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Monday, April 30, 2007

Wii, Wii, Wii, All The Way Home

Because I'm a total whore for a pun...

The wife's birthday week kicked off in fine fashion, because she had a nice little package arrive in today's mail.

Awhile back, K expressed what I would consider the most random of interests in owning a Wii, which was odd to me since we've never played a video game in the 3 years we've been together, and the only evidence of a history of gaming in her life is a box I remember seeing in the top of the media closet hidden behind a stack of dusty VHS tapes, which contains what is evidently a Nintendo 64 system and a handful of cartridges according to the box label.

I thought very little of it when she mentioned wanting one, because out here in the middle of West Texas there's not really one to be easily had as Best Buy runs through whatever handful they get in each week in a matter of hours from what I've heard discussed amongst their disappointed customers. I figured it was a weird curiousity on her part about the game system itself that was making so much news, and kinda forgot about it for a couple days.

She then mentions in passing that she'd gotten on some kinda waiting list online to buy one, along with some kinda accessory and game bundle, and I again figured that nothing would come of it, as the things are in short supply.

Behold Your Japanese Overlord...Long story not even close to short, we are now the proud owners of a Wii and all the trimmings, and I don't even want to know how much money she spent on it, considering how little I anticipate it being used, but it was her little birthday treat to herself and she's quite pleased with it, so I'm glad she's happy.

We spent the afternoon playing around with the different games in the assortment of what came with the system and what was in the bundle of stuff she bought, and as someone who never really played video games in my youth, I have to admit to being quite impressed with the wireless controllers, they are amazingly responsive. I will also say that playing the lil' boxing game included in the sports pack, and basically shadow boxing with the controllers in mid air for a couple rounds is a pretty damned decent aerobic workout, and I'm fairly certian my shoulders will be sore tomorrow from the effort.

The dog doesn't quite know what to make of the wireless handheld device, and has been barking at us while we've played, I think it might be that she sees us swinging it about and thinks we're trying to play fetch with it but refuse to throw the damned thing.

Once we get the wife's birthday taken care of later in the week and get things back to normal around the house, I suppose I can look into some sort of horror-themed game to try and give myself the willies with on the new device, but from what I've looked into tonight there's not a lot out there right now.

Be seeing you (possibly suffering from Wii-elbow).

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

It Couldn't Have Been That Simple...

I spoke with an uncle this afternoon who called after reading the recent mention of trouble with the wireless connection in the house, telling me that he's had similar problems and suggesting an anti-spyware program that cleared it up for him. I downloaded and installed things, crawled around under the desk reconnecting the router and whatnot through the cable modem, checked the status, to find no change whatsoever, because that would've been too simple, really.

Instead, I will probably need to be on hold with the router's tech people for an hour+ tomorrow afternoon only to find out that nothing's under warranty and I have a festive blue paperweight that has a couple of cute little antennas on it but is otherwise useless to me for anything involving the interweb.

Grrr.

I actually worked out a bit today, just light weights again, which seems to have worked out the initial soreness that I thought would never leave, and that helped with the frustration of the computer issues. I suppose I should just be thankful that the PC connection is fine, as the whole thing could've easily gone tits up on me and left me completely web-free, which would sucketh mightily.

The unseasonably rainy day today had my little ivys planted a few weeks back in danger of floating away, the entire flower bed was level with water most of the day, as this is something of a desert, and any rain tends to not really soak in but instead quickly gather into flash flood type situations. The chickens spent the entire day in their building, seldom seen but crowing occasionally, with what I'd like to amuse myself with thinking were typical poultry-fiction cries of the sky falling or something equally apocolyptic.

Our Ideal...The weather also has me thinking about the proposed changes I've been mulling over for the back yard, and I found myself Googling plans for flowerbeds tonight, and one of the sites actually had a plan I think I could possibly get behind (as I see myself doing all of the work), so we'll see how that turns out. I'd really like to give it a shot, but it's nothing I've ever attempted before and I'd rather die than completely cock it up to the point that the yard looks weird when we're trying to sell the house eventually.

"So what happened here in the back yard?"

"We had to fire a gardner, he was completely unreliable...anyway, let me show you this lovely skylight here in the kitchen."

The only thing that makes me truly apprehensive about this idea (aside from the back-breaking labor involved) is the fact that we have a sprinkler system in the yard, as well as soakers along the back fence that I plan on running this bed along, which could prove tricky to work around when clearing out the existing grass and soil, and I'm not sure what effect completely burying them would have if we add a great deal of topsoil over them. I mean, presumably the water pressure would still drizzle water into the bed area, but I don't know if it might clog or cause problems eventually if completely covered.

Most amusingly, one site suggested using all manner of found materials to border a bed, up to and including: old roof slates, broken concrete, tree branches(!), glass bottles, or bales of hay(?). Puzzling over that information made me think that we tend to throw away any number of bags of trash each week, fuckit, I might as well just use the bagged garbage and save myself a lot of hassle, I mean if discarded branches and soon to be broken glass bottles pass for edging, who cares anymore, right? Maybe I could also find an old dashboard from an abandoned car, steal a tombstone or two from the lonely part of the cemetery where they bury the indigent, just generally run wild with the idea of the Sanford And Son school of landscaping.

I suppose I'm officially old now; to paraphrase something Bill Hicks once said: pretty soon I'll start caring about my lawn.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Too Tired To Be Clever

I am tired as hell tonight, and feeling the same old boredom with the writing routine that was plaguing me earlier in the week. I don't know what my major malfunction is of late, I haven't written anything for the Big Suck Loser in over two weeks, which for me feels like about a month, considering I'm usually sending Skincarver a couple new reviews at least twice a week on average, and I'm having a lot of trouble mustering enthusiasm for the daily posts.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, just puzzled about why I'm suddenly hitting a wall with my interest in my own self-imposed daily writing schedule.

I have a strange suspicion that I may be depressed on some level, perhaps the weird Mother In Law situation has wormed its way into my subconscious, as I've noticed myself over-eating (a leftover knee-jerk reaction from my youth, and why I was an enormous tub of guts throughout my teen years) and being very disinterested in most of the things I generally enjoy. The job has held very little interest in the past few days, which isn't saying a lot because it's pretty tedious work, but I can usually buckle down and get it done just for the paycheck light at the end of the boredom. I've also noticed that while I'm accustomed to watching movies with a good deal of interest, my viewing in the past week, week and a half has been half-assed at best, which has also led to my not writing anything for the BSL.

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm going to try and hit the rowing machine tomorrow afternoon, if only to pay for the ice-cream, cookies and other junk foods I scarfed down today because I mistook them for love. I generally seem to feel better once I get back on an exercise routine, which I'd attempted recently, then had the teeth extracted and didn't feel like jacking with it for awhile, and now I'm conveniently out of the habit again. I noticed with some surprise that I'm still holding at 248, which I expected to have been shot to hell after the past few weeks of bad eating and non-exercise.

Bah, I'm out, maybe I'll at least go out and run over someone with my car tomorrow afternoon so I'll have something interesting to talk about.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

God, Cards, And Baseball

I'll open the regularly scheduled garbage this evening with an epiphany I had this afternoon, and then offer a rave for the music that inspired said epiphany. If asked, I'd say that I don't like Christian music, I've never understood the attraction people feel for Christian music as a whole, but particularly what is called Christian rock. My boss at the flowershop was a huge fan of K-Love, which specializes in what always struck me as the most boring, generic 'inspirational' music imaginable. As a brief aside, I loved running the occasional work errand in her Caddy, as I got to tune the radio to stations that had never been played in the car and see if the speakers would burst into flame when hard rock played through them instead of something Jesus-related. It's not even that I necessarily have anything against the message, I just don't care for the way in which it's presented.

