Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving

It takes the boredom of Thanksgiving to bring me back to the blog. Which is not to say that I am bored of the blog, but that I am otherwise too busy to find my way here. Today has been quiet. It's the first day in many days where I don't feel compelled to do some sort of work. The only person working today around here is my mom who is busy cooking all the grub. Anyway, I was thinking about mom while clicking around Craig's List, and that's when it occurred to me that a smart chef would offer his services to cook meals for people on Thanksgiving. And a REALLY smart chef would put his services up for bid on ebay. I bet people would go crazy for something like that. Home cooking is grand, but having a home-cooked meal cooked by a pro chef in your own home would be pretty killer.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I also eat KitKats

I'm not sure what's up with this, but the other day I left two packs of KitKats in my car and they got all melted. I was going to throw them out, but then I realized I could chuck 'em in the freezer to try to salvage them. So I let them freeze overnight and then opened one to see what the results were. And the results were delicious. The KitKat had melted and reshaped itself from four individual wafers into one solid bar, the chocolate was extra flakey, and somehow the whole thing overall tasted richer. It's really the change in taste that I don't entirely understand. Maybe it was a freak occurrence. I'll have to run the experiment again and find out. But in the meantime I am recommending that everyone melt and freeze their KitKats. It's chocolatey goodness.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

i eat words

I've been reading a lot lately. Actually, I've been reading a lot for the past year. This comes after a multi-year post-undergrad hiatus of not wanting to read anything at all. Now the pendulum has swung back and I can't go through books fast enough. A lot of what I've been reading are kids- and young-adult books -- everything from the Phantom Tollbooth to the His Dark Materials trilogy. I've been hitting a lot of classics, too, like Peter Pan and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; and I've read a bunch of today's fad books, like Eragon and The Wind on Fire trilogy.

All of this reading is ostensibly research for my own young adult book. But in reality I've been doing it because it's just plain fun. Even the little kid books, like The Scarecrow and His Servant, are fun (and fast) reads. And I've discovered a lot of new treasures, like Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne-Jones (which was made into an animated movie that is very different from the book, but also very good). Better still, I've rediscovered some of my childhood by digging up books I read as a kid yet which aren't published anymore. In particular, the Norby Chronicles, by Janet and Isaac Asimov, which are about a kid and his overly emotional robot. Some of these books hold up well to adult readers. Others, well, if not for the nostalgia factor, I couldn't recommend them.

The great thing about reading kids books is that they have kept me away from the "serious fiction" on the new-relases tables. Every time I walk into Borders or B&N, I of course start my browsing at the new-releases tables because they stand guard over the doors, and getting by them is like passing the Sphinx's riddle: will I or won't I be duped into picking up the loudest, most demanding, most earnest title on the table? If I fall for it, I leave the store looking like a learned New-York-Times-style intellectual, and the Sphinx kills my soul. But if I leave those books alone, I get to go see the Oracle, waiting for me in the kids section. Or the sci-fi section. Or the murder-mystery section. Or even the travel section, the history section, the women's studies section, the psychiatry section -- anywhere but the motherfucking fiction and literature section. That section is a fucking travesty.

Everyone and their fucking cousin is trying to write the next Big Important Book. And the result is one sour, downtrodden tail after another. It's depressing as hell. Not to mention the parade of egos. Every single one of those books screams, "Look at me and how artsy smartsy I am!" I do not need the bullshit enlightenment these people are trying to pass-off with their fiction. And I don't want to see life reaffirmed via triumph over tragedy. I just want to have a good time. Is that so wrong?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Butt spelunking

The ads at the top of the page are sensitive to the blog's content. If I write "butt spelunking" often enough, will they change to something cool?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I take it back

As much fun as it would be, I'm looking for more than some butt spelunking.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Holy shit it's an update

Seems I am most inclined to update my blog when I'm sitting outside in the gazebo. Being out in the warmth and sun helps fire my inspiration, gets the creative juices flowing. Even still, there's not a whole lot exciting going on in my life right now -- things are moving along at their eternal "too fast yet too boring" pace -- and there's not much happening that merits a blog entry (which is saying a lot when you consider how low the blog entry bar has been set).

But since we're all here, and the sun is setting in a non-metaphoric way on a lovely end-of-summer day (you should see the view from the gazebo here; it's sweet, with orange water and a purple sky and boats tinted pink), I may as well confide in you that these past few days I have been enduring intense internal debate on the topic of whether or not I should once again fire up the online dating machines. The issues pro and con are many and complex and I'm not going to detail them here. But I have noticed that there are two main issues that define the rest of the debate: at this point, I'm not sure if I'm looking for love, or if I'm just looking for someone to bang the shit out of for the short term.

Because I am a romantic (of the poetic variety, if not the candles and flowers variety), I believe that love, though harder to find, is worthier of pursuit. But I'm not sure I'm ready to face the risks of the pursuit just yet -- heart break, rejection, the feeling that everyone but me has found their special someone (which is a retarded term, "special someone," -- it's a vulgar euphemism for "someone you can put your cock in without wanting to kick her out of bed immediately afterward" -- and it'd be nicer if we could just say what we mean without having to prance around the truth like forest fairies).... Anyway, I don't have the energy or the emotional endurance to search for true love right now.

Which means what I'm truly interested in finding right now is a girl I can bang the shit out of for the short term. A girl with a big ass that I can whale away on. And I mean a gigantic fucking ass. An ass that might swallow me up if I'm not careful. I want to go fucking spelunking into some chick's ass. But meeting the right person for this has got to be even harder than finding someone to fall in love with. Looking for asses to plumb is too outside the norm for me to go walking up to big-bottom girls and asking if they're into starting a purely superficial relationship that entails nothing more than eating, boozing, and fucking. At least on Long Island it is. Maybe in Miami, California, or Brazil, where all our pro-am internet porno comes from, things are different. Long Island is where I'm at, though, and so Long Island norms are what I have to deal with, and in spite of the fact that Long Island is mostly Lutheran (which is code for "loose moraled"), it is not easy to find a nice big ass to bottom out in without also getting into a "relationship" with someone. Which is a damn shame because there really are a lot of lonely giant asses around here and I'd be more than happy to spend some time with them.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Gazebo blogging

About a week ago, my sister and I finished replacing the gazebo's busted screens. We then swept all the crap out and did a thorough debugging (though we're still gonna get some outdoor bug spray because we suspect there are things nesting inside the gazebo's nooks and crannies). Then, today -- just a few minutes ago, actually -- we got the wireless Internet working out here. So even though it's 94-degrees out, I'm sitting in the gazebo's shade, enjoying the breeze blowing off the harbor, and blogging about it. This is the life.

All that remains for the gazebo project is to get one of them spring-loaded thingamajiggers to keep the door closed, and to put up some lights (of the Xmas and reading varieties). The plan to plant plants in the plant boxes has been scrapped due to wiener dog digging activities (we suspect they are building an underground wiener dog day spa. We also suspect they are gay).

Right now there is a yellow inchworm inching himself behind my shoe. Only a minute ago he was inching himself up my bare leg, but that started to tickle, so I had to relocate him. He was supposed to inch his way to safety, preferably somewhere far away from me, or perhaps under my chair, but he insists on lingering near my shoes and I'm afraid I'm going to step on him. Which would be sad because what if this inchworm is destined to become the world's most beautiful butterfly and I accidentally killed him? How could my conscience -- my soul! -- bear it? I shall deny the world no beauty! Such was the solemn oath I swore.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Little Brother

At long last, the FBI finally gave Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island the green light on me not being a psychopath, sex offender, or terrorist, which means all systems are go for me to enter the BBBSLI program. So today, BBBSLI called to tell me about a Little Brother they had in mind for me.

The first words out of my case worker's mouth were, "He's one of our more challenging children," and then she went into a long list of what those challenges are. The kid has been through everything from an alcoholic drop-out "inappropriate" father, to living in a group home because his mother is frequently hospitalized. It was jaw-dropping to hear about his life and all his hardships and troubles and how his main goal is to boost his self-esteem so he can help his mom. And he's only 14. It's crazy that there are real kids like this out there. You hear these stories and think they're made for TV, but here I am getting a call to be a part of this kid's non-TV life.

I think the case worker is expecting me to get scared away and ask for a different Little, and I get until Friday to decide if I want to be this kid's Big, but I think I've already made up my mind that I absolutely want to be matched with him. My heart was already going out to him even before the caseworker went into the list of positive things about him, which are, among other things: he's into reading and science, is super smart (college reading level), and very insightful, and kind of awkward and nerdy (which were originally in the "negatives" column, but I've re-appropriated them).

So I'm going to take the next two days to digest everything. It's all a jumble in my head right now. But I expect to say yes on Friday and then they'll tell the kid they've got a potential Big for him, and if he's interested in me, we'll get to meet and see how it goes from there. I'm totally psyched. Super psyched. Mega psyched.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ask Dr. Z

Maybe you've seen Daimler-Chrysler's new "Ask Dr. Z" commercials. You can thank me.

Fucking health insurance

I've changed health insurance three times in less than a year. There's no point in going into the details why since it will just give me an ulcer to relive it, but presently I have MDNY, and I was very happy with them, until a few weeks ago when I started getting letters from all the doctors I've seen in the past few months telling me that MDNY has inexplicably been refusing to reimburse them for anything. It's unbelievable. My allergy medicine is apparently "uncoverable" because I'm too old. I'm not even sure what the fuck that means -- too old for allergy medicine? Do they think I'm trying to order something off the fucking Happy Meal menu? At this point, I don't even know why I'm paying for health insurance. When I call them tomorrow, I'll ask them to explain it to me.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I fucking love M&M's so fucking much I could fucking die

Those of you who have my home address should feel free to send me personalized M&M's. Those of you who would like my home address for the purpose of mailing me personalized M&M's should email me.

