Thursday, October 26, 2006

Getting Lost Watching "LOST"

Alright, I think the people behind LOST have officially lost their minds.

Never mind what happened during last night's episode, but did anyone see the previews for the next two episodes? Did you actually SEE what was on that video screen of the infamous hatch?!

What the fuck is THAT doing in there?

Last week, I remember telling someone that with the way LOST is this season, the survivors of of Oceanic Flight 801 might as well be on fucking Mars.. I thought I was exagerrating, though...

Little by little, it looks like LOST might be "losing" some viewers, especially with the route the show has taken thus far during this season. Then again, as I realized a couple of months ago when I saw all of Season 2 in one shot when it came out on DVD, maybe we won't really appreciate this season for what it is until we all get to see it at once, as opposed to having to wait three months to have a plot twist fully revealed.

But seriously, Season 3 is even more nuts than the first two seasons combined... and we haven't even gotten deep into it yet!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

This Is My Blog On Drugs...Any Questions?

I don't know if anyone caught that program, "The World's Most Dangerous Drug" that was on earlier this evening on the National Geographic Channel, but man, that shit was pretty serious. The show, which came on before LOST (seriously, is it me, or is that show getting even moreridiculous?), discussed at length the crystal meth epidemic that's taking over the country at an alarming rate. Now, over the years, I've read various articles and stories about the growing influence of meth on Americans, but this was the first time that I've ever seen the issue discussed at length on a television program. It's fucking crazy just how awful that drug is to people. It makes the crack epidemic of the 80's look like a fucking day at band camp. Let's not even get into the addictive effects of the drug, which is right up there in terms of potency with crack... have you seen what this drug can do to someone, physically, over a period of time? In a period of 9 months of heavy use, you'll see people undergo vast transformations, where they look like they just set foot into a time chamber and aged 20 years, losing their teeth in the process. It's crazy, man.

From my understanding, meth is nothing new out on the West Coast, but here on the East Coast, the drug is beginning to take hold in the impoverished areas of the east and nearby army bases. Washington D.C, for example, is seeing a major spike in use and in production, but yet at the same time, no one out here is even talking about it. Seriously, we need to get on the ball with this shit. Fuck these stupid ass commercials we all see on TV dealing with marijuana (Who could forget the anti-weed commercial that equated buying weed to supporting terrorism.. yeah, right.). Let's get kids talking about meth. Show these kids the pictures of an average meth user's teeth, and I swear, those overly self-conscious kids will never even want to THINK of using that drug ever in their fucking life.

If you have kids, or deal with kids, let 'em know just how bad this stuff is. And for my college people, I swear, if you ever hear someone say, "man, I wanna try meth," do us all a favor and smack the living crap out of them.

This is a Coffee Break PSA.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Training Complete

It only took 5 days of actual pitching, but I got my closed my first account today. I popped my cherry!! :-) Now, let's if I can do it again... and again... and again... and again...

As I've gotten more familiar with the firm and the product that I'm selling, I've realized that all the doubts that I initially had about working here when I first started two weeks ago have been completely eradicated. After getting phone calls from satisfied clients and constant support and feedback from the firm's partners and my fellow co-workers, it's finally safe to say that I do not work in the "Boiler Room." Far from it, actually. I now feel a lot better about where I work, and am proud to say that I'm a contributing member of the firm.

And so, with that said, my training/trial period at the firm is now complete. I can now say with conviction that I am a "Marketing Consultant..."

I wonder how well that title's going to go with the ladies... ;-)

Super Case of the Mondays

All was good. Here I was, driving around, striking up a casual conversation with the fiance of my dreams, getting ready to hit up the town for some Saturday morning shopping, cracking jokes, stealing quick thigh grabs, and just enjoying life. All was good. I had a Kool-Aid smile from ear to ear...

And then I heard my cell phone alarm. "RIIINNNNNGGGGGGGGG"

Suddenly, I realized I wasn't driving around with my "fiance," nor was it a Saturday morning. Hell, I wasn't even happy. The sad fact that it was Monday smacked me in the face. Fuck that whole "Is It Monday Yet," mantra being spewed out by those NFL Monday Night Football Fanatics. It's more like, "Is It Friday Yet?"

