General Chaos

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last (well, almost).

The big reporting project I've been working on has just been officially accepted as complete by my boss, the mad genius. It's going to be a 14-page package in the magazine–and I had to cut it by half to make the main story fit. Of course, the tightening made it a better story to read, but it also meant that a lot of good material will never see the printed page. A whole 1500-word sidebar will only go online.

And I have about 20 hours of interviews that I've only used a fraction of. I am suffering from TMI — too much information. Some of it, I'll use later in other stories. Some of it, I'll find ways to put online to refresh the story over the month ahead after the original story is posted. Some of it…will never see the light of day. And that's probably a good thing. You'll see what I mean when the article appears in November.

Now, on to the next project.

Headline Haiku

No haiku lately
I've been busy with my life
and other pursuits

But certainly, words
are massing on the border
prepared for attack

Sometimes life alone
is cause for celebration
when death lurks nearby

Who values life more:
a rush-hour sniper or the
righteous war wager?

Death at discount
It's cheaper by the millions
than one at a time

Blood spilled far away
makes for better tv than
death on your doorstep

Who can be “pro-life”
that prepares to cause the death
of scores of children?

General Chaos

Some things, you just don't order on the 'net

I am a difficult person to shop for. So when my birthday came up, my wife and other members of my family threw up their arms and gave me cash, with the proviso of buying something I wanted rather than paying bills with it.

So I ordered an electric guitar. I've owned an acoustic for years, and I've taken to playing it as I try to work my way through a story. I used to own a '72 Fender Stratocaster, but when my kids were younger, I gave it to my brother as a present (he's had the joy of restoring it, since I got it from a friend in the Navy, and let's just say that sea air and electric guitars are not a good combination).

It wasn't hard to find a good package to jump back into electric– I found a decent price for a package from Ibanez on So I decided to do the Immediate Gratification thing and buy it online.

Three days later, it arrived–with a broken neck. It had been packed in a store display box–the amp and guitar packed together–with just butcher paper around it to cushion it. I was considerably pissed.

I called up Music123, told them of my dillema, and was told that:

1) a damage claim would have to be filed with FedEx Ground.
2) I would have to wait for the guitar to be picked up in two or three days by them and returned to Music123 before I was credited and a replacement was sent out, unless
3) if I bought a new guitar, I would be credited for the old one when it was returned.

So I ordered a replacement. And I waited for FedEx. But apparently, FedEx Ground didn't get the right information.

Fast forward a week and a half. Seven or eight phone calls later, I'm still waiting for FedEx to show up to collect the first guitar. I had to call FedEx and initiate the pickup, because Music123 couldn't seem to figure out how to handle it. Meanwhile, the replacement guitar and its amp and accessories have arrived, packed this time in seperate boxes.

All I had to do was go to the local guitar shop and buy out of their stock. But nooooooo. I had to be Mr. Technophile. And I've been subjected to some of the worst live customer service ever–thanks to the fact that I initiated my purchase without dealing with a human.

At least I can start my own punk-folk-metal band now and write bitter songs about the experience.