Saturday, May 04, 2002

Today was, as they say, NOT my day.

As I parked my car at work and turned of the ignition, the key literally broke in half, leaving half of itself jammed inside the steering wheel column, forcing me to leave it unlocked for the day. Fortunately, my boss, resourceful guy that he is, managed to get the piece out with a gluestick, leaving me with two peices of car key.

The first phone call I feilded was from a hearing impaired gentleman, so everything I said had to be typed out by a relay operator. However, he could speak thru an electronic voice box which made for some interesting sonic phenomena and conversation(I realize I am a compassionless bastard, and honestly I feel for the guy, but this was not a great time).

Twenty minutes or so later, a gentleman with an unbelievably thick Slavic accent came in looking for laptops. I showed him what we had and he said, "None with trackball?"

"No sir, all touchpads," I answered.

He began ranting, sounding like a deranged Henry Kissinger, "You say you can have anyway you want, but you can't guddammit, that's what's wrong with this country..." and stormed out. Oooo-kay.

Finally at lunchtime I hoofed it over to the key shop at the mall across the street run by two very polite patient Asian gentlemen. They took the pieces and carved out two copies of the key for me.

"Is this gonna work?" I asked.
"Closs fingah" one of them said.*
"Come again?"
"Closs fingah" they said in unison holding up crossed fingers.

Praise the power of clossed fingahs, it worked and I made it home, where all I now wanna do is drink my beer, eat my peanuts and see what my online crew is up to.Oh, well it could've been a lot worse. I seem to have this amazing tendency to boogie right up to the edge of the abyss and then somehow moonwalk back away to safety.Some lives are tragedies, mine is an absurdist comedy.

*no kidding, that's exactly how they said it...

A few years ago, the bookstore I worked at was graced with a personal appearance by Mr. Charlton Heston portrayer of Moses and erstwhile weaponry advocate.

The turnout of people was predictably huge, something on the order of 1000+ people.And lucky me, I was floor supervisor that day. Because of the large number of autograph seekers, people were told to wait in line till they got to the front, hand their copy of Heston's autobio to a clerk who would hand it to Heston who would sign it and shake their hand. Then the customer would move along.Theoretically.
Of course, a signature and a handshake ain't enough for some people. One couple when their time came to move along, would not.

My manager went up to them,
"Sir, I think you need to let some people thru.."
"I'm here to meet Mr. Heston" he said.
"And you did, Now it's some other peoples turn."
"My wife has cancer!!"
My manager paused to blink.
"I'm very sorry to hear that sir, but you're still gonna have to move along."
"I'm gonna kick you in the nuts!"
"Then I'm calling the cops!"
"No you're not."
My boss started calling the cops and the guy booked. But there's more...

As I was patrolling the floor just after Heston left the table, I saw three people hovering by the door that led to the stores loading dock.
One was this older woman with absolutely appalling skin condition that made her look like she had been microwaved. With her was a younger woman with a paralyzed rictus of a smile and a young man with an "I left the planet 3 days ago" look in his eyes and no less than 5 Planet of The Apes videos under his arm.
"Can I help you?" I said
"He's coming back.." they answered in unison.
"I don't think so, but lemme check" I said. I went out to the dock and saw Heston's limo pull away.

"Nope, he's gone." I said.
"Ohhh, he's gone" they said(in unison again) and shuffled off to go home to their candlelit shrines.

Now, rest assured I am not making this up, I'm not that creative. And I now fully understand Mr. Heston's desire to arm himself.

Friday, May 03, 2002

OK, I finally got a stable commenting system in place and I promise not to screw with it. Unfortunately all your prior pearls of wisdom are now consigned to oblivion(sorry guys). But I'm sure we can fill those comment boxes back up again.Hell, you can even go into the archives and comment on the old shit if you want. Thanks to pikachulolita for linking to the right commenting system. So show me some love, mah peepz!

One of my favorite, harbingers of spring has arrived. No not the first robin, cleavage. With the warm weather, women are showing it again. Wearing clothes with a low-cut is one of the big guns in any woman's arsenal. And as MeFemme gutenberg said here it's an excellent way to boggle the male mind. It's the ultimate sexy move cos it says "I'm a womanly woman" without being smutty

The unfair thing is there's no male equivalent. It's not like we can walk around with half our butts hanging out to get babes. Well, we could but we'd just look stupid. It's unfair I tells ya, unfair.
It's been 4 years since I sold books for a living, yet whenever I'm browsing in a bookstore, without fail someone will come up to me and ask where something is. I must still carry a scent of ink or something.

