Saturday, June 29, 2002

There are some things that I will not miss once I leave retail. We've already mentioned nametags and stupid questions, of course. But here's a few more.

1)Changing Register Tape. No matter how many times you do it, it never gets easier, does it? and every register is different it seems.

2)Stupid Acronyms.ABC="Always Be Closing", TEAM="Together Everyone Acheives More" Gods! Howzabout KMAG="Kiss My Ass Goodbye."

3)The Breakroom.Always a cafeteria style table, covered with carved obscenities about the company's CEO and always the lingering aroma of stale coffee and fast food that no amount of Pine Sol can eradicate.

4)Forms.There are always too many of them.

5)Pens.There are never enough of them.

6)"Motivational" Meetings.My motivation is to stay alive, thank you very much. When I need some toothy optimist in a Fiberglas suit who reeks of Binaca to take 2 hours out of my life for a Rah-Rah session, I'll let you know.

7)The Secret Shopper.What kind of human being thinks, "When I grow up, I wanna catch people at a bad moment and fink to their superiors about it. And I wanna do this for a living!"

8)Stupid Sales Contests."Meet productivity goals and get a Pizza Party!!" w00t!! Listen I'm 31 years old, you wanna motivate me, offer me a lap dance coupon, or better yet how about money?

9)Three-Ring Binders.Voluminous sources of Esoteric Lore known as "Company Policy" which is unique in that it has absolutely no relation to day-to-day reality.

10)Xmas Gifts from the Boss.One boss after a particulary greuling Xmas season, left Tastykakes in our boxes as gifts. Tastykakes?!! C'mon. The bitch could've at least sprung for Little Debbie's, man.

and finally...

11)The Restroom.Eventually, someone will do something disgusting here. And you will have to clean it up.

Alright. Good to Get that off my chest.

How 'bout those Mets, hah?

Those of you who know me from MeFi may be aware that I have a fondness for the Festus, Missouri-based outfit the Bottle Rockets, that rivals Shannon's jones fro her beloved Hives. Sadly the 'Rockets have never been the benefit of as much positive publicity as the Hives and their career thus far could be seen as an example of what can go wrong in the music business when a band seems to have everything going for it.

The Rockets albums feature smart literate country and blues laced rock with sharp lyrics and excellent vocals from former Uncle Tupelo roadie Brian Henneman. Their eponymous debut album and impressive live shows garned them a cult following in the Midwest. The Brooklyn Side, their second LP had standouts like "1000 Dollar Car" and the astonishing "Welfare Music." The tight, economical, and catchy tunes and no-bullshit attitude filledf a void in the music scene and their future seemed assured. Before long they were signed to Atlantic(part of the AOL/Time Warner juggernaut.)

They created 24 Hours a Day, an album that should have made them stars on the level of their old pals Wilco, but then something happened. Atlantic "declined to promote" the album. This is to say, they couldn't fit the band into an easy niche, so screw them. They're too twangy and unpretty for MTV, too hard and pointed for CMT and not arty enough for college radio. Sadly the album gathered dust cause no one heard about it, let alone heard it. Which is sad because everyone I've ever played the record for(of all tastes in music) has raved about it.

They were back on indie label Doolittle for Brand New Year which featured standouts like "Let Me Know" and "Gotta Get Up." Thier latest album Songs of Sahm is a tribute to the late Texan songwriter Doug Sahm. while the music is excellent, it worries me. Tribute records are a sign of confusion, historically-witness Lennon's Rock and Roll and the Bands Moondog Matinee good records recorded during creative droughts. Not to mention longtime guitarist Tom Parr has retired from the band.

Anyways, this whole tale is an illustration of whats wrong with the mega-globo-corp end of the music industry today. But do yourself a favor and grab up some of this stuff before some executive deletes their catalog.
Last night at the store, I saw a Xeroxed sign reading, "Lost Parrot-Green with blue tailfeathers, name: George, if found please call.."

Now on the off chance I see this avian runaway, what the fuck am I supposed to do, start flapping my arms and yelling, "Hey. come back here!"

To which he'll answer, "Hey, come back here!"

"I've been looking for you!"
"I've been looking for you!"
"No shit, you too?"
...and on and on. Sadly futile, really.

Anyways, from July 7th to the 15th, I shall be taking a much deserved vacation from work and will probably vivt NYC. If any of y'all wanna hook up and hang, lemme know and we'll pick a day. Lisa would love to meet you all too, and will be in the city anyway. More blogging later.

Friday, June 28, 2002

Scariest. Internet Audio. Ever.

I'm all for musical cross-pollination, but this just seems...wrong somehow.
Ah. That was cathartic.

Anyways, I was making my evening coffee run, down to the Exxon station on the corner of Backus and Kenosia when I looked up and noticed that all I could see up and down the street were stores with huge, familiar, backlit plastic signs. It was like walking through Playskool world. Whatever happened to painted wood or neon, for pete's sake?

