I’m applying for a lot of jobs at the moment. Some of them take a few clicks, some of them make you take a test. I’ve taken a few copyediting tests that want to make sure you can spell, use grammar and make sentences/paragraphs/stories make sense. These are never fun.
Now I’m applying for jobs that make me do writing tests. Yippee!
This one was actually pretty fun because I did have some freedom.
(So this is how I would write a couple marketing pieces)
Top 5 Reasons to Tint Your Windows
My friends and I were hanging out at the beach last weekend. Gary just bought a new red Ford Mustang and bragged about it, as he tends to do. While we were all checking our bank accounts and projected when we’d be able to get cars to compete with his, Gary asked me if he should tint his car’s windows. I am a pretty decent expert on the topic since I work as a manager for Blackout Window Tinting. So I thought I’d give him a few reasons why I installed solar window film on my own personal car (a 2010 Land Rover in case you’re wondering).
- First of all, window tint blocks heat. When I am in a LA traffic jam, the last thing I want is to be sweating my face off when I get to work, home or a date.
- Next, I used to lifeguard so now I wear sunglasses everyday and everywhere. Tinting my windows helps take a lot of that brightness out of my face.
- My windows are tinted enough so people driving by or walking by can’t really look into my car and see what’s inside or happening inside. It’s not like I have anything interesting to hide or to steal in my car, but if I did I wouldn’t want anybody to know about it.
- Tinting makes my car stand out in the crowd. I really don’t have to worry about finding my car at the supermarket or make my friends wonder which car is their ride to the game. The tint on my car separates it from the pack.
- Installing solar window film is quick, easy and not that expensive. Of course, you’ll need a professional to do it. While window tint makes your car stand out, it will stand out for all the wrong reasons if your windows are covered in brown-and-tan bubbles. If you’re going to get a tint, let a professional handle the work. I’ll stand by my own work, or be able to point you in the right direction if you need it.
- (Here’s a bonus reason). Finally, I agree with the hundreds of customers I’ve helped at the shop: Tinting your windows looks cool. ‘Nuff said.
So there you go. The reasons why I personally tint my windows. Blackout Window Tinting offers plenty of different shades and styles. I actually go with a 70 percent Master Tint, which isn’t our darkest or most expensive, but that’s what I prefer. If you want to learn more you can stop down at the shop, call me at (555) 123-4567 or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got questions.
More companies use Internet marketing to capture their targets’ attention. Customers are spending more and more time on the Web, which makes this fertile ground for companies getting their messages out.
Actual paper newspapers and magazines are relatively extinct, so print ads are becoming less worthwhile. More folks are walking Hulu, Netflix and YouTube than actual television, therefore TV ads are losing their steam.
So the logical choice is for companies to use Internet marketing. Nearly everybody uses the Internet every day and it is almost always instantly available.
One nice part about Internet marketing is that if the person is mildly interested, they will click on the ad. If they are not, they won’t. However, more people will look at Internet ads than readers that just flip the page or change the channel.
Here’s something I wrote back in November for Black Friday. It had been a while since I’d written anything for a newspaper so this was a neat little project. Wayne is always a great interview.
This was the big pet/personal/perfect project I did for the Colorado Daily. I spent hours here with my mom. I’m bored so going out with her is one way I get to get out of the house.
Everybody is incredibly nice and I could have written a series on this place. This is the whittled down version.
Read and tell your friends! And tell the editor to pay me more! Hahaha.
So here’s the first episode of my new column in the Colorado Daily: Popular to the Contrary Opinion. It’s all about eating at home after living abroad. It was a kick to write and I hope you enjoy it.
Read it and tell your friends!
A History of Blogging – Part 2 – ZZZ Comics!
Every once in a while I get a wild hair in my you-know-where and decide to embark on something great and weird. This is how I started blogging, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Dungeons & Dragons, YouTubing and writing comedic books.
During my first year of grad school I worked as a night security guard in an urgent care clinic, which was one of the most boring jobs ever. Mostly I just walked around to make sure nobody was stealing drugs or needles.
Besides my rounds, I tried to stay awake. I read every Newsweek, Cat Fancy and Cosmopolitan from the waiting room. (Reading Cosmo is an entire blog in itself.) I read novels, my school textbooks, newspapers and my own crappy writing.
Then I started drawing cartoony comics. I’m not a good artist by any means, but I thought they were funny. I thought, “Maybe other people will find them funny.” When I wasn’t doing anything – which was always – I wrote, drew and laughed at my own stupid jokes.
