Iíve been feeling this sort of overwhelming self-defeating pity fest entrenching itself in the deepest darkest reaches of my psyche recently. This melon collie has been slowly manifesting itself in outward signs. Chief of those is my inability to create a design for the new Bad Sam that I donít instantly hate.
So far, Iíve squeezed out three reasonably interesting work-ups. But, as soon as I feel comfortable enough to say, ďI can do this,Ē a little voice inside peeps up with an insidious ďNo, you canít.Ē And, as much as Iíd like to say that I can ignore the little voices in my head, they introduce enough doubt and self-loathing that I canít be bothered to turn my mock up design into something useable.
And so now I leave it all up to you. I want to have a new design in place no later than October 3rd, to coincide with the sites 2nd anniversary. I will now present to you the three mock-ups Iíve put together, let you decide which Iím going to use, and then just do it.
No whining, no questioning, no doubt. Just action.
That out of the way, here they are, without any sort of explanation (other than to say that they are in varying degrees of completion, these are more concepts than actual designs).
Feel free to make any and many suggestions; there is nothing too wild for me try at this point.
Life is chugging along at very consistent pace, as life is wont to do. It thinks it can, it thinks it can, and lately it does.
I've been seeing this girl, lets give her a cute nickname since that is what everybody with a blog does for thier significant others, and I'm nothing if not completely derivative. Completely derivative.
And, so, I've been dating this girl, lets call her Wonder Twin (she is a twin, and so far, wonderful) for a little more than a month now. I'm still not ready for a girlfriend but I can dig whatever we've got going on.
This is the first time I'm dating someone I didn't know extensively before dating them, and if this is what every such relationship is like, I'm not sure what the hell all you people have been bitching about for all this time. Bunch of fucking whiners, you are.
Things are going very well. We've had a couple of the bumps, but have so far worked them all out. She is totally Queens Italian, loud and forward and won't let me get away with shit.
She emailed me on Tuesday about some plans for Saturday night. I'm not traditionally masculine and commitment phobic; I'd planned on being married with fruit of my loins by now. But so I still felt weird and a little skittish at the idea someone was planning my Saturday nights for me.
Yes, you guessed right, I never got back to her. And yes, you are right, that is a very Daniel Cleaver thing to do.
Well, of course WT called me up last night (form of - pissed off girlfriend!) and called me out on it. And well, of course I lied and said I just hadn't gotten around to calling back.
So, yes, I guess she let me get away with that, which is actually what I really need right now. Someone who has the serenity to let me get away with some shit, the courage to call me out and not me get away with other shit, and the wisdom to know which shit is which.
I've picked up a new leisure time activity lately: job-hunting. Some of you may be familiar with it: you compete with other people for duties and responsibilities with various companies, vying for insufficient compensation for the loss of your days in the prime of your life and the sacrifice of your identity to corporate ideology. You have only your self-worth to lose!
It's quite the challenge. First, you have to write a resume making it look like you haven't spent the last two years of your life getting paid to read sites not unlike this one and bitching about staplers. Then, you have to write a cover letter further obscuring that fact, leaving out any information that may detract from your desirability and filling 3-4 paragraphs with such inflationary bombast that you briefly convince yourself that you're qualified for the job. Then you mail all this off and follow it up with a series of increasingly desparate phone calls to hiring managers, Human Resources types, and finally, disconnected phone lines.
Sounds almost too simple, doesn't it? You're asking yourself (because I can't hear you, I'm not there. I don't know who you're talking to, but stop. Stop it and read this, dammit! I'm trying to tell you something), you're asking yourself "Aren't there more rules than that?" Sure there are! Only I'm not going to tell you what they are, and neither is anybody else. You'll figure out some of them as you go, but largely you'll have no idea why you aren't even getting phone interviews for jobs that are one step above (or below!) a secretarial position. One rule I recently learned is to keep my address off my resume. I'm trying to move to another city, and my unstylish out-of-town digs are directing my most heartfelt aspirations to some HR mouthbreather's circular file. In fact, the only people that I've actually heard back from believed that my town was a suburb of Chicago, when it's actually one hundred and eighty miles away.
Anyway, I get the feeling that I'm going to have some pretty elaborate fictions to keep track of by the time I'm done. My "Management experience" is watching "Starship Troopers" and stealing candy at a video store with three other criminial teenagers after my boss had a medical emergency and left the place in our hands for two months. My "Emergency Experience" is laughing at a girl who was choking on a Life Saver and breathing through that little hole in the center. And Rock Island? It's just north of Lake Forest.
