Random Ramblin’s on a Sunday night

It reached a balmy 85 degrees here today.  Freakin’ awesome.

I signed up for a free membership at TheLadders.com.  They claim to be a great resource for jobs paying $100,000 and up.  Despite my incredulity, I just might see if we can cough up $30 for a one-month membership to see the potentially decent-looking marketing gigs available.

Hoping some freelance comes my way this week.  I don’t want to be an everyday nuisance to my potential contacts, but I need to stay, as the corporate drones say, “top of mind.”

At least I can use some of this extra time at home usefully.  I’m going to go through my closet and find out what I don’t wear so I can donate it.  I’m going to file a bunch of our financial stuff.  There’s a lot more on the list.

The American-based baseball season kicked off on ESPN tonight.  (The two games played in Japan last week count too.)  Our country’s leader threw out the first pitch at the new Washington Nationals stadium, and was interviewed during the game by the ESPN broadcasters.  Every time I see him smiling and relaxing and having fun, I’m reminded of our troops halfway around the world.  Not sure if I get mad, sad or a combination of both.

I’ve met with two different staffing agencies in the past two weeks, each of whom does work in advertising/marketing.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to dig up some opportunities for me very soon.

I wonder what it says about me psychologically that I love sitcom reruns.  Maybe it’s just the comfort of familiar laughs.

Watched a couple Rock of Love 2 episodes tonight, thanks to our DVR.  It’s just mind-numbingly ridiculous, watching these usually stupid skanks fight over a has-been of wussy metal who is very clearly wearing a wig.

Argh, I’m blanking.  It’s late.  Good night.

Review: Reno 911!

An incredibly underrated, very very funny Comedy Central show.

For the uninitiated, it’s basically a fictional “Cops,” but with character actors/comedians playing both cops and criminals.

Most of the cast members of “The State”–MTV’s greatest sketch comedy show ever–are involved as actors, writers or producers.

Ridiculously absurd (or absurdly ridiculous) crimes are committed, the cops show up and usually make things worse, etc.

There are plenty of running gags, like Deputy Junior (that’s his last name) constantly getting rendered unconscious by car doors opening into his head.

A sample plotline from the most recent season’s first episode: Crazy Deputy Weigel, who had impregnated herself with a sample “donated” by one of the other deputies, was trying to sell her baby.

This is good stuff.  Catch it on Comedy Central or in syndication.

Maybe the old adage is true

I don’t recall the exact wording, and I’m currently too lazy to Dogpile it up, but it’s something like “When the sh*t hits the fan, you find out who your real friends are.”

Now that I’m “involuntarily between jobs,” I’m working my contacts like crazy in search of freelance and/or full-time gigs.  And I’ve noticed two major themes:

–LOTS of agency people are inconsiderate rude jerks.  The kind that won’t even respond to a job inquiry with a quick e-mail or phone call.  Common courtesy, people.  Some day, it could be YOU sitting at home with a Scrubs rerun on in the background while you click “Check Mail” every two minutes.

–SOME people are awesome.  People I barely know (or know only through other people) who send a kind word and a “I’ll keep you in mind” or “I’ll pass on your stuff.”  That’s the kind of person I strive to be, and I’m grateful that others exist.

In a time when the word “friend” has taken on yet another meaning (thanks, Facebook and MySpace), I’m glad to have them in almost any form.

A nice walk on a beautiful day

It is just crazy gorgeous here in Texas today.  Sunny, temperature in the mid-70s, a nice breeze.

This morning, I dropped off a prescription for Shannon at Wal-Mart.  They said it would be ready in a half-hour, but I wasn’t about to browse around.  So I headed home with the intention of driving back later.

But as 3:00 rolled around and the daytime TV options dwindled, I figured I’d walk back up to the WM.  Granted, it’s not like it’s 5 miles or anything.  But my trademark laziness (which I guess isn’t so trademarked, based on the general obesity of our country’s population) would normally play a large role in me getting in the car to zip back and forth in 10 minutes.

Instead, I did the smart/healthy thing and headed over on foot.  Left foot, right foot, just like our forebears.  And it was freakin’ awesome.   I highly recommend it.

