Thursday, December 31, 2009


i haven't felt so much like describing in detail what went down these past ten years, but i think i've captured the general idea: during this decade, i realized i was creative.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

smarter people would have hidden

i still think it's time to review things. in reviewing the year, i would say most of my experiences were forgettable. i didn't go on any huge trips. i lived in two different apartments, one of which i had lived in before. i went to a lot of concerts. trying to pick the best, all i can remember right now is that m. ward was awesome. i tried not to spend my days crawling as deep into the earth as i could without losing my way.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

this year in literature

since i find the end of the year to be an excellent time for reflection, it is certainly and definitely probable that i will have to review what has happened in this past year.

so now we come to literature, a topic on which i have much to say and all of it definitively bold in flavor. i probably did not read a single book in the year 2009 that was published in the year 2009. as such, i find it necessary to fabricate a number of books for this segment.

the blueberry triumph
by rolanda smelting

i found most scenes in this novel to be emotional, but in the way that attending a premier of your roommate's film is emotional when he was most likely left out of the end credits because he stole the director's necktie. you keep wanting something important to happen, or at least to get the sense of a possibility something will happen. instead, you find yourself sliding in and out of lucidity as you either slept too long or ate more than one bag of something that looks like shrimp if swedish fish were shaped like crustaceans.

everyone in the future wears foam watches
by lalliopreten delbn

most of my favorite books have several distinct themes. i often find it useful to read critical essays on the books before digesting the original text, because that way i know what not to think. in the end,,,however, it is most likely that i end up concluding there were more themes that the original critics missed, and in the case of this book, i detected at least three more than the zero i had read in the material that prepared me for the novel itself. ghostly images embedded in cathode ray tubes. nighttime grooming habits of security guards. the texture of ribbed cotton. when ideas like this inform a novel not just in form but in content, i am almost immediately able to abandon my idea of what to expect and give myself completely to the author. in fact, i send my sincere congratulations to delbn for convincing me that i need to get back in the habit of preparing for all possibilities. not to give too much away, but there aren't a lot of people in the future.

by lart rob

rob has become one of my favorite authors simply by defying my expectations. specifically, he boldly refuses to do anything that strikes me as impressive, and that is what has won me over so completely to his style of prose. i have a great deal of affection for authors with certain aesthetic features to their work, but rob has the daring to write in a way that seemingly fits in with every experience in any person's life. his refusal to bow to conventions of literary elitism allows him to cleverly explore situations familiar to many of his readers. rather than puzzling over our experiences because they are presented in a way that reflects our lives from a different angle, we puzzle because we see nothing at all unusual. in rob's fictional world, we become the author and our lives become literature. this is a book you put down, only to fall more completely into its fiction, struggling forever to find your way back.

Friday, December 25, 2009

the gift of folk

my gift to one of my parents this year was the monsters of folk album. for one thing, there is some great music there. people don't always know about stuff they would totally like if they had a chance to hear it. then there's the fact that i wanted to give some books as well, and my plan to include copies of post-war, conor oberst and possibly veckatimest or actor wouldn't have worked. of course the last two aren't connected to monsters of folk, but for a great album that's connected to a lot of other good stuff, that worked.

my wishes regarding music releases mostly came true. let's take a look at what the results were. keep in mind that i am bound by convention to stick to the improvised order of my original list.

air - new album seems decent; have not heard it; hoping i can figure a way into the concert (conflicts with a class i want to take)

kings of convenience - have heard 'boat behind' and loved it; working to acquire the album

rhett miller - (the only one i actually knew was coming out) shocked by the critical reception; bought the album and skipped the concert, which reverses the usual pattern. good stuff.

the shins - no album. shed members; unfortunately one of them was not eric johnson (but see below...)

voxtrot - no album. i refuse to recommend again the earnest but appealing single that no one should ever recommend to anyone.

calexico - no album, and my real gaffe as i had not realized one came out in '08.

neko case - own the album, hear it's the queue

fionn regan - *electric* album out feb 2010; heard one single and hated hated hated it. not because of what it is but what it isn't. so yes, this is a super mini reduced tiny version of what dylan's fans felt like when he went electric. so the career path is still on track.

nedelle and thom - no album; that was wishful thinking.

the postmarks - hear the album is good; probable long term acquisition.

fruit bats - supposedly their best. eric johnson still has time for his own band, which is nice. missed the tour and was too cheap to buy this.

the elected - no album.

kruder & dorfmeister - no album; 2nd complete fantasy.

zero 7 - enjoyable, but a small disappointment. staying power unknown.

explosions in the sky - no album.

loch lomond - an ep. have not heard it. (is this a push?)

excluding rhett (insider info), loch lomond (not sure what to do about an ep), and the genie in a bottle selections, i was six for twelve. that's thrilling, considering this was a spontaneous thing. air and zero 7 were totally due, yes, but so were the elected. trying again for 2010 at some point. no research allowed, other than checking through my library. i seriously can't remember all of these people. five artists i can remember: jens lekman, st. vincent, beirut, wolf parade, (at this point i am thinking hard to remember anyone) john vanderslice.

in my longish thinking for #4, there were literally two artists who came to mind before vanderslice: broken social scene; feist. i couldn't count them because i own 1 album by those two combined. so preview-wise for '10: #1 on the list: jens lekman. i'll put wolf parade and feist on there too, though i suspect those are bad choices based on chronological discography. can i cross wolf parade off? krug and mercer have way too many other projects and i am fairly certain this one had an album in 08 or even 09. that seems like a mega-dumb choice. now i'm stuck predicting instead of just wishing, but the facts are that i feel a little bit excited about getting half of last year's picks.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

an exchange

oh, we have chocolate. it's a necessity these days. most of the pilgrims wouldn't dare go without their own supply, and thus we end up with the excess. it piles up.

turkeys. carrot peelings. the occasional bag of flour. more and more piles to separate. organizational patterns begin to break. let everyone have their pick, and deal with the aftermath.

Monday, December 21, 2009

it's really just all in the soil

let's say you have an orchard. just a couple of trees, maybe five, but a collection of trees that grows the most delicious fruit in existence. so you think carefully about what you might do with these trees. perhaps you should be looking for seeds. if there's fruit there has to be seeds. could you plant more of these trees in case the originals die? or maybe you're worried that the fruit from the orchard will run out, that your trees have perhaps already used up half their good years and you'll soon run out of fruit all together. but perhaps you're wondering why no one is coming to uproot your trees in the middle of the night, or simply cut them down out of pure jealousy and eat the last few precious fruits themselves. so you consider building a larger fence around the trees, and then you wonder if maybe the problem is just that you'll always love your own fruit more than anything else.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

coming soon to a city or two

we are two days away from holiday travel adventure part one! i am looking forward to some incredible adventures. if you want to get in on the fun, check out the following recipe:

holiday travel adventure

mix one part surprisingly long vacation with two parts roundtrip airfare. car or bus travel will also do for those who own cars and buses. sprinkle with random packing advice (for instance: the neighbors will probably call the police if they see you on your skateboard). fold in several parts online shopping, and let stand for one hour. top with two parts carry-on luggage, three parts figuring out how to bring along textbooks, and four parts not bringing musical instruments so they will not be destroyed by approved security staff.

oh yeah, and a real nasty shout-out to whoever from tsa opened the bottle of vanilla in my luggage then let it leak all over my stuff. you know what? i can't even guarantee you didn't actually pour it on my stuff, government bully. that was a great christmas gift last year, people. you stink. oh, sorry, i mean, you made all my stuff stink--and then apparently someone else from tsa opened my bag again because of the smell. come on. you're not even doing yourselves any favors with your little sabotage.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

have not been hungry all day

this morning, i ate two large pancakes. between the pancakes were two cinnamon rolls, two slices of danish, a frosted filled donut, and a generous amount of whipped cream. this was topped with original flavor syrup, chocolate syrup, more whipped cream, bran flakes, and a cream cheese-frosted carrot cake muffin.

while i ate this, i took a phone call and someone put another half a pancake on the pile without me knowing. overall, the concoction was tasty, although the raspberry danish did not go well with everything else.

i have one more donut which i have no immediate need to eat.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

possible topics of debate

today's highlights:

swedish-made synthesizers with slanted tops are less useful for stacking things on than non-swedish-made synthesizers that are flat on top.

i have yet to fully convince myself that i do not own enough hooded sweatshirts.

there is still whipped cream in the fridge, so i will be making some extremely unhealthy pancakes soon.

