Thursday, May 29, 2008

Read or Read or Both

I spent nearly three hours sitting in a chair in another office, reading.

Sure, I got up occasionally to mark someone off the docket (that's what they call it over in the other office, we call it a calendar) and make some small talk with an attorney or two, but most of the time was spent reading.

Let me tell you, knowing that I got paid to read for three hours has made me feel so good. Sure, it's a waste of time and money for The State, but it's a job that has to be done because we're borrowing a hearing room in that other office. Someone has to be there.

Is it my fault that there's no computer over there for me to do work on? No.
Is it my fault that I can't put files back on shelves without leaving the office? No.
Is it my fault that I can't do anything that's actually related to my normal job other than small talk with lawyers? No.
So, isn't it the state's choice that I do nothing? Yes. Yes, it is.

Besides, if I had been at my desk I would have spent a total of 30 minutes doing actual work and the rest screwing around on the Internets. That's not nearly as relaxing, nor entertaining as reading a good book.

I wish they'd pay me to read each and every day I'm here.

Where can I get a job like that?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Not to lessen what she's feeling or anything like that, but I wanted to comment on this image she used to describe how she's feeling:
I'm rolling into one of my depressions. It's not depression in a clinical sense. Rather, it feels like an actual depression, like a bowl-shaped dip. At the bottom it's lonely and cold and sad, but it takes too much effort to roll back up the other side. I don't have the momentum.
I like that. It's this wonderful image that makes me think Sisyphus. It's also right on, especially at the beginning.

I'd never have thought of this image, though. I've always thought of it more like being on a high pole where one wrong shift in weight or a strong enough breeze will send you falling into nothing. So it's best to stay as still as possible.

Maybe that's more what it's like later on.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Viability Question

Would anyone in their right mind buy a comic book of talking heads for 48 or so pages?

It would be two people answering the same questions about their friendship, but never hearing the others answers. Sort of a "he said, she said" sort of thing.

Not that I could draw it myself or it would ever actually exist outside my head, but I wish I to know.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Vacation Days

I mailed off applications and other stuff to Cowtown three weeks, or so, ago. The deadline for filing an application for the two positions was two weeks ago. I'd really like to hear something back.

A huge part of me is afraid that I won't get interviews there because I also asked them if they could schedule my interviews for a Friday or a Monday morning because of the long drive I have to make to get there. I left out the other reasons, like enjoying having an excuse for a long weekend. Yeah, it makes me feel better when I take a day off from work because I have an interview, how about you? Can you just take any old day off without an excuse and feel okay about it?

Along those lines, I've been thinking a lot about setting up some sort of tour vacation. Sure, I can't afford it right now and probably not next year either, but if I stay on schedule I'll have my final student loan paid off at the end of 2009. 2010 I could go. Get some package and go to Salzburg and Munich and Bern, or a cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow, or Rome and Florence and Venice, or go to Viet Nam or Thailand or Pakistan or Egypt or New Zealand. I don't know, yet. 2010 is a long way away. Hell, I don't even have a Passport; kind of need one of those if I ever want to get out of the country.

I guess the only, realistic, thing I have to worry about between now and then is how much this sort of thing will cost me in two years. What with gas prices going up and the value of the US dollar going down by a flight across an ocean may more than double. I bet my salary won't.

I could probably start more local. You know, like Alaska or New York or Hawaii. Probably be cheaper, too. Well, maybe not Alaska. Alaska would sort of have to be done on a cruise to be able to see a large amount of the immense state. And I'd rather not do the other two with a tour group, but also not by myself.

Well, two years is a long time. Who knows what'll happen between now and then?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I got my stimulus check yesterday.

I really didn't expect to get that amount of money. Seemed like too much for me.

Not that I'm complaining about getting more money than I thought I would. It'll pay for all my car insurance for rest of the year and I'll be able to pay off my credit card before I get paid rather than waiting for my paycheck and I'll be able to send a little extra to the last of my student loans (that's right, I'm doing the un-American thing and paying bills rather than SPENDING the money, suck on it President Junior), but...

