Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dear Internet: I need your help.

Okay, let's get for reals here.

I need a new job and we all know it. Even my boss knows it, and has even told me about jobs here that I'm completely unqualified for.

It's not that the job sucks (as most of you have been well aware of for nearly a year now). I mean, most administrative or clerical jobs suck. And that's fine. The problem is that I'm not making any money. And when I say that I'm not like, "Oh, I was an English major and I'm not making any money." I mean it in the sense that my position doesn't even require a college degree. It's kind of like I'm stocking merchandise, but instead of boxes of cereal, I'm stocking ACT scores.

So, since I had some moderate success when I called upon you all to tell me who you were (meaning, I got, like, four responses from people who weren't trying to insult me), I figured I'd try my luck with my blog. Because, honestly, I'm not going to pay CareerBuilder to send out my resume (even though it's been viewed a whopping zero times), and I'm tired of getting MULTIPLE offers to open bank accounts in my name so that I can cash money orders sent to me by MULTIPLE British men in Nigeria (who ALL live in Nigeria with their wives, two children, and three dogs and ALL inherited their uncle's textile business and ALL conveniently found my resume on Craigslist and PROMISE that their offer is in NO WAY A SCAM).

All I want is a job, preferably administrative or clerical in nature (I don't want to call people to sell them stuff they have no intention of buying), that pays me closer to the average entry-level salary for English majors, which is around thirty-two thousand dollars. (Seriously? I'd kill for thirty-thousand dollars a year. My expectations aren't that high.) I'm very smart and I can learn how to do just about anything, I promise.

If any of you out there happen to be professionals of some sort (preferably professional Chicagoans with connections to powerful and kind HR representatives) and would like to help me - even just some ADVICE, since no one will tell me what to do - I'd love you forever.

Also, I'm on my lunch break right now, because WORK COMES FIRST. Blogging is totally second, dude.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I can't take them anywhere.

Imagine you're a young woman out on a Saturday night in the city. You're in your mid-twenties, blond, good-looking, and you're enjoying your evening like everyone else in the bar: by watching a short gay man break it down (by himself, by the way) to "No Scrubs". And you're like, "Hey, it's Lakeview, we all love each other here. I'd love to explain it to you if I could."

Ha! It's funny you should say that! Just picture what happens next, when you're approached by these girls:

Imagine your surprise when one of them (the one who may not be wearing pants because she was in the back dancing and figured, "Hey, I have long johns on under my jeans - why don't I take them off?") yells, "Clarissa!" She hands you two napkins and the other says, "Can we have your autograph?"

Dear Girl Who Was Definitely Not Melissa Joan Hart,

I'm sorry my friends were drunk.



Friday, January 26, 2007

And now I take on religion. Sort of.

I watched half of Jesus Camp last night (until it was time for Ugly Betty and Nicole took the TV away, which was fine because I finally got to finish The Tin Drum, which took me a week and a half to watch and not enjoy). I did enjoy what I saw of Jesus Camp, though I have some issues with it.

I think since moving to Chicago I've become slightly (just slightly, people, so don't get your panties in a twist) more conservative. This is probably because being a raging liberal isn't as fun here as it was in Virginia. And when I say that I'm slightly more conservative, I actually mean that I'm more apathetic about most causes (abortion, prayer in schools, Iraq - you know, the really important ones that cause people to constantly lose their shit whilst arguing with others whose opinions are the polar opposite. (These are the type of issues about which people will not change their minds.)), although I still care very much about certain issues, albeit quietly. This is exactly why I don't turn my blog into a political one, and it's also why I don't read political blogs (although a few certain ones are so goddamn hysterical (read: nuts) I can't help myself sometimes). And really, the only conservative stance I take on an issue is global warming, but LEAVE ME ALONE it's my opinion and I wrote papers on it and that's where I base said opinion (and, sure, when we're all wearing space suits when we walk outside because the temperature will be three-hundred degrees just like they promised it would back in elementary school, I will gladly concede that yes, global warming is completely and totally real and it's all my fault for using Right Guard spray for two years).

