Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Olivia Wilde, Skype Sex and China

Now and again I answer an online ad for employment. Often in fields I know nothing about. And mostly out of curiosity. 

There was something intriguing about a recent ad, mainly the money they were offering, the ability to work at home with incredibly flexible hours and the only real obligation was sending in monthly reports that were explained like this: "Once a month report on activity. Powerpoint good."

In the ad, a Mr. Zhu Xi asked that the applicant be experienced in things like power point, have wide (odd word choice) digital knowledge, Skype capacity, a strong phone presence, effeminaticity, (?) available to sometimes work late American hours and some working knowledge of Mandarin and relationship savvy. What? Being a celebrity helpful but not mandatory. What?

The company was anonymous but said it involved the arts and was extremely discreet and entrepreneurial. Okay.

The only thing I lacked was the Mandarin part, but it was in small letters with an asterisk, which I read to mean it wasn’t really that necessary at all.

I concluded this job was for phone sex.  There was no requirement for face time, just a strong phone presence, which I think they actually meant Skype given the cost of calls. I didn’t get the power point, except perhaps at the end of the month; you had to calculate the number of customers you satisfied versus which techniques worked best and toss them in a pie chart.

They asked for a bio and three writing samples. I am assuming this is because they wanted to look you up to confirm you were female, and that you had a firm grasp on the English language. Though any idiot can breath heavy. Not to mention you wouldn’t be using your English language skill set. Maybe the Chinese have high standards regarding phone sex and the caller wanted to be sure he had a college educated American girl on the line.

I would use this video as my guide. I mean the kid is six, but what he is saying seems to flow well for my purposes.  Plus I can improvise.

Because I write so many different types of articles, I thought I would throw out a wide variety.  One that was published regarding Fall Fashion  couture tends for 2012, which is funny in itself since this is a topic I know nothing about, but the article received raves and was published a number of times;

My typical outfit:

I tossed in an article on celebrities because why not? Maybe this would fulfill the celebrity portion of the ad. Female body parts and the breast section would be in good keeping with the job. I seem to blog a lot about celebrities mainly because it’s a great way to keep myself entertained in an otherwise spun out world. And finally a piece regarding toolshed sex.  Again, thinking about the job qualifications.

I really wanted to send in actual pieces that illuminated my journalist chops such as a number I've done on rape, sex slavery, child abuse, child pornography, civil rights and the problems with education in American. But they seemed a little heavy-handed given what I thought this job was.

Time flies and I forgot all about my Mandarin submission, then to my shock Mr. Zhu emailed me with an offer. 

Now, I had to grapple with my conscience. Can I really pull myself out of a cozy slumber and talk to some faceless Chinese guy about slapping around my imaginary gigantic boobs?  I have never done this work so haven’t a clue what you are supposed to talk about, expect what I’ve seen on TV, which involves lots of heavy breathing and saying yes yes yes.  But I did see a weird upside, backward outsourcing.

PHONE SEX MADE IN AMERICA. Take that China.  Then I could write a lengthy article for Huffington Post about the topic.

I was very tempted, could use the money, had no problems with the actual doing. But I did have a problem with anything or anyone interrupting my sleep schedule.

Insomnia has dogged me my entire life, so once I am asleep, if anything wakes me up, I turn into a wild beast, which is why I don’t sleep with sharp or heavy objects near my bed.

I emailed back and said I was absolutely delighted but was there any possible way I could work the US day shift. Surely there are men in need of an erotic lift at 1:00 am to 6:00 am.  (That is 9-3 our time, and I get my kids at 3pm, day over.)

I sensed a tinge of anger in his response. 

Him: “It was specifically expressed anytime at US night!”

Me:   “Plenty of men get horny after 1:00am!”

Him:  “Not in China. They sleep. Then they go to work at 6:00am!”

Me:  "I bet they would wake up if they knew I was actually Olivia Wilde!"

I don't think he believed me.

Me:  "Put on FaceTime."

Him:  “You are wasting my time. We want them to know some Mandarin! Even hello or you hot Mr. Smith!”

I signed off and tried to picture this guy. Young? Old? Married? Real? Maybe he lived in LA and it was a weird way to corner the Asian-American market that requested non Asian women. Well, he wasn’t lying when he said entrepreneur. It’s a good business model. Phone sex Skype from around the globe. I hope he makes it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Best Fall Fashion Blogs 2012

My piece in Divine Caroline: or go to websites for great fashion.

