Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Happy Birthday To My Cube

Happy Birthday to My Cube

My Cube Has Three Sides made it one whole year! Spank me ;-)

So much and so little has happened since that first post one year ago. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for making this a fun interesting experience experiment. Thanks for the comments and such. Much appreciated.

A toast to you all: To drinks at the bar! May the road rise to meet you, and the wind be always at your back...and all that type of stuff.

Here's to another year of "opening up a vein and splashing the page."

May we never run out of ink.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Blank Space

Freezer-chilled Vodka (with Garlic stuffed olives. 3, natch)
Sex and the City on the TV.
A couple walk by, she's screaming crying "what do you think I lied about? I didn't lie! Fuck you! What're you gonna do? Hit me again? I didn't lie...!"
The wind blows through the trees. The wind cries Mary...Mary set her rings next to candles on the side of the tub. Mary killed herself in the bathtub. Sean never knew Mary loved him. The red water sat still.
A candle burns on the hard drive.
Lilly sits in the kitchen.

A blank space on Blogger staring at me, glaring at me.
There is something I want to say, but it eludes me.

Every time.

Words fail the squirming in my gut. That inherent need to speak. Something unspoken, unsettled, unfound, and unable to find The Path out. Under the ground, into my bare feet, through my body, out my fingertips, and onto the Electric Page. Beads fall.

Where is my Duende?

* * *
1996, on the El. I see a beautiful woman board the car. I comment about her. A.G. asks, "Why do you always go for unattainable women?"

Last week, M. makes a joke to the group, "yeah, Mac likes 'em young."

Go for the exotic, artsy, punk, black-haired women, but date The Girl Next Door.

The longer I'm in Chicago, the further away from the city I work.

My new Primary S. says, "you need to get out more and meet more people; you need people." Friday night, and I'm tired and stay in.

I want two grams of Mushrooms. I need a Vision Quest. I need to break the film clinging around my mind. The Old Wet Wool Grey Blanket wrapped around my brain. I need the walls to breath life into my eyes. I need the neurotransmitters to spark. Wide open, full throttle, break the dam holding back the life water. FURTHER! You're either on The Bus, or you're off The Bus. I need speakers in the trees and fireflies circling the moon.

"Dead at 35."
"You're only a hub for others."
"But they never penetrate the Inner You, just the Outer You."

This is what the mushrooms told you before, but you're older now; maybe things/you have changed with time. Has time eroded you or fed you? Are you More or Less you?

Blank Space.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Two hours at The Big House

(Thanks Beautiful Decay for letting me "borrow" the image)

I just got back from the Corporate offices. I interviewed for the Data Entry/Photography Archivist/ Pillowcase Ironing Engineer position. Whoooosh, I am crashing from the adrenaline rush. Need. Coffee. Now. Husker Duis blasting through the speakers.

My mind felt like the image above, but I think I kept a calm and cool exterior (never let 'em see you sweat). I made them laugh, answered their questions fairly truthfully and complete, and shook hands like a man who has an ounce of confidence. But they didn't take my Resume I worked on until midnight, aaarrgh. One of the people (I met with 3 people, then a fourth joined) even made a joke that I'd soon be forcing them to take it, slipping it under their doors and such.

I met with M.J., A.M., and S. I think Studio Manager, Art Director, and Lead Photographer, respectively in a open glass conference room (right above M.B.'s Cube-icle, I think. Hi!). Pretty laid-back interview with a pretty mellow group. M.J. seemed like a good guy, A.M. seemed really friendly (and cute!), but S. seemed cool, but one of those guys that lays it on the line: if he thinks you're a Screw-up, he'll call you a Screw-up, no hold barred with little diplomacy. For him I hold a little fear. I met the rest of the Photography Department, a quirky, fun looking bunch with a disco ball in the middle of the studio. It appears as though I'll need to build up a tolerance of disco music when I browsed the Mac Jukebox list they had playing. The Virtual Ticket Software I'd use looks like a pain in the ass, but given enough time to learn, shouldn't be an impossible obstacle.