I'm starting to get creative, though. Tonight, while mentally practicing for a phantom telephone interview, I decided that my "greatest weakness" was that "I get really drowsy after a big meal." When I discovered the other day that a certain premier web career site had strangely deleted my entire resume excepting my name and address, I briefly considered leaving it as it was. Wouldn't you be intrigued by someone confident enough to give you a resume with only his name and address on it? "That should be enough. If you want to see my qualifications, come to my house." That was before I knew about the out-of-town address foul, though. Now it just has my name, in a large, sans-serif font. If they want me, they'll find me.
And if not, well, it's only a hobby. I can always go back to weblogging when I get sick of this job nonsense.
In my ongoing attempts to get fit and trim this summer, I managed to make some very dubious inroads this morning.
At the beginning of the summer Iíd made a personal vow to get healthy. So far I've added about 15 lbs - mostly muscle (the rest, ice cream). For all my work, I'm really no more than maybe 0.3% toward getting the Vin Diesel body to go along with the Vin Diesel hairdo.
[ On a somewhat unrelated note, Iím also only about 0.3% closer to finishing the Bad Samaritan design. ]
At any rate, I woke up this morning at a hearty 6 am with the intention of running. It was still dark out. Iíd only gotten to bed about 3, as part of a marathon attempt to finally get through Infinite Jest. At the beginning of the weekend I had a short 100 pages to go. I only managed to get through 60 of those, so I had to carry it again with me today. I think the majority of my exercise this summer has come lugging that 1,100 page monster around.
But, so, the running. I did go running this morning. I waited Ďtill about 6:30, and sunlight, to begin my leisurely jog. As much as Iíve done this summer to try to get healthier Iíve only managed to go running twice. Both times I collapsed into a soggy ball after a mere 15 minutes.
At my best, I could run for an hour, at midday, and still feel fresh enough toÖ well, I didnít have anyone to engage in strenuous two-back style exercise with, but if I did, I still could have.
That I canít go more than a quarter hour now without feeling as if my heart is going to explode is a little depressing. But, when all is said and done, I am pretty healthy. I have zero fat on me. Iím surprisingly strong for my overall build. And those days I did run, I didnít stop because I was tired, but because I couldnít breathe well enough to get oxygen to all my poor little asphyxiating cells.
I suppose that might be from having smoked for 10 years, but, until it comes time to sue the tobacco industry, Iíll choose to blame it on poor conditioning.
So, to increase lung capacity, Iíve been doing this breathing exercise I saw Jacques Cocteauís son do on PBS where you breathe in until you canít breathe in any more, and then you force yourself to take as many more short sharp breaths of air as you can.
Itís really the same principle as how at the end of the night you think you canít possibly drink any more without dying, so instead of getting a pint of beer, you just do some shots. Yeah, itís just like that.
But, needless, it works.
I went out today and ran for twenty (20!) whole minutes. Okay, so that isnít that impressive, but it is for me. But, so, there is more, the dubious part. I walk the next couple blocks home, to warm down, and Iím not feeling so bad. Sure, as soon as I get home I collapse on the floor. Thatís a given, right?
[Now, the rest of the story is where the too much information bit comes in. At this point I urge anyone who doesnít want to hear something gross to stop.]
Okay, so Iím lying in a sweaty fetal position on the floor of my living room after having stripped off my sneaks and most of my clothes. As much as my body is telling me that itíd be quite happy to just lay there for a little longer, Iím starting to get this feeling in my stomach that my still fully functioning intellect recognizes as nausea, and thus I now have plenty reason to get vertical.
I crawl, then walk, to the bathroom, where the inevitable happens. Post exertion stomach expulsion is something many athletes, even professionals, experience. I vividly recall Pete Sampras and an incident during the U.S. Open. Sure, heíd been playing tennis for like 4 straight hours on a painfully hot New York August afternoon, but throw up is throw up, you know?
This all makes me feel like Iíve joined some elite echelon of athletes with poor tracheal control. ďIíd finally made,Ē Iíd thought jubilantly.
But my joy was tinged with a little something darker. Literally. Looking down at the partially digested fruits of my labor and seeing a little ribbon of red within the mostly water prompted me to ask a question (re: the title of this post) Ė ďIs that blood?Ē The end.
There are a couple of older posts that for some reason still get a lot of comments. The Worldís Largest Penis one being a good example of a post that is a year and a half old, but still gets a couple new comments a week. The better example, however, is all the Osama bin Laden Nude stuff, which, every day, gets at least one new comment.
I think itís strange, considering I havenít done a new one in nearly a year, and they were all just such toss offs to begin with. I was trying to make light of a situation that was infinitely unfunny, and at the time, it worked.
