Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brushes with fame.

After two hours of standing in line, waiting patiently, and trying to think of something clever / interesting / non-douchey to say, this happened:

Amy: Hello!

Me: Hi.

Amy: Oh, "Tyler." You're my first Tyler today!

Me: Oh. That's pretty exciting.

Amy: "Oh. That's pretty exciting." You sure sound pretty excited.

Me: Well, I'm just trying to keep it cool. You know, I don't want to embarrass myself, just in case I ever see you again.

Amy (while making direct eye contact): Oh, we'll be seeing each other again. [Beat] Okay, thank you!

Me: Bye!

Amy: ...and good luck at the clinic!

Aaaaand scene.

If only I could actually speak in all CAPS.

It's a really bad sign when you've conceded that your day is shot at 8:48 AM.

I woke up at 7:30, and usually when I wake up fifteen minutes before I'm typically at work I panic and run around my room trying to get dressed and brush my teeth and fix the hair that is conveniently standing ON END because I fell asleep the night before while it was still wet. This morning, however, I took my time, because I am SO OVER IT. I even got downtown at 8:20 but decided to stop at a 7-11 to buy a Coke instead of getting to work earlier than expected.

When I got in, I noticed that my manager stuck one of the other temps at the laptop next to me. Yesterday, Katy and I got in trouble for TALKING. We were sitting AT OUR COMPUTERS and WORKING and having a conversation, but apparently that is NOT ALLOWED because I'm actually a child and, hell, I wouldn't be surprised if I get written up. This is why I hate my job. It's one thing to have benefits I don't really take advantage of, or the need to work EIGHT HOURS on this Saturday because I don't get paid enough for working my normal thirty-five hours. And sure, after my health insurance and taxes are deducted from my paycheck I only make less than twenty-thousand dollars a year. The REAL problem is that I'm treated like a child. I may be only twenty-three but I'm DEFINITELY a little more capable than a fifth-grader.

This bad mood of mine carried over from last night. I called my mother because, as usual, the best way to get over a bad mood is to project it onto loved ones, but I managed to keep from yelling at her without reason, which she appreciated. She also tried to trick me into accepting that my job was not 100% Suck, but I was having none of it (they can give me a week's paid vacation and all the free doughnuts they want, Mom, but it's still not winning me over).

Also, I had one of my haircut-inspired nervous breakdowns. Christina has diagnosed me with an unnamed disorder where I have the constant desire for / the constant fear of getting a haircut. This also clashes with my fear of calling strangers on the phone, so I'm basically what is known in the psychiatric community as "fucked."

My big plan for this evening was to buy two copies of Amy Sedaris's book (one for myself and one for my mom), I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, and take them to the Border's on Michigan avenue to have her sign them. Unfortunately, I have to pay rent tomorrow. After I write that lovely check, I will have sixty five dollars to last me until next Friday's paycheck. I'm reconsidering my purchases. Hell, I'm reconsidering CHRISTMAS. (I blame gin and tonics.)

All I want to do right now is go home, drink three bottles of wine, watch Reality Bites, and work on my resume. I would update my resume at work, but I feel that would probably not be appropriate. Also, I don't want to have a breakdown AT work, and that would surely ensue once I open up that Word document.

Luckily, I have my roommate, Christina "WHY DON'T I HAVE A BOYFRIEND?!" Boucher, who allows me to humor myself by listing off the top reasons why she does not have a boyfriend. Here's one: last night, she came home and shouted, "TYLER. Guess whose CLOTHES I TOUCHED TODAY?!" I guessed John Malkovich, thinking that made sense given her excitement and her employment at Steppenwolf, but she replied, "NO! DAVE PASQUESI!!!" There isn't even a context in which to put that in order for anyone to understand why that's impressive.

PS. I got an A in Southern Lit. I'd be excited about this if I gave a shit.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Army of Temps.

