“I couldn't live a week without a private library
- indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor
before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.” ― H.P. Lovecraft

Whistling In The Graveyard: December 26, 2004

Friday, December 31, 2004


So I’m cleaning the computer desk and I find the water bill that I had been waiting for in the mail.

Have I mentioned how much I hate finding unopened bills?

Yeah, so I open it and it says our water was scheduled to be shut off two days ago.

Here’s to government efficiency folks.

So I panic a bit, till I realize I can drop a check in the night deposit box and they’ll get it in the morning and hopefully they won’t shut it off.

I just called my former employer again and was told that they’re not hiring. Now they keep telling me I’m still an employee, but they won’t let me come back. I’ve basically been laid-off for getting sick and I can’t come back till I’m 100% better.

So I’m calling a labor lawyer tomorrow. I figure it couldn’t hurt. I mean, it seems like I’m being discriminated against for my perceived handicap.

I think I’m going to reapply to my old day job there too. I’m not in the shape to do it, but I’m going to try anyway. Make the bastards fire me, then I can surely sue them.

Anyways, now I just need to take care of the electric bill, gas bill and cable bill.

Electric and gas will be taken care of next week.

The cable may be something of a problem. I’ve already made arrangements for a free dial-up connection, so I won’t be totally isolated if I have to ditch the cable modem, but the net is helping me stay connected to everyone. It would suck to have to isolate myself that much more.

So I’m justifying it by trying to make some money with the web.

I already have a bit, but I’m going to branch out.

So keep your eyes on my Café Press store in the upcoming weeks. I plan on finally putting some shirts up there worth having. I’m working on one with the Bunny, and I’m seriously considering finally putting up some Lil’ Zombie shirts. I’d hoped to work out some deal where Zombie herself could put them up on Chaos In Motion, but Zombs has gone AWOL and CIM is down.

Will it return? I don’t know, but if not I’ll keep Lil’ Zombie alive somewhere online.

Zombie, if you read this, I’d rather not go on without you, but I do want to keep going.

Also, I may sell some stuff on E-bay, but before I sell it I’m going to offer it right here to you guys first.

First item is an autographed CD from the artist Sass Jordan. Most of you probably don’t know who she is. I only really picked it up because I found it in a pawn shop bin and saw the autographs.

It’s in like new condition, signed by her and the band she was touring with (Not all the signatures match the band members listed inside the album.) and it’s personalized "To Ron".

I figure someone out there wants it. So if you’re that person shoot me a message before I E-bay it. You can E-mail me or you can ‘bid’ in my comments section.

I’m also gonna call the plasma center tomorrow. It’s a longshot, but it’s $50 a week.

Now I’m gonna go spank it.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Just got back from dropping off my resume’ at the Graffiti office a little while ago.

I almost didn’t go when I found out that it was in the same building as the Parkersburg News & Sentinel.

I swore some time ago that, even though I want to be paid to write, I would never work for the Sentinel.

See, the Sentinel is, in newspaper parlance, a rag.

A rag that has personally offended me on more than one occasion.

And I don’t mean I’ve taken issue with their poorly thought out articles or the fact that they won’t carry ‘Outland’, I mean personally offended.

The first offense was some time ago.

My Dad had stopped on the way to work and bought a newspaper from the machine at the store behind what is now my house.

Well the guy that fills the machines claimed that he THOUGHT Dad took more than one newspaper. So he gets in his car and follows my Dad to work. He doesn’t catch up to Dad, but he does get the license number of the truck.

While this is going on some other newspaper employee went through the machine and found six newspapers missing.

Six goddamn newspapers.

Three fucking dollars worth of goddamn newspapers.

Never mind the fact that Dad wasn’t the first person to use the machine that morning, or the fact that Mr. fucking newspaper detective didn’t actually see Dad take more than one newspaper.

We never talked about it, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t do it. Even if he did take more than one (And who hasn’t?) I doubt he would have taken six of them.

Anyways, they take him to court.

For three fucking dollars worth of newspapers.

Now they have no evidence, and the amount of the newspapers wouldn’t be enough for small claims court, it somehow goes to court anyway.

Even though we have a witness who worked at the store who testified that the deliverymen rarely, if ever, put the right number of papers in the box in the first fucking place, Dad is found guilty and has to pay $2,000.

$2,000 for three fucking dollars worth of fucking newspapers.

Because it's hard to get re-elected as a judge by pissing off the local media.

This alone is reason enough for me to hate the management of that particular newspaper, but that’s just the start.

Some time after that, December 8th 1997 to be exact, they cover a really bad car accident. A fatal accident. My Dad’s accident.

I know it’s not unusual to run a picture of an accident in the newspaper. It is, however, unusual to run pictures two days in a row.

Especially when the second picture is that of the body bag being loaded into the ambulance.

Let me know if I’m being over-sensitive here, but it seems just a tad vindictive.

But I let it go. You know, in the interest of not seeming totally insane. Something that I’m probably failing at now.

Because I seem so freaking normal most of the goddamn time.

