Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crappy New Year!

I'm re-re-re-installing Windows. Bad net connection, so it's just my phone until the roommie gets back to deal with Time Warner.

Rassafrackin' technology.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That's more like it.

It's amazing what sleeping in your own bed can do.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

15 minutes or less

My therapist ordered that this post be written in that short amount of time without editing, so here goes:

1) Began mending fences with my sister.

2) A girl I had a MAJOR crush on in high school has been in a couple of porn movies. Her implants look awful, but then, they look bad on everyone.

3) Maternal grandmother is going senile. She's 88 and in an assisted living/retirement home.

4) Paternal grandmother isn't that much better at 87.

5) Explaining technology to old people is a waste of time.

6) Sleeping pills are a necessity here.

Yeah. It sucks. Two days left. But at least my phone has better web reception here than it does in NYC.

(14 minutes.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Life imitating Matrix

So I'm walking around Herald Square the other night after therapy, and from a distance, I see what appears to be lights streaming down the buildings. I had one of those Doctor Who moments at the end of a season where he just says: "What? What? What?"



This is where having a camera phone comes in handy, to make sure I'm not completely insane.

After a few minutes of figuring out how to use it, I move closer and see that it's icicle lights in the leafless trees. Once again, reality misleads and disappoints.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Feeling the crunch

We got this letter from the boss the other day:

So the year is almost up and I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your hard work and dedication. We’ve had some great wins this year with xxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxx and we should also be very proud of our Christmas movie, Shout out’s to xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx and everyone who contributed, the reaction has been fantastic.

That being said we have had a rough year. On top of that next year looks even worse, many of you probably know people who have been laid off and there will be more to come. Our revenue (not profit) in the last 3 years has literally been cut in half. You can tell by the number of empty desks. We are going to wait till the New Year and hope that the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx campaign, xxxxxxxxxxxx, and xxxxxxxxxxxxx come through, if 2 out of the 3 happen we will be in OK shape. If none happen we are, frankly, screwed. The company has not made a profit in 3 years. I’m sure many of you are due for raises (or deserve them) there is no way that will happen next year.

I’m afraid I will have to ask each and everyone of you to work harder and be even more aware of expenses in the new year. Anytime we do something for a client that is not in our scope or that we could charge for, we are taking money out of our own pockets. No work without checking scope, no work before we have formal briefs and most of all no outside expenses unless xxxxxxxxxxx or I approve them. The biggest issue with freelance is writing. We will try to get a deal or hire someone full time, but in the meantime think 3 times before you ask for a writer.

This will be a painful year not only for us but for most of America, unfortunately we are not going in to the year from a position of strength, keep the faith and work as hard as possible. If we all pull together we can have a successful 2009. Thanks again.


Real encouraging, right? If only he could talk to us like that in person instead of being an ass all the time.

It gets better.

Rent is going up. So long, dental insurance. Good thing that last wisdom tooth was taken care of.

I've made major strides in therapy, but because I'm making more money than I was last year, the rates have increased. I'm many months behind on the bills. I have to cut sessions down to two a month, or less.

December has been a tough month, but that shouldn't last. The biggest problems were from the roommate not keeping me up to date on the electric & Internet bills. Now that I know what to expect, I can budget for it.

Still, it's going to be very tough, like it is for everyone else. It's time to look for a better and/or second job.

Leaving for Bumblefuck on Christmas day, returning on the 29th. Howdy-ho, everyone.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

How to have a shitty week.

Step 1: Wake up.

Step 2: Go to work.

Step 3: Get into multiple arguments at work due to a total lack of communication (re: I'm the last one to know about anything).

Step 4: Stay at work late every night because of last minute projects and to correct mistakes due to lack of communication.

Step 5: On Wednesday, while attempting to pay for lunch, discover you're a victim of credit fraud. Again.

Step 6: Spend fifteen minutes in line at bank because the person at the head of the line needs a translator.

Step 7: Get back to the office where everyone is ready to pounce, wondering where the hell you've been, there are multiple emergencies.

Step 8: Stay three hours later than scheduled due to lack of planning & indecision of the higher-ups.

How to recover from a shitty week.

Step one: Spend five minutes at the bank to resolve the credit issue.

Step two: Enjoy and savor the lunch you jumped through hoops to get.

Step three: Spend Thanksgiving & Black Friday with friends.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

30

Thanks for coming, everyone. You have no idea how much it means to me.

(Sorry for the poor quality. I forgot to change the settings.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Particle board

Who the fuck ever heard of a particle board toilet seat?

Go ahead and laugh. It's okay.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bittersweet (links abound)

One step forward.

President Barack Hussein Obama

Four steps back:

Arkansas

California

Florida

Arizona

To all of our LGBT friends, brothers, and sisters out there, I'm sorry.

To the rest of you, go here:

Human Rights Campaign

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ow ow ow ow.

The last wisdom tooth is making its presence known. I can't sleep. Calls will be made once places open up. The sooner this is dealt with, the better.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I could really do without...

...Inspiration hitting me at 3:30 AM when I'm trying to sleep.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sinking ship

Can't sleep...

There are quite a few things that are my fault; hence the self-hatred. I figured that part out a long time ago, and talked about it here.

There are things that are not my fault; hence the hatred of everyone that caused them.

These are no-brainers.

In a recent (and deleted) post, my anger issues came to light. A day was spent dwelling on it all, thoughts of "maybe he's right, maybe everything is my fault. There's only one way to take care of that..."

Recognizing that jumping in front of a train was not the way to think, I called up the therapist.

The offending post and all of the comments were shown and analyzed. "We've got our work cut out for us!"

I laughed.

"That's a good sign."

It's safer to be anxious than angry, because being angry is like being my dad. I'm terrified at the idea of becoming anything like him. It's why I don't drink - that's one more way to lose control. We got A LOT of material out of that post, but anger is going to be the primary focus for now.

There's also a whole bunch of "mind-reading", assuming what others are thinking of me in a given situation, most of it leaning towards negative. Being mindful of mind-reading will help change all that.

