Monday, January 29

Hostile Work Environment

You know you've got it bad when you're working on a manual for a product that includes the following parts:
  • Shrink Tube, Poly
  • Female Luer Adapter, 5/32 Tube
  • Stopcock, Plastic, 3 Way
  • Mainshaft Subass W/Wire
  • Finger Connect Crimp Tool
And you have to look at it twice because none of them read that way the first time through.

[Listening to: David Bowie, "The Last Thing You Should Do"]

Thursday, January 25

Saint Paul

It took a lot longer than it probably should have -- but it's finally happened
I'm done.
The day has come to an end; the sun is over my head -- my polyamorous friend got me in a mess of trouble again. But no more. No more empty smiles. No more time wasted wondering. No more second job-based rescue plans. No more backrubs.
Just when you think that you're alright
I'm calling out from the inside
I never heard anyone
I never listen at all..
It's not that I don't think you're beautiful anymore, because we both know that I do. Your eyes are captivating, your smile magnetic. But you don't see me the way that I wish you would, and it's finally dawning on me that you never really will.

I believe that you are honestly glad to see me when I show up time and time again. But more and more I think it's because of our relative places in this snapshot food chain instead of any sort of interest in who I am as an individual. Not that you aren't capable of it, not that there weren't things we could have shared -- but that more and more the obvious has become clear, and there's just no room for anything else.

It's a strange thing to say and I wish it weren't the case -- but this is where you belong. Almost as if for some reason that I'll never understand this is where you want to be. This is where you want to stay.

Not that it would have mattered anyway -- despite the fact that I know I'm a better musician than he is, I'm pretty sure I don't have what it takes to be Evan Seinfeld. There is something about the personality involved that I just don't bring, and frankly never want to learn.
Just stay away from the white light
I'll tell ya what side's your best side
You can't save someone who doesn't want to be rescued any more than you can open a cage door and expect the tiger to just come walking out.
I never heard anyone
I never listen at all.
You can only be grateful for the time you spent in the cage together.
Goodbye Bianca.
[Listening to: Prince, "Money Don't Matter 2 Night"]

Tuesday, January 23

Tuesday All Over the World

I hate days like this.
I woke up early. I got here on time. I made my meeting. It’s not like I don’t have things to do, it’s just that nothing right now has all that big a fire under it. Not that it would entirely matter anyways -- my motivation level isn't really anywhere today. I don't feel any immediate need to act like the employee of the year, yet it's not like I'm fighting the desire to be back in bed asleep, either.

I guess I shouldn't complain -- I'm working steady, but it's hard not to be aware of the fact that whatever doesn't get done today will still be waiting for me when I show up tomorrow. At the same time it's not like this evening is offering me any grand designs either. There aren't any shows I'll feel cheated if I miss, it's too early to be jazzed about the Superbowl, I don't really care about Oscar nominations, and GWB is still a dumbass. I'm sure something will come up to grab my interest before the night's out, but right now it's the calm before the calm, and it's hard not to yawn in it's face.

The only real thing I might have had going on for tonight were these passes I'd scored to go see an advance screening of "Smokin' Aces." I'm sort of a closet Ray Liotta fan, so I made a point of renting "Narc" when it came out, and I was really taken by how good the movie was as a whole. So ever since then I've kinda kept my eyes open for anything new that had Joe Carnahan's name on it. To be honest, "Smokin' Aces" looks a little silly, but it's not like I'm needing it to be Citizen Kane or anything. If it was good I'd be happy and if it sucked, well -- whatever, it's not like I was gonna lose any money on the deal.
Then something came up to where I needed to
watch the munchkin tonight -- and there you go.
I'm still up in the air as to whether I'll shell out the money to see it later this week or not -- because to be honest, there was a certain serendipity lost once the whole "free ticket" thing kinda fizzled out. I mean, in a sense it was like this perfect deal -- a night where really nothing else was going on, a movie that probably would be good for a few laughs, and a price tag that pretty much protected me from feeling gypped if the whole thing turned out to be retarded.

But you turn that around to a Wednesday night, a full price ticket, and a theater full of people on dates, and it starts to sound like something I probably don't want to do. Don't get me wrong, it still looks like a fun flick -- and I'll probably still go see it or rent it at some point, but there was this whole sense of uniqueness to the evening doing that basically won't be there after tonight, and somehow that makes it easier to start making excuses, you know?

