[1/17/2022> digging back to 2002, picking up from post #980, in NYC, 57th + 9th 2 B X-act]
July 7, 2002
Independence Day. It was heating up to upper 90s and humid. Finally resorted to our air conditioner, but every time we turned it on the power would go out if we had another light on or something. Its comical, we have to run around switching stuff off before you can switch other stuff on. Makes you think about electricity which is good. Didn’t do much on independence day except walking around mid-town and hell’s kitchen in the heat looking for a place to eat. Then we went up on the roof and watched the silhouette of flashes, the fireworks were on the other side in the East river so all we could see was the sky flashing to the backdrop of the mid-town skyscrapers. We could see distant displays in New Jersey and Battery park.
pressplay gave us Thursday and Friday off so I took it even though I have tons of work. Not going to be a slave if I am on salary. Friday… can’t remember what we did, went for a run around central park, met Matt and Lindsey for dinner, Matt is Janice’s son from Tucson and Lindsey was his girlfriend (with same name as his sister). We took them to Mangia y Bevi which they liked because every couple of minutes they would hand out tambourines and make us all sing. They went to “Metamorphoses” afterwards, and [bedder-½] and I walked all the way down to the village since it was a beautiful summer night. Ended up at the Village Vanguard where we saw Paul Guntz? can’t remember his name, why am I so bad with names? It was great, although it was $20 cover and $10 minimum for drinks. But worth it. Jazz is pure art in that it tests the limits of chaos. Whereas rock and roll is so predictable, just when a Jazz riff becomes predictable, it breaks off into some improv, weird beats and notes that defy classification.
Finished Poste Restante and sent out a few query letters for it [after 4 years of querying, we gave up and published it our self]. Now I am piecing together 23 Text Tiles (previously called "Ceiling Tiles")[which we also published w/ Calamari] and am almost done with that. Just putting in graphic interludes and footnotes and a tiled table of contents. Finished reading Naked [by David Sedaris] and started on a Eric Bogosian’s Notes from the Underground. Also bought some Rimbaud and Rilke. Oh yah, Friday we also went down to Union Square and went to the Strand, but it was really hot and overwhelming, not the kind of place to browse unless it was a cold winter day. Found a better small bookstore nearby. Then we went to the farmer’s market.
Yesterday we went to PS1. It’s an art school in Queens that has these weekly soirees with beer and DJs. Anybody who is hip goes. We went with Andrea. It was a surreal day, really hazy and orange, the sun looked like a moon made of cheddar cheese. It was so hazy you could stare at it. The line to get in was a few blocks long, it was outrageous. But Andrea found a friend towards the front so we were bad and cut in. Inside the gravelly compound ornamented with swooping PVC pipe structures were more lines for beer, interspersed with long troughs of water that people were standing around in and other wading pools. One courtyard was all sand and people had lawn chairs and towels, with the orange chicory sky above, it was like a surreal, post-industrial beach-blanket bong out. There was a “dance floor” with bleachers overlooking it. We moved our bodies around lethargically and drank beer. Mostly its all about the people watching (or for others, to be watched). In contrast to LA’s scene, everything was just perfectly grungy-retro, with just a bit of flair that they can be identified as hip, but not too much. It’s an anything goes era, 70s throwback, 80s flashback, 90s recapitulation… its just a modern age with no movement, except there does seem to be a predominance of kitschy branding in our culture, people wearing old retro brands (Atari, Puma, Reeses, Klondike, etc.) as art. But even that is a Warholy pop culture throwback. The music was spun by some guy with a one long dreadlock wound in a beehive around his head. After dancing for a while with Ed and Jonah (the two guys who let us cut in to line) we went in to see some exhibits. They had a great Mexico City exhibit, in particular, a video of juxtaposed soccer and basketball games going on simultaneously on the same court, which was just hilarious. And then some other really disturbing stuff like these rich guys in Brazil that would hunt indigenous people by helicopter.
