This is why I can't have nice things...

• Monday, May 31, 2010 0 comments
Goddammit.

The hard drive on my computer won't boot up the operating system. Which means for at least the next three business days [and let's remember, tomorrow is Memorial day] I probably won't be online a whole lot. This is being posted from my grandmother's computer, a serviceable machine that's fine for simple things, but pretty useless for web surfing, Facebook, Twitter -- anything that self-updates is a pain, and just the auto-save function of blogger.com is crunching enough memory to cause a noticeable lull between the time my fingers hit the keys, and the words appear on the screen.

Wrote something a lot longer, but it was self-pitying. Short of it, whatever happened to my main drive hit my backup drive too, which puts a lot of my saved data in question. Probably not a coincidence this happened during my computer cleaning, when I was hot-swapping back and forth between the two -- though the fact that they both went at the same time just seems impossible to me, and yet both are absolute bricks. I really thought having two drives put me beyond the tower of CDs with copies of everything on it. Hoping I'll just need a SATA-to-usb cable to retrieve my information, worried it'll take a lot more, and data recovery is iffy and expensive. Thankfully, all of my work stuff is still backed-up on Gmail, as is my resume, and a lot of my writing. Still, there are some notes, pictures, and private writings that I'm worried might be gone for good. Really scared about that, actually. I'm not about to piss and moan about the stuff that, let's face it, I didn't really pay for or acquire in the most... kosher of ways, but there were one or two gigs among the hundred or so that was on that drive that are mine, and are irreplaceable.

Trying to focus on the upside. I'm still under warranty. Dell is sending me a new drive. Should have everything back up and running shortly after. Might take a week or so to get the machine running like I want it to, but if I did it once, I can do it again.

Still. Pissed. Really disconnected. Way too wound up over it to sleep.

Goddammit.

If you need me, I'll be catching up on my reading. I can still get my G-Mail in the simple, html version. Otherwise, having my phone number is the best way to get in touch.

My Insect Life

• Sunday, May 30, 2010 0 comments
Just some updates as to what I've been up to. More for my benefit than anything else.

Work's coming along. Finished off my second review on Thursday night. Probably could have had it done way sooner, but I'm still staying pretty busy during the week, and got hung up with some things. Still beat the deadline by several days. Company I'm working for recently automated everything too, which is good in a lot of ways -- mostly because my "handler," while a nice and helpful guy, seemed to always have a pretty full plate, and I'm sure dealing with newbies like me was small, but pretty annoying, part of that. Really simple interface too, which is good. Now, I just wait for the next one.

My work on the dentist's website is almost finished too. Right now, I'm just waiting on a handful of personal information. Terry and the rest of her crew tend not to send me much on weekends, and my standing deadline for the job is June 4th, so I'm winding down on that, too. There's a chance they'll be some sort of retainer, for me to help keep up a couple of incidental things with the job, but the site will be going public on the 4th, I'll be getting paid on the 4th -- until they need a copy writer for another job, I'll be out on 4th.

With the work, I've had a little extra money, naturally. Should be putting it back, and that's in the plan, but I've been using some of it to shore up my wardrobe, which, thanks to the nuclear heat of my dryer and using powder soap [not doing that anymore], has seen better days. Few new t-shirts, a tie that matches my suit a bit better.

That last bit is particularly important. College friend is getting married on Cape Cod in June, and I'm flying up to Boston so I can go on the weekend of the 12th. Should be a good time, and along with the wedding it's going to be a little like a reunion for me, since I'll be seeing what I affectionately call my "first family" - Hannah, Sam, and Julia - and staying the latter's family in Hull. It'll only be for about five days, and should be a real whirlwind of trip, since it's a plane ride up, a ferry to Hull [I love ferries], a trip to Cape Cod, and then... everything in reverse again. Really looking forward to it, though I will admit, even as close as the date is, the fact that I'm going still hasn't quite set in.

To some degree, it's this place. It's a little hard to think of anything beyond it at times.

I'm too sentimental.

Speaking of which. Spring cleaning here, in a way. Laptop's hard drive has seen better days, and my external, the one ripped out of my old Toshiba has just been acting... oddly, giving me I/O errors on occasion, freezing up too easily. So, a reformat for that was in order, which meant transferring everything over, and that made me realize how close to a full hard drive I was, so I decided I needed to start deleting some things, making room for anything new that might come my way. Right now, I feel pretty good about it -- everything that was on the external, with everything important or still unwatched, is resting comfortably on my laptop, with a good 100+ GBs of memory left. Would like to get about 50 extra GBs out of it, but you know, baby steps.

Swiped some computer cleaner from an office recently. So I'll be doing my best to make the outside match the squeaky-clean inside of the machine. It's a budget computer, and I've already been way rougher on it than I ever would have dreamed of being with my Toshiba, but there's no excuse for how much I've neglected it's upkeep.

Other things. Plan on working on cleaning up another one of those prose pieces I was working on. I hate self-editing. Vaguely like cutting yourself bad enough to need stitches, waiting a few weeks, and then re-opening and rooting around in the wound. Maybe I'm being dramatic. But boy, it feels that way sometimes.

Probate continues it's slow crawl. Knee-deep in insurance information lately too. Lot of "hurry-up-and-wait" there. Going to be a little like a photo-finish to hit the August deadline, but it happens whether I'm ready for it or not.

Starting to get that vague sense of "what the hell am I going to do when all this is over?"

Better to worry about it later. Eyes on the prize, and all that.

More soon. With any luck, I'll have time over the next couple days to look over something else like "Arches" and give it a post. Appreciate Andrew for commenting... even just knowing people like what I wrote is helpful, especially with something like "Arches" which is/was a part of a bigger thing.

CD Swap 2010

• Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1 comments
So oft-linked friend of the Mojo Wire, and my ex-roommate from college, Ian has this thing he does every year [not entirely sure how long this tradition has been going on], where he hosts a by mail CD Swap. For those of you who don't know what a CD Swap is, it basically involves a group of people, generally friends of the guy or girl running the swap, congregating long enough online to say "yes, I want to be involved in this," and then when a set number of people are officially involved, all of them make a mix CD, and enough copies of said mix for everyone involved. They then ship the discs off to the person who organized it, along with a couple of dollars to cover the later expenses of the mix swap.

From there, the person running the swap waits patiently for everyone's packages to arrive, and then divide up all the mix CDs they've been sent so that each person has a copy of everyone's personalized CDs. Then, using the money collected with the discs, packages of all the mix CDs are shot back off to the participants via USPS media mail. The end result being, at least hopefully, that everyone gets a ton of CDs full of new and interesting music, had a little fun in the process, and maybe bonded a bit over similar tastes.

