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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Hey, so, I know this is like, awkward and stuff, but I’m totally into you. I mean, sorry I’m ruining the friendship or if this is cutting into your hair-washing schedule, but I think we should try and get out there and do some stuff. No, I’m not kidding. I’m absolutely dead serious. I’m good at doing stuff and I thoroughly enjoy myself, but I do think it would be more fun if you came, too.

OH! Bonus round–best quote from tonight came from one of my friends after we were done visiting a hookah bar. “Wow, you’re like really sexual, aren’t you? Job at Victoria’s Secret and an interview at Maxim?”

You know what? Yeah. I am really sexual. That’s something to be excited about for the both of us. I hear.

Anyway, look, you’re definitely on to me: I do have an ulterior motive. But let’s be honest–is it really wrong to want to snuggle with something so cute? I submit, madam, that it is not. Every time I wake up I wish I had spent the night next to you or baby polar bears. That’s kind of an exaggeration–it’s mostly just the polar bears, but you’re definitely a close second.

I know this is a lot so take a break, work out, read a book, whatever it is that you’re into that I don’t know about yet. Afterwards, let me know if these feelings are mutual. Please, for the love of god, don’t write it in an email. I had guts enough to confess and ask you out in person. Do me the favor of dropping your variation of the “Let’s just be friends” line in person. It’s just more personable and the chances are way better that I won’t hate you for the rest of my life. This way I can see you’re serious, that I completely sideswiped you with my feelings and that you want out.

If my track record indicates anything, I hope it’s that I love knowledge. Let me know.

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So I realized, after I got panhandled on my own door stoop again last night, that the only extended conversations I have ever had with anyone in my neighborhood are with people who are grilling me for money. I’m not sure you understand how difficult it is to believe in your fellow man when he won’t stop asking for money you clearly do not have. I didn’t earn the money I have and I have absolutely no desire to have you “earn it” for me, so please don’t offer. I hate buying what you’re selling because it neither benefits the two of us nor makes me feel better about my actions. It’s entirely possible that you are actually employed but prudence has taught many a panhandler victim that you could just as easily be smoking crack with your girlfriend (this is not a generalization, but rather something that the gentleman last night discussed, something that truly pisses me off because of his vagueness and how this woman apparently stole his money and his cell phone. I certainly hope she is no longer his girlfriend). Also, if you have a job, how the hell is it that you have the audacity to ask me for $20 when even the people who are unemployed only ask for quarters?

I think it’s even more depressing that I’m sequestered in a part of town where even my own friends won’t visit me. I don’t know any locals (perhaps with the exception of the guy I met last night who would literally not leave until my roommate and I could scrounge together $12) and there appears to be zero night life in our area. I’ve done research; there is one bar and it’s not even bigger than some of the bodegas here.  Something that is supposed to be charitable has never been so frustrating or disgusting. I don’t mean disgusting as a description of his person, just the feeling that I am simply a meal- or sock- or transportation-ticket to someone.

This experience made me feel like nothing more than a broken ATM and hopefully I will never see those two gentlemen again because chances are very, very good I will call the cops. I do not ever want to feel as terrible as they have made me feel and I refuse to talk to them again. If that requires the cops, then so be it.

In related news, I shall be spending the next week at national monuments and local museums and will not be sitting on the stoop for quite some time. You know how to get in touch with me. Good morrow.

Sorry dude. Look, I know Righty McWrites A Lot gets all the glory, but I’m working on that. It’s going to take a lot of calluses and a lot of healing and so on, but in the end, it’ll be worth it. Sure, he gets to do all the hand shakes, the writing, the high-fives, but let’s face it: with guitar work, he’s kind of a bitch. All he does is go up and down. In retrospect, that’s overly misogynist, but I think you know what I mean.

If you stick this out, you and I can make it to glory. I quote John Lennon when I say, “AHHH!!! I GOT BLISTERS ON MAH FINGERS!!!!” Let’s do this. Let’s get you bloody, pulpy, disfigured–because that’s what it takes. We’re gonna make a man out of you.

So look; Pinkerton, cut the shit. I know I haven’t used you in LONG time, but let’s be honest. This is your time to shine. I’m finally willing to push you just as far as Firston, Middleton, and Ringo. Step you game up son, get out of the sky and onto the fretboard. If you want glory, you’ve got to commit to it. Be here now, etc. Don’t see the chord, be the chord. Be the chord.

