Today at work a small amount of spit from my mouth accumulated on the first knuckle of my left index finger- probably from my excessive mouth breathing due to my cold AND the fact that I keep a clenched fist near my mouth probably due to some insecurity. I smelled the spit. It didn't smell like spit. It smelled like co-mingled spit. I let a touch more spit accumulate by seeping out of my mouth so I could smell it more and reminisce. Specifically, it reminded me of my long-term high school girlfriend, but I also got flashes from girlfriends. Flashes of intense half-hour-long make-out sessions where spit would dry up around our mouths. It wasn't necessarily attractive but it was something. Then I wiped off the drool, blew my nose and ate a nectarine.
A list of my favorite wireless networks in my neighborhood
Yesterday I napped for too long and my landlord came by to show the apartment to prospective tenants. I had to deposit some cash at an ATM (my bank lied about how late their lobby's open on Saturdays) but didn't have my account number handy. I hastily threw my laptop in my bag and drove towards the bank, wardriving with MacStumbler. Just to find an open network to allow me to sign into my bank account online and get my number. It's astonishing how commonplace the wireless router is now. I drove around slowly waiting to hear the "open network" sound but enjoyed hearing the constant pings and lost focus.
Last summer I fell in love with the concept of the (technological) Singularity and transhumanism I read about in Ray Kurzweil's "The Singularity Is Near". I'm still hoping for it to come true. Extending my lifespan and abilities would be desirable. Maybe immortality is a bit much, but I fused my, at the time, concerns with the environment in the future with my new Singularity beliefs and decided that humans are on their way out so there's no point in me having a child. Biology will merge with technology, consciousnesses will merge, the Earth will be spared and everything will be cool. (I still don't want to have kids, by the way.)
My concerns for the environment and further interest in cosmology/physics have given me reasons to reconsider what's possible and natural. I don't believe that things that are "unnatural" are bad. I just think we may be at fork in the road with accepting our fate as (very, very intelligent) animals in the natural order of the world as one path and becoming gods as the other path. I'm becoming less convinced that we'll be able to conquer nature and evolve into Kurzweil's predictions.
This bugs me. I'm afraid of death. Not even the dying part, just being dead. I'm not comfortable with mortality yet. I had a dream when I was about 8 where I went into our family's living room and everything felt different and I just knew 'the world ended'. We were in heaven or something. I looked at an alarm clock that read "2000". When I awoke I was convinced for about 5 years that the world would end in 2000 and I just accepted it. I wasn't morbid. I just didn't consider the future as a real possibility. I was more comfortable with my mortality then than I am now. The main reason is that I believed in heaven back then. For making us accept death, in a cheap "there's an afterlife, kiddies!" trick, I can give religion credit.
I eventually outgrew my doomsday (I had a flowery version where everything just turned into heaven- no rapture, apocalypse, y2k) vision and just didn't think about death. I'm not obsessed with it now, but I recognize my fear of it as a fear of accomplishment. And that plays into my irksome desire for fame and thinking I have to accomplish something that garners fame or it's as if I never lived anyway. While I was in France away from the internet for a month I noticed a greatly diminished desire for fame and the celebration of my individuality, and an increase in the desire for the celebration of community with no standout stars. Blah.
I became more comfortable with that while eating a Tuscan sandwich from Martha's Vineyard the other day (something that I also think will soon be impossible). How I eat is similar to how I "live". I rush through it, ignoring the details, never feeling satisfied. I actually took my time while eating that Tuscan and made it a point to be gross and move the food around my mouth so my tongue could taste and appreciate all the flavors. I put the sandwich down several times for a few minutes each time to think about the sandwich and pause. I didn't want to finish the sandwich, but I was ready. I was full and enjoyed it as much as I could expect. After I ate it I fell asleep.
PS: I need to get a camera. I want to get it through eBay from someone in the Grand Rapids area. Then I'll be less boring. Someone find me one!
