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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Welcome To Southern California; Love It Or Leave It Douchebags!

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I moved to San Diego from the Midwest a decade ago, and I still can’t get over some of the things I’ve experienced over the years. I live north of SD, in the burbs, and up here the folks are very well off. Let’s put it this way: up here, you’re either rich or you’re poor, poor being anyone who makes less than $40,000 a year. Anyone who makes a pitiable $35,000 is eligible for heat assistance! So you are either rich or you work for the rich people. I suppose it could be worse. By working for them I was able to write my debut novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World. Yet with money there is a natural breakdown of what ‘normal’ folks would call civilized behavior. These wealthy douchebags own leased Beamers, Mercedes, Porches, Audi’s, Corvettes, Hummer’s etc. and drive like they own the road and they’ve written the traffic laws themselves. Red lights? Pish-posh. Speed limits? Not here my friend. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and I’ve never seen so many effed-up auto wrecks in my life. Seriously! You know those cars chases in Hollywood movies that seem so unrealistic? Well, they get all their ideas by watching these buttholes drive. First month I was here I saw a woman drive her car off of a twelve-foot embankment and land upside down in a (fortunately) low-tide lagoon. What happened next? People stopped their cars, got out…and took pictures with their phones! I think I’m the only one who called 911. Honestly, one morning I’m driving along El Camino Real and I see a waterspout gushing a hundred feet in the air. Some dillhole took out a fire hydrant! Every morning on Interstate 5 there is a major, five-car pile-up in which at least three people are seriously hurt. How could this happen? Well cheese and crackers it don’t take a genius to know that you gotta let off the gas and use the brake once in a while. I could go on and on but what the hell would it matter…
And where else could I start and profitably maintain a pet sitting/dog walking business in which the majority of my clients treat their pets better than children in third world countries? While little kids with bloated stomachs are eating grubs and being swarmed by flies in some faraway craphole, I’m opening up can after can of cat food for some overweight feline who can’t decide if he wants the tuna or the salmon delight. He’ll then eat half (or a third) and I’ll throw the rest away, thinking about all the hungry kitties in China. The gardeners and the cleaning ladies who commute from Tijuana just can’t get over the fact that my clients and I make such a fuss when one of the spoiled pets has the runs or vomits and is rushed off to the veterinarian. Hell, in their country, the dogs are covered in ticks and fleas and are walking around half-starved, eating out of garbage cans. They’re lucky if they can bring their freakin’ children to the doctor if they’ve been throwing up or have diarrhea, much less their pets.
As an example: I was walking a dog that had been attacked by another dog and suffered severe nerve damage in one rear leg. Hence, when she walked she dragged the limb (until her owners got her a brace). A gardener I walked by commiserated. He said: “Is broken, yes?”
I tried to explain that it was nerve damage but we had a language barrier. No matter what I said, he didn’t understand. So finally I agreed. “Yeah, it’s broken.”
“You get splint,” he advised and I nodded, nodded as I slowly backed away from him. But I understood full well how he thought: in Tijuana their dogs would walk around with broken legs and no one would give it a second thought. Eventually the limb would become necrotic or septic or succumb to gangrene and would need to be amputated. In most cases the dog would simply be put down. He probably thought he was being really kind, offering me the advice. And he was, in his own way. Should I have been angered that he thought I was so stupid I’d let my dog walk around on a broken leg? No, there’s no point. I actually had a client (a white couple) who did just that. Their cat broke a limb and the night before I showed up to pet sit they called me and told me Junior had a limp but it was nothing to worry about. Yeah, it was broken, had been for two weeks. Yes, it was necrotic. Yes, it had to be amputated. These people were white and rich and incredibly stupid. Sh*t happens.
So come on out to sunny Southern California! If you make less than $50,000 a year there’s a good trailer park I’ll point you in the direction of, and places where you can get food stamps and discount clothing. Don’t worry that a gallon of milk is $9.00 or gas is $6.66 for regular unleaded. You got the sun, the beach, and the palm trees. Find yourself in California my friends!

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To Sleep, Perchance To Dream (I Need Some F’in Sleep!)

