Monday, October 18, 2010

Who do I have to fuck to get a job in this town?

Yeah, it's a crude title but I just don't care. If you read my last post, you saw that I had applied for a position that was just about as perfect for me as it gets. It fed into everything that I have done over the past ten or so years, and then some. It would have allowed me to utilize the best skills from my years in health care, and my new skills in public relations. It would have been perfect - and it went to someone else.

It went to someone else even after I was told how great and relevant my credentials are. It went to someone else without even the courtesy of a second interview. It went to an internal candidate (who I happen to know, and know is well qualified), and while I understand the importance of being able to advance a career, it still hurts that I wasn't even brought in for a second interview. I mean, I was promoted to my paramedic supervisor's job all those years ago as an internal candidate, so I get it, I really do.

Still, it just disheartens me, and makes me wonder how much longer I can keep this course. if I can't even get so much as a second interview with the qualifications I do have, what does this tell me?

For now, I'll just go sulk, but I can't, as I have to work tonight, and deal with the assholes that call in and whine about their cable TV. I didn't need this disappointment, not now, with all that I'm up against with the rest of my life.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Four walls...bare...a closet...boxes and suitcases strewn on the floor. A large box acting as a temporary night stand...This was the beginning to my new digs as of two weeks ago. Sure as hell beats living out of suitcases.

My roommate and I are making headway treading through the maze of moving boxes, furniture, and other items that inhabit the living room and what will be the dining area. The kitchen is pretty much well settled. We're fortunate, as that her parents shipped a large load of necessities from North Carolina via some family friends. Everything from a washer and dryer, to a small dinette set, to a futon that is a couch, to dishes, and a host of other amenities. I was given a chest of drawers, which was very kind of them, and it resides on one side of my bed. The other side of the bed has my night table and lamp that I took from my house. My house... I can't call it that anymore.

We met with the mediator for the first time last week regarding a legal separation. I don't want to say too much, other than this is a difficult notion for her to accept. I think though, that the mediator's explanation of the process helped her to understand why I'm pursuing this, that it protects both of us, and has no time limit. If there is any chance that we'll reconcile, this is the best thing to have in place.

I still struggle emotionally about what is happening here, and my role in all of it. I told my therapist that I am trying so hard not to feel guilt, for seeing her in so much pain. I did what I felt I had to do, but it still doesn't lessen this notion that I am the one that is responsible for all the crying she is doing, and the anger. My actions precipitated it, but I am also torn up inside, especially for all the years of things that I could not reconcile, that I could not come to terms with, and that I'm trying hard to forgive her for. Do we still love each other? Yes, we both still do. Love however, as cliche as it sounds, just isn't enough.

On the positive news front, through a series of networking connections, I interviewed for a job at the University of Rochester Medical Center 2 weeks ago. it was an initial interview with the HR recruiter, who was very interested in me. It's a public relations position, and she informed me that I was the only applicant out of 78 that has both public relations and health care experience on my resume, especially health care management experience. They called my references, so I know they're interested, and I'm waiting on a second interview. The strains of that song from "A Chorus Line" are running through my head... "I need this job, oh god, I need, this job."

Also, I was cast in a play at my theatre opening in November, that I really wanted to do, and am very excited. I even got the role I wanted.

I can feel that I am in the process of changing, but where that is leading me, I'm not sure. right now, I'm just hanging on to the reins, and trying not to let things get out of control.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Home, Home On The Remains.

A week or so after I announced that I was leaving, apart from my family I told some close friends, several of whom I have known close to forty years. My one friend Sam (not his real name), urged me to come on back home to NYC so that we could talk. Sam and I go back to ninth grade, and shared many a - ahem - youthful escapade together. he is a NYC detective, and basically threatened me with physical harm if I didn't come down. Of course, that's his way of showing he cares, especially in light of the fact that he has been down this road, and in a very bad way, I might add.

I left last Wednesday, a little later than I wanted to, and got into New Rochelle where my brother lives at about 10 pm. He already left for work, and after settling in, I decided to go see him down at his EMS station in the South Bronx. I have never seen where his command is, and he being a paramedic Lt. with FDNY, I was curious to see the place where he held court. I also had the opportunity to meet a mutual friend, another paramedic that is an old timer like I was, and like my brother is.

I had a good time, got in the door at about 2:30-ish, and then got up to move my car at 8:10 am, as New Rochelle suffers from the same malady that plagues NYC - that of alternate side of the street parking. Unfortunately, I overslept by a few minutes, and got tagged with a parking ticket. My brother however, seems to be friendly with many in the parking bureau (I don't want to know why), and he thinks he can get it squashed, or substantially reduced. I'm waiting to hear from him later this week.