Anyway, all the lit plastic franchises made me think of my most interesting fast food mishap ever. I used to work down the road from a Dunkin Donuts, and one day I had a hankering for sausage-egg-and-cheese croissandwich. I popped in and placed my order. The attendant, whose command of English was tenuous at best, returned with my sandwich suspiciously quickly. I paid, but when I sat down and opened it, I found an untoasted croissant filled with a still-frozen sausage patty and still-wrapped cheese slice. I suppose I should be thankful he didn't add the egg. I went back to the counter.

"Is OK?" he smiled.

"It's fine" I said, "except that you forgot to cook it."

"Oh, very bad. I fix."

Which he did, god bless him. Perhaps it was an attempt at some form of breakfast sausage sushi roll and I stifled his creativity. Oh well, call me nuts, I still like my meat thawed at least.
The world, in case you didn't know is run by the people who were the hall monitors back in 8th grade. I just returned from my bank, where I attempted to deposit my paycheck. Although I had ID, and the check is clearly from a well-known Fortune 500 corporation, It still has to wait 3 business days to clear because it's an out of state check. Lovely.

After leaving the bank, I popped into 7-11 to grab a cuppa joe, after drawing one into a cardboard cup, I saw a travel mug for sale, with a sticker saying "First cup free with mug purchase". I carried both up to the counter and said, "I'm gonna pour the coffee intp the new mug for the offer, OK?" She told me that, since I had already used up a cardboard cup, she had to charge me for both. Good Greif! And this isn't even mentioning the sheer tsunami of petty neurotic procedural bullshit I have to deal with on the job. The company directive is on paper in a three-ring binder people, not stone tablets brought down from the mountain. Let's try to be human, here.

On the way back here, the radio played a Springsteen two-fer, "Thunder Road" followed by "Born to Run". This is either the best or worst combo of music to hear at this moment in my life, cos it gave me this almost irrestible urge to get on the interstate and just keep going. Then I looked down at the highway and saw the very large traffic jam, which stopped me.

Just a little longer. Hang in there.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

As you have probably heard by now, Who bassist John Entwistle has died. This is an enormous loss for rock and roll. I heard an older freinds copy of Who's Next when I was 13 and was blown away. Never before or since have I identified so strongly with a band. Everything else I heard by them, "Substitute", "My Generation", "Pictures of Lily", "The Punk Meets The Godfather", "Pure and Easy" only cemented my devotion. Other bands were stars that we gazed up at, The Who were us, the true believers, irony and coyness be damned.

And John Entwistle's bass and the humor in his songs("Boris the Spider," "My Wife") was the glue that held the whole enterprise together.

Goodbye and thank you, Ox.
From the "Your Tax $$$ at Work" Department:

Today, I went to gladly fulfill my civic obligation and report for jury duty. But, course this is me and I'm in the Gritty Park City so, it was bound to be unusual. First off the courthouses are located smack dab in the downtown area, off Golden Hill Street, a picture of which is in the dictionary next to the word "urban decay."

Anyways, after parking the car, I waited in line with a bunch of surly disgruntled people, emptied my pockets and passed my pack through an x-ray machine and myself through a metal detector. After all this, I asked a security guard where the jurors went and was informed that I was at the wrong courthouse and had been waiting with the defendants. Perhaps I look the part or something.

Anyhow, I get over to the correct building and I'm herded into this ugly goverment issue room, filled with putty-colored chairs and chewed up school cafeteria-esque tables, and told to wait for my name to be announced. The highlight of the room was this Art-Deco looking coffee-vending machine, the style of which I haven't seen in years; the kind where a paper cup is jet-propelled into this little bracket and then filled with coffee pre-lightened and/or sweetened to taste. There were buttons offering adittional options, like the pedestrian "Hot Chocolate" and the more intriguing, "Chicken Soup." But alas, soon we were shown an instructional video and then names began to be called.

After a long series of names, I heard "David McNally?"

Odd Coincidence I thought and went back to my book. 10 minutes later the same woman came in and said "Jonathan McNally?" I got up.

"We called you 10 minutes ago,"she said.

"That was David McNally you called."

"Oh, I'm sorry"

" 's ok," I said, a tad incredulous, "Happens all the time."

I was sent to a room where the others in my group were seated. We took an oath and were then told to wait in a room until our names were called and we'd be interviewed one at a time. For a while they were calling people into the room at the rate of one every 5 minutes, then, whe they got down to about 5 of us, they stopped coming in and calling names. After 40 minutes we began to get worried.Then, after an hour or so we began to feel a little peckish and started entertaining Alive-type scenarios in our heads, so we sent out a scout. This affable retired metal-plater volunteered to scoot over to the courtroom to see what happened. 10 minutes later, a very sheepish looking court clerk rushed in and told us that they were very sorry, but they had picked the jury and gone to lunch and forgotten all about us. Our confidence in government efficiency at an all-time high, we were sent on our way. The wheels of justice continue grinding apace.

