"Look, Look, Look at the Dog"

(Thanks to Alison for coining the title of this update.)

I have a dog.

Okay, the dog is not technically mine, but I live with em and play with em constantly, so I pretend that ey's mine.

When I was younger, I fancied myself more of a cat person. Independent and enjoying similar creatures, I didn't give much credit to, seemingly needy, dogs. Now that I've grown to be a more affectionate person, I've realized what a great companion a good dog can be.

Bosco is nothing short of amazing. We jump, play, dance, and chase our tails together. All of those activities that seemed so pointless to me are now some of the most rewarding moments of my day. I never thought I'd be the type of person who would think about the dog all day at work and rush home to snuggle with em, but I've proven myself wrong.

I wish someone had told me about dogs sooner. They're incredibly versatile. I used to look to my roommate to spend time with, cuddle with, wrestle with, lick my face, and eat scraps off the floor, but Bosco does all that even better -- plus ey's loyal!

I never fail to be impressed by Bosco's interest in balls. Watching Bosco's eyes light up and mouth drop open at the sight of a ball is truly awe-inspiring. I only wish my life could be so uncomplicated sometimes that I could put my full enthusiasm toward something as simple as a ball.

Admittedly, Bosco has some issues. First of all, ey licks anything and everything in eir general vicinity. Be it the bottom of my shoe, the grime trapped behind the fridge, or the underside of a couch cushion, Bosco wants to rub eir tongue against it for minutes at a time. Second of all, Bosco randomly vomits. Initially, I figured it had something to do with incessantly licking dirt, but I'm pretty sure it's a case of bulimia.

It's my fault. I let Bosco sit on my lap and watch a lot of Canada's Next Top Model with me, and there's no way ey could ever be as skinny as some of those unnatural waifs. I just wish Bosco would realize ey's cute just as ey is.

After playing fetch for a while, I decided to conduct a photo shoot with Bosco to help boost eir confidence. Bosco demonstrated phenomenal poise in eir poses and a raw talent behind the camera as well. I realize it's probably debatable as to which of us has the cuter pictures, but I'd like to encourage you all to heap praise upon Bosco considering ey's doing the best ey can to try to get through this little disorder.

What an attractive dog. Bosco that is.


Last Day

It's my last day of teaching summer school at my current site. I wake up at four and finish grading persuasive essays. I tried to finish them the night before, but I was too intoxicated after another night at the dive bar with the fellow English teachers. Considering I can be persuaded to poop on a roof when I'm drunk, I didn't want to have my opinion swayed by a nonsensical argument.

I stop for a greeting card to give to my master teacher. None of the cards express what I need to say aside from generic "Thank you"s, so I choose the "I'm in Love with You" card because it amused me. My friends think that was "inappropriate" and "unprofessional," but I'm going to go with "awkward" and "hilarious." Unfortunately, ey never opens it up for me to see eir reaction. Oh well.

For whatever reason, today is my most comfortable day of teaching. Everyone has a positive attitude, and everything feel so right. Because the students are terrified of presenting in front of class, I made them give impromptu presentations on their independent reading books, Reading Rainbow style. The second student presents on Catcher in the Rye and says that ey likes it. When ey goes to sit down, I ask, "What did you think of the risque parts?" "It was interesting." All of the other students want to know about the risque parts. "There was a prostitute," ey says. "Right," I say. "Let's make a rule - if you have a prostitute in your book, mention it." Surprisingly, that rule does not apply for the next book presented, The Diary of Anne Frank.

I am completely in the zone as I speak about Animal Farm, to the point where I don't even realize I am playing with a stapler as I gesture and, mid-sentence, I manage to staple my finger. Immediately, I look at it. The staple is firmly in my finger, and blood is gushing. If you're familiar with me at even a basic level, you probably know that I freak out at the sight of blood, but I can't do that in front of a classroom. "I stapled my finger," I have to admit to my students. There is a mixture of laughter and concern, but I'm sure everyone is thinking what a clumsy dumbass I was to staple my finger in the middle of teaching. Quickly, I grabbed my staple by my teeth and yanked it out, only releasing more blood. Huge drops are plunking to the floor and I just shove my finger in my mouth to try to contain the dripping. A minute later when I have it under control, I wrap it with a tissue and make reference to the Dracula presentation a student did moments before to try to play everything off as being cool. As you know, there is nothing cooler than a teacher who staples eir finger while leading a lesson. Nothing.


