Sunday

"Nah. Wrapping paper, not rolling paper."


When you’re a little lonely, and you’re driving around, dropping in this drug store, that book store (if it’s still open), that grocery store, that gas station... you’re just lonely out there, driving around, dropping in these places, and the people working there are yacking to each other - joking around, gossiping, complaining about their jobs, wishing it was closing time, making plans, etc... when you hear all this going on, and you think you can inject yourself into their world - their conversation - their scene - just because they are there and you have this access to them because of the nature of their work, dealing with the general public... They rebuff my ignorant, arrogant intrusion of course.

Tuesday

If I were to rate myself on a scale from purely ‘urban minded’ to purely ‘rural minded’ - I mean - whether I consider myself a country mouse or a city boy - I’m somewhere in the middle of the scale. 'Somewhere in the middle' is where I inhabit most scales and spectrums. I was a suburban kid... somewhere in the middle. Well the middle is a tough place to be. The middle has been disappearing for a while, right? ...at least the chunks of ice that I find myself floating on seem to be melting. I’ll skip the stats and sociology and so on (and even the structured thought) and I’ll babble this: That with all of the ‘with us or against us’ talk, and the recurrent headlines pointing to the growing rift between rich and poor, and the struggle for moderates... it’s tough to remain in the middle of any spectrum.

In the media and in society there are these character types. People are compelled to dress themselves in the garb of some type... such as: A. The Hipster B. The Country Music fan or whatever... The pull of these character types sucks the identity right out of you. Similar to personal politics - there might be one issue you feel strongly about - you’ll go to whichever side appears to represent your interest in that one issue.

You end up where you end up. I was born in Portsmouth, Virginia because GE opened a new facility there, my dad worked for them. I’ve lived somewhat urban and been lucky to avoid getting shot, stabbed or robbed. I’ve lived rural, and have somehow managed to avoid the ‘Most Dangerous Gamers’ who’d strip you naked and give you a fifteen minute head start before they let the dogs loose.

Sunday

I haven't made any friends in Florida yet!



1. My expectations for Florida were obliterated rather quickly upon arrival. I don't know why, but I just didn't expect it to be the typical southern state. That sounds really stupid, doesn't it?

2. I live in a county outside of Orlando... I guess that with these outlying areas - there are still families here who have been here for generation upon generation (depressingly similar to Virginia). They're suspicious of newcomers - younger newcomers, that is. I guess they're used to the retirees.

3. The friendliest people where I live are the retirees.

4. Metro Orlando is expanding - like all metro areas. I live in Eustis - an area that is reasonably accessible to Orlando metro (by DC standards, anyway), yet still pretty isolated. I guess you live as close as you can afford to - to the metro area - to your job. The poorer you are, the longer your commute. When you live so far from your job, your home life in the county is so different from the hustle and bustle and diversity and tone and attitude and utility of your work district. (My new boss is Muslim... and I'm somewhat ignorant but trying... but the day before we left for the holidays, I got to watch everybody who worked in and near our department stumble through their seasons greetings to my boss: Happy Holidays...er...um...if you celebrate. If not, enjoy your time off.)

5. I get here to Florida - to the Orlando area - and they've shattered their all time record for murders this year. There're more murders here than in Miami. Only Jacksonville has more - but Jax is way bigger.

6. The lakes are so poluted. There are signs next to the lake that warn you about killer amoebas and shit. Do not swim near the bottom. Wear earplugs. Wear eye protection. Even the cold water burns. It's all farm run off and industrial waste.

7. The one great poetry reading down here that I found, Speakeasy at Wills Pub on Mills Ave., hosted by Todd Caviness... it ended a few months after I got here.
I have had many jobs, as I have stated here before. One advantage of my transience at these various places of employment is that it gives me the opportunity to place amazing prank calls! Most of the companies I have worked for have had toll free numbers with automated switchboards. It is so easy to dial in, and find the extension of the person I’m looking to mess with, and go right into their voicemail. The people I like to prank call are, of course, jerks. That is why I do this to them. They are the kind of people who like to blare their voicemail messages on speaker phone - loud as shit every morning when they come in. So if I’m lucky, they’ll blare my crazy prank message, and not be able to get to the phone in time to disconnect - and people nearby will hear my message: I’ve got gonorrhea, you’d better get checked out soon. Or, here’s one: Hi. Yeah. You don’t know me. But until very recently, I was seeing your wife . . .
I wish it was ten years ago. Fifteen even.

Thursday

Maybe I shouldn’t talk about such dark stuff. Maybe people would be more comfortable around me if I kept things a little lighter. Here’s an example: I recently steered a conversation from the subjects of bouncy balls and silly putty, to the evils of IBM and their involvement in the Holocaust. This conversation went bad fast. The guy I was talking to, some I.T. guy at work, probably has mentally labeled me as a freak for life!

I’m always talking about crime or tragedies or the underside of this or that. You know what else? I don’t regulate my thoughts. I let them go to whatever crazy places they will go to. I don’t manage them at all. And here’s the goofy part - the reason: I’m afraid it will kill my creativity if I try to block out the scary stuff . . . if I block out anything.

I’m such a weirdo. I’d like to have normal interactions now and then. But usually - no. And on that note I’d like to point out the following: There are people who have not even been born yet who will end up yelling at you. If you could somehow see into the future and identify these people, maybe you could burst into the bedroom of their parents right before the person is conceived... and like . . . scream at the people... Hey, cut that shit out!
. . . better off primitive . . .

Monday

Today I was piecing together memories, and I realized how close I came to a particular ass whipping. I was mean to a guy, I bumped him - kind of shoved him - because I believed (correctly, it turned out) that he was doing it with my girlfriend. But, he was a black belted bad ass mofo. Luckily for me, he used his zen jedi emotion restraint techniques in dealing with me instead of using some exotic death grip. It’s easy to be all zenned out and happy and pleased with life and balanced when you’re doing somebody else’s girlfriend.

I came upon the realization of this narrowly averted disaster, as I say, by piecing together bits of memory from that time period... that time of my life was hazy - when it wasn’t incredibly foggy. I didn’t know he was a black belted, kickboxing dangerous man until well after I bumped him of course. I later kind of became friends with his friends, many of whom were kickboxin black belts (a couple of whom were also messing around with that girlfriend of mine too). They used to have these crazed hacky sack sessions around the corner from where I lived - all night - there were six or seven of these guys - I thought they were regular old stoner hippies. They were always out there hacky sackin: three, four, five in the morning - pupils so dilated, they could actually swallow hacky sacks in their eyeballs. I thought they were all peaceful, wimpy stoner hippie dudes. But they were fearsome warriors. So probably - if that guy wanted to - he could have brought his whole black belted, hacky sackin, acid tripping gang of crazies down on me with quite a fearsome fury - in effect - using me for a hacky sack. It’s just one of those times when I should have gotten my ass kicked, but I didn’t. I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me until now. I guess I used to think I could beat up six black belts at once and I didn’t give it a thought... or maybe I did realize it back then - that it was a close call - but I forgot that I realized it, and today while I was supposed to be working, I realized it again.

How often have you come close to getting your ass kicked? Do you even know?

Wednesday

EATING MY OWN REALITY FOR LUNCH (or was it breakfast)



You can’t leave home without checking the oven three times. Did you turn it off? Did you unplug the iron? You have to check your alarm clock four times so you don’t sleep late. And when you do leave: Did you lock the door to your place before you left for the day? You should probably drive home right now and check. Because there might be a burglar there now - stealing your stuff - because you left the door wide open. Maybe he’ll turn off your oven for you. Maybe he’ll unplug your iron too (so he can steal it).

What you are really doing is ruining your grasp of reality. As you convince yourself that: no, you did not lock the door, the very door that you just saw your own hands lock, or, no, you did not just check the oven already and see that the switches were all turned to ‘Off’ position, and you didn’t even use the oven this morning anyway, nor did you use it last night, and so most likely, the oven has not been on for two days straight just cooking nothing, approaching critical mass, preparing to burst your whole home into an inferno. Probably not.

The more you do this weirdo obsessive shit (these things are symptoms of a greater mental problem, incidentally), the weaker your grasp on reality becomes - The more easy it is for paranoia to completely permeate your consciousness... and soon you don’t even live in the real world - and you erase pieces of memory and so you don’t know where the hell you are in your timeline... Soon you’ll be doubting whether you did anything at all - and then it’ll be time to just have a seat on the sidewalk and wait for the help (that you need) to arrive. I realized the danger of this reality eating condition today - I was adding long columns of numbers, and I kept going back, “Did I add this one?” “Did I add this one?” Yes, I had, but I thought, “No,” I hadn’t, so it was sucking off all of my time and stealing my memory of reality or blotting it out.

Tuesday

trying on makeup just so I can cry through it

[Man, I’m in a weird mood lately - I’m about to get canned from my job I think. Rats. Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the south, Bob’s collectin cans, so he can get soused.]

