There are so many intelligent and articulate people covering the hard-hitting
issues in our country these days, that I felt it was my duty to cover the
rather inconsequential bullshit that tends to make up the vast majority of
our lives. Actually, I'll just be griping a lot which, if you weren't aware,
doubles as a synonym for complaining, and as a descriptor for
a sharp pain in the bowels.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Touchdown

I had this very specific thing in my brain whereby I wanted to post an entry before the year ended from good old London.

Well, I'm here, I think this place is great, and I've got to run out and get some booze, but a happy new year to all those on and off the Internet, who do and do not read this blog, and even who I do and do not know. Even if you're an asshole, so long as perhaps you stop being an asshole on account of having a happy new year. I think that's meant to be capitalized as it is considered a proper noun, but what're you gonna do sometimes, right? Right.

See you (or at least type to you) in 2012.

Cheers.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Solsticed Game

If you live in a place that has seasons and all, chances are you see some rather dramatic shifts in daylight hours. There is something about all of this that led to things like daylight savings. Farmers were involved as well, or at least, supposedly, their best interests. At any rate, in the winter, the days get short and as this is the true start of winter, we're dealing with the winter solstice, which is the longest day...of darkness. But that's a good thing for the many who struggle with the lack of sunlight because every day will now be rockin' progressively more daylight. As much talk as there is about the weather, there is a lot of talk about how all people talk about is the weather. So whether you're talking about weather or whether you'd rather we weren't talking about the weather, you're going to have to weather some weathering discussions.

Oh me? I don't actually hate winter, just its length. Oh what's that, life is usually about compromise? Okay, cool. Wish I could say I'll never bring it up again, but that's just not true.

I was telling some jokes last night at a comedy venue in town and this particular venue has signed headshots of all of the comics that have performed there as, I presume, headliners. There are a lot of photos, and it is a great concept, especially because headshots are, to me, the great equalizer. There is no one who will not look like an asshat, no matter how good the headshot, and that is by virtue of them having a headshot in the first place. I mean, they're a necessity for comedy and acting and all, but they are inevitably embarrassing so, oh right, they have a term for it, the Catch-22. So to Heller with it...

Much more of my time than might be healthy is spent analyzing the commonly used phrases of the Internet, my friend group, the general populace that surrounds me, and so on. I overuse "the thing is..." I have been noticing it a lot of other places, but that's because I noticed I do it and so now am super conscious of the phrase itself. And "chill," I say chill a lot. Most people don't noticed these overuses as much or, at least, are not as bothered by them, but if you point them out, there's a good chance they might be. What I'm getting at is two phrases that must go: "natch, obvi/obvs." Sure, a lot of humor is derived in ironic usage of these words, mockery of those who used them unironically. But let me tell you, it is a fine line. I am thankful I have not heard "natch" uttered in real life, but seeing it in print, even internet print, in something like Forbes...cool I'm done. If anything it sounds to me like Americans trying to sound like cool Brits. Hey, I like British stuff, and I get to pretend to write if off by being British, but I was born and raised here, and I don't say "natch." I sure have typed it a lot though today.

In a quick holiday round-up, how is it that there are so many Christmas songs but the Jews really seem to have half-assed it for Chanukah? Maybe there's not a lot of money in holiday music...

For the purpose of printing text onto a color background I was trying to find out what font colors paired best with background colors. I pretty much googled that very thing and one of the top results was this gem of a site. Thanks Ted. I ended up just winging it.

Oh right, another quick bit about the holidays. Lost in the shuffle of Santa Claus is Santa's counterpoint, a creature that drags out the kids on the naughty list and in a somewhat grizzly turn, devours them. I'm talking about good old Krampus.

Happy holidays folks.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Potentially Embarrassing Moments

Ah yes, there are a great deal of these in life. Take, for instance, that seated in front of me in this coffee house is a guy I met once at some event, who then friended me on facebook, after which we even have facebook interaction (this is rare for me, in general, the interacting on facebook), and has, it appears, de-friended me. Of course, I can't remember his name, so I consider it not a big deal. But like, um, totally, for real, does he recognize me? Right. For me to be writing this paragraph is embarrassing.

The other much more potentially embarrassing moment is that I am reading through notations and editorial suggestions on a printed draft of a novel I have been working on for about two years (this statement alone is tough to stomach). On the back page is my photograph. No one really wants to get caught in such a moment, unless perhaps their name is Hank Moody. If you don't watch Californication I should note that, even that situation doesn't exactly work out tip-top for the man in question. So I'm sure to have a carefully placed hand over the photo. Ted Mosby had a run-in with this circumstance but let's face it, unless it's Bob Saget narrating as old man Ted, not a lot of people are lining up to be Ted Mosby.

What isn't embarrassing though, is the herding skills on display by these Scotsmen. Man, I think they are Scots. I am not rewatching the video with sound right now and I'd probably get accent identification wrong. Oh, the embarrassment...

Well, there were a few things I had thought about writing about but, as usual, I forgot them, so I am glad to once again be bringing up this fact. Today while running I was chewing gum. I can't remember the last time that happened but it really changes the run. In the beginning of my run I was all like, "What's different about this run today?" Then it hit me. Then, later, that gum hit the sidewalk when I attempted to be smooth and spit it in a trash bin on the sidewalk without breaking stride. Sorry couple I almost spit gum onto the path of. Some sort of karma might stick around. Took a while just to work up the gumption to attempt and then I botched it.

Well, see you at the party Richter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Because Everything Comes from Something

For the past, oh, it must be two months now, I have been going through my iTunes library to discover and rediscover the myriad tracks therein. Through the course of that, one of the things I noted was the similarity between the piano in Ingrid Michaelson's "Corner of Your Heart" and Adele's "Someone Like You". Maybe it just arose independently, and maybe they don't sound as similar as I think, but my brain says they do. But with brains bombarded by so much information and noise these days, it can be hell determining from where it is all derived. Take right now. I am listening to a track—one I will make note of later—with ESPN on (as I wait to cue up my next episode of Gossip Girl) and, oh, right, here I am typing.

And speaking of Gossip Girl, it's just always scooping me on music, just the like the mothertruckin' OC back in the day. If I'm not outright discovering a song through the show, I seem to only be a week or two ahead. Not that it matters, but it's sort of frightening the way it's tuned into a specific brainwave to which I adhere. Is it any wonder I keep tuning into the show, even when it gets worse and worse? At the close of a recent episode I caught Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know", which was not even credited. And not long before that it was Lana Del Rey's "Video Games."

It's amazing that, with the sheer volume of music, video, journalism, blog posts, and so on being created and the sheer number of outlets for them that there are a specific and small number of them that reach the great masses. There is a name for this phenomenon I am certain, somebody or other's law.

And oh my god Gossip Girl is killing me with the never-ending back and forth of these relationships and everyone is in love with everyone but not sure if they're really in love and somehow everyone is super conniving and crafty even the characters most peripherally pulled in. I get the concept of them all being tainted by the toxicity of the life but how are they so crafty so quickly and okay, alright, it's fiction. And they just quoted Camus?

I read this nifty little piece in The Paris Review where a high schooler in the 60s asked a bunch of contemporary authors about symbolism. It's pretty much what a lot of teenagers struggle through in high school English and some of the responses are excellent (they only show a few, but I'd like to read them all).

Google has released a new ad, as of about two weeks ago for Google +. I found it...depressing...So it goes.

At any rate that seems enough sort of information and information of sorts at the moment.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Caffiend

That I have mentioned before that my coffee consumption was rare prior to a move to The Windy City seems quite likely. But one thing I have strived to do is not make myself reliant and thus the terrible person many of us can become without the thing, so often a substance, that we have come to rely upon. This, of course, is related to the everything in moderation rule. And I allege non-reliance in spite of being able to nod off or, at least, wanting to, immediately post cup during the holiday. That I attribute to heavy consumption of carbohydrates and sweets, increased running, and decreased sleeping instead. Why in the Hell do I bring any of this up? Well because I'm seated sipping a cup, perhaps a little too late in the day, but nothing a couple of drinks at dinner can't balance out.

I was thinking not for the first time about the image I project with my haircut, fashion, and also by the places I choose to hang-out. A penchant for a cheap drink at a local establishment that is a true dive and home to derelicts galore—what this says of me, I will not bother to say—is what seems to have gotten me on this particular occasion. As I walked down the street, on the phone mind you, a man walked toward me repeating the word "blow." A lot. "Blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow," and, in case I missed that, a grabbing of the nose to go along with it. I'll admit, it did take me a second to grasp what he was talking about. When he came upon me he was even more direct, "You gotta any blow, man."

"Sorry dude," I had to tell him for I, in fact, never have consumed this powdery nose substance—though this is not the first time I have been taken for one who does—and I really was apologetic.

"Come on, maaaaaaaan," he went on. "I've seen you at ________. Quit holding out on me."

