Friday, December 29, 2006

reinventing the wheel

you want a cause? how about redefining the nature of work for millions of people? sure, you could argue that making life easier on white-collar workers in the first world isn't the quickest way to save the planet. it's gotta be someone's cause, though, and a lot of this is beginning to make sense to me. plus, if you do it right, you'll enable other people to work more effectively to solve the rest of the world's problems. here are some quick points:

*office-based full-time work is really only suited to single people, or to married people who have a partner at home full-time to take care of the many demands of life and family.

*office workers seem to face increasing demands from their employers

*many of those workers have spouses who work full-time

i started looking at this because i thought it might help retention at my office, but it goes a lot deeper than that. has it ever seemed silly to be sitting at work taking up space trying to put in your eight hours or (for any number of reasons) more than that? i think the opinion that regular hours like that are outdated in the modern office is refreshing.

latest books, part 2

an evening of long goodbyes
-paul murray

the narrator of this book is charmingly hapless, a young british twenty-something trying to live like an aristocrat. breezy read mostly, throws around a few stereotypes and then paints in some of the characters in more subtle style.

no country for old men
-cormac mccarthy

for some reason, this is easy to get ahold of while 'blood meridian' has dozens of holds on it. something about the other book finishing tied for third in nytimes poll best fiction of the past 25 years. anyway, this book is disturbing; you'll figure that out pretty quickly. having read two thirds of the border trilogy, i figured it was worth wading through the blood to figure out what else was going on. i don't think this book is trying to teach us a lesson in the usual sense. mccarthy doesn't have an answer for us, it's more of a warning or a lament. the book is an adventure that takes the tragedy of its subject matter seriously.

about a boy
-nick hornby

i have put this off for a long time, because i enjoyed the movie so much that i knew i'd like the book. i've never enjoyed comparing a movie to a book this much. i love the fact that the dialogue is exactly the same in one crucial scene, but the movie takes a different turn by changing the meaning behind the words. part of the enjoyment also came from reading it in a british accent. would have been harder without having seen the film version.

awol: the unexcused absence of america's upper classes from military service - and how it hurts our country
-kathy roth-douquet and frank schaeffer

not quite done because i would have finished it on the way to work and had nothing to read on the way home. i was going into this believing the authors had a good point to make. that's probably why i finished it, because this is one of the worst books i've read all year. it's fairly self-righteous, talks about racism yet offhandedly ridicules the idea of a hiphop class being offered at stanford, and seems to have a healthy degree of animosity toward stanford, the ivy league, and america's wealthiest citizens. there are some touching stories and letters from soldiers and their families, but the overall book is hard to take. i suppose it's the extremely smug authorial attitude; they bash their peers in order to score points with their audience. this is not a book you'd write if you wanted to reason with, say, a left-wing hollywood exec who doesn't want military recruiters talking to her son. it's something you'd write if you wanted to score points with people who already despise the rich. i think it's sad; there's a good point here - the country would be better off if a few more kids left duke to serve in the military for a few years before becoming lawyers and running for office. however, the arrogance of this book's tone might undermine the authors' effort to convince those kids to serve.

latest books, part 1

i have been reading a lot lately, in fact i read the entire Old Testament this year, but in the past few months i have read a number of books not at all related to religion. i'll try to add to the list as i remember some of the things i read earlier, but i still have all of these so it's easy:

-malcolm gladwell

back at the library, which is why i barely remembered to include it. well-written tale of the power of the subconscious' power of rapid decision making. the concept is easy to grasp, but the stories are well written and worth reading. after quickly relating his thesis, gladwell slowly reveals how various people have acquired the expertise that allows them to make rapid and accurate judgements. this is the sort of book you can talk about with other people, and they know what you're talking about because they're reading it or know someone who has.

licensed to kill: hired guns in the war on terror
-roberst young pelton

it's about military contractors, and despite the author's efforts posturing as a neutral voice, he seems to go for the shock value a bit. overall, interesting if you are into the general subject matter, and there's plenty to learn from this.

war reporting for cowards
-chris ayres

some people end up in jobs that aren't what they'd imagined. ayres wanted to be a journalist, just not in a war zone. written with a good natured, self-deprecating style. he's british, so his perspective is a bit different than you might expect.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


i continue to test the lending limits of the communal book pile. until early this evening, i had 19 books out, but 3 had to be returned. so being down to 16, the question arises: is there even a limit here? can i just take them all?

when is it possible to take too much of anything? i suppose i think it's easier to think too much is being taken when you're not the taker. for instance, an employer could take too much of your time, right? i often think it's easy to take too much of other people's time, which is why i end up doing it still. what about communal goods though? i generally take a modest share of whatever food has been given to the apartment and then a few days later i'll take as much as i feel like. it seems like it's easy to take more and more, because once you get in the habit of taking a certain amount, you can justify it. then you take a little more, and justify that, and it continues until you realize you might have taken too much. still, it has to be some sort of sliding could never actually reach a point where you say 'hey, i really have taken too much.' as a result you go on taking too much simply because you've worn down your own sensitivity to your excess and somehow never gone far enough to shock yourself.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

musical year in review, vol 3: the new landscape

as mj pointed out in the comments to vol 1, it's not that i am really listening to different music than i did a year and a half ago. the difference is, instead of talking with people about who's coming into town and when and which concert is better to go see, i'm talking to myself about it. that is to say, the discussion is all internal; the music i used to enjoy with others is now something i enjoy alone. have i reached that point in my life when all my tastes and preferences are basically set, and i'm now some eccentric fool trying to hang on to the community he's lost? let's hope not. it is necessary at the moment for me to enjoy a lot of music alone. i have the option of going to the concerts by myself or not going at all. sometimes, i do get caught up having fun with the friends i've made more recently, and i don't see any live shows for several months. then i get thinking about who i might want to see and start checking websites and sooner or later i've figured out what my next adventure will be. i don't know if i have failed to meet the right people where i am or if i was just uncharacteristically blessed at that crucial point in my life when i was fresh out of college and starting off with little idea who i would become. no matter what fears i may have to the contrary, i expect my next move to usher in some sort of renaissance of new friends and exciting things to do.

back to the point though; i have seen an awful lot of concerts by myself this year, and thoroughly enjoyed most of them. i think my favorite was flying out to seattle and driving to portland for that one concert. somehow that ranks similarly in my mind to my solo hike up quandary mountain in colorado. i'd been trying to convince a friend to go with me and he didn't want to, but i sure wasn't going to let that get in my way. never mind that in the course of the portland trip i called the girl i'd just gone out with and began the process of discovering we wouldn't go out again. that drive was thrilling, i was free, no one was stopping me from what i wanted. i don't really blame hollywood for linking romantic success to achievement in other aspects; it's merely a symbol, a plot device. so it's merely coincidental that one of my favorite weekends of the whole year brought the revelation that i'd be alone a while longer. as i have moved away from the people i care about, i've had to live for myself a little more, just in the sense of taking joy in solitary moments more often than usual. maybe that's a part of growing up. i can see now how people can persist in being something no one relates to; they've been separated perhaps from their favorite people and they're keeping it real when there's no one really there for them.

despite what i said already about finding new friends, when i think about moving, it's not usually about being surrounded by folks i care about; most of the time it's about hiking and camping and just burning fossil fuels by myself. i crave freedom, i crave the hideous paved roads that scar our nation, and i crave the sky and trees and the fresh wild air.

the last christmas

i have been looking forward to this christmas for almost the entire year. i insisted that the entire family should gather at my parents' place, and the others actually bought tickets it seems like 10 months ago. for the past week or so, i have been looking forward to coming home and driving my parents' cars around, while in fact i have spent much of the day in bed reading nick hornby. it seems a bit sad to come home and find there's nothing i really want to eat; apparently the fact that cereal - hot or cold, packaged or from the bulk granola bins - makes up perhaps 50% of my weekly caloric intake has not been properly explained to the folks. meanwhile, no one else has showed up yet and the airlines have kindly presented hundreds of dollars worth of compensation to those still-traveling relatives.

it'd be nice to be relating something really sentimental and christmas-y, but really all i'm doing is reading a book and thinking how i could fit a used videogame system in my carryon luggage for the trip home. yes, i am so bored that i might just go buy things to rectify the situation. i do expect once everyone shows up that things will be so bustly that i will once again retreat off somewhere to read and get away from the madness, but so far it's kinda like being 17 again. actually, most of the things that have happened to me in the past 10 months have made me feel like i'm 17 again, if only because that's the last time i was so completely hopeless socially. of course, back then i didn't know any better, and now i guess i can mostly take it in stride. merry christmas and here's to finding my way again.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

where you live

people have told me often, as i have expressed disdain for my chosen place of habitation, that it takes time to grown on you. it's true, and not just because it's a hard place to live. really, you have to get accustomed to the way of life. by the time you've been around long enough for the town to have shaped your expectations, you'll like it just fine. yeah, there's a lot of places i'd rather live, but i might be ok at this point. of course, my housing situation is a bit lame and there are no cheap leaving looks as good as ever.

