Wednesday, August 03, 2005

jesus christ conquers the martians



Every week thrill to new adventures of brave, foul-mouthed Earthmen struggling against the onslaught of attacks from Mars! Yes, in an attempt to keep up-to-the-five-years-ago minute, I'm doing a web-comic. JESUS CHRIST CONQUERS THE MARTIANS will get updates every Sunday; two or three strips each week until the story is finished, which should be sometime around Christmas. I can promise thrills, excitement, cuss words, naked women, and the technological terror of the Brickosaurus X-7, all in thrilling black and white! Don't miss it!

JESUS CHRIST CONQUERS THE MARTIANS!!!

Monday, March 21, 2005

GET A JOB!!!

Sure-fire employment techniques that NEVER LOSE!

Well, that's not true, actually. But last year I moved to a new town where I didn't know anybody, hardly, and I had to sink or swim, job-wise. Less than a month after moving, I was gainfully employed and looking down my noses at the legions of tattooed, pierced, green-haired panhandlers that infest Queen Street. What's my secret?

Like Bobby Hull said in the industrial training film, "POUR IT ON"!

Seriously though, what I did was to haul out my resume and polish it up. I made three resumes - one that emphasized my digital printing experience, one that emphasized my experience with conferences and exhibitions, and a "general purpose" resume that touched lightly on everything. I faxed and emailed these resumes to every job listing in every paper that seemed to slightly interest me. The daily paper, the alternative weekly, the "job guide" paper - they all got the treatment. I followed up every fax and email with phone calls until the people on the other end agreed to an interview or told me to shut up. I also did some digging and found some printing companies in the area that owned some specialized equipment that I'd recieved training on, and faxed them resumes that emphasized my talent with that piece of equipment.

On my third or fourth printing company call, the personnel guy told me about a local printing industry placement service. It was where he'd gotten his job from. I got their fax number and while I was at the Staples faxing them my resume, I noticed another ad in the paper - from that same agency - for a position I'd be perfect for. So I faxed them TWICE, and telephoned the next day.

That same week I interviewed at the agency. Coming from an industrial background and expecting more of the same, I didn't dress "corporate", but casually in a clean solid-color Oxford-type shirt and dark pants. No T-shirts or logos. Being new in town I had something to make small talk with, and I was able to "talk shop" well enough to be hired for a one-day contract that very same week. The following week I interviewed for another job. It was definitely corporate, so I wore a shirt, tie, slacks, etc. In fact I was a little overdressed, I think. That next Tuesday I began a one-month contract that turned into a 6-month contract. I was offered a permanent position at the end of that contract, but I had already accepted ANOTHER contract, which has since turned into a full-time permanent position.

In the month that I'd been looking, I had revised my resume about five times. I eliminated anything that was confusing or obscure or didn't fit the business world - and as valuable as I've found convention-running experience to be in my working life, it still looks terrible on a resume. I was lucky enough to have email and a telephone with an answering machine for followups, which are vital. I emailed my resume as a text file a few times, but I found that most places prefer PDF files, as they should. Towards the end of the month without work, I was emailing job notices that I only had tangential knowledge of - I haven't framed professionally in fifteen years, but darned if the framers in the want ads didn't get resumes - and other places that I had ZERO experience with, but that looked interesting. Who knows where a job is going to come from?

I was lucky enough that I didn't have to approach the chain stores or the fast-food restaurants, but believe me, a few weeks in the thought had crossed my mind more than once.

This resume-callback stuff is all well and good, but I'll tell you the only real reason I'm working right now. When I was in college I was working part time, 3 days a week (!!) at a printing company doing bindery work and deliveries and odd jobs - pleasant and non-taxing work I didn't have to think about much. Joe V. was working at an Alphagraphics, and he told me to apply to work there, because they really needed people, it was full time, and it paid a lot more. So, I left my comfort zone and applied for the Alphagraphics job in the bindery department, and I got the job. Immediately I was working harder, longer, and for more money, and it was kinda cool to be actually challenged, and rewarded for meeting the challenges. Soon I was offered the chance to be trained on the copiers, and I took the opportunity to learn something new.

I got canned from Alphagraphics after a year by my drunk-driving, cokehead supervisor, but my copier skill got me hired at another company. While at that company I was asked if I wanted to be trained on a digital color press. I had no knowledge of color printing or of printing presses, and had no idea how well I'd learn, but again, I took a swing at it. Pretty soon I was one of those employees every company has, who knows how to run every machine in the place. It's annoying always being the "go to" guy, but it looks great on a resume. When I moved up here I had a resume full of experience on dozens of different kinds of digital printers, copiers, graphics software, bindery equipment - and all because I left my comfort zone and learned new skills and kept learning more new skills.

