Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crawling just ain't my style

Yes I'm the kind of people
You can step on for a little while
But when I call it quits
Baby that's it

Nina Simone F-ing rocks.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Evading the Hour

I heard a piece on the radio the other day about a man who walks around in a Superman costume sometimes. A real, honest-to-God authentic Superman costume. And he just throws it on and goes to a bar, or fills his car up with gas, acting otherwise normal. He doesn't get made fun of--he actually gets respect and attention because people are impressed that he has the balls to do such a thing. And he's apparently a really nice guy. So anyone intending to make fun of him upon approaching is quickly dissuaded. Anyway, why does he do this? One simple, heartbreaking reason: his wife died a few years ago.


What if the only reason we're not insane is because something tragic hasn't happened to us yet? Lately it seems like everyone around me is in pain and channeling it through some other endeavor, be it for good or naught. It occurs to me that more people than one might expect are walking around carrying invisible elephants on their backs, or hosting dinner parties wherein only the host can see the lumbering elephant hanging out in the corner. And here is my deepest worry, dear diary (er, I mean, blog): how will my escape manifest itself when the time comes? I'm sure it will come, (no one gets by unscathed). I guess no one can be prepared and there's no sense worrying...

Ok enough of that. A jumble of observations over the past few weeks and I needed to express it somehow. Unfortunately, my blog became the vehicle for that. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that the patterns I've been noticing in people and about life are nothing new. Getting through life despite the occasional crisis blindsiding you is the most universal human struggle there is, right? Maybe I should read more... I'm sure Joyce or Keats or someone figured all this out already.

On a lighter note, the following is something I was told the other day:

"Ladylike subtlety has never been one of your strong points."

hmm...I'll take that as.... a compliment! : )

And finally, speaking of private pain and, in this case, a very public vehicle for it, I was fascinated by this piece (or pieces, rather. There's over 180 parts.) at the American Art Museum (Smithsonian.) My fascination stems from a) it's pure bizarreness (is that a word?); b) the title: The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly (awesome); c) the fact that this guy was from SC and moved to DC; and d) anybody who actually prepares for the second coming of the Lord, well, it's always interesting to see what's involved (usually bomb shelters, preparing emails to your un-saved friends for delivery after the Armageddon, and/or mass suicides).

I now have a 8 x 5 iridescent postcard of this scene hanging in my cubicle at work.

I'm making fun, but truthfully I think it's really cool that a janitor from SC's secret garage work--which he may or may not have thought of as "art"--is on display at the Smithsonian.

And finally, because my favorite poems are way better than anything I write, I found an appropriate one:

The Hour
by Michael Lind

Maybe the moment recurs daily at six, when commuters,
freed from the staring computers,
elbow and bump in unsought intimacy on a station
platform with you, and frustration
rots what is left of your strength. Maybe the hour comes after
dinner, when televised laughter
seeps from a neighboring room; maybe the time is the dead of
night, when you ponder, instead of
dreaming. Whatever the time, you will escape it—by sinking
down with a book, or by drinking
secretly out in the dark studio, or by unbuckling
pants on a stranger, or chuckling,
one with a mob, in a deep theater. Soon, though, the hour
comes to corrode all your power,
pleasure and faith with the damp dread that it daily assigns you.
How you evade it defines you.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New to DC

So I'm sitting on the roof of my work building having lunch next to our green roof-cover garden, which just so happens to offer a nice view of my apartment building two blocks away, and my coworker, upon me pointing this out, says, "Oh, that's a popular new to DC building."

This is a seemingly innocuous statement. However, the problem was I heard: "Oh, that's a popular nudity-c building."

To which I responded with a look of horror and confusion, thinking "What? Is there some sort of government regulation called "Nudity-C" that designates a building or area clothes-free-friendly?? I haven't seen any naked folk around my place. I mean there ARE some pretty creepy/marginally crazy people in my complex, but no nudity. Gosh, how did I overlook this?!"

But, out loud, I said only, "what?" To which he annunciated: "new-to-D-C," and the feeling of panic and shock subsided.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

On my big decision

Because the "right No" would haunt me forever, and even the wrong Yes might open unseen doors...

For some people the day comes
when they have to declare the great Yes
or the great No. It's clear at once who has the Yes
ready within him; and saying it

he goes from honor to honor, strong in his conviction.
He who refuses does not repent. Asked again,
he'd still say no. Yet that no--the right no--
drags him down all his life.
-C. P. Cavafy

This poem is like Nike's "Just do it." Only more...poetic. : )

Monday, August 18, 2008

"a sorcerer of awesome lawncare"

Because I'm REALLY on task with this whole I-need-to-find-a-place-to-live-and-move-to-DC thing, I've been reading this website and it's hilarious and original and amazing and more people should know about it. Please, read "Lawnmower of Doom."

"Man, it was going to be so fucking awesome it was not even fucking funny."

Friday, August 15, 2008

A brief conversation with bobcurry, Part II

The phone call:

*ring ring*
B.C.: What happened? [that's how he answers the phone when I call]
Me: Hey dad! Guess WHAT.
B.C.: What?
Me: I got the job!
B.C. Uh oh, I don't know if that's good or bad news.
Me: What? Why?
B.C.: Cuz now you have to WORK! You had a pretty good set up going before. Now you'll be working for, let's see.. *doing calculations in his head* 40 years!! hah! Big mistake...

Thanks, Bob. Always uplifting.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Lauren and I stumbled across this gem while looking for my future pet and were crying laughing. W.T.F.

" I will make any color or pose you want."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The age-old dilemma

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch
he said to me, you must not ask for so much

and a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door

she cried out to me, hey why not ask for more?

