Sunday, June 30, 2002

CD: Gorillaz, "Gorillaz"

I was going to wait until it was officially tomorrow to write tomorrow's blog, but I have several papers to produce by tomorrow morning so I better get this out of the way. My secret problem as a future educator is that I have major procrastination problems and poor study skills. When I was in high school I did not have to study, excepting the odd French test. (My ill will towards the French ought to be documented in a later entry.) But I actually TRIED to study. I would sit there with a book and some notes and after a half hour my mind would exclaim, "I can't do it! How do people do this?" Learning seemed to come pretty automatically to me and when it didn't, I accomplished what I had to through trial and error. This probably led to my current procrastinations. There was no effect on my grades--or even my level of knowledge--no matter what amount of time I relegated to study. So I would simply do everything at the last possible minute to save the greatest period of time to other interests. Interests like, um, idleness. So I could have started writing all of these papers three days ago, formulating hypotheses, rewriting and proofreading. Get a nice big A. OR, as I had in the past, I can start my papers at midnight the night before they're due, write whatever's on my mind, and get, on average, an A-. Or an A, who knows. Come to think of it, maybe that's what I should teach the kids: sometimes it's just not worth it. You know, Preparation for the Real World. Hey, a new episode of South Park starts in 10 minutes; maybe I'll watch that first before I settle in.

CD: Radiohead, "Kid A/Amnesiac B-Sides" [mix]

It may be simply because of the area I get my literature from, which happens to be a mostly Catholic, Democrat-run city in a state that normally elects Democrats to federal office. (Hillary Clinton? Who checked her credentials?) In any case I have never read an "alternative" paper touting a mostly rightest viewpoint. I don't have any problems with the left--well, actually I have problems with both the right AND the left--but it would be nice every once in a while to be able to pick up a paper and NOT see the A to Z on how Bush is destroying the country/economy/environment singlehandedly, and how Dick Cheney is part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to support terrorism and the oil industry and kill our precious children who, of course, would never vote for a Republican. When it comes to weeklies or other non-mainstream media, it is either moderate liberal (e.g. "Blue Dog") or socialist/Marxist. In a recent count I found 3 of each kind at a university. As for right-wing representation? Zero. Been that way for (at least) five years. Is the media really that liberal? Is this a nationwide phenomena? Is the right so entrenched in the ideology of status quo that it finds no reason to synthesize political thought with day-to-day, public conversation? Is the intelligencia of this country so far left they fail to quantify the maxims of Republicanism (that they stole under the Clinton/Gore administration)? Am I making any sense here? When it comes to political discussion, all I want is A) levity and B) brevity.

Friday, June 28, 2002

CD: PJ Harvey, "Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea"

The goal tomorrow morning is to send out at least 8 job applications to their respective places of buisness. This, of course, has been my goal every morning since February. On some days I have sent out two or three, but most mornings my field is quite fallow. I have never been fond of applications: one, because of the paperwork, and two, I can't stand self advertisement. But it's mostly the paperwork. Princeton once sent me an application--I never asked for one so that must mean something (?)--and I decided to pass because it was 16 pages long. I only applied to two colleges, and then to only one grad school. They all accepted me, yet I'm sure this is not fear of failure I'm worried about. It's the fear that I'll have to get up in the morning and type out--AGAIN--a list of five references. And then references. "Why do you want to work...?" I don't! Eating just happens to be a prerequisite for homeostasis, and somehow I must support this dirty habit!

You may be asking yourself, "If he's spending so much time on a precocious weblog, why can't he do the same for his precious applications?" Clueless myself. This was my aim with a weblog: get back to the computer and type. About yourself. And get it done by morning!

Thursday, June 27, 2002

CD: Mouse on Mars, "Niun Niggung"

Random notes today:

--Working on my farmer's tan. No watch outlines this time!

--Why oh why are envelopes such a pain to print on? Who do you call?

--I've been using a sleeping bag since I've moved. Yes, a sleeping bag. In June. If I were rich, however, I would throw the sleeping bag on the campfire and sleep on the marshmallows. You know what I'm sayin'?

