Sunday, August 17, 2008

olympics, family, hands

There is a great Barack Obama ad about how the hands of America are shaping the future of America, and it makes me ridiculously maudlin and weepy (I am the Target Market) as I am hearing stories of my uncles with 30+ years as metal workers in Indiana getting offered early retirement packages (thank God) as the industry is failing even there . I had a weird moment a year and a half ago as Jeff and I drank pints at out favorite sports-bar dive and watched a special report on a repeat of Oprah where she spotlighted the bizarre problem in Shelbyville, IN (my hometown that I narrowly escaped) where they have invested, literally, millions upon millions of dollars in the local schools to no avail, with an attrition rate in the high 30 % range. When I grew up there, kids discovered alcohol, sex and drugs early as we had NOTHING to do. The lack of youth culture inspired an adoration and emulation of backwards adult behavior. I remember girls losing their virginity in the sixth grade, y'all. I have always said that I am SO GRATEFUL that my parents pulled me out when they did, at the formative age between sixth and seventh grade, as I got to understand myself in a new environment and truly challenge my preconceptions about race, class and tolerance going from a white-bread elementary school of 200 to a multi-ethnic, multi-racial school of 1,400. I told Jenny this week that the best lesson I ever learned was not being the smartest kid in the room (and as any of you who know Jenny, that is impossible as soon as you meet her) as it challenged me to better myself and rethink my status-quo liberal think-speak. I may come off as a know-it-all but I am terrified all the time. Getting married may (huh huh huh AHHHHHHHH!!!) elevate these feelings of inadequacy as I am about to attach myself to a person who thinks I'm smart, but I am really, really, really not smart and I know this. He is smart; one time we were watching Jeopardy! and he answered every question about representatives by state correctly and I took him into the bedroom and ravished him. (TMI? ef u) I have been pretending my. whole. life. as I know a little bit about everything and get by. I mean I know I am smart but he is really really SCARY smart. And meanwhile, I am literally trying to play catch up with him when it comes to current events, politics, music, etc. The only time I feel like I own him is when it comes to literature, but Jesus, how many of US are out there. I am glad I am marrying someone who challenges me and is smarter than I am but damn, sometimes, it sucks being the dumbest person in the room.

Monday, July 21, 2008

On the threshold, leaning

Almost done with school. For the summer. I am soooooooooooo glad. My weddding, my social life, my LIFE have fallen by the wayside while I struggle through three summer school classes. Soon I will be able to go swimming with Jenny. Soon I will be able to sleep in. Soon. Can I get some advice about getting through the last year?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Uncanny Valley

So. Jeff and I had this conversation a looooong time ago about how things like ponies, and clowns and gorillas really unnerve me b/c they remind me of approximations of the real thing. Ponies are small horses (weird, disproportional horses), clowns are the extreme versions of people, and gorillas are like people but hairy and moody and unpredictably violent. Well, apparently my unease is nothing new, it's related, at least in part, to an idea called the Uncanny Valley. The gist of the idea, as I understand it, is that when something approximates real human physical traits, (Ala robots, AI, primates) there is something instinctual within us that reacts with disgust. As in, "I recognize this foreign thing and it is like me, but it's enough not like me that I am repulsed." Do y'all know what I am talkin' 'bout?
Anyway, that conversation started a long time ago, but a few months back, Bagel read an article about the hookers in Grand Theft Auto IV, and how they have reached the Uncanny Valley. What's interesting here is a few things: 1) This started as a conversation about my own idiosyncrasies and in turn became about something Jeff could empathise and relate to and even more importantly made me realize I am not crazy or alone: 2) that there is a convergence between how people feel about every-day, normal things and the speed of technology: 3) that these people who think they have reached the Uncanny Valley in video games/animation/media are dead wrong.

