3.8.02 - ME
It seems like just
the other day I was bitching about not being famous. Oh yeah, it was.
Here's a good start! My friend Dave interviewed me for his website, piedriver.com.
You can check out
the interview by
Good times, good times.
While we're on the
topic, I might as well plug the interview zomp from zompist.com
did with me a while back, which you
can find here.
And hey! Dru
interviewed me for her 'zine! Christ, I'm popular. My interview
appears in Issue #2. For info on getting a copy of it, or for subscribing
to her 'zine, check
out her site here!
If that ain't
enough me for you, then you need some serious help. Seeya Monday!
3.7.02 - Under
Some days just
have it in for you. Sure, Mondays always seem to have some vague score to
settle, even without the added fact that, what with the prospect of another
dull, plodding week ahead, they're awful enough as it is.
however, I get ambushed by Wednesday. Fucking Wednesday.
Wednesdays are supposed to be good. They're supposed to tip the scales over
towards the weekend. Well, watch out. Wednesdays are not your
On this Wednesday,
I bound out of bed at 6:00AM. When I say "bound" it's not meant
in that chipper, energetic, ready-to-tackle-another-day kind of way. I'm
definitely not ready to tackle another day. I'm not even ready to nudge
another day, or to politely clear my throat at one, or disturb one in any way at
all. I just really need to do some laundry before work. I don't have
so much as a clean sock to spare, and since work doesn't start until 9:00AM, I
generally don't have to catch the bus until 8.
So, I carry my
laundry down the hall to the coin-op washers, cram as much clothing in as will
fit, dump in the powdered detergent, schlick my quarters in, and drop the lid.
Wednesday makes its intentions clear by kicking me squarely in the
yarbles. The lid of the washer was open when I got there, and now that
I've closed it, I can see the little sign taped to the top of it, reading
"Out of Order."
A dollar poorer, I yank my clothes out of the washer, showering the area with
little grains of detergent. I walk grumpily back to my apartment, shake
out the least-questionable shirt and pair of pants, and flop back down on the
bed. Bad start.
GAH UP UP UP GET
UP! I fell asleep. I fell asleep! It's 8:17. No time to
shower, not that it really matters, as my clothing smells like a mixture of
cigarettes, sweat, and All-Temperature Cheer anyway. I stumble out
the door into the rain to wait for the bus. It's windy, too, and despite
my umbrella, I spend about fifteen minutes getting soaked, thinking that maybe I
should have left the detergent granules on my pants. They'd be clean by
I have to switch
buses in Oakland, and as I climb dripping onto the second bus, I realize I've
somehow lost my transfer. I awkwardly dig into all my damp pockets under
the annoyed glare of the bus driver, who thinks I'm trying to fake her out, then
give up and start searching for change. Crap. The bus lurches and
jolts along as I rifle through my briefcase while juggling a sodden umbrella, my
book, and a cup of coffee and while trying to hold onto the railing so
I'm not thrown through the windshield or onto the other passengers.
come up with the change, $1.35 worth (that's $2.35 I'm down today already) and
jostle my way to the back of the bus. I
squeeze into a seat and open my book and hey, there's my transfer. I had
been using it as a bookmark. Brilliant, Wednesday! Didn't see that
I get to work at
last, suffer through the morning, feeling sticky and damp and crusty-eyed and
smelly, not unlike many of the clients. Lunchtime comes, leading to other
problems I'll just summarize: I'm out of cigarettes, I don't have enough
cash to buy both lunch and smokes, and I visit two out-of-service ATM's
before finding a working one. You know how it is. At least it's
Now, I don't ask
for much from my lunch breaks, just 1) a quiet place to sit, and 2) no one to
bother me. Finding a place in Oakland with either of these criteria, let
alone both, has been one of the greater challenges of my life.
