My house has never been cleaner than it is right NOW. If you want to break in and see while I'm at work today, feel free. Just don't mess it up.
(PS: Make sure you look in all the closets, because they're clean, too!)
I don't really have anything to say right now, but when I post to my blog via e-mail, it looks like I'm working, when in fact I am not. So I get to not work while they get to think I am. Everybody wins!
Here's the thing: the interplay of humility and ambition. What is ambition but the lack of humility? At some level ambition boils down to: "I'm better than this." So an ambitious person is a proud person, and a humble person is an apathetic person. Well, pride and apathy are both bad things. So which one is it? Should I be proud, or should I be apathetic? Either way, what I'm doing is wrong.
Here we see traces of what I hate most about historic Christianity: its complete lack of real-world usefulness. A lot of conventional Christianity boils down to nothing more than: "Things will be better once you're dead." Well, what about NOW? "No, just wait it out." It's pretty convenient the way those Dark Ages Christian "Fathers" managed to convince people that the more apathetic you were to your horrible earthly existence, the better things were for you in Heaven.
So I'm a malcontent, and that's wrong, but lying down and waiting to die is wrong, too. Which brings me to another complaint: every damned thing is wrong. No matter what I do, it's the wrong thing. There was always something else I should have done. Unless, of course, I did that thing, in which case I should have done the other thing. It is impossible to do the right thing when "the right thing" is only defined as being the thing you didn't do.
Basically, I'm just waiting for six o'clock so I can go home. You don't have to pay attention to any of this. And by "you," I mean "no one," since no one reads this, anyway.
I've got so much worthless crap I have to do when I get off work. To whit:
Those are just the things I'm supposed to do that I'm planning on doing. There are twenty different things I should do that I'm not even going to get to. And, inevitably, come tomorrow, those are the ones I should have done.
I've spent my entire day waiting for six in the evening. I've wasted ten hours. I do it every day. I'm about to turn 30 and I have done nothing with my life except work for other people doing things that don't matter to anyone. I would want more, but ambition is wrong.
How long will it take before I'm content to piss away my life doing absolutely nothing?
Aside from my meaningless job, I'm spending all my time and effort going to college. For what? So I can get a slightly-higher-paying, just-as-worthless job? In Kansas City instead of Lawrence, so my commute can be three times as long?
I spend my days ignoring the pointlessness of it, then every two weeks or so I can't ignore it any longer, I get angry about it for a day or so, and then--since there is nothing I can do about it--I go back to trying to ignore it.
I can distract myself by buying things, or by eating things. And I can really distract myself by buying things to eat. But really I'm just waiting to die. Maybe on a toilet in five years, maybe in a nursing home in sixty years, maybe anywhere, anytime. But that is the next meaningful event in my life. And all I can do is wait around for it.
So today I'm going to spend ten hours waiting for it at work.
Title from Radiohead's song "No Surprises."
Potential additions to the enemies list for next week:
Tito is already on the list, but is due to jump up a few places for an unsolicited e-mail he sent to everyone in the company explaining why Chicago is called The Windy City. ("It's not due to the weather!" --Tito) I have heard this out of him at least five times in the last year. He tells it to everyone, every time Chicago is mentioned. Nobody asked, Tito.
There's a problem with the enemies list format, obviously. When I post my blog entry, it removes superfluous spaces, so nothing is aligned in columns. I'll see what I can do about it. [Editor's note: nearly four years later, I fixed the formatting by stealing the HTML from another table elsewhere on my blog.]
|2||KU Bursar's Office||--|
|3||The 24-Hr. Day||--|
|8||"Guy From Church 1"||--|
|9||My TV/DVD Player/Stereo||--|
Since this is the first week for it, there are no previous rankings. The Postal Service (the actual service, not the band) made the list for taking two weeks to deliver a letter mailed to me from within town, and for not delivering a book I ordered that I needed days ago. My computer made the list for having a full C drive. My TV makes a loud buzzing noise most of the time, unless the volume is turned all the way down. My DVD player won't read the captions of The Simpsons DVDs after about Season 4, and my stereo just doesn't work at all anymore.
I've got this new professor for Banking and Finance. A guy I know told me that this professor would be impossible to understand. "It's okay," he said, "because he writes everything he says on the board."
Well, I went to the first class yesterday and was pretty happy that I could understand him fairly well. But then all of a sudden he said, "Why you freaking the bear?"
And then he wrote on the board, "Why is inflation bad?" So maybe he won't be so easy to understand after all.
Of my five professors, three are foreigners, two are guys probably younger than I am, two are high-strung professional women (is there any other kind of professional woman?), and one of them made a joke about contacting him through his MySpace page.
