A Heartfelt Letter to My Disappointed Parents

Dear Mom and Dad,

Mark Twain

Photo from Wikipedia. I hope I’m crediting this, correctly. Please don’t sue me.

Mark Twain published Tom Sawyer in 1876, at the age of 41. He then published Huckleberry Finn in 1883, at the age of 47, give or take. Prior to this time he was basically unknown. He bounced from town to town, and job to job, trying to find his place in the world.  Ernest Hemingway (a writer of some note) later wrote that “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” Now, I am not saying that I can compare to Mr. Twain, nor do I ever expect to receive such a glowing review from Mr. Hemingway. What I’m saying is, maybe just calm down a little bit and try having some faith in me. It would go a long way toward making our phone calls a little less tense. Not everybody can figure their shit out in their 20’s, and I think it would be real nice if you would just…blah blah blah. Oh, fuck it. I’m just gonna drink some more wine and then make you stand in line for an autograph when I finally get published.

I will say this, though- A life without art is no life, at all. If I can make just one person laugh, or think twice, or even just feel something, every day, then I have contributed something of value to Humanity. I’m not built for a day job. Sorry. It seems to me that you should be proud of that. Or at least feel kinda cool. I mean, what parent really dreams of hatching a mid-level executive at a vacuum factory? I don’t expect you to see my point, but I’m glad I made it.

Hugs forever, Rob

PS: Apologies to any vacuum factory executives who may have taken offense. It’s nothing personal.

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Great Moments in Unemployment: Volume 2

This morning, a friend sent me a link to a job opportunity in Seattle. It’s a web-based-B2B-something-something-travel-site that is hiring for a whole bunch of positions. The application process was two parts; a form on their website, and an e-mail with cover letter and resume.
Greetings from Endor

The final question on the form asked: “If you were a planet, which one would you be, and why?” So, of course, my answer was rad.

“Endor. Definitely Endor. Because I’m short, stocky and furry. Also, I carry a spear most days.

Technically, Endor is a moon, not a planet. I hope I won’t lose points for that. I mean, it has all of the properties of a planet. It sustains LIFE, for crying out loud! Hardly any of the planets can do that. So, let’s not get hung up on scientific semantics. I’m not applying to be a scientist, after all.”

And then I submitted my cover letter and resume, along with the following e-mail. Continue reading

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Great Moments in Unemployment: Volume 1

Today, I received this response from a company to which I’d applied, a few weeks ago. The company, Curious.com, produces a variety of educational videos geared toward everything from household how-to projects, to photography tutorials, to history lessons. They were looking for marketing people, or something. I don’t remember, but it really doesn’t matter. Looks like it’ll be a bit longer before I can start paying that pesky back-rent. My parents continue to be proud.

curious-logo

“Hi Rob, Thanks for your interest in Curious, and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I gotta say, a cover letter that… bold… basically narrows the companies who will give you an interview. Unfortunately, we’re not one of those companies. But we wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect match for you! Cheers”

The job posting requested the usual resume/cover letter combo, plus “a cover letter which states your “bucket learning list” of five things you want to learn before you kick the aforementioned bucket”. Here’s what I sent. Continue reading

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School Shootings Are Up and Business is Booming

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So, what happens if they aim at the front? Or ANY of the 3-out-of-4 sides that are not protected?

In the wake of yet another school shooting, this time in my hometown of Seattle, in a neighborhood very familiar to me, there has been another round of the same tired, he-said-she-said debate between insecure, sex-starved illiterate gun enthusiasts and love-mongering, spineless, patchouli-swilling opponents of gun-based child murder. But there is something different, this time. A new player has emerged. While the proponents of “freedom at all costs” wage their endless battle with the “actual gun violence is way scarier than hypothetical government tyranny, and should therefore take precedence over an outdated and generally misunderstood Constitutional Amendment” crowd, somebody actually figured out a way to make some money off of all this fear, loathing and child slaughter.  Wait, what? Continue reading

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The Meaning of Life at 5am on Tuesday

We’re all here together, sharing this minuscule blip on an infinite cosmic clock. The universe is not a novel. It has no story, no character arc. It just is. It has pieces and parts and sounds and little tiny things that happen to live on a little tiny speck in the midst of a bunch of other little tiny specks…for an insignificant hiccup of time. And then later, it won’t.

