Thursday, November 03, 2005

Parenthood (ongoing) Part 8

The boy is walking. It started off mild, he’d be standing up somewhere (his new hobby), and then let go, take a step, fall on his face or other general area, then do it again after about an hour. But, it progressed quickly. After a week, he was doing it every 5 minutes. Then, another week: He takes about 5 steps at a time, at will. Very little falling. Mostly, he takes his steps, then slowly sits down when he’s bored. I haven’t been this excited since I met Amanda, my babysitter when I was eight:
I don’t have any images of Painter walking yet, but I drew one so you’d understand:

That’s painter in the middle, in front of Dog-reaper, and he’s walking toward Werewolf to get away from Tyrannosaurus. Also, there’s a Where’s-Waldo sort of appearance of another scary kid-monster, if you can find it.

In addition, Painter has learned to throw his hands up in the air, and also clap at the slightest request. He has become fascinated by cartoons, finally, and so our days are working out just fine.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The good, the Bad, and the Clerically Ill (ongoing) part 4

The Good:
Kathleene West @ Puerto Del Sol. This was a very personable rejection with a large amount of explanation. There were some general extrapolations about what I'd sent, and a few very specific comments about a particular poem. It's been quite a while since I received a rejection with handwriting on it. Any handwriting. This was refreshing.
The Bad:
R. Gerry Fabian @ Post Poems. This magazine stated (in their PM guidelines) wanting shorter poems, any subject and style, and that humorous poems were always welcome. I didn't have any humorous poems on hand, but didn't think it mattered much, as they look for any subject, any style, short. This rejection arrived with some interesting options that the editor could have checked off in little checkboxes: 1. Good job- see reverse. 2. You don't have a clue about this press. 3. Your submission format is atrocious. 4. Close. Try again with others. 5. See note on back. 6. Visit web page. The ones he checked on my rejection were #5 and #6. On the back, he wrote "There is nothing in this batch you sent that fits our needs." Under the options on the front side, it states they're only looking for humorous poems. Well, it's an odd, if not creative rejection, and only qualifies for 'The Bad' because their market guidelines didn't exactly state what they're really looking for. If ALL they wanted were humor poems, they should have stated so in their PM listing. Either way, no so bad as others.
The Clerically Ill:
Jim Barnes @ The Chariton Review. Never received a response, neither to my submission in the time they stated, nor during the four months after, nor in the two further weeks my NR gave them. So, I rescinded. I Received a response a week after rescinding the poems from this publication. Editor wrote: "I don't have your poems. Blame Truman State or the P.O. Jim B. " Interestingly, this editor's response came from Brigham Young University in Utah. But the rescinsion and earlier submission were sent to Truman State in Missouri. I can only assume Mr. Barnes relocated to Missouri, and the new editor fucked it all up, or , Barnes was still running it, but lost some things in the move. Or else it was the PO or Truman State. Either way, it was a rescinsion. But then... UPDATE 10-25-05: No, apparently it wasn't. Though 10 months had passed, I just today received a basic form rejection of the poems I sent, and rescinded last January. I can only assume the editor lost these poems in the move, then found them later after telling me he didn't have them. Or the school lost them, found them, sent them on 10 months later... or who cares. Some of these poems have already been rejected elsewhere since, and one of them has been accepted for publication in another magazine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


In the last few months, Painter (he's nearly 8 months in age now) has been developing his tastes for certain foods. We attempted the usual things and found he wasn't entirely interested.

Wheat Bread
Lo Mein
Carrot Pieces
Apple Juice
Chocolate Milk
Carrot Puree
And momma's little baby loves shortening bread. Oh, and so many other things... His very favorite seems to be phone-book paper. We're constantly fishing it from his mouth.
Also, his musical taste has begun.
Layered Metal
Early 808 hip-hop
The Clarinet
It goes on and on. We also have caught him standing by himself, not holding on to anything on several occasions now. I have to go, he's eating the remote.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Work and Wage (Ongoing) part 3

Due to monetary deficiencies and the rising cost of cost, I’ve been looking about for employment. It was decided when Painter was born that one of us would stay home and take care of the baby, as is usual in baby-raising circumstances. Maisy out-earned me by quite a margin, and so my fate was decided. I’d stay home and raise the baby. However, money has become tight and belts have become loose, and the rent is about to kick in, so it’s time to get another income. My wife’s sister came along at just the right time and has me babysitting her kids a few days a week, for extra cash. I watch 7-month-old Painter, a near-two-year-old little girl, a 3-year-old little girl, and after picking him up from kindergarten, a 5-year-old boy. Occasionally, there’s another 8-year-old boy that I watch along with the other kids. Considering that I have virtually no experience with kids at all, this is quite the crash-course. But I’m doing well with it. I consider this radical level of domesticity to be symmetrical to my pre-marriage life, which was radically homeless.

So, I’m also looking out for some part-time night work, hopefully not in the food-service again. As a tribute to my job-seeking, I’ve compiled a list of all my previous jobs you can wade through at your leisure. I’ve formatted it chronologically, or, as chronological as I can remember any of it. Here we go:

Employer: Mountain Man Fruit and Nut Co.
Location: Golden, Colorado
Duties: Delivering candy, nuts, etc... also, dog-washing and hedge-trimming.
Payment: Free candy
Reason for leaving: I was in the 8th grade, working under the table. My parents decided to move to Oregon and I wasn’t yet in the position to counter their decision.

Employer: Register Guard Newspaper
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Duties: Paper route
Payment: 20 bucks total
Reason for leaving: I did this for a week and couldn’t handle waking up at 4:30 a.m., only to have to rush through the delivery so I could make it to school on time. Also, I was falling asleep at school. The job description and payscale was very misleading.

Employer: A huge, unnamed fast-food franchise that may rhyme with Server Ring
Location: North Bend, Oregon
Duties: Making fast food, taking orders, running a register, mopping, etc...
Payment: $4.90 an hour
Reason for leaving: My first job while living on my own. I worked there for 9 months. I was fired for arriving late after I got into a car wreck. It was my first infraction with that employer but they didn’t care. I’d previously gotten a raise and firing me, then rehiring my position at minimum, would save them the wondrous total of .5 cents an hour.

Employer: A mining corporation
Location: Portland, Oregon
Duties: Filing, retrieval, printing and mailing of microfiche schematics
Payment: I don’t even remember.
Reason for leaving: I’d moved to Portland and was staying with my parents again. This place was a temp job that was supposed to last 5 days. At the end of the third day, a strange man I’d never seen before came in and told my I’d sent an A size printout to someone who only wanted H sized printouts (I still don’t understand what he was talking about because, if I remember, there were only 3 sizes for printouts, A, B, and C), and that I didn’t need to come back the next day. Of interest is that, though I was 20 years old, they called my parents and told them about it, which caused a problem when I returned home that day, one that culminated into a yelling bout, and which ended with my father reaching in a pan and throwing hot, pork fried rice at me.

Employer: Another fast food franchise
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Duties: None
Payment: None
Reason for leaving: I didn’t actually work for this one. I’m only putting it down because they put me through 5 interviews (I’m not joking, FIVE OF THEM, over a month period) and still didn’t hire me. I just wanted you to know.

Employer: A four star bar and restaurant
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Duties: Dishwashing, Prep Cook
Payment: $5.00 an hour
Reason for leaving: I was fired after 5 months. Though I inquired numerous times, I was never told why. There were two things I did while working there that I thought could have been fire-worthy, though I still never learned if those were the reasons. One was that I threatened the cook after he maliciously burned my hands on purpose, and the other was that the bartender would sneak me a drink on occasion.

Employer: An assisted living care facility / hospital
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Duties: Care for the elderly. Wiping bottoms, administering medication, mopping.
Payment: $5.50 an hour
Reason for leaving: I worked the non-ambulatory section of the Alzheimer’s ward. I actually did quite well with this. After 9 months of helping people use the bathroom, feeding them, showering them, dressing them, and keeping their living areas as clean as they wanted them, I quit because of a 45-year-old ex-marine nutcase that they’d hired and that I was trying to train for the job. However, after a couple of weeks, He got it into his mind he wanted to fistfight me because I didn’t like Yatzhee!, the game. In the end, while trying to explain to him how to reset a patient alarm after you’ve attended to one, he started randomly calling me names, then came at me swinging. He chased me into the elevator, trying to beat me up, so I hit the down button, exited the first floor, got in my car, and never went back.