It turns out to be a Seasonal position (no benefits, but no evil Tax Form 1099) for 3 to six months (depending who's talking) for forty hours a week (starts at 8:30 a.m., oooh for the love of God, help), and I'd have to quit my store job as I'd go into Over Time (and that's Banned by The Man). I'm not really cool with the whole Resigning from The Store, but M.C. (HR person) led me to believe that if, after 3 (to six) months this position doesn't jibe with them or me, it shouldn't be problematic to reinsert myself into The Store without losing increases. She winked and said The Company is good at looking after its people (the "good ones"). I like to have a back-up plan at least once in my life.

Okay, must shower off Interview/Coffee Sweat, and get to work.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

First step to Paris?

As I read the opening quote, it made sense. This quote from one book at the beginning of another book.

It felt mysterious and confusing, yet it touched something inside me that first time, seventeen years ago. I knew it to be true somehow. And the story blew me away on so many levels. I found myself both drawn to and appalled by the characters and situations that rolled out before my eyes and into my mind. Some of the scenes had played out in my life and other scenes were descriptions of what I wanted to do.

This quote etched itself into my psyche and won't let go. The scenes and characters of my own life, even now, seem tangled and interwoven, but still do not add up to a total sum.

And I think this is what drives me mad. I keep dropping the beads, scattering across the floor.

"The facts even when beaded on a chain, still did not have real order. Events did not flow. The facts were separate and haphazard and random even as they happened, episodic, broken, no smooth transitions, no sense of events unfolding from prior events-" Tim O'Brien, Going After Cacciato

Many years later, I read O'Brien's book. The daydream took me by surprise.

I dream about the Future like Paul Berlin. From the back of the line, trudging along in dirty boots. I dream a life much better than reality. And it always ends by a cold campfire on the side of the river. Could I actually make that walk from Vietnam to Paris?

A bead falls:

You wish a friend a Happy Birthday on Saturday night. The chicken is delicious. Cigarettes in the open night, the moon peeks through the leaves. A paddy wagon drops a man off in the middle of the park, "your home is that way, now walk!" Breeze turns chilly, and you warm yourself by the fire. You tell a friend you love the smell of jeans super-heated by campfires. You think back to camping with B.C. and W.V. You miss the energy and magic of youth, then think, "was that ever true?" You can't get enough to drink, you feel out of place. Something's missing.

A bead drops:

Sunny Sunday afternoon walk with a friend. Indian food. A cigarette. Conversation with strangers, yet you notice you're really quiet. You add little to the voices mumbling incoherently around you, speaking about people you don't know. "you pack these smokes really well, impressive." A sky on the ceiling. Sprinkling laughter. A chance meeting on the street with friends. The sun warms you. You buy some CDs, and see your friends again through the window, they look good together. You wonder how they see you and what they think. You walk. "you're fine with us being Platonic friends, right?" "Sure," you say, but you're not really sure what you mean. The sudden label makes your heart drop momentarily. Something's missing.

A bead rolls:

You've been offered a job at your store by someone that you'd hate working with side by side. It gets denied a couple of days later. You're both disappointed and relieved. And go back to dusting shelves and charming conning comforting customers. You don't know what day it is. Something's missing.

A bead bounces:

The wheelchair lady isn't at the front door today. The afternoon is hot and smells of concrete. You take the stairs to the lobby slowly until you hear the stairwell door open below. Loud voices sends a brief spurt of panic through you and you run the remaining stairs to the third floor and through the grey doors. You meet with your new shrink. She's matronly and thin, and for some reason you feel a little sorry for her. She nods and smiles and says little phrases to push your babble along. You've told this story so many times it comes out in a jumble, barely making sense. You don't even recognize who you're talking about. She compliments you on your attempt to make life better. You prattle on about writing, trying to explain blogging in 30 words or less. You seem to focus on writing, you quote a line Bret Easton Ellis said in an interview you read years ago; something about how reading is necessary for a writer, all types of reading because the bad writing inspires you to do better, and the great writing inspires you to try and achieve. And you suddenly feel like Clay in Less Than Zero and you want a cigarette and sunglasses because you don't want to see the fluorescent lighting and the toupe colored walls and yourself in your own Mind's Eye, but that passes as you realize this insane rant and rave you've just unloaded about writing and women and you don't know why you don't date and you mention the "not living up to your potential" phrase from the last break-up and lack of interest and not connecting and lack of sex and job loss and depression and anxiety and repeat repeat repeat blah blah blah slump has in a strange way put you in a passably good mood. And you go home. Something's missing.

