Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The Game Corporation: I immediately started here upon ending the payroll job and to be honest, this was one of my all time favorite jobs. I showed up for the Saturday game corporation job interview in fairly relaxed clothes, since that is what I was told was acceptable. I was blown away to find the man who would be my boss in shorts and a short-sleeved button-up shirt and the woman who was his boss, who I could tell immediately that I would not be able to deal with. According to my boss, who ever since is a great friend of mine that I regretfully see all too little of nowadays, he had me picked for the merchandise distributor job immediately, and he laughed when I mentioned that I had been worried about the man in the full suit who was to be interviewed after me, saying that the man was a total douche.
I immediately made friends with all of the workers there and became a fairly close-knit group, having parties, testing new games, happy hours, and attending Tee-Off martini lunch specials (they regretfully have not done these for years). I was given a territory of stores that I then would allocate the various board games, card games, chess sets, puzzles and such in a manner that would take into account current need based on past sales trends all while anticipating busier times (Christmas) and special events. The capper on this was that I was specialized to be the distributer of video games to the handful of stairs that were allowed to carry them. I was in heaven. I regularly received free PSone games for myself and my boss and I was able to secure the PS2 system for myself, although I did have to camp out for it. Times were fun there, my boss and our other buddies would have meetings in the printer room, where we would have tequila from someones flask and then break to go back to work. Occasionally, we would play practical jokes such as filling the printer room with balloons (floor to ceiling) or parking so close to our friends new car that he could not get in.
Another shocker in a most positive way was that I received a $2000 bonus after being there for only two months. I know. Shocking. Especially after what I had been used to dealing with. If I had actually been there for a full year, my bonus would have been closer to my yearly salary, but I can put this down to eternal bad time and I was not going to complain about two grand. The reason for the bonus could be summed up in one word: Pokemon.
Pokemon had appeared on the scene a few months before I was hired, and it was a smash. Lines of children wrapped around the block hoping to leave the store with a rare-as-gold 1st edition pack of Pokemon cards that hopefully would have the fabled holofoil card of Charipenis or whatever the cute dragon creature's name was (Charmander? Charizoid?). Pokemon had turned Wizards of the Coast, who currently had the exclusive license to the Japanese card game sensation, into a overnight sensation and the card game greatly surpassed their other properties of Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering. Unbeknownst to me, when I was hired by the local game company, Wizards of the Coast or WotC as we called it, had bought the company that hired me and they in turn had been bought by Hasbro. The owners of the game company made bundles of cash in the deal as did plenty of people on the WotC side.
*Brief interlude side story. At WotC, whose headquarters were in Washington state, there was rumored to have been an employee that lived at the offices. Not just worked into the wee hours of the night, but this guy would get up early, work until everyone had left, grab a sleeping bag and sleep under his desk. When the Hasbro deal went through, this man became a millionaire, just like that. Apparently, after becoming a millionaire, he continued to sleep under his desk until higher-ups eventually had to tell him to lighten up and to go buy something. Live a little. Wish it had been me.
Anyhow, the owners of the local company that hired me to be the merchandise distributor, were four sisters that were brutally ruthless to each other with no regard to any of their employees. Typical days at the office involved them yelling at one another across the expanse of the offices and the attached warehouse. To stress this matter, it needs to be understood, that the company was on the tech-positive side, meaning that we did have phones with the ability to call directly to the other offices, these women chose to scream at each other as opposed to picking up the phone and quietly telling one another to "go fuck yourself, you stupid bitch." This was shocking to one's nerves, especially when we happened to be in the crossfire of all four of them, which probably explained the tequila meetings in the printer room. Funny.
*Come to think of it, that job had so much wackiness going on that I could write a short novel around it with the drama, the screaming and such, but I should finish.
Problems started when Pokemon was flooded into the market and WotC continued plugging away as if this phenomenon was set to be a constant and not the fad that we all knew it to be. The warehouse was eventually moved to Texas to centralize distribution. The Goleta Merchandise Distributors took over the ordering for most of the items at the WotC stores, which was in their favor since we really did know what we were doing. The sister who was my boss's boss soon left to work at a startup toy company (thank goodness), another sister left as well, and the one that for the most part ran the locally owned chain of stores was chased out by WotC, or rather paid to go away. This was good for her, despite having put her heart and soul into the business, and I had the utmost respect for her business savvy. Unfortunately, she was a bit too vocal over various business decisions that were going down in the company and WotC felt the need to chase her away. The fourth sister stayed on and was rather nice, and without her sisters to scream at was actually very pleasant.
To wrap this up, WotC decided to expand their stores almost exponentially. Stores were opening everywhere and with little regard to location or the demographics of the populace around. I heard of stores opening between Kaybee Toys and GameStops and with the Pokemon gravy train slowing down, stores open for but three months began to close. Following this, the promised bonuses were drastically reduced and employees were being laid off left and right. The Goleta office was to be shut down and we were training our replacements, although an offer was made to me to transfer to Washington, but I turned it down on the suspicion that I would move there only to be let go shortly thereafter, which would have been the case. My boss was heavily pursued to move up, but he refused as well. The last few weeks were fun-filled with frisbee golf expeditions, croquet with beer on the front lawn, Tee-Off martini lunches and trying to burn through our sick pay, which we could not do. When all was said and done, I was let go with six weeks severance, my bonus, four weeks of vacation pay, a week of sick pay, and unemployment. I then spent two months of the best times ever, living large and having fun with our teacher friends, before even attempting to look for a new job, which I unfortunately found.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Dear Mr. Cesar Millan,
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I jotted this one down a while ago as well, and this is just a cut and paste.
Okay, this one happened maybe five years ago, so let's see how well I remember it....