Employer: restaurant / brewery
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Duties: Dishwasher
Payment: $5.50 an hour
Reason for leaving: I worked at this place for one day and never went back. They’d hired me to be the dishwasher, explaining that their last three dishwashers had quit with virtually no notice, thay they were cursed with bad dishwashers. I assured them I was a good dishwasher. When I began the first and only day, I discovered they had no working sinks. Nor did they have a dishwashing machine. I was confused. They explained that the sinks had been out for over a month, and that what I had to do was this: Heat up this large pot of water on the oven, then go and pour it in a 5 gallon bucket. Do it 3 times, for 3 buckets. Take the buckets into the back parking lot. Carry the dishes out there, too. Wash the dishes, one at a time in the buckets, then carry the dishes inside, dry them, and put them away. There was also no cart. I had to carry the dishes out one at at time. Wash them one at a time. Dry them and put them away, you guessed it, one at a time. It was bullshit. Also, the cooks were difficult to work with and often wouldn’t let me use the oven to heat up the water. And, if one of them dropped a greasy pan in one of the buckets, you were screwed. It took 25 minutes (barring any interference) to fill all three buckets with warm water. The kitchen smelled atrocious and at the end of the shift, they had me climb behind a water heater to find whatever was making the smell. It was a fish. A gift from the last dishwasher. He’d thrown it behind the water heater. I knew why they’d gone through so many dishwashers in such a short time. I went back a few weeks later to pick up my one day’s wage. The owner went off on me. Called me every name he could think of. My response to him is still, to this day, one I’m proud of: “Pay me and then go fuck yourself.” I know he did at least one of those things.

Employer: Another fast food franchise, this one regarding pizza
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Duties: Delivery, occasional dishwashing
Payment: I think it was $5.50 an hour + tips.
Reason for leaving: Someone was stealing from the register. The manager (are all food-service managers cruel fat, middle-aged women?) decided it was me. I was fired. Two weeks later, another employee was fired for the same thing. I ran into him. He admitted he was the thief. I went back to try and get my job back, now that the problem was solved. The manager gave me a lecture and said she didn’t think it would work out and that I should join the ARMY or AIR FORCE instead.

Employer: United States Air Force
Location: Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas
Duties: Basic Training
Payment: I think they gave me $90 bucks when I left.
Reason for leaving: Failure to Adjust.

Employer: A casino
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Duties: Dishwasher
Payment: $5.50 an hour
Reason for leaving: Someone broke into my locker and stole my wallet. Also, the pay was lousy and the job was, itself, far too intense and busy to lose my brain-cells over. I was the sole dishwasher for a BUSY casino, including the bar, restaurant, hotel, snack-bar, and (shuddering)... the all-you-can-eat prime rib buffet Tuesdays, and the fairly common banquets they hosted. Also, concerts with music shows like Lone Star, Jan and Dean, Weird Al Yankovic... In short, too much work for too little pay, and I had two other jobs.

Employer: A couple
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Duties: Medical transcription for a home business.
Payment: .3 cents a line.
Reason for leaving: This was one of 3 jobs I had at the same time. I was killing myself with jobs. This one petered out when (I don’t know what they were thinking), they found another job opportunity for me that payed roughly 5 times as much. That job was...

Employer: An orthopaedic surgery center
Location: North Bend, Oregon
Duties: Medical transcription
Payment: $10.51 an hour
Reason for leaving: This was the third job in the before-mentioned situation, and is still the most money I’ve ever made. This was supposed to be a temp job that lasted a few weeks. But the person I was temping for got cancer, I believe, and I was offered the job. I quit the other two and started right in. It was a great job that I was good at. I quit, after 9 months, due to the constant badgering of office biddies. I’m serious... those middle-aged secretaries will drive you mad with constant picking, commenting, and towards the end, hate post-its stuck to your computer. I was the only male there that wasn’t an MD or PA, and I didn’t think the gender difference would matter. But the female office workers thought it did matter. They’d unplug my computer at night, steal keys from my keyboard, take my equipment, nitpick my office, and the gossip was astounding. I was a criminal, or I hadn’t graduated high school and got the job because I knew someone, or I was a womanizer. At one point, there was the rumor that I had an illegitimate child in California that I refused to take care of and I was quite the piece of shit. I quit when I received a hate post-it (one of many) on my car after work one day that read: “You are an eyesore and no one likes you.”

Employer: Telemarketing center
Location: Olympia, Washington
Duties: Telemarketer
Payment: Whatever the minimum wage was up there.
Reason for leaving: It was telemarketing. I worked there for 3 months. I was good at it. It made me sick. I was ripping-off trusting old ladies. I wanted to shoot myself.

Employer: German Deli
Location: North Bend, Oregon
Duties: Dishwasher
Payment: $7 per hour
Reason for leaving: I worked for a nice Deutch man, Horst, for two years, washing his restaurant / deli dishes. It was only 2 hours a day, sometimes 1, but fairly steady and we liked one another. I met my wife during those 2 years. I left when the relationship (becoming a marriage) necessitated a larger income than my $14 dollars a day.

Employer: A call center
Location: North Bend, Oregon
Duties: Technical Support, Microsoft Network
Payment: $7.40 per hour
Reason for leaving: This was the first full-time job I’d had in a while. I was hired on to do tech support for MSN, through this oddball company that changed names often. Most of the people in my town have worked there at some point for a week or two. This was one of the shittiest jobs I ever had. The job, itself, is great. The pay isn’t terrible (for this town), the job is intriguing, and the general duties are plausible. The problem is how this place was run when I worked there. It was like ‘Office Space’, if you’ve ever seen that movie, except much, much worse. Most of the managers (there were billions of them, and it often seemed like you had more bosses than coworkers) were McDonald’s rejects on power trips, though they made the same wage you did. Most of your job was clouded in the long, spurious bouts of shit-taking from managers, and the constant, nonsensical meddling of THEIR managers. It went on and on. Several of my friends came down with stress-induced disorders and illnesses while working there. One couldn’t stop vomiting, one got ‘stress-eye’ and had to stop working there on doctor’s orders, etc... there was a new memo each day listing new rules that employees would now follow. One day, they’d make a new dress code alienating most of their workforce and making anyone with a tattoo or piercing cover it with a band-aid, the next day, a new protocol system for filing complaints about the dress code, the day after that, a notice that the emloyee smoking section would be shrinking from 12 square feet to 10 square feet, and that everyone better stay away from the edge of the smoking section so that no one would step into the sand accidentally and track it into the workplace (Oh, this call center was built on a dune). I quit when my wife and I decided we were moving to Montana, after our wedding.

Employer: German Deli
Location: North Bend, Oregon
Duties: Cook, dishwasher
Payment: $10 per hour
Reason for leaving: After quitting Cyberrep and the trip to Montana proved awful, I returned to my job at the German Deli, though this time, he hired me on as a cook. I should add that I was the sole employee. It was me and the owner. That was it. So I cooked German food for about 3 more years. The longest I’d ever held a job, and the only one to surpass the 9 month mark. This was the best job I had. I wish I was able to work there even now. I didn’t leave this job. He decided to retire and close up shop.

Employer: A mom-and-pop sandwich shop
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Duties: Sandwich artist
Payment: Up to $7.50 per hour
Reason for leaving: I worked this job alongside the German Deli. This job started out great. The owners liked me, gave me raises, and the work was not difficult. I actually liked it. The problem came when they went on a rather long vacation. When they returned, they were mean. To everyone. Me. The other workers. Their kid that worked there. Everyone. They started acting really snobby and bragging about all their money and whatnot. It just got annoying. This guy actually said to me, regarding his rather freuqent habit of giving bad references to some rather good ex-employees: “Hey, if you think you can do better than my shop, you’re welcome to do it. Just don’t expect any help from me.” I quit after 9 months to raise Painter. I’m sure I’ll have a bad reference from him. Everyone does.

Well that’s it. I think I forgot a few. Want to hire me? I’m thinking of becoming a job counselor.

Kidding. I’ll be stuck with food-service forever. Though for the moment, babysitting and and being a homebody is working out well.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Home and Hearth (Ongoing) Part 4

We've finally finished the nursery. The blocks are up around the ceiling (as trim) and the windows are now installed, painted, bordered, whatnot. I'll post an image as soon as I get my camera working again. The problems with cameras never ends with me. But, the nursery is very pleasant now and Painter is quite satisfied.

I caught him dancing away last monday. System of a Down was playing and he just went nuts. He even head-banged a bit, until he struck his face on the coffee-table and began crying. I have it on video. If my son ever becomes a rock star, I'll force him to use a frame of this as his album cover, out of fun, and also it would give me a means of encroaching on his rock career, even slightly.

We've had our share of spills recently. Each of them usually involves the panic cry. The panic cry is awful. Horrible. It ranks second in the all-time worst sounds I've ever heard, first place going to old vacuum cleaners moving under your legs when a grandparent has you lift them. Painter leaped from the couch and landed on his face. Painter pulled a cabinet down onto himself (even I didn't suspect he was strong enough to do this). Painter picked up a wooden ABC block and socked himself in the eye with it. Painter stood up and fell (this is so common that there's little I can do about it). He cries for a moment, then moves on. I wonder if this general disposition will carry over into his later life. You know, a girl he's really into dumps him and he feels miserable for like, an hour, then moves on. Or, a skydiving accident leaves him in a coma, but he's only out for half a day, then wakes up, puts in his prosthetic limbs, and moves on. Or a crappy network puts on another dead-end, unfunny sitcom, and Painter catches a moment of it, turns the channel, and without complaint or critique, moves on.

I'm moving through this new children's project well, and am about half-way through it's completion. Am already at work researching for my upcoming January 2006 campaign.

