Monday, February 23, 2004

Monday Monday

Today is Monday.

The kids are back at school. Geoff didn't want to go. He wants to stay here with me, now that he realizes I'm unemployed. I informed him that I would be going out, working on websites, doing the shopping, hopefully going on interviews and cleaning like mad -- that here with me is not going to be fun. His friends await him. He should be with his friends and be learning.

"I want to skip school and go straight to college. I already know everything that they teach in school," he answers.

"Okay then, Smitty Smartypants, what's a hypotenuse?"

"It's an animal."

"No. It isn't. What does perpendicular mean?"

"It's something you do with a computer."

"No. It isn't. Go to school, learn. Find out what these words mean. If you don't find out today you'll find out later. But you don't know everything right now. Be patient, someday you'll be in college, and you'll long for the days when you were in first grade. Trust me."

Grudgingly, he readied himself, grumbling and muttering like an old man. I plan on showing him what hypotenuse and perpendicular mean after he gets home. And I hope he doesn't drive his teacher nuts asking her. He'll mispronounce them, and she won't know what the heck he's talking about, and then he'll get mad and insist that she's stupid. And he'll land in the principal's office...


And so they're off. They are at school. After a long week off where Jessica desperately wanted me to take her to the movies and I took them bowling instead, she's kind of disappointed in her "vacation." She wanted movies and the mall. Doug got home after 7pm each night, so going to see ROTK was out of the question for me at 8pm. I do know I disappointed her, but. It is what it is. We went bowling, she saw Barenaked Ladies in concert, there was a pool, hotel, and all sorts of fun and insanity. I think we did okay.

The funny thing was yesterday we decided to do some geocaching, as is our wont when it is not snowing or negative eleventy degrees out. She got mad. "This is my LAST day of vacation. I do NOT want to waste my time GEOCACHING!!!!!!" So we gave her the bums rush out the door, and we had a lovely time. And SHE had a lovely time. We did three caches, and only the first one was of any distance. The other two were a walk up to this telephone pole in this person's backyard and there's a box under it (we parked 300 feet from the pole) and one was a "virtual" cache, where you go read a sign, and answer questions about the location, email the site owner, and you get credit. Easy Peasey.

Cache number one was a multi stage cache in Magnolia/Manchester. We parked and walked the .47 to the first clue, found it with little difficulty, and then we went to check out the ocean. We didn't have the dogs with us -- good thing too. They would have been in the water the whole time. Cold. Wet. Smelly. Meh. But we met other dogs, and they were nice. We headed to the second stage, and had to walk past the first stage. Coming down the hill was a dad and his two little boys. I heard one of the boys say "did you hide it really good?" and I knew they were caching. So I stopped to say hi.

One of the boys said "What are you doing?" with his compass in his hand. I replied, "Oh, I don't know. Maybe the same thing YOU guys are doing?" and the dad laughed. They told us that this was their first cache, and he offered to let us go ahead and he'd keep the boys busy on the beach while we got ahead of them. I told him that wouldn't be necessary, mostly because I knew no matter what the headstart that his boys would catch up to us and pass us because our kids are pokey. Instead, I suggested that they come along with us.

They live near the cache, and they started planning going out about two months ago, but the winter had been too cold. We had a nice talk, and he knew a lot about the property where we were, so he filled us in on the history of the place. His boys were very fast and eager, very fun and happy kids. Geoff kept calling them "dudes" and I don't think they liked that... Geoff is a little peculiar, as you all know, and some kids just don't get it.

Jessica seemed genuinely happy to have someone new to talk to, and regaled the dad with stories of our geocaching mishaps. With a laugh and a smile. So she actually seemed to enjoy herself.

The final stage of the multi was way way up on some rocks, and the trail getting up there was steep and (for me and our kids) kind of slow going. Doug and one of the new boys jetted up the trail, the little boy could just about taste the cache and couldn't wait to find it.

I got to the top and stepped on a rock, which was covered in some invisible oceany slipperiness, and I fell flat on my chest. Ouch. The dad was really concerned with me, but I was fine -- just really worried about everyone else. One of his boys found the cache, and I took some good pictures of everyone, including the gorgeous view from on top of the hill.

We packed up and went down, and it was Doug's turn to wipe out on the slippy rocks. He landed on his hip and is convinced his wallet saved his life -- he thinks he would have broken his hip if he hadn't landed on it. He's got a huge bruise and lump there. One of the little boys from the other team wiped out on the same rock that I did. Getting down proved to be more challenging than going up.

After making it down to the parking area, we parted ways and went on to do the other two caches.

We have one cache left for 100. I so desperately want to go caching by myself this week, but if I do, I'm going to have to log it after we hit 100 together as a team.

I've got two new places to scope out for hiding caches, one in Rowley and one in Ipswich. I can do some hiking without actually caching if I go survey the terrain and find a good place for a new hide.

On the job hunt front, I've sent out a million resumes and have gotten one phone call and two emails. One email to inform me that the job was filled but they liked my credentials and resume and they'd keep me in mind if something else came up. Thanks. The other email was for a job at a private school. The director of technology personally emailed me to let me know that they were impressed with my resume, and how thorough and wonderfully written my cover letter was, but that they really wanted someone with my credentials who had experience in a preK through 9 setting.

I live with that every day.

So I mailed her back and let her know that I was voted "Best Sudstatoot Teacher Ever" by a group of first graders in Amesbury, and that I had tons of Pre-K experience at Geoff's school. I even dropped my old boss' name because his daughter is a student at their school and he has told me that he'd provide reference for me wherever needed.

This would be a fabulous job for me, I hope she checks with Old Boss and gets the reference, and takes my Best Sudstatoot Teacher Title under consideration.

The phone call -- now this one is interesting. I had sent my resume into a recruiting agency. The woman has called me twice but I can't understand a damn word she's saying on my machine.

I can't tell if her name is Valerie... I can make out the name of the agency, but they have several offices in the northeast and the one I called said they had no Valerie there, nor did they have my resume on file.

I can't understand the phone number she's leaving. In the two messages she's left, it sounds like two completely different numbers.

What the hell? And she sounds bitchy. Totally rude and bitchy. So I either wait for her to call and get me in person, or, I wait for another bitchy voicemail. hmmm. Either way, I'm not sure that I would like to do placement business with this agency. I can't remember the job that I sent my resume in for, and I can't find it listed again on monster so they took it down.


Well, I'm going to hit a couple job search sites, do some cleaning, drink some coffee, watch the noon news and love my dogs.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

The House Always Wins - BNL at Mohegan Sun, Feb. 20, 2004

Long Time Readers know that I have a serious problem controlling my adoration for five guys. No, not the queer eye guys, but BNL. Many think they're queer, but they aren't. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I've converted my children, so much so that Geoff's favorite song in the whole wide entire world is "Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank."

My husband just doesn't get it, and spending time with the three of us in a vehicle always boils down to "Can we please listen to BNL?!!??" and he says no, because he is SICK of them. And we can't get enough.

So you know my love for the boys. And without further adieu, I present to you Mohegan Sun Weekend - BNL and Cash VacuumFest 2004. In glorious (albeit to some, excruciating) detail. Run away now if you don't want the level of detail in experience I'm going to present here. Come back another day.

For the rest of you...