Meanwhile, I took last week off - a much needed vacation. There's really nothing like a bad cold to throw off all your plans. Museum trips will have to wait for another time. Time was spent reformatting my computer or sleeping. One of the hard drives has been fried to the point where no computer recognizes it. All of my artwork, photos, reference, ebooks, and the last few episodes of Doctor Who are pretty much gone. I'm now saving money to have it all recovered. This could take a while...

The previous weekend was spent in Teaneck, helping Morts move stuff around in his new house. They've got a shrub of mint growing in the back yard, which I find much more interesting than the pear tree.

I got a big gut-laugh when the gal that dumped me last year (pool-playing veggie) showed up in the queue of "people you'll like" on a personals site. Er, no. We met through a different site, and had a few good times, but...no.

Regarding the title of this post, things at work are getting more surreal. The art director is leaving for a job in Minnesota on Wednesday. I'm trying to stay positive, but every fiber is screaming "ABANDON SHIP!" If we lose any more people in the creative department, we won't be able to function.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Balance, Isolation, and Separation from the Self

I had one hell of a therapy session this week, wherein the therapist so completely outlined the problems that I nearly cried.

"I don't fit in anywhere." - Bill Hicks.

As far back as I can remember, I've always felt like an outsider looking in and wondering why. The consequences of attempting to be "in" only reinforced the original notion. Opening up to others often resulted in judgment, ridicule, and embarrassment. There was nowhere that I felt safe. Not even with family.

I haven't exactly hidden Dad's alcoholic, violent past, but it's not something I voluntarily talk about. When asked why I didn't tell anyone about it, at the time, I assumed it was a normal thing. I had nothing to compare my experiences to. Early on, it was understood that almost everything on television was fantasy. He never left a mark, so even if I did tell anyone, there would be no evidence. I also never made the connection between alcohol and violence until much later.

Not having an explanation of why it was happening, I rationalized that I must have done something very bad, that I must be a horrible person, not worthy of happiness, love, or life.

It never occurred to me that Mom would try (or should have tried) to protect me. I assumed that she felt the same way, but she never acted like it. Somehow I could tell that she was afraid, too.

So I lived with the fear of getting throttled at home and at school.

In school, the contradictory responses of classmates was too confusing. The weird, slow kid who just wants to be left alone got picked on just for that. When he opens up and tries to play in their reindeer games, he gets picked on.

I decided it would be easier getting picked on for the former instead of the latter. What they don't know won't hurt me. Either way, my peers confirmed what Dad had taught me to suspect about myself, that I wasn't good enough*.

* - "I'm not good enough", a core belief revealed two sessions ago.

What exacerbated things was being a half-generation older or younger than most family members. There's one cousin who's my age, but she lives half a continent away, and we're so dissimilar, you'd never believe we're related. I spent most family gatherings in a separate room, escaping from life in comics; reading, writing or drawing them. At the time, the political discussions among the adults bored me, as did the Barbie-playing crew of kids.

My sister didn't help things, either.

When she was a toddler, she annoyed the hell out of me. She'd jump up & down in her crib, keeping me awake at night. I'd be miserable at school the next day.

How could you tell the difference?

Yeah, yeah. Funny.

Then we moved and got separate rooms, and I became more protective of her, as big brothers are wont to do. And as the baby of the family, she was spared most of the punishments, despite being the troublemaker. But as she got older, she became shallow and self-centered. She began to resent my existence. Erin went as far as to say that she was embarrassed by me. I gave up on being a brother to her.

---
"Why haven't you told your family about being in therapy?"

Because they have so much, too much to worry about as it is.

"Did you hear the words you just said? You've written yourself out of your own family. You believe you're not worth the trouble of your own parents' love."
---

"Do your friends know about what your father did?"

Some do.

"What does it feel like to tell them."

It's strange. I have to separate myself from it so I don't re-live it as I tell them.

"You become an outsider in your own life so you don't feel anything. And I don't think you do it in just that kind of situation. Over the past few weeks, I've noticed that you censor yourself to a degree. You're trying to balance how much of the inner and outer You to reveal, because that fear of judgment and rejection is overwhelming. You've been doing this your whole life; it must be exhausting! I can see your body is reacting to telling me all this -- "

(At this point in the session, I'm seated in a quasi-fetal position. Still upright, but very tense and somewhat curled up.)

" -- and I want to know what you're feeling now."

Fear, anger, remorse, lonely, tired, sad.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Magnificent

My clearly insane twin sister Jerry Sizzler (three sequential links, click each of them!) - er, my friend Francis has a few blomics to share. Naturally, I love the Darwinism one the best.

http://swingshiftstudios.blogspot.com/

http://100bad.blogspot.com/

http://darwinismonline.blogspot.com/

http://mysupalife.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ain't too proud to beg.

Total moving cost: $700. $200 on supplies, $500 for movers (at $100/hour, two hours longer than expected/budgeted).

Help?

Please?

PS - The pain killers are taking their sweet time. Anyone have Vicodin or Oxycontin?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Moving

Blah.

My desk at work has been moved to another part of the office. I no longer have three computers at my immediate disposal. Plus, I have more people around me.

Oh, and I'm moving to a new apartment. The moving company will be here Saturday at 10 AM. I'll still be in Astoria - across the street from Mike, and a bit closer to Lynne and Das. The rent is a bit more than I would like, but I can handle it. Once I'm settled in, the job search will begin again.

I am in need of boxes & bubble wrap.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dammit.

Didn't get the job.

Apparently I was too uncommunicative during the interview, and they felt I wouldn't fit in with the companies "culture."

What the fuck.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

That was quick.

Job interview on Thursday.

What Went Wrong? : "Barbara"

What Went Wrong? : "Barbara"

This is the girl who is the basis for the character Barbara in my book-in-progress.

This is also the first of three "What Went Wrong?" entries, where I over-analyze just how much of a fuckup I am when it comes to dating. Fortunately, it's also good reference for character development.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ch-ch-changes

Oh, where to begin...

