Friday, December 29, 2006
There were a lot of people I meant to hang out with while I was home, and I'm kind of bummed and I don't have another week to do a full tour of Virginia.
On the way home from Fairfax, I spent some time thinking about 2007. I rarely make resolutions, but I do have a few goals that I want to achieve in the next year. At the top of the list is making it out to the East Coast for MACRoCk and maybe a trip to New York. And there are a few others:
1. I'd like to read more books, and I may try to read a book a week again, even though I failed that in 2005.
2. I want to make more mix CDs for friends, since mailing them is a good way to keep in contact with people. (Everyone knows that sending packages is a great way to guilt your friends into keeping in touch with you.)
3. I want to work out more, since I've discovered that my metabolism is (finally) starting to slow down, and the small muscle mass I do have is dropping, my stomach is actually getting larger, and I'm unfortunately still the same weight.
4. I desperately need to get a new job, and the prospect of something new is encouraging and would be a major part of my happiness in 2007.
5. I want to follow that old rule my mother set for me in college: "Eat a salad every week."
6. I'd like to write more, in non-blog terms.
7. I want to finally frame the artwork I've accumulated over the last three years.
8. I want to take more (and better) pictures.
9. I want to start a savings account.
10. I want to have a better idea of where I'll be in two years. Grad school? Chicago? I'd like to have a clue come next December.
For New Years my sophomore year, which I spent in Indiana with Martha and friends, we all went around the room right before midnight and retracted one mistake we made that year. Since then, I've always come up with a couple of things that I wish I could just take back every year. This year, however, it's hard for me to come up with something so horrible that I want to forget. Sure, I've done stupid things and used poor judgment, but at this point, I've come to realize that instead of trying to pretend those things didn't happen, I should accept them and more on. This blog has been a good way for me to do that; if I happen to embarrass myself or put myself in an awkward(.com) situation, I've written about it. I'm kind of proud of myself to embrace, in a way, my flaws and stupid moves and turn it into something that other people find entertaining. I'd like to keep doing that next year, and I'd like to keep this blog alive for a long time to come. I've really enjoyed hearing from people I barely know or complete strangers - people I didn't already know and MAKE read this site - who have told me how much they enjoy reading what I write.
I don't really have a great way to end this - it's almost one o'clock in the morning and I'm tired and kind of sick from last night and feeling gross and dirty in that general hangover kind of way. All of those things are keeping me from pure, 100% eloquence. To sum it all up: I hope 2007 is a great year, and I hope everyone who has followed my life in 2006 will continue to listen to what I have to say, at least every now and then.
Happy New Year!
Saturday, December 23, 2006
My mother offered me a free, hand-me-down suit jacket. She got it from her friend from church. She bought it for her son recently, but it was too small. How old was her son, you ask? Fifteen. I officially hate my body. No take-backs.
My father has become obsessed with this Eric Clapton DVD called Crossroads. He apparently bought this after he told me he wanted it for Christmas (good thing I don't buy crap like that (I really hope he likes his Old Navy hoodie...)), which makes me amused because he just. couldn't. wait. until Christmas for it. It's a collection of live performances where Eric Clapton is jammin' with a bunch of other people, like James Taylor or Vince Gill, for example. (Yes, Vince Gill certainly comes to my mind when I think of "jammin'," too.") What was really depressing was that the only performance I saw was "Cocaine," and Eric Clapton was dressed exactly like my dad: a loosely-fitting light blue polo and shorts. No, these weren't shorts necessarily. They resembled capris. Eric Clapton was wearing clam-diggers. Not only did he have adequate storage for all of his painting supplies, but "the fool can play guitar," as my mother told me.
