Thursday, March 26, 2009

Leave me alone.

I'm somewhat of a loner. I don't like to answer people's phone calls and texts, I like my Friday nights club free, and I don't really like to date.

Sometimes people will ask me about this, and... well...

I just caught myself singing the Chicken Noodle Soup rap song to the tune of Les Miserable's "Master of the House" with the voice of Kip from Napolean Dynamite.

Why am I a loner? Because I really can't have witnesses to things like that.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Workin' 9 to 5

Tough Economic Times.

The phrase is so overused, it makes me throw up in my mouth a little every time I hear it. None of the alternatives are better. Economic crisis. Financial crisis. Turbulent times. And don’t get me started on the whole “Wall Street/Main Street” thing or I’ll regurgitate all over your face.

You know what else makes me want to throw up? Your resume.

I’ve seen a lot of resumes in my day, but now that we’re in “tough economic times,” I’m seeing even more and from people all over the map. East Coast, West Coast, G.E.D. to Ph.D. And they’re all guilty of some pretty common sense errors.

Maybe you’ve never had a job that didn’t involve handling a deep fryer. Ok, I get it. Maybe you’re fresh out of high school or college. I get that too – school certainly never taught me more than how to be bitter about the education system.

But if you’ve ever had a job that required you to sit behind a desk all day, there is no excuse for some of the nonsense I’ve seen. So come, sit a spell, grab a pencil, and listen up, as I present to you:

Rachel's Resume Tips

I can almost guarantee that if you follow all of these steps, that you’ll at least get a phone interview. Some of these might seem like common sense, but if I’m addressing it here, it’s because I’ve seen it.

Cover Letters

  1. Always write a cover letter. I don’t care if the job announcement asked for one or not. And no, writing “Please accept my resume for the blank job. Thank You, X” in an email does not count.

  2. Do not refer to yourself in third person. It’s creepy.

  3. Make it sound like you really want the job.

  4. Not exactly qualified? Explain what drew you to the position, list the skills that you do have that will be beneficial, and above all, sound passionate. You’d be surprised how often passion can get your foot in the door, even if you’re lacking in some skills.

  5. a. If you’re really not qualified, don’t apply. You're just wasting everybody's time.

  6. Don’t just recite your resume. Highlight and give further details about the most relevant parts.

  7. Is there something odd about your resume? Maybe you have a mysterious three year gap in your employment history, or had a lot of jobs in a short amount of time? Briefly explain it in the cover letter.

  8. Don’t lie. Because when you get called in for an interview and you’re a nightmare, you will be the butt of many jokes in the office for months to come.

  9. Don’t use emoticons.

  10. Don’t say something like, “You’re search has ended, because I am the perfect candidate.” It makes you sound like a d-bag.

  11. Don’t add a signature line. I don’t care if it’s a quote from Jesus Christ himself. This is not an e-mail (even if it’s being sent as an e-mail attachment). Usually I see them from women and it’s something inspirational. I will then assume that you have a Thomas Kinkaide screensaver or that you’re a hippie, and you will be fighting an uphill battle from here on out.

  12. Write a letter that makes it sound like you read the job description, understand what the company is looking for, and have thought about where your skills match what they are looking for.


  1. I was always told that you had to keep your resume to one page. That’s not true. Don’t make it too many though. I start getting weary after page three.

  2. If it is more than one page, make sure the page breaks are placed in such a way that the document flows well. For example, don’t let your page break in the middle of a job description.

  3. The objective and skills sections aren’t as important as your job history. If you include these sections, remember a few things:

  4. a. Don’t put something lame in your objective. If you’re applying to be a professional mud wrestler, don’t put “To be a professional mud wrestler,” or even worse, put in a job that is not the one you’re applying for (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it). Try something like, “To use my athletic talents for the entertainment of others.”

    b. Your energy is better spent explaining your skills underneath the specific job that required them, instead of saying, “I’m awesome at bow hunting” at the beginning. How do I know that you’re good at bow hunting? Because you said so?

  5. If your resume is getting rather crowded or lengthy, you may want to take out some of the descriptions. Make sure to keep the information that is most relevant to the job you are applying to. For instance, if you’re applying to be a veterinarian and you used to work at a circus, you can leave out that you were the champion juggler, but will want to include that you were responsible for wrangling the tigers.