Friday was a great day. My cousin and I went to lunch at this kick-ass restaurant in Little Italy, Forlini's on Baxter St. the food was terrific, and when inside, it looks like something out of mob movie. I half expected DeNiro, Pesci, and maybe John Gotti - if he wasn't already dead - to stop on inside. I had this terrific chicken dish, with sun dried tomatoes, bow tie pasta in a light cream sauce:

Their house red wine was excellent, as was the cheesecake.

My cousin and I hung out for about 90 minutes, talking about everything under the sun, and it was good to reconnect with her. We hadn't seen each other in about two years.

I then got on Metro-North, and headed up to Mamaroneck to see Sam. It had been a while since I traveled the subway and commuter railroad, but I remembered how to get around as if I never left. I arrived here at the station after leaving Grand Central:

Sam took me out to dinner, along with his new neighbors from France, Vincent and Corali. They just arrived about a week ago, and are teachers at the FASNY, the French-American School in Mamaroneck. ( they are a young married couple, and while his English is very good, hers is not so much. She works mainly in the science lab, while he is a math teacher. we had a great time, and I played English teacher, as I was asked to explain the difference between "neither," and "either" looks as though I have a place to stay in the south of France any time that I want.

I spent Saturday in part with my mom, after taking my niece out to breakfast, and then spent Saturday night in the company of my old paramedic partner, Tony. He's still out there, fighting the good fight, but has decided it's time to retire. Of course, the skull fracture he suffered on the job a few months back hastened his decision to retire soon, but I think he should have retired five years ago.

All in all, it was a good trip, but now I'm home, and facing the reality that is packing up the rest of my life, and getting ready to move into my apartment later this month. I think I may need another vacation when that is all said and done.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Change of place.

Tomorrow is the start of my move out. I have a new apartment that I'm sharing with a friend from work, but we won't be able to get into it until the 17th of next month. Until then, I'll be staying with a friend and his wife, who have been very gracious and offered to put me up. I'll be going to NYC next week for 4 or 5 days to see my family, as they are very concerned. It has all been so strange. Starting a new bank account, dealing with a lawyer that will mediate our separation, looking around at this house at the familiar, and knowing that it will no longer be so after tomorrow.

The emotional turmoil on both of us has been tremendous. If I could have left earlier, I would have, but circumstances dictated otherwise. The pain for both of us is excruciating, but we have been talking, communicating, and trying to do the best we can. We decided to spend a last night together, having dinner out and watching a movie in. We're not under any illusions here, but I think it will end things on a positive, rather than a negative note. She will be gone in the morning, as she can't bear to watch me leave, and I won't be able to stand to see her watch me.

I just want her nightmares to stop, and for both of us to stop hurting. Hopefully, this is the start of that process. I just want to stop crying every day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Small steps on a new journey.

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back. There are some things that time can not mend. Some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold.” - Frodo - "Lord Of The Rings"

If I could have seen the future 21 years ago, would I have taken a different course? Would I not have married her? Would I have spared her the pain of watching her husband dying slowly, and then after being rescued from death, undergo a psychological death? Was there something else I could have done to spare her this moment, to spare her the pain that she is enduring now? I uttered the words, "I can't stay in this marriage" and set in motion the unraveling of half a lifetime of us. Then again, this unraveling started a long time ago. It started when my life was saved, and opened up a whole new dimension of suffering.

In the next few weeks, I will be moving out of my house, and starting on my own journey. We both have been unhappy for some time, and try as we did to save this marriage, it has reached the point when someone had to make a decision to break the cycle of getting better/falling back. That someone turned out to be me. I thought dying was painful enough, but this type of dying makes physical death an easy passage. This is a death that I will carry with me; a scar that will not be physically visible, but nonetheless will remind me of a life that has died.

She hopes that being away will help us find our way back to each other. I can't think that far into the future. I only know how to deal with what is happening now, and let the future unfold as it must. I also know that wherever my happiness lies, as of now, it is not here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The knotted chord's untying.

