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April 30, 2004 | 2:50 a.m.

My family is in Wisconsin for a few days on a business trip, and so I have the house to myself.

And I have Friday and Saturday off~!

w00t.

April 24, 2004 | 11:43 p.m.
Hell, thine name is Wal-Mart. Thou flatulent and flaming purgatory of horrors so despicable, there haven't been lexicographers to yet endure it to create a word adequate to describe it!

It's been a long day. And so I return tomorrow.
 

Day off Monday. Yay.

April 23, 2004 | 11:49 p.m.
A customer actually acknowledged, sincerely, my good service at work. That's enough to make my day. That's enough to make my workday seem shorter.

Today was a good day at work, but I still want to get out of Wal-Mart.

I basically danced away my workload. I was going to be giddy, dammit, and the customers weren't going to stop me this time.
 

A bit a wisdom for you all: Don't eat Polish sausages from Wal-Mart's grill unless you're prepared for what seems an impossible level of flatulence. I have no idea how they manage it, but I feel pretty certain that's how it affects me.

Sorry for sharing. ;p
 

For those of you who are thinking The Punisher probably sucks before you go see it, let me tell you right now that it's actually a very good movie. I recommend it to everyone.

April 20, 2004 | 12:58 p.m.
4-20. An international holiday.
 

Something hit my mind, within the last day or so: praise and worship music.

I'm not sure why I thought of it, but consider this: can you recall any praise and worship songs that are NOT all about kissing ass to God? Can you think of any that are written about what God really does for us? I sure can't remember any. It's all a blanket statement, at best. I know of no songs that are about what God does for us, as individuals.

You are holy, holy, holy | God is good, all the time | This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine | etc.

Get the picture?

So I got this wonderful idea for a praise song. I think it has more honesty than the other praise and worship songs. It goes a little somethin' like this:

I love you, you love me. Let's kiss Gaw-aw-awd'sss fa-an-nee. With a great big kiss right upon his tush, let's give Satan a great big push.
I think I should submit it to the hymnal assembly people. But I guess it needs more lines.

What do you think? Is it good, or what?

April 17, 2004 | 11:52 p.m.
Thank god for the English.

Every now and then, I get an English person come to my register in Wal-Mart. And I find that extremely refreshing, because they all carry themselves very well. They're highly respectful, they speak clearly, and they actually manage intelligent smalltalk. They're such a pleasure to work with.
 

The bad news is, I work from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., tomorrow.

The good news is, my next day off is Monday.
 

You know what's sad? What's sad is that Wal-Mart takes up so much of my time that I can't seem to write about hardly anything outside of it.

Damn you, Wal-Mart.

April 14, 2004 | 12:44 a.m.
So I dropped by Hobnob and turned in my resume & application. I had a brief chat with a couple of the staff, and they let me know that when they're ready to hire, my application is on the top of their list. These guys actually had the decency to treat me like a human being, instead of blowing me off like another numbered work machine. A very nice change of pace. They behaved surprisingly like I tend to under initial circumstances: reserved and kinda monotonous, but straightforward and genuine. I got the impression that we are of the same kind.

It's easier to work a shitty job when you have some foresight for a better future. My Wal-Mart job shouldn't be quite so irritating now.

I'm still going to be looking for other work (preferably part-time) while I'm stuck with Wal-Mart, however. The Wal-Mart environment isn't good for me. It isn't who I am; it doesn't call to me at all. In the Wal-Mart world, you're just a number.
 

Although I haven't gotten as much done on my day off as I was hoping, I did nevertheless have a really good day. The nap with Anna was especially worthwhile.

I've managed another "full day", as I call it.


April 12, 2004 | 1:48 a.m.

Oh, yeah... I forgot to mention one thing. Don't watch the movie Mystery Men. It tries way too hard to be funny. It was so bad that I actually had to try to laugh. You see, sometimes I kinda force laughter to give a movie a better chance by tickling my funny-bone, so to speak.

Well, it didn't work for this movie.

It's that bad.
 

I'm scheduled to work 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., today, at Wal-Mart. Another 9-hour day. Bastards.

