Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Et shitera, et shitera, et shitera.

Last night, after therapy (sad sack reference number one!), I decided to finally face my fear of eating at a real restaurant alone and went and got dinner by myself at Nookies in Boystown (#2! jealous?). And it was fine; I read a book while I waited for my chicken sandwich, and it wasn't weird at all. Sometimes it's nicer to not have to worry about splitting the bill with someone else at a cash-only restaurant.

When I was about to leave, I checked my phone and saw I missed a call from my mom, so I called her back. She asked me how I was, how therapy went, etc. I was like, "Eh, as usual, just generally disappointed with life, etc," which is kind of my response lately for how I'm feeling. I asked her how dad was doing tonight and she said, "Well, he's not feeling well today." And then I remembered that they were supposed to meet with the oncologist today and I had completely forgotten about it.

The cancer hasn't reacted to the treatments he was taking, and the doctor told them that there's really nothing else they can do. My parents have already called hospice care and a nurse came by the house last night for the first visit.

I'd like to spare the details of how sick he is because it's hard enough for me to think about it already. The worst part about the situation is not knowing what the time frame is. I suppose that's the thing with mortality: you know it's going to happen sometime, but normally you have the benefit of positive thinking. Generally, unless you're incredibly pessimistic and sad, you have the feeling that death isn't just around the corner. Of course, with cancer, you don't get that; instead, you have to sit there, knowing it's going to happen, possibly sooner than you exepct, or vice-versa.

After the phone call, I managed to stay pretty calm. I was in Lakeview, and I had nothing to do, but I knew that if I went home I'd just spend the rest of the night crying. I tried to walk around Broadway, barely keeping it together, and finally got on the bus, heading back home. Riding the Broadway bus is depressing enough, but it's a little more miserable when you're crying in front of strangers.

I'm alright, I guess, other than the bouts of sobbing and the overwhelming feeling of heartbreak. I'm staying home from work today and I'm going to sleep for a while and maybe watch some movies and order pizza or something. And then, this afternoon or tonight, I'm going to figure out what my plan is. I've already got a flight home next weekend (I bought the ticket a few weeks ago), but, honestly, I don't want to have to come back to Chicago and leave that behind. My mother thinks I should, and part of me agrees, but I also don't really want to be six hundred miles away while this is going on.

In other news, British children:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vlogging.

Remember when Christina and I were going to start vlogging? No? Well, I can't remind you, since I pulled the post asking for special vlogging requests because Christina chickened out because she "doesn't want her face and her voice on the Internet together," or something equally lameassed. Then she told me she'd only do it if she could have a hand-puppet play her, but that didn't happen because she didn't want to use just a sock and is too lazy to put the effort into making a sock puppet that looks like her, especially if it's something for MY benefit.

It was suggested that she vlog as her Bea Arthur puppet, but then I realized I'm not that ghey.

Today on Videogum, Lindsay challenged Gabe to create a vlog. And I think it's safe to say that I no longer have the desire or energy to add anything to the VLOGISPHERE. (See what I did there?)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Poophead.

I've had a rough couple of weeks and the shitty thing is that I haven't necessarily wanted to write about it here. There's only so much one can take of my whining, and there's only so much of my own boring bitching that I can handle, as well. But still, self-censorship sucks, which is why I've been so active on Tumblr recently. That shit is blogging crack, and it's rather terrible. (Admittedly, though, the nice thing about my Tumblr is that I don't have a SiteMeter, and don't plan on putting on there. It's somewhat refreshing to not be paranoid about who is watching the YouTube videos I post.)

I'm in a general life-funk, wherein every aspect is a little shitty. I've been thinking about going to school again, but I don't want to work: I just want to go back to school full time. I told Christina last night that the idea of going to grad school is incredibly appealing, but at the same time would be like me having a baby to fix a bad relationship. I need a master's in English like I need a child. Sure, it'd be cute and everything, and I'd be proud of this thing I made, but after two years I'd realize that it's not getting me anywhere and I'll have to pay for it sometime. (I'll stop now, because I'm too lazy to think this metaphor through and make it work. Which, I think, is part of my problem.)

