Wednesday, December 31, 2008

yeah, but i did get the address already

let's say you run a website that hosts party invitations. why would you schedule maintenance for new year's eve? it's a holiday. that involves a lot of parties.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

who even cares

things i would like to see in 2009, with little regard for whether it's time:

new albums from:

kings of convenience
rhett miller
(ok, i do actually know he's recording next month but i don't care about the album, i just want to hear the songs live, since even his solo material works in concert)
the shins
neko case
fionn regan
(i'd like about 3 albums from patience is important. he's a good reason skipping the next 20 years of life might be worth it just to get 20 years of music all at once)
nedelle and thom
(probably never happening, but come on, please?)
the postmarks
(will happen at some point, similar feel to the above, and probably the more talented group)
fruit bats
(i should add that i don't want the shins record to sound a thing like this one and that i want this one to be awesome and i want to know why the shins had to steal eric johnson because it's not like they needed the help)
the elected
(nick never seems to sing very good songs for rilo kiley, so...)
kruder & dorfmeister
(never happening i'm sure, but i guarantee they'd provide some interesting material)
zero 7
(they might be better off without jose gonzalez' help this time around, like um, er, he's really good but maybe they did have to branch out)
explosions in the sky
(one of those 'you want to hear something as good as them, it has to be them' groups)
loch lomond
(plus national tour with 9 musicians and a ton of instruments; maybe they could bring adam selzer b/c i'm not even asking for a norfolk & western record)


a novel by douglas trevor
adam langer novel not about nyc or chicago
cormac mccarthy writes something tragic and peaceful
jt leroy writes a novel about office politics
joshua ferris manages to release two novels and a short story collection, about any subject he chooses, really
a michael lewis novel and a nonfiction book about the music industry
nick horby novel, set in paris and beirut, about journalism students, with fictionalized book reviews (of real books) interspersed in the text
a chimamanda ngozi adichie novel set in the middle east
a blog by andrew keen, but only for ironic value
michael frayn novel about a scottish america's cup sailor
another gabe hudson story collection
malcolm gladwell authors a novel based on a short story by al gore, vividly detailing the life of a sudanese pirate.

is it wrong to want these things? i just want more great writing, and to learn a few things about parts of the world i've never seen.

go 2009!

albums that came out this year

i can't really say i bought much music that was released in 2008. did that jens lekman album even come out this year? the new thievery corporation left the least impact, for me, of any album they've released since i started listening. i heard 'the mirror conspiracy' first, but that is such a crucial release it would have been a certain revelation to anyone taken in by their first disc. i did get the privilege of listening to 'the richest man in babylon' when it came out, and being wowed both by the musical developments and the bold expression of the duo's politics. i had 'the cosmic game' pegged as the letdown album, especially with the sorts of collaborators they brought in, but it managed to find new sonic territory while wisely branching into higher energy levels. the guys kept it real by abandoning the transcendentally cool territory they'd layed out so perfectly in 'mirror conspiracy.' other downtempo artists have failed to achieve that first step - finding the art of cool - and my frustration with the genre as a whole helped lead me away from regular listening as 2005 wound to a close. back for a taste of the latest release in 2008, i was impressed by a couple of tracks but found the album to be only a modest pleasure to hear. it might be that i'm more of an americana/folkish listener these days, so cheers to all who got more out of the new disc.

i never bought 'blame it on gravity,' because i take in the old 97s live and almost exclusively live, but from the tour, it seems like there are some decent songs there. i look forward to hearing them when they've been around the block a few dozen times.

i thought jennifer o'connor's latest, 'here with me,' was a total treat, despite her lack of artistic development on this record. for her next release, she may need to branch out a bit more, or figure out a way to do the same thing but make it sound new. at this point in her career, laboring in obscurity, i don't think it matters that the record spins nicely along where her amazing 2006 release left off. there's plenty of room for her to grow her audience just by getting in front of people; i personally would welcome more of the same. that's probably the key - she remains core to my listening fancies, and thus in my book she can get away with repeating herself. after all, when you go to an amazing concert, all you want sometimes is to be able to come back and bask in that exact sound for as long as possible. it's also easier to hold territory that provides a solid grounding. o'connor's emotive edgy storytelling is easier to repeat successfully than the quiet bliss of 'mirror conspiracy.' i think rob and eric of thievery corporation wouldn't have wanted to stay put if they'd had the chance; their globe-trotting musical journey has to be a rush. it might not be as exciting, but i think they'd have something to say, musically, about a trip back to the states and a few long winters of joe pass and bill evans. they could always mix in old friend jobim and find some fascinating new possibilities. maybe even jean-michel jarre; i'm not sure they've really covered his turf either.

Friday, December 26, 2008

use your resources wisely

i have something that most people might not, which is a large collection of albums i own and have not yet listened to. yesterday seemed an appropriate time to raid that stash, so i rewarded myself with a listen to something brand new. i'd heard a lot of the songs live, of course, but now there's an enticing new selection on the portable device for whatever mood convinces me to seek out the brand new.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

keep trying

i was telling my parents how their new place could use a hoop in the driveway, and besides the fact that it makes little sense to oblige me when i live hundreds of miles away, it turns out there's a rule against it. i also don't see a rock wall in the basement. at least they didn't say they were getting an indoor pool or anything. the Christmas tree, though, looks great.

Monday, December 22, 2008


spending sixteen dollars to mail something overnight seems bad, but maybe not when i paid more than that to get it printed. buying six boxes of cookies seems ridiculous until you...yeah, it's ridiculous. i haven't eaten six boxes of cookies outside of work in the past year. is that weird? i have developed distinct patterns of things i will eat at the office but not at home. that's all busted now.

it's funny being back in my neighborhood and seeing how different things look now that i've been away for 3 years. i used to have such a hard time with grocery shopping, but my perspective is completely different now. there's one store 2 subway stops away, and that is so much more convenient than just about anything i've done recently as far as shopping goes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

missed opportunities

a modest blanket of snow fell friday, slowing the city and disrupting my travel plans but failing to ruin anything significant. i spent the evening at the airport waiting with friends who hoped their luck was better than my own. everyone made it out but me, and only the weather-induced pitfalls of my journey to the airport prevented me from making it out on my flight, which took off on time. a few hours later, the remaining flights were cancelled. having lost the purpose of my evening, i was buoyed by the modest hopes of friends that their journeys would end by midnight.

my own journey was far from fruitless. i discovered that wheeled luggage rolls well through small amounts of snow, but drags heavily in even an inch and a half. transportation officials can misguide you, shuttle buses don't always appear, and stubbornly pressing forward to join waiting crowds is not always a poor choice. i found that a modest suitcase can quickly reach fifty pounds in heft, and that sometimes it's better to just check a bag even if you might not get it back for several days. i found myself surprisingly happy to return to the unheated apartment and unroll my sleeping bag for one more night. on saturday, i learned that we'd actually done our landlord a disservice by not complaining; he could have fixed the heat on thursday morning and been free to enjoy his weekend. i don't mind having missed the chance to play in the still-falling snow, when it was nothing but beautiful. instead of standing in wonder at the flakes that melted on my sweater, i played my snow games in the slush, the puddles and drifts that lulled the city to somnolence with their momentary power. i slept soundly in the warmth of the sleeping bag, preparing for a new day with flights that would fear no weather.

Monday, December 15, 2008

from the notepad

music that sounded good last week:

husky rescue

club 8

the american analog set

jenn grant

one of those items really doesn't fit with the others, to the extent that it makes me feel a bit ridiculous. that's the beauty of lists.

Friday, December 12, 2008

we are cold and indescriminate

sometimes it is not worth caring about things. if i stopped caring about having new clothes to wear, i might have some extra savings in the bank. if I managed to avoid reading ill-conceived books by people with lousy ideas, i might have time to catch up on the past three years of alumni magazines. if I stopped caring about how loud the to king clock was, i might be asleep right now.

since there is nothing better to do, i will reveal something trivial and hitherto unknown. if i could see a concert by one musical act i have seen live in the past three years, i would choose to see feist again. there are a couple reasons for that choice. i've only been to one concert of hers, it was phenomenal, and the gap between what you get from her live show and from her recorded material is huge. she's the opposite of the magic numbers, who seemed overmatched on stage but have recorded decent stuff. i don't mean to take anything away from feist as a recording artist, because the studio tracks are well done. they aren't lacking except in comparison to the live performance i witnessed. i should add that the magic numbers may have suffered somewhat because of a lousy venue. the worst neko case show i saw was in the same place, and that was honestly a fairly unexciting show as well. she's been great the other two times i have heard her live. so it's possible the magic numbers have had better shows elsewhere.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

fear nothing

my revolutions
-hari kunzru

this has to have been one of those books i grabbed because i liked the cover. yes, i have not given up on that habit. they're easy to show off; people with good taste will just think you have stylish books, and people who are into books probably still won't have read them.

this was one of the more suspenseful books i've read, and it did a great job of revealing both the past and the present gruadually, which helped heighten the anticipation. the stories that unfold are: a sixties activist's journey into radicalism, and his struggles in the present to face his hidden past. it's set in britain, and a few landmark events are historical, while most are probably not.


i am making cookies with millet

i am clearcutting the forest outside

i am making sure it's okay to be afraid of people

i am shopping for honeycombed seating

i am wrapping all my belongings in clear tape

i harbor an overwhelming disdain for people who use combination locks

i do not understand what you are trying to convey

i would like a side of fries with my omelet

excuse me while i paint stripes on my neckties.