Forget about the money and the houses and the cars and the things. You can’t take them with you, and there’s no prize for building the biggest pile. 100 billion people have lived and died before you. There’s no more room in Heaven. Your life is its own reward. Don’t bother preparing for another one. It’s not coming. So make it count.

Everyone you know, love, or admire will die. There’s no way around it. All you can do is appreciate them, love them and learn from them as much as you can, before they go. And be sure to be someone worth knowing, loving and admiring, so that, in case you go first, you leave behind a positive, lasting memory for those who knew you. That’s it. That’s all there is. Don’t waste any time.

 

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Angry E-Mails I Wish I’d Actually Sent: Vol. 1

Hi [REDACTED],

I see that you are still using my content on your new company website. Once again, I remind you that you DO NOT HAVE MY PERMISSION to use that content.

Obviously, you have zero respect either for me, personally, my work, or my rights. Let me be plain. If you do not remove ALL of my work from your current site (or pay me for it) I will make it my #1 goal in life to ruin your business. Which won’t be hard, given what a degenerate, thieving, dishonest drunken mess you have turned out to be. I am perfectly within my rights (some might even argue ethically obligated) to discuss my experience working with you, and the staggering number of complaints I’ve dealt with from disgruntled clients and vendors, in the public domain, via Google, Yelp!, Facebook, etc.

I hate you. I hate you to the center of my being. There is no other person, in my entire life, for which I hold such contempt. You are a vile, despicable, soulless leach, sucking the life out of your so-called “friends” while flashing them your devious and duplicitous grin. You have taken advantage of my good will, stolen money from me, and caused me untold emotional trauma for years, and now I am left with nothing. You have pushed me into a corner, from which I no longer have any escape. What happens next is entirely your own fault, and I will stop at nothing to make sure the whole world knows it. Continue reading

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Rejected Ad Copy: Volume 1 – Home Entertainment Provider

As a freelance writer, I take on clients and projects with a broad range of topics. It can be difficult to find the proper “voice” that fits with each client’s needs. Sometimes, a bit too much of my own personal style bleeds into my corporate work, and the train can get away from the tracks. Here’s an example. This post was supposed to highlight the special family programming available from a major home entertainment provider.

Needless to say, this post will NOT be appearing on the company website.

Finding quality family entertainment can be hard. Sports cost a lot of money, and often result in brain injuries, or if you’re kid is the awkward, unathletic type, a lifetime of shame and frustration. Parks are full of scary drug addicts and sex workers, and you’re always hearing about kids getting AIDS from dirty needles hidden between grains of sand and shards of broken crack pipes.

Continue reading

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Untitled Mardi Gras Project: Part 1

12:39pm Wednesday February 26, 2014

Take-off. First song of the trip is Honky Tonk Women, which seems fitting. The ascent was bumpy, and would have benefited greatly from more alcohol. Ironically, and somewhat cruelly, given that I am currently too broke to buy any booze, the entire cabin area back here in row 37 smells like recently spilled beer.  I haven’t figured out why, but I’m guessing the flight in from Houston got a little out of control. One of the attendants is pretty hot, especially for a flight attendant, the majority of whom seem to be held together with gauze and duct tape. I’m strategizing a charm offensive that might result in some complimentary drinks. It’s a new thing I’m doing. Charm. Whereas, historically, “offensive” was probably the more operative term, of the two.  So we’ll see.

