Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Eating Pho In Restaurants Alone

Inspired by Tao Lin

Dining alone at Than Brothers on the Ave is a depressing experience. First of all, you're alone. Just you and your food. You're often fine with this, but not when you're eating Pho. It's such a slow food. You have to wait for it to cool before you can really do anything to it, and try and hack away at the mash of noodles that lies on the bottom. Perhaps you stare at your pho a bit and think about where it was from. It's probably drenched in fossil fuels, you think, and Michael Pollan would likely go ape on your ass. Then you think about how you missed the last farmer's market. You listen to the music playing in the restaurant. It's Kiss106.1 and it's that new Rilo Cirey song where she gets very angry about something someone said to her on the set of high school musical. This might make you sad, because it is sad when people in Disney franchises can't even sing songs without getting angry. Perhaps you make your soup murky by adding some hot sauce, and some plum sauce squeezed from a bottle. The plum sauce hangs, distended in the water like a little umbilical cord. A boy across the restaurant looks at you, and you try and make snap judgements about whether or not he's a homosexualist. But you try to do this within the time span of a millisecond because people in Seattle start to think things if you stare at them for too long, and sometimes you want them to think things but usually you don't and today, right now, at this very moment, you definitely don't. A boy outside the window went to school with you. His name is Ryan. He's looking across the street for something or someone, and he seems so happy you want to whip out the word jolly to explain his current expression. Joyful. Radiating with peace and love. You sort of hate Ryan for this, and you also hate that you hate Ryan because oof! sheesh! what a strong emotional reaction to such a nice boy, what are you, some kind of jerk? If anything, the contrast between your emotions and his is quite striking, and you think about how contrasts make for interesting funny stories and it's a shame because you can't think of anything funny to say. You start to eat a spring roll when an urge strikes you to get up and leave the city, run away from all these high school kids you thought you were done with, and its kind of just beginning to rain which is totally unsurprising and absolutely fitting, but it's also kind of sunny and some irritatingly buddhified part of your brain wants to make the analogy that "just like weather, so do our moods change" and you hate this voice, the voice of Pema Chodron, even though you know she's probably right. You get up and pay your bill, which is slightly more because you used your debit card and were to lazy to use the ATM across the street. You leave the restaurant and look for your bus stop, along with the throngs of street kids. The bus takes forever to arrive, so you go inside Buffalo Exchange and lazily look through t-shirts in a way that it's obvious you're not going to actually buy anything and you're just inside because it's just so goddamn cold outside. The guy at the counter is another kid you went to high school with. You ask him "what's up?" and try and make a joke about wanting to sell the clothes you're wearing and he kind of laughs and says he, as a buyer, can't buy clothes from friends. This is a bit of a conversation killer, which is probably a good thing since you didn't really want to talk to him for very long because there's a voice telling you you're not on your "A Game" today. You question this "A Game," and what personality exactly you're waiting for before you decide to talk to someone. You decide you're not going to put any effort into conversations until you've mastered cool detachment, and thus you can't talk to people when you're upset about anything, even a little bit, because that's not cool detachment. You realize that might make you a very lonely guy but you'd rather be lonely than boring, at least today. You finally see your bus outside and decide to run out and meet it. You flash your bus card but the bus driver says "on the way out", meaning you're not supposed to show your bus card until you leave. The bus driver says this in a way that seems so earnest and personable and you wonder how some bus drivers manage to be earnest and personable with people day in and day out and you think about how if you were the bus driver, you'd be too busy wanting to write everything down and you'd probably crash while daydreaming about all the scripts you want to write about your passengers. Then you wonder if that thought was a cliche. Then you pronounce cliches to be insurmountable, and decide you'd rather just write for "Highlights" magazine than be constantly wondering whether or not the ideas inside your head were cliche or not. A woman is standing in front of you. Her backpack lightly hits you in your head and the woman next to you kind of laughs and you feel connected to her. There's a boy picking his nose next to you, and you unconciously start to pick at your nose as well. Not the inside, just the outside. Then you realize what you're doing. Regrettably, you have a short preschool flashback where you're picking your nose and Becca Weedman is making fun of you. You feel shame. A teenage boy nods his head at you and you look away. Not now, you haven't mastered cool detachment. An irritating thought, "This is Seattle" passes through your brain. It's not a birds-eye moment, but its trying to be. You wish you could just have moments without trying to ascribe some kind of significance to them, but it seems unlikely. The bus finally makes it to 65th and 15th; your stop. You get out of the bus. You flash your card the way you're supposed to. It's kinda rainy outside but not too bad anymore. You walk home. You walk up the stairs. You're home

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Needlessly Embarrassing "Artist's Way" Confession

Last weekend I was at an art gallery opening and I was talking to a man about writing. We talked a bit about how hard it is to write sometimes, and blah blah blah and then I brought up the book, the Artist's Way and I told him it had been pretty helpful for me and my writing.

