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[04 Sep 2008|12:01pm]

Originally uploaded by nuncstans
The delicate souls of Reality TV make me weep.

This pre-school teacher wore intense fractal-style outfits in which every one of the multiple accessories contributed to the theme, such as “dogs.” Including homemade accessories such as shoeslaces with petco tags on them. And the people who love her bring her on Reality TV to tell her that she is an embarrassment and that she should “just look more professional.” She explains, with great eloquence, and tolerance for the others’ rudely expressed dissident views, that she feels like a princess in her custom-made costumes; they tell her she looks like a crazy person and throw all her clothes in the trash.

They are so worried about her looking crazy that they waste no precious makeover time wondering about how she got so crazy in the first place or what she might need to replace the snuggly feelings that come from wearing the Christmas in July outfit, or the Dinosaurs dress with matching slip, or why a forty-five year old woman’s one refuge of joy is uncomfortably intense theme outfits.

As her clothes are tossed in the trash, she slips a rainbow sticker onto her favorite, Disney Princesses, dress, which says, REWARD! Please Return to [Address] Very Important!

And then, of course, according to the story arc of these shows, immediately after being completely crushed, Stockholm Syndrome kicks in. It’s as though the nerd reading Ursula LeGuin two inches from her face were kidnapped by three popular girls at lunch and told, like, you could be almost pretty? If you just do exactly what we say?

Why does no one acknowledge that what these shows are about is not clothes but about love and acceptance?

Can you imagine a makeover show ambushing the Tron Guy? Like, um, your leotard is really unflattering and people laugh at you behind your back—no really, they are laughing at you. You really shouldn’t wear white. Maybe you could do a Darth Vader.

But women don't get to be in that nerd realm. They're just "befores."

In other news, I got hit by a car while riding my bike home from work, but I am fine except for bruises. But seriously, look at this:
12 comments|post comment

Crocspiracy [07 Feb 2008|04:03pm]
[ mood | gross ]

This may not seem like the most urgent of topics, considering that I never write here anymore and so a more appropriate choice would be I have overturned the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Here Is My Proof; but there is something else riding the proper balance of frivolous and infuriating, pointless yet provocative, that has been firing up my Reptilian Blog Lobe, and it is, once again, on the subject of shoes.

Like many of you, I used to be sessile. Whenever it was that I first processed that I wasn’t going to be a star athlete, I was like, I dun care that I wasn’ chosen funna team, and my complete lack of enunciation showed how much less I really couldn’t care. But then, jumping over 20 or so years, I became invested in not being in pain all the time. I started doing things so difficult that I thought I might lose my mind. Sitting through yoga classes in which teachers rambled pithily about the “tenants” of their hybrid belief systems and having my personal space invaded by the relaxed errant feet of wearers of tie-dyed lycra —I said tie-dyed lycra— took all my resources. But I persevered. I vanquished the boggart of identity, I smiled through my heart center. I started to feel better.

But then it came to addressing the little matter of my feet. Doing so much yoga made my feet spread out (which I consider a good thing); I turned 30 and immediately inherited a protobunion (obviously: a bad and disgusting thing). Shoes were either too long, to the trippable point, or too narrow. I started searching around on the internet, and found a lot of moralizing advice about “stop deluding yourself” and “you can’t wear stilettos every day!” which made me more and more angry the more I researched and the less I was able to find, and the more these orthopedists were telling me this was my own fault. As it happens, I basically wear sneakers every day, but I wasn’t just annoyed at the Sex and the City assumptions. I was thinking about how many people are probably unable to find comfortable shoes and are hearing this same crap. Here I am, this little person with little wide feet, and I can’t find shoes that fit me right*—what about bigger people with bigger feet and furthermore with bigger orthopedic issues? Scrolling through Zappos’s plus-size selections, wave after wave of fuglitude breaks my heart. It’s like there’s no market for reality. In a country with whatever percent obesity, it can’t be that everybody under ninety has narrow feet.

I inherited my grandmother’s feet, and when I visited her two weeks ago, dealing with spinal stenosis and frequent, horrible nerve pain down her right leg, she was still fixated on her lifelong quest for comfortable shoes. I even wonder about the possible link, since all her problems are on her right side, between a lifetime squeezing her right foot into slightly too-narrow shoes and the damage and misalignment of her lower right lumbar vertebrae. It makes me want to scream.

And, yes, ok, I’m holding out on you, and so is my grandmother. For now, I’m ruling out shoes that we hate, such as birkenstocks or the other unmentionables I’ve written about before. Shoes in the realm of maybe include Dansko clogs. Shoes in the probably department include New Balances, which are apparently the only sneakers in the world now to come in multiple widths. Suggestions are welcome.

Oh. And, also, here's this.

20 comments|post comment

Some Notes about this Writers’ Strike [06 Nov 2007|10:35am]
[ mood | striking ]

I am unable to follow what is actually happening in the Hollywood Writers’ Strike, if in fact that is actually addressed in any news source. Perhaps there is only, in fact, the same inane story angle everywhere, which appears to be the attempt to assuage the nightmares of vulnerable, frightened masses of TV zombies with the fact that shitty TV scripts are piled up infinitatata. Don’t Panic seems to be the main point of every article. There may —MAY— be a terrorist attack by pinko Hollywood writers but they can NEVER TAKE YOUR FREEDOM TO WATCH TV AWAY FROM YOU. THE GOOD STUDIO EXECS AND PRODUCER DEMIURGES ARE THE ONLY ONES WITH THAT POWER and they would NEVER, NEVER DO THAT BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT COMMIE JEWS.

