Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Who doesn't love to watch a train wreck that results in a burning bridge?

I'm at work and I'm already wishing I had another three-day holiday. My stupid ocular herpes swollen eye hasn't gone away yet, despite my regular use of Visine. (Watching me trying to put eyedrops in my eye is not a pleasant experience. I thought Nicole was going to tell me to grow some balls so she could kick them. Well, that's what I would say to myself if I had to watch me putting eyedrops in my eye.)

[Sidenote: this reminds me of my employee orientation when the benefits guy said, during a discussion of the vision plan, that he doesn't use contacts because, "There are two parts of my body that I won't touch and my eyes are one of them." He quickly followed this with, "I don't know why I just said that." Think about it.]

Anyway, while I'm aggravated with my eyes, and (speak of the Devil) the benefits people who won't answer their phones to tell me why, exactly, I cannot enroll for my health insurance, I figured I'd write another blog post about some things that have been bothering me lately: friends, and my lack of them.

I realize that moving to a brand-new city changes the way you do things. For example, I can't get a job because my parents know somebody. Believe me, I learned this. I also can't meet new people as well as I did in college. Since friendships are usually based on a common interest, I've had trouble building friendships because I don't particularly share a common interest with people I'm around all day. I mean, we've got the proximity thing down. I see people around me every day and say hello. I've started to open up more with a couple of the student workers since they're closer in age, and I like them and am jealous of them because they're only twenty and have TWO YEARS left of college.

I was lucky to move here with a few friends from school and meet some people through them. Some of them I see all the time and others I see less frequently. And I like my friends, I do. But you know how if you eat, oh, I don't know, Bagel Bites every night for dinner for weeks? You'd get tired of Bagel Bites and you'd have to not eat them for a long time, probably until the store near your house has a Crazytown sale where Bagel Bites are ONE DOLLAR A BOX and you go crazy again because you really miss Bagel Bites. Well, that's how I feel about the people I'm around all of the time. It's not that I don't like them or don't like being around them, it's just that you need variety. You can't eat Bagel Bites every night for dinner. You should eat a salad sometimes, or pasta, or a bowl of Crispix when things are really rough because it's just comforting.

I miss Harrisonburg for this reason. I was lucky enough to surround myself with wonderful people who were all different and members of sometimes distinctly separate circles of friends. This was nice because I got the Bagel Bites and the chicken and the pasta and the Crispix and I never got bored. And, let's say for the sake of argument, that the Bagel Bites and the pasta decided to start doing things without you for whatever reason (perhaps because the Bagel Bites and pasta are just too goddamn incestuous which made you wish that you never put them on the same plate to begin with) and made you feel left out and angry and bitterly hungry for something different, you'd always have the chicken and the Crispix to hang around with. Or eat. Whatever.

The problem now is that it's all just Bagel Bites, and while I like Bagel Bites - I love Bagel Bites - sometimes you get tired of the Bagel Bites. And I don't mean for this to be self-absorbed here. I'm sure if I were Bagel Bites, I'd be tired of being fed to me all the time. Variety is nice. Variety is what we all need.

Unfortunately, it seems that sometimes the Bagel Bites have the variety they need but I don't. It's like the Bagel Bites are in the grocery freezer with the mozzarella sticks and the jalapeno poppers and I'm stuck by myself. And that is why I need more friends. Like turkey, or lasagna.

I've forgotten what this was even supposed to be about. I'm hungry now.

Monday, May 29, 2006

This is Memorial Day Weekend in the Midwest.

It's been a crazy weekend, and I'm so glad I have an extra day to not working and catch up with my vida loca. For the sake of space, and the sake of our precious, precious time on this good earth (seriously, would you like to spend less time reading blogs? I know I would), this is going to be (relatively) short in my old-fashioned "let's sum my entire life up in a list" kind of way.

1. Got off of work at three when boss emailed the office saying, "Go home." To celebrate, I called Kristin and say, "Come get drunk with me outside."

2. Kristin I go to Roscoe Village, which used to be cute and charming and is now some sort of epicenter for Evil. If you're reading this, David Lynch, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that you should film your next project in Roscoe Village. For the same of space and time, I'm going to make a list-with-a-list of some of the things that we saw in the span of two hours:
a. A crazy drunk Midwestern thirty-something (way too many adjectives!) woman who kept begging her friend to call "Taaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhddddddddd." When her friend did not call Todd, she turned to a baby that was sitting in the stroller next to the table behind her and said, "You're a cutie! What's your name?! How old are you?" and ignoring the father who actually responded to her questions.
b. The largest dog in the world, which sat next to the table behind me and, of course, smacked the hell out of my leg with its massive tail. Repeatedly. Also, his owner's wife's face looked like a frog that had been hit by a car. That's the only way I can describe that lady's mug.
c. The worst parenting skills ever, displayed by a woman with two boys under ten. While the older boy attempted to scale the side of the bar, the younger boy threw an ashtray, a stick, and ice (which he would put in his mouth first, of course) at a red car that was parked at the curb next to their table. I thought it was disgusting when he put his mouth around the top bar of the metal fence enclosing the outdoor seating area, but then I watched him eat a cup of sour cream with a fork (I thought it was ice cream at first). We left as they were leaving, and the younger boy plowed into Kristin on his ticycle.

1. I saw a new apartment and put down the money for the credit check and application fee. I'm incredibly excited about this.

2. Went to the beach with Julia, Kristin, and Dan and, as I expected, was hit in the head with a frisbee within the first five minutes.

3. At the beach I think I got sunscreen in my eye, thus making my top left eyelid swell and redden. It doesn't hurt and it doesn't itch, it just feels fat. I'm 100% this is because of the sunscreen, but I'm not ruling out ocular herpes basically because I'm a hypochondriac (self-diagnosed). I'm pretty sure that you'd get ocular herpes from activities I have not participated in, and I'm betting it doesn't just make your eye swell up, but hey, it's scary and I don't want it and, seriously, WHY IS MY EYE RED AND SWELLING?!

1. Memorial Day barbecue in Evanston!

2. Kristin drove us to Evanston and Google maps gave us this roundabout route. But hey, we got to see Skokie for the first time!

3. Even though I didn't think it was physiologically possible to get drunk in the daytime, apparently you can if you drink seven warm Rolling Rocks.

4. I played Cornhole for the first time. (For those of you not in Chicago or Ohio, I Googled pictures of it so you wouldn't have to.) I didn't realize this game was called "Cornhole" until this week. I just referred to it as "Midwestern Horseshoes," since it's what the fratty guys in Wrigleyville play all day long every weekend. Whatever you call it, I played it. For five minutes. Then I got bored because it's basically tossing bean bags at a whole in a wedge.