The security job was great in the sense that I didn’t really talk to anybody, I didn’t really need to use my brain and I had a ton of free time. But the biggest fringe benefit was that they allowed me to use their copy machine for free. I copied a few textbooks so I could save a few hundred dollars.
Eventually, I made about 100 copies of a comic book full of one-panel cartoons. They were kind of like a dirty and immature version of “The Far Side.”
I decided that my comics were funny enough to send around. Nobody wanted them, mostly because I only sent them to a few papers. And by a few papers I mean one. The one that I was interning at.
I wanted to make this a success. I asked a classmate if her husband would help me start a blog for my publishing company. This was back in the day when you needed a computer expert to help you out with creating a blog. I still don’t really know how to do it, but I think I need a supersmart guy to write code or something. If I do, this blog won’t go that far.
Anyway, we created the blog and I called it…
www.zzzzcomics.com or ZZZ Comics – The Last Name in Comics!!!
There I published two issues of “Popular to the Contrary Belief” and one “The Girl Chronicles.” Most of the drawings were basically circle stick figures with beards making crude jokes or complaining about how I never got girls. I even made t-shirts with the main character and blog on it.
Luckily, the manager at the bar I worked in let me sell them from time to time. So a few nights I sold some t-shirts and comics. I realized making a dollar off of this professional writing stuff is really really really hard. I didn’t make any money. In fact, I lost probably a few hundred dollars from the t-shirts that all my friends wanted for free.
After some really unsuccessful showings I felt like I was wasting my time. I had midterms, studying, finals, my internship at a newspaper, “Diablo II,” my job at the security place, the gym, almost a handful of friends and even a girlfriend.
ZZZ Comics fell to the wayside. The old comics and even a few t-shirts are still in my parents’ basement. One of these days I’ll go check them out. I’m not so sure the blog exists any more, but I do remember the company that ran the site charged a few dollars a month and my budget for a dick joke blog just ran out.
So there you go. My second blog.
Even though I failed, gave up quickly and was “The Last Name in Comics,” I’m far from finished.
The Comfy Confines
I need a place to call my own.
Not a house or an apartment – I need those too, but this isn’t about that.
I need a bar.
It started as a joke. My Dungeons & Dragons character Regnor the Rakish owned a bar called…The Comfy Confines. In case you’re a total moron, that’s the same name of the blog you’re reading right now.
The Comfy Confines will be a place weary travelers can come and, well, do what you do at bars. Usually just hang out with your friends for a few drinks. Regnor may have allowed some deviants to sell elvish opium out of the back, but that’s in the past.
I’ve loved some bars. Sadly, most don’t exist anymore. Here are a few of the places I called home:
Finnerty’s Irish Pub in New York City: This pub was around the corner from my dorm at NYU. This place was standing room only, dirty, smelly and loud, but this place felt like home. Gina and Michael, the owners, were so awesome. They actually liked me in my early 20s which I didn’t even do. I don’t know if I have ever been to a bar with the energy of this place. It was always packed with NYU kids and just fun to be there.
McSorley’s Irish Pub in New York City: This is one of the oldest pubs in NYC. I love it for it’s simplicity. You have three choices: dark, ale or mixed. They give you two glasses for the price of one. Granted, those two glasses probably equal 1.1 actual glasses, but who cares? Also, my mom used to drink there. Rad.
The Catacombs in Boulder, Colorado: This place was the first real bar I worked in. We had more regulars than strangers. The food was delicious, drink specials couldn’t be beat and you could smoke inside. I only smoked a little bit back then, but I liked the option.
The Foundry in Boulder, Colorado: This was such a great place and really fun to work in. However, if I was drinking I would never go there because I hate dancing, pool, clubs, DJs, expensive drinks and rude employees. But I would call just about every coworker at the Foundry a true friend.
The Sundown Saloon in Boulder, Colorado: This is the best dive bar I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot. Nothing fancy, just fun.
Grand Ole Opry in Seoul, Korea: How many do Koreans love country western music? Absolutely none. I barely even like it, but this place is great. There are the sweetest bartenders, cheap drinks, a great dance floor and Jell-O shots. The decor is like a cowboy’s basement, except the GOO has all types of cash money stapled to the roof.
Dublin’s/Pub 210/Travelers in Seoul, Korea: All of these places were basically the same. They were all great places to meet buddies, hang out, play a drinking game and chill out after a long week of work.
Jumbo’s Clown Room in LA: This is so hard to describe. Just go there. I’m going to guarantee you’ll probably hate it, but for Bones and me, it’s amazing.