last week, i sold my best work to some guy jj saunders

Sunday, November 23, 2008

define easy

i played a new board game this weekend and had a lot of luck winning. it seems a lot easier than the train game i've been playing with friends recently, because this is the type of game where the first one to finish is the winner. there is a clear goal you work towards and you know that getting thwre first means you win. with the other game, your ultimate goal is a lot murkier; you know you have to defeat the other players but it's hard to know how to accomplish that. as my friends and i have obtained familiarity with that train game, i have found it increasingly rare that i win or come close to winning. perhaps my strategy is totally wrong. i think it's safe to argue, however, that the game with a predefined end point is easier. you still have to balance risks and strategize, but yo always know what will be enough to produce a victory. there's a while other level of strategy involved when you're racing both to a defined end of gameplay and an unknown point total that will produce a win.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the debate continues

normal, abnormal, normally abnormal. it's strange the way some people insist on telling me i'm weird, others that there's nothing so weird about me. could be a matter of perspective, just one of these words we get caught up over, one way or the other.

at times i just can't seem to do ordinary, though. i can act it, when there's a reason. i can dress up like something that doesn't feel like me, and that's fine as long as i'm comfortable with the character i need to become. once in a while, i get caught trying to fit in, and i absolutely fail. that must be when i'm the most normal.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

thinking a bit ahead

i'm going to get a jump on the whole giving thanks thing.

i'm thankful for a number of things i won't mention. some that i will say i am thankful for include:


friends, especially when they're patient

hot water

anyone who does nice things at work

words that just sound funny


i'm having a very difficult time with my list, unfortunately. there won't be any more entries today, but perhaps i can think of some more things. it seems to have been a really good idea for me to have started early.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


interesting album of the moment:

-nedelle and thom

if cryptacize isn't quite your thing but nedelle's voice intrigues you, checkback on this 2004 effort. i'm on my initial listen, so i can't offer any depth of analysis. so if you need some pure pop harmonies, give this a whirl. you can pretty much guarantee you've never heard these tracks before. there was a pint in my life when i realized obscure but worthwhile music like this must exist somewhere. honestly, most of you own dozens of albums you'd rather listen to than this. personally, as this is one that's new to me, there isn't much i would rather hear tomorrow. 'in time it snows' is an easy crowd-pleaser.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

it could be a cost-saving measure

i purchased two pair of pants yesterday, at one of these stores that doesn't give you a place to try anything on. turns out they both fit, except that they're too short. now, the way things used to be, pants that did not come with specific lengths were always fine on me. so, are we entering an era of shorter inseams, or am i just unlucky?

for anyone who cares, person of the week is a fairly frivolous honor and probably won't be given to barack obama next week. it's really a prize for good writing, more than anything. he won the presidency, so he shouldn't be too disappointed. i have no candidates immediately sticking out at this moment. maybe james mercer. does he seem like a good person of the week? it won't be james mercer either. seriously, dude, why did you have to steal eric johnson? oh, and that time the fruit bats opened for son volt, you think jay farrar was confused about which eric johnson he'd set up as his opening act? i mean, it's entirely possible the other one would have made some of those angry people in the crowd less angry? maybe? i don't mean that's what i would have chosen. just wondering.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

person of the wk

deborah solomon

for the best use of 'pithy' i have seen in some an interview nonetheless. how would you like to be interviewed by someone who uses the word pithy in such excellent fashion? you better bring your a game to that interview, that's all.

i was going to make this the journalist of the week, then thought writer of the week, but consider this to be an award that will almost always be handed out for feats of written excellence.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

three hours ago

i had to get up early today, which means that besides watching tv like most saturdays, i have managed to head all the way up to the church and back, purchase a charger and a pair of scissors, extra tv because i got up earlier. yah.

sea legs

i originally woke up about half an hour early this morning. i was tired so I went back to sleep. ended up sleeping in another hour and a half. opps. somehow i was still feeling lousy and tired. at that point i just didn't want to bother with a costume, but figured i'd be regretting it later if i left the stuff behind. good decision. not sure how i'd forgotten this, but i really enjoy dressing up as things. everyone at work got my main costume, and thought the other random ones were pretty funny too.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

getting it wrong without even trying

i've been writing a lot on my pocket internet device, not knowing there was actually no easy way to get that text onto my actual computer. this is a problem. i can spend a bunch of money to fix it, or...i don't even know. i'm not happy about this.

i'm also not happy that my best idea for a halloween costume consists of dressing up as a specific company executive. that has bad written all over it. actually, the thing i'm afraid of is that someone else will have the same costume idea. i think i'll revert to the old standard: dress as a specific former employee.

two weekends ago, i lost the charger to my mobile phone. more accurately, i left it in my hotel room. it's been turned off almost constantly since then. this is not helping.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

north for the weekend

i'm lucky to be on vacation once again, this time watching some leaves. there are some amazing towns in northern new england. i think i like the idea of traveling to more than just the cities, but this seems like the first trip in a while where i have done that. highlights have been the beaches and some incredible cliffs.

one thing that can be tricky when eating out regularly as a vegetarian is finding something you'll enjoy. diners are always a good idea, i think, but i hated the fake mexican food i had at an unnecessarily fancy place for lunch. there were so many grilled red peppers. i think red peppers are a scourge. the key for me is to find somewhere that will serve a vegetarian dish that is noodle or rice based. i need something like a normal non-american meal minus the meat.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

running on not very much

i am on vacation. this particular vacation means hanging out with the people i would normally hang out with if i had never moved two point five years ago. it also means sleeping in. hopefully, it does not involve overmuch concern that my company will decide to stop letting me be an active part of our web marketing efforts.

today's (complete) menu:

one (1) vanilla soy drink

two (2) almonds

small amount of granola

half (1/2) of an imported chocolate bar with nuts and raisins

one (1) grilled veggie burrito

one (1) side of chips with salsa

one (1) cranberry something and corn syrup drink

one (1) serving of lasagna with meat that i carefully removed

i'm hoping for pancakes tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

farewell lunches can really stink

when you order the wrong stuff. i don't know what my problem is. at the most recent one, i got something that was totally greasy and found myself completely unwilling to eat it. i was almost positive that it was going to be something i wouldn't want to eat, and it was. i ate the sides, and was terribly hungry later in the day.

farewell lunches are not about the food. they're fun, but they're not about you anyway.

Friday, October 10, 2008

when being yourself isn't enough

i can give detailed biographies of more than a dozen jazz musicians

i listen to the radio

i like pets

i wear blue shoes with my blue belt

my mobile phone is on silent

one of my many hobbies is knitting

people have been known to imitate my voice because they want to hear it all the time

Thursday, October 09, 2008

so it's not a waste of time

john moved to new york in the aftermath of a snowless winter and took a room for two months in a dismal apartment. he hung on to a long-distance relationship while wishing it was over. one more than one occasion, he wondered how the walls of his apartment were put together. he wandered empty grocery stores hoping to see something that looked like food. john bought pasta and sauce and tried to plan ahead.

he slept on the floor, without a mattress, and with no furniture whatsoever. it was his only single room since college. he dreamed of filling it with ingeniously constructed furniture. he would build it out of cardboard and hope.

he took a few photos out the window, and occasionally heard the meowing of a stray cat. the neighbors played the exact same record weekly, blaring patriotic anthems from a long-forgotten film. other neighbors danced with their children in the streets to the vibrant sounds of their homeland. a homeless man occasionally slept in the unnecessarily large atrium of the building. on other occasions, john would do his laundry and meet the same man, sorting through endless plastic bags. this man was also a neighbor.

the days passed, and john's roommates warmed to him a bit. they told him of their desperate efforts with girls. they shared jokes that the understood a lot better than john did. the roommates told stories that were new york-centric, because they lived in new york. they seemed to be people who were meant to be here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

well meaning

one of my co-workers asked me, at 3:30pm, in front of my manager, if i wanted to leave and go shopping. i was not interested in shopping.

all of a sudden, it's midnight and i'm fighting with some web site where i want to delete the account i just set up because i did it wrong. i swear plenty of good things happened today, like when our graphic designed totally made a landing page banner in minutes even though somehow no one had asked him to do it yet. there was also the lemon filled donut i bought, that was a good thing. i also remembered to charge my phone before it died, and the old tv shows i watched via the internet were pretty entertaining. i found a hotel for my upcoming trip, and officially got the time off for both of the upcoming weekend trips.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

a day home from the office

you know those ad campaigns where they try to give personality to a brand? well, i think it's time for my own, and it's not even about soda. i'm home sick from work today, so let me present to you:

a day home from the office.

a day home from the office says:

'i've watched twelve episodes of a one-hour drama series today'

a day home from the office means:

'i'm eating the last carrot'

a day home from the office is:

incredibly relaxing

Saturday, September 27, 2008

now, take this into account

i am officially fifty percent less irresponsible than i was as of friday morning. i also called my brother-in-law today.

oops, my bad

we don't own any table knives. how silly of me to have forgotten that.

carmakers: you have lost your minds

special pricing on most 2009 models? it's not even 2009 yet. clearly the whole 'making things seem special by releasing models with next year's date' thing has gone way too far.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


when everyone is gone and you're sitting around trying to finish things, eating plain crackers...yesterday's leftover white bread is an excellent find. mmm...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

lost in the woods

i have an actual life, i just don't want to talk about it. after weeks of staring into the vending machine, seeing flashes of purple that always turned out to be overpriced water, i found numberless grape sodas this morning and bought one. it was warm, unfortunately, so it was like drinking carbonated cough syrup. i put it in the fridge.

