Tag Archives: work

The Foaming Action Means He’s Working

It never fails, or cease to surprise me that I make a few posts to get back into the swing of things and the universe decides to pull me apart. That’s not an excuse, but an explanation nonetheless. I had the most ambitious of personal lists on the three-day time span: outside lighting to install, a yard to clean, clothes to launder, and books to write. I gained such momentum I crashed completely into a brick wall producing a solid paragraph of new material. [Insert Expletive Here]

The relative peace brought by the Labor Day weekend rallied a fierce week of deadlines and customer service challenges making my calves hurt more than getting stood up on your Prom night for Gary, the more well-to-do son of a chiropractor. That’s where I keep most of my stress, and I need to sit down after a while of brooding over people and their obstacles. Side Note: Kelly, I’m glad you showed me your true colors quickly.

So, as I said, I only made a paragraph’s progress on Sunday. That’s pitiful. In lieu of providing anything new to me, how about something new (mostly) to you? Here’s an excerpt from when I was writing back in March.

“Every lump on your face will match that of your gravy!” The sous-chef slapped his saucier enough to make eyes water. His stubs wrenched the pot and heaved it towards an open window. “Make it again, and quick. We’re already an hour behind.” A cuisinier snuck a peek over the stove to catch a ladle in the face. “If this night doesn’t go well, it doesn’t take me to tell you we’ll all be dead by morning.” This made for a typical event night with Gerard Grossecul shading a boundary between fact and melodrama as he explosively smacked the tile on his way to the dining room.

Screams rattled the pins on the sewing desk and down the hall straight out through the wood and iron latticed doors of the estate’s couture house. Mostly bare, a handmaiden scrambled for the chamber door only to be clocked by a half-clothed mannequin. Gathering herself, and the rest of her garments, off the floor she hid behind the wardrobe. The Seamstress Premier Naedlbán took up her shears and pointed it at the wimping wench. “If you can’t sew these seems properly I’ll rip you apart and show you!” Spoiling her tin of threaded spools, she charged at the young lady and buried her scissors in the knotted woodwork. Slowly creeping to the fresh face she whispered, “…and if that doesn’t work, I’ll cut those wretched fingers off. They aren’t doing you any good.”

I’m sure I’ll need to re-read the whole thing once it’s completed in draft format, but it seems to fit together enough that I don’t feel like scrapping the whole thing.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 19th, 2014

For the past few weeks, I’ve been performing a lot of functions outside of my comfort zone. That is to say, I’ve been practicing networking and public speaking. Some say I do it well, but I have my doubts and continue to feel like I’m reaching around in the dark. Being part of a voluntary organization is a can of worms in my mind. Today is easily further down the rabbit hole.

In addition to the newly-accepted group, I’ve volunteered to write messages to each member of the Ohio congress (some 120+) asking them to support a House bill that would protect our business from a crippling change in regulations. I’ve never considered myself a political campaign vehicle, nor acceptable in the eyes of state-government gentry. I wonder how many of these people have ever been mac ‘n’ cheese/Ramen noodle broke? Unwillingly unemployed for more than 12 months? Renovated their house themselves? Drove their car for 13 years? Sacrificed not having a family to survive?

My cheeks often flush when I think of the copious illusions given to me as a child, when all along “the cake was a lie.” It was, and it simply irritates me when people don’t understand this. If I ever make high society, it’ll be by fluke. I am not welcome there.

On a brighter note, my yard is slowly becoming more respectable with every bucket full of dirt I dump on it. It won’t be too long when I should be thinking of what trees to put in.

Tagged , , , , ,

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Dear God, I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. That networking group has given me a lot of activities to keep me on my toes. On the down side, it has cut into my writing time. I’ve been here before though and have watched other people under the stress. Remember the metaphor of running a marathon versus sprinting? Yeah, that’s this.

I AM NOT GOING TO CALL MY WRITING A PASSION. That’s trite and it belongs in a job interview, not on my writer’s palette. If  I know only one thing of the writers I love, they don’t make overtures to their personal craft. They use it. They love it, but they don’t massage it. The passion is understood though their output. There’s no need to talk it up.

That last paragraph should read “I’m still writing.” This is the time to clutch on to my creativity like a balloon you don’t want to fly away. That’s especially so after last week’s story. It was a very difficult write, but I’m very proud of the result. It’s more soulful than my other works. It’s more alive. It’s that gritty realism very few people are comfortable acknowledging. My style is why I get suggestions to read Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and the like. I’ll get there, people.

