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Posts in Category: My Life and Times and Random Observations

Five Steps to a Better Blog!

I have a lot of friends with LiveJournals. And they have a lot of friends with LiveJournals. And they have a lot of well-wishers with LiveJournals. The LiveJournal community is fascinating, if not utterly baffling, but it really did make me realize that, as a blogger, I am not maximizing my emo potential. So I’ve constructed a series of rules that will alllow readers to really feel my bland white-boy pain, instead of just reading and laughing uproariously.

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Why I No Longer Actively Pursue Relationships

I met the future Ex a little over a year ago. A general education requirement threw us together; otherwise, we probably never would have met. Okay, maybe we would have, but it’s somewhat unlikely. She’s a music major; I’m a film major. We don’t really mix well, or at all, even though I used to be a music major.

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Bum Stories

For whatever reason, I was inspired to write up the following stories in a post on an Awful Forums thread. I realized I haven’t blogged in awhile, and cursory inspection of the archives leads me to believe I never even blogged these stories, which is a shame, because they are my two favorite bum-interaction stories.

Enjoy.

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I Still Exist… Don’t I?

During his mindbending chemotherapy, Harvey Pekar once wondered (and here, out of laziness, I’m paraphrasing), “Am I the creator of a comic book called American Splendor, or am I just a character in that book? If I died, would the character live on, or would he die, too?”

The nice thing about having written documentation of one’s life is that it’s always there. I forget things—I spend most of my life trying to forget everything that happened in my life before. And yet, it’s all there. I can go back to old entries (which I’ve done a bit of late as new people read the blog, pointing and laughing at my life and sending me links to the relevant entries) and essentially relive the moments of my life that I’ve kept in meticulous, anal-retentive detail over the past few years.

But there’s something weird about it all. I wrote maybe four or five entries during my trip to Seattle, and added maybe two or three with old stories from my time there, but that was an entire summer of my life. An entire summer of new people, new places, new experiences, and bad-neighborhood-related comedy. And yet, without detailed journaling of this experience, it’s starting to slip. Sure, the big stories like Krazy Kelly will probably remain forever, but the smaller moments, the quiet reflections I’d have hiking up to the Third-Cherry bus stop after a long and painful shift—these are slipping, because I was either too lazy, too tired (and therefore lazy), or too apathetic to document them.

So what happens then? If I find myself unable to remember, and I don’t have it written down, does that mean they never happened?

Much as I try to forget things, I still want to be able to look back at a time, documented for the ages, and say, “I was there. That happened to me.” The summer of 2004, for the most part, is gone. The fall semester isn’t much more there. In all my goofy ranting and raving and trying to get women to go out with me and just trying to get people to be nice to me, I hardly blogged any of it, and now it’s going away. It’s not irrelevant, because it’s my life, but when I forget about it, that means—in my crack-addled brain—that it never happened. Or my memory becomes altered, and 60 years from now I’ll be in an old folks’ home for failures, arguing with somebody about an insignifcant event that happened in the winter of 2004, and neither of us will remember what actually happened because our minds have mutated the event so much.

What happens to the people who are, however briefly, significant in my life? I used to write about Gina on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Now, I haven’t seen her in nearly a year, I only have a fuzzy, possibly pedestal-induced memory of what she looks like, and a few vague memories of our time together. Yet, it’s all here, on the blog. From start to finish, our relationship is chronicled, including the gory aftermath and a few awkward postscripts to our friendship.

There are, or have been, other people like that in my life. Where the fuck are they? They’re there for a semester, maybe two, maybe three, and then they pass into the periphery for one reason or another. Some of them, like the Token Articulate African-American Fellow or the Super-Hot Pot-Head, have their stories on this blog. But the detail, the true, horrible depths of our friendships aren’t here. The details, the small stuff, the moments—they’re not all there. They’re just sketches. And now those people are gone, and so are the moments.

I’ve been working at this bookstore café now for over a month. I just gave my notice, and I’ve only written one story about it. Annoying, obnoxious things happen there every day. I’ve made friends, I’ve made acquaintances, I’ve made enemies—so where the fuck are they? Will they just disappear as soon as I stop working there?

I’m moving to California in a few weeks. Hopefully it’ll be temporary, but what if it’s not? The truly significant players, the ones who were never supposed to go away—what if they do? What if I never see them again? What if we talk on the phone or online, but gradually the conversations get less detailed, less interesting, less frequent, and then they just stop? And what if, since I’m a neurotic shut-in who hates most people, I can’t find new significant players in the great state of California?

I don’t have memories to fall back on. I just have this. This, for all its comical exaggeration and infrequent updating, is closer to the truth than what’s in my head, and it begs the question: Am I the creator of a blog chronicling my life, or am I just a character in that blog? If I died, would the character live on, or would he die, too?

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Roots

Note: This was originally posted in the form of a comment at a blog I stumbled upon thanks to Google.

I first discovered the miracle of the boner in fifth grade. I had no idea what made it start, I had no idea how to make it go away. It would either just hang limply or suddenly stand at attention. Who was I supposed to talk to about this? I told my friend Mike, who had a sister in high school and consequently was pretty knowledgeable about sex.

“It’s a stiffy,” Mike said. “I get ’em, too. You’re supposed to stick them in girls’ pussies.”

“They let you do that?” I wondered.

“My sister does, all the time,” Mike replied matter-of-factly.

