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3-10-01 - Leftovers

Hi there!

I don't normally update on Saturday, but I had some extra stuff from that staffing agency newsletter I talked about yesterday, so I thought I'd throw it in here.

Here are a few other promotional offers they had listed.  This first one is really weird, it's for a collection of articles on recruiting and retention, and frankly, I can't make heads or tails of them.

Book:  R2 (Recruiting and Retention)

Articles on Recruiting:

  • How to Make A Recruiting Call

  • Bilingual Recruiting

  • Consider Jeff the Whiz For Your Next Position!

Jeff the Whiz?  Jeff the Whiz?  Who the hell is he?  They say that name like I should know it!

Articles on Retention:

  • Your Veterinarian knows A Retention Tip!

  • The Smiling Troll

  • Why Do You Have High Temp Turnover?

If your temp agency calls you in for a routine ear-mite check and tick bath, you know they've read the first article.

And I think the third article might be the result of the second article.  I'm ascared of trolls.

Book:  Tempnapping, Saga and Solution

Are you tired of spending your valuable time and money recruiting, screening, interviewing your temporaries, and then having them "taken" right out from under you?  This book's for you!

Tons of research worth at least $100 a page!  How much are your temporary employees worth?  Well, this book is ONLY $147, so ORDER YOURS TODAY!

When I saw "Tempnapping", I thought: "Wow, do we really doze off that much?"  Honestly, that was what I thought.

This book explains legal steps temp agencies can take when their temps are lured away to other staffing firms.  You know, those temps they want to reward for under a dollar?  As much as I'd love to see my agency engaged in a protracted legal battle for my affections, I can't imagine them ever putting up a fuss.  Still, it'd be so sweet.  And hey!  Finally, a book that makes Who Moved My Cheese? look under-priced!

Video:  53 Recruiting & Retention Ideas

  • Incremental Assignment Bonuses

  • High Traffic Office Locations

  • The VIP Retention Jacket

Huh?  What's a VIP Retention Jacket?  Whatever it is, I want one.  I picture a shiny silver blazer, with VIP in big red letters on the back, possibly some blinking lights running around the trim, and some fine stitching on the lapel reading "Born to Retain."

I just know Jeff the Whiz has one.

See you Monday!



3-9-01 - Pr*act*ve

A while back, I subscribed to this newsletter meant for staffing companies.  It consists of promotional offers, seminar announcements, and ads for books and materials a temp agency might use to increase their efficiency.  Proactively increase their efficiency.

Here's some info on a weekend seminar hitting Las Vegas in April.

Seminar:  Proactivity


  • The Proactive Attitude

  • Proactive Radio & TV Advertising

  • The Proactive Performance Challenge

  • Proactive Recruiting & Retention Strategies

  • Proactively Developing For Your Customers' Needs

  • Actively Proactivating Proactive Actions

  • Proactively Activating Proactive Phrases That Contain the Word "Proactive"

Okay, I made up the last two.  But just the last two.  Really.  Even the dress code for the seminar reads:

Let's get casual!  Dress comfortable and concentrate on learning in a fun proactive environment!

I think I'm going to proactively vomit.

The keynote speaker is one Dave Durand, author of Perpetual Motivation.  His other listed "accomplishments":

  • U.S. patent holder

  • second degree black belt

  • fitness video producer

  • financial video producer

  • motivational speaker

  • time/life management coach

I may be just guessing here, but I think they left out:

  • winner, insufferable bastard award

  • owner of blindingly-white teeth

  • acquirer of ex-cheerleader trophy wife (3 times!)

Another presenter is named Dub Anderson.

He's listed as a... ah, why bother listing his stats.  Who is really going to take a guy named "Dub" seriously?  

Dub.  Please.

Then they list a presenter named Linda Larson, author of True Power - Get it, Use it, Share it, and mention that her "passion and spontaneous humor stems from over 20 years as a professional actress in films, television, and on the legitimate stage."

Really?  Funny, I looked up her 20 years of acting experience in  It turned up only one film, Streets of Rage.  The plot:  "A Los Angeles reporter, who is a former Special Forces commando, investigates a child prostitution ring."

In other words, they wanted the reporter to know karate and how to rig up explosives.

And who does Linda Larson play?  She plays "Secretary."

Sounds like a blockbuster role!

Cost of the seminar?  $775.00.  Slightly more than Streets of Rage pulled in at the box office.



3-8-01 - Diff'rent Spokes

Since jogging doesn't seem to be my thing, I thought I'd try something new today:  bike riding.

My friend Kris has let me borrow her mountain bike, and while I don't plan on riding on anything even remotely resembling a mountain, I figure I might use it to get around for a while.  There's a problem, though.  You know the saying: *Random activity* is just like riding a bike:  you never forget?  Well, I forgot.  At least it feels that way.

