pragmatism vs the human resources dept

Recently it came time for the age old cycle of cubicles to begin at the great corporate offices of my square job. I observed its passing by performing the traditional scrounging up of that personal documents directory and dusting off the old resume file as an offering to the wise and enlightened souls in that holiest of enclaves, the Human Resources Department. Who among us can know what judgement they may pass on it? Assuming it gets whatever approval it is they've decided it needs before the department I apply to gets to read it, there may be a chance the new gig could pan out. But the hushed whispers by the copier and flurries of email as yet offer no indication of who will go ... and who will stay.

In the meantime I'm trying to bring my self sales pitch up to date with current projects and relevant "truths" about my go-to attitude and never die work ethic. I tend to practice an extremely utilitarian resume regimen, partially due to my pragmatic nature, and partially due to my strong distaste for word processors of any kind. Often I store my resume as nothing more than plain text or in rare cases I'll convert to rich text if needed. I firmly believe in the whole job courting process as a two way street, with both job seeker and interviewer testing and evaluating each others fitness and qualification; and it begins with the resume.

An incident just outside my office last summer helped me reach this way of thinking in a round about way. I was walking back from lunch with some co-workers and we were loudly bitching about some bit of ofiice stupidity and as we passed through groups of fellow cubers one of my friends let a few not so subtle f-bombs fly catching the attention of some nearby do-gooder who decided to address the issue. He walked up and said casually "You may want to watch what you say out here, you never know who some of these folks might be. Could be executives, or someone in a position to give you a job one day." Something occurred to me then that sent him away with a foul look though. I said, "If someone decides they'd rather not hire me because I throw the occasional 'fuck' around when I'm angry, I'd really rather not work for that person."

The same holds true for the flashy / eye-catching (but still professional of course) resume theories. In some fields such as design, marketing, or the arts I can see an argument for it, but then perhaps a portfolio would be the more appropriate showcase? However in the technology industry I expect to work for someone with an eye for details, a respect for efficiency, and a keen sense of their staff's abilities. If some snappy fonts and a dusting of power words are all it takes to sway your judgement of me, I doubt you and I will work well together. Better for both of us to just move along.

The other theory I often hear regurgitated without thought or personal insight is that a potential resume reviewer may have a great many applicants to asses, and some moderate flair to draw their eyes to your best qualities helps them to make a quick and favorable decision about you over others. Now my pragmatic nature abhors time wasted, mine or otherwise; but is it really so unreasonable to expect someone who's hiring new staff as part of their chosen profession to not go about it half assed? If I said in an interview that I hadn't fully read the job description I was applying for, but the bullet points really caught my eye what would that say to the interviewer?

I'm sorry but if I'm expected me to work under the direction of someone who simply can't be bothered to examine all the relevant facts before making a key business decision I can all but guarantee that I will not only be unhappy working with them, its very likely they'll soon be hiring unqualified or incompetent individuals as my coworkers as well. Pretty shortly I'd be right back at square one, dusting off the resume and telling the "truth" all over again.


on issues of shred and purple stuff

So I've been putting it off for a while, but as Rock Band is now out and more people have been asking about it I figure I should post some pic's of Guitar Hero Night at the Chelsea Room. I mentioned briefly last summer that I'd heard about a bar out near Dundas and Bathurst that had cheap drinks and Guitar Hero (2 at the time) on a projector on Wednesday nights. At the time I had only stopped in once to check things out, but as the fall came and went GH night became a pretty regular occurrence. It also just so happened that Halloween fell on a Wednesday last year, and I was there with a bunch of regulars who decided to show up dressed to rock!

The Chelsea Room was bought a few years back by some ex Keg staffers who decided to strike out on their own, but its the staff not the owners who unleashed the rocktonium. Behind the midweek Guitar Hero night is Misha, the lanky assistant manager who keeps his axe in a death grip and commands the attention of the room when he occasionally steps up to deliver the shred. Pictures were snapped the night he decided to slay the beast that is Dragonforce, and the look on his face as he dismantled it a note at a time was simple: pure concentration. The look of the crowd however, tells it all ...

Of course not everyone can make the controller dance like that, but the experts are the exception, not the rule. Since the drinks are half price until midnight and most folks are pretty average at the game anyway, the ability to play well tapers off steeply as the night wears on. But that has nothing to do with how much fun is had. The most crowd pleasing acts are more often the ones who put the most pelvis into their rocking, or fail hilariously while trying to crowd dive, powerslide, or get the bassist onto their shoulders while still finishing the song. But then in my case I'm just pleased to frequent the arcade with a liquor license I always dreamed about ...

I haven't been free on a Wednesday since just before Christmas, so who knows if its still as busy as it had become before the holiday. This week I've got no plans though, and I intend to head down after work. So if you're in the mood and find yourself in the neighborhood stop in and mayhaps we can share a round of the house shooter: "Purple Stuff". I have no idea what the put in that shit, but by the time a purple shot seems like a good idea who really cares?

