Monday, July 31, 2006

I haven't posted anything here in a while

And in not doing so, I've left unfulfilled my half of the writer/reader bargain (I write things, you read them). However, I never promised to fulfill said bargain, nor am I being in any way compensated, so I don't feel bad. Also, get used to it, because the aforementioned list of things that will be happening are, um, happening. (Except Kuyahoga.) And if a blog becomes a responsibility rather than a fun thing, then it's no fun anymore.

I do feel bad about being at work and doing nothing useful. This week is a little weird because everyone is teaching the "PSLC summer school" where a bunch of users come in and we teach them how to use our software. I pretty much finished my job. So, well, I'm not so useful right now.

However, I am right now being the reason that the world is so difficult. Inefficiency. I'm somehow funded by the NSF, so your tax dollars are going to me. If every schmuck like me were fired, your taxes would probably be very reasonable, and nobody would complain. Or maybe I'm funded by CMU, in which case, if every slacker at CMU were fired, your tuition would be reasonable. The point is, little inefficiencies like me are the reason that The System sucks sometimes. Sorry! I'll be gone in under a week!

(so why don't I quit now? Well, in a way, I think that's what I'm going to do. Wrap up all of my work, finish a little extra task, and leave on the best of terms with everyone. I'm working on it.)

Oh, and I visited Maryland this past weekend! It was neat. We saw Glen Burnie. We went to Plaza Garibaldi (which is fantastic!) We also went to DC and saw 15 minutes of the most amazing art in the country at the National Gallery, ate great Ethiopian food (which grows on me more every time I eat it. All 3 times.), and went to a Grand Buffet and Of Montreal concert in which we missed Grand Buffet. Lame. Of Montreal was really good though. And then we all got crabs (Stop. Get out a piece of paper, write all your dumb crabs jokes on it, and fold it into an origami crane. Hooray, now something good has come out of your stupid jokes: you have a crane!), which turned out to be an all-afternoon project. A great trip, all in all.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I'm excited about the future

I can't wait for:
PA Culinary Institute open house on Saturday
Maryland next weekend?
Kuyahoga the Thursday after that
New York the next day
Dartmouth immediately after that
A week at home
A week back here for TA training (aka very little work, right?)
(a semester back in school here... ehh whatever)
and a semester overseas.

Some say that you shouldn't live in the future; that you should make the most of every moment in the present. I might not be doing that as well as I should at this point. The future is so exciting, though. There's a bit in the Tao of Pooh about how the best part of eating honey isn't actually eating honey. It's the part right before you eat the honey. That's what these next two weeks feel like.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In case you read this and not .vomit

Who wants to go to this:

I'd like to get there at 4, or close, to catch the Go! Team, and stay until the end to see the Flaming Lips
Lawn tickets are $19.50, pavilion $39.50- I'd say we should go for lawn
This place (Blossom) is pretty nice, but it's also here

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ethical question: you make the call!

Long story short: I brought my bike to Beej's. I have brought it there twice in the past, both times I locked it to the fence on the way in, both times when I came back to it there was a sticker that said "Park this bike in the appropriate place. Don't park it here." So today I locked it to the fence again, with a post-it note on it that said "This bike will only be here for about 2 hours. Sorry for the inconvenience."

About a half hour later, I hear metal breaking, and I look outside, and there's the security guard, cutting my bike lock. I run outside and stop them from taking my bike away. He gives me a stern talking-to, I protest, but the fact is, my lock is already cut in two pieces. I mean, he gives me my bike back, of course.

Net result: I lose a $20 bike lock.

Here's the question: what should I do? The way I see it, here are my choices:
1. Do nothing, and get over it, because it's just a bike lock.
2. Do nothing, but harbor a grudge against the security guard.
3. On the way out, explain that, while rules may be rules, I was disappointed that he couldn't see above the useless rules to see that I was not hurting anyone and would only be there for a couple hours. Furthermore, I was irritated by the lecture he gave me and the unsympathetic way he dealt with me.
4. On the way out, say the same thing, more forcefully. (Strike this one, it's not really a good option at all.)
5. File a complaint with Amberson Gardens somehow

The tricky part about this is: I don't have any ground, legal or moral, to stand on. The reason I parked my bike there was that I figured it didn't hurt anyone and the guard wouldn't care, if it was just going to be there for a little while. He did warn me before that I shouldn't park my bike there.

(however, warning doesn't make something okay... if I say, I'm going to punch you unless you go away, that doesn't make it okay for me to punch you.)

Argh! I ended up choosing choice #2, I think, even though I'd like to choose #1. I don't know if I can do #1. I think the "warning doesn't make it okay" argument is probably my best moral ground, but it's crappy legal ground, (not that I'd ever do anything "legal" about this, obviously) because there is some rule about not blocking the way because it's a safety hazard. What should I have done?