Dear Delmar,

I got your postcard. The weather is not beautiful, but I still wish you were here or I were there.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Gazebo project

Since my blog will never rule the blogosphere if I don't update it daily with blazing wit and self-depracating introspection, let me tell you about my new gazebo project.

My parents have a gazebo in their backyard. Once upon a time, the gazebo was lovely -- it was screened in, bug free, stained and water-sealed, and just an overall great place to sit with a glass of iced tea and watch the sun set. But my family has a way of not taking care of things, especially if said things are outdoors. Our patio is a graveyard of abandoned lawn furniture. The hammock on the hill is rusted, shredded, and rotted. And the gazebo, until yesterday, was home to three years' worth of seasonal debris -- mountains of leaves, caterpillar husks, creepy crawlies with more legs than I have fingers and toes combined, and, of course, wiener-dog shit.

I'd been spending a lot of time in there regardless because I'm addicted to the outdoors because lately my mood is directly correlated to the weather. When it is sunny outside, I am sunny inside; and when it rains I'm a crying-on-the-inside clown. But after gorging myself at the Chinese food buffet the other night, I realized that my need to be outdoors was merging with my need for beauty, which meant that even while outside, I couldn't enjoy myself in a place that reminded me of The Trash Heap.

So I Shanghaied my little sister (who is 20 and about to graduate from college, but I can still say things to her like, "I'll give you five dollars if you'll let me pick your nose," and she'll still say, "Sure!") and we grabbed some rakes and brooms and garbage bags and the hose and we hit the gazebo like motherfucking Delta Force. Thus, after years of oppression, the gazebo has been liberated from winter's tyranny.

That was yesterday. Today we went to the Home Despot and bought crap to re-screen all the screens and to clean all the wood, which is what we'll do tomorrow (and which we would have done today if it hadn't been half-drizzling all afternoon before I had to go to work -- make up your freakin' mind, weather!).

After that, we're going to plant cactus around the gazebo's perimeter, and then we're going to raid this local statuary place for these totally sweet seahorses they've got there.

We also bought an antenna to boost the house's wireless Internet signal so it will once again work in the gazebo, and, if we've got money left over, I'm going to buy an outdoor fridge. I also want to buy a wiener-dog costume so I can run around the backyard barking at all the joggers and cyclists who pass by, but that'll probably have to wait.

But the best part is, once everything is together, I'm going to throw Gazebo Gras 2006, complete with Christmas lights, fireworks, a slip 'n' slide, BBQ, and booze -- and you're all invited, so get psyched!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

An argument in favor of nuclear waste

As the sun plays upon my face like cotton-footed children, and the harbor air, freckled with salt, moseys across my street, my thoughts turn to nuclear waste. "Is it really so bad?" my thoughts wonder. On a scale of one to ten, with one being Christmas and ten being Islamic jihad, does nuclear waste deserve to rate any higher than a six? Surely six is pretty bad, but what about nuclear waste's natural adversary, oil? Shouldn't oil rate somewhere near a ten?

What with global warming, military adventurism, Haliburton, and the high price of gas, I'm ready to take my chances with nuclear waste -- nice, clean, nuclear waste. We can produce nuclear power domestically and then convert all our cars to run on electricity and keep all the pollution contained in barrels and filters and rubber sacks instead of spreading it all over the place, and then we can tell the oil companies to go fuck themselves.

Speaking of which, when we do switch to nice clean nuclear power, we can't just let anybody supply it. It's going to have to be the hippies. Specifically, it should be the Green Party. They're the only ones we can trust to do it right. They'll have to learn from the Navy, which successfully uses nuclear reactors all over the place without turning all their sailors into night lights, so that might be a little rough at first, having all those long-haired pot-smoking weirdoes mingling with our armed forces, but with the age of peace that nuclear power will bestow upon us, it won't matter if all our army men go AWOL to follow whoever is replacing Phish.

Plus we can count on the Green Party to quickly get us away from nuclear power and onto the next newest cleanest power source. And think of what would happen to politics if the Green Party suddenly had as much money, power, and influence as the oil cos. do now?

Seriously, this is win-win for everybody (except the oil cos and dick cheney, who we hate anyway).

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A politics post in which a food metaphor goes too far

I used to follow politics pretty closely, but paying attention has gotten harder and harder as the country continues to show that it prefers to keep its head up its ass. Today's case in point is Busby's loss to Bilbray in California. The Daily Kos post-game is all about how Busby's strategy lost her the race, but I'm beyond blaming Democrats at this point. I'm sure there are a million things to attract voters that Democrats can do better. However, there comes a point when then light shined on an issue is so bright that Democrats should be able to get a can of Beefaroni elected without spending a dime campaigning, and the CA-50 special election to replace Duke Cunningham should have been one of those points.

Cunningham was the beacon of Republican corruption. Rather than a loan fuckup threatening to taint the rest of his party, he was the spot of mold on your slice of bread that causes you to check the rest of the loaf only to discover that it's time to toss the whole thing into the trash. The fact that a majority of voters in the CA-50 chose to keep making shit sandwiches with their moldy bread is sickening. Worse is that many democrats apparently chose not to vote at all.

What the fuck, people? When the Republican rot smells as bad as it did in Cunningham's district, it is no longer the Democrats' job to entice their base to the polls, nor is it their job to convince moderate Republicans that it's time to change cleaning services. No, it's up to the voters to accept responsibility for cleaning out their own refrigerator. And if they can't be bothered to do it, then I don't want them living in my neighborhood anymore, lest the smell start to creep into my house.

All of which brings me back to my recurring desire to dissolve the union. Let's divide the country between the shit-sandwiches and the cans of Beefaroni. Let the maniacs have their lunch and eat it too, just as long as they do it in a place where the rest of us don't have to smell it.

Friday, June 02, 2006

BBBS

On June 15th I meet with the kind folks at Big Brothers Big Sisters to have an interview for becoming a Big Brother. I originally started thinking of joining BBBS almost a year ago because it would look good on my resume when I apply for teaching jobs, but I wasn't truly motivated to do it until my success as a tutor showed me that, gosh darn it, kids love me. So now I'm psyched about the prospect of getting to spend a minimum of two to four days a month hanging out with a kid in need just because I think it's going to be a blast.

The challenge is going to be finding ways to entertain a 7- to 16-year-old on Long Island (aka: Dullsville). At the risk of getting ahead of myself, I've started planning stuff to do. At the top of the list is dressing up like super heros and hanging out in parks or at the mall looking for villains to fight and people to rescue. Or we'll play skee ball or check out the aquarium. If I'm paired with an older kid, we'll go drag racing.

And if you've got any activity suggestions, send them my way.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Da Vinci Irony

Well, it wasn't complete crap. Had I not read the book, I think I would have enjoyed the movie since the visuals add a lot of what the book is lacking; but the characters were still flat and there isn't anything beyond the puzzle to keep one involved. And since pretty much everybody knows how it ends...

The irony, though, is in the fact that the story revolves around the power, importance, and significance of women, but the movie turns Sophie into a know-nothing-girl who's just along for the ride, and every other female from the book is either diminished or deleted. This phenomenon goes so far that an important scene in the book where Langdon and Sophie get help from a reference librarian is replaced by a scene on a bus where they instead get help from some dude with a cellphone. The changes seem so pointless that one has to wonder if it's not in fact a deliberate commentary on what Hollywood thinks of the book's whole "sacred feminine" idea.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Brett Ratner's mutant power

is the ability to suck the life out of a perfectly good movie franchise.

X-Men 3 sucked. It sucked bad. There are so many structural flaws in the story, it would fail Screenwriting 101. I won't go into detail here since doing so would require lots of spoilers, but I will say that if you do see it, be prepared to endure pointless scenes, a pointless plot, empty characters, and lame action sequences. I want my hour and 45 minutes back. And I want to beat the crap out of Brett Ratner. And I wish there were some way to punish Hollywood for making movies that they must know are crap. Unfortunately, you don't know if a movie is any good until after you've seen it, and by then Hollywood already has your money. I'm going to write a letter demanding my money back.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Candy Man can!

This post over at This Modern World is priceless. Go give love.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I dated a negro once.

She wasn't even one of the people who cleans my bathroom. In fact, I met her in a library (surprise!). Ultimately, our relationship was doomed (me being a capricorn and her being insanely tardy all the fucking time, I had to fire her ass), but as it ended I was shocked to discover that I'd developed some feelings for her. I was unprepared for the fact that her being black didn't get in the way of me really liking her. Thus, as we parted, I was forced to reevaluate my world view: if a white man like me could have feelings for a black girl like her, what other interracial coupling experiments might I one day be a part of and might I have to accept among other couples? What I learned was that just because someone is black (or hispanic, or Chinese, or Protestant) doesn't mean he or she is less lovable. It was a hard reality to face, but it's one I've adjusted to.

It's with that lesson in mind that I've watched the actions of the Senate these past few days. As they debate the issue of whether or not English should be our national language, I realize that what they're actually debating is whether or not someone who doesn't speak English is less American than someone who does. Six months ago I would have said, "Yes! If you can't speak English, you can't be my neighbor!" But now that I am wiser, I understand this is wrong. If a black person is not less lovable, then a non-English speaker is not less American. It's the only conclusion that follows logically.

However, if you are still unpersuaded, consider this: If speaking English equals being American, then we have to determine when it is that someone becomes an English speaker. Is it when he learns his first English word? Is it when he can order a ham sandwich at the deli? Is it when he scores a 650 or better on the SAT? This is important because most of the employees at the local Chinese buffet have English skills on par with the average second grader. If their English isn't good enough to make them Americans, then we also must accept that our children aren't Americans either. Further, Americans in general have poor English skills, and if being able to speak English determines one's Americanness, then it only follows that the quality of one's English determines the quality of one's Americanness. In other words, your ability to correctly use a semicolon is a direct reflection of how much you love your country. Up front, this might not seem like a terrible thing -- it just means that most people love their country an "average" amount. But look a little deeper and you'll uncover a horrible truth: that the most American people in the world are... (get ready!)... the British. Now that's irony.

