Death on the High Seas

I have been thinking a lot about last weeks post about wrapping up seeing Dave Matthews at the Gorge– the tour ended soon after I wrote that post and I am still thinking about what it is about the music that kept me so loyal over the years — I found it something particularly hard to explain to my father, who has for years watched me to go to these shows and he and my mom would both ask why the hell I would go and watch the same band so many times.  My immediate response would always be that it is hard to explan, they wouldn’t understand, blah blah blah.

The reality is/was that I didn’t have a reason in particular other than the face that time after time, I would happen to catch what appeared to be a great set and I would just keep coming back for more.

But on the other hand, I also started to realize that what draws me to the music is that it all feels so genuine.  The songs he is writing come directly from him strange and twisted mind and that in some ways gives me comfort to know that someone so full of talent is just as confused and worried as the rest of us– his problems, his worries, they all feel like the same ones that we are dealing with and I don’t really get that from other artists.

A great example is juxtaposing their shows to the Foo Fighters, another band which I have a lot of respect for– while I found Dave Grohl to be an amazing front man, I didn’t find his stage presence genuine and slightly rehearsed (that might sound like I didn’t like the show, but I did).  You can tell through Matthews music that he really means what he is talking about with most of the lyrics– and the range of things he discussed are wide ranging.

The reason I bring this up is a song he opened up with on the last night of the Gorge, A new song called, Death on the High Seas.  My wife was really moved by this song and it kicked off a nice night of music which we both appreciated.  Today my friend McAdoo posted this song’s explaination, so I wanted to post this because I think you can really understand Dave’s process here: (Note the quirkiness of likeliness to a freshly popped pimple)

Now, here is a copy of the performance from Sunday nights show at the Gorge:


It’s the combination of these two videos that show the authenticity– its a little bit of joking, the freshly popped pimple.. but there it is, that’s how songs come together– as weird as it is, you get a little look into this process, but also the things that keep us fathers up at night– wanting to provide and protect our kids– that is some pretty deep stuff– and most of us don’t have the talent to take those fears and turn them into songs — songs that he pays for 30,000 people.  Sometimes they are good and sometimes they aren’t but his process is respectable.

November National Writing Month

On November 1st, things are going to take a slight detour here. I am going to be cleaning out the cobwebs and entering the National Write a Novel in One Month in November contest.
50,000 words in a month. That is 1,666 words a day for the month. 200 pages of text, finished and ready to go by the end of the month.
It’s a tough challenge, especially with a 1 year old boy — and due to the fact that two days away, I don’t have much of an idea of exactly WHAT I am going to write– but it has to be fiction, which means… Fiction! I have some ideas, for sure– but we will just have to see if they become reality.
Stay tuned.
**A Note– I am going to be using this site as the main grounds for the writing piece. There will be next to no facebooking or twitters during the time– consider it the quiet period.**
Wish me luck. If you do wish to offer support– there is a facebook group setup– and that will be the only thing I troll around in while I am getting this going.

….Here We go!!….

The Interview (Draft)

So, just to explain what this is: I have a degree in writing, so one of the things that I decided to do was make sure I started both journaling as well as working on some writing exercises to get me back into the craft.
These are all rough sketches based on some suggestions in a book that I am working with– this is supposed be an exercise where you draft something based on a bad interview–
Feel free to comment—PLEASE!!

The Interview

As promised, this is the first exercise in the book….

As I disconnected from the conversation on my sharp new cell phone, I instantly had a tick of nervousness flow through my body like the time that I stuck the dull butter knife into the electrical socket as a young boy because I didn’t want to go to school that day.
Interviews always seem to do that to me. Here I am, trembling and sweating, like I just spent time asking a girl to the prom. The reception was bad even though I just bought the thing less than 10 days ago. I felt like I needed a better communication device than a regular phone if I was looking for some kind of fancy pants job. They always ask you what your cell number is and when you tell them that you don’t have a cell phone they look at you like you have some kind of problem. When you are looking for work, you don’t want to seem like you have a problem. Problems are no good. They cost money, make insurance more money and cut down on production.

So, I got one of these cell phones and then I get this call on it and the whole time I feel like that stupid Elvis Costello like Verizon guy, can you hear me now??? as I am twisting around in my own house, trying to get just a few bars of service so this women’s tone stops getting more and more aggressive. I want to shout into the earpiece that it her own fucking fault for scheduling this interview on my cell phone–what the hell does she think?
I almost want to be like Paulie in that film Good Fellahs– where he doesn’t even use a phone, but has people relay messages to him. That would be awesome, but it would probably freak people out more, but at least I would feel a little more respected.