My wife, our very good friend and I were all at Espresso Roma having a coffee and possibly stalling for time until some sort of movie or another was to begin at the Paseo Nuevo Cinema. We were sitting there, chit-chatting, laughing and basically having a grand old time when I see my wife making odd facial expressions and motioning with her eyes and eyebrows at me. I, being ever observant and aware of my surroundings, stared at her dumbfounded until I finally said, "What?!" I looked to my left, nothing. I turned to my right, which is the side of my blind eye and again noticed absolutely nothing, but some Goth kids looking forlorned. "What is wrong with you?" I said to her, but she said nothing and continued with the odd looks.
I then looked at our friend who had gone pale, which is somewhat of an alarming occurrence due to the fairness of her skin and again I asked, "What the hell is wrong with you two?" My wife's eyes widened. Our friend's eyes widened, and then she made a sort of high pitched 'squeak' noise and I turned to the right for a second time. Once again nothing. I then turned to the left and the immediacy of the situation came crashing down upon me.
There, about four-inches from my nose was a man's package. Granted, the package was wrapped in indigo cotton Speedo style briefs. I jumped back violently with a pronounced, "Whoooooooaaaaa!!!" I took in the full glory of the freak-ass before me. Standing there in huge clunky motorcycle boots, indigo colored cotton Speedo y-fronts, no pants (obviously), no shirt, a leather motorcycle jacket, a discolored yet greying Santa Claus type beard, shades and a hat that quite possibly could have been a black leather cowboy hat, stood a fairly thin man in his fifties.
Homes had nearly tea-bagged me and was fairly oblivious to that fact, yet was laughing and having a grand old time in much the same fashion that we had been prior to his arrival. Goth kids became more awkward than usual, stoners became very confused and stopped eating their croissants and everything melted away into a silence that was interrupted only by the laughter of the man that I have since fondly referred to as "The Phantom Tea-Bagger" as he had appeared out of nowhere.
Thankfully, someone from the coffee shop came out and told the man that he had fifteen seconds to clear the premises, else the authorities would be notified and he would go to jail. The man walked out, but began yelling obscenities and proclaiming his rights and that Espresso Roma was run by fascists, which I doubted, but thought it best to keep quiet unless he was privy to information that I was unaware of.
Once The Phantom Tea-Bagger parked himself on a bench a few yards away and proceeded to make himself very comfortable, my wife and our friend began a barrage of, "Dooooooonnnnnnisssssttttt...how did you not notice that! Oh my god, couldn't you tell something was wrong by the way we were acting."
"Yes, of course I could tell something was wrong, but the guy was in my blind spot the whole time...at least he was until he almost had his package on my left shoulder! Next time just tell me that there is a nearly naked man standing disturbingly close to me." Moment ruined, we went off to the movie early and lost our minds in laughter, once the weirdness of the situation set in. I may not remember the movie that we saw, but I will remember The Phantom Tea-Bagger forever.
Yup, this is a true story.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Here is a picture of the spit soaked dog toy that Tulip loves to press against the skin of my legs whenever I attempt to write anything. On one hand it is cute that she loves the toy and desperately wants me to play with her at every possible moment, but on the other hand the thing is foul beyond reckoning.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I was standing in the graphic novel section at Borders in Goleta when I saw out of the corner of my eye someone kind of loitering on my left side. I felt this creeping sensation as if I was being watched and then heard them walk around behind me and over to my right side, making it impossible for me to see them due to the slight problem of my blind right eye. Ignoring the person, I went back to my perusing of the graphic novels, but I still had that creeped out feeling as if I was being watched. Just then, I heard a young male voice say, "Fascinating…It's as if I were looking into a mirror of the future." I snapped around to the right to see a thin, not more than six feet tall, 16-17 year old boy wearing glasses, a long brown trenchcoat, and perfectly combed and gelled shorter hair. He stood there staring at me wide-eyed and silent, to which I elegantly replied, "What!?!" with marked annoyance. He repeated himself and followed with, "I find it so inspiring, to know that older people can read comicbooks and still be cool."
I was borderline ready to pummel the youth, but quickly saw that he was trying to be nice and make conversation, in what was one of the most awkward displays of being social that I have ever had to experience. He then went on to test me on my comicbook knowledge…
Kid: "Have you ever read the Preacher?"
Donist: "Yeah, it's one of my most favorite comics ever."
Kid: "Hmmm…you, of course, have read The Sandman?"
Donist: "Yeah, since it first came out…it's pretty amazing that a comic book can become so influential and important; it's actually required reading in some college courses"
Kid: "Indeed. Have you read this?" He pulls out 5 graphic novels of Transmetropolitan, by Warren Ellis and hands all of them to me.
Donist: "Uhhh…no, but I love Warren Ellis, especially The Authority and Planetary. Someday I will get Transmetropolitan, but I have to wait until I have the money to buy all of them." I hand him back all of the Transmetropolitan books.
Kid: "I see. This one is a little more obscure, but I found it quite humorous." He hands me another book, this one depicting Santa Claus standing on the ruins of a building with a beautiful woman hiding behind him as he blows away throngs of zombies with a machinegun in each hand. He hands it to me and I flip through as he continues, "If you are a fan of the Authority, then you saw the issues with Lobo?"
Donist: "I haven't seen this one before, but it looks pretty funny. Yeah, the Lobo issues were funny. I also liked the Lobo Christmas special from back in the eighties."
Kid: "Oh yes, I have to admit I got quite a chuckle from those as well. The Easter Bunny as a paramilitaristic dictator was one of the most humorous things that I have ever read."
Donist: "Yeeeaaahhhh…Well, I gotta be going. Take it easy."
Kid: "Yup. See ya."