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|Tuesday, November 8th, 2005|
|Monday, August 15th, 2005|
|In Case A Levitz Son Has Spending Cash...
Authors Let Bidders Name Characters By GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press Writer
Mon Aug 15, 2:59 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO - It can take years of late-night navel gazing for a novelist to name a character — or it could come as quickly as an Internet auction on eBay.
Next month, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Lemony Snicket, Nora Roberts, Michael Chabon and 11 other best-selling writers will auction the right to name characters in their new novels. The profits will go to the First Amendment Project, whose lawyers have repeatedly gone to court to protect the free speech rights of activists, writers and artists.
"It feels a little scary for most writers because when you're writing, you're completely in charge — you can say this book is all mine, it's my world," said Chabon. "Whether giving over some of that has any monetary value or not, we'll see."
But bidders beware — most of the authors are clearly retaining creative control to use the names as they see fit.
King says the highest bidder will get to name a character in a new zombie novel he describes as being "like cheap whisky ... very nasty and extremely satisfying." Cult comic author Neil Gaiman will let his top buyer select the name for a gravestone. Andrew Sean Greer promises the winner may choose the name of a "coffee shop, bar, corset company or other business in another scene," but only "should it suit the author."
John Grisham is one of only a handful promising to portray the top bidder's chosen name "in a good light."
On Sept. 1, eBay Giving Works, the site's dedicated program for charity listings, will go live with the electronic auction. For the next 25 days, anyone with an Internet connection can bid 24 hours a day to insert names into their favorite writers' heads. The event's organizers say they believe it will fetch well over the nonprofit First Amendment Project's goal of $50,000.
The benefit was the brainchild of Gaiman, who approached Chabon with the idea when he heard the group was running out of money. It will now constitute the single-largest fund-raising event for the First Amendment Project, whose legal staff will gratefully leverage the goodwill of authors willing to help keep its doors open. Other writers include Dave Eggers, Dorothy Allison, Peter Straub, ZZ Packer, Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody, Ayelet Waldman, Andrew Sean Greer and Karen Joy Fowler.
"It's nice when people say they want to raise money for you," said David Greene, executive director of the First Amendment Project, which was founded in 1994. "Because it was brought to us by the writers, it was even more special."
Greene said that money raised by the auction will go to support the organization's pro bono work representing clients being sued over free speech, free press and freedom of expression. One such case, over whether a high school student's angry poetry constituted a "criminal threat," recently went before the California Supreme Court.
Board member Chabon, who won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," said his own work would be meaningless without the freedoms afforded under the First Amendment.
"I don't think anything else can be hopeful or accomplished if you have the fear that you will get arrested or prosecuted or censored," he said. "I saw a cry for help. So it was my goal to try to get writers whose work and whose name would be meaningful to the greatest number of people."
Snicket, who will let the top bidder determine an utterance by Sunny Baudelaire in his upcoming 13th installment of his "Series of Unfortunate Events," said he holds the First Amendment dear because "the only trouble I should get in for my writing is the trouble I make myself."
His only caveat: The meaning of the utterance may be slightly "mutilated." Current Mood: interested
|Monday, June 13th, 2005|
|Big Day on Saturday
So, Taft's birthday was on Wednesday. Due to school for Tara and work for myself, we weren't able to do anything on the 8th, but decided to make it up to him on Saturday.
On Saturday we took Taft to his first movie at the Theater. At the beginning we thought we were going to have to leave, because Taft just wouldn't calm down, but eventually he did and he really enjoyed it. He said it's just like a "Big TV"! He was very excited. Alex the Lion was his favorite character.
All in all, it was a great outing. I wish the movie had been geared a lot younger, multiple references to various adult issues (American Beauty, etc.)
But Taft is now a moviegoer! Yea! Current Mood: excited
|Wednesday, March 30th, 2005|
|Yea! I've rejoined the gainfully employed!
So three long months are finally over. Starting Monday at noon I will again be working.
I will be working for MDS Communications, a Christian/conservative fundraising group. I was hoping to be working on the social/humanitarian side, but will be working on the political wing for now. I have been hired as an Account Coordinator and will be doing legwork for various account managers. Within a year, I could be promoted to account manager and earn a 33% payraise!
