Saturday, December 23, 2006

Reading now

Reading is possibly the best way to fill open time, next to listening to This American Life and baking (in conjunction). In the past two days I have made a pizza, chili, and oatmeal-coconut-raisin-chocolate chip cookies, listened to two holiday spectaculars from TAL, and learned one amazing fact: The true birthplace of Santa Claus is the same as Uncle Sam's - the oft-ridiculed, yet symbolically historically significant city of Troy, New York! Yes, what is now considered the crappiest third of the Tri-Cities (the others being Albany and Schenectady, no gems themselves, though also historically significant) was home to the meatpacking plant that stamped meat sent to troops in World War 2 with the emblem of Uncle Sam. Troy now has an Uncle Sam parade every summer. But lesser know is that Troy originally published "The Night Before Christmas" in its newspaper, birthing the myth of Santa Claus that Naomi worked so hard to combat as a precocious and moral Jewish preschooler in Utah.

But anyhow, reading. I've been reading a few books all at the same time, making it hard to finish any single one, and thus all my judgements are "in progress."

Reporting, by David Remnick

This is a collection of writings from The New Yorker, of which Remnick is the editor. He's amazing. His access to important people is really unsurpassed. The last piece I read had him chatting with the leader of Hamas right after Hamas came to power. Then he's chilling with Al Gore. Seeing Vaclav Havel leaving the palace in the Czech Republic. Talking to Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, in exile and then in Moscow. The thing about Remnick is that he manages to underscore how incredibly important everyone is in a way that doesn't emphasize the journalist himself. He's there, but he's not. It's awesome.

The force of the past, by Sandro Veronesi

It's generally hard to find interesting new books at some of the smaller libraries - most of the shelf space is devoted to chick-lit, the mystery/thriller/suspense/popular fiction genre, and large-print. But every so often, a book that was probably popular enough in its own country to make it into the Pikes Peak Library District appears on the shelves under a mask of intrigue and manages to stay distinct and aloof from Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel. The last one I read was Budapest by Chico Buarque, a Brazilian lyricist, which was nice yet confusing and at times tumultuous in style and plot. The force of the past is the same ways, in that the male narrator writes and acts in ways I cannot explain, which is something that goes for most European men (I generalize). For example, an unknown man offers him a ride in a stolen car, and the narrator goes through a long explanation of why he knows you can never trust a man who wears short sleeves under his jacket. Nonetheless, he gets into the car. At the beginning of the next chapter: "And as for the reason, let's put it like this: because I'm full of shit." He has just given away his entire prize money from winning an award for children's books to a woman who was sitting in the first row and said her son had cancer. These unpredictable and irrational plot twists make for beautiful reflection, but are frustrating as a reader. I feel like I'm being punished when someone I sympathize with does such stupid things. It reminds me of some writerly advice I was given: Stick your character in a tree, and then throw rocks at him. Ouch.

Oh The Glory of It All, by Sean Wilsey

I recognized the cover of this book as winning a design award from Print magazine. It's leaves exploding from the type of the title, very beautiful. But not one to judge a book exclusively by its cover, I read the introduction and was enraptured. It's Wilsey's memoir, and he was born into San Francisco society, but when his parents divorce his life is one long sob story, because his parents don't love him anymore. Something like that. Interesting things happen, but right now I'm kind of trudging through, because right now I'm in the stoner period, which tends to drag. I feel like he must have rewritten the intro over and over again and then pooped out on the third edit of the rest.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Had I read these when I was a child, I don't know if I would have liked them. They're scary and full of bad endings, and premonitions about these bad endings that amount to beating a child over the head with foreshadowing. I don't think I would have been ready for literary bruisings at a tender age. But now, I love them. They are smart, and funny, and I like that kids less delicate than me love them. Also, they are the perfect length to read if you are bored of Self-destructive magazines at the gym. Unlike those overblown Harry Potter books. I recommend you wait for the movie on those. You can also see a movie version of this, which the back of the book recommends. "And even children know that books are more depressing than movies."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Snow is made by tiny white demons who only want to bring you down

I was supposed to fly home today. Unfortunately today God decided to ruin Christmas, which is ironic.