We went floor by floor until we were up on the roof scene. Great view of Manhattan in its smuttiness. Nearby a bunch of fire fighters were hanging out in uniform on top of a roof of some building which they had contained the fire.
[on roof of PS1 (or mayB next door 5 Pointz)]
July 14, 2002
There’s these three guys that do these impromptu plays in the park on the corner of 9th and 57th. We can hear them from our window, and sometimes it is surreal if you are taking a nap. They play horns and guitars and clarinet, and yell loudly in Shakespearean voices. We’ve been down to watch them a few times. They paint their faces white, and both times they were saying the same things, so they seem to be following a script of sorts.
A few nights ago we saw Topdog/Underdog which was pretty good. Great acting and dialogue, the plot is a give-away with characters named Lincoln and Booth. Geoffrey Wright has a pretty intense personality that bleeds through with every role I have seen him in. It was pretty cool to see him on stage. And Mos Def was also excellent. We took Liz, as in Liz Peters. She was in town Tuesday through Saturday so we have been doing a bit of entertaining. Going out every night. Skipping working out in the morning. Now that she is gone it is good to be back in our lifestyle. Things have been crazy at work, launch was pushed back a week to the 25th, which is a bit more reasonable, but still hard to make as for all the stuff I have to do. But I am not going to knock myself out.
I am back to working on “Pozole Alimony”. [novel we never really finished, but are cannibalisingn sum of it for our current ISBN 978-1-940853-22-2 project]
Just talked to Sandra. She is pregnant! I am going to be an uncle again.
August 4, 2002 — (Northern California) [we posted sum photos from this Norcal trip on our old site]
Took a week off and went out to California. Bedder-½ was already there for an immunology class she was taking at Stanford. Actually, the week she was out there by herself, I was in Omaha for a few days. I had to go for the 2.0 training. Things were hectic that week. That was when 2.0 was slated to launch but it ended up launching the week I was in California. Nothing eventful happened in Omaha. I went, I trained, I ate a steak (when in Rome...), drank beer with the client in ordinary Omaha bars. I had layovers in places like St. Louis (and saw the arches from the plane) and started writing some short fictions in flight. I want to write a whole collection of short shorts written on planes in between places, whose general theme would deal with the disassociation and detachment related to air travel (we travel from one place to another without making the connections in between in regard to landscape). All airports seem more or less the same, and some cities and towns are so similar its scary. Also read some Grace Paley [The Little Disturbances of Man], which I had never read before and still working on Stephen Jay Gould [not sure which, we've read a lot of his books, probably The Structure of Evolutionary Theory,].
Got back to New York and had to cram a lot of work into one and a half days before I had to turn around and get another plane. This time through Minneapolis, wrote another story en route. Arrived in San Jose late. Bedder-½ picked me up in the P/T Cruiser, a cool little Chevrolet that would be our home for the next week. The first day was spent lingering in the bay area. Bedder-½ went with [K] to some sort of dance and singing lesson. I went to see mom at the old house. It was depressing. She is basically squatting there. She looks really old and unhealthy. I talked her into gathering up her stuff and packing her car to just get out of that house as it is causing a rift between her and Aunt Mary, and she needs Aunt Mary as a place to stay after her surgery. It is quite sad and depressing as usual, but what can you do? Uncle Don was next door and came over. I swam in the pool and played with his little dog Mai Thai. Then I helped him move a 1400 pound safe across his house with a little bit of brain power and some elbow grease. Then we just hung out at the new Peninsula creamer at the Stanford mall. I took a nostalgic joy ride back through the hills, went up Page Mill road to the overlook. That route is engrained in me from all those nights driving up there. Went back to K and L’s…. and then headed off to Jess and Derek’s for a BBQ. Yes, K has a friend Jess [B] who is married to a guy named Derek! Another Jess and Derek, what are the chances of that? We have known about them for quite some time but finally got to meet our nemesis… an uneventful evening in some yard in San Jose or thereabouts.
