Drama Queen

That's it...I'm submitting a play for the next Rudes season.

Inspired by the Sassy Gay Friend series (see below), I feel that I MUST rip this off to create a glorious opus for the Rudes next season. Mine shall, however, feature a Sassy [Fill in the Blank] and auditions will require anyone who would like to play the part of the Sassy to develop their own Sassy character with evidence of how they would bring the play to a screeching (if logical and hilarious) halt. Possibilities include the Sassy Ethnic Friend, the Sassy Hairdresser (male or female), the Sassy Bartender, the Sassy Cab Driver, and many more.

Since the plays will be necessarily abbreviated by the fact that the Sassy stops them cold, my play shall be an amalgam of Shakespeare plays, in which the troupe of actors tries desperately to complete a damn play, only to be thwarted and have to start fresh with a whole new play.

It will RULE. =)

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(Thanks to sabrinamari for pointing these out to me!)
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Tumor Want Cake

Your job-hunting tips of the day

OK, my friends, let me give you a few bits of insight from the other side of the interview table to help you on your job hunts, current or future. This may or may not be an outlet for me to vent from dealing with crappy interviewees.

1) If the first paragraph of your cover letter is about what YOU want and how this position could benefit YOU and how awesome it would be to YOUR career development, you lose. I don't care. In fact, it's not just that I don't give a crap, it's that my very first impression of you is that you're looking for a life coach/therapist/hobby, not a job.

(If you do this, don't feel too bad. Most people do it. But that doesn't make it a winning tactic.)

INSTEAD: The very first words on that page are a short summary of how your unique combination of skills, experience, contacts, whatever could be put toward solving your employer's most pressing problems. The rest of the letter elaborates (succinctly) on that point. Then you make sure they know how to get in touch with you. Then you sign it. BAM. Done.

2) If you put a reasonably remarkable-looking accomplishment on your resume, YOU WILL GET ASKED ABOUT IT. So if you get the question, "Can you tell us more about how you singlehandedly wrangled 600 baboons into a chorus line to benefit autistic children?", and your answer is, "Well, I um...I worked really well with the team and um...we uh...we collaborated to leverage our resources and um...the kids seemed like they really loved it and uh...I uh...I had a great time doing it and I'm uh really passionate about baboons, so you know, it was uh, it was really a great experience"-- first of all I have already blown my head off from boredom so you're not going to get the job because my coworkers are now swearing vengeance against you in their grief over my demise. And second of all, I now think you're fucking lying about that accomplishment. I think you were responsible for scooping their poo (the baboons, not the autistic children. yes I am going to hell) and you tried to make it sound way more impressive. Even if you really DID do all that stuff exactly as you wrote it.

INSTEAD: You know you're going to be asked about it, so have a 30-second (at most) elevator speech about it prepared, rehearsed, and ready to go. And it has a clear finish. And when you reach that finish, you SHUT THE HELL UP instead of dragging on with a bunch of "uh, so, yeah, so that's about it, and um, yeah, that sums it up, but um...so yeah" and OMG SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. Here's your answer: "Well, my analysis of our past 5 events showed that our audiences are so enraptured by baboons that people are 75% more likely to make a donation and our revenue was 50% higher than at non-baboon events. It was important to ensure that the ratio of baboons to people was no more than 1 in 10, because being able to say you had poop flung on you directly, it turns out, increases the likelihood that you will make a contribution. I then drew on my contacts and expertise from my days in Animal Control to begin the year-long process of capturing 600 baboons. Ultimately, my model for baboon events was so successful that it was adopted throughout the organization."

3) The answer to the question, "What are some of your greatest professional strengths?" is not "passion" or "I'm really organized" or "I'm very detail-oriented" or "I'm a great communicator". You know why? Because those things DON'T MEAN A DAMN THING.

This is a description of every single candidate I have ever interviewed for any position ever in the history of my life-- they are: Organized, detail-oriented, LOVE working in teams but capable of working independently, great communicators, very diplomatic, but still aggressive enough to get the job done, feel that it's important when dealing with difficult people to never lose your cool and to make them feel like they're being respected and heard, use to-do lists religiously, always make sure they know what the top priority is in their work, very dedicated and willing to go above and beyond to do what needs to be done, loves variety, loves to be busy, takes a lot of pride in their work, very responsible, gets along well with others.

Christ, kill me now. It's like a crappy horoscope, so vague it applies to anyone. It's the job-hunting equivalent of "I really like movies, music, snuggling, and long walks on the beach, and I want someone who can make me laugh." Who fucking doesn't??