Starbucks weirdness

Yesterday, I got my wife her favorite iced coffee drink (and one for myself), and it cost $7.20.

Today, the same order (although Shannon’s was hot–I forgot to ask for iced) cost $7.63.

Is it really a $0.43 difference from cold to hot?  Ice = -$0.43?  Boiling water costs $0.43 more?

Did the dude yesterday cut me a break?

We may never know.

On a related note, ordering there really is the chore that comedians describe.

Shannon’s drink is:

Decaf Venti Iced Caramel Macchiato with Soy.  (Plus, she adds sugar and/or Splenda on her own.)

I’m slightly easier (and therefore cheaper):

Venti Iced Coffee, five pumps of sweetener/syrup.

Nothing like a good fight on a Tuesday afternoon.

A few years ago, I started getting into boxing.  Not actually fighting myself, but as a fan of the pugilistic arts.

It probably hearkens back to sleeping over my grandparents’ house and going through my grandfather’s “Ring Magazine” and hearing him talk about fighters like Larry Holmes and Joe Frazier coming into the Center City Philadelphia sporting goods store where he worked.

At any rate, I’ve been a pretty attentive fan the past several years–and my lovely wife puts up with it, even watches the occasional match with me.  Together, we enjoy The Contender on ESPN as well.  (If you didn’t know, that’s the “reality” show where they put a bunch of boxers in a house, they train together, but basically end up fighting for a big cash prize.)

Today, since I’m home, I’m catching up on stuff we’ve DVR’d.  And I watched the Pacquiao/Marquez fight from a couple weeks ago.  It was pretty much everything you want in a fight.  Two veteran warriors battling it out–some rounds were more “boxing,” some were them just slugging it out.  Each guy had a cut or two, and the one above Marquez’s eye threatened to end the fight–it was that ugly.

But blood and guts is what these two dudes are all about.  And the difference-maker, according to the judges, was Pacquiao’s knockdown of Marquez in Round 3.  So Pac-man ended up winning in a split decision (two judges to one), taking away Marquez’s championship belt.

[Note: My friend and former co-worker Andrei is from the Phillippines, and he told me that when Pacquiao fights, the entire country shuts down to watch.]

And there are some tremendous fights scheduled for the next few months that I’m psyched about (courtesy ESPN.com):

March 28
At Salamanca, N.Y. (ESPN2): Kassim Ouma vs. Cornelius Bundrage, 10 rounds, junior middleweights

Note: Bundrage was a scrappy competitor on a previous season of The Contender, and Shannon and I really rooted for him.  It’s good to see him getting exposure on Friday Night Fights.

April 12
At Atlantic City, N.J. (HBO): Miguel Cotto vs. Alfonso Gomez, 12 rounds, for Cotto’s WBA welterweight title; Kermit Cintron vs. Antonio Margarito, rematch, 12 rounds, for Cintron’s IBF welterweight title

Note: Alfonso Gomez is Shannon’s favorite…a good-looking, smart, “nice guy” from The Contender.  I like him because he’s got great heart and works very hard, and he even beat legendary warrior Arturo Gatti so badly he retired.  The Cintron/Margarito rematch is exciting for me because the last time I saw Cintron fight, he knocked out a guy in 29 seconds.

April 19
At Las Vegas (HBO): Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Calzaghe, 12 rounds, for Hopkins’ Ring magazine light heavyweight title

Note: This is a huge one.  Bernard is a former convict from Philly, and has had an amazing championship career after turning his life around.  He’s currently the Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Champion, after spending much of his career as a middleweight.

Calzaghe is a crazygood Welshman who first came to my attention (and pretty much the non-UK-world’s attention) when he pounded the poop out of much-heralded U.S. Olympian Jeff Lacy, just utterly dominating the young Yank.  Since then, Calzaghe basically crushed everybody else he faced, and he’s the first undisputed super middleweight champ.  Not to mention that he’s 44-0-0.

Can’t wait for this one, and the great thing is that it’s not a pay-per-view fight–it’ll be on regular HBO.  Sweet!

New name for this blog–need your votes!