I think that modern video game graphics are awesome. I am spoiled by the splendiferous variations of the Wii, the PS3, the X Box 360 and beyond. But to be honest? I don't care a fig about graphics. Now, let me say this, when I test a PlayStation One at work, it hurts. I am spoiled. I want crisp visuals, and no lag time. That being said, my favorite game system is still the NES. So what I have theorized is that the Uncanny Valley is not just bimodal, but a logarithm that expands across not just positive and negative but backwards and forwards.
Whoa, I think I just Math Geeked out, but hang with me for a second.
If the newest generation of game consoles is along the positive x axis, the old school game consoles would be at this point in time along the negative x axis, whereas they used to be on the negative y axis. Ya dig?
The original Nintendo is fun b/c the graphics are so far removed from real life that it doesn't even approach the Uncanny Valley. (Hence, the undying popularity of the really old-school game systems.) That is, it's not just nostalgia at work but a fundamental idea of entertainment that is as far removed from reality as possible. I can play the NES b/c it's 1) awesome, 2) fun, 3) not like real life at all. I guess what I'm saying is that I can move not just negative along the x-y axis but backwards as well.
I have a theory that once graphics become so advanced it feels
like we are manipulating real life, that gamers, web masters, illustrators, etc., will become disinterested in the current medium because it too easily replicates what already happens in everyday life. After that technology is available I bet we will see a resurgence in the popularity of older game systems, like we ( at my store, with friends, etc.) see now with the NES, the Super Nintendo, and with some people, (older, of course), the Atari.
You know how you hear that the suspension of disbelief is really important in regards to writing, film, what have you?
Well, I think that equally important is the suspension of belief. That is, the reason we seek media is because we are searching for distraction and as soon as it starts to truly replicate real life we will lose all interest. That is, media is interesting b/c it is not real life.
So anyway, anyway. Jeff said that essentially he agreed with this article about how the hos in GTA4 represent the Uncanny Valley but I disagree on a few fundamental levels:
1) Graphics are not so state of the art that this can happen.
I don't know about y'all but I have never truly believed a video game to the point that it made me uneasy. Maybe that's why I can shoot 'em up with the best of them in GTA4 and not give a fuck.
2) I think the queasiness that Bagel feels says more about his character than about the video game industries' proximity to the Uncanny valley. That is, I think the fact that he is not turned on by the hookers in GTA, and in fact finds them repulsive, shallow representations of women, says more about his feelings about women in general and their portrayal of media of all types than it has to do with the Uncanny Valley, though they are not unrelated. I guess that I think that b/c the graphics, as good as they may be, and as spoiled as I about them, are still nowhere near the Uncanny Valley region of discomfort.
So anyway. What do y'all think? And what is your favorite old skool video game? mine is Kid Icarus for NES. I hear they might be releasing an update for the 360...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

22 Lbs. and counting

Two words:
Wedding dress.
(not actual dress)
As much as I want a Caesar salad, hamburger from Char-Grill, sweet potato hash and pork chops, a sausage breakfast bagel from Brueger's or any of a number of my favorite foods, the terror of wedding pictures displaying what I affectionately call my "ham arms" (not actual arms) is enough to motivate me to eat better, healthier and be more active. The whole sleeveless things with corset back helps too.

It reminds me of when I was on Vision Quest and all I wanted were real cigarettes, a Dr. Pepper, and a sausage McMuffin from McDonald's. I managed the soda and the cigarettes within ten minutes of leaving camp and while others were reveling in the beauty of birds doing it while they sunbathed naked on the rocks, I was too busy thanking God for concrete, laundry detergent and nicotine. I remember the looks I got as I lit up that first camel, and though it was not a proud moment for me, it was one where I was unabashedly myself with no apologies. After that, I swore I'd never go camping again and that has been an easy promise to keep. I do not heart nature.

