Archive for July, 2007

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 36 on stands, ‘epitaph’ accepted at Metromania magazine!

July 30, 2007

After realizing that there were five Mondays in July, I rushed ‘Flowers For Puck…Love, Algernon’, a categorical essay about reality shows from First Person, Last Straw that’s been picking up renewed interest lately.  Some time tomorrow, I’ll send out the next bach of rants for Night Life for the month of August.  Since my partially voluntary block is still in tow, I’m thinking of trolling through the ancient archives for some classics. 

In other news, ‘epitaph’ (one of the poems from Breathing Room) was recently accepted for the August issue of Metromania magazine.  It’ll be appearing in their new issue on or around August 15th, so click over there in a few weeks at:

www.metromaniamagazine.com

It’s funny how I can go four to six months without writing so much as a limerick on a cocktail napkin and things keep getting accepted from blind submission rampages months prior.  That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so race out there and pick up the new issue of Night Life!

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Monday Big Words Update: Week 34 on stands, Week 33 (still) up on Acid Logic!

July 16, 2007

The July round of Big Words I Know By Heart columns continues this week with ‘No Wonder Lennon Was A Miserable Prick’ (from ‘Crass Menagerie’, which is still under construction), a blind rant about the eroding civility that we all have to endure in the world.  It’s one of my favorites, and if you like the angry ones, you’re definitely not going to want to miss it, so grab the latest copy of Night Life on stands ASAP!  As for last week’s column, ‘Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Into Fat Gamers’, you can find that one online over at:

http://www.acidlogic.com/fat_gamers.htm

And if you haven’t before, post us a line in the Acid Logic guestbook.  For years now, Acid Logic has had some interesting feuds, threats, arguments and crusades that have raged on in their guestbook over the years.  I’ve started a few of my own and ended a few in those very pages.  Drop us a note, a comment or a complaint about one of the longest running twisted sites (that I’ve contributed to) online!  I should be posting some more pics up later this week on YourHub, so stay tuned.  If you want a quick link (and some insight into my eccentric and neurotic personal life), click over to:

http://buffalo.yourhub.com/~tomwaters

 That’s all I’ve got for you this week.  I’ll give you all a shout out by next Monday at the latest.  Cheers,

Tom Waters

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So Much For A Writing Vacation/’Tearing Through Kerouac’ accepted at Silent Actor web zine!

July 15, 2007

For someone who vowed to stop writing for awhile, I’ve spent a lot of this week writing.  After getting caught up on the YourHub blog, I used the majority of my morning off today bringing things up to speed as far as the Buffalo Anthology project submissions go.  After reviewing the latest round of works from new writers, I tooled around on the manuscript, sent out some acceptance letters and requested some short bios.  The anthology alone could be a full time job, but I like the way it’s shaping up.  You can view the newest list of accepted authors over at the official anthology site by clicking on:

www.buffaloanthology.blogspot.com

 Once I took care of the various emails and manuscript retools, I punched up the Club Watch review for Al-E-Oops, the assignment Lindsay and I headed out to last night.  Since it’s a paying gig, I’m not about to lose ground there from a six to eight month absence. 

And finally, I went over some plugs with Susan Marie (who will be interviewing me later this month for her ‘This Is Not An Apple’ show on Think Twice Radio) and got a response back from Silent Actor web zine, a new start up prose magazine (online and in print) that’s focusing on experimental poetry.  While they liked both submissions, they decided to run with ‘Tearing Through Kerouac’, an exposition on how poetry’s affected me over the course of a lifetime.  They already posted it up online at:

http://www.geocities.com/silentactor/waters.html

So let me know what you think!  With three ambitious projects (the Buffalo anthology, Slapstick & Superego, and the two Breathing Room collections), I think I may have to rethink each specific book release as putting them out simultaneously would be a surefire recipe for complete collapse.  Who knew that taking a break from writing would involve so much goddamned writing? 

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 33 on stands, Week 32 right here!