Lines from a Leonard Cohen song, Bird on a Wire. I like k.d. lang's version better. Think Johnny Cash did it, too. Can be applied to much of life. Put in brain. Swirl.

I'm moving to Washington, D.C. soon, and experiencing one of those big-change-in-life moments that's left me feeling uprooted and homeless, more than in the literal sense. Atlanta has come to feel like home for me, which I never thought I'd say if you'd asked me 6 years ago when I moved here for college. I guess that would have been right around this time of the year, too. So I guess it's been 6 years this month. Crazy. It's time for a new city.

You can't fully appreciate something until it's gone for a while, right? Capitol City, here I come!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

not so fast...

Can't leave without a little reminiscing.

What I'll miss about our little house on Marlbroke Drive:
-the roomies: (note Boom Boom Belinda on the far right looking FABulous)
- the location! I heart Candler Park : (
-throwing fabulous gallery opening parties:- Juno peeing on Beth's couch

- those 5 or 6 times I tried to burn the house down and/or poison Beth with my cooking
- speaking of, gourmet dinners consisting usually of Tuna Helper prepared by Beth and I
- dance parties in the living room which Juno did NOT approve of
- stumbling out of my room each morning at an ungodly hour to find beth by the glow of her computer, apparently up for 3 or 5 hours already, and/or olivia telling me i look like a "baby kangaroo"

What I won't miss:
- flaming dryers
-$200 water bills and monthly calls to the incompetent employees at the Department of Watershed Management
-sloping floors so that when I pull my chair up to my desk, I roll backwards across the room
-2-3 spiders in the shower EVERY time I entered it (ok ok, which isn't so often but still.)
-cabinets falling off the walls
-olivia watching Dr. Phil every day at 5 ; )
-the murder stain (there when we moved in, mind you.)

- that time when 1,000s of termites emerged out of the shower drain in above bathroom then all mysteriously died 10 minutes later only to be told by our landlord (on the phone) that surely they weren't termites. yeah, i won't miss that.
-the dripping faucets, the running toilets, the cabinet doors that wouldn't close, and all the other annoying broken things in our crackden. good riddance!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Summer in the (other) city

So in cleaning and going through all my things to pack up and streamline, I came across lots of stuff from last summer when I was in NYC. Among them, a flier I picked up that read,
to appear in the film adaptation of Toby Young's best seller
"How to Lose Friends and Alienate People"
I guess I thought I'd be especially good at this?

Additionally, I found a list of things to do (and I relay this verbatim):
  • manhattan/Bklyn bridge run
  • MoMA (Fridays free!)
  • naked guitar man-Times sq.
  • Rent!
  • Promenade
  • Strand bookstore (828 Broadway & 12th)
  • watch Ace Ventura
I shit you not, that last one was actually on there.

All this reminds me of my life there last summer, and makes me reminisce... *dream-wave-sequence music***

It's 60 degrees in June in Manhattan. I'm cold. I'm looking for the perfect NYC pigeon; but how to capture it in all its eloquent, dumb-struck filth? Ah, I've found him--the one that's paused mid-strut to take a shit. It smells like clove cigarettes; men in suits stroll back and forth in front of City Hall; a man reads loudly from his novel on the steps of a fountain in front of the U.S. court house. The unseasonable weather hints at what fall might be like here. I try to picture it. I think I like it.

Contrast the old-NY feeling of lower Manhattan with my other stomping grounds in Brooklyn:
If I were a poet, or a lyricist, I'd write a love-song for Bed-Stuy. The watermelon man at Throop and Macon says good morning--every morning--and he's there at the end of the day, too. I read about gentrification daily in the papers, but my daily route is like a scene straight out of Do the Right Thing-- people hanging out on their front stoops, occasionally breaking the fire hydrant and dancing in the high-pressure fountain they've created just to get a break from the heat. It's liquor store followed by bodega followed by salon followed by liquor store here. You can see in some of the faces a certain defeat, like they've just given up. Not like that other part of Brooklyn near the water--the type of place where people hold hands, where I once stumbled upon the (sorry, I know it's trite, but no other word better describes it) breathtaking NY skyline back lit by an ebbing sunset, and literally stopped in my tracks. It was one of those "wow!" moments where you look around for someone to say "Look at that!"to, but there's no one there. So you just have to remember it. It's like a secret moment shared with yourself. (Ok, so there's no such thing. You can't share something with...yourself. Reminds me of when a friend of mine told us she had a "pact" with herself, only to be told this makes no sense. You can't have a pact with just yourself. By very definition, a pact involves others. You've thereby made a decision, not a pact. She insists it's a pact. This is why I like her. But I digress...).

Ok, reminiscence over.

***dream-sequence music (Garth and Wayne-style)***

I have no savings after a summer in NY. But it was worth it if for no other reason than the feeling it gave me. It's the same one Carol, the overweight middle-aged letter carrier from Denver feels when she visits Paris for the first time. If you haven't seen Paris, je t'aime, you're missing out.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We'll shine like gold in the air of summer

A few observations over the past few weeks:

1) Walter the Farting Dog makes a poor bed companion. In fact, rolling over on him and accidentally activating the comically absurd flatulence mechanism is pretty much guaranteed to ruin an otherwise good night's sleep.

2) I'm an over-sharer. I over-share. In interviews, I tell people I have panic attacks. How is that relevant, you ask? It's not. Over. Share.