Blog your way into looking amazing this fall. Rather than spending hours walking the halls of department stores trying to figure out what to buy, let your fingers do the work. These highly rated fashion blogs provide everything you need to look your best come September. Before you start shopping, invest in some barely there slimming under garments. This piece is stunning, though couture and expensive, exact replicas can be found in almost any department store.

In addition, before going into your closet and discarding, or giving it that familiar "I have nothing to wear," look, glance through these websites for fresh ideas on how to use what you already own, buy only the essentials and cut down on cost.

Often times, you can find that two hundred and fifty dollar pair of trendy jeans for a lot less at your local department store and still achieve a chic look by blending styles.

Fashion Squad gives you a glimpse into how people are dressing all through Europe. Armed with ideas, visit your favorite budget friendly stores and replicate the image. The magic in looking as though you have your own stylist is blending and combining. Whether it is throwing on boyfriend jeans with a pair of high hells, tank top and cardigan or a printed dress with flats and a blazer, blending and combining makes a wardrobe stand out. Colors and prints are big this year, nearly anything goes.

Garance Dore is an French illustrator who started her fashion blog in 06 and has amassed an enormous following. Her whimsical attitude paired with the latest trends will give you many ideas on how to dress. She will guide you through each season on how to pair the right shoes with the right slacks for the right occasion. Garance mainly uses photographs to showcase her style, providing you with loads of inspiration.

Thesartorialist is also out of France, created by the wonderful photographer Scott Schuman who happens to be romantically partnered with Garance, this blog is an endless stream of “on the street” photographs from around the world that provide a continuous flow of fashion ideas and trends.

Both Dore and Schuman have blown up in the fashion blogosphere and are considered must haves on your browser. Where Scott photographs "street style" inspiration, Garance arranges the look, then photographs. Together they collaborate and the result is two websites providing infinite inspiration.

Style is another popular website that allows you to see what fashion trends are coming before they arrive. Arm yourself before heading to the department store. Style.com is a genuine time saver and like the others, has it's own flair providing the reader with whimsical ideas on keeping fashion fun by blending and matching. This blog also has a fall shopping guide from anything from shoes to lipstick.

Cupcakes is a scrumptious website that combines today’s fashion with mouth watering food. Learn how to make a perfect strawberry bonbon while browsing the latest trends. There is also a “how to” section for perfecting an outfit. They have recently added a “d├ęcor” section giving tips on home improvement, ranging from giving your stale apartment a fun makeover to smaller ideas such as where to find the best lavender candles without spending a fortune. A great way to add glamour to a social gathering.

Fashiontoast lays out gorgeous photographs, using short stories to create a mood for a particular look. You will find an abundance of ideas on mixing and matching what you may already own. There is a sense of freedom found on this website with it's "travel-blog" approach to fashion. For example, pull on a pair of colorful  jeans, throw on a waist jacket, add some accessories, sun-glasses, bracelets, hats.Voila. A casual yet chic look for the afternoon into night. The website takes the reader through every seasonal change and also provides hot links to suppliers.

The Blonde Salad is a captivating blog created by a 24- year old Italian student with a great eye for fashion detail. Skewed slightly younger, she combines a sense of flare and humor to everything she presents, whether it’s a fresh take on what to wear for a job interview or perfecting a casual yet alluring outfit for an exciting first date. There are pages and pages of ideas she keeps updated to suit the every changing fashion mood.

Whowhatwear basically has it all. A curated style blog that follows trends and the celebrities that wear them. If you don’t feel like picking up every fashion magazine each month, just come here. There is also a unique twist to all the latest fashion trends. Perfect for the on-the-go-lifestyle. Cameron Diaz always seems keep it simple and get it right.

For more incredible websites to peruse, bloglovin has culminated the webs top fashion blogs and put them together according to popularity. These blogs step out of the usual comfort zone and add a sense of sass and style to an otherwise been-there-done-that outfit.

Step out into fall looking your best!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pricy College Degrees Gone to Dogs

I received a mass email the other day from a local I don't know that was so bizarre I had to read it twice. 

Dear Neighbor:

"Susie Smith has a Master’s Degree in Political Science from (an extremely expensive private University) after attending another extremely expensive University majoring in the arts."  

I'm just going to speculate Susie was parental- pressured into graduate school knowing her art history degree was worthless.

"She worked in politics for several years before deciding to follow her bliss --  working with animals."

