Sunday, April 27, 2008

23 Indications you have an old(er) soul.

1. When you got in the elevator at 4:31 yesterday afternoon, the drunk girls who had fallen over inside apologize for having such low tolerance and call you 'mam in the process.

2. You are incapable of participating in a conversation with the guys in the elevator at 10:12 about what time you started drinking because you haven't started drinking yet.

3. Fishbowls gross you out. You got over grape kool-aid at fifteen. You think of your mother and how much she hates artifical grape flavoring.

4. You loathe places like the Library and Blarney's where they mix the drinks strong and you can't hear a thing above all the damn noise.

5. All the damn noise being shoddy live covers of "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Bennie and the Jets" with too much static and atonal vocals.

6. You yawn at 10:37.

7. The girls in the bathroom are discussing whose tabs on which to place their next drinks.

8. The guy who walks from the bar as you leave the loo leaps at you like a leech. He initiates conversation by complementing your cute hair cut.

9. He wants to introduce you to his friends, who are silent clones of their ring leader.

10. He, a 22 year-old International business major who, wearing an all too tight t-shirt and faux army hat, introduces himself as Anton doesn't impress you when he said he wanted to travel with his degree.

11. In fact, you don't believe him at all, though you're certain he uses his latin complexion to claim he is bilingually impressive in an attempt to impress women like yourself.

12. Except he hasn't been privy to the fact you speak Spanish fluently which therefore places you outside the category of women like yourself.

13. You yawn again at 11:46.

14. Your civility causes you to refrain from punching his face when he puts a hand on the back of your neck to yell over the racket into your ear.

15. You don't offer you are a writer and especially not a dance major because you know his eyes will bug out at the prospect and he'll immediately picture things with you you'd rather he not be picturing with you.

16. These things being the kinds of things that would make you ralph your Blue Moon if you pictured with him.

17. He realizes the possibility you might like books and quickly vacates, saying maybe I'll see you here Thursday night or something.

18. You thank the gods for setting you free and providing shitty music to fill in the gaps of your un-conversation with said Anton.

19. But you still CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING ABOVE THE DAMN MUSIC! as you attempt to recount the sleaze-bucket story to Sharkey.


21. You yawn at 12:32.

22. You drop Bill and Sharkey off at their respective apartments and drive home knowing you would score an A+ on a sobriety test given by any of the five squad cars in your neighborhood.

23. You get up at 8:00 the next morning to write this.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dame Hillary Clinton: The Black Knight

Today, I received an early morning e-mail from my older brother. "Thought you might be interested in an incredibly accurate, fresh spin on the election..." he wrote.

He then hyperlinked me to this remarkable blog at the Huffington Post. And yes, I just used hyperlink as a verb.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cheezus Crust

I love NPR. As I don't own a TV, I turn it on in the morning and listen to some of the best reporting in the nation. Additionally, I'm privy to things like this when I make lunch on a Saturday afternoon.

Perhaps I'll have to create my own Gorgonzola Mind Controlla.Though I'm not sure I can induce a Hyper Cheese Brain Freeze like Linda Williamson, and it looks like I'll have to wait until next year to compete, I do have a squash in the fruit basket in my kitchen.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Adventures in Skateville

So, I've been putting off writing this because it's such great material.

I'd planned to allude pieces of my own roller skating adventures with excerpts from Mary Karr's Cherry, which I'm currently reading and love.

However, my life is pretty crazed and aside from organized outings to coffee shops to write manuscripts and papers that refuse to write themselves, I've had few organized outings since my trip to Skateville two weeks ago. Skateville being a dive equivallent to the roller skating rink in which I spent my own childhood and tenth birthday. Being ten and dressed in elastic waisted jeans and my favorite tye-dyed t-shirt (the one I'd actually dyed myself), I toted my purple and electric lime rollerblades to the Skatin' Place where I'd invited ten girls to my party. But when a couple of girls ended up in tears because I apparently didn't skate enough with them, Mom gave me the "I told you ten was too many kids" look. Though I might be manufacturing this detail, I pacified them by opening my birthday presents and cutting the Cinderella cake my mother made. Kids are such jerks, but Cinderella trumped the party anyway. She was standing up and her gown was comprised of marble cake covered in baby blue frosting.

