Thursday, February 26, 2009

And the glow of the remembrance keeps me warm.

I'm pretty tired. Of everything.

I've been playing injured the last couple of days; not physically broken, but working with the ick for the last couple of shifts can be draining. Too draining to try to do it for another day.....I'm just waiting for the storm to pass before I make the call.

I find technology increasingly amazing. Right now, I'm listening to WFUV out of New York, where my old friend Claudia is on-air personality. She always had good taste in music, even when we were in Jr. High together. Claudia is not an old friend, for she never seems to age. Nobody around me does, and it's a thing that disturbs me greatly, but also gives me profound joy.

It's snowing, blowing, and cold this morning in the city by the river not far from the Canadian border. Winter has not released us quite yet, but that's okay. We don't have a recession. The snow keeps the riff raff out. I saw that on a tee shirt the other day.

I miss teaching. I miss the classroom environment, everything from the interesting and weather inappropriate clothing the students would wear, to the smell of the chalk on the blackboard. I loved it when a lecture hit home; and I even loved when it didn't, so I could track back and find where it went off the tracks. I especially enjoyed the moment of surprise when a student put several strings together, and came up with a premise I had not considered; usually impossible, or at the very least improbable, but the very act of putting together the strings was a victory incomparable.

I loved directing college shows. Watching a show become more than what I made of it. Listening to their banter; arguing with my notes; a kind of camaraderie you really don't find very often in the professional world.

I miss "Pie Day." It was a day, usually in the first week of February, where all the faculty would gather in a large conference room and eat pie. All kinds of pie; store bought, home made, creams, fruits, meranges, you name it. Baked goods galore. And we would eat and talk and discuss and argue and if you've never been in a four sided conversation about the effect of Churchill's speeches on the English morale during WWII, then you really haven't been in a conversation at all.

I miss the intellectual discussions about topics that have nothing to do with anything other than the topic. And I miss brilliant men and women who are so willing to share the wealth of knowledge.

Pie Day made me smarter.

The one other thing I miss today is that lack of territorialism that comes when creative, intelligent people get together for the idea of improving the world, one person at a time.

I'm going back to bed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Several lines upon the demise of the Dewey Decimal System.

Help me.

I'm suffering from a lack of originality.

Everything around me seems to be a re-tread, a re-make, a re-write, and I don't accept that such things are homages, or "a new age look".

Surely we haven't run out of imagination yet?

And worse yet, the "Free Credit Report" jingle keeps running through my head!

In case you haven't

Hope yours is better.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I can be clear, and I can be garbled....often at the same time. Here's the proof.

I think I have been stunned into silence for the past week or so. That, or I may be so sick of the human race that all I can do is just shake my head, and it's not really easy to post a sad head shake.

(He shakes his head, sadly.)

See? Doesn't work very well. I think it's the whole, "open to interpretation" thing. You may picture me shaking my head starting to the left, and moving slowly to the right, for example; and others may see me shaking my head with a starting move to the right. Others may have be dressed in a double breasted black suit, others as a clown. Each interpretation lends a different spin.

The sad clown shaking his head is basically my self image.

I like the big shoes, and the little car we can all cram into.

(He tries nodding his head, sadly. Sadly, this isn't as effective as the shaking.)

Yeah, I kind of look like a sad clown bobblehead when I do that.

I have been following the state legislature for awhile, and I don't believe I've seen anything like it. First of all, ND is the only state that has a legislature that meets every TWO years. You would think that since they had so much time to actually think, and the rest of the time to talk to other people that think...they would come up with some better things to try and force onto an unsuspecting public.

Among other things:

They are attempting to change the legislative schedule from 80 days every two years into 100 days.

They are also attempting to change the legislative schedule from 80 days every two years into 120 days.

There is one resolution that would eliminate property tax, as long as the state comes up with a plan to help out the towns and cities to actually have a budget.

There is another one about banning smoking in every single public place in the state.

And, of course, there's the one about giving rights to the embryo. I think there is a rider on that one about giving voting rights to the rhinovirus, but that may be just a rumor.

