Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spicy Franz Kafka with Sauce

Around the corner from us is a little placed called Aladdins - popular for its Middle East fare. Without realizing it, until my wife Laney pointed it out, I have been ordering Spicy Kafka every time I go in there - instead of Spicy Kafta as it is actually called. That cracks me up.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What Work Is by Otty

Otty takes his title from the kick ass Phillip Levine poem ...

work is chasing
your tail around

and around

until you are all pooped out.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Because I am out of work, I am home now during the hours when Whit gets back from school. Yesterday, the weather here was very warm and gentle so I asked him if he'd like to walk over to the neighborhood park and see what was going on.

He had heard me go on about the whole #13 trifecta a while back and as we were walking he said, "See, I guess 13 is lucky. Because you got fired on the 13th and if you hadn't been you wouldn't be here now to go to the park. We get to spend more time together."

Right on, I thought. Right on.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lemons, Lemonade and all that Shit

So I have decided to turn my misfortune into a book (wink). It's all about the business world and the "insider" lessons I have learned. I call it:

If you would like to contribute chapter suggestions, please do so at this address.

FOOTNOTE: When you hear account executives use nominalizations like LEARNINGS, as in "we gathered some good learnings through research", don't laugh. As hard as it is to hear, it works for them and helps them order their thought. Singular.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tricks of the Trade - Unemployment Avoidance Tactics

I knew there were tricks but I just didn't know them. I thought I was viewed as a "go-getter" gosh golly. But I guess I was wrong. Yahoo provides a bunch of excellent ways (because doing a great job isn't enough) to stand out in a crowd of would-be firees.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday

Easter Bunny left more than little turds outside, he left an Easter Pig Ear for Otty. Oh, the rapture of lugging around a too-big chew. Must. Get. Out. Must. Bury. Pig Ear.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Unemployment Day 7 - Brandi, my wife, gets stitches.

Snow snow go away come again some other day. More of the white stuff today.

With the exception of the snow, my mood is good this morning. I have been very productive, calling people, setting up meetings. It feels like momentum. A big thanks to all of you who have stopped by and taken the time to send me your good wishes, mojo, thoughts, prayers.

I have also been getting a lot of support AND CONTACT NAMES from friends in my neighborhood. One of advantage of a small town I guess is that everyone knows someone who runs an advertising agency.

Yesterday, I spent all day at the Akron General Emergency room. It's like this you see. My wife Brandi was out jogging and she fell and smashed her chin, nothing else just her chin, into the concrete.

Because she was gone for what seemed like a long time, I was outside looking for her when she came walking up. I saw the very bloodied Kleenex against her chin and when she took it away and said "I fell" I saw what looked like a small mouth. She had a serious laceration just under her chin. So we mobilized quickly. Friends took Whit, we rushed to the hospital, and then all that fast acting business came to a halt. The trauma patients were coming in by the numbers yesterday so it simply took a long time. A very long time. Clearly this was all a clever ploy on her part to confirm our health insurance was still functioning - important to know when you are unemployed. She is a crafty one, that Brandi.

We got to know a lot of the people in the waiting room and joked for a long time about waiting with some old fella who had broken his ankle. Of course, he didn't know he'd broken his ankle at first so he walked around on his foot for half a day messing everything up more inside.

Memorable moments and overheard snippets:

Have you ever had kidney stones? My sister went through a period where she seemed to get them over and over. So I am familiar somewhat with the crippling pain. So was the middle aged woman, doubled-over and groaning and crying for the whole time we were in the waiting room. It was hard to watch but trauma comes first. I asked this realy nice old attendant fella if he couldn't give her something while she waited and he said only doctors. I told him he looked like a doctor but he wasn't swayed. One guy, after hours of watching her suffer, went nuts, starting yelling for them to do something, and finally ripped his gown off, stood up from the wheelchair he was in and stormed out shirtless, ripping those little monitor pad stickies from his chest. He had pants on, don't worry.

There was an older man in the waiting room with us for quite a while, all by himself, and after a while he was visited by a nurse and taken back to see someone. You could tell the news he'd received was not good. Hours later, when we were finally back in one of the rooms getting stitched up, as I walked by on my way to the restroom I saw him with two doctors sitting in a small waiting area off the hallway. He looked broken, and one of the doctors had his hand on his shoulder. A few minutes later I got back to Brandi's room and was sitting in the doorway and saw them get up and walk him down the hall, heard the doctor say "Give my condolences to your family." Jesus, what a heavy and strange feeling to be in the presence of souls leaving the world.