And it's shameful. Shouldn't we be judging our citizens by more important standards? Like whether or not they drink domestic beer, or attend PTA meetings, or (here's a crazy idea) get out and vote.

Let's not wait until we're back to saluting the Queen before we realize this is an idea that's gone tits up.

(Special thanks to Hoot for helping me refine these thoughts.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

My hero and yours

Hoot Gibson has is own blog. Show the man some love.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nickeled and Dimed

This is a post I've been wanting to write for a while now, but it just gets me so pissed off I haven't done it. But I'm awake now, much to early, and its on my mind, so I'm figuring maybe if I write it I can get back to sleep.

Over the past several months, assorted businesses have nickeled and dimed me out of nearly $1000 dollars. Really this has been going on for my entire life -- I'm used to get fucked out of money here and there and knowing that my only recourse is to spend months making telephone calls and writing letters. Frankly, I don't have the time for that, nor can my heart take it. What I need is an army of lawyers to handle it, but until I'm rich enough to afford them, I've just going to have to go on getting screwed.

For fun, though, let's review all the companies that have given me the shaft this past year.

Our first culprit is Verizon. After I moved out of my apartment last July, I transfered our phone and DSL bill into my roommate's name. Verizon charged me a $50 fee for canceling our DSL. Yet I did not cancel it -- I transfered it. In fact, when I called Verizon to clear this up, they admitted that I never canceled the DSL and shouldn't have been charged for it. They then proceeded to deny that I had been charged for it, even though the charge is clearly noted in big bold letters on my bill. My roommate and I spent three months (yes three full months, calling at least once a week each) trying to sort this out (Verizon had fucked up our billing in a number of other ways at the same time, but the DSL thing was where I was getting the shaft), and in the end we just had to give up -- the time and energy involved in fighting with them was no longer worth the $50.

Next is American Express. I order a $35 gift card for my brother for X-Mas and it never showed up. I called and called and called and nobody there could give me a straight answer as to whether or not they even had a record of my purchase, let alone how to get my money back. Again, the time and energy spent fighting with them was soon no longer worth the $35, so I stopped calling.

The worst offender is Oxford Healthcare. Now, I've been screwed hardcore -- for thousands and thousands of dollars -- by other HMOs in the past. To make a long story short, if not for my parents being well-to-do, my right leg would end at the knee thanks to Aetna who kept lying to me about what treatments they would or would not cover, and this nearly drove me into the poor house. Anyway, I've learned to be wary, so when I signed up for Oxford back in January, I thought I'd done all my homework: made all the right phone calls, read all the right fine print, asked all the right questions. How wrong I was. After once again being repeatedly misinformed about which doctors Oxford would cover, I cancelled my membership with them and started petitioning for my money back. I'd paid in advance for three months of membership: January, February, and March. But by the end of February it was apparent Oxford was running a massive scam, so my membership cancellation date is February 28. You'd think this would entitled me to a refund of my March membership fees since, you know, I wasn't receiving any services from them at all at that point. But no. Oxford insists they get to keep that money. To recap: Oxford argues that they don't owe you anything even when their representatives repeatedly misinform you about what doctors and services are and aren't covered, and they don't owe you a refund for months in which you aren't even a member anymore. It's fucking outrageous to the tune of +$700.

All of this is enough to make me want to buy a bazooka. But instead I will spend today (my day off), writing yet more fruitless letters and making yet more fruitless phone calls.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The new velocity

Just for Olman Feelyus, I went running in the rain today. The cold cold shitty shitty rain rain. It was fun, if wet. Very Eye of the Tiger. And, while running, I got to think about things, which is what I do while running, and so I thought about all the same things I've been thinking about for days: Who am I? Where am I? Where am I going? Where have I come from? Where have I been? I think about these things for about ten minutes before thoughts about telekinesis and bigfoot (and whether or not bigfoots have telekinesis) sidetrack me.

I was reading a thing about bigfoots on the teh Interweb today, and bigfoots are kinda scary, and one thing being another I was soon thinking about clowns because someone happened to mention clowns and then I was jogging and ruminating on the special way in which clowns have touched me life.

Some people are scared of clowns, but I am not. I hate clowns and am immune to their aura of fear because I used to live with one. For real. A real Ringling Bros. Clown College graduate. The most annoying dude I've ever met in my life. More annoying than Ned Ryerson. The only cool thing about him was his girlfriend, and only because in public she was all Martha Stewart, but behind closed doors she was a porn star. I still want to fuck her. Except she was also always wanting to slit her wrists, so that's kind of a turn off. Still, wrap all that dark nastiness up in a pink turtleneck, and it's hard not to want to pound the heckfire out of her.

But about bigfoot... I do not want to fuck bigfoot. But it would be awesome to run across two bigfoots fucking in the woods. That's how you know bigfoots are fake -- nobody's ever seen them fucking. I mean, we've seen Paris Hilton fucking for fuck sake. In fact, thanks to the Internets, there isn't anything (or anyone) left that you can't see fucking. Hell, if not for the family-friendly nature of this blog, I'd show you a picture right now of a dude fucking a car's tailpipe. And yesterday I downloaded a movie of Darth Vader having a threesome with Sonny and Cher. That's how you know shit is real. If you can't find it fucking something on the Internet, it doesn't exist.

And that's what I thought about while jogging today.

Once that was settled, I came home and signed up for two gym classes at good ol' Suffolk County Community College. Soccer (everybody's favorite), and "fitness walking." I have to put "fitness walking" in quotes because I'm not yet convinced it is a genuine athletic activity. Right. So. For all of June I'll be playing soccer in the early morning and doing "fitness walking" in the evening. It will be an unprecedented amount of physical activity for me. Plus, throw in my regular gym appointments, and it will be totally off the hook (as my 9-year-olds are now saying, though none of them have very good pronunciation skills, so it sounds all marble-mouthed when they say it, so it's about a thousand times funnier than you'd expect). To make it even more extreme (though, really, this isn't going to happen, but I'll tell you about it anyway), I'm considering biking to and from the college for my gym classes. That would be something. Can you imagine? Bike 15 miles or whatever to play soccer, then bike back to get to the gym, then back home, then back for fitness walking, then back home again? Lance Armstrong doesn't exercise that much.

Anyway, I'm a little concerned about the soccer class because I'm worried about getting my teeth knocked out. The last time I had balls flying at my face I was alone in the dark with my man Jarrett, and it wasn't a problem, but still, accidents happen.

Oh yeah. So. Back to the jogging and what I was thinking about while jogging before bigfoot interfered. What I was saying was is that I have a plan -- at least for the moment (maybe only the day). The two gym classes at SCCC are the last things I need to do (if I can get the English Dept. Chair's blessing) to finish my AAS degree, which I started there 10 years ago. (I'm hoping this will set a new SCCC record for longest student matriculation. And I will totally make my parents attend the graduation ceremony.)

ANYWAY. Back to the plan. The plan is to finish my SCCC degree, then go on to Hofstra (if they accept me. If not, I'm joining the KKK), earn my masters in English and TOEFL and get my teaching certification, and then use these credentials to live in fun and new places. Fortunately, all the sunny places I want to go are filled with non-English speakers (aka "Mexicans"), and I happen to enjoy (and am good at) teaching English to foreign language speakers of all ages. So, hopefully, this will open up lots of opportunities for me to live for a little while in each of my fantasy locales. And then it's just viva la viva. At least until I change my mind again.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Why the fuck aren't I moving to Hawaii?

My homepage has been set to show the weather in Hawaii ever since I spent a month there in 2002. Every fantasy life I concoct for myself is set in Hawaii. And whenever the weather on Long Island is beautiful I remind myself that in Hawaii the beauty isn't fleeting. In Hawaii I could ride my motorcycle pretty much 24/7. If I bought a jeep, I could leave the top off all year 'round. If I met a girl there, she would most likely look good in a bikini. Indeed, there is so much I like about Hawaii. So why the fuck aren't I aggressively working on moving there?

Money is one reason. Hawaii is very expensive and jobs there are sparse. When I was there, most people lived in impoverished neighborhoods and worked in tourism. Depressing as hell. But I'm aiming for school there, which means living on the beautiful UoH campus and (hopefully) getting financial aid. So money is mostly a bullshit reason for not going.

My second (and final) reason is also bullshit -- but it's very very very potent bullshit. I'm terrified of being lonely. I do not meet people or make friends easily; I'm solitary by nature, and a lot of the work I do, my projects, is best done solo. But at the same time, I need people around constantly. I'm desperate for socialization, desperate to know I can always find someone to entertain me at a moment's notice. There are not a lot of people in Hawaii, and, even at school, I don't anticipate many opportunities to meet people. Hell, I could barely meet people while living in NYC. Even out here on LI, I've got one reliable friend with whom I can spend time. Weekends are the worst. Without the structure of the workday and the time I'll get to spend with 9-year-olds, the weekends are nothing more than an exercise in killing hours.

Not to get all depressing about it, but instead to get back to the point, when I paint the picture that bleak, it seems like I've got nothing to lose by moving to Hawaii. But what I've got to lose is the last of my social support system. At least here there is somebody, but out there, there is nobody -- at least, there are no guarantees.

Still I try to convince myself that if I take the chance, things would workout for me out there. But it's hard to find the courage to do it, especially because if it doesn't workout, I have no more fallback positions once I'm 6000 miles away.

The Hills are alive with the sound of the meh.

My sister graduated from Buffalo State this weekend, so my whole family trekked up there for the ceremony. Graduations are interesting things. You're filled with love and pride for the person you're celebrating, yet also tremendous physical discomfort because you've got to sit in the bleachers for three hours surrounded by gigantic fat people who take up so much room that airlines would charge them for two seats. The lady sitting in front of me had what I'm told is called "shelf-butt." Her ass was so big that it literally formed a shelf sticking out of the back of her. And when I say literally, I mean literally. As in: When nobody was looking I daintily took my cellphone and rested it there, and when that worked, I considered emptying my pockets. Not that I'm all about making fun of fat people. Fat jokes are cheap, and fat people generally don't deserve it. But I believe there are rules regarding when fatness is and isn't okay (fatiquette!), and these people had broken those rules. But I'll write more about that later because this post isn't for talking about fat people; it is for talking about Hillary Clinton (who is not fat).

