Thursday, December 29, 2005

There's a freak-out brewing at my house, my hoooouuuuussse

Tonight Joe, Janna, and I were talking about our New Years party. I'm excited / nervous / excited again about it. It's going to be pretty big (we're expecting about fifty people). Which is a big deal because none of us really know anyone in Chicago. Most of the people coming are flying in from out of state. But that's okay, it's going to be fun!

Joe's friend apparently is bringing two mangnums of Cristal champagne. I'm dubious about this, only because, honestly, what post-graduate kids have Cristal at a party? I mean, I was planning to buy a handle of the store-brand tequila because it was five dollars cheaper than Jose Cuervo. Also, Cristal kind of makes me think of cocaine in a way. Whenever I think of one of the other, I also think of a lot of bling and potential shootings. I guess I'll just keep on my toes.

[The bling/shootings comment was not intended to be a racist statement. Look at Kevin Federline. He's two coke lines away from a dead entourage member.]

I didn't really do much today. I still have a sore throat, which sucks. I DID get an email back from the library HR department letting me know that my resume was received (hmm, I sent it four weeks ago?) and that it was being forwarded to the hiring manager. Since I usually get no word back at all, I'm taking this as a good sign.

Seriously, Chicago. Give me a job already. If there happens to be anyone reading this and would like to work with me, then shoot me an email. Seriously! I can be entertaining in person, too! I tell great stories!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

a few thoughts:

I got back to Chicago around 6:45 tonight. It's good to be back.

I had a good time at home, though. I enjoyed being with my family. We didn't get into any fights - I think because I was only home for five days.

I got my mom to watch Arrested Development (I got both seasons on DVD for Christmas) and she enjoyed it! Success!

My brother has a lot of angst. Hopefully he doesn't read this, because he wouldn't be happy that I said that.

I got to see Christina in Charlottesville. She got lost a couple of times (hey, it's Charlottesville - they may have really smart people at their "university" but they can't design their roads for SHIT). We had a good lunch though. When we parted I had her follow me to her exit so she could get home. Then I got lost and ended up having to drive home through Richmond instead of Fredericksburg. Stupid Charlottesville. You lose.

Somehow over the course of the last two weeks I gained ten pounds and I now weigh more than I ever have in my life. That's good and also bad. The good thing is that I'm now only about ten pounds underweight (considering my height). The bad news is that: a. I'm the only one who notices I've gained weight, and b. because I'm lazy and unathletic, the weight-gain resulted in a slight pudge around my stomach. Oh, how I wish those cheeks would fill out!

The one disappointing thing about being home is that I didn't have any awkward run-ins with high school classmates. I usually have to quickly duck behind store displays or into random Food Lion aisles to avoid someone. I only saw two people I went to high school with: a kid named Jimmy-Jam (who pretty much looks exactly how someone named "Jimmy-Jam" would look) and a girl named Hillary. I saw Hillary today in the airport and it was the first time I'd seen her since freshman year of college, and it wasn't awkward at all. Dammit. I live for those encounters!

When my plane landed at O'Hare tonight, I talked to the other two people sitting near me. One was a girl from Toronto (I liked her accent!) and the other was a guy from Richmond who has lived in Chicago for five years and is in a band that had a song played on The OC. I think the band's name was Manshevitz. I can't remember.

Seriously, do yourself a favor and watch The Happiness of the Katakuris. It's a Japanese musical with claymation monsters, murders, and zombies. It was pretty amazing.

Here's another picture of my cat:

He's a fattie.

My cat is a snob.


"I liked Franny and Zooey better."


"Overrated!"


"What a perv!"


"Get that Oprah shit out of my face!"


[This will never get old.]

Friday, December 23, 2005

True story.

I couldn't make this up. My mother and I actually had this exchange tonight after we got home from my father's family's Christmas celebration.

Mom: "Your father is mad at me."
Me: "Well, he's a big A."
Mom: "Well, you know, it's always my fault."
Me: "Yeah, that's true, you are a pretty big B."
Mom: "Yeah. And you're a C."
(long pause)
Me: "Excuse me?"
Mom: "I'm still thinking about what a C could be... I thought of a couple - just forget I said that."

Merry Christmas to me!

