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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Special for John Hudnall

I'm still not 100% sold on biodiesel as the answer to all our energy problems, but John Plaza, the founder and CEO of Seattle Biodiesel, is absolutely a cool guy. Cool enough to volunteer his time to come talk to our discussion group at work, and cool enough to send me a free hat!

Eat Your Heart Out Hud!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dead Man Walking

I've got lame duck disease. I wander the halls of Jewish Family Service trying not to spread the virus of being laid off. I smile and nod and slink away from light or human contact, but my shadow wildly pantomimes the details of my assassination like Hamlet's ghost.

Maybe I'm just uncomfortable with expressions of sympathy. Maybe I'm afraid of giving these concerned folk a glimpse of what BummerMan thinks about this whole thing. All I want is to stay positive and be responsible and graceful in my exit. When someone stops me in the corridor and says, "Hey, how are you doing?" I want to run in the other direction for fear that I might ruin their day. Or perhaps because I have an even deeper fear that they really couldn't care less. Either way, every agency has it's share of malaise and I don't want my name associated with any of it.

Meanwhile, Madison Market is selling a new issue of Heeb (The New Jew Review) which I've been reading faithfully for the last few years in an attempt to identify with a hip young Jewish intellectual movement. I have no intention of purchasing another issue.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Listening Station Update

Nedra suggested it was insanity to dump a Nick Cave record, so I'm offering up a sample of his better work. Link to a taste of the big, ugly crooner doing his best to melt our cold, cynical, generation-x hearts.

Meanwhile, this week's hit list includes:

Panthalassa, The Music of Miles Davis~Bill Laswell
Dog Faced Hermans~Bump and Swing
Eric Dolphy~Out to Lunch
Nick Drake~18 Rare Home Recordings
Elf Power~A Dream in Sound

The Flaming Lips~In a Priest Driven Ambulance
The Flaming Lips~Hit to Death in the Future Head

Car Talk

My car is healthy again! And on the road, I'm filled with confidence and swagger once more. Just like a 60 year old man who has recently cheated death with a quadruple bypass surgery.

Sure my car is running on borrowed time, but for right now, she's healthy. That pesky leak in my radiator fluids was probably just a cracked overflow tank (now replaced) and I guess that electrical problem was just a failing starter (also now replaced.) I have no idea why a failing starter would also cause my dashboard radio and clock to reset (as if the whole electrical system was failing) but perhaps that's just one of the many characteristic quirks of the '96 Ford Taurus. I felt so happy, I immediately went out and washed all the caked-on dust and pollen off of her, so she looks as good as she feels. $400 for peace of mind. I guess it's worth it. Until I decide to become carless again.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Long Dark Teatime of my Soul

Today is the day. The day the agency I work for is going public with certain knowledge, and therefore, the day I can write about last Thursday. Last Thursday sucked hard. Sucked like your final farthing dropped down the deepest well, sucked like a banshee catching wind after a mighty wail, sucked like profiteering Republicans crowded at the teat of human misery. And it's a suckitude that I've been sitting on for most of a week. How it has pained me to deprive the Stave It Off faithful of these events!

The biggest news: I'm being laid off. As of July 1st, I'm joining Walter's famous "ranks of the underemployed". My position is going away so that the department can hire someone with an education background. Hey, here's your chance for a steady gig Walter! (This, in itself, may not be a bad thing. But change, you know, she's a bitch.) So now I'm surfing the want ads (heads up Soapy, send me some hot leads!)

Determined to leave my troubles behind, I joined my Thursday night basketball crew for hoops and beer and sympathy. Instead, I sprained my ankle. The most heinous result of which is that I couldn't play softball last weekend. Then my car wouldn't start (so I had to leave it parked illegally outside the Boyz n' Girlz Club) and finally, I managed to piss off an old friend by making beer-addled (and apparently offensive) remarks. This resulted in threats of bodily harm against my personage. A personage I'm quite attached to and couldn't bear any more bodily harm toward. Although I'm sure you all would have enjoyed my photo-documentation of the injuries.

