Facebook, that social networking wunderkind, taunts me when I open the browser, telling me that I can continue to live in Mexico and earn a degree online. Great. I’m sure that’s going to help in this economy. Certainly it increases one’s chances of landing that dream job.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Dodd, but we’ve already filled that position.”

“But you don’t understand! I have a degree in English Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Santee!”

Scott actually recommended one time that I go back and get my teaching credentials. Fat chance. True, the publishing world is on its ass at the moment, but I would rather load tractor-trailers all day than to instruct teenagers that would rather be smoking dope and contemplating their first sexual experience. It has fail written all over it. I’ll take my chances in some factory somewhere until writers are once again a hot commodity.

San Diego has never been an easy place to score a good job. When I grew up in Los Angeles, I literally left a job in the morning and had a better one in the afternoon. Not here. People with Doctorates don’t seem to mind assembling urine bags in order to enjoy this climate. They say things like, “Back in Helena, I ran an entire department of researchers…”

Spare me. You’re welding a plastic tube to a urine bag now. I’m not impressed.

* *

The earthquake that occurred Sunday reminded me of my time living in Los Angeles. I went through some large tremors there, even right on the epicenter of a couple of quakes. This one that just happened in Mexico was more alarming, not simply because of its size, but more because of its duration. When it hit, I sat in my office for a full thirty seconds before I bothered to get up and go out into the living room. My in-laws were on the couch, Rocio on the other couch, and Anna at the computer, so I grabbed Anna and stuck her in a doorway. The earthquake kept on rolling.

“Is it over yet?” she would ask a few times.

When it finally stopped, nothing was broken. Just like when I lived in Los Angeles, life kept on going. We ate dinner and I spent the night giving information to news agencies, a back scratched and one good turn and so on. Having been through Sylmar’s disaster, in the epicenter of the Whittier Narrows quake, a mile from the middle of the Upland jolt and through the big Landers trembler, I had considered myself a veteran. It didn’t work that way. The Goddamned Washington Post even scooped a lot of my information.

A voice in one ear told me, “Spare me. You’re hammering out hack material out of your home office in Tijuana now. I’m not impressed.”

At eleven the next morning I shut off the computer and went to bed.

* *

The publishing world has been on its ass for quite some time, in case no one has been paying attention. Newspapers are folding, giving unpaid furloughs or laying writers off, or else generally downsizing to the point that they are no longer relevant. The San Diego Union-Tribune is no longer relevant. It wasn’t a very good paper five years ago, but now it’s a joke. For seventy-five cents, you get maybe thirty or thirty-five pages. The good journalists are gone, filled with part-timers from the local university who give you the time and location of some event in the first sentence.

The book publishing industry might be even worse off. Electronic publishing is creating a combative process in which publishers fight with the manufacturers of electronic readers to figure who’s going to make the most profit. Writers are lost in this process. Readers, unless they enjoy books about vampires or unicorns or some other damned thing that has nothing to do with good writing, are wasting their money on products that are bound to deliver material that only promises to be made into a movie one day that will be like every other movie. Meanwhile, my stuff will have to sit until everything gets sorted out. It certainly doesn’t look good at the moment.

Good writers, some that I believe even a decade ago could have landed a three-book deal, are relegated to writing articles about pruning roses or window caulking or freight distribution in New Zealand, or whatever will pay to keep them barely surviving in some run-down apartment in a bad section of town. It isn’t that they can’t write, it’s that the entire process is broken and good writing fails far too often because the people grasping for control of the publishing business only know how to read a profit and loss statement.

This is what happens.

* *

I have done a lot of things in my life to earn a dollar or two, most of them legally. I’ve loaded trucks, run entire manufacturing plants, built war machinery for the military, even ran a grill right here in Tijuana for a while. Welding a plastic tube onto a urine bag isn’t my idea of an enjoyable living, but I’ve done it before and I can do it again. One time not too long ago I even worked a week at minimum wage moving the Geology Department at San Diego State University from one side of the campus to the other. I reckon I’m as proud of that as I am of anything else I’ve done.