"I caught sight of my reflection
I caught it in the window
I saw the darkness in my heart
I saw the signs of my undoing
They had been there from the start

And the darkness still has work to do
The knotted chord's untying
The heated and the holy
Oh they're sitting there on high
So secure with everything they're buying

"In the blood of Eden lie the woman and the man
With the man in the woman and the woman in the man
In the blood of Eden lie the woman and the man
We wanted the the union oh the union of the woman, the woman and the man

My grip is surely slipping
I think I've lost my hold
Yes I think I've lost my hold
I cannot get insurance any more
They don't take credit, only gold
Is that a dagger or a crucifix I see
You hold so tightly in your hand
And all the while the distance grows between you and me
I do not understand

In the blood of Eden lie the woman and the man
With the man in the woman and the woman in the man
In the blood of Eden lie the woman and the man
We wanted the the union oh the union of the woman, the woman and the man

At my request you take me in
In that tenderness I am floating away
No certainty, nothing to rely on
Holding still for a moment
What a moment this is
Oh for a moment of forgetting
A moment of bliss

I can hear the distant thunder
Of a million unheard souls
Of a million unheard souls
Watch each one reach for creature comfort
For the filling of their holes

In the blood of Eden lie the woman and the man
I feel the man in the woman and the woman in the man
In the blood of Eden lie the woman and the man
I feel the man in the woman and the woman in the man

In the blood of Eden we have done everything we can
In the blood of Eden, so we end as we began
With the man in the woman and the woman in the man
It was all for the union, oh the union of the woman, the woman and the man"

- Peter Gabriel -
"Blood of Eden"

I guess there are some things that time can't heal.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I'll be baaack...

I promise. Just dealing with some issues. Hope to post in the next few days.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Early spring pickings

One of the things I miss about growing up where I did was that we were close enough to a major body of water to have fresh seafood available at many local restaurants. Off the mainland of the Bronx is City Island, a residential neighborhood that is packed with great seafood places up and down the main drag of the island. I learned from an early age how to judge a good slice of fish, or how a lobster should be cooked properly, but my favorite dish was really mussels, dipped in butter and garlic. It wasn't until I was almost an adult that I learned that most mussels are not harvested from the sea, but actually from trees that often root close to large bodies of water.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that bit of information. It seems that tree mussels (bivalvia mollusca rootus), while varied is size, are often more flavorful than their fresh or salt water cousins. They tend to be larger, as they few natural predators, and draw their nutrients directly from the trees themselves. Some variants are root feeders, while others stay higher up in the trees.

After a winter hibernation, they are best picked in late spring - early summer, as they grow rather rapidly. One should never pick them in the fall, as the quality tends to diminish as they prepare for winter hibernation. Also, make sure you wash them thoroughly, and steaming is usually the best way to insure that there will be no chance of microbial infection from it being under-cooked. Like with all mussels, over cooking them can make them rubbery, so be diligent.

So, if you live in a place that is near a large body of water, look for those mussel trees! You might be surprised to find out that you never knew they were there in the first place. They make great eating, and are a tasty side dish or main meal.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What does the Pope want with me?

Well, this was a shock. When I looked at my Feedjit site meter today, I found this:

Vatican City arrived from on "Mr.Nighttime"

I never realized that the Pope was fond of my blog, or perhaps Blade Runner. Then again, with all the latest press surrounding him, and the scandal surrounding the Irish church, I'm not sure I'd want him visiting here. Oh well, what do you think?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stand back folks...This one's gonna get ugly.

Regular readers of this blog know that I work in a survival job, doing tech support in an outsourcing company. We handle a major cable provider here in the U.S, and I just want to make a few points. I'm doing this both as a vent, and as a bit of an educational piece for anyone when they call into a customer service center. Oh let's face it; I'm really pissed off at the extreme stupidity, crassness, and outright rudeness many people show when calling in about a problem they may be having.

This is an across the board issue, no matter what you're calling in for, whether it is your cable service, internet, health care bill, electric bill, etc. I understand about being upset about an issue. Really, I do. We've all been there at one point or another. Things get screwed up. It's okay to be upset. What's not okay is thinking that the rep on the other side of the phone is evil incarnate. We're just worker bees at the end of the day. we're trying to do the best we can, and most of the time, we really can help if you just give us half a chance. If you're going to take your frustrations out on us however, you'll find that you'll get even less help than you might have expected.

Okay, enough of talking in the third person. Here's some basic information:

I am not your whipping boy! I work like you do, pay my bills like you do, and deal with the same kind of corporate idiocy on some level like you do. If you have an issue with the company I work for, then direct it to someone else that deals with customer complaints (and every company has one of these departments, at least the large ones do). I don't. I'm here to fix your problem, not be the object of a tirade. I'm sorry, but the customer is not always right. Too often, the customer is so wrong, it's almost laughable.

