Thursday, December 30, 2010

Walking into a movie theater is scary

I'm not about to address the theaters themselves, but the lobbies and hallways. First off: other people. Raise your hand if you've had enough of that.

Also, there is a whole lot of popcorn on the ground and, if you walk next to my brother, you'll get an exhibition of what is known as the "Theater Shuffle." Which can double as a break dancing move, but only if you want to get beat up.

But that's not the point here, I'm going to describe to you why a theater I entered yesterday was scary.

My family was seeing, as a group, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and as my Dad was buying the tickets, the remaining four of us walked into the lobby. I immediately noticed two separate movie posters, not next to each other in any way.

Okay, Thor. Or, more realistically: THOR! Black around him, turned away from the viewer. He's a brooder. Nice chain mail, too. But then, on the other side of the lobby, is this:

Yes it's Daniel Craig
This seems like when I'd lean to the person next to me in art class and copy what she (usually) was drawing. I mean, I know It's supposed to be edgy, but they, poster designers, are clearly running out of ideas.

But, unoriginality in movies is something that you have to deal with, so I moved on. The next poster that I took in made me face palm.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for this movie. But if your movie's title makes people laugh a little and then groan a lot you've done something wrong.

Update: The name of this movie is actually Kung Fu Panda 2. Not original, but at least it isn't Ska2oosh.

But nothing too bad, right? Well, imagine turning the corner and running into a giant 3-D version of this:

Yes, that's a real thing. And yes, we saw a preview for it. And yes, it looked just as good as it does here. What with the purple and whatnot.

I enjoy movies. Really I do. And when I see copy-cat posters, headache-inducing pun titles, and giant billboards angled towards girls between the ages of 12 and 12, I just want to go home, close the shades, and watch a back-to-back-to-back marathon of "Shawshank Redemption."

Well it's all out of my system now, and, because of good ol' Biebs up there I-

What? You're kidding me. That's not a real's a cracked article...right? Please?

Sigh. As I was saying, because I had to save a picture of Justin Bieber, this is going to happen:

Friday, November 26, 2010


I'm thankful for, as of yet, no meteors.

I'm thankful for my spel check.

I'm thankful for other people, who let me know that I'm not the wierd one.

I'm thankful for Pixar (Except Finding Nemo).

I'm thankful for comfy couches.

I'm thankful for warm kitties.

Il Festival fantastica di Daniel
I'm thankful for the small Italian village that thinks I'm a 103-year-old warlock and sends me gifts each year.

I'm thankful for my parents.

I'm thankful for girls.

That last one sounds kind of creepy, let me rephrase.

I'm thankful for... the realization that there is no way to NOT sound creepy saying that. Let the record stand.

I'm thankful for hot soup.

I'm thankful that the Yakuza hasn't found me yet.

I'm thankful for my friends, at least those that have not been covered in other people-related thanks.

I'm thankful for pants. When I wear them. Otherwise they can eat sod.

I'm thankful for not having to carry sod.

I'm thankful for clouds.

I'm thankful for ghosts. When I make fun of them, they can't hit me.

I'm thankful for my roommates.
He never flushed.

I'm thankful that I am no longer roommates with Randy Moss.

I'm thankful that I know the secret of El Dorado.

No, no, you take a left at McGrinner Street, and then it's on the right after a few miles.

I'm thankful for my siblings.

I'm thankful for my faith.

I'm thankful for my sanity.

I'm thankful for Let this serve as a warning to others that would insult us! Yamaguchi-Gumi!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bet George Washington Carver Never Saw This One Coming

Now there was a problem. I’d run out of shaving cream. And just before the big event that I was definitely going to. But I had read somewhere that it’s possible to shave using one of the two greatest foods ever: peanut butter. It is sadly hard to shave using bacon. This is how it was done.

I took a knife and plunged it into the pristine plastic jar of taste, scooping up a generous serving and holding it poised over my bristly cheek. Was there a better way to do this, as in without using a knife? I thought about using a plastic spatula, and went hunting for one before I realized that two men living in a college dorm don’t ever have a plastic spatula. So it was back to the knife. My roommate suggested I use a butter knife instead of a steak knife, and I decided that was a good idea. So I had my instrument ready, and a fresh jar of peanut butter, I was ready to go for real.
Me. Sometimes.

