Tag Archive for day job

Smoke Blog: Perdomo Gran Cru

Nothing cures a crap day like a good cigar.

Perdomo: cure for a crap day.

So I used a photo filter. The lighting sucked.

The Perdomo Grand Cru is a Cuban seed blend, and judging by the size and color of this bad boy it was a Grand Epicure (vs Churchill, etc.) with a natural wrapper. The moment I went to light it I tasted hints of cocoa, and it burned clean and even with plenty of smoke and a mild flavor.

It had a strange, thorny lump under the cap, probably a twist in a leaf or a stem, which felt uncomfortable on occasion but didn’t ruin the experience by a long shot. I spent about an hour and a half with it, until it went out on its own in the last two inches. While it did not turn harsh, I could see it had tunneled some and was probably done, so I tossed it.

But honestly, a lot of that didn’t matter today. I just needed to sit and relax.

The day job has been kicking my ass since early last week, including over the weekend, making it tough to get anything else done. I could easily have spent a big portion of Saturday there if I hadn’t already had plans for the annual Peoria Jaycees Beer Fest. It was a good chance to go out on the porch, kick back, and flip through a Harley-Davidson catalog I had picked up at the International Motorcycle Show in February.

Edits are back in my hands for Lie with the Dead, the cover for an upcoming anthology showed up in my inbox this afternoon, and I’ve got a screenplay to finish, as well as a handful of other projects waiting in the wings. Just a few more days of this testing nonsense at the day gig and I’ll be able to get back on track and re-examine the exit strategy.

I can almost taste the freedom.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: The Presenter

Yesterday, I gave a presentation at the Illinois Association of School Boards convention as part of my day job.

The Presenter

Lighting the Way

When I got home I set up a quick self portrait. Follow me through the darkness! Simple bounce flash setup, kit lens, triggered with a remote. I think my next investment will be a cheap or DIY portable backdrop.

For those curious, the presentation was about how school boards can use iPads to go paperless for their meetings to save money, reduce waste, and be more efficient. Our district superintendent, school board president, and I tag-teamed the presentation and played to a packed room. Lots of great feedback afterward, and several questions.

I told my boss I wasn’t nervous. Presenting there was just like being on a panel at a horror or fantasy convention. In fact, I wish it was a panel at a convention, because with a room that packed I could have sold a lot of books.

The best part? A quick trip to Chicago and lunch at an Italian joint. I dig Chicago, always have. Just the little things like seeing the water tower, the Hancock and Willis Tower, the Wrigley Building. But I don’t make enough excuses to visit. I think I need to jump on the train with the kids in the near future and spend a day.

With the camera, of course.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Oh God, I’ve Become Milton

It’s official: I am now Milton Waddams.

Milton from Office Space

"Did you try rebooting the computer?"

After careful evaluation of my situation, it was obvious.

1) My office is in the basement.
There are windows in the classroom outside my office, but I can’t see out of them and sunlight doesn’t reach me. I have air conditioning, but from time to time the condensation drain backs up and blows chunks all over my desk (even now I have fine black grit all over my desk from the last eruption). My server equipment is so loud, I can’t hear what’s happening outside my office, including the fire and tornado alarms. And yes, I’ve been left in here during at least two drills. My office tile is asbestos, and the wheels in my chairs keep wearing them down.

2) I just took a pay cut.
Now that the insurance company, the great state of Illinois, and the local county government are all done playing their games, I’m down $80 a month. However, given I’ve been told I’m replaceable and I’m lucky I have a job, I guess I should be thankful somebody hasn’t fixed the glitch that keeps printing me a paycheck.

3) My comfy chair is my red Swingline stapler.
My old hand-me-down chair from a secretary is coming apart, so yesterday I picked up a new one.

The Comfy Chair

"Fetch... the comfy chair!"

I got it on sale and used a merchandise card for a store the school wouldn’t otherwise shop at. I spent less money on it than I would a toner cartridge for a teacher’s desktop printer. It’s not the most comfortable chair ever, but it’s got nice lumbar support and a thick seat cushion.

And if somebody takes it away from me, I just may have to [redacted in case some idiot takes me seriously].

4) I get hosed on food.
Remember when Milton didn’t get any birthday cake? At least they told him there was cake to be had. I work in three different buildings and sometimes don’t find out until after the fact that food has been brought in for some event or another.

The best, though, was when I got hosed on teacher appreciation day last year. Every year in the Spring the home ec class takes teachers’ orders for a lunch consisting of a sandwich, chips, candy, dessert, and drink. They make a big production of it, and the teachers are brought in and generally treated to a nice lunch. They generally take care of me, too.

Until last year. While everyone else was raving about their fresh sandwiches, I got a random sandwich pulled off the shelf at the local IGA (and it wasn’t even what I ordered). Instead of the chips I asked for, I got half a greasy Ziploc bag of whatever the student had at home. I think I got a candy bar, but no dessert, and the teacher had to go down to the vending machine and buy me an apple juice because I didn’t get a drink. Meanwhile the teachers around me have bags of chips, chocolate pies, cheesecake, sundaes, and even goldfish. I’m not talking Goldfish Crackers, I mean live goldfish swimming around in little cups or bowls, which the teachers could then take back to their desks.

And while everyone else had theirs served up in gift bags, wire baskets, and even with bouquets of flowers, mine was laid out on a square of paper towel. While my co-workers got treated to the Ritz, I was handed the roach coach special.

In other words, I got hosed.

So yeah, Milton. Guess I better start changing my byline.

TPWK by Milton

Observe my awesome PhotoShop skills.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Setbacks

No, I haven’t forgotten about the Muy Mal relaunch. Have I neglected it? Hrm. Kind of hard to argue with that one.

I’ve been working on a novella instead. One that needs to be done pretty quick, or a publisher may start losing patience with me. I was getting up a good head of steam on it, too, and had a self-imposed deadline for today. Well, yesterday, anyway; it’s after midnight as I type this.

Then I did something stupid.

I wiped out the whole freakin’ thing. That’s right, all gone, back to a blank page. A few weeks’ worth of work right into the crapper.

It occurred to me that the story would work a lot better if I took two characters and changed their genders and motivations, which in turn altered some of the events of the story. It didn’t help that I feared the story got off to a weak start as written, so I saw no sense in keeping that, either.

So boom, back to square one.

While this does set things back a bit, I think it will be better for this story in the long run. I’d rather get it right than deliver crap to the publisher. I’d rather you buy the book and think “Wow, that was great!” than say “Christ, what a rip-off!”

And if I could be downright mercenary, I’d rather put my effort into something that pays than a fun Internet experiment (i.e., Muy Mal). I still want to finish Troy Romano’s story in Down Vendetta Road, but it has to take a back seat to this baby for a number of reasons. I hope you’ll understand.

Now the question is do I stay up and hack on the revised novella some more, or should I go to bed and get some rest for the day job? Argh. I’m predicting some late nights come Spring Break next week.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.