Friday, November 16, 2007

Favorite Person Award

I was picking up my Little Brother from his group home the other day, and one of the other kids came up to me and said, "You're a good Big Brother, Nick never stops talking about you." I said, "That's great to hear." And then one of the staff who runs the group home said, "You're definitely Nick's favorite person." And it's not even Christmas yet!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

School Rebellion

I'm not sure what the deal is, but I'm annoyed with school this semester. Maybe it's from doing so much of it so quickly. I've been drowning in assignments, getting sick every ten seconds, and half-assing my work. My GPA is taking a pounding. I don't think I'll wind up with anything below a B+, put my GPA until now has been 4.0. It would have been nice to keep it up there, but I'm completely disenchanted with the reindeer games. The readings are mostly dull, the teachers don't know how to engage, and nobody knows how to assess students beyond assigning yet another 10-page paper. Of course, I could work harder in spite of all that, and the payoff would be that I'd feel better about my efforts, but... whatever. My focus is on getting ready to student teach, and there are a lot of things for which I feel unprepared. I wish the program offered more classes about teaching and fewer about yet more research papers. Only 4 weeks to go.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Love Song of ./ Alfred Prufrock

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is one of my favorite poems. But it's not the kind of favorite poem that I really want to tell people is my favorite poem. As favorite poems go, it's unremarkable. So many English teachers assign Prufrock to so many students, so many of whom learn to love Prufrock and then go on to become English teachers assigning Prufrock to their students who become Prufrock lovers and so on until the point (which is now) that liking Prufrock has become pedestrian. The elitist ivory tower has taken one of the world's great elitist poets and turned him into pseudo cultural capitol for the common man. That's fucking awesome.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

5K O.K.!

Ran my first 5K this morning. It was pretty awesome. I placed 165 of 303(ish -- I forget the exact number already), with a time of 27:30 (just under a 9 minute mile), 11th place (probably last) for my age group (30-34). Many of the people there were Serious Runners, coming in with times 10 minutes or more faster than me. Still, I'm pleased with my performance. In fact, I think I could have shaved a minute off of my time if I hadn't started near the back of the pack. I didn't know how they were going to arrange us for the start, so I just mixed in with the mob and suddenly the gun went off and there I was stuck at the back with people going much slower than I wanted to. I had to put on some speed to get around them and into a position where I could trot comfortably for the next mile or so, with plans to go all out the last half mile. Turned out getting around the slower group used up that energy. Oh well. Next time I'll know what I'm doing.

Also, there was a lady there in the 60+ age group. She ran with her two dogs(!). Actually, several people ran with dogs or baby joggers, which was very cool. But this lady stopped for her dogs to poop, cleaned up after them, and still finished with a time in the mid 30s. I hope I can do that when I'm her age.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Breaking up is getting easier to do

I am planning to break up with the current woman. I am going to wait until a little bit after her birthday (on Monday, the 4th), and then that's going to be it. Reasons for the breakup essentially come down to her cooling off on me way too fast (though things in the beginning were unexpectedly hot, so clichés about candles apply)--she's become non-expressive in terms of both affection and conversation. Frankly, it seems like she's already done dating me, and I don't know why she hasn't called it off herself. Still, it will be nice to be the one doing the breaking up, which never happens with anyone I have more than two dates with. I think this shows an evolution in the judgement and self-esteem departments. The proof will be in how I handle things from here, but right now I am feeling positive about the end of things, which is brand new for me. Three cheers for Ego.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Presently, I have a cold. It's an annoying cold because it's not bad enough to keep me drugged up and bedridden, and not tame enough that I can go about my day feeling only minor inconvenience. Instead, it's lingering in this middle zone of distracting illness. Every time I move, my nose runs. If I stand up, my sinuses drain and it runs worse. If I sit down, my sinuses clog and I can't breathe. If I get in bed I have to get turning from side to side so each nostril gets equal opportunity to be clogged and runny. I've used most of a box of tissues and am considering switching over to towels for the sake of the environment.

