Friday, January 28, 2011

Oxymorons for the 21st century...

(first in a series… that I’ll probably forget about continuing…)

Liberal Democrat

Free Press

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

My greatest fear…

Let me start this with a brief primer: Vicky is wonderful and I love her more than I can tell you. She supports me completely. She’s my biggest fan. What more can I ask for?

Got it?

So, let me jump to the chase. Things have gone from bad to worse on the job front and I am seriously floundering. It’s pretty bad – but that’s not the worst part.

Vicky is experiencing a time in her professional life that can’t be beat. She is experiencing victory after victory and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Meanwhile, life is taking one big fat dump after another on me. It’s really difficult to get out of bed some days because things just keep getting worse.

What does this have to do with my greatest fear? It’s like this: one of these days it will be perfectly understandable for Vicky to want someone who isn’t so terribly unfortunate in his career, someone with a job, say. When that day comes, it would be perfectly understandable for her to cut her losses and move on.

I’m in this position through no fault of my own but there’s no denying how horrible my luck has been. I am terribly afraid my one bit of luck remaining, that being the fact that Vicky always comes home to me, is going to take a dive, too.

I don’t write this because I want feedback or advice. I just want to put that out there because it is eating away at my insides and maybe getting it out will help.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A New Love in My Life

A new love has entered my life...

Meet my new niece Madelyn Noriko. She is so precious and beautiful. I just can't get enough time with her. While I haven't been able to have any children of my own (yet), I'm not any less happy for my brother and his wife. I fully intend on being the cool aunt that she love to spend time with.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I am invading San Francisco… and YOU are invited!...

When I say that I am invading San Francisco, of course, I mean that my farce, Murielle’s Big Date, is getting a reading! I’ll be there. If you see me, say HI!
Murielle’s Big Date will be appearing at the Dark Room Theater on February 13th at 5pm. Writing Man Productions is putting together a staged reading of this absurd look at the reality of dating, dinner, and historic re-enactments. It should be a lot of fun.

If you can’t make it, please tell anyone you know who can. Spread the word… PLEASE!

I’ll see you after the show.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My unemployment story…

I haven’t talked about this in a while, mostly because I don’t want to get maudlin. I know you probably read about it; it’s out there. I’m unemployed. The longer I’m unemployed things in my life evolve and I realized I hadn’t really been talking about them. Then, I read a review of the new film, The Company Men.

It inspired me to write an update on my situation when I read the line, “If two highly skilled and qualified people are making more money than two underperforming but lesser paid employees, guess which two get the axe.” That’s essentially what happened to me. In my case, there were two people in the department and one needed to be laid off. I was paid more but had much more experience and know-how. My co-worker was paid less. I was chosen for extermination. I still speak to my ex-co-worker and hear her complain about how they make her work and how she can’t fart around. Meanwhile, I’m unemployed – that’s what I call empathy.

In the past two years, I’ve gone through every high and low. I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs for a handful of interviews. In those interviews, I’ve been made to feel like shit, as though my situation must be my fault. I’ve been given plenty of false hope, practically having jobs promised to me. I’ve grown so desensitized that I think if I did get employed I wouldn’t believe it.

Meanwhile, there’s my lovely wife, Vicky. She’s doing great and I am very proud of her. Fortunately, I outgrew that dumb instinct that says the man has to make more than the woman a long time ago. I know she’s got her head on straight in the business world and this is her time. More than that, I realize she’s using her fortune to my advantage.

Vicky has encouraged me to use my time off to work on my writing career and that just makes me so happy. In my life, I’ve never really had someone go to bat for me before. Granted, I still work on finding a job, just in case. I work temp jobs. I take any opportunity that comes my way, which has helped extend my unemployment benefits.

