Monday, July 31, 2006

Mom wins.

Sometimes my mom and I will call each other to let each other know how shitty our days are going. I think it helps the other one feel better about their relatively less-shitty day. This started when I went to college and I'd call home and complain about school work and how there was never anything at the dining halls I liked. Once I called home and had to say, "Hi. I'm calling from Kristin's phone because I got drunk last night and lost mine." Sometimes she'll call and say, "I just got home from Massachusettes. My plane was delayed and I spent three hours at the airport. Then the traffic on 95 was really bad. I hope you're having a better day than I am."

Lately, my mom's been winning the Shitty Day Contest, since this summer she's spent a lot of time at the hospital or over at my grandparents' house. After my grandmother died, she's been dealing with my grandfather, who is obviously having a rough time as well. My grandparents had a woman stay with them during the day and helping them run errands, but she would leave in the afternoon, so my mom has been responsible for getting my grandfather food for dinner and staying with him at night.

So in the last few weeks, she's been having a shitty time. When I'd call her and complain about how everything that could possibly go wrong during the move did, in fact, go wrong, she'd reply with, "I'm taking your grandfather to Richmond tomorrow to look at assisted-living facilities." She'd always win.

When I got home on Friday I saw that I had a missed call from her. I assumed that meant bad news because I call home so often now that they only call me to tell me something bad has happened. I listened to the voicemail and it concerned the woman who has been working for my grandparents for about six years now: "She stole your grandmother's credit card and went on vacation."

Apparently, the woman took the credit card and charged about a thousand dollars worth of stuff on it. She spent about six hundred dollars at Wal-Mart, which seems about right, because if I were to steal someone's credit card, I'd most certainly go on a Wal-Mart shopping spree. She also took the bill when it came in the mail, thinking she could pay off the charges before anyone noticed. My mother, however, is obsessed with bills, and since she had actually used the card to buy something my grandparents needed, she noticed when the bill didn't come in the mail. After calling the credit card company and finding out that there was a payment of three hundred dollars recently posted, she became suspicious and had them tell her what the last charges were.

So now she's fired (even though, after paying my grandfather back in cash, she asked if she could still work for him), my father had to change the locks at my grandfather's house, and my mother has absolutely no idea what to do now. Also, my grandfather turned ninety on Saturday, and when I asked him if he felt ninety, he replied, "Today I do."

I'd much rather deal with leasing agents and U-Haul employees. Thanks, Mom, for putting it into perspective for me.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Gross.

Okay, I realize everybody poops and it's not a big deal, and I shouldn't feel embarrassed about carrying huge packages of toilet paper home from Jewel because everyone uses toilet paper, but seriously, when I go into the bathroom down the hall and the person in the toilet stall sounds like he's buffing the hood of a car, I feel kind of uncomfortable.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's just so ironical.

So I've come to a point where I've had it up to here with irony. I don't mean irony as a whole because I still think it's an important literary device that has translated well into film and television (I think the best example is Reno 911!, which pokes fun at racism by being offensive, or The Daily Show, which tricks my generation into learning what's actually going on in the world by making fun of the news). I'm really sick of the Snakes of the Plane variety of irony. It's a by-product of the kitsch / "Vote for Pedro" culture we're all stuck in. And I'm kind of over it. I don't think it's funny anymore, because it's just gotten so exhausting to think that everyone is pulling this elaborate practical joke on everyone else, but it's not really the case.

The major problem with this kind of irony is that it's not ironic at all. And let's not slip into the kind of Alanis Morissette conversation ("Isn't it ironic that 'Ironic' isn't ironic?"). It's just the lack of sincerity that's bugging me. Irony seems to be misused to rationalize low-brow culture. I know I'm guilty of using it in that way, but I can rationalize it, and I think that's the problem with the misuse of irony: people are saying things are ironic because they can't rationalize why they do things. For example, why do I watch Next! on MTV? I'm not doing it in an ironic way. I think it's funny. It's entertaining. I'm laughing at the people on the show, but that's the whole point of any realty dating show at this point.

There. See how easy that was? I'm not embarrassed by it.

I fully admit to enjoying certain movies in "ironic" ways. For example: Mommie Dearest. There's a movie about a woman abusing her daughter that was so melodramatic and overacted that it became funny. Or Showgirls, which was supposed to be this "comment" on the fetishization of Vegas and how the culture uses women. At the premiere of Showgirls, Kyle MacLachlan walked out, allegedly saying that he thought the movie was supposed to be an art film.

But do those movies lose their irony when special edition DVDs are released that specifically market their campy aspects?

It's mostly the fake-irony found here that really gets to me. At the same time, however, I love it when I see young white men wearing Che Guevara t-shirts. That's a kind of irony I can appreciate.

I'm not trying to make any bold statements with this post, so don't take any of this the wrong way. It's just something I've been thinking about lately. I mean, wouldn't it just be great if we could just be sincere about things? Did you really love Raising Helen because, for some reason, you found it funny? Well, fucking say so. I can appreciate someone's opinion if it's different from mine if it's actually based on something.

Having said that, it's really refreshing to be honest right now and admit that last night I watched She's the Man and laughed really hard for an hour and a half. I'm not ashamed because it was funny and, when asked, I can tell you why.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Open Letter to Zach Braff.


Hey Dude,

Wassup?

So I was looking on Amazon this morning and found the soundtrack to your new movie. (By the way, what's it like to have that creepy guy from Ghost direct you in a film? I guess you'd imagine he could handle it since he also directed this gem.)

Anyway, I was reading that you had a hand in picking the songs for the soundtrack, which is, like, so sweet, right? Let's take a look at what you picked:


1. Snow Patrol - "Chocolate"
2. Joshua Radin - "Star Mile"
3. Turin Brakes - "Pain Killer"
4. Coldplay - "Warning Sign"
5. Cary Brothers - "Ride"
6. Athlete - "El Salvador"
7. Imogen Heap - "Hide and Seek"
8. Rachel Yamagata - "Reason Why"
9. Ray LaMontagne - "Hold You In My Arms"
10. Remy Zero - "Prophecy"
11. Fiona Apple - "Paper Bag"
12. Aimee Mann - "Today's The Day"
13. Amos Lee - "Arms Of A Woman"
14. Rufus Wainwright - "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk (Reprise)"
15. Joshua Radin & Schuyler Fisk - "Paperweight"

.879,.7u54kjgkjl

Oh, what? Sorry. I kinda just dozed off there. It's amazing, Zach, how exhausting your blandness is.

But hey, at least I have something to buy my mom for her birthday!

Chicago: Part Two.

I'm going to try to avoid the sentimental shit that I'll probably end up writing anyway, so just bear with me here.

It's been a week shy of a year since I moved to Chicago. It's weird. It feels like more of a landmark than the one-year-out-of-college anniversary did. I moved here without any idea of what I would do with myself. I knew that I had sixteen hundred dollars and a few friends out here to help me along. The money's pretty much gone, although I've made a little bit back. The friends have stayed, save for Laurie (who I wish didn't have to go back because I miss her like crazy).

I was talking to Janna a few nights ago about this last year. She asked me if I felt like I was "older and wiser" than I was a year ago. I told her then that I felt younger and dumber than I did last August. I think if she asked me the same question last night, I would have given her a different answer. It's a cliché, of course, but I feel like I was thrown into adulthood without any idea of what to do. I still don't know what to do. I don't know how to be an adult and I catch myself feeling like I'm playing dress-up and I'm sure that everyone else around me is completely aware of how insecure I feel. I seem to always be the youngest person in the room, no matter where I am, which is odd because a couple of weeks ago I thought that, at twenty-three, I'd start to feel a little bit older (but I was thankful that I'm not turning twenty-four in September because that is old). A few months ago I kept having panic attacks about my age, thinking that I'd be a failure if I didn't make something of myself by the time I was thirty. I realize now how ridiculous that idea is.

This past month has been a living hell for me, as if I was in my car on the way to adulthood, driving ninety miles an hour, only to discover that "adulthood" is actually just a big brick wall in the middle of the road. I had to go home and see everything I grew up with at a different angle – an angle that was from a higher elevation than before. I saw my family in different lights, realized how everyone else is growing old, too. The trip home sealed the deal for me: there's nothing back there for me and it's no longer home. I’m not going to eventually settle there, and thankfully my family understands that.

I've come to think of myself as a more independent person lately. I've been thinking a lot about past and present friendships. I realize that I shouldn't, and will no longer, put more stock into relationships with other people than others are willing to contribute, because I'll just end up bitter, exhausted, and poor. When I do find myself in good friendships, though, I find myself to be extremely grateful, satisfied, and rewarded.

I'm glad I have a (mostly) definite plan for the first part of my tour though graduate school. I'm extremely thankful that my job has the benefits that it offers. It may have taken much too long for me to get it, and it may not be the most exciting work, but it was worth the wait and worth the monotony.

I think one thing I want to look forward to in the next year is the opportunity for optimism. I've decided that I really can't let shit get me down anymore. I think that the move into a new apartment has helped me see that. It was hell getting here; there was an incredible amount of stress that drove me absolutely mad. But the crazy is this: I'm here now. I'm so goddamn happy with the place despite the very minor flaws. I feel like all of that trouble was actually worth it. Like the job situation, the apartment worked out perfectly. I think that it serves as a lesson: when things start piling up, and I start to worry about things, I need to just sit back, breathe, and chill out. When situations and other people start to bother me, I'm just going to say Fuck It and let it go. There's no sense in making myself sick over bullshit like that.

It's so funny to think that the move is what sparked all of this, but I honestly think that's what it is. This new apartment is just what I needed: a fresh, brand new space.

But I am kind of pissed that Bravo isn’t on the cable lineup.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Nine things I'm happy about:

1. MY NEW FUCKING APARTMENT IS OFF THE HOOK, Y'ALL.

2. Seriously, my new place makes me so happy. I feel like I'm in a friggin' relationship. With an apartment. I want to do it so bad.

3. The Pitchfork Music Festival is this weekend and it's going to be terrific.

4. U-Haul totally tried to screw me over on Friday and not only did I not let them, I totally screwed them.

5. My room is the shit. THE. SHIT.

6. SERIOUSLY. MY APARTMENT IS BEAST.

7. There's only one real bar in my neighorhood that attracts the LP crowd, and that's about one-hundred less bars than my old neighborhood.

8. Writing cheap, sell-out blog posts that wrap up an entire week of my life in a list. Sorry, dudes, I promise I'll write a real one tomorrow!

9. This video:

DON'T JUDGE ME. It makes me LOL for realz.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's a tough world out there for modern-day career ladies.

I have this new obsession: comic strip blogs.

This started when Steve showed me Permanent Monday, which is dedicated to the daily Garfield comics. And it was g l o r i o u s. Then I started reading The Comics Curmudgeon, which makes fun of several comics, ranging from For Better For Worse to Mark Trail.

After having a day-long obsession with Mary Worth, the longest-running soap opera comic strip about the crazy life of an elderly woman living in a condominium (Disclaimer from the MW publisher: "The reader is asked to remember that Mary Worth stories are not about Mary. They are about a continuing parade of people who enter Mary's life. If you look closely, you may recognize one of your neighbors — or even yourself."), I've moved on to a new favorite: Apartment 3-G.

This is what the publisher has to say about Apartment 3-G, in case you're to lazy to click the link and read it yourself:
Apartment 3-G was created in 1961 by psychiatrist Dr. Nicholas P. Dallis. Already the originator of two successful soap-opera comic strips, Rex Morgan, M.D. and Judge Parker, Dr. Dallis wanted to turn his attention to a phenomenon that was sweeping the nation: working women.

To do this, Dallis realized that he could not rely upon tried-and-trite stereotypes. With his keen insight into human nature, he created three women with whom his readers could identify because of their humanity, their strength and the truth of their portrayals. Sharing a New York apartment has enabled these three unmarried career women to come together in a place of strength, to meet head-on the challenges they face every day, and to become more than friends and closer than sisters.

Apartment 3-G is one of the few strips that has not fallen behind the times; rather, the world has sped to catch up with it. More contemporary than ever, the strip speaks directly to the new generation of women who try to juggle careers, men and friendship. Today Apartment 3-G is written by Margaret Shulock and drawn by Frank Bolle.

Whenever readers feel they need a friend, they know they can always find one in Apartment 3-G.


Now doesn't that sound great? A comic about three working women, all with different hair colors, living together in The City?

But seriously, let's analyze the second-to-last paragraph, shall we?
Sharing a New York apartment has enabled these three unmarried career women to come together in a place of strength, to meet head-on the challenges they face every day, and to become more than friends and closer than sisters. Now, let's zoom right in on the last sentence: ...to become more than friends and closer than sisters.

Do you think this means that they'll eventually become lesbians, or is this just the kind of bullshit Chicken Soup for the Soul kind of empty statement that makes absolutely no sense? Whichever the case, I CANNOT wait to find out what happens!

Also, I'd like to examine something in the last paragraph: Apartment 3-G is one of the few strips that has not fallen behind the times; rather, the world has sped to catch up with it. More contemporary than ever, the strip speaks directly to the new generation of women who try to juggle careers, men and friendship.

Now, take a look at the actual strip:

I've lived with three girls before, and I'll tell you one thing: Apartment 3-G is as contemporary as it gets.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The only thing weirder than Fresca is Tab!



I've never had Tab. Tab really confuses me - I just don't get it.

My main memory associated with Tab is of my godmother. My family would go to Nags Head every year with my godparents. I remember my godmother buying packs of Tab to last her the week, but she'd only drink one a day because that was back when everyone thought saccharin would give you cancer. I guess she thought that by drinking only one a day, her risk of getting cancer would be lower than if she drank more than one can a day. That's an interesting idea. It's kind of like only allowing yourself one unprotected sexual encounter with a stranger each year. (I'd like to note that the fear of saccharin-induced cancer did not stop my mother from putting two packets of Sweet'N Low* in her coffee and tea.)

Now that saccharin apparently won't give you cancer (thanks, scientists!) I wonder if my godmother allows herself more than one Tab a day. Because I think if we didn't have to worry about The Clap, we'd throw those condoms right out the window.




*Fun fact! Saccharin is banned in Canada, so Sweet'N Low uses the artificial sweetener cyclamate, which is banned in the United States.

Out of whack.

I'm tired. And hot. And cold, somehow, at the same time. It's ninety-two outside right now and it's not even nine yet. Inside, it's probably forty degrees, since I sit right below the vent. But I'm still sweating from walking to the train an hour and a half ago. I keep thinking of those poor gay athletes (gathletes? can we please call them gathletes?) at the Gay Games this week sweating their balls off in the name of equality. They're the real heroes.

We signed our lease. We're moving in on Friday evening. Our apartment is the shit. I'm excited as hell, even though the next five days will be hell. I keep thinking that I've just got a lot of cleaning and packing to do and that it'll all be worth it. I'm excited to get out of Wrigleyvile. On Saturday, as Nicole and I walked down our street, I almost had one of the hilarious slip-ups where someone steps on a banana peel and then falls flat on his back. Except that it was vomit, not a banana peel. I'm so happy that in our new neighborhood, which is on the border between Lakeview and Lincoln Park, people have enough class to throw up on the grass.

Here's my second disgusting story from the weekend: I cleaned out the refrigerator, finally. I expected to find at least one flaming bag of poop, considering the smells coming from the thing, but I only found a few bags of soft apples, a plastic container of what used to be cherry tomatoes, and some grey turkey slices. I was completely disgusted until I found two Red Stripes hiding in the back (those stubby little bottles are so stealthy!). I grabbed them, yelled out, "Sweet, dude!" and drank them. Which is probably why I have a headache now.

I'm too spaced-out to come up with a good conclusion, so I'm posting this picture, because I don't understand it:

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dress you up in my love.

I have issues (surprise!) with my wardrobe.

I hate all of my work clothes. I basically have two pairs of black pants that I bought from H&M that I wear over and over. I have plenty of other pants; before I moved to Chicago my mother made me to go the mall (Virginia Center Commons! Word up, Ashland!) to buy work clothes. Of course, my mother is from the school of work fashion where double-pleated khakis are hot shit! We don't really see eye-to-eye on this. I broke down and bought pants from H&M because, unlike Dockers, that's a brand that actually fits me. When you have skinny legs and don't really have an ass, Dockers just look like khaki-colored tarps. With pleats and tapered legs. There's absolutely nothing attractive about that, and for someone as vain as I am, this is an issue that I find very, very frustrating.

My mother has similar feelings about the shirts men should wear in dressy situations. Usually the shirts she recommends have sleeves that are about a foot and a half in circumference. If the shirts in question are short-sleeved, then the sleeves usually come down to the elbows. When I buy a shirt that actually fits, one that doesn't look like I bought it from Structure in 1997 (remember when we all wore shirts that could fit whole families?), she fusses about them being too small.

This is the woman, mind you, whose wardrobe from the years 1985 to 2002 was essentially the same. She finally bought some straight-leg jeans after I told her that if she continued with the Mom Jeans I would put her on What Not To Wear. I think the fear of being embarrassed on television was a good tactic.

I digress. My main concern is that I hate all of my work clothes. Also, I have this issue with the business casual policy in my office, because looking at everyone else, I don't think I understand how casual we're allowed to be. Everyone else wears khaki pants and collared shirts, but they don't look dressy; instead, it's kind of like the dress code for retail pharmacies or something. And then here I am, dressed in black pants and button-up shirts. Well, not today, because it's Friday, and we get to wear jeans. Thankfully, Fridays are when I'm able to dress normally and remind people here that I don't dress like a square all of the time. TGIF.

When I come to work and see people wearing sneakers (black ones, of course, because black equals dressy, right?), it kind of reminds me of when we used to go to Sunday School when we were little. My mother would always make us wear those stupid dress clothes, because it was church and everything. And then of course, there were kids who showed up in jeans and Redskins jerseys. I actually don't even know who the kids were; there was one woman who never got to bring her own grandchildren to church, so I think she drove around town picking up ragamuffins and carting them to worship away their sins. (This is the Episcopalian church from my mother's side of the family I'm talking about. I'm not even going to get started on my father's family's Southern Baptist church where a few kids may have crawled out of dirt holes in the parking lot.)

Because I didn't care about church (kind of like how I don't care about work...), I basically would spend the hour figuring out WHY those kids were allowed to wear jeans and Nikes when I had to wear those goddamn Dockers and Bass shoes (shoes, which I should add, eventually went to my mother; yes, my mother wears my hand-me-downs sometimes).

I still notice this when I go home for holidays and am dragged to services. There's this one kid who my whole family has a general dislike for, and I promise it's not just because he goes to UVA (even though for generations we've all had a general dislike of UVA students, which, I realized lately, mostly applies to male UVA students). We actually don't like him because he's an asshole. My father always tells this story about how he asked the kid about college parties (you know, he was just trying to be the "cool" fifty-something dad), only to receive the answer, "Oh, we don't drink at The University." My father replied, "You're one-hundred-percent full of shit." (This happened in church, by the way.)

Sorry, I digress again. Once when I went home for the summer and went to church with my parents, I saw Dudester there wearing what my parents call The Uniform: blue Oxford shirt and khakis and loafers. Only, instead of loafers, he was wearing flip flops. In church. Jesus wept.

I guess the point of all of this (hey, it's Friday, and I enjoy...reading the writing of my voice? nevermind, it doesn't work with blogs) is that I am trying really hard to not feel guilty about not looking my best all of the time, because, honestly, who am I trying to impress? If every Chicago woman's idea of professionalism involves gaucho pants and the most uncomfortable looking wedgies I have ever seen in my life, I shouldn't be concerned about occasionally wearing a sweater with a hole in the sleeve.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I better get myself a magazine rack, 'cause I've got a lot of issues.

I don't know what my problem is.

I'm honestly considering entering myself into some kind of anger-management program. Thank God I haven't lashed out at someone, because if I did I'd probably die. I'd lose a fight in an instant if it wasn't online. I realize that I have the problem. One should not want to jump across classrooms to impale classmates one has not even had a conversation with, but this guy really, really wants to sometimes.

This is why I'm glad my creative writing class is over. Let me explain.

We sit in a large circle. Directly across from me are these two guys. One's a grad student and one just finished his freshman year. And neither are particularly talented writers, and I know that makes me sound like an asshole, especially since I don't think I'm a great writer, but when you're writing poems about drunk girls imitating Shakira, or poems about "the disillusioned" being attracted to nightclubs by "angels of sin", something must be said for your creative mindset.

Now, I only write this because they made me very, very angry. If they didn't behave like high school students, I wouldn't have a problem with them. But about two weeks ago, I happened to look across the room and noticed that they were writing notes to each other and giggling. Then they'd look at me and quickly look back at their notebook, and giggle.

This went on for about an hour.

Now, I fully admit that I'm one conceited son of a bitch. But I'm conceited in a paranoid kind of way. I always say that the reason I haven't tried pot is that I'd get way too paranoid. Because I'm even a paranoid drunk. And like everything else in my life, I blame high school for this. (I think my mother would interject here and say, "Get over it, Tyler," but then I'd just respond with, "At least I'm not blaming everything on you.")

So obviously, I was angry. Even if they weren't making fun of me (which, honestly, is most likely the case, since they really had no material except that maybe commenting that I look like Opie, "that guy from Rent", or Eric Stoltz from Some Kind of Wonderful (but not Eric Stoltz from Mask)), it's still rude.

And, okay, I admit I'm not the nicest person in the world. And yeah, I judge. Everyone does it. But we all learned back in elementary school a rule that I think we should all follow in our adult life: It's perfectly acceptable to make fun of people as long as you don't do it to their faces and try your damnedest to keep from actually hurting their feelings.

So last night, which was our last class meeting, our professor made us do formal readings of our work. And what did the Fuckhead Twins do? Well, the grad student organized his life, I suppose, with his Louis Vuitton day gay-planner. (It's safe to assume, dear readers, that the douche with the Louis Vuitton day-planner was gay, which is perfectly fine with me. But let it be known that no one - straight, homosexual, bisexual, male, or female - should have a Louis Vuitton day-planner). (And while I'm on the subject of high-fashion faux-pas, I regret not telling the very sweet, quiet girl from class that just because Coach makes it doesn't mean it's not a fanny-pack.) His partner in retardation, the freshman who looks sort of like a middle-aged investment banker trapped in a nineteen-year-old's body, completed Sudoku puzzles. Of course he did. And about every two minutes, when their minds reached capacity, they turned to each other and chatted while our classmates and our professor spoke.

And honestly, I wanted to run over there and beat them both in their stupid, stupid faces. They just put me in a miserable mood, which gave me a headache. If Project Runway wasn't on last night, I probably would have had to take an angry-nap to get over it.

A few highly intellectual thoughts.

Last night was pretty goddamn wonderful because I finished my creative writing class, which is a huge load off my mind, and I drank two three (I just remembered) glasses of wine and watched Project Runway. I was planning to write about my class, but I figured I could also mention a few things about PR.

1. Keith is my favorite because his thesis about Gone with the Wind / The Carol Burnett Show blew my fucking mind.

2. Alison is adorable despite her lisp and lack of personality.

3. I really wanted Jeffrey to get kicked off. It's not that because his dress was gross (it was), but it's because of his neck tattoos. I am anti-neck tattoos. The tattoos, combined with the right eyebrown with the fade, makes him look like a walking optical illusion.

4. I've come up with a mathematical formula:
(Nick Cave + Mr. Bean) - Rowan Atkinson + (Richard E. Grant / 2) * GAY = Malan
He makes me want to throw up.

I actually have work to do now, I'll write about class lataz.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Loss of innocence.

Last night Nicole and I were watching TV. Well, Nicole was watching TV and I was trying to take it over because she was watching that episode of Degrassi that I've seen a million times where Paige is doing the student teacher, who looks so much like a sad little puppy dog I just want to kick him in his stupid, round face. It was the same episode that Manny and Paige get into that stupid catfight, and Emma turns into this "feminist" who is all, "MEN! Who needs them?!" (even though she has a huge crush on the boy two doors down who just looks weird, like God pinched his face when he was born or something).

Anyway, I took the remote and started flipping through the HBOs and came to a movie where the first shot we saw involved Lindsay Wagner walking through a locker room and a naked black man jumping up from a bench to a locker to conceal his manhood. And then we realized that the man was Denzel Washington and we just got a quick glance at his penis. It felt really uncomfortable, because there are just some people you shouldn't seen naked: your parents, Julie Andrews, and Denzel Washington.

Monday, July 10, 2006

An important discovery.

Apparently you do not need alcohol to have a good time. All you need are aluminum foil hats.



My only disappointment is that Lisa didn't get a picture of my bitchin' aluminum foil ascot.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Blog game zone.

So I saw this on another blog and thought it was a fun idea.

I listened to my iTunes at random and typed up the first lines of the first thirty songs I heard. Some are tough and some are really easy. If you recognize one, leave a comment with the title and artist. And don't cheat and look the lines up on Google!

When correct answers are posted in comments, I'll cross-out the lyrics in the actual post.

1. Sexy Sadie, what have you done? You made a fool of everyone.

2. So you don’t get to be a saint. Martyrs never last this long. Guess I’ll never be the one to defeat desire in song.

3. I got tired, I killed it through and through. I don’t wanna make the same mistakes, the same mistakes with you.
ANSWER: Jon Brion - "Mistakes"

4. As I stumble into bed, I curse the devil in my head. And if I die before I wake, I hope the Lord won’t hesitate the pluck my coffin from the ground, He need not heed the neighbors now. And throw me up for all to see, the flies of August swarming me.
ANSWER: Liz Phair - "Ride"

5. You’re obsessed with finding a new brain, but what you need is a new body. It feels your brain has lived a thousand lives before.

6. Well no one told me about her, the way she lied. Well no one told me about her, how many people cried.

7. I was thinking I could clean up for Christmas, and then, baby, I’m through. Four more weeks couldn’t make any difference, except maybe to you.

8. Slavin’ away, all for you, my love. And I’ve nothing to show for it, ‘cept my dusty old book full of pictures. Dusty old book, tell me a story about how I wasn’t so tired from my slavin’ away.
ANSWER: Fiery Furnaces - "Slavin' Away"

9. When you were young you were the King of Carrot Flowers and how you built a tower tumbling through the trees.

10. Small stakes give you blues. You don’t feel taken or think you’ve been used.

11. His name was Perry. He had a learning difficulty. His father was a very mean man. His father burned his skin. His father sent him to his death. He was ten years old.

12. The clouds starting forming, five o’clock PM. A tunnel cloud touched down five miles north of Russellville.
ANSWER: Drive-By Truckers - "Tornadoes"

13. I bought a toothbrush, some toothpaste, a flannel for my face, pajamas, a hairbrush, new shoes, and a case. I said to my reflection, “Let’s get out of this place.”

14. There’s a voice on the phone telling what had happened; some kind of confusion, more like a disaster. And I wondered how you were left unaffected.

15. Speaking outrageously, I write in cursive. I hide in my bed with the lights on the floor. Wearing three layers of coats and leg-warmers, I see my own breath on the face on the door.

16. I’m a ghost, and I wanted you to know that it’s taken all my strength to make this toast.

17. Just afloat on the sea. Find myself on a page in history. You know as I ride along, I can always hear the song about you and where you’re meant to be.

18. Headlights race toward the corner of the dining room half illuminate a face before they disappear. You breathe in forty years of failing to describe a feeling. I breathe out smoke against the window, trace the letters in your name.

19. When you wake up feeling old at this piano filled with souls, some strange purse stuffed nervous with gold. Can you be where you want to be?
ANSWER: Wilco - "When You Wake Up Feeling Old"

20. You’re everything you need and so you fight. You take them on your own until you die. The wisdom in your breath comes much to late. And everyone you see just gets a face.
ANSWER: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - "Still Suspicion Holds You Tight"

21. Baby was a black sheep. Baby was a whore. Baby got big and baby get bigger.
ANSWER: Patti Smith - "Rock & Roll Nigger"

22. Thought you were the only fish in the sea. Thought you were the only leaf on my tree. Thought that you would miss me when we took that walk. Thought you were the only paint on my wall.
ANSWER: Be Your Own Pet - "Love Your Shotgun"

23. I am an American aquarium drinker. I assasin down the avenue. I'm hiding out in the big city blinkin'. What was I thinkin' when I let go of you?

24. A single rose in the garden dwells. Like any rose it’s not itself. It is my love in your garden grows, but let’s pretend it’s just a rose.
ANSWER: Magnetic Fields - "I'm Sorry I Love You"

25. Well I came upon a child of God. He was walking along the road and as I asked him, “Tell me, where are you going?” And this he told me:
ANSWER: Joni Mitchell or CSN&Y - "Woodstock"

26. I know you want to leave me, but I refuse to let you go. If I have to beg and plead for your sympathy, I don’t mind ‘cause you mean that much to me.

27. My name should be trouble, my name should be woe. For trouble and heartbreak is all that I know.
ANSWER: Conway Twitty - "Danny (Lonely Blue Boy)"

28. And so it is, just like you said it would be. Life goes easy on me most of the time.

29. My arms are all twisted. The only thing I miss is. I messed up I missed it. I messed up the missing of you.
ANSWER: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Mysteries"

30. Louis is probably thirty years old but he looks like a solid forty-five. Louis says that he’s got a headache. I look in his eyes and I believe him.

Friday, July 07, 2006

TGIF!!!! LOLZ!!

That pug is so cute I want to squeeze him 'til he poops! Thanks, Cute Overload!

I'm in an a pretty awesomely good mood today for a few reasons:

1. In honor of Taste of Chicago, I get a two hour lunch break. I was originally going to skip the Taste and go to the library and nap, but now I'm meeting Nicole, Dan, Kristin, Lisa, and Lisa's friend Tyler. So now I'm excited.

[Also, this might seem weird, but I don't think I've ever really met another Tyler my age. Remember how in Back to the Future Part II Jennifer from 1985 meets Jennifer from 2015 and they both pass out because it's way too po-mo for either of them to handle? I hope that doesn't happen when I meet Tyler #2.]

2. It's Lynette's birthday today, so my boss brought donuts. Mmm, donuts.

3. I listened to the new Peaches album, Impeach My Bush, on my commute this morning. I was very hyper-sensitive of the volume level of my iPod earphones because I didn't want anyone to hear what I was listening to. I'm not sure how I feel about Peaches. She's so disgusting, yet incredibly entertaining. It's not even good music, but I can't not like it. Megan and I decided this morning that Peaches is like Junior Senior, only with more fucking.

4. I went to speak with a lady from the DePaul English department yesterday about the MA program. I've decided that I'm going to apply for January 2007. When I think about it, the MAPH program at UChicago doesn't seem like a good idea when I realize that a. I don't want to be sixty-thousand dollars in debt, b. eight courses isn't a lot of credit to apply toward a PhD program, and c. I don't want to be sixty-thousand dollars in debt. At DePaul, I can work, continue to live on the LP/Lakeview border, and get a mostly-free (since I'll be responsible for taxes on the graduate courses) Master's degree. Also, I don't have to take the GRE and the thesis is optional. So, yeah. Duh.

5. We're going to sign a lease this weekend, finally.

6. And that pug. That's worth posting a second time:

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Grillmast Suckmaster.

I think I'm a good three-fourths of the way into the story that is due at 5:45 this evening, so instead of using the valuable time to finish it here at work (even though I still have piles and piles of transcripts to update on People Soft), I'm going to blog instead because, hey, I'm a procrastinator. Also, I think the story sucks, as usual, and my attempts to write something remotely uplifting is skirting dangerously close to Nicholas Sparks teritory, so I'm afraid to finish it just yet because I don't want to write something that my high school English teacher might think is good literature. (I'm talking about the woman who had us read that masterpiece of the British canon, And Then There Were None, in the twelfth grade.)

Last night we had an impromptu barbeque (check out those rhyming skillz, y'all!) at the house. Janna and I picked up some frozen burger and veg-burger patties and I was really excited because Joe has a grill that I've never gotten the chance to use, and I figured two weeks before moving out would be the best time to learn how to grill. Looong story short the meat didn't actually cook because the charcoal was suck-town. Also, I managed to drop two veggie burgers through the grill onto the flame. I'm not a grillmaster. We ended up just eating a lot of chips and dip. After two margaritas and some Corona, I was angry about that stupid grill and how the flame just WENT OUT when I squirted more lighter fluid down there. I decided I'd just throw a match onto it and call it a day, for Fourth of July's sake. Only when I tried to do that the match burned my finger and then wouldn't stay lit long enough for me to put it on the grill. So there you go.

So now I'm trying to figure out an ending to my stupid story, which I should try to finish over my lunch break. Although I'm going to Chipotle for the first half of it. Thank God. I missed Chipotle. It's been a long eight days.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I'm so ready to be over all of this.

So this is something that I feel awkward writing about, and I'll probably prove myself to be a complete selfish asshole in about a minute and a half, but I just can't decide whether or not my frustration at the moment is legitimate, or if I'm just a jerk.

I don't really like the act of publicly grieving. I just don't, so whatever. I didn't want to write long posts about my grandmother because no one else would really want to read it and I feel weird about putting all of that out there. Even though I've got a lot on my mind now, I don't really want to share it with people who only read my blog. In last week's post, I just kind of referenced it in a paragraph to let people know it happened. I didn't want to make a major announcement, but I also didn't want to call people up and say, "Hey, my grandmother died. Say something nice to me now." I don't expect everyone I know to start calling me up and trying to console me, because not only will it not really help, but it's just kind of awkward for everyone.

I got a few phone calls on Thursday and Friday from Kristin and Laurie. I was really happy they called. I got a few emails and IMs from other friends who read the post, and I was really happy that they wanted to let me know that they were thinking about me.

I read this poem last night by Julia Kasdorf which included the lines, "I learned to attend viewing even if I didn't know the deceased, to press the moist hands of the living, to look in their eyes and offer sympathy, as though I understood loss even then. I learned that whatever we say means nothing, what anyone will remember is that we came. I learned to believe I had the power to ease awful pains materially like an angel. Like a doctor, I learned to create from another's suffering my own usefulness, and once you know how to do this, you can never refuse." This really hit home for me because I realized that even though it was hard to know what to say to all of these people at the visitation and the service, it was a really kind gesture that they were there. I shook so many hands and hugged so many women who I wasn't related to. There were people who weren't exactly close with our family there, too, but they felt they should come anyway for whatever reason. The point is that it was nice to see people who wanted us to know that they were thinking about it. The gesture is enough.

When my father's dad died when I was in eighth grade, the only friend my age who called me was Carver, a girl from church. I was thinking about how she called me, and how she was the only friend of mine who actually did get in touch with me, which seemed out of the blue at the time because most people just happened to speak to me when they came to talk to the entire family. She called the day after it happened to tell me that if I needed to talk about anything, she would be there, since her grandfather died a few months before and she knew what I was going through. I realize now that it's not random to do such a thing, and I appreciate it more now when I realize that, like back then, the people you aren't the closest to will surprise you. (If you ever Google yourself, Carver Weakley, I hope you find this because I don't know how else to get in touch with you and thank you.)

I guess I'm kind of aggravated that I didn't hear from a few specific people at some point over the weekend, people who I know what I'm doing these days because of this blog, as if our friendships that have spanned four years is cheapened so much that a simple text message is too much effort. (And I realize I'm also horrible at keeping in touch with people, but I don't care at this point because this is about me.) (See? I told you I would prove that I was an asshole.) What I'm trying to say is that I'm not expecting grand gestures of sympathy. I'm not asking for flowers or cards or these elaborate speeches letting me know that everything is going to be alright and blah, blah, blah. But the gesture would be nice.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

1922 - 2006.

It’s been quite an exhausting weekend. I’m flying back on Tuesday and I can’t wait to get home. I’m hoping I can recap the major events without being too boring and going on for too many pages. (I’m writing this in a Word document instead of writing my three-to-five-page (double-spaced) short story which is due on Wednesday.)

I know it’s kind of a stupid thing to say, but the major thing I’ve realized this weekend was that my childhood is officially over. I know I’m almost twenty-three and this is obvious, but I guess I fully accepted it. My grandmother’s house was packed: it was the first time in probably at least three years that all five of the grandchildren were together. It was really the first time in a decade that we all hung around my grandparents’ house, since my mom took over the entertaining duties for Thanksgiving and Christmas a long time ago. Even though I lived at home for a couple of years during college and always visited my grandparents at least once a week during that time, it was really the first time that I really noticed everything in the house since I was a kid. Suddenly I started to notice again the figurines in the curio cabinet in the kitchen, or how there was still a Matchbox Rolls Royce in the china cabinet because I thought it was worth too much to play with like the rest of my Hot Wheels.

The whole process – both the funeral home visitation on Friday night and the funeral service on Saturday – was a town event. I saw so many people I hadn’t seen in years, including my old best friend Mitchell’s parents (his mother said to me, “You’re so grown-up and good looking. I wish my son was as mature as you”), my third-grade guidance counselor (who also taught my father Chemistry three years in a row). There were also countless people from town who came by, including our delegate to the Virginia Assembly (he lives a mile down the road), who talked to everyone, including me, as if we were just his constituents (sorry, I didn’t vote for you) and not the people he’d lived in close proximity to for almost fifty years. I remember noticing that he had very well-groomed politician hair. Then at the church on Sunday I saw my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Walker, who told me that she still thinks about me because I was always her favorite. (LIES.) There was also Miss Harvey, the middle-school gym teacher who still has hair down to her butt, and her mother who used to play the organ for us at Sunday school. And since the obituary mentioned that I was “from Chicago,” I had to answer the same question about EIGHT THOUSAND TIMES:

“Do you really like Chicago?”

One woman, who lived down the street from my grandmother and had daughters who were close in age to me came up and said that she was impressed that I moved so far away. She and her husband built a house down next door to her in-laws’ house. She said to me, “I didn’t think anyone made it out of Westmoreland County. James [her husband] tried so hard and he didn’t even make it off of Wakefield Street.”

Even the rich bitch who lives in the huge house down the street, who I think only acknowledges that the rest of us on the street exist when someone dies, told me that she and her husband went to Chicago a few times. “You should really go see the Pheasant Run resort in Geneva. We’ve gone to some decoy auctions out there and it’s just beautiful.” Thanks. I’ll be sure to check that out, Middy.

Anyway. Long story short: everything is weird. It’s feeling more and more that I’m losing a place here in this town. There’s nothing for me, and no matter how many people tell me that I’ll be back to settle, I know I’m not going to be living here ever again. It’s kind of sad that the place where all my roots are buried is dying, too. Well, there is a new coffee shop that opened up in the old Exxon building. Maybe I’m wrong; maybe Montross is on the make, but I doubt it.

I think I’ll just end this here, since I’m trying to not be sad and I really don’t want to grieve all publicly and shit. I will admit that it’s been a much harder weekend than I expected, and no matter how hard I tried to keep my composure, I felt that I just couldn’t and I hated myself for it. When I think of my grandmother, I think that maybe she would have wanted me to not be sad and to look at the bright side of things and all that jazz, but I think she would have also appreciated a few emotional collapses.