I'm going to ask you to verify some account information. Why? Well, isn't it a good idea to make sure you're the account holder? Oh, you mean you already punched that information into the phone? Why do I have to ask you again? Well, because sometimes the system is a piece of garbage, and the information doesn't get transferred to my screen. Sometimes, as in my case, it's because government regulations say I am required to re-verify this information. Mostly, it's because my bosses say I have to!!! Believe me, I think it's just as stupid as you do to repeat the same info over and over, but I have to keep this job for now, so don't get on my case.

Oh, you're going to scream and curse at me? How nice. How adult of you. You don't even know how to curse creatively, and now I have to lower my headset volume so that I don't puncture an ear drum. Of course, my first reaction normally is to want to tell you to go fuck off and die, but since my employers take a dim view of that, I am forced to give you three professionally administered warnings about foul language. After warning number three, I hang up on you and report you as an abusive customer. Here's a tip: You want to utter a single curse, that's fine. I can live with that. You're venting, and not directing it against me. But direct a personal attack at me and you've crossed the line. I may not even give you the grace of three warnings, and hang up on your sorry ass after the first one.

This one is simple. If I ask you a direct question, I expect a direct answer, not your life story. I know you don't want to stay on the phone with me one iota longer than is needed, and the same goes back to you. It's not that I don't want to (well, to be honest, there is a little of that), but I have a certain metric to meet. No, that's not something like a meter, kilometer, etc, but a certain number of minutes and seconds I am allowed with each customer. No more than 6.5 minutes are permitted, or at least by the end of the month, I should be averaging below that, or at worst, no more than seven minutes, or I get a tongue lashing from my supervisor.

One last thing. I am not your father confessor, or your doctor. Most especially not your doctor. I don't need to hear about every freakin' medical condition you have, nor do I care. I'm not being mean, it's just that I have enough of my own medical conditions to fill most monthly medical journals, that I don't need to know about yours. I left health care in part to be away from sick people on a daily basis, and while we're not in close proximity, the fact that you have explosive diarreha is not something that will impact your cable service, or my ability to get your cable service up and running again. So, go take some anti-diarrhea medication, and come back to the phone when you think you won't be running to the bathroom every 5 minutes, as I only have 6.5 minutes to talk with you anyway.

Sigh...I really need to get out of this job...

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Is it possible it's been two years since I started this blog? I'm just shaking my head, and wondering where the time has gone.

I started this blog after thinking about it long and hard. It wasn't that I wasn't sure if I could write, as I was already a published author. It was more about what to write, whether or not to stay anonymous, and if anything I had to say would have any relevance to anyone. On the whole, I'd have to say that I'm glad I made the decision to go ahead and start this blog.

There are two other bloggers I give credit to in spurring my interest in starting my own blog. The first would be Zoe, over at My Boyfriend Is A Twat. When I first read the title of this blog I thought, "Man, she must really hate the guy." I then realized that that this was a very playful banter between Zoe and Quarsan, her boyfriend of many years - or at least most of the time, that is. She has a wicked sense of humor, and I wold laugh my ass off at so many of her posts.

The second blogger I discovered at practically the same time, was Petite Anglaise. A Brit expat living in Paris for many years, her writings were lyrical, and honest. She was very open about many aspects of her life, while at the same time maintaining her anonymity. It was a delicate balance that she walked, and unfortunately she wound up being 'dooced" - fired for blogging about work. She was outed to the press, mainly because her blog was one of the most popular in the blogosphere, and someone had a grudge against her. Her employer - of who she would blog about at times without mentioning names, or the name of the company - began reading the blog and fired her. She had the last laugh though, as she sued for wrongful dismissal, and won a nice six figure judgment. She also became a published book author, essentially distilling her blog into a personal memoir.

As of late last year however, she has discontinued personal blogging, which is a loss, but her reasons are understandable. If you go to her blog, the second post down, "Over and Out," will explain it.

What have I discovered during these two years? Well, I have made a wealth of new friends from around the world. I have been able to peek into cultures and ways of life I only had a faint notion of in the past. I have found connections to people with similar interests, and met others who perform the same work I used, that being a paramedic. I've had the pleasure of meeting at least one of my fellow bloggers, Violet Sky, last summer. She came down from the Great White North of Canada to our Lilac Festival here in Rochester last June, and we spent a great day together. There are ugly sides to it as well: Commentators who seem to delight in abusing others for no apparent reason. This applies to bloggers as well, who seem to have no other purpose in life other than to tear down and degrade others.

Blogging has also provided me with a way to help sharpen my writing skills, and force me to write at least several times a week, though I have slacked off on that of late, due to an uptick in my freelance writing business; a good thing unto itself!

