Saturday, March 31, 2007

I'm not going to let this go to my head.

That's a picture of me switching from the Red Line train to the Brown Line train at the Fullerton stop. It's a screen capture of a video podcast of CTA Connections, the Chicago Transit Authority's public access show. A reader happened to recognize me in the video and send in this picture. (You can see the whole thing (and my sexy walk) on the iTunes store; search for "CTA Connections" and watch the video from March.)

As you can see, I'm incredibly excited about the Brown Line expansion project, which will force the CTA to use three tracks instead of four at Fullerton and Belmont, the two busiest El stations on the north side, which means I'll have to actually wake up at six in the morning for the next three years instead of hitting the snooze button for an hour.

(Thanks to Michael for the tip!)

Friday, March 30, 2007

I took a sip from my devil cup?

Our server is down today so I have absolutely nothing to do. I've been playing Sudoku for an hour and a half, and Gawker isn't updating quickly enough for me. So to avoid being bored enough to read Wonkette, here are two random, unrelated thoughts

I downloaded this five-song sampler of songs from Mark Ronson's upcoming album, Version, and there's a cover of "Toxic" that makes me flip my shit whenever I hear it. It's great because he mixes in a Ol' Dirty Bastard song that includes the lyric, "Fuck the pussy 'til it's orange like Ernie and Bert." I think we all know my stance on the p-word (it should only be used for humor's sake!) (it reminds me too much of first grade, which should give you an idea of what my public school system was like), but that line's too good to ignore, especially since it's in a cover of a Britney Spears song.

Also, I've got this ticket to see Neko Case tonight, and I'm totally not excited about it at all. It's either because of my shitty week, or a sign of a larger issue (apathy toward favorite activities is a sign of depression!), but I really don't feel like going, especially since it's sold out and no one is going with me. Julia and I have been looking for tickets on Craigslist for a few days but I'm not having any luck, so we'll see if I can convince her to buy them from a scalper in front of Park West (which is highly unlikely considering Julia's hesitations that undercover cops might be trying to catch people on Craigslist). Still, I'd rather be by myself in a room of 899 strangers and Neko Case than sitting at home, most likely making it a double-feature night of Eddie and the Cruisers and Blood Diamond. Buzzkill!

This was an easy one.

I decided last night after seeing The Host that if I ever go back to school, I'm going to write a thesis concerning the Freudian imagery in twenty-first century Asian monster films.

I'm sure the dudes who find my blog by Googling "big hairy vaginas" will love it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dead shark.

I'm in a pretty good mood today - an almost bizarre good mood, actually - considering my life continues to go to pot and the desperation is seeping out more and more each day.

And because my blog is, generally, an Open Letter of Immaturity, I'd like to state that I am once again single today, having been dumped (again) last night. And really, I was mad for about five seconds, but since my walk home I've had a "Meh..." kind of attitude toward it, since I'd been building myself up to break things off since Saturday anyway. So, whatevs. It's not even that big of a deal, because when someone basically calls you vapid and uninterested, it's time to cut them lose. There's no way I'm going to feel bad about reading Gawker instead of Crain's.

So, now this is happening:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Divorce Song.

And when I asked for a separate room
It was late at night
And we'd been driving since noon
But if I'd known
How that would sound to you
I would have stayed in your bed
For the rest of my life
Just to prove I was right
That it's harder to be friends than lovers
And you shouldn't try to mix the two
Cause if you do it and you're still unhappy
Then you know that the problem is you

And it's true that I stole your lighter
And it's also true that I lost the map
But when you said that I wasn't worth talking to
I had to take your word on that
But if you'd known
How that would sound to me
You would have taken it back
And boxed it up and buried it in the ground
Boxed it up and buried it in the ground
Boxed it up and buried it in the ground
Burned it up and thrown it away

You put in my hands a loaded gun
And then told me not to fire it
When you did the things you said were up to me
And then accused me of trying to fuck it up
But you've never been a waste of my time
It's never been a drag
So take a deep breath and count back from ten
And maybe you'll be alright

And the license said
You had to stick around until I was dead
But if you're tired of looking at my face I guess I already am
But you've never been a waste of my time
It's never been a drag
So take a deep breath and count back from ten
And maybe you'll be alright

Liz Phair.

I can't think of anything to write today, so...


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Potential disaster averted by actual disaster.

I have a feeling that, no matter how I spin this one, everyone who reads the following post will decide that I am a horrible, horrible person.