Repeating myself I suggested he make his way to the very place he had seen me, the derelict bar in question. There was more to the exchange, but that seems good enough for now, especially with regard to preserving the anonymity of people and places in question (although it's not as if I know this guy's name). The point, to go along with my reconsidering my image, is to be amused at the way I was looking around with my senses when this occurred, expecting that someone might give a shit about a wasted guy looking for a score from pretty much a total stranger. I am routinely intrigued by how much is going on right around us that we are completely ignorant to.

But image is nothing anyway.

Well, there are the usual things and stuff I've forgotten to mention, but I'm already at the point where I feel as if I may have made this entry long enough. Shout out to the east coast for delicious bagels and the availability of high quality, non-deep dish pizza. Shout out to hills and making me tired as shit while running but I appreciate them for improved fitness. Shout out to the dopey face—complete with open mouth and mildly fear-ridden eyes—some woman just made looking for a seat up in this bitch. And shout out to mistakes via me accidentally ordering a tuna sub the other day! My crusty ass expected the sandwich to have fresh tuna. How would that have been possible when it was cheaper than every sandwich on the menu? Oh cheapness, you are always fooling me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old Jersey

Aaaawwwwwwwwwwwwww shit. Whenever I return to the place of my birth and raising I get quite nostalgic, but I also get quite lazy. And they feed each other. It's unreal the amount of crap brimming in my childhood bedroom. If I was a bigger consumer, I might make the classification of hoarder. I've got clothes up in this em eff that I haven't worn in, maybe ever, and yet I'll look at them and think "perhaps in 2015." And the colors on my blog, they've got to be changed. I also realized something, which I realized before but may not have addressed, and that is if you came here only seeing me on twitter you might be surprised at the inconsistency. Where on twitter I stick to quick and terrible puns and rhyming, here I am verbose and blather a lot. Then again, that is what each respective medium is for right? Or something like that.

Do you realize if you add the current month with the current year—using abbreviated date format—that they add to form the day that is today? Of course you do...

How about Radio Shack, am I right? You've got questions, and one includes how they are still in business. After reading their wiki it appears that their days are working towards being numbered? Oh buy Solley, you say, all days are numbered, it's called a calendar...and that's just a call-back to one of my many terrible jokes about being fired.

A few weeks ago I'd decided I would go entirely through my iTunes music library deleting tracks that did not appeal. Part of the problem with this is the mood I might be in, and part of the problem is my same issue with off-loading my old clothes and notebooks and goodness knows what else. But it's been a fun project, even if I'm only at "J," which means at this moment I'm plowing through JJ. I love me some Euro shit, from my strange soccer (or footballer's) mullet, to my fashion preferences, to my love of British comedy and of Russian novelists and, I presume you get the idea.

So it's all good when my family refers to me [mostly] affectionately as Eurotrash. I am stoked for that in two days, as it will be Thanksgiving time. Yes, it needed to be italicized. This has long been my favorite holiday. I like eating, I like pie, and I like my family, so it makes sense. The year also nears its end and the weather is maybe just hanging on to a little bit of warmth. I like to think I'm thankful for how good I have it most of the time, especially more as I age, but I don't mind another official reminder even if I generally grumble (not gobble) at manufactured holidays. Because the truth is, I am really thankful. I've got a good life and maybe everything doesn't come together, but it is about the journey as some of them will say.

I've not really the space here at this point to discuss how ridiculous those buckled hats are. I mean, really, does your head change size that frequently? How we devise and continue and augment traditions is an interesting business.

So I hope you're spending the holiday with family and/or friends. In this rising digital age, let's be glad for the times we can be physically together. I, for one, love getting physical.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Elvis Costello

This is my inaugural blogging effort from the confines of Madison, WI. Incidentally, whenever I think of Madison, I sing it in my head—and sometimes aloud—to the tune of Elvis Costello's Alison. I haven't gotten around to any of the other lyrics because I don't know the original ones, even though I've listened to that track many times. This is good for everyone involved.

As one who has become a big-time coffee shop and house attendee, I have to say there are some pretty good offerings here over in the university section. The university too, is pretty effing beautiful, complete with a somewhat sandy path that runs along one of the two lakes that this part of town isthmuses between. Though I have not been to some of the larger state schools (they're all large), I've been to a few and I don't see how any campus can possibly have as many people wearing gear adorned with university name, emblem, or something of that sort as is the case here. It's a sea of red, though I admit I am likely blinded by proximity.

No need to do a full-on review though since a fellow over at The New York Times just did one, and it covers a decent amount of the stuff. There is no shortage of delicious cheese, in standard, curd, or fried form. And there is no shortage of beer, especially those hoppy IPAs I favor. Madison affords one access to beverages from New Glarus brewing company, which are not distributed outside the state. I'm going on record as saying the famous Spotted Cow is gross. Uh, I mean, it's not for me. Plenty of other good beers though from New Glarus and beyond. Oh, and in further homage to dairy, you can get some damned good ice cream, by which I don't mean that the ice cream is condemned and headed to Hell, but is delicious.

Right now I'm parked about a 100 feet from the Capital Building, as featured/photographed in that linked article, which was apparently down-sized—the building, not the photograph—to be smaller than that in the nation's Capitol, the one that is afforded the distinction and distinct spelling of the Capitol Building. This one is rather gigantic. Many thanks to my tour guide for the bit of history there.

The same fear of boring blogging that has been staring me in the face many of my prior posts is rearing its head again, so I'll be heading along. I am looking over at a guy who has the cup of coffee from So I Married an Axe Murderer and my heart just exploded and vision grew blurred with the thought of consuming that much caffeine. Also just with the fond memories anytime I think of select scenes from that film. Next time I am here, I'll have to order it on principle. What was that about boring? Oh right, you stay safe out there folks.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nothing Lasts Forever

Even cold November rain. I can't imagine I've never linked that in here before. As usual, though, I'm not going to take the initiative to check. Remember when I was going to go back and label/tag my old posts? Me neither. One day...one day. Plus, being self-referential is pretty narcissistic, you know, like people who quote themselves under favorite quotes on their social media profiles? I'm [trying to be] writing about the giant craphole vortex we're being sucked into with the advent of technology, as usual while using technology, but it isn't going super hot because my brain feels ill-equipped to keep up with the acceleration of technology, and its adoption, while recalling that its adoption is not so universal. With all of this talk about the 99%, what about the percent of the world that really uses the stuff that blogging bastards like me take for granted. I'm one smartphone (and perhaps an iPad) away from being a complete techno-junkie.

On more important matters though, it truly is a bit chilly and rainy today, but not as full-on depressing as this weather can be. It's all about having certain things in mind that are weather-dependent. Tea, hot chocolate, books, movies, cuddly creatures (which can include other humans) are the best thing in my estimation. And of course, a good seasonal soundtrack. And some muthafuckin' snacks, made with muthafuckin' real butter and real sugar.

If you want truly depressing and terrifying or just deeply disturbing as I referred to it recently (which is awfully self-referential of me), take a look at not just reality TV, but the Disney channel. And then take a look at the fact that you are taking a look at it. Of course, in order to criticize, it generally proves essential to be familiar with what it is you are criticizing. A chum of mine has a habit of watching America's Got The Voice of Idol (idle) X Factor Talent and he will give me the rundown on the best of. Some of these folks are indeed very talented, but much more of it is simply frightening. The attempted earnestness with which the judges deliver their verdicts on the fate of these acts may indeed be the toughest for me to come to grips with. Nobody likes being rejected, but it's part of life and that's how we learn to both grow and determine too if we really want to do a thing. Everyone's been rejected from one thing or another at some point in their life. That's just the way it is or, more succinctly, that's the way it is.

That I am meant to feel more compassion for the person who might be a bit tone deaf (and this from someone who is not much of a singer) than, for instance the guy who can't earn enough money to feed his family, seems pretty off-balance to me. I'm all for distraction from certain of the world's ills or I wouldn't watch TV, read books, write stories, or attempt to tell jokes, but there's a line, a mothafuckin' line. Incidentally, this may be the most profanity-laden post of my blogger tenure.

Anyway, as seems to be the case far too often these days, I find my blogging a bit on the preachy side, a bit beyond the standard realm of traditional gripes. Where is the goofy light-heartedness with which I began? I mean, I'm getting old but not that old. I leave you all with a pretty great recent moment in Canadian newscasting. It's a long link but, I think, worth the time.

Right.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hallowclean

Not that I have spent the day cleaning, but I needed an alternate title to counter the now twice used Hallowmean. Plus, I was completely clean and sober today. No drinks but coffee and the poison of Subway (eat shit). I have eaten a lot of Subway sandwiches since moving near a 24-hour installation. Reminder: move near a garden, all of those are 24 hours.

Perhaps since I wasn't hanging around schoolyards today (rare for me) I happened not to see much in the way of costumes. I witnessed plenty of interesting ones this weekend I'm sure but as it happens I am actually rather awful at identifying peoples' Halloween costumes. Today is about the time I need to be considering costumes for next Halloween, something that isn't timely and pop-culturally relevant, which aren't my style anyway since a) I'm out of the loop on a lot of that stuff, b) many others will have that costume, and c) relating to b, someone will have executed the same costume far better.