5. On the way home I accidentally insulted a girl when I said, "Why is that girl wearing cargo shorts?" I had just loudly observed a bunch of people five minutes earlier. Those people didn't hear me. Kristin yelled at me and say that everyone always hear me when I loudly make fun of them in public. I said that they don't because someone would have said something back to me. We came to an intersection as we were arguing this, and across the street in front of us walked two guys and the girl with the shorts. Kristin said, "Well, why don't you insult these people then?" I said, "Uh, why is that girl wearing cargo shorts?" because there really was nothing wrong with any of them and I was trying to prove my point anyway so it didn't matter. And of course the girl heard me and turned around and made a gesture at the car.

So there you have it, MD 2K6. It's so cray-cray.

PS. Here's an update on the Eagle Scout project / rocket ship / dog house / replica of the clocktower from Back to the Future that the kid is STILL BUILDING behind my house. (Sorry about the weird glare in the picture.)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

BREAKING NEWSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111

MORGAN: hahahahaa
ME: i bet it's so gorgeous
MORGAN: i'm on my mom
ME: i want to do it already
MORGAN: s computer at the beach i gotta GO GO
MORGAN: hahahaha
MORGAN: me too
MORGAN: i thought you shoudl know first though
MORGAN: before i went to sleep
MORGAN: that's true
MORGAN: but they're rich
MORGAN: so its fine
ME: true.
MORGAN: its all fine

Friday, May 26, 2006

I liked it better when it was funny and starred Bob Denver.

I'll be honest: I've seen probably eight minutes of Lost ever, and that was enough to bore me. I don't like my TV shows to make me think. I like my TV shows to make me laugh on purpose (like Arrested Development or The Office), make me laugh because it's so bad (like Flavor of Love), or make me feel emotionally involved in the characters' unrealistic lives (like Dallas). I don't watch lost because I don't like to mix my puzzles with my melodrama. If I wanted to do that I could spend a month living with my grandparents, completing books of Sudoku while listening to them have arguments they can't understand because they're sixty-percent deaf. No, that's doesn't sound exciting, does it? That's why I don't watch Lost.

My roommate Nicole is obsessed with television and therefore obsessed with Lost. She went over to Steve and Lisa's on Wednesday night to watch the finale. (She even bought banana chips to take because she was under the impression that she was supposed to bring island-themed snacks.)

Last night, I was sitting in the kitchen talking to Nicole, and Joe walked in and asked if she saw the last episode. What happened next was this bizarre conversation that completely went over my head. Nicole, who rarely speaks in complete sentences when she's sober, began to converse furiously with Joe about whateverthehell happened the night before. I felt like I was watching a Robert Altman movie because they were speaking all over each other and getting excited about their dialogue and I HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON. I'd never seen two sober people talk so excitedly about anything before. It blows my mind.

So seriously, why does everyone have Lost fever? It just make me long for the simple days of '80s television where there were no riddles to figure out, no clues to find, no crazy premises.

Oh, how I miss Dallas.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Les Loufoques.

There's one thing I miss about living in Harrisonburg, and that's seeing all of the weird people who lived in that tiny little town. I started noticing these people the summer than Martha and I lived downtown in the Straw House. It was nice to be off campus and closer to downtown where all the weirdos would congregate.

For example, there was this fat man who sat on the steps of the courthouse all summer without a shirt on. He sat there all day drinking Mountain Dew, I believe. Eventually, a little skinny kid showed up and sat there with him, bare-chested and sipping Mountain Dew. Or there was this one time I drove to campus for my French class because it was raining, and I saw this old woman pushing a stroller (not a real stroller, mind you, but a stroller intended for dolls), and in the stroller was a small dog that was reclined on its back.

Then there was the teenage guy who would walk around bouncing a ball with a lacrosse stick (are they called sticks? I'm a bad WASP). Maybe he was trying to be like Casey Jones from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but he couldn't find a hockey stick?

I think my favorite was this guy who I later found out was named "Headknocker" (I forget the significance; something about if you called him Headknocker he'd chase after you). Anyway, once I was walking to get ice cream with my friends Doug and Taylor and Headknocker was hanging around Hole in the Wall, the downtown porn shop. I saw him walking toward us and, since I generally like to avoid strangers, especially when you can already tell that they are completely batshit crazy and they aren't actually listening to music through their bright yellow earphones because that's how the voices speak to them, I tried to avoid him. You know, at least not respond to him when he shouted at us, "Jesus is COMING!" (I think I just realized the irony that he was telling us this in front of a porn shop.) Unfortunately, while I was looking down, Taylor started to talk to him, and he pointed at the clouds to our right to show us how Jesus was obviously on his way.

On the way back from ice cream, we saw Headknocker again. This time Doug decided to talk to him. "Hey, look at that sunset over there," Doug said, pointing to where Headknocker had seen Jesus before. "It's really beautiful, huh?"

Headknocker just sort of gave Doug this confused, dumb look and replied, "That's East. The sun sets in the west."

Like I said, I miss those crazy characters. Sure, I see some weird people here, but you eventually you get to the point where even the homeless man wearing a doo-rag made out of garbage bags doesn't even freak you out anymore. Occasionally, though, I will see the normal-looking business man complete will the Jack Abramoff- / Al Capone-style hat and a nice Burberry scarf start to shake and chant softly to himself while waiting for the Red Line. It's people like him that I find more terrifying that the man who sings about how his wife left him for the White Sox. I think it's weird how we're indoctrinated to be afraid of black homeless people when, in fact, it's the rich bank owner who moonlights as a convulsing religious fanatic that really scares the shit out of me.

[I realize, now, that I didn't even get to throw in why I started to write this post. For the sake of brevity, and since I'm at work and I don't want to forget what I'm supposed to be working on, I'll save the segues and clever writing to just say that last night I saw a white woman who looked like she was in her mid-thirties holding a cat straight out in front of her, placing it on a tree trunk, and then pulling it off again. I thought to myself, "Why can't this woman afford a scratching post?" Then I thought, "WHY IS THIS WOMAN SO FUCKING CRAZY?!" She was so very nonchalant about her activity, and I felt bad for the poor cat who was FREAKING OUT, with good reason.

Also, today at lunch I was sitting outside of the office reading my book when I noticed that the student to my left was compulsively (which is, I think, the only appropriate word for it) making origami swans out of pieces of the newspaper. Origami. Swans. Swans. Like, more than ten origami swans.. People would walk by on the way to / from class and kind of give him a look of confusion, but he acted as if this was the most normal thing to do outside of the admissions office. I began to wonder if he only knows how to fold swans. If so, has he thought about learning how to fold other things? How about a frog? A cootie catcher? Because how many swans do you have to fold before you achieve origami fulfillment? When his friend came and met him there, he just folded the swans flat and put them in his bag as if they were nothing. I don't understand.]

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I just flew in from Crazy Town and boy are my arms... Oh, nevermind.

Hi gang! It's me, Tyler. Not CRAZYPANTS Tyler who wrote all of those posts yesterday. I'm talking about stable, rational, sane Tyler! I woke up early today and spent all morning drinking Diet Coke and listening to the Garden State soundtrack (man, I just LOVE that Coldplay song!!!!!), and trust me, things are going to be A-OK!!