Exacting in detail to the Skatin' Place, Skateville is equipped with enough wheeled shoes for entire populace of Burnsville. Their leather is exactly as you would picture it: far too broken in and containing the essences of the hundreds of feet they had blistered before your own. But you lace up nonetheless and are on your way to the Snack Shack where they sell fun dip for a quarter and blue raspberry slushies that give your friends brain freeze.

You teeter on the immaculately waxed maple floor, praying you don't fall as zillions of prepubescent kids zip by you on skates. One girl who has actually hit puberty seems to be chasing a boy years ahead of her with her midriff. You watch as she skates ahead of him, and glances back letting him pass. She does this repeatedly though he remains in oblivion. Even the forty-something Mom whose teased hair and pants from the 90s flies by you--pom-poms catching the wind with her speed. You push off and recall the side-to-side movement required for momentum, contrary to the forward-backward motion the task would otherwise imply. The swirling disco-ball does nothing to aid your balance.

But when the tubby DJ introduces himself as Mike and floods the speakers with MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This," the tots get bored and head for the snack shack and you and your friends leap for joy (though not literally as you're aware the result would be a heap of orange wheels all over the floor). You spend the rest of the night beneath the ceiling's bulbous, flashing lights and wait for your New Kids On the Block request that never comes. Maybe if you'd tried to write it six times in a row like the kids who wanted to hear "Cyclone" did, you'd have gotten what you wanted. After all, it was repeated twice in a three hour period, each time inducing the kind of shrilly noise from them that NKOTB would have done for you and your friends.

You catch yourself wondering if they really understand the song's raunchy lyrics, and suddenly feel like your mother when she would say, "That's terrible" when Meredith Brooks's "Bitch" came on the radio in the car after school. You begrudgingly changed 104.7 KCLD to another station that didn't play Ace of Base and the like.

There was one time, however, when your older brother permitted you to hang out in his room to listen to the new Matchbox Twenty album. Unlike the kids and "Cyclone" you dared to ask your brother what Rob Thomas meant when he sang about "the hand that touched me" in "Push." Though he could explain the mechanics of any kind of computer and take an entire toaster apart only to immaculately reassemble it, he turned red in the face and said he wasn't going to explain that to you before kicking you out of his room. You didn't understand what the big deal was all about.

Now, as the print of the inline skates on the fluorescent carpet threatens nausea, you realize these kids will eventually figure it out. Though it'll probably happen after T-Pain goes out of style and someone else is coming up with the pop euphemisms for sex, it's safe to say natural disasters spell adolescence more than pop music.

And though I've written an ode to Marry Karr in the second person instead of quoting Cherry, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Photos by Katherine Lung and Julia Pevan

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Umbrellas have existed in nearly the same form since 1000 B.C.

It's raining today in Minneapolis.

I've been writing all morning, and have gotten the desire to come down from my fifth floor apartment and go for a walk. I dive into bowels of my closet to search for my umbrella. It doesn't take long for me to emerge from its bottommost corner with the black, compacted device in my hands. The tags from TJ Maxx are still attached and I remove them before opening it's ribcage beneath the airy ceiling of the studio. I've never really been superstitious.

Back in February, Susan Orlean wrote a piece for the New Yorker about the umbrella and its prevailingly faulty design. I think of it as the smell of newly waterproofed nylon invades my nostrils. I collapse the device and hope the wind isn't strong this afternoon. Orlean is right, after all. Everyone knows the slightest wind can knock an umbrella inside out and even if it doesn't, there exists an updraft that wets the front of the thighs making anyone uncomfortable upon reaching his or her destination. And this afternoon, because I have no particular destination, should be especially damp.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Alexander in Art

"So he's a prisoner?" my Dad replied. "You don't eat meat for that reason, but you're going to cage him up anyway." I bought a betta last month, and this was my father's reaction.

