...if this is your first night, you have to fight.

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Thursday, February 28, 2002

Lucky Pennies, Death and Toast.

Ah, sweet relief! I would like to thank www.technoerotica.net for performing a public service worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, and encourage you to visit them. They have compiled a comprehensive list of links where you can opt-out of a vast majority of the bigger ad servers, therefore, reduce (and in some cases eradicate) the need to deal with pop-up/pop-under advertising. (a must for us suckas lumbered with dial-up.) Yay! No more ubiquitous fuggin' X10 camera ads, which is worth the visit alone. Seems those bastards are all up in our Kollective Kool-Aid these days. So; click it, lick it, live it. Show these guys your love.

That's enough pimpin' for one day. On with the show.

Had more screwball dreams the other day, or, more specifically, one dream image that haunted me all day. I woke up Tuesday morning with this in me gulliver:

I was disembarking from a ship. It wasn't like a cruise ship, but rather the old kind, like the "Pinta", "Nina", "Santa Maria" type. An old wooden ship with huge riggings and sails. I had the feeling that I had journeyed a long way; heavy with exhaustion and sorrow, but ultimately landing somewhere familliar. Now, about 100 yards away, there were seven women, all dressed in voluminous white robes with long white scarves twisted turban-like into little knots on the tops of their heads. They were in the bay, up past their waists in the water. Somehow, even though I could feel myself walking down the gang-plank (a word used in context?) and onto the pier, I had the visual perspective of being right there in the water with them, looking over their shoulders. They were standing in a circle, hands outstretched and palms up, floating a dead body that was wrapped head-to-toe, almost like a mummy, in the same white cloth that the women were wearing as robes. They were gently drifting it off to the left, letting it sink slowly into the bay's shallow water, and softly singing something beautiful and sad. I could only make out one phrase; "Mine eyes have seen my salvation", which, I don't even know if it is grammatically correct, even by "ye olde" standards, but, there you have it. As close as I was to this "burial at sea", I could still look up and not only see myself on the pier, but see myself watching it from the pier. And that was it.

Now, I hate to indentify with the term "superstitious", but I suppose I am. I might pass a quarter on the street, but I hone in on a head's-up penny like my life depends on it. Lucky pennies are a special weakness of mine. And if that penny is "tails-up", I sometimes flip it over with the toe of my shoe so that it will be heads-up for the next person who finds it. Also, any time I've seen a hawk wheeling overhead, I unfailingly have a meaningful interaction with someone during the course of my day, which I think is a symbol unique to me. Another one is if I play Solitaire on my computer, and win within four games, I will promptly stop playing then and there because this means I will have good luck for the day. Perhaps that one falls under the category of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I will not even read a chain letter that is e-mailed to me, let alone pass it along anymore. Chain letters are evil, bad ju-ju no matter which way you slice it, and if you perpetuate them, you're an asshole plain and simple.

There's still enough common sense in me to know that a lot of this is "power of suggestion". A penny is a penny, and even 10 of them won't get you much in this world, head's-up or not. A hawk is still largely a marvel to me because they weren't often seen around here until recently when they became protected in this area. Perhaps when I see one, I feel uplifted and thoughtful and unwittingly "create" these meaningful conversations with people. And yes, I'm well aware that this Solitaire thing is pure dumb-assery (there's a word you won't find anywhere else) on my part. Besides, even if I suck and can't win one in four, I give a little inward shrug and think; "I'll have to make my own luck for today." But I'm right about the chain letter thing. Dirty magic there, no doubt. Just say no.

However, my "inner feather-head" was jarred to attention at the arrival of this strange dream. Everything about that dream; the imagery, my 2 separate perspectives in it, the burial hymn, they all conspired to keep one word at the back of my mind all day...


***Insert Creepy Choral Theme From "The Omen" Here***

I wasn't necessarily uneasy about all of it, thinking that something terrible was going to happen. When you're dealing with heavy symbolism, most people will agree that death is usually a metaphor. But a metaphor for what? I wondered. My goofy brain was fully occupied all day with the twin tasks of scrolling my internal database for recent changes and upheavals or anything else that might be fitting of such a moribund subconscious gem, and looking out for some kind of "confirmation" that maybe this was a "presentiment" of some sort.

While nothing I came up with really struck me, here are a couple of things I did notice.

1.) When I went to bed Monday night, I had some trouble falling asleep. I lay there for about 1/2 an hour when all of a sudden I was hit with a strange, random, but rather intense pang of sorrow. It didn't have any kind of definitive source, meaning that I hadn't thought of anything specific to bum myself out. It was just a sudden, sad, and lonely feeling of being "adrift". I even ended up getting out of bed and making toast. Wheat toast is the late-night snacking equivalent of Paxil, as I'm sure we all agree. There is simply nothing that toast cannot fix. I ate my toast and went back to bed, still rather sad, but at least able to sleep. Perhaps my state of mind contributed to this dream?

2.) The next morning, on my way to work, a long funeral procession passed alongside me as I walked. If that was a presentiment, then, brain; you're really getting lazy. There is a funeral home across the street from work so my odds of seeing a funeral procession are about 1 in 5. I'd tell you that you have to do better than that, brain, but then that seems like a jinx. (more superstitions!)

3.) A really weird lady came into my work to use our "Picture Maker" machine (see: glorified scanner in a yellow plastic kiosk.), and, I assume, horrify me. She called me over for "help", but she clearly had a grasp on things as the picture was not only already scanned and ready to print, but complete with a little pink, ribboned, graphic border which she had added. I suspect the help she really needed was of a nature I couldn't, in all my worst imaginings, provide.

The picture she had scanned and framed were 3 copies of a baby's head, and the first thought that flashed through my mind was; "Jesus Hubbard Christ! What the hell?!" This baby's hairline began about 1/4 of an inch above her eyebrows! With a widow's peak, for fuck's sake! So, naturally, the second thought I had was; "Aaargh! Werewolf baby!"

The scene was too bizarre to be funny, so thankfully it was easy to retain a composed and professional demeanor, because the first thing she blurts out is; "I'm making this for my girlfriend. That's her baby... who died a few minutes later." I was startled, and guilty, of course, but as I turned to her, my surprise immediately twisted into a sort of disgusted horror because the smile on the woman's face was not only ghoulish, but wildly out of place. It was... well... gleeful. I know that sounds like a fucked up assessment on my part, but I swear to you, that is exactly what it was.

I was uncomfortable, sickened, but largely, angry. Why do that? Why tell me that? It's not just that I didn't want to know, because I didn't, but whatever happened to discretion? How did her "friend" feel knowing that she just had to share this with me, some Jane-schmoe? And while we're on the subject, what's with the smile? This wasn't an "I-Don't-Deal-Well-With-Tragedy" smile, this was an "I-Don't-Feel-It" smile. It was wholly unconcerned and frighteningly inappropriate. It scared me and made me want to hit her in the face, just to make her stop.

I still have no earthly idea what the hell kind of reaction she wanted from me, but in any case I'm sure she didn't get it. While no one has ever shoved a mirror in front of my face when I've done it, I've got a pretty good image of the dumb, uncomprehending stare I must have given her from the feeling alone. I didn't know what the hell to say, so rather than splutter some awkward condolence that she certainly didn't deserve, I edged past her to type in the print password and got the hell out of there. Freaked my shit out, it did. Fucking creepy.

So, bottom line; as unusual as those three things were, none of them resonated with that dream image. (Sorry to switch gears like that, but I hung on that last paragraph for awhile, not knowing how to transition, because I didn't want to leave you on such a Kubrickian downer.) If I tried to apply them to the dream, it would feel forced. I haven't yet found the source or the manifestation. Perhaps it was only a dream, a powerful one, to be sure, but just a dream. Not a presentiment, not an omen. Just a pretty, still, peacefully sorrowful dream. If that's the case, then it's enough. As depressing as it surely sounds to some, it was beautiful in its sad, white, watery way and I feel oddly grateful for it, like I would a lovely movie scene or a dreamy Mahler aire. Not everything has to mean something more than the sum of its parts, some things just are. If something more comes out of it, some insight or event, I'll pass it on, but in the meantime, I'll let it be.