May’s got me in a much better mood than three months ago. It’s 17° C out (62° F), and I can walk outside without wanting to erupt into profanity like Lewis Black. I’m getting some landscaping done mid-week and sooner or later I can put the screens back in the windows. I haven’t scored any big victories lately. So, the small ones will have to do.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

As stated in my last post, I have purchased a new set of work boots in hopes the quality will last me a few years. These Red Wing shoes were styled after those used for working in the mines of the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota. Does that mean much to a guy in Ohio? No, not really. I liked the design. Had the Farmer’s boot come without white soles, I would have bought those. Go figure.

It seems the Mesabi Range has had a bit of a troubled past. It’s the largest iron ore deposit in the world, yet mostly filled with taconite. This is the lesser quality ore that only rose to prominence because the better ore (hematite) was exhausted. Even at that, the demand for ore had declined in the mid-20th century. It seems Chinese buyers have taken a recent interest in the mineral, but the region should know by now not to hang their hopes upon one hook in the closet.

Many miners were laid off in the mid to late 1900s. They stewed in unemployed and drank like a fish. I know those feels. Regional native Bob Dylan mentioned the problem in “North Country Blues” off of The Times They Are A-Changin’ album.

So the mining gates locked and the red iron rotted

And the room smelled heavy from drinking

When the sad, silent song made the hour twice as long

As I waited for the sun to go sinking

If it wasn’t the lack of job opportunities, it was the conduct of the miners that gave the area headaches. Generally speaking, Lois E. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co. was a class-action lawsuit against EVTAC (a mining company) for not preventing the sexual harassment of sixteen female employees. The case bounced around the court system in the 80s and 90s until it was settled for $3.5 million. Flat out, it’s not surprising. Know-it-all government officials and disingenuous human resource departments will throw out the “training” card as a solution. Mea culpas and whatnot.

Coming from a guy that has been in a blue-collar environment before, guys who do that know what they’re doing. There is no ignorance that would be miraculously erased through a training video. No. They know their life’s at the bottom of the societal totem pole. Throwing them in jail or fining them money they don’t have isn’t going to frighten them.

Power is a very dangerous concept. I’m willing to liken it to precious metals or stones. There are many people out there who would do very underhanded things for power as they would wealth. For the American stooge, pushing around a woman is a cheap attempt to fill that emptiness inside, that lack of importance.

On the other hand, I’ve seen workplace seduction that ended up in a lasting marriage. This world is mad.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is It Better to Love and Lose?

Lou jerked the pull chain and the neon sign for La Chaudron de Sorcière flickered to life. They were already starting to draw an evening crowd, myself included. Being a back-alley bar in New Orleans wasn’t the most accessible location in the world but convenient for other reasons. The trip was unavoidable. We all found our way here no matter how far off it seemed. In little time I recall grabbing the next ticket leaving Chicago and set upon a wild goose to find her. My family hasn’t heard from me since.

Justine sat in her favorite chair. She was as beautiful as I last saw her, always dressed to the nines. Tonight she sported a silk top hat with pheasant plumage and peek-a-boo veil. The slit running up her black pencil skirt meant business. Sidesaddle on the stool, her coattails tapped against the brass foot rest as she giggled and flirted with the crowd around her. Everyone wanted her; no one had a choice.

She was quite the thief, a dealer in hearts of the human variety. They gave her life. Travelling abroad, the world was her garden. She’d harvest the most intense blossoms for her bouquet. In its place, she’d plant a stone. Such an exchange would drive the person mad, and they’d eventually find themselves a slave to her.

This slave couldn’t stand it anymore. The whole experience was walking a fine line between the living and the dead. There needed to be some way out. I had to break free of this curse. So, I decided to meet her head on. As I walked up to her, she smiled with the promises of sweet nothings.

“I can’t go on like this. I feel nothing. I am nothing. I can’t even cry myself to sleep. Please, give me back my heart. It belongs elsewhere.” My pent up thoughts slid out on the floor with as much grace as the average wino.

Taken aback by the unusual statement, Justine leaned upon the railing. She spent a moment studying my face and frowned.

“Oh, I’m sorry, mon cher, but I had that a long time ago.” By now she was touching my cheeks with the tips of her fingers. If I weren’t so anhedonic to it all, it’d be a welcomed gesture.

“That means there’s no way back. I’ll be stuck here forever.”

Pausing a moment, Justine pulled her lapel flower close to her nose for a whiff. It reminded me of the arrogant grace that lured me into this. As she set it upon her ruffled blouse, she smiled.

Oui.”