Jeff has lost 25 lbs too and looks great. He is growing a beard that makes him look all George Michael-y right now but the verdict is out on whether he actually gets to keep it. I have very sensitive skin, after all, and as hot as he looks with it, I'm not sure it's worth beard burn.
Wedding plans are coming along, we had a teleconference with our caterer at some ungodly hour of the morning on Friday, and we both feel better now. I am still looking for a photographer, florists and hair-stylist so if y'all know of anyone locally please let me know. The girls have picked out some really cute dresses too so I know we'll all look out best. Hopefully sans ham arms. I may put a picture of a ham on the fridge as an extra motivator. 30 lbs to go to reach my goal. 30 lbs in three months. Yikes. I suppose if I need inspiration I can go to some of the pro-anorexia websites I stumbled upon in research for diet pills. This is easily the most fucked up thing I have ever read/ seen on the web and that's saying something. Just google the term "thinspo" (an oh so clever smash up of the words thin and inspiration) and you will see shit like this picture and much worse. I was telling Jeff today that his parents must have been relieved to have three boys, boys being much easier to raise. Dealing with the potential for abuse, pregnancy and body image is a lot of shit to deal with as a parent. I know I am NOT going to so what my mom did, making me feel badly every time I ate and famously saying things like "Do you really have to eat dinner every night?" and "If you keep eating ______ you're going to weigh 600 pounds!" I know now that she didn't want me to go through what she did, being heavy as a teenager and later having a serious eating disorder. But all the scrutiny only made me have a bad relationship with food. I still hate eating with other people as I feel they are analyzing what I eat the entire time. I remember when I was 9 I made a diet up for myself that included raw carrots for dinner. I was fucking 9, y'all. Anyway, the important thing now is to lose weight without sacrificing my health for it. No ephedra this time. If I don't reach my goal weight then I that's just the haps. I'm not going to kill myself over ham arms. I'm also not giving up Char-grill forever.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Jenny, Dives and grateful bagels

So I saw Jenny last night, picked her up at her new super cute house in Cary. I got Jos season 3 of MacGuyver and he seemed genuinely pleased which is nice b/c I always feel like an awkward relative with him in that I want him to like me but I don't want to try too hard and stink of desperation.
So Jenny and I looked at pictures of ourselves from high school and I couldn't believe it because, apparently, at one time, we were children.
I know that sounds ridiculous but until last night, I had forgotten how young we were when it all started. I guess I always thought of us in terms of how old we were. It may seem like semantics, but honestly, until I saw my barley adolescent face smoking and writing on the train (to? from? Rochester?) I hadn't realized that we did not emerge after age 12, fully formed from one another's foreheads.
I decided something this past week, I realized I was ready to forgive people from my past that hurt me, let go of grudges I have harbored for too long. It feels good, to suddenly realize that I'm not angry any more, and shouldn't have been for awhile. It was a long time ago. We were children. I've only been hurting myself more by staying angry.
I told Jenny last night that it feels like that moment on the train I had with her, when we left Rochester for the last time, when I convinced myself not to be in love with Bobby. It was that easy, it was just the rational choice. I chose it, and it left me.
That's what it feels like now, but it was less deliberate, it didn't even fully crystallize until a few nights ago. This time, it left me, without me even realizing it was happening. I feel like I just had surgery to remove some enormous and cancerous mass, but I don't remember anything about it, I just feel better now.
Ugh, I'm really tired, I'm in stats and not paying attention.
So after I picked up Jenny we drove around Cary, futilely looking for a divey bar where the beer would be cheap. No Jack Astor's or big box chain restaurants with $4 beers for us. Apparently those bars don't exist in Cary. So we went to Pantanna Bob's on Hilsborough, and drank cheap domestic beers, and talked and talked and talked. Then I looked at my phone and it was 11.
This always happens when I'm with Jenny, I lose time, or it speeds up, goes too quickly.
She said something funny, she said she feels like she is just now catching up to who Owen was when he was 18. It old her that killed me because I feel like I am just now catching up with the person she was when she was 18.
We talked about the moments in our respective lives when we realized we were atheists. If Nabokov wrote a sentence about Jenny's experience it might read something like:
"I lost fate in God (Cheesecake Factory, traffic) because it doesn't make sense how we got from there to here."
If Nabokov wrote a sentence about my expereience it might read as follows:
"I lost fate in God (Bart Simpson, dead pets) because heaven doesn't make any sense to me."
So I had a little too much to drink amidst all this talk and we had to call Jeff and have him drive Jenny back to Cary. He's so nice, he wasn't mad at all, in fact he was happy we finally had a chance to catch up. I'm a grateful bagel indeed.
Congratulations to Sara and D., he's beautiful. Welcome to the rest of your lives.