musical year in review, vol 2: out of nowhere

the august norfolk & western appearance at portland's doug fir featured ray's vast basement and loch lomond as openers. for sheer surprise factor, it was the best concert of the year. ray's vast basement has at least a couple songs that are as good as anything i really like, and then a few i found vastly annoying. still, for a few confused minutes (i didn't know there were any opening acts) i thought i was hearing new norfolk & western material, and i was pleased. loch lomond, however, turned in the sort of performance i'll be thinking about for years. they trotted out endless musicians and instruments, from celeste to cello. vocals were delivered in a disarming old world drawl, and melodic layers were enhanced by the timbral kaleidescope unfolding on stage.

loch's ritchie young is a great writer and performer, but i think adam seltzer and rachel blumberg could outdo him if they too had the benefit of seven msucians on stage for many of their songs. i would absolutely fire the bass player and violinist if i were those two. it's not that they're necessarily bad, i just didn't like their contribution to the norfolk & western sound. my problem is that i like 'dusk in cold parlors' too much to really want them to go in another direction. i guess i should consider the old norfolk essentially dead and be glad that what exists is as great as it was that august evening. i was hoping somehow m. ward would be on with the band; he wasn't, but it turns out adam has all the haunting guitar textures necessary to do justice to material from 'dusk.' the interplay between blumberg and seltzer is amazing, but i need the other band members to add something to that, or get out of the way.

somewhere early in the set, adam made a crack about hoping the openers didn't outshine him. the audience sincerely expressed their conviction that it was impossible, but it wouldn't be a bad thing. that loch lomond set was stellar. they had the benefit of obscurity; no expectations to live up to. i bought their second cd after the concert, gifted it, and have regretted it ever since. only this evening did i find it for sale online; sign me up for a copy. as for norfolk, they released a full length that either wasn't out by the time of that show or wasn't for sale. i bought 'a gilded age,' and i enjoy the cleverly-worded title track even if the instrumentation is a bit sparse and the banjo part is unimpressive. for anyone who cares, portland blew me away as much as the concert. i was pleased with myself for having wanted to move there. too bad that dream was postponed.

musical year in review, vol 1

plenty happened this year that i know nothing about. just thought it might be interesting to write about how my musical tastes evolved this past year. other things happened that are of a lot more significance than what happened to me.

2006 was significant because i moved away from the people who had influenced my musical tastes the most over the previous 2 years. it was tough; there's no way around it. of course, even if i hadn't gone anywhere, one of them moved anyway, and things might not have been the same. anyway, the most significant development of 2006 is the possible demise of thievery corporation, my favorite musical act for the past while. they fell victim to changing tastes, more than anything. i've gone more down the indie pop, singer-songwriter, americana roads lately. look at the concerts i've gone to this year: i saw rhett miller 3 times, the elected twice, jenny lewis, voxtrot, calexico, neko case, daneilson, tv on the radio, and norfolk & western. there were others - am, tom clark & the high action boys, garrison starr, the frames, ray's vast basement, and loch lomond all played at shows i saw, and most provided above-average music or i wouldn't have remembered their names. loch lomond arguably outshone headliners norfolk & western, but also turned in one of my favorite performances out of any of these acts. martha wainwright probably is the best opening act i missed; she sang on stage with neko and was excellent, so i am sorry i couldn't bring myself to head out early and see her set.


some people are getting silly puppets for christmas. how would you feel if that were you?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


one of my favorite things about christmas time is the white elephant gift exchange. i really like the challenge of finding something people think is cool. maybe with your family and friends you'll never know if they really like stuff or not. it's always clear, however, with the white elephant things, whose gifts are popular. it's this challenge to get something that resonates with people. there was one monday; i got a couple kinds of cookies from whole foods. i'm not sure if my gift was particularly well received, but it sure beat some of the others. a single package of crackers, snack size. fudge that someone brought to share and then wrapped hastily to join in the fun. a rather large t-shirt that might have been stylish in 1994. the gift everyone really wanted, however, was a card game.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

out go the lights

what do you say when there's no reason left to talk? i'm sitting in my apt, no one around, and the last 3 conversations i've had today have been with the same person, all via electronic means. is there something wrong with you when you're on im with someone who's maybe 20 feet away? anyway, i think part of being friends with someone is feeling like you have something to say to that person. last night i talked to an acquaintance, who does not strike me as someone who will become a friend. i suppose i was overly self-interested going into the conversation, because i heard this invidividual something that intrigued me. it was a tantalizing hint at information i had once been interested in, and i wanted more details. that is a way to begin a conversation - 'oh, you know about this,' but maybe the conversation needs to move somewhere else. i don't know what it is, mabye with some people i don't have the faith that they'll be interested in anything i have to say. maybe they really aren't interested in many things i have to say. still, it's easy to talk to the people you know well. maybe that's because you don't get to know the ones who aren't interested in what you have to say.

Monday, December 18, 2006

sometimes i do what i want and it's nice

we were talking a bit last night about individuality. about certain people who might be better off if they changed. i made the case that one must be oneself, or that it's hard to give up individuality in an effort to make more friends, etc. i used myself as an example - do i really have to have crazy hair or do weird stuff or wear tight jeans. there was a lot of laughing about the jeans, but today i found myself internally being far more pessimistic. i was walking, wearing the jeans, and wondering if i've become a little ridiculous. i'm being myself, maybe to the point that no one else likes me, or at least to the point that i am driving people away. it's easy to look at other people and think 'how could you ever dress like that, wear your hair like that; you are totally nuts.' it's hard to look inward and decide you are becoming one of those charicatures. individuality might just drag us off into the corner.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


i know one person who seems to love saying 'it's a surprise,' when asked any number of questions. another individual, shockingly enough, is known for saying 'i hate surprises.' is there something fundamental about the unexpected that should be loved or hated? i have stressed a great deal when i suddenly found out that we're supposed to be signing a lease in january. that doesn't mean that i categorically dislike unforseen developments in my life. when that phone call, from that one organization, finally came, the timing made it a surprise despite the week or so of anticipation and hope. i neither love nor hate surpises

Friday, December 15, 2006

my love

just went to see one of the newer romantic sappy type movies, and oddly enough i came away pining for a place, not a person. not surprisingly, it's the same place where that one job is located. it's not so much that i have to live there per se, it's almost more important that it's what i want and i'm starting to think it's time to hold out until i can make it happen.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

howie day

am i having problems here? is howie day not really a household name? because it's not like people listen to howie day because he's cool and obscure. i got seriously ridiculed for calling josh kelly a lesser-known version of howie day. i mean, howie day is pretty popular isn't he???

a phone call

sometimes, there's a sense of nervous anticipation every time a message shows up on the phone. when it's been out of touch with the network and you don't know who has called until you're listening to your messages. you enter the code, and imagine that one person's voice, thinking what they might have to tell you. there's such a sense of relief/excitement/contentment when that voice does come up. if the message brings some other friend to life instead, the disappointment is always there. lately, though, it's an entity i want to call, not a person. if and when that call comes, i hope it will mark the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

old world

spent the weekend seeing some of the great cathedrals of the world, and it was fantastic. i did something i hadn't tried before - instead of just seeing great cathedrals and churches, i went and prayed in great cathedrals and churches. i hadn't explained this to anyone who was traveling with me - it was a private goal - so i was often interrupted in the midst of my supplications. i think the attempt to commune with God in these monuments of religious faith was a satisfying experience. maybe nothing in particular happened, but it helped bring an understanding of the meaning behind these buildings.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


i'm investigating an intriguing flavored seltzer-type beverage i had at a party once. It was just amazingly flavorful despite zero sugar content and (if I'm not mistaken) a lack of artificial sweeteners. I had to be wrong on one of those counts, or it was mixed with juice, or something...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

