Saturday, January 2, 2010

Weapons of Mass Distraction

I'm starting my Journal for 2010.... one day late. *sigh*

Okay, so my New Year's Resolution (well, one of them, anyway) is to truly, obsessively catalog my life from 1/1/10 all the way to 12/31/10.

Obviously, since the first of 365 entries is already starting on the SECOND day of the year (1/2/10), I'm off to a usual Nathan Schulz start. Which is a nice way of saying "Grand ideas, lazy work ethic."

I'm pretty sure one of your resolutions is to be more merciful, so here I go asking for mercy. I'm now going to change my plan from documenting 1/1/10 to 12/31/10 into a new improved 1/2/10 to 1/2/11. It even looks a little nicer, I think.

Okay, here it goes....

January 2, 2010:

I woke up early for me. About 8:00 am. That is early for me, but not for most people. My sleep schedule is attrocious, and this will be one of the things I will work on this coming year.

I got ready and headed and over to Justin's house to pick him up for the drive to LA. We were going there for a job interview/audition for "American Radio Network." We could either be On Air Announcers, Technical Directors, or Freelance Producers. The pay for an employee gig looked to be from $15 to $20 an hour, while the Freelance gig looked to have the potential to make almost $200 a show. Wow, who could pass this up, right? This job sounded too good to be true.

...job sounded too good to be true.

...too good to be true.



So I picked up Justin and we headed over to where the interview/audition was being held. It was this less-than-impressive building with a commanding view of a lovely 99 Cent Store right across the street from it. Oh, be still my heart. Oh, and was that a crappy donut place right next to you? Will my wildest dreams never cease to be answered? The whole place looked like a sad mockery of a bad idea.

So we ate at said crappy donut place. We regreted that decision, but were glad to find that we had killed a sufficient amount of time to head over for the interview/audition/what-the-hell-is-this-again?

As we walked through the beige doors of this beige building the first thing I saw in the "lobby" was a Pin Ball Machine with a lame sci-fi theme. And behind the machine was a little alcove that I figured was supposed to be connected to a secretary's desk. Instead, there was a large bearded man with an obscure T-shirt, looking at me with bored disinterest.

"Announcer auditions?" said the man who's soul must have died when he sat down at that desk many mornings ago.
"Uh, yeah," I responded, with growing concern.
"Sign in," he automatically replied without even listening to me.

I did so, and was immediately reminded of Faust.

The bored man held down a buzzer that unlocked the door for me to enter deeper into their sanctum. Oh yeah, everyone knows buzzing a door unlocked is the height of class. Justin went through the same process, and we were then told to walk down a hall and turn left at the rope. There was no rope, but there was a large lady handing out pencils and pointing towards a door. And through this door was...

A sad, desperate room with sad, desperate people.

The room was darkly lit, and was no bigger than a small High School History class. There was row upon row of mismatched chairs, each with a clipboard of its own sitting blankly on it. And at the other side of the room was on an old Big Screen Projector TV, the kind that kids in 1986 would have sad was "rad." But on the second day of 2010, was just a low-definition warning sign. And playing on this TV was the unexpectedly saddest story ever.

It was the Story of Radio, and to make a long story short, everybody involved died either miserable, broke, or both. I can't make this up, folks. This was 100% true.

My god that room was depressing.

So after the documentary that nearly put us to sleep finally winded down to a wrist-slitting end, the interview/audition began. The speaker was a fellow I shall change the name of to Honathan Jurtz. (The smart ones of you will figure out my clever disguise and know to stay the hell away from this man).

I have to give it to Honathan, the dude knew how to spin a tale. He mentioned money enough to distract those who had none. He mentioned fame in modest doses, just enough to whet the appetite of those who wanted to be famous. And he went into depth with the level of creative freedom available, for suckers like me who wanted to create something they could name their own. Honathan was really, really good. To the point that I forgot to ask basic questions like, "Uh, excuse me, but what the F**K stations does American Radio Network actually play on?" You know, silly questions that would only raise other silly questions.

I was too distracted by the Golden Picture he painted. I hope you burn in hell, Jurtz!

But his best Weapon of Mass Distraction was the Audition piece. This horrible little commercial about Paradise Wine. And Honathan knew how to put just enough emphasis on how important it was to get the audition JUST RIGHT. I mean you could be nervous, of course, but if you mess up TOO much, well, shucks the job might not be yours....

It was the perfect amount of stress to keep us off our toes. DIA-friggin'-BOLICAL.

And then they called people in to be auditioned. Four at a time, and quickly at that. You couldn't possibly feel confident on your reading, especially with only a few minutes to possibly work on it. So you would be stressed out about how well you would do BEFORE, and then you couldn't help but worry about how you did AFTER.

Did I mention that he added this bonus amount of distraction during the Q&A session? Like we could think of anything other than our prospects at that point.

And the cherry on top of all this? We would have to call in to know if we got the job or not by 6:00 pm that night. So we would spend the whole day worrying about making the cut, or trying to distract ourselves from it, which would in turn keep us, again, from asking silly questions like "Wait, isn't this job too good to be true?"

Anyways, I got wonderfully distracted by my car, which decided I was out of engine coolant. You know, the stuff that keeps your car's engine from catching on fire and killing you? Yeah, that was fun. Justin and I went to Jiffy Lube, I got to have the honor of spending $97 on my car to have the coolant replaced. Unfortunately, the little warning light would not go away, so I ended up turning around and going right back to Jiffy Lube to make sure I wouldn't die from car fire. They assured me that the radiator was working fine, and that the sensor was just acting up. I'm still waiting for any surprises, on that front.

After getting Jiffy Lubed, the next stop was Amoeba Records. Why? Damn it, I needed the simplicity of looking for cheap music, that's why! It was really packed, and cheap music was procured. Amoeba is awesome. There isn't much to report on that front.

And then we headed back to the O.C. to get something to eat, and to leave the tainted beauty of LA behind.

We were eating at Lucille's when the time hit 6:00 pm. We called... and were both congratulated on our "Accepted" status. We were asked to come to the next Orientation meeting! *mumble mumble* don't forget the non-refundable $40 *mumble mumble* You are now an employee of ARN Broadcasting! Yay!


And because it was so easy, we stopped and thought to ourselves, "Wait one muthertruckin' second! That was way too damn easy. Wait another muthertruckin' second! What $40? No one said anything about a non-refundable $40!"

Finally, our cynicism kicked into full gear. Justin was even more cynical than me. And I vowed that when I got home, I would look up American Radio Network online.

And oh boy, did I!

I googled them for a quick review:

The only entry that didn't mention "TOTAL SCAM" in it was the ARN Broadcasting website. Everyone else, and I'm including the Better Business Bureau, said to keep away from the American Radio Network. I should have done this before, I thought to myself. But what can I say? I liked the dream for the few moments it lasted.

I look back now, and find myself nearly impressed with the sheer obviousness of their obvious scam. By the absolute ambition and balls. It was hid so poorly, you almost found yourself believing it. I'm not even angry (and I attribute this to the fact that I did not give them a damn cent).

Really. They gave me a story to tell. They gave me a kick in the head to start thinking big again. In fact, I came up with a really fun show to do. ARN won't get their filthy paws on it, but the idea is mine either way.

Also, I had BBQ for dinner, so really, how angry can I get?

-Nate (Day One)

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