Saturday, February 26, 2005

Disposable society

I saw an ad on TV today for a program whose sole entertainment factor was demolition and pyrotechnics. As the host of the show put it, "Everyone's dream is to blow shit up." Not everyone. Not mine.

What does it say about our society that we have so much fucking STUFF, that destroying it for descruction's sake has become entertainment? I'm not talking about the awe, adrenaline, or satisfaction gleaned from demolishing something that must be demolished for a greater pupose, like imploding an old, unsafe building to clear space for more attractive and efficient development. I'm not talking about destroying some perfectly good televisions in order to scientifically test which packing materials offer the most protection. I'm talking about taking something that is perfectly sound and very expensive, like an automobile, and blowing it up because you like explosions. Newsflash: that's what FIREWORKS are for people!

What does this say about our consumerist/destructo culture? Two things: 1 - That we have valued material goods so highly for so long, we have accumulated more material goods than we can possibly have use for. 2 - That we have surrounded ourselves with so many material things, we no longer attach any value to them. Nothing is precious, nothing rare, nothing earned. We value the getting, but not what we get. We are on a mission to obtain, but at a loss for meaning. We've spent so long aquiring, we've saturated our both out storage and appreciative capablities. The new goal is not to aquire, but to waste.

Waste, a sin or crime in every culture around the globe, has now become an end unto itself. We are a wasteful society, and we are proud of it. As such, we are the most decadent, satiated culture ever to walk (well, drive is more like it; in this case, SUVs) the planet. Do we feel guilty about this? Lord, no. As Americans, we are no longer raised to believe that we can all earn as much as the guy at the top of the totem pole if we work hard enough for it. Merit is not discussed. What we deserve is not an element of our culture. Rather, we are brought up by the popular culture to believe that we are all entitled to the same stuff as the guy at the totem's tip, regardless of what we've done. We're created equal = we're entitled to equal benenfits. Anyone can be president = We'd all make just as good a president as the next guy.

America used to be the land where you could have the Dream by the sweat of your brow, and swim in the pride that came with the accomplishment. It used to mean that anyone could earn the Dream. To our consumerist culture the Dream is no longer a triumph, it's a gift. No one wants to earn it anymore, they want it handed to them. That's why the airwaves are inundated with advertisments to give big, suburban home, flahsy cars and fast computers to anyone, regardless of thier income or credit. "Don't let the banks turn you down," they say (translation: "Don't listen to the experts who can obviously see that you can't afford this"). "Bad credit? No credit? No problem! We'll put you in the house/car of your dreams today, with no money down!" (translation: Don't work! Don't save! There's no virtue in patience and persistance. We'll happily take advantage your desire to own something you havn't earned and can't afford by putting you so far in debt you will never again see the light of the black, while we live like fat cats off the interest payments you can barely make! Come see us today!")

That's ok. In 3 more years when you realize what you've done, you can cure your depression and debt in one swift move, by letting a TV show pay you to blow up the house/car you couldn't afford for the entertainment of 6 million other morons like yoursef.

I'm doing it again

You think you've got demons? Fuck you, all of you.

For the last week I've been eating, breathing, and sleeping my job. It's a part-time job, and I've turned it into an 80-hour a week crusade. I'm a fund-raiser. I raise money for a good cause, namely, the Fuzzy Sado-Massochists. I solicit corporate donations, both cash and in-kind. I solicit individual patrons and members. I coordinate fundraising events. I sell ads. I do anything I can to scrape together any penny I can beg, borrow, or steal. Well, not borrow. I have no fucking intention of giving any of it back. We need it for the summer season. We are a non-profit, professional theatre company. I raise money to pay actors, build sets, rent performance space, design and purchase costumes, and all the other things that come with theatre. But it's all an act.

I care, I really do care about what I do. The actors' livlihoods depend on me. But mostly I care about what my job does for me. When I first came home to this one-horse shit hole I cried twice a day from lonliness. I cried because of all the friends I miss, and for the relationships I never had and never will as long as I live in this small-minded cesspool. I love my friends. I miss their conversation, their company, their competition. I miss the ones who crack me up, and the ones who make sure I never go out on Friday night looking the frontrunner in the Lesbian Lumberjack of the Year contest. I miss the ones who come into my room and open my fridge and help themselves, and the ones who mail me tapes of themselves reading novels because I'm too far away and the phone is too expensive. I miss the friend who climbs inside any cardboard box he sees, and the friend for whom hot chocolate is a dietary staple. I miss the friends who carry boats and row their goddamn fucking brains out and lay it all on the line even after I've irrevacobly destroyed our only chance of winning the biggest regatta of our lives. And the friends who pick me up and carry me on their shoulders when I'm afraind of a dog. I miss being made to laugh, being told off, being cried on, being counted on, and being missed.