Maybe that makes me some sort of snob, I don't know -- but in my head going to a free movie by yourself is a hell of a lot different than paying for disappointment alone. I mean, if you take a date to a movie and it ends up being a turkey, there are lots of other things that could be done in that darkened room for a few hours. At the very least, you'll get one of those "remember when we went to see [insert movie title here] and it sucked so bad we started to fall asleep in the theater?" stories that couples tend to have and laugh about later.

Even if it's not a date or a couple thing, and you're just at the theater with your partner in crime, there's something about enduring that sort of bad choice that tends to be just as entertaining as if the movie had been good. Whether it's heckling the actors, throwing popcorn at each other, or even just getting up and walking out -- it's something you did together, and it's hard to put a price on something like that.
Pay to see a shitty movie alone and you've only got yourself to blame.
Plus, it's impossible to commiserate with anyone about it, because whenever you tell anyone you saw a bad movie they always come back with the exact same response:
"Oh yeah I saw a commercial for that -- it looked stupid."
Which is like the last thing you want to hear, because it leaves you nowhere to go -- unless of course you have a date or something to blame it on. I mean, it's easy to get out of the rain with answers like "Well, so-and-so loves Matthew McConaughey, so she was real excited to see it.. And I dragged her to that horrible Jessica Alba film last time, so I figured I owed her one, you know?"

But flip that coin over and there's really no way to escape it. Not that you won't try every angle you can think of and say things like, "It wasn't a Matthew McConaughey movie, it was a football movie that Matthew McConaughey happened to be in." or, "It was the same director who did Kingpin -- I thought it would be funny."
A situation like that you're probably better off lying.
Not that I won't have fun tonight, I love hanging out with my kid. But there's homework to be done and school to show up for tomorrow morning -- meaning the evening has to take a certain track, you know? Maybe that's what's making this day seem so blah is that the evening is pretty much locked in. If there were some sort of crisis at work or opportunity for me to kind of grab the silver ring it might be different, but really -- it's just another Tuesday.
Tuesday all over the world.
[Listening to: Dropping Daylight, "Tell Me"]

Sunday, January 21

The Plan

  1. Find livable-sized groupings of interesting yet non-batshit crazy local people in relatively the same age group who like to do fun things, don't expect you to be rich, thin, or saved, don't steal your dates or stab you in the back, and wouldn't mind bringing someone new into the fold even if it means occasionally staying sober enough to drive them home when they get altered.

  2. Infiltrate, impress, and conquer.
Actual results may vary, but it should
end up looking something like this:

[Listening to: John Legend, "Ordinary People"]

Friday, January 19

The Dolphin Hotel

Why do I keep coming to this place? What's really here for me at all? What makes this any different than the bar across town where I don't know anyone anymore? What's the difference between the people I don't feel comfortable approaching and the ones who tell me anything they think I want to hear?

The room is hazy, smoke-filled, and dry. I shake the doorman's hand, sit at the bar, drink my beer, and listen to the music. I've been here enough times that half the people know my name. I don't even have to order anything anymore, they just put it in front of me.
There are better places to go, but I kinda like it when Destiny smiles at me
(and Dasha, and Asia, and of course Bianca)
I wonder why I live alone here.
I wonder why we spend these nights together.
Is this the room I'll live my life forever?

There's only one DJ. There used to be two, but they caught the other one skimming the cash register. The one that's left hasn't had a day off in three weeks, so whenever I come in he calls me over and all but begs me to apply for the job. Just one or two nights a week, just so he can get a little rest. Sometimes I think it would be fun -- but I’ve heard that line before. The last guy who said it to me stayed two days and then quit himself.
Then I was the one who couldn’t catch a day off.
There's this fantastic novel I read a long time ago (I can't seem to remember the title) -- God comes back to the world quietly, but is disappointed with what he finds in mankind and ends up wandering the deserts outside of Las Vegas. There he meets a man who flies a crop duster for a living but wishes he were doing more with his life. After a long series of events they decide to trade jobs, and we're left with this scene of God flying off across the desert, happier than he remembers being in a long, long time.
...What was the name of that book?
You want to know the weirdest thing? In the back of this bar, behind the poles is this area that's sort of fenced off by a railing. There's a fountain that sprays water into the air, and behind that, I swear to crop duster is a statue of a zebra standing in front of a palm tree. The palm tree is decorated with white lights. Every night I'm in this place I end up staring at this thing, wondering why it's here.

This club used to be a honky-tonk. When the crowds dried up they closed it down and then someone else bought it and opened it up like this. They never even took the old pictures off the wall. But it's not like knowing this fact helps me at all, because I can't think of any reason why a statue of a zebra would be inside of a country and western bar either.