One good thing about having temps in the office is that I begin to notice some Temp Rivalry. It was the management's poor planning to have nine temps working on mail and applications and such, work which require computers to access the PeopleSoft system. Unfortunately, there are only seven computers available for the temps to work on, so every morning my manager walks around the office, trying to figure out which full-time staff members might not come in to work. The temps, eight of which come in at eight, have begun getting here earlier and earlier in order to snag the only open cubicle which allows some privacy from people walking by. (Every other computer sits on a table against a wall and everyone who walks by can see what that person is looking at - GMail? Shock!) Our new boss, who comes to our office about twice a week to tell us, "Good morning," and then promptly disappears for a few hours, managed to find two laptops for the temps to use. Of course, one of them would not connect to the internet. After working fine for two days, the second decided to jump ship, as well. Ah, if I only had the balls.

The other great thing is that the temps float in and out of our lives so much that no one in the office even knows who the hell is still working here. I mean, I know who still shows up, since I usually see them every morning when they come in. The newest batch of temps were told to come directly to me upon their arrival so I could train them and then set them on their merry little ways. They mistakenly assumed that I was their manager. One of them would even let me know when he left on his bathroom breaks, yet I avoided the awkward explanation that I was, in fact, just a half-notch above him on the office totem pole and that, frankly, I didn't care where he went.

Yesterday, I noticed one of the temps did not show up for work, and I assumed, "Hey, she must be sick." My manager and my boss didn't say anything about it to me, and I figured it didn't matter because I'm not a manager and really don't need / care to know that information. Then, at 2:30, my manager walked up to me and said, "Hey, [The Temp] didn't come in today!"

This morning, when I was complaining to another manager about general office grievances, I mentioned how the temp didn't come in and no one noticed until late in the afternoon. She paused and said, "Wait, who is that?"

We run a tight ship here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lazy-assed blog entry, this time with cranberry sauce!

Things I did on my Thanksgiving break:

1. Slept past seven!

2. Saw two good movies: Volver and Stranger than Fiction.

3. Ate stuffing. Stuffing!

4. Went to the huge cineplex on Thanksgiving night, sat in the second row, and had an emotional reaction to the trailer for Dreamgirls. Now, I'd seen the preview before, but there's something about seeing it twenty-feet tall after three bourbon and ginger ales that does something to you.*

5. Saw a homeless man get kicked in the face on the Red line.

6. Saw Andrew Bird, who put on an amazing show (that whistle! those violin skillz!). It was one of the better shows I've seen all year, if only because I was standing behind an army of tiny indie rock girls who were all under five feet, was not standing near any douchey fans, and was not the person to my left who fainted about three songs into Mr. Bird's set. Seriously, I heard a loud thunk and thought, "That sounds familiar..." Then I touched my finger to my nose and said, "Not it!"

7. Watched the entire first season of Soap.

8. Bought five new pairs of underwear, ensuring another week of not having to do laundry.

9. Downloaded "Not Gon' Cry" by Mary J. Blige and listened to it non-stop on my iPod.

10. Managed to stay stress-free for four whole days! WHO'S READY FOR WORK TOMORROW?!

*Christina also had an emotional reaction to the preview, but she was sober. She's just a musical theater nerd. And thinks Jamie Foxx is "fierce."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sick day.

I woke up this morning with a grade-A sore throat. I had about a ten minute period of time before I absolutely had to get ready for work where I laid on my bed trying to decide if I should just call in or actually do the whole rushed preparation and commute thing. I picked the former. I mean, even though I still don't have any sick pay despite working there for six months, and not all of my overtime hours are actually overtime because we only work a thirty-five-hour work week, I figured that being miserable at home alone in bed would still be more tolerable than being miserable at my desk, punching ACT scores into the PeopleSoft system. I can be miserable at work any day!

Also, there's that added bonus of the three-day work week, which has now turned into a two-day work week. Sweet, duder!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nicole hates me.

What happens when I try to spoon with Nicole?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Usually in this nightmare I'm not wearing any pants.

My manager informed me on Thursday that, in a meeting with two other office managers, our boss, and our soon-to-be boss, she volunteered me to give an "accelerated training" session for the temps. Basically, this would entail me writing up a training packet to do the job that I've already trained them to do. Oh, and a presentation in the conference room downstairs.