In other news, my neighbors desperately need to do some yardwork. There are actual small tree saplings growing in their gutter. Perhaps they're starting an orchard.

We had a couple of periods at work today where the rain got so heavy it pretty much shut things down outside. This made think of watching day baseball games on channel 11 as a kid and the rain delays, when they would fill the suddenly empty time slots with cartoons. The odd thing is there were certain cartoons that you saw only during the rain outs, it seemed. Like Tennessee Tuxedo for instance,. Tennesse was an incredibly badly animated penguin who spoke in the voice of Don Adams from Get Smart and his dimwitted walrus pal, Chumley and raised extremely minor havoc in the zoo where he lived, loved and laughed. The did have their eduacated buddy Phineas J Whoopie, which is one of the all-time great cartoon names. There was also the inimitable Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse who of course, fought crime. As odd as a cat and mouse crime-fighting team is what was even odder was Courageous's legendary Catgun, which would literally fire any object the duo needed at any particalr moment, be it a ladder, a rope, or a tuna-on-rye. It also had some rivetingly strange theme music as I recall. Then there was the often-forgetten M*U*S*H a cartoon spinoff of M*A*S*H featuring animated dogs(?!) with names like Eagle-Eye, Trooper, Colonel Flake and Sonar stationed at some kind of base in the Arctic Circle if I recall correctly. A beuatiful collision of the creative instinct gone twisted meeting the desperate need to fill airtime.

While were on the subject of niche-market pop-culture fetish items, does anyone else remember that there were certain candies that seemed to only be available on the ice cream truck? Like Wacky Wafers, Bottle Caps, Lik-m-aid and Marathon Bars? I dunno if it was a fluke of distribution or unbeliveably convoluted marketing strategy but that's the way it worked out. Boggles the mind.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

MUSIC RUNNING THROUGH MY HEAD STATUS: All morning it was "Valerie Loves Me" by Material Issue and "Johnny, Are You Queer?" by Josie Cotton, which made for an interesting Mental Morning Show, lemme tell ya. Then I went over to the gas station to get my java and the radio there was blaring "Dance to the Music" by Sly and the Family Stone, one of the all time dynamite jams, which I cannot sit still for. So the attendant and other customers were treated to the sight of the grown man in khakis and polo shirt standing by the coffee urn chicken-necking frantically to the beat and singing "BOOM-LAKALAKALAKA! BOOM-LAKALAKALAKA!"

On to weightier matters, like shaving. Usually, when I shave, it's pre-coffee so I'm basically flying on autopilot and I usually use those Gilette Good News/10 for $3 jobs, so this makes sure that I am one of those men for whom facial hair maintenance is something of a struggle. I either get sloppy and miss patches of hair around the chin, lower lip, and just under the nose, giving me that straight-outta-shock-treatment look or alternately I shave too thoroughly and end up with bloody clots of toilet paper clinging to my face like tribal markings. That's why I love this Gilette Mach 3 doohickey.I tried it this morning for the first time and, dude, this thing's like a Zamboni for your face. Sergei Federov is practicing his slapshot on my upper lip as we speak. I tried to rest my chin in my hand and it slid off and I cracked my skull on the famous counter. I don't usually rave about grooming products, but this thing actually rocks, no shit.
Good morning campers. I gotta go to work in about 2 hours, but as long as I'm up.... Tonight I find out over the phone whether I gotta go in for jury duty tommorrow. I hope not as I have other things that I'd rather be doing, but then again, we all bitch about guilty people going free and whatnot, so if we don't go to jury duty, we have only ourselves to blame. So some poor sucker's life may be in my hands soon.

In other news, my better half went grocery shopping yesterday and instead of buying bagged sugar like usual, got two boxes of sugar cubes. I find this delightful mainly because it makes me think of this. Heh. More blogging later.
Hello all.

After a lot of soul-searching, waving of arms, and throwing of flatware, me and mrs. jonmc aka Lisa have decided to reconcile. 7 years is too much to give up on so easily. I thank all of you guys for your understanding and support. Lisa also says thanks since she says that as I got more active online she noticed changes in me for the better. She was looking at some stuff online and digs all your mellow vibes, fellow earthlings. She thinks that dong resin and kafkaesque are two of the funniest human beings alive. I showed her this picture from the MeFi LA meet and pointed out Kaf and she said, "ooh he's cute, too."


Anyways, we got plans afoot. We may very possibly move to NYC soon for starters. Anyway's it's great to start feeling like myself again after this long, lost weekend. Now, if you'll excuse me, I just found a old bag of Beer Nuts under the mattress. Yum!