A bead drops:

Your Grandpa S. and Grandma B. keep popping up in your daydreams. And you don't know why. You tell a friend she should go to the hospital to see her grandpa because you're thinking how you didn't and have never forgiven yourself for abandoning such great people on their deathbeds. And you choke back a mental tear and make a joke and regret it immediately. You need to learn to stop avoiding the gravity of situations. But you have enough pain in your own heart. Something's missing.

A bead falls:

You have a job interview at Corporate on Thursday. You don't know how to prepare. Your resume needs updating and rewritten and all your clothes are in a pile on the floor. Your Store Manager corners you in the stockroom. She informs you she got a call from The Big House and raved and raved about you to some manager in the Photography department. She wishes you well and the best. She's pulling for you. You thank her, and say you hope for the best. Such enthusiasm focused toward you and about you makes you nervous and you realize after she walks away you've torn two fingernails off under the basket you held throughout. Something's missing.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Interesting week recap.

Interesting week.

Mike blew into town from Kansas City, MO on his way to Buffalo, Utica, NYC, then....Scotland...forever *sniff sniff* Nooooooooo!!!

He and I met with Cybele at The Gold Star Bar where we found Cybele doing homework (homework?!?!). (I'll try to upload pics up tonight) Amid the smoke, booze, hottie grrrls, and indie boys, she sat clipping pictures of Victorian-era clothes for the Little Women play that hired her as costume designer. We caught up, downed beer, and I gazed yearningly at the dark-haired beauty at the corner of the bar; she became more lovely and enigmatic as the night drew on, yet more unattainable as she leaned into the green hatted hipster who lit her cigarette.

"Who's he looking at?" Cybele leaned across the table and asked Mike.

"The woman who bears a striking resemblance to *******," he answered as I self-consciously shuffled for the bathroom.


Ah, well, all for the better, I suppose.

* * *

On Thursday, amid a hangover, I found out that I'd been voted Associate of the Quarter again. Second time in a row. Unheard of and unallowable under the reign of our last boss, Boss Frantic. This is my third time in three years.

Um, Holla!

Today, on top of the conversation I had on Thursday with that Amy from Corporate about an slim opportunity to get a job at The Big House, our store's Designer (B) mentioned I should think about being her Design Helper (a.k.a Slave, Mule, or Glorified Floorstocker). She didn't know about the possibility of benefits, but it would be Full Time (a.k.a. early fucking hours, but no weekends). I'm thinking without benefits, this would be the ultimate Screwed/Used/and Abused position: lots of heavy grunt work, long-ass hours, but no benefits. I'll wait to hear what her Designer Boss says about the benefits, then think about it.

Tomorrow night after work, I've been invited to two parties. What to do?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mike's in town

Gone drinking with Cybele and him.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What is the jail time for Kidnapping?

So tomorrow my friend Mike is blowing into town for the night.

Then the bastard is up and moving to Scotland.

Unless I keep him drunk and disoriented enough he gets a job, apartment, and great debate team skills to convince some Lass in the Leaf neighborhood to move to Chicago. Unfortunately, I am too broke, and if I weren't so, I'd probably end up giving the poor man alcohol-poisoning.

Damn. Either way he'd be out of Illinois.

He's coming in around 7-ish on Wednesday, so email or give a call if you're up for a bon-voyage night cap!

I guess I'd better do this "Self-Evaluation" for work that's due on the 15th now. Daddy needs a raise!

I can hang with the "art" crowd, no?

Don't Ever Give Up!

That's one of the many bits of advice my Grandpa J.E.S. I need to follow it a bit more often, for things to get better. I think in the back of my head, the love and advice of my Grandparents S. keep me moving ahead, even in the Gravest of Depressive Episodes. I know I never stood on the edge of the Lake and thought about jumping in; but, in the grips of The Blue-haired Demons, when I felt the only alternative was the Final Alternative, something inside kept me around.

Maybe a memory, maybe my own worked up mind tired itself and my body out enough to just go to sleep for 13 hours instead of The Big Sleep. Pills and thrills and daffodils. Maybe a part of me remembered how they used to talk to me, made me feel good about myself and that the world wasn't all evil. They liked me even as I hated me.

