September 21, 2000



What It Was


All rightie, then. Now that I've dispatched the "old" dispatches, now I want to cover the in-between stuff of what I've been up to over the past couple of whatevers. I've been away for awhile and stuff has happened and I figure I'll bring y'all up to speed, but I think that rather than apply myself and crank out one of my usual finely crafted entries, instead I'll be lazy and do this subhead style. Or something. Cut me some slack here, will ya? It's not enough that I'm posting a new entry, but it's gotta be literary too? Sheesh.

All Quiet On The Working Front
I'm seeing a troubling trend in my work life lately: I keep getting laid off. First it was the hospital gig, then Nickelodeon, then, and now PaineWebber, which I've been referring to as BigBux Financial Institution. (Hey, they cut me loose -- why not ID them?) So I'm out of work yet a-freakin'-gain, and I'm getting fed up with this independent contractor business. I'm looking for a permanent gig now.

This latest layoff was the shabbiest yet. They bought up this brokerage firm with a chain of offices in the south, then sent all the trainers to these offices to train the employees on the PaineWebber software -- including me. I'm a Microsoft Office trainer, I didn't know dick about PW's stuff. When I asked him, my boss even assured me: "Don't worry, all you'll be doing Microsoft Office. Training the PW apps isn't your responsibility." And guess what I found I was expected to train on once I hit Memphis? PaineWebber apps. Lovely.

So for two weeks I was doing the old shuck and jive, acting like I knew how this stuff worked while I looked over their shoulders and figured out how it worked. And by the end of the two weeks I really did know how it worked and everyone on my team loved me and said I'd done a fantastic job.

It came time to head home and I didn't have my schedule for the next week yet, so I emailed my boss asking where he wanted me when I got back. "Call me Wednesday morning," he said. "We'll work it out." I thought this was curious. Suspicious, even. And sure enough, when I talked to him Wednesday he told me that, unexpectedly (yeah, right), he had to let all the consultants go. In other words "Thanks for doing what wasn't even your job and excelling at it. Now get out." Great.

So I'm on the job hunt. Again. I can't tell you how thrilled Beth is about that. I'm expecting to hear back tomorrow from a downtown I interviewed with last week for a Call Center Trainer position. I'm uniquely qualified for the company and the interview went well, so I think I have a good shot at it. Cross yer fingies fer me.

Genteel Ass-Kicking
I've been taking Taekwondo lessons for about 3 months now; I just got my yellow belt on Saturday. Good stuff, I'm really enjoying it. And talk about a workout! I end each class in a puddle of sweat. Beth says she hasn't seen me exercise this much since... Well, since she's known me. As an added benefit over just pushing a defenseless pile of metal weights around, I'm also learning how to maim and kill people! Aside from the obvious kicking and punching stuff, I'm also learning some Hapkido grappling techniques. At this point I can put a man on the floor, writhing in pain, eight different ways. Only thing is, all eight techniques begin with a handshake, so I'm a little unprepared if my attacker doesn't introduce himself first. Picture me chasing a thug around the room, saying, "Hi, I'm Chuck, nice to meetcha. Come on, shake my hand, punk!"

Zoe has started kindergarten. She's a little young at 4 1/2, but she's starting nonetheless. She's going to a school I've written about here before, which is where we really wanted her to be going all along. She was a little too young for their preschool program when we first visited, and then we sort of dropped the ball on it until this year, when we got our shit together and talked to the school again. This time we got the application in just under the wire -- and the preschool program was full. Great. So Beth pushed: "Can you accept her into the kindergarten program?" They met with Zoe and decided that, yes, they could -- provisionally. So she's on double-secret probation for the first 3 weeks while they evaluate how she's adjusting to it, but her teachers says she's thriving, so it pretty much looks to be a done deal.

It's a private school, obviously, and school events are a small scale "who's who" of the entertainment industry. At the New Parents Orientation I ran into an actress I'd worked with before, the woman who played Chuck's fiance in Night Shift. (I'm using character names so as to prevent this page from coming up on stalker searches.) Then the first Parents/Teachers night was held in the kindergarten classroom (complete with adult butts wedged into kid-sized chairs), where we met wheeler-dealer Mike Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, as well as the co-star from Desperately Seeking Susan who wasn't Madonna.

And here's a vaguely disturbing thing about Zoe and this school: she's not the only Zoe there. When Beth was pregnant and we were mulling over names for our future nugget, we both wanted something relatively unique. Not "Moonbeam" or "Blxrtz!" unique, but something far enough off the beaten path that she wouldn't be Sydney #3, for example. The only Zoes I knew of then were the one from Salinger's short story and the daughter in the Baby Blues comic strip, so we figured the name was pretty unique.

Or not. Zoe is not only not the only Zoe in her school, she is not the only Zoe in her class. So now she's Zoe A., to differentiate her from Zoe S., instead of our planned Zoe With The Incredibly Unique And Interesting Name. Plus which, there's another Zoe in her school who also shares her middle name, as well as having the last name of Akin, which is only two letters away from ours: Atkins. Eerie, eh?

Lesson learned. Next kid's gonna be named Blxrtz! Moonbeam. The Third.

Where There's Smoke...
Those of you with long memories will recall that I quit smoking on August 1, 1999. Statistically, most people who fail to quit usually end up slipping about three months in. Also statistically, most people who successfully quit smoking have had multiple failed attempts first. I'm happy to report that only the second statistic applies. I've quit smoking more times than I can count -- my joke used to be "I quit smoking 40 times a day -- every time I put one out" -- and the longest I ever made it for was the 3 months mentioned, but this latest attempt has stuck. Here I am at one year plus, still nicotine free. Yay, me. And I did it cold turkey, too. Double yay, me.

When I posted my first "new" entry last month, I sent out a note to my notify list (available here, by the way, why not sign up now) alerting them to it, and made a little joke about "maybe now you'll all stop unsubscribing from the notify list." The very next day, three people dropped off the list. Very funny, people. While you're at it, don't send cash, okay?

New Stuff
I've finally added an index page to my site. Used to be that if you went to, you'd just get my construction page. Well, no more. I finally buckled down and whipped out an index pointing you to such thrilling sections as Sitcom Format 101 and the Mojave Phone Booth and this journal and... well, other cool stuff. Only problem is that some of the links still point to the construction link. I'm eventually going to put some of my scripts up for you to read and some of my photography for you to admire, but in the meantime you'll just have to marvel at the minimalism of the construction page. I also neglected to include Beth's journal on that index, so don't think I'll be forgetting that when I update it.

Thank you! Good night!