It's like Dave said, man:
Lately I've been feeling low
A remedy is what I'm seeking
I take a taste of what's below
Come away to something better
What I want is what I've not got
And what I need
Is all around me

And I was all, "Yeah. YEAH. Exactly!!! I know just want you mean!!" Man, that Dave can jam it out, dude. Seriously. And he's right, you know. What I need is right in front of me: an internet connection and Google image search. So now I leave you with a picture of puggles in a bathtub.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Did you think I could possibly not write a fourth post today? Because I thought I could. I left work a half-hour early, had a pleasent trip home on the train, poured myself a robust glass of red wine (I know that word doesn't really fit there but I WANT IT TO SO JUST DEAL WITH IT I'M ANGRY), and started to "surf the net" as the kids say. And then I found this website.

"Calling all free thinkers, contrarians, and malcontents. The time has come to rise against the iTatorship. To resist the monotony of white earbuds and reject the oppressive forces of cultural conformity."


For about three seconds, I thought this was a legitimate anti-Apple website. It was linked off of Pitchfork, after all, so I thought it was just a bunch of music nerds who hate everything except for bands with names you can't pronounce making some "statement" about how our culture is all, uh, iBrainwashed?

Then I realized this is an ad for some shitty mp3 player. Then I clicked on the "alternatives" link.

"So here it is. The Sansa e200. And listen, it's not just our style to be pushy, cheesey, sales hacks."


So basically some advertising guy came up with this genius (hey, I'm not being sarcastic when I use that word) ad campaign. "I know what the kids want. They want to stand out. They don't want to look like everyone else. Let's make them hate iPods by posting deflamatory, 'indie' propaganda messages on boards. We'll call people with iPods 'iTools' and "iSheep". It'll really bring the young people in!"

So there you have it. Advertising posing as activism.


Dear Camera Obscura,


I've only seen girls who can't play instruments or sing or write music look this stupid. They are the girls I see at shows looking twee as fuck with their stupid hair and matronly skirts, or I see them at parties huddled in the corner of the porch with a cigarette in one hand as they are clutching themselves because they're freezing even though it's really hot because it's a PARTY and there are a bunch of people around and it makes me want to scream, "LOOK. Stop being Little Miss Coke-head for a minute and get a symmetrical haircut!" They're all shorter than five feet and wear their mothers' old sweaters. They aren't actually talented enough like you girls to put out an ALBUM that my friend recommended to me that I won't be able to even ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD now because I'll just think of how STUPID YOU LOOK ON YOUR ALBUM COVER.

You on the right left? (YOU MADE ME SO MAD THAT I FORGOT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND LEFT.) Why are you wearing my grandmother's eyeglasses from 1967? (I wish this wasn't true, but my grandmother probably still had those glasses in 1987. But that's OK because she's my GRANDMOTHER.) AND STOP CLUTCHING THAT BEAR. You are an adult. Let's be grownups and stop playing dress up.

And girl on the left right? I hate you and your camera. Who the hell do you think you are? The Gwen Stefani of chamber pop? IT'S NOT COOL.

AURGH. So much for being nice this week. See what you do to me, Camera Obscura?

I am weary, let me rest.

I had a mental list of possible blog topics this morning, ranging from breaking one hundred when I went bowling on Saturday night, buying a record with a gross album cover, my brother's pimpin' track record of going to two junior proms, or how I'll only do the Electric Slide when I'm either very drunk or in fifth-grade gym class. Instead, I've had a rough morning trying to register for classes and reporting my hours to the online payroll system. I also discovered that my phone on my desk has the wrong extension number on it, meaning that when I give people my number they end up calling Gabie instead. I've been so pissed off that wearing a purple shirt (which I bought on Saturday for three dollars) (about which I'm still not sure how I feel) does nothing to lift my spirits.

I think the best part of the morning was what my mother said in response to my poorly-written, frustrated email about how aggravated I was with every other department at DePaul:

"See? Isn't work a bitch?"

Yeah, Mom. It is. Please send me cookies.

And seriously, I never have any compassion for celebrities, but I feel REALLY SORRY for Britney Spears. You know you know people in real life whose lives make you vicariously depressed for them? For example, people who graduate from college who don't find jobs and end up hanging around the library or that grassy knoll outside of the English department building and who I see at parties and say (probably too loudly, because I have no control over the volume of my voice sometimes, especially when drinking), "HIS LIFE MAKES ME SAD." Anyway, that's how I feel about Britney Spears. I mean, just look at this. I thought I didn't know how to be an adult and I get upset when there's no one to help me figure it out, but at least I am not fat, I don't have a kid with a second on the way, I'm not married to a white trash rapper, and I don't go out in public with a pink thong so incredibly visible that it could stop traffic. I've got it EASY compared to Britney Spears.

Bon Voyage, Carissa.

Dear Carissa,

Have a safe trip to Kenya. Please don't get the worms that grow out of your legs, or attacked by hyenas. Also, keep the peace.

See you in two years!


PS. Write back!!!!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Maturation is the shit.

I know I’m a very critical person. Lord knows no one has come to terms with this more than I have in the last few weeks. I’ve tried really hard lately to not write negative things about people in my blog, but sometimes, you’ve just got to make some harsh criticisms about other people.

Last night I was just cruisin’ the old MySpace when I noticed that this girl I know posted a bulletin. This particular girl is the daughter of some family friends. She’s seventeen (my brother’s age), and like most seventeen-year-old girls on MySpace, she tends to be very prolific when it comes to bulletin postings. Usually, I just don’t read them, but I was bored, so I opened one with the subject line, “I agree,” because who doesn’t want to know what seventeen-year-olds are agreeing with these days? This is what I read:

You call me "Cracker", "Honkey", "Whitey" and you think it's OK. But when I call you Kike, Towelhead, WOP, Sand-nigger, Camel Jockey, Coconut nigger, spick, Praire Nigger, Wet back, nigger or Chink you call me a racist.

You say that whites commit a lot of violence against you, so why are the ghettos the most dangerous places to live

You have Mrs. Black America.
You have the United Negro College Fund.
You have Martin Luther King Day.
You have Black History Month.
You have Cesar Chavez Day.
You have Yom Hashoah
You have Ma'uled Al-Nabi
You have the NAACP.
You have BET.

If we had WET(white entertainment television) ...we'd be racists.
If we had a White Pride Day... you would call us racists.
If we had white history month... we'd be racists.
If we had an organization for only whites to "advance" our lives... we'd be racists.
If we had a college fund that only gave white students know we'd be racists.
In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights. If we marched for our race and would call us racists.

Did you know that some high school students decided to make a club for only the white students because the other ethnicities had them... they all got sent to court for being rasist but the african-american, latino, and asian clubs were not even questioned.

You are proud to be black, brown, yellow and orange, and you're not afraid to announce it. But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.

I am white.
I am proud.
But, you call me a racist.

Why is it that only whites can be racists?

Repost if you agree.