So, with that I urge you to fling yourself into the arms of Morpheus tonight, with both abandon and tenacious recall. It'll be fun, I promise. So, goodnight y'all. Sweet dreams! Drop me a line if you have any good ones you're inclined to share, because I love that stuff!

posted by taiwan_on 'round 12:32 AM#
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Sunday, February 24, 2002

"I'm a Dragon..."
I can shoot fire out of my ass.

I took the "What Mythological Creature Are you? Test"

Well, it was bound to happen. I finally got one of those 24 hour flu things.

Woke up around 7:00 for work on Friday, was 1/2 way through making my bed, heard a frightening noise emanating from my bowels and...well...

I'll spare you the rest.

Suffice it to say I think I set a new land-speed record for rapid weight loss or something. Eat that, Jared. Unless "Subway" starts serving up some kinda' Jalapeno/Habanero/Ex-Lax surprise, you'll never beat my record! Mwaha! That's right bitch, fear my ass!

Naturally, I had to call in sick. Naturally, my manager had to make me feel like an ass about it.

Granted, getting sick on a Friday probably doesn't look all that good, but I would have much rather been at work than dealing with this nasty, nasty, nasty illness. I mean, seriously, I was too sick to even shower, and I don't think that's ever happened. I was back in bed by 7:30 AM, up at 'round 12:00 PM, back in bed around 10:00 PM, and then I slept until about 11:00 AM today. 13 straight hours of sleep. Man, was I pissed that I missed all of Friday night!

But, amazingly, this was a real, honest to god 24 hour flu. Seems anytime I've ever heard that phrase, it's meant an illness that's lasted 72 hours to a week. I thought a 24 hour flu was a myth. And the funniest part about all of this is that I woke up Saturday feeling better than I have in years. Totally renewed. So good, in fact, that I went shopping!

Got "Office Space", "Bruce Campbell vs Army of Darkness" and "Ghost World" on DVD. I was all set to give up on finding "Ghost World" until I found it at, of all places, "Wal-Mart". That place truly is a cynic's wet dream. You're never at a loss for material at Wal-Mart. I'm going to need plastic surgery to get the snarky, elitist little smirk off my face, I swear. But I digress...

A word about my choices: "Office Space" has to be one of the greatest, most underrated comedies I've ever seen. There seems to be no shortage of people who treat me like a simp if I recommend it to them, but really, it's required viewing for anyone who has ever had a job, let alone one in an office. I'm aware how assholey it sounds to say "I really identified with this character", but really; Peter is me! Just see it and I swear I'll shut up about it. As for "A.O.D.", I haven't seen this movie since high school, so I'm completely stoked to re-live it in its director's-cut glory. It is such a perfect "Saturday night movie" that I can't believe I'm not going to watch it tonight. No, that honor goes to "Ghost World".

I've never read the comic, so don't expect a lenghty critical deconstruction as to wether or not the movie lives up to its inky predecessor. To be honest, probably the last comic I bought was "Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children", when I was in high school, and realized that this whole comic-collecting business was way too expensive a hobby. I opted for books and movies instead, and I stand by that descision.

Speaking of movies, I just saw "The Adventures of Sebastian Cole" last week and, man oh man, is Adrian Grenier a hot piece of ass or what? *Whew* How old is that kid now? Is he legal or is the Gestapo gonna' break in and arrest my pervert ass any minute? Anyway, look for him to be a "Cupcake" nominee soon, (if I ever get my shit together to update this site again) because I cannot think of any other healthy way to deal with my feelings at the moment.

And speaking of movies -yes, I realize I've already used that segue- I'll be banging my indie-gong loud and proud by the first weekend of March, you can count on it. My personal Jebus, Garth Donovan, will be returning to Studio Cinema for a second screening of his amazing debut feature "Screenwriter". If any of you people had bothered to read my "KTJ" archives, you'd know I wrote a special piece in his honor there. Anyway, I saw the first screening, and it rocked my fragile little world, I tellya. It is "Fight Club" meets "Henry Fool" for the independent film-maker set. He'll probably kill me for making that comparison, but there is little else in my limited experience I can base it on. He has also assured me that since being re-edited (new narrative, new scenes, etc.) that the movie, which was already brilliant in a way that words fail to express, is even better, which means that I simply do not deserve it.

I mean it when I say that this movie single-handedly restored my faith in, not only independent cinema, but film in general. It's ballsy without being obnoxious, intelligent without being pretentious, and makes some very astute societal observations without getting all preachy and uppity-in-your-face about it. Plus it's funny...really funny, in a way all mainstream comedies only wish they were. Tickets are ten bux, which is a small price to pay to launch this masterpiece into the festival circuit stratosphere, which is exactly where your dough is going. And how often can you actually say you know where your money really went when you dropped it for a movie ticket? Listen; the world needs this movie. You need this movie. So go see it, before I break my foot off in your ass.

You can visit this blossoming film genius on the web at www.garthdonovan.com which I also highly recommend, as his site is chock-full of coolness and info relevant to the upcoming screening. And if you're in the Greater Boston area, drop by Studio Cinema on March 8th at 9:30 PM sharpish for a real cinematic smack-down. Viva La Revolution. enjoy your weekend. That is all.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 12:00 AM#
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Thursday, February 21, 2002

"For Entertainment Purposes Only"
are any of you gimps really calling the psychic hotline for help?

Greetings and salutations.

Matt Loomis has linked to an incredibly important article on his insanely cool website, insanekungfu.com which you need to check out. Go there. Now. God knows I have nothing of value to say today.

For those of you still reading, I was quoted on "Random Blog Quotes" yesterday, which is kinda' cool. I've added a link to them as well as a link to "Blog Snob". Hit refresh to see a snippet & link to a new blog each time. They're a very cool site as well.

My brain hurts. There's so much I want to get down on page here, but I'm stupified with exhaustion. Just the thought of typing it all makes me want to weep. (and you as well, I'm sure.) However, I will bother to tell you about 2 dreams I had recently.

1.) Not terribly eventful, but I dreamed I was standing on the Dorchester Bay bridge (Dorchester's the town where I grew up) and looking down into the water. Swimming in a small, blue watered, concentrated area under the bridge were dolphins and brightly colored jellyfish and long, writhing eels and a school of unrelated, technicolor fish. They seemed to be swimming over and over in the same close proximity, following a very specific pattern as if they were dancing together. I felt oddly happy watching all of these diverse, interesting creatures sharing what looked like some kind of oceanic camraderie, so I stayed where I was, appreciating the beauty of the scene for awhile.

According to Freakydreams.com's Dream Interpreter, this dream means:

Words like Eels: Slipperiness. A dream about them is good only if you can maintain a grip on him, otherwise fortune will be fleeting.
Words like Fish: To dream about fish or fishing denotes energy and economy. A fish in clear water express freedom of movement related with your feelings.
Words like Jellyfish: A dream of jellyfish is associated with passive aggression in you and the way you are looking to express yourself more forcefully. Don't give away your heart.
Words like Blue: This dream denotes a great source of inner peace and a symbol of contentment.
Words like Bridge: Connection. Overcoming problems. Change in business occupation.
Words like School: Discipline. Instruction. You have the skills to resolve a problem.
Words like Swimming: Movement through water of feelings contained by cultural constructs. You are in an emotional state.
Words like Under: Covered. Restraint. Secrecy. You are loosing strength or power.

What was weird about this dream:
Ever seen Dorchester Bay? It's a toxic green scum-frappe and you're unlikely to see beyond a depth of 2 inches. Not that you'd want to get that close to it, the smell alone is ghastly. I should have known it was a dream when I could see anything other than a mutated crab with a cigarette parked in it's claw, begging me for spare change.

2.) I was reading a newspaper article about two guys I know, my ex-boyfriend and his best friend, and found they were in a plane crash. A straight nose-dive from 30,000 feet. The article concluded by mentioning that neither of them sustained any injuries, and walked away from the scene and into the nearest bar for martinis. I chuckled as I read it and thought; "That is so like them."

