Sunday, September 13, 2015

Little Vampire Boy

I really liked the background, the moon and the little vampire boy.  Then I went and ruined it with all the snarky comments.  :P

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday, the Sun and the First Day Back to School

It must have been a trick of perspective.  Combined with the magical spider-webbing gossamer of half-sleep.  But in spite of the charges, and no matter how many hours – no, weeks – of litigation lie before me, I maintain that this situation is not my doing or in any way my fault.

Today was the first day of school in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  I woke up well before sunrise so that my kids would have ample time to eat breakfast and get ready.  It was about an hour earlier than I normally wake up, and I normally wake up fully ready to go back to bed.  If I wasn’t reasonably afraid of some trigger happy Armageddonist interpreting the clearly figurative for literal I’d compare myself from this morning to a zombie.  But I am so afraid.

In spite of my bleary eyes and shuffling feet I somehow managed to fix breakfast and the kids’ lunches – though there is a very good chance that one lunchbox got two lunches while the other got two helpings of nothing.  It would not be the first time such a mistake was made.  I have a small industrial complex in the back of my brain where I manufacture apologies en mass.  The supply never outstrips the demand.

At about six o’clock my daughter was already chomping at the bit to go.  She was vibrating with such anxiety and excitement that if I hadn’t been ready she’d have certainly burst into a beam of light and right now would be out in the cosmos searching for something to reflect off of.  But as luck would have it, and though I cannot explain how, I was ready.

The trip to school was uneventful.  Or perhaps I slept the whole way.  I cannot remember.  I was driving, so it was probably uneventful.

I dropped my daughter off in plenty of time and then I went to the bus stop where I had to wait a half hour for the next bus to take me into town.  That’s where the magical thing happened.  I fell asleep.

No, that’s not the magical thing.  Not that exactly.  Though, had I not fallen asleep I might have avoided all of this mess and nonsense.  But fall asleep I did, and then it happened.  Ok, it didn’t exactly happen then either.  After I fell asleep I woke up.  That is, I sort of woke up.  It was one of those half wake ups that everyone does in the middle of the night.  The kind where you wake up well before your body is ready and your mind really has no business waking you, but there you are, and you’re swimming in darkness, and all of the magic and unreality of dreamland has left your sleep with you.  Here time has no function and any combination of words counts as a coherent and brilliant thought.  Here everything is possible until the plug is pulled and the magic whirlpools out of your consciousness leaving you standing in the kitchen half naked holding a glass of milk and a candy bar you never bought.  That half wake up is where it happened.  Between my half closed eyes, through my blurry eye lashes, out my dirty window and in the reflection of my side view mirror, I saw the sun rise in the car behind me.

What I should have seen was the sun rising from the horizon through the front and back window of the car behind me.  In truth, the sun doesn’t rise at all.  The whole concept is an illusion of perspective and our me-centered understanding of the universe.  We rotate and revolve around the sun, giving the impression that the sun rises in the east.  But whatever “truth” science can tell us about the sun; how clever it is and how much bigger, it could not escape the un-logic of my half-sleep.  And for some mysterious reason, as I rubbed the blur from my eyes and the magic of a greater dimension drained away, enough stuff was left behind and the sun was caught.  Snared in a beat up, old Ford Escape.

I sat in the front seat of my car as reality slowly crept its way back into my brain.  (Why am I in the kitchen and where did I get this candy bar?  And what happened to my pants?)  I chuckled at the notion that the sun chose a Ford Escape to rise in and now couldn’t escape from it.  The absurdity of the concept started eating at my brain when through the side view mirror I saw a couple of people approach the car.

“What happened?” I heard a voice say.

“Someone’s trapped the sun in this car,” another voice responded.

A crowd began to gather around the little Escape and worry about the poor sun inside.  “Who would put the sun in a car?” “Can we let it out?”  “What are we going to do?”  Someone tried to open the door, but the handle was too hot.  This did nothing to calm the nerves of the crowd.  In what I am certain psychiatrists and social anthropologists would say was the appropriate amount of seconds, someone decided that this must be blamed on someone and since I was the only one in the parking lot who seemed to be hiding they blamed it on me.

My father is a fairly honest man.  Perhaps this is the reason that he has always told me “don’t ever confess to anything where the law is involved.  Always get an attorney.”  But the fairly honest part that he passed on to me – or perhaps the fairly stupid part I constructed on my own – always forgets this rule until moments after I have made a full confession.

“I don’t think we can arrest him,” the police officer told the crowd who had tied me to a tree in spite of the fact that I said I wasn’t going anywhere.  “He hasn’t broken any law and you really don’t have the authority to arrest him in the first place.  You’re gonna have to let him go.

“That doesn’t mean,” she continued, “That we can’t sue him in civil court.”

“What for?” I demanded.  “All I did was dream.”

“You dreamed wantonly,” said one of the crowd.

“Irresponsibly!” said another.

“In a car!” said a guy shaking a Bible.  Though I’m pretty sure the Bible being in his hand was coincidental as there are no verses relating to the sinfulness of cars.  None that I’ve read, that is.

“Look,” I said, “Please calm down.  I’m sure tonight the sun will set in the Escape and tomorrow it will rise just like it always does.”

“You’d better hope so,” said a woman in green.  “Otherwise you’ll be hearing from our attorneys.”

The crowd began to walk toward the bus and the woman turned around and added, “You may yet!”

My stomach knotted up when I realized I still had to get on the same bus and ride into Atlanta with them.

In retrospect I should have gone back to sleep and tried to reawaken in the parking lot.  Perhaps if I had done that then in the reawakening swirl of magic and reality my sensible mind would have put the sun back in the sky.  But there is no guarantee.  It’s so hard for reason to set right those things that the irrational have misplaced.  In time it will sort itself out.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Lunches

“Michael!  Just the man I need to see.”