melancholy still makes a good muse

i was thinking recently i must be a bit down, because it seems my life is approaching chaos, but really i can't be that down. seriously, if i was fairly well sad, i think i would have posted a lot more frequently in the past two weeks. elation, joy, and surprise make good prose, but there's definitely been plenty of sorrow or angst that have fed my creativity. on the way home, i thought of a short story while i was walking by this subway preacher. i held my latest library read, a collection of essays by a writer who has profiled many musicians and athletes. as i passed the man who told us he knew where he was going if he died tonight, i thought what might happen if i handed him what i knew. yes, i was thinking of the Book of Mormon, but i suddenly had this idea of a short story where this subway commuter hands this novel, with a note on the cover saying "return by 12/14" to the preacher. the commuter is silent, appearing suddenly from the crowd and fading back into the passing mass. he has left this gift, however, which changes the preacher's life. i imagined the process of writing this story. i thought how certain scenes would reveal the world of this religious man, the meetings he attends, the announcements on the bulletin board of his church. i thought of this part of the story, and how i couldn't really write it, at least not without some first-hand research. i thought of the scene as a sketch - the forms laid out for now in general shapes, waiting for details and shades and colors to be added. i liked this new way of conceptualization. i kept walking, and thinking about had just gone on in my head. i thought maybe i should be a writer. that thought felt good. i thought that i wouldn't really know what to write about. i thought that i wouldn't really know where to start or necessarily want to deal with the struggles of becoming a writer. then i figured i could always figure all of that out in my spare time. it doesn't really matter how many of us there are who think things like this. right now, i don't think the soda industry is the answer for me other than it's fun, it pays, it provides benefits, and i'm still learning. i'm not sure what i really think about the concept of success, but half the time i feel like i should find something that matters to me. when i was thinking about being a writer, maybe i forgot to think that i wouldn't necessarily want ot write about anything that important.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rhett Miller, again

You know it's a good year when you get to see Rhett Miller live 3 times. The most recent concert might have been the best, certainly had the best opening acts. He taught The Believers to play at least one Old 97s song that they didn't know how to play before. I am having a tough time remembering what it was. Here's my top observation, though - the recent solo material he's recorded is much much better live than on the records. I was actually disappointed he didn't play 'Four eyed girl,' so it seems I've become so familiar with the solo work I expect to hear it. The Believers are still the ultimate Old 97s cover band, however; I just hope Rhett doesn't get too full of himself to keep the real 97s together.

Friday, December 01, 2006

shopping update

i bought several things this week, basically all on the same trip, and with the encouragement of some deep discounts. mostly, i bought things i have been in need of - socks, to replace the ones with the holes; pants, same deal; hat, because the current one probably still smells like curry. in the process, of course, i didn't buy a number of other items. the one that impressed me the most, however, was the $8 bottle of soda. that takes guts.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

travel once more

it occurs to me that i haven't spent nearly enough time in california this year. i am going to try to make a difference there by visiting the arnold state friday, seeing the elected, and generally running amok.

thanksgiving was fantastic; even though i'd had an early turkey day dinner a few weeks ago, this one was magical as well. the bird meat itself wasn't the attraction. truthfully i was looking more forward to mashed potatoes. i gave thanks for corn dogs. why? i think they are tasty.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


i received my 1000th email at my newest fave address just today. i'd been watching that inbox stuck at 999 for a couple days, afraid if i told many people about it, one of them would just email me and thus ruin the moment. number 1000 turned out to be the thanksgiving dinner plans email, and that seemed about right.

off work early today, went to a movie for the first time in a while. a movie about writing. if i were the screenwriter, of course i would the dynamic of depicting some of the process of writing a novel, but on screen. the layering has too much potential, you know? it was interesting because we ran into a friend at the theater and then the three of us were seeing the same movie, so we had a good experience and got to try to figure out what city was depicted in the film. someone was reading the chicago tribune on a bus, so we went with that clue, although none of us really knew the chicago skyline, so it was difficult to confirm.

Monday, November 20, 2006

the first step off the island

what will the first step off the island feel like? is it painful, because so many will follow? remorseful, because nothing will ever feel that good again? lonely, because you'll turn right back and embrace what you've dreamed so long of forsaking? i expect it to feel like spring, like firm grassy earth; i want a breeze in the air, maybe a late chill, and the smell of pine needles as i break into a run.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

enough with these dumb labels

i can't categorize my entire life, you know. that's not even the worst part of it. now every time i label something there's a dumb little line at the end that says "Labels:" and lists them all. sure, maybe i wanted to label things, but maybe i didn't want to be so blunt about it. perhaps i just wanted random words listed at the end. maybe i just entered words in that blank space because i could enter words in that blank space. what if i typed in my favorite chili recipe? is there a limit to label length? i don't intend to find out.


can't i buy tickets for a concert before it sells out? especially when i'm planning months in advance to attend and they aren't even sold out the saturday before? i suppose the financial aspects of frequent concert attendance weighed a little heavily in my calculations. i suppose i can't really make any decisions these days. i decided to have dinner at 6. is that my greatest achievement for the day?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


books to avoid dept: 'club george' by bob levy. it's just dumb. i suppose there are some people who would love his writing, but i hate it. everything is rather mundane. childish perhaps, but not that he writes like a child. he writes as if his audience is completely uninformed, maybe that's it, or that they're uninformed and incapable of insight. it's over 300 pages, and i don't like to start reading books without finishing them, but it seems like a collosal waste of time.

Monday, November 13, 2006


today started out awful. just awful. ok, it wasn't that bad when i woke up, despite the intense lack of sleep, and was pleasantly surprised to find my roommate was in the shower and i could sleep a bit more on the couch. then it just went totally downhill, i couldn't think, i was overwhelmed by small things that really added up to nothing much but all demanded my attention at the same time. sleep is vital to proper mental function, it seems. a co-worker asked if i'd come off a redeye. of course, i probably looked worse than i should have because i was at the point of messing with my hair due to the stress, and once that starts there's no turning back. somehow i toughed it out; i told myself the day would end much better and it did. partially the lovely embrace of cold rain as i walked part of the way home, and definitely because i helped a friend who'd called on me for assistance, even when it started to seem a bit inconvenient and she tried to tell me not to bother.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

calming down

ok, maybe the beginnings of yesterday's second post were a bit standoffish. i was trying to be funny, i think. the following is a blantant lie.

i ran into a squirrel yesterday, not your average squirrel. it was a little shorter than usual, but what stood out was its excellent backstroke. have you ever seen a squirrel swim? this one would probably win the critter olympics, even if fish were invited. fish, i guess, can't really do the backstroke, so perhaps their participation is not an issue. what animal do you think would win a critter olympics? assuming the predators were not actually able to eat the pray in the course of the festivities, i would go with the lemur. they're pretty much my favorite animal ever, and they have vivid dreams. i read a book once about a lemur that dreamt it was the mayor of a small town in the midwest. every winter, huge snowdrifts piled up on along this town's roads. the stop signs were nearly invisible. a family of badgers got lost one day walking to school. no one could understand it. the sidewalks had been plowed. fresh bread had been delivered to them only an hour and a half before, as the parents prepared their brood for the chilly trek. he was reading about this in the newspaper, but someone started asking him if he wanted to see a classical performance that evening. the hall was empty. he wasn't sure if he was at home or at work; nothing seemed familiar, but then he had the feeling he had been in this place. he switched off the light as he walked out into the hall. his footsteps made no sound. several doors opened, simultaneously. one seemed to lead off into a vast forest. another led into a darkened room that smelled of singed pine needles, and the lemur awoke, early.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

if you thought that was all

you probably don't exist. i can promise none of you read that post before this one was published. go ahead, prove me wrong. oh, wait, you wouldn't know about the challenge if you'd read that one first, would you? go back and leave a comment, i'll take your word on it.

tonight i returned to the large recordstore to purchase a fionn regan disc. he's not out in the us yet; i somehow stumbled across him a while ago. this is the fourth time i have gone in search of his music. it was the third time visiting large recordstore in this pursuit. i had found fionn regan's imported, slightly expensive album for sale the second time. it was even set up in a listening station; apparently they know he's cool. i decided at the time i was not in the mood to purchase a cd. tonight, i was in the mood to purchase a cd. i began to have second thoughts about spending the money before even crossing the street. still, i entered the store, walked to where it was still displayed, picked it up, and started looking around for other things to buy. i continued to browse the store's plastic-packaged offerings until i realized i only had 15 minutes to get my groceries. food and the juice i was bringing for tomorrow's early thanksgiving dinner proved more important than buying some british singer's album before anyone else. that's still what's bothering me about this; am i so impatient or elitist that it's important for me to get this cd while no one really has heard of it? i'd be fine with it if only i didn't have to pay extra for the privilege.

door slamming becomes a recurring theme

as i was about to post about something entirely significant, i noticed that someone across the hall had slammed their door several times in succession. it was at least three. maybe five. so what was going on? was something stuck in the door and my neighbor repeatedly attempted to close it, each time foiled by an unseen obstacle? was this a strange cinematic fit of anger, where an angry message was delivered with repeated slammings for emphasis? I can almost see it: "you [slam] [reopen] need [slam] [reopen] to [slam] [reopen] make up [slam] [reopen] your mind [slam]." did they run out of knives and decide to use the door to chop vegetables? there are all sorts of possibilities, but how often have any of us done something like this? i can't think of a single time i have slammed a door five times in a matter of seconds. does that reflect well on my character? will i ever reach the point of using doors as makeshift kitchen implements?

