Friday, July 29, 2005

Sitting at Home, IS my Job

Finding a job is one of the more depressing things in life. It's demoralizing, humiliating and difficult. Difficult on the level of locating the proverbial needle in a haystack. What's more, is the trouble with deciding what you really want to do in your life. There are people in the world, ambitious people, who are born with the inherent knowledge that they want to be a doctor, a lawyer or an NBA star, (aren't all kids, at one point or another, going to be an NBA star? I was going to be the first female NBA player, but then I actually played team ball and hated the whole teamwork thing, especially when some jerk would set a pick and I'd run right into the damn thing) and I can't stand these people.

They see their goal like a distant, hazy tower. But it's there, you know, and they plow forward, toppling goals like they're sand castles on the beach. They make it look easy and you know they'll get there, leaving you behind in the process, staring at your hands and feet, sort of grunting, wondering what these limbs do, swinging them slightly, trying to get the hang of it so you, too, can topple sand castle-goals.

Anyway, that's me. Still trying to get the hang of my limbs. Still unsure of how to topple goals. To put it more accurately, trying to figure out which goals are the ones that will take me where I want to go. That's tough, because I have no idea where I really want to go. That's why I got my M.A. I didn't know what to do after I got my B.S. and so I thought, "Well, I like studying folklore . . . so I'll just stay on, here, and get my master's in folklore." Now that I have it, I have no idea what to do with the rest of it (get a PhD? Or gamble and finish my book first and become a hot-shot, rich author ala John Grisham and Danielle Steel? It's the quandary of the century).

But I should be glad I'm not an entertainer, or something. You know, a girl waiting to get her lucky break in Hollywood, willing to do most anything, clammering to be on the screen, to be in the limelight, to be noticed, please, just notice me. You might argue with me on that because I have a blog and I'm writing so you'll notice me. But it's different. I write this and you come to me.

In Hollywood, the producer or director sits in their little chair with one leg over his knee, drinking a latte and smirking at the crowds of hopeful, big stars. And you know all of them want to be a star, even the set guys, building things and the mic guys, holding boom mics and the key-grip guys, handling the lights. They all want to be stars. They're all hoping for some twist of fate, say a twisted ankle, yeah, the lead guy falls and twists his ankle. The director, on a whim tells key-grip Ted to do the lead guy's lines and since Ted has studied acting at such notable places as Riverdale High School, he completely wows the director. "Ted, you're in, Bill, with the sprained ankle, is out. Wow, what a lucky twist of fate, eh?" And Ted, who had his beginnings as a humble key-grip man, is on his way to being the next Brad Pitt (because it just so happens they're also all very handsome, the set workers and caterers). It's a beautiful story. Someone should make a movie out of it.

Most importantly, it's more depressing than my situation. Why is it more depressing? Because it's depressing to think of all those foolish people in Hollywood, desperate to be noticed. And then when one of them makes it, all the rest of us look at them with respect and awe. And that's depressing too. What have they done that's truly respectable? They've wanted to be noticed. They've wanted acclaim. It's like they never got past elementary school.

Well anyway. It's not that I don't like to watch movies, because I do and I have my favorite actresses and actors and directors and all that (Minnie Driver, John Cusack, Woody Allen, yes Woody Allen, don't argue with me). But while a part of me watches and loves it, another part of me looks on in revulsion and loathes it. I'm constantly torn. That's me, that's my entire life in a nutshell. Constantly torn. It makes for a difficult existence.

And that's why I'm dying without a job. A part of me likes the freedom and wants to simply write. Stay at home, write, take little coffee breaks to go watch the world go by at a coffee shop (but not for the coffee, for the entertainment of it all and to get ideas, you know), finish my book, try to make it as a freelancer (what a beautiful word: freelance. I think it's more beautiful than any other word, even the famed cellar door). But this other part of me, the frightened practical part is like, "Get out there. GET A JOB! Get benefits. Somethings going to happen, oh no oh no oh no! You've got to do something. You need money and benefits, the shit's going to hit the fan." It's a very frantic, scared voice. And I'm torn. And I'm humbled. And I don't even know what kind of job I want to have.

The good news is that Stoker got a job. He started yesterday. I'm quite sure I married the best man in the world. I'm not quite sure about his choice, however.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I can't sleep. I don't know why, but you know how it is. You're thinking about everything. Suddenly you focus on all the reasons you can't sleep and you notice every detail around you. Just before I got up to write this, the sounds from outside my bedroom window became loud and intrusive. A train whistle blowing in the distance caught my attention and it made me remember autumn nights in Logan, sleeping at the Baugh's. And then all I could think about was Logan and how much I miss it, how sad I am that I won't be there for fall, and it will all go on without me. All the seasons are not to be missed in Logan, but of them all, autumn is my favorite.

Just before we moved Stoker and I visited an old poet-friend, Star. She gave me all the news of the USU English department. Sadly, several of my old professors have cancer -- two of them have pancreatic cancer, just recently diagnosed. Star says it's the valley, there's poison in the air. Another time I'll tell you why this might be completely valid. Right now I just want to say that even if the valley is poisonous, I miss it terribly.

I suppose part of the beauty of the human experience is feeling nostalgia. I mean, it's great that you can even feel nostalgic about a time in your life. In spite of the crappy moments, you know. Well anyway, I've only just left all those days behind me, I moved from Logan a year ago (the one-year anniversary falls on July 16th) and just barely left singleness behind on June 3rd.

But already I feel pangs of nostalgia for those days before Stoker, when I was learning how to appreciate being alone. If you can't appreciate being alone, it seems to me you can't appreciate having someone to love and share your life with. There were nights at the Baugh's hearing the train whistles just blocks away and loathing my life that was so barren without love. It's stupid that I can miss that, but in some moments, like tonight, I do.

It isn't that I'm not happy where I'm at. No way. This, the present, is really really good. I'm married to my best friend. I want to live my life with him, you know, the hard times and the good times and everything in between, while sharing all the casual times together like reading in bed before going to sleep or writing while he fiddles around with his recording stuff.

I simply think being happy where you're at requires the ability to look back and think you were also happy then. Or something. I'm not really sure, I just know that I'm so glad to have found Stoker. But I remember the times before him and how I was searching for someone with all the characteristics he has and didn't think there was a man like him out there . . . well, I guess I like to remember those times. It makes me appreciate him more.

Maybe that's what I mean, that remembering is important.

