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.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

reductions have arrived

i am sorry to report that i will be cutting my staff. first off, as head writer, i will now take a salary of nothing, and all freelance contributors will be paid in salted sunflower seeds. my design staff quit when i asked them to work pro bono, so i will now take over responsibility for the look and feel of the site. i quietly axed my personal shopper last weekend, which explains why i have been seen at area malls more than might be expected. my it staff has been empty for quite some time, as i let them go last summer when they repeatedly claimed they didn't know how to enable a blog roll for me. any future political commentary will be backed up by my own fact finding efforts, following the departure of both members of my research department. i am still attempting to fill a position on my legal team, as well as an unpaid staff writer's slot. the anthropologists behind 'ask an australian' never were permanent members of the team, although their contributions are missed. over the years, i have attempted numerous times to hire a literary critic, but they always quit when i talk about cormac mccarthy for an entire week.

i am not reading the signs

the other day, a security fix was pushed to all the computers at work. today, i noticed that the only font i can use for email or documents is some boring old computer font. i am glad that my system is free from the scourge of times new roman. so now somehow, the day has come that i miss arial.

i recently purchased a bright orange hat as a bit of a joke. then, thursday, i was looking for some decent headphones and found a pair that is 'tangerine' in color. i have not eaten any carrots since making that purchase.

Monday, February 02, 2009

did not see this one

i was planning to write about something i didn't actually believe, so instead i will write about nonsense. each time you sleep, do you start feeling like you've given up on the day? saturday, i kept thinking one more run down the slopes would be too much. so maybe i picked up bruises along the way, but i also learned more than i could have reasonably expected. the lame part is that i was afraid overexertion would lead to a rough day at the office today. instead, i somehow got two days' work done and felt great.

it has recently been brought to my attention that my parents, people who believe in fiscal restraint, would not be surprised if i bought a new car. seeing as they are probably too smart for my economic stimulus plan - buy a new american car - this surprised me. i suppose it's easy to get confused when one of your children is buying houses and cars while the other one is breaking personal records for television viewing (with a little help from the internet). ok. the age gap between us does not really explain the difference. some day i might get caught up in something seemingly significant, though. i spent a couple minutes today thinking about granola packaging. also, thank you to everyone who texted or called while I had no service this wkend. i loved having stuff to catch up on once i returned. some cell providers just don't believe in pennsylvania. be warned - i can switch to your competition without buying a new phone, and i don't care how many times you do things that make sense since you now have reminded me of your biggest fault. discounted wifi access for voice subscribers is great, but you provide no way to sign in. any chance you can just email that to me? seriously, i gave you an extra ten bucks this month for nothing. ok, forget it. i'm just not going to send you a box of chocolate/candy cane cookies.