Friday, August 29, 2008


I was going to write a new post but I must leave for the Skirball Box Office POST HASTE. A one Mr. Zacharius Knight Galifianakis is coming.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back, but not in Black.

Why hello there! (please read in the voice of the father from Gullah Gullah Island)

I haven’t been too consistent with this blog updating-thing, but I have a plethora of excuses and will be able to provide a very detailed and impressive list for anyone who may question me. This summer has been quite a ride, a lotta ups and downs, strikes and gutters; a lotta what-have-you’s. I’m finishing out the season with three funerals, lots of rain, a couple concerts, and some hearty life experience. I stole a TV, did some more time, but now I’m back in school! And though the faces may have changed, the hassles are just the same.

Before I delve into a lovely anecdote that ends as a life lesson, I would just like to bring something to your attention first. Yesterday my best friend and roommate Michelle and I were walking up Third Avenue to Coral, another one of NYU’s dorms. We were going to visit our friends Mallory and Katy, for they had birthday presents and a delicious home-made chocolate cake waiting for my arrival. Michelle and I crossed the Bowery and entered a maze of scaffolding covered in posters. Usually the posters are for the same things over and over again, a Sonic Youth concert or a movie that’s already out, or some cryptic advertisement that only makes sense months later. So I usually ignore them. However, we made a left turn in the paper-covered steel maze, and I gasped.


(I asked Michelle how she would describe my reaction, and she all said was: “You did your noise.”)

Remember my post about that “Songs of the Soul” tribute concert to Sri Chinmoy? You know, the guy who named Albany as the First Peace Capital? The concert that I still shudder when I think about, the one that made me bleed internally from uncomfortable muffled laughter?

It’s back. Again. Already.

When I saw the same flyer of Sri Chinmoy that I had been handed last spring, the one where he’s holding his holy instrument with his eyes rolled in the back of his head with yellow glowing all around him, I couldn’t contain myself. The only thing I could get out after “my noise” was,


Usually I’m more articulate than that, but do you judge or criticize a Vietnam Vet for the things he cries out during his flashbacks? Regardless, I muttered out loud in disbelief while the other walkers became gawkers. The woman who had been traveling behind us stopped, looked at me, looked at the poster, and looked very confused. She had obviously no idea what chaos was being advertised right in front of her nosy nose and continued on her way to what I assume was Ben & Jerry’s – or The Continental.

Now, the line-up for the concert hasn’t changed, only this time Phillip Glass was not on the bill. He must have had the same reaction I thought he did, and had the smarts to get out of that sleepy-eyed CreepFest. Roberta “Batshit Crazy Drunk” Flack was still the headliner and I’m going to go ahead and believe that she still hasn’t taken off that blue sequined tragedy and that they rolled her into a bus, took it to the depot only to wake her up the evening of the next concert. Then they would immediately hand her a flask of whiskey, give her a nudge and say “Get out there, girl!” The concert is not on NYU soil anymore, but at a smaller venue, a Presbyterian church. How this all makes sense I just don’t know. I thought tribute concerts were only once a year. Did they go on tour? Was the tour so short that they’re already back where they started? In my mind, I see Roberta Flack leading the group into small cities in her pumps, holding up her middle school baton in the air, with the rest of the show sauntering in formation behind her with their Stepford Wives smiles and matching robes, each holding one of the 15 million bird drawings. I can also imagine a legion of Midwest housewives with brooms shooing them out of their towns and towards the hills, state after state.

Poor Sri Chinmoy. No man deserves to have this as his legacy, no matter how absurd it is to spend an entire lifetime scribbling birds and writing songs such as:






Saturday, August 16, 2008

Neil Zirconia

I peed a little.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dogged Up By The Rain

This whole summer has been nothing but a big puddle. A big puddle that's been beckoned me into a big muddle. It's been a soggy few months for everyone and we've all learned to make sure we've got our umbrellas on hand at all times. There's something ominous and eery about all of this precipitation and I can't tell if it's a cleansing or a punishment, or both. It depends on who you are, I guess. For me, it depends on the day, the hour, and sometimes even the minute. Sometimes I feel comforted by the fact that the only thing that's been consistent lately is the one thing no one would ever think they could depend on.

This week at my job was both the best and worst of the summer. It was terrible in the fact that it's the second to last week and it's getting ridiculously tedious. But it was also fantastic because our mutual disgruntleness caused me to bond with one of my coworkers. On Friday we decided to do enough work that lets us just exceed our expected quota, and then dick around the rest of the time (which only turned out to be about 45 minutes or so). As long as we're getting enough done, it really doesn't matter. And the more work we do, the more patients hate us.

