It's just this little chromium switch, here... (derspatchel) wrote,
It's just this little chromium switch, here...

what is all this madness and how did it happen in 18 hours

I have been up for nearly twenty-four hours at this point. I am working on my nth+1 wind. I don't know when I'll crash but I know that it'll come with a real big thud and I'll come round several hours later wondering where go them bus what hit me, so I might as well write a whole buncha stuff down now as the sun comes up.

We woke up earlier than usual this morning. It had been cool the night before so we had turned the air conditioner off on the third floor but woke up kinda itchy-hot. I took the opportunity to eat several chunks of antacid (we're buying them now by the brick; you just chisel off a piece when you need to which is convenient in every way except portability) and sovay made her way downstairs to feed the cats, who had heard the sleepy muttering and the chiseling and determined through those sound cues that Now Was The Time To Be Fed Yes Fed Now Now Now. Autolycus has an aria which he sings every morning once he detects life upstairs. He starts softly, downstairs, a few muted test mrows? which grow bigger in both volume and meaning, answering his own questions (mrow? mroww. merowww? meeraow!) until he practically has his little snout under the bedroom door hollering MRAAAO! MRAAAO! LARGO AL FACTOTUM DEI GATTI at which point you pull the pillows over your head and try to ignore him because response, naturally, equals encouragement and possibly an encore. (His sister, meanwhile, signals it's time to eat by jumping on the kitchen counter near her little dish which we bought at Petco because the tag said CAT TOWN and looks you straight in the eye, answering each "Are you hungry? Really?" query with variations on a pointed "Mew!")

Once we both were up and the cats were making happy little minchminchminching sounds at their respective bowls we realized the day had begun so we watched Once Upon a Time in the West. Sonya had never seen it; I've seen most of it in bits and pieces during my days, nights, and early mornings as a random channel surfer. I don't use random-ass television as wallpaper media anymore and I don't think Sonya ever has, but we do a lot with stuff like Turner Classic Movies' blessed streaming capabilities. Seriously, most everything TCM airs is available, streaming free, for two or three weeks and it is a boon, a bona-fide goddamned boon, when they program crazy shit like a Busby Berkeley retrospective. You have not lived until you've had the Lullaby of Broadway number flung at your unsuspecting face during Gold Diggers of 1935 or watch Ginger Rogers suddenly go into full-tilt Pig Latin in Gold Diggers of 1933 while the chorus girls dance around with giant strategically-placed coins in the most Freudian of places. We need to find a way to put these on a big screen and invite you all to it because god damn, I mean, just god damn. Busby was insane. You'll also gain serious appreciation for character actors like Guy Kibbee, Hugh Herbert, and Patsy Kelly, studio stalwarts all.

Oh, but we were in the West at this point. I have had the opportunity to watch the trailer for Quentin Tarantino's latest, The Hateful Eight. But I did so after watching many of the films during the mighty Somerville Theatre's summer Sam Peckinpah retrospective including a fantastic 70mm print of The Wild Bunch that I mostly gaped at jaw wide with eyes big as saucers, and my guilty pleasure favorite, the neo-Western Convoy which Peckinpah in all his glorious drugged-out wisdom rewrote to be the furthest thing possible from the original greenlit pitch of a wacky Smokey and the Bandit style trucker comedy set to a novelty CB radio song. I also watched the trailer well after seeing many Sergio Leone and John Ford westerns. I like these films, I like their beats, I know who likes to paint their antiheroes which particular shade of gray, I like the stories they tell both epic and small. And I can see what Tarantino's trying to do with his own 70mm western and I really hope he's not doing it for the vanity, merely trying to play Peckinpah, Leone, or Ford himself.

The premise behind The Hateful Eight appears to be a cross between John Ford's Stagecoach and a feature-length version of what a television series would call a "bottle episode": one of those shows where the cast gets stuck someplace unfortunate for most of the running time, like a broken elevator or a Chinese restaurant with an interminable wait or a cabin in a blizzard. Unless it's really hacky and leads to a "let's pass the time by remembering when..." clip show, we get a chance to see how the characters really relate to each other when there's no escape for the time being. Tarantino goes for the cabin in a blizzard angle and shoves his cast in there but good, and that's where Stagecoach comes in because it's clear that each of the people trapped in Tarantino's cabin are probably not entirely who they appear to be, much like the passengers on Ford's coach. They may arrive strangers, but we'll learn the truth behind some of their relationships for sure and there's going to be antagonism for sure and it probably won't be pretty. That's all I'm going to say without spoiling anything, but you get the idea.