Still, I'd found a
spot that was okay: this little cement staircase that leads up to a wall
next to a building on a side-street. I guess there used to be a door at
the top of the steps, but no longer. For the past couple weeks it's been a
nice place to relax, have a smoke, and get some sun, and there's even an
overhang for when it rains, like today. It's perfect.
perfect. Today, though, I see a pile of what looks like a bunch of white
plastic bags piled on the steps. As I get closer, I see what it really
is: a pile of diapers. Used diapers. Used poopie diapers.
poopie diapers on my sacred sitting spot. Great! Wednesday, what
will you think of next? I
eventually wind up sitting on the edge of an soggy ourdoor bench at KFC.
passes, and now it's time for home-going. Starts to pour again, and I mean
it really starts to piss down rain. Bus is late, and while I'm in line for
my second bus, Wednesday decides to get in a parting shot, sending a
homeless guy to come up and ask me something, to which I say
It's become reflex
to automatically answer "No" to the barrage of questions I get asked
walking around Oakland.
dollar?" "No." "Got some change?"
"No." "Got some drugs?" "No."
"Want some drugs?" "Well. No." "Have
you taken Jesus into your life?" "No." "Got an
extra cigarette?" "No."
(The last is my
favorite. "An extra? Oh, sure, you know what, I do
have this one cigarette I wasn't planning on smoking!")
Anyway, I say
"No" to whatever he asks, and the guy says "Okay, just throw it
out the window after you get on."
Oh. I guess he'd asked if I was going to need my transfer after I boarded
the bus. Which I don't. Fine. I get on the crowded bus, and
head towards the back, and he walks along outside the bus, following me. I
have to lean over someone to open a window, letting a cold splash of rain spray
over me and the woman nearest the window, who yells, and I quote:
"HEY-WHAT-GODDAMN, IT RAININ' OUT, BOY."
apology, I flick the transfer out the window, close it, and once again squeeze
miserably into a damp seat between two damp people to read my damp book. I
glumly wonder if, between losing a dollar in the washer and paying for bus fare
an extra time, I still have enough quarters to do my laundry tonight, and if the
washer has even been fixed.
Somehow, I doubt
Thursday, be nice.
3.6.02 - Tempchat
First off, I
goofed yesterday, with this picture:
I assumed the
smiling woman was Dr. Sanjay Gupta, but turns out Gupta is a guy and the toothy
grin is being flashed by none other than Andrea Yates herself. Which is
kinda weird anyway.
But enough of
here for today's tempchat!
3.5.02 - Big
My job is, in a
word, depressing. I've mentioned that all day long, teenagers come into
the outreach center, many of them homeless, some of them hooked on drugs, a lot
of them victims of abuse. Often, they are all three.
instance, we were informed that one of the homeless pregnant teenagers tested
positive for tuberculosis. Hey, who wants cake???
I might also
mention that right across the street is a mortuary. Really. So, when
I'm not looking into the eyes of a child whose life is as close to hell as you
can get without being dead, I'm looking at a funeral procession.
It gets one down.
must remain positive! Chipper! Hopeful! We must smile in the
face of all this. It sounds hard, it is hard, and in fact, I didn't even
think it was possible. Still, I'm finding that some people can smile
through the horror no matter what.
For instance, just
take a look at the screencap I grabbed from CNN.com:
My! She does
look happy to be delivering this information about the mental disorder that may
have led a woman to drown her five children, doesn't she? Golly!
And, she's not
Actually, Larry is so senile by now he doesn't really count. So, who else
Followed by an all
new Becker! (Which, by the way, I defy anyone to smile at even once.)
We should have see
this coming, really.
realize Andy is not smiling. But do you realize I didn't alter the
text at all? That's REALLY what it's ABOUT. Andy GETTING A
HAIRCUT. NO. NO. Andy THINKING ABOUT getting a haircut.
Man, writing about
a haircut. Who even does that?
Well, it can't
hurt his odds in '04.
Have a nice day!
Yeah, so, I'm
sitting around Sunday morning, making myself a logo for something, and I'm
putzing around with typewriter fonts and making little smudges and splatters and
fingerprints and stuff, and it was fun. And then I started making other
little logos and things, and then I kinda went and redid the site.
