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   Wally:   "I'm toying with the idea of becoming a useful member of society.
          Then I could enjoy the admiration and respect of my peers."
Dilbert: "The way you respect and admire me?"
Wally:   "Great!  Now you've talked me out of it!"
        Beyond the Fringefan #411

BEYOND THE FRINGEFAN is feeling as though he's on his way to becoming a useful member of society once more, having gotten a couple of days of paying work in the past month. (He will for the moment ignore those naysayers who are asking whether any work connected with the advertising business can be a useful contribution to society. Would you rather the advertising contain spelling and grammatical errors on top of all the other annoyances?) While this probably means he'll be spending less time there in the near future, you can still contact him at the N.Y. Cadre ((phone(718) NY-CADRE); e-mailnycadre@alum.rpi.edu; Webhttp://www.nycadre.org). This is Beyond the Fringefan #411, for readers of APA-NYU Volume 9, #6 (e-APA-NYU #86) and other seekers of information, or at least directory assistance; published June 2011 as a combined production of Quick Brown Fox Press and Syscrash Consulting, both subsidiaries of Thigamajig Inc. logo. Cartoon above from Dilbert by Scott Adams, 6 May 2011. All uncredited material copyright ©2011 by Marc S. Glasser. Member fwa.

BEFORE I FORGET: I've closed down our account at Erols. Everyone, please delete that address from your address books and contact lists, if you haven't already. Soon I will no longer be able to sign on to Erols, so e-mail addressed to us at erols.com will not be received. If for any reason you believe the alum [dot] rpi address given in the colophon isn't working, try <nycadre [at] yahoo [dot] com>.

YA GOTTA START SOMEWHERE: One of the posts to job boards that I responded to in late April turned out to be from a freelance agency called Creative Circle. I sent in my résumé as usual, and heard back from a lady named Jennifer who wanted me to come in and talk with her. This fortuitously happened just as I was thinking it was time to register with another agency, since 24 Seven and Update didn't seem to be finding me any work. Jennifer sent me a link from which I could download all the silly forms I needed to fill out and get them done in advance, and with these (as well as my passport) in hand, I visited Creative Circle's office on 3 May. I handed in the forms and had a pleasant conversation with Jennifer, who told me that though the agency had a test for proofreaders, she figured my five years' experience at W+K obviated the need for me to take it.

     Over the course of the next two weeks, I received two calls from Jennifer asking me if I'd be available for two different assignments—both of which apparently got cancelled by the respective clients before they began. (This is, unfortunately, not unusual in this business.) I also got e-mails from three other recruiters at the agency about five other positions—clearly broadcasts that went out to numerous candidates, so though I responded to them all, it didn't surprise me much that I heard nothing back about any of them. And in one very odd situation, a recruiter called to ask me if I'd be available for a telephone interview with a client—then added parenthetically that the client was working on promotion for a tobacco company, and would that be a problem for me? It was the first time in my present career that I could recall being asked if I had scruples, and it took me a moment to decide how to answer. After hemming and hawing a bit, I decided that it would be a problem for me, and politely told the recruiter so. (And yes, I did recall Mike Doonesbury's analogous struggles twenty years ago with Mr. Butts.) The ghods know whether this will have any long-term effect on my prospects.

Mike Doonesbury:  "...and he wore white gloves and this big smarmy grin!"
J.J.:  "Mike, I think you read too many 'ZAP Comix' at college..."
Mike:  "No, no, the dream means something!  My conscience is sending me a
        very clear signal!  I won't do it!  I'm going to tell the agency I
        won't do the smoking campaign!"
Mr. Butts (an animated cigarette), winking: 
       "Hee, hee!  Don't worry, folks!  NOBODY sez 'no' to MR. BUTTS!"
(DOONESBURY by Garry Trudeau, 22 April 1989)

     Finally, on the morning of 19 May, Jennifer called and asked me if I was available the same day for a one-day gig. I said I was, and found myself showing up at noon at a downtown subsidiary of a global ad agency, proofing a proposal that was nominally due at 2 that afternoon but was still being written as I worked on it. I was there for most of six hours, and seem to have impressed the persons to who I was reporting, one of whom told me I'd done a more thorough job than anyone else he'd ever worked with. Better yet, he called Jennifer the next day and told her something similar (she told me).

     The same week, I spoke to Arlene at Update, who told me that all of the i's and t's were finally dotted and crossed respectively for me, and I was now on that agency's list of people to send out on assignments. It was therefore a disappointment when no one called or e-mailed at all the following week with any word on potential gigs. I chalked it up to a pre-holiday-weekend lull, combined with Jennifer being out of town. As June began, however, I got a couple of calls, one of which—from 24 Seven, on whom I'd all but given up!—turned into a multi-day project which I'm in the middle of right now.

     I also edited a few dozen more pieces for Demand Media, collecting a few hundred dollars over the months of April and May at $4 an article. I don't mind the amateurish writing, but it contains more than merely occasional errors of fact as well as language, so that it takes longer to edit than one might expect with such short (500 words) pieces. About a third of them have to be sent back to the authors for rewrite (and then I have to re-edit the revised versions for no further pay). The upshot is that it's really hard to motivate myself to do more than a few articles per day.

