Monday, September 28, 2009

Two Months On

I couldn't find a suitable graphic for the word "disincentive" so I settled for "disinfectant" instead.

I've been out of work for about two months now.

The pickin's are pretty slim as far as employment opportunities go these days. The previous sentence is an example of what you might call "understatement."

But I just walked away from an employment opportunity.

A job, that at one time, would've been my "dream" job.


Here's the 4-1-1...

I've been a "film nut" for over 40 years. I started collecting 8mm home movies in 1966. I really got serious about it back in 1979, when I bought a whole slew of films, projectors and equipment from an "old timer" who was liquidating his collection.

Many a night were spent winding, splicing, cleaning, labelling and projecting films. Assembling cartoon programs and then breaking them down again was pure bliss!

Well, I was offered a job as a projectionist at a new 14 screen cinema that will be opening up next month.

"Wow," I thought. "I'll finally be in the big leagues! I'll be setting up, breaking down and running 35mm on the big screen, Baby!"

Then, cold, hard reality kicked in.

I did some number-crunching.

They were offering 20 to 30 hours a week at an hourly salary that was about 40% of my last salary.

OK, fine. This is my "dream" gig. I gotta follow my "dream," right?

Reality can be very cruel, though.

Even if I worked there 40 hours a week, I'd be taking a 20% cut in pay versus what I'm getting from my Unemployment Insurance. If one figures in the requisite "payroll deductions, the picture becomes even less flattering.

I did some research, and i found that it is possible to have part-time employment and also collect Unemployment Insurance, but that would have limited me to a maximum of 9 hours per week before I started "losing money" on the deal.

I went in to meet with the theater manager to discuss my situation this morning and it was no surprise that my working 9 hours per week would not be suitable for their current needs.

One one hand, I'm disappointed I wasn't able to get my foot in the door via part-time employment.

But on the other hand, I'm trying to maintain a "career arc" and taking a McJob might just derail the whole process.

Oh, well.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cartoon Nerd Meets Video Nerd

I have been s-l-o-w-l-y working on assembling the components needed to import and edit videos. A few people I know have been creating cartoon compilations and this is something I've been wanting to do for about 20 years or so.

I always try to wring out every last bit from whatever low-end, trailing edge technology is available to me. For instance, my old band, MYSTIC EYES, actually released tracks that were recorded in my basement on a 4 track cassette recorder.

Well, now I'm flogging some low-end editing programs on my low-end PC to import, edit and burn some cartoon DVDs. While it is not exactly splitting the atom or anything, I've managed to suck entire days out of my life to create a few compilations of overly-familiar cartoons on DVD-R.

Yeah, the Nobel Prize folks'll be calling any minute, I reckon.

Here is the low-end MY DVD software that came with the external DVD-R drive I bartered for. (Kudos to Steve Stanchfield of Thunderbean Video!) This is the menu for creating, um, menus.

Here is the screen for the video file editing function. This is a silent Felix cartoon that I transferred from a Japanese Cartoon Network video tape. While I am not yet sophisticated enough to remove their logo from the upper right portion of the screen, I was able to remove the Japanese subtitles from the bottom of the screen. I also edited and re-sequenced some scenes to minimize some pre-print picture rolling. Finally, I added a new soundtrack created from editing a sound file of an early "hot jazz" 78 rpm recording.

In some cases, I either tweaked or re-created the main title cards. For "One Good Turn" I simply inserted the "Jacques Kopfstein" title card into the Felix proscenium background. I did this to make the title cards uniform.

In other cases, the title card was so crappy-looking, I simply replaced them with my own. This is the result from pulling videos from a wide variety of sources, e.g. VHS tapes, dollar videos, poor 16mm pre-print sources, etc. The fact that I like to fiddle with stuff also was a factor in doing this.

I've put together other silent cartoon pot pourris consisting of Aesop's Fables, Out Of The Inkwell and Alice cartoons. I keep learning and refining my techniques, such as they are, with each new disc.

Whether or not this is a wise investment of time, I can't say.

But my inner nerd is satisfied and Mariel seems to like them...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Axe Me Another

There's a Unilever plant near Fayetteville, NC. I've applied for a few positions there, but so far garnered only polite rejection e-mails.

A friend of mine at church does, however, know somebody who works there. No, he didn't get me a job, but he did give me some free bottles of "AXE RE-LOAD SHOWER GEL!"

Man, look at this label.

If I follow a simple two-step process, I'll be living out "every man's fantasy!"

I wonder if Michelle knows about this?

I wonder if the second woman is someone from church?

Kudos, Unilever, for using promiscuity, fornication and adultery to market your latest liquid soap product!

So, how are things going with Mariel? Let's look at this powerful infographic, shall we?

Hmm. It appears that she still "doesn't like Daddy."

I had a pretty enjoyable interview last week for a possible projectionist job at a 14 screen multi-plex that's due to open here in October. They were pretty jazzed about my film collecting and such, and their enthusiasm was a nice ego boost.

Yeah, I got the call today that they had decided to go with someone else. Ah, well, if there are actual, experienced projection machine operators looking for work, who am I to take the bread off of their tables?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Nothing Special

Sometimes I'll grab a sheet of paper and just doodle on it for a week or so. Here is such a sheet from this past week. Nothing special.

Mariel is working herself into the Kindergarten groove. I realize I'm an old fogey, but, gosh, I don't remember having homework in Kindergarten!

Getting the li'l one to do it is a new challenge. Both Mommy and Daddy have had their patience pushed to the max, let me tell you.

Mariel is very good with the alphabet and numbers, but she now has to learn how to actually print and she is finding it frustrating.

For instance, if you ask her how to spell her name she'll reply, "M-a-r-i-e-l" with no hesitation. But if you ask her to write it out, you get a heretofore unknown set of other-worldly lines and circles.

She's frustrated, but we know she'll soon "get it."

On the unemployment front...

1. The first two unemployment insurance payments have been received! I got a check in the mail last week and this week's check went in the bank via direct deposit. I'm also getting some sort of $25-a-week supplemental check. Fine.

2. I have a job interview today at 3:00. There is a 14 screen theater complex opening nearby and I put in an application as either a projectionist or a manager. I hyped on my 30 year history of 16mm film collecting and QC Management to get my foot in the door. I have no expectations of either high pay or show-business glamor, but at least I can get in some interviewing practice.

TTFN, folks!

NOTE: this posting received well over 40 gibberish spambot comments, so I have deleted ALL comments and closed this function.

Yeah, big deal...