Archive for November, 2006

Bond

My name is Bond.  James Bond. 

Ok, the only way that I would be confused with James Bond is if he was a 34-year old American with a sketchy beard and a waistline that was quickly approaching his IQ.  So, I’m no Bond, but I have felt a bit like a secret agent lately because I have been interviewing for a new job. 

I can write about the whole thing now because my current employer knows all about it and I have already given my notice and everything.  I had been hoping that, when I gave them my notice, my boss would tell me to leave so that I could get a 2-week paid vacation.  No dice.  Good stuff like that never seems to happen to me, but I digress. 

A longstanding theory of mine is that interviewing for a new job is just like being a secret agent.  Both involve the transfer of documents, covert meetings, disguises (for me, a suit), and cover stories; and only sometimes involve lusty female villains, Aston Martins, and shaken martinis. 

This secret agent’s first interview with my to-be employer was anything but Bond smooth. 

The interview was on the other side of Cambridge from where I work now, so I left an hour and a half early, just in case there was traffic or if I got lost.  I had printed out directions from a certain map-related website and felt confident. 

I shouldn’t have.  I got lost.  I needed to take a right turn off of Memorial Drive, but I missed the correct turn and ended up on a bridge into downtown Boston.  After I finagled a change of direction (no easy feat) and got back into Cambridge, I was back on Memorial Drive going in the wrong direction.  56 minutes until my interview. 

I tried to turn around again, but the exit I took didn’t allow a left turn, so I had to weave through some side streets to get to the correct direction.  I then missed the correct turn AGAIN.  At this point, I began to perspire slightly, but I still had plenty of time.  Then I took 2 more wrong turns.  35 minutes until my interview. 

Eventually, I was able to get on the right track and took the correct exit (important note:  I never stopped and asked for directions…I am a man, after all).  I found the street that matched the address of my company, and turned onto the street.  Things were looking good – until I realized that the street I had turned onto was actually the back of the building I was looking for.  So I had to go to the end of the street and turn back onto the main street and park in the Cambridgeside Galleria.  20 minutes until my interview. 

Who would have thought that it would be so difficult to find the Cambridgeside Galleria?  I suppose it wouldn’t have been difficult for someone of normal intelligence. 

Difficult or not, I finally parked the car in the underground lot.  I put on my tie and suit coat, grabbed my manila folder with copies of my resume, and consciously decided to leave my cell phone and the map in the car.  I didn’t want to forget to shut off the cell phone and have it ring during my interview, and after all, the company was right across the street, between the Galleria and the water, what could go wrong?  20 minutes until my interview. 

Well, apparently, there is a canal on the other side of the Galleria (where I accidentally came out, through one of the stores).  So, I was looking at the water and thinking that I was on the correct side of the Galleria when in fact I was on the complete wrong side.  I walked up and down the street looking for a familiar street name, but no dice.  I would have checked my handy map, but I had left that in the car, along with my cell phone.  5 minutes to my interview. 

With so little time, I realized that I had to go back to my car and get my cell phone and call the company.  I rushed back to the garage and found my car (no small accomplishment in that garage).  I grabbed the map and my cell phone and noticed that I had no bars of service…being surrounded by concrete, this was no real surprise.  5 minutes late for my interview. 

I got into the Galleria and called the HR guy.  He wasn’t at his desk, so I left him an apologetic voicemail and promised to be there soon.  Meanwhile, I had begun to perspire quite heavily as the following mantra repeated in my head:  “People who are late for interviews don’t get hired.  People who are late for interviews and have no sense of direction don’t get hired, either.”  7 minutes late for my interview. 

Using the map and triangulating the height of the sun compared to the horizon, I finally figured out where I was, and got to the company 15 minutes late and covered in sweat. 

I fully expected them to kick me out right away, but no one noticed.  The interview went really well and I got the job.  The name is Bond…James Bond; and yes, I did get lost on the way home, too.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 24 Nov 2006 No Comments

Movie Quotes

I am not the most original person around. In fact, when I am trying to be cute, or say something witty to fit a certain situation, I will often quote a movie (those of you who are intellectuals snobs may now leave the column; no doubt shaking your heads in disgust). It’s not necessarily that I’m too dull to think of original thoughts – although that is a distinct possibility – it’s more that movie lines tend to resonate with people who have seen the movie and understand the context. If they get it, people laugh and my quote is justly rewarded.