But I thought that I should probably not work for them.

At least till I stopped fantasizing about setting the building on fire.

Well that was some time ago, and today, despite the fact that I still fantasize about setting the building on fire, I went inside with resume’ in hand.

A guy comes out to get my resume’ and I ask him just how much of an association Graffiti and the Sentinel share. Well he takes me back to meet the Graffiti guy and I basically get an interview.

Good news is, he likes my work and wants to see more. Also good is the fact that I’m pretty sure I’ll get hired. And best of all, while both papers are owned by the same entity they share none of the same management.

I guess I’ll just have to compromise slightly.

Bad news is that the paying position, the one with the benefits, is the job in ad sales. That job is in Charleston, and it’s already been filled. The writing job is mainly for people that are just looking to be published and it probably won’t provide any real cash and certainly no benefits.

I do have to admit though, it’s nice to go into an interview and actually be qualified, highly qualified even, for the position you’re applying for.

At best I’m usually mildly incompetent.

So I’m going to continue to pursue the job anyway, because who knows? I could end up with something after all.

I’m glad he didn’t dig too deep into why I wanted to know if Graffiti was associated with the sentinel or not. It would likely not bode well to call the Sentinel's editor a pigfucker in front of a prospective employer.

Actually, as a rule it’s best not to use the word pigfucker in a job interview in any context. Unless it’s a job fucking pigs I guess, but those jobs, just like the writing job I just applied for, are usually done just for the satisfaction of a job well done.

The best part is that he wants to see my ‘edgy’ stuff. See, I took him a short-short story, and two comic strips, all of which were selected because they were some of my least offensive pieces.

He wants MORE offensive.

Seriously, he WANT’S me to crank it up.

God, that’s like letting a pasty, surgical addicted, creepy pedophile build an amusement park in his backyard…

Sorry, that was a cheap shot, and I’m better than that.

Wait, no I’m not...

So now I’m just sitting around trying not to think about the imminent shut-off of most of my utilities, and believe me, it’s not easy.

I’d been staving off panic by telling myself that I could be getting this job. I no longer have that delusion.

Things aren’t really that dire. I have meetings with the department of Health and Human Resources next week about getting on bill discount plans, it’s just that we’re cutting it kinda close and I don’t have the most confidence in the government’s swiftness to act.

I wonder why that could be?

So I’m trying like hell not to overeat or grind my teeth into stumps, but it looks like I’m going to have to do one or the other.

I’m gonna play some HALO 2. Maybe shooting something will help.

If not, I guess I could always burn down the newspaper building…

So I hope everyone had a happy whatever it is you celebrate.

I had a decent one.

The only thing that really annoyed me was the level of concern my family has about my health.

Not the level of concern really, just the way they express it.

See, those of you that know me know that I have, to put it gently, a weight problem.

To put it not so gently, I'm a big fat fuck.

I've always been overweight (What? Someone that spends as much time online as you do? No!), but I was actually beginning to get into halfway decent shape (Shut-up Rich) when I got sick.

After waking up from being sick, I found that I had lost a little weight. This was mostly from the absence of my appendix and 18 inches of bowel. I estimate their weight at about ten pounds.

Where I really lost weight was the 11 days after that where my only sustenance was from an IV drip.

I was significantly lighter.

Well in the three years following that my body has gone straight to fucking hell.

This has a lot to do with the huge fucking hole in my midsection. You know, the one I won't shut the fuck up about.

It's kinda hard to exercise when you constantly feel like you've just been kicked in the stomach.

So this means I've just been sitting around watching TV and messing around on the internet and eating.

You know you burn 250 calories each time you masturbate? I do. It factors prominently in my diet/exercise program.

So the doctors want me to have a gastric bypass. They say they won't do the hernia repair if I don't get the bypass because the hernia will just come back open if they don't.

They assure me that I need it and they don't just want to do it because it's the new trend and it costs a fuck-ton of money.

Well I've gone back and forth on the issue and dealing with the resulting family dynamic. If I want it, they don't. When I don't want it, they do.

This is usually restrained to my immediate family, but as time goes on, and my time spent jobless weighs even heavier upon my sanity (and YES, as I'm probably getting fucking fatter) other members of my family are joining in.

Well at Christmas dinner it was my Aunt Linda, my father's sister.

Historically she's been pretty cool, but she has a friend that recently had the bypass done.

Her friend had major problems resulting from the surgery, infections and stuff, kinda like I had from my first round of surgeries. The kind of stuff I'm really afraid to have happen again.

Well Linda's friend finally got better and I guess now she looks pretty good, so now everyone thinks I should get the bypass.

This follows on the heels of me watching the Al Roker special in which he explains that one out of every 50 people getting a gastric bypass has serious complications from it and one out of every 200 goddamn DIES.

And I'm concerned about it. Aren't I a selfish fuckin' prick?

I'm not afraid to die. Been there, seen it, bought the T-shirt. By and large, being dead was rather pleasant, but that doesn't mean I'm in any hurry to do it again.