Bottle eps are often used to save money on sets and dressing but that's not relevant when it comes to a feature film, so Hateful Eight's trailer shows off wide, wide vistas and what look to be glorious traveling sequences and a very well-dressed cabin in which to hang out and turn on each other or whatever. While watching Once Upon a Time... this morning I realized that there's little chance Tarantino will achieve anything as claustrophobic as Leone's trading post where we first meet Jason Robards' character Cheyenne. The place is rough-hewn, built dirt-cheap and dirt-ugly, with lower ceilings than anyone should be able to stand and dark corners lit only when someone slings a lantern across a wire. The camera squats low. There's a shootout outside, but we only hear it while watching half-lit faces of the people inside, some curious, others purposefully ignorant, others undisturbed in their sleep. There is a dirty, dusty, dry realism to the place which could be budget-related but is more than likely artistic decision. The plot of Once involves a parcel of land a railroad is trying to build through and the town one character wants to build on that land to capitalize on the fact that it's got the only fresh water for miles around. So we watch a town being built over the course of the film. That's a lot of lumber. We're pretty much watching the cast build their own sets. The only other film I can think of that comes close to this kind of building-the-West-albeit-cheaply realism is Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller, which should be required viewing. (Paint Your Wagon doesn't count because it's more spectacle than slice-of-western life.)

I haven't even mentioned yet that the first fifteen minutes of Once are done mostly without dialogue, only an amazing ambient sound mix with no musical score. Three men in matching dusters converge upon a station in some nowhere part of the desert to wait for a train. The station agent is hustled into his office. Others are shooed out. The men just sit and wait. And wait. There's no need for dialogue between them; they know who they're waiting for and what they're to do. We hear the constant creak of a windmill outside. The drip of water on one man's hat. The buzzing of a fly as it lands on Jack Elam's face and Elam's puffs of air trying to blow it away (Sonya pointed out that had he just swatted at his face, he would have Lost). The footsteps of the men as they step out onto a rough wooden siding. It's all rhythmic. It's all beautiful. Elam finally puffs the fly away and then traps it in his gun barrel. When the train finally arrives, its shrill whistle eradicating the rhythmic peace, the subsequent shootout with a departing passenger is almost an afterthought. We've just lived fifteen minutes in the life of a desperado, one of long periods of waiting punctuated by the occasional gunshot. We learn very quickly that this film is going to take its own sweet time getting to the point of anything. And that is what epics do.

There is one point quickly reached but for good reason: Henry Fonda, playing one of the few villain roles of his career (and doing so amazingly) leads a raid on a family of homesteaders, even gunning down a kid in cold blood after one of his men makes the mistake of mentioning his name. And he does so with a calm, placid, no-fucks-to-give smile. It's maddeningly psychopathic and he pulls it off amazingly well. Once the dirty deeds are done, we follow the progress of the homesteader patriarch's new wife, fresh off the train from New Orleans and puzzled as to why she has to hitch a ride with one of them stock Western old guys with the wheezing cackle and propensity for authentic frontier gibberish. Other directors may have cut from the homesteaders at the first note of trouble ahead (the ever-present cicadas stop buzzing suddenly, a clear sign something's wrong) and followed the wife to her (and our) grisly discovery, but Leone knows better. We watch her make her way knowing full well what's gone down. In Hitchcock's terms, we're well aware of the bomb under the table and it makes her hopeful trek all the worse. So much more effective than a shock reveal, plus we have the added bonus of knowing exactly who the Truly Bad Guy is and why he's more dangerous than anyone else we'll see in the film.

Anyway, Charles Bronson does well in a role meant for Clint Eastwood, a man-with-no-name referred to only as Harmonica because I'll let you guess why. (In Robards' words, he not only plays, but shoots, too.) Robards's Cheyenne is a more genial and less rowdy Eli Wallach type of outlaw, remaining charming even while intimidating an innocent bystander to shoot off these unfortunate handcuffs that somehow managed to attach themselves to Cheyenne's wrists. Fonda plays against type and holy cow does he deliver what Leone wanted in the first place ("Picture this," he said. "The camera shows a gunman from the waist down pulling his gun and shooting a running child. The camera pans up to the gunman's face and it's Henry Fonda.") But the character around whom the entire film revolves turns out to be Claudia Cardinale's character Jill, the homesteader's new wife who takes no shit, uses sex as a negotiation tactic (the strategy doesn't work but the film doesn't punish her for it) and is neither raped nor white-knighted and avenged in melodramatic fashion. She doesn't even end up in love with any of the men, and comes off with the most promising ending of all. Good stuff, Sergio. Thanks.

