Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Resurrection" Redux

Hello, Persistent Purveyor of Proselytizing Prose.  

Just over two years ago I started writing my first blog.  It's been a tremendous boon since it put me on a self-enforced writing schedule.  At first I had such a backlog of pre-written stuff that I could easily do five posts a week but eventually I had to drop it down to three a week and then just weekly in order to finish editing my first book.  

In the interim I started to work more and more in the realm of video.  I also launched two spin-off blogs: one entertainment/review related and the other tabletop game related.  Right now, juggling all of these things pretty much occupies every moment of my waking life.  

For the two year anniversary of my Emblogifcation Capture Device I wanted to go back to that premier  entry for two reasons: 
  1. To Pull A Lucas and spruce it up a bit.  Now I'm not gonna render the post in 3-D or add in a ton of pointless links, photos, video and racist references.  I just wanted to show people that, yes, I know how to embed a f#@king link now.  
  2. To Pull A Coppola and do a running commentary about that first entry.  Y'know, just to give folks some insight into my headspace, my creative decisions, how I've progressed as a writer and where I stand on the blog's future.
Which is on its neck, as it turns out...  

In doing so, I'm predicting an absolutely riveting experience not just for myself, but for readers as well.  Oh and a word about the formatting: the original post text is in bold with my commentary in italicized quotes.

Alright...ready?  Here goes!   

Greetings, Gentle Reader.

"It's beaten into my head that you should always have some sort of greeting when addressing readers.  Steven King did it religiously in non-fiction books like Danse Macabre or On Writing.  I kinda dig it; it acknowledges that someone's actually taking the time to read what you wrote and it re-enforces the relationship going forward.  Reading other blogs I'm surprised by just how many of them don't have a greeting of any sort.  It's like 'Okay, no foreplay, huh?  Just up with the skirt and we're at it?'  Yeeesh."      

Welcome to my Emblogification Capture Device!

"I originally wanted to call my blog 'You Can't Get There From Here' since I always wanted to be a professional writer but the call centers I worked in to pay the bills seemed totally removed from this dream.  Every morning on the way to work I'd make all of these grand plans to write when I got home, but it never seemed to work out.  After spending an eight-and-a-half hour day sitting in front of a computer screen and doing something that I totally despised, the only thing I wanted to do when I got home was to get vaguely drunk and play video games.

"Unfortunately some jack-hole had already taken so I had to think up a second choice.  I was watching Weezer's Video Capture Device and a whole lungful of Whedonized T.V. at the time (Buffy, Angel, all) so it's quite likely that these two geeky influences synthesized into my consolation prize title.  

"As it turns out this was a blessing in disguise since 'Emblogification Capture Device' is a lot more unique and it's the first thing that pops up in a Google search."

Before I go any further I'd like to give a shout-out to Michael Chiasson, who's considerably less frivolous blog "Daddy's Home" ( gave me endless inspiration. Not necessarily to reproduce, but just, y'know the idea to...*ahem* blog about something. Trust me, I just spent Easter weekend with my wife's sister's kids and I'm seriously considering a procedure. Just kidding, gals, I love ya!

"I really do have Mike to thank (or blame) for this two-year obsession.  At the time the blog was a way for me to justify walking away from a lucrative job that, ultimately, was damaging my health and stifling my dreams.    

"Now I look back and marvel at how naive I was.  I actually thought if  I put my writing out there that some mysterious, unquantifiable and omnipotent force would stumble upon my work, validate my abilities and give me a paying gig to keep doing what I so obviously loved to do.  Alas, this hasn't happened yet but I continue to remain somewhat optimistic.  

"Despite the fact that blogging doesn't really generate any revenue for me still I can't kick the habit.  I still feel a little rush of endorphins whenever I publish something new, a sensation that I never once experienced in my old call center jobs.  On the flip-side, if I'm late with a new post, I feel as if I'm failing myself or that one reader out there who actually gives a shit.  