I also decided recently that I really want to write for a living. I just want to publish things on the Internet and somehow get paid for it. I really hate having to worry about being insured; if I didn't have that hanging over my head, I think I'd be much happier doing something more creative for a living. Yet, as I am my worst critic, I'm generally disappointed with everything I write, even if someone tells me that they enjoy it. I lack the discipline and motivation to do anything, and I think my self-awareness is possibly more dangerous than my laziness.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tumblin'

So, I'm sort of cheating on you, Blog. But not in a bad way!

I started a Tumblr a while ago and was just posting pictures that I took. And then I was bored one day and started reblogging things. And then I posted IM conversations. And then links. And I realized that Tumblr is really fucking addictive and fun, especially since the presence of people "following" me appeals to my vain sensibility.

Plus, it's nice to have a venue to post random shit online without cluttering up my blog here. I think that I can manage to keep both sites up and reserve it for the wonderful, charming, well-written narrative pieces you all love. (Right?)

So, it's not that I'm cheating. It's just that I want an open relationship. Is that okay, Blog?

Attend the Tale.



When I was home a few weekends ago, I got to watch a filmed version of Company on PBS's Great Performances. It was the revival that appeared on Broadway last, directed by John Doyle. It was fantastic, mostly because the actors played their own instruments and the play's staging was so fucking amazing.

I knew of the play and the director because he also revived Sondheim's Sweeney Todd about two years ago, and like Company, the earlier revival was a stripped-down production where the actors doubled as the orchestra. It's almost unfair to use the term to describe the group of musicians, since there are only about ten people on stage above the empty orchestra pit.

Last night, Rachel and I went to see Sweeney open at the Cadillac Palace, where it'll be for a week before the touring production leaves Chicago and goes to somewhere like St. Louis or something. It had been a while since I'd seen a musical; I think the last was Les Miserables in Richmond about five years ago. I'm no Broadway connoisseur, I'm just some gay who likes musicals sometimes. And I can't formally criticize the show, since I don't know enough about putting on a big production and how all of that theatre shit works. But let me tell you this: the production of Sweeney Todd blew my fucking face off.

Seriously, I rarely notice how much influence a director has on a play, especially when it's a touring cast (I've never seen a show in New York, and I've only really seen musicals when they came through Richmond on tour). But I sat in the front row of the balcony last night in complete awe as I watched a group of ten people pull of an amazing feat. It was thousands of times better than that stupid, lame-ass Johnny Depp mess of a film. All of this considering the flaws in the production!

Seriously, John Doyle. I want you to direct my life.

Rachel and I had so much fun last night. We even ate at a fancy-assed restaurant where our bill was waaaaay too much and we split a fifty-two dollar bottle of wine. But good lord, it was delicious. I want to see more shows as they come through town - Avenue Q will be here in May, and hey, maybe I could even convince one of my non-musical inclined friends to go. It's got puppets, you guys!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Eat my PETA.

It is World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week. Since I work in a research center, the staff was told to be on high alert. Which also means I have to carry my ID with me at all times and show it to security guards when asked.

Here's yet another example of how the animal rights movement only affects me in a negative way. I'm gonna go get a hamburger for lunch now.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Today is Adam's birthday.

Here's a bad picture of Adam from his birthday last year:



This picture will never cease to make me feel all warm inside. Whenever I'm blue, I look at that picture, and I'm happy again. Thank you, Adam.

In case you're wondering, Adam is 30-Next-Birthday.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Oh, The Wire? HBO, right? I get HBO. That's cool."

I am inspired to write a blog post, even though I don't really have anything to say. But I'm in a surprisingly good mood, because despite a miserable week, I had a pretty fantastic weekend.

I went back to Berlin twice this weekend, as is my wont, and I managed to leave without feeling completely lousy. Friday night was Bjork night, which was kind of bizarre, but still rather fun. I managed to not run into anyone I was avoiding - again! - which always feels like a success. I did see this guy I had a brief, two-week thing with that kind of fizzled out for no reason. I only really saw him when we were out, and after the last time we saw each other I never called or texted him back. I was feeling a little bit guilty about that this week, and when I first saw him on Friday night I was nervous. But then when he saw me he said, "I'm so sorry I haven't called you!" It was kind of funny because, honestly, it was fine. And I hung out with him and his friends and it wasn't weird and nothing happened and it was perfect. Maybe that is how I will end up making friends with gay guys: after drunkenly making out and realizing that we really only like each other enough to hang out platonically, and we can do so without it getting weird.

