Friday, March 27, 2009

Check Out This Crew

Here we are. All piled on to the big bed. Worn out from the Spring weather and all the activitiy. People keep telling me I'm nuts for adding another kid to the equation. They ask how could I deal with it.

How could I not?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Once More Into The Breach

And that would not be breach birth for anyone who's curious. I'm just sitting around at my ordinary, average bedtime, thinking about tomorrow. I've got a week's worth of hospital work behind me, a gig in the morning, and quite likely... the birth of my fourth child.

Freaking out? Nah. We don't do that here. There's a distinct possibility that I will pile my contracting Missus into the truck at 5 am, drop her off at the hospital and go load in a show. Or I may have to leave in the middle or just miss it completely. That's kinda fupped duck. But whatever.

God's big enough for all of it and I've never found myself in a situation where everything wasn't provided for. So tomorrow's like any other day. There's nothing for it but to rub my eyes, slam a coffee, jam a hat on my head and charge.

See you on the other end.



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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jackpot!

Holy crap were the good ever forthcoming over at the Goat and Tater. I've only got a second so I'm going to direct you to the post that ends with:
I will protect you. Always. Tomorrow is a New day. And if you need, I’ll sleep under you bed. And I will be Armed. To the fucking Teeth.

Yeah...


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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Here They Come

I was home sick with the Short People during church today. I got out my old sketch book to doodle around a bit during the second showing of Hoodwinked. The topic was zombies, of course. Apparently ChurchPunkMom has so thoroughly inundated me with zombie imagery that it's all I can think of. Here's the result.



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More Tales From The Punchbowl

Yes, I'm still inserting Primus lyrics into the status line on Effbook. And my friends are still responding, so the beatings will continue until morale improves. Here's the latest crop of calls and responses. And if you're lucky, I'll be sharing my zombie collection with you later tonight.

March 12 at 1:01am

Jon Dayton is incredibly hot in here today
Matt at 1:25am March 12
If you've studied your Floyd properly, you'd know that pigs could fly

March 14 at 1:10am
Jon Dayton got himself a big brown beaver and he stuck 'im up in the air...
Sean at 10:30pm March 13 via Facebook Mobile
Did you say I sure do love this big brown beaver and I wish I did have a pair?
Jon Dayton at 11:42pm March 13
Yes! And did I mention that he once slept for seven days and he gave us all an awful fright?
Matt at 1:49am March 14
Did you prick your finger one day and did it occurred to you that you might have a porcupine?
Jon Dayton at 9:17am March 14
Dude! How you gonna skip right tithe end like that?

Thu 11:58pm
Jon Dayton is going to make. You. All. Just a bit. Like. Me!
Matthew at 9:15pm March 19
what if we already like you?
Robb at 10:22pm March 19
you. sliiiip. iiiiiiiiiiit! in..........
Jon Dayton at 10:35pm March 19
You're sweet Matt. It's Primus lyrics again.
Robb at 10:39pm March 19
oh thank god. i thought we had moved on to dixie chicks.
http://www.metrolyrics.com/just-a-bit-like-me-lyrics-dixie-chicks.html
Jon Dayton at 10:41pm March 19
I said RIGHT... LEFT... RIGHT... LEFT... Foreward HAAaaaaarch!!!
Michael at 11:21pm March 19
Dude I need a favor. Someone told me you could teach me how to play the game of warfare.
Brett at 10:08am March 20
i more than like you. I think I am a little in love with you
Jon Dayton at 2:57pm March 20
YES SIR! YES SIR!




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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Token Of Our Appreciation

As a token of my appreciation of the downtrodden (read this post about a big dose of suck for a reward that ChurchPunkMom wrote) I would like to offer up my own similar story. It's a story of going the extra mile, putting others first, and keeping your word. It's also a story kind of like Office Space where there are too many bosses, and kind of like The Office where the big cheese is just totally effing a trifle out of touch.