But how much to use? How thinly to spread it? As much as I liked the idea of a beard made out of peanut butter, I needed to be smart. It would be irresponsible to have to tell my R.A. that I had clogged our bathroom sink with peanut butter.


It took me a while to learn how to spread it. If you think it’s hard spreading it on a piece of toast you’ve lived an easy life. I had to remove a good bit of the PB before I got what I determined to be an acceptable layer. While too much PB isn’t a bad thing, it does cause quite a mess. Too little may result in razor burn, an uneven shave, or ingrown hairs. So, with this information in mind, I aired on the side of “too much,” but not too much.

After the spreading was done, I let my face marinate for a little bit, which was not a step unique to peanut butter, but was only part of my own shaving ritual. I liked the fact that I smelt like a bagel.

Next it is important to point out that I dislike shaving advertisements. I like the products, as shaving is an art and I am an artist, but the ads themselves disgust me. One, the man shaving is clearly clean-shaven already. Two, making a hideously long cut from below the sideburns to the bottom of the neck is a terribly inefficient way to shave, usually resulting in missed hairs and a general mess. It is much more efficient and gentlemanly to shave using short vertical strokes, washing the blade after every five or six cuts.

I got to work and scraped the peanut butter away from my cheek, relishing the pressure of the blade. I was of course using a real shaving-razor by this point and not a knife. It worked well, though it seemed as if I had indeed applied more peanut butter than needed. I had to wash a good bit off of my razor into the sink. I did my cheeks and nodded with satisfaction.

Next I did the upper lip, a sensitive area. I admit I’m glad I talked myself out of using chunky peanut butter, as this section would have been difficult with it. It went well, and I was pleased.

Next I did the lower lip. I realize that another bonus of using peanut butter is that if you get some on your lip you can just lick it off instead of spitting it out. The chin also went well, and I was left with a respectable result. Now on to the neck, my least favorite part of the process.

It was fine at first, the PB peeled away and brought the hairs with it. The hot water from the sink needed to clean the razor added to the comfort and pleasure of the chore. But then disaster. In the past I learned how to avoid cutting myself but I had gotten sloppy. Maybe it was the peanut butter or maybe it was my wandering mind but it happened. I sliced a cut directly under my chin and lived through the initial pain . Then oh my goodness it hurts and it burns so much.

I wiped the tears from my eyes. How could peanut butter hurt more than a normal cut? I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. What was I supposed to do? Dab it with a piece of bread? But the pain left after a minute or two, and I continued shaving, more careful now. Finally I finished.
Tools of the trade

I considered doing a second draft of my face, as the writer does a second draft of his book, but allowed myself the realization that I had done well enough the first, and smiled. The cut bled but it was nothing to worry about. I almost ended up with a face covered in strawberry jelly, but corrected myself and put on normal aftershave. I admired the finished product.

My face had a healthy brown sheen; noticeable but not in-your-face. It smelled like the peanut fields of Georgia after a harvest; pleasant but not overpowering. The cut still hurt but was dulling. The sink hadn’t clogged and the mess present was the usual one. I dubbed it a job well-done.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Perfect Plan

Among my friends and I, we have a running joke. A prank. We have all been Geested at one time or another.

Professor Fred Armstrong Van Geest works in the political "Sciences" department at Bethel University. He also, on occasion, is one-fourth of a Christianity and Western Culture, a standard class for freshmen. He is the most boring teacher alive. Not being a poli-sci major, I don't know what it could be like to take a three-hour class with him and I never wish to know.

In Christianity and Western Culture (CWC) there are four professors, each teaching a week or so and then switching out. A great deal of information is presented in the class, so that by the end of the semester there are many terms and ideas related to it. We play a game at the end of the year called Before or After.

The class would be divided into four teams, and professors would hold up cards with terms, people, or events. Teams must guess, as the name suggests, before or after. Say you get Martin Luther. He was 500 years ago, but we started in Greek history so it would be safe to assume the next term is before.