I hadn't planned on this post going quite this route, but I'll leave it.

For them.

* * *

Work was work: a bit of a bore. So much so that at one point, I slipped my wallet into my front pocket and claimed to have left it in the car. Just to go outside for five minutes in the sun for a cigarette. I stood in the shade by The Bagel and watched all these people walking around, running, pushing strollers, lugging bags into and out of stores. Isn't there a moment when people start buying two of everything because they've already bought everything? Do they really need to change things for the seasons?
I went back and looked as busy as one can look in a store with nearly no customers until S.R. showed up. Much better. Someone to joke around with and trade sexual innuendos with, to crack up with.
Scheduled until 5:30, I ended up staying a little past 6. Amy from corporate came in to pick up boxes for some web/catalogue photo shoot, and we ended up chatting about her job. It came about that her department hoped to hire a full time associate (if approved by the Higher Mucky-mucks). We chatted for a half an hour as I ignored the floorstocker Paki M.B. looking for a sales associate to help a customer. "Goooo awaaaaaaaay" I silently Jedi Mind-tricked her as Amy and I chatted about what the job entailed. To the other associates, I later found out, it appeared as though I was merely chatting her up (which crossed my mind, I mean was trying to do until and even after she mentioned the husband). I reality I was attempting to "network" my ass off (okay, and chat her up!). I think her and I built a great rapport, and at one point she looked Heavenward and said "I am sooo glad I came in here for boxes." I think a made a good impression and exuded the proper amount of interest/company love/enthusiasm/etc.
We traded information and hopefully will communicate more in the next few days. If the Full Time status isn't approved by the above, she thought they may want to hire out as a freelance gig. No benefits, but if I figured the numbers right, the pay in 5 hours would be the same as a full good day at present position plus a free lunch.
Hopes not up, but fingers crossed. Now where in the fuck did I put my Resume?!?!?!?!?!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Dropped connections

Like a bad cell phone.

The clarity fades in and out. Static, self-interference. Mind jumps around the channels, landing momentarily on a voice, then leaps to another. It's one-way. The receiver's bad, the other person can't hear you, and you constantly hear your own voice echoing back--hollow and low. The mumbles of a person afraid to live, afraid to speak their mind: they've been beaten down and sneered at too many times. Over time, the throat constricts and the thoughts remain trapped in the mind.

Randomly, the signal is clear, but only for a moment.

Dialogue. Mind caresses another mind. You speak freely, loud and clear. The conversation flows, wanders all over the mindscape. Imagination fires, and you have visions.

Then the connection drops. Or you realize you might've had the Wrong Number the entire time. Or the phone's been dead, and you wonder how long you've been talking to yourself, convinced someone had been there.

Or you're holding the phone, and neither one of you speaks for a long time. You can hear each other breathing. You don't want to hang up; you like holding the phone, having a connection; but, why do you feel so sad. Was this the Right Number? Should you hang up? Do you want to hang up? Had the lines been crossed at some point? Are they thinking of hanging up? Did you say anything interesting for the last Eternal Minutes? Do you really have anything to add to the Conversation? Anything of real substance, more than meaningless small talk? Do they? you cradle the phone tightly in a sweaty palm.

You end up boring and annoying yourself, staring at the phone in your hand. You touch "hold" and set the handset down for the night. You're not yet ready to hang up completely, but you don't want to hang on just for the sake of hanging on.

You have Nothing to say.

The blue-haired Demons lay in wait

Maybe because I worked eight days in a row recently.
Maybe because it's been muggy.
Maybe because I've been smoking too much.
Maybe because I feel in a slump, stuck in a rut (again, again, again),

But I'm exhausted and overcome by that Old Numb Feeling again. It's not full blown, but creeping on slowly, a little more each day for the past few weeks. Nothing seems really interesting. No Future vision. Thoughts of "wouldn't be easier to not live" trickling into daily My Inner Monologue flow. It's like 2004 all over again, the months leading up to that fateful day of phone calls home and a clinic. Bored and despondent. What's the point of It All?

I just want to sleep.

