Monday, October 27, 2008

Hal's Terrible, Horrible, Sorta Good, Very Bad Day

Today was supposed to be a good day. By all accounts, it should have been a good day.

I mean, hell, I found out today that I'm a permanent writer for The Reader, not just a Joe Schmo, dude-off-the-street freelancer. Starting this week, my name will be at the front of the paper with the rest of the Editorial Contributors.

This is what I've wanted since Day 1!! And my wish was finally granted!!!

And then, at my other job, like a rug swept out from under me, my caring, understanding, nurturing, tolerant boss (there's an acronym in there somewhere, boys and girls. Go nuts!) pulled me away from my desk and told me I'm on the verge of being fired from my job, that I got a U (read: failing grade) on my latest monitoring and, in turn, would receive a second written warning for doing so.

Oh, and it gets much, much better!! On a call, last week, I asked a colleague of mine for help and they--by misunderstanding me, to be sure-- led me to the wrong answer, which I gave to the agent on my line, which she passed to her manager, who passed it on to MINE!!!!

So, basically, I received two written warnings just last week in addition to the one I already had received in February (which, in all fairness, I deserved)!! My manager--God bless her and her Grand Slam people skills--told me that she had every intention of "terming" (terminating) me, but the Powers That Be decided to combine the last two warnings into one and spare me for another day.

In other words, right now, I'm livin' on the edge, livin' on a prayer and livin' on borrowed time. Long story short: I'm just livin'.


Look, it's not exactly a secret that I hate my job. I've always been fairly vocal about that fact on this here blog o' mine. I mean, I love my co-workers (well, most of them. Odds are, if you're reading this, you needn't lose any sleep, 'cuz I think you're swell) but I despise the endless, unnecessary duties that upper-management heap upon the shoulders of myself and my team (usually, because corporate hasn't a clue how and where else to delegate the work) and the utter bullshit, backstabbing bureaucracy that runs rampant within my
department and the company.

But goddammit...I do my job. And I try to do it well.

For a long time, I won't lie, I stopped caring. I gave up and just didn't give a shit. About any of it. I gave up. I mean, let's face it, I've been at my place of employment for over eight years (fuuuuuuuck) and I was over it by year five. How the fuck people make it to the Quarter Century Club is, to me, one of life's Big The Bermuda Triangle, Amelia Earhart and that powdery cheese stuff in Kraft Mac & Cheese!!

But since February, when I got that first written warning, I've tried to keep things in perspective. I may not like my job, but I do need my job. I do care about my job. Whether I hate it or not, I want to do well.

For the U I received, my boss caught me on a bad day. I won't lie and I won't make any excuses. I gave the agent the wrong answer. It was an accident. It was careless. There you have it: she got me...dead-bang. But unlike several months ago, when I couldn't have given a shit whether I gave the right answer or not, these days, I come to work with my A game on and I play to win. When I gave that answer, in my heart of hearts, I thought it was the correct one. I was wrong. And that's why I'm so utterly disgusted with myself. It makes me ask questions I no longer have an answer to and, as a result, frustrate me to high Heaven: Have I lost it? Even at my best, am I no longer fit for this job?

I will say this, in my defense, my boss hates me. It's not an excuse. It just is. I know it and most of my co-workers know it, too. She's not subtle. She plays favorites and she talks about me behind my back which, of course, gets back to me. Why? Well--spoiler alert!!--we live in the Real World and, news flash, people fucking talk!! And make no mistake, if I do get fired, I will not go down without a fight.

So, yeah, today was supposed to be a good day.

And, to a certain extent, it was. I'm proud of the direction my writing career is taking. As for my job-job, well, who knows, maybe this will be the kick in the junk that I need to start looking seriously into getting a new job. You know, one that doesn't make me want to blow serious chunks all over my
undersized sweat pants-wearing, socially inept, buck-passing boss whenever I see her nod her head, go "oh, yeah! Yep! Yep!" and smile condescendingly at me.

Wait, wait, wait!! That gives me an idea...

Got Ipecac?

Monday, October 13, 2008


Oh, what a week I'm having!!

Talking about going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

In the course of three days, I went from interviewing Tracy Morgan from "SNL" and "30 Rock" for a feature story to reviewing the man, the myth, the legend that is Pauly Shore ("OWWWWWWW...bud-dy!") as he performed live at the Funny Bone.

In regards to the latter, well, let's just say I can do reviews in my sleep. That type of writing has always been my specialty--opinionated shit. After all, you know what they say: Opinions are like assholes. Some just stink more than others.

The Tracy Morgan piece, however, I'm pretty fucking proud of. It's my first celebrity interview and, yes, it's gonna actually be published. I won't lie. I was extremely nervous as I was getting ready to talk to him. I mean, this guy is known for his crazy antics and his in-your-face brand of comedy. Hell, the few times I sat front row center at a comedy club, I nearly shit myself in fear when the comedian addressed/made fun of me.

So, actually talking to a comedian and a major Hollywood star one-on-one, to me, was as exhilarating as it was daunting. No, I take that back. I was fucking terrified!! I mean, I'm just this geeky, awkward Jewish writer with basically zero experience interviewing anyone. [BLOGGER'S NOTE: Shit, he can't even get through job interviews without breaking a sweat--and with those, his only requirement is that he blather on about the one thing he's great at talking about: Himself!!!]

How green can you get, right?!

In the end, though, despite my nervous laughter and my tendency to talk over him, I think I did a good job at drawing information. I won't lie, I'm sure I sounded like a newbie, and a couple of times, he became a little volatile regarding certain topics--nature of the beast, I guess, when it comes to interviews--but I think Tracy and I got along really well. In fact, we had a pretty hilarious back and forth regarding the many variations of how to use the word "motherfucker." I laughed my ass off (and that, my friends, is a lot of ass!!), during that point in the interview.