On Saturday night I went to see Todd Barry at the Lakeshore with Mindy, which was my birthday present to her (I got free tickets). Afterward we went to Simon's in Andersonville, which was the first non-gay bar I've been to in forever, and it was nice and relaxing and fun and cheap. They had a jukebox and I was very tempted to play "Oh Comely," because it's a gorgeous song and, also, why the hell is that on a jukebox in a BAR? After I had a few G&Ts, one of which was on the house for some suspicious reason, I left to go back to Berlin. Saturday nights at Berlin are much lamer and, apparently, trashier, as I was hit on (literally, to the beat of some seven-minute house jam) by a guy who tried to have first-date conversation with me in the middle of the dance floor. "What's your favorite TV show? Who is your favorite singer? Are you an artist? I'm not hitting on you, I'm just curious." I don't know; if you have to specify to someone that you're not hitting on them, there's a reason why your behavior could be mistaken for a come-on.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A quick thought.

If M.I.A. was from Maine instead of Sri Lanka, do you think she'd have a song called "Bangor Banga"?

Shake a Fist.

Last night I went with my homies (or something), which included Adam and Jackie, to see Hot Chip. I had fun, although the show didn't blow me away or anything (there was that period in the middle where the songs were really long, kinda slow, and unfamiliar and I got bored).

Everytime I go to The Vic I remember how much I hate shows in medium-sized venues, which are the kinds of places where you get to experience humanity full-on, right in your face. For example, at shows like that there are the assholes who say, "I HAVE TO GET AS CLOSE TO THE STAGE AS POSSIBLE BUT I AM NOT GOING TO GET THERE UNTIL TEN MINUTES AFTER THE HEADLINER STARTS TO PLAY." (I'm pretty sure they think in all caps, and, if it were possible to think in a specific font, their thoughts would be in Comic Sans.) Unfortunately, we were standing near the stairs so most of the traffic bumped into us at some point during Hot Chip's opening song, and Jackie, for one, got a little aggravated, and I think scared a lot of people.

The best part was when this group of three young ladies, two white and one black, who tried to push by Jackie. I noticed it when the black girl yelled at him, "You spilled my beer!" She then turned her almost-empty cup upside down, spilling the rest on Jackie. Immediately, I thought, "DON'T DO ANYTHING JACKIE. IT'S THE ONE BLACK GIRL AT THIS HOT CHIP SHOW AND IT'S PROBABLY BRITTANY." But then I realized that it was, in fact, not Brittany, and I turned around. I approve of you being an asshole if I like you, but if you're some stranger, you get what's coming to you.

(I should mention that about ten minutes later, Jackie turned to me and said, in a daze, "Oh, shit. That wasn't Britticisms, was it?" He had mentioned before the show how he hoped to meet her if we saw her at the show. OH, BLOGOSPHERE.)

Also, why the hell do people stand directly in front of me while I've been dancing? I'm talking to you, my tall, Aryan friend in the red track jacket with "POLSKA" on the back. I was confused; did you want me to grind you? Did you want to be the little spoon? I wasn't going to stop dancing just 'cause some dude was all up on my jank, even though I knew he wasn't REALLY into that. But I had to teach him a lesson, which was that you don't throw off my groove, no matter how straight you are. I have an angry, half-Mexican, possibly-hallucinating gay on my side who will break your face open.

I didn't see that many people I knew last night, which was good because I didn't have to avoid eye contact after all. There was the moment, of course, we all can relate to: you're five feet away from someone you're not really talking to anymore, and you're both aware of it, and you're trying to hold off that uncomfortable, but unavoidable, greeting. That happened, and it wasn't too awful, and I survived, as we all do in those situations.

Also, Hot Chip ended the show with a cover of this song, and it was a delight:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Coincidentally, I'm sure you care about what I have to say, as well.

