Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lights Out, uh huh…

That’s right. Tonight is Earth Hour. Can you turn off your lights for just one little hour? Sure you can!

Vicky and I are doing it. After all, it’s pretty damned easy and will make a difference. Just turn off your lights (and other non-essentials) at 8pm tonight. (Okay, I’m not sure if that’s Pacific or Eastern or whatever – JUST DO IT!)

I don’t know what we’ll do but we do have a baby to work on making…

Friday, March 28, 2008

Vampire Society (on sale now)…

It was the book I never thought I’d finish. I started writing Vampire Society shortly before Rosa and I split up. It was supposed to be the book we had always talked about me writing and Rosa and I both liked what we saw…

… then, of course, we split up. And what’s the point of finishing a book, then?

I abandoned it, figuring I’d give up novels and write plays. That was true, for a while.

Until Vicky stepped into the picture. She inspired me to pick myself back up again and continue writing the book, but it wasn’t the same book it had once been. What started out as a manifesto became a book about the nature of love, which is why I ended up calling Vampire Society: A Love Story About Values.

Though my luck finding traditional publication wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, Amazon came along with their new e-reader: Kindle. If you have one (and you should, they’re really neat – he said, pluggingly), you can now purchase the novel that started me writing novels again: Vampire Society.

Vampire Society is a love story that occurs before the backdrop of a society where greed has become a virtue and where ethics have become a vice. Vampire Society is a philosophical novel with a simple message about values that is universal. It is not liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican. It speaks to the part of us that is looking for something good in a society trying to buy their happiness. With it’s philosophy that the good is not based on selfishness, it is a rebuff of Ayn Rand in a time that needs it the most.

Vampire Society (on sale now!) …

It was the book I never thought I’d finish. I started writing Vampire Society shortly before Rosa and I split up. It was supposed to be the book we had always talked about me writing and Rosa and I both liked what we saw…

… then, of course, we split up. And what’s the point of finishing a book, then?

I abandoned it, figuring I’d give up novels and write plays. That was true, for a while.

Until Vicky stepped into the picture. She inspired me to pick myself back up again and continue writing the book, but it wasn’t the same book it had once been. What started out as a manifesto became a book about the nature of love, which is why I ended up calling Vampire Society: A Love Story About Values.

Though my luck finding traditional publication wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, Amazon came along with their new e-reader: Kindle. If you have one (and you should, they’re really neat – he said, pluggingly), you can now purchase the novel that started me writing novels again: Vampire Society.

Vampire Society is a love story that occurs before the backdrop of a society where greed has become a virtue and where ethics have become a vice. Vampire Society is a philosophical novel with a simple message about values that is universal. It is not liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican. It speaks to the part of us that is looking for something good in a society trying to buy their happiness. With it’s philosophy that the good is not based on selfishness, it is a rebuff of Ayn Rand in a time that needs it the most.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Here we go again…

If there’s one thing I hate about being unemployed, it’s phone interviews with idiots. Observe, for instance, this call I received for a Technical Writer position. (The job title is key here.)

Employer. Do you have any tech writing experience?

Me. Yes, for instance…

Employer. Do you have any web coding experience?

Me. Excuse me?

Employer. Do you know HTML?

Me. Well, sadly, no. You see, my experience is in writing and...

Employer. What about web page coding?

Me. No. As I said, most of my experience is in writing.

Employer. Coding software?

Me. No.

Employer. Web design?

Me. No.

Employer. Database management?

I kind of wish I could be there when she calls for web designers and asks what their writing experience is.

But I will BET YOU I get called for an interview. The world of unemployment is just fucked up that way.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Timing is everything… except…

Gotta tell you, I hate being out of work.

The idea, just so you know, was that Vicky and I would BOTH be employed when we had our baby. We waited just the right amount of time so we would BOTH get time off to be with the baby. We wanted to make sure everything was right. We timed it just right.

And then, I was laid off.

We’ve since spent nearly every day – or, at least, I have – thinking about what to do next. We’ve discussed it a few times but it always came down to this: Vicky wants a baby. Timing is up to me.

Today, I made a decision on timing.

Fuck timing.

I’ve found the woman I want to have a child with and I can’t afford to wait much longer. So, we’re not going to stop just because of a silly, little thing like unemployment.

