Thursday, March 31, 2005

More reasons to hate Wal-Mart...

More dirt from the Wal-Mart Fact Checkers:

Wal-Mart took another hit last Friday, agreeing to pay $11 million and settle federal allegations that illegal immigrants have been paid to clean its stores for years. The government investigation, called Operation Rollback, found illegal immigrant janitors working at 60 Wal-Mart locations in 21 states since 2000.

Sure, great news that they're helping employ all of our illegals but it is unconscionable that these people are paid a pittance and not provided health care... you know, aside from Wal-Mart breaking the law. And this is a different issue from their violations of child labor laws!

Let's not support this crap. Don't give these people your money.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The New Democrats are Republican...

You've heard me say it and I'll say it again. The Democratic party has been infiltrated by Republicans and, sad as it may be, Hillary is one of them. Going the way of Leiberman, she's attacking the nation's #1 threat: games...

New York senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton has launched an attack on violent videogames, singling out Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto titles as a "major threat" to morality.

Clinton, who is reportedly planning to seek the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2008 election, has aligned herself with hardline right-wing Republican senators in order to pressure Congress into researching the impact of electronic media on children.

"Children are playing a game that encourages them to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them," she said in a statement on the issue. "This is a silent epidemic of media desensitisation that teaches kids it's OK to diss people because they are a woman, they're a different colour or they're from a different place."

Fucking morons. Say it with me people:


Pimping for the Lord…

My mom has decided to make a Christian out of me.

She's going to be sorely disappointed. (One is tempted to make a comment here, such as "What's beneath my toenails should cover it.") (But I won't.)

She sent me some evangelical literature the other day, written by Billy "The Axe" Graham. Mighty nice of her, except I never asked for it and she never bothered to ask if I'd like it.

Now, I've never been fond of pushy people. If she'd been a salesperson, I would have told her to eat shit. If she'd have been a stranger, I would have told her to fuck off. But, she's my mother, so I decided a nice phone call was in order.

"You know I'm not Christian," I told her. "Sending this stuff to me is a complete waste of time."

"Well, it's my time to waste," she replied, missing my point completely.

I felt like telling her, "Look, even if believing in an imaginary man up in the sky was in any way remotely rational, I still wouldn't be a Christian because, for the most part, Christians are evil people. They're opposed to welfare. They promote wars of aggression. They spit on the Constitution. They are hypocritical, pushy slime who would be struck down by their God in a wrathful way… if he existed."

But, I didn't. I got off the phone and disposed of her package with the cat shit.

Torture, Death, and Dentistry…

(This was supposed to be posted yesterday but this damn site's been down.... so, let's pretend it's yesterday!) (Yuck! I'd rather pretend it was Friday!)

Today, I have my first dental appointment in five years… yes, that's right. Five years!

Five years without a cleaning. Can you imagine? The hygienist is in there, rooting around (no pun intended), when she asks, "Mr. La Celle, when was the last time you ate sesame seeds?"

"Um, 1987," I answer.

Which is when she uncontrollably vomits...

See, here's the thing. When Rosa and I split up, I figured there was no sense in taking care of my self because, after all, my life was over. I was ready to die, right? And then the trip to the Grand Canyon didn't work out. (For those not in "the know", I was supposed to kill myself. Nothing ever goes as planned.) And then, I met Vicky.

All of a sudden, my life wasn't over any longer. It was taking a new start, something I hadn't foreseen, and not taking care of myself was no longer such a good plan.

I went to the doctor and found out I was in pretty good health. Pretty amazing, considering.
Last year, I lost a filling. I was in a show; it was the night of a performance. I was eating licorice, which ripped the filling right out! (That was an interesting night, to say the least!) So, I know I need that redone!

But dentists and I have never been the best of friends. Dentists have always been bad news. When my adult teeth were coming in, and the baby teeth didn't want to come out on their own, a dentist had to break my old teeth to be able to pull them. That was fun! Then, I had a dentist drill and fill three teeth - WITHOUT ANESTHETIC! More fun for me!

So, I don't like dentists.

Dentists are the kind of people who will say, "I don't know, Mr. La Celle. This tooth looks like it's ready to go."

"Are you sure?" I'd ask.

Then, he'd hit me in the mouth with a hammer, taking out several teeth and say, "Yep, I'd say you've got a few bad ones. Looks like the other side of the mouth might need some work, too."
"Okay! Okay!" I'd yell, spitting blood and bits of tooth. "I trust you!"

Dentists always had a very Ren&Stimpy-esque quality to me.

This time, I had to find a new dentist, one who took my insurance. And how do you do that? I mean, really? The bastards at 1-800-RIPYOURTOOTHOUT are only on there by virtue of having paid for membership. You can't believe your insurance companies.

And the ads! Oh, crap! The ads! "My name's Bob Murzasky, founder and graduate of the Murzasky school of dentistry. I founded my own school because those other schools - the bastards who wouldn't let me attend - don't teach the basics. Here, we teach you the Hammer, the Chisel, the Vise, the String and the Doorknob, and, of course, all the latest techniques in torture perfected by our friends in the US government. I didn't have to go to a real school to become a dentist and neither do you at the Murzasky school of dentistry."