I'm home in Montross, Virginia right now and happy to report that a. I got a little tipsy today when I visited the winery where I used to work because my old co-worker gave me a free glass of wine, and b. it's sixty degrees here and not windy. Suck it, Chicagoans!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I just figured something out:


Daniel Franco looks a lot like k. d. lang.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A few things:

I've watched three of the six DVDs of Gilmore Girls season three. It's just not as good as season two because a. Rory still sucks, b. Jess still sucks, c. Adam Brody is now on it and he sucks.

I saw King Kong tonight and, despite stereotypical characters, it was really really good. It made me sad. Also, I think I haven't reacted to creepy / intense things in a movie since the zombies in 28 Days Later. The three-dinosaurs-against-Kong-while-holding-Naomi-Watts was particularly thrilling. Also, there was a long sequence where Adrien Brody and the other men are attacked by really big bugs and that creeped the shit out of me.

I saw it at 3 Penny Cinema, which is a whopping two dollars cheaper than Loew's. I realized why when my seat was kind of broken and the film stopped for twenty minutes in the middle of the Brontosaurus stampede sequence. Also, I sat next to probably the dumbest older person ever. The woman announced after the film broke that they were "probably just switching the reels." Even she doubted her theory, saying, "I figured they'd just put it all on DVD now."

Also, Jack Black sucks even more when he's playing serious roles.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow. I hope I don't sleep all day because I'm working at the Chicago Children's Museum again on Monday and I'd like to get some sleep before. I worked in the mail room there on Friday and I was running on about an hour of sleep. I didn't really do much; I sat at a desk in a random employees-only hallway in Navy Pier, occasionally delivering packages to people in the office upstairs. It was the first time I'd been to Navy Pier, and I picked up on how much it sucks very quickly when I waited in line at the McDonalds with about seven thousand eighth-grade-aged kids on field trips and their three chaperones who bumped me out of their way.

I realized last night that I've been generally happy for the last week. Maybe it's because I've gotten some work and I'm practically hired at Urban and don't have to freak out about not having money to live here come the February deadline that my mother set. Temping does suck, but it also gives me something to write about here. (You're welcome!!!) I just hope I can have a real job soon so I can start stressing over the fact that I haven't made any real Chicago friends on my own.

Ah, well. One problem at a time, please.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm gross sometimes.

I just got home from work and I guess I was just out of it and happy to be in my very warm room. I was surfing the internet, reading my email, what have you, and I guess I was just not really paying attention to how I was breathing. I assume I was breathing through my mouth, which would explain why it was just hanging open.

And I drooled. I came this close to seriously screwing up my laptop.






Unemployed and single, folks. Unemployed and single.

Confession.

Shopping at AmericanApparel.net makes me feel dirty.

I can't wait until I'm grown-up and mature.

I drank four Cokes and I think that's where I went wrong.

I'm supposed to be awake in four hours so I can go to work. Shit.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Elaboration.

So Lindsay and I decide to go to our temp agency's holiday party downtown. I was expecting the worst. One can just imagine how awkward office parties can be (I've seen The Office). Now imagine about fifty temps who don't know each other interacting over free alcohol.

We got there about an hour before the party was supposed to end because we decided to drive instead of take the train. By the time we found a parking space and walked about seven blocks to the bar, we had less than an hour to pound down as many free drinks as possible. Plus, I had no idea if all drinks would be free or if it'd be cheap beer.

I should also mention that we parked at a meter and we didn't have enough quarters for the full two hours. Lindsay turns to the first person who walks by: a frail, bundled black woman. She said she didn't have any quarters, and then there was a short pause, and she says, "I haven't eaten all day!" Yes, Lindsay asked a homeless woman for spare change. After starting on her speech about being hungry and being refused from a restaurant because they didn't have any seats, Lindsay searched her car and found a bag of Fritos for her.

We get to the bar, finally, and we found the recruiter who interviewed both of us. We talked with her while I drank a bottled Budweiser (I felt like such a man). I'm definitely attracted to her, and of course I was awkward, forgetting how to pronouce "Wrigleyville" when she asked where I live. I was also surprised that she's just a year older than me and she has a grown-up job. It's weird.

After talking to her, we sit down at this table with a group of people who looked young and inviting. Honestly, there was a table of three hipster-looking types that we would have rather sat with, but they didn't have any room for us. The group we sit with consists of a bleach-blond, doe-eyed girl wearing a sequined Led Zeppelin t-shirt, her smiley friend with the biggest hair I've seen since being in Chicago, some gay guy, and some dude who with no personality. I ended up talking to the chatty Led Zeppelin girl. She almost moved to Charlottesville once and knew where JMU is. Whoop whoop.

