Archive for September, 2011

Finally some writing

Posted: September 23, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine
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I extend my heartfelt apologies to the handful of people who are kind enough to follow my idiotic ramblings for my radio silence of the past couple weeks. I have actually been…get ready for this…busy. Yes, busy, with a semblance of a life and everything. I hope my dear readers will appreciate that I am putting off some much needed and seriously neglected housework in order to write of my last couple weeks. My home is taking on that Son-of-Sam-Chic look that the ladies seem to dig so much. I suspect even the roaches are embarrassed to have anyone over.

First off, I am back in school and taking 3 classes. Biology, Video Production and American Film. The Biology is closer to two classes given the amount of work and class time. Not to mention the money I have had to spend on books and lab equipment, which could easily feed a Bangladeshi village for a couple months. For those of you who didn’t know, I am slowly inching my way through a pre-clinical nursing program which at this rate will have me in some inner city ER killing patients in about 6-8 years. “Why is a nursing student taking film and video classes?” Because he needs to have full time status for his loans and grants, and one science class per term is all his special little mind can handle.

In addition to school I have actually found a job. A real one, not the fictitious variety I share with women I meet or successful relatives. I have a job as a waiter (or “server” as we are called these days) at a spanking new restaurant and pub. I had applied to be a bartender. The owners purposefully over hired the staff to see who works out etc., so it has been me and 1 or 2 other servers fighting over the small handful of diners in the quiet dining room of the pub, while the bartenders amass small fortunes. Yes, the bad news is that the food/restaurant part of the new pub is taking off at a snail’s pace. The good news is that I am fond of my new employers who are pleasant, supportive and encouraging. This is a nice change from my former employer of over 17 years who graduated cum laude from The Leona Helmsley School of Hospitality.

Name on the right changed to protect the privacy of previous employer (As far as you know)

Name on the right changed to protect the privacy of previous employer (As far as you know)

It is probably for the best that things are slow at the moment, as it gives me a chance to work on becoming a proficient and seemingly pleasant server. I am happy to report that my fake smile and faux friendliness have improved by leaps and bounds. Now if I can only keep from handing out menus with my middle finger out facing the customers and muttering to myself, I might start making some money.

Imagine having to endure five . . . hours . . . of . . . this . . . guy. . . zzzzzzzzzz

Imagine having to endure five . . . hours . . . of . . . this . . . guy. . . zzzzzzzzzz

My classes are all long this term. American Film and Video are both 4 hours long, and Biology is 6 hours on Thursday and 1 hour on Mondays. Today in Biology as the minutes dragged by it occurred to me that 5 hours of lecture is about 4 and a half hours more than my ADD riddled grey matter can handle. The teacher is a nice enough guy which makes it difficult to hate him, and this is unfortunate as I take a special glee in hating teachers and coupling this with classroom antics that make them question their career choices. I have noticed recently that when the teachers take attendance that my name is usually prefaced with a sigh of defeat and a muttering of “Scott’s here.”

I shall close here now dear reader as I have Biology homework and terms to mispronounce. I have missed writing for all of you and promise to keep you updated on the bad sit com that is my life.

Bargain Basement Sellout

Posted: September 6, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Entertainment, Life, Me & Mine
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Successful creative people have fans. By “successful” I mean that they are earning some sort of living via their creativity…they sell books, art, people pay to go to their films or brave the two drink minimums and hecklers to hear them point out the obvious to us in a way that makes us laugh. I am creative, but not successful, at least not successful in the financial sense. I have managed to make some fans though…the very best kind of fans, I have made fans who are also my friends and who are supportive and generous with their kind commentary and laughter. I have written things that others have read and felt “I want to get to know this curmudgeon.”  The best part is after meeting and getting to know me they still tolerate my company. So I got that going for me, which is nice… if I may quote Carl Spakler.
 
I was in a local video store today selling old video tapes.  I am grateful that there is still a local video store nearby and that they will buy my formerly extensive video collection (at exactly 10 cents per video…which is about the best proof thus far I have of my investing prowess)   I took the paltry sum and put it toward store credit. The old fellow behind the counter actually ended up giving me substantially more than 10 cents per video as I had an outstanding balance of $8 and wanted to rent 3 dvds for the weekend.  He thought for a moment, sighed and said “Just give me $2”  That was nice of him.  I think he had a moment of generosity and guilt looking at the pile of 50 videos I had dumped on his counter and didn’t have the heart to stick it to me. Hey, I brought him Citizen Kane AND Weekend At Bernie’s dammit
 
While browsing in the video store I happened upon a film by a contemporary movie star who is generically good looking and stars in many safe rom-coms and tweener comedies.  I can’t really say if he is talented or not, because he has yet to do a film that displayed any serious acting talent.  All of his work has been in relatively safe and soft Hollywood regurgitations. I’m not hating or jealous though.  For all I know he may be a great actor who is just choosing to work with regularity and capitalize on his youth and good looks.  I suppose I can’t blame someone for making hay while the sun shines.  For all I know he might have a huge level of artistic integrity and invests in all kinds of projects he is passionate about.

Ever notice you never see Keith Richards and Muammar Gaddafi in the same place? Kind of like Ann Coulter and Tom Petty...Makes you thnk.

