Carrie


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Recently, a young person that I know came excitedly up to me and asked “hey, have you ever seen this movie Pulp Fiction, It’s really good”. I resisted the urge to strangle her and thought about the question instead. This person was in her early twenties and unlike me, most parents would not think that Quentin Tarantino was appropriate for a young person to watch. I think that good cinema will work on the intelligence but I have to take into account that not everyone feels as I do. That this is a “new” find for her makes sense. I did, however, draw the line at her trying to explain the plot of this movie that I love to me. Back off kid, I know this movie so well I can think of it linearly. If you get that, I love you, I really do.

This encounter did make me think about the fact that there are so many good books and movies that people have not experienced because they were not around at that time or they were not interested when it was out. So, with that in mind, I am going to do a series of reviews on some of my favorite things. Starting today with Carrie by Stephen King. It’s Halloween after all.

Carrie White is an unpleasant character. She is not likable, not really, she is one of those people that everyone either dislikes or doesn’t really know at all. She is 100 things that make this book completely unworkable, and yet it does work.

This book starts and end in uncomfortable circumstances, and is filled to the brim with uncomfortable moments. The language is rough, the characters are rough, the places are rough, the pacing is rough and no one in this book, with the exception of maybe Tommy Ross, is actually likable. You don’t really have anyone to root for in this book and yet it is one that I sat down and ate whole in one sitting.

The book is essentially about the person in every school, a person that no one likes. I don’t know why that is (I don’t know why there is a universally liked person in every school either but I digress) I just know that this person does exist. Not a person that is unpopular, that is most of every high school. Not a person that is nerdy, for the record most nerds do have friends as they tend to “club up” on one or another mutual interest. This is a person that simply no one likes. Not everyone DISLIKES this person but no one, not a single person in the school actively likes this person.

Carrie white is that person in her hometown Chamberlain and its high school. She is a pale, flabby (not fat) girl, with hair of no color (Carrie as a redhead is a work of movie magic and seems to be the thing that sticks) and a personality that is also of no color. She is ushered into womanhood by a very public and traumatic event that sets the stage for a series of cataclysmic events. The novel itself borrows a little from the style known as Gothic Novel and also and epistolary novel; written as part story, part flashbacks and part articles and fictional post cataclysm book excerpts. There are several moments where the book could turn, could flee from the inevitable horrifying events but, like life, rarely do we take those opportunities.

The characters that aid in the terrible events are Sue Snell, a pretty popular girl, her boyfriend Tommy Ross and Chris Hargensen. Chris, a pouty, pushy, bullying brat of a girl angered by her own inability to twist the system to her will is the final piece in the puzzle that makes the whole bloody mess come to a head.

As I said none of the characters are very likable, save Tommy. Sue is almost likable but I think being one of those girls, those popular girls, makes her immediately unlikable in a way. She is one of those people that everyone knows, has tons of friends but no one can tell you why. Carrie is not likable because she is so uncomfortable. Her whole life is just uncomfortable. Chis though…

Chris to me is actively awful. She is the kind of person that gets my back hairs up. King is wonderful at making these people. She is everything that should make her a good person but she is not. She has everything that she could want and wants none of it. She is popular, attractive, rich (her parents are but in high school that is the same thing) and instead of being a decent human being she uses it as a bludgeon. She knows that she is a terrible person, and cultivates it.

At the climax of this book, you just feel cold. That is not a bad thing, there are several great works that leave you feeling that way. It is the mental opposite of the warm fuzzies. In the end there is no one that you want to win. You just want to put it down and hope you have never hurt anyone for the sake of hurting them when you were too young and insecure to know better. It is one of those books that make you wonder about your own schools poor kid, or the one that carried a briefcase in third grade or whatever your outcast was like in school. What if you had made them your friend? Would a single friend, and not the last ditch Tommy Ross prom date kind of friend but an actual friend, have saved Carrie’s …

If you trace her problems, the sad simple answer is yes, probably. I have read bloggers, and writers that likened Carrie and Columbine. I think that they are wrong in that comparison, The Rage maybe but Carrie is not like Columbine. Carrie’s problems could have, potentially been solved by one friendly gesture early in the girls life.  The first part of the book, the trauma (minor spoiler) the shower and the first menstrual period could have been avoided if Carrie had one female friend in her life. That girl would have told her about periods, we always end up talking about that for some reason, and when she would have begun bleeding she would have been more prepared. Probably relived actually, getting your period at 17 for the first time would be pretty worrisome. If she had had one girl friend to tell her that, no tampons are not for lipstick blotting, and one person she could tell about Mama, she would have been saner. We are social animals and the lack of a society of any normal type was ultimately the catalyst of this cataclysm.

