Work

Sunday Afternoon Job Hunting Blues (Redux)

Your Monkey had titanic ambitions for this weekend, my friends.

He had high apple pie in the sky kind of plans. He had big time plans for searching for jobs and applying for jobs and in general flooding the market with a series of crisp, well-written cover letters that explained in no uncertain terms why he was not only:

  • perfect for each any every open position in the Boston job market

but also

  • such a compelling and intriguing workforce candidate that companies without any openings would think about creating a new position just to hire him

By Monday morning  (according to your Monkey’s twisted mind), there would be a group of increasingly desparate employers huddled outside of his email inbox like junkies beggin for a fix.

“Please man, will you come in for an interview.”

“Come on, brother, can you spare a few minutes to let us know how where you see yourself in three years?”

“For god sakes, can you just tell us about one challenge you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome it?”

“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY, WHEN WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO START????”

But as is usually the case with your Monkey’s ambitious schemes, reality has fallen far short of fantasy.

We have managed to apply for one job that was posted almost a month ago and is most likely filled by now.

We spent a lot of time fucking about on the internet and not getting much done.

We greedily collected podcasts in our itunes and checked our email and clicked on the stumble upon button over and over again instead of getting down to business.

And we have found ourselves with another case of the Sunday afternoon job hunting blues.

Work, Writing

Let’s See How this Elance Thing Works Out

Your Monkey is now more determined than ever to find a new job and expand his mind and build his skills and all that good stuff.

There is only so long that one plucky primate can feed the copy monster at his present position before he goes mad.

Madness for your Monkey will not be all giggling and shaking and the ignornant bliss of  being unaware. Your Monkey will not stop showering and start writing love letters to his stapler.

Instead the Madness that comes is a sickness that makes your monkey feel very very low and makes it difficult for him to get through the day. The Madness makes him think that he is locked in an endless, unwinnable battle against the forces of copy entropy.

How many words can you type, how many product offers can you edit, how many inconsistencies and you find and resolve, and how many new problems can you create because you’re asked to handle so many words on a daily basis?

The traditional job market is still as dry as ever, so your Monkey has taken the time to join up with this Elance freelance service to see if any work might come out of there.  Any and all of these freelance writing opportunities that come up on the web seem ripe with the potential for ripoff.

But someone recently wrote a blog post (damned if this Monkey can remember who it was) who compared Elance to a flea market where you will get some of the good, some of the bad, and some in between. You just have to be a careful shopper.

So we will see how it goes. Your Monkey is not looking to get rich for doing nothing, but he would like to develop his skills and perhaps diversify his income.

On the plus side for Elance, there is a long and involved qualifying process that includes a fairly detailed multiple choice test, so it appears that they are at least trying to weed out some of the riff raff.

We shall see what happens.

Music

Green Day Does It Again

Your Monkey was all ready to say that he has had enough of Green Day. He was ready to turn up his nose and shake his arrogant head and say “enough, sirs.”

Sure, your debut album Dookie was good and had a lot of catchy songs on it. Sure it was a fresh new sound for the mid 1990s.

And sure, you’ve been able to put out some decent follow up albums since then and string together a pretty impressive list of singles.

And OK, so American Idiot was a tremendous commercial and critical success. Sure it sold more albums than a band can rightfully expect to in this day of digital downloads and digital piracy. Sure it had some unquestionably catchy songs that even managed to contain some elements of political protest.

But that has got to be it, right? Surely American Idiot was the last gasp of a band that was just about out of gas. Surely this trio of close to if not already 40-something pop punks from California is out of musical bullets by now.

Au contraire, my friends. Your Humbled Monkey is wrong. Green Day is back again, and they have another great hit single called Know Your Enemy. And if you can’t respect them for the fact that they are still making great music, you have to love that they refused to censor their album in order to sell it at WalMart.

It must be tough to be a celebrity with the ungrateful (Monkey) public always looking to bite the hand that feeds him.

Great Green Day song.

Great band.

Here’s a live performance from a recent visit to the Abbey Road Studios. But shell out the bucks for this song if you can because they deserve credit for doing great work and doing it on their own terms.

Shameless self indulgence, Uncategorized

In Which the Monkey Goes to a Wake

If the mind stops racing, the thoughts will catch up.

This you know instinctively, even if you can’t quite put the concept into words, and so your mind cooperates by chattering like an overcaffienated monkey while you drive. Every and all possible subject but death and the departed is opened up and examined, until the mind takes on a trancelike state of glee.

“What’s sad?”

“What does sad mean?”

“What is there to possibly be sad about?

“HA HA HA HEE HEE HEE I CAN”T EVEN IMAGINE SAD.”

You focus on work and you focus on getting things done and you hold on to this shaky house of cards that you have constructed that says “everything is going to be all right and this is not going to hurt you.”

Then you arrive at the wake and it is the same ordeal you have been through many times before. The same sweaty palms and the same fuck-all heat and you can feel the perspiration dripping down the back of your suit pants. The same sickening sweet smell of funeral flowers.