The gay guy mentioned something about being from the south, so I asked him where he was from. We had a brief conversation about Texas and Virginia, and it ended quickly because it wasn't very interesting. As Led Zeppelin girl gets my attention again to talk about some guy she's in love with, I noticed that big hair guy, who is sitting next to me, motions for gay guy to switch him seats. Now, I'm usually paranoid anyway, and it was kind of awkward, but gay guy and I didn't even talk again, so I felt silly for thinking that there was some plan to have him sit next to me.

Blah blah blah. I drink more beer and a gin and tonic. I talked to my recruiter some more about my resume and the whole disheartening job-search. I'm getting drunker and deciding that I like her, even though she's not my type. (I watched The Baxter earlier and really loved the part where the Zak Orth character sees a girl he doesn't know at a friend's apartment, and rushes over to introduce himself when he realizes she doesn't have a boyfriend. I am a Baxter.) The temp agency's owner comes by with an order of several shot-glasses of Goldschlager. He even takes a picture of all the agency's recruiters, and though I step back because I don't work there, they motion for me to be in the picture.

I talked to another recruiter about my temp position this week and how much it sucked. (I decided not to write an entry about it because I wanted to block it from my memory, but the job involved me putting employee Christmas presents into gift boxes...about five hundred nylon windbreakers.) She asked me what I was looking for, and I told her that ideally, something in publishing. She kind of winced, which is not a good sign. Then I told her that at this point I just want a real job because temping, well, sucks.

Anyway, the actual party wasn't awkward at all. I had fun and got really drunk. Also, just showing up and talking to the recruiters will make them remember me and what I'm looking for. Also, the receptionist knew who I was because when I said that my name was Tyler, she yelled, "JOHN TYLER C0ATES!"

The only downside about the party was that I left by myself (Lindsay had to work today so she left early). Which means I had to drunkenly wander around downtown Chicago alone, searching for the red line subway. Oh, and the other downside: I mixed beer and liquor again. Stupid stupid stupid.

The agency called me today about a job for tomorrow and Monday, so I'm glad I'll have more work before going home. The girl sounded pretty rough on the phone - maybe I wasn't the only one having a bad morning.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part, which definitely WAS awkward. Lindsay, who is dying to go dancing at a gay bar in Boystown, exchaned numbers with the gay guy we sat with. At the end of the night, when he was leaving, he said, "Are you going to come out dancing with us?" I told him that I'd think about it, and he said, "You should. We can make out." I didn't know how to respond to that, so I just laughed awkwardly. Then he asked, "Don't you want to make out with me?" "That might be awkward," I said. And this is his response: "Well, it won't be awkward when I put my tongue in your mouth."

I don't know if that line works that often, but I was definitely a little creeped out. I think I would have felt weird if the hot recruiter said that to me.

I've reached a new low.

I got drunk at my temp agency's Christmas party.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Generic.

I can't sleep so I'm googling myself. I read the article my mom told me about - it said that it's so easy for employers to Google potential employees, so I'm trying to find what kind of dirt the Internet has on me. So far, the only stuff I found that is actually about me (and not some kid in Colorado who plays a lot of sports) is that I leave comments for my friends on MySpace. BO-ring!

On Saturday night a bunch of us went to Guthrie's on Addison and had drinks and played board games. The music selection was top notch. After a few Christmas songs, the following albums played: the soundtrack to The Commitments, Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker's greatest hits. I felt like I was in my parents' basement back in 1993.

I'm going back home in a little more than a week, and I'm excited. I'm kind of sad that I won't be around for too long and I doubt I'll be able to get out of Montross. I wish I was getting a real Christmas break, but I have to come back and not have a job in Chicago. Blah.

This was a pretty uneventful entry. I apologize; I'll try to do something noteworthy in the next few days. Maybe I'll see a homeless man who yells funny things. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Oh, "Tyler."

It really makes me sad that the only song to feature my name in the title is about rape.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

SIDS isn't funny, but British slang is!