So, here's to more years of writing and discovery, and thanks to all those that I have been fortunate enough to have come into my life. Oh, and by the way, you may call me Dave.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It occurred to me that I haven't written a post regarding Blade Runner in quite some time, which of course makes me feel terribly guilty. I mean after all, the theme of this blog is based on the movie, so one would think that I could come up with some sort of BR reference from time-to-time? So, to satisfy this lag in theme coverage, I went and watched it again, and still marvel at the things I rediscover, and discover for the first time on every viewing.

Ridley Scott's masterpiece of a movie is incredibly layered. Sometimes, the only way to try and catch everything is to pause at certain points and go through a scene frame-by-frame. It's just amazing the things you pick up when you do this. One of my favorite moments is when Deckard is chasing Zhora through the streets, and he starts shooting at her by the glass displays. The second time she's hit in the back, if you pause and look very astutely at her right hand you can see the squib (explosive effect device) trigger, and see her let it go after she squeezes it.

The "Final Cut" edition of the movie comes with "Dangerous Days - The Making Of Blade Runner," and is a must for any true fan. It's also great for any aspiring filmmaker, as it gives an inside scoop as to what it takes to mount such a movie as this. Did you know that:

- The original name of the script was "Dangerous Days?"
- The first time Deckard was supposed to be seen was on a train coming back into "San Angeles." after he was vacationing in Alaska? (1980 script draft)
- One of the scenes cut from the movie was Deckard going to visit Holden in his hospital bed after he was shot by Leon?
- Ridley Scott was fired from the movie after principal filming was finished - and then rehired almost immediately?
-Dustin Hoffman was in consideration for the role of Deckard, and had several conversations with Ridley Scott about the 'social significance" of the film.

The other thing that struck me today was this: Blade Runner takes place in 2019, and here we are, just nine years from that time. What does the movie show that even remotely resembles today? Well, there are a few things that ring true, but replicants and robot technology is certainly not one of them.

1. Oppressive corporate culture - The Tyrell Corporation, the multi-national robotic and AI conglomerate is in evidence everywhere in the Blade Runner World. It's a bit of Wal-Mart, Google, and Cisco all rolled into one giant company. About the only thing that comes close in our world might be Microsoft, and the way it has invaded so many aspects of our world here in 2010. Wouldn't it be something though if one of Bill Gates' creations suddenly showed up at his house, and declared in a solemn voice, "I want more life, father."

2. Flying cars. -
Sorry, a no-go. The Spinner, the multi-purpose police car that can either fly, or be a conventional ground vehicle is not on the horizon. It's original design as conceived by visual futurist Syd Mead was that of an aerodyne - a vehicle that can do vertical take off's and landing's (VTOL) much in the way a Harrier jump jet does. Considering the latest brouhaha surrounding Toyota, and now Honda as well, I don't think I'd like having cars zipping over major cities and then having a major engine failure. And you thought an uncontrolled acceleration was tough?

3. Image manipulation - Ah, now here's something that we can point to and say, "Well we pretty much have that!"

When Deckard is examining Leon's photo for clues, he uses a device known as an "ESPER:"
It's defined as: " A high-density computer with a very powerful three-dimensional resolution capacity and a cryogenic cooling system. The police cars and Deckard's apartment contain small models which can be channelled into the large one at police headquarters. This big apparatus is a well-worn, retro-fitted part of the furniture. Among many functions, the Esper can analyze and enlarge photos, enabling investigators to search a room without being there."

While computers today may not have quite the same capacity as an Esper, it's pretty darn close. The next time you use your computers photo downloading software, or a program like Photoshop, you're pretty close to having the kind of funtionality that Esper's do - though seeing around corners as reflected in mirrors is probably not one of them.

4. Mult-cultural/nationality cities - Score another one for accuracy. It used to be that only the truly big cities in this country- NYC, LA, Chicago - could say they were truly multicultural. Nowadays, both big and small cities are reflective of this, and one only need to go into the downtown area of a city and see this played out everyday. In the BR world, it's the population overload that's also a factor, and this is nothing new, and even more prevalent in places like China, India, and Brazil.

5. Advertising on steroids. If you've seen the movie, you'll remember these:

I think that BR was even somewhat mild in it's vision of corporate advertising on buildings and the like. One only need to go to Times Square, or as some have pointed out, the Ginza in Tokyo, or the main shopping district in Hong Kong to see just how much this goes beyond even what BR predicted.

