Month: November 2013

RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: Animal Cruelty

06racoon-barsamian-blog480A finance major at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO was arrested for beating a raccoon to death with a baseball bat (which he admits posed no threat to him or his friend) in order to claim its hide.  Sure, hunters have a weird sense of what constitutes cruelty, but even then they usually wouldn’t consider smacking a little animal around with a baseball bat to be proper conduct.  Neighbors called the police based on what they saw and heard, and the student confessed to his actions.

In related news, if he wanted something that looked like a raccoon, he could have spent a paltry $480 USD on this lovely Ashley Williams raccoon handbag.  He might have seemed a little weird carrying that around, but, you know, at least he wouldn’t have the stigma of beating animals to death hanging over his head.

Source: Daily Camera

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Oh, That Was the Surprise

Enders-Game-Poster-YahooI saw the film adaptation of Ender’s Game last weekend.  I found the movie as faithful to its source material as one could expect; as always changes must be made, mostly for the sake of time.  I think this was one of the movie’s bigger faults, as the whole thing generally felt rushed.  I would even say that it should have strayed more from the book.  For example, the character of Mazer Rackham in the film seemed superfluous since he wasn’t able to be given the kind of build up as in the book.  That character’s actions should have been given to Hyram Graff for the sake of simplicity.

My major disappointment was that it dropped the “twist.”  No, not the twist telegraphed by the film’s tagline of “this is not a game.”  Granted, that’s probably what everybody would think was the big holy shit moment of the book.  I remember talking to a friend of mine about the upcoming film and he mentioned that he’d read the book and so the big surprised was spoiled for him.  Without even thinking, I asked: “that they felt bad about it?”

I was referring to this part of the book, towards the very end:

“What the hive-queen felt was sadness, a sense of resignation. She had not thought these words as she saw the humans coming to kill, but it was in words that Ender understood her: They did not forgive us, she thought. We will surely die.”

To me, that was the part that stuck out about the story.  I’ve grown so accustomed to aliens being portrayed as monstrously different (think Xenomorph) or annoyingly human (Na’vi.)  It was surprising to me to present these insect-like aliens as being remorseful of their actions and actually fearing human retribution.  It was a characterization of a monstrous species I was not used to, and enjoyed quite a bit that’s always stuck with me.

But I don’t think audiences would take too well to something like that.

RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: Dancing Yokels

From Worth1000
From Worth1000

I apparently missed the hoopla over one of the many inexplicably popular YouTube videos that exists, this one involving a hillbilly and a raccoon dancing together (sort of) from a little over a year ago. The man, named Mark “Coonrippy” Brown (no, “coon” is not racist in this context … I hope!) and the raccoon, Gunshow, have unfortunately been recently separated.  One of the side effects of internet celebrity status is sudden public notoriety; in this case possession of a wild animal when such is not permitted.  So it is that officials of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency have separated mountain man and raccoon.

Undaunted, Mark continues to pursue his lifelong dream of being famous (attention whores can grow in the backwoods) and hopes to launch a reality television show soon.  And, with luck, his fame will reunite him with his little buddy, Gunshow.

Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press

I Got a Job

i-got-a-job

It’s a new month and I can start it with a smile on my face and hope in my heart, because after three and a half years of struggling to find work I finally landed a job.  Maybe moving out west was the right thing to do, although it’s a shame that doing so cost me some friends by revealing to me how very unreliable–if not downright duplicitous–some people can be. Some thoughts:

  • I did have a ten month stint of full-time work during the past 3.5 years.  I did nothing but clash with my boss during that time and had to quit.  I regret that it took a year and a half to find a full time job afterwards, but not quitting the job when I did.  Especially after I got a call from my replacement asking for advice on dealing with him.  It meant he was just a lousy boss.
  • A part of why it took so long to find work was because I was doing it wrong.  Due to my spotty work history I had convinced myself my only real chance was to get a job with the U.S. Government.  Unfortunately that’s an almost impossible place to get into, what with hiring practices heavily favoring internal transfers and veterans.
  • Because I was limiting myself so much, I didn’t apply to many jobs.  Maybe four a week.  In contrast, when I moved out here I averaged one a day. I think this aggressive application process helped quite a bit.
  • About halfway through two or so months I was looking I began modifying my resume for every job I applied to; as every job application guide says to.  I think it did helped? I did get more interviews during the second half of the process than before.
  • I think I’m a bad interviewee.  The job I got, I received an offer several hours after finishing the interview.  This actually happened with every job I’ve gotten.  This makes me think that in all those cases, the companies had already made up their minds to hire me barring a disastrous performance on my part during the interviews.  I don’t think I’ve ever managed to convince someone to hire me who wasn’t already inclined to do so.
  • In all the interviews I’ve had over the past year, at exactly none of them was I asked by an interviewer for a copy of my resume (although I certainly had them!)  Hopefully, society has moved past this tired routine of testing how prepared the interviewee is.
  • I remember recruiters being more useful.  Here in Denver they just seem to want to waste your time.
  • If you’re a temp agency, it’s ridiculous to think the people doing jobs for you aren’t continuously looking for a full-time job.
  • The stress of being unemployed (and with it, the fear that I’d never get a job) had apparently been getting to me, as I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried a little after receiving the offer and realizing that I have a future again.