In unrelated thoughts, I feel as if Facebook should send notifications when someone defriends you. I mean, they're keeping track of everything else, why not that. I note, in general, a fluctuating number of friends, and while I acknowledge this may be due to some deactivating their accounts altogether, well you just know when it isn't all that. Of course it doesn't matter all that much considering I don't do much in the way of Facebook interaction and, if these are my biggest concerns, I need to find, well, bigger ones. The damn why always seems to get me. Then again, I suppose if I can't figure out who these folks are weren't exactly friends anyway.

In an effort to cap this particularly boring entry in grandiose style, here's a little Rihanna, one of the unofficial anthems of the Halloween weekend. And for another precious minute, it's all about tonight.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Judgment Day

Ah yes, today was another of those days predicted to be Judgment Day, the End of Days, or the Rapture. Those may very well not all be the same thing, but close enough for government work. But the judgment I speak of is that judgment that grips me on certain of my days dwelling in coffee shops. Maybe it's because I blog a lot on Fridays and am just ready for the week to be done, but I can point to probably too many posts where I am a judgmental prick about the folks seated around me. It has an awful lot to do with projection as plenty of it is related to the perceived feelings I have about them having about me. The long and short of it is that I may spend too much time in coffee shops.

Luckily, between a caffeine buzz, and the diuretic effects of caffeine I can be a little more ADD and less focused on dislike towards any one individual. I already was wrong once about that today. That doesn't stop me from being bored and depressed for the people having a conversation on the couch next to me, nor does it stop me from peering periodically at the Gorbachevesque jelly stain on a man's bald head. I am glad I can't view my own interactions from outside.

And now, since my brain doesn't appear to want to cooperate with writing any more, and my battery is very inclined toward running out of power, I'll leave things to the experts. Enjoy some Mitchell and Webb (I have probably posted this exact video sometime in the last three years). Have a swell Friday folks, even you dingles I was down on earlier in this post and earlier in this day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday the 13th

That title just lacks the menace of alliteration but, well, it's accurate in describing today's date. Am I the sole loather of the time at which people seemed particularly fond of saying "factually correct?" A fact, by definition, is correct. Otherwise, it fails to be a fact. Sort of like wet water, except also maybe not.

What brings me here is a combination of procrastination and realization, the former in that I am putting off things I need to do—look at my definitive prowess, which is to say my prowess at defining things, not an affirmation of my having prowess in general, which would be both ambiguous and incorrect, factually so—and the latter with respect to my not having actually written anything in here in October. Oh yes, I have a post dated but five days ago, but that is recycled and regurgitated. What of thought isn't? Fall always has the effect of making me aggravatingly introspective.

Before I forget, let's hear it for Sweetest Day, which I had never heard of until an email received today. I love sweets, but man, that is some contrived shit. But October 15th, pretty good chance I will eat some sweets, since it is, after all, a real day.

Well, whatever creative swell I thought I had that I was going to drop here I now have to devote to the things I was procrastinating from. If your ears need something, give Matt Kona's Podcast a listen. I haven't listened yet, but let me tell you, Matt Kona is a most righteous fellow.

See y'all in the digital realm, and some of you, maybe, in the real one too.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In Which I Just Paste an Email Here

The following is the contents of an email exchange with a friend. We had, along with many other more worthy writers, submitted to McSweeney's annual column contest. Needless to say, neither of us was selected and I can't say that I blame the editors over there, but I can say that it did make for an easy email to write relating my feelings towards the actual winners based on only reading their column titles and their names. Please know that this is a joke, and no ill will is meant, just good fun. Perhaps I will read some of these columns, but probably not. Some are a little less than PG...Enjoy!

The Peculiar Arab Chronicles
by Nour Ali Youssef

[Go fuck Youssef]

History’s a Bitch: A Dog Walk Through Time
by Robb Fritz

[I'm Puttin' it on [the] Fritz to make dog-walking interesting to me. His name has two B's. Does he get more points if the dog is female, or male? From the dog's perspective?]

It’s All Greek to Me
by MM Locker

[Extra points for original title. I should have submitted "It's All Greek to Me: My Experiences at Diners and Fraternities"...and fucking Greek women.]

Assimilate or Go Home: Dispatches from the Stateless Wanderers
by DLM

[DLM...Dumb loser monkey? Is this about immigrants? The Borg (Star Trek)? I don't care!]

No Fear of Flying: Kamikaze Missions in Death, Sex, and Comedy
by Michelle Mirsky

[Uh oh, this might have been the comedian entrant to beat me. Shouldn't it be called "A Fear of Landing?" And what's a kamikaze mission in death? You avoid it? So like Final Destination?]

Graphic Dispatches from a Recent College Graduate Still Living in a College Town
by Larry Buchanan

[Boring stories from a boring person who hasn't grown up.]

Dendrophilia and Other Social Taboos
by Dani Burlison

[Dani, that's a girl's name. This should be a guy. And he should have called it, "Rubbing my knob on knobs: A woodsman's job...with his wood." I want it good and obvious. "Using big words, trying to sound intelligent, and other such social taboos." ]

Gyros To Heroes: A Column About Sandwiches
by Lindsay Eanet

[Oh come on, this is the worst anagrammed last named of all time and anagrammed isn't even a word it appears! Eanet? Like eaten? Is she just dyslexic? Is she implying that Gyros can't be heroes? Sounds biased. This one's all Greek to me...]

The Long Walk: A Column About Washington
by Alec Bings

[Pretty good title. I hope it's Washington state. The person I hate least so far. The first Arab chronicler would be fine if his title was different. Also, the last name here needs to be binges, and the title of his column should be "Tales from the Toilet: My Life in Purge-atory."]

Fading the Vig: A Gambler’s Guide to Life
by David Hill

[I don't know what fading the Vig is. Good start. Damn, I hate how unknowledgeable I am! I have friends who gamble a pretty good amount, either in the very obvious sense of casinos and sports or in taking life risks. Maybe this guy twists those together. But since I don't know what fading the Vig is, I don't care.]

American Policy Suggestions from a Chicago Sports Fan
by Matt McKenna

[Nope.]

The Chorus Boy Chronicles
by Brian Spitulnik

[Choir sounds so much better than chorus. There are differences sure, but the main difference is choir sounds better.]

Good luck to all of the runners of tomorrow's Chicago marathon. Weather's great, I would like to join you for parts. But as it stands I'll be cheering you on, from my dreams.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fear

I have a weird relationship with privacy, truth, and online personas, so when I saw the other day that The Department of Homeland Security had dropped by this place, I admit, I got a little worried. In general I don't say anything too sensational on here, but dating back to when Google started reading your email and offering targeted ads, well hey I read 1984 okay? I've already been on the cusp of minimizing my online visibility and footprint, because I prefer real-life interactions and perhaps just because of the change of the seasons. I can't exactly dictate why I go through these back-and-forth feelings, I just know that it happens. Sure, I like to be accessible, but most of the people I want to be accessible to would be capable of tracking me down without Facebook, a blog, or Twitter. I am also aware that this is not a unique feeling.

As far as discovering how discoverable I may be, I realized that I am the number 5 search result for "deaf people are assholes," (number 3 if you change assholes to "jerks") and the number 2 search result for "shitty boy bands." That last one really amazes me. For "backhair" I yield a solidly unlucky 13, but where I come in number 1 is for "'Me Want Honeycomb' ad." The old quotes within quotes thing really gets to me.

At any rate, welcome to October folks, an even more appropriate time for bourbon and whiskey (actually, when isn't?), and a time at which it's okay to consume the occasional pumpkin ale, now that they are available and all. The weather back in the Chi is decidedly fall, and while I'm a bit bummed to be unable to run in it, just walking around, smelling and drinking it in is pretty damn skippy. See ya in a jif.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Eastern Promise

It's damned hard for me to avoid getting nostalgic, a feeling that's only compounded when I revisit the east coast, as it is, after all, where I grew up and spent the greatest percentage of my life. Nostalgia allows you to revel in the changes that have and have not taken place and has the effect of making me simultaneously feel both old and young. I have heard it described as to be of a place, an identifier, a citizen, a denizen or any number of such related terms, when you can say that you can remember when. How it used to be back in the day.

And yet the interesting thing is that this is still not what I would call home. Everything about it is familiar and, yes, memories abound, but it isn't the place I feel the most myself. Or, to place it in better distinction, where I find I am the best version of myself. I am lazier, perhaps because of the comfort of these memories tangible and mental, knowing I can enshroud myself within them rather than doing or creating anything new. There is nothing wrong with this from time-to-time, and so I do enjoy a homecoming, but extended periods I find troubling and conducive to restlessness. It's not that I mind being at rest, but that I don't want to be at rest here.

This isn't precisely what I had in mind when I got going writing here, but so it goes, does it not Mr. Vonnegut? And it is not all for naught as it allows me to be contemplative and analytical about the world and my very small place in it. Again, the danger is how long you delve there. Walking down 10th Avenue the other evening, I had a spectacular view of The High Line, part of ambitious efforts these last few years to make the city of New York more pedestrian friendly and, in that one word popular to sum it up: livable.

