Garbage

I’ve decided that I like moving. Moving is good. I should do it once a year, every year, for the rest of my life if at all possible. The thing that happens if you stay someplace for too long, like, for more than a year, things start piling up. You get comfortable somewhere, you start shoving things in nooks and crannies and then you shove some more stuff in there, and then one day you have to move, and you realize that you have more garbage that’s accumulated in your house than you have actual stuff to take with you. I think it would be a neat experiment some time to just go ahead and rent TWO moving trucks, and you get em well in advance, or maybe you just take an extraordinarily long time packing them up, but either way, you set aside one for all the stuff you’re taking with you, all the things that have to go to your new home, and the other one, you load up with the garbage, all the stuff that’s been in the nooks for god knows how long and just see which one fills up first. If you had the money, it really wouldn’t be such a bad experiment, because what you could do is just drive the one with all the trash in it to the dump or wherever you might take refuse.

Today I went to check the mail and there was GQ, just a couple weeks past due it seems. I always thought I remember GQ coming in about middle of the month before the first of the cover. Y’know, so if I was expecting the May issue, typically it would show up no later than the 15th of April. Here it is the 24th, and while I said that that was past due, I guess it’s not really not that far past, even if the 15th was the deadline.

I also got two rejection letters: one I already knew about (it was from the insurance company), one I was confused about, because it looked like one of my envelopes addressed to me and with stamps that I have. Then I remembered, I had to send a self-addressed envelope along with BLENDER when I sent it to New York last month. (I can’t believe that was only last month, but it was, it was the week or so after I got home from spring break that I sent it out.) So anyway, the text of the letter from SciFi?.com is:

“Thank you for sending your story to SCI FICTION. I’m afraid we don’t feel we can use it for our website. Sorry.

“Sincerely, Ellen Datlow”

But that’s fine, it’s not a big deal at all. This place I sent it, it was like swinging for the fences on the first pitch, y’know? I mean, twenty cents a word, they were willing to pay twenty cents for every damn word and I thought, hey, that would be super-killer if it worked out, but it didn’t so now I just print out another copy and I mail it to the next one on my list. I decided I’m going to keep the rejection letter, though. I kept the rejections I got from the universities last year, and I decided I’m going to keep any I get from any publication where I send any story I write, until one of those publications picks it up, and then once I get successful at this writing bullshit, like once I really don’t have to have another full-time job (I mean, I’m not a complete fool, I know that to just be a writer and do nothing else you really have to do extremely well) then maybe I’ll go ahead and mail all the rejection letters back, I dunno, with, like, a copy of my bank statement that has all the deposits of my royalty checks on it. Of course I would black out the numbers first, because, as we’ve established, I am not a complete fool.

OK, and so this Ellen woman was silly enough to put her e-mail address on this letter, which I’m sure she didn’t type, fold, sign, look at, or anything like that at all, I mean, I’m sure she has plenty of nothing going on all day, and isn’t that the real goal in any industry? Think about it, seriously, any line of work you get into, what happens is, the better you get at something, the more success you have, the less you actually have to do it. The people putting in the most time? They’re the ones who suck the most at it, which is really strange if you think about it.

But anyway my point is that I wrote Ellen an e-mail, thanking her for looking at the story in spite of non-acceptance. And here’s another thing I just thought of: this woman is probably high enough up the ladder where she doesn’t even have to read these stories that come in, there must be like, a whole gaggle of interns that do that sort of thing. And even if they’re not interns, if they’re people who have been doing it for quite a while now, even still, people send in their work, and even if its a subconscious thing, which I’m sure it is, a person’s mood is completely going to affect how they read a story, whether or not they really like it. And so, you have to wonder, maybe there are a lot of really talented people who got put off because a few people who, like, I dunno, had to yell at their kid that morning, or clean up a mess the dog made in the house, or maybe they were just short on time, and the boss is breathing down their neck, asking them, “When are you gonna be done with that stack of manuscripts??” and so they just say, “Oh, here, I’m done with these, they all suck,” and that’s that? Maybe that happens more than it doesn’t. God knows I passed judgment without giving a fair shake to quite a few bands who had CD’s sent to me when I was the music director at WRST. God knows that.

And here’s *another* thing I just thought of: all those records that I quasi-listened to, I would put them on, and I’d listen to maybe the first 10 or 20 seconds of each track, then I would blow by it, like, if your song hadn’t grabbed me in the first 20 seconds, forget about it, next song, and for every song that I breezed past, that would make me just a little less likely to give a fair shake to the following song. And it worked in reverse, too: if you had cool songs at the beginning of the CD, and I thought they were cool, I would let you slide on some inevitably shittier songs that would come later on. It’s just sort of the nature of the beast.

