Archive | October, 2010

Craigslist Housing Special, Part 2

31 Oct

Continuing my great exchange with housing scammers, I give you the latest email… note the Nigerian phone number at the end:


Thanks for your prompt response to mail and it’s my sincere pleasure writing back to you.I do appreciate the whole time and effort you have really shown to rent from us and telling me more about you.I must confess that you really sound like the type of tenant we have been praying and fasting over to come our way,we will be glad to have you as our new tenant to be,if only you will agree to work with us directly and promise to take proper care of the apartment for us,which is the most important thing to us.

We have everything intact in the apartment and all the utilities are intact,I will like to tell you that you have nothing to be worried about if you really willing to rent from us.The keys and the document are with my husband in ( west Africa  ),my husband made me understand that he will only commence on the delivery of our apartment keys/documents to the new tenant via DHL courier service,after we have come to an agreement and after confirming the upfront advance deposit payment.My apartment is a private apartment,you will have the access to my apartment,as soon as you have my apartment keys/documents with you.

The rent per month still remain $800 including all the utilities like electricity, water, wireless Internet, satellite TV, air conditioning,dryer, washing machine, Telephone , Washing machine,security and heating.You can bring your things into the apartment if you wish,we have an extra space for that,more so I want you to have it in mind that you dealing with a God fearing and responsible folks,I give you my word that you will never regret from renting from us if only you will believe in us.I believe God has a way of working out things if only we can put our trust in him.You will have the access to move into my our apartment,as soon as you have our apartment keys/documents with you.

My husband wish to have some relevant information from you if you are ready to get this going,so you are expected to carefully fill out the form below or just simply reply back with answers to the questions.My husband will use the details to commence on the delivery of our apartment keys/documents to your address,and also to use it to prepare for the documents to your name.

1) Your Full Name?
2) Your Full Address & Phone Number?
3) How old are you?
4) Are you married?
5) How many people will be living in the house?
6) Do you have a pet?
7) Do you have a car?
8 ) Occupation?
9) What is your religion?
10) Do you smoke?
11) What date you intend to move in?
12) For how long you will stay in the place?

Answers would be greatly appreciated,so that my husband can use it for the shipment of our apartment keys/document to you.Attached are more photos of the apartment,fully furnished and well decorated .Thank for being so honest with us and God bless you too.You can reach my husband (Mr. Wale Morris) anytime on 0112347056585995 or +2347056585995.

Mrs. Kathy Morris

I wonder who actually lives in the house that this person is trying to scam-rent me?


A New Tactic

29 Oct

I had an epiphany. Not the kind that sends off light bulbs in bubbles over cartoon heads with that “ping” sound effect, but still. An epiphany is an epiphany, no matter how small. (Just because Dr. Seuss never got around to writing that one, doesn’t make it less true)

My tiny epiphany was that my ideal job doesn’t exist yet. I want to be a writer/video maker/awesome new kind of reporter who uses all the mediums at her liberal-artisty disposal to tell stories. I want to be the renaissance woman of the weekly gossip rag, riding the internet wave to fame and fortune as the first to really integrate video and writing as a holistic method of reporting for the web.

Pretty exciting, no? (and get your own damn dream, you people out there saying, “Huh, that’s a cool job idea”) The only problem is that I’m not going to find a listing for this job on craigslist, or monster, or anywhere. It’s the kind of job the papers don’t know they need someone to fill just yet.

So, what do I do? I draft a letter to these papers and magazines kindly explaining why they need to hire someone to start making multi-media articles NOW before everyone is doing it. And I offer to do this funky new job for whatever they want to pay me, for one month, just so they can test it out.

It seems the best way for print media to survive the internet is to embrace it, expanding its online presence through multi-media articles featuring databases, slideshows and video content. I am a writer and filmmaker seeking to exercise both these skills as a multi-media reporter. Hire me for a month at whatever salary you deem appropriate. At the end of this time, if you are happy with my services, bring me on as a full time employee. If you are not satisfied, let me go. With very little risk, you can attract new viewers to your website by offering a holistic style of reporting few publications have yet adopted.

As a multi-media reporter, I would create original video content to accompany traditional articles and also design specifically cross-media content. For a restaurant review, I could create a short video chronicling both the meal (lending a visual angle to commentary) as well as the meal’s preparation in the kitchen (to add material unavailable within the written review). During my time at the New York Press, I created a short video to accompany an article I wrote about the first Nuite Blanche festival in New York, as well as a film covering a free CMJ concert by DOM. Multi-media reporting could potentially revive a stale column or simply serve as a more complete version of event coverage. The possibilities and market for such content is potentially limitless.