It made for a pretty sight (and site) lit up to my left and, as I managed to reach 10th Avenue just past its start and exit it not far before its end, I could operate under the temporary illusion that it went on forever. For a time, I wasn't in New York at all, which made sense because rarely had I ever made my way to those precise cross streets. I thought how nice it is to have one's little pocket carved out within this gigantic space shared with others. To be so much a part and yet so separate. Which reminded me of what I consider the loneliness of cities. No matter who you are, there are those periods of downtime, or when you might find yourself traveling alone, and when you do, you can be struck by the group activity surrounding you, or by the astonishing number of people existing as individuals. I can never decide if it is conspiratorial or just creepy when cities grow quiet. For the first time I verbalized that New Yorkers aren't rude they're just, in general, not concerned with your existing around them. How could they be, when so much is going on? If one did, one might never move, paralyzed by observation and endless ocular assault.

This is the path I sometimes see the whole world headed: overstimulated by a glut of access to an immense tome of information. Someone or some ones will surely figure the way to navigate this great mass efficiently and effectively, but even for those my age, who grew into the new technological age, it can be difficult to remember what it is to be somewhere physically and mentally in the same moment. In a sense technology has become part of our environment. You could delineate this to say that happened with the earliest tools and innovations and you would have a point, but I speak instead of perhaps watching a sporting event on one's phone while being in attendance at another sporting event. And further and broader, the idea summarized as being off the grid.

But the point is that the east coast is where I'm from. And whether or not I define it as home, it certainly has helped to define what I have become. And I like this place. So thanks east coast, for always inviting me back.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yesterday I Had a Title for This

You can't hurry posts, no you just have to wait, words don't come easy, when it's new content you seek to create.

Looking over a lot of my writing from the past couple of years, I've realized I should probably spend more time editing and less time creating new content. The problem arises when I look back at something written, and regardless of my feelings towards its quality, the content is largely foreign to me. It's as if I black-out in fits of inspiration and compose thousands of words. Except that at lot of it, on rereading, is rather less than inspired.

Having forgotten not only a title for the entry but also what I had intended to write about, I might as well talk Contagion. I decided to check it out in spite of an uninspired preview and the usual curse of too many stars in one place. It was a perfectly fine movie I suppose, but nothing too special. Here come a few spoilers of sorts. The best part might have been this ad installation done in Toronto to promote the film.

But right, the movie. I'm going to tell you how it ends. It starts on Day 2, so you don't know how the virus really began its spread and it concludes, surprise, on Day 1. And you know, I could have done without that. Lord knows I don't know how to end the bulk of my own stories, nor are the interim details necessarily well-crafted, but I can tell you what would have made the ending of this movie better. Here are three alternate endings, only one of them remotely PG-13.

So first, the legitimate alternate ending:
There is a doctor that discovers the cure for the virus. She injects herself to test it. In the conclusion, the camera should be on her coughing, and then it should fade out, like a classic X-Files
episode. Then they'd even be all set if they wanted to milk it for a Contagion 2.

The incest conlusion:
Matt Damon's daughter is locked away in their fortress of solitude in Minneapolis. This makes me want a house one day to raise a family, but that's not related to this ending. Said daughter has a boyfriend and they act out prom in the picturesque living room. But instead, Matt should take matters into his own hands. Just in case his daughter might die from the virus, he wouldn't want her to die a virgin...

The Punny Conclusion (with hints of stereotype):
This one I really like, because it contains a pun, and I really like puns. On day 1, some bat eats a piece of fruit, which only happens because the evil big corporation Gwyneth Paltrow works for knocked down some trees in Hong Kong. The bat spits this into a pigpen, a pig eats it, this pig is brought to a restaurant/casino where Gwyneth is hanging out on her business trip. Chef is cutting up the pig and wipes his hands on his filthy apron then shakes hands with Gwyneth. Further Rube Goldberging takes place. I feel like the take-away here is supposed to be that big corporations are evil and helped set in place the creation of this virus, which is consistent with the CDC being hand-in-glove with pharmaceutical companies and so on that goes on during the film. But this is just about an alternate ending, not analysis!

So yeah, instead, in a decidedly not PG moment, the chef employs the dead pig as a sexual device to please Gwyneth. Later one of his friends at the casino asks, "What happen to pretty white lady?" Chef replies, "Awww, I porked her." Annnnnnd scene.

The takeway? Watch 12 Monkeys instead and/or again.

Also, because it's Friday. Happy just-over-halfway-done-with September everybody.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sleptember

In the spirit of some consistency in this here blog, let's say I am again amazed at how quick time is passing by and that we're a week into September. I'm not gonna lie, September got off to a rather shit start for me when I strained or tore some muscle or tendon in my leg while running this past Friday. It's also possible I fractured my fibula. In any event, it's less than ideal, though I am accustomed to injuries incurred from running.

Much of the shame is that fall descended in a hurry, and the weather, even the very smell of the air, is something I love. And yes, it leads to fond reminiscences of autumns past. It signals the start for me due to it being when school begins, even though my schooling days are well behind me. For the runner in me, cross country was the best season of the year. The heat of summer training was endured for the pay-off of the fall, when the running mattered, and when the weather was more conducive to the activity.

In the past 24 hours, my brain has been infected by the Gorillaz' "On Melancholy Hill". Where I caught it, it's hard to say, as it had been a while since I'd listened to the tune but I found myself whistling it—side note: whistling is so annoying when it's not you, right?—and now listening it. Yes, I omitted that "to" on purpose. Pointing that out says plenty about me. I'd love, for now, to be up on melancholy hill, lungs bursting and legs full of acid from physical exertion. Instead, I shall limp about looking like a bad polio impersonator.

If you don't check out the Google homepage everyday—I don't—here is a little reminder why you should, in the form of yesterday's Freddie Mercury tribute.

To celebrate the frustration of injuring my leg, I chose to imbibe well, actually, about the same amount as usual, but perhaps a touch more on the side of derelict. Meeting a few friends to work on our respective writing projects at a local coffee house, I opted to empty a flask into my stomach. This led to a glassy afternoon that appeared perfectly acceptable as it was a) a Saturday and b) College Football had kicked off. As day turned to evening and an even level of inebriation was maintained, a new drink was born, one that shall henceforth be referred to as the Charles Barkley. The reasoning behind this name shall be made clear—or, at least, clearer—at the conclusion of the following recipe presentation and explanation.

Finding myself in a local CVS, I noted a whiskey bottle I'd never seen, called Canadian LTD and, as that link proves, for which I overpaid, even at $14 for a handle. The plastic bottle and the assurance that it was "bottled under the supervision of the Canadian government" made it a must purchase. I pictured Parliament sitting around presiding over its distillation, just as I picture some goofy Rabbi scene for all products deemed Kosher. A quick taste verified all expectations on quality. With the addition of some flat Mountain Dew, some Sourpatch Kids, and a Pepperidge Farm cookie for classy garnish, the Charles Barkley was born.

Since I started college a math major, the breakdown:



+




+




+




while wearing:




=




That concoction may rot your liver and/or brain and/or reduce one's ability to produce new memories during the duration of its consumption. But it sure helps make for a fun game of Catchphrase.

It's best to snack on Doritos concurrently, so MSG (not this MSG) can be blamed for any ill feelings. And it was damp that night, so you could always blame it on the rain.

Yes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sometimes Numbers Don't Add Up

There is a problem I experience from time to time that I know I am not alone in. It's where I have a number in my phone's contact list and have no idea who in the Hell that person is. This is a relatively minor problem, of course, as it suggests a true connection is lacking and thus, the necessity of having this phone number is not that great. But it can get worse when I have assumed it to be a person of the same name that I see with passing regularity. As it happens, at times I then text this mystery number that I expect not to be mystery at all, only to find that there is mystery indeed. Because it has been some time since the exchange of numbers I identify myself in text, only to find that the recipient is incorrect. Yet surely they are still someone I have met and should they not remember me? Guess I didn't manage to make myself too memorable either.

But the crux of the problem is that when you move about, you meet so many damned people, and after a while, names can get tough. I remember faces very well, but struggle with names, where once I was so good. I can even remember life details, which I think is more important in a lot of ways, and yet it would be nice to get names. Many others suffer from this affliction though, and so we are afforded the opportunity at many reintroductions.

Moving on then, I turned to this blog as a break from some other writing and when I did so I noted that I was on word 1111 of 1111. I greatly enjoy coincidences such as these. That's really all there is to say about that.

Further pertaining to writing, there is a lot of doom and gloom talk about the death of publishing so it was nice to see this piece from Lloyd Shepherd—a Hell of a name by the way—coming out with a much more optimistic outlook. Kudos to my pal Jeff Phillips for sharing it with me.

Shifting to another love of mine, the Track and Field World Champs are upon us. There have been some surprises there is no question, but rather than a long-winded analysis, I bring you my favorite name: Ethiopian turned Bahraini Shitaye Eshete. I am in the habit of saying it phonetically as Shit-eh, Eh-sheet-eh. And I say it with a very bad Italian accent, like one mocking the menu presented by an Italian chef. The accent isn't bad for the purpose of making it funnier, I just happen to be bad at accents.