Eventually, I might be able to hack out a living freelancing as a writer until the fruit of the publishing world is once again ripe to publish a novel that isn’t about child magicians or werewolves or time travelers. Until then, as soon as this economy picks up just a little more, someone will hire a man almost fifty years old to load a truck or enter data into a spreadsheet or whatever else is available. And I’ll do that for a while, and I’ll likely get promoted and promoted again until I reach a point after a few years where I can’t deny that the only thing I really want to do is to write, and nothing else – no matter the money or the lack of it – will fill that void.

And then, considering that ultimately these things tend to work themselves out, the publishing world will right itself. Newspapers may be relevant or may be replaced entirely by something else, but real journalists will return to fill the void of whatever happens. And book publishing will finally figure out that the best road to success is to leave the question of what is or isn’t good literature in the hands of the editors, and the question of distribution and price in the hands of publishing executives. And then, I’ll be able to be that voice in someone’s ear. I will tell them about the time that I worked a week at minimum wage moving the Geology Department at San Diego State University from one side of the campus to the other.

And then I’ll likely say, “Spare me. You’ve wasted ten years of both of our lives only to figure out now what’s relevant. I’m not impressed.”

Comments

antigeekess April 9, 2010 @ 4:11 p.m.

"The Goddamned Washington Post"

Heehee. Love the caps. You don't see the full title in print very often.

:)

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MsGrant April 9, 2010 @ 4:16 p.m.

Reading is like breathing to me and when I see the demise of the written word on paper, it makes me sad. There are still some decent books that get published, but you are right. The audience is for wizards and twilights and whatever. I have never read those books and never will and am waiting anxiously for the next great novel. Thanks for your honesty. No one should have to do something that kills their soul in order to make money. Now get to work...;)

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Jay Allen Sanford April 9, 2010 @ 6:01 p.m.

Over the past year, the "electronic readers" you mention have really started to evolve into something that old school book and newspaper readers are warming up to.

While it's still a bit bizarre to see someone reading a newspaper, comic book, or a novel on their iPhone, we're seeing more and more electronic delivery of content formerly only seen in print. Increasingly, aging baby boomers (hi!) are warming up to such 21st century gadgetry. And, by gum, those young whippersnappers seem to be totally digging it too --

Now if only those gawldang younguns would just get the hell offa my lawn......

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David Dodd April 9, 2010 @ 6:59 p.m.

AG, nice that you caught that. If the New York Times had someone in the vicinity, I wouldn't have been surprised, but the Post? I was stunned, it kept happening all night. Spooky.

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David Dodd April 9, 2010 @ 7:06 p.m.

"No one should have to do something that kills their soul in order to make money."

No truer words were ever spoken, Ms. Grant. As I wrote this, I thought about Bukowski working in that light fixture factory and the boss who had hemroids. And that post office gig of his. The Feds actually cornered him while he worked there and asked him about his columns in Open City. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall.

I can handle it for a few years, but it builds up. I'm that type that commits himself, I've never been much of a clock watcher, I reckon that doesn't help.

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David Dodd April 9, 2010 @ 7:17 p.m.

Jay, I'm guessing that either we're the same age or that you're slightly older. The first newspaper job I had, there were these brand new monitors (they were HUGE) at workstations where we would write our columns. Green text against a black screen, no spell checkers. No internet. The paste-up gang printed out our columns and literally pasted them up. That was modern technology, man! So, yes, electronic delivery about matched electronic sending back then. I guess it makes sense that technology would affect both the sending and receiving.

Whenever I go to downtown Tijuana I try and go early enough to catch a couple of expat friends slightly older than myself. It's funny to see us together, all carrying newspapers and sometimes paperback books. One of them writes a bunch of stringer stories for the Reader on occasion from an internet cafe, and obviously I'm sort of handy with a PC, but nothing will take the place of that paper in our hands or the feel of an actual book. Turning pages is something I would miss.

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Jay Allen Sanford April 9, 2010 @ 8:12 p.m.

As I waited for a flight at the SD airport last week, I was surrounded by people, age 8 to 80, plugged into and tapping at little machines. The air was full of beeping and tippity-tapping, and everyone seemed to have some kind of tech device in their hands and/or wired to their heads. Little kids to senior citizens, all plugged in and wired --

I was reading a book. I was, in fact, the only person I saw in that whole terminal who was reading a book.