Maybe I'll tell you all about the bitch woman customer at Wal-Mart, next entry.
 

Why is it that when parents tell you "Welcome to the real world," they say it in response to absurd hardships? Is this what the "real world" means to them? Misery? If that's the real world, it's not a world worth working for.

April 12, 2004 | 1:30 a.m.
Damn it, if I'm wrong in my mission in life, at least I'm having guts enough to actually commit to my dreams than let them go down the drain like most people do.

My intention is to make a point. To demonstrate with my life how it can and should be.

Life is short, but history follows everyone. All the more reason to make it count. And we will be making history.

Someone tell me how one goes about being an exceptional person without allowing themselves to pursue the path of exception. To actually go and make happen what others have been unwilling to commit to.
 

This afternoon, it rained. And I smelled from the settled rain what I consider to be Brevard's signature smell for the first time, this year. It's that smell of wet moss upon the stone walls, combined with the various fragrances of the restaurants and the vegetation. It's a smell that makes you want to live the day to its fullest, and it's welcoming you to do so.
 

I drew the conclusion, over the weekend, that Brevard is a sketch. It's always kinda been a work-in-progress. There's a unique beauty in that. Parts of it has many times been erased and redrawn. There are even eraser stains, here and there, but it's still beautiful. It's beautiful for what it is and what it can be. My desire is to collaborate in advancing the sketch. I highly doubt I will be the one to finish it. More accurately, I don't think it can be finished. But I nevertheless mean to add some important strokes to it.

This is my town, baby, and I mean to make my home here.

April 9th, 2004 | 1:12 a.m.
Later today (it now having become and ungodly hour of the morning), I intend to submit my resume to a local restaurant and try to submit formal applications to it and the other businesses I've submitted my resume to. If I don't get a response within two weeks, it's back to delivering pizzas for me. Or something like that.
 

<rant>

Wal-Mart can rot. I got my paycheck from them, today. $313. For two weeks. And I worked close to 40 hours for each week. You know what? You can live off that. But that really strikes my nerve. I can do so much better than $313 from two weeks' work at Wal-Mart. Now, I'm not big on making money just for the sake of making money, but I really insist on profiting relative to my time and care involved. I'd have to be making 3 times that for every two weeks, at least, should I have any extended interest in staying with Wal-Mart.

The average, decent, freelance artist makes about $600 per month. My abilities are above average, so I'm quite sure I can manage at least that. I didn't train myself to work the "average joe" job, so I sure as hell am not going to make my career in one.

I do not need the bulk of my life to be wasted away in service of a majority of ungrateful assholes who see me more as a robot than a human being. There are better things I could be doing with my time.

Time may be money, but time more efficiently spent can afford me a far more humane life. Time working at a cash register or standing at a red line all day is a relative waste of my good time. Frankly, it's not worth $6.50/hr. I was making far more from PJ's with tips at $5.75 an hour. More than twice as much, in fact. And all I was doing was learning the town and delivering pizzas for about 6 hours each day I worked. 
 

I'm strongly trying to manage turning myself into a full-time artist. I am going to get my name out there. I'd be more satisfied to make at least minimum wage as a working artist doing what I want to do than be a wealthy, upper middle-class citizen wasting time in unfulfilling jobs.
 

Another thing: You know what I hate? The grossly overweight men and women who you'll often see coming into Wal-Mart with their shitty haircuts that just spell out "I chose this hairdo because it allows me to have the least hassle with personal hygiene while still actually having hair." (Translate into the dumbass Hick language.) Such are the kind of people that give humanity a bad name. If you guys are going to not bother with making yourselves look decent, you could at least try wearing a fucking smile and talking like a civilized human being. For god's sake, you usually wear speedos or polkadotted shorts with the least complementary color schemes imaginable. You never wear makeup of any sort. The only reason you wear shoes is because it's store policy. You hardly even bathe. You don't brush your teeth. You don't know how to use a card machine. You don't know what any words mean beyond three syllables. You can barely read. You abuse your kids. You abuse people in general. You haven't had a job in a decade. You live on welfare programs. You use the electric cart because you're too lazy to walk. The most effort you put into anything is finding the TV remote when you lose it up that disturbingly deep valley that is your butt cleavage. The reason people criticize you for being a fucking lazy, retarded fatass is because you are. You've allowed yourself to be. And if you'd do something about it you'd feel a helluva lot better, I'm sure. Before all else, stop taking your short temper out on everybody.

