Tuesday, November 27, 2007

domo very much, senor roboto?

I took the time to think back to all the jobs I've had since I started working at age 17. All in all, counting part time jobs, temporary gigs, anything for which I received payment, I counted 17 different jobs. And since Monday of this week, I can add one more to the list, one for which I'm completely unqualified: Japanese cook.

I was about to write the name of the restaurant for which I was hired, but realized that might be a bad idea because if people know where I work, that might directly result in people NOT going to my restaurant. That's bad for business. But anyway, I was hired for a new branch of a restaurant opening in December, but since I have no experience, I'm spending this week and next week training at an established branch of the franchise.

The biggest challenge of learning the job is that the supervisor, Tori, speaks Japanese, but he does not speak English well. And the woman training me in the kitchen, Gladys, as well as all the rest of the kitchen staff, speaks Spanish, but does not speak English well. And I speak Japanese and Spanish much worse than either of their attempts at English. So, of course, what do I revert to when people do not understand me? American Sign Language, which I also do not know that well, and they most certainly do not understand at all. And really, does it help at all to sign the phrase "I like big sea turtles?" Maybe at the beach, but not at this job. I get many blank stares, and in the case of Tori, a constant look of disgust because he has to babysit me. Sometimes, while I'm struggling for a word to explain what I want to say, I'll accidently use Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. Pretty much I'll say whatever I want to say in three or four different ways including pantomime and drawing pictures until I think they understand me. Sometimes I accidentally say "Domo" (thank you) to Gladys and "Gracias" to Tori. Sometimes I say "Tamagotchi" (japanese virtual toy pet) instead of "yakoniki" (japanese rib eye steak). Sometimes, when I'm really desperate, I break out the lyrics to "La Bamba" just to get a glint of recognition from someone's eyes. As you could imagine, conversation is limited.

The one phrase I can always understand any of them say to me is "No good," usually in regards to something I've cooked, cut, or otherwise come close enough to somehow ruin. It's a direct translation of what they are thinking without any of the euphemisms one usually hears to make the connotation less stinging such as, "not quite, but good try!" or "you'll get it next time, tiger!"

Despite the language barrier, me gusta el trabajo mucho. I'm getting paid to learn how to cook. I deep fry tempura and grill salmon teriyaki. Today I learned how to prepare the heads of prawn for some unknown dish. Don't know if this is common knowledge, but it was news to me: if you deep fry a giant prawn, you should first squish its eyes because the water inside will explode in the oil and possibly burn you. Tori was trying to explain this to me in broken English; I just copied what he did and squished an eyeball when he squished an eyeball causing a fine mist of black eyeball juice to spray all over his apron. He ignored it, but said soon afterwards, "How long did they say you need to train here?"

Usually, I would hate a job if my boss knew I sucked at it, take for instance Fed Ex. But, I think I'm less discouraged by Tori's completely disregard for me, probably because he is an old Japanese man and I assume, therefore, he is wise and must treat all seekers of truth this way. Everything he says seems like it's slathered with the brilliance of Confucius, "Armin, you did not wash your hands after using the bathroom." Oh, and some guy delivered bags of rice and to say thank you, Tori slapped him on the ass, just as Lao Tzu was known to do many centuries ago*.

I've only been training three days so far, but I think I've already gotten on Gladys' nerves. Mustering all the English she could, she said very clearly, "This is my side of the counter. That is yours." Oh, and when Tori was laughing in contempt when I overcooked the tamago (japanese omelet) because it was burning my fingers too much to flip it over, I heard Gladys say to him, "Temporary," I assume referring to the fact that I'd only be training with them for another week and a half and then i'd be the new restaurant's problem. Then there was the time that I asked her where the chicken was, "De donde esta pollo?" She said, "Wrong one," because it turns out I was talking to Flor, the dishwasher, who other than being short and Mexican, does not look anything like Gladys. I pretended my eyes were burning from onions, "Muchas cebollas!" and hid in the corner for a half hour.

