Monday, December 31, 2007

deal with it

i was very fortunate to remember i had a couple songs to download. if you could choose anything, and you wanted to pick something that you liked, from an artist you are only just learning about, and avoid getting stuff you can easily get elsewhere, what would you get? yeah, it's a difficult question. yes, it was me who made it hard for myself. i rose to the occasion, even though i got something i'd already heard. i picked a couple tracks from the latest john vanderslice.

'the minaret'

'numbered lithograph'

Thursday, December 27, 2007

the proper use of holiday free time

it seems that spending a large amount of time off with relatives over the holidays can be hazardous for more than a few reasons. there is always the opportunity to get into silly arguments about things that don't matter. there's the risk of getting really really lazy and sleeping endlessly, a habit that will bring only sadness when work or school demands return in january. however, the big surprise is the pure boredom that comes from living in a house where many types of entertainment are severely frowned upon, and simultaneously being excluded from the big projects that are happening. fortunately, a large amount of edible christmas presents provide me with some entertaining challenges as i try to eat my way to a manageable load of luggage for my return trip.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the wearable atlas of clothing: shoes for males

shoes are one of the most important elements of any outfit. for one thing, you need two of them. generally speaking, you don't need two pair of pants, two t-shirts, two hats, or two watches. now, certain people make clever use of this fact by bucking the general trend. shoes, however, are the only thing you absolutely need two of, other than socks. you wouldn't need two socks if you didn't need two shoes.

today, i will go through the general categories of shoes necessary to be an excellent human being, if you are male.

first: sneakers
don't let anyone deceive you. sneakers are more important than anything. they can be worn with anything, and often can be worn in the modern workplace. please make sure you have the following:

-1 pr slip-on, preferably with an attractive design.
if you need to ask why, please don't. just get the shoes.

-1 pr running shoes designed in the 1980s, date of manufacture unimportant

-1-2 pr oddly colored or designed shoes.
these are impractical, and need not fit particularly well. ideal for parties.

-1 pr that looks as non-sneaker-like as possible.
for wear in snooty workplaces

-high performance athletic shoes as necessary given your sporting life.

-optional: one pair skate shoes, preferably somewhat non-huge-looking, preferably slip-on or velcro

second: casual shoes
if you do well here, you may not ever need dress shoes. you need these for the workplace, to keep them honest. maybe they think you wear sneakers every single day, but try to prove them wrong.

-1 pr slip-on.
if you ever travel, you will thank me for insisting on this.

-1 pr brown.
essential when masquerading as a preppy, or if you want to look good for a date. my old roommate insists you can wear jeans on a date and look like you dressed up if your shoes are nice

-1 pr black, possibly shiny.
this is where you can eliminate the need for dressier shoes. note that more than 2 pr casual shoes is absolutely unnecessary. do what you wish.

-optional: one pr oddly colored or patterned casuals.
maybe you can't wear sneakers to the workplace, but can they stop you from wearing pinstriped loafers? much less likely

third: boots etc
those who live in snowy climes or have an affinity for the outdoors will appreciate this one.

-1 pr sturdy hikers.
good for snow or the mountain trail. not absolutely necessary if you are clever/cheap/don't mind wet feet.

-1 pr flip flops.
you can't imagine how many places you might use these

-1 pr serious athletic-type sandals.
hey, some people really like them. why not?

fourth: dress shoes
i used to own a pair of these.
i think i lost them.

-1 pr shiny black.
likely uncomfortable and only useful for formal occasions. some of us got tuxes for christmas, you know.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

songs of the week, wk 10

-'william harry holmes'

-'i could be dreaming'

new years is supposed to be about changes. i'm bringing change, big time, whether i like it or not. if things go the way i plan, that is.

Friday, December 21, 2007


i am visiting relatives for the holidays, which leads me to the following thoughts:

how can i survive a week and a half with no cool shoes?

why is it that they have the worst showerhead in the world, and how can i put up with it?

why can people make such a big deal out of you accepting their suggestions and then blow yours off in seconds? am i too nice? do i need better excuses?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the christmas trader

would you rather have...

216 sticks of sugarless minty gum


a 2008 paper airplane a day calendar

Monday, December 17, 2007


not only was our holiday part at a bowling alley, we had a running competition and my team won 2 out of 3 times...ok, the last game wasn't finished but we were dominating and they had 3 bowlers left on the last frame. one had just rolled a spare or a strike, but they weren't going to beat us. i had 121, and i was 3rd on my team of 5...and that's a good score for this group.

my rounds:


i have apparently somewhat overcome my inability to bowl anything respectable. i had a strike on my 9th frame in that last game and then bowled a 3, so i was just doing way better than i had all night. actually, the first game i started strike-strike and had 42 points in the first 3 frames.

i also came away from this with 216 sticks of gum, all the same flavor. they smell good.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

songs of the week, wk 9

-'twenty days'

-'the men who live upstairs'

-'it's not'

i could try to make a point about all of this, but suffice it to say that i listened to some new music this week, some of which was good and some of which was nothing special. here's to the fact that many of us can also make music that is at least somewhat interesting.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


i came home late from a long and extremely fun day of painting. not only did i learn what chartreuse looks like, i got to do something useful for my friends. on the way out the door, with my hooded sweatshirt and jeans, i found that it was snowing/sleeting all over. unfortunately, i was stuck with more walking than usual, but despite the slipperiness of my shoes and the surprising number of slopes in my path, i made it fine. since i'd already smacked my knee hard on some sharp furniture, i wss hoping i could get home without falling and making more parts of my leg hurt.

no, i really wasn't

i was browsing around a major retailer's website today, looking for some music that c might like for christmas, and this hilarious/intriguing link popped up at the side - 'the independent sound you've been searching for...' now, i wsa listening to whiting tennis on half-broken headphones, so if i was searching for something, it definitely wasn't an independent sound. i didn't just click on the link to laugh at anyone or be snotty, i was somewhat hoping to see a well-written description of what 'the independent sound' was according to that particular retailer. what i got was simply a link to their partner site specializing in independent music.

Friday, December 14, 2007

there's nothing else

christmas update:

r - done
j - done
c - done
g - done

hooray for word of mouth and online shopping. now, of course, i can swap these around a bit if necessary, because some of the gifts are versatile...but the key is that i've got almost everyone covered now, and it's time to get creative and see what else i can manage to find.

i went to (i think) my first christmas party of the year last night. it was a good time. i stayed way too long and said ridiculous stuff, but probably i wasn't enough over the top to make it worthwhile. will have to work on time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

christmas update

it has been my goal, for quite some time, to get the christmas shopping done early. well, after a long time browsing one particular chain this evening, the score stands:

j - done
g - done (very possibly, i'll get him more stuff too)

might end up wanting/needing to find stuff for others as well, but those are the main characters. h is usually the toughest, by reckoning of most involved, but i'm just glad i got something for j already that's exciting. c can be tough also, if you want to be frugal. r is easy to please. g is the simplest to shop for. i bought his present months ago.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

another day in the sun

i woke up feeling completely awful today, and didn't go to work. it's been a long time since i've been sick this frequently; i can't really remember a time when i got sick every week or two. i did make the most of my time, in the sense of doing nothing at all and trying to relax and get myself rested up for tomorrow. i ate lots of healthy food, or i hope i did, and maybe in the morning i'm going to feel fantastic again.

i keep wondering, actually, if i have just worn myself down to the point that i can't function or something. hopefully the forced rest, for the third time now, will get me back on my feet for longer than a couple weeks.

Monday, December 10, 2007

this will take some working through

my challenge: write a song with the lyric 'i'm tired of investing in twin size comforters'

it's actually going to be part of the chorus:

i'm tired of investing in twin size comforters
but you're tired of changing wet sheets

i was thinking of staring something like:

paul drives a minivan with empty back seats
there's no way he'll sell it for now
wasting some gas is a small price to pay
to be ready for settling down
seven cupholders, an armrest or two
no dvd player or sliding sunroof
perfect upholstery tell me the truth,
was he joking when he bought that thing?

john's got four records, a beat-up guitar
and photos of him in tehran
three of the records are spencer krug bands
the other's his girl from the choir
i took her once to a game or a show
the difference is lost on us all
she had the band but john wrote the songs
recording was never so hard

i'm tired of investing in twin size comforters
but you're tired of changing wet sheets
we need to ask is there something we've done
or just life meant we'd end up such freaks

stacy and lucy aren't talking that much
to me or to either of them
one of those nights it all came out wrong
no one forgot anything
we lost our youth to a four hour fight
what became of a friendship that started so great
i think it was honesty, if we'd had more
time would have healed those wounds

clearly this is going to be hard, and i don't have a decent tune in my head for this, which is going to make it harder than usual.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

songs of the week, wk 8


-the cowshed

-ready to go

-piazza, new york catcher

-song of our so-called friends

this past week brought a bit of a renaissance. it might not have felt like this was coming, especially wednesday when i was starting to think no one cared about this stuff. by the end of the week, not only was i listening to more music, i got my music system to behave better than it usually does. last night i fell asleep to a playlist including many of the above songs; there was something of a cohesive spirit in the selections.

Friday, December 07, 2007

i was trying to point out that everyone has their quirks

so i said something funny and it was noted. this happened a long time ago, and i'm sure i'd heard about it before last night. i wonder why i'm enjoying this so much.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

it would be bold

there aren't a lot of things i could say that would be significant enough to warrant caution. the ones that are don't necessarily ever make it out of my head.

