Monthly Archives: March 2015

On The Fabled Day of April, 11

Remember the day I had a Sprite in the Mayor’s Office? 

It turns out I forgot to tell them about my change of address. So I never got the check I was issued and a couple of weeks ago, after visiting the Department of Public Works,I informed them of my new mailing address. The human resources department said they would make sure the check hadn’t already been cashed and re-issue a new one.

Today I stopped in to check up on the status of my payment. The lady at the desk, who works in the human resources office at the Annex on Washington Street was surprised when I told her I had not yet received the re-issued check.

After sitting in the office for about ten minutes, she informed me that the old check was canceled and that the new one wouldn’t be sent to me until April, 11.

It’s better than nothing, but I still can’t help but be grateful that other places of business don’t work the same way.

“Mr. Crawford, your appendix is showing signs of severe inflammation, so I’ve scheduled you for an appendectomy that won’t take place until about a month and a half from now.”

Deleted Scenes from Scripture Episode 1: Written In Stone

And Moses placed the tablets on the ground and prepared to make a second trip to the top of Mount Sinai, to retrieve the tablets upon which Commandments 11 through 20 were written. But before he did, he gazed down on his followers and what he saw angered him.

“Aaron? Aaron, what the fuck did I just say?”

And God sayeth unto Moses, “Now you see the shit I have to put up with.”

Only One More Season of Downton Abbey to Go (Spoilers)

For the rest of us. I still have seasons three and four to fly through. But I wonder if the Downton ending on season six wasn’t in some small part due to the fact that Maggie Smith announced her plans to leave the series. Not that the other actors couldn’t carry the show, but Maggie Smith was probably to thank for a huge chunk of the American viewing audience in the first season.

Although there are many things I could say about what I’ve seen thus far, I do have to say that seeing season five first and then following that up with a binge watching of the first two seasons, definitely gave me some insights that I wanted to share.

Isabel Crawley is a one hundred and ten percent more interesting in the beginning. How do you go from being the woman that defies social convention to save a dying patient and presses Downton Abbey into service as a convalescent home for wounded soldiers, to being “Violet’s guest for luncheon?”

I know that the actor playing Matthew Crawley leaves the show and the character is “killed”, so with him gone, maybe the writers didn’t have much use for his mother. That brings me to some thoughts on Sybil Crawley, because I understand the actress also wanted out, which is why the character  also died off.

Robert’s cousin Rose is this young and free spirited woman who goes out of her way to help Russian refugees in season 5. She also dances with black jazz singers and eventually becomes engaged to the descendant of one of the Jewish families that had been exiled from Russia in the 19th century. Rose is for all intent’s and purposes the mover and the shaker that Sybil was shaping up to be, leaving me to wonder if Rose would have existed at all if Sybil were still in the picture.

That about covers my current thoughts on Downton. I have many more, but I wouldn’t be able to document them in the time allotted to me by the Salem Library’s Internet Computers. So blame Salem Library people. Blame them!

The Live Action Writing Forum

Yesterday, I had the privilege to observe the North Shore Writer’s Group in their natural habitat. Officially, I am not yet a member as there is a waiting list, but after John convinced me to see what they were about for an evening, I suddenly had a clear motivation to finish a short story so that I can one day seek the advice of these other talented writers.

The meeting was held at The Art Corner. At first I admit that I was a little antsy at first, because the last time I had set foot inside of this building was when I was homeless in 2011. All I remember of the store is their turtle having the run of the place and I was pleased to see him resting in his cage when the owners let us in just as the rain was beginning to fall.

Although Wendy, the facilitator and group leader, had sent us copies of the other members’ stories to read and eventually comment on, I was given to understand that I would be silently observing and therefore not invited to participate beyond my physical presence. Because of that, I only actually read one of the stories, which turned out to be a bit of cosmic intervention as that was one of the stories that was discussed.

Allen, the author, actually asked us to chime in on his piece of paranormal fiction. This was great at first, because I did have some genuine comments about it, but it caught me off guard and I was reluctant to speak at first. You have to wonder what kind of hold this group would have over me to actually make me reluctant to throw in my two cents, but there you go. I waited for one of the established members to offer their comments, before working up the courage to offer my own insights.

