Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Commision jobs are NOT for the weak-hearted.

This job is so up and down.

Monday I got to my area, found a good house, talked to the owner, sold her a system; found another house, sold them a system; and then called a call-back and then sold another system. Good day. I hadn't gotten a three-day since the summer of 2003 in East New York, Brooklyn.

So then Tuesday I worked and worked and worked and worked and worked and found no one. It's amazing how the exact same amount of effort can yield such different results. There is something truly depressing about working a grueling job talking to rude people all day and actually losing money while doing it. (Snacks cost money y'know.)

Today I was about to blank again, but toward the evening I stumbled across a family that was already about to buy a system from ADT. The ADT rep that came by on Monday quoted them $700+ for the system. Today I showed up and gave them a superior system for 99 bucks. I love my job.

Monday, June 27, 2005


My first of three sales. Awesome day.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Jeanne and Jasmin

My sale today is from the island of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). I swear Islanders are the nicest people.

Happy Birthday Nishy!

Tonight we took team-member Dan out on the town for his birthday.

As directionally challenged as I am, everyone always considers me an expert on getting around the city. Tonight the boys entrusted me to guide them to somewhere cool for Dan. After many wrong turns, I managed to direct our driver Chance to the hip late-night hangout of McDougal Street in the heart of the Village. We ate at a nice Italian restaurant overlooking the hustle and bustle of the latenight scenesters. I get really stressed when I'm responsible for everyone's fun--especially when everyone means seven over-worked door-to-door salesmen. Fortunately we all had a blast.

Today was not so hot though. Well, actually it was really hot, but it wasn't very much fun. I couldn't get anyone interested in an alarm unfortunately. Sad day.

I did have a first though. Today, for the first time in my 23 years of existence, I was stung by a bee! I feel so much more complete.

"You're the homeowner, right?"

None of you know what I look like when I'm knocking doors so I figured I'd take this picture in the bathroom at McDonald's to give you an idea.

The main ingredients: white polo shirt, shorts, belt, nametag, binder, Firstline sign, pen.

Add charisma, sweat, and some decent dialogue.

Stir well.

White boys in the hood

There will always be something intriguing about white people hanging out in predominantly African American neighborhoods. Here we have Dan and Jared taking a pizza dinner break in front of a festively painted wall.

After getting soaked in the storm the other day, Jared here walked into a laundry mat frequented by larger black women. Believe it or not, Jared actually asked one of the ladies there if he could borrow their towel. He then proceeded to strip down and wait for his clothes to dry in the dryer while wearing only the towel. All the ladies chuckled at Jared's lean white body, but he didn't mind. All he wanted was some nice warm clothes so he could continue knocking. If Norman Rockwell were still alive and painting, I'm sure he would have had a ball that day at the laundry mat in the hood.

the highlight of my day

I've actually never seen "Rap Snacks" in any store; I only find them littered on the ground. It's as if they just magically appear. I'm determined to get a photo of each flavor in the collection.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I thought it was Virginia, but oh well.

Ironically the man who answered this door wasn't the nicest of people. At least I got a good picture out of him.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I need to visit Guyana.

After three years of doing summer sales, I've gotten to meet people from pretty much every country out there. Few countries have intrigued me more than the small South American nation of Guyana. Seriously, everyone I meet from this tropical paradise is so warm and down to earth. I can only imagine how sweet a vacation there would be. Myrna here promised she'd take me the next time she goes.

Peter and I

Another proud new Firstline customer.

Here's the thing...

On the way to work, we sometimes like to rock out to Kelly Clarkson's "Since you've been gone" dance remix.

From right to left we have Phil, Dan, and Jared.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Hello Summer. Goodbye Sun.

Yesterday was the first day of summer. In celebration I stormed industriously throughout the streets of Newark and South Orange, NJ--trying to convince local residents to sign three-year contracts to protect their homes and families. Oh wait...that's what I do everyday. Whoops. So I didn't get any sales, but I did get to spend half an hour trying to take a picture of a firefly. I'm not quite sure what is harder: getting people to spend $39.99 a month for home security, or capturing the precise moment when a nocturnal luminescent beetle emits light with a Sanyo 8100 cameraphone. Apparently I stink at both tasks. Today was better though. I'm using blue text to represent the thunderous shower storm we received this afternoon. For some reason NJ weather always does exactly what you would not expect it to do. Today's storm was truly a spectacle. I escaped the pouring rain and hail in my former-sale Pierre's house. Nice guy, that Pierre. After the storm I met another really nice guy named Peter and sold him a security system. Peter is an industrial/graphic designer from Jersey City. For a couple of years he conceived designs for Martha Stewart's Kmart patio furniture line. To this day one of his patio sets remains a popular buy for Kmart shoppers. His mother proudly pointed out to me the table and chairs he designed that were sprawled about the backyard. As a side note, I actually gave Peter the URL to this blog. So if you're reading Peter, I'd like to say: "Hey! How's it going? Congrats on your decision to secure your home with Firstline/ADT. Enjoy your installation on Saturday."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Target marketing at its finest

I keep finding these on the streets. I might just have to buy a bag someday to see what all the fuss is about.