Yes, I have a Case of the Mondays, and man, I must say that now that I'm in the so-called "real world," it sucks ass. See, Mondays sucked before in college, but at the very least, I never felt too far removed from the craziness that was Thursday night. Now, the only thing I have to look forward to on a Thursday night is my bed, especially after working from 9AM to 8PM.

Do I miss college? Maybe, just maybe...

Hopefully I can get a paycheck large enough to get euphoric about the "real world" at some point, but until then...

"Is It Friday Yet?"

Sunday, October 15, 2006

So High You Can Touch the Sky, Eh?

Now this story is freaking hilarious.

Apparently, Canadian troops in Afghanistan have run into a rather interesting problem during their search for Taliban militants...


Yes, folks, the Canadians have a marijuana problem. (So what else is new?) ("Problem? What problem, ey?") According to the folks at CNN and Yahoo News, Canadian troops have encountered vast fields of ganja in Afghanistan, with some plants being as high as 10-ft tall (no pun intended). The vast weed fields provide great cover for Taliban insurgents. The troops tried to burn the fields down, but then they decided to stop when it became apparent that the troops doing the burning enjoyed their duties a little too much, if you know what I mean...

You can check out the story for yourself right here

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sign It Already!!

Yesterday, I was finally given the opportunity at work to start making major money. After a week of lead generation over the phone, the firm gave me a chance to start busting out new accounts and getting my commissions up and running. So, how did I do? Well, by the firm's standards, I did incredibly well, but by my own, I fell short. I wanted to be able to walk out the office with money in my pocket as a result of completed contracts, but instead, I was only able to get people just verbally agree to the terms I set for them; I need them to sign faxed-over contracts on their end in order to seal the deal. Today, I got some more contracts sent out to potential customers, but thus far, I haven't gotten a single one to sign. I swear, I just want to fucking slap these people with my phone and be like, "hurry up, bitch and sign this fucking contract!!! Grow some fucking balls!!!!" Man, these guys need to get with the program. I got bills to pay, homie, and I need to get the ball rolling on my whole "debt-free in a year" plan. Grrr.

With everyday that I spend in this place, I feel that I'm changing, little by little. I feel like I'm actually becoming more aggressive, more straight to the point. I remember last week, during one of my little chats with the bosses, I was told that I'd start to notice little changes here and there, like I'd start winning the remote control more and more or I'd tell more people to play "hide and go fuck themself." (hard to imagine me doing that anymore than I already have) Now, I don't know about the whole "remote control" thing, especially considering I've got my own television set to use at my own leisure, but I do notice that I've begun to regard every conversation I have with strangers in the same manner that I would treat a conversation with a potential customer over the phone: like a game. A game of words and delivery, to be exact. It's kind of hard to explain, but let's just say that I can steer conversations to just about anywhere I want them to... certainly a useful skill to have as a single, 20-something male in New York City... ;-)

. . . . .

We had an interesting scare today, though it certainly turned out to be rather tragic. We got word around 2 o'clock in the afternoon that an airplane hit a building in Manhattan... and being that my office is about two blocks away from the hole in the ground we call the World Trade Center, naturally, people assumed the worst. Thankfully, the plane crash wasn't anything even remotely close to anything that happened on 9/11, but it was certainly tragic, nonetheless. Cory Lidle, a Yankee pitcher, was flying a small plane and crashed it into a high-rise condo buidling on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, killing himself and one other person in the process. It really is a horrible tragedy, and something that, in this city obsessed with baseball stats, trades, and championships, really reminds us all about what's really important.

On a lighter note, one of my co-workers was in the middle of a pitch with a customer over the phone, and mentioned to the customer, "man, I'm sitting here, pitching you this product, scared out of my mind, because a plane just crashed into a building in New York, but yet, you know why I'm still here? Because I care about my cusotmers! So, buy our product. You won't be disappointed."

Ah yes. Just another day in the Boiler Room.

Oh, and FYI... the customer didn't buy the BS. I guess New Yorkers used up the "sympathy juice" a long time ago.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Enter, the "Specialist"

"Man, it's only been a week?!"