What Freakydreams.com's Dream Interpreter made of this nonsense:

Words like Feet: socks signify clothing problems. (Did I say anything about socks? I was talking about height. Height! 30,000 ft. not 30,000 socks! Sheesh! But it is kinda' weird, as I have been stressing about my shitty wardrobe lately.
Words like Bar: Relaxation. Indulgence. Irresponsibility. Pleasure. Guilty of foolish actions.
Words like Friend: Joy and consolation. Aspect of self ready for integration.
Words like Plane: Movement across great distance. Freedom. Changes towards new directions.
Words like Reading: Learning. Information revealed. Escape from reality. Something burdens you.

What was weird about this dream:
Nothing. These two aforementioned guys are Teflon superheroes and I can totally see them walking away from any situation unscathed. Including a 30,000 foot plunge. If I was 1/2 as cool as my ex's best friend, I would be living "La Vida Exploitation".
However, I always heard that you cannot actually "read" in your dreams. I assume that I was probably staring at the equivalent of heiroglyphics in my dream, but my brain was "projecting" meaning into the text. That's kinda' cool.

I would be remiss if I didn't stress that the dream interpreter is strictly for entertainment purposes only. Now go check that bad boy out!

Speaking of dreams, I better get "over and out" before things start really getting weird. Take care, y'all and get some extra sleep for me! 15 minutes 'till Friday! If I wasn't so tired, I'd do a victory lap around my desk right now.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 11:43 PM#
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Monday, February 18, 2002

A Good, Solid Work Ethic...
will get you fucked in the ass with a chainsaw.


I had it right when I was sixteen...

A good, solid work ethic is about as useful to a human being as a second asshole.

When I was teenager, I embarked a string of jobs I could care less about. Soda jerk at an ice cream parlor, cash register jockey at a drugstore, all-round slave at a produce company, lackey at two video stores, caterer/conscession stand operator/bartender at an events hall, hostess and waitress at a restaraunt, retail lackey, more office temp assignments than I care to waste the energy trying to count, manager/projectionist/janitor/ticket seller/advertising coordinator/conscession stand operator/webmaster at a cinema, and now, photo processor at yet another drugstore with some web design on the side.

These experiences have brought me nothing but grief.

Up until the cinema gig, I had a pretty fucked-up work ethic. I called in healthy under the guise of being sick as often as I could. I stole every available second when it came to slacking off. I was rude and surly to customers whenever I deemed fit. And if it was possible to dream, smoke or read rather than actually work, well, that's what I did. Eventually I'd get tired of thse jobs and simply quit; there are always a million other demeaning ways to get a paycheck out there, why limit yourself to just one?

I suspect the only reasons I even began to straighten up and fly right at the cinema job was because:
a.) I was given free reign without anyone really breathing down my neck.
b.) There was no possible way to avoid work and still keep the place functioning. (and there was no escape anyway.)

The job I have now is the same way. There is too much to be done for me to even consider resting on my laurels, and, unfortunately, there is always someone "higher up" keeping tabs on me anyway. I suspect the term "higher ups" is the definition used to describe someone whose soul responsibility it is to be higher up your ass than is humanly tolerable.

See, this is how I now know that I was a great manager. Do not misunderstand me; I do not ever want to be the manager of anything ever again unless it is a business that I own or have some other vested interest in. And I certainly don't want to have anything to do with managing this place. Christ on a cracker, no. But I could teach these sunsabitches a thing or two, to be sure.

For example; if you see one of your minions performing better at a particular job than anyone ever employed in that position, for fuck's sake leave them alone! Never question anything they do outside of blatant criminal activity. If they kick ass and take names all damn day, and, for whatever reason, you catch them slipping outside for a smoke or a coffee, turn a blind eye. It won't kill you dude, I promise.

It's not their pre-determined, pre-scheduled, break-time-nugget ration, you say? So fucking what? Human beings don't work that way. Allow me to illustrate my point.

Today, I had a woman from a private "pet rescue" organization come in for reprints. Now, animal rescue is something my family has been involved in for even longer than I've been alive. In every house I've ever lived in, we have set up feeding stations and shelters in my yard for forsaken pets and feral cats. In a case where we are able to "make contact" with the animal, we take it in, bring it to the vet's for shots and "fixing", and try to find it a home. In the cases where no home can be found, or an animal's heath care is way too involved for the average adoption, we end up keeping it. Every pet I've ever had was a stray. I cannot remember any point in my life where there were not animals living under my roof. Usually a lot of them. I cannot imagine living any other way. I wouldn't want to. An upbringing like this is/was a constant lesson in compassion, and the more (heartless asshole) people I meet, the more I am grateful for it.

We have raised, nursed back to health, and foster-parented a wide range of animals too. Everything from blue-jays to box turtles to Belgian racing pigeons. That's just the shit filed under "B", okay? This wildlife isn't limited ot my backyard, either. We've found abandoned animals in other states for chrissake. We have taken responsibility for animals in ways that most people would consider going above and beyond. It is taxing both financially and emotionally. It wins you allies and enemies undreamed of. It's one of the most frustrating and rewarding thing I could ever imagine doing. I estimate that we have cared for well over 250 cats alone, just in my lifetime, and that's a conserative estimate.

Relax, I'm not going to tell you about all the cute little things they do.

Anyway, I digress. This animal rescue woman comes in, and, she's fighting for a cause near and dear to my heart. She wants reprints, 3 each of 10 photos, of a feral cat unimaginably mangled by a fan belt. Now, remember that "enemies undreamed of" comment I made earlier? Well, it seems that despite all of the good work this woman has done finding homes for the feral cats, or, in the cases where they are simply too wild, humane-trapping them for immunization spaying/neutering and re-release to cut down on over-population & disease, she has some major opposition. Some crazy fucking bitch has made it her life's work to thwart the efforts of both this organization, and, I found after taking to this rescue worker, a friend of mine who runs a similar organization the next town over from her. She's always one step behind them, putting the fear of god into the hearts of any private home-owner who is kind enough to allow a temporary feeding/sheltering/trapping rig to be set up in their yard, all expense & maintainence courtesy of these 2 organizations. This crazy bat threatens them with the potential loss of their homes if they don't dismantle the rigs immediately. She is destroying everything they are working for, even though their efforts have already made a huge difference. The figures, published in 3 local papers last year and soon to be published in another this week are astounding and, sadly, not readily available to me at the moment.

In any case, I had the grim misfortune of having to deal with the evidence of what happens when an animal doesn't have sufficient shelter. Kitty can't find a warm place, kitty climbs up under your car and sleeps in your engine, you go to start your car in the morning, and kitty gets an instant fan-belt mangling. In this particular case, whether you consider this good or bad news, the accident was not fatal. This particular feline is making a comparatively good recovery, I hear. It was about 12:30 when these reprints came in, and my cut-off for lunch is about 1:30. Any later than that and dinner is out of the question. I thought; "okay, I'll put the negative strips on automatic, cover the printer output, and I won't actually have to see any of this." It's just my luck; in an effort to be "helpful" she cut the negatives into single frames, making them impossible to process as-is, and I had to spend about 40 minutes splicing and trying to make my mind not comprehend what it was seeing.

Suffice it to say, lunch was out of the question.

To keep my stomach from digesting itself, I gagged down a nutrition bar around 2:20 and raced back to work to grapple with 28 or so double print orders that had come in before my shift ended. You can process 6 rolls of 24 exposure double print orders in an hour. 8 rolls of single print. My shift was supposed to end at 5:30. You do the math.

Would you believe I got it all done by 5:15? And beautifully, I might add.

