Monday, September 5, 2011

Glen Tickle at the Reading Comedy Outlet - And we have a winner!

Introducing Glen Tickle, because we need someone to make us laugh and he's brilliant.

Glen Tickle and his dog, Elvis Costello Tickle, chose the winner of the BlogFest 2011 GiveAway. When I finally master the technical aspects I will post the video announcing the winner.

Or - you can check his site. Glen Tickle and Elvis choose the winner.

Friday, July 15, 2011


BlogFest 2011, is the brilliant event by Cinnamon Brown, creator of the blog A Journey Of Books. You will learn more there about what fabulous goings on are in store. Here is an excerpt:

It's that time! Now through July 17th at 11:59pm EST we will be participating in BlogFest 2011! I know you've heard about it! I know you're anxious! I know you're overflowing with excitement!

What is BlogFest? BlogFest is a massive carnival of giveaways with a great collection of participating blogs. Each blog has a giveaway and the idea is to hop from blog to blog, entering all the giveaways your little heart desires. Hopefully you might even come across a few blogs you might want to bookmark and continue visiting. From "BlogFest 2011 - A Journey Of Books."

Yes, even the crabbit ol' misanthrope has a basket of goodies to give away.
A DVD of the film Several Ways To Die Trying with a note from the writer/director Glen Tickle.
A copy of Richard Blandford's hilarious book Hound Dog.
A CD and T-shirt from The Jennifer Perry Combo. What can I say? I need to clean out the basement.

Leave a comment with your name, e-mail addy for notification, and state that you wish to be entered in the drawing.
Or send to my e-mail. Every blog participating has a giveaway, and A Journey Of Books has a grand prize so enter everything your hearts desires. I have links below to some of the blogs. You can find them all at A Journey Of Books.

Makobi Scribe

Malevolent Musing

Manga Maniac Cafe

Meg Mims, Author

Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks

Michelle's Book Blog

A Journey Of Books

Monday, March 28, 2011

Temp Gig At The Medical Supply Business

Oddly enough, Lara from the temp agency met me there the first morning. She talks with the owner, Cameron, privately after the three us had a brief meet and chat. It was described as a maternity leave replacement for an administrative assistant/receptionist at a company that dealt in medical supplies.

Then Cameron kept me in his office for over an hour. He discussed growing his business, my background in PR and business connections, his need for what amounted to an executive personal assistant, with pointed questions about my relationship with Lara and how did I feel about being the only white person there, emphasizing that his black women there could be vicious. He could leave out the black part, I thought, women of any race, religion, or background can be vicious. The white thing? Seriously? Would likely bother them more than me. This is 2010 in Atlanta. I have friends from all walks of life and am quite accustomed to being the minority in any situation. Some of my closest friends are black. Some are white, and several other races. No big deal here.

So the biz is medical supplies. Cameron emphasizes that he is black, his business partner is a disabled veteran, and therefore they have an automatic entrĂ©e into contracts that give priority to minority owned businesses. He wants a “white girl who can talk to business people.” Ooh. Ouch. Let’s bypass PC. This insults all the brilliant black women I’ve ever known, and gives too much credit to the stupid white women I know. But, never mind, back to the story.

The first day I’m given the introduction to the phone system. Small staff, sounds simple, right? Wrong. The first time I transfer a call with getting an okay Denise comes running out her office yelling at me. “You don’t ever, ever, send me a call again without asking first! You got that? Never!” Oh I got it all right. Next call comes and. . .

“Denise, you have a call from Diane Jackson at City Medical. May I put her through?”

“What? Hell no! You got play some dodge-ball, you understand? Play some dodge-ball. But don’t you dare send that call to me.”

“I’m sorry, Ms. Jackson, Denise is not in. May I take a message?”

“Oh, really? A message? Does she ever come in? I can’t seem to get anyone there. Are you just covering for her?”

“I am so sorry, this is my first day and I was unaware you’ve had such difficulty. Be assured I will give her the message to contact you.”

“Well, tell her this. We are forwarding this to our collection agency today. Apparently your company is determined not to pay.”

And that’s pretty much how the phone calls go from there on. They get medical supplies from companies to mark up and resell, but don’t seem too interested in paying their suppliers. Then there are the companies who place big orders and pay up front, but have difficulty getting their supplies. Wherein I’m instructed to provide a different set of answers.

The supplies are en route, but the truck broke down.

The supplies you ordered are hung up (?) in our (non-existent) warehouses in China due to a revolution. A revolution?

Oh, you didn’t say that you definitely needed them this week. You should have told Shenille that you definitely needed them.

Are you sure you haven’t gotten them yet? You may want to check with your people and see if they just didn’t tell you that you got them.

Then when I do take a message or sort the mail, I have no idea whose mail slot to put them. There are no labels for Cameron, Denise, Shenille, Mary, Gina, Charles, or anyone else there. There are, however, labeled message holders for Starr Diva, God’s Brother Man, Bootylicious, God’s #1 Soul Sister, Bucky, and so on. And heaven forbid I don’t remember it all the first time.