And then there was TV

Suddenly I've been watching more television. Part of the reason for this is that one of my managers purchased a big-screen and is letting me baby-sit his old set at my apartment. The other reason is that I keep having weird situations with customers that require me to sit and watch television.


My first bizarre experience was with Eddie last Saturday. He was rushing out the door and wanted his wife to fill out the paperwork so he gave me the remote and told me to wait for her to arrive from work. There are few things stranger than "holding down the fort" for someone you barely know.

My second funny experience came today. My customer Sharon was skeptical that the technician was really going to bring her a rebate check so she asked if I would wait with her until the tech came. After chatting for quite some time about the rental car industry and figuring out what was wrong with her crippled canary, we ended up with nothing better to do than watch TV. It was the second half of some entertainment news show and the 100th episode of "Fear Factor." If there's anything more strange than watching TV alone in some random person's house, it's actually watching TV with them for an hour and discussing what's being viewed.

I love my job.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Flex day #1

Sorry for the picture overload. It's just that this past weekend was such an exciting one.

At 5 something am Friday morning my friend Hunter flew into JFK International Airport. He'll be living here in the city doing an advertising internship for DDB. Since Hunter has never been to New York before, I thought I'd be a good friend and help him find his way from the airport to his new home. I had to leave from Jersey at around three in the morning by bus to Port Authority and then take the A train all the way to the other side of Brooklyn. It was worth it though.

I decided to make Friday one of my two days off for the summer. Hunter and I crashed until midday in the I. House and then proceeded to explore the city. We checked out the agency where he'll be interning. We also toured the big New York Public Library Research Center. My goal has always been to own a NYC library card. After going to the Sprint store to get a bill with my current address on it and filling out a library card application, I was later denied. Apparently to get a library card in the city you have to actually live in the city. Go figure. I wanted to cry, but luckily Hunter was there. I held in the tears.

After looking at some cool shops we made our way to the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Friday afternoons Target pays for everyone's admission, so we got in free. I'm so glad we went. It's amazing.

That night I booked it to a place called Bound Brook, NJ to see one of my favorite bands: Cafe Tacuba. Even though I was by myself, it was still a ton of fun. (None of my friends are Tacuba fans.) First off the venue was a small Latin club in the middle of nowhere. Even the lead singer, Ruben Albarran, made a joke about how funny it was to play in such an obscure town. Secondly, Cafe Tacuba rocked the house. The crowd of about 300 went wild.

There were some difficulties involved however. Since I had just come from the city, I still had my backpack with all sorts of cool things on me. In Latin American culture there is no such thing as customer service. The bouncers there refused to let me enter the show with my pack and also refused to let me check it in. They essentially told me to either lose the bag or forget about the concert. I ended up walking two blocks down from the club and hiding my bag in someone's bush.

The other difficulty was that after the show the next train for home didn't come 'til after five in the morning. Luckily I met this girl Iliana who introduced me to her Cuernavacan friends Tania and Dany who let me crash at their place for the night. Tania and Dany host the Latin segment for Rutgers University radio station. They fed me flautas con arroz and kept me company into the wee hours of the night. I accidentally slept in and missed Saturday morning's correlation. Oh well. Saturday was a 2-day anyway. I'm loving where I'm at in Newark.

Today all sorts of random people were at church. I saw budding creative Kenny and long-time friend Camille. After church I hung out in the city with my new Venezuelan friend Tony. I met Tony on the bus on my way to Cafe Tacuba. I love making friends in Spanish. Even though I've made lots of Latin friends on the mission and selling security, I guess I've always felt like it was not so much me they liked as what I represented. It's nice to feel accepted by the Latin community simply for being me.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I secured this house.

I sold a PhD.

This is Pierre and his wife Carolyn. Pierre is from Haiti and is a psychologist. It was a tough sale but a fun one.

Mexicans are simply superior individuals.

This is Dany. He and his sister Tania let me crash at there place after the show.


This drummer is the best thing that ever happened to Cafe Tacuba. Clear up until a couple years ago the band only used keyboarded rhythms.

Café Tacvba

Este es el concierto de Cafe Tacuba. Bien chidos estos cuates.

aw yeah

What is cooler than an electric upright?

Ruben Albarran

El mejor cantante en todo el mundo. I love this man. He's a Mexican superstar, yet he still has crooked teeth. My kind of hero.

Quique Rangel

Este es el bajista por Cafe Tacuba.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

more Warhol

Andy Warhol

One for every flavor.