later, i attended a farewell lunch where i made the mistake of allowing the waiter to botch my order. i knew he misheard me, but he'd taken so long to get through everyone else that i didn't want to gum things up even more. i ended up with a curried chickpea dish, which i strongly doubt was actually vegetarian. tragically, i made that conclusion after pretending to eat it. there were a few points where i just wanted to leave that place and go back to work, but i kept telling myself that patience is an important skill to cultivate. there was also the issue of the four dollar white rice to go with an admittedly affordable four dollar main dish of side dish-style chickpeas. what place charges a dollar for naan but four for rice? in the end, i paid way too much for food i barely ate, and struggled to stuff down other forms of calories after returning to the office.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

hurricanes lost

one of my friends was deeply disappointed in the lack of impact the weather had on our saturday. there just wasn't enough rain to make her happy. i was wise enough to bring my recently purchased shortboard out in the storm in case i needed protection from the elements. several hours of my saturday were spent indoors, suffering from the burning humidity brought on by the storm. in other words, there was little chance of my agreeing that the storm did nothing.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

no food zone

i feel like it's been especially difficult lately determining what to eat for lunch. the unfortunate reality is that anything readily accessible ends up being part of my meal once i get hungry enough. that leads to some odd choices; fresh fruit and candy have been a big part of the afternoon meal yesterday and today. there are ways around this, but i haven't been keen on getting greasy takeout when i have nothing else to eat. it doesn't seem possible to really fill up on fruit and carrots, and i know none of this is a good thing, it's just that there are times when taking care of everyday needs gets tedious and you don't like any of the immediate solutions you see.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

when there are no more options

i'm trying to do the less than an hour awake and at home thing tonight, not super successfully. i also have this idea that i'll be back at work less than twelve hours after i left, but that is even less likely. i spent too much time at the office, but while i was killing time just hoping people would agree on dinner plans, it turned out i'd forgotten some crucial stuff. at first glance it seemed so crucial that someone elsewas checking email at 7pm and wondering where the reports were, but honestly who's going to be around to even use that info after 8pm. it's like i made the mistake and things are no different really than if no one had caught it until tomorrow. we're not doing anyone any useful favors getting an email out that late in the day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

a winter scene

i am looking at a picture of myself, drawn by a close friend. it seems at first like i'm stuck in somebody's still life; my head floating in a bowl of oranges and strawberries. somehow, though, there's like this glacier bearing down on me; the irresistible force of nature, or a slow pressure that will break everything in its path. somewhere on the glacier are two bears, a pond with several fish, and a cluster of pine trees. these know nothing of glaciers, of irresistible forces, or of pressure, and exist solely for their own purposes. one of the trees has a nest in it, high in its branches. there are two eggs in the nest, and a feather falls gently from the nest to the ground.

Monday, September 01, 2008

maybe this means nothing

i noticed this a long time ago, and i'm surprised it's taken me this long to put it in writing. since my most recent move, a lot of my stuff has remained in storage around my apartment; there just hasn't been enough space to unpack it all, and i've also gotten used to doing without. i haven't had a real pillow; my pillow case has a couple t-shirts stuffed in it. my roommate, on the other hand, has a normal pillow with a t-shirt for a pillow case.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

home, one day early

i got on the first car, knowing it would be the closest to the turnstiles when i reached my stop. a man was standing, staring intently out the front window the train, his cart of luggage behind and to his right. as the train accelerated, i noticed the locked wheels of the cart sliding reluctantly against the mottled blue floor. i wondered if i should say something to the man - 'you know, your cart is actually moving. the wheels won't turn, but it can still slide.' i imagined him arguing back, thought of providing some retort about friction and how it wasn't enough, in this case, to keep something from moving even when it's barred from moving easily. the wheels, the cart, its progress along the floor became a matter of great interest. at one point, i leaned accidentally against it, presumably releasing the brake, for this sluggish friction-bound object suddenly moved several inches away from me, as if my slight brush against its handle was powerful and decisive, clearing the grey-wheeled infringer out of my path. somewhere in this drawn-out examination of my situation, i realized my hypocrisy. my own luggage, two decidedly non-wheeled bags, were lying on the floor, their coefficient of friction assumedly much lower than that of the creeping cart.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

don't think too much

one of the more amusing things about the passing of time is the sudden discovery that you can honestly say things like 'i've had that for something like 10 years,' or 'we've been doing this trip for twenty years.' the family/church camping trip has gone on so long that i can hardly remember it not being an entity. i've gone from one of the proud few who'd been to them all to missing it due to geographic impossibility, on into skipping because college seemed more exciting, and back and forth between wanting to have my own life and desperate to get outside and do something tough. it's not just a camping trip, it's also an annual hike that i'm certain will be more difficult this year than most. of course, i could be wrong about that, but i'm probably under-fueled and certainly in sub-optimal shape. i did find the high-tech hat i bought last year, so at least i've got the equipment down. weather remains a concern, so there's a distinct possibility something not completely difficult will be substituted as a practical measure.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

whatever arrives first

summer's been mild; weather-wise, it has been outstanding. it wasn't the greatest for me overall, but there have been some highlights. i certainly am better off right now than i was at the start of it, which is really all one might ask. what i am beginning to remember is how great fall can be.

Monday, August 25, 2008

there are three types of milk in the fridge

i am against a lot of things, but i like muffins. i also like biscuits.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

where's my education?

a friend asked yesterday about the cost of applying to graduate school. it's not cheap, and for some programs it's probably extra expensive, but i have never thought it was hard to spend the money on applications. these past couple days i've been getting emails from one of the schools that accepted me this year. they don't seem to have successfully excised my name from their list after i chose not to go, but it's weird to think i could be starting classes right now. it's definitely not a waste to give myself the option, it's just weird that i always end up deciding i don't want to attend the schools that accept me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

yes, the moment has arrived

the new jennifer o'connor disc arrived tuesday. honestly, i haven't gotten my copy yet, but i did one better than that. saw her perform most of the songs from the new effort, and it's definitely worth your time. if you check out her stuff online, be sure not to listen to 'i was so wrong dump remix' first, because it's a bit weird. any of the other stuff she's streaming is excellent. just buy the record, k?

Friday, August 22, 2008

that didn't go so well

sometimes it's more fun to watch from the sidelines. or the bench. i barely made it to any of the games this year (scheduling conflicts), and so it didn't matter to me whether i played or not. the other team was better than we were, but on a rare day where things go right we might have been able to win. it wasn't a big deal to me, but i guess i've attached greater weight to different trivial matters than company softball.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

championship day

my third year playing company softball. first year we were terrible; last year we were better and made the semis; this year we're inconsistent but made the finals. definitely the best team we've had this whole time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

i'm in favor of lunch

just saying, if it comes down to skip lunch or eat're wise to eat lunch.

Friday, August 15, 2008

these are not from the backlog

...the're just short

the pat hobby stories
-f. scott fitzgerald

an amusing collection of material he wrote close to the end of his life, these stories are brief, sometimes effortless episodes from the 49th year of a whiskey-soaked hollywood writer's life. fitzgerald doesn't dazzle here; he's just out to amuse us, but in doing so he presents a hollywood that is tangibly real.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

not everyone gets a shot, seriously

the cult of the amateur
-andrew keen

andrew keen has to be the world's biggest fan of knol, and if he's not, he's even more of an idiot than he lets on. he actually talks about a similar-sounding site that started up 2 years ago. not having heard of it, i'm assuming it hasn't done well. keen may just be a nostalgic fool, relentlessly attacking the participatory internet, but he has a few points that are worthwhile. the problem is, his main point is that too much participation is bad. stop making music, posting videos, or writing online; if you're good enough and try hard enough you can do it professionally. then andrew keen will give you a shot. this is actually what he says, straight up. he's afraid the record labels will disappear, no one will have the million dollars (yes, literally) and year's worth of time necessary to make a decent pop record, and he won't be able to find anything good because there will be too much lousy music out there. he relies on exaggeration, assumptions, and hyperbolic rhetoric to further his arguments. it's probably not worth reading the whole book unless you're like me and you feel forced at times to investigate viewpoints you immediately hate. what keen seems unwilling to accept is that technological progress brings change. this book is the yin to michael lewis' yang in 'next,' but lewis is the better writer. it's hard to read someone so bitter - he hates craigslist because it's free, youtube because it's not limited to professionals, and online music stores because they sell songs for too little. he talks wistfully of the days when a giant record chain provided deep selection and knowledgeable staff. all i remember about that place was high prices. you start feeling a bit sorry for him when you realize that he liked the world a certain way and just wishes it wouldn't change. he fears that iconic newspapers will continue to decline, somehow assuming nothing will take their place. he whines that cherished reviewers will, someday soon, have no well-paid platform from which to guide us to the most worthy culture and media. he only acknowledges that new media platforms still give rise to hits and influential figures when he's using that fact to reinforce one of his complains such as his assertion that bloggers, even popular ones, don't make appreciable money.

keen's best point is essentially borrowed from mattathias schwartz, and at least partially quoted and cited. it is that online poker poses a definite threat with is intensely addictive action. keen leads this section with the same shocker schwartz begins his article with, and does not cite schwartz for the story itself. citing and quoting schwartz on other elements of the poker story is fine; this is how books are written. the problem is, keen doesn't want web content to be recontextualized and repurposed. he rants about tagging and remixing content, when that is essentially what he does with schwartz' article, using its most effective and relevant elements to add to his own text. this is one more example of keen's shortsightedness; having railed extensively against the internet's application of a concept that's generally accepted offline, he actually employs the same concept for his own purposes. how he used schwartz' article is at least mostly ok; his hypocrisy is not.

i think one of the worst things keen does is to call illegal downloading and legal paid-for downloading of music the same thing. both threaten the music industry's status quo, and keen likes cultural institutions to endure unchanged. somehow, he never seems to consider the positive consequences of things he dislikes. if the barriers to producing music, for example, are lowered, there may eventually be so much music out there that no one will finance a million dollar recording effort. to keen, that's a problem; the million dollar estimate is from a musician he admires, and he wants that man to be able to go on the way he always has. he doesn't want future talents of the same magnitude to miss out on their chance to make a million dollar record. it might comfort andrew keen to know that that record doesn't have to cost a million dollars if technology has radically democratized production of music. even more importantly, that democratization means more talented people will have a chance to make something great and share it. keen argues the opposite is true, and i think it's a shame he can't see that history argues against him.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

not really re-visted

thus far, history may have stolen my series on first albums from canadian indie groups, but it's time to revisit that never-written material this evening. it's hard to ignore 'funeral,' but i ignored it for several years until i actually bothered to obtain a copy. 'apologies to the queen mary' is probably the most important to my meandering explorations of music, as it's a lot more rocking than just anything else i had at the time dave gifted it to me (thanks). i'm going to say, however, that 'feel good lost' is my sentimental favorite for right now. i'm going to go on and add that i do not by any means own every first effort from every worthwhile band up north. as it is, i'm more likely than not to ignore exciting new bands (see above) until some chance encounter that proves it's not such a bad idea to just give something a shot when people are enthusiastic about it.

