May 30, 2006

Job Searching Thoughts

As I've been searching for alternative employment over the past few months, I've noticed a few things, not the least of which being that I'm not, apparently, a hot commodity that companies are rip-roaring-raring to interview. But, anyway. . .

Back in 1998, I spent four months following college graduation sending out resumes to any and every job that even remotely sounded related to my field. Back then, all those eight years ago, it was still considered Gospel that hardcopy resumes and applications were the preferred method of getting your name in front of employers. It showed you were professional and willing to take the time to put together a nice package outlining your skills and experience. Hell, in late 2001, that was still largely the case, although I did manage to land my current position through a resume posted on

What I'm learning in my current quest for a new job is that the snail mail method of resume submission is now frowned upon. Okay, maybe not necessarily frowned upon, but it's definitely no longer preferred. Companies now prefer e-mail and online resume and application submissions, which they can more easily digitally save and sort.

Which. . .

On the one hand, it's super-simple to apply for jobs and send out resumes now, and it doesn't cost a stamp. I can apply to over 30 jobs a day if I have the time and ambition. That's all fine and dandy. The downside, of course, is that everyone else in a 50 state radius and India can also apply to the same 30 jobs a day, or more. So, I'm competing, basically, against an entire database full of job-hungry professionals like myself.

That's not necessarily a bad (or good) thing. But I find myself wondering how to make my resumes and applications stand out amidst a veritable sea of online submissions. In the hardcopy days of snail mail, a snazzy visual presentation got you to the front of the line a lot of times. It's difficult, in my view, to put together a snazzy presentation when you're working with online forms and e-mail. I find myself trying to figure out what words a company's resume/application search engine may or may not flag as important for any given position.

Another thing I've noticed is the anemic volume of employment classified ads in the local newspaper, the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Again, back in 1998, newspapers were my go-to source for job searching. The big dog companies in Rochester--the Mayo Clinic and IBM--often ran fairly large ads to entice job seekers. Over the past few months, I don't think I've seen one Mayo Clinic or IBM employment ad, as they rely almost entirely on their own Web pages to post job notices, or they utilize such online services as and I don't see this as necessarily a good or bad thing, just a thing, although the Post-Bulletin simply must be feeling the pinch, and feeling it hard.

Speaking of CareerBuilder and Monster, they've become my primary sources, and I've posted resumes on each, although I've had a resume posted since 1999 or so.

Overall, I have to say that, even though the job searching and application process has become immeasurably simpler and cheaper, the actual chances of getting noticed and called in for a possible interview have diminished considerably. Any thoughts on how to make a resume/application shine in this digital age would be greatly appreciated.

Read this.

Seriously, I can't remember the last time a collection of memoirs left me feeling like I'd been punched in the gut. It runs the gamut of emotions like I couldn't believe. Awesome book. Just. Awesome.

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May 26, 2006

Pretty Much



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Your Headline of The Day

And the toughest zebra named Zeke you'll ever read about.

UPDATE: Those bastards! They changed the headline! It originally read: "Lightning Likely Killed Zebra That Drowned"

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May 25, 2006

Court Reporter

It is said that, in America, Justice is blind. According to my understanding of history, which I'm totally making up here as I go, the parents of Justice noticed their little girl wasn't developing normally, and often stared blankly into space. So, they took Justice to an eye doctor in 1803 and, after a series of tests—including asking Justice to follow a pen with her eyes—the doctor proclaimed Justice to be legally blind.

Ever the optimist who saw the innocence in everyone, Justice persevered and, in 1818, she entered law school and graduated at the top of her class four years later. During the graduation party, Justice had a little too much to drink, and she stumbled into a science classroom, where her friends later found her, disoriented and clutching a pair of scales used for measuring chemicals. The image stuck, and so today we see the familiar statues of a blindfolded Justice holding a pair of scales.

Okay, all silliness aside, I'm not sure if Justice is really blind. However, after serving on jury duty this week, I highly suspect Justice is, indeed, 100 percent legally blind, because that would certainly explain why she moves so incredibly slow—she's afraid of bumping into things.

