Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If I don't write about the Long Grove Strawberry Festival, the terrorists have won.

I've officially had the worst morning ever. My mom called at seven to tell me my grandmother died overnight. I'm okay, I'm keeping it together at work right now. (Future employers / Communist governments: I am the best worker ever. My first reaction was, "I have to go to work because we're so short-staffed right now and I feel too guilty!") I'll probably fly home tomorrow or Friday morning and be back next week sometime. Since, I was planning to not stay all day at work, I decided I'd try to get here early so I can at least get most of my hours in. And of course it started pouring and hailing as soon as I walked out the door, and not even the Evita soundtrack (well, not the soundtrack; the original concept album) could keep me from hating everything. For a split second I considered standing in an ATM vestibule until it cleared up. When it started to slow down, I decided that I'd be okay, even if my ankles were soaking from flooded sidewalks. And then I was a little too ambitious when trying to jump over a three-foot puddle and ended up landing in the puddle and now I'm sitting in my cubicle with bare feet and my socks sitting on the computer tower (which is on the floor, thankfully). Also, I decided to buy cigarettes because it was just one of those mornings where I was not going to feel guilty about smoking OR spending eight dollars on them. And then the cover of the Red Eye had a picture of a smoker with the headline, "Public Enemy Number One". Personally, I think "newspapers" geared toward people who only read bullshit news stories on public transportation might be slightly more dangerous, but I'm not the goddamn Surgeon General. Oh well.

And since I don't feel like writing anymore about that, I figured I would talk about the Strawberry Festival we went to on Saturday. And hopefully I can make it through this entry without screwing up my homonyms (even though I'll admit that when writing this post's title, I at first typed "the terrorists have one").


OH MY GOD, Y'ALL. I saw the fattest people on Saturday. Seriously. FAT MIDWESTERNERS. I think it is ironic that I did not see a single actual strawberry (there were some pies, and some rhubarb, and the occasional milk shake), but I did see deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos. Now, if you're like me and from a normal part of the country (i.e. The South), upon hearing the phrase "deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos", you would think, "What the fuck." Well, for you, I'll explain the concept. You take your Oreos and Twinkies, dip them in pancake mix (I guess - I just know they were also making funnel cakes and I think those are made from the same dough), throw them in a vat of grease, let them sit for a few minutes, then cover them with chocolate syrup and powdered sugar. And there you have your new treat / case of angina. (Am I the only one who, at almost twenty-three, giggles when he uses the word "angina"?)

So yeah, I saw a lot of grease. And morbidly obese men. And a lot of women with exposed caesarian scars. I felt like I was in a John Cougar Mellencamp song.

So there you go: life in the Chicago suburbs. And I apologize for it taking so long to get to that, and for it being pretty half-assed, but, you know. I'll probably take a break from this for a few days, unless something absolutely hysterical happens. And that would be a good thing, because, like Truvy Jones, "laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Platonic infatuation.

So here's what happened:

I was at the Fiery Furnaces show on Saturday night. I'd had three beers at this point and was working on my fourth. After the first band played (they were called Office and great; I bought their CD but later lost it because I got drunk and I'm MR), I walked up to the stage because the crowd was still pretty empty.

To my right there was this short, petite, pretty cute girl who I assumed was only about twenty-one (since she had a wristband on; she looked younger). She was also standing alone. So we stood there together, standing alone. And I was like, "She's cute. Talk to her." And then I was like, "Don't talk to her, you stupid jackass." So I didn't talk to her.

Then this guy walked up, carrying two mixed drinks, and gave one to her, and so I was like, "See? She has a boyfriend anyway so it's a good thing you didn't talk to her." But then, as I kind of watched them out of the corner of my eye, I got the impression that they were not dating. She wasn't really facing them as they talked, and I could just tell that there wasn't anything between them. So, yeah.

Then the second band started playing. They weren't that great. I was kinda dancing in place anyway because I'd had a few beers and, you know, I just couldn't keep my sexy rhythm all bottled up. You know how it is. My dancing, however, was definitely overshadowed by the dancing of the man in front of me and Cute Girl. He was dancing like he was at Bonnaroo: breaking it down, Woodstock '69 style. To a mediocre indie-rock band. Cute Girl and I kept making eye contact and laughing. Score!

After the second band I was sort of looking around the hall. I thought I spotted the Fiery Furnaces' grandmother up in the VIP wing, so I turned to CG and was like, "I think that's their grandmother!" It turned out to not be their grandmother, but that was my line and I was totally in. We talked a little bit about the band, the new album, and how "Waiting To Know You" was a great song. When the Fiery Furnaces came on stage (after blowing smoke from a fog machine in our faces), she turned to me and told me her name and then introduced her friend.