Hillary was the commencement speaker at my sister's graduation. The audience thought this was quite a treat and was very psyched. Chuck Schumer was the speaker for the afternoon ceremony, so we all thought we got the better deal, scoring Hills. But then Chuck showed up unannounced to the morning ceremony and we got to hear him speak, too, so we really lucked out.

Chuck's speech was better than Hillary's. It was a well-rehearsed personal anecdote specifically tailored to the lives of graduates. It was warm-hearted and made us laugh. When it was done, I wanted to go hang out with Chuck, but he ran off and I couldn't find him.

In contrast, Hillary's speech was meh. Her presence at the mic is very cold. It's hard to say why this is. It could be because her face doesn't emote. Ever. Even on TV. She looks a little bit like a ghoul. In the realm of charisma, she's about as opposite from her husband as can be. (I saw Bill speak once when I was at college, and he is fucking magnetic. You can't be within line of sight of him and not fall in love. It's magic.) The content of Hills' speech was below par. A number of people sitting hear me called her the Next President of the United States (remember, this is upstate western NY) and so everything she said was met with huge applause. Unfortunately (to me, anyway), everything she said was that same old empty Democratic rhetoric we've been hearing for years: "Quality affordable healthcare should be the right of every American!" and so on. Which is all well and good and is stuff I generally agree with, but it's trite, impersonal, and not what I want to hear at a graduation. And my beef isn't with her doing a little campaigning to a captive audience (Chuck managed to get a little campaigning in, too). It's that all these people kept referring to her as the Next President, yet she so clearly isn't a leader. She doesn't inspire. She doesn't make it feel like we can accomplish our liberal goals. Sure, we could do worse. But can't we also do better? Aren't we tired of trying to get excited over The Meh?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Jogosphere

I just made that up. Clever, right? It's where my mind goes when I jog -- into the jogosphere, where I am Superman.

That's all I have to say about jogging.

Now I will talk about:

Life's Path!

You see, I need to make some decisions. Mostly about grad school. I need to pick a program, and since I will almost definitely be attending Hofstra (if they reject me, I'll buy a gun and join a militia), I'll have many options. And, well, there are so many options, and my internal debate is so complex, that I'm just not getting into it here. Instead, just know that my nights are sleepless and my days are filled with vacillations, during which I've got it all figured out until I don't. Since all this to-ing and fro-ing is exhausting, I retreat to the television where I can watch The Real Housewives of Orange County, which is the most surreal thing I've ever seen. How can these millionaires possible pretend that they have the same everyday problems as the rest of America? Yet I'm convinced they do. They are very convincing. For example, one of them is a single mom trying to send her kids to college while simultaneously suffering buyer's remorse after purchasing $10,000 earrings. I feel her pain. I feel her struggle. And when the jewelry saleswoman says that this lady bought something she "desperately needed," I feel that, too. And I'm not being snarky about this. I'm serious. Their problems are so normal, but just on a larger scale. Except for their children, who mostly seem to be assholes. How did these normal women raise such assholes? That's the part I don't get.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I do not have glaucoma.

Not that I really thought I did have glaucoma, but I got new glasses at LensCrafters a month or so ago and the dude there who did my eye exam said he was "concerned about [my] pressure." So I finally got to an opthamologist this morning and had it confirmed that not only do I not have glaucoma, but I am at low risk for glaucoma. Three cheers for something not being wrong with me for once.

Now that I know my eyes are healthy, I'm going to go stare into the sun.

Monday, May 01, 2006

You know what's good?

Salami is good. So so good. It's greasy and fatty and spicy and you can wrap it around cheese and crackers and hard bread, and even enjoy it with wine. Fucking incredible. And where does it come from? Pig parts? I don't believe it. More likely there is a magic salami palace in the sky and if you do the magic salami dance magic salami rains down upon you. Salami must come from the heavens. It is that<>that good.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why the Ivy Leage can blow me

I just read about the "plagiarism scandal" surrounding Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan, and it's actually made me feel a lot better about not getting into Harvard or Stanford. I don't want to seem like the guy who's just bitching because he's got some sour grapes (though maybe that's what I am). I definitely liked both Stanford's and Harvard's programs best of all the ones I looked at, and, as more and more teachers tell me there's a huge job shortage for any but science and math teachers, I would absolutely love to have the golden ticket that comes with an Ivy League diploma.

But check this shit out:
In a profile published in The New York Times earlier this month, Ms. Viswanathan said that while she was in high school, her parents hired Katherine Cohen, founder of IvyWise, a private counseling service, to help with the college application process. After reading some of Ms. Viswanathan’s writing, Ms. Cohen put her in touch with the William Morris Agency, and Ms. Viswanathan eventually signed with Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, an agent there.

Ms. Walsh said that she put Ms. Viswanathan in touch with a book packaging company, 17th Street Productions (now Alloy Entertainment), but that the plot and writing of “Opal” were “1,000 percent hers.”


Getting into the Ivies involves hiring a private counseling service and getting hooked up with a "book packaging" company? Why does that sound a lot like you have to buy your way into these places?

Getting some guidance on the application process makes sense. I hired Kaplan to help me, and for a few hundred bones I got some very valuable insight on my application essays. But there's something, I dunno, suspicious, about a counseling service that can put you in touch with a book packaging company as well as get you into top schools. (Read about what a book packaging service does, here.)

Or, in other words (since I'm feeling muddled and verbose): if someone is hooking you up with a company that's going to give you the plot, the characters, the outline, and the first four chapters of a book, and then pay you a half-a-million-dollar advance to "write" the book even though your writing style is unexceptional, what would you suspect that same person is doing to get you into Harvard? Is there a fill-in-the-blanks process for that, too? I wish someone would have told me about it.

I guess I'm naive.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Debt Free

In the interest of counting my financial chickens before they've hatched, it looks like I've nearly gotten myself out of debt. I have (or will imminently have) paid off my Amazon.com card, my WaMu card, and my Kohl's card. A few months ago I polished off my Apple Loan. And I've paid my motorcycle insurance for the year as well. This leaves me with college loans to repay, and my motorcycle payments. I feel free. I am a cigarette thrown from a car's window on the L.I.E.: I'll stay afloat for as long as there is turbulence to keep me going, yet inevitably, gravity will have its way with me (imagine those final orange sparks leaping across the ground like ballerinas fired from a cannon!). And what is this metaphoric gravity, you might be wondering? It is the HP L2335. I have wanted one for so long, and the payments would be sooo sooo small (the way peanuts are small, yet packed with protein and satisfaction). Oh, the hunger.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Da Vinci Suck

Just finished reading the Da Vinci Code. Huge disappointment. I was hoping to have another Harry Potter experience, where I come late to the party but still find myself caught up in all the excitement. Instead, I found the book completely bland. The characters are flat, the mechanics of the quest aren't particularly interesting, and the payoff is poor.

However, the history and research that Dan Brown bases the book on are interesting (in spite of his liberties and errors) and I'd bet reading the straight academic work is more rewarding than sifting fact from fiction within The Da Vinci Code, so I'll be adding some more non-fic to my Amazon.com wish list. Yippee.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rain is bullshit

I could be out jogging. Or biking. Or riding my freakin' motorcycle. But noooooooooooooo -- it's freakin' raining. Again. Two days in a row. Three, almost, since Friday was crappy also. What the fuck, man? We don't even need rain anymore. Rain is obsolete. Between global warming, in-ground sprinkler systems, and bottled water, it's time for rain to realize that its day is done. It's over. Time to say goodbye. And don't come back again until we need some snow, which is about all rain is good for until we start importing that, too. Fucking rain.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Motorcycle ups and downs

To recap: Several weeks ago, I had my first wipe out. Among other things, this resulted in a broken shifter lever, which meant I couldn't ride until I got a replacement. Though many people recommended assorted online retailers, I decided to order the part from the dealer since I'd just gotten the bike and was feeling the goodwill that comes from a positive shopping experience. Well, that goodwill is completely used up, and I definitely won't order parts from them again. Here's the saga:

So I go to the dealer and order a new part. They charge me $30 more than the part would have cost had I ordered online, nearly doubling its price. They say it will take a week to come in, but two weeks later I stop by and ask if the part has arrived and they tell me it'll be in "on Monday" (which was another three days away). I show up on Thursday and ask about the part and they say it's been there for 11 days and that someone should have called me (not to mention that someone could have told me it was there when I asked about just a few days earlier). So that was three weeks of riding down the tubes all because the dealer's parts department is totally incompetent (they also ordered the wrong parts for some stuff my dad needed -- and they again forgot to call when the parts came in, and the sales department "mishandled" a bunch of the paper work for my dad's bike, which caused yet more inconvenience). Though the dealer started out strong, in the end they get an F. So sad.

Meanwhile, I'd signed up for lessons with a local riding school. Their idea of scheduling a riding lesson is to call at 12:30 in the afternoon and demand I call back by 1:00 if I want to reserve a spot for 9:00 am the next morning. Who can manage stuff like that? Maybe it's because I only work part time, don't have a family to take care of, and am basically a freewheeling lolligagger, but my time is just too scheduled to be able to make such last minute commitments on the spur of the moment. Maybe if they'd given me a full 45 minutes to try to work something out, I could have made it happen. But whatever. After leading me on like this for weeks, they finally decide that they don't want anyone who hasn't signed up for their over-priced "4 lesson package" (4 lessons for $400, as opposed to individual lessons at $75 a pop -- you figure it out) and say they're going to refund my money.

