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.