I am reminded of Yossarian's jaundice: "Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice. The doctors were puzzled by the fact that it wasn't quite jaundice. If it became jaundice they could treat it. If it didn't become jaundice and went away they could discharge him. But this just being short of jaundice all the time confused them."

At least, unlike Dunbar, I don't have to keep falling down on my face.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Office

I'm almost finished with the first disc of the first season of The Office. The show trades a little too heavily on people being stupid, which is what I dislike about Seinfeld. (I blame Seinfeld for all the sins of our current administration. Americans, apparently, love to watch people be mean and idiotic, so no wonder we get 8 years of Dubya -- one year shy of the full Seinfeld run.) Slowly, but surely, however, The Office is starting to charm me. I think if it focused more on Dwight and John and less on Michael Scott, I'd really love it. I'm definitely going to rent the next disc and see how things progress.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Invasion (of My Car)

Last night I saw The Invasion, which is supposed to be an update of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I saw Body Snatchers when I was a kid, and I found it freaky, creepy, and scary. The Invasion, however, was none of those things. It was dull. No suspense; not even a good "Boo!" It was also a bizarre vehicle for a right-wing political message.

See, what's happening in The Invasion, is that microscopic alien lifeforms are "infecting" humans and turning them into socialists. There is no "other" among them. They all work to help each other out. They've also achieved world peace. Unfortunately, they've done it at the expense of human emotion and individuality. Fortunately, a cure is found, and humanity is restored to its messy, violent, individualistic ways. The message is that we might not like crises like the war in Iraq (mentioned more than once throughout the film), but hey, we're only human. You can practically hear Rumsfeld in the background guffawing “Freedom’s untidy. Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things." So, you know, golly, when our governments and other maniacs trigger calamity after calamity at the expense of [i]other[/i] people, we should shrug it off as the untidy business of being free human beings. Phew!

Naturally, this put me in the right frame of mind for wandering into the parking lot and discovering my car had been broken into and about $500 worth of stuff stolen. Under normal circumstances, I might have become angry. Instead, I was able to see that my inconvenience was nothing more than the byproduct of being a free person in a free world. I counted my blessings as I filled out the police report, grateful that I didn't live in a world where people cooperated, looked out for one another, and didn't feel the need to steal from or hurt each other. Because that would be too awful -- too inhuman.

God bless George Bush and the 101st Airborne.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Did you know this was a word? I did not. It is an awesome, awesome word.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Now for the obligatory Harry Potter review.

In a nutshell, I was unimpressed, borderline unsatisfied. I don't feel like ranting on too long about it, and I don't want to give away any spoilers for those still reading. Basically, I think the first 500+ pages are boring and largely unnecessary. The last 250 or so are where the good stuff is, where the things we've been waiting to have addressed since the last book finally happen, and where we're finally hanging out with all of the characters and in all of the places we like so much but which have been absent the entire book so far. The whole book should have been the last 250 pages explored more fully instead of all the other crap that preceded it. Seriously, reading those first 500 pages was like homework. Ugh. And, because all the good stuff is jammed into the last 250, none of the characters get the treatment they deserve (Snape and Draco in particular are deserving of way more page time). Also, as with several of the other books, there's a tendency for Harry to seem like luggage, getting dragged around while everyone makes plans for and about him, without him even knowing until he's wrapped up in the middle of it. It's all a very frustrating experience.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The 215 barrier

Today I weigh 215 pounds. This is not the first time I've achieved this weight. In fact, I think I've been lighter. But, for the most part, this is where I usually start to eat a lot of junk food and go back up to around 218. I yo-yo three to five pounds pretty consistently. However, I have gained a lot of muscle, so I'm betting my actual body fat percentage is significantly down from, oh, let's say a year ago. And it's got to be crazy far down from when I started changing my diet and exercise lifestyle just a few years ago. Overall, I'm pleased with what I've accomplished. But damn if I can't get below 215. My goal weight, right now, is 199. And I don't intend to be so muscled up I'll have that as an excuse for why I weigh more. I've got to figure out how I'm going to get past this barrier.