Shakin'I had heard a band on Hellbilly Wreckhouse a few weeks back and contacted the band, inquiring about where I could purchase their CD. The singer got back to me and offered to mail me their EP if I sent him my mailing address, and the disc arrived in the mail today. The group is called Tavo And The Flat Black Thrillers, and the entire EP is old school hymns performed in a rockabilly/old school country western style, and as I find myself singing along, I realize I just need that same nostalgic feel of the veritable old time religion to inspire an interest in me. Every track on the CD has the heartfelt feel of classic Johnny Cash, the steady rhythm and amazing harmonizing that I recall in vintage country gospel albums, and I will have their version of I'll Fly Away (along with Dropkick Murphys' version of Amazing Grace) played at my funeral in a few years once the in-laws finally rob me of my life precious with all their drama and nagging.

Check out their Myspace page and give the sample tracks a listen, it's really amazing stuff.

I suppose the upshot of things is my realizing that I prefer the full-on hymnal approach to religion that I recall from my childhood versus some guy noodling around with a guitar and trying to find a new way to tell me what God means to him, which is generally less expressive than songs written 50 years ago.

Also in a strange nostalgic move, I found myself breaking out a deck of cards and playing solitaire at the kitchen table this afternoon, something I hadn't done since I used to do it on summer nights at my Grandmother's house when I was 12, hell I don't even think I've owned a deck of cards since then. These came to me by way of a bonus when you buy the Smokin' Aces DVD, which I still haven't actually watched, but that's what I do, buy DVD's to sit in a closet and wait to be watched.

But I digress.

I've never played any computer solitaire, just because I don't really get into the whole computer game thing on any level really, but there's something very relaxing and soothing about shuffling the cards, the methodical ritual of laying them down, cursing the luck when you don't get the right cards, and then starting all over again, and I spent a good hour doing just that this evening, remembering cool summer nights at my grandmother's kitchen table, the locusts buzzing in the trees outside (as it was plague season, what with The Reaping and all), the overhead lights buzzing slightly and the radio tuned to some local station that was easy to ignore. I also remember nights if my grandmother being up with me, also playing with her own deck and listening to the local minor league baseball team's games on the radio, which I never really understood, not being a sports fan at all, I mean shit, baseball's boring in person, how can you possibly listen to someone talk about a game where very little happens?

Quite ironically, we also attended part of a baseball game this evening, if only briefly. The wife's nephew had a little league game, and man alive, the excitement these parents can muster for a series of walks and stolen bases is amazing, as there were very few actual balls hit during the two innings we hung around for.

This post was like my All-American Trifecta, God, Baseball, and Cards with Grandma, if I coulda worked in some bullshit about Apple Pie it would've been perfect, but Grandma never baked.

Rest assured, the usual snarky asshole will be back tomorrow night.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

When The Hell Did I Buy That?

The Yorkie was dispatched to the groomers for a bath and general touch up early this morning, scheduled to coincide with the maids arrival to help maintain the dogs' sanity, as she met the ladies for the first time two weeks ago and nearly lost her mind.

I started doing household chore type crap this morning and noticed that quickly snowballing into a cleaning jag that ended up lasting all damned day. I got absolutely no work done (okay, none that I'll get paid for anway) but still killed the entire day by finishing a purge of my side of the closet in the master bedroom. I was looking at pants that I've not worn (or in most cases been able to wear) in at least 10 years, things I packed when I moved in with the wife that had dust on it and had me wondering why the fuck I was even packing it. I gave everything a serious critical eye, and if I haven't worn it, or think that I might wear it anytime in the next year, it got the boot, and I have four large bags of stuff in the trunk of the car to be taken to a local charity over the weekend.

I pulled out shirts I honestly don't think I've ever even worn, shit that seemed like a good idea at the time, but once I got it home just never made its way out of the closet.

The maids came and went, the wife left for a meeting in the early afternoon, and I started moving shit around in the office closet, because once I got that thing a little better organized, I could clear off some of the crap cluttering up the computer desk.

I spoke with the Mother In Law about planning a birthday get together for the wife next week, which I'm crossing my fingers for and inviting a few extra people, even a few I'd mentioned that I was maybe going to not have over (to allow them the luxury of not being in the middle of the family weirdness), in case the party implodes on itself somehow due to any party's (okay, the MIL in particular's) possibly erratic behavior. The wife hasn't really been interested in the party idea in general, but is now resigned to a celebration and is saying the more, the merrier so I need to make a few more calls and see who's available.

I love a nice party with a drama chaser.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Drugged Up Yorkie

The Yorkage went in this morning for a teeth cleaning, which I was alarmed to find out involves her being anesthetized for the process, which would be fine if she was a Great Dane or some other large breed, but she weighs like 4 pounds, so it makes me nervous when they wanna drug her.

My being worried was all for naught, as she was bouncing off the walls when we picked her up, and seemed to have even more energy than usual even after spending the morning doped to the gills. That dog is a weird little creature.

I worked this morning so the afternoon would be free to dick around with whatever other errands the wife might have lined up, so we had lunch, did grocery shopping and then headed back to the house to wait on the dog to be released from the vet.

Once we had her back safe and sound, the wife napped for an hour while I wasted time online, fielding commentary and muddling around on other people's blogs, and made plans to have dinner with Anastasia Beaverhouszen and her hubby (at long last, we've been trying to see them for a few weeks now) after the wife got out of a 7:00PM meeting this evening.

Anastasia is looking wonderful, as the gastric bypass has her shedding pounds like crazy, and since we'd not seen her in several weeks, the change was really wild to behold.

Once we got home, we watched a TiVo'd Girls Next Door, as always marveling at how little these folks have to do with their lives, but what the fuck, everything's relative and any number of people reading this would probably kill me for the chance to not have to deal with a nine to five job every day, so I'll just count my blessings and wish the Girls well.

In the same vein of having nothing to do with my life, I'm actually in the process of cleaning up a lot of random stuff that's bumping around iTunes, either cleaning house and deleting or burning stuff to disc. Talking of that, what changed about the ability to download music from Myspace, did I miss a memo? I have a handful of stuff that I'd discovered on there that I'd like to put on disc, and I went to search for some band recently and discovered that you can no longer download anything, just stream it, which is okay to check out a group's sound, but maybe I'd like to hear it in my car sometime, y'know?

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Charitable Obligations

The Saddest Fucking Picture I've Ever Seen From This Series, It Clearly Represents Me At Yet Another EventThe wife is always trying to save the world, and as such, I end up at a lot of charitable events, which always makes me compare our lives to those of Larry and Cheryl David of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, in that he's a curmudgeonly prick and she's the smiley, happy-go-lucky spouse who does a lot of non-profit work.

We ended up at one of the local museums this evening, the wife in her capacity as a board member having helped to organize an awards ceremony for locals in the community that were to be recognized for their contributions to the museum. She'd personally nominated one of our friends, (The fix was in, bitches!) a friend who does a great deal for the museum as well as an arts organization of his own, and we had to represent this evening to celebrate he and the other honorees.

I actually did a good deal of work on the current project this morning and afternoon, and in keeping busy most of the day I'd had very little to eat, so when I had a glass of wine tonight I was immediately feeling loaded like a freight train, but was somehow able to maintain my composure amidst the West Texas arts crowd, which consists of a lot of local rich bastards and a few really decent folks. The crowded room finally shifted towards the seating area and settled in for the ceremony so I had a second glass of wine to chill out a bit. The awards were presented by the museum director, who I have a fairly good idea is a raging alcoholic himself, his ruddy red facial coloring and odd squinting eyes even while indoors bringing to mind that rosey nosed Christmas wino they have ringing a bell outside the mall at Christmas for the benefit of the Satanic Army, or was that for some other organization, now that I think about it?