And your chattering monkey mind still doesn’t want to address the subject so it tries to force laughter from your lips at the most inappropriate moment. The hysterical gleeful guffaws of someone who can’t be appropriate.

But you stifle these hysterical impulses because you have been here before and you know they will come and you bite your lip and fold your arms behind your back and concentrate hard on producing a face that says “I am mourning and I am serious and I am slightly concerned.”

And you think you will be OK until you see the receiving line and your relatives and then you realize that this death is not just an abstract construction in your head but a very real thing in which real people are hurting and then suddenly it doesn’t seem so hard to suppress the hysterical laughter any more.

But your mind still races and races and even when you get through the line and you stop to pray in front of the casket you still have trouble putting a concrete thought together because it is too much pressure to figure out what the right words are for this one final goodbye.

So you end up losing focus and then you get embarassed and figure you have been kneeling there too long so you get up and bless yourself and make it look for all the world like you have just completed a meaningful thought.

And then there are the pictures. The snapshots from a life that has ended. Pictures of happier times. Times before cancer and chemo and nausea and seizures and hospice and death.

You see these pictures and you wonder about your own life and the photos you took and you wonder what moments will be chosen to represent your life on the poster boards at your wake.

You think these things.

If the mind stops racing, the thoughts catch up.

Shameless self indulgence

In Which the Monkey Returns Home from Camping

Your Monkey is filthy and stuffy and sneezy and grimy following a two-day sojourn into great outdoors. Turns out that Monkeys with allergies don’t do that well the woods (especially if those allergies are exacerbated by wood campfires).

It also turns out that your Monkey finds himself restless and uneasy in the woods, especially if there is no plan of action but just to sit there in the woods and be in the woods.

Your Monkey is big on action, not long games of poker and drinking for the sake of drinking. Sure, the good old fashioned binge drinking session is nice and all, but not when you are just drinking because there is literally nothing else to occupy your time.

Also, for an experience that is advertised as being a back-to-nature vacation, camping doesn’t seem to fill the bill. Is it really getting close to nature if we are all sleeping on air mattresses in giant tents, and using propane-powered stoves to cook full meals while we leave our cars running to power the stereo?

Also, does it reconnect us with Mother Earth to bring lots of low priced plastic plates and cups and silverware and an endless supply of low priced meat to cook over a small grill that is dripping with lighter fluid?

Oh yeah, does it help this pristine national park that is hosting us to have people brushing their teeth and spitting it on the ground, smoking butts and stamping them out all over the forest, and going down to the pond to rip some hooks through the mouths of fishes just so we can say we pulled a fish out of a pond and tossed it back in again?

There has to be a happy medium between enjoying the outdoors and stomping all over it.

Your Monkey just didn’t find it this weekend.

Music

Me and Ray Lamontagne have a lot to be upset about

Rolling Stone and Britain’s NME are now reporting that Meg White is getting married.

Meg White?

Getting married?

The news has zinged your Monkey in the heart like the poison arrow of some bizarro Cupid. This is surely the end of it all.

Everyone’s favorite buxom brunette drummer (whose drumming talent is unfairly under appreciated, by the way)  is now off the market.

Who will this Money dream about at night? Who will he collect photos of? Who will he write unanswered letters to? Who will he sculpt in his mashed potatoes at dinner time?

And has anyone thought about poor Ray Lamontange? He’s not the cheeriest guy to begin with and this could send him over the edge. If you can write lyrics as moving as these below and still not get the girl, then what chance to any of us have?

Meg White
You’re alright
In fact, I think you’re pretty swell
Can’t you tell?

Meg White
Such a pretty thing
I saw your face on the cover
Of a magazine

Some day (some day)
I’d like (I’d like)
To take a walk with you
Maybe ride our bikes down by the sea side

O terrible, lamentable day! Your Monkey is lovesick and seasick and wailing aloud. There’s no fried banana sandwich in the world that is big enough to fill this empty feeling.

Shameless self indulgence

While My (Monkey) Guitar Gently Weeps

Four years ago yesterday, your Monkey sat in a room on the second floor of a nursing home on a hot summer day and tried vainly to read a book while minding his dying grandfather.

Yesterday, your Monkey sat in his room on the first floor of his apartment building and tried vainly to play his guitar while waiting for the news of yet another slow and painful death in the family.

The book offered no comfort for the Monkey four years ago. He can remember everything else from that day — the sun streaming through the windows, the Gordon Lightfoot song playing over the PA system, the deathly ill look on his grandfather’s face — and yet the name of the book escapes him.

Last night, the guitar was no comfort either. He picked the mournful notes of “Yesterday” and yet his troubles did not seem far away. They seemed very close. It was almost as if they had come to stay.

Four years have gone by. Identical bright sunny May days. Eerily similar situations. And once again, there is nothing to provide a distraction.

Ugh.  Here is a much more talented guitarist playing Yesterday (not your humble Grumpy Monkey).