This is when the voice-over comes in. "The Murzasky school of dentistry is not a qualified dental school and is actually located in Bob's kitchen. Stay away! Stay far away! Don't look in the basement! No! Don't! Oh, god! The bodies! Rotting flesh! The horror! Oh, God! The horror! Aaaaarrrggghhhhhhh!"

…. yeah, I hate dentists...

Monday, March 28, 2005

Babbling about babbling…

Babbling. They say that babies do it. They say that brooks do it.

Well, they ain't got nothing on me.

Folks, I am the original Babbler. In fact, if I was a super-villain, that would be my name: The Babbler! And my costume would have "Blah. Blah. Blah." written all over it You see what I mean? That's babbling!

Of course, any reader probably knows this very well by now. Vicky's learning.

I just finished writing a piece for the book. It's a political speech. It took me about 20 minutes to write and was over a thousand words in length. That's more than 50 words/minute!... With no rewrites!

Stuff like that comes very easily to me, though. My third novel, Revelations - still not available at a store near you, thanks to those bastard publishing houses! - was filled with sermons, being a book about religion provided for that. I loved writing sermons and they came pretty quickly, just like this speech.

I really am in the wrong line of work. And I'd get into politics in a minute… if they'd pay me. I'd work on attending a School of Theology, if only religion wasn't so hypocritical and just plain wrong as a matter of course. Instead, I write these books.

I also tend to babble in public, given the opportunity - any opportunity - so just watch yourself. You give me time and I'll expound on any topic: religion, economics, history, culture (both pop and high), food, life… In fact, I'll often blend them together, going round and round… mostly in an effort to more forward to a topic with which I'm more interested… which could change in seconds. This happens more so as I've been drinking.

And what was the point of this? There is none, really. I'm just babbling.

Jogging at 100 miles per hour…

Honest to Bob, I don't know what the hell's going on with my body. I look heavier but I weigh less. My pants are tighter but I'm in better condition.

… I have the sniffles a little.

It's annoying, this getting old stuff.

I've mentioned before that I've been working out but I'm not getting the results I want. Time to kick it up a notch. (BAM!) (Sorry!!!!) Rather than five times/week (which actually turns out to be more like four), now, I'm gonna pump it up to eight! (Mind you, I'll probably die as a result…. But at my funeral, you can say I look thin… especially since I plan to be cremated…)

So, it started last night. I went to the gym in the evening, after Vicky and I spent the morning hiking - where went the days of smokes and scotch??? - and hit the treadmill. It goes a long way back, my desire to run… probably as far back as junior high school, when I would shoplift Hustler magazines and run like hell…

But my attention was taken off my own machine by this woman at 10o'clock. She was RUNNING at full tilt with the incline on the treadmill set WAY up… You just wanted to watch her either die or achieve flight! (She's the one going 100 miles per hour, by the way…)

I jogged for 45 minutes, eating up a respectable 3.5 miles. All the while, I was watching The Contender on TV. What an amazingly stupid show! Here, we have Sly telling boxers he knows what they're going through. Pardon?! He ACTED like he knew - he never KNEW! Then, before these guys can box, they have to do interviews and obstacle courses and - isn't this a show about boxing??? All the while, I'm jogging with the Rocky theme going through my head. "Gonna DIE now!!!!"

Friday, March 25, 2005

Remarkable Rob-ness…

Before we get to today's My Side, let me get this out of the way. I hit the 80,000 word mark today. The plan now is to work the points of the essay into the climax of the book, which will now be drawn out over three chapters, rather than two. I'll end up with probably 90,000 words, my shortest book since My Side, my first, but that's okay.

Now, on to the show….

Yeah, 80,000. I'm stoked.

Here's a clip: Allowing one child to think it's okay to hurt anyone can be disastrous. This is how Hitlers are born. This is how vampires propagate.

I'm sorry… where was I?...

Ah, yes!


Robert Sassone. (I knew him as a boy.) Born 1966. Haven't seen in: Forever. Reads My Side: Often. Eats goldfish: Only once and it was late and he's just seen A Fish Called Wanda and…

Rob and I probably wouldn't recognize each other if we passed on the street but, believe it or not (believe it), there was once a time when we were inseparable. No, no handcuff or crazy glue jokes. I'm serious. We got along famously for many years and then life, that bitch, pulled us off in different directions. Oh, we've dropped each other the occasional line now and then. Thankfully, this Blog helps me pass along messages, too.

I took a lot from those years we were tied at the hip. Even today, I can't look at certain things or hear certain things without thinking of Rob.

Here's an example of each…

Tim came up from San Diego last week. The last time he'd done that, he decided to raid my fridge at about 3am. We knew we couldn't afford another hit like that… what to do? What to do?

And then it came to me. SALAMI.

"Salami?" Vicky sounded like I'd just suggested neck skin… not that there's anything wrong with neck skin.

So, I had to explain to her, "You know how Tim and I get together and drink? Well, Rob and I used to get together, kick about, shoot the breeze, and eat salami. Those big, dried ones they sell at the store. We'd just cut off a hunk and talk. Salami and cheese. Those were the days!"

