Thursday, August 31, 2006

Young, restless, and bored.

It's only 9:20 and I've already run out of work to do! Now my options are:

1. Figure out how to spend the next six hours on MySpace, CraigsList, and Gawker without anyone noticing.
2. Call the graduate office and make them "matric" (it's admissions office slang, y'all) me already so I can register for my classes which start next week.
3. Decide what to spend my next paycheck on.
4. Crawl under the desk and take a nap. Would anyone notice? It's a big desk, and I'm quiet already, so I think I could get away with it.

I should enjoy this while it lasts, because in two weeks we're going to start receiving a few thousand high school transcripts every week.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Droopy eyed boy.

I still have until November before I can take sick days, which really sucks. It means that if I get sick before then I just have to suck it up and go to work or suffer the smaller paycheck. This also really sucks for those days that I really, really, really want to feign an illness so I can sleep past seven in the morning. Today was one of those days.

I've always been pretty responsible when it comes to getting up and getting my ass to work. I think I've only called-in sick a handful of times, and I always felt really guilty about it. It was never a matter of not getting paid for those hours, but because I had some strange feeling of debt to my employers. (This is probably why I worked at the state park for two whole summers and couldn't bring myself to quit. Once I tried to put in my two week's notice and one of my bosses tricked me into staying for another month.)

This morning I was very close to leaving a message on my boss's voicemail. I was talking to Megan online, who was trying to give me pointers. ("I just emailed my boss to tell him to reschedule a meeting he planned for this afternoon because I'm leaving early," she said. "Again.") She told me that I should tell my boss that I got sick from eating something. "Tell her it was oysters! It's August, they're still in season!" Then she wondered how easily I would get oysters, considering I'm from Chicago, which is "pretty land-locked." (There are a couple things I would have added: A. I would never eat oysters*, and I doubt my acting abilities would allow me to believably convey my oyster appetite, and B. Are there oysters in Lake Michigan? I have no idea. Living on a Great Lake sometimes leaves me baffled because it seems like it's as big as AN OCEAN. But that's just because I'm an idiot.)

I was considering this plan, thinking of all the things I could do with my day. Of course I would sleep-in until ten. Why not?! Then I'd do laundry, which needs to be done. Well, I really just need to put away the clothes that I washed two weeks ago, which have been sitting in my laundry basket under a pile of dirty clothes (because I'm much too lazy to open the closet door and then put them in the hamper). (I realize that doing so would probably prevent that musty, dirty clothes smell that has begun to fill up my room. Note to self: buy some air freshener.) I could also work on unpacking the last boxes that have been awkwardly sitting in the living room for over a month. That needs to get done.

But honestly, I’d probably just lay on the couch all day with Christina (who finally moved in on Sunday!)** watching Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Of course, I inherited my mother’s genetic guilty conscience, and it always gets the best of me. So here I am, one grande frappuccino (with an extra shot of espresso) later, thinking how I’d still be asleep if I had the balls to call-in sick.

*Eventually I’m going to devote an entire week’s worth of blog entries to chronicle my eating foibles. You strangers in cyberspace have no idea.
**For those keeping track, Christina arrived at 3:30 PM on Sunday. We had our first fight on Monday at 9:30 PM. It took longer than I expected. (And, if you’re curious, it was because she told me that she wanted to go on The Amazing Race, and I replied, “But don’t you have to be athletic for that?”)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Finally! Blogger crotch shots!

Oooh, I can't wait for the Google searches that title will yield.

On Saturday night, Lisa, Steve, Kristin, and I had a 4-way birthday party. To avoid certain possible cult members from finding my blog, I'll avoid directly stating what the theme was. (Here's a clue: it involved "science" and "tology.") Anyway, I managed to leave the party with a few pictures on my camera, so I'll share them instead of giving a play-by-play of Me Being Drunk.

Here I am with Nicole. Notice the big sunglasses, my unshaven face, and the sliver of Sarah's face to the left.

Here's Nicole, pointing to a word on her chest. It says "boobs" because she's a girl and she's got big ones. Notice the intoxicated / smug look on my face in the background as I say to my co-partier, "Yes, Sarah's eyes are terrifying me right now, too."

You can also see from these pictures that I was not dressed particularly like someone might at a party with a theme involving "science" and "tology." (Unless you conisder that I was looking a little like Beck, who many people discovered, much to their disappointment, that he is a fan of "science" and "tology.") Luckily, Steve and Lisa bought two-hundred feet of aluminum foil. Here are Kristin and Dan constructing some accessories:

And then this happened:

And then this:

And then:That really has nothing to do with aluminum foil, but it's 100% funnier and 100% creepier.

After Kristin decided to draw everyone's attention to Nicole's breasts, Lisa did the same for Kristin, sort of. It just involved everyone looking at her ass first and then spinning her around to see if her "tatas" were in fact "spicey." Then Kristin went alphabet sticker-crazy on me:I do believe that my stickers were the most accurate.

