The Tempest Online™

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Archive for November, 2008

Black Friday – Aptly Named

Posted by Daniel on November 28, 2008

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I have never gone shopping on what is called “Black Friday”, or the day after Thanksgiving.

For one, I hate the crowds.  Secondly, I know that the so-called “reduced” or “prices slashed” or whatever gimmick they use are a bunch of B.S.  We all know that the stores jack up the prices and THEN “reduce” them.  So you’re actually not getting a deal, but instead are paying slightly more (in many cases).

Then this morning I read on the news wire yet another reason to avoid shopping today.  A WalMart employee died three minutes after opening the doors to the drooling masses.  He, along with four other people, was trampled by a stampede of shoppers.  The other four employees are recovering but the fifth one suffered a heart attack after being knocked down to the floor, stomped, crushed and trampled.

Is this really where we are as a people?  Have we, as a species, truly come to the point of resembling herds of wildebeast trying to cross the crocodile-infested rivers in Africa?  Doesn’t matter who gets trampled and killed, so long as we get the last Barbie Doll?

Seth just left for work (his job is at one of the malls here) and I told him to be careful today.  Granted, the opening rush has already occurred, but you never know just how desperate these people will be if it means an extra 10% off a nosehair trimmer.

Be careful out there, shoppers.
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Posted in Common Sense, Life, News, Our Writings | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Giving Thanks For The Memories

Posted by Daniel on November 25, 2008

Friends...Yeah, right!!

Friends...Yeah, right!!

So here’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving (and these are not in a particular order…just going from those in KC to those here in CA):

  1. Steve” – for giving me seven years of, at the very least, laughs. He was a great spouse and, I’d like to think, a great friend.
  2. Steve’s Sister” – for opening my eyes and showing me that being cynical proved me right.
  3. Todd – for all the fantastic and intellectually stimulating conversations over the years. Except when you were drunk, you made FAR more sense than I ever gave you credit for.
  4. Desch – for taking all my hand-me-down’s. 😉 But mostly for being there over all those years. I always loved you.
  5. Scott – You still knock my socks off. You are thought of every day and twice on Sundays. You’re still my hero.
  6. Ray – I love you, you Ass Hat!!! And I am going to miss your drunk ham…and your chins…and the laughs.
  7. Gina – I miss you, terribly. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Oh, and IT WASN’T A NAIL!!! 🙂
  8. Bev & Mel – I love and miss you both. And what your were told by you-know-who, was NOT true.
  9. Ric & Virgie – That goes double for you two. Happy holidays, darlin’s.
  10. Terry & Theresa – Everything you both did for us since we arrived here in CA. I’m also thankful that my brother is recovering nicely from recent surgery. And Theresa, for all the “girl talk”.
  11. My Family – because I’ve missed you all so very much over all these years and am glad to finally be home. Not to mention all the free entertainment we get from you Italian messes.
  12. Aubrey – Because you will be finding peanuts in your shit for YEARS, and that will be grist for many smiles to come.
  13. Mary – because contrary to your luck and the evil plot that many food items seem to have against you, you are still alive. I can hardly wait to see what happens to you when I bring you Jello.
  14. Nicki – I still wanna have your baby…well, not yours, per se, but it was the thought that counted.
  15. Rebecca – I can’t thank YOU enough!!! But I will spend my life trying.
  16. Mommy – what can I say? I blame you for all the laughs in my life. And I can’t thank you enough, either.
  17. Seth – I think you know.
  18. An Upcoming Trip – I will be going back to Kansas City to retrieve the belongings I had to leave behind in order to make this move to CA. the ex was gracious enough to store them for me at the house and very soon I will be going back there to load them up and bring it all here. I miss my bed and SO much more.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

Posted in Family, Friends, Holiday Fun, Life, Our Writings, Today's Rant | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

When It Rains…

Posted by Daniel on November 24, 2008

Wow. You just never know what’s going to come at you sometimes.

One door closes and another opens…VERY slowly…but open it does.

Here I was worrying about my assignment with the agency ending thinking, “What am I going to do now? Rent? Car payment? Bills? I’m so screwed!!”

