Friday, July 30, 2010

In which our hero awakens with a headache and cottonmouth, without the benefit of a good time the previous evening.

I woke up this morning at roughly 7:30, my head pounding like a kettle drum and my tongue feeling as if it was a giant wooly caterpillar crawling about my mouth. I found this perplexing, of course, because I had done nothing the previous evening that would account for such physiological abnormalities - no drinking, no smoking, no fun of any kind in fact - so I merely stumbled downstairs in order to pilfer two Excedrin Migraine from the shelf above the desk of Little Miss Tripping Balls.

When I performed this nefarious act of larceny, I noticed that her computer screen had been left on, presumably all evening. Additionally it looks like she had been playing The Sims or some other such irrelevant refuse, most likely for hours at a time, instead of doing something useful like looking for a job or training her dogs not to either shit uncontrollably over the highly expensive hand-sewn Persian rugs her father had bought once upon a time or to viciously attack each other over the slightest provocation.

It's come to the point where I don't know what will set off these bouts of spontaneous homicidal rage with the dogs; I merely know that they are usually triggered whilst the dogs are in close proximity to each other. I've taken to only petting them when there is at least a few feet of daylight between them in order to avoid becoming collateral damage and getting my face torn off. This is frustrating because not only are they wonderful dogs taken one at a time, I'm the kind of person that routinely prefers the company of domesticated animals over people and I'm unaccustomed to being fearful of dogs. Every animal either I or my family has ever owned has been incredibly gentle and well-behaved, up to and including my parents' current 85-pound behemoth. He moves lightly for a rhinoceros, to quote Jim Butcher.

Adding to my frustration is the fact that these two dogs aren't mine. On the one hand, this frees me from any technical responsibility in regards to their general upkeep and well-being; on the other hand it bars me from any direct say in how the dogs are raised, trained, and treated by the two vile, soulless homunculi that are their "owners." I find it difficult to watch two perfectly good, loving, ebullient, highly intelligent dogs get utterly and completely ruined through neglect and mismanagement.

It's indicative of the both of them, both Little Miss Tripping Balls and Signore Flailing Retard. Shortcuts, neglect, lack of forethought, poor mental hygiene, whatever you wish to call it. Just like leaving the computer monitor on all night, letting the image of some vapid game burn itself into the LCD screen, not only are their acts wasteful but destructive to boot.

Another fine example of this behavior is Signore Flailing Retard's plans for the near future, shared with me a couple of days ago whilst I feigned interest in his ramblings. He's currently employed as an independent contractor for a tech services company (in other words, he's a fucking IT temp), and the contract with his current employer is up in a few weeks. As that contract ends, his plans are to apply for a loan from the government, co-signed by his mother, and return to school in order to gain his MCSE certification, a very long, very expensive course of study. School will be two 8-hour days, twice a week. While he does so, instead of working a part-time job to help pay the bills with the remaining 3 days of the work week like a normal, responsible human being would do, he'll be filing for unemployment benefits. Again.

Now I've done the work-and-go-to-school thing. I know how much it sucks. Hell, the stress of working 40 hours a week and then going to law school for an additional 20 probably contributed to my cancer diagnosis, but you know what? I fucking did it for two-and-a-half god damned years. I didn't go on fucking unemployment, taking bread out of the mouths of people who really needed the cash to help pay mortgages, or to buy food for their kids, or keep the gas tank filled so they could get to doctors' appointments because they're fighting for disability benefits. There are people in this world who need that money more than I do. That's something that Signore Retard just doesn't seem to get, and that sense of entitlement makes me want to start biting the heads off chickens in some sort of snarling, animalistic rage.

I've been on fucking Food Stamps. I know the shame and anger you feel at having to resort to a governmental safety net program. I also know the relief and gratitude you feel when you can go to the supermarket and buy food that doesn't consist of Maruchan Top Ramen and mustard. I don't wish that situation on anyone, but I do know that when programs like that are abused by people who can avoid using them by engaging in just a little hard work, it makes me sick to the pit of my stomach because somewhere, someone just got denied absolutely priceless help because the funding ran out. Especially now, when the unemployment rate is so god damned high.