Bonus loser points if you have to THINK about what your strengths are. Really??

INSTEAD: Be specific and grow a sack while you're at it. Yes, if you tell them that you're a renegade who isn't afraid to make the right friends and call in favors so you can circumvent the system in order to get things done on time, there's a chance they'll be horrified and not hire you. But guess what? If that's who you are, and that's how they feel about it, you'd be miserable there anyway! (That is not, by the way, a hypothetical. I may not use the word "renegade", but that's something I say in interviews if it comes up-- and it was a skill that I refined while working for BossMan and that I am frequently called upon to use here.) And if that's who you are, then the interviewer actually knows something about you that makes you stand out from other candidates who are all "organized" and "passionate". And THAT is in your favor.

4) If you show up to an interview without 3-4 intelligent questions, at least one of which is a follow-up to something the interviewers mentioned earlier, you just wasted everyone's time. If one of those questions is about salary, time off, flex time, or anything else that benefits YOU and not THEM-- you lose. (Yes, you get to ask those questions-- but later, when it seems likely you will be getting an offer.)

INSTEAD: If you're too lazy to do any research on the company you're applying to, and you are feeling stumped, allow me to offer you some freebies that will work in just about any situation: What do *you* like best about working here? (better for an interview with someone other than HR) What's the company culture like? What are [the company's, the department's, the project team's] goals for the next year? What's the one thing you most need the person in this position to accomplish? [note that for this one, you should get ready to follow up their response with some evidence of how you could do that very thing]

5) If you're going to spin something in your resume, be prepared to spin it in person. If your resume says, "Built and developed partnerships throughout the community" and you get asked about that, do not act like you just lost a game of Chicken and verbally flinch with a, "Well, it was really just five guys who hung around the local bodega a lot, and they wandered in one day, and I talked to them." Why don't you just ask me not to hire you instead, and save us both some time? Likewise, stay on point. If I'm asking you how you managed a multimillion-dollar budget, I am not asking you to describe how you had to fill out form A-3 for each expense, make photocopies, get them signed, and email the AP manager to ensure they were paid in a timely fashion. I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over the sound of my brain cells committing suicide.

INSTEAD: If the accomplishment really wasn't anything special, and you can not talk convincingly about it like it was, cut it out of your resume. And you know what? If it wasn't incredibly exceptional, but you can still make it sound good, you can still use it! I, as the interviewer, am doing a lot of reading between the lines. So even if I realize you're talking something up, if you're doing it pretty well, I'm going to make a mental note that you have a skill for making things sound good. And that might be *really* valuable in that job. When in doubt, ask yourself: Did this thing I did benefit my former employer? If it did, even in a small way, you can use it as a selling point.

This has been your public service announcement for the day. Thanks for playing, and best of luck in your future.
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Chivalry & Romance

So, my friends...especially my fringe-y friends but all my friends...I know that you're all starting to feel the Valentine's Day vibe in the air, regardless of how you feel about it.

My question, therefore, is perfectly in season!

When it comes to Romance (in the philosophical sense), romantic love, chivalry, flirtation, or living a R/romantic life...

What burning question would you love to have answered?

What do you wish you knew, or were better at?

What do you wish someone would teach you, or had taught you before you had to learn it on your own?

What would you like to explore?

What do you enjoy discussing?

What would make your life better?

This is research for a class-- REALLY broad research, as I work on finding the right focus. But hey...if this turns out to be a fruitful post, perhaps I will write up something thoughtful/practical/hilarious/surreal to post here in honor of Valentine's Day, or turn it into other classes, or something. I'm not saying I have all the answers to your most burning questions, mind you. Right now what I am just trying to find out is, what do the people around me need and want and find interesting?

Kinky people, bonus points for considering this question through that perspective specifically.

Answers will be screened. If you're okay with unscreening, please say so, or I'll leave it screened to be on the safe side. Feel free to PM me or drop me an email if even a screened comment feels too public.

Thanks, you guys. I promise to put in a good word for ya with Aphrodite. ;-)
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Drama Queen

I can't believe Deb pimped my show before I did!

Thanks, deboranter!

Sheesh...I've been so crazed lately that I haven't managed to do my duly appointed upcoming-show-pimping!