It was Bob.  I like Bob.  He and I worked on a project together several years ago and got to know each other a little bit.  We found that we have a similar desire to not make our jobs more difficult with stupid inefficiency and a similar frustration with people who rise to management but have no flexibility and cannot see the future failure of their awful decisions.  It’s a sad situation when there are no quality applicants for a management position so the vacuum just sucks up the next in line without consideration of ability.

I don’t believe, as an agency, and perhaps as a society, we have met the minimum standard for comprehension of the phrase “minimum standard.”

So Bob comes up to me and he leans in (he is much taller than I) and he turns his back to the few people in the lobby.  So I’m thinking a dirty joke is coming.  Bob tells a lot of dirty jokes that aren’t funny.  Most of them aren’t even really dirty.  Still he feels the need to whisper them as if telling jokes at work is somehow forbidden.  And he says, “Your name keeps coming across my desk.”

So now I’m thinking, “Oh crap!  They promised it wouldn’t, but somehow word got out that I’d been suspended.  But that was three months ago.  How many people know?  And do they know what I did to get suspended?  Or worse, are they guessing what it was?  That explains why everyone’s been acting so normal; they know I’ve done something and they don’t want me to know they know so they’re acting like they always do to hide the fact that they know!”

I actually did think all of that.  Bob had stopped talking because someone had come into the lobby and a said hello or something and so he turned and exchanged a few pleasantries with them.  Bob is a fairly popular guy.

“Sorry about that,” he says, turning his back to the lobby again and returning his voice to a whisper.  “So like I said, your name keeps coming across my desk for courtyard parking.”

“Courtyard parking?”

“Yeah.  Instead of parking in the parking deck you’re eligible for courtyard parking.  Only most people don’t want it because the courtyard has no protection from the sun and in the summer it gets pretty hot inside the car.  Most people I ask would rather stay in the parking deck even though they have to walk farther.  So, do you want to move to the courtyard?”

“No,” I said, my heart sinking.  “I…” I stammered a little.  “I only drive in once a week or so.”  I paused.  “I… I usually take the bus, so… so I don’t want to take the space.”

“Ok, great,” he said.  “I’ll pass the offer on to someone else.”  And Bob walked away.

It was worse – way worse – than everyone finding out I had been suspended.  Worse than the would-be gossip of everyone speculating on my crime.  Worse because it apparently didn’t matter.  My little rebellion against this hum-drum 9 to 5, my tiny rage against the machine, essentially went unnoticed.  It was business as usual.  Except that now I apparently have been here long enough to qualify for special parking.  I have seniority.  Like a senior citizen.

I stood there like an idiot. I forgot why I had come to the lobby.  It was probably to get a drink.  Only now I was too crushed to enjoy anything.  The elevator door opened and I instinctively got on.  As the doors were closing this younger guy slipped in.  Taller than me, thinner than me.  His clothes were pressed and new and brightly colored.  He had a full head of hair and he was clean shaven.  I guess I was staring.  And I guess my stare was a little jealous and perhaps a little angry looking.

“Is there a pro…”

“You shut up,” I said.  “You shut your stupid mouth.”

“Excuse me?”

“I was young when I came to this job.  Young and attractive with possibilities.  But the job took it from me.  It took it from me and it gave it all to you.”

The elevator door opened on a floor that wasn’t mine.  A lady got on and I stepped off.

“I hope you choke on it,” I shouted and walked away.

“What was all that about?” the lady asked.

“I don’t know,” the guy said as the doors were closing.

I took the stairs the rest of the way to my floor.  I closed the door to my office and turned the light off. Then I opened the blinds and watched the empty pool across the street until I fell asleep.  It’s how I spend most of my Friday lunches.



Ok, full disclosure, I didn’t say anything to the guy in the elevator.  But I thought it.  I thought it hard and I’m pretty sure he knew I thought it, even though he never took his eyes off his phone.  Stupid 20 year olds and their stupid faces.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

While you were distracted!

I really hate all of these social media articles that begin with:

While you were distracted by (news the writer wants you to believe is frivolous) look what (entity the writer wants you to believe is evil) slipped by, right under your nose!

Now, I’m not saying that the given news the writer thinks is frivolous is not frivolous.  And I’m not saying that the entity the writer wants you to believe is evil is not evil.  Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree.  But I’m really appalled at the arrogance of the writer to assume that he or she is so much more informed than the rest of us.  It might as well read:

Ok, you lazy, unobservant assholes, I thought you had my back, but I was wrong.  You had your nose glued to a porno while I was talking to the Lord about the next steps of the righteous.  Meanwhile, Voldemort managed to totally overthrow all of humanity including you.

While I’m at it I also hate those Facebook posts that say, “If you love your _____ repost this,” or “If you are proud of your ____ and think he/she/it is great...”  These articles are generally benign and sometimes even sweet.  I just don’t want them on my page.  But I feel guilty because I do love my  _____.  I don’t want my _____ to find out that I didn’t repost this article and then think that I don’t love him/her/it.  Will my _____ ever find out I didn't repost?  Probably not.  But there is, logically, a > 0% chance he/she/it will.  Which means that there is a >0% chance I'm ok with breaking my _____'s heart.  I'm a little unnerved by this self revelation.  I feel potentially callous.

By the way, while you weren’t paying attention the communists put this on my blog:

If you love your daughter or son or husband or wife or Jesus or your cat then you will comment to this thread!
And check out these awesome songs:
And buy Michael Fleming’s album!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Working Over Time

I spilled coffee and burned my Monday fingers.  I ran them under cold water, but they’re still red and puffy.  The worst part is I forgot to get a hole punched in my drink ticket.  If you get ten holes punched then you get a free coffee.  I was looking at a free coffee next Monday. It was the only thing next Monday had going for it.  This Monday managed to ruin itself and next Monday.  That’s a Monday working over time.  I respect that work ethic, but I hate the results.