The security was unusually lax this morning. I breezed through, from curb to gate, in less than 10 minutes. The TSA didn’t berate, belittle or defile me in any way. There wasn’t even the x-ray spinning thing or a public genital pat-down. Where did the love go?  I’ve grown fond of the institutionalized public humiliation. It has become almost a fetish, really. Oh well, at least my gate was literally the closest one to the check point. I put my boots and belt back on and was immediately ready to board.  Or would have been, had the flight not been delayed by a half hour. So, instead of boarding, I had another in a seemingly endless series of angry phone calls bitching about a deadbeat client who just can’t seem to figure out how to pay her bill. But alas, the future promised an escape from all of that. From the anger, from the stress. From any notions of responsibility, maturity or sobriety. The future was Mardi Gras.  Continue reading

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The Seahawks Prove Me Wrong About Football, Humanity

I know I’ve made a lot of jokes about football. Its fans, its players, and the preposterous amounts of money spent on its behalf. And while I still cannot abide the exorbitant sums spent by fans who should instead be buying books for their children, the way that sports, in general, have largely replaced religion as the nation’s primary opiate, or the outrageous paychecks handed down to privileged and entitled thugs who amount to little more then modern day gladiators with rap sheets as long as their stretch Hummers, I would be remiss if I did not admit that there are some rather glowing, shining exceptions. Some of these guys are pretty damn amazing.

The Seahawks, as a team, are exceptional this year. But not because they are winning games. That’s nice, and I enjoy watching them win, especially after a lifetime of shame and sorrow, watching my hometown team get crushed year after dismal year. No. That’s not why I’m paying attention again. I’m paying attention again because of guys like Derrick Coleman. I’m paying attention because these guys are making so much good come out of their fame and fortune. I’m paying attention because I am inspired not only by their teamwork, and their ability to overcome adversity, but by their willingness to give back to society, to be genuine role models. By their exceptionalism, itself. Because they are intelligent and articulate and kind and good. Because they are proving that fame and fortune are not the point to all of this, and that they do not necessarily corrupt those who find them.

Watch this video. I dare you not to choke up, at least a little bit. No matter what happens on Sunday, a sizable chunk of my faith in humanity has been restored today, and for that I am truly grateful.

Derrick Coleman restores my faith in humanity

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Pope Frank in the Cross-Hairs of History

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Anybody else get the nagging feeling that the new Pope is gonna get assassinated? He’s just so…GOOD! The power structure behind the throne has got to be squirming. I mean…he’s just so openly Christian! Like, CHRISTIAN Christian. Doing good deeds, loving those in need, accepting those with different beliefs, turning the other cheek. This compassion will not stand, man!

But seriously. Every time he does some awesome new thing, like being sympathetic to gays and atheists (my homies), or trashing Capitalism and openly advocating the rights of the poor, I get the strange desire to actually…LIKE him. While that’s unique and warm and fuzzy for me, personally, I just know there are some (probably several) old-school nutbags out there that want to shut this guy up, to maintain the status quo of ignorance and persecution of anyone with alternative beliefs. Just like Ghandi, MLK and many other brave, outspoken proponents of peace and love (*cough* Jesus *cough*), Pope Frank is risking everything to do some genuine good. For that, he has my respect.

I’m just not so sure that having the respect of people like me is healthy for him. After all, I am a heretic, a heathen and a blasphemer. People in his club used to actively persecute, torture and murder the people in mine. Many of them would like to continue doing so, which puts him directly at odds with his own followers. My bet is that it will be one of his own that decides to silence him. I really hope I’m wrong…but my gut is usually right.

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It’s a Tiger, Stupid! My Thoughts on Duck Dynasty

In a recent interview with GQ, Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, had some colorful things to say about gays, blacks, and all sorts of other people.

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– “It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical,” he’s quoted as saying.

When asked what he thought was sinful, Robertson replied: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” –

Obviously, comments comparing homosexuality to bestiality are ignorant and ridiculous. I think we can all agree on that.

A major part of this guy’s job is to be an ignorant, backwoods redneck who says funny-sounding dumb shit, so that slightly-less-dumb people can laugh and feel superior. So I’m a little confounded by all the uproar. So what, a stupid idiot said something stupid and idiotic? And? This is “shocking” in the same way that the attack on Siegfried and Roy by their tiger was shocking…in that it wasn’t. At all. It’s a TIGER!!! THAT’S WHAT TIGERS DO!!! It was only a matter of time. I find it hard to believe that anybody is actually surprised by this. This is exactly what they’re paying him for. Continue reading

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Be a Part of Music History with Whim Grace on Kickstarter!