During the awards routine, the wife nudged me and noted that he had his hair quite slicked back this evening, I concurred and noted that I too can sweat like a whore in church when I'm plastered, which could explain his greased pig-like appearance. At some point a guy older than me, dressed nicer and who should have known better slumped to the floor with his back leaning against the wall like a petulant 10 yr old, which his wife/girlfriend/companion seemed to find amusing rather than mortifying, smiling rather than hissing in anger "It's an event for adults, stand up, you lazy bored bitch!"

The wife then thanked me for being able to stand for the entire 2 hour event instead of flopping about on the floor like a child, I assured her that I wasn't drunk enough for that yet.

At some point during the ceremony a sixty something woman glanced over her shoulder, smiled and winked at me, and while I'm not sure what that was about exactly, I smiled back, and almost leaned forward to tell her I wasn't drunk enough for that yet, either.

I still got it, y'all.

We dropped the wife's car off back at the house afterwards, then we grabbed a nice dinner at a place downtown. We popped in on the Mother In Law on the way back home, who seemed (God help me) better than she's been in a long time. I'm crossing my fingers on this one, but I think we may have actually turned a corner with her, by my still cautious estimation.

Errands early in the AM, so I'm out kids.

Be seing you.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

The Next Post (Or: I'm Running Pretty Low On Ideas, Kids)

I'm not exactly sure what's wrong with me the past few weeks, but there's been any number of days that the daily blogging has been approached with a certian amount of apprehension, and I'm still not sure why.

I think my biggest issue has honestly been sheer laziness, in that I want to plop my lazy ass down here in front of the computer and be entertained, rather than try (fairly unsuccessfully, by my estimation) to write something about the mundane details of my boring life that will be of interest to the casual reader.

Plus there's always nagging shit I should be doing instead of writing this crap, the actual graphing that currently passes for a job, household stuff, and even computer-related stuff.

For instance:

The wireless router we've had for less than a year has become useless after about 8 months of use, unwilling to connect the laptop, and when plugged into the PC it will eventually screw up the connectivity there as well. This has been one of those projects that I've been putting off and putting off, but with summer coming on nicely, and the generally mild weather we've been having lately, I've been thinking a lot more about the wasted money, because I'd love to kick back with a drink on the back porch while surfing the interweb. I think I may have to brave the tech support people who will no doubt find every way imaginable to infuriate me without actually helping me in the slightest, just to see if we can get that rolling agian. The original idea was to make the laptop much more useful to us around the house, instead of laying dormant between trips as it's done for the past few months. I need to get my shit together though, because I bought and had a friend install the wireless set-up about a day before our wedding last year, so I'm fairly certian that any warranties are probably about to expire in June if they haven't already, and dammit ta hell, I wanna write in the backyard while the chickens do their chickeny thing in the corner and wonder what I'm doing out in their domain.

I managed to get quite a bit of work done today, and caught up with a couple different podcasts during the process, a new Pickled Embryo, last week's Mark Kermode movie reviews, and a new SModcast from Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, which actually had a riff about eating a chickens' soul that had me startling the dog with my sudden laughter.

The wife and I went to lunch and then dropped in on the Mother In Law, who the oldest sister was spending some time with and slightly freaking out about over her behavior. Granted, the MIL is still a bit on the loopy side, but while we're not out of the woods, we can at least see the edge of the fucking treeline...of course the clearing may be full of misery and vomit once we get there, but it'll be a change of pace, right? This annoyed the wife, because her sis hadn't been around because she couldn't stand the way their mother was acting coming off all the various pain medications and sleeping pills, but now she suddenly pops up and decides she wants to take charge and set things right, after farming out the distribution of the MIL's pills to K for the past week or more, because she couldn't be bothered.

There's also a veritable shitload of other baggage that plays into any kind of hurt feelings or annoyances in this situation, so I'm trying to just steer clear and be supportive of K, because she needs me to understand where she's coming from right now, and I can completely see how much she (quite rightly) resents this entire situation, from the MIL to the sis and her on again off again involvement, to their other sis who hasn't really been bothered during all this crap because it doesn't really effect her.

I personally think there's a sparkle back in the MIL's eyes, and that we're making progress, but until she's out of the bed and acting like a functioning human being on a daily basis, I'm taking everything with a grain, nay, a pound, of salt.

Watched a buncha TiVo'd television today, but since I'm feeling less than inspired this evening I'll spare you the details. I'm off to do a bit of shopping online for the wife's upcoming birthday, and as with my blogging of late, I've got no fucking idea what I'm going to do.

Wish me luck.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

My Neighbors Must Think I Have Tourette's (Or: Again? You're Screwing Me Again, Blogger? Really?)

Infuriatingly, Blogger has managed to fuck me out of about half a post this evening, as I was writing along, hunting and pecking my little heart out, and decided to 'save as draft', only to be prompted to log in, giving me the sinking feeling that this bitch had lost my post.

And sure enough...

Fuck.

Anyways, as I was saying before I was so rudely fucked out of my post....

Something I try not to do when online is spend too much time in the neighborhood of YouTube, because I generally end up camping out there for hours on end, just sinking a helluva lot of time searching for any number of bands I've not thought about in years.





The most recent case in point is Placebo, who I got a wild hair to search for whilst looking over Nine Inch Nails stuff last night. Placebo is quite possibly the gayest band ( Not that there's anything wrong with that) I've ever liked, save for the Pet Shop Boys, and the PSB phase passed pretty quickly. My favorite song has always been Pure Morning, and after looking over their stuff on YouTube, I may have to finally break down and buy a few albums, the stuff is just catchy in that weirdly nasal way that you need in your life every now and again, and Pure Morning was one of the first things I ever purchased from iTunes, maybe it's time to own the proper album.

In an effort to return the flicks from those rental throttling pricks at Netfux that have been hanging around during my recent Twin Peaks marathon, I plowed through several films over the weekend, including The Notorious Bettie Page, which was an interesting look at the history of a pin-up queen who I'd always been aware of but never really knew a great deal about. Gretchen Mol was very convincing as Bettie, and the film looked great, shot in black and white with the occasional scene in color where applicable, generally depicting the cover of various magazines she appeared in.

Sacré Bleu!We also tore through Mean Creek and a French martial arts flick called District B13, which was pretty damned fun. The plot is generally predictable, but the action sequences are what makes the film, with people scampering up walls or flying through the air in grand fashion, it's well worth a look. If you've enjoyed Jackie Chan's work, or more recently, the films of Tony Jaa, make sure you watch this film, it'll impress you, and maybe the disc won't have the odd jumps due to scratches that the rental copy I had was afflicted with.

I'm out, kids, it's been a long, wine-filled evening.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Charity, Parties And Television

I went with the wife this morning to do her little meals on wheels run, which is something we ended up not doing last month, because the head honcho of the organization has changed recently and the new person gave her route to someone else, which was pretty annoying. This is a once a month commitment that the wife has had since she moved back to town about five years ago, and faithfully shown up for unless she was out of town, and always called if that was the case, so they could have someone else run the route, hence her annoyance at them deciding to give it away quite randomly.

We ran the route in a timely manner, and I drove while she did the actual delivery, as she's a much happier, sweet face to greet the general public anyway, and this also allowed me to get more into the new Nine Inch Nails album. Year Zero is growing on me, although there are definitely questionable choices on certian tracks (The Great Destroyer's weird falsetto turn right before the weird drum and bassy endpiece comes to mind; the out of place vocal absolutely distracts me from the rather cool sounding knob-twiddling bit that immediately follows it), but I've decided that even average Reznor is still much better than the best stuff produced by most bands.