I have to admit to not being a particularly good potential juror. Things started off shaky last week when I forgot to report for jury duty and the court had to call me at work. Somehow, showing up almost five hours late for jury duty probably didn't reflect too well on my dedication to this most serious of citizen responsibilities.

Nevertheless, after about 20 minutes of sitting around not doing anything all that productive, I was ushered—along with about 30 other potential jurors—upstairs to a courtroom, where a criminal case was going to be tried. The judge then read off a list of names and, one by one, those called walked to the jury box. I found this to be particularly disconcerting. After my name was read and I starting walking to the jury box, I felt strangely guilty and nervous. To have my name announced aloud like that by a judge put me in a defensive state of mind, as if I were suddenly on trial for something and had to make my case quickly and convincingly or face The Chair.

The judge informed us that we were now "Jurors In The Box," which struck me as funny for some reason and eased my nerves. I amused myself by coming up with stupid mental jokes like "how am I supposed to think outside of this box?"

Eventually, the attorney for the accused stood up and announced she would be asking us a series of questions intended to gauge our individual fitness to sit on that particular jury. I was expecting a line of pointed and probing questioning that would really test me, so I was a little bit surprised when the attorney asked "what do you think of the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty?'"

What kind of a question is that? I mean, the answer appeared to me to be so painfully obvious, I briefly considered answering it completely opposite of what I thought, something along the lines of:

"I think ‘innocent until proven guilty' is the worst basis on which to build a justice system. Hang ‘em all high, I say, and pick the innocent corpses out later. No one's really, TRULY, innocent anyway. Am I right or am I right? Who's with me?! Let's charge the judge's desk! Yee-argh!"

The jury selection process took up the better part of three hours, during which time my adult ADD tended to make me pay attention to everything BUT my jury duty. Then, to my complete disbelief, I was actually picked to sit on that jury. I must have unknowingly answered all the questions far better than I thought I did. At any rate, we were instructed to appear for the trial the next morning at 9 a.m.

Come 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, my fellow jurors and I sat in the jury room waiting. And waiting. And then we waited some more while anticipating more waiting. Finally, over an hour later, we were called into the courtroom, where the judge informed us that the defendant had changed his plea to "guilty" and that we wouldn't be needed for that trial after all. So, it was back to the jury pool for me.

Now, as an experienced jury duty professional, I can confidently state one thing for certain: juror chairs are really comfortable.

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May 23, 2006

Napoleon Dynamite's Got Nothin' . . .

. . . on this guy.

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May 22, 2006

Joorie Dooty

My jury duty started today. And I got selected as a juror on my very first try! Beginner's luck! Court starts tomorrow, so blogging will be light, by which I mean nonexistent.


Posted by Ryan at 07:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 19, 2006

What The Hell?

Let's see if I have this straight. Iran's president goes on record declaring that the Holocaust was a myth.

And now Iran's parliament votes to make the country's non-Muslim citizens wear insignia indicating they're Jewish, Christian or Zoroastrian.

I mean, it's one thing to call out the Jews and Christians, but can't you just leave those poor Zorastrians alone? What did Ahura Mazda ever do to Iran?

UPDATE, IN ORDER TO PRESERVE MY JOURNALISTIC STREET CRED: The non-Muslim insignia news report is likely bullshit. My most humblest apologies for posting something in error. I must now go flog myself 56 times as penance.

I can't believe I knew about Ahura Mazda without Googling.

Posted by Ryan at 11:50 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Thin Skin, Thy Name is Nick Coleman

Here in Minnesota, a stadium debate rages. Or so I've been told. I haven't followed it much. But Nick Coleman has! Rather than take sides on the stadium issue, I'd much rather pick on Nick Coleman for his crappy writing and even crappier journalistic acumen.

According to our electronic library, Sid Hartman has written almost 200 columns for this newspaper in which the name "Carl Pohlad" has been mentioned in tandem with "new stadium," and 167 columns in which the words "Twins" and "Las Vegas" have been linked -- as in "Las Vegas would love to lure away the Twins," (Sid, on May 4).