Here is a perfect example of why Google should not put British news on their news site. The article's headline, "Dummies reduce cot death risk" intrigued me. I figured "cot death" was the British term for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and even though I don't have a baby, I was really interested in how a dummy would prevent it.

Here's a quote from the BBC News article:
...if all babies used a dummy, they calculate the risk would be one in 20,000. They say the key may be the fact that dummies usually have a bulky external handle. This may help to prevent a child from cutting off its air supply by burying its face into soft bedding, or an overlaying object such as a blanket."

Now, I read this imagining a dummy resting next to a sleeping child in its crib. And I had NO IDEA how the hell that would prevent SIDS.

Then I happened to see another news article headline, this time reading, "Pacifiers lower risk of SIDS, study says." Whew! That makes much more sense, and it's waaaay less creepy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Story of my life.

Siigh.

I temped today at the Merchandise Mart attaching invoices to contracts. Or something like that. I dunno, I just did as I was told. The first project took me two and a half hours. It was easy, it shouldn't have taken longer, but the guy who I was temping for was surprised at how fast I was. Then I stuffed envelopes. Then I checked off business names when I found them in a directory. Uhh. I don't really know what I did, but I did it really quickly while everyone in the office kinda chatted and didn't work much. Which makes sense, because I had no one to talk to, so I couldn't really procrastinate like everyone else could. So I finished my work in seven hours, and I was supposed to temp there for two days.

So, I don't get to work tomorrow like I thought.

What the fuck? I work really really hard and now I'm out of work again! Grr. I wish I could explain this to potential employers. I wish I could tell them, "Hey, I'll kick the shit out of my job!"

This wouldn't be so frustrating if it wasn't the SECOND time this happened. The temp job I had before only lasted six hours when I was expecting it to last two days. Maybe people who order temps deliberately overshoot how long the positions will last because they expect temps to be, I don't know...functionally retarded? But I'm not retarded, so I can file papers pretty quickly because I know the alphabet.

It's frustrating. Especially since the people in that office were just a little dumb. I'm not just saying this, either. I could have done their jobs. They were any smarter or more qualified than I was. Also, one of the girls went crazy over gummy bears, brilliantly summing up their existence with the following line: "Mmmm, I love gummy bears. They're like flavored rubber, they're SOOO GOOOOD."

But there's good news. Project Runway is back on and there are already a few people whose faces I want to kick in. I'm talking to you, Daniel Franco. Stop whining. If you spent as much time on your designs as you did on your stupid rockstar hair, you wouldn't have to remind everyone how you were cut from last season and made it back on.

Also, I want Tim Gunn to be my life coach.


Also, Heidi Klum is the hottest pregnant lady ever.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Mish mash mix 'em up!

I have good news: I pretty much have a job at Urban Outfitters. Here's the bad news: I don't have a job until Januaryish. Hmm.

When Kristin and I went into Urban Outfitters, there was a homeless man standing outside, who said, "Merry Christmas to the supermodel and her male-model brother." Why, thank you, Mr. Homeless Man!

My mom told me that she was reading "Dear Abbey" (?!?!) the other day, and someone wrote in urging job hunters to watch what they write in their blogs because they can easily search for them. It's author stated that employers don't want political activists, evangelicals, or perverts. The letter was signed "Chicago Employer."

Dear Chicago Employer,

Please hire me because I'm not a political activist, an evangelical Christian, or a pervert. I can also promise to never use your real name in my blog.


Today on the train I overheard the DUMBEST comment I've ever heard. I mean, this really is up there. This honestly could be number one if I was ever to rank the statements I've heard through eavesdropping*. There was this couple of young theater majors standing next to Kristin and me. The guy was talking about how he was going to open a theater in Miami and his strategies and stuff, blah blah blah. After a short silence between him and his female friend, he goes, "Hey, have you heard of this book series called 'The Chronicles of Narnia'?" When the girl said, "Yeeeah...I used to read them when I was little," he said, "Oh, I just heard about them last week."

WHAT?! Seriously, how does that happen? He didn't speak with an accent; I could have forgiven him - maybe - if he was foreign. But he had no excuse. He was just really dumb.




*Christina was lucky enough to actually overhear the dumbest comment ever. It was another theater major (go figure!) say: "I thought about trying out for 'The Glass Menagerie,' but I don't do accents."

Friday, December 02, 2005

I was just some dude.

Last night I had one of my top ten most uncomfortable nights of my life.