By the end of the conversation, I was certain that this human resources mid-manager would thank me so much for my time and that she would never get back to me, but she didn’t. She paused, made a louder sigh than I am sure she had intended and said,
“Well, I think you could be qualified for this position, but I must tell you that we are looking for a little bit of a commitment here. We want to invest in the right person.”
I try to chime in with just the right tone of what these HR people like to call professionalism, which to me translates into tell them what they want to hear, so I come back with a:
“That sounds just what I am looking for– I think with my education and experience, I could certainly perform at the level you are looking for.”
She paused for a moment, a moment too long and I, in all of my wisdom, said, “Hello? Are you still there, while looking at this phone, wanting so bad to throw it hard against the wall and taking pure joy in watching it smash into however many pieces…
She doesn’t respond fast enough for me to shout the dreaded– I HATE THIS FUCKING PHONE!!
Which then catches her off guard and she manages to eek out:
“I’m sorry, I am just checking my calendar!”
I immediately jump right back into my cave of demise, my self-hating circle, thinking its all over, all the professionalism in the world is not going to help me now because I have just said FUCK to an HR lady, which is corporate America’s sad equivalent to a Catholic School teacher. I imagine her checking her rulers to see which one she is going to give me on my hands, right on the knuckles for saying such evil things.
Instead, I chuckle like a madman, knowing full well that I am at the mercy of another women I have never met.
“I am new to this cell phone world, sorry.” I manage to eek out.
Another pause, which feels like a test. I know she’s still there.
“How about coming in for an interview? I am looking at my calendar and it seems a week from tomorrow would be a good fit for me.”
A fucking week?
“Sure, that sounds great.”
“Okay, wonderful. You will be meeting with myself and one of the managers, Dante. 8am. I’ll email you directions. It says you have email, is that new for you as well?”
“Uh, no. Thanks for asking though.”
“Well, I just wanted to prepare myself for more profanity, that’s all. Anyway, look for an email from me regarding directions and such. Be sure to dress professionally and thank you for your time today. See you a week from tomorrow.”
“Sounds great.”

Wonderful, great. All I keep thinking in my head is fuck, why is it taking so fucking long and yet my mouth translates this into Wonderful, great. They are going to be on the lookout for sure. Like Jack Nicholson — “wait till they get a load a me!”

No need to continue to concern myself with the phone call, truth is, the interview is set and I am now on my way to becoming involved in another job which will inadvertently lead me into another dark chapter of my life.
These kind of things, interviews, just tend to stress me out. This latest invention in the business, the phone interview, is of no exception. This is the screener where they don’t even want to get to know you before they judge you. They don’t want you to come down to the office and see what you have in person, but they want to see how you sound on the phone and then if you pass that, its on to the live moments with a stranger who you will more than likely never speak with again once you have the job, unless you don’t do the job to someone else’s expectations, political conflicts or if you are going to change your insurance plan. These people make a career out of the stress from writing the cover letter to the offer of compensation and they don’t make it easy–taking classes directly aimed at how to pull the worst out of every client that comes into their domain looking for a gig.
The worst part is the waiting, the nervousness that builds on the week. As the time rolls by, I sit, thinking for hours about what questions are going to come up in the interviewing process…

There is always the standard questions, the tell me a little about yourself, what brought you to apply for this position–I like to refer to them as the feeler questions. Then there are the scenario questions–the ones that take a long time to answer, the ones that they watch how your face looks when they ask you the questions. “Name a moment where you faced a conflict.”
“Your in a management position and you discover one of your employees may be stealing. What do you do?”
Ahh, the scenerios, my personal favorite.
They always manage to throw in a couple of opposite questions as well. How do you manage? How do you like being managed?
Not to mention the all time favorite–
What is your strength? Followed by: Name your biggest challenge and how you overcame it.

All of these questions seem so simple, but I can see these HR people working with the highest level of accountants to screen and score my answers and handing them off to a team of logistical people who then take a focus group full of insurance brokers and other corporate citizens to see if my answers make me a socially acceptable person or if my resume will have rejection letter STAT stamped on it.

Or maybe not. The freaky part is that I have no idea because I couldn’t bear to ever sit through a class on any of that kind of thing in college, so now I just pontificate upon it and get night sweats thinking of what in god’s name they are going to ask me next.