Well, see, I'll probably be paying it all back next year. Hell, everyone in the U S of A will probably be paying back their stimulus next year, except for those people who don't get one, I guess. I know that the president and his people are hoping that everyone who gets a check will go out and buy a Blu-ray or an X-Box or something to give the economy a bump which will, supposedly, get people excited and then will start buying over-priced homes again.

I'm not a believer, though. Sure, the Laffer Curve makes sense to me, but... I don't think it has anything to do with what I'm writing.

Actually, I don't understand economics very well. Will this help bump the economy out of the slide to recession? Not sure, but my gut says no. Will people use this money to pay down debt or save? Probably not. A lot of people who got a refund this year are going to be wondering why they owe money next year, though, and be pissed about it. I'm already pissed about it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Power of Money

So, I pretended I wanted to buy one and went through the phone thing I wrote about this morning to see what the plans were.


Okay, the cheapest one, the one with the least minutes and not unlimited minutes on weekends, was $39.99 a month, pretty comparable to just about everything out there. Then, to get the deal on the phone, you have to get the phone internet connection thing.


The cheapest one of those is $30 per month and limits what you can do for free on the 'net. The more expensive one is twice as much and lets you do wireless stuff through a Bluetooth. I don't understand why that should cost more if you can already access the intersblag. Is it that much faster? It had better be like 8 times faster.


And the at least $70 a month is all wrapped up into a nice-for-them 2-year contract.


I don't think that, even with the great deal on a cool phone, I'm going to be ordering one of these.

The thing is that I'd like a mobile phone. I could get rid of my land line and hold on to one phone number for a long, long time, even if I move to another city.

The problem is that I don't use the phone that much. I only pick it up like once, maybe twice, a week. The rest of the time the machine picks up and whoever called hangs up.

Right now, I pay about $17.50 each month for that honor. I'm sure as hell not going to spend four times as much to not use a phone more than a couple of times each week.

"Ah, but what about those prepaid phones?" some savvy reader may ask.

To which I'd reply, "The ones I've looked at aren't quite right either."

See, it looks like there are two deals:
1) You get a phone and then buy the prepaid time on a card. After a given amount of time, the money you put up expires.
2) You get a prepaid contract that you re-up every six months or a year, when ever it expires and the money you didn't spend moves over to the next contract period, but if you decide to go to another company, or in some cases a new phone, you lose all the money you've spent.

Neither one seems like a good plan for a guy like me.
1) I don't want to lose money by not using the time I've already bought because I'm not "popular" or I prefer being face to face or write an e-mail.
2) There goes any thought to having flexibility on a prepaid plan.

And here I am, mobile phoneless and quite likely to remain this way, even if I do move.



If only it'd talk about what kind of service plans one'd be roped into!

Friday, May 16, 2008

In Honor of a Film, Released Today

When new movie version of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was released on DVD I pissed off a friend by asking her who the Pevensie kids were going to marry and have kids with since they're all related. I mean they don't want to go the whole incest route and have flipper babies, do they?

She told me that there are other humans.

Not in Narnia, I said.

She said that other humans lived in the other lands.

I asked her how they can be humans. How can they be humans if they're not Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve?

I could tell she wanted to throttle me, but I went on to say that if the other people aren't Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, wouldn't it be like having sex with a shaved chimp that had plastic surgery to look more human? Would the God of Adam and Eve be okay with that? Or would it be more like Kirk having sex with an Orion Slave Girl? She's a big Star Trek fan.

She insisted that there are other humans in Narnia.

I asked her to show me the proof. Just because something looks human doesn't mean it is. Didn't we learn anything from the first Terminator movie?

Shut the fuck up, she told me.

They're going to have flipper babies, I said, under my breath, flapping there way through life. No wonder there are no kings and queens in Narnia when Caspian’s ancestors take over.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No matter. Never mind.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dear Co-Workers,

Why is it that every time we happen to pass each other on the way to the printers, or while searching for files, or any time at all that you happen to see me, you feel the need to greet me as if we didn't say "Hello" when we first got here in the morning?

Shouldn't that one greeting be enough to last us the whole day?

Sure, you've been in your cube across the room and I've been in mine and we haven't spoken for ninety minutes, but we both know that we're here. So why react as if one of us is just arriving several times a day?

And, seriously, a greeting after your or my lunch break is also unnecessary. It's a break that's mandated by the union. We both know we're coming back in an hour, tops, so why treat it as if one of us has been on vacation for a week?

