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Tuesday, April 19th, 2005
1:14 pm - Of what use is testosterone?
Our kitchen drain is clogged. I'm going to be a man about it and snake it out myself. "When the rod meets an obstruction in the line, tighten the handle and ram the snake into the clog." That's right. Ram it. Ram it good.

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Thursday, April 14th, 2005
1:22 pm - More job search
wanted web fag ur luzr omg $30k no benafets h4w h4w

current mood: omgwtf

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Tuesday, April 12th, 2005
1:28 pm - Vernal blah
Spring is here, which means I get to devote more time to the outdoor activities I love, such as pushing a lawn mower up a goddamn hill and getting stung by wasps. Gone is my excuse to sit on the sofa all day.

On the upside, it's tax time, which means I got to do the taxes, a pleasure I rate second only to being accosted at the ATM by hobos. My favorite tax thing: Filling out a worksheet to see if you need to fill out a form to see if you need to calculate a method of paying even more taxes. They named it the Alternative Minimum Tax. Who wouldn't want to pay that? It's alternative! It's minimum! Also, if you're due a refund, you write the amount in one box, and then in another, you write the AMOUNT YOU WANT REFUNDED TO YOU. Can't fool me, Washington! I want it all!

And we're due a big refund, because I know we're too dumb to save money, and so I have lots of taxes withheld from my paycheck. My father-in-law hates this. He says we're letting the government use our money interest-free for a whole year, as opposed to losing it in the next dot-com bust.

I guess I should do some work now.

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Wednesday, November 10th, 2004
6:05 pm - Don't let the door hit you in the Ashcroft
I'm a librarian. Ashcroft once called librarians "hysterical" because of our response to the USA PATRIOT act. That was a Moment for me. Being called "hysterical" by a Pentecostal is like being called crazy by the neighborhood cat lady.

So long, Ashcroft.

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Monday, November 8th, 2004
3:15 pm - Something unknown still doing we don't know what
The lunch referred to in my last post has resulted in a range of job offers, but the wave hasn't collapsed yet. More noise as it develops.

I've been reading about quantum mechanics, and I suddenly realized that the physicists really have us over a barrel. If they said the universe is made of tiny pyramids built by invisible space-monkeys, I'd pretty much have to take their word for it.

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Wednesday, September 29th, 2004
12:17 pm - Place this in your Calabash and ignite it
Lunch tomorrow involving possible job offer.

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Tuesday, September 28th, 2004
3:14 pm - The brain, it is too stupid
Driving on the Beltway is about as safe as juggling chainsaws, and yet here's my brain demanding sleep while I'm passing an 18-wheeler.

My boss, on the other hand, poses no physical threat to me, and yet I react to her as if she were a charging grizzly bear.

Thanks a lot to my Pleistocene genetic capital that has suited me so well for modern life.

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9:40 am - Out of the nut hatch and into the loony bin
I'm back to work after a limited engagement at the nut hatch.It seems I was depressed and anxious enough to drink myself to a .30 blood-alcohol level on top of Ativan and not really give a fuck. So I spent five days on a psych ward and two weeks at some day treatment thing. Felt pretty good, really. But now I'm back in my cube.

I would like to get something straight with a few people who work with me: Depression and alcoholism can fucking kill a person, OK? So I'm sorry you had to cover my desk shifts, but my ass was hanging out of a hospital gown at the time.

Now, presumably because of my absence, they're calling in some kind of counselor to talk to each of us confidentially about "staff morale." Did I damage staff morale by getting addicted to a lethal narcotic and sinking into a slight gloom? Oops.

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Wednesday, May 5th, 2004
10:24 am - Lead me on, tease me all night long
Had a job interview with a law library yesterday. I was the last of 5 candidates to interview, and the Director said they'd make their decision today, which is incredibly fast, as these things go. he asked me if I would be at my work number today. I think this is generally considered a good sign, but maybe he's just a job tease.