Adam and I, unfortunately, live in an Internet world where we know who Jako Blodwick (HA HA HA) is, and I'm not proud of it. Adam had a good post this morning about online commenting in the context of Blodwick, and instead of leaving a comment on his Tumblr, I wanted to add my two cents here.

I'm reading this really good book by Michael Ondaatje called Divisadero, and I was on GoodReads and came across this review written by "Tony," and it may be one of the best things I've seen on the Internet all week. Please, take a gander:





Obviously, the best part is this: "First off, he doesn't use quotes for dialogue and I love every writer who can do that. Since I'm actively submitting my novel in it's current form to agents for representation, I can't even push that envelope since the publishing industry is scared of my theme....so why give them something else to be scared about?"

You're right, Tony. Don't push the envelope too much. The industry - nay, the world - can only take so much of your edge.

I love that Goodreads comments are essentially as bad as the comments on YouTube; it just proves that literacy doesn't necessarily equal intelligence, especially when any asshole can call out a Booker Prize-winning novelist on the Internet and expect some sort of response. Everybody knows that Goodreads is just Facebook with a focus on books: you collect friends and show off how smart you are.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't you love me anymore, Mama?



I suppose the fact that my mother hasn't called me about possible cougar attacks means that she's finally comfortable with me living in The Big City and Far Away From Home. Perhaps it's because when she said that she probably make a ton of parenting mistakes with me, I replied that I thought "she did things right 90% of the time." (I also think that's why she gave me forty dollars FOR NO GOOD REASON. Flattery, folks!)

But still, it'd be nice to get an email making sure I'm okay and safe from cougars. I suppose she assumes I'd just forward it to other bloggers or post it here.

The absence of any kind of potentially embarrassing missive could be for those reasons, or because I called her today in a panic because my tax returns were rejected for the second time and she knows full-well that I am absolutely safe and in my usual, neurotic state.

I hate MySpace.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday.

On the way to the airport, my mother and I stopped at a Ruby Tuesday in Bowie, Maryland. Southern Maryland is a magical place, one which rivals the entire state of New Jersey for the title of Grossest Place on Earth. As we drove north on 301, I thought, "Well, the Northern Neck is sad and slightly pathetic, but at least it's pretty. And not in Maryland."

An aside: We drove by this place:


Anyway, getting to the point: We were sitting in Ruby Tuesday, which has recently gone through some kind of transformation, apparently, into a modern, classy joint. They got rid of the Tiffany lamps and took chicken fingers off the menu, and all of the meals came on square, white plates, the kind one might find at CB2. They still have a salad bar, of course, so they manage to retain an air of lower-middle class despite the fiber-enriched wheat holding my hamburger.

As I stared at my half-eaten burger, I suddenly realized that "I Feel It All" was playing on the radio. It was as if I had entered some strange dimension: a modern eating atmosphere with Feist playing on the stereo... in Bowie, Maryland. (By the way, that is pronounced "Boo-wie," and not like the famous singer.) I kind of chuckled and said, "This feels weird."

My mother replied, "What?"

"Well, Feist is on the radio in small-town Maryland." Again, I had to explain who Feist was, despite hearing "Inside and Out" an hour earlier on a mix-CD I made for my mom two years ago. ("Ooh, I like this one!" she exclaimed.)

"It's just weird that I saw Feist play in a small bar three years ago before she got famous, and now she being nominated for Grammies and being played on the radio in Maryland," I said.

There was a brief pause wherein my mother tried to come up with a response. She then stated: "I saw Seals & Crofts before they were famous."

I think she wins.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Literally and figuratively.

(I know a lot of things, one of them is how hard it is to go into a self-imposed blogging exile.)

I recently finished my third book of the year, which is a terrible thing to admit because I used to be able to read that many in a month. I've always so tired in the mornings that I save my commute downtown for a quick nap (which usually leaves me groggier than I was before I got on the train), and in the afternoons the trains are so packed that it's hard to find room to pull out a book.

Anyway, the book I just finished was the much-lauded Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. It was hard for me to get into it, honestly, and I felt like it was a little over-hyped. But once I got the thirty-page interlude in the middle that detached itself from the central storyline, everything changed, and the second half of the book was pretty damn good.