After the nearly three-hour film we had reached the afternoon, so I went to do what I was scheduled to do on Saturday: go to work seven hours at the Somerville Theatre. I'm now working one or more positions at any given time on any given day, from ripping up tickets to selling tickets to be ripped at the box office to scooping popcorn and making rootbeer floats to telling people to turn their goddamn cellphones off during screenings to cleaning up popcorn and other goodies (seriously, who brings in a goddamn burrito and then drops most of it on the floor? Stoners going to see American Ultra, that's who) to tending bar. I'm enjoying most of these positions very well, especially bar since I've learned quite a bit about how to pour a good cuppa beer and change out kegs and be all genial bartender-like to encourage tips (hints: give out five singles in change instead of a single fiver, pretend you're not checking ID simply because we're required by law to check everyone's, learn some good charming small talk and know the beers of which you speak) and just plain make sure people are gonna enjoy themselves because that's what you go to the movies for, mostly. For the most part I don't mind the menial cleaning tasks; it ain't beneath me, it's all part of showbiz, but I am getting older and with age comes problems with climbing too many stairs over any given period of time. Thankfully we have an elevator for access to the theaters both upstairs and down, but I felt bad the night I helped carry film cans down from the tippy-top of the main house projection booth to the loading door on the ground floor because one of my knees began to shake and I had to go very slowly. I don't like reminders that I am growing old. The silvering hair is one thing but physical proof that I am or will be losing certain abilities is not cool. This afternoon I spent mostly on bar with theater cleaning on the side when needed. I really like working at the mighty Somerville. It's a beautiful theater that a lot of people care about, and it shows. Those who work there love film. Good people all around. The programming is good in spite of some misses this summer--let's face it, Ted 2 really wasn't going to set the world on fire--but the Peckinpah series and the midnight films this summer were terrific, and we ran Mad Max for weeks longer than we thought we would. Some people I heard came back six, seven times, and it was still selling out some of the smaller of the houses at the end of its run. The one major drawback is that the pay is not enough to fully live on, which means I am still on the hunt for a full-time office-type job so that I can continue to do the stuff I love. (I'll count working at the ST as one of those, though, and will happily moonlight a weekend shift whenever I can once I start a 40-hour week.)

I was well and duly exhausted by the time I got out at 8:30, but there was more ahead because we learned previously that the Harvard Film Archive was holding its yearly twelve-hour marathon on Saturday night and lord have mercy, the theme this year was heist films. The line-up looked really good--nothing I'd seen before, but some I'd really wanted to see, including Topkapi--and in a nice display of professional courtesy, someone from the HFA came by the mighty Somerville and comped employees who wanted to go and with a plus one, even. Sonya went down before I got out of work and saw the first on the schedule, Big Deal on Madonna Street, and reported that it was a great heist caper because all of the complications that often plague heist movies were realistic situations and realistic character reactions, nothing contrived, which combined made for a terrific comedic buildup and payoff.

I showed up in time for Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Cercle Rouge (1970) which starts with a Buddhist quote that Melville himself simply made up for the sake of a good epigraph (something about how men destined to meet together, no matter their divergent paths in life, will end up together in the red circle, whatever that is). It was the story of a jewelry heist performed by a criminal fresh out of prison for good behavior, an escaped criminal who gets in on the action because he just happens to stow away in the trunk of the newly-released criminal's car, and an aging drunken marksman trying to get over some serious delirious tremens (in one sequence he watches, horrified, as spiders and lizards and snakes enter his room and crawl all over him) all while being pursued by a devoted police inspector and underworld figures bent on revenge. The film was in French with English subtitles and I caught myself thinking in French for a little bit of it, what little French as I have retained, and I was charmed again by the wonderous way French cities were lit at night back in the 60s and 70s, with that special greenish light that we just don't get with our orange sodium lamps or bright white whatever-those-new-ones-are. As with many heist movies the job itself goes amazingly well while staying tense, another twenty minute segment without dialogue, but things don't turn out well for all our heroes at the end. It's all about the high of achievement and the low of reality and in some cases, the obligatory end message that crime does not pay (thank you, Will Hays and Joseph Breen). Le Cercle Rouge is no epic by any stretch of the imagination but much like Once it often prefers to take its own sweet time getting to certain points. There was a fantastic composite sequence where the camera zooms out from a tight shot of a passenger's face in a train window to the entire train in the frame, travelling across the countryside. You could see where the cut went but you didn't care. You're in this journey with 'em now, kid.