The next morning Bedder-½ and I took off straight to the mountains, much to the dismay of [D] who wanted us to go visit him in Santa Rosa… but he was going up to the mountains anyway with [A], so what was the point? We drove up I-5 and made a slight detour through Chico to show Bedder-½ an old stomping ground [we spent a few summers there]. Went into Bidwell park and waded in the river. Continued on our way. Stopped in groves of almond trees, and to buy olives. Through the hazy central valley (a fire was raging in Sequoia national monument) to mom’s place between Shasta and Lassen. It was so hazy we couldn’t even see Shasta.
We got there before D and A. We went out on the raft and fished and searched for bullfrogs. D and A showed up and then we ate some hodgepodge concoction. Bedder-½ and I slept out on the raft under the stars. We drifted about the pond and would wake up periodically to the sounds of bullfrogs and kit foxes yelping. At one point I woke up and heard the otters scrambling around the banks in the night. Woke up and fishes were jumping. Came very close to catching a huge bass that looked like it was a foot and a half long and was big enough to break my 8 lb. line so I just let him run circles around the raft until he eventually became unhooked, but not before bedder-½ saw him as my witness. I caught many small bluegill in the process. There were also many catfish and turtles. The Canadian geese also paid us a visit.
The next morning we all (with the exception of Mom) went to Mt. Lassen. I wanted to see the lava tubes but I guess those are in another park up in the northeast corner. The drive was not too bad, but we had to sit for over an hour due to road construction. Once in Lassen state park it was beautiful. We got the trailhead and spontaneously decided to climb it. I was skeptical that A would make it, and they were going very slow, so I cut ahead up a steep pile of ashy scree. It was grueling, two steps up, one step back. Great workout. I got to the summit in no time. It was surreal. A bit of snow, but mostly ash and volcanic rock with the hazy valley below. I headed back down afraid they were waiting for me, but ran in to them a half mile down. I turned around and headed back up with them, carrying A on my back half the time. We got to the summit and explored around the crater more. Then back down, taking turns with D carrying A. Drove back and the geese were on the pond. D and I went on the raft with some beers and scared the geese away. I was trying to keep it quiet so the geese would land again. They kept circling and aborting the landing when they saw us. Mom was losing it and saying the geese were talking to her and saying they were Kevin [a.k.a. Chaulky White]. She spread his ashes on some random rather unsightly area of her property. Rather anthropomorphic, considering Kevin didn’t have much interest in “nature” let alone mom’s property. But made mom feel better to believe that I guess. She painted names of people that died on rocks all over her property. She’s losing it—if there was anything left to lose. When Bedder-½ and I first showed up, mom greeted us in a cloud of pot smoke and she was all sweaty and paranoid. Most of the time she is completely incomprehensible and annoying. And D tried to justify it all as usual, trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Needless to say, Bedder-½ and I were definitely looking forward to just going off on our own. I have nothing in common with my family and don’t know why I continue to force these obligatory familial visits.
We took off back towards Mt. Lassen and then cut over through Susanville. Into Nevada and down through Truckee and to Tahoe. We got a place on the north shore and went swimming in the deep, dark and clear water. It was so brilliantly cool and refreshing. We laid in the brilliant sun just relaxing. Then we drove around the east side, by where we stayed that summer when we were younger. So much has changed. Tried to find those nudist beaches we used to go to with crystal clear water and clean granite. Found other rocky shores and climbed around. Then we drove down to cave rock, but it no longer exists as they expanded the road into it. Went back to the north shore on the Nevada side and ate Mexican food and then went to a casino. A had $20 that I turned into $50 and then called it quits.
The next morning we drove around the west side of the lake down by the Truckee river, fed the trout, then continued down to Emerald bay. We hiked down to the shore and went swimming again in the deep deep water. Hiked back up to Eagle falls and I decided to climb up the falls. I looked back and Bedder-½ wasn’t on the viewing platform, so I kept climbing up the road and went to the parking lot thinking Bedder-½ would just meet me there. I waited and waited, walked back down to where I had a view but couldn’t see her. I didn’t know where the trail came up so was hesitant to go back down. After over an hour I finally climbed down and she was just waiting there. Rather annoying communication breakdown.