That last one is the one that causes my head to shake sadly.

There is much to admire about living up here. There is a surplus in the state budget to the tune of just under one billion dollars, and they're talking about extending that surplus indefinitely; the recession hasn't really hit this state as hard as the rest; unemployment is low, as well as the homeless population.

But there are just too many people wanting to stick their noses where they don't belong.

Don't tell me where I can and can't smoke.
(On the flip side to smokers: For the love of GOD, would you PLEASE be polite about it? Could you ask before you flare up? Could you NOT flare up if somebody asked you not to? Common sense and courtesy, they're not just antiques.)

Don't tell me what to believe about what is life and what isn't. God is calling, and he wants you to know that arrogance is a sin.

But that thing about property taxes....oh, yeah, I'm ALL OVER THAT.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thank you for the Lawyers, Guns and Money.

Okay, here's the update.

Apparently, I'm the first person in the history of the organization to actually turn down a promotion.

Here's how it happened.

I applied for it, I really did. And I applied in good faith. But as the process began to wind its way around, and I must admit it took a looooooong time to wind its way around, I began to have doubts upon the merit of this promotion.

At the top, there was the money, which was okay, until you realize that last year I actually made more than the starting salary for the new position, so, not a step up there. And, with the addition of two days a week (bringing me from a well paid 32 hours a week to a slightly less well paid 40), the pay raise came to literally two days more work....I didn't see the advantage.

The responsibility was greater, yes....but sometimes more than the job was worth, in my opinion.

During the aforementioned "winding around time", there was a change in schedule, which allowed me a sizable weekend every two weeks, so more time at home.

All my life, it seems, I've been allowing jobs to become my life.
Tired of that now.
So, rather than let the job overwhelm what is left of my personal life, I decided to decline.

Bedlam came to breakfast.

First of all, rumors are flying around as to who was applying, who was going to get it, how the process was unfair, blah blah blah.....

Then, there was a question of the qualifications of one applicant.

Then, when they DID make the selections, for some reason they called the people who were rejected FIRST. So, when I declined, I put them in what is commonly referred to as, "a pretty pickle."

They didn't want to backtrack.
I didn't want to be forced to accept so that they could save face.

It's been a rough couple of days, but the selections have been made, and I'm doing my damnedest to make sure that everybody thinks that those selected were actually first choices. And to my mind, they are both the best possible candidates.

I was not, repeat, NOT the best candidate. My regret is that I didn't listen to my instincts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quick and to the sharp pointy end.....

I say this with my tongue in my cheek:

Send Lawyers, Guns and Money.
The shit has hit the fan.....

More later.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Up for air.

I spent yesterday doing absolutely nothing.

Seriously, there was no actual movement in any direction.

I used to long for days where I could do nothing. I'd brag that I had a day to myself, and I was going to fill it with nothing. But I think that the "nothing" has changed as I've gotten eld.

I think nothing now means, "I'm going to do things that have nothing to do with the things I usually do." A vacation for the mind and the soul, so to speak.

Yesterday was an experiment in actual lethargy. And I have to tell you, it was a chore to complete, and relaxation shouldn't be intolerable. There should be movement and brain activity, and not a prone position on the couch, watching a "Dead Like Me" marathon.

Other than that, I'm good.

Friday, February 13, 2009

If food be the music of love, amscray!

In my single days, I would have thought it unbearably funny that Friday the 13th occurred just before Valentine's Day.

Of course, I was, in my youth, what I used to refer to as a "cynical romantic." That's a kind of a person who would travel in a snowstorm to deliver a dozen roses, only to proclaim that "they're just going to die in a few days, anyway."

And NO, I didn't do that. It's just a description!

Okay, I DID travel through a snowstorm to deliver a dozen roses to a woman named Jayme. It was stupid on so many levels, it looks like the set of a Buzby Berkley movie.

I've been through so many disastrous Valentine's Days that I understand why they burned the f***er at the stake.

So, here's the perspective from deep in the snow, in a place most people couldn't find on a map, from a person who always perceived himself as quickly known and forgotten.....