  6. Make sure your resume is easy to read. Make good use of indentations, bullets, bold font, and spacing.

  7. When you are listing your former job responsibilities, make sure your verbs agree. Don’t say, “Conducted controversial scientific experiments…” and then in the next bullet say, “Producing babies with two heads…”

  8. Don’t provide references until the hiring company asks for them.

The Whole Package

  1. PROOF YOUR DOCUMENTS. This means more than running spell check:

  2. a. Although, totally run spell check. Run it every time you change the document. Because if you don’t, and you send me your resume in Word, I can see all the red and green squiggles under words that show me that you didn’t run spell check. And that makes me think you aren’t so excited about this job.

    b. Better yet, when it’s finished, convert it into PDF. No chance of squiggles. You can download a free converter here.

    c. Once you’ve spell checked it, print it out, grab hold of a red pen and read it again. Slowly. Did you right a book or did you write it? Was the test past or passed? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    d. Once you’ve read it so many times that you’re sick of yourself, have somebody else read and proof it.

    e. Do all your bullet points line up from one page to the next?

    f. Make sure all your documents use the same font.

    g. While we’re on the subject of fonts, don’t go any larger than 12 point, or you’ll look like you’re special needs.



Sending It Out

  1. If you’re sending this via email, put the title of the position you’re applying for in the subject line, unless they specifically ask for something else.

  2. What have you named your document? Try to include your last name, the type of document (cover letter, resume), and the name of the company to which you are applying.

  3. a. Applying to more than one company or type of job? Make sure you change that information when appropriate.

  4. What email address are you sending from? Now would be a good time to switch from to something more professional like

  5. Do you live in Los Angeles? Are you cute? Are you thinking about sending your headshot along, even though this job has nothing to do with acting or modeling? Don’t. It’s creepy.

  6. a. Someday I’ll tell you about Ravi, the magician from Los Vegas with the chest hair and large gold jewelry. I guess that’s what we get for posting on Craigslist.

  7. Don’t hit send yet! Did you include everything they asked for? Did they ask for a salary history or a writing sample? Make sure you include it.

  8. a. If a company asks for something like this, don’t just send a resume and then say, “Salary history available upon request.” Because they did request it. And they probably won’t ask you for it again.

    b. Sometimes people might not want to include a salary history. The cover letter is a good place to mention this. You might say, “I am open to discussing the salary range, and will gladly explore this topic further in an interview.”

For formatting help, try this tutorial or google the problem you’re having.

You can find a cover letter template here and resume templates here.

I hope this helps. Maybe next I’ll write a post about interviews and how you should always send a thank you note. I mean, everyone needs all the help they can get right?

After all, we are in tough economic times.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hey, wait a minute Mr. Postman...

People that the mail in my mailbox today was addressed to:

1. Resident
2. Ashley Mills (not me)
3. Maggie (my cat)

Taking care of business, everyday.

It's been a while since I posted. Mostly because I've been busy, but also a little because once you've posted about working out with Richard Simmons there isn't really anywhere to go from there. My blog and my life reached it's pinnacle and it's all downhill from here.

I took this past week off, in that I stayed home every night and allowed myself to just chill and not feel bad about all the stuff that I needed to get done. But now it's back to business.

Yesterday was a fun day. I got to wear jeans, a lady from the bank came to talk to us and brought us FREE LUNCH (which translated into FREE DINNER and FREE BREAKFAST. SCORE!!), and I opened up a new account (which will earn me a little money on my checking and give me NO ATM CHARGES, no matter where I am or what bank's machine I'm using. SCORE!), and because I opened the account I got a $20 gas card (SCORE!) and will be able to earn reward points that will basically earn me $200 for free (SCORE!!) and then my friend Mason told me he gets to use an art studio for a while (Mason is totally awesome and will be famous someday and you should go check out his art: and he's going to use the studio to make the paintings I'm commissioning from him. SCORE!!).

All of that put me in a pretty good mood, so I decided it was time to pick up my responsibilities and smack them around a 'em who's boss. So I finished a book, mopped my floor, did my dishes, cleaned my scooter, cleaned the trash out of my car, and wrote an outline for a website. Still to come: grocery store, laundry, and more cleaning. I am totally going to pwn more chores and tomorrow...smooth sailing. Tomorrow is whatever I want to do. Woohoo!

Yeah, this is pretty much an extremely boring post, but first of all, it's exciting to me because I'm actually getting shit done and second, I told you it was all down hill after Richard.

Did I mention I bought his Supersweatin' Party Off the Pounds DVD, and that it should be arriving soon? I'm stoked.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sweatin' to the Oldies

I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed to accurately describe what happened this morning. I just don't think I can do it justice. But hopefully, you'll read this post and be inspired to do this yourself. Only then can you understand the fun, the excitement, the hilarity...

...of working out with Richard Simmons.

