Wednesday, September 19, 2007

May I have 10,000 marbles, please?

So, today has been mostly spent filling our garbage cans with snot-soaked tissues and paper towels. It's nearly as much fun as it sounds.

I've been pretty much round and firm and fully packed with snot for the last couple of weeks. Every few days it seems like my head clears a little for a while, and I keep hoping that whatever this is (probably a seasonal spike in my allergic responses) has peaked, and I'm moving past it, and then, suddenly, it will come roaring back and blindside me yet again. It makes it hard to sleep. So bear in mind, I'm probably groggy as I type this.

After several days of spectacularly gorgeous weather -- clear and sunny, no humidity to speak of, temps in the mid 70s -- we're heading back up near 90 again, and I hates it, I hates it forever. 'Near 90' is practically a killing frost compared to the hammerin' hundreds, with accompanying high humidity, that we somehow dragged our asses through from one end of August to the other, and I should probably be grateful for the respite that September has irrefutably wrought, but I say fuck all that, give me my goddam 70s back again, and do it NOW.

Mind you, I'm strictly talking about outside temperatures. The 1970s was a decade of general, overall torment and misery for me, other than the last four months of which (September to December) when I was a freshman at college and reasonably happy for the first time ever. Of course, at the time I had no idea I was happy; in fact, I'm pretty sure I thought I was miserable, but that's just how it rolls when you're 17 years old, I guess. Youth, as some grumpy bald guy once noted in disgust, is wasted on the wrong people. I could handle it much better if somebody gave me another crack at it now, I'm thinking.

I'm up for a call center job -- went downtown yesterday and somehow managed to pass an utter bitch of a qualifying exam. However, the final selections from all those who qualified have yet to be made; I should hear about that on Thursday. If I get tagged for it, I go in Friday for an orientation session and start actual, official work (paid training) on Monday.

The job will have its upsides -- it's downtown, which is much easier to get to than the industrial park way out in west River City where most call centers are around here. And, obviously, with the global economy tanking and my Unemployment slowly trickling out like the sands in an hourglass, getting some kind of paying gig has to be seen as a positive. On the other hand, the prospect of returning to any call center gig is pretty despair-inducing when I dwell on it. And, annoyingly, my take home from this particular job (which like all call center jobs will necessarily be excruciating) will end up being around 15% less than I'm currently making doing a whole lot of nothing. But of course the dole won't last forever, or, really, much past Thanksgiving, if I'm figuring the timing correctly. So, best to hope for a positive phone call tomorrow. Be with me now.

In good news, such as it is, Astonishing Adventures has accepted two more stories from me, tentatively scheduled for their second and third issues, unless, as the one editor I hear most from puts it, they don't get much material for the second issue, in which case, they're run them both there.

It's always nice to have people like my work; on the other hand, it's never hard for me to get a story accepted in any venue that pays nothing. Like OCP Vice President Dick Jones, I say good business is where you find it... but it's hard to call something 'good business' when there's no money involved. That seems to sum up the level of my writing talent, though -- anyone is happy to publish me if it doesn't cost them anything.

The two stories are called A DISH BEST SERVED COLD and DOC NEBULA AND THE GREAT MAGNETIC TRAIN CAPER. The latter from a suggestion by Tony Collett, so a big Hong Kong Cavalier salute to Tony the C, or, as he will be known on this site from now on, John 12 Pound Pizza.

The first story is pretty much classic pulp, featuring a larger than life adventurer named John Commander locked in mortal combat with his arch nemesis, the White Pharaoh. The second is what I call 'cyberpulp', an attempt to write something in classic pulp style that is set in the near future rather than the historic past. Its hero, Doc Nebula, along with his computerized sidekick/partner Jasmine, is waging economic war against the world's wealthy, ruling elite.

I make no claims for the excellence of either story, but I find I like writing 'pulp' a great deal, and only wish I could get paid for it, because it's really easy, and a lot of fun, too.

I'm not posting either story anywhere, mostly to encourage any of you deranged enough to care to go to the Astonishing Adventures site and download the issues when they become available. It's a free download, and all us contributors are doing everything we can to ramp up the mag's circulation.

I had an Unemployment eligibility review last week, and managed to get by it unscathed. So between that, and passing this unbelievable bitch of a test yesterday, and getting three stories accepted by Astonishing Adventures, I seem to be on a little roll lately. And, of course, I need only look around this apartment, or think for a moment upon SuperWife and the SuperKids, to realize that I am, in fact, on the longest and most uninterrupted lucky streak of my entire life. I guess congested sinuses are a small price to pay.

SuperWife's birthday is this Friday. I'm not suggesting any course of action. I'm just sayin', is all.


  1. Anonymous6:27 PM

    If you're going for the reference I think you're going for on the headline, shouldn't it be "May I Have 10,000 Marbles, Please?"
    It's good to hear I inspired one of your stories. Looking forward to reading them.

    Tony C.
    "John 12 pound pizza"?

  2. If you're going for the reference I think you're going for on the headline, shouldn't it be "May I Have 10,000 Marbles, Please?"

    Um... why, that's what I named this post, sir. ::whistling innocently::

    It's good to hear I inspired one of your stories. Looking forward to reading them.

    Heh. You say that now.

    "John 12 pound pizza"?

    Two possible responses leap to mind here:

    John YaYas and John Small Berries were already taken. Plus, I thought you'd probably be offended at the latter. ;)

    -- OR --

    BigbooTAY! BigbooTAY!

  3. And thanks for the info on their sub guidelines and contact. My story is (hopefully) being read/considered as we type or read. It's just a little werewolf thing.

  4. D'oh! Where the heck have I been? I guess off-line for far too long. I didn't know you were out of your last job (condolences or congratulations, whichever is more appropriate), but I hope they treat you a little better wherever you land next.

    Congrats on the pubs; I'm looking forward to reading them.

    And hope you get some sleep, for God's sake.