We loaded up on supplies and headed back over the pass through Nevada and down to Mono lake. Got a room there as it was too late to head over Tioga pass and get a camp site. We went down the South Tufa where all the cool Tufa towers are. We explored down through the marshes and to the shore that was black with brine flies. I waded in the salty water that stung my legs and checked out the brine shrimp. There were lots of birds, adolescent gulls. I found a timepiece.
Ate in Lee Vining and then went back to our room. The next morning we got up early and headed over the pass. Secured a spot in Tuolomne campground (didn’t want to deal with hiking in back-country ill-equipped, besides could get more done staying at a campground). We hiked to Glenn Aulin, which was a beautiful hike along the Tuolomne “grand canyon”. hiked past a rock that Chawn and I climbed ten years before. Took a swim in the river at various spots. Jumped off a rock and banged my shins. Slid down rapids. laid in the sun. hiked. munched on snacks. On the way back we decided to go a different way following the river. Swimming more. then through the meadow. Saw some deer. Traversed across the meadow, crossing the river at various spots, having to take off shoes every time. Saw more deer with big antlers. Wild flowers. finally back to the car (about a 12 mile hike round trip), then drove down to Tenaya lake for a dip. Watched the climbers on the slab above the lake where Chawn and I climbed. revisiting all the old rocks in my mind. Swimming in the crystal clear alpine lake surrounded by granite, laying on the beach reading Blindness by Jose Saramago.
Back at the campground we drank a bottle of wine and ate olives and pistachios and other goodies. Laid out our sleeping bags to go to sleep and I looked up for some reason and there was a bear walking about 5 feet away from my feet. Slowly wobbling on by us on a mission. I got Bedder-½ to stand up to see him. A cute little black bear. Bedder-½ didn’t want to sleep outside after that so she went in the car. I had a restless night sleep but it was worth it to sleep under the stars.
The next morning we got up early and headed to the valley. Saw El cap and all that but the waterfalls were pretty dried up. Hiked out to Mirror lake but that was also dried up and a bit disappointing. By this time it was almost 100 degrees and we were getting burned out on sight-seeing, especially with the annoying crowds. So we headed out, after a dip in the Merced at the base of El Cap. We ended up meandering through the central valley to Gilroy and then Watsonville and ended up in Rio Del Mar where we got a room at some random hotel. There were undulating black blankets on the surface of the ocean, which upon closer inspection ended up being these birds, billions of them, for as far as the eye could see. We asked some local guy about them and ends up they were some bird from new Zealand or Australia that skim the surface for bait fish like anchovies. It was wild. Also saw pelicans and seals, and the next morning we saw dolphins. We also went out the concrete hull of a boat that was now covered with lots of birds.
We drove up the coast past Santa Cruz, stopping to check out the coast and seals and the views. Stopped at Half Moon Bay at Paul and Barbara’s Fish Trap and had steamers and clam chowder. It was perfect. then over 92 to meet K. A boring afternoon loitering around. Then met [T] (bedder-½’s old friend from Seattle) in Palo Alto at Nolas…a trendy Californian kind of Louisiana day of the dead kind of place. Flew back via Detroit and got in this morning. Glad to be back in NY even though it is sultry and hot. Had breakfast with So Young and her new beau Victor (to check him out). Now just trying to adjust to get ready to get back to reality. Got a piece accepted in Score.[not sure this magazine exists anymore]
[addl pics from thi5 trip here]
August 11, 2002 — NYC
Just got back from a free concert in central park of Sonic Youth. They were as good as ever. Crazy to think that 20 years ago I would have died to see Sonic Youth in New York. They were so innovative then, and they are still. They just happen to be Sonic Adults. Kim Gordon, the vixen soccer mom. Interesting contradictions. Amazing guitar work, lush with feedback and atonal overtones. They are just so cool.
Reading Blindness by Saramago. Very disturbing and visceral. Saw Central Station which I can’t believe I didn’t see earlier. Excellent film, though one contrived glitch at the end that almost blew the movie for me.
