Monday, July 31, 2006
A year ago, I had my own major Minor Car Accident, which on the surface appeared to be my fault as I was the one who made impact with another car. It's a convoluted story involving a third car that left the scene, but it was not, in fact, my fault, which makes sense given that I'm the World's Greatest Driver. Unfortunately, I had left proof of this fact in my other pants, and were it not for the actions of a very nice woman who had witnessed the accident and stayed to give a statement to the police, I may not have escaped a ticket and increased insurance rates so easily.
With this in mind, (and after making sure that the people involved in the accident had not been decapitated), I felt in my heart that waiting for the police to give my statement was the Right Thing To Do. A woman on the other side of the intersection had also witnessed the accident and agreed with me, so we took a position on the corner and waited. And sweated. And waited some more. While sweating.
Okay, granted: this is the big, bad city where violent crime is (especially lately) rampant, and people deal lots of drugs and shoot lots of guns and steal lots of merchandise and are generally bastards in large numbers. And granted: my accident happened in the Delaware suburbs where it was quite possibly the most exciting thing that had transpired all day, if not all month. But I would think, in the middle of a Monday morning, perhaps the police officer should have arrived a wee bit sooner than 40 minutes after the accident. But she was probably saving a baby from being raped in a burning building, and I'm being unfair.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first official-type people to arrive on the scene were two very tired paramedics. I am reluctant to make fun of paramedics, given that if I ever needed one someday, that would not be a moment when I would enjoy being bitten in the ass by karma. I guess these guys drove up, saw that it was a Minor Accident and that no one was hurt, and were just annoyed that they had to turn off the air conditioning in the ambulance while they waited for the police to arrive, something for which I cannot blame them. In fact, it is so damn hot out that I debated faking some Lohan-esque wooziness myself just so I could lay down inside the cool and drug-equipped vehicle, but given that I was knee-deep in the Right Thing To Do, I decided against it.
Anyway, the paramedics finished checking out the people from the accident and then stood around waiting. My fellow witness and I looked at each other, unsure of what action we were to take. Clearly, strangely, these guys did not immediately recognize us as the paragons of virtue we were, and we would have to make ourselves known. The woman told one of the EMT's that we had seen the accident and asked if we should wait to give a statement to the police when they arrived.
Upon hearing this, the paramedic wept with joy at having encountered two Good Samaritans in a world filled with bloodshed and sorrow, and he told us that as soon as we had finished giving our statements, we would be escorted to City Hall where the Mayor would honor us with a concert from the Philadelphia Boys Choir and the presentation of two glistening Medals of Honor.
Actually, he shrugged, laughed, and said "Well, no one can stop you from talking to the police if you want to. Do whatever you want." And then he climbed back into the front seat of the ambulance and closed his eyes.
So, after my fellow witness reassured me that she was sure the paramedic just didn't want to display any bias toward either party in the accident by encouraging us to give a statement, (yeah, totally plausible), we again went back to waiting for the police officer.
As stated, she arrived 40 minutes after the accident, pulled her car to the side of the road, stepped out into the heat and yawned. Not to keep holding up my own accident as the paradigm against which all others should be measured, but the police officers who responded in my case were overly serious, took a very long time to take everyone's statement, and wore imposing yet silly hats. This woman wrapped up her business in about 7 minutes and had returned to her car to either write up the accident report or to find out where the nearest smoothie place was on her GPS. Again, the other witness and I were confused. Should we go tap on her window and tell her who we are? Should we just leave? No, we decided this was the Right Thing To Do, and it had to be seen through to its end.
We walked over to her car and she rolled down her window. The other witness told her who we were and did she want our statements? She replied, exactly as the exhausted paramedic before her had, that we could "do whatever you want." So we gave our names and phone numbers, told her what we had seen, which she paraphrased in a single sentence on her little pad, and that was it. The other witness and I looked at each other, sighed, and exchanged a "have a nice day" before leaving the intersection and going about our business.
So this is the thing, Dear Reader, I know that staying to give my statement was, all sarcasm aside, the right course of action. Had I not done so, I know I would have spent the rest of the day, (okay, the rest of the year), feeling guilty and like I had finally gathered enough evidence to support my darkest fears of being a bad person. And, honestly, I didn't expect the police or paramedics, to melt with appreciation at my willingness to give up part of my morning to help perfect strangers, but I would have liked something other than a "do whatever you want."
"Do whatever you want" is what you say to your boyfriend when he asks you if he can go to a strip club, and you know you'd be a raging bitch in the court of modern public opinion if you flatly refused, but you really don't want him to go and are pissed off that he asked you in the first place. "Do whatever you want" is what you say to a little kid who insists on doing something you know is wrong -- like, say, mixing tuna salad and grape jelly -- but you know that they have to make the mistake themselves in order to learn the lesson. "Do whatever you want" is not, on the other hand, what you say to people who give a damn about being civil, responsible human beings. And do you know why you don't say it to those people? Because those people may very well turn around and, realizing that the Right Thing To Do is a pain in the ass, join the legion of rude, mean, self-absorbed dickheads that make up the majority of the world's population.
Okay, I know -- you don't do the right thing in order to be praised for it, you do it because it's right. It's the tautology of decency, and it usually sucks. And I'm sure, were I to see another accident, I'd do the same thing I did today, but hopefully in the future I won't be disappointed by the lack of acknowledgment I am bound to receive. Hopefully, it's possible to be both cynical and altruistic at the same time. I'll let you know how it works out.