For those of you who haven't been introduced to the Artist's Way, it's this huge deal...at least according to Amazon.com. Millions have been sold. The book is currently ranked as the 488th most popular book in the Amazon.com universe, which is pretty high up on the list when you think about how many books exist in this world.

Anyway, so a lot of people have read the book, but I brought it up very self-consciously. I'm not sure why I did this. Perhaps it was because all writers and painters and sculpters would like to be able to say that they've always trusted themselves artistically, and never needed to read a book to help them affirm themselves. Perhaps I was also worried that admitting I'd read something that millions of people had already read would somehow make my own creativity look less unique, less special. But I decided those were shit reasons for not talking about the book, so I asked the man if he'd read it too.

Sure enough, the man (who was quite a bit older than I) laughed when I admitted to reading it and said that it was quite possible that 40% of the people at this art gallery had used the book as well, but I shouldn't talk about it so loudly because the book had turned into such a cliche.

He even told me about using the book when he first moved to Seattle; playing with little toys in his bath tub to try to help make his artist's child feel nurtured. He shared this story, laughing, still a bit unsure what effect the book had had on him. He did, however, admit to writing a lot of poetry using the techniques Julia Cameron describes.

I thought it was kind of silly that we were both so ashamed of talking about this book, which had obviously helped us both.

What about you? Have you read the book? It's okay...get over yourself and admit it....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Young Gay People Are Getting Married

OMG! In Boston! And they love each other! And they're white! And rich! And it's so amazing and fabulous and shocking and somehow worthy of a cover story in New York Times Magazine.

So way back in the day, before the days of Myspace and PFLAG and gay soccer teams, and pink triangle stickers on school doors, the twenties were considered an age of sexual decadence in the gay community. Just out of the closet, you were practically entitled to a few slut years. So the idea that young gay men would be getting married during these traditionally slutty years, I guess, is news...

But how is this news:

When I did, I saw dozens of rose petals in the bathtub. Apparently, while they had been enjoying hourlong massages and a full-course meal, Vassili had arranged to have the hotel staff festoon the room with the petals.

“What are those doing in the bathtub?” I asked the couple.

“He moved them there,” Vassili told me, rolling his eyes. “He’s not very romantic, and he got embarrassed that you would see them.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m the bad guy,” Marc said with a laugh.


Okay I know I'm probably going to sound bitter when I say this, but I could really do without all the totally un-witty, un-interesting gay relationship banter in a new york times magazine piece. What are you trying to prove, Mr. Denizet-Lewis? That gay people can be just as boring as straight people?

“I beg of you — please eat a tuna roll!” Joshua barked, circulating around the spacious apartment in a blue blazer, slim-fitting corduroys and a pair of royal blue house slippers with his initials. “The fish is not going to eat itself!”


AH! Barf.

“We really wanted a BMW,” Marc explained, but they settled on the Honda as an exercise in premarriage fiscal responsibility. “It seemed like the right thing to do.”

“We did a budget the other day,” Vassili said. “That was really scary.”


These are the motherfucking wealthiest 20 year old gay men in the country!

And the whole story reads like this; weaved throughout semi-interesting stories of gay relationships are all the typical Nytimes-esque status symbols, the colleges everyone attends (Brown, Boston University), where they get coffee (Starbucks! Duh!)... the whole piece reads like a parody of the New York Times Style Section.

Congratulations. Gay marriage has never looked more boring and pathetic.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Homme is Where the Heart Is

I have French roommates right now. I'll leave their names out of this, for their own privacy. One of them walked past me the other night and he smelled amazing. Like amazing. Like take wildflowers and bathe them in rose water and lilac and some weird kind of wood shavings and take a bath in them and then you'll smell like Pierre. Oh fuck, I used his name. Oh well, no going back now...

Pierre smelled like high school crushes and Jewish summer camp. It was an amazing experience to smell him. Is that weird? I don't care.

I asked Pierre what kind of cologne he was wearing and he told me "Allure for Homes." "What do you mean like you're wearing Fabreeze or something? For homes? I don't get it Pierre." "No for men. Allure for men."

Oh. Homme.

Anyway so I bought the cologne at Sephora the other day which was terrifying because I had to smell like all the colognes there before I decided to just stick with the Allure. I bought it. It was expensive. Again (how many times do I have to tell you?) I. Don't. Care.

I just sprayed it on my body for like the fifty gazillionth time today. I probably smell like a high school winter ball or, perhaps, a dinner networking event for busy singles. Do I have to say it again? Because really, totally, I surely do not care.

Seriously guys, I cannot stop smelling myself right now.