500 years young

My team got the term Declaration of Independence. A term at the cutting end of the class, so we confidently guessed "before." Our team's professor held up the next card.

On it was "Professor Van Geest."

We were livid. We cried foul but he was technically part of the class. Because of that trick my team lost the game and Van Geest's won.

I told my roommates about it, and we started "Geesting" each other by changing the backgrounds on our computers. It moved to physical pictures printed off and hidden away for a certain person to find. Once I hid it under my mattress but above the springs, so that my roommate, in the bed below me, would look straight up into Geest's eyes at night. Danny 1, roommate 0. The next day roommate took it and taped it to the back of another roommate's shampoo bottle, resulting in him finding while in the shower.

I got the good idea of placing Geest's face inside Faceinthehole pictures, resulting in things like "The Mona Geesta," "Osama bin Geest," and "Edward Scissorgeest." We did things like put his face in video or send pictures over the phone, but not until last night did we get the best one of all.

It started when Gabe and I went to Heritage to visit friends. I brought along "Gheestbusters" and taped it to a wall when they weren't looking. Before they found it, we discussed the possibility of Geesting Michael, my roommate. He was, at the time, working the graveyard shift at Fountain Terrace (an off-campus dorm) security. We pasted Mike's face into a Canadian Mountie and four of us piled into Rob's car. Along with Gabe, Rob, and I was Lenny.


We drove over discussing strategy. Would it be silent, allowing him to find it on his own time? Or would it be a Geestkrieg, slapping the picture loudly onto a window of his security car? So many options. We spotted his car idling at the end of the lot and parked on the other side, with the Fountain Terrace buildings in between us. We moved toward him, still trying to figure out what we should do. We came to the consensus of a slap-and-run, and I said it would be a good idea to test sticking the sheet of paper onto a window. We started back to Rob's car.

Around the corner came Michael in his white security car. It wasn't close, but it was coming closer. We screamed and scattered, running in the opposite direction, around the side of the buildings and behind a dumpster. I got a cramp. Much to our dismay, Michael coasted past twice within a matter of minutes. We were sure the game was up.

But he moved on and we got back to planning. His normal idling spot was on the other side of a wooden fence from us, and so we split up. Rob and I went to Rob's car as the getaway; Gabe and Lenny stayed put to launch the attack.

Rob and I got to the car without trouble, but couldn't find Michael. We craned our necks, trying to look behind us, when he rolled past. We snapped forward, keeping ourselves stock-still until he was out of sight. I called Lenny quickly and told him Mike had just gone past. "He's right next to us, on the other side of the dumpster. It's the perfect time," Lenny said. I agreed and told Rob to get the car started.

We motored to the pick-up-point and looked at the situation. Michael's white security car was indeed mere feet from the dumpster, pointed away. I called Lenny again and told him we were set, and hung up.

We waited on hooks.

One minute later, Gabe and Lenny come tearing around the corner, full tilt. We shouted at them and they made a beeline for the car's open seats. As soon as they were in Rob punched it, as much as a decade old Saab could be punched. The story was, Gabe had lifted a windshield wiper and smacked the picture down.

As we roared away, Lenny got a text that was only this: GEESTED! Lenny called him and Mike was placed on speaker phone. We laughed and reveled, and of course Mike was a good sport about it. We returned to the main campus and went to Lenny and Rob's dorm.


Then they found "Gheestbusters."

Monday, September 13, 2010

That Hideous Throne

Man once looked at the sky and wished he could fly. The man -- men, really -- who realized that dream realized it for only 12 seconds and a distance of 120 feet. Yet their triumph would lead to the creation of Boeing, NASA, and Northwestern Airlines, as well as the comfort and speed of air travel.

Did Man ever look at the ground and wish he could sit? No, because he already could. But did man ever look at the ground and wish he could sit in fear?

Again, no.

Regardless, that dream has been realized now, and the creators are unknown. It was my mission to find who achieved history with a combination of a squat denim easy chair and a barbecue-sauce-red cover. My own history of the chair is simple.

We needed chairs, that much was obvious. With no place to sit, how could we do anything? No way to eat, or read, or entertain guests. Our many, many guests. However my confederate Michael revealed he knew the possible location of a chair. Splendid. He told me the path was fraught with danger, traps and gourds at every passage, and guards for the gourds.