I cannot take anything in Hollywood seriously, ever. I realize that this is a huge, cultural wasteland-shaped blind spot of mine. Certainly I know what Hollywood writers and even actors suffered in the past —remember when actors were differently-abled humans rather than limited humanoid protocol droids? Between the Hays Code and the HUAC and passing through twenty kinds of hell in the middle, you can sort of understand how Never-Never Land became a factory for the unimpeachable dreck it’s been churning out, with few exceptions, every season, for the last infinity years.

Obviously if there are two sides to this, I sympathize with the writers. But it's hard to care about such bad writing. They're probably good people, stuck in a hellish eternal boardroom of the soul, churning out Everybody Loves Raymond jokes and diagramming funnies in response to the increasingly passive tickle-me American audience. But other than a brief twinge of real sympathy for the writers of 30 Rock, who actually do a good show, I'm mostly just confused and overwhelmed by the unbelievable stupidity of how the Strike is being talked about, and what this appears to tell me about my culture.

For example:

1. The fact that the newswriters’ “sympathy” is inevitably with the multibillionaire bosses rather than with their colleagues in Hollywoodland. You’ve got to love the results of media consolidation on this one. Look at the logical possibilities here: either media consolidation has effectively proved that all major news outlets successfully present “neutrality” as sympathy with ginormous media bosses, or all journalists are now self-selecting milk monitors who enjoy trash talking their equals because they feel it makes them bigger to identify with The Man. LOOK AT THIS: “Some [execs] are kicking off the tension with soccer, like Sony Pictures Classics exec Dylan Leiner, who's a 10-year vet of the Europe vs. World United AFM game held last Saturday. His company gets through AFM by strategically targeting projects -- focusing on two this year -- instead of looking through a ton of product. "There's a sense of anxiety here because films aren't selling for what they have in the past or working the same way they have," he said.” (Hollywood Reporter)

2. On that note, the notion that the audience will be “left in the lurch” by the strike. Obviously, this is not only completely dishonest but just patently self-deceptive, this idea that rolling jabba-the-hut studio execs and producers are concerned about all of us.
Jabba to Bib Fortuna: I will eat each and every television audience member until I am as big as the whole universe, which will be inside me. It will be the Jabbaverse, and I will be its fractal king and lord.
Bib Fortuna: [whispering] But… Jabba, Sir, the writers are going on strike. The audience members will stop watching. Corporate sponsors will pay less for repeats and reality shows.
Jabba: [frowns] We don’t want audience be bored! We want audience be happy in Jabbaverse! Thaw new writer out of carbonite. Make slave girl write. I concerned about audience now. Must not leave audience in lurch.

And, within the absolutely ridiculous concern for the public/strike alert-level orange outlook:

3. The absolutely awesome emphasis on children. Because we all know how American children don’t have enough access to television, and that it’s crucial for their well-being that they watch more. “Upon being told that the strike's outcome would determine whether new televisions shows would be able to get on the air, one child looked up with a worried expression and said simply, "Oh." (Hollywood Reporter) I am so worried about how children will deal with this strike, and in fact I think that we should focus on their opinions about it because they are probably the best prepared for understanding how strikes work, what their purpose and history is in American politics, just to make sure that our news coverage remains on point.

15 comments|post comment

thru a croc darkly [24 Oct 2007|12:24pm]
[ mood | indifferent ]

I don't blame students for not knowing things. Basic grammar, major genocides, how to dress themselves. What drives me absolutely crazy is their attitude of automatic disinterest bordering on scorn for anything they don't already know.

Frustrated with a difficult passage, a girl in my class this morning burst out: "the only words I know in this sentence are "a," "by," and "one."

I did not experience a life-flashing-before-me-teen-becomes-teacher moment as I said "that's what this amazing thing called wordreference.com is for, so that college students who were formerly too lazy to open a dictionary can not look up the words they're reading because they're using their computers to maintain 5 simultaneous open chats while deciphering major works of literature." And then I turned to the blackboard and wrote:

<3 READING jk lol

They get annoyed at the text, and at me for assigning something so "random," "difficult," "without a clear point." I mentioned that they shouldn't take my courses, because I don't usually assign presidential campaign pamphlets, instruction manuals or tax forms in my classes. And anyway, even tax forms strike me as highly ambiguous.

I caught a student plagiarizing an essay. This had never happened to me before. I decided that I would be a magnanimous blend of just antiauthoritarian enough to acknowledge that surely this student has a story and a side to be heard (thus refraining from majestically blowing the ETHICS trumpet as a way of asserting distance between myself and her) yet severe in the moment of addressing the apathy toward the world behind her complete ugg-difference and l33t ennui. In other words, I would handle it myself rather than calling in some kind of administrative narcs.

I confronted her tactfully, privately, expecting her to lie and/or start crying. I had visions of her tearfully thanking me for being so cool and understanding of the divorce/breakup/academic crisis/mental illness fucking with her flow.

Instead she says, blasély, "umm, yeah, I like didn't have time to duh it?"

[Pause] "Right. Yeah, evidently you didn't have time to do it, and so this is your opportunity to explain yourself to me rather than to academic services."

She goes, "I was just, you know, like I had summat else to do suh..." and trails off.

She says some analogous things for a while, refusing to get out of first gear of complete morbid slothdom. I am itching to make personal remarks about time spent choosing which crocs go with today's outfit and applying copious amounts of waterproof bodyglitter.