3) I'm in the wrong profession (ok so I don't have a profession. But if I did, it wouldn't be the one I'm about to tell you about; therein lies the problem). I read this article in the Times today. Basically this journalist got paid to watch DIY network for 24 hours and then write about it. Um, hello?...I watch at least that much, if not more HGTV on a daily basis. Why am I not getting paid for it?! Ugh... And I'm pretty sure I could write up an equally entertaining piece on it too, with a few SAT words like this guy chose sprinkled in ("mercenary,"compendium," "stupefaction") to make it NYTimes-worthy. (On the topic of home renovations and stupefaction, I once offered to fetch my stud-finder (that's what she said) for a maintenance man, to which he replied, with a look of horror on his face: "wait a know what that is? and you own one? men don't like women like make us nervous." hmm)

4) Perhaps it's because of the smattering of life-events that have been concentrated in the past ~2-3 weeks among people close to me (weddings, funerals, ends of relationships, career changes, big moves) that I feel very strange as of late. If it's possible to feel overly sentimental and minimalist at the same time then I think that's what I'm experiencing. I feel a little like my brother (whom I used to tease for this very reason) in that I'm purging my closet and getting rid of a lot of my personal possessions and almost all of my furniture. If you don't know where you're going in life, no sense taking a bunch of junk with you, right?

5) A brief conversation with my father:
-Me: Dad I scored a bunch of free boxes off of Craigslist
-B.C.: Cool.
-Me: Yeah, you know, so I can pack up all my earthly belongings
-B.C.: Oh yeah? Well make sure you leave one out to live in.

Hah. Thanks, dad.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What it is.

So a good bout of depression, unemployment, lack of direction, and an overall existential crisis doesn't make for consistent blogging. My apologies for that. My hiatus from the blogging world had a lot to do with school and the final push at the end to finish everything. I can't believe I did it, but here I am.

I decided to read back over my previous posts to see if I wanted to continue doing this, and since I chuckled a few times at my own writing I decided to keep it going. At the very least I'm amusing myself! I landed on my Fail On! post from December 30th of last year. Now that it's six months later, I can evaluate whether or not I've kept my New Years resolutions. The half-way point is a good time to look back, right? Let's see how I'm doing:

Resolution 1. Don't date sociopaths. I think I'm doing good on this one. I tried to date a douchebag for like a week earlier this year, but that doesn't count. I said sociopaths weren't allowed, not douchebags.

Resolution 2. Break 24:00 in a 5k. Ok, still working on this. How was I so fucking fast last summer?? Even though I haven't met this goal, I did run my first 10k in a decent time back in April, so I'm proud of that. I might even be convinced to do a 1/2 marathon later this year. (maybe...)

Resolution 3. Be nicer to my parents. Check. Dad's coming into town and we're going to a Brave's game next week, and I don't get exasperated with my mom nearly as much.

Resolution 4. Finish my thesis and graduate. It was rough, there were times when I didn't think it was gonna happen, but by golly, I did it! Now, mustering up the willpower to pick up my thesis again and work on publishing it is another story...

5. Get a job. Hah, uhhh...well, this needs some work. I mean, technically I had one, but then it was gone. Not my fault.

6. Read more, shop less. I've been SO good about this. I used to be addicted to shopping, now I'm addicted to books, or at least buying them. Wait... dammit. ...

I can't believe 2008's half over.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lincoln pognostications

So, if the group of rabble-rousers in the tiny gate here at the St. Paul/Minneapolis airport is any indication of the folks I'll be meeting in the capital of America's heartland, I am in for quite an experience. Let's take this smattering of Lincolnites (I'm assuming) as a microcosm for the city itself.

To my left we have a very well-put-together lady of about 65 who's been choking on something for the past 6 or 7 minutes, a young man about my age with a t-shirt and asics, unassumingly reading Nietzche or something (just kidding, I can't see what he's reading...he doesn't look like the philosopher type. It's more likely Dean Koontz--and that's not me not giving him enough credit. I happen to like Dean Koontz and his semi-soft-pornographic horror novels), and finally a business-lady-type wearing a suit and heels, which makes me feel like a schmo.

In front of me is a 400 year old woman and self professed "not-a-very-good-traveler" as she asked asinine questions of the Northwest woman at the gate. She's got very large, pristine white sneakers on despite her petite frame. Next to her is a gentleman with mountains and moons on his shirt and some sweet cowboy boots. That's it. Lots of old folk and a college student. Pretty good representation of Lincoln I've been told.

Let's not forget the aforementioned Northwest gate-woman who's chatting with the flight attendant.
NW lady (heavy Minnesota accent): oh, you're here early, aren't cha?
Flight attendant lady: yah, well, ya know, I like to be here early so i don't have to run around and rush.
NWL: oh yeah. ..Is your lip bleeding?
FAL: Probably.


oh good, the pilot just showed up. He's approximately 12 years old.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Why is it that major life decisions have to be made at the most inopportune times?

And how is it that a person can feel so compelled to abscond and at the very same moment be content with the here-and-now?

Let's do a visualization exercise.

... this:

or this?:
Since I'm at a loss for words (and blog-posts) these days, I'll once again steal the words of someone else to give you something worthwhile to read.

"The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from House of Light. © Beacon Press, 1992

p.s. Nebraska photos are by a very talented guy named Ryan McGinnis, NOT ME, found on Flickr. Not sure what the rules are, but I figure if he would rather I not post them on my blog he'll ask me not to and I'll comply. = ) Until then, he probably wouldn't mind a little publicity, right? He takes some pretty sweet HDR shots.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Look! A New Blog Post!

I'm so excited that I actually have free time to blog I don't know what to do with myself! And "free time" is definitely a stretch as I should be doing something else, but no matter...