The whole crew at work has been killing themselves for the last five months. Big remodeling project, lots of extra hours, not much time with the family. But at least there was the overtime pay. That is, until a month ago when that got yanked out from under us. Then it was the same routine of flogging us to go faster while constantly making revisions and moving up the deadline.

That made things a little harder to swallow. Small paycheck. Meh. But to make things all better we got a couple really nice perks. The first was that were were invited to attend (off the clock of course) the opening celebration of the completed project. All the cheese and crackers you want boys. Yeah, except that it wasn't really, totally done, so we were back in there the next day.

The crowning glory of it all though, the thing that really makes it all worth it was the grand gesture on the part of my big boss to really let us guys know that we were appreciated. We all got hand signed gift certificates... to the hospital snack shop... for three dollars.

Hells

Effing

Yeah...



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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Medical Records

So the Big Boss of America wants the health care industry to get into the nineties already and do their record keeping on computers. That leads to my own big boss drafting me to lead the charge at our own local health care outpost. Don't send any congratulatory notes just yet though. I didn't get promoted to the IT department to implement vast subterranean data silos and super slick wrist watch data input devices for the docs.

I'm just the guy who has to build the shelves.

Shelves? Yeah. The plan for our hospital is to just try and get all the paper records all in one place and then slowly send the oldest ones out to get scanned until the pile is all gone. Brilliant.

So just how many shelves is that going to take?

My morning's work with a tape and calculator in the dusty archives produced the answer.

3,465 running feet of shelf space.

My task is to convert half an old auditorium in an off site building into a records room and figure out how to cram that much shelf space in there. The three foot wide, six shelf high units that we have some of already were my starting point. After a bit of scratching around I figured out how to cram 194 of them into a 32' by 50' space and still have the required three foot aisles in between. That's eight more than the target. Gold star for the electrician!

My only hope is that I'm the guy that gets to build the storage space for all the CD-ROMs when they're done. I'm thinking about a three foot long walnut shelf with hand carved scroll-work and brass hobnails. Maybe I'll commission a local artist to create a couple hobbit book ends for a finishing touch.


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Friday, March 13, 2009

Pandora and Primus

OK, so I've got Primus on the brain lately. I can understand getting a little fed up with hearing about the same old thing all the time. But seriously, it's PRIMUS! If you don't know what I'm talking about then you need to go spend $3 on iTunes and download the top three songs. Listen to them till you know the words. Listen to them till you love them. Listen to them till you hate them. Naaaah. Won't happen.

So anyway, my Primus tapes from days of yore have long ago passed on into the greedy maw of some afflicted tape machine that clearly has no love of art or life. My Primus CDs are either so scratched as to be beyond rescue of modern technology, or stolen by friends of mine. And last but not least the iTunes gift card that I got for Christmas is almost gone. I'm seriously hurtin' for some Primus.

Not to worry.

Enter Pandora. My friend Tom turned me on to the website a couple years ago. You type in the name of an artist, it plays one of their tunes, a few from the same genre, then you get one from then again. You can skip ahead, vote thumbs up or down, and eventually it learns your preferences. Now you can get it on your iPod. Pretty frickin' sweet dude!

So when I really, really need to hear something I turn to Pandora and tonight I asked her for Primus. Apparently she hasn't got much in the way of teammates for Les and the boys. The first six tracks I got were either Primus or Claypool side projects. I say again, "Pretty FRICKIN' sweet dude!" She eventually came up with a couple R.A.T.M. tracks and one from Tool (eeeuch). Apparently I've reached the point in my jones-ing that I'm of the opinion that anybody who isn't Primus is an asshole and get's the big Thumbs Down. (I swear to God if I get Tool-ed again I'm switching over to YouTube)

If this goes on much longer I'm going to have to quit smoking so I can have a couple bucks free now and then to pick up the albums again. iTunes isn't going to do the trick. I'm going to need the complete just-bought-the-record experience with the liner notes and everything. I'm probably going to need the live DVDs. I'm writing out my Fathers' Day wish list already.