Working really hard as usual, what’s new. Worked yesterday (Saturday) because I wanted to get some uninterrupted time to work on the Corona FAQs and User Guide, but of course even on Saturday issues come up, 100s of customer being charged when they wanted to be canceled. Things are looking up for pressplay as a whole though. Version 2.0 is well-received. Good press and even people on the message boards are being positive and sick of whining. Matter of fact, I have my own “Dear Abbey” type of forum where people can post questions, or I post tips and suggestions, etc. It’s fun, and I like writing the copy, it’s just the day to day Customer Care shit that drives me crazy (not to mention some of the people). But I guess I shouldn’t complain, better this than being bored.
Saw my piece in You are Here, one of my best printed publications yet. I have a few pieces that I need to finish that I was writing on planes. And I need to be sending out more from Poste Restante.
Bedder-½ was promoted to Associate Research Scientist. I am so proud of her. She has been learning guitar too.
September 7, 2002 — NYC
It is now September and the weather is beautiful. Around this time last year the weather was beautiful and we were cheated of the month of September which is one of the best months in New York (weather wise).
Since our California trip, I don’t think we've left the city (except I just got back from another Omaha trip). Sean Shaheen came one weekend, did the touristy things with him, went the natural museum one day, and then to the Guggenheim another day and saw the exhibit on “moving pictures” which was pretty inspiring (more “ felix films” by that south African guy whose name slips my mind) another intense Koyansqatti-like film by this Persian woman (Neshat?) with a score by Philip glass, some Robert Smithson Yucatan mirror displacements, and an overload of Maplethorpe big black cocks. We also went and saw The Goat (or Who is Sylvia?), fairly controversial and provoking subject matter (fucking goats) but that was overacted a bit. We also saw Top Dog/ Underdog sometime last month as well? Tonight we are seeing “Our Lady of 121st st.” which is directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman one of the only true artists left in Hollywood. We also saw the Strokes and the White Stripes at Radio City, awesome show. White Stripes were non-stop and raw. The incestuous sister drummer sucked but that kind of adds to their sound, almost like there is not a beat but this forced driving pounding. Jack White’s guitar work is raw and natural, he is definitely talented. The Strokes were extremely tight and intricate (at least initially). Julian hobbled out on crutches and got pretty drunk by the time their set was over and they did not play an encore.
But mostly last month was engulfed with the impending Corona release which ended up but being rather anti-climatic. I was hitting my limits of bearability, I have applied for other jobs. I do nothing but bitch in reaction to the bitches around me. These pregnant woman all around that we are expected to tip-toe around. I made the call that Laura was pregnant to Jim, and sure enough, she announced it yesterday. Jim is the only saving grace. We had fun in Omaha this past week. Went out to the casino one night with his mother, drove around in our convertible under the big warm Nebraskan skies and have both just taken more of a fuck it all attitude as we have been pushed to the limit and can’t care too much anymore (and with Jim being the VP of HR that is pretty scary). But Corona went well, I guess. Microsoft was late in launching but we did our part. Not a dramatic increase in sign-ups…. I predict there is no way we hit 50,000 which means we will probably be out of business by the years end. I need to get another job. I think about pressplay shit when I wake up in the middle of the night. Not good. I have not been sleeping well in general. My allergies have been acting up lately. This past month was not so great, but after going to Omaha to get a perspective, and now that the dog days of august are over, I am feeling pretty good about life and Bedder-½ and I are more in love then ever, and New York feels more like home, I love being here and everything about our life (except for the fact that I have to work and can’t write). Bedder-½ got a prestigious fellowship from Columbia, fellow of the year, pretty fucking incredible. She is up there getting publications in top-journals giving seminars in front of all the big wigs and being well received, I am so fucking proud of her. And she is still so real and herself.