In other news, I got an e-mail from the university yesterday that was intended for seniors, so I guess that means I'm a senior now. I still have eleven classes to take after this semester, though, but that is a function of attending five different colleges (not counting CSUCI, where I was enrolled but never attended) and having three different majors (Geography, English, Economics). I'm a fat idiot.
In the past week I've had four Italian Night Clubs and one JJ Gargantuan. One of the Italian Night Clubs sucked, but the other three were great. (One of them I ate while driving a car, which, in hindsight, was a bad idea, since I had to make sure the dressing didn't drip onto my lap.) The Gargantuan was a pretty tasty sandwich, but I just don't think the added taste is worth the extra two dollars.
I think it would be great to make an Italian Night Club fans' website. It would feature a list of ingredients, instructions on making your own, pictures of the completed sandwich, and a discussion page where fans could share their stories. However, to pass some time at work today I made a list of the things I want to have happen in my life during 2007, and there are 34 distinct items on the list. So maybe I will have to wait until 2008 for the INC fansite.
Two weeks ago a woman here at work took my picture for some promotional brochures. Well, the finished product is in now. She flipped the image, so I look like I'm left handed (I'm not), and she cut off the background all around me except for through my glasses, so I look like a dirty pervert in those tinted prescription glasses that dirty perverts wear. Some of the people in the office have asked for me to autograph their copies. I took a page from the David Hasselhoff playbook and wrote an inspirational quote: "Follow your dreams and et cetera."
Now, I know that the word "et" in "et cetera" means "and," so it is like I wrote, "Follow your dreams and and so on," which would be stupid. However, I was truncating the promised result of following said dreams, so I think it still makes sense the way it is. This way, I have indemnity should anything bad happen from you following your dreams. I never actually said what WOULD happen. Perhaps the completion of the quote is, "Follow your dreams and you will fail," or maybe even, "and you will die slowly and painfully." But since I never said what would happen, I'm not responsible should something horrible occur.
I plan on finishing Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse tomorrow, and then finishing Keynes's General Theory before the end of the month.
So I've got all these people I knew a long time ago who have found me on MySpace. And I only have a MySpace page because I got suckered into signing up for one so I could send an e-mail to a friend of mine, a friend who hasn't answered in four months. But now I have people e-mailing me, saying, "Do you remember me?" And I'm not complaining, because these are nice people.
So, with all of my earnest striving to do something worthwhile with my life, here's all I've got so far: New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita attended elementary school at the same campus I did, and he spent most of fifth grade challenging me to fight him after school, and I spent most of fifth grade avoiding said fights. Then, for some reason, by sixth grade he didn't want to beat me up anymore. When I got a job at City Hall in our hometown several years later, his mother was a coworker of mine. I told her the story, she said she mentioned it to him, and he had no recollection of it. So that is what I've done with the first 30 years of my life: I've been threatened by a kid who grew up to be marginally famous, who has no recollection of the event. I don't really see the point of trying anymore; I've obviously accomplished what I came to Earth to do.
I built my coat rack this weekend. I have to put a layer of sealer on it tonight, and then tomorrow I can put the hooks on it and it will be ready for my kids to knock over when they get back from California.
Title from the movie The Gathering Storm.
The Rentals rock!
In other news, I had an Italian Night Club last night (yes peppers, no onions), and it had to have been the worst Italian Night Club I've ever had. It tasted like the whole thing was made of lettuce. One of my coworkers speculates that it could be the result of not enough Italian vinaigrette. He could be correct.
I have something I want to say, but I don't want to seem like a whining idiot. I don't say it as an actual complaint, but more as an observation.
During my brief and unsuccessful career as a writer, I have only had a few "editors," per se. One when I was on the high school newspaper. For a long time since then it's been Persephone. Now I have an editor again on the university paper.
Editors always cut the part of the story that the writer thinks is best. Always. And they are probably right in cutting it, but still, it sucks to have them write question marks next to your "best" part, like Persephone does, or, more bluntly, as does my new editor, "WHAAA?"
But here is a positive thing: I get to mercilessly mine my blog for material for the paper. (At least, that's what I plan on doing.) I'm hoping that someday I might get charged with plagiarizing from "ARS," because that would let me know that people are actually reading this crap.
Title from The Rentals' song "Friends of P."
Today I want to recognize the hard work and dedication of the people at Chips Ahoy.
Not too long ago, eating a Chips Ahoy cookie was like eating shards of chocolate-flavored glass. Perhaps their marketing department was trying to reach for the "this cookie can never go stale" angle, but the end result on the roof of the mouth was not dissimilar from that produced with a belt sander and some 24 grit paper.