July 9, 2007

Whelp, the new issue of Night Life is on stands today with a Big Words I Know By Heart edition of ‘Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Into Fat Gamers’, a meditation on the difference between gaming enthusiasts and out and out geeks.  Grab it this week for free on stands if you get a chance.  It definitely leans harder on the side of ranting than constructive argument, but initial responses were pretty positive.  And if you missed it last week, here’s a re-run of ‘Alert & Erect’, a breakdown of my morning routine be it on my days off or my days on.  Both essays are fresh out of ‘Crass Menagerie’, the collection I’m currently tooling around with.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some gaming to do….Seeya next week,

Tom Waters

Alert & Erect

My morning routine has changed by leaps and bounds since my days as a teenager. Maybe it depends on the jobs I’ve had, but I’ve gone from getting up ten minutes before my ride to sleeping in until noon to popping out of bed at seven in the morning an hour before my alarm even goes off. I’ve heard stories about men’s internal clocks freezing on a certain time for the rest of their lives and I hope for my sake that mine doesn’t pre-set to six am. The bladder is a harsh mistress, though, and its tough to argue with urinal pressure that startles you out of a deep sleep. That’s how it happens. The days of shambling off to the bathroom in the dark to pee before collapsing directly back onto a rem cycle are over. Nowadays, once I’m up, I’m up. My old man used to get up at five a.m. and keep going. I am definitely my father’s son.

A lot of it depends on the season, too. In the fall, I’m an early riser. I tend to be a bit more manic when the leaves are turning and school is starting back up for the kids. My creativity levels spike and I hop out of bed ready to take on the world before the sun comes up. Toward the back half of the winter, I start hibernating, getting eight, ten and sometimes twelve hours of sleep not including one and two hour naps after work. In the summer, I level out and average eight hours a night, which is the recommended daily dose. I get enough rest, but its on a yearly timetable.

I strive to streamline my morning activities before leaving for work. If I can get out of bed and be out the door and on the clock within forty five minutes, I’m a happy camper. That’s my miracle mile. After lumbering out of bed, I have to talk the Big Man down from the ledge while brushing my teeth, so to speak. The British refer to this syndrome as morning glory, and if you’re a woman, you have no idea what I’m talking about right now. It’s god’s joke that your biological peak happens when you have no time or inclination to do anything with it and furthermore, when you have a full bladder. The last thing I need in the morning is to walk around at half mast when I’m starting the coffee maker and getting dressed, but there we have it. So after brushing my teeth, talking the Big Man down and taking a leak, I start up the coffee maker. If the coffee isn’t prepped from the night before, I’m going to have a bad day.

Once the coffee is percolating away, I lay right back down on the couch with a fresh mouth and light up a smoke. Some people find this disgusting, but I find them disgusting and its hard to break routine. If it’s a day off, I try and let my mind form and drift so I can lock onto a topic to write about since I write best in the morning. I’ll also turn on CNN and keep it on for two or three hours to try and encapsulate a week’s worth of national news in an attempt to feel connected to the world. If it’s a work day, I try and rest a little bit longer before I have to spring into action. In the winter, when the cat is at the apartment, I have to angle my body on the couch since he likes to hog my spot, which aggravates me to no end. I may have to put down a ‘Reserved For’ sign when I’m not reclining on the couch to avoid this issue. We’ve got two goddamned couches, so there’s no reason why he can’t set up shop on the other one. I know he does it to get my goat and so far it works.

After a cigarette, I pop into the study to get changed into my work clothes or turn the computer on and check my email, depending on how much time I have. Normal people have dozens of pairs of pants and shirts pressed, folded, pleated, ironed and starched for the work week whereas I have two pairs of pants and four or five shirts that I end up digging out of the laundry basket from the day before. If I can get away with wearing the same pair of khakis five consecutive days in a row, I will, barring any large geographic food stains, in which case I opt out for the second pair of pants. If it’s a day off, I’ll just plop down into the computer chair, cycle through my email and then boot up the word processor and start writing. It took a few years to start this habit, but its best to create when the mind is a blank slate and hasn’t been contaminated with a day’s worth of stressors, confrontations and activities.

After getting changed, I lumber back to the bathroom to fix the hair. If I was a morning person, I’d get up a half hour earlier and shower because my hair is never easier to set than when I hop out of the bath tub. I’m more of a bath guy, though, and baths aren’t conducive to waking up, so I end up applying toxic quantities of gel and hair spray to get my head under control for an eight or nine hour day. If I’ve got a hangover, this is the time where I start gobbling ibuprophren, vitamins and tonics to resuscitate my weathered and battered body.

At this point, I fill a coffee thermos, make a complete disaster area out of the breakfast nook near the stove, and fill two liter bottles of filtered water. I’m a thirsty man so I need plenty of fluids, and the water offsets the dehydrating properties of the coffee. I dump an ungodly amount of sugar and cream into my coffee, and I’m not at my most coordinated ten minutes after getting out of bed, so this is a recipe for disaster. By the time I leave the house, the kitchen counter is lousy with powders and preservatives, but I can’t be bothered to clean it up and the white linoleum ends up getting fossilized with spilled coffee and trace amounts of sugar. Once my drinks are thrown into a plastic grocery bag, I sit in the beat up green chair near the door, tie my shoes, throw on my coat, grab my keys, center my brain and head out the door.