I felt practically Amish -----

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SDaniels April 9, 2010 @ 8:37 p.m.

"The good journalists are gone, filled with part-timers from the local university who give you the time and location of some event in the first sentence.

The book publishing industry might be even worse off. Electronic publishing is creating a combative process in which publishers fight with the manufacturers of electronic readers to figure who’s going to make the most profit. Writers are lost in this process. Readers, unless they enjoy books about vampires or unicorns or some other damned thing that has nothing to do with good writing, are wasting their money on products that are bound to deliver material that only promises to be made into a movie one day that will be like every other movie."

Quoted in full because--despite its neat little unfold of the stuff of my nightmares AND my reality--it is so lovely, energetic and concise--and because it reminds me--just the lemon and vinegar generally needed in reportage today. And we need in particular a piece from one refriedgringo on the state and future of publishing. Just take that paragraph and see how much longer you can make it. While you are at it, tell us how we can save good literature, and entrance our children with it, if current generations of adults are lost to us. If I sound like a proselyte, so be it. Literacy is my Jesus. ;)

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thestoryteller April 9, 2010 @ 8:41 p.m.

I know what you mean about the jobs in L.A., but the rents were higher too. I could work full-time just by working as a temp, but none of us young girls could afford to live on $5.00 an hour. We left the clerical jobs to the gay guys and got the older men to pay our rent.

I have found that writing brings me no joy. I prefer to work with dogs.

One thing I hate is when a storyline like "Twilight" gets popular. They have to beat it to death.

I am 51 and Jay is about my age. He is American Indian, on his mother's side. He and I had lunch at Marie Callendar's a long time ago (the 1990s).

I was in Ms. Grant's neck of the woods today. Lavidicus is now my dog and he may be a canine ambassador for SD Humane Society.

You sound so discouraged, Refried. I can only suggest you find your joy, wherever it may lead you. It may not be in writing. Maybe you'll prefer to stick with it, but if you can't take it to where you want to go, find joy somewhere else and lower your expectations about your writing. It's less painful.

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David Dodd April 9, 2010 @ 9:43 p.m.

Jay - man, I know what you mean. I used to take my laptop with me everywhere, but I went back to books and newspapers. And cell phones, the only time I owned one was at the last place I worked. When I ride the trolley, there are a few of us reading, but most are texting. Even here in Tijuana, everyone has a cell phone, it's like a necessary accessory now.

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SDaniels April 9, 2010 @ 10:02 p.m.

re: #11: Uh refried? Is there something I don't know about you and writing? Are you ready to throw in the towel?

I know you more as the guy who:

"...until I reach a point after a few years where I can’t deny that the only thing I really want to do is to write, and nothing else – no matter the money or the lack of it – will fill that void"

Well said, and there with ya, should my block lift a bit further.

;)

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David Dodd April 9, 2010 @ 10:04 p.m.

Suz, I honestly wish I could tell you precisely where publishing was going, but I think we have a few years to go until we see whether e-books are a true trend into the future or simply an attempt to manufacture a new way to enjoy books for those who want it. I can tell you that literary agents are scared at the moment - they had been trying to act stoic and all-knowing, and now they suddenly can't. Editors at publishing houses are probably the toughest, and the good ones seem to feel like I do - that it's too soon to tell, but they seem nervous as well. And the problem, as always, is money; who makes it and who doesn't.

I have an enormous list of websites I read daily (for years now) to get a good cross-section of the publishing world's doings, and things have finally reached a point that I can feel their insecurity. It's spooky. Publishers keep buying genre stuff like some stock market investor that keeps investing in what seems to be hot, but it saturates the market with crap.

For example, I like John Scalzi, he has a lot of good and relevant things to say. He was a wonderful voice of reason in the recent Macmillan vs. Amazon dispute, and he had a lot to lose because Macmillin is his publisher (he sided with Macmillin as I think most of us did, but pointed out Amazon's reasoning as well). But his writing? I read the first chapter of The God Engines and reached the conclusion that science fiction is now nothing more than poluted pond scum in the stream of literary flow. It didn't use to be that way, people like Bradbury and Asimov wrote brilliantly.