Anyway, the book takes place at a Chicago advertising agency at the end of the 20th century. One of the many plot lines is that the workers in the office have to come up with an idea for a pro-bono project for a cancer awareness campaign. Their task is to create an ad that can make a cancer patient laugh, and, of course, they have issues coming up something that's funny about cancer.

I'm not going to give anything else about the story away, but I will share this one that came out of a conversation I had with a friend about a month ago. We were discussing cancer; I was talking about my dad and she was sharing stories about the cancer that her family members have dealt with. I can't remember what relative was stricken with this certain cancer, but she said, "She [a grandmother, or an aunt, whichever] had melanoma...on her anus."

"What?" I said. "You can get it there?"

"You can get it anywhere," she replied, "even where the sun doesn't shine."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I'm sorry...

...but I had to come out of my break (I haven't been seeing anyone else, by the way, I promise) to post this picture, because holy eff:

Monday, April 07, 2008

1AM Declarations

I've published things about myself on the Internet in some form or another for the last seven years. With each year, and each new blogging site, I've become more and more personal and, at the same time, more aware of what I'm writing about. I'm no longer putting stuff out there I don't want people to read about; on the contrary, I do a very good job at keeping a lot of things secret and censored.

In the past month, I've thought about this, especially since I haven't written about myself as much as I used to. Whenever I've tried to come up with one of those long, rambling yet well-written missives about something personal, I find that I'm kind of embarrassed about what I'm writing about, and instead I delete everything and post a YouTube video or a screencap of an AIM conversation I had with a friend.

I've become much more closed-off for a couple of reasons. One is that I've had more readers recently, with an average of 230 visitors a day. A lot of these come from Google searches, yes, but many of you out there are people who check my blog a couple of times a day. I know a couple of you because you're friends of mine, or, in one certain case (you know who you are), someone I don't wish to have contact with. My Sitemeter gives enough information about where people are visiting from, so I recognize friends from the companies and universities they work for. There are still a lot of people out there, however, who I don't know personally, and as much as I used to long for people to read my writing, it's started to make me kind of paranoid.

I've looked back on what I've been posting lately and it kind of makes me mad. I've always created a sort of character here, a version of myself who, well, does exist sometimes. Lately I've been writing with much more bravado than usual, probably to cover up how much I dislike myself and everything around me. Because, generally, I'm disappointed with a lot of things. Work is kind of shitty, because I feel like I don't know what I'm doing and look stupid a lot of the time. The love life is, basically, non-existent, and I've put a huge focus on that part of my life, I think, because I'm too fucking upset about things at home to deal with them.

I'm going home to visit my parents on Thursday, and I am both really excited and also really apprehensive. I've avoided writing about my dad here for a couple reasons, mainly because I don't like talking or thinking about it too much, and because my brother reads this frequently, and I don't want to upset with my pessimism. I'm really fucking upset about things these days, and I'm kind of terrified to go home to have to face things up close. It's hard enough to call home and have him audibly be sick - too sick to even talk very long - but it's quite another thing to have to see it face-to-face, at what might be at its worst point.

The worst part about all of this is that, despite having a ton of great friends who have listened to me bitch about everything that is going on right now, I feel like I am completely alone here. I spend five days at work without anyone to talk to in person, and then two long, usually hungover days on the weekends where I sleep past noon and wander around Lakeview, blowing my money away. When I do see people, it's brief. And frankly, I don't even like talking about my problems with them in the first place, because you can only make people uncomfortable by talking about your father's cancer so often before it gets old and tiresome. I don't know what I expect from people, because it's not an easy subject to talk about, and no one is particularly able to come up with brilliant, wise, and consoling things to say back to me. It's incredibly awkward.

I've been drinking a lot, too, sometimes five to six nights out of the week. Usually I manage to get really shitfaced at least one night on the weekend, as I did on Friday, and I manage to be so hungover the next day that I spend the following night alone and sober. Coincidentally, I stayed up until 3AM on Saturday watching Inland Empire, which probably didn't make me get a tighter grip on the everyday bullshit I'm dealing with.