They needed guarding, you see.

However, our need was dire, and we set out. Clearly my friend had over-emphasized the danger, as it took us a mere 62 seconds to reach were the chair was. Blocking us from the chair was a door. So, naturally, we knocked. Behind the door was a muscular man with spiked hair. I wished to flee, but Michael told me that the man (who reminded me heavily of a gorilla) was a friend of his. The brute waved us in and shut the door behind us, peering through the peep-hole for any watchers. When he was satisfied, he turned to us.

I mentioned that I saw no chairs in his abode. There were, however, couches without end. Stacked on one another, turned and twisted with all manner of colors and styles. This auditorium of comfort went beyond sight. The gorilla-man smiled and spoke.

“The chair you seek is behind the secret door here,” he said, motioning to a panel by his side. It didn’t seem like a secret door.

That’s the point, I suppose.

The man dipped a hand into the door and pulled a hidden latch. It folded open, giving us a good look at the space behind it. A long corridor focused down to a single speck of red flooded with light at the end of the tunnel. We walked.

Some magic was at work, because the walk took us hours, even though it should have only taken minutes. As we drew closer, the red point swelled. It was impossible to look away.

When we reached the point, it was indeed a chair. Such a chair. The gorilla-man smacked a paw on it. “Bit dusty, but Febreze will clear that up. Need any help getting it to your place?” Michael and I both nodded, but when we grasped the chair and began the trek back, we found the exit to the corridor only a few feet away. And the chair was light; we could carry it without breaking a sweat, much thanks to the gorilla-man’s brutish arms.

When we had placed the chair…the throne…in our room, we thanked the man and he left us with words. “There is a reason I was eager to rid myself of the thing.” He pulled on his tweed cap and walked into the night. We never saw him again.

Now it. It was short, one meter perhaps. About the same of width and length. It had a red cover, already described as barbecue sauce, but that may be inaccurate. The color was more akin to dried blood. I know that now. We wondered where to place the thing, and our options were many. We had no other chairs, remember. Finally, we placed it near my mahogany desk, on the other side of the wastebasket from my bookshelf. Michael had another adventure scheduled so he was away and I was left with the chair. After studying a bit of the commentary on Romans by E.H. Gifford I decided it was time for a sit.

I shall never forget that night.

Chopin was playing lightly on the piano, and I switched on the lamp overhead the bureau for mood lighting. I sat down, and my core, in its entirety, relaxed. I became a sack. A deliciously comfortable sack. I came to realize I was tired from the day’s escapades, so I closed my eyes for a spell. How apt that word seems to me now.

Next thing I remember, Michael was shaking me awake. It was many hours later, almost the next day. Somehow I was ejected from the chair and I rolled onto the ground. Chopin had run his course hours before and other than my heart the room was silent. I looked behind me at the chair and its appearance was unchanged. No, that’s not right. It looked hungry.

The following weeks it remained there by my desk, awaiting me to plop myself down in it and dream. I couldn’t help myself, the thing had drugged me, and I needed the drug.

I always dreamt in the chair, and the dreams were always fitful. Flashes of light from just outside my vision or a keening sound that I could not recognize. I would always wake up feeling bent. Not sore as I might expected but almost as if I had been squished into a position that did not agree with me.

Here is where I realized the power that the chair holds over me, and where I resolved to find the source of its power. At first, I threw off the red cover. But underneath was soiled denim, and you just can’t have something like that in your house. So, back on went the cover. I turned it over. There used to be legs that hoisted it off the ground a few inches, but it appeared that they had been sawed off. Its physical appearance offered no clues to its power, so I decided its history was the next option.

I first tried to find the couch-enthusiast gorilla-man, but his home had been abandoned. There was no sign of him or anywhere he might have gone, so I inquired with the landlady of his building. She had no idea the man was even one of her tenants, telling me that the room I asked about had been vacant for months since a chemical spill in the room above, so it was back to the drawing board.

We had a drawing board, I forgot to mention that.

Like a police analyst, I put up what I knew. So very little went up. Facts about the gorilla-man and the chair, and its appearance. Michael entered the house at that point, his coat wet with the recent rain. He studied the information alongside, and had something to add.