Madison Park Is For Bitches

A few days ago, I went to Madison Park to do some research for a class assignment. I'm taking this hippie-dippy class called "Reading the City" and I was supposed to ask someone in the area about what they thought of Madison Park and write it all down in a notebook so that I can write an essay about it. I should also note, I didn't elect to analyze Madison Park, it was picked for me.

I'm still having eye problems in my right eye so I wore glasses there. When I wear glasses all I want to do is go home and read a book because I hate having to look at the world through rectangular boxes and I think I look like a freakshow. Some can pull off glasses, but they make me want to stare at the ground and not talk to anyone. So I'm walking around, squinting, holding a notebook and everyone is of course avoiding me because they're afraid I'm going to ask them if they have five minutes for the environment or if they know Dick Cheney is actually the devil and pollution is really dust in the air (LaaaaRouche! God bless you!) But no no no, I'm just a nice student looking for someone to interview, you don't have to look at me like that.

Everyone looked at me like that. The little old ladies with the cake-y maybelline (was she born with it? A hell no!) powdered all over their faces and the smudged bright red lipstick. Of course their chiwawas growled at me as I passed by their table outside the Madison Park Bakery. Hated. Just for being a youngin' carrying a notebook.

And you know what, I hate you too Madison Park. Phew. Oh man. I feel so much better just writing that. I do, though. I hate your stupid small American flags, and old-timey signs. I hate all those shiny new cars you drive around and keep really shiny. Where are your "Dog is my co-pilot" bumper stickers? Are you even native Seattleites!? BLOOD CHECK!

Seriously, did someone just carve out a piece of Laguna Beach and plop it in Seattle by the water? Why are y'all so uppity? Okay okay, I should explain my anger more fully. It's not just about the chiwawas, those are everywhere...

So I go into Madison Park Bakery. It's warm and smells like butter so I was naturally attracted. I sit down and two old women come in. They look at me, directly, in my squinting blurry eyes, and then they leave. Just like that. A look and g'bye.

Just then the woman at the counter asks me, loudly, if I'd like to order anything.

"No thanks, I'm waiting for my friend," I say, probably in a high pitched voice because I feel nervous and rejected after the thing with the old women.

A pause, and then I decide to ask the woman if she'd like to be interviewed, because, you know, she's there and I'm there and she's a living breathing person and everyone else in this shitferbrain area thinks I'm going to rape their children.

"Hi. I'm doing this report about Madison Park," I say to her, "and I was wondering if you'd be interested in telling me a bit about what it's like living here."

The woman looks kinda flustered, which is weird. It's quite a simple question. Just say yes or leave me the fuck alone, right?

"Okay," she says, but in a way that isn't really okay at all.

I hesitate. "So how long have you been living here?"

"Well, I don't actually live here," she responds, and then says, "I'm in a bit of a rush. You know those customers that came in and looked at you? Yeah, they were going to buy something here but they left because you were sitting at the table where they wanted to sit. That's why I asked you if you wanted anything to eat."

"Oh. UH. WHa?"

Long, terribly horribly awkward pause.

"You know what, I think this interview is over," I say, sticking my notebook under my arm. Then I leave.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

First of all, there were two chairs right next to me where the old hags could have sat. Second of all, WHAT THE FUCK. I'm a human being. That's all I could say to myself as I was leaving the restaurant. I am a human being.

See, Madison Park is a terrible terrible place, as you can tell from this one interaction. Let's make a huge generalization and just proclaim the area hazardous to all sensitive interesting people.

For some sick cruel reason (and do NOT say it's because of the 'whole gay thing') I didn't leave after that. I went next door and stared at three hundred dollar china in an antique store. For like 10 minutes. Then I left.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hi Kids!

Sooo my blog did not become porno site. Apparently, when you leave a site alone for a few days it becomes straight soft core porn. This is my new website.

Hi.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What's Comes After Queer Eye?

"Queer Eye" allowed America to congratulate itself for including gay men in mainstream media as America's premier fixer-uppers. Since they were not lobbying congress for the right to marry each other, or overturning anti-sodomy laws, and they were just vacuuming rugs and arranging flowers, they were not viewed as a great threat to the Family Values fundamentalists. They weren't adopting children or introducing kids to crystal meth. They were beautifying and improving the lives of straight people!

The show's pseudo-radical premise; that gay men might actually know more about a few things than straight people, was de-radicalized because the power relations between the straights and the gays remained the same (at least initially, before gays were also "made-over") on the show. The gays had to prove their worth in style, dialect, cooking ability...while the straights did nothing but laugh and wonder at the amazement of it all. The show seemed to want to allow equal rights to gays based on their functionality; there were ways they could help society move forward because of their keen eye for fashion, party organizing and social tact.

In the long shadow cast by Queer Eye, gay men are once again put into the position of having to prove their worth to heterosexuals in stereotypically homosexual and subservient ways. The mainstream media have yet to deploy any slobby, untactful, normal, non-uppity, non-superhero type gay men for use in TV sitcoms (the closest we get are Sarah Silverman's sensitive stoner gay neighbors who she consistently ironically ridicules for being gay). In Brokeback Mountain, the masculinized gay men break-up, and one gets killed. The message to gay teenagers is clear; find a functional place for yourself within society that embraces stereotypical notions of gay skills, or risk social, political isolation and possibly death.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

You Know Those "Military Analysts" on CNN?

They're just reading talking points given to them by the Pentagon. From the Nytimes cover story:

Even analysts with no defense industry ties, and no fondness for the administration, were reluctant to be critical of military leaders, many of whom were friends. "It is very hard for me to criticize the United States Army," said William L. Nash, a retired Army general and ABC analyst. "It is my life."


Okay, okay, so we already sorta knew this, right? It's a pretty good investigative piece, though.

Friday, April 18, 2008

She and Him

Usually I don't blab about the music I listen to (most of it is old, most of it is not newsworthy). But I really like this band called She and Him, and it must be somehow new since Kexp's song of the day sent me their song "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here" a few days ago in their podcast. You can download said song here or check out the band's myspace here. The singer woman is Zooey Deschanel. You may remember her as the sister in Almost Famous. Her voice is high, almost awkwardly high, and playful, and she sometimes sounds like Joanna Newsom, in a very good way. I kind of love her.

Hello Snow

It's been a while since I wrote in here. Hi. How are all of you doing? How was your day? Good? I hope so. Today I went to class, then I came back. Exciting stuff right? It is snowing, though, and that's exciting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Was it Something I Said?

The blog, iPhone Savior... the same blog that linked to a post I wrote about the Apple Store in University Village being so geigh, and the same blog I made fun of for including a totally bizzare picture of a leather-bound 'mo with their post about me (because all 21 year old gay bloggers just love dressing up in bdsm leather outfits!), is now dead.

Monday, April 14, 2008

All the Cat Nip News That's Fit to Print

A couple days ago I was on the P.I's website, you know, perusing, and I came across their blogs page. For a second, a split second, I contemplated submitting this blog to be part of the P.I. blog family, because I want more people to read my shit.

Then I, uh, actually looked at what kind of blogs they were publishing:

Frantic Foodie

Farm Fresh Family

The Biz Bite (Boosting business)

Parenting with Pizazz


So much alliteration!

And I haven't even gotten to the pets section:

Canine Voice (Dogs)

Cat Lady

Cat Staff

Catnip Connection (Cats)

Dogaholics (Pet photos)

Film Hound (Animals & the Cinema)

Horsebytes (Horses)

Open Your Heart with Pets

Paws Fur Thought (!)


I get it, I get it, the PI wants to put the readers in control. They want you to feel like you're part of the action. So, go on, post your blog about your cat on our paper's website. No, really, its practically like working here. Your blog audience numbers will jump, totally jump. You'll be famous!

No thanks, P.I. I'd rather get a staph infection in my nose than have my blog wedged between Neurotic Knitter and Blooming Boomer. And your template is a bit passe.

Holy Shiite!

I was taking a shower a little while ago and a gigantic lightening bolt hit my house! I ran out of the shower and grabbed my towel as soon as I saw it.

Then, that was it. Just one bolt, and one sound of booming thunder.

I apologized to G-d for accidentally eating a little bit of bacon on my pizza earlier that day. I haven't heard a peep since.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New! Picture of the Day!

What Do You Do to Your Friends When They Are Asleep in the Car and You're Bored?

Out.com's Power Fags



Fags, Fags, everywhere! In the media! Behind the camera! Passing Laws!

Not a single Seattle fag made the list.

Kalamawoot!



So a little while ago I got this post from a mysterious man in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Turns out he wants to turn my S Africa posts into a short performance piece.

Jogging



The following is an essay I wrote for Language Arts class when I was a Junior in high school:

Jogging is completely and utterly pointless.

I reached this conclusion about 10 minutes ago after deciding that sitting on my ass listening to ‘Rent’ only made me jealous of Broadway actors and their killer physiques. As I rounded my first corner of the night, I realized that I had no motivation to continue. Why was I running? Was there someone following me? I quickly turned around and realized that yes, there was someone following me.

Now keep in mind that with 20/150 vision, walking around at night is like being tripped out on shrooms; everything has a face and everything is after you. I realized that the person following me was, indeed, a white plastic hefty bag tied to a lamp post. Left with a surge of adrenaline from my brush with death, I continued on my journey through the evergreens of Wedgwood.

I took a few more strides when something horrible happened. My heart started to hurt.

Why? Why can’t I have a normal body? One that doesn’t give up while I’m attempting to climb to my fourth period after lunch at Taco Del Mar?