But I'm selfish, because the person I miss the most is the one who doesn't exist. I miss the person who isn't in love with me. I love all my friends, and I assume they love me in the same way, but we all know there's a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. I have been loved, but I have never been in-loved. I know what it is to be in love. I do not know what it is to know that someone is in love with me.

So when I arrived in this miserable, mid-western mire a few months ago I spent a lot of time drowning in the cataract of self-pity and lonliness that sprayed from my eyes daily. As time wore on and my temporary stay became longer and longer, I couldn't take the emptiness any more, so I filled my emotional void with occupation. I latched on to something that was only supposed to be a part-time distraction and made it my life. I do that, you know. I find things to consume me so I don't have to be alone with my thoughts. (Rowing is fucking brilliant for that. I highly recommend it to lonely multitudes seeking escape.) When I think about my self or my life, I bawl like an 8-day-old Jewish boy, so I don't leave myself time to think about myself. I don't dwell on what I'm missing. I even gave up watching romantic comedies and reading love stories because I can no longer bear being reminded that in several, fundamental ways, I am different from EVERYONE I know. There are certain experiences common to all people -- love, death, sex, loss, ect. -- the sum of which is known as the human condition. Two of these are alien to me. No one has ever loved me, or allowed me to love them. No one has ever made love to me, or allowed me to make love to them. They are alien to me. I am alien. I am not fully human. I am sub-human.

So when I asked a friend of mine who was depressed to tell me about the woman who had him bummed, I was expecting some dreamy looks, wistful sighs, and a few fond memories. I was not expecting an acid-tears, serrated knife in the viscera reminder of what I lack. It's a good thing I live in the flatlands, because if there were a cliff nearby I'd be fucking headed there right now. Instead I'll spend the weekend slaving at my "part-time" job, trying to find a rowing club within and hour's drive that I can afford to join for six months, and working on the book I've begun writing. Anything, absolutely fucking anything, to keep me from thinking about what I've just heard.

How do you like them demons?

Friday, February 18, 2005

sorta good, sorta bad

The good news is I've just been hired as the both the Development Director AND Public Relations Manager for a not-for-profit organization. It's good because words like "Director" and "Manager" in one's job title look good on a resume, should I ever be forced to get real job. In addition, even though the money's not great, it will be enough to let me completely pay off my federal student loans by next August, before I return to England and go further into debt. The bad news is that I'm committed to staying in this one-horse dung heap with my parents until next September. Realistically, I wasn't going to get the $$$ together to show up in York by April anyway, but I hate admitting defeat. I also hate paying the storage fees for all my belongings which are still sitting in a storage shed in Old Trafford, but what can you do? So now I get to spend the spring and summer begging corporations for money in support of, well, I can't tell you who's hired me because I can't have anyone connecting the organization with the other crap that I publish on this site. For the purposes of anonymity I'll refer to them as the FSM, the Fuzzy Sado-Massochists. (If you knew who they really were you would piss your pants at that.) They're a good bunch, but by and large totally fucking incompetent. My first job as Development Director was to fix the pie chart that illustrated what portions of our budget come from what sources. This chart appeared on the first page of the promotions packet that was sent out to hundreds of potential donors. On this chart, the wedge illustrating 6% was twice the size of the wedge illustrating 13%, and the two wedges illustrating 32% each were drastically different sizes. Now, if you were a prominant local businessperson, would you give your hard-stolen money to an organization that is unable to a, do math, b, use MS Excel, or c, proofread? I sure as fuck wouldn't. And it goes on from there. As the new PR manager I get to write all the press releases and sleep with all the freelance critics to guarantee good press.
Me: "I need to get some good press coverage."
Critic: "I could use a good press myself. Dinner at 8? You're buying."
Yep. Can't think of a better way to waste 6 months of my life. Jesus Mary and Joseph get me out of here. I just have to keep telling myself that I'm doing it for the money, I'm doing it for the money. I love being a charitable whore.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

read this. now.

every now and again i come across something and wish to god i had written it. this is one of those things:

read it. read it now. then raise your voices in support of the new movement to rally the blue states and secede from the union. we shall become the United States of Reason. or Canada. or Google. I don't know, the pr people are still working on that bit. we shall forever leave behind the United States of Walmart, to wallow in their hypocracy and pick their own goddamn cotton. All in favor, say "Aye!"

added bonus

hmm. i noticed that the number of new visitors to my site spiked after i posted the photos of Gil. I'm wondering if having a celebrity's name and pics up is bringing viewers to the blog who are googling "Gil Grisham." I should have thought of this ages ago...