"Dad, it was more like I saved him from Petsmart. He came in a container. It made me want to buy them all."
"That's my tree hugger..."
"Aren't you the one who always says, 'Fish are peaceful... Sometimes all you want to do when you're a college student is sit and look at fish'?"
"Well they are..." He paused. "So is he green?"
"Does he have spots?"
"I wasn't so much into the speckled ones. They looked sort of ill."
"So now you're discriminating..."
"Dad!" I was exasperated.

Later on, as I sat down in the three and a half hour art class to which I'm obligated to attend on Wednesday nights, the Semi-Attractive Guy Who I Have Sat Next to for an entire month But Still Has No Name, said hello.

"How are you?"
"I'm well. I bought a fish today."

The beginning of class interrupted our conversation.

At its end, the Semi-Attractive Guy Who I Have Sat Next to for an entire month But Still Has No Name asked, "Goldfish?"
"Red. I'm rather partial to the color."
"Well good luck with that, and have a good week," he replied before vacating the oversized classroom.

The following week, SAGWIHSNTBSHNN asked, "How's your fish?" before taking a sip of black tea. He always has black tea in class - and now that I consider it, often wears black.

"He's well - was sick yesterday morning, but is okay now."
"Does he have a name yet?" asked SAGWIHSNTBSHNN.
"No, but I was thinking about Liam Finn, who I've been listening to lately. But I can't so much appropriate a name. He kind of needs his own. I was then thinking Emerson or Wallace, but I'm not so fond of those either."
"Well now you're getting literary," said SAGWIHSNTBSHNN.
I opened my mouth to object in offense - and then realized he wouldn't know that about me. I mean, I still don't know his name nor have I figured out if he's gay. He's older and rather androgynous - not that those two are synonymous.

SAGWIHSNTBSHNN interrupted my thoughts. "There are a lot of British names there."
"Yeah, and I am pretty literary, but I was just thinking you wouldn't know that about me."
"All I know is that you have a a fish." SAGWIHSNTBSHNN continued, "But I think it's too late to name him now. He'll just have to be Fish."

I became slightly horrified by this idea, and then caught myself. My largest fear in adding a fish to the other live things in my apartment (e.g. my plants), was that I was going to become one of those crazy pet owners who get their dogs ready for bed as if they were their children and chastise them like they would understand the consequences of their actions. Though I don't know how you could do so with a fish, I'm sure those kind of people would find a loophole and sprint through it in record speed.

Class began, and our delightfully spacey professor dimmed the lights and fumbled with the apple laptop on the podium to start a video.

SAGWIHSNTBSHNN leaned over, "I always thought I'd choose John Vonnegut as an alter ego, you know, if I ever have to flee and change my name."
"Are you planning on fleeing anytime soon?" I asked, leaning over while keeping my eyes glued to the projector screen.
"Not unless I steal a lot of art." he said.
I whispered, "I've never considered a new name. I'll have to get back to you on that."

"So your fish..."
"My fish. I also thought about naming him Kitty, because I've always wanted a cat. Somehow that seemed wrong. He's kind of ridiculous actually. He lives in a one gallon fishbowl, but he thinks he's king of the world. He puffs up his fins and darts around. I mean, he attacks his food as if its not already dead. I put my face up to the bowl and he looks like he's ready to fight me. But I'm pretty sure I'd win. He's, only what, two inches long."
"Then how about Alexander?" answered SAGWIHSNTBSHNN. "I mean, if he thinks he's king of the world."

This wise man's not so wise.

I just found out I missed Liam Finn when he was here in Minneapolis in March.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

So my literary nonfiction professor assigned a few blogs for our reading tomorrow, and, in addition, wanted us to bring a few postings from blogs we currently read. I figured that on the off chance any of the people in my class would somehow end up here, they should have something to read other than the rehashings of my newspaper column I occasionally post.

But after such an image, that I yes, constructed and shot with my own camera, they'll probably never return and/or think me some other kind of unmentionable crazy.

Seeing these outcomes are rather unfortunate for both my readers and me, perhaps I'll admit the entire event was an insouciant escapade and that I'd forgotten how heavy wet snow is.