Anyway: Jesus Camp. I read somewhere that someone at sometime (and maybe I'm making this up) voted this to be the scariest movie of the year (after An Inconvenient Truth, of course, which everyone (but me, since I had to cut it off after fifteen minutes once the "So You've Got Global Warming" animated short started playing) agrees is truly terrifying). I think if I was still in high school and still anti-religion (having friends who attended Jerry Falwell's college will do that to you - and, by the way, I apologize now for the parentheses), I would probably have the same reaction. But now I'm older, I'm wiser, and I'm a lot more accepting. I don't really care too much about religious issues anymore; you can have your God, I won't have mine. Is that cool? Can we leave it at that? Good. Problem solved.

Except, it isn't, because the extremists from both the Right and Left keep it dragging on in the bitter fight. And it's all so BORING. I'm so bored, people. You've got the raging conservatives who want to ban gay marriage, take away reproductive rights, keep capital punishment legal, blow up the Middle East (starting with Iraq, of course, and then "Palestine," because They Stand With Israel, even though the Jews killed Jesus), and teach every child that evolution is for Satanists. And then you've got the raging liberals, who stand tall as Christians (they need the Red State voters) but still...uhm, well, honestly, I'm more for these guys, so it's harder for me to come up with the bad things they want. But I do think the constant ridicule of Christianity and Red Staters is pretty obnoxious, because it doesn't do much for the unification of this country. And, frankly, I think constantly portraying Christianity only in the way that Jesus Camp and Borat does is not very fair. Granted, I'm not a Christian, but I do know a couple who are perfectly normal. And while they aren't the holy rollin' types, I'm sure that if one were to examine just why and how people believe these things, you'd learn a lot more than just ridiculing their faith. (Try Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, for example, which is a superb documentary.)

I'm glad I grew up Episcopalian, a denomination that treats religion as more a hobby and a social ritual than a way of life. Also, everyone knows that Episcopalians are the classy Christians.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I got the following GChat message from Christina:

Tyler, we are best friends because I'm pretty sure you will understand the following: I don't like a girl that works here in the shop, and the main reason is that she looks like a cartoon sea monster.

It's true. We ARE best friends.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You've got to be kidding me.

Okay. That is officially the best one.

Also, and this is completely unrelated, I was approached by a woman on the California El platform while waiting for the Pink Line. She asked me if I knew how to get kids in commercials, because her daughter is so cute ("She has Chinese eyes.") and "can repeat real well."

I should Google that for her.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I still love my Site Meter.

I really hope they found what they were looking for.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The General Lee.

Today is Robert E. Lee's 200th Birthday, which is news that slipped my knowledge until I received a snarky email from Theo asking if I had anything special planned for the "holiday". In high school, such an event would probably just involve writing another fucking essay about Robert E. Lee and how he may not have actually been racist or something. Maybe if we were really lucky we'd get to go on a "field trip" to Stratford Hall, Lee's birthplace, which was about twelve miles from our school.

One thing I love about growing up where I did (okay, there's a very short list, and right off the top of my head the only other thing is that people don't make fun of the way I say "umbrella") is that I find it symbolic of how awkward and weird it is to grow up in the post-Civil Rights Era South. My county was the birthplace of both George Washington and Robert E. Lee, two important generals who impacted our country's history. There's such a huge stigma, however, in having any pride for Lee and his cohorts, since most Southerners see a fine line between pride and shame. If you're from Richmond, you're especially familiar with Robert E. Lee's polarizing legacy. I remember years of controversy surrounding a portrait of Lee, somewhere on display near the river. I can't remember how it was resolved. (Couch, care to fill us in?)

Until 2001, while the rest of the country celebrated Martin Luther King Day in January, Virginia celebrated Lee-Jackson-King Day. I always felt really gross about this; it was rather strange to remember two Confederate generals on the same day as Dr. King. And I didn't even realize until this year that the practice officially ended six years ago - I feel like I just assumed it still was in effect and people still called the holiday by its former name. (An interesting bit of trivia: I always thought Lee-Jackson-King Day was a response to MLK Day, the main reason I found the holiday to be most disgraceful. It turns out that Lee-Jackson Day preceded MLK Day.)