I guess here is where I should say the most useless thing in the world, I like this book. Useless because , it has already made its author rich, it launched one of the most prolific book writing careers in recent history and has been made and remade and remade again. It spawned sequels (bad, awful terrible sequels) and Halloween costumes, a Broadway show and cultural jokes. But I do want to say that I like this book. I don’t love this book, I like it, but I have read it six or seven times. I think it changes as you change, from the person is looking a possible future ( read to 13 or so) to a present ( read at high school) to a look behind. At each point it gives you some new thing to look at, some new thing to feel.

I like this book because it is simply a book of horror. It is a story, about a girl with a terrifying power, just as the original book proclaimed. It is also about high school. About the want to be accepted. About the people that are accepted and those who are not and why. A book about everyone you know, and no one you could ever know. That is why, while it is a work of its time it manages to continue to enchant.

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Happy Halloween! Get in the Halloween Spirit with Dame Darcy’s ‘Frightful Fairy Tales’


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Book Hub, Inc.

Sinister storytelling has never been so delightful!

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Legendary comic book artist Dame Darcy delves deep into the cauldron of romantic horror with five haunting fables, each certain to entice you with enchanting damsels, charming lads and cads, and other beguiling characters. Each skillfully crafted tale is adorned with Darcy’s elaborate trademark illustrations, drawn in Victorian fashion, making this collection seem authentically from another era. Detailed with alluring beauty, elegant imagination, and wicked humor, ‘Frightful Fairy Tales’ unleashes ghastly mortals from the dark closet into your subconscious.

* * *

Dame Darcy is an illustrator, actor, and performance artist. When she’s not on the road with her band, she might be found creating one of her handmade dolls or performing a palm reading. Her drawings and handcrafted dolls have been exhibited in galleries and magazines around the world. Dame Darcy lives in Los Angeles, California.

Available where eBooks are sold and…

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How


I am stubborn to the point of self-destruction at times. I am admitting that right out. I have tried very hard not to read a single book about writing because I do not (did not) want any part of my writing to be someone else’s words or thoughts. I think that a lot of writers may do this but this is ridiculous when you think about it. I think that if your doctor said to you, “I never cracked a book, I just kept cutting people until I figured out how to stop killing them” you would flee, possibly screaming, into the street and never look back.

I know that writing and medicine are not the same animal, but the same can be said of politics. Tina Fey, who I love like good food, said that politics and prostitution are the only professions where people try to convince you of how inexperienced they are as a virtue. I think that writers can sometimes be said to feel the same. I want, basically, to be talented and not taught. The problem is that the idea is idiotic, not to put too fine a point on it. I am not saying that you can’t be good if you never get instruction but the honest to god truth is that you can’t write unless you are taught something. How to read at the very least.

I love Stephen King. I want to admit that out right, as well. I think that he is one of the great writers and never-mind the bullshit that people say about anyone and anything that is popular. I think that the man is amazing, not because his writing is amazing but because it is not. Not always anyway. There are exceptions in his writing, Under the Dome is one. Misery is another and I think that the story “The Boogeyman” is almost perfect as a short (very short) horror story. I have it on audiobook and the combination of the writing and the reading by John Glover make it something I listen to like music, and like music I can recite it by heart.  I love the characters decent into madness as he tried to explain the truth that is impossible to accept and that you as a reader have to wonder if he is just a as the character himself states “ another goofy”. Perhaps, you wonder, he is a murderer and can’t admit it , like ( spoiler alert) another character in Strawberry Spring or if he is just trying to make sense of what makes no sense; all three of his children dying before they are three. I love this story and think that it is wonderful.