So, given that I recently blogged about a near miss job prospect, you're probably wondering where to file this breaking news: under ironic twists, or under hidden blessings? Truth be told, I don't know yet myself. On the positive side, I can collect unemployment if I don't find the next cobblestone quickly enough. And thank god I don't have a pregnant girlfriend or a mortgage to pay off or something. Then I'd really be freaked out.

And luckily Friday was significantly better. Good news from the mechanic: the leak in my radiator is just a crack in my overflow tank! Cheap fix. Also, there were no measurable exhaust fumes in the tank so chances are my head gasket is jus' fine. But he has no clue what's up with my electrical system. Hmmm...

While he was checking out the car, I went with Dingo to see Terry Zwigoff's Art School Confidential which rocked so much Casbah that I'm still intoxicated by its misanthropy. Jim Broadbent is my new hero, and I'll kill any man who says otherwise. Peace out y'all.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mo' Photos de Mexico, Yo

Azulito, the blue-eyed devil (and total basket case.)

Yep, this wall is totally orange.

Lagoona Matata!

Is it rust, or is it dust?!

No one notices the contrast of white on white.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Suckerpunched! (revised)

This week started on a downer... such a downer it took me until today to write about it. I didn't get the job. That job I've been giddy about. The prospect of which had me skipping down the street like a cracked out schoolgirl. The prized and fabled job interviewing inmates at the Seattle Jail... it just wasn't meant to be. Apparently NorthWest Defenders decided to hire someone with relevant experience. Hmph.

The crappy part is that I didn't find out until I had become REALLY REALLY invested in the idea. I had practically written my letter of resignation. I was prepared to move downtown so that I could continue to live right next door to wherever I work. I was mentally prepared to deal with clients that actually needed my help. They even checked my references for gosh sake. Sigh. Now I've got a boss that knows I was trying to find another job, but has to continue putting up with me since the legal firm eventually rejected my sorry ass.

So last night, I dragged that lazy, tired butt to the gym. As I reached the five-minute mark on the treadmill (jogging at a pace almost as fast as a typical urban walk) I started thinking about why it is that I don't have one of these perfectly chiseled bodies that I see all around me. I see them all the time: on the streets, in the magazines, in the movies and on television. It's almost like a part of my brain thinks I'm entitled to that perfectly slim physique, and that it's unfair that I don't have one too. That's when I realized the root of my job-related depression. Not getting the job offended my sense of entitlement. I deserved that job! That's why I was so bummed out. My sense of "investment" had transformed into a sense of "entitlement".

Keenly aware of my gloriously cascading rolls of belly fat, I kept jogging past the ten-minute mark and thought about how despicable I find people who walk around with offended senses of entitlement. These are the inflexible people, the unadaptable people. Their lives don't measure up to whatever yardstick they've been programmed with, and somehow it's everyone else's fault. Or worse yet, it's their own fault, and it's irrefutable proof that they can't do anything right and ought to just kill themselves. I'm not any more entitled to that job than I am to that perfectly toned body over there. And taking occasional stabs at achieving either goal probably isn't going to be effective.

I felt more and more like a weak-kneed punk for being so upset about missing their final cut. It's all about self-discipline and resilience right? Those are the real tools you need to thrive and survive. I was starting to get woozy as I hit the fifteen-minute wall. Then my Creative Muvo (so much better than an iPod!) pumped Matisyahu's King without a Crown (from the new album Youth) into my ears. Not just the perfect rush of beat and manic happy energy, but a remarkable testament to humility. I thought about the necessity of plugging away, of changing strategies and of finding happiness wherever the universe decides to put you despite your best efforts. I cruised past my twenty minute goal easily.

I'm still not cured. Now I'm tired and numb. But I'm taking that as progress since I was miserable over the last two days.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

At least check out the Garfield Randomizer

If you've ever felt like the Sunday funnies needed an enema: click here for an incredible scholastic look at what's wrong with cartoons (and how to fix them.) Featuring only 34% ironic content!