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Saturday, November 29, 2008

The DarkSide

A lot of people have started asking me to re-post some of my stories from my days at The DarkSide. Since I'm on my way out to my high school reunion I will here tell you how it all started. The moment I knew for certain... I had sold my soul to the devil, and He does NOT offer a money back guarantee.

My first interview at The DarkSide proved relatively uneventful. The educational director assured me that I had nothing to worry about as there were only 74 other applicants for this one position. That was meant to be encouraging how? But then, what choice did I have but to wait? There was no way I could stay at my current job. They didn’t pay nearly enough to endure that much torture on a regular basis. So I waited. And waited. And waited.

When the phone finally rang and they asked me to come in for a second interview, I damned near swallowed my tongue in my haste to say yes. This time I got the grand tour including the classroom of heathens that I would be working with if I were lucky enough to beat out the other 10,000 applicants for this position.


Miss Davis, the educational director, dropped me in a classroom and simply said she’d be back for me in twenty minutes. The door slammed shut behind her and I was relatively certain I heard her mutter something akin to “sucker” as she walked away. Then I turned my attention to the three adults in the room who were trying desperately to keep the peace, two of them failing miserably.

One of the guys in the room, obviously desperate to escape the children who were busy happily tearing the place to shreds, practically attacked me.

“Hey I’m Dan.” Oh goodie. He held out a relatively meaty paw and pumped my hand vigorously. Ex-football player. Had to be. “So you’re interviewing for this classroom?”


“No. I just like to visit out of control classrooms across the country. I actually work for NASA.”

Miss Davis finally came back to get me forty five minutes later at which point she followed me out into the lobby and reminded me she’d be in touch. I thought, Yeah, don’t call us, we’ll call you.

The funny part is, they did call. About two weeks later to arrange the dreaded orientation. Why did schools have to torture people with two weeks of some old timer babbling about policies and procedures when most of us could easily read them for ourselves?

The orientation lineup: an ex-corrections officer, an EMT, a crazy ex-Marine, and a fat guy. Not to mention the guy leading orientation. Scott, a 33 year old who used to be a gang liaison in the inner city, spent 5 hours of each day flapping around like a speed freak, swearing and yelling about how to react to a kid “in crisis”, whatever the hell that meant. I think he was having some kind of crisis of his own.

Now, I have spent many years getting educated in order to go out into the world and teach children. When I was an undergraduate, my textbooks featured photos of angelic little children sitting in perfect rows, perfect smiles plastered to their perfect faces. Might I just say that these children simply do not exist in real life? I’ll tell you about a real child…a real child in middle school is a dirty, smelly, noisy beast that will, at the drop of a hat, call you a dirty white whore and stab you with a pencil just to see what might happen. Then, 30 seconds later, with their nose dripping and chunks of crayon stuck in odd places, they will ask for a hug because they’re so mentally and emotionally spent from life in general that they just need a HUG dammit!

And I will love these children. I will love them with all my heart. This is why I will get up every morning to repeat my maddening routine of fighting to get a cup of coffee into my system before 8:15 am so that my speech patterns are at least somewhat intelligible by the time the children get to class. See I will be teaching English so it’s rather important that the little miscreants be able to understand what I’m saying. And so I began my descent.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Riley's Visit

Just a quick look at Riley's visit to my parents' house thus far:

riley feet 2

Under the couch.


riley feet

Under the bureau.


I think he's having fun, don't you?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dear Ms. Editor-in-Bitchiness...

As I mentioned before I have been getting plenty of rejection letters from publishers whom I queried about my manuscript for Behind the Walls. And now I have used "queried" in a sentence because that, kiddies, is the word of the day. Now you try it!