I might as well be sitting at the bottom of the well with Toru Okada, searching for Kumiko in the darkness while the water slowly rises all around me.
Of course, only I would be thinking of things like this in a room full of half-naked women.
I wonder why we waste our lives here,
When we could run away to paradise.
But I am held in some invisible vice
And I can't get away
To live and die in L.A.
If I could, I would walk right up to that zebra and ask him why he is there,
But I already know what his response will be, and
I don't really have an answer for that question yet.
[Listening to: Deftones,"Hole in the Earth"]

Tuesday, January 16

Ugly Betty

I like to hide behind my glasses when I feel uptight
I like to hide behind my glasses when I’m trippin' in the strobelight
Hide behind my glasses so I can give you all dirty looks
Incompetent, moron, son of a jerk!
For about two months now I've been working as a tech writer for a biomedical technology company here in Jacksonville. While I've done my share of documentation gigs over the years, I've never really been at a place like this before.

The campus is split into two equal halves, with one side housing engineers, salespeople, management types, and various corporate drones like me -- while the other is a full-time manufacturing facility charged with assembling, testing, and sterilizing a dizzying array of medical implements and surgical tools that are shipped all over the world and subsequently jammed into the ears, noses, and throats of the infirmed.

From my chair next to the color printer, I experience an odd combination of generally simple work oriented around impossibly difficult subject matter. In other words, I can easily describe the tasks that I do on a daily basis, but I can't really pronounce the names of anything I'm responsible for. It's an oddly postmodern exercise wherein the words I type are more like objects to be arranged than any sort of tools for communication with another human being.

As a result, I find myself continually having to venture from the relative familiarity and safety of the cubicle farm over into the alien world on the other side to get assistance from people who actually know what this stuff is and what it does. That being said, it's not really as simple as walking east to west, because the vast majority of the items made here are intended for use in operating rooms and outpatient centers - which requires production inside the confines of a sterilized environment.

To get from my desk to the production center requires a stop inside the company airlock, where everyone who enters has to go through a short cleaning process followed by the issuing of lab coats, hairnets, and facemasks. No matter who you are or what you're there for, no matter how long you intend to be there - you have to put on the stuff.

It makes total sense of course, it's not like you want to be laying on a table somewhere with a surgeon who's off his game because the laryngeal blade he was planning to use had a hair in it -- but here, half a world away from the possibility of anything like that ever happening what it actually means is that whenever I need to talk to the quality assurance people I have to cross over into this alternate universe where everyone is dressed exactly the same and you can't see their mouths moving while they talk.
The lab coats are blue and the hairnets are white -- Every time I
go over there I can't help but hum the theme song from the Smurfs.
It's hard not to feel a little silly in a hairnet, but the odd thing is that once you step across the threshold into this place where everyone else has one, you tend to forget it's there. Or maybe it's more the fact that when everyone you see looks equally ridiculous, it's easier to dismiss your own discomfort.

Everyone that works on that side seems really nice, and regardless of how busy it seems they never hesitate to stop for a second and answer my silly questions or sign the approval sheets that I hand to them. It's an odd contrast to the facade-heavy corporate world I sit in, although I'm probably not really over there enough to see what it's really like.

All I ever see are the various brands of tennis shoes that poke out from under the lab coats and the tiny faces framed inside the netting that keep the products from getting contaminated. Tiny hints of individuality floating on a sea of necessary sameness, like snapshots of the people underneath.

It makes you wonder about the coverings we put on ourselves when we step outside our own sanctuaries. The cars we drive, the clothes we choose. Perfumes and colognes, hairstyles and welcoming smiles -- all hairnets and facemasks of a different sort -- putting a barrier between us and the people we don't know enough to bring inside our real lives, places filled with the kinds of insecurities and vulnerabilities we don't want contaminated.
Almost like we create our own clean rooms to protect who we really are.
Last Thursday I was sitting at my desk, listening to headphones and staring alone into the words on my computer screen when a tap came on my shoulder. I turned in my chair to find the figure of a stunning blonde woman I had never seen before looking into my eyes. I returned the grin as I removed the buds from my ears, honestly disarmed by the surprise of her calm beauty being as close as it was. She apologized for bugging me, and asked if I knew where the new tech writer's desk was.
Sensing a slightly open door, I widened my smile a bit and answered
"Oh, that's me -- I'm the new tech writer."
Her eyes seemed to change a bit, almost like she was chewing something over in her mind that didn't quite taste the way she thought it would. Even though I was facing her, it was hard not to feel the weight of the stare that kept returning to the bald patch on the top of my head and the extra weight that surrounds my midsection.