The Grammar Fairy

My classroom is increasingly becoming a circus. Being so close to the end of the session, the students are restless and grammar is proving especially difficult to get through. I decide I need a pointer to whack the whiteboard for emphasis to show that I mean business. Searching the room, I find a long red stick from my master teacher's bouquet of flowers with a heart at the end. I hold the heart-stick above my head firmly to refocus the students' attention and have them quiet down, but it only makes them giggle more. "You look like a fairy!" one student heckles. Indeed, the stick is more of a magic wand than a legitimate learning tool. Rather than fighting the criticism, I decided to work with it. "Yes, I am the grammar fairy," I say irritated. I pretend to do some sort of hocus-pocus while waving the wand and cast a spell for them to do the work. Firmly striking the board with my wand to emphasize which words are direct and indirect objects, my demeanor lets them know that this fairy won't be won't be taking any crap. Once I've established their attention, I set the wand down and try to continue the lesson. "Do it with the wand!" they scream. "We learn better from the grammar fairy!"

I pick the wand back up and slap it repeatedly against my palm. "Are you going to whip us with that?" someone asks. "Oh please," I reply. "Like I'm going to let myself get fired for hitting you with a stick with a styrofoam heart." All of the sudden, I notice a student has gotten up and is sitting behind the teacher's computer. "Hey! Hey!" I shout. Worried that they might be trying to change grades, I run across the room, shaking my wand in reprimand. After resolving the situation, I see half of my class in hysterics. Admittedly, my flittering about with a heart-wand is probably the most absurd scene they have witnessed enacted by a teacher in school.

I'll do anything to educate the masses. I am the grammar fairy.


I Am a Teacher

I'm going to be a teacher. I keep saying that in the future tense, though the truth of the matter is that I am a teacher. It's hard to acknowledge that I've actually begun a career, because I've always fancied myself a perpetual student. In a way, doing the grad school thing is my way of holding onto that past; however, this fact just makes it an especially difficult transition as I do not have the adequate time to properly address either of these ventures.

I got a haircut this weekend; though I enjoy my mop, I need to look a bit more professional, especially during the interview process. While I like the way it looks short, I miss being able to yank at the long strands when I'm stressed. Maybe I didn't need to cut it: I actually got my first legitimate job offer before the trim. It's for seventh graders at a year-round school. The worst part is that it starts next week. I can barely handle knowing I will be starting a full-time position in a month - there's no way I can wrap my head around doing that as of next week. What would I teach? I've kind of been of pretending that I won't ever have to do that.

Anyway, I've decided not to take the position. I think. We'll see what happens when I make the actual phone call and they make me feel bad that school starts in a matter of days and the kids have no teacher. Oops. Between the suddenness, the commute, and the age group, I just don't feel it's the fit for me. It's crazy to know I am in a position to turn down a $40,000+ salary. At least, I'm told I'm in a position to turn down that type of salary. We'll see what happens when September hits and I discover I'm going to have a lot more time to blog than I had intended.

Today the school's principal called me and asked, "Do you have any kids?" The principal clearly knows nothing about my life. "None that I acknowledge," I deadpan. Having already decided I don't want the position, I was curious how far I could push it. "Oh," the principal continued, seemingly unsure if I was pulling his leg. "Most parents like the year-round setup because it gives them more frequent time off to spend with their children." Thanks. Breeding is not a priority for me now; let's see how well I handle other people's brats first.

Alas, at some point in the next couple of weeks, I'm going to have to actually commit to a job. I will have my own students, my own kids, which blows my mind because I still consider myself a kid. Hell, I still sit at the kids' table at holiday dinners. Teaching terrifies me.

Some days I leave with a smile on my face: I know that the kids learned something and, on the best days, something relevant and significant. Other days I want to pull the fire alarm and slam my head in the door. "Do we have to learn anything today?" What kind of question is that? I challenged that student to sit through the whole class and not learn something. Ey whined at the end of the period, "Mister, you still made me learn." I'll take that as a compliment; still, I was glad ey was forced to leave at that point before the good moment was lost. It's all give and take. My opinion on whether I want to be a teacher changes not daily, but hourly.

Sigh. I'm not positive I'm cut out for this. I'm trying the best I can.


Drunk as a Skunk, Strewn like a Raccoon

My last post is an example of how writing in the middle of the night produces some crappy writing. I immediately spot a bunch of typos that I just don't have the desire or time to fix. Worse yet is that I realize I forgot to mention one of the funniest parts of class, which I will try to make up for now.