I think my favorite track off the album right now may be God Given, check it out, it's interestingly dancey:



We attended a 'Honey-Do' shower for our friends Elliott and his fiance Amanda, who were some of the artists featured in the gallery during our wedding reception. It was an interesting mix of people, in that most of them seemed to be friends of the mother or relatives, rather than our age, save for the engaged couple and one other couple, other than that everyone was at least 10-15 years our senior. Not that there's anythiong relaly wrong with that, we just weren't really friends with very many peopl ethere, so we had a burger, visited a bit, dropped off the gift-card (they registered for nothing, so don't think we're lousy gifters, we figured a Target giftcard would be cool) and then took our leave, because the wife had a secondary commitment with another party that I was allowed to bow out of.

The second party was a wedding reception for one of the wife's friend's brother (Y'got that straight?), which makes him absolutely nothing to me, as I generally dislike the wife's friend and have even never met the brother, so when I heard who the party was for I had to play my supportive husband 'get out of jail free' card and ask "Is this really important to you?" and the answer was thankfully a "No."

I chilled with the Yorkage at the house while the wife made her rounds at the shotgun wedding party, a fact which also made the whole thing less than appealing, as the bride decided to stop taking birth control and then the guy was guilted into marrying her, it's all very Young & The Restless.

I got caught up with the latest Monkey Dust TiVo'd from the Sundance people, and a couple of old Tales From The Darkside just to clean up the TiVo and make room for it to suggest more shit we'll never watch.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

And It Was Shaping Up To Be Such A Nice Day...

Y'know the frustration that credit cards tend to bring, the late fees, the overlimit fees, all that kinda shit that they hound you about? I thought I'd put all that shit behind me and was on the straight and narrow, but apparently even when I overpay my bill and mail it over a week and half before the due date, I can still end up getting screwed.

I get a call this afternoon from the Mastercard people, who wanna know if I'm aware that I missed this month's payment, and assure me (since they obviously think shit like owing faceless corporations money keeps me up at night or something) that it's not that big of a deal, and althoug I have incurred a late fee we can take care of it right now over the phone if I simply start rattling off my banking information. I assure Miguel (if that is his real name, it smacks of a male stripper stage name to me) that the only way that 'we' are going to be doing anything is if he himself has chosen to get involved and throw a few bucks towards my debt, because I ain't giving him shit right now over the phone until I check into my records, because I'm fairly certian I mailed them a check last month.

I do some hunting in the little apothecary desk I keep my dozens of bills in, and note that I do indeed have a stub from last month, along with a check number that was mailed on the 28th of March, waaay before the middle of April due date, so I call them back, get Fran Drescher's older, slightly more nasal sister on the horn, who opens with the fact that she sees that I'm overdue, but that 'we' can take care of that right now over the phone, and since I wasted my good material on the other guy I simply tell her that I have no interest in paying her a dime via any method since I mailed them a check for more than the due amount last month. This means nothing to her, and I'm told that I can cancel that check and write another one, but regardless of what I do they can't undo the late fee that has been placed on the account, because they haven't received the payment. She also wants to know if my check has been cancelled or not, and finally grudgingly acknowledges that through no fault of my own (as I'm blaming the post office and not the card company at this point) the check hasn't arrived, so they could waive half the fee (which would still be about $17) if I pay by phone today, which I'm still unwilling to do, so I tell her that I want to check with my bank on the status of the check and hang up while she's in mid-speil about protecting my credit score.

I feel like telling her that my wife's family has more money than God and I don't really need to worry about my credit score because anything that actually matters is probably in the wife's name anyway, but don't.

Besides the fact that every single person I know who has 'ruined their credit' (the horror, the horror) now has credit again, so I have a pretty good idea that it's not as life-crushing as the credit company mouth-piece on the phone would always have you believe.

The call to the bank confirms that my bill, along with the check from late last month is still floating around in the ether somewhere, so now I'm stymied. I suppose I'll wait until I have the next bill in hand (which should be any day now) and see what the actual damage is before I call them back and start shouting shit about talking to supervisors and who I'll be willing to kill over a $35 late fee.

All of this wouldn't be so frustrating if I'd just skipped the bill, which I've been forced to do in times past, but dammit, I've been being very good with this type of shit for over 2 and a half years, basically since I knew things were serious with the wife to be, I knew I wanted to straighten things out and make sure that I had a handle on my own life before starting one with her. At that point I made a concerted effort to reign in any weird spending, and get all my ducks in a row, and now that's blown to shit by a lost bill.

Dammit.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Most Average Little Whorehouse In Texas

Hmmn, where to begin?

The day was pretty straightforward, the graphs, the iPod, the wife had meetings, I spent some time on the couch with Twin Peaks season two, disc 5. I drove through McDonald's for lunch tried to get ahold of my buddy Macguffin because he had made noise about being in town today, but eventually gave up after his wife told me that she has been ill and he's consequently been sticking pretty close to home.

The wife's father is generally somewhat tightfisted when she hits him up about the charoty's she's involved with, but one of her co-workers made the effort to see if the company wanted to sponsor a local theatre production of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, and he apparently bought three tables for the event. The premiere was this evening, and we went around eight, avoiding the live band pre-show, as well as the buffet served afterwards, and just arriving for the main event.

I never went to any type of theatre events before I got together with the wife, and I'm still somewhat undecided as to how I really feel about it, I tend to generally like it, but on the whole the productions tend to be overshadowed when at least one local 'personality' turns up in a role that ends up stealing the show when it shouldn't. It's always a case of a minor character being way more interesting because it's a local realtor or news anchor in drag or whatever, rather than just an actor who happens to catch your eye.

Tonight's production was no different, a very average production of what I heard as a fairly average script, most of the humor was pretty obvious and I guess I have a very critical eye for things that feel like they're spoon-feeding me the punchlines.

That said, I enjoyed a free bottle of wine at the sponsor table, there were a few laughs to be had from the show, and at least three of the hookers involved were cute enough in their skivvies, so it was an enjoyable night. I just don't think I could get behind the idea a hundred percent, though I'm glad the wife buys a membership each year so it's an option for entertainment and supports the arts, but we usually tend to bow out unless there's something particularly intriguing about the show.

Like whores.

Weird surprise of the evening? The cutest hooker to me was a shorter kinda thick Heather Locklear-ish blonde, which is just odd because, while I married a blonde woman, I tend to generally find brunettes more attractive. The blondes versus brunettes thing is further evidence that while we think we have a type, love will always come along and throw you a curve ball, as I was under the impression that my 'type' was brown eyed brunettes, and I fall for and marry a green eyed blonde.

Go figure.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is It That Time Again?

I sit down tonight feeling even less motivated to do this shit than I was last night, and afraid of trying to take the easy way out with a meme of some kind because knowing my luck the computer will have the same sort of circuit fart that it did last night and lose it, and I'll have no choice but to kill myself after taking the same useless quiz twice.

What else can I tell you nice interweb folk?

I got up early today so I could get some work done and put the finishing touches on the latest set of graphs so I could drop them off, get paid and pick up a couple more projects. I had a follow-up visit with the oral surgeon this morning, to make sure the extraction sites (or big fucking holes in my mouth, if you will) are looking okay and healing properly. This took approximately five minutes, but they made sure to keep me cooling my heels in the waiting room for a good 25 minutes just so it felt like an actual doctor's visit, so that was nice...

Had a quick lunch back at the house after I finished up things and put the call in to the bossman about dropping by his house. I did that mid-afternoon, hit the bank, deposited hs check and then wandered through a store for awhile to kill time before I went to get my hair cut.

The store in question, which was mentioned in the exhaustive and completely useless overview of what I laughingly call my career path a few days back, it's the very same store I used to work in, slightly remodeled (they made the store smaller, not the best sign of how your store is doing, y'know?) from the time I worked there. They sell the same assortment of books, music and video that they always did, and have come to represent everything I find wrong in retail: there's never anyone on the salesfloor, and those that are know nothing about their department, and one woman in particular (a department manager, no less) just generally seems put out to be there every time I encounter her.