One-Up in Cincinnati, Ohio: I love arcades. I love bars. Put them together…Hooray! I especially liked this place because the games were free. You’d like to think “The Simpsons” or “X-Men” arcade games were fun, but they actually suck if you’re paying for them.
I have a bunch of other favorite bars, but this blog was supposed to be only half a page.
Anyway, I think it would be cool to have a bar, but I know it would be a terrible idea. Not because I’d be that alcoholic owner that’s “his own best customer.” But I think I’d be too nice to my friends and give away too many drinks. I’d feel bad about taking the last dollar from a drunk. I’d encourage people to drink away their problems – like I sometimes do. Most of all, I’d probably fail because I’d want to do all of my things I like.
So, here’s what the Comfy Confines would be feature:
A lot of cities make bars have food, so all of my food will be microwavable TV dinners and instant noodles. And Pop Tarts and Toaster Strudels.
I’d have regular beers and drinks, but everything would be served in mugs. Beers will be in regular mugs while wine and mixed drinks will be in coffee mugs.
I’ll have regular TV on, and usually I’ll watch what I want to watch, like scifi movies, cartoons and superhero stuff. However, you can pay to change the channel.
We’ll sell boxed wine and be proud of it.
A three-hole miniature golf course.
I want drinking competitions. Yeah, those are for kids, but do you know who brings fun and energy into a bar? Kids. You know what kids and fun bring? Cute girls and guys. You know who likes cute college boys and girls? Everybody. Boom! I just paid rent.
I want to have an arcade, but away from the drinking games.
Drink enough and I’ll give you a little plaque on the wall. I’ll sell t-shirts, stickers and buttons too. I’ll give you a discount if you’re wearing a shirt and a littler one if you’re wearing a button.
I typed “Houdini Escape” in my notepad, but I have no idea what that means. Is this a sex move? Will I have a guy escape from a straitjacket? Will I have a statue of Houdini? All those sound bad.
But wait, there’s more… We’ll also have weekly stuff.
Monday: Trivia is stupid, but have Dungeons & Dragons and trivia at the same time — that’s meaty.
Tuesday: A psychic.
Wednesday: Beer pong. Or whatever the kids are into these days.
Thursday: Regular students getting hammered.
Friday: Awesome drink specials and a band, but not loud or annoying enough to get in the way of drinking.
Saturday: Maybe buy ten beers and ten shots for super cheap, but you have to do one every 30 minutes. I don’t know, I didn’t really think about it. I just thought of it. Whatevs.
Sunday: I hate it, but brunch Stuff during the day. Then Industry Night — which means drink specials for the bartenders, wait staff and bouncers of the city. If you want to party, go out on industry night with all the bar folks.
So, who wants to invest with in a bar with me?
The Origins of Sleepy Fox
“You, ingrate, are not even close to average. I, on the other side, am awe-inspiring.” — Sleepy Fox to a soon-to-be-defeated foe.
Years ago, I met with some friends to play Dungeons & Dragons thinking that we’d play once and spend most of the time making fun of this stupid game while getting drunk. That’s not what happened. Well, we did get drunk and make fun of the game, but we loved it so much we made this a continual thing. Very quickly, D&D Night became the highlight of my month.
I fought monsters, solved puzzles, helped out the helpless and hung out with my best friends. For a few hours I didn’t have to worry about work, my future, my relationship status, Facebook, rent or any of that stuff. I could be somebody else. Something else. Somewhere else. I didn’t need to be the same race. Or even the same species.
First I was Regnor the Rakish, a fallen paladin with a penchant for always trying his best to make people happy. (I also ran a bar called the Comfy Confines, which we’ll talk about in a later blog post.) While I loved being the relatively invincible tank of the group, I didn’t spend much time on Regnor’s (or Reggie’s) history.
Then my entire clan died. So I needed to come up with somebody else.
After being incredibly bored I decided I would try to come up with an American Indian-sounding name for my new character. Like I said, I was bored, so I picked “Sleepy.” Then I thought of my spirit animal, which is a fox. Boom! Sleepy Fox was formed.
I spent hours researching the best combination of race, class and all of that. Then I decided, “Screw that. I’m not perfect and neither will my hero.”
Therefore, I became a half-orc archer — which is kind of like asking your goldfish to do your HTML homework. But I lucked out with my die rolls (which is how you get your stats). I’m smart, strong and agile. In real life, I like to think I’m smart — I did get a masters degree after all. I like to think I’m strong — I hit the gym as often as possible. And, uh, agile. Um. Well, I can do a somersault and sometimes throw garbage into the bin without missing — but not at the same time.
I figured out who I was, but not how I got there. I needed a past.
