Friday, February 25, 2005

HST revisited

I have been wanting for a while to write more on the death of Hunter Thompson. I wanted to write about how much his writing meant to me, how much energy and verve it had, how much I learned about accepting the bizzare and outrageaous as legitimate and even beautiful parts of real life.

Instead, I'm left with the news that when Hunter killed himself, he did so (1) with his wife on the phone, and (2) with his son, daughter-in-law and 6-year-old grandson in the house (see this Yahoo article for details).

Of course, any suicide is a complex matter, and unless you know all the facts, any judgement you make should be tempered. I had a friend who committed suicide a while back, and I still have no clue as to how I should feel about that one...and as I will never know enough, I doubt I ever will. However, knowing that a family member will discover your bleeding corpse is bad. Killing yourself when your wife is on the phone to you and your six friggin year old grandson is a room or two over....

Right now, it's really hard for me to like Hunter.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

web news

the depressing: The Jayhawks have broken up...see
this article from the Star Tribune

the vindicating: for those who read my bit on Eternal Sunshine of the
Spotless Mind
this Oscar prediction

the informative: for those who just need to know about a good dive
bar...see this suprisingly useful Stuff article (not that I normally read Stuff)

the astute: Roger Ebert on the rules of the Oscars...see his Sun Times piece

Monday, February 21, 2005


Hunter Thompson apparently committed suicide yesterday...the orbituary is online on Yahoo news

Once I get caught up on my work, I'll post a little more on this.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

dogs playing poker=high art

I know that everyone has seen the velvet tapestries of dogs playing poker. Well, apparently two of the series of paintings they are based upon just sold at auction for almost $600,000! Does high sales value equal high art? The relevant story is on Yahoo news.

One of these days, I'm going to theorize exactly why these are so popular...

green tea for Jesus

Lately, it seems that most of the pleasures of my teenage years are bent on denying themselves to me. A while ago, my body's ability to metabolize sugar went downhill, and I had to quit eating sweetened breakfast cereal. To this day, whenever I go grocery shopping, Cap'n Crunch stares at me with menace, and I know he's feeling jilted, plotting his revenge. There's now malice deep within his "Ahoy, matey"s.

Lately, though, it's my old friend caffeine who's been deserting me. About a year ago, I had to cut my coffee down to three cups a day. Then I had to move to a half decaf mixture...which was especially rough, because we all know just how much decaf sucks as a rule. Now, even my measley two and a half cups of half decaf is just too much for me.

It starts out fine. I get the nice mild feeling of euphoria, and my head just starts to "click" (and other coffee drinkers, + anyone who's seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will know what I mean). Then my brain starts to feel alive. The hemispheres start communicating in more rapid fashion. I break out of my normal "tunnel vision" and start to notice EVERYTHING. I feel EVERYTHING. Then I know I'm doomed.

Hey, the feeling of everything is wonderful, and if it would stop there, I would be eternally happy. It must be how some of those super babies feel when they grow up. But it doesn't stop there, and I am generally doomed to what starts as a mild shake. Then my head starts to cloud from the sides inward. Then my stomach starts to feel queasy, just like it does when my blood sugar gets thrown all out of whack. Then I have to get some junk food in me, and that's the last thing I really need now.

So I've been forced to go somewhere I never thought I would go...tea. To me, tea was always the poor second cousin to coffee. Coffee had everything going for it. It was thick, it had terroir (look it up), it had vibrancy, whereas tea just tasted like watered-down leaves. Coffee was strong and ethereal, whereas tea was weak and spindley. Coffee was "black blood of the earth," and there was no way that lawn clippings could suffice. My British mother didn't understand me, but tea just was not my cup of tea.

Then the caffeine rejection started, and I had to do SOMETHING. I mean, I like juice, but it doesn't pull you through the morning. By default, I kinda fell into the green tea thing.

Fast forward to last night. My wife and I went to Big Lots, the local discount/close-out store (where they sell what my dissertation advisor calls "the detritus of late capitalism"...that Ellen, she's so intellectual), and I saw some green tea on sale just as I have to replenish my stock.

I buy, and we get it home. Only then do I notice that it is more specifically "Prince of Peace brand Green Tea." Apparently, it's harvested in China and sold to a Christian company to resell to the world. This, of course, leads me to several questions. If HE were to come back today, would green tea be his brand? Do I earn "get out of purgatory points" for drinking this stuff? Is the tea itself blessed? Will Lori start noticing weird behavior? Does the holy nature of this brand mean that this green tea, unlike sugar and coffee, will refrain from actually turning on me?

Finally, is this less holy as I got this out of a discount store, or does that just signify the declining position of religious beverages in the marketplace?

Monday, February 14, 2005

trigger panic

So I got a call Sunday from the guy at the security guard company, telling me that my background check had cleared and I could schedule my 6 hour "pre-employment training." I felt worse with this news. Everything about the potential of becoming a security guard filled me with increasing dread, and it felt as if the job were a black hole sucking me in.

I payed my bills, and refigured my finances. After discussing matters with my wife, I decided not to take the security position after all. We will swing the money thing somehow, and I will continue to look for employment...I'm just not going to do it as a rent-a-cop. I get to call them tomorrow and let them know.