Last night we went to the East Village, ate at Cocina Cuzco and got drinks at some other place on St. Marks. The E-village seems to be our favorite haunt of lately, last week we took So Young out for her birthday to some really good French place and then ran in to some Korean friends of hers from Philly and went with them to a few bars on 7th street. Not to crazy about all the drinking and inhaling cigarette smoke and how you feel the next day, but still fun in retrospect. Rusty Jones is in town but we haven’t even met up with him because he is such the popular socialite (what’s new?). He is supposed to call me this morning to do breakfast.
Mom is in North Carolina now, getting a second opinion before her knee surgery. We will probably go down one of these weekends.
Written a few new pieces, like "Beneath the Foxfire", "She Rarely Wears a Purse", and "Dislocation". Had some pieces accepted to Sendecki, but otherwise am just awaiting on a lot of queries. Read Chuck Palah****?'s Choke whilst in Omaha. Okay, another one of these “Staggering Work of Genius” obsessing over dying mother books which seems to be the prevailing trend, interesting little conceptual tidbits, but overall the writing is rambling and mediocre. Am also finished with Dreams of Robotic Bees or whatever it’s called by James Tate, good, but not as good as his other stuff, some really good dream-like stories, other just expository random and stupid tales. Oh yah, also finished Blindness by Jose Saramago which was an intense book. Extremely visceral and provoking.
Other shit happened that I’m sure I forgot to document. I am not a good scientist.
After this we met Rusty and his friend Jack for brunch at Julians. Rusty is the same as he ever is, spouting conspiracy theories about how our government was behind 9/11. His friend Jack just moved from Tucson to here just down the street and started a record label under Comedy Central [interesting to read this in retrospect b/c this Jack friend wd land us a job @ Comedy Central ~7 years later].
Then we went for a run along the Hudson and back through the upper Westside park. Andrea came over and we went out do Vietnamese food and then saw “Our Lady of 121st Street” which was really intense. The acting anyway. Not a very believable script, as most of the scenes involved screaming and fighting without justified build-up, but the acting was really good. We were in the front row so we could feel the spit coming out of their mouths when they screamed, and see the tears. It was so real, that you thought they would turn to you and start screaming at you and pull you into the play. The dialogue was excellent with great NY vernacular.
Afterwards we moseyed down to the east village to Marc Aches loft party on 2nd ave between 6th and 7th. It was pretty cool, nice to go to a party instead of a bar as you can actually meet people. The only people from pressplay there were Marc and Elaine Chang. Marc has two Italian greyhound which were really fucking cute, running around sniffing everyone with their tails tucked between their legs and scared posture. That was probably the highlight of the party. He had a DJ, and Marc himself was also spinning (he had the whole set up, turntables and digital mixer). Andrea met some guy Nicholas (that I picked out because he was tall enough) wearing a Lei. So the pickup line was funny, “I saw your staring at my Lei”. And then later on it was “well, the problem is it looks like someone else is wearing your Lei.” to which he responded, “That Lei has made its rounds tonight.” Marc’s space was huge. Just their living room is twice as big as our studio.
Afterwards we went to that Hungarian all-night diner and saw Justin Theroux, the guy who plays the director charactor in “Mulholland Drive” (and it was weird because we also saw him earlier in the evening sitting on a stoop near a film shoot.). He was acting just like he was in the movie, and was dressed all in black with the thick black rimmed glasses.
By the time we got home it was well past almost 3 a.m.