Monday, December 03, 2007

how many times do i need to say it?

jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor. jennifer o'connor.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

songs of the week, wk 7

-'a voice through the wall'

-'slipping through the sensors'

snow today. i looked out the window and was surprised how the diagonal drifting streaks of snow made me happy just for a moment. rain followed; rain has its own magic, but on a day when fallen snow is fading into dirty slush, drops of rain are a disappointment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

a breather

i could use a break from bad writing week, so here's just some general stuff. i've realized that i don't discover music any more. i mean, i haven't listened to random bands on the web at all in the past month, maybe more. songs of the week is going nowhere if it's just going to be an exploration of my back catalog, because i don't want to listen to a whole ton of that stuff right now. i'm not putting any time into it, and i probably won't. i do promise to keep the whole farce up until i can't stand it any more.

i've been thinking about high school a fair amount recently. i was laughing at this guy a lot for suggesting he had a rough time in high school. i realized finally that the issue isn't how popular or socially adept you were. sounds like he probably scored better at both of those than me. the key is, i was happier. at least, i was happier than he wants us to believe he was
for the stretch he describes there. there were things of course that were awkward about high school, but i think that despite all of it, i was fine with who i was and not excessively bothered by other people's opinions of me. y'all can beg to differ at will.

i have barely been to any movies lately. movies are where my taste tends most towards the mainstream. or, where my choices tend most towards the mainstream. i think at times i wanted to go and there was nothing. fingers crossed there's something i want to see still.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

the inside of the car

the pedals were all wrong. it was like one of those dreams where you get what you want - in this case a stolen car, the one you really wanted - and nothing's right about it. nick had no worries of this sort. he was in the back seat. kirk said nothing and kept driving. a sinisterly looming car drifted towards them from the other lane, the one going in the opposite direction. it's physics; the force of impact would be maximized as they were directly opposite each other. nick said nothing. kirk flinched, or wanted to; sweat was already beading up on his forehead, but now he didn't know what to do. how could you drive a stolen car across three states if you weren't capable of passing one oncoming car without breaking a sweat? that was the sort of question nick might ask. he was in the backseat, head half turned, apparently humming softly to himself.

Monday, November 26, 2007

clerk: i'd like to get a mix

what's happened to pancakes?

he leaned out the window, wondering where that sentence would fit. a car drove by. soot from his boots stained the floor underneath the table, but he didn't care. caring was for mothers, or hijackers; people with ideas. he wasn't much for ideas, since bruce moved out. bruce the idea guy. it actually sounded funny. the one with the suede pants. mark tied his shoes and got up, effortlessly stretching his legs one by one as his well-worn chair squeaked back behind him.

bruce was done with this laundry stuff. two driers, three washers, and $7.50 in quarters. he'd rather have his $10 back. oh, so there were 10 more in his back pocket, but that would have to do. he took sacks, took clothes, hefted them out the door. a nineteen ninety five import sedan quivered down the road across the street. didn't someone used to drive one of those?

bad writing week

in honor of all sorts of things, we undertake bad writing week. in which we will not say anything much at all.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

songs of the week, wk 6

-'throw it all away'

most of the stuff i own that i wish i was listening to has gone missing. most of the stuff i own that hasn't gone missing isn't interesting me in the slightest at the moment. there's always something, however.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

who's the fool

i was on tv a few years ago. i'd totally forgotten about this, but some morning show on a local channel in one of the east coast population centers had me on there promoting the company at the time. it came back to me when i was reading about a washed-up tv host and the lame people he had on his show. the big feature that day was apparently some type of back-to-school fashion show where they would have kids of all school-type ages parade around in their favorite clothes. maybe they were their parents' favorite clothes, but these were basically some seriously well-cared-for children whose attentive parents made a bit of a spectacle.

in the end, i decided the hosts were completely dense. i had some people with me; i'm pretty sure i didn't have the woman from our pr firm then, but she was within 10 years of my age and talked to me like an equal. this is nice when you're in your first job out of college. at the tv thing, i knew going in that i was supposed to be talking up our upcoming promotion and that there was a trivia question people could answer if they wanted to win something. no one from the show prepped me before i went on, but i'd done several radio appearances already. everything seemed totally fine until one of the hosts asked me the magic question. i answered it; what the heck else was i supposed to do? they were interviewing me and just threw that in with all the other stuff. i had no clue what else i should have done, and the woman apologized to me afterwards, saying it was too bad i hadn't known that was the prize-winning question. i had known; i just hadn't understood why they were asking me the question when the viewers were supposed to answer it.

when i thought about it today, i realized today that she must have expected me to launch into some kinda 'oh, well, i can't answer that but if any of you viewers care to find out, you can tell us and win a prize' type thing. i guess i'm the bigger idiot because i should have figured it out on the spot, but it would have taken so little preparation beforehand to get things straight. don't tv people go over anything with their guests before putting them on the air? still, now i feel like i could have been a bit less dim.

Friday, November 23, 2007

the morning after

no milk, sick again, and the charger for my mobile phone's gone missing. i think the over-zealous cleanup effort for the t-day party at my house is to blame. is it possible someone would take an electrical adapter that was actually plugged in to an outlet and simply throw it out? you never know when you live with guys.

i had four or five kinds of pie yesterday; all were rather yummy. i wonder if thanksgiving shouldn't be made into a dessert tasting festival and nothing more. it might take up less time, which perhaps would ruin the whole thing. it's not so much the occasion of thanksgiving that's special per se, it's the fact that you can go over to your friends' house and spend 5 hours lingering over food, games and conversation and that's what everyone expects. or maybe it's the fact that you know everyone else is doing the same thing and that they've crisscrossed the country getting together in arrangements that are all different and yet serve the same purpose. but it just might be the fact that you've done it before the last year and the year before that and every year growing up and you know everyone else has and it's something you want to relive or escape or make better or start over on your own terms. in other words, it's a tradition.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

some more italy

maybe i didn't photograph anything in italy, but i saw and thought about plenty. i even wrote in my journal. it isn't most vacations that get me writing in there while i'm still on vacation.

in italy, i couldn't stop thinking about germany, especially riding the trains. german infrastructure is nice, clean, and well-made. italy's modern buildings, trains, bridges, etc do not fit those adjectives. one bridge had an unusual feature; there was a giant tubular hole designed into each of the supporting columns. this was unique, as was the bush growing out of the side of the bridge. subway cars were coated in so much graffiti that some of them looked kinda nice that way. they looked like props from a movie where the criminals have taken over the city. buildings, the more modern ones, looked like they might have been shot at. really, though, the crumbling architecture was charming and showed more character than crumbling architecture in, say, ljubljana. in spite of all this, what i really thought was that germany was probably never going to seem interesting enough any more. in st. peter's, the giant lettering alone amazed me. german cathedrals, which seem to be a main point of visiting the country, cannot measure up. the germans don't have ancient aqueducts, coliseums, or ruins. i figure germany must have had something to ruin back then. maybe i'll see it some day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

songs of the week, wk 5


sometimes, you must turn to the oldest of friends, and the oldest of friends turn out to be the best. it's been a musical desert lately, but i'm not starving for anything other than fresh tunes. i didn't take any music with me on vacation anyway.

Friday, November 16, 2007

these are my pictures from italy

yeah, there are none. i will paint some pictures with words once i get the time to gather my thoughts. i'm in an awesome mood since my return.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

in form of apology

there's a reason there were no songs of the week the past couple weeks. two reasons. first, i haven't loaded anything new onto the portable device. thus, no new music, no new songs, no variety, little chance for something excitingly fresh to strike my fancy. i think nothing really deserved to be on there. i also went on vacation to a country where they put up with a lot of surprisingly bad pizza. they really don't have to. i suppose we don't either.

stick up for yourselves! insist on better pizza.

an open letter to my shoes

i'm sorry if i hurt you by stuffing feet that were a little too big or small down your throats. i really have this idea that i'm going to buy shoes that fit, but sometimes i just like you so much i have to take you even if you're a little too big or too small. many of the places you came from didn't give me a chance to try you on first, and our relationship began out of necessity - i had bought you, and i needed to get what i could out of you.

you really do mean a lot to me. on the best days, you brighten my every step. i like to look down and think how much you're doing to improve the way i look. i hope when other people look at me, they'll see that you're with me and know that i've got the right idea. even if we don't get to share as many days as i'd like, you're still a big part of my life.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

songs of the week, wk 4

-'the bleeding heart show'

here's to hot chocolate that's almost too cool to drink. here's the the smell of wool sweaters and coats. here's to blankets that reach all the way to your feet, long socks, and exercise, which takes us to a place where we can handle fall without any of those things. let's fall back down on the coach and imagine mike skinner and daniel smith working on a musical version of the ten commandments.

Friday, November 02, 2007

why does it go this way?

the list of concerts i've skipped has grown so long that i can't even remember why i missed some of this past month's shows. what does this mean? it means a couple of things. one, i enjoy the people i associate with and they don't necessarily go to things. two, even though i apparently have enough free time to think about why i'm missing shows, there are times when i have to make tough choices. three, i don't always prioritize.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

grease, it's the grease

since we're talking about lunches:

-irish nachos (bacon on the side)
french fries smothered in cheese with sour cream and a side of bacon. amazing food really; it makes the slow service at one favorite lunch spot almost worthwhile

-grilled cheese with tomato
generous and tasty tomato; a little salty but classic, with american cheese. more fries on the side, many of which i ate.

-dessert was saved until 5

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

halloween lunch

i expect this halloween won't measure up to last year, but i had a memorable lunch:

frozen slush drink - raspberry with cherry
-the performance part of my office costume basically requires i visit a convenience store. raspberry was excellent; the cherry portion seemed to be fermented

triple-chocolate cake
-purchased yesterday; rather tasty well-chilled

carrot muffin
-brought in by a co-worker; so delightful i ate all of the frosting

pumpkin pie
-also bought yesterday; wonderfully authentic pumpkin flavor and surprisingly good crust

cheese-flavored snack mix
-from a co-worker; good variety of ingredients and excellent interplay between cheese flavor and slightly sweet cereal bits

Saturday, October 27, 2007

songs of the week, wk 4

-'the moth'

-'it's not'

-'rocky dennis' farewell song'

let's enjoy some toast on the front steps and hope ac newman decides to take up a musical correspondence with gillian welch. meanwhile, fall deepens, holidays approach, and wardrobes everywhere shift in accordance with the former. here's to rivers filled with drifting yellow leaves.