And I don't want to forget those nights at the Baugh's in the dark, staring at the gray ceiling, hating the loud train whistles (the Logan train whistles I now miss), trying to sleep while wondering if there would ever be anything other than lonely nights by myself. I was happy then, though lonely. But, now . . . I'm happier now and not so lonely. It's the contrast that's beautiful, I think.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

It's "Monsoon Season" in Hell

If you haven’t noticed, I’m back. Online, that is. Francisco the Cox Cable Man, came by today and worked everything out. N.B., the problem with our internet was the cable company's fault and not mine or Stoker’s.

Previously not featured on Talking to the Walls: last week Stoker and I drove fifty thousand miles across the southwestern deserts to end up here, in the heart of the desert. Why would anyone live here? And on purpose no less? I have no idea, but if you’re looking for strip malls, this is the place. I think the strip mall originated here.

Anyway, in a nutshell, we pulled a full U-haul trailer behind my little 4-cylinder Tacoma, with the bed and extra-cab stuffed with years of accumulated stuff (I’d say shit, but I’m trying to curb the cursing), and we also put more stuff in the Mazda 626. All that stuff makes me think of a Billy Collins poem:

Memento Mori

There is no need for me to keep a skull on my desk,
to stand with one foot up on the ruins of Rome,
or wear a locket with the sliver of a saint's bone.

It is enough to realize that every common object
in this sunny little room will outlive me—
the carpet, radio, bookstand and rocker.

Not one of these things will attend my burial,
not even this dented gooseneck lamp
with its steady benediction of light,

though I could put worse things in my mind
than the image of it waddling across the cemetery
like an old servant, dragging the tail of its cord,
the small circle of mourners parting to make room.

Great, isn’t it? I think so. It relates because there we were, dragging a heavy U-haul, with the bed of the truck laden as well, with objects we’ve gathered in our meaningless lives to give us weight and to tie us to the earth … so important and every one of those objects cold, unfeeling and—in spite of all my Disney or Brave Little Toaster imaginings—completely ungrateful to be dragged along. It’s just funny. Tragic in a way, but funny.

I got the copy of the poem off the internet, which means if there are any mistakes they’re not mine. Incidentally I don’t have the collection this poem comes from (Questions About Angels, but I have all the others) and so I don’t know how the original reads.

Currently: we’re trying to find jobs, so if you ask, I’ll tell you I’m depressed. Stoker seems to have found one (Stoker who is wandering around the apartment muttering things to himself in Spanish). Well done, Stoker. As for me, I’m looking for anything. Well, not anything, anything. But rather than hold out for a corporate job, I’ll take a job at a bookstore or music store (which, depending on where I get a job, is corporate in another way). That’s what I love anyway, and from my earliest years have thought it would be heaven to work at a library or bookstore. When I was 19 or 20 I applied at the Barnes and Noble by my house and the bastards turned me down (not that they even interviewed me. They just never contacted me and I didn’t think to call them because I was 19). They were such elitists, I still hold a bit of a grudge. Now I have my M.A. and I’m over-qualified, but willing to take the pay cut because a retail job strikes me as healthier than a desk job. In fact, my legs have been aching the past week, out of too much use, I think.

But regardless of the fact that I don’t have a job, hallelujah we have the internet!

p.s. Mesa isn't really hell. It's quite nice once you get used to it.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Troubles with Cox

Sorry to neglect you*. We got into Mesa on Tuesday night, after much caffeine and driving. Since then, we've unpacked and set most things up, but not the internet. We've been trying to set it up, but Cox is an internet service provider full of bastards and I swear they didn't really hook up our cable. Not only that, but the jerks won't have anyone out to fix the problem until Tuesday (I have no leverage, either, since my apartment complex will only let us use Cox). Stoker and I have had to buckle under the pressure and find the public library.

So here I am, at the Mesa public library, listening to some guy (I think he's partially deaf), try to find the Harry Potter series. The problem is, he thinks it came out in the 60s. The librarian keeps telling him, in her most polite yet firm voice, that Harry Potter didn't come out then. He won't listen ... I mean, he won't give up and just accept that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out last year. And now there's a security officer (I hate security officers, they're always such jerks) standing by the "Ask Here" desk, oh wait, he's standing right next to the belligerent patron. Man oh man, I do not envy the librarian. I would have shaken the patron by the shoulders already and yelled in his face, "There was no Harry Potter in the 60s, how can I make it any more clear!!!!???" Well, now the big security officer just escorted the patron out, who apparently will now be going to the Tuscon libraries to find this mysterious 1960s Harry Potter series.

But seriously, I sympathize with deaf people, I really do. It was just his over all belligerence and ignorance and general stupidity about the whole affair. I'm sorry. Maybe he was also a little slow or something.

So anyway, I haven't found a job yet and neither has Stoker and we're both very depressed about it. Well, I'm not depressed so much, just worried. I'm sure it will all work out in the end, but right now I feel guilty over buying anything. Yesterday I went into this sweet cd store called Stinkweeds (looking for a job, believe it or not) and impulsively bought one of Mirah's albums. I didn't tell Stoker until today and he thinks I'm a horrible wife now. Okay, so maybe he doesn't think I'm horrible because he just came over to give me some kisses (but really he did that to get on my good side so he could borrow my palm pilot). I have this awful sickness, you see. An addiction to buying music, movies and books. I hardly ever buy clothes or anything else and so I always look like a hobo. But at least I have my music, books and cds. Honestly, you should see our apartment. We have 4 guitar amps and 5 guitars, plus Stoker's recording equipment, two book shelves and about a billion cds, with a smattering of records. Sound cool? It is. It's very fun being me, save for the fact that I currently have no income.

Oh, and that was a lie. It isn't fun being me. I have an addiction. I need help.

Alright alright. I must go. Who knows when I'll return. Maybe I'll end up in Tuscon, looking for a 60s version of Harry Potter. Kidding, kidding, that was really mean.

*you meaning my millions of readers and fans.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Moving Out

Everything is loaded into the U-haul trailer, the Tacoma, and the Mazda. We're leaving in a few minutes. First, I just want to say I don't know when I'll be online again. Maybe in a few days. Sorry, but everything is packed and we'll be on the road for a while, so no computer access. We'll stop in St. George tonight to stay at my cousin Dave's. Then tomorrow morning we'll go the rest of the way to Mesa, through Las Vegas. This way we're not busting our butts to get there in a day.

My mom's cat, Yum Yum, (aka Yummy) is sitting on my lap, loving me. She's the most beautiful calico you've ever seen. Soft as a bunny. And talkative. I love her. I think she knows we're going and she hates it, I just know this is how she feels because I speak cat (okay, that's a joke). You have to see her, she absolutely adores Stoker. As do I.