Finally, she says, "I just hate your class. I hate literature, I hate philosophy, I didn't want to take the class in the first place."

Have to go teach my next class now!

And hello everyone.

27 comments|post comment

On Conversation [27 May 2007|05:04pm]
[ mood | i hate scorpios ]

A couple of weeks ago I bragged to UD that I would house his interlocutors in this conversation. Then I got so tired, like a kind of reading comments-induced fainting sickness, and I simply could not go on. It was the conversation. I think it's because conversations are now markets WHAT IS THIS OMG.

“Conversation,” of course, has long been the polite name for what happens every fortnight or so when the petty bourgeoises get maudlin and decide to do something about all these feelings that are so unpleasant. We handle this, like everything, as a matter of economic exchange, investing a mortal percentage of self-worth in addressing a poorly posed “question” or “issue”. “Responses”, “hypotheses”, “ideas”, “opinions” etc. are all brave sallies with the exclusive purpose of increasing one’s sense of self-worth. In theory, a conversation can be about anything; however, statistically, once an “issue” has been identified, conversations tend to take on one of the many forms of point/counterpoint.

This is because the purpose of entering a conversation is to gratify our ego boundaries by withstanding the onslaught of differing opinions unmoved, and so we are more than willing to ensure that we remain forever enslaved in our cramped and adolescent quarters with their minimal view of ourselves and the world rather than change. This is why it is imperative to state your potential disagreement with someone else as soon as you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable with anything they're saying, before it can sink in and brainwash you.

Now let’s consider the conversation among UD's readers. Suffice it to say that UD is sort of asking for it, because he has a knack for seeming to "take a position".* To sentient beings, such a “position” is simply a rhetorical stance: UD is not making an argument as an expert in the field of behavioral psychology; in fact, he's merely restating one of several googleably mainstream positions in the field as a premise for further thought. While we are inundated with the ostensible consensus on a causal nexus between the media and human behavior —the argument goes— such a link has not, in fact, been proved. And while "media violence" is clearly an easy scapegoat for the country’s leaders —far less frightening for the modern oligarch than poverty, police violence, institutional racism, lack of health care, unlivable conditions, rampant and growing economic inequality or any of the other constituent conditions of the giant space robot deity who orbits near every other month to lean down and bowl an enormous salary-diamond down through the Ether to pay all the coincidentally wealthy lest they feel complicit with capitalism— it is unclear what the advantage is to the rest of us in making the media into the fall guy.

There could have been any number of interesting conversations around the question of why it is such a powerful myth for us, blaming the magical picture-box showing us pictures of bad things, and UD provided a list of explanations in function of the categories proposed by Charles Munger in that essay he linked to for your reading convenience, so that you could actually discuss the post he wrote for you. However, most comments were either marriage proposals or vehement assertions that the media does in some way affect us.

Which, duh. But UD trickily substitutes "we do not learn how to behave by emulating fiction" for the whole sloppy gamut of how the argument plays out in mainstream culture, ranging from the media completely predestining our lives to mildly ruffling our feathers; he chooses to address the most extreme form of the argument only, and there’s no way to disprove it. It would be insane to argue that we learn how to behave by emulating fictional behavior, just as it would insane to assert that any one thing teaches us how to behave. If you want to disagree with UD, accuse him of sophistry for pretending that knocking down this extreme form of the argument is tantamount to disproving all the milder forms of it. To say that the media influences behavior would be a whole other kettle of carp. Some of you did attempt to say this, but fell into the rhetorical abyss in the process, attempting to "disprove" the stance UD carefully chose to limit himself to. If you know UD at all, you know that he chooses his opinions very carefully. You will never see him burst out with some of the hasty opinions I've publicly declared, such as that bees deserved to be enslaved or how that guy on Shear Genius is Kirsten Dunst. If UD is voicing an opinion, he's thought about it, a lot. Like those of most conversers, your opinions, with only a couple of exceptions, ranged from false to irrelevant.

If you truly want to duke it out about whether and how the effects of media on behavior can be measured, you can take it up with some grad students currently taping electrodes to the heads of gold farmers in a laboratory near you. Seriously, do it! In fact, while it might seem unlikely to those whose only media source is UD’s blog, science still exists in the aftermath of his last post.

But just for the sake of argument, let's abandon the reality-based community for a moment and assume you’re right. Let’s say that we learn how to behave by watching TV. How are you engaging with UD’s post by asserting this?

It’s like some of the students in my Literature and History class who absolutely could not bear questioning the boundaries between disciplines. As though drowning, they would flail desperately into the discussion about what constituted history in a given text and attempt to abort the conversation by declaring, "well, that text isn't history."

Or better yet, it’s like when I used to babysit for some really bratty kids back in the day and I would try to tell them a story about Transformers and every little thing that deviated at all from their like three tenets of Transformerdom they were like, “Transformers don’t live in New York” and I’d be like ok, but in this story they do, and they’d be like “Transformers don’t go in houses” and so on, until they basically ruined any possible enjoyment they could have had of the story. And now they will probably see this, and because it is a movie they will accept that Megatron went to the North Pole, and also because they are now like 20 years old. But I bet if I called them up tomorrow and was like, “hey, I used to babysit for you, what about a story where Megatron burns the map leading to the source of all Decepticons onto a pair of eyeglasses” they’d be all, “Decepticons don’t have glasses”.