Also, if you're wondering why I'm not mad at the guy in the pickup truck for not thanking me for waiting around to back up his innocence, well, I don't really know why I'm cutting him so much more slack than I am the paramedics or the police officer. I guess it's because he was having a shitty day. Or maybe it's because, much like being cynical and altruistic at the same time, I am also someone who simultaneously rebels against authority while wishing to avoid confrontation. That, and cops are assholes.
Ah, and on the subject of not posting -- yeah, I know. Thanks to everyone who's asked me to post more, it honestly makes me feel really good. And I would say that henceforth I will make every effort to post more often, but we'd all know that I was full of stinky, stinky shit. I promise, though, that I'm not abandoning the blog and will sincerely try, or at least think about trying, to post more frequently. Please don't remove me from your Bookmarks and put Stuff on my Cat in my place. There's room in this world for both of us.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Learn everything there is to know about Hellenistic history. Pay
particular attention to themes the professor has labeled his "own
argument." Write these things down on 3 X 5 notecards. Use different
colored pens. Do not review the notecards except to remark to yourself
that you are good at arts n' crafts.
Take exam. Employ well-honed ability to bullshit. Make mention of those things which are the professor's "own argument," (they love that shit). On essay, repeat self, uh, repeatedly. Sigh. A lot. Hand exam in and tell professor that you really, thoroughly, more than anything else you've ever paid to learn, enjoyed his class. Smile as sincerely as possible.
Forget everything there is to know about Hellenistic history...I mean, Helenwho?
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Today, FourFour gave me another gift: A link to a bunch of uploads on YouTube of some local talent show from the 70's and 80's, Stairway to Stardom. I swear, you guys, this shit is GOLD. It's basically Star Search on public access, and that's just as phenomenal as you'd think it would be.
I was going to link to a bunch of my favorites, but the list was getting really long. So, I decided just to link to two, because I think they really embody the desperate fame-seeking mediocrity, (well, mediocrity is being kind), of the people on this show, not to mention really tapping into the zeitgeist of 1980's America. Okay, that last part was bullshit -- they're just really funny:
- Ms. Precious Taft giving a reading of...something. (Make sure you watch until the very end.)
- Ms. Lucille Cataldo performing her original composition, "Hairdresser, Hairdresser."
Friday, June 09, 2006
First, I was sitting in the "spa chair" getting my toesies beautified, seated next to an older woman who, rather than read a magazine like a sane person, decided that the best way to pass the time was to stare at me. During a brief pause in her critical inventory of Yours Truly, she announced to the lady doing her nails, "I've never shaved my legs. Never! I just don't have any hair, I guess. And when I was younger, my hair was so blonde that it didn't show up. My friends were always shaving, shaving, shaving, because, you know, once you start you can never stop."
I really wish someone had told me that last bit was I was 12, because now I'm fucked.
Anyway, a little while later, while I sat across the room getting my fingernails done, I was again seated next to an older gal, although this one, thankfully, wasn't all that interested in me. In fact, she was pretty silent until she decided to pay the (Asian) nail technician a "compliment":
Customer: You know, it's a known fact that you people are better at doing nails than Americans.
Nail Tech: Mmm.
Eva Braun: No, I mean it. My daughter told me that. She said, "Mom, go to the Chinese people. They do it better." And you do.
Nail Tech: Mmm.
Barbara Bush: Is that what you are? Are you Chinese?
Nail Tech: No.
Ann Coulter: What are you, then?
Nail Tech: I'm Vietnamese.
Phyllis Schlafly: Well, whatever you are, you do good nails.
Ah, multiculturalism. I'm absolutely convinced that when the nail techs speak to each other in their native languages, they're not so much saying "I need more cotton balls at station 4" so much as "this fat white lady just said some more stupid shit. And her feet smell."
Anyway, I'm back in the city now, where the racism is overt and the trains don't run on time.
Have a good weekend, whatever you are!
Saturday, June 03, 2006
The fact that there has not been a post in over a month is simply ludicrous, and I do apologize. I'm a bad blogger, and I know it. That you are even here, checking this blog and reading this post, bespeaks of your remarkable faith in me. That, or you maxed out your credit card on porn and have no other sites to look at, but I'll take it.
So, here's where things stand:
I'm in Philly again. Yep. I've got to say, as moving goes, this one was relatively pain-free. The hardest thing has been downsizing to a one-bedroom apartment with a serious lack of storage space from a two-bedroom house with so much room that I filled an entire closet with clothes that haven't fit me since Monica Lewinsky had a job. Those items are now at the Chadds Ford Goodwill, and if you hurry, you too can stock up on floral-print babydoll dresses and clunky shoes before they're gone.
Anyway, the apartment is good. It's a few blocks away from Rittenhouse Square, which is where I lived when I was in the city before, and I really like that this place is quieter and more low-key. The tradeoff is that it's a little further away from the grocery store and the bank and stuff like that, but so far, so good. It's within walking distance of both school and Abbie & Jorge's place, which, as far as I'm concerned, are the only two attractions this city really has to offer. Someone once said something about an art museum and some other cultural shit, but I've got HBO so it doesn't really matter.
School is okay, as well. I'm starting off with one class for the first summer session, (two is considered full-time), as the reading load is very heavy and it's about all I can handle while I acclimate to my new environment. The class is a Classical Studies survey of Alexander the Great, and, unfortunately, I'm not allowed to write my term paper on the movie, as it was apparently not especially accurate or, you know, good. At any rate, I'm really enjoying the class. The professor is a very enthusiastic Aussie who peppers the lectures with hilarious Australian euphemisms, like referring to the crotch region on a Greek statue as the guy's "tackle," which is the word I will be using from now on. No particularly funny students in the class, though, I'm sad to report, although there are two Senior Associates, which is the coolest thing about summer classes at Penn. They have this Senior Associate program whereby older, (and I mean older), Penn alumni attend classes. Seriously, they're adorable. One of them in my class wears, alternately, a sportcoat and Dockers or a purple nylon warmup suit. I've got my fingers crossed that one of these days he shows up with the sportcoat on top and the warmup pants on the bottom. Not because he's confused, you understand, but because he's awesome.