Anyway, we're off!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Last Day

I'm trying to leave work. It's taking forever. You know, it's my last day here and I'm scared of the future. Who isn't? Maybe there are some people who aren't, but I'm not one of them. I'm trying to delete all my files and copy all the others to this external hard drive to take home. I have all that music I've converted to mp3 and mp4 or whatever. It took hours to do it and I can't just let it disappear. Anyway, Stoker is waiting outside and I'm ansy as hell.

On Monday we leave for Mesa. The desert flower. Why you would build a city in the middle of hell, I don't know. But that's where we're going. Stoker starts school in about 2 weeks and that will be a great change for him.

I have so much more to say, but this isn't the post for it. Right now I'm just dying for my stupid files to finish copying. It's like waiting for water to boil. Poor Stoker, he's probably suffocating in the heat. At least he has a good book (Straight Man).

Some girls from work took me to lunch today. It was incredibly sweet, though I think I must have ate something with garlic in it and I feel sluggish. I'm allergic to garlic, it's the bane of my existence. Everywhere we go, restaurants cook with garlic. It makes dining out a grueling process, rather than enjoyable. BUT, at least I'm not allergic to cheese or peanuts. Because I love peanut butter.

Files are done. Leaving soon. I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Whatever You Do, Never Get a Chase MasterCard

Last night, I finally got my refund check from Chase Mastercard.

I closed my account with them a few weeks ago, but they owed me a refund. Why did they owe me refund? (I know my readers love this style of rhetoric.) Because last summer, on July 31st , they supposedly received my authorization to start a payment protector plan. I never noticed the fees they were charging me because I pay my bill online and so it went on like this for several months. And, as you may know, they’re bastards and if you only pay your minimum payment, you’re really only paying like $5 of your balance. The rest is finance charges and interest.

After college, I was barely making enough to scrape by and somehow, my balance went over the limit (I might have had a payment that was a day late). So then I was being charged for being over the limit, on top of my finance charges and interest and everything. It ballooned. I would pay the amount that was over the limit, but that wouldn’t cover it because of the finance charges and interest. So I never got ahead. I was drowning.

I hate the bastards. No, no, hate is the wrong word. Not strong enough. Something stronger. I loathe them.

And you know, I accept responsibility for the portion that was mine, I’m not blaming them for what I spent. And even the interest is okay because that’s how it works. That’s how they make their money. I understand that. It was the day-late charges and the over the limit fees and finance charges. They weren’t taking care of me as a client. They were at war with me. Jerks.

Finally, I had to borrow an exorbitant, absurd amount of money from my mom to recover from these over-the-limit fees and that whole b.s. Then I figured out the payment protector plan b.s. They said I authorized it on July 31st, as I mentioned. Which was a complete, blazing lie. On July 31st, I was on my way to Omaha to see my sister and I was about to start a job the following Monday, so I wouldn’t have even worried about the payment protector plan and whatever it does. Chase would have called my mother’s house because that’s the number they had as my permanent residence, and no one would have answered.

So Chase owed me a refund. It should have been taken care of in March. But they don’t respect MY rights to MY money (and what about interest on the money they took? I could have been earning interest with it). They took their time, dawdled, waited a few months. While I was closing my account, the girl I spoke to said I’d receive the check in 3 to 5 days. It never came. So last week I got an account statement that said I had a credit return on my card for $109.86. It was supposed to be $110.00. Where was the fourteen cents. They stole fourteen cents from me! I looked around on the statement some more, searching for the fourteen cents. There it was, in a finance charge. A finance charge for a balance that they owed me.

Okay, okay, so I don’t understand the whole pack of lies credit card companies have established in order to screw their clients (who reads the miles of fine print anyway? It’s in annoying lawyer language, irritating and confusing). But I wasn’t budging. They owed me the money, they should have sent it months ago. It’s been war now, for about a year. I mean, I hated them from the beginning, but I always paid my bill on time and when I used to pay in checks, sometimes I enjoyed writing “you bastards” on the memo line. Just to vent and to feel like I was sticking it to the man. I’m the kind of prisoner who hates their captor. None of that Stockholm Syndrome crap for me.

I called Chase again last week and spoke with (again) a girl with a foreign accent -- already annoyed as hell and now you have to deal with a language barrier, and it’s not just people from other countries, it’s also people with thick Southern accents. Already annoyed and you have to communicate with someone very difficult to understand.

“I want my fourteen cents,” I said, or something like that. “Why are you charging me a finance charge on money YOU owe me? This account was supposed to be closed months ago. I don’t want a statement showing that I have credit, I want the damn check and I want this account closed. Why haven’t I received my check? The girl I spoke to when I closed my account said I’d have the check in 5 to 7 working days. What’s going on?” I riddled her with accusations and questions so she couldn't get a word or a protest in edgewise. It's a good tactic. It worked. She relented and gave me everything I wanted.

Apparently no one had “verified” the refund. Whatever that means. She gave me back the fourteen cents and cut the check. I got it last night.

And Stoker teased me about the fourteen cents. But he knows it’s not so much about the fourteen cents as it is about the principle of the thing. He knows you have to fight for every penny from the bastard credit card companies because they are Satan. Or Satan’s minions. And Chase is trying to take over the world. They’re everywhere now, haunting me. Even though I’ve closed this account, every day I get a credit card offer in the mail from some Chase company promising me low interest rates and 0% APR. Lies, I tell you, lies.

The worse part of it was that as soon as I paid off the majority of the balance, they raised my credit limit, so much so that when I had been over the limit, it would have taken care of the problem. They suck. They’d take your soul if was worth money. Since it’s not, we’re all very lucky.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I'm Not Saying I'm Hot

My boss has been interviewing people for my job. Currently there’s a girl in the last cubicle on the row, doing a computer test. I haven’t seen her face, but from behind she looks like one of those hot items a man would hire just because she’s a hot item. You heard me right. I’m saying she’d be hired on looks alone, even if her writing skills were basic at best and her experience was comprised entirely of recycling aluminum cans and selling used jeans to one of those obnoxious businesses with outdoor signs reading, “We buy back used 501’s!!!!!!”

Okay, so I’m being a jerk. It’s very easy to be a jerk when you have a chip on your shoulder about the workforce. Anyway, I’m a hot item myself, what have I got to complain about? (FYI – I was hired by a woman.)

But it’s true. I remember when I was 19 and the manager of an independent music store hired me based solely on my looks. I don’t necessarily think I’m a hot item (yes, that was a joke earlier, what I said about being a hot item myself), and so it surprised me to find out that was part of his criteria (he told me, later, after we became friends. FYI – we’re not friends anymore).