Likely next week I'll be over it and think that some other band is the coolest thing since individually wrapped slices of American cheese. Maybe not though. These guys are like the Mozart of my generation. A group that brought crunchy granola pot smoking hippies together with leather clad long haired headbangers in the same mosh pit to share the love. The shit is deep man.

Alright, alright. I'll stop accosting you with this. Blue Collar Tweakers just came on and I'm feeling like I need to mosh with the garden implements and shout, "HAI-yuh!" at all the proper places.



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Thursday, March 12, 2009

In This Economy

We had the TV on in the break room at lunch today on one of the news stations. Mostly because Gary Made-off-with-our-money was getting the book thrown at him and that was worth watching. Then the newscaster went on to spew about this industry and that business and how they were going to cope with this economy.

It got me to thinking that someday I may find myself looking back at news clips or articles from now and be able to identify them by the extreme overuse of the phrase: in this economy. Except that it's always the economy and the news is never good. There was the recession when I was in high school, the recession when I was in college, the dot-com bubble, junk bonds, the housing bubble. Times of financial woe and want are broken up (as far as the media is concerned) only by periods of wondering how long it will be until we're in trouble again.

I'm only groaning about this because every time something like this is getting flogged in the news I'm looking around and seeing the near total lack of effect on the area around me. Western New York is always depressed. We suck at life here and we're used to it. There hasn't been anything around to go bust since Big Steel kicked the bucket way back in the 70s.

I turn the radio on in my truck on the way to work hoping to hear the weather and all I hear is groaning about foreclosures. But I look around and for the most part it's not happening around here. Being a bunch of stupid, hay-seed hicks we have all purchased houses that are within our means and financed them with local banks. It may look like Deliverance out here to all you city kids, but at least we're not lying prostrate under 10,000 square foot McMansions that nobody wants to buy.

I'm sorry that all the people who make billboard sized televisions are going to be looking for work. Not all that sorry though because I never had any plans to buy one. We're busy reading books, and making things, and growing vegetables to lay up for the winter. Maybe my family should make a DVD about how to spend next to nothing and eat like kings. As long as it wasn't too pricey we could probably do land office business selling them to down and out workers in the luxury industry. My tomato patch would probably look awesome in hi-def.

Whups. I dun ran out of steam. Guess I'll go back in the house and do something frugal.




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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fiction - Hands

Kent was a man obsessed with hands. To say that outright at the start may paint an unfair picture of him. He wasn't some creep with a sick fetish, living in an apartment plastered with pages torn from magazines. The single piece of art in his sparsely furnished living room was of a hand though. It was the hand that wore the first wedding ring he ever crafted, fresh out of college with his degree as a gemologist.

In that living room at night Kent's eyes roamed over every hand that crossed the screen. It was so easy to gauge the caliber of an actor by their hands. It's always said that true emotion shows in the eyes, and it may, but he could see it in an instant from the flick of a fingernail what an actor was made of.

In his daily life he ran across a lot of the same sort of hands. A jeweler in a large mall store could only expect as much. His eyes took in many a manicured cuticle, both male and female, atop the glass cases. Not much to write home about for a soul so consumed with hands.

His real interest was in people watching. On his lunch break he would roam the mall, glancing about. Teenage girls picking over earrings. Blah, no character. Ants crawling over a pile of leaves. Plump baby hands gripping padded strollers, mashing stuffed animals to their chests, flinging pacifiers across the floor. Little gems. A mother's worried twitch. Old women gesturing lazily, hands that had prepared ten thousand dinners, enjoying their leisure.

When the weather was warm Kent ventured outside to see what he might. College students holding hands. Nice, but a little too greeting card. The hands that always interested him most were the hands of the workers. Leathery mitts on the handle of a concrete rake, as cracked and worn as old leather gloves. A Hispanic woman chopping onions with blinding speed in the window of a pizzaria. Delivery men gripping heavy boxes on their way inside. Those were the ones he was drawn to.

One morning in late spring Kent happened on an electrician outside an apartment building. He was grunting something in a foreign tongue to his helper. The triple-jointed last name on the van at the curb suggested Polish. The Man's hulking shoulders strained at the seams of his flannel shirt as he strained at a brace of wires the size of a child's leg coming out of a pipe.