Though not exactly an easy job, it's no great headache to run one of these swaps, and what you get out of the process greatly outweighs any cons. The problem this year [and last year, though last year I wasn't involved], is that as all of you know from reading Ian's blog, he's in Japan, which makes him actually running one of these things near impossible, and the costs astronomical. So, what he needs is a surrogate, or as we've been calling it, a hub, someone with a great deal of free time who can do all the grunt work for the swap stateside.

And, for those of you who don't know much about story structure, this is where I come in.

Around April, wildly different looking packages starting showing up in my mailbox and on my front step, all of them containing mix CDs for the swap. Keeping them organized was pretty important to me, so what I ended up with in my room was two boxes full of this:


Now, that's a relatively close-up image, and the whole point was to keep it all nice and neat for my sanity. But from this, you don't really get a sense of just how much 25 stacks, with 26 CDs per stack, meant to go out to 27 different people, is.

Ah. There we go. Much better. And as you can sort of see, people got pretty creative with envelopes and decoration, meaning I'd need some very special tools for such an undertaking.


Not pictured: post-it notes, and my mitts. Admittedly, the bulk of those tools pictured were for preparing my own CDs, but you get the idea. The envelopes come courtesy of help from Justin, who wisely pointed me to Wal-Mart when I thought I might get price gouged to death at Staples. Thanks to that, all of the envelope money came out of the swap funds, and none out of my own pocket [Ian referred to this as "doing the swap right"].

And all joking aside, I cannot stress enough how much post-it notes saved my ass in this. Though I will admit I use post-its a lot, rarely are they ever necessary -- usually, they're just reminders, and the act of even taking one out to write something on it is more than enough to recall whatever it is I don't want to forget. But for this project I used them for pretty much everything, from saving addresses to marking what had and had not yet been done, and it would have turned into quite the clusterfuck if I hadn't had them.

The moral of the story, robbing an office closet is a long-term plan.

What came next was a lot of CD burning and packing, which ended up with all of the packages lined up like this:

I kept thinking of them as soldiers when I'd line them all up like this. Or Bowser's army against Smithy in Mario RPG. "KOOPA TROOP!! Moooooove Out!"

While I'm referencing things, I'll apologize for the picture quality, and say the only way to get all of these in was through a longview. And if you're not an old-school Green Day fan, then no, you won't get that. But I try to get at least one masturbation reference into the blog each week.

Before sealing them up, and getting them ready to go, I had to add my own mixes to the collection, and since a couple people's wound up getting lost in the mail, I thought I'd do two to shore up the numbers a little bit.


The first one, the red-and-black Jaime Hernandez picture, has a title you can't see which is "Midnight at the Jabber-Jaw," a reference to one of the songs I put on there [that dog.'s 'Minneapolis'], and the fact that most of the music on that mix is the kind of stuff you'd get in a small to mid-sized venue that really wouldn't get started until somewhere north of eleven o'clock. Not necessarily all bar and club music, but close to.

The second, the one in blue, is "Lo-fi in the Parking Lot," which I picked because I know that post those sorts of shows, if you weren't smart enough to keep one of your friends from drinking, your only recourse was to conk out in the parking lot until the next morning, and 9 times out of 10 what you put on the radio the next morning is not what you were listening to the night before -- for the sake of your hangover mostly. At least until you get to the IHOP.

None of this information was included with said mixes. I'm told I over-explain things sometimes, so I figure, at worse, no one will get the connection. And I can live with that.

Anyway, once I got everything closed up and out of my bedroom, it was time to the post office. Now, sadly, since I had other things to mail along with the 26 different packages to be sent out [one to Japan], and because a huge line immediately formed behind me on my arrival at the window, I didn't get a chance to take any pictures of the process from there [thus failing at my first try at a photo journal], so the last view of all the CDs came before I left, with them all stacked on grandma's couch.

It was hard to say goodbye.

Anyway, everything was mailed without incident, and I extricated myself of all the CDs which had been my temporary roommates these past couple months. There were a couple of things I could have done differently, as one or two people involved in the mix shared residence, and I might have saved a buck or two by mailing theirs together, this was easier to keep track of, and made sure all of the CDs were safely padded and not too crushed up together. In the end, the mix fund was pretty much exactly how much was needed to send everything out, and I was left with only two reminders of the task I'd undertaken:

My own stack of CDs to start working through. And...

A serial killer-esque wall of addresses that I still haven't bothered to pitch.

It actually looks kind of cool, in a cluttered sort of way. Maybe I should blame Becky Cloonan.

Anyway. It was a lot of fun, and even though my attempts to chronicle the process with my phone cam didn't exactly work out -- how many people get to start their week doing something like this?

Strange days.

"Arches"

• Saturday, May 22, 2010 2 comments
Note: This is a short piece I've been working on recently, technically a part of a comic book idea that, barring an artist or a complete script, I thought I'd take a stab at it in prose. There are already a couple things in it I'm not wild about, but it came together as its own story well enough that I'd be interested to hear what anyone else thinks.I've also sort of felt lately, with the quality of good work I've been seeing on other folks' blogs like Ian, John, and Hannah Miet, that I wouldn't mind joining in and posting some stuff of my own.

The first crack at real insurance Shannon had, and he found himself in a chiropractor’s office. In the past five years, uncovered and unprotected, riddled with every sort of minor health problem you could possibly conceive, Shannon would have killed for such an opportunity, but as things go, he naturally found he was in relatively good health as soon as care was something he was able to provide for himself.


Well that, he supposed, was a little misleading, and he thought of what Lacey might think if he’d said it out loud. The very implication that these provision came from anything he’d done, barring finding Lacey and screwing up the courage to talk to her again – that was as much of a hand Shannon had in his new-found insurance. It was only by sheer luck that Lacey was still young enough, just 22, covered until 23, to be a part of her family’s plan, and that luck extended to him by the fact that she had a younger brother who, in a pinch, Shannon found he could pass for. Yes, despite the age gap, because thankfully to a receptionist or anyone in a suit, 20 looked pretty much like 27 even when you’d lived like Shannon had.

This meant, as a couple, they could be like “real” people, like responsible people. The prospect of it was raised over dinner one night with her family, that Shannon, who was around at least as much as the other young male who supposed to be at their dinner table, might need the benefits of such a plan, after such a prolonged time outside of “the system.”

So, yes. Shannon did not provide, Lacey did – rather, her brother – rather, her family, but hell, Shannon was sure he could pass that buck all the way down the line from Lacey’s father’s employer to whoever it was that had given her father the shot to work for said employer, to whatever person or persons were ambitious enough to give that employer the chance to sell whatever wares it was that made them successful enough to insure their employees in the first place.

Given enough time, Shannon thought maybe they could work in someone as far back as Roosevelt. Or Lincoln. The irony, he figured, being that all this time of being exceptionally poor, he needed to look no further than the largest denomination of paper money he ever had in his pocket for a savior.