At the beginning of class, my professor admitted to being a bit flustered and disorganized because the principal who was set to be the next day's speaker had just called and asked to come in a couple of hours instead, so ey was trying to switch activities quickly. One of our activities involved looking at a chart about things specific schools did that resulted in higher standardized test scores. After each person made a point, the professor would say something along the lines of "so let's pretend that if a principal from such a school were to be coming, what would we ask him about that?" To my neighbor, I whispered, maybe louder than I thought considering I was drinking, didn't the professor already mention that a principal was coming in a couple of hours? My memory was confirmed, but the professor continued to have us prepare questions for this hypothetical principal. Either ey thinks we're entirely stupid, or the more likely alternative is that ey forgot that ey mentioned it at the beginning of class to justify eir rare showing of disorganization.

On our cigarette break (I still don't smoke, but no longer do this activity), I initiated a conversation with my peers about how ridiculous this hypothetical principal scenario is. We all agreed that we felt our intelligence was being insulted because even if the professor had never mentioned the principal at the beginning, the hinting to prepare for the scenario was so blatant that we would have figured it out anyway. I compared the technique being modeled to a fourth grade classroom learning about a raccoon. "So if a raccoon were to show up in our classroom, what are things we would want to know about it?" The class then brainstorms a list of questions and then - WHOA! - someone from the nature center magically appears as a surprise with a raccoon. Before re-entering the graduate class, we prepared our best raccoon questions. "What does it mean to be nocturnal?" "Do you hibernate?" "Can I pet you?"

When the principal finally arrived (who'd have guessed?), we all discreetly bet each other to ask a raccoon question to him. I never worked my way up to asking one, but that doesn't mean I didn't embarrass myself anyway. I was drunk-slumped in my chair the entire time he spoke, fidgeting about, and was wearing my homemade "I'm Not White Trash, I'm Caucasian Rubbish" t-shirt. After the principal's speech, my professor announced that the "other surprise" was that this principal actually had some job positions available, so he was going to stay for the next hour to talk to potential candidates.

Okay, that's not fair. I need a job. But I'm drunk. You can't just not tell us about a potential job opportunity without at least a day's notice. I would have worn something nicer than a puffy paint shirt with racial humor and, you know, not gotten drunk. Some information is too relevant to be kept a secret.

So I didn't even bother speaking with the principal. And no, you can't pet em.


Studying up for the Bar

My schedule is excruciating. I wake up before 6 am, travel through thick traffic to(oooh, alliteration) get to where I teach summer school, teach for six hours, commute an hour back to graduate school where I attend class for four hours, then go home and eat my one decent meal of the day if I'm up for cooking, do homework and lesson plan, hoping all of this affords me a few hours of sleep before I get up for school again -- sometimes it doesn't.

My master teacher recently made reference to the fact that all teachers are alcoholics. I laughed, but didn't find that to be true. I thought one sign that I was prepared to be a teacher was my lack of interest in drinking by my last semester in college, which continued through the early summer.

It all changed when some of my cohorts suggested going to a bar after grad class last week. Looking forward to social opportunities, I accepted, and I had a grand old time yucking it up with the fellow to-be English teachers, talking all sorts of shit. There was an obnoxious group near us that was extremely loud. Eventually our parties had a conversation, where upon we learned that these people were veteran teachers with the most foul mouths ever. I caught one of them pantomiming a blowjob; when he saw me notice him, he apologized that someone so young had to see that. I told him, whatever, I'm old enough to drink, it's not that bad. He told me that by the time I've taught for several years, I'll be in his position. Yeah right, I thought.

Though I'm getting my masters in education, I find it to be a bit of a joke. The professors like to "model" effective young teaching, so a lot of the work is not rigorous. As one of my peers pointed out, the challenging part is not the content of the work itself, but the amount they give us: there is far too much assigned in a given day given our numerous responsibilities, meaning we must spend far more time than intellectual ability on our studies.

This situation leads some of my classmates and I to take the approach I'd never imagine previously -- drinking during class. It's not like I ever feel the need to drink, but alcohol does make the four hour class period go by much quicker. One professor gave some analogy about an expedition to the South Pole. She spoke of some explorers who went to the South Pole (upon which she made a phallic gesture to indicate a pole) and did "that doggy thing together" (she meant dogsled, while we thought doggy-style), somewhere threw in the word "abreast," then concluded that they all reached their goal together, at the same time, which was seemed nothing short of a climax. Of course, I lost it. For once, all of the poor metaphors were immensely enjoyable.