I was a little taken aback, since my history of "public speaking" usually involved "passing out in front of a projector." Well, I exaggerate. Usually I go through one of those spells and keep it together long enough to rush through my speech and run back to my seat before I fall over. (The best public speaking moment: I volunteered to compete in forensics senior year of high school. I chose to read "The Macbeth Murder Mystery" by James Thurber, this big production that involved accents. During the first of the three readings, I started to lose it. I remember reading the beginning and the ending of the story, but I have no idea what happened in the middle. I came in last place.)

I spent most of yesterday writing up the three-page handout on Microsoft Word, which, I'll admit, was kind of exciting since all I wanted was a job that required some writing skills. (Yes! I MADE IT!) When I finished, I went to show my boss and do a quick run-through to make sure I remembered anything. After she praised me for being "so thorough," I asked, "So, is anyone else coming to this thing?"

"Oh, yeah," she said. "Everyone will be there."



Then I started freaking out. I can handle "training" the temps over again, but suddenly I'm training my co-workers who have all been here for about four or five years. That's only potentially awkward. Also, that involves more public to speak in front of. Oh, and did I mention that the conference room is on the first floor and has a huge window facing State Street? Yeah, so the homeless men outside could also enjoy my performance.

I quickly emailed my mom, who responded, "See? They think you're smart enough to do this! I'm so proud of you!" Well, thanks Mom, but being (incredibly) intelligent is not going to keep me from wanting to die in a professional setting. When I told Christina last night, she had a similar reaction: "That's great!" she said. Uh, right.

In a perfect world, I would try to have some fun with this. Katy and John were trying to give me suggestions like having an animated Powerpoint or wearing a funny hat. I jokingly told one of the other managers that I could always force an icebreaker upon everyone, since the people in the office are notorious for not speaking to one another and not acknowledging the temps. Even though forcing awkwardness upon others for my own benefit sounds hilarious, it'd also involve extending the presentation. So, no. They aren't going to get anything fun; instead, they're going to get an hour of me shaking and speaking in a monotone voice. At least they might get a nap out of it.

I'll have to remember to buy some glucose tablets that morning.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dear Mr. Pentagon: Don't worry, I'm not a terrorist.

What's more frightening: the fact that someone from The Pentagon checks my blog, or that someone from The Pentagon found my blog from the link in my FACEBOOK profile?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sic semper tyrannis

In about nine hours from now I will most likely be very drunk and, most importantly, finished with SoLit class. Now I just need to somehow make it through work, which is still progressively sucking more and more each day and making me want to die, and finish my stupid outline for the final, which I really can't give two shits about even though I do secretly want (and deserve, goddammit) an A in the class. My plan right now is to just write pages and pages of what I KNOW to be bullshit, simply because Dr. Douchebag lives in Opposite Town and thinks everything that is wrong is actually right.

See how well I can compromise my values? Corporate America, please hire me for a real job.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Welcome to Gross City.

Last night Christina and I went to Improv Olympic and there was this guy sitting in the row in front of me, slightly to my left. He was with his girlfriend (or perhaps his "flava of the week"), and was very affectionate with her.

I typically have a problem with public displays of affection, but sometimes you have to appreciate it when two people are so in love and shit that they can't help but make out all over the place. Last night, however, was not one of those times.

It was extremely uncomfortable, considering that the guy had his eyes open while kissing his ladyfriend. And also because he kept staring at me while kissing his ladyfriend.

Monday, November 13, 2006

This is what grad school is like.

Our Southern Literature final exam is on Thursday, and Dr. Douchebag gave us the assignment last week. It involves three-pages of schizophrenic babbling from which we are to somehow find a few questions to answer. Here are a few excerpts, and please remember this is word-for-word.

[From the first prompt, in which we are to compare The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Paris Trout (which Christina was sad to learn is not about a fish who wears a beret).]
"For Ballad, focus upon Amelia Evans re Cousin Lymon, Marvin Macy (and town/cafe's customers). For Paris, focus upon Paris/Hanna vis a vis Harry Seagraves/wife, Lucy, and make social judgments, draw critical conclusions on similarities and CONTRASTS (whenever possible) re how the grotesque elements/conflicts embody the workings of Southern culture. Focus upon the characters (understanding that they impact us grotesquely) and upon how their interactions/clashes alter their worlds/identities (hence ours, too)."
Oh, Dr. D-bag. The mass underlining does less to accentuate the important ideas as much as it makes them lose their relevance. Also, I'm pretty sure you mean for us to contrast the relationships between Paris/Hannah with Carl Bonner and his wife. My two classmates, with whom I had a study session tonight, debated for about ten minutes whether or not Lucy, Seagraves's wife, was alive or dead until we found the one page in the entire novel on which she speaks. And you wonder why I think you're not reading these novels with us.

