Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dear HR Manager.

Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the position of Corporate Assmunch.

As I hope is apparent from the attached resume, I am a self-starter who thrives in environments where managers provide no guidance or direction until it's too late and I've already fucked up.

When this does occur you will find me to be a creative problem-solver who can envision a range of reasons why it wasn't my fault it was Brian's. Or the intern's. I am equally adept at creating the appearance of doing work. I thrive under pressure, which means you can expect me to procrastinate.

I never hesitate to face new challenges in the workplace: If you give me impossible tasks, I'll be the first to say "can do!" and face them head on with a strained smile, cursing you and your ugly children and your ill-fitting polo shirt under my breath, driven by spite to do a fantastic job.

I am a team player. You can be assured my coworkers will respect, value, and seek me out for the impressions I do of you and your unctuous mannerisms.

I look forward to meeting you in person, which is when the bullshit really comes to life.

Sincerely,
Eric

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ABC ABC gum.

I stole this from my lady, who stole it from somebody else.

A. Age: Biological, 38. Mental, about 12. Wii Fit Age, sometimes 25 sometimes 54. Spiritual, sometimes 3 sometimes 2,000. Guess my age, a lot older (fucking gray hair, stress lines).

B. Bed size: "Slightly too small for two adults and two dogs."

C. Chore you dislike: Skilled at finding reasons not to fold laundry.

D. Dogs: "I have a pit bull named Lydia. Plus Eric's collie, Princess Cassandra Louis LaPorte."

E. Essential start to your day: I meditate and drink coffee at the same time. For real.

F. Favorite color: The cool thing to say is black, but I sort of like green.

G. Gold or silver: This is a first-world problem. I'm not there yet.

H. Height: Not enough.

I. Instruments you play(ED): Vocals, harmonica, a long time ago guitar.

J. Job title: "Content Strategist." TCM Practitioner. Student.

K. Kids: Two boys a sort of step-daugher and sort of step-son.

L. Live: With my lady.

M. Mom’s name: Wahneta. It's Native American - named after a grandma's friend.

N. Nicknames: My friend Brian was too lazy to say the second syllable so I went by "Er" for a while. Sometimes still called "E." My lady calls me "sweetie."

O. Overnight hospital stays: Not for me.

P. Pet peeves: People wearing sandals. The exaggerated way actors eat in movies and TV. Anachronistic dialogue in movies and TV. People who abbreviate the word "sandwich" to "sammy" or "sammich." People who walk too slow. People with no original sense of humor who just quote jokes from movies and TV. People who talk to themselves. People who crinkle plastic wrappers in movie theaters. People who clap after movies or watch the credits, this usually happens at artsy theaters. People who speak too softly and wear fanny packs. People who talk about recycling. People who say "good morning" or worse just, "morning." People. The words "morning," "belly," "tummy," "yummy," and "lunch." Meetings and the stupid shit people say in meetings. Jargon. Small talk. Much of what the dogs do. Cereal milk left in the bowl, condiments left on plates. Much of what the kids do.

Q. Quote from a movie: Peanut, the way your mind works is God's own personal mystery.

R. Righty or Lefty: Right (and weirdly suspicious of lefties).

S. Siblings: Little brother.

T. Time you wake up: Too fuckin late.

U. Underwear: Ideally, but

V. Vegetables you don’t like: EGGPLANT.

W. What makes you run late: Existing.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Hand.

Y. Yummy food you make: Quesadilla and sometimes I luck out with a decent stir-fry (and there's that word, "yummy").

Z. Zoo Animal Favorites: Big cats. Apes of any kind. Bears. Deadly animals of any kind. Reptiles. The whole aquarium and seals. The "Most Deadly Animal" at the Bronx zoo. And the bats. Birds and antelopes are boring as fuck.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Beltane

We ate man-sized helpings of pot roast meat and many steins of root beer and cake and decorated the house with earth symbols and ran about the house shrieking and laughing, some of us with our shirts off and one in just underwear.

Friday, April 22, 2011

no contest

i spent all day writing an essay for a scholarship i'm going to win.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

this pretty much sums up my professional life the last 10 years

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So long.

My grandmother, Norma M. Crandall, passed away yesterday morning at 5:30 a.m. I'm ok. I feel worse for my mom, you should read her blog here. Hers is the most important thing to say about it.