That is all.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Summer Bonus Package! One long post about assorted stuff, divided up for you to read comfortably and easily over several days.

On Saturday (the 9th) I am going going back back to Cali Cali, this time to the north instead of the south. The trip to the south (Palm Springs, Lake Arrowhead, and some other places), was fantastic. I stayed in some incredible houses (courtesy of friends of friends), met a lot of great people (said friends of friends) ate a ton of fattening food (re: friends of friends and the occasional Mexican person), drank the best margaritas I've ever tasted (again, the Mexicans), cruised around in a convertible (owned by friend #1), got monkey tackled by a three(?)-year-old (while swimming in friends of friends' pool [I don't know if I'm punctuating this at all correctly]), and a ton of stuff I'm forgetting right now. All-in-all, it was a great week.

For this upcoming trip, I'll be road-tripping with my dad, cruising in a rented convertible from San Francisco up to Oregon (if my aunt is around). We'll visit with family, see whatever sights pop up along the way, and eat and eat and eat (my dad is an even bigger fan of eating than I am, and without the opportunity for exercise, this is bound to be bad for my waist line [about which I obsess, obviously], but whatever, it's California, and I'm on vacation). So, except for the plane ride, which still terrifies me in spite of anti-terrified-of-plane-ride pills, I'm totally psyched to go back.


Today I was just out on the motorcycle for only the second time since my second wipe out last August. The motorcycle has been haunting me. I want to ride it. I want to be good at riding it and feel comfortable and confident on it. But I'm worried I'm too slow a learner, that my skills and reflexes won't learn fast enough, and I'm just going to get myself killed. But I'm sick of quitting at things, so the motorcycle stays.

I'm hoping to find the courage to get myself on a program of baby steps, not going anywhere but local roads, and only going out when the traffic is light, so I can really focus on developing the skills and habits that will keep me alive. I also have to be very mindful of my concentration, since the medication I'm on can cause me to space out, which is death on a motorcycle. My last accident was definitely caused by a combination of my riding beyond my abilities, and spacing out at a really bad time (will going around a long, sweeping, turn).

It might take a while, but if I can overcome all of this, I should be riding for a long time.


I recently finished reading Dragon Flight (or whatever), which is the first book in the Dragonriders of Pern series. Tons of people love these books (including my parents), but I had a really hard time with this one. It's not really a bad book, though, and I have no major criticisms of it, other than that maybe it tries to introduce too much too fast: An alien world with a complex history; a whole culture built around dragons, the people who are psychically linked to their dragons, and the strange alien threat the dragons are supposed to fight; time travel; and political intrigue. Phew! But it handles all of that okay enough. Instead, it's what I think of as "the telling" of the story that didn't work for me. I guess this is best defined as a combination of the author's voice and style -- how she structures sentences, how the story is narrated, how she speaks of and through her characters, stuff like that.

This is obviously a very personal sort of objection, not a very objective or empirical one -- one that's hard to quantify and qualify. But it's something I find that repeatedly gets in the way of me enjoying fantasy books in particular. Fantasy authors tend towards long, awkward sentences; they over rely on thesauruses; they focus on details that bog the story down instead of enriching it. And then there's all the weird grammatical choices, like capitalizing words seemingly at random. (What's up with that?)

It seems contemporary fantasy authors learned all the wrong lessons from Homer and Tolkien. They've adopted Tolkien's often long-winded style, but mixed it with a poor parody of Homer's poetry, and have taken both Homer's and Tolkien's obsessive attention to detail but failed to realize how both authors made very careful decisions about which details they'd include and why, and instead today's writers fill their scenes with unnecessary description.

Again, this is more a personal objection than an objective, critical one. I realize there are people who love the way this stuff is written. I guess I'm just sad that I'm not one of them, because I love fantasy but have a hard time finding books I enjoy.