After sobering up by the end of class, four of us proceeded to a bar to extend the fun. I thought I was following one person, but at some point another car must have got between us, and I ended up following that person to their house. Yes, I'm that stupid. Worse yet, I had the person following behind me follow me as well. When the guy pulled into his apartment complex, two cars followed closely behind. At the time, I thought, this isn't the bar, but never aroused much suspicion. We ended up following him all the way to a dead-end road, where he pulled up to a garage and got out and gave us a weird look. It wasn't until he got out that I realized, oops, I'm not following who I thought I was following. I freaked out and quickly reversed. I can only imagine how creeped out that guy was; ultimately, it's my fault for not knowing my way around my town of residence. Still, it's amusing that I inadvertently followed some guy home. Let's hope I don't get arrested.

After eventually making our way to the bar, we collectively started doing our homework over drinks. Homework is far better that way, I assure you, especially when the assignment is mindless. Part of the assignment was to discuss your findings with someone else and have them comment and initial the paper as proof. We discussed all right, and I can't wait to see the obnoxiously drunk things we said about each other's work - and also how the professors respond. Oh, grad school. We stayed there doing homework until we were ready to drive home, and the DJ kept heckling us, "the people doing homework." I understand how that's not typical bar behavior, but come on, we're preparing to educate your drunk ass' kids. I request Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" in tribute to our scholarly crew (and later 99 Luftballoons, just because) and they happily oblige.

I realized the night was over a midnight when I asked the waitperson if the bar had a three-hole puncher. Kindly, ey checked for me, but with no success. Who asks for a three-hole punch at a bar? Must be a drunk teacher!


There's Too Many Chiefs, But Not Enough Indians in the Kitchen

On Big Brother tonight, one of my favorite players, Nakomis, uttered the unfortunate phrase, "My heartstrings are aching," at which point I couldn't help but heckle, "Mixed metaphor!" Finding me lame, my housemate asked, "Who says mixed metaphor?... Oh yeah, I guess an English teacher." Yeah, that's right, I really am an English teacher. Finally, I feel qualified for this job.


The Claremont Grammarians

About a month ago, Stacy, Jessica, and I make a resolution: we want to be in the Claremont parade. More importantly, we want to be weird in the Claremont parade. We kick around some bizarre theme ideas before ultimately deciding on calling our group The Claremont Grammarians. Our mission is to spread good grammar to the surrounding community, and what better way than by appearing in the local Fourth of July parade? We fill out all of the necessary paperwork, for which there was a surprising amount. It is several weeks before we hear a response, but apparently, the Claremont Grammarians are a go!

We go to Pitzer to borrow some items from the Art Collective closet and a bullhorn while we're at it. When we return home, we find that Shea's truck has chosen the worst time ever to break down. What now? The parade is in just a few hours!

I focus my attention on continuing to make the signs - the show must go on even if without a truck. While Jessica goes about creating the most awesome, glittery t-shirts, Shea learns that he can rent a truck from Lowe's for twenty bucks an hour. So just moments before the parade starts, he rents a truck under the pretense of moving a large purchase from the store and brings it to the parade route.

We show up late, just twenty minutes before the parade is supposed to start. Fortunately, they let us line up anyway. Every other float is perfectly in place, while we rush to duct tape whatever we can to the sides of the trucks, even creating half of the signs right there on the spot. It doesn't get much more ghetto than the grammar float, folks. We tape over the Lowe's parts first. Right from the start, other groups who obviously put a lot of work into their floats snicker at our hasty process of decorating and wonder who the hell let these crazies into the parade in the first place.

Together, we finish just in time to depart. Parentheses Man (Shea) drives the truck while Period. (Jessica), Grammar Dog (Bosco), Exclamation Empress (Stacy), ? (the mannequin), and Semicolon Powell (Kevin) wave and cheer from the back. A middle school cheerleading squad is behind us, and it's obvious they do not enjoy our sense of humor. Since their cheers did not use proper grammar or syntax and far too much repetition, I would heckle them, overpowering their chants with the bullhorn. "Do a cheer about grammar" I request repeatedly. Alas, they seem far too busy being aggressive. Being, being aggressive.

