How to Sell your Home in a Flailing Economy on Craigslist

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Be Creative. Your house has many assets and perks. Highlight them. Draw attention to the crevices. Bring light to the shadows.

Write an Ad for Craigslist:

Are you a Serial Killer?

Homicidal maniacs, psychopaths, murderers, suburban death squads (or sobriquet of your preference) are all invited to check out this local, organic Last House on the Right…of a cul-de-sac, no less, in none-too-quaint small-town Minnesota.

A 1970’s split-level abode (think Faces of Death era) on a four-acre wooded plot in Ramsey, MN. Compete with post-Dahmer and Gein copycats in Wisconsin, your neighboring state.

The four-acre plot:

  • Dozens of trees to shade your nightly habits (All quiet on the Northwestern front is a guarantee!)
  • 1 Swamp—corpses are easily mummified in peat
  • 2 Wood Sheds—one for stacking and one for sawing (be aware that one has better acoustics than the other)
  • 1 Garage (with rafters!)
  • 1 broke down mini van comes free for extra “storage”
  • 4 acres of your own personal cemetery
  • 1 personal sewage tank underground in the back yard (disguises whatever noxious smells you may induce)

The first floor of the house is all white, ceramic tile flooring for easier cleanup and a fireplace to boot! And there are, not three, but five bedrooms for every stage of torture you’d like to arrange. Start small, but aim big–H.H. Holmes 1893 Chicago World’s Fair big.


The Neighborhood: White, suburban, upper-middle class families with plenty of children to go around for those of you partial to morsels rather than meals. Trust me, these people won’t be missed. Just two miles down the road police found body parts in a field—and  three years later they haven’t a clue.

Your Street: One of the neighbors on the street deals meth or heroin or something—I’m sure you two can shake on something mutually beneficial. The other neighbors are old, cranky, half-deaf, blind, rat-poisoning dog killers who hate children. The last thing they’ll be is meddlesome. The local law enforcement accepts CASH only. Make sure you bargain, they’re none too bright (aforementioned anonymous body parts).

Appraised at 180,000: a great deal in hard economic times, especially considering the suburban boom.  Make the ‘Burbs come to life again! Give ’em something to gossip about.
Together we can transform Minnesota into the new “We Eat People” state! Twins/Brewers, Vikings/Packers, Gophers/Badgers—let the rivalries continue and the body count rise…for real this time.

Disclaimer: This is a rough draft.


Careers #1: It’s Alright, Ma It’s Life, and Life Only

June 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Portland in some ways has history, but the erected statues and plaques encased in the brick sidewalk seem affected. Discussing the Civil War, quoting Bob Dylan, praising Abraham Lincoln…the West Coast seems too far away for American History–American Present yes!–but not the seeping, porous dynamo you experience in old farmhouses in the midwest, dirty side streets in the south, or the well-preserved, field trip annoying vestiges of the East.

I’ve done a lot of self-reflection in recent years, often more with the “doing myself in” with booze and forgetting about the self-reflection part only to come across some pieces of paper or journals with self-expressions drunkenly scrawled in dry erase marker. But I’ve realized (years ago) that I have no idea what the hell I’m doing and that I really know nothing about anything.

A good friend of mine commented on a break up with an old girlfriend once, noting that the only things that really bothered him about her when they were together were her career path and ambitions. “Does she really want to be a bartender for the rest of her life?”

I actually think that I wouldn’t mind being a bartender for the rest of my life, but my problem, which I think is somewhat universal among my peers, is that I want to push myself so hard to see what the limits of my career potential are (right now it’s paralegal and then possibly law school). I drop the anvil on myself now and see how much weight I can push off. And then someday in the future I’ll realize that “jobs” really aren’t for me at all, and I’ll open my own Western Steampunk themed bar and feel good about being a bartender for the rest of my life.

Decide what to be and go be it, for a little bit at least, and then decide again.

Interview #6- The Non-Interview Rejection

May 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

It was for a receptionist position at an online college. They phone interviewed me for 5 minutes and then told me I would need to take a “skills” test. Little did I know that I would be taking the LSAT to interview as a receptionist. Forty-five minutes of logical reasoning questions–and NOT the easy kind. So I passed it with the help of my sister and brother-in-law and was scheduled for a regular interview on a Wednesday morning.

I called Wednesday morning and cancelled my interview. “Hi this is ________, and I was scheduled to have an interview with you this morning. Unfortunately, I accepted a position just yesterday with another company and I will not be coming in. I would like to thank you very much for the opportunity.”

One week later I received this email:

Dear Candidate,

I am in review of your resume in regards to a Front Office Receptionist position on our Oregon campus, and would like to know if you are still in search of employment. 