So, flipping through Golf Digest for my thesis, I thought I'd be hard-pressed to find a magazine I'd be less interested...that is until I was forced to peruse Outdoor Life. I swear if I had seen one more grinning fool holding up a beautiful (dead) deer by the antlers I would have turned to the nice homeless man next to me (who had earlier offered me a package of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies...apparently I either look homeless or in need of processed junk food) and verbally expressed my outrage. But in general I try to avoid eye contact with that nice homeless man. Some other observations about this particular publication: I can now tell you all about the top lure picks of 1999, how not to shoot your comrade Dick Cheney-style, and how to kill tigers and elephants. (Wait a minute, is that legal?? I shit you not, there was an article on it.) Additionally, the only products advertised in Outdoor Life are the following, in various forms: ATVs, Viagra, car wax, and Valvoline lubricant. Just rotate those four ads (oh, plus snuff ads, we mustn't forget), sprinkle in some articles on how to snag your first white-tail of the season or the best new Winchester rifle on the market, and you've got yourself a men's huntin' magazine!!

(Disclaimer: I know I know, I could just as easily poke fun at the formulaic layouts of any genre of magazine, it's just these are the antithesis of what I would enjoy reading and yet I'm forced to for my research, so I have the right to pick on them)

And while we're at it, let's observe together, reader, my favorite smokeless tobacco advertisement I've come across:
First of all, it looks like her leg is disconnected from her body. Secondly, how exactly is dipping better for your sex life? I mean yeah, maybe this girl would be turned on by the fact that you're not a smoker, UNTIL YOU EXCUSE YOURSELF TO SPIT DISGUSTING BROWN JUICE/SPIT INTO A SPITTOON OR CUP. I mean, seriously? GROSS.

And is it just me or does he look a little predatory? Maybe he's in "predertor mode." (Oh man, that video never ceases to amuse the hell outta me.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Evolution of the Marlboro Man

Let's face it, the Marlboro Man is hot. Sure, he's probably missing a jaw by now if he hasn't died from lung cancer, or maybe he can only talk by holding one of those voice-simulator gadgets up to the hole in his throat, but still. There's just something about a rugged loner cowboy in chaps. Here he is circa 1989:Mm hmm, nice skin, strong jaw, blue shirt, white hat. Lookin' good. But it gets better if we go back to the original 1957 MM:A lot to like fo' sho'! Well, except for the douche-baggery shining through in that expression. I don't know what it is, but there's something very French about this picture. Which I'm sure is the exact opposite of what the Marlboro man is supposed to stand for. Maybe it's the way he's holding the cigarette? Or perhaps his sartorial choices...

Now here's 1996:
Oo la la, nice vest. And how does he keep his shirt so clean?? (Must have something to do with the cigarettes).

And finally, the sexiest of all, from 2004, and probably the last close-up we'll ever see of him (most of the recent ads show cowboys herding cattle from afar to emphasize...uh, I dunno, the wide open spaces and freedom that being a slave of addiction to cigarettes affords you?):"But, you can't even see his face!", you say? That's the POINT! Look, he's MYSTERIOUS. Besides, if he were to reveal his full identity, you would be so overcome with his supreme masculinity that you might sprout a chest hair (if you're a guy), or swoon and pass out (if you're a lady). "You're welcome," he's saying. "You couldn't handle this."

This is what I do instead of working on my thesis. Examine the evolving hottness of the Marlboro Man. This is very important research, though. Someone's gotta do it.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A gentler post

I've been inspired by a piece Judith Warner wrote in the NYTimes last week: a blog post that started out as an essay on her love for coffee, transformed into a tracing of her life through memories involving the brew, and ended up saying a lot more about growing up, loss and childhood, and about the hurried times in which we live. There's something to be said for a warm, welcoming pot of coffee in a home. It's different from the impersonal bustling of coffee shops, instead creating a sense of place and a feeling of timelessness.

I discovered coffee (and by discovered, I mean the cannot-live-without-you-nor-imagine-how-I-did-before-meeting-you kind of love that most reserve for other human beings) last summer in NY. I had always loved the creamy, sugary espresso drinks offered at Starbucks and other standard coffee houses--my sweet tooth is not discriminate-- but could never get into the straight-up brewed coffee thing. The smell of coffee I always loved; my earliest memory of it is riding in my friend's mother's car on the way to Moultrie Middle School (which is now a pile of rubble I found out on a recent trip home) every morning. She always had a travel mug of the best-smelling flavored coffee. I almost looked forward to early-morning rides to school for that fact.

I forget when or how, but I realized that with enough cream and sugar, even a weak cup of coffee can be made tolerable, and is a much cheaper alternative than a $4.00 cappuccino. And perhaps this is psychosomatic, but an espresso drink accelerates my heart rate and gives me the jitters so bad it scares me, while a cup or two of regular coffee does the trick without giving me palpitations. Anyway, this summer, leaving my apartment at 7am to ride the subway for a 1/2 hour I always grabbed a cup of coffee from the Nascent on the corner of my 'hood in Brooklyn; that is until I realized I could get a delicious cup from the bodega after I emerged in Bed-Stuy for a buck cheaper, AND the cream and sugar were already mixed in. Perfect. (That's the laziness kicking in.)

