Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Kind Of Year Has It Been?

I’ve had this website for a year now, and I thought that it would be appropriate to look back over the past 365 days and ruminate on how much (or little) progress I have made. Since leaving my job at Blondie’s Pizza, I have written hundreds of thousands of words (some of them readable), and have put out two ebooks for sale on Amazon (earning me tens of dollars). I have been employed by two corporations, though my opinions of corporations have, at best, remained the same. I have wavered between inspiration and apathy, though now I may have found my muse. My son is growing into a little man, despite my firm belief that he will always be a little kid. The world seems on a course for self-destruction, though history has taught me that this is nothing new, and that things are always darkest just before the dawn (except when they are not, because things usually begin getting brighter just before the dawn, as that is, in fact, how dawns work). Perhaps it would be better to say that I hope that we can stick it out until this fever breaks, and we, as a nation, and as a species covering this globe can get over our petty hatreds of one another and our collective hard-ons for things that go boom. There are plenty of people whom I would rather never see or hear again, but to entertain the notion of snuffing out there lives because have a problem seems just the tiniest bit… self-centered, at the very best. Maybe it was my childhood spent upon the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, but I had sort of thought that we had the potential to be better than this.

Cops are shooting people and never asking questions, and we are bombing countries and then refusing to clean up the mess. Corporations are (still) people, and yet the people who work for corporations on the bottom rungs are frequently treated as less than human. Concentrated money in the hands of a select few has bought and sold the soul of the very world, and I don’t think that it will get much better until we have come together as a species and decided that enough has been enough. Actually, it seems that most of the problems we are facing could be solved by people realizing that they do have agency and can make a difference, if they would only take a moment to stand with their fellow man and shout up to the heavens that they will tolerate iniquity no more. Of course, the problem with that revolution is that the whole system is rigged specifically to disperse the most abused across all days and hours to keep us from uniting and discovering that we still had a voice. But when you’ve got to work two jobs just to slow the descent into insolvency, there’s not a lot of time left to speak up for yourself. I think my generation may have waited just a bit too long to voice our opposition, but this group of youngsters who is marching along behind us may be the group to do it (though they still need to get the hell off of my lawn). They aren’t bound by the realizations that their dreams are those from a long past time (having been sucked dry by the generations which came before), and have, instead, come up with new dreams, and made them into a new reality, finding a way to be true to themselves and yet still finding a way to fill their bellies and souls.

I have met some people who have fundamentally changed my life. Young people. People who reminded me that I myself had once been young. My gut reaction is to pat them on the head, and regale them with all the tales of failure to which my life has been a testament, but I know that I would have known better when I was their age, and that they just might find a way to actually make it happen. Who am I to shit upon their dreams, just because my own have soured? And hell, I’m a writer. The longer I am forced to wait until I find success, the better I will be when it finally happens. I may not understand everything the kids are saying, but I am still young enough to learn. That was the reason I first dreamed up Uncle Walt Enterprises, Unlimited (which is why this blog is called The Vaults of Uncle Walt): I wanted to try to find a way to nurture dreams which would otherwise have been abandoned. Who am I to tell someone that their dream will never work? Am I Morpheus (not Laurence Fishburne), that I may dictate dreams to someone who isn’t me? I used to believe that if I just tried hard enough, the whole world would soon be mine, but I have learned over the years, that time was not quite right.

Everything that’s happened to me has made me better as a person and as a writer, though I don’t know that my younger self could have understood the necessity of living for the experience. Of course, back then, I also believed that if you loved someone enough, you could heal all wounds, so, there’s that. But I feel that I have waited long enough. I’ve uncovered a new muse, and I plan to utilize this newfound inspiration to get momentum on my side once more. Who knows? I might actually do something this time. All I know is that I want to write. There is something in the air that is whispering sweet promises that this will be my year. Three dozen chances I have had to be the man I’ve dreamt of being, and now it is the time for me to finally meet that man. I started this work last year when shame of inactivity prompted me to make some positive life choices, and I hope that I can carry forward and finally make something happen.

Proper Autumn

So much for my plans to keep up with my writing on my days off. Between falling ill, and desperately needing days of zombie trances, I seem to have let my passion fall to the wayside. But I’m in the middle of four days off from work, and I figure that now is as good a time as any to get back to it.

The other day I saw my Facebook post announcing my retirement from the Food Service Industry, and today marks the one year anniversary (kind of) of my final day at Blondie’s Pizza. I’ll be doing a proper column about the year in review in the first week of December, but even now I am thinking back over the past twelve months and seeing how patterns from my apathy colored my failures (and successes I did make tens of dollars from my writing!). And now here I am, about to embark upon my latest endeavor, dreading tax time and the need to file three places of employment for this past year. Of course, I still seem to be getting ahead of myself. There’s always something about Autumn that puts me in an introspective (and retrospective) mood, not that we’ve really seen all that many proper Autumns here in California for the past few years. Any time you’ve got 100 degree days in the early weeks of December, you’re pretty much disqualified from knowing what the Fall is all about. I imagine children, now in Kindergarten, who are frightened and terrified by the recent streak of 40 degree mornings, having never in their lives been subject to them. Hailing from the Northwest, of course, I merely chuckle to myself and silently judge them for their provincial attitudes.