I'm looking forward to telling you all the crazy city stories as they happen to me, too, although I don't really have one right now. There was a little incident with the building maintenance man, which I have related to many of you already, but for those I haven't told, here's the nutshell version: The maintenance man was in and out of my apartment one day doing stuff while I attempting to read. He eventually asked me what I was reading, to which I replied that it was a book about Alexander the Great, which was apparently just the springboard he was looking for in order to tell me the following tidbits of information:
- Alexander's mother was in a lesbian snake cult.
- God is a "god of position," and it's okay that some things are above other things, and that's what these radical feminists just don't understand.
- We are living in the last days prophesied in the Bible
Needless to say, I was horrified, and got on the computer in an attempt to look busy so that he'd stop talking to me, (it didn't work). Luckily, Abbie was online, and I reached out to her as perhaps the last person I'd speak to before I became the maintenance man's fourth wife and we moved to the compound. Here is an excerpt from our actual conversation:
me: oh my god abbie there's a maintenance man in my apartment and he's a Christian nut and he's trying to convince me, based on my Alexander book, that we're in the end times
Abbie: stay strong Nina!
me: i am seriously halfway between terrified and laughing my ass off, and I don't even know if you're there, but if you never hear from me again, blame it on the maintenance man
Abbie: If i never hear from you again, I will assume that you have been saved and that my soul is doomed for hell.
me: oh no, not you too!
honestly, he asked me what I was reading and i told him alexander stuff, and he said, 'do you have a bible?'
and of course, because i am a naive moron, i was like, 'yeah, sure, lots of interesting folklore in there" and he was like 'not folklore in here, missy!"
and then he asked me if i was jewish
i mean, really, he's very nice, but he's also very scary
now he's singing
Abbie: Do you want me to call you on the phone for an important meeting you need to attend so you can get out of there?
me: abbie he's going to sacrifice me to jesus
no, i actually need to leave for class in a few minutes, and i kind of want to 'see him out'
but thank you, if only i had thought to IM you an hour ago when this all began
Abbie: oh, well hopefully his work is handy and you won't ever need his assistance again.
me: why am i so damn nice to people? now he thinks i'm his buddy and he can talk to me some more about how radical feminism is ruining the world
no! he has to come back to fix the air conditioner and the garbage disposal!
son of a bitch!
Abbie: you mean, Jesus Christ!
So that's my most interesting city story so far, and it happened inside my very apartment. Although, given what a hotbed of kooky, crazy adventure this place is, I'm not surprised. I am completely and utterly petrified by the maintenance man, now, and have resolved that even if my toilet is overflowing with cockroach legs and rusty nails, I will put on some boots and deal with it myself. It'll be fine, I'm very handy. I even have a hammer.
Okay, folks, I guess that's all I have to report for now. Like I always say, I will try and post more often. Thanks for checking the site and being so patient. You guys are more awesome than a Senior Associate in a track suit.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
1. My extraordinary (and completely justified) self-absorption.
2. The swingingest mood fluctuations this side of Courtney Love.
3. A propensity to leave the shades drawn until 2 p.m.
4. A cat that weighs 17.6 pounds.
See, Radley, (a.k.a. The Pooper, a.k.a. Mr. Prettypants, a.k.a. Asshole), and I have just returned from a pre-move trip to the vet. The good news is that Radley is otherwise quite healthy, well-behaved and adorable. The bad news is that, despite the fact that he eats diet food (and not even very much of it), he is morbidly obese. I guess the apple doesn't far too fall from the tree, but that's because both the apple and the tree have a hard time getting around.
Since the problem is not with Radley's caloric intake, it is necessarily a matter of inactivity. Therefore, I have been medically instructed to play with my pet more. I know.
Aside from the fact that it is fundamentally unnatural to try and motivate a cat to get off his own fuzzy ass, I feel like I've failed as a caregiver. What do cats ask from us anyway? A place to poop? Check. Some delicious Iams Weight Control with Hairball Care in a lovely bowl? Check. A windowsill in which to sit, cleans one's armpit and stare at squirrels? Check. A minimal level of shake-the-toy-in-my-face-so-that-I-don't-get-feline-diabetes? Oops.
I just can't help but feel like this is a reflection on me and what I would do to any possible human children. If my kids were half as neurotic and plump as my cat has turned out to be, I'd have an open account at the Department of Family Services. I mean it. I'd be one of those moms with great intentions, a cupboard full of healthy snacks and family-appropriate board games, and the kid from Thirteen. Sure, I'd give her the apple as an after-school snack, but she'd probably just go and smoke weed out of it.
I guess, though, I could adopt a better attitude about this whole situation. I mean, Radley is completely happy the way he is. Like Mo'Nique, he owns his fatness with unapologetic sass and confidence. And why shouldn't he? So what if his belly literally swings from side to side when he walks! Who cares if he falls off the couch when he rolls over! What's the difference if he's single-handedly responsible for giving me athsma by sitting on my chest!
Okay, that settles it. Fuck the vet and her "your beloved kitty is going to die young" propaganda! She's totally in the pocket of the cat-toy industry anyway and can not therefore be trusted. From now on, Radley and I are going to celebrate his immensity. Right, Mr. Prettypants?