Late in the afternoon, Linda called me to let me know her boyfriend had the flu and wasn't going to come to the show. Had I had a couple more hours notice I could have arranged for one of at least four good friends to come down and meet us for the show, but after making a couple calls and realizing I didn't have Andi's number at 2pm as we're getting in the car, I had visions of me eating the $45 for the ticket (I bought her 2 tix for Christmas) and it bummed me out.

I pondered what to do, and told Doug that if we couldn't get rid of the ticket somewhere that I really wanted him to use it. He told me that he didn't need or even WANT to see them again (grounds for divorce!!!).

I thought it'd be a good idea because it would keep him out of the casino for a little while (guffaw) and keep some money in his pocket, so I was disappointed in his reaction.

Doug suggested I bring Geoffrey, because he is pretty much old enough to see a live concert now. I opted against bringing him for three reasons.

1) Geoff crashes at 9pm at the latest, and he crashes and burns in a very ugly manner. With the energy of a rockshow, he probably would have made it to 10pm and then we'd have to leave. The hell I would want to leave, and Doug would be somewhere out in the casino, and I wouldn't be able to get ahold of him to come get Geoff. It would have been a flustercluck. No. I wanted to be able to stay and enjoy the show. If BNL would be taking the stage at 7, yes -- I sure as hell would have brought him. But I knew there were warm up acts, and knew that they'd be playing about an hour total, so... no.

2) I would have to leave Jessica seated alone in one of Linda's seats until Linda got there. I wasn't sure how far away from me they'd be. And the thought of that made me uncomfortable. Turns out they were directly behind me by 2 rows, so it could have worked... but ... I didn't want to risk leaving her alone.

3) Geoff came to the hotel to swim in the pool and hang out with Grandma, and we had my parents come with us specifically for that reason. I knew in my heart of hearts that he would get through a few songs, and say "Okay, I am ready to leave and go to the pool now!" and that would suck. See point one. So, I figured for his joy I'd eat the $45 bucks. Such is life.

We checked into our hotel, Doug checked into bed for a nap. I went to the room where my parents were holed up and we ordered pizza. I figured we'd get over to Mohegan Sun around 6:30 pm, and get the tickets, game a bit, wait for Linda to make it to the show up from Long Island and have a cocktail or eleven. Why not?

We went to the ticket booth to get our will call tickets. I called the Ladies' Room that afternoon and spoke with Armand to make sure that there were no problems with Linda's tickets, after what happened at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The last thing I wanted to do was be stuck there with no tickets. Armand assured me that he had both of our sets of tickets recorded, and I got both confirmation numbers from him again (even though I had the emails) just to be safe.

Doug had no problem picking up "my" tickets. I was met with "your name isn't on the list" for Linda's tickets. The same problem we ran into with Hammerstein. Jebus. Not a'freakin'gain (to refresh your memory -- here is Linda's entry on the event).

After a good deal of searching (thankfully I had that confirmation number) the will call guy found my envelope. Somehow, my last name was spelled with a D. It starts with a G. Unreal... not sure how THAT shit happened, but, I had the tickets in hand all was right with the world.

Doug took Linda's tickets and I called her for an ETA. She was west of New Haven stuck in traffic, we figured she'd be about an hour away. BNL had two opening acts, Butterfly Boucher and Gavin Degraw, and each of them were playing about a half hour set each. The scrolling sign above the arena doors stated BNL would go on stage at approximately 8:50, so I knew she'd make it in time. We arranged for Doug to be somewhere accessible to her via phone, and they would hook up to pass the tix and she'd come in. I knew where her seats were, so I'd be looking out for her arrival.

Jessie and I got into the arena, checked out the T-shirts, and we could hear Butterfly Boucher's set. She sounded kind of Björky, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to go hear her...

I like Björk and whatnot, but was not in the mood for some ethereal wispy voice thing before a BNL show. I know Steve has raved about her work, and I know they picked her for the tour because they like her... but they also like Leonna Naess and I didn't care for her when she warmed up the Maroon tour. I know a lot of folks like her... but... Oftentimes I just don't like opening acts period. But Steve has raved about Butterfly, and folks on the discussion board had good things to say, so... I wanted to at least give her a chance.

We made it to our seats which weren't bad but they weren't what I had for Hartford (these were Floor 3, Row L... 12 rows back on the inner aisle, Steve's Side). To our left were two ladies I'd met at the Hartford Peepshow. One recognized me immediately, and I remembered I'd taken a picture of them with their camera in front of the stage. We caught up on shows she'd gone to see since Hartford, and it was fun to meet someone again. How cool!

We caught Butterfly's last two songs, and I figured out why I thought she sounded Björky. When we were in the concession area, and her voice was loud and clear but her guitar was not. She was alone with a guitar, and in a lot of ways her sound was reminiscent of early Billy Bragg. Just a good loud guitar and singing. I couldn't make out a lot of what she was singing about, I'll be sure to go through her website and check out her lyrics. But it did make me think of ole Billy Bragg and smile.

Next up very quickly was Gavin DeGraw. He came out with a full band. Gavin plays keyboard and guitar, and did a tremendous cover of "Let's get it on" which had the ladies (in the audience, not the Barenaked ones) screaming. I thoroughly enjoyed what he had to offer, and look forward to hearing more from him. He's got a lot of personality, and his band kicked ass too. Very cool guitar work, and his bassist was outstanding. Awesome voice, and excellent fingerwork -- what a treat to have a warm up act knock off some socks.

During his last song, I went and picked up one of his CDs. I thought it'd be nice if I could get it autographed as he'd suggested people come up to the foyer and do. So I got on line. I was maybe 20th in line with another woman from the bbs and we were chatting and having fun... there was a little girl ahead of us with her dad. It was all cool and fun. I figured, damn! I'll get this signed and get back to my seat before the ladies get up on stage.

Wrong! Oh, I was so absolutely wrong. After Gavin's set finished, the floodgates opened and there were millions of people trying to get over to the merch table and see the Gavin man for an autograph. I got cut in line by about 20 people, all saying "hmmm, I wonder if this is the line."

I made a crack to the woman beside me that I felt like Ralphie trying to go see Santa and the store was going to close. She yelled "Hey Kid, where do you think you're going? The line ENDS here. It STARTS back THERE!" and she pointed over her shoulder. The girl next to me was a dead ringer for Kelly Osbourne, and she muttered "shut up, bitch" under her breath.

I decided an autograph wasn't worth the bullshit. So I worked my way back through the huge crowd to get to my seat and hang with Jessie.

Doug walked up to me. I was confused and pleasantly surprised. "Why are you in here? I thought you never needed to see BNL again?"

He figured the ticket would be going to waste and that it would be a good idea to come in and fill the seat. Linda had gotten there okay and was getting refreshed. They sat in their seats and Doug was her pretend date / seat filler for the performance.

The seats to my right were still vacant, and I wondered if they would be occupied. The seat occupants showed up, and of course he was the World's Tallest Man Ever. Which is something that always happens to my sister. The tallest man in the building always ends up right in front of her.

I turned around to notice that she and Doug swapped places so Linda didn't have to try looking through the guy's head. To no avail though, because the couple beside me kept switching places back and forth. He kept rubbing her and touching her inappropriately, and when the audience would cheer between songs, he stood there flipping the bird.

I couldn't figure the guy out. I wanted them to leave and go back to their hotel room or something and just go away. They made me completely uncomfortable.

