Sunday, August 15, 2010

A more interesting job situation:

Following is a copy/paste of an email exchange I had with a man while looking for work on Craigslist.

CL posting:


My response:

Look: you should probably just hire me now so we can skip this whole boring process and get on with the humor.

Dear sir:

It would appear that you have engaged upon a quest to find writers capable of writing with wit and humour, and it would also appear that the purpose of this email is to inform you of a passing interest in doing so myself. I could regale you with tales and examples of my skillset, which include things like killing dinosaurs with kitchen knives and stepping on ant-hills, but that would be selling us both short.

That's because I am emailing you, instead, to taunt your excessive usage of the caps-lock button. You see, sir, or maybe madame - I have no idea and you did not provide enough context for me to state with any level of assurance - the 12th was not Billie Mays day, the day of the year in which everyone speaks in all-capitals to honor the fallen infomercial spokesman, and yet you persist in your shouty-madness throughout the length of the post.

What nerve! I thought, what madness! How angry must this employer be! Perhaps, rather, you sought to ensure that your job listing was well-understood and avoided the ambiguity of properly-capitalized-words. Well, dear sir, I feel that I should tell you THAT I AM VERY CONFUSED BECAUSE SHOUTY WORDS TEND TO CONFUSE ME.

If you give me a topic or a website to write for and pay me sufficiently (I'll work for dimes, really), I can guarantee that I will make not only you but also the entirety of your readers laugh. I'd love to see another applicant boast that and say it with any real sincerity.


Attached is a copy of my resume. I'll hear from you soon, yeah?

Daniel A. Russ
Composition Sorcerer, Flint, Michigan

and then his response:

lol. wow I am getting bashed cause of the caps. you see to I am a cunning legiunist. but the problem is I cant spell it!! Im more lazy than anything so the caps and punctuation suffer!!..
I like your style me man. I tell ya what/ give me a week or two and I will e mail ya the site and we will see if its something you want to do. at that time I can explain money and everything else.
Sounds fantastic to me, anyway.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Interviewing Strangers is Terrifying

So earlier tonight, I went to the Bioshock 2 release at Gamestop in an attempt to learn how to interview people to produce a semblance of a story. I think that it went reasonably well - I spoke with multiple people in the crowd waiting to buy the game and spoke with one man in particular that I thought was interesting. His words can be found at the link above.
..and the process was fucking nerve-wracking.
For the first time in months, I sat inside of my car, smoking fiendishly, and assuring myself that yes, I was fully capable of walking up to strangers and asking them questions without invitation. Yes, I can be social with a purpose. Yes, I can do the games journalism thing.
And, well, I did it. I'm not sure it was a great piece, but it's a start. In the future - notably, at the next Flint Video Gamers' Club thing on Friday - I plan to do essentially the same thing, but on a wider scale and have a more fully-developed story. I suppose we'll see.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 Cover Letter

Well .. here is my cover letter that I'm about to send to to try and score a columnist position. Let's hope trying to be clever, for once, pays off.

Greetings, editors!

I won’t lie to you: I’m a relatively new reader to Why is that? Well, I could tell you that I had never been able to read before coming and that it delivered unto me an epiphany of literacy, or I could tell you that my eyes were gouged out by red-hot forks and then eaten by huge, flightless birds, only to have been restored mere days ago when a friend mentioned your website, or I could even tell you that I had been trapped deep underground without Internet access by hairy giants, whom I had to slay with little, pointy sticks to escape in a series of daring combat maneuvers - but all of these things would be lies told to explain why I hadn’t read before. As you may know, lies are not true, and none of these are the reasons I did not before read

Rather, I simply did not know about it - but that’s pretty boring, I think, so you guys can choose any of the three reasons listed above for why I did not visit before. What you believe is entirely your business.

I didn’t decide to send you this email to tell you about why I haven’t been reading your website for the last few years, or any of my heroic exploits that allowed me to do so - but rather why I started reading it, will continue to read it, and why I think you should let me write for it.