The other day, at the height of my madness, I asked Megan if she thought using my father's cancer as a potential ploy for getting a job was unethical. Specifically, I thought about calling a sort-of family friend in Chicago, mention that I was looking for a job, and then, when he inevitably asked how everything was back home, say, "Oh, well, actually..." I mean, it would be much more tactful should the phone call actually take place, but even I wouldn't sink to that level. The conversation was simply a Laughter Through Tears kind of scenario. Even though I asked two other people what they thought, and they both disagreed with Megan's assertion that it was absolutely fine because "that's how you network." (I figured it might not be appropriate for a Lunchtime Poll topic.)

Anyway, I talked to my mom last night and she told me that our sort-of family friend's mother was taken to the hospital this week because she had a stroke.

It's probably not the best time to network.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I suffer from Awkward Body Image.

I want to go on record as saying that I love warm weather. I love, love, love it. Especially in Chicago, because it makes me forget about the four months of torture that I have to go through during the winter.

But, I'll admit, I hate warm weather clothes.

I've found that I have been able to deal with wearing pants all summer long, mostly because I don't go outside that often and I've also been lucky to find lightweight pants that aren't too hot. I don't wear shorts. It just doesn't happen. My legs are so very white that I'm afraid that the glare off my calves will cause automobile accidents.

Also, I have a arm issues. Everybody who knows me knows this. I would wear a sweater in August if I could get away with it. I hate my arms because they are too skinny, and I can't figure out how to make them bigger. (Meaning: I can't figure out how I can make them bigger while laying on my couch watching episodes of Soap on DVD.) My awkward clothes don't make this any easier, since even my long-sleeved shirts look too big for my arms. I'm wearing an ill-fitting linen shirt right now and I'm uncomfortable.

The thing about my own emotional problems it that I'm self-aware of how stupid they are. I can spot my craziness about seventy percent of the time, and I know that my no one else is really looking at my arms constantly and saying, "Wow, his arms are so skinny." It's not that I think people are going to be worried or anything; I'm more expecting people to JUDGE me for my arms. (I blame this fear on my own judgmental personality, which, as always, I blame on my mother.)

Anyway, what issues I have that I don't blame on genetics I blame on my high school years, so I'll return to the old, faithful picture of me as a sixteen-year-old, standing in front of my house on the first day of eleventh grade.

(Click to view my annotations.)

As you can see, I had a lot of issues back then, too, and I think that I've gotten over at least the wardrobe problem. And I've made some progress with the hair. And I've put on a lot of weight, although you can't really tell that I do do weigh about twenty pounds more than I did seven years ago. But I've still got some things to work on, as seen in this MS Paint rendering of how I see myself. (Sorry, I tend to not take full-body shots anymore.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Don't worry. She's a scientist and does pretty well for herself.

I spent most of the morning updating my resume (thanks to Megan and Kristel for helping me revise and providing feedback). After I finished, I sent it to my mother to look at. Not that she has any expertise with resumes; for some reason, I usually give her a call just to let her know what I'm doing. Constantly. This is why we get into fights over the phone. I call her to tell her I'm taking a class or am looking for a job and she confuses my need for someone to talk at with a need for someone to talk with.

Anyway, when I sent her my resume, she responded with:
very nice. change "oversaw" (not a word, or at least not a good one) to "oversight of" or "provided oversight for", something like that

Uh, ok. I replied with the following definition, copied and pasted from
o·ver·see –verb (used with object), -saw, -seen, -see·ing.
1. to direct (work or workers); supervise; manage: He was hired to oversee the construction crews.
2. to see or observe secretly or unintentionally: We happened to oversee the burglar leaving the premises. He was overseen stealing the letters.
3. to survey or watch, as from a higher position.
4. to look over; examine; inspect.

Thinking I was being a smartass with her, she replied,
notice that none of the examples actually use the word "oversaw", because it's not a good word.

I emailed her back.
yes, but also notice how "oversaw" is included as the past-tense form of the verb.

To which she replied:
stub·born –adjective
1. unreasonably obstinate; obstinately unmoving: a stubborn child.
2. fixed or set in purpose or opinion; resolute: a stubborn opponent of foreign aid.
3. obstinately maintained, as a course of action: a stubborn resistance.
4. difficult to manage or suppress: a stubborn horse; a stubborn pain.
5. hard, tough, or stiff, as stone or wood; difficult to shape or work.

So I sent this to her:
fat·head –noun
1. a stupid person; fool.