Siiigh. Seventeen-year-olds.

I know I should have just ignored it, but it really pissed me off, so I responded. I’ll save you all from having to read it, but I promise it was nice and level-headed. I basically said that racism isn’t even an American issue, but a human issue, and it applies to people of all ethnicities. I defined for her what a ghetto was; it is not a hotbed of criminal activity where black people live. Ghettos are neighborhoods that house minorities, historically minorities who are forced to live together by the majority ethnicity in power (which are historically white). I also pointed out to her that she doesn’t need to “march for her rights” because she’s a rich white girl who receives a private-school education and won’t ever have to worry about working for her tuition. I said, “You don't know what life is like for girls your age who live in Chicago right now, whose parents can't afford to send them to prep schools to receive better educations. That's why there are organizations that are restrictive based on minority races. It's not racist. Those organizations put together money for the children of minorities who don't have everything handed to them.”

Afterward, I was talking to my brother on AIM about it (he’s friends with her), and I had one of those epiphanies where I realized that my brother was not the same twelve-year-old he was when I left for college, but in fact a very brilliant, funny, seventeen-year-old who is going to two junior proms. He found my response to be appropriate, and laughed at the stupid bulletin. He said, “The offensive names for whites aren’t even hurtful. ‘Wonderbread?’ That’s not hurtful, it’s a brand of bread. It’s like going up to a black guy and calling him ‘Rye.’ You can’t compare ‘wonderbread’ with the N-word.”

We also discussed how, in good ol’ Virginny, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is also Lee-Jackson Day, a holiday which is defended using the same old “It’s history, not racism” slogan coupled with the Confederate Flag. To which my brother replied, “History is racism. People say it isn’t fair to have a Black History Month? Well, during the other eleven months we’re celebrating white history, history about society dominated by white culture. When’s the last time you studied African countries in World History?” (The only one I can think of, I admit, is Egypt.)

Anyway, I was surprised by and proud of my brother’s statements, and it was nice to have a real conversation with him without trying to compete in some way. Or fighting with him and making each other bleed. We’ve grown up so much since last December.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Oh, hail no!

The buzz around the office this morning was all about the crazy storm we had yesterday afternoon in Chicago. This is what I listened to for about thirty minutes:

Co-worker 1: "Did you see that storm last night?!"
Co-worker 2: "Yeah! I drove through it!"
Co-worker 1: "Do you see that hail?!"
Co-worker 2: "Yeah! It hit my car!"
Co-worker 1: "Can you believe that storm?!"
Co-worker 2: "No way!"

Unfortunately, no one else was making weather / Hades puns (and, of course, I only made mine in my head because I don't want to be that guy that no one knows who makes punny jokes).

Unlike co-worker number two, I was not driving through the hail; I had the pleasure of walking through it. Here's my story, just in case you, dear reader, happened to just say in your head, "Hey! I want to know about Tyler's hail experience!" (If you didn't, well, go to hail. HA HA HA.)

Since Kristin and Dan are out of town this week (in the beautiful Argentina and Harrisonburg, respectively), I'm in charge of the lovely Charlotte, as seen here and here. (Don't be upset about the second picture. She wasn't in pain. She liked it.) Since it had stopped raining, and I was slightly retarded, I decided to walk four blocks to the Brown Line stop at Sedgewick instead of walking two blocks to the Red Line stop at North/Clybourn. (I did have a somewhat rational thought in my head. I figured that I'd have to be on the Brown Line anyway to get home, and I would spend as much time walking to the Sedgewick stop as I would waiting on the platform at Fullerton when I transferred from Red Line to Brown Line. I'm just putting this in here so you don't think I'm an idiot for choosing to walk twice as far when it was decidedly overcast and it had rained all day long.)

I managed to make it about two blocks on North Avenue before I felt a few rain drops. I thought, "Well, it could be worse. It's just rain." Oh, me. About two seconds later I noticed that pea-sized clumps of ice started to pelt the pavement. Hmmm.

I started running to Sedgewick after walking a block and trying to dodge the hail, which really didn't serve any purpose other than making me look stupid. Of course, all of the people driving their very fancy cars on North Avenue (seriously! I only saw Audis, Mercedeses(?), and BMWs) probably thought that I was poor since I was walking to public transportation in the rain / hail, so my level of intelligence most likely didn't cross their mind.

When I got onto the platform, glad to be under cover, the wind picked up. Hail started blowing everywhere, and the other CTA patrons and I stood there, huddled under the metal roof with our mouths hanging open. When the Brown Line finally arrived (crowded, of course) and the doors opened, passengers started jumping out quickly to avoid the water dropping off of the curved car roof. One woman screamed. (It actually wasn't that terrifying, but I thought I'd relay that part of the story anyway.)

By the time we got to the next stop at Armitage, the storm had blown over. (Thankfully, it was headed South.) It was a surreal sight to be traveling above houses and apartment buildings that appeared to be covered in snow, which was really weird because it was over seventy degrees. I guess you would say it looked as if hail had frozen over.

Sorry, that doesn't really make sense. And I doubt you would say that.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dispatches from the Management.

A few things:

1. This morning, after putting a CD in to play on my computer, Windows brought up iTunes. Since this was Ed's old cubicle, it still had all of his music in the library. I deleted it, because I don't listen to Kelly Clarkson or Spanish disco.

2. iTunes connected me to my co-workers' music libraries. Now I know what most people listen to, and believe me, it's a constant surprise.

3. I'm flat broke. F-L-A-T. No more Chipotle this week, kids. That means I'll be eating peanut butter for the next three days.

4. I ran out of Peter Pan peanut butter while making my sandwich this morning, so I opened up a jug of JIF that I bought last week. I had to mix the two brands, which makes me feel gross. Plus, JIF is just inferior to Peter Pan and everybody knows it.

5. I looked through the class schedules for the summer and the fall and I'm already incredibly excited. I found a graduate course in Southern Fiction. What what!

6. My boss told me this morning to feel free to bring in my "personal effects". I actually rummaged through my room this morning before work to see if I had ANYTHING with which to decorate my bare cubicle walls. I found two pictures, a postcard from JMU, a WXJM sticker, and a Clash sticker. "Well, I guess I do like The Clash," I thought. Still, it's rather empty here.

7. I'm really not pleased that MySpace has been taken over by X-Men.

8. Has anyone seen the commercials for this movie? The Lake House is my Snakes on a Plane.

9. I'm sorry I'm not writing a real post with a real story and everything, but I really don't have something completely hilarious to write about. It's sad but it's true. Things have been going well since the employment has come through. Friends have visited, I'm going to be taking classes again, I have a discount to Barnes & Noble, and I'm going to be able to have real health insurance that I can afford, therefore making me one step closer to financial freedom from the parents. It's a nice feeling. Also, Nicole and I may have found an apartment and I have a good feeling it'll pan out, even though it seems too good to be true. So, yeah, things are being positive, so I'll try to do the same.

10. U2 still sucks balls.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Do you say "birthday" or "birtday?" 'Cause I say "birtday."