But, sadly, one of the points of this, Rob, is that the good, old days are long done. Vicky sliced the salami and cheese into a nice platter… and it was actually better than slicing off a hunk and talking. Okay, so we'll leave that to the past. Still, it was like you were there, too.

I can never listen to Planet P or Planet P Project - one band with two names from the 80's - without thinking of Rob. One scream from Tony Carey's voice and I'm back in Rob's parent's station wagon, driving to a rehearsal or to Rick Habib's place up in Hollywood. Yep. Good times.

But, sadly, one of the points of this, Rob, is that the good, old days are long gone. I picked up the newest Planet P Project cd a couple of months ago on Amazon… and it arrived this week. (I hate Amazon!) Tony Carey wasn't screaming like he used to… in fact, he sounded… old…

The years pass and times fade into the mist but the people who share our lives pop up now and then even when they're not there and it's always nice to see them because it reminds us how much fun we had along the way.

Thanks, Rob.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A Love Story about…

Vampire Society is a Love Story About Values…

Those words were the magic key that fit the lock and all the tumblers fell into place. For 15-20 minutes, at least, the world was perfect, everything was as it should be, and…

Let's stop here for a second. Pay close attention. The minute you feel like the world is perfect and everything is as it should be, that's a clear sign that you should be VERY AFRAID. Watch out. You're about to get hit.

… and I'd be able to finish this book now with no problems, no hesitation, no worries at all. Because it made so much sense. Of course, it's a love story about values. That's what it always has been and always was supposed to be! I'm only a few thousand words away from the end. Time to dive in!

And I dived.

And someone had drained the pool…

I swear, it felt just like that. I felt just like a nightmare where you run down the diving board, take a big leap, and notice there's no water in the pool.

I could feel my mind crashing into itself.

And that's when the Kens came out. They come out some times. They came out when I was heading for the Grand Canyon. They poked their heads out at the Russian funeral. Now, I was downstairs having a smoke - oh, I ran down there quick! - and they strolled out, cocky.

"Book's always been a love story, ain't it?" one asked.

"Always been! Always been!" ranted another.

"Except when you started," accused the third. "That's when it was supposed to be a philosophical statement. Remember? Remember when you said it was going to propose a social revolution as opposed to Marx's revolution of labor? Where's your revolution now? Eh, smart guy?"

I took a drag. "Well, I can still do it… I just…"

"You can't! You can't!" ranted the ranter.

"Now you're writing a love story," reminded the first.

"The minute you decided to juggle romance and philosophy, you slit your throat. What were you thinking? Both things spring from two different organs!"

"The heart and the mind can be reconciled," I insisted, through a cloud of smoke.

"I was talking about the genitals and the liver," the third replied.


"Cause philosophers tend to drink!"

"And anyway," the third snapped, snatching up my shirt collar and lifting. "How do you throw an essay into the end of a love story? Huh? How do you?"

"You don't!"

"You don't!"

"You don't!" The other two chanted, circling around.

"I could, um, well, I could…" I didn't even have the cigarette anymore. I was babbling.

"You can't and you know it! Throw an essay at the end of a romance? You think people are going to want to read an essay after that?"

"Actually, it could be a…"

"Call it what you will," said the third.

"A sermon!"

"A rant!"

"A dissertation!"

"You're still stuck with a book that ends pedantically and a story that goes no where because philosophers don't read romance novels and horny women don't read philosophy."

"What about horny men?" asked the second.

"It depends upon the pictures," replied the first.

Every idea I'd had about the book had crumbled. I'd written my way into a brick wall… and had crashed right into it.

Now, I had mental whiplash.

"Buck up, kid," one of the Ken's said, sitting me in a stool by the side of the ring and taking out my mouth guard.

Another gave me a sip of water. "You'll finish it, kid. I know you. You'll finish it."

The third held a bucket. "Spit, nimrod," he told me. I spat. "You just need some time to rest. To reflect. To figure it out. Look, you could surrender to the love story aspect and simply plug the essay into the book - you know, like it was there all along. Or, you could build up the story a little so the essay makes more sense. You'll figure it out."

"Right," I said, hitting my gloves together. "I need to think about this."

"That's right. Take your time."

A bell rang. The first Ken grabbed me and pushed me up. "Now, get back out there again."

Any ideas from anyone out there? Is the essay idea doomed? Should it be worked into the book? Am I missing something?

I'd love to hear your take on it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Putting it into words...

Every day, I draw nearer to the ending of Vampire Society… and I can't wait.

Vampire Society has an interesting back-story, which some of you may know but I'll tell you anyway. I began Vampire Society in 1999, ages ago. I'd just finished writing the four Rynia fantasy novels and I was looking to return to the more philosophical styles of This Land is My Land and Revelations. It wasn't hard to find material for a book about ethics. All I really had to do was look around me and see the world I was in.

In less than a year, I'd written the first 60,000 words and was caught in a quandary of a book that, while it was about ethics, wanted to be a love story. I wasn't much into writing love stories at the time. After all, my marriage was falling apart. And when the end of my life with Rosa came, I was in even less of a state. So, I put it aside.