I did a Dogpile search and found that others were using “blogtastic” and “blogalicious.”  So in the spirit of not being a hack in my personal writings, I have re-adopted the name of my beloved (by me) college newspaper sports/opinion column.

So welcome to Harley’s Haven, which…holy crap.

Somebody’s using that as well.  Not as a URL, but as the site name for a Harley Quinn (the Joker’s girlfriend) tribute site.

Goshdarnit to HECK!

OK, need another new name…brainstorm:

–Rubin’s ‘Ritins (or ‘Ritings?)

–Emptying Harley’s Head

–Stuff I Just Thought Of

–60% Chance of Brainstorms

–Where Have You Gone, Steve Jeltz?

–A PhilaTexan’s Blog

–Deep in the Heart of Harley

–Birds Curds Girds Herds Nerds Turds WORDS

The voting lines are now open.  Just click Comment to submit.

Until the votes are counted, I’ll go with the PhilaTexan one.

Re-View: The inspiring “Newsradio”

Not the AM format where you get your news, sports, traffic and weather.

The awesome, underrated mid-to-late 1990s sitcom with the incredible ensemble cast and great writing.  That happened to be about an AM radio station from which New Yorkers got their news, sports, traffic and weather.

Why review a show that hasn’t run a new episode in about a decade?  Because I recently got reacquainted with the show, being re-run at like 1:00 a.m.  (When you don’t have to be in work early, late-night TV is a rare treat.)  Anyway, I now DVR it.

As I re-viewed the first few episodes, I was reminded of the show’s greatness.  Dave Foley’s exasperation.  Maura Tierney’s overachieving.  Andy Dick’s, well, Dick-ness.  Beth, the redheaded spitfire whose real name always escapes me.  And of course, the late great Phil Hartman, as the pompous Bill McNeal.

Watching the show made me long for the days when quality sitcoms roamed the Earth like packs of wild velociraptors, clawing their way through our funny bones.

Maybe I’ll use some of this free time to try my hand at a sitcom script again.  I do have a pretty interesting idea, one that I’m kind of excited to explore.

Stay tuned for updates.

So now I’m a commissioner.

Had my Yahoo fantasy draft today, and it was a crazy mess.  Miscommunication and misunderstanding led to problems with guys keeping their keepers and all that stuff.

My buddy Charlie is the commissioner, but he’s (his words) working 60 hours a week and writing his doctoral thesis.  So he asked me to help out, and gave me his spare set of virtual keys to the league kingdom.

So I went into everybody’s team, took away the guys they shouldn’t have and gave them the guys they should have.  The whole thing should be resolved in a few days, although we had to basically kick out one owner and a couple others are pretty pissed.

At least I’m very satisfied with my squad. 😉

The pros and cons of an advertising career

Pro: Usually plenty of free food and tchotchkes.  (Yes, that’s probably the best way to spell it.)

Con: You probably sit at your computer a lot, so that food turns to–um, how to put this delicately–fat.

Pro: You work with interesting, creative people.

Con: They’re not the ones approving/killing your ideas.

Pro: You get to use your creativity.

Con: If you can’t “sell” it, though, it will not get produced.

Pro: You might get to do fun projects like billboards, radio, TV, Web sites and more.

Con, Part One: You might get to do boring projects like brochures about insurance.

Con, Part Two: You also might not get to do radio or TV projects–even if you’re totally capable of doing it–unless you have samples.  (Many people have no vision, nor do they have any understanding that someone who can tell a story, both verbally and visually, in a quickie print ad can certainly tell a story in 30 or 60 seconds.)

Pro: You make a bunch more money than most other kinds of writers, especially journalists.

Con: Because marketing is usually the first budget cut when times are tough, agency budgets are usually destroyed first.  Which means agency jobs are eliminated.  If this logic holds up, then I’m one of the first victims of the Recession.  Lucky me!

Pro: You get to wear casual clothes to work.

Con: They’d better be comfy, because you will probably work late.

Pro: Rarely do people bug you if you’re not in your chair at 8:30.

Con: Rarely do people think twice about giving you stuff to do at 5:30, though.

Pro: Sometimes you get to do really creative, award-winning pro bono stuff that helps people.

Con: Most of the time, you’re helping corporations make more money.