As I'm getting older (I'm pushin' 24 now...phew! (kidding)) I think I'll one day make it to the pure cafe noir, sans cream or sugar. Mostly because I want to be like my dad, who shakes his head and with a knowing gesture (like the gesturing Warner speaks of) refuses any additives offered to him by a stranger. I like to imagine him in the early mornings when I was younger, when he would be up before everyone else in the house (we're talking like, 3-4am early, since he worked 1st shift and was home by 3 to pick us up from school), sitting in the yellow kitchen, probably reading the paper with a cup of coffee brewed in a pot I don't remember. Or nowadays as a retiree, starting his day the same way, albeit a few hours later, in a much bigger, state of the art kitchen (looking a little out of place among all that marble and stainless steel in his flannel and faded denim), always awake already when I stumble out of bed and into the kitchen on my visits home. Already sitting, drinking his black coffee over the paper, with the pot still on and warm, waiting for me.

"Sit, drink Your coffee here; your work can wait awhile..."
by: Vikram Seth

Sit, drink your coffee here; your work can wait awhile.
You're twenty-six, and still have some life ahead.
No need for wit; just talk vacuities, and I'll
Reciprocate in kind, or laugh at you instead.

The world is too opaque, distressing and profound.
This twenty minutes' rendezvous will make my day:
To sit here in the sun, with grackles all around,
Staring with beady eyes, and you two feet away

Thursday, January 31, 2008

"some sort of incubating period for when i really come around"

I could start this post one of several ways. I could say,

I am an asshole. I cannot even begin to fathom the karmic consequences that will result from my latest cowardice. I don't believe in fate. I believe we control our own destiny (which isn't good, because I'm pretty lazy.) But Karma, yeah, that always seems to kick my ass. I still haven't called back 33-year-old divorcee to let him down easy, which is terrible because it's the exact thing that countless people have done to me (see previously mentioned rant) and therefore should vow never to leave anyone hanging. But I'm, as they say, a yellow-belly, and would rather gouge out my eyes with a spork than have that conversation. So...I'll just let him down hard.

Or I could begin thusly:

Multiple Choice: You know it's not going to be a good day when:
A) by 12pm you're already thinking "I need a f-ing beer." And then you have one. Luckily with someone who's really good at life pep-talks.
B) You actually reach for the "101 Poems That Could Save Your Life" book on your shelf for self-help
C) You're 2 minutes late to your first "real" interview and the Nazi career center lady is melodramatically on the phone when you walk in and says, exasperatedly, "Are you Laurel? I was JUST calling you." and then gives you the look of death. More on that later.
D) You learn to sing and play a song called "Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole" and then pass out for 3 hours in the afternoon
E) All of the above.

If you chose E, you are absolutely correct! Congratulations.
Back to option C. This lady in the career center (let's call her....M(r?)s. Blowy) has GOT to be kidding me. Granted I'm a young, unexperienced, oft times ingenuous graduate student, but this woman takes her job WAY too seriously. I once RSVP'd for a lunch time talk on cover letters or something and when I didn't show up, received a scathing email telling me this atrocious no-show was going on my "permanent record." Really lady? Permanent record? Do they permanently record your draconian nitpicking? Additionally, I understand that my punctuality is somewhat sub-par. (Ok, that's an understatement...I've been told I operate on "L__ time") BUT, this was an 8:30am (which is just an ungodly hour, people) on-campus screening interview to make sure I wasn't, you know, insane or anything, with a woman who it turns out hadn't even read the writing sample I sent in. The opening was for an analyst position that requires a ton of writing. There were 4 interview slots. I bet I can make a pretty accurate guess as to how many people applied. But I digress. I would like to know, Ms. Blowy, what it is YOU do that warrants your continued vituperations aimed at lowly grad students. Here's what you did for me this morning: you walked me the five feet from your desk to the conference room where the pleasant, intelligent HR person was waiting for me, not ticked off, and equally tired as I was. That's what you did. You escorted me to a room that I'm pretty sure a blind, mentally disabled person would have been capable of finding. That's your JOB. And I'm trusting you for career advice? No thank you.

Moving on. The highlight of my day:
I came across this sentence in my reading for class today: "One would aim to assess the reciprocal interpenetration of factors at different levels of organization, over both the life course of the individual and the history of populations." Uhhh...I'm sorry....reciprocal interpenetration? bwahahaha <---I promptly highlighted it and wrote exactly that in the margin.

(The picture is what came up when I googled "reciprocal interpenetration." It was on a website that was too dense for me to read through, but it had to do with schizophrenic thought and had these paintings throughout, which is really weird b/c my roommate was looking for art drawn by schizophrenics earlier tonight, but it's not clear whether these are related to the website or if they're just random abstract paintings they chose. Either way, I love it when that kind of full-circle stuff happens!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How to live by denial: ignore the blindsiding facts

I don't have the time nor the energy to tell you all the reasons that all the wrong people insist on asking me out, especially 33-year olds with more baggage than a first-class Titanic passenger, a terrible haircut, and a butt-chin (yes, I'm a terrible person); but I do have the strength to report that I am, proudly, the least "plaid" of the hetero siblings in my family according to my eldest brother. That is, I was until I got demoted since I was heading to an American Gladiators party....but all too soon, for the gathering was hosted by two friends who happened to be...lesbians! So my status is once again lifted, though I have the tough task of trying not to become too plaid (i.e., hetero, mainstream, terribly boring). I don't think I have to worry too much about that, what with my Dilbert-esque competition in an engineer brother, and the daily head-shakings of my roommates who mutter either, "That bitch is crazy" when I leave the room, or "Where did we find her??"

In far more interesting and bizarre news, Tom Cruise is a fucking nutjob. What is he even talking about in his rant about scientology?! If for some reason you're not convinced that he's crazy, and especially if you haven't seen it, please watch. And be sure to catch all the parodies of it, especially Eugene Mirman's version. Had me laughing pretty hard.