It wasn't until this year began that I read it again. Maybe it was the years and maybe it was Vicky that had healed me enough to see what the book was trying to do, and the value of writing a love story about values, but I knew I could pick it up again. And so, I did.

And as I saw the end approaching, I knew I'd have to define the ineffable. I'd have to find a catchphrase for a book that defied explanation. When people ask what a book's about, they don't want to hear, "Well, it's a book about ethics that takes place around these people growing up and…" They want a short description… something memorable…

Today, I found it. I wasn't really looking for it. As happens so often with these things, it came to me without me looking for it.

Mind you, when I mention the end coming, I only refer to the book. The essay at the end will take all summer, I'm sure.

You might have guessed it by now. Now that I know it, I'm littering it about whenever I talk about the book.

Vampire Society is A Love Story About Values.

Of course.

Now to finish it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

An update of sorts…

Well, you're just going to have to forgive me.

You will.

…. Ve haf ar vays….

…. Where was I?

Oh, right. Anyway, my brain's been kind of mushy lately. And, while it tastes just delectable with a sprinkle of sugar, I've had way too much on it to write lately.

First, there's Alacrity. Though he seems to be doing better, things just don't look right - and the vet using the word "mass" didn't exactly put me at ease.

Then, of course, going to the gym at 4:30am isn't exactly inspiring to the "writing sense"… though I've heard scotch works wonders.

Lastly, my life is kind of a mish-mash these days, with no real story to tell.

And, so, this Blog has been going blank.

I do have one story to tell you but I'll warn you that it's not sad and miserable. My readers tend to like me miserable - I'm funnier or something.

I'll keep this short.

I was at the train station the other day, dropping Tim off for his ride home, and I saw this incredibly beautiful woman. The first thing that caught me was her hair. Then, I saw her face as she turned towards me. And then her body. This is why there are paintings, statues, sonnets. She was sent from heaven.

But she wasn't the most wonderful woman I'd ever seen. That came this morning as I started to drive to work. I looked down one of the walkways that cuts between the condos. Again, the first thing I saw was the hair. Then, I saw her face as she turned towards me, coming round the corner, walking her dog. Then, her body. And I knew that this was why love songs were written and achievements won.

Okay, so she wasn't sent from heaven - though she made my heart swell just as if she had been. She'd been sent from Lancaster. She was my Vicky and she didn't know I was watching her for those few seconds. She won't believe me when she reads this but she was quite beautiful this morning, walking her dog in her sweats.

Love ya, Vic.

Okay. Okay. Enough mush! (Want some brain?) I promise to be back soon with complaints galore!

Friday, March 18, 2005

We talk this way...

Setting: Our home, in our bedroom.
Time: This morning, far too early.

Vicky: I've got to get up. General Counsel's going to be in today.
Ken: Did he get a promotion?
Vicky: What?
Ken: Last I heard, he was a Lieutenant.
Vicky: ....... What?

To think, she's agreed to a lifetime of this.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Hell… The Weekend From… Part Two: About Women, Lies, and Words…

So, the idea was that I'd write about this past weekend in two parts. Part Two would be about women. But then, my internal censor kicked in - and I decided not to do it.

So, I won't be writing to you about my brother, Dwight's, new girlfriend and how I was under whelmed with her. I won't be writing about Vicky and how she can be low-down cold sometimes. I won't be writing about Rosa, and how she's getting industrious about being the second most evil being next to Satan. (That was a typo. I meant to write Santa.)(Oh, and don't worry, you'll hear more by and by if you're good.)

I won't be writing about that.

… something tells me it's already too late.

That said, I reread what I wrote on Monday and was stunned, as I often am, by my own arrogance. Can you believe me, of all people, talking about keeping promises? I should be ashamed of myself. Probably, the only reason I felt the compulsion to take care of Alacrity is because that's the only promise to Rosa I haven't broken.

I'm a louse and I wonder why Vicky would ever want to marry me.

But enough of that. How about some good news? I've hit the 75,000 word mark in the book. (Have I mentioned this?) I seem to be back on track for about 80k. Sweeeeet!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Chocolate-covered Cockroaches...

No time to write today...

and, so instead, I bring you a query...

Which would be worse?

Eating chocolate-covered cockroaches?


... Or sucking off the chocolate?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hell… The Weekend from… Part One: Alacrity

Just as I'm beginning this tale of woe (or whoa!), I'm compelled to put it in some relief. And it's a relief to tell you that I reached 75,000 words on the new novel this morning. Yep, that's me. Just ticking off the words.

And it's a good thing, too, because I need good news.

This weekend was so awful, it was one for the books. I mean, sure, Vicky and I argued… but that's normal by now. All my money went into bills, sure…. But that's normal by now.
There was just so much that was Abnormal, well… you'll see.

Let's start with Alacrity, by far the worst thing that happened.

Friday night, I came home as usual - hating my life. I'd just put it my 9 hours at work, been told I didn't know how to write by a guy who could hardly speak, and had to explain articles to idiots… a usual day. What wasn't usual was the screaming I was greeted by when I came home. Screaming! Alacrity was on the sofa, emitting these blood-curdling sounds. So, you know, I knew something was wrong.