The screening and the next one were marred by the peculiar behavior of HFA moviegoers. I cannot claim this is representative of everybody who goes, but there were an inordinate number of people who talked to each other during the films with normal indoor voices, no whispering or nothing, even after they were shushed. And then there was the older woman who sat next to us, this dotty type I ended up calling Georgette Baxter because she had a high, childlike voice like that of Georgia Engel from the Mary Tyler Moore show. Georgette first endeared herself to me as I made my way to my seat next to her by exclaiming "Oh, my! I am not comfortable with large people sitting next to me." (I am a little heavier than I prefer to be right around now but geez, I'm not huge and it's not like I spill over into other seats unless I am spilling into Sonya's arms.) Georgette then asked Sonya if she wouldn't mind "switching places with your big friend". I told Georgette I would be happy switching places with my wife even though I wasn't particularly happy and I didn't want to just dump Sonya next to her, but that didn't register because Georgette was already pulling a new stunt, informing the person who had sat down in the row in front of her that "somebody was surely sitting where you were" during the previous film and that she was sure that that certain somebody would come back and want their seat so if he could just move that would be very nice. He ended up moving into our row sitting to Georgette's left, which pleased the woman greatly (he must not have been as big as me) because now it meant she could lean forward and drape her arms over the now-empty seat in front of her all she wanted. Which she did, often, rocking back and forth in her seat, and if you've ever been to the HFA then you know their seats are neither the epitome of movie-watching comfort nor particularly quiet in any way which means the longer a film runs, the more adjusting you'll start to hear and do yourself. If you stand up suddenly the seat cushion goes THUNK-THUNK-THUNK-thunk-thunk back and forth instead of sedately moving to its upright position. Georgette thunked a few times in her happy haste to lean over the seat in front. Then she exclaimed "Tell me when they're gone!" during the spiders-n-snakes hallucination scene. Then she expressed great sympathy for a character who, in police custody, tried to kill themselves by eating a whole lot of aspirin. As the credits rolled Georgette was still confused as to who betrayed whom, and got into a discussion with the man on her left who had the patience of a goddamned saint. I came back from the lobby to find him explaining to her that while the spiders and snakes in the DT scene were real animals on film they weren't real in the context of the movie, it was just the marksman's imagination, and that's why they disappeared so suddenly. Georgette herself disappeared halfway through the next film, which was no big loss as far as I was concerned.

The next film--yes! This was what I wanted--was Jules Dassin's Topkapi, a 1964 film involving the theft of a Turkish dagger inset with emeralds. Beautiful, shiny, gorgeous, perfect emeralds, according to Melina Mercouri, a tall, languid blonde who shows up during the completely batshit cold opening featuring blinking pinball lights and shooting gallery bally, a garish Wheel of Fortune, and other carnival distractions, all involving swirling flashing colors and Melina's laughing face bouncing around like the numbers on the wheel. Then Melina herself turns to the camera and tells us all in an amazing Catwoman voice how much she looooves emeralds and while her real name isn't Elizabeth Lipp, we can feel free to call her that in the film to make things easy. In case she hadn't mentioned, she purrs, she's a criminal. "Honest!"

Elizabeth doesn't narrate the film for long, but as she gives us a quick guided tour of the Topkapi Palace museum in Istanbul, the swirling carnival colors persist over the background and it is just glorious. I knew the film was a bit of a riot, but I had no idea exactly how. The opening set me in a good frame of mind and a better mood. This, now this was something.

And so we are in Turkey, where Melina has set her sights on the be-emeralded Sultan's Dagger. She has no shortage of lovers and picks a young and tremendously handsome Maximillian Schell, former lover a while back, to plan the deed with her. Schell loves planning a good heist, but for a treasure of such great wealth and importance to Turkey he insists on using amateurs, people with the skills necessary to do the job but without the criminal record that comes with doing such jobs. He's already got a list of who he'll need, including Robert Morley as an eccentric, cherubic mechanical toymaker. Morley's character has cased the joint already, and has found that after closing, the museum's floor is extremely pressure sensitive. Even a bouncing ping pong ball has enough mass to set off the alarm. Clearly, then, they'll have to steal the dagger from above, and Schell has recruited a young, lithe acrobat who likes hanging upside down and a strongman to hold the dangling acrobat and pull his ropes in when needed.