There is a dude that just rolled into the coffee shop I am inhabiting and I recognize him as a former barista from a coffee shop just down the street from this very one. I guess since he no longer works at the other place, it would be weird to keep showing up there. He looks as if he would fit in very well in The Shire.

Also, it's about to be Fall. That's weird. Gotta wear my white pants as much as possible before Labor day. Insert pregnancy joke. Cool. Later.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Just Say No

I've been watching a good amount of Mad Men lately. A look at my last post notes that I noted having begun watching at last. Good show. Great show. The advertising part of it is such a small facet, but a facet just the same, and I've always been intrigued very much by advertising. There is a flyer that has been on my kitchen counter for days, a direct-mail piece for $5 off at DSW. It shows a pair of nice men's dress shoes on the one side and asks, "What goes great with a birthday suit?" Now, do we have different definitions of the phrase "birthday suit," DSW and I? Is there a new demographic calling for pornography where men wear just discounted high-end dress shoes? Or maybe I took it too far and it is tasteful nudity, with the wobbly bits covered up by discounted high-end dress shoes. There is a better joke waiting to be written, and perhaps a better chance this premise should be cast aside altogether. That's your joke?

A moment of amusement did seize me last night when I attempted to attend a popular open mic. The scene was packed and in an artsy, hipstery, up-and-coming neighborhood and, yes, those are all distinctive adjectives. And yet, when I arrived in a button-up shirt and vest, people seemed to look askance at me. I wore these clothes for a show, I thought to myself. Also I was surprised to find no other vested individuals just because. The problem is the problem I often have of attributing negativity to any attentions. I mean, I don't always do it, but sometimes you're right, and sometimes your wrong. Just this past Sunday, quite late, also wearing a vest—I gotta stop wearing vests to shows—I took some flack. It was as I walked into the train station and a bloated and inebriated cubs fan yelled out, "I didn't get the memo that it was vest night." But fat drunko, jerseys are sometimes referred to as vests in other parts of the world...

The thing is, I probably don't like seeing people in vests either, but I wouldn't totally mind if people wanted to cut me some slack. Some people say positive things too of course, but it's so much more fun to focus on the negative. At any rate, a lot of people do not like when you wear vests. I think that's the obvious moral of that story, extra obvious because we all knew we hate people wearing vests for the most part.

Oh, and I cut lots of my crew neck t-shirts down the middle of the neck and fold in to create v-necks. I think this gets a pretty mixed reaction too. That's a good tagline for me: mixed reactions of the extreme. Just like how this entry was extremely boring you know? Gosh darn blogs...

Oh right, and I'm turning off my short story blog since like even though some of that stuff isn't great or anything I don't want to like give none of it away for free or nothing. Not until I have to, which will be soon. I would, but like, I want that to be the way I eat and stuff. Good thing I like cheap food.

You know what, that's probably plenty of words for the moment. Just meeting my monthly quota of entries folks. Thanks Chi, for the nice weather lately.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Fragile Internet Ego

It will happen. From time-to-time people will defriend on that social network that is facebook. And I have, at times, been the recipient. I could understand in the wake of some real-life shake-up, or if I were some sort of overactive updater, that kind of thing. Of late I have been tweeting much more than ever, but I keep that separate from facebook, so you wouldn't have to keep up with it, just as you wouldn't have to keep up with this blog if you didn't want. All independent separate sources, united by a common strain of being authored and administered by yours truly. My tweet increase has come at the departure of a couple of friends from facebook and I enjoy communicating with them over Twitter. I still think it's a little weird, but so it goes. I'm bad at change. I feel weird about interactions that aren't in real life.

But that facebook. My friend number will fluctuate periodically, generally the result of the temporary deactivation of an account. But reiterating, I have in fact noted that, at times, it is the result of defriending. The thing is, it generally (everything is happening generally in the post, which I suppose is okay, in general) takes time to realize, and by the time I realize I am left to ponder why it is that it has occurred. I know, rehashing paragraph one. It makes me feel as if some dirty rumor is going around about me and I'm unaware of it. This is so foolish, and yet with the advent of the internet persona, it's also somewhat of a reality. It's why I want to disappear from it at times, and yet there is a remarkable convenience. You take, of course, the good with the bad. I cannot decide if I would prefer a little feedback after the fact—like marketing research—as to why you did not enjoy a specific product. I suppose I lean toward the wanting or this post might not be being typed right? And since those that I have noted have come for no discernible reason. It goes back to my juvenile desire to be liked by all. I've gotten over that all will not like me, but once you have ostensibly granted your basic approval through social network connection, I do wonder as to the changeover.

That's a little much on that. I already addressed my strange fear regarding this whole deal during the day to someone—yes, in real life...But hey, that's sort of what I said might be the hallmark of the old blog here, griping about the very inconsequential matters of the universe. And you know, perhaps it's a glitch in the system, or something akin to my fear that an email I address will end up entirely with the wrong recipient. Entirely? As opposed to in parts? What I meant was end up with the wrong recipient entirely. Or with entirely the wrong recipient. Right.

I thing I do enjoy is the Mr. Little Jeans' track "Angel". Really, it's a good one. And I've finally begun delving into the realm of Mad Men. From the get-go I had an Ad professor raving about it, and critics and other folks raved on after. Finally, I have settled down and I get the appeal. Good work creators.

Each time I blog away these days the entries seem a little too much about me. So let's make the end of this more about funny signs. Like these ones about gay marriage. Or these little edits/responses to existing signs. I actually managed to see an edited bench in my neighborhood, which had been well done to replace "your ad here," with "your ass here." Nice one. And for good measure how about these warnings and product disclaimers? Yeah, I'd say that'll do.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lolla-pa-lovin-it

This weekend past marked the arrival and departure once again of Lollapalooza. Now while that opening sentence makes this seem like a boring chronicle, there's a possibility that will be true. Thanks to a friend (I try to avoid real names in here because like I don't want this being all personal and stuff and it's already creepy how much you can easily find out on the internet) I was able to get into a couple of semi-exclusive events. What I always enjoy is the mixture of true VIPs, folks like me who happen to have a friend that can get them in, and then the event workers. I mean this is the inevitability in lots of things, like eating at a fancy restaurant. Even when you're the finest and most respected wait staff in the world, you're still the wait staff.

The thing that makes these events so great for me is that, by-and-large, a strong positive vibe permeates. Since things like this are a rarity for me, I enjoy them a great deal, although I do try to maintain that "act like you've been here before" demeanor. But amidst free drinks and food and whatever else, why be in a shitty mood? The only day I was able to attend the festival (with some finagling and bs-ing) itself was Friday evening to take in Bright Eyes and Muse. I thoroughly enjoyed Bright Eyes, though I did long for a few more older tracks (I don't know the newest album at all) but a shining moment was viewing a quartet of girls who disliked a duo of girls in front of them. The duo was into it in that stereotyped free and hippie way where I wonder who their parents are because they were probably all of 18 and I don't know, I was pretty mainstream then and I really kind of am now. In viewing them, the quartet made snide remarks to one another about the duo, prompting them to dance more spirited in mockery of the duo, which all led to my joy in viewing from behind.

As for Muse, I perhaps regret a little bit not staying for their whole set, but the problem I have with concerts in general is that I have very specific feelings about how I want to enjoy and react to a live performance, and if everyone isn't on the high energy level I am, I am let down. We're all there to enjoy the same music, right, so why worry? No, but I get it, it's hard to be completely relaxed and just enjoy something without fear of judgment. I probably would have judged you in the past, but for me there's nothing better than when someone just genuinely loves the shit out of something. But the couple behind me and my friends was on the right page and probably made my day the most when the guy held up his phone and asked if I was Sergio the Saxman.

I did sight and briefly interact with a couple of celebrities and even by making that vague reference it may be even worse than to actually name who they were, but hey, you know, so it goes. I did witness Taylor Momsen sing and I was impressed at her ability to belt it out. A joy was catching a hint of Elijah Wood dj-ing an event as it closed down. I was very on board with his song selection, which included "Iko Iko"—Dixie Cups version—as I left. The real strength though was his opening with "Goodbye Horses." As that is a personal favorite tune I was busy hamming it up on the dancefloor before I realized who had picked the selection. So here's to you Elijah Wood, for being a chill dude.

Yeah, I guess that was boring. Cheers all.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bye Bye July

Good googley moogley, that there month of July seemed to go by pretty quickly and I don't know that I like that. Sure it was hot as monkeys (monkeys get hot you know, with the fur and all) a good number of days, but when I can ignore my crackhead level of sweat it's the summer after all, and summer is great.