The position pays $12.00 per hour, is full time and we offer a nice benefits package.

Please let me know if you are interested in pursuing this possible opportunity.


***** *******
Staffing Coordinator,
Talent Acquisition Team

New Name. Same Mission.
US Education Corporation is now Carrington Colleges Group, Inc.
Career minded. Life Changing

To which I replied:

Dear *******,

I was offered an interview at Carrington as a receptionist a couple of weeks ago, but I called to cancel because I found other employment the day before.

Thank you, however, for your time.


The American Dream

Another week went by and I received this email:

May 6, 2011

Dear American Dream,

I wanted to thank you for your interest in Carrington College and for the Receptionist – Portland position you applied for.

Your qualifications have been carefully reviewed. However, we have moved forward with another candidate who we feel more closely matches the desired skills and experience of the Receptionist – Portland position.

Your resume will be retained for a reasonable period of time and you will be contacted in the event our employment needs should change. We also encourage you to visit our website as new positions become available.

We appreciate your interest in our company and wish you success in your search for a suitable career position.


Carrington Colleges Talent Acquisition

What does it say about our job market when you get rejected after CANCELLING your interview? Dammit.

Unemployment #12: Is it okay to lie on my resume?

April 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Is it okay to lie to your bitchy ex-girlfriend when she asks if you’re seeing anyone? Is it okay to lie to your mom when she asks you if you’ve quit smoking? Is it okay to lie to the cop when from behind the flashlight he/she asks if you’ve been smoking weed? Is it okay to tell your out-of-state friends that you went to your team’s Super Bowl?

Like the questions above, lying on your resume falls under morally ambivalent light. Angels are not going to shed tears. Kittens will still be born. Sarah Palin will still never be president.

Therefore, it is absolutely okay to lie on your resume. And by lying I don’t mean inventing jobs you never had. You can’t say that you were vice president of the Save the Rhesus Monkey when you lived in India–unless of course, you are a brilliant raconteur and an expert with Photoshop, then totally go with it. Although you’d probably make more money using those Photoshop skills to put out fake ids for rich, bratty college kids than you would at the type of job that was stupid or indifferent enough to hire you.

Think about the kind of job you’re applying for. Is it a customer service job? If they ask for 5 years of experience bar tending and you only have had three, go ahead and lengthen the dates of work at your last bar job. If you have zero bar tending experience, either go get some, or be prepared to tell the biggest yarn when the boss finds out you don’t know how to make a Manhattan.

Most non-corporate service industry jobs WILL NOT do a background check or call your references. Why? Because service industry people are jaded and they don’t give a damn if someone has something nice to say about you.

Once again, the worst that could happen is that you get caught and don’t get hired. If you think that lying on your resume will really bring better job opportunities and your lies are so good that the devil has solid competition, then by all means, go for it. Be aware, however, that your lies could come back to haunt you and you’ll want to make yourself scarce when the boss at your new dream job has immediate need for a Russian translator.

Unemployment #11: Irritated with job hunting? Why don’t you go blog about it you whiny, selfish asshole.

March 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

This is what English majors would call an exercise in self-reflexivity. Take this time of unholy unemployment or career hunting and attempt to dissect what’s really going in that hollow heart of yours. Now might be a good time to feel remorse for all the awful, shitty things you’ve done to yourself and the worse things you’ve done to other people. Like that time you banged a bunch of girls because you were feeling like a less badass reincarnation of Steve McQueen. Or how about when that sweet, but nerdy guy asked for your number and you spat at his un-ironic sneakers. Got it? Yeah, you deserve to miserable you jerk, and you don’t even know what IRONY means.

Who doesn’t love a good blog? Personally, I despise most blogs, including my own–probably. I only write to keep myself from dying of boredom or daily decreasing self-confidence or the thought that I’ll lose all my SKILLZ if I don’t incessantly post about nonsense. After I post, I go back and read my entries and think, “Could you have made any MORE grammatical mistakes, you asshole. No wonder you’re jobless AND suck at relationships.”

Blogs and websites, however, are important tools in manipulating an interview in your favor. Are they gonna hire the guy who blogs about sports? Or the guy who just gets mouthy about how badly the Yankees need to die in a fire, preferably, in the locker room after losing to the Pirates (some day, man).

There are very few purists left in this country, most everyone is an asshole and believes that everyone else is an asshole. Have you noticed that  everyone talks about how everyone else is soooo stupid and yet 90% of people post the same dribble on their social networking sites at the same time. Leave me alone, Internet. Get high with dinosaurs or something.

People talk too much; our limber tongues will be the voice of our extinction……

(sounded kinda cool, ya gotta admit).