Then they began production of "chewy" Chips Ahoy. "Chewy," of course, being a subjective term. While the abrasions caused by chewy Chips Ahoy continued unabated, no one could deny that, compared to the original article, the new version was a dream of moist suppleness.
Now, however, a new pinnacle in the Chips Ahoy pantheon has been reached. The bag no longer features a built-in twisty tie. Instead, the top peals back and reseals itself with adhesive, just like a package of diaper wipes. The cookies inside are so chewy that dental fillings can be lost in them. And what's more, it turns out the cookies are now made in Mexico.
In other news, my office just spent $400 to have a printer repair woman come tell us she doesn't know what's wrong with the printer that could have been replaced for substantially less than $400. And yet, inexplicably, we are going out of business.
Despite my microeconomics professor's attempts to keep me down, I got a 3.75 GPA last semester, which put me on the honor roll, baby. I was also on the honor roll in my last semester at Moorpark College. Yet, nearly a month after I got my grades, I'm still pissed about that microeconomics B. I had an A going into the final, and I know I got at least a 90 on the test. Plus, he grades on a kind of relaxed system. What was left for me to do?
Back from California, all by myself for the next two weeks, and I'm eating like a king. A KING! I had an Italian Night Club late Monday night (with hot peppers and no onions, of course), and yesterday I had a box of Velveeta shells and cheese.
Yesterday I had to go to a meeting on campus at nine in the morning, so I parallel parked on Indiana Street and went to do my thing. A couple hours later, I came back and could not get out of my parking space. I tried using my ice scrapers to clear the street around my tires, but they were both broken at the airport Sunday night. A random stranger (not me--a different one) helped push me, but it didn't help. I had to go across the street to Yello Sub and borrow their snow shovel. Mad props to Yello Sub, dawg! Boo yah! and so forth.
Once my car was sprung from its parking space, I couldn't leave it sitting in a traffic lane while I returned the shovel, and I couldn't park it again while I returned the shovel, and I didn't want to put the mucky shovel in my car, so I got to drive down the street back to Yello Sub with my door open, holding the shovel outside. That was pretty fun.
I have a list of about twenty things I have to do in the next two weeks, and I know of about ten other things that should be on that list but aren't. Instead of doing any of them, I'm sitting here at work like a goon, doing nothing that benefits anyone on earth.
My flight landed last night at eleven-thirty. Thirty minutes to wait for my checked bag. Forty-five minutes to wait for the airport parking lot shuttle. Thirty minutes scraping ice from my windows. I broke both of my ice scrapers. I took the broken end in my hand and used it some more, but it kept breaking until there was virtually nothing left. Then I had to finish the job with just the stick part. Then over an hour and a half to make the 50-mile drive home on poorly plowed roads. In bed at three. Left the house at seven-thirty this morning to walk a half-mile to my bus stop. Fourteen degrees outside. Snowing. Unshoveled sidewalks. Working ten hours on a holiday.
So, as you might understand, I don't feel like doing a damned thing today. We'll see how long I can get away with that.
Persephone just IMed me to let me know that, if I wanted to, I could get an Italian Night Club delivered to work right before she picks me up to go to the airport. This is going to be the best vacation EVER!
It is kind of funny that I once wrote a blog post complaining about how much noise was in my office, because now that everyone has been reshuffled, there is almost no noise at all. The problem with this is that, when I get in the car at the end of the day, my children sound like they are as loud as car alarms. I need some happy medium. A little bit of noise, but not endless stories of how the office manager's daughter's front tooth got cracked in a fight at school.
Going to California tomorrow evening.
In other news, my bus now has a "no guns" sign on the door. Was that becoming a problem? Should I have been leaving my guns at home?
Grunty Joe, who was then rechristened Mumbly Joe, just about needs a new name again, since he's not so mumbly anymore. Maybe I'll call him Articulate Joe. "Articulate" in the sense of "talky talky," not in the sense of "hinged." Although he has several hinges.
I got into bed last night and I was too bored to go to sleep. It comes from having been bored pretty consistently for the past four weeks. I wake up and start being bored on my walk to the bus, and get so bored during the day that coming home is frustrating. Then it's time for bed and I haven't done anything at all.
This has to be the worst blog posting ever.
Title from Coolio's song "Fantastic Voyage."
So Persephone read last week about some babe who is making a living from blogging. Well, I'm blogging, too, but I'm not quite making a living from it. How, exactly, does one do that? Tell revealing secrets about the rich and/or famous? Do they even HAVE embarrassing secrets anymore? I saw an article today that praised Christina Aguilera for getting out of a car without gracing the paparazzi with a beaver shot. When Christina Aguilera is the new Grace Kelly, there's not really that much further down they can go.