Monday

Is phone sex ever really a good idea?
leave me a message
and after these messages
we’ll be right back
What about cubicles?
good or bad
I’ll tell you a truly bad idea:
Now that we’re herded into cubicles
tearing them all down
in order to
‘open up the space’
is a bad idea
also
marketing campaigns headed up by
people who have no friends
and don’t get out
targeting
people who have no friends
and don’t get out
who intentionally damage their computers
so that friendly people will help them
bad idea

Sunday

Maybe I ran out of interesting stories from my past, I've got nothing interesting happening right now, and I can't even imagine anything interesting. I'm just observing. Reading the news - barely reacting to that.
I'm sorry I'm not very interactive lately. I'm not going to kill off my blog (NEVER!) but I'm just not as active (not as INTERactive) as I used to be with it. I feel bad because some of my old old bloggin friends get back into it just as I'm entering a slow period - or new people start up, and they're really enthusiastic about it, but I'm just blah. I remember when I first started - I was lucky to be blogging around with a lot of other newbies and we were all blogging are freakin heads off and really really into it . . . but . . .

I am still posting stuff, but I am so selfish - I don't read other people's stuff enough. I had been operating under this rule that I made up, but then I slacked on it, but it is this: Post something and do not post again until I've gone around and read everybody else's latest posts. If you're talking too much and not listening to what others are saying - you start to lose touch - which is probably bad.

Friday

I haven’t had the true blogging oomph in a while now. I’m not comfortable enough at work to start the all out blogging campaign - not yet - but really - I’m suffering a general indecisive . . . somethin . . .

Like many writer wannabees (but unlike many other writer wannabees), I have been trying to come up with a Writing Plan. What should I write? Poems? Short Stories? Essays? Memoir? I wander around the bookstore - the BOOK STORE SECTIONS - wondering where I could shove something. Lately I’ve been hanging around the comedy sections in book stores. It is really more wide open than one would think. I’m excited about the comedy section because there you find books like the following:

This Book Will Change Your Life by Benrik

The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman

. . . maybe I could pull off some wanked out scatter brained variety book like this with pranks and jokes and weird plans and what-ifs and scenarios and weird bits of wisdom and knowledge.

Also I’m excited about books like the following which can also be found in comedy sections, . . . books that come from brilliant ideas - books which write themselves - or are not really written at all by the authors but edited - written by the public - like sociology experiments or something --- once they’re conceived they accumulate and form on their own - books that are interactive and so very in touch with the people who’d actually be reading them:

Suggestion by Illegal Art, Michael McDevitt, and Otis Kriegel

My Secret: A PostSecret Book (Postsecret) by Frank Warren

Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World by Davy Rothbart

All of that reminds me of this, which I find incredibly fascinating and brilliant and noble, and I wish I could think of something on this scale:


GREETINGS FROM NEW ORLEANS - An Experiment in Found Art


Right now, I’m reading:

The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford

. . . I like it, but it’s really kind of sad. It’s sad in that the main character is going through shakey times: cancer, divorce, weird second marriage - but it’s also sad in that the main character is a salesman type who totally encapsulates perspective buyers and people in general and just sums people up and pretty much reads them like account balance slips ... reduces them . .. and he seems pretty hung up on fashions and money and name brands and materialism - but I guess that's the characterization - but it gets old . . . I mean - his observations gradually work toward something more, more profound, but not really - not mostly - I don’t know - I can’t put the book down, I'm enjoying it - so I guess I don’t know what to make of it -- I’ll tell you this - IT’S THE FUNNIEST BOOK I’VE READ IN A WHILE - I mean this dude is funny - I think I first read Richard Ford when I read an essay of his about punching people in the face - I think - I think it was in one of those yearly “The Best American Essays” books - anyway I’m sitting there laughing out loud at his book in the miserable lunch room at work lately - with a table to myself eatin my salad and blah blah this post will just trail off into nothing right about . . . here
C3PO meets Fraiser

Wednesday

I could lie and say I've gone on medication and live up to this lie by using a method acting technique where I actually emerse myself in an imagined normalcy. That'd be a fun prank to pull.

Sunday

telepathy cuss out

Monday

An interesting factoid about Florida : They used to shoot Tarzan movies here – in the Ocala National Forest outside Ocala, Florida . They brought monkeys to appear in the movies, but some of the monkeys escaped from the movie set and into the forest. Many of them survived in the forest – eating what they could find. They maintained their numbers and actually increased their numbers. There is a particular tourist destination called Silver Springs where one can ride in a touring trolley and view the wildlife of Florida – wildlife which now includes these monkeys. The monkeys, however, have turned into a bit of a menace. They have been known to jump aboard the tourist trolley and rage on the passengers – biting and scratching at them, stealing items and so on. I heard an amazing story about these monkeys: Once there was a horrible outbreak of rabies among the monkey population. These already peevish monkeys took a turn for the supremely evil. Their sudden and terrible change of behavior was first noticed on one of the touring trolleys. A crazed, rabies aflicted monkey snatched out the eyeball of a small child and ate it right before the incredulous eyes of the other passengers. All tourism in the area ceased. Terrified residents cowered in their homes, and martial law was declared in all the towns surrounding the Ocala National Forest . To make things even worse, a tractor trailer carrying a shipment of switchblade knives wrecked near the forest dumping its contents all over the roadway. Approximately 70 monkeys swooped in and armed themselves. They made a mess out of the poor driver of the tractor trailer, and then they charged into Ocala, slicing to ribbons anyone foolish enough to disobey the order to stay indoors. So by now you’ve realized that... well, read here.

And then you might as well read about these lucky ass cats.

Wednesday

Temp Busted Selling Stolen Calculators

Who, in your world, is normal then?!?!

Tuesday

Florida: A State Full of Dummies

Monday

. . . serious consequences for slackers . . .

Sunday

Antique show thugs!

Three Minute Megaphone - An Event

More complaints, it’s all I’m good for lately: When somebody is talking talking talking, and you have to compete with the person to talk, they’ll talk over you, every subject you bring up - they have some comment on - no matter how uninformed - and even if they realize they are uninformed on a subject - they’ll talk and laugh and joke about that: “I know absolutely nothing about that, that must not have anything to do with anything, I don’t care about that, people actually care about that? I’d rather talk about this other subject - namely - me, and all the things that I do and my opinions. Why would you bring up something like that which I have no comment on, which I have no knowledge of . . .” It becomes a contest, who can get their speeches in, sometimes you say something, and then they start talking, they’re trying to talk over you, and you refuse to stop talking because it’s always you who stops talking, and it’s you who yields the floor to this babbling, hyperactive bratt - so you’re talking and they’re talking and everybody else is looking back and forth between you two like it’s a tennis match . . . I start to shut down. I start to wonder why the hell I was talking anyway. It’s just chatting, small talk, or maybe not small talk - maybe it’s heady stuff - maybe you’re saying important stuff - but it has nothing to do with the task at hand - you’re talking philosophy at work or something. It’s not important to the work at hand, but it is important to you. And maybe others in the room would like to join you in what you’re talking about, but that one babbling bully keeps cutting in on your pieces. So I just resolve myself to . . . what’s the diference? Who cares what anybody talks about? Ever? Let’s just reduce ourselves to mute fuckin animals. No need to have mutually dynamic conversations where each person present contributes and in this way each person present benefits from the knowledge of everybody else and everybody present gains an appreciation and an empathy with everybody else and everybody’s understanding of everybody else’s plight and position and lot and situation in life is understood just a bit better - and you actually have brilliant conversations while you slave away at work --- NO THAT IS JUST SIMPLY NOT ALLOWED BY THE BIG MOUTHED, CONVERSATION BULLY!! So I just shut up and do whatever I’m there to do - like at work. So the person who dominates the conversation - you’re forced to hear what they say. And again, none of the talk is important to what’s actually going on - everybody has exactly the same justification to talk. But this one person just keeps yacking and yacking. So I start making little noises: huffs, puffs, pshh, ffff, ssss, “gyawd,” “ah man” ...each time the conversation hijacker starts up a new thought - and they do vocalize every single thought that occurs to them - each time they start up a new thought, I go “Ah, man....” And they don’t know if it’s because I’ve goofed up something I’m doing on my computer, if I’m pissed that they’re talking again... so that’s kind of funny. And when a person is constantly talking about everything in their life, when they expose so much of themselves: A. They must be a little out of balance... like... mentally. B. They expose their own folly. One should feel sorry for a person who is A. mentally off balance. But it’s hard to feel sorry for a bully. And when they B. expose their own folly, IT GIVES YOU AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A LITTLE SNIPING! That’s right. Whether you do it to try to help them, or to try and shut them down a little, when they talk and talk and talk and talk and finally they expose a fault in themselves, you pounce. For example, the conversation hog might say somethin like, “God. After this long day at work, I have to go home and do my kid’s science project.” And then I said, “Why do you do your kid’s work? How’s he going to learn for himself?” ...and then bang, retreat! I mean, I should not have said it, because now she’s reeling - trying to recover - “Oh, well, I don’t do it all, I mean, I just get him started, I mean ... er ...um, he needs a little help...” And the conversation bully is suprised that you have interjected here - that you have questioned her or challenged her on this point. Why now? Why do I dare to speak now? And she’s already talked and talked and talked all day, and maybe she’s a little weary from all the talkin and maybe she was finally about to shut up and I pounced on this one little thing that she said so now she has to explain in thorough detail the complete situation - like she has to start at the beginning - the circumstances of the kid’s birth and his learning up to this point and pretty soon the conversation bully is telling you how she actually got married wearing a black mourning dress and combat boots that she painted pink because she wanted to work somehow work the bad mojo out early on because her life already seemed like one big jinx up to this point . . . .