Again. Well, not the whole site, obviously, but the main page.
So, there we
are. And here we are! As of March 3rd, Not My Desk has
been online for two years. Two years! And I still haven't the
slightest idea of how I'd like it to look! Well, this'll do in the
about being online for two years is that I should totally be famous by
now. I mean, come on! What does a guy have to do? Two
years! Two. Years. I know, it's a tough figure to grasp, so
let me put it like this:
There is a fish
called the fourspine stickleback (belonging to the order of fishes known as
Gasterosteiformes and the family Gasterosteidae, see illustration, top-left),
the males of which have a lifespan of about a year. So, to put things in
perspective, this site has been online for the lifespan of two fourspine
sticklebacks. There was one, and he was born, and lived, and died, and
then there was another one, and he was born, lived his life, and then also
died. And here we still are. HOW MANY MORE FOURSPINE
STICKLEBACKS WILL PERISH BEFORE I AM FAMOUS? HOW MANY? I ASK YOU.
When I look around
at famous people, the celebrities, the rockstars, the authors and filmmakers, I
always say the same thing: "How? How did you do it? How did you
become so damn rich and famous? HOW?" At that point, their
bodyguards usually pummel me into unconsciousness, but when I pull myself out of
the dumpster, I continue wondering about it.
A good first step,
I've decided, is to be controversial. Sure, sure, I've caused some havoc
with this website. Who can forget the shitstorm created when I expressed
some very unpopular opinions about the new automatic document feeder
intake rollers on the Xerox Document Centre 490 digital copier? (Man,
those new intake rollers still get my blood boiling. You heard
me!) And let's not forget my scathing remarks about coffee funds that drew
one slightly-miffed reader to e-mail me about how she knows coffee funds are a
pain but sometimes they are necessary. The internet is still
reeling from that exchange.
But I'm talking
about real controversy. Touchy topics that are guaranteed to ignite
the passions of readers all over the world. Topics that will make people
think, that will make people mad, that will make people give me a lot of money
Let's start with
one of the most volitile topics around, and see if I can't get famous right
got the two camps in the abortion debate: Pro-life, and Pro-choice.
Pro-lifers believe that life begins at conception, and that as soon as the egg
is fertilized, you've got a living human being there. To abort is to
murder. The Pro-choice folks, on the other hand, believe it is the woman's
right to choose, and that what you've got cookin' in there is the potential
for a human being, so abortion is not murder. And, yes, I'm over-simplifying,
because I want to get to my part, the controversial part, namely, this
third stance that I am about to take.
What I'm doing
(and, I should point out to all the journalists and talk-show hosts to whom this
update will no doubt be sent, this is highly controversial) is
taking a little philosophy from both sides. The bit about conception, and
the bit about potential. My stance (the controversial one) is as follows:
Life begins before
I need an example
to explain this properly. Let's say you've got a guy, let's say me,
for instance. I've got millions of sperm, just sitting there, in their
spermquarters, millions of potential little half-a-humans. Just ready to
get to work! Now, let's say you've got a woman, like, um... Kate Winslet,
for the sake of argument. She has a bunch of eggs, apparently, also
Winslet and I hold the potential for life. For us to sit there, this
potential burning inside us, and do nothing about it... is murder!
It is murder by inaction!
Do you see?
The simple fact that Kate Winslet, with her totally hot and luscious body, and
me, with my, uh, body, are not currently naked and writhing around on my bed
right now, is murder. We are brutally and selfishly denying life to
our un-conceived child(ren)! Her not entering my apartment and ripping her
clothes off and completely ravaging me for days on end is an actual, dare I say
Now, I can't speak
for the curvaceous and sexy Miss Winslet, but I can speak for myself (on most occasions)
and I am saying NO. NO, I will have NO PART in MURDER. If the
legislation I am proposing here states that I must have incredibly passionate and totally
freaky grinding sweaty sex with Kate Winslet, then so be it. I will uphold
I may be
controversial, but I'm no criminal.