Let me tell you, that this parade is one of the most amazing half hours of my entire life. Everything felt right in that moment. Interacting with the crowd was stupendous. There is a mixed reaction from the townsfolk, which is perfect. Many people seem genuinely puzzled, having never seen anything like us. They want to know if we were a real group (yes, we lie) and when we meet (Wednesdays at 7). These are the people who don't clap for us as we go by, instead giving us blank stares and obviously judging our desecration of this town's tradition. On the other hand, there are a lot of people seemed to "get" it, understanding that this float was a somewhat facetious deviation from the typical parade fare, with grammar being a hilarious cover. I had thought I'd be more entertained by the former group's response, but, for once, it is so much more fulfilling to see the people who are laughing with us rather than at us.

A third group of people, the smallest group of all, is comprised of those who just generally do seem to appreciate good grammar. Perhaps I should give them the benefit of the doubt as well, but certain people just seemed to pretend too well. These are the people that spur me to shout things like "MTV is responsible for the failures of our modern day language," which goes over well with the over 70 crowd. It also is the first time I become aware that we could be interpreted to be somewhat racist with our message seeming to be, "Learn to speak English well now!"

Occasionally, we are heckled, which I rather enjoy, because I am more than prepared to give it back even better than they give it. One kid tells us that we are stupid and that ey hates grammar, and I tell him that I cannot understand him because he speaks with such bad grammar. Another pair shoots us with water guns and I blame them for dangling participles. Burn! Even more fun is heckling the crowd unprovoked. Whenever people directly interact with the cheerleaders behind us, I demand that they pay attention to us first while we go by. These people, presumably parents of the cheerleaders, do not take well to having a semicolon tell them to ignore their kids. One mother in particular gives me a disgusted look when I command her to take pictures of the grammar float before her daughter. As she lowers her camera in shock, I scream in the angriest voice, "LEARN GRAMMAR, LOVE GRAMMAR!" Other times, if a section of the crowd does not seem excited enough, I angrily threaten that "If you don't love grammar, you don't love America!" Nothing is more hysterical than peer pressuring people into clapping by bandying about accusations of being un-American. If the government can use it so effectively, so should the Claremont Grammarians.

We improvised a lot of different chants throughout the route:

"What do we want? GRAMMAR! When do we want it? NOW!"

"Punctuation is patriotic!"

"Contractions are for Canadians!"

"Subject/Verb agreement!"

"Don't let Upland be more eloquent than you. Learn to speak well!"

"Poor grammar? NO! Kelsey Grammer? NO! Good grammar? YES!"

"Proofread your documents!"

"This Independence Day, free yourself from the constraints of bad grammar. Don't let Communism win!"

"Fragments Fragment Families!" This one is my personal favorite because it appears to push a ludicrous political agenda.

Jessica reaches out to the kids by explaining that Santa Claus won't visit unless they learn grammar. Stacy gives an impassioned plea that "Spellcheck is not enough!" that actual tears (of laughter) from me. We are some of the most amusing people I know and I am so proud that we showed Claremont business.

For the last leg of the parade, I serenade the crowd with my rendition of Culture Club's "Comma Chameleon." We remind the crowd several times that we will be staying after the parade if anyone would like some extra help learning grammar rules. No one takes us up on the offer, which is probably a good thing seeing as we have to immediately strip the truck down of all the signs and take it back to Lowe's before they realize it was hijacked for a parade.

Thousands of Claremont residents have seen us now, and it's a real kick to know that they will go home and talk about strange that grammar float was. They don't go home and discuss the retirement community, girl scout troop, or high school band. No, they discuss the Claremont Grammarians and what an unexpected spectacle they were. And maybe, just maybe, they'll learn about comma splices while they're at it.


Oh Deer!

Leading a lesson on types of characters (protagonist, antagonist, supporting, complex, static, etc.), I use the film Bambi as an example. Apparently, that the skunk is named Flower might be the funniest tidbit soon-to-be ninth graders have ever heard. Thinking we've stumbled upon a teachable moment, I point out that the name of Flower appeals to our sense of irony. One student says, "Yeah, but it doesn't make sense that a skunk is called Flower." Right, I point out, that's what makes it ironic. "Then ironic (sic) is stupid!" another blurts. No, it's not, I explain, getting defensive. Let's go over what irony means one more time. As I begin, another student interrupts. "Is Bambi a boy or a girl?" "Bambi's a boy, stupid." "But Bambi's a girl name!" The whole class has a (loud) opinion on the matter. At first I get frustrated, then I remember having a similar conversation at college. Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?