Friday, November 10, 2006

the open door

leaving work, i declined to trace my normal path out the side door and walked all the way out the lobby and through two sets of glass doors. the outer door was open, allowing me to stride through at an easy pace, until i slammed into what was actually not a door at all, but a full length window next to the doors. surprised more than hurt, i remarked to the man i knew was a few steps behind me that the glass must be unusually clean today. however, delivering a more thundering blow, he walked out the door, not turning to look, or reacting in any way, as he listened to his music. i realized in that instant the power people have to hurt each other. his indifference to my accident, his failure to stop, to check if i was ok, to react in any way, was much more hurtful than slamming into unseen glass. i keep thinking this over, wondering if he could have totally missed what had happened, thinking how there is very little chance he heard me speak over his music. i recall, in contrast, the experience of a friend who had a similar accident going in to a movie theater. she was deeply embarassed after a woman came over and asked if she was ok, again hurt more by the social consequences of her accident than by her collision with the glass.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

this is not urgent

several things have happened in recent weeks. i went to an art museum. i checked more books out of the library. it rained a few times. i ate out 5 meals in a row. 8 if you count going out to buy muffins one morning and eating one the second day. as recently hinted, i came up with a christmas shopping list. i read an author whose prose i enjoy, but whose writing is unlikely to infect anything i produce. i considered buying a folk album even though it contained a horrid cover of 'purple rain.' i purchased a tv show as a download so my roommate could watch it. i wrote a check for rent. i tied a candy cane in the strings of the hooded sweatshirt that was part of my third halloween contest. i drank bottled water. i put my headphones on while riding in the car with my family.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

going to seed

christmas presents. yes, i still have a list. i'm not completely over this consumerism thing; the american passion for acquisition runs deep. it happens to consist entirely of items that should be purchased at a thrift shop. still, i found myself wondering today whether i should ask for some expensive junk. i was in front of a tv too long this weekend, so people kept telling me what i want.

Monday, October 30, 2006

halloween part deux

after some consideration, i settled on being a friend's dream date. it was a tough costume to pull off in terms of dress, because i am not really sure what sort of style her perfect man would have. i went to extremes to seem different from the normal me - styled my hair totally different, more gel, less rivers cuomo-esque clothing. the biggest part of my costume was the performance element. i spent the whole evening asking questions about her, bringing her up in conversation whenever i could. i played down certain interests and personality traits, but that was a little too subtle to be much of a hint. it would have helped if people knew me better to begin with. finally, as any dream date would do, i offered to get her sodas and food as often as seemed appropriate.

i also spent some time at work discussing costume ideas with the coworkers. through some persistence, we succeeded in securing approval of my personal favorite idea. now, sadly, i am having severe trouble tracking down certain elements of my costume. oh, and my phone.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


there's nothing like dressing up as a famous person. i chose rivers cuomo, because he's a pretty recognizable figure, and i can be him without having to run out and buy anything. i can just put on my unnecessary black rimmed glasses, and some fairly tight fitting clothes, and that's it. he apparently has a thing for sweaters, so i wore one over my gap kids shirt, and i went the extra mile by wearing a down vest, which he tended to sport at one time. ok, so the only problem with this that it's basically impossible for me to dress like rivers cuomo and have people think that it's any different from what i would normally do. the glasses were a new thing to everyone, and i thought that wearing a down vest dancing indoors would be a clue. one of my friends figured it out, and i was happy with that.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

the will to fight

i have been lucky early in life to have jobs where standard office hours are easy to keep. lately, however, i have entered "the real world"(?) as the soda business seems to keep me busier than ever before. i have lately found the will to fight back, to argue against staying late unnecessarily. should this be happening every day?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

it's the prose

yesterday i started reading two books: blink and the j-curve. both of these are pretty popular, i would think, as they were prominently featured in the new non-fiction section of the library. one is about human thought, the other about international politics. one happens to be a fascinating read, the other is a bit dull. the key thing about each book, however, is that it elaborates a concept that can be explained in maybe 15 seconds. thus, a reader's desire to actually read the whole thing will largely be determined by its readability. see, it's not difficult to grasp the central theme, so the each author has to spend a lot of time illustrating that theme. in the case of blink, the illustrations are basically synopses of various experiments involving human subjects, and they are told in gripping style. i knew from the moment i had read a few sentences that i would love this book. i also figured out fairly readily that reading the j-curve would be a bit of a chore, a task undertaken to further my knowledge. the point here: even scholars need to be good writers; if they are, they'll get a much wider audience. good ideas need to be explained well to have an impact.

Monday, October 23, 2006

good things

many good things have happened in the past two weeks; it has been awesome. i've visited 3 different states, hung out on a college campus, met plenty of friendly people, and had some good times. is fall the new summer? really, summer was always the best in the old days; maybe it's fall that's best in some places. i don't think i have even been to a concert in this span; often that has been the source of transcendant joy, but i am going tomorrow to see a friend of a friend perform. anyway, what makes happiness? have better things been happening to me? definitely. have i responded to them in a more positive way than i might have a month or two ago? probably. would this all have broken me out of it if i'd bumped unsuspecting against the first fortuitous pleasure? maybe. did i still find myself "angry at pretty much everything" last thursday, a mood set off by a very minor incident? yes. still, things are good, and the fact is i am adjusting to my new environs - whether i really want to be here or not, it's becoming more comfortable. oh, and apologies if the prose seems odd today; i've been reading fitzgerald all weekend.


Crazy things happen sometimes. Like the leaves. They're green, most of the year, dead and brown for a while...but somewhere in the months between the hot and the frozen, they burst into flaming colors and make everything bright.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

oh heck, skip the madness i'm going to sleep

the language police are out in force. a few of us were dismayed that 'tamping' was used as a synonym for 'dampening' in a stock recommendation. do they even bother to send these wall streeters to school any more? who will protect the great shell of language if we do not?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

wishing away

it's all right to wish for things, of course, but how often are they things we really need long term? is it more important to expend energy on dreams, will that bring us closer to something substantial? on the way home today, i had a headache and wished to be home. other times, i'm hot, sweaty, and thirsty; all i want is cold water. the water straight from the fridge is simply amazing on nights like that, drunk in the dark most likely, but what good does it do in the long run? when i'm ill, i believe i focus most profoundly on finding some comforts that will get me through the misery. that's fine; it seems like the excess energy of trying to think of something bigger isn't healthy, that i need to relax to recover. however, i believe this sort of behavior extends to most days. i seem to think i am owed some period of down time at the end of the day - 8 hours' work, 1 hour lunch, and 100 minutes commuting. that seems normal, to want to come home and just throw everything in a heap and relax. is it bad though? am i carrying this to the extreme, where my ideal day consists of work, relaxation, a few meals, and nothing else? the office is a social place, so much of the social requirements of one's average day can be met there, can't they? but what are we really hoping for? in all that time i spend bored or killing time at work, or taking a break because it's so hard to actually be productive for that many hours, what should i be accomplishing? is it planning the next stage of my life? making that great idea become reality? building skills? "adding value?" maybe the world really is run by nuts; the rest of us can't be crazy enough to try that hard. if we are, maybe we'll lose something in the process.

Monday, October 16, 2006

for further consideration

The renegade's guide to self-censorship
1. if big media wants it, there might be a reason to leave it out other
than the fact that it's 'popular'
2. sweeping generalizations are dangerous. make sure you're at least
77% right.
3. leave your hobbies out of it. personal voice is one thing,
self-obsession is another
4. simple is good. if they don't get it, they shouldn't have to skip
down 10 lines

i've already made one person feel bad thanks to this

The renegade's guide to big city living
1. refuse all conveniences. so bourgeois
2. take advantage of the local scene. this means: skip all 'up-and-comers,' eschew arena shows, and only listen to quality music in small to mid-size venues. people who plan to swap stories two years from now about who heard wolf parade first are lame anyway.
3. don't blog, it's so trite
4. hobbies are for the weak. pick three and continue with those; drop any others. read the sports pages, you'll sneak up on people if you know who won the game last week.
5. spend as much time as possible hanging around local colleges. this is where you will quickly learn which trends have been co-opted.
6. it's becoming ok to wear giant digital devices hanging off your belt. don't.
7. eat in chain restaurants. the waiters are likely to be kindred spirits.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

toast update

i made toast this afternoon. it took four tries at the darkest setting to produce a satisfactory result. my neighbors claim to have a functional toaster; i still have a bread warmer/human annoyer.

boston again: several observations

last time i remember visiting boston and making judgements about that city, i had decided it wouldn't be a great place for me to live. saturday morning i flew back. much to my surprise, i found myself largely wishing to change this determination. some thoughts on returning home, some inspired by the city, others by my suburban place of birth.