Started seeing my new psychiatrist and therapist a few weeks ago. I see the psychiatrist once a month to go over medication and general mood. By the end of the 45 minutes she said, "I have so many questions I want to ask you!" My internal monologue said, "You're the first woman to say that to me!"

The therapist is weekly. It's interesting to watch her eyes widen with shock as you reveal more and more details. She looked at me as if to say, "how have you not killed yourself yet?"

It's going well, so far. They communicate to see if anything demands attention.

The apartment search isn't going great, but it's still early.

I had an interview with a headhunter today, thanks to my former supervisor. There's a job lead that would mean a 40% raise. She remarked that my current salary is a gross underpayment. I seconded that emotion.

Last week, work was significantly less than fun.

The first few months of my employment at this firm were spend trying to find a new, fast, cheap, easy way to produce out pitch books. The extremely finicky boss had approved everything by the middle of May.

On Monday, he decided that we should revert to the old way, which meant I had to waste a shitload of time. We were using a desktop inkjet printer, which died on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday, I was sent to our printer suppliers' show room and used their higher-end inkjet printers. One that I want so very much. While I was glad to be out of the office, I was sick of running around. By the end of the week, we found that all the pages printed wouldn't fit into our pre-made binding covers, so it was split in two.

I am officially sick of that place. I'm just about ready to throw the boss out the window.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wow.

If Dark Knight was any more depressing, I'd have to start cutting myself.

(Pssst! That's a joke.)

Beyond that, it was a brilliant movie.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Equations

Work = inane.

Apartment search = frustrating.

Jeff = too old for this shit.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This Saturday, the 19th!

Batman Begins & Gotham Knight at my place, 11 AM. Pizza will be ordered at 12:30, so get here on time! Movies will start once we have food. Feel free to bring any snacks, drinks, and significant others that you're willing to share.

Well, that was a poor wording choice. Let me try that again:

Feel free to bring your significant other (where applicable), as well as any snacks or drinks you're willing to share with the group.

If you need directions, you know how to reach me.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Gotham Knight & Dark Knight plans updated

Saturday the 19th is still on for Batman Begins & Gotham Knight at my place.

With Dark Knight @ IMAX sold out already, Sunday the 20th is right out. I'm guessing two weeks from then.

I prefer Sundays so my Jewish friend can join us, but a Saturday isn't out of the question (if he can't make it).

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Talking to Myself

I've figured out that using a date as the framing device of the book will make the biographical digressions feel disjointed. Splitting them up among conversations with a friend (I'll need to take lots of photos of each of you) and a psychiatrist (probably modeled on Freud or Jung) would make more sense.

In the mean time, here's the very first draft of another section:

Man in the Mirror (Summer 2006)

Jeff looks into a mirror.

Jeff: "Hi, we need to talk."

Mirror Jeff: "Yeah, there's never been a good conversation that began with that line. Get on with it."

"I don't want to be you anymore."

"What?"

"Look, I don't deny that you've done a great deal of things for me. You've made me smarter, gotten me a bunch of good friends..."

"I've kept you alive for all these years."

"No. You've enabled my survival. But I am definitely not alive."

"What kind of existential bullshit is this?"

"When was the last time we went on a date?"

"Liz G, two years ago."

"And how did that go, exactly?"

"Not well."

"When's the last time we kissed a girl?"

"Er, does on the cheek count?"

"NO IT BLOODY FUCKING DOESN'T COUNT!"

"When was the last time we felt comfortable in our skin? Have we ever liked ourselves?"

"..."

"And how old are we?"

"On the verge of 28."

"You know that Steve Carrell movie? That's going to be us if we don't change."

"I'm not very comfortable with change."

"Oh no? Do you like feeling lonely all the time? Do you enjoy crying yourself to sleep because of it, with your arms wrapped around yourself, because no one else will hold you?"

"..."

"What do you propose?"

"For starters, we're going to try to pay attention to that gym membership we've been wasting money on."

"Exercise?"

"And maybe cut back on the Haagen-Dasz."

"The first was bad enough, but this is a kick in the balls."

"It's past time we got a hair cut. It's far long enough to donate to Locks of Love. Grow a beard, while you're at it."

"That's easy enough."

"New, smaller glasses would be a good idea, too."

"Deal. What about you?"

"I'm going to look into getting therapy. We've obviously got some emotional issues to deal with. Social anxiety, fear, depression, distrust, self-hatred, etc."

"Sounds like fun."

"We've got to get out of this shell - no, we've got to destroy this shell - because no one else is going to enter it to be with us."

"Do we really have to?"

"It beats being a smear beneath the subway trains."

"Such a sunny disposition we have."

"We're going to get through this. We'll come out stronger, and more importantly, happier."

"I can live with that."

"Good, because there isn't another option."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

TEN MONTHS part 3: A New Hope

Part 1: Downward Spiral

Part 2: The Misery of Isolation

When Francis first started, he was asked where he was from.

"I was born in New York City, but I lived Brooklyn before I came here."

I asked, "Why the hell did you move up here?"

"To start a family."

In December, he put the office on notice that his first son would be born soon, and may have to leave at any moment. There were a few false alarms.

Joesph was finally born on December 23rd. There was much rejoicing.

Time passed, and Fran and I became better friends. The guys and I were working more on the Thunderstruck book, coming up with more ideas. At the beginning of March, I confided to Francis while he ate lunch (a baked potato, as an Irishman should).

"I need to get back to the city. This book we're working on seems like it will get off the ground. Plus, rural living is driving me insane."

The timing on this was impeccable.

"Well Jeff, I'm going down to Brooklyn in a week to visit my former landlady. She rents out rooms in her 4-story brownstone in Park Slope to Pratt students for $400/month, and I think she has a room available. Her name's Jan; give her a call and find out if it's okay for you to come down with me. I'll talk to her, too; she's like a mother to me."

The following Friday night, I went home with Francis. I got to find out just how like the Addams Family they are. And I got to play with the dogs; Jack, the gay, horny, black lab, and Riley, the sad, smaller of the two. His wife Mickey, and their son were down in Jersey visiting her parents, and would meet us in Brooklyn for the ride back up. I spent the night in the guest room, which is usually reserved for his nieces & nephews. Evidence: Mickey Mouse bedding.