I myself am thoroughly enjoying the crisp air, with its promises of snow (which will, of course, never be kept), and nearly collapsing in pile of hyperventilation as I misjudge the plumes of smoke I’m blowing out as I smoke in the early morning. This time of year has always been my favorite, at least, that is, since I hit puberty. I mean, sure: when you’re in school, nothing beats the summer and its proffered freedom from the drudgery of learning. But with that comes rising temperatures and tons of pretty girls who seemed only to exist to remind me that I was so terribly alone. Once the weather begins to change, however, and temperatures start sliding down toward more tolerable conditions, something magical happens. The very quality of light begins to change, and the whole world itself seems nothing more than a warm and soft reality contained within a moderately priced frame hanging on the mantel. Perhaps I tend to enjoy this time of year because it is like so many sunsets: soft, vibrant, and life-affirming.

As anyone who knows me can attest, I am not a morning person. Sure, I’ve been working mornings for several years now, but that has had more to do with transportation than any other factor. And while many have written volumes on the beauty of a sunrise, I myself have never had much use for them. They are jarring, and, though beautiful at times, often leave the world painted in migraine colors on either side of their appearance. They’ve taken something primal and necessary, and made it into something less, a shambling, weakened beast which marches up and down the world until it is finally put down a little earlier each day. But sunsets are amazing. They are the lullabies by which the beast is soothed, the dreamscape for the weary, a rainbow for the beaten down. And as they erupt into their brilliance, they are made even more precious by the darkness which soon overtakes them and draws them back down again. Sunsets quietly fade into the night, whereas sunrises are consumed entirely by the coming day, burned away by the insistence of the sun.

I should probably revise my previous statement about Autumn days. I was, of course, referring to those afternoons when the heavens have opened and the rain begins to fall, yet the sunlight somehow sneaks in sideways to make everything not gun-metal grey begin to glow. The browns of ruined vegetation, moistened by the falling rain begin to shine in prodded rejuvenation, and the blues and scattered greens take on a darker, richer shade, and though one might find himself shivering and damp, he feels safe and warmed, all the same. But on the clear days, as the sun arcs across the sky at a slightly off-putting angle, everything looks washed out and somewhat frozen, like a faded photograph, somehow spared from sepia tonality, but with an ancient appearance all the same. It’s a quality of light which lends itself to quiet, an invitation, if not outright commandment to be still and quiet, for fear of shattering the fragile peace which holds the day. I miss the Great Northwest, and feel guilty that I have sentenced my son to experience but two and a half seasons (at best) which we are granted here in Northern California.

A vision of Proper Autumn
… and Fed told me I couldn’t capture a picture of the rain, even during a proper Autumn…

Can you see the vibrancy of the fallen leaves as they are bombarded by the falling rain? Even in the throes of entropy, they proudly announce to the world, that they are not finished, that they will return some day, that there is still a little fight left in them. And now I see that I have made these leaves the metaphor for me and for my writing, placing upon them my growing burden of failing courage, pinning my hopes that this is not a foolish dream upon their cycle of renewal. Time will tell, of course, if I am meant to fade away, washed away and left to rot in some hidden gutter, or if I am spared instead to fertilize the soil in which my dreams once grew. I’m hoping for the latter, obviously, although I hear that the gutters are quite nice this time of year.

Work: Lots of Politics, Big Drama

Despite trying to remain as low on the food chain as financially possible, I seem to have been drawn smack into the center of a roiling drama between two of the managers at work. The GM, who it turns out isn’t leaving after all, is quite put out with the manager of my department. My manager, on the other hand, is at the end of his fuse with the GM, who seems, according to my manager, incapable of understanding the need to make the store attractive, and of hiring enough people so that the rest of us can actually accomplish what is expected of us. One of them runs by the numbers, and seems the type to view a drop in sales not as the fact that the store is all higgledy-piggledy, but as a simple trend in sales, and therefore cuts down on staffing accordingly. That, and the fact that corporate seems to know better than those of us doing the actual work just how long everything should take. Never mind that our lovely customer base rips through the store like a natural disaster, and the employees who are supposed to pick up after them know even less where things should go than our customers.

My manager seems caught between shifting targets. First, he got tagged because he was following the directives of the GM, and suddenly we saw a shift in how we were doing things. Corporate wanted things to look nicer, and my boss seemed almost happy to oblige them. But, because we are facing a dearth of employees, this means that the warehouse is generally packed, especially if we have to spend the man hours to rearrange the store (as we had to yesterday), which apparently is also unacceptable. The fact is that we need more people, but it’s really hard to find anyone halfway decent who is willing to bust their ass in high gear for a part-time gig, making minimum wage. Of course, my opinions tend towards those of my direct boss, as he actually seems to give a damn about his work, whereas, though I may, in fact, be incorrect, the GM seems jarringly removed from the day-to-day operations of the business, more content to monitor everything from safe within the office, pouring over the labor and sales reports while glancing at the security camera monitors to make sure that everyone is, at least, appearing to be busy. Not that I’ve slacked off, but the key to surviving this, should someone not actually want to work, yet unwilling to inadvertently summon him, is to merely look busy. Walk with purpose. Carry boxes. That sort of thing. Ah, the lessons learned while ditching class in junior high!