     In other news, Donna now has her permanent bridge cemented in quasi-permanently; the dentist expects a few more adjustments may be needed in the next few weeks while she continues to get used to having it in. The gods of dentistry, to prevent us from falling into a state of complacency, decreed that one molar she had crowned years ago begin its death throes in the past couple of weeks, so she's now in the midst of a root canal on that one.

     Oh, and I guess I haven't mentioned The Kid in a couple of months. He's still in Cameroon, having just finished one full academic year teaching informatique to a school full of grade- to high-school kids over a six-year age range and the full spectrum of ability and motivation. He seems to have survived the experience. (How well? We'll find out when the Organization, as he calls it, gives all volunteers their mid-term physicals this month.) He's made plans to return to the States in July for a few weeks' visit before he has to make ready for his second year. His blog continues, veering off here and there into chapters of a roman that I wish I had the clef to, at <cameroon [dot] betacantrips [dot] com>.

Fringe Reception:Comments on APA-NYU, Volume 9, #5 (e-APA-NYU #85)

ICONOCLAST (Joel Nelson):
(¢Blackman) "I had my first two soft ice cream cones of the year at Curry Freeze on the 3rd and the 10th." Cheapass that I am, I bought my first ice cream of the year at Pathmark on sale for $1.99 a 56-ounce tub. /*/ (¢Cinii) I think those guidelines ("If you want text to be italicised, then show it in italics, not underlines. Single-spaced text is preferred...") are for those whose style guides go back to before home word-processing; back then, you couldn't italicize, so you underlined, and manuscripts were double-spaced to leave room for copyeditors to write in changes.

Congratulations on LED bulbs becoming (sorta) affordable and your therefore having a sufficiently green source of light that doesn't make you ill. (I take it from your lack of follow-up on LiveJournal Giant insect looking around at used-car lot.  
Salesman, showing off an old Volkswagen: 
    "C'mon...I'm tellin' ya, man, this car is YOU!" that no negative effects have turned up.) /*/ "And there's a new Neue Beetle coming out, looking a bit flatter and feeling more fleshed out than the last." I didn't like the looks of the turn-of-the-millennium version much. Looked like a parody of the 20th century model rather than a reboot. /*/ I went to an I-Con once. That would have been enough, but I was invited back on someone else's nickel a few years later. Definitely a different experience from most other s-f conventions, if only in terms of the commute between day and evening events.

JAMISON, TAKE e-LETTER (Mark L. Blackman):
"the Queensboro Bridge [aka, & immortalized in song as, the 59th St. Bridge, & just controversially renamed the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge]." Ptui! I have yet to have anyone explain to me how it makes sense to rename an existing structure for someone who had absolutely nothing to do with its construction or essential use. As far as I'm concerned, the Interboro Parkway, the Triborough Bridge, and the Queensborough Bridge are still the Interboro Parkway, the Triborough Bridge, and the Queensborough Bridge, and not the Jackie Robinson Parkway, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, and the Ed Koch Bridge. Only time will tell whether the next generation accepts the new names (as we all did with John F. Kennedy International Airport—whose name by the way was never officially Idlewild) or rejects them as useless and counterproductive (as three generations have now done with Avenue of the Americas). /*/ Condolences on your latest landlord abuses. You mentioned at FIStFA that your water is back on, so mazel tov on that. /*/ I've been enjoying the "Music Off the Shelves" concerts at the library, though I was much less impressed with one of the stories to which the music is supposedly keyed ("The Five-Thousandth Baritone") when I got to read it. Deb's reserved Swamplandia!, and depending on her review, perhaps I'll borrow it after she finishes it. /*/ (¢APA-NEWS) "Stuck for a SuperGlue joke." Krazy, man. Image of the 1976 phone book cover /*/ (¢self) "We recall Rockwell's THE GOSSIPS used on a phone book cover." I thought I did, too, but when I saw the original of "The Gossips" at the museum, it didn't quite match up with my recollection of the phone book cover. I just investigated a bit more and discovered that the phone book cover—used nationwide by the late great Bell System in bicentennial 1976—was not by Rockwell after all, but created, in deliberate homage to Rockwell's piece, by one Stanley Meltzoff (1917–2006). Meltzoff, his obits say, was best known for undersea art but also did a lot of covers for 1950s detective and s-f pulps. The phone book cover included a number of historical and quasi-historical figures, including Washington, Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, the Statue of Liberty, Paul Revere (holding one of his silver candlesticks to his ear as if it were a phone), Uncle Sam, an American Indian (holding a phone that was emitting smoke signals), and...Norman Rockwell. /*/ (¢me) According to How the States Got Their Shapes, the West Virginians wanted to break off long before—they were hardscrabble family farmers in the mountains and didn't like rich plantation owners on the seaboard ordering them around—and the secession just provided them with an opportunity which they jumped on.
     I guess that does me for June. I'll hope to see some of youse on Fourth of July weekend at Contata 6, the 21st Northeast Filk Music Convention, at the Hilton in Parsippany, New Jersey <www.contata.org>; and at the Staten Island Ferry meeting on Thursday 7 July. Enjoy the weather.

>Portions of the preceding wish Bobby Zimmerman a happy 70th.
                                                              May he stay Forever Young.<

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