It's depressing.

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David Dodd April 9, 2010 @ 10:12 p.m.

Mindy, I'm not so much discouraged as I am depressed, and as you point out the "Twilight" series is the perfect example. For those who enjoy that sort of thing, great! And, kudos to the author, she happened to catch the attention of an intern of an agent who, out of innocent ignorance, forced it into the hands of her boss. This sometimes happens, and it's great they sold a bunch of YA books, but it isn't literature.

Writing brings me great joy and I'll continue to do it, but Sunday's earthquake got me to comparing a lot of things and reaching some depressing conclusions. Of course I'll still write and wait, but meanwhile it's back to Bukowski's post office.

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David Dodd April 9, 2010 @ 10:14 p.m.

Suz, you should write more, for sure. I'm not throwing in any towels, I just hate facing the fact that soon my days will be filled with something other than writing or researching.

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antigeekess April 9, 2010 @ 10:51 p.m.

"Of course I'll still write and wait, but meanwhile it's back to Bukowski's post office."

Good luck getting hired. The USPS is offering early retirement, trying to go to 5-day delivery, and is BILLIONS in debt.

http://www.usps.com/strategicplanning/cs09/CSPO_09_119.htm

:(

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David Dodd April 9, 2010 @ 11:07 p.m.

Ha! Of course, AG, I meant that figuratively. And the example of USPS shrinking because of technology is good parallel to what's going on in the book publishing world with the e-reader. I enjoy paperbacks because they're relatively inexpensive and I love turning pages. But it makes me feel like a horse-whip manufacturer in that I hate to see the automobile take over the horse and buggy industry. After all, what will become of us whip makers?

And there is actually an interesting discussion making the rounds about cheating the intellectual property rights of writers that are published electronically. It's a lot easier to download a file on a Mac or PC than it is to scan or copy an entire book. Publishers seem to embrace the new technology now - after all, it's quick and easy cash, but they might regret it later when everyone simply burns a pirated copy of the latest book by their favorite author.

Most published authors don't make crap to begin with, I can't imagine anyone bothering to write an e-novel knowing they might not even make a month's rent from the profit.

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SDaniels April 9, 2010 @ 11:57 p.m.

re: #16: That was sheer facetiousness on my part, dear. I would never ask that question of you, and knew exactly what you meant with the post office reference--as did our AG, another paragon of facetiousness ;)

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David Dodd April 10, 2010 @ 12:58 a.m.

I know, SD, it just gave me an excuse for another few moments on my soap box ;)

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MsGrant April 10, 2010 @ 9:09 a.m.

I do it to, refried. I go back into the work force and I hate it with every fiber of my being. Enter at your own peril and don't stay long. I swear, as I was reading these threads, I saw the outline of a great story about the end of the written word and the flashes back in time - cut and paste!! I worked as a document control clerk at what became Sun Micro Systems in the '80s. My first "real" job. I used to update the run sheets for the engineers in the microchip clean rooms. They would give me the changes, I would take the static-free plastic wrapped sheets out of the notebooks, type the changes on a plain sheet of white paper to spec, and cut and paste them into the run sheet. No computer. Just a typewriter and a pair of scissors. And I looked really cool in my clean room outfit. Googles, hair net, blue gown and booties over my feet. Keep writing. You have something great in you.

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MsGrant April 10, 2010 @ 9:41 a.m.

Googles!?!!? I mean goggles!! Oy. Talk about too much time on the computer. Back to bed to read the paper. On paper.