Had I known about Lee's birthday (I'm a bad ex-Southerner!), I probably would have come up with some way to (sort of) celebrate it. Instead, I think I'm just going to have KFC for lunch and listen to The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". I can't really think of a better way, honestly.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'm so glad I put on my good pair of slacks today.

Tonight is my division's annual meeting, which I'm unofficially required to attend. (I had to RSVP for the event, even though we're all supposed to go.) Perhaps you remember when I had to trek across the street in the cold to get my picture taken to celebrate my "new" employment about a month ago (even though at that point I had been here for six months)? Well, that lovely picture of me standing in front of a beige wall, probably looking washed-out and undead, will be featured in a PowerPoint presentation, during which I will most likely have the opportunity to stand and have all of my (hopefully future former) co-workers gawk at me.

The meeting is two hours. Two hours of hearing people tell me stuff that I don't understand and, coincidentally(!!!), don't care about. And even though it's at the University Club, which is like a country club without the country, and there's a two-hour open bar following the meeting, I'm really not excited about it. That's how bad it's gotten here, people. Free alcohol no longer entices me.

Even though I'm not taking advantage of my thirty-six hundred dollars in free tuition (which, I've learned, is equivalent to about five dollars worth of knowledge and thirty dollars spent on pain killers), the idea of five to eight plastic cups of Ecco Domini doesn't particularly sound like a good time, especially since it'll involve me standing around awkwardly chatting with people I don't really know very well, despite the fact that I see them more often than my friends. If I am pressured to stay for the reception, I can only hope that someone gets drunk and I have something to giggle about tomorrow morning.

Or maybe some of my co-workers will get denied admission based on the dress code, which seems likely. Oh, God, how I really hope someone at the club has to explain that cargo pants and Vans are not exactly "business attire."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I stalk back.

I've admitted several times that I'm obsessed with my SiteMeter, which tells me all sorts of things about You, my reader. Yeah, you. I've come to recognize many of you by location and such, but there are a few of you out there who just make me so curious. Where'd you come from? How'd you find me? Do I know you and you think you're sooo slick that I don't know you're reading?

There are four of you out there, in particular, that I'm curious about.

1. You, in Durham, NC, who occasionally find my blog by Googling "Tyler C0ates Montross." This gives me the impression that you're someone from back home, someone from high school. I know at least four people in North Carolina. One works at a sporting goods store, so I'm ruling him out. The other three, however, have mystery professions, and I'm curious: do any of them work for major computer corporations? (Hint: it's not Dell, or Gateway, or HP.)

2. You, in Fairfax, VA, who check my blog nearly every morning from George Mason University. Did I go to JMU with you? Are you continuing your studies in graduate school? Ph.D. program? How are you these days? Man, do you miss Market One as much as I do?!

3. You, who read my blog through a blog reader from a computer registered to the university I work for. Are you in my office? In my building? Do I know you? Want to do lunch sometime?

4. You, from the Hampton / Virginia Beach / Newport News area. You could, quite possibly, be a few people who all find my blog quite regularly by searching for "too much awesome." Are we related? Did we go to school together? What's your story, sir or madam?

I'm not even going to start on all you Elgin and Hinsdale residents who found my blog through Facebook. I'm sure I don't know who you are.

So, if you feel like shooting me an email saying, "Yes, Tyler, I stalk you. Call me?" I'd really appreciate it. Just because I'm interested in you. And paranoid. But mostly curious.

MAN. Isn't the Internet CREEPY?

Or maybe I could convince her to be a guest blogger.

Sometimes I wish my friend Megan, with whom I infrequently update Things We Hate, had a real blog of her own. She's avoided the post-college LiveJournal blogging, giving off the impression that she's too paranoid of her Google-happy coworkers. I've threatened to start up a blog called, "My Friend Megan Needs a Blog but She Refuses to Write One so Here Are Transcripts of the Emails She Sends Me Ever Day," but I figured that'd take a lot more energy than I'm willing to give up.