My last job was at an independent music store and my manager, Bryan, joked that the only reason he hired me was because I was the token hot chick. Hot is not a term I would apply to myself because I’m my harshest critic. Who thinks of themself as hot, even if they secretly think they’re attractive? And anyway, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that up ‘til now, I’ve seemed like the type who would beat the hell out of a man who talked to me or about me in this manner. And you’re right, I am that type. Why I didn’t punch Bryan in the nose when he said stuff like that is a mystery to me. Stoker is also perplexed by this glaring incongruence in my personality. I could explain it, but what good would that do? Perhaps it was because Bryan was (and still is) my friend and I found it funny that he’d say it.

There was a time in my life, during my naïve high school years, when I tried to change the world. My girl friends spent a lot of time with stupid guys who had little respect for girls. I chose not to hang out with them because usually, what happened was that I’d tell the guys to shut up and stop talking like that around me and to show some respect for women. So the guys hated me. No loss.

Years later, I figured out that you can only change yourself. It was, and still is, exhausting to get riled up over everything. I’m not saying it’s okay to just give in and lower your standards. I’m just saying that instead of beating the crap out of Bryan or other guys, I either don’t spend time around them, or I laugh it off and try to discern the intent behind the remarks. I guess I’ve always figured that Bryan’s intent wasn’t to hurt me. In fact, during the dark years (the period after Keith, the bastard, broke up with me), Bryan was one of my bodyguards. Not that I needed a bodyguard because I was never in danger of being attacked. But had the need arisen, Bryan would have been there to beat stupid Keith into a bloody mess. (It turns out Bryan is a large guy, with mitts for hands. But he’s kind and loveable.) It’s good to have a bodyguard or two. During those damn dark years, I had three. Bryan, Scotty, and Matt.

So, I feel this moral quandary about the people trying to get my job, to take it all back to “the hot item in the cubicle.” I feel this obligation to tell them how awful the job turns out to be. Or maybe it’s just that I’m useless here and always have been and that’s why I feel awful, but it won't be like that for one of them. Last night on my way out of the office, I passed my boss and in my head I asked him, “Why the hell are you still paying me?”

He didn’t answer, of course, but I’m sure I have the answer. The answer is that he doesn’t want to fire me. If he fires me, I can collect unemployment. Might as well just pay her to sit in her cubicle, doing nothing. Better to have her here in case of an emergency, you know, rather than pay her to sit at home, playing Xbox. Or something.

Not that I’d play Xbox, given the opportunity to sit at home. I’m sure I’d do something more constructive, or go do something active outside, like walk my aunt’s Chihuahua (“Chihuahua? What are you talking about?” Click here.)

Yesterday I bumped into one of my old roommates, who, it just so happens, is interviewing for my job. She was a good roommate and it was excellent to see her. But the whole affair reeked of the Twilight Zone. How many coincidences can one week hold? I mean, what with the whole Robert Goulet incident and buying the Sufjan Stevens album from Shawn Brackbill and all. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Click here.)

I’m going to say it, regardless of the risk. I hope they don’t hire the hot item. I hope they hire my old roommate, even if she might eventually end up wanting to commit hari kari. Call me shallow, but I can’t have a hotter (or even comparable) hot item replace me. It just wouldn’t be fair.

Not that I’m necessarily hot.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Coincidence? I Think Not

So, last week I heard the Sufjan Stevens cd. Then I remembered the whole fiasco with the cover, and the original artwork bearing the image of Superman on it. DC Comics were fighting to get it removed (though why they didn’t fight with the producers of Seinfield, I don’t know). Sufjan’s label did a recall right about the time the album came out on Tuesday, and so none of the cd stores in Salt Lake had them.

I have this annoying trait—I think I inherited it from my crazy father—where I want to collect things. So, what would you do, if you were in my shoes? That’s right, I went to Ebay and bid on a few of the cd’s with original artwork. I won one of the auctions. The seller is this guy sbrackbill. Oddly enough, I was reading the music news about Q and Not U breaking up and the band mentions this guy named Shawn Brackbill. Let’s be honest, how many S. Brackbill’s can there be? It’s like my last name: Grotepas. Sort of a tongue-twister. It’s Dutch/French and everyone in America with that last name is my relative. So anyway, sbrackbill who sold me the album is Shawn Brackbill. Why does this matter? I don’t know. I just though it was interesting.

Interesting and strange. It’s like Robert Goulet. You know the Will Ferrell SNL skit where he makes fun of Robert Goulet? I thought that was just a made up character like Richard, the copy machine moron. So I’m looking through the records at my grandma’s house this weekend and, hello! I find two Robert Goulet albums, one of them with my mom’s name on it (should I be embarrassed or proud? I don’t know, since I haven’t listened to the music and Will Ferrell has made fun of excellent musical figures before. I mean, come on, Neil Diamond?).

Robert Goulet is REAL? And I thought I knew things about music. And then, I’m looking through my copy of The Soul of the Night and on the acknowledgements page, Chet Raymo thanks Robert Goulet and some lady for their support and contributions. Robert Goulet? What is this, the Twilight Zone? You know what I mean. There should be a word for this phenomenon, where you haven’t heard a name or word EVER and then suddenly, you bump into it two or three times in the space of a day and a half.

Maybe there is a name for it and I’m just not aware of it. Maybe in one of Jay Ingram's books. Maybe.

*remember the post about my odd father. What a character. If you want to read it, click here. Though I’m warning you, it’s rather long.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Spring City and Dialect

The tent worked out great. It was easy to set up and spacious. Before going to sleep, we went on a walk through Spring City. In case you're wondering, the population of Spring City is just over 950. I don't know what the exact number is, but it's grown quite drastically since I was a kid.

Spring City is made up of a motley group of intellectuals, artists, simple good people, widows (like my grandma), white trash and perhaps a few meth addicts. I guess since it's quite small, the weirdos stick out. On our walk we passed some trashy looking homes, you know the kind, Jeff Foxworthy would call the residents rednecks, and they might be. The point is, they give off a strange aura: unkempt yards with overgrown shrubs, three trucks parked on the grass, two of them with their insides spread out in the long, long grass, and the run-down house with dusty windows—through them, the cliche but very accurate, eerie, blue glow of a television. All of these features are drastically exaggerated in the dark.

And every house had a dog. So everywhere we were there were at least three dogs barking. Through the solemnity of the night, ran this undercurrent of irritation at the dogs. Blasted dogs. But with that came the comfort of another feeling, that I was living in an Indigo Girls song, one with some barking dogs, like "Mystery": "Now we're out in the back with the barking dogs / My heart the red sun / Your heart the moon clouded / I could go crazy on a night like tonight / Summer's beginning to give up her fight . . ."