--No? Neither do I. By the way, what does "Niun Niggung" mean?

--Grad school starts in 10 hours. This better not suck. I hope I don't get one of those "enlightened" teachers who like to use group activities and grade by participation. It's especially worse for us education majors. I should write more on this subject later.

--New World Record is giving me a Buy-1-Get-1-Free coupon for my Britney Spears haiku! Well E-mail my heart, I won something.

--15 minutes of searching, and I still can't find out what "Niun Niggung" means. Curses, Babel!

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

CD: various Smashing Pumpkins: Machina-era B-sides

Just Like the Special Olympics.

Last night I got an E-mail from the independent store New World Records that said the following (paraphrases):

"These are good seats [to the Britney Spears concert], and all you have to do to win a pair (of tickets) is be one of the first three people to e-mail us with a Britney haiku* and a viable phone number. If you’re one of the [first] lucky three, we’ll call you back and tell you to hustle on down here for your tickets. So hurry up and hit that ‘Reply’ button!"

And I did! Now, I never would have won, because I opened the E-mail six hours after it was sent out. But haikus! It's like Poetry for Dummies. I quickly wrote up and sent out a response:

She's not just a girl...
Teenage pop sells soda pop
My Pops likes her, too

I'm actually quite proud of that one. Not really because I thought it up in less than a minute, or that it used THREE different definitions of the slang word "pop," or that I actually participated in one of these goofy contests! No, I'm proud of it because IT WASN'T DIRTY. Oh man, the mental war I had to wage to keep it that way! The image of Britney Spears is such that one can barely keep away from risque thoughts! Even New World Record had to write:

*Remember, that’s five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. Neatness counts, and points will be deducted for tastelessness.

Who cares what the results say. I still FEEL like a winner.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

CD: L7, "Smell the Magic"

A real day off! Nothing pressing to do. Sleeping in was great for the constitution, as seen from my previous entry. But how to keep busy? Well, there was that whole "start excersizing" idea I once had, so I went down to the garage to find my bike, check the tire pressure and be on my way to good health and a reunion with nature. Ready to go, I open the door and . . . it's raining. I would've gone in a drizzle but this was just enough to make me turn back. For a minute I stood there under the threshold with a blank stare. "The one time I didn't want an excuse . . . . "

Luckily my new favorite satellite station, WorldLink TV, played several good documentaries about the Zapatista movement and the maquiladoras of Mexico that kept my interest a good part of the evening. But, man, I really wanted to ride my bike!

Monday, June 24, 2002

CD: Smashing Pumpkins, "Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music"

I've slept much better since I've moved. This has led to some really intriguing dreams. Last night, I was at a party with Puff Daddy. Not P. Diddy, I noticed, but good ol' Puff Daddy. Anyway, so we were just hanging out with a bunch of people. And Puffy was showing me around the place. I also noticed that whatever he did, soon everyone at the party would do. So if he was just socializing/drinking champagne, I would look around and everyone would be doing the same thing. Then he decided to lay down in the middle of the floor, where a large number of throw pillows just happened to located. Everyone else did the same. It was all very classy. He was eventually making out with someone else (everyone partnered up and did likewise) so I devoted my attention to the lady next to me, who just happened to be the dark-haired woman from Being John Malkovich. Remember? Not Cameron Diaz, but the other one. The first thing I said to her was "Have you ever noticed that when Puff Daddy drinks champagne, everyone drinks champagne?" And she replied, "And when Puff Daddy lies down, everyone lies down?" We didn't make out like the others, but we made a connection. We ended up talking very close for the rest of the night. As the party broke up in the morning, we were on our separate ways. I almost forgot to ask her for her number, but she said she'd see me at the Today Show the next morning so we'd just meet up then. Walking back to my New York City apartment that morning, I thought two things: one, I should have gotten her number anyway, and two, I was SURE she had once slept over in my dorm freshman year. No, wait, she was just there really late one night after a group outing. She must've not remembered it herself.