Friday, June 6, 2008

On Beauty, Wunderkinds, apologies to DG

So, I read an amazing article by Zadie Smith, author extraordinaire, in of course, The Believer, in which she talks (this is a transcript of a speech given to Columbia's MFAs) about the art of writing, and the fraudulent nature of giving such a speech and then doing it anyway. So, I will admit, I am a sucker for any kind of anything about the art of writing. Maybe it's the editor in me, but I have always loved those prefaces, speeches, impromptu lectures given by those who can really write. I can not really write. I love, as many of you know, fiction, especially short stories, but really all stories, long, longish, longer than should be allowed (Finnegan's Wake anyone?). I love books that force me to stay up all night to read them in one sitting, which I hope all of you know, is the best way to read a book. But still, I can't fucking write something, man, as The Dude would say. Sure, I can write music reviews, which, BTW, is something I fell into more out of desperation to look cool and just write anything more than a real passion of mine. Yes I heart music. Yes I have STRONG opinions about music. OK occasionally I'll write something about music that doesn't make me want to bury my head in the sand, But really? All I've ever wanted to do is write about books and I have never done it. Not. Once. Except on this blog. Which doesn't count. Because 6 people (whom I'm love love love) read it. Because I don't take risks with books like I take with music. Because they matter THAT MUCH. Fuckity fuck fuck. ANYWAY, so that article by ZS (PLEASE scroll back up and click on the link and read the damn thing I've asked you to do this ONCE in the entire life of this blog and I would love for others to read it and feel as daunted as I did) made me feel better and I was wondering why until I realized that I had officially stopped thinking of myself as a writer. Holy shit. NO kidding. I don't write fiction anymore. I just realized that. Despite the fact that I have not written a short story in six years or shown anyone something I've written (fiction) in three, I just realized after reading that article, THAT I DON'T THINK OF MYSELF AS A WRITER, anymore. I am no longer a writer, I am an editor, (at heart), secretly. I don't know that I could ever write, not for real, not like Sara, making sacrifices and spinning sentences as easily as a spider spins webs. Certainly not like ZS, (bitch) who published her first (amazing) novel at 21, nor like any of the hack genre fiction writers whose work comes through the doors of my job everyday. Nora Roberts may indeed be a robotic octopus writer with a human head (affectionately known as Noraroboctopus at work) who turns out more crap novels in a year than I have bowel movements in a month, but at least she puts pen to paper (or tentacle to keyboard as the case may be)and puts her crappy genre fiction bull shit out there. Sigh. ANYWAY, I thought that ZS gave some really good advice, advice I could have used when I was actually writing.

Ahem, so, I do disagree with her on some counts. I have always loved polemics about the art of writing, there is something clandestine and romantic about these staid and tired arguments. Something Dead Poet's Society about reading them and vehemently disagreeing, and then agreeing half way. I mean, measuring a poem by its length? Let's all let out our inner yawps. Let us rip out the pages then subtly pick them up after class like that cute tall guy who isn't credited. I do agree that any opinion about the "art of craft" as she says, is best in a discourse about a particular piece of work as opposed to writing, art, etc. in general. But people who can write can also shed light unto those of us who can't, and wish to. No matter ow staid or pedagogical it sounds, I always listen, waiting, hoping for that secret piece of advice that will unlock the potential I feel is inside of me, that cowers in fear of failing, that is afraid to try, pathetically, at all.

One thing struck me most of all about this piece; that in order to read your work you have to read as a reader not the writer.

Lord, let me tell you the embarrassment of printing something you could retract. Too often I had the unfortunate situation of writing something incredibly intimate and wishing I could take it back. Most often, and especially I refer to those pieces of writing that referred to an old ex of mine, DG. His ill-fated appearance in my life led basically to an expanded music knowledge on my part and then some embarrassingly personal resentment towards him (as explained in at least 3 Hatchet articles with his full and real name (gulp)) when it came to our relationship. I made a mistake, several time over, in writing about him. I could have used 6 months in a drawer with those articles. I could have used six months in relationship boot camp. I'm glad I have y'all to talk to to make mistakes with with NO ONE getting hurt. I am a selfish, thoughtless, slimy, asshole. I wish I could take those articles back. Actually, I wish I could take back the juvenile sentiments that led to those articles. I have a hard time getting over my heart being broken, even when my heart isn't in it.

ANYWAY, anyway, about things on writing, I always feel there is something clandestine and super secret diet pill-y about advice on writing; as in I am always willing to listen b/c I still want to lose weight, you know?