Ham-fisted had always been sort of a verbal tickle. The phrase always brought to mind a cartoon image of a bumbling character too muscle bound to do anything with finesse. It was a term he often jokingly applied to himself when a gem slipped his grasp in a tricky setting under the jewelers loupe. This guy was the poster child for the term.

His hands were like slabs of meat. No, not like meat. Like animals, alive and coursing with life. As he contracted each paw around the wire it was like watching a living wall. Muscles leaped into stark relief. The tendons strained. Knuckles rose up like a mountain range, stark white except where he had nicked three of them. Kent stood motionless on the sidewalk and stared.

With a final grunt the wires were apparently where they needed to be and the electrician turned around with a pleased sigh and caught sight of Kent staring at him. Shocked into consciousness he just stood there, a cat in the street, trying to decide which way to dart to get away from a car.

A broad grin muscled its way across the mans face and in a voice that was surprisingly gentle said, "Is OK you watch. Service entrance cable is free but is five dollars if you watch me hook up meter channel."

Kent jerked as if to hurry away down the street but the laughter from the helper flustered him even more. At that moment he felt his whole world gently swing around a few degrees. It was like the trick photography in soda commercials. He caught a twinkle of benign amusement in the man's eye. In half a second he traversed the years and saw his father's hands, skinned knuckles wrapped around a can of Milwaukee at the dinner table. Calloused fingers lifting him high over head. Arms crossed, nervous in a stiff shirt at his graduation.

His dad was proud of him. Kent was the first man in the family to go to college. Certified to craft jewelry for the rich and certain to grow rich himself. But he didn't get it. A man who had raised his family by the sweat of his brow and the work of his two hands couldn't fathom it. And Kent, up until now couldn't grasp his father's life. He, for one, wasn't built for it. He had his mother's hands, slim and delicate, well suited for his chosen work.

How could it be enough to work your eight and punch your card. Fiddle with things in the garage and drink beer with Mom in front of the TV every night. But it was. It was enough because from his dad's perspective in the La-Z-Boy he was a rich man. Kent had a brief flash of his Sunday school teacher saying something about the meek and riches or something like that. Whatever, he got it. The satisfaction of a job done well, any kind of job had become apparent to him when he had seen the merriment in the eye of a man pulling wires on the street.

After spending half the day in that second of thought he raised his eyes to meet those of the man standing in front of him, still twinkling. "Yeah, caught me." he mumbled.

"Is OK city boy, you watch John and Vladimir and you see what work is. Wychudly." The latter was addressed over his shoulder to the helper who roared with laughter as he turned toward the truck, gnawed fingernails scratching his shoulder.

Kent couldn't resist. He stuck out his hand and said, "You're right. I have to get back to the office. Thanks for the show."

Chuckling, the electrician wrapped his meaty paw around Kent's hand and gave it a bone crunching squeeze, the callouses digging in. "Heh, you are OK for a suit." said the man as carelessly as if this sort of thing happened all the time, "Any time you want, I let you help Vlad carry tools. Put muscles under that suit." With a final wrench he let Kent's hand go and turned back to his work, still grinning.

Kent spun and hastened back toward the mall and his counter. Drawing his cell from his pocket he thumbed the old numbers.

"Hey Dad. It's Kent. Nothing much. Hey, what are you and Mom doing for Memorial Day? Me? Nothing at all, thought I'd pay you a visit." Yeah, a real visit.





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Monday, March 09, 2009

Ennui

The French word for boredom. It's more nuanced than that but it's a good start. I've been so wracked by my life lately that I've kind of lost the enthusiasm for writing that I had earlier in the year. What started out as a small diversion has now displaced TV completely from my life and connected me with all kinds of new friends. But I've been slacking. I actually lost a follower on this blog.