I called Vicky, who was on her way home, and we decided to wait until the got there. Meanwhile, I'd go pick up some soda because Dwight and his new girlfriend, Monica, were on the way. When I returned, though, it wasn't Alacrity who was screaming. It was Bandoo! (For those of you who don't know, I have a unique system for naming cats - one I would never apply to kids, lest I totally fuck up their lives.) He was out in front of the house and he was screaming like he'd just lost his best friend.

Realizing this, I ran inside. There was no sound from Alacrity. In fact, there was no sign of Alacrity! He was gone! Disappeared!

Of course, I thought, he's gone off to die. I've lost him! Oh, I felt like such a terrible person, leaving my suffering cat to get soda. I was tempted to call Vicky and tell her not to hurry. It was all over. And I was declared worst pet poppa in the world…

Which was when Alacrity came out from wherever he'd been hiding. "Why you little -" I started to say, but noticed he was still in a lot of pain.

I knew that scream. I'd heard it before from Winky, the first cat Rosa and I had taken in. He hadn't yet been a year old and he started crying and crying. We didn't know what to do; it was a weekend. By the time we brought him to the vet on Monday morning, he was too far gone. He'd had crystals in his bladder and he couldn't pee. As any man who's been on a long trip without stops will tell you, that kind of stuff can kill you!

So, I knew I had to get Alacrity help. Vicky knew it, too, having dealt with the same problem with Othello, who fortunately is alive… even if he doesn't like me much… So, we called the vet and the vet said, "If he's completely blocked, you've got to get him to the emergency room." Oh, great. Sounds like fun…

Mind you, I had woken up that morning at 4am. By the time we got to the emergency room, it was nearly midnight. Now, as bleary-eyed as I was, I was sure that I could just plop my plastic down.

So, imagine my surprise when the bill came to $1600… and I didn't have enough available credit on my card… and, as much as I thought it would be better for my finances, I couldn't have him put to sleep, not for this, not for something that they could fix… But they had something there called CreditCare, which is basically borrowing money from the mob.

Of course, I did it.

I did it without a whole lot of thought. Actually, I was too tired for a whole lot of thought.

We went home. I poured myself a drink and sat outside for a smoke. And that's when I thought. All night, I'd been seeing Alacrity as a kitten, when Rosa and I had first picked him up from the vet. (We'd adopted.) Basically, it was Rosa's fault. She handed him to me and he curled up in my arms like he was nesting - what more did we need? But when I'd left Rosa, I'd promised to take care of the cats. I'd promised. Even now, when years have passed and she'd done more than her fair share to help bring the curtain down on my miserable life, I still feel those promises like steel bands. And I honor them because they let me know I'm still a human being. I haven't turned into one of those "people" who feel that a promise should only last as long as it has to. I still believe that my word should mean something even after the conditions that made my giving it necessary have passed on. And I'd like to think that even Vicky would take some assurance in this, knowing that my promises mean so much to me.

Well, Alacrity came back home on Sunday and I was $1400 poorer. I wonder how I'm ever going to afford to pay it. I even hit Tim up for some money! (Slug feel like a I!)

… and that was only the beginning of my weekend...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

As an unbeliever, I can't say it's hell…

Yes, folks, we're talking about my employer today, and a festering pus-boil on humanity they are!

I'd been getting pretty comfortable this past year. I even bought a house - you know, because I thought things would be fine. Boy, what an idiot I am!

Before I begin, though… some background. I started here five years ago, back when I was starting my new life. In fact, the woman who hired me as a Marketing Writer (take note), set one of my passwords as "new life", an inside joke. I was supposed to write the ads, the marketing copy. I thought I had it made. Then, about half a year later, I was accused of sexual harassment by none other than the owner's niece. He pretty much did everything he could to make my life hell and make me want to leave. They took me off Marketing Writing and put me into Technical Writing, which they knew I despised. But, hey, I needed the job. And even after she recanted, said it was a mixture of misunderstanding and lies (on her part), the owner still made my life hell. But time passed and I adapted. Hey, I needed the job. Then, a new marketing director came in and promoted me to Managing Writer, managing the writing team. They asked me what the writer's needed and I said, "Computers that work and equitable compensation," and I was swiftly Demoted way down to data entry. And, even after the marketing director apologized to me for giving me the shaft as he was leaving the company, I remained there. But time passed and I adapted. Hey, I needed the job.

Then, the present marketing director came in. He found out I used to me the Marketing Writer, moved me back up to Technical Writing, and said he'd do everything he could to get me back into Marketing Writing. He still had me write all the ads and copy but I didn't get paid for me. But, hey, I needed the job. When he gave me my first review, he'd only been there a month and hadn't written it and told me I was being shafted. He even apologized, though there was nothing he could do. But, hey, I needed the job. Then, last year, at my review, he told me there was no way I'd ever be the Marketing Writer. I wasn't qualified. He was hiring somebody else. I'd stay in Technical Writing for the rest of my life with no promotion possible - EVER. It was quite a blow. But, hey, I needed the job.

Now, my five-year anniversary is coming. What could they do next?