So you would think that knowing that one of my favorite writers was writing a book about writing (oh my god this sentence is going to sound crazy) about writing called “On Writing” would have sent me into mad gales of happiness. I would have been standing on the corner at 8:59 am waiting for the Barnes and Nobel to open and allow me to plunk my money down to find out how he does it.  You would, as I am sure you have gleaned already, have been very wrong. I saw that book as something terrible almost, like a magician telling his secrets and not just his but everyone’s. I did not crack that book, not once and I was high-minded about it. As you know when you have decided that you are doing something because it is the “right and proper thing” you are always right, right? Yes, and that is how people become terrorists. They decide that they are perfectly legitimate in their thoughts and words to the contrary are just jealousy, lunacy or some other y.

When I knew that the creepy and amazing Chloe Grace Moretz was set to play Carrie White  and the sequel to “ The Shining”  was coming out ( all near Halloween , also) I decided to read or reread some of my favorite King novels and among the books that I found was  On Writing at my local half off book store. I bought it because it was practically free. I am a sucker for a deal. Then I laid it aside and read my other books again. It wasn’t until I was reading someone else’s book, one about goal setting, and it was mentioned that I decided that it was time to at least try the e book.

I have to say that, while I am not done with this book, almost but not quite, I could kick myself for waiting as long as I did to read it. It is not the best book on writing, I can see that, but it is genuine and genuinely written. I think the things that make this book an actual good novel as well as a decent instructional manual is that it doesn’t think that it really is either animal. It is a memoir, it says that on the cover, and it is that. It is also a bit of a novel , telling a story inside it that is one that I had personally seen without having heard it outright until now; that there is a very damaged man that wrote many of my favorite books. One that has Daddy issues, was a drunk and a drug addict, has been broke and broken several times in life and that has never gotten completely over the abandonment of his father or the death of his mother entirely.

I say that not to tax Mr. King with anything just to say that most of that is true for most people and the idea that we have to be perfect to be great is not only foolish but dangerous. I myself have been fond of saying about my sexual self that I know where all my desires come from and I have decided that I don’t care and just enjoy the orgasms. If we are waiting for perfection to do our great work we will be waiting a very long time.  I know of a woman doctor who had her children while in medical school, on purpose, and when asked why she would do such a thing when she knew how hard it would be see said simply “when would it have not been hard? When I was an intern? A new doctor? I knew I wanted kids and that I wanted to be a doctor, and that if I waited for the perfect time to do either I would do neither”. That sums it up for me.

So I am reading On Writing and while I am not gaining any burning insights so to speak I am being reminded of those things that I needed to be reminded of, and well. That writing is for writing. Not for money or fame. You write because it is what you are meant to do. That you will not always write the best but you can try to write something that you would want to read. Have a goal in mind. Even if the goal is modest, having it will help you to accomplish. I myself have allowed Steve’s own to suggestion to be mine for the start. 1000 words a day. Which is satisfied today with what you are reading. Not long and not perfect but I hope honest and entertaining.

I gotta feeling …


This is my unexpected day off. I am not feeling that well and I have the option of doing some of my work from home.

Somebody’s watching me


We live in an overly cataloged and documented world. We are doing it to ourselves, of course, but it is true. I am attached via name and face to no less than two dozen sites, I have Facebook , LinkedIn , foursquare, twitter and Google+ to name a few. I do reviews and comments enough to earn a “top contributor” on the internet. I am online. I am locatable. I don’t mind that because my world and my goals in this world are a want for recognition. I am trying to build a brand for both my writing, my day job and myself.

Still and all that means that my image is attached to many things. As, probably, is yours.  That brings me to today’s topic. I recently upgraded to Microsoft Office 2013 and one of the fantastic little updates is that you can sign into sites right through to your outlook. I did because I love stupid little things like that, they know this, and the people that made that feature are tech geeks.

The thing about that is, I can see the Facebook attached to my candidate’s emails, when they come into my inbox. Which for the most part is fine, but that begs the question, “if your employer or potential employer saw your Facebook profile, would that cost you anything?” I hope that the answer is no. However, for some of you …

We have all seen the chick whose Facebook photo is her breasts or her behind. Unless you are in the sex industry that is not the image that you need to portray.  The person whose profile picture is his weed stash or some other unflattering image.  Do yourself a favor and take that down, right now! First, I do not care who you are, you are better than that, trust me. Second, if your name is something rude, crude or sexually explicit, take that down too. Same thing for your email address, while I have you here, if you are “sexytramp69@yahoo.com “for the love of GOD get a new email address. Potential employers will not be impressed at how “real” you keep it. Just think of this; if you are standing in a room full of family members, and you have to give your email address, your YouTube name or your Facebook handle, would you be embarrassed? If yes, change it. Does your employer need to know that you are “Dabaddezbitch”, “DatNiggaDarrall”, or even “Jackdaniels4lyfe”?