I went to the winery today to buy some wine. My mother's first cousin was working, so he gave me a very extensive wine tasting. The superintendent of the neighboring school system (where certain douchebags attended high school) and his wife were also there, so we all did a big, fat wine tasting together. Which was weird, because their two oldest daughters babysat me when I was a kid. Anyway, after getting a lil' tips' on the "tastes," I bought two bottles of wine (I got the employee discount, which I will never complain about). Then my cousin gave me another glass of wine. And when I finished that, my old boss came downstairs with a bottle of champagne. We all had a glass and a half. And then I had to drive home.
PS. Driving for the first time in six months is really scary, especially when you're used to riding in cabs at a maximum speed of forty miles per hour. Once you get in that car and are going sixty and you've had free wine, it feels like you're in a goddamn space shuttle.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I wish I could find an entertaining TV movie that could explain the true meaning of Christmas to me.
When I left work yesterday I decided that I would "treat myself" (as one of the other managers described it) and call-in sick this morning. And then I realized that it's probably better to be miserable at work, because if I'm sitting at home feeling like crrrap, it'll certainly ruin the fun-pants and Uncle Buck for me. So, here I am, listening to I See a Darkness on loop.
My manager is out today, so it's turning out to be slightly tolerable after all.
I'm assuming we're not having a real Christmas party this year, since I have yet to receive an email from the department. That's pretty disappointing, since my friend Sarah told me that the Christmas party is usually crazier than the Spring Picnic, which is when I got really drunk with her and her old manager and did impressions of our co-workers. As the rest of the benefits of this job gradually slip away, I was hoping free Amstel Light would keep my morale at a solid 4.0. Tough luck. All I get is an office Christmas luncheon tomorrow, and I will most likely be bleeding awkward.
In the interest of not being completely all boo-boo bear before Christmas, I'm going to take a (FOR REAL THIS TIME) break from posting this week. I have several family celebrations this weekend, and I GUARANTEE something worth reading next Tuesday, if not by the weekend. So I'll leave you with this:
Happy Holidays, from my house to yours!
Monday, December 18, 2006
I woke up at 5:45 after very little sleep (I was up until around one) and a dream involving Matthew Broderick and me keeping our house protected from asylum escapees. After a brief moment where I contemplated calling in sick, I dragged myself out of bed and got dressed.
It was cold this morning. It's been in the fifties lately, but of course today was cold so I wore three shirts and conveniently forgot to put on deodorant. Great.
I got to work at 7:30, which will allow me to leave at 4:30 and still get eight hours (one hour of overtime! it's still depressing!). I sat here for about an hour and a half and decided that I really had to get a doughnut from downstairs or I'd die. I mean, I'm already dying, but I figured I could ward it off for a while by having some sugar. Luckily, Nail Clipper came by with TWO boxes of Dunkin Donuts, and I was really excited because it saved me eighty-one cents!
Then, as everyone lined up by my cube, I found out why he brought donuts. Nail Clipper's son (and our co-worker) got engaged last night. And then suddenly I was incredibly depressed again. I didn't want to hear about engagements, especially when they involve co-workers. I took two doughnuts, hoping the extra one would expedite my death by causing me to go into diabetic stroke.
Then Katy decided that she wanted the rumor to be that I was the one who got engaged last night after seeing Happy Feet, and when Maria asked Adam who the doughnuts were for, he played the Telephone Game and told her the revised rumor. Maria then ran out to my cubicle and said, "Tyler! You're engaged?!" Hilarity ensued.
All I want to do right now is wear my fun-pants (that's Christina's code word for front-butt sweatpants) and watch Match Game, which I bought on DVD this weekend. (I also bought Uncle Buck. I have a knack for spending too much money turning times of depression - Uncle Buck has been on HBO constantly, but I was determined to own it yesterday afternoon. Did I mention the new slip-on corduroy chucks I got yesterday?)
Speaking of Match Game, Christina sent me the following message on GChat: "Trendy Tyler was sooo trendy (HOW TRENDY WAS HE?!), he got his BLANK! cut." That was pretty much the highlight of my morning.
I think I need another doughnut.
So! To keep you occupied until then, here are the rest of my Best of 2006 lists! And you're lucky! I'm going to spare you the inane commentary! Woo!