I mention all of this because today the whole damn thing came (mostly) to a head. The Back-of-House manager called in sick (for Truck Day), and we got the GM instead. Personally, I believe that this may have been some passive aggression on the part of the BoH boss, as he’s also been getting frustrated by the lack of space remaining in the warehouse, yet also increasingly irritated by the “Do this! No, wait! Do the opposite! Sorry, do the first thing! Why are you doing it like that?! Do it the way I told you!” style of leadership that he has been forced to endure. Were I to speculate, I would suggest that he actually wanted the GM to see how unrealistic his goals were with the number of people we have. Of course, this sailed right over the GM’s head, and instead he voiced his frustrations that the store wasn’t as he wanted it. Wisely, I kept my mouth shut, as I well and truly to not want to get involved in this power struggle. I suppose that I could have thrown my boss under the bus, seeing as how it would have curried favor with the man with whom I worked today, but I just have too much respect for my boss. And I completely agree with him.

In addition, this was also a minor stumbling block on my way to livable wages. I know for a fact that I can do the job as my boss explained it to me. And I know that I could most likely do the job as described to me today by the General Manager. But honestly, while both jobs are similar in many regards, the fact is that, at their core, they are fundamentally opposed. I don’t know that I really want to do the work that the GM is envisioning. Too much cracking the whip, with little to no regard for the needs of the lowest-paid employees. Of course, it’s not like I have a lot of options at this point. I mean, as bad as I would feel about abandoning my boss, if a decent restaurant called me up and offered me Manager Money, I would probably drop everything and jump ship, especially if the commute was reasonable. As it stands right now, I have no idea what’s going through the GM’s head in regard to my promotion. He was full of piss and vinegar while we were unloading the truck, and for about an hour afterward. To his credit, he stopped short of blowing his top at the lot of us for all of the things he felt we were doing to sabotage ourselves. And he even (at least in front of everyone, as opposed to just myself) refrained from laying the blame directly at my boss’ feet. Well, kind of. I’ve been in management too long to fail to understand what “Ultimately it’s my fault for not communicating better” means. In manager-speak, he straight-up called my boss out and ripped him a new one, in absentia.

The rest of the week will be dedicated to clearing out the warehouse, and I’m grateful that my two long days for the week are done and gone. I imagine that there will be a confrontation when my two bosses meet again (think Cox and Kelso in that episode of Scrubs (actually, that metaphor works frighteningly well)). Somewhere in the balance lays my future.

My fingers are crossed.

Jury Duty

For the third time since I moved to California, I was summoned for Jury Duty. The first time, I had to sit through an entire thing before most of us were dismissed for having heard of asbestos before. The last time I went, I wound up sitting around for a few hours before a judge came to tell us that all the potential cases had been dealt with, and that we were free to go. I was a little nervous going into today, because jury duty only pays $15/day, and though I’m not making that much more on my shifts at work, it’s still a shortfall. But here’s the thing: since I escaped my twenties, I’ve actually been interested in serving. I’d like to say that I was interested in looking out for the interests of the little guy, or even that I’ve finally accepted the necessity of performing one of my three civic duties. but honestly it comes down to the fact that I was on the debate team in high school, and am fascinated by the entire process. I just wish that the state would cough up at least minimum wage for my time, and that they’d pay for the first day. Not that it really matters, though. After sitting on my butt for a little over three hours, looking forward to the ninety minute lunch break wherein I would have to pretend that I wasn’t really hungry because I have no cash, we were informed that we were all being released for the day, thanked for our service, and reminded that we were now free of jury summons for at least another year.

Flor, of course, was livid. She’d already been upset that I’d had to turn down an extra shift at work so that I could discharge one of my civic duties (the others being voting and paying my taxes), and when she found out that it was literally for nothing, she erupted. Fun fact: according to my wife, there is no jury duty in Mexico. If you ever have to go to court, I guess it’s just the lawyers and the judge, which kind of terrifies me a bit. It’s way harder to get to twelve people (plus alternates) than it is to bribe one man (or woman). I tried to explain that for these cases, they needed to have us ready so that if they actually went to trial, we would be ready. It wasn’t our fault if there was a procedural issue that postponed the trial beyond the day of our selection. I mean, they can’t just call us in at the last minute and throw it all together. And in California, we’re on a One Day or One Trial system. That means that if we’re not selected for a jury on the day which we are required to report, we have fulfilled our obligations, and can put it out of our minds for another twelve months. If, however, we are selected for a jury, we must serve the duration of the trial. On the one hand, I’m grateful that I was sent home, as I don’t think that I could afford to only make $15/day, but on the other hand, I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t ever gotten to be a part of the process, except as a defendant.

