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.