Me - “Okay, I put Denise’s mail in the tray for God’s #1 Soul Sister, right?”

Gina - “No, I told you that was Shenille’s.”

Bacardi - “No, it ain’t.”

Gina - “Why not?”

Bacardi - “Cause Shenille’s missed the last three Sundays at church so she can’t say she’s God’s #1 Soul Sister.”

Then everyone downstairs comes down to argue. Thankfully I’m handed a big stack of invoices to file, and they are left to grab their own messages and mail. I begin to alphabetize by the names they will be filed under. Cut to the chase here – I am an idiot. Anybody knows you make a stack here for XYZ Medical, a stack here for Jones Pediatric Office, etc. Wait a minute, you got about 60 names here and you just want to make stacks all over the desks, chairs, floor etc.? Why not alphabetize and then file? Well, I’ve just outed myself as a dimwit. So they leave me alone to my foolishness.

Ninety minutes later I’m nearly through filing. Not so easy since A through G is in the second drawer of the five drawer filing cabinet in Gina’s office, H through L is in the bottom drawer of Bacardi’s desk, and you get the idea.

Cameron hardly shows up at the office. Too bad for him because he has some hard working employees who are extremely smart and could run the company beautifully by themselves. While the others are doing who knows what but are in the power positions. One day he calls and asks me to meet him in a parking lot about five miles from the office, so he can give me his office key and have me use his computer to respond to his e-mails.

So, now the gals know that I, the temp, the temp of one week, make that the white girl temp of one week has the boss’s keys and they have to ask me to get in his office. I feel a beatdown coming on. Bacardi comes stomping down the stairs, she always sounds like a herd of bison when descending those steps but now it’s more of an earthquake. She bodyslams my desk, nostrils flaring, breathing heavy.

“Just what do you know about office work? Huh? Just how long have you been a temp? What makes you think you know what you doing, huh? WHAT? And what makes Cameron think you da shit?”

“Look, Bacardi, I’m obviously no kid and I’ve worked many years. Cameron likes that I have a background in public relations plus a BA in Journalism. Anything else you want to know you’ll have to ask him. I’m here to work, not take anyone else’s job.”

Two weeks later I’m finally getting in the groove of what the boss wants from me. I’m setting up meetings for him with potential clients, and mending relationships with former clients. I’ve also researched businesses and provided opportunities for new contracts (with some guilt) and have begun to give his company a presence in social media.

I did have occasion to tell Cameron the ‘meet him for his keys’ thing was not a good idea. He laughed, very pleased with himself, and said he knew what would happen. But he did it just to “shake them up and keep them on their toes.”  Nice guy.

Then Cameron asks me to quit the temp agency and work directly for him. That is a breach of contract with the agency for sure. By now I’ve also learned that Lara has to come to his office every week for payment in advance because his credit is, well he has no credit. Cameron says for the temp agency to demand payment up front for my services is an insult to his intelligence. I decline because of the legality issue, and besides, I like this temp agency and I especially like Lara.

The next day Cameron asks me several times if I am close to Lara, how often we talk, or if we get together socially. I know why when I learn he has called her to say he’s discontinued my contract. The next day he says I’m on his payroll under a different company name so it’s all legit. Just great, Cameron, thanks. I go to lunch and find that while I was out Ryan, the barely post-pubescent branch manager of them temp agency, came in person to get the scoop. When I get back I’m told to park my car behind the building in case Ryan returns.

Cameron leaves, that three hour workday must be hell, so I begin taking my things to my car in small bits. Then I offer to take out everyone’s trash. Hey, I’ve done a good deed and I can hide my keys behind the bag. The trash is flung into the waste container, and I am in my car and gone.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Do They Conduct Sleep Studies In Hell? by Mike Gaul

Comic / Writer Mike Gaul
My first guest blogger for 2011 is stand-up comic and writer Mike Gaul. He performs mainly in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey; and I met him via my tweetpal, filmmaker/comic Glen Tickle. Please give him a warm welcome, everyone, as he takes the stage here at MOAM.

Do They Conduct Sleep Studies In Hell?

By Mike Gaul

My wife has been politely suggesting that I snore all the time. Like any good soldier who needs sex on a regular basis, I scheduled a consult with my doctor, who suggested I check out a place called Sleep Care. Advised that they are among the best for dealing with sleep related issues, I arrive on the scheduled date with an overnight bag in hand. The office is nothing to hoot about and any interior decorator would scream in horror at the furnishings.

I admit that I half expected to be stuck in some capsule surrounded by lab geeks writing on clipboards. This room is private, equipped with cable TV and cameras mounted on the wall, plus a couch with a plastic mattress, which by the way has the give and comfort of the Lincoln Memorial. I’d have better luck passing out behind the wheel of my car at than I will on this brick slab. Maybe the technician can Taser® me to sleep. These cameras are everywhere and give me the creeps - forget watching anything containing the title Up All Night or resembling an Arkansas trailer community. Wait, did I mention "My Technician?"
Rosa is a twenty-something Latino woman who is pleasant enough. But her English? As you say - ‘not so good.’ Rosa gives me a polite greeting, followed by a quick rundown of her life history, and how she and her husband are saving for a home. I have no idea why people view me as a person you can share feelings with especially when I haven't slept in 15 hours. I nod politely, smile, and my thoughts soon be wondering, the way they always do (Love ya Bob Seeger) if Jack Nicholson felt the same way when Shelly Duvall wouldn't leave him alone while staying in the Overlook Hotel. Lead me to the ballroom Grady.