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David Dodd April 10, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

Thanks, Ms. Grant, that's quite flattering :)

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nan shartel April 10, 2010 @ 11:54 a.m.

it's heartbreaking to know fine writers like u Refried r sliding down the drain of mediocrity as the instant gratification readers looking past character and background development that may wind out slowly...or quickly to engage a deeper more resonant self in the reader...so gone is the midnight read...the barn burning page turner and Newpapers...what can i say

music is the same...no voice ...no talent ..pandering to the lowest common denominator

that peeling of the onion that bring emotions that may not have surface for long times...just in this blog u walk us around ur frustration and ennui like a prowling tiger wondering if he still has his teeth...knowing there's a no hunting sign barring his way

i'm a mere poet of undetermined value...and a short piece writer of deeply personal comedies and intensities

unschooled and unskilled...just an average keyboard chick...i never had any expectations...but for those of u here that do...it's more then economics u need to feed the writing muse i know...i know it burns and creates agony and sometimes only flickers and gives no warmth to go on.... because of all the reasons u've identified

i will read u wherever u r..and doft my hat to ur talent..and wish u GOD's speed to a better writing tomorrow

because my railing at the oppressiveness of the situation would be for naught

Namaste...Nan

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nan shartel April 10, 2010 @ noon

so glad u gave a printed voice to this one Refried

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David Dodd April 10, 2010 @ 2:18 p.m.

"i'm a mere poet of undetermined value"

No, hun, like many fine poets, you're one of underappreciated value. And I love your stories, and so many great writers never even finished school, the skill is developed over time and perserverence. Just do it, as a writer friend keeps on telling me.

It isn't that I won't write, and come in here a lot as well and blog, it's that I can no longer afford to ONLY write. Most published writers have a day job, I simply found an opportunity a few years ago to afford not to work at a regular job, so I've been plugging along trying to freelance while finishing a couple of novels, but it isn't working out very well financially. For one thing, I'm putting a burden on my poor wife in that while we could continue to scrape by, it isn't fair to her that I bring in so little money.

Things will change eventually, I reckon this was just bad timing on my part. And thanks for all of the kind words, I truly appreciate them, and you.

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nan shartel April 10, 2010 @ 3:39 p.m.

i actually am well educated...but not in Writing...thx Refried...sending u all good writing vibes

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antigeekess April 10, 2010 @ 8:01 p.m.

"No, hun, like many fine poets, you're one of underappreciated value."

Amen to that. Most of the poets I studied in school didn't do a darn thing for me. Nan blows my hair back every time.

"For one thing, I'm putting a burden on my poor wife in that while we could continue to scrape by, it isn't fair to her that I bring in so little money."

respect This fact sure never stopped my ex-BFs from sitting on their arses while I broke my back working. Nothing quite like that parasite/host mentality. :/

Actually, I find that my repetitive, boring, menial job requires so little of my conscious attention for most of the day that I wrote most of my papers for school entirely in my head while I was working. I'd occasionally stop to write a key word or two down. Maybe it's an ADD thing.

shrug

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MsGrant April 10, 2010 @ 9:01 p.m.

24 - Nan's COMMENTS are even hair back blowing. Anti, there is nothing menial about an honest day's labor. Menial is an awful word and should not be associated with you. You are not menial. Your work is not menial.

Parasite/host mentality!! I love it. I had a couple of loser BFs in my past. It was amazing how they could sit on the couch and ask you to bring them another beer while you were doing the dishes after a full day's work. Dishes they made while you were working. I wrote a story about a loser. Maybe I'll post it. It's called "Steve is a Loser".

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David Dodd April 10, 2010 @ 9:59 p.m.

Nan is an amazing and compassionate person with a very unique sense of clairvoyance and a great understanding of what drives us humans at a raw emotional state. I think this is what great poets have in common.

So far as menial, I see AG's point, but I see Ms Grant's point as well. Menial in the sense that some tasks require less of an effort than others, but it still requires an effort on some level that suits the employer.

For myself, I don't have an issue with any sort of work, so long as I'm capable of it and it makes money for my employer. I can even write when I get home and on the weekends. The problem is that it's difficult enough sometimes to write a story, much less set aside time for that process to occur. My favorite short story about the process was, fittingly, by Bukowski, and this conversation reminds me of that. He called it, "Twelve Flying Mokeys Who Wouldn't Copulate Properly" (you can find it in "The Most Beautiful Woman in Town and Other Stories" from 1983, or "Erections, Ejaculations and General Tales of Ordinary Madness" from 1972 - I recommend the former because it has some of his better shorts).