But none of this was the point, Lacey had said, and she didn’t particularly care when he’d go on like this anyway – she said it reminded her of being six, and waiting for someone to come to pick her up at school, only to see the familiar car with the familiar face opt to circle the block again before stopping. And it’s not that she minded the wait, it just felt disconcerting, standing there, knowing but also hoping he’d come back around again. So, Shannon tried not to do this, and did his best to be compliant and keep it silent when it was decided a young man in his position, left uncared for so long, should take advantage of this service her parents were offering, because dammit, they paid the deductible anyway, after all, and someone should. And there was just no convincing anyone in the family that after four plus years of more or less living out of his car that there wasn’t something Shannon needed to see a doctor for. There was a time limit on being fussed over, and they all decided he was due.

And Shannon tried. He checked every tooth the morning after, but found no pain, no mark. If there was one thing he usually had no difficulty in finding while on his own, it was floss. It wasn’t, after all, like anyone who bought it actually used it with any great consistency, and Shannon even remembered ganking most of a roll from a friend, and seeing their face light up when they believed they’d actually dispatched a whole packet on their own. An accomplishment a year in the making, and Shannon had not only sped it up for him, but struck a blow against tooth decay. At least his own.

After his mouth, Shannon wasn’t exactly sure what to check – mentally, he felt as stable as he every felt comfortable enough claiming to be, especially now that he wasn’t beset upon by any of the great many problems he had while sleeping on the worn vinyl of his back seat. With regular showers, the acne went away – he even felt like, in his dashboard mirror, he might have been exaggerating it. His allergies, he noticed, were gone as usual with the end of the summer months. And no matter how hard Shannon had tried to at least look clean, he hadn’t attracted a great number of dalliances before Lacey that required any sort of… cream or shampoo, or other treatment. He was fine. Exemplary health, for someone whose principle environments were the public library, and a Lincoln Town Car.

Lincoln. Shannon chuckled as he came full circle on his… well, earlier circle. A mental figure-eight, he guessed. It was, Shannon thought, the byproduct of his isolation, of days spent in public places where the public wanted nothing to do with you, and nights spent staring at the roof of a car that kept the rain off, but was an awful companion if you weren’t willing to pick up the slack. And that’s where, he was sure, all these little roundabout thoughts came from, from him, up late at night, gazing restlessly at his cracking leather interior or the map of Washington, care of 1985 – his birth year, and the consolation prize [the map] for dropping five hundred dollars on a boat of a car that had went out of style years ago – trying his best to fill in the gaps of the conversations he had now that there was no one to converse with. And like a writer making up for plot, too comfortable in clever, chatty repartee to be bothered with such things, these long talks with himself got a little too derivative, a tetch too intuitive, until Shannon was complimenting everything he said with something equal self-referencing. The results were the kinds of conversations everyone else thought criminals, best-friends, and lovers had. The kinds of conversations that all three were likely disappointed in rarely, if ever, achieving.

He pictured Lacey, rolling her eyes at him, calling it whimsy, a funny word that always seemed distinctly feminine to him, which was something else he would avoid saying. Lacey knew he should know better, as she’d sat beside him in their Gender Studies program so they could be dually vigilante of each other’s faux pas by tearing into one another every time they said something misogynistic, ignorant, or unintentionally unspeakable. And it wasn’t just her to him this policing went; it went both ways.

This, they would later giggle, just wasn’t funny at all.

That was college. That was… six years ago? Seven. She was a freshman. He was a senior. The gumption of her telling him anything was, at the time, both insulting and incredibly attractive. It wasn’t something that ever happened at Shannon’s school, wasn’t something he’d have dreamed to even try with a senior in his first year. She had made the first move, they had connected. Which was why, he told himself, all those years later, finding out she was only one logging town over, he’d made the first move to reconnect with her. And he remembered the nervousness he felt, waiting for her to show up and take stock of him in the same faded clothes and unrealized potential he’d had in school, and imagined it was least similar to what she must have felt sitting down next to him with her first syllabus clutched in her hand.

Not imagined; maybe hoped. Had Lacey not told Shannon otherwise, he may not have believed he’d ever made her nervous at all.

It was the source of his own apprehension, all these thoughts harkening back to his college years, to better times [supposedly], that had made him finally decide to take his girlfriend’s brother’s identification and their father’s insurance card to this chiropractor. It was a simple enough idea, to take stock of his life since he considered himself at all accomplished, and look where the permanent holding pattern he’d tried to keep up had slipped and fell. Other than his temporary residence in a motor vehicle, his clothes were the same, his opinions had not changed. And there was nothing anyone could really do about the redundant manner in which he now talked to himself. Certainly there were worse consequences to all that failure than just a sore back from making his middle sit bitch when he slept.

Shannon circled that a few more times before he came back to it – in a slightly more literal way. There was that, he realized, the radiating burn in his gut, the twinge he felt when he turned, the needling pricks that reminded him he’d really destroyed anything resembling lumbar support early on into his foray into homelessness. Lacey had told him often of wooden boxes outfitted with metal rods, arcane devices that sounded suited for torture which had singled-handedly diagnosed every student in her middle school with scoliosis. The years between them must have been the buffer to when such tests had become mandatory, and Lacey said she’d suffered the weight of academia for years, something pre-Lincoln Shannon had trouble believing. He had no such trouble now – though his had come once that weight had been lifted.

Privately, Shannon blamed the family of four. No, not Lacey’s, and not the one who had no doubt owned his town car before he did, but the theoretical family of four, the family ideal that decided two kids were enough, that one boy, one girl, or perhaps a pair of twins was all that was needed to make a family complete. If only they’d aimed higher, put in for it just one more time. Yes, a fifth was what they’d needed, a middle child, not in the sense of the second of three children, though that one or any of the three were welcome to sit in that middle position, unprotected from crashes by the absence of the shoulder strap, growing up fat and happy, and wearing down the cushion so that one day Shannon could have slept perfectly horizontal on what everyone considered his worst days.

All of this spun three-sixties in Shannon’s mind as he sat in the waiting room, passively lying on his intake form. In his head, he twirled through his and Lacey’s conversation from the night before, her funny little suggestions, which came quietly in the night, almost always post-coitus. If he was lying anyway, she said, they might as well have fun with it, and let him not be a man who spent four Washington winters sleeping on a fold-down in an inverted “u” [or a proper “n”], but let Shannon be a boy who spent four years with the love his life, who every morning would wake him with some carnal act that would bow him upwards on his head and elbows, to look not upon cracked vinyl or outdated cartography, not at wood paneling or crank handles, but rather his lover’s antique headboard and her plush, feather pillows. Four years of this, every day, unbridled by the boredom that most lovers start to feel – this was what had left him arched, and turned him crooked. She thought it sounded like the kind of thing a doctor would find romantic, that so much pleasure had caused his pain

Shannon derailed Lacey when he reminded her in this lie she was his sister, and tried to get her to pontificate as to just who this new mystery lover of theirs was. She had no intention of accompanying him on that train of thought, however, but that would probably be okay; in time, he’d be coming back around.