My friend Christina should have been born on Halloween.

I first became BFFs with Christina during fall semester of my junior year. Our friends were having a big Halloween party and we were trying to come up with costume ideas. After pitching a few duo costume concepts (“Let’s be a couples tennis team!!!”), I decided on Charles Nelson Reilly because I had my father’s leisure suit. Christina decided on this character that Rachel Dratch played on an episode of Saturday Night Live: her name was something like Qrputzl, and she was the love child of Angelina Jolie and her creepy brother. (Remember when they were totally doing it? This is when Angelina Jolie won an Oscar – an Oscar! – for Girl, Interrupted. This is way back before Billy Bob Thornton when she was still in her Morticia Addams phase.)

Anyway, Christina and I were already friends, but I think we bonded a little extra that night because NO ONE understood who we were supposed to be (Random girl to me: “Are you a picnic table?!?!”), even though we found each other’s costumes to be hi-larious.

That Halloween, however, was particularly uneventful for Christina. I think most of her friends will never forget the year before when she dressed as Anna Nicole Smith and threw up on the stairs at some party. Halloween was on a Thursday night that year, and she must have forgotten about her exam the next morning in her music class. Since I didn’t know her back then, I’ve only heard about this precious moment in time when she woke up the next morning in bed with an aching back (because she had filled her pants with Polyfil and therefore slept all night on a slight incline) and massive breasts (because she had also stuffed her shirt with said Polyfil). Once she realized that she was, in fact, in her dorm room and, in fact, still dressed as Anna Nicole Smith (remember pre-Trimspa Anna Nicole?), she shed her costume and marched across the Quad to the Music building to take her test. She’s a trooper that one.

Even though Halloween ’03 was seemingly tame compared to the year before, Christina was ready to show Halloween ’04 who was boss. No, not Tony Danza – Christina. Christina owns Halloween. That year, when I dressed as another (but this time fictional) homosexual with a poor fashion sense, Corky St. Clair from Waiting for Guffman, Christina was another SNL character, but this time more recognizable: Linda Richmond.

(This is Christina somewhere in the middle of the evening after many solo cups of black jungle juice and many trips to the Gin Bucket with some dude who was dressed as the Chris Farley Chippendale dancer.)

After Carissa, Christina’s roommate, who, by the way, was dressed as a tree (she wore an afro-wig that she had spray-painted green and stuck leaves into), left the party, a verrrry drunk Christina left with Janna. Janna drove her back to their townhouse, only to discover that the door was locked and that Christina did not have a key. Janna took control and called Carissa, who unfortunately did not answer, and when she attempted to leave a civil message saying that she was taking Christina back to her place, Christina intercepted the call, shouting to Carissa, “I HATE YOU. I HATE YOU, TREE.”

(I always forget if this happened before or after the part of the night where Janna drove Christina to another party and, upon Christina’s insistence, left her asleep in the car for about an hour.)

Anyways, my point is that Christina is the type of gal who makes you enjoy Halloween, and I know if she’s not around the holiday means nothing to me. I like to think she’s the reason for the season. She’s the Jesus of Halloween.

Luckily, Christina’s crazy ass WILL be moving to Chicago and living with me next fall and I CANNOT WAIT. I didn’t do anything for Halloween last year and I missed seeing her dressed as Joan Crawford. Such a thing cannot happen again. Besides, we’ve already made plans to be Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and sing “Islands in the Stream” repeatedly throughout the night. After taking shots between each rendition, of course.

I’ll end this with a nice picture of Christina looking too-cool-for-school so the people who read this won’t think she’s completely crazy / a total drunk, also because she pretty much has hated me since she got to the fourth paragraph, but especially because she’s my FOR REAL BEST BFF FOR LIFE. Seven hundred and fifty words aren’t enough to get that across, y’all.

Happy birthday, Christina!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday afternoon cop-out.

After a long, fun weekend filled with marine life, really bad theater, a lot of ground beef, and Carissa stalking creepy, mustachioed improv actors on MySpace, as well as a long day of new-employee orientation (I DON'T KNOW WHICH HMO TO SIGN UP FOR!!!!), I don't have the energy to write a real post, but I will leave you with a comment someone left me on this post, because I'm so goddamned obsessed with it. It made me LOL.

Joey said...

what fuckin´ kind of a loser are you? Who gives a fuck about Pete´s private life, when him and Barat are the most awesome musicians in the world? As I rate you, loser, you probably listen to this childish R´n´B "music" and think this Beyonce knowles, or whatever you spell that whore, is a good singer? Luckily, thereƂ´s VH1, eh? Get a life, mate. With regards from Birmingham.

PS. Don't make the mistake of clicking on "Joey's" hyperlink like me, unless you actually do want to visit "sex dot com."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I love it when my friends come visit and then insult Chicagoans!!!

Tonight, before seeing horrible, horrible improv (seriously, it's in my top ten worst improv shows ever) at IO (which we paid FOURTEEN DOLLARS FOR, by the way), a very drunk Carissa asked the gross IO bartender if his mustache was ironic. And it was A. Maz. Ing.

And when he got angry with her, she shouted, "HE'S NOT JUST FAKE IRONIC-MUSTACHE DOUCHEBAG. HE'S ACTUALLY A DOUCHEBAG."

The fun never stops with this crowd, y'all.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Spring cleaning.

I've seen some disgusting things in my life. For example, I worked at a Virginia state park for two summers. When I got to work on my first day way back in 2002, my boss dropped me off at the snack bar and told me to clean it. It hadn't been cleaned since September of 2001, when the pool closed. It was May. It took me two days to clean the place. There was mice shit everywhere, and a dead fuzzy thing that resembled a mouse in the FREEZER.

My experience last night might have topped that.

I want you to look at the pictures I took of our stove:

As you can see, it's disgusting, because people cook things and then don't clean up the spilled grease and food that flies out of the pan. I'm saying "people" instead of "we," because I don't cook. I use the oven to heat up pizzas and chicken. That's pretty easy to clean up, and I do it.

Just in case you didn't find that disgusting enough, check out this close-up:

Notice the slimy white stuff that looks like cake frosting? Well, I know it's not cake frosting, but that's all I'm sure of. I'm guessing it's a combination of grease and water. I do know that it was disgusting and I basically mopped it up with paper towels.

I also vacuumed the stairs, which haven't been vacuumed since we moved in. I learned my lesson: if you're going to have long-haired cats, you're also going to have to own a vacuum. On the bright side, I realized that the carpet is, in fact, brown, not a greyish dirt color.

So yeah, it was a rough night. I hope Christina and Carissa appreciate the hard work.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I've been reading too much Faulkner.