It turns out Richard teaches aerobics classes (called "Sweat" class) in Beverly Hills three times a week. I don't know why there aren't billboards advertising this and spotlights shining and parades going by. I don't know why there isn't a wait list to get in the class. He's a legend to anyone who spent time in the 1980's. After the class, my friend Ari and I were driving on Melrose and we saw a slew of paparazzi and fans at Kitson for Nicole Ritchie. Ari goes, "Really? All of this for Nicole Ritchie? We saw Richard Simmons today!!" My thoughts exactly. How can you stand in line for Nicole Ritchie and not get excited for Richard Simmons? This studio is the best kept secret in LA.

According to his website, Richard was moved by an experience he had in the 70's when an overweight woman was denied access to a gym. Their excuse was insurance risk, but basically, she wasn't hot enough to work out in their fancy LA gym. Richard was indignant and said to the woman, "I saw what happened inside, Ma'am, and it just was NOT right! Here's my card. I intend to open my own exercise studio, and, I promise, you will be welcome there, any time!" And so was born Slimmons.


In case you maybe got dropped on your head when you were a baby and can't figure out why the studio is called Slimmons, Richard kindly spells it out for us (um, literally) on his site: "I took my own last name, "Simmons," and added the "L" to make "Slimmons."


Here's where the description is going to get kind of dodgy. It's impossible to explain his energy. I walked in, early, as I thought I might make a trip to the bathroom before we started. Unfortunately, everyone else had that idea too, so I was waiting in line, trying to be respectful of the class he had before the Sweat class I was going to (it was a discussion class - they were all sitting on the floor taking about being positive and such), when he stands up and yells, "Let's sweat!!"

Just at that moment the disco ball started (did I mention there's a disco ball?), the doors opened, people flooded in, and Britney Spears' "Circus" started pumping through the speakers.

Circus indeed.

A girls dance troupe had come from out of town, so it was me and my friends, several older women (one lady had to be in her 70's), some skinny people, some heavier people, a smattering of men, and a bunch of these young dance girls in turquoise shirts.

There was no welcome, no introduction, no agenda laid out. We all just scrambled for a spot and started doing grapevines with Richard Simmons.

It. was. awesome.

I was about to describe all the fun dance moves and laughing and singing, but I just remembered I never mentioned that he was wearing short shorts and a tank top with a glittering bird on it.


I think it's important that you get the visual. Packed room, turquoised children, heavy older women, disco ball, glitter. Got it?

Ok. So we're grapevining, and walking like Egyptians, and clapping, and jumping invisible rope, and there are arms everywhere, and we're stretching and bumping into strangers, and all of the sudden the whole room is singing along to "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" and we're crossing ourselves, and Richard is telling us to do it pretty or he'll turn off the lights and close the doors and make us play Anne Frank, and by this time it's pretty clear he has a crush on my friend Ari, and then we all get in a circle and Richard starts pulling people out to do dances down the center, and he starts "Love shack" over again because we were working out too hard to sing it well and he thought it was insulting to the B-52s, and then there's a scramble for weights and we were toning and then we're on our backs thrusting into the air and doing push-ups and we're sweating and sweating and sweating...

I've never had so much fun. My friend Ari said it best, "I had a smile on my face the entire time."

It was outlandish and crazy and everything someone who is averse to working out needs. I have to give props to Mr. Simmons for the energy and heart he puts into helping making other people healthy. He is truly something special.

Class is over at this point, but then he sits us all down so we can watch the dance troupe that came do a routine based on Richard Simmons. Here's a picture of Richard watching the dance-girl Richard:


We clapped and cheered and Richard told us he loved us and would stay for pictures. Which, of course, we got:


We thanked him and he thanked us and I was trying to tell him how amazing the class was (I have never ever before enjoyed working out and I have the belly to prove it and it was really nice to exercise and have a fun time and get cheered on), but he was busy talking to Ari and telling him to come back or it would break his heart because he had a crush on him. (I knew it!)

Honestly, it was the best $12 I ever spent.

I'm totally having my birthday party there.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

You're kneeing your muffin!

I just wanted to take a moment to say that there were donut holes at work today and I didn't touch them.

I was at work for ten hours. All I had was a cheese stick, a tuna sandwich, and some popcorn. And I didn't touch the donut holes.

Yeah for Lenten will power. I better be getting some sort of Jesus points for this.

I had more to say, and I was going to try to make it funny, but really, it was an extremely long and brain zapping day. Right now I feel like yelling, "I give up!" and heading for the hills.

You know, sometimes I wish I was retarded. And I say retarded not to be offensive, but because it's one of my favourite words, and it makes me happy. So there you have it. I probably lost some Jesus points for that. Anyway, I feel like if I were retarded I could get in on some of that "ignorance is bliss" business I hear so much about and I could get someone to take care of me and maybe wipe my ass if I was tired. Because right now, I'm just smart enough to know how dumb I am, and it really puts a damper on things.