But seriously, awkward things seem to happen to her at a very high rate. Consider last Tuesday, for example. Megan was in Las Vegas at a convention for random technology stuff. (I didn't understand it and I didn't ask questions. I just know that the iPhone wasn't featured and people were P.O.'ed.) She sent me a text message that afternoon reading, "I just accidentally walked into a 3 Doors Down concert." Honestly, do YOU know anyone who can accidentally walk into a 3 Doors Down concert?

Megan introduced me to Ian McEwan, author of Atonement, which is one of my favorite novels. Megan has a somewhat unnatural obsession with McEwan. She's read everything written by him. She let me borrow one of his first novels, The Cement Garden, recently. Neither of us were particularly impressed with it (it's kind of a literary version of Flowers in the Attic, but the "flowers" do it all throughout the house), but when Megan found out there was a film version starring Charlotte Gainsbourg (NEPOTISM ALERT: Jane Birkin's brother directed it), she immediately put it at the top of her Netflix queue. She emailed me this morning with her thoughts on the film, and it's one of my favorite emails. Ever.

I watched the movie last night. WEIRD. Poorly filmed with weird colors and bad mics. The protagonist has tons of zits but the most beautiful hair since Jim Morrison. In contrast, Charlotte Gainsbourg had butchered hair, and when they showed them in silhouette, it was difficult to tell who was the boy and who was the girl. The brother who dressed up like a girl looks like ET in the blond wig which freaked me the fuck out. Everyone had British accents but they looked like they were in Australia. I realize the heat was part of the story, but it looked like they were in a desert somewhere. Charlotte Gainsbourg spontaneously orgasms while being tickled. I want that superpower. Despite all this...I was entertained. In kind of a sick way. You know, when you're watching a movie about incest and a pimply boy with beautiful hair prances around in the rain. I didn't enjoy it, but my attention was captured.

Megan clearly needs a gig as a film critic. Fuck the bloggin'.

Also, I'll admit that I sent her a draft of this for review because I am a GOOD FRIEND. She told me I should go into customer relations. "And by that, I mean the non-Urban Outfitters kind. The kind where maybe you wear a suit, or maybe just an ironed shirt." Thanks, Meg.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Triple Feature Weekend.

For four years I went to school literally - literally - next (well, okay, not literally, but it was pretty damn close) to a ski resort. I only went there once to go snow tubing one night my freshman year, although I always wanted to go skiing. On Friday, when the opportunity arose for a day-trip to Wisconsin to ski, I was really excited. And then, immediately, I started to picture myself not in ski gear but covered in snow after falling down a mountain. Would I be able to get on the lift? Would I be able to keep my feet straight in those skis? What the hell would I wear to go skiing? The romantic (?) idea of skiing were suddenly replaced with images of myself. Dead. On a mountain. Awkwardly clutching two ski poles with my frost-bitten hands. Also, the stories my parents always told about their one skiing trip, which involved plowing down an old lady ("I was yelling and screaming for the bitch to get out of my way!") and hemorrhoids ("I woke up the next morning in bed and said, "What the hell is that?").

I chickened out, although I may have said I would go skiing at a later date so I would have enough time to prepare myself.

Instead of skiing, I watched some memorable movies: The Family Stone, To Sir, with Love, and The Devil Wears Prada.