Facebook: Business in the front, party in the back.

• Wednesday, May 19, 2010 2 comments
A lot has been said lately about Facebook getting lax with it's privacy settings. I'm pretty sure no one is on the edge of their seat waiting for me to weigh in on this, even if I have trumpeted the usefulness of something like Facebook on numerous occasions, sometimes pointing out how safe I felt my information on there was [though this is rarely the main thing I give the site credit for]. As the privacy concerns go, I encourage everyone to read this article on Slate.com by Farhad Manjoo, and if still incensed, head over to moveon.org, which has made a relatively useful visual chart to show you what gets shared and when, and even provides you with a link to sign a petition, if you think that might get something done.

No, what really spurred on this entry were two blogs by friends of mine, one by the oft-linked John over at the Bathroom Monologues, and the other at Shiso Style by the Japanese-based [for a little while longer, at least] Heke.

But first, this privacy matter. I will admit, I am not as up in arms as I probably should be. I've never technically considered privacy a right, as much as something that an informed individual can have if they're very diligent -- because of this, I don't take surveys [in my entire life, I've done one -- and it was because the person I did it for was someone I thought a great deal of], I don't fill out customer feedback forms, I refuse to use discount cards at grocery stores, and when possible I try to purchase things online from individual businesses, and not through their setups with Amazon. I go so far as to extend this to a matter of politics, and tend to avoid things like polling too -- just as a blanket rule, of course, anyone who wanted to know what or how I thought need just engage me in conversation and it'll become obvious where I stand pretty fast. Some call this paranoid, and while I think that's fair, in what I see as a consumer-driven society the most important information I can keep to myself is how I spend my money, and what purchases I make.

And yes. I find that depressing too. But that's the world, Alice.

Anyway, as far as the information on my Facebook page goes, I have trouble getting worried about it being taken and used in any particular way. Yes, I think Facebook is overstepping in terms of control of this information -- an all or nothing interface covered by a mask of user-friendliness and simplicity is what killed AOL -- but in the long run, that will do them more damage than it will me. And furthermore, if they desperately think they can piece together who I am and what I'm doing from a list of bands and TV shows, articles and blogs I like, and the name, address, and phone number you can get by Googling me, then more power to them. Adobe, Google, and MySpace weren't able to turn into Big Brother with all of that, and I don't expect Facebook will either. And though it takes a little diligence, as long as I, the user, can still control what information Facebook has by paying attention to the information I give it, then I won't be closing my account anytime soon.

Which brings me to what I really wanted to write about. Facebook is a tool, like all social networking has shown itself to be. I use Facebook, mostly, for three things:

1. A Personal Assistant.

I can't afford to hire a girl Friday, or a guy Tuesday [let's avoid the sexism conversation over why who got what days]. I don't have a PDA -- hell, I'm still using what most people would qualify as a disposable cell phone. But Facebook does something the best automated rolodex only hopes it could do -- it keeps all my friends', acquaintances' and fellow alumnus' contact information, their phone numbers, e-mail and physical addresses, and birthdays in one handy, mostly search-able database. And if none of that is listed, well, then I can send messages directly through the service to the person.

2. To Keep Up With People and Make Connections.

At this point in mine and my peers' lives, time isn't always something we have an excess of. People get busy. As if that weren't depressing enough, because of where I went to school, and where I ended up after, the bulk of my friends, or even just people I'd like to keep up with peripherally, are not down the hall anymore. I can't call a lot of my friends to go out for dinner or a drink right now, so as poor of a substitute as it is, when it's possible to check in with someone and keep up with what they're doing in life through Facebook, I will. It's far better than losing these people because I didn't try to keep up at all.

3. To Promote Myself, and Have Fun

I'm an attention whore. I have a blog, so this shouldn't surprise anyone. I like having a place to post snippets of things I write, to say "look, I did this" or "hey, I'm working on that." It's shameless, but I've come to terms with it, and Facebook is a nice place to show people who might actually care. Five of the seven readers I have started coming here once I started posting my new blogs on Facebook, and you just can't argue with those kinds of results. And it's not just about me -- though I don't pimp friend's work as much on Facebook as I do here or on Twitter, it's still a rad place to post links of things that I'm enjoying, or have just finished reading. And while it's probably not as much fun for people like Farmville or Mafia Wars are, I enjoy that.

Ah, and I have one big rule for Facebook: I'm not about to fucking argue over politics there. Once or twice I've run into people giving me shit for my hardcore Obama-love, or my stance on gay rights, and I'm not about to turn my page into a pulpit or get openly angry at someone's ignorance. I've been on the site long enough to have gone down that road before, and if I wanted that kind of crap, I'd still post on comic book and pro-wrestling message boards.

And sure, I bet all of that sounds really obvious, and simple -- and it largely is. The most useful parts of Facebook for me are the aspects of the service they've always provided, and as long as they continue to offer them, I'll probably hang around... and keep neutering everything else they include in the package [it's okay, if you got that, you can laugh]. And because the things I use Facebook for are relatively base in their execution, something interesting has happened with it where it's mixed my personal life, and what I'd consider my more "business life."

Specifically, I'm doing work now with a boss who I consider more of a friend, on a job that came to me through Facebook. As a matter of fact, both of the freelance jobs I'm doing now came because of Facebook, snuggled between messages about a friend's puppet show and me talking about how I can't wait to see Malcolm Ingram's "Bear Nation." And that's strange, because there is still something "college" to me about Facebook, where it's supposed to hook me up with friends, it's supposed to be a place where I swear in my status messages, or post vague things about how I'm feeling that I hope people won't ask about. But now I post pictures of the comic Justin and I are working on, and make offers to people to proofread stuff for them... while still using it to hook up with friends, swear in my status messages, and post vague things about how I'm feeling. I mean, if I were the type to be photographed passed out in a lawn chair holding a red cup, I almost wouldn't be okay with that, that crossover between what I do in my off time, and what I do for "work." But I'm not that guy, and I don't really work anyway, so there's something about the crossover I like, that I find charming. Even if it's probably bitten me on the ass in ways I can't even comprehend yet. But it's straightforward, and I appreciate the idea of that, if not the execution, and have been thinking quite a lot what it means for us, going forward.

Which I guess does come back to privacy a bit. And I wonder, since my main goal is to get as much information about myself and the stuff my friends are doing out there as possible, if maybe I'm not the best person to be weighing in on this whole accessibility of information/privacy issue. I'm definitely having one of those moments where I'm wondering why I'm not perched atop a soap box, pounding angrily at a copy of Orwell's 1984 with the backside of my hand.

