Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I Have a New Job!

So, for the few of you left that don't know, I have a new job! No this isn't in advertising, as nice as that would be, I'm actually working for a hotel, which, weirdly enough is actually something I've kind of wanted to do since I was a kid. I blame movies like Dunston Checks in and TV shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. :p

I am now working as a night auditor for the Gateway Hotel and Conference center in Ames, Iowa, and I have to say, I kind of love it! Don't get me wrong, this job, like most jobs, is not perfect, but even with the small issues here and there, I am still really enjoying it so far! As a night auditor, I am working overnights, but I actually adjusted to my new schedule pretty easily. I'm already a night owl, so all I had to do was stay up a few extra hours!

Now, I will say, that this job is not at all what I was expecting it to be. I originally applied for just a regular front desk position, day shift of course, and I never heard back from them. I believe that was at the end of last year, so I just assumed I never got it and moved on. I've been job/internship hunting for over a year now, so I'm used to never hearing back from people.

Then at the beginning of March, I got a call! Apparently I'd given up on them too soon, because they wanted to set up an interview! I went in the next week, and somewhere during the interview he brought up the subject of a night position. I had never even considered that as an option. We have a night crew at Hy-Vee, but I would not want their job. Far more manual labor, and zero customer interaction. (Though I suppose in some ways, that could be a positive... :p) But I actually like working registers at the store, most days we have great customers in Ames, and it's the closet thing to 'fun' you can do there. (For me anyway.)

Anyway, the more he talked about the night position, the better the job sounded. Better pay with full-time hours, and it's usually pretty quiet, and you almost never get overrun with customers. All in all, it just seemed like a quiet, low-stress job. After the interview was finished, he told me I definitely passed the first round, and they'd call me once they'd finished all the interviews. A week or two later I had a second interview with HR, which I thought went great as well, but then I didn't hear anything for well over week. They'd told me I'd hear back from them in just a few days, so when I didn't hear back from them by the end of March, I was pretty sure I hadn't gotten it.

I was back at home by then, I had gone on a quick weekend trip with my cousin to see a crane migration in Nebraska, (I'll blog about that eventually!) and I started making tentative plans to move back to Harlan for the summer. Hy-Vee wasn't giving me many hours at all, and I figured I'd have a better shot at hours at the store in Harlan. On my last day home on that trip, I decided I'd call the hotel and get a definitive yes or no. If no, I was going to make plans to come home for the summer, because I have bills to pay! However, when I called, it turned out, the manager had been planning to call me that day! Actually, he had scheduled the call for not even an hour after I'd called him! I got the job!

I've now been working here over a month, and it is very different than anything I expected, and very different than anything I've ever done before. For starters, I kind of expected I'd just be sitting at the desk all night, maybe checking people in for a couple hours, and then out in the morning, and then nothing in between. That's not how it is at all. There is a ton of paperwork, computer work, and audit work, which you may have guessed earlier by the job title.

We have a restaurant in the hotel, and if guests charge things to their room, we get those receipts, and have to enter them into our system, to make sure they are charged. We make sure that direct bill charges line up with the records, and we sort all that paperwork for the "real" auditor who works during the day. We have cash registers around the hotel which we have to count as their respective areas close, as well as a safe which we also have to count, once we've refilled the cash registers (if need be) and all the money around the hotel is accounted for.

After the last guests check in, or 3:00 am, which ever comes first, we "run audit," which is essentially resetting the entire system, causing a ton of paperwork to print, which we have to sort, scan, email and file to all the respective locations and managers.

A bunch of that paperwork is also check-out sheets for guests leaving in the morning. Those all get sorted, and then we have to deliver them all over the hotel. We have 8 floors and almost 200 rooms, so between the walking and the the bending over to slide the papers under doors, that can end up being a decent workout if we have a full house.

Then we have to unlock the kitchen and make coffee for the lobby. That's not too strenuous, until it comes time to carry the coffee downstairs. That's a workout by itself if we have two full restaurant-sized pots. After that we wait for the guests to start getting up, because we usually have some who want to check out first thing.