As I made my back home from work on Friday afternoon, I could hardly believe that I had just started working in the "Boiler Room" only four days earlier. I felt (both mentally and physically) so tired, that as soon as I got home, I just collapsed onto my bed and knocked out for a little bit. (Never mind I was supposed to go back out to meet up with friends,,,) Overall, I learned a lot during my first week working on Wall Street, and I got a brief glimpse of what life is like when you work for a firm filled with hotshots dying to make money. Basically, it's a cut-throat business, amd one has to be completely aggressive and incredibly persistent in order to be able to succeed. Thankfully, my bosses have been taking the time to walk me through the entire process, trying to get me from "point A to point X" as quickly as possible. I realized that I learned more in one week than most brokers learn in their first six months. And trust me when I say that after this one week, I certainly felt like I had been doing this job for months instead of days.

I finally nailed down what my official job title is... I'm now a "marketing specialist." How oh so wonderful. I wonder just how many conversations my job title alone is going to be responsible for at family get-togethers...

So, with a full week down, I can see myself doing this for a little while. I've gotten used to the whole phone aspect of this job, and with the kind of encouragement and positive reinforcement that I'm getting from my fellow co-workers and my bosses, I really feel like I can be pretty successful doing this. Now, I don't know about the whole, "pick out your luxury car" business that was mentioned last week, but at the very least, I know I can make a major dent in the college loans would've been otherwise hovering over my head for the next decade or so. If I can make the kind of money that my bosses say I can, I can be completely debt-free in a year. A year. I don't know anyone who went to college under the same circumstances that I did and could even dream of saying that fresh out of graduation. I really hope this pans out, man. I really, really do.

. . . . .

So... this past Saturday, not only did I have the wonderful pleasure of being able to see my dear Zulay for her birthday (she came down from Syracuse for a little while, along with my partner-in-crime, Nelson), but I also had the rather horrible experience of seeing my Yankees lose yet another playoff series in the first round of the playoffs. And I officially blame Zulay for the loss. (Damn you!!!) But seriously, though... we got our asses handed to us on a silver platter. And then, on top of that, we've got these damn Mets fans running around NY acting like shit is sweet. But, whatever, I'm not going to hate on 'em. Let 'em have their day in the sun. Let's just see if the runts from Queens have the will to make it into the World Series and actually win the whole thing. But I swear, bandwagon Met fans beware; you try and rub it in my face, and you're going to get my "marketing specialist" foot up your ass, and trust me, I won't need to make a phone call to do it...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Well, two days down, three to go during this lovely trial week in the Boiler Room. I was mildly surprised yesterday when I walked into work (this time, just 2 minutes late, as opposed to 30) and discovered that the two brothers-in-arms that I started with on Monday had been fired. The reasoning?

"They just didn't have what it takes to succeed in this business."

And here I was, thinking that THESE guys had to earn OUR trust, not the other way around.

Basically, I was told that I "passed the test" and that I was now the newest addition to the company. Gee, thanks.

So, whatever, I started doing my thing, making cold calls to businesses. Unfortunately, I was absolutely ravaged the whole day by a slight fever... and I was supposed to work from 9AM - 8PM! After awhile, I started losing confidence in doing this whole thing, and little by little, the enthusiasm in my pitches started declining. My bosses, including Mr. "Fuck 'em Good," took me aside, bought me a coffee, and gave me tips on how to overcome my issue. Next thing I knew, I was practicing my pitches to the bosses, and well, I guess I made them happy, as they were rubbing their hands in anticipation of the money I could make for the company.

"Ray, tonight, go home and build yourself a luxury car online, print it out, and then bring it to work tomorrow. That's going to be your goal; you need to be able to BUY that car, cash money, in one year."

The Wall Street people sure know how to get people off, don't they?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fuck 'Em Good... In the Boiler Room...

These companies are like one of those girls who's only been fucked by one or two guys in their lives, and when they did, it lasted a minute. So, when you come around, they'll think you're Jesus or something. So fuck 'em good!!

In my book, anyone, especially a boss, who can equate selling leads to hooking up with an undersexed girl definitely wins some "cool points."