"gold" potatoes with pepper, salt, and instant garlic powder are delicious when combined with cheese and a gigantic tortilla.

when one video is not streaming well, other videos on the same site are unlikely to stream well.

there are now four empty soda cans on my desk.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

still 0 for the postseason

let's talk about things that are good...lemme see...recommended the new voxtrot song to a friend and then went home to listen to it since i just remembered i had liked it but thought there might have been too much profanity for my taste, but realized it's just embarrassingly um...i do not recommend that anyone listen to that song, ok? ok. that's not good. running shoes wore out. not good either

but my sleeping bag is back! yes! because if you can't get 25 years out of bedding, why are you buying it in the first place?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

the busy life of the grad student

to do list:
check credit card balance
fold the world into a ball, a fairly paper-like ball, the sort of ball you would be satisfied with in a waste-basket shooting type situation, and describe how the center of that ball is a single individual
find out which author i am supposed to read for next week
post about the movie we watched in class
avoid eating cereal for a single day
email course selections for next term
brain story
5-part short fiction narrative
self-indulgent music-focused story
prioritize list of concerts to attend

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

lemonade times

i have two objections to your attempts to include yourself in my life. first, you aren't capable of intelligible speech. precisely no one is willing to sit here and decipher your terminology. perhaps you should hire a translator, otherwise the rest of the world is about to lose touch with you altogether. second, and more important, is your unwillingness to peel peaches. you've been around long enough to understand that peach lemonade is the blood that flows through my veins, as well as my main source of income. not everyone can station themselves within my circle of influence, because there just isn't enough time for me to watch out for everyone in this city. i've been hiding out for a few months now, looking for somewhere more permanent. you'll have to believe me when i say that it isn't getting any easier to track down a destination suitable for everyone i'd be interested in bringing along. it's like plastic rabbits. you have a yard, you can only put so many plastic rabbits in it before it looks ridiculous. you have more plastic rabbits, you need a bigger yard. i'm not interested in a bigger yard, or more plastic rabbits. i'm especially not interested in plastic rabbits that can't peel peaches.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

oh those sharks

i like sharks. i like reading about sharks, feeding sharks, and making home movies with my pet sharks. most sharks are nice once you get to know them. a shark friend of mine gave me cookies for my birthday last year, and they were the tastiest cookies i have personally eaten in my life. because of my deep respect for sharks, i do not eat shark meat. i have considered moving to an all-carnivore diet, since it seems fair to eat animals that eat other animals. i don't mean the sneaky way either, where they have ground up bits of some other type of animal mixed in their feed. thus, chicken, bacon, pork, beef, ham, and such things are out. i'm not huge on seafood, but that's probably where i could find something to eat that fits my new dietary guidelines. maybe they serve eel some places. eels seem like they're scary enough that they probably eat things. i'm not sure i want to eat an eel though. is it possible that octopi are carnivores?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

you and your sidewalks

you're walking by a fire hydrant, but it isn't a fire hydrant. what else could this actually be? is there a reason for something, small and cylindrical in nature, to be stuck on the street. it won't budge. in fact, your foot is hurting severely now. kicking that thing was a bad idea.

with the slight limp you have acquired, you wince your way further, past stains and signs and the ordinary sort of litter found in big cities. you're drawn now, caught just barely by a feeling. not one you can explain. your ears aren't tingling, or searching for a far-off sound. your eyes focus not on a destination but on the idea of finding this new goal. you have no idea what it might be. still it draws you. no one is baking fresh rolls to entice your overdeveloped sense of smell. you can almost feel a breeze on your skin, though you are wearing a thick coat. something is almost there, dancing out of reach. the subtlest of indications. a call not truly felt, but barely perceived.

Friday, September 25, 2009

listen up a minute

Never enter a long-term reverse donut eating contest with someone who is experimenting with a raw food diet

It is helpful to limit the number of musical artists you follow. I will now halfheartedly attempt to ignore:
OK, couldn't comeup with am honest list. Be stronger than I am.

If you want to avoid secret personality tests, never tell an English major what your favorite book is.

Five years from now it is unlikely you'll be wishing you'd spent more time playing Mansion Impossible. On the other hand, if you had a better
score than anyone you know, that fact will matter to maybe four people. That's worth something.

School was more fair when class was the only place you got assignments.

The difference between undergrad and grad school is that it's way harder as a grad student to avoid courses and professors that confuse you.

If philosophy scares you, do not attend a graduate program in the liberal arts.

Never cook anything for the first time as part of a date.

When you throw out your running shoes, save the insoles to stick in your cool sneakers that have no padding.

When you're opening the final box of Crisp Six, alarms should go off: it is time to buy more cereal.

Hobbies are expensive. On the other hand, they provide endless fodder for conversation with people who pursue the same hobbies.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bit and beaten

Tired of sitting. It has to be hard cowering all day behind the fences I built for you. Protection from little other than fortune. Harbor to the slowest of deaths. I see little benefit to our strategy. A watcher and a scared silent child.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

i have no explanations for failure

some friends of mine like embarrassing stories. how is this for an embarrassing story? i emailed my professor a link to 'stuff white people like' and he never responded. a lot of good things have happened lately, which overshadows such small matters. i used the word 'technocrat' in a conversation, providing nearly as much satisfaction as when i paid for my utilities via a magic trick. over the weekend, i was able to embarrass myself while ably concealing the degree to which i deserved to be mocked for my error.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

get that pen out right now

you've got your smiles, your grins, and your occasional ringing laughter. those ought to be enough for just about anyone, right? i can picture you more and more the way you're growing into this stuff. i expect the utility company will be checking your meters next month and sending you quite the bill for all of this. it's sad sometimes the way they profit from happiness, but i will take the bad that comes along with all this good. my brother actually has a neighbor who disconnected himself from just about everything; he walks around these days looking for anyone who'll react to the leaden expression on his face. i tried to lend him a mask my oldest brother gave me when he stopped trick or treating, so at least he can look remarkable, which may be more important than simply maintaining a human appearance. no one questions these days when there's a new game in town, but let me assure you - those smiles are not going to fade from the vogue just because someone's given yet another option to each and every household on the block. remember, you are one person, just a speck, but that speck gets a chance several times a day to broadcast this or that to all the other microdots out there. maybe that should be a smile. okay, i'll admit that isn't necessarily very different from your usual sales pitches, but like i said, i'm an independent contractor. i'm just here to turn on the tap; they don't give me money for anything else. you can shut it down after a week; doesn't cut into my check. still, as a friend, let me tell you, i'd stick with this game for the long term.

Monday, August 31, 2009

amazing recommendations for now

if you want to start appreciating the weirder music in your collection, purchase an analog modeling synthesizer. the default lame thing to do with that is make dance music, which many people have already done poorly. if you want to do something more serious/experimental, you'll find yourself looking for a degree of guidance. suddenly the deerhoof and sin fang bous type stuff is easier to appreciate during daylight hours.

see air if they tour the us this fall/winter/whenever. the 0.1185 people who took up my previous recommendation will get even more smiles out of the experience. bonus: one of the new songs is 'sing sang sung,' which is way more hilarious if you ever knew someone who liked to conjugate the english verb swim in order to make fun of the silly sounding english language. note: air is a good example of french people acting like they're way cooler than you because they think it's funny. if that's not true, just pretend it is and (again) get even more smiles out of the concert experience for taking my advice.

start a textbook company that isn't trying to rip people off. apparently the new way to fight the tyranny of used textbook sales is to convince schools to push the use of a paid website that you sell access to as part of a textbook bundle. those who purchase the textbook used don't get access, until they pay for the site on top of their used textbook cost.

when starting a band that pushes the limits of a particular genre, don't necessarily bother listening to anyone who's trying to do the same thing. hopefully you'll push the limits in a different direction by default.

during a move, throw out all items that are not useful or valuable. sentimental value should only count in rare instances.

the best way to save money on sporting equipment is to avoid knowing anything about new developments - this is true of all things, but if you're american you probbaly own specialized equipment for five sports you play intermittently. it's easier to avoid news on tennis rackets than mobile phones, you know? example: when was the last time the nyt ran an article on a tennis racket? how about a smartphone? personal note: i went to the driving range with my roommate's 2nd hand rusty clubs and had a blast. i have never been able to hit a driver but finally was able to get that to work intermittently. if you'd told me those were the best clubs in the world and they'd looked the part, i would have believed you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

sidewalk chattter

imagine an animal. sort of like a guard dog. this dog, however has no teeth. its paws are the size of weather balloons. each hair in its coat is made of a different type of paper. somewhere on this dog is a long hair made of money. somewhere else is a carbon copy of your birth certificate. at least seventeen of the hairs are falling slowly from the dog's body as it shakes its head at you. oddly, you notice as the dog smiles that it has a coiled tongue like a frog. you wonder if you should back away. unfortunately, as you try to leave the dog, you come in contact with an angry pillow. the pillow is yelling at you and gesturing wildly. you wish that you had taken a course on nonhuman languages in college. fortunately, the pillow has a meeting to attend and leaves. the sun does not seem to be overly bright. removing your sunglasses, you are surprised to find the dog is now smiling at you. a bird whose legs are approximately three feet in length steps into the street but does not stay within the crosswalk. this action forces a taxicab to brake suddenly; as it does, a man goes flying to the pavement, carrying a small umbrella but losing his hat in the process. his shoes are constructed from hardened sea foam, and they look comfortable. as you start to wonder where these shoes might be sold, the dog looks back in your direction, and you have two questions in your mind. you can remember also that you have spent hours wandering in the hills with this same dog. each hair that fell as you walked seemed to be a page from a different book your teachers had forced you to read in elementary school. you think more about thes questions you want to ask. no one seems to be waiting to answer them. you consider the possibility that the dog might not be your dog. your dogs coat would have poems, your friends' favorite stories, or lines from famous orators. now the question is: are you looking for a pet store or a dropped leash?

Friday, August 21, 2009

i'm a generous type

uh, hey guys - matt ward here. wanted to check in. anyone else just confused about which random hush records track is your ringtone? everytime i hear semi-familiar lo-fi strumming i start dreading it's conor bugging me about...anyway, hoping y'all just can't get enough of the august weather and stuff. ok, for real, i was having the absolute worst week. just ridiculous, like your mom steals your lunch terrible, you know? ok, but i'm cheering up, because you know maybe i was a little jealous about how well this new fruit bats disc was received and then...eric sold "when you love somebody" for a movie trailer? hahahahahahahaha rotfl!!!! i mean seriously, now that he "makes waves" with the fast crowd all the time, like what - did james mercer buy a houseboat and eric got jealous? really? some professional advice, man, you gotta stick with class, k? protect the brand, my friend. and if you need a little chance to shine after all that sidemanning, maybe you should join and tour with a folk supergroup. oh...wait...sorry, i took that gig. i'm matt ward, and i can still blast eric johnson's subtle indie nerd glasses off his face. hey eric, really, no hard feelings. we can be buddies; i'm always on the lookout for sidemen. could be worth your while, maybe if you hang out with me, i'll teach you to cleverly misspell your name.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

brush me

when i say that i am on the wall outside your bedroom window, i trust you will understand i am speaking figuratively. i can see myself plastered all around your house, so it seems nothing but fair that i be allowed to watch from outside it. though you have spent your life walking past and through me, you will appreciate this fact: i always tried not to stain your clothing, your hair, or skin. i feel more like a basis for your existence than a force that has shaped it, but i will humor myself by claiming to have some of the answers. i know what everything flows into and what it means to be blacked out. i know the sting of labels, of external creations that redefine one's identity. i have been marked, scrubbed, and covered over with fresh versions of myself. eventually i gain some character, and it's then that my value is least.