So I sang every word to every song loudly and passionately, which I think pissed them off. Heh heh. I'm sure today they're sitting somewhere saying "Ugh, that FAT CHICK in the red satin blouse. What the hell was HER deal? What was with all the singing and jumping. Gah. Ruined the concert for me, she did."

I recognized the folks directly in front of me to my right from pictures posted through at the Amherst show. So that was kind of cool. She didn't look too well. It was hot as hell in the arena, and she had her coat on the whole time, and she sat a lot with his arm lovingly over her shoulder. I hope she felt okay and didn't have the flu too.

Ahead of me to my left was a guy with a glow stick. He was really funny and whirled it madly over his head, and very very carefully slowed it down and eased it back to earth. He turned to us and said in kind of a silly voice "I have a glow stick!" I gave him thumbs up and laughed saying "Good for you!"

The guy behind me lit his lighter, held it aloft and yelled "I'm OLD SCHOOL!"

And we laughed.

And I realized the woman behind me was the one I was waiting in line next to for Gavin's autograph. She had given up waiting too, she told me. Such is life. It was fun to meet again.

Right after "One Week," the weird couple next to me left. Good riddance! I moved Jessie over to the aisle so she could see better while sitting. She was getting tired... it was showing. The view for her there would be fabulous.

I almost cried when Ed sang "Am I the only one," it was so beautiful and so nice to hear him sing that.

"Stump the Crew" was hysterical. Steve ran out into the audience and approached one woman, then off to his right another woman was pushed towards him by her row-mate. For a moment it was utter chaos up on the stairs, the initial woman that he approached, the pushed-towards him girl, and this other incredibly bizarre woman who walked down the stairs... All these women, all over Steve, and he's nervously laughing.

Hey, you just sang "Celebrity" baby, this is what it's like, no?

The woman who came down the stairs was a rather peculiar specimen. She came at Steve with this mesmerized look on her face -- she was totally weird. Then she starts touching Steve and wrapping her arms around him. Steve looked a tad panicked, and the crew member following him (Security! Help!) pushed her arms off of him, but didn't send her packing up the stairs... he let her stay there. And stay there she did. She just stood there the whole time, staring into the camera which broadcasted Steve and the Contestant up onto the big screens.

The Contestant that Steve selected was the pushed-at-him girl and The contestant held her hands up in front of the interloper's face, and the audience got a real kick out of that as Steve made some cracks about there being someone behind him but he's just going to ignore it like a ghost... Stump the Crew continued with the trivia question, which was in essence "Some of us have children. How many barenaked babies are there?"

Anyway -- I would have gotten the trivia question right thanks to the discussion board filling me in about Kevin's new baby. The girl and the crew member both got the answer wrong, and instead of "The House Always Wins," which in my opinion would mean the Band wins, they said "The Fan Always Wins!" and she got the prize.

I think Doug left at about this point, and Linda came up and sat with us because her date was gone. Doug went out to lose some money, and we rocked out.

Some More Highlights:

Audience Participation: I was VERY pleased to see so many people singing along with songs off the new album. From the opening "I'll set the metronome" in "Maybe Katie" the involvement and participation was stupendous in our area. Everyone, including my 11 year old, was singing along. For an album that isn't selling so well, this was a fabulous sign to me that there are people into it. Hell yeah.

Jim's Bass Solo: Wow. I've seen him do several bass solos, and this is just such a wonderful treat. On the Peepshow question page, someone asked Jim if he preferred plucking over playing with the bow. Jim's response was a resounding "I love to pluck but I live to bow." And it shows -- he used the bow as a percussion tool, and the multimedia screens added so much because they focused on his face and left hand as he played. What amazing joy to watch such a great musician. I could have watched him play for hours.

Mohegan Sun Rap: They sang "Black Hole Sun" with "Mohegan Sun" instead, and it was semi-creepy and weird. And Ed did a cool gambling rap with "The House Always Wins." These little raps are always funny, and the guys themselves were laughing up there. None of this pretentious"I'm a huge artist and MUST be taken seriously" bullshit. Any time they messed up lyrics or started laughing, they went with it. During "Some Fantastic," Ed got Steve to laughing and he almost blew the lines. But he recovered, smile on his face, it was wonderful.

During "Some Fantastic," when they sang the lines:

"I can't stand to wait in line long
So I built a new machine
It just measures up the distance
and then eliminates the folks between"

Jessie turned to me and said "Hey! You needed that machine so you could get Gavin Degraw's autograph!" Yes Smartypants, I did. And we laughed.

They did some nice multimedia and theatrics stuff. At the beginning of "Celebrity" they had Steve rolled across the front of the stage in an easy chair in front of a glowing TV screen, with the closeup video of his face while he was singing. And when he sang the refrain, they had strobe lights flashing at him like paparazzi, and he stumbled around, at one point hiding behind Ed. It was incredibly fitting and cool.

The "Shopping" routine was very funny, very well done. Jessica loves that song, and she just about split a seam laughing when they ran around with their shopping carts. Synchronized swimming with shopping carts and cereal boxes.

Several of the on-screen vignettes were good, including a Power Rangers-esque mini-movie(***Someone emailed me and filled me in that this is Red Vs. Blue, a very popular web-based series. I checked out their site and I think they'd kick my ass for making the Power Rangers-esque comment if they knew. My apologies to RVB. I can say I learn something new every day) and tips from them on how to enjoy the concert. I couldn't hear some of what they were saying, but the gist of what I could get was that these mock Rangers were going on tour with BNL and some of them didn't like the idea. "If I had a million dollars of CANADIAN money ... I wouldn't get very much" was one of the jokes. They had a mini movie of Ed and Sandwich, and a fun little count backward from 10 piece. Those were good. Watching Kevin doodle on the whiteboard was good.

But there were a lot of candid little looped video things shown during the performance up on the screen that got annoying after a while.

These little candid shots of them were played during songs, and just didn't seem to fit. They were looped over and over, in forward and reverse (the one of Steve and Kevin on the pier with Kevin adjusting his jacket neck, among other candid action vignettes seemed like they were forced in there, especially when repeated so frequently).

They showed "making of the video" clips from "Another Postcard," and I think that some people were confused by what they were seeing. A lot of people have not yet seen the video, so seeing Tyler and Kevin clinging to one another in mock fear while foam boulders came flying at them, the clip was out of context. I saw a couple of very perplexed faces.

Overall, the use of the screens was best suited for showing us the closeups of the band members while they were playing, or during "Celebrity" and "Shopping." I got the impression that they worked incredibly hard to incorporate other forms of multimedia expression and showmanship into this performance, in a kind of "Blue Man Group" sort of way. Some of it worked tremendously well, some didn't.

First encore was a very unexpected performance of of Duran Duran's "Rio," which set my sister reeling.

She knew EXACTLY what they were going to start playing the second she heard the keyboard riff looping. I was confused because Ed introduced it as "this is something we wrote a long long time ago." What an amazing performance of that song -- and Ed summed it up well with "If I'm not mistaken, I think that was the second coming of Simon LeBon," referring to Steve's impassioned performance.

Linda is the World's Biggest Duran Duran fan, and she was in her glory. She was disappointed they didn't do "Told you so" or "Break your heart," those were the two "must hears" for her. The last time I saw them do Break your heart was in Portland on my birthday two years ago, so I've heard it live. Doesn't mean I wouldn't love to hear it again. But doing "Rio" kind of made up for the disappointment she felt at not hearing her two must-hears.