The one business person I know in Chicago suggested I go to a networking group to make contacts to help me on my job search. He suggested this back in August, and I avoided the group idea because, frankly, it scared the hell out of me. I'm supposed to go join a club and talk to strangers and ask them for job leads and contacts? Uh, no thank you. But since I have to find a job in a little more than a month before my parents completely cut me off, I got desperate and went to one last night.

So there I was, sitting in a church meeting room with crucifixes hanging on the wall and creepy framed paintings of Jesus everywhere. There were about ten other people. Yeah. Me and ten thirty-five to forty-five year old unemployed people. Well, there was one guy with a job who was there because he'd been laid off four times in ten years and loves to network to find his "next opportunity."

I felt like such a douchebag.

There was this speaker who worked as a recruiter for some fancy place in Chicago that would never hire me. He gave a presentation called "The Ten Most Important Questions to Address in Conducting a Successful Job Search." It was more of a self-help, empowering type of bullshit lecture than anything useful. What were the ten questions, you may be asking? Well, they were pretty goddamn revolutionary:

1. "Who are you?"
2. "What do you want?"
3. "Why do you want it?"
4. "What do you really like doing?"
5. "Why do you like doing it?"
6. "Where do you want to be five years from now? Ten years from now?"
7. "Where have you been--lately?"
8. "How are you going to get where you want to go?"
9. "What is driving you?"
10. "Where is your plan to get what you want?"

Uh, hello? Hi. I ask these questions every day and I don't know the fucking answers. Who am I? I'm an unemployed, 22-year-old, post-graduate. Go to hell!

He also gave advice on resumes, but geared toward everyone else's resume. Like, for example, don't limit your resume to just one page. Um, ask ANY college student or recent graduate how long their resume should be and they would tell you one page, because that's what we're constantly told. That's like telling a high school senior, "Don't worry, you don't always get pregnant or an STD when you have unprotected sex!"

I think the highlight of the night was me sitting there, quiet as a church mouse, avoiding the speaker's stares. He kept asking for volunteers to answer these important questions, and I refused to raise my hand. Of course, then he says, "Who would like to answer a really good interview-like question? You?" I said, "Suuuurrre..." And then he asked me, "What are some one-word adjectives you'd use to describe yourself?" Imagine me there, wishing I could sink into the couch so I could hide my beet-red face, stumbling over my words, only to come up with two adjectives: "hard-working" and "driven". Perhaps I should have said what everyone else was thinking: "nervous, young, fuck-up, loser."

Blah.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Holy Sheetz!

My life is weird.

I was going to write a post about how excited I am to go home for Christmas because I really miss going to Sheetz. For those of you pitiful people not in the know, Sheetz is only the best damn gas station EVER. You just have to make a special trip out to the East Coast to experience it, really. Anyway.

So I was googling pictures of Sheetz, and I actually found MY Sheetz: the Tappahannock location. (Now, I don't live in Tappahannock. Tappahannock isn't even in my county. It's just the closest town with a Wal-Mart and a Sheetz, so we go there. A lot.) So I was redirected to the Essex County page that was dedicated to the opening of the new Sheetz. The Sheetz has been there since June 2000, so I'm not sure why the Essex County website still has a page specifically for this one store, but considering it's Tappahannock, it's something to be proud of. Seriously.

Also, these pictures are fantastic, so I'm going to share them with you.


Yup. There's the Sheetz. Opening in one days.



I went to elementary through high school with both of those girls. I think the one in the left is Lateria. I can't really remember.



What a wonderful, wonderful day for Tappahanockans!



You may recognize the cop in the middle. That's Essex County Sheriff Stanley Clarke, who was featured in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Michael Moore sent some people to small-town Tappahannock to interview its residents because the town's name was heard on an Al Qaeda videotape. I'm pretty sure that when asked why terrorists would choose Tappahannock as a target the sheriff said, "Well, we do have a Wal-Mart..."

(Also, the mother of my childhood best friend was also in the movie where she said, "You walk down the street and you see someone and you think, 'God - could they be a terrorist?'")

In Chicago-related news, I have an interview at another temp agency tomorrow. Not one of the creative-type agencies, however; they didn't get back to me.

It's snowing and it's pretty.

I'm wearing the softest pair of underwear I own, and they're bright red.

That's all I've got!