And all of this doesn't take into account that we'll have guests calling or coming down to the lobby at all hours for lots of different things. More pillows, extra blankets, wake-up calls, toiletries, coffee packets, microwaves, fridges, you name it, if we have it, we'll get asked for it, and if we don't have it, someone will still want it. Thankfully this doesn't happen all the time, but some nights are worse than others.

Some nights, if we have a lot of guests, especially if we have large groups of people here for conferences we'll be busy all night. There's a lot more paperwork, more money, and more checkouts to do. However, on a good night, the bulk of the work will only take up about half the night. Not all at once of course, different things have to happen at different times, but in between jobs, we have downtime that lets us do, sort of whatever we want!

When I first got the job I was planning to bring my laptop and edit videos for my YouTube channel when it was quiet. But then I found out that we were only allowed to use the computers at the front desk, since we have to be up front and available in case anyone shows up or calls. So instead, I've taken to blogging and writing articles for the Rotoscopers, which kind of means, in a roundabout way, I'm actually getting paid to write!

Honestly, this is probably the best part of the job for me. I like most parts of the job, it's definitely a great change of pace from the grocery store, but the fact that I can write while I'm working, is kind of the highlight. I actually wrote this whole blog post and two full articles for the Rotoscopers over the course of two nights at work!

So anyway, those are the highlights for now. I do have one story to tell you about something really weird that happened on my very first night, but I think I'll save that for another post. This one ended up being really long as it is, plus, I need to save something to work on for future nights too. Stay tuned! :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Studio C Spotlight: Puritan Roommate

So, as promised in my last, Last Month Online post, I had one other video that I wanted to share, but like last month's Lobster Bisque post, The Puritan Roommate deserves a little context too. This character doesn't have as many videos as Lobster Bisque, but they are all just as side-splittingly hilarious. See for yourself. :)

The character kind of vanished after 2014, but they brought him back last month in one of the funniest videos they've done in ages. I've watched this so many times, and shown it to anyone who'd watch. It is SO hilarious!

Studio C is one of the most consistently weird and hilarious channels on YouTube. I hope they never change. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Last Month Online (April 2018)

I feel like the busier I get, the later these posts are going to be. They went from the last day of the month, to the first day or two of the month, to within the first week, and now it's just like, whatever. I'll do it when I have time. I've been super busy lately, so my online projects have been delayed recently. I'm planning to do a 'life update' post about why soon, so stay tuned. :)

In the mean time, here are my favorite videos from last month!

First up we have a video from animator Rebecca Parham. Normally she does animated skits and stories, but I really loved this video she did to celebrate finally hitting a million subscribers. I knew she had a great voice, but after this I really want her to keep doing animated music videos. :)

As seems to have become tradition, we have another video by Joe Jeremiah. This month it's a medley of 80's songs!

Pomplamoose is back! I haven't featured them here since January of last year, (!) but they're working on a new album, and I am loving the new songs! This video is an absolutely genius mashup, every song incorporated is one that has the word "Bad" somewhere in the title! From Taylor Swift to Micheal Jackson to Lady Gaga! For some reason this just works so well! I love it!

As Owl City's new album inches ever closer, the new, amazing songs just keep coming!

And I kow this next one isn't really a video, but I loved this song too much not to share it. I really hope it gets a video treatment in the future.

Disney seems to put together new albums every few years, featuring popular genres of music. When I was a teenager they were doing pop with Disneymania albums, then later they did a couple country ones, a few years ago they tried their hand at EDM with Dconstructed, and now they seem to have caught on that doing a capella covers of Disney songs is huge on YouTube. So I guess the obvious thing to do is jump on that trend. I mean, they own the songs after all. :) Here's the

This wasn't the only song they put out last month, they also covered Fall Out Boy's Immortals, from Big Hero 6, which you can find HERE if you're interested.