I have only three more days of work at FedEx and I'm going to assume there will be no going away party for me the last day. But, I'm confident I'll often think back to the good friends and everlasting relationships I made in my three weeks there. I'll never forget Bill who liked to drink coffee. Or Brandon who was a Caucasian. Oh, and who could forget that guy who wore the baseball cap on his head. Good times.

* I realize neither Confucius nor Lao Tzu were Japanese. Neither is the California roll... is that going to stop you from eating it?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the ever evolving Armin

"breaking my back, another day, another dollar"

I did not send that previous resignation letter to FedEx, though I had planned to send a more professional version of it to my boss earlier this week, having been told by Northwest Airlines that I'd start training in the middle of December. But, joy of joys, I found out NWA made an "embarrassing mistake," in the words of a Minneapolis HR lady. When they told me I could start working in December, they really meant Portland Airport cannot hire any new employees until January or even as late as mid-February. On top of that, they cannot absolutely guarantee me employment until that date. So, if I just got fed up and decided to quit work and cruise until 2008, I wouldn't even have the security of knowing a job was waiting for me*.

So, I'm still handling packages (stifle your giggles). And as I work in these trailers, tossing packages with reckless abandon, I try to think how I ended up here because Armin at age 5 probably would not have guessed that the 26 year old version of him would be this gosh darn successful.

In an old blog, I reflected on that ubiquitous, yet clearly misleading, childhood sentiment, "You can be anything you want to be when you grow up!" The big caveat that we NEVER tell kids is that your choices of what you can be diminish every single day that you live. I wouldn't be surprised if people disagree, but it makes sense to me. Also, I've been reading Dianetics, and while I don't agree with any of it so far, I do enjoy L. Ron Hubbard's gall--the utter balls--to make preposterous claims without any evidence. I'm going to start doing that, too.


Postulate: Your life is finite.

1. If life is finite, then the number of decisions you make is finite. This number may be humongous, but it is not infinite. Scary to think, but before you die, you will have made one last, final decision. I hope it's something like which Playboy bunny should i sleep with tonight instead of which of my kids should i call to untangle my catheter.

2. Every decision you make means there was a choice you did not take.

3. With every choice you make, your life is presented by new decisions that often branch off from some previous choice you made, not unlike a phylogenetic tree, the diagrams they use to explain how organisms have evolved from common ancestors. The more time that passes, the more decisions you make based on previous choices and the harder it becomes to go back and reverse a decision that was made in the past.

Is it impossible? No, just more difficult, unless there is congruent evolution. Bats and birds can both fly, but do not have a recent common ancestor and developed wings independently of each other. Similarly, maybe at one point in your life you had the choice of being a surgeon or a ninja. You chose ninja and many years down the line, you started thinking, well I wish I chose surgeon, in retrospect, because ninjas have horrible retirement plans. But you realize the awesome sword handling abilities you developed translate well to a scalpel and you become a mob doctor. That's congruent evolution.

4. I was going to draw a phylogenetic tree on Paintbrush to illustrate my point, but it's pissing me off that the lines do not look straight. But hopefully, you get the idea already. It could also be likened to a Choose Your Own Adventure. Unless you're a damn cheater, it's not possible to go back and switch choices once you've made a decision.

5. I broke down and made the phylogenetic choice tree after all, but only one branching. Let's say this imaginary girl's name is Armin. And at 8 years old, Armin could have taken gymnastic lessons. Instead, she stayed home, watched TV and overate. Had she taken the lessons, perhaps her choices at age 14 would be whether to do a Wheaties commercial or a Nike commercial after she sweeps the summer olympics. But, statistics show that girls who do not participate in sports are more prone to drug use and early pregnancy. So based on the choice at age 8, maybe we can say Armin has another choice at age 14 between doing homework or having unprotected sex. For fun, let's say she picks the latter. You can imagine all the choices that come about from this series of choices, and had I more patience, you would see that her tree ends with deciding whether or not to bring her fat, fat baby onto Maury Povich's day time special "Help Me, Maury! My 8 month old baby is 113 lbs!"

