Thursday, July 3, 2014

Meanwhile, Three Years Later...

2011 Matt: No! It can't be! I just finished this blog!
2014 Matt: I know. You DID finish this blog, but I'm back. I'm back to the blogging.
2011 Matt: Great Scott! [faints]

Well lookie what we have here...

S'up, everybody! It's Matt! Didn't think you'd ever see another post from me, huh?

Oh, who am I kidding, me neither.

Seriously! When I wrote that "Time to Smile" post 3 years ago today (crikey!) and hit "Publish", that was supposed to be it. Done. Finished. Thanks for playing.

(The Barnes & Noble post was a bit of an anomaly. Non-canonical but necessary.)

I mean, what else was I supposed to write about here? Read the tagline: "Living in Seattle. Writing about Japan." and I'd officially just stopped doing both. If you recall, when we last left our hero(ld), the first draft of my book about Japan was complete and I was using that as the perfect excuse to finally leave the Pacific Northwest.

It was time for my Great American Road Trip™!
I was east-coast-bound!
A cruise ship docked on the horizon!

Well, I'm happy to report that my cross-country drive ended up being amazing.

My time on cruise ships, not so much.

[If you're curious, I successfully completed two contracts with Carnival. The first was to see if I was cut out for ship life, the second was to confirm that I wasn't. I'm sure I'll delve deeper into the waking nightmare that was working as an entertainment host but, until then, the following video pretty much sums it up.]

And now, here it is, precisely 3 years later (fittingly, on the 29th anniversary of the opening of "Back to the Future") and I'm back sitting in a coffee shop - right leg jittery from too much caffeine - spending way too much time composing a blog post. The view out the window, however, is quite different. I've traded the claustrophobic gloom of Seattle for the Instagram-filter-like haze of Los Angeles, my new home. Crazy, right?? But there's still some familiar territory:

I'm back at Mad Science.
I'm back in theme parks.
I'm even back capital-W-writing so it only seems fitting that I be back here too.

Sadly no, that doesn't mean I've started revising my book (hopefully soon GAWD DON'T PRESSURE ME) but I have started working on a screenplay - it's required within the first 6 months of residency in LA - and it seems to have awoken the somewhat atrophied part of my brain that liked blogging.

So weird, I thought writing on this thing was just a huge distraction but it inadvertently ended up producing a ton of actual content, some of it pretty decent. I also didn't think anyone was reading this stuff. Turns out I was wrong. (More on that soon.)

As for the blog's somewhat outdated "theme", I'm sure I'll figure something out. My brother once commented that "Black Coffee and Green Tea" was more than a blog title, it was a way of life, an apt description of me. I still take my coffee black, I still love my green tea, I still drink too much caffeine.

So, here I am! Not sure how frequently I'll be posting. Or for how long. Or if I'll even ever post again but I'm back. (To that same ol' place that I laughed about...)

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaaak everyone! Missed you.

Saturday, December 31, 2011


To all my friends at the soon-to-be-closed U-Village Barnes and Noble,

Hey gang! It's your old pal, former bookseller and recovering nookspert, Matt! Wow, last day, huh? You guys doing OK?

Man, I can't believe this is actually it! It kills me that I'll never be able to pop in to our store next time I'm in Seattle for a chat and a black coffee (with no room) nor will I ever get the chance to do an author event on your Spotlight Stage. I can only imagine how hard it must be to you all still on the front lines.

But, despite all that, let me also say how excited I am for all of you! Seriously. I used my leaving B&N as a catalyst to start taking my life in a whole new direction. It was part of the collective kick-in-the-ass I needed to finally start taking some chances again. And, since then, I've driven cross-country twice, got a job on a cruise ship, traversed the Panama Canal and now, here I am, ringing in the New Year off the coast of Mexico. Just imagine what you can do.

Don't miss this chance, you guys. (Or, at the very least, tell your last few customers where they can stick their Kindles.)

Please, keep in touch and keep me updated on your adventures.

All the best!

- Matt

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Time to Smile

Every now and again, a song so perfectly captures what's going on in a person's life that it feels like it was tailor-made for just that occasion.

Well, as I now leave the seemingly endless Seattle winter to embark on my next big adventure, here's a song that, while not word-for-word exactly what's happening, it's awfully damn close:

"Well I'm packing things in my bag today,
Heading south to my country again.
Summer is coming, it's time to smile.

See worry and change it has spun me around,
My big old heart has been ripped right out.
Summer is coming, it's time to smile.

Woah, its time to smile.

Step out of the whirlpool of lies and deceit,
Heading for still waters and pure honesty.
Summer is coming, it's time to smile.

Woah, it's time to smile.

There's been more rain this year
and the country is going strong.
And with my feet in the dust
I know now I was meant to return.
My young hearts are two thousand miles away,
Must focus my strength, told them this way.
Summer is coming, it's time to smile.

Time to smile, Time to smile,
Time to smile, Time to smile.

See I'm packing things in my bag today,
And I'm, heading south to my country again.
Summer is coming, it's time to smile.

See now worry and change it has spun me around,
My big old heart has been ripped right out.
Summer is coming, it's time to smile.

Said woah, it's time to smile
It's time to smile."

Thank you, Xavier. I couldn't have said it better.

Let's do this trip.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guess Where I'm Gonna to Be?

 On a boat! That's right everybody,


Here's the email I got yesterday morning:
Thank you for your recent attendance at the Carnival Cruise Line information session and interviews for Entertainment Staff.

We are delighted to offer you a position as Entertainment Staff with Carnival!
Rest assured, the delightedness is mutual!

So, now what?

Well, I'm currently in the process of trying to arrange and pass the epic (and surprisingly costly) pre-maritime-employment medical examination before my little road trip back to Florida at the end of the month. Yes, I'm still going to Florida; not because I have to but because, with a large chunk of my family there, it'll be a good place to use as a base of operations. (Plus, it means my car will be close if I need it.  Also, dude... my parents have an attic. I'm not gonna pay for storage.)

At the interview, they said the earliest they'd need anybody to start training would be August 8th. That means I should have at least a month for my cross-country drive, more than enough time to visit some friends and do some camping.  Carnival's contracts are 6 months at a time, after which I can take a few weeks of vacation before starting a new contract. Won't know until after training which boat I'll be on but, like the representative from Carnival said at the audition,
"It really doesn't matter.  They're all big, white and go someplace warm."
Love it.

As for how it's actually going to be on the ship - aside from the description of the job I shared with you in my last post - I know as much about it as you do.

But I do have a few ideas:

Artist's Rendition

One thing's for sure, it'll be an adventure. I'll keep you updated.

Until then, I've got some packing to do...