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Jul. 20th, 2009

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OK, that is a horrible pun.  But it's true; I am home with a strained lumbar muscle.

Saturday was a son-of-a-bitch.  Come to think of it, so was my boss.  I knew I should have remembered what a few of my co-workers had told me about him being a prick on Saturdays.  But I was in a good mood when I walked in so I guess I was using that to protect myself from their warnings.  Besides having overworked my back Friday I'm thinking a lot of the mental stress from Saturday just compounded my physical stress. 

Anyway, like I said, my boss (I'll call him M) was the store's CFA for the night:  Complete Fucking Asshole.  No hello back when I said hello or "thank you" for the effort toward the work I was doing.  My first project of the night (after grabbing shopping carts from outside) was moving Fall/Thanksgiving merch in bushel baskets from opposite top caps to another.  Then I had to grab a shitload of empty bushel baskets to replace the ones I had taken down.  

I had an even bigger bitch that night finishing all this.  First off, I must've had customers approaching me with questions every two minutes.  Above that I had at least five stockmen calls.  Also, M ganked my flat cart!  When I walked over to Seasonal where he was going--to look for another flat cart--he snapped at me, "Jonathan, where'd your other flat cart go?"  Uh, yeah, Twinkle-Toes...YOU have it.  But I wasn't about to cross the threshold and actually verbalize that.

The summer of love feeling continued.  After two or three more hours of more customers with more of their dipshit questions and bushels of quite heavy glass/porcelain Fall table ware I heeded the advice my co-worker C and M's daughter B--Just go up to him and let him know you're having a hard time getting the task done; he'll understand.  So I did.  HA.  Stupid move

After I told him I was trying as hard as I could to finish the task despite the customer questions and stockman calls (of which there were five, contrary to his statement that I didn't have more than a couple) all he said--more like snapped--was "Maybe things would go faster if you used two ladders".  AAAAUUUUCK...I fucking give up!!  Nothing I was going to do or NOT do or ask or NOT ask or say or NOT say was going to help my case. 

I don't know; I thought as the night progressed that Mike had (it turned out being only slightly) gotten a little less fucko-ish.  When I told him I'd gotten the store-wide sweep done he told me I'd missed sweeping up the piles I'd left.  I told him Brian didn't have me sweep up the piles until later on in the night.  Calmly--meaning shockingly--he showed me that customers would walk by the piles and see them, so I should grab the broom and dustpan and go ahead and sweep them up. 

But, as the saying goes, the damage was done.  He wasn't going to loosen up and relax.  He was a jerk the rest of the night.  And I know Babe told me I need to distance myself from the vibes I get from him when I work with him on Saturdays but I know I won't be able to get the apprehension and nervousness to subside if I work with him on an upcoming Saturday.

Ouch...now my head hurts!

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Jul. 19th, 2009

Poem #35

I wrote this on Wednesday or Friday, I can't remember which. Anyway, it centers on (in literal terms) Audrey Reyes, a 16 year-old girl who appeared on the MTV show "My Super Sweet Sixteen" and went into a fit of hysterics when her parents bought her a blue Lexus--a Lexus--instead of a red one.



But it's really about how a great majority of the super rich never have structures nor discipline leveled upon them where they are raised to be thankful for what they are given in life. Whatever they want they get. Their exact desires are heaped upon them regardless of the feelings of others.

In some ways illicit drugs can improve society.  By the time you hit your twenty-first birthday you'll have popped so much ecstasy you'll forget you whined and bitched at your mother five years earlier that the Lexus they bought you for your sixteenth birthday was blue instead of red.

Jul. 10th, 2009

Mother Goose -- "Baked Beans"

Running down my cheeks, down my shirt! Baked beans! Baked beans in my haaaiiiirrr!
 

Jul. 6th, 2009

Ringin and Slingin

Lately I'm really beginning to understand the advice Baby and our friends have been giving me lately with respect to customers.  No matter what I believe about customers I really do have to maintain neutrality. 

Taking a position for or against--well, okay, I kinda have to stand in the "for" corner, at least with respect to how I outwardly behave around them--is only going to cause problems.  I would likely end up being escorted out the front doors and told not to come back were my position toward customers more firmly (and openly) entrenched in the "against" corner in which I often stand in my mind when the pressure gets to be too much.  It goes without saying that position has to stay in my head where it belongs when I'm on the other end of the register. 

Maybe I am, to a certain extent, being fake.  I could be just as easily and nobody would ever be able to tell the difference.  But the fakeness is more often than not a defense mechanism to pull me through a rough day.  When the day is going really well is when I feel the most sincere about how I feel toward customers in that "happy" frame of mind.

But I have to start encouraging myself to focus on the positive aspects of my personality that make me do the job well and, as indirect as it is to how I want to improve my performance, why I ought to feel happy and content having one.  My focus needs to be on the "ringin and slingin"; just getting in there with the grenades and bullets flying and hunkering down as best I can on my way toward getting to the other side and through to safety.