Could she at age 21 decide, "I want to be an Olympic gymnast when I grow up?" I think even the most rosy eyed of us could agree, perhaps her Olympic ship has sailed off already.

6. Therefore, since life is finite, the number of decisions you make are finite, and the possibility to go back to old decisions and take the "other choice" is inversely proportional to the passage of time, it can be assumed that the choices of what you want to be when you grow up become smaller and smaller each day. QED.

This all comes up because, believe it or not, I did not graduate from college with a B.S. in package handling or FedEx studies. Actually, I studied chemistry and made a conscious decision to not pursue that career path. This is a big concern for my father who thinks I should get back into it, or really, any profitable industry. I, of course, shrugged off his advice as I do advice from most people. In this case, it's not pride that makes me ignore him; I really don't feel like being a chemist and don't feel I need to take a job just to make a good salary.

But, lately, since things have not been going perfectly as planned, I've been starting to doubt all of my decisions more and more. For all my cocky, trendkill** bullshit, acting like I'm so indifferent to the standards society sets for us--I don't walk to the beat of a different drum... I don't even have a drum, motherfucker!--when I have to prove that I can do any job for any shit money and still be happy, i fold like... well, like the "New Armin's" laundry which he folds immediately after it's pulled from the dryer because he's amazingly productive and disciplined nowadays.

I don't regret not being a chemist or not going to grad school after college. But, even if I wanted to get back into the field, I'm pretty far removed from chemistry at this point. Not impossible, but tougher. I'm like a coelacanth at an evolutionary dead end: "But look! I have lobed fins! If you just gave me a shot, I'm sure I could evolve into a land dweller."

With Northwest not working out this week, i took a punch to the gut. Not so much because it was my dream job or that it was the choice that would branch my phylogenetic tree into the perfect evolution of Armin. But, it was just what I imagined for myself at this point, and after I heard it wasn't happening, or at least not yet, I had that horrible feeling of "What now?" What was I qualified to do now? What did I want to do? It felt like all the choices were exhausted, not unlike my body.

These moments are good, though, because they force you to be honest with yourself. The last couple years teaching, I was able to say, "This is a good job, the money is more than adequate, I like it well enough." But really, was that what I dreamed to be? So i have to admit that any decisions I make have to lead towards a career in writing, or at least, enough free time to allow me to write recreationally, because that's all that's ever been interesting to me all my life.

So here's a pic of at least two writers who are not on strike. No, the one on the left is not Hunter S. Thompson, though I know he looks a lot like him with that very Hunter S. Thompson-ish hat. And yes, the one on the right is Matt Damon, your choice for the sexiest man alive.

* I did find out last night I was hired as kitchen staff for a new sushi restaurant in Portland. Jobs are all about the benefits, in my opinion, and while this job does not have the benefit of free flights around the US and select international points, it does have the benefit of not risking suffocation in an avalanche of fallen packages inside of a FedEx 18 wheeler. I still won't quit FedEx until i go to my first training on Monday; after the false promises of NWA, i'm a little dubious of any employment until i actually get a day of work in. God I hope no one asks me prepare Fugu.

** I use this phrase "trendkill" quite a bit. I did not coin this phrase. I got it from Pantera's breakthrough 1996 album "The Great Southern Trendkill," though I don't know if that's the first time the phrase had been used. As you would assume, it refers to the quality of being against trends that exist for the sake of being trendy.
"The trend is over and gone forever/ Waste of time, pantomime, circus doll, at the local mall/ Exterminate, it's all fake"
-"Sandblasted Skin" from Great Southern Trendkill
The problem with being against the trends because they are popular, though, is that being against trends as a principle becomes a trend in itself, doesn't it? If you like to wear Gap, but you refuse to wear it because it's popular and your equally anti-trend friends would make fun of you for wearing it, that's just as stupid. But it's a kickass album and for a sixteen year old kid who hated everything in the world, that's about as cathartic as music gets.