We got up around 8 AM and drove down. It was the smoothest ride I'd ever had to the city. It was usually spent with my dad, who hated the drive. We'd always get lost at some point, and neither of us would have much to say. Francis on the other hand, had made the trip many, MANY times before hand. Since he's basically an older, more exuberant version of me, we had plenty to talk about; specifically comics.

Upon our arrival in Brooklyn, I was greeted by Jan, her dog Subway, and her five cats. While Francis got to work on some repairs, Jan interviewed me. Unbeknownst at the time, I was also being tested. Subway had sat in front of me, and the petting began. A few minutes later, she looked over at Jan and said, "He's good; he can stay." Jan commented, "She likes you. You're very gentle with her." My absolute adoration of doggies was then discussed.

That was really all that needed to be said. Later on, we went up to the fourth floor and took a look at the room. Despite the sickly green walls, it was perfect. Large, two windows, deep closet, a wall of book shelves.

"Do you want it?"

"Yes, please!"

Because of Francis' good word, she waived the deposit. I handed her a month's rent and said, "I'll be back in two weeks!"

A while later, I got to meet Mickey & Joe. Mickey's got the mouth of a sailor, and a hilarious one at that. She's sharp and crass; it's easy to see why so many people like her. She's the one who's obsessed with Nightmare before Christmas and doesn't care much for girly stuff. They were married on Halloween, and their song is Glenn Miller's In the Mood. They absolutely love swing dancing.

Francis warned me, "when you put in your two-weeks notice, don't let anyone know that I had anything to do with it." He was worried, and rightly so, about any repercussions for being responsible for my leaving the company.

I floated on the way home. The prospects of LIFE beginning made me ecstatic. Many phone calls were placed on Sunday.

Two weeks later, I was on a train bound for NYC. (Cue Dave Brubeck Quartet's Blue Rondo a la Turk.) Penn Station was crowded as usual that night. Carlos and his new girlfriend Tara were supposed to meet me. Tara and I hadn't met yet, but she found me first. This being the first time I'd met any of Carlos' GFs, I knew there was something special here. They helped me with my luggage and escorted me to Brooklyn so they could check out the place. When we got there, I couldn't unlock the door; I'd suddenly become retarded. I called Jan, and she came up to open it.

After sitting down for a few minutes, we went wandering for a restaurant, but we went in the absolute wrong direction and couldn't find a place. We walked to a subway station, and they went home. I got groceries, climbed the steps and laid down with a sense of relief.

"Well, I'm back."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ugh.

Inexplicable mood swing at work. I feel like crying.

I stepped outside, found a street vendor selling little (little) duckies (in the pond) for $1 each. I picked up two.

Then went into Dean & Deluca and picked up some chocolate.

Starting to feel better.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tentative plans: "Here's my card."


You all probably know that I'm generally not one for seeing movies on opening weekends, but this will probably be an exception.

Remember, it'll be at IMAX. I'm thinking the 20th, a Sunday. You realize that we should get there at least 90 minutes before the show starts. It'll be a long line, and we want decent seats.

*glares at Bowie*

(Yes, I remember that public transportation SUCKED that day, I don't blame you at all.)

That Saturday, the 19th, I'll be showing Batman: Gotham Knight, and possibly Batman Begins before that (depending on what you folks want to see).

The best part about Gotham Knight is that Kevin Conroy, the voice actor who played Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 90s animated series and the Justice League series, reprises his role.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Burnout

I'm still here, I'm doing fine; just a bit tired. I can't get my head in the writing/blogging mood. I've got a day off coming up soon. I'll post a proper update then.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pfft, dumbass!

When you sign up for a debt management program, it's a good idea to deactivate your other automatic payments. No wonder I've been so broke lately. Things should stabilize by July.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Politics

It's something I rarely talk about. Most of you know that I'm a dirty godless bleeding-heart tree-hugging hippie anarchic socialist Nader-loving freak.

It's pretty obvious that this country has swung so far to the right that it's wrong. There are a few conservative ideals that I like (don't try to guess which ones, but the Bull Moose Republicans are an incredibly respectable bunch). The current administration (and its supporters) doesn't embody any of them.

While I'd like to wake up to an America that has had the pendulum swung the other way (though not quite as far), pushing it toward the center would be a good start.

That leaves us with the Democratic party. That chill down all of our spines was the recognition of the sad state of affairs where the Democratic party is the Center.

If you were to look at Republican President Nixon's policies, you'd find that they are generally further to the left than the Democrats of today.

That's how far right we've gone, folks. Nixon, the guy who inspired the Governator to be a Republican, would be cast from the party faster than Mentos makes Coke explode.

Let's take a brief gander at the last 27+ years of the Executive Branch:

1981-1989: Reagan-Bush
1989-1993 :Bush-Quayle
1993-2000: Clinton-Gore
2000-2009: Bush-Cheney

Notice anything?

Yeah, there's a fucking dynasty, with the exception of Clinton-Gore. Dynasties are just one of the reasons the US was created to be a democratic republic: the FF* sought to escape them, not enable them. With Senator Clinton running for President, it's a possibility another will be created.

So I'm a bit uneasy with her candidacy, as well as her policies, voting record, history, and lying.

Meanwhile, there's this other guy who seems to be kicking lots of ass and taking names. Aside from a few irreconcilable differences...I like him. He's not a hypocrite. He listens. He thinks. He talks to us like adults. He calls people on their shit. The more I read about the man, the more I want him to be the next president.


So that's where I stand this time around. I hope eight years of him gets us back on the proper track.

* - Founding Fathers, not Fantastic Four.**

** - Unfortunately. Imagine the US set up by Reed Richards! We'd have flying cars, dammit!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Poor timing?

My supervisor (the production manager) put in his two week notice today. I am definitely not getting or seeking a promotion. My job is secure.

I am worried about how things are going to be during the months we don't have a production manager. They're telling me that it won't all fall on my shoulders, but pessimism is pervasive.