Then BAM!!! The owner of the apartment complex we live in asked me to be his new office manager/accountant for not only this place, but also the other four places he owns around town. All the work to be done out of the office twenty feet away from my front door.

Ten dollars an hour and a free 2-bedroom apartment…and that’s just to start. Plus bonuses.

Yeah me!!!
Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Posted in Life, Work | 3 Comments »

Caught On Tape – Again

Posted by Daniel on November 21, 2008

What you’re about to hear is a portion of a jaw-dropping speech delivered by an Oklahoma State Representative at a gathering in her district.  This is what they say when they think we’re not listening.

Posted in Common Sense, GLBT, Religion, Today's Rant | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

A Waste Of Who’s Time?

Posted by Daniel on November 20, 2008

PhotobucketResumes…these are basically defined as a brief summary of the education, experience, accomplishments, and other professional qualifications of a person, such as that prepared by one applying for a job.

It can arguably be said that I have, in the past six months, submitted well over 1500 resumes since moving here to California.

Everyday, I seem to get a dozen or so emails from CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, etc., telling me new ways to maximize my resumes’ exposure while at the same time dazzling the prospective employers. And the links they provide take me to books that are for sale written to tell you how to – and how not to write a resume.

I noticed several things about these how-to books that pissed me off…

1. The cost.

The average price of these pearls of wisdom was around $39.00. Seems to me that the people writing these worthless tomes never had to write their own resumes…not when they are raking in $39.00 from those of us who actually want to work and get desperate enough to buy this shit.

2. The fact that these how-to books look more like encyclopedias.

The shortest book on how to write a resume that I came across was eighty-four pages long. Another (written by the very same author) was 480 pages. Both of these, as well as all the others I’ve read, use the same sentence as their main theme, “Keep your resume as brief as possible, and never make it more than one page long.” Great, it took you 480 pages to tell me that. Enjoy my money, asshole.

3. A necessity to “dazzle” the prospective employers.

According to these so-called experts, not only should we strive to keep our blathering down to one page, but we are also supposed to make eyes bulge with glee when they see this page. And they have some very creative ways for us to dazzle a prospective interviewer…

  1. Professional Fonts
  2. Line Spacing
  3. Giving your resume a “name”.
  4. Don’t write about your past.
  5. Write a brief personal history. (so much for #4)
  6. If you have gaps in employment…fix them!!!

There are many other ways you are supposed to implement to “dazzle” employers, but, ironically, I can’t fit them all on one page.

Here’s my question…Who’s time is really being wasted with resumes?

These books tell you to not waste the prospective interviewers time with a lengthy or “unprofessional” resume. Keep it brief and yet it should drip with syrup and confetti (the dazzling part?). Employers or personnel officers may look through hundreds of applications and may spend only a few seconds reviewing your resume. When I think of that, I think I’ve just plain been wasting my time.

I used to be an HR director and one of my responsibilities was to advertise for available positions, field applications and resumes, and to conduct the interviews, as well as doing the ultimate hiring.

In performing the entire hiring process – from advertising to actual hiring – I can honestly say that resume review is done differently by every person in the hiring position. I know a lot of other folks who had the same kind of position in their respective companies as I did, and in our many conversations, all of them had very different methods of resume review and vastly different criteria in applicants.

I, for one, never used the length (or brevity) of someone’s resume as a factor in their qualifications. Neither was I expecting to be dazzled – or offended – by the applicants choice of font!!! When I needed to fill a position, I just used my brain. I knew what position needed to be filled, which required me to understand every requirement an employee would need to fill that position.

When hiring, I look over the application. Then read through the resume (yeah, sometimes it does require a little patience, but that’s part of my job, so I deal with it!!). If the candidate has the experience required to fill this position, that person goes into the pile I have set aside for an interview. When the time comes, and after the initial interviews, I go through that ‘further review‘ pile and whittle down the candidates to the top three who I think merit a second interview. By this time, I’ve already run the necessary background checks that are required by law and the company for hiring.

After the second interview of the three finalists, I submit my findings and notes to the supervisor of the hiring department for their consideration. A final decision, and subsequent hiring phone call, are made thereafter.

But that’s just me, I guess.  As I said, most HR folks have their own determining methods in their hiring process.