The Winter's Tale
presented by the Rude Mechanicals

Jan. 28, 29 @ 8 PM
DeLaski Theatre at Sitar Arts Center
1700 Kalorama Road, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Buy Tickets

Feb. 4, 5, 11, 12 @ 8PM
Black Box Theatre at Howard County Center for The Arts
8510 High Ridge Road
Ellicott City, MD 21043
Buy Tickets

All Tickets $15 ($12 for seniors and students)

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Spread the word! Bring a date! Bring two dates and try to sit with both of them, Three's Company style! Bring your mom! And the next week, impress your coworkers with how cultured and literate you are when you casually mention that you saw a terrific production of The Winter's Tale over the weekend. (You know those fuckers spent it scratching their asses and watching bass fishing or some shit.)
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Gamer Girl

Gaming Get-Together

I'm not sure when this would happen-- probably late Feb or March, after my show closes and before festival season kicks off-- but if I were to schedule another low-key board gaming meetup in Chantilly, would anyone be interested in it?

We had quite a lot of fun last time and I've often thought about planning another, but just never made the time.

The only difference this time is that the store now charges a $2 per person fee to use tables, but that's good for the whole day and if you buy $20 or more worth of merch, your fee is waived. So not a terrible deal, really, and I would still want to support the store.

Depending who planned to attend, I would try to make sure there was both a "hardcore crush the competition no newbies allowed" table AND a "just for the fun of it, games may start slowly as rules are patiently explained to newbies" table. I tend to see a desire for both at any event where there's gaming.
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Business Pinup

Researching My Freak Nation

Some questions for all y'all my beloved gentle freaks: be you nerds/geeks of any stripe, gamers, Rennies, goths, steampunk, kinky, poly, Pagan or other "alternative" spirituality, trans, queer, bi/gay/les, burner, spinner...you get my drift.

Yes, there is a point to these questions-- they relate to upcoming projects on my docket, both definite and theoretical. Not being more specific than that at the moment because I want more broad-based answers right now. Consider it small-scale, anecdotal market research.

I want to get an idea of:

1) How many events (cons, concerts, festivals, theater shows of any type, club nights, parties, etc) you go to in an average year-- if you're willing to list some of them, even better.

2) If you're willing to disclose it, about how much you think you pay on average in registration/ticket fees for events? Do you seek out group rates, volunteer opportunities, or other measures in order to cut costs? Do you generally expect/want to spend money separately at the event for extras, like shopping at vendors or upgrading/adding on services?

3) What are the factors that push you over the threshold from "huh, that looks cool" to actually paying for a registration/ticket or (if free) making the effort to go?

4) What factors actively prevent you from going to something that you had considered attending? When you do go to something, what things have gotten in the way of you having a good time or made you decide not to come back? What are YOUR obstacles to having a good time (that aren't specific to the event itself)?

While I want to know your opinions about a very broad range of events, I do have a specific interest in what does or doesn't get you to go out to any kind of live performance-- be it a play, a concert, a dance show, a burlesque, a cabaret, performance art, anything where the act of being audience to a live performance is the experience you expect to have.

I'm not screening comments because I'd like to encourage conversation; if you don't want to put something publicly here, feel free to PM me instead. Also, if you have Freak Nation friends who would be willing to offer their insights, feel free to link them here-- leaving this entry public to facilitate sharing.

Thanks everyone!
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Christmas Oh Come

Cute Christmas Videos!

My Spider-kitty would totally have let me do this to her, if it had ever occurred to me...too cute!

Random showed this to me last night and I almost died of the cute. Hint: When it reaches the end and the kids are all in a line, keep your eye on the kid all the way to the left. He is too funny.

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Tumor Want Cake

[PBEM] Life with me in the mornings

Sometimes, you can just tell what the morning ride to work is going to be like simply by how insanely I'm behaving when I get out of bed.

It was pretty clear that today was going to be a Very Special Drive when I woke Random up with the knockout combination of singing the "Mr. Grumples" song (of my own composition, now with more scat), improvised modern dance, *and* throwing towels at his head. I threatened to tack on an Early Morning Junk Grab™ with an extra helping of chilly hands, but oddly enough he blocked it. All of this, of course, was for my own entertainment as much as anything else, and I was already on a fast track to the Tee Hee Zone before we ever got in the car.

The drive was-- well, it's a shame, really, because it was actually pretty LJ-worthy but the thing is that I don't remember how to make voice posts (I don't think I ever have) and really you'd have to hear my Dramatic Re-Enactment to fully appreciate its LJ-worthiness. See, we ended up driving almost the whole way behind a car from our neighborhood, and their license plate said "IL & SL". (Noticing vanity license plates is a thing of mine-- I would have KILLED at that game show, "Bumper Stumpers", where you have to figure out what a vanity plate is supposed to be saying.) So I said, "Look, it's Il and Sil!" and promptly invented the Il and Sil Show, aka The World's Lamest Puppet Show, which I proceeded to perform for Random's amusement and/or silent wish for swift death for the remainder of the drive. When I realized they were getting off at the same exit we were, I decided that Il and Sil were going to work with Random today to help him out. "Great," he said. "Just what I fucking need, a couple of puppets underfoot all day while I'm trying to get shit done."