Friday, October 26, 2007

still funny

i don't care how long this has been there, i still love it:

sleep 2, concerts 0

i had two opportunities to see the same show. didn't go to either. not enough sleep. so sad how these things work out sometimes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


one of the biggest problems i have, which never goes away, is that my phone runs out of memory for text messages. today it told me i had a message waiting. i deleted some stuff and two messages showed up. both were important. just now i decided to remove some more junk. i had over a dozen unsent messages. one was to a friend i hadn't seen in 2 years who is in town and had called. now i know why she didn't text back. then there was one i cannot at all explain. just one word: tea.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

second arm

i like to buy a lot of clothing second hand, it makes sense, i've mentioned this before. the problem, of course, is it's harder to find things that fit extremely well. a good proportion of the shirts i wear to work are from thrift shops. the long-sleeved ones usually are a bit short in the arms, so hopefully that doesn't bother people. i guess i figure it's just not worth spending serious money on workplace attire. i am frequently given shirts for christmas, maybe because my family members don't think i ever buy new ones, but these don't always fit well either. it's a shame, isn't it?

Monday, October 22, 2007

let's hear it for ego

i'm not a fan of extreme self-importance. however, there are times when it can be handy to observe your surroundings and say, 'is there a reason for the thing i see here?' in doing so, one important perspective to consider is whether it might be all (or mostly) about you. the egotist's perspective is useful at times. of course, that might sound crazy.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

songs of the week, wk 4

-'if you're feeling sinister'

-'black water child'

-'guys like me'

-'seeing other people'

variety in my musical diet continues to rest at an extreme low. i'm not sure how i'm surviving, but i am in fact having a great time. maybe it's the books. while i think about who i'm going to welcome into my musical life, let's wish for a postal service 4: rufus wainwright and regine chassagne

Friday, October 19, 2007


i'm up on the loft right now, reading and listening to one of the songs of the week. the important thing is, i am hearing it through speakers, through the stereo speakers that are so rarely able to play in stereo. it's amazing. i'm lying here wondering why the heck i didn't go see this guy live last week, but a little research and some recollection of what i was up to reminds me that i missed the concert for a very important reason. i missed it because i procrastinated an extremely important responsibility. in the moment, i made the right decision, but the lack of initiative over a six month period prevented me from going to see what should have been an outstanding performance. the album's good though, and i'm still listening to one of the best tracks.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

seasonal adjustments

i've finally gotten back in the habit of wearing long-sleeved shirts to the office. wait, that's no longer correct. the long-sleeved-shirt every day phase lasted maybe two weeks? now we've gotten to one of those weird phases where the temperature inside the office requires careful preparation. today i started wearing a zip hoodie over a polo to the office every day. the thing is, there'll be some day two months from now where i'll be taking off sweaters and jackets until i really want to just pull on a short-sleeved shirt. well, just so happens that i wore that polo to work today but didn't want to wear it straight over to institute.

two pears up on a branch. one horseshoe.

i will be a little cruel

sorry people, it's late and i'm in a critical mood.

the power and the glory
-graham greene
my least favorite part of this book was the opening scene. i suppose that's good. i loved reading this because it wasn't trashy. so much modern literature drags us through the muck because it's supposed to be good for us. here instead is the story of a nearly fallen priest on the run from socialists in mexico.

the twenty-seventh city
-jonathan frantzen
an indian woman takes over st. louis in 1986. why st. louis? she and frantzen may have chosen the city for the same reason...anyway, the communist undertones are lost on me; i was never afraid of the communists growing up. i'm going to assume that frantzen is older than me, otherwise he might have had to try harder to figure out how to make the tension of the communist angle work...i'm totally giving him the benefit of the doubt that it does so for an older audience. by the end of the book, i hated both her and the man she's trying to undermine in her power grab. i enoyed reading this book. there were parts i found myself skipping or wishing i'd been able to skip because they were corrupting my innocent mind, but maybe the problem is that i'm reading too many male authors. i think that even nice guys are tempted to think the rest of the male population is more superficial than they are, so that they need to make sure to objectify women. so many brands in this book are made up, though clearly based on reality, that i have to wonder if the brands that survive in the narrative are actually financing frantzen's new house or something. i think i've heard that paid product placement happens in litereature. that's ok, every other type of media does it.

stranger's gate
-tom casey
i found something in the prose of the first 20 pages of this book to be so awful that i laughed out loud. i have a hard time giving casey credit for writing a story about a macho pilot. when you are a macho pilot, it doesn't take much to do that. his protagonist's understanding of romance seems to be of junior high-level maturity, and i can't say that there's any proof the author is any different. the saddest part is, there's a fair amount of relationship stuff in here; our red-meat protagonist actually spends a lot of time reflecting on relationship issues. what we seem to get is a character who thinks he understands a lot about women and the challenges of making things work emotionally and romantically, and that character is written by an author who doesn't understand these things. so tom, you capture some good piloting drama at times, but your author friends think a lot more highly of you than i do, so i assume this won't hurt much. seriously though, this book seems pretty awful. anyone up for the challenge of proving me wrong?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


i was extremely happy on monday, and i can't really say why. maybe it was because i finished the onerous task that occupied me virtually all of friday night and saturday. i was just about to leave family home evening early, when i paused to talk to a friend who observed that i seemed to be in a really good mood. i was in an excellent mood, the sort of mood that should have a clear explanation. or should it?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

songs of the week, wk 3

-'lunar sea'

-'fox in the snow'

no way around it, change has to come eventually and change came this past week. here's another bit of wishful thinking; a never-to-happen postal service 3: rhett miller and jennifer o'connor.

Friday, October 12, 2007

things i didn't do 18 months ago

-sing out loud, spontaneously, at work

-answer questions with vague generalisms like 'stuff'

-eat vegetarian

-frequently consume commercially produced smoothies

-say 'it's cool' all the time

-put cream cheese on bagels

-go to the library (i didn't even have a valid card)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

praise for: store-bought cookies

cookies from the store exist in their own reality. in the world they have constructed, a cookie tastes the same, pretty much always. it can sit around for a relatively long time, and it still tastes exactly like the one you first took out of the package tasted. see, store bought cookies are never truly fresh, so it's impossible for us to notice the difference brought on by a week or two. they're engineered for maximum shelf life, and consistent taste during that life. the genius of store-bought cookies, however, is that they have set up their position in our lives so effectively that they're really only competing against other varieties and brands of commecial cookies. they can't hold a candle to a decent home-made cookie, but who makes those anymore? i grew up on cookies baked by my mother, who may or may not be willing to admit she'd be scandalized to learn the sorts of cookies i eat today. when i don't make myself dinner, why would i bake cookies?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


this morning, i found serious damage to the makeshift wall one co-worker has constructed out of empty boxes of fruit snacks. since i had an overstuffed box of the same fruit snacks, i emptied it out and let him use it to rebuild his diminutive barrier. now, i have a drawer full of fruit snacks. of course, i had a drawer full of fruit snacks before. the question is, are they going to stay on my mind simply because they're no longer in a box, or will i forget about them? does the lack of a proper container fix them more firmly in my mind?

not eating fruit snacks today.

Monday, October 08, 2007

is there a moment

when a person stops developing ideas that change his/her view of the world? i'm not sure i want to find it. having chosen a college major focused in 'non-western' culture, i've had the privilege of learning a lot less than enough about a couple of different places. there's the one where i grew up, and whose literary treasures i largely ignored in an effort to gain some comprehension of the depths i can't fathom in another cultural sea.

i was thinking about the word 'unfathomable' last night or maybe the night before. i have always used it as a proxy for 'deep,' but if we truly cannot fathom something, we have no idea how shallow it might be a pool of water glinting in the sun that gives no indication of its depth, though we may rationally assume it to be no deeper than a few inches. once we've moved the word 'unfathomable' to the figurative, its meaning is not tied to the act of dropping a line to gauge depth. something unfathomable is something we have no means of measuring, despite all the tools we think should tell us the truth.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

songs of the week, wk 2

'john saw that number'

'a call to arms'

'the new face of zero and one'

'the bleeding heart show'

'twin cinemas'

i pretty much listen to the same stuff over and over again. i just added a bunch to the library, so perhaps next week's list will show more variety. no promises. i think neko case could be in a few more bands. maybe she could be in the postal service 2. neko case and...i dunno...jean-benoit dunckel. it could work.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

sleep is outdated

it doesn't seem to matter how much junk you eat after skipping meals, they just make you pay for missing them. it's like there's a meal union that goes on strike if you miss meals. all the nutrients in food you eat afterward refuse to cross the picket line.

professional tip for the week

when in meetings, make sure you behave properly when your computer is hooked up to a projector for all to see. no one wants to watch you read your email while you're not in a part of the main conversation.

note: i personally did not commit this offense.

Monday, October 01, 2007

gone a bit stale

the sea, the sea
-iris murdoch

a few pages into this book, i was loving it. a few more have passed, and i'm growing tired of the narrator. this extroardinarily first-person tale has, thus far, been a charmingly idiosyncratic description of the protagonist's new home and surroundings. the joke is getting a bit old, and i'm ready for some characters other than the sea and the man who lives by it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

songs of the week

5. 'windowsill'

4. 'elephant gun'

3. 'that teenage feeling'

2. 'miss teen wordpower'

1. 'july jones'

. 'from blown speakers'

....and it's very nice when two of your favorite songs are consecutive on the same album. whoever said they didn't like 'the electric version' just doesn't agree with me i guess.

album of the week is 'wincing the night away,' for nostalgic reasons. i need to buy it, for the same reasons.