Q & A

Thank you Tum Tum for answering the DTMFA question, thus making the Q & A section of this entry utterly useless. I hope it makes you feel good taking food out of a starving writer's mouth.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

letter of resignation

Dear FedEx:

Please accept this letter of resignation effective 12/4/07. Due to a change in my day schedule (i.e. I have been hired for day time work, as in, work when the sun is up, which is what normal people do) I will no longer be able to work the sunrise, 3-8 AM, shift any longer.

That is not totally honest. I may have day time work with Northwest Airlines (yes, I will be a member of NWA, but no, I do not plan on dying of AIDS like Eazy-E... let us pause and pour a 40 on the curb for our fallen brothers) barring some discovery of a felony I do not remember committing. And since I don't know what my schedule would be for this job I haven't officially gotten yet, I really can't say for certain that I'm busy at 3:00 AM to 8:00 AM... I really just don't like working those hours.

And since we're being honest with each other, FedEx, I have to say that since I've seen my coworkers and myself violate the Purple Promise of which you are so proud, that is, the promise to a customer that a package will arrive on time without having been thrown, smushed, or stepped on as a foot stool in order to shove even more packages at the top of the pile, I have to admit I'm a little suspicious of whether I can trust you anymore. All those times you told me you loved me, did you really mean it? All those times you said you had to stay late at work, you were never able to explain why there was lipstick on your collar. I just can't live with this doubt. I wrote to Dan Savage and, predictably enough, wrote DTMFA!

Beyond all that, FedEx, you really didn't make me feel special. Maybe I'm being unrealistic with my sense of entitlement, but I assumed I would be hot shit come day one. And to realize, hey, I'm really not that good at this job and have to work harder to become better at it, well that's a little much for my fragile ego to take, don't you think? C'mon now, I'm from the freaking suburbs. I'm used to being coddled. The last three years, I worked in organizations where males were the minority (no, it wasn't phone sex). I've been used to being the Golden Boy, the only young male in overwhelmingly female dominated workplaces, untouched by criticism and reprimand although I was constantly fucking things up. Female coworkers would worry if I was eating right. Has anyone at the sunrise shift asked me if I'm eating right? You know the answer is no. And, even though you didn't ask, I've been eating very healthy, vegetarian chili and assorted fruits mostly, so you should be very proud of me and pat me on the back like my old coworkers used to do.

Maybe it didn't have to end this way FedEx. For instance, if the job was more like a choreographed musical and we loaded boxes in sync with the music of Leonard Bernstein, I wouldn't be so rash. But I'm not getting any younger or more handsome and, as I age, I'm certainly not becoming more enamored with lower back pain. So, I think it's best for both of us to make a clean split, but just as with any relationship, if it turns out that I can't meet someone new within a couple weeks, can I come back at 3:00 AM begging for you to take me back?

I will always love you,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

it's a living

"we've got to move these microwave ovens. Custom kitchen deliveries. We got move these refrigerators. we got to move these color TVs."
-dire straits

This week, I started my new job, a package handler for FedEx. Sunrise shift, 3 AM to 8 AM. Trucks back up into a giant cargo bay. Each handler is responsible for a couple trailers which are connected to chutes down which the packages slide. Our job is to check the labels, make sure they are going to the right zip code, and stack them as tightly as possible into the trailer. Lift with your knees, work fast, work carefully.

It's robotic and uncomplicated. It's a job whose goals are clearly defined and measurable: 100 packages per hour the first week and the productivity rate should increase by 100 packages every week until you're averaging 400/hr... roughly the equivalent of a full trailer per hour. It fills me with all sorts of ambivalence. It's a "for now" job, but I'm hesitant to quit it even if I do get better work. A couple reasons for this:
1. During orientation, the trainer, a chubby fella with a goatee who had the unpleasant habit of picking bean burrito out of his molars with his pinkie told us that "There's a hundred dollar bonus after a month because a lot of people quit the first week. They realize they're too lazy for this type of work." And so if I quit this job, the chubby, goateed, bean burrito tooth picker trainer will look at me like I couldn't hack it, college boy doesn't want to ruin his manicure loading boxes.