I'm wander-assing around there this afternoon, and I pass a guy in a vest the same color as the aprons of the employees, but he's standing at a spinner rack in the book department, reading a comic book. I note the color, think that it's unfortunate that he'd be in a store that sports that particular color while trying to shop, and go about my business. A short time later I hear a page come over the intercom, something along the lines of: "Numbnuts to the bookdesk for guest service." and I happen to be down an aisle that gives me a view of whoever comes to 'help' the poor bastard at the bookdesk.

It's the same fucking guy who was standing in a corner reading a comic book.

And I always thought I was a shitty employee when I worked there, but apparently now I could probably be a store manager, based on my peculiar ability to actually do shit when I'm on the clock.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

2 And A Half Mother-Humping Hours Down The Toilet

In an effort to reinforce claims that I've made in the past about God possibly hating me, I just lost a little over two hours worth of crap I was doing as a cheap cop-out type post with another music meme, due to some random 'internet explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close' error message.

This is particularly infuriating when the whole idea was to Google the phrase 'music meme' and copy and paste something easy to fill in and not waste a great deal of time with tonight's post, but I found myslef getting into it and digging around for links and stuff, and not pauseing to save the stupid thing, consequently losing the entire fucking post.

God Himself Will Reach His Fucking Arm Through, Just To Push You Down, Just To Hold You DownI was somehow able to not scream aloud in anguish, waking the wife and dog who have the good sense to be asleep while I do this crap late into the night.

Grrr.

Picked up the new Nine Inch Nails today, had lunch with Robbb and discussed the state of his Cafe Press endeavor, which is going slowly but surely, I'm glad he's taken the plunge and is at least seeing a few bucks here and there for it.

So that's my day in a nutshell and I'm still so pissed off I can't see straight right now, so I'm calling it a night.

Maybe I'll take another pass at the meme idea tomorrow, assuming I haven't found myself unable to sleep in my enraged state and dropkicked the pc through the window by that time.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

The Elusive House And How To Hunt It


Today was a strange day, spent in a lot of other people's houses.

While I checked e-mail and looked into how few hits the blog has been getting recently over at Sitemeter, (for real, readers of late are like rats leaving a sinking blog) the wife made a few calls about the house we drove by yesterday afternoon, and we made plans to meet the realtor and check out it and a couple other houses late this afternoon.

I worked a bit in the morning and we headed out for an early lunch, then took in a matinee of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters, which was at the suggestion of the wife, of all people. She said it was because it seemed like the simplest of things to commit to, because you know it's not going to make a lot of sense, and it'll probably have a few laughs, which was exactly what it ended up being.

We met the realtor after the film and were actually joined by Scrawy McTall for a quick walk through, and while the house has a whopping six bedrooms, they're all on the smallish side, and the bulk of the square footage of the house is made up of all the weirdly located closets that we kept encountering. Seriously, it was as if they threw a door on every bit of dead space in the home and called it storage, giving the house a very weird layout, and that's not even bringing up the repainting that would have to happen, as there were more primary colors involved here than you'd use to decorate a pre-school. An entire room painted a weird bold Crayola green color, another a strange nipple pink, and another a vibrant baby blue, I had to wonder if the previous owners were colorblind or simply had a fucked up sense of humor.

We were off to another house next, closer to our current home, and more in line with the actual price range that we were considering, but it also would need a good deal of renovations and repairs, which would eventually jump the total expenditure up to what the asking price was on the first house. This one had less weird closets and horrible paint schemes, but made up for it with a nauseating series of carpeting choices and some termite damage that the house was to be sprayed for.

We finally adjourned to an enormous home quite near our current house, which came on the market just today and is listing for twice again what the first house we looked at was going for, an amount so obcene I can't even bring myself to type it here. It rambled on for days, had a pool and wonderfully landscaped garden area, but just wasn't grabbing us, me personally because I have a hard time buying a house so large that I'd have trouble finding the wife in it...I like being able to locate her in a couple shouts, rather than having to get on some sort of intercom system to get her attention. Plus one of the bigger selling points from the woman who was selling the house (she met us to give us a tour) was how well you can throw a party in the home, and considering that we throw a party about once every three months or so tops, and it usually involves at most 10 people, I can't imagine having a home that can comfortably mingle 150 people.

I don't wanna have to go out and make new friends just to fill my living room. Eff that.

Once we had time to debrief about the afternoon experience, we agreed that nothing in particular was really speaking to us about any of the homes we'd seen, and that K was willing to wait until she saw something that she simply fell in love with. For my part, I have misgivings about moving into a new home when there are still several things about this house that could be repaired, improved, or re-organized to use space to better effect. I've committed to the idea of seeing what it would take for me to put in a flowerbed along the perimeter of the back yard, adding in some ground cover and possibly something to trail up and cover the fence and green things up, as the landscaping in a lot of these older homes' backyards was a big selling point.

There's a lot of other little odds and ends that can be done to the inside of the house as well, just small tweaks and whatnot that will make the house look more attractive in the long run, and would make me feel like less of a jackass when we do try to sell this house. I'd have a hard time trying to sell the place when there's just silly stuff like loose switchplates that we've just never bothered to repair because it's not a high priority, so over dinner tonight we agreed to go through the house room by room and see what we think the problem areas are in each area, and then work our way through the house, possibly even culminating in some full-on renovations of a bathroom or two, as the tubs in this house are absolutely ancient, and not in a cool antique kinda way.

It's looking to be a busy summer.

Be seeing you (probably looking bewildered at Home Depot).

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Weekend Update

In a fit of random inspiration brought on by this weeks' marathon viewings of Twin Peaks, I elected to get us up and out of the house early this morning to pick up coffee and a dozen doughnuts to kick off our Saturday.

Amusing aside note, the gentleman who owns the doughnut shop chain that we purchased from today used to work for the wife's parents as a jack of all trades houseman when he and his family first immigrated here from Cambodia, and the man is now a millionaire (from doughnuts, no shit, who'd have thunk it?), having worked his business into a thriving chain of stores. My wife knew him from her childhood, for as long as he's had this business certianly, and was surprised when I said that I was going to order a mixed dozen of doughnuts, surprised that there was even such an option; she has always felt obligated to account for the entire content of her doughnut purchase.

I, on the other hand apparently feel completely comfortable leaving my heart-stopping fate up to complete strangers.

I was feeling exceptionally domesticated today, having suggested we also hit up the local nursery for some ground cover ivy plants for the bed in the back yard that has one single plant struggling its' damnedest to fill in the entire area, but it's slow going and he's only one plant y'know, so I figured we should get him some backup. We ended up buying a couple mixed pots of green and blooming plants to drop in the two urns on the front porch that have stood empty since fall because we are lousy neighbors and don't replace plants to maintain a proper frontage.

Once back at the house, we downed some doughnuts and coffee, the wife goes off to the computer to do some banking and I go and plant all the stuff we just bought, the urns being top priority as I want that done before the other neighbors start stirring and getting out into their front yards doing their own chores and then want to draw me into some kinda "How 'bout this weather?" kinda bullshit conversation that I don't feel like having.

The frontage now maintained, I'm off to the backyard to plant ivys and I notice that the little bitch rooster who lives in the rafters of the containment unit to prevent the others from kicking his ass has actually braved the world and is being tormented by his peers. I seperate them and allow him time to eat and drink in peace, and for my troubles he tries to attack me, which makes me really want to help him out.

I plant ivys and then head indoors, check e-mail, and post Saturdays' crap about what could laughably be referred to as my career path, or the severe vocational errors I've made over the years.

Stay in school, kids.

The wife is going to be spending time out shopping with her mother this afternoon, which is certainly a step in the right direction, the Mother In Law being up and about and all, but who knows how long it will last? I take a shower, run to the liquor store for provisions, then make myself a cocktail back at the house and start doing laundry which leads me into a weird closet purge that I've been planning for a month or so and takes up about a damned hour.