All this is explained in the first ten minutes of the film, by the by. Topkapi doesn't slouch around when it comes to launching the story. We are suddenly in it and with the whole gang, to boot, with the exception of a wildcard Schell calls "the schmoe". The schmoe's job is to unknowingly smuggle from Greece into Turkey a gun for shooting out searchlights and gas grenades to subdue the palace guards. Melina and Max find their schmoe in Peter Ustinov as a ragged hustler and general layabout, desperately trying to sell his authentic knock-off archaeological wonders to disinterested Grecian tourists or poor-quality pornography to even more disinterested sailors. At one point he stops a gentleman in sunglasses and proclaims himself an expert on the local nightlife, to which the gentleman takes off his sunglasses, revealing unexpectedly shaved eyebrows, and snarls "You already showed me the local nightlife!" Where Melina is one kind of cat, langorous and purring and getting her way by charming the socks off everyone, Ustinov is another, the scruffy wishes-to-ne'er-do-well who spends more time composure grooming and trying to charm his way out of sticky spots but getting nary a sock in return. Of course he's going to get caught at the Turkish border and arrested on charges of terrorism. Of course he's going to try talk his way out of a quick execution by explaining to the Very Menacing Turkish Police that he couldn't be a terrorist because he's a coward at heart. And of course the Very Menacing Turkish Police are going to believe him and tell him the only way he can get out of his jam is to work with them and report on Melina and Max, who are clearly the terrorists at work here. Of course.

Naturally, Ustinov does his best to play double secret super agent, shoving notes into empty cigarette packs and throwing them out of the car for the trailing police to pick up. With the help of an extremely drunken cook he deduces the group are Russian spies ("How did you deduce that?" ask the police. "From the cook," Ustinov proudly replies. "He told me.") Complications lead Max and Melina to bring Ustinov directly into the dagger-stealing plot and he gamely complies to play double-triple super secret agent once scads of money are promised. But the film really isn't about secret agentry, it's about the theft of the dagger and the lengths to which the team will go in order to pull it off. Before that, however, there's the carnival, and a Turkish parade, and a giant outdoor battle royale featuring Turkish wrestlers who oil themselves and each other up before going for body slams and other exciting moves while everybody in attendance watches with great delight and rapture, including the police officers tailing the gang. They love it! They can't get enough of it!

Eventually the acrobat is lowered upside-down into the Topkapi treasury and the heist scene is yet another twenty-minute mostly-dialogue-free sequence. It's fantastic, giving equal amounts to building up tension and bringing the relief of another step carried through in spite of complications. Sonya and I held each other in suspense while people around us talked in their normal indoor voices every time something unexpected happened. "Oh, don't tip the display over!" someone who wasn't Georgette said. "Ah haaaaaa," someone else said when they realized what the plans were leading to. "Ssssssh," said someone behind us, to little avail. Honestly. Harvard's supposed to be the place where one does not end sentences in a preposition, where one washes one's hands after using the restroom, where one does all those things you hear about in Harvard jokes. The amount of older Cantabrigians who should know better behaving worse than the undergrads at an art house cinema series is mind-boggling.

They still couldn't ruin the film for us, though. I won't give away what happens to the gang, but Melina ends the film mentioning a "hidden staircase in the Kremlin where they've hidden the Romanov's jewels" and the core cast make a curtain call with a title reading "THERE THEY GO AGAIN!", frolicing through clearly fake snow and clearly plywood Red Square scenery, finishing up a colorful, riotous, sometimes-a bit-too-much film as the snow itself turns to confetti. It was everything I'd heard about and more simply because whoever I heard about it from clearly wanted me to know just as much as I could to the point of almost disbelief. I am glad to have been able to not disbelieve it.