Three things I wish I could do:

1. Write a song as incredibly catchy as "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" by the Spin Doctors.

2. Make a CD as unabashedly fun as "Cosmic Thing" by the B-52's. No, really, go give it a listen. Clearly, my opinion on this issue is biased because I listened to it a lot as a kid, but it is very solid. See: campy, 80's, and electronic. No low points besides maybe "Channel Z" or "Follow Your Bliss." Songs so fun you don't notice they're all 5 minutes long. Relaxed grooves like "Dry Country" and "Topaz" surrounding hits "Roam" and, of course, "Love Shack". It's a good disc.

3. Keep a straight face while singing a line like "Let's go behind this wall of vegetation/ I don't want no prying eyes when I give you a love sensation" in a voice like that of Fred Schneider of the B-52's in said CD.

whose blog has been relegated to quick 5-minute blurbs because he doesn't take his computer home very much.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I just imported my 4000th song

and I made sure it was "Love Shack."

On a side note, please disregard the last post; it's true, but it's whiny. I should have more perspective: my job isn't that bad, is pretty easy, will be over in under a month, and then I'll take two awesome trips and have some time off before starting a new year and TA'ing, and then spending a semester in another continent. Really, I have no right to complain.

(Isn't it funny to speak about a "right to complain"? I should say I have no desire to complain. That's not quite true, though, and I can't lie about what I actually want to do, whether I think I "should" want to do it or not. See: The Book)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Monday, July 03, 2006

20-20-24 hours ago... I wanna be creative

I'm already sedated. It's my name.

Hey! I'm in lovely The Villages, Florida, where the sun always shines, there are sometimes buffalo, and there are no young hooligans around to interfere with your peaceful retirement. The sort of place I might have raged at as an angsty teenager (as opposed to an angsty two-decader, or angsty twenty-something, even if that something is a "nothing") before realizing that my anger is really misplaced, because, for crying out loud, you're throwing your insecurities at retired people? Besides, my grandparents live there, and they love it, so I have no reason to whine. Thank you for everything, The Villages; I have no complaints whatsoever.

Speaking of my grandparents, ever since my grandfather went into a delirious fit that left the doctors saying he was on the health-spiraling-downward-and-not-getting-better bus (don't say the D word!), he's not only gotten off of said bus, but he's traded in his ticket, rented a Ferrari, and sped off onto Recovery Road. He's up and about, off the oxygen tank that caused him to remark "I look like a goddamn invalid!", taking it easy but still walking around, driving his golf cart, and doing most of the things he ever does. He was only a little peeved that one of the doctors had said he had one month to live. What a champ. So thanks for all your well wishes, and keep them going if that does anything for you (he still has two rounds of chemo left!), but we think he'll be all right.

My visit has been very nice nevertheless. I helped them do what they gots to do, and spent a bunch of time with them too. Read most of Tom Robbins's "Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates", which I'm enjoying a bunch. Also finished "The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are"... a review will follow once I sort out my thoughts on it with Beej and Ram. Ate at two okay Thai places (once with my aunt and uncle, once with my grandparents) and a chain-but-tasty fish restaurant... transition to next paragraph.

...Reflected more on the purpose and impact of food. On the one hand, you have Ben Franklin, "Eat to live, don't live to eat." Also my mom, "Sometimes when people are visiting it becomes a routine of just waiting for the next meal." Also me, "this."
On the other hand, you have culinary school. You have the concept of "gourmet." You have food AS AN ART; but maybe even the best kind of art, because it affects at least four senses (often all five, or seven, or one, or however many you say there are), is made specially for you, is never quite the same twice, and is so ephemeral! You can make a point that food is the only art you need to survive. (Of course, I would argue with you then, too, but for different reasons.) What I'm trying to say is that I'm conflicted, because food can be wonderful, but I also think about food much too much for someone of my mental abilities (not bragging; I'm saying I have more intelligence than a lap dog).

What new wisdom do I have from my reflections on the all-important Meaning of Food? None. What new knowledge? Well, a lot of recipes from my grandmother, which I am typing up now. Mostly a lot of desserts. Some families have "family recipes" passed down from generation to generation; my grandmother has a file box full of newspaper clippings and note cards. The handwritten note cards are the ones to keep: they might be "family recipes." (This is not meant to sound ungrateful; I bet a lot of these recipes are pretty good. But there are no recipes that she's particularly proud of; no Family Recipes with capital letters.)

And as for the title of this post? Well, I feel like I'm bursting with some sort of creative energy. I want to make something. Something that people can look at and say, "Well. Dan has a little spark of that whatever-it-is that makes us human, after all." If it were a rock and roll song, or two or twelve, that would be nice too, because then we could play it in Grape Blunt.

But I have no guitar or other musical instrument with me; I have never written a song so I don't know where to start; I have so many fractions of musical knowledge, but they're all just fractions; I have a lot of ideas but none of them are about love or death, so they're all novelties at best; I am psyching myself out. And I think I'm suffering that same silver-lined syndrome that's plagued me my whole life: it's hard to be creative when everything is so darn NICE.