But regardless, I will now be able to start paying off bills and getting our family reacclimated to life. Tara won't have to work (but probably will) and we will be able to put Taft into daycare so that his social skills won't diminish further. Who knows maybe fixing Tara's car, planning some trips and even saving for a house won't be too far out on the horizon.
I'd really like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. This has been a very trying and humbling experience and I am extremely grateful for what you have done.
Wooo Hooooo! Current Mood: happy
|Saturday, March 26th, 2005|
|Letter to America
To the citizens of the United States of America, in light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II resumes monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.8% of you who have, until now, been unaware there's a world outside your
borders) will appoint a Minister for America. Congress and the Senate are disbanded. A questionnaire circulated next year will determine whether any of you noticed. To aid your transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. Look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Check "aluminium"
in the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you pronounce it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour'
and 'neighbour'. Likewise you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary."
Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up "interspersed." There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you should not have chat shows.
2. There is no such thing as "U.S. English." We'll let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u'.
3. You should learn to distinguish English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). Scottish dramas such as 'Taggart'
will no longer be broadcast with subtitles.You must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon." If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire Floridashire, Louisianashire.
4. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1.
5. You should stop playing American "football." There's only one kind of football. What you call American "football" is not a very good game. The 2.1% of you aware there is a world outside your borders may have noticed no one else plays "American" football. You should instead play proper football.
Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies).
You should stop playing baseball. It's not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America.
Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders," which is baseball without fancy team stripe, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.
6. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns, or anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because you are not sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you need a permit to carry a vegetable peeler.
7. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday. It will be called "Indecisive Day."
8. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left. At the same time, you will go metric without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
9. Learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren't French, they're Belgian though 97.8% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat.
10. The cold tasteless stuff you call beer is actually lager. Only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer." Substances once known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," except for the product of the American Budweiser company which will be called "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine." This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.
11. The UK will harmonise petrol prices (or "Gasoline," as you will be permitted to keep calling it) for those of the former USA, adopting UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon, get used to it).
12. Learn to resolve personal issues without guns, lawyers or therapists.
That you need many lawyers and therapists shows you're not adult enough to be independent. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.
13. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.
14. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).
Thank you for your co-operation.
* John Cleese [Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers, Torquay, Devon, England]
(I got this in an email. There is nothing corroborating the attribution to John Clesse.) Current Mood: silly
|Friday, March 25th, 2005|
|Follow Up on the Interview
The interview went well. It took about 1 1/2 hours in total and I know I answered some questions very well (she stated she had never gotten so precise an answer to one question before) and everything seemed positive.
They explained a little more about the company and the job they are looking at me for. I would be a support person on the client relations side of thier operations. Within 8 months to a year and a half I should be able to be promoted to account manager which would include a nearly 30% pay increase! (Not too shabby) I'm a little nervous because they are wanting me to work on the political side of things and I am really feeling more drawn to the social issues more, but if this is where God wants me I am willing to do it.
On Monday I have a follow up. It will involve a personality/ management test and then an interview with the head of the company, whom I met briefly today. There may be a follow up meeting later that week, depending on how everything goes on Monday. So please keep praying. This has all been a humbling experience and I hope that it is nearly over. Current Mood: hopeful
|Thursday, March 24th, 2005|
|Wish Me Luck
So, this is not a situation I'm used to... Prior to leaving Ventura I had applied for exactly one job where I had gotten an interview and not been offered the job... Now I can't get a job offer to save my life...
I've been in Arizona since the beginning of January. Tara and Taft followed at the end of February, but were not supposed to come out until June, after Tara had finished her school semester. I was supposed to get a job, possibly a small second to pay off bills, etc.
Been here 3 months... Nothin'. Hopefully, that all changes tomorrow. I have an interview with a company that seems to match my skills and interests pretty well. It's also based in the town I now live in. Pretty good coincidence. I had actually given up on the job when I hadn't heard from them in 3-4 weeks, but apparently the bosses were on vacation for the last week and a half. The telephone interview went well and they called me in for an interview on Friday, even though the office will be closed. (They have a lot of work to catch up on).