In high school there was this real creep, we’ll call him Naton – with a hard "A" like in mate or date.  Actually, I guess I don’t care if you give it a soft "A" like mat or cat.  His name wasn’t really Naton so it doesn’t make a difference.  Though he would probably like it if you gave him a Hard A.  Urban Dictionary says Hard A is a slang term for hard alcohol.  Naton was a drug dealer.  Here, I admit, I’m being stereotypical in assuming that a drug dealer would want hard alcohol.  Perhaps he was a teetotaler.  I don’t know.  What I do know about Naton is that he was not lazy.  He had an amazing work ethic.  One day I’d hear a friend say Naton was out of pot and acid and by that afternoon he was flush again. 

I had to get to school pretty early so I could put my trumpet in the instrument room.  On occasion I was just too late to do this, so I had to carry the bulky case around in addition to my huge back pack.  In high school I made a habit of carrying all of my books in my back pack so I wouldn’t ever have to go to my locker.  The hallways in high school were terrifying and I did everything I could to avoid them.  Anyway, I had to be at school pretty early and on this particular day I saw him walking by.  That evening a friend of mine and I decided to go to a back woods punk show that was taking place in a barn venue somewhere.  The place was pretty remote.  It took us forever to find and when we finally did it was a good mile away from anything in every direction.  Not surprisingly, Naton was there with an ever changing entourage of sunken eyed bed-heads waiting to shake hands with him and disappear.  I had been there for about a half hour and I was already seriously ready to go.  The music was right on the cusp of horrible.  Everyone talked about how this band was the shit.  For the most part I agreed, but without the definite article.

Still, I wanted to be seen as cool.  So I tried to make sense of the music in the hopes that I could find some common ground with anything in the lyrics.  But the lyrics were going by so quickly I couldn’t catch anything but the cuss words.  Right in front of the stage there was a horde of beefy robots in shorts and combat boots bounding from one side of the imaginary dance floor to the next, ramming each other with their shoulders and basically trying to knock each other down.  I was told this was a mosh pit and that “moshing” or “slam-dancing” was a valid form of dance.  (I don’t think they teach it at Julliard yet.  It’s too cutting edge.)  I watched the pit for about ten minutes.  It was far more interesting than the music.  As violent as it was I couldn’t help but think of the German Schuhplatter.  If they had slapped their feet and worn lederhosen I would not have been shocked.  What did shock me, however, was being pushed into the mosh pit.

Just like it looks from the outside, the mosh pit feels very much like you are in a rock tumbler.  However, nothing comes out smoother.  Nothing comes out polished.  Everything is bruised and possibly chipped and, in my case, embarrassed.  In high school I was tiny.  I’m only 5’7” on a good day.  Back then I weighed 125 pounds with a 27 inch waist.  I did not get to see what I looked like in the mosh pit, but I imagine I looked something like a Muppet that got thrown into a mosh pit full of real people.

When I was finally done “dancing” I was ready to go.  Life on the fringe of civilized society had left me longing for my bedroom.  Besides, it was nearing 11 and getting home by midnight was going to be a challenge.  I told my friend I was leaving and he did not put up any resistance.  On the drive home he decreed that the band had lost much of the luster from the first single they produced and were way too main stream for him now.  I told him that I had been pushed into the mosh pit and he said that he had enjoyed a few rounds in the pit as well.  Maybe it’s a perspective thing.

The next day at school I was sore.  I wanted more than anything to curl up on the floor and sleep.  But there, bright and sun-shiny as the middle of the day, was Naton with his cloud of friends in need.  Like a Monday working over time.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two Industrial Garbage Cans

There are two industrial garbage cans behind the apartment building across the street from my office.  One of them is half open, which I imagine makes the whole back lot smell awful.  The back lot includes the pool area.

The pool is usually filled with hot guys and hot babes.  I assume they are hot.  From this distance they all look like tiny plastic dolls.  Usually you can tell by their basic shape if they are male or female, but sometimes it’s ambiguous.  “Is that a girl with no top?”  “Is that a guy with a top?”

There is a couple at the pool having an affair.  They dive into the pool and come up for air near each other.  They do not kiss, but you can see hands touching forbidden areas under the clear water.  The touching is mutual.  They float around each other for a minute or two, both frequently looking back toward the building.  Abruptly the petting ends and the woman returns to her chair.  Moments later a man I assume is the woman's husband comes to the pool and sits next to the woman.  Casually the other man gets up and goes to his chair on the other side of the pool.

After a half hour of cancering up her front side, the woman rolls over to cancer up her back.  The husband looks disgruntled because his chair is already in the shade of the apartment building. He thinks about moving over to the chairs on the other side of his wife, but before he can commit two older ladies come out and sit there.  They have no intention of swimming or tanning.  They are covered in loose beach cover ups and large floppy hats.

The old ladies crack open their books and lay them face down on their laps.  They will not read today.  They are having a heated discussion.  They both agree.  Their floppy hats nod and shake in unison.  They are agitated, but they are agitated among like minds, which makes all agitations more bearable.  The husband two seats over says something to the old ladies and their floppy hats bob up and down happily and their old, heavy bosoms jiggle.  He slaps his knee like an old timey southerner.

The husband, receiving no warmth, dives into the pool for exercise.

One of the old bitties points up to my office.  Perhaps I am paranoid, but if not my office, then she is certainly pointing toward my office building.  The floppy hats shake with disdain.

The slightly fatter one is telling the less fat one how I sit up here and do nothing.  How I am a drain on the tax payer.  How I deserve to be fired.