Friday, September 28, 2007

a measure of redemption

so 'question' is pretty much the most annoying old 97s song i can think of right now. it's the kind of song you like at first and then it gets on your nerves...but i really have come to dislike hearing it live, and a lot of people seem to think it's a highlight of the show. weird. anyway, i saw it used in a rerun this evening and it worked. good for rhett &co.

weekend plans

i don't know what you're planning on this weekend, but here's what i've got on tap:

i am going to turn into ben stiller, go surfing, and plot my next move over a nice bowl of vegan chicken noodle soup. i also might go shoe shopping. if there's time, i will investigate why it is that i drop the lid of the milk so frequently. i bought milk last night, and already dropped the lid on the ground today. i thought 'why don't i replace this with the lid of the last milk,' and then quickly realized that i had dropped that one on the kitchen floor not too long ago.

what gives?

another lyrical fragment

despite the fact that i started writing a song about a trophy girlfriend and her man last night, here's something else:

sometimes i feel i could leap tall buildings

right now i feel i could leap a wall

not the kinda that was built in china

but maybe something like four feet tall

Thursday, September 27, 2007

maybe i'm on to something

the best thing about consumer products is that they you can replace them. buying new stuff is more fun than having stuff. so maybe, we should just buy stuff and give it away. like rocking horses in the shape of pigs. oh yeah.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

things that i might not be able to list:

-five things i decided not to purchase that i now wish i had bought

-four people who live within 10 miles of me whose birthdays i remember

-my five favorite movies

-the last three flavors of ice cream i have eaten

-the last three times i have cooked dinner for myself

Monday, September 24, 2007

the library card disappears

along with my keys. it's funny the things that you can keep on your key ring these days. i have a historic fear of losing my keys, so i'm not sure what convinced me that putting them in my back pocket was a good idea. at least i have another set...locked in the drawer of my desk at work. i just took out a bunch of books, so i'll have plenty to read.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

you're just a twit

-michael frayn

this book fooled me at least twice into thinking it was something it wasn't. what it is, besides a foolish romp through the english countryside and dutch art history, is a bit boring. martin clay believes he has happened upon a lost treasure of european art, and he struggles to prove this to himself as he dives into the history of the painting he thinks he has discovered. along the way, he must outwit the country gentleman who owns the painting as he seeks to acquire it for a fraction of its true value.

while reading this book, i was also meditating on the question i asked previously about authorial skill and narrative voice. when writing from the first person, how does an author transcend the limits of this chosen narrator? introspection is one tool that provides some ability to comment on the scenes that unfold through one person's eyes, but not all characters would be as self-aware as the distractable professor who stumbles his way through this particular plot. for less literate heroes, the author must find ways to use words cleverly and yet avoid puncturing the image of this fictional world as it's related to us by the narrator. this means details and descriptions must be concise yet revealing, character flaws must fit the archetype the protagonist embodies, and every word has to come across as limited by the chosen narrator rather than the author's skill. headlong, of course, avoids this dilemma, but it does seem to spend too little time revealing the nature of secondary characters. the greatest weakness of this book, though, is the tedious length of martin's research sessions. perhaps we never find out much about anyone besides himself because the book is about a man who becomes increasingly self-absorbed as he pursues his dream at a pace that leaves everything else in his life behind. i felt like the other characters were interesting, however, and i wish i'd gotten to spend more time with them. the fact that i feel closer to them than martin ever does perhaps proves frayn's skill in relating more than martin ever tells us, or simply proves that being human is to reach out to those around us, even when they're fictional.

Friday, September 21, 2007

first impressions, or: i want to get in a boat, just not this one

last time i visited the library, i told myself not to feel obligated to read everything i was checking out; there just wasn't enough time to properly evaluate each title before heading out. here's how things looked 15 or 30 pages in.

all for love
-dan jacobson

all for love reads like a brilliant syntesis of a story your history teacher told in class and the salty side notes your pervert know-it-all buddy added under his breath. the subtle narrative glee that comes each time a hint of something is fleshed out into tabloidable anecdote is enough to prevent me from continuing.

the twenty-seventh city
-jonathan franzen

i was reading this while a very bizzarre man harangued a crowd that i wished i wasn't a part of. not that i had anything against the crowd, just the bizzarre man. somehow the book seemed to be messing with my head as surely as he was trying to do, and the funny part was i still figured i'd read the whole thing. this fictionalized tale of st. louis in 1984 starts out oddly enough, immediately shoving its world into a surreal parallel world that the author seems happy to insist is nothing unusual.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


i just had to try something the other day. i was looking through the carbonated beverages at the grocery, and i saw this seltzer, which is certainly the most humble and affordable of its type. having grown fond of one particular brand of sparkling water, frequently and graciously provided by my former roommate, i decided it was time to make sure there's really a difference between that and something you can get for next to nothing. there is. i came home this evening, poured a little in a large glass, and was shocked at the first gulp. i suppose one shouldn't gulp anything if enjoyment is the goal, but the seltzer was clearly not the same as that more expensive stuff.

Monday, September 17, 2007

holding back

i saw the old 97s and it was amazing. before i made it to the concert, hearing them from across the tragic waste of the world trade center site, i was already drawn in. there's definitely something about a desperate dash through an urban maze to find the stage before you miss too much. then the amazing effect of turning that final corner and going from the 'silence' of the urban landscape to the amplified roar. a little tragedy in the relative indifference of the crowd, made the more noticeable in comparison to a confident, exhilarating performance from rhett & co. they closed with timebomb. i thought 'this is the best i've heard them play this song.'

Saturday, September 15, 2007

because there's nothing better to do

my roommate and i sat around and read last night. i was happy that we were doing this, rather than something completely worthless. then i lost my willpower and turned on the tv. i watched a relatively inane movie and stayed up too late. i did, however, get a huge start on a fascinating and disturbing short story collection.

dear mr. president
-gabe hudson

i can't really say why i picked this off the shelf, especially because the design of the spine is pretty ugly. it's got a decent cover, some interesting quotes on the back from people who seem like they deserve some respect, and even a quote on the front. that can be a bit of a cause for pause, but i decided after reading two sentences of the first story that i would like this collection, and i did. it's disturbing, amusing, and has some great characters, most of whom are changed for the worse by war. it was little surprise to read that hudson himself had fought, but he also has an mfa and won some fancy award while getting it. further proof that good writing is about making your world come to life for others. hudson's specific use of familiar brands at critical points in some of the stories adds realism as it reminds that the protagonist's tortured life could exist within the reader's own world. at times, the backstories of the warriors in these tales seem odd, and their romantic interests seem cliched. there's no denying that hudson's a good writer though. i haven't figured out what an author is supposed to do to transcend the flaws of a narrating character. if there is something, hudson doesn't fully have a grip on it yet, but he's as likely as most to figure it out.

Friday, September 14, 2007

the obligatory reading update

tender is the night
-f. scott fitzgerald

fitzgerald may have taught me a few things about perspective. as the tale begins, i hate dick diver passionately. i can't get over his unfaithful heart. by shifting the narrative to diver's point of view, however, fitzgerald gets me into a more sympathetic mood and i struggle to maintain my dislike for dr. diver. his slow descent inspires empathy but allows me to despise him again. by the end, i am glad nicole turns against him, amused at the plot's unexpected intersection with a legendary sporting event, and genuinely happy that the divers didn't mend back into one like the buchanans.

six minutes to freedom
-kurt muse

i read books about the military because i think i might actually join. it's a long shot, but a long shot that i take seriously. i can't turn down a good war story, and the removal of noriega was a war i knew little about. i just remember something about the americans surrounding him and playing loud rock music to annoy him. muse is an american citizen jailed for his role in an underground radio station broadcasting denunciations of the panamanian ruler. his story is interesting, has some issues with narrative voice, and has a happy ending. the story is worth it, but there are moments when i find myself thinking 'the character who seems to be telling the story right now wouldn't talk like this.'

-joe miller

the kansas city schools stink, but there's a storied debate program at one of the worst, and miller is telling that story. i didn't know anything about high school debate before, and here i found a reasonable introduction to this world as well as the world of central high school in the aforementioned city. the unfortunate thing about this book is i began to think of myself as somewhat similar to these kids - i'm feeling a bit lost and it's probably because i'm not particularly happy with the obvious path ahead of me. i feel like my attitude is a bit self-indulgent. the book, however, gets personal for miller as he grows intensely loyal to the central debaters and finds his eyes open and opinions shifting through the course of his time with them. the last page of the book is probably my favorite ending of a work of nonfiction.

class 11
-t.j. waters

government-approved tale of a post-9/11 spy's training experience. a bit macho, but in a lovable way. interesting subject matter that is related carefully; there's a good mixture of background and plot. waters gets a bit personal and self-righteous at times, like miller, but the good thing about this is that he cares. it's a pretty gung-ho book, but people who spy for our government should be enthusiastic about it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

sleeping in

earlier this week, i announced that i wouldn't be in until after 11 on thursday. it turned out to be 12. all i did was sleep in an hour, go to breakfast, and enjoy a leisurely meal and some conversation. i felt great. by about 1, i realized that i really would have gotten more out of the day if i'd gone to bed at a reasonable hour. for some reason, i found it necessary to take in a football match between wales and slovakia. i wasn't paying much attention, because of course there is no reason to watch tv until after 1am unless you're actually wasting the entire time online.

needless to say, european football is a great perk of pay television. i pretty much ignore the american professional league.