5. TV phones -
Remember those ads from the late 50's and 60's about phones with televisions in them, so that you could see the person you are talking to? Well, certainly camera cell phones have fulfilled that promise, but I think that even more so are webcams, especially when you're using programs like Skype, Googletalk, etc. Teleconferencing is now commonplace, though the public video phone is still not there - or is it, somewhere? Still, if you notice in the pic above, AT&T is still around, and still charging too much money (This call cost Deckard $1.25 for a 1 minute call.).

One has to wonder what is around the corner for us, and what parts of Blade Runner will come true prior to 2019? Let's hope it's not replicants. I want to be able to distinguish my robots from my humans easily.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Das Miracle.

Anyone who knows me understands that I am something of a movie freak. I never get to see as many as I would like, and especially living here in Rochester which is the home of motion picture film, it is something of a travesty. Netflix however, has become my great savior in so many ways. I've been able to catch up on a lot of movies that I very well should have seen, but never had either the time or the ability to get around to viewing.

It also provides a great resource of foreign films (foreign to the U.S.) as well. I truly enjoy watching movies from other countries, as it does provide something of a window into other cultures. Still, just as those seeing American movies get perhaps the wrong impression of life here, I'm careful not to think that a movie say, from France, is an exact picture of life there. I just finished seeing a movie that, I know I should have see when it first came out in the early 80's, but never did.

"Das Boot (The Boat)" is nothing short of perfection. It has been hailed as the submarine movie, bar none, and now it's easy to see why it earned that accolade. I watched the director's cut, and while at 3.5 hours it may be too long for some, it was sheer heaven for me. The movie centers around the lives of crew members aboard a German U-boat in 1941, just as the tide was starting to turn against the dominance of U-boats in their fight with England. It's a claustrophobic look at daily life inside these floating tin cans, and the stresses they're up against. It's a miraculous piece of art.

Yes, this was a film about our enemy in WWII, but in the end I found myself rooting for these guys. It sucks you into this world hook, line, and sinker. As I said, it's not going to be for everyone, especially for those Americans that are more used to movies in this genre along the lines of "The Hunt For Red October," which I love by the way, but for different reasons (Sean Connery's horrid Russian accent, or lack thereof, not being one of them.).

Das Boot is most definitely more of a psychological thriller in many ways, and the U-boat is as much a character as are the rest of the crew. You can catch a clip here:

My advice? Watch the German version with English subtitles. While the dubbed version is done by the same actors, and is very good, I still prefer watching the German version. I still notice in the dubbed version that the actor's mouth movements don't match the dialogue, and this is very annoying to me.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Middle School Idol

So, the job issue has been laid to rest, an article I edited for a friend was published, and if all goes well there will be more editing work thrown my way for money. I'm still waiting to hear back from my friend the dentist, whose marketing materials I'll be copyediting, as I did a single letter for him gratis to show what I'm capable of. Two interesting things came my way today via my theatre.

I got a note from an organization in NYC that uses actors to train police officers to interview victims of child sexual abuse. They use adult actors (for obvious reasons), and were looking for a man, and two women. I volunteered myself, especially in light of the fact that they pay $100 for the day, which consists of about 4 hours of work total. Not too bad, actually. They're based in NYC, but travel all over the state conducting these classes, and will be doing it up here at the local public safety training center, not too far from where I live.

The second note was from a local middle school drama society that is trying to help promote local theatre as part of its efforts. They are having a talent night, and needed prizes for first, second, and third place. We often do ticket giveaways at our theatre for these types of causes, but they also asked for something extra: they needed a guest judge for the event. We were going to send one of our other people there, but the talent show was canceled from its original date, so he can no longer make it.

Up went my hand. Why, I don't know.

So now I will be the next Simon Cowell for a bunch of middle school drama students. I'm hoping to be surprised, and maybe they will tackle something like, "Waiting For Godot," or perhaps "Death Of A Salesman," or maybe even a piece from "Marat/Sade." Then again, maybe not.

I'm not quite sure what to expect, after all, they are middle schoolers. All I can hope for is something a bit more advanced than say, Jack And The Beanstalk?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is it safe?

Yes, it is. A compromised was reached, and my job is safe. All this means is that I now have to double and triple my efforts to get out of that 10th Circle Of Hell, whether by means of another job, or by freelancing full-time. On the latter of those two, things are headed in the right direction. I just picked up another client to do some copyediting for a series of web articles that this person is goign to publish.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stay tuned to this station....

