Monday, June 28, 2004
We killed Comcast. They were useless. 10 days without internet. How did I survive? How did you, my loyal readers, survive? If you want to organize some kind of class-action suit, be my guests... but you gotta find the lawyer. It'll be like "The Sweet Hereafter" only with no incest (or so we can hope.)

Some kind of biting insect has found its way into my basement. I am itchy in many places and it doth suck.

Today (Sunday... yesterday really) was a day off for me. I spent it as I usually do these things: sleeping through most of it, watching some TV, a DVD, surfing the 'net, and not leaving the house. I have reached the conclusion that 14th St is the very armpit of DC, and so refuse to go there except when I have to (one good example of such being going to work).

{Have I mentioned my new commute on here yet? It starts out with two blocks up a pretty steep hill, deadending on Lincoln Ave. I take a left on Lincoln, which is another block or so uphill, past the Discalced Carmelite Monastery then between two different cemetaries. After that it's pretty much downhill, hanging a right on Rhode Island, straight down for a block to get over North Capitol (this is nigh Joycean in its sense of place-- scholars and stalkers will now be able to pinpoint my location to within a block. Stalkers will then have the advantage of being able to ask anybody in the neighborhood which house has the white people). Once I'm over N. Capitol I jump a curb and end up in my old neighborhood, still going downhill. It's all pretty flat from there, except for the one block after Anna J. Cooper Circle. From there, the commute is exactly the same as before. However, I have discovered a brand new bike lane on R Street and I go the extra block out of my way so as not to have yahoos honk and bitch at me instead of just passing me as would be sensible.

The way home is reversed, and if you noted the amount of time spent going downhill on the way there you will quickly realize that I get a workout. The hill is not as steep on the way home, but it is much more sustained. As I reach the very top, I see the cemetary gates looming right in front of me and am seldom able to resist a triumphant (if short on breath) "NOT DEAD YET!" The last two or three blocks are straight downhill with a sharp right turn-- a turn I've been taking a little faster each night until Friday, which resulted in an inner elbow scraped on rainslick pavement. The other downhill bit, right before Anna Cooper Circle, lets me get up a good bit of speed and coast around the half-loop without turning the handlebars, just leaning right, left, right. That's my favorite bit of the whole commute right there.}

Anyway, I do not go to work early and I do not stop anywhere for drinks afterwards. Just there, shift, back. I'm even more of a shutin than ever.

My conversations today were mostly limited to M. coming through my room to do some laundry and taking Megan on an extended walk at 1AM. Megan and I have long one-sided chats on her walks that occasionally aspire to the Wildean.


"Is it OK if I come through?"
"Oh you're up, I was expecting half-naked curled-up-in-bed mode."
"Did you take the lint trap out of the dryer?"
"Did I what?"
"It's missing."
"Have you been doing more lint experiments?"
"You got me, I've been cramming it all into my own belly button. My navel is defective and doesn't produce any lint of its own..."


"Let's go for a long walk! I actually left the house for the first time today! Let's go up over the hill and back! ... OK, turn around now. We're turning around! HEEL! Why are you so insane? Oh, you want to walk through the cemetary now? Sure why not... but if we see any Goth Kids fucking we leave without saying anything. The Goth Kid population is dwindling and we all know they refuse to mate in captivity... What are you doing? Get back here! It's just a bush. That's just a tree! Why are you just sitting there looking at me like that? Are you looking at a zombie over my shoulder? Are you communing with the dead? I don't want to know if my dog's a medium... you're really more a small, though, aren't you? BACK on the road! I won't have you defiling anybody's eternal resting place..."

And so it goes. Next weekend promises to be a bit more interesting, what with high explosives on the docket and all.
Friday, June 11, 2004
Mourning in America

Cafe Owner's Fiancee: "Do you know if Jeff Tweedy is still in Wilco?"
Bob: "Ummm, no idea really."
COF: "Then what good are you, Bob? What earthly good?"
B: "Not much at all, really."
COF: "That's not true-- I hear you're pretty good at ranting about Reagan."

There seems to have been some misunderstanding however:

I have come not to celebrate Reagan's death, but to mourn his life.
The Reagan Memorial: An Immodest Propositional

Reagan on Rushmore? Reagan on the dime? Reagan on the ten dollar bill? All thinking too small. Way too small.

What we have to do to remember this great man, this cowboy turned president who restored Hope to America, is give him the kind of memorial he deserves. Right on the National Mall. I've even figured out the perfect location-- to complete the work Reagan started and his acolytes continued, we tear down the FDR Memorial and build his right on top.