Meanwhile, I have an idea for an illustration in the book regarding the Ten Months chapter. I have to shoot photo reference this weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Further Bulletins as Events Warrant.

Nothing much going on. Or at least, nothing I can actually talk about. But in general (copying & pasting from an email I sent ALEEEEEEEEEEX last week):

Lately I'm just tired & lonely. Hence, my Economic Stimulus Payment will be spent on - you guessed it - hookers & blow.

Well, not really.

Work is generally good. I'm feeling somewhat more comfortable there. The big boss is an absolute troll, though. Okay, more orc than troll; short, thin, ugly.

I need to get my own apartment and a dog. I also need a 50% raise to make that happen.

My doctor is finishing up his residency at Bellevue, so I'll have another doc by July.

Probably go see Iron Man on the 18th. Totally in love with the trailer for Dark Knight. Hulk 2 looks really good, as does Indiana Jones.

Need to reformat my computer soon. Slowly backing stuff up.

I love this weather. So many bouncing bosoms.

Thinking about drawing. Not actually doing any; just thinking about lines, shapes, and shadows.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I take it back...

The friendship I thought had ended was quickly reconciled. We hung out last night and had a good time.

I love that silly obsessive chocolate girl.

Monday, April 28, 2008

TEN MONTHS part 2: The Misery of Isolation

(Part 1: Downward Spiral - it's been updated)

On the plus side:

DOGGIE!

Few responsibilities.

Digital cable.

No stress of the city.

Yeah, that doesn't count for much when you're completely isolated. Sure, phone calls are an option, but it's hard to talk privately in a little trailer with paper-thin walls. I needed a friend to talk with face to face.

The experiences I had in college and the city made me resent my family for being poor and relatively uneducated. I resented Gloversville for its lack of youth, culture, and energy. I resented anyone for being better off than I was. I hated myself for being a failure.

I vegetated for a month. I played with my dog, watched TV, and wallowed in self-loathing. Then mom started to kick my butt and told me to get a job. After weeks of filling out meaningless applications at grocery stores and restaurants, a printing plant (Amsterdam Printing & Lithography, “AP&L” for short) 20 minutes away had a mass hiring. They needed a production artist for their second shift. I was the only one who had a BFA from an “ivy-league” art school. I knew the programs better than anyone else that applied. They were looking for someone who was going to stick around for a while.

"Where do you see yourself five years from now?"

Still stinking of defeat and depression, convinced that I'd never be able to leave, I answered honestly. But in my mind, the answer was this:

"As far away from this place as fucking possible, if I can help it."

I got the job.

It took two weeks to figure out everything I needed to know about Illustrator. I didn’t have to worry about color or any special effects. My supervisor, Ellen (“such a sweetheart,” she’d say) was impressed beyond belief. I made the impossible possible. A month later, Francis came aboard.

Francis is basically an older, wiser, happier version of me.

As we newbies slowly settled into our roles, our personalities began to show more. When our department boss revealed at the end of a stressful day that it was her wedding anniversary, Francis and I looked at each other and immediately sang the chorus to the Flintstones Happy Anniversary song. Heather laughed and looked at us in amazement, as if we'd rehearsed. We looked at each other again and giggled madly. It was the start of a bee-yoo-tiful friendship.

I found myself looking forward to going to work. (There's a first -and last- time for everything!)

Getting to work, though, was an extraordinary feat. I put an ad in the paper looking for a co-worker who was headed from Gloversville for a ride, with the offer to pay for gas & what not. This pair of older, obese, chain-smoking, country-music-listening, mulletted, dumbass women answered the ad. They were sisters.

They were also unreliable. One of their husbands convinced them not to pick me up because of possible insurance liabilities in case there was an accident. So without telling me, they stopped showing up. I had to confront them at work after taking a cab in.

A cab ride from Gloversville to Amsterdam costs $20, plus tip. My parents would come pick me up at night. On nights of horrible snow & ice, Roger, an older smartass in the department, would take me home in his virtual monster truck.

Cabbing to work lasted about six weeks (that added up to $750). Heather caught wind of this and immediately walked out of the room. She came back 20 minutes later and said, "follow me."

As we walked to another part of the plant, she asked me why I didn't come to her for help in the first place. It just didn't occur to me that anyone else would help. I explained about the futile ads in the paper. We strolled into another department, and I was introduced to my new ride, a woman named Lynn. We got along well enough. She talked a lot about her boyfriend; particularly that he's married and wasn't likely to get a divorce any time soon.

What made things interesting was that different departments' shifts started at different times. Even though we both worked second shift, she had to start a half hour earlier than I did. I would spend that half hour in the cafeteria writing, or observing those whom evolution had forgotten, and occasionally the rare cutie.

One of them was a tall drink of water, dark and slender. She wore long skirts and sweaters. From what I gathered, she had a bit of a creative streak.

The other was a shorter redhead who was friends with Lynn. We'd continually bump into each other in the halls and be all bashful and coy. She seemed very sweet.

Both of them smoked, so that was right out.

Sucksgiving came and went with as little fanfare as possible. The art department had a pool of petty cash that everyone would contribute to in order to have a little party every time someone's birthday rolled around. If you didn't contribute, you didn't get a party. I opted out of that little program. Heather asked what I was doing to celebrate my 22nd birthday.

"Nothing."

"Really? Why not?"

"Eh, it's just another day." - A day I'd rather forget, a day spent alone, separated from everyone I called 'friend'.

Meanwhile, Chris, Carlos, and Bowie were hard at work on the comic project we were tentatively recruited for at the convention earlier in the year. Since I was the writer, I dug up a few books on mythology in general, paying particularly close attention to Norse. The comic was supposed to be about Thor's daughter, with no relation to Marvel's version of the characters, of course. In mid-December, I went down to the city to work on it some and see how the art was coming along. Our client slowly fell from the face of the earth, much to our chagrin. With no direction, no money, and no recourse, we decided to call the project our own. We haven't heard from the client since.

That small weekend dose of the city got under my skin. Every minute between projects at work was spent trying to figure out a plan. How was I going to get back there?