A filmmaker with a BA from Middlebury College, I have completed three internships in the field, working with media producers in Providence, Boston and Los Angeles for such networks as Animal Planet, Discovery Channel and ABC Family. As a professional, I have worked for the PBS series Planet Forward, and international PR firm Cohn & Wolfe. I am a writer for the New York Press and City Arts, a blogger for and, and a film critic quoted by Rotten Tomatoes.

I look forward to discussing this unique offer with you at your earliest convenience.

With an offer like that, somebody’s got to bite, right? Right? RIGHT?

Then WHAM! When I’ve proven my worth and made all this cool stuff for their website, they’ll have to hire me, because the month is up.

Pretty sneaky, eh?

Craigslist Housing Specials!

28 Oct

More houses should look like this!

While we’re on the topic of house hunting, my two cents is that it is as hard as people make it out to be. While I can’t imagine DC is worse than NY, here’s a quick anecdote:

If you came across this listing on Craigslist, what would you think?

This one bedroom apartment is fully furnished including:on site washer/dryer, linings, towels, silverware, china, 42 inch flat screen TV, stereo and DVD player, plus fantastic wood burning fireplace! Light-filled home in Capitol Hill’s vibrant and safe Eastern Market neighborhood.Ideal for 1 or 2 people, with Aero beds to add sleeping quarters. Nearby: everything you’d want to see in DC.

Best neighborhood in city 10 minute walk to U Street metro, Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, CVS, 3 Banks (Adams Bank, PNC Bank and Wachovia Bank). Great choice of shops, bars, restaurants within 5-10 walk:Close enough to walk: restaurants, bars, and shopping attractions like Studio theatre, Cork wine , Cafe Saint-Ex, Local 57 Jazz Bar, Point Claud Cafe & Crepes, etc. Email for more details.

Not bad, right? And for $800/month — if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is right? There are inconsistencies within the listing itself: it says it is “Capitol Hill’s vibrant and safe Eastern Market neighborhood” which actually not near Corcoran Street, which is the provided address on the listing.

So I email the listing and I get this email back (excerpted):

My husband is currently in West Africa while I’m with my in Manchester ,UK with my daughter.We have been disappointed with our apartment before, this time we decided to manage it ourselves and which I believe that God will answer our prayers with a good, clean, responsible and understandable tenant,that will take upmost care of our apartment like his/her onw.I admit you really sound like the one and it would be our pleasure to let you take over our apartment till the period of time you wish to stay,if only you will agree with our terms and conditions and ready to work with us directly. …

All documents and the keys to our apartment are with my husband is in West Africa,he will commence on the delivery of the packages to the new tenant via DHL express courier service,on next day delivery,after we have come to a conclusion. …

You can visit the apartment at your practice time to check the neighborhood and location,and when you going please mind the way you will patrol the streets, so you will not be harass by security services around.But I will say that it would be better you have my apartment keys/documents with you,so that can you have the access to my apartment.

I’m suspicious, eh? But so far I haven’t been asked for any money. This is quite the scam, if that is where it is heading. But the email is also chock full of mentions of God. Does that make it more or less credible? Then there is the fact that I looked up the address provided on Google Maps and the place is a house, not an apartment. Plus googling the address, there is another listing at the same address for $600/month.

I kinda want to keep seeing where this will go.

Re-post: Feelings=2cos(π/2)x

27 Oct

In April, eight weeks after I graduated, I created a graphical representation of the unemployment experience, depicting the emotional highs and lows of the job hunt.  I’ve been in a major funk lately, so I figured it would be appropriate to re-post it–the basic point is still pretty relevant, even after all of these weeks beyond graduation.  Feel free to image me wallowing in apathy, lethargy, a mild sense of failure, and Snickers wrappers somewhere on the bottom of the graph.  (Melodrama really spices up any situation, doesn’t it?)


Lately I’ve been noticing that there is a regularity to my feelings (if anyone cracks a menstruation joke, I’ll cut you with a rusty spork).  When you’re unemployed, you’re on a perpetual roller coaster of emotions, and after a while, you can tell that it’s pretty a predictable ride.

This journey can actually be depicted by trigonometry, proving my high school math teacher was right; she swore that this crap would come in useful one day.

Therefore, I present to you, The Unemployment Experience: a Graphical Representation.

If you looked at that and all you saw was “blah blah blah math math bitch bitch complain,” here’s an alternate graph for you to look at:

Where are you in this vicious cycle of unemployment?

As If Job Hunting Wasn’t Trouble Enough …

26 Oct

… there’s apartment hunting. In New York. I am now fully on board with Harry in When Harry Met Sally: they should list the newly available apartments next to the obituaries.