Finally, you should probably know that I was wearing white jeans. They're important for the following reasons:
1. I own white jeans.
2. My mother bought them for me against my objections. "You never know when you'll need them, Tyler." Obviously, she was right. At the next costume party I shall use them for my Gay European ensemble.
3. I'd like to note that I drank red wine and I did not spill any on my white jeans.

So there you go. And you're welcome for the crotch shot.

Friday, August 25, 2006

seeking indie concert buddy - w4mw - 30

So several people have asked me to describe the strictly-platonic blind date I had on Wednesday night.

I call it a blind-date, but it wasn’t really. It seemed like what I’d expect a blind-date to be like. There were bouts of alcohol-induced conversation mixed with a few moments of me thinking, “What the hell do I say now? SHIT. Did we just pause too long?!” Etc.

Anyway, I met Myrna* through a Craigslist post where she said she was looking for people to accompany her to various indie shows in Chicago. She said in the post that she was thirty, so I was like, “Well, she’s too old for me / I’m too young for her,” but her ad asked for all response emails** to include the following:

1. Last three concerts you attended.
2. Last three albums you purchased.
3. Your three favorite beverages.
4. Three films you’ve been meaning to watch.
5. Three films you wish you could have enjoyed more.
6. Three books that have astounded you.

Of course, the idea of responding to an ad and having someone judge me on personal tastes and decide if was worthy enough for friendship based on my opinions made me really excited. (If only this was how people interviewed possible employees, I would have had a job in five days rather than five months.) Also, I was really bored at work that day, which is why I was reading all of the Craigslist ads in the first place, so I responded.

Myrna and I talked on Google Chat for a while. She’s from Chicago but went to George Washington University, so she understood why I moved away from Virginia. Since she’s been around for a while in Chicago Hipsterdom, she’s had encounters with people like Elliott Smith (“He bummed cigarettes off me.”), OK Go (“Those dudes kept hitting on me.”), and Liz Phair (“I saw her at a party once and she was a conceited bitch.”) Long story short, she invited me to go to this show at the Double Door, so I said yes, knowing that she was meeting other people from CL and Project Runway was really the only thing happening on Wednesday nights.

Before we made plans for her to pick me up, she said, “Hey, will you make me a mix CD so I can just your character?” Oh, WILL I? That’s pretty much the only reason to make mix CDs.

We got to Wicker Park (which I will from now on refer to as “The Crotch”) early, so we went to Filter for some coffee. Only I didn’t have coffee because I had already drank two glasses of red wine. (And don’t judge me. I wasn’t going into this situation without some Yellow Tail first.) We chatted for a while about random stuff like shows we had seen at the 930 Club and how I am only twenty-two. I think my age amused her, which is fine, because it’s kind of funny.

We headed to the show. She was expecting at least one other CL person to show up. He was a professor at DePaul, and he told her that he’d probably be by the bar “doing a crossword,” which I think made her nervous. She used me as a shield as we walked by the bar looking for “a short, brown-haired guy with a beard.” I asked, “Should I be looking for a corduroy jacket?” She replied, “If he’s wearing one, I’m OUT.” The Professor spotted Myrna and came up and talked to us, and he was fine and nice, but Myrna told me that he lied about his height (in other words, he was much shorter than expected).

There wasn’t really anything overly odd or crazy about the night. I drank a lot, but I don’t remember being drunk. I do remember a lot about the second opening band, just because I was surprised by how boring and bland they were. We made fun of them a lot. My memory of the headliner (Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s) is spotty. I wasn’t that impressed by them, but they were tolerable. Much better, at least, than their horrible, horrible band name. It also makes me angry that it’s grammatically incorrect. (THERE SHOULD NOT BE AN APOSTROPHE THERE.) Oh well.

The night turned out well, I’d say. I think my whole “finding friends on Craigslist” experiment is over, though. I like the old-fashioned way of stalking classmates on MySpace and then sparking conversations about their favorite musicians as if it’s just completely coincidental that we’re both fans of the same people.

But that’s just me.

*Not her real name.
**Myrna told me she received a lot of replies. “If you’re a woman posting an ad on Craigslist,” she said, “you’re going to get a lot of emails. And a lot of cock pics.”

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Don't forget to not forget.

This morning I woke up with "STB" written on my hand. Whatever "STB" meant to me last night was apparently so important that I had to leave a note to remind myself to "STB" today. I have no idea what "STB" involves, but I better fucking do it.


UPDATE (10:45 AM): Right. So, an explanation: I went to a show last night and thought that the very bland second opener (led by a girl who pretty much looked like she lived in my apartment building) would be good music to drunkenly make-out to. You know, just random crap that doesn't sound bad, but not good enough to distract you. (C'mon, I'm talking about drunkenly making-out. Your mind can be all over the place.) When I was thinking about that this morning, I remembered that when I went to bed last night I wrote "STB" on my hand because I wanted to suggest that there be Spin the Bottle this weekend (we've having a birthday party for Lisa, Steve, Kristin, and myself on Saturday). I'm so glad that I'm only half-way hungover now and that I can remember things.