Favorite Movies from 2006:
1. Friends with Money
2. Strangers with Candy
5. Marie Antoinette
6. The Devil and Daniel Johnston
7. The Queen
8. A Prairie Home Companion
9. Little Children
10. Half Nelson
11. United '93
12. Thank You For Smoking
13. Don't Come Knocking
14. Stranger Than Fiction
15. Hard Candy
Favorite Books Read (But Not Necessarily Published) in 2006:
1. Go Down, Moses, William Faulkner
2. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
3. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
4. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
5. Saturday, Ian McEwan
6. Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld
7. Little Children, Tom Perrotta
8. Falling Through the Earth, Danielle Trussoni
9. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
10. Music for Torching, AM Homes
11. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, Nick Flynn
12. The Sportswriter, Richard Ford
13. Indecision, Benjamin Kunkel
14. Enduring Love, Ian McEwan
15. Bee Season, Myla Goldberg
Favorite Albums Not from 2006:
1. Broken English, Marianne Faithfull
2. Moon Pix, Cat Power
3. Howl, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
4. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
5. To Bring You My Love, PJ Harvey
6. The Boatman's Call, Nick Cave
7. Before the Poison, Marianne Faithfull
8. Transformer, Lou Reed
9. The Mysterious Production of Eggs, Andrew Bird
10. Purple Rain, Prince
11. La Biographie de Luka Philipsen, Keren Ann
12. Rumours, Fleetwood Mac
13. The Swimming Hour, Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire
14. Aladdin Sane, David Bowie
15. Charm School, Bishop Allen
Favorite Albums of 2006:
1. The Greatest, Cat Power
2. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Neko Case
3. Alright, Still, Lily Allen
4. The Brave and the Bold, Tortoise and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
5. A Blessing and a Curse, Drive-By Truckers
6. Fading Trails, Magnolia Electric Co.
7. Post-War, M. Ward
8. Writer's Block, Peter Bjorn and John
9. The Life Pursuit, Belle & Sebastian
10. The Crane Wife, The Decemberists
11. Return to Cookie Mountain, TV on the Radio
12. Martha Wainwright, (Self-Titled)
13. Destroyer's Rubies, Destroyer
14. Bitter Tea, The Fiery Furnaces
15. Ys, Joanna Newsom
Friday, December 15, 2006
And then, about two hours later, I realized, "Fuck. I'm going to see Tony and Tina's Wedding tonight." I thought about how I'd be able to get out of it. Should I risk a chilly atmosphere around the apartment for the next couple days? Would Christina hate me?
I went home and waited for Christina to get back from work so we could leave together to make it to the theater by seven. She still hadn't come home by six-thirty, and I thought, "Great! Easy out! There's no way she'll be able to get home, change, and then make it to the theater! Crisis averted!" When she showed up ten minutes before we were supposed to be at the theater, she dashed around the apartment and got ready at lightning speed, which both disappointed and impressed me. (Seriously, she changed into dinner theater attire in like, ten minutes!)
We get to the theater and have to sit in the "cocktail lounge" while the "caterers" walked around and talked to the "guests". Christina and I were already having none of it, and when the "waitress" came by we just ignored her until she walked away to chat with another group. Christina said to me, "Okay, we have to come up with fake names. I'll be Patricia. Who are you?" I answered, "Stuart." So there we were, Patti and Stuart, sitting at a table for two in Vinnie Black's Celebrity Lounge.
Fiiiinally we were escorted in a line in front of the "chapel" and the "wedding party" arrived. That's when I realized that my cover was blown: I KNEW THE "BEST MAN." About a month after we moved here, Janna dated this guy who eventually got a part in the show. (I admit that I sort of knew this before going, but I was really hoping that I was mistaken and he was actually in The Awesome '80s Prom.) I was so taken aback that when the "photographer" approached me and said, "Oh, hey! It's so good to see you! What was your name again?!" I freaked out and told him my real name. And then he made me go up and take a picture with "Tony" and "Barry" (the "best man"). "Barry" recognized me and said, "Oh, Tyler, right? I think I've seen you somewhere!" Hahaha! HAhaha! Oh god. Ha. Haha.