First of all, I don't remember being so wobbly on a bike.  I seem to recall riding down the street as a kid, at about 95 miles per hour, no hands on the handlebars, tossing a tennis ball up into the air and catching it with a baseball glove while I rode.  It was easy.  I could even turn into my driveway without touching the handlebars.  Today, I can't even remove one hand from the handlebars to take a puff of my cigarette without veering sharply into a tree.  And when I'm riding slowly I have no control whatsoever.  The front tire shimmies back and forth so much it looks as if I am attempting to avoid running over individual dirt molecules, or participating in the tiniest slalom race ever.

I'm also not certain of the rules these days.  Do I ride on the sidewalk or the street?  From the bicyclists I observe every day, I'm supposed to ride directly in the middle of traffic, slowing everyone else down, ignoring stop lights and drinking imported bottled water while wearing bright yellow spandex outfits so tight people can see every facet and nuance of my scrotum.

I think I'll stick to jeans and the sidewalk!  For now.

It just feels weird to be on a bike again.  Sitting on the bike with my feet on the pedals, I feel all hunched and long-limbed, a foreign sensation for someone of my height (or lack thereof), yet with my feet on the ground, my tip-toes just barely reach, so I feel like a ten year-old again, short and wimpy and tunelessly singing Safety Dance under my breath.

Also, and I'll say this twice:  Ow, my ass.


I don't remember bike-riding being quite this painful.  Years of upholstered furniture must have spoiled my butt, because after about thirty seconds, my hinder is in a ridiculous amount of pain.

Still, it's fun!  It's a beautiful day, and I ride around the neighborhood, wind in my hair, cramps in my thighs, shooting pains in my chest, sweat in my eyes, ache in my ass... 

Riding along on the sidewalk at a brisk pace, I see an absolute vision: jogging towards me is a slim, blonde, attractive, Anna Kournikova-esque woman.  My mind kicks into full fantasy mode, and I imagine us making eye contact, stopping, smiling, talking, until she finally slips her smooth, tanned arms around my waist, holds me close, picks me up, and carries me to the emergency room, where they inject morphine directly into my butt.

Of course, none of this happens (I'm kind of surprised that my mind even bothers cooking up fantasies after twenty-eight years of not a single one coming to fruition).  What does happen is that the slowest, chubbiest squirrel I've ever seen darts in front of my bike.  Well, not darts so much as lumbers.  He kind of sits there, then waddles off in exactly the same direction I am going, only I'm going about twenty miles per hour faster than he is, and I'm taking up less space on the sidewalk.  To avoid crashing into the woman, who doesn't even bother to look at me, and to avoid crashing into (and perhaps becoming pinned under) the squirrel, I yank the handle bars to the right, go off the curb and ride directly into heavy traffic.

Ah!  Yes!  Now it all comes back!  The thrill of dodging and weaving through traffic, zipping around speeding cars and frustrated drivers.  By thrill, I mean unbridled fear, of course, and I'm more wobbling and praying than zipping and weaving.

Still, it's like being a kid again!

Especially the pants-wetting.



3-7-01 - A Hench in the Works

No medical.  No dental.  No aim.

It's the code of a select group of temps, the professional henchmen.  They are poorly trained, highly expendable, and doomed to die at the hands of smart-alecky cops, womanizing secret agents, and often, their own employers.

Today, and every Wednesday from now on, we honor them.  All of them.  One at a time.


Henchman of the Week:  Uli

Featured in:  Die Hard (1988)

Specialties:  Explosives, Automatic Weapons, FreeCell

Typing Speed:  56 WPM

Termination: Shot by overly-smirky cop John McClane

Temporary Assignment:  Uli is hired along with a crew of about a dozen henchmen to rob the Nakatomi building in Los Angeles of its 640 million dollars in negotiable bearer bonds.  The plan was cooked up by Uli's temporary employer, Hans Gruber, and seems simple enough to pull off.  Take hostages, steal the loot, and escape after blowing up the roof of the building.  The police will think the bad guys were killed in the explosion, and they certainly won't wonder why the roof spontaneously blew up in the first place.  The only problem?  A smug, balding New York cop trapped in the building with them.

Job Performance:  We first see Uli when he is unloading the truck with his fellow henchmen.  He is notably shorter than the rest of them, so we assume he may have trouble asserting himself on the job.  He quickly ascends to the top floor of the building, along with two other temps, Heinrich and Marco, and the three begin wiring explosives.  En route, Marco can be seen yelling "Left!  On the left!" at Uli, who, in my opinion, knows exactly which way they need to go, thank you very much.  Heinrich also bosses Uli around: "Uli, get up on the pipes", referring to pipes that are spitting scalding hot steam, as they often do in high-rise office buildings.

Meanwhile, McClane runs about the building barefoot, killing one of the henchmen, Tony, by breaking his neck.  Tony happens to be the brother of Karl (nepotism in temping?), a short-tempered German as well as the administrative supervisor of the rest of the henchmen.

Heinrich and Marco leave Uli while they go to stop McClane from signaling a policeman, no doubt a relief to Uli, who must be tired of them looking over his shoulder.  McClane shoots Heinrich in the chest, and Marco in the crotch (through a table no less), then pitches him out a window.