Saturday

The bald guy, the guy who became bald, wasn’t bald yesterday, but nobody asked him what happened. They were afraid to. The guy who became bald - Bob, let’s call him - he had a run in at the barber shop. Bob walked into the barber shop and sat down, and he carefully made an accounting of who was there before him and who came in after him. When he determined that it was his turn to get a haircut, Bob got up and moved toward a barber chair. A guy who came in after him spoke up, “Hey, I was here before you. I just went out to my car for a cigarette.”

“Fuck you,” Bob said. “You got out of line. I know there’s no line here - officially - but there is a line. It's understood. So fuck off, you prick.” Bob was in a bad mood a lot lately. Bob couldn’t really remember a time when he was in a good mood, like, steadily.

The guy who spoke up started to get up, and Bob immediately rushed to where the guy was rising out of his chair. Bob had the clear advantage. Bob could have knee’d the guy in the face because the guy wasn’t completely out of his chair yet. Bob figured that would have settled things right there. The guy actually did sit back down.

The guy who backed down, however, knew the barber. So when Bob sat down in the barber chair, the first thing the barber did was shave a clean, bald path right down the center of Bob’s head. Everybody in the barber shop started laughing and screaming. They all knew each other - it turned out. Bob was new in the town. Bob shoved and kicked his way out of there fast!

Bob went home and finished shaving his head. He decided he liked it. He liked it because it was honest. This is what happens to people like Bob. This is how Bob should look. This is how Bob should present himself in public.

Bob went to work Monday, and nobody asked him a goddam thing. They were all scared shitless of Bob, and the new look just heightened that sentiment.

Thursday

A word diet: cuss words not pass words
Florida is a great place to learn how to be old. For personal reasons, I’ve decided that I do indeed want to grow old - no rock star life span for me, hopefully. I want to be mall walkin into my eighties or nineties. I have determined that I will never be able to save up enough money to retire luxuriously - or even comfortably. How much money is a person supposed to save up for retirement? The equivalent of five years salary? Ten? Fifteen? It depends on the kind of lifestyle you want in retirement. It’s the lifestyle crush that breaks people.

I’ve decided that I had better learn how to live cheaply. In Florida , I can learn from the professionals. I learn so much by watching old folks. Listen to them at the cash register, the little tricks they know, the deals, look at the stuff they buy. Look where they live. Look at how they dress. Look at the hours they keep. They know where to be and when to get there - to get the early bird specials.

Saturday

my thought budget

Friday

The cat is licking a looking hole through the fog on the window.

Thursday

This song requires a particular dance.

Wednesday

there when the yelling starts

Thursday

a social liability



Guns for the Homeless

Tuesday

I thought I was having a panic attack yesterday, but I realized that I was a little too calm for it to be a panic attack. It lasted about four hours in the morning. It was awful. It was a deep dread or mourning or fear of something I couldn’t define - I mean - I couldn’t define the feeling, and I couldn’t define the cause. From the time I set out for work, until lunch time, the feeling dogged me. Then at lunch I shook it. After that the afternoon was a fun one - about as much fun as you can have at work. Our supervisors were away so we joked around a lot, and we did the chicken dance, and everything was okay. Weird, huh? Sometimes you just gotta ride that sucker out until you feel safe enough to do the chicken dance.

Sunday

When I see skid marks on the highway, I try to visualize what happened. Some of the skid marks are very dark and vivid - intense - somebody hit the brakes very hard while going very fast. Some skid marks are crazy and erratic - wavy - curving all over the road - this person fought for control. Some skid marks lead straight into the guard rail, and the guard rail is mangled. Some skid marks are straight, and they go away, as though somebody hit the brakes for no reason. Straight skid marks and then broken red plastic from tail lights mean somebody got rear ended. Some skid marks lead right off the roadway. When I slam on brakes and I just keep going and I haunt the highways, I think I’ll tickle dozing drivers on their ears or noses.

Wednesday

When I lived in DC, as I’ve probably written here before, I used to put up stickers all over the place. I’d print these mailing labels with weird sentences and paragraphs on them. I’d stick them on the commuter trains, on the backs of signs, on newspaper boxes... just about anywhere. Sometimes I’d be in a neighborhood after a long absence, and I’d see one of my stickers still there - six months later, a year. It was such a thrill. There’s one sticker I put up on the escalator outside of my job. I had seen other stickers stuck there, but they never lasted in that particular spot. The cleaning crew was very thorough. Mine lasted in that spot for some reason - they never scraped it off - all the way through my last day at that job. I saw it as I went down that escalator for the last time. I bet it’s still there.

I guess it lasted there because it was kind of official looking. No art work. Just words. It looked like a warning label or instructions or something. Small print. It was from an old blog post, it said roughly the following:

What if they forced you to sit there and type up every single memory you could recall from your entire life? Eventually your typed account would reach the present time, and the words you would type at this confluence would be these: I was forced to sit here. I was forced to type. I was typing. I was typing. I was typing. Now I continue to type. I'm typing. I'm typing.

Monday

1. Astronauts as high school mascots? They’re not fearsome enough. Astronauts come in peace.

2. At the beach there was a small swarm of dragon flies hovering and darting around us, visiting - not really bothering anybody - looking here, hovering there, circling, zig zagging. Then a gust of wind came, and they were all gone . . . further down the beach, I guess... checking in on other people. I like dragon flies.

3. Even with your back turned on somebody, you can tell they’re looking at you - if they’re talking, that is. You can tell that their head is turned your way by the directness of their sound waves -- it’s like sonar.

4. A box of fresh AMMO in the microwave oven set on high -- no running start, obviously

5. Sometimes: You first hear about a particular school - one of those little old high schools three counties over in the boonies - when a kid from the school drives drunk and wrecks.

6. Space tourism. She laughed. And her veil floated away.

Friday

Crying? No, yawning. Yawning makes my eyes water sometimes. But you could change the radio away from that song if you really wanted to be helpful.

Sunday

Some random thoughts:

I’m allowed to write even if nobody reads what I write.
I like blogs that aren’t about anything in particular - just people writing about their lives. People are at least experts on their own lives.
Sometimes I have a hard time writing comments under blog postings that are poems.
Sometimes I have a hard time writing comments under blog postings that are very sad.
Blog postings that are poems and blog postings that are very sad are the two most important types of blog postings.
I sleep poorly on Sunday nights because I dread Monday so much.
Monday’s go by quicker for me - I’m so busy and tired it’s just a blur, a lucky blur where I don’t track time, and before I know it it’s over with.
I should enjoy every minute of my life - even 9:01am Monday morning.
Yesterday I stepped outside to try and spot the space shuttle ascending into space, the launch wasn't that far from here, I saw the last one go up, but this time it was too cloudy.
Other people had stepped outside too, but since it was too cloudy, we just looked across the parking lot at each other shrugging.
Last time a space shuttle re-entered the atmosphere, it made a loud double pop: POP POP - like double thunder - louder than thunder.
What if you could find your place in life early, and establish yourself there, and then, with the whole rest of your life - dedicate it to enlightenment . . .

