11-4-00 - Note to Self
So, I had a great, temp-related essay for you. I wrote it in my head a few weeks ago while riding the bus, but when I do that, I tend to forget the whole thing at the slightest distraction. Knowing this about myself, I took some notes, writing down the key points and ideas of the essay. I came across my notes today while cleaning out the fridge, and sat down to get writing.
Problem is, I can't make heads or tails of the notes. I have no idea what these items I jotted down mean, or how they may have fit into an essay. I can't remember the events they are related to. In some cases, I wouldn't even hazard a guess.
So, in lieu of an essay, here are the notes I jotted down. Maybe you can figure them out.
11-2-00 - Off the Blink
Regular visitors may notice a certain calm silence has descended over the site today.
Nothing is blinking. Nothing is flashing. Nothing is begging to be noticed or clicked.
I've decided to take the banner ads down and end my affiliation with bla-bla.com. It just wasn't quite working the way I'd hoped it would, and I don't even think it was working the way they hoped it would.
This was a business deal after all, and two things really needed to be happening for the agreement to work out satisfactorily.
From a monetary standpoint, those banners would need to be clicked by a lot of people in order to turn a profit. We're talking thousands and thousands of people, and my site simply doesn't have that much traffic. Let me put it this way: the ad revenue I earned for the month of September was just about enough to buy an Ultimate Cheeseburger from Jack-In-The-Box. And only because it's $1.99 for a limited time.
But hey, that's not a big deal for me. I wasn't expecting the site to make me rich. I was hoping, but not expecting. God, was I hoping. I hate to speak for bla-bla, but I'm sure they were hoping for something a bit more lucrative out of the deal too. I mean, they have a staff, and offices, and programmers and marketing guys and receptionists and equipment. I somehow don't think my site is doing a lot to cover their expenses.
Now, for my side of things. I got involved with bla-bla in the first place because I was hoping for some exposure. I was hoping to get more people to see the site, and they seemed like they could certainly help. They added me to their stable of websites, and they even did a little write-up for me, which was great. Sadly, though, I haven't been getting many visitors heading over from bla-bla, maybe a handful a week. About the same amount as are sent from other sites which have linked to me, like office playground or the word of the day. The difference being, those sites don't require me to have flashing banners at the top and bottom of every page.
Anyway, there it is. I have no hard feelings towards bla-bla, it was just an experiment that didn't quite pan out, and hopefully they won't sue me for breach of contract. I can't say enough about the people I was in contact with there, they were all very nice, helpful people. They even sent me a t-shirt. I just feel like no one was really getting what they needed from the deal, and that this is probably best for all involved.
Plus, man was I sick of those banners.
11-1-00 - Leery of Evolution
Back in August, I wrote a little piece on Darwin, evolution, and wedgies. Just as I had hoped, the scientific community was rocked by the implications, and my piece was posted to an evolution listserv.
In case you're not as internet savvy as I, a listserv is an internet mailing list thingy-deal. If you're interested in a particular subject, you can join a listserv and get e-mails about it. Or something.
Anyway, my Darwin bit wound up on there, and I got an e-mail from this guy Jim who had written a response to it.
Here's the original bit I wrote. Read this first if you have no idea what I'm talking about, or if you don't remember the details of it.
And here's Jim's response, which I thought was funny (and timely, since I didn't feel like writing anything new tonight). Jim writes:
Thanks to Jim for sending this to me, and thanks also to whomever put it on the evolution listserv in the first place. Not that I'm surprised, I mean, what the hell else has been going on with evolution lately anyway? It could use a little jazzing up.
10-31-00 - The Cow Says: Boo
So it's Halloween, or whatever. Not much of a holiday anymore, if you ask me.
From the looks of things, most of the festivities have already taken place, as they do these days, on the Friday night preceding the 31st. I still find it a little weird.
When I was a kid, Halloween was Halloween, no matter what day it fell on. Sure, it was cool when it was a Friday or Saturday, but if it wasn't, no matter. Traditions were upheld. We still dressed up in costumes we made ourselves, and watched as people tried to figure out what we were supposed to be (the most heartbreaking comment I got was when I was dressed as a medieval knight, a costume I had slaved over, and someone asked me where my spaceship was).
We still went door-to-door for candy in strange neighborhoods, sans parents, firing apples back at the houses stupid enough to distribute them. Toothbrushes and pencils? As Halloween goodies? *Snap* Add to the pile at the bottom of the driveway, move along.