You should always tell people how you feel when you have the chance. Chances don't come up as often as you would think.

You're not as forgettable as you think you are. Take it from a person who has unintentionally blacked out portions of 1983-85.

And I believe I've said this before, but I'll reiterate: Love is energy: It can be created, but it cannot be destroyed.

So, for today, enjoy the creeps that the hockey mask guy creates.

Tomorrow, enjoy the energy the other creates.

And the day after that shall be as it pleases God.....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Notes from myself.

I keep a notebook in my pocket most of the time, and I write down random things during the course of my are some highlights:

"That's like building a whorehouse next to a mental's fuckin' close to crazy!"

What I said to the guy in the toll booth after a windy journey across the Mackinac Bridge:

"I haven't driven myself over that bridge in twenty years, and it's just as terrifying as I remember."
"You should try it when the weather's bad."

My favorite acting instructor, upon seeing me for the first time since 1985:

"You have a portrait in your attic, don't you?"

To the nice woman at the register at John King's bookstore in Downtown Detroit:

She: "and how was everything today?"
Me: "Well, I enjoyed the classical music on the fourth floor, but the disco on the third floor left me cold."
She: "I'll see what I can do about that."
Me: "I blame the late seventies."
She: "Who doesn't?"
Me: "Are you hiring?"
She: "Well, we have a position on the third floor, but I don't think you'd like it."

I like smart, funny people.

A conversation in my car somewhere west of Chicago:

"John, we'd like you to come in for an interview on Friday."
"Well, I'm outside of Chicago, and on vacation, so I don't suppose that's going to work for me."
"Well, could we do it by phone?"
"What is it that confuses you about the definition of the word 'vacation'?"
"How's Friday, about noon?"

I'm kinda hoping I DON'T get the job.

Last night, at the airport:

"Excuse me, but do I have to take off my shoes?"
"Yes, all footwear must be screened."
"I have lovely feet. And I'm single."
"I don't. And I'm not."

Also, last night, at the airport:

"I was told I can't carry mousse on the plane."
"It depends, are we talking hair mousse, chocolate mousse, or big freakin' antlers moose?"

There's more, but that's the highlights.

Monday, February 9, 2009

You'd be amazed at what remains....

When I was a younger man, I snuck into the University theatre on the campus of Northern Michigan University, and procured paint and brushes, and a ladder, in order to leave those who came after me a little something to remember me by.

This was painted in the spring of 1985. It took me most of the night.

I was shocked to find that it is still there.

My legacy.


An apology, and an excuse.

I've been selfish, lately.

I've kept a lot of things to myself, because they were mine and I liked it that way. I found that I didn't really want to write anything down, for fear that the act of scribbling the thought onto any medium would be like waving at the perfect smoke ring.....

The fact is, for the first time in many many months, there are creative firings in little grey cells. I'm having a tough time expressing them, though. It's kind of like the actual pump is working, but there's a crimp in the line someplace.

Hence, the silence.

Please, stand by.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A picture is worth the price of admission.....

I'm back.

If anybody asks how big this country is, you can tell them that I said that it is just about as big as your ass can stand to ride it. So, I'm tired, and not feeling particularly wordy today.

But I wanted to post Eddy St. For those of you that don't know, that porch you see there was the site of some of the funniest dialogue I've ever heard.

Friendships were made and broken there.
Cigarettes were smoked, and extinguished there.
Crack wasn't sold there, but you could see crack being sold across the street from there.

More later, when I recover from my relaxation.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Have arrived in Northern Michigan. The snow is flying.

Strange whisperings going on in my head. It's been at least a decade since I trod these paths, and the time has not decreased the memories.

I took some pictures, but alas, I do not have a talent for it. I DO take an awfully good picture of my fingers, though....I'll share them when I can.

Tomorrow will conclude my stroll down Amnesia Avenue.

Not all who wander are lost.
Not all ghosts are scary.
Witches can be nice.
Giants can be good.

Uncertainty can create focus.

More later.