Hey Thumberton–thanks for holding down the fort. I know your work is probably the easiest and that’s why I want to thank you. You stay solid, stay strong even though you know these other dudes are working their asses off. Without you, they would be nowhere. I know now here is nowhere, but these dudes couldn’t have done it without you and I have to say it because they can’t. You’re like the bass guitar of this one-handed-band. Stay strong even when they can’t.

Now give me a stage. Let’s rock, let’s rock.

I’m that guy who loves the band so much that he makes the guitarist’s wikipedia page. It was probably the least I could do, considering all he’s done for me.

I’m thoroughly in love with The Hold Steady and I pretty much wake up every day wishing I could play guitar like Tad Kubler. I think I also love them because they completely look like you’d meet them at the library, not out on tour. Kubler wears the most amazing Mike D glasses and then completely slays everyone. I’ve been listening to the newest album for pretty much since it came out. About a week ago, I was finally like, “Fuck it. This album is so good, I’m going to go buy their first three albums.” Best Buy was missing Almost Killed Me, but the other two can hold me a little while longer.

I swear, the guitar solo on “Joke about Jamaica” might be one of the best things to happen to me this summer. I just sit there and go, “wait for it. Wait For It. WAIT For It. WAIT FOR IT. OH NO IT’S HERE!!!! MIND BLOWN!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!”

Enough. You get it. I like distortion, awesome solos and chunky riffs. But here’s another thing that you probably didn’t see coming–they have some straight up excellent lyrics. Sure, it’s all about drugs, decrepitude, staying positive, etc, but I like to think of them as the Faulkner or Vonnegut of bands. Instead of Jefferson or Illium, they have Minnesota. I know that’s the state, but I’m still working out the lyrics and I can’t figure out yet if this is all happening in St. Paul, Massachusetts, or some place called Igor City (sic). In the future, I think I want to annotate one of their songs, not only so you can see what I’m saying, but also for the sake of making sure that even I understand. Their sing along songs are quickly becoming my scriptures.

They also go on tour in two days. I may be saying this as if it were going to happen, but I really want to spend all day tomorrow scouring Brooklyn for them. I don’t even know why I would do such a thing. “Hey, Craig, Tad. You’ve given me hope for a record deal. Thanks for being awesome, now go out there and get ’em” Or maybe I’d try to get a picture with them. In retrospect, this seems like a very misguided idea.

Oh, also, I know they kind of get looked down upon for being a bar band. Well, I like bars, beer and great guitar work a lot. So there. Perhaps it’s appropriate that one of the best rock bands in America is a bar band. Perhaps that’s also why most of America doesn’t know about them.

Dear B___, T___ and J___,

Hey, so what’s up? I know you guys are like, you know, doin’ stuff, but I wanted to check in, see how things are going. Hey B___, remember that one time you joked when your other friend came here? I’m sorry I don’t remember her name, I was busy manhandling my skillets and I was shocked that I, like a complete dumbass, shook her hand while I still had egg on mine. Remember after that when you were walking out the door and you joked, “Bye dad!” and I yelled, “Bye, daughter!”? I’m worried that our joking could have been nothing if not true. You may be black and a year older than me, but–surprise!–I’m your father.

No, seriously though, I’m worried that our jokes secretly hinted at the truth. I’m afraid I’m the house dad and I want to apologize in advance for some of the shit that I put (or will put) you guys through. Even T___’s mom, who was here today, was making jokes. She goes, “Are those cookies?” I’m like, “You can definitely have some.” She says, with eyebrows raised, “You baked cookies?” To which I replied, “Yes I did.” “That’s very domestic of you.” “I am very domestic.” “Could you give T___ some tips?” I chuckled and continued slaying the guitar I was playing (more on that later). That’s right; I bake cookies. Peanut Butter with chocolate chips from scratch on the daily. Get excited.

Back to what the shit I was talking about. I can’t help but worry where you guys are when you go out at night. You’re like my surrogate family–which is why we really need to get on that family photo we talked about–and I honestly worry about you. You think those texts that say, “Are you alive?” or “Are you going to respawn at home base or are you OK?” are jokes–and they kind of are–but I’m pretty much dead serious (wow, in retrospect, that is a terrible pun). I don’t want to claim you at the morgue. It’s just more fun just hang with you (good gravy, this is terrible. Next topic).

I’m sorry I clean the dishes all the time. That’s something I’m going to try to reign in. I know it’s secretly awesome for you guys but it kind of causes a lot of stress for me. I see a full sink or a full drying rack and, for some reason, I simply have to clean them or empty the rack.