I think writing about writing is fascinating, mostly b/c I can't force myself to do it and I hope someone can give me the magic key to make it come out. I know this isn't realistic, especially after having read ZS's article.

What is not depressing about reading this article is realizing that my strengths probably do rest in editing. I can honestly say I don't know anyone who reads as much contemporary fiction as I do. I think this is an interesting phenomenon as I know a lot of people who are way smarter and engaged than I am. But still, I do it not to gain anything except a good read. Along the way I've discovered what I like (character driven, realistic settings with dialogue that doesn't make me want to bash my head in) and what I most assuredly don't (magical realism, post-modernism for PM's sake, Douglas Coupland dialogue) and I think that, in turn, makes me not a bad editor. I think the worst editors are the ones who can't decide WTF they like. I always said that Kerouac and Fitzgerald were great writers... of sentences. They couldn't write books though, not really, except for endings and then some.

I don't want to be the kind of writer who can only do one thing well. I don't want to be the kind of writer who can fit into the sentence "The kind of writer...". I want to write about corn fields and beauty and potential lost, only b/c these are the things I know, have known, don't need tutorials on.

Fuckity fuck fuck, I don't even remember what I was writing about.

OK love you all, i think I was going to say something about how all of you should read more contemporary fiction b/c these writers are writing about right now, and it matters to read right now more than any other time. All I'm saying is that if all of our parents had actually read one Flew Over the Cooku's Nest maybe state funded psychiatric facilities wouldn't be in the state the are in. (Thanks B & H!)
One last thing, I'm ecstatic about Obama. Get your votin' shoes on, bitches. You too, Marco.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wedding Disaster number 4778

Things that should not transpire in a phone call about Rehearsal Dinner:
1) No one parents should be labeled "cheap" for not being able to afford another person's vision.
2) No one should attack the groom to be b/c they are mad at his parents.
3) No one should forget that the groom to be, when taken out for his birthday by his future in-laws, offered to pay and then thanked the future in-laws copiously.
4) Some people should stop bringing up the bride's weight every fucking minute to avoid driving her to self loathing and impossible expectations.
5) No one should have to explain that "can't afford it" means "doesn't make money like you do"
6) No one should then recite a litany of instances when the future in laws paid for the future son-in-law (five over three years) and then be told he isn't grateful and acts like "it's just expected"
7) No one should call their mom a fucking asshole three times and then hang up.
8) No one should feel this miserable about getting married so maybe it's understandable that someone called someone else and told them that they don't want their help if it's going to be like this.
Ready to elope.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hola Carlos! and bowling

So. We bought a new car, and if you are like us, living in the smaller worlds of commerce and living responsibly and feeling guilty all the time it's a big deal. This is our First Major Purchase as a couple.

We bought a Honda Fit, which seems right as far as nomenclature goes, and wierdly enough everyone who sees it keeps saying, "That seems sooo you and Jeff!!!". I don't know what that means but I'll take it and we've named him Carlos. So, Hola Carlos! Como esta? Muy bien? Me too!

Yikes! We have a car paymet now! What next babies?

That reminds me, I had a dream a afew nights ago that I was hanging out with Sara's family, and her Dad was talking nonsense about wrenches, but I'm pretty sure that Sara went into labor the night I dreamed this b/c we have that wierd distant frined/psychic thing going on. I miss her and I lvoe her, and I want all the (gory) details.

Hola Carlos!

Oh yeah, we went bowling with Marco and Tanya anf Paul and Jen and even Jenny showed up for a minute. We had the best time and I broke my high score of 47 (!) to reach the apex of 91. Oh, and I danced like a mad-woman to Lupe Fiasco and 50 "fitty"cent and Jen said I had some good moves. I'm just warming up to my 30th B-day party in D.C. Pics to follow.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wow, this made me sad