Anyway, in Twelve Flying Monkeys, Bukowski is narrating his character Chinaski's thoughts sitting at the typewriter. Chinaski has this premise for a story, and it involves the flying monkeys, but he's having one hell of a time trying to get them to copulate (which apparently is a critical issue in the story), and it's hilarious narrative. But the point, obviously, isn't the ridiculous story plot, it's that during the process he keeps getting interrupted. People at the door, drunk friends show up and they insist on drinking. A neighbor stumbles home drunk and attempts to urinate on the front porch, Chinaski winds up having to punch the guy out. It goes on and on.

I immediately related to it when I first read it, which was roughly a year after I began writing in earnest. My job was the same as Chinaski's interruptions. It's difficult enough to try and get those flying monkeys to copulate even without being constantly annoyed with everyday life; a non-writing job just makes it that much worse.

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MsGrant April 10, 2010 @ 10:17 p.m.

I know exactly what this means. I have lost hours worth of editing because my husband came in to talk to me about dinner or I was distracted on the phone with my sister and I hit the wrong button, not saving my work. But what's the alternative? You need your drunk neighbors and your friends and your family to keep you company. Most writers are loners by nature and need these interruptions. But I would trade a real job any time for these crazy characters that interrupt my life and cause me to lose my train of thought. Actually, when I have to go back and rewrite, it's better than the first because of them.

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antigeekess April 11, 2010 @ 11:04 a.m.

Re #29/30: Thanks, Grant, but we're certainly regarded as "unskilled labor" by "management." Of course, the question is something like, "If our job requires no skill, how come you SUCK at it when you cross crafts to attempt doing it?" :) It's one of those jobs that's seen as oh-so-easy by everyone who's never done it, and yet our turnover is unbelievable (especially considering the salary and the state of the economy).

So, do Bukowski's monkeys ever get down to monkey business, or not?

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MsGrant April 11, 2010 @ 11:42 a.m.

Okay, real quick, a short story. One day I pull up to my house and get out of my car, wearing a suit and carrying my work satchel. Our mail carrier, who I adore (she is the coolest) looks at me and says "how I can I get a job doing what you do?" I responded "are you kidding me? How can I get a job doing what YOU do?!?"

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David Dodd April 11, 2010 @ 12:01 p.m.

AG, as I remember the story, panic ensues over the flying monkeys (who are more interested in running amock than in copulating) and the authorities track and kill all but the last pair. Finally, just when they're ready to go at it (in some park in a tree), the female is killed off. I can't remember what happens to the last male for the life of me, but knowing Bukowski, it doesn't live happily ever after ;)

I probably have both books around here somewhere, I'll have to track one of them down and revisit this at some point.

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antigeekess April 11, 2010 @ 12:14 p.m.

Flying monkey are always more interested in running amok than anything else. That's why they're so terrifying when they have to focus on a target -- they're pissed off and resentful to be on the mission in the first place, and would always rather be doing something else.

Flying monkeys all seem to have ADD that way. :)

http://www.zazzle.com/flying+monkeys+gifts

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rhino April 12, 2010 @ 8:48 a.m.

Love these blogs and the astute, informative and entertaining comments!

Just had to respond to Nan's perception that current music has 'no voice, no talent'. While the majority of today's 'popular' music doesn't, there are many artists out there writing some really, really good stuff. Off the top of my head i'd point to the Drive By Truckers, Lucinda Williams, James McMurtry [son of Larry], Patty Larkin, Darrell Scott and Neko Case. Just like books, it's easy to see all of the popular crap and figure that it's all that's out there, but with a little digging you can strike some gold!

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David Dodd April 12, 2010 @ 11:42 a.m.

I'm with you, Rhino, I think the neighborhood blog section is great. Aside from some good stories about life in the greater San Diego area (and other places as well), the comments are often even better.

And I agree about the music, too. I have a difficult time with a lot of the current popular stuff, but there are plenty of lesser-known (or just plain less-popular) groups and acts that are quite entertaining. Drive By Truckers is a prime example.

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SDaniels April 13, 2010 @ 1:33 p.m.

re: #29: Ms G wrote: "Nan's COMMENTS are even hair back blowing."

One such example:

"just in this blog u walk us around ur frustration and ennui like a prowling tiger wondering if he still has his teeth...knowing there's a no hunting sign barring his way"

Right now, nan is my favorite poet. Namaste!

And Grant, do write that story. I have been hard pressed to write lately (Chinaski's interruptions and all), but promise I'll get the MIL story going if you write the Steve story ;)

As for jobs? Jobs is jobs. "The man" dreams away the day Walter Mitty-like, as he performs his clerkish job. I patter away at my online job with half a mind, while dreaming of what to say about art. The rest of the time is for our own occupations, thoughts, loves, desires, the ones that really define us. 'Chinaski' showed us that, and so did T.S. Eliot, and plenty of writers. Jobs is jobs.

rhino: I agree too. It is just maddening that there are so many great talents out there, work unheard, unseen...and as for the potential to make money for writers? Obviously in screen writing. Yet to think what some screen writers are paid to crank out formulaic drivel for cable...and what could be if producers/investors had a little more courage...

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MsGrant April 13, 2010 @ 1:44 p.m.

To late, SD - it's already up....

Now you have to write your story!! Come on - I am sure we have lots of great notes to compare!!

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David Dodd April 13, 2010 @ 1:48 p.m.

Woo-hoo! It's a Steve-off! This is epic. AG gets to go next.

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antigeekess April 13, 2010 @ 9:20 p.m.

Ahhh PFFFFFTTT. I really don't want to revive the memories to write about it if ya wanna know the truth, refried. If I didn't have an ADD-enabled natural ability to forget a lot of stuff, I'd probably be drowning them in booze.

I did have a chat with 'my' STEVE via Facebook a few months back. Haven't seen the dude in over 20 years. I was curious. Even as typed words in a chat window, his "personality" was still unaltered. Still a very funny guy, yet really snarky and extremely manipulative. He fancies that he has some ability in the area of...

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/MasterThespian.jpg

...and is one of those people that you never have a real, genuine moment with. Always an act, all the time, 24/7. The memory of his toolishness and transparent, self-serving machinations came flooding back.

In 20 years, he hasn't changed a bit. Still a loser.

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David Dodd April 13, 2010 @ 10:10 p.m.

Heh. AG, I'd never expect you or anyone to write about something you don't care to go back and remember. I do understand that. I've been pretty careful not to write about my first marriage, I don't want to relive a moment of that mess.

It's amazing to consider how disingenuous some people can be. But it's awesome when you discover that some people from your past are honest, good people. I've been having a blast on my Facebook account with a lot of the people I went to high school with, most are amazing. Thankfully, I have no ex-girlfrinds from that era on the list or perhaps I would think differently ;)

Come to think of it, I've pretty much torched those bridges anyway with noteable exceptions. One girl died a few years ago, not that we were anything more than lovers but that news stung a little. And there was an Argentine girl who I hope with all of my heart is having an awesome life, she was an amazing person and I was a little bit of a turd to her (lucky for her, because God help her if we would have stayed together). Otherwise, I seem to be in the clear.

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MsGrant April 14, 2010 @ 7:40 a.m.

Tracking down old flames on facebook is like a minefield. I have found mostly, like AG, that I am disappointed. You hope they have changed, even a little, and then find it is even worse. Or maybe less tolerable because you've grown-up. I have been more than a little embarrassed to go back in time and relive the carrion of past relationships. This one was the freshest and still lingering in my brain, so it felt good to purge it. I can't afford the swimming pool amount of vodka necessary to drown it.

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Jay Allen Sanford April 14, 2010 @ 10:53 a.m.

It took me awhile to warm up to Facebook, until last December when I found out my high school sweetheart/first love had died - I couldn't attend the funeral in CT where we grew up, but a few FBook friends attended and sent me "live" reports of the memorial service - it was the first contact I'd had with most everyone in 30 years.

I might never have even heard about her death were it not for the way things unfolded online. I took several calls from childhood friends that day, and we were able to have kind of a virtual memorial-slash-reunion, including photos of her we posted to our FBookpages.