I had a class this morning taught by the Paula Deen of health management. I mean literally, she was the spitting image, complete with spiky silver psuedo-mullet, colorful personality, and the ability to stretch any honest, sensible one-syllable word into two. It's gonna be a good semester, I can feel it.

And because I feel like this is a weak post, I'm gonna leave you with another poem, because let's face it, I'm basically a Garrison Keillor wannabe. I have to give you something of worth for your time, dear reader.


by Louis Jenkins

In Sitka, because they are fond of them,
People have named the seals. Every seal
is named Earl because they are killed one
after another by the orca, the killer
whale; seal bodies tossed left and right
into the air. "At least he didn't get
Earl," someone says. And sure enough,
after a time, that same friendly,
bewhiskered face bobs to the surface.
It's Earl again. Well, how else are you
to live except by denial, by some
palatable fiction, some little song to
sing while the inevitable, the black and
white blindsiding fact, comes hurtling
toward you out of the deep?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Continuing to fail in good spirits

So my one reader has commanded me to "update." Here goes.

Just a few things I remember from last night's bout of binge drinking:
-Two people carrying me to the top of the stairs because I refused to step anywhere on the floor that was not covered by a blue carpet circle, which were sporadically placed around the room, for fear that something awful would happen. Then I proceeded to slide down the stairs on my ass knocking over something large that was perched on one of the stairs, proclaiming at the end that "ow I have carpet burn on my butt!" Well, what did I expect?
-Becoming convinced that the bulletproof Escalade leaving for the bar was actually a ruse, and that in fact we were being corralled only to be sent off to concentration camps. All it took was one friend to introduce this idea into my head and I went with it. I was told at one point I screamed at someone, "This is ETHNIC CLEANSING, and I WON'T STAND FOR IT!" My friends only egged me on: "Don't get in that car. I wouldn't if I were you." Indeed. "I will not be privy to your anti-semitism!" Hm...
-Related to the previous event, I claimed I was a quarter Jewish, "on my dad's side, and THAT still COUNTS!" When someone later realized this was not true, and in fact my Jewness is on my mother's side and therefore doesn't count, they accused me of lying, to which I defended myself by saying, "I wasn't lying. I was just drunk." I'm pretty sure I was lying.
-Took control of the cake situation, even though I was by no means in charge of the celebration at hand. But I was hungry and not enough action was being taken in this matter. So we found some tea lights and slapped it on the cake, lit those suckers up and got down to business.
-Oh, and how could I forget. I led a bout of Indian leg wrestling, circa ~1995 style. Please tell me other people know what I'm talking about? But my opponent's sartorial choices gave him an unfair advantage. Cheater.

What defective filter exists between my brain and mouth when I'm sober completely disappears when I've had a few drinks. "Do you know when these cupcakes would have been good? THREE DAYS AGO!" I angrily told my roommate, who had made us wait til the party to consume them. It's ok though, because she doesn't remember much of anything that happened last night anyway.

In other news, I haven't blogged much lately because school's started back up and I imagine it's only going to get worse. I have my first "real" job interview next Thursday morning. I might poop my pants, which won't look good. Part of me is excited to be moving on to the next phase of life, where things like "income" and "weekends" are viable, tangible, attainable things. But the other part of me is terrified that I'll not be happy and end up doing something rash like quit and move to South Dakota to live on a horse farm and play music and read all day.

Let's see, a poem to express this mood....Ah yes, enjoy:

by Cheryl Denise


take your soul
and put it in a suit,
fit you in boxes
under labels,
make you look like the Joneses.

They'll tell you go a little blonder,
suggest sky-blue
tinted contact lenses,
conceal that birthmark
under your chin.

They'll urge you to have babies
get fulfilled.
They'll say marriage is easy,
flowers from Thornhills
are all you need
to keep it together.

They'll push you to go ahead,
borrow a few more grand,
build a dream house.
Your boys need Nikes,
your girls cheerleading,
and all you need is your job
9 to 5 in the same place.

They'll order you never to cry
in Southern States,
and never, ever dance
in the rain.

They'll repeat all the things
your preschool teacher said
in that squeaky too tight voice.

And when you slowly
let them go,
crack your suit,
ooze your soul
in the sun,
when you run through
the woods with your dog,
read poems to swaying cornfields,
pray in tall red oaks,
they'll whisper
and pretend you're crazy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Proper reactions

What should one do when, sitting in an interview, a slow stream of snot begins to drip out of your interviewee's nostril? I mean seriously, what does one do? Ignore it? Pretend it's not happening? Surely this person knows it's happening to them. Why wouldn't (s)he do something about it? I wouldn't mind if they took a break from asking me asinine questions like "How do you take criticism?" or "What part of this job might be challenging for you?" Oh, I dunno, maybe the part where I stare blankly at a computer screen all day wishing I was anywhere else? Or maybe the part where I'm forced to make perfunctory small talk with my co-workers and colleagues? Or maybe the part before the job is even given to me, when I have to muster all my willpower to not look at the mucous slowly creeping out of your nose. Good God, I don't want to enter the working world.

Today my roommate and dear friend told me I was, and I quote, "gross." I'm not sure how to take that, but barring any further explanation, I'm going to take it as a complement. All I said was that I had fish eggs all over my hands. I mean, that's what roe is. So sue me. A better way to describe my candor would be as the character Alceste does in Moliere's The Misanthrope:

"I have the fault of being a little more sincere than is proper."

I prefer it anyway.

I've been having disturbing dreams lately. Night before last I dreamed I was carjacked and tasered. I actually remember what the taser felt like. I kept driving while it was happening.
Other terrifying dreams as of late: entire family dying in a fire; the arrival of an impending nuclear holocaust and subsequent radiation poisoning. So that's weird.

