Dang it All
Trials and Travails of a 20-something
Saturday, January 31, 2004

Basically, I no longer work for anything but the sensation I have while working.
- Alberto Giacometti

Music playing right now: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand

I woke up this morning at 7:00 and instantly regretted my attempt to watch all 3 Back to the Future movies last night. Even though I gave up halfway through #2, I still lost about 3 hours that could have been used as as precious REM time instead. I did a quick and woozy pro/con evaluation and set my alarm 30 minutes ahead. After all, why cut your hair shorter if you still have to wash it every day?

The temperature outside felt about 2. My coat, which had been sitting in Rupert for the past 3 days, was a balmy 4. At least it only took 15 minutes after I got on the road for Rupert to get warm. Those last 2 minutes before I got to work were great.

As I pushed open the barred doors of the shop, I remembered what we were doing first thing. Delivering a behemoth. A monstrosity. A TV that contained more wood than electronics. It was at least 300 pounds. And it was going downstairs. Well, at least it would wake me up.

Three hours and three deliveries later, the hammer fell. "Dan! You and Eddie are going on this one." Eddie, recent addition to the TV delivery family and not the sharpest spork in the cafeteria.

"Ok. Eddie, you load up the TVs, I'll get directions." We headed off and I listened intently as the dual intricacies of professional wrestling and Nascar were explained to me. Twenty minutes later we reached the first house. Jump out of the truck, drop the gate, open the back, look at the glass and plastic all over the back and the TV sitting right in the middle, straps still hanging off the side.

Luckily, I had strapped the TV for the first house in. That one went off without too many hitches. Only a 45 minute failure to explain why a VCR from 1978 with a place to plug-in a "hand-held controller" wasn't compatible with their brand new TV remote. The aged truly are vessels of wisdom.

Back at the shop, a frantic hour and three tubes of superglue passed. Finally we were sent out with the broken TV again with instructions to "play dumb" if they noticed anything wrong. Like the large cracks running through the plastic cover. But hey, used TVs are sold "as-is." They really should have looked more closely before shelling out $500, right?

I wonder if Barnes and Noble is hiring.

Friday, January 30, 2004

The world is a strange place. Especially a world where I am nominated for homecoming king.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Glad I'm not the guy who owns that scooter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

American Idle

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder
said my yo ho ho
with a bottle for one.
I told her to
eat sit and die,
this was the greatest she could expire to.
Money can't buy you lust
and it took too many licks
to get to the center of her tootsie's pop,
so I said bye bye to her "Miss American" pie,
made like a tree,
and got the fuck out of there.

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
- Samuel Johnson

Music playing right now: Tom Waits - Cold Water

I went to Starbucks tonight with the idea that I'd finish up a few of the short stories I always seem to start but never quite complete. It didn't happen. Instead I met Misha.

I was pulling into the parking lot when I saw an androgynous specter in black leather jacket, camoflauge pants, and shaved head dart across the street. She (it turned out to be a she) slipped into starbucks right before me. I didn't give her a 2nd thought and after ordering my grande toffee nut latte I sat down and pulled out my notebook. Writing tonight was like pushing cheese through a colander. It was moving really slowly.

Meanwhile this girl was wandering all over the place, going to the bathroom, getting her espresso, wandering around for no purpose at all. Everytime she passed behind me it smelled like a budweiser breathmint. Eventually she sat down and started annoying the guy at the table next to her. "Pssst...pssst....what are you reading? Is it any good?" After 5 minutes or so he got up and left. She started looking around.

I tried to project a turtle shell of solitude and unfriendliness around me. It didn't work. She left her jacket and espresso, sat down at the table next to me, and started writing on her receipt. After a few minutes of trying she gave up and tapped me on the shoulder. "I was trying to write you a note, but I can't even do that. Come over to my table. I want to meet you." I decided I'd take one for the team and save the rest of starbucks from her. I'm glad I did.

She moved to my table instead and we started talking. After 30 seconds it was obvious she was more than just drunk. Something else was moving through her blood. But whatever it was, it didn't impede her conversation skills. She was a poet, and not a bad one either from the couple she recited loudly to me, complete with arm motions. I was a bit embarassed when she started gesticulating about "that fucking white power," but I sucked it up.

30 minutes earlier her girlfriend had told her one too many times that she wanted to die, so Misha decided to show her what it would be like, grabbed the wheel from her, and wrenched it to the right. Their car crashed, the police came, and arrested Misha's girlfriend for outstanding warrants. Misha ran, was tackled and caught, but released. In her words, "I am a lucky star!" Then she decided to go grab a quick espresso.