So my employment advice is to take a job - just about any job - and do the hell out of it, and take whatever training you can at whatever software or machine or method they offer, and learn the hell out of THAT. Work harder and smarter than the other guy. Don't pass up a chance at overtime or special duty. Keep your criticism to specifics and put it into action. And the flip side is, know when you're in a bad employment situation and when to get out, which I should have done at Alphagraphics. Moving on to another job is always better than getting canned, even if you don't get unemployment compensation. Put all that on your resume and use this to get a BETTER job.

Repeat until you get rich or you die, whichever comes first.

Friday, March 18, 2005

this is my blog

As opposed to my livejournal, I guess. I've been goofing off with this blog and getting the feel of how it works. If I get the free time I might use this blog to write longer essays about stuff and junk. Or I might just use it to put up pictures and junk. Or I might ignore it. Who can say? I have the free time to write in it now, but that could change very quickly.

computers are a pain

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Saturday, February 05, 2005

This is a guide for use in promoting the Hell event at conventions that may not be familiar with the event or the concept or the equipment needs.


WHAT IS JAPANESE ANIME HELL?

Japanese Anime Hell is a free-form video presentation featuring short film clips, commercials, failed pilots, amateur films, found video, instructional and educational films, music videos, film trailers, and other miscellaneous material. Some of the material is Japanese animation, other material is not. The name "Japanese Anime Hell" is a misnomer, but one that has served well for years.


WHAT IS JAPANESE ANIME HELL *NOT*?

Japanese Anime Hell is NOT solely a screening of anime parodies. It is NOT solely an amateur film festival. It is NOT a showing of "the worst of Japanese anime." It is not a program of ultraviolent gore or porno. It is NOT a bring-your-own, all-request hour. It is NOT tightly scripted or scheduled. The spontaneous, "loose" nature of the event is part of the appeal.

WHO RUNS ANIME HELL?

Right now several people run HELL events at different conventions across the country. Dan Baker has run HELL at AnimeFest, Ushicon, and A-Kon, and runs the Anime Hell web blog. Ryan Gavigan and Jeff Tatarek have run HELL at Ohayocon, Phil Lee has run HELL at Animazement, and Daryl Surat has run similar events in Florida. Dave Merrill thought the whole thing up and has run HELL at AWA, Animazement, Sugoicon, and Anime Central. Nobody "owns" Anime Hell; the "clip show" event has been a part of entertainment for years and directors like Joe Dante and John Landis have worked in the field. The HELL partcipants share material and tips, and we reserve the usage of the term "ANIME HELL" for events that we collectively run, or at least have some way of knowing will not suck. Those wishing to run similiar events at their own conventions should contact us for tips and advice, or at the very least come up with their own name.


WHY SHOULD YOUR CONVENTION HOST JAPANESE ANIME HELL?

Because anime convention attendees find it entertaining. Crowds of 1000+ have enjoyed HELL at conventions like Anime Central and Anime Weekend Atlanta, where it has become a popular late night Friday event. Requirements of staff and A/V equipment are small, and the returns are large. It's a fun evening that adds to the convention experience for many people, and a way to experience material that otherwise may never be seen.

WHY IS JAPANESE ANIME HELL ENTERTAINING?

We really don't know. Some of the material is amusing in and of itself; other material is amusing only because of its removal from its original context (classrooms, afternoon TV of the 1980s, European TV). Still other material is entertaining precisely because of its failure to entertain. The enjoyment level of the audience is a constantly changing factor that is always being monitored by the HELL "dj". Material that was funny one year might not be funny the next. Material that amuses in Atlanta may not amuse in Cincinnati. Every event is different.

WHAT ARE THE REQIREMENTS FOR ANIME HELL?

Most anime conventions already have the basic ingredients: VCRs, DVD players, video projectors, sound systems, meeting rooms. HELL is mixed live and reqires not only several video sources, but a switching system to switch between them. A microphone is necessary for explanation and commentary to the audience. Other requirements will vary according to who is handling the event. At least fifteen minutes setup time should be taken into account. Size of the room will vary according to how popular the event is at the host convention; if HELL is well known and anticipated, audiences of considerable size can be expected. A first-time HELL at an unfamiliar convention might not require the same space. The convention liason should discuss requirements thoroughly with both the HELL organizer and the convention's AV department.

IS HELL OFFENSIVE OR DEROGATORY?

Usually. While HELL does not deliberately feature ultra-violent gore or pornography, some material that may be found offensive is sometimes included. This is why the event is usually held after 9:00pm in the evening. Other HELL material may include racist or fascist propaganda, disturbing industrial or training films, sexually oriented material, or religious programming that is either self-parodying or deliberately altered. For instance, a hentai anime title would itself not be considered for HELL programming, but a TV news report on hentai anime would definitely be HELL-worthy. It is understood that this material does not reflect the opinions or positions of HELL or of the convention as a whole. HELL feels that exposing this material to ridicule is a public service.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Illuminet Hotline post

Somebody posted to the Hell blog - replied to a post I'd made, actually - and mentioned the IllumiNet Hotline; if whoever did that would please jump back and get in touch with me that'd be great.