I turn my chair around and go back to work.  It is two days before the end of the quarter.  In two days I will be a little bee, humming from one computer to the next; making honey for the higher ups to eat and take credit for.  Doing the reports the federal government requires so that our agency can get a stupid amount of money to do a job in which I believe, but the commissioner and his ilk do not.  Our job is important.  How can you want to be commissioner over an agency you don’t believe in?

My job is important, though I don’t love it.  Especially today.  Today I have nothing to do.  I’ve sent three separate letters to my boss about three separate issues regarding three separate projects.  Every project he assigned me as a priority, one, two and three.  Every issue must be resolved before I can continue.  Every letter about said issue has gone unanswered.  This is not why I don’t love my job.  I simply want to be doing a different job.  A particular job.  Not a nebulous, pretend fantasy job.

I look back out the window.  The old bitties are still pointing up at me.  Shaking their heads.  They talk about how they are better than me, and would be so even if we were in the same generation, mine or theirs.  One of them spits on the ground at my uselessness.

Actually, she doesn’t spit.  Rich southern women do not spit.  Except that they do.  I’ve seen it.  It is a most surreal experience; to see the very apex of human dignity lower her head nearer the ground and expectorate.  It is so out of reality that I would believe it if scientists were to measure the occurrence and declare that the fabric of the universe had been torn.  If time travel is ever accomplished it will be because some ingenious person has exploited this happening.

The wind picks up and blows the other industrial garbage can open.  A small plastic grocery bag floats into the air and blows into the pool area.  Everyone around the pool sits up.  The smell has come to swim.  The less fat of the old bitties quickly puts her towel to her face, covering her nose.  The husband says something and the old ladies’ floppy hats nod in agreement.

The husband leaves the pool area for the two industrial garbage cans.  Coincidentally the other man jumps into the pool.  The lady watches him.  She wants to join him, but the two older ladies are too present.

Out by the garbage cans the husband is trying to close the lids.  He closes one and the wind opens the other.  He scratches his head and shouts something over the pool wall.  The old ladies have had enough of the smell.  They close their books and go back inside the apartment complex.

The industrial garbage cans cannot keep themselves closed.  The husband is doing everything he can.  The lady jumps into the pool with the man.  They embrace and kiss and probably more.  It’s difficult to say for certain from this high up.

Outside the husband fights a losing battle with two industrial garbage cans.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Self-made man

Before I was a writer I was a self-made millionaire.
Most people who call themselves “self-made” are fooling themselves.  They intentionally ignore all of the work that other people do because it is convenient to their philosophy to do so.  But when I was self made, I was truly self made.
At the age of 1 day old I knew instinctively that in order to be a truly self-made man I’d need to cut ties to my parents before they could influence or assist me.  Even though my fingers were not fully under my control I managed to unbuckle myself from my car seat, roll down the window and jump from the moving car to my freedom in the woods of suburban Georgia.
My first night on my own was difficult because I couldn’t crawl.  I got a lucky roll and bounce out of the car and down a hill into a forest, but that was the last thing the world ever gave me.  That night, as a family of coyotes approached me to see if I would make a decent meal, I fought them off with my baby arms and pure will to be on my own.  I killed all but the mother coyote, and her I cried into submission and forced her to nurse me against her will.
When I was two I discovered that my coyote mother was trying to teach me about life; about hunting and scavenging for food.  Regrettably I had to kill her.   She was impeding my self-madeness.
When I was four I came across some suburbanite’s garbage and I realized I was too close to the influence of the city.  I moved further into the rural areas of Georgia.  That’s when I killed my first deer with a pointy stick I fashioned out of a less pointy stick.  I skinned it and dressed it with rocks that I chipped into blades using other rocks.  Through the process of trial by error I learned what parts of the deer were ok to eat and what parts were deadly.  I did this without testing on any other humans or animals.  I ate it myself and nursed myself back from several bouts of dysentery.
By six years old, without ever seeing or hearing a word of it in my life, I taught myself perfect English.  Though I didn’t know what a book was I wrote all of my thought down on how to teach yourself English without the help of teacher or book.  Then the irony of such a book occurred to me so I buried it (I don’t believe in burning books).
When I was eight years old I realized that I could affect the plants growing around me be killing unfavorable plants and enhancing the conditions of the plants I wanted to eventually harvest and eat.  Not really having the patience to spoon feed the lazy plants I created a chemical compound of crushed up flowers that acted like DDT to keep the bugs off of my garden.
Learning agriculture was so easy at age 8 and a half I decided to raise and selectively breed earthworms until they had evolved into cows.  By age 9 I had a small herd of cows, sheep and goats.
When I was ten years old I graduated from an Ivy League school which I conceived of on my own, constructed from bricks I made out of mud and staffed – completely by myself.
By age twelve I had grown weary of the lazy academic life.  I longed to get back to using my hands and creating a world from scratch.  What I needed now was an enterprise to run.  So I created some goods that I could sell and which would need servicing and repairing that I could also do.  However, I didn’t want to sell my goods to other people, because then I would not be able to say that I was a 100% self-made man.  If I owe my fortune to something I’ve sold other people, then the other people helped me.  So I bought all of my goods myself.  It didn’t take long before I was filthy rich; a completely self-made millionaire.
And finally, to come full circle, I asexually reproduced and left my spores in the forest to begin the process anew.
With my self-made days behind me I finally decided it was safe to join the world of society.  You people bitch a lot.  It didn’t take long for me to miss my days of solitude.  The days when I could scream in the woods and no one would hear me.  So I started a blog and told all of my friends and family about it.  Now I’m alone again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chin Punch

The only time I was ever abducted by aliens I have to admit I was asking for it.

I was wearing provocative clothing.  I had my hair done up real trampy.  And I kept pushing the On/Off button for WORMHOLES in the universe control room.