“I met the chair’s previous owner through another friend of mine. She might know something,” said he. I agreed and got my overcoat.

This walk was longer than the one to the gorilla-man. It was a flat on the other side of town. The place was cheery when she welcomed us in; a warm fire in the corner was smoking up the chimney. She took our coats, and I was introduced by Michael. The lady’s name was Elsie. We asked Elsie about the gorilla-man, and if she had any knowledge of the chair in question. When she heard it’s description her smile dropped and she turned away.

“You have it now? Shame. I thought he had destroyed it.” She took a deep breath. “The last time I saw my husband was in that chair. Just as you describe it. I gave it to that fool to dispose of, not keep.”

“He disposed it on us, it seems,” Michael commented.

“Yes. And now you are aware of its influence and power.” Elsie went into the dusty office room where, we presumed, her husband had toiled. She came out with a bill of sale. “Nicholas refused to throw anything like this away. It comes in handy know, I suppose.” She handed the bill to us. “This is where we got the chair.”
She turned to the fire and added a piece of wood. “I must ask you to leave now.”
“We are sorry to have bothered you,” Michael said as we dressed for the weather. She escorted us to the door.

“Be cautious,”she said. “Lest you become like my husband.” She shut the door and we were left standing in the rain.

The bill of sale led us to a place by the name of O’Connelly’s. It was a small shop in a squat building. The proprietor was an elderly man named, aptly, Brian O’Connelly. We asked him if he remembered the chair and where he had gotten it from. He did remember the chair (it seemed no one was able to forget it) and told us, after some prodding, that he had gotten it from a shipment of furniture and other goods from down river.

“But,” he said, “It sat in my shop for nearly 20 years before Mr. Anderson and his wife came in and bought it.” He pointed to the bill of sale I held. “Until then, not a soul took any more than a first glance.” We got the date and place of the shipment, and excused ourselves back into the rain.

The shipment had dropped on the docks September 13, 1983. The boat that had carried it, the Dipperstein, had been decommissioned and taken apart for scrap. After that fact, the trail went cold.

There is not much else to tell, I’m afraid. Michael and I returned back home and, for a time, talked about the chair. After that, Michael left the room and returned with a bottle of Febreze. “The chair vendor may be right. It does smell a bit.” He aimed the bottle and fired several squirts of liquid. They misted out and fell over the

Michael 'Calvin' Coolidge

All at once the dragging strength of the chair waned. After only three sprays, it was little more than a simple chair. Now I sit in it whenever I want, reading and listening to my Chopin. A more comfortable chair I have
never found.

A more comfortable chair I never want to find.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yo Blog, you get a Haircut?

Yes I did, in fact. You like? don't. Too bad.

It's amazing how our perceptions of things can change. With time, with maturity, with age. An old man may look back at a life that is being lived by a teenage and they could be thinking two different thoughts. You could watch a movie for the first time in ten years and not remember anything but a single scene.

Can you determine what the entire movie is about from this picture?
In case you wondered, the movie's name is "Hey There, it's Yogi Bear!" and is 46 years old. A kid who was seven or eight when it came out would be clamoring to see a movie featuring everyone's favorite smarter-than-the-average bear. Now if you asked a seven or eight year-old if he liked yogi bear he'd probably ask you what kind of music he sang.

If you get a tattoo now, will you still like it in a year? Did you even like it when you got it? 40 years from now will you wish it was a simpler time when you didn't have to plug anything into the socket just above your temple to read the news? When you wish you could just use a screen? Maybe. Or maybe the Venusians will have sucked out your brain.


Even just ten years ago was an age different from now. No Ipod. You want music? LISTEN TO CDS! Found a cool video on the web? It's only 200 megabytes. Oh wait, you have dial-up. And at 56 kbs per second - if you're lucky - a 200 megabyte video would take you 60 hours to fully download. And nobody would be able to use the phone or it would all be lost.

I've always been okay with a slower time. Things happened and you happened along with them. Too many things happen and the brain builds up a tolerance, resulting in a need, an addiction for more things to happen. Not enough things happen, you get bored, and you will eventually develop a stunted attention span. Which leads to sites that bombard you with quick jokes about cats in boxes.