For the past few weeks I have been dating a Muslim. Actually, she's a white girl who converted to Islam (for reason not be detailed here) just under a year ago. And the thing I'm learning about dating a Muslim is that dating one isn't any different from not dating one. See, Islam has lots of rules about dating. There's no premarital sex, no kissing, no hugging, no touching of any sort. There's also no being alone together unless we're in a public place (which sounds oxymoronic, but you get my meaning), so we can't even go places in the same car (which officially makes Islam bad for the environment). Also, Muslim women can only marry Muslim men (though Muslim men can marry women of any religion). So, even if we were to overcome all the obstacles between us and what I consider a normal relationship (how can no kissing be normal?), there's no future for us unless I convert, which is not going to happen.

By any measure that makes sense to me, we're not dating, except that we're calling it dating, and unfortunately I'm at the point where I'm going to have to tell her we can't be dating anymore because in my head we're really just hanging out. It's too bad, too, because she's very cool and lots of fun to talk to and spend time with.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


For those who don't know, the LAST is the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test, which is something all wanna-be NY teachers have to pass in order to get certified. I took it in January and got my scores today: 267 out of 300, which is passing (minimum passing score is 220). The test is composed roughly of five sections: Science/Math/Tech, History/Social Science, Art/Humanities, Communication/Research. and Written Analysis and Expression. Ironically, my highest scores were in the sections furthest from my field. But what's really pissing me off is that my lowest score (by more than 50 points) is in the written analysis and expression section. The test prep books I skimmed made a big deal about "reading the instructions" and making sure you "address both parts of what the assignment [an essay] is asking you to do." So, of course, I did that. I double checked it twice (which I guess adds up to quadruple checking). And my essay was, if I say so myself, fucking killer. So what gives?

This is one (of many) of the things that infuriates me about standardized testing. Even though I passed, I didn't do as well as I'd expected, and I'd like to see some explanation and justification for my scores. And even though any score is as good as another as long as it's above 220, I'm still disappointed because I walked out of there expecting aces and since I didn't get that, and because I am a motivated independent-learner (as all the people taking this test should be), I want the chance to either learn from where I went wrong, or to show the scorers (who are "typically New York State educators using standardized procedures," to paraphrase the test's "score report") that they are morons.

This is why standardized tests are so bad. Either the standards that the test uses are so narrow that even exemplary writing gets scored poorly, or the scorers are inept, or I am a poor writer making serious errors that none of my teachers for the last twelve-plus years of my higher education have picked up on. And whichever the case may be, there's no way for anybody outside the testing system to find out. This means the test is worthless because either it's identified major problems in my writing that need to be addressed before I'm allowed to be an English teacher, but it won't tell me what they are (nor, apparently, will any of my professors), or the test itself is flawed in how it assesses people, which means it has no business assessing people, but the state is still using it to decide who should or should not be permitted to become a teacher.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I'm off to California. (Leaving in about 20 minutes.) I can't wait. Going to see some sights, get some sun, drink some booze, and abuse some Mexicans. All I have to do is survive the plane ride. Planes terrify me. But I have some plane pills that are supposed to make the flight more endurable if not downright fun. The best thing about these pills, however, is that every time I try to write about them, there's a quiet pun on the words trip, high, flight, ride, and take-off (and probably others).


Thursday, May 03, 2007

The totally bearable lightness of a job well done

[I think this is at least the second post where I've punned off the title of Kundera's book, and I didn't even like it that much. Go figure.]

I don't want to count my chickens before they're clichéd, but I'm feeling really good right now, so at the risk of jinxing myself, I'm going to cliché myself on the back for kicking serious grad school ass this semester. First, there is a good chance that I've earned straight A's. I still have two short-ish papers due next week, which I'm not sure I have my head around yet, and I handed in two papers this week that I'm not hugely confident in, but I think I might be underestimating myself, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed (another cliché!) for A's on everything. I got an A on a presentation I did last week (which I think the class actually enjoyed, as opposed to turning their heads off for it), and I got an A+ on a paper last week, with a note from the prof that she wants a copy of it to use as a model, and that I should look for a place to publish it. (I doubt the latter will happen, but the praise was great to hear.) I also came in first in a fun but essentially meaningless inter-class essay contest. The point of the contest was actually to write a little essay/article/letter for the "Teacher to Teacher" section in some education mag that I can't remember the name of, so, theoretically, this means I should try to publish this as well, but I think the classes involved got behind schedule and the deadline has passed (past? I always fuck that up). Also, one of my professors (hopefully the one who will wind up being my student teaching coordinator) has given me, individually, and my class as a whole, tons of praise lately. Most recently she said that she wished we could all start student teaching next semester since she thinks we're ready to go. It was a great compliment because she's the kind of person who wouldn't have said anything at all if there was even one person in the class who she thought still needed a little work. There have also been some hints among my peers that I'm becoming the "guy who knows how to do stuff right, so, if you want a good grade, ask him about your work before handing it in," which is very flattering.