Thursday, April 13, 2006
It sounded like a cross between a lawnmower, a ceiling fan and the music of Yanni. It was bizarre -- harsh yet ethereal, nasal and somehow also...otherworldly. Now, I'm normally the kind of girl to ignore such things. Frankly, life is strange and it often has a soundtrack to match. Who am I to go investigating every little rustle and bleep out there? But this sound was different, it drew me towards it, like a moth to a flame, or a magnet to a refrigerator, or perhaps a fat person to a buffet...there are a lot of apt metaphors.
Anyway, I didn't even pause to look out the window to see what was making the noise, I just walked outside. Not walked -- glided -- that's how strong the pull was. And there, in the backyard, was the most terrifying and magnificent thing I have ever beheld. It was a craft, certainly, but how to describe it? A Mini Cooper surrounded by tubing? Kind of. A luxury yacht as conceived by Volvo? A little bit. Kevin Federline's childhood home? Not so much. The point is, it really defied definition. And I didn't get that good a look at it, anyway, because before I knew it, I was surrounded by a warm and soothing light, and then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, I was miles above the Earth.
You know, somehow I just always knew I would be abducted by aliens. I'm not saying I aspired to it, per se, but it just seemed somehow inevitable. And I had decided long ago that when it happened, I had a choice between two attitudes toward the situation:
The Open and Inquisitive Option
Who are these creatures? What astonishing advancements has their (clearly superior) civilization accomplished to bring them to Earth? What can I learn of science, technology and interplanetary diplomacy from them? How will I tell my fellow Earthlings of my adventures once I return home? Will I be interrogated by Congress like Jodie Foster was in Contact? Will Matthew McConaughey be there?
The Abject Fear Option
Based chiefly on the possibility of anal probes and whatever they did to that guy's eyeball in Fire in the Sky.
But when it actually happened, my attitude turned out to be a mixture of unnatural serenity and blog-related worry. For while a blissful, fearless calm had enveloped me, I was at the same time thinking -- back in the tiny corner of my mind that I still controlled -- "how long will I be gone? What if I never return? The blog will have no closure! American Idol will continue without my comments! Kellie Pickler will win because I won't have been able to convince the six people reading this blog not to vote for her because she's an even less-talented version of Jessica Simpson than Ashlee Simpson is! Those two fucktards in my class will go on being grating know-it-alls and I won't have anything to say about it! And what will become of my friends without a semi-daily window into my hilariously singular take on everyday life?!"
But these anxieties quickly melted away, for that peaceful, rapturous feeling I had turned out to be the result of a brain implant installed by the aliens, one which gradually overtook my ability to feel pain, experience worry and taste garlic. It's good stuff, honestly, but it does seem to have affected my memory and judgment, as well. That's why I can't really tell you about my space odyssey, because it's kind of a blur. It's also why, when I got back to Earth, I was strangely compelled to do the following things:
1. Quit work.
2. Move back to Philly.
3. Attend school full-time.
I know, nutty, right? But I can't fight it -- an implant is an implant. Anyway, I'm currently jobless, packing up my house,and readying myself for the extraterrestrial adventure that is living in the city and going to school. And while you may scoff, and you may be tempted to discount my decision as yet another in a long line of empty plans, just remember -- you can't fight the aliens. Just ask Katie Holmes.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
I admit it -- there are a lot of reasons you could hate me.
From the seat-warmers in my car to having the most entertaining cat in the world, I am the subject of envy and bitter jealously the world over...or at least the tri-state area.
But of all the things you could hate me for -- she has such fantastic hair! her wit is simply unparalleled in recorded history! -- the thing I am most devilishly proud of is my Abominable Smile.
Yes, I have indestructible teeth. And you don't.
And much like my inability to spell correctly or do simple multiplication, (or, uh, read music), I do not take the best care of my teeth and it's never really been a problem. I mean, of course I brush, but after every meal? Who has the time? And flossing? Well, flossing is for losers. So I just sit back, relax, and let the Sonicare do the work.
Part of this is orthodontic rebellion. After an adolescence during which I had braces twice -- including one stint where I simultaneously had braces and a retainer -- with the end result being that my fucking front teeth remain fucking crooked, I just gave up. I virtually never go to the dentist. In fact, before yesterday my last visit was in 2003, and I didn't even grow up in Appalachia.
Miraculously, though, I have never had a single cavity, and I fully realize how completely unfair that is. I also fully realize that by taking pride in what is essentially a happy accident, I am a dental asshole.
But a few weeks ago, I thought my luck had run out. I felt something suspicious on the back of two of my teeth. Armed with a makeup mirror and my keychain flashlight, (try and visualize it, Dear Reader, because it's just that stupid), I though I could distinctly see two holes in my teeth. HOLES. In which teeny tiny squirrels could store eensy weensy nuts for the winter. I was horrified, so I waited three more weeks and then called my dentist.
While waiting for my appointment to arrive, I literally had nightmares about it. I just knew I'd walk in there and he'd tell me I needed a total mouth replacement, and by the way did I know he was philosophically opposed to anesthetic? I also felt he'd state, (as he once did years ago), that if I didn't start flossing, I'd soon have "my mother's gums." Funny, I always thought her gums were adorable.
So, I go to the appointment, and because I haven't been there since the late 70's they have to do a complete set of x-rays. Which is fine, except for that the "technician" who was "taking" "my" "x-rays" had apparently never seen the machine before, and was also quite flustered by the fact that I'm two foot seven, and therefore wasn't aligned correctly in the apparatus. Or some such shit. All I know is, 10 minutes of solid radiation later, my sinuses felt fabulous!