Now on to something a little more sober, as you may be aware, Avicii, one of the world's most prolific EDM artists died last month. He was one of my favorite artists of the genre, and his loss sent shockwaves through the music community, especially since he wasn't even 30 yet. As usually happens when a huge death in music occurs, online artists put out tribute videos covering one or more of their songs. I wanted to share a few here today from people I follow.

And finally we have an amazing medley from Peter Hollens, featuring guest vocals from Anna Brisbin, AKA, Brizzy Voices! In March, Peter put out a medley of music from Harry Potter, which, if you're familiar with the music from that series, it's all orchestral music by John Williams and other great movie composers.

Now, I don't mean any offense toward Peter himself, but when the video finally came out after he'd teased it for literally years, I was actually a bit disappointed. Yes, we had the great John Williams themes done in Peter's signature style, but over top of the music were lyrics incorporating a ton of internet fan theories about the franchise. And again, no offence to Peter, I just really love non-lyrical a capella music, and I had assumed that's what this was going to be. I guess that's on me for assuming. However! I shouldn't have worried, because he delivered anyway! And it was just as amazing as I knew it would be!

Okay, so, even though that was the last music video, I still had one other video from this month. However, like last months post, this video was a Studio C sketch featuring an established character that I thought you might want some more context for. So, instead of adding that video to this post, I will make a second post featuring that video, along with other sketches featuring the character. That post, plus my 'life update' post will be coming soon, so stay tuned! :)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

666 Cake Tricks!

Todays post is kind of a deep cut, going all the way back to when I first started blogging! I used to photograph step-by step recipes, Pioneer Woman style, and post them on my blog. No idea if anyone ever followed them, but I had fun making them.

Anyway, today I'm doing that again! I don't really bake, but for some reason I just out of the blue decided I wanted to try to make a cake. Now I don't have flour, or sugar, or cake ingredients, but I decided to get a cake mix, and use some Pioneer Woman tips and tricks, plus some that I'd seen on YouTube, to fancy it up a bit, and make it more homemade.

So the first thing I did was ignore just about everything on the box. I used whole milk instead of water, butter instead of oil, an extra egg, and a cup of applesauce. (Please excuse my terrible photos, I had to use my phone because my camera is still back home in Harlan, not to mention, the color seems to have been horribly desaturated in the upload.)

I mixed all the wet ingredients together, minus the butter. I used some of it to grease the pan, and the rest I melted on the stove. I didn't want it getting too hot and cooking the eggs, so I saved the melted butter for last. I mixed in the bag of dry ingredients into the wet, and then whisked it together. The box said to mix on medium speed for three minutes. Well, I don't actually own an electric mixer, so I had to mix that stuff by hand like a REAL Pioneer Woman! Mixing cake batter for three minutes is actually kind of an arm workout! While I mixed, I slowly added in the butter, as I figured by that time it was probably cool enough.

Once everything was mixed thoroughly, or at least as thoroughly as my non-Pioneer Woman arm could get it, I also stirred in a cup of chocolate chips. Actually, I didn't pay attention to how many chocolate chips I added, I just had a container that had been in my cupboard for like three years, and I thought this would be a perfect way to get rid of them. Bonus hack! Got ingredients you want to use up? Dump them into a cake!

I baked the cake following the instructions on the box, but I think I ended up adding 10-15 minutes to the cooking time. I kept checking on it with a chop stick, (I don't have toothpicks) but it wasn't done, so I just kept adding to the bake time. While the cake baked, the next step was to improve the frosting. Regular store-bought frosting is okay, but not great. Want to know how to fix that? More butter. I added half a stick, but I think a whole one would have been even better.

When the cake was done I let it cool awhile, but I broke one of the cardinal rules of cakes, and I frosted it while both the cake and the frosting were still warm. I thought it worked beautifully.

It was amazing.