A few feet away, in his best Cartman voice, Francis berated his misbehaving computer, ordering it to suck his chocolate salty balls.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Well.

It's been noted at work that my attitude has soured to the point where if I don't shape up, I'll be fired. The previous month was spent processing feelings of anger and betrayal; add that to impossible deadlines and futile wild goose chases of work, and you can see why.

Over the past two weeks, I've burned some bridges. Two of them were obliviously burned by other parties many months ago; I was just kicking the ashes in their faces.

Then I let the epic arrogance of someone I detest turn me into an asshole and a hypocrite, thus ending another friendship. While I have sincerely apologized, it's simply not enough.

As a result, I have left the Comic Book Resources forums permanently. All those cool people shouldn't have to suffer the drama I'd created.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Such is life.

I've long since given up on meeting up with that girl Louise tried to set me up with. She doesn't return phone calls or emails, even after expressing interest. While it would have been really nice (lives 10 blocks away, loves & plays jazz, has a doggy), she's been rather disrespectful of the time & effort I've put in just to try to hang out with her.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

TEN MONTHS part 1: Downward Spiral

From May 2000 to March 2001, life had taken on a new level of hopelessness. I'd just graduated college and had no place to live. I was squatting in the dorm until the end of May. Bowie and I were looking for a place to live, and we both worked as coffee bitches.

One day I met Bowie at his shop Downtown. We were looking forward to just hanging out instead of apartment searching. One of his coworkers, a lithe cutie, sat in the window sill, somewhat silhouetted against the light pouring in. We all chatted for a few minutes, then Bowie and I left. I asked about her.

"She said you're cute, too."

"Huh."

"Her exact words were 'I want to cuff him to my bed for five hours.'"

"That's good to know."

"She lives with her boyfriend and their two kids."

"Oh well."

Later that week, Bowie called and then put her on the phone. Even if I wanted to talk to her, it should be clearly evident that I have no game. What the hell was I supposed to say? "Sure, I'd LOVE to help you cheat on your boyfriend."

A few minutes of awkward conversation later, I asked her to put Bowie back on. "Not cool, man."

His coworkers started asking if I was gay.

"No, he just has something called a 'conscience.' I don't get it, either."

Bowie did apologize for the whole thing a few years later.

What compounded the stress of that summer was the four of us (Bowie, Chris, Carlos and myself) being approached at the big comic convention by a guy who wanted to do a comic with us. Each of us live in separate boroughs/cities, work full time, and odd hours at that. Just getting us in the same room proved difficult. We had limited communication with the client as it was, just trying to figure out what he wanted. He took the guys out to dinner one day in Hoboken (I had to work), and fleshed out some ideas. They reported back with the details. We decided to play to our strengths: Bowie would pencil, Chris would ink, Carlos would color, and I would write. There wasn't a schedule or anything, so we took our time.

My friend Justin was staying in the dorm for the whole summer, so I stashed my stuff in his apartment. Lynne was going home to Hawaii for the month of June, so she offered her room. Her apartment with the two Naomi's was out in Woodside, Queens. The living room had bright red "Elmo" carpeting. The worst part of every night was sitting in the Grand Central subway station at 1 AM waiting for the hourly 7 train. The platform was horribly depressing. Renovations had just begun on the escalator. Aside from the few florescent lights, the place was a black cave. There seemed to have been a leaking sewer line, because there was a pervading stench of urine. Most nights, it took an hour for the train to arrive, and another hour to get home from there. I reeked of coffee; I was coated with it. Lynne's keyboard soon had a layer of coffee grinds (which made her highly pissed).

Lynne came back to find her room in disarray. She was not happy, and rightfully so. I cleaned my crap out from her room - which wasn't much, as I was living out of an over-sized duffel bag. That night was obscenely hot. I tried sleeping on the love seat in the living room, but it was an absurd proposition. I striped to my shorts, put a sheet down on the carpet and sprawled out. (Insert LOLCat Caption: Diskomfert. I haz it.)

What made things even less enjoyable was working at two different stores, and had to deal with two sets of high-strung miserable fucks during my first summer in the city.

There was the shop in Midtown that was only open on weekdays, a wide open space catering to business executives who panicked when the carafes were out of "strong" coffee. One section was devoted to brewing coffee, cold drinks, and snacks. There were over a dozen carafes lined up that had to be refilled at great frequency. The other side was for espresso and its many variations. A third, smaller station was for selling beans & grounds. Garbage duty sucked because you'd have to walk around the block to the loading dock to get a rolling trash bin, and it STANK (as expected). The bins were never cleaned out, so there was ever-growing residue to wipe off on your skin & clothes if you weren't careful.

On the weekends and many nights, I'd work at my first store on the Upper East Side. It was a different kind of hell. Here, the clientèle generally consisted of idle rich snots. You know the type: people who have inherited their wealth and never worked a day in their life, expecting everything to be served upon a diamond encrusted platinum platter. Think "Paris Hilton," but with education and more modest clothing. There were a few exceptions; Katie Couric and Matthew Broderick were semi-regulars and were very pleasant to deal with. Some of the non-celebrities were nice, too. The store itself was a cramped, microscopic hole in the wall; the kind reserved for misanthropically-hosted comic shops. With two coworkers (sometimes three), we were constantly tripping over each other. There were lines of customers out the door, because the distance from the door to the counter was only 10 feet. When the throngs of nasty, impatient customers marched through the door, my view of humanity was at its lowest (at the time, anyway). I earned every fucking cent of that $7/hour.

It was around this time when my manager decided to hook me up with one of his "sistas." Avery, a sweet, well-meaning 35 year old gay man living in the Bronx with his mother, decided that at 21, I should not be a virgin. Far be it from me to argue with that sentiment. I talked to this girl, whose name I don't recall, on the phone. She was 19 and had two kids.

Insert "car screeching to a halt" and/or "record needle scratching" sound effects....here.

At the time, kids were just way beyond my comfort zone. We spoke a couple more times after that, but I wasn't interested.