On the way to work today Poison's "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" came on the radio. Yes, I realize Poison suck, but that song has always been a guilty pleasure. If that song dosen't conjure up memories of drunken make-out sessions at rec-room parties, then you probably weren't a teenager in the '80s. Just never listen to it after you've broken up with someone. It's guaranteed to have you weeping in your beer.

More blogging after work.
Somebody theorized that for every active, couple-comments-a-day poster on the 'Filter there are maybe a couple hundred lurkers, registered and unregistered, who just read. That's actually a pretty big audience of people who sit down to the 'filter for there evenings entertainment. All us regulars must seem like charcters in a sitcom to them(I, of course, am the wacky neighbor). I've actually gotten emails from people who are not mefite's about things I and others have said, and I know that others of the regulars have been refferred to on on other web venues. I think it's cool, but at the same time it's actually a little weird to know that there's like an audience, rather than just a bunch of people talking in a room.

just a thought.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

BTW, I'm halfway through my third 19 oz. bag of Sunkist Fruit Gems this week. I think I'm on a little jag.

I tend to do that with food. I'll find some food I like and eat it for days on end in copious quantities until I'm sick of it. For a while it was Buffalo Busters then it was Steak-Umm Wraps Bacon Cheese flavor, then Honey Roasted Peanuts, now it's the Fruit gems. I'm paying for some proccessed foods executives yacht, I tell ya.

You know, I make somewhat more money now than I did back in my bookstore days, but a part of me really misses those times. Nowadays, I have to sleep th...I mean attend a lot of meetings where some executive chatters on about profit margins and trends in the stock market, and what's worse I actually kind of have to care about it, because it's central to the company's survival.

Back when I was shelving books, they never bothered the worker bees with that kinda stuff, basically because we were easily replaceable cogs. That sounds like it sucks, but in a way it was great because when you're that far below the radar, no one cares what you do, so you can do whatever you want, and bookstores by their nature attaract literate creative people as employees. So I spent a lot of time hanging out with artists, musicians, and other funky people. I even was mentioned very breifly in an issue of Muffin Bones a 'zine that was in Facsheet Five's top 10. On the downside, I barely had a nickel in my pocket most of the time.

So I "wised up" and dropped any artistic pretensions and went into selling. The money's great but at times it's kinda soul-sucking.Sometimes I'll drop in on freinds who still work at the bookstore and they seem happier than me somehow. Hanging out at the 'Filter has kinda rekindled something in me. I guess it's just being around a bunch of smart creative people and being treated as a peer that's inspired me. It got me to start this blog for instance.

So, I just have this feeling that I should make some kinda move soon. I don't know what it'll be. Maybe I'll start seriously writing something other than board and 'blog postings again. Maybe I'll put some actual effort into the radio station and zine ideas I've had over the years. I've figured out that I'm naturally a collaborator so maybe I'll have to rustle up a team of some sort, and it'll be an uphill battle against my natural tendencies toward extreme sloth. The ultimate goal is to maube make a living doing something I really enjoy although I haven't found the exact niche yet.

Life just seems to be too short not to be contributing something and doing what you like. I'll keep you posted.

Oh, by the way, which one of y'all paid to have my ad banner removed? Whoever it is, thank you, I'm flattered and if you reveal your identity I shall shower you with .mp3's.

I created my own lego doppelganger at Silly, but fun. I think I captured myself quite nicely. They didn't have any plaid flannel torsos, though.
Over at the House of Primates my man, eyeballkid mentioned the flick Spanking the Monkey.

About 5 years ago my lesbian punk-rock guitarist ex-girfreind invited me and a heavily tattooed mohawk-sportin' guy named Mike over to watch the flick at her place.Three uber-hip, seen-it-all types watchin' an art-house flick. How very goddam cool, huh?

Well about halfway through, relationship of the movie begins to blossom, and so help me we couldn't even look at eachother for 3 hours. Afterwards we had to watch 3 hours of Mighty Mouse cartoons just to feel normal again. If you ever want a movie to shock the unshockable, this is it.

Side note, possiblly related:a few years later the aforementioned lesbian ex found a picture of my mom in my wallet. "Wow, your mom's cute," she said. Oh, dear. Now whenever she wants to make me squirm, in the middle of a conversation she'll say, "So, how's your mom?"

It's a weird world we live in.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

On a lighter note, one place I stopped into on my recent trip into Manhattan was the worlds greatest oldies shop, House of Oldies on Carmine Street. Every serious music fan in the NYC area must make at least a few pilgrimages to this joint. This is the type of place where you could walk in and say "Do you have 'Ode to Absorbine, Jr' by the Athlete's Feet?" and the clerks will look you dead in the face and say, "Stereo or Mono?"