Maybe being invaded by Venusians won't be so bad.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Tulip by any Other Name

I've been playing a game recently that is quite fun. One of the things that you have to do in it is collect flowers for a receptionist at a mental institute.'s a long story. Anyway, in several different areas of the game's world there are flowers scattered throughout. I saw a rose and picked it up, knowing that it was the answer. When I offered the flower to the receptionist, she rejected it, instead glancing to a picture of three pink tulips on her desk. It was a blatant clue and I was embarrassed not to have noticed it before. While I marched my little men across the screen I thought of what other implications this could mean. Men sometimes compare women to flowers, the most common being a rose. Why is that the automatic association? What makes a rose so romantic?

Here's something I came up with:

Men think of flowers like they think of women. They want one that screams femininity. They want one that is always perfect, one that is what you would picture, one that you would imagine. But a rose is always the same, they look the same even though they may have different colors or shapes. A woman who wants to be a rose is a thin, styled, immaculate being, but they have thorns. They want to be perfect because they believe they are. If you aren't perfect, you don't deserve them. THIS is a rose girl:

Do you want that? Maybe if you're shallow. Look at her. The peace sign, the giant sunglasses (indoors), the twisted lips. The hair that looks both frosted and frozen. This is what a rose is; trite, boring, and somehow still associated with romance.

Back in the game, I gave the receptionist three tulips and she set them up in a basket next to her desk. Do you know what a tulip looks like? This is one I found:

A tulip is the kind of girl I'd like. Tulips can be a lot of different colors. But sometimes they can end of like this:

look at that! Why would you think a rose is better than that? A Tulip Girl isn't afraid of hard work, and doesn't make herself up to be more than she is. A Tulip Girl could walk by you on the street and you wouldn't notice. There are thousands of Tulip Girls and they are pushed back because rose girls must have your attention. People might not even realize that Tulip Girls exist, but when they do they stop and go "that's a girl worth something." Tulip Girls are the ones in movies that have glasses and wear their hair up until the end, when they glasses fall off and the hair comes down. They become something else, they are in control of themselves.

Somebody once told me that giving a single rose to a girl means you will love her forever. Forget that, I'm going to give girls tulips from now on. Roses are boring, roses are cliche. Roses will forever be the standby option for men who forget or for men who are uncreative. I am neither of those, and a Tulip is the kind of girl I want.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I have Seen the Enemy and He is Mustard

I'd like you to know that there are no exaggerations in the following paragraphs.

I went to a restaurant with my Dad a few nights ago. It was an Asian bistro and it seemed very nice. We were seated and served, and we ordered our entrees. We also decided to get a few big egg rolls as appetizers. They arrived, along with two small ceramic bowls. One was filled with sweet and sour sauce, and the other had mustard.

The sweet and sour sauce was nothing special. A little bland, even. But it was not distasteful and it went well with the hot egg roll. I ate a half of it with the S and S sauce, and because it was a bigger egg roll (about four inches long, about 1.5 inches in diameter) I had the other half with mustard. I don't like mustard in normal circumstances, but I believed this would be better than your average from-the-bottle mustard, so I tried it.

I took my half and swirled it in the little mustard dish. I got a good covering on the end, and took a bite. All of the mustard I had on it was in that single bite.

My next thought was this: "I'm going to die." The mustard cleated my tongue and charged up my sinuses, boiling the blood in my face. My throat closed and I gasped for air, which only spread the evil around. After chugging my water I moped my face. I was sweating, my nose was running like a faucet, and I was crying shamelessly.

During the terrible pain, I -- and this is the truth -- thought that I had died, and I would soon meet God and the devil.

Now I know the truth. Mustard is evil. Pure and perfect evil. I believe I know how the world will end and it will be with fire and mustard.

Repent, for the end is yellow.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Of Skivvies and Feminists

You have heard of the cookie-cutter dream where you stand in front of people in your underwear, or forget your lines for a play or speech, always in front of a large group of people, possibly friends and loved ones. You are hamlet or Romeo, or Ophelia or Juliet, and you flub. You are at a total loss, and everyone knows.