....for further updates, as my employer is screwing with me big time. I may not have a job by tomorrow morning, depending on what happens during a meeting with my supervisor tonight. Without getting into too many details as of now, it deals with in part, a letter from my doctor that I gave them about 2 weeks ago that noted the need for me to take a few breaks during the course of my shift for certain medical necessities that I have, such as checking my blood sugar. There is also the little case of them accusing me of breaking a company rule, which I did not - and I think is retaliation for my going to a lawyer for advice, as the company owed me over 6 months worth of retroactive pay that they only got to me once I advised them that I had consulted a lawyer about my options.

This is not going to be pretty no matter what the outcome.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


On this the 200th post of this blog, I was going to publish something I had started on the nature of friendship. Instead, I am dedicating it to the memory of my father. Regular readers may remember that my dad died of AIDS, contracting it a during blood transfusion while undergoing cardiac bypass surgery in 1984. He was in that first group of people to get infected back then from transfusions, and four years later, on Valentine's Day in 1988 he would die of complications from HIV. The horror show that was his illness, which wasn't picked up until late into the course of it, impacted me (in addition to my family) in ways that still resonate to this day.

The anger that I carried with me festered for a great long time, and was only truly exorcised but a few years ago. Still, there are certain things that still make me shudder; His never living long enough to see me act, to succeed in my former profession, to become a writer, and I think most certainly where my brother is concerned, to see the birth of my niece, his first and only grandchild. At the same time, I'm glad that he wasn't there to see what I went through during my illness and subsequent transplant, but then again, he would have been there to support my mom.

As a result, Valentine's Day is a bittersweet one for me. Mrs. Nighttime and I always celebrate the day before, as the day itself can be too difficult on some years. It is also, for some reason, the only part of my Judaism that I stick to, lighting a yahrzheit lamp on the anniversary of his death as well as on Yom Kippur.

This year I will be on stage in the show that I'm currently in, imagining that he is in the audience. I would like to think he would have been proud of my accomplishments over the years. We never saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things, though towards the end, he was getting a better understanding of why I loved being a paramedic.

Cheers Dad.

Monday, February 8, 2010

No joy in Mudville...

I didn't get the public relations job. I don't know why as of yet, as I just found out late today. I'm going to call tomorrow to see if there is anything I could have done better, or at least why I wasn't chosen.

Unreal, and I was stunned. I have been through this so many times in the past few years, and it is really wearing on my soul. This was the best opportunity to come along in some time, and if I can't even get something like this, I don't know what I'm going to do...

On the plus side, it looks like I picked up a new client for my writing business, so maybe this is a sign to go full-bore into my freelance business, and damn the torpedoes.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I feel like Michael Corleone...

...I got pulled back in!

For just about 11 years, I wrote for a national EMS professional journal, titled interestingly enough, EMS Magazine. This was the place where I took my baby steps into the world of freelance writing, taking whatever skills I may have naturally possessed, and developing them with the guidance of an experienced editor. I wrote everything from educational pieces, to personal stories, to book reviews, all the while exploring a skill I never really knew I had.

In 2000, I wrote my last piece for the magazine. It was entitled, "What Are You Prepared To Do?" and dealt in part with the idea of who we were as EMS professionals, our identity, and how it had been co-opted by other emergency services, such as fire departments. While I left EMS behind the year before, I was still in healthcare, but that would be my final article. There was no real reason to write for the magazine anymore, and with my depression starting to bubble, I think somewhere inside I was thinking, "It's time to get away from this profession in every way."

Flash forwards 10 years: Now, having come to terms with so much of what I experienced, I feel I can go back and write for them, but from a detached position, which actually may be something of a blessing. I shot my former editor (who is still there) some recent clips of my work, she was bowled over, and was going to throw some story ideas my way, when I threw one at her. I'll be writing a two part piece that will cover how EMS personnel deal with impending retirement. It will be in their online edition. Part 1 will be out in June, and then part 2 in July. Even better? They're going to pay me. I didn't always get paid for what I wrote for them in the past.

So, here I go, diving back into the world I left behind. I'm thinking a little of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years."

"I met my old lover
On the street last night
She seemed so glad to see me
I just smiled
And we talked about some old times
And we drank ourselves some beers
Still crazy after all these years
Oh, still crazy after all these years"

You get the idea, right?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Floods, famine, and hope.

I went on a job interview yesterday. The opportunity came out of the blue, via a Facebook IM conversation. About 10 days ago, a friend that is the public relations manager at a local legal professional organization mentioned to me that that her assistant had just quit, and she was now scrambling to find a replacement. She is familiar with my situation, in part because she is involved in the local theatre scene here in Rochester, and helps with PR for another theatre company in town. In the course of the conversation, I asked if she wouldn't mind looking at my resume, and consider it as part of her search process.