She hasn't written me back.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We hate it when our friends become successful.

Let me start by apologizing for the literal title of this post, and for quoting Morrissey, because I don't want to give the impression that I actually like Morrissey or am a big Smiths fan. You can add them to the list of Really Important Bands that I don't give three shits about. (Another example: Pavement. I will not lost my shit over Pavement, thankyouverymuch, because Who The Fuck Is Stephen Malkmus.) Megan once told me that a friend of hers spent his closeted, rural youth "hanging out in cornfields listening to the Smiths." I responded, "I really liked 'How Soon Is Now' in high school because it was on the soundtrack to The Wedding Singer." I missed out on a lot of music and then, when exposed to it, rejected a lot of it, because I just don't care. So, there you go.


I'm in one of those moods right now where I think about everything that's ever gone wrong in my life, with a focus on everything that's gone wrong in the last two years. And, as always, I called home to talk to my mother about it, which never works out, because "talking to my mom about how much I hate my life" really turns into "yelling at my mother about how much I hate my life and GOD MOM WHY CAN'T YOU FIX EVERYTHING I HATE YOU." It's incredibly mature, I know. I think part of the reason why I call home is because my mom, unlike most of the people I know, at least pretends to give a shit. Another reason is because I'm totally fine with yelling at her; I mean, I want to keep my friends, and they're not as apt to take my verbal abuse as my mother is. (It's a two-way street. Please keep this in mind.) And I love how my mom lives in a fantasy land sometimes, wherein community colleges offer editing classes that will "boost my resume." And why not, since the community classes in Virginia offer classes in real estate and refrigerator repair. This was an actual argument used to back up her assertion that looking at the Chicago City Colleges is a good idea. I told her that I don't want to repair refrigerators. (This was almost as batshit crazy as when she told me that I should really consider sending my "photography" to Getty Images to see if they'll hire me as a photographer. This is in reference to my "cats reading books photography" that my family goes nuts over.)

When I complained about how I'm almost twenty-five, have been out of school for nearly two years, and I have absolutely nothing to show for it save for very minimal office experience and an A in a Southern Literature graduate course, she decided to tell me about how some dude I went to middle school with just got a salaried position after working for his company for a year. Well, terrific. I already didn't like him, so now I dislike him more. Am I supposed to be pleased that he's only now more successful than I am, and the thousands of dollars his parents spent on private high school and university tuition is just now worth it? No. Because he's still better than me, only now in a professional sense. Great.

But this is what I realized this morning: It's worse for me to have to deal with people I like being more successful with me. I don't know how many times I have to admit that I'm a shallow, jealous, bitter human being, but here's just another example of why I suck. It's perfectly fine for people I already consider assholes (read: the majority of everyone I went to high school with, and JMU fraternity members) to be making more money than me, because it's not hurting me any by thinking they suck balls. It's more of a problem when people I like are doing great things with their lives and making money and buying shit that pisses me off, because I don't want to not like them. It's like I'm still this scrawny kid, yelling, "Hey guys, slow down! Wait up! I want to play, too!" And I know I'm a shit for feeling this way, but it's how it is. I admit that I suck.

On a good note, however, I found seven dollars in my pockets this morning. Any of you guys find seven dollars in your khakis? No? That's too bad.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Do you hear Springsteen? Or is that John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band?

My mother is, of course, known for her dependable music criticism. This is the woman whose reaction to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was, "This sounds like church music. Turn it off."

Sometimes, when I'm home, I like to subject her to indie rock just to get a rise out of her. For example, I once drove her to Wal-Mart (we're always driving to Wal-Mart, y'all) and had Joanna Newsom playing softly on the stereo. When we hit a lull in conversation, I gradually turned up the volume, which was only audible for seconds before my mother smacked buttons to change it, complaining about "the demonic, singing child." (Granted, I'll admit she wasn't ready for Joanna Newsom, and sometimes that observation isn't too far off.)

Moments like these keep me motivated to play music for her, even just as background noise for when we're driving somewhere. I've discovered she likes The Shins and Jamie Lidell, but Cat Power is "too depressing" and she did a cute(?) little impression of Neko Case, screeching, "JOHN the BAAAAPTIIIIST!!" Adorable.

My favorite Mom-moment happened while I was home last week. We were driving to Richmond and I had Neon Bible playing, which she mostly ignored while she talked to me. When she paused for a while, allowing me to turn up the music for a brief moment, she told me that it sounded like Eddie and the Cruisers.