Tony took me to the 'This American Life' Season 2 Live Sampler thing at Celebration Cinema (north!) recently where we met up with others inside- basically I want to convey that he and I did not go on a date. The show was terrific and I wish events like this could happen more often. Live TV watching with many people. I just read in Vonnegut's "Time Quake" his thoughts on how people used to watch the same show at the same time (in different homes, duh), since there wasn't much else on, and they were experiencing the same feelings at the same time. TV as a community experience. I really like it. Like watching 'Lost' together, but not. Because people talk too much and you'd better shut the fuck up during 'Lost'. But fun, live stuff. Or something. I'm not a genius here, I just want it.
But that's not my point.
Before the show we went to Panera Bread across the way and ordered a few sandwiches to go. We sat in a booth waiting and probably talked about something very interesting that I should recount here but I can't remember so oh well. I heard my name called and saw a bag set down on the counter. I got up to get it and saw a guy take my bag and walk to the door. When Tony and I reached the counter I told him what I saw and we looked for our bag. I debated what to do and eventually went to the parking lot and to the guy's car he'd just entered.
He was wearing an FHE (Forest Hills Eastern [high school]) jacket for a sport (either polo, lacrosse or tennis I think) so I guessed he attended that high school, was of high school age, younger/weaker than me and that my age/station in life meant that I could get whatever I wanted out of this kid who stole my sandwich. He was already in the car and I waved my hands to get his attention as he opened the bag. He rolled down the window and I didn't know what to say.
"Uhh, did you, umm, get soup?"
"Yeah, I did." He was really curt. I felt like slapping him.
How do you say to someone, "Hey you little fuck. That bag is obviously huge and for two people. Are you sure you got the right one?"?
I walked back in and told Tony. We told an employee who pretty much confirmed that had to be our bag and asked if he was still there and said we should go out and get it. I hemmed, hawed and went back out. His car was running but he stopped it, still looking in the bag. As I approached the car he saw me coming and said, "Yeah, this isn't mine." I took it and he continued, "I mean, I don't know if you still want it. This is messed up." Implying that it was Panera's fault that he took the wrong bag and that I wouldn't want all that uneaten food his stupid hands had touched. WRONG! I would/did/would again want that food. I don't waste food, son.
Tony and I then put all the food in our pockets and my man-bag so we could then eat a lot while Ira Glass talked to us. Also so I could spill my hot soup on my knee, accidentally eat Tony's sandwich so he would have to eat the cilantro he believes tastes so awful.
As I found last fall when closing my Chase bank account, it's easy to close an account when you lie and say you're moving someplace where it's obviously impractical to continue using that service. For my Chase account I said I was moving to France and then Thailand to teach English and wouldn't be back in the US for quite some time. I said that I loved Chase (lie), my family used them and I'd start another account when I came back (lie). (But who really loves their bank? I now have a Credit Union and like it, but don't love it. I don't love money, c'mon.)
Last summer I bought Rae/her brother Alex's old car from their dad so I could drive to work and then commute to the house I was sitting. The last car I owned I left at my parents' house while I lived on campus my freshman year at GVSU and then let my brother use until he killed it by withholding oil. I then got used to the idea of not having a car and relished it. I biked all those years and continued biking when my bikes kept getting stolen.
Now I'll be biking again. I gave my parents my car and they gave me the bike that I gave them two years ago that Tom gave me that Chris and I stole for Tom. It's a red, possibly girl's, Murray Monterey beach cruiser that was abandoned at Family Video. My parents used it in Grand Haven and added a sweet basket.
The day after I gave my parents the car I called Progressive and told them I needed to cancel my insurance policy because I was getting rid of my car and moving. The person asked where and I said New York. I was put on hold and transferred to an agent based in Florida but originally from New York. She asked where exactly I was moving to- I said Brooklyn- and talked about all the great food (pizza [no way!], cherry bonnet ice cream ["You call that dipped"] from Mr. Tastee) I could find plus agreed that public transportation would be sufficient and hoped I'd have fun in New York and call up Progressive if I ever get a car again. Easy! Lies!