Fatigue was finally beginning to set in around 2:00 am so we decided to ditch the rest of the films and make our way home. Returning Harvard students were spilling out of the post-last call bars by this time, and Harv Sq was a noisy, boisterous place. We heard rustling sounds emanating from a trash can. Turned out there was a whole cadre of mice in there, jumping around trying to get out. Or maybe they were just bored of the scraps in that can and wanted to move to another. Either way they couldn't get out. Rather than have the nice trash collector peoples risk mice bites, Sonya and I thought it'd be a friendly gesture to help the mice out. I found a fallen tree branch long enough to stick out of the can, placed it in, and we watched as first one and then another mouse climbed up the branch and hopped out of the garbage. "WE HAVE SAVED SOME MICE!" we exulted, making our way towards the center of the square with a newfound feeling of accomplishment and pride and being kind to animals. Sleep deprivation was definitely kicking in and with it that floaty, lucid state one often gets when up for way too long doing way too much. I opted to try for Tasty Burger, open late enough to grab some food, but so had a whole bunch of Harvard kids. We weaved around them heading down Dunster Street, some of whom had decided to remove their shirts and loudly congratulate themselves for doing so. We had found a carnival of our own, a land of strange sights and sounds and possibly more unexpected shirtless people.

The intersection of JFK and Mt. Auburn was under construction at such a late hour, bright white lights flooding the road and showing off construction dust. We moved through the crowds in a bit of a daze, deciding not to go into Tasty Burger when we saw the line and the loudness. Weaving down JFK St, then. Kids half my age saying goodbyes as they left the bars and stepped into my tunnel vision. A girl in a doorway waved to us, ostensibly showing off a ring on her hand. "Hello...!" she said. "Hello!" we said, then moved on. "I think we were just propositioned," Sonya said. "Is this a montage?" I asked. "I think we're in a montage. These images are just piling on top of each other." We ran into the Otto pizza shop just before they shut the door--well, they tried to shut the door on us, but we pleaded and they may have mistaken sleep deprivation for the more common drunkenness and so with pity taken on us we helped them clean out their remaining stock of pepperoni pizza by taking advantage of their two-for-one closing time deal.

Walked up Cambridge Common and on to Mass Ave, eating extremely greasy but ultimately nourishing pizza. We talked movies and other things. Sonya said something amazingly funny and I said "I like that, can I use it?" and she said yes but now I have forgotten what that was. I really knew the sleep dep was coming on strong because colored lighting, from traffic lights and neon in storefronts to cars passing by, looked more and more pronounced to me. We're walking through a patch of green. Now orange-red. Now warm yellow storefront lights. It was all so clearly delineated and pronounced. I am reasonably sure Topkapi helped with this feeling. By the time we made it to Porter Square to hit up the CVS and Shaw's most of the disorientation had passed, but we were still punch-drunk on fatigue. Next thing I knew we were home, putting packages of sliced ham in the fridge and grabbing some of the newly-purchased antacid. We'd had an evening, all right.

Things isn't going so well at the moment. We're moving out of the Leonard St. apartment at the end of September so we are no longer paying a lot of rent for a lot of space we're not using (most of the upstairs has asbestos tile and one room is simply for storage of things we never unpacked in the first place) but we haven't found a place to move into yet. We have had several options fall through on us last-minute; one involving a house changing hands and the old owners were fine with pets (the tenant handling the apartment posting did so with this information) but the new owner said "no cats, nuh uh, no way", one involving a shifty agent who told us in no uncertain terms that by coming in to fill out an application and make the deposit we were effectively signing a lease (uh, what?) and some other heartbreaks involving carpeting that'd agitate Sonya's allergies incredibly fierce or downstairs neighbors who chain-smoke and fill the hallways with more allergens. Somewhere around here there must be a decent 2-bedroom with hardwood floors that allows cats and won't get snapped up five minutes after we find the MLS posting. SOMEWHERE, DAMMIT. AROUND HERE. My job hunting is painful; I thought I had a line on a temp job from a staffing agency who took a week to send me a promised link to some typing test after I'd filled out I-9s and everything and I never heard from them again; another shiny snowflake startup company pointed me at a Surveymonkey site for an interview and one of their first questions was "What Pokemon starter do you most identify yourself with and why?" I guess it's no question about ping-pong balls in 747s, but whatever. And I have been given the ol' "we're putting your resume in our circular file for 6 months so thanks but no thanks" more times than I like to think about. Somewhere around here there must be an office who'd take a 40-year-old schlub for forty hours a week. SOMEWHERE, DAMMIT. AROUND HERE. And the less said about my slow writing endeavors and creative identity the better.

In spite of all this, though, in spite of a lot of stress and sometimes serious emotional breakdowns, Sonya and I manage every now and then to still find some magic and have an enjoyable inexpensive night, even if it means staying up for a zillion hours straight. And that's what counts, right? Still finding the magic and good in things?

I think I hear that bus coming. Goodnih;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;//////

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