Is it because you need some stimulus, other than ocular, to be convinced that I'm really here? You're too far away to touch me and hopefully you can't smell me and we're not in the kind of relationship where you should be tasting me, so I suppose you'd have to use your ears to back up what your eyes see. Do you often have problems seeing people who aren't really there? Do those people you see not respond when you greet them? If so, they phone number you should call is (718) 555-2368. I don't know if they travel outside of New York, but it's worth a shot.

Maybe you're afraid that I'll think you're rude if you don't greet me every time you see me. I won't. I promise. Do you think I'm rude when I just smile and nod when I see you the second through twelfth time in a day? Give me a smile. Nod a little. That's all the acknowledgement that I need. I trust my eyes to give me decent information, so I don't need you to reaffirm that you really are in the room.

You should trust your eyes, too.


Monday, May 12, 2008


The rotten mood has been compounded by a headache.

In other news, my first thought was jumping jacks, but I'm sure that's not right.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Out of a horribly morbid sense of curiosity, which is worse: 1) Children coming to realize that they aren't a parent's favorite daughter or son? or 2) Children realizing that a parent loves him or herself more than the children?

Sookie in September!

Must have HBO by September!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


It may be an exaggeration, but I hate the CSI shows with a fiery passion.

The first time I watched an episode was while I was visiting some friends. They enjoyed the show. I was pretty indifferent about it until they did something really, really stupid:

The team found a body that had been stabbed. To find out what kind of a blade was used to stab the guy, the lab person decided it was best to pour plaster into the wound and, after it had hardened, use the casting to to find the type of blade.

I need to repeat that: They poured plaster into a hole in a humans gut and got a perfect casting of a knife blade.

My brain immediately cried out "BULLSHIT!"

I've used plaster to make castings in sand and dirt and always the plaster has pushed some of the sand or dirt out from the point that I poured it. Always. And the inside of a human body is way squishier than sand. That plaster would have gone into the cut and spread out, pushing the flesh out, and then hardened into a lump that looked nothing like a knife.

Then there was the episode where a woman lined up a hundred little lasers to show where each and every bullet came from. Sure, it looked cool in the dark, dusty room, but I just couldn't believe that any police department did that, even on in Vegas.

The knife and the lasers may have set me off, but I could have forgiven the pseudoscience if the police work had been more realistic. CSI people, no matter their rank, don't do the foot work. They take pictures of the crime scene. They look for any evidence. They analyze the evidence. And they take their analysis to the detectives on the cases and the district attorney's office. They don't, or very rarely, draw their sidearm and chase suspects into abandoned building then grill 'em in an interrogation room until the suspect breaks down and confesses or at least points them to the right person. No. They spend most of their time in a lab, playing with chemicals and such to build evidence that the DA can use in court.

Now, if the show choose only one crazy thing to do, the pseudoscience or super-CSIs, I may have been more forgiving, but the show does both, and it drives me nuts.

I think I've given the original CSI a fair shake. I've watched several episodes, by choice. I watched the two directed by Quentin Tarantino because I hoped that he could bring something new to the show. He didn't. They looked and sounded and felt exactly like a regular episode. I watched the Wil Wheaton episode because for a time I actually thought I could support his acting career by doing so. I'm pretty sure it didn't, though. And there have been other random episodes here and there, but nothing has convinced me that it's worth my time.

Of the New York one, I've only seen the episode from Miami that introduced the basic characters. I have to admit that out of the three main guys on these shows, Gary Sinise chews the scenery the best. Still can't bring myself to watch the show, though.

All that said, I have to admit that I've seen quite a few episodes of CSI: Miami. I wish I could say that it was because I only get two channels that aren't in Spanish or about "God." No. I wish I could say that it's better than the others in the franchise. It's not. I can't stand the guy in charge of the department. He sucks.

The only reason I watch CSI: Miami is Emily Procter. Not only is she stunning, she has a wonderful Southern accent that tickles my fancy. (It tickled my fancy years before when she played Ainsley Hayes on West Wing, too.)

So, I will continue to hate the CSI shows, but until Ms. Procter leaves, I'm afraid I'll be watching one.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Part of the Day

Long day today.