The centerpiece of the Reagan Memorial will (of course) be a giant statue of the Great Man himself, replete with "Gipper" football helmet with a cowboy hat perched atop. He will be staring rightward, gaze slightly aloft, seeming almost to be willfully looking away from the AIDS patient standing behind him, hands held aloft in supplication. His arms are outstretched, hands throttling two figures, one wearing a hardhat labeled "American Unions," the other barely holding onto a loaf of bread, "American Middle Class" emblazoned across its back. Over his left shoulder we can see the figure of two Death Squad members murdering a nun. Over his right, Oliver North giving Osama bin Laden a Stinger Surface to Air Missile (not entirely accurate, true, but we all know how the old man loved his historical embellishments). Beneath his feet are the crushed remains of the Solar Panels which Jimmy Carter installed on the Whitehouse roof before Reagan declared Morning in America and removed them.

How dare you say he doesn't deserve such tribute!? This man won the Cold War!
Saturday, June 05, 2004
I went back to the Sprint Store yesterday and they couldn't fix my phone.

So they gave me a shiny new one.

I finally got to check my messages and it turns out that my car has been ready since last Friday.

Sometimes things turn out OK.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
It Has Been Said That Things Sometimes Fall Apart-- Something About the Center Not Holding Up Its End of the Bargain...

Anybody who is still reading this thing must have an appetite for navelgazing that borders on the masochistic. In an attempt to win back the readers already lost I'll make a shift back to the concrete and bitch about a simple external physical fact:

Everything I own is breaking.

First off my car. Having gotten through the winter months apparently intact, it nonetheless refused to start. Beyond that, the battery would not take a charge. It was while attempting to charge the battery that I noticed something else: that the right rear tire was completely flat. A few weeks later I took off the tire and affixed the spare donut, after which I removed the battery by hand. I took that battery to AutoZone, where they confirmed that it would not take a charge and sold me a new one. I installed the new battery successfully, and without electrocuting myself. The next step was to replace the tires, which I did the Monday morning after my sister's birthday, which I spent in Annapolis with my family.

My father dragged me out of bed very early in the morning (especially so since I had been completely unable to fall asleep until shortly after sunrise) and we went to the Annapolis NTB. He convinced me to buy four new tires by offering to pay half the cost. After this I headed back to DC and went to work, and worked all night on two or three hours of sleep. Longtime readers of this 'blog may be interested to know that The Girl, with her usual genius for timing, showed up that afternoon. Being too exhausted to avoid her, I was sucked into the last actual conversation we've had, which revolved around an absurd debate over the pronunciation of a musician's name.

Just how I want to remember her.

Now we fast forward to my recent move, which left me neglecting this dear internet-based log for a bit of a while. Given permission to pile boxes in the living room at the new place, I had the luxury of packing things over the course of a week or so and bringing them over in loads. It was the last Wednesday of April. I had brought a second load of boxes over (books mainly, and computer equipment) and was catching my breath on the couch when I realized that I needed to get to work. I hopped in my car with plans of driving straight over.

At the intersection of 3rd St NW and Rhode Island Ave I was rear-ended at a red light by a big white van. My car has been at the body shop for the last three weeks having its bumper replaced and the dents banged out of the trunk (which would not open, making moving a delightful experience... stay tuned on the off chance I some day decide to narrate the extra-delightful culmination of my moving experience). I do not know the state of my car, because the body shop only has my mobile phone number, and the phone is the latest victim of my EVERYTHING! BREAKING! spree.

But first... I decide to go retro.

I've always had a bit of the mid-century in my sartorial aesthetic. Neo-boho one friend called it. Clothing that a young Bill Burroughs might have worn. Trench coat, fedora, long umbrella. Throw in some half-reformed grunge and a healthy dose of indie-rocker dork and you got me pretty well.

So when some horrible bastard planted the idea of retro shaving in my head, I decided to spend an embarrassing amount of money on a new razor and accessories.

They didn't arrive until after I had moved, which forced me to chase them through the annals of FedEx, a harrowing tale that randomly involves a sixteen wheel truck trying not once but twice to run me off the Beltway on my way to the ground shipping depot in Beltsville, MD. I tried to take down the offending insane person's license number, only to find he had no rear plates.

You see, my car used to try merely to bankrupt me, then it moved on to trying to make me lose my mind. Now it has moved on to actually trying to kill me.

But on to my exciting first experience of shaving... with a straight razor! I shuffled through all the new fun stuff: brush, mug, soap, strop, wetstone, the same aftershave my grandfather used to use. I sharpened the razor, I stropped it, I worked up a lather with the brush and spread it over my face... somewhere along the way, I managed to chip the blade. I still don't know how. My first time using it, and...