Interesting tangent–when I graduated from college, my uncle gave me a couple of graduation presents. One of those presents was the secret to cooking ribs properly. Another was worcestershire sauce. One of the best was the following sentence: “No stress, man.” “Uncle F___, what do you mean?” “I mean, ‘No Stress.'” So here’s my promise; I’ll clean my dishes as long as you clean your dishes. I’ll try a whole lot harder to let you do your own dishes, even if I do find cleaning dishes oddly relaxing.

Also, since we all have different schedules, wanna have like Sunday night family dinners or something? I know we don’t really have enough chairs to “gather ’round” the dinner table, but it’d be nice to have some unity since I’m the only person who hangs out in the common rooms. Is it because I’ve been playing The Hold Steady non-stop for the last month or so? I’m sorry, this is just how I learn music. I listen to it until I can finally hear the lyrics. Interesting story; whenever I hear a CD for the first time, all I can hear is the guitar riffs, keyboard trills, bass lines and drum beats (not necessarily in that order, of course). And you know who provides awesome amounts of all of the previous? Yep, so I’m sorry I don’t know the lyrics yet.

On a related note, J___ and T___, I’m sorry, and I don’t know how to say this to you (which is why I’m typing it), but I cannot stand country music–alt or original blend. I’m going to do my best to tough it out because you guys did the honor of asking me to play lead guitar in your alt-country band. I mean, I reserve the right to play loud, distorted blues riffs and secretly (well, not so secretly anymore) attempt to make our band more profitable, but I’m going to give it the old college try. I can be Robert Johnson with the distortion of Jimi Page and you guys can be Willie Nelson or Wilco or whatever it is you kids are listening to these days.

Oh, also, J___: my mom says you’re not allowed to smoke your cigars in our apartment. Her words, not mine.

See you in the common room,

Chris

I got an email today asking if I wanted to interview and almost passed out from excitement (exaggeration) and then went to yoga at almost passed out from dehydration and exhaustion (literally). That’s actually the closest I’ve ever come to passing out, I think. Whoever told them that leaving the air conditioner on “low” was a good idea is a terrible, terrible human being. My gray shirt turned black by the end–I have never sweated so much, even while playing lacrosse in humid Houston.

I stopped during Triangle Three while everyone else went into some stuff I’ve never seen before and just waited while touching my toes to do the other side. They caught up so I did the other side, waited again when they started making pretzels out of their bodies, and then raised up to put my arms in the sky like everyone else.  All of a sudden I had a hard time hearing as the blood left my head and my breathing sped up. Apparently, I should have just gone into the child pose while waiting–both instructors told me that. It’s only been like three years since I’ve done this, sorry.

Thank god they had a cup and a faucet, otherwise chances are very good I would have passed out. I went back, did the child pose and then did some of the ab stuff they did. Now I’ll be sore for a week. You know what’d be really great to have in this neighborhood? A gym. Then instead of just eating more vegetables and sometimes doing push ups I could actually try to get back in shape.

Regarding the interview, I am thoroughly pleased someone is verifying what my mom has told me for a long time: I’m qualified and capable. Thanks, mom. But then again, I can’t help but be a little worried that I’ll go in tomorrow, have an awesome interview and then call again in two weeks, only to find out that the person I interviewed with has another job.

I guess I owe it to you, dear reader, to apologize for being completely cynical about cover letters. I only sent this cover letter in four days ago, so maybe they’re useful. Or something. It was also getting to a point where totally sweet live jazz and venting here were not going to keep my self-esteem above sub-par. So thanks for helping me keep alive so I can get emails, wreck my body and, more importantly, listen to awesome music.

Let’s meet back here tomorrow. Same time, same place. Vaya con los gatos, putas.

Alright, so a while back I took three things I loved and mixed them together. It’s like a white russian with strawberries on top. Or like an alcoholic milkshake. Maybe like a “strawberries dipped in chocolate” milkshake with alcohol.

I cut a Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake bar off its popsicle stick and put it in my shaker. Then I added equal parts milk and Kahlua. Basically enough to barely cover the ice cream bar. I muddled the bar a little then shook all of the contents and added ice cubes to the glass I put it in. I’m sure you can add ice cubes before you shake, but I’m not sure you really need the ice cubes to dilute it as much as you just need it to keep the beverage cold. You might want a spoon to get all those little chunky things that are usually on the outside of the bar or you could just try to drink them all. Your call.

This is probably the least healthy drink ever invented but I love it. I’ve actually been out of Strawberry Shortcake bars for a while so I won’t be drinking these for quite some time, which is probably a good thing. Anyway, I hope someone tries to make it and it doesn’t suck.