Friday, September 07, 2007


i excitedly determined to read 'tender is the night' a week or so ago. i'd read an excerpt in a fitzgerald collection, but i'm still recovering from a teenage conviction that gatsby was the only of his novels worth reading. i'd read that somewhere, i guess. as i set in, the novel was fresh, though some memory of having turned those initial pages remained. then, somewhere in the process, i almost completely lost desire to read it. my fear is that i've read so much nonfiction lately that i can't take a good tale any more. the problem with nonfiction is, a lot of the stuff i've read isn't all that amazing, and perhaps that's given me an overly skeptical attitude. i'd say there are some vexing tendencies in fitzgerald's writing at times, and 'tender is the night' seems full of them. fortunately, as i have continued, the story draws me in every time i get past the more tedious parts.

unrelatedly, i am discovering today that, as i expected, i really shouldn't listen to the old 97s all that much unless i'm seeing them live. i think i've gotten so used to hearing the music live that recordings just aren't enough. maybe it's just the wrong music to listen to at work, especially when people are interrupting you every 5 minutes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

there was

a fire in the dark, and the fire in the dark said 'you'

he liked to kick his way to lessons and the teachers liked his

all of us were losing, it was clear from the way we spoke

some were under fire, others liked to, water buries hope

Monday, August 27, 2007

tech update

- is it possible to make video phone calls from your mobile?

- in every country but the united states. australia's had the technology since the year 2000.

Friday, August 24, 2007

summer's last hurrah

i have a hard time imagining a lot of things. i've imagined myself having a really lousy time at a tubing event scheduled for tomorrow, so i won't be going. i imagined myself absolutely loving camera obscura live, so i had to drag myself away from the post-work tv meltdown to see the show. i saw about six fantastic songs, and ran into a half dozen folks i know, took some photos, and generally loved the experience. i felt so good i actually tried to find some of the people i knew after they wandered past without seeing me.

on the way home, i had a nice chat with some strangers, and later finished one of the books i had been about to complete. i stopped to take pictures of the temple and was mildly surprised to obeserve another fellow who seemed to be doing the same thing. i failed to finishe the other book, but made a good enough dent to believe those final pages are going to fall soon. i should mention that the non-fiction book i did finish had a fantastic ending. i found it both satisfying and inspirational.

tv habits

- in choosing tv programs to watch, is elapsed time since the show was released a valid concern?

- yes, there's no reason you should be watching something that's, say, 15 years old.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


-is it possible to eat pudding with chopsticks?

-yes, absolutely. good pudding can be eating with chopsticks.

Friday, August 17, 2007

i refuse to leave a mark

i'm not even sure it's worth talking about anymore.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

questions for the clever

friends, how often do you hide the fact that you know something? it can be polite at times to listen to someone's story and not reveal that you already know the secret they're about to reveal. however, it's probably a bit worse when you pretend ignorance just because you're trying to seem a little more normal. i was talking with a coworker about a humorous promotional stunt done by the founder of a european company. i know his name, and almost didn't say it, because i didn't want to sound like a nerd. however, i still acted like i didn't know how to pronounce his name or like i was just guessing what his name really was. thinking back, it is kinda sad. i think there are moments when it's important to back down and not be insufferably smart, but i wonder if a lot of people do this too often.

obligatory disclaimer

for the unknown readers who are happy followers of reading list, please be advised that i have finished three or four books recently. it's been too long since a critique has been posted, but look for that shortly.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


somehow, things have been rather good this week. i'm not sure how to explain it. could be simply that the list of things that were significantly negative has dropped. maybe it's the result of giddiness brought on by too many nights of little sleep. i think rather that mysterious optimism has seeped out of any number of unknowns; an exciting confusion may be buoying me.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


we heard an impassioned message from our bishop today; he told us that repentance is sacred and that all of us will have times when we struggle and use it as we come back to Christ. he also implored us to write down our most spiritual experiences so that we have something to look back to as a source of hope. there will be times when it is harder to receive the guidance and assurance we need, and we should prepare ourselves by leaving testimony now of the way the Lord has spoken to us.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


in the past 3 or 4 months, 3 of the hats i wear most often have gone the way of all the world. it's a shame, especially because they were all the most useful kind of hat - the one you can take anywhere, destroy, and generally abuse. i have definitely reached the point where it's time to buy a replacement. the hat i lost last night was a major loss. i'm not sure i'll ever see a black hat turn brown in such spectacular sunbleached squalor.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

you could still smell the ink

i got home late, on a sweltering day when public transportation massively failed and i spent four and a half hours traveling to work, mostly on foot. there in the hallway, a large window air conditioning unit sat, with a hand lettered sign imploring someone to give this fully operable unit a good home. i took it...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


i can see myself getting closer to some sort of life that makes sense. it's interesting when you go to job interviews and people seem to be saying 'you're better than this, do something more interesting.' i wonder how hard it would be to, say, only apply to jobs at universities and wait until something works out. i wonder what it means to admit you're on a somewhat odd path given what you really want to do, and what it takes to correct that track. is it easier to do it today, or can you try to excel at the 'wrong' thing and let that lead you to the right one?

Monday, August 06, 2007

ask an australian - making sense of my world

today's question:

is it appropriate to put pita bread in the toaster?

absolutely not! get this straight: toasters are made for round bread, not square. you might set the house on fire.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


since the family's favorite baseball team is in town, we went to the game last night and tonight. it has become clear to me that i'm much more interested in attending concerts than baseball games, but it's fun to be together with everybody. we do attract a fair amount of attention from various fans of the local team whenever we're on the road to see games. usually i have no identifying team gear, but my mom brought a hat out for me to wear and i figured i should wear it. my sister was making fun of people who were wearing stuff from teams that weren't playing, which is what i had originally wanted to do.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


it's taken a year and a half plus and 6 rhett miller or old 97s shows, but i finally got to hear 'victoria' again. i'd say they really hit just about everything; maybe it's just because i had my heart set on the one song for so long, but i left extremely satisfied with the setlist...i suppose that means i should do a celebratory dance.

Monday, July 30, 2007

moment of silence

today was a day of sadness, something i hadn't expected. disappointment, anger, that sort of thing was more expected. profound and deep anguish over the end of an era was not something i thought was going to grip me as i moved desks today. leaving behind my friends, i will be sitting with two managers and a whole pile of empty cubes. this isn't the worst thing ever, just a moment when it seems a lot less worthwhile to go to work each day.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

hello goodbyes

i convinced myself, somewhere saturday afternoon, that i am leaving. that meant a consideration of what i need to do - look into housing options, take a look at what things i can divest myself of, clean things up, and generally get ready. one thing is sure; the decision that something like this is finally happening brings doubts more quickly than anything else. a little more than a day later, i feel like i'm trying to put things in order in my head, and that's the way to take it at this point. this past week was amazing, most especially because i took a trip. i'm out most of this coming week too. i'm already excited.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

the spoils of childhood

my nephew got christmas gifts before he was born. i got him some stuffed dinosaurs that are now in his crib (if i remember correctly). it seems that his luck continues; i went to buy a belt for myself, second-hand. i figure it's a good idea to buy as many things as possible used. shirts are easy; pants are nearly impossible, same for shoes. if you wanted to be particularly insistent, you could do it, but i am not that committed. though i found belts, none fit. i found this fantastic rocking horse that is a pig, however, attractively priced at less than the cost of a large stuffed animal. it's maybe 3 ft long and 2 ft high, gray with red trim. soft on the outside, sturdily constructed on the inside. not something a less-than-one-year-old baby can enjoy. by the time this child reaches the age where he can play with toys like this, my sister will probably have no place to put all the toys people have given him. i would like to believe my childhood wasn't like that. maybe his shouldn't be either.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

some thoughts

dear oil companies:

you may use as much petroleum as you wish to make rubber soles for shoes. i do not like the leather kind much. i really like shoes.

dear space explorers:

at least two things about your profession are a disappointment to the kid in all of us. firstly, there doesn't seem to be a fantastically speedy way to get to the nearest star. secondly, it's a shame that sending little bundles of electronics way out into space is more useful than sending people out into space. perhaps this is related to the first item.

dear france:

a lot of good cheeses come from your country. as i have been eating vegetarian these past few months, i do appreciate a good cheese. i happen to be craving italian cheeses at the moment. still, i figured i'd drop you a line.

Monday, July 16, 2007

i already knew

this weekend is looking majorly confusing, with some seriously excellent concert options. i think i really need to see aimee mann, and old 97s is an option, but there are so many other things (neko case) that are potential the only one of these shows i know anyone will be attending is neko case, so there's whatever else people are up to. choice has to be good.

in other news, i need a new belt. the stitching is falling apart on mine. i just don't want a new belt. solution: thrift shopping.

Friday, July 13, 2007

sometimes the crash isn't all that bad

having stayed up until 2am last night, i struggled out of bed about 10 minutes before 7:00am. i knew something was bound to wreck; it turned out that the bag i couldn't find was not actually at the office, and my carry-on thus was a paper bag. i put a plastic one around it for extra durability and headed to the airport. somehow it took 50% longer than it should have. by the time i reached the counter, i couldn't check my bags that close to departure and it was time to just cut my losses and retreat. have to say, i felt like i was the usual flake - how many key memories involve stories i heard about a trip i didn't attend - but in this case, it was a little bit out of my control. have to say, it was something of a relief to just head back to work. i was tired, i had a package of cookies and some citrus to last me a day and a half, and i really didn't know if i could make my return flights work.

happy birthda, mj. sorry i'm not out there.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

you just can't sleep

i should have gone to bed much earlier. there was the tv show my roommate finished watching. there was a just-purchased cantaloupe that was rather bruised on the trip home. there was another show to watch. there were t-shirts to purchase. there was music to investigate. it's all too hard sometimes. i have to pack still, and hopefully get in to work early.

tales of two dogs

i went to a picnic recently. the last one, they ran out of veggie burgers, so i had to head down early. in my haste, apparently i neglected to invite a couple of my closer friends. i made the situation worse by calling from the hall phone and hanging up before i finished talking in order to dash into the elevator, which had just opened. the veggie burger was ok, but the double hot dog i picked up to take back upstairs for the friend who never came down looked awfully good. i realize meat tastes good and all, but i really don't see the point in eating it again until i feel like it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

almost everything

i bought a white dress shirt today. i didn't buy a solid-colored tie. several times i did strange things. i got excited and acted angry when teased, even though i wasn't. i took the wrong book on a subway ride. i watched a movie with friends and missed the ending. i botchhed a joke about how i don't like happy endings.

Friday, July 06, 2007

not the way forward again

i happen to work at a company that encourages a fun work environment. in something of that spirit, three of us went to cvs yesterday and spent a large sum on candy, chips, etc. upon returning, the two who sit across from each other began building an ostentatious wall between their cubes out of fruit snacks, milky ways, and other treats. a third co-worker began throwing a fit over this display, insisting that it reflected poorly on the department. i managed to erect my own wall and took it down, then soaked ropes of licorice in warm water and used them to write messages on my cabinet. neither the fit-thrower nor any authority figures had a problem with this.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


i really feel like having a muffin for breakfast. a bran muffin, i think. does that mean i will eat a bran muffin today? probably not. is that important? probably not. however, there will probably be at least five other things i do that i really only do because i feel like it, and that aren't that important. for example, i might find myself, a few minutes before retiring for the evening, in desperate want of a bowl of cereal. in all probability, i will consume a bowl of cereal. that doesn't mean it's right.

Monday, July 02, 2007


one of my friends who has known me for maybe a year was surprised to find out that i'm interested in the outdoors. maybe this is why i don't get invited on camping trips by the people up here. i wouldn't have thought my interest in wandering outdoors was unknown to people who actually were fairly acquainted with me.

i probably surprised a few coworkers with my behavior last friday. we had a field day, with people divided into 7 teams. it was a decathlon. the events were mostly pretty weird, but there were some that weren't completely crazy. the water balloon toss, however, turned really odd when they found that the balloons weren't breaking. they then allowed us to stomp on others' balloons if they dropped them. i got a few scrapes by tackling someone in a vain attempt to protect the balloon i'd just dropped. at least one of my friends was surprised to hear the stories; i like the fact that people didn't realize i could be so competitive. i often feel embarrassed when that side of me comes out.

no, actually

me - "so basically, i'm giving you an incredibly long answer that means no"

d - (laughing hysterically) "are you running for political office or something?"

Saturday, June 30, 2007

don't lie on saturday

i went to favorite flat triangular italian food place and had the worst thing i've ever eaten there. very healthy, not very good. now i find myself dying to go back. the menu holds so many vegetarian delights, and several i have yet to try.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

so so so oppressively hot

in a bid to protest the heat, i decided to put on extra layers until the situation improves. shockingly, i feel a lot better with a hooded sweatshirt and a beanie on than i did before.

spoken by me

'that's an anecdotal argument without an actual anecdote'

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

new initiative

i like to provide food for the peeps at work from time to time, and generally the ones who sit near me get the bulk of the shared items. those who eat most frequently will also share on their own when they feel inclined. on occasions when i do email the entire department about food, some people come and eat large amounts of food but never provide anything of their own to share with the group.

partially out of curiousity and partially to encourage greater participation in food sharing, i have decided upon a new plan. today i will be sharing bean dip, but asking others to bring their own chips. my prediction is that no one will eat any. it remains to be seen how this will play out.

Monday, June 25, 2007

mum's the word

maybe it's time to stop gossiping about myself. i have often thought that telling everyone who i'm interested in, etc, was useful. once i pass the threshold where only trusted friends know, it's like pressure to actually do something about my crush of the moment. i don't know, though; the element of tact is useful too.

tonight is officially excellent because i was just able to perfectly drop my 50% organic lip balm onto the bag i'm taking to work tomorrow so that it stayed perched on top. don't have to get out of bed to fix anything, which is a big consideration when there's a ladder to navigate in order to reach the floor.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


so my tucked-in shirt and i accompanied a friend to this tasty bakery late tonight, where i ordered a total of two deserts, because there's really no reason not to when you are incredibly hungry. those desserts, served with a devastatingly excellent glass of iced tapwater, were amazing. which leads to the question: if i go back, will it be as good, ever? tonight was just a whirlwind of surprises anyway, and i was so hungry and it was the crazy spontaneous thing to do and everything was in the right place; good weather, smell of rain still in the air, eating outside. it was the second time i'd been to this bakery, and i intend to go back. i just don't think it will be as amazing next time.

Monday, June 18, 2007

sometimes you go to bed

and things are good. sometimes you just tell yourself, 'i'm doing all right for a lost soul.' sometimes you remember that, religiously speaking, you're not lost at all.

Friday, June 15, 2007

can't believe it, not again

the book i just started is horrid. i haven't made it through the first chapeter, and i am holding out hope that the tone shifts, because it's just an endless string of accusations. i think you could take this story and write a fascinating narrative but so far it's an effort simply to report all of the facts and evidence as the author sees it. if you're writing for a cause, eloquence beats arguments.

there've been some ok reads lately though:

boys of '67
-charles v. jones

history of the marine corps since vietnam, focusing on a few marines who began in vietnam and rose to high positions in the corps. heavy on stories, which is good, and the style didn't get in the way at all. interesting perspective on the v-22 osprey, which i had always thought was an airplane that only politicians wanted built. i actually wish there was more on this, but it's not the subject of the book, just something that comes up. i think i read stuff like this because part of me thinks serving in the military is a good idea. something like a 'peace corps' that is actually a permanent thing is more what i need.

-sam walker

this book deserves no superlatives, but it is an enjoyable read. walker joined an expert fantasy league with the intent of both winning and writing a fascinating narrative of the season's course. the suspense of how the season turned out for him was great. the season in questions is '04 and i don't have everyone's stats memorized or anything, so it was fun to try to figure out which players he was talking up were actually going to do well for him.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

good riddance

we have team hats for our softball squad at work. they make a joke implying we use steroids. there's a reproduction of part of the logo of a company infamous for distributing steroids. all of this is screenprinted on a trucker hat. many of the team members thought trucker hats were all about ashton kutcher and some fad that's over. i think they must have come full circle then, in a way.

Monday, June 11, 2007

the experiment

i didn't keep a full log, but i think it's pretty much impossible to go an entire hour without thinking about anyone you have a crush on. maybe i managed it on the way home because i made it halfway and perhaps at the office i was so tired that last bit that there was an hour-long stretch when you add in that portion of the commute. i think i probably don't go an hour without thinking about fantasy baseball either, so maybe there's nothing to this.

i wonder if i went an hour without thinking about my hair...again, probably not.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

not rabbits

i had to list my interests/hobbies earlier this weekend. i put down, among other things, 'shopping.' why the heck not? it's kinda more fun when you get a compliment on something that you have a story behind it. i have a hard time remembering where the ties come from, but with shirts i can usually give a city of purchase. yes, thrift shopping is a fantastic vacation activity, especially if there are no good ones where you live. not true for me per se, but i like t-shirts with some local flavor. last weekend i managed to pick up a sweet one from a fave radio station. originally, i thought thrift shopping's great virtue was that you're using something over again and thus not requiring new labor, possibly from oppressed workers, to be used. now, i have realized it makes environmental sense as well. shoes and, for me at least, pants are not particularly easy second-hand purchases, but shirts and some shorts can be. ties of course work. when you're done with it all, you can just donate it again and maybe someone else can use it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

someone save me from the older guys

what defines a good week? is it one where you meet your conditions for buying a skateboard now, not after that thing happens? maybe a good week is one where, in the process of turning down a job offer, you hear from two companies that want to interview you. it's even more likely to be one where a third company calls you four days later about a job in a state you'd love. i think a good week is probably one where you realize it's time to be so grateful for the bar of soap and mirror that allowed you to wash most of the poison oak off your arms last weekend. when the poison oak only shows up on the inside of your arm, you know you have to be grateful that you washed up, because it must have been all over.

it's a good thing a good week isn't defined by getting to go to the new movie its first weekend out. a good week doesn't have to be defined by meeting the girl of your dreams, because such things don't necessarily ever happen. i think a good week probably gives you the chance to spend time with friends you haven't seen in a while, and to stay up too late several nights running with no real consequences.

i'm grateful for a good week

Thursday, June 07, 2007

doesn't matter

i made a huge gaffe this past weekend on my way to see rhett - i mixed up the 1st and the 2nd. as a result, i missed the concert, missed the chance to hang out with my sister in the bay area, and basicall had a fantastic weekend. really. beach and hiking and burning of fossil fuel. the missed concert was lamentable, but everything else was great. i'll make it up to myself one way or another.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


i've become a bit of a frustration to certain of my friends after turning down a couple of job offers these past few months. see, i recognize that it makes little sense. i also recognize that i need to be careful to accept something before too much time drags on. however, the big difference between this time and last time is that i have more options coming up. the excitement of potential new frontiers is always a great lift to my spirits. hope is a great thing. dreams are pretty nice too.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

smiles aren't for everyone

i've had trouble with my reading list lately, primarily because i have been misplacing or losing books at a rapid clip. i re-read the first harry potter novel while visiting relatives, and that was of course a great experience. it was also 6 weeks ago. since then, i've been reading this and that, re-reading some things, etc. i checked several promising new non-fiction works out of the library today, and began reading one. it's quite thick. part of the reason i got on this non-fiction thing is i have a friend who refuses to read all fiction. while admirable and inspiring, her stance isn't one i can duplicate. i love novels and short stories. however, it has lent nonfiction reading a rebellious cool it never had before.

