Lowered Expectations

By rights I should skip posting today. I’m beyond dead tired. Dry corned beef was the highlight of my day, and I’m still devastatingly sore from a 30-minute workout two days ago. The Muse just isn’t there.

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Lactic acid is the bane of my existence right now.

So yeah, it’s gonna be another one of those short, cheesy posts.

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Daddy Until Death

My daughter is truly a force of nature. Earlier today I went in for a much-needed eye exam at the local Costco. She spent the balance of the appointment grilling the optometrist and choosing out new glasses for me. I must admit she did a good job with the latter. They look good, and at $39 they were among the least expensive in stock.

Afterwards she proceeded to get a temporary tattoo in the image of “Costco Sally,” who looked like a cross between Raggedy Ann and the Cat in the Hat.

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We didn’t get it either.
Image credit: ~Nightshadow-Horus

As soon as it dries she proceeds to scratch the tattoo off. “Why get it if you were going to do that?” I asked.

“Destruction makes me feel better,” she replies, also noting she forgot she was allergic to temporary tattoos.

This was all BEFORE lunch, mind you.

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Dating as Performance Art

This month marks my four-year divorce anniversary. Although I’ve dated from time to time in the interim, for the most part since then I’ve been a single man. I can’t imagine why.

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Being such a catch and all.

For most of that time I’ve maintained profiles on several dating sites, notably OkCupid and POF. I’m not entirely sure why, though. The results have been, shall we say, less than impressive.

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The Myth and Tyranny of the Muse

I truly am my own worst tyrant.

When I started this blog back in February I resolved to post an entry every single day. To date I’ve only failed to do so once, and that was because I knocked myself out somewhere on Orchard Street.

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Somewhere around here, I think.

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The Twaddle of Twitter

Although I’ve had an account there for a couple years, I’ve only recently warmed up to Twitter. As a writer, when it comes to social media I prefer the free-form style of Facebook. There are certain things which simply cannot be said in 140 characters.

Still, there are plenty of sophisticated people on Twitter who tweet intelligent things. Indeed, attempting to compose a complete thought – complete with the requisite hashtags and replies – in the space provided can be a worthwhile challenge.

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Especially if you’re not saying, “R U A BELIEBER 2? OMG! LOL ❤ #corporatewhore”

I set my Facebook postings to automatically copy to my Twitter account. Fully 75 percent of my tweets come from that. However I’ll go over to Twitter and post directly there from time to time. I’ll do this especially if I want to reach people who aren’t necessarily on Facebook.

Given my penchant for snark, you may be surprised that those of you who “follow” me find yourselves in very good company. Among others, my followers include the Mayor of Boise, a major news outlet, a former NFL player, members of the Idaho Legislature, published authors and even a United States Senator.

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Flattop and all.

While this is all well and good, the number one reason I’m on Twitter is to advertise SB. You know, get as many eyeballs on the blog as possible. That said, my numbers were, shall we say, lacking. So a couple weeks ago I came across one of those Twitter “follow back” accounts, which is kind of an electronic chain letter, but without the threats of eternal damnation.

It’s also free. As anyone who’s been online for any amount of time knows, “online marketing” is one of three things on the Internet you never, ever pay for.

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The other two, of course, are news and porn.
Image credit: Luke Hollins

So did this little ploy work? Well, sure. Within moments I was getting new followers left and right. Now I’m up to nearly 100! Woo hoo! Yes I know having only 100 followers sucks, but let me have my moment, dammit!

The real problem is I didn’t get a lot of follows from the aforementioned sophisticated people. However, I did get a shitload of followers among 15-year-olds who worship Lil Wayne and communicate in wingdings. That’s OK I suppose, but …

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… let’s just say I’m not reaching my target demographic here.
Image credit: ~psdlab

So, my faithful, sophisticated and snarky SB readers, help a guy out and follow me. My Twitter feed is getting stupider by the day.

When Did I Turn Into a Hippie?

Like virtually everyone else in this world, I’ve held a few workaday type jobs in my day. I’ve been fired a couple times. I’ve been promoted a couple times. I have a fair amount of experience in management and such. On paper I have to say my resume looks pretty damn good.

The problem is I honestly think I couldn’t hold a job like that anymore, at least not for any significant period of time. I’d much rather work for myself doing something I love, such as writing and publishing. Also, being bipolar means it’s not a question of if I use all my sick days, but when. Accordingly I haven’t had such a job for nearly two years now.