Monday, August 17, 2009

results were negative

sorry i missed the thing last night. i was on the phone with your parents and they kept shouting. i realize that i lost the pretzel-spitting contest at the stadium last week, but i didn't think being your butler for a week would involve anything this serious. please just give them the toaster back; you already have seven. i don't think anyone other than you is interested in the great wall of toast project, because basically most people have no idea why you would want to wake up surrounded by the synchronized popping of freshly browned toast, even if you are hungry in the morning and like to eat in bed. i think it's more the conceptual part of it that people haven't grasped, because i am guessing you wouldn't be spending all that time on freecycle if you weren't inspired by something more than the timely arrival of breakfast.

anyway, your dad calmed down a bit when i told him you'd reconsider the atlanta trip this fall. i know you're planning on being in a lot of one-act plays and the rehearsals will be demanding on your time, but this is your family. it might not help the cookie controversy get fixed any quicker, but at least you and your sister will have a chance to talk about something. seriously, i think the massachusetts state legislature did a lot of people a disservice by not making a real decision, but eventually the two of you will have to work something out. meanwhile, after your parents hung up, molly came by and asked if you still needed the hairdryer. i hope you aren't trying to toast anything with that, because this seems to be getting beyond eccentric and more into loony. did you see the rebroadcast of the game though? molly and i watched most of it, because we were trying to remember if the part where you decided to eat a hundred swedish fish was when the announcer got bored and started talking about jelly donuts or something about performance enhancing drugs that made you think you could pick up the couch if you ate enough sugar. we got totally distracted though because they kept showing these ads for a local deli that uses the names of us presidents in a rap. it's intoxicating; i think i'm going to make a ringtone of myself singing the chorus. i'd ask you to clarify the swedish fish thing since it's such a good story and i can't tell it right now without knowing, but molly told me we could watch some show about something else tomorrow and figure it out. oh, and the doctor's office called.

Friday, August 14, 2009

it's ok too

dan told me he is looking for something. i didn't hear these actual words, but more of a whisper. i listened carefully, because he was turning pages in the dictionary all through dinner last night. he often goes to the library with no set agenda, other than to find some books. he listens to the radio on weekends. of all my friends, he is the only one who watches documentaries. most of us laugh about that, and i don't think he cares. dan keeps a journal in which he records brief descriptions of important moments in his life. he is a thoughtful person who has been to over twenty different states in the past three years. he eats at different restaurants each month and discusses them with all of us. he keeps stamps in his wallet. dan is looking for something, and he probably won't know when he finds it. i know he is looking because he told me in the soft tones of a weary young man. not everyone whispers with words.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

you may have seen my films

i'm trying to make room for the flowers you handed me, i'd just stuff them in my jeans or something but i have a million dollars in unmarked bills in my pocket. no, come on, it's not like a big deal or anything -- just some cash. plain old hard-won money, like it's just a means to an end. oh, i get it. no, seriously, you can't really tell can you? i was surprised too. and they fit well; you know i'd never go the baggy route just so i could carry the down payment for my new place in malibu. right, right, i haven't signed anything yet so i can look at my options. now that was not what i'd expected you to...ok ok, i'll think about automobiles too, but do i really need to get anywhere that fast? no, come on, i know that's an option too and probably those are way safer, but do i look like i want to hire a chauffeur? oh stop looking at me like that. no, come on seriously, you wanted to drive my car? that's so cute. way cuter than the flowers. hey, don't get me wrong...i totally appreciate the thought. anyway, like you wanna make out?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

it also smells nice

thursday is when i cut my hair, and reimagine the reality of myself. it's a great day for sporting, or a good laugh. thursday is when i read letters from old friends. mostly they ask for my latest happenings. most frequently i tell them about my rock collection. i do not, generally, find many rocks on thursdays. that is not to say that i spend the day indoors. i prefer a good stroll if i have the time. thursday provides opportunities for merriment, also for late-evening shopping. i like to picture myself in a rowboat, not drifting or going anywhere. i will be here, and tomorrow still.

you are folk. i am monster

hey folks, matt ward here. sure hope those of y'all in the dc area got enough out of the two m. ward shows this past month, cuz there won't be any monsters of folk for ya come fall. y'all maybe wanna day-trip to nyc to see us? or hit up antwerp? i hear international airfares are pretty low in the cold months. so, since we're way too much of a big deal to play spencer krug's favorite venue - and i don't care if they found a sledgehammer so his people could smash a tv - or really to bother with anywhere else in the area...ok sorry i just lost my train of thought. krug said he was bad at guitar? dork. so let's make a deal right now. i'm matt ward and if you ever hear me say that, CALL 911!

how many of you are convinced i'm just kidding about the concert thing? well, it won't actually take us three days to get to stockholm from philly, true, but you think we're stuffing another city in that itinerary? seriously, do yourselves a favor and just plan your m.o.f. road trips now. i should probably ring krug on his cell now so...oh that's right, he claims he doesn't have one? i guess when i pull my april fools "let's get a project going together" on him and carl newman i'll have to call carl and he can try to reach spence on bejar's mobile or something. what else do you expect? i'm matt ward. come watch me give jim james guitar lessons this fall. and there is no way i am spelling his name with "y"s.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

the narrow and sturdy string

what's strange to me is not the path of change in my life, but its existence. i never intended for college to be much more than a diversion from the lethargic childhood that deposited me, mildly confused and slightly overfed, in the dormitory for a freshman year. i had no objection to starting school, merely accepting it as a station i would eventually leave. my first surprise was the dislike it brought out, as i always had thought i could accept most things with ease. regardless, i hated the dorm, mostly because it was home to viruses, decaying food, and people who were able to absorb me into the organisms of their friendship with far too little effort. the worst part of a social experience is modifying your habits to fit in with others'. i suppose the college years are a good time to get used to this necessary form of surrender, simply because there is so little one is interested in doing other than nothing much at all, and that is an agenda that can easily be served.

school, like those early friends, had a way of pulling me behind it that was mostly acceptable. what i found halfway through my sophomore year was that education was finally teaching me things. it's not that i had never paid attention in school, or found it difficult due to its dull nature. i guess there just had to be a point, much later than anyone would have guessed, when my brain acquired more than a scattered shower of information. learning, a concept i had heard of but not actually lived, began to shake me from my skipping-record habits. i wouldn't be able to lie to you and say i developed into a remarkably different person, learned art, or anything of the sort. i remained bored and sadly malleable, but the dollars wasting themselves on my education began to smile just a tiny bit as they passed me in the street.

i had never expected a college degree to mean much, but even as a dimly-lit recluse, i find it comes in handy. the hours i spend pressing down the carpet with the side of my head pass so much differently than in the past. i find despair lingers just as expected, watching patiently from a corner as i recite the few lines of the commencement address i managed to commit to memory. some people have said they never liked memorization. while i can't fault their logic, i would rather perish slowly with a whisper of half-recollected poetry sticking to my lips than simply watch myself waste away alone.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

turtles are trickier than you think

i was on a walk through the woods last weekend, when i was suddenly hit on the shoulder by a falling tree branch. generally, time outdoors provides me with a chance to relax and to mentally reorganize my compact disc collection. i think i own about three hundred various recordings, and since i never was into that giant jukebox craze, i have to be careful about how i arrange them in order to make sure that i have access to the most appropriate music each week. since my calm thoughts were broken up by the scrape of the large limb that struck me, i completely lost my focus and had to stop right there in order to catch my breath and recover my senses. i was lucky to find a small, almost pillow-like rise in the ground, and ample leaf cover that i arranged over me as i lay down and closed my eyes. before i knew it, i was dreaming about a kitten stuck in a tree. the kitten, i soon discovered, was actually in the clutches of several turtles, who apparently had climbed the tree to share a meal. in my dream, i was shocked by the potential sight of turtles eating a kitten, but i had to know whether that was really what was about to happen. fortunately, as soon as the first turtle began chomping on the kitten's paw, it escaped. the turtles then proceeded to sneak up on a raccoon that was also up in the tree. at this point in my dream, i was startled awake by the falling of acorns, which melted into the leaves covering me like hailstones hitting a hot stove. i had no idea where i was at that moment, having been so distracted by the vivid nature of my dream that i could not find my way through the woods. as i brushed myself off, i realized that i had forgotten to change my clothing before commencing my walk, and that i was now wearing a dirt-adorned dress shirt, complete with french cuffs. i seemed at least to have removed my cufflinks before leaving my house, which was a good thing as they are secretly worth approximately seven hundred dollars. i don't always like to have money in the bank, and so i find it useful to spend money on things that can easily be pawned in case of emergency. although i was disappointed to have carelessly worn my nicest blue shirt into a bed of leaves, i smiled to myself at the wisdom that had prevented me from losing the valuable cufflinks. the sun gradually set as i stood in the doorway to my room later that evening, watching the rays of fading light flicker past two lifeless eyes staring at me from the shelf above my bed.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

i get it! oh i get it.