Then, one month ago, my boss emailed me, asking why I hadn't done any work in a month. I wrote him back with a detailed accounting of all the work I'd done - and there was a lot of it. What could this be all about? What could it mean?

I found out yesterday.

Mike called me into his office and told me I never did any work. Oh, the evidence was very contrary. In fact, I was just given a high-priority job that, I was told, nobody else could do, writing all the documentation for a new product line. Why would they give that to me if I was a flake? I tried to get some specifics out of him. Who said I didn't do my work? What evidence do they have? What about all the contrary evidence I can come up with just from the top of my head?

What the fuck is wrong with a company that keeps looking for ways to screw somebody who just wants to do the job he was hired to do? (Or adapt to the job he was given?)

And the what the fuck is wrong with me that I can't find a new one?

Well, that's the thing, I've got to find a new one. This place just isn't healthy for me. So, if anyone knows of any openings anywhere…. (No, Tim, not Burger King!)

This is not a happy day. Sorry.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Adventures in Customer Service…

Well, we're back to classic My Side mode here at the Foundation and I wouldn't be too surprised if you heard me reading this on a CD at some point. If that's not possible, I'll put my head up by your bedroom window and whisper it in sweet, sweet tones…

But enough about my hobbies.

You might know I got into a car accident recently. While not on par with the time my brakes failed in my old Saturn (we'll know recognize a moment of silence) ("Hey, Si! How's it shaking?"), it was rather interesting getting rear-ended in the fast lane by a guy who was just answering a call from his son on his cell phone. Did I say interesting? I mean shocking! My teeth felt loose! Thankfully, though, he was fine and my car was drivable.

I contacted my insurance company, Farmers, who I had recently become insured by after dumping Mercury, and was promptly ordered to "Go fuck myself." Apparently, it seemed, that because it wasn't my fault they wouldn't help me… the only way you can get service, I guess, is to go on a killing spree. So, I had to contact the other guy's insurance: Infinity.

Remember these names: Farmers, Mercury, and Infinity. Now, stay away. Far, far away.

I first took my car to a shop in Anaheim, thinking I'd keep things near my home. Unfortunately, though, they had a big poster showing that they'd donated to (burning) Bush. They also displayed guns that had killed "niggers" and pictures of them spitting on the poor.

I left.

The second place I took my car was also close to home. In fact, I walked home after dropping it off, taking the day off of work. And it's a good thing I took the day off, too, because by mid-day, I had to walk back to pick it up. Now, walking one way had been fun but both ways was what the Pakistani's refer to as a "Bitch". (They're such a gentle people.) Why did I have to do it? "Infinity doesn't pay," the shop manager had told me, explaining why they don't work with Infinity. Good reason.

And so, today I was to bring my car to the third place, referred to me by the Infinity adjuster himself, which brings us to the beginning of our story. (Yes. That's right. The beginning.)

I left at lunch and drove to a place called ICC, Insurance Collision Center. A misnomer, actually. They aren't a center for colliding automobiles for the insurance money at all but, rather, a repair shop. When you pull in, there's a big sign that reads, "Lobby at front entrance". Looking at the building, however, you quickly notice that the front entrance could not possibly hold a lobby… But, hey, I'm a man of the 21st Century (another crappy insurance company, or so I've heard). I can deal with change.

I walked into the front entrance.

It was the shop floor. No lobby or anything remotely lobby-esque was visible.

But, heck, I'll play along. I walked to the nearest repair guy, an old (my age old, not elderly) asian guy. Actually, I noticed that they were all old asian guys…. Bizarre. "Excuse me," I called out over the sound of compressors. Lots of painting in there.

He didn't look at me.

"Pardon me," I tried again.

This time he looked at me. He smiled. And then, he turned away.

"I'm looking for the lobby."

He looked at me again, smiling.

"I am looking for the lobby!"

For just a moment, I thought some immense joke was being played upon me.

It was about to get worse.

"Lobby in front!" Honest to God, that's what he said. He looked at me and he said, "Lobby in front!"

It took me a moment to speak. "This IS the front," I told him.

"No," he shouted at me, pointing to the rear of the building. "The FRONT!"

Now, I'm no idiot but it seems to me that the side of the building facing the street, the side in front of the "No Trespassing" signs, the side with the parking lot, IS THE FRONT!

I almost walked out, but someone else rushed up to meet me. A young, mexican man, he asked me, "Do you need help with anything, sir?"

"I was just looking for the lobby."

He ushered me outside and pointed to the back of the building. "It's in the front."

"Yes," I acknowledged, "but wouldn't you agree that this seems to be the front since the customer parking is up here and the No Trespassing signs are there?"

"Oh, don't worry about the No Trespassing signs. That's for the employees so they don't park there."


So, I went to the "front" and entered. You don't work with a mechanic there. You work with an account manager. He facilitates your repair and works with you and your insurance company… to get their fucking money. The first words out of his mouth were, "Goddammit, I hate Infinity Insurance!"

It was the beginning of a long story of woe, which centered on how many hoops this guy had to go through to get Infinity to pay. I wouldn't suggest it as a bed-time story.

"But they will pay, right?"

"Eventually," he said, deflated.