strictly speaking, it must be a novella

-tahar ben jelloun

translated from french, this morrocan novel is remarkably short. the protagonist is one honest man trying to stand for his principles in a society where everyone seems to be taking or handing out dirty money. he struggles with a lousy marriage that's not completely his fault, but this is primarily a tale of inner turmoil. i didn't think it was great, but the main character's philosophizing didn't work for me the way it probably should have. its told in terse prose, and manages to avoid the monotony that i find in many tales related by introspective first person narrators.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


question: do you find yourself wishing that the world/your neighborhood/your life still was the way it was back when ____? i've been reading a book lately that is borne of a lot of authorial angst, all of which basically stems from the regret that certain cherished institutions have vanished and the fear that that more will do the same. have we reached the point where we're like this, or will that come later in life? personally, of course, i do look backwards a lot, which is a new phenomenon since i moved here. i think of it that way at least, and i don't recall other phases of my life where i've had to think 'things were better back when...' all that often.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


some days there's pie
-catherine landis

a story about a small town girl who runs away, first from home, then from the man she left with, this is a book of characters and relationships. it's a journey that mostly takes place in one place; a chance connection between two women that grows into a deep friendship. in a way, it seems closer to real life than many novels, because it's hard to form an opinion of people until you hear the narrator share hers. the narrator has a peculiar refusal to contract the phrase "did not," which, given her background, seems odd. maybe i just missed the secret explanation for that.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

stuff i don't own

riot on an empty street
-kings of convenience

that one track - i'd rather dance with you - gets annoying. as fun as it is initially, don't judge the group by that song. after several dozen listens, it may end up being the worst effort on this disk. different tracks keep popping up on internet radio and they've all been worthwhile. i've heard misread, gold in the air of summer, cayman islands, and surprise ice. none of them have the pretentious/infectious beat of i'd rather dance with you, and i am fine with that. seems like a new record is in order from these gents, but i see nothing on their fairly terrible website to indicate that it's happening.

Monday, August 04, 2008

a little more

crossing california
-adam langer

i read a brief review of this book and it disappointed me. i don't really review books, and i probably don't do a good job of explaining them, but i do recommend books, and you should read this one. spanning the transition between 70s and 80s, carter and reagan, it introduces us to several mostly jewish chicago teens and their parents. there's a trick of narrative overlap where one character will experience something and we soon bump up against the same event from a different point of view. i started wanting to become friends with these people, which says something about me and about langer's ability to write. he's good at it, and i like clever people. the best thing is that all the characters are flawed, and many of them are appealing for different reasons. i think generally if you know most people well enough you'll like them; langer has made sure i like his characters by giving me enough insight into the soul of several of them that i can excuse their shortcomings. 'half of a yellow sun' was good for the same reason; in that novel, most of the main characters had done something fairly awful, yet they retained their appeal.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

a partial accounting

the last summer of the world
-emily mitchell

i read this because it involves wwi, a subject i'm curious about lately. this is the other book with the photographs, which appear as captions only before we hear a story that fleshes out what happened before the picture was taken. the protagonist, edward steichen, is a historical figure, and an imperfect one. the author does a decent job of making her characters flawed without making me hate them.

half of a yellow sun
-chimamanda ngozi adichie

set in Nigeria in the 1960s and dealing with the civil war with Biafra, the book seemed daunting because of its size and subject matter. the characters were fascinating and convincing. i expected a lot more blood, and while i'm glad there wasn't too much to read through, the horrors of the war affect everything in the landscape of this novel. it follows the lives of a select group of privileged Biafrans, who are brought lower and lower as the war progresses, but who are never personally dragged as deep into the terrors of warfare as many of their countrymen. their education, money, and social class allow them to escape or ameliorate certain elements of the wartime suffering, but their own suffering remains frightening.


we were supposed to go to the beach today, but it rained like crazy and it was a long ways to travel if we were going to end up soaked. instead, we went to a rooftop pool at my temp roommate's friend's place. it was a lot of fun. i can't even remember the last time i went swimming.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

what's wrong with this picture?

i can't sleep and suddenly it occurs to me that i have the chance to find out once and for all if the clock on this one web app from work is based on eastern time or not. apparently it is, and apparently it isn't designed to work on open-source browsers running on the platform none of our office machines run. thus, a bunch of wasted post-midnight time yeah, that's

i'm not hiding

i tried to listen to one of the new css just made me angry. then i had to go dig up somewhere i could actually listen to something from the first album.

august tomorrow. august is the month the new jennifer o'connor is out. i will continue to mention this.

Monday, July 28, 2008

taking a break

someone at work suggested i take a vacation. the problem is, i was afraid to leave for fear that i'd enjoy myself and then be reluctant to return. that was maybe a month or so ago. i'm still planning and thinking about future travels, but i wonder whether it's a good idea to do so. in the past, i have had relative success taking short vacations; 3 days plus a weekend seems like a good break. it has seemed like going away longer than that (which i've done maybe twice in the past four years) can be counterproductive. if i'm away from work long enough, i get too comfortable not being at work. in the past, i have had stretches where work was my favorite part of my life, which is a good thing to keep in mind.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

measuring stick

i figured out a rough way of gauging the relative popularity of musical acts, and i'm not sure why it didn't occur to me before. this past week, i logged in to one of those streaming music sites. it had been a long time since my last visit, and they had recently redone their site. handily, each artist that plays now shows up alongside several other similar artists, with the number of listeners and total streams for each. using this metric, i first discovered that norfolk & western are way too obscure. i'm not sure what the deal is; little wings has a lot more listeners and they're both obscure and a little grating at times. so now norfolk & western will have to square off against loch lomond for the title of least known portland act that i like. what disturbed me even more is the absolute paucity of jennifer o'connor listeners. something needs to change about that. new album's out in august...ok?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

not any more

-michael lewis

there's one reason i read this book: i like lewis' writing. someone on the subway asked me if it was any good, and i had a laugh with him about the fact that it's not really 'next' any more since the book was published 7 years ago. this was a good book to read in my spare time, although it was only worth it really for the writing. he didn't show off too much, so that element wasn't as good as it could have been either. there are some good stories here, but let me go ahead and recommend an article by lewis that you should read first. it's about his return to new orleans following hurricane katrina. it is well worth your time.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

maybe it was a waste

i saw three movies today. it's possible that i could have wasted my time, and then again it's possible that there are worse ways to waste time. i saw a huge action movie with my roommate, a quirky independent comedy by myself, and a classic with several friends. i wore a different hat to each one, which was somewhat inevitable but actually a natural choice. given the fact that i didn't like the way the first hat went with my t-shirt, and that the second is old and needs to be protected, it made sense that i kept switching. i wore the same shoes all day, which was unfortunate considering they're not good for walking. i finished the novel i'd been reading, and found the opening pages of the next one to be much more interesting than i'd expected. it's been a little while (four books ago) since i began a new novel that was engrossing from the beginning.

Friday, July 18, 2008

snapshots are the new thing?

'the rain after it falls'
-jonathan coe

i finished reading the jacket copy after finishing the book. perhaps this is book, so overtly pitched to women, went over my head. this is my second book in recent months, following emily mitchell's 'the last summer of the world,' which i'm still reading, that uses photographs to frame the narrative. the device is more overt here. i found it annoying. when i realized the book was going to be a series of descriptions of photographs, it was dread that overtook me, nothing else. basically, a family learns the secret life of a deceased aunt and the identity of her lost heir through a series of recordings she has left behind. i thought the "listening" characters were weak, and that much of the material they heard was boring. it could all be a matter of preference. there are some nice touches, but i was really just trying to get through this most of the time i spent reading it. that being said, it was not a true chore to read.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

a bit of an in joke

maybe it doesn't have to be an in joke. bigbadabangband is a pretty funny name. they're not as good as xploding plastix, but those guys are very good at what they do. it's been a few years, but it's still worth sending a thank you to my friends for finding the club where they were playing in rotterdam after i'd given up. if it was up to me, we would have flown across the atlantic and not even attended the show that was the original excuse for making the trip.

Monday, July 14, 2008

the power of procrastination

i'd been puzzling over how i was ever going to decide whether to see aimee mann or old 97s this summer, and basically my choice has been made due to an imbalance in demand for the two concerts i was considering. it's sad in a way, but i have no choice at this point. i'm also glad that i haven't been literally counting the days until the new jennifer o'connor record. more than a month still, ok people? sorry if i gave it away.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

i didn't mean to make fun of anybody

all i did was ask if it was really a decision whether or not bon jovi would wear a black leather vest when he came out on stage. i thought it was funny to ask if he might have considered brown or red, but i had no desire to poke fun at him. he has pretty nice teeth. later on, he wore a red and then a blue shirt.

