Archive for December 2005

As the Holidays Approach

December 20, 2005

Finally, a spare moment when I actually feel up to writing a sentence or two. Once I get past these next few days, I’ll have about ten days for some serious downtime which will allow me to reflect on the past year (not to mention some serious movie watching). I picked up a copy of “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” and it’s companion “Santa’s Christmas Elf” on Ebay to watch with my granddaughter. Maybe I’ll convince the whole family to join in. Merry Christmas, everyone!! Hey, what are you guys looking at? No, seriously. Hey, wait! Ow, ow, ow!!! Hmmm. Maybe we’ll skip the “family viewing” part. I can’t even find “Santa’s Christmas Elf” on the Internet Movie Database. I’ve read the reviews on “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” and it seems appropriately insane.
Anyway, not much going on, besides work, at this point. We had a decent “secret Santa” gift exchange in which I picked up a very nice fleece lined shirt which will come in handy during these low temperatures. It’s that time of year when being at work has a more social atmosphere to it. Upper management is rather scarce as they make their way to various locations throughout the country to visit family. There’s that familiar feeling of not really being on the job (even though you are). It’s like a big party where everyone still has tasks to perform, but with less tension and a heightened sense of good will. Christmas is really the only time of year that you can experience that type of work scenario in the business that I currently happen to be in. If you’re out there working, right now, I wish the same for you…

A Golden Turkey Award

December 14, 2005

Whew. Now here I sit, stuffed with turkey, dressing and a few other tasty items. Today was the day that my company hosted a dinner for everyone at work. I ate mine rather hastily, since I was needed to be one of the servers. All the management folks served the rest of the employees in a desperate attempt to “look humble”. Although, I have to admit, that I was feeling pretty humble when it came time for me to be relieved at around employee number bazillion (actually it was more like # 150 – but you’d be surprised how heavy turkey with stuffing and gravy can get – especially after you’ve just eaten). Now, I seriously need a nap. There’s nothing like L-tryptophan and serving the masses to bring the evening’s ambitions to a screeching halt (yes, I know that it’s a myth about the L-tryptophan in turkey making you sleepy – but it sounds better than “I ate like a pig and now I can’t work.”). They gave out company baseball caps, as well (mind you, this is a multi-billion dollar world-wide corporation – but I’m not bitter. Even after they cancelled my last quarterly bonus. Ok. I’m bitter. But I’m stuffed and that’s what counts, my friends. So, I’m thankful. Sleepy, but thankful.
For those of you who like to read bad movie reviews, Ken Begg’s got a deal going where you can sponsor Jabootu for a month and you get to choose the film that Ken so artfully takes his gleaming hatchet to. January is scheduled to be sponsored by yours truly and I’ve chosen “Billy Jack Goes to Washington”. It should be interesting Don’t miss it..

Making My Way to a Small Vacation

December 13, 2005

Well, back to the daily grind, this evening. My nose is recovering from a really nice bite mark from the new Shih Tzu (“Miss Cocoa”). She didn’t mean it, of course. She just got a little carried away while attempting to “attack” me while jumping around on my bed. I’ll have to remember not to stick my face so close to her (or dogs in general, I guess) while we’re playing, At least until she develops some control over her enthusiasm. McGhee (the “poodle man”) was very disapproving of Miss Cocoa’s antics and I expected him to suggest an attorney, once he noticed the spot of blood on my nose. The cats were ambivalent (as ever). Just two more weeks of work and I get nine days off for the Christmas\New Years holiday. Until then, though, its eleven hours a day at my job, so my movie viewing and writing times are a bit restricted. I’ll be catching up, though. I need to start getting myself in shape for B-fest in January. That’s my wife’s Christmas present to me, if I haven’t already mentioned it. Yes, she’s sending me to Chicago. In January. To watch 24 hours of bad movies. Ya gotta love her.

Cryogenic Workplaces

December 8, 2005

The weather is beginning to take a turn for the worse, here, in Mississippi. I actually had some difficulty getting up for work, this afternoon. When the sky is a leaden grey and the cold winds blow, it just doesn’t seem right to have to get up to go to work. The animals don’t make it any easier. Especially the cats. They just lay there on the bed and look at me as if to say “You go out there, dude. We’ll just stay where it’s warm and comfortable, thank you.” McGhee, the poodle man is no better. Sure, he’ll get up to go outside in the backyard for the day’s first whizz, have some breakfast, but then it’s back to sleep. The only one who shows any enthusiasm to start the day is the new Shih Tzu (“Mei Ling Wu Shen Tao” aka “Miss Cocoa”) and she’s just a puppy, hence, clueless. (If you’re wondering, she was named after my best friend Paul’s martial arts school.)