We went to that one house, where they left a big bowl of candy on a chair outside the door with a sign that said "Just Take One!" and just took many, many more than one, then ran away when the door flew open, because the owner had been watching through the peephole. Why standing at the peephole all night is somehow easier than answering the door a few times an hour, I don't know.
Still, the spookiest Halloween I ever had came as an adult, not as a child. It was about four years ago, when I was living in the hills of Marin County in California.
My friend Dave had invited me to a Halloween party, so I got dressed up as a pirate, hopped into my car, and started the drive down the long, narrow, winding dirt road that led from the house.
I had to stop, as I often did, for the cows. The neighbor had a herd of cattle that grazed all over the top of the hill, and they were milling around that night, about thirty of them, although as skittish as they were, they quickly fled from my headlights. I drove on.
About halfway down the hill, I saw another set of headlights approaching, and stopped my car. The road was so narrow that only one car could fit on it at a time, and the rule was, the person coming up would make way for the person driving down, the logic being that it was a lot easier to back down the steep hill than up it. This was still an often tricky maneuver, particularly at night, particularly this night, because there wasn't even a moon out. The sky was completely covered with clouds, so the only light was from our headlights, which were currently pointing into each others eyes.
This car didn't seem to be making way for me. We sat there for a minute, playing stationary chicken, and finally out of impatience, I turned my wheel to the right, gave it a little gas, and suddenly felt my car tilt about 45 degrees to the right. I heard a grinding, scraping noise, followed by the not-unfamiliar sound of me cussing my brains out.
My car had slid halfway into the drainage ditch. It was lucky this hadn't happened another hundred feet down the road, because there the ditch widened into somewhat of a canyon. As I sat there in horror, the other car squeezed past me, and as I shouldered my door open and clambered out, I saw that it wasn't stopping to help me. Its taillights disappeared at the top of the hill, leaving me in darkness.
Thanks! More cussing followed, including a suggestion that the driver engage in an unlikely, perhaps impossible, act of masturbation.
My car was stuck. The right front tire and the rear left tire were in the air, the bottom of the car was sitting firmly on the edge of the road. I could rock the car back and forth just by leaning my weight on it. I rocked it back and forth for a while, but it wasn't as much fun as you might think.
Well, this was somewhat of a problem. I was about a half-mile from the top of the hill, where the house was, and about a half-mile from the bottom of the hill, where nothing was, nothing but the road leading to town, which was another five miles away, and in the town itself was nothing, since it was a nothing sort of town. It seemed like the best idea was to head back to the house and call Triple-A.
I glumly searched my car for a flashlight, glum mostly because I knew I didn't have one. I'm not one of those "prepared" people who "think ahead" and "do smart things" like "have flashlights in their cars". So, I pulled up my pirate pants, and started walking up the hill. On the winding road. In total darkness.
I stumbled off the path several times, generally into the ditch, sometimes into the bushes, and once into what I described at the moment as a "fucking bastard hole". Finally, after about forty-five minutes of careful shuffling, the ground seemed to level off and I was on top of the hill.
I started making my way towards what I hoped was the house, although it was so dark I couldn't see anything, not even my hands in front of my face. I knew this because I tried it, actually standing there while slowly waving my hands in front of my face. Nothing.
Then: something. A sound. Not so much a sound as... a snort.
I stood there a few moments, and heard another snort, followed by another, this last one about three inches from my left ear. I had forgotten about the cows, and now I was surrounded by them. In pitch darkness.
Now, I've never found cows to be particularly intimidating or fearsome. The cover of a horror comic will never read "SURROUNDED BY COWS!" Cows just aren't scary. They always seem docile and slow and good-natured. I had spent a lot of time tramping around the woods and fields on the hill, and when I would walk near the cows, they'd generally avoid me. Like when I had driven up to them an hour ago: skittish. Nothing to get alarmed about.
But at this moment, I was pretty goddamned alarmed. Skittish is not a characteristic to be desired in a group of 1,200-pound animals that you are standing in the midst of. Especially when one of them, the biggest, meanest one (in my fevered imagination, anyway) started pawing the ground. Or hoofing the ground, I guess, although that doesn't sound right.
I'd seen Bugs Bunny. I knew that when the bull starts pawing the ground, it means he's about to charge into the anvil Bugs has behind his cape. I didn't have an anvil. I'm not one of those people who "have anvils in their cars".
I was going to die, and I could already see the headlines: DEAD PIRATE FOUND TRAMPLED BY CATTLE
All I could see was them finding me the next morning. A dead, crushed pirate, lying in a field up on a hill. I imagined a great many pirates died from shark bites and the like, but I doubted one had ever been killed by bovine-related violence. It just didn't happen.