I rode from Founder's to Grand Coney, losing my bike lock and nearly the contents of my stomach, and then showed off for Scott's iPhone
I celebrate Leap Day. After fighting my self-diagnosed S.A.D. the past few months I've started to feel better and am centering my good moods around this 'holiday'. (And also wishing Dennis Farina, Tony Robbins and Ja Rule a Happy 16th, 12th and 8th Birthday respectively. Whoa, those are the same years my dad, mom and brother were born!)
When we had some solid sunshine for a few days last week I spent an hour or so lying on the kitchen floor absorbing as much sun as possible. The next morning I got a cup of coffee before work and I felt upbeat and was extremely pleasant to others all day. I felt a constant rush of energy and all week I couldn't stop talking or plotting. I actually had things to write down.
I also believed that I developed a sort of super sensory perception. I anticipated the needs of others, what people were going to say and what I should do.
Example. I went to Subway for lunch to get a sandwich. While waiting I saw some new green spread. I thought it would be delightful on my Veggie Delight. I asked what the spread was and a worker said it was Avocado spread, but it didn't look like it. Still waiting I saw an sign for their new Chicken Florentine sandwich with spinach/artichoke spread.
Then I thought, "Wouldn't it be absolutely insane if they wouldn't allow me to put that on my sandwich? What if I even asked to pay extra for it but they wouldn't do it?" That'd be silly.
I ordered my 6" Veggie Delight (I now see that it's spelled Delite. If they're going to simplify it, why not be ridiculous and call it Deee-Lite) on Italian Herbs and Cheese bread with Provolone cheese. I then asked,
"And could I get some of that spinach/artichoke spread on there too?"
"No, sorry," the sandiwch artist told me.
"It's just for the Chicken Florentine."
"Can I pay extra for it?"
"Okay. I'll have lettuce, spinach, tomato-"
"And it has to be warmed up," she added.
"Pickles, green pepper, cucumber-"
"It's the rules from the top."
"Banana peppers, black olives, salt and pepper mix." I think the woman believed I was fuming the whole time but I don't think I acted like it. I did end up writing a letter to Subway asking to allow the spread be put on all the sandwiches but I wasn't going to yell at an employee who had no control over the policy. I shared the story with Seth and he asked me if I'd considered that I may be developing super-human powers.
I put two and two together and realized that the solar radiation from the previous day triggered something inside me. The sudden melatonin blockage and surge of serotonin allowed me to perceive the world with more accuracy. Further discussion with Rae and Seth and brief research led me to conclude that I have harnessed the power of quantum computing inside my body. I'm able to process every qubit in my immediate surroundings and deduce the immediate future. I don't know how. At the present I believe this to be unerringly true. Upon viewing last night's episode of Lost (with respect to Vonnegut, Picard and others) I'm considering becoming unstuck in time for some real progress in ramping up my abilities and laying the foundations of my time religion.
The main point is I'm convinced that I'm out of winter's rut, fingers crossed, and am celebrating it on Leap Day. I'm making the end of February my official New Year as I'm of no use between December and March. I got a haircut and a free 5 minute session at the tanning salon to combat the snow (and my long hair) and maybe even increase my powers. I also have Leap Year resolutions:
* HEALTH o stop picking at/biting nails/cuticles/skin on fingers o become a better vegetarian + organic + greener lifestyle + veganism + lose car o do yoga twice a week (days off) + sign up for a yoga class o be around cigarette smoke less often o do cleanses/fasts when possible o drink less
* EDUCATION o learn to walk on hands, do standing flip (help soon coming from recent friends o apply to grad school + UM Flint + look into linguistics programs o learn computer prgramming + css, html, ajax + flash + ruby, objective C + timmerize it! o learn spanish o stay up on french o poster bedroom walls with alphabets, basics of various languages o read more about physics, robotics, astronomy
apply to Peace Corps
visit New York
PEACE OF MIND
spruce up blog
hypermarché of ideas
Professing Caoímhin's "Ours" series
stick around for November elections
write/call people who are far away once a week
dress dichromatically, live omnichromatically (sounds ridiculous written. maybe period.)
catalogue possessions and whittle them down
Happy Leap Day, everyone. To close I have two recent conversations and a picture of Larry David.