This has got me wondering, though, if that means that I am a little weird. I mean, do I have some secret agenda? Is there a reason why I’d really like to be chosen to serve upon a jury? Aside from the point about my love of procedural litigation, I do believe that someone should be there to ponder the implications of the law, who is willing to push for nullification should the need arise. And grey areas are my bread and butter. Give me something straightforward, and I will sit and stare at it all day, confused by the fact that there are no hidden tricks just out of view, waiting to trip me up. But abstract questions, and ethics, and the convoluted wording of the written law are things which light me up like what I can only imagine joy must be for other, more normal people. Ask anyone who knows me in real life, and they will tell you (without much prompting) that I am always ready to jump into an argument, and that they would much rather concede whatever point we happen to be discussing, rather than face the possibility of arguing against me for another hour. They are college football players, used to a rapid succession of facts, and a clearly defined winner after an appropriate amount of time. I, on the other hand, am a cricketer through and through, as I am willing to go the distance, even if it might mean a match of wits measured better by days than hours (though my opponents would most rather prefer to measure them in minutes), confident enough in my abilities that I do not require clear criteria for victory, and count a win by default just as worthy as one won by skill. If I were a politician, you could call me Phil A. Buster, is what I’m trying to get at.

So I’ve done my duty this time around, and all that’s left will be to file my taxes and vote in the next election. I’d say that 2016 was going to be a busy year for me, what with having to worry about all three acts of participatory democracy, but I’m not all that worried about getting another summons. I mean, I didn’t even get a summons until I’d already been living here five years (which may have been due to the fact that I didn’t get a California ID card until the middle of November in 2005. The last time they sent me a notice was either two or three years ago, and then they just sent me one this year. Unless the rate of crime skyrockets in the coming three hundred and sixty-five, it’s not looking likely that I’ll have to go until, at the very least, 2017, and by then, I hope to be living comfortably in Mexico, where I’ve heard there is no jury duty. Not that they could summon me, even if they did have juries, as I won’t be seeking citizenship (unless this country finds a way to completely implode).

Huh. It’s a kind of bittersweet realization that this may have been my final chance to have served upon a jury.

Lack of Sleep

So I’ve managed to pick up two additional days this week, one of them being almost a complete shift. Not too shabby for my first full week at my current job. I guess that I don’t completely suck, after all. Well, either that, or we’re seriously understaffed, and I’m simply a warm body. But I’ve been through this all before, at almost all of my jobs over the past dozen years or so, and as long as I can keep my current schedule (well, the start time, anyway), I think that it will be okay. I’m an early morning person, who has very little contact with our customers, and able to get out of work with plenty of day to spare. The only downside is that David absolutely refuses to go to bed on time, and that means that I’ve gotten very little sleep these past five days. It’s not so bad when Flor is here to run interference with David William, but on the nights when she is working, it means that I have to remain awake until my son has finally gone to sleep. I’m sure that I will find a way to make it work, sooner or later, but for right now, I’ve been ashamedly grateful for the part-time scheduling, as if I’m only going to get four or five hours of sleep, it’s nice that I don’t have to work much longer than a four or five-hour shift.

Unfortunately, Flor is going back to work at the billiard hall tonight, which means that I am doubly hosed. As you may remember, she would like me to accompany her on her walk home, as she’s off of work very late at night, and would prefer not to walk home alone. I’m on tomorrow at 5:30 in the morning, which means that I was already looking at a bad night’s sleep since I have to start waking up around 3:30 in the morning. Flor gets off at 2 o’clock this evening, which takes away another hour and a half of what little sleep I might have been able to manage. Considering that David isn’t likely to fall asleep until 10 o’clock or so (despite being fully aware that his bedtime is to be no later than 8:30 every night), that means that, if I’m really lucky, I might get three and a half hours of sleep tonight before I have to go get Flor. At that point, there won’t be much hope of me getting back to sleep, which means that I will work my first full shift at my new job on less than half the amount of sleep which I require. Still, I suppose that it could be worse. I mean, I could still be unemployed. And there’s nothing worse than that, apparently.

Next week won’t be so bad, though. I’ve got Jury Duty on Wednesday, which might wind up eating up my near future if I get chosen (though, if I am honest, I won’t be. I have opinions about things.), and David’s birthday on the weekend. His grandmother and great-grandmother chipped in and got him LEGO Jurassic World, which arrived today, and will be a constant temptation on my mind until the Monkey Man can open it. Times like these make we wish that school was year-round, although the fact that he’ll be here all day means that I have better odds at not opening it up and playing it before his birthday comes. Honestly, it would make a pretty awesome Father’s Day gift for Mr. Batmart. I’m not saying that I would open it on Sunday, thank David for his generosity, and figure out something of equal value to give to him next weekend, but I’m not denying it either. I mean, either way he’ll get to play, and it would mean that we could have that much more fun that much sooner. I mean, that sounds reasonable, right?

Okay, perhaps not. I wish that I could blame this all on a lack of sleep, but I’ve actually gotten a full night’s rest for the past two days. Maybe that’s my problem. I mean, obviously, four hours of sleep is not enough, but more than six just seems to wipe me out. I love how merely thinking about all the sleep I won’t be getting is exhausting me. But it’s now less than an hour until Flor has to go to work, and the odds of me nipping off for quick nap are about as good as me winning the lottery tonight, and since I haven’t even purchased a ticket, I’m not very hopeful. But at least I’m getting more work. If everything keeps going as it is, I’ll still be on track for a promotion along the same timetable as I seem to follow at every job I’ve had since I’ve moved to California. I don’t know that I really want the responsibility, but the extra money would be nice, not to mention the benefits. The key will be to maintain my open availability until I am too vital to store operations that I’m in a position to start making some demands.