Decepticons don’t have glasses, Transformers don’t live in New York or go in houses, History isn’t whatever you say it isn’t and the media directly impacts our behavior. And now what? You want a new story based on your super restrictive belief system. No wonder Republican Presidential Hopeful Mitt Romney’s favorite novel is by L. Ron Hubbard.** How many choices do you have when living in such an insane aesthetic set of regulations yet demanding fresh textual flesh all the time?

Participating as you do in our Manichaean culture, you “believe” that every issue has exactly two sides, leading to the faith-based certainty that any assertion necessarily implies a sound, padded, comfortable and moderate “other side” from which interested readers can volley “feedback”, a polite way of calling their own feces which they triumphantly hurl in order to demonstrate their existence by shitting near to what others wrote, thereby fulfilling the double purpose of both proving their proximity (lol angstybee wuz here) and marking their territory (I shXX on UD lol).

Think about the worst thing you’ve ever read, terrible fucking writing, where you must physically maim yourself in an effort to survive the sucking-out of your soul by proximity to such god-awful dialogue, begging the characters to please stop telling rather than showing, biting your own hand, please, let me paraphrase it for you, it’s apparent to entire insect species what is happening, which is to perp-march readers through the holey plot, wrenching their arms behind them as painfully as necessary to keep anyone from wondering aloud what all that weather is for or what happened to Mrs. Nichols from a chapter ago, and why it’s relevant that Tony’s uncle went to Toledo.

This is what such “conversation” does to our lives.

Now, if I want to avoid embodying what I second-most dislike about blogging (which, after the idiocies of "conversation", is the relentless negativity necessary to sustain a critical posture without any menacing possibility of being changed in the process) I should provide an example of a good conversation. Which, to review, would consist of participants willing to change and, we can add, who possess an attention span that encompasses their participation. If you're unable to wade through the boringness of a whole post, don't respond to it in a confrontational manner. Not because it's "wrong", but because you will enter a bad conversation. We've all done it.

The Latin verb conversare means literally "to turn oneself about, to and fro." Conversation has the same root as conversion; and both involve transformation. In its earliest English usage, conversation means the action of living or having one’s being among persons, as in "Where is his conversation but in the empire of heaven?" Conversing means dwelling somewhere, as in "How many years art thou old and where conversest thou?"

But what's more impressive than how much the meaning of conversation has changed is how clear the distinction between transforming oneself and interacting with others seems to us. It's absolutely bizarre the extent to which we have removed being around other people from our sense of conversation, and conversation from transformation. And by "being around people", I don't mean only physical proximity, and by "transformation" I don't mean only physical metamorphosis. I mean something more like how it is that we attempt a solitary versare without others, turning all alone on our individual axes, spending all our energy in a rigid resistance to change, to remain unaffected by what is around us.

Let's stop spinning on our tire swings, let's get off the enormous nauseating tilt-a-whirl in which each of us spins in our individual teacup and in company cannot speak but vom. Only such extreme centrifugal force can keep us packed into the illusion of a unified subject, a lifetime spent either throwing up or about to throw up, except for the weird few, all of whom must have attended my high school, who relish being spun and wish amusement park rides could go faster and faster and faster; if I ever become a park, I hope they won’t be there; but the rest of you will be welcome.

*See this example courtesy of jf_franklin
**Thanks totalvirility
16 comments|post comment

[22 Mar 2007|07:44pm]
[ mood | is this the new annoyed? ]

Universal Donor knows what's up. I don't deserve a blog anymore. The baton should be relay-raced to the next generation. I can't seem to work myself up into the requisite rage to write anything here. Because everything is ok. Not, like, eyes-glazed-over Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory everything-making-sense; also not like Mel Gibson, ever. There is nothing scandalous going on. Even the stressful things are too boring to report, because by the time I finish explaining hiring processes the bitching about them is too little too late, like an Andes mint chocolate after a meal of lard ox tail.

Is anyone still reading this? I stopped paying attention in the last sentence.

I could complain about students. Students! An endless source of annoyance and therefore pure comedy gold. Except that they're so repetitive. Remember my last post, like a year ago? Nothing has changed. It's like Michigan received an air drop of Uggs, leggings and pancake makeup in 2005 that still hasn't run out. Lines form weekly in every dorm for fresh butt-length tee shirts to wear under cropped pseudo-crocheted fuzzies. Feet are stuffed into new Uggs on the daily. And to extend the season of my personal aesthetic hell, these have now been invented.

But lest you think this is just a boring recycled post c. the era what I'm ridiculing actually started, you have to also look at these.

If there were a secret government project to make me go insane, part of it would probably involve these. It would be hard for me to overstate my hatred of the flip flop in every form. It has been documented as far back as 2003, when I used to observe freshly-showered commuters on the L train tapping their free-to-be feet in vomit and human feces. Whatever! I can't find it, but you know how to stalk people, don't you? But I hated them long before that. Back when Birkenstocks, aka Nazi Shoes, became a point of self-righteousness. Look what qualité, I am wearing expensive orthopedic fugg-boats. I am confident and vaguely Black Forest. I am wearing unterhosen. There is something about the attitude of sandal-wearers that makes me furious. Here is a checklist to see if I hate you:

Are you on a beach?
Are you at home?
Are you very far away from me?
Is it really hot out? (I mean really hot out, not 56 degrees...Michigan. You go from Ugg to flip flop in 2 degrees.)

If you answered yes to any of the questions, I forgive you for wearing flip flops.