Slowly, I inched my way through them. I could hear cows breathing on all sides of me. They were nervous, I could tell, and I felt sure they could tell I was nervous. Cows can sense fear.
There were more snorts. I could hear the shifting of immense bodies. The frightened flicking of an ear. Death was mere inches away, and She was slowly chewing Her cud.
Needless to say, I somehow made it through the cattle alive. They didn't stampede, I didn't wet myself, a tow truck came a few hours later and somehow pulled my car free, and I didn't wind up as a just another (yet somewhat interesting) statistic.
Still, though... my life was never the same. I think those cows put a curse on me. I can't enjoy a glass of milk or an ice-cream cone without hunching over and passing explosive gas (although this may having something to do with being lactose intolerant). And sometimes, late at night... particularly this night, All Hallow's Eve... I think I can hear a distant mooing.
Might just be my neighbor though.
He's a little weird.
P.S.: Check out Halloween Creations. This guy I know, Jason, does this huge, cool haunted house thing every year. He makes all these spooky props and monsters. I was there for it last year, and he really does amazing work. You should check it out, the guy's got talent.
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been one year since my last confession.
I have done something awful. I have taken a long-term temporary position. A temporary position that has lasted for one whole year. Sure, I know lots of people do it. They might even tell themselves it's okay. But I've always known, deep down, that it is wrong. Still, I took it.
I guess... I guess I wanted stability. Don't gasp, Father. It's only human. Anyone can want a steady paycheck, and benefits, and a nice comfy routine. Anyone can want a desk to call their own for more than a few weeks or months. Anyone can want a brass nameplate with their own name on it. Anyone can be weak.
And I have been weak.
I broke many of the rules. Over the past year, I... I broke too many of them.
I got someone coffee.
On several occasions, I... I got my boss lunch. He had a lot of meetings, Father, and I did complain about it, but still... I did it.
I ran for a bus, but only once. I had to be there on time that morning, Father. I had to.
I developed and perfected a polite laugh.
I... I... I'm sorry, Father. Forgive my tears, but this is difficult. I... discussed... the speed of the elevator w-while riding in the elevator with another passenger. He... he sighed, and s-shook his head, and I said, oh, I don't know, something like "Boy, slow elevator, huh?" He... He said "Yeah, it's a local today", because it was stopping on every floor. He said it was a local, not me. I would never refer to the elevator as a local, Father, you must believe me. I'd die first. But, I... I nodded i-i-in agreement. Father, I felt so dirty. It was like the time I nearly referred to the decaf coffee as 'unleaded'.
Please don't yell, Father, I feel bad enough already.
I complained that someone had taken my letter opener, and thought about labeling the new one so it wouldn't happen again.
Once, the phone rang, and when I picked it up, no one was there. I hung up and said out loud, "Well, I didn't want to talk to you, either."
I... I ironed one of my shirts. So I'd look... more... presentable.
Please, Father, no profanity. It's bad enough th-- wow, where did you even hear that word?
Still, Father, despite all this, I didn't fall all the way into the abyss.
I never took to hanging my jacket in the closet. I would just sling it over the back of the chair I sat at.
I never contributed money to the birthday cake fund, but I would still have a slice of the cake.
I never called anyone 'Sir'.
At least one day a week, I went into the office unshaven.
I never clipped a cartoon from the newspaper and taped it to the file cabinet.
I never discussed the show Friends with co-workers.
I said I'd attend the company picnic, and I didn't show up.
I never, and I mean never, missed a cigarette break.
I viewed adult websites, chatted online with friends, and sent personal e-mails on a daily, hell, an hourly basis.
I sto-- what? I can't remember the exact addresses of the adult websites, Father, why do you ask? Okay, calm down, I'll try to send you the links.
I stole my weight in office supplies. I know that's not a lot, but they didn't have much worth taking.
And, when someone would bring their screaming, red-faced infant into the office, I never pretended to think it was cute.
I am ready to atone, Father. I have quit this job, and have nothing lined up. I have not updated my resume. Whoever takes that job after me is in a lot of trouble, because I misfiled the hell out of that place.
As penance, I have spent the entire Saturday in my underwear, eating Chee-tos and watching infomercials.
I can do this Sunday too, if necessary.
Just say the word, Father. I am ready. Ready for a second chance. Ready to come back to the fold.
Monday, too? Okay, Father. Monday too.
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