She was concerned that the job would be a bit boring for me, as there was not a ton of writing, and that the salary was not in line with what I might expect. She felt that I was far more advanced in terms of experience than what the position called for. I pointed out that I have been looking for a way to break into the PR world full-time, and that this type of entry level position could be just what I needed. She said to send her the resume, and I did, not knowing what would come out of it.

Well, on Wed. I got an e-mail from her, asking if I could come in for an interview on Friday. Of course I said yes, and started to prep for it, visiting the website of the organization and learning all I could about it. This has been the best opportunity to come along in quite some time. Being a realist, I know there are never any guarantees, but I wanted to make the best showing I could.

Of course, things are never smooth, and Thursday night, just before Mrs. Nighttime and I were to head to our theatre for rehearsal (we're both in a play there, opening a week from today), we come back home to find that the water heater has blown. Half the basement was flooded, so we cut the water off and started manning the bilge pumps. (Translation - We broke out the mops and the shop vac, and poured the excess down the sump.) Mrs. Nighttime got on the horn to someone she kn0ws, an HVAC technician that services her building. He was able to get us a new water heater, and now 24 hours later we have hot water again.

When this happened though, it jarred me some. I got really snippy, and I knew it was that "Oh, no. I don't need this shit, not now." feeling. The other thing that concerned me was, how was I going to take a shower Friday morning? All I can say it's a good thing we're on good terms with our neighbors, at least the ones we know pretty well. The ones' down the block, whose home caught fire last year, came to our rescue and let me use their shower in the morning.

Making extra copies of my resume, I went downtown for the interview, and while heading there, I realized how I needed to get over the nervousness that was running rampant inside of me. It's amazing; I can go up on stage in front of 200 people, and be far less nervous than sitting across the conference room table from one person. I took a idea from an acting exercise called an "as if," and simply put it in my mind that I was not really at an interview at all. I was simply sitting down and having a talk with a friend.

It worked like a charm. The interview went very well, at least in my opinion, and I think I was able to convey what I wanted to achieve by working in this position. I stressed the idea that, even though the pay is lower than I would like, the possibility of acquiring new and needed skills (especially working with graphics programs, something I don't really do, since we farm out all our graphics work at my theatre), combined with the opportunity to finally work full-time in the PR world was worth not being concerned about the lower pay scale. I also stressed that this was something that I thought long and hard about, and it was not a "I need a job at any cost!" type of situation. I should know something hopefully by the middle of next month. As you can imagine, they were inundated with resumes, especially in this job market.

So, cross your fingers, toes, and whatever else you feel might be appropriate in this situation. The famine that has been my job search, I am hoping, has come to an end. If this comes through, you will probably hear my screams of joy across the country and beyond.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Spit take...

Ok, I just about spewed my coffee after reading these. #10 just stopped me dead in my tracks.

Thanks to Julia for these.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Northern exposure

When I first started this blog, I was adamant in that I wanted this to be as anonymous as humanly possible. After reading about the experiences of other bloggers, I decided that at least for the time being, I didn't want people to know who I was, especially if I was revealing things about myself of a rather personal nature.

Flash forward over a year, and now 193 posts later (including this one), and reading about the experiences of bloggers that have been outed, it makes me wonder if the ability to remain even remotely anonymous is simply a myth. I look at folks such as Petite Anglaise, and Girl With A One Track Mind (both excellent writers, mind you), and realize that while my blog isn't anywhere near as famous or visited, it still gives one pause for thought. They were both outed, and in the case of Petite, was dooced (Lost her job related to her blogging).

I have consciously avoided blogging about certain subjects in depth, such as my job and my marriage, the latter being at the request of Mrs. Nighttime. While it is a form of self-censorship, as with most bloggers we elect what, and what not to reveal out to the world. There are bloggers who are extremely open people, and their blogs are a reflection of their personalities. The only one or two subjects of an extremely personal matter that I'm open on are my liver transplant experiences, and my battle in the past with depression.

This said, I am now struggling with the notion of revealing at least, my first name and face. There are a few bloggers that I have become quite friendly with, and communicate with via Facebook or Skype, or in the case of Violet Sky, have met face-to-face, which was a nice time. So the question I pose to you out there is this:

What are your feelings about what you choose to reveal, or not to reveal, and the advantages and disadvantages of each? I'd also know what you do to protect yourselves so that not too much gets exposed.

I await your advice and counsel.