Soon to come at Girls, Girls, Girls! Nude photos of Lucy Lawless and Brad Pitt! The hottest sex on the internet! Great deals and discounts on Viagra! Lose 50 pounds in 10 days with this incredible new diet pill! Get rich in only 6 weeks with these hot new real estate buying strategies! Click and win a free Hummer (your pick)!

That oughter do it. Time to sit back and watch the loser-o-meter on the sidebar roll like a slot machine on labor day weekend.

Monday, February 14, 2005


Kristina, you are a star. I can now gaze lovingly upon my sidebar, rather than being repulsed by its over-crowded hideousness.

And thank you for vindicating me, Dahling. You always had impecable taste in men, so I'm in good company. And for fuck's sake when is he going to get it on with Seidel?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The man himself in his natural habitat Posted by Hello

Would that I were a fish, that I might have a pair of Gils! Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 12, 2005

New crush

Been watching WAY too much CSI: Las Vegas lately. Is it me, or is Gil Grisham hot? He's brilliant, quirky, courteous, and tormented. One should never underestimate the sex appeal of a tormented soul. I find myself watching two or more reruns a night, just to catch glimpses of Gil. I can't believe it's come to this. I always knew I was wierd and eccentric, but as of this moment I'm officially declaring myself a loser.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Limited vision

Go and read "For Those Who Have No Voice" by Hendrix-Cat at

HC is absolutely right. I wrote in a post a while back ("What I learned in school today") that I had been teaching a high school class called "The Holocaust," and that I felt an entire semester devoted to the subject was a bit much. I feel this way for two reasons. One: when you innundate people with a subject they tend to get numb to it and turn off completely. I don't want these kids to get numb to the Holocaust. I don't want them to get sick of it, resent it, or feel like it's making their lives miserably. They don't know what misery is, and I want them to always be willing to listen and learn about the atrocities. I don't want them to shut down. Two: The Holocaust of WWII is a roughly 10 year period of the history of western Europe. In the grand scale of things, that's a small amount of time in a small part of the world. To spend that much time one horrific incident of genocide belittles both the victims and survivors of genocides all over the globe, from the murauding Huns of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to the entire civilizations wiped out in the Americas by the English and Spanish to the millions slain by Stalin (who was on our side) to the victims in Rwanda and Sudan today, and everything in between. I'm teaching the Holocaust class again in a few weeks, and I'll be taking HC's column and reading it to the kids.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

So right, the trip to 'Bama. I wish I had some hugely entertaining, HereBe-esque narrative to relate, but there's no real story here. Just a series of musings and observations, images and memories.

It was nice to be someplace warm and sunny for a few days, even if it was the deep south where people's IQs match the number of their few remaining tobacco-stained teeth and the confederate flag is proudly flown with the american flag at the county sherrif's office (it's a federal offence, but the federal judges down there are the same inbred rednecks, so it don't matter much). Ah, the South, where the six-packs are empty, the Walmarts are full, and fame is achieved by having the biggest hog or the highest meringue at the county fair.

I stepped out of the car and was impaled by a powerfully familiar smell. When I closed my eyes, I thought I was back in Mimizan, Bordeaux, France. I'll never forget the smell of that town, but I never expected to encounter it again. I was sure that the warm weather and nearby ocean were playing tricks on my brain and conjuring the smell from the similarity of the surroundings. I ignored it, but the smell haunted me for two days until I asked my great uncle Les if there was a paper mill nearby. He said there was, about 4 miles away. Well, that explained it. My parents were astounded that I could identify the odour; they couldn't even detect it. But after inhaling that smell to the bottom of my lungs during a week's worth of seat trials, scrimages, and 2K pieces, I couldn't forget it if I tried. And I don't know that I'd want to. Foul as that smell is, it has so many fond memories attached to it that I welcomed the reminder (see Jan 5 blog, "Highs and Lows" item 10 under "highs").