I guess I’ll have to watch the ST: TNG marathon on BBC America, and try to remain moderately functional until the Minkey drops off to sleep. I’m hoping that he gets bored with the slightly dated special effects, and passes out as an act of defiance. I wish that he was more into reading. It doesn’t make me sleepy, but it keeps me quiet, and it could do the same for him. But the only things that he likes doing seem to involve him jumping around and making his own sound effects. Maybe tonight I will be lucky, and he will actually want to go to bed, but judging by his energy levels at the moment, that doesn’t seem too likely. Whatever. At the very least, maybe he will fall in love with Star Trek. He’s just a little too interested in Star Wars for my liking.

Maybe When We’re Younger


I hear your hatred in my heart-

echoes loud as blood,

the nights we shared don’t ever seem


to withstand the beatings of our souls.

But maybe when we’re younger, we’ll understand

It all.

For every hurt and pain that comes from this

another lesson has been learned.


Maybe when we’re younger,

spring will smile anew.

And maybe, when we’re younger,

our loves themselves renew.


Destroy me, discard me, regard me as shit-

but once, you loved me (makes it harder).

Forgive me, though I know I don’t deserve it,

and love me again (though I know not to

expect it).

Our hearts we crushed alone in pain as if we

could not know each other. So many

arguments… dark bitterness…

But what’s the point


Forget me, and build your wall

and remember nothing you’ve

taught me.


Maybe when we’re younger,

spring will smile anew.

And maybe, when we’re younger,

our loves themselves renew.


So hate me now, the love can wait until tomorrow.

We sit and stab, while in the dark, ending up killing

ourselves (ourselves). Whatever was the point

any way?

But Maybe,

if we superglue and duct tape everything that’s left

(maybe when we’re younger, we’ll understand

it all),

we might live a little longer

and become a little younger.

Maybe when we’re younger we’ll understand

it all.


Maybe when we’re younger,

spring will smile anew.

And maybe, when we’re younger,

our loves themselves renew

Because I know that when we’re younger

a nightmare will have passed.

Maybe when we’re younger-

Maybe when we’re younger-

Maybe when we’re younger,

a nightmare will have passed.


-Maybe When We’re Younger

© 1998 Tex Batmart


I originally wrote this one day after my girlfriend and I had endured a massive fight during one of our housecleaning jobs. Part of the phraseology had to do with the fact that I was eighteen, and fed up with people telling me that I would understand things when I was older, and part of it was commentary of the age difference between my girlfriend and myself. For me, nineteen years didn’t seem like all that much, but as I slowly work my way to the age she was when we got together, it’s difficult to imagine myself falling for someone so much younger. One’s mid-thirties are a breeding ground for existential doubt, as I have begun to discover for myself; whereas one’s late teen years are so infused by omniscience that it sometimes make me sad to think of all the confidence which I once possessed. But above all, the phrase, “maybe when we’re younger” is a metaphor for shrugging off the nonsense of the grownup world, muting the negativities which experience has bought, and turning back to a more passionate embrace of living in the moment and trusting in your heart. I hate admitting to the youthful sentiment, and it makes me want to travel back in time and kick myself squarely in the nuts for writing such pretentious crap. That being said, however, I’ve also found that the things I write have a tendency to work somewhat for the people and circumstances which they were written to describe, but are more unnervingly accurate when read regarding situations in the future. Somehow I’ve been given the gift of prophecy, but only when it comes to misery to unfold along the timeline of my life. Well, it’s either that, or I’m unable to change the cycle of my behaviors and it’s less prognostication and more living down to my own expectations.

Reading this again, I cannot help but think that I somehow managed to sneak a little wisdom forward. Maybe it’s true that I’m impossible to deal with, and maybe it’s true that I’m more likely to have epic disagreements with the woman with whom I’m completely smitten, but perhaps it isn’t just a matter of being unable to break the cycle of dysfunction. Maybe I really was onto something back then, half my life ago. In this case, it could also be interpreted as a suggestion that we look toward the happier moments of those years ago (which, to be fair, was how it could have been interpreted back then) in order to wash away the stresses of our failures and find within ourselves all the myriad reasons by which we first fell in love. Or it could be that, for some reason, I wanted myself to be more like the principled, unyielding poet/crusader that was determined to bend the world to his authority. It’s like when you’re in the middle of a transcendental hallucinogenic experience, and the universe unfolds before you, serving up its secrets directly to your brain, and you’re determined not to let go of this new level of understanding, so you leave yourself a note for when you’re back to being your regular self tomorrow, diminished and a little wistful at your loss. And it’s then that you look down at that piece of paper, and read the note you’ve left yourself, and wonder what the hell, exactly, you meant when you scribbled down “tunnels though the afterthoughts are the paradox of infidelity. Don’t believe the (illegible) wormholes into consciousness.” I mean, as you are looking at the words, you can remember having known what all of that meant the night before, but like a ten-dollar word, it resides solely upon the tip of your own tongue. And then you go in search of orange juice, and realize that there’s not a single drop in the entire house.

