Friday, September 27, 2013

Why "The Price is Right" Should NEVER Do An All-(Fill-In-Pricing-Game) Show Again

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm about to step on my Game Show Soap Box.  Please avert your gaze if high-speed nerding makes you nauseous.

First off, let me start by saying all the things I enjoyed about this morning's episode of "The Price is Right".

Now with that out of the way, let me get into the nuts and bolts of why this should never happen again.  "Price is Right" Team?  I hope you're paying attention.

There are several reasons why there is variety in this show.  You have to play six different games a day, and thirty different games a week, because people get bored.  With a game like Plinko, playing it six times over the course of an hour gets tedious.  Also, the games are played to a specific time.  Plinko is, by far, one of the longest games on the show.  Playing it six times affects other parts of the show (more on that later).

Take the first two playings of this show as an example.  It seems as if whoever is now setting up the games (because it is clearly no one who knows what they're doing) is forcing contestants into "losses".

NOTE: The term "Loss" for Plinko can get very muddy.  Here is the actual definition as I learned it from working at the show.  A loss in Plinko means the contestant does not get all five chips, then ends up winning less than the top amount for a single chip (in the current case of the game, $10,000).

While I do appreciate, to a certain degree, the "variety" put into today's playings by putting prizes on the board (and taking a part of a page from the UK's Plinko Playbook), if the contestants don't win the chips, it's not as exciting for the home viewer.  The first two contestants earned a total of FOUR CHIPS (including the two free ones), and with them, ended up hitting THREE ZEROES!  Finally, by the third game, the secret of having contestants win the chips hit the staff, and the contestant managed to get all five (only one of two who did).  Her takeaway? $11,000 and an ATV.

Let's put it in a different perspective.  Let's say, for shiggles, that Superball!! had survived until this day, and become as much as a fan favorite as Plinko (especially given that it premiered two years prior).

2011: 30th Anniversary of Superball!!  We're going to play Superball!! six times over the course of the show.

Now, for a skee-ball and Superball!! fan like myself, I would have naturally been excited and curious...albeit cautiously optimistic.  There can be too much of a good thing, you know.

The biggest difference between Plinko and Superball!! is that the contestant, should they get at least one of the four balls, is guaranteed to win SOMETHING...even as little as $50...unlike Plinko, where the contestant still runs the risk of banking bupkus should he or she hit all Zeroes.

Also, a single playing of Superball was slotted at 6.5 minutes.  Play it six times, you're now looking at 39 minutes of showtime being eaten up by this behemoth, with only FOUR MINUTES being allotted for six One-Bids, two Showcase Showdowns, and the Showcases.  How long is Plinko slotted for? 5 minutes.  Doing the math: 30 minutes devoted to Plinko, with 13 minutes saved for everything else.

Which brings me to the other parts of the show that playing six of the same game can affect.  As I said earlier, only 13 minutes of the show are allotted for six One-Bids, two Showcase Showdowns, and the Showcases.  While the One-Bids don't normally take that long, and overbids can be edited out (but shouldn't), the Showdowns still take a good amount of time, especially if you get into a Spin-Off, Bonus Spin, or Heavy Spinner situation (or any combination of the above).  This ends up squeezing the Showcases at the end of the was proven by today's debacle.

Today's first Showcase started with a trip to Turks & Caicos, continued with a Jet Ski...then ended.  Wait, what?  Did we just get Punk'd?  A Showcase is supposed to be a lavish display of prizes for the contestant to bid on...not a playing of 2 For The Price Of 1.

Well, let's see if our second Showcase is going to be any better.  Oooh, an outdoor bed!  And a truck!  Wait...Any Number?  No, that's the Showcase.  When the show returns from break, even the untrained eye can tell that Drew is being pressed for time: no prize recap, hurried price reveals, and he barely has enough time to sign off (as does George Gray) before they squeeze the credits.

Now comes the time in the class where I tell you what I would have done to properly celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Plinko, with two different scenarios.