The band was great. They turned all of their weird-ass songs into short little rock songs, as if they were doing covers of their own stuff. I was right below Eleanor, who sounded just as great live as she does on the albums. Hippie guy kept jammin' out, and even his friend looked embarrassed as CG and I giggled. I was dancing, too, and at one point sort of did an impression of the Hippie guy. CG jumped up and yelled into my ear, but all I made out was, "___ _ hell __ a lot cuter ____ you do it!" I kind of smiled and nodded since I didn't really understand what she said at first, then immediately realized she was saying my dancing was a hell of a lot cuter then Hippie Guy's. I started thinking, "WHAT IS GOING ON?! THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ME!"

The last song that the band played was "Waiting to Know You", and I turned and smiled and continued to dance. We were close at this point and I kept hitting her hand when I was tapping my leg.

It was still loud when the show ended and disorienting. I followed CG and friend out and, confused about what I should do, just kinda pulled out my phone (Janna had called and left a message). They kept walking to the right of the club, so I just stood in front and started listening to my voicemail. She turned around and waved goodbye and I waved back, thinking, "Ohmygod this is totally a missed connection."

I was supposed to meet up with a friend from work at SmartBar after the show but she hadn't called yet, so I was just sort of hanging there for a minute before I decided to just go home and come back later when my friend called since I only live three blocks away. Just as I started to walk back to Southport, CG walked back up to me.

"Hey! My friend and I were going to get some drinks and we thought we'd invite you!" Yessss.

So we walk to the Gingerman and started talking. She asked me if I lived in Chicago and I tell her I live just a few blocks from the Metro. Then I asked here where she lived.

"Oh, near Muncie, Indiana."

Shit. But whatever!

So we go to the Gingerman next door and drink beer and talk. I tell her I had a roommate from Indiana and that I was from Virginia and she told me that she had an online friend in Farmville. It also turned out that she was twenty-four and her friend was twenty-seven, but I sure don't look almost twenty-three, so whatever. While we're talking about our home-states, Fiery Furnaces, and the crazy Hippie dancing, I ask CG what she does.

She replied, "I'm a parent."

Now, my immediate internal response was, "WHAT?" But, you know, I got over it quickly. I mean, at this point she was already from Indiana, so it's not like something was going to happen. And being twenty-four and having a two-year-old is not that big of a deal; it was just surprising. So we just talked about her daughter. And then we talked about her friend's job, and my job, and just went on. It was really cool.

Later, Janna came, and then my friend, and we continued drinking. When they decided to leave (since they were going back to Indiana on Sunday), we went over to SmartBar to dance. I gave her my email address because she wanted to send me some songs by a band that she liked. She did end up emailing me some songs, which I haven't gotten a chance to listen to yet. She also said that it was "an absolute delight" meeting me. She also wrote, "Semi-embarrassing admission: I had to really restrain myself from grabbing your hand during 'Waiting to Know You'. Fun times, fun times. Isn't it just wonderful to get excited over a complete stranger?" She elaborated, saying that she didn't want to come across as hitting on me, just that anonymous infatuation was a terrific thing. I understand exactly what she meant. It's great to be able to go to a show and see an attractive stranger or two and, instead of imagining being friends with them, actually have an exciting, albeit brief, connection with them.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I've got tickets to Mature Town but I keep missing the damn train.

The highlight from Friday night:
During a rousing game of Scattegories at Guthrie's, Kristin and I got into a fight over the Gibb brothers and I totally won. Sure, I had to call my father for backup, but I was still right. And yes, that does mean that I drunk-dialed my father to ask him a question about Andy Gibb, but that's only because the damn Australians who were sitting at the table behind us were NO HELP. And I know they heard us arguing because I made a point to yell, "ANDY GIBB WAS NOT A BEE GEE," so that one of them would turn around and say, "You're so right, mate. I know this because I'm Australian and Barry Gibb is our poet laureate."

I'd write more but I'm pretty busy today at work. Plus I still have a poem to write for tonight and I should really use my blogging time for that instead of writing more about getting drunk. I promise I'll write more later, because there was just too much weekend and I'm kind of amazed I made it out alive.

(And, in case you were wondering, the Bee Gees were Barry, Robin, and Maurice! Maurice Gibb! He's the dead one, Kristin!)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Just call me Schneider, 'cause I'm taking it one day at a time.

Thank God for Cute Overload. It really gets me through the day.

I've been in a pretty top-notch mood since Wednesday night when I read my second poem for class. I had decided the night before that I hated class and really wasn't looking forward to going anymore. Then my professor liked my poem much better than the first I turned in, so I was pretty pleased (with myself). That's really all that needs to happen for me to be in a good mood. Stroke my ego. I'll stop complaining in a second.