Tonight I took in that Crazy, Stupid, Love film and I'll give it the old seal of approval. Steve Carrell just cracks me up and there was the presence of old guard hot redhead Julianne Moore, and soon-to-be-huge hot redhead Emma Stone. A reasonable dose of cheese and cliché thrown in but enough self-awareness to keep it reasonable. Will it be the best movie you see all year? Probably not, but I don't know how many movies you watch. It does, though, have a healthy dose of humor and if you're not being an overly critical dingus—as I have certainly been many times in my life—I'd say you'll enjoy yourself.

The previews prior to the film—yes, that is redundant—were nearly as hilarious as the high points in the film for reasons rather entirely different. None inspired much confidence and I was rather ashamed that they were made and the lines of dialogue delivered were of a quality of unintentional humor. One of these days I'll go and get a screenplay together and it will ascend to mediocrity. Standards must always be kept high.

Another place I employ high standards is in wardrobe. As a friend noted last week: "[I] clean up nice." This is the polite way of saying, "you are often dressed like a slob." I take no offense at this, though, because my general attire is indeed quite casual. Yesterday, at long last, I debuted my smiley face t-shirt, where a mouth is cut out at navel level, and eyes on the medial sides of nipples (not trying to be obscene, you know?). This is trademark and copyright me. Heck, I doubt I am the first to consider this, but just in case, July 24th, 2011, I done did it. I am choosing to ©™ the creation date since it's earlier. The response was as expected. There were those that got it and appreciated the shit out of it, and there were those that got it and were not quite feeling it in that way but at least got a good chuckle out of it. And that's all I wanna do, spread a little mirth one way or another, maybe give you a silly little story to tell a friend.

It went over way better than my running through Humboldt Park this evening. This is something I do frequently, but at times you get hmm, let's call them non-fans. This particular gentleman told me I should "get the f#ck up outta there." But these details are best reserved for my running log. See you in August folks or, like, not quite see, not in a literal sense, but you know what I mean. Rock on.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thanks for Being a Dick...

...dick. Not really, not totally, not anything too extreme. I'm just making a little incidental reference to an interaction I've just had at a coffee shop I frequent. Though free wireless internet is provided, the network is password protected and altered periodically, to maintain less of a strain, I would think, on the system. When I asked a guy at the table with me if the password had changed recently, he said, "It depends on the last day you were here, they change it every week or so." Now this is actually something completely reasonable to respond with, but I did specify in my question that the change would have been recent and, also, the iteration prior to this one had existed for more than a month. Add in, too, that he is also a frequent attendee of said shop and I took it as a specific affront of not noting who the Hell I am. Have we had deep, mindblowing conversations? No. Have we even exchanged names? No. But we've seen each other a bunch of times and even if he doesn't know me, he recognizes me, so I don't think he needs to deliberately act as if he has never seen me before and yet I get why he needs to and it speaks volumes about the type of person he is, and the type of person he takes me to be.

Sometimes, of course, you just interpret things incorrectly, like the other day, when I saw a linked article referencing "hijab" and processed it as hi-jab, as in perhaps a boxing reference, not the traditional headdress of Muslim women. I like making mistakes like that, it keeps you grounded.

Speaking of not grounded, The Fifth Element was on TV the other day and man does that take off (even literally, dudes and dudettes, 'cause there are like spaceships and stuff). But really that movie is awesome and everyone I know who has seen it seems to like it and I've probably even talked about it in here before. Everything about that film is great, but it's hard for me not to have an extra soft spot (boner joke redacted) for Milla Jovovich as Leeloo. So of course during the film I google image searched old Milla think this image of her is most excellent:



As luck would have it, a fellow from down under whose blog I periodically peruse had posted this very same image of MIlla only about a week ago. That was probably right around the time I was watching that movie anyway. Cosmic alignment or something. But he posts lots of really cool pictures and stuff so if you like cool stuff check out his blog. It's more than just tasteful degrees of female nudity.

Damn damn damn, look at the time or, really, the length of this rag already. I might post but once a week but I'm still not trying to have long dense pockets of boring shit from my brain.

B oring
L oad
O f
G arbage

Come up with your own acrostics kids! Shoot, a couple of funny things happened in my life in the last couple of days I swear, but I don't think this is the place for them. No humor here, just griping! Damnit, life is too good to gripe, but I still have to gripe about nonsense because it's kind of fun. I have sort of forgotten what this place is for. Oh yeah, just to keep me honest about um, sort of something. Writing? I guess. I do that all the time. I'm going to go do that now. I just wrote an email to some sales and marketing rep that believes I teach French at my alma mater. I hope he writes back! I think the bottom of this cup of coffee tastes like weed or, I mean, what I would imagine it would taste like based on the smell I have smelled before that people say is attributable to that. Okay okay, I'm done here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Don't Profess to Being a Professor

This past weekend I found myself on a plane headed from Chicago to Boston. I would not specific the locations but for the differing experiences associated with each. To preface this tale, when I was booking my ticket, I thought it would be great fun to list myself as Professor [My Name]. I believe I have made prior reference to some exchanges with students at my alma mater mistakenly crediting me as a certain professor there, so in some ways I've already done this sort of thing before. But with it always right there in the drop-down menu, I thought I needed to go for it. And yes, it's true, one day I wouldn't be completely against being a professor, which is more than you can say for the people who would have the power to make me a professor.

At any rate, on the leg out, there was no incident beyond my silent smirk (do smirks generally make noise?) as I printed my boarding pass. On the return leg, however, there was a moment before I got into a security line, the one where they actually check your ID against your boarding pass. There seemed to be a delay, and I don't know who flinched first, but it was probably me. It was like a football game though, as I felt I'd been drawn offside by this woman's hesitation. An exchange ensued regarding the professor business, which amounted to me, at a time, saying, "I'm not really a professor, I just thought that would be fun to put there." She was not, as is to be expected, amused. "We'll let it slide this time," she said, crossing out the four-letter abbreviation in front of my name. "Right," I said, "thanks."

"I wouldn't do it again," she scolded me, "you'll be noted down as a troublemaker." A troublemaker?!? NO! The highest offense of any 4th grader, the kind of thing that might make 5th graders know who you are. I wanted to continue on because I couldn't see the real dilemma. Was someone going to ask some very academic and integral question aboard the flight, prompting a steward or stewardess to ask, "Is there a professor aboard?" Then this bitch would chime in, "No, but there is someone professing to be one." I'd commend her pun, then feel like I was belonging somewhere in the late 1930s or early 40s along with Camus and some other absurdists. Side note: I wish there were a good "Camus the Whale" joke. Maybe if he had ever gotten fat or something.

At any rate, that's about enough on the old boring stories from the life of me front, even if this is me damn blog! I'll sign off with a grand little number sung by 11 year-old Anna Graceman during the tryouts for "America's Got Talent." After viewing I called it the best performance I'd ever seen on anyone of these vocal-based or vocal-inclusive talent shows that have emerged. Oh, and she's also playing the piano at virtuoso-enough level. From Juneau, Alaska, I like to think it's a testament to the focus one can have when a little more of the beaten path. But seriously, she kicks ass. Merry mid-July folks, and a happy early Bastille Day. Bastille? All they took was their freedom...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Uh-mer-kuh

The fourth of July has passed on again and, as always, it was a great time. It really is one of those things that brings people together. I will say, however, that running shirtless in American flag shorts through the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of your city may not be the most sensible. One driver did yell "America," but that was before I had crossed the line—the literal neighborhood line. And though I run through this neighborhood all the time, one man did ask, with reasonable menace in his tone, what in the f#ck I thought I was doing running through there. The best thing to do sometimes is to keep running. As I neared my abode on the return, a man yelled from his third-floor balcony, "Woooo, America, f#ck yeah." I gave him a woo back and my faith was restored. The unusual thing was how deserted the roads were, and how few people in general I saw. It was like a scene from 28 Days Later or any such [zombie] apocalypse film, and it was a rather creepy thing. For all that at times I might want less bustle, the contrast, when not changing environs, can be confounding to the point of mild disturbance.

At any rate, I'm sharing the following photo to show how I decided to embrace America the rest of the day. Even amongst the eclectic attire of Boystown and certainly on the lakefront, much commentary was inspired. I only wish I had a photo as a good chum and I—he decked out in equally intriguing cut off America jeans—entered the liquor store, a spectacle in itself with half of its facade a rather cheap-looking castle. To be able to do this, spend time with good friends, and walk to the lake to watch free fireworks with thousands of strangers, this is why I love this country. I can't describe why it is I get such specific joy. Perhaps because everyone seems so on board with one thing, a rarity amongst the overarching culture of antagonism and negativity I see in a lot of pop culture that sometimes is thrown under the moniker of hating.