Obvs. The Arcade Fire is surely not the only band influenced by titular, fictional bands of early '80s cult movies.

I'm a simple man, really.

I woke up this morning knowing that all I need in my life right now is a new job and/or an argyle sweater vest.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Raspberries? More like BANANAS.

I'm not going to write about St. Patrick's Day because I did that last year and don't really have anything new to say about it. I hope I get drunk tomorrow and don't vomit anything green. The end.

Instead, I'm going to take the opportunity to alienate more readers. And / or bring them down to my loser-level.

I got real tips' last night and watched Thoroughly Modern Millie. Alone. Wanna hear about it? OK!

I never had any interest in the movie or the play basically because I only knew that it involved a young girl in the '20s making her way through New York City in every possible jazzy way. And frankly, that did not interest me at all. It sounded like it could only appeal to musical theater majors and very old ladies. I mean, doesn't this scene from the show look absolutely miserable - like how you'd feel if you ate three boxes of peeps?
But then Netflix recommended the original movie (thanks, Netflix), and I read that the movie is actually about a white slavery plot. White slavery. A musical about white slavery with Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, and Carol Channing. Clearly, it was worth checking out.

Luckily, I was drunk enough to enjoy how FUCKING CRAZY this movie was. It's pretty much the musical movie version of the All Saints video. Millie (Julie Andrews) and Miss Dorothy (Mary Tyler Moore) live in a single ladies' hotel run by a very white Beatrice Lillie who pretends to be Chinese despite her non-Asian surname. Mrs. Meers targets the lonely, orphaned, single girls, kidnaps them, and has her bumbling (of course) Chinese henchmen (who are not given names and are listed as "Asian #1" and "Asian #2" in the credits) (Pat Morita plays Asian #2, natch) cart them off to Chinatown in a laundry basket. What I don't understand is why no one notices that the girls disappear; we see newspaper headlines that reveal the shocking news of kidnapped girls sold into white slavery, but how do the newspapers know if NO ONE REALIZES THE GIRLS ARE EVEN MISSING? (Reason why I wish all musicals were made in 1967: #1.)

Meanwhile, Carol Channing shows up as Muzzy van Hossmere. Carol Channing gets shot out of a motherfucking canon while yelling out her catchphrase, "Raspberries!" (Reason why I wish all musicals were made in 1967: #2.)

To make a long story short, there's a lot of jazzin' and razzmatazzin' going on until FINALLY Mrs. Meers kidnaps Miss Dorothy and sells her to the evil Chinese. Then Millie & Co. go to Chinatown and save her by igniting a fireworks factory. It takes two hours and fifteen minutes for the movie to get to this sequence, by the way. AND THEN there's a finale, wherein Mrs. Meers tracks down the crew at Muzzy's mansion and has Asian #1 and Asian #2 engage in an acrobatic battle sequence (literally - there are trampolines involved) with the three ladies. (Reason why I wish all musicals were made in 1967: #3.) Eventually, the movie ends and Millie marries her true love and says, "I don't want to be a woman anymore. I want to be your wife." I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea. (Reason why I wish all musicals were made in 1967: #4)

In conclusion, what I learned from this movie can be summed up with the following mathematical proof:

Julie Andrews + white slavery > Julie Andrews + Nazis.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lunchtime Poll: Do you ever hear voices in your head?

Today's poll topic comes courtesy of Christina "WHY DON'T I HAVE A BOYFRIEND" (That never gets old! NEVER!) Boucher, who, by the way, told me that my blog primarily consists of things I hear her say. (Is this too meta for you, Christina? Am I blowing your mind?) ANYWAY, I really like this topic because it's something I've thought about (lie) and have an answer for (the god's-honest-truth).

If you're like me, you were a very jealous and bitter child who grew up in the early '90s not understanding why Kevin Arnold was lucky enough to have Daniel Stern narrate his life on The Wonder Years. It just wasn't fair, I thought, that I didn't have a distinctive voice in my head explaining to an audience what I was always thinking. (I'm dead-serious here. I was the kind of kid who kept journals full of LIES, expecting someday that I'd be famous and someone would want to publish my juvenilia.)

So, if you're like me, you've thought of a celebrity who you'd want to narrate your life. I picked the Academy Award-winning star of Kindergarten Cop*, Linda Hunt:
Who would you pick, and why?

*Sadly, Linda Hunt did not win for Kindergarten Cop.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Great Moments, all around.