So Jeff and I went out tonight with our friend Bryan, unusual for us, as I normally have to work on Sat. Mornings, but tomorrow I don't, and we went to Humble Pie, a very cool resteraunt/ bar, with excellent outdoor seating, (because, as NC is want to do, in the Spring, it's beautiful in the evenings right now, being Spring) and great service too, so, we went there, and we talked about derogatory phrases like "She's easy" and how good the last Spoon album was ( the boys just went to see Spoon play on Sunday) and the excruciating-ness of applying for new jobs when you already have one that has no idea you are leaving and whatnot, whatever, and amen. So. We went to this bar called Havana's on Glenwood South, (the happening nigh time scene in Raleigh) which Daniel (my boy) and I used to haunt in our alcoholic summer/ year and I had not been back in some time. I thought it was safe, safe from Raleigh ghosts and the whatnot, and the who not, and the godahthaveidonenot, but it wasn't. I ran into Aaron, or BAJA (Big-Ass-Head-Aaron) a guy that I rode to the SAT's with, listening to Jawbreaker's 24 Hour Revenge Therapy him saying to me about how they were this great band and I was like yeah yeah yeah, I got this album on vinyl (and for once it was true) and we rocked out on the way to take a test that was deciding our futures. We took the SATs, he went to one high school, I went to another, he got accepted at Evergree, in Olympia, WA, I got my scholarship to Guilford, end of story, right? Except not, as Raleigh is, he flunked out, I left Guilford, we both returned to Raleigh, desperate, unhappy, afraid, and meant different fates. He had a kid, 2 and a half years ago, a boy named Noble, (hoe effin great is that), but he hates the mother they fight, and he met me in a bar tonight, drunk, ridiculous, in cowboy hat and sunglasses ("You know who wears sunglasses indoors? Blind people and assholes.") talking about his baby boy, then talking about how he wants a little girl. Then two breaths later he sayes."I'm gonna go so drugs.", and he leaves. I'm overcome with something right now, something awful and contagious, like the Raleigh flu, or the failure flu, and I want to cry out against it, strike my hands against this awful metallic beast that holds us back and ask why?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Favorite Words

mud pie
bully (as in "Bully for you")

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Some things I want

1) for Jenny to post on her blog.
2) to lose 25 pounds by my wedding
3) for the caterer not to drop out and cause a coronary, again.
4) this giraffe guitar

Remember that journal made up of lists from the last post?

This is a picture of one of the lists from that journal taken on a camera phone of one of my employees. It's so awaful it's funny. At least this lady had a fnny parrot, as she didn't have much else going for her.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Things People Buy

So I'm in the unique position as a manager of a used media store to see the stuff folks are buying and selling. Though we are inundated with the absurd and the bizarre on a daily basis, I thought I'd share some of the finer moments in my tenure at the store.

Things People Bought.

1) Full House the Complete First Season.
Now this may not seem funny on the outset to you, but what has always killed me about this is the hubris I employed when I stated upon it's arrival, "Oh My God, no one is EVER going to buy this shit. They replay those fucking shows like ten times a day on TNT not to mention it's like the worst show ever." I put it out on the floor and twenty minutes later some sad sack brought it up to the counter and bought whilst I was having a complete conniption fit.
2) Clay Aiken's "Auto-biography". It was a "straight" guy in a polo.
3) Undercover Babies.
Picture babies in trench coats yielding handguns. Not really but still it's pretty ridiculous. Not found in the humor section, btw, but the romance section. My favorite part? The caption highlighting that these are "Top Secret Babies".
4) Macully Culkin's "novel" Junior. This happened just the other day. I, yet again, challenged the Gods when I said, while pricing it, "Who the fuck wants to read a novel by that Schmohawk?" Apparently women unhappy in there lives.
5) Some movies that we sell consistently that make me ponder the collective intelligence of the public; Zeus and Roxanne, Six Days, Seven Nights, Gigli, Dunston Checks In, Left Behind: The Movie, Left Behind II, Chairman of the Board, From Justin To Kelly, Baby Geniuses, Son of the Mask.

You get the idea.

Things People Sold.
Sometimes when you are processing the merchandise of a particular customer you catch an intimate glimpse into their psyche. Personally, I wish this happened less often. Take the case of the newly divorced forty-ish year old woman. Books brought to be sold included:
Intimacy in Long Marriage: Sustaining the Passion for Years to Come.
365 Things to Do in Bed to Spice Up Your Love Life
Healing the Rift: Overcoming Distance in Your Marriage.
Is He Cheating On You? The Way to Know Without Asking.
Love Hurts: How to Forgive Infidelity.
The North Carolina Guide to Divorce.
Children and Divorce: Beyond the "It's Not Your Fault" Philosophy.
Single After So Many Years: The Woman's Guide to Dating after Divorce.