At this point, I was three weeks without a bike, and lacking formal lessons, which I desperately want so as not to have another wipeout. And the jury is still out on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses. I sent them a deposit two weeks ago and haven't heard a peep from them since (and their phone just keeps on ringing.) Actually buying the bike had been so easy, but after only about two months of ownership, everything else about it has become a huge pain in the ass.

Fortunately, after putting on the new shifter lever and going for a few short jittery rides to and from the beach, I at last got out today (on Easter! The Day of Rebirth! The Day of Miracles!) and had a fantastic ride exploring some back roads around my house, and I am once again feeling confident that I will actually learn to ride this thing without killing myself.

I still really really really want formal lessons. And I really really really want to take the MSF course. Hopefully all of that will happen before September. In the meantime, I'm going to keep my spirits alive by listening to Michelle Pfeiffer sing Cool Rider from the Grease 2 soundtrack.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Cleaning your dog's anal gland

I didn't know that dogs (or any animal) had an anal gland; nor did I know these precious little nodules needed to be "cleaned." Alas, the things I learn when my parents come home from the vet. Which is where their wiener dogs went for their annual checkup this morning. And when they came home they stank like shit and burnt fur. Which is not exactly the smell I'd expect an anal gland to make (I mean, the shit, sure; but burnt fur?). The process for cleaning a dog's anal gland involves the vet sticking her finger up the dog's butt. Which makes sense. However, I would not have guessed that the dogs would have liked this (which they did. a lot.). Does this mean the dogs are gay? Or just sexually unrepressed? Or does the fact that they're neutered have something to do with it? Some days, life's mysteries overwhelm me.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hi, 8US!

To answer the inquiries, the blog is not dead. Merely taking a little break. From which I have now returned. At least for as long as the weather is lame. When the weather is not lame anymore, blogging might once again become sporadic. Also, I wasn't off sulking over the Harvard thing. The hiatus began before the letter even showed up. But I do appreciate everyone's concern. (The internets are where my friends are!) What I was doing was eating a lot of Kashi Go Lean Crunch. Have you had this cereal? It is quite good. I just finished a bowl (and another box) only a minute ago. For those of you doing Weight Watchers, it's only three points for 1 cup. For those of you lowering your cholesterol, it's high in fiber and protein, and low in fat. For those of you who like things that taste good, it tastes good. My only complaint is that the box is too small -- too small to make a pirate ship out of, and too small to last me more than a week and change at roughly one bowl (cup) a day. Perhaps there are larger boxes of it available somewhere. Boxes big as boots. Boxes big as 10-gallon hats. Boxes dressed up with bows and lace. Then I could eat until I died. (Which I guess would be ironic since Kashi is supposed to be health food.)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Harvard

Rejection letter received today.

That is all.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

First crash!

Just had my first crash!

Fortunately, I was going slow enough that I didn't kill myself. My right arm is sore, and I suspect I would have broken it had been going faster (I think I just pulled some muscles or something -- it doesn't hurt when I move it or squeeze it, which is what I suspect would happen had I broken it), and I scraped up my knees (just got my new JR Alter Ego jacket today, but I'm still waiting on the pants). The bike took the worst of it. The shifter peg broke off, as did a metal bit I haven't identified yet. The left side of the handle bar is also messed up pretty badly. Otherwise it wasn't so bad. Mostly it's annoying, as now I have to get it fixed before I can ride it again. I guess the dealer will pick it up?

I'm not sure what I did wrong. I think I saw myself making a turn to wide and in my effort to get control I accidentally revved the throttle, and that was it. The throttle is super sensitive, and revs at the slightest touch, and I've suspected it would get me eventually. I guess the lesson I've learned is that I'm going to be more patient until the bike's controls are second nature to me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Body update

At my lightest, I was about 215. Presently I am 226. This was disheartening until I got one of them fancy scales that measures body fat as well as weight and saw that my body fat has actually decreased (by about 1 percent), which means most (perhaps all) of the weight gained is muscle.

And I am feeling quite pumped these days. You should see my guns! Two tickets to the gun show! Everywhere I go I ask people to feel my arms, and boy are they impressed. I know I'm impressed. My arms are impressive. Let me impress upon you the high impressiveness of my mighty arms. Arms like sledge hammers. Boom! They are mighty. My arms = power. I would post pictures of them, but there aren't enough megapixels in the world to capture my bicepular glory.

Still, I'm a little softer in the middle than I'd like to be, especially since I want to buy some pinstripe pants. Pinstripe pants, per se, do not require thinner middles; I just don't want to have to replace them right away. Or have to replace the rest of my wardrobe which mostly needs replacing already. You see, after the pinstripe pants, I want to buy one of those Gordon Gecko shirts, maybe some suspenders, and a bunch of cigars, and hang around looking like a Wall Street power broker. And I don't want to drop a few hundred bucks on clothes before I drop twenty more pounds and then have to go buy new clothes all over again. Because I am cheap. I won't pretend to be frugal. I am not frugal. I am a miser. Fortunately, I work with kids and none of them know the difference. Except for the 6-year-olds, who notice everything. "What's in your teeth?" "Your socks don't match." "You were alive in 1980?!" They're incredible. And so it is for them that I want to buy pinstripe pants. They, more than anyone else -- more than me, even -- will appreciate the whole Wall Street power broker look. And they will emulate it because I am the coolest tutor in the tutoring center because I own an X-Box and a motorcycle and have read The Phantom Tollbooth.

Thus you see that this all part of my plan to re-invent the 1980s. Not all of it -- just the miserable ethics and WASP fashion elements. Greed is good. Bad fashion is better. But '80s pop fashion -- aviator sunglasses, Don Johnson blazers, powder blue suits, fluorescent leg warmers -- is crap. We do not need that shit. No. We need a return to values. We need to get back to the things that made America great. And those things were pinstripe pants and cigars -- a wardrobe that embodies the middle finger, which is the sexiest lifestyle of all.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Motorcycle update

After a total of 3 hours of practice, I am now permitted to drive my motorcycle to and from the beach. Formerly, the routine was that I followed pops down and then he let me ride around the parking lot. But today I managed to get the bike into third gear, and even did a whopping 40 mph for a little bit. And so far I still haven't crashed (or killed myself or lost a limb or become paralyzed). I executed some decent figure eights, too. All in all, I'm taking to the bike much faster than I anticipated.

My next major areas of practice are better shifting, and better control of the bike around corners while at speed (ie, slowing down in time to begin a turn (as one should not brake while turning) and shifting up and down on either side of the turning process). I also need to get sunglasses right quick, since at 4 o'clock the sun is at an angle that makes riding west impossible.

And I need a protective jacket and pants and boots, since going down at 40+ mph will suck bad enough without having to worry about road rash (and worse). On my regular bikety bike, I regularly do over 20 mph, and break 30 when there's a nice hill, and I know that if I were to crash at those speeds it would suck but be generally survivable. Cyclists deal with that all the time. But there was something about watching my speedometer click up to 40 today that made me realize I was entering a whole new level of pain should I crash at that speed. (At the same time, I saw a ton of people out riding today in very non-riderly clothes. I wonder if they're dumb or if I'm paranoid.)

I'll also need to get new rearview mirrors, as the ones I have now are useless. And I'll probably buy a windshield sooner than I'd originally expected.

Motorcycling is about to become a very expensive part of my life.

It's worth it, though. The bike is such a chick magnet.

These are the real banes of my existence

Ignore for a moment (or don't) that this post at Absorbascon starts out being about comics; it is a perfect analysis of the human condition and the role of art therein.

Now go fight some crime.

Anecdotes

Special thanks to special people for the anecdotes below. Heart.

Americans remain thankless for being Americans:

Guy behind me in line, I swear to God:

"I want a coke."

"Oh, well sir the Pepsi Fountain is right over ther--"

"Fuck Pepsi, Pepsi gives people AIDS. I want coke."

"Well, they uh... have Mountain De---"

"Same shit, different color."

I think he wound up getting some Dr. Pepper, going outside, pouring it into the flowers before tossing the cup into the trash.

And I'm reminded why I hate America, and why we deserve a good ass-whipping and to be downgraded to a 3rd world country in a state of emergency for a good few months. So that we be goddamn thankful for this shit we have. Pepsi, Coke, BFD --the kids in Africa who do have AIDS don't get to choose between two different sugar waters because they don't get to down enough clean water as it is in order to counter balance the poison we pump into ourselves --- PEPSI OR COKE.

I'm so mad at myself right now for not jumping all over him. I hope he never comes to my eating spot again.


-----

AND: "to make you hate Red Bull even more..."

Red Bull buys MetroStars, renames team

-----


Interesting that these are both beverage related. I wonder if what we drink is making us stupider.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Moto Movies

In honor of the new motorcycle, I've bumped Tron (fun!) and Torque (cheese!) to the top of my NetFlix que. I suppose I should add Easy Rider (old school!) to the list also, but somehow that feels like I'd be taking myself too seriously.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Stanford

Got the rejection letter from Stanford today. Kinda pissed, but not surprised. I was hoping to at least be accepted there even if I might not have been able to afford it in the end. This also gives me serious doubts about whether or not I'll get into Harvard. And since I foolishly missed the application deadline for Hawaii, I will most likely wind up at Hofstra. Which isn't bad, though I really really really wanted to get the fuck off Long Island.

Anyway, when I originally applied to Stanford, I felt it was a shot in the dark mostly because I was worried I'd be a crappy teacher. But after working at Huntington Learning Center for a while, and getting great reviews from students and their parents (rumor has it that I'm one of the most-requested tutors), I can honestly say it's Stanford's loss for not taking me. And I'm not one of those people who says stuff like that just as a way of cheering himself up. I'm too pessimistic for that kind of mind trick to work on me.

So now I need to start re-mapping my potential future. Don't know where I'm going or how I'm getting there (other than by motorcycle, motherfucker!), but the future is like a small china doll perched precariously on a high shelf, waiting for a cat to knock it off. What does that simile mean? I don't know.

Motorcycle!