I had planned to be brave and truck it up to Denver, because I have a healthy car and a good amount of sense about driving in the snow. But first I had to drive to the office out east of Academy to drop off some papers and some keys I accidentally stole. Everyone for the day program was stranded, and the guy with austism was going crazy. "Hello, Lindsay, how are you, Lindsay?" "I'm good," I say, yelling "fuck you" in my head to the copier who has some type of obnoxious misfeed I can't wait for. "Hello, Lindsay, how are you, Lindsay?" he says again. "You already asked me that," I say. Usually after this pattern is repeated he says, "Okay, I'll stop" and saunters quickly away to ask someone else, but today he just kept going. "Does Jamie like it when I talk to her? Does Jamie like it when I touch her?" Jamie can't stand him and he knows it. "Did you see the whale on my sweater? Did you see the sea turtle on my sweater?" Yes. I like his sweater that says, "Gotta Regatta."

I rushed out of there but as I was hurriedly brushing off my car I hit my nail on the scraper, breaking it halfway down and making my finger bleed. It sucked. I got it wrapped up and continued determinedly on. I was a little Subby that could.

It took about 20 minutes to even get down to I-25, and once I was on it, I thought, "This isn't too bad! I can do this!" That was, until I realized that every so often a giant cloud of white would enfold my car, obscuring everything but the few feet of road in front of me. My windshield wipers were icing up constantly.

I managed to get off at the exit for Academy, which would normally be about 20 minutes from home, and pulled into the first thing I saw, the Best Western. I called my dad and told him I couldn't make it. He told me my flight was canceled. I went into the hotel expecting a small lobby and was instead met with some kind of huge garden-like atrium with big green canvas umbrellas suspended from the high ceiling. Water features were abound, and an indoor pool right there, in the lobby. I realized the effect they were going for was "outside." Except, if outside looked like this, I wouldn't be here. There were also huge poinsettias perched on top of the fountain with gold angels hovering above them, also with poinsettias in their hands. Deer rested on some kind of cotton snow covered bridge on the other mini-pool. And, I just saw this, there is a Christmas tree made of stuffed animals above the front desk. Plus, unsettling Christmas songs have been playing all day. Christmas songs are making me unhappy. They are musically sneering at me.

Through many calls to Southwest, I am now scheduled to go to Albany on December 25. I have never had a Christmas where I haven't woken up in my childhood bed, and it's something I'm oddly sentimental about. It just doesn't feel right. If I'm not in New York, Christmas is leaving me behind.

You know who's orchestrating the War on Christmas? God, with the weather in his pocket. Maybe I'll go up to the emergency shelter up at New Life and declare my Truth. But they might have given me a room here because an eighteen-wheeler is stuck behind my car and a snowdrift is in front of me. I've been here for about 6 hours now, and the hotel is turning into an unexpectedly thriving economy. The line has been out the door for the last three hours and people are actually frequenting the wierd smelling restaraunt that is shingled to look like it's "outside."

And music, I do not agree that everything's okay if we just let it snow or whatever. Today I welcome global warming.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Just read it

Right here.

...Me, I prefer to think as little as possible and stay peppy! Peppy and active! If something is bothering me, I think of something else! If someone tells me some bad news? I ignore it! Like, I knew this one guy, very Optimistic, who was being eaten by a shark and did not even scream but just kept shouting, “It’s all for the best!” Now, that was an Optimist! In the end, he was just as dead, but he hadn’t brought everybody else down! What a great guy! I really miss him! No, I don’t! It’s all good!

It's all for the best! I love George Saunders. If he was here right now, he would have a nice beard and I would hug him.

The woman I work with today cried for about 20 minutes because I wouldn't give her a hug. She wants to change the "hug policy." I work at a company with a policy on hugs. I wonder if Saunders has a personal policy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

An update

With all this new "blogger beta" stuff, it took me about twenty minutes to get into the blog. I feel like an old man walking into an old room, now converted into some hip faux-European gathering place - all these people talking about how great it is, some young man on a soapbox about developer relations, so much confusion, and in the meantime I've pissed myself three times. By pissing I mean accidentally created three new accounts so I wasn't able to find good ole Crap in a Bucket. And meanwhile I think I forgot basic HTML. Gotta clear out the cobwebs, I've been working with disabled people for too long.