Jul. 5th, 2009

Walking Out

Babe and I have been kicking royal ass in the nightly walking department.

It feels so good stepping outside lately and taking our walks.  Low 80's temps, a breeze you can't match and, best of all, more time with each other.  Waiting all day for them is like waiting all week for them; even the shortest day at work is not short enough when it comes to the anticipation for after dinner. 

That first whiff of early evening air.  That combined exhilaration of the physical energy we build up walking from our house to LaFayette Square and the visual energy of really hot (though really expensive) French Quarter-style homes.  That feeling after we come back inside that we've done something important and extremely good for us.  And especially that feeling of that chance we've given ourselves to spend more time with each other!

We always walk--at least we have been in the last week--to LaFayette Square and through LaFayette Park.  Park Avenue has the most tempting restaurants and the fountain is beautiful.  Babe and I usually sit on a bench and watch the fountain's sprays careen up and over, no two sprays ever spouting up alike.  She rests her head on my shoulder or chest and we relax with the serene thud of the water sprays hitting the pool beneath.  Others around us, usually couples as well, take in the same romantic pause. 

The neighborhood couldn't be more safe.  Believe me, after 8:00 it is no longer what you and I would characterize as daytime.  But just how safe it is in the LaFayette Square neighborhood is borne out by mothers and fathers walking their children around the park.  We could not fathom this.  Not in a disturbing way; it just wasn't possible for either of us to believe an area of ST. LOUIS at this time of night could be this...inhabitable.  You know how kids love the privilege of being able to stay up past their bedtimes?  You can hear the laughter of that privilege in those kids who get to walk and play around LaFayette Park this late at night.

Babe and I have been stopping in at Park Avenue Coffee, too, on our walks down to LS.  She can't get enough of the cold chai latte (pretty much her favorite!) and I've gotten a Vietnamese coffee (pretty much my favorite!) and a chocolate Italian soda.  Their crispy rice treats are approximately the size of the height of a highway median!  GIGANTIC.  And extra bad for us (translation: UNBELIEVABLE!!!).  The neighborly atmosphere, the cozy interior...we got Park Avenue Coffee sickness (:

Last night we planned to have Mexican for dinner at a Park Ave. restaurant we hadn't yet tried, Arcelia's.  I called to see if they'd be open for the 4th holiday but they didn't answer.  They could just be a very popular spot tonight...we'll head down there and check it out for ourselves.  Slight disappointment; they, along with every other restaurant except Park Avenue Colffee--this is weird--were closed.  Nooooooooo.  Heehee...it was okay.  We thought at first about catching some grub at the park itself, what with the barbecueing they had going on, but we knew with it being a "que" they'd mostly have burgers and brats.  So we headed back toward the park and made alternate dinner plans...at McGurks!!  Yaaay, an open 'straunt!!

Scrumptious!  Of course we had to start off with their one-of-a-kind, salty, crunchy as hell kettle chips!  We can't stand them...in a heap that isn't six feet high!!  Babe got the grilled veggie sandwich (YUM, those grilled red peppers she gives me off of it!!) and I tried a traditional Irish stew of lamb and veggies...in a monster sourdough bread bowl!   Fantastic.  I heart lamb.

Full off our gourds and ready for a hearty nap we headed back home.  But there are still more long walks around the corner.  Joining hands, hearing and smelling (thanks, Arcelia's!) and seeing (thank you, Babe!) and feeling more and more invigorated by the day!!

Jun. 28th, 2009

Or In FOURS

You know how everybody says celebrity deaths always come in threes? Well, apparently, that streak has been shattered. Let's see...Ed McMahon, then Farrah, then Michael.

Now (as in today), Billy Mays.

Yeah--that Billy Mays. The high-pitched (in voice tone and product volume) yeller who made informercial after infomercial about household cleaning products and life insurance was found dead in his home, like Mr. Jackson, at the still frighteningly young age of 50. Frighteningly young. What the hell is going on here?? Ed was in his eighties...death had been expecting him to knock on the door any moment. But Farrah and Michael and Billy? These are some teenagers' parents. They should not be getting taken away from us right now.

It's probably kinda tasteless to be talking about why it's so unusual that a fourth person should come along and pass away during a week (when it's been a seemingly unchanging trend for years that the number of people should only be three) but it's been a miserable week for people who were/are fans--and still are--of the particulary individuals who passed away this week. Nobody else will ever be like them.
 
I wanted to end this post with something to make you laugh.  It's a YouTube vid from user MastaMokei--a hip hop mashup of some of Mays' infomercials. 



Bye, Billy.