Classic Nick Coleman "research." From the same guy who once quoted a commenter on as evidence of ANYTHING, Nick now utilizes his newspaper's electronic library (newsroom Google, basically) to start off his column. One wonders if he stretched and then visited the coffee machine while he waited for the search results to come up.

By contrast with my older friend, I have written fewer than two dozen columns in which the word "stadium" has appeared in any context, whether I was referring to plans for a new Twins stadium, a new Vikings stadium, a new Gophers stadium or some combination of the $2 billion worth of stadium plans the Legislature has been smoking.

The Legislature has been smoking stadium plans? I wonder if Nick hear's the youth of today ask each other "Dude, what have you been smoking?" and in Nick's walnut of a mind he thinks "STADIUM PLANS! THEY'RE SMOKING STADIUM PLANS! I AM SO SMART! I AM SO SMART! S-M-R-T! I MEAN S-M-A-R-T!"

Before proceeding, let me explain that I refer to spry Sid as "older" only to acknowledge his 86 years of accumulated wisdom, and to infer that, by contrast, I am but a pup.

Nick's adult ADD, however, is far more advanced than anything an 86-year-old can conjure. This column's about stadiums! No, this column's about how old Sid is! No, wait, this column is how old I am!

My prematurely naked head has led some to believe that Sid and I enjoy a brisk game of shuffleboard.

This column is about male pattern baldness!

I am, in fact, 30 years his junior and in all ways inferior.

This column is about how inferior Nick is! Finally, something we can agree on.

I only hope to grow up to be like Sid.

Oh, gawd, another 30 years of Nick Coleman columns? Perish the thought.

Despite my puny output of stadium columns, it is I who stands accused of harping.

*pressing the Nick Coleman "Whine Alert" button*

"You are a first-class idiot," a reader named Joe wrote to tell me. "Quit your whining."

*Salutes Joe*

"I am sick and tired of hearing you spout your mouth off," wrote another named Neil.

*Salutes Neil*

There have been many more,

*Salutes Many More*

and all this vitriol has made me wish I was more like Sid. After all, it appears the people of Hennepin County, despite opposing a stadium that will cost them almost a billion dollars while costing Twins owner Pohlad nothing he won't recover the day the park opens, are going to get a stadium.

Um, why would that make Nick want to be more like Sid?

Drink the Kool-Aid

That's a sub-head, by the way.

We have the best pols money can buy, and they stay bought: By a Twins lobbying campaign that has spent millions; by hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from the Pohlads and their minions, and by the constant cheerleading from the Chicken Littles who have warned -- without any credible evidence or threat -- that the Twins will pack up and dump us if this very bad plan does not ooze through to passage.

Nick is an odd one to cluck about Chicken Littles and no credible evidence. He's the same guy who wrote that a commenter was evidence that a lynching almost erupted in the Twin Cities.

Read the rest of Nick's column at your own peril. For a 56-year-old, he sure sucks.

Posted by Ryan at 09:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

Out on Patrol

I live about half a block away from an elementary school, which generally doesn't bother me, beyond the fact that I'm super-legally bound to keep my sidewalk clear and safe at all times, lest one of the passing youths slip and crack their head open and their parents sue me for roughly eight bazillion dollars and 22 cents.

And, oh yeah, also? Because the city in which I live doesn't trust me to completely keep my sidewalk safe, the city takes it upon itself to check my sidewalks periodically to ensure there are no dangerous cracks, or that any of the sidewalk blocks may have risen too sharply. Heaven forbid that ever happens, or the city will come in—AGAIN—and knock out the offending blocks and re-pour them. And then a couple months later I'll get a bill in the mail from the city asking for eight bazillion dollars and 22 cents for sidewalk repairs.

Other than that, living so close to an elementary school doesn't bother me IN THE LEAST!

Stepping away from my grumpy landowner persona, I shift now to my youthful nostalgia persona, which four out of five friends and family members agree is my more endearing persona.

One novelty of living so close to an elementary school, at an intersection, is that each morning during the school year, my corner is dutifully guarded by school patrol guards. Decked out in their bright yellow torso garments and wielding their authoritative school patrol flags, these guardians of all things traffic ensure the crossing safety of their younger elementary school counterparts.