the shins are trying to turn their band into a reality show: last shin standing. i am fairly certain i watched that. they could follow former band members after they get tossed, so we'd be able to see whether they moved on to new projects or miserable failure. i used to avoid reality shows, but i spent over forty minutes friday night (note: in lieu of actual social activity) watching people throw some type of acid at whaling boats and then act incredulous when the whalers used sound weapons on them. i'm against whaling, sound weapons, and throwing acid at other people's boats, so it's a tough show for me to watch. last shin standing would not be tough to watch, especially if they had a show focused on how james mercer secretly wants to destroy the fruit bats. "please eric, please forget your silly nerd-folk band and join my vastly successful indie pop group. look at it this way: you are a professional musician with a record contract and no wikipedia page. together, we can change that. well, at least you'll get to be on our page. also, i will allow you to take walks on the beach with me, make me eggs and toast, and potentially you will be able to pen one strange little song per album. in other words, it's better than toiling away in your band getting heckled opening for son volt. oh, and we'll be getting rid of jesse at some point, btw. you wanna help with that? could be fun!"

i would also look forward to the episode where jesse sandoval talks about getting kicked out of the band for being a lousy drummer. oh wait...he actually did say that they got rid of him because he couldn't play well? i hope there were cameras watching. when i read about it, i thought it made some sense. after all, while i don't know whose fault it is, the shins definitely are one of the worst live bands i've seen. i mean this in the relative sense; obviously it's easy to be a terrible band, but it's hard to write great material and be uninspiring live. possible new example: the antlers. i was shocked when i saw how well their new record was reviewed, such that i had to go back and actually look at my ticket stub to make sure it was the same band. you knew there was a reason to save those, didn't you? the antlers were the first of 3 bands that played, and around 10 people were there to see them. i had listened to some of their stuff and found it intriguing, so the bad show was a surprise. i doubt i will bother seeing them again, unless they start a reality show.

more animals than necessary

do you like animals? do you own more than three animal-themed items? would you like to hear five songs about animals? go on over to rocktastica and listen to some animal tunes...then vote for your favorite. i can't remember who i voted for, but there are some good entries.

also, in case you are wondering, this is the week of the analog modeling synthesizer. maybe just the week of the keyboard instrument. they come in far too many varieties. perhaps next week will be the week i purchase one. also, it remains nearly impossible to write 10,000 words of a novel in one week. maybe it's pointless to even have that as a long-shot goal. next week maybe it'll happen.

i spent today trying to write, shopping, talking on the phone, shopping, trying to write, and researching keyboard instruments. at various times i gave up trying to write and watched television. i spent yesterday trying to write and watching television. at some future point i may be able to divide my days between trying to write and teaching myself the guitar. i could also teach myself the analog modeling synthesizer. however, i already own a guitar. on the other hand, i already can play other keyboard instruments fairly well. thus ends the week of the analog modeling synthesizer.

Friday, August 07, 2009

since you asked

i'm sorry for the veiled threats about your imported rugs. i have always been a little bit jealous of your taste in home decorations, so you'll have to forgive me for making an analogy that suggested i might physically harm some of your favorite household treasures. it's just been one of those weeks for me. i had a few friends over last night and we were playing rummy in the driveway when i became aware of several small stains on the whitewall tires of my toy wagon. i generally don't keep toys around so that other people can make a mess of them, so i had to call the game while i investigated the situation. no one admitted to the crime, but i took their fingerprints anyway and called my favorite private detective. she was on vacation in detroit, visiting her sister's former butler, but her machine directed me to an agency i hadn't worked with before. they sent someone over right away. unfortunately, these businesses seem to be lowering their standards lately, as the individual who arrived in my driveway looked to be approximately seventeen and was wearing a german sweatsuit. i half expected a techno video to break out in my driveway while he looked around for evidence.

it was about an hour later that he finished up, and i have to admit, i got so bored that i wandered inside to make a watermelon smoothie with some freezer burned tropical ice cream. i generally try to avoid liquid desserts, but i find it refreshing to drink something new when i'm in a stressful situation. only halfway through the smoothie, i found myself looking for something more substantial and ended up devouring about half a packet of water crackers i had left on the sofa the night before. you know how it's impossible to match your cheese and cracker intake so that you run out of both at the same time? one of the reasons is that if you leave the crackers lying around the house, someone's bound to just eat them all...or, in the case of adolescent private detectives, take them back to the office in the hopes of getting a bored lab technician to share them and spill about some of the firm's more interesting clients. sure, ok, i'm just imagining that last part, but the fact is that the second half of the crackers turned up neither in my trash nor my stomach. i thought the point of avoiding fathering my own children was that i wouldn't while away my middle years wondering why my favorite foods could disappear with no explanation.

two hours later, i heard back and the investigator had failed to turn up any usable prints. it strikes me as elementary fingerprint science that you should be able to tell on site whether you have an actual print. after all, if you can't tell what is a print, how do you know what to take with you for further examination? i suppose the problem was really that the young hero who had stopped by my place was more interested in insect life or plant identification, and had simply gathered evidence of the wrong life forms. i can accept a phone call that says they couldn't tell which person was guilty, but please just give me a refund if you're investigating the wrong species.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

the perils of moderation

is there a reason chocolate syrup comes in such a large container? i consider myself a fairly confident ice cream eater, and i probably add some syrup thirty percent of the time i have ice cream. i also use it on pancakes and other random foods, but it seems like my chocolate syrup is going nowhere fast. the good news is that it doesn't expire until either july 2110 or july 21 in 2010. it's hard to tell for sure.

when i recently discovered that my roommate was leaving town, taking his movie-streaming game-playing muh-sheen with him, i realized it was time to make my 'films to see shortly' list obsolete. taking a glance now at the allegedly unnecessary compendium, i see that i made little progress during his final hours in our presence. i think i am okay with that.

excess isn't always bad

when i look at the stars each night, sometimes i hope i'll see nothing. many people are annoyed by unpredictable behavior, whether it's their cable service, the post office, or coworkers that let them down. personally, i can't stand the knowledge that things will never change. the night sky just doesn't shift around enough for me to get excited about the emergence of this or that constellation. perhaps we could privatize the night sky. one of those hollywood firms could do something special with such a large canvas. i wouldn't even fast forward through the celestial commercials. consider that a promise.

last week, i discovered that my dog was allergic to termites. considering what they say about glass houses and the like, i figured it was time to finally throw out the futon. you want your furniture to give life to the apartment in a metaphorical sense. it really is downhill once that becomes a literal fact, and i don't care if you tell me i should be glad i don't have fleas. tomorrow i'll be over at your place revving your luxury convertible's engine in the driveway and drinking your seltzer. remember, it's always important to examine life from an optimistic perspective. you should be glad i won't be burning the ticker symbols of my favorite stocks into your persian rugs.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

don't mention beets

i've never been able to convince myself that film was the industry for me. i met a studio executive once who insisted that each person's favorite scene was cut out of rented movies before they were delivered to their door. "it's a tier-based system, get used to it," she said, and i kept thinking there was more to that. i have a problem with people who insist that they understand things better than i do, although i realize this is a bit of an issue. of course, doctors have never worked well for me, as they go about in their stain-advertising outfits refusing to look you in the eye. i think in order for medical care to work for me, i would need to make a primary visit, take a few days to conduct some research on the diseases i'd been given, and go back with suggestions on my potential treatment. i guess, with my outlook on the world, life is more about forcing myself to learn than anything else. for all the efforts i had to make finding information about the film business, one might think i'd be able to explain how to raise funding or secure a distribution deal for an independent project. lisa tended to talk more about shellfish than celluloid, a habit i can forgive her for as she grew up in a coastal area and was immensely nostalgic. if it is our homes that make us who we are, i certainly have to thank her parents for avoiding areas of the country where more important foods are grown. food talk disgusts me, not in the moment so much as because i hate knowing about what i eat. can you imagine staying up past one, looking for information about pesticide technology, just so you can hold your own with a dirt-brain college student who just happens to be the son or daughter of professors who teach viola performance at an agricultural school?

one more switch

one roommate moved away forever today, and another flew off for a much-deserved vacation. there's a difference to the silence in the apartment this evening, but i have chosen to make the best of the situation by listening to tara jane o'neil while sitting in the dark. obviously, due to the presence of a brightly lit screen in the room, the darkness is far from total. it is interesting, however, how the partially illuminated innards of my former workplace stare more assertively towards me now. i can't remember being this sad to see a roommate go, but i suppose this event is a precursor to so many expected milestones over the next year or so that i can't watch it with my usual detachment. it's strange to be able to live in the same place more than once these days; how many people leave reluctantly only to sweep back in just before the automated license renewal comes in the mail? i have only had one permanent address here, and it's invalid come september.

the odd thing is how things of mine turn up at moments when i'm looking for something i actually need and have only temporarily misplaced. i can't locate the right t-shirt, but there are bottles of this or that sauce that definitely date back to my previous tenure. having abandoned them once, and finding that releasing my grip was not enough for the pull of the world to separate them from my life, i find it difficult now to dispose of even the most useless once-discarded items. things left by others while i was gone seem almost to be my own. i find myself inventing scenarios to explain a collection of ordinary objects, similar to but clearly not my own. it's not important that they are definitively mine, but more that a story exists that might link them to me, because i am supposed to know more about this place than any other. although i can think of reasons to stay, in truth i was the first to make definite plans to relocate. the others merely found it easier to pursue their own goals knowing my future was secure. i'm ready to leave the apartment, but i can imagine a day when habit brings me back, hopefully without the need to look back inside.

Monday, August 03, 2009

rumors abound

I have heard a few things lately. Hints of this movement in the populace, of trends washing ashore, or vacant spaces in our minds about to be occupied. The passing of one month is a chance to reflect, but shortened memory and the overwhelming nature of things these days requires that we all pause and consider what we have lost, and perhaps what will shortly disappear forever. We must stand motionless in the face of crossing currents, feeling for a brief minute that we know their number and aim. Occasionally, fate and design push us off the silent beach and we are left wandering again. Peace, as all things must, proves a temporary acquaintance and not the lifelong partner of anyone's dreams.