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A Brief Example of Why I Don’t Like Any of My Friends

I’ve known Kelly since we were 12-years-old, but I didn’t really get to know her well until sophomore year of high school. We were in an awful play together, during which we spent the bulk of the time mocking everyone and everything around us while waiting to rehearse the combined total of five lines we had in the show. We’ve had ups and downs, friendship-wise, because sometimes she can be uniquely unpleasant.

Gradually, though, as she’s gone through college, she’s experienced more of the world, mellowed out a bit, and become an actual decent human being. Except when it comes to making plans.

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It’s Been Awhile

…but I’m back. Not exactly with a vengeance, but I still exist. Here’s a brief review of the past five months, for the folks keeping score at home:

  • A few weeks after my last post, I got a job as a cubicle drone (my favorite kind of drone!) at a reasonably large technology firm based in Chicago. Since then, I’ve been staring at invoices, contracts, and computer screens on a daily basis, trying to make sense of fairly incomprehensible numbers. I’m no math expert, but the tedium and repetition definitely helps my obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
  • At this job, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement that precludes me from discussing the details if my job with any more specificity than what I wrote in the previous bulletpoint. After getting the job, I gutted this site. I thought I’d reinvent it with a semi-fictitious spin, portraying the adventures of “teenage Stan,” who has just started “high school” in a “new town,” and I’d turn my entire job life into one big hilarious metaphor. And then the site languished blankly for months because, let’s face it, I’m fucking lazy, and when I actually feel like doing something, it’s not writing half-fake blog stories. Fortunately for you, gentle reader, further investigation of the details of my NDA have revealed a loophole: I can’t talk specifically about my work, but I can ramble with all the incoherence and rage you’ve come to expect from this blog about the broader details of corporate life and my clashing with coworkers. Again, I wanted to metaphor this up so my secret identity wouldn’t be revealed, but at the same time, I hate my job, so if I get caught and fired for whining about my boss, fuck it. Hopefully I’ll have moved on before anyone discovers it.
  • I spent several days basking in the sunshine and humidity of Coralville, Iowa, with my best friend in the whole world, Lucy, and her new roommate who, a few weeks after my visit (and a few weeks after signing a 12-month lease), left the state (there was a warrant for her arrest after she decided not to go to court over a DUI charge) and sent an email stating she will no longer be paying rent or utilities, so sorry, Lucy’s on her own. This, traditionally, would be comedy gold, but I actually felt kinda bad.
  • In spite of my verbal cocky strut, I did not get into the band I auditioned for. No hard feelings on the surface, but I secretly said, “Well, fuck them anyway!” and have started compiling all the songs I’ve written in the past three years to record what I can only assume will be the worst album in the history of rock music. I may post some demos or outtakes if I feel they’re worth sharing.
  • One of the songs I referred to in the bulletpoint above details the tragic story of a Ukrainian drunk who is recruited by an undercover CIA agent to become a pro wrestler in America. It doesn’t end well. I am telling you this to illustrate that when I say “worst album in the history of rock music,” I am not just being self-deprecating.
  • My sister, Tracey, and her fiancé, Jack, finally got married. The ceremony was nice, in spite of the weirdness of Tracey trying to hook me up with her best-friend-since-sixth-grade. The classiest moment was when I drove them back to their hotel after the reception—they were blitzed, so I became the default designated driver—and I made a sarcastic comment about the Corner Bakery, to which my sister gleefully yelped, “My best-friend-since-sixth-grade loves the Corner Bakery, too!” Shudder.
  • I received a rambling, suspiciously desperate email from Hollywood, USA, saying that, despite my propensity toward quitting without notice, I am still a Valued Person for some reason, so would I be interested in doing some minor consulting in the form of giving notes on scripts that are faxed to me on a weekly basis? Gosh, why not? I assume that since they came after me, they might actually care what I have to say. Plus, a little—very little—extra cash. I’m finally taking an extremly tiny portion of that Hollywood pie!
  • I wrote the first draft of a novel, then stuck in a drawer. Now let us never speak of it again.
  • I went out with a woman from work who seemed nice, then dropped the single-mother bomb on me and believed I’d be a very pleasant surrogate pseudo-father-figure-type-guy. It was awkward. I still know how to pick ’em!
  • I got very tired of this job and decided, once again, to start looking for better opportunities. So far, nothing. Oh well, at least this time I’m getting paid while I look for another job.
  • As soon as I pay off my student loans (assuming I don’t spend any more money and don’t change jobs or pay rates, the second week in March!), I will take out more loans to go to grad school. These I probably won’t pay back. Serves the government right for trusting me!
  • Last week, a bird got into the office. It was weird.

Well, that about brings us up to speed. I’ll probably post again in five months or so.

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The First Known Motion Picture

The first known motion picture

“Produced by Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince at Roundhay House, Leeds, UK, some time before October of 1888.”

I found this very interesting. I’ve mirrored the movie because the NMPFT site was running slow.

More on Le Prince and evidence that this really is the earliest single-camera motion picture ever captured:

Roundhay Garden Scene, 1888

Photographic copy of paper prints from a film taken in the garden of the Whitley family house in Oakwood Grange Road, Roundhay, a suburb of Leeds, Yorkshire, Great Britain. Le Prince’s son, Adolphe, who appears in this picture, stated that it was shot in early October 1888 (he suggests 14October) as it shows Mrs Sarah Whitley, Le Prince’s mother-in-law, who died on 24 October that year. The other subjects are Joseph Whitley and Miss Harriet Hartley. They are plainly having fun walking round in circles, keeping within the area framed by the camera.

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