If that didn't kill the experience for me, the non-stop audience participation did. I know that's expected at cheesy dinner theater located above a movie theater, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Christina burned-out on it pretty quickly, too; right before "Tony" read his vows, his "father's" "girlfriend" turned around and told us that afterward we'd all have to stand up and cheer for him. "Pass it on!" she said. Christina just sat there and stared at her. "C'mon, pass it on!" she said. "Nope, it's done," Christina replied.
The rest of the evening was filled with awkward hilarity. The "reception" was pretty goddamn atrocious, considering the food was awful, they charged for WATER, and they made me wear a sailor hat and dance to YMCA. And that, my friends, is pretty goddamn unforgivable.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
1. What, exactly, was the demographic for this musical? Surely the producers didn't expect kids in Williamsburg to take the train into Manhattan for a night at the theatre. Were they expecting a theater half-full of middle-aged yuppies who couldn't score their tickets to Wicked or Movin' Out? Did these producers consider that a musical based on a movie that features characters on the verge of becoming middle-aged yuppies making fun of middle-aged yuppies might, in fact, be offensive to said middle-aged yuppies?
2. Was there a costume designer? Did they go to thrift stores and buy old t-shirts?
3. What does the music sound like? I wish there was a soundtrack album.
4. Am I the only person who doesn't think John Cusack is an acting god? I mean, for every High Fidelity, there's a Must Love Dogs. Grosse Pointe Blank, you say? Pshaw! I retort: Serendipity!
5. Isn't it slightly ironic that hipsters around my age l-l-love this movie and act like it defines their generation, despite its theme of acceptance and selling out? I mean, it's a John Fucking Cusack movie, for Christ's sake.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Usually I go to the Hair Cuttery out of a combination of fear of and desperation for a haircut, and I'm usually 97% disappointed. And even though I walk out with sharp little hairs all over my neck (because those idiots NEVER TIE THE SMOCK ON TIGHT ENOUGH and ONE PAPER TOWEL is not going to seal up the space between my vulnerable neck and the smock and will ALWAYS ALLOW hair to get trapped in there) and a haircut that makes me look like this:...I always go back three to four months later after my hair has begun to grow horizontally. And two hours after paying fifteen stupid dollars, I hate myself.
Well, this time I came out looking like this:
Granted, my hair is not that red or spiked, and my nose isn't that big. But that's exactly the expression I will have on my face for the next month. It may finally begin to soften once the hair on the SIDES of my head grows in and matches the hair on top of my head.
To put it in another perspective, I'll tell you what I told Nicole: If I had blond hair, I'd look kind of like one of these delightful children:Alas, I have red hair, and the nickname that my high school friend Eileen (Oh, Eileen Grant: I hope you Google yourself some day and find that I still have the same head abnormality!) gave me: DQT. I'm tall and lanky with a big egg-head. I look like a walking Q-Tip. A dirty Q-Tip.
Seriously, this was the last time.
Not going to the Hair Cuttery again.
No, sir. Uh, uhn.
No way, Jose.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Upon our arrival I immediately realized that I was the youngest person in the entire club. Clearly the youngest person in the club. I had expected this, having been the only person to "get into" the Lemonheads while I was in college in 2003. It was a rather eclectic congregation of Lemonheads fans; there were the aging hipsters, some yuppie, suburban parents, and a couple of meathead types who were wearing one-size-too-big leather jackets, and their attendance made me wonder how well "Big Gay Heart" might go over. There was an unfortunate lack of flannel, but there was one dude who was wearing a bright yellow "Zion Roots Wear" shirt which may have been left over from the Arrested Development set at Woodstock '94.