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

After that "interesting" morning, a respite. I've got some of my favorite delicacies and a tall hot cup of coffee from the corner Exxon station*. I also have a half hour to kill and access to the net on this backoffice machine.

I was just looking at my refferral logs and find that I've been linked by Tom, over at a spiffily designed and well written blog. I assume this guy is one of the MeFites but I can't figure out who, and beileve me I've tried the usual tricks. But thanks for the link and rest assured it's been reciprocated. The rest of you mugs, check him out as well.

*Believe it or not, probably the best choice for lunch on this strip where I work. Frightening, huh?
A few moments ago I had this spaced out woman with fried, bleach blonde hair come into the store with two young boys in tow. She was asking all sorts of weird, vague questions like, "Where do laptops turn on from?" and, "What kinda cards are in em?" in a way where you knew she didn't know what the hell she was talking about. While she did this, one of her boys, who looked to be about four was acting up a little.

So, right in front of me, she grabs him by the chin, and hauls off and slaps him, hard enough to redden his face and make him cry. I wanted to grab her by the collar, slap her hard and scream, "How's it feel, huh?" into her face, but of course I couldn't or I'd be out on the street, so I held my tongue.

That might be the worst part of retail work. Not only do you have to sit still for shit like that, but you have to be cheerful while you do it. It's a bit of an extreme example, but I've had to hold my tongue a lot over the years through various things. Those of you who've been in the service industry know what I'm talking about. Yet another reason why we develop bad tempers and ulcers, I suppose.

Monday, June 24, 2002

In the abscence of any fun or interesting news here in JonWorld. Howzabout some fun with old photos? I've made captions but I'm sure you witty fucks can come up with some too.

Here we see the strange creature in his native habitat(2001)

Important safety tip from RTEMT-wear sunscreen!(2001)

Rob is not impressed(2001)

Anti-alcohol ad waiting to happen(2001)

Hey Jon, what's so fuckin' funny?(1997)

Me and Patrick the Sci-Fi guy get down with our bad selves(1997)

Jesus at the Kwik Stop(2001)

Just chillin' at the Dumpster(1997)

The Wall of Kulcher!(2001)

I would love to know what Rob the EMT is explaining to Gay Ex in this picture.(1996)

Badazz MoFo on a recliner, yo.(1995)

Of course, looking at these shots makes my life seem far more exciting than it actually was, but that's the beauty of multimedia, I suppose.
Yet another scary search hit:

partridge family naked pics.

C'mon get happy indeed. Just as long as they keep Reuben Kincaid out of it.
Who's got root? I got root.

Yes that's right I managed to install Red Hat Linux 7.2 on my old box. It's an non-networked install and I basically installed everything but the kitchen sink but it's a start and it's something to learn, I've got a couple of O' Reilly books to keep me occupied too. Back in 1995 their The Whole Internet was my original roadmap.

On the downside, tommorrow I find out what it's gonna cost to replace my transmission. I'm bracing myself and trying to figure out a way to scrape the cash together. But somehow, I still feel..hopeful for some reason. Maybe I'm due for some good karma, I've tried to be a good person most of the time, even though, often there's no percentage in it, it seems. But what goes around comes around as they say, so here's hoping that I land on my feet. One way or another, I usually do.

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Just got back from a training meeting that started at 9:00 AM. You work in retail, you have to use your brainpower to parse out all these different flavors of procedural minutia, which never transfer from job to job for some reason. The one basic constant is the presence of the name tag.

Some places make a very big deal out of the name tag. When I worked for this outfit you had a green nametag for your first 90 days then after you completed the probationary period you got a snazzy gold nametag with the company logo in the corner. Every year, they'd issue you a new one with your "years of service" engraved on it. Kind of spiffy, in a Countdown to Oblivion sort of way. When I worked here, we started out with garden variety pinned-on ones, then they changed over to those nifty laminated plastic ones on a beaded metal chain, the ones that make you look kinda like a roadie. Since they weren't engraved we used the Kroy machine to give ourselves wacky titles like "Alpha-Geek" "Info Whiz" and "Harbinger of Mortality."

Joint I'm at now, we just get regular engraved green plastic ones, which is odd considering it's a technology company. I think eventually the name tag will be replaced by the Advanced Identification of Enterprise Employees system(AIEE!), which consists of a chip implant that when my shoulder is clicked bathes me in a holographic column of purple light and displays my name and job title in three foot high letters of fire. I've contacted ILM about this idea, but so far, I haven't heard back. Not sure why.

In other news, I managed to remember to buy a power cord, so if I can rustle up that old copy of Mandrake I have lying around, I'll finally take a whack at installing Linux. Wish me luck and if anyone wants to play guru, that's cool.