The night before I had this dream, I dreamt that I was walking past a group of armed soldiers, as a civilian, probably in an occupied zone. In either case I had no animosity towards them. One soldier, by mistake, shot me. The rest of the dream, I was trying verbally agitate her about the shooting; trying to make her feel sorry her gun was pointed at me--and not upwards like it was supposed to--when it went off by accident. The wound never actually hurt, but she never apologized, either.

Now what's all that supposed to mean?

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Album: Bjork: Selmasongs

I work with a group of students from the Czech Republic. Though I do not converse with them often, I have learned some of their views on American culture and politics. Most I already knew, but it was nice to hear them come from the mouths of actual foriegners.

1.) Everyone in America must have a car to survive. Everything is so far apart, it would be impossible to exist without one.

2.) Cars, however, are very inexpensive, and almost anyone can afford one. Gas is extremely cheap and the driver's tests are short and uncomplicated (Czechs must test for several hours with a uniformed policeman in the car).

3.) Public transportation in America is absolute crap. New York City is an exception.

4.) Everything is bigger here. Portions of food, lawns, suburban sprawl, roads, people. There is a lot of room.

5.) There are more abandoned buildings, unmowed lawns, and litter here.

6.) George W. Bush is unpopular for a number of reasons. One is his idea of an "Axis of Evil" for terrorism that requires military force as a solution. Another is the Kyoto Treaty, though its failure to be signed is the fault of the entire U.S. Government. The most popular presidents to Europeans are probably Woodrow Wilson and John F. Kennedy, because of their links to European history.

7.) It's a long plane trip.

8.) Nomatter what part of the earth you're from, if you're going to the States you'll travel to Florida at least once. And if you're in Upstate New York, you'll be at Niagara Falls within a week.

9.) The United States does not agree with other countries in world affairs because it is either A) stubborn, B) doesn't know better, or C) doesn't like other countries telling it what to do. It's usually C.

10.) The French are assholes.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Album: Soundtrack, Blues Brothers 2000

Day two and I already have writer's block.

I have tried in several other occations to write in a conventional diary. I have also attemped a poetry book which is still stagnantly awaiting a Page 5, and just the thought of what horrible wordplay I may have used in it two years ago makes me cringe. The basic idea, however, hasn't died yet. It would be nice to have SOME record of myself, even if reasons for it are few or trite. The only successes I've had in this department are for interpersonal communication, not personal introspection. For example, I save all personal IMs and E-mails. Do I look at them all later? No, and I do not share them with anyone outside of the person I originally communicate with. And I've tried my hand at photography, which is okay, but the sole purpose of that is to eventually show the pictures to somebody else. Apparently, just filling a journal with my thoughts and feelings is worthless to me. Is it because I measure their importance with a comparative societal scale? Anyway, all I know is that there is a Chance that someone will read this, and that is good enough for my efforts. Oftentimes when I am having an IM or E-mail conversation I am thinking to myself whether I will be ashamed of what I say if I read it again years from now. I especially wonder how other people will characterize me if they read "this" in the future. Someone is always watching me, even if it is only me. Better to keep my mouth shut, then.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

CD now playing: Tori Amos, "Strange Little Girls"

Finally, a first foray into a fake form of a weblog.

So last week I was in the newly built Newstead Public Library when I spotted Natalie Imbruglia's first album in the record bin. "Why not" I thought, because they're free... I have spent the entire week relistening to this album, and have only yesterday pried myself off it to save my sanity... Why do I listen to it so much? Its slyly subtle vocal deliveries? The quality of the studio musicians? Or the critical hunt for and appreciation of all its minor flaws? (They are many more I hope to find.) Nomatter. Three days ago, however, I was watching TV, trying to escape my fixation on Imbruglia's song "One More Addiction" when who else but the singer herself pops up on one of those hair coloring ads. You know, the ones with Beyonce Knowles or that Dark Angel girl? I was shocked. No, horrified. It's like those horror movies where the character finally believes their own reassurances that the house is not haunted, and then opens a closet door to see the ghost staring her right in the face. How did Natalie know?! Chilling. Later that night, a mildly familiar, comfortable nightmare. I walk down a hallway to find a room: 10,000 people at a Natalie Imbruglia concert, I find myself front row center. This is normal, and I am afraid.