I know from far too many personal experiences that superglue and duct tape can’t fix everything, but I cannot help but love myself for having truly believed that it could. It makes me wonder if I’m a better person than I might have been before, if I’ve stayed the same, or if I’ve somehow sold my soul just to pay the rent. I’d like to believe that I’ve learned some things these past two decades, and that I’m better off for having done so, but I’ve also made so many compromises (not that anyone would believe that if they knew me), put survival ahead of my own self-truth. I guess that I will just have to hope that I know what I am doing (as I am known to reassure those with whom I’m close, from time to time), and that I also knew what I was doing back when I’m pretty sure I didn’t. They say Shakespeare is held in such high regard because he helped fundamentally shape the English language which we speak today. Could it be that I hold the younger me in such high regard because were it not for his choices, both successful and mistaken, I would not be who I am today, and therefore I am indebted to him for my very existence?

I guess the other reason that this poem has stuck with me all these years is that I still have the memory of when I wrote it in the empty spaces of a paper Safeway bag, and that it was the first song which I ever wrote without any assistance. I mean, sure, the melody is love letter to A minor, and I only needed to know the single chord, but it was also the first song that I ever felt comfortable singing, though not in front of other people. Pink Doors O Negative. That was the project that Fed and I had going back then. We recorded a half-dozen songs collaboratively before it became obvious to him that I had no idea what in the hell that I was doing. That wasn’t enough to stop me, but he also knew other people who could actually play their instruments (and keep time), so we just quietly disbanded.

Well, this just got weird. Hopefully tomorrow I will be feeling a little more upbeat. Until then, have a great night!

Lots of Big Fun

Yet another day of frivolity and fun done and gone, and it is only now that I have a better idea of what lies in store for me. I’d forgotten just how much of a pain it was to work oneself up from the bottom. If I thought that I could live off of part-time and minimum wage, I would have done so long ago. I’m hoping that by the time next week comes to an end, the Store Manager will have a better idea of what I can do, and adjust my schedule accordingly. I’m trying not to freak out about it: I frequently was only able to schedule new hires for minimal shifts until I got a better idea of what they could do, and I’m hoping that this is just the same. Because honestly, I don’t think that I can live off of just a hundred dollars a week or so. But enough about my worries concerning finances and hours available. You guys didn’t come here to read my whinging about the minor problems which affect me. If anything, you were probably expecting something either much more catastrophic or unimaginably wonderful. Well, I can’t offer either of those, but I can tell you about my day today. That almost works, right?

Sadly, it was more computer training today, and by the time that five o’clock had come around, I was eager to get out of there. I just wish that instead of being forced to sit through narration which takes up far longer than I believe necessary, I could read the information at my own pace, and then answer the quizzes following each section. I still have a few more sections left to get through, but I don’t know that I will get back to the training programs. Starting on Monday, I’ll be working the super early shift, and that usually indicates that a delivery will be coming. I mean, other than not being interrupted by customers who seem to think that I know where things are located, there isn’t any reason for me to come in at four o’clock in the morning. Actually, all snark aside, I’m really excited about this development, as it means that I won’t have to deal with any customers. And maybe it will lead to the position which the Store Manager informed me was available, some kind of delivery manager. That would be an immense relief, as it would mean more money, full-time, and the chance to start earning benefits.

At least it hasn’t been as terrifying as I made it out to be in my head before my first shift. It turns out that retail and restaurants have a lot in common, and I’m really still only learning store-specific things. And I noticed that I’ve been in management too long, when I got up several times to try to help the random customers who thought that I could help them (to be fair, I only directed them to someone more knowledgeable), and wound up helping my fellow trainee get through some of her technical issues in the training program. Actually, it was kind of nice to feel moderately useful once again. And it helped to get up out of my chair and stretch my legs a bit. Hell, I even used my mad Spanish skills to help out someone who didn’t really speak much English. All in all, it wasn’t too bad, I suppose. I guess that I will just have to reserve judgement until I can see how this is all going to pan out.

As for writing, I need to really get back to it. I wasn’t going to write anything tonight, but then I remembered that I basically took two weeks off when I had no internet and was feeling sorry for myself, and I have a long way to go if I am going to still make it to my goal of 365,000 words by December 31st. I had been hoping to take some time off in December to do something that didn’t necessarily involve the written word, but I’m down by eleven days, and I have to get back into my rhythm again. I guess what that means is that I’m not likely to get any more days of from the blog until I’ve made up several thousand words. And I’m not going to be getting there if I keep on like I have been. What I need is something to fire up the blood, spark the passion, get me riled up and ready to share my opinions with the world, preferably at the top of my lungs. I’m in search of a good rant, I think. If anyone has any suggestions for me, please feel free to contact me.

In the meantime, I suppose that I will just have to carry on as best I can in hopes that something will irritate me. Don’t worry too much: I’m bound to find something soon. I mean, it’s not like I’m the calmest individual in the world. Perhaps it would be easier if I didn’t have Doctor Who playing on the television next to me. I don’t care that I’ve watched this episode dozens of times before, it’s still Doctor Who, and it’s a David Tennant episode, so there’s even less of a reason for me to shut it off. I don’t even particularly like this episode. Werewolves in Victorian Scotland? Yeah, not so great. But, like I said, it’s still decent installment, and it’s better than most everything else that’s on right now. It does make it harder to focus on the task at hand. I kind of wish that there weren’t so many blogs dedicated to the subject. If no one else was writing about it, I could feel better about going on about a show I love. As it stands, however, there are better musings on the subject, and the most that I could hope to contribute would be sharing with everyone that I really like the show, which I have already done.