Speaking of disabled people, my epic story about developmental disabilities finally aired on KRCC last night. It was 17 minutes long, which apparently is in second place for record length at Western Skies, and will probably retain the title forever as the format is switching over to delicious morning news bites. Like those little mini-muffins you can buy in bags, which make you feel like you are a giant, because you can fit so many muffins into your mouth at once. Look at you go. Anyhow, I've gotten some positive feedback from sources and others about it, and hopefully it will bring an end to the word "retard" once and for all. Kidding.

Anyhow, it will most likely be available for download tomorrow on the website. It's about the relative failure of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day in Colorado Springs and the story of a man who is surprisingly honest and articulate about his disabilities and his life.

While I'm at the self promotion I might as well point you here and here for some scripts I've written for Earth and Sky.

It's no secret that I'm no science whiz, barely filling my science requirements with two pass/fail geology classes and then making absolute sure at the registar's that I was not required to do a third after the requirements changed. But reporting on science is actually pretty awesome. I usually get an article on some interesting research or new development, take a few days to set up an interview via email, and then record about a ten minute talk off my home phone. I import the interview into GarageBand and write the script from there, editing the most interesting clips and then email them to Deborah Byrd. She's very nice. Her voice is like the hug of science.

It's through research for Earth and Sky I found out that biofuels may not be so awesome after all. This article says that the negative ecological effects of producing ethanol and biodiesel far outweigh the positive emissions. I haven't seen or heard this story hit the mainstream news yet, but it seems that the rainforest and other ecological treasures that green-minded people love to save (aside: is it just me, or did Save The Rainforest really hit its best stride when I was in second grade?) is being clear-cut to plant palm oils used for biofuels. Also, producing corn really sucks for the ground soil and biodiesel is not poised at this moment to make any significant dent in our dependency on gas. Seems like the green movement is really biting itself in the ass on this one. The question is, how long will it be before we deal with the fact that we have no adequate solution? Biofuel might be the next Iraq.

Again, kidding.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Snowday - rules are made to be frozen"

My first adult snowday felt nearly as good as childhood snowdays. My alarm went off this morning, but as I don't have a tv I tried to find cancelations on the internet. The Resource Exchange is kind of an obscure cancelation, so I had to call in. "I'm glad you called," said the community participation manager. "We've canceled today."

Last night, I wrote to myself, "I would like to sleep late, drink coffee, read, and snowshoe up the street. That is all I want to do."

I couldn't snowshoe up the street today because the snow was wet and melted on the pavement. Naomi and I decided that the necessary snowday supplies were wine, peppermint schnapps, hot chocolate, and pumpkin for baking. As it turns out, I could have easily driven, but I walked instead, trying to stay true to my snowshoeing ambitions. The trip was not romantic, as the cars on the road were large and proud of their big tires, and some of the other people walking were more miserable than pleasant. Except the man with a clean dark coat and a perfect white beard who picked his way through the slush for a pack of cigarettest at 7-11. I wanted to touch his whiskers.

The local overpriced natural foods store "forgot" to order pumpkin for the most pumpkiny season, and their HC ("and by that I don't mean Hot Chicks" - Dan Goodnow) was close to $6. Bullshit. I walked back to our local wine and spirit store, where the staff is almost too anxious to be knowledgable. I like that about them, that they try so hard to cultivate an international experience each time you buy wine in their tiny strip-mall storefront. As per my indescriminate wine tastes, I normally try to select the cheapest bottle with the prettiest label, but noting my dawdling, the red-faced seller rushed over to ask me what I was looking for. Afraid to reveal myself, I said, "Red" and after a slight thought, the man breezed around the store, sweeping up bottles like he was picking fruit from his own grove. He selected four and placed them on the counter, and started to switch the bottles around in exactly the manner of a magician concealing a ball underneath four identical cups. He explained that they were arranged from light to dark, and described each. I said I liked lighter, as the lightest was towards the least expensive. (I could have bought a large, perfectly satisfactory bottle with an okay label for $7.29! But apparently this man had come to save me from my own tastes, as he appeared to have some disdain for Yellow Tail.) He shooed off the darker, and refreshed the lineup with two more, "a simple Californian" with an imaginative label that said simply, "Red Wine." But I chose the next, a fruity red with a classy label for $9.99. And threw in the $2.99 schnapps for Naomi.