I think most people want to think there's something special about the work they do, that you need to possess special qualities, either through hard work or natural talent, to be in their field. Have you ever dared tell a teacher that her job must be so easy because she gets out at 3 PM and has summer's off? I swear she will jump on your ass with stats on how her "free time" is riddled with holes from lesson planning and calling parents. That's natural, right? The intrinsic desire to feel special, skilled, and valuable? To feel as if you suffer more than others and you are invariably tougher than the common ilk... you are woven hemp pants in a world of delicate lace blouses. You wouldn't last a day in my job.

Package handling is a proud industry, honest work completed each night by hard working folk, and they have a right to be proud because it's true that not everyone can hack it. The ones who stay at this job have a work ethic that you can't buy for $30,000 a year in college. I want to believe I do have the heart for this, and that self conscious side of me wants everyone at FedEx to realize that if I quit, it isn't from lack of inner strength.

2. Another reason I'm tentative to quit: this may very well be my dream job. I told a friend once how one of my favorite tasks of all time is envelope stuffing. The repetitive motion, the challenge of going faster and faster, the pure, unadulterated joy one can only attain from folding a piece of paper into perfect thirds without guidelines... it's freaking christmas day for me. She didn't agree and thought of me when she had to stick labels on a thousand pill bottles one day.

This work is similar, except replace the risk of paper cuts with hernia and horrible lower back pain. So therefore, I should probably love this job once I get into a rhythm. And I'm very excited to sing "Daylight come and I want to go home" as I work, but right now I am paired with a more experienced person and she may not like my singing.

3. Isn't there something delightful about working when no one else is? Like you are some fascinating nocturnal animal about which the boring, predictable diurnals have no understanding, lording over a mysterious, black night world, feeding in the dark with specialized eyes? Does no one else think going to happy hour at 8 am sounds kick ass?
Why then am I even thinking of quitting? A few reasons FedEx may not be throwing a retirement party for me in 40 years...

1. As much as I hate admitting it, I do care what other people think. I try to pretend I'm so trendkill, so self assured and unfazed by other's opinions of me, but that's bullshit. It's hard for me to meet new people, tell them what I do, and not throw in an explanation: "I just moved here and am looking for full time work," or "I used to be a teacher, but want to try something new," or "But really, I'm fucking brilliant and interesting and just took this job to show you, perfect stranger, how secure I am in myself." The worst part about this sort of shame in what I do is that no one has actually judged me, as far as I know. I only assume they'd judge me because I'd judge them if they said they were FedEx graveyard package handlers. Not that I'd say it to their faces, but I'd immediately create an impression of them: stupid, dull, unambitious. It's horrible; I hate to admit that's what I think, but probably, deep down, I'm sure part of me is judging.

Not to pass the blame, but part of that probably comes from my parents: the awe they have any time they talk about a friend of the family who's become a doctor or a lawyer, and the disgust they hardly hide when they mention those in the family who dropped out of college and decided to work instead. I guess you're supposed to feel like you're a better person if you work behind a desk instead of with your hands making $10/hr.

2. As much as I'd like to think I can maximize every hour and would be so productive during the day time--writing, exercising, volunteering--past experience has proven I may waste that entire time. It's very likely I will spend the day sleeping, checking email excessively, and making excuses of why I can't be more productive because I have a hard time getting things done before I have to go to work, and if you work at 3 AM, that's a lot of time not getting things done. That's very Un-AmeriCorps of me.
3. The fringe benefits suck. Maybe I get discounts if I want to send packages through FedEx; I haven't checked. But, after watching first-hand how packages are handled, I'm tentative to send anything through my company (note: though I only worked one shift so far, I did not observe anyone treating a package that said "Fragile," "Glass," or "This Side Up," any differently than packages without those labels, and I certainly do not mean that all packages, regardless of labeling, are treated with the utmost care and concern. Also, many employees do not speak English, and so they may not be able to read those warnings on the packages anyway).