What about the rich and/or powerful? There must be something about Bill Gates that he wouldn't want the world to know, and that said world would pay handsomely to discover. But I don't know that much about him, and the obvious choice of the lazy extortioner--I'm Bill Gates's love child--doesn't hold up to much scrutiny. He was only 22 when I was born, and we all know computer nerds don't lose their virginity before their thirties (outside the holodeck, that is).
I could always turn A Random Stranger into a subscription site. But getting money out of the current traffic (i.e.: my wife) would not really change my bottom line. I'll have to pump up my readership somehow. Firstly, I've got to make A Random Stranger seem like a hot new property that all the kids are knifing each other over. It needs a nickname, like ARS, which can then become a pronounceable word ("Arse,") which can then become a verb ("arsing.") Voila! Instant street cred. (Are the kids still saying that these days? "Cred?" Am I saying that right?)
Also, I need some exclusive content. Well, that's simple. My brand of angry paranoia isn't that easy to come by. It took me years of psychosis and frustration to become the seething cesspool of neurotica you see before you. And if that's not exclusive enough, I've got some naked pictures of myself. No, not THOSE naked pictures. Trust me, THESE naked pictures you've never seen before. Before clicking on the link, though, I must warn you that they are rated Triple-X, so you have to be over 63 to view them in the United States.
Don't blame me for any broken links; I'm not some virginal computer nerd.
Title from the movie The Wedding Singer.
So I just read a news article about how Old Spice has a new ad campaign to position themselves as some "hip" product instead of the 80-year-old dinosaur it is.
I've been using Old Spice deodorant for ten years now (actually, the ten-year anniversary will be in the middle of February), and I, for one, do not welcome this new ad campaign. Now when I go to the store to buy Old Spice, everyone will think I'm just some mindless idiot who saw a magazine ad with Faye Dunaway (actual ad figure--I'm a stickler for the truth) and said to myself, "I want to smell like that product I can't smell right now."
I consider myself a "classic" Old Spice user, in that I began using the product in the typical manner: I ran out of deodorant and stole a stick of Old Spice from a roommate.
In seeking to discourage Old Spice from becoming trendy, there's a fine line I have to walk, obviously. I can't allow it to become so uncool that they go out of business, but I also don't want to be jostling elbows with inebriated frat boys at the Old Spice display. But I figure Old Spice is a long way from bankruptcy, since the makers of Brüt are still around, and no one outside of a nursing home has used Brüt in twenty years.
I'm just going to have to engage in high-volume soliloquies at the register to the effect of: "Yep, time to buy some more Old Spice, like I have been doing for years. Gosh, I wonder if Old Spice even has advertising anymore. Because, obviously, I haven't seen any. Nope, just buying the old Old Spice of my own volition and whatnot." By this time, the transaction completed, I will be free to run back to my car and fester in my own shame.
One of the side-effects of my ten-to-six sleeping schedule I've readopted this year (it's been on hiatus since 2004) has been crazy dreams. To whit:
Last night I dreamt I was allowed to play one game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tommy Lasorda was the manager again. The whole time I was there I kept thinking, "This is totally awesome that they're letting me do this!" For some reason I got to bat, but didn't have to field, so I spent most of the game sitting in the dugout. I had one at-bat, where I think I popped out to the catcher. Then, later on, I was back in the clubhouse, about to start in on the buffet, when Tommy Lasorda cornered me and started talking about how great one of the guys on the team was. Then someone hit a home run for the Dodgers. We went running out the tunnel to see it. We got to the dugout just as it cleared the wall. For some reason, the entire team went running through the concourse to try to track down the ball. When we got out underneath the outfield bleachers, we ran into a huge entourage for the player Tommy had been talking about. I think it was the same kid who hit the home run. There must have been a hundred people, being escorted by stadium staff, and at the front of the group was the player's mother, being really pushy and demanding, but in a gracious way. (You know what I mean, when people say things like, "Thanks again for letting my dog take a crap in your grandmother's urn; it really means a lot to me"?) Well, this lady was coming right at me, and her tee-shirt said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," (which is weird for a church to get into marketing name-brand clothing), and I thought (in the dream) to myself, "Oh, great, it's one of those pushy Mormon ladies that make all the rest of us Mormons look bad." And then I woke up and it was only four-thirty, so I went back to sleep.
Usually I am pretty good at deciding what a dream means, but I have no idea about this one. Suggestions? Anyone?
Title from Superdrag's song "Garmonbozia."
So I hate office work. But Persephone says I can't write about that, and that leaves me with not too much to actually write about.