As a half-orc, I’m generally a product of an orc male being not-so-nice with a human female. Usually my kind of offspring are treated like an outcast by both species. Orcs ridicule me for being both physically and emotionally weak. Whereas humans believe my kind to be ignorant monsters intent only on raping, pillaging and warring.
However, that’s not my history. My father was a human and my mother was an orc. They both met at a debutante ball. Real quicklike, I need to point out that not all orc females are bull-ringed, leather jerkin-clad brutes, and my mom was none of those. According to my parents, they realized they were the two most sober people in the hall, so they left and that’s how their forsaken love started.
I spent my childhood trying to be smarter than humans and tougher than orcs. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. I’ve fought every age, race, sex, size, class and skill level. I fear nothing, not even failure.
My father and mother worked as teachers, language and science respectively, at the local school. Did I mention I speak common, orcish, halfling and abyssal (demonic)? When the school laid them off to fund a new catapult, my mother and father were too old to learn new trades.
To put food on the floor (we’d long sold off our furniture) I left my internship at the library and took a job as a loan shark. I realized there was a lot more money in breaking arms than stacking scrolls. My new profession horrified my parents, so I left.
That makes my alignment chaotic good. This means I’m a half-decent person, but only when I feel like it. Or paid. Or there’s something else in it for me.
Why should I be a good person in a world that’s been so terrible to me? My parents were ostracized for their true love and then punished for trying to make the world a better place. In my burg and my life, I never fit in with anybody.
Then on my solo journey a band of outcasts accepted me. A barbarian gnome, elf, demon, monk and human took me in and they respect me. We’re a band of misfits that solve mysteries and save people. From time to time we’re paid too, but most of the time we’re just out there doing what we want to do. Which is exactly what I want to do.
I crave adventure as well as attention. I have no need to conquer, steal, gather fame or lead. I am here with them. When I am finished with this band, I will leave.
But it’s not time yet.
Things I Like Right Now 3/24
You’re Pretty Face is Going to Hell
What’s Hell going to be like?
This show has found out.
It’s an office where you share cubicles with overachieving dickheads trying to impress middle management. Your boss is literally Satan. He makes you do some really effed up stuff like possess, haunt and torment. Or eat charcoal briquettes.
This is the type of show I feel like my friends and I could make, not because we’re this funny and creative, but because every scene looks like it was so much fun to make. The jokes rule. The actor that plays Gary deserves an Emmy. Nobody puts as much effort into a role as Henry Zebrowski.
If you’ve worked in corporate America, this show is for you.
My mom watches “NCIS” and I hate it. My friends watch “Walking Dead” and I hate it. People I don’t know watch “Jessica Jones” and I hate that too.
“iZombie” is a combination of all of these, but it’s great. This gal gets bitten by a zombie and has to eat brains. She gets the memories and characteristics from her lunch and then uses all that to solve mysteries.
Sounds stupid? It does, but it’s not. This show is really fun. Rose McIver, who plays the zombie Liv, deserves an Emmy too. Not only does she have to play a zombie, but also a zombie with a different personality every show.
Also, I’ve read the comic book which is done by one of my favorite artists Mike Allred. The comic and show share a lot of the same things and are a lot different. I like them both in different ways.
Spook by Mary Roach
What happens when we die? Do we have souls? Do souls weigh anything? How can I see them? How can I train to talk to ghosts?
Mary Roach writes all about it in her book: “Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife.” This sounds like a really stupid fantasy witch novel, but it’s nonfiction and better researched than just about anything I’ve read in forever.
I’ve read two of Roach’s other books: “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Corpses” and “Packing for Mars” and those were both amazing. I’m going to say “Stiff” was my favorite and then “Packing for Mars” and then “Spook,” but I’d recommend any of them to anybody interested in science and such.
“Stiff” does get gnarly pretty quickly.
Oh, and she’s hilarious.
Anything by Bill Bryson
I finished “A Walk in the Woods” a week or so ago and this was another book of Bryson’s that I really enjoyed from start to finish to footnotes. This guy takes so many topics that I don’t give a royal red crap about and makes them absolutely interesting and hilarious.
I just finished “A Walk in the Woods” which is about him and his buddy hiking the Appalachian trail. None of that sounds interesting to me, but I found myself doing a few extra minutes on the exercise bike at the gym just to finish one more chapter. And then maybe another chapter. Then I’d skip my nightly TV binge to read a few chapters.
“In a Sunburned Country” was basically my guide for my trip to Australia. “A Short History of Nearly Everything” is definitely my favorite because I feel like I kind of sort of understand math, science and history. Kind of sort of.