I work in a department called Pre-Registration where we call patients before every appointment to make sure we have all of their "information" correct. We try to call them only once a month if they are repeat visitors, but sometimes errors are made and people get called multiple times a month. People are also scared of the title "Pre-Registration" and often complain that when thy hear it on their answering machine they get scared and think they're on some list to get surgery or something.

Long story short, we get a lot of angry patients answering the phone and calling us back. I hate talking to people on the phone in a professional setting anyway, so talking to angry people on the phone is what I think my hell is going to be like. This week an old man called our office back just to yell, and I was the lucky one who got to take the call. He was an angry coot. I think if I was as old as him I'd be perpetually pissed off. Imagine not being able to talk or pass gas without dust flying everywhere.

Our conversation went a little like this:

"Sir, our department is trying to help the patients by calling them and getting their information before the appointment so that when they get there they can go right in to see the doctor."

"That's not true. No, your department is a WELLFARE program designed to CREATE JOBS for people who can't get one!"

"Sir, I'm sorry you feel that way, we really are just trying to help."

"Yeah, yeah, sure. Thank you young lady...JERK."

And then he hung up.

I hope his balls fall off. If he didn't like getting the call, why did he call back? He went out of his way to ruin someone else's day.

I used to volunteer at a nursing home and there was this one man who would spring out of his room, ranting and raving and shaking his fuzzy slipper in the air. Coming from his aged and cracking vocal chords we'd hear a thick screech: "YOU'RE WALKIN' TOO LOUD! GET OUTTA HERE." We were there to make their days a little less shitty by listening to their same awful stories over and over and over again about the pastor's boy rollerskating in the church.

If you're going to be cranky and make everyone else miserable, just die already. Once I become a burden to people around me, that's the end of me. Maybe that book The Giver didn't have it so wrong. Except for the whole lack of color, though, that's gotta suck. In high school I wrote a paper called "Should They Stay Or Should They Go?" about the euthenization of the elderly. It was for an assignment called "Arguing With Yourself" so I had to agree both for and against the idea. In my research I found out that the numbers of car accidents caused by old people are staggering... and I'm going to leave it at that.

*Note: I'm not saying all old people are mean, just a large portion of them. I'm sure you have an "adorable grampy" or something and I'm more than happy for you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Karma Karma Karma Kameleon

August is like a month of Sundays.

I've always hated Sundays, except for the morning (if I find myself awake in time to enjoy it). I feel lazy, in limbo, and unsure of whether I should be in the process of wrapping things up or just starting to try. It may be too late, but in the words of Ben Lee, I only want it to begin. And that's what I'm doing by re-opening the forgotten and dusty tomb that has become my blog. I've been writing down ideas but haven't actually fleshed out anything substantial in quite a while.

My "Adventure in Solitude" was anything but. I definitely didn't spend the same amount of time at the computer as before, but I definitely didn't seclude myself like I had hoped. Things come up that need to be taken care of, and I have to use a computer ALL day at work. Thus, staying away from the Evil that the Internet had become was almost impossible. And what can I say? I've been a little lax in my convictions lately, but that's the least of it all.

You may ask, "But why did you thrust yourself into an 'Adventure in Solitude' in the first place? You seem like a rather well-adjusted young lass." Well, this answer is not a simple one. It has a little to do with a series of unfortunate events that made me want to remove myself from civilization and a lot to do with my parents' purchase of a Complete Care Warranty with my former laptop. I had a Dell Inspiron E1505, which a pretty significant portion of my peers also seem to have... and never have had a problem. I think mine was a dud. During my ownership I had had the hinges and screen and dvd drive replaced once and the keyboard replaced twice in two years. However even after these repairs, my DVD drive continued to grrr and purr like a very angry and hungry pregnant lioness... and everyone knows about my delinquently fussy "E" key.

Throughout my troubles I found out that I had this Complete Care Warranty. My brother-in-law told me that it would cover everything but theft.
"On the phone I even asked them: If she throws a party and someone vomits on her computer, is that convered?"

So me mind started turning. Yes, me mind. I had been threatening in conversation for a while, but this summer I finally decided to go through with it. I would destroy my laptop, send it back, and force Dell to show me something good. Late one Thursday night, my accomplice Jackie was making fun of the wobbly laptop screen by flicking it over and over after an exhausting session of Guitar Hero. I told her about the Complete Care Warranty and shared with her my dream. She was enthusiastically receptive. In high school, Jackie was in my circle of friends of Do-Gooders who didn't lie or cheat or steal or drink or have the crazy kind of "fun" that all the "cool" kids were having. Instead, we made inaccurate historical videos about Constantinople and listened to Neil Diamond. (We still listen to Neil Diamond and now me make accurate videos about Constantinople thanks to my lovely freshman-year Byzantine History odyssey with a one Mr. Konstantinos Smyrlis). I chatted online with a Dell Rep and told him that "While I was away, I was told that a large piece of furniture fell on my laptop and someone may have stepped on it." This was all while my lemon of a laptop sat beside me, fully intact despite its numerous flaws.