I drove to Safeway for the HC and the pumpkin, and baked two loaves of pumpkin bread. We've recently been asking ourselves the question, "What fruit or vegetable bread would you have if you had to eat only one fruit or vegetable bread for the rest of your life?" Mine is banana bread, but the pumpkin bread turned out quiet well. Naomi didn't drink any of her schnapps or wine, as she left for her home/dentist appointment this afternoon, but I've progressed quite well through Bulletin Place, showing distinct berry characters and named for the oldest commercial building still in use in Australia. Leading me to believe that if I lived alone, I would drink by myself and listen to emotionally expressive and personally sentimental music very loudly on my stereo and pine away for Ira Glass as I slowly fall in love with This American Life.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

He'll Regret That Later

Brian was sitting in the middle of our broken couch, where it sagged the worst, when I told him I was going to get a tattoo.
“Cool,” he said. “What are you getting?”
I knew he wouldn’t want to come. Brian left the couch only to scavenge and bring back smashed up televisions and other abandoned shit that he arranged around himself. When he got tired of anything he threw it into the front yard.
I stood there for a moment and Brian didn’t look at me. He was leafing through a women’s magazine he had found in the alley the day before. I think it was Good Housekeeping or something like that. Brian didn’t care about irony.
“You’ll see,” I said. I kicked some empty beer cans against the wall.
Brian looked up. “Now?”
“Yeah,” I said. I picked up my backpack from the floor and stepped on a pile of wet socks on my way out. “I’ll see you later.”
“See ya, man,” said Brian, and went back to his magazine.
The ripped screen door slammed behind me.

The tattoo place was small but typical. Large bald headed men with meaty inked biceps wielded needles. The floor was checkered black and white and unswept. Bright and cheaply framed designs lined the walls, none that I would get. They reminded me of Tweety Bird on a fat woman’s calf. I wanted dark, realistic.
“You know what you want now?” One of the large men approached me. I had talked to him before, on my trial visit. His huge forehead intimidated me.
“Yeah,” I said. I pulled the photo out of my pocket and lifted my pink t-shirt. “There,” I said, pointing to the empty space above my heart.
“Okay, man.” The man took the photo from my hand, led me to a white vinyl covered chair and began.

The pain was great. I gripped the sides of the chair with my head tilted back. The ceiling was separated into dotted tiles, and loud, shrieking music flowed through a stereo. It took a few hours, with me occasionally checking the work. Even if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have said anything. But it did look real.
“Good thing you got the dates right,” I joked to the man. He didn’t laugh.
I paid him and left the place, riding my bike back to the house. My skin felt sore and red as the wind pushed my t-shirt against it. I couldn’t wait to show Brian.

I dropped the bike on some broken chairs in the yard, ran up the concrete steps and pushed the door open. Brian was where I left him, rolling a joint. When I came in he paused and looked at me.
“Been waiting,” he said. “Whatcha got?”
“You’ll see,” I said, and went to get something from my room.
When I came back Brian was raising the joint to his lips. “Wait,” he said. He lit it, and breathed in, closing his eyes. “Show me,” he said, holding the smoke.
I lifted up my shirt. Brian opened his eyes, and when he saw his face on my chest they widened in disbelief. Brian’s profile drawn in dark black ink was raised up towards God, his hands clasped together in a prayer.
He choked out the smoke.
“No shit,” he coughed. “What are the dates? I was born in 1985…”
“And in 2006 you die!” I yelled, pulling the sword out from behind my back and swinging it straight up through his belly. Brian let out a cry and died, thus fulfilling the prophecy written that day upon my chest.

This story will be published in Denver Syntax in December.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Styles of Unemployment, Pt. 2

It looks like my unemployment woes are over. I accepted a job on Friday. I'll probably start next week, after I get some paperwork done. Then you can call me "Assistant Enclave Manager" and choose to remain unclear about what exactly that means. I'll be working at a company that provides services to people with developmental disabilities, mostly in the area of supervised employment. Which means one day I could be in the office, and the next I could be watching people recycling computers, and the next I could be watching people clean hotel rooms or tear apart cables.

One thing I did not expect was to have a career change within four months of graduating (seems like forever), but I think it's definetely for the best. Here's a list of "pro's" and "con's", "the mentally challenged" versus "journalism".