My newly discovered poetry skillz and the easing tension over the new apartment (which I hope hope hope is almost within my grasp) have made the last two days a little bit easier on me. And the weekend is promising, since I'm going to the Long Grove Strawberry Festival with friends and then Fiery Furnaces (which I'm nervous about because I'm going alone). I'm happy that things in the very immediate future have "fun" written all over them.

I talked to my mom this morning to check in with the homefront. My grandmother is going into hospice care at the hospital since things aren't getting any better. My parents have decided to postpone the Chicago trip, which I really am disappointed about, but I also understand that it's just too crazy for them to come at the end of the month. My mother was disappointed that she isn't going to see the Coach House, but I told her that she was luck-y because the place is gross and I'm one-hundred-percent over it. Between the stove, which is perpetually dirty (please remember that I only make cook frozen pizza and the occasional chicken strips), and the litterbox situation (this morning I discovered that at least one of the cats (I've got my money on this little princess) has been just using the floor in the basement instead of the new automatic litterbox, but I can't blame her because the thing is terrifying), I'm just incredibly disgusted for most of the time I'm in the house and rarely leave my room. I told my mother that she wasn't going to be missing much.

At this point, I've got a few small things that are still keeping my spirits higher than normal. Stuff like this (and this! Thanks, Marjilla!). It makes me happy when people I don't like (it's his voice! he sounds like he has a constant case of dry-mouth!) look that effed up.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I was in the mood for another all-time-low, anyway.

I made my friend Kristel three mix-CDs at the beginning of the month and I just got around to mailing them on Tuesday night. I really don't have a good excuse, so I'll admit my bad excuses:

1. I didn't have stamps.
2. I didn't have an envelope that would fit three CDs.
3. The post office is two blocks north of my house. Since I only ever go south to take the train downtown, the two block walk north feels like an eternity. I know this is yet another example of my irrational thinking process, since the train station is three blocks south.

Anyway, on Monday night I received a package from Kristel. Yes! She sent me a CD! Yes! I have an envelope now! So I take put her CDs in to the same large, manila envelope (clever!), fold it back over, cross out her writing, turn it over, and address the other side. I knew it looked pathetic, but as long as I'm not only eating ramen noodles every night, I figure I can get away with some collegiate frugality every now and then. Plus, I wrote "Always recycle" on the envelope with the little circle of arrows around it. Ha! I'm so cute!

So on Tuesday I ended up going straight from work to Kristin's house. I was carrying the package for Kristel in my bag and I wanted to mail it since I promised her these CDs about two weeks ago, so I stepped into the UPS store near the Armitage / Halsted intersection.

I'd never been in a UPS store before. I still don't understand why they exist, because they're basically post offices except the people who work there don't have to pass a civil service exam. I guess the women who live nearby don't really want to carry their Betsy Johnson purchases to the real post office, and that long wait just kills their Aldo'd feet. Besides, they've got to meet their GFs at the vegan raw bar for brunch in fifteen minutes and they DO NOT have the time to fill out those Priority Mail slips.

So I went in the UPS store and I gave the dude (he was SUCH a dude) my package. He flipped it over twice; I guess the writing on both sides (and the post-marked stamps on Kristel's side - alright, I'll give him a break here) were just too much for him. When he figured it out, he weighed it and came back to me and said, "Okay, it's one dollar and seventy five cents." I pulled out my credit card and handed it to him, and then he made a face as if I had just shot his dog.

"Ohhh," he said. "We can't take that. There's a two-dollar minimum."

So there I was in the Lincoln Park UPS Store. I already looked like an ass because I'm re-using a manila envelope. I couldn't pay for postage because I didn't have cash. I also had a pimple above my lip that made me look like I had a bad case of the Herp, so I'm sure they thought I was a young man of ill repute. And THEN I had to stand there for about five seconds without a clue about what to do and wishing I had just walked the two blocks to the post office because those sassy women hate everyone, not just the ones who are obviously in the wrong neighborhood.

Luckily, a woman who was shipping a digital camera at the other register said, "I've got two dollars!" and paid for my postage. I thanked her a few hundred times and got the hell out of there, but not before UPS Dude told me he "would find something to cover up this other side of the envelope". Thanks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Look on up at the bottom.

I deleted my last post because I realize that I probably shouldn't make fun of someone on my blog when it is very easy to find my site by Googling the phrase on my shirt. I realized that I was again a jerky jerk and that I'd feel bad if someone had written mean things about me in their blog.