Look, there aren't a lot of jobs where I can say I was a star employee. In fact, from that list above, I'd say there were only two. But this is one of them, I'm sure of it. Us peons are "allowed" 2 15 minute breaks and 1/2 hour for lunch, which you have to punch out for. When I first started this job, working at night, I took my first and last 1/2 hour "lunch" on my first night on, and that was it. First off, I don't have the time for that shit, as I usually worked that department alone, and second off, fuck it, if I'm there, I might as well blow off sitting on my ass and get paid, right? The night crew didn't bat an eye because the store manager wasn't around, and frankly, another person working means more work gets done. But now, the store manager, who is there until about 1/2 hour before I clock out, goes all "stress puppy" if you don't take a lunch, I suspect more for the fear of having to pay us overtime than actually worrying about our well-being. I have to take a lunch now, and while this is more often than not a necessity when I get ravenous, it is a pain in the ass when I have shit to get done. I would so much rather take 3 or 4 interspersed 5 minute "smoke breaks" or "coffee runs", maybe take 10 minutes to wolf down something sustaining at some point, than have to twice walk away from something when I'm right in the middle of it for 15 minutes because someone tells me I have to.

Around 11:30 today, after taking care of cleaning & maintainence odds and ends and processing a few orders, I found myself with a gap in time that I knew would vanish by before noon when we get a lot of lunch-hour activity. I wanted to go get a coffee, I wanted to have a cigarette, I wanted to recharge before the next flurry of activity. I started to slip out for that cigarette, figuring I'd make a coffee run when one of the cashiers got back from break, but I was intercepted by the store manager.

"Where are you going?" he asked.
Resisting the urge to sigh dramatically and answer; "Look, can ya' just fuck off for five seconds? You don't need me for this particular 15 minutes, I promise." I answered honestly that I was going to have a cigarette. This was met with his world-renowned "dissapproval face" as he pointlessly explained that I would get a break when the aforementioned cashier came back.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I went back to stand in my "photo pen" for the next 15 minutes, where not a single customer approached me, until the cashier came back and I was suddenly met with a mob who, although they were each dropping off a minimum of 4 rolls of film that had sat, forgotten for months in a drawer, needed double prints of each in no less than an hour. After all, it says "one hour photo", and while these are pictures of Christmas 1998, they simply cannot wait another second to see what magical images they contain.

And from there my day just sucked, as you'll recall.

Now, I am in no way saying that I am the only person getting fucked over. Nope, I see it all around me with the other 3 or so employees that are worth way more than the "shit fifty" they're getting paid. It's sad, really, because I've come to the conclusion that this and many other corporate entities reward an incredible work ethic with nothing less than abuse of this, let's face it, hard-to-come-by virtue. For the most part, people clock in, clock out, do the minimum, and make damn sure they get every break that's coming to them right down to the last nanosecond. Then there are the precious few that work through their breaks, dazzle with their attention to detail, care about what they're doing, wear themselves down to a nub, and then take it in the face like some bad, forced bukkake.

So, managers of the world, heed my advice; deferentiate between the good worker bees and the dead-weight, and act accordingly. Note the skillful kung-fu with which some people tackle the task at hand and afford them the luxury of using their discretion. You won't be dissappointed, I promise. They will continue to exceed not only their, but your wildest expectations. Trust me, I've been a good manager before.

And to all the good little worker bees; you are already invaluable, now you must learn to be stealth. Steal whatever "human time" you can. Slip right under their radar, if you have to, you've earned it. And what's more important is that you need it. I am going to begin doing this myself because I can already feel burnout settling in, not from over-work, but from being "over-watched". That's a fucked-up way to treat a good employee.

And if all else fails, just tell them to fuck off. After all, there are a million demeaning ways to earn a paycheck out there, why limit yourself to just one? ;-p

Take care, y'all. Don't let "the man" get you down!

posted by taiwan_on 'round 11:20 PM#
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Thursday, February 14, 2002

I'm Somebody!
Hell, even I'm too lazy to type this website address!

(Unless you've seen the Steve Martin movie, "The Jerk", that title won't be funny to you.)

Well, in the interest of giving everyone's fingers a break, (All except the middle one. Nyah!) I found a shorter domain name. Now you can dial me up at www.taiwanon.tk. Bookmark it, knee-grow! It takes you right to the main page, and if I'm thinking about registering another one for the blog, seperately, you'll be the first to know.

I know I had some shit to talk about, but the simple euphoria of seeing my own website come up instantly without having to type: "yadda-yadda-yadda-slash-some-more-shit-slash-an-insanely-long-name-*doze off*-dot-shit!Ilostmyconnection!" has sorta' got me stuck on stupid.

Oh yeah! I wanted to talk about how the cops in Brockton are worse than useless and should all be driven out to work in a daycare center full of screaming crack babies with irritable bowel syndrome for the rest of their miserable, worthless lives. For minimum wage. No benefits. And this will not be a state-run daycare facility, as I refuse to pay for it. This shithole will be funded exclusively by "Acting Governor" (She must be only "acting", right? This is all just a bad, slapstick comedy, right? Jim Carrey is going to pop out any minute, lift up her skirt and start doing some crazy slap-ass nonsense on her big, stretch-marked ghetto booty, right?) Jane Swift's pocket change (lint included) because I cannot fathom her worth as a human being either.

Look, I know it's always been easy to rag on cops, at least, until September 11th when it suddenly became unfashionable, but this was something I always did good-naturedly, with only the most innocent intentions. Jokes about cops & doughnuts, cops & brutality, cops & misplaced zeal, cops & incompetence, cops & what-have-you, are, and will always be, funny. But I couldn't be more serious when I say...

The Brockton Police Department is unfit to suck my dog's ass.

In fact, stop looking at him like that, you assholes, you're not worthy.

At the moment, I'm considering trying to weasel some way out of paying state taxes completely because I can no longer see the point. As far as I can tell, this has bought me nothing. My street has been such a series of hubcap-liberating craters for so long that I suspect I wouldn't have to dig very far to find Paleolithic fossils just under the cracked tar. I couldn't even get anyone on the phone when I was seeking recycle bins from town hall, and by the time I did, not only did I have to pay for them, but I had to truck down there and pick them up myself. And the latest straw to break the camel's back is the fact that we now have to pay for trash pick-up. That's just nuts.

And while I've never, ever in my life, used this wonderous service known as 911, I like to think that if a deranged base-head was crawling in my window in the middle of the night, provided I didn't sleep through it, I'd be able to dial those 3 magic digits and have someone deal with the situation before it got completely out of hand.

Apparently this is a delusion I and my neighbors have been laboring under for quite some time. One akin to the myth of the tooth fairy. It seems I have a better chance of being rescued by the Brown Hornet than I do by the Brockton police.

Look, I'm also aware that after September 11th, pretty much every single cop in the United States was answering one fruity, hysterical phonecall after another about suspicious mailings, unfamiliar objects, funny dust in grandma's VCR, cars with out of state license plates and swarthy, bearded, be-turbaned beings. But is this any reason to be a complete and utterly ineffectual prick? Not on my dime, bitch.

Besides, this bullshit actually started in July, which was long before everyone broke the handle off common sense, so, you useless motherfuckers have no excuse. It's not too late to consider a career in telemarketing or drive-through management, officers.

Last July, my neighbor, who has 2 kids, 3 & 5 years old, and a husband 40-odd going on 2, was home alone. Hubby was off drinking with the boys after an all-day fishing trip. It was around 11:00 PM or so when she noticed something moving outside her front window. Upon further investigation, she found a strange man, who, quite placidly, was inspecting the interior of her household through the screen. He continued to do so even after she screamed at him to get the fuck away from her home. She plainly dialed 911 on her cordless phone right in front of his face and explained the situation to the operator, all the while the strange man listened, unruffled. I thought this was garden variety stupidity on his part, but clearly he knew more about the Brockton police than we did. After completing the call, she hung up, once again urging him to fuck off, and then dialed us, her across-the-street neighbors as she cranked her windows shut against the ungodly July swelter. It was then that he decided to slowly saunter off.

As we came out of our respective houses to meet each other, we could still see him as he wandered around the corner, after, of course, doing a little double-take 1/2 way down the street whilst thinking better of returning to his post at my neighbor's window. My dad and this kooky, heat-packing dude who lives about 4 doors down, hopped in my dad's car and drove in the same direction after him while I hopped down the driveway trying to lace my boots whining; "Aw, can't I come too? I wanna see some rightgeous, vigilante justice, dammit!" Sadly, I was stuck trying to help calm my neighbor down while we waited for the police to arrive.

Which took about 60 minutes.