"A couple of side notes: (1) Mike stopped blogging back in February which gives me a sad, especially considering that he received a 100% bonus in the daddy department recently.  Hopefully he'll be able to eke out enough time to come back to it some day.  (2)  Yes, I know how to embed a friggin' link now!  Piss off!!!  (3)  I just spent yet another Easter Weekend with my wife's sister's kids and that 'procedure' is still on the table.  But I'm beginning to waver slightly as they slowly transform into interesting creatures who can hold their own in a conversation and not succumb to the constant impulse to torture and/or assault each other.  

On April 1'st 2010 I decided to honor April Fools Day by leaving a job I've been doing for the past ten years. In a time of fragile economic recovery you may think me mad, and trust me, you'd have ample evidence (just don't believe what that clown at "The Source" in Halifax Shopping center says about me, if I'd just had a smidge more plutonium last time my idea would have gone off without a hitch, I guarantee). Regardless of how crazy it seems I still cling to one thing my parents always taught me which was that "The only jobs worth doing are the ones you can have a personal impact on." Well, actually, I don't think they ever told me that verbatim, but, hey, I still think it sounds cool.

"Unlike my days at Sears I've yet to talk about my last job at any length, making me believe that this blog's best days are still ahead.  One of these days, after sufficient time and perspective has gone by, I'll feel comfortable talking about it.  After all, it took me ten years to broach the subject of Sears, fer Chrissakes.  

"But I do believe, at this point in time, that a slight reveal is in order.  So here goes:

"Six years ago I was very content in my job.  I was well-paid, I had benefits, I didn't work weekends and I was free to do things based on experience and reasonably-good level of intelligence.  In fact, at the time we were described as 'managers of our own virtual retail stores'.

"But as my department expanded, management's trust in us evaporated.  Our calls became intensely monitored, completely regimented and scored like a Spanish Inquisition tic sheet.  The results negatively impacted our commission and frequently became the fodder for what was often and ominously referred to as 'Progressive Discipline'.  

"Worst still, we were given some tremendously stressful production goals.  We had to contact a certain amount of people in a day otherwise our efforts were considered to be a complete and total failure.  If we didn't meet the unreasonable average our compensation was docked and once again the 'Progressive Discipline' bogeyman would get trotted out.  

"We were also given increasingly aggressive sales goals which were virtually impossible to meet.  And, hey, guess what?  This also kicked us in the paycheck and fueled the threat of 'Progressive Discipline'.  

"As an industrious, hard-working drone, I managed to keep my head above water but the stress eventually took a toll on me.  In the Fall of 2009 I was diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder a stress-related condition that results in chronic pain, dizziness and hearing loss because of nocturnal teeth grinding.  When I casually mentioned this to a fellow co-worker three other people stood up in the aisle and told me that they also wore bite plates to bed every night.  Notwithstanding the devastating impact this has on your sex life, such appliances are also a clear indicator that you work in a completely toxic environment.    

"The draconian changes foisted on our department caused turnover to skyrocket from 6% to over 30%.  I spoke to supervisors, site managers and division overlords in an effort to bring about positive change in the work environment.  Every single one of them seemed to sympathize with me and promised to make improvements at the start of the next fiscal year.  

"But instead of it getting better it got worse.  Under the new structure our commission rates dropped sharply.  I watched my paycheck get neutered for three months before I had enough and announced my resignation.   

"Exactly one year later I was talking to someone who still works in that division and she thanked me profusely.  She went on to explain that 'After you and a bunch of other high-profile people did their protest quit in 2010 upper management made everything better.  They cut back on the punitive monitoring, the crazy sales goals and the insane production numbers.  It's back to the way it used to be!'

"Now, don't get me wrong, I'm delighted that my actions may have resulted in positive change there.  But I'm also pissed beyond belief  that it took a slew of people upsetting their lives before this unconscionable company finally decided to do something about it.  Real classy, guys.  