Conversation I had over the phone at work the other day with a very nice customer:
"Thank you so much for helping me. Oh and what was your name?"
"Oh ha. I'm, uh, Kevin." (mumbled)
"Thank you, Imakevin." (said like "i'm a kevin" but more natural as if it could be an actual name)
Conversation I had near the library today with a homeless-looking person who can, possibly, only perceive time in quarter-hour increments:
"Can you tell me what time it is?"
"It's 1:26," I tell him as I continue walking and pull my phone out.
"Okay, so that's like 1:30?"
"Uhh, what? Oh, yeah. It's 1:30."
Proving my interest in sociolinguistics and perhaps reasons why I would be terrible in this field
Last summer Elise and Eric got me a job at the Grand Rapids call center for Farmers Insurance. My job as a CSA, Customer Service Associate, had me answer phone calls to file insurance claims for people. These claims were mostly for car accidents- and mostly people filing against one of our customers- but also included home insurance. My information would get passed to an adjuster who would then work with the customer and make it all better.
This job had six weeks of training Monday-Friday 2pm-11pm that started in early June. About halfway through training I accepted the French teaching job at GVSU for the fall semester. I learned that I wouldn't be able to reconcile the two schedules but quickly made myself comfortable with the fact that I'd have lots of money spent training me for six weeks and then I would only actually work for four weeks.
I liked most, maybe half really, of the people I trained with and learned with them why the job was decently paid and had a high turnover. Our trainer was a woman from Texas who claimed Japanese was her first language as her family lived in Japan for a time. She also claimed to speak a half dozen other languages, to have studied physics and philosophy at college, her (college prep) high school wanted her to graduate in 10th grade, she scored a 32 on the ACT but struggled in college (a friend in the class blurted out, "Because high school is easy", and the instructor retorted, "No, it's because I partied too much."), her paraplegic husband she got a separation from during my training wasn't allowed to drive her car and that her parents owned a portable toilet rental company. She announced that if she got too tired or angry she'd get her southern accent again. She did hide it well, but she just plain sounded ign't.
On the first day we received white legal pads to take notes and I took lots of notes. Soon, however, my respect for the instructor had fallen so much that I spent most of my time documenting her ridiculous expressions. I've been waiting for enough time to pass since working there to share the sayings I copied down in the notebook. I'm not trying to mock the way she speaks though I was annoyed by it. I like to think I was more annoyed by her annoying personality and not for my superficial aversion to a southern accent and its unique turns of phrase.
turn around and do something: It was always "you turn around and ..." I think I learned "go and do something" but really you can just say "do something". in which case: The example I quoted was, "Was it December in which case Seattle got all that rain?" She nearly always used "in which case" in place of "that", "who", "when". It really filled me with rage whenever I heard it. This one isn't a 'southern thing' either. It's an "I use word filler" thing.
Before I continue I'll first concede that working in a mind-numbing customer service corporate environment, but especially TRAINING in one, a person can start to use buzzwords repeatedly and even start to just use words as filler. I blame some of this on her work background and not just her ign'nce. I'll continue.
I really got off on her unnecessary usage of "in which case" but I soon noticed that I didn't think I ever heard her use the word "of". She used "over" in place of "of" and in many other constructions I couldn't figure out. "along the lines over" "gives examples over" "explanation over" "give the information over" "they're different over how to recognize" "training consisted over" "very self-explanatory over why we do this" "breakdown over" "give a list over" "different divisions over deviations" "make a list over" "you know basic information over this" "guessing game over what it's labeled as" "an estimate over how much" "keep track over" "that gives you a bit over what this is" "makes a difference over how we deal with"
detrimental: The real definition of this word is "causing harm or injury". She used it in the sense of something being "imperative". "The tip card is so detrimentally important to your job", "How detrimental to the company this is" for example. "as being the person": No notes here, just a stupid thing to say. "Go online, log into the internet.": Sounded stupid. "I don't want sued": Some regions in the US will use this construction instead of, "want to be sued". Cf. "needs washing" vs. "needs washed". "Nine times out of ten typically what ends up happening": Could be shortened to "Usually". "little and far between": "Few" and far between perhaps? "I don't like to combobulate your head" "The roof is being gone": I wish this tense existed. asterik: She said this word a lot and sometimes we'd have to say it aloud for some reason. I always made it a point to say "asterISK". verse: instead of versus "There's a fine line between the difference" ve HIC le CE ment: Like the cement pool the Beverly Hillbillies got. "I'm cheap and I like money a lot." "Been there. Done did that." "At this current time.": She said this all the time! Could be shortened to "now". "hence why"/"hence if": I'm just convinced once a moron discovers this word they use it extensively and incorrectly. "same kind of difference" "just as an fyi": This, coupled with her use of fyi as verb ("I just wanna fyi you on this"), filled me with more rage. "such as, take for example" "Take a good example of that one.": I can't figure out what that even means thought process: Everyone says this too much. Redundant.
