Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fuck you, Robert Frost

It was my last shift at the old paragraph factory.

My last deadline; last awkward exchange with some co-workers and my last chance to steal from the fridge.

I walked out of the factory just as I had every other night for the last year and a half. Only this time the darkness seemed to consume the stairs that descended into the parking lot.

The lights had not yet clicked on and with the darkness looming earlier and earlier, our cars were bathed in an eerie black that usually was reserved for forgotten parts of the city - not decadent office complexes.

There were only about a dozen stairs, but the invading darkness seemed to blot out the end obscuring the landing. But, really, i could not have imagined a more appropriate way to end my time here.

This new adventure was about descending those darkened stair cases and entering those yellow woods with ill wrought trails.

Fuck you, Frost, this is my adventure now.

As we took our first few steps today at the Weekly we were tepid around the old guards. They would never understand what we wanted to do. We spoke in hushed tones and averted our eyes when words like redesign...or overhaul...suddenly snaked into the conversation.

We knew what we wanted to do, but talking about it around the departing editor and designer was like riping out the kiddie crap in a 9-year-old's room telling him its time to grow up.

The publisher, though, encouraged it. He wanted it, he was excited about it. He has sat at the helm of this paper for a decade and he is ready to make this something more than a free neighborhood shopper.

Come Monday this conversation will become exponentially louder. We will stop at nothing to create something completely new and sell it to the masses.

The memos that chased me out of the factory (layoffs! buy outs! cutbacks!) are a thing of the past. This is a whole new conversation - hell, a whole new language - that now will follow us into the night. But it will make us stronger and appreciate what we do so much more.

I did the arenas and major stages. My venue lies with the slack elite that gather in the cramped quarters of the dive bars and underground stages.

That made no sense, but really this is not about making sense; this is about being weird and going pro.

Here's to the weeds, the brush, the overgrowth that we are preparing the enter into and those random adventures and beasts we will encounter.

Join me - someday. Consider this your invitation, your provocation, to find your own ill-wrought trails in those godforsaken yellow woods.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hate for a day

AT&T/Cingular, I hate you.

I cannot tell you how irritating you are. You drop calls. You miss calls. You have some "phantom" glitch that make it seem like my phone is calling random people when I am not calling this people at all.

If i get one more phone call at 8 a.m. from an angry mexican guy screaming into the phone about how I need to stop calling him, I will pitch my phone into the river.

Not only is my phone crapping out on me one device at a time, but any hint of customer service is always weaved with an impressvie sales pitch.

"Hijacked phone number? How about you buy a new phone...or purchase the rights to a new number!"

"Receiver not working? Oh, hon, we don't repair phones we just sell newer ones!"

The blank stares and bewildered looks that came from, how do I fix this were almost sad if they were not so deathly serious.

"No really, jsut throw it away and buy a new one, kid."

There is also this bizarre rule where if you do not know the street address of the where the bill is sent you get no serivce what so ever.

As I approached the clerk she asked for my number and the name an address of the policy holder. I complied but confused the street number of my parent's home with that of my granparents home.

"I'm sorry that is not right, you will have to go to the end of the line."

What? Like I am on some Price is RIght triva game? Do I get to use my defective phone as a Plinko chips the next time around to see what level of service I will get.

Sinnfuly unhelpful.

Damn you AT&T, you make me actaully want to go to Sprint and their land grabbing, arena building whore of a company.

Now I am all whipped up into a froth!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I stepped in it this time.

I have a habit - for some reason - of starting new jobs on Wednesday.

I started my first job on a Wednesday - I also started the job right after that on a Wednesday.

And today, at the end of a weird and wild Tuesday, I walked into the paragraph factory and told them I was leaving in two weeks to start a new job on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.

The circle of life.

That's right, kiddies, I'm busting out of the corporate world and preparing for a venture in the Indie-Newspaper Scene.

I will start wearing all black - mostly from he ink that will stain my hands as I label and fold that weeks newspaper.

I will cut my hair asymmetrically - on account of my sleep deprivation from editing all night to meet a crazy Monday night deadline.

Today I accepted a job as the editor of a weekly newspaper here in KC. I get the dream job of a small office owned and operated by a family but with the intricate detail of being located in the middle of Kansas City Proper rather than in the middle of nowhere.

There are so many things here I will get to work on that would not even think of invading the tender sensibilities of the JoCo Crowd.

I probably should have taken more time to think about what I was stepping into before I signed the contract and pledged a day to show up for work. I probably should have thought about doing something that "made sense" rather than being rash.

Fuck, you are only young once. I have the next 60 years to make the decisions that are boring and will "enhance my career."