That done, I contacted Hertz to pick me up so I could get a rental car. They have an office at the Embassy Suites on Dyer, close to the shop, and it was to there I was brought to pick up my rental. I had called before to make sure Infinity had set up an account with Hertz and was assured that all I would have to do was go in and get the car. … Um, no. The salesman tried to sell me the insurance and the gas - he would have tried to sell me my own shoes if I'd been biting but I wasn't. The insurance company was paying for this so not only did I not need to buy the gas but I was triple-covered in case of an accident. (Both insurance companies and my VISA card, which I used to clear the car.) In fact, by the time I was done saying NO, time after time after time, he ended with slapping the keys on the counter. "Your cars out front," he snapped at me. "It's the silver one."

Hertz advertises that they rent Fords and Toyotas. What they don't tell you is what I found out when I walked outside and found a silver KIA…. Ugh! But, it's a rental, what do you expect? (The one upside to this story has nothing to do with humans but machines: The KIA drives really well. Color me pleasantly bemused!)

I got in and drove to my next destination… my bank. I used to like going to the bank, smiling people behind a counter giving you money! What's not to like?! But I'm not six any more and times have changed. I walked up to the counter to deposit a check and get some cash back for lunch. Now, before you ask why I didn't just use the ATM, try to understand that beneath this cynical shell I am something of a wide-eyed optimist, wishing the best for human-kind, thinking that I may be surprised one day.

I wasn't.

My check was deposited. My cash was back. I was about to walk away when the manager jumped in front of my teller, a rather quiet, older lady, and shouted at me, "You need loan?!"
I didn't know if it was a statement or a question.

"You need loan!" This time, there was no doubt. It was a statement. Yes, the poor syntax was how he put it. He was asian but fit homogenously into that breed of younger person who has been raised in a society where only the most predatory survive. Quiet respect and manners were shed long ago like snakeskin.

"No," I said, quietly offended.

"You need new car. You need new home."

"Actually, I don't." And, with that, I walked away.

And I went to Taco Bell for lunch. What can I say, even I need a shot of junk food now and then. The girl at the counter couldn't have been more than 18 and I wondered why she wasn't at school. The thought irritated me… and I'm afraid I took it out on her. I thought I'd get a surprise for lunch. The easiest way to do this, of course, is to place a rather complicated order with someone just like this. You don't have to get nasty. It can be very simple.

"Could I have two bean burritos with extra cheese, one green sauce and one red sauce and no onions in the one with green sauce, with a small Dr. Pepper." You could see her brain derail for a second as she overlooked the "SM SODA" button, trying to find Dr. Pepper.

She charged me about three dollars, which would be about right.

I took my bag and filled my soda and walked to my car. I had one burrito supreme and one chicken soft taco.

Based on this story alone, I really hope the human race dies off very soon… I'm terrified by how much less intelligent we can get...

Notes of Community Interest…

Occasionally, I have to clear out old ideas from my head, lest the clutter start coming out in the form of incessant babbling that…. Um…. Has already happened, I guess…


(Note: No "s" on "anyways"…)

So, let's get this party started:

Booze. Tim came up this weekend and, in a move that shocked a not-yet-shocked nation, we got drunk. Vicky had to get up early Sunday morning so we couldn't make any noise so we opted for something far more mature - and by "mature", I mean "stupid". We staggered out to the freeway overpass and screamed, hooted, and hollered at the passing cars. Yes, this is how Ken has a good time, yelling and laughing at the 91 freeway. Oddly enough, one side of the overpass had a high fence, keeping people from jumping over… but the other side had no fence. So, it wasn't so much "preventing" as it was "herding". I'm surprised I remember this because I was so incredibly drunk, it was all I could do to keep Tim from picking his way down a path to the freeway. Drunken games of freeway "Frogger" are not my idea of a good time.

Lori. I've tried emails. I've tried worrying. I've tried prayer… well, not in this case, but there were plenty of times in my childhood… Anyway, I can't think of a way to get word to my dear friend, Lori. So, Lori, if you're reading - what the hell happened to you?! Where are you?! And where's my five bucks??? (No, she doesn't owe me five bucks but I figured I might get a little money out of this…)

Vicky. With me playing World of Warcraft (19th lvl Paladin, 9th lvl Priest - to those players out there who are reading), Vicky has taken possession of my copy of Sims2. She's fallen deeply within its spell of goofy characters, funny situations, and the possibility of getting them to have sex… or was that just me? Anyway, I haven't seen her so involved in a game and, while I've offered her my cheat codes (oh, stop it - you know you do it, too!), she tells me she wants to play "right". Meanwhile, I just want her game to go faster… little does she know I'm playing vicariously through her. One of her characters is pregnant and I want to know what happens next…

Writing. The end of the book is coming much faster than I thought it would. 80,000 words? Try 75,000! And that's just wrong… but I can't over-analyze this. I have to stay in the moment, moment-by-moment…. Not momentarily… And as I write it, I can't help but think about what I want to write next. This book is so serious and filled with its own sense of importance… I just want to write something goofy and absurd. I had a dream last night about a play in which, at one point, two guys are the on the stage. One had just become a father and is gushing about his baby's cute socks and cute hat and cute shoes and - the other guy slaps him. Not yet, Ken. Not yet.