 

It makes me wonder if someone has to have a certain marketability or success to have artistic integrity? I know it’s not an issue for me at the moment (either success or artistic integrity…I don’t really have or need one or the other at this stage.)  But, if faced with that choice of those options, would I have either, neither or both?  It would be nice to think I have artistic integrity, but if I am going to be really honest with my 3 or 4 fans and readers, I’d have to say that I would in all likelihood take a whopping 3 seconds in heartily agreeing to write something for Sarah Palin, Paris Hilton or Muammar Ghaddafi if they expressed an interest in paying me to bang something out for them after reading my 50th witty gem on Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the freak show that is my daily subway commute, or my ever-so-witty observations poor cell phone etiquette.  “Two hundred and fifty dollars Ms Hilton?The Kardasian roast?…. and you need it tomorrow,?  I’ll get right on that…”

This dog is actually a published author, which keeps a wonderful sense of perspective in my life.

 

Hey, before you judge me…the fridge is kind of empty at the moment (4 beers, condiments and a potato that is trying to grow sprouts, push the fridge door open and make a break for it).  It has been said that the best things are written on an empty stomach, but I’m not really interested in putting that theory to the test.
 
Seems to me that artistic integrity is one of life’s many gray areas.  Let’s say for the sake of argument that I sell out big time to a buyer I have no respect for and through this action I become successful to a certain degree.  I make contacts and connections and things start to snowball for me and then I start to involve myself and use my new found clout in artistic and creative endeavors that I actually feel strongly about.  My punk rock sensibilities make me very suspicious of sell outs, and yet some creative people I admire a great deal have done plenty of things to pay the bills and live well.  Do I respect them any less for being in Alvin and the Chipmunks? Maybe a little. But I’d probably go streaking in my compression stockings and a jock strap with glee if I got a call to help punch up the script for them.  Would I really turn down an offer to play “Country Club Busboy” in Final Destination 8…Hey I might even get to say a line. 
 
This dog is also a published author....sigh

This dog is also a published author....sigh

So what does that make me?  Last time I checked,  it makes me a 41 year old blogger with a handful of fans waiting for Snooki or Paris Hilton’s people to recognize my brilliant and highly affordable creative genius.

I’m Starting to Relate to Norman Bates

Posted: September 1, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine, Observations
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This week I received a long rambling email from my mother, chock full o’ disapproval and criticism.  It really set me off.  They sure know how to push our buttons don’t they people?  I have often written that I suspect the elderly of intentionally annoying the younger generation for purposes of entertainment.  They routinely take far too much time in super market lines digging through purses with arthritic fingers looking for ancient coupons or an elusive 3 pennies, while the rest of us silently seethe and wait to pay for our six pack or tampons.  My theory is that the elderly delight in tormenting the younger generation and then return to their bingo halls and nursing homes where they laugh at our aggravation over games of “musical meds”.
 
“I made one of them repeat themselves 6 times today…He was losing it, but didn’t want to yell at a sweet old lady.”
 

"Oh, my heavens. Tormenting youngsters can be such fun!"

“Oh, that’s lovely Gladys…I went to the movies with Fred and Jean and stood in front of the screen for ten minutes before taking our seats, speaking aloud and asking questions.”
 
“Oh, did you hear Martin and Tina got a waitress in trouble at work for tipping 8% while making her run around for an hour changing their orders because of the “special diet their doctors have them on?”
 
“Oh, I just love doing that!”
 
“Let’s go to the early bird special at Fitzwilly’s tomorrow and ask for the senior discount after they have rung in the check.”
 
My friend and editor Gow pointed out to me that mothers probably do this too. They routinely feed us guilt sandwiches with a whopping side of disapproval.  If we react, they have all kinds of dirt on us.  I had to agree with Gow on this one.  Mother’s have the vast majority of us between the rock of guilt, disapproval and childhood or adolescent embarrassment and the hard place of unconditional love.  It’s a chasm that few of us can escape. The only bright points are that it really helps the mental health and alcohol industries.
 
 
I swear I could be a Nobel Peace Prize winner who irons out the Isreal/Palestine issue and within a month my mother would make an offhand comment on how much I spend on shampoo and “maybe that’s why you can’t afford to have your wisdom teeth out.”
 
Yes, I suspect that mothers have their little get together kaffeeklatsches where they compare notes on how they have driven the fruit of their loins to fits of enraged guilt and frustration.
Pour it on, ma!

Pour it on, ma!

 Mother One: “I chided my son for not calling enough, even though he calls two or three times a week.”  “He hung up on me, and I get uncontrollable giggles when I picture him muttering to himself.”

 
Mother Two: (laughing hysterically)  “Oh, the poor dear.”  ” I made passive aggressive comments to my daughter’s boyfriend all through dinner last week.” “I wish I could have seen the fight they had afterward.”
 
Mother One: “Oh, I used to want to hear those fights too.” ” I installed a recording device at my son’s apartment”.  “Later I made popcorn and invited the girls around to listen to the fights that I caused.”
 
(Both mothers cackle like witches) 

“More coffee, dear?”  “Just a drop. These muffins are just heavenly, Martha!” 

 

I will have my revenge on my mother.  I’ll show her.  I’ll run around with scissors and date women she doesn’t approve of (there’s a tough one pffft)  The next time I get sick I’ll go and stay with her, regress to 6 years old, call her “mommy” and guilt her into caring for me.  I’ll vomit on her rug and look up tearfully and say “Sorry mommy, I couldn’t make it to the baffroom” 
Although she (along with every other mother on the planet) is a heavyweight champion of guilt and I am a simple journeyman.  I can’t possibly expect to compete…I just want to go the distance and land a few jabs.