Over the past year, though, itís turned into something completely different and ugly. People have taken those posts as an excuse to be racist, xenophobic, or offensively anti-American. On both sides of the issue, the only common thread is overwhelming ignorance and total lack of any grammatical capability. Most of the comments have been amusing, some infuriating, some upsetting, but all in all, Iíve been able to ignore them. But, over the weekend, this post received a comment I just couldnít ignore:
hi everyone, a pretty heated debate going on here. Well one thing's for sure. America is a coutry of stoopid people (no spelloing mistakes there, ur just so stoopid). You think you control everything in the whole goddamn world. You treat people from other races, cultures, countries like shit. You guys are not even americans actually. You are people who ran away from europe and settled in america after crushing the original inhabitants (What the stoopid columbus, a european, thought were indians). So stupidity just runs in ur blood, you can't help it. You are invaders, u r marauders. First you create terrorists fro your short term gains and when those same terrorists fuck other people you are happy. But when they fuck you in the place where it hurts the most you say you have been wronged. Again not your fault, you are just stoopid. It runs into your blood. Well "me" what happened to ur parenst cannot be justified. It wasn't theirs or ur fault that they died. Nothing can justify their deaths. But don't you think you are fortunate considering that there are many children in Iraq and in Palestine who died cuz their parents (who were also innocent by the way) also died just because a stoopid country of invaders thought Iraq should be punished for stopping it from getting free oil by armtwisting the weak arab nations. Well u r fortunate that u and ur brothers were born in america and not in iraq otherwise you would not have had the opportunity to answer ur brothers.Well actually you cannot help it, cuz you cannot see all this. This comes on account of ur being stoopid. And mind me, you have still not learnt from ur mistakes, cuz you guys are stoopid. You still think america is invincible. Actually osama bin laden is ur friend. He wants you to wake up from ur sleep and change ur attitude. He wants you to realize that u r not invincible. If u think terrorism is something other countries have to face, and something that u only watch about on CNN. He wants u to realize that you can be buttfucked anytime anywhere too, with the menace of terrorism.But u will never get this. ur just too stoopid. you have always been this way. It 's not ur fault, it's in ur blood. All I have to say is stop meddling in other people's businesses and do ur own work. Stop exploiting people and countries. Leave the continent of america and hand it over to the real inhabitants. Go back to europe and try to improve urself. Just try to become human beings. I know you won't get it. Ur just stoopid. It's in ur blood. And all u guys who keep saying you hate osama. Are u stoopid or what, hehe. Do u even have the idea what ur saying. That guy has a whole nation ,which calls itself the superpower, on it's toes. Americans are afraid cuz they are hated everywhere. Americans are jittery with the thought of going through another terrorist attacks. All americans think about is osama. They have him as the only topic of discussion. Stop this senseless osama bashing and look into urself. What you have done and what you have become. Only then can u solve ur problems. There is no other way. I am not a sympathizer of osama or a hater of america. I am just a person who loves humanity and the earth. I want people to survive on this planet as a race. Stop hating each other. Try to live in harmony with people who are different in the world. World is full of diversity. You have to appreciate that and try to live with it. But ofcourse I do not expect you to see any of this. Cuz ur just too stoopid. As a race, and as humans. U r a shame on society. May God Help you by giving you sense.
Iím still not really sure whether to get angry or to laugh out loud. How about you?
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Tonight was the season premiere of Enterprise. That’s hardly a noteworthy event, since I’m no Star Trek dweeb. I didn’t particularly even like the first season of the venerable series’ reimagining. It’s just that I didn’t have much else to do tonight, especially considering that I was feeling so tired (not to mention a little bit sick) that I couldn’t move off the couch. Literally couldn’t move from the couch.
And for once my utter laziness paid off.
Maybe it’s just me, and I’m feeling a little sexed up right now, but wasn’t tonight one of the sexiest episodes of any Star Trek series, ever? First there was the dispassionate Vulcan and butch-looking (but still uber hot) Subcommander T'Pol (Jolene Blalock) rolling around on her bed and showing so much stomach I wanted to go wash some laundry.
Then the mousy but cute Ensign Hoshi Sato (Linda Park), showing plenty of stomach herself (not to mention that little bit of skin on the small of the back, right above the ass, that I just love), but also squirming around in the Jeffries tubes topless (entendre much?). Regrettably I didn’t get any screen captures of that, but maybe you have some and will send them to me? Yeah you will.
All those young nubile bodies prancing around the depths of space got me thinking about the future. Forget an end to world hunger, violence and racism. Forget the constant adventure of space travel. Forget the extension of Americanized cultural imperialism throughout the known universe. The future Star Trek describes is a wonderful place, if only for the abundance of hot chicks in the military.
Today’s military is hardly known for its super-hotties. That’s why the pages of Playboy are filled with pictures of strippers (and once in a while the girls of the Ivy league), but almost never second lieutenants in the third infantry. Most martial women are so dowdy and/or mannish that most seamen wouldn’t touch them with a ten-centimeter pole.
But, if the trend continues, and Uhura, Seven of Nine, and Counselor Troi are the ugly chicks of the future (that their military service predicates), imagine what the hot chicks look like? If that is what the future holds, well, freeze my head and call me horny.
Oh, I almost left without the nudity, which is all you really care about anyway. So, here you go - if you thought Troi’s season one mini-skirt was revealing, take a gander at these topless pictures. You don’t have to be a mind reader to notice - those are boobs! I’m going to bed now.
The link list is now powered by Blogrolling. Blogrolling is so good. When I have some money, Iím going to give some money to him (Also Ben and Mena over at Moveable Type). You should give them money too.
When all was said and done, I had nearly 100 links on my list and there are actually still a couple more to add. You should click here now, and then go visit one (or many) of the sites on that list. Make sure to tell them I sent ya. Also, you should blogroll me. That is all.
i'd like to leave america for someplace where they would not speak english, and I might be understood
My email is quite Xed up. If you've sent me an email in the last couple days (possibly longer), it is very likely I never got it. And, even if I did get it, and responded to it, it's likely you never got that response. So, until those issue are resolved, please email me at this address (badsamaritan @ sprintpcs . com). That address goes directly to my cell phone, which is pretty groovy.
Remember when Bad Samaritan used to be fun? A laugh a minute riot of highbrow filth and inane pop-cultural references? I remember those days. I miss those days. I really do.
So, when Bad Samaritan re-launches sometime in the next couple weeks (to coincide no later than our second anniversary on October 3rd) the site will also be reborn with a new raison d'etre. Iíve been feeling for a while that things have sort of been floating by purposelessly around here. That itís been more about just writing something rather than writing something that is entertaining. I think itís obvious from the dearth of comments that most of you feel the same way.
Iím not exactly sure what the new purpose is going to be, but the two things that spring to mind are that Iím going to be having entirely more fun, and be entirely less reverent. If I have to go out and get drunk every night, have sex with strangers, and wake up in unfamiliar places missing internal organs, to make this place interesting again, then I will do it for you. I am just that kind of guy.
Iíll probably just go back to talking about monkeys and robots a lot more, encouraging teenagers to film their girlfriends having sex, and pissing off entire Christian colleges. Whatever ends up happening, itíll be a good thing, something truly worthy of the trusted Bad Samaritan brand name. So, stick around.
I had a dream.
Two dreams, actually, last night.
In the first of my unconscious double feature I was a Harry Potteresque witch. I guess, since Iím a dude, Iíd be a warlock. Donít want to offend any of my wican peeps. I don't really remember the plot of the dream, other than that I was running around doing lots of magikís.
It was sort of like a Hollywood blockbuster, there were lots of explosions and special effects, for no apparent reason other than to have a lot of explosions and special effects. Actually, I think the magic was just an excuse for me to ride one of these. That hypothesis seems especially true in light of my second dream.
And, speaking of second dreams, it is pretty weird that I remember even one dream in a night, much less two. I think it might have something to do with the copious amounts of red wine I consumed last night (8 or 9 glasses in only about 3 hours), which is also strange, considering how much I hate the taste of wine.
At any rate, the second dream, like the fist, didn't follow much of a discernable storyline. It involved me running around performing a very different kind of magic. If you know what I mean. If the first was a big budget Hollywood blockbuster, this second was low budget porn movie shot in someoneís backyard.
The weird part of the dream wasn't the sex; any guy who's lived through puberty has had his share of sex dreams (and any adult male whoís gone more than a couple months without a girlfriend is probably pretty familiar with them too). No, the weird part of the dream was my subconsciousís choice of partners, only two of whom really stand out; my ex-girlfriend (not so weird), and Anna Nicole Smith (mind bogglingly weird).
Another strange thing about this dream is that, as I went from scene to scene, partner to partner, not once did I finish the deal. Maybe Iím revealing some huge psychological problem, but Iíve never had a sex dream get to completion. Besides that Iím so pathetic I canít even get laid subconsciously, what does that say about me?
Yesterday was heavy.
I spent the morning just as I did last year. Home, alone, watching the news footage while listening to a rebroadcast of the Howard Stern show from a year ago. I didnít feel any better, watching the names of those killed on that day scroll across every channel, turning up the sound when I could bear to, but Iím certainly not the type to sit in a church, or light candles. Iím sure I could have come up with a better way to commemorate, but it was my way.
I rolled into work at noon. The place was quite, the atmosphere somber, just as it was in the entire city. My workplace, and all of New York, bustles constantly, but the city was subdued. I canít imagine anyone got any work done, but, at least here, where Iíve gotten used to water-cooler moments every hour or so, there wasnít even much discussion or laughter. Everyone, I definitely, was walking around in a daze.
After work, I went downtown to meet up a couple friends Iíve known since high school. I went to Stuyvesant, just two blocks from the World Trade Center, on Chambers and West Streets. I spent as many hours sitting and talking, or playing Frisbee in the little esplanade between the school and the Hudson River as I did in classes. That was where we met last night.
No one brought a Frisbee to throw around, and I doubt itís been so long Iíve tossed a disc around, I donít think itíd have been very fun. Besides, although yesterday, like the September 11th 2001, was clear and bright, but a clichť, but true, a cool wind was blowing.
It was nice sitting with people Iíd know for so long, whoíd shared so many of the same experiences. We donít really get to see each other very often, I hadnít seen Margaret, whoíd just flown in Michigan for the day, in 3 or 4 years. But when we do get together, it is always comfortable, as if no time had passed.
We sat in the park, two blocks from the World Trade Center, and talked about nothing. Literally nothing. In the shadow of what was no longer there, we didnít mention the Twin Towers, Osama bin Laden, the coming war in Iraq. We just enjoyed each other, revealed in each otherís company.
Iíd been down to Ground Zero before. A couple weeks after and a couple times since. Each time Iíve seen it, Iíve been moved. If you want to read me say I cried the first time I went down there, Iíll say I did. Iíll probably well up with tears every time I go down there, every time I see the footage of those beautiful buildings falling, no matter how many years pass.
But, since last year, Iíd never seen the World Trade Center from this angle. Heading back from the park, towards dinner at one of our high school hangouts, and walking the streets Iíd walked every day for years, it hit me so much harder. Maybe someone new to New York wouldnít feel it, but there was a visible hole in the world where the Towers used to be. Like an emotional black hole sucking pain, anger, this heartbreaking sadness and thoughts of revenge out of me. But, unlike the theoretical astronomical black hole, this one didnít just take, but mixed my pain with the pain of thousands, millions, of others, and gave it back to me. I felt something different that moment then I had in any other moment in the past year.
Iíve never felt so overwhelmed in my entire life.
I had to turn away, and walk on toward dinner. We still didnít mention the World Trade Center, instead, we drank, told stories, and shared plans for the future. I sort of wished we had, because although I know Iím not the only one feeling this way, itíd be nice to hear that out loud.
And here we stand. The day came on as usual. The sun rose. The crickets were chirping on my front lawn. I made my way to work the same way, at the same time I did 365 days ago.
I think about what happened one year ago often. I think about all of the people that were lost in so senseless an act. I barely pause to think about those who committed this act of deliberate destruction. I bend more thought to those I talked to that day, to the messages I passed on amongst friends, and amongst strangers.
Our cellular phones were not working quite so well that day. The internet became our passageway to each other. Instant messages and emails from people all over the world came to me, and passed through me to those they were destined for. I heard the sighs of relief as every single person on my lists came through, with some very close calls. I still have every single one of those emails.
Everyone has a story for that day. Some raced home to be with their loved ones. Some waited in horrible suspense to discover the fate of their friends. I will be near Ground Zero tonight spending time with some friends. I will be celebrating life, but remembering. I will never forget that day. The crickets will chirp. The sun will set. And here we will stand.
On September 11th, 2001, I was in the middle of my unemployment. Iíd left my last job in June, was scrounging freelance work as much as I could, but more often than not, I had nothing to do all day. So, it was quite surprising that I was awake at 8:46 A.M. considering I had absolutely no reason to be awake, with nowhere to be and no plans for the day. Maybe Iíd had trouble sleeping.
I really donít remember. The fact is I was awake.
I was listening to Howard Stern on the radio, making myself breakfast. They were talking about something ridiculous, as they usually do. Somewhat abruptly, Howard stopped what he was talking about, saying a plane had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I remember he didnít believe it, and that heíd be really mad if someone was bullshitting him.
For some reason, I did believe, Iíd already been moving from the kitchen into the living room to turn on the TV when Howard announced it was true. I hit the power button on the TV. The power button had broken years before, so I had to stick my finger into a little hole on the front of the TV and manually flip a switch.
The screen lit up. Pikachu was dancing. For a moment, I thought this was all some horrible joke. I started flipping channels. The North Tower on fire. The North Tower on fire. The North Tower on fire. Itís real.
The radio is still on, Howard talking. The reporter on the screen was talking. Images were flashing on the screen. There was so much information coming at me, yet none if it made any sense. How could this be real?
As the initial shock began to wear off, I either heard, or thought, its hard to keep it all clear, that it was probably just some pilot error, bad weather, instrument failure. Maybe I just wanted to believe that. And I began to.
Iíd lived through the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. My high school was only two blocks away. The í93 bomb shook our windows, knocked pencils off desks. But the buildings survived. I knew theyíd survive this too.
I muted the TV, watched the images, and read the scrolling ticker, while keeping Howard on in the background. Iíd grown up listening to Stern, every morning since I was 12. I wanted to be amongst friends, and that was as close as I could get.
I was staring intently at the screen when, what weíd all learn a couple moments later, a second plane crashed into the South Tower. All I could see was a great bloom of fire sprout from that buildings otherwise featureless surface. Suddenly, it became apparent that this was not an accident.
I sat for most of the rest of the day watching television, listening to radio, and surfing the internet, trying to suck in as much information as possible in a period when no one had any. It was all speculations and images with no meanings.
A little more than an hour after the first plane hit, the South Tower fell. A half an hour after that, the North Tower fell. There is no way I can possibly hope to explain what I felt as I watched the first, and then the second tower fall. There were no words then, and there are no words still today. Human language just does not have the vocabulary. Anything I tried to write here would pale to what was going on in my head; would be limper and more impotent than a pre-Viagra, pre-Britney Spears Pepsi commercial Bob Dole.
So, I wont try to explain. Besides, I donít have to. You all felt the same way I did.
I went to church that Sunday because I wanted to, the first time that has ever happened in my adult life. I lit candles. Memorized ďmissingĒ posters, in the off chance I could help find someone. But, for the most part, I spent the next month in front of a TV, watching the same images, over and over. Plane. Building. Fire. Death.
This story has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster and it is so easy to forget, in the light of the sheer immensity of this moment in history, that this is really a story about individuals. A story about thousands of real people. This is a story of heroes, of survivors, of the departed.
Amongst all those stories, mine isnít particularly exciting, but it is my story.
What is your story?
I've been looking through the Bad Samaritan archives from last year, trying to understand what I was feeling and thinking in relation to all the events of the year since. One thing I've realized is that I still feel as scared and angry and out of control about September 11th as I was while everything was still going on.
I hadn't gone back to those archives until the last couple days, not really wanting to relive those first few moments after the attacks. It was really pointless to not specifically read those archives, because there has not been a day over the past year that I haven't thought about the events of September 11th. I wont go into what I think about what I felt then; I'll save that for tomorrow. But I did I notice something strange and sort of quasi-prophetic about my post from September 10th. Here is an excerpt:
The webring I started, ameriBLOGS, has finally topped twenty members. Check out the list of ring members, visit their sites, and tell them all how groovy you think they are.
And if you happen to be a weblogger (or e/n or a/c person), and you reside within the United States, you should join the ring.
Why a ring for American webloggers you might ask? Well, Australians webloggers have their own ring. So do Great Britain, Canada, and Iím sure a whole slew of other countries that don't even speak English. So, to the world the United States is like some sort of hidden gem amongst all those other countries. In my opinion, there are not enough people who know about us in the U.S., but they should. It is kind like that beach in the movie The Beach, only, America would be a much better place if more people knew about us, came here, hunted sharks and smoked pot. Donít you think so too?
So, do your part by joining the ring and sharing with the world the little known features of American society, like our food (hmm, McDonalds French fries), entertainment (the world deserves to know about Rat Race), fashion (blue jeans and t-shirts are just too comfortable to keep to ourselves) and culture (guns don't kill people, people kill people).
I find it almost staggering that I wrote about the ring I started to help highlight American webloggers the day before the greatest tragedy in American history, considering the role bloggers played in helping get information out that day (I remember every major news website being brought down by excessive traffic), and the discourse they've helped generate since.
In the past year, many things have happened, one of those many being that the ameriBLOGs webring is now creeping up on 300 members. Go say "hi" to one (or many) of them now. If you haven't already, you should Join the ring, but even if you don't, remember to stay proud. I still am.
For no apparent reason, I feel compelled to share with you my favorite celebrity encounter. Not the encounter with my favorite celebrity, the encounter with a celebrity that is my favorite. With that semantic clarification out of the way, lets get on with the story.
Being a New Yorker, I've had my fair share of brushes with fame. Iíve lunch with James Brown, done drinks with Frances McDermott, stood in line behind Sean Lennon and shared a subway car with Lili Taylor, just to name a few of my many chance encounters. But one sticks out in my mind way beyond any of those stories.
This was back a couple years ago, when I worked in New Yorkís trendy Soho. I was at work on a Saturday, because that was the kind of guy I was before the man got me down. Soho on a weekday is trendy enough, with clothing shops with only five dresses, hanging lonely on their hangers. Three hundred dollar pairs of jeans. Small galleries filled with works by artists I would have heard about, if I were at all hip and connected at the New Yorkís steamy underbelly.
On weekends, the neighborhood became an absolute madhouse; people filing in and out of shops, to try on those five lonely dresses, or lined up to pay $12 for a drink outside of bars that didnít bother advertising themselves. That kind of stuff always makes me nervous, but I had to work, so I put up with it. Besides, all the models that lived and shopped in Soho frequently walked around in the kind of outfits you only see people wearing on VH1 House of Style. The kind of outfits that donít leave much to the imagination, which is for the best since after working 70-hour weeks, I donít want to have to use my brain, allowing me to watch and drool mindlessly.
By this time it was late Saturday afternoon, I was done with work as much as I thought Iíd be able to be done with work on a late Saturday afternoon. I decided, instead of just heading home and crashing, to walk around a bit. I like walking; it helps relieve stress for me like only one other thing can help me remove stress. There is something so very relaxing about walking mindlessly, especially since I donít have to get all worried about the other personís satisfaction.
So, I was walking around Soho, not really thinking or processing much, just absorbing and meandering. As Iím walking, someone steps out of one of the shops about 10-15 feet ahead of me. The world begins to move in slow motion, like the world always does in action movies at the end of the final battle, our hero bloody and seemingly beaten. Except, I wasnít bleeding and no one with a distinctly European, but non-specific accent was beating the crap out of me.
So, this figure steps out of the shop in front of me, and in the slow processes of my brain, it strikes me that this person is vaguely familiar. In fact, it sort of looks like my dad, slightly balding and definitely graying hair, a little round around the middle, wearing a too-tight t-shirt, too-short shorts, and loafers. I really think it could be my dad, if I could imagine my dad ever going to Soho, much less shopping there.
Iím staring at this person trying to get my mental gears grinding to figure out who he might be, getting closer, step-by-step. All of a sudden, it is slow motion, not like an action movie anymore, but a Ď80s teen comedy, where boy is walking towards dream girl, who is throwing her hair back and standing laughing with her cheerleader friends. The guy turns toward me and notices me staring intently at him, and as he does, it hits me. That isnít my dad, itís Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto) from TVís Murphy Brown.
As I realize this, Frank Fontana realizes that Iíve realized who he is. I am still slow motion walking towards him. He gets a look on his face like, ďOh, here comes another adoring fan, getting ready to ask for my autograph.Ē
The way I remember it now, I think he even was reaching to get out a pen. At this point, I am one step from him, but I donít stop, walking right past, our eyes on each otherís eyes as I strafe by him. I turn my head back around for one last look, and I see his body collapse in a dejected sort of sigh.
This is the obligatory American Idol post. I wish I could say I had naked pictures of Kelly Clarkson, Tamyra Gray, Ryan Starr, or Nikki McKibbin. Heck, Iíd even be happy to bring you naked photos of big haired Justin Guarini. *
But, I got nothing. Nothing but a few pithy words.
There were more than 100 million votes tallied to decide the winner of the first American Idol. That is nearly twice as many as were cast in the process of deciding the last presidential election. But, to make things fair, some of those probably came from people casting their ballots more than once. The same can probably be said about the voting for American Idol. [Insert rim-shot here] *
Seriously though, isnít it sad that more people took an active interest in a TV show than the fate of a nation, some might say the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. It is times like this that make me want to lie down in the middle of a field and wait for a building to fall on me. Maybe America does suck, just like all those people over there [waving arm vaguely towards the west, which he thinks is east] are right to hate us.
They may waste their lives, and the lives of others, by strapping bombs to themselves and getting on a bus, but at least their lives are a waste in a pursuit of something, ridiculous as it may be, that they are willing to give their lives for. Most Americans barely have enough gumption to get up off the couch, much less fly a plane into a major metropolis.
Iím feeling, as the anniversary of September 11th marches ever nearer, that it becomes more and more obvious that this is going to be another event, to be marketed and exploited, like Woodstock í94 or the season finale of American Idol. They may have made a (bad) movie about Pearl Harbor, but Iím just not ready for September 11th action figures yet.
I wish I could express the way Iím feeling now. Some things deserve to be sacred. My office isnít closing down on September 11th and everyone, everywhere, is talking about American Idol. I know, I know, that these things are not related. But, really, arenít they a little?
I canít claim complete innocence here. I wish I could, but I canít. I watched the show. Basically from the beginning, months ago. I spent my mid-week-summer nights in front of the boob tube watching a bunch of people competing for idolization. Do any of them deserve to be idolized? Does anyone at last weekendís MTV Video Music Awards deserve to be idolized?
I wasnít one of the 100 million calling in and voting, but I was sitting there watching. I wasnít out there helping people, or contributing anything worthwhile to society. I was sitting there watching TV. Not even PBS, but a bunch of one-dimensional figures singing pop songs, and it makes me angry at all the other people sitting in the audience, all of America, every one of you, and most of all at myself.
But did I get up from the couch? *
Hello, my name is Michael, and I am an office supply kleptomaniac.
[Pause for audience to reply, ďHi Michael.Ē]
I now realize, after years of denying the truth, that I have a problem.
What made me realize? I cleaned my apartment this weekend. Well, I wasnít so much cleaning as combining all the various piles of stuff into somewhat more organized piles of stuff. I found six different types of paper clips, which, altogether, coalesced to form two handfuls worth of paper clips. Iíve never, in my entire life, bought paper clips, nor do I have any reason to clip any two pieces of paper together at home.
That is what any of my five staplers (two desktop size, two portal, and one industrial) are for.
I also found I have three tape dispensers at home. Not three rolls of tape, but three dispensers. Those heavy, filled with sand, dispensers with the sharp little teeth on the front and the spiny wheel in the middle that you remove to add a new roll of tape, like replacing a roll of toilet paper. I have three tape dispensers but no tape.
I also found two bottles of white out. I havenít needed to use white out in nearly two decades, since we traded in the typewriter for a commodore 128 back in 1985. Yet, somehow, Iíve got two bottles of barely used white out stashed around my apartment, with no apparent explanation.
Sometimes Iíll reach into my pocket, and pull out a handful of thumbtacks. It is in those moments that a cold wave of dread sweeps over me, not because of the barely avoided scrotum puncturing, but because I have no idea how those thumbtacks got in my pocket in the first place. I donít even have thumbtacks or a corkboard anywhere near my desk.
And pens, lets forget about pens. Iíve got more pens lying around my apartment than you can shake a, well, pen at. Iíve got at least one pen on every flat surface of my apartment, not to mention a full complement of colors and styles in each of the backpacks I may decide to carry with me in the morning. There is a shoe box full, literally full, on the upper shelve of my closet, just because I canít possibly use them all in a lifetime.
Where did these pens come from? I donít know. I havenít bought a pen since I was getting ready for my first day of high school, way back in the fall of 1990. Yet, whenever someone looks at me and ask, ďGot a pen?Ē while patting various parts of their body in search of a writing implement of their own, Iíve got more than one to spare. The strange thing is, even if I tell them, when they reach to return pen, ďNo, you go ahead and keep it,Ē I find that very same ill-begotten quill back in my possession, hiding in a pocket or behind an ear, less than five minutes after walking away from them.
I am here today, admitting I have a problem; looking for help. Also, for anyone interested in some slightly used office supplies, cheap.
I've been debating over the next iteration of Bad Samaritan. Iím sure it's about time for a redesign; this current has lasted longer than any other (6 months now). Iíd wager I'm probably much sicker of this than any of you are, but I know I'm plenty sick. And there ainít no cure for this disease but hitting Photoshop hard for a couple days to bang out something beautiful and sparkly and fresh.
The new design is very pretty in my head, and pretty imminent. There is no way you can change my mind on this. No matter how many of you call and email telling me the current design is the most breathtaking thing youíve ever seen and to change it would be a crime. Nope, nothing any of you can say or do will convince me not to move ahead, except possibly money and/or nudie pictures.
Anyway, the point of this post is that Iím seriously thinking of getting rid of the whole separate blogs thing. It never really worked out the way I wanted, and is just confusing and stupid. I want to know if anyone has any valid reason for keeping this design and/or keeping the portal idea alive in the new design. So, what do youíall think?