I am okay if I earn at least this much money: $__ per __.
I am okay if I live in a neighborhood with this much safety: __.
I am okay if I have a car that runs or some reasonable means of transportation.
I am okay if I have enough to eat.
Beyond this, I don’t need anymore stuff. I don’t need anymore money. Give it to somebody else. With my critical needs met, I am now free to think . . . about . . . whatever . . . WHATEVER I DECIDE IS IMPORTANT TO ME. Religion? Philosophy? Sociology? Literature? News? A combination of all of these that I COMBINE WITH MY OWN THINKING

I just want a bit of time to think. I think I can earn enough money to live on, and still have a lot of time to think. A lot of quality time to think. I can even do some of my own thinking as I work. Some. But I can get out that door at a reasonable time and get home and think. I can turn on the TV and ignore it and just think. I can turn on the radio, I can play some tunes, and I can think. I can read, and I can think. I can make guesses about whether there’s an after life, about whether ghosts exist. About justice - whether it exists. About what truly matters. Whether it matters only to me. Whether I should be trying to convince others. Whether I should let them be. Unless they ask.
Go into a bar with two brand new pens and an empty notebook. Go at the beginning of happy hour. Go alone. Sit right at the bar. Start drinking. Start writing. Stay there as long as you can. Keep writing. Drink drink after drink. Fill page after page. Draw pictures too if necessary. Don’t say anything at all except when you have to order another drink. As you get drunker and drunker, and your handwriting gets bigger and wilder, and the things that you’re writing become wilder and wilder, and more and more people have peeked at what you are doing - what you are writing - and more and more people begin to point at you and whisper - including the staff - especially the staff - then, my friends . . . then! That’s when.

Saturday

. . . changing my name to a brief moment of silence, spelling it with underscores . . . the symptoms are there, but there's no condition. The symptoms: sleeplessness or fitful sleep, grinding my teeth during the few, short patches of sleep, waking and rehashing undesirable memories, sporadic irritability . .. but - everything seems to be happening at its proper time. I’m learning the new job - cramming so much stuff into my head - that’s all my brain has time and energy for - and this new knowledge - I know will not transfer to any other job, I’m useful here, but when this temp job is done I’m useless again.

Is my blog just for complaining? One day I’ll get on here and start out a post by saying, “WHATAGREATDAY!”

If you have free weekends and evenings, you should call one of these old things and just talk to whomever answers.

Wednesday

Sometimes when I’m driving to or from work, I see families just standing in weird spots beside the road. I wonder, did their car get stolen when they came on their big trip to Disney World? Or are they on foot and trying to decide where to go next. Disney World and the surrounding counties constitute a vast galaxy of points of sale. There are places to dump your money in all directions for miles: flea markets, bumper cars, airboat rides, helicopter rides, putt putt golf, bungie and other towering body sling shot type structures. But - It’s weird sometimes - I mean - they will be standing next to the highway and there’s nothing, they’re four or five exits from any of the attractions . . . standing there looking kind of bewildered. Have they decided to stake out these square feet of ‘paradise’ for themselves . . . as long as they are relatively close to Disney, it’s still paradise - and they're standing there - living it. I wonder if they are about to lose one of their family members to the allure of Disney - they’re trying to convince their dad or their son or their daughter not to wander off into the central Florida thicket - becoming a Disney homeless person. People come to Disney World to live homelessly - that is certain. I would. If I was going to be homeless, I’d do it in Florida.

Tuesday

TV’s Closed Caption Typists

You can tell when they get behind and start to panic
these strange characters appear - little squares, dots or spaces
question marks
TV’s Closed Caption Typists don’t apologize
TV’s Closed Caption Typist is not afraid to make a typing error
“Just spell what you hear,” they were instructed during training

I only use the ‘CC’ command on my remote when
I am playing music or just trying to be quiet out in the TV room

TV’s Closed Caption Typist must compete with the scrolling
news stories newscasters run at the same time they talk
I am taking in approximately four streams of information
five, if there are subtitles necessary
subtitle writers look down on monolingual TV Closed Caption Typists

TV’s Closed Caption Typist might have been a court reporter at one time
or just your average data entry person with bigger dreams
TV’s Closed Caption Typist has to do alpha and numeric
I would probably last approximately fifteen minutes
as a TV Closed Caption Typist
maybe TV’s Closed Caption Typist once tried to decide:
become a TV Closed Caption Typist
or read to the blind on an auxiliary NPR frequency

TV’s Closed Caption Typist will miss typing a phrase
to take a sip of coffee
sometimes the machine that the TV’s Closed Caption Typist
uses gets jammed, and it just leaves a weird splash of characters
on the screen all the way through the commercial break

sometimes TV’s Closed Caption Typist will type what is said in commercials
sometimes they do not - they spare us
I wonder how they decide.

Sunday

I want to be a better person.

But not if it makes things dull.

(GODDAMMITT!! Isn't that terrible?!?!)

Saturday

I will now post something to this blog every single day, no matter what. Even if it is only the ingredients for the Oats & Honey Crunchy Granola Bar I ate that day: rolled oats, sugar, canola oil, honey, brown sugar . . . . because my days are too few not to have blog postings on each one.

Friday

Half hour for lunch?!.?! You can’t do much in half an hour - I’ll tell you that. I take my lunch out in my car and listen to this ‘oldies’ radio show called the Nooner on O Rock 105.9. Of course, by oldies, they mean anything that came out before the year 2000. I guess if you’re fifteen, sixteen, whatever, pre-2000 is ancient in terms of music.

In the morning on the way to work I alternate between NPR news and this jazz station, WUCF. On the jazz station, at 7:30, DJ Alan Rock plays the Sinatra 3-Pack - three Frank Sinatra tunes right in a row, right when I am in the most intense moments of my morning commute. Maybe a more appropriate selection for the morning road wars would be Slayer or Agnostic Front or Bad Brains . . . but . . . you know . . . Franky Baby keeps it kind of cool like. Dig?

Work! They have a zero tolerance policy for internet usage at work. And that just plane sucks. That sucks and the seating situation sucks.

When you’re a temp, you have to take whatever seat is free. A worker is sick, or a worker is on vacation - you sit at their desk. It gives you the chance to tamper with all the stuff that they keep at their desk: if they have toys - play with them, if they have candy - eat it, if they have scented lotions - moisturize your entire body. I like to take their stack of sticky notes and flip about two thirds of the way into the stack, and then I write a weird message. They’ll find it in a month or so. Also, you can stare very intensely into their vacation photos and imagine what that shit must have been like.

Monday

. . . not in my seat much . . .

. . . mining our own dumps and landfills . . .

Tuesday

I did not have to drive to work for five years, before Florida. When I lived in DC, I just took the metro to work. The worse I had to worry about was somebody bumping shoulders with me and not saying excuse me. Now that I am driving to work again, and I have to drive into and through downtown, and back out the other side - now that I am forced to make these terrible drives every day - I get to the parking lot at work, and I park my car, and I am shaking. I am upset: angry, a bit scared, adrenaline drunk and bewildered. Today it occured to me that a lot of people just do not value their lives very much. Why risk your life so crazily behind the wheel? I mean - is your life that cheap . . . that you have to come flying up from behind dense traffic a hundred and twenty miles-per-hour and just weave weave weave through traffic, a foot or two away from somebody’s bumper - one hundred and forty in the far right lane so people can’t even get to their off ramp, passing cars within inches sometimes - leaving absolutely no margin for error. Are the lives of these people this worthless to them? I'll tell you what: My life is valuable to me.

Or are these people hopeless thrill junkies who have to be on the red line every time they drive - even through parking lots with moms unloading their kids and maybe a kid gets away from the mom when she’s reaching from the other kid, and the stray kid wanders in front of Mr. Eighty Miles-Per-Hour In The Parking Lot Asshole Barbarian and then BAM! Dead kid. What is the rush? Your job ain’t that important, pal, it’s not like you work in the emergency room. And even if you do work in the emergency room, why create more work for yourself?

I am worried that one day, on my perilous journey to work, somebody is going to ride my bumper on that last street, the last leg of the journey to work - they'll be right there on my ass, and I'll be fuming. They’ll pull into the parking lot right behind me, and I’ll realize that they work for the same company as I do. I get out of my car and charge up to this person and get right in their face and tell them that they drive like an asshole, and they’ll be stunned, “What? What?” And I’ll be right there in their face yelling at them about how badly they drive and how much of an asshole they are even though they are the chief officer of . . . whatever, and they’ll think that I am the out of control asshole . . . because they are so used to driving like a maniac, it’s normal behavior for them . . . I mean: I am not being a chicken here, I am pondering this equation that people impose on their lives and the lives of others: the arrival at work a few minutes earlier is more important than your life, the thrills that somebody gets from driving fast is more important than your life.

Friday

Those jazz recordings where you can hear the sounds of busboys clattering dishes and the barely palpable rise and fall of kitchen noise as waiters push through the kitchen door . . . this session was recorded at a really jumping restaurant, and the mics are picking up everything . . . even some of the chatter of customers at the tables . . . even the crash of some stoned busboy who has just annihilated an entire tray of champagne glasses because he slipped on some melted butter . . . and I’m hearing this recording on my car radio on WUCF, this great jazz station down here, as I drive down the highway . . . it reminds me of when I used to work in restaurants. I always knew jazz was cool, but I wasn’t into it. Like - into it into it. Now I am sort of into it. But only as part of a total, general, rampant music exploration I’ve been on lately. This exploration has led me into every direction - all types of music. Because there’s only so much you can do with the typical rock and roll lineup - drums, vocals, guitar - maybe two, bass. I still love that stuff, but I’m exploring other stuff now too.