Lately I've been all up and down. I've been trying to in vain to keep calm about everything that's going on, ranging from the stuff at home to the new apartment to my class. I've been like this emotional freight train that's about to jump its tracks. And not in the cute, Kasey Chambers kind of way (if you haven't heard "Freight Train" by Kasey Chambers, you must, because it'll blow you away and it's one of my favorite songs ever so I can vouch for it). No, more like freight train of evil. I've yelled at friends about Angelina Jolie and ignored phone calls from college friends who were visiting Chicago, which really exceeds the levels of normal assholery that I'm used to. I'm trying to make an effort to not be a jerk, but I feel like I'm failing.

I'm leaving work early this afternoon to go talk to my professor because I'm concerned about this class. It's really too big for a creative writing course (there are about twenty people), so we don't even get to everyone's poems. This sucks because if I don't get feedback on my poem, I don't know what I can do to avoid the mistakes that I know I'm making. I was really frustrated about this last night because I had a very vague assignment for my poem that's due tonight. The professor is one of those guys who "rarely gives As", as if doing so somehow cheapens the grade and he feels that only two or three in the class could possibly deserve one. I don't know if he thinks that by telling us that we'll suddenly become super motivated to succeed. That doesn't work with me. It just makes me not care.

I'm not at JMU anymore, though, and there's absolutely no reason I can't get an A in a 200-level general creative writing course that I'm taking for fun. So I'm going to ask him tonight what I can do to get my A. Because I'm going to get one. I'm not going to send a transcript to grad schools and have them see that I got a B in a summer creative writing course. They're not going to say, "Well, maybe the professor was one of those professors," because they're not going to care. They're going to see the B and think that I'm too lazy to work for an A. And I'm not. Not anymore.

I'm going to try to focus on the positive for the rest of the week. I think obtaining the soundtrack to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls will help me do that. Seriously. It's my happening and it freaks me out.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Everything's back to normal!

Last night was one of the most surreal nights of my life. After listening to a sleazy guy somehow relate the specific names of various potato species, Chaucer, the Parliament of Fowls, and St. Valentine's Day all in unsolicited attempt to make us balk at his Yale education (when really we JMU alumni just wanted to know if Kierkegaard was Swedish "because he has one of the line thingies in the O in his first name"), we left one of the most awkward barbecues ever. I was grateful because I assumed that the weirdness had reached its peak for the night.

Then, while waiting for the train at the Berwyn station, a homeless man felt me up.

Friday, June 16, 2006


I should probably state, for the record's sake, what's been going on that's been making me upset all week, since I've gotten a few messages from people asking if I'm ok. I guess when you allude to "drunken emotional breakdowns" people think you're actually cray-cray in a Britney Spears kind of way. I'm not, don't worry. Although I am taking a poetry-writing class. Soon I'll just update my blog through verse and you'll just have to guess what's going on.

Anyway, the bad news is that my grandmother's really sick. We're pretty much preparing for the worst, and this is obviously a big deal since I'm six hundred miles away and can't do anything to help. At the same time, I'm glad I'm not there experiencing it because I think I wouldn't be able to keep it together the way I am now. And thinking this also makes me feel like a shit, since I'm even dreading Father's Day because I'm afraid to call and talk to my grandfather. I was really close to my grandmother and it hasn't been easy for me to deal with this. But don't worry; I'm fine and stable, I just happen to get upset after drinking nine drinks on a Thursday night. Hey, at least they were free! Thanks, DePaul!

The somewhat troublesome way I cope with depressing stuff like this is buying shit I don't need. This includes food. Instead of making lunch at home, I've eaten out all week. Today my body was craving really gross food so I got McDonald's for both breakfast AND lunch. I'm so, so satisfied, though, because I love McDonald's. Godddd it is so good. But it's also expensive, especially for my tight budget.

Also, I bought the soundtrack to A Prairie Home Companion, which I DEFINITELY did not need. I never buy CDs and now I feel dumb for paying money for that one. But at the time of purchase, I needed it. I needed some sweet Garrison Keillor jams in my life. Now I realize that I will never listen to it again and seeing Lindsay Lohan's name above Liz Phair's on my iPod makes me want to throw up.

And I'm going to a show tonight, which I'm really happy about even though I could save my twelve dollars and watch the Neil Young movie at home. But I haven't gone to a show for over a month and I need some live music. I'm going to the Metro next week to see Fiery Furnaces, which was expensive but I'm going to write it off as a good decision anyway. Assuming Ticketmaster actually mails me my ticket, since it's still MIA. I didn't pay ten dollars in service charges to not get a service.

Anyway, that's my life this week. Hopefully things will be smooth next week.

My eyes are about to fall out of my face.