But now my phone and my credit card have both stopped working. My card has all of $140 on it, so don't go thinking I'm in financial trouble or anything. The card has merely stopped working, and people are starting to yell at me about it. The phone not only has stopped synching with my desktop, it refuses to recognize any memory cards and will not find the Sprint network. PalmOne and Sprint continue to give me the runaround, and it seems that tomorrow I'll have to visit the Sprint store in DuPont for the third day in a row... because the best thing some bastard could recommend was some cryptic scribbling about downloading a new PRC... which makes no sense, given that PRC is not a program at all but a file type. And even if I could figure out what I'm supposed to find and download and find it to download, how would I get it onto a phone that WON'T SYNCH WITH MY DESKTOP!?

All of this has left me with a sincere desire to break something on purpose.
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Please Pardon the Following Psychobabble Dump

Sometimes (now among them, in case you couldn't otherwise have figured it out-- that is to say, if you're a thickie) I stop to think about all the opportunities I've been given in life, all the advantages I've received, everything that's fallen into my lap, and I marvel at what a pathetic show I've made of this life. Lonely, underemployed, rudderless... and nobody but myself to blame. If I had two ounces of confidence or ambition to rub together (what a shitty metaphor! how does one rub confidence against ambition? what would happen? one can presume a(n entirely metaphorical, of course) spark, but what if they just scrape each other's top layer off? I suppose that's more likely for self-loathing and sloth, which I have in (metaphorical) spades

{is this amusing anyone but me, and even that only for this exact moment because I'll read it later and hate myself even more for being such a self-involved and linguistically over-indulgent twat?}

and which seem to produce only a blubbering farting sound when rubbed together) I'd have taken the privileged upbringing, the loving and supportive family (overbearing father and ineffectual mother notwithstanding), the modicum of talent and intelligence, the overall health and good looks, and all the lucky breaks and made... well, shit... what the fuck would I make? If I could have anything what would it be?

I guess here we have found the problem. Lack of goals, meet lack of ambition... or is that just the face of a mirror?

And what has spurred this latest round of caustic introspection? What else? A night out drinking, realizing that even in a tiny scene in a tiny town I'm surrounded by attractive women and yet I haven't even smooched anyone since October. Some of them even seem (seeeeeeeem) interested in me, but it also seems that I am entirely incapable of capitalizing on this, I have no clue how to proceed. Others seem entirely oblivious to me, and I have no more clue how to present myself to them.

Why is romantic failure always for me a reminder of my overall failure? For about as long as I can remember love has been the thing that has seemed furthest from my grasp. I had it for all of seven months in '98 and I thought everything was all right forever, and that very blindness lead to my losing it.

Late in April the following year I was very depressed. Probably the most depressed I've ever been. I regularly considered killing myself, absolutely convinced that things would never get better. At my lowest point, a voice of reason asked whether I could be so certain that this was so, and I decided to give my life a year to get better. Some patient sector of my brain suggested ten, so we split the difference and decided on five.

I was walking home from the bus stop in Auburndale, MA. I stopped in the middle of the street, pulled out a pen and paper, and scribbled down APRIL 30, 2004. If by that point my life had shown me nothing better, I could feel free to end it.

When that day came I was too busy moving into my new place to even note its passing. But I'm free to guzzle cyanide now if such is my fancy. Have the past five years shown me that things can get better? Well, they're certainly not as bad as they were then, so that's one answer. But it all... the unexamined life, it has been said, is not worth living. The overexamined life simply feels so.

So is finding love, the unattainable grail of my life, really the answer? Or maybe I just hope to forget all my missteps and failures in the embrace of another. Or maybe the one thing you feel unable to have will always seem like the answer. Possibly that's why I sabotage every opportunity: to avoid the inevitable disappointment of love's actuality.

But those seven months... what I remember the most is just how EASY it all felt, how much of a relief it was to discover that loving someone who actually loved you back was no big deal. The Big Deal came clamping down again only in its absense.

Of course I can track the whole thing down to inexperience, which is so often self-perpetuating... due to its root causes: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown. The Self Help books say that all these causes can be traced back to one original Cause, that being SHAME.

So, I have ammunition here for the next time someone accuses me of having no shame. BITE ME!

I was telling someone earlier tonight that the reason I so often seem misanthropic (to some, aloof to others) at first is that my first reaction when I meet someone new is to assume that they dislike me. I often continue to assume this until they clearly demonstrate otherwise. So to avoid their judgment, or possibly to avoid leaving myself open to attack, I close myself off. Present nothing of myself, just silence or some false front-- the job, the music, the sad clown. Pretend to be invisible and hope it becomes true (then feel weird and alienated when it essentially does).

This whole thing has no culmination. There is no revelation or breakthrough to be found, just yet another cycling through of all the things I spend too much time thinking about and not enough time actually trying to change. Because I don't know how to change them. And because I'd be exposed to the possibility of real failure if I ever got past them.

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