I do love how he plays along when I'm acting all retarded.

But this is what life with me is really like. Those of you who think it'd be fun to date me, weigh out my tremendous awesomeness against the possibility that you, too, could be awakened on a winter morning by an Early Morning Junk Grab™. I cannot promise that it wouldn't happen or that I would have the courtesy to warm my hands first.

When I dropped Random off, he shut the door, then waved frantically at me to stop me and ran around to my window. When I lowered it, he proudly declared, "Gute fahrt!" which we just learned last night actually means "bon voyage" or "good travels" in German but, well, you see where we went with this. I only wish I could fart on command because I would have cut one that made the gods tremble. That would've been awesome. Except for the part where I then had to drive the rest of the way to work suspended in a cloud of my own funk.

(Yes, I am in fact a delicate fucking flower.)

When I looked up how to spell Gute fahrt just now, I found this blog entry, whose author perfectly illustrates my own mental image, including the gleefully proud expression. (NSFW if a cartoon butt is off-limits.)

And that blog post reminded me that I meant to tell you guys that when I was road-tripping this past weekend, and stopped at a rest stop in Jersey (and BTW rest stops on the Jersey Turnpike at Christmas time are in fact some of the saddest places in the world, though I would still vote for them over George W. Bush), I noticed that the bathroom stall doors are manufactured by a company called Hiney Hiders. It said so right on the latch, where it was engraved. How fabulous is that?? I should have taken a picture. I mean, I guess if you're going to start a company that manufactures bathroom stall doors for Jersey Turnpike rest stops, you might as well have some fun with the name. Can you imagine getting a job there and calling your mom and being like, "I'm the new quality inspector for Hiney Hiders!...why are you crying?"

I would give my left nut to get on their holiday card list, because it would be the most amazing thing ever to receive a card with, like, a picture of a closed bathroom stall and under the bottom of the door you can see Santa's boots with his pants at half-mast and it says, "Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season, from all of us at Hiney Hiders".

Maybe at their company picnics, the newest employee has to dress up in the mascot costume, and it's a giant foam butt that only their legs stick out of and they're bumbling around in sweaty horror because they can't see anything, and outside all the employees and their families are shrieking with joy because it's time to play "Hide the Hiney!" and they're like trying to throw their picnic blankets over it and the first one that stays on for twenty seconds gets a Hiney Hiders prize from the company store, like toilet paper with Hiney Hiders trivia questions on it, or hemorrhoid cream and everyone is totally excited by this and it's really very much like the final scene in The Wicker Man (the real one, not the Nic Cage dingleberry). And then some jackoff from Marketing goes and drinks too much again, and he's got a half-eaten kielbasa that he's trying to cram in Hiney's butthole and he's screaming, "Gute fahrt!!" and the children start crying because Hiney got molested again and HR has to intervene and the company has to give everyone Hiney Hiders frisbees so that nobody sues. And the company founder pops an antacid and wishes he'd gone to dental school like his mom always wanted because she didn't believe in his dream of hiding hineys and now she's dead and he'll never know if she was ever proud of him and that eats away at his soul so he's going to have to go visit the men's room in the Joyce Kilmer rest stop again tonight.

For buttsex.

With the stall door closed.

God, how he hates himself.

Wow, the tumorvestigial head is frisky today. TUMOR BE GOOD. TUMOR WANT CAKE!

Holy christ, it's a good thing I'm starting vacation tomorrow. For all our sakes, and the sake of the world.
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Gnome Love

Too cool!

The next time I go to London, I am SO going to Hoxton Street Monster Supplies! I wonder if they would let me sit in the secret room in the back to write...?

I actually got some quiet time to rest this weekend, which was unbelievably precious to me. I even spent some time goofing off, which is how I got reacquainted with the twisted joy of the games on Adult Swim. My two favorites right now are Pole Dance Party 2 (NSFW even though there's no nudity) which is like Guitar Hero with exotic dancers, and Dungeons & Dungeons (also NSFW), which looks like an old-school Nintendo game where you play a mistress & slave fighting their way through a dungeon party full of sexbots.

I'm also perpetually entertained by the "Five Minutes to Kill Yourself" series...the original, set in an office, is highly amusing if you've ever been a cubicle jockey and wondered if stapling yourself to death was an alternative to one more all-hands meeting. The later versions also include random clown attacks.
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