Are you wearing a suit?
Anything fancy? Did you debate flip flops vs. high heels?
Are you also wearing any of the following: handkerchief blouse, silk, a toe ring...

God help me: a toe ring.

Flip flops don't go with everything; they don't go with anything. They are not supposed to be worn in the city, or anywhere. They were imported by a hippie in a rucksack from a land where it is routinely a million degrees, wherein such a foot slide was sensible. Now they are on your feet. See also the Ugg, the wooly foot mammoth imported from Australia, where everyone is a retard.

Eh. There's something missing...the rage eludes me. Can't you give me some kind of topic? Since my own creativity fails, I'll give you this, courtesy of nervoustic and jf_franklin. Because they are the best.

9 comments|post comment

[30 Nov 2006|02:05pm]

Originally uploaded by nuncstans.
Can anyone explain how this picture illustrates surplus-value? I love you.
14 comments|post comment

[05 Nov 2006|05:02pm]

Originally uploaded by nuncstans.

these aren't the droids you're looking for

friends only (mostly)
5 comments|post comment

[29 Oct 2006|09:13pm]
I am too busy writing my dissertation to dazzle all of you with my fantastical procrastinations these days, but sometimes something comes along that needs to be registered. That something is Oaxaca right now.
7 comments|post comment

Phatic Spam [28 Aug 2006|06:12pm]
I realize this is not the most current of topics, but since it is 1996 I figured I could ask the burgeoning WWW a question about 'spam.

There are probably all kinds of spam, and maybe even the category of spam itself is, like asthma, an unwieldy reliquary of symptoms rather than a modern diagnosis (such as the disease known as "fever"). So let me be clear: I am interested in contentless spam, which isn't advertising anything discernible and is presumably just trying to infect my computer. Like this...Collapse )

I want to know how it's produced. I assume that there are algorithms that put words together (rather than, as I would prefer to imagine, an endless drudgery of pen-pushers in a soviet-style green cube churning out automatic writing and then removing syntactical clues) but what are they?!
13 comments|post comment

Sometimes I realize that my life is not good [09 Jul 2006|12:21am]
[ mood | ate a slice of evil ]

Originally uploaded by nuncstans.

I feel crazy

Remember when Vicente Fox hired Giuliani as a "consultant"? Except, given the fact that 70% of Mexico's population lives in poverty, it made sense that the Giules would be the kind of consultant who gets paid a cool 4.2 million** to say "get those poor people out of the Zocalo" and "arrest anyone selling something without a permit", and then gets a ticker-tape* parade. So anyway, I wonder if he also might have given some advice about elections. We are a model for the world.

Actually, though, that bad-pizza segue is totally unfair. Rudy was never involved in electoral fraud; his popularity was all repressive desublimation and stockholm syndrome. Or little fascists getting out the vote. or whatever.

Coincidentally, another victory for fascists. Just in case you thought mass slaughter was punishable by law in any country in this hemisphere.

*what is ticker tape anyway and does it have to do with the Dow Jones?
**Check out dobrovolets's link in the comments.

EDIT- OK, help. A power-walking neighbor lady (wearing a hot pink golf shirt and resort-themed jamz) just tried to pick one of crazy neighbor lady's huge lilies, failed, pulled a knife out of her pocket and with spastic, aggro movements sawed it off the stem, right under the flower, and power-walked away. Yes, crazy neighbor lady does come over with petititons, written by her, to "leave the undeveloped parking lot alone!" and lawn signage for the upcoming primary and sundry extremely boring democratic party propaganda; and yes her face turns bright pink with excitement whenever she starts low-talking away about the next big candidate; but after all she is my crazy neighbor. This other lady is nothing to me. I feel like I should do something.

EDIT 2- check out Greg Palast's article in The Guardian (thak you, from_ashes!)
21 comments|post comment

Shoulder to the wheel [20 Jan 2006|09:51pm]
I'm not particularly in the mood to write a blog entry, but it's pissing rain and my shoulder is rendering me a shivering, pain-deranged fetus, so I'm not going to that party, because I wouldn't really want to go even if my shoulder were not, in itself, the apocalypse, and now that it is, ipse facto, the End of Days under my broken rotator cuff, I prefer to take an anti-inflammatory and turn up the electric heater and prod my crunchy bone-muscle-ligament-tendons which seem to be getting impossibly grosser and grosser rather than ever healing at all, ever. Because I never did my exercises.

What happened, I think, is that I put too much strain on my long-ago damaged arm during my move. However, I've been so busy trying not to get fired that I've also violated every doctor's rules for everything, including but not limited to not lifting anything heavier than a phone book ever. Thanks a lot doctor, that was such a good rule. Why did I ever break it? Because I don't have three manservant bodyguards? That is hardly a reason if my insurance will pay for a load-bearing robot, to come with me to school, carrying one of those nerdy backpacks on wheels, clumping always twenty paces behind me, but a loving chaperone nonetheless for those late-night walks home. None of this is fair.

In the meantime, my spine has morphed amorously around a large right-side lower-back spasm radiating from a knot the size of a naval orange. I had a massage on Sunday, and while it helped momentarily, I think that Universal Donor's theory is correct, and that the loosening of muscles actually allowed a wormhole to open in the vicinity of my SHOULDER and space mutant leprechauns crawl lickety-split through my clavicle and dance around making disgusting celtic-jig tappety crunchy noises whenever I touch my humerus or do anything else, at all. God I hate monsters.
6 comments|post comment

Michigana [07 Jan 2006|11:22pm]
[ mood | grumpy ]

I'm tired of the lie that Midwesterners are straight-taahkin', haanest-dealin', friendly blond goyim. Midwesterners are mean!

anarqueso got me thinking about this with her post about community. Readers, I am rarely depressed. I mean, I get "depressed", like when it's gray outside and I'm bored and broke, and I have a hunger headache and I see a poster for a Michael Douglas movie. But real depression is something I've been lucky enough to avoid.