I stopped for a second, thinking about how pathetic I was. Even my fat friends can run. I’m not fat. I took a deep breath in and poked at my heart, trying to calm it down. “Come on buddy. You’re clogged with Pepperidge Farm cookies and I’m just trying to help.” I walked a block and continued down the sidewalk towards Ravenna.

I tried to establish an inner rapport that would help encourage me to run. I’m a very needy person (socially), and I realized that the only way to motivate myself tonight would be to exploit my recent string of fucked up friendships. “Look at you, you scrawny little shit. No one likes someone so skinny. That’s why Jane decided she’d rather spend tonight hanging out with her 8th grade sister than watching a movie with you. Not because you invited yourself over and then cried into the phone when she politely refused.”

The painful motivation seemed to work. I flew down city blocks, reaching a heart rate equitable to that of a pre-diet Jared Fogle. The fun ended when my shoelace came untied and I fell into a bush. It was at that moment, while wobbling on one foot and attempting to tie my silver and gray New Balance whilst staring into the eyes of a tree monster, that I realized I never wanted to run again. Shrooms, perhaps. But when it comes to physical exercise, I prefer tapping my toe to a song from ‘Rent’.

My pinkie toe.

Bratz Dolls Turned Me Into A Slut



Lots of mothers across the country view Bratz dolls with disdain. “They’re worse than Barbies! They look like hookers! They’re making our children hump household objects!” the mothers say.

I’ve come to the Rite Aid Store in Wedgwood to buy a doll of my own and try to understand why everyone hates them so much.

I’d pitched the Bratz dolls idea to Christopher Frizzelle, the editor-in-chief of the Stranger, on a whim, basically trying to explain to him I had absolutely no idea what to write for the paper, and writing about the Bratz dolls in the Rite Aid down the street from my parent’s house seemed as good an idea as any. Surprisingly, Christopher didn’t shoot down the idea, but instead seemed incredulous I could adequately capture the salaciousness and scandal that is the Bratz doll. “Adrian Ryan can pull off stories like this, but only because he’s a confident writer...”

And now, here I am, writing on a note pad balanced on the trunk of my Camry, in the Rite Aid parking lot. It’s cold and my nose is running and it looks like I’m writing myself a parking ticket but I feel perfectly confident, Christopher.

“Sugar pie honey nut,” plays over the Rite Aid musak system, likely gracing the presence of Rite Aids all across the country. “I can’t help myself!”

I wander dazedly into the toy section. There are a few different kinds of Bratz dolls to choose from at this particular Rite Aid.



There’s Jade.

She’s an asian Bratz doll. Under the Bratz logo are the words (wordz?) “Sleep Over.” This Bratz doll, I suppose, is meant to sleep in the bed with you.

Above Jade, anchored by wires, is a cat with an enormous head, a tiny curly tail and two mis-shaped eyes cartoonists often use to denote mental retardation (in the picture, its right next to her).

Jade, too, has odd crescent moon eyes, and her eyelids are about 1/3 closed. Make that ¼ closed. She also has a baby bottle strapped to her shoulder.

I’d tell you, from the look in her eyes, it looks like Jade wants to fuck me, but that’s too obvious a conclusion to draw. The American Psychological Association has already said “Bratz are highly sexualized dolls” and everyone who’s ever had an opinion on what girls and boys should and shoudn’t play with has already shared it on message boards everywhere.

But it seems unfair to pick only on Jade. There are lots of scantily-clad dolls in the Rite Aid toy aisle.

There’s Beach Glam Nikki, an African American doll wearing a bikini and carrying a boho-chic frayed towel that has been folded over to make a little bag. MyScene Sporty Style, an Adidas branded Tennis-playing doll wearing an eensy weensy Tennis skirt.

What makes Bratz dolls the most offensive of all? If I was forced by someone to come up with an answer, I’d say the eyes. It looks like Jade is undressing me with her half-open stereotypically Asian, sexually submissive eyes.

I’m going to have to interrupt this article because “God Bless America” is now playing over the Rite Aid loudspeakers and I think it’s time to reflect on this great country and all the wonderful opportunities it has given me.

I wander through the Brita water filters and rubber maid containers looking for a salesperson.

In this lighting, in this fluorescent daze, everything looks bright and cloudy. I pass by two older middle-aged people in the cereal aisle. They look exhausted.

The saleswoman has no idea how many Bratz dolls are sold here every week, or month, or year but she tells me she thinks my report is a ‘good idea.’

I buy the Bratz doll, so I can inspect it in its 3-d glory and fully understand its sexualizing powers. It costs 12 dollars.

I drive home and call my mom, to see what the “public” thinks about Bratz dolls.

“Hi Mom.”

“Hi Steven.”

“I’m doing this report….have you ever heard of Bratz dolls.”

“What?”

“Bratz dolls.”

“Brad? Dolls?”

“No, they’re called Bratz dolls. They sell them at places like Rite Aid.”

“No I’ve never heard of Bratz dolls. Who are you writing this report for? The Stranger?”

“Yeah...can I quote you?”

“Okay…No. Please don’t actually.”

The public (my mother) has not heard of Bratz dolls, thus it is not actually a controversy at all.

The Bratz doll I bought has now been sitting on my desk, staring at me for over two hours. I’d invite a child to come over and play with it and then ask them if they feel more sexual afterwards, but I’m pretty sure that’s illegal and positive it’s creepy.

Personally, this Bratz doll has totally made me want to buy cut-off shirts, and low-rise jeans.

I Have Conjunctivitis!


Yes! I have Pink Eye!

For all the people who don't know what this means to me, and my life: pink eye means a constant stream of tears run out of my eye. My eye is not red so I don't look diseased, but I am constantly "crying."

I cried on the bus to class, on the walk to class, and while talking to my friend Tristan.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?'" he asked me.

"I have conjunctivitis!" I said to him.

"Ew."

Yes! Ew!

"Oh calm down, Tristan. I'm not going to cry all over you."

Even as I'm typing this right now, I'm crying a little bit. And I'm perfectly happy! No really, I swear I am.

Holy Jeebus

The weather outside is awful.

On Writing

Writing is this funny thing. You sit down and try and think of something novel and interesting to say. You try not to obsess too much about what's already been said (which is a hard thing if you're an obsessive compulsive reader like me) and you try and think about what's going to be interesting to some random person online. Most of the time, you're shooting in the dark. Sometimes you come up with something halfway decent.

But the most important part, it seems to me, is to write. Consistently. Every day. No matter what.

Recently this has been hard for me. School and work have taken over my life. So- I'm going to put this out there: what do you do when you don't have time to write? How do you cope? Any stories?

Frontline, You Are the Shiz

I always loved watching Frontline in High School. Only the cool teachers made it part of our lesson plans. I always learned more from this bastion of PBS knowledge than I did from the actual class. Maybe its because, in a Frontline documentary, you always end up sympathizing with everyone on every side of the issue. Take, for instance, this episode on "growing up online." (from January...what a hot scoop!). I feel for the goth girl posting semi-nude photos of herself on the myface, and I feel for the psycho uber-control freak PTA mother who wants to know her son's facebook password so she can snoop on him 24/7.

In this doc, everyone complains about the internet, but they also admit to the interviewer that nothing is really the internet's fault. The suicidal kid would have committed suicide even if he hadn't googled "how do you kill yourself?" The anorexic girl would have continued to be anorexic even if she hadn't found the "Anna Worshipers" online (Anna is the coool name for being anorexic, of course).

Oh Frontline....your ambiguity makes me feel all warm inside.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Re: Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father.

What would Freud say about this?

"People give the name 'love' to the relation between a man and a woman whose genital needs have led them to found a family; but they also give the name 'love' to the positive feelings between parents and children, and between brothers and sisters of a family, although we are obliged to describe this as 'aim-inhibited' love or 'affection.' Why are we obliged to do this?"


The Freud quote is gross (obviously) because it equates family love with romantic love. The quote came from my homework and it just fit so perfectly with Dan's post...I couldn't resist putting it out there.

A Lot of People in Seattle Seem to Hate This Woman..



That's Sarah Silverman, of course. People in Seattle have all sorts of different responses to her and her show. Some think Sarah is very adept (like Ali G) at exposing America's racial prejudices in inspired ways. Other people think she plays on old racial cliches that aren't relevant anymore, while still others are really super uncomfortable with her jokes, won't tell you why, and just want you to stop talking about her already because her very name makes them upset.

Is everyone processing Sarah's shtick the same way? Of course not. Are some people laughing at her jokes because they're actually racist and they think she is as well? Probably. Should Sarah worry about these people? Of course not.

Can you do this?



If so, please contact me and tell me all your secrets.

Musical Theatre Dept.

I was being lazy just now, sitting in my room listening to my iPod, when this came on:



If you can't read that it says SPRING AWAKENING. And behind the words are two bodies locked in embrace. The bodies are the german schoolchildren in the musical, and they are fabulous. The whole play is really just fabulous. Well, the music, that is. I haven't actually seen the play...yet.

Spring Awakening won't be here in Seattle until October. But you can watch a slightly corny music video here, or download the whole soundtrack here.

Oy Vey



"The concerns about the misuse – accidental or intentional – of Science and Technology could have an optimistic resolution. Elsewhere, I have compared the present stage of history to the birth pangs – birth pangs of a true Civilization. As a sage said: what does not kill you makes you stronger. If we do manage to survive the bottleneck, the future may be indeed!"


...I'm sorry for putting you through that. I know: it's unintelligible. It was written by one of my professors, and we were all forced to read it and write a response, due today.