Oh well. I've spent way too much time talking about nothing at all, and coming to no sound conclusions by doing so. We'll justify this entry by calling it a brain dump, and being done with it.

In other, Mojo Wire related news, you'll notice at the bottom of the right hand column I've added a Blog Roll, which will show the most recent entries of the 50 or so blogs I decided to put it. It was most important to me to get in folks I know, and Bennington people who are blogging, and was done partially because as little time as the Twitter links take, some days I just don't make it around to them until late, and even though I'm nocturnal, not all of my few readers are. I also added a few other people's blogs that I just enjoy reading, and would like to give some meager traffic to, if at all possible. If you notice anyone I left out, or there's something I should be reading but I'm not, don't hesitate to let me know. I compiled them quickly, and didn't include everything I read. It just would have taken too long. There should be a drop down where you can see the most recent entry of them all.

The only drawback are Tumblr blogs. Blogger still doesn't want to play nice with those. I'm looking into fixing that, but it might take a little time. Suggestions are welcome.

Also, you may have already noticed in my "about" section, but I have a MySpace page now. I've actually had it for awhile, as I reserved it way back when we were working on Trendsetter, when Kyle said I might want some sort of presence. Even though it seems mostly like an anachronism now, I activated my account because I've been meeting some local people who still use it, and it's a quick way to get in contact with them. Plus, all the extra work and errands means I've been listening to even more music, and until I have time to take the last.fm dive, this is nice alternative. I don't look at it often, and pretty much just run my blog and mirror for my twitter on there. If you still have a MySpace page, for whatever reason, you might want to add me, to make me feel less like a herb with only his favorite bands and some weird performance artist as his "friends."

I'd also be curious for some feedback on something. My friend Glen recently made a "Like" page for his blog on Facebook -- of course, he actually posts about far more important stuff than I do, and has all the pretty pictures going up and a fairly consistent pace. Basically, all it does it let you click "like" on entries on the blog so it'll post them to Facebook for you, which seems like a vaguely cool thing to do and way get some attention on the Mojo Wire. However, the two writers who I pretty much use for a litmus test for this sort of thing [John and Eric] haven't done this, and as much as I'd love to be considered a trailblazer, if two of my more talented peers don't think it's worth their time, I don't want to embarrass myself.

My schedule is pretty full for the rest of this week, feeling a little crazy about it. Might be why I feel so addled. Trip into town tomorrow... back to the court house. It's probably a good sign that I had to check the internet to find out how to request a police report. Sleep schedule has been all messed up too.

Not all bad news though. Getting to go to Boston, see some of my friends from college in the middle of June. A friend of mine, the first person I met at Bennington is getting married -- pretty big deal, and how I managed to work everything out so I can go is still a bit of mystery. Let's just say I'm lucky to have the people in my life that I do.

Hm. That sounded too sappy for me. Not my fault... I even miss New England.

Gifts from Afar [New York]

• Friday, May 14, 2010 0 comments
One of the cool things about having friends living all over the world is that when I go out to get the mail, occasionally, I'll find something like this:

This was addressed to me from my friend Elle, a fellow Bennington alum who I actually didn't know at school, but through the wonders of social networking and mutual insomnia she has become one of the unlucky few to hear me go on and on about comic books at 4 o'clock in the morning.

A few months back the topic at hand between us was the launch of "Demo Vol. 2," the highly anticipated sequel of the first Demo by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. I'd picked up the entire first series as back issues at the Alternate Universe in New Haven, CT, and to call me a fan would be a bit of an understatement. Wood was a writer who'd been on my "everything this guy does is awesome" radar since he picked up Generation X from Warren Ellis back in 2000, and though I had near no knowledge of Cloonan's work before Demo, her natural talent coupled with fact that any comic in black and white makes me drool meant I fell in love with that book from the first page. Did it reek of indy-comic-ness? Yes, of course, as I've already said, it was in black and white, and had playlists in the back to go with the book. But guess what? I like indy comics, and for me, something like Demo hit all the right places.

Hell, I even had a short e-mail run-in with Brian Wood because of it. During college, I was looking for a writer to intern with on an independent study project. Naturally, I thought of Wood, and contacted him. And while yes, he turned me down, he pretty much told me why anyone was going to turn me down, and left me with some kind words and a few more letters after that, making me feel like, hey, this guy actually cares about his audience.

Crazy world. So naturally, I was really pleased when I opened the package and saw what was inside:


Along with a couple of rad postcards by Ken Brown and Genevieve Hafner, a copy of the third issue of the Brooklyn Based free comics paper "Smoke Signal" and yes, that's a package of Emergen-C, was Demo, Issue 1, Volume 2.

Now, I know what you're thinking. But Randall, wait. Sure, it was awfully sweet of your friend to send you that comic, but didn't you say you were a huge fan of all things Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan? Didn't you say you were soooo excited for Demo's new volume? Why wouldn't you, as a fan, have bought a copy yourself. Certainly anything published through Vertigo Comics could have been easily put on your pull-list of Cheryl's Comics in Charleston, WV?

Well, first, stop being a dick. And second, yes, I did already have Demo #1 Vol. 2. But the copy that Elle sent me was just a little bit different...

Take it in, fanboy. Take it in.

Elle picked this little gem up at the Demo release party, something I was reserved to just hear about via Wood's and Cloonan's twitter accounts, while she was able to experience first hand. Now, this wasn't exactly a complete surprise as she ran me through her impression of the event on the internet, but with probate and Dad's insurance, and trying to get all the freelancing going, the fact that she'd done this rather amazing thing for me had slipped my mind.

It's made all the sweeter by just how excellent the title has been, particularly Issue 3, entitled "Volume 1 Love Story," which I am willing to say might be the greatest single-issue comic book story I have ever read, and may just be one of the best comics ever written. And while I say that, knowing full well that some may think it's hyperbole, or at the very least just disagree with me, "Volume 1 Love Story" along with the two issues that preceded it [Issue 1 I have signed!! -- you know, if case you missed that part] have really reminded me why I wanted to write comics so much in the first place.

Reminders are good, and so are gifts, and though it probably sounds terrible and materialistic, such gifts can serve as nice reminders that we are not as alone in the world as we sometimes feel. It's a big place, and the people who I like and who interest me the most are not all right down the street from me, and while I usually expect the internet to bridge that gap, this is one of those occasions where snail mail actually made the connection. And I can't begin to tell Elle how much it means to me that she did this, and I will proudly set aside my signed copy of Demo #1 in a place where it will be safe, but also accessible, so I can pull it out and show it off, as any signed #1 in the hands of a total geek should be.

And if I am anything, it's a total geek. Can't thank you enough, Elle. If not for the distance, I would have told you in post-its.