Then they sat me down in the S&M chair, placed that degrading bib on me, and left me there to wait for Dr. Doom, (who is actually a perfectly nice older gentleman, but that doesn't serve the story). Anyway, the first thing he says to me when he comes in is, "So, who's the other dentist you've been seeing since you were here last?"
I never thought my first affair with a married man would involve bridgework.
"Oh, no one!" I say, perhaps too quickly, "I just haven't been to anyone at all. At least I'm loyal! Ha ha! Ha?"
So he begins rooting around in my mouth, (and, of course, asking me questions at the same time -- why do they do that?), and making faces and being all dentisty. I, of course, am petrified. Each place he examines I am sure is another cavity. I don't even know what a root canal is, but at this point I'm sure I need several, one of which will go all the way to my brain.
But then, suddenly, he sits up, tells me not to use tartar-control toothpaste, and try to make it back in before 2009.
Apparently, what I though were gaping caverns of decay were actually just gaps resulting from my teeth shifting, (which I say is definitive proof that braces are a scam). Yes folks, I remain inexplicably cavity free!
So, I guess the title of this post isn't really accurate. My teeth aren't really "beautiful" -- they're not super white, and they're not super straight. But they are resilient little fuckers, and that's good enough for me. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go eat a Snickers before bed.
...oh, and just in case you needed some visuals regarding the cat:
And no, when I started this blog, I had no intention of being one of those people who posts pet pictures. But I guess we can all see how that turned out.
Monday, February 27, 2006
We here at It's All About Me, Anyway are fully aware of the non-update situation, and we apologize for the inconvenience. It's just that our time has been diverted into other avenues lately.
For instance, we had a brief case of Olympic Fever, contracted during the craptastic Opening Ceremonies and later cured when we realized the biathlon consisted of skiing and shooting...at the same time. We attempted to manifest our inner gay man and get all up into the figure skating, but we just couldn't get past the outfits. And frankly, when we were promised that Bode Miller would drunkenly ski his way to Olympic glory and it didn't happen, a little part of us died. We now look forward to the Summer Olympics in 2008, when the gymnastics competition will reaffirm our belief that tiny people can indeed fly.
Additionally, our DVR situation has gotten critical. We now fully grasp the joys of watching American Idol without commercials, and therefore save up all episodes until the weekend, when we watch them back-to-back while eating Doritos and yelling at the screen. For the record, we are entirely thrilled that Hot Twin Who Couldn't Sing For Shit was voted off. It's not that we don't appreciate fame whores, we just don't want to listen to them butcher Patti Smith.
We have also been experiencing technical difficulties, as we have recently become loathe to post from work. Although we are careful never to post about work itself, (and we do appreciate your cooperation in not letting slip our CIA codename), it is entirely conceivable that this could "look bad," and we want to be universally liked and not fired, so we'll just leave it at that.
So, between television shows live and recorded, and the reluctance to use our day jobs inappropriately, It's All About Me, Anyway has regrettably suffered. But we have not forgotten about you, loyal reader. No, we have you in mind every time pimply boy from class says something stupid, or Flavor Flav tongues a trannie. We care about you, and do not want to post on just any old thing, but only on topics of interest and amusement, and those don't pop up all the time.
So just remember, it's not you -- it's us.
Keep the faith.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Did you ever go to a restaurant at an off-peak time, when it was only you, your eating companion and perhaps one old man sitting at a booth by himself drinking watery coffee? And you walk in and think you're going to get a nice, quick meal because they're not busy so the waiter can pay extra attention to you? And instead it turns out to be the longest meal of your life because they're not busy and therefore not running around, seeing if your food is ready or if you need more Diet Pepsi? And the inverted logic of it all just pisses you off?
My brain is currently an IHOP at 4 p.m.
I didn't even have my one stupid class this week, because the grad student instructor cancelled it so she could go on job interviews. Which is her right and I ain't mad at the bitch, but I need some stimulation. I'm going to start banging my head against the wall like those children in Eastern European orphanages. Wait, that's not funny and I'm a bad person. Sigh.
The one thing I do have to do is a short paper for next week. Am I doing it? No, I'm watching Oprah, and I don't even like Oprah. If I was too busy to watch Oprah, I'd be doing my paper. It makes perfect sense so shut up.
Speaking of watching things on TV I don't even like, have I mentioned my new best friend, the DVR? Oh, the DVR! How I love and adore and would kill for the DVR! If you don't know, a DVR is a generic TiVo. If you don't know what TiVo is...Mom, stop reading my blog. Anyway, I got it about 2 weeks ago, and it is awesomer that the most awesome thing on Planet Awesome. You can record shit and then watch it back while fast-forwarding through the commercials! You can rewind live TV! You can freeze-frame during American Idol just when Ryan Seacrest is looking his douche-iest (see above) and therefore prolong the mocking indefinitely! Seriously, I don't know how I lived without it.
Of course, looking at the list of programs I've gone out of my way to record, it becomes quickly apparent that my television taste is decidedly lowbrow. The DVR is going to run out of memory from multiple episodes of Flavor of Love alone, and I'm not too proud of that. I could watch nature shows and CNN and be all cerebral and shit, but I believe that TV is an escape, and I don't really want to think about the world and its problems while I watch it. I think about the world's problems at work, and that's plenty.
Besides, Flavor of Love is a riot. A nervous laughter, stomach-churning riot. Really, if you ever wanted to know where women who can't get hired as strippers go, watch the show and find out. And I think at least two of them are/were men, so it's fun to look for clues.
So, yeah, my DVR is filled with F of L, American Idol, Judge Judy and The Simpsons, but at least the latter two shows offer sharp social insight and I'll debate anyone who says otherwise. Seriously. Judge Judy is the voice of reason in a world of moral decline. In fact, I have to go watch her berate a teenage mother right now.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Baby, you know I love you.