Watching these State Patrol officers of the future, I'm reminded that I, too, was once a member of the respected ranks of the Minnesota School Patrol. I once donned the tattered yellow torso garments and wielded the authoritative school patrol flag which, when no one was looking, also made a great bo staff for dueling other patrol members.

I also had the heady power of being able to report nefarious wrong-doers TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE. Yes sir, my powers ran deep. I could even report license plate numbers if a motorist deigned to ignore my authority and brazenly drove through an intersection when I so obviously stood there with my flag unfurled, requiring traffic stoppage. From my fifth grade point of view, I could do practically anything under the protective cloak of the Minnesota School Patrol.

Anything, that is, except adequately deal with kindergarten students.

On a rotating basis, each school patrol officer was required to ferry morning kindergarten students across a trifecta of intersections for the duration of one week. For one week, I excused myself from my late-morning class, clad myself in my school patrol wear, and walked down to the kindergarten room to meet my throng of young protectees.

And they were the most horrible group of subversive little beasts ever to walk the halls of my elementary school. Keeping order amongst these miniature devils was a task so Herculean, Hercules himself would have opted out. I only had to walk the kids a distance of about four town blocks, but it may as well have been 125 miles. Every rock, every feather, every insignificant distraction of any kind, was an excuse for those kids to go toddling off to investigate. It was like trying to corral an ant colony.

And the never-ending litany of questions!

"How old are you?" "Why are you wearing that?" "Why can't I eat this dandelion?" "Why do dandelions taste so bad?" "Why is this doctor pumping my stomach?"

The most irritating of the lot was a boy named Kevin. Kevin wore circular little glasses and he had an almost monotone kind of voice that I secretly believed he practiced just to make it that much more annoying. Kevin's tactic was to engage me in conversation while the other children branched out to pursue their own areas of interest, whether it was a dead bird, a car's side mirror, or, in a couple cases, taking a bathroom break beneath a pine tree.

By the middle of my assigned week, I was at my wits end. If I let things proceed as they were going, I strongly believed one of the kids would get hurt, because I was pretty close as it was to whacking them collectively over their heads with my flag. In desperation, I turned to bribery.

As I picked the kids up from their classroom, I got them all together and explained that, if they were good for the rest of the week, I'd give them each some candy. It was, of course, a mistake to be so vague, because I was immediately bombarded with questions as to what kind of candy they could expect in return for good behavior.

The general consensus was that it wouldn't be worth being good for something as miniscule as a Tootsie Roll. The candy had to be something of some heft. Eventually, everyone agreed on Jolly Rancher sticks. It was going to cost me about 10 cents a stick, which was going to run me over a dollar overall, but it genuinely seemed worth it.

Of course, being "good" was a generally loose term. I had hoped it would mean strict obedience and complete silence, but I basically had to settle for a slightly diminished level of chaos.

Come that Friday, as I handed out their Jolly Rancher rewards at the end of our final journey together, Kevin informed me that I had been the best patrol guy they ever had.

As I walked back to the school that fine sunny day, I pondered the events of that week and assessed my situation. Sure, I was out $1.20, but I hadn't physically assaulted any kindergarten students, either.

It seemed like a decent trade-off, overall.

Posted by Ryan at 11:33 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 15, 2006

Why I Love The Internet #3298

People pretending to be me, calling myself a Nazi.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some goose-stepping to attend to.

UPDATE: Then, of course, there's the ever-reliable Jimmo providing such gems as:


The Internet, man. Without it, I'd probably die.

Posted by Ryan at 01:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Ryan says: You know, if I could just shake the last of my moral scruples, I could offer my writing services to college students and write their papers.

Caroline says: Moral scruples? You?

Ryan says: Whoops. That shouldn't have an "s."

Ryan says: I only have one scruple.

Caroline says: Scrupli

Ryan says: I call it my scrupe.

Caroline says: scruplium

Ryan says: Scrupe, scrupe a doop, scrupe a doop a doop a doop.

Caroline says: I've got the scrupe!

Ryan says: You should have that looked at.