M-I-C K-E-Why, You're Old!

Me: You don't remember what you ate? Popcorn? Chicken? Mickey Mouse ice cream?
Student #1: There's no such thing as Mickey Mouse ice cream.
Me: Sure, you know, the popsicles with chocolate Mickey Mouse ears.
Student #2: Oh yeah! The kind with gum ball eyeballs.
Me: Gum ball eyes? They never had gum ball eyes when I was younger.
Student #2: When you say things like that it makes you sound really old.
Me: (not sure whether to be insulted) Well... good... I'm your teacher.


Nature is out to Get Me

This morning at 6:15, I headed to my car to leave for work. Given the hour, plus the fact that it was a Monday, I probably don't need to explain how chipper I was. Glancing at the side of the car, I notice it had been egged. Who would egg my car? I looked up and spotted a nest. Apparently, some poor unborn bird plunged from its home and smashed against my car window. It seemed like the perfect metaphor for a Monday morning, so I took pictures.

At nearly 7 p.m., after I'm finally done with teaching and attending school for the day, I make a quick stop at the public liberry to pick up a book on punctuation so that I can teach my fellow graduate students the basic rules on semicolon usage. In the five minutes it takes me to obtain this book, I come back out to find a crowd gathered in the parking lot. A thick twelve-feet-long tree branch had snapped off a tree and came down and either crushed or did significant damage (scratched up, broke the windows) to the three cars next to mine. My car, the fourth from where the tree stood, was covered in plenty of leaves and twigs, but seems to have suffered no actual damage.

Someone was crying, someone was swearing profusely, and I am just terrified. Sure, my car is perfectly fine, or, well, no different than it was before the tree branch fell, but I swear, nature is giving me some kind of warning. As an English teacher, I am fully aware that the falling egg foreshadowed the falling tree. But what if the tree is foreshadowing something? Is nature displeased with my bug killing attitude? Are the hippies right? At any rate, if I'm soon struck by lightning, or even a meteor perhaps, I can't say it's unexpected.


Along Came a Spider

After avoiding the black widow issue for a week, I needed to retrieve something from the shed. Opening the door just a crack, I saw the web had been reconstructed, and the biggest parentfucking* black widow spider scurrying around on it. Nearly soiling myself, I went to find a hidden stash of insect poison (certain housemates of mine are vehemently opposed to this material even existing) and sprayed it at the spider, only to watch it quickly flee to a corner. Jessica came out to help, but the two of us were far too jumpy, and we spent 20 minutes swatting at nothing, hoping to kill something. Eventually Shea came out to assist, but he refused to use poison. He saw one run by his foot, so he stomped it dead. Alas, that black widow was about half the size of the one we were terrified of, meaning there were more to come. Suddenly, our terrorizer made itself visible. This one was the one, I could tell by its oversized ghetto booty. Following some pussyfooting on our part, Shea got it to drop in a bucket, whereupon we rushed it to the street pavement to put it out of our its misery.

Each of us took up arms. Shea had a cinder block, Jessica had a large piece of wood, and I had a rake (?! Clearly, in this superhero trio, I am the dumb one.) Removing the bucket from the spider, it began to run, so Jessica gave it a solid whack with the piece of wood. Though it was a wonderful slam, it did not die, instead jumping and surging away from us. Shea stepped in and dropped the cinder block on the thing. Well, that did it. Notably, however, as splattered as that thing became, its ample rump still protruded from the spider stain. Way to represent.

Still, we haven't had the last laugh. Soon after, Jessica woke up with bumps on her face and arms which were diagnosed at the urgent care unit as poisonous spider bites. Fuck spiders. Fuck hippies.

*Yes, I've even gender neutralized that word now.


Voice Message

Recently, I received the world's greatest voice message. On it Bianca recorded a hypothetical conversation between the two of us. Part of it is in the delivery: her impression of me is the same one one might employ if ey were impersonating Barry White. Here is the transcription:

B: Hey, Kevin.
K: Hey, Bianca.
B: I'm sorry that I haven't called before now; I've been really busy trying to pack before Wednesday and everything, because I leave on Wednesday.
K: Yeah, yeah, you're a jerk.
B: You know, that's fair, that's fair. I didn't call you back, but there's no excuse for rudeness of that level.
K: I hope you die.
B: Kevin. Kevin, please be reasonable. I don't think I deserve that.
K: I hate you.
B: Okay, you know what Kevin? I... have AIDS. Yeah. Think of it what you will. Good day.
::End of voice message::

I've probably played it back nine times now because I enjoy it that much. She's right, though: I do hope she dies. It's completely unfair for her to move to Korea for the next year + just after I've decided we should be total BFF. Fulbright Fellowships are for suckers. Leaving the country is for people with HIV negativity.