When I look back on how I started this semester feeling intimidated and terrified, convinced that I wouldn't be able to cut it in grad school, I'm extremely proud of the work I've accomplished and the reputation for excellence I'm achieving. I'll be disappointed if I don't get straight A's in the end, but I'll still be pleased with my accomplishment. Now all I have to do is make sure it doesn't go to my head so I can do it again when summer school starts (and then in the Fall, and then during student teaching. Then I can sleep for a bit before the "real world" starts).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Little Brothers update

For those of you who want to know (which should be all of you), my little brother's band Fortress of Attitude has a new song up on their MySpace page. It's called Ring Tone. Go check it out. Also, FOA and Barky will be playing four shows (two each) in NYC in late May. Expect me to hassle you to attend once I have more details.

In other little brother news, my other little brother (the one who I volunteer with as a part of BBBSLI) called me twice today just to shoot the breeze. I was amazed. We've been matched up since late August, and this is the first time he's ever called just to chat. Actually, he originally called to strongly hint that he was expecting me to get him a good present for his bday this weekend, which was cute, and then he hung around to chat about school and shared more detail about his life than ever--about his best friend, his counseling appointments, and how he wants me to come visit his class as part of my teaching observations. THEN he called a second time to share his report card with me (turns out he's a straight-A student) before he even called his mom. I'm touched. And I'm thrilled he's finally feeling comfortable and friendly enough with me that he'd make that kind of effort.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The writings

Speaking of school and Vonnegut and victories and defeats, I've let myself indulge in some personal writing lately -- mostly during spring break since I was bored beyond the ability to be productive otherwise. My two books ("the memoir" and "the young adult novel") remain in motion. The memoir is still a mess. In fact, I can't see it as ever being finished. And, as a joke on myself, it's working title is now Sepuku for Dummies. Still, it functions well as a distraction if not a future source of fame and fortune. The YA book, meanwhile, has been massively rewritten and is no longer recognizable as ever having had anything in common with the 30,000 word test-run friends were kind enough to comment on over a year ago. I'm pleased with the book's evolution, and theoretically, if I had some discipline, I could finish a complete draft by the end of the summer. Not that I'm setting that as a deadline for myself. My point is that I can really see the book now -- it's twists and turns and crooks and nannies and, most importantly, I can almost (almost!) see it's end. It would be something to finish it. Even if it sucks, it would feel good to know it was done.

You know what I just realized? As a nod to Geoff Dyer (as well as a joke on myself), the working title of my memoir should be Sepuku for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It. That's awesome. Victory!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Everything was beautiful. Nothing hurt."

Kurt Vonnegut is up in Heaven now.

Victories and defeats

Today I received an A on a paper that I was terrified (literally was having nightmares) that I'd get a C on. I'm psyched because I consider it the first major grade of my graduate education. On the flip side is that, for that same class, I've basically stopped reading the assigned novels. And I think most of the class has, too. A novel a week (on top of all my other work, which includes other novels for other classes) is just too much -- at least in terms of the densely formatted 500-pagers the prof chose for the semester. The real shame is that the books are excellent and I'd really enjoy reading and speaking about them with a class.

Back to the upside, I have done a shitload of reading this semester in spite of slacking off for that one class. Textbooks, novels, graphic novels, class readers... It would be interesting to count just how many pages in total. Maybe I'll do that at the end of the semester.

