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On relief

On relief

You know it exists.  You’ve felt its embrace.  You’ll wait and wait and wait knowing that it will show up and pull all the pain and sorrow from your depressed mind.  Then one day, one very, very good day, fortune sways her tiller and relief finally pays you a visit.  You rush into its arms, not caring what disruption its presence bring.  All you know is that it is finally here with its many precious gifts:  Endings that didn’t come soon enough, freedom from layers upon layer of self doubt and dread, and, above all, peace.  The orgasmic peace that only comes after a storm.  Safety from past fears is assured and I am once again treading on new shoes in a new town with nothing but newness to strike my fancy.  Oh all the new things I can think and do.  And all the new options available to me too.

On my replacements for crying

On my replacements for crying

I want to cry.  I want to.  I can’t cry.  The culture of my youth beat the crying out of me.  Just like it beat into me when is appropriate to celebrate.  Celebrate your birthday! celebrate your wedding! Celebrate your graduation! celebrate here celebrate there.  Cry for death.  Cry happily for a birth.  Cry for pain so horrible that you can’t remember that you’re not supposed to cry when something hurts.  But under no circumstances should you cry because you had no choice but to take a pay cut that has left you without fun money for the past 6 months you fucking pussy.  Suck it up and deal with it.

Jerks, my childhood friends, plain assholes.  I’ll cry if I want to.  At least I wish I could now.

The world has changed. I’m now surrounded by people of the same generation who all just want to cry and filet their emotions onto me.  The same people who made fun of my glasses in grade school are wearing that exact same style.

Me, I’ve evolved into a cooler style of glasses and have learned to control my crying by just being silent or changing the subject or shrugging it off with some humor so i can sort through my emotions in private.

Now I’m the asshole.  I’m the bad friend who is inconsiderate because I don’t understand why they are emotional.  I’m the one who tried really hard to suck it up to survive and those same skills that made me not the cry baby, now make me he asshole.  I’m fucked either way and to top it off I’m broke.  These parasites just keep feeding!

Merging heaven and earth

Merging heaven and earth

It is sad that us 30 somethings are leading no different of a trajectory then our parents.  Sad because that wasn’t the plan.  We didn’t plan to live blue collar jobs where 50 cent raises every year were a luxury.  We planned to make bank.  Instead of getting jobs at stable companies out of high school or after our AA degrees, we went full out and got through grad school.  To make what?  An inflation adjust equivalent of your parent’s 1980’s wages plus a student loan.  Without what? a house and a family.

Seriously, my parents had a family young because they could afford one.  They had the means to make it happen.  My generation had them either by accident (trust me not a single one of my “smart” friends from high school has had a child out of wedlock because we studied the shit out of birth control) or planned without an infusion from inheritance.

I set out to beat debt.  I wasn’t going to live like everyone else either racking up credit cards or using their house as an ATM.  But it doesn’t work.  The possibilities are too abundant and salaries have declined.  Everywhere I turn are people trying to over charge for the most simplest of items.  $3.00 for a kitchen sponge where I can get 10 for $2.00 elsewhere.  Simple everyday things that suck the life out of me.  These things add up, and marketers know that.  I feel taken advantaged of.  Employers know we need money so they hold it against us.  This world is evil.  We really are in hell, our own reincarnated level of hell.  I’ve known this since I was a child and I see it to be true because happiness is only temporary.  We are given what we get for no understandable purpose.  the fact that it is not comprehensible or apparent that we know why we are here and playing in this specific position suggests that that is why we are here.  The unknowns are the key.  The unknowns are our reason for reincarnation or whatever you want to call it.  We are tortured by the ones better off than us just as much as the less fortunate.  We can not achieve higher and fear a fall further from grace.

Be not afraid is a mis nomer.  Be afraid.  So afraid that you chose to help create heaven on earth.  Don’t worry about standing up to the politicians,  go beyond them.  Create heaven on earth, don’t wait for the after life.  Make the after life heaven when you get there too.  Clean up hell.  Don’t yield to the intimation of the under world.  Don’t go weak in the knees and embrace your own mortality.  Merge heaven and earth.  Bring them as one and no one will suffer.  No one will be left starving or maddened by ignorance and illness.

Make life a better place in all realms and dimensions.  Bring the gods in harmony, let the angels sing and the fairies unite.  This place is only evil as much as we let evil in.  Merge the worlds and summon the spirits to pull it all together for endless mirth and merriment.  Only then will this abomination of disparity cease to exist.