In the interests of worrying, if you've ever sent me something neat or eclectic [not that it happens all that often] and I haven't posted about here, I apologize. I'll admit I've only just now thought of doing this. Also, if you can tell, I've been feeling a little more comfortable with my -0.2 megapixel camera that's in my phone, and I might be trying some more entries like this, if there's any interest.

Other goings on. My first deadline for the Dentist's website was today. Turned out pretty well, there's still some small things to be done before the publication deadline, but I feel good about how it all turned out. I'll shoot out some links as soon as I'm told I'm allowed to [probably be a couple weeks], and I should be getting my first check soon. Won't be getting rich off of this kind of work, of course, nor am I looking too, but I will admit to still getting a charge out of the "people will pay me to put words on a page?" concept.

Bad Anniversary

• Monday, May 10, 2010 0 comments
I don't like anniversaries.

Not at all. Last two girlfriends were pretty okay setting things "around February." I don't remember the exact date I graduated -- especially with as little as I've done since. I have trouble with birthdays. Which isn't to say they're not important. They are. They're amazing.

So are anniversaries. But I still don't like them.

One year ago today, my Dad died. While I'm writing this, he was in the process of dying. Or was dead. Or was about to die. The time, on the death certificate we finally got, nary three months ago, was vague. I don't know why I'm getting hung up on that part of. It doesn't make much difference, and it's morbid to run over in my head again and again.

It doesn't feel like it's been a year. It feels like it might have happened last month. Which, I guess, is an improvement on it feeling like it happened just yesterday, like it did, like everything did until a short while ago. People would call that... progress. I don't think it's progress. I feel like a whiner. Someone who should have gotten over it already. Let it go.

I cope for shit. Hopefully, one day, I'll be able to get some help with that.

Timing is everything. Dad died on Mother's Day. Which, as a roving holiday like it is, always falling on the Sunday, means that some years I'll get the distinction of remembering twice. Because he died on Mother's Day, even if Mother's Day isn't on the same day this year. And anyway, even if I didn't have that, he went on May 10. 5/10. Five, half of ten. The day's the double of the month.

I don't like math much either.

Story my Dad used to tell. He lost a friend of his in car wreck. Young deaths hit hard. I still remember Amanda from high school, and I didn't even know her all that well. Other than the fact that on one day, I came to English class mopey, and she smiled, and talked funny at me until I cheered up. Again, we weren't close, but she did that once, for me. Makes you remember, makes you miss a person. Sticks with you. Maybe I'm not joining a Facebook group over it [really? Is that how we remember people now?], but it still sticks with you. Especially when they go so long before their time.

This kid, this kid who was my Dad's friend, who died. Every year after, dad would take the day. Go out to his friend's grave, get drunk. Probably on George Dickel. My dad was a whiskey man. I don't remember him often drinking beer, though, maybe when he was younger... hard to say. But my dad would go to his friend's grave, and he'd drink, every year on the anniversary. June. Summer. Was it on the 21st? That's how he told it. That's how I tell it.

And then I was born. Summer. June. The twenty-first. 21. Black-jack. Suddenly, Dad had somewhere else he had to be, a reason not to go out, and drink. At least not on that day.

That's a pretty big reason. A birth. I'd put it up there with a death. Especially the birth of your son. I mean, I didn't know the guy. Maybe it wasn't quite even, maybe I wouldn't have measured up. But still. It was a reason. Replaced one anniversary with another.

I don't have that. I have May 10th.

I don't even know why I'm bringing it up again. I'm not the only person to have ever been hurt. I feel bad about it. I know at least one person hurt way worse by it. She shows it less too, or maybe she just doesn't show it to me. It's been a year. I should be over it, right -- moving past it, at least?

Definitely saw it coming. I guess that is the upside to an anniversary. Put back a lot of my work. Could have -- probably should have -- started the harder parts of this copy for the dental website days ago. Just did the research, just took the notes, just scrawled the paper drafts, also known as the the easy writing [trade secret - there is easy writing], and then, spent some time proofing all the legal forms they sent me. Thought I'd save the final copy. Throw yourself into your work, everyone says, it'll take your mind off of it, it'll give you something to do other than thinking about it. Which is bullshit. Either that, or I have a special brain, which can have lots of work to do and focus on, and also think about the thing that is stupendously depressing them.

I try not to side with explanations that make me out to be special in some way -- breeds elitism. Told I already have a problem with that.

On Thursday night, I went out. I was actually in a good mood, saw Justin and Staci, went to see Iron Man 2. Dad would have approved, would have enjoyed the movie a lot. Really would have liked Iron Man's drunken roar, hell, he even had a story that kind of went with that. And then the end. Man, if we'd have gone, and I could have gotten him to stay to the end -- no easy feat. Dad was a smoker. Even when he was trying to quit, two hours, just sitting in the theater, that compulsion was still there. But if I could have gotten him to stay...

Won't spoil it. Even though the cat's out of the bag. Dad liked those kinds of secrets, the ones you sort of already knew, but weren't supposed to. So you faked it. Faked it with that half smile, the kind that showed a canine tooth, a smirk you'd hide like you were cleaning your teeth. I do it too. Watch for it.

Oh, but if he'd stayed. Man, he'd really be looking forward to May, 2011. I mean, we used to subscribe to that shit, when... you know, I don't remember who was writing. But John Romita Jr. Beautiful, beautiful line work. Original character, called Marnot. I'm saying way too much.

Couldn't keep you around past the credits, could I Dad?

I had a really good time Thursday night. Great movie. Great company. Saw one really beautiful girl, the kind of girl who even though you really only saw her for a minute, she sticks with you. Hangs on you, like perfume. Dad would have approved [which is a little creepy, actually, but hey, sometimes, that was Dad]. And then I came home, around two or three.

Couldn't get Willie Nelson's "The Party's Over..." out of my head. Haven't even listened to the song in... well, about a year. Put it on a mix CD for Dad. For, ironically, a party he was having. "My boy put these together for me." Lot of music I hadn't listened to since high school. And Willie Nelson somethings you don't grow out of.

I really wanted this entry to be something different. Something special. But I don't know that I have all that much to say about it right now. This sort of stunted, stream-of-thought stuff isn't good enough, but it's what I have. Maybe posting it will make me feel better. Maybe not. I wish, tomorrow, I could do something special -- but there's no grave, and I don't really get drunk, not that I'm necessarily against the idea in principle anymore, just not in a place in my life where I should be doing that. Maybe a stack of comic books would just as good of a remembrance. That was our thing, after all. And that could happen -- all his books, not my books, mixed in with my books at least. I could crack one of those long boxes back open tomorrow. Laugh about me lecturing him over what he was doing to their spines.