I tried to burn the house down tonight for the fourth time since moving in in August. This time I decided to leave a piece of paper on top of my space heater. Last time it was an undergarment. The first and second times I almost burned down the house were not my fault. Well, not entirely. The second time I left the gas stove on for quite some time, sans food or pan. But the first time was by far the most exciting. Olivia and I were showered with sparks from the malfunctioning dryer: she dove to the floor while I was barricaded in the bathroom with nothing between me and safety but a wall of blue, red, and orange flares. This fireworks show, along with our screams, lasted for a good 10 seconds. And then it happened again a few minutes later. And then again just as our landlord was saying, "oh, see here it was just this--" a;t(*&^&%#$&*&()*)*(%$#$#@ *spewing flames*@#$%^&*(*&^%$#$%^&*(*&^%$#@!.

Man I'm gonna miss living here.
Whoa, upon googling "spark," I found an artist named Laurel Sparks. Sweet. Teardrop Explodes pictured above.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bad things come in threes

...So do really ridiculous things, like the daily spam I receive. Most people absent-mindedly (I don't think you can adverb-ify "absent-minded" but bear with me here) delete their junk email, but look twice next time before doing so; there are some true gems. For instance, I got three emails the other day with the following subjects:
and, not to be outdone, "FatShlongReynaldo."

I want to know whose job it is, day in and day out, to come up with new and enticing ways to get me to enlarge the size of my penis. Someone out there is dead-set on it happening, and apparently will not stop until I make my love-stick harder, longer, stronger, or all three.

Speaking of inappropriate things, I had a very uncomfortable experience today in the Woodruff library. Of course with my luck, I was not surprised when, upon randomly sampling issues of Sports Illustrated to study tobacco ads for my thesis, I just so happened to choose the Swimsuit Edition of 2006. To make matters worse, the damn issue was only available on microfilm (although I dunno, it may have been creepier if I had been forced to leaf through the thing in a corner of the stacks or something). So here I am in a reallly quiet room with this machine making the loudest racket possible (imagine someone making the sound of a drum roll with their mouth while simultaneously blowing all of the air out of their lungs as fast as possible, continuously) as I scroll through pages and pages of pouty-lipped women wearing next to nothing. (If you are male and can't imagine why this made me self-conscious and paranoid, imagine doing the same thing with a reel of those male underwear models in the Calvin Klein ads drawing attention to yourself while you try to do research).

Luckily school hasn't started and there weren't many people around to walk by and give me weird looks while thinking, "Psshhh, research my ass....what a creep-o." I can't WAIT 'til I have to go through a year of Playboy issues! I think I'm going to have a talk with my thesis adviser about getting out of that...

So, needless to say, after having bikini-clad Molly Sims and Heidi Klum shoved down my throat for an hour, I am left feeling slightly inadequate and the little feminist on my left shoulder is not very happy about it. In fact, she's put her boxing gloves on and is ready to take on American media. But that's a whole 'nother blog post. Besides, the diva on my right shoulder can shut her up by singing Ani D.'s new song (unreleased--she played it live in NY this summer and recently when she came to Atlanta),which goes:

so i'm beginning to see some problems
with the ongoing work of my mind
and i've got myself a new mantra
it says: "don't forget to have a good time"
don't let the sellers of stuff power enough
to rob you of your grace
love is all over the place

there's nothing wrong with your face

Don't worry, I just checked and there's a new email from "ImpressiveErectileOrganHoward." Maybe he's single?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I wish I was the moon tonight

"I would be leaving Charleston soon, I thought, leaving the city of two rivers, which had imparted a passionate sense of aesthetics within me, which had given me a love of antiquity and cloistered gardens. I would be leaving the city that taught me to fear the world." - Pat Conroy

Let me be nostalgic just one last time. It'll be back to the real world tomorrow after this long sojourn (is that contradictory? long sojourn? nah...) in Charleston where I'm sure I'll blog about everyday, asinine things (like the fact that I bought donut sticks the other day at a gas station that expired on 1/3/08, which was really quite disturbing considering the fact that most preservative-laden Little Debbie-esque snacks have a shelf life of, oh, 25 years, which means they must've been really, really old...but I ate all 600 calories of them anyway). I just realized this is my last Christmas break from school. Ever. Well unless I get a doctorate some day. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Crazy.
So I was helping my dad put the Christmas stuff away in the attic (since it's like the 14th day of Christmas) when I caught a glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, of brilliant purples and pinks out the window. And after reading, this very afternoon, in Lowcountry Living magazine an essay by Bret Lott (who used to and maybe still does live right behind my parents' house) about his favorite thing in the lowcountry--our sunsets--I reckoned (yes, reckoned) that it was too big a coincidence to pass up the opportunity to chase after one. So I hopped on my bike and pedaled like hell to the yacht club so I could get a better picture with my shitty camera but by that time the glowing garnet and wine colors had faded. (I kind of caught the last glimmer of it in the first picture above.)

Lott talked in his essay about having grown up with dramatic sunsets out West, surrounded by towering mountains or endless desert, but that the sunset over the Charleston harbor changed everything for him: "Stretched across the sky above us, and reflected in the harbor before us, was color--every natural color I knew, from the palest violet to the deepest scarlet. And color lay also in the marsh, the saw grass and salt marsh hay suddenly awash in umbers and ochres and greens as urgent and sharp as spring itself. But the strange thing--the captivating thing--was that woven through all this color was a kind of intimacy, a kind of quiet and gentle hand. ... No rugged geography, no infinite expanse of sea. No theatrics. Only the mystery of colors at once vibrant and hushed at the disappearance of the sun. " This last one I took belly-down on the dock to try and steady the camera, but I think it may be blurred because a tugboat went by and made quite a wake.