“You just don’t do that,” the alien said to me sticking one of its little tentacle suckers to my forehead.  I was later informed that this action is considered a significant insult in the alien’s culture.  Or a sexually aggressive one, depending on the context.  Considering what they did after they abducted me I cannot be 100% certain it was an insult.  But we’ll say I’m 80% sure.

When I was in third grade I was punched in the chin.  I was asking for that one too.  I don’t even remember the little dick’s name, but well call him Rick. 

I was cursed with a family that had no idea what appropriate physical contact was.  My parents almost never hugged or embraced us.  The only real time my mother touched us was to play games like, “Stop Hitting Yourself.”  And naturally my siblings and I used physical contact almost exclusively for fighting.

So when Rick got on the bus – he was two years younger than I – I tapped him on the shoulder to ask him a question.  He said in what I would now interpret as a very clear indication that he didn’t want to speak to me, “I’m pissed off.  I don’t want to talk to you,” but at the time I saw this as an invitation to tap him on the shoulder again.  Familial experience had taught me to toe the line whenever possible.

I tapped him on the shoulder again.

“If you tap me one more time I’m gonna punch you in the mouth.”

“Yeah, right!” I thought to myself.  He’s not going to punch me in the mouth, and I tapped him again.  I was right.  He punched me in the chin.  Maybe he thought my mouth was lower.

The punch really didn’t hurt, but it was so shocking to me that I spent the next ten minutes of the bus ride trying not to cry.

I never learned the name of the alien that abducted me, but I bet in its language it translates to Rick.  If you look closely you can still see a translucent ring on my forehead from that damn sucker.  I’m told that will fade in a little less than one standard galactic week.  I’ve no idea how long that is.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lucky Shirt v. Networking

don’t really put a whole lot of stock in “lucky” clothes.  Generally speaking, if I have a lucky shirt or a lucky pair of shoes or whatever it isn’t so much that they have done anything special for me as it is that I simply like that shirt or those shoes.  Nevertheless, I can’t help but think of certain articles of favorite clothing as lucky.  I feel happier when I put these clothes on than other clothes, and I feel irritated on days when I have no lucky clothes to wear.  Especially the days when I have no lucky shirt AND I’m down to my last pair of socks and underwear before I do laundry.  Because the last pair of socks are the ones that are too tight and make my feet sweat and the last pair of underwear is too loose and gets all twisted around under my pants.  Also, if I have a day that I really need to go well I can’t bring myself to wear a shirt that I don’t see as lucky.  I feel compelled to wear one of the lucky shirts, if there is one clean (clean enough) even though I know that the shirt itself isn’t really doing anything to help improve my luck.

Except for this one shirt, of course, which really is lucky.  I don’t want to bore you with the details or insult your intelligence because it’s a pretty standard story.  But for context let’s just say I was wandering through the woods…  blah, blah, blah… came upon a wizard living in a tree… yadda, yadda, yadda… he challenged me to a game of Donkey Kong, which I suck at.  He said if I lost he got to use me in a psychological experiment, but if I won he’d turn me into a dragon.  Naturally I took the challenge.  But, as I mentioned, I suck at DK, so I lost badly.  So badly, in fact, that when we were done playing he said I was too awful to use in his experiment, but as a consolation prize he gave me this genuinely magically lucky shirt.  It’s not exactly being turned into a dragon, but I think it was a pretty big score! 

So, I have this lucky shirt.  The wizard said the shirt has enough luck in it for five lucky days.  Now, I don’t know if there is some way to charge it or to activate it, because I’ve worn this shirt about two hundred times and I’ve only had a total of about four lucky days, if I add together all of the borderline lucky moments end to end.  Is that how this shirt works?  I have no idea.  But I reckon there is about a day’s worth of luck left in this shirt.

Why am I bringing this up?  Well, recently the Time Warner channel Adult Swim (stylized as [as]) posted a job that was right up my alley.  The job is doing data analysis for the performance of programs that air on the [as] channel.  2 things about me you need to know.  1.  I love [as].  I’ve wanted to work for them for about 8 years.  Perhaps 9.  I can’t remember exactly when I first wanted to go there.  2.  In my current position with the state of GA I do performance reporting and data analysis for federal programs.  The programs are entirely different, of course; [as] programs are actual TV shows, where as the federal programs I report on are programs designed to help people get back to work and get training.

The job is right up my alley, right?  I applied.  Well, technically I sent in a resume.  You don’t just “apply” to Time Warner.  You send in your resume and they let you know if you are qualified to apply for the given position.  

Which brings me to my conundrum: when do I wear my lucky shirt?  Do I hold out until I get an interview and wear it then?  Do I wait until I’ve been approved to apply for said position and wear it then?  Or do I wear it every flippin’ day until then, hoping that the casual nature of this luck will accumulate around me until one day the universe cannot deny me a lucky break and I am permitted to apply?

Or do I “Network” and try to find someone who knows someone at [as] or Turner Broadcasting or Time Warner who can help me get my foot in the door?

Oh crap.  Maybe I should wear my shirt to find someone who knows someone…

Or maybe I should be wearing my shirt now while I make this very important decision.  Is there enough luck in the shirt?  Dangit!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Post lag

“One thousand apologies!” he said in a fake foreign accent he sincerely hoped didn’t sound racist.

I have bitten off more than I can chew, but I am determined to not spit it back onto my plate because I am an adult probably.  I’m going to chew this world up and I’m going to swallow it!  And it will become a part of me and I a part of it.  We will change the name of the planet from Earth to Me.  Actually, everyone else will call the planet Michael.  Or dude.  Or awesome dude.  Or any similar title of bro-hood and respectful equality.  I will continue to call the planet Me.  But first I have some chewing to do.