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Ah, to sleep, perchance to dream…
That is a very famous quote by the illustrious (and quite venerable) William Shakespeare. And that dude knew what he was talking about, I’ll tell you what. Now, I’m only using that quote as a great opening line. All similarities end there. This post isn’t about him or any relation to that quote. Anyway…
You never know just how great sleep is until that day when, for some reason, you simply can’t get it. Some people suffer from insomnia, others from pain that keeps them from sleeping, but there is another condition that can rob you of sleep, one that really sucks because if it didn’t exist exhaustion would simply carry you away.
I’m talking about ‘Hypnic Jerks’, and when they become severe enough they are known as ‘Myoclonic Jerks’. The first is a seemingly innocuous series of muscle spasms that happen as you are about to fall asleep. Just as you are crossing the threshold into slumber land one of your body parts twitches, awakening you. This happens to a lot of people, maybe a couple times a night before they finally fall asleep. The second is a serious disorder that can cause real problems. Treatment involves tranquilizers or anticonvulsants. Bummer? Yeah.
Two weeks ago I developed these symptoms. One night (after a weekend of heavy partying-please, don’t ask. I’m not very proud of myself) I was kept awake all night long because of these Hypnic jerks. When I got out of bed the next day I realized I’d slept maybe an hour tops. This went on for three more nights until I sought medical help. I simply had to. With each passing night and no sleep I felt as if I was having an out of body experience. I didn’t trust myself to drive (yet I did, I had to) and I thought about Christian Bale’s character from the Machinist, about how he claimed to have not slept for a year. If I had to go a year without sleep I’d be dead fifty-one weeks prior to that, no f-in’ shite. It really sucked the big one. You know it’s bad when, at around three in the morning, you are thinking about what you might take the next night to get to sleep. Since the Benadryl didn’t work that night, I’d think, tomorrow I’ll try Nightquil.
The doctor at urgent care was kind enough to prescribe some strong tranquilizers, and at last I’ve been able to sleep, but here it is 14 days later and the Hypnic jerks haven’t gone away. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I went to my regular doctor today and he said to stay on the med’s I’d been prescribed and in two weeks we’d reevaluate. The next step, if they don’t go away, is to get an MRI. Then we can see what is going haywire in my brain. Oh yeah, and I’m sure my health care provider is going to deny me coverage for the test; last year it was recommended that I get a CAT scan and my doctor’s office had to practically put a gun to their head to okay it. If I need an MRI, I’ll probably have to pay for it myself.
What, you ask yourself, does this have to do with pet sitting or promoting my novel? Well, I was pet sitting through the whole thing, so one of the houses I was staying at (the week I didn’t sleep for four nights) became a house of horrors to me. Each night I sat and listened to the same sounds; the rustle of the blinds from the ceiling fan, the breathing of the dogs, the newspapers slapping the pavement when they arrived around four a.m…Jesus, it was awful. I kept it together pretty well though, I have to say; I don’t think the dogs noticed anything unusual about me (except that I paced around and talked to myself a lot).
I am now at the point where I’ve had sleep almost every night for about a week (I say ‘almost’ because one night I tried to cut the medication dosage; didn’t work, I didn’t sleep), and I am feeling back to ‘normal’. Unfortunately, the sleep is ‘drug sleep’ so I feel sort of spacey throughout the day. I guess I am writing this because it just helps to write, to concentrate. I haven’t worked on my new novel in three weeks (since before this started) and I’ve only recently continued my promotional efforts.
To sleep, perchance to dream…I have another great quote, but the source isn’t as well-regarded as the first: ‘You don’t know what you got until it’s gone…gone…gone…
(Yeah, I still have a sense of humor buried in here somewhere. It’s stuck between the folds of a brain I am trying to call out of early retirement.) Peace.

 

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Official Kirkus Review of The Gyre Mission or Who Do I Blow To Show My Thanks?