Music is key to the morning mood, so once I plop into the car seat and buckle up, I have to make the crucial decision as to whether or not I should listen to droll drive time morning shows, classic rock or two of the five cassettes I’ve been listening to for the last ten years. If I opt for the morning radio shows I end up getting disgusted with the inane blather the hosts drudge up and end up changing the channel in disgust. If I listen to a music station I end up hearing a song I can’t stand and change the channel in disgust. Nine times out of ten I go with the cassettes. I spark up my second smoke of the morning, turn the volume on the music up to maximum decibels to aid in the waking process, and head out of the driveway. I had a cd player with any number of mix cds but its on the fritz and I really need to get it fixed.

No matter what time I get up (unless its on the weekend), my drive time commute is fucked. There are no two ways about it. I could get up at four in the morning and I still wouldn’t arrive to work until eight am, which frustrates me beyond description. Commuters from five different boroughs bottleneck through the street that I take thinking that by avoiding the main road parallel to mine is faster. They’re wrong. I’ve spent years trying to find a faster commute and it doesn’t exist, so I take a fatalist approach and suffer in gridlock along with the rest of the morning zombies. This is where the music comes in. If the cars moving, I can belt it out at the top of my lungs and it distracts me from the mind numbing aggravation of throwing hours of my life away sitting in a car doing nothing. This only stalls the spleen venting rage, though, as I completely lose my mind by the time I get onto the expressway and start swearing at people in my car, digging my fingers into the steering wheel, and lane changing at will to find the faster lane that doesn’t exist between the hours of seven and nine in the morning. There is no excuse whatsoever to drive anything under ten miles over the speed limit in the morning. The sooner I get to work, the sooner I can go home, so people cost me valuable quality time sitting on my ass, napping, or achieving something worthwhile in the evening.

I used to get a second cup of coffee from a drive through en route, but this got to be expensive and time consuming. I used to stop at a convenient store to grab soda and snacks for the afternoon, but this was also time consuming. Nowadays, I pack a thermos and go to the store after I punch in, which saves me a good half an hour on the way to work.

On average, it takes me forty five minutes from the time I wake up to the time I get to work in the morning. On a really bad day, it takes an hour and fifteen minutes. There is no time to look at an accident on a drive time commute, and people who slow down and bottleneck gum up the entire proceedings. It’s a chain reaction, and when one person slows down to see what’s left of some jag-off’s demolished heap, everyone slows down. Kinetic energy slows down to a crawl, and I can’t stand driving five miles an hour in three lanes that should be going sixty five. If someone can’t drive safely and quickly on the expressway, we should be able to drive over their body passing by. That’s just good manners. One accident can make three hundred people late, and there’s no reason why everybody can’t at least go the speed limit. I’ve said my peace on that subject.

By the time I get to work, the first cup of coffee is drained and I’ve had three to five cigarettes. For all intents and purposes, I’m awake and alert. After I get punched in and set up for the day, I head to the bank and get my soda and chips after making small talk with the cashier. Then I go into the bank and crack wise with the tellers about my girlfriend, or what’s going on with my writing. I really like being a guy who goes to the bank and makes small talk in the morning. There’s just something about it that appeals to me. In my free time, I wouldn’t be caught dead inside of a bank, but it makes me feel responsible and important during work hours.

When I’m sixty five, odds are that I’ll roll out of bed at seven or eight in the morning with a raging hard on with no hope of going back to sleep. This is a sad fact of life. When I’ve got nowhere to go and nobody to report to, something will have died inside of me. Guys strive to beat their personal best record during drive time, and once that’s gone, the real senility will set in. Who knows; maybe I’ll roll pennies and drive them in to the bank across town every day just to have some semblance of belonging. I’ve come to enjoy being a morning person despite my instincts because you can get a lot more done with your day when you get out of bed before noon. Lord knows that I wouldn’t be able to swear at complete strangers, smoke a quarter pack of cigarettes or drink a gallon of coffee if I didn’t.

Tom and tar in the morning on WKBUTT,

Tom ‘veiny’ Waters

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Independant Stream Interview (Pt. 2)

July 8, 2007

Minneapolis’ own Gary Holdsteady interviewed me for a second time last week for Independant Stream, his popular Minnesota podcast that features mostly cult underground rock bands along with asking me some questions from listeners around the world as far as Texas, the United Kingdom, and Illinois!  Give it a listen over at:

http://independentstream.podomatic.com/entry/eg/2007-07-05T15_21_56-07_00

Gary got a little loaded towards the end of the interview, but he works an overnight job and tips a few back in the morning (which is more like evening for him), so that’s all right by me.  He even let me pick out the closing music (Talking Heads) as a big F You to some new Recording Association crusade against podcasts.   Let us know what you think and post a few comments on the site!