Defeat: This blog entry is taking the place of sleep. By which I mean I can't sleep right now, even though I got up early (after little sleep) so I could observe classes at BOCES. I was really looking forward to hitting the sack early. But for some reason I'm wired. However, that leads me back to victory [the structure of this entry is way out the window]. I got to help some kids with math (of all subjects) today, and I realized I really like working with the "difficult" kids. (For those who don't know, BOCES is basically a place for nothing but "difficult" kids.) I'd gotten a sense of this while I was at Huntington Learning Center, but somehow being at BOCES really brought it into focus for me. So I am now seriously considering get dual certified for special ed. And one of my profs is working on navigating the TESOL minefield to see if she can find a shortcut for me to get certified in that, too. So that would be triple certification. Yikes! Unfortunately [this part falls under the category of defeat], I don't know if special ed kids respond to the kind of teaching methodology that I've been learning about in my classes. What I need to find out is, do "special" students require "special" methods, and, if so, how do those methods differ from the kind of teaching I want to do?

The BOCES kids are nuts (literally and figuratively), and there are times (more-so than in a regular classroom) when the teachers really are nothing more than babysitters. But how much of that is because of the students, and how much is because of the educational system? The nice thing [victory!] is that I should get to learn a lot about it next semester because BOCES is desperate to get me on their sub list. (I wish I could say this was because I'm such an amazing teacher, but really they're just desperate for subs, and as soon as they heard I had an interest in special ed they practically started offering me a signing bonus.) So, if that works out [defeat?], it would be pretty cool [victory!].

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Monotheism is lame

Just got done with family Easter dinner. We basically ignored Passover this year, but most of the family has been here most of the week, which has been a lot of fun. I don't get to see my siblings as often as I'd like. And, basically, I blame God for that. It's because he insists on us having no other gods before him that we don't get to have family dinners more often. What a selfish asshole. He should get over himself and start a little God family (and, no, that Holy Trinity nonsense does not count) and then we could have all sorts of holidays. Mr. and Mrs. God's anniversary, God Junior's bar-mitzvah... It'd be awesome. And I'd get to hang out with my fam more often.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Blog blog blog

Blog blog blog. Blog blog blog blog. Blog blog blog blog blog blog. Blog blog. Blog blog blog. Blog blog blog. Blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog. Blog blog blog blog blog. Blog blog blog blog. Blog. Blog blog. Blog blog blog blog blog blog.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring Break and I'm already bored

At 4:30 I will leave for my last class of the week. After that, Spring Break commences.

I have no idea what to do with myself.

I was planning (and should still plan) to do a lot of homework. But I really don't want to spend my whole break working. I just can't think of anything else to do. I'm dependent on my classes to create the illusion of having a life. Maybe I can make a short road trip to somewhere. See the sights; pick up whores. I don't know. There's got to be something worth doing around here. Or anywhere.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Roller Girl Regret

Yesterday, my little brother and I went to a BBBSLI free roller skating event. It was tons of fun. I tried roller skates for the first time and slipped and slid around the oval for two hours, terrified the entire time that I would fall and break my wrist. Sponge Bob Square Pants was supposed to be there but wasn't. This was disappointing because I wanted to see some dude in a Sponge Bob costume do laps on skates. However, the Long Island Roller Rebels DID show up. They were very cool. I was giving one of them The Eye, and she came over to give me advice and encouragement: "Try bending your knees. This is your first time on skates? You're doing great!" So I had the opportunity to chat her up a bit, and to find out the answer to the question that was most on my mind: Can this girl kick my ass? (I suspect yes.) Sadly, I blew it.

The moral of this story (which, let's face it, doesn't have any real flow to it -- no rising action, no climax, no descending action, no real narration at all, actually, and barely any organization; I guess mostly it's just voice -- my tired, after-class, procrastinating before doing homework voice. and watch how often I start sentences with a conjunction) is that, these days, I seldom meet someone I really want to ask out. I encounter the occasional Opportunity Girl -- someone who unexpectedly flirts with me during class or whatever -- and I think about asking them out, but it's more about seizing the opportunity than any real initial desire on my part to go out with them.