Jun. 27th, 2009

Untitled Poem

She can have four
Beamers and a trophy
husband to keep shotgun
in range of gunshot in
case she doesn't want to
get shot

but she doesn't want
streamers and a stogie
blowing the kind of smoke
up everybody's ass they
don't normally associate
with her love letters and

what she whispers in
every man's ear before
she reaches for her mace
and escapes with his Beamer.
 

Jun. 24th, 2009

Muppet Babies, We'll Do Our Thing For You...Woo..Woo...Wiggety WAP...Bip Bap...WAAAAHHHH...Blip Blip


Jun. 20th, 2009

The Hannity Factor


This morning I read a journal entry Roger Ebert keeps on his Chicago Sun-Times website from last Sunday about the culture of one-sided news commentary shows. I always liked how Ebert doesn't just write movie reviews and books about movies; we get to peek into his other facets, get to know him on a more personal basis.  But I digress.

He points out that news programs back when he was in college brought you the news...REAL news. By respected journalists. Walter Cronkite would report directly from the front lines in Vietnam, in full protective fatigues and helmet, speaking into the microphone while trapped in a trench with gunfire making an effort to interrupt him overhead. He wouldn't inject some diatribe about why he opposed or supported escalation or the purpose of the war in general. That wasn't going to be tolerated back then. Just report--like a report a student would read in front of the class--based entirely on detached observation and fact alone.

Now we get pundits clearly firmly positioned on a side, whether that be on the left or right side of the political fence, shouting down whomever dares to bring well-reasoned arguments to a discussion. Not specifically well-reasoned arguments from somebody on the left but from somebody on the right as well. Ebert sites Bill O'Reilly as one who is specifically leading the charge. Whether it's Geraldo Rivera (in this respect a colleague and friend who, apparently, gets along quite nicely with O'Reilly outside of the "donnybrooks" in which they've engaged on-air) or, in most cases, liberal thinkers, O'Reilly scraps opinion deriving from extensive research and critical thought with yelling and screaming. And, like I said, anyone sitting across from him in the other chair is his nemesis. I think people miss the whole point when they say that it's only liberals who get the O'Reilly tongue lashing of death.

But, actually, Ebert's focus on O'Reilly isn't broad enough. O'Reilly does certainly get wired up in a discussion having the potential to escalate into a full-fledged verbal war. But my pick would be Shawn Hannity. A commentor or two on Ebert's blog claim Glenn Beck to be the most dangerous in terms of what they perceive to be the depth and callousness to which he makes people aware of his conservatism but, stricly in terms of screaming and yelling when he is backed up against the wall, Hannity wins hands down. And here is a perfect example of how Fox News pundits don't necessarily confine or reserve their vitriol for their liberal or Democratic Party opponents--Hannity versus conservative Republican Ron Paul:

 



Don't get me wrong; everybody should own a DVD copy of "Outfoxed", a documentary about Fox News overwhelmingly conservative slant-- especially when it comes to bringing on fewer liberal/Democrat/liberal Democrat guests than guests who fall in line with the views of most of the hosts.  They do bring on fewer guests from the opposing side.  And that's bogus.  And when they DO the liberal guest either gets shouted down to the point where interview time runs out or the conservative host (again, mainly Hannity and O'Reilly) tells the production/sound board people to cut the guest's mic.  I've always said the ideal debate would be a panel of guests from the major political parties WITH guests from third parties sitting around a table and unleashing debate hell on each other.  I would pay to see that.  But, again, that's only half the story. 

It doesn't seem to matter to what party or opinion you belong if you're invited to be a guest on a Fox News commentary show.  You're not watching news anymore.  No more Edward R. Murrow, David Brinkley or "Big Walt".  The rules have changed.  And they've changed for the worse.

Jun. 17th, 2009

Jackpot!

Thirty-six odd years later I finally know what I wanna do with my life: Early childhood education.

In 1992 or '93 I took a class in ECE at SWIC.  It was alright but it didn't kick the enthusiasm I had toward the possibility of committing my life to it into gear, probably because of the personal wall I'd built around myself for so many years to muffle the family voices that said my learning problems would always stand in my way.  Kinda strange, building that kind of wall around myself after I had worked so hard to knock the walls down those influences had built around me.  After the class ended I inevitably hung that dream up to collect dust in the back of that closet known as my ambition. 

Until just a few days ago.

Now I've always been told I'm great with kids.  Know just the right way to quiet them when they're crying.  Understand that kneeling down--engaging them on their level--when speaking to them is the better way to interact with them; they don't feel awkward.  But I guess I never imagined I could succeed in a career where I would have to put these strengths into practice because I'd never felt before that I could succeed in a career period until Baby and one of our best friends convinced me it would be the perfect career move for me.  They smacked it over the fence to me that I should've thought about early childhood education a long, long time ago.  Thanks, girls!!

Convincing myself I can excel in it beyond my wildest expectations only feels perfect when others in my life who love me are as sincere about it as they can be.  And it makes this revelation feel that much greater.

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