Like it mattered. I'm not a speculator. It was probably just me breaking balls. Weird thing about the way mine and dad's relationship ended up was that I could do that.

Anyway. I think I'm done. Definitely not sleeping tonight. Maybe tomorrow. And man, I've gotten a ton of work done. Probably go back over my copy, again. Might wait until tomorrow. Sent out a couple of e-mails. Few last minute clarifications, to make sure everyone gets what they need. Important to get people what they need.

You should be here, Dad. A year later, and this still feels fucked up.

Purpose

• Thursday, May 6, 2010 4 comments
This is kind of a weird entry.

A couple of things have happened, or I guess more I've been thinking about a few things, which have lined up with a few other things I've read lately, and I thought I might lay some of it out here.

A couple days ago, internet friend/comic writer who's stuff I rather dig on Eric M. Esquivel posted this article on Bleeding Cool. It's a really good article, as are his others for the website, and I imagine the future ones will be too, and if you're not reading it, you should be. This particular article, I don't entirely agree with everything Eric says, mostly because I think memoir is really important to literature [I studied memoir in college, after all], and I don't think any writer ever really gets away from their own hobby-horses in their work. But he brings up a lot of great, interesting points, and I've been rolling them over in my head since it was posted on Tuesday.

Today, real world friend [not any more important than an internet friend, just making the distinction so people don't think EME and I are out in Tucson, destroying mailboxes together in an El Camino with a baseball bat on weekends -- AKA, totally not dick-riding here] Glen "Mario's Closet" Brogan posted this on his blog, showing off his invitation to Gallery 1988, a real accomplishment for him, and as he points out in his post THE destination for artists who do work in the 8-bit, throwback, cartoony, pulp culture-type genre of artwork. It's a big success, sort of the proof that what he's doing is lucrative, and worthwhile, a real "your dreams can come true" moment for him. And I can't congratulate him enough for it, really. It's huge.

But again, it's made me think.

As a writer, or as someone who wants to be a writer, or as someone who writes too much about wanting to be a writer and not actually writing [I'm sure you have your own opinion on which of these I am], I think a lot about purpose, and about success. Purpose, in my mind, is why you work, why you create, why it is you do whatever it is you feel you have a calling to do. Success is doing something that cements that purpose as worthwhile to you. Purpose is why you work, success is what comes when that work has achieved something.

I mean, roughly. Keeping it strictly to the "sky is blue, grass is green" sort of stuff. And remember, I'm just talking about myself here. I don't know the blue you see is the same blue I see. You may not think it's as simple as purpose and success.

I think the definition of success is probably what people struggle with most often. What's an achievement? Being able to make money at what you do? Being able to do what you love for a living? Having your work reach the most people? Getting noticed by one particular critic? Reaching a benchmark that others in your field have reached? Working with a particular person in your field? Maybe just finishing a project.

Maybe just getting a chance to work on a project.

It's hazy. It's pretty different for just about everyone, and that's not even factoring in what other people see as your achievements, what society and your peers see as an achievement. And then there are numerous things you just can't see -- maybe you'll set a goal that's unreachable. Maybe you'll be very pragmatic with your goal, and you will reach it, but you won't really feel like you've succeeded. Then there's that fear. That you'll get to the top of your Everest, look around and say "this is it?" I would imagine there are more than a few people who have that happen who stick the gun their mouth at that point, but there are likely far more who turn around, head right back down that mountain, and find another one to climb.

I think about all this sometimes, but only in a theoretical sense. Because honestly, I'm farther away from success than I've ever been in my life. The comic I'm working on with Justin, though I'm psyched for it, is more of a practice exercise for him [re: Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name]. I don't have a regular artist to work with on hand. I've not been able to get a single film project off the ground [nor can I seemingly keep anyone interested in said projects for more than about... six months at a time]. I blog, but there are a lot more talented bloggers out there, with a lot more readers, and I know this because I link them daily [Hannah Miet, John Wiswell, Hipstercrite], and even have connections to them through social network sites like Facebook, and Twitter. The biggest creative thing I have going right now is a screenwriting contest that I won't even hear about until the end of the year.

And don't get wrong. None of this is a pity party. Some days it is, but right now, I'm just looking at the facts realistically. For a creative person, I have very little going on creatively. For a writer, I'm not writing a lot of stuff that will actively go anywhere -- I'm trying to get these freelance jobs going, and I'm working on getting back to blogging regularly. These are important, of course, but different kinds of important.

I think -- I say "I think" because I'm really not sure yet -- but I think this is in part do to a lack of purpose I've felt lately. I've wanted to write for a long time, but there was definitely a time, before high school I'd say, that I didn't really think I could do it. And I didn't really know what I wanted to write. And then, things happened, and I was exposed to a lot of new, and interesting stuff, stuff like the movie "Clerks" and the movie "Slacker" which, no offense meant to either, but made me feel like these things were things I could do. That I was capable of. And I was drawn to comics, because there's this part of me that's just been reading them so long, enjoying them for so long, that I sort of think like that -- and even when I'm writing prose, even when I'm writing a movie, I see things in my head, sort of lined up as panels. It's a part of me, it's how I think.

It sounds insane, but it just is. Even my favorite novel, the Great Gatsby, when I think of scenes from that book, I think of them as though they were illustrated by John Romita Jr.

So that's what got me going. But I feel like I lost the purpose along the way. I remember, from the moment I sat down, and said "writing is what I wanted to do" I started crafting all these characters in my head. This non-mythic mythology, with all these people based off of people I knew, or people I'd like to know, or myself, and all of them interacting with each other. In some ways, they were just vessels, to get my weird stories and my fucked-up opinions out, and in mouths other than my own. It shaped into a world that went by a lot of names, Sulk, Ever Higher, the Living Dead, White Trash Nation, Sweet Home, etc, etc, etc. And in my head, it was all very realized, and there was this strong compulsion to tell this story, and I knew the characters not just by name, but by age, and if you asked me about one of them and what they'd do on a particular holiday, I could tell you like they were someone who I went to school with, and saw every day.

I put those away at some point. I don't know if it was because so much of the early work with them was done with Sam as the illustrator, and when her and I stopped working together, it felt wrong to pursue them further, or if it was because I picked up new stories like Un-filmable, and Trendsetter, and all the little shorts I wrote. Maybe it was because so much of that early stuff I ended up refining and recycling into other ideas, which also haven't seen the light of day, really. Maybe just so much has happened in my life in the past few years that made up stories just don't have the room in my head that they once did.

I'm not sure. What I do know is, whenever I had one of those stories to tell, I felt the pull of purpose. Like "this is what I'm supposed to be doing, this is what I want to be doing." And then everything that happened, happened, and you know, suddenly I didn't have the house anymore, and my family was a mess, and I wasn't going to be the producer on any movie, and this other thing was delayed, and my dad was dead, and everything was just -- over. Fuck purpose, just not shutting down was the order of the day. Success... success was something that happened other people, people who knew, at least partly, what success meant, who had a reason to work towards those achievements. It was all very far away, if possible at all.