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You tell yourself that whatever they say it doesn’t matter; whomever they assigned to read your book just didn’t ‘get’ it. Fuck ‘em. Who are they to judge my talent?
‘They’ of course, is Kirkus Indie Reviews. You pay them $$$ and they’ll give you an unbiased opinion of your novel. Don’t like it? No problem, they’ll bury it as if it never happened. Find a line in there that you can use? Example: ‘Although it seems as if the author sincerely tried, this isn’t the most interesting book I’ve ever read.’ Translates into: ‘…most interesting…’ All you have to do is agree to it being published on their site and you can use some or all of it.
So, with baited breath, I awaited my fate. I wrote the review in my head many times. Sometimes it was fair, other times it slandered me, my book and my mother in one fell swoop. I was simultaneously anxious/enraged. ‘No one gets me!’ I’d rage to myself. ‘No one understands!’
And then one day it came, my review from Kirkus. I didn’t have the guts to look at it for a couple of days, certain that I was going to be enraged. One morning, after a refreshing night of sleep plagued by myriad nightmares, I thought ‘to hell with it, let’s get this over with.’ I clicked on the link, opened it, read it very slowly…
And found out it was GREAT! The reviewer not only ‘got’ it, they really must have enjoyed it as well. I danced around my trailer like a man who owned the world, swinging my arms in the air, shaking my fist, yelling ‘I told you mother fuckers! I told you!’ I was simply bursting out of my skin. The tag line they gave me at the end to use is: ‘A visually engaging, irrefutably intoxicating adventure.’ They compared me to H.P. Lovecraft, said my writing had the ability to make even the most steadfast readers squirm. For the whole thing go to this link: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/edgar-swamp/the-gyre-mission-journey-to-the-sshole-of-the-worl/ and see for yourself that the reviewers at Kirkus are absolutely the best at what they do! Thanks guys (and gals)! You really made my day even if it doesn’t help me sell a single copy and I’m sucking cock for crack money behind the Greyhound bus terminal on 55th (right behind the dumpster, you can’t miss me. I’ll bring my own chapstick). Peace!

 

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Man Whore 101; Just Another Day In Paradise

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I sat down to write a blog post about another funny pet-sitting incident and found that, at my current pet-sitting job, it was all but impossible to come up with something because the pets were, in a word, distracting. While pounding away at my laptop the parrot (Pedro, colored a festive red and sporting an extensive vocabulary) kept shrieking “I want to come out! I want to come out!” at the top of his lungs while Henry, a yellow lab, kept blindsiding me with love/lick attacks every ten minutes or so when he got bored with licking his massive, overly-sized, veiny balls. Not to mention Lilly, the little poodle-mix who, whenever the spirit moved her (which was quite often) decided that a good bout of incessant barking was necessary to keep the household vibe flowing smoothly. It was within this chaos that I, the ever-fearless writer extraordinaire, tried in vain to concentrate upon what would merely be a 500-1000 word post that would probably be read by two people. Oh the humanity!
Yes, the trials and tribulations of a writer beset with the occupation of tending to people’s pets is fraught with interruptions; sometimes I wonder why the hell I got into this business in the first place and then I remember: I dropped out of college and went on the road with a grunge/metal band and failed to make any money. After an extensive tour of duty as a fry cook, grill cook, pizza maker, sandwich maker and prep-cook in various restaurants, ultimately leading me to working in a dog kennel and then becoming a veterinary technician, this seemed like a dream job. I stayed in a lot of mansions, swam in a wide variety of saltwater pools, drank gallons of expensive, bottled beer and watched The Simpson’s on TV’s big enough to screen the latest Pixar masterpiece.
But after a while you yearn for your own house (in my case trailer-cue the banjo music maestro, please), and your own bed. Lately I’ve noticed that I dream crazy, vivid, lucid dreams while I’m at my place and hardly dream at while I’m pet-sitting. That can’t be good.
When I think about it, I find it amazing that I was able to write my novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World under such conditions. I barely wrote any of it at my trailer. I pet sat so much between 2009 and 2012 that the time I spent at the trailer was mostly consumed by drinking binges and intense masturbation sessions. Good times, yes, very good times…
So, as if to punctuate this entry with a hefty dose of realism, I was just interrupted during the writing of this blog by the house owner’s mother. The dogs started going crazy and, after a quick inspection I found her trying every key on her ring in an attempt to gain entry. She claimed to have sent me a text to inform me that she’d be stopping by but, alas, I never got it. So for almost an hour I entertained this elderly woman as she stumbled around the large house, going from room to room, asking after each pet (I failed to mention there was also a gecko and a beta fish). I assured her that Gecky had enough crickets to eat and that the fish didn’t appear to be suffering from ‘swim bladder’, a condition she was certain the poor little fellow had. I watched with ensuing hilarity as she tried to have a conversation with Pedro, but his vast knowledge of the English language far surpassed hers and he overwhelmed her. Recognizing defeat, she decided to go home.
After letting her out and locking the door behind her I took a deep breath, let it out, and wondered if maybe my old job manning the wing station at Hooters was still available. I recalled that the job left me feeling very conflicted (in between bouts of horniness I was plagued by a terrible, all-consuming depression) and thought that maybe I’d give them a call. What the hell, couldn’t hurt.

 

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