 

The bottom-line is this , treat your name and image like it is your product , because now a days it is just that.

Successful


 

I am a Creative with deep roots. Its not what people see that counts, its whats buried deep that counts.If you are particularly sensitive, you may want to get an “updated” copy of Napoleon Hill’s masterwork “Think and Grow Rich” , but if not it is available in PDF or E-reader for for free download all over the internet. I say that “if you are particularly sensitive” part because I began reading the original for the first time yesterday and I realize that over the years, some of the language has been cleaned up and some stories have been edited for content. I am not particularly sensitive but I did take slight umbrage with the use of “Deaf and Dumb” in reference to Helen Keller, Calling a black child “ignorant, illiterate” in a story .words that did not really add to the story in my opinion. The almost constant use of the word “Normal” in relation to Blair Hill, the author’s son, that was born with no ears but who was forced to learn how to hear because of the overwhelming need for him to be “normal” by his father. I find that story both amazing and horrible.

Nevertheless, the other parts of the book are filled with merit. The book has been revamped and this is my third or fourth time reading it, although my first with the original text, and I think that it is something that everyone should read, at least once. Like the bible. Moreover, like the bible, you will get out of it what you get out of it. I can see it going forward in some people’s lives as simply new age ( the book is rounding on 100 years I think but still people will call it that) bull. Which for them, it will be. Some people will, as I did, read it and not really understand it. It rings a faint bell but I do not know that I really know the tune kind of thing. You have to keep reading it as your paradigm changes to get the true scope of the thing.

Then some of you, the Chloë Grace Moretz, the Bill Gates, the Zuckerbergs, among you will read it and have a kind of ping and duh moment at the same time. I think that the “secret” that lives in the pages of the book is something that comes natural to some people in this world. They wake up every day with the knowledge that they are going to make it. I am both awed by and terrified of these people. Not those as they are now but I suspect that Hitler was one of these people just turned inside out. When I meet them, always a part of me hopes they are one the side of good. Because I do not think that, I would be great in the apocalypse, except the Zombie Apocalypse because I have plans together.

I am reading this book again, and what I am getting out of it this time is, I can do it. In actuality, I am getting a full picture of my successes and failures of the past year. I tend to lose faith when I am close to the end because I believe that I fear (or have feared, as I am conquering that now) the near win-miss. The honest to god truth is that, without failure you cannot win; or should I say constructive failure. You cannot win the grand prize, if you do not lose the second prize. So many times in my life, I have been unwittingly leaving the game because I lost at second when the first prize had yet to be awarded. Real life example of that is when I won my 60-Inch TV, I had wanted to win the TV, which was the last prize. In the process, I gloomily sulked over not winning the laptop, the vacation package, the PS3 (they had just come out) and I was literally putting my coat on when I won the TV. The thing that I had actually stated that I wanted! My single raffle ticket, if it had won something else, could not bring me the TV that I wanted but I was ready to give up when I had not won everything. Something that would have been impossible anyway!

Therefore, again in my reaffirming the goal mindset, I state that while I am blessed and lucky to have been given my fantastic brain, I am also at odds with said brain. Sometimes I have to shut it off and let my heart take the wheel. I know what I want. I am learning how to get it and nothing will stand in my way. Not even me

If I had a Hammer…


If you asked a person that never saw a hammer, what a hammer could do, what do you think that they would say? A hammer in the hands of a child, or an animal like a monkey or raccoon is nothing but an object to destroy. A bludgeon, a blunt object or a weapon. A hammer is useless to those with no knowledge of them. Does that mean that a hammer has no value in society? The hammer is stupid, in other words?