[From the second prompt, in which we must compare All the Kings Men and Delta Wedding.]
"...consider Jack's and Willie's macho-ism: male's go-it-alone, detached, alienated psyche seeking self-ness and adequate person-hood as a counter-force to stifling socially imposed identity. How to Jack's/Willie's macho stances account for R.P. Warren's 'WAS' [Side note: "Was" refers to a short story in Go Down, Moses, and in this sense Dr. D-bag is using it as shorthand for "a sense of the past."] as combat-able, over-come-able? [More briefly], why isn't Welty's 'WAS' over-come-able by George?"
Over-come-able?! I hope I get extra points if I use the following sentence as a part of my answer: "Willie Stark somewhat invents his past for his political gain, exaggerating his down-homey-ness." (And yes, I do plan on underlining that.) And "macho-ism?" Do you mean "machismo," perhaps? Who gave this man a Ph.D.?

[From the third prompt, concerning Go Down, Moses and Song of Solomon.]
"For IKE, be sure to discuss whether (and HOW) key characters facilitate or block his JOURNEY: CASS, Buck and Buddy [LEDGERS], Sam Fathers, the hunt for the BEAR. For MILKMAN, be sure to assess whether (and HOW) key characters facilitate or block his JOURNEY to a new IDENTITY: Ruth and Macon Dead (mom/dad), PILATE, HAGAR, Circe, and GUITAR (re Seven Days)."
I can only SUPPOSE that perhaps DR. DOUCHEBAG himself FORGETS that Ruth and Macon Dead, who HAPPEN to BE two OF the FIVE MAJOR CHARACTERS in the NOVEL, are MILKMAN'S mother and father and ASSUMED I might ALSO. If ONLY Toni MORRISON could HAVE made THAT more MEMORABLE. THANKS DR. D-BAG FOR BEING HERE FOR US.

It'll be all over in four days. I can't wait.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Poop is better for water-cooler chat.

Last night Lindsay had a housewarming party. I planned to go early, hang out for a while, not get drunk, and then make it home before midnight since I knew I'd have to get up at six to come into work today. Of course, I didn't leave Lakeview until ten, and Julia and I took two buses to get out to Wicker Park. Oh, and I had two glasses of wine before I left my apartment.

I also realized that I have some disability that prohibits me from "mingling" at parties. Instead, I cling to whomever I know and hang out with them. This was at its most extreme last night, when Kristin, Julia, and I sat in the kitchen, away from ninety-percent of the party, and talked about bowel movements, unconsciously making sure that anyone within earshot would avoid us at all costs. And when Lindsay decided to make us mingle, we just all ended up in her room talking (though not about BMs).

I managed to not get too drunk, so I can check that one off the list. I was tipsy enough that when Kristin drove us home I sang and car-danced to "You Gotta Be" by Desiree (song is tiiite).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fifteen-minute harp solos are not always the best idea.

Last night Julia and I went to see Joanna Newsom. I was pretty excited about going because I think Joanna Newsom is great and weird and expected some bitchin' harp playing. I'll admit I was a little bummed that the K-Fed concert at the House of Blues turned out to be free. If I didn't already have a ticket to Joanna Newsom I would have definitely gone for at least three songs. I was also really aggravated that no one would go for me. Honestly, what would you have to lose?

Anyway, we got to Logan Square Auditorium as the opener was performing. His name was Bobby Birdman and sounded about as exciting as his dumb name. Granted, I have a low tolerance for opening acts that consist of one guy playing guitar and singing songs I've never heard (*cough*StephenMalkmus*cough*), but I mean, really. I didn't care. Luckily, we got there twenty minutes late and only got to hear BoBird's last song, which is like the Opening Act Best Case Scenario. They should only ever play for thirty minutes.