Friday, July 31, 2009

no, no, thank me

hey guys, matt ward here. thanks a million for coming out to my show; i hope you really enjoyed it. i have to take a minute here and say, i do enjoy showing up in town with a pile of completely beat up instruments and really throwing myself into a show. i'll admit, i have been trying to convince seltzer to get rid of that 2003 american p-bass, but some people are incorrigible. also, that is not my father on rhythm guitar; musicians should be able to enjoy long careers just like anyone else. while i've got you here, i thought i might explain a few things, since i've heard there were a few arguments on the way home over the show itself and some of the music we played. first off, i'm matt ward, and it's not like i'm going to just stride onstage and bang out the actual lead part on the first song. you see, my guitar is a big part of the act, and guitars don't always like to be played until they have a chance to warm up a bit, get the tenor of the audience, that sort of thing. you notice how we have to pay this guy to hug the guitar backstage during every song i'm not using it? so if you see me only gradually working my temperamental six-stringed associate into the music, don't think i'm some kinda ego maniac standing up there taunting you all by pretending i'm just going to wear a guitar around my neck all night. secondly, i hope you enjoyed my high tech 'virtual window' visuals. ok, ok, i'll just say it now - that was a quicktime movie - but seriously, to all your venues out there, be aware that i am going to show up with an essentially static motion picture that you'll need to run on a projector, and it lasts about an hour. think of it this way - one thing you'll always remember me by is that shadow of a window burned into your system. i'm not going to apologize for it, because, well, i made a video and asked you to play it. it doesn't get much simpler than that. also, don't try to tell me to be more personable. just be aware that i talk onstage way more than jay farrar does, plus i have more charisma. it's not even like he puts on a remotely bad show, so just shut up before i have to get testy.

ok, folks, you still with me? i know people might have some preconceptions going in to a performance, so it's worth sharing some of this with your friends. for example, you might think the musicians will perform the songs like they were on the record. thing is, i'm musically precocious, and unlike those guys who are sick of playing their big hit, i pretty much have no desire to play anything normally. were any of you standing out there thinking about the guitar melodies i skipped? well, if that bothered you, hopefully you laughed it off when i pretended for a while that i could only play one-handed piano. come on guys, i'm basically a musical genius. speaking of which, don't forget to buy indie rock band: m. ward when it comes out this christmas. it's not like you'll be spending your hard-earned on guitar hero: adam seltzer. as i was saying, though, wasn't it so much better while the smug folks were still convinced i was half afraid of the piano? also, i hope some of you brought your friends who think folk music is boring, and that they're now lost in the city wandering in a feedback-laced fog. i have to admit, the look on y'alls faces when i basically destroyed the entire sound system with my guitar is now the featured exhibition in my mental art gallery.

i know some of you bring dates on these concerts, and while i wish you could get a discount, i'm sure you were pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere i provided. come on, even that guy who was sitting down and air drumming had his girlfriend superglued by his side. that one was all me, buddy, so again, remember this when my video game gets released. just get used to great things happening when you see me. i'm matt ward. i mean, adam seltzer plays bass for me. the lead singer of norfolk & western, maybe you've heard of them? what? no, neither of us were ever in the jonas brothers...i said he sings in norfolk and western! ok, now i'm just going to have to go home and cry.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

when beets attack

what foods offer the most extreme combination of unappetizing flavor and poor nutritional content? it's not fair to say "this particular brand of cookies," because chances are there are similar cookies you would eat. if you absolutely hate macaroons of all makes and varieties, that is a legitimate suggestion. my early nomination is beet chips, which taste like beets but have loads of fat. there's no benefit from the fat; devouring beet chips would be a good way to put on weight while hating every minute of your excess consumption. cheese, at least ordinary cheddar, offers good taste but occupies a surprising amount of the fat you are supposed to intake for the day. i have always liked fine cheeses, but when it comes to the processed kind that shows up in fast food, i say it's far from worthwhile. i have always found it strange that the first question after ordering a veggie burger is whether you want cheese on it. you're probably already going to eat french fries and consume plenty of grease that way, so skipping the cheese seems like a small favor to grant to your body.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

it's all presentation until someone asks

you are getting sucked into a black hole. not the kind that astronomers talk about, just a sort of lonely corner of a moderately sized city. in this hole/corner/solitary dwelling, you find a large supply of pretzels. the pretzels are crunchy and taste a little bit like something you had one time and couldn't get enough of. now you have more than you could possibly need. fortunately, you also have a pet bird that likes the pretzels. that's right, a bird. as you throw pretzels to the bird, you notice there are actually faded stripes in the dark wallpaper that makes the room so ugly. in this space, you do not actually have many things, but you have more than just a bird and some pretzels. for example, there seems to be a thin coating of sand on the floor. you might take this as a sign of neglect, or of someone's odd way of giving you a pile of sand. surely if you gathered the sand from the entire room, the extent of which so far escapes you, you would have a pile.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

headlines proved utterly useless

if there's one thing that's great about the spread of internet technologies that allow people to share news with friends, it's the fact that we are no longer at the mercy of a newspaper's own inane headlines. i realize that there's a special art to reeling in readers, and that some papers manage to do it in an entertaining manner. however, now when anyone can come up with their own tagline and post a link, there's much greater opportunity to reach people, and they might actually say what they found to be the most useful information in an article. i will get to a point in my life where i stop reading articles that i am only interested in to confirm that i already know the 'new' thing that is referenced. how much better is it when a friend sends a link and 'this is about these new purple apples' than when you see something like 'new apples dazzle with shocking hue.'

Monday, July 27, 2009

Golf lessons

Spent the evening at the driving range, which allowed me to try out my roommate's yardsale clubs. Amazing what is available for five dollars once a few years of wear have cone along. Normally, I do not golf but I have never had success hitting a driver, which of course meant that I had to try a dozen or so times tonight. On the way home I noticed that in order to get the clubs into my friend's hatchback, I had to lean the clubs such that their combine weigh was on the three that stuck out the most. Of course at times that seem to make everything difficult it's good to be able to remember the actual value of the clubs, which by now must be about a nickel.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

fake yard sale

i am not selling any of the following items, which might be available for free if they do exist:

-neon hats
-poor quality and/or broken mobile phones
-nonfunctional computers
-1lb chocolate blocks
-exquisitely broken-in denim
-vhs tapes
-company softball team hats
-unmatched ankle socks
-magic-themed lunch boxes
-cancer-causing water bottles
-matte black silverware
-shaq posters
-aircraft models
-battery-powered fans
-vintage personal care products
-lettuce-selection instructions
-decaying editions of ibsen plays
-sportcoats, both worn and unworn
-hotel notepads
-missing writing instruments

watching and keeping time

i'm on my tiptoes, even though it hurts. i don't mean to be sneaking up on you like this, but sometimes it's impossible to find my way without taking a few chances. i can see, just over your fence, that something must be happening, because there's a light flickering and some voices that just drift far enough to meet my ears. i have an invitation with my roommate's name on it, and you have to admire the care with which i preserved it, given that it had been left with the trash last night. my key, which i am reluctant to use tonight. for whatever reason, i thought it might be fun to stop sulking and make an effort to get to know you. there's only so much dirt one can examine, so many patterns in the carpets of our mutual friends, before it grows inevitably old. i had a song in mind i wanted to share with you. it's not famous at all, since i basically jotted it down in my sleep. it's funny how memories elude us when they're so important; my brain is stuck going over and over the same things until they break like those belts your mechanic likes to replace. it wasn't such a bad song either, and maybe this morning i could have hummed the tune. by now your phone should be ringing. walk over here for a minute, leave that torch-lit yard, and you might still hear it echoing in my ears.

Friday, July 24, 2009

taking, giving, finding nothing left

i took a big step today and broke one of the patterns that has served me best over the past few years. generally, i like to fit music to situations, and there is something chilling about the right sounds played in the lonely dark hours of the evening. while i may continue to acquire new albums that adapt themselves best to those moments, it is nonetheless impressive to me that i still find them valuable. tonight, i took the rare step of risking a listen to one of my prime late-night discs at a much earlier hour and, while this experiment has seemingly little cost, i was surprised how the music adapted itself to its new temporal surroundings. nonetheless, i now find myself finishing the evening far later than was necessary and yet still supplied with ample reserves of music that suits the occasion. perhaps it all goes back to today's strange discovery. having spent much of this week visiting family, i have seized upon the opportunity to shoot endless baskets, initially with an inconveniently deflated basketball. for days, i saw no reason for the need to bounce, dribble, shoot, rebound, and continue. finally this afternoon i noticed the exhaustion that this exertion had finally exhibited on my legs was, in an inexplicable yet significant fashion, satisfying. the whole time, perhaps, i had been building to the moment i would realize i felt as if i had walked all day. i suppose part of the feeling is a sort of sense of pride over putting in a more than merely solid effort. the question, of course, is a solid effort at what? i don't play basketball and have no plans to start; in fact, any practice i put in is most likely an effort to keep from missing too many shots the next time around. i suppose it's fine to have hobbies we don't pursue for the traditional reasons, and at some point soon, i'll probably go back to a full-time someone who can't play basketball.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

not that into hats

the hat problem is not just about fading. i have been extraordinarily disappointed in how my red nats cap has aged, especially since the fabric around the brim seems on the verge of tearing while the hat itself looks new still. clearly, a few more years in the sun are needed before the pigment gives up on life and turns that sort of bleachy beige. it's not fair for something to become physically ruined while still looking new. it's not just me either; i recently asked a friend how long he'd had his hat, as the fabric at the brim was about as ruined as one of my classic ones. his was less than 3 years old; mine is 15 or so. clearly someone is skimping on quality.

is it possible that somewhere there's a diner with country fried tofu-steak on the menu? is it possible i will find and visit that diner in the next week? we may never find out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

in which dyes and fabrics are discussed at length

i have a couple of theories about what is wrong with america, but the important one is that we purchase too many pre-faded hats. this seems only to be a problem in the cotton category, as polyester and wool are much less likely to actually fade in real life or in some weird fading factory. if wealthy, lazy people really want faded hats, they should pay someone to wear the hats for them until they're properly broken in. i think perhaps the ability to flop down a twenty or two and obtain a perfectly weathered hat proves just how far we have gone to indulge the fancies of those who want something that has only artificial value.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

minding my business

i became somewhat alarmed at the number of times i had to write the same perso al information for the university's benefit this evening. i owe them some paperwork monday, so it was time to work it out. the one thing i could not tolerate? writing my race where no prompt of applicble choices was available. i suppose the nature of things is that i am so uncomfortable being called upon to write down a name for a given race that i would choose silence in the form of a blank section of paper rather than complete the assigned task. it was bothersome that no disclaimer was given as to the necessity or (i hope) optional nature of the question. elsewhere in the stack of papers was a more familiar race query, with checkboxes including "not disclosed." i left the entire set blank.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

worst alarm clock on record

i was awakened this morning by the most disturbing noise, which was a real downer for me. i had neglected to set my alarm however, and the roommate producing the noise did do me a favor by allowing me to wake up in time to attend worship services. imagine a high pitched squeal, nasal in character, formed into words. that's how i began my day. i don't even remember what he said and it doesn't matter. i wanted so badly for that noise to stop.