As I rode the train last evening in cut-off corduroys and cut-off tee (the very one in that photo in fact), I couldn't help but allow some negativity of my own to seep in as some loop workers boarded the train along with me. All of the stereotypes about douchey behavior of finance types were being fulfilled in speech so I did what I sometimes do and stared judgmentally at them. I recall a time an ex-girlfriend did this on a subway train in New York to marvelous effect. Silent, seething disdain, while generally not the best way to go through life, I do appreciate when it puts at least a temporary stick in the spokes of boorish buffoonery. My true favorite moment, aside from the slow realization, is the discomfort when one of these parties of two vacates the train, leaving the lone man or woman to stew alone. It all starts when they get on and give me a look for my attire and haircut and I only need remind them judgment goes both ways. My constant vacillation between fun-loving human and a nauseous distaste for so many of my fellow humans may very well be what helps propel me through life

In other news of crappy chronicling, a proof copy of my first effort at a novel arrived. While it's entrance to the public domain is dubious, I couldn't help but grin with the sense of completion there is in having a tangible copy of my effort. Maybe if I started using a typewriter...And maybe it sucks, but it's a hell of a feeling just to have completed something. I, for one, don't do that enough. So yeah, there, once more, for Uhmerkuh!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The End of June

Would this Jew lie? All right, so it's hardly a secret that I enjoy word play, or perhaps it is, I'm not entirely sure that I do it with great regularity or make it obvious, but I probably do. Certainly I employ many adverbs and speak in wishy-washyisms. But right, June, it's all set to end in a few minutes here by this midwestern clock, so I'm sneaking in a last-minute post. Another thing they're trying to bring an end to is the Oxford Comma. I'm too lazy to link to any of the articles about it. I will say, though, that I'm in favor, because I operate most of my grammar based on speech cadence rather than actual rules learned in a book. And so, when I make a list, I like that last comma as a pause in delivery.

Due to discussions of abolishing the Oxford, or serial, Comma, the Wikipedia entry for it appears to have undergone some amusing temporary edits, including this one, which I will post lest it be removed before you click the link. It is listed under "Unresolved Ambiguity."

The Times once published an unintentionally humorous description of a Peter Ustinov documentary, noting that "highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector".[21] This would still be ambiguous if a serial comma were added, as Mandela could then be mistaken for a demigod, although he would be precluded from being a dildo collector.

I stumbled upon some exclusive dumb shit today, called The Royal Few. All of these websites make me embarrassed for the people who create them and the people who would want to be a part of them. But I guess because I wouldn't join is precisely why I feel that way.

Before I forget, I must promote Quietube, which strips embedded ads from youtube videos, and provides a link you can then share with whomever you would like. I wasn't too sure about how many people were really using this, so I wanted to go ahead and get my little share of the word out there.

At one of the coffee shops I frequent, there is the delight of a chalkboard in each restroom. I consume extra glasses of water (coupled with the diuretic effects of caffeine) to ensure I can make a trip or two to do some scribbling. Today I scrawled "July 4th is only a quarter," and returned later to find LOL and an arrow pointing to the phrase. Sadly, all it takes is for an anonymous stranger to enjoy my punny scrawlings to make my day. So thank you stranger, I hope you went back to enjoy "Any mathematician knows that mean people are just fucking average." I think a big part of the reason I enjoy their enjoyment is all of the joy I too received when reading amusing stall scribblings over the years.

Tonight's crazy ass weather put an electricity in the air that I am fully behind, especially because I managed to not be hailed upon. It's so clichéd to talk about the weather, but going from mid-80s, to strange breezes and dust bowls in the park, to full-blown hail, well that's Chicago! It hurt a little bit to type that sentence, I think it was the exclamation point. Stay tuned for my updating the font and colors if not the entire layout on this blog because I forget what it looks like when I am not typing in this little box. And it is ugly, oh yes it is ugly.

Oh, and this weekend, let's celebrate America. Because sure there's shit wrong with America, but it's also pretty all right. UHMERIKUH!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wi[sh]consin

I'm vaguely fresh off of a visit to the rurals of Wisconsin. And I'm super fresh on wanting to vomit on the married couple seated across from me with their, as I see it, forced affections. The same couple was here yesterday, and one of my favorite moments was when someone went to sit next to this girl or, I guess, woman, and she said, "Oh, sorry, my husband is sitting there." He hadn't been there for quite some time and I rather liked the idea that he was imaginary, but it's funny to me the way that, it should be natural to say my husband because of course he was her husband and yet it still came across as forced to me. Just maybe I kind of have problems. In fact, that's as much the point of this blog as anything else, an ongoing chronicle, stored freely by google, of my association with the world around me and my willingness to share certain thoughts with the knowledge that, of course, it might be searchable and read.

My favorite recent search to land a stranger here: "why deaf people are assholes."

Have I mentioned yet I need to rework the color scheme in here? It's amazing that if you go back and read certain entries where I reference things like this they will one day make even less since since, by then, I may actually have changed them and yet you won't know unless you are diligently following, in which case you will just think that you do or don't like the colors, which is exactly the same situation as now.

But let's talk 'Consin 'cause it's on my mind. I am going to not name the town I was in, to both preserve it's relative untaintedness by strangers like me, and to protect it's identity in general lest anything negative seem to come out. It shouldn't, because this town kicks ass. It's on Lake Michigan and a good ways from Chicago, which is a reminder if I ever needed one of the enormity of Lake Michigan. No really, this lake is enormous. I had to clip an f-bomb there. Sometimes I curse too much. We were outliers there, it's true, and yet we were quickly made to feel at home and it doesn't have to be that way. I am skewed in general by my own liberal upbringing and exposures and while I know very conservative individuals and groups exist, it doesn't mean close to the same thing if you aren't standing next to it.

So I just realized that by keeping this vague I risk making this exceedingly bland, but I didn't want to not give a shout out to how grand this place is. Double negatives can be great. OH MAN I WANT TO STAB THIS COUPLE. It's weird, by the strange nature of their interactions, a bizarre formality and forced (again, as I see it) affections, they seem like robots.

But this Wisconsin town. It's small. Everyone knows everyone, but that doesn't mean everyone likes everyone, and yet it has a safety to it, a regularity in the way everyone attends the few bars in town. I used to live in a small town, not for long, but up here they seemed to get it much more right than where I lived, even though my former residence was much more a known quantity. Guess that makes sense, as when the secret's out, the magic can get lost a little. And so I'll preserve the sanctity of this little town.

Hell, every place I stopped in Wisconsin on the way up and back was so different from what I'm generally used to. I tend to have a short memory for a lot of things. But it made me glad. Glad I can still be surprised by things, glad that not everywhere is the same, and maybe even glad I don't live there. Because maybe the magic wears off, and maybe not, but magic is just unexplained occurrences of real life that you find amazing. You don't always need an answer. Just enjoy. Thanks Wisconsin. Thanks friends.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Short of Sorts on Shorts

I found myself fiending for a 1984 British Olympic uniform for not the first time earlier, so I embarked on a very non-scientific google search to see if there is, in fact, still some way to acquire these garments. I found little but did not dig deep because I was immediately intrigued by this Wikipedia entry on shorts. It is extensive, as many Wiki entries are, and awesome. I haven't even read the entirety of that entry, but it did say that, after Adidas sponsored the 1980 Olympics, their nylon shorts became a fashion item for some years. Oh that those years still existed!

I truly appreciated the segment on cut-offs and Daisy Dukes, especially for the final sentence which I have placed in bold for emphasis. On a side note, I tend to use far too many adverbs.

Cut-offs or Daisy Dukes

Home-made by cutting the legs off trousers, typically jeans (known as "denim cut-offs"), above the knee. These were particularly popular in the early 1970s. The cut is not finished or hemmed and the fabric is left to fray. They became so popular that they were sold in stores as such. Originally a practical use for trousers with worn-through knees, they are now a type of shorts in their own right. The ultra-short version of jean cut-offs are also known as Daisy Dukes, in reference to Catherine Bach's character of that name from the American television show The Dukes of Hazzard. They are a form of hot-pants or short shorts. The character Tobias Fünke from the television series Arrested Development is also known for wearing cut-off jeans as an undergarment.

With the arrival of warm weather, I get the urge to chop the legs off of weathered pants. Although I wear shorts for far less of the year, I end up washing them far more than my pants because I am routinely sweating through them. The thing is, at my favorite place to shop, Marshall's, it's just as cheap to buy a pair of pants and cut them off as it is to buy a pair of shorts. Especially since I can never seem to find shorts of the length and fit that I prefer. I have minor hoarder tendencies as well, so I often end up chopping the sleeves off of shirts I never wear under the illusion that I will then be more likely to wear them at some point. Hell, I even want to cut my hair every week or less. Guess that's why Meursault ends up shooting somebody. The heat can make you irrational and crazy!

In one maddening moment on a run today I felt a beard hair get lodged in my gumline. I tried to remove it so frantically that I ripped part of my gum off, when a little patience would have removed it easily. Instead, of course, I drove it in deeper and had to execute some surgical precision to remove it once home.

I walked by a coffee shop earlier whose chalkboard read "Home of Sluts" on the first line. But I've been there, and it's not slutty enough for me.

Stoked to invade rural Wisconsin for the weekend. Goal is to not get beaten up for my stupid haircut and dumb clothes. Maybe a beach run in some Daisy Dukes...Viva Wisconsin!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Noontime in Chicago

Excursions to the movies have been somewhat of a rarity for me for quite some time. I suppose in some ways I have always had a weird feeling about movies, or really just going to them. One thing I can't do, for instance, is go to the movies alone. And so I tend to end up there only on suggestion and invite, creating a rather incongruous map of films. This past Sunday I took in the film Midnight in Paris, on the invitation of a friend. As it happens, I hadn't heard of the film, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, a simple search of "new woody allen movie" yielded the film title and a allowed for a quick review of the cast.