Scenario 1: Keep the All-Plinko format (if there's a gun to my head and it has to happen).
While in theory the idea isn't too bad, the execution was poor at best.  Here are the steps to improve it:
1A) Give each contestant (3) free chips, and ask them to earn only two, or
1B) Change the way chips are awarded (Look at Punch-A-Bunch, Secret X, Half-Off, Five Price Tags and Rat Race for ideas)

2) Replace the value strip at the bottom of the board with the following:
500 - 1000 - 2500 - 5000 - 10000 - 50002500 - 1000 - 500

3) Continue to change up the game by adding prizes to the board during the other five playings, but more prizes in more places, always keeping "CAR" on the board:
Game 2: 500 - Elliptical London 5000 - CAR 5000 - Paris Computer 500
Game 3: Groceries 1000 - 2500 - Jet Ski CAR Catamaran 2500 - 1000 - Maid Service
Game 4: 500 - 1000 - CAR 5000 - 20000 - 5000 - CAR 1000 - 500
Game 5: 500 - Seattle 2500 - Tahiti CAR Australia 2500 - Dallas 500
Game 6: CAR 1000 - 2500 - 5000 - CAR 5000 - 2500 - 1000 - CAR

4) Theme the Showcases.
Showcase 1: Plinko theme (Year's supply of Pringles, $10,000 cash, Car)
Showcase 2: "30" (30 movie tickets, Trip to Wrestlemania 30, Chrysler 300)

Scenario 2: Regular show - Plinko feel.
1) Stage festooned with Plinko decor.
2) Standard 6-Game line-up, awarding an additional $10,000 for a win, with Plinko in Act VI.
3) Use the board setup as outlined above.
4) Theme the Showcases, as above.
5) Everyone in the audience receives a commemorative Plinko chip, with 10 to give away through

Now, as some of you may know, "Price is Right" and I had a bad break-up last year with the "Young and the Restless" special episode.  The "All-Plinko" episode is just another gimmick episode for a show that lasted 35 years without any regular gimmick episodes (Prime-Time, Anniversary, X,000th Episode, and Christmas Episodes excused).  "Price is Right", please stop trying.  You're starting to look sad and needy.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Gateway 2013: The Con That Was...AMAZING!

First of all, I know I haven't updated here recently.  Things have been changing in my life (all for the better, mind you), and I haven't had time or reason enough to post up a new blogging.  Today seemed like the best day to do one.

We have just finished up our ninth Strategicon event.  Those who don't know, Strategicon is the organizations that handles three main gaming conventions here in southern California.  The events are:
 • OrcCon (every Presidents' Day weekend)
 • Gamex (every Memorial Day weekend)
 • Gateway (every Labor Day weekend)
Home Game Enterprizes, the business that I and my friends founded, has been there for each one dating back to February 2011, and we have had a blast every time.  This one, however, was particularly special.

We have some game show fan friends back east who have done a 24-Hour Game Show Marathon for charity twice (this and last year), raising money for the American Cancer Society, and a local hospital in Baltimore.  Our group saw the quality workmanship they produced and thought, "Why don't we do that?"  Three months of planning later, "24-Hour Game Show Marathon West" took the stage in Salon 103 at the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel, the hotel that has housed Strategicon events for the past few years.

We got off to a rocky start the night before.  We had to set up cameras and make sure the Google Hangout was working, so we could have online players play several of our games.  What we didn't take into account was that none of the cameras we initially brought was set up to connect to a computer for live-streaming purposes.  Hoo boy, here we go.  After about two hours of testing, checking, connecting, re-connecting, testing, checking, and panicking, Tim remembers he has left his camera back here at the apartment and it will do live-streaming (as he used it for his Extra Life marathon last year).  He volunteers to return to Glendale to retrieve it, and our problems are over...for the most part.

The second hurdle?  Getting the Google Hangout running.  Our room at the con (affectionately known to us as "The Studio") has spotty wi-fi access at best, because the free wi-fi signal from the lobby just trickles in.  The stronger internet signal is a paid service.  We had arranged to have the password for this event, and was approved by the con.  We didn't actually get the information until almost Midnight on Friday, causing us to suspend Hangout testing until then.  Thankfully, at the last minute, we received it, but were told only TWO DEVICES could be connected to it at any one time.  So, we determined the computer running the Hangout and the live-stream would share the duties.  Everyone else, including those running our social media sites, had to use the spotty connection, or my iPhone.