Now, I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who think this is a stupid decision… and you wouldn’t be far off.

But, as I said to Vicky, “The worst that could happen is we’ll lose our house and I’ve already lost one, so it’s no big deal.”

In short, you’re not dealing with a man who cares about trifles. I've tried doing everything right up until now. Let's see what happens when we add a little stupidity. (It just might work.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

These things happen when I’m under stress…

Writing news galore.

I finished final proofs on my zombie book today. This week I’m going to get a couple synopsissies written up and ready it for submission. I don’t exactly know what it feels like to write a best-seller but this one is close. I can’t wait to start getting it out there.

Last Ditch is nearly completed, though I was cut short by getting laid off and all. I’m only about 4-5,000 words away from the end, though – and baby makes 16.

So, what to do next?

You know, the last time I was out of work I was faced with a dilemma. Do I write the book of philosophy that no one will buy or do I write the horror novel that everyone will love? It was a tough call because I really wanted to write the book of philosophy, which later became my book on success.

This time around, I want to write a book about free will. You see, I have a completely new angle on the age-old argument that, I believe, explains it all very well. Sure, no one will ever want to read it and it’ll never sell… but I’m dying to write it.

Then, there’s item number two… not a horror novel… a play.

Stephanie said the other day that at the rate I was going – getting laid off, et al – I’d never get on stage again. She may be right.

So, what if I wrote a play?

I’ve got a Word doc where I’ve been storing my jokes, gags, and one-liners as I get them. It’s 20 pages long. I’ve got plenty of material.

What would the play be about? Being married, something none of my plays ever covered. Trying to be happy. How crazy it makes you to be in love.

This time, it’s no contest. Philosophy is my meat but coming across a comedy about love… well, that’s cake all the way.

Maybe Steph might be wrong. I hope so.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Picking up from where?…

So, it’s one in the morning and I can’t sleep. Big surprise. I haven’t been sleeping much this week. I’ve been applying for jobs. I’ve been sending books out to agents. I’ve been unknowingly gnawing off my bottom lip until it’s cracked and hurting – but sleep isn’t quite on the menu.

I want nothing more than to buy a pack of smokes and get sloppy drunk… but I’m passing, for now.

A few days ago, I was walking Suki and thinking about how just a year ago I was in this same boat. It took six months to find a job then and I didn’t have a recession to worry about. I also didn’t have a resume split down the middle between management and writing, so it appeared as though I didn’t have enough experience for one and that I was no longer interested in the other. I thought about how unfair all of this was, how rotten things were – and then a bug flew into my mouth and down my throat. I coughed and gagged and the bug went down like nothing you want to experience.

I don’t know what the point here is, as I said it’s one in the morning, but I think this is just the start of things. For five years, I had it easier than I knew at Linksys… now things get tough.

I should probably get some sleep…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What happens now?…

It’s taken a couple of days for me to get used to this idea.

I’m out of work again. Unemployed. I did nothing wrong. In fact, I was excelling at my job. Everything was going right.

I’ll leave out the whys and wherefores of the whole thing for now – long story short, a dumbass mistake led to massive cutbacks and layoffs – right now, my biggest concern is where do I go from here?

And there’s not a whole lot of places to go. Fortunately, unemployment insurance shouldn’t be an issue since I was laid off and Vicky’s run the numbers and it looks like we should be fine for now. But what do I do?

I’ve been getting this sinking suspicion that, after two jobs in two years, I might not be cut out for the 9-5. Not to mention, after two jobs in two years, I’m not looking all that desirable as an employee. It’s time to think of alternatives.

So, here’s Plan A. It’s time to start investing more time in selling my books, as much time as I spend looking for work. Putting together submissions takes a bit of time and, after two days at it, I can tell you this won’t be easy. But I better do something, this much is sure.

As I was laid off on Friday, I was told that I could be hired back if the economy turns around.
Yeah, I thought that was pretty funny, too.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Yep, you read that right...

I was laid off today. After being employed for one year, I've become a victim of the economy once again.

I'm not really happy about it, as you might guess.

I'm sure I'll have more to say later. Right now, though, I'm just devestated.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bargaining against awake…

Does this happen to you?