Friday, July 10, 2009

a little blackened spot on the wood of the deck

I heard a story one time about a little boy whose parents missed his birthday. He searched the whole house for the presents he knew they'd left him, and when he found nothing he thought about crying but didn't. There was no one around to see, so he made himself a birthday cake -- which was completely imaginary -- and placed a single candle on it, which he lit with a match he'd found in one of the kitchen cabinets. He didn't sing Happy Birthday to himself, and he didn't give himself any fake gifts. The birthday party he'd created for himself had no beginning, really, but it came to be somewhere as the wax dripped down the sides of the crayon-like pink candle. He put his face next to it and watched the smoke rising in bursts from the flame, saw the molten wax overflow onto the floor, and thought of all the things he'd wanted to get for his last birthday and none of the toys he'd been given that were now broken, lost, and forgotten. He thought about his friends' parties, about the year his dad turned forty and all his friends from work came over to surprise him with a pinata full of the tiniest chocolate bars known to man. He didn't think much about rabbits or Santa Claus or pots of gold, but he did wish in an indistinct way that something magical would happen for his birthday. The candle burned slowly, but shrank noticeably as the hands of clock the boy was not watching traced a familiar dance across its face. He got up and walked away before the flame died and his party ended, but not before he made a wish that he would remember not to tell a soul.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


i happen to be a big fan of fashion, but maybe in a self-destructive way. it's hard a lot of the time to maintain any particular look, which of course means that i have a sort of undefinable personal style that trumps most of the disguises i tend to choose for myself. a good chunk of high school was given over to a pair of boat shoes and tucked in shirts so i could be 'preppy seth,' but for most of my recent life it's been tough to purposefully maintain any particular guise. it's easier for me to be 'something trying to be something else' than any particular pure archetype. however, maybe if i exercised a little restraint when it came to clothing purchases, i wouldn't have these dilemmas in the first place. case in point: letting a friend talk me into buying a pair of bumblebee-inspired shorts.

what exactly does one wear with a pair of yellow and black checked shorts? sometimes i go with the untucked short-sleeve shirt and a necktie i wouldn't actually wear on a sunday. i often feel like i'm being a bit obvious when i pull out the purple and grey xs rugby shirt, but it does look decent with the shorts. shoes are easy for the moment, because i still have my yellow/blue/red ones. eventually it'll have to be all white or the slip ons with the little zebras all over them. a big problem for me is that i like sneakers so much that, despite my extremely particular taste, i tend to acquire them at a rate that's a little faster than is strictly necessary. the problem with shoes is that unlike, say, granola, abundance of new stock leads to greater longevity of each individual item. i guess i could get away with just my running shoes and the slip ons, but that would eliminate a lot of flexibility in the types of outfits i can put together with the unknowably large collection of footwear actually in my possession. thus, i think i will just keep on until i am forced to stop. you just have to know when you're on to a good thing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ranch hands

do you ever feel ten years older than the calendar states, or four years into a bad thing? is it worth choosing your place in the world if you don't know what you actually want? much can be made about the power of choice, but most people have a limited range of options that are even conceivable. how does one say that an opportunity has been realized or missed when so many are out there unknown? there is no point in arguing with yourself, and little reason to question many of the decisions that seem important in life. i tell myself these things on nights when the noise in my own head drowns out all possible distractions. i read to myself, in my head, leave the light on in the hall, and tell myself it's all right. occasional thoughts creep out of bed and up through that lit hall to join me at the dining room table over a magazine. nighttime can be the best time to read as so little is happening that everything takes on temporary meanings that offer clues to knowledge that stretches beyond the bounds of rational thought. the colors seep from the page to stain my fingers, and words echo softly in my own head. never give up on an experience that offers irreplaceable lessons. turn the pages until all logic has fled, the ink burning your fingers as it fades to nothing before your eyes. all that remains is you and a blank page, your nose a dancer that cuts mountains of parchment into pastures for a new frontier. you could stop any second, but the weight of the hours pushes you ever onward.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

cleaning the fridge

how do you make 3/4 of a pound of butter disappear in one evening? one way is to make two separate brownie recipes for your roommates, which was incredibly fun. i had been thinking about making brownies for a few days, and it was easy to find recipes i liked. i guess i wanted to challenge myself a bit, so i had the idea to make two separate recipes back to back. i originally thought i should try two very similar ones, but instead i made a cake brownie and a more fudgelike brownie recipe. both were cocoa powder-based, so my pound of dark chocolate is still available for future use.

i made the cake brownies first, and quickly realized that recipe was much easier to make than the second one. while, i melted my butter in the microwave for the cake brownie recipe, the second recipe had me stirring it with the cocoa powder and sugar over a double boiler. i was supposed to use my finger to test the temperature, and take it off the heat when it was so hot i could barely stand it. i eyeballed it instead, and i would prefer to see temperatures listed, since i'm not experienced enough to estimate what temperature they're indicating.

one roommate ate so many of the cake brownies that he had to consider his health and declined to try the second batch. since the sugar and butter content is similar and the cake-like recipe produces 2x the volume of brownies, he isn't as bad off as he could have been. in the end, i think the two recipes are so different that it's tough to vote for one. it is now up to the roommates to decide.

Friday, June 19, 2009

so long

i hate confronting my destiny, because it requires too much effort. for one thing, i do not like shaking hands with abstract concepts, significant as they may be. i have also found that my destiny is not a good companion at the ballgame, on a scenic cruise, or even when devouring a twenty-dollar ice cream sundae. in fact, the only times i enjoy with my destiny are when we take quiet time alone to walk on the beach. in opposite directions.

Monday, June 15, 2009

quotation marks

for a long time, i have failed to provide updates regarding certain things i have done.

foods eaten:
chocolate macadamia things
pizza i made, in two varieties
leftover pizza i made
store-brand frosted wheat bundles
delicious pasta dish

books read:
something i don't care to mention

movies viewed:
my super ex-girlfriend
the fast and the furious: tokyo drift
(i realize it makes no sense that i watched this and not the one in theaters, but it was free)
rumor has it
(has anyone seen this? please provide a review)
the king of california
henry poole is here
(a real luke wilson trend going on)

television finales skipped, ignored, or delayed viewing:
prison break
(ok i watched half but it was last wk)
terminator: tscc
(i'll be angry if the last few episodes aren't online any longer)
lie to me
(this was a show i mostly watched when i ran out of other shows to catch up on; clearly i have a long ways to go before i get back to it)
30 rock

items purchased that had to be returned due to defects:
awesome shorts
bag of carrots
cell phone
(imagine going a week and a half with no phone, receiving your phone in the mail, and finding the delete key doesn't work. i tried five times to write a one-sentence text and couldn't without making mistakes, which were uncorrectable)
*laptop (purchased 'as is,' which means i get to acquire more computer repair experience)

watery locales visited:
asateague isle-and
ocean city
gravelly point

music acquired:
jenny owen youngs
tara jane o'neil
st. vincent

bags of flour used:
1 and counting

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

i don't expect you to return

i've been going through your letters one by one, and i can't figure it out. there was something, way back when we were talking more, that possibly gave an indication of ideas entering your head that i know i had not put there. i think that the main problem is, you've always been resistant to my way of doing things. it may have been three, four, or any number of years back that you started on this path. you may like where you're headed. i cannot control that, and you know that i wish i could. i've always had this idea in my head, sort of an overarching theory of how things are supposed to be. life isn't always about journeys or possibilities or achievements or even about wanting to get up in the morning. yes, if those were the things by which you measured your life, i'm sure you would have left me some time ago. what you have to remember is that part of the glory in all this is the ability to say, to know, that you have your ducks in a row. you need to be out there, you have to breathe the same air with the rest of us and walk in our shoes, you have to believe that there's nothing you'll find alone that i wouldn't have been able to give you if you'd fallen in.