People inexplicably happy to see me
Less time spent isolating oneself on the internet
Consistent human interaction
Reimbursement for car mileage
Steady paycheck, no longer need to chase down employer for a check once in a while
Stories come to you, versus you searching for stories
Motivation to wash hair and look presentable
Less need to worry about what's going on in D-11
Do not need to continually justify myself to people who hide behind pseudonyms


Can no longer sleep until ten before starting work
Need to get out of bed before starting work
Fewer excuses to do random Google searches for hours on end
No more hiding behind inherent authority in media
Hourly pay instead of random spurts of productivity interspersed with hours of avoiding writing
Less reason to attend potentially amusing yet awkward community events
Fewer opportunities to receive free food and drinks

I'll be continuing to freelance in hopes of getting more free stuff.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Summer Reading Wrap Up

Now that we've put the beach blankets in storage, it's time to review what we all read this summer, and ask ourselves: Did we really do all that much reading at all? And why should we see summer as exceptional time for reading, versus winter, when curling up with a good book in a comfortable chair in front of a crackling fire is really our intellectual ideal? Well, some of us don't have fireplaces. We make do with whatever heat we can get without paying for it. And it is much preferable to sit outside, reading, than huddled up next to your heat vent. That's just not classy.

Moving on, for all the people who say, "I need a book," here's what I read this summer, with handy recommondations attached.

Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates

One day, hopefully a long time from now, you will approach the pearly gates in heaven. Peter, or whoever answers the door to heaven, will greet you, and you will make nervous small talk as to which you were accustomed to in more earthly waiting rooms. You will mention, in your attempt to sound noble and intelligent, that your favorite activity in life was reading.
"Oh gosh yes," Peter will gush, a heavenly smile playing upon his lips. "What was your favorite?"
You'll say something like Joyce, although you only borrowed Ulysses from the library and never read it, incurring about $2 in late fees.
"Mmmhmm," Peter will say, knowing your lie. "Did you ever read Revolutionary Road?"
"What's that?" You've never heard of it.
The smile suddenly flashes off Peter's face and is replaced by a storm cloud of anger. "Only the most underappreciated work of fiction in the 20th century!" he bellows. You shudder involuntarily. "It is a great testament to the craft of writing! It is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius!!"
"Uh, wasn't that Dave Eggers?" you offer meekly.
"Go!" Peter yells, and casts you down into the pit of hell.
Don't let this happen to you. Read it and become enlightened.

Veronica, by Mary Gaitskill

This book won lots of awards and mentions last year, yet I didn't pick it up until this summer. Then I read it in one day. It's one of those books that you can describe as beautiful. It's one of those books where you run across a particular sentence or phrase, and you just have to look up and say, "Oh." And then you read it again. You can read the first chapter here.

U.S.!, by Chris Bachelder

Chris Bachelder was my fiction professor, so I have to say I liked his new book, even though he packed up and left the Springs without as much as a glance backwards. Now everytime I hear about Upton Sinclair I kind of want to email him and say, "This article should reference your book!" But I don't. It's a good concept: Upton Sinclair is continually resurrected from the dead, and people keep trying to kill him. U.S. himself is a lovable idealist in a world where all idealists probably should be killed. Such is Chris Bachelder's worldview. Fiction 101: The world is a horrible, bitter place. He had hesitations in bringing a child into such a world. Maybe Amherst is a better world.

Identity, by Milan Kundera

Standard Kundera, characters formed around a small point of the human condition. Sophisticated. Franco-Czech. Classy.

Prep, by Curtis Sittenfield

My number one guilty pleasure is high school. Not going there, no, not that at all. But non-crap movies involving high school seriously could not be more enjoyable. For example, Pretty Persuasion, Election, Rushmore, etc. With Prep, I discovered books about high school are perhaps even more awesome. I know Prep had a really trendy PR campaign, and they came out with an actual belt like the one on the cover, but Sittenfield is a really good writer. She writes for The Atlantic, Salon, etc. She went to the Iowa Writer's Workshop! Please don't mock me.

Lucky Girls, by Nell Freudenberger

A collection of short stories that are pretty nice. I don't think by any means amazing, but pretty nice.

My Less Than Secret Life, by Jonathan Ames

Ames is a really amusing writer, but before I got through the various column collections, thinly veiled autobiographical fiction, and magazine pieces I was tired of his cutesy perversions and gratitious mention of the Mangina.