But I'm still too hungover to write about my strictly-platonic Craigslist blind date. I'll do that tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Somebody in Kenya loves me.

I was struggling with writer's block because the only interesting things that I've done this week were cutting my own hair (which turned out alright) and burning my finger on a straightening iron (which, by the way, I do own, but I did not go out and buy a straightening iron; I found it in the bathroom cabinet when I moved into the Coach House last August and who am I to throw out a perfectly good flat iron?) Because neither of those are good topics for whole blog entries, I was going to write how I've come down with some illness that has made me really like really shitty pop music. But maybe it isn't really shitty? Seriously. I thought I'd stop after "Promiscuous" and "Sexy Back," but now it's "S.O.S." by Rihanna and (especially and) "Ring the Alarm" by Beyonce. Hooooly shit that song is good.

But then Carissa IMed me from Kenya!

This should be good news to everyone: Carissa is now in Africa, alive, and saving the world, one small Kenyan at a time. I was excited to hear from her, especially since she told me that our friend Matt has been sending her print-outs of my blog and she was excited to hear about my life even though I've been really bad at writing actual letters.

The big news from Carissa's exploits from Africa include a bull that chases her around her yard and chickens that rummage through her clothes in her room. I also checked to see if she had gotten any worms yet (she told me that there's some variety where the worm will grow out of your fucking skin, which is one of the thousands of reasons I will not be going to Africa). She hasn't gotten worms! Yay! Then I asked if her tattoo has scared any of the people she's working with (it's of an owl and she found out that in Kenya people believe that owls are bad omens for sickness in children), and she said, "Yes. I think it killed a cow the first night I was here."

Ah, I miss Carissa!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, David!

David is six years younger than me, which explains why we weren't very close growing up. I think another reason is because our parents forced us to take awkward pictures together at major life events.

David is also much smarter than me. He's pretty much the valedictorian of his high school class. He broke twelve-hundred on his SATs, he got perfect scores on his AP exams and SOL tests. He's so effing smart that when his high school English teacher forgot to assign an essay that would have earned the best writer a meeting with a senator in Washington, his teacher just told the organizers of the contest that David wrote the best essay. (I'm not even exaggerating here. This really happened. It not only shows you how everyone knows how smart David is, it also gives you a view of the fine people we have teaching at my Alma Mater.)

David is also on the soccer team, the golf team, the academic challenge team, and he's in the Chess club (Nevermind that). He's taking college classes for the second year in a row. He's also a Boy Scout. Basically, he does everything a seventeen year old can do in my home town save for drugs and impregnating his classmates.

Basically, he's going to get into any college he wants.

Now. Having said all of that...

David IMed me on Friday with the following question: "Just what in the hell is Snakes on a Plane about, anyway?"

It just goes to show you, people, that even geniuses can be really dumb sometimes.

Happy Birthday, David!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm in no way closer to becoming a responsible adult.

You know what I hate / love / hate? Getting unexpectedly drunk in the middle of the day. It just screws you over for the next five hours, but you spend about half of that time giggling and skipping because you're not expecting the immediate hangover.

Yesterday Dan and Kristin, whom I will eventually start calling "My Coupled Friends" because they're the only couple I actually know here, moved into their new house. Janna, James, and I helped them move their big furniture. The move included a trip to pick up the heaviest armoir ever built (ever.), which was quite a feat. After unloading all of their furniture in their living room, Dan told us he'd take us out to lunch for helping out.

We ended up walking about five yards to the closest Mexican restaurant. The place's claim to fame was "The Killer Margarita." I had three. And just when we were just barely the most obnoxious drunk white people in the establishment, our waiter came by with free shots of tequila. We asked him why and he didn't give us an answer. (I think it was to sneak a third pitcher of margaritas on our tab, which Dan caught. Ha Ha! Nice try, amigos!)

Anyway, I should mention here that Dan and Kristin bought the heaviest armoir ever built (ever.) after sharing a pitcher of margaritas. Because I can't afford furniture, I decided to go to DSW instead and buy shoes. And because I was drunk and impatient, I tried on two pairs and bought the second immediately because they were everything I needed (brown, slip-ons, not Sketchers). (I also drunk-dialed my parents because they're in Nags Head right now and I feel like your parents put up with all kinds of inappropriate activity when they're on vacation.)

Nicole was sitting on the couch when I got home, drunk and with new shoes, at six o'clock, and I felt incredibly guilty and ashamed of my behavior. Then I took a brief nap and got over it and went out again.

The end!

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's a cold world out there. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting a little frosty myself.

In the final installment of Pitchfork Media's list of the top 200 songs of the '60s, The Band's "The Weight" ranks in at number thirteen, which is fine, because "The Weight" is a great song. What I don't appreciate is Pitchfork staff member Sean Fennessey's opening line about the song:

Like so many 1960s stunners, "The Weight" has nearly been spoiled rotten by that culture-siphoning boom-boom-boomer trash The Big Chill, but the Robbie Robertson-penned tune is deeper and more biblical than pass-the-pain ibuprofen ideology.

I'm sure Sean Fennessey knows much more about music than I do, which is why he's more qualified to work at Pitchfork (but keeping the word "qualified" in mind, do yourself a favor and check out what one has to do to get a job writing for Pitchfork). I'll stand firm, however, that I probably know a little bit more about movies than this guy, and considering that The Big Chill is one of my favorites, I'd like to state that I think he's wrong.

I think it's rare for people of our generation to really get The Big Chill. In fact, most people only know about it because of the extremely popular soundtrack albums that our parents owned. Yes, some songs like "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and "The Weight" have become associated with the film, but the music is just a small part of what makes the movie so good.

I feel like a lot of people I know haven't seen The Big Chill and already have a negative opinion of it because of a joke in High Fidelity. In that (much inferior) film, two characters list their top five songs about death. One picks "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and the other character replies, "No. Immediate disqualification because of its involvement with The Big Chill." If you haven't seen The Big Chill, then you don't get the joke. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" isn't necessarily about death, but a character plays it on the organ at the end of the funeral scene, and the Stones' original version plays over the soundtrack as the characters progress to the burial service. The joke in High Fidelity does not mean that The Big Chill is a shitty movie; it's a reference to how iconic the film's soundtrack has become.

People in their 20s may have negative reactions to the film basically because it is an honest portrayal of how youthful idealism eventually evolves into middle-aged apathy and realism. The main characters in the film are middle-class, WASPy college friends who reunite after years of infrequent contact when their friend suddenly commits suicide. What follows is a long weekend where they realize how they’ve aged and how their ideals and expectations have changed dramatically since college. It’s a pretty important film for it’s time (it was released in 1983) because it showed a generation still haunted by the ‘60s. It’s still prevalent today; it’s arguable whether or not the current events are as turbulent as Vietnam or the Civil Rights Movement, and the people of our generation are certainly not as politically active as our parents’. The film does, however, still give an extremely honest view of what most of us will be like when we’re in our early ‘40s. It’s a depressing thought, but let’s be honest. Look at Dennis Hopper, who wrote and directed the quintessential film of the ‘60s counter-culture; he’s a Republican and he supports the Bush administration. I’m not saying that all of us are going to change our political ideology that drastically, but I am admitting that when you get out of college, enter the real world, and start families and realize that you actually have some responsibilities that involve others depending upon you, you lose sight of your trendy idealism.

In closing, I want to say that I respect people who have opinions that are different that mine, considering those opinions are actually based on thought and experience rather than a pretentious writing style. Honestly, the phrases used to describe the film (“culture-siphoning boom-boom-boomer trash” and “pass-the-pain ibuprofen ideology”) really mean nothing. But honestly, it’s Pitchfork, and even though they usually report the news well and their reviews are pretty on-target, the writing style will always be unprofessional and hollow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

If you figure out to which demographic I fit, please let me know.

Because I’m strapped for cash and owe many people many dollars, I signed up with a company that runs focus groups. I attended my first one last night.

I don’t know the ethical issues surrounding the discussion of said focus group in a public forum, but since no one told me specifically, “Hey, don’t write this in your blog if you happen to have one,” I’ll just continue with the post. But I’ll write in the hypothetical.

So, the topic of the focus group was “jeans.” Like, denim pants. The specific focus was about a major denim label selling customized jeans on their website. That would be great if it meant you could get customized fits if you happen to be someone who has oddly-proportioned body parts. The plan, however, does not include customized fits, but it does give you the option to have different colored buttons, stitching, and rivets! Don’t you want an awesome button on your waistband? How about some studs? Wouldn’t skull-and-crossbones studs be super cool?

The correct answer, of course, is, “No.” Unfortunately, I was the only sane person in the focus group, perhaps because after looking at eighteen varieties of colored buttons I had flashbacks to fifth grade when I got my braces off and had to pick out my bitchin’ new retainer. (Looking back on it, I kind of wish I didn’t pick one with the Batman logo on it.) My contemporaries in modern denim thought included four other young men. There was at least one guy who was not white, and, luckily for the marketing people, he may or may not have been a member of the homosexual demographic. I couldn’t really tell; he was riding the fence between gay and metrosexual. He admitted that he had customized his jeans himself before, “playing around with the stitching and adding some zig-zags.”(When the leader of the group asked us what our “styles” were, he said, “Eclectic. You know, I don’t want to look like a schmuck.”)

The other three guys were just boring old white people. One seemed like he was from a small suburb (you know how you just can’t imagine some people living in a city?) and had a few spare tires in case his ’92 Dodge Ram happened to get a flat on the way home. He was also wearing denim shorts, which are pretty goddamn ugly (They just are, ok? Say no to denim shorts.) as well as not meeting the business casual dress policy I was told to adhere to. (I should have just worn jeans considering we were talking about jeans and no one else seemed to have gotten the memo that we weren’t supposed to dress like we were on our way to Old Navy to pick up some cargo shorts.) Suburb Fattie also kept talking about how he has “work jeans” and then “club jeans,” which made me actually look back at the “people” behind the mirrored wall as if to say, “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS GUY? I HOPE YOU TAKE THE VIDEO OF OUR GROUP HOME TO SHOW YOUR SPOUSES AND LOVED ONES.”

The third guy was a self-professed musician who does, in fact, keep up with the certain denim trends in “rock and roll.” Surprisingly, he was a big fan of the customized jeans, too. He liked the various colored thread one could pick for the seams. He also liked the idea of having a screen-print design on the inside of the back pocket. “It’s like an inside joke with yourself, you know?” No, my friend, I do not know.

The last guy was so from Boston that I felt like I was at a Kennedy rally and about to get my assed kicked. Beantown shared with the rest of the group that he likes the idea of various-sized pockets since he needs bigger pockets for work to hold his “tools” and smaller pockets when he “goes out.” I wanted to ask him if he would actually spend more money on jeans produced by a certain major fashion denim label when he could just go buy an adequate pair at Target.

And then there was me. I had such negative responses to the first few customized elements that the group leader stopped asking me questions. Since everyone else was throwing out their ideas and how the thought of monogrammed denim is da bomb, I basically sat there for two hours judging everyone. And I got paid for it. It’s my American Dream.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Get your sexy out.

My office is going paperless, which is a great concept in theory. Unfortunately, the practice isn't going so well since this whole transition process still involves hundreds of pieces of paper sitting on my desk. And I freaked out this morning because no one has explained to me how to do anything digitally and everyone thought I was just stressing out too much.

So I'm trying not to freak out. By listening to "Sexy Back". And I realized that I'm a few weeks late and that everyone's been listening to it, but seriously, that shit is tiiiiite. After thoroughly enjoying the new Justin Timberlake and the new Nelly Furtado, I've decided that I want Timbaland to produce my life.

Monday, August 14, 2006


This morning I registered for the online edition of the New York Times because I wanted to read an article about how Africa is so hot right now. Gawker suggested it, and since I get most of my news these days from Gawker, I figured I should read it to keep in touch with the snobby East-Coast liberal I've repressed since moving to Chicago.

Registering for the NYT online edition is really annoying because I know that I've done it before and can't remember what email I used.

After trying to log-in with every possible identity (oh, come on, NYT online editon, you don't remember me? coatesjt at jmu dot edu? jotyco? jmuflyyboi69?), I gave up and registered for a new account.

When prompted for the super secret question, I chose, "What is your favorite book?" I responded with Sophie's Choice because, well, it's my favorite book. But the NYT would hear none of it. They refused to respect my opinion and told me that I had made an error. After a few more unsuccessful tries, I put in The Da Vinci Code and they finally let me read the dumb article.

(The last part isn't true, but wouldn't it just be hi-larious if it was?!)

Moments from Saturday night that I wish I could forget (in chronological order):

1. Very Drunk Girl on the El who asked me if I had a fire crotch.
2. Paying a five-dollar cover charge to get into “Finn McCool’s.”
3. Paying an extra five dollars for a Blue Moon.
4. Switching to Bud Lite because it was “cheap” (in other words, less than five dollars).
5. Hitting Nicole’s boyfriend’s friend in the head with the back of my head while telling a story.
6. Having two girls at the bar say to me, “Who do you look like?! Come on! You know who it is,” and having to reply with, “Have you seen Rent?”
7. Seeing many chubby women get up on the stage to pole dance and show off their thongs for free shots.
8. Seeing a girl from my creative writing class who apologized for being so drunk, to which I replied, “It’s fine because I’ll probably never see you again.”
9. Doing my interpretive dances to “Let’s Get It Started.”
10. Having my glasses fly off my face during said interpretive dancing.
11. Hitting the poor girl who was trying to sell test-tube shots in the head with the back of my head during my celebratory interpretive dance concerning the recovery of my glasses.

It’s because of nights like Saturday that I’ve been hungover for all of 2006.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

For a good time, call Candy on the 151!

Since I now live a block from a bus stop that goes right to my office building, I’ve been taking the bus instead of the train to and from work. It kind of sucks because the buses are rather slow, and the people who ride the 151 are rather boring and unattractive. Sometimes I wonder if I should take the train and walk the four blocks to my apartment. I mean, it’s more effort, but the odds of crazy are much higher. And you know how much I enjoy crazy.

Yesterday I was riding the old 151 and hating it. There was a family of tourists (a couple and their grandson) who jumped on at the bottom part of Magnificent Mile, and for some reason they decided to sit far away from each other and shout about how much they love Chicago. When we rode by the lake, the grandmother shouted about how the lake was really choppy. Her husband responded, “Chops?! Steak chops?! We have a steakhouse in Atlanta called Choppy!!” (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? SHUCKS.) Meanwhile, the grandson who was sitting right in front of me put a piece of plastic bag on his finger and yelled, “I! HAVE! NINE! FINGERS!”

I was listening to my iPod but lately I haven’t been able to get the volume to go up very high. (Are you reading this, Steve Jobs? Call me about that.) I tried leaning back in my seat, hoping that the few inches farther from the nine-fingered child would allow me to listen to my music in peace. I started to zone out until I heard the woman behind me talking on the phone.

I thought I heard her say, “First, I’m going to take off your shirt.”

OF COURSE I hit pause on my iPod. Of course I did. So would anyone else. When you hear what could possibly be a mid-twenties woman having phone sex on the bus, you try to eavesdrop. But discreetly; I didn’t take out my earbuds just in case.

But come on, what are the odds that I’d hear someone having phone sex on a bus? I mean, that’s a gem. I was immediately thinking about the blog entry I could write, but I knew that I’m not that lucky. I’m on the 151 driving up Lake Shore Drive. No way.

And then she said, “…and then I’ll straddle you…”

Holy shit.

So there I was. I had the loud eight-year-old with a bowl cut who was loudly repeating everything his grandfather said. I had an older woman who leaned over me to wave goodbye to her friend standing at the bus stop. And then I had the girl behind me trying to make her boyfriend (I assume) get off over the phone.

I heard snippets of the conversation, something involving her doing things “ever so gently.” I also noticed some weird noise that sounded like rubber moving around, and I was kind of freaking out that the girl could have possibly been masturbating less than a foot behind me. It amazed me that she could get that into it, because, honestly, it was the most boring phone-sex conversation I had ever overheard. She kept going at it though, saying, “Uhhhh huuhhhh…” a lot. I kept looking around to see if anyone else was noticing this, but everyone looked bored.

When we approached my stop, I assume that the guy, well, finished up, because then the girl started talking about how she’d be home in about fifteen minutes, but she had to stop at the grocery store first.

When I got up I tried to play it cool and glanced back at her when I started to step off the bus. I realized that she was holding a balloon flower in front of her face. That explained the noise I heard, so it made me happy that she wasn’t so trashy that she would actually masturbate on the bus. Well, audibly masturbate on the bus.

I’m never going to ride the train again.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Awkward Two-sday.

Awkward moment #1:
I was sitting at the desk in the file room because my manager was out of the office this morning. I was talking to my student worker friend about vaccinations (long story) when this woman from the other side of the office walks in. I see her fairly frequently, and even though we've been introduced before, she is like everyone else from the counseling side of the office who avoids eye contact and polite hellos when I walk by in the hall. Anyway, she seemed startled that I was sitting at my manager's desk, and she said, "Are you on the phone?" I looked over at the phone sitting in the cradle and wondered if she was trying to call the number and is accusing me of yapping away at work. Anyway, I told her no, and she gave me this crazy look and said, "Were you talking to yourself then?" I looked at her as if she was crazy, then I look over at my student worker, who is also looking at the woman like she was crazy. Then Crazy Lady sees Student Worker and realizes that I'm not telling myself that I should get a tetanus shot.

Crazy Lady shrugged it off and said, "I don't think we've met. I'm M." Then she began to ask me about a file. Meanwhile, Student Worker and I still glared at her. I was fairly offended that a. M forgot who I was and it took this long for her to take the initiative to re-introduce herself, and b. She thought I was the crazy one, even though whenever I see her in the hall I think that she reminds me of post-Bobby Brown Whitney Houston. Now I will get more delight out of her shouting, "Hell to the No!" in my head.

Awkward Moment #2
Remember the Fuckhead Twins? Well, the one "who looks sort of like a middle-aged investment banker trapped in a nineteen-year-old's body" was in the elevator that I took down to the first floor on my lunch break. He was wearing a suit, reinforcing my theory that he's two shitty poems away from pursuing an BS in finance. I avoided eye contact and acted like I didn't see him even though there was no one else on the elevator. Apparently he works at the bank on the first floor, which makes me want to walk down there right now and get a roll of quarters (I need to do laundry real bad) from him and pretend like I have never seen him anymore.

It's the little things that get me through the day.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Count it off.

I'm tired. For some reason I couldn't get to sleep last night and was up past three. And I woke up at six. And I would write something eloquent about how yesterday was my one-year-in-Chicago mark, but I can't. I knew I would be this tired last night so I began this blog post. All I have to do is post it and then I can think of ways to stay awake for the next eight hours. Do you think anyone would miss me if I went and took a fifteen minute nap in the bathroom? I'm highly considering it.

Anyway, after one year of living in Chicago:

Amount of money spent on rent: $8215.17

Amount of money spent on public transportation: Approx. $900+

Amount of credit card debt: $433.41

Amount of money owed to parents: Approx. $5000+

Number of roommates: 5

Number of Chicago MySpace friends made: 12

Number of internet contacts met in real life: 4

Number of JMU alumni I know in Chicago: 13

Number of job interviews: 8

Number of interviews at temp agencies: 4

Number of temp assignments: 5

Number of days worked at Urban Outfitters: 4

Number of days before official employment: 282

Number of Jennifer Aniston sightings: 0

Number of Jennifer Aniston sightings (vicariously through others): 2

Number of genuinely embarrassing drunken moments: 4

Number of visits to Bar Louie in Wrigleyville: 5

Number of regretful visits to Bar Louie: 5

Number of concerts attended: 19

Number of DVD rentals from Netflix: 139

Number of Gilmore Girls DVD rentals from Netflix: 24

Number of hours watching Gilmore Girls (on DVD): Approx. 4,950

Number of Craigslist missed connections written about me: 2

Number of serious Craigslist missed connections written about me: 0

Number of trips to Schaumburg: 2

Number of rides in U-Hauls: 4

Number of crimes witnessed: 1

I hope Chicago: Year Two brings more brushes with celebrity, less JMU alumni, and more crime. Seriously, Chicago, let's step it up with the crime.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Trust me. I'm so ready to rock.

Last night Nicole and I went to see this band in an Irish pub in Wrigleyville. I know what you're thinking. Why would we want to go to an Irish pub in Wrigleyville to see the type of band that would play in an Irish pub in Wrigleyville? Well, this band has one good song that Nicole and I used to play on our radio show, and Nicole is one of their two-hundred MySpace friends, so we decided to go. And we made plans to get drunk and tell the lead singer of this unfamous band that we played his one good song on the radio.

Talking to the lead singer wasn't that exciting, obviously, because I was tipsy, Nicole was drunk and silent, and he was just some dude. But he gave us free CDs, so that was nice.

But let's talk about the real excitement of the night: watching the opening bands.

The first band announced in the middle of their set that they were playing their second show. I think that's the best way to describe what they sounded like; they sounded like they were playing their second show. About seventy percent of the crowd (which was only fifty people) were their friends and family. We were sitting next to the drummer's parents, who filmed their set. When the drummer's mom turned on the camcorder, she said, "Okay, we're ready to ROCK!" Also, there was the awkward moment at the end of the set where the band played "Shitty Pseudo Jam Band Song #8" and two of their friends walked up and waved their lighters in the air. Then a third friend took a picture of them with her phone.

The other twenty-nine percent of the crowd was there for the second band, which was apparent because they were all Asian. I don't mean to be disrespectful here, but I would like to point out that I've never seen a band that is three-fourths Asian. But hey, Asians can rock, too. And by "rock" I mean "bore me." My favorite part of the set was when they had everyone "give it up" for the first band. The lead singer said, "I really loved that they brought back that Talking Heads / Cake feel." I looked over at the dudes from the first band and I don't think they knew who the Talking Heads were.

Before the show, Nicole turned to me and said, "Do you think the opener named their band 'Quarter Mile' because of The Fast and the Furious?" I just stared at her and said, "What the hell are you talking about?" She said, "You know. Vin Deisel says he 'lives his life a quarter mile at a time.'" I told her I didn't know and that I was sad that she did. After a brief period where I questioned our friendship, we saw the Asians start setting up their instruments. Nicole turned to me and said, "See! You know they named their band after The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift!" THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why I'm friends with Nicole.

I should also mention that I had an awkward bathroom experience, which should come as NO surprise. I walked into the men's room to find that there wasn't a urinal. There was a stall, of course. And a large trough. A trough for peeing. I did not use it. Troughs are for feeding, not peeing into. I might as well have peed in the sink.

The last bit of hilarity happened on the way home. Nicole was gloriously drrrunk from her three and a half Sierra Nevadas, and she called her boyfriend to tell him, "This is the first time I've been so drunk since the night I made out with you for the first time!" (Nicole = 100% classy, 100% of the time.) I assumed he expressed concern that she was walking the mean streets of Chicago at night (he's from the Southside and witnesses shootings occasionally) (we had to walk through Boystown; I once overheard a drunk guy say it is the place where women are the most likely to get raped because "they aren't expecting it"), because she said to him, "Don't worry. Tyler is my rape-whistle."

When someone says that about you, you know you're BFFs.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

No more naps.

On my lunchbreak earlier, I walked down one flight of stairs so I could take a nap. I didn't want to be on my floor because I wanted to avoid any awkward interaction with my coworkers or bosses who would happen to walk by and think I'm that crazy coworker who sleeps on his lunchbreak. I thought going to sleep on another floor would be less embarrassing, since only strangers would see me slumped over in a chair. I got over the fear of sleeping in public a long time ago. That's what the JMU library was for.

Anyway, I fell asleep as planned, hoping that I'd wake up as soon as my alarm went off so I wouldn't be that crazy person who was sleeping in a public place while the alarm on his cell phone went off.

Luckily, I woke up about twenty minutes later when people walked behind me. When I opened my eyes, I was really confused, because I had no idea where I was. I jumped up from my chair, but then figured out where I was. Then I noticed that there were people sitting pretty close to me. Staring. Because I was that crazy person who just had a freak-out in public.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Let's learn mathematics with Project Runway!

Now that Malan and Keith are gone and there's no one to gross me out and piss me off*, respectively, I figured that PR fans need a new villian, and that person is Laura.

In case you didn't know, Laura is an ARCHITECT. She also has FIVE CHILDREN. I, and Laura, thought you should know this. Do not forget it. If you forget it, I, and Laura, will remind you. Every five minutes.

Also, for those of you who don't watch Project Runway and don't get who Laura is, I've come up with a handy mathematical equation for you.

Neko Case + Architecture + Five Kids + Penis = Laura.


*Keith doesn't piss me off. He** was the best designer on the show.
**For those of you who don't watch the show, Keith looks like Jude Law if you're kinda drunk.

I blame Kevin Costner.

I can’t write a blog post about my mom and then forget about my dad, now can I?

My father is kind of a baby. I don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s just that he cries at movies and TV all the time and I make fun of him for it.

I remember when we were in Nags Head one year and we went to see A League of Their Own. Remember that part when Betty Spaghetti gets the news that her husband has been killed in action? Well, I remember looking over at my dad and he was wiping at his eyes while Betty sobbed on screen. I poked at him and giggled and he looked at me and growled, “I GOT DUST IN MY EYE.”

My dad would always get angry with me when I pointed out how he’d cry so easily. He’d say, “I used to tease my daddy, too. We used to go see war movies and I’d laugh because he’d cry when John Wayne died.”

Once I remember we got into a real fight over this. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I repeated a story that my mom used to tell about how my dad cried during an episode of The Brady Bunch when Marcia was punished for something and couldn’t go on her high school skiing trip. I distinctly remember us yelling at each other, which is weird given the cause of the argument. Usually I’d fight with my parents because I didn’t want to study for a math test. Or they wouldn’t let me watch Pulp Fiction. I had a relatively dull adolescence, probably because I didn’t actually hit puberty until I was a few months into my seventeenth year.

I thought of this last night while I was watching TV. I got home yesterday afternoon before five, realized that I had nothing to do, and I said to myself, “I’m going to sit here and watch TV.” It never happens. So I happened to click through the HBOs and saw that a movie was starting on HBO 37, so I decided to watch it.

It turns out that the movie was Field of Dreams. When the title came on the screen, I kind of groaned. Field of Dreams? Baseball? Kevin Costner? Bo-ring. I mean, it’s a good movie, one of the “feel-good” types that I’m generally against. And it’s about baseball. A feel-good movie about baseball makes me feel kind of uncomfortable, just like certain movies based on Stephen King stories that take place in prison. They just don’t sit well with me.

There was nothing else on, and I hadn’t seen the movie in several years, so I just kept watching. And then I got hooked. I had forgotten how good that movie is! Really! It’s a great, happy movie about the glory of the old days of baseball! And redemption! It has themes that not related to baseball! And the acting is great. Kevin Costner! (I know, I know. What happened to him?) Amy Madigan! James Earl Jones! Ray Liotta! Burt Lancaster!

By the end of the movie (stop reading here if you haven’t seen the movie – and if you haven’t, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN FOR THE PAST FIFTEEN YEARS?) I was in a terrific mood. Shoeless Joe and the seven other White Sox got to play baseball again! Moonlight Graham finally got to bat! Kevin Costner’s kid fell off the bleachers and started choking but Moonlight Graham came out of the field to save her, making the sacrifice of never playing baseball again! His evil, corporate brother-in-law realized that they shouldn’t sell the farm! Terrence Mann gave a fantastic speech about the glorious memories of baseball and how people would definitely come to Iowa! Then Shoeless Joe invited Terry to go with him into the cornfield! AND THEN KEVIN COSTNER’S DEAD FATHER WITH WHOM HE WAS ESTRANGED WAS THERE AND HE GOT TO INTRODUCE HIM TO HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER AND GOT TO PLAY CATCH WITH HIM AND OH SHIT I GOT DUST IN MY EYE.

Are you happy now, Dad?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I think we have established that my body hates me. This is a goddamn fact. So it really comes as no surprise that today I have a sore throat, a runny nose, and - oh, terrific - my left eye is swollen.

Now, I know that my body isn't used to the sun. One look at my legs will clue you in. They are as white as this blog. But seriously, Me, can't you just NOT GET SICK FROM STANDING IN THE SUN? I drank so much water this weekend, put on sunscreen, wore a goddamn bandana around my forehead to keep the sweat from pouring down my face and into my eyes. I have a distinct line on my forehead now from that bandana. Are you happy, Me? Do you want to look like an asshole with a stupid tan line? Well, congratulations.

And at this point I look up my symptoms on WebMD because it's become so ridiculous. Today it tells me that I have Grave's Disease. Grave's Disease. Because I typed in "swollen eye." I feel like Grave's Disease should probably not be the first article to come up in the "swollen eye" search, but I'm not a doctor, only a hypochondriac, so I don't really know anything.

Speaking of hypochondria, I happened to also look that up on WebMD and found this article. The title is "Internet Makes Hypochondria Worse."

The jokes have started to write themselves.