Doubtless Signore Retard will make more money on unemployment than he would working some shit job down at the Gas'n'Sip cleaning the bird jism off car windshields. In that way it makes good financial sense on a microeconomic level. But what about the other 37.5 million people on unemployment in this country currently? If even 10% of those people did what this jackwagon was going, that's a huge amount of government funds being eaten up by selfishness.

Seinfeld can go fuck himself; there is such a thing as a truly selfless act.

Monday, July 26, 2010

In which positive news is relayed and passive-aggressive hijinks are praised.

I had a "business call" this morning at 9:30 with the UK banking guy. I feel my skin crawl at the sheer prospect of attempting to communicate in a cogent manner prior to 11 AM, so it was only by a supreme harnessing of my willpower did I not degenerate to pre-verbal grunts and other strange lizard brain rumblings; the Green Lantern ain't got shit on me.

The meeting was to discuss the possibilities of taking on more work for my intrepid internet marketing compadre across the pond; he wants me to increase the number of articles I re-write a week to around 25, bringing my haul to a lofty $100 weekly. Considering how the most time-consuming part of the job is finding articles of sufficient length to swallow, partially digest, and then regurgitate, I readily agreed. In addition he was interested if I would write email autoresponder campaigns, about one a month, for around $100 a pop as well. So apparently I'll be earning about $500 a month from this yahoo, which is more than double what I was earning currently.

Combined with my transcription proofreading gig, which could be as much as $250 a week if my handler would just quit jerking me around and send me pure proofing jobs, I could potentially earn around $1500 a month before taxes. Of course I'd have to withhold a portion of my own pay for Uncle Sam at the end of the year, but it's better than being out of work completely. Hell, making that kind of scratch, I could easily afford some shitbox used car in a couple of months maybe. Just in time to visit the more miserable members of my family circle that still reside in the great state of New York. Maybe for the holidays; there's nothing like a dose of passive-aggressive bullshit to teach you the merits of family members that don't live around the corner.

Not that passive-aggressive bullshit can't be highly entertaining. A story was related to me earlier today by A Third Party, whose name, gender, height, weight, eye color, hair color, skin color, ethnicity, religious affiliation, shoe size, sexual proclivities, and whether or not they were a member of the Communist Party will remain confidential in order to protect their identity.

Third Party was venturing outside to get the mail this afternoon when they encountered Our Benefactor (He Whose Name Must Be Said Reverently and with at least Half an Erection) outside. He had asked Third Party if Little Miss Tripping Balls had spoken to TP. TP said no; in fact Little Miss Tripping Balls seemed particularly frigid this morning (judging from the collection of sexual enhancement herbal supplements strewn about the living quarters of her and her fiancé, I'm not surprised).

TP made mention of this, and was graced with the following story: late last night after everyone had gone to bed, The Great Benefactor (Whom Even Chuck Norris Would Not Fuck With), in an inebriated stroke of genius, broke off from his current project (transforming a whole sockeye salmon into approximately 10 pounds of homemade lox) and ventured into the adjacent room to the kitchen.

This room, known colloquially as the Pool Room due to the full-size Billiards table that is typically covered with a mountain of detritus, is also known as Where Dog Shit Goes to Die. Prior to their current little shit machines, Little Miss Tripping Balls and Signore Flailing Retard were in possession of an incredibly old, sickly, bitchy little American Eskimo dog with dingy yellowed fur. The dog was old five years ago; it would constantly lose control of its bowels and proceed to shit absolutely everywhere. His favorite spot was the Pool Room.

The dog died in March. There was dog shit still in the Pool Room as of about 1 AM last morning.

I used the past tense there for a reason: apparently Our Magnificent Benefactor (Who Sparkles Even Though He's Not a Vampire) decided to gather up each piece of fossilized canine excrement he could locate and proceeded to tie a neat bow around each one with baker's twine. He then laid them lovingly upon the chair in which Signore Flailing Retard sits while he's using his computer as a tribute to the man's recently deceased pet.

"For some reason I don't think he was very appreciative," he then told Third Party, feigning hurt and bemusement. "I thought it would be a fitting memorial."

"Well," Third Party replied, completely deadpan, "that may be why your daughter seems a trifle upset this morning."

Sometimes I think I can really come to love that man.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In which a week's worth of catch-up is played; the merits of Lynchburg Lemonade are touted; and plans are formulated to steal someone's inheritance.