Monday, May 28, 2007

egg update

i still have over 70 of those things. i haven't eaten a single one, don't plan too, and no one seems particularly fond of them. maybe the new guy will eat some. he starts tuesday the 29th, and somehow avoided starting on a holiday.

enough of the mess

i watched reruns online in reverse order again. it was a bit worse than last time, only because the show was at the same time more watchable, more successful, and probably much worse. well, i thought, there can't really be that many shows that are actually worth watching.

i am so sorry

i moved desks today at work. there were hard feelings about this move. not on my part; i'm closer to my friends again and i have a pretty sweet new locale. mind you, i moved 10 feet and i wasn't divided from those guys by any actual barriers...but i am much closer to whisper range again, which i love.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


it's hard to say where habits and preferences come from, but i can tell you there are times there is no good reason that i start some new initiative. for over a year, i have only worn solid colored ties to church. oddly enough, the trend seems to be that you see a lot more solid ties than before, but i will absolutely do anything i can to find a solid tie before i'll go out the door to church. it's not important, except for the fact that it's what i do. i assume most people haven't noticed, so here i go spoiling the relative obscurity of this practice of mine.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

save it for later

better than just watching tv on the internet, which is refreshingly odd. watching tv on the internet in reverse sequence. i'm not sure i'd have the guts to do it to my favorite show, but something kinda's just the ticket. kinda refreshing when you can figure out the plot in advance and not feel bad about it.

the problem with the world today

sure, i listened to the new voxtrot album. at work. i paused it several times due to distractions of one type or another. it was good, there were some tracks that deserve more attention. i think the lyrics are overly wordy in places; there's a sense of reaching for something that isn't quite achieved. i found myself wondering how much i'd care about this album if i hadn't already been drawn in to the voxtrot fanbase.

the album itself was overshadowed by whiting tennis' three leaf clover, an odd gem with folk and americana inflected throughout. i particularly enjoyed the tottering synthetic parts on certain tracks, which add a charming playfulness. overall strong lyrically, the album should offer much through repeated listens. we will see.

Monday, May 21, 2007


when is it bad to get a promising phone call? when it throws all of your other calculations completely off. i think it's useful to know that if you had the option of going somewhere, you'd choose that over anything else. it's almost as good if you simply know that this new option would make all of the other decisions much more difficult. i wonder how long it will be until i have made a final choice.

biggest disappointment of the year?

voxtrot debut out tomorrow. this could be the biggest disappointment in some time. it's been a long time in the making; i can't think of many other bands that have had this much hype without ever releasing an album. i've stubbornly refused to listen to advance cuts, so as to be able to approach the whole thing at once. if there's a single track on it that matches 'the start of something,' then the wait is totally worth it. without that song, i'm not sure i would care much about voxtrot. i think i heard 'missing pieces' first, and it just doesn't have the magic. i'm not even sure i think 'biggest fan' is all that magical. is this a band that waited too long to put out an album, or are they going to continue to develop as songwriters? doesn't take the pervasive songwriting references in that latest ep to clue us in on the pressure this band has to feel.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

you're just an animal

went to the zoo yesterday, and i was a bit surprised by the fact that they seem to sell a lot of meat in the concession stands, with no real vegetarian options. doesn't that seem a bit wrong? sure, they probably have to sell meat because most people eat meat, and because an institution like a zoo needs to attract the general public's support in order to survive. i suppose if they sold furs it would be a bit worse. still, wouldn't it be nice if they gave a little more thought to selling tasty vegetarian food?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


why would you do anything? when it comes down to big decisions, what makes you go through with it? getting out of bed in the morning is the sort of motivation i can handle. it's easy enough; there always seems to be something to look forward to. i also have the goal of still being able to say i haven't been late to work a single time in the past year. plus, there's always something good about going in to the office these days; the folks there are my tightest bunch of friends here. i think i like what i do enough to make it worthwhile in that sense also. i don't enjoy every last thing that i do during the day, but in any given 2-week period there's a project or two that i find interesting enough.

pushed to the limit

i've always thought the extreme consumerism of my current locale is somewhat distasteful. it's like the land of being able to buy anything for a high price. sure, that could describe america in general, but it's the fullest expression of money culture that disgusts me. there are some things i could afford and that might help me out a bit - sending out my wash is the biggest - that i just can't fathom doing. i'm stubborn in trying to cling to a lifestyle best suited for somewhere else, but sometimes we're true to our principles in ways that are generally pretty insignificant.

one thing i appreciate is the focus that all this grandeur has given me; i realize that it isn't what i want, and for that i am grateful. it's easy to let life sneak up on you, take you places you don't want to go. sometimes extreme distasteful experiences should be thanked for showing us what we really value.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

shifting tides

does it seem like every time you go out of town fun stuff happens? there are a number of stories i can recall where i was out of town for whatever reason and something memorable happened. in a way, i was a part of it, at least because i heard about it from people. no one perhaps would see it as i do, but there was a point where i started sticking around more, because i didn't want to miss out. maybe before i move this time, that could actually happen again.

Monday, May 14, 2007

thank yus

thank yu rhett miller, for not thinking you're too good for the old 97s. your solo work plays out better live than on the records, and the believers are great to see with you live...but as you said saturday, "the old 97s have a secret weapon...and it's philip peeples." the believers don't have murry or ken either. that was one mighty good time saturday, and thank yu for doing a second encore as well. seriously, though, i suppose it's too annoying to play all the old favorites, but victoria lee? come on, in the past 14 months, i've seen you 4 times solo or with the believers plus this most recent old 97s show...and you can't play victoria lee one time?! are you sick of it, because you're allowed to be...i just wondered.

thank yu to my office crush for smiling back at me in an elevator, even if you got on your phone immediately after getting out of the elevator. i don't even know how i brought myself to smile at you in the first place. just know that i'm basically enough of a fool that i won't ever speak to you for real.

thank yu to the couple on the subway platform who sang happy birthday on the spur of the moment when they overheard my roommate saying it was my birthday.

thank yu to my vegetarian friends for respecting my effort to try eating vegan for a week.

thank yu to the fried who explained to me that someone with a phd in goverment has a realistic chance of finding gainful employment as a full-time professor.

thank yu to any company whose application does not require you to re-enter all previous employers. resumes summarize relevant job experience.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


i was watching tv tonight, something that has become more of a routine for me these past couple of weeks. as with all perfectly normal and perfectly useless behavior, television consumption pulls you in quickly even when you've been away from it for a while. i've heard that if you're diligent enough, you can get to a point where you are simply disgusted by it. i am probably not going to watch a good portion of what's out there, but i consistently take in too many feature-length films in theater or on disc to really become immune to the tv bug.

the thing that was surprising or sad was how hard it was to watch a couple shows without my computer as a handy distraction. the commercial breaks, which i mostly watched on mute, were a real drag without email and web sites to tide me over. it was almost like a test of willpower. it was easy to stick to what i planned once i'd made up my mind to leave the computer alone, but maybe harder than being vegan for 8 days. that's another issue, but i'm not really sure when to back off the vegan thing. probably next time i leave town; eating out and being 100% vegan is tough. i had a couple english muffins at a diner on day one or two, having read one package and determined that they contained no milk products. later on, i checked another brand just to see how safe i was...and they had some milk ingredients. oh well.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

back into the wind

cities of the plain
-cormac mccarthy

i have no way of properly addressing this book's significance and compositional style. everything i write reminds me of how little pertinent knowledge of american literature i have attained. i can't possibly see why people would prefer all the pretty horses, unless it is simply because they read it first.

there is a passage in this book, perhaps around page 207 or 209, that was the most incredible i have encountered in some time. perhaps it was the right mood for that day, that evening, that moment. i could re-read it, and i doubt i would feel at all the same. reading many other passages, i could only think how much i must be missing and how i would have a lot to gain from re-reading cities of the plain. overall, the novel was a relief after the heartbreaking depravity of blood meridian. i had to give up on mccarthy for a while after that one. my leap of faith in re-dedicating myself to exploration of his oeuvre was richly rewarded.

cities of the plain is a sequel to both all the pretty horses and the crossing. those familiar with mccarthy's style and anyone who champions authorial freedom will be glad to hear he wastes not a word preparing us for the union between these two worlds. as we find the protagonists from the previous two works of this trilogy united, we hear next to nothing of the time since those works concluded. mccarthy's narrator describes the action. characters are not introduced; they simply appear. you have to make inferences about who they are based on the dialogue. the narrator has no greater inclination to describe individuals withing the story than the laconic cowboy heroes of these tales. mccarthy manages to transcend these self-imposed limitations through the use of alternate narrators, ancient hermits encountered by his characters. their stories are vivid, philosophical, and grandiose. these are the passages that most often defy my attempts at full comprehension of mccarthy's message.