Suprisingly well spoken for her state of mind, she spoke German, French, and Italian, besides also declaring herself to be the reason why Texas now allows girls to play high school football. She even showed me one of her state championship rings. She was just in town waiting for her best friend of 10 years to die of AIDS before moving on again.

Some people just lead incredibly different lives from mine.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Reality is just a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs.
- Robin Williams

Music playing right now: Garbage - Only Happy When It Rains

I had the opportunity tonight to go to a friends house, drink a few beers, pretend to have a good time, and laugh at all the other people there as they rolled on ecstasy. Instead I stayed home to read Faulkner and watch Fawlty Towers. I can't decide if I'm smarter and more mature or just boring.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Part 3 (Final)

Rachel’s hands clasped behind her. Her high heels forced her to bend over to be on eye-level with Howard. “Awww…that’s so cute!” She spoke in the gentle tone of voice recent spouses use on newly acquired step-children. “I wish I could Howie, but…” her smile froze for a second, “I’m engaged!”

“Oh. Congratulations.” Howard held his bag in front of him with both hands and smiled wanly. “Yeah, that’s great. He’s a really lucky guy. I hope you two are really happy. Congratulations.”

“Thanks Howie, I’m sure we will be.” She turned to go. “Look, I’d love to stay and catch up, but I really have to get going. Wedding plans and all.” Her hand squeezed his arm. “But it was good seeing you. Maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime.”

“Yeah, ok. Well, good luck with the plans and all. And maybe I will see you again. Just around or something. Goodbye Rach…” She was already gone. He stared after her rapidly shrinking form. He considered running after her to let her know that her engagement ring must have fallen off somewhere, but decided her fiancé would probably tell her. Instead, he turned around and went back into the store to replace the dead turtle in his bag.


Part 2 (Part 1 here)

It took a grand total of 1 minute and 27 seconds for Rachel to ascertain that Howard had no place on a club dance floor. She had to shout to be heard over the techno the DJ was playing. “Ummm…Howie? What are you doing?”

Howard cupped his hands and shouted back. “Well, I know it’s a bit non-traditional, but I figured the music was a bit too fast for a waltz and wasn’t sure if you were up to the Charleston. Do you not salsa?”

Rachel matched Howard’s honest confusion with her own. “Ummm, not recently. You haven’t been out dancing recently, have you? Like in the last 40 years?”

“Well I wouldn’t say I’d ever caught the ‘Saturday Night Fever’,” Howard’s hands quotation-marked the air, “but I’ve been known to cut a rug or two. Would you prefer the cha-cha?”

“No,” Rachel inadvertently grinned, “the cha-cha is definitely out. Look around you. Do you see anybody else doing the cha-cha?” She glanced around. “That guy over there might be grabbing her cha-chas, but they’re certainly not dancing it.”

Howard followed her glance and blushed. He absently noticed he was the only one wearing corduroy pants. “Oh.” In a normal environment the syllable would have hung in the air for ages. As it was, she had to strain to hear it.

Rachel put her mouth close to his ear. “Look, maybe I could try and teach you some more…modern moves.”

He stopped wondering if you could catch hepatitis from mouth to ear contact and nodded his assent. One hour and three banana daiquiris in him later, Howard had mastered the bump, but turned stop sign red whenever he attempted the grind. Patience sore and pride hurting, Rachel made a half-hearted attempt to teach him “the lawnmower,” but gave up when he refused to do the arm motions on the grounds that his parents had owned an electric model.

Their date ended at 11:19, just under 2 hours after it began. It was early for Rachel, uncharacteristically late for Howard. He promised to call her and she allowed a peck on the cheek. Fantasizing about it on the way home, it wasn’t until his penny loafers hit the front steps of his apartment building that he realized she’d never given him her number.

Four months later life was pretty much back to normal for Howard. He woke up every morning at 5:17, his greatest excitement came when the new installment of Ken Burns’ Jazz came out on PBS, and he went to bed every night with a book on his lap.

In other words, Howard was bored stiff. It was time for another courageous act, something to shake up his routine and put a bit of zing back into his blasé life. He decided to buy a turtle friend for Herman. Maybe he’d name it Rachel.

It was coming out of the pet store, turtle in one hand, bi-weekly supply of turtle food in the other, that he saw her again. He promptly dropped the amphibian.

“Rachel!” He looked down. So did she. Her turtle counterpart wasn’t moving, its head looking very unnaturally bent. “Ack!” Kneeling on the concrete, he scooped the turtle into his hands and stared at it, as if he could will it back into motion. His telekinetic powers were rusty. The scaled feet continued to hang lifeless.

Rachel bent down and stared at the two of them. “Do I know you?” She looked at Howard quizzically.