You see, I quite like; it’s intelligent, well-written, and professionally-orchestrated. I could list another fifteen or so adjectives about why is great and why I feel as though I should be a part of it, but I expect you guys have a pretty good idea of what those adjectives might be - so I won’t waste any more of your time with them. Instead, I’ll move on to why you should hire me to write a column for you.

Reason one: I play Warcraft far more than I should, which I’m pretty sure is a sign that I should either be writing about it, or that I should enroll in a gaming addiction center.

Reason two: I already write about videogames constantly on my website, I also drink a lot of beer while doing so, hence the theme of the sight: computer games and beer.

Reason three: I’m reasonably-okay at writing, and every website can always use more at-least reasonably-okay writers that use a lot of hyphens. I would like to say that I am TOTALLY AWESOME at the craft, but I am a humble man, and I will leave that judgment to you, dear editors.

So here is my pitch: I’d like to write a weekly or bi-weekly column focusing on me thinking about issues and aspects of Warcraft that some people might not, but are certain to react to. Sometimes, I think it will be fun to work with contemporary stuff that all players have experienced on some level - such as the LFG system, and why I think it might destroy the best part of Warcraft. (This article, published on my website originally, can be found here:

The basic idea of the piece, if you are not inclined to read my analysis of it, is that the LFG System removes the best basis for making new pals: meeting, bleeding, and dying with them in dungeons.

I’ve also got a piece in progress about how both the Alliance and Horde expeditions into Northrend are basically endorsements of the Western process of subjugating less-advanced cultures, and another piece about how Warcraft is an enormous endorsement of capitalism where literally every aspect of play is made into a commodity.

I don’t think that I’m going too far out on a limb here when I say that players will react to these ideas - and I think they will mostly disagree with them! That would be pretty much awesome, as I’m used to having people disagree with me, and if it can stimulate conversation on your website - then all the better!

In closing, dear editors, I very much hope that you will consider my proposal with love and adoration. Failing that, I would hope for maybe a begrudging respect, or maybe even mild approval. I’m willing to work for basically nothing, as I am already a poor college student, and not getting paid for work is something that I’ve been doing for years.

A final thing to keep in mind, dear editors: I killed giants for you - with tiny little sticks - just so that I could escape the deep, dark dungeons to read Surely, that’s deserving of a columnist position.


Daniel A. Russ

Various Updates - Stay Out of Trouble, Kids

So I recently found work-study employment with a great local program called Launch. The basic idea is that they provide micro, community-oriented loans, workspace, and workshops for entrepreneurs in Michigan-based colleges. Although I have objections with the system (most notably the great potential for gentrification), I think it's a great program - it helps stimulate the local Flint economy, and gets great ideas into succesful businesses. Even the staunch socialist within me likes the idea.

However, there was a complication - my criminal record. For the sake of posterity, I thought that I would post my explanation of that here - specifically, because it encapsulates my frustration with the entire ordeal.

I was recently informed that I was to explain to you the circumstances of my disorderly conduct charge as it appears on my record. What happened was a party and the consumption of alcohol, which culminated in an ever-increasing level of volume that became an issue once much of the party moved outdoors. When the police arrived, instead of acting calmly and following their instructions, myself and a few friends protested - loudly and drunkenly. This lead to an arrest and a small set of charges, which I was able to reduce to disorderly conduct by way of my lawyer, a set of fines, a year's worth of probation, and a sizable number of hours for community service.

I paid my fines, met every requirement of probation, and completed my community service working for the Mott Community College newspaper. Although I very much regret what I did, and the specter of the charge has haunted me for some time, I recognize that it was the folly of a younger man; several years have passed since the incident, and my record has remained entirely clean and I have stayed out of trouble.

In other news, I've applied yet again to work for Mr. Wood didn't like one of my favorite pieces on the objection that it was a little too subjective - that's understandable, but I still think that it was an excellent piece. When I put the finalized version over on 40oz, I'll amend this post to include a link to it. I'm also sending out an application to work as a freelancer for - we'll see how that goes. Finally, I'm putting together a pitch for as a columnist - the basic idea is to be a stuffy academic bitching about thematic troubles in WoW. When I send the pitch, I'll throw it up on here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is it better to have th crowd or to be truthful/correct?

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