One Reporter's Opinion

Proud sponsor of The Partnership for an Idiot-Free America. Andy's random observations -- a potluck of politics, a mix of music musings, and whatever else transcends the transom. (Unless otherwise specified, all pictures are copyright of this blogger. Some rights reserved, subject to the terms and conditions specified under the Creative Commons license.)

Friday, April 04, 2003

Channelling Milo Aukerman for a moment...

I like beer. Beer tastes good. I like beer. Beer tastes good.
Roger Miller says that "you can't roller skate in a buffalo herd."

I wonder if he ever captured a renegade black cat on hands and knees, with a 5-beer buzz, through the crawl space of a 3000 square foot house at 2 a.m.

I did, and I have the mutilated hand to prove it.

I guess my version of impossibility wouldn't be catchy enough for Music Row.

That said, however, next time I see a herd of bison, I'm strapping on my K2's. Y'know. Just to see.
So, week six of unemployment is just getting ready to go -- just in time for the Jayhawks vaunted bid for the NCAA Men's title. I was in Lawrence in 1988 for the "Manning and the Miracles" championship, and I developed a bit of fanboy jones for the music of Chuck Mead (now with BR5-49) in his incarnation with the Homestead Grays as they played at the satellite union. I was also there in 1991 for the finals against Duke, but no one remembers #2. That is, unless your blood runs Crimson & Blue, which mine does. If Mark Randall and Jeff Gueldner fell short, and if Adonis Jordan and Rex Walters couldn't get it done, and Raef LaFrentz, Scot Pollard, and Jacque Vaughn couldn't surmount the hurdle, maybe Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison can.

If nothing else, it will shut up all the damned wags who insist that basketball is the sole province of the southeast. Never mind that James Naismith was our only losing coach, ever. He only invented the game so that Phog Allen could go on to teach the trade to Dean Smith and "Baron" Rupp. No Kansas, no Kentucky. No Kentucky, no Indiana, no Duke. No North Carolina.

OK, enough soapbox. I'm only bitter, is all. I've been watching early exits and missed brass rings for the last decade & change, so I figure I've earned the (self-)indulgence.

Speaking of indulgences, I've really trimmed back my expenditure on music, so my reviews are going to be somewhat limited. A couple of honorable mentions:

Wilco, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, DVD. OK, Hayden, I'm willing to relent. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and Wilco itself, may be "embettered" by the departure of Jay Bennett. Not only that, but the album doth rock like the howling April winds. It is interesting to see the process by which this album was made. Even better, there's extant footage, culled for your viewing pleasure on a supplemental disc. Lurvely. Unforeseen side effect: I'm unrepentantly homesick for Chicago.

Speaking of extant footage: Beatles, The Beatles Anthology, DVD. Disc 5 contains uninterrupted "reunion" footage of Paul, George, and Ringo -- without the interference or presence of one dullard Jeff Lynne. Unfortunately, Disc 5 also contains "reunion" footage of Paul, George, and Ringo -- with Jeff Lynne's dullard thumbprints all over the take. If nothing else, this DVD re-release is worth getting for the 5.1 and DTS mixes.

Much of my musical intake lately has been pretty well limited to Black Flag '84, Rise Above, and a number of Elvis Costello Rhino reissues -- including This Year's Model, which has made hash out of erroneous prejudices I'd been harboring about ol' Declan. He's one of these artists I've more or less backed into. As DF likes to say, I had up until recently respected the guy solely on paper. I also listened to Pleased to Meet Me on my way to my interview today. I found everything invigorating, with the exception of "Can't Hardly Wait," which I now believe to be a ham-handed segue into the Don't Tell A Soul/All Shook Down era 'Mats.

The "Shite Wipes" new release, Elephant, left me cold at the preview party where I heard it in its entirety, looped a couple of times from beginning to end. Put me on the list as "unimpressed." I'd much rather listen to Andy Partridge B-sides.
My dad died of colon cancer at the age of 43. This came two years after he had been given a six-week prognosis, thus:

[Surgeon to my stepmother, 8 months with child]: "Your husband has advanced metastatic cancer. My advice would be to get in the car and take a long vacation."

I'm paraphrasing somewhat, but you get the idea.

I figure I am not inclined to take an early exit myself, so a while back, I scheduled a date with a gastroenterologist.

I'll fast forward to the end here: My exam signalled the "all clear." No polyps, nothing untoward.

However... and this is a big however... I was scared shitless (literally) that this might not be the result. OK, I wasn't "scared" shitless, but I was medically made shitless through a regimen of turbo-laxatives which I would not wish upon anyone but a Republican. I don't know what biomedical alchemy causes phosphates to require your bowels to retain water, but suffice it to say that the ingestion and excretion processes that follow from adherence to the label's instructions are neither pleasant nor short. Imagine, if you will, a concoction of moldy plywood squeezin' & wet dog concentrate, with a slight tang of Comet, in a base of refrigerated lakewater. One gallon of this mixture must be drank, 8 oz. at a time, at 10-15 minute intervals, over a 3-4 hour period.

I about made a call to Geneva to inquire about international treaties regarding medical practice at hour 3.25, but my trip to the phone was interrupted by a biological imperative issuing forth from my stomach. "Awright! Everybody OUT!!! Two exits. No waiting!" Perhaps worse than drinking this stuff to purge my intestines was projectile hurling it across the guest bathroom. Insult to injury? I had only just finished a bowl of chicken broth -- the meager sustenance which I would be allowed during this 24-hour period. By the time I had finished retching, I was in no mood to eat, and drinking anything would be verboten in about an hour. Urgh.