If you’ve seen the “About” page here, you know that I have an LLC. I set it up with the thought of becoming a book publisher. Eventually I’d like to make that happen, but being sick with bipolar disorder effectively ground that process to a halt. As a result the business became more about writing Wikipedia articles, which I don’t do anymore.

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Why? Because dealing with Wikipedia is like trying to get a rabid wolverine through Chinese customs.

I’ve thought about going back into insurance, or some other type of sales job, or even participating in one of those MLM things. Unfortunately, I’m simply not cut out for that sort of work. After years of denial, I’ve come to the horrible conclusion that I’m fundamentally one of those artsy-fartsy types.

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But without the patchouli oil. That stuff is nasty.

That said, instead of resigning myself to a life of shopping at thrift stores so I can save enough to go to Burning Man – which really isn’t my thing, either – I need to reconcile who I am with economic reality. This is not to say I’m trying to avoid working. Absolutely not. Ambition is alive and well here at the Command Center.

I suppose until I put a plan together, I’ll have to be content with providing y’all with your daily dose of snark and cynicism. You’re welcome.

But hey, if you have any ideas, you know how to contact me.

A Post About Nothing

I suppose it happens to the best of us. Call it lack of inspiration, a loss for words, writer’s block or what have you, all of us writers go through it from time to time. Unfortunately I haven’t written an analogue to The Catcher in the Rye yet, so I can’t just take the next 45 years off.

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“Dear fans, piss off. Love, J.”
Image credit: bbnick42

It’s been suggested I could write something about nothing. It’s been done before: Seinfeld, most political speeches, the entire Meat Loaf catalog. The list goes on and on. Eh, maybe I’ll try something like that. I know! I’ll create the blog equivalent of John Cage’s 4’33”, a piano piece (or whatever instrument suits your fancy, it really doesn’t matter) consisting of four minutes and 33 seconds of … absolute silence.

Yes, this is an actual piece of music. It’s been a topic of serious discussion since its 1952 “premiere.” No less than NPR called it one of the “100 most important American musical works of the 20th Century.” Cage himself called it his favorite work. Hrm, I suppose the literary equivalent would be something like …

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Sheer minimalism! Genius!

But then again, this kind of crap doesn’t go over well in Idaho. I doubt anyone from The New Yorker or the The Village Voice reads my dreck, either. So much for that little theory.

Another way to go about this would be to write about my mundane life. It would be like a diary, but it would bore the hell out of anyone who reads it, including any Internet archaeologist who stumbles upon this blog hundreds of years from now. Hey, let’s try it out!

Dear Diary: Well, today was a boring day. Sneferu and Djoser have been running around like maniacs. I did laundry, no whites so I didn’t use any bleach. I did the dishes too. There were a lot more than usual. Oh yeah, I went downstairs and checked the mail. Well, I guess that’s all for today. Love, Lane

Still awake? Good! I could write either one of those things today. Or I could copy and paste the lorem ipsum placeholder text over and over in white letters so you can’t see them on your screen. Yes, dear readers, I would do anything for cheap laughs …

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… but I won’t do that!
Image credit: Christie D. Mallon

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. All right, now it’s time for today’s entry!

Ah, crap. Lost the moment again ….

That Giant Sucking Sound

Back in 1992, part-time presidential candidate and full-time lunatic Ross Perot coined the term “giant sucking sound.” He originally used it to criticize the then-proposed NAFTA treaty. Later politicians also used it to play up the “jobs lost” bogeyman. Admittedly, in that context it really doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot for me around here.

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“Our jobs are secure. Now piss off.”

Nevertheless, it’s still a good phrase. It’s also one of the few notable things conceived during Perot’s presidential runs which didn’t involve pie graphs and/or batshit conspiracy theories. For me, the “giant sucking sound” is what I often hear in the back of my mind when I’m writing. It’s a thought along the lines of, “Hoo boy. I’m really posting a turd to the Internet today!” I’m having that thought right now, actually.

Yet one person’s manure is often another person’s manna. Regardless of what kind of artist you are – be it a painter, actor, musician, or a writer like myself – you fancy some of your works are much more awesome than others. However, what you think is good and what others think is good are often two different things. The same holds for one’s perception of crap.

Here’s a case in point. The late Alec Guinness thought of himself as an old-school English stage actor of the highest caliber, on par with his contemporary Laurence Olivier and with Patrick Stewart later on. Indeed, like Olivier and Stewart his Shakespearean chops were indisputably world-class. However, most of you out there know him for this role:

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“It’ll be just like Connery in Zardoz. No one will remember this.”
Image credit: williampcoleman

At best, Guinness viewed the Obi-Wan Kenobi role as a late-career afterthought and a retirement hedge. Indeed, thanks to some shrewd negotiating he made a ton of money off of it. But once it became apparent many would remember him from his Star Wars appearances more than anything else he ignored the subject as much as he possibly could, even going so far as to throw away Star Wars fan mail unopened.