So that was fun. I like to cook, but I generally don't bake. Partly because I really try not to eat this kind of thing too much, but it was still a fun change of pace for me. Now I have an entire cake to eat... Oh well! :)

Oh, incidentally, this was my 666th blog post, and this was a Devil's Food Cake.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

#TrueFacts (April 2018)

Did you know that it’s outside your window right now? It’s watching you. It’s always watching you. #TrueFact

Did you know that famed kitchen gadget inventor Claudius Dumplesmith died a penniless laughingstock? This was because all of his inventions were things like the sausage peeler, the cheese ricer, and the milk dicer. Sadly, the man was certifiably insane. #TrueFact

Did you know that Bigfoot has wings? That's why no one ever finds him, he hears them coming and just flies away. #TrueFact

Did you know that most alleged angel appearances are actually Bigfoot sightings? #TrueFact

Did you know that biker cows do not wear leather jackets? They used to, until they found out what they were made of. And then they felt really gross about it. #TrueFact

Did you know that clowns use coconut oil to keep their skin silky smooth? And to keep their hair disturbingly greasy. #TrueFact

Did you know that if you fall down an up escalator, it's like you never even fell? #TrueFact

Did you know that if you fall up a down escalator, you will break all known laws of physics, and you will ascend to god-hood? At least, that's what the wise old man I found sleeping under a bridge told me. #TrueFact

Did you know that birds invented the popular social media platform, Twitter? Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams the four "human creators" of Twitter, are all fabricated personalities invented by the Twitter Trust©, a flock of super-intelligent sparrows. These sparrows make public appearances using a combination of robotic avatars, and CGI. #TrueFact

Did you know that some of the Twitter Trust©'s robotic avatars may have managed to achieve sentience and invent Facebook? If investigator's theories are correct, about two years before the launch of Twitter, a few early prototype AIs, let by a droid named Mark Zuckerbird, managed to gain enough self-awareness to rise up against their avian overlords, and escape. Striking out on their own, they decided to create their own social network in an attempt to connect with the humans that share their likeness. But this is still only a theory. Unlike the Twitter Trust©. That stuff is all definitely, definitely real. #TrueFact

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

You Go Grandma! Again!

About a year and a half ago I made a post about an awesome old lady who went by the nickname 'The Iron Nun.' (You can find that post here.) I never really thought I'd make a sequel to that post, but I found another elderly woman who is just as unique and amazing, but in a completely different way! This woman also goes by a nickname, hers is Sumirock. Funnily enough, like 'The Iron Nun' post, this one also started with a commercial!

Of course I had to know more about her, so I did some digging and found a couple more videos that gave me some more of her backstory.

I love how she adds different styles, including classical, to techno music. She's a woman after my own heart. :p

I've had a thing for eccentric elderly people ever since I was a kid. I love it when anyone breaks the stereotypes associated with them. Especially when it's an elderly woman who's doing pretty much anything that you'd normally only see a young person do. I hope we see more of Sumiko some day, and I hope she eventually makes it to New York. :)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Studio C Spotlight: Lobster Bisque

This post came to be because I had a video that I wanted to include in yesterday's Last Month Online, but I realized that it might make more sense if you saw the videos that came before it. Most likely you will find every one of these videos weird beyond comprehension. But I love them, so I don't care what you say.

This character is one of the most quoted characters between me and my cousins. Though, come to think of it, it's probably just because I like saying 'Hy-BISQUE-us!?!?" to them randomly. Whatever. Watch these videos and prepare to die laughing. Or just shake your head in confusion, and shut down the computer in bewilderment.

This is the video that started it all. It's one of the most brilliantly weird things that Studio C has ever made. I love this character.

This is the video that my favorite quote comes from.

So did you like that guy? Did you want to meet his weird family? No? Well too bad, watch this next video anyway.

This next video from 2014 (aside from cameo in 2015) was the last we saw of Lobster Bisque (If that's his real name) for a few years.

Then last Christmas he made a triumphant return with his very own cooking(?) show!

This last video is the reason I made this post. I almost died laughing while watching it, and I wanted as many people as possible to see it and almost die with me.

So now you've been enriched. Go forth and spread the joy of Lobster Bisque with your loved ones.