I suppose my point here is that you know your skills and your experience(s) better than anyone. You want the job, obviously, but you also have to use common sense when writing your resume. If you are applying for a Staff Accountant position, make sure your resume highlights all pertinent information that shows you can understand and do that job.

Don’t write a novel, but also don’t short-sell your experience. There are those employers/interviewers who want to know something about you that you might have left off that resume because you listened to some pontificating asshole (like me) who said, “Less is more.”

Oh, and just so you know, I’ve always thought “Cover Letters” were a complete waste of time. Done right, your resume should be able to tell my just how much you can bring to our company. I think requiring an added sheet (really? aren’t we supposed to keep this shit brief??) is a waste of paper.

And so are those books on how to/not to write a resume.

Remember, while you are trying to find ways not to waste the time of a prospective employer/interviewer, don’t forget that you also shouldn’t waste your time trying to condense a lifetime of experience into one paragraph with pretty font.

Bottom line, any employer/interviewer worth their salary will do a little research (read resumes) if they don’t want to miss out on hiring that perfect employee.

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Posted in Bad Advice Meant Well, Common Sense, Op-Ed, Our Writings, Today's Rant, Work | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Dusting Off D.A.D.T

Posted by Daniel on November 19, 2008

End This Policy Now

The lead sponsor of a bill to overturn the controversial Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law said the law could conceivably be passed in the first year of President-elect Obama’s administration.

President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military.

A transition office spokesman refused to comment for this story but two months ago, Obama signaled he would move cautiously, telling the Philadelphia Gay News newspaper he would first get the military on board:

“Although I have consistently said I would repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I believe that the way to do it is to make sure that we are working through processes, getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be,” he said.

A bill to replace “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, with a policy of nondiscrimination, has 149 co-sponsors in the house, including California’s Ellen Tauscher, a Democrat. Tauscher said with new administration, the timing is right to try and pass the bill.

“The key here is to get bills that pass the House and the Senate, that we can get to president-elect Obama to sign, and I think that we can do that, certainly the first year of the administration,” Tauscher said.

Gay rights advocates say it’s important for the new President to avoid the ham-fisted attempt President Clinton tried in 1993, when he naively promised to lift the ban by executive order.

That roiled the Pentagon brass — including then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell — and provoked a fierce backlash from conservatives in Congress.

As a result Congress stripped President Clinton of his power to change the policy and forced him to accept the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell compromise — a law that can only be repealed by Congress.

But after 15 years and four wars, attitudes in the Pentagon — and among the public — have changed dramatically.

A Washington Post-ABC news poll this summer found 75 percent of Americans support allowing gays to serve openly, compared to only 45 percent back in 1993.

More than 100 retired U.S. military leaders — including the former head of the Naval Academy — have signed a statement calling for an end to the military’s “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy, according to a California-based think tank that supports the movement.

Retired Admiral Charles Larson, the former Naval Academy superintendent, tops the list of 104 retired general and admirals who want the government to repeal the policy, the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, announced Monday.

Posted in Common Sense, GLBT, News, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Transition Constipation

Posted by Daniel on November 17, 2008

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I hate writing Monday posts. You’re expected to write about all the fun crap you did over the weekend. This poses an especially difficult challenge for me, as we don’t do an awful lot on weekends these days due to limited everything. Times being as they are.

Honestly, who can afford anything these days? And if you can, congrats.

I chose not to do any writing because I’ve been intentionally ignoring most of the post-election punditry because from now until the architect of economic death leaves the White House, my head just doesn’t have any extra room for that stuff.

So what, exactly did we do over the weekend?

Well, Friday Seth wanted wine after a particularly hard work day. So we went to the store to fetch what just as easily could have been a cheap bottle of Chablis. His knowledge of wines is about as limited as Bush’s chances for sainthood. We could have been there for a few minutes, but, know-it-all that I am, I saw an impromptu opportunity to teach the little lamb a thing or two about the intricacies of wines…and which ones to stay away from.

From white to red, dry to sweet, import vs. domestic. And all the while, he really seemed interested, but the look on his face was as glazed as a Thanksgiving ham. I could tell I talked so much that he was now in need of two bottles. So my Fraser impersonation, I allowed him to get a bottle of something that had the word Merlot on the bottle…right under the word Blueberry. Yeah, I know. So as a compromise, I talked him into getting a bottle of Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon. Not exactly top of the line, but definitely a step closer to something made out of actual grapes.