Today was about buying the ticket and actually taking the god-damned ride.

Here's to the ticket, rather, here is to the ride that we will straddle and clutch for the next few years...or until the next ride comes along - probably sometime on a Wednesday.


UPDATE: 1:23 a.m. - What have I done? I don't think i have ever been so terrified of my own decision.


UPDATE: 2:47 a.m. - SHIT!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Running from daylight

Offers and disappointment have followed me this month to an almost ludicrous degree.

I thought getting back to school was going to be the answer. I thought heading back into the classrooms and book stacks that I just came clattering from a few years ago was where I could find what I wanted/needed to do.

"Are you going back to school because you think you will honestly learn something new or because it is comfortable," she said.

Moms are powerful like that.

I don't think I will ever discount school, but right now I think there is something else I should be doing. Something else that needs to be done before we get back to the books.

I really fucked it up the first time around - I think that will haunt me for a while. No need to go back into that mess.

But now what?

The decisions keep coming and the possibilities are countless. It really is just a matter of doing it.

"Have you bought the ticket yet?" the text message said. "I have," I quipped back, but I am terrified of the ride."

I don't think will change any time soon - not yet anyway. But until then we will keep running from that sunrise that is supposed to take me away to whatever magic land that holds my riches, fame and happiness we all dreamed about when we were young.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dear Diary,

4:25: Begin entry with something witty.

4:30: Give up. Just begin entry any way.

I’m not much for rehashing news stories, unless they are of obituaries of famous people who somehow managed to worm their way into my own ice cold heart.

But the Rev. Robert Shield’s obit was a little startling. Mostly because it was roughly 3.75 million words long.

4:35: Paused to calculate what 3.75 million words looks like. Gasp in horror.

A typical college paper is about 1,000 words. A singe page of double-spaced copy paper can hole about 500 words. And many of the stories we assemble here at the paragraph factory are roughly 800 words.

So to sit down in a single year and pound out 3.7 million words on an old typrwriter takes al level of old-man insanity not yet seen since Jerry Stockwell of Wisconsin who has saved every AOL CD sent to his home “just in case” he needs a copy of the free internet provider.

4:40: Recognize that crazy people are everywhere and they are collecting my garbage for shits and grins.

No, Shields - up yonder in the great state of Washington - was not really crazy in any conventional sense. Rather, he just wanted to document every loving tidbit and minute detail of his life.

So, that instead of boring the crap out of his brood of grandkids with his life over some Werther’s Originals hard candy, he can tell the general public every time he had a Bowel Movement or decided that his woolen socks were too itchy and made his bunions hurt.

4:45: Gets comfy to hear this one.

He would spend, literally, hours each day at a typewriter – much like I do – documenting what he did, things he ate, mail that arrived, temperature of the room, what he was wearing, how many times he peed, pooed, drank, slept, walked outside for freshair – which apparently was rare – and a whole host of other natural things that needed to be saved for posterity.

Who’s exactly? We may never know.

He would offer minute by minute accounts of his day broken up into five minute sections hat read like stereo instructions for the infirm and the feeble.

But don’t discount this stocky, ruddy faced little man of God. He had a level of dedication that really no one, that I knowingly will admit to knowing, has.
I can’t even consistently post on this foul forum on a regular basis. And that, I know, leaves you my readers listless and wandering the interwebs searching for answers to the ultimate question in life; “I wonder Mike is doing today?”

4:50: Searched for a point.

Ultimately, I need to get back to the daily journaling.

I started it back in the high school days. Old fashion paper and pen – mostly when I traveled but also when there were major life changing events.

First girlfriend, Debate victories, being editor of the paper, Europe, graduation and so on.

But that did not last long and I think the books got lost in the shuffle of moving several times and the usual packing and unpacking that would follow.

In college I tried typing them out, but the short entries where pretty boring and devoid of much flavor sense we were lacking the handwriting and the kind of flair that only a notebook and ink pen can provide.

So, like most thing I lost interest and became distracted with other things – mostly my lust for alcohol.

4:55: Fading fast.

But now, with a few years of blogging under my belt and a credential on my wall calling me a “professional” writer, I think we need to jump back into the scene of journaling not for the sake of freaking out the genral public on a blog.

5:00: A new goal.

Most people I know all did computer-style journaling – Doogie Houser, Md., Dana Scully, FBI and a slew of my own (real) friends.

I think it is time I join the ranks of journal-ers. Then when I die (later more so than sooner) my journal can be made into an amazing book that talks about my struggles against the Nazi oppression.

Maybe we begin tonight.

Maybe tomorrow.

Hell, maybe I will lose interest and just get a drink.