While standing around, waiting for Joanna Newsom to come out, I noticed how shitty the venue was. It was basically a high school auditorium with a portable metal stage at one end that was raised only about four feet from the floor. When Joanna came out and sat at the back of the stage with a huge fucking harp straddled between her legs, I realized that both the venue and the stage set-up made absolutely no sense, since only the people two feet from the stage could see her.

She opened the set with two songs from her first album, "Bridges and Balloons" and "The Book of Right-On," which are both really, really good. And I was excited for the old stuff. Julia asked me before the show if I thought she would play mostly songs from her new album and I said, "I really hope not." If you're not in the know, her new album, Ys, is just five songs. Five long songs. Surely she wouldn't play mostly stuff from her new album.

And then, after her second song, she said, "I'm going to play this traditional Scottish song, and then my band's going to join me and we're going to play my new album. From start to finish!"

Oh. Fuck.

To make a long story short, I loved/hated the concert. After thirty minutes and having only heard three of her songs (I actually lost count, convinced that the third song was actually her fourth, and then I was pissed when she played the fifth), I was getting very antsy and bored. And then she'd keep singing and I'd think, "This is really pretty." And then after the fourteenth verse I'd want to kill myself all over again. (At one point, I regretted not bring a pen and a pad of paper with me, since I began making mental to-do lists.)

And of course I was standing next to the most obnoxious guy in the venue. Of course. It always happens. This guy decided to remove his leather sandals (offense number one) (they had those STRAPS for your BIG TOES) and dance around. It was very subtle crazy dancing, but he was dancing to harp music. Very slow, soft harp music. If it was an electric harp I could understand, but, No. Don't dance like an asshole to Joanna Newsom.

The set ended and she received the most prompt ovation I've ever seen. I'm not sure if people really thought it was that great, or if they were just relieved that the dude to her right finally stopped his three-minute SAW solo. She came out and played one song from the first album as an encore, but confessed that her voice was "starting to go" and she still had to play a later show.

It was a good show, I guess, but it was rather had to stand there and listen to a harpist play songs that lasted fifteen minutes at a time. I felt like I was in a night class or something and kept wanting a break in between the songs to stretch and grab some snacks.

In a slightly unrelated note, we saw this transexual on the Belmont bus on the way home from the show, and when she got up to get off the bus, she smacked Julia in the face with a plastic bag filled with something, possibly tranny supplies. It was probably the most entertaining things I've seen in my entire life. I love the trannies!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All I wanna do is do what I wanna do and all I wanna do is blog from work.

I'm stressed. I'm exhausted. I want to write a blog but I can't think of one thing to write about, so you're gonna get this.

1. I forgot to get my absentee ballot so I couldn't vote. At least (hopefully) George Allen has lost (we have to wait on the recount). The Board of Supervisors election back in Westmo' has resulted in the election of our county's former district attorney, who was kicked out of office and disbarred when he was caught at the Washington and Lee Motel in Montross buying cocaine and arranging plea bargains and acquittals. And he's a Democrat. See? Stupidity transcends party lines.

2. Work sucks my balls so hard and I'm not going to write about it because I'd go on for weeks.

3. Julia and I are seeing Joanna Newsom tonight. Thank God, something fun.

4. My SoLit paper is due tomorrow. It has to be no longer than ten pages, which is easy. The problem is that I only have two pages. And I'm going to a show tonight. And my subject, "Shadrach" by William Styron, hasn't been written about before in an academic sense, so there are absolutely no sources for my paper. I'm relying on my own brilliance and The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. (Yes. I'm writing a research paper and using an encyclopedia as a source. I feel like I'm in middle school.)

5. Britney's back, y'all.

6. My next assignment for "The Essay" involves writing a three-page personal essay about a certain dish that I just love. Unfortunately, I don't eat most things because I have issues. Last night, Dr. Asshat asked us, "Does anyone just not like food?" Of course I raised my hand and confessed, "I'm the pickiest eater anyone's ever met." When someone tried to call me on that (Oh, please, girl. You don't eat macaroni and cheese? That's Busch league.), I played the always reliable "I've never eaten an orange" card and that shut people up for about eight seconds. Then my professor tried to make a joke about how crystal meth is only bad the first couple times you try it and then you develop a taste for it. His online ratings mention his "tasteless" jokes, but I don't find them inappropriate as much as I find them annoying. It's not that they're tasteless, it's just that you can only hear so many Schiavo or munchies jokes before they lose their relevance.

