|Trials and Travails of a 20-something|
Saturday, February 28, 2004
Friday, February 27, 2004
A note to ______:
Seriously, how did you manage to live this long and still retain possession of all of your appendages? Someone with your allotment of common sense should have long ago strangled themselves with their soap on a rope. And just a tip: Guffawing and shrugging your shoulders doesn't make it all better.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Music playing right now: Mirwais - Disco Science
I'm pretty sure that the bridge of my nose is numb. The constant pressure the wall of liquid inside has been exerting all day was enough to dull any nerves. I don't know how it can happen so quickly. Yesterday I could have sent a double decker tourbus through the space inside my nostrils. Today they are so densely filled with snot that a flatworm would be crushed. I discovered this morning that claritin and dayquil don't mix. My first 2 hours of waking life were spent in a vain attempt to keep my head from lolling in a drunken rhythm.
Maybe tomorrow I'll just call in sick. Spend all day lolling on the couch, drinking herbal tea, and watching Powwaqatsi. Sounds like a plan.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
If my theory of relativty is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.
- Albert Einstein
Music playing right now: Cake - Race Car Ya-Yas
I recently discovered that high schools in wichita, in order to comply with the civil rights act of 1964 and desegregation, spend thousands of dollars a year in busing African-Americans to schools that have a lack of black students in their area. It strikes me as kind of a frivolous act on the city's part.
It's not that I dispute the need for equal education, it's the obviously overt political nature of the whole thing that rubs me raw. Why not also bus asian-americans? Or people of hispanic descent? It may be because I went to school in a small town with just one high school, but it seems like kind of a waste of money to me. And while certainly something should be done so that all students are assured of a good education, this doesn't seem to me to be the best way of going about it.
Of course, I shouldn't be allowed to complain unless I have a solution in mind. And in order that I may be permitted my rant, I do have an answer in mind that might alleviate the situation. When you get down to it, what is the problem at hand? Neighborhoods themselves are segregated. They are having to bus students from miles away to reach their quota of black students because there aren't any nearby. Why not change the neighborhoods themselves?
Instead of applying the desegregation simply to schools, why not extend it and apply it towards housing instead? If it is such an important aspect of society, perhaps realtors should have to take it into consideration when selling houses. Remax will have to start turning down WASPs by the droves. "I'm sorry, we have too many white people in this sub-development already. Do you have any latino friends?" Imagine the housing ads in the paper. "2 BR, 1 BA Apt, 650 sq. ft. for Japanese or Pakistani residents only. Caucasian residents need not apply."
After all, we might as well go to the source of the problem. It would save taxpayers money, make society itself much more integrated, and save those poor kids an hour long bus drive just because they happen to live in the wrong neighborhood. Maybe I should run for Mayor. I would kick governmental ass.
Friday, February 20, 2004
Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.
- Woody Allen
Music playing right now: Tom Waits - Big in Japan
I went to IHOP Wednesday night, an attempt to both satiate my hunger and catch up on my reading of "The Sound And The Fury." All went well until I finished my 5th cup of coffee and went up to the front to pay. After being told how much I was being overcharged, I meekly handed over my credit card and got ready to leave. But no. It was handed back by a sympathetic look and the question, "Do you have another card?" After quickly determining that the only other currency I had was a $5 gift certificate to Chipotles, I was screwed. The manager graciously let me run home to get some hard cash.
All the way home and back to IHOP I was kicking myself, thinking "How could I let myself get that high? Stupid dan, stupid dan." After I got out of hock at the restaurant I came back and went to check my balance. Lo and behold, citibank kept giving me some weird general error every time I attempted to look at my account. So I went to bed still convinced of my financial insolvency.
In the morning I checked again and magically their website worked. I wasn't even close to my limit. They just decided to decline me because they had nothing better to do. Why not? Stupid citibank.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
watching pennies has healed more scars than jesus
- William Faulkner, The Sound And The Fury
Music playing right now: Eve6 - On The Roof Again
I'm much too American. I'm fascinated by minor celebrities, I can't live without air conditioning, and I don't understand why everybody in the world can't just speak english. And now, like so many other Americans, I think it's time for a diet. Or diets rather.
During my failed attempt to stay in Texas rather than move home to kansas, I racked up quite the credit card bill, a bill that I'm still paying off. It's time to finally pay that sucker off. I live at home, all of my meals are provided, and except for my budding romance with Keira Knightley, I'm not burdened with paying for dates. So where do my paychecks dissapear to? Beats the hell out of me. The plan from now on? Live on $10 a week. Can't be that hard, can it? That bill is going to be paid off by Christmas.
While I'm cutting back, I might as well try to improve myself in other ways as well. A TV diet seems like a good idea as well. What possible benefit am I gaining from watching an hour of Cops every night? Only a strange aversion to men in moustache. So an hour and a half a night at most. I'm behind on reading anyway.
And I might as well throw in a real diet. My recent fast food bingeing has worked a number on my already too large gut. A couple of numbers. Time to start jogging again. And eating rice cakes instead of cheese slices.
It's a good thing I didn't decide all this at new years or I wouldn't believe for a second that I could keep 'em up.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
"To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."