Evil Place

Evil Place

It’s an evil place playing a dirty trick. Everywhere are teases of happiness and absolved despair with a price just out of reach. It allows you the knowledge that you’ll fall over a cliff if you lean just slightly more forward to grasp the carrot of a day. Nowhere is the actual capability to bring the carrot closer. Everyone is fooled. They tout ideas and strategies for bringing the carrot closer as they themselves remain carrot-less as well. The only way to ever get close to the carrot is to sell your soul to the evilness. To work for the madman to keep the distractions flowing so no one wakes up from the illusion. Those who have woken up are pitied for everything they’ve lost. In this place, no one can keep their worldly possessions without paying a price to the madman. Only two choices exist: pay with all your possessions and live in exile as an unfortunate, or pay with your heart and soul working your life behind meaninglessness barriers.

Waiting for Prosperity

Waiting for Prosperity

Raquel sat waiting by the river for something positively exciting to happen to her. She’d had enough of the boring and miserable aspects of life. Death, loss, being broke, toxic relationships, career setbacks, etc. You name it, it’s happened. All these dark sides had shaken her confidence and belief in the attainment of dreams. She found herself going out less and not wanting to get involved in social activities because of the hidden costs associated with them. As she sat she reviewed all her naïve hopes from years past. “I was going to be great! I was going to put in the hard work necessary to make a grand living, gain respect and create my own small empire of wealth.” It distressed her to reflect on the situation in which those dreams evolved. Unfortunately, far from reality was that time of life. So small was the social circle and breadth of knowledge of how the world really operated, it was no wonder that she had once thought she could accomplish all that.

She in herself had changed too. When those dreams were stamped into her mission in life she had yet to experience her own joys of life outside the buffering childhood. The joys of solitude and general dislike for seemingly pointless and repetitive social cues were pivotal examples of how her own personality blocked her attainment of those dreams. Without at least a tolerance for politics how could she expect to navigate organizations in power or even encourage people to follow her should she wish to create her own environment? Some social constructs were fairly easy to navigate, however, those we generally found easy to everyone else as well making them less lucrative and/or just plain lazy.

In a way she was over those old dreams. After all, many of them had been accomplished so it was just a lingering few that refused to be fulfilled. Dropping the dreams was an option, but the feeling of “if I try just a little bit longer” always kept her coming back to them. The idea that she simply lacked new dreams was also toyed with. But her new found knowledge of the world shrunk her dreams to fit that realistic reality and thus new dreams were actually accomplished rather easy as they we both easily attainable with her current skills or simply dreamt up from a more practical mind.

All of which brought her to today, a place where she believed that simply waiting around for a lucky break into prosperity would do her more good than targeted action.

Employee wants = business gain

Employee wants = business gain

Mark sat slumped in the uncomfortable auditorium room chair trying to keep his eyes open while his manager, Ray, was intently taking notes. “Employee wants = business gain,” Ray whispered as he jotted it down.

“Anyone understand what this means?” the presenter asked. The audience stared back blankly. “Remember our list of employee wants? Who can give me a recap?” A young, balding college student raised his hand and spoke, “We’re supposed to document what our employees want,” the presenter nodded and continued, “this is where we use that information. As business do we really care what our employees want?” the presenter put his hand to his ear, “I can’t hear you,” he yelled after a soft “no” was heard in the audience. “Do we really care what employees want?” “No!” yelled the audience.

“Exactly! We don’t care! What we do care about is how we can use that information to increase productivity, profitability, and get ourselves that promotion. And how can we do that?” The balding college student stood up again, gleaming at the recognition, “by using it as leverage, to, to, to…” he shuddered, “get what the business needs.” “Yes!” Exclaimed the presenter.

“For example, Mary is a single mother, you know she’s stressed but she’s compliant. She has accumulated 1.5 weeks of vacation time and wants to take a long weekend to take her kids to see their grandparents. Do we let her go?” Silence from the audience, “No. No we don’t let her go, not without getting something in return to make you look like a gracious and productive manager, any ideas?”

The audience shouted ideas out:

“Ask for overtime?”

“Work through lunch”

“Take on extra projects”

“All good ideas, you just have to make sure you know the labour laws. You can’t specifically ask her to work through a legal break period, but you can force them into working through a break by giving them extra projects. Plus breaking a labour law gives the employee power, and we don’t want that. You see, employees are the female in the employment relationship. A good manager keeps them off balance and instils fear of being rejected. Giving them power is the opposite of productive and profitable.

“But isn’t it a good thing to empower employees and encourage them to make their own decisions?” a confused woman in the back row asked.

“Yes and no,” the presenter answered. “It is good when it makes you look good and increases profits, AKA your bonus.” He smiled. “Making the employee work extra hard for a vacation she’s already accrued is a double win for the company. Employees will become accustomed to working harder for their vacations. Can anyone think of a third level of productivity that can be achieved?”