If you answered yes, I need you to stop reading, right now. I am serious, not another sentence. I don’t want or need the thoughts of a person that says that getting into my head via my writing, which I sometimes feel is a conduit. If, on the other hand, you read the question and wondered in utter puzzlement, where I was going with all the hammer talk, please read on.

I have read that LinkedIn is an utter waste of time. I have read that about Facebook marketing, Twitter accounts, YouTube … I have read through several sources that all these things, all the social media ( side bar, when did that become something I say every day? Social media? I don’t know) sites are just filler and fluff and that people that use them are time wasters. I think that 800 years ago, or whenever Hammers were invented, they would have said the same thing about them. I will use my rocks and boards thank you, they would snark at the hammer users, and you can play with your stupid little toy. They are the people that damned sewing machines, TV, computers and cell phones. They are the people that will always be and always be proven wrong. We used to call them nay Sayers.

The fact is that calling a tool stupid is, well, stupid. It shows that you have no idea how to use said tool and instead of wanting to be taught you would rather damn the product. Can LinkedIn be a waste of time, oh hell yes. It can be something you play on for a few hours, following Richard Branson and Conan O’Brian’s words around and end the day with nothing accomplished. You can spend a whole day connecting with people for no reason, until enough of them complain and you are put into LinkedIn jail and have to have email addresses to connect with anyone. You can endlessly see who looked at your page and wonder how they found you. You can even develop a crush on someone and go peeping at their page every few hours to see if they changed anything. I actually have one of those. He is always there, checking me out.

On the other hand you can do amazing Boolean searches and find people that fit your needs perfectly. I needed a CPA, with a Master’s degree and 8 years of experience in oil and gas … boom, found!  From Texas, educated at Oxford. DONE, says LinkedIn, what else you want? I found my amazing first placement there on LinkedIn. She was just there for the cherry picking, and I didn’t even know all the uses at that point (gotta love beginners luck) and I found a woman so perfect for the role that even I was impressed with myself. On LinkedIn, I found her, placed her and got paid. From the waste of time site. Yeah.

I think what I am trying to say is , if you are waiting for the hammer to explain to you how to use it, it will sit, stupidly , waiting for you to pick it up and whack you thumb with it. If, on the other hand, you take the time to learn how to use the hammer, how its weight affects things, what way to hold it, and put that to use you can build a home. You can build a boat to sail the world. You can build a business making furniture, or racecars … ok not race cars but you understand where I’m going with this. You cannot damn the hammer, for your lack of knowing.

Power


 One of the corniest things ever is the renewing of vows. It is taking something that is already done and restarting it. It makes very little sense logistically and has no real function in the schematic of life. You are married and then later you will be married still. Nothing, has changed. It is not as if you can change your mind mid renewing and that would undo your marriage. So why do so many people do it? Why do they take the time, and very often the expense, to renew already agreed upon vows? Because it is not hokey, it is renewal. It is a done deal but every now and again you need to hear those words again and re-acknowledge what your commitment is and make sure that it is, in fact, still your commitment. And with that in mind, today I have decided that I am going to reaffirm my commitment to myself and my goals. I am renewing my vows, to myself, so to speak.

I have gone on a journey of self-awareness, self-improvement, and self-forgiveness that sometimes gets lost in the minutia of everyday living. It is like a marriage, sometimes you are so caught up in the bills, kids, problems and struggles that you forget how much you love the person you married, or how much better all that is with someone that you care for by your side. In my case, I forget how lucky I am, how blessed I am and how much I have because of the day to day struggles of trying to get to the next thing. I am reading “Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude: How to Find, Build and Keep a Yes! Attitude for a Lifetime of Success   by     Jeffrey Gitomer” and I have to say that he has some wit and wisdom that, while not ground breaking (seriously, at this point all positive thinking books are relatively the same) is brought to me in a different way. There are some thoughts that I like very much. One is to start off with Thank you when you are getting bad news. As in “you forgot to get me the report by the deadline” instead of going “I’m sorry” or “I would have but * didn’t do their part and so …” just say “Thank you and “. No excuses, no sorries, just thank you. I love that but I would like to expand on that and say just start off with thank you all the time. Every time I have gotten an email since I started reading the book an astonishing 16 hours ago I start with “Thank you” and I feel better about it, no matter what.

