Yesterday I was called into the CEO’s office and was introduced to the Angel of Death (the Corporate HR Manager) and asked to sit down. I was informed that my position was being eliminated in a “10% workforce reduction.” We then went over my severance information, COBRA benefits, standard employment reduction fare and I agreed to not take a flamethrower to the place. I was then escorted back to my cubicle to gather some personal effects. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief as I exited the building and proceeded to drive off for an expensive cup of gourmet coffee that tasted like dried Orangutan ass. I dialed up the wife, the parents, and a few of my “former” coworkers to tell them the news. I made it no secret that I was unsatisfied with the company and had been sending resumes off for sometime now. During five and half years I languished under the direction of multiple bosses, the workload of two designers, a culture shift from a tight-knit family towards a huge, worldwide mega-corporation, watched as good people with great ideas quit or got vilified and bad people with political agendas took over and unaffordable consultants shuffled in and out the door telling us what we already knew. I was blessed to work with some of the most awesome and genuine people I have ever known. A more complete collection of perverts, jackasses and alcoholics I have yet to come across and doubt I ever will again. I appreciate the excellent camaraderie (some days it was all that kept me going), the friendships that will endure long after the company closes its doors and the near uprising that was launched when my crew first learned of my fate. I wish those other unfortunate 10% well as their severance packages were not as healthy as mine and more akin to a smack in the face with a ballpene hammer. Where do I go from here? I have no clue. I plan on doing a lot of soul-searching, painting, reading, job hunting and reveling in the fact that I do not have to work at that fucking place anymore.
Other stuff that fuels binge drinking in the West besides boredom:
- Soul-crushing employers.
- Fantasy football drafts.
- Buying in a seller’s market and selling in a buyer’s market.
- A donated garage refrigerator reserved exclusively for meat, alcohol and assorted citrus fruits that can be chopped up and put in alcohol.
- Five weeks of vacation time that needs be used up by January 1, 2007.
- Mark Husson’s sparse blog posting schedule.
- Your mom.
I get lost again walking through the hotel/casino I’m staying at. Never trust Mexican food from a place that sells margaritas by the yard. Never trust old ladies that look like old catchers mitts and carry their cigarettes in sequined coin purses. A man lies passed out on his shoes in the bus shelter by the Bellagio. Past the flash and glitz of “Disneyland” lies north Las Vegas. The crooked past of the city is exposed. The further north I walk on the Strip, the faces look rough and mean. Missing teeth, chiseled age lines, hollow eyes and ruined dreams manifested in each countenance. It costs $30 to go to the top of the Stratosphere. That’s Daddy’s crap money. I turn south and head back down the Strip after I realize I may get robbed and stabbed. I snap pictures of things and a crack head emerges from the darkness behind a palm tree and quips, ‘Take all the pictures you want, baby, they don’t cost nuthin’.’ A man lies passed out behind the bus shelter across the street from Frontier. I quell the urge to wake him up and tell him it would be more comfortable if he were sleeping on his shoes. Drunk fat girls drinking margaritas by the yard howl and ogle as men walk by. A punk in a Slayer shirt sings South of Heaven loudly in the middle of the street. I get propositioned by another black prostitute over the walkway between the MGM Grand and Tropicana. I hit the craps table thinking I’m White Chocolate. I lose $40 before the waitress brings me my first drink. On the walkway to the Luxor, a fat girl’s ass hangs out of her mini-skirt. I’m leaving tomorrow only $39 down. The last thought that enters my head before I drift off to sleep: I AM White Chocolate.
This town is a corporate dumpster. Drag queens on the corner ask me for spare change and menthol cigarettes. Children asleep in their strollers as parents walk them back to the hotel after blowing this month’s mortgage payment on roulette. Mexicans peddle sex on the street corners that killed our best gangster poet. Ugly people pretend to be beautiful. Beautiful people pretend to be ugly. Underage frat boys watch the Bellagio fountains with a twelve pack of Corona. The well-manicured casino landscaping smells like vomit. A black prostitute propositions me. I say ‘No thanks’ and she calls me a racist. A man in a wheelchair races his friends on the Excalibur walkway and crashes into the glass doors at full rolling speed. I lose $39 at the craps table. Tomorrow I will get an In-N-Out Burger for lunch.