We managed to get pretty close to the stage before Evan Dando and company came out, and it was rather awkward because we were in Biggest Lemonheads Fan!! zone and I was most likely already looking worried and NOT in the mood for sweet, harmonious jams, especially when I started to realize that most of these fans hadn't been to a "rock concert" in a long time. (Dear God: Please kill me before I ever have the inclination to go back to shows after a seven or eight year absence. I'd much rather die than have someone my brother's age make fun of me in his blog. Thank you.)
I only recognized Evan Dando when the band came out, primarily because the other two guys weren't in the original band, or even on the "comeback" album released a few months ago (although the bassist did look like my Uncle Moore with more - and greasier - hair). I was rather surprised how good the band sounded, and they played a lot of the older stuff that I recognized. And Dando seemed to be keeping it all together, so I thought, "Hey! No money well spent!" But then things started getting weirder, i.e. Dando started speaking and being generally jerky. At one point, he knocked over the mic stand as if to say, "Hey, guys, look at me, I can still rock, dudes. Totally. 1996!" He'd also walk up to the edge of the stage, lean down, and hand his pick to an audience member, who would pluck at his guitar. This was kind of cool the first time, but then it kept happening, and I wasn't sure who exactly was getting the most enjoyment out of it. Was it Randy (Michigan '97), who know had something to tell his buddies at next year's reunion? Or was it Evan, who was quite possibly thinking, "I'm totally going to rock this dude's world right now."
And then came the solo set, and Evan played a pretty good version of "Into Your Arms," and again, I started to enjoy what I was hearing. And then he'd fuck it all up again by talking nonsense ("Anybody remember that Bonnie Tyler video?!"), doing a mediocre cover of "Don't Fear the Reaper," or playing a "gay song" that was NOT "Big Gay Heart," but instead went something like this: "Lesbians are great, lesbians rule. Homos are the coolest of the cool!" Between that song and "Being Around," which features the lyric, "If I was a booger would you blow your nose? Where would you keep it? Would you eat it," I realized that listening to Dando sing this stuff ten years ago may have seemed pretty fun and lighthearted, but now he's 39, and it just seems rather immature and stupid. And on top of that, I was stuck in a crowd of Campbell Scott and Kyra Sedgwick's Singles contemporaries, and it was very weird. Needless to say, we left in the middle of the encore, which I was pleased to hear was not a shitty reunion-tour rendition of a shitty cover of "Mrs. Robinson." And it all made me wonder: who is the '00s equivalent to the Lemonheads?
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I'm sorry, Anonymous, but saying, "I spoke with the temps today" is a lot easier to write than "I spoke with Katy, John, Eli, Celith, Garin, and Adam today" for the following reasons: less typing, natch, and also because the people who read my blog don't know who all of the temps are. It's not like I saw a bunch of Hispanic people and referred to them as "Mexicans." They're temps. Should I not refer to my co-workers as "the co-workers" because they're actually much more than that?
Also, people who leave anonymous comments assuming that they can accurately analyze someone's character based on a few hundred words posted on a BLOG are kind of d-baggy.
I don't know what "YST" means; I'm too busy suffering from my own self-hatred to decipher code.
Friday, December 08, 2006
My weeks have been flying by, which is great since I spent the last two Wednesdays under the impression that they were, in fact, Tuesdays, and when someone told me that the next day was Thursday I flipped out. I can't decide if this is just hilariously charming in that funny-story kind of way, or if it's actually just depressing that I'm losing entire twenty-four-hour periods of my life. What do you think, Internet? (I'd ask my cat that question if I had one, but since I haven't a Feline Audience of One to ask rhetorical questions, you're the lucky one to be on the receiving end. Congratulations.)
