you walk into their establishment and see the poor workers. It's horrible and yet it is a good thing right? They let you know you can have bad days. That is realistic and good right? There intentions are honorable right?

I tend to see it a different way. They are painting this bleak little picture because they want to be able to say "I told you..." They want to take away complaints before they are complaints. They want to be able to work you to death and blow you off with the words: "You knew what you were getting into when we had our interview!"

It is stupid.

Posted by Michael Williams at 12:28 PM PDT
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