 Am I the only probably-adult here who has a seriously hard time always being an adult?  Some days I just want to climb a tree.  Or go bowling.  My Lord!  It has been too long since I went bowling.  And some days I just want to spend the whole flippin’ day playing video games.  But then there’s garbage to be taken out and clothes to wash and fold and children to wash and fold. And bills to wash and fold.  And you have to work out because after 25 you get this gut that really wants to be your pal and just hangs around.  You can try to out run it, but it will keep up with you.  BUT DON’T GIVE UP AND ACCEPT IT!  Because the gut has friends and if you stop trying to get rid of him he will invite his friends over.  Love handles!  Double chin!  And this fatty hump that appears on your back like your some sort of Quasi Modo.

 So between the work and the housework and the parenting and the exercise it seems there’s no time for just sitting around and playing games.  Or doing things like updating Blogger, recording more music, drawing more pictures, animating cartoons, discovering worlds in wardrobes… all the stuff I love.

 When’s the last time you rode a bike that wasn’t bolted to the ground?

 Anyway, I’m a loser.  I did not mean to drop this blog.  Stuff got away from me.  I’ll try to do better.

 About every quarter I get this bug in me to reorganize all the crap I’ve fallen behind on.  I’ll get serious about exercise and about my music and my animation.  And then once every six months or so I’ll put forth a lot of effort into finding a better job.  And I’ll keep it up for a good three to four weeks.  Every couple of years I’ll go really hard core and keep it up for six or seven weeks.  I’m hoping for that this time.  I really need to get rid of this double chin.  And I’d like to finish another album.  My last one was finished in 2003.

 But good news!  I applied to a job with Turner Broadcasting last week.  Technically I applied for the right to apply for a job.  It’s a data analyst with [adult swim].  I do data analysis at my current job and I love cartoons, including [adult swim].  So I’m hoping that I at least get an interview.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Stair Climbing My Way To a New Job

I was typing.

I don't know what was typing.  I mean, I knew then, but I can't remember now what it was.

I do remember that I was typing feverishly.  Whatever it was, I had to get it out.  Like a demon I needed to exorcize.  I had to get the thoughts and the ideas out of my head and onto the computer.

When I type I usually look at the monitor.  I confess it slows me down.  If I see a mistake I can't just let it go.  I have to go back and fix it.  But today I wasn't looking.  My hands were flying along a speeds I am not able to type normally.  I guess maybe they were draining all of the energy from the rest of me because I started to nod off.  I didn't close my eyes, exactly, but everything started to get cloudy while my hands kept going. 

The clouds swirled around like stirred liquid and then began to clear.  I was climbing a never ending staircase.  There was a woman in front of me. She was looking at a tablet she held in one hand and she was flicking a stylus with the other.  She was about three or four stairs ahead.  I confess I fell behind on purpose.  She was in a skirt.  I think she must have guessed my perverted scheme because she turned around and with this devilish look on her face she said, "If you want the job you'll have to catch up."

"Excuse me?" I said and stopped climbing.

She didn't respond, but kept going.  They were pink.

I jogged up a couple of steps to catch up.

"No fair," she said without turning around.  "You have to climb one step at a time.  It's healthier.  And you need the exercise."

I looked down at myself.  I was enormous.  How did I get this big?  I was gaining weight by the second. I felt like my clothes were getting tighter, like some kind of obese Incredible Hulk.  I was sure I was going to tear through them.  And each step was increasingly difficult.  I was...

too tired...

to keep going.

She turned around about ten steps ahead.  She struck a boyish pose she knew was beyond flirty.

"Business Incorporated cares about it's employees," she said.  "We want you... we need you in the pink."

I panted.

"Don't you want to be in the pink?"

I nodded.

"If you want the job you will have to catch up."

She turned back around and resumed walking up the stairs.  I started climbing again with renewed determination, but I only made a single step.  I just couldn't go further.  I watched her as she climbed the stairs and faded into swirling clouds.

I woke up with my head on the keyboard.  The screen showed a full page of the letter 'k'.  I scrolled up and it went on for seven or eight pages.  At the top of the document was the word 'pinkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk...'  There was nothing before that.

My legs were completely asleep.  How they had fallen asleep I cannot begin to know.  I was sitting normally.

"People who sit all day are more likely to die prematurely."

That thought popped into my head as my legs began to fill with the painful sensation of pens and needles.  Why is it that sometimes the sensation of a waking limb can tickle, while other times it's downright painful?

My pants felt tight.  A year ago these pants were loose.  I forced myself out of my chair and walked towards the stairwell in spite of the prickling feeling up my legs.  I started climbing.  One step at a time, no skipping and no jogging.

Climbing up stairs burns approximately .17 calories a step, with slight variations for your height and weight and age and all of that.  Going down is .005.

I climbed up to the ninth floor, which is where our steps end.  They did not go on into the heavens.  There was no scantily clad hotty ahead of me, coaxing me on to a healthier new life in a happier job.  I guess I knew there wouldn't be.  But I still stood there, frozen, until a guy stepped into the stairwell to take a personal phone call and snapped me out of my daze.

I think I'll take the stairs more from now on.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The End of My "Vacation"

Well, my two week suspension is over.  I didn't exactly meet all of my expectations.  In fairness to myself, I did set my goals pretty high.  I was able to finish recording 2 songs and begin 3 others.  Those 3 I will hopefully finish by the end of summer.  I'll keep you posted.  I also made some good progress on the treatment for my cartoon idea.

All in all it was a pretty productive time off.  Now I have to suck it up and go back to work slightly fatter.  I ate so much ice cream over the last two weeks...  I have a problem.

Here is a song I posted on YouTube tonight.  I wrote it a good while ago, but for some reason I never put it on YouTube.  Over the next 6 months I hope to put a lot more of my music up.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I know that my opinion is important to one person only (me).  But what is the Internet for if not for spouting your opinions to the uncaring masses while attempting to be simultaneously brilliant, endearing and funny in the hopes of finding like minds who will want to follow your every utterance, adopt your opinions and comment about how brilliant, endearing and funny you are.