Had a toothache yesterday, wanted to die. Today, I'm fine. Toothaches are probably the shittiest, aggravating, fall-down-and-weep pain I've ever experienced. I had Maisy take a picture of my mouth during the toothache. Here it is:

I suppose that's what I get for drinking sugary coffee all day and smoking.

On a lighter note, I recently received an email from an editor at a magazine I never submitted to, asking if I'd let him use some poems he read of mine in another magazine. This is the first unsolicited acceptance (or contact, really) that I've received. I hope there's more of it. It's much easier than bundling up a few poems with a cover letter, typing up addresses and information, and then walking down to the post office and back with the baby.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pen and Page (ongoing) part 4

I've been in a bit of a slump of late. September is a big month for magazines. A vast portion of them begin reading and usually end their reading period in November or December, though many go through to April or March. I've been waiting on quite a few submissions to magazines I like, but haven't heard much.

My slump did end today, technically, via a nice acceptance of one of my poems at Aesthetica, out of York, England. Should be out in October 2005.

I recently finished up another collection I'd been working on and I started a new children's project. A collection of strange little tales and poems I think kids would like. At least my kid, because I'll force him so I don't feel like a failure... kidding, nobody call Child Services, okay?

The Gallant Flea, from my last children's collection.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Home and Hearth (ongoing) part 3

I said I was going to post this image of the new house some time ago, but I just neglected to do it because I am slovenly and didn't care to bother finding my digital camera's charger. I might add that my underwear was also missing, but luckily we found it all in the same box (I don't know what form of packing we were up to) after a few months. So, I uploaded some pictures, changed my underwear, and here you go:

I keep the bodies and pornography in the attic, but all the related tools under the floorboards.

The inside isn't quite as... eh, finished-looking. Also, I finally managed to sort through our material debris and began the makeshift music room. To commemorate this pointless endeavor, my brother badgered me into posing for this shot:

Though the left-hand pinky was Photoshopped in.

It's art because its black and white. Note the hairline. And with those eyebrows, I look like one of those boisterous, angry eagles from the Muppet Show. I like how obvious it is that I'm playing absolutely nothing with my left hand. This image should go into a FOX TV file for some upcoming 'When Dumbasses Attack' special. Also, you'll notice, is my pet project arcade machine I've been working on for some time now, just behind me in the BG. I've held onto this machine longer than any of my past relationships. I got pissed because the original game wouldn't function and so turned the unit into a DVD player, then got bored looking down at it, and constructed an Atari box out of it. Couple dozen classic games. If I get bored with it again (probable), I'll wire it into a freezer or some other useless thing, so long as it's gadgety, proving that I am a man with tools that can maintain long relationships. Also receding hairline.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Parenthood (Ongoing) part 7

Dear god... 24 hours later and it's all he does. Standing at the couch. Standing at a chair. Standing at a wobbly sit-in toy. Standing up against the front door and refusing to move so I can't get in. Standing at a box. Standing at a table.

STANDINGSTANDING falls and strikes his head then gets up and STANDINGSTANDINGSTANDING.
Now we're worried because everyone says he's too young to be standing, but shit, it's not like we put him in braces to make him stand. He's doing it. And we certainly can't stop it. I want to spit at people telling you your kid is headed for trouble because of something good he's learned. Don't let him stand so young or he'll grow up and look like this:
A complete stranger was cooing at Painter today at a local coffee shop and came over for small talk. A baby person, you know. After a short while (when I'd run out of things to say that might satisfy her so she'd wander off), I mentioned the standing thing and her response was an undue gasp followed by: "He's standing?! No, no, my Bobby didn't stand up like that until he was 11 months. It's bad for them, honey. You can't have him standing up yet." Baby people.

Eh, she's just jealous because my kid can stand on her kid's ass. What's the big deal, anyway? He does it. It's time. He knows better than I do. And it's not as if there's an Olympic relay standing team for him to look forward to.

So, I listened to this lady describe scoliosis and rickets and whatnot, just sitting there. Painter grew slowly grumpy and was tired, but fighting it. Eventually, I tired of tuning most of her out and told her I had things to do, but thanks for visiting with my reproductive triumph.

Come over, say hello, play with the baby, but don't dog the poor boy. He just won't stand for it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Parenthood (Ongoing) part 6

Well, she had all these odd antics to get the baby to smile but none of it seemed to be functional. Mostly, they were sudden noises of an agitating and spurious nature that Painter just stared at, baffled. Maisy and I took over and he was fine. We know the good noises, not the odd Wal*Mart noises this lady made. There are only two places in town to get baby pictures done. The other is a studio that will take your home to pay for a single image. So, Wal*Mart it was.
The last time we did this, there was another girl working the picture center, or whatever they call it. She was stranger and had stranger noises, and she had this sleazy boyfriend guy that sat in the back of the picture area and kept giving my brother and I the shit-eyes. I don’t know what his problem was. He just sat there clocking us like he wanted to kill us. I thought maybe it was all in my head until my brother turned to me and said, “Okay, what’s with the little whitey gangster guy over there and why is he trying to pick a fight with us?” It was the standard, A-typical lazy-tweaker-who-leeches-off-his-fat-girlfriend-and-throws-wannabe-gangster-tantrums-and-shows-up-at-her-work-to-act-it-up-yet-is-still-somehow-too-dumb-to-realize-his-lifestyle-is-dependant-on-her-job-that-he’s-going-to-get-her-fired-from. Weeks later, my brother was in Wal*Mart again and saw him holding her by the arm roughly and muttering to her while she tried to type at the photo center keyboard crying. God I hate Wal*Mart. An old woman once called me the Antichrist in a Wal*Mart because I had a visible tattoo. Also, Wal*Mart tends to have more fat asses per aisle than its competitors.
So, we got some more pictures taken. Painter was great. It was a new lady without a schmeely bastard watching over her and ruining her job. I paid around $12 for a CD with the images on it, as an extra, thinking I could have some fun with them on my computer, maybe post one at my site. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I got home that I realised the CD they gave me for $12 was actually only a diskette and the images on it were very low-resolution (take a look at my son’s hand in the shot at the end of this post). $12 is a rip-off. On a different note, Painter not only learned to crawl, and fast, this last month, but I caught him yesterday standing up in his crib. I wasn’t expecting that at 6 months, but he seems to expect it, so there he is, standing up, looking at me as if he’s gotten away with something. I dig being a dad more than just about anything. Shit, any man that doesn’t like raising his kid is a fucking idiot. This just rules.

Painter Succre, 6 months, looking an awful lot like his dad at 6 months

Another one

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Routine Maintenance on Medium Baby

Flap-Lock(tm) feature allows baby to remain open, making maintenance easier.


1. Separate top flaps of baby. Push flaps down, along the sides of baby.
2. Pull baby open. Top of baby will now stay open for easiermaintenance.
3. Turn baby over and close bottom flaps. Seal bottom flaps withtape.
4. Return baby to upright position. When maintenance is finished, slice tabs, close flaps and secure them with tape. Use knife to cut tab after maintainance on baby is complete.
5. Enjoy!

Also available are baby marking kits, storage units, and handy baby folders for filing and retrieval.

Should baby show signs of wear and tear, Flap-Lock(tm) offers 100% buy-back guarantee.

Got a baby? Flap-Lock(tm) it.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and the Clerically Ill (ongoing) Part 3

To revamp: The Good represents a rejection in a more positive or unique mode. The Bad indicates a response that was either negative or annoying. The Clerically Ill represents a rejection/irresponse based on clerical error or a response that is simply confusing and/or a mess in general. So, this new round goes to...

The Good:

Robert Lane @ Malleable Jangle. This was very simple and up-front. I like a simple response. Brevity is useful to me. Just about everything I’ve sent to Australia gets a response quickly, and with no overexplanation, sales gimmicks, guilty pandering. It should be the country motto in all the travel commercials: Come to Australia. No Bullshit.

The Bad:

Joel Chace @ 5_Trope. Received a not-so-prompt email from editor stating the magazine has a large backlog and wouldn't be accepting for some time. Personally, I feel they should have stated that on their guidelines/submissions webpage, instead of prompting you to send your work in. They have added that their response time might be sluggish, but not that they’re currently not accepting. It would save time for submitters as well as the magazine if it were posted. I should add that, though 5_Trope made this round’s Bad rank, it’s a unique and exceptional magazine with a keen online layout. Also, I don’t use the word keen often.

The Clerically Ill:

John Barton @ Malahat Review. This was a response to a rescinsion notice I sent. They responded by sending me this agonizing email about how it's a poet's responsibility to ensure there is proper postage for the SAE and that I needed to send postage when submitting. They stated I hadn’t sent a SAE at all. Also, they kept my poems for 6 months and then destroyed them, as is their policy. They also stated in a that I must send IRCs when submitting to another country and then something along the lines of: [you can’t use] American stamps, as Canada is a separate country from the U.S.” That was a little annoying. No shit? Is that why the border patrol asks all those stiff questions when you enter the country? Because it’s a country? They sent me a newsletter some time ago IN MY SAE. And what, I wonder, would have a publication in this circumstance keep someone's poems for 6 months anway? In the odd hope that the author may begin badgering them so they can let him/her know why the magazine hasn’t responded? Isn't that a bit like sending someone a party invitation, only to find out they’re pissed at you for not calling to make sure they got it, months after the party? Besides, they had my email address the whole time. I include it when I submit.