It just arrived and is in my garage and I'm going right now for my first lesson on it! Psyched!

If I can dig up a working digital camera I'll post pics later. In the mean time you can look here, though it looks much nicer in person.

Keep your fingers crossed that I don't die! (Or that I do die if you don't like me. I'm good either way.)

Open Letter to: Red Bull

Dear Red Bull USA,

I am writing to let you know that your commercials are so bad I refuse to buy your product until you change them. I am also starting the TV Watchers Against Suck-Bag Commercials non-profit activism group to organize a nation-wide boycott of your product until our demands for non-sucky commercials are met.

Sincerely,
Mustapha Mond

---

What commercials do you hate?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Operation: Motorcyle, part 8

What began as a crazy dream on January 14, came to an end today when I went to the Suzuki dealer and bought my first motorcycle! I got a deal on an '05 SV650 naked, in blue. It's totally sweet and I am totally psyched. I'm also totally terrified.

The reason I am terrified is, before buying the bike, I went to the DMV to get my permit, and that's where I learned that everybody else on the road is clueless.

The written test takes place in a separate room, and every time the door opened I could see the room was full of sweaty test takers. My impression was that the permit tests must have gotten much harder. The truth, however, is more frightening.

First, someone, somewhere, stole the Spanish copy of the permit test, which meant the test was "compromised," which meant there were all these Spanish speakers struggling through the test in English. They would show up with a family member who could translate all the forms and stuff for them, but they couldn't have a translator for the test itself. So they'd sit down, fill in the blanks, and ten minutes later get up and find out that they had passed. Amazing!

Second, there was this teenage girl who went into the test room before I'd even arrived at the DMV, but who only finished about a minute before me. She "just passed" (which I think is 8 questions wrong on a 20 question test, and most of the questions are crazy easy). The DMV guy said to her, "a pass is a pass, so you get your learners' permit." To which she said, "Yes! Everybody, lookout!" Lookout, indeed.

So, I will now be sharing the road with a bunch of people who, at best, only got their learners' permits because they could correctly identify commonplace road signs (which make up about a quarter of the test).

Granted, the first piece of advice in every motorcycling book I've read is that motorcyclists should assume every other driver on the road is unfit to be behind the wheel. As sage as that is, it'd be nice if it wasn't a literal truth.

I'm proud to say I got one question wrong on the test. It was a question about countersteering, and even though I knew exactly what the question was talking about, the answers were written so crazily that I couldn't decode which one was right. I wish that I'd written them down just so I could share the insanity. When I asked the lady at the desk about it, she read them and said she had no idea what the answers were talking about. So I'm awarding myself an honorary perfect score, because there's nothing I can do if the same crazy ESL motherfucker who stole the Spanish test also rewrote the answers to the English test.

Anyway, the written test is retarded easy, and the DMV really should make it more difficult. As it is, if you're not afraid for your life on the road, you should be (or you're part of the problem!).

The DMV was the most exciting part of today's motorcycle adventure. Finally buying the bike was somewhat anti-climactic. Mostly it was just signing papers and trying on helmets. The bike itself won't be delivered until Thursday. So now I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa to finally get his big booty back up the chimney so I can open my presents. Also, the weather is supposed to be nice on Thursday, so if I can get my dad to go down to the beach parking lot with me, I'll spend the evening trying not to kill myself. I can't wait!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Rollerblades

Am I too old to learn to rollerblade? Is there an age when one stops being able to learn to do stuff? This is something I've been thinking about a lot with my impending motorcycle purchase. What if I can't learn to ride it? What if I'm too old to learn to coordinate the shifting of the gears? What if I don't have the ability to keep my balance while making turns? Probably this won't be the case and I'll be riding smoothly soon enough. Still, as I look for more and more things to learn after what feels like years of stagnation, I have to wonder if there's a limit.

There's a definite limit in the sense of how to fit all these things into my schedule. On top of learning to ride, I still have about a million other projects I'm trying to finish, plus I have to, like, go to work and stuff. And the gym. And the post office. And I'd like to get back into martial arts. So how can I possible fit rollerblading in amongst all that? I dunno. But I want to.

I've actually been wanting to learn to roller blade for a long time, but I was worried about aggravating an old leg injury. However, after trying to ice skate a few months ago, I think my leg will be fine. So I will probably buy some rollerblades, and as soon as the weather is nicer I will practice going to and fro the beach. Also, there is a very cute girl who rollerblades past my house on sunny days -- she rollerblades like a rocket! I will ask her to give me lessons.

Other things I would like to learn: I would like to learn to fish, and I would like to learn how to sail. I would also like to learn how to shoot a gun and how to ride a horse (though I am allergic to horses) and how to survive alone in the woods indefinitely if necessary (I guess part of me is getting ready for the end of the world). And I would like to learn to play the piano.

Goth, what have ye become?

Fifteenish years ago, when I was a wee lad, it was just becoming cool to be goth (or maybe it had been cool for ages and I was at last aware of it, but whatever). I had friends who were goth, and I even owned a few goth-ish clothing accessories, like black tights (which are surprisingly warm and comfy). It was fun, even though I was never really into The Cure or emo or punk rock or whatever it is gothers (gothites? gothophiles? people who are goth?) listen to. I was also much darker than all the goth people, who, in my shadow, were mere emotional posers. I was goth on the inside.

But anyway, goth has been good for some things. It helped push BDSM into the mainstream, and it brought us pictures of Sarah Michelle Gellar dressed like a leather-clad vixen. In high school, goth let you know which side of the cafeteria you'd be welcomed on. Yes, goth has had a good run; goth has given us many things to be thankful for.

Now it is time for goth to die.

For serious.

Get the fuck rid of it already.

The Internet has killed goth. Or maybe goth killed itself, as subcultures tend to do once they become unconsciously self-parodying, which is what goth now is. Click over to goth.com and you'll see what I mean.

First, that's a cute goth girl on the main page. You have to compensate for the fact that some photoshop lackey blew-out the contrast, making her features a bit flat, and he then tweaked the color curves a few degrees the wrong way, giving her a yellow-green pallor. But she has the look of someone who, you know, might actually get some exercise. And she's blemish free, which means, if she is vegan (as so many gothfolk seem to be), she at least knows how to get enough protein in her diet. Pretty amazing. Unfortunately, 90-percent of goth girls are nowhere near that cute. They tend to be anti-cute, which isn't the same as ugly, but more like at deliberate odds with being attractive. Which I guess is the whole point of being goth. Or something. My point though, is, when a subculture of people who seemingly cultivate unattractiveness are marketed to with cute models, there's a good chance things have gone astray.

Second, the quote at the top of the page ("Who cares what you think?") is the embodiment of the age-old King Missile lyric, "I want to be different, like everybody else I want to be like." This isn't a new phenomenon -- being different just like all your friends is something that's defined every teen generation since the '60s. But there are now goth kids in cellphone commercials, and on teh Interwebs, "goth" is now code among the non-goth for "I'm so fucking ironically cool because I'm ironically aware of being emotionally impenetrable."

Goth has become a joke, and every time I see a goth teen on the street, in the mall, peering out the window of a passing school bus, I can only feel sorry for him. Not because he is so miserable that he feels compelled to dress up like a black and white Joker, but because he's letting his misery turn him into an absolute dork, and that's just too sad for words.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Brain FM

I often wish that I could broadcast my brain to the world on one of the FM channels so everyone who wanted could tune in and hear what's going on in there. You'd like it. Often there's a pretty bitchin' sound track, plus, a full third of my interior musings happen in Sean Connery's voice, and probably one percent happen in a racially insensitive Indian accent. The Indian accent is actually my favorite, and it's the voice I use when I'm driving alone and monologuing to myself.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

100 Percent Smile

The last of my dental work was finished today, and for the first time in my life (sorta) I have a smile I like to see in the mirror.

I am now terrified that I'm going to fall down the stairs or something and knock all my teeth out.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Operation: Motorcyle, part 7

Tom Wolf -- or Tobias Wolf, or Virginia Wolf, or one of the other Wolfs, most of whom don't actually spell their name "W-o-l-f" -- once said that you have to suffer for style. He was talking about why he chose to sleep in vinyl pajamas. Or maybe it was velour pajamas. Or whatever. The point is that they were some uncomfortable fucking pajamas that he chose to sleep in because he would look cool doing it. Not that there was anybody watching him sleep. No, this was all for his inner sense of cool, all so that he could feel cool about himself because he knew that if other people could see him, they would think he was cool. He was a genius who saw deeply into his own soul.

Of course, I used to think that anyone who slept in vinyl pajamas was out of his mind. When I first heard the anecdote about Wolf and his pajamas, I even said out loud, "That guy is an idiot." Now, however -- now that I am older, wiser, more jaded, more longing for a do-over of my misspent youth -- I understand the pressure of needing to look cool for nobody but yourself.

Today, I went back to the motorcycle dealer, checked out the SV650 again, and checked out a Suzuki V-Strom DL 650. Both are very nice bikes. The SV is an '05, and I can get it for $4999, which, after taxes and other BS, has me walking out the door for less than $6000, which was my goal. The DL is $6700, and it comes with a lot of extras that the SV doesn't have, and it's slightly more comfortable (with a more upright riding position and a wider seat). There's a lot to like about the DL -- so much so that my dad decided to buy one, and we're now a one-motorcycle family. Very exciting. And, without me even asking, he offered to chip in for one if I decided I wanted a DL instead of an SV. So now I can get the fancier, slightly comfier bike for the same price as the SV.

You'd think this would be a no-brainer. Except the DL is ugly. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Ugly-stepsister ugly. World's-ugliest-dog ugly. Fugly ugly.

Or maybe ugly isn't the best word. To be more precise, the DL looks like an old grandpa bike. It's not a bike that girls are going to want to ride on the back of (though, ironically, it's a bike that girls could actually ride on the back of without being scared to death). It's a bike that's fine for my dad, and I'm glad he's happy with it. But it's hard for me to want one or to really see myself riding one. Not that the SV is ├╝ber sexy, and once I put a windshield on it it'll take a step towards the dorky side of the street -- but it is cooler looking than the DL regardless.