My penchant for movie quotes probably has something to do with the fact that in the early 80’s, when I was in my early teens, cable TV showed up at our house. I was amazed by the very idea of cable television and when I wasn’t watching MTV during the commercials for other shows, I would spend hours and hours watching HBO. I was not dissuaded from watching by the fact that the good people at HBO played the same movies over and over and over again and eventually the lines from these movies lodged themselves into a corner of my brain.

The following is a list of my 10 favorite quotable movies from the 1980’s, along with some of my favorite quotes (with a little bit of an assist from www.imdb.com). Sure, you probably have to have seen the movie to understand the context of the quotes, but who hasn’t seen all of these movies? Also, please no letters because I left Airplane! off the list.

10. Major League: I’m a huge baseball fan, this is a baseball movie. I like to laugh, this is a comedy. It’s a natural fit. Also, I hate to admit it, but I’m a Charlie Sheen fan:

Eddie Harris: …Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course, if the umps are watching me real close I’ll rub a little jalapeno up my nose, get it runnin’, and if I need to load up the ball I just…wipe my nose.

Rick Vaughn: You put snot on the ball?

9. Real Genius: A movie about geeks, specifically Val Kilmer, wearing bunny slippers and features a house that explodes because of popcorn. Perfect. Also, it took me almost the entire Napoleon Dynamite movie to realize that Uncle Rico was Real Genius’ Lazlo Holyfeld.

Quote 1:

Chris Knight: Have you ever seen a body like this before in your life?

David Decker: She happens to be my daughter.

Chris Knight: Oh, then I guess you have.

Quote 2:

Professor Hathaway: That’s a wonderful story, Bodie. I noticed you’ve stopped stuttering.

Bodie: I’ve been giving myself shock treatments.

Professor Hathaway: Up the voltage.

8. Johnny Dangerously: A pairing of two of the greatest comedians of our time – Michael Keaton and Joe Piscopo.

Quote 1:

Ma Kelly: Bless the saints, it’s an ashtray! I’ve been thinking of taking up smoking, this clinches it!

Quote 2:

Johnny Dangerously: The years hadn’t softened Moronie. He continued to murder the English Language and anyone who got in his way.

7. Fletch: Chevy Chase, back when he had his fastball.

Quote 1:

Fletch: Can I borrow your towel? My car just…hit a water buffalo.

Quote 2:

Fletch: I’ll have a Bloody Mary, a steak sandwich and…a steak sandwich.

6. A Fish Called Wanda: I have to admit: I laughed so hard the first time I saw this movie that I blew a very small bubble out of my nose.

Quote 1:

Otto: I love robbing the English, they’re so polite.

Quote 2:

Wanda: Oh, right, to call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people. I’ve worn dresses with higher IQs. I’ve known sheep that could outwit you, but you think you’re an intellectual don’t you, ape?

Otto: Apes don’t read philosophy.

Wanda: Yes they do, Otto, they just don’t understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things here: Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “every man for himself” and the London Underground is not a political movement.

5. Sixteen Candles: I’m a sucker for an Anthony Michael Hall movie, not to mention a John Hughes movie, and this one is no exception. My wife wonders what ever happened to Jake Ryan’s career because he was “sooo cute.”

Farmer Ted: Relax, would you? We have seventy dollars and a pair of girl’s underpants. We’re as safe as kittens.

4. The Breakfast Club: I didn’t see this movie until years after it was released, so I missed every single reference that people in my high school made about it. No wonder I wasn’t very popular.

Claire Standish: So academic clubs aren’t the same as other kinds of clubs.

John Bender: Ah, but to dorks like him, they are. What do you guys do in your club?

Brian Johnson: Well, in physics we…we talk about physics…properties of physics.

John Bender: So it’s sorta social. Demented and sad, but social. Right?

3. Trading Places: My favorite comedy of all time. Unfortunately, many of the quotes from this movie aren’t suitable for a family newspaper.

Quote 1:

Randolph Duke: Mother always said you were greedy.

Mortimer Duke: She meant it as a compliment!

Quote 2 (after Mortimer collapses):

Stock Exchange Guy: Mortimer, your brother is not well. We’d better call an ambulance.

Randolph: (Really Bad Word) him! Now, you listen to me! I want trading reopened right now! Get those brokers back in here! Turn those machines back on!