Apartment hunting is exciting (a real grown-up residence! I’m gonna put posters ALL OVER IT), stressful (wait, how do you find an apartment again?), and confusing (no-fee, partial-fee, broker-fee, by owner only, huh?).

But let’s say you find that perfect, cheap apartment that’s two steps up from your basic shithole. You love it, exposed freezing brick wall and all. Small problem: you’re underemployed.

Now what? Maybe having a parent vouch for your rent is good enough, maybe not. The landlord is just trying to protect themselves, they don’t want you skipping the lease or getting behind on the rent. I get it. But apartments go fast in this city, so even if I find that mythical high-paying job tomorrow, you’ll probably have already rented the place! And then where would I be? I’ll tell you where I’d be. I’d be stuck in my borrowed apartment on my air mattress for another month, when all I wanted was to live like How I Met Your Mother.

Nothing about real life can just be easy, eh?

Time to Suit Up: I Got a Job

23 Oct

I am a suit now.

I know the two die-hard fans out there have been wondering — what the hell happened to Ryan? FYI, I haven’t posted anything in two weeks, for those who haven’t missed me. I’ve been busy tidying up my life at Middlebury so I can take a job in Washington D.C. starting in November. I will be working at the Washington Post as Interactivity Producer. Yes, I’ll be producing interactivity for a living (is that a good pickup line?).

In the upcoming week, I will be blogging parts of the process of getting the job at the Post. The two posts that I already wrote directly after my interviews at the Post: “Fun and Interviews” and “Awash in Resumes.”

I am now gainfully employed as a full-time, salaried professional. No more farting around, right? Our initial goal with this blog was to blog until we find jobs. In particular, that meant the kind of job I will start in a week: one with health benefits, 401k, a desk, a boss, etc. Sounds rosy, right? But I want to make the argument that all three of us bloggers are already employed in varying forms and that the salaried job maybe shouldn’t have been the goal of this blog when we started.

Really, a job is part of a life. And I think many liberal artists look for jobs that fit into the larger idea of an examined and worthwhile existence (sometimes people say they want “meaningful work”). The “standard” job is a big part of your life — time-wise, the eight hour work day is 1/3 of your day, 5-days a week (another 1/3 is spent sleeping and the final 1/3 is what Seth Godin is after you to improve if you’re watching TV). But in a typical case of the-grass-is-always-greener, I am already jealous of the non-traditional job-holder like my friends Leslie and Sarah.

I’d say the number one complaint in my informal poll of recent graduate-liberal artists that are fully employed in traditional jobs is that they lose a sense of creativity and expression. I often hear the words “soul-crushing” used. I don’t want that to happen to me and it’s easier than I think to fall into that trap no matter how excited I am to start at the Post.

This blog has never really been totally about the job hunt. It’s been about defining what it means to be a “liberal artist” and recent graduate grappling with larger issues that are (sometimes) unique to this generation. As I wrote early on in the blog process, “We’re saying that the 20-something recession-grad is a story worth telling. The successes. The failures. The pressures. We’re living it….”

Sarah, Leslie, and I will continue to discuss what we want this space to evolve to be but my guess it that you’ll see an increasing amount of posts that reach beyond the typical job-hunt shenanigans. It’s not that I don’t care about job-hunting anymore now that I have a job, it’s that I realize only now that a holistic approach to finding a job is much smarter. More than half the battle is landing a job and then being able to know what to do with it.


22 Oct

Much like my job hunt, my well of inspiration for writing posts has momentarily dried. So, internet viewers, you will just have to make do with whatever it is that comes to mind as I type now. Really, I don’t have some pre-planned direction here.

I feel stalled. I have a great internship that I love, and that I can, if I so wish, allow to take up 150% of my free time. This week I wrote four documentary reviews, a feature article, several blog posts, covered a party and made a short movie about the CMJ music festival. Didn’t know it was the CMJ music festival? Neither did I.

If they would offer to pay me, pay me anything at all, I would accept in a heartbeat. But seeing as how they’ve got me for free, I don’t see that happening just yet. Perhaps they’ll hire me on a freelance basis at the end of the year, but I don’t want to wait that damn long! I want to be paid for what I love to, right now! Is that so difficult?

Okay, I know it’s difficult. But now that I’ve basically figured out what I want to do for my first job, I’m stuck. I have to wait. I have to be patient. I don’t have the fun of possibilities taunting me from craigslist or want ads. It’s just a whole lot of opportunities that aren’t close enough to my futurey-vision that I’m willing to compromise.

That’s way too depressing. Next up in impossible dreams, the lottery.