A mix of blank faces and contemplative smiles emitted from the audience. “The third productivity gain from this psychological game is that once employees learn that they need to improve productivity to go on vacation, they’ll naturally work hard before requesting the time off. Once they request the time off (or whatever else it is they want) you can ask for even more productivity (or whatever it is that would benefit your numbers) before the delivery date of their request.”

Mark’s manager turned to him with a smile and whispered, “This is such a great idea, how much do you think we could improve our numbers with this strategy?”

Mark clicked his pen and wrote shortly on his steno pad, and crumpled the paper. After grabbing his brief case, he stood, turned around and said, “Catch,” and tossed the ball of paper onto his manager’s lap. Confused his manager un-crumpled the paper and read “I QUIT” written in the centre of the page. By the time he looked up, Mark was slowly walking out of the auditorium doors.

 

San Francisco

San Francisco

Jane sat leaning on her bedroom’s bay window soaking up the sun on her face while she pretended she was laying on the beach in her hometown. Even though this was the first day in a week that the sun had broken through the dense San Francisco fog, the air outside, helped by the whooshing wind, still sent an annoying chill down her neck whenever she got lazy about tying her scarf correctly.

“It’s always 50 degrees here,” was her latest mantra since it was the first thing that came to mind every time people asked how she was enjoying her freshman year of college.

“Getting into a lot of trouble, I bet!” was another common one. She would stare back blankly or shrug. It wasn’t that she wasn’t enjoying herself; it was that her usual sources of fun no longer existed and the new ones being experienced weren’t reliable old friends she could turn too to ward off her boredom or need for excitement. They were simply fun new experiences with no predictable reoccurrence in her daily routine.

There was plenty going on. Parties, drunken dorm room chats, drama between roommates, and all the usual college campus life experiences that she came there to check out. She had new friends who were getting themselves into all sorts of random situations, but she was still on the outside of it all. Simply going with the flow and wasn’t sure how to breakout of herself.

Her boyfriend wasn’t helping. Even though he was staying home for college they wanted to stay together and still felt connected in their distance relationship, his opinions held her back. She bought a CD off a street performer playing the cello and played it over the phone feeling certain that John would appreciate it but all he said was, “why would you buy a shitty CD off a street performer? I can download something just like it for free online.” She sighed, “I just thought it sounded pretty that’s all. Besides it was only $5.00.” She changed the subject, “Are you coming to visit this weekend? Is your brother’s friend still driving up?” He complained, “Ugh, it is such a long drive, it’ll take like 6 hours.”

He complained. “He was never a good traveller,” his mom explained to her once. “I don’t remember a single time that we drove to Las Vegas without him throwing up. We resorted to sleeping pills once he was old enough, but then he just felt groggy and cranking for hours after we got there.”

He made the drive and was dropped off at his brother’s apartment in Berkley. When she called to tell him which train to take into the city, he was reluctant to take the 45 minute train across the bay from “We’re having a good time here, why don’t you just come join us.” She took the train.

She arrived late after having gotten side tracked by some usual dorm drama and a long deserved nap. He met her at the train station with a big hug and beer ridden kiss and suddenly she felt better. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Nothing, I just think I had a bad day, should be better now, I’m glad you’re here,” she replied with a deep breath and progressive smile. He took her hand and they slowly wandered to his brother’s place.

Happiness Tax

Happiness Tax

Brendan sat in his seat fidgeting with excitement as the reverend briskly began writing on the white board. “This course, my dear students, is designed to help you ease into adulthood,” said the reverend as he wrote “Introduction to Adulthood, Life 101 taught by Reverend Bertram” on the white board. “You’ve passed your exam, had your little summer break and now it is time to get to work. His assistant was busy passing out packets to each student.

“For the next 15 minutes, you are all instructed to read your packet to fully understand your job assignments; I will be available after that time to answer any questions you may have.”

Brendan eagerly opened the yellow envelope and read his job title, “Happiness tax collector.” His heart sank. His job was to be the person taxing people based on how much fun and enjoyment they received in life.

Cinderella in Finance

Cinderella in Finance

An adapted Cinderella story that is about finding ones success in life rather than true love. It is about a young woman facing obstacles to getting her ideas known to save a dying company. Her personal life is filled with loving people who all struggle financially. Her parents are depressed over lost retirement money. Her sister did college only after being laid off and is heavily in debt over the whole situation. Her being a major family source of income drives her to continue working for evil bosses and co-workers until one day there is an opportunity to get her ideas heard by the CEO. She succeeds, saves the company, and they all live happily ever after.

 

It’s about finally getting that lucky break to get the training and guidance needed to show the world what you can do.

 

There once was a CFO who hired a new Finance Manager.

“Everyone,” The CEO smiled happily I’d like you all to meet, Estelle.