Since last I pounded my thoughts into form down through my callused fingertips, through this high school computer lab-era keyboard, and out into the cloud of lemon-scented bullshit that is the Internet, there have been several events which may be
categorized (Jesus Christ I've been re-writing too many UK news articles) as "news," a word I find particularly vile and distasteful, like a mouthful of dogshit wrapped in an orange peel.

I am a certified run-on sentence specialist, licensed and bonded by fifteen states and three territories. Do not attempt this at home.

I needed time to recover after transcribing a five-hour deposition over the weekend. It completely destroyed whatever semblance of a social life that I possess, which consists mainly of trolling the Trade chat channel in World of Warcraft and looking for poisonous mushrooms in the backyard to eat. Throughout the entire process, all I could think of was the two-and-a-half years I spent, miserably, as a part-time law student. In a way I have my cancer diagnosis to thank for getting me off the hook in finishing that abortion of an educational experience, though truth be told I was so miserable and unmotivated that I wasn't long for that world, I'm sure: my grades were going down faster than Lindsey Lohan's cellmate.

But I object on the grounds that the anecdote is irrelevant to the matter at hand. I spent much of last week trying to return my mind and body to some level of equilibrium, just working steadily and trying to get some sleep. I patently refused to do any more transcription for that chucklehead that sent me that massive audio file; I told him it was just too damn long for me to do so and keep my sanity, so he sent me a batch of twenty 15-minute files, a collection of recorded prison inmate calls. I did one and immediately decided that I would rather lovingly place my junk in a box filled with rabid, starving wolverines with fetal alcohol syndrome instead of working on the other 19. So I sent them back and forbade the bastard from sending me any work besides proofing.

Still, I made about $300 over the past week and a half out of the deal, which will go a long way in paying off some back rent to the Benefactor (May His Penis Always Drag Along the Ground). His lovely daughter and her fiancé were gone again this weekend, which was rather pleasant despite the fact that the responsibilities of caring for their two rambunctious puppies was left squarely in the laps of those remaining behind at the farmhouse. As a result there was a disproportionately high amount of canine excrement and excretion sanitation being conducted on premises over the past 48 hours.

The upside of this was of course some time spent with the Benefactor (He Who Farts Raw Sunshine) sans the cooling influence of Little Miss Tripping Balls and the Flailing Retard. He's a rather remarkable man, though I find it hard to bring myself to trust him (or anyone for that matter, but that's a different therapy session). Still, I'll gladly be entertained by his inebriated rambling stories and anecdotes. In addition he can be quite an accomplished cook, even if he did burn the holy everliving fuck out of the french fries last night.

Still, the man is a connoisseur when it comes to alcoholic beverages despite his hyposmia (look it up). I sampled a concoction last night that I wouldn't normally have the courage to try; it was only in looking at the rascal's liquor cabinet and discovering such esoteric liquids such as "Triple Sec," whatever the shit that is, that I decided to try my hand at mixing drinks. Having some freshly-purchased lemonade in the refrigerator (which had just been cleaned by Those Left Behind this past weekend after deciding that Little Miss Tripping Balls and her lovely fiancé the Flailing Retard had left the god damned thing about as filthy as it could get before being declared a national health emergency), I pulled together the ingredients for a quite delicious cocktail known by drunks far and wide as the Lynchburg Lemonade. While I was at first reticent to drink anything that alludes to the act of stringing people up by their necks for the crime of being a darker shade of skin pigmentation than the local populace, it was worth the guilt. Perhaps the drink should be called the White Man's Burden.

So upon the conviviality fostered by good food and drink this weekend, the Benefactor (The Man Who is More Classic than Coke Classic) shared some stories of his past. The most riveting tale was in relation to the dissolution of his marriage between himself and the mother of Little Miss Tripping Balls. Apparently Mommy Dearest was unhappy living in a 250-year-old stone farmhouse situated on 20 acres of beautifully manicured property and had proceeded to open her vagina wider than the Grand Coulee Dam to the inhabitants of this fair town. She then felt so guilty about the fact that she had had more semen inside her than a nuclear submarine and decided to take it out on her puzzled husband by flinging a kitchen knife as hard as she could at him.

Thankfully she was so exhausted by the constant penis-pounding she had been receiving that the knife landed hilt-first, bouncing off her husband's chest and falling harmlessly to the kitchen floor. Suffice it to say that a divorce was pursued by both sides shortly thereafter. And I thought my last ex-girlfriend was crazy. Well, she was, but not so batshit insane as to attempt to murder me with a kitchen knife (she couldn't cook worth a damn).