Million Dollars was a crowd pleaser. No one threw Kraft Dinner that I could see, although I still want to get the T-shirt of "Don't Feed The Band" with the No sign through the macaroni. "Those in the know do not throw!"

And I was happy to hear "You will be waiting" but it seemed kind of a let down after all the energy of Rio and Million Dollars. Perhaps if they'd done it the other way around ... but hey. Who's complaining. After reading some of the fan reviews of East Lansing and Grand Rapids, I am not sure I saw the same band they did. Perhaps there was something slowing them down, or perhaps playing Everywhere For Everyone is something that they'll never be able to do... make everyone 100% happy.

On Peepshow, a lot of fans whined that they didn't hear enough "rarities" or they didn't hear enough of the big "hits" that they wanted to hear. So far on E4E, people have whined they haven't heard the "rarities" they want to hear, or one of the big "hits" was left off of their playlist. I think it's fabulous that they're recording and selling each show. I may have to get this one, for "Am I the only one" and for "Rio." Hella good.

And I just have to say -- in my entry the other day I talked about how War on Drugs is a buzzkill for the crowd. Last night while they performed it, everyone talked through it. For the most part people took the "down time" to ignore the song and the band, and the message, and yap yap yap yap yap through the entire damn thing, like they were at some sort of bar gig with some college band playing that no one could give a rat's ass about. Ten dollar cover, two drink minimum, designated driver gets soda for free.

I love the song. I've said it a million times. It's amazing. Steve is amazing.

But there was no respect. None at all.

At least there was no woman next to me jumping up and down Woooting that she wanted "Brian Wilson, Woooooo!" while waving her tits around.

That was a relief.

As we got ready to leave the arena, the lady who had been on line with me to get Gavin's autograph showed me that she'd finally succeeded, and she managed to get a cute picture-phone shot of him with her. I heartily congratulated her.

And as we left, Gavin was still at the table, signing autographs.

Too bad I didn't have that machine from "Some Fantastic" after all.

We found Doug hanging out by the wolf, with a little six year old girl whose father was inside the casino gambling.

He'd left her there to wait, and Doug was feeling badly for her and had to wait for us anyway. So they chatted and watched the wolf. It broke my heart that someone would ditch his little kid to go gaming. And I wondered why security would let this happen. Doug said that they'd told him a couple times that he couldn't leave her there, and he got nasty with them saying "Asian people are small. She not six, she twelve! She fine there!" and he left. If the little girl was 12, I'm a size four. There was no way in HELL she was older than seven.

I'm sure there were cameras trained on her, and that security was watching her, but after all the abductions and the child rapes and the kidnapping/murders that have taken place, I can't understand why someone would value blackjack over his kid's safety. And I know that the guy knew that someone like Doug would hang out with her and keep her company. But what if that guy took her by the hand and walked her out of the building. What if she needed to use the bathroom, or felt sick. I mean -- anything could happen.

She was scared shitless too. Eventually, The Father Of The Year came back from the casino, with cookies for her (nice ploy, dad) and he gave Doug and me a small bottle of water each, thanked Doug for keeping an eye on her, reiterated she was 12, and spirited her away.

I told Doug that if I ever accused him of being a lousy dad ever again he could yell at me.

That guy sucked. Leaving his little kid there like that. I hate people. I swear to God I hate them.

We put a game plan together for some Wallet Draining Fun. Doug took Jessie back to the hotel and we all agreed that we'd meet at about 1am at the wolf. Linda and I went in search of her favorite -- Wheel of Fortune! "Spinnah, Spinnah Spinnah!!!" -- but only found dollar machines with that game. There was no way we were playing dollar slots.

We tried to hail a cocktail waitress, but the hell we could find one. The casino was MOBBED. I ended up going to the bar to get Linda a cocktail, because the girl deserved one after the day she had at work and the long assed trip up to the casino. The bartender would only sell me one drink at a time, and I told him I hardly thought it was fair, seeing as I couldn't find one of their own cocktail waitresses to wait upon me and the person I was with. He shrugged and gave a halfassed apology.

I had to stand in line to spend $6.50 on one small and sorry excuse for a margarita. Linda took about three sips, like how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop, and said "That was the fastest $6.50 I've ever consumed!"

We eventually made it all around the Wolf's Den area, unable to find a place to plant our asses. Doug called her at about midnight and we went over another part of the casino where it was far less crowded.

We fed a lot of money into the machines, at one point Doug was way up, I never got anywhere with the slots, and neither did Linda. We did find an occasional cocktail waitress and continued to make up for the money we spent on the first drink by getting freebies. 1am came and I was ready to go to bed. Back to the wolf we went, and whom do we find sitting there but our little not-12 year old girlfriend, AGAIN. And another guy kind of hanging out keeping an eye on her from sort of a distance.

It's 1am for fuck's sake! Get her home! Get the child to BED... holy shit... we said hi to her, and discussed what our gameplan was going to be, seeing as Doug and Linda were still gung ho to lose some more money. I was ready to split, and my dad played a little more Keno.

The little girl's dad came back out of the casino with a huge pile of $20 bills in his hand, fanned out. He must have had about $400 in cash visible. He handed her a twenty (a step up from some cookies. Nice ploy, dad), and a woman came over whom I presume is the mom or something, and they all left. Probably to go to another part of the casino where he could ditch her again on a rock and some suckers like us would sit with her because they feel badly for her.

I wanted to kick his ass.

My dad and I got to the hotel at 2am. Geoff and Jess were out cold, my mom was awake, surprisingly. I expected her to be stone cold sleepin' too.

I relieved her of her babysitting duties and hit the hay. I think I was finally asleep at about 3... still thinking of how cool the rockshow was, and still incredibly pissed about that poor little girl hanging out in a smoky casino instead of curled up in a bed like my kids. Doug and Linda made it back around 4:30. Doug told me he met the camera guy from the BNL crew and talked to him for a while. No band member sightings, I am relieved. What an injustice that would be (in my mind) if Doug, the man who didn't need to or want to see BNL ever again got to meet Ed at a poker table.

My mom called at 9 this morning wondering what we wanted to do for breakfast. Doug was unpleased and dishappy. Geoff had just woken up, so I decided I'd take Geoff down swimming and stop to say hi to my parents in the cafe. We'd picked up some Krispy Kreme doughnuts so I knew Geoff could just eat those, but I wanted him to be able to get another fun swim in before we left the hotel. The boy loves to swim.

We checked out at 11. Everyone was exhausted. I thought we'd maybe all go out to lunch or something but the consensus was "meh. tired. meh."

So we headed north, they headed south. I think my dad took my mom to show her the casino inside and how pretty it is, and perhaps see the little girl sitting on the rock by the wolf again.

Mohegan Sun is a beautiful building. It makes Foxwoods look pimpy. But you don't get far with your money there, and I doubt I'll go back any time soon. The concept of "loose slots" doesn't exist within those walls. My sister figured that with the amount of money she spent, in Vegas she would have broken even. Not at Mohegan Sun.

As Ed sang, "The house, the house, the house always wins."

So that, is my long winded adventure into the world of BNL yet again.

I am seeing them for one last time on this tour, as my wallet will not support any further drains in the name of Canada's Finest nonalcoholic non-liquid export. That show is March 1. Hope you enjoyed the synopsis. If you've made it this far--you get a cookie.

