January 24, 2000



Ram Blin


I don't have a firm topic in mind to write about tonight; it's more like a jumble of ideas I'd like to touch on, so this time out I think we'll have a little of that old favorite: Stream of Consciousness Theater.

Work's been kind of grim lately. Grim as in "there ain't been none." My training gig for CHW was budgeted from the Y2K ledger, and now that it's here there ain't no mo' budget. Or something. For sure there ain't been no mo' training. So I seem to have joined the legion of computer-field workers thrown out of work by the turning of the calendar page. I hate when that happens.

So... I'm trying to think of a clever MTV reference, something branching off from Dire Straits' Money For Nothin' ("I want my MTV"), but I'm coming up blank so... So I guess that was the reference. Clumsy, eh? I wanted to riff on MTV because I was there today, at their Santa Monica offices, meeting my new bosses, because that's my new gig: Starting Wednesday I'll be teaching classes at Nickelodeon. Why go to MTV for a job at Nickelodeon? Hey, I'm just a trainer. I dunno.

I sort of stumbled into this gig the same kind of way I stumbled into the last one. The last one, one of Beth's ex-coworkers was looking for people and she passed me along; this one, one of Beth's (and mine) ex-coworkers had this job and was leaving it for a new one, so he passed me along. It seems as though all my jobs lately are coming from contacts I made at a job I left 8 years ago. Weird. Or maybe I just married well.


I made a deposit in the karma bank tonight, then got to make an immediate withdrawal.

I ordered a Kevin Gilbert CD online recently (Who? Kevin Gilbert. Of Toy Matinee. Who? Never mind. There's a Kevin Gilbert entry coming in the future, I can feel it.): Giraffe, a compilation of two of his early albums that I didn't even know were out there. On the day I ordered they were just beginning sales of the album he was working on when he died: The Shaming Of The True. That's the one I really wanted, but it's a special numbered limited edition collector's type thing costing $50 and I just couldn't justify spending that much, so I ordered Giraffe instead.

It came via UPS today. I snatched it up and tore the cardboard open, excited to finally hear all of The Way Back Home instead of just the first 1:47 I've been playing over and over and over again from the sample MP3 I'd downloaded... And when I got it open it wasn't Giraffe at all. It was The Shaming Of The True. The $50 special numbered limited edition collector's type thing.

It was one of those "character" moments we're all faced with from time to time. Man, I wanted to open it up. I wanted to see what was in that specially illustrated book that warranted selling it for $50. I wanted to see the lyric sheet. I wanted to hear it, especially when I saw it had a remix of The Way Back Home. All that was stopping me was a thin layer of shrink-wrap plastic.

And a conscience.

So I emailed the retailer, explained what happened, and said I'd be calling tomorrow to arrange to return it. Oh, the pain of doing the right thing! Then, as an afterthought, I included my phone number in case they needed to reach me.

Half an hour later, my phone rang. It was the owner/operator of the retailer (I should say who, shouldn't I? Pop Plus One), surprised at my honesty and telling me to go ahead and keep the mistaken shipment. Oh, the joy of doing the right thing! I'm listening to it now.


And finally, let's get meta for a moment.

Everyone and his brother has commented on Jim Valvis' pronouncements, so I guess I might as well join with the queue and add my "Me too!"

My take: Jim Valvis is an idiot.

Maybe that's too strong. But he is. He's also a pompous ass and appears to be quite taken with himself as a Writer. (Notice the capitalization, the italics, and the bold. It's that noble a thing for him.) Probably wears white suits exclusively, too, a la Tom Wolfe...

Aside from the fact that he's just plain wrong in saying that writing of this type won't help and in fact hurts one's Writing, he also reveals a shockingly mercenary attitude for a Writer when he suggests that anything written with anything less than a sale in mind is a waste of time.

To rebut that, let me paraphrase Harlan Ellison, or maybe it was Stephen King, who said that writing is such a hard, lonely business that you have to do it because you love it, because you can't not do it. "If you do it for the money, you're a monkey."

Jim Valvis is a monkey.


Poor Dave Van. After driving at least one person I can think of off the web with his nasty little snide remarks, after months of sniping and hurling little shit globules at random targets (including me and Beth at one point) and then editing his pages to remove the offenses and then editing them back in again later, after repeatedly wallowing in the gutter and then posing as a saint, now Dave is taking his pages down.

We're picking on him. We're mean. We're distorting his words with prejudice. Poor Dave. Always misunderstood. Can't imagine why we think so poorly of him. Couldn't have been anything he did over and over again, could it? Couldn't be him, could it?



Bye, Dave. See you again soon.