So while there was no outside activity on the grounds this weekend on account of the National Weather Service warning that stepping out from under the shade of the porch would result in your face melting like Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark, plenty of time was spent inside. That led to the camaraderie of cleaning out a vile, squamous refrigerator, which led to the simple joys of a shared meal and freely-flowing alcohol. I have the distinct impression that Our Great and Immortal Benefactor (May His Bedroom Be Always Clear of Dog Shit) is in need of friends and allies in his constant struggles against the forces of his daughter and her shithead boyfriend. And at the risk of appearing like a vulture slowly circling over the dying gazelle that is his love for his daughter, I'm wondering how easy it would be to displace someone in a certain person's Last Will and Testament.

Just, you know, as a hypothetical thought experiment.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

In which before and after shots of landscaping handiwork are showcased.

I'll be doing something a bit different this evening in that I'll be incorporating the dreaded Visual Aids into my post. This is usually the last resort of those who simply cannot think of something to write, but that isn't the case today; I simply feel that in order to fully understand this evening's discussion, the class simply needs to have the benefit of some slides on the overhead projector. I will also simply continue to split infinitives and commit other acts of violence against grammar and good draftsmanship at my leisure, so hold off on the hate mail and let's simply begin.

Over the past several weeks I have been participating in a landscaping project in an effort to placate the Benefactor (May His Soda Water Be Forever Effervescent). The following images are evidence of the progress the project has made.

These first two pictures are, believe it or not, after several days of initial brush clearing. Unfortunately the soil here is incredibly fertile, so leaving a brick patio unmolested for two weeks will result in the grass, that had been painstakingly pulled out of in between each and every vile clay rectangle, growing back. This will result in your handiwork being completely obliterated by all to see, much as it appears below.

This is, of course, bad for my blood pressure. What you are looking at is the brick patio just to the side of the farmhouse; the stone building in the background of each shot is what is apparently called a "summer kitchen." The two-floor structure consists of a large downstairs kitchen, complete with: massive stone fireplace; wood-burning stove; a non-functional weed whacker; defunct props left over from when Signore Flailing Retard and his beautiful fiancée Little Miss Tripping Balls ran their own live-action role playing game; two mountain bikes with deflated tires that belong to Signore Flailing Retard and his beautiful fiancée Little Miss Tripping Balls; several kittens; and weeds. Growing inside. In the shade. Inside.

The second floor consists of a Great Depression-era bedroom, complete with Lil' Orphan Annie bed and a pair of men's dress shoes that must be three times older than myself.

The following shots are from this morning, before work started. The state of the patio at that time was after another thorough cleaning and some deep weeding along the side of the summer kitchen, as is plainly visible.

Continuing around the patio to the right will reveal a concrete slab that had been completely overgrown with English Ivy and other vines, which I had broken my back removing the last time any serious work had been done. This is evidenced in the following pictorial spread.

And finally, directly across from the concrete slab, is the view back towards the main house, with the summer kitchen just out of frame to the left. To the right is overgrowth. The large white oblong in the background is a cooler that Signore Flailing Retard and his beautiful fiancée Little Miss Tripping Balls had neglected to empty out and clean the last time they had a major social event at the farm, for which I was in attendance.

That social event occurred this past January.

Now for The Reveal, as they call the final segment in Ghost Hunters. After the work was completed this late afternoon, the results are the following.

What's this? Is there a planter underneath all that overgrowth?

This is madness!

Madness? This is Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Here is the concrete slab behind the summer kitchen. Apparently it goes all the way back. It's still not quite clear yet.

And now one final shot of the overall look of the patio.

It's amazing what people can accomplish with the motivation of the abject fear of eviction at any moment.

Friday, July 16, 2010

In which the Emergency Undergarments are utilized.

It's laundry day.

More accurately it's I-should-have-done-laundry-two-weeks-ago day. What this means is that I've had it with needing to peel my vile, sweaty undergarments off of my stinking corpus and changed to my last clean pair.