Today, I was introduced to the post-college, "real world," where your priorities change from "what am I going to do tonight" to "I need to get some sleep." The day itself actually started off on the wrong foot, when I got to work a half hour late on my first day. (Thank you, "4" train) Before I walked into the office, I was brainstorming all these bullshit answers I would have to come up with in order to avoid getting fired from the get-go, but thankfully, I wouldn't need to use my talents. At least, not for my new boss. Instead, the only person I needed to bullshit was myself, as in, "this job could work out for me" when all I felt deep down inside was complete disgust for the job I was being asked to do.

. . . . .

Last week, I went to a career fair that was being held not too far from Madison Square Garden in downtown Manhattan at some hotel. So, here I am, all dressed up in this suit, ready to go get me a job, when I walk in, and after waiting in a line for about 30 minutes (just to get INTO the friggin' fair), I realized that I got all purty for no reason. In other words, the companies that decided to show up sucked balls, for the most part. But whatever, I figured since I made the trip all the way from the Bronx to go to his friggin' thing, it wouldn't hurt just to walk in and perfect my people skills. So, after making my rounds and seeing who was there, I hit up about three or four companies I was legitimately interested in, all while dodging the nearby Army recruiter who had an apparent hard-on to get me to sign my life away. One of the companies I hit up was for pure shits and giggles; apparently the company's representatives thought it would be a great idea to create a 3-page informational "booklet" (read: three standard 8 1/2 by 11 pages stapled together on the top left corner) that was rife with spelling and grammatical errors. So, here I show up and talk to one of the two guys that was there taking resumes, and he gives me this huge run down about how I can make tons of money, and that it's not going to cost me anything, yada, yada. The guy kept on talking for 5 minutes, and at the end of it all, I still didn't know what the hell his company sold. Regardless, however, he told me to show up to an "open house" interview later on in the week and wrote the address to the place on the back of a business card he had.

Now, normally, I wouldn't give anyone the time of day when they couldn't even come up with a relatively typo-free take-away, but in this particular case, I figured, "hey, I need money now, and it's not like I have anything else going for me, so whatever." So, I actually went to the interview a couple of days later. The office building the company was located in was just off Wall Street ("not bad", I thought to myself). But the actual office, though, was kinda... sketchy. Basically, it was a small, one-room office that had a grouping of desks thrown together in the middle, and a partition on the side for the boss. Only three desks in the joint had computers. I remember the guy I spoke to at the fair told me that they had just moved into this office, so the whole time I was waiting to talk to someone, I kept on repeating to myself, "calm down, Ray, this is a new office, this is a new office..." After a little while, I finally got to speak with the dude that I spoke to at the fair, and we sat down for my "interview..."

Yellow flag #1: The guy spent more time selling me the company that he did actually "interviewing."

So, I got the job on the spot, but honestly, I don't think either of us walked out of that room knowing each other any more than we did at the career fair. I still didn't know what the hell they sold. It was something about "mortgages" or whatever, but hey, the only thing I cared about was that I needed a job, and he gave me one. So, that was that. I just knew that I would be getting paid on commission, and that I had the potential to "make more money in (my) first year than a doctor could make right out of med school." Yada, yada.

Curious to know more about what the hell I was getting myself into, I did a Google search on the company. I came up with a rather simple, uninformative, and overall tacky company site, three entries on "Ripoff" and an annual report from the NASD that stated that my boss was suspended this year for failing to "update information."

Definitely, Yellow Flags #2, 3, and 4.

I saw where this one had the potential of going, and when I told my friend, Anna, about it, her sentiments echoed mine. "This so sounds like something out of 'Boiler Room.'" (Yes, Anna, you said it first)

. . . . .