I'm still skeptical of socializing online - for me, the internet is still mainly my "office," and I've never been in a chat room or turned on an instant message function - but I've become a believer in the 'net's power to bring people together in many ways hitherto impossible ---- this website and the interaction among site visitors is a good example.

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David Dodd April 14, 2010 @ 11:12 a.m.

I know what you mean, Jay. Similar thing with me. I don't use messengers or chat of any kind, the impersonal three word communication isn't for me. I have met a lot of people online, in websites such as this one, and then been fortunate enough to meet them in person. I learn a lot, and enjoy the wit and good vibes. I am a richer person for the experience.

Now, back to that swimming pool I'm building for MsGrant's vodka...

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nan shartel April 14, 2010 @ 11:23 a.m.

monkey's would rather run around then COPULATE???

that's just NOT right!!!

i will check out DRIVE BY TRUCKERS post haste Rhino..thx

dis monkey intends to run right over to the Steve bashing blog...git busy SDaniels

and Refried..the lovely memory caught up with just a little late but with a coming together of many from the past...Facebook does manage do Random Acts of Kindness from time to time

i agree with all said about the contents of the comments being many times as enlightening and important as the blog is RIGHT ON!!

great thread here today!!

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MsGrant April 14, 2010 @ 11:30 a.m.

Thank you, refried, for your benevolence. Once finished, we can all be baptised in a bath of vodka, our souls cleansed of cupid's carnage from the past....Jay Allen shall be our pastor. As our chosen one, please forgive me for past transgressions regarding a thread regarding a certain someone who shall remain nameless.

I am not a big fan of texting, IMing, tweeting. I'm too wordy, much to the boredom of my friends.

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Jay Allen Sanford April 14, 2010 @ 12:09 p.m.

I'm such an electronic Luddite that I've never texted, twittered, tweeted, TIFFed, Torrented, nor twonked - tho I once tawt I taw a putty tat ---

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nan shartel April 14, 2010 @ 12:15 p.m.

Grantie that past experience thing reminds me of a philosophical joke

a professor sent an male student into a room filled with horse s***..in a few minutes the man came out and said "i'm not going to learn anything in there ...it's smell assails my nose and makes me want to puke"

he then sent a female student into the room and she soon came out also saying "if there is a lesson in there i can't figure it out and someone else will have to tell me about it"

then he sent a child into the room...who immediately started digging around in the manure as if looking for something

hhhhhhhhmmmmmm the professor pondered..and he went into the room to speak with the child

"what r u doing" he asked??

to which the child replied

"with this much horse s*** in this room there must me a pony in here somewhere"

i think we all get presented with some horse s*** in our lives in the form of peeps who smell bad and seem to have no redeeming qualities...and they teach us valuable lessons

or give us pony rides

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David Dodd April 14, 2010 @ 12:17 p.m.

Ha! I use twitter. And Jay, if you don't have an account - as a writer, I wholeheartedly recommend it. It is a media connection of incredible power, the key is in networking with a subset of people who provide and consume information. In other words, if it happened, someone will tweet it almost immediately. The music industry is well represented there.

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nan shartel April 14, 2010 @ 12:23 p.m.

hey Jay Allen...Torrenting for MUSIC is a fine thing...i recommend it

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David Dodd April 14, 2010 @ 12:40 p.m.

I love that joke, nan! It's been years since I had heard it, I completely forgot about it!

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MsGrant April 14, 2010 @ 12:52 p.m.

That's a good one, nan!! And I'll keep your little gem of wisdom tucked away when the specter of wasted years rears its head.

Cornball observation of the day: Everything and everyone has got us where we are today and today isn't looking too bad....

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nan shartel April 14, 2010 @ 1:32 p.m.

Refried???

r u calling me OLD....hahahahahahahahahaha

i heard that years ago 2

and i'm still looking for that pony

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David Dodd April 14, 2010 @ 1:46 p.m.

Of course not, nan! I'm not sure if there's any such thing as a truly original joke, I heard that when I was in college, told somewhat differently, but still in a philosophical light. And I'm right with you, there has to be a horse in here somewhere ;)

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