Anyway, yesterday I made it to my parents' house to find yet another rejection waiting for me. I had them forwarded here because some publishers say it takes them up to six months to reply to a query and since I had been harboring plans to move out of my podunk little town soon, I figured it would be safer to let my parents field the incoming letters. My point being, most of the publishers I've heard back from have said my book sounds fantastic but the economy has kicked them in the junk and they can't afford to take on any new manuscripts. One publisher even hand wrote a message about how cool my book sounded but he couldn't afford to market it properly.

But this last letter... WOW. I opened it up and it was a page long so I thought, "SCORE!" Yeah, not so much. This woman ripped into me because apparently she only publishes fiction. Whoops. She starts going on about how not only was my letter misdirected, but I wasted her and my time. Ms. Hoity Toity Editor Pants goes on to say how it's obvious that I'm "spraying around a bunch of query bullets, hoping to hit a target". Um, yeah. Duh. I want a publisher. But I'm also thinking in my head, "Hey lady, you try getting together over 80 query letters at 4:00 in the afternoon after teaching special ed all day AND staying after with two of the most energetic, yet simultaneously lazy kids in the universe and see if you can manage it without making ONE LOUSY MISTAKE!" Then I'd slap her. And pinch her.

The second paragraph of her letter starts preaching to me about how I should look into New England based presses and historical presses. Look, I may have sent out one misdirected query letter but that doesn't mean I have the functional IQ of a wet sponge. I've already sent out queries to those presses and guess what? Those are the presses that are writing back and saying that the Bush administration has sapped them of their will to live and therefore they can't consider my project.

In conclusion, let me just thank Ms. Holier than Though Editor Lady for giving me such sage, and fabulous advice. Next time I want to publish something I've written, maybe I'll just take it to Staples and have them make 5 bajillion copies and I'll sell them out in front of Starbucks. At least that way I can get a latte with my criticism.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"S-N-E-R-R-F-L-E"

My mother is greatly enjoying having my cat in the house for the holidays and keeps telling me she thinks he needs more catnip. I reminded her that he had imbibed quite enough already, and as I would rather not see my cat have a weed induced seizure, I cut him off after he snorted half the container. Then my mother pointed out that Riley kept sticking his head in the bag that all his toys and things are in. "He obviously wants more Katherine," she said. I scoffed and said, "Well he also knows his treats are in there." What does she say? "I think if he knew that, he would have already snerrfled them right up. Don't you?" Snerrfle.

I just got back from Walgreens with my mother where I bought eyeshadow, eyeliner, and shaving gel after a lengthy debate about what colors I should be wearing now that I've dyed my hair yet again. My mother walks away and I find her, of all places, in the toy aisle. She is staring, open mouthed, at a kid arguing with his father about Tek Deck skateboard toys. This kid is thoroughly convinced that one set of Tek Decks is better than the other, even though the other actually says, in big bold letters, TEK DECK right on the package, and the kid is arguing VERY loudly with his father. The father is doing little to discourage his son from yelling and flapping in the middle of the toy aisle and the kid keeps getting closer and closer to backing into my mother whose arm is still in a brace after having had surgery. So of course, I very tactfully, and oh so quietly yell, "If I were him I'd take the Tek Decks off the shelf and beat the kid with it."

While we're standing in the checkout line there are these two obviously Eastern European teenagers standing behind us wearing shorts and SLIPPERS on this crisp winter evening, one of them trying to explain to his friend in his limited English how much he loves mint M&M's. Now I definitely can't mock their accents here on my blog, but needless to say I was peeing myself trying not to laugh.

Now I'm home, sitting on the couch, itching like a bastard because I was stupid and ate pizza for dinner. Guess who forgot she's allergic to tomatoes...



Happy Turkey Day

Poor Riley officially hates riding in the car. He also hates my parents' house. I'm fairly certain he's under the couch, since I heard thumping coming from under there but I can't be sure.

This weekend is our ten year high school reunion and I have to say, it took a while but I'm finally looking forward to it. I've decided that I'm going to drink my money's worth at the open bar, slap a smile on my face, and tell a few people how I really feel about them.