I came home on Saturday afternoon to find Nicole watching The Family Stone. It was relatively close to the beginning, so I sat down to watch it with her. My first reaction was: "Oh, great. Dermot Mulroney is in this. This is going to be so awkwardly depressing." (I've discovered recently that every romantic comedy featuring Dermot Mulroney is really sad and makes me feel ill at ease. See The Wedding Date and Must Love Dogs. His only stand-out movie is My Best Friend's Wedding, which, while depressing, is actually entertaining and doesn't make me want to hang myself.) My hypothesis certainly applies to The Family Stone. Craig T. Nelson is in it, whose presence in a movie post-Poltergeist II is strange, but now that he's so old (read: over fifty (sorry, Dad)), I could only think about how rough Coach is looking these days. Then there's Sarah Jessica Parker, whose pulled-up hair didn't do much for her face, which was at maximum horsiness. Luke Wilson was bloated, Rachel McAdams was mousy, and Claire Danes showed up with Vicki Vale hair and did what she did best: the bitch stole someone else's man. And then there were the other siblings (the ones played by unknown actors): there was another sister who was knocked up and already had a preteen and whose workaholic husband was not in the picture, and the deaf, gay son who was about to adopt a child with his African-American partner (can't we think of any more obstacles for dear Thad?). I had to throw in the towel during the love scene in which Craig T. Nelson fondles Diane Keaton's character's mastectomy scar.

I watched To Sir, with Love because my friend Meredith recommended it to me when I decided I wanted to be Mod. I was kind of weary of it, simply because it was one of those inspirational teacher movies, and since I was pretty sure Sidney Poitier didn't smoke crack like the protagonist in my favorite inspirational (sort of) teacher movie, I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. While it is a little dated (and oddly so, since there's some miscegenational teacher-student infatuation, which I can only assume did not cause an uproar because, as my grandmother might say, Sidney Poitier is one of the Good Ones), it was still entertaining. I especially enjoyed this bitchin' photographic montage of Poitier and Co. as they walked around The Museum of Natural History, as well as Poitier's speeches about how the girls should avoid being so sluttish so their men will treat them nicer. It's such a positive message.

I'd also avoided The Devil Wears Prada because it was based on a popular chicklit novel, but then Meryl Streep had to go and star in it. One Meryl Streep, however, cancels out Anne Hathaway, one Stanley Tucci, and at least two members of the supporting cast, and since guys who write entire books about Wrigleyville could enjoy it, I figured it I might, as well. And yeah, the story is kind of trite and predictable, and Anne Hathaway's voice sounds similar to a dying cat, and her friend who is all "I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE ANYMORE!" was in Rent, which made me digress in my head WHILE WATCHING A MOVIE (I have a problem, obvs.) and remember how much I hated, hated, hated that movie, but it was enjoyable.

As much as I'd like to come up with some conclusion, I can't, simply because I'm at work when I should be at home reflecting the life and accomplishments Martin Luther King, Jr. (orrr sleeping), and I just spent over an hour writing this. If half of the office is taking today off, I'm not going to feel guilty for blogging about Netflix rentals.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"Soups On!" OMG LOLZ!!!!!

Life is pretty terrific right now, and the few issues that do have me stressed on occasion seem to be resolving in the near future. Since I typically only have something to say - something to get me all fired-up like - when I'm angry, or depressed, or generally moody, I'm going to leave you with the above picture of a dog in a pot because A. hilarious!, B. adorables!, C. I'm going to even be nice and not bitch about how much I hate the first week of classes here and having to wait for an elevator, cramped in a small hallway along with forty other business majors!, and D. because I love you all dearly. You're all my little snow-angels.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It feels like the first time.

My Yahoo Music radio station played Foreigner this morning. That has been the most exciting thing to happen to me in the last five hours.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Phoning it in!

One of my resolutions for the year should have been to stop composing blog entries with lists of random, unrelated things simply because I'm too lazy to come up with a clever way to link them all together. But it wasn't, so here we go:

1. I went to Ikea yesterday, which is a fun excursion until you hit the 2-hour mark. This usually occurs somewhere in the sofa section, which is convenient. One can just collapse on a pleather couch and is too exhausted to realize how uncomfortable the furniture actually is because one is too busy taking refuge from the bright yellow price tags and the overwhelming congregation of European couples buying plastic chairs. I think this is how Ikea sells so many futons.