Uncle Les was impressed, too. Uncle Les is a great guy. He and his wife, Pat (my Grampa's sister) are probably the coolest relatives I've got. They retired to 'Bama 'bout 15 years ago to take advantage of the cheap real estate and the balmy clime. When they settled, Foley was a one-horse town where the local doctor was also the sherif, the postmaster, and the editor of the newspaper. But cheap land only 10 miles from the Gulf of Mexico doesn't stay empty long, and now it's a monument to consumerism and suburban sprawl. With two Walmarts. That's alright, though. It keeps Uncle Les busy. His hobby is writing liberal letters to the Voice of the People column in the local newspaper. Since their mission statement promises a balanced representation of the issues, and since Uncle Les is the only person who writes in expressing liberal opinions, all his letters get published. He chuckles a lot and pulls quarters out from behind my ear while jovially commenting that "these rednecks they got down here aren't too quick." Then he goes and writes a letter in support of gay marriage. It's amazing the KKK don't have him on their top 10 wanted list.

Aunt Pat's sweet, too. She makes lemon pies with mile-high meringue and shows me old albums with photos of Grampa and Uncle Les in WWII. And if you give her a beer or two, she'll smile demurely from the back of the room like everyone's granmaw, then occassionally whisper hilariously scathing remarks about anyone not in earshot. And she's always dead right.

We visited Grampa in the hospital a few times a day until they let us take him home on monday. Where Unlce Les has the "never give up, never surrender" mentality of being a displaced yankee in the South, Grampa is more of the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" vein. He sits on the porch of his trailer in a rocking chair smokin' and spittin' like a proper redneck. He's even lost most of his teeth, just to add to the effect. But he's a neat old fart who isn't afraid of anything, still does all his own home repairs, and talks about his second wife in the same loving, affectionate tone he uses when talking about the cat.

His wife. My step-granmaw. An alcoholic, hillbilly armcandy from the hills o' Georgia with all the common sense of a rain-drowned turkey. She's well-intentioned and mostly harmless (provided she isn't driving anywhere), but cosmically annoying.

Last and least are Uncle George (Grampaw's baby brother) and Aunt Lorene. We don't see them often, on account of the last time we saw them (at Granmaw's funeral) Aunt Lorene spent the entire dinner lecturing mom on the evils of papistry (I should mention at this point that Uncle George is a Baptist minister and my mom is Catholic). It wasn't pretty. Ironically, they live up here in Michigan. I say ironic because no one in my family lives in an environment with like-minded people. Liberal Les lives in the deepest of the deep south, and Bible-banging George dwells in a blue state. Go figure.

So we took Pat and Les to dinner a few times, ate us some heapin' plies o' BBQ shrimp, walked along the coast and were awed by the damage from hurrican Ivan last fall, I went for a 4-mile jog down the beach and listened to "charriots of fire" on my ipod, did some bird-watching, ate some more shrimp, and wandered the antique malls. Mom and I spent the weekend talking in unison half the time and dad's eyes got sore from rolling them so much. They toddled around the airports holding hands and looking like the adorable, middle-aged lovebirds they are. I bought a lovely, antique Wedgwood dinner plate decorated with butterflies, but I didn't find a wedding gift for Marley. I got no sleep in the hotel, but I didn't get sick on the planes, so I suppose it's a wash. All-in-all, an OK trip.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Back in the low life again...

Fucking shattered. got back to michigan today. took 24 hours to get home from 'bama. grampa's out of the hospital, so no death blogging at the mo. will chronicle adventures later. 'night.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Resevior Dorks

Just got this photo from my brother, Marley. He stood up a couple weeks ago at his buddy's wedding, and the photographer got cute (and probably a little tipsey) and took this shot of the groom (the crazy tall guy) and his men. Marley is on the far right (spacially speaking, but not politically). The photo makes him look short, but he's 6 feet tall on the nose. Just shows you how much of a man-beast the groom is!

My big, bad bro and his dawgs. Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 03, 2005

(Insert witty title here)

I've had all this shit swirling through my head for a while, but I havn't had the energy to write it out in coherent posts. Shit like
Why Bush Isn't Conservative,
The Fallacy of American Education, and
When I Ask You A Question, Numnuts, I'm Not Coaxing You Into Giving Me A Culturally-Predetermined "Correct" Answer; It's Just A Request For Information, You Obsequious Invertebrate.
But tomorrow early I'm flying out to visit my dying grandfather, the last grandparent I've got. So likely when I get back I'll wind up blogging about death for a while. Then maybe I'll get around to doing something with that other shit.