so, while you're away, i hope you discover something, and maybe i can even pray a little that you'll bring it back. do you have a new color, a leaf, or some particularly interesting rock that you might be able to add to the body of knowledge you've obtained under my care? were you expecting smells that could take you away from this life? i wouldn't begin to attempt to expound upon the many ways in which you could have deluded yourself, but i can tell you this: i don't expect your return. no, we've got things pretty well in order even without you. in fact, don't be surprised one morning if you wake up and find us outside your door. yeah, that one is coming. so's the other hundred or so you can almost picture in your dreams. all of them. a little scratch at night, a flickering from just outside your range of vision. someone stumbles in the alley. smoke seems to mark the limits of your imagination, hanging over the city as your mind grows blank. we don't have to go get you, because we're already everywhere.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

summer of yikes

at this point, almost everything electronic of mine has broken in the past three months. i guess i need to start taking more pictures so my camera can break, completing the cycle. is this going to turn me into a one-person equivalent of some lost civilization that loses advanced technology over the years? three years from now, i will be communicating solely via the mail.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

i blame the cookies

i've decided to do something that an old friend told me to do in a dream. not because i think my friend actually wants me to do it, but because clearly i want myself to - hence the dream. i can't say that dreams are usually a part of my decision making process, but i do think they are indicators of things that are bothering me deeply enough for them to pop out of my subconscious.

i also ate cookies today, which - along with some overly sweet pudding - ruined my appetite for the rest of the evening.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

home from the snowstorm

in the past two days, i have lost my keys, a strawberry eating contest, and seven friends. i thought i knocked a tooth out on the lamp, but that was a dream. fortunately. i've come to call this week the week of lost and found. i expect i will discover something amazing as a karmic payback for all the annoyances of the past few days. one thing that keeps coming back to me is the conversation i had with my mom, who assured me that everything important would work out. she left me with the impression that friends aren't as big of a concern as, say, whether the roof over your bedroom leaks or if you can find soap that doesn't turn your skin raw in the winter. other things have gone well; i had a soda yesterday and my friends split the check evenly despite the fact that my bill was technically three dollars more than theirs. small victories.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

take it

After a long time in New York, it takes a while to get used to living somewhere else. I feel bad for everyone who is stuck thinking they'll never live anywhere as amazing again; they deserve to stay where they're happy. I found it odd tonight to realize how a quiet still moment in an urban setting is possible. Truthfully, there are parts of Manhattan with parks that empty out at night and provide opportunities for a meandering late night run or walk, but I didn't live in those areas most of my time there. Since I live in a primarily commercial neighborhood now, the emptiness after dark is remarkable. There's plenty of grass in the further reaches of the biggest street, and no one around to enjoy it. It's like staying in one of those hotels that's part of a strip mall and nothing around it is open at night, only I live here. Yes, boring has its advantages.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

foiled by randomness

it is definitely not my ambition in life to take things back to stores on a regular basis. unfortunately, it seems like i keep buying things that are totally ruined either the first day i own them or even before i even picked them up in the store. am i just not paying attention any longer? i used to think it was crazy that someone could mistakenly purchase diet soda, for example. it's been a long time since i decided that was not the case.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

economies of style: hatwear

before i would start, i would like to thank the makers of my mail-order 2.5lb PC for including a utility that always turns on the built-in firewall after i have waited an unnecessarily long time for my wireless to connect. they must have thought 'hey, i know people like you are going to shell out $69 for a virus/evil/spyware protection utility to keep your machines out of trouble, but in case you're idiots, here's a function you won't be able to figure out how to disable that will protect you.' fellas, believe me, if it wasn't for the fact that you hit the price/tininess/shrunken screen coefficient right on the nail, i wouldn't be using your product in the first place.

it has come to my attention, upon reading my past few credit card statements, that even frugal individuals such as myself are effected by spending habits that veer out of control when brothers-in-law call requesting we purchase eight tickets for the game or when we mysteriously destroy our reliable 5lb miracle laptops, purchase ridicu-cheap aged replacements off ebay, purchase accessories for said replacements, and return from two-day trips to new york city to discover that we now own $100 coasters with $80 worth of brand new accessories. let me tell you, coasters need neither li-ion batteries nor power adapters, but apparently they can drain said batteries when inadvertently left sleeping in an effort to preserve my work in an operating system they will hardly ever be able to boot. in shorts, even the best of us have been known to fail.

this brings me to today's topic, or instead to an apology to actual new york-based readers of my blog. you may be disappointed or perplexed by the fact that you did not see me during my two-day stay in your fine city, so let me offer the following disclaimer. unless you fall into one of two categories: people who asked me to kill mice at their apts or former sunday school teachers i ran into on the street, i didn't see you while i was in the city. ok, i guess, i also saw one fellow virginian's older brother, but only because he was visiting the apartment with the mice. also, if i only saw one of my former sunday school teachers on the street, then i smiled at a random woman who smiled at me for pretty much the only time in my life; it can be hard to tell people's identity for certain when they are on their mobile phones. i figure at this point it is safe to offer that if you live in new york city and are still reading this, i would be happy to visit you if you only reach out to arrange for my arrival at a time that is convenient to you. with that, i will fail to discuss anything related to economies of style.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

time is a luxury you can forget

he got back late. the lights were on. no one was home. several items on the floor were screaming at him though. there was a deafening ache in his head from too many distractions all day. order was impossible. sanity left me early in the day. prioritization wasn't really going to happen either. i thought about making copies for a few hours just to get away from my computer. nothing was solved, decided, or ruled out. i left a little after eight, knowing i'd be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

colored boxes

sometimes i feel iike i'm stuck in a movie. everyone shouting and staring at me. the floor seems to tremble under my hurried feet.i can't remember the last time i blinked when something hasn't changed drastically. streets crossed. buildings leveled. animals stuffed into cages and rushed away. now no one is left who believes me. the neighbors are closing in. each second my life collapses a little more. bright spots bloom before my eyes, blinking blindingly. all these medicines, always in little boxes.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

signs of something

spoon concert today, which was perfect yet cause for reflection. without looking, i can't remember any 'best of the year so far' experiences. pretty sure there's been at least one.

i bought a used laptop recently, which has been a bit of a drain on my resources. not financially so much as temporally, or just mentally. there are at least three more issues i should address. so yes, i could have saved a lot of effort by spending more for something new. on the other hand, i need projects right now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

more than a day late

hmmm files:

voxtrot, somewhat reinvented and ramping up the hype once again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

build something

remote-control waffle iron
bamboo hula hoop
plastic log cabin
graduate english department
flying flyswatter
cement lacrosse stick
sleeping bag recording studio
waterproof notepad

isn't it better to make something you can't explain than nothing at all?

Monday, April 13, 2009

yogurt cheddar potatoes

i made these up, so the recipe is sketchy at the moment

3 medium potatoes
8-12 oz sharp cheddar cheese
10 oz nonfat plain yogurt*
sea salt
black pepper
red pepper

preheat oven to 350**
cube the potatoes and boil them
whisk together cheese and yogurt

when the potatoes are ready, stick them in an (approx) 9"x12" pan
sprinkle with salt and black pepper***
cover evenly with yogurt-cheese mixture
sprinkle with black pepper and salt
add small amount of red pepper

bake 40 mins or until topping browns as desired

this is a slight twist on a very familiar dish, but the yogurt provides a surprisingly refreshing taste. the red pepper should be just enough to enhance the flavor subtly; it is not intended to provide noticeable heat.

*i'm guessing on the amount at this point, but you need enough to create a sauce once the cheese has been mixed in. it would be easy to add a lot more cheese than i did, but that would make this less healthy in comparison to more familiar cheese and potato recipes

**a higher temp might be more ideal; i used this b/c i was baking whole potatoes simultaneously and had read that 350 would work for that task

***i forgot to do this before adding the topping, but i think it's the right way to go. i was also liberal in adding additional pepper after baking.

Friday, April 03, 2009

now in rotation

music is tricky; it seems like the songs that are most promising initially can turn on you quickly. to be more accurate, the stuff that's catchy right off the bat grows tiring quickly. here are some of the albums that have crossed in and out of favor with me lately:

beirut - march of the zapotec/realpeople holland

so far, i love the way all the pieces are falling together as a beirut sound seems to endure through all the disparate styles. the vocals seem to tie it all together effortlessly

sin fang bous - clangour

don't have an opinion yet, but there seems to be some substance. sort of an architecture in helsinki feel, and i've never been particularly into them.

the postmarks - by the numbers

haven't heard the entire album, actually, but tracks 1-5 are great. 'you only live twice' is, naturally, a standout. the postmarks are a band i believe has more going for them than i personally can detect.

m. ward - post war

yes, he has a new album out; this is the previous one. despite a longtime feeling of respect for matt's stature as artist, i hadn't bothered to listen to his solo stuff until quite recently. i love that he doesn't just show off his guitar skills; the songwriting, vocals, and sonic textures make this a complete album rather than an instrumental showcase.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

time of the signs

the mobile web doesn't really do april fool's day.

just an observation.

Monday, March 23, 2009


i've just gotten home and my entire room is full of discarded cheese wrappers. there are about three fist-sized holes in the back wall leading to the closet, which means the closet has to be full of plaster dust, which means i need to go to the dry cleaners. my neighbors left a message on my cell phone about some noise they heard earlier, but no one was home today.


i don't care about your



stop now



-please stop reading and go purchase some cheese

crunchkrunchchrunch cruchn

we have taken your cheese

sowh us the wsiss chese

all are awanting chees!

will nt

not standfro this

no cheese!

i like swiss cheese

let's be honest, how many foods are iconic in nature because they provide an easy way to:

-attack someone you're debating (your argument has more holes than swiss cheese)


sorry, the rest of this message was destroyed in a robot attack.



bad dialogue


Monday, March 16, 2009

a theme develops

cake is good. i also like ice cream.