It's defiantly not the experience that's wearing my down though. The chance to sit down nearly every night and take a more focused look at some part of my life is not something I think I'm ever interested in giving up. This last year has been a real kick in the pants and my writing has served as a pressure release and a magnifying glass for the things that bring me joy. Coming up on my 200th post and a text from a friend kind of woke me up a little today.
Prayers being lifted up for you man. Would love to raise your roof with you. [re: need to put on an extra bedroom for the new baby.] I know it has been totally shitty for you for over a year now. Thanks for coming last night with the fam.

My response was something like, "Dang! It has been over a year of suck. Where's the schnapps?!" All joking aside though, here's what the last fourteen months have been like for me.

  • Out of work for two months
  • Got incredibly difficult job that barely paid the bills
  • Nearly got caught up somehow
  • Found out we were expecting our fourth
  • Got worn down to nothing by said job
  • Tried to leave and got into a horrible pressure situation with the boss
  • Cried out in desperation.
  • Got new job that paid slightly better
  • Got worn down to nothing by new job
  • Found out that bosses running job are out of touch and nothing will change
  • Still can't get caught up.
  • Would much rather be doing audio work but the scene is flat
Yeah... life with a capital MEH. Not that there haven't been some pretty sweet moments in there. But really, two years ago I was mixing my little hienie off and filling in with a little electrical work. Now I'm slaving away at a dead end job and scrambling to get enough time off to mix the few gigs that do come along.

Somebody pointed something out to me in a conversation about all the rats that have jumped ship (despite the economy, it's that bad). It's always better to look for work when you already have a job. So at least I've got that going for me. I hate to say it's a vow or anything, but I'm hoping to finally hitch up my pants here and see if I can't do what I love for a living.

Here's hopin... now where's that schnapps?



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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Primus Still Sucks

This is a little game I've been playing. Sticking lines of Primus songs in the status line on Effbook. Lately I've been feeling like I suck. I figured a way to fight it off was some company for my misery. And nobody sucks like Primus!

For those who aren't up on the terminology, "Primus Sucks!" is actually a heartfelt cry of adoration, uttered by many a faithful fan over the years. It started out with a heckler at a long-ago Primus show. Les Claypool, ever the wizzard of words, wasted no time turning the cry back on itself to help promote the band. Not a show goes by without the front man himself uttering the phrase.

Casual fans are often in the dark about this particular practice though and often with amusing results. I was in the crowd at Ozzfest in '97 or '98 when Primus was on the bill. My two good friends and I were happily chanting away between songs and some younger fans behind us were getting pretty upset. The commentary started, "Who the hell are these guys? Primus doesn't suck!" On and on it went until it sounded like they wanted to start something. Then, at the precise moment when Mr. Claypool introduced the band, three headbangers (all in excess of six foot two) wheeled around on the shrimps and tossed off a hearty, "PRIMUS SUCKS!"

So if you didn't know, now you do. Anyone can bring a smile to the face of a fan with a casual quote of that now famous epithet. And as for myself, nothin' says lovin' like a little casual self deprecation. I'm feeling much better now. Here are some recent quotes from my Effbook page. Feel free to stop by and play along. If you're not a friend yet hit me up. There's a link over on the right. Let me know you're a reader.

Mar 5 6:27pm

Jon is grabbin' himself a can of Pork Soda.
Sean at 6:31pm March 5 via Facebook Mobile
Primus!! Woo hoo!!
Michael at 6:39pm March 5
Ain't nothin' quite like sittin' 'round the house
Swillin' down them Cans of swine
Sean at 6:44pm March 5 via Facebook Mobile
6 foot 2 and rude as hell, gotta gethim in the ground before he starts smell.
Brian at 7:22pm March 5
Now listen up you know ya come home from working that nine to five and lay yourself down on burgundy couch, you know, it never really was burgundy. It was red, and you painted with the goddamn sprinkler and now you have bits and pieces of burgundy stuck to your butt every time you get off of it. You never tell your family, you never tell your family because, you know, ol' Junior, he's got no brains, and what can you do? What can you do?
Jon Dayton at 11:55pm March 5
Dude! You guys are totally jumpin the gun. One song at a time.
Sarah at 4:11am March 6
Yeah, I'm still trying to deal with the imaginary Pork Soda taste in my mouth.