Not to mention, they are strictly vinyl-only. Ya gotta love a place with a sign on the door saying "Leave Your Tapes and CD's at Home." Right on! Certain music only sounds right on a spinning 45 and my apartment is filled with several from this joint. If you go there, enjoy, cats and kittens.
On the way home tonight, I stopped by Duke's Smokehouse for a pulled pork plate and while I ate, I flipped through an old issue of Newsweek with an article on the "dot-com bust." Not to sound all omniscient or anything, but I kinda saw it coming. Not for the usual "business model" reasons, but from personal experience.

Back in mid-1999, I was working for my current employer and things were in full tech boom swing. I couldn't sell PC's fast enough. I was making money hand over fist, not on the Jerry Yang/Jeff Bezos level, but pretty damn good for a guy who had spent the previous 6 years clerking in chain bookstores. Then I got cocky.

Lisa decided she wanted to go to grad school in South Florida. I figured that any moderatelt tech-savvy young fella could score himself a dot-com job easy as pie, so I said sure lets go. I spent the first couple of working weeks in FLA working for a major mail-order company. This was a story in itself but I won't go into that here. Suffice it to say that Iwa sthe only one in my training group who new one end of a computer from the other, I actually spent one long lunch break showing them all how to set up and use Hotmail accounts. After two weeks I was desperate to get out and began surreptitiously slapping my resume up on every job site I could find.

About a week later a dot-com outfit that I won't name said I sounded perfect and asked me to come in for an interview. They gave me directions, which I MapQuested and when I arrived at the address, it was a house in this gated community in North Miami. I went inside and this 40ish hippie type lady in a purple velvet dress with a rose tattooed on her ankle sat me down. She told me that the company's product was an e-commerce solution she had cooked up.Terrific, I thought, Perfect place to be. As the interview progressed she took a shine to me and said I was hired pending an interview with their Sales Manager and that I'd be recieving salary plus commissions and residuals. I walked out the door with dollar signs in my eyes and quit the mail order job.

Two days later, I drove up for my interview with the sales manager. This is when things got weird. The guy walked in with silver hair that looked as if it'd been cut by a surgical laser and a suit with creases so sharp they could be used as weapons. He asked me if I liked selling.

"Sure," I said.

"You like the rush, hah?"

Um, whatever I thought to myself.

Trepidation was beginning to set in. I started talking about ideas I had to move the company from storefront e-commerce, like forming alliances with streaming media companies to make the service more palatable to say musicians or artist. The dude looked me in the face and said, "You just keep on thinkin', Jon."
Asshole. He also announced that the salary plus commision had become straight commission. Great. My trepidation had become full blown fear, but without any other job, I showed up for work. After spending a day poundng their call list and getting hung up on and cursed at, I came home dejected.

"You know" Lisa said when I arrived, "You could stay home and make no money, and you'd still have time to look for another job." So I never went back.2 months later read an article in a computer magazine saying that their product sucked. Heh-heh-heh.

For the next couple months, I worked a succession of temp assignments. The most memorable of these was the night I spent doing inventory in this clothes store in Pequena Habana. I spent the better part of 2 hours counting what came to 475 pairs of thong underwear.

Eventually I wound up back at the Florida branch of my current employer and everything worked out I guess. But if most dot-coms were anything like that outfit, it's no wonder the whole mess fell apart.

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Alarming development. I was at the 7-11 today and they've started mixing the "Power Bars" up with the candy. This is not a good thing. It's disconcerting to be looking thru the Kit-Kats and Starbursts and come across Nutri-Grain or worse, this disturbing concoction I came across today, Designer Whey.

Designer Whey? Maybe it's good for you but, come on!! whatta name! That's the best the marketing guys could come up with? Jeepers.

I also pity the poor bastard who thinks he's buying a 3 Musketeers and walks out with one of these. If the Red Bull guzzling teens I've seen are any indication, this stuff may be the food of the future.


BTW, the comment's are back and functioning again, feel free to praise or abuse...
OK, made it home.

To uplift your day I give you a book reccomendation and what I like to call the Unified Butt Theory.
First off, Chuck Klosterman's Fargo Rock City came out in paperback, so I bought it and can now read it at my leisure rather than surreptitiously on trips to the bookstore. Klosterman takes the most maligned genre in music history-'80's heavy metal and gives us a lovingly detailed right on target re-examination. The guy's writing style is so easygoing that it's like listening to a really smart hescher lecture you from his barstool. If your teenage memories include riding around in the back of a Trans Am high on testosterone and DeKuyper Peachtree screaming "You've Got Another Thing Comin'.." at the top of your lungs*, then this is the cultural history you've been waiting for.

Now, on to the Unified Butt Theory. Basically it goes like this: Only straight men and lesbians are interested in boobs. Only straight women and gay men care about penises. But everybody loves a nice well-shaped ass. Am I right?