Friday, July 11, 2008

bridges, hats, diners

what is it about my brain that allows me to walk over a bridge, eat at a diner i've never seen in a town i've never visited and think "this is perfect, this is so what this place should be?" i don't think i've eaten at a diner with golden sparkles embedded in the ceiling, nor have i had a rootbeer float with whipped cream on top. it's been a long time since i've had french toast, and i certainly have never gotten yelled at by a cyclist while crossing a bridge. there were 11 of us (i think) and of course we tried to get out of the way of the two cyclists, but some went to one side of the footpath and some went to the other side. that's not ideal, it might not be the smartest, but there was room for him to go through. there's certainly no need to whine "come on guys, share the bridge." what part of getting out of his way does not indicate a willingness to share the bridge? since i don't care much about many things lately, it's surprising how long i spent wondering what would have happened if i'd punched that guy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

launch date

in the spirit of interconnectedness and the theory that most music is worth at least a brief listen, i'm exploring bands through their online friendships with other bands. let's start with {{{ sunset }}}, an austin, tx band. technically, they have what could be described as a melodic pop sound, with vintage keyboard tones an important element of their music. i think it's safe to say that i could have written their bio, but i did not. in fact, i'm not sure i'm capable of writing such things any longer:

"{{{ SUNSET }}} is ow tin, TX based headstock music group of which dabbles in psychedelic volks-rots. They have this way now played for a year or, and constantly evolved. The group started initially as sale for the songwriting of Baird of the account outside group sound Team. After sound dissolved Team, concentrated he is only ideas on this new project.

They register an album of new songs, segues, and other fantastic ideas. After they finish registering, they probably the way and travel will affect the U.S. entirely concerning these large states. "

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


last summer, i slept with no air conditioning and it wasn't that bad. we had a window fan unit that provided good circulation. this summer, i have a second hand a/c unit that makes more noise than is reasonable or bearable. i am a heavy sleeper, and this thing wakes me up several times a night. the real problem is that the incredibly loud spurts are periodic. they sneak up on you and ruin a perfectly good stretch of sleep. the bonus is cooler air, but i'm willing to sacrifice that, especially considering the environmental benefits of using less energy.

Monday, July 07, 2008

rain, relative height, policing

watched fireworks from a crowded public park, police doing a nice job of keeping order while remaining more of a presence than a force. i wasn't looking forward to standing up to watch fireworks, as fun day's rock climbing event had still not worked its way out of my system. i wasn't excited about the rain either, but it wasn't all that bad. mostly, i kept thinking of aimee mann's song 4th of july.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

fun day 2008

we won again. it's a bit weird being the team that everyone hates, watching them literally turn their backs on us when we introduced ourselves, and going in an taking first place a second year. of course, second prize was a free day off, like last year, and thus still a better prize than first. i knew that all along and still was desperate to win.

Monday, June 30, 2008


i am doing somersaults in my head. well, i was doing somersaults in my head as i walked past the public buses on my way around the corner and up to the office this morning. actually, they were flips, but at the time i was calling them somersaults. i had decided that, if it wasn't safe to pursue certain standard thought patterns, i should at least do something fun. somersaults seem fun. first i was jumping on a trampoline, then i started doing flips...and calling them somersaults.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

good reads

the thirteenth tale
-dianne setterfield

this was a book club selection, and i enjoyed it a lot. for some reason i want to categorize it with the harry potter books, perhaps because it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and one without a lot of pretense. it's not really a kids' book even, and the subject matter is rather different and decidedly non-magical. if there is something particular to be learned from this book, i don't know what that might be. i have no problem with that.

Monday, June 23, 2008

who knew?

apparently, when i'm trying to sound contrite, i sometimes speak in a minnesota accent.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

songs of the week, wk 17

'a man, me, then jim'

'let's dance to joy division'

'come back margaret'


Thursday, June 19, 2008

small mystery

i saw a man unlock a bike with a hammer this morning. he had some type of chisel and pounded the chain off the bike. he put the pieces of chain on his shoulder. then he got on, rode the bike for a block, got off, and talked to someone briefly before entering an apartment building. he left the bike, unlocked, next to the door. it looked like it cost $200 new.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


had a softball game today. wasn't my best work, but i made a nice sliding catch in right to end one inning. let a ball hop over my glove because i charged too hard and didn't back off when it was clear it would drop; that turned a single into a double. tried way too hard to run over and grab another ball; no one else could have caught it, but someone else would have picked it up quickly enough to prevent the batter from making it around the bases. i was tearing my way over to get it, got my glove on it, and took a while digging it out of the long grass. i guess there's a reason they like to mow the outfield.

no one heard

'i hear there's a lot of things on the tools menu. i think that's where you can turn off...turn off calculations too. (pause) i think i'm dying.'

eating habits

some of my least favorite meals growing up were the kind where meat is the main course. pork chops and all types of chicken dishes that never seemed to have that much flavor come quickly to mind. it's no wonder i accidentally stumbled into vegetarianism; i had plenty of negative associations with eating meat, so it was no real difficulty giving it up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


while i'm trying to convince myself i can write, here's a promising observation: i have imaginary conversations with people in my head all the time. that can only help.

(ok, maybe everyone does this)

fighting for air

spencer krug is a good choice for listening in the dark, hiding under a table.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


passport renewal filed; new passport arrives 9 days later. that has got to be a record. no expedited fees enclosed or anything. wooo!

Friday, June 06, 2008

having too much fun with this

to stop.

i'm trying to prove this, but i think it was a misspelling that got me on this kick in the first place. i was searching for some other artist i would never really be that interested in and mistakenly i find something i like.

make the best of a rough situation

so maybe i turned this sold-outness into an opportunity to find something else.

also must check out the song cryptacize track and one from nedelle here.

who decides these things?

i haven't paid a whole ton of attention to new music lately, but i'm mildly annoyed that jennifer o'connor (new record out in aug, btw) is touring with some 'jamie lidell' who apparently is a big draw. why can't obscure-but-amazing artists tour with other underappreciated talents, so that people who pay no attention to the touring schedules of some of their favorite acts can buy tickets at the last minute?


Thursday, June 05, 2008

too much quiet?

"If you were to watch him at the auctions of book fairs that he attends frequently, you would notice how often he is approached by quietly spoken, quietly dressed individuals, who draw him aside with a quiet word. Their eyes are anything but quiet."

if you're an author and you choose to repeat a word so frequently, you'd better hope you're pretty good at it. i think the fourth 'quiet' actually saves the previous three. it seems like the difference between doing something because it's cute and doing something clever.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

welcome back

i'm not exactly sure what i'm returning from really, but i think the stress is dissipating, and i felt pretty normal tonight. i've gotten a little bit of chance to experience what some people's lives are like regularly; yes, it is possible to get so stressed out it makes you ill, and i am sure it gets worse than that. i was still a bit out of sorts today; the onset of illness was still a factor, since the cold virus wasn't just going to run off as i calmed down. i still had this weird tension in my stomach, which did not get worse after a french fry and soda dinner. yuk.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

a few observations

i refuse to drink more blue-colored puree/juice concoctions. they get old quickly.

stress has adverse effects on your wellbeing. it also breeds more stress.

second-hand shops are a great place to find deals on cds. it is necessary, when getting a deal, to make sure you are getting what you expect. open the case before you buy. it's easy.

it's easier to use socks for tasks that don't require a matched pair. protecting small electronic devices only requires one sock (per device).

people who live in small apartments have a right to expect a lot of good gifts.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

pink with spots

one of the cruelest minor offenses to sibling duty that my sister committed as a teenager was her stubborn refusal to tell me what one of her jellybeans actually tasted like. i was wearing braces, and generally honored the orthodontist's ban on sticky candies of all types, including jelly beans. my sister was enjoying her gastronomic freedom and private stash of candy, and i just wanted to know what the pink speckled ones tasted like. she insisted it tasted like "pink with spots."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

best wishes

i was ill last week, and the recovery process wasn't as bad as the general desire to keep not going in to work. usually, my health tends to break down right around the time i could use a break anyway. that might once more have been the case, but i enjoyd the break a little too much. that, combined with a serious lack of motivation i've struggled with lately made the return to work a bit tougher than it should have been. the good news is that i've been overall pretty happy for 3 months straight. not to say every single day of that stretch has been awesome, but i'm running on a really good streak here. maybe it's come to a temporary end or maybe i'll be fine again tomorrow.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

what's the matter with rain?

beautiful day for a picnic in the park. what is it about rain that ruins things like that? yes, it's wet and can make you cold, but it seems like it's no fun even when it is warm enough that it's ok. do we really hate being wet that much? i guess so.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

at least it was brown rice

how has your day been? i just took a break from lunch, which i ate out of a saucepan, on my bunkbed, in the dark. lunch today was cold rice.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

it was a farce?

the corrections
-jonathan franzen

i'm still not denying that jonathan franzen is a good writer, i just hope i don't read him again. this book was supposed to be a lot funnier than i found it. i guess married couples being horrible to each other just isn't that funny to me. i have to say, don't read this book unless you want to feel awful.

Friday, May 16, 2008

jonathen franzen is weird

i don't care how good of an author he is, i don't care how many awards he's won, i am so not happy (now that i remember which author he is) that i have a 500-page book of his to read on my travels this weekend.

oh well

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

social experiment


1 shiny music player

1 ordinary workplace

1 forgetful individual

1 evening

will the forgetful individual find the music player in the morning? will people from the ordinary workplace discover the music player, and if so, will they be friendly people who place it safely in a drawer? will the evening be completely uneventful?

stay tuned...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

half alive, half dead, half working

my roommate was out of town a few weekends ago and i nearly killed his tomato plant. there's this little spray bottle next to it that you're supposed to use to keep it watered. once you've forgotten to water a three-foot high tomato plant for a couple days, you're unlikely to catch up no matter how heartily you spray the water at it.