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: It is probably a weakness of mine, but I truly enjoy it when a character speaks directly to the camera. This movie is at the top of that genre, and just a true classic in general.

Quote 1:

Economics Teacher: Bueller?…Bueller?…Bueller?

Quote 2:

Ferris Bueller: Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I’d still have to bum rides off people.

1. Caddy Shack: The unquestioned granddaddy of them all. The quotes page in www.imdb.com is so long, they might as well have just put the entire script there. It is almost impossible to play a round of golf without hearing a quote from this movie. In fact, just about everyone I have ever met can practically quote this movie from start to finish…except for my wife, who has never been able to stay awake through the whole thing.

Quote 1:

Judge Smails: I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn’t want to do it…felt I owed it to them.

Quote 2:

Judge Smails: It’s easy to grin / When your ship comes in / And you’ve got the stock market beat. / But the man worthwhile, / Is the man who can smile, / When his shorts are too tight in the seat.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 24 Nov 2006 No Comments

Busiest Shopping Day

On your mark.  Get set.  SHOP! 

I am told that the Friday after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.  Stores of every type offer bargains at the crack of dawn and are overrun by shoppers eager to get a jump on their holiday shopping. 

I wonder about the “Day after Thanksgiving” sales sometimes.  First of all, why have the sale at the crack of dawn while most people are still in the middle of their turkey comas?  Next, since the day after Thanksgiving was already one of the biggest shopping days of the year before all of this early morning madness began, why not have some other day serve as HUGE SPECTACULAR EARLY MORNING SALES EXTRAVAGANZA DAY?  If the deals are that good, wouldn’t people come out on any given Saturday morning?  If the retailers held it, say, the weekend before Thanksgiving, then there would be two huge and important retail days.  Instead, they throw the sales on what was already the biggest shopping day.  That would be like the greeting card people creating a new meaningless holiday as an excuse to sell more cards – Sweet Heart Day, for example – and then deciding that it should be celebrated on February 14th

Last, why have the sale on a Friday, when some people who aren’t in retail still have to work?  In my last job in technical support, rather than just throw their employees a bone and tell their clients that they were closed, they had to have a “skeleton crew” on hand for the 1 guy who called support that day.  This led to huge fights in the group about which people would have to be the lucky ones assigned to work; and some of the people had “already purchased airline tickets” and couldn’t possibly work that day…but I digress. 

What I do understand about the Friday sales is that they are limited to a specific amount of time.  If you don’t get to the store between 6am and 6:03am, then you are out of luck and have to pay higher prices like everyone else.  This creates demand; since no one wants to be the loser who has to pay higher prices because they didn’t get out of bed at 4:30am to buy an iPod on the Friday after a major holiday.  

The strategy is also used by the makers of toys like TMX Elmo (Tickle Me Ten Elmo?), which was released in September.  The TMX Elmo people have limited production so much that when a friend of mine started looking for TMX Elmos in mid-October, there were none to be found.  When my friend asked the employees at a number of retailers in the area if they might have any TMX Elmos in stock, she was laughed at. 

Now, I’m not an economics major by any stretch, but I would think that toy manufacturers would want to produce plenty of their most popular toys so that they could be sold to the people who want them.  These sales would produce income and as more of the toys were sold, the company would make more and more money. 

Children would happily receive the toys as gifts and associate the toy company with the joy that came with opening the gift and with the fun they had playing with the toy.  This would create brand loyalty and the child would then desire other toys made by the same company. 

Apparently that is not the way it works.  Demand is more important than profit. 

The key to success, it would seem, is to sell a very limited number of the most popular toys to a small group of people who will then resell them on eBay at outrageously high prices.  Unless these resellers are executives or stockholders of the toy company, I don’t really see the point; but then again, I am not a toy company executive.  Disappointed children who don’t receive the gift and frustrated parents who either couldn’t find it or couldn’t afford to buy it at the ridiculous resale price seem to make these toy companies happy.  Soon, some company is going to create an incredibly cool toy, advertise it, and then burn all of their stock.  The CEO will probably get his or her picture on the cover of Toy Executive Monthly

I would stay and write about this more, but I really have to go get in line at my local retail store, in case they release a new batch of Play Station 3 systems.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 17 Nov 2006 No Comments

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