Editors: It might be a good idea to come up with a minimal form-response for this kind of situation, so you can easily cut-paste-send to a submitter if there’s a problem or mix-up.

Well, that’s the drill this time.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Come to the Circus!

I woke up and it was a beautiful day. I felt great. I'd had this nightmare about being attacked by a large dog (bigger than me) that was trying to drag me off my porch and kept going for my throat while I screamed for Maisy to get a knife... but I felt great when I woke up.

Maisy asked if I wanted to go to the circus, and since I hadn’t been to a circus since the age of 7, I agreed. We normally don't get circuses and whatnot in our small town. It sounded of interest, at least. We had to babysit our nephew (5) and niece (3), and so decided we'd take them, too. Kids love circuses, right? What fun! The popcorn, exotic animals, clowns, the ringmaster... what fun... Maybe we’ll get a souvenir!

When the Brazilian clown, Condo Rico, came and got me, I thought I was being kicked out of the circus for using a camera with a flash on it while the elephants were doing their thing. It might spook the elephants. I had taken the picture after the ringmaster or ringleader or whatever, made this quite loud order that no one use flash photography. It was an accident. Maisy thrust the camera in my face and said, "OOOOOH! Elephants! Get a picture get a picture get a-" I snapped the picture and the flash went off. So, immediately, there was this clown staring at me down at the bottom of the stands. He waved me over. I didn't want to go. He waved angrily. I gave Maisy the camera, sighed, and went to meet with the clown, who I was certain was going to tell me off and make me feel stupid for being told off by a clown. Instead, he told me to follow him. I did, and he eventually led me away from the crowd (I was fairly sure I was being kicked out at this point) and into a bullpen. There were all these circus roadies from Mexico and Brazil, Honduras... I think some were drunk. They looked at me with twisted smiles and a few chuckles.

Oh shit, they’re not kicking me out of the circus at all... they’re going to beat the shit out of me... And they brought a clown...

I think I could have taken the acrobat down easy, maybe the fatass elephant trainer (a couple in the kidneys and he’d go down like a wet sack of shit), but the clown... there’s no way I could take that fucking clown. He looked like about 50 years of serial murders and pit-fights. The clown then said, "I tell you 3 times! 1, 2, 3, you jerk!" I was a jerk? Fuck him. He's a clown. In the end, there was no fight, they just chained me to a board while all the roadies spoke in spanish and, I think laotian as well. They were lauging. I was getting pissed. It occured to me now that I was going to have to be in the circus. Great. Just what I always wanted. They tied a black bag around my head. Then they led me into the center ring, did this big intro, made fun of me, and finally, with the black bag over my head, tied to the board (this is what it's like when you're caught by terrorists in Iraq), the clown shouted 1, 2, and 3. It occured to me that's what he meant earlier. I wasn't a jerk (that he knew of), I was SUPPOSED TO JERK away from the KNIFE. Of course, with the black bag on my head, I had no idea where he was going to throw it. Then, I heard him grunt and I jerked a little in a few half-inch directions.

The clown drunkenly threw knives at my face and genitals until everyone got their laugh and the circus roadies carried me off. Then I was able to join the crowd again. My wife thought it had been all planned out, as if I’d met the clown earlier in the day and volunteered to have knives thrown at my face and genitals, but I hadn’t. It was random and I was really pissed off.

Though, it would have been a great way to go. Ray Succre, writer killed last weekend at the circus when, shackled to a board with chainlink and his head covered with a black velvet bag, a homemade 8” steel knife plunged into his head after being hurled by a drunken Brazilian clown.

Under, they’ve got around 90 infractions, including some rather severe ones. For instance, two chimpanzees dragged their trainer up into the crowd and then mauled a child. Uh, a tiger burned to death after catching fire from jumping through a flaming hoop. Also, the electrocution of their elephants as a disciplinary treatment got them quite a few fines and whatnot. Eh, also some fierce clowns that were arrested many times for various crimes you’d expect from a Manson family member.

I couldn't find a picture of Condo Rico, so I made my own:

I went to bed and had nightmares about the clown. I felt grotesque. He was worse than the dog.

Fuck the circus.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Up to My Neck in Assholes

Make it stop.

What an odd situation. A strange and annoying problem has developed these last few weeks involving Google's image search and my site. In an earlier post (January 16th, 2005, I think), I mentioned an assh0le cook that most likely added pot to his restaurant's ranch dressing one night, resulting in my wife and I getting high and uncomfortable while eating a salad. I posted about it, as the entire visit to the restaurant (our last) was marred in bizarre happenings, from the strange karaoke (a skinny, tweaker belting out 'We Didn't Start the Fire' but his voice sounded like cats fucking), the ashtray I couldn't use because it had a diaper in it, the laced ranch dressing, even the crooked atmosphere and strangulated parking setup. I even made a picture of the assh0le cook, and titled it, well, 'Assh0le Cook'. After I posted, all was well and normal, but this last month, not so. Now, Googles crawlbots have finally located my site and all pictures connected to it. That's good. Finally. I've gotten over a hundred hits from an extremely diverse assortment of countries (about 30 of them so far) in the last 3 weeks. That's good, too. Finally. The problem is, they got here by typing in 'Asshole' into the google image search. My site comes up somewhere around the 176th page of images into their search or so, but people are dedicated, and when they want to see assholes, they'll find assholes. More assholes than you can shake a stick at (and you can shake a stick for hours). So, I check my stats each day and only find hits by people wanting to look at other people's assholes and instead, ending up at my journal. Literally, dozens of them. Well, FYI:

There's only one asshole here.
And it's probably not the one you're looking for.
I've also changed the title of the image to get rid of you asshole-seekers, but until Google's crawlbot catches on, I'll just have to keep shaking this stick. Assholes.

Publications (Ongoing- Part 1)

Received 3 copies of Cotyledon (no website available), Issue 38, June 2005. This was one of my first acceptances and did take some time to be fulfilled, as the poem was accepted last August, I think. On a sad note, the editor, Georgette Perry also enclosed a short notice that Cotyledon will be ceasing publications and closing up shop shortly. I've always been fond of this little zine... a professed emulator of the Lilliput Review, I found it often surpassed them in willingness to take chance and risk, and was a pleasant venue for a poet's shorter works. A shame. Like so many others that crash out or dissipate slowly, this is one more magazine soon to be removed from the publishing horizon. Her press may still put out a project or two in the distant future, but nothing is slated. So, this post's farewell goes to:


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Home and Hearth (Ongoing) Part 2

Well, we've finally moved completely into the new house in downtown Coos Bay. Now all those submissions to all those magazines with our previous address on them are haunting me. Hopefully, the change-of-address we placed at the post offices will work like it should. It seems to be.

I know I said I'd post pictures of the new and old place, but honestly, I have no idea which of the labyrinth of boxes my digital camera ended up in. I think it must have been buried in the same box that has my electric razor, the coffee, the keys to the old house, and everything else we still can't locate.

Packing. Never been good at it.

But the house is great and we're settling in, slowly unpacking. Had a giant speaker cabinet drop onto my laptop today, but everything seems fine (though as I type this, one of the keys, I notice, is sticking... the 'Y').

I will post images soon.

On a down-note, our previous landlords (read earlier entries to get a flavor for what they did to us), are now saying they aren't sure how much of our deposit they can give us, because they had to pick up some cigarette butts from the backyard. First of all- We cleaned that house spotless. In fact, it was dirty when we moved in and the first owners lowered our deposit because we had to clean out the place ourselves when we moved in. So actually, it's cleaner now than when we first arrived. Second- the cigarette butts they mentioned were blown onto our back lawn during the wind-storm last winter, and they showed up at our house the next day to do some work on the downstairs. They noticed the cigarette butts (I hadn't even noticed them yet), and just picked them up. This was months before we decided to move out, so they can't really claim that's part of the deposit gone. Besides, what criteria are they using for the cash-to-cigarette-pickup ratio? Does the bitch get an hourly wage for fucking around in my backyard when she isn't wanted there? Either way, when we moved out last week, the place was spotless and I did an extensive, belly-crawling, marine-style minesearch for any cigarette butts. So the previous landlords can just eat it.

That's about it for now. Baby = bright, content, growing. Maisy = happy, pleased, working. Ray = rushed, content, dad.

Pen and Page (ongoing) Part 3

Things have been going well in the small press. Received several acceptances from various publications recently, and I'm gearing up for an online-only campaign soon, probably in early July. Of note is a response from The Blind Man's Rainbow I received. Basically, I hadn't heard from them since sending in August of 2004, ten months ago, so I recently sent the ominous NIR (I really don't like sending one of these). NIR is Notice of Impending Rescinsion, which gives the publisher two weeks to let me know if they're still in business, if I'm rejected, accepted, or even if to say they're still not sure. However, I was pleased to get a response (most publications don't even respond to my notice) from Melody Sherosky, stating that two poems had been accepted for their July 2005 issue over 6 months ago, and that they'd sent a response. I suppose I place the blame on my mailman. I keep pretty devout tracking records of everything I send out, so as not to lose anything. So, I'm pleased and The Blind Man's Rainbow is pleased, and for all I know, my mailman is pleased to have used my earlier response as toilet paper or whatnot.

Also, I've joined quite a few online poetry groups, and started a small one of my own, though the members are pretty much people I grew up with or have known for awhile. Also, humorously, I'm the only poet in my poetry group. Fuck it, though. With all the reading poetry, writing poetry, revising poetry, submitting poetry, researching poetry markets and presses, studying up on people in poetry... do I really need to discuss it with my close friends? Nope. I like that my poetry group is like brief, accessible vacation from the rest of the poetic internet.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Home and Hearth

For those that don't know, Maisy and I have worked out a deal for a new home. Basically, the one we're in now is turning to shit quickly, due to new owners who bought the house. The new owners bought it, and within a week began invading the downstairs area to do massive reconstruction. Knocking out walls, putting up walls, tearing out plumbing, wiring, floors, ceilings... Basically gutting our downstairs. They want to gut the upstairs (where we live) as well, and are constantly pressuring us to leave for a week so they can install all new windows, doors, plumbing, walls, carpet, fixtures, replace both front and back porches... Also, everything they change seems designed specifically for senior citizens. I give it a month before they make us put those disgusting, soft, mushy toilet seats in.

And, our suspicions were correct when they came over to tell us they were raising the rent and we had about 8 months to get out, because they're turning the entire building into an assisted living habitat.

No wonder all their changes were so sterile.

They have this large air compressor downstairs that kicks on by itself every 20 minutes, a large table saw, various other tools, and they've just started putting up vinyl siding all over the house (which means hammers, which means noise, which means all day long for weeks).

Also, they came in and cut down our cool, old tree, took a weedeater and cut down all of Maisy's flowers, removed the bushes in the yard, tore down the hedge, which separated our yard from the neighbor's yard, and sprinkled poison all over the yard and driveway (which they're paving any second now) and didn't bother telling us, which really pissed me off because we have a cat and he walks in the yard and likes to lay in the driveway.

Fuckers. This all started, exactly, the day we brought Painter home from the hospital. I mean, right then, minutes after we walked in, tired and drained, we hear some loud-ass banging downstairs, looked at eachother, and frowned. "Didn't they just fucking buy the place last week?"

What sucks more is that they live across the street. Not more than 70 feet from us. So they're over here constantly. Also, they tend to complain about everything. "Sorry to bother you, could you take your barbecue and maybe store it in the house... it's just that we're trying to show the house to potential customers..." "Sorry to bother you, but could you not smoke out front anymore? The cigarette butts are bothersome, and out back, they are troublesome. But don't smoke in the house." "Sorry to bother you, but we're raising the rent this month, and also, could you vacate the premises tomorrow all day so we can remove your beautiful wooden front door and replace it with a cold, hospital-like metal door, painted white, with lots of deadbolts and those tapered kind of inlaid windows that only old people like because they think they're expensive and fancy?"

So, my wife and I worked out a deal with some other people we met to move into a nice 3-bedroom house over in Coos Bay. The deal: We have to fix it up. They buy the materials, we do the labor. This has been going on now for about 2 months. I've learned how to remove wallpaper (and what we discovered was 5 layers of it, including a layer of latex paint in the middle), sand hardwood floors, stain hardwood floors, paint the shit out of everything, fix the painting, fix it again, touch it up, paint, fix what we touched up, put up trim, sand trim, pry open windows, seal ceilings, install light fixtures, get paint everywhere, move tons of furniture, and relocate all their belongings that were still inside when I started.

It's a bit of a nightmare because neither Maisy nor myself know how to do any of this.

I'll post a picture of the old place and later today, one of the new place.

Also, my publishing slump has ended, finally. I was beginning to crawl around in the mailbox in a sad and pouty kind of manner.

We're going to the house to work on it in a few minutes, so I'll post again very soon...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Supple Me

These last two moths have been very surreal and difficult. My father died (I come from a small family and we are quite close), my son was born, I stopped working at one job and began staying home to take care of Painter (the baby), while the other job I had closed down, rendering me completely unemployed. Also, my little brother is horrible ill with chronic sinusitis, most likely related to Toxic Mold Poisoning from an old house he lived in for awhile. In addition to all of this, my publishing has hit it's worst slump since I started submitting to various presses. I've been receiving rejection after rejection, daily, since almost exactly the day Painter was born. At least rejections are better than no response at all. That drives you mad.

resilience (n)

pliability, flexibility, elasticity, suppleness, bounciness, springiness

Antonym: rigidity

spirit, hardiness, toughness, strength, buoyancy, resistance

Antonym: defeatism

So, in general, I'm a mess. I somehow feel sad, dejected, elated, deflated, crushed, injected, proud, horrified, empathetic, sympathetic, pathetic, and like I've just woken up on one of those revolving doors that they use for hotel entrances.

On a side note, I started a poetry group accessible from my main page. Here's a link for anyone interested: The Succrestar Ltd. The name is an old in-joke between some friends and myself, but doesn't entirely matter. There are 3 members so far, but it's early and I did invite a few others.

Well, I'm home alone right now and Painter just woke up. Plus, I have poems to write and a play to finish typing. I'll update soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

On the Death of My Father

Much has happened in the last week. It would be improper to believe I can word it in a way that could do the last week's happenings any proper description...

My dad died Thursday, the 17th of March. I found out at 8:30 in the morning and we drove up to the island in Washington that he and my mother live on.

I will probably need to write more here on this happening, as his death will affect me more and more strongly. It's how I deal with things. Slowly.

I can only say now that it doesn't seem possible or real, and I miss him painfully. He was 48 and died because his liver couldn't handle the medication he took that morning.

I'd like to post a picture, for myself more than anyone else:

My dad and son.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Owing to the nature of parenting and my highly organizational way of life, I've decided to post a few of the uncountable pictures Maisy and I have already taken. Painter has now seen more cameras than Brad Pitt.
Various Pictures:


"Get that fu*king camera out of my face."

this is a witty caption.

I have my own family?!

Watching a 'B' horror movie (I'm angry because I actually paid money to rent this thing).

Parenthood (ongoing) part 5

Okay- Time for an update.

Painter is doing great. He's gained the appropriate amount of weight for his size and is pretty mild-mannered. He doesn't cry much and seems to enjoy hanging out more than anything. He's abnormally strong and is already trying to roll over and crawl. I've got footage of it because I know no one will believe me. We take him out in public a lot and he seems to be doing fine with everything. He likes cold air, too. The only problem with going out is that you get hounded by the Baby People. You know, those people that, while they're strangers, have no problem coming up to you and wanting to see your baby. Then they croon to it and are really talkative and pretty much just stand there in front of you loving the baby. They're okay, but it still takes up a lot of our outside time and mostly, I have no idea what to say to satisfy them so they'll move on. Also, I'm already getting tired of having to explain and/or defend why the baby's name is Painter. There is no reason. We have a lot of painter friends. We liked it. We came up with it long before we decided to have a baby. They say that's bad luck, but that's just an old wives tale. You run into lots of wives tales when you have a baby. Things various people will tell you are sure-fire remedies, or ridiculous bits of information that supposedly really work, like a heads-up penny is good luck, heartburn while pregnant means the baby will have lots of hair, or the electoral college.

My publishing campaign has thrown a shoe lately. I'm not sure what happened. I was receiving a lot of responses up until about three weeks ago, then nothing. The mailbox is empty now. I don't get anything, rejections, acceptances, maybes... nothing. It's confusing because there are so many of them that haven't gotten back to me yet, and I've never had so many publications past due on their stated response periods at one time. I prefer rejections to uncertainty. Well, who wouldn't? But, I'll hear something back soon.

A lot has happened since the last entry... Let's see: We got out of the hospital finally, were there for six days. Maisy had a C-section, which put her out of commission until very recently. Painter is almost a month old. Maisy had her 24th birthday on the 27th of February. I got a proposition while we were still in the hospital from an editor involving my poetical fugue theory (Kunst Der Fuge has it, there's a link on my main page). Basically, I emailed Florentin Smarandache the link and asked if he wouldn't mind taking a look at it. He's the editor of Paradoxism, and also a well-known professor of mathematics. My fugue theory deals heavily with mathematics and some rather intensive formatting (recursion, voice extension, lots of metrical devices that play out systematically in their own variable habits...). He liked it and asked me to write an essay linking it to the paradoxist art movement. Well, that was the day my son had been born, so I put it off for a week, but eventually wrote it. I hadn't written an essay in over a decade and even back then, I always made-up my sources and lied my way through it. But, I'm all grown up now so I figured out what to do and wrote the essay. He agreed to publish it in his 5th International Anthology of Paradoxism. Essays are an entirely different world than poems. I had a tough time with it, but I suppose everything worked out.

In addition to the Fat Tuesday group on Yahoo!, I was invited to join the First Step Press group, and yesterday joined the group for NetAuthor. Let's see, the last rejection I got was from here in Oregon. Oregon is proving to be my curse. I can't get any footing here at all. Just about everything in Oregon has rejected me. The Jefferson Monthly picked up one of my poems, but they're not a writing or poetry magazine. However, they ARE in Oregon. I'm still waiting to hear back from the Northwest Review out of Eugene.

Also, people should go check out Elijah Brubaker and Alissa Nielsen set it up to highlight some of their good work. These kids are beautiful. Go look.

Just about finished with my new main page. I should be able to set it online in about two or three days. It's more graphic than my current one, and it will help to remove some of that bloggy look so many blogsites have now. Don't get me wrong, I'm really pleased with blogspot at this point, I just don't want to be a template-baby anymore. Everybody's site looks like mine, vice versa. All of the templates are popular.

That's it for now. Actually, that's not it, but that's all I'm saying for now. I'll throw a few pictures in.

The Good, The Bad, and the Clerically Ill (ongoing) Part 2

New news- From now on, irresponse gives one points toward the Clerically Ill, also, undeliverable mail and publications that crash out don't qualify for the list. Neither do acceptances.

The Good: Greg Edwards @ Naked Knuckle. His rejection was sizeable, handwritten, informative and he actually asked I don't rip-up his magazine in this list. Well, it was a good rejection Greg, no worries. This was probably my kindest rejection yet.

The Bad: Vicki Goldsberry Colker @ C/Oasis. Never received a response, neither to my submission in the time they stated, nor during the four months after, nor in the two further weeks my notice of impending rescinsion gave them.

The Clerically Ill: Mira Rosethal, Heather Bigley @ Lyric Poetry Review. This response stated that LPR isn't currently accepting because they only want english translations of polish poetry. Their listing stated the contrary, year-round reading, send your best, etc... with occasional themes. It's a little agitating to waste postage on a publication that changes their reading period, or goes on 'poetry hiatus', or whatnot after placing an ad or listing their market differently, as annoying as when they change their themes or what they generally accept. This is all fine, just make it coincide with your advertising, you know? They'll open back up to other poetry in January 2006.

Well that's it, the new three. I'll update as needed.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Painter Succre @ 6 days old. Posted by Hello

Monday, February 14, 2005

Parenthood (ongoing) 4

It's been a bit since I last updated.

I'm in the hospital right now with Maisy. I just now figured out the hospital's nonsensical telephony setup and have successfully smuggled my way online. Maisy is trying to sleep in the bed, but the nurses (all but two of them are mean mean mean) won't leave her be for any longer than ten minutes. We had the baby two nights ago. Cesarean because of too many complications to get into just now. Jesus. This hospital pisses me off. A vast majority of the issues we ran into could have been avoided had they read the last ultrasound properly (it was taken the day we went to the hospital to have the kid, three days ago). So, all said and done, everything went wrong wrong wrong and I've been emotionally spinning for the last 48 hours or so. Maisy is worse off, having given birth (surgically). We just want to fucking go home now. But we can't. They won't let us, so we're stuck here. Maisy is doing amazingly well and they said they'll probably let us go tomorrow morning. However, they keep fucking with Painter (that's the baby). Every twenty minutes or so, they come in, stick a needle in the bottom of his foot, fuck with the I.V. buried in the top of his hand, and make him cry until they leave. Maisy has had no sleep because of this, and she's beyond cranky- She's something else now... something mean and worse than cranky. The baby was a brute. 11 pounds 4 ounces (he's already burned off some of it, as is normal). Maisy was in horrible back-labor for exactly 24 hours before they figured out the baby was behemoth-sized. This is what I refer to when I mentioned the ultrasound. They should have known from the ultrasound (taken only an hour before they started inducing the labor) that the kid was big. Too big. Now, the nurses say Painter's blood-sugar is a tad low, so they keep giving him sugar injections or whatever. After two days of sugar injections, they've begun saying he seems to have a fast heartbeat (no shit, you're making him mainline sugar, fuckers), and they might detect a murmur (this is actually fairly normal, but still scary), so he probably won't get released. I just want to punch anyone in fucking scrubs that I see. I want to leave. Maisy is going mad in here. And I don't blame her. It's like you want to do what you can, protect your kid, help out, and at least stay INFORMED of what they're doing, but it's impossible in a hospital like this. This morning, I went downstairs to get coffee and the nurse told Maisy to take a shower. Maisy did so and while we were gone, they came in and took the baby again. They didn't even bother telling Maisy so when she got out of the shower, she had to dress quickly and go looking for the baby again (we're afraid the nurses will fuck up and give him the wrong medication or any number of horrible things (this hospital has a very bad reputation in our town, however, it's also the only hospital around and if you end up needing a C-section, you're definitely going to have it in the hospital)). I'll upload a picture of the hospital soon, as well as the baby. I did get the Casio in here, but I forgot the cable so I can take all the pictures I want, but they're staying on the camera until I get home.

The News: Painter Steven-Michael Succre, born 11:23 pm in North Bend, Oregon, weighing 1l lbs 4 oz.

Shit, that's all right now. I'll update this more after I get my family out of this fucking place.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Parenthood (ongoing) part 3

My god, this last week has been insane.

First, there was the third birth class we went to. I'll give a brief synopsis:

We arrived. The instructor had us watch a video of more babies coming out of more screaming women. She discussed massage. She had us massage each other, but this time it was real massage, not 'sprinkling rain' like in the last entry. Then she rolled out these giant blue balls and had us sit on them and scoot our butts around and she kept asking us "Now, doesn't that feel good? Yes! It's wonderful!" I have to say, my butt felt all right through the whole thing. Then she went on about how we can all do the same thing if we purchase these kinds of helpful balls. She asked if anyone had any already. Then she turned to Maisy and I (because we were closest) and said: "Have you thought about purchasing something like these? Or do you already have big balls at home?", to which I had to turn my head and hold in a sudden outburst of laughing. Maisy chuckled and said: "Yes, but not like these.", to which I almost lost it. I wasn't the only one. Most of the people in the room exchanged looks and held in a laugh or two.

Then, the instructor had us drive over to the hospital, all of us, for a tour. This was incredibly long and we mostly stood in place for an hour, jostling from our left leg to the right, back and forth as the cramping set in, while she outlined all the uses of the birth-bed. There was an RN there who was quite a bit more informative, but was kind of silenced by the instructor, who it seemed wanted to be the informative one. It was around 413 degrees in the hospital and my mouth and lips became so dry I felt like I'd only eaten hot sand for days.

Later in the week, we had the monster baby shower. This was huge, co-ed, and packed. About 40 people showed up, which is quite a bit for our little duplex home. We made it through just fine, but I did so much milling and socializing that my voice hurt for two days. I realize now that when I try to sound like I'm totally impressed (as in with something someone is saying or when responding to a gift), I raise my voice about two octaves and begin every sentence with: "Oh, that's so...". This octave maneuvering ruins my voice for hours after, and no amount of rejuvenating tea or whatnot can help.

That's all for now. There will be more.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Diapers, Cowboys, and Weed

Went to a local restaurant with Maisy a couple of nights ago. She had a salad and I had some of it. Then, we both started feeling really odd. She got giggly and confused, then very dizzy. I dropped into this panicky surreality where I didn't feel comfortable in my body, lost my appetite entirely, and became scared of everyone in the restaurant. We both picked up an inability to hold a conversation and were both frightened of having to talk to the waitress to get our bill.
My estimate: Some asshole cook threw pot in the ranch dressing. We were both quite put out and I had to come home and cool off before I started feeling semi-normal again.
Also, I went out to smoke just before that salad arrived and,as I turned to put out the cigarette, I discovered I couldn't because the ashtray was already taken up by a neatly rolled and taped diaper. It had little bears on it.
The next day in another restaurant, I went into the men's room and, as I stood appraising a urinal, this old cowboy walked in and had a conversation with me. It went as follows:
COWBOY [tired and with a sigh] Hey there.
RAY [pretending not to be uncomfortable]: Hey.
COWBOY [after a very exaggerated sniff]: Smoke a bowl?
RAY [with raised eyebrow]: Uh, no- that's all right. Thanks though.
COWBOY [waving RAY off]: Whatever, man.
Then I left the restroom and as I walked, I heard him inside shout out: YEAH!
That's all for now. I just wanted you all to know where my head's been lately.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Pen and Page (Ongoing) part 2

The horror. I received four responses today. FOUR. What are the odds of that? Probably almost as high as the odds on all of them being explanations of ceased publication. Which is what they were. All four of them are out of business, or no longer accepting. The idea of my making a dropbox for publications that have gone under is gaining momentum.

Also, I received an email from England today, stating that I hadn't enclosed an IRC with my submission. After going through my records, I was sure I'd enclosed one. I went to my postage drawer and pulled out the last IRC I had and examined it. Shit no. It wasn't an IRC. It was a little IRC lookalike, and actually some kind of postage receipt for response-driven mail. I'm pissed at my post office. I sent out quite a few submissions overseas. Now, not only am I an idiot locally (for believing my post office when they told me these were IRCs), but globally. Well, all I can really do at this point is apologize. Sorry England. Sorry Japan. Sorry Finland. Sorry Greece. And sorry Canada, too. Maybe I'll send any email rejections or angry responses from this overseas dilemma to the postmaster of my local post office as thanks.

Parenthood (Ongoing) part 2

Went to the 2nd birth class. Not only was this more agitating than the first time, but much more disturbing. There was more hypnotism, embarrasment, mean looks, and then.. on top of that... there was THE PROBLEM. But we'll get to that. I've gone ahead and compiled a list of various phrases the instructor used while discussing the birth process. These are terms, phrases and statements the instructor idley mentioned, and that I feel can be more euphonically described, however they DO definitely elicit a certain vibe (i.e. they're horrible sounding and conjur bad images).

1. Extent of bag-ripping
2. Mucous Plug
3. Head-Hook
4. Torn Vagina
5. ", tarry, sticky feces if the baby goes to the bathroom inside you..."
6. Loose Stools
7. Barnacle-like Growths
8. "...if you see a cord hanging down between your legs, it's probably time..."
9. Membrane Rupture
10. Surprise Leakage
11. "...cream-cheese like substance..."
12. Bloody Show

Those said (and I hope you had some nice, vivid images to accompany them), the birth class went as follows:

We showed up on time but the class had basically started about 5 minutes early. We remembered to bring pillows this time, but as it turns out, wouldn't need them. I made sure not to bring any gummi bears for fear of being hurled more chastising judgements. The instructor had made nametags for us and mine said 'Rowan'. I didn't want to be Rowan and it isn't my name, but I liked her handwriting so politely thanked her and stuck it to my chest: I became Rowan. Rowan needed a new personality, I decided, so adopted a kind of confused smugness, like a guy who is completely bored with something, mainly because he's too stupid to understand it. It worked well. Rowan was a big hit with everyone. We started with a video that consisted mostly of 2-dimensional drawings of a pregnant woman and what occurs when the baby drops. This was of interest, especially when they started discussing the head-hook. The head-hook is a small stick-like device with a wire coming out of it (similar to a snake-catching loop). There's a little hook on the end of the wire. The doctor, during a period when its difficult to gather the baby's heartbeat (usually the last stage of pushing the little tyke out) will reach inside the woman and stick the hook in the baby's head. Through this hook and wire, the baby's heartbeat can be picked up again. The person who invented this method gets my weirded-out look.

After the video, the instructor talked some more about the active phase of birth, where the terms mucous plug, bloody show, torn vagina, etc... came into play. As Rowan, I decided to entertain myself by writing down anything the instructor said that sounded horrible. Rowan filled pages. Rowan almost made himself sick. Rowan needed some fucking gummi bears but didn't bring any. Once the informative part of the class was over (about 5 minutes), the instructor had all of us sit on the blue mats. This time, the blue mats were sticky and smelled like chalk. Rowan decided not to put his head on the mat, and so, when lying down, was uncomfortable. She tried to hypnotise us again. It was nearly identical to the first session last week, complete with the beach-scenario and the long list of colors. Rowan almost started laughing (a very Rowan thing to do), but kept himself under control because Rowan hates attention. After the hypnotism (which almost worked on Maisy because she fell asleep and very nearly started snoring), the instructor had us sit up to learn about massage. Rowan hates massage. He keeps all of his stress in his back and shoulders and can't let it out or it will eat him. When something touches, presses or kneads his back or shoulders, little pains streak through his body and make him think of lashing out. The instructor had Maisy get behind me and put her hands on top of my head. Okay. Then, she introduced the term 'sprinkling rain', and said it was a kind of massage. Okay. Then she said what 'sprinkling rain' was. Uh... Basically, Maisy had to type on my head. She just rested her fingers on top of my head and started tapping it up. I had just taken my hat off so my hair was sticking up everywhere and there's my wife, typing on my head. I looked around the room and everyone was doing this. Sitting there, looking complacent and at peace, getting their heads typed-on. This is ridiculous and I feel like an idiot, Rowan thought, as Maisy typed out the confusing and mystical message 'asxbduv' across his receding, home-row hairline. Then, Maisy was told to lay her hands flat on my head making a circle with her thumbs and forefingers. She had to slowly widen the circle as it went down my head. As my head came through her hands, they widened considerably and made my hair pull, which hurt, and then I just felt like I was being made fun-of, it was so bad, and her hands were supposed to be imitating a vagina and it was all so stupid that Rowan took over and quietly said: "This is stupid. I feel like I'm being born." This was bad, because Maisy started laughing. Really hard laughing. It made me laugh. Then everyone laughed because we all thought it was stupid. The instructor didn't laugh. Maisy couldn't control herself at all after that and started laughing wildly so she had to leave the room. Everyone calmed down and we went on with the massage, except that I was alone, so had to type on my own head and felt really sad and self-conscious.

Maisy was allowed back in and she had stopped laughing, but told me I couldn't look at her for the rest of the class or she'd start laughing again. This was difficult because later on we had to pretend she was in labor and I was supposed to look into her eyes and tell her to breathe and help her count. Except she had told me not to look at her, so she laid there breathing and having to fake little grunts and things and I was looking away and saying 'breathe... good one... now breathe, 1, 2, 3, 4, great... now breathe' and I wasn't really paying attention to where I was looking, just making sure it wasn't at Maisy, and I think this other woman thought I was checking her out or something because she frowned and gave me a reproachful look. It was the same look she gave me last week over the gummi bear disturbance.

Last, we watched another video. The instructor introduced it as 'a highlight of how different women handle their active phase' and it was supposed to be different ways to cope with the pain. I watched as 9 babies were born, all of them filmed with the money-shot, and most of the women's coping mechanisms were horrifying. One woman moaned so heavily that it didn't sound human... it was more yak-like. Another woman kept saying 'shut up!' to anyone in the delivery room who spoke. One of them screeched intermittently while everyone in the delivery room chanted 'ho' over and over again, which Rowan thought was hilarious. Then the PROBLEM happened. The last birth they showed was nightmarish. Blood everywhere. Doctors freaking out. The woman's coping mechanism was to scream louder than anything I've ever heard (and I'm a dedicated horror movie fan), over and over again, screaming 'OH GOD... OH GOD MAKE IT STOP...
HELP ME OH GOD IT HURTS OH GOOOOOOD PLEASE NO HELP ME OH JESUS AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAH NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!....." Screaming and screaming at the top of her lungs. The father was roaring alongside her, confused and horrified. The doctors were running all over the place, yelling and shouting to be heard over her screams and the husband's panicked roaring. Then the baby flipped out of her and started shrieking and kicking. There was so much screaming and horror that everyone watching the video in the birth class fell deathly silent and turned pale. Rowan disappeared deep inside my and hid behind an adenoid. Poor Maisy clutched my arm in fear. This video was not easing her suspicions of pain, it was cementing them. Her eyes were panicked and wider than a fully-dilated cervix. I thought, Damn it, shit. I've spent the last 8 months convincing Maisy that she's a strong woman, and young, and healthy, and that it won't be as bad as she thinks, that each push and pain is one step closer to the miracle of having a child, that it's all worth it and she'll be okay, she'll be fine... Oh, but now this video has just hurtled all of that hard work right out the fucking window and down about 60 stories. Though she'd told me not to, I chanced looking at my wife. And no, she didn't laugh. No, not at all. Instead, she closed her eyes and looked absolutely scared shitless. Thanks a lot, birth class.

After the video, there was about 5 minutes of uncomfortable, terrified silence where all of the women looked around at each other like infantry soldiers about to be dropped into hte 7th level of Hell with blanks in their rifles. Then the instructor folded her arms across her chest, proud, and calmly said, "Well, I'll see you all next week!".


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Work and Wage (Ongoing) part 2

Well good for me, I quit that job. I had resigned myself to working the remaining month, though he had cut my hours in half. I needed that last month of pay to help cushion the transitory period directly following the birth of our child, but the wage from this newly cut schedule was going to damper any need I had of this remaining month of work. I went in on Monday, worked my shift, became angry when my employer showed up. He pulled up out front, looked into the shop, saw me, immediately restarted his car, and drove off. He didn't want to speak to me at all. More than likely, he knew I was pissed and that he'd done something shitty, so left, instead of facing me about it and owning up to his decision. Because of this action and the previous, where he left me a message on my answering machine about the cut hours, I returned the manner in kind and didn't bother telling him in person that I was quitting immediately. At the end of the shift, angry, I simply left him a note explaining that my resignation from his employment was immediate, and also that I regretted my decision to accept his original proposal of hiring me. So, I'm done with that guy and now feel as if I've managed to salvage just a bit of my spine in the process. I'm a grown man and am getting increasingly weary of childish treatment. Now I have a month of free nights, which is good because I have a lot to get underway involving our ever-approaching parenthood. Besides, you can't teach an old yuppie new tricks (unless they make money or show off his legs).