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9:40 am - Top-secret book idea
I've started work on a book. It's a personal memoir of my work with PHP, PERL, SQL, and the Web. Don't steal my idea.

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Monday, May 3rd, 2004
3:46 pm - Dolly Sods and the man-eating lawn
M and I booked a cabin in the West Virginia woods for our sixth anniversary trip. Although this was a luxury cabin, fully equipped with modern conveniences, certain words should have tipped us off that we were headed for trouble:

  1. cabin
  2. woods
  3. anniversary + trip

Nothing involving these words in any combination has ever worked out very well for us. This time was no exception. The place smelled musty. Well, sure, it was built in 1856. It was isolated. Well, sure, it's a private cabin in the middle of the woods. It supported an abundance of insect life. Well, sure, bugs come in from the woods. Our cats and dog weren't there. Right, they were at home.

These factors combined to give M an acute case of The Creeps, which gave her insomnia, a matter of such urgency that I had to be awakened on a regular basis to be reminded of it.

The next day, we weren't in much of a mood to hit the trail early and hike the Dolly Sods, which is what we came for. The Sods are an upland plateau region of bogs, grassland, and heath barrens, quite unusual for this latitude, being more characteristic of Canada than the lower 48. We'd always wanted to see it. Eventually, we did, that afternoon, mostly from the car. Getting there involved creeping our Toyota wagon up the Allegheny Front on a rutted, vertiginous gravel track optimistically called Forest "Road" 19, and down another called 75. In between lay the Sods, and we were impressed, even through our haze of sleep-deprivation. Then we checked out a night early and headed back to DC.

Next time, we'll stay at the Widernest, the Inn where we rented the fateful cabin. The actual inn has an incredible view and interesting innkeepers, a conservationist couple from southern Africa. We met some deer that they feed, but we missed Bruno, the black bear who hangs around the place.

Sunday, back home again, it didn't rain early enough, and so I had to tackle the lawn. Our lawn is really the Sods in minature: steep, wild, swampy, and unforgiving. I spent about three hours on it and left the back for later.

Had some time left over to finish putting my little table saw together. Next, the stand. Then, we saw. We saw until we are knee-deep in wood chips, and then we saw some more. By we, I mean me, of course.

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Monday, April 26th, 2004
11:55 am - Sorry management
A handwritten note on the soda fountain at my local Exxon Shop:


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Tuesday, April 20th, 2004
10:45 am - Genuine fraudulence
I have another job interview coming up, this time with the Maryland State Law Library. The day I got the call for that one, I also got my letter from the Provost, whose unfortunate duty was to inform me that my current appointment would be ending on June 1, 2005. I hope to have my last look at this place in my rearview mirror long before that date.

These people can eat me. Just kidding. No, I'm not.

So here comes another interview. Time to get my fraud on. I know I'm qualified for the job. From an objective standpoint, I think the odds are better than even that I'm more qualified, maybe way more qualified, than the other 5 finalists. That's not the fraudulent part. It's just that I get the distinct impression that, no matter how much I have to offer, the interviewers are always looking for something more, something unknown, some X factor not stated in the job ad. And so I go in trying to figure out what it is and pretend I have it in sufficient quantities to excite them. And so the whole transaction is fraudulent from the start.

Maybe this doesn't bother most people, but I think it does, and they just don't realize it.

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Tuesday, April 6th, 2004
9:46 am - Jobbo
Will I be this month's lucky winner in the exciting Jobbo drawing? Can't win if you don't play! Had my first serious interview some time back and was passed over in favor of a guy who is widely described as not all there. What happened? Did they find out about my drinking spells? Were my salary requirements too high? Did my references hose me? No matter. The job was exactly what I do now, only with both the bad and good parts turned up to 11, and I'm trying to get away from that.

So I have some resumes out. They run from "extremely close to home" to "oh my God, the commute." One is at U. Maryland, next door to where M works. Another is at Temple in Philadelphia, which would require a nearly 2-hour train ride each way. Actually, 4 hours of reading and writing time would not bother me in the slightest. I've done worse commutes.