Another temp, Fritz, is sent to "go help Uli."  Bad idea.  You really don't want to let a couple henchmen work unsupervised, they'll just screw everything up.  A problem arises for Hans as it is revealed that Heinrich was carrying the detonators for the explosives, and McClane now has them.  Hans handles this by stating the blatantly obvious (as all managers do when faced with a crisis):  "We must have the detonators."  Thanks!  Didn't know that.  Big help.

As a SWAT team approaches the building, Uli takes up a post on the ground floor along with another henchman, Eddie.  While they're waiting, Uli helps himself to a Nestle's Crunch candy bar, knowing full well it could be hours until he gets his legally required fifteen minute break.  Uli shows even more talent when he fires upon the SWAT team as ordered:  "Just wound them."  And he just wounds them!

McClane kills two more henchmen by dropping an exploding chair in their vicinity, and a third by firing into an elevator between smirks.  He then shoots Fritz in the knees, where Fritz had apparently been storing several large freezer bags filled with strawberry preserves.  Karl shoots approximately 8,000,000,000 bullets at McClane but misses, never thinking to have Uli come upstairs to do the shooting, considering Uli has proven himself a good shot.  Another example of a temp's talents being ignored so someone else can have the glory.  Instead, Karl and Hans shoot a bunch of glass cubicle walls in the hopes McClane will cut his foot and 40 gallons of blood will leak out, which it does.  The detonators are recovered, and Uli, who is taking a break in the lobby, is told to "Get to work."  He replies "You got it," and scuttles off to the elevator.  Remember, now, these were Heinrich's detonators, and with Heinrich dead, Uli is now doing Heinrich's job.  Whenever a temp is required to perform tasks that he was not made aware of when accepting the assignment, he should really ask for an increase in pay.  Of course, considering a half-dozen henchmen are dead, he will probably get a larger share of the loot, so a call to his agency is not necessary, in fact, it would be a terrible mistake, because the agency would just wind up taking 35% of it.

Later, Uli is told to lock the hostages on the roof and "come right back."  Oh, thanks, Hans.  As if he didn't know to come right back.  He's spent the evening wiring the roof with enough explosives to orbit Bruce Willis's ego, of course he'll be coming right back.  Uli proactively facilitates connectivity with the hostages by screaming "Move it!" and "Come on!" at them, and on his way (right) back down, sadly, our henchman meets his grisly end.  He opens a door and is abruptly shot several times in the torso by McClane, who has apparently never heard of the Miranda Warning.

At any rate, the explosives that Uli rigged up (nearly all by himself, mind you) are detonated without a hitch, killing a helicopter's worth of FBI agents and cops, a final, fiery testament to the talent of this now dearly departed henchman.

Constructive Criticism:  Not much!  Uli did his job, never complained, and kept a low profile.  He did, however, wear leather pants.  Not really a good idea on the first day of a daring skyscraper heist.  If you have questions about the dress code, don't be afraid to ask.

Uli is played by Al Leong, a veteran stuntman, writer, actor and director.



3-6-01 - Bonjour Madam!

So.  I'm experimenting a bit with how the site looks.  Haven't quite made up my mind about this new format yet, but thought I'd give it a test drive and see if it attracts the chicks.

Some new stuff!  First of all, there's a link up at the top for Lance and Eskimo, which I think is a pretty cool site if you haven't seen it yet.  I dig it!  Some very funny people at work there.  While you're there, be sure to visit Chefelf for some video game nostalgia, among other things.

Also, there's a new item on the sidebar called Diversions.  It's hopefully going to grow into its own section, and the idea is to have it filled with games and toys and other things you can play with while you're supposed to be working, you lazy shiftless time-wasters you.

Right now I just have three toys, but I'll be adding to it, and hopefully I'll have a few new ones each week.  I plan to categorize them, describe them, let you know if you'll need plug-ins, warn you if they make noise, etc., but for right now, I haven't gotten that far.  If there are any online games you play on a regular basis at work (or at home for that matter), lemme know.  I'll try 'em out and post 'em (looking for simple, easy to learn, primarily single-player games at the moment).

For now, of the three I've listed, only "bejeweled" makes noise, so turn down your speakers if you're gonna play at work.  If you have speakers.  I never have speakers at my jobs.  Also, I believe they are all java applets, no shockwave player or anything like that is needed.

I'll be adding other things here and there, and informing you of what I have added when I have added it.  Isn't that interesting?


If you're looking for last week's interview with Mary Jo Pehl, it's right here.

If you're looking for yesterday's long-winded update about non-smoking ads, it's here for the time being.

If you're looking for a picture of a parade float featuring a woman swinging around on a harness above a toilet, it's right here.


You know, there's a special group of temps I've been neglecting for far too long.  Like the rest of us, they don't get benefits, they don't have job security, and they have supervisors that couldn't care less about them... but unlike most of us, they generally wind up riddled with bullets or blown into tiny chunks.

Tomorrow, we'll start paying homage to these easily bamboozled, oddly-accented, and ultimately doomed temps.  Yes, I'm talking about movie henchmen!  Tune in tomorrow!



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All material 2000 - 2001 by Christopher Livingston.  Yeah.  That'll hold up in court.