More than dying though, I'm afraid of possible complications. Complications that could negatively impact not just my life, but the lives of those around me.

After eleven months I got my body working again. Working as well as it did before I got sick and I was damn lucky for it.

Pardon me if the idea of having my large intestine hacked on again unnecessarily makes me a bit uneasy.

But like I said, it's not the concern that bothers me, it's the fact that nobody will let it drop.

Nobody in my family anyway. My friends for the most part might mention some concern, we might even have some conversation about it, that's OK. You can talk to me about my health concerns, I appreciate it, but at some point I need to talk about something else.

My friends understand this. My family, however, thinks that if they badger me constantly about something I'll eventually do what they want just so they'll shut the fuck up.

And they're usually right.

I swear to fucking God though, all goddamn X-mas day it was:

Linda: "Have you thought about the bypass?"

Me: "Yes I did, but I've decided that it's not worth the risks."

Linda: "Well my friend is doing a lot better and we think you should get it."

Me: "So when your friend was dying from the complications you were against it, but now that she's better and somewhat more aesthetically pleasing you think I should get it?"

Linda: "Why don't you go to one of the meetings and talk to some people that have had it?"

Me: "Are they going to talk up some way that I could have better odds than one in 200?"

Linda: "Well if you go to a good doctor..."

Me: "Then the odds are still one in 200."

Linda: "Where did you hear that statistic?"

Me: "From people that think the surgery is a GOOD idea. I wonder what the people that're against it would say?"

And this went on all fucking day. That and people saying "We're all so worried about you".

Well thank you. I'm worried about me too, but you think I could have a few hours to not think about it? On fucking X-mas? Please?

Apart from that my holiday was good.

Oh, good news, My sister-in-law, Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS, found me a job to apply for. She's done this before. Thing is, this one doesn't suck.

The publication Graffiti, a local free newspaper circulated at West Virginia college campuses, is looking for writers.

This is good for me being that I'm quite qualified in the writing department. This is problematic for me as I can't apply online and my printer is out of ink so I can't print out a resume' or examples of my work, nor can I afford a new $25 ink cartridge.

Well I can afford it, but then I'd have to let them shut off one of my utilities. (3 shut-off notices this month. A new high)

My friend Ryan was kind enough to provide me with a nice print of said resume' tonight. He and Raychel came by tonight to drop it off and watch Shaun of the Dead, which keeps getting better every time I watch it.

It looks pretty impressive for someone that's done essentially nothing with his life.

That's not feeling sorry for myself either. I'm kinda proud of the fact that I've reached 30 without accomplishing anything. If only doing nothing was a paying job I'd never quit.

So tomorrow, I'll be waking up, going over to my brother's place to walk his dogs, use his printer to make copies of one of my short stories and one of each of my comic strips (Who knows? They may print Lil' Zombie or want me to come up with something new.), then zip over and drop it off, get back in home in time to take Nate to work, then go back home again to try and get the cable company to extend the deadline on my cable getting shut off.

Naturally all this means I won't be able to sleep. Not being able to sleep means I'm going to toss and turn till about 10 AM and then fall into a deep sleep and not wake up till Nate needs to go to work, which will be after my brother gets back home to find both dogs have shit in their cages and I won't be able to print my stuff or make my goddamn sandwich and I'll have to listen to another round of "Why haven't you applied for that job yet? You're doing it just to spite us aren't you? After all we did for you while you were sick?"

Why is it that when my life looks up the most I feel the most down?

Manic depression, that's why.

Oh, before I forget to mention it, we also watched "Super Size Me". Despite the reservations I had going into it, it was an interesting movie. I still think that guy is a dumbass though.

So after Ryan, Raychel and I finish the movie and Ryan helps me assemble the computer that Brian salvaged for me (Which I am typing on right at this moment. Thanks guys.) they leave.

A few minutes later I get a phone call. It's them. Apparently they turned off of the majesty that is East 12th Street (East 12th represent, yo.) at about 2 AM, and onto 13th street where they were immediately boxed in by cop cars and interrogated.

Questions like "Where have you been?" "How long were you there? What was the address?" and "Who lives there?" all asked. All your top 40 hits.

The standard cop intimidation procedures were used to mask the fact that they were looking for something or someone specific.

Now I know nothing interesting or illegal is going on at my place, and nothing would make me happier than to sit down with the police and tell them what shitbags my neighbors are, but #1: I don't appreciate the police pulling my friends over and giving them that "You were swerving all over the road" horseshit and #2: I know this means at least one of my neighbors is dealing.

And I don't even give a fuck THAT they're dealing, it's WHAT they're probably dealing.

See, the one thing Parkersburg West Virginia is known for is being stuck in-between everything and everything else. This means a fuckload of tractor-trailers come through here and that means there's a thriving market for crystal methamphetamine.

Ever see a Meth-lab explode? Me niether, and I'd like to fucking keep it that way.

God, I love the holidays, don't you?

Merry fucking X-mas everyone.