September 22, 2002 — NYC
A lot has happened on the job front. Everything has been building up. Perhaps I was just too busy to do anything about it. Or perhaps I am suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome? Anyways we launched Corona, which everyone thought would solve all of our problems, and guess what? Didn’t do shit. Hardly anyone is signing up through it. But since we had a slight lull of sorts, I thought I would explore options to put the FAQ into a searchable format as right now they are useless because you can’t find any information and the whole update process just sucks big time for everybody. I went through all of this exactly a year ago with Hope (who was now long gone) but I had to push for it again. So I wrote up a proposal after doing a bit of research and finding out that the new RoboHelp has conditional text (allowing us to make different versions for the client or plug-in) and sent it to Daniel and Kalani (who was now replacing Aki since Aki just left), and also copied Jim and Laura and a few others on it. Donna piped in a bit, but otherwise I received no backing on it. After telling Jim to back me up, he just wrote back something like, “I agree, kind regards!”. He means well, he just doesn’t know enough about the issues to say any meaningful besides just give unconditional support. Kalani finally wrote back, and said that they had talked about it, and could maybe do it, but would need to run a script to clean it up (basically what they did last year), and that he would talk to the integrators more and get back to me. Never once did he consult me for my opinion. It's like just because I sit in NYC they treat me like a non-creative/tech type, as part of the evil management team. Not that it was Kalani’s fault, since Glenn runs a tight ship and he was probably just taking orders. But compounded with all the other stuff from the past few months, at the fact that I was getting this e-mail at our launch party when we were supposed to be celebrating our recent Corona launch, and my butt was vibrating like crazy because of all these issues.."did someone contact West??". Oh my god, like the world is going to end if we just ignore our e-mails for a few hours. And there is such a dichotomy between the management team and the “sherpas” in this organization… senior management is like a secret society, those with their own offices and director or higher titles, and you have to be Jewish (or married to one) to penetrate the inner circle. And not only that, but there must be something in the water, but everyone is getting pregnant including Laura, and Kara is about to burst, so all those female bonding hormones are taking its toll. Scott [K] doesn’t do shit compared to me, but he's Jewish and just had a kid, so therefore he gets his own office and a Director title. Not that I want this, but if I am going to work my ass for this company I want my work to amount to something, and if I have ideas I want them to be heard, instead of constantly feeling like a pest every time I point out a potential issue. And not to be arrogant, but I think I have a lot of good ideas that go unheard, and instead all I can do is watch and collect my paycheck as we miserably fail (still only have 16,000 paying members… probably enough to pay one of the senior directors or many VPs salaries). I have been losing sleeping over all of this, waking up in the middle of the night thinking about pressplay, and that is not what I want. And people just say, kick back and don’t do anything, give up caring and just do what you are told and collect your paycheck. But that is just not in my nature. If I didn’t care, the job would be meaningless. I am the one who has to monitor the message boards and read customer's e-mails, and process the chargebacks. I know firsthand what customers think of pressplay probably more than anyone else in the organization (besides perhaps the front line reps at West, but they are really only concerned with a paycheck). And pressplay is perceived as an evil force. It’s getting better, but if we are going to succeed we have to become “popular” and hip, and make people want us. Instead we are taking the AOL or Microsoft route of brute force.
Anyways, to make a long story short, this all built up, and I responded to Kalani’s e-mail saying—“Thanks for everyone for your input and ideas. It is unfortunate that I was not consulted in any of this decision making. Not only does it show a lack of respect for me and the job that I have to do, but it shows a complete lack of focus on the issue at hand....” and I went on to constructively talk about how to do the FAQs and that we needed more teamwork between NYC and LA… but everyone fixated on that line “lack of respect” and freaked out. It went up to Glenn who immediately talked to Laura and Jim and it got out of control. By the time Jim talked to me he was not Jim, but wearing his Mr. HR guy, and I could tell he was taking orders directly from Laura, about how I should reprimanded and demanded that I apologize, etc. typically reactionary response, the only way to get a rise out of anyone. They can ignore every positive e-mail I write, but the second I write anything negative all hell breaks loose. And the funny thing is I’ve seen the way others treat each other in this company, name-calling, March Ache called Brian a mother-fucker and he is still around, and who is my role model for terse and nasty e-mails, but Mrs. Goldberg herself. I talked with Jim for a good hour or two, and he was basically giving me an ultimatum to apologize or else, and my head was so hot and I was so utterly sick of all these politics (because that’s what this is really what this about is a control issue between Glenn and Laura) so I just went home to “think about it”.