2) sometimes it's not what you sell but what you bring it in. Like Kitty Litter boxes. Not Completely cleaned out of litter. One day it happened twice in a row. Seriously.

3) Personal journals. I have no idea what compels people to try to sell their journals but it happens all the time. Sometimes it's those layman's psychology inspirational crap that people only partly fill out. Like this one that asks you a series of questions that you answer by maing lists. Questions inlcude;
Q:What is something about you that no one knows?
A: I use the word niger. [sic]
Q: What is something you've always wanted to do?
A: Drink blood
Q: What are your goals for the next year.
A: Live a Gothic lifestyle.
Q: What are some long term goals?
A: Get some education, live a gothic lifestyle, stop sucking dick, improve my handwriting.
Double Yikes! Glad to see that improved handwriting was right up there with "stop sucking dick"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Books I have Not Read, Yet , at Least, as Someday Maybe I Will

Last night while I lay in bed fretting over Bean's sudden uncontrollable explosive diarrhea I got to thinking about my last post and decided to do a companion piece, but about books. I'm curious, what did y'all never bother to read?
Books I have not read, or only read part of, or simply could not finish.
1. The Old Man and the Sea
2. The Brothers Karamazov
3. Gone with the Wind
4. War and Peace
5. Out of Africa
6. Ulysses
7. Infinite Jest
8. Macbeth
9. The Dark Tower series, book 2
10. Oliver Twist


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Movies I have not seen

Inspired once again by Marco and his prolific blogging at The Midpoint I decided to list some movies I have never bothered to watch for one reason or another.
1. Independence Day
2. Rambo (all)
3. The Godfather II, III
4. The Crying Game
5. Alien
6. The Piano
7. Ben Hur
8. Bambi
9. It's a Wonderful Life
10. A musical, any.

Some movies I have seen, for no good reason.

1. Mr. Bean's Holiday
2. Osmosis Jones
3. Gummo
4. The Wicker Man, both
5. Communion
6. The Holiday
7. Music and Lyrics
8. Wild Aces
9. Spare Change 9/11 film
10. 15 and Pregnant (with Kirsten Dunst.)

I know I'm not the only one.

Friday, March 28, 2008

the rustling of hands under desks

It is so beautiful right now.
This week it finally started to feel like Spring, what with the temperature in the seventies during the day and in the sixties at night. Sleeping with windows open, putting together furniture and realizing we needed the air on, Bean actually working up a a pant on his thrice daily walks, and diving head first into lilacs, violets, dandelions.
Driving to work I keep catching whiffs of Springs past, the one where Sara and I picked flowers for our Moms on I-40 for Mother's Day, the one before eighth grade graduation, in the first moony days of lust and love with Justin Williams, the one when I called in sick to work at Blue Ridge to drink forties and smoke cigars with Melanie and Sasha, the one when Jenny was pregnant and she came over to watch ER with my mom and I. What I have been deeply reminded of this week, however, is that restlessness that inevitably comes over a grade school classroom this time of year, that itchy all over, yearning for the outdoors, blacktop basketball courts and endless bike rides up the main thoroughfare of Shelbyville, catching the ends of branches just budding over sidewalks already littered with seed pods, the first grass clippings of the year, hop scotch diagrams and the detritus of that adolescent equinox.
As much as I wish I could be outside watching Bean somersault into neighbors' wildflowers I know I don't want to be outside one tenth as much as I did when I was ten and looking at Springtime blossom outside my elementary school windows, oddly conscious of the sound of hands rustling under desks, the way Brady Kugn's legs looked in yellow basketball shorts, the restive sigh of pages as they turned and we waited, oh waited, for that final bell to ring.
I hope when I have kids some of that unabashed longing to run outside at the first opportunity comes back. I'm thinking a lot about kids lately, what with preparing for my wedding and Sara and her gorgeous pictures and talking with Jenny about Jos, and now also I can finally tell everyone that my sister-in-law, Angelita, is preggers. She and Chris are on a "babymoon" right now, sunning in glorious Mexico, actually enjoying the outdoors instead of writing about it.
When I saw my OBGYN she sort of blew off my concerns about fertility despite the fact that she's the one who told me it would be a problem for me years ago. As soon as she heard that we weren't actively trying she made me feel like my concerns weren't valid, that if I hadn't been trying for a year then she wasn't even going to talk about my fertility, or lack there of, or what I should do to get ready to have a baby. Needless to say I am in the market for a new OBGYN.
When we were in DC we stayed at our friend Paul's Mom's place, a gorgeous house in Mt. Vernon, literally blocks from GW's famous house. His mom and her partner Lisa were out of town but for the last few months friends of theirs have been staying with them while their house gets remodeled and I met and hung out with them and got some good advice. They said that first of all doctors, even good ones, often don't understand how emotionally taxing being afraid you can't have kids can be and that at the very least I should find one who understands my situation and won't make me feel badly about having (valid) concerns. Secondly they said that in their experience, you go through life thinking you'll have kids one day and then your twenties go by in a haze, your thirties are dedicated to furthering your career and then one day you wake up, your forty and you want a baby and it might be too late. They are undergoing IVF right now and I wish them the best as they seem like they'll be great parents. They did make me feel better about going that route if I need to as I am younger and will have a better chance of conceiving.
OK, anyway, next time a much lighter post about farting or something.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Our Nation's Capital