Setlist, lifted from the BNL boards:

Maybe Katie
Too Little Too Late
Life in a Nutshell
Its All Been Done
Another Postcard
Stomach vs Heart
For You (acoustic)
One Week (acoustic)
Bass Solo
Upside Down
Testing 1 2 3
Some Fantastic
Am I the Only One
Pinch Me
War on Drugs
Stump the Crew
Old Apartment
Brian Wilson

Encore 1
Million Dollars

Encore 2
You Will Be Waiting

Thursday, February 19, 2004

On bowling pins

Someone Midwestern in nature and upbringing posted a simple "?" in my journalspace entry, wondering what exactly IS candlepin bowling. Color me embarrassed! Forgive my oversight friends of (a)musings, sometimes I forget that we are a truly international sensation, and that the customs and games of our region are sometimes not known west of Worcester.

In Big Ball Bowling, or Ten Pin I believe they call it, there is a big assed bowling ball, and 10 fatish pins down the lane. You usually bowl two rolls in a frame, and there are some crazy things you do for scoring if someone gets a spare or a strike.

This is "normal" bowling in my opinion. It's what I grew up with, it's what most of the nation is familiar with. It is Woody Harelson in Kingpin. It is the Pin Pals on the Simpsons. It is Barney's Bowl-a-rama.

Candlepin on the other hand is prevalent in New England, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It is played with a little ball, slightly larger than a bocce ball. There are no holes in the ball, and you hold it in your hand like you would a rather large softball. You roll the same, underhandlike (never overhand) and there are 10 pins down the other end as well. Only these pins are tall, skinny stickpins. Scoring is different too, as you have three tries to nail the 10 pins. And there's all kinds of wacky stuff you do for scoring. I still don't know how to do it right, even with the electronic overhead scoring thing.

In big ball bowling, the pin machine comes down and lifts the standing pins up after your first roll, and the sweepy thing wipes the knocked overs out of the way. In candlepin, the "dead wood" stays where it falls. You can use that in your strategy (which Geoffrey did to his advantage) and hit the dead wood and whack the standing pins out of the way. It's the coolest feature of the game.

Oh yeah, and some folks play Duck Pin Bowling, which originated in Baltimore as a summer alternative to Big Ball. It has short fat pins that are shaped like the big ball pins. But some of the rules seem similar to candlepin (three throws, tiny ball, etc...).

It looks like Big Ball bowling and candlepin had a baby.

NDBC has its own website, and youth leagues. I don't know of any duck pin lanes in these parts. If you're southern or Marylandish, let me know if this is something you entertain yourself with on weekends.

So I hope that helps you envision how we spent 2 hours yesterday afternoon. I don't know if I could big ball bowl anymore. My shoulders hurt like hell after throwing the little wee ball. The highest score I got was like 102. I suck at it, but it was fun to be out of the house with the shorties. And yes, I realize that was way more than you ever wanted to know about bowling, but hey -- what's this journal if not a service to educate you on the trivial. Eh?

Today we were slated to get together with Karry and the kids out on Cape Ann. Her kids are homeschooled, so today was a "vacation" day for them. They're both sick. Karry said she still wanted to get together, but... I am wary of putting our kids together and having my kids come out ill by Saturday night. Last thing I need is for either of them to come down with something and need to stay home from school on Monday and Tuesday after a week off.

So we took a rain check. I think today I will force them into the outdoors to go fix our Xeraphas Hill geocache clue that's missing, and check on the clues at Cleaveland Rocks. And maybe this afternoon I'll color my hair and get a haircut. Who knows. So much to do, so little time.

Once the kidlins go back to school it is cleaning frenzy time for me. I find it literally impossible to get anything done with them underfoot, so I'll drop them off on Monday, return here to the homestead, and have at it.

After my daily reads, of course.

C posted a comment in my jspace journal that she's so happy I'm laid off because I write more often. And indeed it seems I've had the time to do just that.

Oh -- speaking of laid off, money not flowing from every pore of my being now officially sucks because of this. BNL is recording each and every one of their live concerts on this tour and posting them up for sale on their website. And because I have a painfully slow internet connection, downloading the full cd collection would be a nightmarish pain in the arse. I'd have to purchase the CDs from Nettwerks, for six dollars more a CD.

But I can't purchase them in either form because I've got no dough.

Crap on a cracker. I hate not having a job. A lucrative, well-paying, out of control money job. Even a not quite lucrative job. Something to sustain my addiction. Bleaurgh.

And of course, because the heavens hear my bitching and moaning, my sister just called me. She said she'll download and burn one for me -- Amherst looks like the best bet because they've got "Break Your Heart" on that set list.

Hurrah for my sister! Dude, I owe you 13 bucks in quarters at Mohegan Sun. Rock ON!

Geoff's playing "Action League Now" with his action figures. He's dangling Spiderman off the back of the couch over the abyss in the back corner, and the action heroes have to come rescue him. We're watching too much Kablam! here in this house.

Anyway -- it's only 9am and I've managed to spew out this much content. I need to surf for some resumes and figure out what's going on for fun today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Résumés Resume

Monday was an absolute waste. Yesterday I went to our pastor's house and fixed her computer. She insisted on paying me. It was so fun to hang out with her and her 3 year old son. He's tres charmant. He cracks me up, and we talked and talked about computers and how paperclips work.

She was worried that he was bothering me. But to be honest, it was refreshing to be with someone for a little while that asked why something happens instead of saying "I KNOW why, I'm not STUPID ya know," which is something both of my kids say to me these days.

Three is a lovely age.

In the afternoon I dropped the car off for an oil change. I made dinner. I did laundry. I played with Geoff a bit. I sent out resumes.

I sent out résumés.

I sent out résumés.

I ... well, you know. Sent out résumés.

This morning I called in my unemployment claim. It will kick in in about three weeks, and I'll be retro paid for the time lag. I'm not sure why but the unemployment people are damn helpful and nice. My last unemployment experience was incredibly positive as well. That isn't good. It makes me want to stay on unemployment, just so I can deal with nice phone representatives.

For all the horror stories I've heard played out from friends who collected and were bitched at on the phone or yelled at for not calling on time, and the incredibly painful hours on hold they spent wasting their lives... I had to hold for 15 minutes for an operator. Try getting that kind of service from Gateway or your credit card company when you need help.

The girl was sweet and wonderful. She had all my info in the system from the previous claim, and everything was already in the system from my tax returns and W2s. So it was... painless.

The only pain I experienced was the music that they have on hold. They have one song, perhaps 64 bars long, and it loops over and over. And it sucks. That's my only complaint. I don't mind holding. I don't mind waiting. Just please, for the love of all things good and pure, pump in some radio from someplace instead of some prerecorded easy listening garbáge.

Today we are going to go bowling. I just took a nice long hot shower. I'm not sure how I did it but I pulled a muscle in the back of my right thigh while sleeping. Who pulls muscles while sleeping? I mean really. Was I running in my sleep the way the dogs do? Was I kicking the winning goal in the US vs. New Zealand World Cup game? Was I kicking someone's ass?

Not sure. But man -- it's sore as hell. Anyway, bowling should be good and painful. I'm mostly going just to take the kids out of the house. Since our zoo excursion they haven't gone anywhere. They've been fighting and scratching and clawing at each other. I'm hoping a nice organized bowling game, perhaps two, will give them time to take their aggression out on the skinny pins at the end of the lane.