And yet.

I kept writing. I don't know why. It was like writing was autopilot for me. Oh, your life's shit? You've got time, write about these Mercedes Marxists in New York City. What, it'll never get made? Who cares, you're not sleeping anyway, here's a thing about Angels falling from the sky. You don't feel remotely interested in submitting anything to be published? Fuck you, write about fictional communal tent towns anyway.

Maybe it wasn't that hostile. But you get the general idea.

But I think that's sort of where I am, that's how I feel. There's nothing I have this overwhelming urge to get done. No one story I feel I absolutely have to tell. Maybe for a while, while trying to get "Nova" to 25 pages, I got that back for a bit, for just a little while I felt like "You have to do this, because you've worked hard on this story, and you know it's worth your time, and it deserves to be made." And I took the steps I could do that, but regrettably, that put it out of my hands for the time being. So I'm back without any strong story to tell. No purpose.

It really hit me a few weekends back, when I learned a much more successful writer than I was about a year younger than me, and I finally said to myself, "You know, Randall, if you're going to talk about writing comic books, you should really suck it up, find a way to find yourself an artist, and get to it." So I dug up a lot of resources with a lot of helpful hints on how to use the internet to do that, and I will admit some of them were really not appealing [Millarworld, anyone?], but I was going to do it. I was going to make some inroads, and find someone not just to work with me, but someone who I worked well with. And as I was trying to get some stuff together, some pitches and scripts, and the like, I realized, I really didn't know what I'd want to work on if I did have an artist. Could I go back to the old stuff, was that stuff I still wanted to work on, was it even something I still considered good [not taking into account that a lot of that is not as clear in my mind as it once was, most of my notes are in numerous places thanks to my forcible move]? Could I come up with new stuff I had strong feelings on, stories I could really get behind? Because the last thing I wanted to do was start some new working relationship with an artist and only have a lukewarm project to pursue.

The honest answer was no. Even "Real Quality Comics" which was supposed to be a setup for a new story, I never cranked out a script to an issue 2. I think I could. I have outlines for four different issue #2s. But I don't have any one story I really want to tell.

I'm not sure how one goes about finding that. I think, like I said, I got close to it with "Nova," and if I just keep working, keep writing, I could find something that I got really passionate about making again. For right now, I'm settling for a different kind of purpose -- I think just trying to improve my writing, trying to improve the uses of it as a skill, that's something. Getting better, by doing more stuff, blogging more, working with editors who are going to be harder on me, even doing the copy work, which isn't creative, but helps with technical proficiency.

And that's good. It's not a driving force. It's not a purpose. I don't see it leading to a satisfying sort of success, except maybe in small, more practical ways. But I don't know that anyone says "I want to be a writer. I want to write" and looks to find success in that in a merely practical manner. Maybe I'm being short-sighted. It's possible. But not knowing what you want, or why you want it, can really set you behind.


* It's really important I stress that none of these musings come from any sort of spite, or professional jealousy, nor am I so narcissistic as to only be able to view the success that my friends find through some twisted lens that reminds me of what I haven't done. I'm proud of my friends and their art, and I'm really happy that this blog and Twitter have let me get to know some of these cool people whose work I've come to admire. Management encourages everyone to go see what they're doing instead of spending so much time listening to this author try and figure out what it is he wants to do.

First week ... well, I wouldn't call it working.

• Sunday, May 2, 2010 2 comments
I should have made this post yesterday or the day before.

This past week was something of a milestone, so I feel like I should cover it. Turned in my first review, quite a bit ahead of time, which was good because I was a little too rigid with the style sheet and had to pull a do-over. This wasn't me being intentionally cautious, even though deep down I knew there are always snags with the first thing you do of anything -- honestly, I just thought I'd shoot in way before the deadline and look like hot shit dude who works twice as fast as the deadline demands it. I should probably thank my... ego? Hard to say.

Shocking, that I don't work well within tight parameters. I guess rules sort of bother me, not that I'd ever identify as an anarchist [what am I? In high school?], there's just something about saying this has to be like this, and you have absolutely no say in it that makes cursing and do exactly the opposite of whatever I'm told. And I know this about myself, so naturally, when I do decide to follow the rules, I'm sort of garbage at it -- and I'm not wild about that, that "I either do this entirely my way, or entirely yours" way of approaching things I have [a therapist could probably have a field day with that statement], so this was probably good. I know better what I have to do, not just how fast the manual says the car can go, but how fast it actually can go.

My big "work day" on Friday went a little pear-shaped, though not for me. Quick overview -- I'm basically acting as a copy editor on a website for a local dentist with my old boss, Terry Lively. We had a "field day" scheduled, probably the only one for this particular project, where I got to meet the people the website was being made for, interview them. It was going to be kind of long thing, the schedule had Terry picking me up at 7:30, and us at the dentists, for the next three or four hours, my part taking up maybe a fraction of that, but necessary because it would have to be done around them taking pictures of the staff, the office, etc. On the way to the office, however, we were greeted with some poor bastard's car smashed into a power pole -- which was terrible for Terry and the rest of the crew, but sort of perfect for me.

I got my interview and all the information I needed [which wasn't much. Not that you could tell from this place, but my philosophy when it comes to website copy is that, usually, a little goes a long way], and we were out of there in about an hour. The rest of the day I set back at home, and watched my inbox fill up with various information about the project, all of which will go into my final work on the project. From a selfish perspective, it couldn't have went better for me, except maybe for the fact that I had to get up so early [which... I wouldn't call a problem. My sleep schedule has been royally fucked these days -- an hour here, an hour there, and it's starting to a look a lot like the weird schedule I was keeping last summer, making me wonder, among other things, if my insomnia is seasonal]. Of course, even as what could be called an independent contractor, I'm not an idiot, and know it's never a good thing when other people working on the same project as you get jammed up. Everything looks to be fine though. All my deadlines are the same, and everything else looks rescheduled for June, and unless there's some glaring hole in the information I have, I probably won't be attending that.

But anything could happen.

Haven't done much in the way of creative work. The not sleeping has been giving me headaches, and this is actually the first night where my left eye hasn't been throbbing, and I think that's because I took this morning to snooze. The heat made that an awful choice, but I suppose it worked out, because I'm pretty lucid and pain-free tonight. Would have taken advantage, but Dad's insurance information came in today, and wading through paperwork has never fired the creative side of my brain. Lucky for us, Ian did something rather cool over at his blog "A Wave of the Hand." It's called "Corporate Takeover" and is actually one of the best pieces of work I've seen in awhile, and I encourage everyone to go and check it out.

All for now. More soon.