Now comes the day of the Marathon.  August 31, 2013.  12 Noon.  24 games in 24 hours with 12 people on crew.  Sounds easy, right?  Buckle up, cupcake.

To have a look at all the games we played this weekend, check out the Home Game Enterprizes website.

Streaming is running, Hangout is ready, computer and projector are humming in's a beautiful thing.  We have an audience.  People from the convention are here to play, and some are here just to watch. We go through the first 12 hours sailing!  We had an almost-packed house for our prime-time block of The Time Bomb, Super Press Your Luck, The $25,000 Pyramid, and The Price is Right.  It was going like any other convention...just at a quicker pace.

Then comes the after-Midnight shift. By this point, we've all been up and going for, at most, 16 hours.  We're clearly starting to go loopy, and some of us are starting to nod off.  Meanwhile, I am still running tech on a few games, with All-Star Blitz to host at 4 AM.  We get there, and make it through.  That's when I start to break down.  I literally had to be escorted out of the room by my roommate Adam out of the hotel and to my car, which was parked in the neighboring airport parking lot (we have to park there because the blood-sucking mercenaries at the Sheraton charge $25 for valet parking ONLY...the airport parking is $13.  God bless Easy Park).  I had managed to park my car in the back row, almost in the furthest-flung corner away from the hotel that I could.  We get in and start to doze when I hear, "Travis, I don't want to alarm you, but I think you have bugs in your car."  I turn on the dome light and, sure enough, there's practically a colony of ants streaming all over my center console and passenger seat.  We quickly jump out of the car, and shamble back into the hotel.

Arriving back in the studio, the crew sees how bad I really look: tired, pale, frazzled, and slightly shaky.  I call several audibles:
 • Replace Scrabble with Blockbusters, as I have not been able to compile the games.
 • Remove myself from all technician duties until 11 AM, which is the final game, Malcolm.
 • Cancel our 8 PM event, The Game Show Machine, due to mass fatigue.
Everyone is concerned about my health, and offer to get me something to eat or drink.  At this point, I want to throw up, sleep, and cry all at the same time...but can do none of it.  So, I do the only other viable option...take a seat on a couch in the lobby across from a TV playing CNN.

The next few hours are a blur.  What I do remember is having breakfast at the hotel restaurant buffet (delicious corned beef hash), and coming back into the room with the caveat that I am not permitted to touch a computer until 11 AM.  Everyone complies and still helps me out.  Then we come to Hour 24...the final game.  I'll let the video speak for itself.

I have to thank a lot of people for their help with this event.
 • The entire Strategicon staff.
 • My roommates: Ben, Adam, Tim, and Ethan.
 • The HGE Crew: Eric, Joe, Jason, Matt, and Stad.
 • The HGE Newbies: Kyle and Nathaniel.
 • The East-Coasters: Jim, Cory, Christian, and Bob.
 • The Girlfriends: Amanda, Jackie, and Sallan.
 • Our online contestants: Ryan, Jason, BigJon, Matthew (who tragically lost The Colour of Money), Dan, and whoever else I may have left out.
 • Our in-studio contestants: Phil, Erick, Sean, Dawn, Sam, Aidan, Andre, Stephanie, Chris, and anyone else I can't remember.

To everyone: your patience, excitement, expertise, and overall greatness helped this event get off the ground and out to the people.  We made history, and made a difference for ACS, raising (as of right now) almost $800.

From the list, I do need to single out some people:
 • Kyle Serra.  Thank you for volunteering to join our band of merry misfits, and bring along your love of the genre and the generous use of your camera equipment.  You have been made an official member of HGE...I'm just sorry it doesn't pay more right now.

 • Nathaniel Thompson.  Thank you for volunteering to assist with the live-streaming and the Hangout aspect of the Marathon, and leading the creation of the HGE App!  I never in a million years would have dreamed that HGE would have an iPhone App, and it happened.  A big thank you to the Thompson/Rooney clan as a whole for allowing Nathaniel to spend the entire 24 hours with us and become the YOUNGEST HGE member.  Your Time Bomb initiation will come shortly.