Oh, hey! I totally forgot to tell you all how Flor’s second job is going! Well, I guess I’ve got something to write about tomorrow. Have a great night, everyone!

Isolation and Connection

It’s great to be back.

I’ve had a nice little break, here in isolation, from the worries of needing to think up entertaining things to write, and been able to fully explore the depths of my self-loathing. So, all in all, it’s been a productive couple of weeks. I just wish that I had better news on the employment front. I did manage to get a call back for an interview, but haven’t heard anything since then. Meanwhile, Flor just walks into a place and walks out with another job. Seriously. Of course, apparently they were only looking for female employees, but still. It’s frustrating. I just feel like I’ve managed to experience myself out of the job market. No manager wants to bring in someone who will be able to dethrone him (or her), and most owners don’t spend a lot of time glancing at resumes. Still, I suppose that I will eventually be summoned in for an interview that will result in something other than a complete waste of time.

But, as dire as all of that sounds, it has come with a slightest glimmer of a silver lining: Flor has seen that I have been trying to find work, and has come to the conclusion that I will be hired when the time has finally come that the universe wishes me to be gainfully employed. In the meantime, she has ordered me to continue writing, to take full advantage of this free time which I have in abundance, and continue pursuing my ultimate dream of getting down with the clackity-clack. And that’s not such bad advice. In the couple of weeks in which I haven’t been writing, I seem to have lost a little bit of focus. It’s not so bad as it was when I started this blog back in December, but the words aren’t flowing as easily as they had been in May. Or it could be that I am in pajama pants, with my son narrating some sort of adventure in the background.

Summer vacation is upon us, you see. In the midst of this mad scramble to seek gainful employment, with the prospect of the adult children moving out, we are also faced with the looming problem of what we’re going to do with David while he’s on break from school. He’ll be turning eight in just a couple of weeks, and while he’s shown moments of brilliance and hints that he might not die if we were to leave him alone for small periods of time, I can’t imagine him being okay for hours at a time. I’ve done my best to try to teach him a modicum of self-reliance, such as how to prepare a bowl of cereal and heat up corndogs, but I don’t know that I would trust him on his own in an emergency situation. Part of that is due to his unique application of “logic” and “reasoning”, but part of it is directly tied into his utter dearth of experiences from which to draw when dealing with a crisis. I just want to know that when we leave the apartment, that both it and David will be fine when we return.

Now for something completely different:

Like I have mentioned before, I am now a professional author, in that people have paid me for things which I have written. It hasn’t been as great a start as I might have hoped, but at least it’s something. Flor has been reminding me that it takes time to build up some momentum, which I understand, but I usually counter with, “I had been hoping it would have been more than $17.”  But, I am not terribly concerned, not really. You see, one of the lessons I learned after high school has prepared me for this moment.

I was always upset when I couldn’t get whichever girl I’d fallen completely in love with that week to agree to go out with me. I was sensitive, intelligent guy, occasionally amusing, and decent at kissing, and yet completely hopeless with the ladies. I just wanted them to give me a chance so that I could show them how awesome I was. It wasn’t until later that I realized that the only way to attract the ladies was to make myself into someone who might actually be attractive to the ladies, as it turns out that angry love poetry alone is not terribly romantic. And as made myself more interesting, by having more experiences, and trying to find satisfaction (if not happiness), I discovered that people began to want to talk to me. This didn’t solve the problem of my anxiety, but it did lead to some moments which were worth the effort.

So my writing at this moment is my teenage self. There are many good things about it, but it isn’t what it needs to be. I mean, a collection of blog posts and a 6,000 word short story are not a true foundation upon which to build an empire. So I have to find a way to get past the swollen bruises of my ego, and simply write better. I have a few ideas for novels, some of which I have actually started working on, and half a year of near-daily writing under my belt. I know that I can do this. I refuse to just let this be a hobby. I have dreamt of this for nearly thirty years, and I am going to find a way to make it happen.

It’s amazing how many times I must relearn the lesson of the importance of getting over myself. And yet, it’s also important not to get too down upon myself. I am a man of extremes, and it seems that I am capable only of self-aggrandizement and self-loathing, neither of which is particularly useful to me right now. I once found a virtual middle ground from which to launch my romantic campaigns, so it might be time to dust that off and give it a whirl again. Not for dating, obviously.