“Louis,” she purred with predatory satisfaction, “another bloody mary, s’il te plaît.” His bulkiness turned with mechanical compliance as he prepared the drink for madame. In his former state, he was an ill-tempered brute of man. No police docket would be complete without a bar brawl involving him. It wasn’t until Justine pulled his heart strings that he became as docile as a lamb.

There wasn’t much left for me to say. I certainly couldn’t take back what was stolen. It was gone. There was no hope for any of us. I turned to meditate on the conversation and looked up at Lou. We stared at each other for some time, and a common link formed between us. We both knew what we wanted. The marionettes wanted to detach themselves no matter what the cost.

With his back to the madam, Lou pulled out a hidden flask from the bar. Justine was too busy being entertained by her entourage to notice. With a flick of the wrist, a bottle of arsenic was added to the bloody mary. There was no living without her. We’d all be dead by morning.

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Friday, March 14th, 2014

These past few days have been very reflective, and not much has been said on here. I know I excitedly discussed the options I had over the last weekend, but Sunday brought a certain withdrawal of such claims. There is a lot to be said about The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and I’m not entirely sure it could be done justice with a blog post. To say that Americans are in a better position financially now than 100 years ago is truthful. A person of my station at that time would not be able to afford a house or possessions without the use of graft or other crime. On the flip side of the coin, there has been a deep sacrifice in family to procure such things today. Sacrifice. Something tossed about these days, as if it were a foreign war. As it stands right now, I am staring down the barrel of acquiring a second job. It’s nothing new for a guy like me, as I have been there before, but it does make me wonder if others aren’t fully recognizing the damage done to this country. This is the point in my life that I fully understand the honest man isn’t the common man. The honest man is the uncommon man, which is only paid lip service by those who “know better.”

Naïve? Yes. I will not argue the naïveté of such. What should it matter, at this point, to anyone anyway? Being frank is a part of who I am. Should anyone hold it against me that I try to make it work? It was that hope which made this all naïve.

There are brighter notes to this, and I’m willing to move on to them. Tuesday night brought me an acquaintance for a chat. He learnt I wrote, and was very enthusiastic about the idea. He’s a potter, painter, and teacher. In the middle of discussing motivation and inspiration, he recommended the documentary PressPausePlay. Having a deep respect for Eliseo, I watched it the following afternoon piecemeal between projects. They key for this particular movie is to take it all in without expressing an opinion until afterward. It touches on many aspects of what the artist has to grapple today.

My take had multiple thoughts, but initially there was only one. It takes time for me to sit and think for the rest to come to light. Regardless, I wrote a note to myself which eventually found its way to my home office wall. It reads:

Nate,

You cannot spend your life worrying about the ends. The only true end is death. It’s the process of making [creating] that means more than death.”

I found something personally useful this week,  and with a bit of spirit, I won’t forget it.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The Old Man and the Snow…

Well, I’m finally back on track at the office after another snow storm hit the Fields yesterday. Aside from being plowed in, there wasn’t much action going on in town. Driving in a level 3 snow emergency will get you a ticket around here. It’s not worth the risk. For my gracious Southern readers, I’ve provided a few photos. This won’t seem like much to Yankees. In fact, it gets much worse around Lake Erie. Just ask Cleveland and Buffalo.

The first is the view from my freshly-shoveled driveway Wednesday morning. I couldn’t sleep that night. So, I gave it a cleaning at 3:30AM, only to have to do it all over again at 10:30AM.

I hear we're supposed to get more over the weekend.

I hear we’re supposed to get more over the weekend.

When I look to the west, the county road needs to be cleared off again. That means the snow plows will be around soon to plow me in.

IMG_20140205_113220894

This would cripple a Southern city for days.

The last is of my poor mailbox, which finds itself deeper and deeper in snow the farther the season progresses. I need to dig around it every time there’s a storm, or the mailman won’t deliver anything. Wasn’t there some credo that he’s breaking? Regardless, he gets the best I can do on any given day.

IMG_20140205_113232673

I wonder if he’d be amused to see it encased in a snow castle?

For right now, this is all snow-shovel powered. The type of snow blower I need is going to rack me about $800-$1,000. I suppose I’ll have to use my tax return to fund it.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

What does one do when Canada camps out on your front stoop?

A) Shovel the stoop in hopes a snow caterpillar (i.e. drift) arrives.

B) Perform a nude interpretive dance of “O, Canada”.

C) Throw boiling hot water into the wind with the intent of having your flesh seared.

D) Play chicken with the plow truck.

E) Wet the street down to make an impromptu ice rink… for cars.

The answer is F) you stay inside and make sure the pipes don’t burst.