 • Amanda, Jackie, and Sallan.  While one of you couldn't be there in person, all three of you helped us out by keeping, not only your own boyfriends, but in turn, all of us going for the last gasp of the day-long slog.  Bringing pastries, snacks, drinks, and good vibes kept the lights on until the sun came up and beyond.  Special thanks to Amanda for being our more attractive Vanna for Wheel of Fortune After Dark on Sunday night (sorry, Ben).

 • Stad St. Fleur.  Since you joined our posse, it seems like everything we do is more fun.  You've been with us from OrcCon 2013 to now, and I don't see you leaving us anytime soon.  Also, and I can't thank you enough, you and Jackie fumigated my car.  You didn't have to, but you helped me out a great deal.

Here's looking forward to OrcCon 2014 (Feb. 14-17, 2014), and a brand new venue: Hilton Los Angeles Airport.


** Lost Signal **

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

2011 Year in Review / 2012 Goal Checklist

First of all, apologies up front to Tim Connolly and Joe Van Ginkel for stealing their ideas for a year-end post, but they're both so good, I'm combining them into my personal story of the past 365 days.

2011: Year In Review
Battling through partial unemployment
When I started working at Universal Studios Hollywood in December 2010, the Grinchmas holiday season was just getting started, so work was consistent.  By the time we hit January, my hours hit rock bottom.  To say the least, it was difficult.  I had several interviews with places I wasn't too crazy about, none moreso than my interview with Luminance Marketing.  That was an adventure.  I blogged about it back in February...cehck it out.

From there, I managed to snag a part-time job at Madame Tussaud's Hollywood as part of their "Street Team." My duties? Meander Hollywood Boulevard handing out flyers to passers-by enticing them to visit the museum, saving $5 on admission.  Every coupon turned in would get me an additional $1 in commission.  I worked there for five days, ended up dumping a lot of my flyers with the tour guides along Hollywood Boulevard just to get rid of them.

It was during one particular shift that I received a call from another place I was interviewing with: Andrew Christian, Inc.  For those of you unfamiliar with the organization (and by my money, that's probably damn near everyone who's going to be reading it), ACI is a fashion house specializing in men's swimwear, sportswear, and underwear.  The upside?  The office was 30 blocks from my apartment here in Glendale, so a quicker commute.  I ended up getting the 40-hour, Amazon Data Entry position, ankling Madame Tussaud's in the process, and reducing my full 7-day availability at Universal to weekends only.  I only lasted there 8 weeks, before becoming super-stressed, and leaving in a blaze of glory.

Once I left ACI, I asked my manager at the park if I changed my availability back to 7 days, would I get at least 5 days through the summer.  In no uncertain terms, he informed me I would.  My unemployment woes would be over.  Averaging 35 hours a week through the summer, and close to 40 hours a week over Halloween Horror Nights helped me cement my position at USH, and even got me promoted to Shift Leader before this past Grinchmas season.  With Transformers coming in the Spring, and Harry Potter down the road in a few years, it doesn't look like I'll be going anywhere soon.

Becoming "Enterprizing"
When I came out to California in 2010, I was informed that we should bring our game show stuff to a gaming convention over Labor Day Weekend.  Plans progressively fell through over the course of those few weeks, and I decided to hold off until the next one, which would be over Presidents' Day weekend.  After learning everything I could about this "Strategicon" thing, I put together an 8-game lineup and we went on our merry way.  Little did I or any of us truly realize how big Strategicon events were.

We set up our equipment in one of the meeting rooms (Salons, as the Sheraton calls them...our Studio, as we call it), and proceeded to perform all weekend, treating it like any other Game Show Congress tournament.  The difference was that we had to explain the games that we were playing to the people playing them.

The first con went off very well, with the only hiccup being my projector failing in the middle of a game.  We decided then and there to come back to each Strategicon event (OrcCon for Presidents' Day, Gamex for Memorial Day, Gateway for Labor Day), and do more than just our game shows.  We filled a three-day schedule for Gamex with 8 more games in our Studio and about 30 board games for the Main gaming room.  We went from sideshow attraction to convention fixture by the end of Gateway, and had achieved a small fan base.