One in particular, had the nerve to accuse everyone who wasn't going of being total losers. According to this brilliant specimen of manhood, the reason certain people weren't coming is because they've obviously accomplished nothing over the past ten years. It couldn't possibly be because some of them have moved away and have lives, or children for that matter. No of course not.

All I have to say is, Mark- You're not nearly as f'ing brilliant as you seem to think you are. While you go on spouting off about how wonderful and desirable you are, the rest of us are rolling our eyes and wishing to hell we never agreed to give you a second chance to be nice to us. Yes, you're right. You're a big fish in a little pond. Too bad you have yet to realize that you're actually a bottom feeder. Any guy who goes out on a date with a girl and admits to her that he only asked her to go out because she "got hot" since high school, has his head so far up his ass he has to unzip his fly for a goodnight kiss. Oh, and it's not attractive to ask a girl to dinner, then tell her all about the girl you met that you want to "nail" because she says she's a Rockafeller. Can't wait to see you at the reunion. Better wear a cup pal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Whacked

No, the title of my blog is not meant to be dirty. I've been on a major book binge the last few weeks. I managed to snake a few mysteries from my mom and I finally scrounged up enough money by selling my articles on AC to actually buy a couple books. I preorded Jen Lancaster's Pretty in Plaid which sadly doesn't come out until May so I then bought Tucker Trash's book which, in spite of being horrifically offended by the majority of its content, I still finished in less than 24 hours. Then I started Jules Asner's new book Whacked, which I found on Jen Lancaster's blog. This book I also finished in less than 24 hours but I have to say, it definitely wasn't what I expected. Now, if you plan on reading this book, you might want to stop right here because it was the ending that really, terribly threw me off.

The main character is Dani who is a writer on a Hollywood show called "Flesh and Bone". It's basically a forensic show and Dani has an addiction to forensic police work. Her boyfriend, Dave, is a producer with a mean streak who is apparently cheating on Dani. She drives by his house and finds a cherry red Mercedes in his driveway. After doing a little detective work, she finds that the Merc belongs to an actress named Chloe who Dave swore was "just a friend". Dani continues snooping and finds that Dave has been calling Chloe much more than he has Dani, causing her to flip out and break up with him.

Now I'm following the story just fine up to this point. Dani goes on a few blind dates and seems to have something going with a retired cop who consults on her show, but she continues to seeth about Dave cheating on her with Chloe. Suddenly her producer is telling her that they've decided to cast Chloe in HER show! Of course Dani is less than pleased and decides to confront Chloe about having slept with Dave. Still with me?

Ok well here's where it falls apart. Dani winds up confronting Chloe not on set, but at her home. She gets so angry that she strangles Chloe and leaves her, dead on her livingroom floor. And does she get caught? NO!!! She winds up getting a raise and buying a new house, then you find that she framed the creepy girl in the office who lurks around, sneering at people!

The story was great. The premise was entertaining. But I feel very much like the ending just...fizzled. Anyone else read this book? Opinions? Share please!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Express elevator to hell... Going down...

Yesterday I started reading Tucker Max's book "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell". Not three pages into it I was already laughing so hard that I just about wet myself. Then I sat back and began to wonder how a womanizing, drunken frat-boy wanna be lawyer player brat managed to get a book published when I'm sitting here with a pile of rejections from publishers that could easily prop up the desk in my bedroom that is missing part of its leg. Then it dawns on me how it is that Tucker Max managed to get some poor unsuspecting shnook at Citadel Press to publish the hideous drivel that pours out of his $450 Montblanc pen and eventually ends up on his website, TuckerMax.com- his daddy is loaded. While yes, most of his stories are pretty damned entertaining, most of them are so hideously offensive and ridiculous, littered with bad grammar that his obviously crap editor didn't catch, and based on the same general plot line of him and his friends trying to score with random chicks in bars, that the book might better serve as a liner for Riley's litter box. All I can say is, Jen Lancaster, you need to find Tucker Max, drag him down and bitch slap him. Then let Maisy at him. He doesn't need his balls. They're probably medical miracles, steeped in STDs anyway!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanks Mom...