It’s great. The jazz tunes - the melodies - the outlines of the songs - they’re already in my head - from those many nights lugging around trays and racks of glasses, cases of booze and bus pans - that jazz music was playing in the restaurants where I worked, sometimes live. I knew those tunes were cool. I knew they were important. I just didn’t know the names or the history. I still don’t know much, but those tunes are in my head, and now that I listen to this jazz station, and I hear DJ’s like Allan Rock, talking about these musicians and these sessions and the history . . .

Monday

. . . my crimes, sins and mistakes can’t be that bad . . . I wish I knew more about the crimes, sins and mistakes of others . . .
I pulled up to an intersection today, and I wondered, “What’s next?” I mean - I knew where I was going at that moment. I was going to Walmart. I needed a tarp, trash bags and a stop watch. I needed these things for this murder I was planning. Ha. No. The tarp is for our bikes outside, to keep them dry. The trash bags are for trash. The stopwatch is to get into better shape by walk/running a set distance more and more quickly. If you wore a stopwatch constantly, and you timed yourself doing everything you do, would you gradually become quicker and quicker and more efficient in all the things that you do? Would that really help? Would that bring you to your dying day more quickly? Or you’d just fit more in before you die? That’s just morbid and sarcastic of me to say. But what if you did carry around a stop watch and just know how much time you spent doing everything? You know?

I had pulled up to an intersection and wondered what was next, even though I knew what was next - what was next immediately was Walmart - I just didn’t know what was next in the way of 1. a job, and 2. writing, and obviously the two would never ever be one and the same even though I wish they would be. I am having a tough time finding a job, a real job, a job to earn a little ‘right now’ money so’s I can start paying bills, instead of living off savings, the majority of which is not at all money I have saved, but money inherited, money from the proceeds of the sale of mom and dad’s house, and mom and dad always said: Use it for your own house some day (which still may be possible) but for now it is paying for me to wait around for fickle HR people to judge my life up to this point and my potential . . . I tried this one job. I went one day, but I did not make it back the next day. I made up a fantastic lie to tell the people because some of them - I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, I cared enough to at least make up a lie, and I also wanted to try to stall a bit. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to quit outright, so I made this crazy spontaneous decision on the way to the job - I told them I got in a wreck, but that I was okay but my car was mangled (a car bought mostly with inheritance money, though my dad said specifically, don’t go buy some fancy car with the house money, I bought a 99 Taurus with just under 60,000 miles on it), and so I wouldn’t make it in . . . like . . . any time soon . .. or something . . . and then I didn’t know what I meant - what I was doing - why I was even calling them. . . and even as I was saying this outlandish story into their voice mail system and hesitating here and there in my amazing account and staring across this field which had the occasional clump of palm trees and a bulldozer already kicked up dust a couple of miles into this vast field and a garbage truck idled nearby (and it stunk) and already the heat distorting the vista and making it tough to breath, so that I am gulping between syllables of the lie - even as I said this fantastic lie into the phone, it already started to sound ridiculous, and then I hung up and just drove around tripping out about how weird it was for me to have done that. And then I got a Sausage McMuffin from McDonalds and unwrapped it and set it on the seat and just looked at it. “Accounting, maybe,” I thought. Maybe I should go back to school for accounting. Because, you see, this thing I wrote and sent to this journal - I have not heard back yet, and I put everything into it, everything I have, it was my best try, and I, at one point in writing it, mused that I would not write stuff anymore if this thing didn’t hit, because this was my whole life - my life’s most poignant moments (I thought), this was also my creativity completely maxed out completely - flown as high as I could fly it, this was craft in my best understanding of it - utilized to the best of my ability, my very best try at my most likely niche, and now I don’t know where to start up again - I mean this was it, and it is a major let down - I don’t know for sure, but it seems like it’s been much too long. And I can’t find a decent job. And Florida is not as terrific as I had hoped, it’s not paradise, and the other day I thought, “Woah, what if I just fuckin died and shit,” not that I want to die, but life just seems like nothing but a fuckin goddamn worthless struggle and for what? I ain’t got no friends and so the only human contact I get is the fuckin finger from some guy in traffic or some dummy standing breathing distance on my neck behind me in line at Walmart and my only victory today was judging which line would go the quickest at Walmart, which is a fuckin rare accomplishment indeed.

Thursday


I have owned some pretty old and junkie cars. It’s funny when I’m watching reruns of dated TV shows, and I see my car being driven around by some character in the show - but the car is all new and shiney! On TV the car seems less ridiculous and more significant.
. . . acting classes - to be a more convincing liar . . .

Wednesday

. . . can't wait to go to Cuba . . .

Florida: You'll see more chest hair than you normally would prefer to.

Tuesday

Florida: Were those your pants blowing by outside?
. . . eroding the earth like a good little grain of dirt . . .
"No. It's a waste of time not to be on the internet."

Monday

I was following links through Wikipedia, and I happened upon the following - entries for people who were born the same year as me (who were famous enough to have wikipedia entries):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:1971_births

I only recognized a few of the names. My generation has yet to score any real fame, I guess. That, or I'm just not very knowledgeable as far as famous figures go.

Saturday

Florida: It always feels like there's something biting you.
Sometimes when my brother, my mother and my father appear in my dreams, it is like they are returning to the stage to take their bows after the performances they gave while they were still living - like actors do after a play. Sometimes they just do what they did while they were alive. They act how they acted while they were alive. Last night I had a dream with my brother, he visited my room, and he dropped off a cooler filled with ice cream with a package of Oreo cookies on top of it. I said thanks, and he smiled. That’s something he would have done.

My mom appeared in a dream last night too. We were sitting beside a lake. I realized how thick the vegetation around the lake was, and as soon as I said, “We should watch out for alligators,” my mom vanished, and there were bubbles coming up out of the water. There were alligators everywhere. I started screaming for her, running around on the shore of the lake. After some time, somebody swam to the surface pulling her along with him - my dad I think. He dragged her to the shore, and I pulled my mom out of the water. She was fine except for a nasty cut on her leg. "Why did you abandon me?" she asked . . . Did I abandon my mom in real life, I’m wondering now.

Friday

My nephew is in boot camp. I remember when we used to shoot rubber bands at each other.

Thursday

I am still unemployed. One reason for this is that people only mean about 65% of what they say.

Unemployment is expensive.

Friday

Now that I have a car, I can avoid one of my least favorite activities: waiting at bus stops. Let me clarify and make a distinction here: DC had good busing (terrific metro trains and commuter trains too). When you are in the most dense parts of DC, many people of all ages and professions and clothing designs are taking buses, and really, nobody notices any one person for very long. But as you get further out of town and into the suburbs, people mostly drive cars, and if you’re standing next to the road under a sign with a picture of a bus on it, people tend to stare at you as they speed by. They can't stare at you for long, of course. They have to look back at the road at some point. But when one driver after another, or one car load after another stares at you like that, it becomes one long stare -- by a whole county. Standing at those ‘less urban’ bus stops, I would get little panic attacks or anxiety or super heated embarrassment or something like that. It’s like standing on a stage. Those suburban roads have just as much automobile traffic during rush hour as any urban road. Sitting or standing at a bus stop fifteen twenty thirty minutes - however long - maybe I had just missed a bus and didn’t realize it - so I'm standing there forever, or traffic was very heavy and the bus was delayed - and I'm there forever - sitting there, standing there, pacing there for that long next to a very very busy road is unnerving. It shouldn’t matter, but it was one of my weird quirks. I’m self conscious. All these eyes on me freak me out. I get overly self conscious. I don’t know why, and I don’t know what to do about it. It is just a special and unique ingredient in my particular brand of paranoia.

I remember one night when I lived back in Norfolk, Virginia. I was frequently broke as hell around that time. My car had just died or something, so it was buses for me. It was pretty cold around the time. In my commute I had to take three different buses to get home. It took two and half hours, sometimes three. At one bus stop, I had to wait half an hour for the next bus. There’s no other way to describe it: That shit sucked. Anyway - that particular night, I was waiting for my last bus, my half hour wait for that last leg of the trip home. It had been a busy day at the particular shit job I had - a call center. Well, I was pretty miserable, and I jammed my hands way into my pockets to warm them. One pocket had a hole in it and my fingers poked through into the lining of my jacket. I felt something there in the lining. I grabbed it and pulled it out. It was a half a joint. I said fu u uck yeah. I walked into the middle of the parking lot next to the bus stop and smoked it. It was dark and nobody was around. I smoked it down until it almost burned my finger tips, and then I went back to the bus stop and sat down and waited for the bus, a little less miserably.

I can’t imagine waiting on a bus down here in Florida - in the middle of the day - in 100 degree, highly humid heat with cars crawling by emitting hot exhaust fumes. I feel so sorry for people sitting there, and a lot of the time it’s elderly people or moms with little kids or babies. It’s rough.