The first convention assisted us in getting our business, Home Game Enterprizes, off the ground.  We were invited by a convention regular to perform at a corporate conference for Oracle Development Tools User Group.  The plan was to set up like we usually do for a night of Family Feud, and a game we hadn't tried yet, Minute to Win It.  The conference planners couldn't have been nicer to us and our three-person team.  We had full access to the opening meeting (where we had to perform MTWI), including catered dinner, and early access to the room where we to perform Feud.  They also comped our hotel room in Long Beach, and paid us $1000 for our work!  Once Feud was over, they already invited us to their 2012 SAN ANTONIO!

The NEW love of my life
In January, my roommates and I were trying to get tickets to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" to see the new "Doctor Who", Matt Smith.  I even went so far as to purchase a t-shirt from Woot! with a DeLorean crashing into the TARDIS (titled, "It Just Came Out Of Nowhere").  Before I moved out here in 2010, I even created a "Doctor Who" themed version of the card game, Fluxx.  As you probably can tell, my fandom of the BBC sci-fi series is big.

At the con in February, we finally had a break in our Studio action to visit the main gaming room.  My roommate Ben walked over to the volunteer table to chat with the con crew, then came walking back over to me and another roommate, Adam, to say, "There's a girl over here with your shirt."  My reply? "What are you talking about?" Apparently, there was a girl at this con who was a bigger "Who" fan than I was, even having the same t-shirt as me.  I met this "Amber" girl, introduced myself, told her about my Fluxx variant, and invited her to play.  About a half-hour later, she came over to our table, and played two games with us.  After the gaming was over, I pitched an index card across the table and asked for her information.  We proceeded to game for the rest of the night, and into the next day, leaving as newfound friends.

A day or so later, she posted on her Facebook wall that she wanted to either see "Rango" or the new Nicolas Cage movie.  I posted moments later that I had discounted AMC tickets from work, and would be willing to go with.  Plans proceeded to change over the course of the week, and we ended up going to Ben's improv show that Friday night.  At 2:27 that morning, we decided to become official (by updating our Facebook statuses).

Amber and I have now been dating for over 10 months.  Every day we're together, I best my own record.  Three failed relationships in the past, and many more unrequited crushes are now history.

So, all in all, 2011 has been an up-and-down year, but overall, I'd give it a 7 out of 10.  Good things came out of it, even if it did have a rocky start.

2012: My Goals Checklist
I'm not big in making New Year's Resolutions.  Instead, I have decided to set a list of goals to meet in 2012.  I'll use this blog as my online diary, tracking my progress in meeting said goals.  They are, in no particular order:
  • Have $5000 in my Savings account
  • Be 100 lbs. lighter
  • Have my credit card debt paid down or off, or be expunged in Bankruptcy
  • Have my student loan debt paid on, or be expunged in Bankruptcy
  • Get my Ohio University class ring
  • Get 2 more corporate clients for Home Game Enterprizes
  • Sell 1 Ineligible Productions game show concept
  • Get a cheap car (probably Tim's Mazda)
  • Get on another game show (hopefully one that I can actually win money)
This post goes out to everyone who helped me through 2011, and will be with me through 2012.  You know who you are, and you're too many to mention here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Luminance Marketing: None Too Bright

So, those of you who follow my Facebook posts know I had an interview with Luminance Marketing last Friday and this past Monday.  While it seemed good at first, I learned that if something is too good to be true, it most likely is.  Let me explain.

Last Thursday, I submitted my resume online from a Craigslist posting for a customer service position.  A couple of hours later, I got a call from "Luminance Marketing" asking me to set up an interview.  Amazed by the almost-immediate turnaround, I gladly accepted a 9 AM interview in their Canoga Park office.  For those of you who don't know the area, Canoga Park is about 10 miles away from North Hollywood, and 23 miles away from my apartment here in Glendale.  Because I don't have a car, I had to use public transportation...a 3-hour commute.