This is my brain on modern art.

Any questions?


Do a Google image search on "pointillism." This is the first image you'll see.


It doesn't get any better than this.

A Hill family classic

I could have sworn there were chocolate-chip cookies in there somewhere.


It's truly scary to think how easy it would be for me (or anyone) to yank this painting from the wall and rip it in two.

Swing yer partner...

Yet another sculpture that makes its way into every modern art textbook.

Friday, June 17, 2005


This is that sculpture that is in every modern art textbook.

Starry, starry night

Somebody cue Josh Groban please.

Yeah, it's Picasso.

Holy cow.

You have no idea how excited I am at this point.


Will my ads one day hang in a museum?

Great minds think alike

I always thought it would be cool to take a map of North America, erase the border lines between countries, and then color in every state and province to form a giant united mass. Unfortunately I learned yesterday that someone else beat me to it. Darn Jasper Johns.

disturbing but awesome

So close you can feel it.

A little Rothko please

Notice how the thick vermillion line slices through my deep orange face.

Claude Monet

A giant blurry rectangle...or a priceless impressionist painting? You decide.

In the New York Public Library

Can you believe "Juanes" didn't make the cut?

Even toys need money

This little boy probably makes more money playing in the subway for two hours than I do in an entire week once taxes are taken out.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Found on the Streets of Newark

In this time of boring snack food items, it's good to know there's "Rap Snacks."


Don't ask me.

what my day looks like

Enos getting down on the keys

Note the couch is wrapped in plastic. You'd be surprised by how many people I meet that do that.

after the rain

Once the rain stopped I sold a security system to a man named Enos. Enos is an electrican from the island of St. Vincent. He is about the nicest man you'll ever meet. When he's not working he's either playing the keyboard for his Seventh-day Adventist congregation or teaching saxophone lessons to local Islander children.


What else do you do when there's nothing you can do?

I have such a funny job.

This was my view for one hour as I waited for the pouring rain to pass. I actually fell asleep sitting in front of this chapel. I think it's funny how my job prepares me to live like a bum sometimes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Goodbye BYU interns

This past weekend was a fun one.

Saturday night Phil, Jonathan, David and I drove into Manhattan and hung out with Comms interns Roxanne, Heather and Sara. After dining at the Times Square Chevy's we walked around Times Square. Highlights included going up the fancy Marriott hotel elevator, buying Shakira's new CD, "Fijacion Oral," and watching the Foo Fighters perform a set in the MTV building. Most of the Comms interns are taking off this week. It'll be sad to see them go.

Sunday was the big Puerto Rican parade thing. After walking around Central Park with Jonathan and the new tech Aaron, we made it to church all sweaty. Church was especially good this week. We got a good lesson on the apostasy by this girl from Eastern Europe. Our stake president spoke in sacrament meeting and explained to us how we all have an important purpose being in New York.

As luck would have it my old mission friend Daniel Parker moved to New York a few weeks ago and goes to my ward. I went with him and Anela's friend Brian Cicotelli to some girls' house in the ward. They made us a terrific dinner and were great company. After social hour, I cruised on over to Gracie and Amanda's new place on 106th. I must say it's a definite step up for Gracie. She showed me the soy milk commercial I was in last year on her computer, and I finally started working on the Writing Center logo with Illustrator.

Monday produced no sales even though I moved to a Spanish area. I think lots of people were still hung over from the Puerto Rican festival. Kinda sad. After work Wright and Taggart from Firstline corporate got us Pizza and took us to see "Cinderella Man." Awesome flick. I'm a sucker for any movie that can bring to life the cultural elements of an era in 20th century history.

Today was hot and humid. I got a sale (see below). Yeah. That's it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


This is me with my sale today: Carmen. Carmen is from Puerto Rico and lives in a city called Perth Amboy. I sold her in the backyard with her son Louis and her dog Kennedy. It was a nice end to an otherwise frustrating day.

Who needs sales when you've got a new friend?

Some days you don't get any sales at all. It's times like these when it's good to meet nice people like Manuela.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


This a is a picture I took of the annual Puerto Rican pride parade that filled 5th Avenue on Sunday. I doubt there is a more exciting parade than this one anywhere in the world. Imagine 100, 000 crazy Latinos waving flags hysterically at beauty queens and wanna-be rappers as they drive by. I seriously was not prepared for that much energy. Just look at their outfits! Try to find one that is not sporting the Boriqua flag on their back. You won't find one.

Later that night I was joking with a girl I met on the subway about the event. Just how is it that Puerto Rico gets such a huge parade in New York and not other American states? Our answer comes straight from the Puerto Rican Constitution section A appendix 4:

The lack of Puerto Rican representation in U.S. legislature is to be compensated by the hosting of a festive annual parade in honor of the island.

Pretty interesting if you ask me.

St. Patrick's Cathedral