You Wanna Get Nuts? Let's Get Nuts!I finally settle down and get about an hour of work done at the table, before putting up laundry and diving back into my Twin Peaks-a-thon, and holishit that there Leland Palmer fella was full blown batshit crazy, wasn't he?

The wife finally makes it home and we make beef stroganoff for Scrawny McTall and Anastasia Beaverhouszen's husband, who has been referred to in these pages as Kno1, because as it turns out both of their respective spouses are out of town this evening. We have an uneventful meal and spend a good deal of time visiting, calling it a night around 10:00 PM, which gives me plenty of time for the web before being up quasi-early tomorrow for brunch with a whole new selection of people.

I have to say that between the yardwork, chores and then cooking dinner, today was quite a portrait of married bliss, and that's not just the vodka and diet Coke talking.

***********************************************************************

Sunday morning we're up and at 'em so we can be ready for whoever we can get together for brunch, which promptly falls apart, as Blancodeviosa has slipped a disc and is unable to attend, and Anastasia is still out of town, and Kno1 bows out, so we have Macguffin over for a nice brunch at a place downtown. We grab some coffee and a paper afterwards, and as we are about to pull into our driveway, I point out a turtle we passed down the block, so Macguffin liberates him for his wife, who has lost many a turtle from their back yard due to repairmen leaving their gate open.

The turtle seems antsy in his makeshift home of yesterday's doughnut box, so Macguffin takes his leave, and the wife begins to look over the paper while I check e-mail and return blog commentary. I also notice during my surfing that my buddy Bucky is using boldface type to great effect in his blog, and decide to shoplift the idea completely for my own ends, I hope he doesn't think I'm a jerk for doing it, but I like the way it makes titles stand out within the text even more than my usual italics. The wife runs across a house listed in the paper that in our local real estate climate sounds really too good to be true, so we decide to take the dog with us and go for a drive to give it the old once over, see what might look to be wrong with it, or if they're just asking too much.

The house looks really nice, but they're apparently asking about twice what the house we're currently in is presumably worth, but K is a friend of the realtor, and the family who own the house have moved to Houston and have a vacant house just chilling here, so who knows how receptive they might be to a low-ball offer, since it's been on the market awhile.

Plus, it's hard to not let things like '6 bedrooms', 'pool' or 'guest quarters' give you a little bit of a real estate boner, y'know? The wife has long dreamed of having more room to spread out in, and more rooms to commit to a library or a home theater/media room set-up, so we're going to try and set up a viewing next week just for shits and giggles.

I dive back into the middle of season 2 of Twin Peaks in the afternoon as the wife catches a nap, and then she goes to visit her mother in the late afternoon and I get a bit of work done, almost finishing one of the current projects.

Oh Just Do It Already!We checked out some tube, Simpsons re-runs and a new Desperate Housewives, as well as the season finale of The Dresden Files, which went out on a high point, but didn't really leave any kind of cliff-hanger type plot threads which I hope doesn't reflect a possibility of it not coming back for a second season, as I've quite enjoyed it, and the wife has oddly gotten into it as well.

And that's a weekend, let's wrap it up people!

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Things I've Done For Money (Or: We're All Whores On Some Level; Or: Working For A Living)

I was inspired by my friend Buckaroo Banzai's wife recently, so I'll appreciate your indulgence in a trip down memory lane, much the same as Pookie did in this post earlier in the week.

In the post linked above the Pookster gives a run-down of her employment history, which has been quite varied and covers a helluva lot of areas, and I thought I might bore you folks this evening with an overview of what I've done for money in the course of my life, along with a little pros and cons for each job.Let's Rock!

Let's rock!

Somewhere around age 12 or 13 I was frequenting a local comic store quite a bit, and during the summer months noticed that a kid I knew from junior high had somehow managed to get a job there. I was at least as talented and charming as that fucking guy, so I braved the idea of asking people I saw quite a lot (at least once a week for new comic day) if I could work there, which I would now equate to asking out a girl you work with and will have to see daily if she rejects you. Luckily for my self-esteem, I got the job, and worked in the main store part time, afternoons mostly for the rest of the summer, and saved a bit of my cash up so I could buy whatever school clothes I wanted and wasn't at the mercy of my mother's tastes. The job consisted of basically handling inventory, bagging back issues, priceing, stocking, whatever the owner really needed done. This shop was mainly a newsstand which dealt a great deal in magazines, newspapers, a few paperbacks and cigars, with a sideline of comics and baseball cards. This being the late 80's the comic market was pretty strong, and they eventually opened another store on the far side of town, so for a time my father would drop me off at the main store, then a few hours later the guy who ran the second store (which specialized in nothing but dorky shit, comics, and cards, not a newpaper in sight), he would come by, pick me up along with the daily cash and anything special ordered, and then we'd drive across town to open the other store, and my parents would eventually pick me up there at the end of the workday.

This went on for a couple years, which included a change of managers at the satellite store, and when he eventually got fired for shady practice, I myself somehow got put out of a job as well, which was honestly pretty fucked up considering I had nothing to do with whatever he had going on ( to this day I still don't know exactly what he was doing), but the owner had a new son-in-law who needed a store to run, and I'd never particularly got along with him, so it was probably for the best.

Pros: I got an okay discount on my comics, and could actually spend a good deal of my time at work digging through boxes of hidden comics, filling in holes in my collection, and had a decent first pick on a lot of cool merchandise.

During this time in I met
El Vox and Skincarver, who I ended up being really good friends with a bit later in life.

Cons: I was around 12 or 13 in an adult business environment, and got talked down to a lot, and the family business involved a lot of nepotism, which was an enormous pain in the ass.

A year off or so wasn't any big deal, though having been laid off for no particular reason, I decided to take my business down the street to the competition, which was problematic to my collecting, as I had been working for a much better stocked store. The owner of this store was also a former employee of my previous boss, and was supposedly fired in much the same manner as I was, so I wasn't particularly shocked when he offered me a job after a year or so of my patronage. I was quite shocked though, when he left me alone to run his store the first day I worked for him, because he and his family had to go out of town, and he had hired me specifically for that reason.

Holy shit, what a weird first day to drop on someone, a 15 year old kid, y'know?

This job was much the same as the other, except they were strictly a comic and hobby shop, which also had a heavy focus on role-playing games, about which I knew nothing, but tried to learn. The store was also a family business (drat) which involved the owner's two amazingly dorky sons working with me on a daily basis, one around the same age as I, the other younger, and the topper was that the owner also kept his 2 year old son at the store rather than at a daycare. Housekeeping was an afterthought at best, this was the prototypical strange-smelling nerd-filled ghetto comic shop that any fan of the medium knows well, and they've since mostly gone the way of the dodo in favor of a more legitimate retail image that most people tried to cultivate as the boom of the 90's happened.

Pros: Basically the same as the first job, discount, collecting, etc., and working within a hobby I loved.

Cons: Mom & Pop store, and all the family hassles that come with it, as well as the really disgusting slob factor of the owner made it a difficult environment to work in, but I don't usually shy away from cleaning and whatnot, so I just dug in and did what I could, making the best of it.

I worked for this guy for a couple years, possibly three even (I'm lousy with dates, sorry kids), and he eventually sold the store to a new owner. He didn't, however, tell me that he was trying to sell the place, so when I came in and saw a new guy cleaning and throwing away shit (like I usually did) I was thinking I'd been replaced. The upshot was that I was to have the opportunity to stay on for a couple weeks, part of the sale agreement was that I was to be kept on and help the new owner transition into things, and he might hire me permanently after that.