My Life in Heavy Metal, by Steve Almond

I took out this collection of short stories based around sex at the same time as Jonathan Ames, and only made it through a few. I liked the one about an affair between a Democrat and a Republican called "How to Love a Republican" or something... the whole Gore/Bush election indecision causes a traumatic breakup. So human.

First Person Rural, by Noel Perrin

I bought this at the Arc because I distinctly remember a friend owning it somewhere, but I am still trying to place who and where. A series of essays on being a sometimes farmer in Vermont. I found the one on buying a truck particuarly useful, and now I check my maple syrup for its grade. I'm ashamed of my Aunt Jemima.

A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving

I was inspired to re-read this when a childhood friend became John Irving's assistant. I still think it's his best.

Ah, book talk.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Best Music Review Ever

I saw Andrew Bird at the Bluebird in Denver on Saturday. I've been a fan of him for quite a few months now, and it just so happened that he was playing when we had already planned to go up. Shows are always kind of hit or miss for me, and by that I mean shows I go to because I'm already a fan of the music. I think this stems from disappointing experiences in high school, when I would love people on the radio who totally half-assed it in person. I prefer to have no expectations, or at least expect to be somewhat disappointed.

That said, it is more than rare that a live show can elevate the music you love to a completely new level. Seeing Andrew Bird live is not a matter of enjoyment, but being awestruck at just how talented one man can musically be. The enjoyment comes next. Here's a good representation of "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" via YouTube.

Look! He plays the fiddle two ways! He switches instruments in like .2 seconds! He is the best whistler in the world! He samples himself, then literally builds the song on top of itself! Look how he tics his head with the lyric! He's pretty much the best thing ever!

It's been three days and I still haven't gotten over it. Listening to the albums is no longer satisfying. You can download some live-ish tracks. And I never thought I'd say it, but thank God for YouTube.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Style of Unemployment, Pt. 1

Buy a t-shirt!

I spent all last night bookmarking freelancing jobs, and most of today writing worthless emails to Craigslist. Of course, a post for blogging for ski free passes took precedence over "real" jobs. I called the number and the woman seemed so incredibly indifferent to my interest that we actually had an awkward conversation.

Then I applied to this: Okay, fuckers. Now it's deleted. That's because it DIDN'T WORK. I was all excited to even possibly work for an "Animal-Themed Website" where the main requirements were:
Previous experience as an editor/journalist
Blogging experience

It really sounded perfect. Previous experience? Yes, two full months worth. Blogging experience? What do you call this? And loving animals? Do I ever! But do animal people love me? No, they do not. They think I am a horrible person and have considered killing my parents. This is the point of applying for this job: The irony.

Unfortunately, the potential irony was lost when it turned out to be a hoax.

I'm also thinking about writing disgustingly sentimental poems for greeting cards. They claim that they will pay $300 per accepted poem. If anyone feels like joining me in this pursuit, we can spend potentially useless hours together penning non-rhyming verse about our love for our sons and daughters and our sorrows for your loss. And then, we can rake it in.

But after my animal-love website job trauma, I don't know if I can ever trust Craigslist again. There are so many opportunities for fraud and gender-based housing discrimination. Luckily, I have an interview on Wednesday, but there is some self-doubt as to whether I'm qualified or not. And if that falls through, at least I can count on a $19 freelancing check coming through sometime next week. Sweet.

I headed on down to South Park this weekend

....and then I blogged about it on the Toilet Paper blog. I would do the whole copy/paste thing, but what is really obnoxious about blogging is that photos take forever to upload. So I'm going to do the easy thing and link to the post and say, go read.

Friday, September 08, 2006

What's the difference between love and herpes?

Herpes lasts forever.

Attractive guy w/herpes
I love when relationships come with lifelong perks.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

We're good with the golden rule, too.

I've been living life as a regular Springsteen for about four months now. And while I feel like I know more and more people in the Springs, I have failed to meet any young people. Or, let me rephrase. Any young people who want to be my friend.

This has been a continual source of frustration for myself and my roommate, who consider ourselves fairly likeable, creative, and entertaining people who won't get on your nerves. In other words, good friend candidates. We don't hide away in our little cottage watching anime or playing video games on our computers. We like to get out and do interesting things like go to the county commissioners meetings and possibly dumpster dive Doug Bruce's garbage (possibly). We try to go places where young people might be. We are trying really hard.

My roommate is constantly coming up with friend-making schemes. Naomi proposed this idea back in July: "Here's how it's going to go. I'm going to come home from work and say, 'Lindsay. I just found this really cool event in 7 Days to Live. We should go.' And you'll say yes, and we'll go and eventually we'll meet people." We were supposed to follow this regimen about three days a week. I don't think we really followed up on that. So about a week ago, Naomi came up with another idea. A friend quota that started small. "Lindsay. We need more friends. We both have to find one friend, and then we can share." I asked if my friend who graduated from CC two years ago counted, because I did not know him while I was in school. She eventually capitulated, and now I'm just waiting on her for our friend-sharing program to begin.

It's not like we're totally friendless. In fact, I would say we have made friends. But they all happen to go to CC, and the point is to diversify. It just seems like everyone in the Springs either goes to high school, wears girl pants, is in the military, or is older than 25.

Case and point: Last night Naomi and I ventured out on the town, i.e. Old Chicago, to go to Drinking Liberally. Sounds like a great place for young, politically involved, interesting people, right? We even invited our young, politically involved, interesting friend Christy, who graduated from CC before us and is working on Mike Merrifield's campaign (quite the moustache, that Merrifield). But everyone in the back section of Old Chicago was over 40, asides from the hosts themselves and a poli sci major from CC. It was a worthwhile event and I met some interesting people, but now I'm pretty convinced that young, politically involved, interesting people do not exist in the Springs. At least that's what one of the candidates said.

But still, Naomi would really appreciate it if someone would step up and help her meet her end of the friend quota.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Life Without Pity

Today was the first day of classes at Colorado College, my very recent alma mater, and about three weeks from the day that I found out I no longer have a job. Today was a real juncture in my life. Do I envy those who are returning to the land of three hour classes and four day block breaks? Or do I scoff and pity them for how little they know about life, then pat myself on the back as congratulations for my own maturity, independence, and handling of adult-like situations?

I can't exactly bring myself to do either. As I said, I have no job and over the past few weeks have felt consistently unmotivated to get one. I have made a few freelancing connections, though, one being at KRCC and awfully close to campus. I left the building today and saw a few token hippies playing frisbee or something in the sunshine on Yampa Field. How fucking carefree. I immediately felt sick to my stomach.

As I drove home, I had the following thought: Why do we have to work? Or more specifically, why do I have to work? The world appeared to me, in that moment, as composed of billions of little worker bees, all toiling away in their offices or restaraunts or hotels or Disney Worlds or in their cafes on their iBooks, just making the world go round with their communal enterprise of capitalism. But also in the vision, the world looked gray and dreary, just as how I visualize communism.

When I got home, I looked up 'unemployment'. A long list of ugly sounding office links came up. I revised my search. 'Being unemployed'. If I had no immediate plans to look seriously for a job, and unemployment seemed like too hard of an option, I would plan to practice the style of being unemployed.

Several blog entries came up. The Confessionator described herself as an "out of work journalist" which I later found meant "never found a job in journalism" after graduating five months before. Well, at least I'm doing better than her. There is a difference between never having had a journalism job versus having one for two months and never being able to find one again. It's a small matter of pride.

Another one was more fitting - this blogger described being busy with freelancing for a few months, and then realizing she was utterly jobless and developed an addiction to thirtysomething. Then she applied for a job at Banana Republic and got rejected. Yes, eventually she got a job, and then left it for a better job, but at the time she wrote this entry she was facing unemployment again. But I figured out that this blogger also blogs for Go Fug Yourself, which is absolutely genius and they have got themselves a book deal, which I learned via Gawker. Gawker makes me feel well informed, and not feel bad for this chick no matter her past desperation at the feet of Banana Republic.

The thing about unemployment stories is that you come to expect a certain sort of happy ending - "And then I got a job!" For me, a happy ending would be, "... and I found out that I would never have to work again!" Not because I was marrying into money, or came into a lucky inheritance. But because I had decided to sucumb to my true desire to run off into the woods, living off the land, hunting for food, tanning buckskin hides for clothes, starting fires with sticks and stones, and fending off beasts in a desperate kind of survival. In other words, avoiding the daily grind.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Typical Conversation

“I want to meet a New York Times reporter,” my roommate tells me last night. I’m sitting at my computer, trying to think of something to do.
“I’m sure you will,” I say.
She says she wants to speed it up, do something drastic to get their attention. Like go on a killing spree and give the exclusive interview to the Times. She starts imagining headlines and subtitles.
"Journalist goes on Rampage," I suggest.
“It would probably include journalism terms,” she says. “Journalist’s Rise to Fame Shorter than a Nut Graf.”
“Who would win in a fight, The Economist or the New York Times?” she asks.
“The NYTimes,” I say. “There’s more weight.”
“Who would win in a fight, the NYTimes or the NYT [pronounced Nyit]?” she asks.
“Um, I don’t know,” I say. “The NYTimes?”
“Yeah, probably,” she says.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Top Four

I don't own a TV. Instead, I have a subscription to Netflix and thus everything I watch must be out on DVD so I can watch it on my computer. It seems to be the better deal, anyhow. When I was home with my parents a few weeks ago, I found out they got TiVo and now were obsessed with recording shows and sports so there was "always something on". My father was watching a baseball game he was simultaneously recording. He explained to me that he had started watching the recorded version about a half hour or so after the actual start of the game, so that he could fast-forward through all the commercials, and by the end of the game, he would have roughly caught up with the game in real time. But as he clicked through the guides and channels as he explained, he accidentally clicked back to the real game, and ruined the whole complicated thing. "What's the point of watching the whole game if you can know what the score is later?" I asked. I forget what he said, and I don't have a good grasp on why you would watch sports on TV in the first place, but if I was him, I probably would have muttered something like, "Technology."

Here's a self-indulgent list of some of the entertainment I've been enjoying.

The Office

I'm referring to the BBC version. It is harder to understand than I expected, due to heavy accents and weird Brit slang ("round here we say birds, not bitches") but it's well worth the strain on the ears. There's nothing like a show that makes you feel like you're being tortured at the same time that you're about to die laughing. I watched it with a friend who actually screamed every five minutes. What I love about the show is that it's the pinnacle of modern tragedy. The office is supposedly all about "having laughs", but it also shows deep inequalities between gender, race, and class, plus the general tragedy of working a miserable job with an incompetent boss.
Tragedy is something that I don't think the new American version can handle. I haven't seen it, but I caught Conan's thing with the Emmys on YouTube, and I feel justified in judging it. The characters are cheap, accentless ripoffs of the original character. Tim's counterpart is named "Jim." How original. "Jim" is not cute at all.

Arrested Development Season 3
Just came out on DVD yesterday, I believe, and was celebrated by a marathon at the Black Sheep. I couldn't stay for the whole thing, as watching episode after episode of a really great TV show is like shoving an entire bar of Swiss chocolate in your mouth: It's really delicious and indulgent, but leaves you with sort of a headache and a feeling of regret because you somehow know you'll never have another bar of Swiss chocolate like that again, and you totally should have savored it. As this was Arrested Development's last season, it's completely like that.

This show is in its second season now, and I hear it's hilarious, but alas I have no access to current Cinemax shows. I'm looking for someone to invite me over to their hooked-up house on a weekly basis.

Annie Hall
Sometimes it makes sense why Europeans are in love with Woody Allen and want to go to New York.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Some photos from Chicago.

Puppet shows are the ultimate in creative street expression.

I enjoy transportation-themed restaraunts.

This is how close I got to Irving Welsh, author of Trainspotting, after about an hour and a half of wandering around Hyde Park with my friend Burke (pictured in foreground). We missed all of the reading, but could catch a few of the questions if we listened really hard. Welsh has a wonderfully soft Scottish accent, but his new book, "Bedroom Secrets of Master Chefs" got a painfully awful review in the New York Times.

On the door across from the bathroom in a Thai restaraunt. Other statements included: "No boy allowed" and "I hate you."

Hipster at a happening.

This man, called Random, is painting this canvas as part of a tour sponsored by a table tennis video game. However, right now he is getting a different kind of game on.

Crap in a Bucket

So, this is my blog. It's called "Crap in a Bucket." You may wonder why. I don't know why. I'm just attracted the the sound of the phrase. They remind me of being told not to use "bathroom" words, and then finding out that everyone uses those words, but they somehow feel compelled to hide it in front of young children. This is the essence of Crap in a Bucket. When you don't want people to know what you do in private, but everybody does the same thing. In a bucket.

Have I ever crapped in a bucket? Yes.