But how can you respond, in English, to something that isn't really English?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Life Without Newspapers

The New Yorker envisions it.

And so we are about to enter a fractured, chaotic world of news, characterized by superior community conversation but a decidedly diminished level of first-rate journalism. The transformation of newspapers from enterprises devoted to objective reporting to a cluster of communities, each engaged in its own kind of “news”––and each with its own set of “truths” upon which to base debate and discussion––will mean the loss of a single national narrative and agreed-upon set of “facts” by which to conduct our politics.


Of course, newspapers have gone through a partisanship faze before, and this is not new. But what is new, according to the New Yorker, is the current lack of expensive and extensive reporting.

....no Web site spends anything remotely like what the best newspapers do on reporting.


The article ends on a kind of schmaltzy note, as the reporter wistfully recounts a last encounter with the kind of pedigree journalism one can only find in the New York Times. He talks about all the disparate worldly topics the New York Times is able to cover because of their huge operating budget, and then quotes an author who theorizes...

It is at least partially through the “imagined community” of the daily newspaper that nations are forged.


According to the writer of the New Yorker piece, without one place to find our news, we will be lost Lost! In a sea of blogged opinions, and media regurgitations. And this is not reporting! We will no longer be part of the same "imagined community."

But were we ever part of the same media community? Haven't there always been different newspapers that catered to different people; new york times to jewish liberals, wall street journal to conservatives, seattle weekly to aging hippies, stranger to aging hipsters.

And aren't the offerings even more disparate on the web? Aren't there even more places to find world news? Also- most of the people I know don't just read one blog. They read many, and then they have to synthesize what they've learned to form an image of their worldwide community. If this isn't an intellectually and politically stimulating activity, I don't know what is.

The web is niche-based, but media has always been niche-based. Thorough reporting will come soon on the web; reporting that combines web-based accountability with the forever desire for well-researched, well-thought, well-written journalism. It just might look different than something the gray lady puts out.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Gay Cliche

The blog iPhone Savior picked up on my "University Village Apple Store is so Gay" post, where I told the world to go to the Apple store in University Village because it is the place to meet young gay men in Seattle.

This is the picture they used to accompany their story about my story:



AH!

Do we really have to go there, iPhone Savior, to get people to read things about gay people?

I feel like (yup I'm going there) I'm reading about gays from this website. And I know it's different over at iPhone savior, and I know you're Apple people and you just wanted to create an image that would be eye-catching and lead people to my blog, and I appreciate that, but...uh...let's just look at it again.



You see that man? Never have I ever met a gay man that looked like that. Leather, sure, but what is he doing with his hands?

This man is not really gay. He is a straight man in a gay costume, acting out the way he thinks gay people act, and no gay person who sees that image is going to experience some sort of "flash of recognition". "Oh my gawd! That looks just like my friend Adam!"

And maybe that was the point of it, maybe you meant to show it ironically because it's what America's collective unconscious used to think when they thought "gay!" but, I'm guessing (since you also recycled the old "hot leather pants" cliche in the body of your article) that this picture wasn't used wink-wink nudge-nudge like the way Sarah Silverman tries to fuck around with America's racial and religious prejudices.

That is a tired image (I feel like I'm about to read a mothafucking 1969 new york times article about the stonewall riots for christ's sake) and, perhaps worst of all, it actually repels gay people from reading my article. No self-respecting gay person is going to read an article with that image at the top.

Finally, Facebook Does Good

Facebook Applications are annoying. I think I have like 45 of them crowding up my home page right now. I do not want to be a zombie. I do not want to join the oregon trail. I do not care about sports brackets (whatever the hell those are). I just want to stare at people I don't know for hours and think about how much better my life is than theirs.

However.

There is one facebook app that looks promising. It's an application that's being developed by one of my friends and I am pitching it to you, anonymous internet reader, because it sounds like a very promising idea. It's probably unethical to do this, but hey, that's why I write for a blog.

The name of the application is "Your Revolution" and it's going to be a big deal. It's an application that helps people vote. If you're not registered to vote, and you live in Washington or Arizona, it allows you to register online, through facebook. It also checks to see if your friends are registered to vote, and, if they're not, allows you to pester them by sending them an invitation to join the application. God that's a mouthful. This is why I don't do PR.

Anyway, I just got back from the launch party which was held in a warm Ravenna house. Brett Horvath, the organization's "ceo", is a really optimistic guy, he's kind of like the open-minded straight roommate you always wanted but never got. He listens to criticism well, like when I told him I wanted to start a rival organization called "Your Porn" he didn't get angry, but rather told me my idea was outdated. "Actually, the primary reason why people go online nowadays is for social purposes," he said. How diplomatic of him. I still think he's wrong and porno is the number one reason why people go online, but I have no data to back this up and I'm too lazy to try.