We keep asking Bean, when he licks his crotch or does other unsightly acts, if this is the behavior he will display in Our Nation's Capital this weekend. We are taking Bean and going with friends, Paul and Jen, to D.C. for a nice little mini vacation. Bean got a haircut and we are ready to go. We will definitely post pictures upon our return, probably something like Bean pissing on the bushes in front of the White House. If only that sentence could read "...pissing on the Bushes in front of the White House."

By the way, I am getting kind of wedding burned out. Too many emails regarding vest color or the ongoing debate about ties vs/ kerchiefs or whatever. I hope to return with new found enthusiasm. Mostly it's because the store I manage moved the weekend after we got engaged and things have been really hectic since. Jeff and I have barely been able to see each other, let alone figure out invitations and registries. Also, Becca asked me if I wanted a bridal shower and a Batchelorette party and I said both but then felt weird and greedy.
What else? I'm giving Dennis Lehane another chance after watching the excellent Gone, Baby, Gone with the always tasty Casey Afleck. I am still not convinced he can write worth a damn. But the book is different enough from the movie to keep me interested and he writes half-way decent dialog. I finished Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets which is a book written by David Simon, one of the guys who created and wrote The Wire. It was the best true crime book I've ever read and really, it's more like crime literature than crime fiction. There are lots of stories out of that book that later went on to inform the characters and the dialog of The Wire. One of my favorites is about a guy named Snot Boogie and how one night he got shot and killed for running off with a big pot from the corner craps games. One of the guys who had money in that pot talked to the primary investigative detective and told him that yeah, Snot Boogie always did that, came around, played a few rolls and waited for the pot to get big then ran off with the loot. It was just a matter of time before someone took out Snot Boogie. The detective asked this cat why they let Snot Boogie play, if he always ran off with the pot. The guy looked at the detective incredulously, saying, "We had to let him play, this is America."
Speaking of The Wire I hooked another person on it, and as my newest victim to the addiction that is the greatest television show ever written I welcome Daniel.
I haven't seen Jenny in two weeks or more and that makes me very sad. She should call me.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Fits and Starts

I saw Jenny this week and she shamed me saying "It's gotten to the point where I've stopped checking." Pregnant pause and sigh. Alas, here I am guilty and beaten into posting. We should all be so lucky to have someone in our lives to kick our asses without resorting to violence. Just guilt. Ha, that's funny, you can read that sentence in two ways and both are true.
So I'm engaged. That's crazy. (I sound like Brian Fellows.) I'm super excited about the wedding. So far we've booked the reception site, the caterer, the photographer, asked our bridal party and made our (enormous) guest list. I'm looking at dresses and Jenny suggested (after looking through an enormous wedding magazine and complaining about girls who are far too thin and dresses that looked more edible than wearable) that I post my favorites and let y'all vote. OK?
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I'm swearing not to become someone like the picture on the right here