You know I'll do anything for you. I'll watch Playing By Heart (repeatedly). I won't tell anyone (else) about that whole "Jon Stewart Liebowitz" thing. I'll make sure your wife continues to think I'm your personal, on-call dental hygienist (ahem). Anything.
And you know that when I criticize, it's born of genuine affection and concern for your well-being, right? Okay then:
Please, for the love of God and my libido, don't ever, ever, EVER let them do this to your hair again...
Stay strong, my little matzoh ball.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Remember how, a couple of posts ago, one of the reasons I was upset about prematurely dropping the writing class was that I thought the people in it were more interesting than the people in my other classes? Turns out that isn't really going to be a problem.
There is a battle a-brewin' in my literature class, and I'm just happy to be there to watch.
Remember the kid I mentioned before, the tool who speaks even when he clearly has nothing to say? Well, he is in fine form. For example, just today the subject of "gender" versus "sex" came up, and the instructor asked us to define what we thought the different implications of using either term were. Well, Larry, (you know how much I like to give them names), raised his acne-covered hand and declared, post-nasally, "To put it in really crude and basic terms, 'gender' refers to between your ears and 'sex' refers to between your legs." This was followed by complete silence, which is notable because, as a small literature class led by a grad student, the room is usually pretty animated. And, Grad Student earned her paycheck/stipend/cafeteria voucher by moving us past this little comment with a scholarly and measured, "Oooookay...anyone else?"
Anyway, suffice it to say, Larry is getting on everyone's nerves, but no one more than Bruce, the chatty, effeminate best friend of Bumper Sticker Girl. Now, Bruce indeed has valuable comments to make, and at first I thought I'd like him. But just as a yin needs its yang to fully realize itself, Bruce's true colors didn't fly until he was faced with Larry. And it's really a shame that they're at odds, because they're actually so very much alike -- each completely preoccupied with proving how smart he is. But while Larry would lecture to a brick wall just to hear himself speak, Bruce has made it his mission in life, (or at least his mission in class), to disagree with everything Larry says, and it's excruciatingly entertaining.
See, #14 on the list of 59 things I've learned in life so far is this: Even complete tools are right sometimes, and arguing with them when that happens is like holding up a mirror to your own douchebagginess so that you are twice the asshole. But Bruce clearly hasn't yet had this realization.
I don't blame the guy for trying, honestly. I mean, this Larry kid is seriously horrible, and should rightfully be taken down a peg. But the thing is, if you just let the schmuck talk, he'll destroy himself -- he's a self-fulfilling prophesy of moronicity. And to pick "intellectual" fights with him just draws it out more. Today, it might as well have gone like this:
LARRY: It's really raining out there.
BRUCE: I have to disagree with that.
TEACHER/PATSY: Why's that, Bruce?
BRUCE: Well, "really" is a relative term. To the people of India, the summer monsoon season surely encompasses the term "really raining" far more accurately and graphically than this mid-winter Philadelphia drizzle.
And that's the point where I stab myself in the eye with my pen.
But at least it's a show. The only real problem is that I've clearly put myself on the anti-Larry team with my not-so-subtle facial expressions when he says something stupid, (can your eyebrows be judgmental? Because if they can, mine are going straight to hell), and so now Bruce looks to me for reassurance when he argues with him. And as much as I can't stand pimply, phlegmy Larry, I do have to give him credit when it's due. After all, I've been that kid in class who everyone laughed at because they were too damn happy with their own vocabulary, and I guess some part of me identifies with Larry's "struggle."
Well, whatever. Bruce doesn't really need me on his side, anyway...he has Bumper Sticker Girl. They can just sit there and be wrong together. Which means that, again, I'm right and alone. Which is exactly where I like to be.
Friday, January 27, 2006
I believe I've mentioned my interest in bumper stickers before. At times, the back of my car has been positively covered in them, but I find that bumper stickers tap into one of my great internal conflicts: The Desire to Piss Off Republicans vs. The Desire to Avoid Disapproval. Therefore, the most inflammatory statements that I've slapped on my fender have only remained there for short periods of time, as constantly looking in the rearview mirror to see if your fellow drivers are sneering at you because you tell them "If You're Against Abortion, Have a Vasectomy" is kind of distracting. And the police don't really buy "political persecution" as an acceptable excuse for running into a tree. Believe me.
Of course, this quasi-reluctance to agitate was back in my misspent youth, in a pre-9/11, pre-G.W. Bush, pre-Iraq disaster world, when my righteous liberal anger often had nothing real to anchor itself to. Now, though, I wouldn't have any problem proclaiming "Regime Change Begins At Home" or "I Love My Country, But I Fear My Government", because these thing are pretty hard to dispute in 2006 America, and I've also gained a wee bit of self-confidence since I was 17. So I would put these sentiments on my bumper now, except that these days I have a much nicer car. It's really a shame when your ideals clash with your ride.
Anyway, political statements aside, I'm always on the lookout for funny or thought-provoking bumper statements. And I will never cease to be confused by those stickers which people have gone out of their way to place on their cars -- risking paint damage and an altered fender-aesthetic -- but don't really seem have a point to them. That's why I just can't get the sticker I saw yesterday out of my head.
On an otherwise un-sloganed car, driven by a very normal looking young lady, was a simple sticker stating "Someone I Love Was Murdered."
Um, okay. That's a shame, I'm really sorry to hear it. But, uh, why is it on your car? Is it supposed to make me think twice about murder? Am I supposed to look at it and say, "Well, I was about to bash some guy's head in just for the hell of it, but then I thought about that bumper sticker and I decided not to, as it appears that murder is actually wrong and hurtful."