I've had a lot of roommates. Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

August 2001 - January 2002. I lived in Dingledine Hall (yes, that's right) with James, also known as Fuckhead. James was a ridiculous human being who smoked so much pot. I've never known anyone who smoked as much pot as James. On top of that, he was an idiot. He took the basic freshman public speaking course three times. You know how hard it is, persuasively speaking to a class of your peers. He was a business major. Surprise!

January - May 2002. Lived in Converse Hall, the upper-class "substance free" dorm (full of Christians and people who were afraid of alcohol, like I was) with David, a music major who watched a lot of Golden Girls and whose only wall decoration was a Ralph Lauren beach towel with a teddy bear on it.

August 2002 - May 2003. Ohhhh, Jason. What a year that was. I lived in Converse again even though I was not as afraid of alcohol. Unfortunately, Jason clearly was, and a few days after move-in, he showed me pictures of his freshman year roommate's liquor stash. Why'd he take the pictures? "You know, in case I ever had to blackmail him." What an incredibly creepy / incredibly inane and pointless thing to do. Jason also had an affinity for Celine Dion, buying eighty-dollar human sexuality textbooks (because buying a sex book at Barnes and Noble for twenty bucks "would be weird"), and skipping to the last scenes in movies to find out how they end ("Wasn't Sophie's Choice devastating?!").

May 2003 - July 2003. Martha and I shared an apartment in the Straw House in downtown Harrisonburg with Lindsey, Lesley, and some girl whose name I can't remember. Katie? We didn't talk to her much (in fact, I don't think Martha ever recognized her). It was when I realized that my roommates didn't necessarily need to be batshit crazy.

August 2003 - May 2004. After a year with Jason, I decided to live alone. In an old Howard Johnson. Off Interstate 81. I had a heat lamp in the bathroom and a padded headboard.

May 2004 - June 2004. I had a sublet in an apartment with my friend Becca and her batshit crazy roommate. We had an awkward moment when I walked out into the living room and she was brushing her teeth. Topless.

June 2004 - June 2005. Martha and I lived in the JMs next door to Kristin and Janna and a dumpster that had "Puberty Sandwich" spray-painted on it. Living with Martha was great because she could cook, and I'd wake up occasionally to find blueberry muffins and coffee cake sitting in the kitchen. Martha also understood that if the steam from the shower sets off the smoke alarm, the only rational move is to dismantle the smoke alarm.

August 2005 - November 2005. I lived in a Coach House near Southport and Addison with Kristin, Janna, and Laurie. We were mostly unemployed and drank a lot. Hilarity ensued.

November 2005 - February 2006: Laurie moved home to Virginia, so then it was Kristin, Janna, and Joe. Hilarity paused, then ensued again.

February 2006 - July 2006. Kristin moved out to live with Dan, and Nicole moved in. Then Joe started cooking a lot of bacon and fish. Things were kind of weird.

July 2006 - Present. Nicole and I found the apartment on Pine Grove, which was fish- and bacon-free. Christina moved in with us, and things were just nutty (the good kind). We watched a lot of SVU, spooned (or, as Nicole affectionately called it, "cuddle raped"), listened to James Blunt, and spoke with Boston accents.

Nicole is moving home today and I'm sad because she's one of my best friends and, perhaps more importantly, one of my more normal roommates. In honor of her leaving, I shall now post some pictures to remember her by. Love ya, Troll!

Mom's got dongs on the brain.

As much as I'm fortunate that I was able to go home in honor of a C0ates Family Crisis, as well as relieved that my dad is doing much better and coming home from the hospital today, I'm going to just say that I'm even happier to be back in Chicago. It was quite an exhausting weekend, and I think I spent at least twelve hours driving to and from Richmond. Also, I had to put up with my mother's inside jokes, which are really jokes she only shares with herself. (For example: We were in the video store, looking for something we thought we could watch, and she pointed at a box and said, "What about Jarhead?! Ha ha ha!!!" I just stared at her and said, "What?" She replied, "Oh, it just doesn't seem like a movie you'd watch." Good one, Mom.)

I don't get my mom's sense of humor sometimes; I find it's even more awkward and random than my own. When I told her about how Christina "WHY DON'T I HAVE A BOYFRIEND?!" Boucher told me that she'd know her soul mate when he walks up to her and asks if he can put his George Strait in her Pure Country, she replied, loudly, and in the general radiological surgery waiting room, "'Clint Black' would be a good euphemism for a penis. You know, like, 'Get your Clint Black away from me.'" Clearly she had put some thought into this and was just waiting for an appropriate moment to bring it up.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

We serve Gallo's finest.