You know how in the movie October Sky (or, really, any movie that takes place in a West Virginian mining town), the main character is this high school kid who isn't a football player and thus unable to attend college because his family is too poor to pay for his tuition and he can't get a sports scholarship so he either has to be a coal-miner like his father (who is lovable in a slightly creepy Chris Cooper type of way) (who is also dying of undiagnosed lung cancer from the coal dust) or be really, really good at science, the type of really-good where he has a natural grasp of astrophysics and can build rockets that actually fly instead of the shitty kind that his friends build that just blow up (because his friends don't share his instinct and abilities for flying rockets), so that he gets a scholarship to Virginia Tech and eventually works for NASA building real rockets that don't blow up, thus saving himself from suffering through an impoverished life like his parents?

Or, if the main character is a girl, she can either live on some hollow (which she pronounces "holler") with her eight siblings that her coal-miner father (who is lovable in a creepy Levon-Helm-without-a-beard kind of way) (who is also dying of undiagnosed lung cancer from the coal dust, which is evident from the frequent nose bleeds, but because he and his family are uneducated, they don't realize that something minor (ha!) like a nosebleed is a symptom of cancer, which makes me thankful for WebMD telling me that my sore throat means I have AIDS) can barely support where she'll eventually grow up ("grow up," in this case, meaning "turn sixteen") and get married to some tubby holler boy with sparse facial hair and then have eight babies of her own, or she can get married at thirteen to a much older WWII-vet-turned-moonshine-vendor and move to Washington state and have lots of children and then become an incredibly famous and rich country singer with her own hundred-acre ranch in Tennessee and twenty-pound wigs, thus saving herself from her parents' impoverished life of butter-churns and pie-baking contests?

You know what I'm talking about?

Well, sometimes I feel like those characters.

I know I'm not the son of a poor coal miner and I have a few more options than Homer [Whateverhislastnamewas] and Loretta Lynn, but I do feel, at this point, that I am destined for a career in academia. I want to go to grad school and get a PhD and then I'll probably teach freshmen in college how to appreciate literature and write about it, meaning I will be THAT professor that everyone hates because they're all business majors and they don't like to read and they only signed up for my section of the class because they read online that I'm an easy grader and I don't take attendance.

Part of that life seems somewhat fulfilling, but, you know, do I really want to do that? Do I want to be underpaid by choice? Or do I want to do something about it?

I feel like a career as a college professor might be my version of life in a coal-mining town, and that my only option out of that is to be a successful writer who goes on book tours and writes novels that don't blow up. (Okay, I just had to make a connection with Homer [HICKAM! That's his name!] on that last part, so just work with me here.) So that's why in the next few months, while I (hopefully) take some classes at DePaul (by the way, I have to give my undergraduate transcript to my boss today, since she is the one who admits non-degree applicants, and I hope that's something I'll never have to do again), I can do some more creative writing and actually stick to it / churn out something worth reading.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

And now he burns bridges with his snobbery.

So I'm already tired of Snakes on a Plane, and it hasn't even come out yet. And I think my disdain for the movie makes me a bag blogger (kinda like if I went to UVA but hated Dave Matthews Band), but I don't care. It's dumb. It's Snakes on a Plane.

Here's the thing: Snakes on a Plane has become the new Napoleon Dynamite. Yeah, Napoleon was hilarious when I saw it in Richmond two summers ago. I went all cuckoo for cocoa puffs over it. And about two months later so did everyone else on the planet. And that's fine; other people can like the same movies I like. I just don't want to hear them quote it in the dining halls, in the bathroom, or in class. Seriously, it's not THAT funny. It's a movie made by Mormons that makes fun of some nerdy kid with bad hair. I mean, I was excited that the girl from Waterworld was getting some work, but seriously, Napoleon Dynamite isn't that great of a resume-booster. It's the cinematic equivalent of, well, working at a winery. People look at your resume and say, "Oh, that must have been fun!" Then they realize that it really does nothing for your skills and they leave it at that.

Snakes on a Plane is kind of like the facination with Chuck Norris, or the popularity of Andy Samberg (SERIOUSLY. IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. DO A FUCKING SKETCH IN FRONT OF THE AUDIENCE). It's funny for about six minutes, but then it gets really old. Really old. I'm talking "Trapped in the Closet" old.

What really pisses me off about Snakes on a Plane is that the filmmakers are trying to make it a cult-classic from the beginning. That's not how it works. You can't purposely make something good-bad. That only happens when movies are actually so bad that it's funny. Take Stick It, for example. I think that those people actually thought they were making a good comedy. Ha! See? That notion is COMIC GOLD. This rule also applies to Valley of the Dolls, Mommie Dearest, and Showgirls. They were all supposed to be serious dramas, but they were so bad that they became good-bad. Do you see? Do you understand, Samuel L. Jackson? Go rent Freddy vs. Jason and get back to me.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ten things.

I don't have an interesting story to tell, so I'm just going to list some recent goings-on.

1. This morning I went to HR to fill out some paperwork. Illinois employers love background checks. I never had to do one in Virginia, but I've filled out several of these forms since moving to Chicago. They don't mess around here in the Midwest. I also found out how much I'll be making, and it's four cents below the maximum hourly wage, so I'm pretty pleased with that. At this point, anything over twenty thousand is a dream come true.

2. Nicole and I went to Dan and Kristin's on Saturday to help them paint their living room. It was fun because I like to paint and they paid us in pizza and beer. I ate three-fourths of a pizza by myself, and I also had five beers. But I wasn't drunk, because everyone knows you can't get drunk during the daytime.

3. I went with Kristin to Home Depot to get more paint, and we met Lindsay in the alley en route. We picked her up and she came with us to the store and decided to get paint for her room. Then she had to get primer. Then we lost her for a good ten minutes, and Kristin found her talking to another Home Depot customer. Lindsay will always find someone to talk to, and that's why I'm glad she's my friend.

4. Kristin has a car now! This is fun. I like having friends with cars, because then I can ride-along to Home Depot. And they also bring me fun things like vacuums.

5. We have a vacuum now. Well, Kristin just let us borrow hers, but it's still exciting because we've never vacuumed. And our carpets are filthy. We have two cats. Think about it.

6. I randomly Googled my screenname and found out that Shanghaiist used one of my pictures on a post. Of all the pictures I had, Shanghaiist, why did you have to use the one of me from Halloween? Jeez.

7. Yesterday I woke up around 10:00 to John Cougar Mellancamp. I was really confused, and after I woke-up a bit I realized the music was coming from outside. (At first I had a flashback to freshman year when Fuckhead Dickens would play really shitty music on his computer. Then I remembered I live in Chicago and hearing John Cougar Mellancamp isn't such a weird thing, considering he's basically the poet laureate of the Midwest.) The kid next door was continuing to build this big box-thing, which now looks a lot like a rocket.

8. I'm sick again, this time with allergies (I think). I'm self-medicating with store-brand Benadryl, which means I'm either really drowsy or incredibly alert.

9. My mom emailed me this morning to say that she was in the flower shop at home and ran into my high school friend Jannette, who picking up flowers. For her wedding. Which happened on Saturday. This was news to me because I didn't know she was engaged. She and her Australian husband are moving down under in a few weeks. I'm very happy for her, although it just reminds me that I don't have a girlfriend. People are not following the rule I set up two years ago which states that none of my friends are allowed to get married until I'm in a relationship.