An older woman who was in with her Dad was explaining to someone who I don't think wanted to know, "Everytime he bends it blood squirts out." Graphic, eh? She was also bitching to all the other patients and to staff about the waiting, and waiting and waiting. I was in the hall while Brandi was getting her wound irrigated and she looked at me grinning and said "I'm working myself into a dither". Maybe she said tither. Either way I said, "Keep going so we can see how they code call it." CODE WHITE, CODE WHITE, we have a patient dither in exam room C."

Speaking of code calls. There was a CODE ADAM alarm while we were waiting to get stitched. Scary stuff. The all clear came a few minutes later. Whew.

Long day my friends. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG day. 4 stitches, one death, several ankle bone fragments and endless squirts of blood later we came home to a catatonic dog who really really had to piss.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Unemployed - Day 4

Rain here today. Like yesterday. Like tomorrow.

I am compiling names, agency lists, company names and such to contact.

A few piles of snow are holding on, tucked away in shadow pockets here and there, but the rain and milder temperature is doing on number on it and before long it should be gone.

My wife Drelyse is off this week too, and any normal couple would be chasing each through the house.

I went to Children's Hospital last night for a volunteer appreciation dinner (I do home visits)and had a wedge of cake, and a salad. I shared my experience in detail with the new volunteer recruits.

As I write, crows are landing in my neighbors yard and stalking around. I can resist the symbolism.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Unemployment - Day 3 Technically

When I came back from HR to start packing, I wanted to retrieve some of my poetry off my computer as well as a bucket of iTunes I had purchased and the IT department and frozen my computer. I know it's SOP for most companies, but too bad the presumption seems to be that all fired employees are malicious, virus planting malcontents. Or whatever. After four years you think you deserve better than all that a frozen computer implies.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Uemployment Diary - the online snafu

For any of you in Ohio who find yourself in these similar sad straits, here is a little warning about filing online for unemployment.

To register, you have to fill out 15 or so pages of information. Make sure you have every conceivable piece of information you MIGHT need at hand. Because if you put in filler thinking you can come back and edit your information (the words "edit" in the windows might lead you to think it's an option) you can not do it.

Then you have to talk to some company called IRONHORSE who can change your information online for you. I think this is the inner sanctum tentacle of the unemployment corpus. My helper was harried or so it seemed. At a time when I most needed patience.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Unemployment Fragment: 13, 13, 13


I get fired on the 13th, we were the 13th entrant in the race, and hold on to your hat ... our car came in 13th overall in the pack (4th in our den). Now, should I play thirteen in the lottery somehow, or just move to another country? I am beginning to wonder if there are larger forces at work here. I guess it's like when Julius Caesar, on the night before his pinewood derby race, was told to beware the Rides of March.

I have noticed weird happenings ...

yesterday I was only witty 42 times

my sex drive has decreased

I considered buying cheap beer

I am making stupid puns

I wore my baseball cap backwards for a few minutes

Friday, March 14, 2008

Weather Report - Unemployment Intermission

.. from a few days ago when the BIG storm buried us. Whit connects with a snowball on the right side of my noggin. What an upstart.

Unemployed Day 2, Part 2

I have always believed that I have yet another set of teeth, above/behind my adult teeth, that will come in some day. Could be soon. My mouth aches today.

I have chased Otty around the house all I can.

I have looked out all the windows all I can.

Spent the better part of the day on the computer identifying agencies in the area, creating files with web sites, registering for job boards (thanks for the suggestions M.)Hauled out my portfolio and began to sort it out, adding in recent work.

I am also carving a large piece of wood into a club so I can smack people who tell me "Hey, this might just be the best thing that ever happened to you."

Unemployment Day 2

Another way to look at unemployment is not that I have lost a job and have no income, but that I have been given the gift of Blog. Now I can Blog again.

So, here is my first "Day After" post on being unemployed.

I went to weigh in my son's pinewood derby car last night for the big Cub Scout event. It must be 5 oz. And you'll never guess what number we got. Thirteen! 13, the same as yesterday's date. The date of my termination. Is this a sign? %$#@! no. Just a freaky coincidence. No, I think it is a sign. The guy registering the cars, recognizing the number's superstitious baggage, actually asked me if I minded having that number. I gave him a roundhouse kick ala Chuck Norris.

Up early this morning, talking with significant other about health plans. Maybe I should let my ponytail grow back. I have to leave and make my son's lunch. Cut the crusts off, etc. Give them to Otty in his breakfast.

Oops. Time to wake up the boy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Did I mention I was fired today? How will I afford Otty's biscuits? I have already let Poor Fool rust away. Who knows what will happen next. My wife Treece is tired of "the journey" and I agree.
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