Owen Wilson was about all I needed to see on the billing, as his presence alone generally produces something redeemable for me. The circumstances were opportune as they let me go into the film in my most preferred way: with next to no knowledge and thus next to no expectation. I'm not exactly the greatest film reviewer but I'll say this one is pretty delightful. I don't think I spoil a thing by pointing out it pokes fun at nostalgia and the concept of the golden age. See I like it when film and books poke fun at the things I get roiling around in my head from the standpoint of having been there. Condemnation without any association, on the other hand, aggravates me. You get to make the joke because you were or are part of the club. There are many choice characterizations of famed artists and authors that are playful and amusing.

Nor did it hurt to have some moments of Lea Seydoux who you know is clearly a model but has this "but I'm simple and could never be a model, I'm just this country girl" thing. The only problem I have with characters like hers is I then find myself out walking about expecting to find their carbon copy suited just pour moi (to use the extremely limited amount of French I have maintained). I can't explain why I chose French over Spanish in high school, but whatever the little spark was gets reawakened every time I see movies set in France. Heck, I'm listening to Carla Bruni songs at the moment just because of her cameo in the movie. It's a testament to the fleeting and obsessive nature that may always have existed but the presence of all this content at fingertips just seems to magnify.

Merde, it appears that I've already taken to a ramble-a-thon. The evolution or reverse evolution of my blog is such a strange thing to me. A day removed from my aggravating eavesdrop of coffee shop conversation (to be accurate, I wasn't so much eavesdropping as I was unable to ignore the loud and obnoxious monologue/vague dialogue going on next to me) I will refrain from comment as it is something I get to do plenty in here. In fact I feel as if I vacillate between those melancholies and these more joyful embrace posts.

So following that note, I'll keep a theme here and give love to the Chicago summer. It's hot for the moment, very hot, but out in the heat was a free concert treat, with Iron and Wine headlining a show opened by The Head and The Heart. Nevermind the music, which was great—although Iron and Wine sounded like a jam band to my surprise—the atmosphere was unbeatable. There had to be a good 7,000 18-35 year-olds, all in good spirits, likely augmented by having brought their own spirits, wine, beer, and that other grass to enjoy on the grass. I had waves of healthy nostalgia and, for those few hours, everything seemed right with the world.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Me[MyselfandI]Morial Day

Every now and then I just love messing around with Wordle. When it comes to art, I don't really have the old creative skill which, given the color scheme—among other things—of this blog, rather goes without saying. Still, thanks to talented people there are a great many variations and whatnot you can create of the word clouds Wordle creates. I opted to upload a chunk of text from a short story I'm working on and accept the default. It's quite interesting to see from small and large samples what words you have a penchant for using.

I am still wrapping my head around today being Tuesday, as Memorial Day Henry David Thoreau my brain off. The warmth of spring finally arrived, melting me a mite bit as I traversed a four-mile route. Unable to stop sweating, it was clear that whiskey and lemonade was in order. As the day wore on I got that sort of sneaky drunk that transpires when you are well-practiced at drinking. Translation: only I knew how much I was skirting the line of wasted.

As the night wore on, I like to blame fatigue rather than inebriation for an embarrassing episode of paranoia that set in late in the night whereby I thought I'd lost my computer. With unconscionable amounts of intellectual (this word might be a stretch) property on this bad boy, I was in a rather terrible way. I am just glad that at this moment I can laugh about it and, goodness, though every time I say I will back my shit up...I'm gonna back my shit up! Through embarrassment I do hope to mature and grow.

Relieved to have found my computer but queasy from incorrect balancing of food with spirits, I decided the classic detox run was a good idea. For it to be seven miles was not a good idea, as I sweat till I could sweat no more, nearing my peak of wobbly, tight-skinned, drooling mass. Though I will be a dripping, stinky human for the coming months, I am glad it's warm. Sometimes you beat the heat, and sometimes the heat beat(s) you.

More mindless musings on spring and summer sweating to come.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cremorial Day

While it's not quite Memorial Day, this Friday that is nearly completed was, for myself and some others Cremorial Day. I suppose that is not so apt as we were not the ones cremated but, rather, we witnessed a service devoted to one who had been. And while her husband was not an American veteran of World War II, he had fought for the Britons. After that lengthy explanation of my struggle for a title I've completely forgotten what it is I intended to talk about. Presumably little, as always.

In fact, this past weekend an old teammate and I suppose I could say chum of mine told me that he reads this here blog of mine on occasion without enjoyment. I asked him, then, why he read it, and if he did have an answer—which I contend he did not—I will admit I may have been too soused to recollect it.

In my life I have seen precious few celebrities in the flesh, but after this past Monday evening I have now had occasion to see one celeb (I cringe at that abbreviation) twice. The man in question is Jesse Eisenberg of Social Network and other fame. That he is the same age as me and grew up in a neighboring town are some very loose connections, but now I have seen him twice. Time the first he was accompanied by two dudes and was walking by Chicago's Second City stages and training center building. Time the second he was near Times Square, walking his bike—which appeared to be a brand most average at best—then riding it for less than a block, before dismounting again to rendezvous with a woman I presume is his girlfriend. His posture and manner of movement is much like the characters he often portrays: gloomy, sullen, and hurried all at once. And though his posture remained bent when he met his presumable girlfriend, a smile breached his face (and, I should note, once again a hat adorned his head). Granted this was New York, and I am sure many are used to seeing many celebrities but I couldn't help but appreciate that he flew under everyone's radar and the regular-guyishness he exuded in both instances. Dare I say this is success without fame? And yet, he is famous, so perhaps notoriety is the word I seek.

At any rate I shall wonder if the cosmic crossing of young Eisenberg and myself shall continue and when, if ever, I may annoy him with brief verbal acknowledgment. Cosmic is probably an overstatement, but I can't help but have fun looking for signs and the connections in things. Call it the failed and cynical AP English student in me finally deciding that kind of shit, while contrived, can be good times. Let's take that a recent reader here was from Malvern of all places. There are ~28,000 people that live there and this internet user conducted a standard google search for something perhaps a bit obscure, which I happen to have somewhat addressed in a post here just a few weeks back (three fortnights to get more British sounding). The date of the posting and its connection to my own birth which was, in turn, from the body of an individual whose own birth took place in this very town in England, well, actually that doesn't really mean much. And those sentences were vague enough that even I might not know what I mean when I go back to read that.

After all that nonsense, I'd like to give a shout-out to my alma mater. The pleasures of Wadsworth forest continue to be exquisite, as does the quality of the Freeman Shower (though I am sad the soap smells better now), and of course it allows for me to fully embrace my inner asshat and know that few will judge and so very many will embrace. Cheers to the old 'Tech and all of those whom I have known and loved in my time there and since.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Condiments

Not to be confused with condomints of course, the minty-fresh safe-sex option product I never released. One day, that along with complimints—the mints that say nice things about you in the wrapper—shall continue to not exist. Condiments are on my brain though (no not literally you sillies, old mustard-brain Solomon) but, like, I'm thinking about them because they were the savior of a sandwich I was afraid to eat. Rare are those occasions on which I consume canned tuna but given a far too long stretch of fishlessness, I decided I could settle for the canned variety. As it stands, I made grave error my last excursion to purchase canned tuna, opting for chunk white. While not as vile as chunk light, as I opened the can, worry creased my face. But waste not want not and the best way to learn a lesson is to eat it. So I dropped in some olive oil (mayonnaise is my nemesis) and chili powder and adobo, because those were in my spice cabinet. It's difficult to determine whether these had great effect on increasing the palatability of the primary constituent part of my sandwich, but Grey Poupon really saved the day. The conclusion is that condomints can keep a _______ smelling minty fresh, and condiments can keep flavor fresh. Both can mask something otherwise gross.

Another of the primary things on my brain is the death of reigning Olympic and Chicago marathon champ Samuel Wanjiru. The circumstances are exceedingly strange. That immediately one of the police investigators was shouting to the media that it was a suicide speaks to one of many cultural differences between The United States and Kenya. When I have such little grasp of circumstances, I like to keep any judgment in check so I'll just say that I loved to watch the man run and was impressed by the way he competed. As a distance runner myself, the desire to run long distances may or may not be indicative of a mind somewhat less stable than what is alleged to be the mental standard. If further proof was needed of how insane things can be over in Kenya, I'll forgo some of the stories told me secondhand from visitors and cite this tale of random assault of former (and would-be otherwise current) Division III star Peter Kosgei.

Well, at this juncture I really must be making some ambulatory motion from my current sedentary perch. Chicago, I shall bid you adieu temporarily in some 40 hours. If you could find it within your weather to warm in the days of my absence, I am sure the other residents might be just as appreciative as I.
Thanks for stopping by…you stay classy Planet Earth.