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May 12, 2006

Re: Wiretapping

I'll be honest, I don't even have a phone. I don't have a cell phone. I don't have a land-line phone. I don't have a VoIP phone. I don't like talking on phones. I rely on e-mail and instant messaging.

So, personally, wiretapping probably isn't going to affect me.

More generally, I tend to agree with Joshua.

When you're willing to sacrifice your privacy and surrender some of your rights so you can rest a little easier due to a decreased chance of being blown up--when said chance of being blown up is pretty miniscule to begin with--you're not all that interested in the Constitution.

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May 10, 2006

Commenting Assistance

The comment engine over at Shot In The Dark is not functioning correctly. Thankfully, the good people at Koolaid Report are lending a hand.

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Lawn Pot Column

"Mowing Discoveries" c. Ryan Rhodes, May 4, 2006

Last week marked a turning point in the turning seasons. For the first time in 2006, I fired up the lawnmower and set about mowing my lawn.

Now, I should explain here that mowing my lawn doesn't necessarily mean I was mowing the grass. Rather, I was chopping back the hordes of dandelions that have basically staged a complete take-over of my lawn. Amy Reid.

As I've explained in this column before, I'm not particularly interested in the pursuit of the perfectly green and lush lawn. My approach to lawn care is rather similar to my approach to stray cats and dogs; namely, I let them kind of go about their own business and try not to get involved.

And, much like stray cats and dogs, my lawn has a wild, unkempt look to it that simply must drive my neighbors completely insane. Whereas my neighbor down the street takes great pride in his thick, dark green grass, I walk with indifference through my own lawn, which is so infested with dandelions, you can probably see the intense yellow glare from orbit.

In addition to the neighbors, my lawn also attracts the attention of practically every single lawn care agency in the city. Not a day has gone by, I don't think, where I've come home from work and NOT found a lawn care flyer shoved in my door or dangling on the door knob. They all offer to rid my lawn of the dandelions and other lawn intruders not of the grass persuasion.

The thing is, I really can't see myself paying for such a lawn care service. I mean, paying somebody to spray poison on my lawn strikes me as kind of an odd thing to dedicate my hard-earned dollars toward. Besides, if dandelions and other weeds are so determined to stake out their claims on my lawn, who am I to try and stop them?

However, last week, as I ran my mower over the tops of those dandelions daring enough to poke their yellow heads a tad too high, I noticed a peculiar weed amongst all the yellow that prompted me to take a closer look.

Now, I have only passing knowledge of the world of weeds, but that particular specimen had an unmistakable five-leaf array that I had seen on countless tee-shirts and black-light posters. Specifically, I was looking at a marijuana plant, which was growing in my yard, not Padma Lakshmi.

I pondered the marijuana plant for awhile, trying to figure out how such a weed could have established a toe-hold on a lawn in the middle of a city, and I developed some entertaining theories on the topic. I then mowed over the scrappy little plant because, well, it WAS illegal and all that, and somehow leaving it to grow to great heights there inthe middle of my lawn didn't strike me as all that intelligent. So, I mowed over it, and that was that. Or so I thought.

After mowing about another 40 feet, I encountered ANOTHER marijuana plant, and on a side-hill a bit further ahead, there was ANOTHER. And, a look around the rest of my lawn uncovered two more. All of this was a bit unsettling. Encountering a sole pot plant on your lawn is one thing, but here I had the makings a full-fledged crop.

ME: Honestly, officer, this is all a big misunderstanding. The plants were just THERE. I had nothing to do with it, I swear.

OFFICER: Do you expect me to believe you have five marijuana plants growing amidst all these dandelions purely by accident? I'm afraid you'll have to come with me and pray you get a gullible judge.

All of which means I'm revisiting the idea of hiring a lawn-care company to spray some poison on my lawn. Because, after all, marijuana is known as a gateway drug. Today I may only be mowing over pot plants, but the next thing you know I'll be mowing over poppy plants, and then cocoa plants.

There's no telling where this could all lead.

Posted by Ryan at 08:58 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 09, 2006

Spammers. . . I hate those guys

Man, my comments were just slammed by spam awhile ago. Like, to the tune of 30+ spams left in my comments in just under an hour.