Jessica wants me to come watch the showcase showdown with her on The Price is Right. I always win and she's always impressed. I'm usually within 1000 bucks too, which is sometimes really hard to do. I mean, on pricing for a car, it's probably prices in California, so they're a little higher. And ski trips to Switzerland are probably based on airfare from LA to somewhere in the east like NY or Boston... so I kind of figure those a little higher. Then they throw in some snowboards, but you can tell by looking at them the foot bindings aren't looking like they belong there, so they look cheap, and they aren't Burtons, so you aim a little lower... it all works out.

I'm good at TPIR.

By the way -- in 48 hours we'll be dropping the dogs off and heading down to see BNL at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville CT. My mantra is "Friday is coming. Friday is coming..." and I cannot wait to see them live again.

One of the funny facts in the past several BNL obsessed months of my life is I've paid a lot of attention to fan feedback and reviews, moreso than I did in tours past or other CD releases.

On the Peepshow leg of the tour, tons of people loved it because they vowed to play every song they've recorded at least once. They almost completed that task, as seen by bob & jeff's peep show tracker. Some people loved that -- a show for the hard core fans. People who want to hear "Powder Blue" or "Helicopters" live in concert.

Some people bitched and moaned that the shows were void of "the hits" and they wanted to hear Million Dollars. But if you look at the tracker, the hits got plenty of attention, just not every single night.

This tour has been deemed the "Everywhere for Everyone" tour. This show is the bigger audiences, the big ticket items -- the big hits. Fleet Center in Boston -- sold out. Big shows. And a few not so big, like Manchester's Verizon Arena where I'll see them in March.

And the hopefully very cool mid-sized show at the casino.

And in reading the feedback thus far, some people are bitching that they're playing too many of "the hits" and they would like to hear "A" or "In the Drink" live. And others are thrilled because they love Million Dollars and are getting their wish.

One of the things on Peepshow that broke my heart was seeing Steve sing "War on Drugs" while a woman in the front section stood there waving her boobs around screaming "Brian Wilson! Play Brian Wilson! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" I mean -- the song he's up there singing is painful and poignant, about mental illness, drugs, death... and she's woooting like a friggin' hyena in heat.

I don't want them to do "War on Drugs" this time around. Sure it's an amazing song. Sure it's beautiful and really showcases Steve's voice. So does "Powder Blue." So does "Break your heart" (more so in my opinion. It's a great song. It means a lot to some people. But. It's a buzzkill.

It really brings the house crashing down. Except for the few sick whackos who are probably drunk and should be listening to the message of the song. It's lost on them as long as they woot and holler for One Week. Which will be played, but not right this second.

I love live concerts -- I sometimes despise concert goers.

Jessica just called to me from the livingroom "How do you get money paid to you for 'pain and suffering?'" Aaah. A law firm commercial. Staple of mid-morning TV.

Which reminds me, I saw a commercial for the law offices of Dane Schulman (or whatever his name is, the Boston Based attorney who will "get you your money and THAT'S THAT!" as he wags his finger in the camera) and a friend of mine from college is in it.

It's the bowling commercial -- he's in an orange shirt. He's the one who can't get his attorney to call him back. It aggravates him so much so that he throws a gutter ball as he obsesses on the thought.

I screamed when I saw it... how funny is that to see an old friend in a commercial.

Monday, February 16, 2004

zombie girl

My head is in a fog today. It's 2:30pm, and I'm just sort of waking up. No, there was no huge alcohol induced bender. I drove Aaron to the airport, and we left at 4:45am. I was home and back in my bed at 6:30, but didn't fall back asleep until after Doug was up and out the door at about 8.

I slept until the phone rang at 9... woke up for a while, took the dogs out, fell back asleep, woke up, made lunch for the kids, fell back asleep on the fold out couch in the living room while they ate and watched spongebob. Woke up again...

I am truly zombie at this point.

Top it off with the fact we had a very busy weekend, and I think I'm glad I'm not working at this point because my brain is just plain shut off.

Friday night I stayed up until 1:30am to watch BNL on Conan. I hope Comedy Central is rerunning it today at 7pm. They did "Testing 1,2,3" which was a welcome relief from the chimp song, which they've done over and over... time to get a new single out there and hopefully light a fire for this album. It's sold very few copies compared to Maroon and Stunt... I think that the label may be disappointed with it. I think it's a good album. It isn't Gordon, but... it's a good album. They need another single off of it for sure.

Saturday I got up very early to get Jessica up and ready for play rehearsal, and didn't head back to bed because I knew it would make me feel like I do today.

We went Geocaching. We set out for four of them and got none. I wrote about our adventures in full in my journalspace journal. Normally I save the longwinded stuff for over here, and point from there to here. Not sure why I did it the other way around. So if you'd like to read the details of our trip to the woods of Freemont NH, here you go. Click here.

We emailed another cacher in the area who hit the cache the same day, successfully, and asked if he'd mind advising us as to where we screwed up. He gladly obliged. Gotta love the geocaching community.

Aaron came to the house at 7pm and I made some ass kicking burritos. While we were all insanely tired, we sat up talking late.

Sunday morning Geoff woke up at 7am, and I worked to keep him quiet so Aaron could rest, but at about 9:30 there was no keeping him from his hero, and Aaron got all woken up by the boy. Not too bad a night's sleep. We got ourselves organized and went down to the Franklin Park Zoo, now that the gorillas are back we figured it'd be a good place to spend the day, and it was.

We had dinner at the Chinese buffet in Andover, and all came home totally stuffed, zombified, ready to watch the Simpsons and crash.

And then 4:30am came, and it was early and I'm now very out of sync for where my mind should be at 3pm on any given day.

Anyway... I will make some tea. Hang here for a minute.

Right -- I'm back. A good cuppa is always nice. Although I know I use teabags and not good strained leaves steeped just right and British, I think they're on to something with a good afternoon tea. I even had time to whip up a banana bread and throw it into the oven. The joys of being home and not having to rush to do something, get somewhere.

Sigh -- I know these days may end shortly.

I have to make a list of things that need to be done. And I need to get these things done. Here is a start:

  • I need to send in the rebate info for the software I bought to help fix my computer. That's 50 bucks right there.
  • I have to have breakfast with Carrie
  • I have to go to our pastor's house and help her with her PC. I think I know what's wrong, and God help her if it's what I had.
  • I cleaned the study up as much as I could while the computer was dead. It's starting to get messy again so I need to reapply my cleaning an organizational expertise to this area.
  • Our bedroom needs a total overhaul.
  • Our vacuum needs a visit to the vacuum cleaner hospital because there is something godforsaken stuck in the tube, and I can't get it out. Probably a small rodent which hid in dog hair and was sucked up from under the couch. Or one of Geoff's errant socks.
  • The Passat needs an oil change. I could bring that up to the corner today, but... meh.
  • I have to go out to our cache that we made for Michael back in August. Seems the second clue has gone missing. I think I will positively do that tomorrow. It'll be a quick easy trip with just the boy. And while I'm at it, I should do cache maintenance on our other two area caches, and scope out a location where we can deploy another cache. We bought ammo boxes in Salem last weekend. Can't wait to do another hide!
  • Our bathroom walls need retiling.
  • Geoff's room needs complete reorganization.
  • Jessie's room needs complete reorganization.
  • Our kitchen and livingroom need complete reorganization.
  • Update the church website, the MHC website, talk to professor CM about the other project we started before he went on sabbatical, update cateringman's website, check for dead links on the portal website I made for the history department of a local private school, finish the dart people, and see if I can't drum up another site or two to do.
  • Jumpstart the monkey reference website. People actually miss it

These are the achievables for the next week or so. I know these can be done. Add to that sending out resumes and keeping my children from punching the crap out of each other when they disagree and this will be a busy time.