10. Carissa and Christina will be here in THREE DAYS. I'm incredibly excited, although we need to clean the house because it's all kinds of disgusting. It's worth it though. Those ladies like a clean house.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Happy Birthday, Sarah Lin!

Once I was watching Gilmore Girls with my senior-year roommate Martha. (This is before I liked Gilmore Girls, by the way, and was probably only watching it because Martha was obsessed and there was nothing else to do. I swear.) I remember seeing Rory's friend Lane, the cool Asian music-lover, and I said, "Man, I wish I had a cool Asian friend." Then I said, "Man, I wish I had an Asian friend." And then I remembered, "Oh wait - Sarah Lin!"

Sarah was this crazy-assed little Chinese girl who I knew for a few years in school. During senior year she left JMU to live with her parents in Texas and I haven't seen her since. I do, however, have sporadic correspondence with the girl, since occasionally she'll call me and, for example, leave a seemingly-frantic message on my cell phone telling me "she really needs my help." When I call her back quickly (within minutes because I just happened to be in the other room and forgot that my phone was on vibrate), the following conversation ensues:

Me: "Hey, Sarah, are you okay? What's wrong?"

Sarah Lin: "HI TYLER! I'm in the video store and I wanted to know if I should rent The Notebook or Two Can Play At That Game."


Anyways, happy birthday, Sarah! I'm sure it's like ninety-five degrees in Texas right now and you're by the pool while I'm sitting under the covers because, even though it's MAY and SHOULD BE WARM, CHICAGO HATES WARM WEATHER AND WANTS ME TO SUFFER IN THE MID-FIFTIES.

PS. Sarah Lin falls out of papizan chairs after she's been drinking:

Friday, May 05, 2006

Awesome first-hand news.

It only took nine months after moving here and three-hundred and sixty-three days after graduating from college for me to get a real job. That's right, I'm officially employed as of May 15th. It's just at DePaul and it's basically what I'm doing now, but I get benefits (!), a discount at the Barnes and Noble in my building (!!), and I get to take up to eight credit hours every quarter for FREE!!! Hell, I could just get a master's there in two years. That might be a good thing to think about if the MAPH thing doesn't work out, and I'm just so damn excited to be able to take classes in the fall. AHHHH I'm happy. Oh, and there's the whole raise thing. That's pretty nice.

So yeah, I'm excited right now. One more week of temping and I'm DONE. Woo!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm too exhausted for Blogger.

I'm on my lunchbreak and I really wanted to write something today. I started something about how it's been a year since I graduated from college, but the thought of it already freaks me out and writing an entry about it would be exhausting. Basically, I've got nothing for you.

So I'm going to cop-out and repost something that I posted in my MySpace blog last summer. That entry was also a cop-out because I just copied-and-pasted something from that I thought was funny. So here you go: year-old humor.

29 Thoughts on the Apparent Sexiness of the iPod
by Adam Boyle

1. I'm on record as being pro-iPod, so if you're looking for someone to bash the iPod, you can go elsewhere. I like my iPod very much. I also like candy. And darts. And big pillows!

2. But it is true that iPod culture is getting a little ridiculous. The other day my cat started nagging me about my Sufjan Stevens albums. "Dude," my cat said, "I just got an iPod mini! Hook me up, beeatch!"

3. When do they start selling fake iPods, like those fake cellphones you used to be able to buy so you could act like you had a cellphone even if you couldn't afford one? Fake cellphones ruled. I just like the idea of people faking calls and eventually getting busted. Man, that must have been some kind of embarrassment.

4. I read about this thing the cool kids are doing called "iPod wars," in which a stranger comes up to you and shows you what's on his or her iPod, and you have to show him or her what's on yours. The person with the cooler song "wins." And I thought: this is why the rest of the world hates us.

5. But if anyone tries to iWar me, they should know that my Carly Simon beats your Kaiser Chiefs. Every time.

6. I like Apple everything except the Apple store. Man, the Apple store is like nerd Ellis Island, except instead of leaving to start families and businesses and make this country great, we just go home and download shitty David Gray songs.

7. I'm annoyed at those artists like Madonna who don't put their music on the Apple Music Store because they're holding out for a better deal. Not good enough for the Apple Music Store, Madonna? Well I just burned my friend's copy of "Like a Virgin" for free. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, toots.

8. Don't get me wrong. I understand the importance of copyrights and how it's important to make sure artists and songwriters are properly compensated. But if Madonna has to cut her annual Mediterranean vacation short by a couple of days: eh.

9. You know, I haven't been inside a Tower Records in two years. Thank you, iPod.

10. The one sensation you don't get on the Apple Music Store is the searing death gaze of the shop clerk as you ask for the new Sting album. That's a sensation we all probably need from time to time.

11. I don't mind the celebrity playlists on the Apple Music Store. But let's take it easy on whom we call a "celebrity," Apple. Danny Masterson? That's a "semi-recognizable television personality."

12. If your life sucks right now, go onto the Apple Music Store and spend 99 cents for a Train song. See, now your life is worse.

13. This doesn't really have to do with the iPod, but I wouldn't mind banning any further sales of the Garden State soundtrack for the next 34,000 years.

14. I bet if you're a young woman in the city and you go back to a young man's apartment and he puts on the Garden State soundtrack, you can be pretty sure there's an awkward moment coming up.

15. Unless you're into the guy, that is. But ladies: why hook up with a man who puts on the Garden State soundtrack for a booty call? It's such a gutless, playing-it-safe move. "I think I'll put on this Whitman's sampler of effete alt-rock in order to win the affections of this potential mate." He might as well start playing with his calculator watch.

16. You want a man with the guts to put on the Teddy Pendergrass and stick to it. You might clean your kitchen to the Garden State soundtrack, but does anyone ever clean his or her kitchen to Teddy Pendergrass? I didn't think so.

17. They're telling iPod people in New York to swap their white earplugs for black earplugs so they don't attract iMuggers. It's kind of funny to imagine someone going through all the effort to steal an iPod and getting it home and being like, "Great. I've always wanted the entire Poco catalogue."

18. I don't know about that $99 iPod you wear around your neck. Those things make you look like you escaped from an institution.

19. There are some people who say that iPods are making us all aural isolationists, that we're tuning out the noises of every day life: the chirping of birds, the honking of horns, the chatter of passersby. And I think: Amen to that. You think I want to hear that bluejay? Crank up the Ciara!

20. That said, I do admire the last remaining boom-box dudes who are walking the earth. There are just a few of them these days, and I love them when they walk down the street, holding their consoles on their shoulders, basically saying: I enjoy this song so fucking much I'm going to share it with all of you.

21. You can kind of do that with an iPod. Sometimes I'll get in an elevator with my iPod going real loud, and I'll be blissfully unaware that I'm treating all my neighbors to The Gap Band's "Party Train."

