Three Dream Jobs

One can’t turn around without reading or hearing about the sad state of our economy. CNN says car dealerships are empty. MSBNBC reports unemployment rates we haven’t seen in decades. Every week another big company announces more layoffs. The economy is the hot topic around the company water cooler. I take that back. It’s the only topic.

That is unless your company decided to save a few bucks and remove the cooler altogether.

For the first time in my career I’ve began to think about what I would do if I lost my job. At this point my job appears secure but one never knows for certain. I’ve been part of two companies that folded during the dot com bust so it’s understandable I’ve started to give this topic some thought.


Maybe I’m overreacting but it never hurts to think about life after the current job. So I’ve come up with a few jobs I’d go after if mine hits the dead pool. I don’t recall considering any of these jobs right after graduating from the University of Utah. In fact, I didn’t realize any of them existed. It shouldn’t come as a surprised I was introduced to all three jobs while attending sporting events.

So here’s my list in no particular order.

  1. Zamboni Driver – This might be the perfect job. Who wouldn’t want to drive a huge box on wheels on a sheet of ice while sitting up so high you’d barely notice if you ran over a hockey player from the opposing team. I went to a Seattle Thunderbirds hockey game last night and was struck at how casual the Zamboni driver took his job. He had that whole “one hand on the steering wheel” thing going on while barely looking down at the ice. I’ve never driven a vehicle with such a lackadaisical approach outside of the bumper cars at Lagoon. I don’t know what it takes to become a Zamboni driver, but I’d like to point out that I have a clean driving record. Where do I apply?

  2. T-Shirt Air Cannon Operator – You’ll find this guy at basketball, football and hockey games launching shirts into the crowd….with a mini canon! You know the sound when you hear it. That sudden “PLOOP” just before shirts go flying into the stands. This job would be a blast but, I might be too competitive for it. If I found an annoying fan from the opposing team I’d be tempted to fire off a shirt at close range to an area of the body that could leave him sterilized. Based on the few times I’ve shot a gun, I’m not qualified for this job although accuracy may not be a requirement. In fact, a little inaccuracy could add to the unpredictable excitement of the halftime show.

  3. RC Mini Blimp Pilot – Probably my favorite of the lot. I first saw the mini blimp at a Utah Jazz game about 10 years ago. Some guy stands near the tunnel and pilots this awesome blimp around the arena. It’s not uncommon for the blimp to carry around gift certificates or cash which is drops into the frenzied crowd. Again, I’m concerned about my competitive nature and the urge to drop water balloons onto a crowd of rowdy fans from the opposing team. There’s something hypnotic about a blimp. Maybe it’s the leisurely pace of travel or stealth and nearly silent propulsion mechanism they employ. Based on the couple of times I’ve raced RC cars around our cul-de-sac, I’m probably not the guy you want making an emergency landing in the Hudson, but I’m fairly certain I could become a decent blimp pilot with some training. And since the Seattle Sonics moved to a city that shall not be named, I’ll bet Key Arena is available for test flights on the weekends. Where do I take the drug test?  

A Craigslist and Monster search for these jobs does not locate a single opening. So if you happen to come across any of them, you know where to find me.

Zamboni picture courtesy of Digiart2001

The Fun Never Stops

Here’s my favorite of the numerous Sarah Palin cartoons found at MSNBC. Each day we find out something new about McCain’s choice for VP that’s more fitting for Entertainment Tonight than a national election. Now McCain tells us he’s sent a team to Alaska to look into Palin’s background in more detail. Shouldn’t have he done that before he thrust her onto the national stage?

Part of me feels bad for Ms. Palin because this feels similar to when Bush nominated his pal, Harriet Miers, for the US Supreme Court when she was clearly out of her league. The choice was such a disaster than even Bush supporters lambasted the selection which lead to Miers withdrawing her nomination.

Could we see the same thing happen with Palin? I personally hope she stays in the race and McCain is forced to deal with the distractions as a consequence of not fully vetting her.

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Under New Management

Have you ever tried a new restaurant, mechanic, or hair stylist because you saw a gigantic banner hanging outside their establishment proclaiming it’s now UNDER NEW MANAGMENT? It’s become a running joke with Kim to the point that whenever we spot such a sign we immediately tell each other how we can hardly wait to do business with the new manager.

An outdated apartment complex down the road from our home proudly displays such a banner, and I wonder if they truly believe someone will pack up and move there just because they have a new manager?  I wonder if potential tenants would be more impressed if all the broken down cars were removed? Or how about doing a little painting around the place? Maybe fix up the tennis courts or a pool a bit before announcing the big management change. You know, a visible improvement besides the fancy new banner.

I’ve seen these confusing banners around our small town. Not once have I thought about visiting that grubby teriyaki joint just because someone new signs the paychecks. Yet there’s that sign telling everyone who wasn’t a customer under the old manager that big changes are in store. Give us a try now that we kicked our old manager to the curb. It’s our way of saying, please give us another chance to make a better first impression.

I’d like to suggest a new sign for businesses that believe a banner is the key to increasing business: Under Better Management. Under New Management doesn’t say much. The new manager might be just as bad, if not worse, than the old one. But if a better manager took over the local theater offering a free large popcorn, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t at least consider swinging by for a matinee. The outgoing manager’s feeling might get hurt when he spots the new sign, but that’s nothing a decent severance package can’t soften.

By the way, this blog is under new AND BETTER management.

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Akula Schokolade

Just another reason I love Twitter so much.

A few weeks back I twittered how much I enjoy European chocolate that I’d buy all the time when I lived in Germany. My favorite is called Kinder Schokolade (Kids Chocolate) and when my coworkers would travel to Europe I’d sweet talk them into bringing me back as much as they could fit in an extra suitcase. They never let me down.

One of my favorite Twitter followers saw my posts about the chocolate and Photoshopped this Kinder Schokolade wrapper.

I believe I’ve bought enough chocolate that a commemorative wrapper of my own wouldn’t be out of line.

Note: Akula is the alias I’ve used since 1994 for instant messaging, Twitter and such. Akula was the name of the first web server I built when I worked at a Seattle based ISP called Wolfe Internet. Over the years I’ve been told that Akula means “shark” in Russian. I’ve also been told it’s a class of submarine. For what it’s worth, I don’t speak Russian nor am I Marine so I can’t verify the validity of such claims.


I Like My Chances

On my way into work, I passed two signs that caught my eye. I noticed the first sign as I passed the newly renovated Taco Bell. A large banner across the front of the store announced: "ALWAYS HIRING". I wonder if Taco Bell has so much turnover they are always looking for help?  Or maybe they constantly churn their staff. You just need to be a little better than their worst employee. Either way, I doubt it builds much employee morale.

The second sign hung from an Arby’s just down the road from the Taco Bell. When I saw the sign I couldn’t stop laughing as I imagined an Arby’s district manager coming into town and cleaning house. The sign said, "NOW HIRING 3 MANAGERS AND 3 ASSISTANT MANAGERS". I wonder who is managing the store today??

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