There is a dearth of restaurants in my hometown (surprise, surprise!), so when my mother asked me where I wanted to eat dinner the other night, I told her I'd like to go to Angelo's, the staple in C0ates family Italian dining. Angelo's is one of the two "Italian" restaurants in town; it's slightly more authentic than Nino's (owned by a Pakistani couple) because the original Angelo was Greek. That's close enough to Italy, right? Right. Anyway, Angelo's is the kind of place that would list Sam Adams as an imported beer (it doesn't actually - that "Italian" restaurant is Roma's a few towns over), so I really wasn't shocked when my mother ordered a Cabernet at dinner and the waitress replied, "That's the room temperature one, right?"

Friday, March 09, 2007

The ignorance is so thick, you can cut it with a knife.

I'm experiencing a lot of culture shock for some reason on this trip home, I think mostly because my grandmother and her friend picked me up from the airport and the heavily accented discussions about Olive Garden were overwhelming. It's one thing to discuss chain "nice restaurants" with my parents; I'mso used to it that I don't even notice how it's so fundamentally depressing that the Bloomin' Onion we just ordered is the topic of conversation. But man, there's something about riding in an SUV with a woman you've never met and your mostly silent grandmother that really knocks your socks off, in a kind of "Ehhh, this is weird" way. Ye Gods, those salads really are to die for.

Also, I've been keeping track, and the rate of Mall Bangs is very high. My mother said it's not so much normal, bad country hair as much as it is what she calls "Hospital Hair," which I suppose is understandable. There's been a very welcome absence of Mom Jeans, especially on my mom (although I told her that she needs to buy longer jeans because she was floodin').

I've also been keeping an informal record of overt political incorrectness, which has been surprisingly low. One was when my grandmother was asked about who was living in So-and-So's house, and she replied, "I think it's some Mexicans." The other was a reference to someone missing my father's jaundice (oh, how I'm so upset about missing out on that, too): "I didn't see you when you looked like an Oriental." I'll be really impressed if that's all I hear before I return to Chicago on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Seriously, someone is screwing with me.

After an action-packed day, I'm finally at Home Home, trying to think of something other than my father being back in the hospital, the fact that my grandfather has been in the hospital since Friday and I just found out this morning, the possibility that my rent check will bounce and I won't be able to do anything about it until NEXT Friday, and having my grandmother's friend Earlene make us clasp hands and pray in the Arby's before lunch.

And just when I think I can enjoy the weather, at least, since I AM in Virginia and it's supposed to be nice and warm, I discover (thanks to that it's actually warmer in Chicago right now.

With friends like these!

Whenever I pass along the bad news I receive to Christina, which usually happens through GChat or text messaging (and is becoming extremely frequent as March steadily rolls along), she responds with, "Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you honey!" It simultaneously cheers me up (because she knows exactly how Lite Rock heals all wounds) and drives me fucking crazy (because then I have "Danny's Song" stuck in my head for eight hours).

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Afternoon Poll: What's your favorite '90s album?

Sorry, guys. There was some messiness this morning at work and I spent my lunchbreak trying to secure a new job, so I didn't have time to post a question the entire Internet (the whole thing - every goddamn one of you) could ponder over. So here we go!

It's March, which is the month that I a. thank God for, since Feburary is over, and b. spend a lot of time not paying attention to college basketball. Lucky for me, the music bloggers over at Merry Swankster have made this month more interesting, if only for me (and for Adam, who I somehow convinced to give a shit). They're having their own version of March Madness, but it's involving the best albums of the '90s. Who'll win? Radiohead, obvs., but I'm hoping Neutral Milk Hotel and The Magnetic Fields at least make it in the Final Four.

Anyway, when you're done checking out the brackets and setting up pools and waging lots and lots of money on the albums that, if you're like me, were too young to listen to when they were released, leave a comment HERE and tell me about your favorite album (or albums) from the '90s! Here are my picks:

Exile In Guyville (Duh.)
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
I See A Darkness
69 Love Songs
Moon Pix
Come On Feel The Lemonheads

Automatic For The People
Le Tigre

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thank God we're not in 1998.

I've decided to take a break this morning from Depression 2007 to talk about British pop music. Because, why not? I've got opinions, damn it, and access to the Internet, so I might as well bore you with something that doesn't involve me being crazy. Can I do that, Internet? Thank you.