So, yeah, ultimately, I had a good time with Tracy. He's a fun, genial dude with a lot to say.

A little on the cranky side, but whatever.

God, I love being a writer. What a rewarding week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Writer's Gift

I once wrote that it's not easy being a writer. I stand by that statement.

There are many of us, out there, who are just no good at saying the things we truly feel, so we write it down. We lay ourselves out on the line on paper or electronically. It's our way of drawing out the shit that's inside of us.

And sometimes, like with anyone, we tend to go a little nuts. we write things that we don't really mean. It happens.

Last night, I didn't mean what I wrote. Well, I did and I didn't.

I did in the sense that I miss the hell out of her--you. Sometimes, so much that it hurts. And I know that, at this point, maybe you're wishing I'd just shut the fuck up about it, that I'd just let it go. Maybe you hate me. I don't know. And I suppose that one day, I will be able to let it go. Maybe it will be a week, a month, a year. Who knows? I certainly don't. All I know is that one day, in time, my heart will settle down and stop beating so quickly, so hard, every time I think about what was gained and what was lost. Again.

I didn't, however, mean what I wrote when I seemed to imply that I wasn't proud of all that I've accomplished in such a short time. That's not fair to me nor is it fair to all of those who have given me such encouragement, such positive and negative feedback, during these last few months. I am so very proud to have such a wonderful group of friends that provide a never-ending supply of love and support, a family that would suffer any embarrassment or irritation and indignation that I heap upon them because of their unadulterated love for me.

I am a truly blessed man.

Last night, well, what can I say? I was feeling sorry for myself. I threw a pity party and I was the Guest o' Honor.

I am going to keep writing this script. I am not going to give up. I made a promise. And I intend to keep it. But here's the thing. When I made that promise, I think, deep down it was a promise to myself more than anyone else. This is a story, loosely-based or not, that I will hold dear to me for all time.

It's the story of my life.

Someone's gotta tell it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dr. Horrible

So, I watched "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," the other day.

For those unfamiliar with it, it's a three-part online fantasy/musical/comedy (!) from Joss Whedon, the criminally brilliant mind behind the "Buffy," "Angel" and "Firefly"/"Serenity" universes. It boasts a bravura turn from Neil Patrick Harris (DOOGIE!!!! Man, that guy's got talent to spare) as an aspiring--but misunderstood--super villain. Nathan Fillian is superhero Captain Hammer, Horrible's arch nemesis. The absolutely lovely (and completely crush-worthy) Felicia Day is Penny, the object of both mens' desire.

So, yeah. long story short, the shy, awkward Dr. Horrible wants to rule the world, defeat the arrogant, air-headed "corporate tool" that is Captain Hammer and win Pennie's heart. And without getting into details about the events that unfold, Horrible gets what he wants. But in tragic Joss Whedon fashion, he loses everything, too. In the end, none of it really matters to him.

These days, I sympathize with Dr. Horrible. It's like, lately, I'm finally on the upward swing. I'm writing for a pretty big paper in Omaha, I'm going to be doing my first celebrity interview with Tracy Morgan, I'm getting my stuff out there and I'm writing a script that a lot of people seem to be digging. I'm even talking to a couple of gals that seem genuinely interested in me. I should be happy! These are high times for me!! Finally!!

I'm not going to lay down any bullshit in this one. Most of y'all who read this know what my script is about, what it means to me, why I'm so fucking passionate about it. A good friend of mine, Joel, the other day, asked me if I was okay, emotionally, with writing what I was writing. I understood what he was asking and I appreciated him asking it, but truth of the matter was, yeah...I was fine. Peachy keno. Perf!

Until Saturday night, early Sunday morning. That was rough.

I wrote a scene involving the lead character, Brody, calling up his soul mate Mia, one year later, after he'd told her to take a hike. He tells her that he'd tied up whatever loose ends that had needed to be tied and that he was wanting to try things again if she was willing to do so. But it's too late. She's married. There's a teary, gut-wrenching goodbye and it ends with her by herself crying.

Fade to black.

Now, she and I both know that that, in real life, that phone call never happened. The conversation took place online, home of inexpression and textual misunderstandings. And to be honest, I really don't know if there were any tears on her end. What I do know, however, is that, looking back, I'm glad it didn't happen on the phone, because I was a mess just writing the fucker. I can only imagine what I would have been like in Real Life. I would have had to hang up on her.

That fucking scene truly took the piss out of me.

Not just the writing of it, but just...what it meant. For me, it wasn't just a scene that I was writing. Creative liberties or not, it was a moment in my life that I was reliving, putting it down on paper. A moment that, I think, truly shaped my mentality on Love and Romance; how, well, timing truly is everything.

In other words, that scene opened a Pandora's Box of old wounds, demons and emotions. And I so should have seen this coming, too.

I'm finally getting where I want to be, I have all this good shit happening, and yeah, it's nice to be writing my goddamn heart out again. I'm working my ass off on this script
, working toward a great finished product!! But what then? What the fuck do I have to show for it?! Yeah, it will be splendid to have gotten everything out of my system!! Sure, it would be amazing to (cross your fingers) see it up on the screen, but what then? A round of applause? A million "atta boys!" and/or pats on the back? Money?!

Great! Super!! Fan-fucking-tastic!!

But see, the truth is...

I still miss you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Getting Strong Now!!!

I'm on page 52 of "Five Years Apart."

To quote the late, great Steve Gates: "FUCK, YEAH!!!!!!!"

That is all. :o)