Christmas these days is good for two things:
-Money and gift certificates to buy the fun stuff
It's been pretty much the same for a couple years. Christmas morning isn't on Christmas morning anymore. Christmas morning is on December 28th and it's some time after noon when I roll out of bed and head on down to Best Buy. Today was no different. The haul:
The Grand Theft Auto 3/Vice City combo pack for Xbox - Spring break Junior year a bunch of the boys went up to Tim's uncle's cabin in Show Low, foresty northern Arizona. With the possible exception of an expedition to a fishless lake, an aborted attempt to buy paintball guns at Walmart (none of us were 18, sigh), a regrettable encounter with local girls at Wendy's (
What do you guys do around here for fun? "Everybody meets behind the old Safeway and decides where we're gonna go drink in the woods!"), all we did was sit inside and play GTA 3. Oh, and drink. And play Risk. And I seem to remember Tim watching porno in the den while we were in the kitchen. As the owner of an Xbox, the videogaming system with the nicest specs and the fewest decent games, this game has been a source of envy for years. Then they put it out for my system while I was away at school. What a country! If you know what I'm talking about, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, the more I talk about this, the less you'll want to sleep with me. Moving on.
The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow - I think I've already plugged this one, but that was before I had it. HFT's Album of the Year, mos def. If you like big words and rock and cleverness, not necessarily in that order, you will like this record. I do. The last track is almost through playing and once it's done I'll put on:
Kings of Leon, Youth and Young Manhood - I keep waiting for these guys to blow up Strokes-style. I mean, they've got the throwback stee-lo (note the epic moustaches) and the rehashed musical style (deep-fried southern rock) and they're about eight times as awesome. So where are deeply ironic Coppola-directed videos? Why aren't they dating Drew Barrymores? What the fuck, Kings of Leon? GET POPULAR already so I won't feel like a hipster wannabe asshole trying to be obscure liking you. I want to be able to like you unapologetically despite your rampant popularity. Oh well. I forgive you. (The EP version of "Wasted Time" is better.) (That was my entry for 2003's Snobby-Douchiest Thing Written On A Self-Indulgent Webjournal. Get them votes in.)
Electric Six, Fire - If Tenacious D were funnier, rocked harder, and their album was good for more than one listen, they would be Electric Six.
A triumph for materialism all around. These things should keep me good and distracted from any and all forms of writing.
Not that these things weren't doing the job:
PS, I'm nineteen. Do I still qualify as "Barely Legal?" I sure hope so. The pay is fantastic.
Three thirty seven AM.
The Rubin Hall study lounge.
A skinny white boy in a white t-shirt and button fly jeans sits on a couch drinking Dr. Pepper and scanning pages in a five-subject notebook.
Just as he is contemplating how the only other occupants in the study lounge at this hour are four Asian girls hunched over in seperate study carrels, a fifth Asian girl enters.
The boy wonders if the one reasonably attractive Asian girl will come home with him on Friday and be his best friend's Christmas present.
The notes, on which he is having an impossible time focusing, are poorly organized scribblings dotted with underlined definitions of Greek terms. According to the notes, Enthusiasmos means "the god is in you." Ekstasia means "standing outside oneself."
They are indicative both of the rambling nature of the lectures from which the notes were taken, and the often fatigued bleary-eyed state in which the lectures were attended. It is a state very similar to the one in which the boy will take the final tommorrow. He will be tired and poorly prepared. Right now, he is tired and poorly preparing.
According to the notes, Dionysus, like other gods, was said to die and be reborn at a certain time of year. This factoid is absent any context. The boy is not sure whether it comes from Ovid's Metamorphoses or Plato's Symposium. He is not sure whether or not it will be on the test. He doubts it, but is not worried either way because it's impossible he'll remember it in six hours when he is taking the test.
Some things the boy has done this week besides not studying have been not updating his website, not waking up at a reasonable time of day, and not not fooling around with his best east coast friend who used to have a boyfriend but no longer does. He has not been entirely unproductive: he has half his Christmas shopping done.