Friday, May 09, 2008

half asleep

this morning, convinced there was no point in getting out of bed, i was writing a short story, in my head, half asleep. it seemed to be going well. i'm not sure if that's a good sign, or if i'm just delusional. i didn't write all that much, i think a scene was unfolding in a parking garage. if i had to guess, i'm thinking it involved a car, with the door open, and a man. that's all i can remember.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


one of my friends is interested in designing a greeting card. turns out it's not for anyone in particular; she just had an idea for something and wanted to see it to completion. the fascinating part to me is that she said it's not that often that she'll think of things that she wants to create. i have ideas about all sorts of things all the time, and i hadn't really thought of the possibility of someone not experiencing that. not all ideas are any good, and most of the ones i have are too tiny to really mean anything; they need development. that's natural, i would think. of course, i keep thinking about jack hannahan's name for no reason at all, and there's not much point to that. he plays third base for the oakland a's, and there's not much reason to think about jack hannahan himself, except for that fairly interesting name of his. sometimes i think extensively about some name i don't really like the sound of; it's like getting an annoying song stuck in your head.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

life changes

various things have stuck with me longer and more solidly than they really should have. a t/a for college physics, grading one of my papers, corrected my misspelling of the word 'sentence' emphatically enough that i finally got it in my head that i'd been wrong. i had a friend in high school who insisted on pointing out this spelling problem of mine, but i'd ignored him. oh my arrogance.

reading, by the way, is a priority. nothing really gets in the way of reading. writing, on the other hand, is going to be of far greater importance. i've got some good starts on a few projects, most recently a biographical piece i like in concept. i need to work on expressing myself in simple language.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

short stinkin' lived

so much for 'authors with abbreviated first names' week. somehow it's easy at times to go to the library specifically to pick up the book for book club, check out six other books, and leave the library wondering which books you'll read first. i had it worked out. for the rest of the week, i'd only read stuff by people with abbreviated first names - j.t. leroy and zz packer, unless i stumbled upon some others and checked out even more books. i probably can't do that; i think i'm back up over 20 library books again, and they probably don't let you take out 30. so wallace stegner it is. i'm glad that the wearyingly descriptive beginning lasted only 12 pages or so, not 80 like in 'the sea, the sea.' it was amazing how much i enjoyed that book considering how much of a drag the first section got to be.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

not what you'd guess

the story of how one evening is unexpectedly influenced by carelessness, a 20-foot walk, charades, and a friend's no-refined-sugar diet.

Friday, April 18, 2008

power, with a side of strawberries

one of the more disarming statements made to me during my professional career was 'you're not really interested in becoming a manager, are you?' this was in an interview, spoken by a woman who grew up 6 blocks from my last apartment. i felt a great rapport with her during the interview. in the end, her assessment was probably what killed me. she liked me, but i'm pretty sure she could tell i'm not interested in playing someone's game for the next 5 years in an endless quest to get ahead. it's always friends who figure you out. that's why they get under our skin so easily. at some point the relationship reaches the point where poking at tender points is effortless. not in a good way. maybe if she'd been the hiring manager, rather than the hiring manager's supervisor, she would have taken a chance on me just for the sake of friendship. why am i calling it that?

i'm sending myself to charm school this weekend. there are a lot of things i want to accomplish - find second furniture, shop, buy food, make greeting cards, throw a party - but this is one that i need to prioritize. this weekend's lesson: legacies. i'm going to build a time capsule, to be opened in one month. by me. i'll throw in a few words about the latest hopes and dreams, which crushes i've abandoned, and a snack or two. in a month, we'll see if i can make any sense of historical me. a lot can change in a month.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

i still want donuts

you know the oil price thing really hasn't changed us enough when a large vehicle getting 16mpg in the city is advertised as having 'exceptional' fuel economy. sure, maybe it's better than other large vehicles, but until it becomes economically impossible to sell things like this, nothing has really changed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

things i never thought i would say

the postal service is growing on me.

i think beyond the casual-listen pop appeal, they've always driven me up the wall with increased exposure (ie listening to half the album in someone's car). these last few weeks, hearing a song or two now and then, i'm liking some of it. question is, is this just going to fade again with exposure?

Monday, April 14, 2008

some people deserve what they get

i like to make regular donations to the library. they appreciate it more when i give them money 25 cents at a time, in appreciation for the chance to take a book out a little longer than originally planned. as i'm waking up to make sure i stop running up fines on the books due two days ago, and digging books due tomorrow out of several different hiding places, i have one conclusion. i deserve library fines. three years ago, i never would have thought i'd be like this.

extreme kyle

extreme kyle is an imaginary friend of mine who does not exist. when i say this, i do not intend to be redundant. i do not actually have an imaginary friend named extreme kyle (or any imaginary friends, it's kinda sad). thus, he does not exist.

i learned today that shy is selfish. shy is selfish, people!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

i don't believe in regrets

i love breakfast, i'm in love with breakfast, i've been waiting my whole life for something like breakfast, and i'm not going to let it go.

due to a very foolish trick i played on my friends last night (not telling them they had walked well past the point where they needed to take a left turn to head over to georgetown) we ended up at a grocery store. this allowed us to buy some truly tasty food. what really impressed me were the "energy bars." these are not normal energy bars. they're in the baked goods section, along with the bagels, and are filled with (as best i can tell/figure) raisins, currants (maybe), apples, and perhaps some nuts or something else. there's a hint of cinnamon and an excellent texture. so very tasty. now, go find me some more of those.

Friday, April 11, 2008

15 ways to avoid eating breakfast

i made the mistake yesterday of buying not only a muffin with some frightening goo in the middle, but also of assuming that said muffin and fancy juice in a plastic bottle would cost me less than $6. i was at the airport, so prices are bound to be ridiculous, but fortunately the muffin was so smashed in my carry-on that i just ate around the cream cheese-esque filling. the juice was from the front of the fridge - another mistake - and not particularly cold.

as it ended up, that was the only thing i ate all day other than a black bean salad. at 10pm, starving, i was given an energy bar. i lay awake for hours wishing i'd eaten dinner.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

the perils of reading

since i am in the middle of moving, i thought it would be a fantastic idea to check about 20 lbs of nonfiction books out of the library. thus, in the past several days, i have read four new volumes, or parts of them. i keep leaving them in odd places like under my desk at work, and yet there are always more to choose from. now, if only i enjoyed the other 16 books i have out from the library so much.

Monday, March 31, 2008

better than it might sound

after calling tom (who may not use that nickname anymore) to discuss my rejection letter from cal state, i reread it. there's some odd language regarding my failure to qualify for the program, but other than that it's praise and encouragement. they even told me to apply again if i'm still interested. i'd missed that the first time through. it can be so painful to read rejections, but of course this one doesn't read like most of them. maybe like writers are nicer people or something, but no poli sci program that rejected me ever said something like that. one time a major tech firm rejected me but hedged with 'your interest in software did not go unnoticed by the recruiter.' so yeah, they told me to try applying again as well. i had said earlier that i probably don't deserve to get into an mfa program considering the effort i've put in. that's probably the wrong way to put it. considering how early i am in my development, the whole letter thing isn't that bad.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

so so awesome

one of the best days i can remember here. too hard to explain all the things, so a few, mostly irrelevant, things i did today.

-participated in a team dance competition, avoided completely embarrassing myself, and our team won

-got some serious encouragement regarding my irrational desire to attend oregon when i can get into much higher-ranked programs

-saw an old man staring, standing completely still, at a couple dudes eating dinner in a restaurant.

-ate pumpkin ravioli

-wore a wristwatch. i rarely do this.

-played urban capture the flag

-drank soda from one of those gigantic bowl-like mugs

-spent a good deal of time in my new neighborhood, and greatly enjoyed it

21st century diary

reading a magazine which styles itself rather futuristically, i was impressed by this one little word highlighted in blue. i immediately thought, 'oh, i should follow that link.' magazines don't have hypertext links. so why the heck should they use the visual language of a web page that does?

Friday, March 28, 2008

i'm still looking

it's not very often you come home after an evening with friends and realize you've had yellow wax stuck to your face all night. we have these massive new candles, and i thought i'd do the right thing and blow them out before leaving the apartment. well, the first try didn't go so well; the candle went out and hot wax sprayed everywhere. i just hadn't realize my face took some of the damage.

my roommate brought home some odd but very cool shelves a few weeks ago, one red and one white. they're rectangles, except they're designed as if the sharp points of the corners have been cut off. the effect is futuristic, but futuristic as envisioned some time ago. i can't quite place them temporally. of course, i had to shoot some photos of the shelves, none of which came out quite right. a day later, they had stuff on them and my window of opportunity had passed.

tonight i came very close to blurting out the fact that i'd dreamed about a girl. a specific girl. who i don't know very well. i've heard that when you dream about someone it means you like them; i'm sure there is not a one-to-one correspondence there, but it's accurate this time. so i have a crush on a million odd girls and one of them pops up in a dream. probably about all that'll come of it. i'm being honest, nothing more.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

the guessing game

since the portable music device is looking more and more to have fallen completely out of the picture (aka time to budget out a major purchase again), i've been listening as usual lately to internet radio. i've discovered maybe some groups worth a second look, but what i'm more interested in right now is proving my ability to recognize singers whose work i do not own. today i got two:

-jolie holland (i've owned two tracks by her)

-maria taylor (saw her in concert a year ago and 'a good start' was once one of the most-played tracks on the missing device)

so maybe i'm not that awesome after all, but it's not like i'm going to be able to recognize parks and recreation after hearing one song of theirs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

songs of the week, wk 20

-'la femme d'argent'

-'the birds start talking english'

-'black water child'

considering the 'breadth' of music i've been listening to lately, it's somewhat surprising that there isn't more crazy newness going on here. maybe it's just taking time to sink in. hard to put a jenny owen youngs song up here when i can't remember what she sounds like.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

it didn't take

there have been a few occasions recently when i've thought 'where's my red hat,' and only later realized the answer is 'in the pantry with the rest of the food.' for at least a month and a half, the hat was wrapped up in a plastic bag on my food shelf, because it had a lollipop stuck to the side. i'd been eating the rather tasteless lollipop and thought 'what would this do to my hat if i stuck it to the side?' of course, it stuck on well, but once i took it off and cleaned the hat, there were no lasting effects. it would have been interesting if the dye of the hat had somehow reacted to the sugar, but that really isn't something you'd expect to happen.