When they finally showed, even though we treated them to a calm, photo-precise description of the bastard, they treated us like hysterical bitches and advised us to "Go inside and lock the doors and windows." and "Don't worry about it." as they made like they were getting ready to call it a night and get back to the steaming action at the local chapter Dunkin Donuts.

I'm sorry but...what?!?

Right around then is when my dad and "Mr. Chuck Bronson" rolled up and reiterated the same description, adding that they came upon the window-peeping freak down the street and the motherfucker asked them for a ride!! They didn't bother to get into specifics, but instead practically drew them a map where the clown could be found. The police cruiser then broke the sound barrier at a whopping 10mph in hot pursuit of the "perp". I got chills, I tellya'.

The part of the story the cops didn't hear was that dad & Mr. Bronson graciously accomodated the fuck when he asked them for a ride, driving a little ways and explaining to him that they were looking for a guy who had disturbed his neighbor. If said guy knew what was good for him, he wouldn't go around peering in anyone's windows. It was a good way to get shot, he explained calmly, especially in this neighborhood, seeing as everyone around here had a gun and could best be described as "trigger-happy". It was around then that the fuck-up asked to be dropped off at the corner and thanked them for the ride.

Let me tell you a little something about my dad; even if I was a guy, had 3 feet of height, 200 pounds of muscle and an Uzi on him, I'd still be scared of him. He's not the kind of cat you wanna piss off. He's one of the funniest, most affable guys I know. Genuinely cool and truly not interested in hurting another living soul. But if you end up on the wrong side of him, you'd better get a running start, believe me. He'll get all Incredible Hulk on your sorry ass.

Anyway, thankfully, that was the last we saw of the peeping dickhead. I'm sure of this because pretty much the whole area was "all eyes" by the time word got 'round, as most of these folks have little else to do with their free time.

Months go by and nothing happens. Then, this past Sunday, 'round noon, the same thing happened, different guy. Same house and everything, unfortunately, but this guy's intentions were much clearer. This time, though, her husband was home. First he cased the two cars parked in the driveway, then he cupped his hands to her front window and stared in, checking out the house. Outraged, she dialed the police, described the man and the situation and then called my house again. This time, she stayed indoors and talked to my mother about the fucking nerve of people, calmer this time, as if she had gotten used to this kind of thing. Her husband went out and followed the guy down the street calling after him and asking what the hell he thought he was doing. The guy then wheeled on him, pulling out a knife, and telling him that he also had a gun and he shouldn't be "creeping up" on him like that. Mind you, this is all happening in broad daylight.

After 45 minutes when the cops didn't show, she called again, this time adding that the guy pulled a knife on her husband and said he was going to shoot him. I didn't even get the conversation second-hand, I only know that the operator was abrupt with her and hung up saying they'd get there when they got there and just to remain indoors with the doors locked. 35 minutes later, the cops finally lumbered up, took a description, offered the same solution they apparently always do; "Live like a prisoner in your own home", and left.

Later that day, in an unrelated incident, they happened to trip over the same fucking guy "acting suspicious" a few streets over. When they asked him for his name and address, he gave them one. When asked to see some I.D. for verification purposes, he told them he had one, but they could fuck themselves rather than see it. I think we should hire this sleazebitch as some kind of motivational speaker at the next policemen's ball, because you never saw those fuck-ups move so fast! They were suddenly all over him like a cheap whore on payday.

So, the moral of this story is; if you want the Brockton police to do anything, you have to taunt them and insult them. Results may vary.

I have no idea how long they held this ass-clown in custody, if in fact they did at all, but we're all pretty sure he'll be back. Most likely with an axe to grind regarding my neighbor. I'll sleep soundly knowing that the Brockton police will do fuck-all about it. So for all the civilians in Brockton; lock and load, folks.

I really don't care how irresponsible that sounds, and it was never really an adage I believed in up until now, but there you have it.

So kids, take care and remember; smoking in Brockton is prohibited, but threateneing someone's life and trespassing are not.

And yes, this has been a public service announcement. I promise to return soon in a considerably less shitty mood.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 12:47 AM#
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Monday, February 11, 2002

50% More Slutty Goodness!
...with added elastic moral fiber to keep you "regular"!

This isn't fair. I've had sex once in the past 8 months and yet I'm 50% slut? Damn, seems I ought to be cashing in on that statistic somehow. I should really get cracking. Oh no, wait, if I have sex one more time in the next 5 months, will I be a total slut?!

FYI: Even though 5,953 women agreed with me that Ewan McGregor is the hottest sex option of all time, he didn't make the "Top 25" list, which also doesn't seem fair. (especially when utterly sexless individuals like Tom Cruise & Eminem are in the top FIVE for fuck's sake!)

I'd also like to add that I have the personality of Montgomery Burns (I'm in the 8% "Mastermind" ratio), the stress level of someone catatonic (22% stressed), and the I.Q. of someone with Down's Syndrome (85 points!! Gasp! It's a wonder I can wipe myself.). How can I be an idiot mastermind, I ask you? In addition, I'm 52% gay an 44% lazy. Pppht! Bitch, please! Everybody knows I'm 100% lazy.

So, if you're down for some abuse, and not a big fan of accuracy, visit The Spark. However, do yourself a favor, don't take the I.Q. test when you're tired and drinking, all of the questions will irritate you and you'll end up skipping the math ones.

On a lighter note, I guess I'm in Radiohead now.

Take the Radiohead Collective Member Test.

And not only am I in Radiohead...I'm the cute one!

posted by taiwan_on 'round 9:41 PM#
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Sunday, February 10, 2002

Everybody Chang Chung Tonight
My only regret is that I don't have two mouths & four stomachs. Like a Chernobyl cow.

*urp* Man, that's good eatin'.

I've had a wonderful day, in a culinary sense.

I found that decent Chinese food does exist in the South Shore after all. See, when I first moved here, there was this excellent little Chinese take-out about 3 minutes away called "Red Corner". As you know, there is really no such thing as bad Chinese food, unless you get to the bottom of the box and find a severed human finger or something, and even then, it all depends on your experience up until that point. "Red Corner", however, was completely exceptional. Easily the best take-out, Chinese or otherwise, I'd ever eaten. I'd order a pu-pu platter, and literally every single item would be the finest example of its kind. The chicken fingers would be chick-o-licious, the teriaki would be meat-on-a-stick-a-licious, the boneless spareribs would be pork-tastic, and the crab rangoon would be fan-crab-ulous. Even the eggrolls & pork-fried rice would me magic, which is really saying something because, typically, I'm not real big on those two things, and usually consider them "munchie-filler" only when I'm really baked.

No shit, not two months after I moved here, the goddamn place went tits-up. I went from having Red Corner at least once a week, that, in itself a testimony, as I rarely at take-out more often than once a month, to spending about a month in serious mourning, sitting outside the darkened shop surrounded by candles and flowers singing "We Shall Overcome". Okay, that last part is utter bullshit, but don't think I didn't think about it. There's not much around here by way of "attractions", so I was disheartened to say the least losing my beloved R.C.

Since then, there have been maybe four wanna-bes that have set up shop there, and not one of them have come close to Red Corner's majesty. In fact, the last and most current management have been easily the most hellacious grub, Chinese or otherwise, I've ever had the great misfortune to waste money on. They are called "Asia Cafe", and if you are considering dining there, you're better off fishing something from the dumpster of the pizza joint next door, trust me. Now, granted, I probably picked the worst night of all to give them a test drive; New Year's Eve 2001. I invited my then boyfriend over for a chill evening eating Chinese & watching the movie "Titus", as we both agreed New Year's was, much like St. Patrick's, a holiday for amateurs. Plus he was in AA, and wore his medallions like chips on his shoulder, so bringing him to a party hosted by anyone I knew would have been awkward to say the least.