Tommorrow's final will be the last or second to last actual exam the boy takes in the course of his college career, which is only one eighth complete. He assumes the Asian girls in the Study Lounge will have ten or more times that many, and that they will be better prepared for each one than the boy was for his few measely liberal arts credits. The boy supposes that's okay. Taking tests is clearly what these girls are good at. He wishes them luck. He is better at writing than taking tests, and clearly prefers lying around half-clothed to studying for them.
He still expects to do better than half the people in the lecture hall tommorrow, because he has way too much faith in himself and the gods whose exploits he is neglecting to bone up on have yet to give him reason to think otherwise.
Although it was no doubt given during the eighteen-week course, the boy's notes do not include a definition for "hubris." He already knows it; he did not write it down.
Did your Metrosexual Hawaiian just get a blog? Mine did.
UPDATED: Those words are Greek, not Latin. Thanks, commenter ned.
I haven't blogged in a while.
That's pretty much all the explanation that's needed.
School is effectively over. I have no more classes, all my final projects and papers and what-have-yous are over and done with, the only thing keeping me in the Big Apple, (scholastically, anyway) is a final I have next week for Conversations of the West, my one and only paper-and-pencil final.
All the snow has melted. It is, for all intents and purposes, mid-November all over again, except it's colder and there are more Christmas decorations. This is a good thing and a bad thing. Admittedly, snow is a hassle. But it makes things feel winter-ish. There's a difference between winter-ish and simply cold. Cold you just want to get the fuck inside. Winter-ish, you still want to get the fuck inside but once there you want to gaze wistfully at the wonderland outside from where you are perched safely with a cup of something warm while the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack plays. Right now it's cold. Tomorrow, after the snow they're predicting, it will once again be winter-ish.
(Remind me how I've declared my affection for all things snowy when I complain about having tromped through my fiftieth dirty snow-melt puddle where the sidewalk meets the street. Or in Februrary, when I'm locked in my room, huddled next to the radiator, clutching a tacky postcard with a cactus on it and weeping softly.)
Some people do not go to college in New York City.
Some people go to East Coast colleges with ancient ivy-shrouded campuses centered around expansive quads, with Main buildings and Student Unions, and house parties with kegs.
I've had enough of your Vassar-bashing, young lady! Classic.
Oh, PS, if my sentence-structure acrobatics are more ambitious and less successful than usual, blame the lateness of the hour and fact that I'm writing to music, which I never do. But the new Shins record is so. Fucking. Good. If you like your Rock with a side of artful lyricism (Sir Thomas More references? Yes please!) or vice versa, I highly recommends it.
We, this wonderful wonderful improv troupe and I, trudged through the snowstorm to Astor Place, caught a subway to Grand Central Station to get a train to scenic Poughkeepsie, NY, upstate.
Erik, the group's resident ScandinAsian (University rules state that all improvisational comedy groups must have at least one Orient-Norse hybrid. I don't make the rules, I just make them up.) was always going to be late for the train, and had agreed to meet us there. Problem was, somewhere along the line, people's definitions of just where "there" was got confused and he ended up at Penn Station, which is definitely, scientifically, thoroughly not Grand Central Station. You don't need a four-month NYC resident with a severely limited knowledge of his surroundings who compensates by pretending to be a veteran urbanite to tell you that. No, sir. Penn Station ain't no Grand Central. There were lots of cab-rides on his part, peering pensively down the platform on our part, and frantic cell phone calls on both ends. Yet just as the alarm was sounding and the lights were flashing and the doors were about to close, he appeared at the top of the stairs and hopped aboard. (Disappointingly, they seem to have done away with the steam-emitting whistles, like you see in the cartoons.)
Diminutive. Asian. Clutch in a do-or-die situation. Absolutely no coincidence he was Short Round for Halloween. (At my suggestion. Rock.)
Observation: Trains smell like stale vomit and death.