So, I wait the week out by applying for more jobs to more postings for things that I don’t really want but that might lead to meeting the right person with the right connections to get me the dream job that only people dream of–then again, I think to myself that I should have just been like those other kids who just wanted to be a fireman and nothing else because firemen are cool.

Monday Morning 7am:

The alarm clock on my shiny new cell phone begins to play a chime that is instantly annoying as soon as it registers in my brain. At first, alerted by the new sound, I wonder in my slumber what that noise is, then it comes to me, slowly. The moment has began.
The day of the job interview and the bed feels so comforting, I do not want to get out and put on the fake plastic suit and talk about my strengths and my weaknesses, I want to stay here, nestled deeply in my pocket of the featherbed and have someone special come and deliver breakfast in bed for me, my motivation.
It’s not going to happen. No one likes to snuggle with someone without a job and as this thought registers with me, I open my eyes and the day comes into focus, blurry at first glance.
I can hear the shower running in the adjunct bathroom and my housemate and I share. Since I am unemployed and no one likes to sleep with unemployed people, it must be him in the shower. It could also be his girlfriend because he is, after all, employed.
I have exactly two hours to wake up, shave, shower and put on the suit, my only suit and then sit in the traffic that this town seems to breed like rabbits at home on the prairie.
My roommate, housemate or his girlfriend or perhaps both of them are cutting into my planned, timed schedule.
I need to get up. I need to get up.
My dick is a raging hard on full of angst and urine. It is so hard from laying in slumber thinking about naked women all night that it throbs to be released, but I don’t think there is time for it now, no there can’t be time and I think all it really wants to do is just piss anyway. But then I started thinking about the last time I got laid and how it was so good because it wasn’t supposed to happen. We were supposed to talk but the minute she saw that I bought a new bed, she was on it, just to see how comfy it was and then we sat there, talking innocently enough when her eyes dropped into the droppy bedroom eyes that I am always so attracted to and next thing I know we are tearing through each others clothes, not speaking because we know what the other person would say and then her mouth is riding my member and we have gone too far not to fuck.
Just thinking of this moment brings my hand gripping it tightly, trying to recreate the moment through memories of her mammories and before I know it, the small, watery drops of precum pump out from the dry well. I match my strokes with the thoughts of her rhythm riding me, playing with her tits, looking at me as she begins the ascent into cumming, how beautiful of a cum face she has and then…
I start to feel the familiar twitch as I am about to come and look around for something to wipe up this huge fucking mess that I am about to make. I grab something off of the ground a pair of pants, I think and boom!
I lay there, personal post-coitus, thinking about how good that was, how it is like instant energy of sorts. The water in the bathroom turns off and in a moment the bathroom will be available.

* * *

The shower does me well, as does the shave. Fresh and clean, pump primed, I am ready for this interview. The extra 15 mintues to masterbate have given me a feeling of a need to be slightly rushing things, but I am not overly concerned. I might have to cut out the usual pre-interview latte, but sex with your best friend is better than anything a grande latte with a little nutmeg can do. I change quickly, minding the time, wondering what the traffic is going to be like. I afford myself a few attempts at tying my tie to where it looks as perfectly as it needs to be. By the time that I am acutally ready to get on the road, I am more than 20 minutes behind schedule and I pray to the traffic gods that somehow, someway, this traffic is going to magically allow me to get to my destination fast enough that I don’t have to engage myself on another cellular conversation with this HR professional.

As I make my way to the interview, I decide to began scanning the various radio stations to see what the oncoming traffic scenario will be like and with each press of the button, another commercial of another product, oldies and one, traffic and weather—after these messages from our sponsor. I decide to stay camped out on this station while making my way through the morning commuters, the people with established jobs. They should build another expressway for people that actually need to get to their destination on time–the ontime expressway, with the no-truck when I am trying to get somewhere option.
Finally, after about 4.5 minutes of commercials, the broadcast finally comes on to tell me that I am headed into the modern American traffic jam and the alternative route that is usually blocked is wide open, the problem here is that the turnoff for the shortcut that never works was two exits ago.
By the time that I actually make my way through the slight fender bender that seems to have been caused by an elderly women with those silly sunglasses that fit over regular glasses. I think they might need their own freeway space as well, which then discounts the thought that I had earlier, so now I am dually frustrated because this woman has not only slowed down my commute, but she has also crushed one of my dreams and made me late. I am now going to need to call this HR woman and to tell her that I am going to be late. I can imagine her taking my file and making a small red mark in the upper right hand corner of my paper.