Do you think it was a cheaper, ready-made version of those window decal dedications people put up in honor of someone who's died? I don't really understand those things, either, but at least they're thought-out and personalized. Maybe this woman wants people to tap on her window and ask her about the sticker, so she can tell the story of her deceased loved one and therefore honor their memory. I don't know, but it did get me thinking and I suppose that was the whole point.
Anyway, yesterday morning I got to my class a little early and was talking with a couple of other students, and I mentioned the sticker to them. This one girl, who seems perfectly nice and intelligent and everything, responded by saying of the person driving the car, (who I hadn't described at all), "Were they also wearing colors?"
Colors. As in gang colors. Yeah.
Clearly, she assumed I had seen this car in the city (which I hadn't) and therefore the driver must have been in a gang, because who else gets murdered? I was really annoyed. I mean, I get it, little girl -- you're young and white and go to Penn, which probably means that you come from something of a privileged background. And I get that, while attending this school, you are likely living in West Philadelphia, (albeit the safest, most cloistered part of West Philadelphia), and that probably scares the WASP-y shit out of you on a daily basis. But I kind of think that assuming someone's a Crip because they know a murdered person just reinforces why the people who live in the rest of West Philly think Penn students are stuck-up assholes, which in turn makes you feel uncomfortable when you walk down the street in your $200 jeans and people look at you funny.
But I didn't call her on it. Why? Well, for the same reason I don't put provocative bumper stickers on my car anymore -- I just don't want to fight. I want to hate you in my head, so you can't say anything mean back to me. Some may call this cowardice...I prefer to think of it as "choosing my battles." It's all about self-preservation people, and if I could find a bumper sticker that said "Ask Me About my Inner Loathing...Or Rather, Don't" I'd slap that puppy on the back of my car in a second.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
- You can eat a big bowl of ice cream while watching Judge Judy, (admittedly this seems like something a loser might do, but it's not).
- You can take a walk around the neighborhood, pausing to giggle at the children, pet the puppies and literally smell the flowers, (which the puppies have probably just peed on, but go with it).
- If you have the right kind of mom, you can call her and listen while she rattles off the reasons why you are not, in fact, a loser, (these may or may not include Magnificent Hair and Good Taste in Movies).
- You can compare yourself to someone who is -- objectively, inarguably, empirically proven to be -- a loooooooooooooooser.
With that in mind, please join me in bolstering my self-esteem and validating the choices I've made in life by watching this video of Kevin Federline rocking out to his new single, PopoZao, (which is, I believe, Portuguese for "compared to me, you're a genius with clearly defined goals and intrinsic value as a human being.")
And yes, Kevin Federline is putting out an album. And no, that is not unfair. If we didn't get to make fun of him it would be unfair, but there are cameras with film in them, so there is justice after all.
Now watch the video already.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
My enrollment in Music Theory has gone the way of the dodo and my ability to see my feet. She's gone, ladies and gentlemen, and there ain't no bringing her back.
I knew it was going to be hard. I knew that my lack of a musical background was going to count against me, but I didn't think it would be a disqualifier, (especially since they tell you on the first day of class that you need no prior knowledge). The first few readings and assignments were difficult, but I can count to 8 so they weren't impossible, and besides, most of this crap boils down to memorization, right?
See, when I got to the part where I had to identify notes by ear, that's when the harmonious shit hit the melodic fan. I kind of have this rule for myself: If you spend the entire class period desperately trying not to cry/shake/vomit, and then you go home and become physically distraught over your lack of faculty with the subject, and then this in turn not only finally does make you cry but also causes you to scream new and improved combination curse words like "shitdamnfucker" and "motherdickass" and pound on your computer hard enough for it to shut itself off in fear, well, then, it's time to drop the class.
As you know, though, I also dropped the Creative Writing class and I can't add it back. So now I'm down to one class, too much free time, and a familiar and devastating sense of failure. I suppose I could look on the bright side, as in: "Now I have the time to...
... write that novel!"
...lose dozens of pounds!"
...put a new roof on my house!"
In reality, though, what it most likely means is: "Now I have the time to...
...watch Days of Our Lives!"
...watch my life pass me by!"
So, this is just the way it worked out. I should have kept the writing class until I had figured out that I just wasn't going to be able to cut it in Music Theory, but as a result of poor planning and unrealistic optimism that the latter would surely get easier, I didn't.
And yes, I understand that, objectively speaking, one class is still better than taking none at all, but my brain is hard-wired to think in all-or-nothing terms so I'm feeling like this is pointless.
But don't worry -- you're all still invited to my graduation party on
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Right now, I am "supposed" to be reading my Music Theory assignment, but I just popped a blood vessel so I though I'd better take a break.
Well, my friends, the class count has gone down by one. I have dropped one of my English classes -- the Creative Writing. I know, I know, it's the only one I really liked, but taking three classes, plus working, plus my abundant extra-curricular activities, (horseback riding, Hebrew school), was just too much for my easily-frazzled ass to handle. And, for reasons too boring to go into detail on, dropping the writing class made the most sense.
I am sad about it, though, as it had the most interesting cast of characters, (no pun intended...okay, it was totally intended), and the teacher was amazing, (check out her website -- she's like a legitimately literary Oprah). And I can't say I don't feel a little defeated. But, I suppose the old adage is true: Better to Succeed at Two Classes Than Be Driven to Murder-Suicide By Three.
Anyway, at least American Idol is back on. Thank God for small blessings in the form of square-headed, man-boobed British "judges." And this girl, too.