So I do these reviews.  Mostly I review books I've recently read, albums I've recently purchased or movies/shows I've recently seen.  I will, however, venture to other topics if they affect me deeply enough and if I remember them thoroughly.

I'd love to review my repressed love affair with this buxom blonde yeti... but it's buried too deep in the subconscious.  I'm sure it was beautiful, but it also might have been planted in my brain by my cousin while we were experimenting with hypnosis.

I want very much - as do the Lone Gunmen - to review my numerous abductions by probable alien visitors.  But no matter how hard I concentrate I can only see flashes of light and tentacles.

So for now I'll stick to things I can remember.

If you have a suggestion for a review, let me know.  I might not review it, but who knows?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: Tomorrowland

Ok, I made a terrible mistake today.  I was looking for times that Tomorrowland was playing in my area and I saw a piece of a review in the Google search.  It looked pretty bad so I went to the review and read it.  It wasn't good.  So I read another.  And another.

Pretty much everyone said the same thing; that the film, while visually interesting, was not overly exciting.  One critic went so far as to say that the story had been told before.

So I broke a rule and read a review before seeing a movie I was actually interested in. 

What good can come of it?  None.
Why?  Because most reviewers are dumbshits.  Further, you are already planning to see it.  If the review is good then no harm no foul.  If the review is bad then it will either color your feelings about the movie negatively or it won't make a difference in your opinion toward the movie and you will have wasted whatever time it took for you to read the review and/or trouble over whether you're going to like the movie.

I troubled over it.  I don't want to see a bad movie.
But I DID want to see Tomorrowland.  Further, so did my kids.  So I couldn't back out.

We saw the movie.

Tomorrowland          A
Story                         B
Special Effects          A
Disney Magic           A
Message                   A
Acting                      A
Heart                        B

Ok, so I'm making up a lot of these categories.  But who cares?
Hugh Laurie did a sub par job.  But I honestly think he can only play a pissy doctor.  Maybe I'm wrong.
George Clooney, Thomas Robinson, Britt Robertson and Raffie Cassidy were awesome.

Did the story drag at parts?  Sure.  Did it make some weird jumps?  Sure.  Did I really notice it while I was watching the movie?  No.

The story is basically this:  A futuristic world for dreamers to create and improve upon the things of Earth separate from the confines of business and political interests was created in another dimension. There a machine that could "predict" the future was created.  It saw the Earth self destructing due to war, hunger, climate change, etc. with no possible salvation.  But Casey Newton (Robertson), an optimistic teenage girl, is discovered by Athena (Cassidy), a young girl of Tomorrowland as a possible cure.  They need Frank Walker (Clooney) to get them into Tomorrowland so they can stop the doom clock and bring possibility back into Earth's future.

I thought the message was beautiful.  Has it been told before?  Yes.  But who the crap cares?  Should we EVER get tired of hearing people remind us that life is full of possibilities and only when we give up on fixing something is it truly broken?  (The answer is no).  And if they can remind us of this simple truth in such a beautiful way, shouldn't we be all the more grateful?   (yes)

Possible Spoilers below:
One of my favorite parts of the movie was when they returned to Tomorrowland and found it in a state of disrepair.  I visited Disney World Orlando about 10 times in my youth.  When I was very young (mid 80s) it was shiny and beautiful, and the future it spoke of was still in the future and still possible.  When I went for my honeymoon (late 90s) Tomorrowland was somewhat shabby.  The vinyl seats had holes in them.  The magnet powered People Mover was much less impressive, and the science they spoke of for the future seemed simultaneously far fetched and archaic. 

It was as though our future had become tarnished before we even got to visit it.

On the one hand I wanted Disney to immediately remodel the whole attraction with new and up to date versions of the future.  But on the other, I wanted Disney to keep the park as it was to remind us not just of a time when people dreamed so big that they inspired a whole nation to send people to the moon!  But also to stand as proof of what we have actually accomplished.  Everyone loves to point out that we don't have jet packs or flying cars.  I lament this sober truth at least once a month.  But we have some pretty awesome things that weren't predicted.  And many of the ideas that seemed the most far fetched now are looking more realistic.

But I digress.  The run down Tomorrowland was like seeing the honeymoon Tomorrowland.  And I have to admit, I've felt that run down Tomorrowland in my heart.  But maybe that is on me.  Maybe I'm to blame for failing to continue to dream like I did when I was a kid.  Tomorrowland reminded me to be a dreamer.  I like the dreamer in me.  The dreamer in me believes.  He believes in me, in you and in possibilities.

I hope Disney revamps the whole of Tomorrowland.  I hope it looks like the Tomorrowland at the end of the movie.  Or even better.  I can dream of a wonderful Tomorrowland.  And that is the point of the movie.

Still True

Look, you can't just assume that because I go on personal vacations for two full, but separate weeks in the summer to different popular spots in Florida and/or California and that I spending enough for a large family but have no souvenirs to show for it or because I have to visit sick and contagious friends or family every other Thanksgiving or Christmas in rotation or that because I go on business trips every Thursday through Saturday of every week to the same city where I have a car, a separate home, a separate bank account, a separate wardrobe and a handful of random children that refer to me as "daddy" and are followed around by a woman that seems to know my name and bear a strong resemblance to my high school girlfriend and who sounds like that inquisitive woman on the phone last month that I am cheating on you.

There's a logical explanation.

I'll explain it to you when you're a little less grumpy.

So, I'm not cheating on the blog.  I've just been busy.  Believe it or not I've been getting real work done towards a few of my goals; finishing another music album and finishing my treatment for my animated cartoon pitch.

This is why I have been absent of late.