The interview went very well, but very quick.  The person who interviewed me showed me that they are involved in selling DirecTV subscriptions by setting up tables in Best Buy, Fry's Electronics, and Sam's Clubs around the Southland.  Given my experience with setting up a table for the OU Game Show club, I was immediately interested.  They asked if I could stay till Noon for the second round of the interview.  Knowing I had to be back here in Glendale, then down at the Sheraton Gateway hotel for OrcCon on Friday afternoon, I declined, but left my cellphone number.  On the bus ride home, they called me back and asked if I could come in Monday at noon.  I accepted.

Upon return to my apartment, I told my roommates about it.  Ben and Adam seemed pleased about it, but Tim felt immediately apprehensive.  Why?  A couple of years ago, Tim had a job similar to this one where he sold office supplies door-to-door.  He gave me a laundry list of questions to ask upon my next interview, including pay rate, standard activities during the day, and the like.

After a completely successful OrcCon appearance, playing game show games all weekend and making a bushel basket of new friends and connections, I managed to get four hours of sleep before my three-hour commute back to Canoga Park.  I arrived in their office just prior to my Noon appointment, and was able to listen in on their meeting going on in the back room.  At seven different times during the forty minutes I sat there, I heard Tim's voice in the back of my head screaming, "GET THE F*** OUT OF HERE!!"  While I appreciated the concern of my conscience, I felt as if I had to stick it out and see where it was headed.  At 12:30, when the meeting broke, I met my second-round interviewer, Kevin, and went to do the on-site interview at the Glendale Best Buy.

In the car ride over, it was the standard "getting-to-know-you" conversation: where are you from, where did you go to school, what kind of music do you like, do you mind if I smoke...y'know...the usual.  It wasn't until we got to the store where he broke down the nuts and bolts of the business.

Luminance Marketing is set up with a four-tier promotion scheme.  I would first start out as the in-store salesman.  I would get a base pay of $288 per week.  If I were to make any sales, I would make money per sale ($100 per sale for 1 to 3 sales, $110 for 4 to 7, and $120 for 8 or more).  I would be in that position for 2 to 4 weeks, until I managed to get 8 sales in one week.  That would move me to the next step, where I would be in charge of training more people to do the job I just promoted out of.  After 3 to 6 months, I would be promoted to Assistant Manager...running an office, and conducting preliminary interviews.  After a month, I would get promoted to the top of the ladder:  owner of my own office, where I could stand to make $100,000 a year.  This is what we will call RED FLAG NUMBER ONE.  He also told me the job would entail me being in the Canoga Park office at 9:30 AM six days a week (Wednesdays off), then being assigned to a store somewhere in the Southland.  With me not having my own transportation, that would make it iffy.  RED FLAG NUMBER TWO.  He then told me that the work days would not end until around 9 PM every night.  RED FLAG NUMBER THREE.  So, basically, I would be racking up a total of two to three hours of sleep a night, and my Wednesdays would be spent in bed.

Then, Kevin showed me what was to take place on the job.  It turns out that we would not stay in one stationary location.  We would be required to walk around the store and approach customers by, in essence, MISREPRESENTING OURSELVES as employees of the store by asking if we can help them with anything, then give the pitch.  RED FLAG NUMBER FOUR.  By the way, here's the pitch:  "Hey, did you hear about what's going on in the store today?  Well, Best Buy has authorized me to talk to you about DirecTV."  RED FLAG NUMBER FIVE.  Essentially, it's telemarketing while face-to-face.  While going around the store, we went up to three people, and got three very emphatic "NO" responses.  At the end of the day, I told Kevin I had some serious mis-givings about the position, and would need to go through the training to resolve them.  He agreed, and said he would call me back that night after talking with his manager to get me set up.

Thankfully, I was in Glendale, so it was only a two-bus trip home.  Upon arriving, Tim was the only one awake in the apartment, as he was unloading the car from the previous night at OrcCon.  I told him all the details except the promotional structure.  His opinion started to waver, until I showed him the paper with the promotional structure.  I couldn't have received a louder "NO" response.  Apparently, although it was a different company, it was the identical situation he had encountered with the office supplies.  So, I waited for my call back from Kevin, which came at 9 PM.  I told him that I appreciated the opportunity, but the job raised too many Red Flags, and I would have to decline.  Kevin replied, and I quote, "Well, I am making a $900 check next week, so if that interests you at all, call me back."  I said, "Oh, will do."  and hung up.

