Odd jobs are dream jobs for some

WANTED: AVID weather watchers to be part of a study on how television effects brain patterns. Must agree to have electrodes hooked up to head and face while watching The Weather Channel.

If this sounds like an odd job — you’re right. It’s one of the many ways middle-aged mothers can bring home the bacon.

What’s wrong with mixing a little fun with your mid-life crisis? I sip my morning coffee scanning Craigslist for gems like this: Cat lovers needed to test kitty litter. Must have own felines. $100 for your opinion and that of your cats.

Odd jobs don’t just bring in the cash; as a columnist, they give me fodder for future articles. Take the job I’ve had for over a year now, driving billboards around San Francisco in a pod of motor scooters. With my helmet pulled snuggly over my head, I shamelessly hawk everything from tequila to toilet paper, reveling in the crowd’s reaction. “Hey — that job stinks!” someone shouts playfully as we pull an ad for bathroom tissue that proclaims “Be Kind to Your Behind.” We get even more reaction with a billboard for a popular Euro pale ale. Screams of “Stella!” pepper the air as we coolly pass by pulling signs for Stella Artois. Guerrilla marketing they call it. I call it a journalist’s dream job.

GET FIT: Curves may be closed in Montclair, but a new weight loss business has opened nearby in the Bank of America building. Living Lean is an eating and exercise program that partners with local restaurants and specialty grocers. Owner Sheena Lakhotia already has a location in Orinda where her clients can dine out and still stay on their eating plan. She’s bringing the same concept to Montclair (working with local restaurants) so her Oakland clients don’t have to travel through the tunnel. Call Sheena for “the skinny” at 510-360-7051.

E-MAIL BAG: In the wake of more turmoil in the Raiders camp, reader Wes Swicegood asks when there’ll be a call for Al Davis to step aside? “Another five years of losing seasons and four more coach firings,” he wonders.

Swicegood echoes the thoughts of many of us who wonder why Davis blames all his team’s failures on the head coach du jour.

LOOKING BACK: If you’re a native Oaklander who attended Broadway Children’s School, save Oct. 19 for your anniversary party. Reader and school director Debbie Beck says the institution has been at 394 Adams Point for 25 years — and that’s a lot of little faces for the memory book.

The fact is, though, the school first opened in 1952 — in a building on Broadway that burned in a mysterious Fourth of July fire. Today, it’s one of the last non-co-op schools in Oakland where pre-schoolers can attend on a part-time basis.

GOOD TICKET: It can’t be good when a cop pulls you over — or can it? The Oakland Police Department is rewarding safe driving this fall with gift certificates for the Montclair Malt Shop. Stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk — get a free ice cream cone; yield to a bicyclist — get a free scoop! Police hope the good driving tickets will make the village safer for everyone and help give them some positive press. After all, who doesn’t like a sweet treat?


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