2. I had lunch at Fuddruckers yesterday. It's the second time in the last month that I've been to a Fuddruckers, and I've quickly remembered how much I love it. It's really overpriced and tacky, and there's a greater chance to see the bare chests of overweight, middle-aged men when they take off their Lands End fleece pullovers, but YOU CAN PUT ANYTHING ON YOUR HAMBURGER, even though there are actually only, like, ten options, and I honestly only add pickles, onions, and lettuce (a new development! it makes it almost healthy!) to my burger. Also, you can sometimes get FREE shitty cookies. My life resolution is to always live near a Fuddruckers.

3. Getting to see the suburbs is, surprisingly, refreshing, since Chicago can get overwhelming. Also, I'm still obsessed with Ordinary People, and even though Arlington Heights isn't Lake Forest, I don't know any better. Take me to chorale practice, Elizabeth McGovern!

4. Resolutions: 2007 is going pretty well so far, even though we're only a week into 2007. I haven't actually left the apartment to do the whole "work out" resolution, but I have been using my one fifteen-pound weight. And last night I did ten push-ups. I also had a salad last week! And I spent one hundred and sixty dollars at Jewel on Saturday and some of that went to one of those bagged salads that I can eat AT HOME, rather than going out and spending nine dollars on one. Too bad "brilliant planning" wasn't a goal, because I could have checked the shit off of that one.

5. I watched the entire first season of Rome last week. Now that Gilmore Girls is officially horrible and Big Love hasn't started its new season, I need a new melodramatic TV show to watch. Also, I have someone to watch it with, and I do stuff like watch entire seasons of TV shows or try to read Atlas Shrugged when I have the opportunity to have non-literary discussions with someone I'm interested in. (And thank God Rome is more entertaining and less draining than Ayn Rand novels.)

6. Nicole and I saw Pan's Labyrinth last week, and we both loved it. It's the second-best movie with "labyrinth" in the title - it could have used more Bowie.

7. Work is still ten kinds of sucky. I've stopped staying until five, simply because the sixty dollars in not-overtime I'd be taking home won't kill the pain of being here an extra five hours a week.

8. Janna came over to visit our apartment last week, and she told us that she saw Rosie O'Donnell at her restaurant a few months ago and that she's "actually pretty in real life." You learn something new every day.

9. I've read two books so far this year, and I'm proud despite the fact that one was a play (The Glass Menagerie) and the other (The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan) was less than two-hundred pages. I'm in the middle of The Safety of Objects by A. M. Homes, and at the top of my list is Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham.

10. These last three things have just been filler so that I could end the post with ten things. I promise I'll try to fall down on the El platform tonight so I'll have an embarrassing story to tell tomorrow. Until then: LAUGHING BABIES!!!!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Today is Morgan's birthday. Fear her.

Happy Two-Six, Mungerford.

And friends, please stop by her blogs:

And buy her s-h-i-t:

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

At least my friends aren't knocked-up yet.

I've finally reached the age where my friends are getting married. And that's great, I suppose, for my friends, but it freaks the hell out of me. It's not because the idea of marriage is scary; on the contrary, I want to get married and committment isn't all that terrifying. It's just more frustrating that I'm sitting here, technically single, and everyone's pairing off and planning to breed.

I've gotten emails that read like press releases. There have been MySpace bulletins and Facebook news thread items. There's at least one wedding invitation I'm expecting this year, and another friend getting hitched this fall. I'm expecting other couples I know to get engaged before the year is up. And really, all of this would be fine if everyone didn't get engaged around Christmas time. That just means all of us non-engaged, single folks are bombarded with the good news all at once. Please, people: spread out the proposals!

Seeing friends celebrate engagements makes me wish I wasn't single, but then I realize that I can't honestly wish for a mature relationship with anyone considering last night I ate half a bag of oyster crackers and an entire loaf of French bread.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Oh, balls: I have to go back to work tomorrow.

The shitty thing about sitting on wheeled luggage while smoking a cigarette at a New Year's Eve party and having the luggage slip out from underneath you is that you realize you're about to start a whole new year just packed with this kind of bullshit.