My over all impression of the group is that it was like an online forum. As I said, I only read one of the stories discussed last night and the other one was a short piece about a Vietnam veteran. Though I hadn’t read the story, I found the insights of the group members to be fascinating and insightful regardless. They gave me a lot to think about in regards to how I was writing one of my own short stories.

It made of think of the stories people would post in forums. How I would often skip reading the actual story and scroll down the page to the comments, which were often more insightful than reading the wall of text.

As with the Film Fest, so many different topics arose from participating in the Live Action Forum of which I was only a guest that had not yet made an account. As such, I will be writing staggering several posts about this night over the course of a week.

“All right Simpson, you win this round…”

On the way to the college library this morning, I passed two hooded individuals on Lafayette Street, just a few steps away from Saltonstall School. The geographical location is important only in the sense that if these two are capable of reading and using the most advanced research tool at our civilization’s disposal, I want it known that their idiocy has been documented.

Though I could not properly guess at their ages, I would assume the “gentleman” on the right had the emotional maturity of a fourteen year-old based on the following exchange. He stopped, bent over and pointed.

“Excuse me sir.” He said in a loud dramatic voice, as if he were the headliner at the performance hall where I just happened to be an audience member. “What the fuck are those?”

I followed his not too deceptive line of sight and calmly answered,

“Those are shoes.”

The man righted himself and proceeded to laugh like an idiot as he continued his merry journey. I can only assume that his silent compatriot was too embarrassed to say anything. My advice to him is to distance yourself from someone who makes so obvious a spectacle of himself in public. There’s a fine line between dancing like no one’s watching and dancing like you’re not aware of the breakable china that surrounds you.

An Act Of Defiance Loses It’s Appeal

At the Beverly Library the other day, I was overcome with a powerful urge. It wasn’t hunger so much as it was a need to get away with doing something that the rules clearly requested I not do. So I opened up a granola bar and proceeded to munch on it as I perused the works of fiction in the upper floors.

There was nary a jumper among the titles, but I proceeded to consume a snack in the hopes that a librarian might confront me and that I might defiantly continue to munch.

This is not a compulsion. This is not a symptom of Oppositional Defiant Disorder like what they tried to slap me with in my middle school years. (“I hope he’s oppositional and defiant, because I don’t want him living with me when he’s 40” to quote my mother) This is more out of a need to poke the nose of people who I think are a bit too high and mighty for their positions.

Over the years, I have had a number of negative experiences with librarians from Burlington, Vermont all the way down to Watertown, Massachusetts. It must be very intoxicating, spending all those years earning a degree in library management and knowing that there are very few people who can do your job. But just because you are uniquely qualified to do a job, does not mean you are not replaceable. It’s worse for a librarian because their skill set really only applies to handful of jobs and these are not places that are in a position to offer forty-thousand a year.

So every now and again, to avenge myself of a particular experience I may have had in a particular library, I like to engage in a little act of nose rubbing and provocation in the hopes that I can openly put one of them in their place. If not directly than online. That is not to say that I don’t respect the institution of the library, but that I have a problem with some of the inmates of that very institution.

Unfortunately, the act of defiance quickly lost it’s strength when I noticed a waste basket. It’s not a recycling bin, which you could expect in a library that is trying to project a green image to it’s patrons, but a standard commingle garbage can with the equally standard plastic liner. All manner of garbage can be thrown here and it is almost like they already know that someone will be having a light snack while they study or read in the sitting area.

Well played Beverly Library. Well played.

A Scatterbomb Approach to Writing

I’ve decided to take a scatter bomb approach to writing. Actually, it’s more accurate to say that I have returned to my typical scatter bomb approach to writing because that’s the MO have been working with since I began writing way back in my teeny-tiny years and I have a real don’t fix it if it ain’t broke attitude of late.

 Although I definitely need some feedback from people in regards to my writing, I have decided to simply stop seeking it from the Internet. It’s just as annoying to take feedback from someone I’ll likely never meet in real life as it is to read hate-filled comments and negative criticism. 

The old way worked for me. Why change it now?