American pop music is usually entertaining enough that I can overlook the general shittiness, but British pop music makes absolutely no sense to me. I really just don't get it. When I was in college, I asked a British acquaintance to help me come to terms with the state of his country's pop music. I said, "Please, will you just explain to me why people keep listening to Robbie Williams? I don't understand." He replied, "You know that Crazy Frog that's always on MySpace? Well, that song was a number one hit in England." It sort of made sense after that.

Anyway, I bring all of this up because over the weekend Christina ("WHY DON'T I HAVE A BOYFRIEND?!" Boucher) was singing "Never Ever" by All Saints, and - again, thank you, Internet - we searched for the video on MySpace. Please, indulge yourself:

This song blows my mind because it's so weird. It's such a strange pop song, even for its time and place. (This is 1998 we're talking about, when British pop had infiltrated our country with the Spice Girls.) I found this website that ANALYZES the song as a reworking of "Amazing Grace," (which, now that I have "Never Ever" STUCK IN MY HEAD, I can totally hear) and drops references to JAMES JOYCE. I don't know any other songs from the period (God, I'm talking about 1998 like it was HISTORY) that starts of with a monologue. And clunky lyrics? Oh boy, are those lyrics clunky. Look here: "My head's spinning / Boy, I'm in a daze / I feel isolated / Don't wanna communicate / I take a shower / I will scour / I will roam." You're going to shower and scour? That's not very poppy. And then there's my favorite: "Sometimes vocabulary runs through my head / The alphabet runs right from A to Zed." What? "Zed" isn't even a letter! [UPDATE: Matt tells me that "zed" is how British people pronounce "Z."]

And then there's the video. I'm not talking about the one above, which is the European video. That one's very basic and boring: the girl(s) reminisces about her relationship with some dude while looking very dramatic and airbrushed. And then her apartment blows up. It's pretty typical and literal, but for those of us who liked more explosions and nonsense in the late '90s, there is a second, American video for the song:

HOLY BALLS, I miss the '90s. This one has it all: a church blowing up, that kind of '90s stand-in-place-but-bop-up-and-down-at-the-same-time dance, slow-motion and backwards action (clearly this influenced that Coldplay video), slow-motion BREAKDANCING, fire, and, finally, THOUSANDS OF ALL SAINTS stand-up-bopping around and being generally sassy. And then, just when you think it's over, a huge sheet comes down to reveal a helicopter. Brilliant.

Please check back tomorrow for my analysis of "The Boy is Mine" by Brandy and Monica.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Go fuck yourself, 2007.

I'm going to try to avoid making any runaway train (never goin' back) metaphors, since I am apt to do so unconsciously, but I would like to say that if one happened to come by right now and bash in my face, it'd be alright by me. And I'm also going to try to be somewhat humorous, since the first draft was all, "Oh my God, life sucks so hard right now. Please have some empathy for me blah blah blah." And none of us want that shit.

I've been trying to accentuate the positive and all that jazz lately, but it seems that everything good just so happens to be negated by something a little bit shittier. For example, my next two weeks are three-day work weeks, yay! Oh, but I get to go home. I mean, great, I get to spend six days without worrying about buying food and fixing it for myself, but it will also involve sitting around and being depressed with the rest of my family. Well, balls. I'm not particularly looking forward to that, and I know it's a horrible thing to say and I feel really, really shitty about it, but it's the way I feel and I can't help it, and sometimes I just want to be a brat and be an asshole. I'm so self-aware of my selfishness, that I'm on the fence about if I actually am being selfish or just pretending I am. I don't know.

Because I was depressed pretty much all weekend (except when I discovered that Wii bowling adds at least fifty points to your score, which was great for me until I realized that everyone else was already better than me and their scores were up fifty points, too), I went to buy shit I didn't need. I went to a used book store and got a good deal on a bunch of books I'll never read (The Mansions of Virginia: 1706-1776 by Thomas Tileston Waterman), and then I went to Best Buy. I was going to buy a digital voice recorder for my trip home so I could interview my grandfather and get him to tell me some of his stories. He's got a lot of them. He almost got into a fight with Henry Fonda in a bar, for Christ's sake. That's worth recording. I also wanted him to tell me that cute story about how we're connected to John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln conspirators. B-U-T I shouldn't spend money on an electronic device that I probably won't ever use again (unless Christina and I actually decide to quit our jobs and drive around the South to prepare for our book that we planned to write a few weeks ago). I mean, being twenty-three means disposable income and credit card debt, but I don't have that much income to throw out, and my mother brought me up to be shameful of using credit cards. (And I thought Episcopalians weren't supposed to have any guilt.)