In the last two years, I haven’t gone two weeks without working on a new project. I’ve written several books and more plays. More than that, though, Vicky has taken an active role in helping me get the word out to agents, publishers, and theater folk. The results have been measurable. My first book is being published this year. If that was the only result it would be amazing, but there’s more. I recently took a look at the responses my work is getting and word is getting out. I now have over a dozen agents and publishers who have asked to see my books. For my plays, that number increases four-fold! That means people are seeking me out. My friend, Eric, calls it “momentum”. I call it “luck” and I hope it’ll hold.

Unemployment has been rough, no lie. We are living on a razor’s edge financially and things are not easy. When my unemployment runs out, I may be working at Target or the first minimum wage job that takes me. But to know my wife loves me enough to encourage me now when times are hard tells me she’ll be there in the future, too. I’ll take the first job that comes my way but the progress I’m seeing with my writing may may mean I won’t need to.

Either way, I know others have it far worse and I’m a pretty lucky guy, all things considered.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day off with my lady...

So, what kind of day did Vicky and I have yesterday?

Yesterday was the day we decided I would take one day each week and not work. (More on that over at the Ken La Salle blog.) But what do you do with a whole day not working? Well, Vicky was able to help me with that.

In the morning, we went down to the OC Swap Meet. We stopped for a little breakfast at Mimi’s first and I got the Pain Perdu breakfast, which is really the way God (if there was one and I was his/her/it’s spokesman) would do french toast. We sat and enjoyed coffee together and discussed our careers and Vicky’s forthcoming niece and it was completely relaxing long before we even got the food. When we got the food, Vicky got the Florentine crepes with a little potatoes and I got the pain perdu… and the eggs… and the potatoes… and the sausage… and the bran muffin… I was a pig.

Anyway, after breakfast we hit the Swap Meet. For those who haven’t gone, it’s an enormous parking lot filled with people selling all kinds of crap – most of which are sun glasses – and you get to walk it. Think of shopping on the Internet but in reverse. I didn’t care, though, because I saw it as a day in which I would get to walk with Vicky and share the day at her side. I really enjoy hanging out with Vicky and count myself lucky for that. I’ve been in other relationships where the “like” factor is excruciatingly low; one or both of us just did not like the other, though we were very much in love – yeah, no fun. The great thing about Vicky is how we’ve always liked each other and our love just gets stronger every year.

But enough mush. Vicky had gone to the Swap Meet expressly to pick up her brother a speaker – cause her brother has far too much money, the bastard. Fortunately, he’s getting a kid and that will be the end of that. After we bought it and agreed to pick it up on our way out, we started walking. Most of it was very pleasant – and then there were the smokers. Listen, I have nothing against smoking. If you want to smoke, please go ahead. But consider where you’re at when you do it. Try not to smoke around crowds of children, for instance. That might be nice. Times like that make me very grateful I quit, so I don’t have to admit to being one of those…

Vicky bought me my first pair of Vans since, well, the 1980’s. I liked the checked ones but Vicky said I was trying too hard to be young. Actually, I was just trying to get the ones I liked but, as it turned out, we had bigger issues than that. The issues were my feet. Damn, they’re big! I had to buy a size 13 and they only had one size 13 shoe. Turned out, I liked it. In fact, I’m wearing them now as I write. Vicky stopped by this jewelry shack that basically specialized in ugly jewelry. I played Switzerland as she bought herself a ring. As long as she was happy, I was fine.

The Swap Meet ate up a bit of our day but there was still plenty of time to go home and work. Vicky would have none of that. So, I actually played a video game for a while! Shocking! You see, up until a couple of years ago – maybe less – before I really made writing the driving force in my life, I would sit and play a video game for several hours every day or so. It was lovely, honestly. I’d forgotten.

So, having a day off was nice. I actually find myself looking forward to next Sunday. Mind you, I’ve got a week until then.

Back to work…

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You are the sunshine of my life…

I’d like to talk about weather today.

Yes, I understand that’s painfully boring but please bear with me.