7. This week in Too Much Information: last night the Dude Who Formally Looked Like the Front-Half of a Satyr asked me if I "refused the milk as a baby." Taking his chance to continued to Inappropriateness, Dr. Asshat said, "What, are you thinking about writing about breast milk?!" Ex-Satyr said, "Well, I've had lot of field experience."

8. We got two more temps yesterday, which brings the Temp Total to eleven. Check back tomorrow for a link to my new blog, "Temp Overload."

Friday, November 03, 2006


I've decided that the fact that I hate my life only forty percent of the time must be a sign of maturity.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

William Styron: 1925 - 2006

William Styron was my hero: he was born and raised in the Tidewater, was probably the best novelist to come out of Virginia, and is the author of my favorite passage in American literature, which is very dear to my heart:
There were wide barren fields now, a patch of river to the south, the Rappahannock; this was territory that they knew, where one lane, one house or barn, gliding soundlessly past the car's vaultlike silence, only announced another house or lane or barn a few yards farther on, each more familiar as they drew closer to home. This was the Northern Neck, a land of prim pastoral fences, virgin timber, grazing sheep and Anglo-Saxons: these, the last, spoke in slumbrous Elizabethan accents, rose at dawn, went to bed at dusk, and maintained, with Calvinist passion, their traditional intolerance of evil. Most were Presbyterians and Baptists, many were Episcopalians, and all prayed and hunted quail with equal fervor and died healthily of heart failure at an advanced age; destiny had given them a peaceful and unvanquished land to live in, free of railroads and big-city ways and the meretricious lures of the flesh, and when they died they died, for the most part, in contentment, shriven of their moderate, parochial sins. They were bounded by two rivers and the sky, and were as chary of the hinterland as of the deepest heart of Africa. A sturdy and honest curiosity filled their minds, provided the objects of such were not exotic or from the North, and the smell of sea filled their days; exacting in all matters, moral but never harsh, they lived in harmony with nature and called themselves the last Americans.

Please, do yourself a favor and go out and buy a copy of Lie Down in Darkness. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Off the charts!


Last night, in The Essay:

The Satyr Guy showed up without a beard. (I was hoping for a toga at minimum, but the only costume-y thing I got was a fedora, perhaps a nod to Jack Abramoff? I already know he's very liberal, so I was hoping it was ironic, even though he's probably just some d-bag who wears fedoras.) Dr. Asshat (née Dr. Less Crazy) asked him if he shaved for Halloween, and, I swear to God, this is how he answered:

"No... I blew a .065 even though the legal limit is .008. I 'failed' one of the 'field sobriety' tests because it was really cold and I was wearing sandals and I have really bad depth perception so they booked me anyway. I have to go to court tomorrow so I thought this would look better."

[Note to Satyr: perhaps not speaking would be your best defense.]

Dr. Asshat then took the opportunity to proclaim all cops are crooked and racist and admitted that the only time he was arrested was "for a free speech thing" when he called a cop a pig.

THEN (because the douchebaggery can't just end there), Dr. AH decides that since we were reading H. L. Mencken for class, he'd share some passages from "The Sahara of the Bozart," which is the essay where Mencken calls the south a desert of culture and literary merit. (This is also the essay that sparked the Southern Renaissance in literature, by the way). Dr. AH is, in fact, from Richmond (we've already established our Tidewater Virginia roots), so I was hoping there'd be a Southerner at DePaul on my side. Ha! What an idea!

Instead he says to me, "Tyler, do you know what a 'cracker' is?"


Dr. AH told the rest of the class that he grew up in Virginia but would never live there again because "the place has been taken over by crackers." He also loves driving back to visit because Lincoln is on his license plates. (For those of you who aren't aware, people in Illinois get big boners over Lincoln since he was, apparently, the only really good thing to come out of the state until Ditka and Jordan.)

Two for two, y'all. Two for two.