Kind of liking the rut I was in and not having a lot of other options as a teen besides fast food or something else of that sort that I knew I would hate, I agreed, and he was impressed enough to hire me, which in retrospect was the best investment he ever made. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the man bought a comic store having never picked up a single comic in his life, so he relied on me to handle all monthly inventory ordering, as well as keep track of regular customers interests and point out those impluse buys, he was a good businessman, and ran the store in a much more professional manner, but I know I built at least 75% of his business.

He eventually expanded into a larger building, and we brought in another store that specialized in baseball cards to help offset rent, and had two stores under one roof, though each man was responsible for his own inventory, seperate books-keeping, etc.

This lasted for around 5 years or so total, three years of one store, then two years with the twon in one set-up (again, guesstimating, can't remember exact details).

The baseball card guy wasn't pulling his weight in my manager's opinion, late on rent, what have you, and he had the opportunity to buy the original store I had worked at (which was a much smaller location, obviously scaling back his operation) and he's hired a couple other people at this point, who are eating into my hours, so I decide to stick it out with the baseball card guy and see if we can get another comic store going.

This unfortunately doesn't happen, as the boom of the early 90's has fizzled out and the business is getting pretty slim. We give it a shot though, and I do my best to drum up a clientele for his store.

I eventually am forced to look elsewhere for employment, as he simply can't afford to have an employee anymore.

Pros: Same as above, though I had begun to feel like chattel after awhile, passed from one business to another. During this period I also had the opportunity to manage a satellite store of my own, which muddled along, but didn't manage to drum up as much business as our main location simply because it was a shop we'd purchased that had already lost most of its' clientele to our primary store.

Also during this period I met and became great friends with both Buckaroo Banzai and
Macguffin, as well as getting reintroduced to both El Vox and Skincarver, who I start hanging out with because I'm not 14 anymore so it's less weird if we hang out, y'know?

Cons: I worked for a guy who, while more professional than previous managers, could be a really big asshole a lot of the time. He was a likeable guy, but he wasn't as knowledgleable as I was, so I ended up handling a lot of shit he couldn't for very little salary. I was still living at home, so I really didn't care about making big money, and I enjoyed the work, so it was worthwhile for a time, but in retrospect, he took a lot of what I did for granted.

I ended up at a locally owned second run theater that Buckaroo Banzai was managing. I started and was surprised that I could make a dollar or so more than I'd been making to do a helluva lot less. I worked mostly afternoons, because most of the other employees were students and didn't have the availibilty but I wasn't interested in college (hindsight's 20/20 kids) so I ended up with pretty easy shifts. Great easy job, free movies, I was living in high cotton, and then the theater owners sold out to a larger chain, who immediately dropped a huge pile of corporate rules and codes on us, and I got my first taste of bureaucracy.

One of the new rules was a hair policy, and I had long hair at the time, so I knew my days were numbered, because I wasn't willing to cut my hair to do the same lousy job I'd been doing at a second run theater. My biggest point of contention was that the wanted to present a 'professional image' to their clientele, and I wanted to call corporate and ask if they'd ever seen the people who patronized their theaters, doing everything shy of pissing in the corners?

Motherfuck your clientele.

Pros: Free movies, laid back environment, and I got to work with a lot of people I'd known peripherally through the comics stores, including Corinthian, Shioda, and Buckaroo himself.

Cons: Pretty sketchy clientele, leaving diapers in the theaters, shit like that, and of course the eventual policy change that effectively put me out of a job because I wasn't willing to completely alter my appearance to deal with the same lousy customers. I also wasn't accustomed to wearing a uniform, as the comics gigs had always been pretty casual.

I ended up quitting and thankfully got a job with a local books, music and video outlet, starting out in the receiving department, sorting pricing and stocking merchandise in the early AM, which had me driving from my parents house in the country into town at around 5:00 AM.

Somewhere in this period I also briefly worked for Bath and Body Works sorting freight and doing stocking during a holiday season.

Pros: My manager had boobs as big as my head, and I always smelled nice after leaving work.

Cons: Strictly part-time gig, as their normal freight wasn't such that they could keep me on after the holidays. Bye bye boobies. Also, another damned apron.

I worked receiving for a couple years at the video store and eventually got promoted to a job on the sales floor as music department manager, and was finally making some decent money. I also met a girl who worked the check out area during this time and thought I'd found 'the one', which turned into a five year soul sucking journey into hell, but that's not really a job, per se, so I won't go into it here.

I eventually heard that a major home and bedding retailer was opening here locally, and as several of my friends were either jumping ship to work there, or had quit to pursue other jobs entirely, I was finding myself surrounded by strangers and assholes on the co-worker front, and I opted to leave and join my buddy Robbb at this new store.

Pros: Discount on all my major interests, book music and video, as well as the satisfaction (God help me) of dealing with the customers who needed help and were happy to find someone knowledgeable. During this period I also picked up several new people, including The Dachshund and Robbb, everyone's favorite underground artist.

Cons: The rest of the customers who were just there to waste my time and try to steal from us, the usual assortment of co-worker assholes that I'd this far been somewhat spared from in my career path (such as it'd been). Oh, and you guessed it, an apron.

The new gig wasn't too bad, we were in from the store set and onward, I was hired at a raise from my old salary to be a receiving manager, with three people working with me, and I was at this job for about a year. The relationship (remember 'the one'? Yeah I know, don't laugh at me), well to be honest the relationship was in the toilet, and since she was pregnant when I met her, I had a child to help raise, and as things went south pretty fast, I am now thinking I started fucking up the job as some sort of subconscious way of acting out, because after being perpetually late for months on end, my friend Robbb was forced to fire my ass over tardiness.

Pros: More money, a few decent co-workers, and I at first liked the responsibility of the new gig.

Cons: Another fucking apron and uniform, lots of co-workers I didn't like, and after awhile I started to get really over the responsibility of dealing with the enormous receiving area that every department in the store treated as their personal dumping ground for anything they didn't want to find a place for on the sales-floor. Plus, our manager we opened with was as close to batshit crazy as anyone I've ever known, some wacky hillbilly woman who micro-managed everything until you wanted to strangle her. I recall her standing at the back of a 52 foot trailer shouting at me about when was I going to get some work done while I stood sweating and shaking at the other end and me yelling back at her "Leave me alone old woman, don't you have something to go and manage?"

I was out of work for about a month and the girlfriend and I argued almost constantly, as I didn't want to take the first thing that was available, instead wanted to try and find something I might actually enjoy doing. We had enough money to get by, but I was pretty close to settling just to get her off my back when, on the verge of working for a burger joint, I got a call back from a flowershop. I started there in early 2001, prepping flowers for use by designers, which involved stripping foilage and re-cutting them so they'll drink better, and cleaning up around the store, shit like that. After about a year of that, they started teaching me how to design arrangements, and after another year of stringing me along, I started designing full-time, which I enjoyed quite a bit. The job was pretty laid back, and while it was a Mom & Pop operation, the owners didn't operate out of our store, so we had a manager and assistants, and a fairly obvious pecking order. I've always gotten along better with women than men, so I had no problem adapting to the fairly unique working conditions of juggling the emotions and mood swings of 14 women, and I can honestly say that for the first time in years I was happy to go to work, and that helped a lot when I split up with the lousy girlfriend a few months after starting the job.

That happiness slowly changed over the course of my 5 years there, and as the manger's woefully lacking management abilities became glaringly apparent, and my desire to spend time with my new wife became less of a priority for the employers (evidently I wasn't allowed the option of working part-time because I had once worked for them 6 days a week when I first started the job) so I walked out with no notice mid-December of last year because I'd finally had enough.

Pros: Easy job, I found it quite creative, and I got along with the vast majority of the employees. And the apron was optional, so I was finally back to my civvies and loving it. During this period I also picked up Anastasia Beaverhouszen in my circle of friends, and she became that big loud older sister I never had.