My “thinking” consisted of blasting out 30 resumes for other writing/editorial positions. It's not as bad as people make it out to be (or maybe it is, let’s wait to see if I hear from anybody). Monday morning I didn’t do shit. When Kalani and Daniel got in, I called both of them and apologized, basically saying my words were mis-directed and were intended for pressplay upper management in general. I couldn’t get a hold of Glenn. When Jim called, I gave notice. This ended up being another two hour call where he was trying to talk me out of it, giving me all sorts of really bad HR advice (as he should since it his job) and saying that it was the same everywhere and by hinting that perhaps something else was going on in my life that is making me unhappy, blah, blah. I kind of jokingly said that the only way I would stay is if I worked for Kinneret doing technical documentation like I used to do before (this was a joke, as I wouldn’t do this) or if I worked for Glenn, not Laura. It’s kind of like the male bar fight/48 hours syndrome … two strangers pummel each other and then have a drink together and hug and become best friends. If I am going to be working for pressplay, I at least want to be on the creative side of things, on the L.A. team. I really didn’t know how Glenn had reacted to my e-mail, but at least he noticed it. I still couldn’t get a hold of Glenn to apologize but left a message with him.
The next day both Glenn and Jim called me back, and Glenn was completely over the e-mail almost like he had forgotten about it and was excited about this idea he had… and that was to make me a Producer, and fill the position that Aki left (and that Kalani was only temporarily filling in a probationary standing). Hah, this was all too funny. I guess I should mention that a few weeks ago, I had contacted Glenn about doing some writing work. We had a staff meeting in which he announced that they were hiring more writers, and the two writers that they already had in LA they sent to NY to write a 9/11 piece. It was an absurd and inappropriate piece, basically they (Rick Albano and this other guy) couldn’t schmooz their way into the VMAs at Radio City so they just got really drunk and mocked about how they were staying in nice hotels and being paid to write this article, and interviewing other drunk people in the bars they were going to and getting their favorite songs. So I just sent Glenn a friendly e-mail that say, “hey, if you ever need a writer in NY, please feel free to use me as a resource” and I gave him a link to www.sleepingfish.net [ha, guess back then we used this for a site where we posted our writings]. He forwarded me to Rick and I started to work on ideas for him. But now this Producer thing was even better. The only thing, was how to pull this one over Laura. I left that to Jim and Glenn. And I don’t know if it is because she doesn’t want me because I am an opinionated loose cannon, or whether this whole Lyme disease/pregnancy thing has just resigned her to not resist, but she easily relinquished my reins/leash over to Glenn. Jim called me at home that night, “who’s your daddy?” Jim’s my daddy, seriously, maybe he is my brother. He negotiated this whole thing. And he is the one that is losing the most in this deal, as now he has to find a replacement for me. I will obviously help him out during this transition time.
I already feel much better about things. Glenn [Kaino] was here Friday and we had a good talk. He is a great guy (as long as you are on his team) and he respects me and wants me for my creative nature, and also as a good interface into the NY marketing team… I will still have to deal with Kara, but it will be from the other side of the fence. No longer will I have to nit-pick at things I see wrong, but she would give me a request, I would edit the language, provide the comps and that’s that. At that level she wouldn’t reject me after the comps had been approved by Glenn. She is going to have a baby soon anyways. But anyways, it should be an infinite improvement to what I am doing now!
Thursday night they sent me to Jones Beach to cover the Coldplay concert [dare we admit now!.. can't think of a band we hate more...], hitting the ground running in my new role. Rick scored me a photopass so I got to go up front with the journalists. I was to take pictures and do a write up for it for pressplay Magazine. I got to be right up front for the first three songs taking pictures. Then I went back and joined Bedder-½, Gwynn, and Carissa. It was a beautiful night, there was full moon over the water. One of the final good nights of the summer before it gets cold. As I mentioned in the article, last September we were robbed of nights like this. What I didn’t mention was the long wait for the busses, then the train ride home and then the subway. By the time we got home it was like 2:30 a.m.
Now it’s Sunday morning. I have the whole day to do what I want with it.
[swear we only said these nice things b/c we were paid to!]
[chronillogically continuest next post]