I guess that’s also why, when you’re looking for a job, whatever, it’s not so much what you know, it’s who you know, that’s always been true and I think it always will be. Like, everyone is a lot more predisposed to doing things and making concessions for things and people that they have a more favorable opinion of already. So, like I said, good songs at the start, shitty songs later forgiven. Good start to a story, better odds of someone getting all the way through it. Maybe the start of BLENDER just isn’t strong enough. To be honest, it’s kind of cliche at the beginning, wouldn’t you say? Maybe there’s some way I could spice up the start, I’m a fairly bright fellow.

I am bright, y’know that? I was thinking about this this morning as well, I was thinking that I should’ve stayed more committed, interested, devoted, however you wanna say it, but the point is I should’ve tried harder at math and science and crap like that all along. Yeah, I was better at the touchy-feely froofy crap like English and History, and all that sort of shit, but if I just would’ve applied myself, I could’ve probably done better and done more in the scientific sort of departments. I might actually be working now if I’d done that. As it stands, I didn’t, and I’m not saying that I’m going to sit around lamenting the choices I’ve made, but a little reflection and some regret is not a bad thing. My little sister said to me once that it’s not good to have regrets. But I thing she was as wrong about that as anyone could be about anything (and this is not to say that Christy’s not smart, she definitely is, but when she said that, I think she was 17, and what does anyone who’s 17 really know about anything?). Of course you should regret things. This came up in one of my classes in the last few weeks.

Regret is one of the things that makes us human. Regret, the way I see it, is just the act of looking back and realizing that things could be different. It’s realizing that choices exist and people make them, but at the same time they could’ve decided just the opposite, and because of that, a whole different world might’ve unfolded. If we were perfectly content with all our decisions, if we never saw cause for looking back and considering the possibilities of things that might’ve been, well, then we’d be no different than this goddamn computer that I’m typing on.

But I’m just going to press on, and I’m going to keep writing, and I’m going to send BLENDER to a couple other places, now that I know the best place I possibly could’ve sent it doesn’t want it.

And I’m also going to start packing, it’s never too early for getting on top of that, and why ever settle in too much, since you’re probably going to have to move again anyway? I’m going to go back home, and I’m not afraid or embarrassed to say that my grandpa is one of the reasons I’m going. ONE OF, not THE reason, it’s one of. There are other ones, and make no mistake, I did what I could out here, but if I was meant to stay I’d be staying. Thing is, you don’t have to run away from places where lots of people care about you, even if you’re not feeling 100% all the time. You don’t absolutely have to stay, either, and this is one of the strange things about being alive, you’re not really bound absolutely to anything, anyplace, anyone, at any time. It’s all up to you, every step of the way, but if you *feel* binds to any of these things, and these binds draw you in particular directions, then that’s nothing to feel bad about, and it’s not like you’re not in control. Because you’re always in control, all of the time. The only thing you can ever do is what feels best and most right at this moment.

I feel like if I’m going to stop writing now, I should make the end somehow important and memorable, but I’m not precisely sure how to do that. I’m thinking of Mr. Bates now, and how much things have changed since I was 15, 16 years old and I got so riled up studying for a test that I got down on all fours, and pressed my forehead to the floor, and I crawled around the room moaning, and I know it wasn’t caffeine, because I wasn’t drinking coffee yet. It’s really something to be so moved by outside stimuli. Think of that. That’s memorable, isn’t it?

Finale

Wow, so I was watching TV last night (I do that on Tuesday, 24 is on at 7, and Smallville is on at 8) and you can tell it’s getting down to the end of the television season, and concurrently, the end of the school season. I mean, 24 is starting the “last four episodes” next week, Dawson’s Creek is down to their last four ever (thank God), couple other shows on Fox have got their finales already this week and, whoa baby, we’ve nearly crowned our next American Idol (what was that girl’s name, Kelly Who?).

Personally, I think that it’s a cruel act against children and college students that the TV seasons are nearly exactly the same as the school year. Especially now, man, these are the shows you wanna see and you’ve got work to do. You could tape em, sure, but then someone is bound to say to you, “Hey, did you see yada-yada do the blah-blah-blah on the thingamajigger, I couldn’t believe it.” I should watch less TV.

But anyway, who am I to rock the boat of the networks, and so this today will be your Season Finale, and a Very Special blog entry.

And you’re there saying, “What?? Just don’t make us wait until November for next season’s premiere like they did with The X-Files? for the last five seasons, please!!” and trust me you have nothing to worry about. Fortunately, I’ve learned a lesson or two from CBS, and I know that if you run new programming while everyone else is on reruns, you can capture a huge market share. I will return as soon as the semester is done.

In the meantime, try your hand at the considerably more difficult Finale Edition Movie Quote of the Day, from a film I’ve never even seen and wouldn’t know where to start looking.

Also check out the video reruns, if there was one that you liked or thought was cool but you didn’t have a chance to download it, well, looks like opportunity knocks again.

Finally, if you live in the Fox Valley or metro-Milwaukee area and know someplace I could get a job, let me know.

Out of Focus

The weather only cleared up here about an hour ago. Before that, it was rain mixed with snow all day long. It’s actually warmed up 12 degrees since noon. Whenever I think about the weather on Good Friday, like, think *back,* it seems as though it tends to be crappy, which seems to be appropriate. But I dunno, maybe I just never remember the nice weather Good Fridays.

A Good Friday to you.

I have spent oodles of time, I’ve toiled, I struggled, I’ve selected, I’ve narrowed, I’ve pared, (I’ve heard Sultans of Swing twice today now) and now I am finished (at least for the foreseeable future) with the photo galleries. They are divided into three categories, and these three are divided into sub-categories. I really hope you enjoy them, because the task was an asspain.

The only pictures that are yet to be added at this time are a mess of captures from my LA Vacation video, but after this, those should be a breeze and perfectly available no later than this time next week.

I’ve been looking at pictures, re-arranging, re-naming, uploading for so long now I’m having a hard time thinking of other stuff.

Oh, I went and picked up the photos from Kevin & Amanda’s wedding, and although none of those are available on the gallery page proper, just drop me a line and I’ll e-mail them; it’s about a 500K zip file.

What am I doing for the holiday? What are YOU doing? I’m probably gonna do some homework; I have a lot of it. And I’m gonna fry up some of Dad’s venison Polish, eat it with some Stadium Sauce.

Holy Moses I could go for a beer. Maybe I’ll make coffee.

Have a Happy Easter!

Self-Absorbtion?

I was on Amazon just a minute ago looking for the cover to Rush of Blood and I saw a banner at the top of the page it says something to the effect of, “Cramming for finals? Download study guides!” and I was thinking, “Boy, I guess we’re not cramming for finals if we’ve got time to dick around on Amazon, eh?”

Then I’m reading the newspaper this morning, and noting quite happily that the Milwaukee Bucks are in the playoffs for sure, got their last game tonight at the B.C. against Orlando, but, y’know, just doing my morning surfing, and I realized that it’s been quite a while (as in more than 10 days) since I’ve been to all the places listed on the links page as “Friend’s Sites,” and I thought to myself, “I sure am an asshole, asking people to come see what I’ve been up to all the time but not really making time for them,” and it was basically just another thought about how keeping up the website is a lot of work, and I spend more time here than any other place in cyberspace, by far. If you have a website and I haven’t visited it as often as I c(sh)ould, sorry about that. We’ve all got things going on.

I don’t have class tomorrow, so I’m going to spend my evening working on the pictures page. Check back again tomorrow for some limited progress.

Man, take a look at that “Out the Window” picture over there. It is gorgeous outside today. I’m looking forward to the summer. Big time.

You wanna hear one of the songs on this CD? Why not, eh?

So far, Video 4-B (from Feb 14 03) is ahead in the balloting for Best Video So Far — it’s up, one vote to none. If you have another opinion, don’t be afraid to voice it.

Well, I gotta go absorb myself in a book for a little while in preparation for class.

Votes

I am listening to a CD Petters hooked me up with this weekend, and now that I am A) sober, and B) in my otherwise quiet bedroom, rather than a car, I can tell you how sweet it is. Lordy lord. I vote 2 thumbs and 4 toes up.

When I got home from Milwaukee (the general location of a Very Poqu-y Wedding this weekend) I hopped on the web, checked up on a few of my regular stops on the I-train, and browsed to make sure once again that my SETI@home profile was not selected for User of the Day in the past… oh, I think it was 10 days ago or so that I checked last. Surprise, surprise, it wasn’t, and it’s an awfully stupid think to want, but damn, man, some of these hobos’ profiles that get picked are just… I was gonna say gay, but I don’t want to offend the gay community.

Too late?

Oops.

Well, c’mon, look at this one.

Right, so I figure what these people must be doing is either voting to “recommend” themselves, or getting people they know to do it. So if you have the time, click this link, and then push the “VOTE TO RECOMMEND” button on the following page. You needn’t even read the profile! I just wanna see my name on there one day. Silly, silly, lame ambitions.

To whom it may concern: I found the photo of Grandma & Grandpa B that I was missing, and Christy had the other two, case closed.

No one has sent me a guess on the Movie Quote to the right yet, so it remains in place.

Sending the B-day shout-out to Grandma Bock, even though I don’t think she’s ever visited the site proper. I sent her a nice card, I hope you did, too. Y’know, if you’re in a position of relation or friendship to have done so.

I just sent Wil Wheaton an e-mail, see if he needs a copy of this CD. If you want, I’ll let you know if he gets back. Busy guy. He did give me a good idea indirectly, though.

If it’s ok with you, I’m going to forego an Interesting & Factual Tale this week, and instead I’m going to work on the page with the pictures that aren’t there and are too small to see and suck. I guess I went ahead with that plan without any feedback, sorry. You might’ve missed last week’s anyway.

Oh, and speaking of weddings: I find out recently that one of the site’s frequent visitors, one Greg Willis, is gonna have one of his own. Pretty neat. If I had a photo, I’d put it up. Sadly, don’t.

Oh, damn, I almost forgot to file my state income taxes. See ya.

Speed

So I had to get up in a hurry today, because I actually had to be somewhere before 4 in the afternoon. Set the alarm for 7 so I’d have plenty of time to shower, shave, pick clothes and iron before my 9:30 job interview at Farmer’s Insurance.

Oh, I know, I know: what the hell was I thinking going for an interview in insurance, when I loathed the Markel so much? Different sort of thing, entirely. If I get hired, there will be a total of three people working at this office. It’s just as an office assistant-type person for the local agent. I guess they’ve got more volume there than two people can handle. Thing was, this was the second-quickest interview I’ve ever had in my life. (First quickest was at the Ramada Inn on 13th & College: that took all of 7 minutes.) This particular interview lasted about 20, I guess I just expected more questions about… anything. We’ll see, though, things I figure I have going for me: a college degree and and extensive customer service background. I guess I’m hoping that the rest of the people applying (which, apparently, there have been plenty of) are 18-20-year-old illiterates who’ve never worked before.

So I get back home from the interview, I wanted to take my film from LA in to Wal-Mart? to get processed (and lemme say this: you have *NO* idea how much I hate that Wal-Mart? is the cheapest place to do everything) and then I was just gonna kill the hour around town. Turns out I didn’t have that much to do, but…

I was on my way to Hasting’s (see last semester’s archive if necessary) to look at used DVDs. I got pulled over cuz I was daydreaming while driving past Bozeman HS. I was doing 36 in a school zone. Luckily, the nice officer was feeling generous, he wrote me a warning for not having current proof of insurance, and let me go on the speeding. That is probably (no, definitely) the last time I drive past the high school. Mom and/or Dad, if you’re reading this, please bring me a current insurance card to MKE this weekend, I have to take it to the cop shop in a week’s time.

Now I need to jet once again, cuz I’m gonna go pick up that film and decide which shots (if any) I’ll scan in here and put on the site… but you can take a look at the captures I did from the video, of which there are plenty; roughly 200 to be exact. It’s nice having the ability to “take pictures,” and all you like, from a video tape. Like I said to Slotten as we were driving down from the Hollywood sign, “With video, I get 30 pictures every second… I ran the camera for 20 seconds, that means I’ve got 600 pictures of it.”

So, yeah, it’s… well, it’s gonna take me longer than I thought to get all these online, so, until the end of the weekend, you’ll have to be satisfied with a few tasty sample morsels.

Pony

One of the reasons I could really use a job, other than just the money that I don’t have: it would give me an excuse to shave every day. Currently, I’m on an “every three” plan, if that. Sometimes I’ve gone as many as 10 days between shaves, just because I don’t necessarily need to, and when I wake up at the crack of 9:30, I don’t feel like it.

Holy balls am I ever sick and tired of sitting in front of the laptop for the typing and the working and surfing and whatnot. My living room stayed a lot cleaner when I kept myself bound to the PC and the bedroom for the majority of any given day. Even if I *was* wasting the hours on needless bullshit, it felt less like that because at least I was getting some finger exercise.

I wish I could go to a doctor. I could get asthma meds and I’d probably be privy to run more often. As it stands, let’s say, just for example, I run down to the stop sign at 19th & Garfield and back (a trip that is probably equal to 1/3 mile or so). The hurt put on my lungs by such strenuous physical activity will take 4 or 5 days for recovery. By this I mean I’ll be wheezing and short of breathe for nearly a week afterwards. If I had some Albuterol or Ventolin or something, I could puff on that after a jog, then go back the next day and do the same. Just a thought. Anybody going to Mexico some time soon?

Unlike my colleague T Lucas, I won’t gloat very long about winning the NCAA yahoo pool… but I picked Syracuse. From the beginning, I picked Syracuse. I am the winner. Todd is good, but Jason is better.

Pretty exciting Tuesday we got goin on here, check it out: big fatty I&FT, one that I’ve kept in the vault for a while. So take a look at that one. Oh, and don’t forget LA pics tomorrow.

FYI to all my MKE homies: if I owe you money or anything else while I’m there, we’ll settle up.