My alarm went off at 5:17 this morning (I hate even numbers) and I rolled over to turn it off. Before I did, however, even as I reached my hand out, I started to do the math. “Let’s see, Ken. You’re already running late. You have to take a shower, brush your teeth, iron your clothes – you have to fit breakfast in – is there any way we can extend this sleep any further?”

“Hit the snooze bar!”

“I can’t hit the snooze bar. That’s an extra ten minutes. You’ll never be able to fit a shower in or you’ll have to skip breakfast.”

So, I turn off the alarm.

I am in a position somewhere between sleeping on my side and sitting up awake. I’m still trying to decide what to do with my morning.

“You could make a sandwich. That’s portable and it’ll only take a couple of minutes to make.”

“But I can’t eat while I’m driving. I know I’m no good at that.”

“Fine. Let’s talk about how much showering you really need.”

The math grows increasingly complex until I get myself to sit up. I open my eyes. I look at my alarm clock.

I’ve spent five minutes doing math. I’m not even out of bed, yet.

Why is it you’re at your sleepiest when you have to get OUT of bed?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I am just so wrong…

It’s 2pm and I have an hour left of work… what to do?

I was just reading an interview with Penn (of Him and Teller) and he mentioned how most people are wrong most of the time (actually, he was a bit more forthcoming than that) and that sent little fireworks off in my head.

Here’s the thing: I just wrote a blog about what a fucking genius I am. I came out of the genius closet, so to speak. It was an uncomfortable, if exhilarating, experience…

… So, I figured, what better why to follow that up than to mention the opposite end of that spectrum.

What’s that, you ask? Well, you shouldn’t! Just look at the subject line!

The thing is, smart as I may be, I am still wrong about a great many thing. I have my weaknesses. I have my flaws. I’d go so far as to say I probably have a lot more than most of you folks. But that’s okay. That’s how it works, right? I can’t expect to be smart about a damn thing if I’m not stupid about at least ten… or twenty!

What would they be?

Well, let’s start with dancing. God, I suck!

I’m not great at making friends.

I’m fat, so keeping myself fit isn’t my strongest feature.

I never really mastered the art of small talk so don’t ask me for advice on how not to be socially awkward.

I’m not nearly as judgmental of others as I used to be and, yet, I’m still far too judgmental.

It’s a good thing I know English because language are not… good at things I am… one of them…

Don’t talk to me about sports. Seriously. Save yourself the trouble.

I can add, subtract, multiply, and divide – beyond that math is your problem.

My relationship with three-dimensional space is… somewhat lacking. (i.e. I run into things… pretty damned often… I’ll be thinking of that as I drive home today…)

Drawing, sketching, painting… NOT!

As Vicky will vouch, fashion and style are not working for me. I know three colors: Blue, black, and whatisthatcalled.

Anyway, I could go on and on but I think I’ll spare you. This little exercise, I think, is good for all of us to remember. We all have our gifts and of those we should be proud but none of us should ever forget that we are flawed; that’s what it means to be human.

It’s okay to be wrong but not so much to think that you couldn’t be.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Not a genius, I just play one…

As many of you know, I am majoring in philosophy at Cal State University Fullerton. It’s not the best college but I can… well, I can’t afford it… but I can not afford it better than I could not afford other colleges…

There’s a lot of hubbub going around about the annual philosophical symposium. It’s not exactly excitement about the symposium; the hubbub is about how little excitement there is. But then, how could you blame anyone for not being excited? The presentations are on personal identity and time travel, philosophical language in ancient Chinese thought, the philosophy of global warming, and the ever-popular and done to fucking death topic: Are we living in a computer simulation. BORING! I mean, let’s face it, how does this apply to anyone? Even the topical idea of global warming is made moribund by not addressing the fact of the matter head-on! And that’s the problem with philosophy in the 21st century… it’s fucking dull. It’s paste served up as an entrĂ©e. We’re surrounded by the most mind-rending problems and some asshole decides he wants to do 20 minutes on a bong-hit about The Matrix… “Dude, we’re all like machines!”

Son of a bitch.

But wait. Step back a minute.

Because this blog is being written by the guy who knows the answer to the question “What is Success?” He’s written a book about it. He’s provided an essential answer to one of the biggest questions that plagues modern man… and can’t sell it for shit. No one wants it. No one cares.

So what the fuck does Ken know?