Finally, before I go -- does anyone out there in the world have the SONY Cybershot 1.3 megapixels camera? I cannot find my CD to install the drivers, and the Sony website is no help whatsoever. Wondering if another reader has the same camera. If you do -- email me please and we'll figure out a way for you to get that to me. I think for right now I can go to Walgreens or something and they can at least download my pictures to CD so I can get them off of my camera, but man... what a pain in the ass.

Anyway... banana bread should be done. Gotta go check on it. More later as always.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Every day is Valentine's Day for Doug and Chris! Two years ago I wrote an entry on that topic, and followed it up with letters of evidence showing this is true. When Doug and I were dating, his mom asked us one night what why we weren't out celebrating Valentine's day.

I think we were studying, and then planned on rolling around on the floor together for a couple of hours. Nothing fancy. No roses. No dinner out. No expectations -- just togetherness. His answer to her "EVERY day is Valentine's Day for Doug and Chris!"

She laughed at us.

This morning Geoff told me that Valentine's Day was canceled. I told him, "But honey, EVERY day is Valentine's Day!" which is, of course, true when you are Doug and Chris.

He was pissed and closed himself in his bedroom.

Dude just isn't immersed in all the love and joy his daddy and I obviously swim in daily.

So -- whether you're solo or hooked up... may today just be a good day. No matter what your plans or your state of romantic involvement. Have a great day.

If it's treacley and sweet and your love spent way way way too much on some flowers, hopefully that brings your heart joy and you don't get all pissy and say "what, red and white roses? Why not all red you fucktard!"

If you're rolling around on the floor with someone, watch out for furniture. There's nothing worse than snogging and then bashing your head on the corner of the desk leg. Believe me. I've been there.

If you're sitting by the phone cursing every beat of that dickhead's heart (because he hasn't called you yet) and hoping you could grab it through his rib cage and throw it through the cement wall of the nearest parking garage -- hopefully the sun is shining in and your plants are doing well.

And remember -- this is a big fat commercialized bullshit day where one half of the couple usually expects too damn much in the name of romance, and the other half feels compelled or doomed to oblige.

Screw that. Send him or her flowers in August for "no reason." Make every day valentine's day.

Alright -- that's my little VD screed. On with the rest of this entry. The icky part. You are forewarned as of this point -- if you are easily squicked out and barf at the mere mention of things oozy, you better just close the browser window now, or hit the back button or click here to go somewhere less squicky (well, I think it may be squicky to some but it was the first thing that popped into my head).

I've a story to tell about my dog. And it's not charming, cute, fluffy or cuddly.

Yesterday I came home from work, having been handed my ass in a hat and sent packing, knowing that I am now unemployed and without income. I was kind of bummed out. I wanted doggie friendship and companionship. I walked into the house and it smelled nasty. Totally nasty. Bloody shitty nasty. I couldn't figure it out. I sniffed every surface of floor, couch, bed, tile, toilet -- everything.

I then figured out that it was Kinger that stank. It seemed to be coming from his mouth. I thought "Damn! Dog -- you need a friggin biscuit!" and I fed him one. The smell didn't go away. It followed him from room to room. I thought "perhaps he's sick and has gas or something..." so Jessie took him out and he peed, but didn't poop. She said even outside that he reeked to high heaven. The two of us were stymied.

I decided to give his mouth a good look. I pried his jaws open, and the smell wasn't coming from inside his mouth. I went to pat him on the chest, and my hand encountered the source of the stench.

Under his collar was this huge mass of bloody, brown, stinky oozy shit. I pulled my hand away, and almost passed out. I whipped his collar off, and it was coated in this bloody mess. Jessie just about barfed (I've never seen the girl gag) and she tossed it out the front door as I threw the dog into the tub.

I realized that the mess wasn't on his fur, but that he had some sort of sore under his collar. I thought to myself "How is this possible? Is his collar that tight? No... I could slip all four fingers of my hand between the collar and his neck so it isn't like I'm some sort of deadbeat that would be profiled on Pet Detectives."

There was this oozy sore on his neck. We washed him up, dried him off, gave him two of Jack's left over antibiotics, and he was happy. He went to sleep on the floor. After I while I looked down and there was this ooze all over the floor, so I got a towel and put it under his head.

This was the nastiest thing I've ever had to deal with in dog ownership. I spent a restless night, checking on him and the towel. He slept as much as he could but sat up panting for a long time and I was really worried about him.

I called the vet this morning, thinking some sort of tumor had erupted from his neck and out into the world. She had me rush him in -- it turns out this is a "hot spot," a kind of allergic reaction that dogs get. I was worried it was because of his collar, and the vet assured me that it just happened to be at that spot. It's an easy access scratchy spot, and he must have gone to town on it over the last few days.

She shaved his neck, and Lord have mercy -- what a mess! It is HUGE, bloody and nasty. I almost passed out, but our Vet is the bomb. She's all cool and laid back and not a squickster at all. She washed him up (commended me for doing the same yesterday) gave him some meds, some spray, encouraged us to find a way to cover it up but still get air to it. Luckily for us Kinger is a big sleeper, so he'll crash out and sleep all day and not scratch at it. Between watching it carefully, the meds, and perhaps some black/green tea as the guide linked above suggest (not to drink but as a cooling compress) and me being home an unemployed, we'll have this thing cured quickly.

But man -- I've never seen anything like this. I remember the first time Missy picked up a tick. I had no idea what it was. It was on her face and had blown up to huge proportions. I think one of the officers at the college where Doug was working knew what it was, but my naïveté about ticks and what they look like didn't make him laugh. He handled it well, extracted the tick and then destroyed it in the parking lot (much to my squickiness).

Having dogs has greatly reduced my super squick factor. I can deal with almost anything now without passing out. Blood, dead animals in the woods, mess, skin disease, ticks, vomit, mud, fleas... They've changed my life! Sort of like the kids have. Before them, I couldn't handle holding someone while they were sick, or not pass out while changing a diaper of extreme toxicity. Now, I'm all laid back and professional.

And isn't that what love helps you become? A rock. Fully entrenched in the relationship and situations that arise. Which is why every day is Valentine's Day for Doug and Chris, and all the dogs the kids and the life we have. And I couldn't be happier.

Friday, February 13, 2004

It could be worse

"I just don't know what to do with myself
I don't know what to do with myself
and now that we're through
I just don't know what to do"
-the White Stripes

No, my marriage isn't over. That would suck above and beyond all imagination, and I don't think I would be able to sit here and write a coherent thought (not that I do on a regular basis anyway).

The above referenced song is a break up song. And the break up that has occurred is between me and my employer. I got dumped. Man, I always get dumped.

I'm laid off again. Almost 2 years after the first time I got laid off, 10 months after I took this HR job... I lose it.