Anyway, I’m surprised the night’s going by as quickly as it is (I work in the evenings till about 1:30 AM). Not too shabby. Maybe I can get some more of that revision done on my breaks. Things are slow and the techs are slower. I think it’s because they turn down the heat, once upper management leaves for the day. It doesn’t bother me, since I come from New York, originally. But I know it must play havoc with the folks who were born and raised in the South. Hey, can you tell I have nothing to write about, today? You can? Oh. Well, in that case, that’s it till tomorrow.

Dogs and Santa. Oh yes, and Daughter

December 7, 2005

It’s been a pretty cold day, here, in Mississippi. They predicted a snowstorm that has subsequently decided not to exist. I think this is part of a pattern of over-reaction that has instilled itself ever since we had that ice storm that incapacitated the whole city for several days. Several areas were without power and the streets were un-drivable in some sections. There wasn’t even a hint of a warning from our beloved meteorologists. So now, we have full scale paranoid alerts every time a dark cloud meanders over from Arkansas. My wife took my daughter and our new Shih Tzu over to Old Towne in Olive Branch to have a picture taken with Santa. I printed up the photos (that they stuck up on a website) at work since my techs repair the highest quality HP printers and there’s tons of photo paper lying around. The dog is so cute that I have to watch myself and make sure I point out my daughter first.
“Hey, look at this. That’s my new dog!”
“Who’s the person?”
“What?”
“Who’s the person?”
“Oh. That’s Santa.”
“No. The girl.”
“Oh. That’s my daughter.”
Needless to say, I don’t get many appreciative looks from the moms I work with. It’s that damn Shih Tzu, I tells you. Just too cute for it’s own good. You can take a look at: Daughter’s photo (see, I’m getting better)See what I mean.

A Revision Awaits

December 6, 2005

It seems that I’ve now entered into the final critical phase of my NaNoWriMo writing adventure. That would be the revision of my work for possible publication (like my writing actually merits publication). I guess I’m doing this just to say that I did it. I don’t know, it might be nice to have an actual tangible result to hold in my hand, so when someone asks me, I can say “Yes, I’m a published writer.” (I’m referring to a book, of course, I’ve actually had items published before) Not only that, but I’ve been reading a lot of published dreck, lately (along with some noteworthy items – to be fair). I look at it this way, if others can inflict garbage on me, why should anyone begrudge me a little trash of my own. I say that, well, because it sounds as good as any justification that I can think of at the moment. So, here I am, at the start of a massive revision that I need to complete by mid-January for the publication deadline. We’ll see how it goes.

The weather has taken a turn for the colder, here, in Northern Mississippi. But the sun’s out and the air is crisp. It’s almost too bright outside. But I love it. It reminds me of childhood Christmas anticipation in New York. I can do without the snow and slush (except for that first morning glimpse of a night time snowfall), but a clean, clear winter’s day – yes that’s the way it should be. I’m almost in too good a mood to write horror fiction. Maybe that’s what will allow me to give it that eerie twist of perception. You always expect horror on that “dark and stormy night” but when horror greets you on a cold, beautiful sunny day – now you’re talking…

Some NaNoWriMo Thoughts

December 1, 2005

Well. Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I can resume my normally scheduled life. I’ve had some time to think about that particular writing experience and I’m quite surprised by some of the revelations that were presented to me over the course of that month. The thing about speedwriting at high volume is that it unblocks the bottlenecks that normally hinder one’s flow of creation. They tell you that, sure, you’ll be writing a lot of crap but you’ll also find that there are pockets of genuine inspiration mixed in with the sludge. That’s the way it definitely was with me. It was a stream of consciousness exercise that took me places that I had never been before. Tapping into latent abilities translated into several different benefits in my non-writing world, as well. I found my verbalizations to be crisper. I found my wit to be sharper. In essence, my social skills improved. Even things like dream interpretation became more acute. All in all, I would recommend the experience to anyone. I’m definitely in for next November. Hey, even if you don’t finish, like the NaNoWriMo folks say – “You rock for trying.”