-i am not scared of driving on those narrow massachusetts roads like i was 5 years ago. at that point, driving for the first time in two years, i got a bit frightened every time a car passed me; it seemed destined to tear bits off of my vehicle as it passsed.

-the new charlie card system is great, but for a city putting in brand new fare collection machinery, shouldn't something more durable than a magnetic strip on a paper farecard be used? i noticed one entry gate read 'smart cards only,' so perhaps there is an option like dc's smarttrip. i suppose there's nothing as cost-effective as magnetic strip technology, but has anyone ever had their card erased by being stashed too close to their cellphone? a co-worker had that happen to several hotel room keys in one weekend. i think he's lost subway cards that way too.

-airport workers have a tough job. i left my ipod on the plane, realized it right after leaving the secured area, and went straight to the ticket counter to report it. they couldn't let me through security to lead the search, and the plane was already boarding again, so they sent me away for 10 minutes. i returned and they had yet to hear back from the gate. this is when i began noticing the degree of stress ticket agents were experiencing, and that was without anyone yelling at them. the line was long, counter seemed to be understaffed, a computer was troublesome, and there's me waiting at the side hoping someone would be able to shield out all that distraction and mount a search for my stuff. no one turned it in, they didn't find it on the plane, and i wondered if it was under the seat behind me and thus undected by anyone. baggage services had heard nothing, but again looked to be dealing with major stress and some surly-looking customers. it's hard not to blame the airline, you know? i felt like all this 'great customer service' stuff was rubbish when they couldn't find something i had left behind less than an hour before. today, as i checked again to see if it had been turned in, they remembered me and wondered aloud if another customer had simply grabbed it. that seemed realistic, and allowed me to shift blame from the airline itself, when its employees had certainly made every effort to help me. i found myself easily able to forgive the person who lifted my ipod, feeling it was not right but certainly understandable. at a subway stop on the way home, i noticed a man sleeping on a bench. he was wearing work boots, one with huge holes worn in the side and one with a plastic bag tied around it. i took off the heavy black shoes, still in excellent condition, that had spent the previous 6 months at my parents and left them with a note for the sleeping man. i suppose that because someone took one thing from me, i wanted to let go completely by giving something else freely.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

the new luxuries

food that isn't cereal
television programming
urban charm

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

rain as metaphor

i had to take some books back to the library, since monday would be my next chance and fines were due to begin rolling in tomorrow. it was raining a bit, and as i set off (in the wrong direction), i noted that the rain on my face was a bit like my current state of living. it's not real great, it's a bit rough going, but i'm handling it, you know? one of my friends once said how much she loved the rain, and that was enough right there to get me to love the rain. so maybe i need to start loving the city here because other people do, stop being mad at it for ruining people's lives, driving them over the edge, always asking more. Meanwhile, the toaster is functioning only to warm and dry my bagel, even after three cycles on the darkest setting. The exuberance of a day or so ago is looking like foolishness today. It's all a matter of perspective. Even the best bagel is better cut open and toasted.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

how to tell the bad from the worse

when things are generally going well and one thing makes you snap, does that mean things are going well, they're going poorly, or you're just a mess? i was just curious

Monday, October 09, 2006


i'm in a slump, let's face it. the past week and a half has been relatively easy. some good news, some prospects for the future, and an unrelenting desire to rise shining from the muck may have left me without much to say. or, on the other hand, these coincident circumstances have left me gushing a bit much, loving self a bit too much for real reflection. did it rain yesterday? are the socks in the laundry ever going to come out to an even number? lots of questions are out there, and some have even been asked. what happened to our toaster that suddenly made it decide to work? am i dreaming, or did i for the first time since leaving school find the apartment toaster functioning in a relatively normal fashion? why did i come home to abundant light, when mere days ago, even the kitchen was doomed to greyish haze by faulty bulbs? yes, despite a general lack of affirmatory evidence, i have roommates. while i am sure they had plenty to do with the increased on-demand electomagnetic radiation, i have no explanation for the toaster. i feel sure it will let me down next time.

facts, and how to face them

i was on the train to the airport the other day, and this girl gets on and is staring at me in a disconcerting sort of way. the sort of attention-grabbing, 'is this for real, or am i a fool for thinking she's staring' way that strangers have of piqueing my interest. i soon decided a couple of things - first, that she just gazes at the world somewhat intently and thus was not staring at me, second, that she seemed pretty cool based on her impressively understated skatish-but-so-chill outfit, and third, that if she ended up on the same plane as me i might as well talk to her. i also started to wonder why she was going to fly anywhere with a school-sized backpack and no other luggage. sure enough, she wound up on my flight and, shockingly enough, two seats away from me across the aisle. people you notice on the way to the airport do not usually end up on the same flight as you, and certainly not in the same row. however, there is no reason it can't happen; it's just as likely as them being in the first row of that jet to france. of course, i found it highly likely she would be on my return flight - packed light, had mysteriously been in the same place as me twice already - but she was not.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

things to mull

would chicago or minneapolis be a good fit for someone interested in mountains and beaches? i haven't seen a topographical map of that part of the country in awhile. i am thinking minneapolis would be better, but who knows.

are they ever going to stop making new types of gatorade? there's gatorade rain now, i am not sure what else is new. have they made gatorade snow yet? there's frost and ice already.

have you visited the candy aisle recently? along the same lines as gatorade, there are some awful things afoot. are we so in love with candy brands that we're dying to see them all amalgamated? maybe cereals are next.

a coworker is collecting box tops. the kind that have points for schools or something. i might have one box of cereal with the top he needs. the rest are some kinda earthy this organic that. not because it's earthy and organic. ok, maybe because it's earthy, but definitely because it's fairly healthy and very tasty. the majority of what i've eaten recently has been bulk granola, but i haven't bought any in a couple weeks and my supply ran out. even the oatmeal i eat in the am is from the bulk bin. it's like 89 cents a pound (cheaper in other locales, i recall). if only everything could be so affordable.

how long can consumer debt continue to rise?

will there ever be a decent shoe commercial again?


at family home evening monday, we set down on paper some of the things we envisioned in our life in the year 2020. i decided i was a mid-level administrator at oregon state, in charge of instructional quality or something like that. it's not like i am planning to get a phd in education now, but i think it was a good exercise in envisioning what i want. it's not necessarily teaching; well, i suppose i would love to teach at a university but there is that great fear of never finding a job. somehow college administration seems safer. the reason is, my parents haven't scared me into thinking it's a bad idea. hooray for parents.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

five things that keep me going

Jesus Christ
american writers

Monday, October 02, 2006

put the frogs in the sink, please

that might as well be the answer to my 'security' question on this one site i now cannot access. i remembered my password before i remembered the answer to the security question, but after i guessed wrong so many times that my account was locked. if only i had thought it out beforehand.

"hey, me in 5 months, you who have drifted away from this website and whatever clever jokes you associated with it. do you remember this particular witticism? it's not like it's a logic problem. all you have to do is bore into one particular moment in your own history and delve out this one tiny fragment of information. kinda like remembering a password. but you're pretty good at that, right?"

"i in no way shape or form accept that it is okay for your to require that i can do that."

"well, then, i guess you're stuck"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

gregarious octopi hit your macro hw

that is the name of an excel file on my computer. i am really supposed to be posting about my new hairstyle, but we have a houseguest and it's not happening. there was this guy nate who left behind many strange file names and the like. he is also a fan of wearing hooded sweatshirts and cargo shorts to work. the hood of the sweatshirt would be up. i need a hooded sweatshirt badly; it could be borrowed; just so i can take it to work every now and then and be nate. maybe that's not that interesting. perhaps it would be more intriguing to tell you about the dream i had last week. i dreamed this girl wouldn't go out with me because she thought i was 20. so i set her straight. problem solved.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

the new

there's a short story thing now. i have always had a staying up too late on weekends thing, and perhaps this is an offshoot of it because at the moment i am staying up late writing a short story. i wrote a short story last saturday as well. this one is almost completely factual, so far anyway. i am listening to gomez and it's not bad, but if i were paying attention, there are some things about the music that are a bit annoying.