So, to sum up, if you're a naive, doe-eyed, innocent person who thinks they can make it big in the business world with very little experience and minimal work:  Luminance is for YOU!  But, if you know that it takes effort, hard work, time, patience, blood, sweat, and tears to be a success, and have a college degree, half a brain, and a soul:  STEER CLEAR OF LUMINANCE MARKETING!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dear Blog-ary...

This afternoon, while watching Comedy Central's "Stand-Up Showdown", one of the comics referred to blogs as diaries.  Therefore, I'm writing today's "blog-ary" post.

Dear Blog-ary...
The last 24 hours have been a series of ups and downs.  It's been a while since I've been on a roller-coaster like the one I've just been on.  Let me start with late yesterday.

UP: I checked my email right before we all went to Ben's improv show last night.  I, once again, have scheduled hours at the park!

DOWN: I thought I'd better call in this morning to try to get a shift, so that way, I'd at least have a little bit of a paycheck.  I called at 7 AM, they put me on the list, and the call-back never came.

UP: Ben decided to make breakfast this morning, in order to use up his two rolls of chorizo.  I decided today would be the day I would try chorizo for the first time, spread over a cheese omelet with sour cream.

DOWN: Too much chorizo.  My stomach has been in knots all day...partly because of the chorizo, partly for other reasons.

UP: Even though I didn't get a shift at work today, I decided to go up there anyway, say "HI" to co-workers, and others, and take a lap thru the park.

DOWN: So, I was lucky enough to see some of my Guest Relations co-workers, do the Terminator 2: 3D show again, and take a lap thru the park.  But, the one co-worker I wanted to see wasn't there.

Thankfully, this day has ended on an "UP".  I got an email inviting me and my roommates to lunch next Thursday with a legendary television producer (you know who you are), and Mega Python vs. Gatoroid is on.

That's all for now, Blog-ary.  I'm going to enjoy my chicken tenders, tater tots, and Smirnoff Ice before crashing out for the evening.  Hopefully, better news will appear in the next few days.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011: Let's get this party started...

Well, it's the beginning of a new year, and time for me to start blogging about it.  It's been a good start so far.  Here are some details:

• I finally got a bed!  Thanks to my roommate's co-worker, I received a free twin-size mattress and box spring set...the only caveat was the drive to Pomona to pick it up.  Thankfully, I have a friend with an SUV, and the bed has now been slept on for at least a week.  I couldn't be happier.

• Even though my job at Universal Studios has become a one-day-a-week schedule (if I'm lucky), I have managed to subsidize my income with some freelance game software work.  Thanks to my know who you are.

• I was invited to a movie fundraiser screening earlier this week.  The film: "Come On Down: The Road To 'The Price is Right'".  It's a documentary outlining the lives of fans-turned-contestants and their experiences on the show.  Also featured in the doc are former staffers, including original Producers Jay Wolpert and Roger Dobkowitz.  The upside?  I got to see Roger and his family at the screening!  Thank you, Randy West, for the invite.

• I will finally get to experience the fun that is Jason's Super Bowl party in Chino in a few weeks.  I've heard so many stories from past parties, and now I finally get to go to one and see it for myself.

So far, 2011 has been a great year.  Let's hope the rest of it turns out just as good.

Finally, for those interested, I am planning a trip back to the Mid-Ohio Valley at the end of April.  So, if you're in Marietta, Parkersburg, Vienna, Williamstown, Belpre, Athens, or any surrounding areas, and want to hang out, let me know.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Our Long National Nightmare...IS OVER!

For those of you who don't already know:  after almost 18 months of unemployment, over 100 resumes and applications submitted, and less than 10 interviews, I HAVE A JOB!

I am now a Guest Relations Associate at Universal Studios Hollywood.  If you need information about the park, lost or found an article in the park, or have a complaint about someone or something in the park, you will come to me and see me in my snazzy white shirt and black slacks.

This is the most fun job I've had in a great long while, and miles ahead of my last theme park job at Cedar Point.

More news to come later!