"Let us express our envy for the man with a steady job and no worry about the future."
- Ezra Pound
"There was never meant to be only one."
"Wink most when widows wince."
- Wallace Stevens
Monday, February 16, 2004
It is better to be quotable than to be honest.
- Tom Stoppard
Music playing right now: Credence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son
I've never been able to decide if hours spent doing nothing is wasted or can be counted as needed relaxation time. For the sake of my sanity, I'm currently leaning towards the relaxation exemption. I can honestly say I didn't accomplish a single thing of worth in the last 4 days. I watched 12 movies, slept for 11 hours every night, ate 3 pizzas, chinese takeout, and lots of chocolate. And people say they have no free time anymore.
Friday, February 13, 2004
O, how full of briers is this working-day world!
- Willie Shakespeare
Music playing right now: Dr. Onionskin - 4 AM
Henry Rollins Spoken Word, March 8, 7:00, Lawrence, KS. Who's coming?
In other news,
Dave, my esteemed colleague in the TV delivery business has taken a 2nd job. He's become a stripper on the weekends. Which works out pretty well for him since he used to participate in body building competitions. He said he made $600 in about 3 hours last Saturday. And it only serves to underscore the patheticity (is that a word) of my not being able to get a date when he comes in on monday and tells me about the menage a trois he had with 2 sisters who tipped him $150. Life is fickle.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Country music music ain't that great, but country music lyrics kick ass. Today I heard "I've got the hungries for your love, but (and this word is dragged out for 10 seconds) I'm standing in your welfare line." It's the best thing I've heard in a week.
Saturday, February 07, 2004
I need a massage. I caught a 300 pound TV with my neck today.
I'm not an emotional person. But the ending to Monster came extremely close to salting my cheeks.
Friday, February 06, 2004
With Sincerest Regrets
Like a white snail the toilet slides into the living room, demanding to be loved.
It is impossible, and we tender our sincerest regrets.
In the book of the heart there is no mention made of plumbing.
And though we have spent our intimacy many times with you, you belong to an unfortunate reference, which we would rather not embrace...
The toilet slides out of the living room like a white snail, flushing with grief...
- Russell Edson
Thursday, February 05, 2004
Karma is a beautiful thing. On the same day that I lose my Loudon Wainwright cd, I find the Death Cab For Cutie that I lost months ago.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and about all time.
- George Bernard Shaw
Music playing right now: Hot Action Cop - Fever for the Flava
English is boring. That’s what I’ve learned by introducing myself to people. Since I’m relatively new to this school I meet new people every other day. One of the first questions is always, “what’s your major?” And after I tell them I’m an English major I always get one of two responses.
The first reaction comes from polite people, those who don’t know me that well. There’s a few seconds of silence, followed by a “hmmm…so what are you going to do with that?” I can see the wheels in their head spinning, “why the hell would he want to do that?” Eventually they try to recover by asking if I’m planning to teach. After I tell them “not a chance in hell”, they’re stuck again. It’s amusing to watch them squirm.
The second variety is less restrained. Instead of being polite, I’m just asked point blank. “Why the hell would you want to do that?” I like this response better. At least I’m getting an honest reaction. Nevertheless, both disturb me.
I can understand some of the reasoning behind both answers. I mean, what do you do with an English major? No wonder everybody assumes I’m going to end up a teacher. Look on Amazon and you can find dozens of books with titles such as “Great Jobs for English Majors,” “Jobs for English Majors and Other Smart People,” and “Careers for Writers.” I’m convinced that these books are all written by English majors who couldn’t find jobs of their own.
Which brings us to the topic of writing. In the back of every English major’s mind, whether we admit it or not, we all want to write, a mindset which instantly sets other people on guard. After all, what’s so important that we have to set it down on paper? As Natalie Goldberg said, “In America, people are wary of writing.” It’s an exotic, mysterious talent, something that old dead white guys and the mentally unbalanced do. New York power player Peggy Siegal is a little more brutal. “I have no respect for writers. They never make money. They’re like poor people looking in the windows.” America is a country built on hard work and the sweat of labor. Sitting down for hours every day just to put a few words together seems to go against that entire philosophy, the entire American way of life. So why do we persist in our wasteful habits?
The answer is simple. We want to make a mark. When our life on this earth is over and our bodies have been donated to science, we want to leave something behind. Writing will be our pyramid, our reminder to this world that we existed. When a physical therapist, stockbroker, or computer programmer dies, their family and friends mourn, share stories, and remember them until they too die. Eventually the memory of them fades. Writers are much too egotistical to accept that fate. Instead, we want to live forever. Nobody will ever forget Shakespeare or Dante or Confucius. It’s a longer shot than winning a $200 million powerball drawing, but we want to have our name up there with them.
So if you meet me in the next couple of weeks and I tell you I’m an English major, just nod your head knowingly, know that I have no idea what I want to do with my life, and change the subject. Of course, I could just be desperate. As Saul Bellow put it, “All a writer has to do to get a woman is to say he’s a writer. It’s an aphrodisiac.”
My wife thinks I'm awesome.
Days since Dan entered into wedded bliss:
::Required Reading::My beautiful wife
A Capital Idea
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