Friday, September 29, 2006


this post was censored. i don't think it's always wise to say things out loud, and by the time i was done, i figured it was one of them. i will read a lot this coming week; i managed over 120 pages since the evening of the 26th, which ain't bad. keeping statistics on your reading is so wrong, isn't it?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

craft project for the day

i was making some tasty egg rolls in the oven...i was heating up some tasty egg rolls in the oven and i had more than i could really eat. so, i felt inspired to take them over to some people, and wrapped them up in foil. that was far from enough, however, presentation being so important. after carefully rolling the rolls in foil, i borrowed scissors and duct tape. i cut down a full-sized envelope, which came with a calendar inside, and left the clear plastic window to show the food. in case anyone couldn't figure out by the bulge that there was something within, now they could see the foil that wrapped the egg rolls. before inserting the foil-wrapped foodstuffs, i drew a picture on the back, using the clear plastic window as a mouth. it looked awful, but this did not deter me. i continued with my original plan, and wrote 'everyone is special, even egg rolls,' with the "v" and the "y" in "everyone" written in cut out duct tape. the letter "i" in "is" was a huge strip of duct tape, big enough that one might think the message was really "everyone s special, even egg rolls." i used more tape to cover the address of the people who sent me the unwanted calendar, and gave myself a big pat on the back.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

bye bye rowboat

it's really bye bye time mullet. there are times in life when you have to give up something you care about to gain something you need. i needed to be able to look in the mirror and see that i didn't have crazy ringlets of hair sticking in all directions off of my neck. many girls in the city seem to have a similar hairstyle to mine, but they pull it off much better because their hair hangs straight down in back like it is supposed to. while i am no longer able to enjoy having the guy version of what i consider a sweet haircut, at least i can sleep better at night knowing i look less like someone's nerdy 11-year-old brother. perhaps the sheer ridiculousness of my mullet means i had one of the greatest mullets ever. however, i have grown fond of my new combed down scruffy hairstyle, and i needed some sanity from the back half of my head to match the brilliance exhibited elsewhere. rest assured, i do enjoy getting my hair cut for free. thx!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

happy eaters

if I am going to get sick of cereal, it has yet to occur. not only do i eat it almost every day, i almost exclusively eat it for dinner. several others i know have the same habit; it seems to come with the life here in the burg. the sad state of things as they currently stand is that anything requiring more than 3 minutes' prep time doesn't make it as a dinner option. too often, i will get home at 10pm with the goal of being in bed by 11. even boiling pasta takes too long; it requires at least half an hour from lighting the burner to finishing the sauce left on the plate. cereal can be fixed in a minute, doesn't go bad if you forget to eat it, and tastes so so good. even the issue of milk expiration dates can be skirted by having such long-shelf-life substitues as yogurt and unsweetend soymilk around. they also help in the event that hardship or laziness prevents me from getting more milk in a timely fashion.

back to music

I had the distinct pleasure of attempting to tune both my guitar and my bass today. I still could use a tuner, but I think with the guitar at least I am getting better. I managed to play a number of simple, catchy, repetitive bass lines without getting bored. As I gear up for a shot at the local music scene (seems crazy, I know), I'll need to be able to stick to basics. I don't really know what level of skill is actually required to play bass in the sort of band that plays around locally once in a while. I wonder if social skills are more necessary than musical ones, as bass players just don't have to do that much as part of the typical rock act. This all leads to the question: what sort of band should I be playing in, anyway? I think something folkish, singer-songwriter type stuff would be good. That way I wouldn't need to provide much creative input. Perhaps singer-songwriters go straight for the flawlessly talented backing musicians; their music is pretty much about them, and they need decorative embellishment from the supporting cast, not personality. More collaboratively creative bands could be welcoming to someone they simply thought was fairly interesting, or they could be overly picky about who they think is worth welcoming into the fold. Right now I am getting too tired and hungry to think about it, but maybe that's the best hint. More than anything else, the success of my foray onto the alleged scene will depend on how many people there are that play bass.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Coke Zero - for men, not for killing Diet Coke with Splenda

It's funny enough that someone decided it was time to create a new diet cola and sell it to men. It gets even worse when people get very upset about it, thinking Zero was just a corporate conspiracy intended to kill Diet Coke with Splenda. Did Coke go overboard with 3 straight-up diet colas? Sure. I don't think it's worth questioning their motives, though. The evidence is clear that Zero was, from the start, intended to be a distinct brand - the undiet cola, the sugarless cola for men. Yes, its presence in the marketplace could have helped spell Diet Coke with Splenda's doom, but there's no reason to get conspiratorial about it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


i have two pair of shoes i don't even wear outside. this is a large percentage of the shoes i own, but i am waiting on the one pair of sneakers to wear out before ruining the next. as for the second, they have been around a bit longer but one must be careful with purple suede. i have a third pair i had intended only to wear at work and never outside. they were thoroughly ruined rather quickly, as i wore them outside a few times by mistake. which goes to show, it's not all that silly to refuse to wear the other 2 pair outside.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

you beat me to the punch

you, i said you beat me to the punch
i'm a lonely staring dunce
you're no empty seats at lunch,
yeah you beat me to the punch

Sunday, September 17, 2006

picture frames

you ever feel like your life doesn't fit into any of the picture frames they sell at the store? neither do i. you can always pay for a custom one anyway, which is expensive, but you use the internet so you're rich.

scuttle the rowboats, it's quittin' time

When do professional goals become more important than personal happiness? I suppose it's all right to spend 6 months in a lousy situation because you'll learn a lot at work. Many people don't like their job or where they live, so maybe there's no big deal in any of it. On the other hand, I find myself wondering this weekend whether I should pack it up and go back to the soda counter.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

the wheatgrass conspiracy

wd-50, socks, and iron lungs? vegetative states and ordely fashions. is wheatgrass taking over our culture? people are growing it, and not just in lawns. i thought grass belonged in lawns. it's like the opposite of bonsai; it's larger than life, or at least larger than typical domesticated grass plant life. we're not sheep, you know; i'm not so sure we should be eating the stuff. wherein lies the fascination. i am increasingly done with green as a favorite color.

Monday, September 11, 2006

making peace at the grocery store

"i need to punch you in the head so that i can get my organic oatmeal" doesn't go over well, but neither does complaining. perhaps i can be ok with the fact that a lot of people like to buy good food. not every store has the same number of pushy shoppers, however. maybe it could be a selling point?

get out of my head

sorry, just kidding, you can stay. sometimes, though, there are certain artists whose music gets stuck in my head and drives out all creative thought. in some circumstances, that could be a good thing, but usually it is bad.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


what defines a vacation? does going somewhere for the weekend mean you are on vacation? is it important to accomplish certain things on vacation? why is it that when i go on vacation with my family, we spend the whole time on our feet?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

the killer app

just got a new phone, a free one, and boy am i sad about the lack of features. it's not the camera, which it has, or bluetooth, which it doesn't. it's not the games, which are only previews, or the menu system, which is hideously rendered monochrome. it's the fact that the clock is only displayed when the phone has been idle long enough for the display to go blank. i tell time almost exclusively by my phone's clock, and this is way too annoying. close second is the fact that the time of call is not displayed when you hang up.

guo(4) qi(2) le


ni(3) zen(3) me le

What's wrong with you?




there is one thing i can think of where i have had at least one victory against everyone i have ever played. chinese chess. today, one of my coworkers broke out a chinese chess set and we played checkers with it. i can't remember the rules for real chinese chess. sad.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


i am in love with several major corporations. you see, i depend daily on them for support - self worth flows naturally from the finest foods, clothing, entertainment, retail experiences, and travel accomodations. i hope some day to share my passion with the world.

the making of lists

top man-made things that i would like to fish out of the ocean

rubber ducks

lobster trap marking buoys

a very buoyant canister vac

a combination harvester

floating fishing knives

Monday, September 04, 2006

congrats, u have no idea what you're doing

so i might be visiting this place but they sure don't have a real safari-friendly site. looks much better in firefox. then again, google hates safari as well. uk indie genius boy fionn regan is a pretty worthy cause for continent-hopping concert plans.

you don't take it with you

camping hasn't really been roughing it in the true sense most of my life. i think on-site wifi is a bit much, however. maybe if you brought the laptop to your car campground and then drove/rode/walked somewhere to use the internet, it wouldn't seem so bad. then again, people had portable satellite radios all over the place. which reminds me. why use one of those things ever? the signal gets blocked by trees, of all things. new hampshire must not have very many happy satellite radio listeners.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

lost in the archives, maybe forever

ever get music and don't know how? well, a refreshingly simple layout greets me as i reach out to make contact with some aussie musical talent.

band sites are all pretty much the same, but these guys get props for keeping it simple, technologically and aesthetically.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

random band discovery of the day

the helio sequence. i'm not really sure they're the greatest thing ever, but a couple song samples later you might find them intriguing, as i do. kudos for the sweet/annoying site layout. i'm not sure what i would have made of this if i hadn't seen the name of their label at the bottom of the page. it can be hard to know what to expect from something advertised thusly - "The practice of deliberately rejecting pure deliberation is The Helio Sequence’s newest modus operandi, but it hasn’t always been"...unless you are clever.

Monday, August 28, 2006

the collapse of my empire

media, for better or worse, is a part of our daily lives. some seek to consume it, some to defy it, others to control it. control comes in several forms; for personal glory, one might seek the glow of flashbulbs and spotlights, while for fortune itself one might seek to be the voice regulating the aim of those bulbs and lights. it was in this fashion that, for a brief moment, i ruled the world. for exactly one month, i was the master of all media to the ants that live in my apartment. i chose the magazines they longer to scamper across. i broadcast music and information to all reaches of their domain. my movies blared on their televisions, my messages gave life to their phones, and my face greeted them each morning. then it all changed. the exterminator left me with nothing, an audience that died before i knew it was there.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

the carp starts to fish

this is supposed to be a series, running at the bottom of the emails for church. i am not sure exactly how to start writing a series entitled, "the card starts to fish," but it was my idea in the first place.

carp live long lives alone in the sea. this isn't actually true, but in stories they may. at least, that is, in this story. theobald was a carp, a freshwater carp, but he lived in the ocean. many years ago, he stumbled upon a newfound love. not the romantic kind, but the kind that steals your minutes one by one as you dive deeper into it, until it becomes a permanent part of your life. you see, theobald discovered fishing.

besides being incredibly odd, the main problem with this beginning is the language. "steals your minutes one by one" is not a phrase that should necessarily be used in a story that is only there for fun at the end of your email. nothing at all happens, and we aren't really introduced to the character, scene, or plot. however, if it is going to be a participatory serial, that is no problem. i would like to see if anyone picks this up and runs with it; my plan was to let them do whatever they want. theobald, however, may never see the inside of that email. i might just have to come up with something more fitting.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

latest incomplete

i'm so gla-a-ad
that you're suffering fools
i'm so alonge, i'm not lost,
waiting till the magma cools

i'm so reli-i-ieved
that the healer's art
was stolen from the gallery
before the fire from the tempter's dart.

one of my goals is constant vigilance
i'll be watching every move
you're playing chess with an eye on excellence
mensa still rejected you

Friday, August 25, 2006

discovery of the day

exciting new musical stuffs. making it all worthwhile, at least tonight's allotment of it.

truth in advertising

i got one of those fantastic emails that grace my inbox without my ever daring ask to receive it. it proclaimed "the bull is back" in select stocks.

Monday, August 21, 2006

guest writer

this come courtesy of and a particularly gifted reviewer. note the cryptic use of the word "heroine," which could either be referring to the drug (spelled wrong) or an actual heroine. it is the brilliance of grammar that bring to pass.

"Alice(Claire Danes) and Darlene(Kate Beckinsale) have been best friends since forever and after they graduate they decide to take a trip to Thailand. Due to a incident, they meet a young attractive mysterious stranger who invites them to go with him Hong Kong for the weekend. But at the airport, Alice and Darlene are mistaken for drug smuggling heroine and they are sent to prison. Now it's time for ultimate survival and true friendship. This was a pretty good movie, i've seen it a couple of times and after a while you notice that they are a few holes in the plot but the movie still keeps you entertained. Claire Danes did a great job as usual, she is a great actress. I would give Brokedown Palace 8/10 "

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Saturday, August 19, 2006

connecticut steps it up

thank you for the best senate race i can recall.

Friday, August 18, 2006

in which a record label forms

cold soda records, nonexistant due to lack of qualified personnel and available funding, proudly announces its genesis. several artists were considered, three were added to the label's stable of talent. voxtrot happily excluded for having found a good home of its own already.

first off - washington dc's own exit clov, which- as legend has it - emerged from the smoking remains of two prior dc bands gone sour. violins, twin vocalists, keyboards, and a bassist whose stage presence is undeniable.

following along, portland's loch lomond, a happy discovery while attending a norfolk and western show. it's not often you go to a concert and find a new band you like better than the band you desperately had to see. i think it is beyond necessary that these guys have a long and successful career. they had about seven people on stage playing strings, celeste, piano, guitar, etc. brilliant moody folk.

finally, a band with some incredible songs and some real annoying ones, but deserving none the less. ray's vast basement. please read the story behind the band.



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

thank you truman capote

no stars could penetrate the city's glare
one hundred times i've seen you stare
beyond the realm of truth and pain
your whisper tells of silence shared
now broken, will our eyes conceive
a longer dawn and looser mist
settling in hazy smoke
then lifting, bound for thoughts of steam

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

how to ruin a good idea

sometimes you have a good idea...and then you're more in the mood to ruin it than let it shine alone. diamonds in the rough, not in a display case...because in the rough is real.

you're my 50-cent juliet
haven't even barely got to know you yet
you're the tops
you're the best
you work alone

i can't call to mind
the rythm of your voice
something in your eyes
when you tell me

no, it's not original
papers lie some more
messages from brazen worlds
of though-starved greed

still there's something
run from the heartbeat
fill in what you lost back there
i will take the blame

fill in what you lost back there
i'll give you my word

Monday, August 14, 2006


spinach flavored cola? i'm holding out for the diet version, but seriously, someone in the upper ups actually thinks this would be an interesting idea. is there a limit to what sweet drinks will actually sell? perhaps the pepsi corporation is working on figuring that out as we speak.



Sunday, August 13, 2006

eat more fruit

and do not absent-mindedly draw silly looking cartoonish figures that too closely resemble your professor saying 'eat more fruit.' especially in very small classes when you're sitting near the head of the table.

lost posts: my couscous is at the office

not only did this post disappear, it had sweet bad grammar when first written. basically, there's this story where i move apartments and leave a buncha stuff in my cubicle while i am shifting from one domicile to the next. so, tension comes in with a listing of things that are less-than-tasty. vinegar, yo. we leave off with a wistful confession of my laments for those items i could actually use at home - cocoa powder; vanilla...

you buy, we confiscate

i am not looking forward to my next flight flight.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

journaling time

i wrote 3 songs, or parts of 3, in the past two weeks...mostly on a cross-country flight to see my sister. couldn't sleep. had to write.

the best thing about writing is you don't have to read what you wrote afterwards if you don't want to. still, once i did write down some of the ideas that had been rushing through my head for several days prior to the flight. my mind is more at rest, even if the process didn't produce anything particularly pleasing.

Friday, August 11, 2006

iranian reality check

i like iran. i am not kidding. i think it is a totally sweet country and i want to go there and learn the language. i also think the government of iran is not likely to help me with my goals. however, i also like eating yogurt with shredded wheat squares. any government approval necessary for me to engage in that activity has already been granted before said food items reach my table.

teenage sister band smoosh makes final appearance

in totally fabricated news today, teenage sister band smoosh has decided to call it quits, in order to pursue lucrative careers in concert promotion. no further explanation was available from the band's agent.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

the problem with greatness

if we take outstanding achievement as our inspiration, we often find mitigating factors that, for many, undermine its inspirational value. for one, there isn't much to like about people whose personal matters are made public. thus, there's always something to dislike about famous people. most of us have had an ugly moment or two, which is probably uncharacteristic and remains private. those privy to its knowledge are hopefully familiar enough with our innate goodness to know we aren't like that all the time. famous people don't really get the chance to prove to us that, deep down, they are good people. sometimes they aren't good people at all. maybe that's all the time. there's also the issue of cheating, deception, etc - in many cases, the very feats we admire are called into question as we discover that people weren't abiding by the explicit rules of their craft or the implicit standards we set up for them. it's not just who we make out to be heroes either - the microscope we hold them under is going to turn out bad things in probably anyone. that's why we need robot athletes and politicians. we can set the rules they'll abide by, and judge their achievements accordingly. we can even take pride in the greatness of those who built these robotocrats. because if greatness is what we value, then humanity might just be about doing something humans can't do.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

the ethics of soda

cheating is bad. performance enhancing substances are bad. using drugs to do things you couldn't otherwise do is bad. using chemical means to achieve more and earn praises and accolades one doesn't deserve is bad. so for the typical salaried worker, is it wrong to drink soda (or coffee etc) to stay awake at work? just a quick thought.



Monday, August 07, 2006

wai(4) dai(4)

means takeout in mandarin

signed photos

i have decided i really want a signed photo of floyd landis because i think it would be really funny. so maybe he cheated, ruined everyone's faith in cycling, etc. we were all so proud of his "superhuman" effort in that one stage. so what now? oh, i'm sorry - we're offended that you did the impossible with the help of performance enhancing drugs. excuse us for demanding atheletes deliver jaw-dropping performances without that exta leg up.

so anyone who cares to bring sanity back to professional and olympic sport: reward mediocrity. it's the only way to keep things clean.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

can't sleep? write

seriously, when i moved out of my last apartment, i found all sorts of things i'd written on scrap paper; some were dreams i'd written down and others were just songs or ideas or some brilliant idea that never made sense after i wrote it down. others were pretty cool.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

the long ride into the sunset

as my shoes begin the long ride into the sunset
i feel it's time for me to say more
i can't be with you tonight as the wind brings me reasons
to be done with you and lose this phone

Friday, August 04, 2006

invisible ghosts and rangers

we are playing a spirited game of invisible ghosts and rangers here. i am the ranger, and the rest of the team are the invisible ghosts. so far, i'm winning.

save the coconuts

coconuts are a precious natural resource and should be conserved. even if it's more likely that you will be killed by a falling coconut than a shark attack. we talk about this frequently at work. while drinking water. not sodas.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

i was busy talking on the phone

thus i did not write a short story about a daughter returning to her father's life. i am not sure how i would really write that short story, but having failed to try, i will have to find out another time.

on the way home, this guy was playing guitar and i thought i heard him sing "i dreamed i saw a silver spaceship," which proves he totally deserves a dollar. i had already passed him by the time i figured this out, and i didn't want to go back. i went to a concert tonight and they played most of the believer before the first band went on. i liked it better live.

journey of salvation

i thought the title of this article was tribes call for removal of dams that block journey of salvation"

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

i don't complain about the heat much

i will mention, however, that i have personally been overheating the past couple days because i haven't gotten enough water somehow and it's been so hot in the office. you'd think it was easy to stay cool when you work for a soda company, but we don't exactly get all the soda we can drink. even if we did, none of us would have teeth any more. i hear somewhere we are working on a perfect diet soda, one that tastes like regular soda, not just cola, which has been essentially perfected in its diet form by pepsi. if we can get a diet rootbeer that doesn't taste like bilge water, i'll be onboard. has anyone heard of this pepsi jazz? i'll say it right now - pepsi has the worst product development of any soft drink maker. seriously - spice, blue, or crystal? so maybe pepsi can't be "all things to all people," but there sure weren't enough people out there to support this. pepsi seems to do a better job of just ripping off coke's new flavors - oh wait...both jazz flavors are essentially ripoffs of dr pepper flavors. so can pepsi imitating dr pepper go as well as pepsi imitating coke?

oh, wait...they're getting rid of pepsi vanilla and pepsi twist as they launch these. i can just hear the boardroom battles -

"should we stake our future on imitating coke, or imitating dr pepper?"

"dr pepper's been around longer"

"hmmm...sounds like a brand we can get behind"

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

drinking could ruin your entire profession?

a bit much, but did floyd landis' problems all start with an alcoholic binge? so plenty of harm has already been done here, whether or not he's innocent.

#1 - this is big messness for the sport as a whole, and nothing's even been proved yet. media media media, what have you done? well, heck, it's not like they've cancelled next year's tour or something. so it seems the mess about all those top contenders from last year hadn't done too much damage, things look so much worse. but seriously, how much is this going to hurt the sport as a whole?

#2 - i am glad i read this if only because i now know there is an o.u.c.h. medical center.

#3 - we're talking already about his betrayal of the fans, but we've certainly hung the guy out to dry already. i am still waiting impatiently for news of the second test.

7-track mind

My 8-track broke back in 1989
that car still runs but I'm stuck with a
7-track mind

Monday, July 31, 2006

i am watching this one like a hawk

this whole floyd landis thing is fascinating. somehow i have yet to get as mad about cycling cheats as baseball cheats, but he totally lying his face off? was palmeiro lying his face off? is that even a phrase?

yay stickpins

I will be going to a gregcity stickpins game tomorrow. they were originally named after one of the signature products of the bic corporation, but linguistic change led the name to evolve a bit. this year has been relatively good to the stickpins, but i am not at all a fan. so when i saw yay stickpins, i don't mean i want them to win. sports are a really bad waste of time anyway. lying about your life online is much more entertaining and could even be more fulfilling.

4 mill backpack. sinking barge

no idea what that means, but it's a note i saved on my phone. perhaps those are lyrics to a song i heard out somewhere, but i don't really know.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

new favorite

thing about gregcity is lying on the roof of my bldg in a hammock talking on the phone.

oh capn my capn

Says my roommate "Women don't like to be the adult in the house," and he is about to get slammed for it by all of our wonderful female friends who are over visiting. Please don't hate me for sharing his weirdness, courtesy of the book Manhood.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


It's not just the title of a Kaiser Chiefs album anymore. Seriously, I have a job and that's the real reason for me being here in Greg City, Statestate. I am working at a highly acclaimed soda company, the Metafizz Carbonated Soft Drink Corp. Metafizz is about a lot of things, but fun is certainly part of it. How many times have you been at work and someone asks for a rubber band? Well, it happened to me last week and two of us started looking around like "ok, well they usually fly in this direction, so that's where one should be" as we inspected window sills and other likely landing places. That's what makes Metafizz so great. Or it could be the gallons of free diet soda we drink. They actually buy us water, too. I have never before worked somewhere that actually had a water cooler. Incidentally, for those wondering, I think "I Predict a Riot" is the only song I have ever heard by the aforementioned band.

proving once again

the nytimes can make anything uncool.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Some rules

I fully intend to lie. Seriously, some embellishment, if not total fabrication, of postings is in the works. Friday is a good time to make things up, I think. Tonight I ate a few bowls of cereal, watched most of "French Kiss" and went for a run. It is hot in my apartment and I am feeling queasy. Lunch today was an event. I sent out email invitations last week, and the whole department was invited. No one from the other team came at all. We had two directors and a manager, but not a single analyst from their team. The VP was giving them a hard time about it after I told him. He had wanted to go but couldn't.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

sometimes when i'm all alone i wish you were cooler

That's a quotation from working hours. Not from my own mouth, mind you; I can't always come up with things that impressive. Wrote it down on the same envelope I used to verify my New York mailing address and obtain a library card. I sense some serious synergy going on. Another quote, same day at work: "There's no reason to sink your own ship, you know." Seems appropriate for the island song, but mixing metaphors might be confusing.

Wherein it all beginneth

Ok, so I realized I already have like two blogs - one at myspace, one at - and obviously I can't even be bothered to update those. Still, I write plenty of stuff on other people's blogs and certainly it gets old waiting for other folkses to post replies to your comments etc. I am still holding out for a guest author gig somewhere; teamred put up with me until that site's alleged demise. I have considered applying for a writing position at cokemachine glow, but they're probably going to tell me to get lost. Rejection, it's part of life, and they reject plenty of folks. The point is, I got nowhere to write and it was high time I staked a claim to some new turf.

So the title of yon blog, plus the url and whatever else I care to glean, is a reference to my scattershot songwriting efforts. Those who were in the curators with me will recall that I am prolific when I'm in the right frame of mind, but that I really don't know what I'm doing. One of my most recent efforts, about being on an island, is written, in draft form, on the back of a receipt for some stamps. The tablature for part of the melody is on the envelope from one of my birthday cards. The envelope seemed such a handy carrying device that I slipped that receipt right on in. I wrote "lyrics inside" to remind myself what I'd done. Tonight, I went back to the lyrics in search of a good title or phrase, and "lyrics inside" it is. That being said, this is not about lyrics only. I may enter some one-sentence posts here and there instead of writing my fascinating new lyrical ideas on some scrap of paper somewhere. Oh, and "find a captain and trust him" is an excerpt from the chorus, of course; I added "or her" because it seemed like the right thing to do. Maybe that can go in the song too.

Anyway, I began reading a book today, after getting my library card. I originally planned to go to Trader Joe's but decided against it. Then I planned to walk up to the 59th street station from 5th Avenue, but there was this branch library there inviting me in. My life goes like that; seriously - I had no plan to get a library card today and that's exactly what I did. It's somewhat daoist of me, I think. So I needed proof of my home address, and that was basically it. How many people normally carry around a piece of mail with their address on it? Well, I was lucky to have one on hand. Sweet. I found two books right away - an Ibsen collection with several plays I had never read, and a collection of new Scottish writing. I was feeling super psyched about my literary taste, but had a hard time finding another book to round things out. I ended up returning to the same area in search of some literariness, and picked up Ben Yagoda's The Sound on the Page. Yup, I'm reading a book about "style and voice in writing." I believe I like to shift my style and voice - if you read my journals you would know what I'm talking about - but I do like to ramble and then break out an "anyway." You better believe it.