Anyway, unemployed? Have an advanced degree and yet no one will hire you?Unfortunately, proof of your hard work at past jobs isn’t enough in this competitive job market, you have to prove the hard work you did not working. Any examples of your hobbies, like photography, writing, websites are a good way to make some meager freelance cash and supply some props during your interview.

Babysitting cross-eyed and adorable (but really naughty) puppies is another way to make some meager cash.

Sadly, my own writings are not tasteful enough to show any future employer. This planet-wide chatterbox information overload cacophony will end when people of this world have nothing left to say except “Fuck.”

Have you seen what’s happening in Wisconsin? It’s just the beginning, man.

Unemployment #10: Don’t Abuse your Netflix Account

February 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

About a two weeks ago, I exhausted  the best Christmas present my brother J** has ever given me, “The Wire.” It took me longer than expected to finish the 5-season show because my sister and brother-in-law decided that they loved it too, and now I had to watch it on their schedule. No harm done, however, because having a schedule meant that I could accomplish other things during my day, most important–job hunting.

A couple of weeks ago, I checked out Netflix to see if I could get  a free trial in which I could watch as many tv shows as I wanted. By chance, I discovered that sometime in the past, my father had added my computer to his Netflix account and I could watch as much as I wanted FOREVER.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t decide to watch the X-Files, from season 1 to 9 (currently on 5) because that was the nerdy part of high school you tried to avoid but would inevitably succumb to later in your adult life.

No matter how much funny shit Mulder says, don’t fall prey to his poker-face delivered jokes.

“Squeeze,” Season 1: Mulder sticking his hand in bile and announcing, “Quick, how do I get this off without betraying my cool exterior.”

“Humbug,” Season 2: Mulder catching Mr. Nutt, the dwarf or little person from “Twin Peaks,” underneath Scully’s trailer:

Mr. Nutt: Just because I’m not of so-called average height does not mean I must receive my thrills vicariously. Not all women are attracted to overly tall, lanky men such as yourself. You’d be surprised how many women find my size intriguingly alluring.

Mulder: You’d be surprised how many men do as well.

Don’t clap and giggle every time The Lone Gunmen appear in an episode.

Try to not become a victim of pop culture, thus feeling amazed when “The Andy Griffith Show” is cross-referenced with an X-Files episode in a quaint town where the villains are inbred monsters–BRILLIANT.

Don’t stay up all night watching the X-Files and then act like you’re 8 and need to sleep with the lights on because you’re too creeped out to fall asleep.

When ants start to crawl into the cracks of your basement room after a rainstorm, don’t think that the infestation automatically assumes X-File status.

Though watching “The Wire” only took an hour or less per day, abusing my newly discovered Netflix account has resulted in two weeks of doing nothing but eating, exercising, and watching the X-Files–oh, and NOT job hunting.

My job-hunting motivation has been equitably slaughtered by Mulder and Scully.

Things I was going to do in the last couple of weeks:

  1. Read The Brothers Karamazov X-Files Season 1
  2. Write two articles for a freelance gig X-Files Season 2
  3. Take the Food Handlers test X-Files Season 3
  4. Look for jobs X-Files Season 4
  5. Finish reading A People’s History of the United States X-Files Season 5

My friends in Wisconsin will be happy to know, however, that I took a break from my FBI fantasies to watch the Packers win the Super Bowl.

Interview #4: Meat Eater for a Day, December 2010

February 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

As most of my friends know, I am a vegetarian, not vegan, pescatarian, or vagintarian. I don’t have any real ethical reason that I am a vegetarian; when I’m confronted with the “why don’t you eat meat?” question, my responses dabble a bit in environmental reasons or animal slaughter practices, neither of which I know much about, not even enough to bullshit a somewhat educated or persevering carnivore . Even after reading Fast Food Nation, I still ate meat for a few years. So what happened?

Red Lobster happened. After working at a restaurant that routinely boils lobsters alive per order and customers/employees who sloppily suck the meat out of crab legs with tons of butter, licking bits of meat off their fingertips–well, I just never saw meat the same way again. I don’t possess, however, any affectations of false superiority or animal rights activism delusions, there is an evolutionary reason why I have canine teeth (or whatever the scientific name is); and when the zombie apocalypse comes, I will be among the first to steal a 12-gauge from Wal-Mart to blast my way out of starvation (morbid).

Let’s just say, I don’t wholly agree with the meat-producing industry.

I received an email in December regarding a job I didn’t even remember applying to:

On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 7:03 PM,  <*******> wrote:

Hi *******,
My name is *****e and I’m part of the hiring team at ****s Island Grill. I’m sorry it’s taken so long for us to respond we honestly were too busy to even check the inbox.
If you are still interested we would love to have a group interview with you on Thursday night the 16th or Saturday at 3pm. Please let me know what works best for you.
Thank you for your time,

Naturally, I was excited, even when I saw the interview (and job) would be in Tualatin, OR, a 20 minute drive or a 45 minute public trans commute–guess which one I was privy to?