But enough third-person… You’d think I’d learn a thing or two but you’d be horribly wrong. Last night, I was talking to Vicky about my latest topic: Free Will. Why is that still even a question? After many millennium, you’d think humanity would have that one licked, right? It seems pretty much like common sense. The common cold must be a bitch but free will is pretty much a YES or NO answer. And what do we get? MAYBE. Depending on your religious and practical beliefs, we may or may not have free will.

That’s not an answer. Do we have free will or not?

It depends.

It’s the answer a child would give. It’s been avoided and shoved in the back with the rye krisps. And yet, these are exactly the kinds of questions philosophers are supposed to be answering, lest they end up looking like a bunch of circle-jerk monkeys. “Personal identity and time travel”, my ass.

Well, here’s the thing… I know the answer.

I know, you’re thinking the same thing as when I started the book on success: “He’s loony.” I won’t discount that as a possibility. After all, other people are making money ripping off the Matrix, so what the fuck do I know? I’d like to make this my next book, as I’m nearly finished with the current one, but I’m too busy with school to do the research necessary for an entire book. So, I may need to hold on to the idea for a while… it’ll wait…

The reason I tell you all of this is to get to my topic. (I never said I wasn’t long winded.)

So, I’m lying in bed last night and I’m telling Vicky some of my ideas… and it’s giving her a headache. She says, “I’m just not smart like you are.”

Suddenly, DeAnna’s “Table for one” comment comes back. She was also one of those people who put me in a class by myself and told me that I’d always be alone. Nice.

I tend to cringe when people call me smart. I did last night, too. My defense, and I think it’s a good one, is that I’m not particularly bright; I just approach problems from a different angle than most people. The idea that I might be smarter, or just smart… I was picked on a lot as a kid because I was smarter than most kids my age and I ended up turning that around and, by high school, became funnier than most kids my age. I avoided being tarred with the epithet “smart” for many years.

Now, cringing is like an automatic response. When I cringed last night, I realized I was getting defensive, trying to brush away the label, and I found it kind of funny in a way. It was like, “Who are you calling smart?!” I’m 42 years old. I’m a philosophy major. I’ve written over a dozen books. I solved the question of success. And I know the answer to free will.

I’ll admit it: There’s a chance I’m smart.

But please, don’t hold that against me.

Monday, March 03, 2008

My deaf wife and what she listens to…

It may be a contradiction but you’ll just have to deal with that.

How’s this: My wife is deaf and she listens to porn on the radio. Is that better?

So, I’m getting ready for work this morning – I get up at 5-ish so I have to be very, very quiet lest I wake the wife because she’s so easily woken, don’t you know? – and Vicky’s alarm blasts on! It is loud! And my heart jumps and I’m startled and… Vicky rolls over, turns it off, and goes back to sleep. I can’t believe it. I’m wide awake. The dog is wide awake. The neighbors… I mean, the neighboring states are wide awake. Vicky goes back to sleep.

I chalk it up to a fluke. I’m almost ready to go at this point. I select my tie. I tie my shoes – and Vicky’s alarm explodes to life! The window shatters! The dog’s ears gush blood! Car alarms in Fontana go off and… Vicky rolls over, turns it off, and goes back to sleep.

This is the woman whose sleep is disturbed if I get into bed as quietly as possible after she’s gone to sleep. Can someone explain this?

All I can figure is: she’s deaf. Vicky’s deaf. She must be. After all, I’ve heard the music she listens to and – it’s not that it’s bad – the genres are so inconsistent that she can’t possibly be hearing it. She switches from metal to country to “Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins. What the fuck? Then, she puts her radio on the Sirius Playboy Channel. Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn (porn stars I… um… grew up on) are on the air, talking about sex.

Listen, folks, porn on the radio is like morse code in print. I told Vicky that it was an awful lot like listening to Edgar Bergan and Charley McCarthy’s old radio show and she replied, of course, “Who’s Edward Berlin?”

I’m old and she’s deaf.

Christy and Ginger were on the radio the other night as we drove out to dinner. They were talking about putting things – wait for it – inside a man’s penis. (As opposed to, you know, a woman’s penis.) I didn’t hear exactly what they were putting in there – M&Ms, watermelons, Toyotas – my ears just shut down all of a sudden. I think my penis told them to.

Which must mean they were talking about equally horrific things for women when Vicky went deaf…