OK, so... I have to be at the admitting desk by 7:15 the next day. I'm there, but only in body. My mind is elsewhere, and at no time was this more apparent than when I was cloaked in hospital robes, reading an "informed consent" release form, and I'm being told that it's time for my I.V. Jesus H. Christ, I hate needles. My mind is reeling with about 20 things at once. There's the diagnosis... all the things that could go wrong... this shit about to be stuck into my veins... the drugs I'm going to be shot full of...

But then, there is the fact that my dad died at the age of 43 from a disease for which the cure rate is over 90% with early detection.

And there, standing right next to me, is my wonderful fiancee, telling the nurses how tough that I really am, when all I can stammer out, in so many words, "I don't know if I can get through this."

And I'm thinking, you know, I really don't want to leave my soon-to-be wife without her husband. And there is a whole helluva lot of stuff I plan on doing into my sixties, if I can manage it.

As the prep nurse is wheeling me into endoscopy, she says, "Take good care of him. He's the only one I've got."

About the last thing I recall clearly was being fed drugs that made me feel instantly drunk. I watched the monitor as my heart rate slowed a couple of beats...

And then I awoke to a cup of Sprite and a couple of graham crackers -- and the news that they didn't find anything but a mess of hemorrhoids.

I think I got off light, compared to the guy behind the curtain to my right. As my drugged self is being escorted to my locker, ol' Doc Caudill is giving the business to an alcoholic in denial about his condition.

See ya in five years, you ol' sawbones.
So. The third interview...

I don't want to jinx it by talking/hyping it too much. I can say this much:

It went well, I think. The parting words were, "The decision comes down to who has the best chemistry with the team. And for what it's worth, you have my vote."

These words came from a guy that I used to support at WCOM. He's been my biggest advocate, and I suspect that he's doing his level-best to lobby his co-workers. We, as they say, shall see.

I certainly hope this pans out, for the other dozen or so resumes that I have out, and the two headhunters I have working for me, and my weekly Monster agent email; uh, well, they have turned up exactly zero leads for me in the past five weeks.

Ah, economic recession. At least the last time a Bush was in office, and I was looking for a job, I didn't have a ferschliggin' six-fig salary history.

If I could chuck it all and take a job at Great Escape?

Maybe.

Next: Reflections on a benign outpatient medical procedure; a.k.a. "The Preakness Emotional Stakes."
Has it really been over half a month since my last post?

Guess it really doesn't matter, as I have yet to "go public" with the notion that I've joined the Blog Generation. Part of this seems like an exercise in futility. I've never been much for journaling, although dog knows that I've tried.

Another part of my acknowledges that I've been held in the tenterhooks of ennui. The onset was somewhere around the month before I got laid off from my last gig at Worldcom. I'd come into work, post idly on People's Forum for about 7 hours, do whatever minimal tasks I had been given, and would go home before rush hour traffic kicked in. Believe it or not, this is an almost acceptable state of affairs around that office.

You wouldn't think Nashville would have much of a problem with traversing sundry A to B routes, but alas, much time is wasted on the highways and byways. I don't know if this is a particular southern phenomenon, but I have noticed that most people driving around here tend to take the most direct route, even if it means that they have to wait through multi-block queues of congestion. In rain, all bets are off. Not a single route, beaten or unbeaten, moves at more than a glacial tick. In snow? Forget it.

Anyway -- that tangent is merely to illustrate the frustration that had become my existence at my "previous employer." I'll do my best to be fair, as it is my wont not to burn bridges whenever possible. The caveat here is two-fold: (1) The WCOM situation was a clusterfuck from the moment John Sidgemore pledged to "enter a new chapter in the company's history" -- to which my [prescient] smart-ass quip was, "Yeah, Chapter 11;" and (2) the business re-alignment process pretty much amounted to an ice floe for my figurative Eskimo (read: livelihood) to be placed upon. I had no idea that the boot would come at the point that it did, but -- I admit -- I was all about "working smarter, not harder." And as many of my netizen counterparts can testify, I spent an inordinate amount of time in community talkin' shit with other music obsessives. I have no idea if that behavior was a variable in the equation "Work + Worldcom <> Andy," but given what I knew about how I conducted myself during business hours, and given that I was assigned to a couple of high-penetration/low-uplift accounts, I figure that if I'm a manager being given a headcount number, I might make the same determination.

Someone tell me if I sound like a captive...?

I've struggled with the notion of career for nearly as long as I've been dancing the information technology rag. I felt, for a long time, that there was something else that I "should be doing." However, what that was? Open question. I would ask other people, "Hey, what is it that you think I should be doing?" This got a few quizzical glances in return, and the odd bit of practical advice. At some point, though, I figured out a couple of things. First, I can do this work fairly well, and fairly easily. Second, the money is really good. Third, when things are going well, I enjoy the work, and I don't have many complaints. The complaints I do have amount to things that everyone (that I know) (with a conscience) (working for a living) (that has a low b.s. tolerance) finds strugglesome. Bureaucracy, inanity, rear-echelon incompetence, yadda yadda. We all know the drill. So, the key? Find a gig where things are going well.

I may have found that opportunity.

I had my third interview today at Bell South...