It would be interesting to see the level of hell devoted to spammers. I'm sure Satan has put a lot of fiendish thought into the manner of eternal torture he has in mind for those buttholes. I'm thinking they should be afflicted with a worst case scenario related to whatever product they may have been pushing in the living world.

For example, there could be an area where people just grow outrageously huge penises--like, four feet long or so--and then pass out from the lack of blood to the head. Then, when they come to, the process begins all over again. There they are, destined for an eternity of watching their cocks swell to four feet in less than an hour, all the while feeling more and more woozy until they pass out. THAT'S Satanic justice!

Posted by Ryan at 01:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 08, 2006



It's funny because it's not me.

Posted by Ryan at 01:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Ah, the Memories

Back in my college days, I had to take a few classes to fulfill my Mass Communications/Journalism major requirements that I really didn't want to. Amongst those classes was Broadcast Journalism, an area I wasn't much interested in because I enjoyed writing articles rather than talking into a microphone.

Anyway, my first experience with a broadcast journalism class was taught by an Indian (dot, not feathers) guy named Ajit Daniel. During that initial class, I think I only learned one thing: specifically, I HATE AJIT DANIEL! His was the only class wherein I received a D grade, and I had to work harder for that D than for any A I ever earned. The next semester, I bumped into Ajit in the halls and he asked: "Mr. Rhodes, do you know why I gave you a D." To which I responded: "Yeah, because you're a jackass."

I later regretted that, because I ended up having to take two more classes with that jackass. Although, I did manage to squeak out of both classes with Cs.

Well, anyway, over the weekend, I discovered this site, and I registered and looked up my old pal Ajit to see what other students thought about him. You can only view the first three entries without registration, so I thought I'd share some of the other glowing reviews from Ajit's students:

Literally Satan reincarnated. Are you a broadcasting major at Winona State? My best advice to you...change your major or transfer to another school.
Avoid at all costs. I feel bad for anyone in brodcasting. I took a terrorism class with him. It could have been the most interesting class ive ever had, but it was one of the worst. Unorganized and changes the syllabus about once every two weeks.
I am an A student. I got a C in his class. How crappy. Only one student got an A, in a 100 level class! Avoid if possible, but it's not feasible.
Crazy professor who follows his mood... avoid him if possible, he's nuts!

That's all pretty accurate, in my opinion. And, yes, I only posted those reviews that paint him in a bad light. This is my blog. I can do that.

Posted by Ryan at 10:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 04, 2006

That Special Taste

What's that I'm tasting? It's rum, yes, but there's something else. . . something full bodied.

UPDATE: Damn you, Snopes!

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May 03, 2006

A Nice Thing About Blogs

Is that there are so many other people out there willing to rip apart Nick Coleman columns.

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May 02, 2006


You know, it's a funny thing: back when I graduated college in 1998, I couldn't get a job in my field to save my soul, because every advertised position required five or more years of experience. Which really pissed me off, because how the hell are you supposed to get five years of experience in the field if no one will hire you without five years of experience?

Now, here it is 2006, and I have well over five years of experience in my field, and despite sending out somewhere in the realm of 30+ applications/resumes over the past couple months, I've heard less than a peep from anyone. Eventually, you really start to wonder what the hell's going on.

I mean, I like to think I'm a fairly good writer, and I have strong researching and interviewing skills. I even have some marketing and public relations skills. My humor column has won first and second place honors over the years from the Minnesota newspaper Association, and I've won a "Best Column" award from the Minnesota Magazine Publishers Association. So, I have some phony baloney street cred, I like to think.

So what the hell? Do I have too much experience? I'm telling you, this job searching shit can really suck when companies don't even let you know you've been rejected. I just send out tons of applications, and then it's just dead air.

A new job, man, that's all I'm after.

Posted by Ryan at 04:51 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

online Integrity

As a blogger who has pretty much forfeited every semblance of anonymity, I fully support and endorse this statement.

Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker.

Posted by Ryan at 10:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 01, 2006

Me and Mel in Japan


Posted by Ryan at 12:19 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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