Instead, Rosa takes me to my sleeping quarters and instructs me to remove my clothes and call when ready. I smile and raise an eyebrow, causing her to blush. "Well, not completely, I need to get you ready for bed." Rosa leaves me to speak to someone in the next room. I hear the whole conversation and realize the Bates Motel has another guest - with a persistent cough.

Doc Holliday meet Mr. Gaul. Hey, Stewardess! Shove a funnel in this guy’s mouth and break out the keg of Vick's with codeine, will ya? I’m tryin’ to sleep here!” 

Rosa returns to usher me into yet another room where I'm swabbed in alcohol and covered in some form of Ben-Gay slime. I'm fitted with some harness containing various sensors. Then more sensors attached to my arms and legs. Hey, at least Keanu Reeves hooked up with Carrie Moss in the Matrix, what am I getting for my trouble? I stumble back to my room and check the TV and VHS collection, nothing noteworthy accept the cover of Urban Cowboy. The sight of Travolta's dented chin is making me laugh and I start to doze off.

I wake for a second to find myself being hooked up to a monitor to measure my breathing patterns and heart rate. Rosa completes my transformation by jamming tubes up my nose. Am I really supposed to sleep like this? It's and I'm praying that some overgrown freak bursts into my room and breaks out the chloroform. Wait what's that noise?


“Yes?” I blurt out. 

"I need to check the system to make sure it's functioning properly. Okay? Move your leg."

I raise my leg while looking at the camera.

"Wiggle your foot."


"Now grind your teeth."


“Did you put a camera in my mouth too?


The author and his technician.
I smile for the camera. 

"Okay, now go to sleep."

Yeah, that was the plan, What's next? Will Rosa claim to be my biggest fan and smash my feet with a sledgehammer? And Misery seems to be the title track to the evening’s festivities.

"Hey, what the hell is this anyway a shuttle launch?"

She laughs. I'm serious. I’ve gone from Jack Nicholson to James Caan and now I’m Tom Hanks in Apollo 13. 

    . I'm supposed to be sleeping. But I can hear the guy next door coughing. Not clearing your throat coughing. Oh, no. This is tuberculosis like coughing, Death's door type coughing. Now I'm laughing because there's nothing else to do but laugh. I hear my heart monitor in the next room making noise. I hear footsteps. No, please, no! I'll be good!

The door flies against the wall.

"Why it's my waitress. HA-HA-HA!”

"Ummm, are you ok? I hear laughing"

"Why, yes, you did hear me laughing."

"You’re supposed to be sleeping," she scolds.

"Well, I would hope I could. But I have a camera pointed at me, tubes up my nose, and I can't move because a sensor will come loose and trigger the alarm. One more thing, do you have a pillow for the guy next door?"

"He has a pillow," she smiles.

"Well put one over his face, I can hear his coughing"

"You’re being difficult, Mike. I'll turn the TV on and maybe you'll drift off to sleep"

The Dirty Dozen is on, maybe Lee Marvin and company will come save me.

 It's . All is quiet. Except - someone is in the bathroom. It's Rosa going pee! Perfect, I'm awake. Can you use the fan? Wow. Rosa picked up a Big Gulp on the way to work. Maybe two. I bet she's got plumbing, I'm laughing again, I hear the heart monitor. Screw this! I'm done. I'm yanking wires off and the machine is going crazy. Rosa bounds in.

"Is everything ok?"

“Nope, I'm done. I need sleep and I'm going home”

"Ok, but we didn't get enough data from you're sleep study, so you need to come back."

"Right away!" I quip. "The first free night I have I'll be back. Count on it."

"Ok, Mike, please fill out this survey and tell us how we can improve our service"

Really now?

"How about an open bar and thicker walls for starters?" I smile. "It's been a pleasure meeting you, Rosa, and thanks for being with me this evening."

I didn't wait for an answer, and I didn't listen. I start my car and make the 45 minute trip home in about 30 minutes. My wife is on the couch watching TV. She looks startled, starts to ask if everything is okay and . . . that’s the last thing I remember.

 I wake up the next morning on the couch. The birds are chirping, all is good. I stumble to the kitchen to find my wife looking puzzled.

"I guess it didn't go well?”

"Nope. Hey, did I go to sleep right away?”

“Yeah, you said something funny before you dozed off.”

“What was that?”

“I asked how it went, and you smiled and said,

Do they conduct Sleep Studies in Hell?’"

Mike Gaul was born a quiet observer, and developed a sense of humor as a coping mechanism while attending Catholic school. His love for "Ordinary" daily life fuels his observational and surreal form of comedy.