CATASTROPHE: She never ONCE pronounced this word correctly. She'd try to say cataclysm, catastrophic or words that rhymed with apostrophe, but not the actual word. After a couple tries she'd say, "CAT".
Also, they gave us a company calendar with the stupidest inspirational messages.
I've had some troublesome dreams these past few weeks. Not like every day or anything, but I had the second ever dream where I witnessed my younger brother's death last week (the first one was about 6 months ago I'd say). I don't remember it fully but it involved a heist we were all a part of, perhaps, and someone was against us and sprayed bullets everywhere, shooting my brother's head off. It was gruesome and I didn't know what to do. Somehow I was able to make the killer think I didn't know she killed him. In an act of cold vengeance I eventually pushed her into oncoming traffic. Not proud...
Yesterday I actually was in a car accident. I wasn't driving. No injuries. Rich older white guy pulled out of one of those stupid left turn-arounds on the East Beltline, didn't see us behind him, went too slowly and we hit him. Gary, the driver, from GVSU's The Lanthorn, called the police since we debated and eventually determined it's illegal not to. The cop asked for the details and Gary, still a little shaken, gave a distance of "30 yards" and the cop found him at fault and gave him a ticket. We were so pissed and he's going to fight it.
But ANYWAY, that most likely influenced my dream last night in which I got into TWO car accidents. Whenever I drive in a dream I lose control of the vehicle, spin around, can't stop it and most often crash. The dream is too foggy now, but I know I did this in a car where the weather was pleasant and got a ticket. Then I crashed into another car a bit later in the dream and muttered to myself how that made two accidents in one day and how it reminded me of my dreams where I crash all the time. I woke up and was grateful that it was a dream, but fell back asleep and thought of how it was just a dream but it still happened and I'd have to pay for it. I hate cars!
Kids like to come into the Apple store and use the iSight cameras built into the computers to take pictures of themselves. A group of kids were in yesterday for quite a while and I didn't pay much attention to them, except one younger kid who was running around more and listening to the iPods, asking/singing (not sure which), "You got party like a rockstar?" I saw him take an amusing picture and decided to retrieve it after work. I remembered that his friends took quite a few pictures and thought I'd get those too. A coworker has a funny picture in his locker of a person proudly displaying her new shoes so I thought I'd get mine.
I first got my young friend's picture. I wasn't sure, but suspected he may have been throwing up a gang sign.
I told someone I was doing this and they mentioned that we have to kick people out of the store if we see them flashing gang sings after the gang-related stabbing at the mall (same link as before).
A few other pictures seemed innocent enough.
Then a bit baller.
This whole Bemis Boys / East Ave Boys thing fascinates me. I was terrified of gangs when I was in junior high... in the northwest suburb Walker where people claimed gang affiliation but didn't seem possible. From more googling/checking on Bebo I found more pictures from the Apple store...from the East Ave Boys.
From what I can tell the Bemis Boys are aligned with the Bloods and the East Ave Boys with the Crips. How does this happen? Two rival gangs in a Midwest city hate on each other and one looks into franchising themselves and the other just joins the other? Americans love a two-party, corporate-affiliated system.