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 32 on Stands/Week 31 right here!

July 2, 2007

     Monday finds us all again, which can mean only one thing: A new issue of Night Life magazine with a brand new ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ column!  I was incorrect when I wrote in yesterday’s post that ‘Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Into Fat Gamers’ went in this week.  After checking my records, it appears as if ‘Alert & Erect’ (regarding my morning routine) popped in today.  So pick it up on stands!  I’m also going to enclose last week’s column, ‘Feedback Distortion’ for your enjoyment.  So enjoy it, goddamnit!  And happy fourth of July!  Sincerely,

Tom Waters

Feedback Distortion

I can always tell when I piece of mine has been published in The Buffalo News from the incoming responses I get via email, snail mail, or over the phone. I prefer to vent in print because it’s a sane, rational means of conveying my feelings without ranting in the street, calling people at random, or standing up on tables in restaurants and yelling at other patrons. It’s a good way to get grievances and gripes out my system. This is why it boggles my mind that readers find it acceptable to hunt me down in the phone book or send postcards to my home. Well I’m telling you for the first and last time, our correspondence is a one way street. I am a hermit. I am a recluse. I prefer, in any given situation, to be left alone so that I may go about my business.

A small cross section of the population has no sense of humor, and they think that my treatises on modern day living are to be taken at face value. If you have no sense of humor, stop reading right now before you hurt yourself. Some people in this town really should take their medication before they get up in the morning, dial a phone or operate heavy machinery before they hurt themselves. Some insane woman left a message on my answering machine at nine in the morning regarding a weight gain rant that I wrote in The News. I goofed that everyone who said they had thyroid problems was faking it, and she went on at length about how I was a horrible person and that her husband had a diagnosed problem and lost some weight. This is comedy, lady. People get hurt. If you can’t take a joke, you know what you can do. Just yesterday, a man called my house wondering what the definition of ’tryptophan coma’ meant. I didn’t realize that writing humorous essays obligated me to stand by on the phone for people who are too lazy to walk to their dictionary or surf the internet for term definitions. I appreciate that you read my work but I would prefer that you buy my books if you want to learn more or figure things out for yourself.

Writers by definition are altruistic introverts. We try to change the world from a distance. We would rather hide behind the curtain and wait for the response than go up on the firing line and take questions and answers. The only time I surface as a moving target is during my whirlwind book promotions and then you are free to show up and ask as many stupid questions as you want (providing that you buy ten copies of each book).

Postcards, on the other hand, are not a bad means of interacting with me. Getting a polite note from an older woman about how she agrees with everything I say and that I say it better than her makes the world go round. I appreciate that, and time permitted, I will respond to that. If you want to bother me with your rebuttals, your two cents, or your insane blather, I would prefer that you direct it to my email address: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.

Nine times out of ten I have the best intentions when I’m ranting or making jokes at some demographic’s expense. If you can’t figure that out, maybe you should apply for a permit before you read any printed column anywhere for your own good. If I come off as pompous or conceited, then I apologize. If I sound that way, it’s only because I know in my heart that I’m better than you, and always will be. Just kidding. Thanks for reading, Buffalo. Aggravations and all, you make my world go round.

Dumbing it down so that everyone can figure it out,

Tom ’do not call list’ Waters

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Acid Logic Update! ‘Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Into Fat Gamers’…

July 1, 2007

The July issue of Acid Logic is up online and editor in chief Wil Forbis has deemed ‘Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Into Fat Gamers’ (from Crass Menagerie ) fit to run in this month’s issue.  Much like ‘Underwear On The Outside Looking In’ (which looked at the dichotomy between comic enthusiasts and out and out geeks), ‘Mama’ explores the key differences between people who play video games versus gamer geeks who truly need to get out of the house and do something else for awhile.  After re-reading it, I feel like it could use a bit of editing, but it holds up as a free form rant.  Check it out over at:

 http://www.acidlogic.com/fat_gamers.htm

Coincidentially, the same piece will also be running in Night Life magazine tomorrow, so this column is getting around.  Like a record.  You know what I mean.  Wil ‘Forbis The Mighty’ took last month off and ran a ‘best of’ issue due to a hand injury (that he assures me wasn’t from self-entertainment activities), so I hope he’s mending quickly.    

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