My grandmother lived with my grandfather in a big, old house with a wraparound porch surrounded by trees in upstate New York. It snowed and snow piled up and we sledded, and there was a fireplace. I remember bouncing in the seat with anticipation on the hours' long drive to Sidney as the land got bigger, spotted with the shapes of cows, and the towns got smaller, sometimes shrinking to just a row of mailboxes on the side of the road. Much of what I was looking forward to was seeing her. When I showed up she lit up, and the quality of her voice lifted, and she hung on everything I said, and I knew she felt the same about seeing me.

The experience of feeling so unconditionally appreciated is one of the greatest gifts grandparents give. They give you toys, yes. But when my Grandma and Grandpa showed up unexpectedly during a summer vacation in Maine, the toy they brought me (a brown bear) was only as important as having come from them.

My grandmother was smart, and creative. She worked as a drafter for Bendix Aviation, having a degree in Mechanical Engineering. As my mom wrote, Grandma has a patent for a helicopter grip that is still in use. I looked it up on Google records; there's even a picture of her original drawing submitted with the patent application. She used the same skill with drawing to hand-letter the granddaughter clock my Grandpa built for us. If you look closely at the curling leaves that ornament the clock face they subtly form the shape of all our initials. I didn't get to know this side of her as well. But kids are perceptive, and looking back, I remember the way her voice and her demeanor would change when she talked to me not just as a grandmother but as a person. Today I realize the sound and the color were hints of how sharp she was.  

(A strange legacy, but I remember her explaining to me why people got headaches, about blood vessels in the head. I've always had headaches, so this is something I remember every time I've had one since. I also remember her laughing when I asked why there was a magnet in the shape of a "Stop" sign on the refrigerator. It was to remind Grandpa not to eat too much).

The reason I associate my grandmother with her voice is that I didn't see her much after the two of them moved to Florida 20-something years ago. However, the times since that I called (rarely) or she called my mom, who then put me on the phone, her voice raised to meet me in that familiar way. She still hung on my every word. The last time I ever talked to her she told me that I, too, sounded just the same as she remembered me.

Some things do not change. It was a long time ago, but the memory of my grandparents' house in upstate New York is indelible, pristine, perfectly encapsulated, and my memories of her remain there. It was more than just a house and she was more than just a voice on the phone. What I can return to any time is the indescribable feeling of her and of them that filled that house, my impressions of the kitchen and the dining room, the fire and the stove, the sawdust in my grandfather's workshop.

I also think it's very important to say good bye. And it's true, the last ember in the fireplace in the old house has gently winked out. The last pile of sawdust is swept away and the bright wood in the scraps of the toys my grandfather made me will also turn darker; their perfect edges will soften. The lights in the windows will go out, quietly for the last time. But tomorrow is going to be something else, Grandma, indeed. 

For my mom.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Taxes

"I got a letter from the government / The other day / I opened - and read it - it said they were suckas!"

-Chuck D

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday nite

Too fat to lumber downstairs and get his laptop computer, the man instead pecked out his blog post with one finger, then fell back under the weight of his distended gut, bested by Mexican food and movie popcorn; by ColdStone Creamery and nachos. By root beer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My world.

The NewAgers say, "You create your own reality." OK:

In my world, anybody taller than me will be hobbled, or have a few vertebrae removed.

In this world, half-and-half will help you LOSE weight.

In my world nobody will use the expression "create your own reality," although the rule will still apply.

Every restaurant, of any kind, will have an all-you-can-eat buffet option in my world.

There will be no "skinny" jeans.

In this world of mine, you will never have to say anything twice to kids.

It goes without saying I will be rich as shit.

Notice that none of these rules in my world contain anything about feeding the hungry, or having no wars and such. In this world, I can be completely self-absorbed (by definition), and by doing so, everybody still wins.

And yes, all my friends and family will have all their desires met in my world. My mom runs The University of Higher Consciousness through Music and Also Fart Jokes. Both she and my brother are fully discovered as the most talented musicians in the world. And so is Ezra. Ambrose is an Olympic gymnast. Merry is an actress of great renown. Lucas is a hero, interior designer to the stars, and diplomat.

My lady will have a floral design/interior design/blogging/photography empire. Or she'll just travel the world. Or both. These are all guesses because the point is: She will have whatever the hell she wants. 

Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Otis Rush and James Brown; Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday; all these people are alive, and in their prime. Ike Turner never hit Tina, but they make the same music. Michael Jackson never got so fucking weird, or died.

Martin Scorsese and I collaborate on a screenplay. David Lynch still makes movies like Wild at Heart and not Lost Highway.

There is another Hellboy movie as good as the first one.

Nobody ever says "sammich" or "sammy" when referring to nature's most perfect food.