I called early to order, figuring they'd be slammed and it would be a bit of a wait. When they said my order would be ready in 20 minutes, that should have been some kind of tip-off. Strike one came when we picked up and the order was about $9 more than they said it would be over the phone. Strike two was when we got in the car and noted that there were several things missing and when we went back in to get them, we had to stand there for ten minutes while some drunk guy was arguing with everyone at the counter, insisting that he had already given them his credit card. (As much as I hate everyone connected with this establishment; I'm disinclined to believe him, and think they should have shot him in the face.) When we finally hit the road back home, I distinctly remember commenting that the huge bag containing our order should have felt much, much hotter resting on my lap. In fact, I was counting on it, as it was about 300 degrees below zero that night, and a take-out bag is usually an excellent heat-source.

I'm not being melodramatic when I say that every single thing was completely inedible. Really and truly impossible to eat. There was even one point when I snatched a chicken wing out of my boyfriend's hand in a panic, tore it open, and suggested he not eat it when I showed him all of the red, uncooked flesh under the soggy, brownish skin. "Dinner" consisted of us listlessly picking flacid batter and cold, congealed grease globules off what I think was once meat, and wondering what was safe to give the dog. Even the pad thai, a solid mass of dried noodles in a tin, couldn't be saved. I know because I tried, using the watery duck sauce and soy sauce to moisturize it and heating it in the microwave. Sure, I had been spoiled by Red Corner, but I was really hungry when I ordered this slop, and most likely would have eaten almost anything, but this was just too horrible to contemplate. It's not often that the pre-packaged fortune cookies are the best thing on the menu. Confucious say; those who order take-out on New Years eat shit.

Suffice it to say that since then, I've been reluctant to order out anywhere around here. In fact, I haven't had Chinese in this area since. So, it was with some serious trepidation that I dialed up "Chang Chung" tonight. But I was really and truly hurting for Chinese and figured there was no possible way they could be any worse than that other place. Besides, how could I resist with a name like that? Immediately, my brain started going; "Everybody have fun tonight! Everybodys Chang Chung tonight!"

Well, not only were they not worse; they were, forgive me, my beloved Red, as good if not better than Red Corner! It's six hours later and contrary to that popular belief that you're hungry an hour after eating Chinese food, I'm still utterly satisfied. However, I suspect that this satisfaction is of a more spiritual nature, given that I now know there is delicious take-out five minutes from my home.

And in other culinarily (is that a word?) comforting news; does anyone else miss Jello Pudding Pops as much as I do? I just remember these goddamn things dissappearing from the face of the earth one day without explanation, and life hasn't been the same since. Well, I was reading Jane magazine a few months back, and this mystery was finally addressed. Turns out Jello got out of the frozen novelty business and dropped them, leaving a sucking void in my existence as a consequence. Fortunately Jane magazine had a solution; throw together a batch of pudding as you usually would and freeze it up in one of those home-made popsicle trays overnight. As I read it, I thought; "holy shit...why didn't I think of that?!" Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most elusive, especially when one's mind is clouded with grief. Anyway, as easy as that sounds, easier said than done! Do you think I could find a homemade posicle tray anywhere, now that I finally have a use for one!? NO! Fortunately my aunt had about 8 of them lying around, and passed one on to me. Just so that you know; it is entirely true...they are very bit as good as the originals, except now you have more options! They didn't sell dark, semi-sweet chocolate pudding pops, did they. Nope. Well, now I can have 'em anytime I damn well want! Color me psyched!

So, all in all, it's been a great day for eating. I'm topping it all off with a Kaluah Mudslide in a great little "drinks-to-go" bottle. I've earned the right to be too lazy to mix my own Mudslide, as I am exhausted from making my own pudding pops and dialing for take-out. Goddamn, I love Saturdays. Too bad Saturday is now over as of about 15 minutes ago. Too sad. Weekends seem to be harder and harder to come by these days, and over entirely too quickly. Still though, plenty of time to ease the pain; stay up late, spark up, and watch "Almost Famous - the bootleg cut" which I finally got ahold of last night. 35 extra minutes of footage, guys. With any luck I won't fall asleep 30 minutes in like a complete pussy, as I have been doing lately with every late night flick I try to watch. As of now, I've got "After Hours" on. Always had a big ol' crush on Griffin Dunne, and damn Linda Fiorentino looks hot with short hair. But then, she's always mighty-mighty.

So, enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks. See you soon; same bat time, same bat channel!

posted by taiwan_on 'round 12:19 AM#
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Friday, February 08, 2002

Drink Me!
*aaaah* refreshing, no?

Drink me!

Which drink are you?

Well, that's a relief. Today, I'd have guessed I was more of a "Suffering Bastard" kinda' girl. Turns out I'm minty fresh. Who knew! Anyway, thanks to the Hairpin Harpie for that one. Why not stop in and find out once and for all what kind of beverage you are?

Well, it's not often that I can say that I've had a day where I seriously thought I was going blind, suffering from an undetected brain tumor, or about to have my first seizure, but...well, I had a hell of a morning today, and I meant all those above things in a literal, not a cynical, metaphorical sense for a change.

There I was, doing a paper emulsion balance test on the photoprocessing machine, reading the "quick check" handbook because it was my first time. I was annoyed and trying to rush, therefore I kept screwing it up. Something didn't go according to plan, and as I was re-reading instructions, I noticed the text looked garbled and difficult to read. I blinked a few times, trying to straighten my vision out, as it was a bit like the black spots you see after the flash when someone takes your picture. The black spots didn't go away, and, in fact, multiplied, so I closed my eyes for a minute to rest them. I didn't think I had glanced at any bright lights, but I just chalked it up to being tired. As we all know, mornings are still not my friend, really.

When I opened my eyes, the text was suddenly and completely indecipherable, not just in my direct field of vision, like seconds ago, but it was as if the entire page had been left in the rain.

Uh oh.

I shut my eyes again, resting my head on the front of the machine as I stood before it, and did my own little "quick check" of a more anatomical nature.

Head? Feels fine. Check.
Heart? Slightly accelerated, but alright. Check.
Eyes? Clearly not well, but no physical pain or other distress there, so...check.
Tired? Sure, aren't we all? Nothing fatal. Check.
Respiration? Not labored in the least, you lucky smoker, you. You should think about quitting, but...check.
Well, we haven't had to play with any of the photoprocessing chemicals this morning, so we can rule out any kind of contamination too.
In fact, seeing as I've never done acid, a flashback is out of the question as well.


I opened my eyes and...

Oh, holy shit.

Now, see, here's where I should have sounded the alarm, but I find the whole "making a scene" thing unbearably embarrassing and, well, terribly uncool. So, I just stood there like a dumbass weighing my options. I only got my benefits package like, two days ago, so not only do I not have any kind of medical insurance at the moment, but I haven't even decided on a plan yet. And, thanks to a few frivilous purchases, I have exactly nine dollars to my name. It is payday, however. There is an uncashed check in the office of unknown denomination, but is it enough to cover a situation like this? No. I realize also that being a non-driver presents a problem as far as even getting to a hospital right now, and I'm beginning to get the sweaty, unnerving feeling that this may be a very real, inconveniently unplanned possibility on today's agenda. I know this because I'm staring at a machine I've been working on for the past three months at least, a machine that looks more familliar than my own face these days, and it is completely unrecognizable to me.

Now, I'm a big fan of the whole "mind over matter" thing, so you'd think after evaluating the financial situation, and underlining just how impractical a trip to the hospital really is, my physiology would have kindly complied. Hey, eyes! We're broke; we like to read; we like to watch movies; we like to gawk at pretty boys; we just now discovered we really like to take pictures; and hey, I've never once taken you for granted, so what gives? Is going blind really in our best interest right now? GET BACK TO WORK, DAMMIT!

Nothing. Just funky black spots and odd, little clear swirlies and a sinking feeling in my gut.

My favorite manager/o.t.j. smoking buddy/and soon-to be casualty of an after-work billiards smack-down, perceptively notes me standing dumb, and, she later tells me, pale, asks "are you okay?"