As I drive by people walking next to the road or waiting at bus stops, I wonder if they are going through the same mental process as I went through, ignoring all the other life problems and pondering the same thing I always did: “Are all the people in these cars staring at me?”

Wednesday

A recent local news item: A woman was found dead in a chair in her front yard.

Did she know she was going to die? That was the first question that occurred to me. [Why?] How long was her body there after she died? Was it a calm feeling that came over her that afternoon while she worked in her kitchen - she knew she was going to die, and that was just fine. She felt a feeling she’d never felt before - she somehow knew she’d die, and she calmly carried a chair outside and sat in it and then just died? Here I am, come pick me up, I’m dead, take me away. I had a fine life, beautiful children, and now it’s my time. Maybe some people drove by her. Maybe they knew she was dead. Her neighbors and friends drove by and waved at her one last time, beeped their horns. Is this a bad way to die?

Friday

. . . the library annex . . . sleepin

Wednesday

I haven’t owned a car in five years, so, this car I just bought, I’m driving it all over the place. I drive to little beach towns and go swimming, and then I find the town’s little library and stand there in the reference section - seeing what they have: maps, local interest, local history, newspapers and so on. I stand there in my flip flops, a little ocean water still dripping off me. The librarians in these small beach town libraries don’t seem to mind if you're a little wet. Just don't drip on the books. I hang around a little while, but I’m eager to get back to driving.

A long, straight road is meditative - a road that drops off the horizon before it bends left or right. Heat from the road bends the light before it reaches my eyes, and the whole scene ahead looks wavy. Sometimes in the early afternoon or late morning, there are barely any cars ahead or behind. Then I’ll see a single car crossing the road way way far ahead. It’s like looking into the future. I’ll be there soon. It gets hypnotic - I get enthralled with the wavering scene so far ahead - I start to think I am already there.

I also drive through strip mall parking lots because that’s what the world has become, that’s what’s here. I drive slowly past the shop entrances and people walk in front of my car slowly. I look in each store as I pass - there are stories in each one. I drive around behind the strip mall. Workers take the trash out and smoke back there. There are homeless camps. Empty food cans, clothes, busted up chairs and bikes and carts. Dishwashers from the restaurants smoke weed back by the dumpsters. They look at me and wonder what I’m doing back there. I don’t know.

Yesterday I drove through some office parks, scoping out some work prospects, going at it a weird way. Instead of browsing Monster or the local paper, I just go to where the work is - the office parks. More people standing outside to smoke. Some people are out for a bit of exercise, a brisk walk with coworkers in their sneakers.

This essay is getting a little ridiculous now, and I’m going to go . . . My brain’s getting soft. Was it ever hard? This is my world lately, though. Just spacing out.

Tuesday

Florida: The water tastes funny.

Monday

I have moved to a perilous, hellish place! An angry agent of god named Alberto is violently churning in the gulf, preparing to chew Florida off of mainland America. I’m going to freakin die!

Nah, actually, it’s just a little rainy here, and I’m still unemployed with only my paranoia to keep me occupied.

Yesterday I read about the Stand Your Ground Law that Florida recently enacted. It basically gives a you the right to shoot somebody dead if they give you a dirty look. I mean: I don’t know gun laws or self defense laws, but apparently, before this law was enacted, you had to at least try to run away from perceived, life threatening danger. Now, however, if somebody is coming at you, and you can convincingly make the argument that the person was going to kill you or commit a felony on you - like really mess you up - you can just stand there and blow them away. You can’t be jailed or sued. It extends the castle doctrine - which itself seemed like a step too far . . . but the castle doctrine lets you smoke somebody if they break into your home. Because surely, if somebody would break into your home, most definitely they would kill you. Lawmakers are certain of that - that a burglar or a trespasser is the exact same type of perp as a murderer or a maimer (‘maimer?’).

The Stand Your Ground Law, however, gives you even more opportunities to zap somebody. You just have to say that you feared for your life, and this thing is portable - you can cap somebody not only at home, but when you’re on the go.

Saturday

This morning I walked outside, and there was smoke in the air. A brush fire had started earlier in the week over by Disney, and I guess it was never fully extinguished. Yesterday, in the evening, it was raging pretty good. The smoke smells like rubber burning - did the fire overtake a tire dealership, I wonder. Florida has a lot of brush fires that they can't put out. They try to contain them.

Is Florida more dangerous than DC? In DC you really only had to worry about crime and traffic. Terrorism too, I guess. If you are aware of your surroundings, and you take it easy on the road, you will do just fine in DC. Florida, however, has a different, amazing tragedy on the news every night. Yesterday a kid almost got tackled off of his horse by a panther. Two weeks ago a lady was hit by lighting while she was carrying her baby across the street. Florida is the state with the most lightning casualties. Florida has a high number of tornados too, but they’re not the killer tornados like the ones out west. There are the hurricanes. The alligators. An alligator clamped down on some guys head this week while he was snorkeling in some lake. Two or three women were killed by alligators this year - an anomaly. There are shark attacks. Florida has six poisonous snakes to worry about. There is an increase in murders in some Florida cities. Orlando, year to date, has already surpassed last year’s year end total for murders. I think they’re calling Jacksonville the new murder capitol. Drownings. Wrecks. A kid was thrown from an airboat and then run over by the boat this week. Florida is the most dangerous state for bicyclists versus automobile accidents. I’m doomed.

Thursday

The TV does not have to be on. Really.

Tuesday

This is my third week of unemployment. There is always a little anxiety looming as I enjoy this time off. The accounts empty quickly when there’s no cash flowing in.

I view it this way: When do you have a chance like this - to take this much time off? What do you get - two or three weeks vacation? When are you ever able to take a big block of time off?

The resume is out there on Monster and Yahoo Hot Jobs. I had one really hopeful thing fall through, and then I got so busy getting ready for the move. I didn’t have time to search for jobs. I was getting a call or two a week for jobs up in DC, from Monster and Hot Jobs. There are so many companies doing business directly with the federal government in DC, so many jobs, but, duh, no thanks. I am done with DC - I have moved from there. I got random calls on my resume from random places. Seattle one time. Alabama. Maryland. But there is not a whole lot of interest in my stupid resume. I had this headhunter call me. That sounded hopeful. He said he’d send me on some interviews once I got myself situated down here. He’ll probably forget me.

I have no profession. That’s what I get for majoring in English. And getting shitty grades on top of that. And walking around college stoned all the time - even the career development center - zonked, looking through the job listings for English majors: PR specialist, communications coordinator, reporter, teacher, technical writer . . . fuck that shit, I would conclude, I’m gonna go pull some chokes and go skatin. How soon is happy hour?

I guess it will be time to hit the temp agencies soon. If I look at it the wrong way, that shit is so humiliating. I have to take the software test - Microsoft Office - fuck - I’ve taken it so many times, I know all the test problems, I blow the test away. The interviewer always wonders why I jump around so much. I have had up to eight W2 forms in one year. “Why’d you quit your last job?”

“Well the reason is . . . basically . . . well, to be honest, the reason is: fuck you. That is the reason. Any other questions? So when do I start?” And so you enter the company as a temp, and the people there refer to you as ‘the temp,’ even when you’re standing right there.

I started to immunize myself to the humiliation for a while there. I took pride in my freedom, my ability to piss all over my desk and boss and walk off a job and start a new one the next week. I also delude myself with the idea that I am like Barbara Ehrenreich, subjecting myself to various work situations just so I can study them and write about them. She was a writer before she was a waitress. She only worked as a waitress as part of her writing project. I have to take temp jobs because I truly need them to survive, not because I am conducting some experiment. She walked away from those shit jobs in the end.

I do indeed write about my work situations - in a disjointed kind of way - here on my blog - doing what I do here on my blog. I don’t always write reality, but I always write because of reality. I’m no pro writer. I’d like to go pro if I could write what I want - how I want to write it. But for now, I’m a fuckin temp worker with a costly blogging habit, selling booty for bandwidth. I was thinking that some day I would write a book called Temp, but some fucker has already beaten me to that idea. My book would be a little different, I think, but I wanted to call it that - just Temp. Her book has more to the title, so maybe I could still use Temp.

Temp agencies get you jobs you wouldn’t otherwise get. The jobs they have access to - you don’t see them in the paper. If you go into a temp agency with a well written resume, a creatively written resume, and you have an ostensibly positive attitude, they’ll give you the best job they have. They’ll do it fast. They usually offer me something within a few days. Many of the temp jobs I’ve worked have come with offers of a permanent position. It’s just that the permanent position looked pretty shitty to me. I don’t want it badly enough to commit my life to it. I don’t want it badly enough to sit there under some boss who is a complete asshole who will abuse me all the time. Fuck that shit. I’m free. I’m watching and learning and writing it all. Two or three people might even read it! I can always earn enough money to live on - what’s important is what I learn and my enlightenment and the stories. The stories are important.