Perhaps the best part of the walk was that we could see the lowest stars in the southern part of the night sky. I don't know the names of the constellations. They're very unfamiliar to me because in Salt Lake, the mountains and the lights of the cities and towns obscure that part of the sky—it glows gray instead of glowing with stars. You know what I mean. So it was one of those fulfilling religious experiences to see them, feeling that they were new to me.

I have this book called
The Soul of the Night, by Chet Raymo.
Stoker and I were like Raymo that night, though in his book, he's always alone when he's looking at the stars. "The night is the beginning of terror, as every child knows. Who is not afraid of the dark? The gods are creatures of daylight. At night we are on our own" (Raymo, 15). We are always alone, it's true. Our minds make sure of that, but it's wonderful to walk at night and when something moves your soul like seeing new stars, or when something speeds your heart like a phantom shape or noise, it's comforting to be with someone you trust.

Anyway, if you haven't read
The Soul of the Night, you should. It's one of the most well-done compositions of literature and science. He combines poetry with astronomy—not a poet himself, Raymo, an astronomer, draws on literary figures such as Rilke and Burroughs. It's one of my top creative non-fiction books.


The next day we helped my grandma with things, like getting the “whirler”
(a sprinkler that turns) out of the old chicken coop so she could water a part of her grass that doesn’t get “sprinkled.” My grandma is exactly 60 years older than me (my mom is exactly 30 years old than me, coincidence? I don’t think so because I'm also the 3rd child of a 3rd child. I’m like the 7th son of a 7th son, only a daughter. Do you follow?) and she has the most amazing dialect ever. In the morning, she said she looked outside at the tent and wondered if we “was baked.” And by no means does this dialect make her or anyone, for that matter, dim. I have to constantly point that out to people because A) I studied English in college, and so people worry that I’m weighing their intelligence quotient based on how they speak, but they don’t realize B) I studied folklore to gain a master’s degree and dialects, or colloquial languages, are a point of interest for me in how they relate to culture.

When she’s in a good mood my grandma truly cackles, very mischievously. You have no idea how adorable it is. She’s young and spry, but she won’t admit it. Yesterday, she continuously called herself “old and decrepit,” to which my mom vehemently protested, telling her that she’s a beautiful woman and in remarkable health.

“Oh my lord, what’s she askin’ for? A nickel?” Grandma responded to my mom’s flattery.

Stoker loved this macramé plant thing, the kind that hangs down from the ceiling with a plant pot in it, beautiful jack-o-lantern orange. He was going on and on about how sweet it was, so my mom told us we could have it.

“I don’t want them to take it until I’m gone . . .” Grandma said, referring to her impending death (I’m sure. She’s just
waiting to die and she let’s us know all the time that she’s going to at any minute).

“Oh, they can take it,” my mom said, forcefully. “I’m sick of looking at it, you’ve had it since the 70s.”

“I don’t want it to be gone when I look over there, then I’ll go huntin’ around for it,” she said, exasperated.

“They can take it!” My mom, herself exasperated.

“I don’t want them to until I’m gone.” Finally, she agreed to let us take the other macramé, the one in the entryway corner where no one would notice it’s absence (so, yes, now we have a macramé plant holder with a beautiful 70s pot to go in it).

Last week Grandma got a new remote control for the television, but she couldn’t get it working. Stoker fixed it, the batteries (“batt’ries”) needed to be turned around. So my mom wanted Grandma to throw the old one away, which only works occasionally. Never one to throw anything away, she naturally refused to. I mean, it works

“You got a new one, now throw the old one away,” said my mom. “You keep way too much stuff.”

“Oh, I

throw it away.”

“You can throw it away when I’m dead,” she responded calmly, infinitely patient. “I don’t want to throw it away, I just put new batt’ries in it.” So Stoker removed the batteries, then my mom picked it up and headed for the garbage can.

I’m throwing it away,” my mom said.

“I’ll just fish it out of the trash when you’re gone,” responded grandma, with a mischievous cackle. “It’s a relic, you’re supposed to keep relics.”

“Don’t worry, this new remote is a very good one. It’s a universal remote,” Stoker reassured her.

“And it was only 7 bucks,” Grandma said. “I’ve been pounding on that other one for 2 or 3 years!”

“7 or 8 years, Mom!” My mom shouted from the back room, where she was apparently burying the other remote deep in the trash so Grandma couldn’t “fish it out.”

Friday, July 08, 2005

Obligatory Weekend Post

Tonight, we're going to Spring City, nestled in the central Utah mountains. We'll be visiting the matriarch of the family, Grandma Pedersen. I just want to see her before Stoker and I move to Arizona. You know.

We're going to sleep in her yard in our sweet Sierra Designs lightweight tent that my sisters gave us as a wedding present. It will be like when I used to sleep in her yard in the pup tent, the one with Yogi Bear on it. Only now I'm much older and instead of my cousin Justin being there with me, it will be my husband, Stoker.

Stupid G8 and Popular Taste

I can’t believe stupid G8 pledged $50 billion in aid to Africa. Am I the only one who realizes that their corrupt governments don’t give the money to the poor, starving people? Am I the only one (besides Stoker) who read this interview with an African economist from a German paper? Stupid leaders of our countries whose only motivations are popularity.

Why do I even care? I just shouldn’t care. I should cut myself off from news sources. All I do is get angry. And as we all know, anger leads to hate, hate leads to fear, fear leads to drinking, drinking leads to alcoholism and alcoholism leads to a life down the drain. Or something. Something like Yoda once said, only more modern. More 21st century. Or less modern, depending on how you want to look at Yoda and the whole Star Wars thing.

But rejoice, all ye who read yesterday’s post about the 10 dogs I was taking care of. My aunt and uncle left Lake Powell earlier than planned and I am free of the 10-dog burden! In celebration I slept 30 minutes longer this morning. But then I was late getting up and had to shower and get ready in a frantic rush. In the end, it all worked out and I made it to work before my boss.

I’m listening to the new Sufjan Stevens album on itunes. While feeling a strong attraction to the song “Chicago,” I suddenly noticed that it’s the fourth most popular download in Sufjan’s corner. This only convinces me more that there is no originality. We are all products of common taste. It’s like we have a running pop culture collective unconscious, like Jung suggested, and it’s depressing as hell. Sometimes I really think I’m The Great Originator, being an Aries and all, but damn, I’m not.

On the other hand, I have impeccable taste. Generally speaking, what I like, many cool people like (and I’ll be honest, some not so cool people, too). When I make a cd compilation for my friends, it’s more often than not a major hit. These cd compilations become very hot items, changing hands, disappearing and reappearing in very unlikely places like Tom Jones’ car stereo (what?). I wouldn’t be surprised to someday see them selling for collector’s prices on Ebay. Do I sound like I’m bragging? Good, because I am, and what I’m suggesting is that I’d be a damn amazing A&R person for some major label and if, say, Capitol Records were a truly savvy bunch, they’d snatch me up before Epic does.