Honestly, though, when has there been a short day?

If I ever wrote about one, I don't remember it.

Ah, well, at least the work part of the day is almost over. Soon comes the laze around watching a DVD part of the day. Next comes the dinner and more DVD part. Then the read in bed part. And finally the sleep part.

How unfortunate it starts again a few hours later.

Monday, May 05, 2008

sick, sweet, tight, wicked, crazy, dope, gnarly, sex, shit, bad, insane, phat, awesome, the shit, badass, killer

To say that I've been in a crappy mood for the past six or so weeks would be like saying only some tuna is eaten each year.

I don't know what started it, but I do know how it was exacerbated in late March and since then, I haven't been able to shake the thing.

Also, there are the people at work.

There are three guys near my age. The youngest is maybe two years younger and the oldest is maybe six moths older than me.

When our office was upstairs, I was separated from the other guys by an aisle. Here, I'm place between two of them and they like to talk to each other. That would be okay if they talked about a variety of topics, and they don't.

They talk about video games. All. The. Time.

For most of April they talked about getting new maps for Call of Duty. It was always, "Hey have you downloaded the new maps?" "Nah, I couldn't get on." "Oh, man, they are so sick." "Yeah?" "Yeah. I found this place where I could sit and snipe. I burned so many last night." "Dude?" "Yeah." And me, in the middle trying not to rip my hair out or jump up screaming before I run out of the office.

Okay, so I can occasionally join in, but it's mostly to ask about hardware and the capabilities of the machines and reaction to the controls and such. I don't care about the games.

Then, last week, it got worse. The new Grand Theft Auto came out. Now it's all I hear about. I hear lots of "Did you do... ?" and "Have you got... ?" and "What's up with... ?" and "Did you meet... ?" and "It was so sick when... ." And I am already fucking tired of it.

Yeah, I understand being excited about something. Yeah, I understand really enjoying something. And yeah, I understand wanting to talk about these things with other people who enjoy them, too. I get it. Really.

My problem is when it's the only thing these people talk about.

Well, that's totally true, they do, occasionally, talk about work, but as soon as that's over, the talk moves to a game. The talk about the game last at least three times as long as the work talk did. And everything is "hella" this and "hella" that.

And then they do it again and hour later. And an hour after that. And an hour after than. And when they get back from lunch. And when I get back from lunch. And then... And then... And then...

And then I want to drive my head through the plate glass windows.

Friday, May 02, 2008

"All The Odds Are In My Favor"

I knew this girl who loved Cabaret.

We had a class together in college. It was 20th Century American Drama, which always struck me as silly because before the 20th century, the United States didn't produce much original theater, other than Vaudeville, and that's not exactly fully scripted before the company went on stage. I mean, the US had to discover its own unique sort of prose and poetry before it could move properly into drama, and we didn't find either prose or poetry until the late 1850s and they didn't really blossom until after the Civil War. Hell, the US had to have a critic stand up and ask where the American poets were and who was going to be The Poet to lead the writers of the US out from under the shadow of Europe and into the sun so it could become its own being. Lucky for him, and us, there was a poet who was both conceded enough and good enough to stand up and say, "Hey, I'm over here, brah." But the playwrights took longer even. They had to find places to stage their visions and backers who were willing to produce the plays and actors willing to perform. With all that outside money and influence involved, it's hard to not just write what you know will sell. It happened, though, but not much before the 20th century came to pass I think if there had been a 19th Century American Drama class, it would have lasted three sessions: 1) Introduce class and hand out syllabus. 2) Discuss readings. 3) Turn in final paper and take only test on readings. You probably wouldn't get much interesting insight on the readings, either

Anyway, we had a class together, but that's not where we met. Not really.

We met in the hallway outside the classroom.

I, being me, never knew what to do between classes, especially if I had an hour or more to wait. Other people probably went and bought a snack or met friends or lounged around on some patch of shady grass or Frisbeed the time away, I didn't, though. (I was so popular that I wasn't invited to the New Year's party that was thrown in the house I lived in by a friend I'd know since we were sophomores in high school that included lots of old friends. Yeah, I was that popular.) I'd go to building my next class was in and if there was a class in the room I'd plunk myself down on the floor in the hall across from the door. Usually, I was by myself until ten or so minutes before class started, but the second day of this class, about five minutes after I sat down, a girl sat across from me.

