Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Self-Reliance

My sophomores are officially sick of this year's reading list. "Whiners or hippies! All of 'em", snarled one young objecter this morning. He was decked out in his best affectation of post-emo youth. Oh, so hipper-than-thou. When did they abandon emo, I wondered. Am I that behind or did I just stop caring?

We're in the process of beginning a journey into the wild and wacky world of Transcendentalism. It's important to remember, when considering the basic tenants of this philosophy, that a mere drop of dew is, in fact, a microcosm of the entire universe. It is also important to remember that a mere sophomore is a microcosm of the larger student body, none of whom wants to contemplate the larger meaning of this at 7:45 on a Tuesday morning. They would prefer to fill classrooms with deafening silence while furitively sneaking pieces of doughnut from their bookbags and wishing that there were more than 10 kids in the class so they could get away with whipping out their phones to text message their buddies in the next room.

I don't know if you've read Ralph Waldo Emerson's"Self-Reliance". In a nutshell: listen to your conscience, do what you think is right no matter what others think, to be great is to be misunderstood. They really latched onto that last part. "If being great is being misunderstood, then I am going to tell my mom to stop grounding me because you gave me a D on the midterm. Clearly, you just didn't understand my brilliant insights on the essay you asked us to write where we compared the significance of a dead pig's head on display in both Animal Farm and The Lord of the Flies."

Well, no. Really, I couldn't understand your handwriting. But, yes, have your mom call me. Please.

I decided to go in a different direction.

"Trust thyself!" I exhorted them. "Emerson felt that every individual knew for his or her own self what was right or wrong based on their own experience." "Ok", replied one girl in the back corner, "so why does he need to use seven paragraphs to tell me this? My sense of right and wrong is telling me that he could have shortened up this essay by about 6 paragraphs."

This is about the point that I decided not to tell them that they were reading the abridged version of the essay.

And I truly believe that that was the right thing to do.

That and make them write a 400 word response on whether or not they agree with Emerson that evil truly does not exist for homework. I expect that this will be skewed by the fact that they collectively believe that all homework is evil.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Optimus Prime

Mr. Scoop has declared that he wants "a Transformer".

Specifically, he would like a piece of heavy electrical equipment that has jumper-like cables that he can attach to our frozen pipes to create an electrical current and, thusly, unthaw them using 320 amps. When it's done, it will turn itself into a semi-trailer truck. And defeat the Decepticons.

They're everywhere. Stupid Decepticons. Freezing our pipes while we're sleeping.

It certainly had nothing to do with not leaving a trickle of water running during the night while we exprienced below freezing temperatures. No. Not at all.

Ah, the joys of new home ownership.

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"We most certainly will not be using our new chest freezer to store dead hookers", I declared, mostly to no one in particular but kinda in the direction of Mr. Scoop's new boss, while we were out drinking the other night. "At least, not before we buy one of those 'Food Saver' vacu-seal things. What good is a trophy head that has freezer burn?"

"To be fair", Mr. Scoop pointed out, "It's going to be a used one from my parents."

I would have asked him why his parents would be sending us a used dead hooker head (aren't they all kinda used, anyway?), but I'd imagine that the conversation would just be awkward. Besides, I was too distracted by the next round of microbrewed Winter Ale to ask.

As far as I know, Mr. Scoop will still be employed on Monday. As far as I know. I will be in Mexico.


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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It Kills Kryptonians Dead, You Say...

You know how, with couples, if one person wants to diet success is best achieved if both parties actually diet together? Regardless of whether or not both of them need to be actually dieting?

And let's just admit something upfront - you know that at this point you both need to be on the damn diet. Just own it.

Well, in my household (good lord, I actually can say I have a household at this point), the same can be said for overcoming disease.

This past Monday the worst thing that can happen to an otherwise happy and active couple befell us on the tail end of our long weekend - we both came down with The Cold.

Suddenly, drinking to excess on a Monday lost its normal allure. Sure, alcohol is a disinfectant. But, general malaise and lack of open breathing passages simply made us wish to dose up on Tylenol Cold and Flu and go to bed before 9pm. Thank God for Tivo and its unerring ability to go and record "24" so I understand exactly why (if not entirely in real time) Kiefer Sutherland will own the Emmy this year before any of the other programs manage to do more than continue to spin their wheels while they wait for some sort of "sweeps week" to try and do something cool. Yes, "Lost". I'm looking in your general direction.

Of course, if couples rely on each other to be good the, well, that discipline marches right out the door after Mr. Scoop decides that Superman (of the "Superman Returns" X-box game fame) is actually the worst kind of dropsy-ridden, uncoordinated douchebag. I wish "straighten up and fly right" was the kindest of epithets Mr. Scoop hurled at Superman this evening. In reality, the kindest, pre-drunkenly hurled epithet (Damn. That there is a classy word. Epithet.) involved the term "awful stroke-monkey". And later, "faggot". Then he bought beer. I got some Shiraz in the deal.

"Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound - but he trips on every penis he can along the way!" Mr. Scoop then hurled at poor Supes after downing his first beer. "Try not to suck any dick on your way to the parking lot!"

The moral of the story is this: ultimately, you need to be in charge of your own health and well being. And - don't buy "Superman Returns, The Video Game". Bryan Singer's vicodin problem is only useful when coming up with ideas for "House".

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tonight...you...

Sometimes, back-door entry only leads to cries of "pain" and, sometimes, "rape".

Other times, it lets me post to goddamn Blogger. That'd be tonight.

I'm not sure if Blogger is having issues tonight or if the weakass hardware from Linksys is gumming up the works, but it took about 30 minutes to get to this posting screen from the wireless connection.

Here's the thing - the Linksys wireless N router sucks all the ass. It drops connections like a giddy school girl unsure of how to complete a handjob. It knows that stroking and connectivity helps. It just lacks consistency.

Meanwhile, Mr. Scoop kicks all the ass. He bought me a steel string guitar with hook ups that go out to an amp. I've been talking about picking one up for a while now. He decided to just break down and get me one.

I'd like to point out that I do a mean Indigo Girls cover. Any Indigo Girls cover.

Ok, Mr. Scoop has now farted in a way that defies Geneva conventions. I have to go find the Febreze.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Important Things, Like Family...and Mexicans

Mr. Scoop was impatient. He went ahead and rented not one, but two Mexicans and put them to work cleaning our new abode. By rented, I mean threatened them with deportation and a broken whiskey bottle smile. Despite the loveliness of the new digs, you'd be surprised about the number of decrepit tenements and homeless shelters in the near vicinity. Mr. Scoop cuts an imposing figure, which made it easy to wrangle up semi-skilled, desperate labor on short notice.

They even gave us turn down service on our beds. Isn't that sweet?

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I never really did get a chance to talk about how Christmas went.

"Mostly uneventful", I think, might be the best way to describe it. Or perhaps, "Nothing unexpected".

I went to see Mom. That was good. But mom's husband is sort of a degenerate alcoholic (I know, I know, it's like I'm calling the kettle black, but work with me here). So that was less good. He mostly lives on the couch and passes his days floating in and out of lucid moments with TNT or USA networks on in the background as the soundtrack to his wasted retirement. He can actually sit through entire episodes of "Charmed". I blame the cheap bourbon.

His Christmas present to me was to not drunkenly ramble at me, much.

I bought him a sweater. From Sears.

So, Christmas began with waking up at my mother's in the throes of a hangover brought on by mixing sake with Chardonnay over the course of an evening trying to convince my mother that divorcing her husband didn't neccessarily mean moving in with my grandfather and fulfilling his prophecy that she would only ever amount to "being a comfort to him in his old age". Her husband spent most of Christmas passed out on the couch and smelling of urine, a bottle of Ten High whiskey tucked under his head like a pillow, while a marathon of "Crossing Jordan" blared from the tv in the living room. Mom dutifully made a beautiful beef tenderloin that she served with a port wine and shallot reduction. Hubby woke up in time to insist that he say grace; it involved something about his fallen Marine buddies, "zips on the perimeter" and the baby Jesus. After that we all ate in strained semi-silence, ocassionally making small talk about how much we enjoyed the beef. Then he returned himself to the couch and consumed boilermakers until he puked on the cat.

Fun was had by some.

My Christmas present from my mom was a wine fridge and Mom is delivering it to me this weekend with a bonus rack of lamb. So, that's good.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Electrify My Property Futures

I have purchased a ten gallon capacity paper shredder.

It is, as the kids say, diesel.

It eats paper, staples, paper clips and DVDs with nary a hiccup. It actually requires lubricant to function properly. Wanna have a shredding party with me? And...can you bring the booze? The mortgage for the new condo appears to be eating into our slush fund.

I've been fielding a bunch of emails about the condo/move.

Yes. The condo is nifty. We have two whole floors on which to commit mayhem. Although, purchasing property sometimes makes you feel like "mayhem" is the ability to let the washing machine (included with purchase) enter into a violent, floor shaking spin cycle - because Mom isn't there to tell me to fix the load as it has clearly become "unbalanced". Hell, I'm unbalanced. The load is just happy to be clean. As far as I know. Dead fashion does not talk.

I'm just excited to do laundry that doesn't involve stuffing quarters into a change receptacle. I'm sure this will pass.

Oh and don't even get me started about the dishwasher. Gives me the damn vapors. The nice robot-machine washes my dishes. I'd pass out on the kitchen tile from the excitement. But tile is cold and hard and needs to be washed.

That's why we're buying a Mexican. I can't seem to find one on E-bay, though. If you have any leads, feel free to email them to me.

Oh, and if anyone knows how to electrify the sidewalk to keep the homeless from peeing on the neighboring properties, we're all ears.