When I generalize with the saying "I hate people," YOU are the ones who inspired me.

Goodness me, I feel much better.

</rant>

April 7th, 2004 | 2:00 a.m.
Love is a choice. Love is something that must be worked at.

Attraction is not a choice. 

One cannot have love through attraction alone. And one should never leave a relationship that can and does work for humoring a fascination with the unknown, regardless of how much flare and pizzazz the person may seem to have. Love is an endurance race with no end. It ain't no 100 yd dash. A good relationship isn't built upon how much you can do in a fling in the shortest amount of time possible, it isn't built on fucking each other just for the sake of fucking each other. It's built upon taking one day at a time, doing the best with what you have, and reflecting upon the wide variety of memories. And this is the real reason to have a relationship. This is the very meaning of a relationship: to relate. To share experiences with one another, to combine one another's interpretations and come out with a better and more complete understanding.

Love is blind. The thing that a lot of people don't seem to realize is that it's meant to be. You can't look at someone, think, "Gee willickers, that person's hot," and love them. That doesn't constitute love. To love someone, you must support them. You must forgive their mistakes; past, present and future.
 

I think tonight has given we three much to think about.

If life were a story, tonight is probably a foreshadowing of a significant chapter.
 

Time for bed, now.

I've made my choice long ago to stick with the one who already works for me. I love you, Anna.

G'night.

April 6th, 2004 | 1:58 a.m.
So ends another long work day at Wal-Mart.

Nothing of particular interest really occurred at work today, aside from the fact that I was briefly reacquainted with an old soccer associate of mine: Rachel Broadbent. She faintly remembered me, I think. She hasn't changed a bit, although she seems to be more mature now. Judging by the shin-guards, she still plays soccer, also.

So that was interesting.
 

In other news, my dearest Anna has been helping me greatly in my efforts to get a better job somewhere other than Wal-Mart. I am eternally grateful for all the work she's put into helping me out. It has been invaluable.

Payday is this Thursday, and that's good.
 

Tuesday, the 6th, is my day off. Anna and I will be spending much of our time taking care of business matters. And we'll be having dinner with Colin and some girl he's dating from Brevard College.
 

I have a few sketches in the works. Here is a sample:

04/04/04. Forsaken Child.

This was an experiment with gesture drawing and coloring. My mojo reached empty, so that's why the drawing is in such an incomplete state. C'est la vie.

I have a feeling I'll be returning to finish this, when I'm more mentally able.

I think I'll name 'er Julie.

April 2nd, 2004 | 4:16 p.m. | Where do I go from here?

I've insisted on my own will for essentially my entire life. Always advancing the desire of my heart, my desire as an artist. This desire has yet to have made me a rich man. Indeed, it hasn't made me but $0.50 richer. Granted, I haven't made great efforts to make myself marketable, but I have no interest in training myself in the classical style just so I can be a sell-out artist. I want to be one who creates, not one who simply replicates the same stuff in pre-arranged positions. I am no artist of the left-brained persuasion.

Today is my day off. It's rather stunning how relieving it is, and yet it's very disturbing that I'll be working the next day. A Saturday. 3 pm to 10:30 pm. And then again on the following day; almost the same hours. But it's not so much the hours that I mind -- even though I think anything beyond 5 hours a day is pushing it -- it's the way they want you to behave. I am not cut out to be another human machine in the Wal-Mart factory of superficial niceness. I don't approve of standing and waiting for people in virtually the exact same place for hours at a time. Slaves of the old ages have arguably had it better.