Between that and the lack of cartoonish steam-whistles, clearly the Golden Age of genteel rail travel is over.
It was only two hours.
The snow followed us into Poughkeepsie, hub of international affairs. Or maybe it had been there all along. The fact that all but a few cabs had stopped running and at the train station we had to hop into what the drivers said were the last two available that night indicated the latter. We were driven, packed like wisecracking sardines, me looking out the windows, remembering shopping centers and offramps, to the Main Building of Vassar.
And what a Main Building. Old. Impressive. Academic. Looks like the Pilgrims carved it out of the living rock and sent their children inside to learn shit. Either made me want to go to a classy East Coast school like this, or just watch Dead Poet's Society. Not sure which.
We met up with Second Ben, another member of our troupe and Vassar-connection-by-way-of-girlfriend. We noted their Student Union cafeteria's resemblance to a Saved By The Bell set. We ate Vassar food and discussed sexual practices as disgusting as they are hilariously named, killing time 'till our eight o'clock performance slot opening up for Vassar's improv troupe (the aptly titled Vassar Improv Troupe).
We kicked it long-form-improv-comedy style in The Mug, the subterranean bar in the main building. Apparently there's nothing else to do in Poughkeepsie on a snowy Saturday night, the crowd was lined up a half an hour before the show, and once they were let in, they packed the tiny musty room to the gills, forties in hand and ready to laugh. God bless you, sweet pre-gamed Vassar crowd. You made one of our worst shows one of my personal favorites with your sheer willingness to laugh at crap. Much love.
Then we watched Vassar Improv do their short-form thing. They did it well. Then we danced to "Hey Ya" in a show of improv solidarity. Then we schmoozed.
We were driven by members of Vassar's troupe to one of their houses, where there were promises of lodging, and more importantly, a keg. (College students with cars. And houses. Oh, brave new world.) It was college like you see in the movies: The Christmas lights, the novelty posters masquerading as interior decoration, the mattress someone used to slide down the stairs which has now been sitting at the bottom for several months, apparently. Dudes with names like Fernie and Berg. Gratuitous facial hair. I did everything I could not to run out into the snow shaking my fists shouting "Delta HOUUUSSSE!"
Everyone who goes to Vassar knows someone who goes to NYU. The best ones realize, even drunkenly, that you don't care, and refrain from telling you. The even-better ones are twenty-two year old PoliSci majors and when you can't find a room upstairs to make out in they drag you across a snowy field to their house.
Whether it be the artsy-fartsy metropolitan kind or the more traditional snowbound campus-having variety, one thing is clear: College is awesome.
When passion and hard work are combined an admirable collection stands near the name of Ciprian Stratulat.
Apparently there's another city here.
And it's called New York When It Snows.
And when you walk through it with headphones on listening to "Snowflake Music" by Mark Mothersbaugh from the Royal Tennenbaums soundtrack you love your life and everything and everyone in it.
And rightfully so.
One year ago today I wasn't too tired to blog.
Tonight, I feel like I could swing the world by its tail and toss it into the next county.
"I loved your poem," she said. "LOVED it."
You weren't supposed to read it yet, I said, you cheated.
"I know. But it's really good. I sympathize."
I'm glad you liked it, I said.
Even though our writing groups got interrupted, I'll let you bend the rules. Just this once.
Then after class, going down the hallway, her friend said, "I really liked your poem."
Oh, Mary let you read it too?
"Mm-hm. I really liked it."
She's such a cheater.
"It'll be even better. When you read it, read it slow. With your voice it will sound so good."
I'd bet it would sound even better if I whispered it, I didn't say.
I hightailed it to the parking lot to grab a shirt, made it to seventh hour, changed into the shirt, performed, with the rest of my group, a Reader's Theatre piece that knocked 'em dead (Chelsea M. is my favorite old Jewish lady, ever) then went to Cheba Hut 'cause it was a half day, gobbled 12 inches of pastrami and pepperocinis on white, got dropped off at school, banged out an article and a maze for the newspaper, came home, worked on the play which is due in rough draft form next Monday and is nowhere close to ready, fell in love with my family like I do every night, ate spaghetti, picked up my little brothers from RE, rocked Fourbanger in the car, wrote more, filled up my gas tank almost halfway, went to the gym, came back, wrote more.