This very well might be the most make or break interview our family has ever faced. Prayers, good thoughts and well wishes are much appreciated. Current Mood: nervous
|Wednesday, March 16th, 2005|
|On the Steriods Hearings in Washington
Sometimes I love George Will. For anyone completely out of the loop, George will is a limited government political commentator who likes to use dry wit to make his points and has a huge passion for baseball. Okay, so I regularly like George Will. Even if I don't agree with him, its generally an enjoyable read.
Here are the close of his thoughts on the Jose Canseco book that has led to the steriods uproar that now has spawned Congressional investigations:
"The one witness eager to testify is Canseco, who is flogging a book in which he accuses many players of using steroids. Jeff Merron of ESPN.com read the book -has Canseco done that? - and found:
Canseco says sthat during spring training 2001, when playing for the Angels against the Mariners and their second baseman Bret Boone, 'I hit a double and when I got out there to second base I got a good look at Boone. I couldn't believe my eyes. He was enormous. "Oh my God," I said to him. "What have you been doing?" "Shhh," he said. "Don't tell anybody." But in five Angels-Mariners games that spring, Canseco never reached second base.
He recounts Game 6 of the 2000 World Series, which ended with Game 5. He recalls baseball in 1982 being "closed" to Latinos, although there were 62 major leaguers from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and more from other Latin countries.
The Committee... has found the witness it deserves." Current Mood: chipper
|Tuesday, March 15th, 2005|
We have a phone...
That is all. Current Mood: excited
|Thursday, March 3rd, 2005|
|To Phone or Not to Phone...
The Quick Answer: Not to phone...
The more detailed answer:
A month prior to moving into our new place we found out that the two major phone companies in the area are Qwest (the Colorado based Baby Bell) and Cox Communications (originally just Cox Cable). After talking to friends in the area we found out Cox was better and I called up to set up our phones. They told us they didn't offer phone service in the area. They provided hi-speed internet and cable, but not phone.
Annoyed I called Qwest. They said they'd be able to set the phones no problem. They assigned a phone number. I got them to change it to a better phone number. I asked if they needed anyone to be at the house since I was going to be in California moving on the day we scheduled to have the phones turned on (Friday), they said no. If only my story ends here...
On Sunday, we arrive with a big truck after much moving drama and find a door knocker from Qwest (never a good sign). "Need access to the house, please call to reschedule." This was annoying because a) I had specifically asked that and b) I couldn't call, they hadn't set up the phone! Besides they weren't in on Sundays.
Monday-- Drive to Home Depot for some items. Remember to call Qwest after getting Tara and Taft in the car. She says they will wait. Ask Home Depot employee for a payphone to call Qwest. Home Depot offers the use of their courtesy phone. Sit on hold for 10 minutes. Lady on the other end is very nice and apologetic, but can't have anyone out until Thursday. She is going to credit us $25 for the problems agreeing that they were entirely Qwest's fault.
Thursday-- Qwest guy shows up but can't find the exterior phone box to turn on the phones. Tells me he'll need to reschedule. Points out that Hi-Speed Internet and Cable are provided (which I already know-- through a contract with ASU) through COX (which I did not). I go to the housing office to figure out what the hell is going on. Phones are only provided through Cox, but through a group account, hence why the original people told me they couldn't do it. Call Cox group account, ask them if I can keep my old number. They say yes, but I won't be able to do an install until next Thursday. Okay, screw it I'll just tell everyone our number changed. Great can't do an install until next Wednesday. Fine then I want to keep my number...
I won't have a phone until a week from now. Apparently in a week they can justify sending someone out to do a process that the person on the other end of the line stated would take "20 seconds", but not before then.
On the positive side, my phone number will be the same... Current Mood: annoyed
|Sunday, February 27th, 2005|
|Next time I stick with Vodka
Oh and Stabbymotions, I know you said you have family out here so you might actually come and visit, but we're just gonna have to call that off until you can explain this... Current Mood: numb
|Saturday, February 19th, 2005|
|Wednesday, February 16th, 2005|
|On a completely unrelated tangent... SOLD!