You could almost hear the disappointment in her voice as she handed me the stack of paper clipped forms she had reviewed and signed. Somewhere in that all-too heavy moment it was hard not to think that it would have been equally as simple for her to send the paperwork through inter-office mail like everyone else does. Unless of course she had a reason to venture past the borders of Smurf village, even if it was nothing more than wanting to see what someone looked like without the hairnets and lab coats getting in the way.
She apologized again, then disappeared down the hall.
So don't ask me why I put on my glasses again
Don't ask me why I put on my glasses again
I must repeat myself because I have to win
Don't ask me why I put on my glasses again..
[Listening to: Fishbone,"Sunless Saturday"]

Friday, January 12

My Thoughts Exactly

[Listening to: Prince, "Darling Nikki"]

Tuesday, January 9


The way people are acting, you'd think Jesus just descended from the heavens wearing a Salt Life t-shirt and singing "Freebird" at the top of his lungs.
I've got to get out of this town.
[Listening to: Kittie, "What I Always Wanted"]

Friday, January 5

Flight of the Navigator

I am driving down the road and there's this red car in front of me. My mind is a million other places. I'm thinking about the conversation I've just had. I'm hungry and looking for a place to eat. I'm waiting for my phone to ring and your picture to appear on the screen. I’m trying to find out just how much the streetlights blur when I speed.
I’m lonely and have no idea where I’m going.
I just don’t want to be sitting still anymore
..unless I’m somehow moving forward at the same time.
The other car drives tentatively, making me think he wants to get over into my lane. Almost as if the car were the indecisive one instead of the driver -- weaving slightly inside the lines, hoping to catch a scent in the air that will tell it where to go.

I slow down and motion for him to merge over -- but he does nothing. It’s not like there are a lot of other cars on the road, it’s not like he’s in my way or I’m slowing him down. We’re leaves floating on the surface of the water, and I’m in no particular hurry.. Why not let him slide over?

I think for a second about bumping the horn, but I decide against it and simply flash my headlights instead.
No response.
This goes on for a while and eventually gets annoying. And yet in the very same instant that I’m deciding it's not worth the trouble I find some small part of myself feeling wounded.

I mean, It’s a lonely world out there. People cut you down sometimes just because they can. I know it’s a just little thing, but I’m trying to reach out here. It’s not something I have to do. For all I know you could be a serial killer, some nut job with an axe to grind. But right here at this moment it doesn’t really matter -- because it looks like you want to get over and I’m trying to help.

Eventually I give up, drive at a normal speed and move past. At the next stoplight he pulls up next to me, and for no other reason than the fact that we'd had that interaction I can’t help but glance across to try and see what kind of person it was that had refused me,
Only to see the driver leaning his head back while the girl in the
other seat (who I hadn't seen before) continued going down on him.
If I hadn't felt lonely before, this certainly hammered the point home. I don't know -- sometimes when you catch sight of that sort of thing you think to yourself "good for you, high five" but other times when you're all bummed out that you've got no one of your own -- all you can do is wish you were there instead.

Going out to dinner by myself after seeing something like that was probably a mistake. Dinner for one is never really that great of an idea, especially when you’re having the kind of meal that you’d much rather share with someone else – but I hadn’t eaten anything all day, and somehow I knew a bean burrito just wasn’t gonna cut it.

So my night was kind of a downer. I had a wonderful phone conversation with j, but her laughter on the line couldn’t help but be a reminder of just how far away she really was – which didn’t do me any good in erasing the way I was feeling.

I finished my food, paid the bill, and went back home to sleep.
I ended up having a dream where I was
driving the red car -- so it wasn’t a total loss
But it was a really lonely night
..And those get old sometimes.
[Listening to: (hed) PE, "Dangerous"]

Thursday, January 4

Strippers Lie

..and you lie back.
Everybody knows what everyone is doing -- but you continue on just the same.

There are worse things in the world.
Besides, on nights like these
sometimes it's all you've got.
[Listening to: Helmet, "Milktoast"]

Tuesday, January 2

New Hotness

If you grew up with holes in ya zapatos
You'd celebrate the minute you was havin' dough..
scenes from a supposedly busy day
[Listening to: Cinderella, "Shake Me"]

Monday, January 1

Actually Spoken During the Course of My Evening

"You don't want to get into a math fight with me - because I'll lose."
[Listening to: Wicked Wisdom, "Something Inside of Me"]

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