Or, I’ll just have to start my own label. Create my own empire of damn good music. Eventually, Epic and Capitol will try to buy the bands I shall discover, because these bands will rule. And I say “I shall discover,” not in the conditional sense of the word, but in the future perfect sense, to imply that my action will come to pass. Thank you, good night.

Okay, okay. I had you going, didn’t I? No but seriously, I’m not joking about starting my own label.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Smack-down and Story Problems

I was going to post an entry I wrote about the terrorist bastards who bombed normal, everyday, unarmed people in London, but I re-read the entry and it’s too angry to post. I can’t let you see my too-angry side. Instead, I’ll suppress the rage in a very healthy manner and pretend like I’m only mildly angry over it.

Oh, and the entry was also very funny, in case you were wondering. Angry and funny. I particularly liked the part where I mentioned that I’d like to smack-down the terrorists with an enormous brick inside an even more enormous glove, in the manner of Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck in classic Looney Tunes cartoons. This is not to make light of a serious situation, because I’m very upset about the terrorist cowards and they deserve to be punished and humiliated. The brick-in-glove idea is a really good idea. I would really, truly do it, given the chance.

Not to brush aside the gravity of what’s going on in the world, but I need to talk about something light-hearted. I could tell you about the mundane details of my life, they’re always good for a laugh. For example, I’ve been taking care of my aunt’s dogs while she spends the week in Lake Powell. She asked me to do it and I couldn’t say no because s
he’s a little sweetheart. Anyway, I said I would.

She has two dogs. But one of the dogs, the Chihuahua, had babies last Thursday. Five of them. And one of my cousins is going through a divorce so she just moved back in with my aunt. She brought with her three dogs. So really, I agreed to take care of 10 dogs. I didn’t understand the complicated mathematics of this at the time of agreement. But it's so complicated I could write an entertaining brain-teaser with it for an IQ test. It would read something like this:

Linda has 2 dogs, Pebbles and Tilla. Tilla just had 7 puppies. Nicole agrees to take care of Linda’s dogs while Linda spends the week on a houseboat in Lake Powell. Jesse is Linda’s daughter and lives with Linda. Jesse has 3 dogs. Jesse also goes to Lake Powell with Linda because it’s a family reunion. By default, Nicole takes care of Jesse’s dogs too. Before Linda leaves for Lake Powell, 2 of Tilla’s puppies die. How many dogs is Nicole taking care of?

And to make it more difficult, I could turn it into a really long story problem revolving around the amount of time required each day to take care of these dogs. Like this:

Each morning and evening, Nicole has to let Tilla out so she can pretend to go pee. While Tilla is pretending to take care of business, Nicole has to clean up the presents Tilla left in the living room (Tilla can’t take care of business on demand and Nicole refuses to spend the night in the house with Tilla). All of this takes about 5 minutes. Then Nicole has to let Pebbles and Little Pup off the back porch to take care of any business they didn’t already take care of on the porch. Little Pup’s mom, Big Pup, appears out of nowhere every day and runs around with Little Pup (Nicole doesn't know the names of these dogs). While Little Pup and Big Pup are tackling each other, Nicole refills the water and dog food dishes on the porch. Then she rounds up all three of the pups and herds them back onto the porch. They don’t want to go, so it takes about 8 minutes. Then Nicole checks to make sure the 5 puppies are still alive and refills Tilla’s water and food. Together, this takes 1 minute. When that's all through, Nicole must feed deaf old Molly who's out in a dog run in the far corner of the backyard. This takes about 3 minutes in the morning. In the evening, it takes 5 minutes because she lets Molly out to walk around a bit.

How many extra minutes does Nicole have to calculate into her morning? How many minutes does Nicole have to figure into her evening before she can eat dinner in good conscience?

That’s the longest, most confusing and most poorly written story problem I’ve ever seen. But, it’s the most entertaining on the grounds that it’s autobiographical. I have to get up about 15 or 20 minutes* earlier than I normally would in order to take care of the dogs. And it’s not that I mind serving my aunt. I love her, she’s been a second mom to me and I’d do almost anything she asked me to do. I guess it’s just that I don’t really love dogs and I got more than I bargained for, if you could call it a bargain.

I mean, I love dogs in an I-love-all-animals sense. But I’d never have a dog of my own—unless, of course, I was living alone in the city and I wanted some protection and security. They’re too much work. I’m a cat person. So either you love me or you hate me. You know? Because most people are either a cat person or a dog person and since cats and dogs don’t get along, cat people and dog people don’t get along. That’s a joke, of course. Sometimes cats and dogs get along, so cat people and dog people sometimes get along.

Anyway, Stoker has been helping me out with the animals and that makes everything easier. It’s great, having someone there to share the good times and the crap times, like when you have to clean up dog crap. Not to be crude, but then cleaning up dog crap is crude business, isn’t it?

*In case you fell asleep instead of reading and solving the story problem.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Job Shmob

I didn’t want it to come to this, but I have to be honest because I always try to be honest (it’s the only way to live). The truth is, I hate my job. Let me clarify.

For the most part, I love the people I work with. I’ve been here almost a year and I’ve just begun to feel comfortable with my co-workers. Not 100% comfortable because some of them are sort of prickly, you know and I 'm just not sure how to be around them. Be yourself, you say, and yes, I completely agree with you. But I don’t want to be myself around them. They couldn’t handle the true Nicole. She’s too jokey, too funny, too serious, too opinionated, too smart (as in, she intellectualizes everything), too everything. So, with some of them there seems to be a clash of personalities.

Anyway, the good news is that my last day is July 15th. It’s also sad news, because there are a few gems here, people I really love who I’ll be leaving. One of those people is, surprise! My mom. She works as a production manager (or something) here and one of her job responsibilities is to proofread all the copy. She’s very good at it. I’ll miss her. And the others . . . I’ve just recently gotten to know them better and have begun to feel more comfortable being myself. To feel like I’m sort of in my element, even though I’m not, really. My element is a cd/record shop, a bookstore, the library, a college campus (I have several elements). My element is being with my family,
’s family, or alone with Stoker, or hanging out with my HEC (heterosexual eternal companion – coined by Christy Baugh, HEC). There are only a few people outside of my family with whom I feel entirely comfortable.

Work isn’t my element.

On July 18th, Stoker and I will head down to Phoenix, AZ and really, I feel like we’re moving there with the rest of the country. Chandler and Gilbert are apparently the fastest growing cities in the U.S. Not excited by that, you know, it feels like an exodus, like everyone is going there en masse and the highways and freeways leading into the Phoenix area will be jammed with moving vans and trailers Beverly Hillbilly style. It will feel like a Steinbeck novel. Though I must admit that I am looking forward to being in my own apartment with Stoker.