The only exciting thing to happen this week happened, sadly, just forty minutes ago, when I left the warm confines of my office (seriously, I've thought about spending my nights here to avoid a commute that "feels like one degree") to walk to another administrative building to get my picture taken. I was not sure why, exactly, I had to get my picture taken; I had received many emails from a communications director telling me that all "new" employees had to stop by for "a photo shoot." When I got there I was cold from walking half a block. My face was red and my hair a mess from my hat. Then I had to pose up against a greyish beige wall for my picture. And then she explained that it was going in a PowerPoint presentation to be displayed at our division's annual meeting in January. At least I'll be able to be slightly drunk when this happens.
As I was getting ready to leave, the formerly lovely communications director asked me how I liked my new job. I replied immediately: "Eh. It's a job." There you have it, Internet. I can't even pretend to not hate my job in front of members of the head office.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
So to start it off, I'll publish my list of the best movies I saw in 2006 that were not actually released in 2006:
1. Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus (2005)
This is my favorite movie about the South. It's really honest an beautifully shot. Also, it taught me what "Alabama chrome" is.
2. All That Jazz (1979)
All That Jazz is one of the best movie musicals ever made. Ever. I hated Chicago, and I feel like this is what Chicago should have been like. Grittier! Sexier! More orgy scenes set to cheesey, fake Broadway showtunes!
3. Quadrophenia (1979)
This is a great Mod classic and it makes me want to listen to the Ronettes and then run people over with my Vespa.
4. The Warriors (1979)
This is a great mysogistic cult-classic that makes me want to wear stage makeup and beat people up with baseball bats.
5. Citizen Ruth (1996)
There's this great scene where Ruth, played by Laura Dern, watches an anti-abortion video that explains where aborted babies go, and she says, "I slept in a few dumpsters. Maybe I slept on some babies."
6. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
I don't have anything particularly clever to say about this one. It's just really, really good.
7. Crimes of the Heart (1986)
This movie has so much going for it (Keaton, Spacek, and Lange), and I really like movies where Southern women sit around and talk about shit.
8. Jesus' Son (1999)
Billy Crudup is great in this and it really makes me mad that he does such a great job. I'd rather hate him for leaving Mary Louise Parker for Monkey-Face Danes. Oh, and also for those damn credit card commercials.
9. Kicking and Screaming (1995)
"What I used to able to pass off as a bad summer could now potentially turn into a bad life."
10. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
Ellen Burstyn is hot.
Monday, December 04, 2006
As I was reading off the things I had written on a post-it (it was a very brief meeting), I noticed that Katy was trying not to laugh. I figured she just found it amusing that I got stuck with the job of training and managing them even though it's not really my responsibility. Or perhaps she just found the idea of me in charge of anything was funny. It is, kind of, if you think about it.
When I finished my talk, I asked if there were any questions. Katy was the first to speak. "Did you stand there on purpose?" she asked.
I looked up and saw that I was standing under mistletoe.
This is why no one will ever respect me.
Coincidentally, I don't think mistletoe is very appropriate in the workplace.
Friday, December 01, 2006
So I'll be honest: I was kind of excited about the snow. Woo-hoo! Snow! Happy December, y'all! A foot of snow today! Yeeaah!
I like snow in Chicago! Last year, when it snowed, it was actually warmer than it was the week before, and even though there was so much snow everywhere, our lives didn't completely shut down the way they do in Virginia. People understand how to live with snow here! Amazing!
And then I walked outside and realized that Chicago is FUCKING CRAZY.
Any intelligent Southerner (and yes, there are MANY) would know that when big, fat snowflakes are literally - literally - pelting you in the face, there is absolutely no reason to leave your house. Even employers understand that. So do presidents of universities.
In Chicago, however, little old ladies will crowd the bus stops. People will walk five blocks to the El train and WAIT FOREVER BECAUSE THE TRACKS ARE ON FIRE. When THE TRACKS are on FIRE, ONE SHOULD BE EXCUSED FROM COMMUTING TO WORK.
I guess I'm forgetting to mention the only good thing about this craziness: you can show up to work fifteen minutes later than usual and no one will say anything. You could live next door and still blame your tardiness on the commute.