But since moving here, this depression has been creeping up on me. For the first time in my life, I am a total failure at making friends. Seriously, high school was hard. Middle school was hard. But I always had friends. That was never the problem. My problem was with authority. But now suddenly I am in a position of authority, and I am totally lonely.

I don't know exactly what the problem is. I was trying to gather up some anecdotes to make fun of this place, but I'm too sad. Here are some unembellished examples of me being rejected and abused by Michiganders:

UPS lady: So that pyaahckage will bee there aat aprahximately too p.m. E.T.A. Ehstimayted time of arrival.
Me: Oh, thank you so much! I didn't know UPS could do an E.T.A.! [laugh]
UPS lady: [frostily] Good-bye. [hangs up]

Me: Excuse me, do you have anything like dish towels or dish rags?
Mean bearded man: [silence]
Me: I just need something to wipe off my countertops, you know...any kind of rag or cloth...
Mean bearded man: [silence]*
Me: [make some kind of apparently over-the-top-big-NY-Jew gesture with my hands and probably every muscle in my face, as in, "please, take all day"]
Mean bearded man: Whoa! Easy. [languidly moving one arm as though through mercury] Over there.
Me: Thanks [leaves]
Mean bearded man: Wait! [laughs disparagingly**] Over there, [pause meaningfully as though teaching me a lesson] downstairs.
Me: You mean, downstairs, in that corner.
Mean bearded man: [shakes head no] Yes! Yes!
Me: OK, thanks a lot. [leaves]
Pickled-looking woman wearing holiday sweatshirt: Wait! You're looking for LINENS?!
Mean bearded man: [in a burst of salesmanship] Ahbviously ahll ahr linens are grooped by theme. Yer Christmas linens are gonna be with the other Christmas items.
Me: [slowly] OK. Thanks a lot. [goes downstairs, there are absolutely no linens anywhere in the vicinity of the corner Mean Bearded Man has indicated. The linens are in fact hidden under a pile of fur capes, in the middle of the room, crowned by some kind of animal skull. I am not making that up. It is not funny, and even depressed I'm not that bad of a writer.

*Is it some kind of like Swedish witticism to just not respond to a direct question?

**What is up with acting like the fact that I'm not born 'n' raised here, as in here in this store, ought to make me ashamed? See also, [incredulous] "You dunno where the Jimmy Johns*** is?!" and my patient response with wide eyes and ingratiating smile "I'm new here. I don't know where anything is", answered with flustered grumbling, as though I have moved to their town purely to annoy them, followed by a begrudging answer which is inevitably that what I'm looking for a)doesn't exist, b)requires a car and/or c)is at The Briarwood Mall [which naturally b)].

***Syntax unknown. Purveyor of perhaps the world's only COLD BACON SANDWICH. With NO OPTION TO REHEAT. [Edit- this BL-no-T may be the trayfest thing I've ever seen. You'll have to ask superchango what it tasted like, although connoisseur of trayf that he is, he threw 2/3 of it away after repeated requests to heat it, crisp it, or otherwise fix it were met with stony stares and the obviousness that Jimmy Johns (sp? I prefer to think of it as "John" as in "bathroom") HAS NO OVEN. Why would you possibly want any sort of heat-generating mechanism when the best January treat is cold, soggy bacon, draped over a mound of mayonnaise smothering limp shredded lettuce. Available only in footlong increments, on wonder-sub. Price: $3.25. Trayfer than olive loaf on white with a glass of warm whole milk? Trayfer than cheez whiz/pepperoni canapes garnished with mini shrimps? You decide.]

Edit 2: Oh my god. I just looked it up, and it's not only a national chain but much, much worse than my sarcasm could ever convey.

77 comments|post comment

Hipster on a cell phone in Oasis Falafel Restaurant [16 Dec 2005|11:47pm]
I finally screwed my courage to the sticking place and called her. Like, look, when can I come over and get my stuff?

It was like the worst day ever. I was like, I'm going to die. It was awful. It was like, it's over.

So I get my stuff, and it's like we're breaking up all over again.

Yeah, and I'm like, heartbroken, and then I have all this stuff...

And I know it's going to be like freezing outside, so I light a cigarette before I open the door.

And I open the door, and who is standing there but Steve Buscemi.

And I'm like, OH MY GOD IT'S STEVE BUSCEMI. And I was like, this close to just opening up to him right then and there, about everything.

I know! He was actually really cool, about everything.

Well mostly we talked about his movies.

He was so into it. He bummed like three cigarettes from me.

I mean, we were about to go for drinks and everything, but he got a call and had to go upstairs.

I mean, what are the chances of that! I was going to ask him what he was doing in Lauren's building, but I just got flustered because I mean, Steve Buscemi is smoking a cigarette with me, and it's freezing, and I mean we're talking about film.

I thought of that. He's probably going to live there! Can you believe it? The day I get my stuff, I finally meet Steve. Like, how ironic is that? I'm moving out, he's moving in.

Well they're renovating it. He probably bought it and he's just checking it out.

[annoyed] why would he have keys if he just bought it. Who would he be visiting there anyway?