Cons: Groups of moody women are a tricky prospect at best, so that could be tiring, as could the long ass hours around virtually any holiday. The manager's glaring incompetance and disinterest in my happiness whilst telling me how she wants me to be a part of the team was the final straw.

I was unemployed for around two months, and was getting kind of tense personally, but I've been lucky enough to marry amazingly above my station, and the wife had no problem at all with floating us if need be, wanting me to find a job that would be a good fit, and be something I wanted to do. I was unaccustomed to being with someone so supportive, and kept thinking her building me up that way was some sort of trap.

Lo and behold, Anastasia's father-in-law, a local geologist, had a business partner who wanted help doing graphing of oil field drill times, which is to be done by hand and is quite tedious work.

This work can also be done from the home, and pays by the project, and if I do 8-10 of these a month, I can make as much as I made at the flower shop working part time, but from my kitchen table.

I mentioned walking in high cotton earlier, but this time I have to say that I really believe that it applies, because I've never been happier.

It'll pass, I'm sure.

Pros: All of them, baby! The convenience of working from home, and at my own speed, free to hang with the wife, travel, whatever, seriously, I wait for the other shoe to drop every day, this is almost too good to be true.

Cons: The bossman is a little squirrelly, and I tend to think that it's because he too seems to work from home, but unlike me he doesn't go out and mingle with the rest of the animals as much, so he has a weird way of dealing with people. And yeah, the work is amazingly tedious, but having the freedom to break it up into one or two hour chunks here or there makes it bearable.

I've noticed that in my job choices, I tend to stay in a certian place until it becomes unfeasible, which is interesting considering how bored and miserable I found myself at more than one of these jobs. I suppose I prefer the devil I know to the unknown prospect of a whole new set of assholes, and once in a rut, I tend to stick it out until I can't stand it an longer, and this has been especially true of the retail I've done.

Whew, that was possibly the longest post I've ever wasted your time with, I hope it was at least vaguely interesting.

Be seeing you.

Tag, you're it, Baggy Eyes! , ,

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Aaaargh, Tagged Like A Beast Again!

This came my way via Bubs, and I thought it'd be fun to play again, and if I cheese out and don't bother to post later tonight, I've still stuck with my daily schedule.

What was the first recorded music you bought?

--Either the Dukes Of Hazzard Theme by Waylon Jennings or All The Gold In California by The Gatlin Brothers on 7 inch vinyl way back in my youth, I don't know which came first, but they're definitely the first music I ever bought with my own money.

Magnifishit Album, Guys...What was the last?
--Mythmaker by Skinny Puppy

What was the first "professional" music show you ever went to?
--My mother and I attended an Alabama concert at the community college's arena, and I recall my mother being really annoyed that the group didn't put more into their stage theatrics. "I just can't believe the drummer's wearing cut-offs!"

What was the last?
--The Reverend Horton Heat played at our wedding reception last June.

What's your "desert island" album?
--Toughie, as the tastes are always changing and drifting from genre to genre, but something I can always listen to is The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails.

What's your favorite album/song title? (the *title* which is your fav, not the actual album or song)
-- Today the first thing that jumps to mind is Feel Like Shit, Deja Vu by Suicidal Tendencies, which is an album I've never owned but was always amused by when I stokced it at the music store I worked at.

This Is How You Stage A Fucking ProtestWhat's your favorite album art (include an image of it if you can)?
--I'm sure I'm showing my age with this one, but Rage Against The Machine's first album is what jumps to mind or possibly Nirvana's Nevermind album.

Ideal choice for a karaoke song?
-- I've never sung karaoke in my life, so this is pretty tough. A very telling performance would probably be Low Self Opinion by Rollins Band, though. Check out the YouTube link and see if you giggle like I did when I saw Henry's lil white socks and black shorts combo...

Song you don't like that WILL NOT LEAVE YOUR HEAD if you hear it.
--Barbie Girl by Aqua, though I have a nagging suspicion that I may actually like the stupid song somewhere deep down in my soul.

Which is cooler? -- Vinyl? CD? Cassette? 8-track?
-- I wish I could try to score cool points and say vinyl, but I owned about four records in my life before cassettes came along, and I honestly like the convenience and packaging of CD's better.


Bloggers I'd like to tag?

--I'm gonna have to go with Skincarver, cause he hit me up for the last one I had to do, Pookie, because her answers would be interesting, and Yas, because I know that since she's busy maintaining three or four seperate blogs she probably has a lot of free time to waste on my reindeer games, right?

Be seeing you.

Tag, you're it Baggy Eyes! , ,

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sell Crazy Someplace Else, We're All Stocked Up Here

The movie qoute as post title is Ellen Aim's routine, but lately I've been feeling that they fit more than anything I could try to dream up, so bear with me, I'll try something creative eventually, if you stick around you might be pleasantly surprised when it finally happens.

The Yorkie was dispatched to the groomer this morning and the wife returned bearing Starbuck's, which was quite nice. I was relieved to discover that the interweb had evidently healed itself like a physician over night, and I was able to check e-mail and field blog commentary with no hassles for a change.

I popped in the earbuds and did some work while listening to a couple things on the iPod, an older Pickled Embryo and last week's SModcast that I'd put off listening to until I could give it my full attention, as I tend to miss a good deal of stuff when I try to listen to podcasts while blogging or surfing the interweb.

A care package arrived from Skincarver that contained the liner materials from a DVD he'd planned to send me, and no DVD, which I found peculiar, and sent him an e-mail saying as much. We trade e-mails several times during the day and I find out that in addition to the DVD in question, the package was meant to contain a burned CD as well, so I'm not sure what the story is, as the package arrived unopened, and he's searched around his house for the missing material to no avail.

Curiouser and curiouser.

The wife and I met her friend, who I've lovingly dubbed Scrawny McTall, as she's a tall willowy thin blonde. I've written about her in the past, referring to her as K's friend who has no sense of personal space, and will stand on your toes for a conversation, but today was nice as we had a table seperating us, keeping things a little more laid back. We discussed the situation with the Mother In Law, and how that's developed over the past few days, and then the gals got off on their customary charity related discussions (they both volunteer a lot) and I kinda glazed over a little bit as I'm less interested in saving the world than these nice ladies are.

Back to the house, the wife goes to the computer room/office/dorktum sanctorium to print up a bunch of baby shower invitations she's been roped into doing and I hunker down and put in another hour or two towards the graphing. I take a break from that and help the wife stuff envelopes so she can be done with this thing and get them in the mail, and then we get the call that the Yorkie is ready to be picked up.

On the drive across town I make a few calls as the wife is on her cellphone with fretting family members anyway, discussing the MIL situation and what they all think that everyone else should do to make things better. Grandmother is doing a lot of champion handwringing on this one, and doesn't seem to understand that no one except the MIL will ever change this, which is becoming steadily more frustrating. I manage to set up tentative plans for Sunday brunch with Macguffin and his wife, as well as a possible visit with Anastasia Beaverhouszen, who has now lost 55 pounds since her gastric bypass, so that should be a trippy reveal since we haven't seen her in a couple weeks.

We end up visiting the older sister on the way home, and then drop in on the MIL, who seems less loopy, but still isn't acting particularly normal. I find myself being particularly aloof and disinterested in her behavior, as I'm on a really fine line of just wanting to yell at her at this point, after listening to the wife field calls about 'what can we do?' all fucking day.

We split eventually and head by the house, dropping off the dog and the wife returns even more MIL-related calls while I check e-mail, and assure Skincarver that I haven't lost anthing, which of course is driving him crazy not being able to find anything on his end.

We have dinner with our friend Brian and his cousin Valerie, and then the wife crashes out after her three glasses of wine at dinner while I retire to the living room and watch a couple more episodes of Twin Peaks before popping online to update things and look into a music-related tag I've been hit with via Bubs from his Sprawling Ramshackle Compound.

Be seeing you.

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