This Finance Manager turned out to be pleasant to his face, BUT ill-natured behind his back. She soon gained the respect of two Senor Accountants who were just as unpleasant and together they slowly made everyone in the department miserable. The CFO had a financial analyst of his own, but once he retired leaving his position vacant. She soon become under the direction of the Finance Manager and Senior Accountants. They made her do all the messy and time-consuming work, and she was nicknamed Bea for beaver, because she was always getting in their way in an attempt to get her work done.

 

The CEO was bored and feeling low about recent declines in the company’s market share, so he decided to host a huge brain storming meeting to gather ideas from employees about how to increase profitability of the company. The meeting was an anonymous panel where employees pitched ideas from behind a wall. The evil Finance Manager and senior accountants were invited, but Beaver was not allowed to go due to a reporting deadline. The evil ones, tricked her into believing that it was causal Friday so she wouldn’t be dressed for the event. After they left, the CEO’s executive assistant rushed back into the office to pick up something he forgot and noticed Beaver still working. Appalled that she was still working, she quickly pulled a suit from behind her office door and gave it to Beaver to wear to the meeting. She let Beaver be driven across the company campus in the golf cart to get to the meeting on time. Before Beaver left, the executive assistant warned her to be home before midnight to submit the filling data by the deadline.

 

Cinderella was a hit at the meeting. The CEO fell in love with her ideas and asked her name. Just then the clock struck 11:45pm, and Beaver ran away to submit her reports. She was in such a hurry; she lost one of her power flats. It was the only clue the CEO had to find the girl full of great ideas to save the company. He went to every department in the kingdom and glanced at every young woman’s collection of work shoes under their desks to see if he could find the other power flat. The evil senior accountants didn’t have the same sized power flat, but Beaver did. The CEO promoted her to Chief of Innovation and they all lived happily ever after.

 

Dreams, spells, and finding the gods

Dreams, spells, and finding the gods

Chapter 1

Mylin set out in search of the gods equipped with a book of spells she wrote down after each dream that came to her every time she fell asleep by the town river. Her decision to get up a go came after one particular dream wherein she could not understand the spell. Try and try as she might to write down the words in her mind, they came out jumbled and twisted on the page. She decided at that point that she had had enough and needed to seek more expert council than the town sage, Moreagan, who was more concerned with the town wealth than the needs of its patrons. “If these spells don’t make money,” he once told her, “then they are no good to us. We need currency to exchange for better building materials, paper, and fabric from our neighbors, not a bunch of poppycock words.” He exclaimed as he slammed his fist on the open book, creasing the binding. Mylin winced. “Why don’t you get your head out of the clouds and just settle down like a good young lady with Toreagan, he’s going to need sons to manage all those fields someday. The sooner the better!” The sage shuffled Mylin out and slammed the door. Feverently, she knocked on the door, “Mr. Sage, my book!” Suddenly the side window opened with a furry and out tossed the book out the window into the sage’s trash heap.

With two fingers, Mylin picked up her precious book of spells, shaking off a banana peel, rotting opinion slice, and rogue caterpillar clinging hungrily to the edge of the delicious pages. She glanced, embarrassed at the townsman all chuckling at her situation.

Mylin hopelessly walked back to her cabin and tossed the book on her lonesome bed in the corner and went about preparing her dinner. “How is it that my own people do not understand me? Or maybe I just don’t understand them?” Mylin sighed a heavy sigh and decided to calm herself by reciting a spell seemed fitting for the moment. “Peace may come and peace may go,” she whispered stirring her soup, “Peace may come and peace may go, echos bid me follow so, peace may come and peace may go, peace may come and peace may go, fear not the shadows of which thy not know.”

That night, unable to either fully wake or sleep, Mylin tossed and turned at the often violent images that passed through her mind screen. At dawn she was finally able to wrestle herself up and out of bed. Grogey from not having a proper nights rest, she stumbled backwards over her bedside table and landed on top her book of spells. “OUCH!” She yelled leaping up in a panic grabbing both her head (which had hit the floor) and her right hip (which fell on the book). “What could possibly have burned me?” she thought to herself as she turned wide eyed toward a glowing light illuminating her floor. Rings of light danced off the book’s cover. Mylin, carefully touched the surface with her finger. The light was hot. Puzzled she wondered how it could not catch fire, surely it was just made of leather and wood paper. She opened it carefully to find the little caterpillar had eaten a hole in the pages and built itself a cocoon safely between the covers. It’s slimy, swirly tracks marking its path danced brightly along the cover leading to the edge where it entered the safety of the pages inside.

She jumped up to the mirror to investigate the burning sensation on her back. There it was, the shape of the caterpillar’s path, burned into her skin. “If the Sage won’t help me figure this out, I must find someone who will,” she thought to herself as she set about packing her belongings.

Chapter 2