Monday, April 30, 2007

is reading still worth it?

guns, germs, and steel
-jared diamond

this could be one of the "most readable works on the human past," as the back cover states, but that doesn't mean i want to pick up any of the others. it's tough to say there's a lot wrong with it, but its fascinating thesis wasn't always enough to get me excited about reading it. the book's four hundred-plus pages were quite daunting even once i'd gotten a good way into it. reading guns germs and steel is relatively enjoyable, but it can be repetitive as diamond constructs detailed foundations for his ideas. he has to lay out an overarching theory explaining the course of human history, so there's a lot of ground to cover. diamond writes as one who has an answer, not as one who is wrestling with a problem. his breezy optimism and genial tone aren't always enough to bring the book to the level of the most exhilaratingly enlightening nonfiction works. still, at its worst, guns germs and steel remains a book that teaches you more than enough to make it worth the effort.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

mid april happenings

there's a somewhat impressive rainstorm going on, has been all day. one of the best things about where i live right now is that whenever there is precipitation of any kind, the sound of dripping water from outside my window is strong enough that i always have some warning of the state of the weather. sometimes there's a bit of rain but it's nearly impossible to hear or see. well, i can always hear it from where i am. i know, i could listen to the radio or something to get the weather in the morning, but i simply have never done that. my computer now has made weather information super easy to find, but the computer is not something i trot out each morning before work. before i leave the house each morning, i do little other than shower. breakfast is exclusively something i eat at work. i've gone further lately, eliminating the morning search for keys and work id by throwing them all in my bag before i go to bed. so turning on a computer and checking the weather just wouldn't fit in. so now, i go off to bed, wishing i had better smelling laundry soap.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

in lieu of news, views

if you wanna catch up you'd better run
there's no hiding from days in the sun

when the trees disappear the snow flakes
there's nothing like living when everything breaks

Friday, March 30, 2007

the key

what exactly allows you to transform your relationship with someone to a friendship? there are people at work i am good friends with. there are some i can talk to sometimes and joke around about things that both of us understand or are experiencing. there are some, however, that i pretty much am not going to be engaging in a one-on-one conversation. i'm not sure exactly why this is. i mean, there are people in the office who will talk to me if other people are involved, and who are far from antisocial, but they will not talk to me in the elevator if we are both leaving work. it's odd. i mean, i can tell they don't really want to talk and i don't try to force it.

the difference with friends is somehow they don't mind if you aren't talking about much. you feel comfortable saying exactly what you want, at least with your closest friends. er, at least i hope there are people who'll let you do that.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

the value of anything

i purchased $32 worth of candy eggs today. i don't plan to eat any of them. i would consider handing them out at my birthday party. i also think the experience of buying an entire case of candy eggs is potentially worth a lot more than the experience of eating any of them. there are 96 in total. since i had already spent $5 on diet soda i was purchasing as a pure expression of spontaneity, it seems $32 may have been a little much to spend on candy eggs. i am listening to a pop levi song right now, and i think i would much rather spend my money on candy eggs than attend a concert of his. his band is called 'woman,' which just seems extremely odd. i'm going to start a backup band called 'i don't really want to hear your music' and ask him if he'd like to employ us as well.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

signs i am growing up

although i resist it, consciously or unconsciously, maturity comes naturally as you progress through the years. or so it seems. here are some signs i am growing up.

1. i no longer eat huge amounts of food in order to entertain people. mj was present the night i decided to end this practice, although she may not remember.

2. i don't drink huge glasses of juice and milk anymore.

3. i often stop myself from revealing things. this took a while, and i'm still not really good at it.

4. i no longer read the comics section of the newspaper. once i got out of the habit, this was actually pretty easy.

despite this, i am still very pleased with myself when i get taken for a college kid, as long as it doesn't involve a severe scolding. i almost tried to pass myself as a high school kid and go trick-or-treating two years ago, but i think some number of my regular readers here convinced me it was a horrible idea.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

second time around

blood meridian
-cormac mccarthy

more disturbing than anything else of his i've read. a brilliant story of savagery, debauchery, war, and life in the truly wild west. some of the strongest characters are never properly introduced. the narrative thrust of the book seems less connected than usual to the actual message. mccarthy tends to use tales told in the course of the action to dig at the meaning of everything, and here those moments arose in my own mind even when they weren't in the text. we learn less about some of the main characters than we do about peripheral figures in 'the crossing.' still, lacking history, these men are so strong as presences in the tale that i found myself as never before wondering what else mccarthy is telling me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

reading your way to the left coast

edgewater angels
-sandro meallet

i have to say i liked this book despite the author's sometimes quirky style. that is to say, perhaps some would be bothered by his penchant for combining words intoone, but i wasn't annoyed enough to take much of anything away from this first-person tale of life in a san pedro housing project. the book is a string of short stories tied together either in plot or by narrative effort - coming off as a young man telling the tale of several years of his youth in one setting. i like that about it; everything stands on its own, and fits together. certainly, it's more organized than a long narrative might be, but who knows. it's obvious the narrator has potential as an author; he spends long days at the library when he's not welcome anywhere else. given this penchant for literary escapism, the cleanly outlined narrative comes off as inevitable.

Monday, March 12, 2007


i managed to find good homes for two of my favorite don't-really-fit sportcoats. it made me very happy that i didn't have to plain get rid of them. now, if only i had someone who could take a pair of slightly worn green and pink sneakers off my hands...

Saturday, March 10, 2007


as i try to recover from one of my more egregious errors of the past month, certain sentences i heard last night keep running through my head. i arrived home from work last night around 7:15, having been both unusually productive and surprisingly ambitious in my day's efforts. my roommate laughed as he tried to lure me out to a party across the way and i crawled deep into my sleeping bag to recover, relax, and read the novel i have so desperately torn through. within half an hour, two bowls of cereal and a couple slices of toast were gone, and i had read just enough to blunt the desire to crash.

at the actual party, i showed a best-of-late ability to have a personality. having plunged so often into the frightening depths of aimlessness and indifference, i seem to have failed more than necessary to convince people that i am worth knowing. last night, however, i had the sort of oddly film-worthy experiences that can only mean that i had a really excellent evening. i discussed jazz and other music with a record company employee who promised to send anything my way if i just asked. i cautiously ignored the girl who was relentlessly flirting with several different guys, only to have her tell me that she was in love with me. i managed to deflect this assertion with an anecdote about mj's brother and how he once said something quite similar and meant basically none of it. i was the worst by far at the evening's main video-game distraction and chuckled inside as someone insisted that i'd been brilliant. none of that really compares, however, to my brush with tragic skepticism.

sometimes, we think we know what we're dealing with, only to find later that we missed the true significance of a landmark event. so it was that i became engaged in conversation with a most impressive young lady, missing the biggest hint as it came and thinking i knew exactly what i was getting myself into. she managed to initiate the entire conversation, go out on at least one particularly feminist limb without any hint from me that i'd be ok with that, mention the joy of attending a performance by the band i'd been listening to all week, and generally come off like the most impressive girl i've met in forever. some of this entered into my brain, fairly well marked as important information, and yet i both recognized and rejected the opportunity to get her number before she left. it would have required an extremely obvious effort, but such things are worth it when you meet someone who's unusually worth knowing. so now i've got one beautiful conversation to play over in my head while i try to figure out the least-annoying way of getting contact information for someone i'm not just going to bump into anytime next month. i was thinking, as the conversation began to turn from something that seemed nice to something that seemed potentially awesome, that i probably should get her number. the problem is, i didn't have enough faith in the idea that asking a girl for her phone number at a party is actually an important thing in shaping the next few days or weeks of your life. this is the same problem that leads to me reminisce on the fact that i have never not once applied for a job in a city i have for over a year thought would be an ideal place to live. i am really good at buying awesome sneakers and eating cereal. i am not good at asking girls for their phone numbers or applying to endless endless jobs. in the past six months, i have probably applied for 4.5 jobs (i was rejected by one before i finished the online app), maybe a few more. i have gotten 3 interviews, one offer, and one very disheartening rejection. somehow, this is the effort i have been making to get out of a city i really can't stand. there's a problem somewhere with my faith in the significance of actions like applying for jobs. talking with co-workers this past week, it seems there's a lot more money out there to be made by people with my skills than i would have thought. maybe i don't care about that, but shouldn't i at least hold out until i can find another job in a city i like at a place that will let me wear jeans and sneakers?

Friday, March 09, 2007

gallery update: first installation underway

there's no real explanation for why i am creating an art gallery underneath my desk. it seems to make perfect sense to everyone who knows me. since i don't actually have any landscape photographs yet, i figured i'd be making a few drawings. turns out there are more ways than that to fill a new under-desk art gallery. the first installation is an exhibition of empty beverage containers, now eerily suspended from the desk. it's rather inspiring when you lie on the floor and gaze up at it. i've just got soda cans and foam cups from one of our epic lunch smoothie outings.

going for smoothies at lunch is tough if you actually want to keep it to an hour, because the train ride itself (not including waiting) is at least 20 minutes each way. to properly do the trip, we need some help from the trains; we can't wait too long on either end. we ride the train, in the past taking along the trusty world ball. if there aren't too many people on the train, the world ball can be used for a handy game of catch. there are many stairs and escalators between us and the real world, so an officially-cautioned-against sprint helps once the train pulls in to our destination. this leaves us out of breath, but the juice place is less than a block from the station. having stood in line, we buy our drinks, rush back to the train, and arrive back at work maybe 65 minutes after we left.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

a few distractions

do you remember the last time you listened to an album three times in the same day? i do. it was yesterday. the release of new albums may not be the event it was back in the days my parents can't get over, but i did my best to make this one count.

i am planning to create an art gallery underneath my desk at the office. willing to help? send me any unwanted landscape photographs, preferably actual prints not just files. your kindness will not go unnoticed.

finally, if you see a size medium zip hoodie at your local thrift shop, pick it up, email me, and i'll pay you back. tata for now.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

how to win affection without trying

for some reason, i am under the impression that richard h. shultz jr. and andrea j. dew's book insurgents, terrorists, and militias, which i just finished, attracts female attention while i read it on the subway. perhaps i am so foolish as to inhabit a fantasy world where an interest in non-state combatants is as endearing as a winning smile. more likely, i am under the impression that anyone who is impressed by my reading habits is probably worth knowing. perhaps ali m. ansari's confronting iran will win me some new friends and acquaintances.