These undergarments are the equivalent of Defcon One: if you go down any farther, we're all fucked. They're a pair of Christmas-themed red boxer shorts with a Bettie Page look-alike wearing a revealing Santa outfit and posing in a comically oversized martini glass. They also have a horrendous split down the front left leg from fly to inseam, and since I routinely seem to list to the left when it comes to my genitals, this means my nibbly bits just go flopping about, with no protection from the elements.

The rest of the garment is blessedly intact, however, including the seat of the pants. This is of importance because, in addition to resorting to my Emergency Undergarments, I have also had to resort to my Emergency Pantaloons, a pair of brown corduroy pants that have a terrible rip right at the back door entry. In addition, they're about five inches too large in the waist. This is because I've been losing weight since going on the Work For Your Rent Or You're Out On Your Ass diet.

The best part of this? My belt has become too large as well. Which means that unless I walk about the place with two handfuls of corduroy in my hands at all times, my pants will fall down. This will then expose my aforementioned nibbly bits to passersby. Considering how Little Miss Tripping Balls is about as sexually attractive to me as the idea of putting my johnson in a wood chipper, I'll be doing a lot of white-knuckle clutching. Or sitting. Sitting is swell.

Speaking of the LSD Queen, she had her charge card taken away by The Great and Powerful Benefactor (He Who Instructs You to Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain). This made for an incredible display of waterworks last night on her part as she moped and cried, which was accompanied by an absolutely masterful demonstration of my acting ability on my part as I pretended to give a cunting fuck. There was musical accompaniment by the Go Eat A Bowl of Dick Orchestra, featuring a complete contingent of the world's smallest violins.

This means of course now she may need to get a job to support her life of leisure. I hear that she's an excellent seamstress; perhaps she'd like to sew up a few holes in some undergarments for me?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In which the nefarious depredations of eyestrain are suffered.

New gig started today. Almost wrote "Sartred" today. Which is only ironic because it seems this freelancing thing really is a way out.

Of course I gave myself eyestrain. I'm proofreading audio transcripts, and my first job ever for these sadists was a four hour deposition about how some old bat got shit-canned from some evangelical Baptist school for not being Christian enough. Or something. So my eyes hurt, and my brain hurts. I'll have to pontificate about this more tomorrow. For now, rest. And maybe dinner.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In which the idea of tripping balls for three years straight is presented to our hero.

I found it absolutely impossible to sleep last night. I had been up at around 8:30 last morning and I had received very little sleep then, so I was looking forward to passing out at a reasonably bourgeoisie hour last evening; I went to bed at around 11:30 with the assumption that I could get some solid shut-eye and awake refreshed early in some semblance of a normal diurnal schedule.

I gave up on the prospect shortly after midnight. I got up and proceeded to squint blearily at my computer monitor for a solid three hours in an attempt to tire myself out sufficiently for bed. This was made more difficult by the door to the downstairs hallway miraculously coming open on its own again somewhere around 1:30 in the morning, which resulted in a mad dash to find an errant cat before he disappeared into the thick Pennsylvanian æther.

The door has routinely opened on its own for a few nights, now. I'm unsure what causes it. The weather has been terribly humid, causing the door to swell in the frame; it makes it exceedingly hard to both open and close securely. The previous tenants had devised some bizarre rope-and-pulley Rube Goldberg device to pull the door closed from the top of the stairs, but I soon lost patience with such an infernal contraption and dismantled it. The mysterious egress has been opening itself ever since, even after I tightened the latch hardware with a screwdriver.

It was brought to my attention last night, as I escorted a large cat back up the stairs, something that I had thought rather puzzling at the time that I fixed the door handle a few days ago: the door locked from the 2nd floor hallway side, not the side on the interior of the room. The room up here had been a bedroom for years. Wouldn't the lock be on the inside to ensure privacy for the person living up here? Why would the lock be on the outside? Have I stumbled inadvertently into some V.C. Andrews horror narrative where I'll be locked in one night? Are there indeed flowers in the attic? Do I even have a sister?

My paranoia was already running high when another tidbit was revealed to me by the forces of You'll Get No Sleep Tonight, Asshole: the daughter of Our Glorious and Benevolent Benefactor (May He Live Forever) shared, a few days ago, that from approximately thirteen to sixteen years of age she was completely out of her mind on LSD and only stopped when she started seeing trails when she wasn't high as a god damned GPS satellite. Little Miss I'm-Tripping-Balls used to live in the selfsame 3rd floor attic bedroom that Our Hero now occupies.