Monday, March 09, 2009

we are watching

we are the evangelists, we are artists producers and performers.
we are watching you, and eating your cheese.
we are forming small groups to debate your excesses.
we are party to your losses.
we inhabit phone banks.
we stay late in order to read your mail.
we have not learned manners.
we have abandoned ordinary lives in order to pursue you.
our mouths are dry with the thirst for redemption.
all along, our leaders have followed our progress.
they are grooming us for future success.
we wish to prove worthy of their remaining confidences.
our hands are bloody with the wounds of eager servants.

a brighter day seems to us only another.
our steps cannot be measured for all their numbers.
the battles we survived tore no limbs from our bodies.
the tales we brought back taught no stranger our ways.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

your toast published successfully

we become jealous of a breakfast food. 'sorry, the toast is not available this morning; it's on a book tour.'

find me a dessert or two

today is one of those days when i tried too hard to enjoy shopping. i had not been looking for clothes in some time, but i felt compelled to give it a whirl this afternoon. the good news is i had been at the library previously, where i found a joshua ferris short story featuring the characters from 'then we came to the end,' a fact that made me smile a little. since i have a half constructed rock band following me around in my head, it was nice to think of him working on these fictional chicagoans before they were ready to be dumped into a novel. i read a page and a half of another story of his that was wholly different in voice, and decided maybe you can't make a career out of writing that unique 'then we came to the end' style. is it too unique to work consistently? somehow it might be distracting, or suited only for certain passages. i'm curious to see if it comes out in the other story.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

hold out your hand

i don't want to smile for the camera or listen to what you have to say. i'm turning my head slowly to stare out the window. the lawn looks different than last year; most of the dirt patches are gone, and the flowers by the door seem to have blown away in one of the rainstorms. you're still talking to me, which is difficult because i'm not here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

park, 2pm

i picked all the leaves off a tree today and crumbled them in my fingers. i took bits of leaves and threw them on the ground. i made sure no one was watching me and jumped on the piles of leaf bits. i removed my shoes and socks and scraped them against the sharp pavement. slowly lowering myself to the ground, i lay down on my stomach and stared into the mashed plant matter before me. my nose prickled with their broken scent. i gathered my strength and blew them, each tiny stack, with breaths that sang softly to the trees.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

viva knoxville

i have made little progress on the song 'g was a serial killer' (thank you semi-conscious brain for that one), but that's ok, because i should have plenty of time to work on it in graduate school.

i may have a broken laptop, messy hair, and a phone that looks like it's been chewed on (it hasn't, at least not by me), but i was privileged recently to find my favorite soda beverage, which i have not seen in stores since college. yeah, that's right. unfortunately, my primary source of this carbonated bliss is one hundred ten miles from my apartment.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

don't be ashamed

i wore a t-shirt with your face on it today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


i am struggling right now to accept the fact that i cannot compose lengthy pieces on a device with a tiny screen. perhaps i should just give up rather than try to explain what footwear people should wear with a sport coat. as a warning before your brain is overwhelmed, shoes that can't be worn with sportcoats (soon to be discussed) also do not go with preppy wool winter coats. the only way this will work for you is if you are the mildly hapless guy with a preppy girlfriend. if you want to be that guy, just hope she thinks it's cute and that it isn't just another reason she doesn't take you seriously. should you truly aspire to be that guy, note that this also means you pay full price at preppy chains for clothes you look silly wearing. you may think hipsters look weird, but at least they want to look weird.

personally, i have never dated a preppy girl. is that a new goal for the year for me? um...uh, writing it here means it is not happening.

things that are important

in a freak accident sunday, i destroyed the lcd of my working laptop. now i have two broken ones and an ancient but cute little computer i bought in my "i want to do computer support for a living so i have to own a couple" days. that four lb wonder helped me, in the days when campuswide wireless was new and exciting, to take notes in class while attracting curious attention because it ran linux. of course i can't remember my linux password or figure out how to free significant hard drive space on...yes...what may now count as my most functional machine.

i found today that it is much easier to spend money on awesome clothes than to spend ten times that amount fixing a computer. my "future" plan to survive with an even tinier linux book in grad school has now become my plan to avoid committing funds until i know if i was accepted. not getting in to school is going to feel like an enormous windfall, but now it is time to admit that i would still want to go in the future.

on a more frivolous note, be aware that shoes can kill any outfit. they can also save many outfits when chosen properly. my old roommate c said that nice shoes are the key to looking good for a date. you can render most well conceived outfits date- appropriate just by making sure to wear something a little nicer than sneakers. conversely, the right sneakers are the perfect way to tone down a boring office outfit and look appropriately laid back. i feel like it might be worth talking about the "right" sneakers. one easy rule: never wear running shoes with sport coat. the people who can break this rule don't need my advice to begin with. for all you borderline talents who think they can get away with it, i'm not sure i can stop you right now. just promise never, ever, to wear running shoes designed after 1993 with a sport coat. this is especially true for sneakers from germany's second finest athletic brand. like germany's next-to-best automaker, they have clearly lost their way stylistically. they seem to understand that they should make new shoes that share more than names and logos with classic models. still, they consistently get it wrong. one company that has been successfully building new visions of the past has no lengthy history of it's own to build on, and continues to shine as a fiefdom of the number one snowboard maker. it all goes to show, it's not so much who literally came before you as who you really follow and whether you've got the right concept of what to accomplish.

the winter coat concept does make it tougher to properly attire yourself in colder months. no matter what the season, you are still limited by this simple rule: an outfit should work no matter which combination of layers you end up wearing by the end of the day. possibly, you might think it's a waste to worry overmuch about which shirt you wear under a sweater. even if you never take the sweater off, it is the completeness of the outfit that is important. it might even help you stay a little sharper out there.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

i'm sticking with you

it's okay that you hate my cat.

i won't worry about the carpet, it was old and ugly.

we might have to take fewer walks during daylight hours, but i'll get over it.

i'm getting tired of those sneakers too. don't worry about it.

whatever happens, i will never again criticize you for brushing your teeth.

your left ear is perfectly normal in size.

i will ignore your friends, i will continue to ignore your friends, and i will not retaliate when your friends compare me to various animals.

toffee is overrated anyway.

i promise to drive with the dome light on.

don't even move an inch

sense and sensibility
-jane austen

i'd read it before, but this time through i got more of the subtleties of it. i would enjoy studying some of the historical context of this book just to see exactly how snarky jane austen is; there are moments that i, the relatively uninformed reader, don't know whether she's trying for irony or not. i may not end up following through on this, but i can see doing some research to enrich my reading experience.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

it's too early to be good early

put down the phone.

we are doing you a favor.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

which brings us to this evening's entertainment

i brought gloves on my trip, for no real reason other than a desire to be prepared. i had long since given in the reality that no foreseeable scenario would leave me exhausted at the bottom of a snow-covered mountain saturday, but i still brought the gloves. around nine pm, having drugged myself with another dose of internet-streamed television, i decided to review some job postings i had repeatedly ignored. only then did i start to think about the applications i'd sent out a month ago. i'd given up already, but for a time i was hovering over my mobile phone every minute or two, desperate in the wish that a voice mail would show up offering a chance to interview for one of those openings. what i hadn't counted on, however, was an email reply. my resume has my present email address, but i'd applied to these jobs through a site that is linked to an email i rarely check. looking through the last week or two of messages, i found nothing of interest, but i remember that it had been some time since i'd applied for the job. sure enough, out of two applications i sent in early january, i was asked to go in for one interview. unfortunately, it took me a month to respond. after lobbing snowballs into the emptiness across the street, i came back inside to hang my gloves up to dry, calm down, and penitently seek a second chance at that job.

Monday, February 09, 2009

does the world exist any longer?

i'm just checking

...because i think it doesn't

Thursday, February 05, 2009

no, really, make me try harder

i had a difficult time on the way home tonight, but then it's never easy to come home from a lousy day at the office and find a dozen people waving placards in front of your apartment building. it's even worse when they're shouting and pointing at you. i thought my wave of staff cuts had passed so gradually and carefully that nothing was really going to come of it. well, it turns out that my web team thinks i took took ideas they presented to me last summer and used them as the basis for the site's new template. they were out for a drink tuesday and ran into intern janelle (who still has her unpaid job, of course), who was there meeting a college friend of hers - my former personal chef, marc. marc left me two years ago because i had started talking about eating vegan for a week, a plan he saw as both ludicrous and potentially harmful. he was afraid not just that he'd be fixing vegan sausages and lentil soups for a week, but that i'd trick myself into becoming a full-on vegetarian. well, he was right about that.

so anyway, marc quit rather than watch his creative options become limited by what he saw as a permanent dietary change. he harbors a lot of bad blood, mostly due to the stale french fries he used to find in the kitchen trash on weekends, when his carefully prepared meals were going untouched. he always felt i owed him a better severance than i'd offered, but it was all in his contract. good grief. people wonder why i'm still keeping a legal team. please.

two years later, it was my bad luck that janet introduced him to piers and khaled, who have become increasingly angry with me these past few days, as they've slowly drunk away their own severance checks. upon hearing of my staff cuts (marc always hated the site, so of course he'd been out of the loop), marc made a few calls to some chefs who'd worked catered events for me in the past. most of them hate me even more than marc does. people don't seem to understand why i need professional help to serve popcorn and carrot juice, but i pay for quality, you know? i figured that my habitual use of craigslist was wise, considering i can never get one chef to work more than two parties. well, unfortunately for me, freelance craigslist chefs have some kind of web forum or something, and the url seems to have the words "no," "carrot," and "juice" incorporated in it. i've always been who i am, although my preferences may change, and i'm sorry that my ex-employees have so much pent-up anger over the limitations my choices have placed on them. apparently, my parties have resulted in an organized, angry online community of freelance chefs. they've always kept to themselves, stewing in their own frustrations with me and other past employers, but when they heard i was downsizing, marc had them ready for blood. thus, i arrived home to a mob of angry chefs and web developers shouting and jeering at me. just when i thought i'd successfully navigated through the situation without so much as throwing an elbow, marc and khaled came tearing out from behind a huge potted plant, savagely basting me with turkey juices and plastering me with giant capital letters cut from the newspaper. that seems like some seriously weird stuff to premeditate. it's funny what people spend their time on when they're out of work.