Deciding not to take the job felt actually felt like the black cloud that had been hanging over my head since I applied finally decided to dissipate. I'm not afraid of doing any work, and I have worked some really awful jobs (remind me to tell the story of killing rats with a broomhandle with a nail on the end), but there was something about this one that made me horribly depressed. Maybe it was the fact that I'd have to work 2nd or 3rd shift AND be on call AND not have guaranteed hours. Maybe it was that my schedule would only be determined by last minute phone calls. Maybe it was just too close to the wino/flunky status, and I am not ready to admit to myself that I am without hope employment-wise...yet.

You may see me flipping burgers. You may see me as a greeter at Wal-Mart. You may see me as a bouncer. But I REFUSE to hold clipboards and ask you to sign in.

Give me another two years on the job market, however, and I may change my mind.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

security alternative

In an effort to avoid the security profession, I have also applied to work at a Chinese restaurant...which should disappoint my father, who inevitably acts ripped off when he goes to a Chinese restaurant and gets served by an Anglo...oh well, poverty trumps cultural authenticity any day...

cool essay

Warren Ellis has posted a great reading essay on his site...go get it.

Friday, February 04, 2005

security update

For those following the saga, I passed the psychological profile, and apparently I am mentally suited to be a security guard. Upon hearing this, I became immensely sad.

Before I can actually start doing security, however, I have to go through an info make sure I didn't lie about my criminal record, I presume. Then I have to sit through a 6 hour pre-employment (meaning unpaid) class of some sort.

The heart palipitates just thinking about it. And the more I dwell on it, the more I think we might just wanna rethink socialism.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

FARK headline of note in reference to groundhog's day

another repost:

And I quote, "The rodent saw his shadow: Six more weeks of winter. Bastard."

Ya gotta love groundhog's day...the most Freudian of all holidays.


So, desperate times call for desperate measures. If you've heard me moan and complain about my current employment situation (mostly that I don't have enough of it), then you know that it makes me feel more than a little antsy. So I made the big step yesterday...I applied for a job as a part time security officer. Yes, you heard that right. I want to be a rent-a-cop.

The whole situation was not without its humorous aspects. First off, it was in this industrial office-type building just in front of a shopping center. I took the elevator to the second floor, found the office, and rang the "for service" bell. A gentleman who looked suspiciously like the host of the PBS series _America's Test Kitchen_ informed me that they did not let their appilcations leave the premise (must be a security risk, HA HA HA HA) and showed me to a desk where I could fill out the forms.

The first clue that this might not be the most stable work environment is that the forms which had the work duties and requirements were laminated...I assume they either have a WHOLE lot of turnover or they are afraid of having applicants "discharge" onto them. The gentleman in charge walked me through the form (check here, check here, fill this out), and helpfully told me what suggested wage I should put in the "wage desired" box. I even had to fill out a hypothetical report on an auto break-in which might happen on one of my hypothetical shifts at "XYZ Enterprises." I resisted somehow the temptation to dress the imaginary perp up in a Motorhead shirt or give him a mohawk.

Then I got to take a personality scantron! Yes, scantron, the choice of teachers and top level psychologists everywhere. It asked such questions as "I believe everybody steals" and "If an employee is caught stealing, how much could they steal and still be given a second chance?" Of course, I had the Jane's Addiction song stuck in my head the whole time.

Really, the test was sort of pathetic. They are either going to determine that I am either (1) horribly honest (because I have never stolen), (2) a complete liar (because I claim I've never stolen), (3) incredibly naive and trusting (as I don't believe that everyone steals), or (4) a complete liar trying to tell them what they want to hear. Really, though, the only lesson they could honestly get out of it is that I hate absolutes and will answer "no" to ANY question that starts "I believe everybody...."

They are going to send the test off to be "graded," and if I "pass" (whatever that means), I get interviewed tomorrow...I will keep you informed. It will be a real shame if I don't pass, and I hope it won't get on my permanent record. I have suffered many such blows lately, though, and this would rank up there with finding out I'm not good enough to work at Aldi's Discount Grocers or the local gas station.

It's been my experience on the job market that many employers try to convince themselves and their potential employees that the company MUST be important if the application process is so long and involved. This is definitely the case with the Community Colleges to which I've been applying lately. Taken to the extreme, I guess that you could argue that really bad jobs like "sanitation engineer" must have an application process that would make you weep, while very important jobs like "President" have few if any application requirements...which would actually explain a whole lot....

To be fair, I can't imagine that they have a tremendous application pool...the guy who was leaving the same time as me looked like he just left his other job of "beachcomber." Just think of this application process, though, the next time you see a rent-a-cop kicking a teenager out of the mall.

np: Meatloaf, "You took the words right out of my mouth"


A repost...

So, in my off hours, I have managed to catch a couple of CSI: reruns in a desperate attempt to figure out exactly what the allure of this series is. Why is it spawning spinoffs at a Law and Order-esque rate? What brilliant work are they doing?

My findings? Not much. I'm not sure why anyone would actually watch this show, let alone why it is the most popular thing on television. The dialog is the most horribly cliched thing I have ever heard...WWE has more witty lines than this. The cases are fairly bland and predictable, and there's not even a "whodunnit" factor at work. About the only thing I have discovered for sure is that CSI: Miami shows more cleavage than the original.

But wouldn't it be great if they would bring the CSI: formula to other locales? Imagine CSI: Bowling Green. Who was responsible for the public urination? Who TP'd the frat house? Or CSI: Wood County...who tipped over Farmer John's cows? Or even CSI: Palatka...who stole the suntan lotion from the Kingsley Lake giftshop?

Ah, the possibilities....

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

missing posts?

So, I have sent a few updates, but for whatever reason, they haven't arrived...Fear not, I have not abandoned ye!