Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Unemployment Chronicles Part 4 - File under miscellaneous

Continued ramblings from an unemployed, overheated, middle-age man syndrome (MAMS) suffering blowhard.  Please excuse the lack of focus, plot, relevance and sanity.

- I finally got that haircut.  And, I caved to KT, not going to Fangasmic Sams, Cost Nutters, Great Twits or any of the other "fast food" haircut places she abhors.  I went to an old-school barber shop with a barber's pole outside and everything.  My reward?  "You look like Hitler", which has since been amended to "Not so much Hitler, but Hitler Youth.  You just need the circa 1930s Phy Ed outfit with the belt".  And she wonders why I prefer to just shave my head.

- Part of not having a job is I have more time on my hands.  Because of this I have decided not to drive anywhere that I can reasonably walk or bike to.  I'd like to say this is because I am an eco-warrior or a fitness freak, but it has more to do with the fact that I'm terrified of Red (our 1989 Ford F150 truck,  which I bought for a case of whiskey and remains the only vehicle I have ever loved) overheating and random good-intentioned strangers offering help and realizing what an incompetent buffoon I am when it comes to auto repair, or any sort of repairs in general.  Anyways, to return to the point, I have been walking to Greta's place to workout the past few days as I don't seem to have a gym membership any longer and there is an always vacant workout room in her complex.  Today, as usual, I loaded up a backpack with water, book, towel, etc., strapped on my headphones and took off, first swinging by the mail box outside of Cub to drop some things off.  When I arrived at Greta's about 1.2 miles later, I realized that although I had been wearing headphones the entire time, I never actually took the next step of turning the ipod on.  I attribute it to the not altogether unpleasant fact that I can't get the song "Metro" by Berlin out of my head.  Even then, however, wouldn't I wonder why the same song kept repeating?  Perhaps the continual conversations (arguments) I'm having with myself and the increasingly familiar "bat shit nuts" phrase has more to do with it.

-  The following quote from Wolf Hall, the book I'm reading now (happy, Carrie?) is excellent and I don't know if I find it depressing, inspiring, true to a fault, or the ramblings of an unhappy soul.  I do know I enjoyed it enough that I put down the book, grabbed pen and paper and copied it into my notebook.

  "You don't get on by being original.  You don't get on by being bright.  You don't get on by being strong.  You get on by being a subtle crook."

-  Filing for and actually receiving unemployment is one of the most mind boggling difficult things I've ever had the displeasure of doing.  We are going on three weeks now and I still can't figure it out.  Everytime I request a payment I get an inevitable error message telling me I've done something wrong and my payment will be delayed.  Problem is, the error message is incredibly vague and almost non-sensical.  Seriously, they may as well just list "Because we can" as the reason they aren't paying you - it would make as much sense.  And trying to find a contact email or phone number to get help requires about 12 clicks and dumb luck.  When, and if, you do find a phone number, and have the time to wait 47 minutes and 18 seconds (I timed it) for "the next available agent" (although I guess most unemployed do have the time), you are met with an inevitably crabby person who assumes that you are only calling to yell at them and is thus immediately defensive and assy (no I didn't forget the S).  I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent, college-edumacated person, but I'm damn near ready to waive the white flag on this one.  I can't imagine how difficult this process might be for some poor soul who is illiterate or doesn't use English as their first language.

-  Here is what has been on my television over the past 36 hours:

1)  Black Swan.  Meh from me, jerk-off motion from KT.  My biggest complaint - and this seems to be the case a lot - is they spend all this time developing a story and getting the viewer involved in it and then go "Holy shit, we are at an hour and a half length already, we need to wrap this up" and then totally fast forward so that the movie isn't longer than the dreaded two hour mark.  In other words, I kind of enjoyed the first chunk of this movie, but the whole climactic, meltdowny last 30 minutes seemed so rushed it completely ruined it for me.

2)  Golden Girls.  I am quite aware of all the easy snarkiness and sarcasm available here, but I can with complete and total honesty say that I enjoy this show.  I'm not ready to buy the boxset or anything, but I think it's well-written and well-acted.  For those waiting for the punchline, sorry, it's not coming.  My name is Paul and I enjoy the Golden Girls.

3)  Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations - Sweden.  Everytime I watch this show it follows the same pattern.  First twenty minutes: He's a funny guy, this is a great show.  Second twenty minutes:  He's kind of annoying but I like shows about other countries/cultures, so it's a fair trade.  Last twenty minutes:  My God, this guy is a pompous ass and I want punch him in the nutsack.  Please, just shut up.  

That being said, I don't like leaving anything incomplete, so I always end up watching the full show.  This particular episode confirmed to me the existence of something I had only before heard KT speak of, but had a hard time believing in.  Apparently, at bar time in Sweden, patrons don't stumble to the pizza-by-the-slice place or the gyro place as they do here, but instead go to a stand for a "tunnsbr√∂dsrulle", which consists of a hot dog, mashed potatoes, ketchup, mustard, lettuce and - of course - shrimp salad wrapped in flatbread.  As disgusting as this may sound, its been added to my bucket list.

4)  Germany/Azerbaijan Euro 2012 qualifier (streaming).  3-1 win for the Deutschies, remaining perfect in qualifiers.

5)  A Somewhat Gentle Man.  Norwegian film about a guy getting out of jail after serving 12 years for murder and struggling to decide if he wants to go the straight and narrow or not.  Enjoyable, but maybe only because it was foreign and weird.  If it had been Bruce Willis in the title role, I never would have given it a chance.  Call me an anti-American pinko bastard if you must.

- Oh, and finally, Al and Toby just got home from work.  Yes, they found employment before me.  My circle of shame is now complete.

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