It's before 6:30. I haven't been awake before 6:30 in years, probably. I woke up at six because: a. it's literally ninety degrees in my room because our air conditioner is broken and b. I'm so, so hungover and my head feels like it's about to explode. I can't think of a better simile, I'm sorry.

I even turned on the air last night, hoping that it would at least lower the temperature at least a degree or two, and this morning I woke up with my head wedged between the slanted part of my wall and my bed above the vents. It did not make me feel any cooler.

It's cooler outside than it is in my house right now. It's June fucking sixteenth.

So: to explain why I'm hungover and perhaps still a little drunk. The university had this sort of employee-appreciation picnic (although it was inside) yesterday afternoon at three o'clock. Three. O'clock. Afternoon. Still in the daylight. DAYTIME.

Anyway, I found out about this on Wednesday as I was leaving because my manager said, "Are you going to the picnic?" I have no idea what she was talking about, and she said that I probably didn't get the emails because I'm still new. This really isn't important but I took the effort to type all of that out without grammatical errors, so there's no way I'm deleting what took a lot of effort. My eyes hurt. I'm doing this all for you, people.

We all left work at three and rode the train up together to the LP campus. The party's theme was "Wild Wild West" and they were playing "Devil Went Down to Georgia" to put us in the mood, as well as handing out straw cowboy hats and bandanas. They also gave us free wine and beer, which is really the only way you get me to wear a cowboy hat for a few hours. Oh, and they also started serving shots of burbon and curacao. I'm guessing that's what was in them. I know that as the "night" went on, they became progressively stronger. And I kept drinking. Because really, I was getting paid to do so. Hell, I kept drinking after five o'clock. I'm not afraid of working overtime.

After they shut down the bar, I went to another bar down the street with two other coworkers. The fact that it was still light outside and I already could not see straight was a good enough reason for me to take it easy on the one beer I drank there. It was a PBR. It's mostly water, right? Anyway, I remember trying to explain "Virginia" to two people from Illinois. They were also Catholics, so then I tried to explain "Episcopalian," which I found difficult. I said that the fact that I couldn't explain what it was like to be an Episcopalian should give them an idea of what it's like being one.

There are a few things I'm grateful for:
1. I'm glad I got home okay. I'm much rather be hungover and sweaty in my room right now than still wandering the streets of Lincoln Park.
2. I'm glad we only ran into one other coworker, who we met at the Fullerton stop and called us out on being really drunk from about ten yards away.
3. I'm glad the emotional breakdown I had last night happened at home instead of over plastic cups of Ecco Domini merlot. Public crisis averted.
4. I'm so glad I didn't dance to the Temptations in front of people from work. Saint Vincent was obviously looking down on me.
5. I'm also glad that I saw people doing the Cha Cha Slide. I thought that was just a Southern, white-trash wedding dance. Chicagoans know how to break it down.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I forgot to put a title.

I just wrote half of what was going to be a really long post, and I just can't bring myself to actually finish it because I'm already feeling kind of upset about the content. I'm sorry I haven't updated, but things have been hectic, and I'm afraid that I'm going be even more stressed out in the coming weeks. I'm taking my class now, which is going to be a steady amount of work. I'm moving in a month and haven't signed a lease yet and I'm starting to feel less optimistic about the move. Work is crazy because we're getting a lot of mail, so I really have a good deal of work I should be doing right now. And I'm terribly afraid I'm going to go back to Virginia at some point this summer and I am really, really hoping this doesn't happen. I'm trying to stay optimistic, and I'm hoping I can at least get through this week because the weekend should be a little less stressful.

Hopefully minor yet hilarious life-event will happen by Friday and I can update again. For now, I'll just say it could be worse:

Monday, June 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Laurie!

Your Monday morning seizure has been brought you to by Laurie.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm almost a mature adult.

I was just upstairs getting a coke from the machine in the student lounge. I walked past the windows that face onto the roof-top patio. There was this guy in his blue and red graduate robe, and he was standing in front of the Sears Tower and his mother was taking a picture of him with his diploma. To my own surprise, I did not think any negative thoughts toward this person. In fact, I was excited for his success.

I should probably add, though, that the guy was Asian, and if it was a white guy I probably would have thought he was a douchebag. So there you have it: for a split second, I confused my own racism (racism in the vein of "All black guys are good basketball players" and "All Jews are rich") with maturity. I suck.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cat on wheels.

I'm sorry, but I can't help myself.

"When I was in high school, I had the best cat ever. He was a stray, but we found him when he was just a kitten. He grew up into this beast. He always had this wild nature to him and he always disappeared for days and we never knew where he was. He was huge, too: like, twenty pounds or somethin'.

"One day - this is when I was away at college - he came back home and was, like, dragging his hind legs. They took him to the vet who said he had some kind of blood clot that had, like, affected the nervous systems in his legs, or somethin'. The vet asked if he could do this experimental operation for free. He amputated the hind legs and replaced them with wheels. But, you know, the cat was never really the same after that."

WHEELS. They took the poor cat to a vet who, instead of, oh, I don't know, removing the clot or possibly putting the cat out of his misery, replaced his legs with WHEELS. WHEELS. A CAT ON WHEELS.

Thank God for Google image search:I know said cat was not Persian (this picture is especially for Sarah, who will think that little alien-looking thing is just darlin'), and those wheels aren't ATTACHED to the cat. In fact, this is a picture of a cat on a CART, which is much less depressing than a cat whose hind legs were REPLACED with wheels. And yes, there was a testimonial that went with this gem of a picture (and yes, it was posted in Comic Sans): "Pugsley is a wonderful cat. Thanks for the cart. It gives him more mobility on long jaunts.. Now his favorite thing is to go down hill. He loves the speed. Zoom, zoom."

That cat's name is Pugsley and he goes on jaunts. God bless America.

Awkward bathroom interaction.

So I was walking in to the bathroom behind this middle-aged, short, rather portly fellow who works down the hall. I don't know who he is, but I always see him in the bathroom. Go figure.

Anyway, I'm minding my own business at the urinal next to him, and I realize that he is leaning ON THE URINAL and facing me. Then he sighs, long and deeply, and I suddenly feel like I'm supposed to ask him something like, "Rough day, eh?" or "Can't wait 'til Friday, either, huh?" Of course I don't, because I'm too busy staring straight ahead and minding my own business.

Thank God he left before I was finished, although the best part of the story is, I think, that he did not wash his hands before drying them with the electric dryer. Think about it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


[I did a Google search for "666," expecting a demon or a pentagram, and I found this instead. I think we can all agree this wins.]

If you're on MySpace, you've probably known that today's date is the Mark of the Beast for weeks thanks to many promotional ads for the remake of The Omen. If this is what we're going to have to go through every time a shitty Fox movie comes out (remember when MySpace was "X-Space"?), I'm going to have to write a letter* to Rupert Murdoch. If we let him keep getting away with this, we'll soon have Bill O'Reilly leaving us picture comments. No thank you, Mr. Murdoch. It's bad enough that the new "game" ads want us to help President Bush out-knit Saddam Hussein. "Help Bush win!" they plead. I don't think so.

I think I have less patience for people who give a shit about "666" than those who use that fear as a promotional campaign for an bad (and unsolicited, if I do say so myself) remake of a pretty good horror film. I mean, it's one thing to be religious. I'm fine with that as long as you don't offend me with your beliefs. I've realized since my anti-religion stance in high school was just as ridiculous as the people I was arguing with, and at this point I avoid the fiery fights and welcome the nice, civil discussions. But seriously, people who believe that 666 has anything to do with anything? That's Y2K-level of nonsense, especially since no one knows if "666" is even the acurate number. (Wikipedia, which we all know is one hundred percent true one hundred percent of the time, says that "616" was the original number used in Revelations). It's this folk-Christian belief that's based on what has become a stupid pop-culture reference.

So you can imagine my frustration when I overheard a certain person at work who has a higher degree in opera singing from a reputable Big Ten university, who, by the way, also calls his significant other "Momma" and warns her to "carry her pepper spray, since the riff-raff likes to come out when it's warm," telling our manager all about his experiences with ghostly apparitions in honor of the skooky associations with today's date.

[And I KNOW that I shouldn't write about people at work, but I can only take so much. When it gets to the point where it's like listening to a five-year-old entertain himself during a foreign film (whistling, doing impressions of the African-American manager at the Walgreens who "cannot control the volume of his voice," practicing his German pronunciations, singing selections from West Side Story, speculating on the plausibility of gangs fighting through dance, and tapping - no, BANGING - on his desk), I lose my patience and feel the need to expres how this certain person really, really sucks.**]

I think my favorite part of the conversation, which, I should add, was rather one-sided, was when the certain co-worker said to my manager, "It's not that unusual for something really strange to materialize in a place this size. Has anyone ever died in the building before?"


*(An open letter, which will be published here, since I cannot afford postage right now.)
**(This is all hypothetical, of course.)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Eight-year-olds shouldn't play with guns. Twenty-somethings should not play with blogs.

Throughout my life I've tried very hard to keep an actual hand-written journal. I think I first started journaling around fourth grade, probably after I read Dear Mr. Henshaw and Strider by Beverly Cleary. (If you have not read those books, you should pick them up. It's never too late to read Beverly Cleary.) Unfortunately, I even lack the motivation to complete a whole journal. I think the most I've ever written in one was about twenty five pages, and that included a year and a half. I have several notebooks sitting around in my parents' house, and each have a week's worth of my life written on the first ten pages.

For some reason I love blogging. I think it's because it's much less effort to type out random thoughts than to write them down. And I think a major draw to writing a blog is that people can read it. I think I've always wanted an audience, even when I was writing in my journals back when I was a pre-teen. I remember making shit up all the time, thinking that it'd be really awesome if someone found them and believed what I wrote.

I wish I could blame Sylvia Plath's journals for this behavior, since part of me thought at one point that one day, when I'm famous as SHIT, someone would find my journals and publish them and then people would say, "Wow, he was brilliant even when he was a teenager!" I realize, though, that I probably thought that before I even read The Bell Jar, so I can't blame Plath for it. I'm just vain.

I think vanity plays a big part in the blog-o-sphere (ughihatethatword). It's amazing how many people, including myself, think that other people would be interested in reading about their lives. I mean, I'm not publishing any juicy shit here; I'm writing whole posts about my swollen eye. Sometimes it baffles me that people find this entertaining and keep reading it. (I'm primarily talking about people I don't know, since I see the excitement in reading your friend's blog.) (It's also funny that people HATE my blog and keep reading it anyway, but I've touched on that subject before.)

I've been thinking about this all weekend. Part of it comes from thinking about the online journals I had on other sites that were so vastly different from what I write here. I used to write about people or things that really upset me. I think I was much more candid, but in some ways I think I'm just as open and honest about things here, but I take a different tone about what I write about. I try not to take myself seriously and I hope that comes out in my writing. And when I do stupid shit and get embarrassed about it, I write about it on here instead of avoiding it. That way people have to laugh WITH me. Right?

This post spawns from two things that happened this weekend. Yesterday, at the Printers Row Book Fair, I was standing at a booth looking at old printing press materials. I looked across the booth and saw this guy. I turned to Nicole and said, "Hey, there's that guy whose blog I read!" I thought for a split-second that I should introduce myself, and then I said, "Wait, he probably wouldn't know who I am and that would be weird!" I mean, based on my awkward interactions with people I've actually met in person before, you have to see where I was coming from. So I decided not to say anything.

Then, about two minutes later, he came over and said, "Are you Tyler? I'm Kevin." We talked for a bit, and it was really cool to be "recognized" or whatever, especially since I didn't realize he also read my blog. Of course, after he walked away I went into panic mode and was like, "Oh God, he probably thinks I'm ten kinds of crazy," (My previous blog posts started flashing in my head), and then Nicole said, "Oh God, do you think he realized I'm your roommate you write about?!" It was one of those weird moments that my mother warns me about ("DON'T POST ANYTHING ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE EVERYONE WILL SEE IT AND HACK INTO YOUR COMPUTER AND STEAL ALL OF YOUR MONEY AND THEN COME KILL YOU!!!!"). I think I was over it in about ten minutes, but it's still a weird feeling to actually realize that people know all about you. I think it made me about two percent more mature than I was on Friday.

The other thing is something I can't really write about, since it involves a stupid argument with a friend over a situation I'm still a little sore about, since I spent all last night trying to figure out if I was overreacting about how I felt or if I was being rational. I wanted to write something about it, but I knew I shouldn't, since it would just make things worse, and Megan would fuss at me tomorrow morning in our daily eighty-email correspondence. She would be right, of course; online journals are no place to spark social or family feuds, and I think sometimes I push the boundaries (both deliberately and not). And I know that sort of thing is passive-aggressive, but sometimes I feel like I have friends who only follow my blog these days instead of actually talking to me. I guess that's partially my fault, since I have the blog in the first place. Oh, the Catch-22 of blogging. It's a real bitch, as my mother would say if she was a blogger.

Don't sweat the small stuff.

If I'm sober, awake, and blogging at 2:30 in the morning, especially on a Sunday morning, I must have something important to say.

Eh, turns out it's not really important, it's just a thought I had just now. About Sex and the City.

Now, I really didn't watch the show all that much. What I did see was pretty funny but nothing that kept me interested in following the entire show. But there is something that I've always wondered about it. You know how Carrie is the narrator of the show, and how her narration is always typed up in a word document in her laptop? Well, is that supposed to be her column? Because she writes a lot of stuff about her three slutty friends, and I feel like if they actually read the column and saw that she printed the stuff about them, those bitches would have beaten Carrie with her own Manolos.

So I think the answer here is that it wasn't actually her column, but why would she just type up her narration? I realize this is one of those stupid questions that I ask that really have nothing to do with the plot. I mean, shouldn't I demand an explanation for how Samantha escaped a herpes infection? For some reason, I don't dwell on those major issues with plot as much as I question the characters' small little flaws. The other night, Nicole and I watched Adventures in Babysitting, and after an hour and a half of her getting upset over things like how the major plot points made absolutely no sense (such as Elizabeth Shue's character coming up with a song on the spot to sing in some South Side blues club, as well as the whole car-theft conspiracy the kids were wrapped up in), I didn't question anything until the end when Elizabeth Shue sticks the peanut butter in the refrigerator.

"Why the hell would she do that?!"

I told you this wasn't important. I'm going to bed now.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

An Open Letter to My Left Eye.

Dear Charles,

What up, dawg? No, seriously, WHAT THE FUCK IS UP?

Okay, okay. Let's be civil. I mean, I'll be civil, since you haven't really been so nice to me lately. I mean, just look at yourself. You look like SHIT. And when you look like shit, I look like shit. Come on now, clean yourself up and stop making a TOTAL ASS OUT OF YOURSELF.

So what the hell did I do to you, huh? I've always treated you right! I've avoided sports all of my life. Okay, except for PE and T-Ball, but those weren't my fault. It wasn't MY decision to keep playing T-Ball until I was in FIFTH GRADE. And it sure as hell wasn't my choice to take PE. I tried my best, I really did. Remember the touch football unit WEEK OF HELL back in '97? I got injured every day. Did you get hurt? Nope. It was just the back of my head on that day when Dean pushed me backward into Thurston's front teeth. And hey, remember when Mike Hall stepped on my hand? Just be happy that he didn't step on my FACE. You came out of that unscathed. The rest of me, including my PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES, took a hard beating that week.

And let's not even get into the great volleyball fiasco of '98. Just be glad I didn't serve with my eyes. I think my right forearm is still bruised.

But this letter isn't about my lack of athletic ability, which is a subject I'm sure you'd just LOVE to gab on about. WELL FUCK YOU FOR THAT. THAT'S NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. THIS IS ABOUT YOU. YOU AND YOUR STUPID SWELLING AND REDNESS.

I'm SO SORRY that I got suscreen in you. It's not MY fault that I'm either snow-white or lobster-red. I'd much rather be somewhere comfortably in the middle with the rest of White America who look like Abercrombie models but IT'S NOT HAPPENING. I have RED HAIR. Have you ever seen a red head with a tan? Because, really, if you see one, please, point him / her out to me, because then I will know that you're seeing things that don't exist and that you are, in fact, completely BAT SHIT CRAZY. And besides, just because I have red hair does not mean I want the eyes to match. I WANT YOU TO STAY BLUE. OR GREEN DEPENDING ON WHAT COLOR SHIRT I'M WEARING.

I've always been on your side. I mean, suuure, Gustov is slightly stronger than you. Suuure, Gustov has the cooler name. But that doesn't mean I love you any less. Just because you are the cause of my astigmatism doesn't mean I don't CARE ABOUT YOU.

And I'm NOT going to get into another discussion with you about the glasses. I HAVE ASTIGMATISM. You HEARD what Dr. Ryan said. I have astigmatism and that's why I got the glasses. I'll admit that the prescription isn't very strong and YES some people might think I only got glasses for vain reasons, but I can't help that: a. I have a mild case of astigmatism, and b. I think I look more attractive with glasses. The second part just happened to work out nicely for me, so you're just going to have to DEAL WITH IT.

Is this about the Clean and Clear? Is that what it's going to take? HOW MANY TIMES have I told you to NOT FALL FOR THAT COMMERCIAL. It's a BEACHBALL. That's not even a REAL EYE and it's PREPOSTEROUS for ANYONE TO FALL FOR THAT SHIT. BEN STEIN ISN'T EVEN THAT FUNNY IN THOSE COMMERCIALS AND THEY ARE A WASTE OF HIS TALENT AS A COMEDIC GENIUS. I'm going to keep using the Visine and you're going to like it, BITCH.

HOW MANY LATE NIGHTS did I lay in bed with a warm washcloth pressed against you when you had pink eye? DO YOU THINK I WOULD DO THAT IF I DIDN'T LOVE YOU?! Well, NOW I have to sit here with an ICE PACK ON MY FACE to make the swelling go down. I can't imagine that's any better for you. Come on now, let's work together. Let's put all of that IMMATURE SHIT ASIDE and be ADULTS FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.



PS. Thanks for being my excuse for leaving work early today. That was sweet.