Every time I come back here I wonder why I ever leave. Someone commented the other day how people around here have a lot of pride in where they're from. True, but I think the most proud of us are those that have lived elsewhere. I think to truly appreciate it you have to be away from it for a time. The whole don't-know-what-you've-got-til-it's-gone thing, I suppose.

And so my month-long putzing around ends. Atlanta-bound tomorrow : /

my thoughts can be best expressed by a poem...

by Paul Violi, from Overnight. © Hanging Loose Press, 2007

Appeal to the Grammarians

We, the naturally hopeful,
Need a simple sign
For the myriad ways we're capsized.
We who love precise language
Need a finer way to convey
Disappointment and perplexity.
For speechlessness and all its inflections,
For up-ended expectations,
For every time we're ambushed
By trivial or stupefying irony,
For pure incredulity, we need
The inverted exclamation point.
For the dropped smile, the limp handshake,
For whoever has just unwrapped a dumb gift
Or taken the first sip of a flat beer,
Or felt love or pond ice
Give way underfoot, we deserve it.
We need it for the air pocket, the scratch shot,
The child whose ball doesn't bounce back,
The flat tire at journey's outset,
The odyssey that ends up in Weehawken.
But mainly because I need it—here and now
As I sit outside the Caffe Reggio
Staring at my espresso and cannoli
After this middle-aged couple
Came strolling by and he suddenly
Veered and sneezed all over my table
And she said to him, "See, that's why
I don't like to eat outside."

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"His buttocks are sublime"

My friend Steph and I stumbled across this at Belk's a few days ago: apparently Bobbi Brown has a new fragrance called "Beach." Are we the only ones who remember Kramer's pitch to Calvin Klein for a fragrance called Ocean that smelled like you just came from the beach on an episode of Seinfeld??? This is an outrage! Kramer should be in the advertisements, in his tighty whities. They totally stole his idea...

Friday, January 4, 2008

ebry shuteye ain' sleep; ebry goodbye ain' gone

I got told I have nice elbows last night.

I enjoy playing tourist in my own town. Elizabeth and her fiance Jason got into town two days ago and we took him and his friend to Patriot's Point to see the Yorktown and go through the submarine, etc. Her uncle Billy works there so we got in free, and we even got free admission to the flight simulator, where we tore it up in Desert Storm.

"Your mission: destroy the scud missles."
"I don't even know what a scud is."
"Don't worry, I'll show you later."

I had been warned there was a possibility of pants-dropping in Jason's friend's company, but I wasn't counting on nonstop sexual harassment.

Anywho, so Elizabeth is the 3rd close friend to get married in 2 years.
There aren't many of them left. And two others are a sure-shot in the next two years. Looks like I'll be the last man standing. But that's ok, Sarah and I got St. Tropez on lockdown. Right, Sarah? *laughs nervously*

An actual exchange with my mother over lunch.
Me: "I don't wanna go back to school."
Momma Nance: "Oh, it's only four more months, you can make it. Then you'll get a shitty job and live out the rest of your life in quiet desperation."
...uhh...what?! haha, gee, thanks for the encouragement mom.

Off to eat Sticky Fingers and dance like a fool at the engagement partay. I ran the bridge this morning so I deserve it.

In the spirit of being here for only a few more short days, listen to this:
A funny joke, told in Gullah.

I love love love this place.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

an unfortunate turn of events...

"We ate till we were tired out from eating, which is the way people in South Carolina eat at family reunions." - The Secret Life of Bees

Ain't that the truth. How come every time I come home every meal is like a last meal? I mean seriously, folks, I almost had to unbutton my pants at dinner last night, but we were in public so I figured that might be some sort of dining faux pas. Alas, that's the Curry way.

Luckily I'm countering all that consuming with a limited amount of physical exertion. Steph (a good friend from too many years ago to count (and when I do I feel old, so I won't)) and I took water aerobics at the gym yesterday from a friend's mom, Jackie O. (whom we both just recently realized has the same name as, well, Jackie O. It only took us 10 years to realize that). Steph and I spent most of the time trying not to drown, which was a workout in itself. While my 60 year old mother and the woman who just got her knee replaced nonchalantly floated in the pool, Stephanie and I sputtered and sank like rocks. I think Mrs. O. was yelling at us to "MAKE A V!" and "POINT YOUR TOES, LADIES" but I could barely hear her as I was, most of the time, submerged. Then I got a toe cramp and all was lost. Needless to say, hilarity ensued.

Post-workout and hot tub, however, something very unfortunate occurred in the locker room. No sooner had Steph warned me as we walked through that "this is where the old people get naked" than a not-so-young woman casually walked by and dropped her towel. Deliberately. And then proceeded to coolly carry on a conversation with someone next to her. That's right. Yesterday I saw old lady vajayjay. And I'm not to happy about it. I know that is not a pleasant thing to share on a blog, but if I had to endure such atrocities, by golly so do my readers (all two of you). Now I don't mean to be ageist here, but do people lose all sense of dignity or self-consciousness when they get old? I mean, I consider myself to have a fairly inoffensive body, but would never walk stark naked around in front of strangers. I was also disturbed by the fact that the woman had no...well, ok I'm just gonna stop there.

I think I'll stick to running from now on. : /

Hmm, a quick Google image search reveals a hilarious variety of water aerobics examples:
A musician named "Iz" who apparently enjoyed frolicking in the water. Word. I sense some sexual tension here??

Finally, a more accurate depiction of our experience.