I do my best to assume a casual demeanor and call her over. "Uhm..." I hand her the quick-check manual, "Could you read this part off to me here, I can't exactly see right at the moment." She promptly demands and explanation and I calmly tell her that my eyes must be tired or something and illustrate the symptoms with the whole "camera flash after-effect" thing, reasserting again that I must be tired or something. She dutifuly, if uneasily, reads off the next three steps while I tilt my head at different odd angles, eyes comically wide, to try and see the correct keys before punching them. By the time I'm done, she has completely dissappeared from my peripheral vision. I know she's standing right next to me, and what's worse is I can feel her staring at me, but I can't see her at all anymore. She asks me again if I'm okay and I offer a curt nod, and I'm relieved when someone pages her to the office over the p.a. even though she warns that she'll be right back.

I take a step back while the machine does its thing, and spend a moment ducked behind a deck leaning my elbows on a counter. I'm staring at a slatted wall type-thing, trying to will my vision back to normal. By now it's a lot like peeking through a kalidescope; a long, dark tunnel with pure distortion at its end. I think a lot about books. A lot about how much I love them, and about how none of the ones I really, truly adore are probably available on tape and this thought is downright soul-crushing to me. It's nothing but bestsellers in audiobook format, which makes me immediately want to kill myself, but then I think; well, that would be redundant, wouldn't it? In retrospect, I realize that this is an insane train of thought. Patently insane. There are at least a million other reasons to not want to go blind, but this was the first one that came to mind. Am I going to have to hire someone to read "In The Eyes Of Mr. Fury" into a tape recorder? Oh, christ. I can feel the distinct sting of tears in my screwy, yet irritatingly healthy-feeling eyes. I suck 'em down and pull my shit together just as my cool manager rounds the corner and finds me.

"Dude..." she says; I never imagined that word could sound so fucking filled with gravity, "What's going on?"

I take a deep breath, swallow my idiotic pride and admit; "This is not good. I'm freaking out a little bit."

She begins to frantically urge me to make some phonecalls and go to the hospital. She'll drive me, she says, and for some reason this offer triggers a jabbering, inward panic in me. It's confirmation that I might not be able to "walk it off". My heart's slamming around like a hamster on crack as she says; "We'll go now, so-and-so's in and you're all set up so someone else can take over, it's no problem..." and similar stuff that I wasn't hearing because my next thought was; "A cigarette...I want to go out and have a cigarette before I do anything rash. Let's go have a smoke." When I suggest the idea, I'm sure she looked at me like I was out of my tits, even though I couldn't see her properly. Fortunately, the insane and possibly going spontaneously blind thing goes a long way toward getting even the most leftfield request met. She promptly gathers her coat and she walks alongside me, invisible in my periph, as I stumble toward the smear of daylight that I know is the front door.

You won't believe what happened next...

About 40 seconds in the sharp winter sun and my vision, god bless it, began to clear.

And in its place came the mother of all headaches. Seriously; a rat with a pickaxe was trashing the inside of my skull like a rockstar's hotel room on tour. Can you stand it?! A friggin' migraine!! I guess my first real one. I mean, I know I've had one or two before, but I've certainly never been so grateful to play host to one as I was then. I was downright thrilled, I tellya'. But then, joy comes in strange packages sometimes, doesn't it? I'll take a migraine over a tumor pressing on my optic nerve any old day, but I guess that's a perspective thing. However, I do hope that this doesn't become a daily occurence.

So, there you have it. My scary day summarized. Hope yours was much less eventful, at least, in a negative sense. Let's see if we can all make it to the weekend without losing our shit now. Should be easy, it is Friday after all, and if I don't hurry up and end this mess, I'll probably have a whole host of weird symptoms to greet me in the morning. Take care y'all and remember; you keep doing that, you'll go blind. Take it from someone who's had a near miss!

Just kidding! ;-p

posted by taiwan_on 'round 12:58 AM#
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Tuesday, February 05, 2002

"The Diletante Strikes Again"
commence obsession #963....now!

What a score! Lust for something desperately enough and you'll get it, that's my motto. Lately I've been dreaming about an SLR camera, but let's be realistic; I don't know dick about photography, so it'd be pretty damn insane to drop many pesos into a flighty whim that might only last a month or two, especially if I incurably suck at it.

Sure, I've screwed around with a really decent Chinon point-and-click camera, even getting so adventurous as to play with that new "process anywhere" black & white film they've got kicking around out there. But as slick as some (okay...a very few) of the shots I've taken have come out, they hardly merit a pro camera.

So here I was, Sunday, lamenting this conundrum when my Pops looked up and said; "I've got a Nikon in the attic...I dunno' how to use the damn thing. Want it?" I'm pretty sure my eyes spun like a slot machine because the next thing I knew I was sitting there with a can of compressed air blowing the dust out of a Nikon n4004s and wishing I had a roll of film lying around. I've already scoured about a dozen photography websites, and while the reviews on this model are mixed, I am thoroughly impressed. It's way too much camera for a newbie like me, but just the heft of the thing makes me feel brave. (Which is funny, because if I play with it long enough, my hands get tired. Sumbitch weighs a ton!)

It's got a Tokina AT-X 50-250 lens on it with a Cimko 1-B 55mm on the end, which is a trip to play with. It's practically a spy cam, because I swear I could sit a block away and read a newspaper over someone's shoulder with it! (This could lead to another nutty obsession; I might decide I wanna be a private investigator all of a sudden!) I lugged it into work with me in a laptop case because we can't seem to find the camera case. The camera case which also contains the user's manual, but..eh! I probably wouldn't want to read that anyway, being more of a hands-on, trial and error type chick. Still, it's be nice to at least have an idea how to set the speed and the f-stop and stuff. In fact, after spending a roll of Kodak B&W plus harrassing my co-workers, I wish to god I could remember what it was set on when I took the ONLY THREE decent shots in the whole 24 exp. roll! For the most part, the rest came out underexposed and grainy as fuck, but that's what I get when before every shot I twirl every available dial and mutter; "Let's see what this one does!"

Still though, it's an education of sorts, so knowing I have to pay lots to have this film developed, I'm going to try a lot harder as far as doing research into what speeds work when. Knowing that I can't really afford to screw around is a great motivator to do serious homework. I suspect I'll be saving my pennies for a "natural" lens, though, as the Tokina seems better suited to landscapes & nature shots. I have to admit; much as I love the idea of finally doing justice to snow-covered trees and slate gray winter oceans (my current favorite subjects), I'm really looking forward to doing portraits & candids.

In fact, I've got a call-sheet in my head of exactly which of my cute, male friends might allow me to smear them with eyeliner and get them naked...y'know...for *cough* *cough* art's sake. (Aw, c'mon fellas! I'll bake ya' cookies! Why are you looking at me like that?!)

So, yeah, a natural lens, a tripod, a light meter and mebbe' one of them cool doohickeys that you slap on over the top of the lens to keep it dry so you can take pictures in the rain. Uh...oh yeah, and a camera case. A dedicated flash sure would be nice. Mmm hmm. Shit, I wish Christmas hadn't already passed. Plus I read somewhere that you can get C-41 processing chemicals by the gallon at hobby shops, but that's totally impractical in my case, seeing as I can do all that at work at an (ever so slightly) reduced fee. Okay, forget the light meter. Wait...I gotta' go...there's a guy knocking on my window with a credit card application for me. He says I'm already approved...'least I think that's what he's saying, he's kinda' fogging up the glass in his zeal so I can't read his lips so good.

So, until next time, take care, y'all and do whatever you can to indulge your whims. It makes the long, boring winter go by a little faster and more painlessly. Speaking of which; we're getting into the countdown to "hump day", so the weekend's half-way here!! Woo hoo! Here's a little shout-out to my paycheck; yo, I've already got you spent, bitch!

posted by taiwan_on 'round 10:53 PM#
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Friday, February 01, 2002

"Somehow Less Shocking Than My Big Dick"
I'm a head-case...no I'm not...yes I am...can I have a cookie?

What Psych-Ward do you belong to?

Thanks to www.zenhex.com for that one, I mistakenly thought I had a touch of the 'ol O.C.D. (hotel linens make my flesh crawl and anytime I'm near a sick person I just want to wash my hands.)

Perhaps you're wondering what I'm doing up at this hour? Okay, probably not, but in any case, I'm taking night-time certification classes until Friday which means I've slipped off the daytime wagon and reverted to my old tricks. Well, 'till Monday, at least, which means I'll be cursing the dawn again in no time.