Another thing that I have learned is that I have almost all the things that people complain about sewn up. People generally grip because they do not like their Job, their coworkers, their living place, their spouse or themselves. I like all those things. I am so grateful to realize that I am again in the top percentile for things that I have that are important that ensure happiness. I love my job, I love my coworkers , I love my spouse , I love my city and I love myself. These are the essentials to ultimate joy and I have them all in hand, so when I find something to complain about I will remind myself that it is a filler thing and all the major things in this life, are great. That is a powerful awareness.

So I am adopting, or reaffirming to be more accurate, an attitude of gratitude, today. I want to live with as much YES in my life as possible and this is why for every moment of everyday for the rest of my life I will have a small secret yes in my mind and heart. And as of Friday on my body! I am getting a tattoo that simply says “yes”. That is my commitment level to

Crazy Man, Crazy


131008-140951I happen to love my job. It is not an easy job, it not a simple job and I can see why some people just do not have the stomach for it. It is sales but not sales. Moreover, I have to sell to the client and to the product! Imagine I have to convince someone to buy my broom and then convince the broom to join this family.

In a job like mine, you have to wear many hats. There is the recruiter, the salesperson, the career counselor, the negotiator, the travel agent … and the therapist. There are probably more but the Therapist is the one that sometimes is the hardest to deal with, for me. The truth is that I want to help everyone that comes into my inbox. I want to get the job for the guy who has been out of work for 5 years for no understandable reason. I want to help the kid right out of college. I WANT to help the person that was retired and now wants to go back to work because retirement is not for him. For the most part I CAN NOT HELP THESE PEOPLE. I am a recruiter; someone has to pay for my services. Companies do not pay for fresh faced kids, unless they did something amazing in school that put them on the map. Companies do not pay for the chronically unemployed, and usually the chronically unemployed have applied everywhere anyway and I have no one to whom I can market you. Companies largely do not pay for people that may retire at any moment. If they are going to pay a fee, at minimum, they want 3 years from this person, and really, they want closer to eight. So you don’t send these people out, you reply politely to their inquiries and express that if you get something that fits their experience you will be in touch.

Then there are the wild cards, those people that are looking; have a good background and are all go-go-go on the job market. Something is off about them but you just are not sure what.  Why did you leave the last position? Better opportunities. All sounds right. Then You get a call after the send out that this person bitch slapped the receptionist or drooled throughout the interview and you are left with that “ I knew it , I just didn’t know what IT was” feeling. So what can you do when you have put your reputation on the line and someone did a Hadouken to it? Do your best to laugh about and learn from your mistake.

Mine went this way.

  1. Person calls me and I feel that he is a little arrogant, a bit full of himself ( red flag!)  but I like his background and I decide , what the hell , meet him . Not everyone conveys well over the phone.
  2. I meet him and he seems perfectly lovely, except for getting lost on an almost impossible to get lost road ( red flag!) and acting as if we had somehow hidden the building on purpose. Once inside he was amiable and interesting.
  3. I get him an interview, on the day of the interview he gets lost( OMG REALLY!), and ends up late to the interview.
  4. I get my prerequisite call after the interview and he tells me “ everything went so great, I hope they can wait for me to wrap up my current contract”
  5. The client calls and asks me, basically, what the hell I was doing sending them a Looney tunes!

(1)    He got an attitude about getting lost as if it was their fault (where did I hear that before?)

(2)    He was completely arrogant and acted like his questions were more important than the interviewers ( damn)

(3)    He asked the person he would be replacing how much more he would be making at his new job (ok, what?!)

(4)    He asked the owner of the company how much he had paid for the company ( nope , I’m not taking a hit on this one) .

  1. I called my candidate and asked him, for the love of god ,WHY?

What I did was apologize. I apologized to the client, to the owner, to my company and I learned to listen to my gut feelings and not the little therapist in your head that wants to believe that everyone deep down, is good. Yes, I would get everyone a job if I could. The college kid, the old man, the man who can’t stay off the internet ,or whatever it is that keeps getting him fired from every job. Everyone. But I can’t. If I could I would. What I can do is find the best people, with the occasional snafu that I can use as an object lesson.  Sometimes you also have to give yourself a pass. Because … let’s face it. Crazy people are sometime interesting, intelligent , funny people . Right up until they bitch-slap the receptionist.