Last night when she was supposed to be going to sleep, Crazy Jane came out of her room and said, "You need to wake me up before you leave for the bus tomorrow." She wouldn't say why. So this morning, the last thing I did before leaving for the bus stop was to wake up Crazy Jane.
"You wanted me to wake you up before I left," I said.
"I decided no," she said, and went back to sleep. So now we will never know why she wanted to get up so early this morning.
This morning before work I finished reading Dick Morris's Because He Could, my first completed book of 2007. On the bus I started in on Keynes's General Theory, which promises to be long and boring.
Title from The Hives' song "Abra Cadaver."
Persephone says my blog has gone from "funny" to "sad." My response: so has my life. But since that would just be a continuation of random sadness, here how is some random bliss.
I am thinking of changing my IM screen name. At first I was "Handsome Pete." ("Ay, that's Handsome Pete; he dances on the boardwalk for nickels. Pete, ye got a customer!" - Sea Captain McAllister)
Then it was very briefly "Señor Spielbergo." ("Get me his non-union Mexican equivalent." - C. Montgomery Burns)
Now, for a long time (nearly a year, actually), it has been "Dr. Leo Marvin." ("Dr. Marvin! Dr. Leo Marvin!" - Bob Wiley)
But I am getting a little bored being Dr. Leo Marvin. So I have three new options to choose from.
Of course, I could always just become not bored with my current name, so that gives me a fourth option.
So how's that for "not sad"? I've got to do something, because last night when I was about to go to the bathroom for the last time before getting into bed, Persephone told me not to come back unless I was happy. But when I tried to sneak my book out of the room and said, "See you tomorrow," she threw a My Little Pony at me. (Crazy Jane likes to tuck her toys into our bed during the day, so when we turn the covers back at night, we discover a treasure trove of ponies, dolls, and Mr. Potato Head limbs and organs.)
Vote now: Marvin, Johnson, Dobler, or Podactor!
This post has nothing to do with Turkish prisons, or even with the movie Airplane. I just remembered that quote and it made me laugh.
So, basically, I have nothing to say right now. But I'm bored with work, so I figured I should pass some time with this distraction. My entire life is orchestrated around a number of distractions, each of which is supposed to keep me from realizing just how pointless everything is. So I read 21,000 pages, or watch episodes of "The Simpsons," or travel to new counties I've never been to before. But none of those things can change the basic reality: I'm just a stupid person who watches TV all day and buys things.
Speaking of watching TV all day: ever since we've moved to Kansas, our television has not been enabled to bring in anything from outside our house. The shorter way to say that is to say, "We don't have TV," but everyone's shocked reaction is to ask, "You don't have a TV?!" That's not what I said. We have a TV, we just don't have TV. No cable. No over-the-air stuff. But videos and DVDs still work. So I can still say that I watch TV all day, even if it is not television programming, right?
So I'm just some boy who has a meaningless life. I work for other people doing worthless things that don't interest me. I am busily going to school so that I can work for a different group of other people doing different worthless things that don't interest me. The good news, though, is that I will probably have a longer commute between my house and those different other people's place of business.
When Crazy Jane was born I had five years to get things in order so I could have the life I wanted by the time she was starting school. I wanted to work from home so I could help homeschool her. I hate that modern life takes a family and turns them into a collection of boarders who sleep in the same house before returning to their separate lives in the morning. Children go to school. Parents go to work. A "successful" family is one that eats dinner together for twenty minutes a night. I wanted to be a family, to work from home and go to school at home. Crazy Jane is supposed to start kindergarten this fall, and I am still working for other people.
Then I have these moments when I see my efforts for the futile crap they really are, but nothing changes. Eventually a new distraction comes along, and for a few more days, I'll forget again. Nothing is changed, though. Nothing ever is.
Oh, look: Airplane is going to be on TBS. Another distraction.
Oh, by the way, eighty books for 21,000 pages last year. New personal records for both categories.
The books I read last year:
Super bored right now. Many hours of work left for me today.
I went to bed pretty early last night (around nine-thirty or so), but then I woke up at twelve-thirty and was awake until at least three-thirty. I had plans to get up at six, but instead I slept until seven-ten.
See, I can write about crap like that now that no one is reading my blog. Before, I would have been, like, "What if someone doesn't want to hear that?" Now I think, "No one's reading this, so I can write whatever I want." Like this: yesterday Crazy Jane asked about my moustache, "What's it doing there?" and I answered, "Being handsome."
I expect I'll have to shave it in the next day or so. My wife is a patient woman, but not that patient.
Title from Harvey Danger's song "Flagpole Sitta."