So the Magical Kingdom of Landover is making it's way to the big screen. It's about time... This is still one of my favorite fiction series... Absolutely hilarious. Not too sure about the person they got to direct and have no idea who the scriptwriters are, but I'll withhold judgement until I see it. Unless they do really crappy casting like the Spiderman movies in which case I will again scream from the hilltops!
For those of you that have read the series, what do you think about this? For those that haven't read it, you should, very enjoyable. Although I should warn you the first 30 pages or so are a real downer. I forgot about that when recommending it to my wife and had her weeping and hitting me for making her read it...
'Mummy' Director Books Pass to 'Magic Kingdom'
Mon Feb 14,10:19 PM ET Movies - Reuters
By Borys Kit and Liza Foreman
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Mummy" director Stephen Sommers is about to weave some "Magic."
He is attached to direct a film based on the book series "Magic Kingdom for Sale" by noted fantasy author Terry Brooks. Universal acquired the rights, and has veteran scribes Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel to adapt the screenplay.
The series, the first volume of which was published in the late 1980s, tells the story of a widowed attorney who leaves his old life behind when he responds to a mysterious ad and spends his fortune to purchase a magical kingdom. He and his two children get more than they bargained for when they find the kingdom on the verge of chaos. A sixth installment of the series will be published next year.
"Magic Kingdom" could end up being the first movie Sommers directs that he didn't write.
"I usually write everything I direct, and I'm tired of working seven days a week," Sommers quipped. "It'll be fun to turn to Lowell and Babaloo and go, 'You figure it out."'
Sommers wrote and directed "The Mummy," "The Mummy Returns," and "Van Helsing" for Universal. He currently is writing and producing a "Flash Gordon" remake.
Ganz and Mandel's credits include the upcoming "Fever Pitch" and "Robots." They also are big in the rewrite world, having worked on "National Treasure" and "The Notebook."
Reuters/Hollywood Reporter Current Mood: hopeful
|Friday, February 11th, 2005|
|In My Mind I'm Going to Arizona
So the odd "we'll be seperated for 6 months, but then everything will be fine" has ended in grand fashion. Tara doesn't feel that she can do this (go to school, raise Taft, keep the house clean, etc.) all by herself, so she is cashing in her chips and we're packing up to move out to Arizona by the end of the month. On the one hand I'm disappointed because I think she thinks too little of herself and I know that she regrets not being in class. By all estimates she was doing well, being extremely bored in some classes I wouldn't even dare to take, but that's really a moot point now. On the flip side, I am extremely happy to be reunited with my family. It's been lonely and bothersome without them. Taft should also do well now. He had a very hard time with me gone.
I just looked at Penske rentals because they have unlimited mileage and are cheaper than UHaul and fooled around with the items a bit. The cost for picking up the truck on N. Cave Creek (AZ) and driving it to Mesa (AZ) is 409 + gas. The cost for picking the truck up in Fairfield (CA) and driving it to Mesa is 2600 + gas!!!! Holy lordy... So looks like we'll be pimping it Penske style back to California to pick up the stuff and head home. But we already knew that.
I've also been offered a job. Assistant Manager at Rubio's (the fish taco place)... not exactly world moving, but they are going to pay a good wage and it will be close to home. The hours will also be a problem since Tara wants me working weekdays and the restaurant industry just doesn't work that way. Not sure if I'll take it. But I have until Tuesday or Thursday to decide.
That's enough for now. Gotta sleep. Current Mood: anxious
|Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005|
|Hey Look At Me... I'm Posting Something in Livejournal...!
Yeah, so it's been a while. Over two months no less. Not really too surprising. For anyone actually checking in on this, I have been following your random musings and occasionally responding, but never posting anything here.
So at the end of December I stopped being employed by the Elections Department. I'm not really sure what happened, but they decided not to renew my employment at the end of the 6 month probationary period. I must say I was shocked, but as I've seen in a variety of ways, things happen. I'm primarily convinced that I was hired as a stop-gap to bridge the need for an immediate person to train the pollworkers, etc. and the ability to find a long term answer. While, I was shocked and more than a little annoyed, I can't say I was wholly unhappy because I was starting to get bored already and I felt like I was constantly being hampered in my ability to do my job the way I wanted to... So where does that leave us?