Okay, so that was our Friday night. Don’t envy us.

Saturday we went to the home of a lovely lady we know who owns a very successful and upscale salon/spa. The reason for our visit was that we were asked to help her with a party she is having for 80+ guests next Saturday. Okay, so it’s cater-waitering, but we don’t sneeze at opportunity when it ties our shoes together and trips us. It ought to prove to be an interesting night, to say the least.

Mostly because we will get to meet and rub shoulders with the elite movers and shakers (last year these people were caught dancing on beds in high heels) of Fresno. But also because I will be insisting on tips.

Yesterday (Sunday) we pretty much made the usual rounds. Went to my mom & dads’ for lunch. We do this every Sunday. Seth got to meet another one of my brothers. What an event for him. You know the sibling you just can’t under any circumstances see eye to eye with? That’s John and I. We couldn’t be any more polar opposite if we tried. And Seth got to see that in action. Poor guy.

Then we took the usual leftovers to the home of my oldest brother and his wife. He’s just recovering from some major surgery, so he was in need of a care package of good Italian cooking. He also needed his yards mowed, and I was all-too-happy to volunteer Seth for the job. He did such a great job and Theresa and I helped as best we could…by sitting on the patio smoking and drinking while supervising.

So there it is…our glamorous fun-filled weekend. Now for another week of getting ready to repeat the process.

Have a great week, everyone.

Posted in Family, Friends, Life, Our Writings | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Finding Humor And Irony

Posted by Daniel on November 13, 2008

Today, Seth and I spent over eight hours at the hospital and I am more sure than ever we are going to burn in hell.  Not literally…but boy we must have pissed off a few saints at the very least.

Let me explain…

My oldest brother was there having orthescopic surgery on his shoulder.  He’s had this coming, really.  You just can’t ride bulls in rodeos for twenty years (yeah, we are the typical spaghetti western kind of Italians) and do all the butch things that Mr. Testosteroni (the Italian spelling) did all his life and not do some prolonged damage.  And we saw the pictures the surgeon took inside his shoulder…it was a mess.  A meat-covered train wreck.

So his wife (who happens to also be my BFF) needed someone to hang out at the hospital with her for the occasional cig and laughs.

She got both…in abundance.

Keep in mind, this particular hospital (St. Agnes) is a catholic hospital.  So that right there was two strikes against it with me.  No, I don’t have anything against the religious part of that (though I almost burst into flames as we walked past the chapel).  It’s just there were all those nuns.  They were all Sister Mary Fill-In-The-Blank.

Sidenote:  I was raised Catholic, so I have a reason for my sarcastic look at things.  Besides, as I always tell people, “I was raised Catholic.  We never read the Bible…We just took everyone else’s word for it.”

Anyway, we were there for so long today.  Seth and I waited in the lobby for over an hour and in no time we’d run out of people to make fun of.  Plus, I was busy sending my sister in-law horribly tasteless text messages…you know, just to keep her laughing.  It worked, because I can get pretty graphic when properly motivated.

When she finally joined us during the surgery time, we three had a blast yucking it up…well, that and watching Seth steal assloads of sugar packets.  And for some reason, the air in hospitals always gives me the worst gas.

Yeah, we’re a classy little troupe.

In the end, my brother pulled through it without any complications and all of OUR victims made it through for the most part unscathed.

And to top off this long day, I happened to notice one more thing to laugh about while in this hospital.  It is a little piece of irony that I take pride in knowing that I was the FIRST person EVER to notice (as the lady at the desk told me).  Take a look at this painting (picture taken with my cell phone)…

Enjoy…

Beautiful, huh?

Beautiful, huh?

…then look at the blow-up of the bottom-left corner…the artist’s signature…

Darwin?  Musselman??

Darwin? Musselman??

I just thought it was pretty funny that a painting like this would be done by someone named DARWIN!!

Posted in Family, Just For Fun, Life, Our Writings | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Where’s The Off-Switch For My Brain?