When I first took up cycling, it was only for a few weeks in the coolest part of summer when the temperatures were just so, not too hot and not too cool. Then, as I got more interested in it and as my goals became more elaborate, I cycled for a longer period in the year, in more months and more differences in weather. But I would watch the hardcore cyclists as they cycled in the winter and think, “I don’t know how they do that but it’s too damned cold for me.”

Somehow, though, Vicky and I have figured it out and while I’m not cycling in the snow I can now cycle when it’s 48° f where once I could only cycle after the temps hit 65° or higher. Vicky has been kind enough to purchase me a couple of long-sleeved jerseys and I’ve been smart enough to wear a long-sleeved shirt beneath it. This helped a great deal. What helped the most, though, was the thin, insulating cap that we bought for me to wear beneath my helmet. It was only around $10 and, somehow, it helps hold all of my heat in.

So, I’m cycling in the winter. This year, I’ve decided to keep a journal of all my miles (basically, it’s an Excel spreadsheet) so that I know how much I’ve covered by the end of the year. I’m guessing I hit at least 2,000… so far, I’ve ridden 20. I’ll keep you posted.

The best part of my first ride, yesterday, was that the sun finally came out. After weeks of unseasonable winter… which is to say winter… the sun shines once again on southern California. We’re not exactly baking out here but it is nice to have a bit of sunshine again.

Let’s hope that holds so I can get more cycling in.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Drive, I said…

Vicky and I missed out on our trip to San Francisco this weekend.

Originally, Vicky and I were supposed to go to San Francisco because a reading of my play, Murielle’s Big Date, was being staged at the Dark Room Theatre. Sadly, the date was changed. Not to fear, however. It’s still being done. The new date is February 13, 2011. If you’re in the city on that day, around 5pm-ish, we’d be happy to see you.

The downside, though, is that we had to change all of our plans. Typically, I freaked out and rushed Vicky to the phone to cancel our hotel reservations before it was too late to get a refund… you know, when we could have just changed the date. Okay, so I’m a bit nervous about money these days.

So now we’ll be heading up next month. Vicky is kind of disgusted by the $40 parking fee we have to pay every day we’re in the city so, she suggested, “Why don’t we just take the train?” I don’t tell her it’s the same train I took to get married back in the 80’s. I don’t have to. She sees that the train won’t take us into the city and we’ll have to take a bus – so, that’s out. How about flying in? Well, the cost of flying is just downright crazy. It’s cheaper to park.

Anyway, I tell her, I like driving with her. There’s something really cool to me about being in a car with Vicky for long periods of time, sharing the experience and jokes and conversation. If I could somehow lock Vicky in a room without TV and we could spend eight hours in bed together, I’d do it! But I can’t. This is the next best thing.

So, we’ll drive. We’ll park. We’ll be there.

Hope to see you, too.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Just needing a hug…

I get peculiar when I’m sick.

Well… more peculiar. Differently peculiar.

Peculiarly peculiar.

Last Thursday, I did a great five-mile jog. The day was windy and cold and jogging felt great. When I hit the halfway point and had to turn around, it felt a bit less great as I jogged back into the wind. It felt less great still when the wind bit into my throat with icy teeth.

I got home certain I’d probably catch a chill and the inevitable cold.

I was right.

By Friday, I was feeling sick and I was sick all through the weekend. Vicky did what she usually does: tried to get me to lie down and offered to get me fluids. But there’s one thing I need when I’m sick that she isn’t too keen on. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t want to get sick, too.

The one thing I need… is hugs.

Lots of hugs.

I just want to be held tight, especially when I feel as I did the other day with body aches and pains. I just want to be held and kissed and told it’s going to be all right.

Basically, I turn into a big baby. I won’t deny it. That’s okay. Vicky does, too. And when she does, she turns into the grumpy kind of baby who just wants to be left alone. And there we are. Two different types of sickos: the love bug and the grumpy bear.

Somehow, we’ll have to work on this…