I just watched The Dark Knight again and the only adjective I have is, epic. Actually that might not be true: I think it might be the most brilliant piece of cinema I have seen since No Country for Old Men. It certainly carries the violence torch, but if you look at some of the lines these people drop, I have a hard time believing they’re from a summer action movie. Epic.

Some of the things were so brilliant, so completely true, it got me scared this time around. For example, The Joker says some things during the hospital scene that are simply brilliant. I mean, that whole scene, for me, is clearly the crux of the movie and I still can’t believe it happened after what they portrayed as the climax in the trailers. He says, “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. I just…do things.” And that makes me sincerely worried.

As a man who improvises all the time, a man writes cover letters for a living, it kind of scares me that the most evil person I have ever seen portrayed in a movie summarized my life. I can improvise, I can chase cars but I like to think I have a sense of where I’m going. Then again, I’m split between my desires of a life in publishing and a life fighting fires. I’ve wanted to be a HAZMAT firefighter since I was like 15 or something. It’s scary that I’ve looked into both and that firefighting is at least two years off. In the mean time, my hand is being forced so I have to settle for reading and writing really well.

I mean, I’m kind of out of shape right now, but I might never see the day that I can’t stop a lacrosse ball from getting past me. At least one. A certain part of me wants not to tax my brain for the rest of my life–just tax my body for a living and tax my brain in my spare time. I have enough library cards to read outside the job.

The “social experiment” scene also got me thinking a lot too. Do you ever think about how you’re going to die? Recently, I thought it would be cool to get shot in the head in the middle of gang warfare. I was talking about my part of Brooklyn with the only female roommate I have and she basically told me that I was being completely irrational. She’s right and I also saw the “social experiment” as an endorsement of human nature–the criminals, just as the citizens, know it’s not okay to kill each other. That reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my other roommates.

When I told him I was looking into being a firefighter, he told me, “You’re too smart to be a firefighter. You’re just gonna get killed.” I tried to tell him I was fine with that. If I got killed fighting fires, I would have done something completely altruistic and thus have a completely valid reason to die. Spending my life on the brink of death would pretty much be okay with me. Waking up to another day would be that much more rewarding because I would know there would be another opportunity to save lives that day. I could also just freelance copyedit or something in my freetime.

Then there’s the laughter thing. That Joker character does seem to do it a lot and it makes me worry that I don’t take anything seriously enough. I will admit, one of my other death-fantasies is to die by laughing too much. I read The Clean House and was totally inspired to laugh myself to death as well as not get married unless I can find a girl who is funnier than I am. I don’t mean to be immodest, but I think that’s another reason I’ve had such a terrible dating record. It’s hard to find funny girls these days. At least, that’s what I’ve found.

I have this other problem after watching the movie too: I can no longer decide whether I want to grow up to be Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Paul Rudd, or Craig Finn. So many levels of awesomeness have completely blown my mind.

The point here is, if I could die with a girl in my arms who just told me the greatest joke the world has ever heard right after I saved her from a fire, I would die a happy man. And I would feel a lot less like The Joker.

Earlier today my roommate and I each made sandwiches. He had an English Muffin with egg, ham and cheese. Basically, I was about to make scrambled eggs but put my ham-monterray jack-wheat in it and then put it in a skillet. It’s like a french toast ham ‘n’ swiss.

Afterwards, we reflected; there is something about a warm sandwich that is just unbelievably satisfying. I tried to put my finger on it, but couldn’t. Something about how the melted cheese is comforting or how your cold cuts are no longer cold. It’s also entirely possible that it just plain feels better to cook something, to put some effort into your meal, to have to wait for your sandwich to cook.

I think one of the oldest tricks in the book to get people to like what you cook might be to not serve them until much after they are hungry. You just keep telling them it’s cooking. One time I started cooking a brisket for my friends way too late and by the time it was finally done, they had been complaining about debilitating hunger for two hours. When I finally served it, they all thought it was some of the best meat they had ever had. It might have helped that they had never had brisket before, but I’m sure that the long wait also had something to do with it.

I also think this might be why I have always preferred Quiznos over Subway. Maybe it feels like just that much more love has been put into making my sandwich and making sure it’s delivered to my stomach correctly. Almost like my mom was behind the counter, smiling, whispering, “Hey Chris. Made you a sandwich and it’s hot so you can stay warm.”

“Mom, it’s summer and like 80 degrees out.”

“Oh yeah? Well, then I guess you won’t like that extra Red Pepper I just put on it.”

But in reality, my Mom would never say that or do that because she hates spicy (and asian) food. The point I’m trying to make is that a warm sandwich, for some reason or another, feels like home.