One bus and train transfer later, I arrived at my site. I was 12 minutes late, due to the train stalling on the tracks, and although I called 7 times, no one picked up the phone at this “quaint” little Hawaiian grill. I later discovered that they didn’t have a damn phone and I was calling the catering line.

I apologized for my tardiness only to see that I had walked in on ANOTHER GROUP INTERVIEW. Three guys, a girl, and me. One of the guys had below average intelligence (?) or was cognitively disabled in some way, which made me feel like a total asshole who definitely didn’t need this min wage food service job as badly as the guy to my left (compassionate).

This interview frustrated me to the point that I don’t even want to write about it in complete sentences.

We each were given a food item to describe:

  • Dude 1 (Potato): “Umm, it’s oval or roundish, dirty, and lumpy.”
  • Dude 2: “Well, the orange chicken dish here is my favorite because it’s soooo good.”
  • Me (Apple): “My favorite apple is the Cortland apple, characterized by a deep red, chewy skin with bright white flesh that is crisp and juicy.”

We played three “team building” games:

  • Shove-all-five-adults-on-a-towel-and-find-a-way-to-turn-it-over-without-touching-the-floor.
  • Memorize the contents of a plate, whisper them to one teammate, who whispers it to another teammate and this person goes back to plate and gives a thumbs up or down as to whether the “telephone line” worked. Repeat if there were any mistakes.
  • Line up in order of importance to the people in your interview (you’re supposed to form a circle).

We were required to write on a note card 5 words that described us best:

Me: Compassionate, generous, reliable, corny, and morbid (Those last two are from a Jets to Brazil song off their album Perfecting Loneliness, “Wish List.”)

Some people say I’m corny or I’m morbid.
I always thought I was touching, I was tragic.

If those lines don’t sum me up, I don’t know what could.

We sat for awhile in between interview sections. Our time was generally wasted.

I smiled and cooperated and laughed and pretended to enjoy myself during all 1 1/2 hours of the interview (corny). I understand that orientations may need team building exercises or a longer chunk of your time; I used to teach a 4-hour  orientation class, but only AFTER we had hired everyone–my transfer wasn’t even good anymore!

The interviewer (owner’s daughter) told us that the reason for the team exercises was to show us how working in a restaurant requires communication and poor communication can lead to frustration and impatience with your coworkers–NO  SHIT.

I had no idea what it was like to work in a restaurant until I had been smashed against 4 adults trying to flip over a goddamn towel. In total, with transit time, I was gone from my apartment for 5 hours.

Two days later I received this email:

I really enjoyed meeting you the other day. I was wondering if you’d like to come in for a second interview? We  have a spot open on Wednesday night at 6pm and again on Thursday night at 6pm to meet the owners. Do any of these times work for you?

One bus and train transfer later (reliable). When I arrive, the manager tells me that ******* and the owners are not coming. No courteous phone call OR email telling me to not show up, just waste 1 1/2 hours of a possible employees time (I thought that was only acceptable after you get hired). “It’s okay,” the manager says. “It was more of a formality. What you need to do is write your availability and phone number for *******.”

Me: “I’m not going to be around for Christmas or New Year’s, is that going to be a problem?

Manager: “No, we won’t start training until after the New Year.”

I comply. Meanwhile, he asks me if I’ve ever eaten at the Island Grill before, to which I reply “No, but I’ve heard great things.”

Manager: “Well, pick something off the menu and we’ll get it for you to go.”

Truthfully, I was not hungry, but I thought that my brother-in-law might want something (generous)  so I requested the orange chicken, based on group interview dude #2’s recommendation. The manager comes back out and picks up my availability sheet which he had me write on the back of an envelope. He says, “I’ll make it for here, that way we can chat if you sit behind the bar.”

My big eyes got bigger, ruminating. What was I supposed to say?

I’m a vegetarian–Then why did you ask me for the orange chicken–because I thought my brother-in-law might like to eat your food instead of me?
I’m a vegetarian–Well, how to you expect to describe food to our customers if most of our dishes are meat based?

I really needed a job, any job. I sat behind the bar, smiled and chatted, was sure to bounce my pigtails back and forth, and graciously choked down half a plate of orange chicken.

After New Year’s, I emailed ******** about rescheduling to meet the owners. She never emailed me back. Perhaps if I had emailed again and again I would have received a response, but 45 min away for 8.40 an hour to work for people who don’t even show up for their own interviews and make you play childish games?

At least I got a free meal.

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