This Roller Girl was different. I saw her and I immediately wanted to date her. It was an unexpected feeling. And a good one since I was beginning to suspect I was never going to have it again. The last time I really felt it was with Emily. And I've met and dated several very cool people since then, but the whole time I've been waiting for that feeling -- I don't even know what it's called. Is it a crush? Or just a want? I have no idea. It's a specific type of desire and excitement, and I've been missing it for a long time now. And there's no telling what brings it out in me. Roller Girl was not my usual type -- blonde (whereas I prefer brunettes) and tall (whereas I prefer short to petite). Maybe it was the nose ring, or the way she didn't dye her eyebrows to match her hair, or how she would skate on one foot, ballerina style, before body checking "Shania Pain." It's a mystery. And it's a damn disappointment I didn't seize the moment.

All I can do now is stalk her via the Internet and then go to a few matches and hope to bump into her at one of them. Who knows? Maybe she'll kick my ass with her skates on.

Side note: roller skates are much easier to use than ice skates or roller blades.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lance Armstrong

I'd like to run a half marathon. I don't know where or when a local one might be, and I don't know how to train for one, so these are things I'll have to research. But I do know that Lance Armstrong ran the New York Marathon in about three hours, and I can run six miles in about one hour, which means I can probably run 12 in two and a half to three (assuming I'm gradually slowing down). In comparison to someone with seven consecutive Tour de France victories, I think this is respectable.

Step one (get it? step?) is going to be getting in the car and measuring out some mileage. Step two is buying new running sneakers (to avoid shin splints). Step three is going to be a test run (ha!) to see how far I can go before I feel like dying. And step four will be to then research an actual training regimen. With luck I'll be in full training mode by summer, when the weather is nice and classes slow down.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I love you

Have I told you lately that I love you? Because I do. I woke up this morning and my heart was full of blue birds, Velveeta, and maple syrup. Who wants a hug?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More wants

Chinese food
Chinese finger traps (not a double entendre)

The new Nine Inch Nails album
Complete Mage (for the D&D)
Sunny days and warm breezes
Motorcycle superiority
A tax refund
Drunken karaoke

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Had to put one of the cats to sleep

Totally sucks. He was 17, and his name was Happy, which he totally lived up to. Great cat. But he got sick really fast and we just found out he had cancer and kidney problems and was anemic and was having a hard time breathing, so it looks like this was for the best. But it's fucking sad. I kind knew it was coming for a long time, just cause of how old he was getting, and lately he'd gotten very thin, and we took him to the vet thinking it was his teeth hurting too much to eat the dry food and they'd recommend a diet of canned food for him. Fucking sucks.

I have an hour and a half to get my shit together before class. I only get one absence a semester, and I haven't used it yet, but somehow it feels wrong to use it on this. Like people would say, "It's just a cat." Like it's weak to miss class for this. Motherfuckers.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The L Word

I've been watching the L Word on DVD. It's awful. First, it's soft-core lesbian porn, which raises the lingerie debate, which is, does one prefer to be teased, or does one want to cut straight to the uncensored version? I've never been good at answering that debate. In fact, I prefer to have it answered for me. Which the L Word does. Which leaves me wanting more but regretting when I get it. Second, everyone on the show is hot -- their entire community is hot: the taxi drivers, the anonymous extra coughing in the background, everybody. It makes me wonder how I wound up in such an ugly place. But even that's not the awful part. That's standard Hollywood, only here it's amplified by an all-female, dominantly lesbian cast of characters. Also not the awful part is that one of the actresses, in a broad-brushed sort of way, reminds me of Emily. She humps people and I'm inside a cement mixer. But even that's not the worst of it. The worst, most awful part of the show is how easily people move from relationship to relationship. Pain dies and new love blooms so quickly for these people. And I wonder about the relationship between life and art. Is this unbelievable, or is this how everyone but me functions? Is the audience suspending its disbelief for the sake of drama, or do they see an accurate reflection of their own lives? Am I the alien in the audience, or are the aliens on screen? I have know idea. All I know for sure is that I'm not the only one who likes to watch soft-core lesbian porn.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


On the down side, I did not finish reading In Cold Blood by Wednesday. I also have not finished Bodega Dreams. My work load is pretty fucking retarded, and the first place I slack is on the readings because there's nobody checking to make sure I've done them.