Neither application is for a library job. I recently said I wouldn't want a job where I didn't work a reference desk. Well, fuck the desk. During my spasm of absenteeism, the department took my desk hours away, and I have discovered a wondrous thing: I don't miss them. I get projects done. My nights and weekends are mine, as God ordained they should be, probably in Leviticus or Deuteronomy somewhere. So next job, no desk. No shift work.

The computer stuff is where the money is, anyway. Any of us can staff the desk. We even put paraproffessionals and students out there. I'm not saying they deliver the same quality we do, but they are warm bodies, which is basically enough to start with. But let's see the other librarians define a database table as an array of hashes and then traverse the data using control structures. I should be back at my desk, doing that, not telling people which floor the "fiction section" is on.

So next job, no desk.

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Tuesday, March 30th, 2004
5:04 pm - I am a cubist
They moved me from a private office to a cube. I like it. My office was a mess anyway. It was depressing in there. For years, they kept giving me paper, which I would look at and then put on a pile in my office somewhere. Then some of the piles fell over. Other piles are covering mouse-chewed cracker packets. I have to shovel all that crap out of there by April 12. Then my office will become a Consultation Room.

My cube is neat and modular. A machine for working. A machine for living. On the walls are framed black-and-white pictures that my wife took of the skyscraper across from our Rockville apartment, when we lived there. They are close-ups, grids of identical windows marching off in perspective, filling the frame. Another machine for living.

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Monday, March 29th, 2004
9:50 am - A goose in the dirt
It's hard to see a goose that is sitting in the dirt.

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Friday, March 19th, 2004
10:10 am - Lyric of the day
There's a lot of stuff in my gut
That I can't seem to get rid of
I wish the whole universe could absorb
Because it's so much bigger
Unless I take the time
All this stuff will be mine
For the rest of my stuff life

Taxi! Taxidermy me!

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Thursday, March 18th, 2004
9:19 am - March madness
OK, my usual Holiday funk that begins after Hallowe'en has culminated, as of a few weeks ago, in my usual March meltdown, and now I'm back on the upswing. Had some thoughts about spirals and cycles and seasons on the 8th anniversary of the breakup of my first marriage, which was the day before yesterday. Gotta watch out for winter. Winter and birthdays. I saw it coming-- "boy, winter's always tough on me"-- but couldn't get out of the way. Now it's gray and drizzly, and the forecast is for snow, but to me, Spring is here. I have decreed it.

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Monday, March 15th, 2004
10:10 am - Inna gadda errata, baby
OK: It was not the Writer's Market but the confusingly similar Writer's Handbook that alerted me to the Homeless Reporter-Newssheet. And there are no dollar signs next to it because there are no dollar signs next to anything in the Writer's Handbook. Also, the Homeless paper pays in copies. It does print love stories, though. So if I get "Passes Made under an Overpass" in there, I shall receive an undisclosed number of copies of the Homeless newspaper.

More things that are wrongCollapse )

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Friday, March 12th, 2004
5:59 pm - Dollar signs in her eyes
I'm flipping through Writer's Market and noticing a few things:

  1. The higher a magazine pays, the more $s are next to it.
  2. All other things being equal, I am more interested in magazines denoted with more $s.
  3. The magazines with lots of $s look hard to get into. Harper's says it's not a venue for beginning writing, or even intermediate writing. They encourage you to spend time reading lots of sample issues. It's as if they don't want you to get your hands on their precious $s.
  4. There is a magazine for homeless persons' issues that invites submission of "love stories" in the context of homelessness. I am powerfully drawn to this magazine, despite its single $.
  5. No library magazines are listed, although they exist. Turtle trapper magazines are listed, but no library magazines.
  6. I find several library magazines online and look over their guidelines for writers. There are no guidelines for humorous submissions. My colleagues are anything but surprised.

I have received $s from a $$$$$ publication before, when I got a piece into Playboy, pretty much by accident. Mr. Guccione, I shall have your $s again. I swear it.

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