I don’t know.

One time, when I was new at a company, somebody at the coffee machine asked me if I was a contractor. Even given this chance to fudge it a little, to lie a little and make myself look a little better just by swapping one silly designation for another, given this chance to make my position look a little more respectable, I still said, no, I am a temp. I’m going to go ahead and sound like a real cheesey fucker here and bust out with clichés: Temping is a state of mind. It’s a way of life, dude. It’s a philosophy. It’s a religion. Really, though, it is an indication of the type of person I am. I truly do not give a profound fuck about the particulars and intricacies of any business. The actual operations of the business could not possibly interest me. I am interested in the people - the stories of the people in the places where I work. The drama. I am interested generally in what companies do - the ways that they make people suffer or the drama that the company’s operations induce. I also appreciate the fact that the companies allow me to use their internet connections, to use their powers for good. I love being able to blog from work.

I just worked a permanent job for three years - the job I just quit. My favorite line, a line I have said here before, the line that was and continues to be the best definition of me as a worker, “I am a temporary worker who has obtained a permanent position, temporarily.” In a way we are all temp workers, because we . . . like . . . eventually die and shit.

Saturday


When I look through the blinds at the people outside, it seems like the people outside instantly know that I am looking at them. They instantly notice the parting of the blinds - no more than an inch - they see it, and they see my eyeballs looking at them - no matter how far out across the parking lot they are. How can that be? It is instant. As soon as I part those blinds and look out, they make eye contact with me. They don't like it when somebody is being sly, somebody thinking that they’re being sly and getting away with it - watching them. That, or I’m just paranoid - which is probably the real truth. Or maybe these people just always keep their eyes moving. They constantly scan their surroundings. When the eyes are constantly moving, they will eventually see you. It might be sooner, it might be later.

Thursday

Learning many of my lessons late. They tell me that I looked really cute in my mug shot.

Sometimes when I am doing Google searches, I include cuss words in the search, because that's how real people talk.

You should read this, and then you should view this.

Wednesday

. . . walking in front of surveillance cameras on purpose . . .

Saturday

My nephew says he’s going to join the army. This is the older brother of the nephew I mentioned a few posts back. His mom is an absolute basket case at this point. Let me tell you where I’m at up front: The war in Iraq is absolute bullshit -- a profiteering expedition to make a few goons wealthy. Terrorism is bullshit too, but I think that if dumb ass Bush and Friends would take the time to read their goddamn memos, ratchet down the greed a bit, and pay a little more attention to the “quirky nature” of these strong men leading these countries -- whom at one point they prop up -- and at another point they go to war against . . . [Wait - I’ll save this rant for another time . . . or not . . . the truth is pretty clear to everybody already . . . and there’s nothing new I can say about it.]

So I hit ‘Call’ on my nephew’s phone number, and as I listened to it ring, I thought, “Okay, I can’t force my opinions on him. He’s going to do his own thing. I’ll just try to discuss the positives and negatives of his decision. Repeated, rational discussions with everybody will hopefully nudge him toward a logical choice. I don’t know: I have my argument, and there is a counter argument. When I talked to him, he told me why he wanted to do it, he gave me the obvious rationale: He wants the GI Bill, he wants the signing bonus, he wants the health care, he wants the training because he thinks it’ll help him get a good job afterwards, he’s had friends who went to Iraq and came back without a scratch . . . I said, “Man, if you want a good job, and you want to work with technology and shit, go in the Navy.” They’re the ones with all the gear. They’re the ones that I know of that get jobs. Those recruiters will say anything to get you to sign.

He has other reasons. I think they’re naive, but that is my opinion, and again, there is an opposite opinion. Glory, patriotism, honor, adventure. A little payback for 9/11. These were some other reasons that he started to hint at -- but I kept interupting him, and either his or my cell phone started to lose its signal and get crunchy on us, so we said we’d talk more later, but we haven’t yet, but we will. I want to carefully engage him in this. If I am too overbearing, he’ll ignore me, and any good advice I might have -- he won’t hear it. If I can keep it calm enough, maybe I can get in that one point that really nails it for him, and he says fuck the army. It’s the wrong war at the wrong time. Humans should be done making war by now. Evolve already, fuckers! The violent fuckers will kill each other off. The greedy fuckers will choke out with clogged freakin arteries. Then everybody else will live a pretty good life. They don't need my nephew for their stupid war.

Sunday

. . . could barely hold up my corner of the coffin . . . so I used two hands . . . and various other memories lately . . . I'm all over the place lately . . . you are really forced to sum up your life when you have to move -- when you see all your stuff boxed up in front of you -- and the stuff of those who have moved on without their stuff -- and you have to update your resume etc.
My nephew saw a guy get shot and killed. My brother-in-law held the guy as he died. I wish I was joking, but no -- about a year or so ago this shit happened. My nephew was nine years old. It was such a shock, I never wrote anything about it then. I’m not always in a reality kind of mood or mode on my blog . . . I mean -- this was like some shit you’d see in a TV show.

My nephew had been playing outside, and he noticed a commotion. Two guys were having a fight. One guy really beat the shit out of the other guy. The guy who got beat up ran in his friend’s house. He knew where his friend’s dad kept a gun, and he went straight to it. He got the gun and ran outside. The details are a little unclear at this point. Apparently the guy tried to say that he was simply holding the gun, and the other guy advanced on him, and he fell back, and the gun went off -- or some shit like that. What is certain is that the gun was in his hand when it went off and fired a fatal shot into the guy who had just beaten his ass.

When the commotion started, my nephew realized he should probably go inside the house. He started to go in, but not quickly enough to avoid seeing that shit. He probably was wondering what was going on, he lingered, he was curious, he took his time going in, looking back over his shoulder . . . Before he got in the house, the shot went off, and my nephew saw the whole terrible thing. After the shot, the guy with the gun ran right by nephew, looked right at him. Everybody knows everybody in that neighborhood, everybody knows everybody's business.

It’s not the worse neighborhood in Portsmouth, Virginia, but it is sketchy -- one of the worse, I guess. I would hear gun shots and sirens when I visited. There were rumors that the cops were watching the block because of various drug dealings and so on. People seem friendly enough most of the time. Things just flare up, you know?

So my nephew saw the whole thing, and then my brother-in-law yanked my nephew inside, and my brother-in-law went out there. He ran over to where the guy was laying, and he screamed for somebody to dial 911. He got down next to the guy, and was trying to tell the guy to hold on, hold on, but the guy just faded. The ambulance got there too late. They tried to work on the guy, but he was gone.

The cops came, and my nephew and brother-in-law were the only ones who would talk to them. There were about ten or twelve people standing around who saw it. They were all very scared. Aparently the guy with the gun was in some kind of half-ass gang. And of course, there was the bullshit whispered and sometimes blurted out about my nephew being a snitch or whatever, and some of the other kids wouldn’t play with him. That all wore off, though, and the guy confessed, so my nephew and bro-in-law didn’t have to go testify . . . but now my nephew is not doing so well . . . I think it has all sunk in, and he’s not doing well . . . not very well at all. . .

Friday

That memory is there in my head, entrenched, quite an uneasy coexistence -- it is like a person you encounter every day. You know the person is there without even looking: like at the coffee machine in the morning at work, you are getting coffee, and they are nearby, at the refrigerator, two feet away, putting away their lunch. You know the person is there. You don’t look the person in the face. The memory is like that person whose face you don't look into -- no need -- you know they're there -- you know where they sit in your little company -- you know that memory is there, you don't have to replay it, you don't have to question it, you don't have to engage it every single day -- you just know it's there . . .
Wondering how long I'll be okay with the starving artist wannabe in low output low income mode routine -- I mean -- if they put a gun to your head and told you to form a rock and roll band, you might write a song about a death sentence and an electric chair powered by solar energy, a cloudy day and the governor calling with second thoughts, but he's placed on hold . . . and you end up hiding in a dumpster outside the recording studio, quietly placing cell phone calls to taxi cabs, you suddenly realize that their guns were all made of latex . . . but do this: with the microphone -- somebody wants to take it from you -- talk them out of taking it, and then hand it to them nicely. Usually they wipe down the machine between sessions, but it's been so busy. Here's a song they just added to the karaoke machine memory bank: it's about the steady steady squeak that drove the busboy crazy. He said it sounded like a tiny voice, his kindergarten sweetheart. Saddened, he realized his madness was incurable. He decided to steal a U-Haul truck and load it down with books at every single Friends of the Library book sale he could sneak into. He’d read in the truck by flashlight. If he couldn't be sane, he reasoned, he could at least be book smart.

. . . moving to Kissimmee, Florida. Disney and shit . . . so busy

Wednesday

offline a while, love ya

Friday

Leaning in. To give a kiss, or to whisper somethin?