Something like this happened to me, albeit on a much smaller scale. For a few years in the mid-90s I was on the staff of the Bengal, the student newspaper at Idaho State University. I started out as an op-ed writer and remained in that capacity throughout my tenure there. That’s how I saw my role there. Oh yeah, I also wrote some straight news stories, mainly for shits and giggles.

One day in 1995 I was informed I won first place in a regional college newspaper newswriting competition. This came as a complete surprise because (1) I wasn’t aware I entered a competition in the first place and, (2) the article I won for I found banal and pedestrian at best. I don’t recall exactly what it was about, but it had something to do with proposed fee increases, something dry and boring like that. To this day I’m somewhat bemused by the experience.

Mind you, I don’t try to write garbage on purpose. Well, not usually. However, I sometimes wonder what would happen if I gave up all attempts at humor, intellect and integrity, and wrote entirely for the lowest common denominator. I could totally pump out dreck for the Oprah-addled masses if I wanted. I imagine the result would be akin a mashup of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and the Twilight series.

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Illustrated by the undead Thomas Kinkade, of course.
Image credit: ojimbo

Ultimately I’ve learned over the years to discount the giant sucking sound, at least to an extent. It’s often completely wrong anyway.

Just Under the Wire

Yup, another one of those completely non-productive days here at the Command Center. It’s just over an hour until midnight and no blog entry. I thought about skipping it entirely today, but I have a good streak going which I don’t want to break. What the hell, I’ll just half-ass it today.

Besides, I never promised literary genius here.

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“So put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

Last night during a sometimes heated discussion with an old friend on art, writing, criticism and, um, Debby Boone, I was introduced to Phantahex, a relatively new local band. My aforementioned old friend is half of Phantahex. According to the site they play “improvised ambient psychedelic electronic music.” I happen to think it’s pretty damn good. Y’all should check it out.

Dammit, there was something else I wanted to write about tonight …. “You Light Up My Life” is a horrible, wretched song? Well, yes, but that wasn’t it. Ah, whatever. I may remember and write about it another time. I leave you with this gem I found researching yesterday’s entry. This is quite possibly the best live commercial in the history of Western civilization (NSFW):

“Ya can’t get even!”

The Indifference Strikes Back

“A blog entry every day, no matter what.” I swear sometimes I’m such a bitch to myself.

“And make it funny, dammit!” Yeah, yeah, yeah …. This is easier said than done when one is battling bipolar depression, insomnia and cats who want to sit on one’s face at three in the morning.

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Yes, I’m looking at you, Sneferu.

Today I’ve been thinking about the benefits of carbonite as depicted in the Star Wars series. For the benefit of the three of you who have never heard of Star Wars, it’s a series of science fiction films involving good guys, bad guys, terrible laser gun shooting, something called the Force, curious swordplay, and of course explosions and shit. As a four-year-old I declined an invitation to see the first (fourth?) movie when it first came out in 1977. I thought it sounded stupid.

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A good cereal notwithstanding, C-3PO needed to be slapped, repeatedly.

Anyway, carbonite. According to the august, authoritative Star Wars database Wookieepedia, carbonite “was a metal alloy that was made from carbon. It was mixed with tibanna gas, compressed, and flash-frozen into blocks for transport.” In addition to its industrial uses and thanks to several convenient leaps of logic, carbonite was an ideal medium for placing people, and presumably other living things, into a state of indefinite suspended animation. Han Solo was placed in carbonite towards the end of The Empire Strikes Back.

Too bad it’s not real. Given my chronic sleep issues I’d love to place myself into suspended animation from time to time. Today being a perfect example. At least as far as my experience is concerned, depression isn’t a constant state of sadness as much as it is a constant state of “fuck it.” Of course, if it were real I’d probably have to pay royalties to Disney, as they own Star Wars now.

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Behold your corporate overlords.

Personally I’m more of a Star Trek fan. The technology featured in that franchise strikes me as much more practical overall. I’d love to see a real-world transporter in action. Space travel wouldn’t be necessary to appreciate its benefits; you could just as easily use it for those nasty commutes.

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“I’m going to Albania for the afternoon. See you at 5.”
Image credit: tkksummers

Of course, the airline industry lobby would delay transporter technology for years.

All right, so I’m in the 400-word range with this. Good enough for me. I’m going back to bed now.