I was reading. I don't know what, exactly. Sometimes I read something for fun. Sometimes I was doing the reading for the class before class. And sometimes I'd read stuff for the class that I just left. She pulled out some big text book that I knew wasn't for the class we shared and started highlighting. I went back to my reading. Eventually, others came and we all headed into class.

The next class I got there first again, but when she got there she pulled out the reading for our class. After a while, she asked me what I thought about some character and I blah-blahed for a bit and then said that something, I don't know what, reminded me of Cliff from Cabaret.

She looked up, and for the first time looked me in the eyes. "You know Cabaret?" she asked.

"Yeah," I said. "It's a great movie."

"It's my favorite," she said.


"Anything. I mean, I love Liza, but that show. God." She looked off, sort of above my head and to my right. "The songs. Christ. It's just amazing."

"So, you've seen it?" I asked. "I mean the play? With all the songs? 'Cause I've only seen the movie and I know they cut a lot of 'em."

"I've seen it," she said, looking at me again. "We performed it at our high school."

"Really? In high school?"

"Yeah, we had this great drama teacher."

And we chatted on for the rest of the hour. Not about school, but about a play and a movie that we both enjoyed. When we got into class I sat where I liked to sit and she sat next to a guy who was, and probably still is, much prettier than me. It was okay, though, it's not like we were friends.

Then next time she got right down to it and asked me my name and major. After I told her I asked her what her major was, as is the proper procedure in this kind of college conversation.

And so, we started talking. Soon the talking turned away from school related stuff and toward other things. I probably learned more about her than she did about me. I often listened more than I spoke; it's just the way that I am. I learned why she choose her major and what she'd rather have been doing. What kind of men she liked. Her drinking habits. Her occasional job. Her current job. About the guy she was sort of/not quite dating, but they stayed up one night to watch the sun rise and he both tortured and titillated her. Where she wanted to be five years after graduation. Where she expected to be five years after graduations. And there was more.

It's not like she did all the talking. She listened to me talk about my family and friends. I told her about what I hoped to do after college. She's the only person who knew the beats of the novel I wanted to write. And other things that I didn't often speak easily about to anyone. It was okay with her. Safe.

After a few weeks, I understood why she liked Cabaret so much. She wanted to be Sally Bowles. She wanted the freedom that Sally appears to have. She wanted the ability to shut out everything that didn't have to do with her immediate wants. She wanted to be away from all the things that bothered her and be surrounded by pretty things and pretty people. Her problem was that she couldn't ignore the world around her like Sally could. She noticed changes in the world and took many of them to heart.

Some days, another girl from the class would show up and sit across from me, next to the one who liked Cabaret. When that happened, we didn't talk anymore. It was okay, though, it's not like we were friends.

One day, she talked a lot about her job. She was a waitress at a cafe where all the waiters and waitresses sang for the diners, mostly stuff from musicals because that's what the diners knew. She told me that the head piano player, who was also the guy in charge of all the music, tapped her to sing "Maybe This Time." There a light in her eyes that I'd never seen before in the weeks since we'd met. It was the first time I'd seen her truly excited over anything. It made her beautiful.

Six sessions from the end of the classes, I decided to ask her out to go for coffee or a movie or even a drink, which I didn't do. Five sessions from the end, I chickened out. Four sessions from the end, I caught her after class to ask her, but before I could, she let me know how much she appreciated me and in what way, and while she meant it as a compliment, a nice thing, it didn't feel that way to me, though. It still doesn't. I didn't ask. And for the last three sessions, I spent my hour elsewhere.

After the final, the next time I saw her was six or seven weeks into the next quarter. She spotted me as I crossed from the quad to the sidewalk by the library and called out. I walked up to her. She told me about the day the piano player turned to her, smiled, and nodded and she first sang "Maybe This Time" in front of an audience. She succeeded beyond her own expectations and I was excited for her. We stood on the corner blocking foot traffic for forty-five minutes, just talking. In the end, I gave her my phone number because she said we should get together and just talk some more.

She never called. It's okay, though. It's not like we were ever really friends.