Friday, March 21, 2008

a few of the shinier things

since i have to move out of my apartment, i figured i should describe a few of the things i'll miss:

-roommates, that's natural, but we've got some special ones here. one makes you laugh by even appearing during 'waking hours' on a weekday; one of them is a graphic designer and photographer, which has led more than a few acquaintances to ask if i'm the graphic designer in the apt; and generally they're all cool and kind and fun.

-couches, which i was afraid of for a great many months (we had none when i moved in, and the office chairs in the living room were comfortable). there's not much better than watching tv in the dark on the couches here.

-refrigerator, which is faux wood paneled...or is that real...

-wind chimes that echo from somewhere nearby. makes sitting or sleeping on the couch late at night a great time even with no tv.

-biggest loft ever, which is more of a treehouse/fort/awesome land of solitude, and which i have equipped with a charming mini theater.

-front porch, on which to make phone calls in the rain in a damp hoodie. delightful.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

helping reality compete

i used to own a skateboard with 14 wheels. each is similar to what you'd see on an inline skate, and seven are mounted at each end of the board on curved rail-like trucks. the reason i bought it was that it was supposed to mimic the experience of snowboarding, but on dry pavement. another big factor was that it was short enough to carry on an airplane. while it did go to japan with me, the skateboard was so awful to ride that the transportability quickly became irrelevant. while nearly useless as a method of transportation, the skateboard was an amazing conversation starter. probably eighty percent of people who rode in an elevator with me while i had the board asked about it. my longboard drew far less attention. one time a group of people in florida talked to me because of the longboard, but that was because i had yellow hair and they were amused at the fact that they'd seen me on it earlier in the day and here i was staying in their hotel. the fourteen-wheeled skateboard's best moment might have been the time a pack of teenaged skateboarders saw me carrying it (it's much better than having to ride the thing) and stopped me because they wanted to try it out. one of them did some nice kick flips and the like, then took a picture with me and the board.

at this point, however, the skateboard's most powerful legacy is its message - 'helping reality compete.' that was one of several slogans i scrawled on the bottom of it, and the most significant one right now (maybe later we'll talk about 'buy japanese,' but i can't see 'surfers for sun' being much more than a joke i write on my things to make them a little more 'mine'). when i was writing and thinking about 'reality' back then, i believed in the idea that it's important to engage your actual life. i still believe that, or i wouldn't be thinking about this, but i find myself struggling to accept the actuality of my life. lately i have made some real positive moves that have given me exciting options for my future. however, i've spent a lot of time drowning myself in escapist pasttimes, mostly watching television and also reading. the literature situation isn't so bad, perhaps. part of the whole point is to read a lot so that i'll know more about writing. this goal encourages me to stick to material that's got some style or substance to it - clever or insightful, not just entertaining. i think, though, that given my overall dissatisfaction with my actual life, reading runs the danger of being simply a more engaging form of evasion. for some reason though, i'm just scared right now. i'm scared about moving and how i'll adapt; i'm scared when i think that i might be saying no to school again, but i really just need to stand up a little more to the scariness and try not to hide under a blanket of distractions.

songs of the week, wk 19

-'kicking the heart out'

-'alone in kyoto'

-'tears for affairs'

i think i may have permanently lost my portable music player. that's not as bad this past week as it might have been a few months ago, since my favorite internet radio is working for me again at the office.

skipping bdb since 2007

in terms of my musical taste, i have to admit i'm easily influenced by criticisms i hear, but the influence wears off if i'm deeply commmitted to an artist. for some reason, it didn't take much to turn me off badly drawn boy. i think somebody saw him live and it wasn't that great. fact is, i like maybe 5% of his songs that i've heard, and i like them a lot, but i just can't stand a lot of what he's done. when he pops up on the internet radio, i am usually inclined to skip.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

massive rally against unnecessary clothing

i've got to move again in about 10 days, and i'm thinking that any clothing i haven't worn in 2 years has got to go. it's pretty sad sometimes to think about what it means to be an american. i have a tuxedo, which was a kind gift. i envision no occasion to which i would wear a tuxedo. there are a couple pair of track pants in my possession, one of which i tend to feel i can't wear very much because they're very clean. the other pair has been around a while and paid its dues. i have a pair of sweats i wear only to softball games. these are rather old, i think my parents got them for me in high school, so part of the problem here is that i've retained too many things, not just that i have purchased too many things. still, while the sweats barely reach my ankles, if i'd had to economize, they render both pair of track warmups unnecessary. i do attempt to purchase things from second hand shops because it's affordable and a good environmental decision, but the thing that persists is the desire to acquire more. it's kinda sad.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

we all crave choices

or i do, at least. on a day when i'm feeling somewhere between awful and awesome, having stayed home from church with an unnerving continuance of the mysterious malaise/illness that's plagued me all week, i feel somewhat obligated to contemplate a bit. in the past year or two, my habits and hobbies have changed a good deal. i've been on the job market, though not in a consistently active manner, for nearly a year and a half. i am in the early stages of proving that, while i possess skills that seem irresistible to university staff who take the time to interview me, i have little chance of getting one of those interviews from an institution that's in a different locale than i am. in the year since i nearly quit my current job, i have come into favor with the leadership, ensuring impeccable references when i do make up my mind to move on. that's an empowering thought; i can leave with a decent level of support, because even if i'm not moving on to anything definite, they know that now is a good time to broaden myself. if i'm going to just move away with no prospects in immediate sight, i can make the argument that it's time to branch out, and they'll understand. i've also wrangled things such that i have the option of going to school in the fall. hooray. for now, however, i'm just waiting to see what options i do have for school. i'm not at all convinced i will choose to go, but i'm totally loving the fact that i have that option.

Monday, March 10, 2008

bake sell

i was excited this morning to find out there was a bake sale on the 3rd floor. one of my coworkers quickly roused me for the journey downstairs, and we arrived while the prices were still being set. i bought a couple cupcakes and a slice of cake, figuring it didn't really matter how much i spent to support a good cause. upon returning to my desk to begin eating, i read the actual email announcement and found out i was supporting someones' r&r fund. what?

songs of the wk, wk 18


-'the pageant of the bizzarre'

-'alpha beta gaga'

i found a bunch of my favorite cds, all of which i thought had disappeared forever. i'd really been hating the fact that i might have to buy them all over again.

Friday, March 07, 2008

cause for celebration

good news today. hooray!

songs of the week, wk 17

-'your place'

-'one evening'

-'green arrow'

a funny thing happened to me this week: after my roommate had advised me that the best thing to do was generate options for my future, all of a sudden i had a whole bunch of options i'd never expected to be there. part of it was due to long hours of preparation and waiting for the right opportunity. there was also some unexpected surprises that likewise were only good surprises because of longstanding efforts to adapt. things do flower at certain moments, or seem to, but there's a lot of work behind those momentous accidents.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

no more move

i found out this morning that, much as i had feared, the sweet new apartment fell through. not sure what my would-have-been roommates are doing, but i am disappointed. it's hard to get all psyched up to move, even if it's in the same city, and not have things go through. i suppose the fact that i've been through this before makes it easier; at least this wasn't a change in job/geographical location that i thought would go through and didn't.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

songs of the week, wk 16


-'give it away'

it's worth mentioning that i liked ben folds a lot back when he first came to prominence getting radio airplay and everything. i have to say, although i waited in line for ever and ever to get prime seats to see him live when he played campus, i hadn't heard a lot of his stuff since those first couple of albums. it's good to know i'm still a fan, actually, because i've gotten sick of a lot of things. maybe it helps that i haven't actively been listening to his music for a decade or however long it's been.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

calm down again

i have some sort of obsession with doing things that other people wouldn't do. this is going to be hard to explain, because it's not like this is always going on with me; i swear half the time at least i'm just being myself. however, i caught myself earlier today thinking about some sort of hypothetical situation. after trying to puzzle over what i would do, i just thought, 'well, i hope that's different than what most people would try.' i have no memory of what it even was, but somehow my competitive streak combines with this desire to be different. it's not even necessary; odd ideas and actions seem to come naturally enough. apparently some of the funniest stuff i say is when i'm not joking at all. so if everyone's like this, how do we ever differentiate ourselves? it's easy to be like the one who wears shirts inside-out, but what if you had to be like the guy who only does that on opposite thursdays that have a record high temperature? see, everyone else would be pulling all this weird stuff too, and you'd have to outdo them. it shouldn't be a competition; i mean, maybe i need to take up some type of sport again. i could invent something, like something completely ridiculous, or just compete at something no one cares about. meanwhile, it's time to get back to normal. i have to stop leaving my roommates' parties early and reading in my bedroom. no more staying home on fridays to watch endless episodes of the same tv show. i'm done with this. i'm going to watch a bunch of foreign films and maybe go to a concert for like some rock band that gets played on the radio. maybe i'll apply to business school. oh, and ok, wanna know the big secret? i applied to four grad programs already this year.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

realizing sunset is beginning

i found this wristband yesterday. the kind that you use to wipe sweat off your forehead. i'd completely forgotten i owned it, but as recently as the Christmas break i was wearing it day and night. weird how that goes. found a t-shirt recently that i keep losing. it's a voxtrot shirt; part of my brilliant plan to be more transparent. 'i listen to indie stuff!' ok, now i know what to put on the next t-shirt.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

if there's nothing else

songs i have heard too many times on internet radio:

'as young as you feel'

'rose colored times'

'rosebush inside'


'one great city!'

i heard 3 of these in my first forty minutes of listening this am. you know they're abusing their power when they take something you liked the first time and play it every single day, sometimes more than once, until you realize it wasn't that great of a song to begin with. what's the problem with maybe every classic rock station in existence? playlist is too shallow. well, same problem will kill anything, so when it's internet radio based on my 'choices,' that's bad. i am gonna have to only set up stations for stuff i don't care about. i've still gotta like it, just stuff that isn't dear to my heart and that i don't own.