Just imagine yourself living in a different time. It is 1965, and you’re at a small, smokey bar in Austin, Texas. Neon lights buzz softly along the walls, illuminating the high-backed leather booths with a soft red glow. A cold Lone Star sits half-empty in front of you, beside an empty glass of well whiskey. You light yourself a Marlboro Red and ponder another round, pausing to notice the dingy stage curtains slowly part, and the form of a smallish woman with wavy brown hair, decorated with fresh flowers, sauntering up to a microphone, guitar in hand. She begins to sing. Old blues standards. Those first moments seem to hang for an eternity, and you don’t even realize your jaw has dropped wide open, because the intensity of your disbelief has rendered you oblivious to everything…everything but the voice. That voice! That voice emanates from someplace else, someplace beyond. Surely, it cannot possibly be coming form this pretty little person you see on the stage. After belting out a string of tunes that seem to reach out through the wafting smoke, reaching inside of you, beneath the crust of your consciousness, making every hair on your neck stand up at incredulous attention, this woman…this impossibly soft and lovely little person introduces herself, in a low and raspy voice, simply as Janis. Despite your disbelief, you are immediately convinced of one thing. A fact like none other you’ve ever known. This woman is a star. Maybe nobody outside of this little bar knows it, yet, but it is nevertheless a universal truth. And you are her instant evangelist.

CLICK HERE to read the whole article! Seriously. CLICK HERE!!!

This article was originally posted here, then moved to another site because this one was being a pain. So now there’s just the excerpt. I hope you’ll like it enough to click through to the other page. Thanks.

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This Week in Right-Wing Douchebaggery…Kansas

You know, Christians…I would think that, as experts on persecution, at least historically speaking, that you might somehow, some way, manage to MUSTER UP SOME COMMON FUCKING DECENCY!!!!! I have seriously had it with this shit. At this point, I’m about to call the zoo and see about buying some lions.

Now, I know what you’re going to say. “But Rob, these people are not representative of ALL Christians! These people are ignorant fucking scumbags who occupy only a very tiny minority among a very broad, and generally decent religious community. It sounds like you’re attacking Christianity, itself! That’s no fair!!!” Continue reading

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I’ve been Doing Life Wrong

I think maybe I’ve been doing life wrong. I somehow got it into my head that the measure of success was…success, itself. Without really realizing it consciously, I allowed aspirations of fame and fortune and acceptance and love to become my primary motivation. Somewhere along the way I became more concerned with how I could move up some made-up socio-economic ladder. How to make more “x” so I could buy more “y” and therefore feel more “z”…it’s all just so arbitrary.

Walking home late tonight from a long day with a good friend, I suddenly remembered that none of this matters. No amount of fame or fortune will make any difference or make me happier as a person. I remember, vaguely, that there was a time when I was truly happy. It had nothing to do with status or wealth or even receiving love from others. Although those things are certainly enjoyable, happiness depends more on what you DON’T have. The cycle of stress that stems from material desires, a definition of success that requires an ever-increasing amount of personal belongings and accolades and responsibilities. The need for validation from others. But what for? What’s the point? Continue reading

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Ex-Pope Blames Upper Management For Resignation

Pope Blames Management“So God was all like, ‘look, Bennie. We’ve umm…decided to go in a different direction…It’s not that we don’t like the work you’re doing. It’s just that, umm…you know. Times are tough, and we’ve had to make some cutbacks. I don’t want you to think that this in any way brings into question the notion of infallibility. We here in management just feel like maybe it’s time for a change. Let’s just chalk it up to creative differences. You can keep the company car and the villa. Cool?'” – Pope Benedict

From Huff Post-

Former Pope Benedict cited his advanced age and failing strength as the reason he stepped down from the Church’s highest office on February 11, though recent comments reveal a different motivation behind his unusual resignation, the first in 600 years. Continue reading

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