Tuesday

Maybe we have reached perfection
the world, I mean
I don’t care enough to lie
well how do I respond
that I agree
we’re perfect
death is no penalty
I am taxed fairly
I’ll learn to be old while
young from old
I’m high you’re high
in air active with sounds
of conclusions such as
perfect mistakes
air I won’t inhale
readers of poems
write poems
film watchers
only watch but maybe
a character in the film
reminds them of their
favorite person with
the most benevolent face
I ever fear for and
regret the times I said
no I do not believe it
though it could be true
I have decided not
to believe and any
existing suspicion
I will deem insanity
to be quashed
not to be believed
what expression you
make when you are
hearing nonsense
when you conclude
I conclude

Sunday

My brother towed cars for seven or eight years. He didn’t tow cars for hire - like if you broke down somewhere, and you wanted your car towed to a shop to be fixed because you wanted to eventually get the car back, nah - or if you owned a business and people parked in no parking zones outside of your business, and you needed somebody to come tow a car away, no - he only towed cars that people had given up on - cars they wanted to junk. He would actually buy the junk car, he’d give you twenty-five bucks, or so, and he’d tow it off of your yard. He’d tow it to the junk yard and sell it for scrap metal.

The person selling the car must have the title to the car. Sometimes people would try to sell other people’s cars to him. Do not try to fool the tow truck driver, and definitely do not try to rob the tow truck driver. He carried a gun. He had fools try to pull all kinds of stuff on him. When he would lie down and reach under a car, to hook up to the axle, he’d see feet running up on him. He popped up with gun drawn and smile glowing and eyes big, “What’s up? Huh? What’s up?”

Sometimes my brother would be on the road going to or coming from, and I’d be out driving around, and we’d see each other. I would park my car and get into his wrecker and roll with him for a while. We’d roll five or six hours getting smokey and listening to the radio. He’d point to the radio and say, “I bet you don’t even know who this is.” Sometimes he’d get a page to go tow a car, and I go with him. We would ride around way into the night, long after the calls for tows stopped coming in. He lived in that wrecker practically. It was cool to visit him.

Saturday

The cat is not giving me CPR
when I realize what
shot out of the howling lawnmower
I wake up on a hammock
the cat is softening up a comfort spot in
the sad hole in my chest
lonely Saturdays I do nothing with
I could have remained at my desk
Friday evening and closed my
eyes until Monday morning

Smiling, I order from a catalogue
warming up the copier
the coffee machine accumulated
one drop all weekend
hanging there, finally falling
I miss lemonade
too late to get my head straight
I didn’t care about payday
I haven’t flipped pages on my calendar
. . . another way to self publish, is to write your writing on a simple piece of paper. It can be anything, but only write on one side of the page. Fold it up until it’s only a couple inches by a couple inches, and then write the following on the outside, “Password,” or “Account Number,” or both . . . and then just leave it somewhere in public. Somebody is bound to unfold it and read it. They’re thinking, “Wow, somebody’s password and account number! I’m going to access their account or somethin . . . “ Also lately, I’ve been ‘modifying restaurant menus with labels, like Avery Mailing labels, stickers that I make, with little pieces of writing on them. Or, I’ll just take my stickers, and not even peel the backing off of them, and leave them like calling cards in books at book stores or in the sugar packet containers in restaurants. Why do I do this mess? Because I can’t get published in journals . . . And I'm a little kooky in my head.

Wednesday

Saying less. Writing more.
I am pretty sure I won’t have enough money or benefits to retire on. I’ve been wondering what type of job I will get once I am discarded by the company I give my most productive career years to. What part time job will I have to do? (I hope it’s part time.) A green house? Too much heavy lifting. A cashier somewhere? Maybe, but they’d have to be pretty lenient on the drawer count with my fumbling, spaced out, Alzheimer's ass. Motel desk clerk? Yeah. Just ride a desk behind bullet proof glass watching HBO all night. Book store? Too much heavy lifting. Kitchen? That’s some hard damned work. I don’t know. After my dad retired, he became a teacher - like an adjunct - he taught safety courses and blue print reading courses to apprentices. He absolutely loved it. He didn’t really need to work, he was just so bored with retirement. He worked as a designer for forty years, and he considered teaching the perfect job for him after all that. Maybe I could be a substitute teacher. Hell - I’ve been thinking about doing that anyway - like now - like instead of what I’m doing now. I don’t know what I will do, but I’m not really dreading it. It will be good to stay connected to real life, to keep active.

I used to frequent a Barnes & Noble near a job I had. I was in there all the time. Every time I was there, this old guy was there. I mean always. He was asleep nearly every time I saw him, so I never really got to talk to him. He was a curmudgeonly guy too, he didn’t seem to want to talk to anybody. He was either asleep, or hovering around the couches and chairs, waiting for somebody to get up so he could crash. He would snore so loud! Sometimes on my way to work, I would pass by the store and see him asleep in his old station wagon, in the parking lot, because the store had not opened yet. I used to imagine the worse circumstances: His retirement savings ran out, his meds got too expensive, the taxes on his house got to be too high, he burned up his equity. . . who knows. What did he do? Wander around all night and sleep during the day? I guess it’s safer to sleep during the day, when you’re homeless, so plenty of people can see you. I used to imagine the very worse: He would go to sleep at Barnes & Noble, and at closing time, the staff would make the announcement that it was closing time, and they’d flick the lights, and they’d impatiently walk back and forth by him and clear their throats . . . and then they’d realize he wasn’t snoring anymore . . .

Tuesday

the SOUND CHECK for the karaoke contest

Monday

. . . losing it in the twizzle section . . .

That's right, a T-shirt writer.

Saturday

I have so many different practices I want to put into practice lately. I am watching my spending. Establishing credit. Researching home buying. Exercise, jogging or something. Not sticking to an exercise routine at all. Work. Building an appreciable block of experience at a particular job instead of hopping around. Mental health - trying to peace out - trying not to grind up my physical health because of mental gliches. Writing. I started writing in a physical journal using one of those things . . . what's it called . . . a pen. My blog routine is suffering. Any other writing routine is suffering. I swear - I go to work, and afterwards I am so beat, I just boob out in front of the TV. It is tough to get up and do something. The internet is an incredible time sucker. The only routine I'm keeping is the commencement of new routines. And I like having time to do just dumb stuff. Play with cats. Bounce a bouncey ball. Juggle a little tiny soccer ball I have in the bedroom . . . TV TV TV - I was raised on it. I'm thinking that if I have to buy a new TV for the digital TV revolution (is there such a thing coming? Is it all going digital, and so your TV won't work anymore?) - if this does happen - and a new TV is needed, I will forgo that mess for a while and catch up on everything else. I was going to complain about how my Netflix thing slowed way down a month or so into it - at first I'd send them back and they'd acknowledge receipt and send the next day! But now it takes them four days! I was going to complain about that - but NO! I'm glad! More time between movies! I actually miss my DSL down time - I actually rose up out of my Matrix pod and wiped off the slime and did stuff! I HAVE BEEN READING THE SAME BOOK FOR TWO MONTHS! AND IT'S A GOOD BOOK! I AM A SAD SAD CHARACTER.

Friday

. . . back when I used to drink alone a lot . . . um . . .

Talking to self? Or tiny phone clipped to ear?

Watching the imaginary movie they make about me. Everybody does it. Don't they? Don't you? Watching that movie on a little couch in my head. Hoping they'll remember to include this particular scene and that one too.

Sunday

Twenty-four hour grocery stores and department stores
are indeed public spaces where you can go and live
minutes per aisle - even if you are not homeless
but would you start a poem there?

Could I block out all of the customers at the restaurant and
dwell two feet tall among the tables and booths
and table cloths like tents and
plants and decorations like memorial parks

Why did you do this to me?
Where are you?

I am a ghost who barely appears on in-store security TV monitors
I quit my job and work in the restaurant
I live back there where the the dirty dishes go
Do I really need sleep?

Thursday

Speeding east on 840, as the conversation got more and more grim, more and more road kill began to appear.

Friday

Wednesday

Downloading sociology papers
reading 'em
at work

Monday



You could have 20 acres of this for $1,025. Just bid on it at ebay. You could trap small animals and eat them. You could figure out which plants are edible. You could follow insects and small animals to find where they find water. You could build fires at night. You could make a shelter out of whatever small bits of lumber, stone, and brush you could find. You could run around naked! You could start a commune. You could start a writers retreat. You could live in a Tee Pee. You could sit around going insane in a most solitary way. You could grow weed. You could graze llamas. You could weld together insane post-apocalyptic vehicles with V-8 engines and go hauling ass around in circles. You wouldn’t be that far from where the President lives. 80 miles southwest of Midland. Current bid: US $1,025.00. Time left: 10 hours 33 mins.

Or you could just buy this fine school.