Guessing she was a law clerk intern with very long hours, no pay and not exactly what she was hoping for with her big fat degree.

I can only imagine what her parents are going through knowing they just threw $450,000 down the toilet.

Susie:  "But mommy, daddy, I want to follow my bliss. That is what is important."
Dad:  "You didn't need to go to a private elementary school, high school, college and grad school to walk fucking dogs! I'll never get out of debt. Ever!"
Mom:  "Oh, George, don't be so hard on Susie. You know she always loved animals. She's young. She's only 29."
Dad: "Yeah, well fuck the both of you and forget that trip to Italy. That ain't gonna happen now."

The email continues:

"Susie began following her true passion at The (BIG CITY) Animal Rescue volunteering her time to walk the shelter dogs, pet them, and on top of that she became a cat companion!"

Wow, what an over-achiever!  A petter to boot! And WTF is a cat companion? They don't even like people

"Susie is a dog walker, pet and house sitter extraordinaire.  She once dog sat for someone who worked for Johnny Depp!!!  She does it ALL my friends.  Plus she's stunningly beautiful (think a young Elizabeth Shue) and loads of fun! She takes their welfare to heart  and well-being very seriously.  She’s observant, intuitive, conscientious, watchful, careful, and exercises fine judgement judicially."

Okay, I can let the typo go, but I personally HATE when people say, "think John Doe" but more importantly why is this person comparing Susie to Elizabeth Shue, whom I love? Now I am angry. If she is so pretty, attach a picture. And why do you need to say she is pretty anyway if she is a fun-loving observant dog-walker?  And are you seriously going to squeeze in the word judicially, like it's some proof the girl was exposed to the law?  And what's with all the adjectives? Susie sounds OCD. And Susie does it all? What the hell does that mean? She's stunning and fun? This is pretty wide open to interpretation. Maybe this is a hooker ad in code. Remember, she pets...

It goes on!

"Susie is also excellent with puppies and elderly dogs alike, and is capable of administering medication.  The care Susie gives is highly attentive, intuitive and pet specific."

For Christs sake. Capable of administering food and medicine? Repeating the intuitive word? Why the need to suggest she can care for dogs of any age? She is not your average dog-walker to the 4-9 age group, but her range so expansive it includes puppies to the elderly! Imagine. And what is with the repetitive need to say she is good with the elderly? I'm thinking this actually would be a very clever hooker ad of the "sugar daddy" variety. But something tells me, no. It's just an incredibly lame dog-walking ad.

"Susie is a local and regularly takes good care of pets in the area, but will also travel for an extra fee, plus mileage."

Travel? Travel where? To the valley? This Susie should be grateful if anyone called her. Period. Including anyone in the Inland Empire. And by the way friend, you aren't doing Susie any favors with this pathetic ad. The very least you could have done is include a picture! And possibly pimp her out for real. At least she would be earning an income!

"She watches my beloved dog, Picasso, 18, a (very expensive breed.)  I no longer feel guilty, frenzy or fret at the thought of him when I am away.  I know Picasso is happy, enjoying Susie's sweet attention and company.   Susie LOVES my dog.  She even remembers his birthday and sends him biscuits. I'm so glad I found Susie last year."

Jesus, 18!  That is 126 years old!  Why is Picasso even alive. Maybe it's not. Maybe Picasso is taxidermic.  Susie doesn't even have to walk the damn thing. If still alive, I am certain at 18, dogs are in diapers. And frenzy? Really? You shouldn't even have a dog if leaving it sends you into a psychotic swirl. She LOVES your dog? Why the caps? What is Susie up to?

Also, with the biscuits and dog birthday calendar, I'm  starting to think Susie is batshit. 

I'm so glad this email sender person is finally relieved of her high anxiety over leaving her expensive stuffed dog. She can finally sit on the beach and read Fifty Shades of Grey without medical intervention.

"Susie Will Love Your Pet As Much As You Do."  

Not sure the point of All Caps, but maybe this will be the book title, once Susie lands a few dog walking gigs and miraculously changes the lives of their owners. And then runs for major, turning the town into a happy place given the swell of joy she brought to the dog owners. Susie is Prozac rain.

Then the contact info.

There you have it folks. If you are pulling your hair out, tearing off your finger nails and drowning in booze over the thought that poor little Musket Face might miss you, know we have Susie; the overly educated, mentally questionable dog- walker who knows how to not just walk a dog, but pet it too.