Mar 7 1:42pm -
Jon is Alouicious Devandoner Abercrombie, that's long for mud.
Michael at 1:44pm March 7
Michael Joseph Patrick O'Connor, that's long for drunk
Michael at 1:46pm March 7
and PRIMUS SUCKS!
Kevin at 1:48pm March 7
Hey, why all the hatin' on Primus? Jerry Was a Race car Driver is a classic!
Amanda at 1:59pm March 7
please tell me that's what you're naming the kid.
Matt at 3:41am March 8
...so I kissed him upside the cranium with an aluminum baseball bat. Primus Sucks
Jon Dayton at 1:42pm March 8
We're actually torn between Thermal Atmos Dayton and Felix Blackthorn Daton. :)



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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Primus Sucks And So Do You

For a giggle lately I've been filling the status on Effbook with lines from Primus songs. My college friends in particular have been forthcoming with the witty comments, line completions, and of course the obligatory "PRIMUS SUCKS!" I've been saving the responses and thought I'd stick a few up just for a laugh. (IF anyone needs to know, I'll explain the sucking but for now I'll just assume that you get it.)

Feb 23 11:53pm
Jon was a fireman. Richmond Engine No. 3.
Robb at 12:05am February 24
primus sucks.
Pamela at 12:12pm February 24
oh dear.

Feb 25
8:49pm
Jon came slidin' on down the alleyway like butter drippin' off a hot biscuit.
Michael at 9:01pm February 25
She knew what she wanted
Brian at 9:10pm February 25
she was looking for the he-cat.
Robb at 9:28am February 26
primus sucks.

Feb 26
10:54pm
Jon caught a hundred pound sturgeon on twenty pound test...
Troy at 11:13pm February 26
No way! Where post pics!
Sheila at 11:14pm February 26
you guys and your fishes.. I caught an 8lbs bass once with a little tiny wormie....
Matt at 11:23pm February 26
Fish On! Primus Sucks
Jon Dayton at 10:02pm February 27
DING! We have a winner!

Feb 28 2:37pm
Jon knows but one desire. Jon Dayton set's his skull on fire!
Kevin at 3:26pm February 28
Do you need an extinguisher?
Brett at 9:38am March 5
you make me giggle

I was thinking that Laquor Head was maybe too little know to get much of a reaction. Thanks to Brett for picking up the slack on that one. (You complete me Snookie.)


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Monday, March 02, 2009

Heck With It

I was going to get on about work turning into a world class suck-a-thon lately. I turned a birthday party into a bitch fest last night when someone asked me how work was going though so I'm a little hesitant to get that particular ball rolling.

Suffice it to say that not even the current economic climate could stop three of my workmates from jumping ship since the first of the year. That was a little bit of perspective for me. I tend to the dramatic. I'm sure The Missus will testify in the comment section, but at least I have the satisfaction of predicting it. (Touche!) But when even guys who have been on the job for twenty years are complaining about how badly the shop is run, things are getting sketchy. So I guess my fantasy about throwing up the Double Deuce (two middle fingers for those who don't know about Strongbad) and trying to make ends meet in the production arena again aren't such a wild idea after all. The only good bit of news to surface is that the maintenance crew is exempt from layoffs because we have so many empty positions at the moment.

The whole place is talking about it. There's a bit of a bright side to that. All the grunts, the nurses and aides, housekeepers, techs and mechanics are for the most part awesome. They all have the same thing to say though. It's pretty much Office Space no matter where you go. Apparently four incompetent bosses is pretty much an industry standard, no matter what industry you happen to be in. The other guy who used to be self employed and I just look at each other and roll our eyes at the way things are done.

Whatever. It's close. It very nearly keeps the bills paid. And if you know where all the cameras are the coffee's free. I guess I'll keep the Dueces safely holstered until I can slip out some resumes to the local production companies. Peace... and I'm out.

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