I think this could be the unifying force that will lead us out of our conflicted world. Let's hear it for butts, everyone! Who's with me?!

And the Ass shall lead them...

*I know for a fact this applies to many of my readers.

In preparation for tommorrow's "Day of Silence" on Internet Radio, to protest the DMCA, KPIG has been playing an excellent music stream this afternoon, many of them songs about radio and freedom, just to make the point. Listen in, if for no other reason than to see what will disappear if this asinine law is upheld.

Never has "Radio Radio" sounded more appropriate,

Radio is the sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the Voice of Reason
But they don't give you any choice
'Cause they think that it's treason
So you had better do as you were told
You better listen to the radio

I wanna bite the hand that feeds me
I wanna bite that hand so badly
I wanna make them wish they'd never seen me
Some of my freinds sit around every evening
And they worry about the times ahead
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
And the promise of an early bed

You either shut up or get cut out
They don't wanna hear about it
It's only inches on the reel to reel
And the radio is in the hands
Of such a lot of fools
Tryin' to anesthetize they way that you feel

Damn Straight, Mr Costello

More blogging when I get home...

Monday, April 29, 2002

Update: the customer who asked the stupidest question ever(click here and scroll to April 11th) came back and bought a computer. He's also got cable internet service. I pray to god he dosen't somehow discover Metafilter. He'd probably just start posting , "What's up with all the pancakes, dude?" and then probably go cook some.

Oddly they paid in cash, a huge-ass stack of 10's and 20's and while I rung up the order him and his pal were checking out "jam-band" sites and I guess potsmoking does kill brain cells, after all.

*thinks for a minute*

Usually, on the way home from work, I'll stop to pick up smokes, soda or a snack. Lately I've been noticing that I'll drive further and pay more just so I can stop at this one particular CITGO station, because they have a really, really cute and charming countergirl. She's the same countergirl that I blogged about on April 3rd, and along with giving me that funny conversation she also has long red hair and cute round rimmed eyeglasses. I know, I know...I'm taken(and I'm a good boy), but I'm not dead. But I do look at women way too much. Is there a Skirt-Chasers Anonymous out there or something?

On a more bizarre note, I was checking my refferer logs this morning and it seems someone was reffered to me from FARK of all places. Now while I like FARK, I've never contributed so much as a comment there. I scoured the FARK page but couldn't find the link anywhere, and did all the usual "link:" searches at the usual places. I'm frankly a little unnerved; then again it could be some MeFite playing a joke, so who knows? If any of you can find the link, lemme know.Of course it could also be that my tracker is drunk or something cause I also have NortonDC's userpage listed as a refferer and there's definitely no link there.

The plot thickens, actually if it thickens any more, it'll be plot stew, but whaddaya gonna do?

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Since a lot of people have asked me where I find all the weird-ass toonz that I groove to, I've decided to post a buncha links to guide the novices out there towards some cool obscurities.

Firstly for the weirdo, exotic stuff, Weirdo Music is a great place to start. The home page of Irwin Chusid's Incorrect Music radio show on WFMU is excellent as is the page for his book(and companion CD) Songs in the Key of Z.

For overlooked gems of the past Richie Unterberger is THE MAN. His books Unknown Legends of Rock-n-Roll and Urban Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers are great maps to forgotten treasures.Ugly Things and The Garage are killer sites as well, as is Perfect Sound Forever

On the rootsier side of things there's the superlative mag No Depression and the retail outlet Miles of Music.

For modern stuff, Epitonic and Insound lead the pack.

While we're on the subject of music, one band anyone who's interested in smart, aggressive rock-n-roll should know about is the late lamented act called The Monks. They were a group of GI's stationed in Berlin in the early 1960's who discovered the Rolling Stones and Ayn Rand at around the same time, while living in the shadow of the iron curtain and the resulting creation is astounding. Play their album Black Monk Time to any kid who's just discovered punk rock and after his jaws done dropping tell him that it was recorded in 1965!. The book on the band,written by bassist Eddie Shaw, also entitled Black Monk Time is a fascinating read as well. Real Audio samples are available on this page.

I hope this guides you to some cool stuff.

BTW, the comment script is disabled until I can figure out a way to re-integrate it without chewing up the template. But I still do love feedback, it'll just have to be by e-mail for a while.

Rock on, everyone.
Right now, someone in kangaroo costume* is walking around the store. I've worked for two companies who's logo was a cow. I sleep on sheets with pictures of kittens, and my favorite website involves a bunny.

I think I missed my calling. I shoulda been a damn zookeeper. Or maybe my life is nothing but a carnival of low-level surrealism.

*radio station promotion. long story. not worth it.