So... What to do? Go pragmatic and buy the sensible DL? Or buy the vinyl pajamas? My nature is to be conservative, which favors the DL. But I'm also tired of my nature. I want somebody else's nature for a while. But the real trick is going to be finding a nature -- either my own or somebody else's -- that I can hold onto long enough to be happy with whichever bike I choose.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Shove it up your ass.

No, really. Here's "the complete list of Rectal Foreign Bodies" -- an index of every documented case of everything that's needed removing from someone's ass. For Grey's Anatomy fans, there's even an x-ray of a live artillery shell that got stuck in someone's back door. Gives new meaning to the term "code black." Some great stuff there, so go knock yourself out. If you're feeling inspired afterward, stop by Babeland for some tips on keeping your ass out of the emergency room.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Blizzard blogging

With nothing else to do while the white storm rages, I've been adding items to my amazon.com wish list. And for deep-rooted Freudian reasons that I don't understand, I decided to see what happens if one searches for "dildos" at Amazon.com. Lo and behold: amazon sells dildos. When they say "Amazon.com and you're done," they aren't kidding.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Letter to: Jeep

Here's my letter to Dieter Zetsche, chairman (or whatever) of Daimler-Chrysler, the company that owns Jeep. For the record, I'm sending these from my actual email address with my actual name signed to them. I think that little touch gives my letters a feel of legitimacy. Because I am serious that I would like a hybrid Jeep.

Before I get to the letter, which is not funny -- it's pretty straightforward and represents a sincere request for a product I would someday like to purchase -- except for that I couldn't help writing it in a goofy way, I would like to let the blog reading public know that my letter writing time is available to you as a free service. Post the name of a CEO and his/her business and the product or other thing you would like from that business and I will send said CEO a quick letter.

From: me
Subject: hybrid jeep
Date: February 10, 2006 11:06:28 AM EST
To: dieterzetsche@daimlerchrysler.com

Guten Tag!

I would very much like to buy a Jeep, but the cost of gas is out of control. Plus, I am concerned about the environment? Are we really doing enough to take care of it? So it occurred to me that a hybrid Jeep would be a great car for me. Please make one. I will buy it!

Sincerely,
MM

Letter to (first in a series?): Apple

You know what I don't do often enough? Correspond with the CEOs of giant corporations. How are they going to know what I want if I don't make my needs known to them? As such, I've decided to make a project of it. My first letter is below. You'll note it's actually a serious request -- I really really really would like a wireless bluetooth mighty mouse from apple. Better still would be a wireless bluetooth trackball, but that's not likely to happen until I become a major shareholder. Anyway, some of my letters will be serious, others will doubtless devolve into goofiness. Alas, such is my tragic flaw. I can't be serious about anything for too long.

So, here's my first letter:

From: mrmond@mac.com
Subject: bluetooth mighty mouse
Date: February 10, 2006 10:39:21 AM EST
To: stevejobs@apple.com

Hi Steve,

I'm in the market for a bluetooth mouse, and it would be swell if Apple made a bluetooth version of the Mighty Mouse. I would buy it if you did. It would go nicely with my wireless Apple keyboard. Don't wait too long, though -- I need a new mouse soon!

Thanks,
MM


Smashing, isn't it? Next up is Jeep once I find out who there CEO is. Also, I have no idea if that's Steve Jobs' real email address. Probably it's not. Probably some Intern or secretary or assistant's assistant is responsible for reading through all the mail that goes there. That's fine. I'll just have to hope that my genius suggestions are rushed up the food chain.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Operation: Motorcyle, part 6

I found an SV650 naked to actually sit on today. I had to drive down to the dealer's warehouse, and skulk around all the garages and ice cream trucks (there were like all these ice cream trucks there -- no idea why) like someone about to commit a felony. But I found the Suzuki warehouse and was ushered inside and shown a mostly-assembled SV650 naked.

Good golly, it was worth the wait. I only had to sit on it for about a second to tell that it was much more comfortable than any of the sport bikes I've tried. In fact, I felt right away like I was ready to ride.

So I'm psyched. I'll be talking to the sales guy this weekend about what he can do on the price. It's an '05 (blue), and this is off-season, and I know they haven't sold a lot of ATVs or snowmobiles since it's been too warm (though I don't get why warm weather would slow ATV sales, but whatever), so I'm hoping he'll come down at least $500. If not, then I might hold out until I can find a better deal on an '05 or have this place order me an '06 in red (which is soooo sexy I could sing songs about it -- big fat slobbery love songs). My only concern right now is that this is the dealer I've been warned adds all sorts of crazy fees to the out the door price. I'm glad to have been alerted to it in advance, and I'm prepared (reluctantly) to walk out the door if they try to pull that with me. But I'm not gonna get all negative just yet. Instead I'm going to sit here and fantasize about cruising around town on an SV650, winking at the ladies and making the men feel like little boys.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Post Secrets

I clicked back over to postsecret just a moment ago to read the new cards. For some reason, reading those cards feels good. Much as I feel like we're messed up for having anything to bitch about at all, it's also nice to know that I/you/we are not the only one(s) walking around with all sorts of garbage in my head.

In Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut talks about his need to empty his head of all the crap the world has put in there over the years. He tosses out Nazi flags and women's underwear and leaves them strewn along the sidewalk. In my memoir, I reference this and make a point of doing the same thing.

And it's made me realize that there's something about us -- something that's either a universal part of the human condition, or something that's uniquely American (I'm not sure which) -- that demands we pour our insides out. We lionize memoirists like Dave Eggars and David Sedaris, we tune in to Oprah and Dr. Phil, we blog, and we send postcards to postsecret. We're desperate to share ourselves.

We're desperate for intimacy. Which I guess means that either as humans or as a culture we're failing the interpersonal-connection test. But no amount of blogging or memoir writing or Dr. Phil watching is going to correct the problem. These things are only a band-aid for a wound that we're actually afraid to heal. After all, if we weren't afraid, we'd use our real names when we did this stuff.

I go to absurd lengths to keep myself anonymous on the Internet. My friends who know me in meat space obviously come here knowing who I am, but for everyone else I wear the Mustapha Mond mask. I have a Mustapha Mond email address, and I sign my emails Mr. Mond and I won't post my picture in my profile, and it's all so, should I meet strangers in meat space, they won't have a head start on knowing just how fucked up I am -- even though I know they're just as fucked up as me.

It's the details of someone's fuckedupedness that gives you power over them. And it's only when you look someone in the eye and make an honest effort to share the details of all the misfired gears, blown gaskets, leaky tubes, and syntax errors, that you can achieve true intimacy with someone. And it's terrifying to try and do that. I don't blame people for wanting to keep it all anonymous.

In fact, it's almost like we have no choice but to keep it anonymous. Does anyone who's read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius actually think they know Dave Eggars? I hope not. As much as Eggars might try to spill his guts onto the page, there is inevitably a filter between the memoirist and his audience that prevents the reader from truly knowing the self of the writer. And the writer knows this barrier exists, and the writer knows that it's the barrier that makes it possible for him to write at all. So, yes, even the memoirist, with his name on the cover and his picture inside the jacket of his book, remains anonymous.

We're all anonymous until we sit across the table from each other and say out loud into each other's ears that our heads are full of Nazi flags and women's underwear, and that's the only time we can achieve true intimacy with each other.

Unfortunately, the world is getting too big for that. And the bigger it gets, the higher we need to crank the volume. Thus we invent media, and the blogosphere, and sky writing, and smoke signals. We must share. We must let the world know that we are in pain, in love, in anything, in the hopes that in some small way our lives will be recognized and shared and made more real through connections with other people. Yet we must do this anonymously because it's too scary to do it any other way.

So, in that tradition, I thought it would be an interesting experiment (and experience) if, in the comments of this post only, people visiting Smooth Verbiage would post anonymously and just say whatever the hell they wanted.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

WTF?!ADS?!

Yeah, that's an ad at the top of the blog. I thought long and hard about it and decided I need money and every little extra way I can get some is fine with me. (I'm also available as a cheap prostitute, just FYI.)

Yeah. So.

Expect it to get worse before it gets better, too. I'm planning to put up a paypal button so I can beg more blatantly, as well as a link to my amazon wishlist.

The silver lining to all this sleaze is that every cent raised/donated/solicited is going towards grad school. (I'd love to put it towards the motorcycle, but I haven't sunk that low (yet) -- though, now that I think about it, I'm so putting the motorcycle on my wishlist. Ha!)

If anyone has any other ideas for how I can make some extra bucks (tattoo the golden arches on my forehead?), post 'em in the comments.

Oh, and, I think the ads pay on a per-click basis right now, so, if you love me, how about you visit my advertisers.

Hooray, money!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Finally.

My Harvard application is finished. Howdy-doody. Unfortunately (sort of) it's a lot stronger than my Stanford application; I nailed the essay, and the rest of the format felt like it was really highlight my strengths. The reason I say this is unfortunate is because the weather in Mass. sucks. I mean, would it even make sense to own a motorcycle there? If I'm gonna buy a bike, then I've gotta go to school in Cali. And for a while I felt like Stanford application was as strong as can be. But now... Well, getting accepted to either school would be a thrill, and I certainly wouldn't say no to Harvard (money permitting). In spite of the weather, I'm quite enthused about the possibility of going. The program seems top notch, and I was just reading some stuff by one of their professors and I felt really in sync with her ideas and philosophy. Anyway, there's nothing to do now but wait for the letters.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fellatio

I would love to be fellated right now. To relieve stress. My Harvard application is almost done! Ayyyeeee!

And I have to confess, I pussied out on the whole Hogwarts thing (see below). The more I got into my essay, the more I realized I'd really really like to be accepted there and that I shouldn't fuck around about it. I'd like to believe that having a little fun with my application would have endeared me to the application committee, but it's all such a finicky businesses that in the end I decided it's best not to give them an excuse to reject me. Alas. I am a wuss and have capitulated to the play-it-safe-ism of the system.