I have been home with the flu for the past two days, a flu that has been soundly kicking my ass for about two weeks now but got so bad over the weekend that I had no choice but to curl up in the fetal position with a hot water bottle and heating pad while watching crappy daytime TV. My mom called to check in on me and reminded me that I had a fabulous loaf of her zucchini bread waiting for me in the kitchen. When I was finally able to drag myself out of bed to get something to eat, I pulled out the bread and cut myself a slice. I hunkered back down in bed and with the first bite found that my mother had been a little overzealous with the eggs. In fact she had dumped in the WHOLE egg. Shell and all. Surprise! So I called her and demanded a refund.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"I have no sympathy for your pain...The hot water bottle is mine..."

Right now I'm so violently ill I can't even sit up but does my fur wearing demon spawn of a cat care? No. He does not. He has decided that the hot water bottle is serving him better than it is me. No sympathy, I tell ya.


Friday, November 14, 2008

A Trip Down Amnesia Lane

I talked to my friend Vinnie yesterday who some of you may remember from my earlier blogs as the Captain of the Sinking Ship otherwise known as the DarkSide. Of course, after talking to him, I couldn't help but sit back and think of some of the crazier things that happened in that place. Talk about a good laugh.

I remember one afternoon working with some of my older boys when one of them, Chuck, stood up with a retractable ball point pen in his hand and approached his pal Bobby. Now both of these boys were about 6' tall and around 250 pounds a piece so I generally stood at the front of my classroom hoping to God that Chuck just simply stayed asleep in the corner. Any time Chuck got pissed off his eyes would roll in the back of his head like he was having a seizure and very little could stop him from tearing a room apart. But of course on this particular day Chuck decided to wake up, his eyes rolled back, and he was standing over Bobby, whom he called "Bibby", with a pen poised over his neck.

I waited a minute to see if Chuck would back off but unfortunately he didn't so I knew I had to intervene. I got in between the two boys and said to Chuck, "Chuck, right now you're being a dumbass. A better choice would be to stop trying to shank Bibby with a pen and sit the hell down." And with the grace of God himself, Chuck unclicked the pen, handed it to me, and said, "Ok Miss Kit." And sat down. Five seconds later, his head was on his desk and he was snoring as if nothing had happened.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How's the Brink of Sanity Working for Ya?

So last night I was reading the FBI website, and I have to wonder... do you suppose they keep track of all the people who visit the site? Like, on a potential terrorist list? See, I was just looking to see what the requirements might be to become a trained assassin. When I couldn't find that information, I decided to read up on becoming a crime scene photographer. I've always liked the idea of law enforcement like the FBI or the CIA. I love the idea of intelligence and interrogation and hostage negotiation. That being said, I spent a few moments last night staring at all of the law related jargon on the Academy website and then gave up and returned to Facebook. A much more promising platform for my insanity.

Riley is currently sitting on my bed, blissfully licking his ass, making sounds like a suction cup. Sunday evening when I got home from visiting my parents he was so excited to have me home that he rocketed around the house like a total spaz, howling like his furry little ass was on fire. He ran into my room, onto the bed, and around to the night stand that I conveniently lifted from one of the buildings I explored. It was suddenly like a sequence from a cartoon. He landed on the table and realized at the last second that there were magazines piled up on top and that he was slipping. Since he doesn't have front claws he tried desperately to gain traction with his back claws and wound up jackrabbit kicking my lamp. The lamp fell over, the shade fell off, the magazines toppled to the floor, and his giant noggin took out a bowl full of autumn leaves. The cat howled once more, threw himself onto the rug, and kept running. He made it around the corner in the hall and promptly fell ass over teakettle down the stairs.