Overheard conversations at the launch party included, "we should make this one of those annoying viral campaigns where we try to sneak Our Revolution into normal every day interactions where it doesn't fit at all like 'I broke up with my girlfriend', 'oh that sucks...have you heard of Your Revolution?" (this quote was funny at the time, but in print: notsomuch).

One other guy said "I don't know if I like the idea of registering people to vote. People don't make good decisions, no matter how easy you make it."

You go get 'em, Brett. You've got the optimism. Don't listen to us. We're bitches.


Oh and when this thing blows up, remember you read about it at 'OH MY GOD SEATTLE.'

Over and out. It is late. Jeez.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Religious Cliches Currently Hanging in my Bathroom

Taoism- Shit happens.
Confucianism- Confucious says, shit happens.
Buddhism- If shit happens, it isn't really shit.
Zen- What is the sound of shit happening?
Hinduism- This shit happened before.
Islam- If shit happens, it is the will of Allah.
Protestantism- Let shit happen to someone else.
Catholicism- If shit happens, you deserve it.
Judaism- Why does this shit always happen to us?
Atheism- I don't believe this shit.
Agnosticism- What is this shit?
Rastafari- Let's smoke this shit.

Who Made You the Teacher?

I am having a hard time adjusting back into American life. It's not as if this is the first time I've ever had to adjust to a new culture. Hell, I almost always feel like I'm out-of-touch (in some way) with the culture I'm immersed in, and I'm totally fine with that. This time, I'd say it's a bit more intense, though for reasons I can't say I fully understand.

Since coming back to Seattle, college no longer seems like the only site where learning takes place. All my life I've been pressured to succeed in school, to be in the best AP classes with the best teachers so I could get into the best college, and the assumption was that "the best" of whatever would help me to look more critically, and with more perspective, at the world around me. Studying from textbooks, trying to think of insightful things to say in class, and then attempting to expand these thoughts into an essay format that was also clear and concise was surely an intellectual challenge, and I've learned concepts that have completely changed the way I look at the world.

But, perhaps, nothing changed my world view more than the epiphanies I had while studying abroad, and nothing helped my writing more than contributing to the Stranger as a public intern...and after these incredible experiences of self-directed learning, the academic world just seems a bit irrelevant. Instead of coming up with my own ideas and epiphanies, I'm reading someone else's.

It's weird. It's not that I'm disinterested in school, it's just that I'm beginning to question it's absolute relevancy to my life.

To be completely honest, I sometimes looked down at college drop-outs, because I felt like the fight to make college education relevant to your life was a good fight, a noble fight, even if it was stretching it, and that even though learning takes place everywhere, it can be incredibly rewarding to sit in a class with someone who knows a shit ton and try to soak up all of his or her knowledge, and then soak up your classmate's knowledge, and then soak up your textbook's knowledge, and then combine the three. I felt like drop-outs often couldn't take the mental prowess that this demanded (or, perhaps, just found cash or intellectual fulfillment somewhere else).

Even bad classes, I'd previously felt, were not without their purpose because while I was seated in one of them, I could argue with the professor in my head, which can be stimulating, or I could raise my hand and say something contradictory, which can be equally stimulating once I got over my silly issues with self-image.

But this, this studying abroad...man. It's really a blessing and a curse, this thing, because it's completely changed how I look at college. Learning can happen anywhere! I can get intellectual fulfillment out of analyzing a bed of flowers for gods sake, much less a country! What do these teachers know about living with homophonic football players?! What the fuck can they teach me about how to deal with a classroom full of 6th graders who talk shit about you in a different language behind your back!?

Studying abroad is great, but it's made me realize I don't really need a classroom to be intellectually fulfilled, which is a scary idea for my momma and poppa because I am positive they'd flip a shit if I went and dropped out right now. Which I won't. I guess.

Some Universities Are Hard to Get Into

And, I guess we care about this a lot.

The Harvard admissions story cracked the most emailed article list on Nytimes.com

Mugabe's loss did not.

I Cannot, For the Life of Me, Get this Song Out of My Head:

McSweeney's Attempts to Talk as a Couch

Here.

Those things said, could you guys scrimp a bit in some area other than sheets? These last ones you put on me have a thread count of, like, 8. I swear to God, they're made of yarn. I hope both of you can remember this after I'm gone: sheets are a mattress's shirt. Do you know anyone who wears a motherfucking yarn shirt? Strangely, you probably do.

Confidential to the Man Who Works at the Henry Art Gallery Reception Desk

Are you a fag?

Holy Fuck!

Bjork's new music video:




....The directors took shrooms before they created it. Hear the New York Times reporter's shocked awkward laughter after this confession was made here.

And find the rest of Bjork's videos here. I can't wait until we can see this in higher-resolution.