As for the apartment search, Bowie and I continually ran into brick walls. The aunt he was living with became somewhat vindictive. The other problem was that I had somehow gotten a bad credit rating. It confused me, because I had NO credit, not a negative. It would be over a year before I'd even have a checking account, let alone a line of credit beyond student loans.

My next encounter with flirtation was three weeks before I moved back to Bumblefuck. The coffee shop was giving away a trip to San Francisco. An attractive woman in her early 30s had walked in and, after ordering her coffee, asked me if I had ever been to SF. “No, this job really doesn’t give me the opportunity to travel much.” A barista working for less than six months makes $6.25/hour. At 35 hours a week (considered full time at Timothy’s World Coffee), I could barely pay my bills. I never had much money for comics. Airfare and a hotel were out of the question.

“Well, if you’d like to go there sometime, let me know.”

‘Waitjustagoddamnminute,’ I thought. ‘Did she just offer to be my sugar mommy?’

And before I could think of anything else, she left the building.

A few other thoughts floated in my head. When did I become this sex object? In college, no woman would give me the time of day, and now there are a couple of them, with kids, that want to fuck my brains out. Why is it that the ones you do want don’t want you, and the ones you don’t want do want you? Am I really that hot of a commodity?

Nahhhh, that’s just crazy talk. In a few hours, while you’re sleeping on the floor of Lynne’s living room, you’ll forget all about the surge of actual self-esteem, and get on with your usual everyday misery.

August rolled around, and the lease on Lynne's apartment was up. I helped them move to a new place in Astoria, and Lynne asked me to leave for the sake of our friendship. I called up my former classmate & roommate Christian. His house in Edison, NJ had ample storage space, and he was happy to help me out. That Saturday he and a friend pulled up in a van at Newport. Justin let us in, and we put my life away. Monday, I got a train ticket and put in for a leave of absence at Timothy's World Coffee. I said my goodbyes, thanked and apologized to Lynne, and left on Wednesday.

3.5 hours and 200 miles later, I stepped off the train with two over-sized duffel bags, and the dark cloud of defeat hanging over me. Dad picked me up at the all-but-abandoned, glorified shack of a train station in Amsterdam. On the drive home, I assessed the situation:

All my friends have moved away.

The one local place I could make new ones has gone out of business.

I don't like my family.

No means of transportation other than my parents (never learned to drive).

All of my stuff is packed up hundreds of miles away.

No job.

No money.

No fun.

No life.

No hope of ever leaving.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blah

I don't know why, but I'm extremely low today. I was walking around earlier, and these exact words slid through my brain:

"I wonder what I'll have for lunch today. Life is worthless and I am an empty vessel rotting from the inside out. The shitake mushroom sandwich on sourdough sounds good."

I feel very sad and empty right now.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Postponed

The date I was supposed to have on Sunday was canceled. She had to work much later than expected. We've made other plans, so all is not lost.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What I've learned.

A few weeks ago, at the second Sequential Salon meet-up, my inability to talk to people face to face, or even on the phone was brought up. Bowie stated his displeasure of having to read this blog in order to find out what's going on with me instead of just telling him directly; especially if it's a very long entry. Our buddy Mike made an insightful comment:

"He's a verbose motherfucker, but only when he's writing."

This jogged my memory of something Lynne recently said about our first date many eons ago:

"Getting you to talk to me was like pulling teeth - impacted wisdom teeth!"

I told the therapist about this two weeks ago, and he also noted his frustration with getting me to talk.

We dissected my brain over the past two sessions and worked out that it's an adaptive strategy formed very early on in life.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you"?

Such was the state of my environment growing up, both at home and school. The theory I had was that they can't hurt me if I don't let them know me.

Okay, I was 6 at the time, so I didn't have those exact words. But the basic response to my environment was to seal myself off and keep everyone at multiple-arms' length.

That's how I survived the next eleven years. Even after leaving that horrible setting, that sense of paranoia never dissipated. Despite being in college, surrounded by people who became good friends, I couldn't let go of that survival strategy. I was unable to learn a new one to better reflect my healthier surroundings. The loneliness and unrequited love was overwhelming at times. I was (am) longing for a relationship to help me feel validated, to feel like I'm part of something meaningful, that I'm important to and wanted by someone.

There was (is) still a sense of imminent rejection & heartbreak. Considering how Murphy's Law affected every aspect of life so far, it was logical to conclude that it would continue to do so.

So here I am, 29 years old. Despite the past twelve years of evidence that people are no longer out to get me, I'm still stuck in the same survival mode. I haven't learned a new way of dealing with life. I have the emotional/social development of a ten year old. It's why my attempts at dating have failed miserably. It's why I can't unclench in social gatherings, even among the closest of friends.

The goal now is to find ways of dealing with the world that don't include becoming a hermit, and do include being more socially trusting, open, and free.

I just spent an hour & a half on the phone with our pal Aleeeeeeeeeeeeeeex. In regard to my real-life vs online personae (blog and message board), he observed that online, I have the time & ability to really craft and clarify what I want to say, and that I speak with some authoritah. For example, this entry took over two hours to write. Whereas in face to face meetings, I visibly retreat into myself and become this...ghost. I feel pressured to be articulate and entertaining, but everything comes out forced and garbled, and I feel like I'm wasting the listeners' time.

When it comes to dealing with new people, I dread giving that first impression of a babbling, stuttering, "me fail English" boor. I have lots of trouble identifying exactly what's going through my mind, and what I'm feeling at any given time. I gave up on having any sort of conversation. When someone asks, "how are you doing?", I just say "fine" because it's quick and easy, or "read the blog" if they're a close friend.

Yes, even therapy sessions are full of awkward silences. Half of the time is spent just trying to dig up the right words.

In other news, I have a date Sunday night with the same girl I saw back in January.

Insert LOLCat picture here:

Gud Luk: I needz it.

Excuses, excuses

Valid:

"I have to work."

"I have to work on my marriage."

Invalid:

"I don't do boroughs."

"I'm surgically attached to my boyfriend."

"I overslept."

"I'm lazy."