I cannot explain why I haven't been funny yet.  Perhaps I'm still not comfortable with you.  I tend to be overly formal in the beginnings of my relationships.  I have trust issues.  If I open up took quickly and get attached to readily you'll just hurt me.  Don't act like you won't.  I read your text messages when you were in the bathroom.  I saw what you told your sister.

And don't pretend that you can unbutton your top blouse to distract me.  I know what I'm talking...

I can pretty think with fine just boobs top the bottom sweater.  Just all over the second button down and what.

No, wait... don't button it back up.  We don't have to go crazy.


Look.  You be you and I'll be me.  If we hit it off, great.  If not, I promise to keep your secrets and your pictures to myself.  I trust you will do the same.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Full Disclosure

So, I need to let you know, I will cheat on you.

I have a kind of ADHD (in addition to a pretty normal ADHD) in which I cannot focus on a single given project for very long without being distracted by another project.  It has been the bane of almost every project I have ever attempted, save a scant few that I could probably count on one hand.

I start off with great and noble intent.  But, once the project I am work on becomes difficult or tedious, I'll move on to something else.

The truth is, you, dear blog, are a distraction from another project.

Currently I am on forced leave from my job for a reason I will probably reveal before the close of the solar system.  Whether I deserve said suspension depends largely on whether you believe that employees should do work while they are on the job or whether you side with me.  (Incidentally, I don't side with me, so if you did side with me in the last parting of opinions you are probably alone.)  ANYWAY, the reasons for why I did what I did that got me suspended notwithstanding, I took my suspension as a clear sign that I am tired of my current job and I need to move on.  I promised myself that during my forced vacation I would work diligently on my music, my art and my cartoon concept.

I have about 4 different fictional bands for which I write music.  The bands, of course, are all me, but I write the music from the perspective of fictional characters - like the Beatles did with Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  It's still my music.  It's still me singing, but it affords me the opportunity to write in very different styles without offended my legion of follower.

My goal for my leave of absence was to finish recording at least 4 songs.  To show how low I've set the bar on this, two of the songs are pretty much done with the recording phase and are now in the mixing phase.  I should have been done with them a month ago.

I have a couple of favorite things I like to draw.  I wanted to draw a single picture of "the Soft Ninja" an over weight, middle aged ninja that sort of never does anything right, and I wanted to finish a picture of a robot uprising that is almost finished except for the coloring process.  Again, low bar.

Concept Cartoon:
I have created a cartoon concept that I want to eventually finish and pitch to Cartoon Network/Nickelodeon/Disney.  I have already completed 4 episodes (written not animated) and drawn many of the characters.  I just need to finish writing up the treatment of the pitch bible.  This is a big task, but I didn't expect to finish this one by the end of my two weeks.

So here I sit, typing a blog that prior to my suspension I had no intention of writing.  And all I can think about doing when I go back downstairs is watching Adventure Time and drawing pictures of goblin bombardiers - which seems to be on my mind tonight.  But if I am a good boy I'll go directly to my music room and begin the process of mixing down one of my songs.

I'll keep you posted.  :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

ex. blog, etc - my wildest dream

Background, history, purpose, whatever...

So a thousand years ago I started my first blog.  In that blog I wanted to document my efforts to become a writer of animated cartoons.  I'd post my letters of intent, various musings on the difficulties of writing, meager attempts at poetry and other bits of hilarity as they spouted from my brilliant, fecund creativity.

Did I think it would work?  In my wildest dreams I thought it possible that some animation executive from Cartoon Network or [adult swim] or Disney or wherever might stumble across my blog and think I was hilarious.  S/he would comment to one of my posts and suggest that s/he wanted to work with me.  I would agree and begin writing scripts for his/her animated cartoon and thus become a household name.

But realistically I thought I would be lucky to capture a few followers and maybe once a week have someone comment on how I made their day or made them laugh.  Then perhaps, over time, I would develop a style and maybe get a short story or an article published in a magazine.  Then, if I was diligent and true, I would eventually hammer out a writing career.

What happened was something of a mix.  Very early in the life of my blog an animator from Austria, Florian Satzinger, commented to one of my posts that he thought we might work well together.  I wrote a script for a concept cartoon he was creating.  He liked it and asked me for another.  So I wrote another!  And thus my wildest dream of being an animation writer became a crazy reality.

But then the recession hit and Florian's concept cartoon got put on a shelf where it remains to this day.  I continued to post almost daily to my blog, but I only ever managed to attract about 3 to 5 followers and I'm pretty sure that at least two of those were my wife trying to bolster my fragile ego.

After several years of relatively diligent blogging I stepped away from the practice to focus on my other endeavors.  In addition to writing for cartoons I write articles, poems and short stories.  I also draw and animate my own cartoons as well as write and record music.  But recently I submitted an article that I thought was pretty well written to The Write Place at the Write Time, an on-line magazine and I received an unusual denial letter which included the following (poorly written) excerpt:

"Though this piece isn't quite a fit with the nature of our non-fiction section, it has a distinct 'un-average' voice. Hitting upon common concerns, you might develop your reflections in a personal format (ex. blog, etc.) to directly converse with readers in the accessible style the material is written.We wish all our submitting writers to find the right home to showcase their work in. We wish you the best of luck in all your writing endeavors."

At first I thought this was an awful idea.  Then I thought, well, maybe it's only a kind of bad idea with some merit.  Then, after pondering the idea for a month, I was convinced that there was no question that it was an awful idea.

But then I remembered my wildest dream and how it almost came true.

Lime Sunglasses

I lost my favorite pair of sunglasses today.
I had them on the bus, but when I got to work I realized they were no longer with me.
It's ok, I guess.  They do not define me.  Not anymore.
I have resolved that this change will not alter the course of my course altering, life changing resolution...
to alter the course of my life and change my destiny.  Or at least get out of my parent's basement.
I'd love to find a home on the beach.  I'll need a new pair of sunglasses.