I did end up going to Target and bought bath towels (whoop, whoop) and poster frames, which I "needed" so that I could avoid being too collegiate and having to affix my nice posters (meaning, not my beat-up Run Lola Run poster) to my walls.

And here's another thing that's bothering me: I finally watched Casablanca. And I thought it was boring. Did you hear that world? I didn't like Casablanca, and you can go suck a D.

AND THIS: Chris Martin actually said that Coldplay's next album will include a song that everyone should hear before they die. I scanned the page several times to see if it was actually an article from The Onion. "I can't tell you about it, but it's basically genius," he says. Right. And my girlfriend is totally real, she just lives in Canada and is working on getting a Visa so she can move down here. Really. I swear. Go fuck yourself, Chris Martin.

Sorry, I digress. We're supposed to be talking about me here.

I think I just hate this year. I mean, January was great, but then February came and fucked it all up, and now it's March but I feel like I've still got a hangover from last month. The weather isn't helping; the temperature is going up to the mid-forties and then spiking back down to the twenties, as if God is saying, "Ha ha!! Suck it, Chicago!" I mean, yeah, it's going to be in the sixties over the weekend in Montross, but I don't get to enjoy it by walking to a bar with only one layer on like I would here.

I've been stuck here for about an hour, so I guess that's my cue to end this post. (God, I feel like I'm writing an email or something.) I'm going to listen to Born to Run now and try to feel better about things. (And the one thing I'll get out of it is: At least I don't live in New Jersey!)

They were registered at Target.

I woke up this morning from a nightmare. I was shopping for a wedding present for Brad and Angie, and I had no idea what to buy. What do you get for the couple that has everything? And after going from store to store without success, I got more and more frustrated. It's just like them to make me pay for a destination wedding so I can see them trot around Darfur, holding babies and letting me know that they are better people than I am because they have the time to adopt, so I finally said, "You know what? I'm going to send them a fondue pot and a subscription to Smithsonian and then use that airfare toward some rich city in Europe."

Friday, March 02, 2007

Me & My Babies

I've always said (not out loud, really - mostly in my head) that if I ever had the chance to have a threesome with a celebrity couple, I'd pick Amy Poehler and Will Arnett because it'd be hilarious. I'd be comfortable just sitting back after a while because, honestly, they so crazy. I bet there'd be funny voices and nutty faces and everything. And balloon animals. Who knows what would happen?

But last night I changed my mind after going to Borders (ick, I know. I tried Reckless but was unsuccessful) and buying Back Numbers, the new duets album by Dean & Britta (née Britta Phillips & Dean Wareham). They were both members of Luna; before that, Dean was in Galaxie 500 and Britta was the singing voice of Jem. And they make beautiful, beautiful music together. Perhaps I can score a ticket to see them at Schuba's in two weeks and suggest a trio?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lunchtime Poll: Tell me about your co-workers.

I didn't forget to post a poll topic yesterday. The truth is that I couldn't think of anything to ask about. Well, anything other than, "What should I do with my life?" No one seems to be interested in answering that one for me, so I figured I'd give you guys a break.

Anyway, this one comes from Megan and her office mates, who had the following conundrum:

Who pisses you off more - the people you work for, or the people you work with?

I really hope Megan's co-workers get the opportunity to leave a few comments, too, but leaving Megan's name out of it, of course.

Angelina explains it all.

Megan sent me the link to Angelina Jolie's editorial in the Washington Post yesterday, which I sent to Gawker (the associate editor responded, "Love her bio: 'The writer is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.'"). (It should say something that my Outlook inbox is filled with unanswered emails from my colleagues, yet I'm going out of my way to tip Gawker Media.) Anyway, I didn't read the article, but it reminds me that I have to admit that I have no idea what's going on in Darfur. I know it's bad, but I don't know how bad. I guess I could read the Wikipedia article or something, but wouldn't it be a lot easier if there was just a movie about it? What's George Clooney waiting for anyway? Is it going to take ten years like it did with Rwanda? There's absolutely no excuse, considering this movie exists, and that hasn't even happened yet.

I suppose I could just read Angelina Jolie's "article," but I find it somewhat degrading when a woman who five years ago wore a vial of her husband's blood around her neck tries to teach me how the world works.