Sweet as Rice

We're out for Thai food tonight. A bowl of plain steamed rice is served first and, being especially hungry, I heap a bunch on my plate. To spice it up a bit, I grab the salt and sprinkle a bunch on top. As Shea and Jessica help themselves, I notice how sweet the rice tastes. After a few more bites, I ask the others if they have ever had rice this saccharine before. They insist that they don't find the rice to be sweet. I make a puzzled face, then take another bite before insisting that there has to be sugar on it. Wait, sugar? I glance back to the salt shaker that isn't really a salt shaker. Instead, it's your standard diner sugar jar, which I failed to recognize as such. How did I manage to become the biggest idiot ever?

I swear, if agoraphobia were a hobby and not a disorder, I would take it up gladly.


4th of July

It's the fourth of July and nothing gets me more excited than fireworks! Actually, that's a blatant lie, I've never found them that interesting. You've seen one firework, you've seen the next hundred that follow in succession. Generally, I try to occupy myself during these festivities by commentating through them as if I were a radio announcer. After all, fireworks are definitely an art that should be experienced over the radio. Years ago, Susan and I began by just loudly stating the colors for those around us. "Red. Green and white. Blue. Green. Green." Shortly, our skills advanced to clever segues, "White. Red... speaking of red, have you read any good books lately?" Other people just feet away on a nearby blanket generally dislike this activity because they don't need anyone telling them what fireworks they're seeing. Sometimes, however, I can make them crack up with such gems as, "Wow, that one was prettier than my sister!" Immediately, I could hear a lot of chuckles, plus a firm smack across my head from that pretty sister of mine herself.

Tonight I was far too exhausted to even commentate on the fireworks, which is a true sign that I am overworked. Instead, I just lay on my neighbors lawn, silently "watching" the fireworks with my eyes closed. In spite of the noise, it was the most peaceful moment I've had in a long time. Well, that is until the sprinklers turned on mid-show and soaked us. Yup, time for bed.


Dental Damn

Occasionally, I've been watching Game Show Marathon on the tele. I'd compare my attraction to game shows to my love of necrophilia: in spite of my disgust, I keep coming back for more. Game Show Marathon features some of my favorite old game shows (including The Price Is Right, though I no longer consider that a favorite by any means) played by "celebrity" contestants and hosted bastardized by Ricki Lake. Truthfully, my love for Ricki Lake is also like necrophilia; each day as a preteen I'd come home from school to watch the insufferably trashy Ricki Lake Show. It's a wonder how after all that mind-numbing I'm still somewhat functional today.

The most recent Game Show Marathon episode featured the love of my life, Match Game. (If you love it so much, why don't you marry it? Okay, maybe I will.) My favorite question is directed at former 'N Sync-er Lance Bass: Lorraine says it's strange being married to a dentist. Before they make love, he says BLANK.

Now the most obvious answer would clearly be "open wide." It's funny, risque, and a good match. Any idiot could come up with it. Evidently, Lance Bass is no idiot, however, because he says, "Brush your teeth." Appropriately, the audience boos him, which I'm sure at this stage in his career, does not phase him. Surprisingly, the first match panelist, George Foreman, also says "Brush your teeth," so Lance gets a point. I feel compelled to note, though, that this match is the result of George Foreman having been beaten in the head throughout his life, and not good Match Game skills. It's no mystery why Lance never made it to outer space.

Though I would have given "open wide" as my official answer, I'd like to share my funnier, alternate answer to the same question I came up with on the fly. "I'm going to fill your cavity." Bruce Vilanch actually said something similar, "Show me your cavity," but I took it a step further. I'm funnier than Bruce Vilanch! But what else is new?


Oh, Anna

"My relationship with [Michael] was pretty funny. I remember when my gay pride necklace broke and I was so sad, and he wanted to make me feel better so he took me to Venice Beach to buy a new one. So we looked all over for a new one, then we finally found a great gay pride necklace, and we're both really excited. That's a weird thing for a lesbian and her boyfriend to do together... Looking back, it was probably the healthiest relationship I've ever had." - Anna