I started seeing a therapist; I've been to three sessions so far. It's the first time I've actually felt comfortable in counseling, probably because for once I actually have some real issues to work on. Sure, there's my sudden awareness of mortality and growing up and shit, but on top of that there's the issues I have with relationships. I'd like to figure out what the fuck dating Theo did to me, why I get so much pleasure out of hating him and why, at the same time, I can't get past the fact that it still bothers me at all. I mean, I'm aware enough of the fact that he's a real shit (as my mother would say), someone who spent a lot of effort to fuck with my mind and make me feel bad about myself, and someone who will write me condescending emails because he still reads my blog and then have the balls to tell me to stop writing about him. And, worse, I'd like to wish I didn't feel like as big of a shit as him for breaking up with John, whom I loved and thought of as one of my best friends, who I can't talk to any more, which hurts me more now than it did two months ago, because right now, I miss him more than ever. And I'd like to know why I keep bothering to try to meet someone knew, when I keep finding myself following the same patterns over and over again, ones in which I start to develop feelings for people who, frankly, aren't people who are worth putting energy into liking at all.

Clearly, I have a lot going on. Half of it are things that are making me feel bad because I can't control them, and the other half are things that I can control or actions I've done that make me fucking angry at myself. And all of it is really goddamn exhausting, and, for the first time, these aren't things I can resolve by bitching about them online. And that's why right now I feel like taking a break from blogging is the best thing I can do, because I don't want to air my dirty laundry for the entire Internet to read right now. On top of that, I feel completely uninspired to write anything. All I really want to do right now is lay around, watch movies, and listen to sad music.

I wanted to end this with something wise, or remotely funny to at least lighten my mood, but I can't, because it's forty minutes after I started this post, and I am exhausted. So, know that I'll be back, I'm sure, but right now, I have to put this whole blogging thing on hold.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston is finally dead.



"Well, I guess they can get his gun now. Too soon?"
--Adam

Friday, April 04, 2008

On Elitism, Specifically My Own.

I rarely get unsolicited friend requests from people I don't know on MySpace. When I do, I usually add them because I think, "Hey, maybe they read my blog and want to be my friend!" I don't like looking like a total asshole, despite my self-awareness that, most of the time, I can a kind of jerk (at least when it comes to my Internet-protected bravado).

Occasionally, though, I get a request from someone who is just adding random people, and that's annoying. Especially when that person's pictures look something like this:


Note: I deliberately cut off this guy's face, although I'm rather shocked he doesn't have more pictures of JUST his torso.

Now, here's one thing: Abs freak me out. They don't look natural, and when I (rarely) see them in real life, they scare the hell out of me. So, sorry, your six-pack is unappealing.

Also? This:


I know I'm one of the thousands of hipster snobs who emailed / blogged about the NYT article about literary dealbreakers, and I feel like I should explain that I don't think I'd ever end a courtship with someone because they liked Ayn Rand. (Having said that: Would I date an Objectivist? Absolutely not.) Hell, I loved The Fountainhead, but in the same way that I love Valley of the Dolls: it's a guilty pleasure, terribly written, over-wrought, and it has a lot of rough sex. I think that everyone's allowed a few missteps when it comes to their cultural interests, because why would I want to date myself? I can't argue with myself, because I am always right.

But when the entirety of your cultural interests are made up of shitty things, I am not interested. And, frankly, those are the kinds of people who are more apt to pimp their profiles. If I can barely make out what your interests are because you have animations and videos and pictures of Kylie Minogue floating around all over the place, I think it's safe to say that, on a base level, I don't think a friendship would really work out between us.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I hate everything about this.



Could you imagine what kind of person would read this and say, "Oh, that's about me! I must write them back!" That person is clearly into 34-year-old men who LOL at their own poor attempts at making a move and the pathos of a missed connection posting in general. And Franny and Zooey, probably.

Chan Marshall: Sober, still crazy.

Finally!



And now: a New Yorker cartoon that I get!


(via Cute Overload)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

BEST ONE.


(Click for link.)

Entertainers bring May flowers.



I have been extremely busy at work for the past two days, so I haven't had time to even think about posting anything, but I DO have an article up on This Recording about Exile in Guyville, and I think you should read / listen to it, especially if you're my friend (which you must be).