Regardless of the yellow flags, I still reported to work on the first day, just to see how things would pan out. After being given a script, I sat down at one of the desks in the sketchy office, and started cold calling businesses to gain interest in a "product" I still had no idea about. Now, I hate cold calling. Hell, I hate being on a phone. But here I was, reading off some silly script, trying to get people to do something as simple as giving me an e-mail address and a small sample of information. I'm telling you, that shit was harder than getting blood out of a stone. Between all the animosity that people have towards telemarketers, and the fact that the business managers I was trying to get in contact with apparently don't believe in working, I was lucky to get double-digit hits in a full day of work. The other two people I started with didn't even get past the single digits. It was incredibly ironic, given the fact that here I was, telemarketing some of the very same people that then go turn around and bug the shit out of us consumers at all times of the day to make adjustments to our mortgages or consolidate our loans. At first, I was nervous, and almost felt ashamed to do it, but then, by the end of the day, I realized that I was giving these people a taste of their own medicine. (Cue evil laugh here.)

Throughout the day, my floor manager kept on coming up to us three newbies, giving us pointers and telling us how to get past the "gatekeeper" secretaries in order to talk to the executives at the various firms we were calling. In the end, it was all good information, not only for cold calling, but for corporate communication, in general. Our new co-workers were also helping us out whenever they could, spitting knowledge and encouraging us to stick with it. Interesting cast of characters, they are. We got one who was a rapper, but then started working at this place to make "real money," a former stock broker who got into this because he felt it was easier for him to sustain a "good lifestyle," and this kid from Long Island who spent the whole day talking about how much he spends at nightclubs every weekend on bottles of Grey Goose. They're all cool, and they're also very good at doing what they do. Compared to us, they're like Jedi on these phones, making people say and do whatever the hell they want to. And Mr. "Fuck 'em good?" He's like Yoda of telemarketing. His occasional pointers throughout the day really changed everything for me and made it a bit easier for me to adjust.

So, overall, my first day turned out alright, especially considering just how many doubts I had about it when I first walked in. Will I stick with it? I still don't know, and apparently, neither are the other two guys I started with. For starters, the jury's still out on whether or not the company is legit. But, we're all just giving it a chance, seeing how far we can go with this during our first week, and then we'll evaluate it all this weekend. In the meantime, we're all still looking at other jobs; if someone happens to call with just the right offer, we'd all jump ship in a heartbeat. My bosses argue, in typical Wall Street fashion, that no matter where we decide to go, we're not going to make as much money as we would working at this place in our first year, but the one thing that they fail to understand is that money isn't everything. If I want to finish writing this book I'm working on, and I want to work on movies, I'm not going to have the energy to do it all working at this place. I already see that happening.

And that, my friends, can be THE deciding factor for me after this week.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ramblings of a Mad Blogger (or... "I'm Baaacckkk")

Boy, am I glad to see you!

I don't remember the last time I saw the Blogger interface grace my computer screen, but whenever it was, it sure was a long while ago. I needed to take a break from everything, including blogging, in order to get my life straight, and well, after all this time, I think things are finally getting back to some semblance of "normal." (Ha, things are NEVER normal in my life)

As of tomorrow, I'm a working man. I'm going to start working for this company that basically sells... well, to be honest with you, I have no idea what the hell they do. All I know is that I'm going to be working on Wall Street somewhere, as a "mortgage broker." Not exactly the most exciting job (or the most well-defined), but hey, it's money, and as far as that's concerned, that's all I really need at the moment. I can't wait for the day when I finally have more than 2 bucks to my name. Still, there's something fishy about this company.. and I can't quite put my finger on it... more details when I get home tomorrow.

My new job... straight from Boiler Room?

Remember when I said I was working on a film? Well, that idea hasn't panned out yet. I've been so busy trying to get a job in the past couple of weeks, that I just haven't had enough time to dedicate to writing a proper script that coud be used for a project. But, I was able to at the very least to get the gears moving with the people I was going to work with. We've met up, discussed potential topics and ideas that we could work on, and have some kind of idea of where we want to go. Now, it's just a matter of having time to get together to actually meet up and "git 'er done!"

Since the last time I wrote, a couple of friends and fellow bloggers have decided to give up on the whole blogging thing and just move on with their lives. For awhile, it looked like I had decided to go down that road as well, but it really wasn't anything like that at all. I just needed some "me" time, and well, I think I'm done with that. So, stick around folks. Get them RSS feeds bookmarked. And welcome back to the "Coffee Break." :-)

I'm going to go to bed now. I'm too tired to think clearly.
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