I have to start posting more regularly and tell y'all about the weird-ass dreams I've been having lately. (I've quit taking the melatonin, but the strangeness continues.) For now, though, I want to enjoy these stolen late-night hours while they last.

See ya' and have a good one! Don't forget to say hi to Larry while you're here!

posted by taiwan_on 'round 2:50 AM#
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"An Idiot Kings Day"
...everything is fine, fine, fine.
(written 3 days ago; forgot to post!)

"Everything is going up...
Everything is goin' as planned...
Everything moooooves along...
Everything is fine, fine, fine..."

That's the opening snippet from a very cool song called "The Idiot Kings", by one of my favorite bands; Soul Coughing. It's been playing in my head for the past two days.

Back when I worked at the cinema, I'd often play "Irresistable Bliss", the c.d. this track is from, over the surround-sound system before we opened. I'd plug the c.d. in, punch the random button, and know that if "The Idiot Kings" came on first, then I'd have a really lucky day. Maybe it was only the power of suggestion, but that little system never failed me. Invariably, if I was having an "Idiot Kings" kind of day, either I'd find money, or I'd catch the early train home, or I'd get a call from the nearby video store telling me that the DVD I special-ordered came in, or one of my sexy exes would show up out of the blue and I'd get spectacularly laid. Sometimes it was just as simple as having absolutely nothing go wrong that day, but in any case, an "Idiot Kings" day was always a lucky day. That song is a talisman against evil, I'm convinced.

So is it any wonder that it's spinning through my head now? It's 2 days into my new schedule, my life among the waking world, and everything is fine, fine, fine.

Much as I bitched & worried about leaving my noctournal lifestyle behind, this is not nearly as painful as I imagined it would be. The magnitude of this shift in my circadian rythms is impossible to convey in accurate descriptive terms. When I last left the 9 to 5 grind, at least six years ago, it was gleefully without a backward glance. From the moment I started rising at noon and working night jobs I felt immediately better; I was happier, healthier, less bitchy and infinitely more relaxed. I had found my niche. But, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I was offered department head at my job at Drugco, which meant back to the 9 to 5.

Uh-huh-huh...I made it sound like I was gonna' get head from everyone in my department. Huh-huh-huh.

Wait, what was I saying?....oh, yeah.

Anyway, I was all stressed out because I didn't think I could hack early morning hours again. I figured I'd wake late, exhausted, cranky, woozy, sick and fucked-up. I assumed the change would wreak havok on my system, both body and mind, and I'd be miserable. It's the weirdest thing, but I'm not. I'm actually....okay.


Alright, I'll admit, the first day was a little strange. I was supposed to get up at 7:00 AM on Monday, which was a terrifying thought on Sunday because 7:00 was when I went to bed on Saturday. I woke on Sunday, 'round 1:00 PM thinking; "There's no fucking way I'll be able to get to sleep tonight at a reasonable hour. I'm going to go to bed at around 2:00 AM, lay there all overly-alert, and worry about Monday morning. Then I'll finally fall into a fitful sleep 'round 5:00 AM or so, before waking pissed & feeling shitty." I had a pretty grim outlook on the whole thing, more or less resolved to an unpleasant first day.

Oddly enough, I was uncharacteristically "good" about turning in at a respectable hour, launching a sort of "mellowing out campaign" that began around 9:00 PM and was executed with an almost military precision. It went a little something like this:

9:00 - Tune into "Stephen King's Rose Red" to oohh and ahhh about how cute the guy who's playing Stephen Rimbauer is for 2 hours. This guy, Matt Keeslar, I think, was in an uncharacteristically sappy Gregg Araki flick (and by "sappy" I mean; no one, absolutely no one's head got chopped off and spewed wasabi out the neck-stump, which mean's Araki's sold-out.) called "Splendor", where he plays a drummer, going shirtless through most of the movie and engaging in a 3-way with some cute blonde girl and Johnathan Schaech. Yes, of course it was love at first sight! He looked like a grown-up Calvin from "Calvin & Hobbes", and he kisses one of the hottest guys on the planet, for chrissake!

11:00 - Shower with "sleeptherapy" bath gel & body lotion. Don softest pajamas. Begin intensive "hot cocoa therapy" treatment. Light candles. Chill in bed.

12:00 - Watch "Sex & The City", lament the impending death of lazy, irresponsible, but ultimately satisfying lifestyle.

12:30 - Pop 3mg melatonin tablet, drink "sleeptherapy" herbal tea. Stare longingly at the drawer where my "stash" resides. Lament the impending death of 4:20 AM "celebrations". Get pissed off that I can't watch "Queer as Folk" at 1:00 and have to wait until midweek.

1:00 - Recharge glow-in-the-dark ceiling stars, blow out candles, brush teeth, try not to get overly excited that I can feel the Melatonin working, put on Mozart's "A Little Night Music" because it has an almost Pavlovian effect on me. Think better of the intense desire to stay up an hour longer to watch "Queer as Folk", (I love Brian!) turn out light.

And do you know what happened next?...

I slept!

No, nononono...listen to me; I went to bed at 1:00 AM and actually slept. You have no idea how odd that is considering that 1:00 AM has been "prime time" for me for this long.

In any case, not only did I sleep, but I dreamed harder and more vividly than I have in ages. (really fun, silly shit, too.) I feel like I was dreaming from the second my head hit the pillow until the second I sat bolt upright at 7:00 AM in a panic, thinking I had overslept. But I didn't. Oversleep, I mean, which is another little oddity. I expected my subconscious, or at least my "id", to be so desperate to maintain the slack-ass status quo that it would automatically deflect any "get to work on time" urges. But for once my baser instincts stayed out of it and, fighting the urge to sink back into the pillows for that fatal 5 more minutes, I got up.

I got up at 7:00 AM. *shudder*

Surprisingly, I felt good too; alert, well-rested, cheerful (my greatest fear was that the depression I had known in my 9 to 5 past would return, but I guess that had more to do with my lifestyle at the time, than my sleep patterns.), and most importantly, not shitty. Whaddaya know, 7:00 AM didn't kill me!

Anyway, maybe I'm speaking too soon, celebrating my ability to bend my circadian rythms drastically at will without negative consequences, only to find that I'll crash hard later down the road. I hope that's not the case. I thought I could only feel fit running on my own clock, but maybe I'm tougher than I thought? God, I hope so. I was afraid the "real world" would kill me. As I've mentioned in the past; I'm trying to maintain a kind of a dream-state here, an alternate reality. Can I still reject convention while dwelling in the "waking world"? We shall see, I suppose.

I was right about one thing though; the day crew at work is utterly insane. Seriously; the whole lot of them is outta' their tits, but lucky for me, I've been far too busy to participate in any of their shenanigans. However, I have taken up an active interest in shoplifters, which there are significantly more of during the day. These are some of the oddest motherfuckers on the planet. I'd almost describe my fascination with them as a sort of anthropological passion. I've already had several noteworthy interactions with them, which I'll share with you at a later date, because these are funny stories. But, it's getting late...

...Holy shit, it's not even 11:00 PM and I just said "it's getting late"! Oh christ, what's happened to me? Is this the end of all things?

Oh, nothing to do with anything, but have you noticed that "Larry" is working? (That's him under my site links, hopefully freaking out to your confused delight.) For some reason he works if I put his graphics in 2 different directories, but don't link to him specifically in either one in the script. No wonder I can't make heads or tails of Java, it's completely illogical! (Much like Larry & his outbursts.) In any case, I'm proud of him; he provides me with endless giggles. Hope he does the same for you.

Time for me to go, hope everyone is doing well and I hope I have something more interesting to post for y'all soon. In the meantime, never underestimate the hours you sleep through, and get yerself some of that melatonin; it does completely whack shit to your dream trace!

posted by taiwan_on 'round 2:14 AM#
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The WeatherPunkAss

moon phases

Female/26-30. Lives in United States/Massachusettes/Brockton/North Brockton, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes Film/Writing.
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United States, Massachusettes,
Brockton, North Brockton,
English, Female, 26-30,
Film, Writing.

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