But we’ll only be there for 8 months while Stoker attends a school for recording engineering. Then we’ll pack up again and head somewhere else for his internship. Lots of moving. Yet nothing like my older sister and her husband who moved from Utah to Washington, D.C., stayed for two years, then moved to Irvine, CA, where they've been for four weeks, and in a week they'll move to Palo Alto, CA. Four weeks in Palo Alto and then on to Miami, FL. They’ll be there for a year and then they'll probably move back to CA. Jason, my brother-in-law went to Georgetown for his law degree. Thus, all the moving across the country (in a car, each time) for his internship. My sister is finishing her PhD and will be doing her internship in Miami. Thus the moving back across the country.

At least Stoker and I won’t be crossing the continent every six months.

So, why do I hate my job? Because I write copy for ads and stuff. Usually it’s monotonous. The same stuff every day. An ad to recruit a physician for a position in a hospital with outrageous pay and benefits in a prestigious hospital, and the ad will be published in the premier medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine. Some days I stare at the information provided and think, I can’t write another ad. There’s no way. And then I can’t, because thoughts are powerful things. It takes me an hour to pull out of the rut, and then I spit out another, tedious ad.

When my boss gives me something a little more creative, because we represent several companies, I do my best to give him something good and interesting, eye-catching if you will. I try to give him what he wants. But I don’t love what I do here. I feel like a zombie and the work is mind-numbing so when I try to get my mind around the project, my mind lays cold and lifeless in my skull. Unresponsive to any urging. Besides, my boss inevitably uses his own copy in the end and I feel crushed and embarrassed that I even tried to give him the best of my creativity.

That’s what happened this morning. Due to an accident, one of the account managers left a folder on my desk with a request for some corrections. I looked at the design and copy and didn’t recognize the copy. It sounded like my bosses voice. And that style is something I’ve had a handle on before. He rejected my stuff like that and pretended to coach out the creative, advertising copy hidden within me. But all the advertising copy he coached out was also brushed aside in favor of his copy, probably because it was just too good and he sincerely doesn’t want me to “get outside the box,” all the while pretending like he does.

I’m sort of competition, you know. He competes for the same jobs I’m writing. And it pisses me off. So anyway, when the account manager came by this morning and asked if her request was clear, I told her Sure, but I didn’t write the original copy. Oh, she said, heh heh heh, realizing her mistake. Sorry, she said, No problem, I said, secretly feeling dashed to pieces upon the rocks of truth that I’m extremely expendable and extremely bland—because the original copy, the copy my boss's copy replaced, had been written by me. I had labored at it and given my boss what I thought he wanted. But he rewrote it without telling me and it is now in design.

I just feel stupid that I don’t know anything that goes on outside of my intellect-reducing cubicle.

When we move to Arizona, I will not be joining a large corporation where I'm overlooked, unneeded and expendable*. The sad thing is, there are about 600 people applying for my job. Creative directors, executives from Chicago, Seattle and Texas. What are they thinking?

I want to clarify that I like my boss on a personal level. But on a professional level? Hell no. We’re miles away from any sort of mutual understanding. He makes me feel like I’m on the lowest rung of the corporate ladder (damn the ladder!), which I am, but you know, he doesn't have to make me feel like I am.

*Though you can’t argue with the health benefits, 401(k) and company parties, can you?

Cynical Post About Live 8, Helping Africa, and ID Fraud

G8 is meeting to discuss giving billions of dollars to support Africa? I don’t mean to sound incredibly selfish and daft, because I agree that the situation in Africa is sad. But I also know for a fact that African countries are stealing exorbitant amounts of money and goods from America through ID theft. 

So President Bush might go meet with Tony Blair and other world leaders and agree to give lots and lots of the American taxpayer’s money, while the FBI and Scotland Yard are all completely aware of how groups of Nigerians and Ghanans have elaborate networks set up for stealing the identities of American and British people? It’s true. 

How many retailers have gotten a phone call from a deaf relay operator asking what they sell (the thief poses as a deaf person because it’s a free call, the operator is not to blame)? Oh, you sell dvd players (or cd players or anything a deaf person wouldn’t actually use)? Send me 100 of them. Charge them to this card (stolen credit card number. Stolen identity). Can you send them to Africa? Please rush this shipment. It’s for a charitable cause.

Charity isn’t my problem. I’m for it. I’m for helping my neighbor. I’m pro-golden rule. But I’m not pro-stealing. And I believe in that old adage: feed a man and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for the rest of his life. What bothers me here is that as far as I can tell, the FCC, Scotland Yard and the FBI haven’t done a single thing to protect the rights of the citizens of their countries. This problem is overlooked, but Britain and America will go ahead and pump millions of dollars into Africa while ignoring the pleas to help at home, where both governments best interests should be.

Britain and America may seem to be the land of the wealthy. Perhaps so, but most of the people who have, have because they work hard. The efforts employed to create a scheming net of thieves, with a system so elaborate they can ship to Florida or New Hampshire before shipping to Africa in order to hide their tracks, could be better put to use creating an honest economy, built on sweat and integrity. 

Instead, we have a looming hidden thief, masked by the internet, stealing from people who work honestly and who are most likely middle class. By the standards of someone in Africa, people of this class are rich. But measure them by the standards of their respective countries: they’re most likely barely eking out an existence, barely able to pay their own bills.

I wouldn’t protest giving billions of dollars to Africa, if I didn’t suspect Africans were responsible for the largest portion of credit card and ID theft and if I didn't think the better way of helping Africans would be to let Africans help themselves. The musician jerks at Live Aid 8 are, in my opinion, on a publicity tour. I think they’re ill-informed. I think Bob Geldof has been suffering from a deficiency of the lime-light. Maybe I’m ill-informed, but he probably doesn’t give a crap about Africa. 

And incidentally, the people who support Live Aid 8 wouldn’t really do what’s necessary to stop the poverty situation in Africa, like join the Peace Corps, volunteer to go to Africa on their own dime to help build habitats and plant gardens, or sign up to donate $30 a month to support a child in Africa like Warren Schmidt in About Schmidt (yes, I know, it's just a movie, but the idea is very applicable). Call me a cynic. I think I’m right.

Where are these protestors and where is Live Aid when most of the major cities in America and the UK have their share of starving, poor people?

See these important links for more information about Africa's problem and ID Fraud from the IP relay operator's themselves:

Speigel Interview With African Economist James Shikwati  (thanks Stoker)

Where will the Proceeds for Live 8 Go?