An Unexpected Holiday

Things have not been going exactly as I’d planned. Well, that, and I am apparently only capable of moving at the speed of chilled molasses. I’m sure that everyone has enjoyed a little break from me and my incessant ramblings, but it’s time to try to get back to normal, so that is what I am going to do. And in case you were wondering, yes, I will have bonus columns in the Quarterly Edition to make up for this time that I have taken off, and no, I’ll not be posting them on the blog. Think of them as an e-book exclusive. And before you start complaining, yeah, a writer’s got to try and make a living.
So, what have I been doing for all this time? Mainly just stressing about bills and my lack of return phone calls from the business to which I have submitted my resume. Oh, and sneaking peaks at the little bundle of cuteness that is my newborn granddaughter as she’s being snuggled by my wife. I do not feel badly that I have not been asked to hold her. She is still significantly smaller than David when he was born, and anyone that small makes me just the slightest bit nervous. But she is cuter now. Her face has lost that initial scrunched up reddish pucker which makes all freshly born infants appear to be old men, and now she carries a look of wonder and frustration throughout her waking day.
And the crying… I had almost entirely forgotten about just how much crying newborns do. It’s like having a completely useless alarm clock for things you don’t need to remember. At least I can just roll over and go back to sleep without feeling guilty. And I don’t have to worry about changing newborn diapers, which, as I recall from my days with David, were an adventure in horrors I was ill-prepared to face. And, to be honest, I’m terrified of changing a little girl’s diaper. With boys, everything is fairly straightforward and easy to clean, and any direction will do, whereas with girls there is a procedure to follow, and it’s especially important not to get it wrong. That’s too much pressure for me to deal with when facing down a wailing, squirming infant. I’m glad that I’m not her dad, but I have a feeling that I will enjoy being her grandfather. If she’s anything like her brother, she’ll have me wrapped around her little finger in no time.
And what of David, in all of this? I think that he is handling this new baby ordeal better than the first time that he became an uncle. He’s learned to steer clear of his sister, and try to remain as quiet as an eight-year-old is able. But deep down, he is as enamored of her as the rest of us. Sometimes I forget just how full of love children are, when they aren’t wrapped up in their assholery. Sure, David can be bossy and manipulative, and have no idea about boundaries and abstract concepts such as personal space, but he is also compassionate, and loving, and has the makings of being a truly awesome uncle. When they are all a little older, the three of them, Minkey, Cream Soda, and Jenni, will be a force for mischief that will hardly be able to be contained. I don’t expect them to stay out of trouble, but I feel comfortable in the thought that they will probably manage to stay safe. Well, as safe as teenagers can stay.

Now it’s just a matter of getting from this moment to those. I could use a miracle right now, if I believed in them. I know it’s just a matter of finding the right avenue (not a euphemism! Wait. Maybe a euphemism?), finding the lock which my spirit can open. I know that there is something which I am meant to be doing, and a time in which I must do it, but I hate not knowing the next step. And before you all nod your heads and mutter that you knew that I had lost it, remember this: I moved to California without a plan, just something I did on a whim (I used to be more fun back then). I got a job at Fuddruckers, and wondered what was going to happen. I wound up meeting, and nearly marrying, La Diabla, and then the whole thing fell apart around me. I wondered about my decision to move to a different state, and how I would extricate myself from the mess I’d gotten myself into.
But after a few months, and almost complete financial ruin, I landed another job, one which would not have been available to me any earlier than I got it. I was hired to be a replacement for someone who wanted to leave, and would otherwise have been overlooked. They weren’t looking for management, they said in the interview. If I hadn’t gotten that job, I wouldn’t have met my wife. My son wouldn’t have been born. I don’t know what would have happened, but I can imagine that it probably wouldn’t have been pleasant.
Now, let’s skip ahead to when I left that job, a few years later. The ownership had changed, and my ethics demanded that I get out. I thought that the new owner was just an aberration, but it turns out that he has been more of the norm among restaurant owners. I spent a lot of time, when I’d resigned, bonding with my child. And when it came time to look for work, I couldn’t get anything. Now I had a family, and I was out of options. Fed helped me out with a chunk of a loan (which he later forgave), and we managed to hang on until I began working at Blondie’s Pizza.
That job started horribly. The manager was a complete ass, and despite the owner’s assurances that I would work full time, he scheduled me a couple of days a week. Were it not for the tips, I don’t know that I would have made it at all. I was trying to figure out what had led me to this place. I hadn’t met anyone I felt I needed to have met, and I was barely making ends meet. And then I was transferred to San Francisco, and became friends with my new boss. That boss had been renting out a room to a tall guy with glasses and large hair. Around the time I met Nerdenn Events, I also met my daughter.
And so it wound up that Blondie’s introduced me to my son-in-law. Were it not for that job, I wouldn’t have either of my grandchildren.
So now I am wondering who it is that I have left to meet, and when it is that I will meet them. Whoever it is, and wherever it may be, I just hope that it is soon, because I’m running out of options.


You may have noticed that there have been fewer posts lately, and that the last one was fairly short and disjointed. We’re having some connectivity issues here in the Vaults, and it’s a major pain to try and write one thousand words on my cell phone. I did take the weekend off for the birth of my granddaughter, but starting tomorrow, I’ll be working on the blog again. The only downside to this is that it will be offline until everything is up and running again. I’d give you a set date, but I’m not sure when that might be, or if I can work something out with copying and pasting.

In the meantime, I do have TWO ebooks on sale at Amazon, and I’d love for you to pick them up (especially Terracrats, though I make less in royalties- I’m just kind of proud of it). Just go to your country’s, and search for “Tex Batmart”.

Well, that’s it. Have a good night. I’ll be back as soon as possible!