I am in the midst of contemplating some major career decisions. These past six months have been the worst of my professional life and that includes my first year out of college when I was laid off twice and commuting fifty miles daily in a car with no air conditioning. Needless to say, I have been sending out resumes with the subtlety of a self-immolating Buddhist monk. I have started a morning ritual of meditating in my car before I go into the office to put myself in the right frame of mind. The ritual goes as such: I take a deep breath and think about starving children in Africa whose villages are torn apart by famine, disease and death. I take a deep breath and think about young female amputees scared for life by land mines and the memories of having sex with zealot soldiers consumed with hate just to survive a civil war. I take a deep breath and think about heroin addicts living on the streets who were born into unloving, drug infested homes where they were physically, sexually and mentally abused. Then I call myself a pussy, put my experience in perspective, sack up and go into the office dreaming of the day when I will finally get rid of that fucking car without air conditioning. Recent developments have me hopeful this will happen very soon. Now on to more important things; like Eastern European broads wrestling in their panties. I could watch those videos for hours.
Across the Colorado front range today, the winds are blowing like a high school girl full of Boones Farm wine in the backseat of a used Chevy Beretta. I am watching the strong winds bend light posts and trees as tumbleweeds, dirt and debris are being strewn across the landscape with intense ferocity from my office window. The building is rattling and swaying and it feels like the windows are seconds away from blowing out. I have got my camera ready in case some shit blows over and madness ensues.
Fuck you, 90 mph winds.
Highlights from my past two weeks of travel:
- At the HOW Design Conference, I learned some new tricks, saw some awesome design work and ate deep-dish pizza and drank numerous beers with friend/former coworker Michael. I cannot wait to get back to work with renewed creative enthusiasm only to have it crushed in a matter of seconds when I am given four pages of copy and told to “make it work” on a one-sided direct mail postcard.
- Caught a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The future wife and I soon discovered that our alcohol tolerance is much higher in the Midwest that at altitude. I spent the entire game covered in sweat due to high humidity and a broken air conditioner on the El-Train ride out to the game that was packed butts to nuts.
- Visited the Art Institute of Chicago and saw some amazing work (Picasso, an orgy of impressionism) and some atrocious work (minimalism and American Gothic). Best quote while looking at the Georgia O’Keeffe collection: “She is very vaginal.”
- The future wife and I took a beautiful sunset architectural tour of Chicago.
- Visited future in-laws in Eugene, Oregon. I found out that Eugene is almost identical to Boulder, minus the sex assaults, random rioting and the Flat Irons.
- Animal House was filmed at the University of Oregon so the future wife’s cousin took us on the Animal House tour at U of O, showing us the infamous frat house (currently vacant) and the cafeteria where the food fight scene took place.
- Drove up the Oregon coast on Highway 101 that is incredible for scenery, shitty for traffic and great for fried seafood joints.
- Spent three days in Long Beach, Washington in the heart of Lewis and Clark Country. We did the tours of various Lewis and Clark outposts, forts and landings, learned that the proper pronunciation of Sacagawea is Sa-caca-we-ah and ate a cut of fresh fish the size of our heads in Oysterville, Washington.
- The closest I got to the ocean was dipping my feet in the 42-degree water. The oceans surrounding the Columbia River are some of the roughest and most treacherous in the world. Mix that in with the fact they are as cold as an Eskimo’s vagina so swimming is not ideal (unless you are white trash parents laying out on towels “watching the kids play in the water” while smoking cigarettes).
Sidenote: After months of procrastination and toil, I finally got Broz Design up.
In a few short hours, I will be on a plane headed for Chicago and the 2005 HOW Design Conference. Once the conference concludes, the future wife and I will be hanging around the Windy City for a few days. We will be back in Denver next Thursday only to leave for Oregon the following Saturday to visit with our in-laws for the week. Posting will be minimal to none on the MB during this time. If you start going through withdrawals consider Jake, Boing Boing or Fleshbot your methadone. Especially Fleshbot. They have dirty pictures and stuff.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Instead of celebrating (read: laying on the couch, drinking beer and watching Black Caesar on the digital cable) the life of one of the most important leaders in American history, I had to work. We only get a day off at the office for important historical figures if they owned slaves.
My boss just gave me a bottle of Greg Norman Estates Shiraz 2002 for the holidays. I am assuming the Shark makes a pretty mean wine despite his colossal chokes in major tournaments. When it comes to wine I honestly do not know what is good and what is not (my experiences are limited to thumb hole jugs of Riunite and the assorted boxed blends of Franzia). It’s time to break out the good glasses, honey. Daddy is bringing home some Christmas wine.