Okay, back to harmonic intervals. Low-down, dirty harmonic intervals.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
First of all, I realize that I never updated my school plan since the first post I wrote about it, so just to let you know, (and I think most of you already do), I ultimately decided to remain at work part-time and attend school part-time. Which leaves me with three classes; two are English classes, (my major), and the third is Music Theory, which actually satisfies the math-like "Formal Reasoning and Analysis" requirement I must meet in order to get a degree.
I chose Music Theory because I suck at math like no one has ever sucked at math in the history of math-sucking time. The other choices for "Formal Reasoning and Analysis" were, essentially, Calculus and Statistics, and they weren't really an option. Thus, after some informal reasoning and analysis of my own (hardy har har) I concluded that, based on the fact that I sing along to the radio while driving, I was totally qualified to breeze through Music Theory.
Well, I've been to two classes so far, and read the first chapter of the textbook, and, um...I'm going to die.
There is a damn good reason this class satisfies the math-y requirement. Actually, it should also satisfy the Foreign Language and Rocket Science requirements, since when I look at the page, it appears to be written in Hukkabrip-9, which, as we all know, is the dialect of southwestern Pluto. (And yes, Penn does have a Rocket Science requirement. They're very committed to the idea of a well-rounded education).
Anyway, I have decided that if I can get a C in this class, it will be a hard-won victory, (and I'm not the kind of nerd usually satisfied with a C). But it just makes me realize how much I've fudged in my life so far.
See, at various points throughout my childhood and early adolescence, I took lessons in the following instruments: Piano, clarinet (shut up), guitar and voice. And yet, I have no idea how to read music. None. I never bothered to learn. I just hobbled along over the years, never committed to the idea of learning to play music as much as I was committed to the idea of one day being a rock star. Seems like neither angle really panned out, and now here I am, sweating through Music Theory.
There are plenty of other things I never bothered to learn, either, and they haven't really been a problem. For instance, I honestly don't know my multiplication tables, but when do I not have a calculator? I mean, there's even one in my cell phone. Also, I don't really know too much about proper grammar and punctuation -- I've always just fallen back on my writing ability to pull me through. The sad thing is, these methods work. It's a Spell Check world, my friends, and I am purfektly happee to live in it.
So, as for Music Theory, I still say it's better than Calculus. I'll just have to study my ass off, complain a lot and never forget that Paul McCartney can't read music, either, so that rock star thing might just work out after all.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Also, here's a little gift from another glorious local paper, The Leader and State Register, (which was clearly formed when the time-honored Leader merged with the acclaimed State Register). I find the combination of poop, Wal-Mart and grass-roots community activism irresistible:
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
It has begun. School, that is, in all its pounding-the-unforgiving-West-Philly-pavement glory. It was a long-ass day, people, begun with over an hour of sitting in rush-hour traffic to get to campus, and then parking in a commuter lot located in some godforsaken back alley behind the Underwater Basketweaving/Eastern Philosophy building, and then attending classes, and in between, running to the three different bookstores where my texts were allegedly located, only to find out half of them were on backorder. And then, of course, coming home and weeping for my very soul.
Yes, it was a long-ass day, indeed.
But I did realize a few things that I've learned in my 8-plus years of sporadic, often half-assed college attendance that may possibly help me get through it this time around:
1. I know I'm smart, and I don't give a shit if anyone else knows it. I do not need to make useless comments every time there's a pause in the lecture just so everyone remembers I'm there, and that I have functioning vocal chords, and that I got into Penn for a reason, motherfucker. This kid in my lit class? He hasn't quite figured any of that out yet. And perhaps I'm just projecting my own virtually instant hatred of him onto others, but I think everyone else thinks he's a tool, too. He must be destroyed.
2. I also know I'm crazy, but I would prefer to keep it to myself. That woman from my creative writing class? She didn't get the memo. As an "older" student myself, I understand the desire to explain one's presence to the youngins when the professor does that obligatory "go around the room and tell everyone your major and something interesting about you" crap. I get that she feels preemptively alienated because she is clearly not 19 years old. But the thing is, Crazy Lady, you may actually be alienating yourself by doing the following:
A: Painting your nails in the hallway before class
B: Eating corn chips throughout the three-hour class period
C: Freely offering that not only are you in your mid-thirties, (no big deal), and that you already have a Master's degree, (interesting), but that you're also out of work due to a chronic illness, (I'm sorry to hear that), and that you just recently went through a divorce that you're having a hard time accepting, (uh...er...ha?), and that your writing interests tend to spring from Bible-readings and focus around a spiritual/mental illness theme, (actually, I have some pills that might help you).
3. I know I have a goal. At the end of this shit-smeared rainbow is the pot of gold that is a college degree from a great school. And yes, I do believe my bitterness is useful, so stop telling me to look on the bright side and enjoy myself, you perky bastard. I made it through Day One, and that's the best we can do for the moment.
More to come, dear readers. (Unless, of course, I get nostalgic for the old days and drop all my classes, deciding instead to devote the rest of the semester to my independent study project, "How Much Daytime TV Can One Person Watch Without Turning into Jell-O?")
Monday, January 09, 2006
Not that there weren't amusing things that happened over the last few weeks. My best accomplishment? I fell on the dishwasher. You may be wondering how that is possible. I'll leave it to your imagination, but will tell you that after an ice pack and a $79 service call, everything's back to normal. The silverware basket's a little bent, but you can't turn back time.
I did come across a beautiful little nugget in the Middletown Transcript last week that I'm pleased as punch to share with you. The scan might be a little hard to read, but you can click on it to enlarge. Nevertheless, enjoy: