Monday, January 31, 2005

Anybody Know The Answer To This Question?

Q: Why do you want to work for our company?

A: Because I need money and the sperm bank rejected me, again.

That's the honest answer, right there. Well, not the sperm bank part. But let's turn the tables here — if I asked the interviewer why he worked for the company, what do you think he'd say?

Friday, January 28, 2005

It's Not the Fall That Kills You...

Since the blizzard fell over the weekend, I'd been meaning to go sledding. It's the fun thing to do in the snow, like a winter roller-coaster, and I take it seriously. No upside-down garbage can lids or cheap plastic mold sleds going downhill for me; I own a hand-built wooden sled with thin metal runners for as little friction as possible. Today was, in fact, supposed to be the best sled day ever — thanks to my current unemployment, I could get the hills all to myself, so suck it everybody with school and/or jobs. No risk of sledding into some kid and winding up on "America's Funniest Home Videos."

So I drive over to Echo Lake Park, to the big hill, and bound up to the top with the sled in tow like a fucking six-year-old who uses the f-word a lot. And I sled down, speeding to the bottom, where the sled decides it's gonna bear right and toss me off onto the icy snow. Fun, fun, fun, although I really don't remember sledding hurting this much. Nonetheless, I do have the whole hill to myself, so I dismiss the experience as a sledding aberration and trudge up the hill again.

It's not an aberration. Sledding hurts even more when I get thrown a second time.

The third time, I wise up, sort of. I'll head to the least steep part of the hill, and I'll go down face-first, so I won't have my heavy boots pushing the sled in one direction or another. This works a bit better; at least, I'm not thrown from the sled this time. The sled keeps flying even when the hill stops sloping, but I'm going pretty slow by the time I crash into the safety hay-bales at the bottom. It's a pretty close call, to be honest. Some safety genius decided to build a little snow-ramp up above the hay so they could have what I'm sure is the singular pleasure of sailing off the hill and straight into an SUV grille in the parking lot at the bottom.

Anyway, it's like eight degrees outside, so I hang out in the car and warm up before a few more runs. I should've just driven home, but then again, I do have the hills all to myself, and aside from the bruisings and beatings, I am having fun.

So once more, I go up the hill, and I go down the hill face-first since it worked so well the other time. I try to slow the sled by dragging my boots across the ice, but that doesn't really help. I zoom down into the safety hay, which stops the sled, but doesn't stop me. I keep going past the safety hay until my face collides with a not-so-safety fence, effectively ending my sledding, my fun, and my dazzling good looks.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Hell — and Fanwood — Freeze Over

Maybe it is possible that Starr Jones... er, excuse me, Mrs. Al Reynolds really is the Messiah. You see, since it snowed up to my knees over the weekend, Mom is home from school today. This means that she'll not only spend today invading my personal space, like a long, long weekend, but I'll have to put up with Mom's desperate housewife morning television routine: Live with Regis and Kelly at nine, Ellen (who's honestly not all that grating) at ten, and, God help us, The View at eleven. So about ten minutes ago, I catch Mom watching Meredith Vierra, et al, so I steal the remote from her and turn the idiot box off. Which leads to the following conversation:

Mom: Hey, I was watching that!

Me: Well, you shouldn't support Barbara Walters. Did you see her interview with President Bush? She asked him, "Are you a cat person or a dog person?" Seriously, she's a professional journalist, for Christ's sake. Does that question really help create an informed public?

Mom: (agreeing with me although she doesn't want to say it yet) I didn't see that interview.

Me: And Starr Jones... I mean, Starr Jones-Reynolds. She really enlightens the public discourse.

Mom: Okay, put it on channel four.

Not that Jane Pauley is Walter Cronkite or Oprah or anything. I mean, she's barely Montel. But she's still better than Starr Jones-Reynolds, who, if you weren't aware, recently got hitched to some dude named Al. Also, she's under the delusion that her wedding reception from last month somehow spilled over onto the red carpet at the Golden Globes. Anyway...

Me: See Mom, I'm trying to el-e-vate society and you're just happy keeping it down.

All said with appropriate hand motions for "el-e-vate" and "keeping it down."

I was victorious. But that's not why Starr Jones-Reynolds, Princess of Avalon is likely the new Messiah. Mom can't figure out how to use the remote control for the life of her, so it's actually pretty easy for me win a television show victory over her.

Me: Seriously, who has a corporate-sponsored wedding anyway??!!

Mom: I guess you have a point.

Amazing! I got Mom to concede that a non-Paris Hilton celebrity overstepped the bounds of good taste! Mom believes that if you've been featured on "Access Hollywood," you're suddenly sacrosanct — J. Lo could have roasted infant for her Thanksgiving dinner and Mom would tell me I'm being unduly harsh judging her. "The media's just going after her because she's a celebrity and a powerful woman." Yeah, right, Mom.

But there's more...

Me: And did you hear what Starr Jones said about the tsunami?

Mom: No, what did she say?

Me: She said it was a "miracle" she wasn't there because she was just there a month before for her honeymoon, and even though 186,000 people died it's a miracle she wasn't there.

Mom: Okay, that's obnoxious.

In Starr's defense, she probably didn't mean it that way, but it just goes to show how massive her ego is, that she could think of how God chose to spare her before thinking of the tragedy that befell the poor guys serving her margaritas on the beach a month before. I know she's a big girl, but I'm totally stymied as to how that ego of hers manages to cram itself into her corpulent body. Okay, that turned out to not really be in her defense, did it?

Here's the kicker...

Me: Doesn't that make you angry?

Mom: Yes it does.

Thanks to Starr Jones' unbelievably insensitive behavior, I made Mom feel a little bit of the fury that permeates my daily existence! Yay! Now if I could only get her to feel this upset about the non-existent weapons of mass destruction and the appointment of right-wing psycho-Christian federal justices.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Did you all see Barbara Boxer take on Condi in the confirmation hearings yesterday? Condi was all like, "Oh, no you didn't be impugning my integrity," and then Barbara Boxer was, "I'm Barbara Boxer, bitch. I do what I want," and Condi was all, "Well, I been sleepin wit yo man, ho!" It was pretty much the most entertaining three minutes of television since the stopped showing white trash fighting on the Jerry Springer show.

By the way, if you missed the sparks, you can catch them again on Senate Confirmation: Too Hot For TV, which includes the part where Dr. Rice lifts up her blouse and says, "Oh yeah, oh yeah, he wants these! You gonna take me, girl?"

I also just noticed that Condi has a freakishly enormous head. Literally, too.

Things I Share A Birthday With

  • That chick who played Stephanie on Full House
  • The Apple Lisa
  • Men's briefs
  • Scrabble
  • Goethe's Faust
  • Dutch astronomer Jacobus Kapteyn
  • Snow in Miami (only happened once in the city's history)
  • Byzantine empress Pulcheria
  • Miss Malta 1997 Claire Grech
  • The shortest will ever written
  • WKBF in Cleveland and KFME in Fargo
  • The Japanese invasion of Burma
  • Acadia National Park
  • Molasses tidal wave in Boston
  • Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    I simply can not stomach the Condi Rice Senate confirmation hearings. It isn't the fact that she's a hard-line neo-conservative hawk that bugs me, nor the way she's completely incompetent and unqualified for the position. It's those wussy Democratic senators who are questioning her, including presidential loser John Kerry. Not one of them reflects my anger with the current administration: "Dr. Rice, turns out you were a big fat liar when you said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, you fucked up the crusade against Iraq so our soldiers are dying in terrorist attacks a year and a half after they put the 'Mission Accomplished' sign up on the battleship, and now you want a job promotion? What the hell is wrong with you??!!" Instead it's all congratulations on your nomination Condi, love working with you, thanks for your service to the country. And these are the GOODDAMN DEMOCRATS, listening to her lie through her teeth and fuck America and then thanking her for it.

    You know what also pisses me off is that she's doing better in her job interview than I ever do in any of mine. Like, even on the rare occassion that one of these senators tries to fuck her up, she's unflappable in her prevaricating. Maybe there's something to be said for these practice interviews, committing your meaningless corporate bullet points to memory, wearing a conservative pants suit and some lipstick — or in my case — a tie.

    Anyway, Condi's obviously gonna be nominated cause that's what you get for living in a kakistocracy. Well, in 2006, I'll be able to run for Congress (although I imagine I'll be too busy blogging to do any real campaigning). So then things are gonna change in this country! Yay!

    Monday, January 17, 2005

    This is the sign outside the east men's room in Grand Central Station. There is, of course, a corresponding sign outside the women's room (or, the "ladies lounge," as it's sometimes called). Now, my question: Is it really necessary to say "men Only" in bold, italic, and underlined? I can just imagine there being a really long line for the women's room, so one or two tomboys — probably two — figure they'll try their luck in the men's room. Just in case any of you ladies are getting any ideas out there, I wouldn't recommend this. Seriously, the men's room is, invariably, freaking nasty. Men don't want to go in there. But I digress, as these imaginary women and their full imaginary bladders approach the men's room and see the sign, men — emphatically — only, and turn back, frustrated.

    What's really disturbing is you know that they wouldn't put those signs up there except somebody did just that. But now that they've got those bumper-sticker sized signs up on the wall, we can rest assured that one bathroom will be devoted entirely to people standing up and peeing and the other will be solely seated pee-ers. Thank God.

    Okay, it could be worse...

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    Unprofessional Behavior

    I nearly missed the train this morning because the parking lot at the train station was full, as was the overflow parking lot across the street from the train station, and I had to park in the Carriage House lot, which was nearly full. The train pulled in while I was still on the wrong side of the tracks, and I ran across the parking lot, up the bridge, and then ran out of energy like a little wuss. I managed to stumble to the train just before it pulled out, and as I got onto the train, the assistant conductor said to me in this snide, condescending way, "Hope you've got a ticket."

    I ignore him, like my wussy parents told me to do when someone's being a jerk.

    So he repeats it: "Hope you've got a ticket." Like this guy thinks he's better than me cause he's got a uniform or something. I don't need this crap. Naturally, I start thinking of a way to get my revenge.

    Now, New Jersey Transit has customer satisfaction forms both in paper and online, and I've filled out more than my fair share of them. I've complained about the paucity of trains, the lack of a direct line from Fanwood to New York, and NJ Transit's chronic inability to get a train into the station on time, all to no avail. I don't think they give a shit that this guy's giving me lip — he's an assistant conductor and I'm a kid — I just can't imagine this ticket-taker telling off some fifty-year-old guy in a power suit. Either way, I'm gonna fill out an official complaint. But just maybe... I'll lie.

    How about this — I fill out the form and throw in a little storytelling and embellishment. The guy says, "Hope you've got your ticket," and then he said if I didn't have my ticket, he offered to waive the five-dollar on-board purchase surcharge if I sucked his cock in the train bathroom.

    Why the hell not? So what it's untrue — I demand to be heard and no one cares unless there's the threat of a lawsuit. I demand to see this guy punished for his insolence; I want him to know that he can't treat me like that.

    What did I eventually do? I filled out the complaint form, I named names, I told the truth. I sicken myself.

    A Completely Impartial Review of "The Very Best of BLACKOUT!!!" at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

    Erica and I went out to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre this evening for a show called, as you could probably guess from the title of this entry, "The Very Best of BLACKOUT!!!" Neither of us had ever seen "BLACKOUT!!!" before, if such a thing exists, so we have no way of telling whether what we saw really was the very best of "BLACKOUT!!!" or if the title of the show was just a clever marketing ploy to get naive us into the theatre. Didn't matter — neither of us had ever been to UCB before, we both wanted to check it out, I needed to catch a train home before the evening was out, and this was the earliest show. They could've called it "The Very Worst of BLACKOUT!!!" and we would've gone, thinking the title was some sort of subversive avant-garde improv thing.

    The show was only five bucks anyway, so it wasn't a big deal whatever they called it.

    BLACKOUT!!! is this sketch comedy troupe whose sketches are all under a minute long, so you get like fifty or so in an hour, not counting the set-up time between sketches. It was, uh... rushed, I guess would be the right word. Every now and then, I chuckled, but more often than not, I thought they'd be funny if they just tried a little harder. Like their timing was off, or they skimped on the set-up, or they stopped with a punch-line that anticipated another, funnier punch-line following it. I can't say it was easy getting used to the rythym, either, or jumping randomly between topics.

    So it may seem odd that I'm gonna give TVBoB!!! the best commendation I can possibly think of: if I had nothing else to do and someone else to do it with, I'd go back. I mean, it's fifty percent the cost of a movie and maybe like fifty-five percent the entertainment value, so I guess it's a pretty decent deal.

    I interviewed for an unpaid internship at the Cherry Lane Theatre this afternoon. I met with this woman Faye who seemed pretty cool and pretty into making me get the most out of this internship. Of course, the first thing she asked me, before the obligatory ice-breaker phase of the interview, was about my availability. In fact, at least half the interview was devoted to my schedule, which I found a little presumptuous. Not for nothing, of course, but considering how my previous job left me with relatively open-ended work hours, I might have been taken a bit aback by Faye's emphasis on scheduling and implied insistence that I stick to the schedule we'd set up. I guess it's a non-profit organization, so you really can't complain when they don't have any money to pay you, but come on, folks, most people like something in exchange for their labor. You get what you paid for. With these internships, the theatre gets a lot more than they paid for, so I don't think they can really complain when one of their indentured employees shows up a bit late for work. If it's that important to always have someone on duty, just hire an extra unpaid intern or two. It's not like the budget can't handle it.

    Anyway, the interview was miserable. I guess I'm still not quite in the zone after getting terminated at the other theatre, and I said some things that were a bit asinine and some things that were a little too honest for a job interview. Then I had to balance out the scales with a couple of white lies. Mostly, I guess I was just disengaged by all the talk about my schedule.

    Aside from the obsession with sticking to a schedule and the not getting paid parts of the job, it actually seems like something I'd want to do for a few months. I would be working with the production department, sitting in on rehearsals and working with the people who are actually creating the play on-stage. I'd also be helping the tech department during shows, and working with the development department, grant-writing and marketing and website-updating in the down time. I'm just not sure about the whole thing. Part of it, I know deep in my bones, is my natural anxiety whenever I have the opportunity to start something new. But there really are practical concerns. It's about time I grow up and get a full time job where I can support myself, not to mention the damn student loan people who are demanding their money back. I have until Monday to decide, but I don't think I'm gonna accept the internship. I'm just trying not to be so hasty in making my final decision.

    I can't say that I'm phenomenally thrilled about the readership pattern of my blog. I downloaded the graph below from, and as you can see, readership spiked as my employment prospects drooped. On average, my blog gets 15 page loads a day, two or three of which are probably me. On Friday, my blog got 13 page loads, with 12 unique visitors. On Sunday, there were 47 page loads with 6 unique visitors. On Black Monday, I had a whopping 88 page loads witih 24 unique visitors and 18 first-time visitors. The page where I rag on Tony got 19 hits, more than six times any other page.

    Now that everybody at Theatre Row's forgotten about me: 10 page loads and 6 unique visitors.

    Honestly, I was operating under the assumption that no one ever read my blog. Maybe there'd be the stray visitor who clicked on the "Next Blog" link at the top right of the page, but they'd be few and far between, and they'd be from somewhere like Switzerland and wouldn't bother ratting me out. Nobody I knew would ever stumble across the blog, and they certainly wouldn't bother reading it, because they have no interest in me whatsoever.

    So there's a lesson in this: if you want people to read your shit, you've gotta bad-mouth your colleagues. Not what I was hoping for. (Damn guilt!)

    Monday, January 10, 2005

    Denial, Anger, Grief...

    I guess I'm responding to my job loss by going through the five stages of grieving, like my lame webmaster position at the theatre is a lost pet or a dead distant relative who used to write me checks for my birthday and Christmas. I was in stage one, denial, when I wrote my earlier post. Now I'm in stage two: I'm fucking pissed.

    Okay, Society, here's what I did. I posted someone's first name on the internet. I did not post anyone's home address, or phone number, or social security number, and there's plenty of people on this goddamn planet who wouldn't have been so fucking courteous. What I wrote could not have possibly been more innocuous, and to be nailed for it is fucking ridiculous. What am I supposed to do, have my lawyer okay every goddamn thing I write, say, and think?

    You know, Jay, none of this shit would've happened if you weren't so freaking judgmental. So antisocial. Yes, I do know that.

    This is why I sit in the fucking corner and keep to myself, why I resent the living shit out of my loquacious ex-co-workers who seem physically unable to do that, and why I have to tell somebody, dear readers, about their ridiculous idiosyncracies. Let's pretend, for the sake of argument, that I'm not divine and I screwed up this time. Like I'm the first person on the whole freaking planet to do that. Why the fuck are those football players who lived on, and ravaged, my floor junior year getting away with their dumb shit?

    And how about this; here's a little (true) Theatre Row story for you. The day before I wrote the offending post, I'm working on upgrading a computer and Erika, the Big Boss, calls me over the intercom asking for Adam, the second-in-command. Adam walks in a few seconds later and I tell him that Erika called for him. So he picks up the phone, dials her extension, and screams into the phone, "What do you want, bitch?" She (presumably) says something and he replies, "Whore!" Now, I don't know what fucked-up theatre planet these people come from, but here on Earth, calling your boss a bitch and a whore is a bit more firing-worthy than simply alluding to a co-workers existence on your blog. Where's Adam now? Still working at the desk next to Erika.

    Where am I? Bitching in my blog.

    Oh, yeah, here's another thing, speaking of "bitch." I have never called anyone a bitch to their (her) face. I'm being a little picky with my language there, and it's not going to matter for the point I'm about to make. One time, about five years ago, Anne and I were in her room and her sister was outside being, shall we say euphemistically, obnoxious. And I said, "Boy, she can be a real bitch if she wants to," (and, I'll note emphatically, saying someone can choose to be a bitch is very different from saying someone is a bitch). Anne freaked, as if I was the one behaving like a bitch. Now (a) what I said was the fucking truth, (b) it was probably what Anne was thinking too, if not for the b-word, and (c) if anybody who didn't share Anne's bloodline were behaving the way her sister was at the time, Anne herself would have quietly agreed with me. Something similar happened recently, which I, frustrated, won't write about here because it involves a friend who I'd like to keep a friend. Same idea — word "bitch" was used, out of context — whole freaking international incident about it. Adam calls his boss a bitch; nothing. Rappers call their escorts bitches; nothing. R. Kelly, for fuck's sake, takes a piss on one of his twelve-year-old bitches; nothing.

    Maybe there's something to this. Maybe this passive-aggressive bullshit isn't the way to go; you should be just plain aggressive. If someone pisses you off, call 'em on it. Throw something, something heavy and preferably sharp, at them.... Hmm, I can't say that I see this working very well.

    It's not what I want. I want people to follow the rules of society, and I want society to dispense with all the arbitrary, pointless, useless rules. I want good people to be rewarded — not in the next life, but in this one — and I want bad people to be punished. No, maybe not. I'm big into schadenfreude; I'd rather see everyone miserable. But maybe that's just because I don't believe anybody is really good. I want peace and quiet and introspection and zen, and I want an end to everyone's insecurities and their in-your-face, invading my personal space, self-aggrandizing bullshit. I want everyone to understand that the truth and a lie aren't kind of the same thing and I want the "Mission Accomplished" sign to stay packed away until the mission actually is accomplished. I want the meek to inherit the earth.

    This is surprisingly cathartic. I should rant more often. Also, I'm disturbed that my blog got 23 hits from the Theatre Row IP address alone, when it usually only averages twelve hits total a day. Everybody's so curious....

    You can get the worst, most watery, tasteless, astringent coffee in the world at the Soy Luck Club at the corner of Greenwich Avenue and Jane Street. I guess that's kind of what you expect from one of those organic vegan places with "soy" in the name. So why am I sitting at the counter recommending the place? They have fake grass around the windows, and free wi-fi access! Beat that, Starbucks!

    Don't get the wrong idea; we like Starbucks too. But seriously, Starbucks, beat that.

    I've Been Censored! :-(

    I lost my job, thanks to my blog. Last week, I wrote a little piece about my co-workers, now ex-co-workers, who were largely obnoxious, irritating assholes. So I got called into Erika the Big Boss's office this morning and she told me that someone anonymously forwarded my blog to her, and I had mentioned one of my ex-co-workers by name, and that was a security risk and "totally inappropriate." Yeah, God for-fucking-bid. Anyway, "you can't work here anymore," so I had to leave, my only consolations being that I'd write about the experience in my blog for all of you to read and that, of course, there's the possibility that the theatre will collapse, killing everyone inside except the recently-fired.

    What pisses me off is the balls I don't have in handling the situation. First of all, mentioning a co-worker's name in my blog is not, by any stretch, "totally inappropriate." Walking on stage in the middle of a performance and urinating on the lead actor would be totally inappropriate. Mentioning She Who Shall Not Be Named (and I don't know why the hell I'm not using her name now, since it's not like they're gonna be able to fire me again or anything) might have been poor judgment — and I don't even concede that — but it's much less inappropriate than firing someone for casually posting a co-worker's name.

    To some extent, I understand her point, and if Overreacting-Bitch Erika (that's Erika Feldman, by the way, and if you want to get in touch with her, her e-mail is asked me to take that post down, I would have gladly. I mean, if I were in She Who Shall Not Be Named's position, I would've been totally comfortable writing (possibly imprudently) about every detail of my job and every weirdo I encountered during the day. So I don't think writing down someone's name is such a big deal. But, on the other hand, it's not like her name was an essential part of my little post, or that the post was that freaking hilarious to be worth sharing with the world anyway, and I would've taken it down.

    You know, all I was really trying to do was something nice. I spent like eight paragraphs ragging on this guy Tony for making a deliberate choice to behave like a cretin, and I thought why not throw in a brief sentence at the end mentioning that not everyone at the theatre is a total jackass. Oh, wait, here's why not, cause it'll get you fired. Well, if I'd known that, I'd've kept my mouth shut.

    But, now that I'm no longer welcome at the theatre, I can tell you what I really think of my co-workers:

    Erika: overreacting bitch, I already mentioned it but I thought I'd mention it again.

    Jonathan: no complaints.

    Felix: can't really understand his accent, but no complaints.

    Shawn: kind of intense.

    Jim: thinks his desk is some sort of garbage can.

    Tony: other folks at the theatre (dare I name names???) think he should be thrown out in the middle of 42nd Street — I just wish he'd shut up.

    You know what thought came over me? Maybe they're afraid that thanks to my security breach — like I'm working at the CIA or something — there'll be some sort of lawsuit on their hands. Which is kind of weird, because I wonder if I can sue them for firing me because I wrote something on my own private website, outside of work, using none of the resources at the theatre. Fine, maybe they don't like being mentioned (then I'm sure they'll love this post), but it's not my fault if their security is lax, and it's not like I signed some sort of non-disclosure agreement preventing me from ever discussing the details of my job. Besides, where does it end? Would they have fired me if, instead of publishing a name in a blog that only five or six people have ever looked at, I casually mentioned this name to a friend?

    I think we all need to band together to do something about the Man interfering in our personal affairs. In the meantime, I'll be fantasizing about revenge, like the revenge I never got on the asses at Sparknotes who let me go. Someday, I'll become world dictator, and then to the plutonium mines with them all!

    Saturday, January 8, 2005


    I woke up this morning to find my cable modem on the fritz, recussitating itself for a few minutes in between hours of receiving a dead signal. How frustrating...

    Always one to look on the bright side, I figured that at least with the modem out of commission, I'd be a lot more productive today. A typical day of mine consists of three or four hours sitting in front of the computer, masturbating to online porn. No internet means I control my sex drive for those four hours and reclaim them for, say, working on my play or writing computer programs, spending a Saturday expanding my mind. So what do I do on my Saturday off? I spend three hours in the afternoon sleeping, followed by watching VH1's "Top 25 Cheesetastic TV Celebrities."

    Thank God the internet's up and running again, so I can get back to blogging.

    I Stink Of Diner

    I think I've gotta add the local Scotchwood Diner to my list of places from my pre-college days I can no longer frequent, which also includes the high school, the library, and the prom. But tonight, Anne and I revisited our old, old days — it's been four years of college plus two of high school since we met, which I was completely surprised to learn is a total of six years — by heading back to the diner. I came home, but I didn't feel like going home, so I called up Anne and asked if she wanted to go out, and the diner is pretty much the only non-Dunkin' Donuts place to go after midnight in Fanwood.

    So to the diner we went.

    Unfortunately, the diner was overrun by these asshole little high school students, and I mean they were like fucking roaches there. I swear, there were more high schoolers at the diner than there are in our actual high school. And they were all in this one big clot, which, sad to say, is how I remember high school for everybody except me and Anne (and Josh Hamerman, but no one gives a crap about him). We sat down, looked at the high school clot, looked at the menu, looked back at the high school clot, then I told Anne, "We need to find a bar."

    To which Anne said, "We need to find a bar."

    Something tells me I should've ordered rum in my hot chocolate. Really loudly, too: "Yeah, can I get a hot chocolate with whip cream and, uh, a SHOT of RUM. CAPTAIN MORGAN'S or BACARDI, if you've got it. Hey, YOU WANNA CHECK MY ID?"

    It's weird, cause pretty much before I got inside the diner, the thought that I wouldn't fit in never even crossed my mind. Sure, there'd be some high schoolers. There'd be some of my peers, like I sometimes see at the Y. There'd be some fat middle-aged white trash smoking and talking about trucks or beer or something, like it was when my peers and, tangentially, I ruled the diner. Things've changed, though, more or less. That Seth kid who plays the guitar and acts like he's got ADD. and mysteriously appeared in Muse one day and started charming the crap out of everybody ('cept me, of course), he was there, too, buddy-buddy with all the high schoolers, especially the ones with the two-contrasting-colors hair or the metal shit in their faces. So that's it: either you hang out with high schoolers cause you just can't muster up the maturity to grow up, or you move on to a place where they won't let high schoolers past the bouncer. Unless the high schoolers have fake ID's, which they invariably do, because Anne, Aneesa, the Loewingers and I were the only high schoolers on the planet who actually followed the goddamn rules.

    Friday, January 7, 2005

    I Am At Peace, and I'm Not Sure Why

    Thus begins my evening.

    I'm gonna meet Erica and ex-asshole Steve for dinner at Grand Central Station at 7. Around maybe 6:55, Erica gives me a call and says there's some sort of emergency at work and she' s stuck in a meeting; she'll be done in maybe fifteen or twenty minutes. Now, it's not like Erica is a firefighter or anything — she's an administrative assistant (i.e., a secretary with a personal assistant's duties) at Court TV, and I really can't imagine what sort of "emergency" Court TV could possibly have. I mean, what sort of problem could they possibly have that can't be solved by just showing repeats of "Forensic Files?"

    Only tangentially related:
    I saw a pool guy with a pager once. What kind of pool emergency could you possibly have? "Guy jumped off a diving board, needs a pool!" —Steve Skrovan

    Forty-five minutes later, Erica and Steve show up and drag me to this Mexican place in the food court. They claim it has quote the best guacamole unquote, a little expensive, but we can all split it. The restaurant also has the world's most obnoxious mariachi music blaring, loud enough to fill a stadium but in a space only slightly larger than my old dorm room. So it's like one of those high school dances with the thumping music where you say, "Damn this music's loud!" and your friend says, "What?" and you say, "What?!" and your friend says, "WHAT??!!" until it's no longer funny, which happens pretty fast. So it's not like I can talk to Erica and Steve, or hear what they say.

    Which is fine, because they spend the entire freaking meal bitching about work, so it's like one really, really long, tedious inside joke that I'm not even gonna put in the effort to try to hear. This happens pretty much every time I meet with them (which only happened once this far), and it's not like they're gonna even give me some context to put their little conversation in. Not that it would matter, cause I guess this restaurant realizes that mariachi music is less annoying than this conversation.

    Then, for some deranged reason, they invite me to spend the night with them at Steve's place in Astoria. Uh... what??? They've spent the past hour griping in this world that I'm not a part of, and now they want me to stay overnight with them for more? Problem is, Erica and company are pretty insistent when they want you to do something with them. And I'm not really hip to new situations — like spending the night in not-my bed — even if I did want to spend more time with E&S, so I've gotta make up some cheap excuse for leaving. It's not my forte. I say I've got an appointment tomorrow morning at ten, which leaves Erica scrounging for a way to get me from Astoria to Fanwood tomorrow morning by ten. Thank God no one can think straight in this mariachi hell.

    Okay, so I should be feeling bereft, but I'm not really.

    I catch the PATH on time, but run to the train in Newark just as it's pulling out of the station. The next train doesn't leave for fifty-five minutes. Dad refuses to come pick me up in Rahway, which would get me home before the next Fanwood-bound train even leaves the station. I should be pissed! Thanks a lot NJ Transit!

    But I'm not pissed. I am at peace, and I'm not sure why. I sure would like to know, 'cause this being at peace thing is really fucking nice and I'd kind of like to duplicate it.

    All Hail Michael Newdow!

    From the New York Times:

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- An atheist who sued because he did not want his young daughter exposed to the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance has filed a suit to bar the saying of a prayer at President Bush's inauguration.

    Michael Newdow notes that two ministers delivered Christian invocations at Bush's first inaugural ceremony in 2001, and that plans call for a minister to do the same before Bush takes the oath of office Jan. 20.

    In a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Newdow says the use of a prayer is unconstitutional. The case is tentatively scheduled Jan. 14.

    Last year, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed the same lawsuit, saying Newdow did not suffer "a sufficiently concrete and specific injury." But the decision did not bar him from filing the challenge in a different circuit.

    Newdow is best known for trying to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

    He won that case more than two years ago before a federal appeals court, which said it was an unconstitutional blending of church and state for public school students to pledge to God.

    In June, however, the Supreme Court said Newdow could not lawfully sue because he did not have custody of his elementary school-aged daughter, on whose behalf he sued, and because the girl's mother objected to the suit.

    Newdow refiled the pledge suit in Sacramento federal court this week, naming eight other plaintiffs who are custodial parents or the children themselves.

    No Purchase Necessary

    The following arrived in my e-mail from the Columbia College Alumni whatever:

    From: Emily Morris
    Reply-To: Emily Morris
    To: ******
    Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 14:59:51 -0500
    Subject: Classes of 2003 & 2004 - *PARTY*

    Columbia Classes of 2003 & 2004
    invite you to

    like it's 2005!!

    When: FRIDAY, January 14, 2005
    10pm til you drop
    Where: mAnnAhAttA (316 Bowery)
    Cover: NONE if you're on the guest list or say you're there for the Columbia Party
    RSVP by Wednesday, January 12 and get on the guest list (no waiting in line, no cover)

    WIN raffle prizes including airline tickets, fine wine, sports tickets, dinner for you and friends with Jerry Sherwin, and much more... but ... you're only eligible if you've made a gift to the College Fund in the current fiscal year (July 1, 2004 - present).

    Oh, I get it.... they're trying to get me to donate to the College Fund. Those tricky little alumni association bastards. Apparently the $140K+ I've given to Columbia this far, not to mention the student loan I'm paying off, isn't enough for these folks. Well, thank God I don't really fly anywhere, and I don't like wine, or sports, and I don't even know who the hell Jerry Sherwin is or why the hell I'd want to have dinner with him.

    Maybe because he's paying?
    Some further research reveals that Jerry Sherwin is the ex-president of the Alumni Association and a member of the class of 1955. So, yeah, I was just thinking that my friends and I don't eat dinner with enough octogenerians.

    Thursday, January 6, 2005

    Hate hate hate the locker room at the gym. I have to say that I have never in my life felt a need to get naked in front of other dudes — I mean, it took like three and a half years to get naked in front of Anne — so I have no idea what the hell these old, wrinkled guys are thinking. Don't they have a shower in their homes???

    Wednesday, January 5, 2005

    God, I despise Alias. But fortunately, I hate it on principle, in the same principled way I hate most things. It's not just the show's mediocrity that bugs me, it's that everybody else seems to love the damn show. First of all, when it came out in 1999, Alias was just another Buffy the Vampire Slayer rip-off, with all of Buffy's gratuitously hot violence but none of its wit sustaining the otherwise interminable story between the fights. But its bigger sin — aside from somehow getting nominated for an Emmy — was coming out at the same time as A&E was debuting the British show MI:5, an infinitely better spy show with developed characters and real storytelling, and no one watched it because they were too busy whacking off to Jennifer Garner.


    Let's talk about my job, which I usually don't do. An average day at work has me coming in and asking someone, hey, what do you need me to do? The important people at work are in meetings twenty-four/seven, and no matter when I come, I'm interrupting, so they tell me, "Let me find you in five minutes." Six hours later... it's time to go home.

    Not that I mind coming into work and not working. It's my dream job, really. All I have to do is look busy in the event that someone comes to my little corner of the office — which is actually a lot of hard work — and make the occasional website update, eating about ten to twenty minutes of my workday. So you can imagine my disappointment when, on Tuesday, my supervisor at the theatre said his supervisor wanted to have a talk with me. She wanted to "discuss what I actually do around here." Damn.

    So today I headed up to the big boss's office with my tail between my legs and a half-assed story about how the website requires maintenance and just because you can't see the changes I'm making to the website.... Well, whatever. Turns out there's a computer in the box office that refuses to be connected to the internet and the virtual private network simultaneously, and it's my job to figure out why. (I vaguely remember reading that the internet and VPN are incompatible, but I sort of need more info on that...) I head down to the box office to check out this intractible computer; too bad neither I nor Michelle, who's working down in the box office this afternoon, knows the password to log in. We've gotta wait for Tony, who owns the computer, and who I really want to talk about.

    Because he is one of those people who won't shut the fuck up, and really ought to. He is an ac-tor. And, when he finally came in and logged into his computer, he has an Alias desktop wallpaper, which is just plain embarrassing.

    Thing is that I find a lot of the people at the theatre off-putting, with their self-confidence, their easy-going blather, their goddamn irritating tendency to randomly break into song. It's especially irritating when the song their breaking into isn't a song so much as a radio commercial jingle or some Alias-retarded Top 40 song that played on the radio about three minutes ago. Seriously, Tony, does the planet really need that? Do we need you introducing this southern-drawl woman Wren by "she used to play shortstop on our theatre softball team."

    Me: You guys used to have a softball team.

    Tony: No, I just didn't want to say she used to work here.


    [There used to be a brief paragraph here mentioning that not all my co-workers (now former co-workers) were freakwads, but it got me fired. So screw it. They all suck. —Ed.]

    I hope they don't read this.

    Monday, January 3, 2005

    I was watching Love Is In The Heir on the E! network, when "Princess" Ann Claire (and by the way, what the hell is she the princess of???) revealed this personal tidbit to a potential suitor: "I grew up in a palace and I had servants to do everything for me. I didn't even know how to pour a glass of milk until I was fifteen." Okay, how freaking stupid are you if you're fourteen years old and you don't quite understand gravity? I wonder if I'll ever stop being shocked when some TV diva reveals how retarded she is. First, we had Jessica Simpson, and I thought no one could possibly be that dumb. Then, there was The Simple Life, and I was pretty damn sure we'd reached the limits of human stupidity outside of the White House. And now this...

    "Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." — Albert Einstein