Lauren? Pshyeah! What does Lauren know about Steve Buscemi.

[somber] I mean it was seriously like the worst day ever, but to be honest it did make up for a lot that I met Steve Buscemi.
9 comments|post comment

[04 Nov 2005|09:30pm]
7 comments|post comment

The Movie [02 Nov 2005|11:38am]
[ mood | still h8ful, jellis ]

"It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true."

I have a problem. I hate superchango's best friend. I've mentioned him before as Angry Young Kept Screenwriter. We might as well give him a name. Kurt.

Kurt manages to bundle ten thousand issues into my least favorite type of physique: stocky, tall, blond and ruddy. The date rapist. The Hemmingway. The hard-livin' true-tellin' man's man, bro'ing around the world on a mission to come up with some important truths and git famous doin it. What the world needs is this dude. With nothin but a dream and lots and lots of money.

I need to summarize Kurt's background before I can proceed. He was born in Kenya to upper-middle class anthropologist parents from the Midwest on "field research", and he lived there for all of about six months. However, this experience gave him a magical superpower to intuitively understand the plight of everybody in the world without bothering to actually learn about it. Like Michael Moore with no ideas, Kurt senses the injustice in the world but refuses to sully his perception of it with facts or experiences. His favorite pastimes include getting drunk and wanking for hours about his dream of filming a father-son drama set in the Bolivian highlands.

Kurt is also quite the ladies' man, something I fail to understand since the best way I can describe him to you is "pig face". Put him in a cop uniform and do not turn up the dance music. But now, as I have mentioned, he lives in a luxury Gramercy duplex with Aging Starlet. Before that, it was Poor Little" Rich Girl in SoHo.

With all the money he saved on rent, Kurt was able to invest in expensive gym memberships, designer shoes and plane tickets to L.A., where he began schmoozing with producers and somehow managed to finance his first movie, which begins shooting this Spring.

About this movie. I tried to read the screenplay, but I couldn't force myself to get past the first twenty pages. Have you ever had the experience of trying to read, say, a Jackie Collins book, or The New York Post, and suddenly you realize that the writing is so predigested, consisting so entirely of cliché, that what you're reading means absolutely nothing? The experience of reading has become so passive that you sort of doze off and can't find your way back?

Well, ************ is the story of a young spitfire Mexican 16-year old who takes a coyote (note use of authentic slang) to illegally cross the border into Los Estados Unidos, and then meets up with the one female character in the movie, a young Mexican prostitute, who eventually dies because of a misunderstanding, kills his male costar and impersonates him to collect his inheritance, and I don't remember what else. There are a lot of shots of Williamsburg, including inside my apartment and at any place around the neighborhood I might ever have thought was visually interesting.

Because superchango is Assistant Directing this film.

Let me repeat that. superchango, who is a musician, has no film experience whatsoever, is going to Assistant Direct the film. Because, get this, superchango is latino! Therefore, in the places in the script where blanks have been left and "street slang?" put in brackets, superchango will fill in with his native informant's ability. Never mind that he's not Mexican! Plus, he can communicate with the token Mexican actors Kurt will be flying in from South of the Border!

Hate, hate hate hate hate hate hate scream hate hate

cuz they are
bros. they can turn the world on with their smile. They can take a nothing day, and make it all seem worthwhile. Cuz it's BROS! an you know it, BROS! they gonna do it, GO! GO! DOOOO IT!!!

14 comments|post comment

[26 Oct 2005|09:26pm]
[ mood | stressed ]

Does anyone know how to say "obverse" in German?! I will seriously give you a big, wonderful prize of a reward. And if you know if it translates as a logic term, you can pick your own prize, from anything I own.

4 comments|post comment

I know, this is all over the place, but PLEASE...just PLEASE [25 Oct 2005|12:45pm]
[ mood | working ]

Native Son (1940)

Author: Richard Wright

“Well…someone who murders anyone…out of panic (which is a really stupid, irrational reason) does not deserve any sympathy. I felt the book was mainly about black people hating white people…as usual. Now, tell me anyone…if there was a book about a white person facing discrimination in Africa…or being killed because stones are thrown at them, then everyone would look down on them. Poorly written.”

More Reviews

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Moyshe kapoyer [16 Oct 2005|04:32pm]
[ mood | theraputated/draykop/mirror-st ]

Under the best of circumstances, I am not what you would call laid-back. No, I am wound more tightly than a cheerleader's high ponytail, a living ball of stress, filling the valuable nanoseconds with chatterthon as though one day to collect on a world-record in continuous drash, flipping unhappily through magazines and pursuing to the logical limit such questions as whether bees deserve to be enslaved rather than sitting still for the full instant it would take to find the source of my anxiety.

Not that I have any problem admitting that I am anxious. Everyone, including my landlord, my neighbors, the exterminator and waiting-room colleagues, knows this. Part of my anxiety is about keeping quiet, and probably dates from some kind of foundational lights-out=death moment c. 1985. As long as I am blathering on, I am in control. Bene dicio ergo bene sum, I am well-spoken therefore I am well, or better yet: I have a forceful opinion, therefore I exist.

The more anxious I feel, the more far-fetched opinions I take on, searching desperately for a disagreement-niche in which to encamp and play devil's advocate. It is this sort of nervous phatic argument that my whole family can enjoy. On the phone the other day with a very overtired constintina, somehow I ended up forcing her to admit that she would live in Chelsea if (counterfactual) she had a nice, affordable apartment there, after she had arged me out of TriBeCa, and Soho, and she finally was like, What the hell are we talking about?