Interestingly enough in Phoenix, AZ... well, I am anyway. Tara is finishing up this semester at the community college (she's finishing up some pre-reqs before transferring to ASU in BioChemistry) in NorCal and has Taft with her. I meanwhile have been sent 500 miles away to stay with friends and look for a job to pay the bills. I thought the prospects were good, many job openings, etc. but no one wants to actually make a hiring decision. I've been to multiple interviews (some 3rd and 4th interviews!) for a variety of companies and no one has hired anyone for any of these positions. I've been out here near a month and no money to pay rent, bills, etc. Plus now I'm lonely and frustrated, as are Tara and Taft. On the plus side, I should be hearing back from a couple of jobs soon and I think I have a good chance to get an offer or two.
So that's what's up with us. Tired, broke, frustrated, and lonely. How about you guys? Current Mood: drained
|Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004|
|Sunday, August 15th, 2004|
|A Lot To Catch Up On...
So, it's been an eternity since I posted last and a significant number of things have transpired. I'm sure most of you knew most of this already, but here goes...
On March 23, 2004 (according to my transcript) I graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science. It was really anticlimactic, I had to call the office to ensure that I had graduated and even then they didn't really lock it down for me. It wasn't until I had to get a copy of my transcript for a job opprotunity that I noticed, sure enough, I had graduated... must have, it's printed in the top corner. Course I still don't have my diploma because I owe them $60 and haven't had the cash to pay them.
In June, I finally got a job. And I'm not one of the 80% of all people with degrees working outside thier field! I'm now an Election Coordinator for the Solano County Registrar of Voters (which is much easier to write than the Solano County Department of Information Technology, Elections Division... that's our proper title now). I am in charge or poll worker recruitment, training and retention, securing of polling locations and making sure they are to specifications (ADA and the like) and the new voting equipment. They actually are trusting me to test the equipment and certify the results to the Secretary of State prior to and after every election... At first, I had very little to do, which was good cause I had no idea what I was doing. Now, things are insane and I only know a bit more than at first, so "AHHHHHHH"
This whole time, June until last week, I've been commuting from Davis to Fairfield, about 35 miles, which was long on time (due to traffic) and expensive (1 tank of gas a week). So, we finally moved to Vacaville which is only 8 miles from Fairfield. Much shorter commute. YEa!
But no sooner do we do that, than our car dies. Just magically, while driving Tara hears a thump and the engine won't start after she pulls over. So, long story short we just locked ourselves into a car payment. On the positive side, it runs well and the Toyota Matrix has really good ratings from everywhere we checked.
So that's our life... How's yours been? Current Mood: crazy
|Friday, November 14th, 2003|
|I miss my friends...
While at work I overheard an OSH Hardware commercial that made me laugh. I mainly laughed because it reminded me of something that the Levitz family would do. It goes along the lines of this:
Man pulls into a fast food drive-thru.
Intercom: "May I take your order."
Man: "Yeah, your azeleas are dead."
Man: "Your azeleas are dead."
Intercom: "What azeleas?"
Man: "Those flowers out front that look like they've never been watered, they're dead."
Man: "It's just if you had bought them at OSH you'd have thier lifetime plant guarantee, and you could take them back and they'd be replaced for free."
Intercom: "Are you going to order?"
Man: "No thanks, I already had dinner."
Intercom: "Then why did you come through the drive thru?"
Man: "Your azeleas are dead." Current Mood: amused
|Wednesday, October 29th, 2003|
Somehow my computer clock must have been off, because the last postings I did (at the beginning of October) are posted as November 6 and 8. Which is weird, since those dates haven't passed yet. Not only that but I'm having to hit the "backdate" button, otherwise it won't let me post at all. Ah, the age of technology.
|With Friends Like These....
Apparently, the majority of you are really into the wrong aspect of this holiday.
I use the term majority, despite the even split of trickers and treaters, because I refuse to acknowledge that one of those is a "treat". Come on, Kurt! One jellybean? Who the hell hands out only one jellybean? And I hate coffee! If you were going to be so damned stingy with the jellybean love you could at least ask a guy what flavor he wants...
In the words of Rick Moranis, "Assholes! I'm surrounded by Assholes!"