If you’re an English major, teacher or speaker, “Mother Tongue” should be required reading. It really describes why our language is so stupid.
I think I have three of his books on deck right now. I have “At Home” and “Notes from a Small Island.” Maybe one more, but that would mean walking to my bookshelf and checking.
Also, it would be a dream of mine to sit in a room and listen to Mary Roach and Bill Bryson talk for an evening.
I’m selling some of my old comic books online and it’s been pretty fun. Not the part with all of the writing stuff up, taking photos or saying goodbye to my childhood belongings. That blows. But getting a sale and then packing stuff up makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
I’ve collected comics for about 30 years, not the entire time, but still, that’s a lot of comics. I’ve got about 1,000 or so. So far, I’ve made a few big sales. I’ve sold a ton of Deadpool stuff. My copy of “Amazing Spider-Man” 300 is going for about $375 or so at the time of this writing.
Now, I’m not really making any money off of these. I spent a ton of money on them and am mostly just trying to clean up the stuff in my parents’ basement. And like I said, it’s nice to get a little sense of accomplishment.
My parents watch “The O’Reilly Factor” whenever it’s on. I don’t care what your political persuasions are, I hate this guy and I hate his show. If you want to be biased, fine. Just don’t lie about it. “No Spin Zone?” Bullshit.
I love writing. I am in a serious case of writers’ block. Mostly because I don’t feel like doing any of it, but the little chunks I do here are fun.
Rick and Morty
This show is impossible to describe but is so good I can’t praise it enough. I rarely watch episodes of TV shows twice but I’ve seen most of them at least three times. The episode where they watch TV from alternate realities is genius. The only people I’ve introduced “Rick and Morty” to who haven’t liked this show are Koreans that are just not comfortable enough with English to understand it.
Do You Use?
“I believe that any invasion of privacy is nothing good.” — Lech Walesa
“One last thing, our company does not hire those that use tobacco.”
A few applications I’ve filled out lately have asked me if I smoke. One of the big boss men I talked with tacked this question on the end of an interview.
Do I use tobacco?
Alright, I get it. Smoking is dirty, smells, causes health problems, may cause health insurance premiums to go up and gives smokers more “breaks.”
Here’s the deal, what business is it if I smoke, chew, snort or inject tobacco?
I haven’t smoked in almost seven years, but I chew a piece or two of Nicorette every day. Does that mean you’re not going to hire me?
I understand testing me for drugs. I understand a background check. I understand you need to talk to my references. I understand examining me for this and that.
But when is this going to stop?
Are they going to start blood testing me to see if I eat candy from time to time? I’m guessing sugar is going to cause more deaths than tobacco in the next decade. In case you haven’t been paying attention, candy causes obesity, diabetes, rotting teeth and is probably more addictive than nicotine.
Will the bosses start monitoring coffee intake? That’s been linked to hypertension and heart attacks and all that good stuff. Goodness forbid if you drink coffee with sugar.
I drink alcohol on the weekends, but never during the week. I don’t drive so I can’t get a DUI. I’m too old, boring and shy to get in fights or sleaze around women. Can I get fired for drinking a few beers on my off time?
I am a serious cheater and do it constantly. Let me put that a better way. I cheat on Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Sometimes at video games. Okay, all the time at video games. Does that make me a morally bad person? Will my zombie gaming put me at risk of getting fired because it may affect my vision or make me prone to nightmares?
I do Jiu Jitsu whenever I can, even though I’ve blown out a knee and had a few black eyes. I lift weights and run — both have given me herniated disks that have been more painful than anything I’ve ever felt. Is that another no-no?
I snack at midnight. Swear when I drop stuff. Laugh at dirty jokes. Skip flossing more times than not. Ignore my dad’s forwarded emails. Pick my nose, but only when I’m alone. Do these evil activities put my career at risk?
Let’s say I do smoke, quit and then I gain a hundred pounds. Now I need a new chair to fit my lard butt. Then you’ll need to widen the doors for me. To meet my diet requirements, instead of Donut Wednesday you can start having Carrot Wednesday. How does that help your company?
In Korea we sent photos to our possible bosses. Will the US start this? I’m already giving you my email address, home address, phone number and LinkedIn profile. I know you’re looking at my Facebook and Twitter pages, and obviously this one. When you see in my pics that I went swimming at the beach without SPF 50, am I going to get suspended until I go to the dermatologist?
I may work for you, but the private things I do in my private life that don’t affect my job are private. Unless I’m a mascot for the American Healthy Lung society, you don’t need to know if I smoke.
Unless you want to hire me, because I seriously don’t smoke.