The Fields are no stranger to winter weather. There have been multiple times where temperatures have reached -23.3° C (-10° F) or less in my lifetime. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. This is where someone chimes in “well, here’s it’s (lesser temperature) every winter!” We all know that person.

You know what? Good for you! Do you want a cookie? If I’m grumbling about -24° C weather (with a hearty -38° C wind chill), I’m not all that interested in your location right now. I’m more interested in busting up that snow drift at the end of my driveway, courtesy of the street department, to get to my mailbox. Better yet, I’m trying to think of places that I could do a nude interpretive dance of “O, Canada” without receiving a blue ribbon in frostbite or hypothermia. As I type, I hear another plow truck. The shovel just hit something very crunchy. I think he might have broken up more of my curb. 😐

All of this can be used for good though. If I ever get out of here, which could simply mean my house right now, I know that relocating further North is out of the question. I’m through with Winter. I can’t be shut up more than 24 hours in my house or I start to feel all weird. It’s that kind of weird you get when you buy a completely inappropriate gift for someone and no one else finds the humour in it. I should be doing something right now. Adventure! At the very least, things at the office. OK, so maybe it’s just things at the office but still. There’s a potential for adventure. I’ll leave my office door open for that.

Maybe I could be a beach bum in some Caribbean island, and spend the rest of my days scaring children and making people give me pocket change by following them around talking gibberish? I’d make a little hut out of corrugated metal and share it with a coconut named Nigel, who would always correct me by saying “‘Sir’ Nigel, if you please.” I’d also scavenge a small radio that would play hokey lite rock where I would sing out of key to Jimmy Buffet and Christoper Cross. Yeah, that’s the life right there.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

The snow… it laughs at me, and not in a playful “Frosty the Snowman” sort of way either. Yesterday was rather windy, and I came home to waist-high drifts against the garage. As much at the Zephyrus mounds looked aesthetically pleasing, it was not conducive to fitting the car into the bay. Parking the vehicle in a low spot, I spent a little over an hour and a half scraping tarmacadam. Amid huffs of cursing and puffs of making oaths, I’ve resolved to start saving money for a snow blower. There’s simply to much to shovel by hand, and it might jeopardize my health some day.

I haven’t much time to do anything other than work and sleep. This is slightly tragic as there was a story idea that I wanted to write about, but it was forgotten in the haze of taking calls and compiling numbers. Getting distracted seems to be the mind killer these days.

This isn’t the time to be exasperated though, as I have a whole year to develop something wonderful. Not to be too proud, but I’m finishing my year-end materials quicker than usual this year. Once the last of the governmental demands are fulfilled, I should get out somewhere. It can’t be expensive, but there has to be something interesting around to visit. It couldn’t hurt the creative process either.

Sometimes, events unblock memories that I’ve put away for a long time. This makes me debate whether I should make a post about the first (and only) time I went to a strip club. It left such an impression on me, that I never did go back.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

I’m not exactly a ball of delight and mirth. So, it wasn’t easy finding a place to make my stand last night with complete strangers at a bar or restaurant on New Year’s Eve. I tried to be kind and affable, with little in the way of real benefit. In fact, as I sat on my bar stool fussing over the pack of cigarettes I had in my pocket, a couple wished me a happy New Year. More genially than others in the establishment, I returned the greeting only to have them stare at their drinks immediately afterward. It was like instant withdrawal. No conversation, nothing.

 WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!

This is exactly why I can’t connect. This insular behavior is driving me crazy. If it isn’t arrogance, it’s apathy. After a beer and four squad cars (not a drink, mind you) later, I decided it was a fruitless effort to stick around ’til midnight. I went home to a finger of whiskey and A.C. Slater hosting the New Year’s Eve countdown. He asked a rather well-endowed woman what her resolution was for 2014, and she said “spend more time with my husband.” Now, that sounds like something appropriately trite to say when asked, but if you think about it, it’s 11:59 on New Year’s Eve… where the Hell is he now?! He’s not on the platform with you.

I’ve been working at the office today, as there is no one to visit. Either they’re busy, out-of-town, with family, moved, or sick. There’s also the possibility they’re trying to avoid me, but I try not to think about that. The biggest disappointment today is the most valuable commitment I have is to my job. I’m working on the last of the tax reporting, and hope my early efforts will cushion the time blow when I’m having my year end audit.

Side Note: My morning’s status update was “A happy new year? Yes, make it happen.” No more than a couple of hours later I see George Takei post something very similar. Yeah, that’s right. I’m on the cutting edge of Hallmark wisdom!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,