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.