June 20th, 2008

Whale fluke

Friday, June 20th, 2008

And what will be an interestingly odd day begins...now.

I'll report to work, remotely, as I've been doing since Friday May 30th. Today is my last day. One last day's timecard entries to fill out. Don't really have much to do work-wise; how many people do have much work on their last day? Still, I already feel like I'm slacking.

But! This afternoon, after that work thing, I'll drive to the Hollywood neighborhood in NE for Portland's Can't Stop the Serenity screening. I plan to get a seat at the front of the theater. I don't want so much this time to watch the film: I want to watch the audience watching the film.

I'll crop up on LJ throughout the day, too. I have a couple of entries I've been meaning to get to, like one about the backyard movie screening I happily attended Wednesday night. Other words? They'll come. Like other work, eventually.
iAm iSaid

There's the first oddness.

Subject line of a (quickly-deleted) spam e-mail in my work account this morning: Let your intimate wishes come true.

The oddness: the e-mail was allegedly sent from "calgary.ymca.ca."

Um...well, ya gotta keep warm up there somehow...

(No, popfiend, I'm not feeling either bold enough or clever enough to write a popfiend-style reply to the spam!)
  • Current Mood
    amused amused
iAm iSaid

Questions, answered, for leonardpart6

No, leonardpart6, I didn’t forget about your interview questions; I decided to wait to respond until after I’d announced I was leaving my current job, as that would come up in answering the questions. (At least answering them honestly.)

1. Now that you finally have a car again, do you find yourself walking/using public transportation less?

I’m still walking about as much as I used to; walking’s important to me. I would take long walks around the hospital campus when I was still working up there; it’s a great place to stroll. I like to get 10,000 steps a day, same as Roger Ebert’s goal. And walking’s a good break on this job, working from home.

I’ve used the bus less, though: my big use was for my commute to and from Pill Hill, where the hospital is. I’ll need to decide whether to keep getting monthly passes for the bus and light rail – probably not cost-effective for now – or if I should start getting books of tickets instead.

The car, thank goodness, lets me do more spur-of-the-moment or late-night things without having to worry so much about getting there and coming home, but the months of not driving at all, and my general habit of not automatically driving places anyway, have served me well. They reset my brain. Sometimes I’ll drive only once a week, to Fred Meyer, Safeway or Trader Joe’s for groceries. I will drive to Can’t Stop the Serenity tonight, but last year I went via the light rail, the bus, and my feet. Portland’s good for that combination.

2. So why did you stop writing for FSM (or, for that matter, writing in general) way back when?

I slowed down my Film Score Monthly writing once I was at the Hermiston Herald in 1997 and getting paid to write (FSM was still an all-spec magazine at the time). The Herald work, where I had to be a jack-of-many-trades as usually happens at small newspapers, kept me plenty busy. Also, Lukas Kendall and I had managed to rub each other the wrong way – my big mess-up was not finishing what was going to be a fairly in-depth FSM review of a music database – so the working relationship (even long-distance) wasn’t ideal. Meanwhile, I was still writing plenty, but only finishing the Herald-related work; I wasn’t finishing short-story ideas I had, for instance.

More generally, it was a confidence problem. My initial goal when I left Hermiston for Portland in 2000 was to get a writing job, for which I hustled pretty hard (talking to several print publications in Portland), but the stuff I wrote at the time wasn’t strong enough. (“This isn’t really about anything,” one editor said about a test article I’d researched and written, and I agreed.) By then I knew I wasn’t going to be good enough as a reporter to be an in-depth investigative reporter, but at the time feature writing had stopped appealing to me, too, which would’ve been another route to in-depth, substantive writing. And as an editor told me, print editors didn’t want people to write reviews, especially movie reviews, because they had plenty of people ask to do nothing but that. (That editor, by the way, later was coffeeinhell’s editor for a few years. Good guy.) So review writing, what I felt most comfortable with, was the least-sought skill set I had at the time. And online review writing for places other FSM simply didn’t occur to me yet.

My journal writing, especially recently, has been an exercise in regaining that confidence, in both review writing and writing in general. And the positive feedback I’ve gotten from my professional writer friends, you included, has really helped. (One pro I know suggested I try fiction: “I think you have the sentences in you,” he said.)

Stay tuned.

3. Working at home: Are you able to stick to a schedule, or is it pajamas all day and a mad rush in the afternoon to catch up?

Slow and steady wins the race. It HAS to. When I write, that writing tends to go in bursts (a little, then a lot, then nothing for a bit, then more), but the hospital work I’ve been up to these last few weeks – mainly online checking of hospital and nursing home info – is a “whittling away at the work” sort of job. Plus I’m on a slow computer, and trying to hurry up late in the day would be un-good.

I have to be showered and dressed at the day’s start, too, at least to be psychologically ready for the hospital work.

This answer is changing as today’s my last day doing the hospital work, but that’s how it’s worked since I made the change May 30th.

A big sloppy wet kiss for Rick Emerson

Shows like today's episode of The Rick Emerson Show (listenable online at AM 970's website) show why I like The Rick Emerson Show:

* Rick knows quality! Today Rick named the Top Five "Weird Al" Yankovic songs about eating -- honorable mention "I Love Rocky Road," #5 "Addicted to Spuds," #4 "Lasanga," #3 "Spam," #2 "Fat," and #1 "Eat It" -- and DIDN'T name "Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch," a song Al didn't want to do but was forced to by his record company.

* Rick knows Goth! A Goth appreciater like me, Rick has started a contest called "Goth or Not," where he reads a poem and a listener has to guess whether it's a poem Rick found on the Internet or it's one Rick wrote.

* Rick knows music! After the "Weird Al" segment, he came back from a commercial playing Al's "The White Stuff" (admiring how his producer Sarah X. Dylan could sing all the lines), then ended the show with Al's "Amish Paradise," randomly shouting "Fool" as the show ended.

* Rick knows awful! Discussing why certain serial killers become famous and certain ones don't, he said it helps to be distinctive: "You've gotta have a good hook." (He's the same guy who once referred to politicians "holding hands and shaking babies.")

And those are four reasons I like this guy's show.