More Vicky. Here's a date you should keep in mind: April 13th! That just happens to be Vicky's birthday! (And, boy, if I got that wrong, I'll never hear the end of it!) Here's your advanced notice to send cards, emails, letters, or comments (or GREAT BIG WADS OF CASH) wishing her a happy birthday. This will coincide with massive celebrations in Anaheim, California, bent on feeding Vicky as many Apple-tinis as humanly possible.

Dentist. Let's face it, people. I needs ta go! It's been five years and things need cleaning and polishing and - I'm sure without a doubt - drilling and scraping and extracting and hammering and chiseling and mortaring and bombing and torturing and…. I'm sorry, where was I? Anyway, I'll be going soon - and you'll hear all about it… Trust me.

Waiting and Weighting. It's been over a month since I started working out in the morning and the weight has finally started to come off! Where's the ice cream?

The other white Tim. And, by the way, I see Fred Mertz has been making comments on this site but I haven't spoken to Tim Murphy in a while. Why is that? Well, I hope he and Autumn are doing well. Gotta remember to call…. You know…. Eventually…

Rob. Another on the long list of "Great Friends Ken Never Speaks To" and, I promise, the last one I mention here. I'll keep this short. Rob? How the hell are ya???

Okay, I'm going to start shutting up now. This was going to go on a while longer but my internal censor is kicking in… so you won't read:

* Kissing women other than my girlfriend - I haven't done a show in a while
* World of Warcraft - I'm fucking hooked and I love it
* All women are crazy and the GameStop employee who asked if turnabout really is fair play
* Hometown Buffet - someone kill me before I eat there!

The shutting up process is taking a while but, at least, my brain is cleared out enough to stop the babbling… oh, wait.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Things change…

Got up late this morning… at 4:30 am!!!!!!!!!

When did this become late?

I was going to stay in bed. I was feeling a bit nauseas. But, then, I thought, "No, I'll miss my work out!" and up I got. And, nearly immediately, I thought, "I'm not staying in bed because I want to go to the gym at 4:30 in the morning? What's wrong with this picture??"

But go, I did. And I started thinking about how weird my life has become in the last four weeks. I work out 4-5 times each week. (Though it hasn't helped much.) I'm writing a book instead of acting (or writing) a play. I go to bed shortly after 9pm….

These things might not seem strange to you but, listen, I'm telling you, this is not me. Only a year ago, I was a thinner actor who didn't work out and slept at all hours. Now, I'm heavier but I work out, write a novel, and sleep decent hours. And that "decent hours" thing - just a couple years ago, I wasn't sleeping at all, or sleepwalking!

Some people thing you go through a few big changes in your life. Well, I'm here to tell you they happen all the time!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Ice cream! Get your free ice cream!!

As a public service to you - me public - I thought I'd turn you on to THIS.

Yes, turns out Yahoo is celebrating it's 10 year anniversary, of which I'm sure you give great piles of shit, by giving out FREE ice cream at Baskin Robbins!

Check it out!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Writing and Playing (continued…)

So, you're probably wondering how I can still find time to write now that I have World of Warcraft. (Those who aren't wondering when I'll shut up.)

Now, I know I gave you a link to free Anarchy Online. I did play that for a couple of days but, like I said, I couldn't compare to WoW. If AO was ice cream, WoW is Ben & Jerry's! And if I was going to play a game like that, I might as well play a good one.

So, I got WoW over the weekend and played and played and, well, you get it. In the midst of that, though, there are so many other things to do. House work. Time with Vicky. Sleeping. Eating. There just aren't enough hours in the day!!

But I'm happy to announce that I hit the 70,000 word mark this morning! As I look towards the end, I think I have just two more chapters after the one I'm presently on. That should put me slightly over 80,000 words, as I'd hoped. Then, after a break, will come the real work. "The Virtue of Reason", the indictment against the Vampire Society - and easily the hardest thing I've ever had to write. Who the hell do I think I am, anyway?

Thankfully, though, I have WoW to bring me back down to earth and put me in my place - still just a guy who plays video games.

Writing and Playing…

So, you're probably wondering how I can still find time to write now that I have World of Warcraft. (Those who aren't wondering when I'll shut up.)

Now, I know I gave you a link to free Anarchy Online. I did play that for a couple of days but, like I said, I couldn't compare to WoW. If AO was ice cream, WoW is Ben & Jerry's! And if I was going to play a game like that, I might as well play a good one.

So, I got WoW over the weekend and played and played and, well, you get it. In the midst of that, though, there are so many other things to do. House work. Time with Vicky. Sleeping. Eating. There just aren't enough hours in the day!!

But I'm happy to announce that I hit the 70,000 word mark this morning! As I look towards the end, I think I have just two more chapters after the one I'm presently on. That should put me slightly over 80,000 words, as I'd hoped. Then, after a break, will come the real work. "The Virtue of Reason", the indictment against the Vampire Society - and easily the hardest thing I've ever had to write. Who the hell do I think I am, anyway?

Thankfully, though, I have WoW to bring me back down to earth and put me in my place - still just a guy who plays video games.