On the up side, I'm half finished with Stoner and Spaz (a quick read) and I finished the first section of Joan Didion's The White Album (highly recommended).

On the annoying side, I am not receiving much feedback from my teachers. My first two graded assignments have come back A and A-, which is nice, but the comments on my work in general are frustrating. Mostly it's scattered, generic praise, like "Good!" and "Nice effort!" What could be more demoralizing than "Nice effort!" even when it's attached to an A paper? And this from a teacher who just that class ran a discussion on not giving empty praise when responding to student assignments.

I feel as if the work I'm doing is unremarkable, and I don't want (or think I'd deserve) an A just for "trying hard." I don't mind it being known that I've worked hard to achieve excellence, but it's the excellence I'd like to be known for more than the effort. Or perhaps I'm just so blazingly smart that my teachers are paralyzed and unable to comment.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gas Station Observation

My dad noted the other day that "Full" has become the opposite of "Self." The existential implications of this cannot be underestimated.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Wants by Philip Larkin

Beyond all this, the wish to be alone:
However the sky grows dark with invitation-cards
However we follow the printed directions of sex
However the family is photographed under the flagstaff—
Beyond all this, the wish to be alone.

Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs:
Despite the artful tensions of the calendar,
The life insurance, the tabled fertility rites,
The costly aversion of the eyes from death—
Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs.

[I've probably posted this before. I just love it. Love it to death.]

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Status report

Americana: finished
Vineland: finished
The House on Mango Street: finished
Intelligence reframed: finished (in a blur, don't remember much)
Universal Baseball Association: half finished (ETA Sunday)
Bodega Dreams: started (ETA next week)
Go Ask Alice: half finished (ETA tonight)
In Cold Blood: not started (ETA Wednesday)
School and Society: one-quarter finished (text book; ETA late April)
Weight: 211 pounds
Salsa dancing: Wednesdays, biweekly
Love: absent
Student loan status: pain in the ass
Motorcycle: in the garage, finally, post $3800 wipe-out; doctor advises no more riding until I'm off the meds
California: possible trip this summer
Little Brother: weird; uncommunicative
Ghost Rider: Better than Dare Devil; Worse than Spider-Man
Friday: no classes
Casual sex: cancelled indefinitely
Staples: better than Office Max
Office Max: hotter employees than Staples
Bowling: coupon for one free game at Centereach Lanes/AMF
Apple iMac "hockey puck" mouse: better than many defective Kensington mouse and trackball products
Howl's Moving Castle: 119 min
Harlem Globetrotters: Yes
Electric Six: Dance Commander
Tonight's homework: printed

Update: Go As Alice: finished; Universal Baseball Association: finished

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I have in my hands a check for $30,000. It's loan money. And it's supposed to get me through at least the next year of school. $30,000. I can't imagine I'll ever see a check this big again in my life.

Monday, January 08, 2007

This moment

The downside to this moment is that I have a cold. The upside is that I sound like Barry White.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Dear Roger,

Roger and Annamarie (students at the tutoring center) are 14 and 12 respectively. They have been flirting with each other. In the looks department, Roger ranges between geeky and plain; Annamarie is quite cute. Cupid has armed Annamarie with a machine gun. By the time she is 16 she will have an alligator for a heart. I want to tell Roger to get her phone number now, to go wherever it is that relationships between 14- and 12-year-olds go (an awkward conversation, maybe even an awkward movie) because unless there is a change in Earth's axis, and the magnetic fields that bind Americans together shift North and South to East and West, a girl like Annamarie will never flirt with him again once high school starts. Grab the memory while you can. If you're lucky, it will change your future.