I got nothing to do
You got nothing to say
Everything is so fucked up
I guess it's natural that way

I got nothing to do
You got nothing to say
Everything is so fucked up
I guess we like it that way
Husker Du--"Everything Falls Apart"

My dreams are full of milk spilling on the floor. That time Freshman year: a dorm fridge full of Old Milwaukee Tall Boys and Andy D. drops a bottle of Southern Comfort and yells "grab a straw! Save the booze!" My Grandparents walking out of the room, disappointed. Crying alone in various places I've seen. Blackness. A girl from New York I met recently, laughing. Walking in a dim movie theater lost, the projector is broken.

Good times, good times.

Off to Monthly(ish) Brunch at M.U./C.U.'s apartment with Arsh and crew. Happy Birthday, C.U.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

See you later, Doctor.


I hope my funeral is celebrated half as well, and my life half as much some day.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My Own Private Hell

I created The Moon
(that isn't in the sky)
I made The Sun
(that never shines)
I created the vines
(that wrap around my feet)
I made the putrid smell
(that clogs my nose)
I created the quicksand
(that I'm sinking farther, deeper into)
I made the trees
(whose branches hang low each day)
I created the sky
(that is always cloudy and grey)
I made the mud
(that can't be cleaned from my clothes)
I created the jungle
(that closes in on me each day)
I made the bugs
(that bite my flesh)
I created the brackish water
(that I'm drowning in)
I made the rain
(falling from my eyes)
I created the vultures
(who circle my rotting skin)
I made the stones
(that weigh me down upon my back)
I created the Loneliness
(who is my only companion)
I made The Rope
(that is always just out of my reach)

Monday, September 05, 2005

No angles

It's all a smooth surface to death.

A glossy dialogue.
An amber glass.
A smoky cylinder.
An untouched kiss.
An ink-stained page.
Alone in a group.
An introduction.
A large sale.
A leafy salad.
A black-haired beauty.
A belly laugh.
A tube of smoky water.
A perfect lyric.

A curvy path to a Meaningless Death.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Round up

Past, Present, and Future.

Unfortunately, this still generally applies, but what are you gonna do?

I left work early on Wednesday to hit The Ghetto Clinic for a meds re-fill. Waited in the lobby forever, watching the security monitor. A Crackwhore, dressed in red, danced and wiggled for attention on Howard, oblivious to her audience two floors up.

One of The Birchwood/Wolcott Boys said, "Hey, Dawg" to me as I passed on my way back from Dominick's. My Beat-In is scheduled for next week, on the condition that I get a girlfriend to Ride the Train upon my initiation. Any takers?


Official smashed my face on the Glass Ceiling last week when my Plea for Full Time Status got rejected. On a good note, my Store Manager pledged to "fight for you 100%" if I applied for a Corporate position. Unfortunately, someone has to die up at The Big House for a position that I am qualified for to open up. So, I am totally in a Dead End Job. Praise Gordon!

Skipped out on this past Thirsty Thursday at The Lamp Post Tavern. Too broke, too tired. Sorry Jackie.

Arsh and Jewell invited me to The Uptown Lounge for karaoke on Sunday (which was big of them since I completely kicked their asses in bowling the night before (hee hee, just kidding lovelies)), to which I attended against my general ill-feeling toward karaoke. A fun time meeting Arsh's friends and watching the Karaoke MC dude do a pole-dance and the catapiller, singing the whole time (like Flashdance meets this in an orange trucker's hat).
After too many beers and an shouldn't-have-ordered-this Jameson on the Rocks, I did the One-eyed Drive home (apparently buying a pack of Camel Lights somewhere on the way). And paid for my sins Monday until 6 o'clock when drum machine in my head got unplugged. Ahhh.
Then realized I'd missed Cybele's B-day/Sangria party (SOOOOOOORRRY!).

Today, jammin' out to Jimmy Cliff and planning on cutting this Shaggy (of Shaggy and Scooby fame) hair.

Tonight, I'm joining a group of coworkers at Tommy Nevin's for drinks to wish farwell to the Gothic Greek designer. She's fed up and had enough of the Company, as is heading out for parts unknown, unemployed with no job lined up... a braver soul than I.

Let the Guinness flow, for tomorrow we may die!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I am concerned

Mike's Tattoo
Originally uploaded by Mac(3).

Anyone seen or heard from this guy? I haven't, and his blog's been stagnant for a time.

Let me know.

Cops are circling the neighborhood

and I'm circling the apartment.

We're both looking for someone/something.