I'm interviewing for NorthWest Airlines next Tuesday. Now that's a job with fringe benefits. Free flights. Perhaps free peanuts. If FedEx said I could stow away in an 18 wheeler to see my family for christmas, maybe I'd be more inclined to stay.
Regardless of how long I stay at FedEx, I always think working is better than not working. I'd much rather be a beast of burden, a mule or a camel, unglamorous and smelly, than a prissy house cat sleeping, eating, and stalking moths in the kitchen, dreaming of days when its kind were the fiercest hunters in the jungle.


Q & A

Q: Does the New Armin still sip rum drinks while wearing a straw hat?
A: Any incarnation of Armin will ALWAYS think rum drinks and straw hats go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

the new armin

You must start anew,
Don't you know what you must do
Hold your head high,
Take a deep breath and sigh
Goodbye to Sandra Dee"
-Olivia Newton John

Sunday, Nov 4th has become the official start date for the implementation of an all encompassing program that has been incubating in my mind for the last four months. We are talking about a drastic overhaul of my lifestyle; a gradual, but steady, sloughing of bad habits and development of good habits to create what I like to call "The New Armin." Not unlike wars in which we police the world, I have no real timetable for this plan, but I'm fairly certain I can completely phase out "The Old Armin" by winter of 2009, provided insurgent bad habits don't begin revolting.

It's been said that if a Neanderthal were alive today and scientists gave him a good Mach 3 shave, fitted him for some Armani, and gave him a bus pass, we wouldn't give him a second glance. Similarly, on the surface, the Old Armin looks very much like the New Armin. So here's a handy guide to tell if you are dealing with the Old Armin or the New Armin.

Grocery Shopping

Old Armin: generally, goes through the supermarket looking for foods that are least expensive per pound or grams. Thus, his shopping bag is mostly filled with instant foods that contain flavor packets and no FDA approval. Or large chunks of animal meat he tries to cook in a rotisserie until the dripping fat starts a grease fire.

New Armin: buys foods based on how green and leafy they are. New Armin thumps cantaloupes, mimicking the old lady next to him, to see if they are fresh. He follows thin people wearing athletic wear (i.e. Under Armour, cross trainers) to buy whatever they put in their carts (yes, I do need Platex Gentle Glides, Miss Cashier, so just keep on scanning, bitch).

Dental Hygiene

Old Armin: flosses right before his dental check up because he doesn't want to be judged by the dental hygienist, under the completely erroneous belief that flossing is like cramming for a test

New Armin: flosses every night and pretends he's rocky when he spits blood into the sink.


Old Armin: had two closets, one to keep dirty clothes, one to keep clean clothes. When he does do laundry, brings it to school and gives it to his disabled students under the guise of a lesson plan.

New Armin: does laundry EVERY WEEKEND, folds the laundry right afterwards, stores folded clothes on shelves in logical categories--underwear, t-shirts, fuzzy sweaters--completely flouting the law of entropy.
And this is just the beginning. There will be other tell tale signs of the New Armin. For example, New Armin will not use the same sponge to clean plates that he uses to clean the toilet. Sorry to old roommates who had to live with Old Armin. New Armin will consider paying for your hospital stays if you've acquired E. Coli when living with me.


Q & A

Q: Do you find that you're surprised when you meet good people?
A: Not necessarily, because I'm friends with many good people. I guess I'm more surprised when I meet good people who are complete strangers but look out for my ass. That's what all west coasters say is different here: people don't ignore each other just because they're strangers. I don't have categoric proof that people are much friendlier out here, but one example: I was driving in Portland on a Saturday morning when i got to a stop light and the car next to me stalled. I pulled over as quickly as I could to help the woman push her car to safety, but as soon as I was able to park and run to her, there were already three other guys helping her, one of whom was a guy in the truck behind her who didn't even think about parking his car first like I did. He realized this was dumb and finally moved his car, but that's sweet of him in a really dumb sort of way.

