Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On Reading, Pennsylvania

Reading, Pennsylvania may be a very fine city. It may possess unique history, a varied culture, and a kind, hard working populace. But I’ll never know. And I’ve been to Reading…at least, four times. I’m actually in Reading right now. Still, all I know of Reading is the few blocks I drove through to get to my hotel and the view out the window of Room 1111 of the Wyndham hotel. From the eleventh floor I see two parking garages, the roofs of a series of unexceptional blocky buildings, and the familiar, fluorescent glow of a strip mall off in the distance. There is nothing of particular interest beckoning me from the hotel.

Twice a year, I make the five-hour drive to Reading for a corporate sales seminar. I arrive late the night before. I spend the entire next among a herd of salesmen in their shirtsleeves, shuffling joylessly from one drab windowless meeting room to another. When the seminar ends, everyone races to his respective vehicle. I hope like hell to be home before 10 pm. It is really a drab, soul sucking experience. Staring at one hideous wallpaper design after another while being ‘inspired’ to sell more and more. It plays like a low rent extended Mamet play.

So, between the dull view from my window and my less than interesting experiences here, it is only natural I should have no real interest in the city of Reading. When I think of the town, I can only muster the image of a salesman infested hotel bar and the taste of the rubber chicken served for lunch.

This is not fair to Reading. Sure, the city may, indeed stink. If I spent more time here, I may even grow to actively hate it. But at least that would be an opinion developed over the course of a fuller experience. I have come to feel that I actually owe this town a fair chance. I should look up local art museums. I should seek out an interesting eatery. I should start a conversation with some of the local residence. I should see what this place actually has to offer.

Of course, I probably will never have the opportunity to give Reading a fair shake. There really are many other things I would like to do more. Other goals to meet, other places to visit. Vacationing in Reading is not exactly high on the list of things to do before I die. It’s a shame, but that’s life. Until the day I day, Reading, PA will only conjure images of concrete and seminars.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Under the Gun

I've officially restarted my blogging life a scant couple of days ago, and I already find myself up against my own, completely arbitrary goal of posting some original writing at least twice a week. I guess i really should of thought twice about starting this thing on a Thursday. I really should have checked out my schedule to see if i could squeeze in one more nice little writing session. I should have waited until Sunday to start this bad boy. You wouldn't believe what I could do with a week to procrastinate...err, work, I mean work.

I probably could slide by for the time being but this is still new. I don't want to start off on the wrong foot. So, as per contractual obligation, this is a half-assed Saturday post. Get used to them.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Food For Starving Artists Officially Cancelled after 2 Year Layoff

As of this moment Food For Starving Artist has been officially discontinued. I hope this does not come as too much of a shock to the legions of Foodies, that maniacally dedicated legion of fans who, judging from the myriad comments, consist of a motley group of real estate investors, college loan consolidation experts, and Lolita sex freaks. Hopefully the more than 2 years lay off from my last post has helped wean the fanatics from the intoxicating nectar of my low-income writing.

So, what happened? How did such a great blog fail? There are many reasons. First, I got a girlfriend. Writing an ongoing blog about being poor began to feel like a bad idea if I wanted to keep her around. I started making more money. I like to think I have clawed my way up into the ranks of the lower middle class. I actually live fairly comfortably. For instance, I kept my heat on this past winter at least sixty percent of the time. I did not even feel bad about paying the bill. The foremost reason for Food For Starving Artists’ failure is I am a lazy piece of crap. I get easily distracted. The lack of any firm deadline for posting and the limiting blog concept eventually led to it simply slipping my mind.

Recently I have found myself writing less and less, which bothers me. I don’t want to sound like an egotist or anything, but looking over the old Food For Starving Writers posts coupled with past post from the Cellar Dwellers blog (cellardwellers.blogspot.com) I realized I’m not too shabby at this whole writing thing. I can come up with clever little blog post. At least, that was the case. Time spent away from writing has done nothing to help me here. Even now I find this post lacking that certain James verve which I at one time mustered. I’m out of practice. I’m old and slow of mind. I need to pick it up. The only way to get back on track is to start writing regularly again.

So, out of the ashes of Food For Starving Artists rises James Beard. This new blog will be more free form with no overriding theme. I will write what I like which will mainly consist of the comedic essays and sketches which are my bread and butter, but I will not be limited to that. I will allow myself to write on more serious subjects if the spirit moves me. You can even expect short reviews of movies or books I have been reading. James’s Beard will also be different in that I will give myself deadlines for publishing posts… loose, amorphous deadlines. I promise that I will publish at least twice a week in this space. Even if it means posting two half assed posts obn a Saturday. That is my solemn promise made mainly to myself.

I will keep the old Food for Starving Artists post up here for the time being. I do not want to alienate my core fans that have voraciously read and re-read these posts over that past two years between bouts of lowering rents, enlarging penises, and banging 14 year olds. You are the reason I am here. I shall never abandon you again.