Jesus Christ, was she locked up here for those years as she gibbered and slavered, while Dr. Leary's magic potion coursed through the wrinkles in her pickled brain? Are there claw marks underneath the floorboards? Retaining clips for restraints in the closet? The prospect gave me chills; the idea of inhabiting a living space that I shared with a teenage Syd Barrett that, once upon a time, very well could have been finger-painting the walls up here with her own shit while her parents argued loudly about "just what the hell do we do with her" on the other side of a locked door tends to make my skin crawl.

Is it any wonder why I didn't get any fucking sleep? How do I interact with this woman from now on and not imagine her strutting about in this space dressed in a burlap sack with menstrual blood caked on her thighs and her eyes jutting off in different directions like a chameleon's? Furthermore, just what in the holy Hell have I gotten myself into?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In which our hero's first day as a corporate shill has unexpected consequences.

I woke up this morning, after a terrible night's sleep, to start my first day as a news copywriter for that UK banking client. I received a crash course in some bizarre occult mechanisms, studded with glowing sigils and dripping steam-powered gears known as Search Engine Optimization (oh wait, I've got to practice masquerading as a Brit, don't I? That should have been Optimisation).

It was all meta tags and keywords and all kinds of absolutely meaningless garbage. I feigned interest quite convincingly to the strange accent at the other end of the Skype call and was summarily let loose to do my worst upon the landscape.

Let me illustrate the actualities of this gig. I first trawl through RSS feeds until I find a suitable article on some sort of business banking news. Then I take it and re-write it, making sure to inject into its vapid, lifeless mass several pre-determined keywords to make it more attractive to Internet search engines like Google. After that I check that the drivel I've cobbled together can pass a plagiarism check by feeding it into a specialised (see what I did there?) website. Then, if it comes back clean, I re-post the bleeding monstrosity to my client's blog, where it masquerades as "news."

I'm supposed to do this two to three times a day, all for $60 a week. It works out to about 4 bucks an article, and it takes me maybe an hour all told from RSS search to final posting, so I'm working for roughly $4 an hour. This is deplorable, but I don't have to get off my ass in order to do it so I really can't complain that much.

There is an up-side to immersing myself in the UK business culture by reading all these news outlets, however. I've learned that people are fucking horrible monsters. I re-wrote one article today on how about one-third of British people going on holiday (oh my god! How authentic he sounds, you say!) are planning on borrowing the cash in order to do so. Now that's not terrible, plenty of people put skid marks on their credit card every time they go away, that's just common stupidity.

Then I read how 58% of them won't immediately be able to pay it back. Well, that dovetails into how bloody fucking stupid people are (wow, I'm getting good at this, aren't I? Pip pip, cheerio, and all that shit).

Then comes the kicker. Out of those people who are planning to borrow in order to go to the Isle of Wight or wherever else these assholes go (anywhere but the dentist, I'm sure), 13% of them say that they have to go away every year, regardless of what it costs. Their reasoning? Their neighbors have to see them going on an annual holiday.


I didn't think people were that awful. I actually believed that the only chuckleheads who pull that kind of bullshit are those independently wealthy jackholes that have a BMW for every season and who buy different dogs to match their outfits, not normal poor folk like your good ol' pal Doc Gonzo here. But here's Mr. and Mrs. Nigel and Mary Fishcunt of North London going off to fucking the Côte d'Azur every year and dropping 1200 pounds Sterling on little tchotchkes and overpriced hotel rooms so they can come back home to rub their melanoma tans and massive debt in their neighbors' faces.

Do you know the last time I took a god damned vacation? Do you have any idea the last time I've been out of the general New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area? It was six years ago. I figured I'd might as well go to Vegas at least once in my life before I die since I was actively battling cancer at the fucking time. I've been trying to put my god damned life back together since, despite the flaming boulders of assfuckery I've had to constantly dodge ever since then. So don't tell me you simply must go on holiday despite the fact you can't afford to feed you or your vile offspring once you get back from Jamaica or Easter Island or fucking Singapore where you swam with the ladyboys and paid for sex from a great white shark. Get the fuck off my lawn. Bloody wankers.

Monday, July 12, 2010

In which our hero prepares to suck the golden teat.

I received another job offer this weekend.

