It's been a good, long while since I posted anything on E2. Almost two months. A lot has happened in that time.

I no longer work at the movie theater as a projectionist. As a matter of fact, I no longer work at the theater, period. They fired me. For bringing my laptop up into the projection booth. They feel that laptops pose a security risk since modern laptops can be used in various ways to "rip" movies. My laptop is nine years old, a Pentium 133 with 16 MB of RAM. The theater manager's cell phone is more powerful than my laptop. I'd been bringing my laptop into the booth for seven months and barely had a word been breathed in my direction about it. It was a bogus reason for firing me. The real reason for giving me the boot is that it was Christmas time, they were overstaffed and needed to get rid of people for whatever bullshit reason they could concoct. I got the axe not because I was doing a bad job, nor even because I was a security risk. No. I got the axe because I had senority and I was expendible. At 6$/hour with less than 30 hours/week, it's not like money was pouring out of my paycheck. And in all honesty, it was better for me to get canned. I was commuting a total of 60 miles a day, back and forth, for that job, costing me at the very least $5/day in gas money. No. They did me a favor, all things being equal.

Still, though, I would have appreciated it more if they'd simply been honest with me instead of using a lousy excuse that made virtually zero sense when looked at by any relatively intelligent human being. If they'd said, "We're trimming our staff because we can't afford them. Good bye," I would have at least been able to thank them for their honesty. Instead I simply thanked them for their swiftness and left the place.

Screw 'em.

A week later I got a job doing landscaping (read: digging ditches for a living). It's winter time here in Nashville, I might add. Digging trenches in cold, hard dirt is not exactly my idea of a good time, but there are benefits to be had in this new job. I get paid $12/hour, work normal hours (as in, I get to see more than an hour of the sun each day), I get a solid work-out and I get to learn new skills. It's an honest living, I'm eating better, I'm looking and feeling fit... I like my new job. The only downside is that, at this particular time of year, snow falls in Tennessee, which makes landscaping damn near impossible. The first major snow in three years fell upon Nashville last week and I missed 5 days of work because of it. But I've been making the money up since then. $96/day, 5 days a week. That's more than triple what I was getting at the theater, so I'm not really complaining.

My bills are paid, rent will be paid, I can afford to eat more than once a day... and, get this, I've quit buying name-brand cigarettes. Am I buying the cheap-o stuff, Class-B? Nope. I am now rolling my own cigarettes.

I've come to find that rolling one's own tobacco cigarettes is cheaper, smarter and (gasp!) healthier. Virtually no chemicals to deal with. Cotton filters (optional). Fine-grade papers. And I know what goes into them because I rolled them with my own two hands. Not only that, but because they take more time to roll, I'm smoking less frequently than I used to.

I started out with American Spirit tobacco, but quickly found that, while being 100% chemical-free, it's extremely brittle and hard to roll. So I moved on to something called "Amsterdam Shag," which is moist, sweet, gentle on the throat, easy to roll and utterly exquisite on the tongue. Then someone suggested that I try a brand of tobacco called "Jester." I bought some tonight, after my Amsterdam Shag petered out, and just smoked my first Jester roll. I gotta say, it's a winner. It's cheaper than American Spirit, softer than Amsterdam Shag, moister than anything out there, smoother to smoke than the lightest cigarette on the market and leaves almost no scent once it's done. As well I've been using Abadie rolling papers, which burn almost as finely as carbon paper, leaving behind a pile of ash that is actually smaller than the cigarette butt.

The past few days, since I started rolling my own smokes, I've been coughing. The first day I coughed a lot and then, as the days progressed, I've coughed less and less. And it's not the wracking, gut-wrenching, lung-pulling kind of cough that long-time smokers complain of. Oh, no. It's the cough of purification. All the toxins that've been coating my lungs which I've been taking in from Winston, Marlboro and Camel are quickly being expelled from my body- through my lungs. I breathe deeply now and it no longer pains me.

So... I'm making more money, smoking less, feeling healthier, looking more fit and to top it all off, I've just been handed an opportunity to work as a featured columnist for a new Nashville magazine publication. That's right... I'm going to get published.

A friend if mine is starting up an entertainment magazine which will feature reviews and write-ups on the various Nashville clubs and social "hot spots." The two major magazines of this sort which already float around Nashville, The Nashville Scene and The Rage, have shitty paper quality, lousy printing and low-quality content. The Scene is a lot of fluff with the occasional political statement. The Rage is a lot of fluff with almost no direction or cohesive layout. The guys who want to start up this new mag have got significantly better quality across the board and one of the owners, who has been hanging out at the cafe for a while now, has approached me and asked me to write for his new magazine.

I'm not going to say that life is a whole lot better, but it's getting there, I think. The 3D modeling stuff is taking a lot of my time these days and that's where I've been mostly- SciFi-Meshes.Com. My first 3D mesh design, a Trek-style starship I've dubbed NX-221 USS ATHENA, is completely modeled and lacks only textures. I've got a personal tutor to help me learn the texturing thing... but I've still got a long way to go before I'll start fobbing myself off as a true 3D modeler/designer. For now, it's a damn cool hobby with potential. And I'm having a blast with it.

So... that's it for now. Dunno when I'll write another daylog. I hope the next one has even more and better news. For now life is no longer miserable for me. It's bearable and looks promising. Here's to a new year and making the best of it!

Still single, dammit, and hating every minute of it.