He wished distractedly that he hadn’t picked this day to wear his sweater vest with the pink hearts. “Kind of. I’m Howard. We had a date four months ago. At the Turquoise Cow. You wore a blue top with black pants and drank four cosmopolitans. I had three daiquiris and kissed you on the cheek afterwards.”

Her puzzled frown lit up with recognition. “Howie! Great to see you again! Didn’t recognize you at first. New haircut? What are you up to these days?”

Howard stood up and put the now deceased turtle in the bag with its food. “I was just buying another box turtle. My hair is the same as it was.” He paused to swallow some nervousness. “I was going to call you after our date because you said to give you a call, but when I got home I realized you’d forgotten to give me your number. I left five messages in your personals mailbox, but you must not have gotten them.”

Rachel backed up a step. “Oh yeah. There was some mix-up at the paper. Weirdest thing. They said they deleted my mailbox by accident.” She snapped her fingers in frustration. “Last time I use their personals section, let me tell you. I’m just glad I ran into you now.”

Howard looked at her like the puppies in the window behind him. His heart quivered like jello on a pogo stick. “I’m glad too. And now that…I met you again…” The toe of his left shoe started rubbing a hole in the back of his right. “…do you want to go out again?”

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run.
- Rudyard Kipling

Music playing right now: 311- Beautiful Disaster

The first day of my 8th semester of college has come and gone. All of my first-day jitters were proved unfounded and classes seem just like I remembered them. I even got some valuable work done in a few of them:

Roses are red,
Tulips are purple.
My chest really hurts,
Someone twisted my nurple.

Roses are red,
Carnations are too.
Don't eat enchiladas,
They'll make you go poo.

Roses are red,
Flytraps are baited.
Don't try to hump one,
You'll end up castrated.

Monday, January 19, 2004

It's nice to know that people in australia can keep themselves busy.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

You know, I actually thought I was starting to understand women. Stupid Dang.

Friday, January 16, 2004

People who are smart get into Mensa. People who are really smart look around and leave.
- James Randi

Music playing right now: Sublime - Carress Me Now

It's such a burden being intelligent. People think that just because I happen to be a member of Mensa I know everything. A friend forwarded the following puzzle to me. He said it's kept him up for the past 4 nights and he's stumped. So am I. Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.
- Mel Brooks

Music playing right now: The Faint - Agenda Suicide

It's Wednesday. And you know what that means. Time for my reviews. All ratings out of 5 stars.

Recently Read
You Shall Know Our Velocity, by Dave Eggers - ***
On Writing, by Stephen King - *****
52 McG's, by Robert McG Thomas - ****

Recently Seen
Alex and Emma - ***
Spellbound - *****
Elling - ****
Calendar Girls - **1/2

Currently Reading
Dhalgren, by Samuel Delany - ***1/2 so far

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I think it's time to start a new exercise regimen. And what better way than to follow in the spirit and tradition of such exercise legends as Jane Fonda and Suzanne Sommers and use an exercise tape? So as soon as someone gets off their lazy ass and buys me a copy of dance dance revolution I'll be set. And hey, I can learn to dance at the same time! Two stones with the same bird. Nothing could be better.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

I should watch more suspense/horror movies. Not because I particularly enjoy the genre, but because it's just so fun to watch my brother scream like a little girl at the smallest provocation.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

This film cost $31 million. With that kind of money I could have invaded some country.
- Clint Eastwood

Music playing right now: Down By Law - 500 Miles

I have a bone to pick with the makers of Suicide Club. While it was a pretty good movie, I was on the edge of my seat much of the time and the special effects were pretty cool, it left way too many unanswered questions. Among them for example, who was the guy in the executioners hood with the wood lathe and what were the things protruding from his back? Why the white mice all over the floor? Where'd the hair in the fax machine come from? Did the teeny-bopper girls know what they were singing about? Who were the strange kids who talked in circles? Where did "The Bat" fit in? And the strange group of rapist-murderers? Do falling bodies really splatter that much?

Japanese movies are strange.

Friday, January 02, 2004

I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.
- Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary

Music playing right now: Charlie Rich - I Take It On Home

I guess it's about that time again. Time for some New Years Resolutions. So here goes.

1. Make that damn counter on the right start over.
2. Get a six-pack. Preferably on my abs, but select beers would be a suitable substitute
3. Write more
4. Work less
5. Save somebody's life sometime in the next year

I think that about covers it. So Happy New Year and all that.

About Me

My wife thinks I'm awesome. Counter

Days since Dan entered into wedded bliss:

::Required Reading::
My beautiful wife
The Slot
A Capital Idea
eegah, eliot!
Practicing Myrtle
Obscure Store
The Plug


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