3 ideas:



rilo kiley

Saturday, February 16, 2008

all messed up again

somewhere in the past few days, i got it into my head that i needed a new haircut. not the kind that you get just anywhere, the kind that says 'not only did i do this myself, i have no idea why i thought i could pull it off.' the weird part is, i saw one of my friends afterwards and she didn't say a thing. not sure if it was out of politeness or what, but it didn't make a lot of sense to me that she missed it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

that taste

i'm satisfied, deeply satisfied in a way that i haven't felt in some time. i got my applications in for grad school. i knew i'd be relieved; what i wasn't expecting was the sense of accomplishment. i wonder at the powers that worked against me, those internal hesitations, failures of resolve that stood in my way. i've been here before, and it was never this hard. sure, i always got behind, but i pulled everything together and maybe i'll have some options come this fall. i sincerely hope next year goes more smoothly. i may have to start now; well, if i start now that's really going to make it easy. eventually i'll get this down; like when you've been to so many job interviews you know how to play the game the right way. ok, i'll admit it - when it comes to that sort of thing, the confidence really comes when i know more than just what types of questions to expect. when i know i really can do the job, there's a sense of complete confidence that kicks in. i think maybe it's just a communication thing. when they explain themselves clearly enough to me that i know what i'm getting into and how i can fit their expections, i'm more likely to be able to get my point across as well. why is it that we can all accept jobs but shy away from relationships? oh, the whole financial incentive thing...that's gotta be it. i'm pretty sure i'd be unemployed if i could afford it. i mean, if i could afford it in perpetuity.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

finally, a song i'll listen to daily and smile

Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 19:59:49 -0600 (CST)
From: Your internet radio station (make list)
Subject: Happy Valentine's Day

Dear Listener,

You have earned the following Valentine's Day reward:

One (1) stream of 'Island in the Sun.'

We hope you enjoy this song as much as we do. We hope you have the opportunity this Valentine's Day to spend some quality time with your family and friends.

Love, The internet radio station you created

PS - We may or may not play this daily, don't get your hopes up.

everyday concoctions: fruit punch hot chocolate

hot chocolate powder - 1 package
fruit punch - 1 part
hot water - 4 parts

add water and fruit punch to cup. stir in hot chocolate powder. mix until fully dissolved.

like liquid cherry chocolates, probably cheap ones. for better taste, i suggest reducing the fruit punch to water ratio. i used somewhat lukewarm water, which was a bad idea considering the fruit punch started out cold. i did share with the sink, which seemed to appreciate my generosity.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

up against another wall

for some reason, every time i come to a key decision about moving on or staying here, i seem to start out with a definite conviction of what i want to do. after that, it seems i get completely lost and confused as if i'd never made up my mind in the first place. that's exactly what's going on right now, and i'm two days past my deadline. what is going on here? if i had a better sense of the future, it would be easier to figure this out...but no one knows what's going on. will the economy prevent easy job transfers for a couple of years? will something better come along in months? once again, i'm totally lost. i suppose i have an innate fear of making a big mistake that leads me to have this incredible difficulty sticking with a decision.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


without realizing the odd coincidence of it, i went out today for some hard core library-sitting, wearing the sort of prep all-star outfit i used to wear to the library in college. you know, khakis (the same ones, actually), sport coat, untucked dress shirt. i even ironed the dress shirt. i was thinking about how ridiculous that was - i just ironed a shirt so i can go to the library. so was some subconscious trigger set off that told me to dress the part, or is it just another chapter in the endless random act of being myself? i'll leave the philosophizing to others.

Friday, February 08, 2008


i've had it with this streaming radio stuff. i keep trying to make a decent custom station, so i can have my own station that only plays stuff i like. the playing stuff i like part is getting better. the playing the same thing over and over again isn't. is there a reason i want to listen to one song by don peris over and over again but nothing else from him? or the innocence mission?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

trying times

tonight, we attempt to answer a question:

can a computer be used to accomplish anything of cultural or personal significance?

so far, the answer is no.

Monday, February 04, 2008

what has cold water done for you?

neighbor: 'all of you young kids never complain'

hey, we've been accused of worse

the hot water didn't work at all this morning. i was running too late to really care - cold water may have saved me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


should it be all that surprising that this was the last state i thought of when i had to try writing down a list of the 50 states? i was in a race against two of my friends, and came in third, but i didn't mind. some things you're simply glad you made it to the finish line. i did think at one point 'what about that state with no speed limits?' but i got confused and was thinking it was north dakota that used to have no speed limit. it would be easier to remember the states if i had a better picture of the map of the country in my head. i started with the northeast and worked south, then west along the southern border of the country, and up the west coast. I did my best to make my way back east along the northern border, but at that point i was reverting to thinking of states i hadn't named yet. i got about 40 without really slowing from my methodical pace, but from there i had to think a lot before coming up with the remaining states. they mostly trickled in one by one. oh, iowa, of course! illinois,how is that not on there yet? i failed at this same task in high school, and it may well have been montana that tripped me up back then as well.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

shopping day

those who know me well will not be surprised to hear it's taken me an awfully long time to replace my aging mobile phone. i have developed the idea that i really need to get one that's used or refurbished, so as to lessen the environmental impact of my purchase. having thoroughly researched phones, looked for good prices, missed opportunities to buy a few, i finally bought one today online. it won't show up for a while yet...but i realize i may be in for a big disappointment. i mean, maybe it'll be complete junk, and it just might be in almost as bad shape as my current phone...which is to say, the down key might not work all the time. there also could be loose panels, broken features, and who knows what else wrong with it.

i did not, however, buy the jacket my friend says makes me look like a supermodel. this is clearly a mistake. potentially, this purchase may have too much environmental and human rights impact for me to really feel good about it, but now i won't ever know what life as a supermodel is like. can i really have the experience of fashion/attractiveness excellence without paying the real price? no tiring photo shoots in embarrassing outfits, no annoying conversations with tv hosts who make awkward remarks about their unchaste feelings towards me, no otherworldly experiences with diet and exercise routines, no dating self-important stars from other walks of life, and no inane product endorsements to help grow the empire. all i get is the heart-melting visual presence of a supermodel. there is little doubt about this. i went online after returning home to find the jacket, and i actually look better in the jacket than the models on the site. i suppose the question that remains in my mind at this point is, 'how do i avoid letting this go to my head.'

Friday, February 01, 2008

vital signs

some people you walk past seem to catch your eye with a definite intent. i say 'seem to,' because a lot of the time i feel like you've happened across them in a certain frame of mind, like they were gazing out at the world with a look that meant something to no one other than themselves and you accidentally stumbled into it.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

unintended consequences

tonight, instead of going to bed, i have been doing who knows what. in the meantime, i have used my computer as both a light and, unintentionally, a blanket-heater. it makes a decent heater. it's not great as a light. seeing by the light of the computer when it's up on the loft is tricky.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

who am i kidding?

thought it would be good to write
reasons i exist despite
a lack of something significant
or persistence of woeful extravagance

i seem to find myself unengaged,
free of cares and sadly overaged
no kids to break my newest toys
or ask me to assemble theirs

i wonder why my meals are spent
distracted only by entertainment
some purpose to this type of existence?
just a cog and a lonely one

mere days separate me from other days
past photographs now seem a better reality
this isn't the life for which i'd planned
where's my wife and where's my minivan?

Monday, January 28, 2008

things i like about life

not sure why, but...i had to go outside to make a call, and i was really enjoying the fact that i would be wearing the sweatshirt i'd just used to wipe up the water i delightfully ridiculous. so yeah, it didn't bother me once i was out there.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

songs of the week, wk 12


-'out of town'

-'my body is a cage'

on 'simple things,' zero 7 do a fantastic job of staying on the right side of the line between fluff and musical bliss. any group that uses jose gonzalez as a collaborator clearly knows their music. 'out of town' is so precariously close to something awful that it's a treat to enjoy its subtleties. the arcade fire get a spot this week thanks not to any romantic frustration of mine but to 'the diving bell and the butterfly,' which provides an entirely new context in which to appreciate the closing track of 'neon bible.'

Friday, January 25, 2008

so what if he has a wand

manager-to-manager question of the day:

"i don't think the wizard has that trender. do you think he does?"

yes, they were talking about work. when i'm in charge, everything we say all day long is going to sound like that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

out of something

monday i was out of town half the day, tuesday i found out i'd be headed out thurs for a day trip to puerto rico, and today i worked late. with all this coming and going, there is this interesting vibe going this week, where i feel like i'm living a rather different life than i usually do. maybe it was renting that quirky convertible, maybe it's reading hawthorne, but certainly it's been fun.

Monday, January 21, 2008

a little less glimmer

dear all mobile phone manufacturers,

blue-lit keys are just done. completely done. i'm sure there's a few people who still buy for that feature alone; try having one option for them at least. or three.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

dug up for the day

i think a while ago i was almost going to see the high dials live. i'm thinking it's got something to do with the fact that they once opened for neko case. i'm guessing they'd be impressive live; from my recollection i didn't make it for the opener. that was much more ok than the time i didn't realize it was the elected who were the openers for the magic numbers. i missed half the elected's set and hated the magic numbers. i was interviewed and photographed for this piece, and i'm pretty sure my photo came out most awful. i'm guessing they spotted me in the crowd because i was wearing mj's old blue ski hat with double pom poms and the ear flaps that tie at the bottom. it sits way high on my head since it's so small; the effect is pretty comical.