Well, I'm anxious, I don't know what you're doing.

Perhaps this is the recessive salesperson gene, or maybe, as my analyst* pointed out to me, I missed my true calling.

What true calling? I ask, startled out of my rambling on about how once my mother furiously threatened to "revoke [my] poetic license".

She is silent, naturally.

I think. Liar? I say, knowing that's the wrong answer. And then: Babysitter? Lawyer?

She therapnotizes me, sphinxlike, willing me to come up with it myself.

Um, I'm pretty sure it was because I wanted attention? I say, feeling like a character in an after-school special.

She stares at me. Telling stories? she says, like she's talking to a three-year-old. Telling jokes? Talking? Amusing people?

I feel confused. Is that a job? Like a court jester?

She looks at me like I am completely insane.

I try again. An eldercare companion? Or more of a Friendster "activity partner"? Trophy wife? Camp counselor? I'm totally lost here.

She just gazes, mystically, as though I already know the answer, except I totally don't.

I don't know if she's talking about like in D&D I would be a bard? Or in the Ungame I would what?

I guess she's just trying to make me think. Like, wow, it's true. Since the age of like seven, I haven't seriously thought about a career in putting on plays in the living room, bossing others in complicated games that are more fun to invent than to play, or otherwise engaging in a life of spontaneous interventions, because I thought that would have to be like my hobby and I would have to have a job.

It's true that I do everything backwards, or at least in the most difficult way possible, because I am not quite down with my niche in the market economy and so I self-sabotage in every job, even those approaching something I'd actually like. My speciality is to demonstrate that only I can do certain things in a virtuosic feat of difficulty and then screw up things like cutting this piece of paper in half. Because I just don't do it, and it sits there, and I set something messy on top of it, and in the end it's like the worst job anyone has ever done in the history of the world, plus late. And no, I don't see what doing a mediocre job has to do with attaining things that are important to me, and I realize that my random rebelliousness is not the same thing as resistance, and this is still me talking here, and therapist is scoring an easy benjamin. So I could also get a little bit defensive and say that capitalism is like the Prime Mover of making everything go backwards, and that this is the most expensive of all possible worlds, and that she should grow like an onion, with her head in the ground, like the Stranger told Young Socrates in The Statesman!

She stopped me and said she was concerned that I couldn't separate "the personal from the political". Then she said my dream about Condoleeza Rice was really about her! Of course, I was stupidly like "No," and so that was $40 I'll never see again, arguing about it; however, unless she wants to suspend the consecutio temporum (in which case I totally get to tell her to grow backwards into a Baby) then the miracle of LJ can prove that I had that dream before I ever met her.

I am so relieved that I have managed to win against my therapist. I was really concerned for a moment there that I was getting better.

*I now am someone who has said "my analyst", also "my therapist", and also referred to a mysterious antecedentless "she" which clearly means my brain-doctor.

But the really important thing is that I got a job teaching college next semester, and I am xxxtremely stressed out about it. First of all, because it's in the Midwest. Second of all (which I just typed, Seconal) SECONAL, it's in the MIDWEST. I know from midwesterns. I went to college there. This is not some gratuitous disparagement of a region, it is my personal ANXIETY about certain experiences I had and certain needs I have now. I mean, [harp] I actually was discriminated against for being Jewish at the local Bank! Like, as in not allowed to open a bank account even though it was 1870? Am I 153? I realize that with good reason you are skeptical, and you think I'm being paranoid, but seriously it was totally insane and is a story for another time.

I figure this new college town is bound to be jewful, yet the Department Administrator (her title, dude) sends me an email on Erev Yom Kippur asking for my schedule preferences, and then another URGENT one reminding to send them in ASAP on Yom Kippur day! That stresses me out! Like what kind of place is this that I have to explain something that is on every bunny-covered and Christ-draped Gregorian calendar! I mean...isn't it? There aren't like alternacalendars for sale to those who like specifically don't wanna know about Canadian Boxers' Day or whatever? Nu? What am I procrastinating about? Oh, calendars. Some people do Pranayama, I do logorrhea. You say Messiah, I say Meshia. But we both say Yom KIHpur, and associate it with a form of pickled fish, because my grandparents are triplesecular. So?

Only third of all am I stressed because I've never taught literature before, and I have to design three courses right now, and because my thesis is due momentarily, and my advisor "Condie" is on her way here with a quitness.

P.S. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

22 comments|post comment

A metsieh far a gonif [06 Oct 2005|03:24pm]
I'm working on a much-needed update involving how I spent the last month on a crazy macrobiotic diet for no reason and finally found a job without trying. The moral is: You will live a pig's life. In the meantime, here is a quiz from sabotabby. Perhaps there will be a prize.

Talib Kweli (snarkophone)
Kevin Johansen
P.E. (snarkophone)
Beck (klingrap, snarkophone)
Breez Evahflowin
Elliott Smith (snarkophone)
Astor Piazzolla (klingrap)
DJ Dangermouse (snarkophone), and invisible non-showing-up photo of MF DOOM
Ernesto Lecuona
Quasi (snarkophone)

EDIT: It was brought to my attention that this makes no sense, so this is a meme from sabotabby in which you find photos of the first ten artists appearing on the shuffle/randomizer of your music player, no fakin. And then you dance in silhouette wearing your i pod.

EDIT MUCH, MUCH LATER: Sorry that took forever. Really. Sorry.
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