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 So, I rescinded.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it wasn't. Though 10 months had passed, I just today received a basic form rejection of the poems I sent, and rescinded last January.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.