That's actually incorrect; I suppose first of all, since I seem to be well on my way to becoming that particularly vile syphilitic whore known as the Professional Freelance Writer I must begin to use the proper nomenclature. I don't apply for jobs; I "bid for contracts." If I want to sound hip, I may refer to them as "gigs," but I think there may be a requirement of growing a Vandyke beard and wearing a decidedly effeminate beret before I can use the term "gig" without feeling like a pretentious asshole.

Also, and I may be wrong, but I think that I don't have employers. I think they may be "clients." This would go along nicely with the prostitution motif, so I believe this is correct. And somehow, perhaps through some lizard-brain preservation instinct, it just feels wrong calling them "johns" so I suppose I'll have to stick with the former.

That being said, I won a contract bid for a client this weekend who needs three health-and-fitness articles rewritten. The propriety of a house-bound shut in with the kind of skin pallor a vampire would be envious of working on a set of health-and-fitness articles is not lost on me. It would be like Michael Vick coming out with his own line of dog food. Nevertheless the gig (god what a hipster reject! Look at that, he called it a gig!) pays $40 for something I could do in a few hours, so I gladly took the work. I've already re-written two of the three required articles.

I also spoke to the $60 a week prospect this morning and was accepted as a UK banking news re-writer. Apparently this re-writing thing is the way to go in the advertising blogosphere; you take an existing article, put it into a wood chipper, drink the viscous concoction, and then shit out a cruel parody of the original article that will pass a cursory plagiarism inspection before filling it with SEO keywords and reposting it to a different blog. Like all advertising and marketing ploys, it's asinine, has no intrinsic value, and needs shlumps like me willing and able to do the grunt work for a pittance, people so desperate for cash that they'll fuck their own assholes on live television just for a hot meal.

Well I'm reaching for the lube right now, ladies and gentlemen; I suggest those of you in the first three rows use the plastic sheeting at the bottom of your seats. Yes, the ones left over from the Gallagher show last night. No, I didn't know he was still alive, either.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

In which six full grown people and a full can of gasoline cannot start a fire.

Late last night, Our Glorious Benefactor (Peace Be Upon Him) decided that, after slaloming home from the bar in his gargantuan white beast of a pick-up truck, he would enjoy it if we gathered up some loose cardboard moldering on the back porch and take it over to the fire pit where he burns tree clippings and other brush, as there was already a sizable haystack of the garbage waiting to be torched.

The healthy soaking we had received earlier that morning made this endeavor an exercise in futility. We studded the sodden pile of wilted leaves and branches with pizza boxes and other detritus until the whole mess loomed over us like some ominous fruitcake. This horrid abortion of wood pulp and chlorophyll was then doused with gasoline that had been sitting in its can since the Carter administration. We attempted to set the sad little pile alight, which resulted in singed eyebrows, a few spots on the nearby grass where some errant drops of gas had been splashed, and a complete lack of sustainable fire despite the massive quantities of accelerant.

These festivities went down at approximately 2 in the morning. Prior to that we had been drinking cans of beer (cans, for the love of a just and loving God, cans!) which had a decidedly salty taste to them. This was due to the actions of the future son-in-law of Our Great and Esteemed Benefactor (Upon Whom Be Peace), which for the sake of brevity we will code-name Flailing Retard. Signore Retard (let's be at least formal here), a college-educated adult male, decided to add approximately 14 metric tons of salt into the cooler where the beer cans were being kept on ice. His theory was that the application of salt to ice would melt it, dropping the temperature of the beer significantly faster than just letting the cans sit in ice alone.

The problem with this is that he added the salt while the beer was already in the cooler. Which means the majority of the salt landed on the god damned tops of the cans where the pull tabs are installed. Therefore anyone who wanted to sample the simple, backwoods pleasures of sitting down on the porch with their hand wrapped lovingly around the redneck's favorite use for aluminum had to first find some way to cleanse the top of his still-sealed beverage of all the crystals of sodium chloride that had become encrusted therein.

After chipping away the middle-school science experiment that had grown to seal the top of my chosen beverage, I reluctantly "popped the top," as those rustic folk with less teeth than sense say. I took my first sip of not-quite-cold beer and was immediately struck by the unique flavor having been imparted from a Morton's Sea Salt marinade. When it rains, it pours indeed.

