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January 29, 2006
turn and face it

January is almost over. It's been a rough month -- partially because my job is slowly destroying me (more on this in a future entry) and partially, I think, because Andy has been spending most of his time on the Civilians' well-reviewed (I Am) Nobody's Lunch. This means that at the end of the stressful workday I often have no one to turn to but Columbo, seasons one and three, and while I like Columbo probably a little too much, he isn't always what's best. For me.

I've been countering my malaise (or trying to) in a few ways: I joined Steve's writing group, so I've been doing some writing exercises, and that feels good. And I've begun working as a college planning volunteer at a local high school. I'll be helping students fill out college applications and financial aid forms as well as organizing the advising office and doing some design work for them.

What else happened this month?

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers were in the playoffs, and Steve is, of course, from Pittsburgh (as anyone who's seen the tattoo on his arm knows), so for three weeks in a row we've had a bunch of people over on Sunday to watch the game. The next big game is the Super Bowl, and I think it might turn into a full-blown party.
  • Andy and I saw Sweeney Todd courtesy Andy's parents, and it was good.
  • I got to hang out with high school chums Matt and Chris and Litza briefly. It was fun, and it made me wish that Matt lived around here and that I saw Chris and Litza (who do live around here) more often. It's weird how our worlds have managed to both expand and shrink since high school.

  • I ate a lot of pizza and tortilla chips -- like, really a lot -- and I think that there's too much salt in my system and that I need to go into salt detox. I'm serious.
  • I went on the Brooklyn Brewery Tour with my brother, his girlfriend Antje, and Steve. They no longer give you free beer there, and the "tour" was just a guy talking to us in one room, but it was fun, anyway.
  • I've been working on a Year in Review a la last year's, but it's not turning out to be as entertaining to make or to view. But it will be coming at you some time soon, so watch out.

So, the first month of the year doesn't look like it was all that bad. But when things look good on the outside and yet nothing feels right, then, well, something's not right.

It's too bad that you can't use the saying, "You can't have changes without challenges," because I think it would be pretty popular. Okay, maybe it wouldn't, but knowing the world, I think it would. You can of course say that you can't have challenges without changes, but you'd be saying something that was conceptually false. Anyway, I think that there are going to be some changes and challenges ahead.

File under DAILY. Posted at 10:59 PM | Comments (7478)

January 07, 2006
melody on parade

One drawback to the experience of R. Kelly's amazing Trapped in the Closet "hip-hopera," which Steve gave to me for Christmas, is that, because the lyrics don't repeat at all but the melody remains the same for 43 minutes, you might later find yourself making up your own lyrics regarding what you are about to do next to fit into this melody, and it may begin to annoy you. (And now you say, "Does one's experience of a thing extend to how it affects one's actions after the thing is done?" And I say, "Girl, I don't know, but you gotta stop sayin' 'one!'" Actually I sing it to the tune of Trapped in the Closet. Something that people often forget while watching Trapped in the Closet is that it rhymes the whole way through. R. Kelly makes the viewer aware of this feat in his commentary.) Still, I highly recommend this musical to everyone. Well, maybe not to everyone.

And while we're on the subject of awesome DVD gifts, I think I may have discovered the best movie collection ever in Unseen Cinema – Early American Avant Garde Film 1894-1941, which I stumbled upon and then purchased for Andy during my holiday hunting. It includes 155 movies, and everything we've watched so far has been fascinating.

File under DAILY. Posted at 10:23 AM | Comments (2)

January 02, 2006
new year's eve

For a while, I have wanted to make a list of all of the vehicles I've ever driven, but I think that this list, which is off forming itself in some hazy place I can't access, has grown too large for me to get involved with it now. But for the record, on New Year's Eve 2005, I drove a van for the first time. My brother rented the van so that he could move from Ridgewood to Greenpoint, and his driver's license had conveniently expired on his birthday two weeks before. The woman at the Penske Rent-A-Wreck place said more than once that I was the only one allowed to drive the van.

Fortunately, when I hit the parked car around the corner from Chris' old place, the chunky sound of possibly dented car parts was the worst bit about the accident; there was no visible damage. When my dad, who volunteered to drive the van later in the day and I warily let him, hit the parked pickup truck around the corner from Chris' new place, he pulled off half of the truck's front fender. I freaked out for a few minutes and then learned that the owner, who seemed like a decent guy, just wanted us to give him $200. Something I don't really want to think about is that we don't know for sure that this guy was the owner of that truck; it's possible he was pretending. Still, it's nice to feel like we've atoned for the mishap.

Chris and I returned the van in a slushy hailstorm, a somewhat hellish process because we didn't know where to park it and ended up circling the same long blocks four or five times. Then we met the rest of the moving crew -- Mom and Dad and Steve and Andy -- at the Williamsburgh Cafe for a very satisfying brunch.

With the moving done, Andy and I read books and relaxed our achy muscles at home. Steve attempted to nap and then went to a party. Chris came over around nine o'clock and we dined at the always-empty Moon Shadow, a Thai restaurant with good food but an overly self-consciously hip interior design. For the present, at least, Moon Shadow has an aura of pathos about it, but it was just right for our last meal of the year, which is not to say that we felt ourselves pathetic. Just sleepy.

After dinner we put on a 1973 episode of Columbo, switching to ABC for the countdown. It was sort of upsetting, really, to listen to Dick Clark's slightly warbled words while watching the bloated and beaming Mariah Carey pet her hair stupidly. I'm actually very happy for Dick Clark and think he did a fine job, but we were all unprepared for how he would sound and look, and in fact we were sort of afraid to see how he would look and so turned Columbo back on before they showed his face, which we figured they were probably not doing for a reason.

Meanwhile, our downstairs neighbors were having a loud and probably fun party, to which they'd invited us earlier via Steve. These are new neighbors, a couple, and we don't know much about them other than that they like jazz and that the guy smokes cigars on Sundays and mildly resembles Tony Danza. I considered going but couldn't manage to screw up enough sociability. And Andy didn't want anything to do with it, so I felt relieved of the pressure to gussy myself up for the sake of neighbor relations.

We climbed into bed to the sound of mid-'90s rap and I woke up a few hours later, happy that there were still a couple of days left of vacation. I haven't given much thought to resolutions. Something feels different about this new year, though, and it's kind of vague and unclassifiable. I often equate weird feelings like this with ominousness; maybe I should resolve to stop thinking that way.

File under DAILY. Posted at 06:30 PM | Comments (5)