(note: all photo's copyright Genevieve Magtoto and used with permission)


why can't my feed reader do that?

I love RSS. It's an info junkies wet dream. Up to the second content in a focused stream of particles beamed straight through the screen phosphor into my occipital lobe. The problem with an (un)healthy number of feeds in your reader is signal to noise. Once I got up around a hundred or so I started getting a lot of duplicate stories, and plenty of irrelevant data.

I think it was philanthropist Monty Burns who said, "I may not know art, but I know what I hate". It seems like any reasonably current feed reader is increasingly equipped with additive customization features only. That is, a saved search or smart feed style filter can be built to include news items which match certain properties, but the ability to globally exclude or ignore news items which match other properties would be just as useful. I may not always have a specific category of news in mind to include in my reading, but there are plenty of subjects I always skip over, so why waste my time?

The problem of duplicate stories is interesting because it offers an opportunity to exploit the advantages of the myriad of perspectives out there. Why can't my "all stories" or river-of-news view collect news items that share say 75% of the same outgoing URLs and group them together somehow? Take it one step further and for stories where maybe 80% or more of the links are identical highlight the differences for me so I can see unique information faster. If a big news event is covered in multiple locations maybe I want a closer look at my local media's coverage first?

Currently I've begun to remove news sources from my reader of choice because of the high dupe counts. This is absolutely the last thing I want to be doing but if the news isn't fresh and relevant then the info high just isn't as sweet ...


h'okay: so this guy has this paperclip

I have no idea how someone would pitch the tale of Kyle MacDonald and his Red Paperclip to a movie exec. Maybe the novelization of his story was just phenomenal, who knows. But it would seem that someone has decided to make a film entitled "One Red Paperclip" and release it in 2009.

The IMDB entry is sparse to say the least, and googling around yields very little at this point save some apt comments on the One Red Paperclip forums. Definitely nothing conclusive, but an interesting happening nonetheless. I wonder if movies based on internet goings on will suck as much as those based on video games, or perhaps plumb the murky depths of television based on "reality". Of course, if somebody produced a cinematic adaptation of say ... The End Of The World, I might be inclined to check it out ...


real geeks love tress macneille

Did you know that the woman who played Vasquez in Aliens also appeared in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Remember when Benicio and Johnny tackle the maid and "hire" her as an informant for some deranged government plot? Well Alice the Maid is the same ass kicking Jenette Goldstein who in Aliens when asked by one of her male comrades "... have you ever been mistaken for a man" uttered the classic response: "No, have you?"

I can't remember when I first noticed that, no doubt I was referencing the Aliens IMDB entry to improve my score on some highly prestigious Sigourney Weaver trivia contest. If those flicks arent't enough for ya, she also did a brief stint as the T1000 in Terminator 2 (remember the milk carton?) and is credited with an appearance in an episode of Max Headroom.

So with all this geek cred how does Tress MacNeille stack up? I've dug deep into that oracle of all knowledge worth knowing, the Wiki ( if-its-on-the-internet it-must-be-true ) pedia to find out, and her list of voice acting accolades is truly epic.

First off she plays countless characters on The Simpsons, and Futurama including Crazy Cat Lady and Booberella. She voiced a segment of The Animatrix, and portions of the English release of Princess Mononoke. A little ways back she was also the Warner sister Dot, as well as Hello Nurse and Babs Bunny. She's featured in episodes of Pinky and the Brain, Harvey Birdman, Freakazoid and the (admittedly not fantastic but quite geeky) Dilbert animated series. Dipping way back into the oldschool toons her name even adorns the credits of the English Voltron (think Thundercats or Power Rangers but older). All classic geek fare but surprisingly it gets better!

It turns out she's been working in the game industry since the time when hiring actual voice talent was a decadent luxury for most game studios. She worked with Mark Hamill doing voices for the classic LucasArts SCUMM VM game Full Throttle. A game which shipped with so much custom voice content that I had to pick up some "new" hardware to install it; a CD-ROM! Since the SCUMM VM is right up there with Doom, an ASCII video player, and MAME on the list of things to port to various obscure hardware platforms you can no doubt enjoy Tress' Full Throttle work on your linux watch, iPhone, or in-flight media center.

Of course if you're not that geeky you'd just have to look as far as Clayfighter, or Run Like Hell, two wide reaching console games to sample her vocal stylings in game form. Then again if you are that geeky you can go get your copy of Weird Al's debut album and check the liner notes. She's credited as "Lucy" on the track Ricky.

And then we come to my favorite bit. The Fallout bit. Fallout is a piece of modern culture not unlike Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, or Monty Python. Nobody who likes any of these things feels moderately about them. It's die hard fan or nil, and when it comes to Fallout I'm a fan for life. Tress MacNeille voiced Jain in Fallout and Tandi in Fallout 2, which is just one more reason real geeks love her.