Blogger.com all f-ed up

Sometime around the 3rd, Blogger.com started eating anything I tried to post, including comments responding to comments in older posts, and including a really good post about what books I've been reading, which was fucking genius on the order of sliced bread). So this post is a test to see if Blooger.com is working again.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

New TV Series Idea!!!

It's called The Jhonny Homicide Investigations.

The main character's name is Jhonny Homicide -- Jhonny, because he's Hispanic, and Homicide, because he investigates murders!

HolyfuckI'magenius!

Operation: Motorcyle, part 5.5: Elite Task Force

My mother has told my father to "strongly discourage" me from getting a motorcycle. My dad, however, doesn't seem interested in doing that. "Mom says I should strongly discourage you from getting a motorcycle," he said, "because she's afraid you'll get hurt." Then he said, "So, do you want to go with me to the Suzuki dealer out in Riverhead?" Funny stuff.

So we went out to Riverhead and found a bunch of motorcycle dealers and checked out every brand of motorcycle one could want. Still, nobody has a freakin' SV650 built for me to look at. One guy I asked about it got this surprised look on his face and said to me, "Are you looking for a track bike?" I wasn't exactly sure what he meant by that, so I just said I'm looking for a standard or a naked bike. Another dealer kept mixing up the SV650 with the SV650S -- the second time that's happened to me. And all the dealers have pooh-poohed the SV650 and pushed me towards something more expensive (like some Kawasakis, which are very nice, but outside my price range).

It's weird, because on the Internet, tons of people post about how much they love their SV650s and Suzukis in general. And a number of magazines have given the SV650 great reviews. But walk into a showroom and the sales guys are all like, "What do you wanna buy that bike for?" I guess they're used to selling to kids who want crotch rockets. Whatever. After looking at a ton of motorcycles, I'm set on the SV650 at this point; I'd just really like to see one and sit on it before buying.

Also, many of the dealers are telling me about how other dealers hit you with all these crazy fees. The dealer out in Riverhead showed me a receipt from a dealer in Port Jeff and there were $3000(!) worth of extra fees added onto the cost of the bike. WTF? According to the receipt, the fees covered everything from opening the crate to assembling the bike and all sorts of odds and ends. I don't know if that's typical, but it would put even the cheapest bike out of my price range. I was also told to expect to pay "a few hundred dollars" every 3000 miles for regular maintenance: oil change, adjust the chain, adjust the rear wheel and the brakes, tighten stuff, etc. I was advised that some of the work I could do myself (like changing the oil), but the rest should be handled by an experienced mechanic. On the one hand, I feel like that's a lot of bull so dealers can make more money. On the other, I don't want to be riding around on a poorly maintained motorcycle and get myself killed.

On the plus side, one of the dealers offered to give me a free lesson before I bought a bike, and he and a second dealer both offered to supply a chase-car and driver when I take my road test. A third dealer has its own insurance office and DMV branch(!) right in the building with them, and they do all the associated paperwork for you for free.

Thus, the overall shopping experience has been bizarre. You start talking to the sales guys and it's like you can see the little devil on one shoulder and the little angel on the other. The devil is the stereotypical car salesman who desperately wants to make a winter commission on a bike. The angel is the genuine motorcycle enthusiast who is eager to bring another rider into the fold. It would be very helpful at this point to have an experienced rider go shopping with me, to help separate the good from the evil.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Operation: Motorcyle, part 5

Newsday has lately been full of stories about motorcyclists getting killed. Discouraging! And I've also been getting some negative vibes out of Stanford, which could impact my moving to California, which is where I really wanted to be with my motorcycle. Why does life hate me?

But screw all that. I'm planning to get to the DMV this Thursday or Friday to get my learner's permit, and then I'll have to decide if I want to take some lessons first and then buy, or buy first so I've got a bike here to practice with between lessons. (The latter is probably the better choice, but I'd really like to be able to test drive a new bike around the parking lot before buying it. Alas, that probably won't be possible.)

So, once I've got a bike, and can ride it, I'll be in the position of wondering how badly I want to force myself to move to Cali in the event I'm not accepted to a school there. It's weird how our wants push different aspects of our life into focus. I want to live in a fun in the sun place and either be at school or be able to chill and work on my writing. And I want a motorcycle and a Jeep and that big-ass 30-inch monitor for my Mac. Ideally, Scott will strike it rich and I'll move into his happening new pad and live rent free and have sex with the maid. (Of course, I'll film the sex and then post it on the Internet, which is how I'll make my own fortune, which I'll use to buy tons of political influence, eventually catapulting myself into the Presidency, and then and then I'll tell the rest of the world it needs to get its shit together, and then I'll drop a few nukes to show I'm not fucking around.

And it'll all because I went and bought that motorcycle.)

Sunnyside up

On a lighter note, check out Hatebeak, the death-metal band with a parrot(!) for a singer.

Sadness in America

Here's a blog someone linked me to: post secret.

It's strangely touching, yet strangely horrible. Like, do people in other countries -- countries, like, I dunno, Iraq? -- need as much therapy as we (Americans) do?

We're the wealthiest, most powerful, and (arguably) the most comfortable country in the world. Why is everybody so unhappy all the time?

This is something I've wondered about for many months now as I've struggled with my own unhappiness. When I look at where I live, the lifestyle I'm able to lead, and compare it to the rest of the world, I wonder what right I (or any of us) have to be anything but glowingly happy every second of every day. To have been born in America is to be blessed, because even America's worst is still better than the best of what 95% of the rest of the world has to offer.

Where do we get off being so lazy, and petty, and dissatisfied? How can we each not feel a little guilty on the days we get up and don't do a damn thing to help bring the rest of the world up to our level? I'm not talking about upending your life and joining the Peace Corp. Just do a little something -- donate 50 cents a day to UNICEF or something. Or something closer to home, like Meals on Wheels.

Chalk this up to solipsistic projection or whatever. But I think it's incredibly arrogant of us to think that we don't have some responsibility to our neighbors. Being born into the USA is not a virtue. We didn't do anything to earn it or deserve it and it has no inherent moral value and it doesn't give us the right to act like everybody else is either (a) inferior, or (b), just plain unlucky and so that's the breaks. We got lucky. We should be thankful. And, in recognition of our good luck, of the blessing that comes from being born here, we should take advantage of our advantages and do something a little more productive than wallow in our own narrow world view.

Readings: The Phantom Tollbooth

One of my tutees recommended The Phantom Tollbooth to me the other day, so I picked it up and gave it a read. It's a tough book to get through in the sense that it's written for kids but without that little something extra that makes it work for adults. However, it is very cute and very clever. And it should be required reading for everybody today, young or old. Why? Because as I was reading it, I was struck by how the non-sense world of the Phantom Tollbooth is so very much like our world today -- specifically the world of illogic that the neo-cons have constructed around us. The book was written in '61, yet there are some amazing caricatures of everyone from Bill O'Reilly to the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. It wouldn't take much of a satirist to recast the entire book as a parable for the last six years. Hell, I might even do it myself. In any case, get yourself a copy of The Phantom Tollbooth and let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

From Hogwarts to Harvard

So, what I'm doing, see, is I'm pretending in my application to Harvard that as an elementary school student, I didn't attend schools out on Long Island, but instead I was whisked away every year to attend Hogwarts. This is probably not an original idea (though I don't know of anyone else who's done it), but it's an idea that only I can execute with such daring and panache. But I need (or, more precisely, would benefit from) your help.

So far, I've included a short sentence about Hogwarts in my statement of purpose -- just enough to arouse a chuckle, to show that I am a person of both intellect and wit -- and I've included Hogwarts on my list of attended schools, and I am whipping up a quick faux Hogwarts transcript to include amongst my other transcripts. What I could use from you, dear blog reader, is a letter of recommendation in the persona of a Hogwarts professor. You could pretend to be one of the professors from the books, or you could pretend to be one of the countless professors we undoubtedly haven't read about. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, you could pretend to be one of the ghosts, or Mrs. Norris the cat, or whomever. I have access to a fancy printer and a bunch of quill-like fonts, and am in the process of getting some Hogwarts letterhead. All in all, the finished product will look disturbingly authentic. Go ahead and paste your letters into the comments section, or email me directly, and I'll take care of the rest.

This will either be a feather in my cap for getting into Harvard, or it will be a black eye. Either way, it will be fun. If I get in, it will make quite the story.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Poem

Here's a poem I wrote a long time ago. It isn't very good. And I say it isn't very good even though I hate when people post their creative shit and then immediately begin ducking away from it. So I'll elaborate and say that I like this poem a lot because writing it was fun and there are parts I get a kick out of every time I read it. But I am not a poet. I have never been good at poetry, and I seldom if ever try to write poems. Sometimes I wish I was a poet. There's something about a good poem that makes it, I think, a superior form of art compared to almost everything else. Which is probably why I never read poetry either. Half the time I don't get it. Or, when I do get it, it seems so simple, so obvious. Most poems are a disappointment. Most poems suck. But when they're good, they're really fucking good. So here is my poem, which, even though it sucks, for me it is really fucking good.

The 5-Day Forecast for Bullshit Land

The snow missed Manhattan,
hit Bullshit Land instead. No soft powder,
only ice, sharp in my face.

I paused, inhaled frost, tightened
my chest, nipples erect, cursed
Sam Champion for raising hopes,

And made my gentle steps down
the sidewalk. After 13 blocks I was
snotty and winded at your door.

You insisted I keep my jacket,
didn’t offer tea, only six reasons
not to untie my shoes, to tighten my scarf,

step back into the ice. The storm inside
was worse, you said, with lies and anger
followed by make-up sex as we move into

the weekend. Better if we spare ourselves
the bullshit. I paused, inhaled frost, and
made my gentle steps down the sidewalk.