The customers tell ME to smile in the rare instances where I've reverted back to my normal self instead of my "Hi! How are you?" self. These same people who usually wear frowns all day... and mullets. These same people who are receiving fast, efficient service better than they'll get from most cashiers. These retired citizens who don't want to take inconvenience from anyone, who want everyone to smile at them. These mothers with their bratty children who think you should never have an error, ever. And if you do, you're lucky to just hear a deep exhalation from them. I am not your slave. I am not trying to waste your time. You are not worth dealing with for only $6.50/hr.
 

The next time they ask me if I'm in school, I will tell them, "I'm an artist," and respond with a confident look. While they may disagree, at least they will know that mine is a will that won't be shaken. I'm not going to become a male nurse like they suggest I should. Or whatever other crazy idea they have. The good life isn't about the money you make. There is no such thing as a good life when you have to deal with shitty people on a regular basis.

I don't think I'm going to wait until I've worked for them for 3 months before I seriously consider other work. My mind's pretty much made up. This is just until I find other work. Hopefully, I can start tailoring my work to who I am, instead of tailoring myself to suit their wants.
 

I'm so much stronger a person, these days. These adversities are only making it easier on me to more fervently pursue the things I had my heart set on, all along. I'm going to market myself as an artist as soon as I possibly can. I don't care if I'd be making less money, at first. My first concern is making ends meet. My second concern is advancing the skills that my heart agrees to. But I want to give our business a healthy start, as soon as possible. I suppose it will never be too late to take my art seriously. I will do what I must.

April 2nd, 2004 | 12:40 a.m.
You wanna know what's sad? What's sad is how some people treat people who serve them as robots. Such is the life for first-level Wal-Mart employees. You're intended to follow scripted actions like a robot, so it seems to only make sense that people are going to treat you like one.

At least half of the customers I ring up don't acknowledge my existence. Most of them give you an offended or "I'm-better-than-you" kind of look, if they acknowledge you at all. On a daily basis, I have this exchange:

"Good evening, sir/ma'am."
"Fine. How are you?"
My speech is often made with an effort to convey enthusiasm, whereas theirs is quite often monotonous and usually quiet. You see, they're half-assed in paying attention to you.

I dare say I follow Wal-Mart's plan better than most of their employees, and I've not been with them long. I admire their plan, in the grand scheme of things, but I really think that they're too big for their own good. What works in a Wal-Mart in one part of the country may not work in others. It isn't healthy to make your employees perform seemingly neverending routines on a nearly daily basis for long periods of time, and be on their feet 95% of that time. The human body needs repose more often than this.

How did our society ever get to the point of elevating commercialism above human well-being? Must we trade our humanity for scripted response? Must we always try to greet people by their last name, underhandedly getting it from their prescription labels or credit cards or checks? Must we always ask them if they'd like us not to bag their 20 oz beverages? Must we always hold our tongue when the customer disrespects us, when we, too, are just as human and entitled to a common respect as they are? Should I really go out of my way to please the customer, running their drink to them when they're too caught up in getting in the last word to remember to pick up their beverage,  no matter how bitchy and impatient he or she may be?

This ain't no life for an artist.

April 1st, 2004 | 11:49 p.m.
A new month. A new month with infinite possibilities. What will we get accomplished in April? What do we wish to accomplish?

I found myself somewhat caught up in distractions, back in March, regarding keeping up with my dream life. So I'm going to be making special efforts to try to get back into that. I haven't been dreaming enough. I really miss it. It should not be neglected. It should be revisited often, and I believe it plays a vital role in human creativity and enjoyment.
 

Anna has been really helping my motivation for advancing our agenda to get our business running. I'm really proud of her. I tell you, I really need her to balance me out. This whole thing would likely fall apart, were it not for her contributions.

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I believe love is primarily a choice and only sometimes a feeling. If you want to feel love, choose to love and be patient.
 

Real Live Preacher, RealLivePreacher.com


 There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
 

Nelson Mandela (1918 - ), 'A Long Walk to Freedom'


 Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
 

King Whitney Jr.


 One person can have a profound effect on another. And two people...well, two people can work miracles. They can change a whole town. They can change the world.
 

Diane Frolov and Andrew
Schneider, Northern Exposure, Cicely, 1992