For the love of all that is holy, drink your beer from bottles like a civilized folk. We didn't crawl out from under the oppressive weight of the Dark Ages to drink from unfashionable little slugs of aluminum. There's a reason the game is called "spin the bottle." Have you ever tried spinning an empty beer can in order to play some asinine reindeer game? Of course not, because you're not a Cro-Magnon. Show some class! As far as I'm concerned (and let this be the last word) you should never imbibe your alcohol from a container that you can't easily insert in someone else's anus. It's just not good form.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In which I am soggy but unbowed.

There was a massive dose of precipitation this morning. My air conditioner leaks badly in humid weather so I've had to put a makeshift pan underneath it to catch its coppery tears. At 4 AM this morning it was half full, and I neglected to empty it. When I was awakened earlier by a phone call (a wrong number, of course), I found it nearly overflowing. I'd give you a guess at how lizard-like one's movements are when one is half-asleep with cats underfoot whilst transporting a full tray of reeking water to the bathroom, but there's no prize for getting it right.

At least the rain finally cut this beastly heat a bit, and while there is still some rain falling it seems like the worst is over. Would that were true with more serious matters. I did get a bite in my email this morning concerning a part-time job however. At $60 a week before taxes it is very part-time. But it's re-writing news articles from home over the Internet so I can't complain too much.

I'm hoping I get this job. Even though the $240 a month I'd be bringing in wouldn't quite cover rent at least I'd be able to give Our Glorious Benefactor something (see what I did there? Shades of Dickens. I told you I was over-educated).

I found him last night downstairs in the living room. He had his shirt off and he was perched at the kitchen counter like a gargoyle, clutching a precious glass of some sort of alcohol and blinking owlishly at everything. "Three sheets to the wind" was about three hours previous to my discovery of him keeping the counter top from floating away.

He was absolutely morose, like a man who has seen the end coming but knows he can't do anything to change Fate. Normally he's pretty jocular but more and more recently he's been in a terrible funk over what to do about his daughter. She--and her fiancé--have been milking him out of money and lodging for years without doing so much as the dishes in return (I learn this from him as I do the dishes). He's torn between throwing them out and burying their bodies somewhere on the property, and I can only think what depths of madness he's been driven to by them both that he would rather see his own flesh and blood out on the street than deal with her a moment longer.

I've been to some dark, ichor-stained places within my own mind. I've entertained conscious thoughts such as "if I can only figure out a way to drive off this overpass and end up crippled for life." But I can't even contemplate the Hell that Mr. Benefactor is going through right now.

It would make me feel terrible for him even if I didn't owe him any money.

Friday, July 9, 2010

In which our hero finds himself trapped in a strange land with no money, no car, and worst of all, no cigarettes.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
- Hunter S. Thompson
Things have gotten plenty weird. Think about this: when a man who identifies with Spider Jerusalem--someone who wouldn't blink at the prospect of crop circles appearing in cement--says things have gotten weird, you head for the god damned bunker.

I quit smoking roughly one month ago. Not out of any desire to improve my health or increase my lung capacity but because I simply couldn't afford it any more. The last $150 I had to my name, earned by selling my driven-into-the-ground car for scrap, had to go towards such vile necessities like buying food and paying rent.

Not that even I can afford to pay my rent in full. I applied for a dishwashing gig to the closest place within walking distance but apparently I can't even land that job. With no car, I can't get off the property any farther than that; even the local Turkey Hill is too long a walk. And without a job, I can't afford to buy even a used car (I should have called myself Yossarian). Luckily my landlord has been appreciative of all the yard work I've been doing around the property so he hasn't kicked me out just yet.

In the meantime I look for work online, trying the usual suspects like Craigslist and sifting through the scams and thinly-veiled prostitution advertisements for anything I can do from the third-floor attic room that I now call home. And I'm not even 100% Jewish.

So what do I do, ultimately? Well, what any other white, middle class, unemployed English major in search of the American Dream would do: I start another god damned blog. A single drop of chlorine in an ocean of piss, it's not nearly enough to make a difference to anyone or anything except maybe my peace of mind. "This will help me sleep better while I wait for my Welfare benefits to kick in," I tell myself as I dream of scouring the property for Jimson Weed to grind into a fine powder and inhale through a vuvuzela while I watch the World Cup.

My attorney once did advise me to drink heavily. I hope he's not about to ask for his retainer any time soon.