You fuckers had a month's notice. I'm not angry, but just a little hurt. I know it's not personal; it's just how I'm built.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A February Update

A few weeks ago, I was set up on a date via a mutual friend, who tagged along with us. We had a good time, and she is still interested in me, but is very busy and difficult to get in touch with (can't seem to get those digits!).

Half the time, work is easy; the other half, it's brutal.

I'm going out more, but not really enjoying it. It's great seeing my friends, but it feels like I'm not really there.

Haven't been doing anything creative. Too damn tired/lazy.

Therapy's difficult in that I have homework. I have to make out a chart for my social experiences. In the first column, I list the situation. In the second, the automatic thoughts I have about myself (ex: "I'm an idiot, I don't belong here, I'm too stupid to talk to anyone"). In the third, what my reaction/emotion/behavior is as influenced by column 2.

But that's not how my brain works; it's situation, emotion, behavior, then thoughts about self, after I leave the situation.

On the other side of it, it seems to be working. The doctor said I wouldn't have so many nose bleeds if I just kept my finger out of there.

Wait, that's Ralph Wiggum.

The doctor said, "Bye, everybody!" and died.

No, that was Dr. Nick.

MY doctor said I look brighter than I ever have (in the past two months he's seen me, anyway), and that I've made lots of progress. It doesn't really feel like it, but there is evidence of it, so yay me, or whatever. Like others have said, they'd never guess that I was fucked up by looking at me.

In other news, I've discovered a dead pixel on the new TV. It's under warranty, so I don't have to worry about paying a shit-ton of money to replace it. Digging up the paperwork for that should be fun, as my room is a disaster area, even after all the cleaning I did in preparation for the new equipment.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Precious...


Ahhh, nothing like having a 46" HDTV for a computer monitor.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

TIRED.

Work is insane. The top two people there can't make decisions. They need to noodle everything to death, which results in daily 12-hour shifts. The slow-as-a-cinder-block-up-hill printers don't help much.

Gym? What gym? I need to sleep, goddammit.

Oh, all you NYC locals? Keep Sunday, March 2nd free. The image below should tell you everything you need to know.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Insignificant

Give it time to load up; click to enlarge.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Check them out!

These guys were playing in the Union Square subway station and hooked me right in. I picked up three of their CDs, and have been playing them pretty much non-stop ever since.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Last Monday...

It was 2 PM; the sunlight painted stripes around the room as it poured in through the blinds. I'd just sat down for a hot breakfast: 2 fried eggs, two "sausage" patties, a bagel with cream cheese & jelly, and a cup of coffee blacker than Dick Cheney's heart.

Okay, swap the coffee for orange juice.

The phone rang. There was a dame on the other end. She needed help. My help.

"~@#%&*(*--sa, calling fr-- !#$%*(# Kr-#%&*(@$^ You $*^&(#% job #@@%$^# production artist $^##@!$%^#$^#!*(&)(* interview?"

I needed help, too. Help from a cell phone service provider for better coverage and clearer calls.

The food cooled off, but I warmed up as the dame kindly read the script for the second take. She wanted to see me as soon as possible, either tonight or tomorrow morning.

Why put off for tomorrow what you can do today?

The dame told me where to show up, and who my contacts were. The address is in Soho - that'll bump up my price a bit. These people have money, and they ain't shy about spending it.

I arrived at the site early for a little reconnaissance work. The receptionist handed me a glass of water - a real glass, not some paper cup. This place was definitely on the up and up.

One of the contacts came out to work me over. We found a little hole in the wall to continue our little song & dance. It turns out, he did two years of hard time for a former client of mine. It's like they say, it's a small world.

In this business, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

He asked if I would take the case. I was honest - my well ran dry two months ago, and I've been scraping by with the cement shoes I got as a going-away present.

He gave me the nickel tour of the joint, but considering the ritzy digs, I shoulda given him a portrait of Andrew Jackson for his trouble. The view there is pretty nice, too, and I'm not referring to the skyline. I haven't seen this many long walking sticks since I first came to this seedy city.

Then the dame who would make or break my day showed up. She fed me a buncha promises I've heard before, but those were all broken by some fly-by-nighters. She laid her cards out on the table without crossing her fingers.

I felt like I just hit Blackjack.

She asked me if I wanted to take her case.

That was a silly question.

---------------------

"So, do you want to work here?"

"Yes!"

"Okay. When can you start?"

"Tomorrow."

"See, I feel bad, because we just found a temp to start tomorrow, but I'd rather train one person instead of two. See you at 9:30?"

"You bet!"

Best job interview ever.

My primary job is to put together ads for magazines. I'm not doing any creative work. They toss me a design, and I format it for the different sized mags.

Did I mention that it's all lingerie ads? And that most of the women here look like models? Sure, they're all taken, but who cares?

The downside is, of course, being the new guy. Lunch time is the most awkward, so I try to postpone my break until everyone else is done. There's roughly 20 people there, most of which are in their early 20s to mid 30s. They're all the cool, Williamsburg hipster types, who basically have their shit together and are happy. Their dad owns a factory, their fiancee is an actress, yadda yadda yadda. I'm pretty jealous of all these fuckers.

Last Friday was the last day for one of them, so there was a party. There's a stocked bar, an HDTV, and a Wii. I was invited to play, but didn't feel like joining in. I felt like getting the hell out of there, which I did at precisely 6:01 PM.

Therapy sessions have been moved to Tuesday nights at 6:40 PM. This gives me enough time to get to the hospital from work.

The other problem I've been having is lack of sleep. I get up at 6:30 AM so I can cook breakfast and take a hot shower (two roommates, three other house mates. Hot water on a weekday morning is scarce). I can relax a little with the spare time. But being the nocturnal freak, I can't fall asleep until 2 AM. It's easier this week, but not by much.

There's other stuff going on, but I'm not going to say anything yet. But 2008 is looking better & better.

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Job

I had an interview at 6 PM today.

They love me. They really love me. I start tomorrow.

It is a major improvement on every level; pay, medical & dental benefits, 3 weeks vacation, 401K, tuition reimbursement.

The only drawback is it's normal hours. 9:30 AM to 6 PM.

I'm sure I'll get used to it.