22. One thing about the iPod is that it's put such a premium on taste — listening to the right music, being up to date, making sure you're just as cool as your friends has never felt so important. But it's tiring. Sometimes you just want to put on Peter Gabriel's So and relax the fuck out.

23. Sometimes you look at someone's iPod playlist and it tells you a lot about their past. Like: Whoa, you must have smoked a shitload of pot in high school.

24. I have no opinion on Coldplay. And I think that's their problem.

25. Listening to the Ramones on an iPod makes punk really feel dead.

26. Sorry about that last thought. I don't ever want to be one of those "punk is dead" guys. Pretty soon I'd be growing muttonchops and sitting in a bagel shop having an 11 a.m. coffee and trying to strike up conversations with college kids about Gang of Four.

27. I held out on the Arcade Fire and that was a mistake. They're very, very good.

28. Whatever you're downloading right now, I am quietly judging it.

29. "You're So Vain." Nice call.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I've been very lonely in my isolated tower of indecipherable speech.

It's been generally warm in Chicago for the past two weeks, and since I live on the third floor of the house, my room has been extremely hot. I've taken to leaving the window open all the time, hoping that it is still too early for bugs (I don't have a screen on my window - thanks, Landlords! - so it's a genuine concern).

My window has a lovely view of the trash cans in the alley and a neighbor's backyard. Like the fratty neighbors in the front of our house, the back-neighbors have been in hibernation all winter. Suddenly, once the weather peaked above fifty degrees, there's been a lot of activity in the area, especially at our neighbors' place. It seems to be a family home, and the couple has at least one adolescent boy, who possibly has a budding interest in carpentry. This is what he's been building for the last week and a half:

So I ask you, dear reader, what the hell do you think this is? At first I thought it was going to be some kind of skate-ramp, which struck me as a little odd since there isn't a lot of room for an adolescent boy to skateboard in the backyard, much less do moves on a big wooden structure. Then it started to become some sort of box. I really have no idea what it is, and I wish I had the balls to poke my head out of my window on Saturday when he will surely be out buildin' this thing and shout down to him, "Hey, what the hell is that thing?"

The ability to just strike up conversations with strangers is something I've wished I had for a long time. Wait, let me rephrase that sentence: The ability to just strike up sober conversations with strangers is something I've wished I had for a long time. I can surely do such a thing if I've had at least two glasses of wine or three beers, but I could never do that without the intoxicating influence. Despite the outgoing personality I thought I had developed in college, I'm still the shy kid I was back in high school. Strangers intimidate me. It's the truth.

I'm really jealous of the people who can just say something to people. For example, I wish I was like the guy a few spots in front of me in line yesterday at Chipotle. Two women who were immediately in front of me were discussing the march on Monday, and one of them said, "Well, I'm sorry, but I think they should be citizens or just get the hell out of here." Before I could even come up with a negative thought toward her in my head, the guy in front of her turned around and said, "That's an incredibly closed-minded thing to say," and then faced back to the counter. I was like, "Yeah...BITCH!" If only I could have gotten that across like the other guy, possibly reminding her that she was making such a statement in CHIPOTLE of all places.

I realize, however, that I could never be so bold, since my lack of courage and overwhelming awkward nature would cause me to crash and burn in such an encounter. I witnessed something along those lines this morning on the El. We were approaching the Loop (I think, since I was half asleep and listening to music - I just know it was still really crowded), and there was this girl talking loudly on her pink Razr (with a little too much vigor, I believe, for an 8:30 AM telephone conversation). When we approached the Quincy stop, which is when the train finally empties out, she ended her call and headed to the doors. Behind her was a buttoned-down man of anonymous corporate status who said:

"I enjoyed your phone call."

"What?" She asked, sounding confused.

"I heard your phone call back there. I enjoyed it."

I'm not sure if he was trying to make a point that there is an unspoken CTA rule that you don't talk on cell phone while riding the train, or if that was his awkwardly poor way of breaking the ice and he was hoping for a date. I missed the conclusion, since this happened as they exited the train and went on their merry little ways. It just made me realize that this is why people like me check the missed connections. I have the understanding that those awkward moments should be saved for email correspondence. And I am also glad that I didn't tell the girl standing in front of me that I liked her GOB pin.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A telephone conversation with Taye Diggs.

So I was sitting at home last night, still pissed off (if you missed the blog-o-drama yesterday, sorry, I don't feel like filling you in), and watching Match Point. (The movie was okay, by the way, but too much like Crimes and Misdemeanors. It had its moments, but it was too long.) I was almost finished with the film when my cell phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and saw that the caller was actor Taye Diggs, so I paused the DVD and answered the phone.

Me: Hello?

Taye Diggs: (awkward pause.) Hello?

Me: Uh, hi Taye.

TD: Oh, hey Tyler. (Laughs.) Sorry, I didn't mean to call you, I think I dialed your number by mistake.

Me: Oh, that's okay. Who did you mean to call.

TD: Well, I'm trying to get in touch with Anthony Rapp.

Me: Oh, that makes sense. Our phone numbers are pretty similar.

TD: Well, anyway, what are you up to?

Me: Oh, not much, just watching Match Point. Have you seen it?

TD: Yeah, I saw it a few months ago.

Me: How'd you like it?

TD: Well, Scarlett sure isn't an Angelica Houston.

Me: I KNOW. Seriously, same fuckin' movie.

TD: Yeah.

Me: Why are you trying to get in touch with Anthony? Doing the revival of Rent already?

TD: (Laughs.) Nah... Kanye is interested in sampling "Seasons of Love" on a new song and wants the original cast to sing the first few lyrics or something. I was going to ask what he thought about it.

Me: Eh, that's kind of lame.

TD: Yeah. So, what's been going with you lately?

Me: Oh, you know, the same old shit. Job's kinda boring. People are leaving douche comments on my blog.

TD: Yeah, I saw that shit. Lame-o. But you know, there'll always be some haters. Try being on a WB show.

Me: (Laughs.) Yeah, I know, it's just annoying. We're not in middle school anymore, you know?

TD: Don't remind me of middle school. It wasn't easy growing up with a name like "Taye."

Me: Hey, try having people tell you that you're spelling your last name wrong.

TD: (Laughs.)

Me: I mean, I guess I take it too personally, I always do. Back in second grade I came home crying to my mom because some Asian kid told me that "Tyler" was a funny name. Then my mom asked me what the other kid's name was, and she laughed and told me not to worry about it.

TD: What was his name?

Me: "Woo."

TD: (Laughs.) Yeah, you shouldn't have to deal with people like that. People are always going to be all Tom Petty and mean about things, and there's no need for shit like that.

Me: Yeah, I know. Well, I should probably get back to this movie and let you go call A-Rapp.

TD: I'll tell him you said hello.

Me: Thanks. Oh, and something else -

TD: Yeah?

Me: How do you feel about U2?

TD: They suck balls.

Me: That's what I thought. Have a good night!

TD: Later!