The foreign man responded, "Do not worry, you have Complete Care Warranty."

So when Jackie supported my idea, that was confirmation enough for me to get on with it... after pestering my brother-in-law about the possible consequences, both material and moral.

I decided to do the deed.

A few days later, after saving and securing all of my very important files (mostly music) onto an external hard drive, it was time. My brother-in-law retrieved one of his 25lb hand weights and set up a chair in front of the house. Jackie joined me outside and my niece scurried past us to her father's lap in the lawnchair. On the way out the door I opend ITunes and tried to find an appropriate track that would provide a soundtrack to this act of rebellion.

The only song I had that seemed appropriate was "I Got Your Money" by Ol' Dirty Bastard. As the song played I placed the laptop down on a piece of the slate pathway. After a few seconds of conversation and nervous hesitation, I held the weight over a corner of the computer




The screen absorbed most of the shock. And the music was still playing. I opened up the laptop and the screen was completely cracked and distorted. It looked like some abstract painting one might encounter at the MoMA. But I could still make out the "play" button, and pressed it. The music resumed. So, I flipped the machine over and dropped the weight around the same area as the first time. The music did not come on again, there was a splendid dent near my hard drive, and the air vent was irreplaceably smushed. Mission Accomplished, much quicker than expected.

So when I sent back the computer is when I tried the whole "Adventure in Solitude" thing. Instead of being in solitude, I umm used everyone else's computers. Including Albany Medical Center's.

The replacement computer they sent me is a refurbished XPS M1530, apparently it's "the" laptop for today. I wouldn't know... because when I got mine, the screen had dancing green pixels that distorted picture and video. AND the audio was crackly and unclear. Was I sent another dud as my punishment? Is this karma? Was Dell getting payback by making me sit on the phone for a total of over 5 hours attempting to fix a machine that was promised to be fully efficient and functional? That was the one warning my brother-in-law had given me, the possible karma that greedily destroying one of my most important possessions in hopes of getting a better one. What I had was great, but not perfect. It just didn't seem like enough for me. But I kept thinking off all the bad things that might happen with it and couldn't stop creating worst-case scenarios in the talking picture machine that's become my mind. I believe this happens in more than just laptops, my dear readers. I needed to try my hand at something better at the expense of others' feelings and time - in this case, the laptop's(?) and the Dell workers. The negative energy was a-flowing out and negative energy was all I got in return. But hey, at least the workers are getting paid, right?

I must say that this whole happening has made me believe in something, maybe not karma exactly, but then again maybe so. Today I was supposed to meet yet another Dell rep at my house at 5:30. Around 4, the city started to dump buckets and buckets of stinging water onto the ground. A gross tan river covered the street I have to cross between work buildings, and the water was up to mid-calf. The sky was unforgiving as I tried to get back to the other building to meet my sister and go home. We left at 4:55. A ride that normally takes 5 minutes ended up taking 50, and on the way I saw a hatchback car on a street that was flooded up to the windows.

Shit was cuh-razy. But I kept a good spirit, joking with my sister about the guy who was drumming on his steering wheel with real drumsticks, the man who rode by on a tiny scooter, and the annoying people who cross the street during red lights - it's an epidemic in Downtown Albany!

I'm starting to learn how to step back from situations and repress my Kebbie instinct to go into Panic Overdrive Mode right away before anything bad happens, and even after it happens. Pre-panicking is always a deadly move and post-panicking doesn't do anything but drain the soul. I honestly believe that if I had started fretting and worrying, the Dell rep might have gotten the vibes and left before I got there. But she didn't. In fact, she was really cool. She enjoyed listening to the household conversations with Mom, my niece, Givne, and I. She was probably an RPI student, but I don't really know. All I do know is that she had to stop working to laugh heartily at an observation I had about Jon & Kate Plus 8, and that was good enough to erase the fact that I had probably stepped in raw sewage mixed with acid rain a mere hour earlier.

"Of course they have to buy organic food. Imagine having to cart around eight fat-ass kids?"

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A-Change is Gonna Come

And that change is more blog posts.

Stay tuned. I'm back. And better than - well, I'm going to try to be at least just as good.