BBC article about Nigerian million dollar email

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

After the Long Weekend

Damn those Swedes*. I can’t help but fall in love with their sound. Musically, I mean. As in, I’m listening to that song by The Legends, you know, the one from the Wicker Park soundtrack. The soundtrack I hated because I prejudged the movie—I thought it sucked, but then I saw it and realized I was wrong. And now I can love the soundtrack instead of being pissed that they desecrated great songs with a crap movie. Anyway, the song is “The Day is Done” and I’ve provided a handy link to it on itunes for you on my sidebar with the other music stuff.

Long weekends rule and I’m suggesting a swift change to the American policy on vacations. I suggest we follow the example of our European counterparts (what does that mean, exactly? I don’t know, but it sounds intelligent, doesn’t it) and instigate a just-because holiday once a month, in addition to, in case it matters, national holidays that may already exist. So, July would still maintain Independence Day along with a just-because holiday. I think productivity would go up everywhere. Businesses would thrive. The economy would sky-rocket. I’m telling you, it’s for the best.

On Friday night we watched the fireworks at the USU stadium with Stoker’s family. That was cool, except for the part where the radio station broadcasting from the stadium played a bunch of lame songs devoid of any patriotism -- they were mostly self-absorbed singers like Mariah Carey singing in their most obnoxious pop-diva voices, the kind that make me want to commit hari kari**. But the others, Neil Diamond singing “Coming to America” rules as a patriotic song, as does Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”*** and Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American.”

And for the record, sanding the rust spots out of the bed of your Tacoma takes longer than you think it will. Especially if you’re a novice at such stuff and simply use arm and finger power, not, as a co-worker suggested after the fact, a drill with a sanding attachment. I don’t even know if that would work or if I’d end up sanding through the bed.

As you might have guessed, I spent three or four hours sanding the rust spots out of the bed of my Tacoma yesterday. How does a truck bed get rust spots, you ask. Well, maybe you’ve seen the bumper sticker that reads, “No, you can’t borrow my truck.” This relates to rust spots because usually it’s other people borrowing a truck to move crap and that’s when the paint gets scratched, which is shortly followed by the oxidation of the metal. Unattended, rust spreads and your metal object (i.e. truck, car, tractor) turns into a twisted pile of brown rust. My truck is years away from that, but I’m a worrier (that’s why my friends call my Whiskers) and in my head the rust spots were minutes away from completely corroding the entire bed to bits. Soon, I imagined, I’d be driving around in the cab of my truck with my rear wheels barely hanging on.

Rest easy, my friend, the metal is now protected by beautiful gray primer.

Other important events of the weekend:
and I moved the majority of his stuff from his parent’s home in Richmond to my parent’s home in Farmington. Yes, we’ve been staying there until we move to Phoenix in two weeks.

Sunday, my dad (Terry) found a hummingbird in the backyard, momentarily stunned and grounded from a sudden onslaught of sprinkler water. I held it in my hand while Terry held a trumpet vine flower up to the hummingbird’s beak and it sucked all the nectar out. It was amazing. It was like in Cinderella when all the wild birds land on Cinderella, only this was real (Stoker took a picture).

How many people have actually held a hummingbird in their hand? Probably only two.

I took my truck to the car wash yesterday before I sanded the rust off and there was a fireworks stand by it. Caught up in the moment, I went a little berserk and bought a bunch of fireworks. Last night Stoker and I celebrated our first 4th of July together. Yes, we even twirled with sparklers in our hands, like dorky little kids.

Last night Stoker and I said a prayer together and thanked God for our freedom and for the people who fought to bring us the freedom we enjoy today. And then I thought about the people who complain about America, or say they hate it and are embarrassed to be American. And I wondered if they’re ever thankful for anything.

*Other great Swedish bands: The Concretes, Club 8, ABBA (though from Sweden, I consider it un-American to not love ABBA. But maybe that’s what you’re going for, because maybe, like it’s popular to do now, you hate America. The answer? Move to Sweden and form a band that sounds like The Concretes, The Legends, Club 8 and ABBA combined.)
**Oddly enough, this little “and” thing reminds me of a billboard I saw on the way to work today. For the annual “Huntin’ Show.” Huntin’, just like you’d say it. Not hunting. Huntin’.
***Not that I would, it’s to express the agony I feel when I hear awful music like Mariah Carey, repetitive rave mixes of old Bryan Adams’ songs or Mariah Carey.

Friday, July 01, 2005

4th of July and Other Tidbits

Now for the obligatory weekend plans post. For the weekend, Stoker and I are driving to Richmond to spend a little time with his family. Next week his parents leave for Germany where they’ll visit his sister. They won’t be back before we move to Arizona. On that note, if anyone from my vast readership has any leads on a job in the Phoenix area, please speak up. My skills include twisting balloons into animal shapes for the kiddies, bonsai care, papier mache, hammering nails into railroad ties, and sand castle building. I’m looking for something in the entertainment industry. Perhaps my own variety show.

Seriously, to see my resume, email me. It’s too amazing to post here. All my skills. All my experience. I’m a fount of wisdom. You have no idea.

Anyway, back to what’s going on this weekend. Tonight in Cache Valley we’ll be celebrating our nation’s independence with a firework show, hopefully some Indian food (Stoker was supposed to set that up with his parents, but we may have to wait until tomorrow), a little software pirating, and blanket-in-the-park lounging. It’s going to be great. Hopefully tomorrow morning Kelsey (Stoker’s youngest sister) will let me feed Gouda (the baby goat)—she’s been bottle fed, you know. Ahhh, the miracle of life.

And just so you know I’m not completely vacant, these are some things I’ve been thinking about lately:

1 – That stupid stamp ordeal. What a joke. Just leave it alone already.

2 – Sandra Day O’Connor retires at 75? 75? I smell conspiracy.

3 – Last night Stoker and I went horseback riding at my co-worker’s place, up in the mountains behind Salt Lake. One mountain range east, near the Uintas. It was great. Stoker looked very good on a horse. Dream ranch here we come!

4 – I read this vicious review of a book that was written by some writer named Foer. In it, the critic also bashed Dave Eggers. Finally! Someone who thinks his writing sucks too.

5 – I think the scale at my gym is broken. My weight varies anywhere from 3 lbs to 8 lbs from day to day. Is that possible? Yes? I hate my life.

6 – sucks.

7 – Tom Cruise sucks.

8 – In general, celebrities suck. I’m so sick of having their faces in my face all the time.

9 – Instead of reading the news, I read blogs. Good blogs. Well-written blogs.

10 – The news is no longer news. It's imitation reality-shows. Down with the news!