Orson Welles used to be rehearsing a play on one end of NYC and doing a radio show on the other end, so he bought an ambulance, siren and all, to get him from one place to the other on the quick. There was no law against it. That sounds about right.
Now my arms are sore but I'm still wondering how far I could throw the world after I wind up a couple times.
Oh, and did I mention I'm going on the Theatre Co. trip to London over Spring Break because I have, God's honest, the coolest parents in the history of parents?
Into the next county. At least.
In case anybody asks, there's ice on the ground in New York City.
Of all the ridiculous substances for water below the freezing point to become, it just HAD to be ice.
And earlier today, it snowed. Went into Classic Drama, debated the tragic heroicism of Troy Maxson in August Wilson's Fences, ate carrot cake and watched the conclusion of the Dustin Hoffman Death Of A Salesman movie, got our final paper cancelled, came outside, and it had done gone and snowed. Not a lot, mind you. Light dustings on rich people's cars. Salt on the sidewalk. Freezing wind whipping down Broadway. Enough to justify the scarf I was wearing. Today was the historic First Day I Ever Wore A Scarf, and it turns out that scarves are a barrel of laughs. You can wrap it around your neck and tuck the ends into your ridiculously large down jacket and be just suave as hell, you can hide the bottom half of your face in it, recycle your warm breath while simultaneously pretending to be a ninja. I also imagine if anyone wants to seduce you, it makes it convenient for them to grab and drag you into other, sexier rooms, although I didn't get to experience that particular application. (Winter is long. Winter is long.) So the verdict is: scarves are awesome, though cold weather is preposterous.
This isn't leading up to some humorous retelling of a humiliating pratfall on an icy stoop, although as noted, it's a long, cold season, and I'm a clumsy, clumsy douche. I just got to be on very intimate terms with the frozen puddles in Washington Square Park, seeing as how I had to cross it four times tonight going to the library thanks to computer hooliganism too horned-rimmed-glassish to recount here. All that matters is that the (fucking ass balls) essay is done and here we are.
Now if you'll permit me, it's Strained Metaphor Time. This one goes back a while.
At the one-year-eight-month mark, when hope had ceased to be a word in his vocabulary, the rains came. The farmer rejoiced. Then watched TV. Then went and had dinner.
The fat asian kid sitting next to me in the study lounge just ripped a tremendous fart. That's not a metaphor, that's an allegory. The Asian kid represents society. The fart represents innocence. The lesson being taught?
Life is fucking hilarious.
Let's make this snappy.
And now they're down to seventeen percent, these batteries. This is as close to the third act of an action movie my life ever gets.
WILL he explain the events of his day in a bouncy satirical manner?
WILL he upload a largely unrelated picture and text-wrap it into the entry?
WILL you care?
Yes, yes, and oh fuck yes.
Today I had class at 11 then I took a nap wherein I dreamed Chelsea and I were at a John Lennon concert. John Lennon is indeed dead. But in my dreamworld he lives still, and he takes his damn time getting to the stage. The lights were just going down when the alarm on my cellphone rang and I had to go to class at three firty.
Then I did some work at the li-bary. Then I went to Writing the Essay Lecture, where a girl raised her hand and said what follows in italics. More stuff happened, but none of it were half as stupefyin' as what pored from the mouth of this artistic hope of tommorrow.
Well, I don't know everything, and you don't know everything, and we don't HAVE to know everything, and I just feel like that's such a stigma that like why can't we just be satisfied with not knowing stuff?
Bring back corporal punishment in education. Bring it the fuck back.
The most dangerous weapon in the hand of someone who doesn't know how to use it isn't a firearm. It's a compound sentence.