Q: Stephen wants to know whether you ate all 100 nuggets and if so, what was the next morning like???
A: I ate all 100 nuggets in less than 24 hours. I can't say how the next morning was necessarily because there was no morning on this trip; it was just a series of driving blocks and napping blocks. I can say, I felt like hell some point during the end of the nuggets or perhaps when they were all finished, I think around 4:00 AM. But that's probably a combination of no sleep, lots of mountain dew (to the point where it feels like it's coating your teeth), and 100 chicken nuggets. The problem with buying foods in bulk for me is that I generally eat food until it is gone or I'm close to vomiting. To pace myself, I ate based on how many nuggets it took to finish a sauce packet. My guess, I ate about 10 nuggets every hour for ten hours. But I really didn't count the nuggets before hand and it could have only been 87 nuggets. I know, I'm a pussy.

Q: Stop cheering for the Knicks. Aren't you from Jersey? What, are the Nets not good enough for you?
A: If you remember that Kerry Kittles was the best player on the team, it would make sense that I was not a Nets fan as a kid. As most in our generation, Tim, I was a Bulls fan. Once they disbanded and all us frontrunner fans had to pick some team to whom we could pledge our allegiance, geography ruled as it usually does and I went for the Knicks. Now of course, I should have picked the Nets, but I don't know if they were technically part of the NBA at the time, or if they were playing exhibition games against HS teams. Now I am too loyal to my team to switch, despite sexual harassment claims, horribly immature, selfish players, and ugly ass jerseys. I can't say the same for the city of New York though; when I got out of Port Authority a few weeks ago, I was greeted by a giant billboard of the Nets. Disgraceful.

Q: i hope you get to sleep in a real bed really soon.
Thank you as always for your concern and well wishes. I slept in my very own bed, courtesy of Ross, yesterday and the feeling was indescribable. This must be how the Queen of England feels when she sleeps on a full sized futon using a bundled up hoodie as a pillow.

Q: let's start a movement-social workers at mechanics. it'll be brillaint and so helpful.
A: at the very least, all mechanics should be required to have on-site counselors to deal with the patrons' post traumatic stress disorder after reading the estimate.

Q: clearly you felt so guilty about the bagels because we jews are gods chosen people, and the bagel is our chosen food, making bagels the food that is closest to god. that makes sense right?
A: makes sense, but it wasn't manna from heaven. Let's see if stealing gefilte fish makes me feel the same.

starving writers

"you want the good life. you break your back. you snap your fingers; you snap your neck."

This Halloween, I dressed as a starving writer*. If I had it to do again, I'd have picked up the bass at a young age and been a starving musician. Every band's looking for a bassist and you never even have to be all that good. But you still get groupies and free beer from the bar. Even a starving artist probably gets free cheese and wine at those gallery openings, not to mention all the nude models.

But what does a starving writer get? Caffeine shakes and carpal tunnel. Isolation and self loathing. Disappointment and more disappointment.

I have this brand spanky new lap top that has this fun gadget, essentially a Post It pad on my desktop. I guess it's for notes, but all I have written on it is a question I ask myself every day: Where's your heart, fighter? As long as I can still answer that question, I know I'm not done yet.

*Actually, for halloween this year, I dressed as a swimmer getting eaten by a shark. I sewed a stuffed great white to my beater, spread some fake blood on the shirt, then bought some swimmies for my arms which cut off the circulation to my fingers. the problem with Halloween is that it is often cold, at least wherever I've lived, and so your kickass costume is usually covered by a parka. but, i was able to wear swimming trunks and a Hawaiian shirt because I was at a party with a bonfire, so i was plenty warm, but the plastic swimmies did feel like they were melting and the temptation was too great for me not to throw my stuffed shark into the fire.