Posted by Daniel on November 11, 2008

Had another bout with “Busy Mind Syndrome” this past week. If you’re not familiar with this condition, then yeah for you.

For those who don’t know, “Busy Mind Syndrome” is a condition I invented (in my always-busy mind…ironic, huh?) to describe those nights I just can’t seem to get any sleep.

I could hit myself over the head with a hammer, and my mind still wouldn’t shut off long enough to drift to sleep.

Mind you, this isn’t something I would want to actually try…just seems an awful waste of a good hammer.

It’s bad enough dealing with the daily (hell…HOURLY) stress of A.D.H.D. But at night it takes hours for me to douche the day out of my head in an effort to enjoy beddie-bye time.

Yeah, there are pills and stuff I could take. Been there, tried them all. Warm milk? Done that…and, um, ewwwwwww!!! Sleepy-Time tea…C’mon, I ain’t THAT gay!!!

So I am trying to sleep the other night and, as is usually the case, my mind is racing in a billion directions and won’t shut the hell up. So I throw myself out of bed in a huff (not a pretty scene, trust me) and trudge my tired ass here to the PC. I figure since I can’t sleep, I’ll just try reorganizing the zillions of files stored here. With any luck, I’ll pass out from utter boredom. Sure, I’ll wake up with the keyboard wedged to my face, but it’s a small price to pay for REM sleep.

Didn’t happen.

I’ve never seen the files on this PC look so put together. Only it did nothing to calm my brain down.

Blast!!!

Well, might as well put this shit to some creative use. Then I come up with an idea. Not so much for sleep (figures), but I have always wanted to create a visual interpretation of the inner workings of this now-cranky cranium.

Behold, the inside of my brain…

Daniel's Overworked Mind

Daniel

And there you have it.

I’m going to bed now…again. See you all online in an hour.

Posted in Life, Our Writings, Today's Rant | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Palin-ian Nation – Goodbye 2012

Posted by Daniel on November 10, 2008

PhotobucketIt strikes me as sad that we will, unfortunately, not be hearing the end of former (and fortunately unsuccessful) Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin any time soon. And, as in the case of the following, not for all the reasons she would like to remain in the limelight.

Palin was blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama.

Palin’s attacks on Barack Obama’s patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of “palling around with terrorists”, citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers. A claim that Presidential candidate, John McCain was all too happy to rally behind.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling “terrorist” and “kill him” until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin’s attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: “Why would they try to make people hate us?”

The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Mrs Palin’s credentials as a future presidential candidate. She is already a frontrunner, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, to take on Mr Obama in four years time.

Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: “Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues.”

Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama’s patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.

That claim is part of a campaign of targeted leaks designed to torpedo her ambitions, with claims that she did not know that Africawas a continent rather than a country.

The advisers have branded her a “diva” and a “whack job” and claimed that she did not know which other countries are in the North American Free Trade Area, (Canada and Mexico). They say she spent more than $150,000 on designer clothes, including $40,000 on her husband Todd and that she refused to prepare for the disastrous series of interviews with CBS’s Katie Couric.

In a bid to salvage her reputation Mrs Palin came out firing in an interview with CNN, dismissing the anonymous leakers in unpresidential language as “jerks” who had taken “questions or comments I made in debate prep out of context.”

She said: “I consider it cowardly. It’s not true. That’s cruel, it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news that’s not fair and not right.”

She was not asked about her incendiary rhetoric against Mr Obama. But she did deny the spending spree claims, saying the clothes in question had been returned to the Republican National Committee. “Those are the RNC’s clothes, they’re not my clothes. I asked for anything more than maybe a diet Dr Pepper once in a while. These are false allegations.”

Speaking as she returned to her native Alaska, Mrs Palin claimed to be baffled by what she claims was sexism on the national stage. “Here in Alaska that double standard isn’t applied because these guys know that Alaskan women are pretty tough, on a par with the men in terms of being outdoors, working hard,” she said.

“They’re commercial fishermen, they’re pilots, they’re working up on the North slopein the oil fields. You see equality in Alaska. I think that was a bit of as surprise on the national level.”

Posted in Campaign 2008, Common Sense, Media Matters, Our Writings, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »