Thursday, September 28, 2006

My brother is more of a man than I.

I don't really see a resemblance between me and my brother, unless you consider the cold, dead stare that we love to use when forced to have our pictures taken. Orrr the debilitating fear of haircuts.

(That gash would probably lose its effect if I told you that David got it while playing golf.)

Drev should work for Sassy Kutz.

Good news! Yesterday I broke down, faced my fear, and got a haircut.

I was sitting at my desk trying to figure out if I should just trim it myself again or spend the fifteen dollars at Hair Cuttery. I figured it wouldn't be too bad to just get out the old electric razor and thin it out myself in the shower (Nicole still hasn't hung up her mirror, so I could have used that to see the back of my head). After thinking about the possibility that I was just lucky to not fuck it up the first time I cut it, I decided that I should really just have a professional do it, even if that professional worked at the Hair Cuttery.

After practicing what I was going to say ("Um...I want it short in the back and on the sides, but leave some length in the front? I have a big forehead that needs to be covered up. Can you do that? Would that look weird? Can you just not make me look like a Flock of Seagulls fan? I'll promise at least a two-dollar tip."), I walked to the place up the street from my house. I had a good feeling about it since it was just a little south of Boystown, and everyone knows that gay men know good hair.

Then I walked in and realized, after looking at some of the employees, that I was in a Hair Cuttery and there was no way that this would have a positive outcome.

Luckily, however, I had Drev to take care of my hair. Drev just loved my hair and he knew exactly what to do with it. After the inevitable awkward exchange over my hair ("Who cut your hair last?!" "Heh heh... uh... I don't really remember, I mean it's been such a long time..." "Well, this is a weird haircut."), things were okay and normal. Drev was very chatty and asked me many questions. He also said "fuck" a lot ("You live by the Panera? I love that fucking Panera!" "Ohmygod, I fucking hate all that Cubs shit."), and told me that he was about to get into a fight with his manager. If there’s one thing in my life I can’t get enough of it would be positive sass.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Whine and cheese.

If I am going to discreetly not do work and write boring, long-winded pieces of generic prose, I should be writing about George Orwell's essay "Such, Such Were the Joys..." The truth is, however, I could care less that I have a two-page response paper due this evening at 5:45.

I've written about a third of the paper, which is just one very long paragraph. This does not bode well, since the one very long paragraph takes up most of the page, and it's likely that my short response paper will end up being four pages. But honestly, why am I writing short, stupid papers for a graduate class? I was under the expectation that grad school required more reading and more work, but so far I feel like I'm taking the boring, uninteresting general education undergrad courses.

I don't know what this means, exactly. I've been thinking about my situation (the whole hating my classes thing), and it's just sparked a new Life Crisis of the Month. Do I just hate these classes and these professors? Do I not like DePaul? Do I not like graduate school?

I think turning twenty-three fucked me up. This is why I hate my birthday, because it's another reminder that hey, here's another year where I am older but not so much wiser. And I still don't know what I'm doing. And, yeah, I KNOW I'm only twenty-three. But I want to figure things out. I don't feel pressure from anyone but myself.

So now I have a million questions to answer, including:
1. Should I stay at DePaul since the grad school is free, even if I hate it?
2. If I don't take advantage of the tuition benefits, should I continue working here?
3. Should I start looking at grad schools elsewhere? Ole Miss? Georgia?
4. Do I want to go to grad school? Do I want to stay in Chicago?
5. Is PeaPod cheaper than Jewel? If not, is it worth paying extra money for groceries if it means I don't have to walk eight blocks with a cart full of bags and avoid looking like a (well-dressed, let's be honest here) homeless person? (I realize this isn't really related but it's on my mind.)
6. Should I move to New York? (It's possible I have been reading Gawker too much.)
7. Should I just write shitty chick-lit novels and publish them under a pseudonym?
8. How does one get a job in publishing in this damn city?

In the meantime, I'll just suffer through "The Essay" and Southern lit. It'll give me some material to work with here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

This is just one cracker's opinion.

Here's an exchange that took place last night in my Southern fiction class, while my professor was explaining the genealogy of the main characters in Faulkner's Go Down, Moses:

Crazy Professor: And here we have Uncle Buck, not to be confused with the character from the film... John Candy? Right? John Candy was in that film? He's dead now, right? Just like Chris Farley...they were friends, weren't they?
Fellow Disgruntled Classmate: No.
Crazy Professor (ignoring FDC): Yes. John Candy and Chris Farley are one and the same.

Okay, I didn't want to blog about this guy. I kept myself from writing about the first class, when he made us watch a twelve-minute documentary clip featuring James Ellroy walking around LA talking about the Black Dahlia and his dead mother. Sure, it had nothing to do with anything relating to our actual course topic, but Crazy Professor was excited about film noir and the new Black Dahlia.

I didn't say anything when I came to the page in our course packet labeled, "Top 39 Things You'll Never Hear a Southerner Say." (My favorite: "Checkmate!") I can appreciate stupid humor, even if it's of the Jeff Foxworthy kind.

I was quiet when we had to watch two scenes from A Time to Kill, which my professor lauded as "the most accurate film depiction of racism in America." I thought, "Maybe he’s just a McConaughey fan?"

I was kind of taken aback, however, when Crazy Professor started using the terms "cracker" and "white trash" to describe Southern people. "Oookay..." I thought. "Maybe he's being ironic?"

And I'll be honest: I didn't read the handouts he gave us about Sonic restaurants.

Then he started calling William Faulkner a racist because someone once said that he opposed interracial dating. I thought, "Okay, LOOK, Crazy Professor. Not only was Faulkner the greatest novelist to come out of the twentieth century, but he also wrote incredibly moving and honest portrayals of African Americans in the South without a drop of racist commentary. Also, he grew up in Mississippi in the first quarter of the century, and if your sources are true - that he was 'disgusted' by the sight of interracial couples during his tenure at UVA - you should take into consideration where he was from, the way he was taught, and the fact that seeing something like that, even though he was extremely humanitarian and not prejudiced, would be shocking. Also, JOHN CANDY AND CHRIS FARLEY WERE NOT FRIENDS THEY WERE NOT EVEN OF THE SAME GENERATION YOU IDIOT."

I realize that, yes, some of the stereotypes of the South are based on some semblance of truth, just like all stereotypes. But when you group the entire South as a land full of racist, ignorant crackers, you’re not helping anything, especially when you’re teaching these opinions to a group of students who live in Chicago and do not have any knowledge of what the South is really like.

There are about four of us from the South, and I was lucky to make friends with one last night – a woman from Athens, Georgia. She had the same frustrations as I did, and she said that she wanted to address the class and tell our classmates to take all of this information with a grain of salt. She agreed with me that there is much more overt racism outside of the South (especially in Chicago, which our professor described as the most racially segregated city in America). By associating racism exclusively with the South, however, Crazy Professor is continuing the Red State / Blue State idea that American is split into two polarized sections. The truth is that racism is not a Southern thing. It isn’t even an American issue. Racism takes place everywhere, and I find it insulting that people are ignorant enough to dilute it to being a Southern thing. (There’s a line from the song “The Three Great Alabama Icons” by the Drive-By Truckers that says, “Thanks to George Wallace, it’s always a little more convenient to play it with a Southern accent.”)

This morning I wrote a long email to Jean Cash, my professor from JMU who taught the survey course in Southern Literature, as well as courses on Flannery O'Connor and Faulkner. Before I took Southern Lit with her my junior year of college, I had already decided that I hated the South and could never live in a place full of ignorance and hatred after college. After taking the class, however, and reading William Styron, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Allen Tate, Larry Brown, Tim Gautreaux, and William Faulkner, among a long list of others, I realized that the South was not filled with the racism and stupidity the rest of the country applies to it. If I had taken this course with Mr. Crazy Professor from St. Louis who once went to grad school in Memphis, I would have still hated the South because he constantly feeds the same stereotypical images and ideas at us.

I wrote to Dr. Cash this morning for the first time in a few months, because I knew she’d be as upset as I am, and she responded with:
What you're telling me about the Southern Literature class fairly enrages me--people with that kind of patronizing attitude about the South have no business teaching Southern Literature (Memphis or no Memphis); tell him off every chance you get. You know how I hate the use of the "white trash" epithet.

So far we haven’t had a chance to speak up in class to give our own opinions or insight into what Dr. Crazy discusses, but I’m going to do my best to be assertive and give him a few of my own ideas.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This is why McDonald's makes me angry.

Exhibit A:
no cheese

Exhibit B:

More reasons why I hated high school.

This morning I sat here at my desk deleting the majority of my MySpace blog archives. It's been that kind of day. BUT I did find these gems that I figured I'd post for you, kind reader, because you deserve it and I love you.

That's a page from my tenth-grade yearbook. Can you find me? [Sidenote: I hope Angela realizes that those bangs are totally back in. And I hope Adam changed his because they still gross me out.]

Also, there's this:

Again I will stress that back in '98 my classmates were almost procreating and I was still 5'4".

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Doughnuts times two.

As you may remember, I was concerned about my birthday last Friday because it's the office tradition for my boss to buy doughnuts in honor of her employees' birthdays. I had not told my boss about my birthday, and then she left the country for three weeks, so I was freaking out about whether or not I should mention my birthday to my manager.

I had kind of forgotten about the situation on Friday, and around 8:30 I said to Fabiola that I was going to Dunkin Donuts and wanted to know if she wanted anything. She said, "Uh, just wait... wait a minute." I was like, "Uh, ok." Then I remembered it was my birthday and she was probably giving me hints that I would get doughnuts after all.

A little after 9:00, my boss's BFF, who was in charge while Real Boss was out, came around the corner of my cubicle with two boxes from Dunkin Donuts. She apologized for getting them from there but she said that she was planning to get them from a real bakery from home but forgot about it until she got on the train to work. She said she called Krispy Kreme, but they were too far away and she had to settle for Dunkin. That really didn't bother me because a. I was just happy that they actually knew about my birthday, and b. Boston Kreme doughnuts from Dunkin are THE SHIT.

Then yesterday, around 9:00, Pretend Boss walks in with two boxes of doughnuts from the real bakery. "I felt so bad about not getting the good ones!" she said.

About a half hour later one of my co-workers genuinely asked me, "Wasn't it just your birthday?"

Hey, what can you do?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Domestic disturbances.

A. Last night Nicole and I got into an argument over Garden State and why I didn't like it, which quickly evolved into an argument concerning anti-depressants.

B. Fifteen minutes later, Christina and I were fighting in my bedroom. She was hiding under my covers while I stood over her with a plunger, threatening to stick it on her face.

This kind of turn of events is rather common in the apartment and I'm not exactly sure how we always go from point A to point B. All I know is that now I have to wash my sheets because Christina wrapped them around the plunger.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Birthday, Me!

In honor of turning twenty-three, I'm looking back on my life through the glorious finds of my family photo album.

Here I am as a baby, getting ready for my first moon launch. Ha, ha, ha, but seriously. Things were so great back then. I didn't have to make decisions or tie my shoes. Hell, I didn't have to walk anywhere. Screw the womb, I'd much rather go back to a time where I was pushed around in a stroller.

Here I am with my dad, who is wearing some bitchin' shoes. This is back when I was in my rugged outdoorsy stage, which coincided with my khaki shorts stage. Fun fact! I now have that shirt that my dad is wearing! Isn't growing up c r a z y ?

This picture is always a crowd-pleaser, so if you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and click on the image to see the full-sized version. It's proof that awkwardness is hereditary in the C0ates family. It also blows my mind that my mother kept this in the photo album. This is the kind of image that gets posted online or sent to Jay Leno to embarass the famous adult version of the kid in the picture. I'm just beating everyone to the punch.

Ever since I was a kid, I loved dichotomies, so this shirt was perfect because it combined my love of surfing and chocolate sandwich cookies. Also, this was when I was a flag-wavin' Republican and drove my parents crazy by marching through the house chanting, "These colors don't run!" in between renditions of "Born in the USA."

Here I am dressed as a cowboy. This was just a normal Thursday evening at the C0ates house.

This picture was taken on my first day of eleventh grade. I'm about to turn sixteen. Sixteen years old. People in my class were already having sex, and I was still wearing t-shirts that are still too big for me. You might see this picture and think, "Oh, this was when Tyler was in his awkward stage." Unfortunately, my awkward stage would last another three years.

And, just so you all can see how I've matured and am all grown up, here I am last fall - passed out in a chip bowl:
those are crumbs, not vomit. common mistake.
I'm a big kid now.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Your hair was wild, your eyes were bright, and you were in a rage.

[Image from Pitchfork]

Last night I went to see Cat Power with the Memphis Rhythm Band and ohmygod it was such a great show. I was really nervous about the show considering her notorious reputation for having mini-breakdowns not finishing songs, and walking offstage. She didn't come out until almost an hour after the show was supposed to start, so I assumed things were going to be really awkward and weird. Luckily, she performed really well. Her voice is amazing live, and she's surprisingly really alive and charismatic on stage, skipping and dancing between verses and posing for audience members with cameras. There were a few moments where she started songs over (the most noticeable was during "The Greatest" - the first song - where she sang a verse and decided that the violins had to be louder so the whole band stopped for about two minutes while the sound guys fixed the settings).
I was expecting her to play just the new stuff with the full band, which she did, but then they left and she sat on stage for a good forty-five minutes and performed a solo set, featuring mostly covers ("Wild is the Wind," "Wolf Among Wolves," "I Found a Reason," "House of the Rising Sun") and a few older tunes. She spent about fifteen minutes chatting with us, talking about her six-inch-heels that her friend gave her ("He's a small queen," she said. "He's not a big enough queen to wear heels. Don't they look good? You can't even tell I'm a man!") and Arrested Development. After someone shouted out that he had a request, she started listening to what the audience wanted to hear, responding with, "No, I don't do those any more. Too depressing!"
When the band came back ("They are getting bored back there!"), they played a song without her, and when she came back out they played this amazing version of "Cross Bones Style" combined with a verse and the chorus from "Nude as the News." When the band members started playing it she looked like she really didn't want to sing it, but she really gave it her all and it sounded amazing. After a really powerful version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," Chan did a cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" (which seems to be a staple at most indie-rock shows these days). I had to leave around then, but my friend later told me that she played another twenty minutes, organizing a line dance with her bandmates and playing some new songs before The Man finally told her she had to wrap it up.
It was an amazing experience to get to see her perform live. I've seen very few concerts where the performers really put a lot of emotional effort into their performance. Chan Marshall really blew me away, and I'd recommend that if you're a Cat Power fan, it's definitely worth seeing her live.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I think it's time for a long lunch.

I have absolutely nothing to do, so my cube-neighbor and I are sitting here pretending to do work for a while. I really wish I could just read the book I need to read by Thursday but I feel that would be slightly obvious.

I wonder if I could manage to crawl under the desk and nap for a while, having everyone assume I'm taking a bathroom break. But that would be weird, too.

Instead, I'm compulsively checking the Things We Hate statistics page, which is blowing my mind. We got a mention today on Gaper's Block, and we've already had eighty visitors, a number this site rarely gets.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Holy balls.

Please ignore the previous post. Everything in my life is A-OK.

The bad is slightly outweighing the good.

Things that are not making me happy:
1. Sifting through a mountain of AP score reports.
2. The shitty weather.
3. Having to read Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty by Thursday.
4. My hair is flippy. Goddammit.
5. My birthday is on Friday. Ugh.

Things that are making me happy:
1. I'm going to see Cat Power tomorrow night.
2. New York is back on Flavor of Love. (PS. She went to Syracuse? And she's 23? That just blew my mind.)
3. The new TV on the Radio album comes out today, and I will be buying it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

"That guy from Rent" must not be in their picture file.

Thanks to one of the Bs at The New Awesome, I just wasted about ten minutes of valuable work time at this website, which tells you what famous person you look like.

I uploaded this picture of myself:

First, it said I looked like this guy:Please note that it gave me old, bloated James Spader. I could have understood - maybe - young, Pretty in Pink James Spader. But shitty television actor James Spader? Ouch.

Then, there was this one:Okay, I respect Gary Oldman. He's one of my favorite actors, and in one of my favorite, favorite movies, Sid and Nancy. I don't look like him, though.

And then this bullshit:WHAT? Okay, NO. That's not true. You're only seeing the glasses, there. Obvious mistake.

Oh, don't worry. It keeps on coming:SHUT UP.

You've got to be kidding.

So basically I look like every Jewish man with glasses. And the occasional creepy British actor. Obvs.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

That's my bag.

I have a problem with patience. My problem is that I don't have very much of it.

It's funny - I'm pretty patient with people, especially those who work in customer service because, hey, I've been there. I know how difficult it is to deal with people who want something from you. So I'm not talking about that.

Here's a story to give you an idea how my problem: For New Years 2005 I had planned to go to New Jersey with Erin to stay at our friend Shannon's house on the shore. I was supposed to drive up to Erin's house in Northern Virginia from my parents' house and then we were going to drive up to the Dirty Jersey. The day before I was supposed to leave, my iPod, a Christmas present from my parents, came in the mail. I somehow convinced them to let me drive to my apartment in Harrisonburg that night because "it would be an easier drive from there to Erin's house." That is, of course, a lie; I just wanted to load my iPod. In fact, Harrisonburg is just as far from NoVA as Montross is, and the best part is that my mom totally knew what I was trying to do and made fun of me for it. I mean, she didn't care since I was the one willing to drive three hours and pay more money in gas so I could have music on my iPod a week before returning back to school.

Today is my first day of class. It starts at 5:45. I get out of work at four. I should just go straight to the Lincoln Park campus instead of going home because I'll save an extra bus ride, but instead I've decided to go back to the apartment first because there's a chance that the new messenger bag I ordered has arrived and I really, really want it. Now. I want it NOW.

I hate that I'm this aware of my neuroses and lack of virtues.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This router should not be used by idiots.

Remember how a few days ago I posted an entry complaining about how our internet was shut off because we violated the internet policy? I thought I did something when I tried to change the name of our network and put a password on it. I was certain that our "rogue server" was the result of some kind of internal fuck-up. Because really, I don't understand what that means, so it must be some kind of really complicated Internet shit.

So I called the Internet People yesterday to ask for help, and I was really confused when the guy said, "You just need to make sure to plug the box in correctly." He said this twice. Finally, I asked, "What do you MEAN? Did we plug it into the wrong wall or something?!"

Finally, he told me to look at the back of my router. This is what it looked like:

Notice the first socket that says "WAN"? Well, on my router it said, "Internet". See the socket that has the number one above it? The one that you're supposed to plug Ethernet cords into to connect your computer to the cable internet the old-fashioned way?

Well, that's where the shit was plugged in. Not the one that said "Internet". We are dumb.

After I apologized for several times (apparently they had gotten complaints from several units in the building because the internet was screwed-up all over), the guy replies, "Hey, don't worry about it. Just read the directions next time! HA HA HA!"


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My birthday stresses me out.

My boss buys donuts for the entire office when someone has a birthday. You can imagine how everyone (including myself) goes apeshit over free donuts. Everybody loves free donuts.

So here's the thing: my birthday is next Friday. I don't think my boss knows this. In fact, my boss is going on a three-week vacation a few days before my birthday.

Should I say something about my birthday? I mean, I really don't care, personally, if no one knows about it, because I'd rather not make a big deal about my birthday or have awkward interactions with coworkers who will probably ask me how old I'm turning and then say something about me being so goddamn young.

BUT what if three months from now someone happens to ask me when my birthday is, and then they get all weird because I didn't say anything now? Should I get the awkward thing out of the way and also get a free donut, or should I just deal with being that weird guy who works here who doesn't want everyone else to have a free donut in his honor?

One of my managers added me on MySpace last week. I hope she just gets a message and fixes this issue for me.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Happy Birthday, Kristin! Oh, shit. We've got roaches.

I'm at Argo down the street from my house right now because our internet was shut off. Apparently, our wireless router was sending out other IP addresses or something. I DON'T EVEN KNOW. I found this out yesterday via the letter that was slipped under the door, which also told me that we now owe thirty-five dollars because the Internet People took a long time to find the "Rogue Server" that was screwing up the Internet for the rest of the people in the building.

So, if you live in my building: Sorry, Dudes. I may or may not have accidentally created a "rogue server" when I fiddled with the router options in order to put a password so that Hollis_Owner could not access our free wireless internet. It's very possible that any changes I made may or may not have been the cause for our stupid internet problems.

The best part! is that it's Labor Day weekend, which means everything's closed until Tuesday! Yessss! No Internet until Tuesday! Life RAWKS.

Also, when I was out last night, Christina called me to say that we had roaches. Three of them. Three roaches. Of course, the girls did not kill the roaches. They sat there with their feet up on the couches, watching TV while the little bugs scurried around. I haven't decided if that's fear or laziness.

AND OF COURSE I DIDN'T FORGET THAT YESTERDAY WAS KRISTIN'S BIRTHDAY. Poor Kristin, I'm sure she was just torn up that I couldn't post some bitchin' pictures in her honor. Lucky for Kristin, Argo has free wireless internet, AAAAND I have already organized the best of her pictures in a fancy Flickr photoset.

Also, I have access to YouTube, and a digital camera that takes shitty videos. Happy Birthday, Kristin! Hope you don't mind that the lip sync is all screwy!!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

My life is hard.

Soooo.... I think I have a fear of getting a haircut.

This might explain why I've cut my own hair three times in the last month. I impressed myself, I'll admit, with my abilities to get a pretty good cut out of the sideburns-trimmer on my electric razor. I also managed to trim the back with the razor and a big mirror. (Thankfully Nicole hadn't hung it up on the wall yet, so I was able to stand in front of my bathroom mirror and try to angle the wall mirror so that I could see the back of my head. It was kind of tricky to trim the back with one hand holding a mirror and watching the other move in reverse, but I made it work. I MADE IT WORK.) I told myself that I was really just doing that because I didn't want to pay a lot of money for a haircut. But I don't think that's the case.

Like everything else, I've got issues. About my hair.

I've always hated my hair. I remember back in middle school, I'd deliberately miss the bus so that I could stay home from school. My grandmother would end up driving me to school anyway, and I remember sitting in the parking lot, crying and begging her to let me stay home. Why? "MY HAIR IS UGLY," I'd wail. I swear. I was a sensitive child.

But honestly, this is what I had to work with:
This is me in seventh grade when I turned twelve. That's pretty much what I looked like until I turned nineteen.

Well, I will admit that I've come a long way from the butt-crack part (and the Green Day t-shirts), but my hair is just as much of a mess now as it was back then. And after years of shitty haircuts, I think I've gotten to the point where I really start to freak out when I realize that ENOUGH is ENOUGH and I HAVE to get my hair cut. It's like going to the dentist for me.

And it's hard, y'all, seriously. Do I go to the Hair Cuttery and pay thirteen dollars for something that will make me hate myself, or do I go to some salon that got its name from a physics textbook and pay thirty dollars for something that will make me hate myself slightly less than if I had the Hair Cuttery cut? Are two or three happiness points worth fifteen dollars? Are they worth the energy of making an appointment for a haircut from a salon? It seems silly for me to set aside a specific time for someone to ruin my hair and life for a few weeks.

So this is what I need (and feel free, dear reader, to volunteer your time to help me with this):
1. Someone to find a good place for me to get a haircut.
2. Someone to make an appointment for me to get a haircut.
3. Someone to accompany me to said haircut appointment.
4. Therapy.
I think that after getting those things accomplished, I might start to feel better about this mess on top of my head.