I had a dream similar, yet different. It was at school, and many people were on stage. There was a clamor for each student as he or she went to the front to say a piece. The words they spoke had no sound and no meaning to me. I was in the audience, in the rightmost grouping of seats, but near the edge of the group, so my position was middle-right of the stage. I realized the next person that was stepping to the microphone on stage was me. I didn't see me, not any physical aspects, but I knew it was me. I began to speak and the audience listened without a peep.

Four sentences into my stage-self's speech, it stopped. It's mouth continued to move but no words came out. I knew and everybody else knew that there was no way any more would come out. I could feel the rush of blood to the face and the contraction of organs that come with this scope of public embarrassment. It was me, and I was it.

Worse yet, everybody knew that I, the person in the audience, was also the person on the stage. There was no laughing, but people shifted in their seats and coughed and looked around, trying not to meet my stage-self's eyes. At the same time, the audience and my friends avoided looking at me, the audience me.

Then I awoke and turned my alarm off. I didn't think about it anymore, but I still remember it. Who knows what it means, perhaps nothing, perhaps a release of emotion that I don't get while awake. We face this kind of thing on a minuscule scale daily, but why is such a dream so very common? Is it a fear of public humiliation, or being the center of attention?

Changing gears.

Just yesterday I submitted a story for review to a Literary Magazine. I'll keep the name to myself, but before submitting I read about the magazine, as I do. There were a couple of things that surprised or scared me.

First, instead of "Our goals" or "Mission Statement" they had "Manifesto." It talked about them as a magazine. Second, in the obligatory dos and don'ts of submitting a piece, a don't was "Address us as 'Dear Sirs' -- we know you don't mean to cause offense, but we are not male, and also we are feminists. We prefer 'Dear Fiction/Nonfiction/ Poetry/ Etc Editor.'" Hmmmmmmmmm.

Third, and this was the most off-putting, was another don't: "Tell us who your literary influences are. This can be a turn-off, which makes it harder to give your piece the fair reading it deserves. Remember, it may happen that your most venerated literary fore bearers typify all we loathe about the hetero patriarchal canon. Also, Burroughs and Hemingway influenced everyone."

Did you see that phrase? Hetero patriarchal canon. Talk about a turn-off, ladies. I don't know who Burroughs is and Hemingway is boring, by the way.

The entire article on cover letters didn't make a lot of sense, but I submitted my short story for publication review. I'm okay with it being published in the magazine, even if I won't be paid. But I guess dos and don'ts of writing are better when you can actually write.

And just because I think it's cool, I know how to play the first 16 notes of "Bridge Across Forever" on piano.

Friday, July 9, 2010

But I Digress.

I’ve found that one of the most useful things you could say while working at a help desk is: “What do you want me to do about it?” It is also something you are never supposed to say. There are a lot of weird things that happen at a help desk, especially when dealing with computers, as I am. There are calls where (Thing) doesn’t work. I have the caller try something rudimentary and now (Thing) is working perfectly. Never breaks again.

There was one just a little bit ago. It was a slow day, and only got one call the entire time. It was a technical call, but at the end I told the user to call Human Resources to get some things changed. She called back about thirty minutes later, saying she had tried to call Network Services, but had instead called the Nursing Department here in St. Paul. She works in San Diego.

It is Friday, and there are thirty minutes left in the week. I just finished a helping of graham crackers and guacamole, and have started on peanut butter and Pepsi. My shoes are off under the desk and nobody cares. I’m going to bike home, which can take me 45 minutes, 25 or 30 if the lights are good. It’s sunny, and I never get enough sun. I just finished reading Spoiled, Rotten America by Larry Miller and am now reading Cujo by Stephen King. Cujo is a dog.

The old SK has a lot of good books, and a lot of big books. His big books are normally very good. For example IT, or the Dark Tower series. His smaller books are good to, with some exceptions. Christine was duller than it should have been; The Talisman rambled. Christine is a car. The Talisman is Patrick Dempsey.

Handsome man. Naw, it’s a normal talisman.

There are 18 minutes left until I leave, and let’s hope Cujo can last me that long.