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Beyond the Fringefan      Pillsbury Doughboy at job interview.
Personnel guy: "There's plenty of dough, if you rise to the occasion.  But
   watch out for the high turnover--he's half-baked."
Doughboy: "Yes, sir!  I can take the heat, as long as it's 350 for 15 mins!"

BEYOND THE FRINGEFAN is trying hard to take the heat while he's making decent dough, but is afraid he'll get burned out long before this assignment is toast. He's also having trouble lately finding the time to deal with the other irons he has in the fire, such as getting his monthly zine and letter-substitute well done. In the rare moments when he's not at the office or in transit, he's chilling out at the N.Y. Cadre (phone(718) NY-CADRE); e-mailnycadre@alum.rpi.edu; Webhttp://www.nycadre.org); those who wish to can flame at him there. This is Beyond the Fringefan #415, for readers of APA-NYU Volume 9, #10 (e-APA-NYU #90) and other tough cookies, published October 2011 as a combined production of Quick Brown Fox Press and Syscrash Consulting, both subsidiaries of Thigamajig Inc. logo. Cartoon above from Bizarro by Dan Piraro, 19 November 2007. All uncredited material copyright ©2011 by Marc S. Glasser. Member fwa.

THE FASHION OF PASSION I'D RATIONED WITH CAUTION: The assignment at the online fashion retailer, where I've been working for the past two months now, is turning out to be the Job from Heck. (You remember Heck, the domain of eternal inconvenience presided over by Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light.) The pay remains good, but a number of things are becoming increasingly annoying. I mentioned last month that the location and the hours necessitate that I get up at 5 in the morning five days a week, which itself is a continuing source of stress. It turns out that the next area over from mine, separated by partitions but not full-height walls, is inhabited by "creative" types—mostly photo and artwork retouchers—whose tastes in music are rather divergent from mine. (It all seems to include heavy bass and drums. Some of it is what I recognize as rap or hip-hop; some of it has mechanical disco-like beats; and some of it makes use of brief digital samples of 30-to-50-year-old recordings that are then looped and repeated endlessly as part of the rhythm track—I'm not sure what the name for that is.) Mostly the volume is kept reasonable, but once or twice a week I get blasted. My requests for a lowering of the volume resulted in my being informed that the wishes of a freelancer don't count for much. Apparently no one else in the area has any problem with it. The earplugs I bought a couple of weeks ago help a little.

     There have been a few more trivial matters; I'm not allowed to eat breakfast or lunch at my desk (as I was at previous assignments); I have a feeling the contact I'm nominally reporting to is monitoring my bathroom breaks; and I was told a week or two into the gig that the writer nearest my desk doesn't take kindly to my taking my shoes off under my desk, and I should quit it.

     The work itself continues to come at me at a steady pace—I'm not feeling overworked, exactly, but there are no slack periods at all; and whereas at the ad agencies I tend to get a variety of material to read, and some of it is even intentionally funny, this stuff is not terribly interesting to me, and is very much the same from hour to hour and from day to day. That sameness doesn't help much when I'm fighting off a strong desire to go take a nap.

     The saving grace is that the company's plan to move this office to Mahwah, New Jersey, sometime next year seems definitely on. (The operations center, where merchandise is stored and orders are filled, has already been there for months; what remains in Long Island City is basically the creative center where they photograph the garments and write up the descriptive blurbs—some of them rewritten from what's on the European site—which I then proofread.) There's no way I can or will commute to Mahwah, so I have an honorable out in a matter of months; in the meantime, if I can deal with the indignities and the sleep deprivation, I can continue to collect decent paychecks until then. (I may be too tired and too short on free time to do much of anything else...like get my zine done on time...)

RING MY FRIEND, I SAID YOU'D CALL: I still haven't done anything concrete toward choosing a new doctor, largely because I've been occupied full-time at work. Thanks, by the way, to Vicki Rosenzweig and R-Laurraine Tutihasi, who e-mailed back on the issue of MDs vs. DOs; each reported that her current primary physician is a DO, and that she couldn't see any practical difference between the way the DO treated her and the way her previous MDs had. This knowledge just may come in handy.

     I've been tempted to check with a doctor located only a block away from the Cadre, who is an MD but received his training at the New York College Of Osteopathic Medicine—but I'm not happy with the hospitals with which he's affiliated. One seems to be more a rehab center than a hospital per se, and the other is a bit remote and in a neighborhood I don't feel comfortable in. (It's also the hospital where John Vanible died, but I don't hold that against it; he was almost certainly brain-dead owing to a massive stroke before he was brought there.)

Woman in theater audience, standing up next to man grimacing with hand over 
(Anne Gibbons for 6 CHIX, 1 April 2010))      Two people in Brooklyn have offered me personal recommendations within Brooklyn; unfortunately, one was for the practice from which I'm now disengaging. The other is for a practice that's three miles from here, further away by public transit from Manhattan and hence from any job I'm likely to be working; I'm not sure whether the extra distance would turn out to be a minor inconvenience or a source of major problems. I need to check what the hours are.

     I was thinking of writing here about HeiferCat's current medical problems and about the large puddle of water that has recently developed in the basement, but both issues are still being investigated and diagnosed, so it's probably better if I wait until the vet and the plumber have more definite information and recommendations.

Fringe Reception: Comments on APA-NYU, Volume 9, #9 (e-APA-NYU #89)

ICONOCLAST (Joel Nelson):
(¢me) "...why the '20 articles per week' minimum [on Demand Media Studios]?" Probably because their business depends on a steady flow of work, and they'd rather keep track of n contributors doing 20 articles each per week than 20n contributors doing one article each per week. It's also true that you get into a groove when working steadily on work of this kind, in which all the assorted arbitrary formatting rules stick in the brain and you're less likely to make mistakes on them or have to keep interrupting yourself to look things up. It's a lot harder to get into that groove if you only work on one article a day. (After a month of proofing at the online fashion company, I think I'm finally kinda sorta getting into that groove with the format of the garment blurbs—though I'm still e-mailing a couple of questions a day about style and vocabulary to the writer I mostly work with.) /*/ Enjoy your new fandom in the domain of Roller Derby. At an early age I saw the listings in TV Guide, misread the title, and somehow gathered the impression that the programming concerned the adventures of a woman whose expertise on skates had earned her the nickname Roller Debby. This may have warped my entire outlook on life... /*/ Um, when did you start using your area code to calculate your Body Mass Index? Can residents of the Outer Boroughs sue the phone company for having made them all three and a half times as obese (212 ==> 718) back in the 1980s?

JAMISON, TAKE e-LETTER (Mark L. Blackman):
May your eyes continue to improve after all that unpleasantness. (More likely than your landlord improving.) /*/ (¢APA-NEWS) "Re Jane White, in 1970, similarly Diana Sands starred in SAINT JOAN at the Beaumont; but earlier, in 1965, my 6th grade class put on a 'colorblind' OKLAHOMA, with the girl playing Laurie Puerto Rican & the boy playing Curly black." It was easier to do such things in integrated school systems, where the teachers didn't have to worry about raising funds for the production or about hostile audiences. /*/ (¢Cinii) "As Marc'd tell you, the job of proofreading IS having to proofread other people's errors." That was her point: she wanted/wants to get paid to write, not to proofread. Santa Claus and elf in front of sleigh covered with decals:
Santa: "It's all about sponsorship now..." (SPEED BUMP by Dave Coverly, 24 December 2005) /*/ (¢me) "Um, then shouldn't printing your theory of why my zine got flagged as spam have gotten your zine flagged as spam?" Um, yeah, I guess so. Another theory shot to hell. /*/ I guess TV shows named for the sponsoring corporations (don't forget the Bell Telephone Hour and the Hallmark Hall of Fame) don't seem so jarring because we all know (in America, at least) that the programming is there largely as a vehicle for commercial messages to begin with.

DANCE* IN THE RAIN (Ariel Cinii):
Saturated colors are cool! /*/ Congratulations on your living-space reconfiguration. There are a number of things I'm thinking of doing in my room that will happen in different flavors of Real Soon Now. Some involve acknowledging not just intellectually but emotionally that I'm virtually certain never to get around to rereading/replaying those papers/books/discs/tapes, and so the space they're taking up would be served much better if they were packed away in the basement (which is itself far too full of Stuff that would much better be given away altogether...) /*/ "The Recession cycle will improve on its own in 2015 or 16 and Pres. Perry will get the credit, just as he would deny Pres. Bush the credit for starting it." That's what politicians are for. Didn't you know? /*/ "A red awning's going up... It reads only 'DEAL$'." I looked up "DEAL$" on the Web and it seems to be another dollar store chain. The Web site quotes prices by the case, e.g., $24 for a case of 24 boxes of paper clips, or $12 for a case of 12 jars of pickles. I don't know how the stores actually work. /*/ I didn't remember how the Captain Kangaroo theme went after the first 8 bars, so I had to find recordings of it on YouTube. I still couldn't quite make your filk scan to it. I guess I'll hear you sing it sometime soon.
Late again. Gotta do something about that... See you all in much less than a month, I hope.

>Portions of the preceding join with the economists in lamenting this country's loss of Jobs.<

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