Smokes: The brand (Camel Lights) is not as importa…

Smokes: The brand (Camel Lights) is not as important as the price. I left the newsroom to head to a borough council meeting I was covering, and realized that I had left my smokes sitting on my desk. I stopped at an Eckerd’s Drug store to pick up a pack.

Oh, it sounds so simple…

I knew that the Pennsylvania General Assembly had raised the state tax on cigarettes by 31 cents or something in that ballpark. In theory, I have no problem with that kind of tax increase, especially because Gov. Rendell stipulated that much of the money was to be given to public school districts, as an expansion of their regular subsidies.

So I ask the girl at the counter for a pack of Camel Lights.

She smiles, turns to the racks behind her and retrieves my smokes.

She punches buttons on the register.

She looks up and smiles again. “That’ll be $5.50.”

Five. Dollars. And. Fifty. Cents.

And then I no longer care about the goddamn kids and the goddamn schools and outdated textbooks and underpaid teachers. It suddenly occurs to me that I’m about to start paying upwards of $40 a week to pump carcinogens into my lungs.

Generally, I have no problem admitting that I’m a total moron.

Now, I have proof.

@@@

What I really wanted to say is that I’m going to spend the next day or two delving into the mysteries of this internet stuff. Specifically, I’m going to take a walk through Blogger’s help pages and see if I can’t make this page considerably more nifty. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Sweet jesus — it’s nearly 1 a.m. I sat around for…

Sweet jesus — it’s nearly 1 a.m. I sat around for so long reading other blogs tonight that I apparently forgot that I’M AT WORK, and I had shit to finish before I head home. So I’m filing yet another project right on deadline, at the expense of sleep and all the other things you give up when you’re at work at 1 a.m.

Going home. Looking foward to taking a hot shower in my own house tomorrow morning.

Chronically, inevitably …. another deadline, and…

Chronically, inevitably …. another deadline, and another night reading other people’s blogs or writing in my own. Maybe the Monday night thing will become a routine. At least I’m posting something.

Not an especially pleasant weekend, except for the very end. Worked all day Saturday without the benefits of a shower. The hot water nozzle in our apartment shower is on the fritz, and getting my landlord to do any kind of work on the apartment is difficult at best. His plumber came over Sunday, and took a look. No parts. Have to come back. The landlord came over Monday afternoon, saw how much paint had peeled from where he patched and painted NINE YEARS AGO right before I moved in. Suddenly, it’s a disaster. But we have hot showers again. That’s all we really cared about anyway.

Saturday was a drag because we had an enormous fight before I came to work. We need to change something. Jobs. Residence. Quickly.

Managed to have a little fun Sunday night. Saw Jazz Mandolin Project at a relatively new place in Millvale called Mr. Small’s Funhoue. Yet another creative use for de-consecrated (that can’t possibly be spelled right) churches. A theater/performance space that seats up 650 people. An apparently very nice, up-to-date recording studio. And a skate park. Mr. Small’s has done an admirable job of attracting bands from the hippie circuit, but I was a little dubious about attending a show there … Deadheads can be a little scattershot, organizationallywise. But this place is spectacular … amazing sound quality, very well run … we’ll be back on Friday to see Hookah for the first time … um … since Athens, probably.

OK. Finish this story. Only has to be 15 or 20 inches. Piece of cake.

Hm. Should have a smoke first…

Smokes: If I was allowed to do it at my desk, I wo…

Smokes: If I was allowed to do it at my desk, I would.

Tunes: Are you freakin’ kidding me?

I’m still sitting here trying to write something I have very little interest in. All I need to do is crank out about 30 inches and I can go home. Instead, I’ve been screwing around on the internet. What the hell is wrong with me?

Smokes: Still Camel Lights, but, as today is a dea…

Smokes: Still Camel Lights, but, as today is a deadline day, the question shouldn’t be what I’m smoking, but how much. And the answer is a lot.

Tunes: I was listening to Tony Kornheiser in the car, so there’s nothing to report there. But I did put on “Somethin’ Else” by Cannonball Adderley. A nifty combination of Adderley’s hard bop and Miles Davis’ West Coast cool. Miles had no problem with late 50s bop — his bands put together some of the best tracks of the genre — but he’s pretty clearly in “Birth of the Cool” mode on this CD.

Hm. I have to learn to loosen up what I’m doing on these pages. Writing for a newspaper involves a lot of self-editing — Is this a big enough deal to push for a story? Do I have enough information to file without getting it kicked back by an editor for more stuff? The big reason I don’t post here as much as I would like is that I struggle with the notion that what I do here has to meet the same standard that I would if I was writing for work.

Clearly, I need to chill.