"P.S. In retrospect, the whole 'plutonium' / 'The Source' joke is kinda weak sauce."  

Regardless of how I cooked up that little chestnut I believe in it firmly. This was my first day not being a cog in a corporate engine. All I did today was reorganize my storage closet, write a movie review for my "Facebook" profile (, make mexican soup, vacuum, sweep my patio and watch an episode of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" (see EPIC/FAIL below) yet I feel I've done more sensible and productive things today than I did at work for the past three months. Sad but true.

"I really meant it when I said that I did more productive things in one day at home then I did in three months at work.  Which is why I believe that so many of us live lives of quiet desperation.  Quick quiz: if you've ever arrived at work and were soundly disappointed that the HOUSE OF PAIN hasn't been spirited away by aliens overnight, you really need to consider a career change.  Especially if you don't care that your fellow co-workers are currently having the crap probed out of them.

"Since I don't trust Facebook much anymore, my movie reviews now appear right here.   I did that just to prove that I can now embed a link, BTW.  

"Also, in an interesting twist, Jamie Oliver was two years ahead of the mainstream media when it came to revealing the horrors of pink slime.  How sad is that?"    

One thing I learned working in call centers for the past fifteen years ("Fifteen years?!! Sweet Jesus, he's gotta be ready for the booby-hatch by now!") is that people really love reality shows like "Dancing with the Stars", "The Bachelor", or "Who Wants To Be Groped By a Bill Lynch Fair Employee?". Personally, I hate the &$!@@!* things (since I maintain that you are your own reality show), but I understand why folks watch 'em. Since most of them are the equivalent of watching a slow-motion bus-wreck, many people believe they cater to the lowest common denominator of humanity: the fan of Schadenfreude or those that take pleasure from the misfortunes of others.

"For all of you schadenfreuders at home keeping score: I'm removing the 'Updated Weekly!' blurb from the masthead.  Why?  Because regardless of how happy it makes me, I'm not making enough money as a writer and my savings are bleeding out like a noob in Call of Duty.   Going forward I have to make finding a 'real' job a full-time priority.  Hopefully one that I'm good at, have a vested interest in, has a social conscience and won't make me physically sick.    

"Oh, that 'Who Wants To Be Groped By a Bill Lynch Fair Employee?' gag is still money, BTW.  Heh, heh."

I like to retain a bit more hope in the human race, however, and maintain that as much as people like to watch others fail they also get a rush out of witnessing when someone succeeds at dream fulfillment. And although I've finally figured out what it means to be "long in the tooth" now (seriously, why do your front teeth start to look like cuttle bones after a certain age?) , I still have this dream to make a living in some sort of creative venture.

"This statement, co-incidentally, won the 'Most Naively Sanguine Paragraph In A Blog Post Award' for 2010.  The writer has since received a diploma of idiocy, a handful of mud and a kick in the head. 

"P.S. the cuttlebone gag is a bit of a wash."

So, Gentle Reader, take my hand and come with me as we wind on down a road of high adventure. I'd appreciate any good karma you can afford but you'd be forgiven if mean ole' schadenfreude takes hold sometimes and you feel like laughing and pointing when I mess up royally.

To all you schadenfreuders out there: you may now start laughing you collective asses off.  Shouts of 'I told you so!' will also be deemed appropriate.  

Stay tuned, folks, next I'm hoping to get into some juicy back story which hopefully will get you all up to speed. I'm sure you'll find it amusing. Or utterly sad, I'm not sure which.

Looking back I have to say that the ratio was about 30% from column 'A' and 70% from column 'B'.  

Until next time (whenever that might be) check out today's brand spankin' new EPIC/FAIL links (now with fancy new imbedded video!)

EPIC   Honestly, my boy was way ahead of the game...

EPIC IDIOCY  I should have signed up for this course instead of IT.  I'd love to provide a vital psycho-social service for my community!  :o(

FAILSPECTATIONS  A damned fine question, Globe n' Mail..

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