But, it could be worse. On top of getting laid off...

  • I could be pregnant.
  • I could be on the verge of losing my house.
  • I could have no sense of humor at all.
  • I could have unimaginable 3rd world style debt (well, that's not far from the reality of my life).
  • I could have no primary income winner in my life like my lovely husband.
  • My tenants could tell us they're moving out (I just had a long talk with P and they have no intention of ever leaving. They're deep in debt, and finding someplace to live at the rate we currently charge is a near impossibility).
  • I could have no alcohol (apologies to those of you who abstain and may find offense, but I had a nice carafe of sangria last night at dinner with my husband, and that made me smile).
  • I could have no dogs who love me.
  • I could have no marketable skills to speak of, and an IQ of 70 (in which case, I doubt that I'd be sitting here blogging and designing websites for fun).
  • I could have a child in a Boston hospital suffering from Viral Meningitis.

It's a mixed blessing, but it didn't "go down" the way I'd foreseen. See, in the back of my mind I knew that once they placed someone in A's vacant position (which was vacated when she moved up to department manager when S left) that they would eliminate my position.

I mentioned that I saw this as a possibility to A during a lunch that we had out last week. She seemed honestly stunned that I'd even THINK that would be an option. She wanted a full 2.5 person department. I told her that I did too, that it would rock, but that from a business standpoint I honestly believed that they'd eliminate my position, and that I was cool with it.

If there is anything that I am -- it's an unabashed realist.

But... I thought that I'd work up until the new person's start date, or even wonderfully a few months into the transition...But keeping me on in that respect seems to not be an option. So yesterday I was told it would be too weird for me to train my replacement. I would have 3 weeks of time to possibly access sensitive information and doom the company or some such justification. And it would be better if I left now. I was kind of stunned -- I mean really. Honestly. My unabashed realism was taken by absolute surprise. I was hijacked. Stunned. Virtually speechless. And I started laughing, which is something that I do at inappropriate times.

A and I talked about it, I told her that I had several little loose ends floating around that I really wanted to clean up, so I worked until about 3pm (she pulled me in her office at 1pm and told me). And she told me to come in today and say goodbye, but that she didn't expect me to work. I still had some things to ship to our California plant, so I took care of that. And I went in and did my thing.

I got the opportunity that few people get at this location -- I got the chance to say goodbye to people. I didn't really have that opportunity when I got laid off in 2002. So I walked through the plant, and targeted folks that I love there to let them know I will miss them.

All my spanish and cambodian peeps. All the people who made my trips through their building to walk to shipping an absolute joy. So I'm very glad for that. A couple of them -- it looked like I broke their hearts. But it is what it is and I had to do it. Going through the office was hard. Even though I felt like I never totally fit in here, I know now that I was loved.

And in the end whatever reasons or justification for letting my hard-workin' but very bored ass go, it's no big thing. That's their decision ... fine. Whatever. I'm okay with it, but... the thing that really baffles me most is that A is left hanging in the breeze, seemingly stunned that she loses me 3 full weeks before the person comes in.

And what if the new candidate changes her mind? Where does that leave A? It doesn't seem right or professional on their part to have let me go today.

Of course, I look back on this experience and question things about me. Perhaps I'd been too open about my personal life. Perhaps I should have applied for the full time position there. But no. You all know I have not been 100% fulfilled vocationally in this job for several months now. My kids' schedule is important, and if push came to shove (like it has) a fulltime job in my future would NOT be an HR position. I would want a web design, teaching, training position... something like I had at CMGI where I got laid off in 2002. I've felt as if I'm not on the right train since the day I got dropped off at that unemployment station.

I took the job because it had features that were appealing to me, but not because I wanted to grow into a full fledged HR Generalist. Now, if I cannot find another part time or telecommuty job, I'll apply for full time jobs and figure out what to do with the kids after school when that bridge is in front of me waiting to be crossed.

I got two weeks severance. Now I look for another job. It's done and over. And part of me is singing the White Stripes song above. I honestly really just don't know what I'm going to do with myself now. But. We'll take it one day at a time, as it were. As it is what it is.

That's about it for now. I have a website to upload for a client and some surfing to do. I'll post more later. I do believe that BNL is on Conan O'Brien tonight for Canada week. Shit I'm so forcing myself to stay up and watch... 12 hours from now! Yikes. Normally I'm out cold by 10pm. But... BNL, baby. I'm so there.

And with that, I say later.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Prayers requested

"I drop this copper on the ground
and if you're down, you might pick it up.
To coin a phrase, this is my way of praying
that all through the day you'll have good luck."
-Jon Svetkey

There isn't often a time I turn to my greater readership (all five of you) and ask you to pray for anything.

It is kind of awkward. The thing about cyberspace is many of us read each other, and have little or nothing in common in the greater scheme of things.

Many of you aren't with a particular faith system. Many of you are of some faith or other, kind of borderline agnostic, but think there is some something out there. Others, well you're like me and have a church or some sort of semi-structured faith & fellowship that you ride with. If you don't pray, send mojo. But here's the double request I am making right now.

Nathaniel -- We go to church and school with a family here, and their oldest child, a middle schooler, suddenly came down with a fever over the weekend. It spiked to about 105 degrees, and his parents rushed him to the emergency room, and the emergency room threw him in an ambulance and sent him to Boston. He's got viral meningitis. Which is pretty serious but has a run of 7-10 days, and with a normal immune system folks usually rebound. He's not doing super well, and add to that the fact that his grandfather died on Thursday of last week (dad's dad) the family unit could really use a lifting.

And always, I have a tendency to play "it could be worse" in situations like this. And yes, it could be.

But still -- Send. Mojo.

Gregg and Karry -- I've written here a bit about Gregg and Karry before. He's a friend from college who battled cancer while we were students. She was in our wedding party in 1991. We took his son geocaching and there are pictures here in the site someplace of him being "Eagle Eye Ian" in Gloucester and Rockport. We saw Bruce Cockburn and a hippie's back or three together with Tess this summer in Newburyport.

Gregg works for a software company, and the software company has several military contracts. So, Gregg is getting sent to Iraq. He'll be training and doing support for the software over in the actual theatre of operations.

He's thrilled and excited at the opportunity, and scared out of his mind. He and his lovely wife are both folks with deep and abiding faith, but there isn't any sort of evangelical knowitallism "Oh, everything will be lovely and perfect and as the Lord wishes" in either of their voices. They're both incredibly realistic. Gregg is totally aware of the dangers he is going to face, and Karry -- she's a homeschoolin' mom with two kids and a household to hold together for up to two months while he's away.

I know a lot of you out there know military families or are military yourself. You're probably saying "Two months! Pfthth! That's NOTHIN!" but to a family that didn't expect/anticipate such a big event as this, well -- this is big. When you take a job with a company, three years down the road you don't expect you'll be shipped off to a warzone to show the soldiers how to work the communications software, do you? Nah.

So. Again. Send Mojo.

Right then -- I'll keep you posted if you are looking for updates. Email me and let me know. And while you're at it -- if you need mojo? Email me too. I'll add you to my list. There are many of you I pray for frequently, without your knowing it I guess. I read your journals and say "mojo needed." So if you're wanting to have some extra, just lemme know. M'kay?

Rice is needing to be removed from the oven. More later. I got glasses and I should take a picture so you can all laugh at me. Ha ha !