I went to art school and I learned to read music, and I get to be Mick Jagger (in the 1970s) whenever I want. I've written, I don't know, 10 books so far.

When I walk out my door, there is a salad bar that starts right there and extends the length of the world into infinity.

Meat can be reproduced in abundance without hurting animals. I have a beaded curtain of dried chorizo sausages outside my front door.

This front door of mine opens not just on a salad bar, but on the Pacific Ocean. Not hot-climate Pacific, more like Northern California.

Smoking DOES NOT kill you. In fact, it makes you stronger.

So welcome to my world, motherfuckers. (In this world "motherfucker" does not imply incest nor is it offensive unless I want it to be. Offensive that is).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eric's Business Tips: Effectively Working from Home.

As I write this I am wearing a sports coat, and shoes. Yes, I don't have to --- I work from home. But I've learned that these and other small touches add an air of professionalism to the image I see in the mirror, and that makes me feel better about myself, and it helps me be more productive. I also make the bed and sit with my legs crossed. Another thing I've learned is to have meetings.

Meetings are one of the things I most miss about the corporate American workplace. They are an opportunity to draw out our interactions with people we don't like---to extend what could be a simple email exchange into an hour-long discussion. I only have the dogs to meet with mostly, so every Monday I reserve a cushion on the couch and we sit down, each of us with a typed agenda, and go through our plans for the day. Today Lydia offered to lick the same spot on her foreleg for twenty minutes. Cassie and I asked if we could count on her to slobber on the couch pillows as much as possible. We also need someone to follow me into every room in the goddamn house, and Cassie stepped up to the plate. Besides from having meetings, I also try to fashion my physical surroundings into a more professional environment.

Being in an office means sitting in the same spot for hours on end looking like you are doing more work than others. That second part of that isn't too hard around here. But the sitting part IS hard. I have A.D.D., and it's one of the reasons I don't do well in offices. I pace, I go the bathroom more often than I have to or should, I make endless cups of coffee. In offices I am anxious all the time people will begin to question the amount of time I don't spend at my desk pretending to work. So here, I pretend for the dogs. I'm actually even more disciplined at home than I have been in traditional work settings: I belt myself to the chair.

Last, I try to talk around the house as I would in an office setting. This afternoon I asked Cassie for an ETA. Lydia offered to have a quick download with me in the backyard. I sat endlessly scratching my own deliverables until they hurt. You're only as professional as you say you are.

Hell, my friend Jack Sartre said, is other people. Heaven can get lonely, mind you, but the coffee is better, and your boss is only ever as crazy, or unreasonable, or as much of a total worthless asshole as you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cold or cool?

Winter is a grueling and brutal slog through an endless cold nightmare in Minnesota, but Minneapolis itself is still very novel to me. There are five significant lakes interspersed between downtown and the various neighborhoods. Here is a picture from our walk with the dogs tonight around Lake of the Isles. And it was in fact quite warm.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A real big

A guy cut me off today. He was driving a pink car, a pink Ford PROBE. Calling him a dick seemed redundant.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Psych

It's pretty insidious how you can talk yourself out of things that are good for you.

People in 12-Step meetings always talk about self-sabotage and I always thought it was bullshit. If you've worked hard for something, for a long time, why would you throw it all away?

I made a flyer and Elizabeth printed 50 of them for me. (I'm starting a new venture, a departure).

I had a lot of places to be today, and I had the stack of flyers in the car, and it was interesting to observe how many reasons I found not to put them up. Someone might actually call...

You get used to the safe distance between you and the unattainable thing, the mind adjusts to it. Suddenly the bottom drops out and the mind claws for purchase, usually seizing on insubstantial fears. Fear is dumb. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Mirror mirror

on the wall? Whose face is most asymmetrical of them all?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Pika.

Once I had the great fortune of knowing this little dog. He is missed.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

For today

I've been working on this post for my new website, so I'm sorry, I've been seeing another blog on the side.
The Fifth Element.
We tend to forget how much the change in seasons affects us. The majority of us are not farmers, and our sustenance and livelihood don’t appear to depend directly on the cycles of nature, on seed, growth, harvest and frost. Nobody is disappointed about spring, of course. But it’s easy to think our relationship with the seasons stops there: Nice weather is pleasant, bad weather is unpleasant. Our life doesn’t depend on it. The Five Phase Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees the arrival of spring and of other seasons quite differently... More

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Discovery

Apparently this is how you know a mermaid has died.

Friday, April 01, 2011

April 1.

The kids put salt in my coffee and hid my keys. So proud...