The Good, the Bad, and the Clerically Ill (Ongoing) part 1

Here's the drill: As I get more and more rejections, I'm going to start compiling a rating system on them. There are a number of sites that specialize in interesting rejection stories (I'll link to them soon), but on this page, I'm going to have occasional updates about odd, confusing, negative, rude, and pleasant / surprising rejections. For this first entry into this ongoing list, I'll explain the three terms and list the first three rejections they'll refer to, Good, Bad, and Clerically Ill. Each of these entries will show the listed market's editor and the publication's name. Let's hope no one considers this libel.

The Good: A rejection that surprises me by not being a form rejection, being friendly and seeming to be a cut above the norm. In short, a thoughtful, non-automated rejection (sometimes containing critique). If you send me a rejection that's handwritten, or that details the reasons behind your decision, you qualify to be listed under the Good.

The Bad: A rejection that seems overly rude, mean, snotty, or just plain shitty. If you send me a response where you've simply written "I don't think so." on the face of the return envelope, you qualify to be listed in the Bad.

The Clerically Ill: A rejection that I find confusing, unstated, an office screw-up, or haphazard. Also, as a bonus, any rejection with really bad clip-art on it qualifies for this ranking. If you send me a slip of paper that's supposed to have a response but you forget to write the response on it and I receive nothing but a blank scrap of paper, you qualify to be listed in the Clerically Ill.

So, for this first entry, the nominees are-

The Good: Jen Hawkins @ Arsenic Lobster, for a friendly, thoughtful, and very informing email that vividly described the nature of their response and explained the circumstances and reasoning behind it.

The Bad: Rowena Silver @ Epicenter, for annoyance. This rejection was a squared quarter-sheet that said in huge, bold letters: SORRY! TRY AGAIN!, and showed a strange clipart image of a little girl crying and throwing a tantrum, beating her fists on the floor and wailing. The rejection then went on to say: "After meticulous examination and discussion of your submission(s), we have decided that your work does not suit our needs at the time." The word 'meticulous' combined with the girl throwing a tantrum made this rejection seem rude to me (though I do admit, if someone else got this rejection and then showed it to me, I'd probably think it was funny).

The Clerically Ill: Julian Palley and Kate Ozbirn @ California Quarterly, for causing me several days of confusion. Basically, there was no response. They returned the poems like most magazines do, included a flyer mentioning all their contests, a subscription form, and a strange little scrap of green paper that I believe is part of their office filing system. Later, this rejection was clarified by email.

Pen and Page (Ongoing) part 1

I've been receiving some responses to the half-dozen rescinsion notices I've had to send out. I'm surprised at the responses. I assumed they'd be a little on the negative side, maybe a bit perturbed, if not edgy and frustrated. However, these responses have all been understanding, apologetic, and even friendly. I need to reevaluate my thoughts on the nature of editorship. I know it's a busy world when you run a publication, and it's common for manuscripts to be lost, destroyed, never received, shuffled around, forgotten... Most of these rescinsion responses have been very explanatory, and they almost always involve a previous editor having gotten lost in the work and quitting, and a new editor taking over (they're the ones who respond to the rescinsion). I feel bad for the new editor. It's difficult enough without having to first repair damage done by someone else (especially if the damage is neglect). One editor's response stated having just taken over the reigns, only to discover that the publication was months late, nothing had been done to prepare for the next release, and there were over two thousand submissions as yet unread and sitting in boxes spread out across two states. Their market listings stated the response time at about a month, but some of these submissions were over a year old. Unbelievably, this new editor has committed herself to reading ALL of them before putting out one final, apologetic issue. I respect this editor and wish her luck. It must be a nightmare.
Also in the last week: Received another acceptance, this time from a magazine actually based in my home state. It's the first in Oregon to favor me. I'd only received rejections in Oregon until now. I'm happy with this, however I should state I've also received four rejections this week, and two more publications I've submitted to have now called it quits and closed up shop for good. Sad. I think I'm going to create a small dropbox on this page listing poetry magazines that have gone under, and will update it as I get more returned submissions. At least that way no one ends up losing postage on submissions that won't be received.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Parenthood (ongoing) part 1

Went to parenting class a couple of days ago. Majority was single teenage mothers. The woman teaching the class mainly paired us off with other pregnant people to "ask questions about each other, break some ice and get to know one another". This was a little annoying, because no one there wanted to talk to anyone else. They wanted to learn more about stages in birth and how Lamaze works, because having a baby is scary and they've heard (and can imagine) it will hurt, but they didn't come to parenting class to be forced into uncomfortable small-talk while lying on squeaky, foot-smelling blue mats on the vast, cold, warehouse-sized floor. It was very awkward. I half-expected the teacher to hand out graham crackers and announce recess.
After about ten minutes, the teacher quizzed each of us, asking what specific things we had learned about whoever we were paired up with. The young girl that Maisy and I ended up with wasn't talkative at all, kind of angry, and only said things like 'yeah' and 'hmm' and 'I guess', which made it difficult to interrogate her. She had a dumpy way about her and seemed a little on the still-listens-to-songs-from-Disney's-Aladdin side. Really, all I got out of her was her name and that she worked in a bank near a 7-11 that had apple-pie flavored cappucino. She, when asked, couldn't even remember my name, though it was stuck to my chest with a mandatory 'hello, my name is:' sticker.
A little later, while laying on our pre-moistened blue mat, the teacher began the Lamaze technique. Except no, she didn't. She said that's what was going to occur, Lamaze, but then she started trying to have us visualize the beach. This went on for twenty minutes straight. It was like she was trying to fulfill a secret fantasy about being monotone enough to hypnotize people. She stood above us all and kept saying things like "Now you're on the sand, and it's warm, and the water is cool, and the waves are nice, and the sky is blue, and there are lots of colors around to see, nice colors, warm and cool colors, and there's yellow, and blue, and the sky is blue, and there's white... and there's red... and there's blue... and there's green... and there's brown... and there's purple... and there's black... and there's pink... and there's orange... and there's... there's fuschia."

At one point, I opened a package of gummi bears but doing so made a little plastic noise and everyone stared at me as if to say 'those gummi bears aren't welcome here' and so I got uncomfortable and had to hide the all gummi bears in my hat.

Well, the class went on like that, with the hypnotism thing, and eventually she just gave up and put on a video. It reminded me of high school, where my instructors mostly put on movies and various bottom-barrel instructional videos (but they only did that when they'd forgotten to keep a day ahead of you in the textbook). So, we're all watching the miracle of life. A maternity ward. A hospital. People in duress. Machines. Lots of fluids everywhere, most of them natural-made. It was the standard, money-shot video. The woman moans, sweating, breathing, surrounded by sentry-like doctors that don't speak, and then her vagina moves. You focus in on it because it moved. You watch, stunned. You've never seen anything like it except for three or four times before in other videos about it... like the others, this particular woman giving birth will be hairier than anything you've ever hear of... but then the vagina then goes wonky and the hair goes awry and you can't blink and someone in the class gasps. The people around you start muttering but the baby crowns and everyone shuts up. Then, as if a large, oiled balloon being nudged through a pet-door, the baby comes out slow, slow, then flying out mach 4 and all wet and a color they don't have a name for yet but it's similiar to German gelbwurst with blue and red splotches. The little lifeform then lands slippery in a pair of latex-gloved hands that are attached to someone with a doctorate. The woman falls back, exasperated. The doctors mill about but all you can see are their waists and legs. The camera angle shifts and they place the baby on the mother. She is amazed. Instant lifelong bond full of love and blood and instinct. The baby looks at her, totally tripped out. The mother kisses the baby. They're really tired. They may have just had a boxing match, they're so exhausted. A nurse comes and starts cleaning any particles and residues of the womb off of the baby's fragile little body. I eat the gummi bears and Maisy get's light-headed.

Also, this one woman's cell phone kept ringing. She got five calls during the two hour class, four of which were during the ten minute video. Everyone got pissed. She wouldn't take the calls. She'd just scoot quickly over to her purse, get the phone out, see who was calling, then hit a button that stopped the ringing (generally after about 15 seconds). She was also one of those people that have to keep their cell phone set to the loudest possible ring, with that horrible, maddening 'Reveille' ringtone, which is how they wake you up in military basic training. No one could figure out why she didn't just turn the thing off. Maybe she was hoping it would be a daddy. I, myself kept sneaking the gummi bears, guilty, but I couldn't help myself. I did muffle the plastic with the hat and, in forethought, I pushed the hat a few feet away from our warm floormat so the gummi bears wouldn't melt or get soft and bond to any errant hairs that might have been in the hat, which was smart of me. I'm a human being, and our power is opposable thumbs and heightened intelligence, and I have both and I'm going to be a great dad.

The class ended. We got in our car and left, completely depleted of any sparks of romance that may have existed in us prior to the video. Can't wait to go back next week.