I wouldn't mind being a genius either, but I couldn't get anyone to take responsibility for me if I were a genius. I'd just have to do people's taxes and answer annoying questions, I bet. I guess I'm saying that I'm overwhelmed, and today I would have liked to have not been me. But tomorrow is a new day, and maybe I'll make it through without feeling like a hamster on a wheel.

Because I can't entertain you, I'll leave you with this video of Ralphie May (who I always find entertaining) that has some relevance to this post.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Desperately Seeking Focus.

I'd like to go to bed.

But I can't.

I'm just too busy. I've been positively swamped this whole week. Work has been nuts and it seems my personal life is even nuttier. Sometimes when things get too overwhelming I like to do as Thoreau said and "simplify, simplify." I find that notes help. I think through my tasks and write them down. Then I don't have to spend energy remembering them and it helps me to prioritize.

Because this is my blog (which means I can do whatever I want with it), and because pretty much no one reads it, I'm going to take a moment to list the accomplishments of my week and also jot down some tasks that I have yet to finish. Maybe this will help me focus.

1. Plan a weekend workout with Richard Simmons. Place, time, group. All this coordinating that needs to be done!

2. Plan a costume to wear to "Purim in the Chood." Purim (which is Monday) is a Jewish festival that requires you to dress up and drink yourself into a stupor that makes it impossible to tell your friends from your enemies. I want it to involve glitter and be somewhat offensive. The costume, not the drinking. I'm not sure how to make drinking glittery and offensive.

3. Create a cubed Barack Obama.

4. Learn how to say "I eat dead babies" in Korean.

5. Learn a new pick up line (that would TOTALLY work on me, btw): "I like pudding. Can I get your number?"

6. Send video facebook messages with my new computer that allows me to speak in a deep voice and turn into a werewolf.

7. Download Open Office and Foxit Reader, as well as iTunes and Mozilla Firefox, to my aforementioned new computer.

8. Spend some quality time with my bff Miss Mags, who I haven't had much time with lately.

9. Clean up Miss Mags' hairball barfs from my bed (which she's done twice this week).

UPDATE: three times

10. Join to get my finances in order.

11. Learn a new joke! "What's a pirate's favourite letter?" "Q. Because it has a pegleg."

12. Play with utensils made from corn, and marvel at it's ability to bend, be a utensil, a fuel, AND a delicious side dish.

13. Decide if I want to take on a labour-intensive project that could help my old camp make a lot of money.

14. Revel in the fact that my space bar works.

And it's only WEDNESDAY!

So, as you can see, I've been bogged down with really important things lately, which has kept me from other important things like focusing on my Lenten goals (although I haven't eaten any dessert or overt sugars) and writing in my blog.

I really need to get it together.


Monday, March 2, 2009

To the Culver City Ralph's.

Billy Joel's Downeaster Alexa? Really?

You might consider investing in a different musak company.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Los Angeles, I'm yours.

LA gets a bad rap. I've always loved this town. Yeah, it's filled with weirdos and freaks, but really, what town isn't? We're just a little more honest about it.

I was in Beverly Hills this morning and decided to take the long way home, since it was such a nice day. I thought about maybe just doing a few loops around the residential streets to see if I could find the grandma statue. (I'll find it again one day and post about it, but I think I've already mentioned that residents of Bev. Hills have odd taste in art.) But instead decided it had been much too long since I'd gone down the PCH, so I drove up to Sunset Blvd. to the PCH to get home. Along the way I was thinking about how much I love it here and just kind of falling in love all over again. So I decided to come here and present to you:

Reasons I love Los Angeles (the long way home version):

1. Sunset Blvd to the PCH smells like flowers.

2. There are motorcyclists everywhere (because the weather is AWESOME) and if you're part of the brotherhood (like I am, even though I just have a scooter, albeit a bad ass scooter) you can give and get the special motorcyclists wave while you drive, so you feel like you're a part of something bigger.

3. When you get close enough to the ocean, you can tell its there even if you can't see it, because the wind gets a little colder and you can start to smell the salt in the air.

4. People practice driving (riding?) their Segways in beach parking lots.

5. People actually own Segways. I mean, wtf is that about? Silly Angelenos!

6. The city is big enough that you can get wrapped up in your own neighbourhood and then you're driving one day and you're all, "Omg - Pacific Palisades! I forgot this was here. So pretty!"

7. You can drive down the highway and it's 80 degrees and you look up and there are snow-capped mountains.

8. You can actually go and play in that snow and then drive around in the 80 degree weather the very next day, like I did this weekend.

9. Douchebags drive around in cars that are low to the ground and are really loud, and it's like someone with a bull horn yelling, "Douchebag here!" and you can laugh at them.

10. Did I mention that the weather is AWESOME?