Best essay ever

Bizarre. A sentence fragment. Another fragment. Twelve years old. This is a sentence that. Fragmented. And strangling his mother. Sorry, sorry. Bizarre. This. More fragments. This is it. Fragments. The title of this story, which. Blond. Sorry, sorry. Fragment after fragment. Harder. This is a sentence that. Fragments. Damn good device.

… by David Moser.

ELVIS IS ALIVE

If I didn’t have such a ridiculously packed work schedule looking down at me this weekend and into next week, I’d be first in line for tonight’s (tomorrow’s?) midnight screening of Bubba Ho-Tep at the Charles Theater.

As it is, however, I’ve been entering a yawning-fit every night by eleven and I think were I to try to make it to the movie, I’d be snoozing by the first Bruce Campbell one-liner.

A Resolution in Three Parts

First, I resolve to lose weight.

Supa’s description of my cat Guy seems to be a description of myself: “Squishy, furry, soft, adorable.” Well, maybe not “furry” and “adorable”, but certainly “squishy” and “soft.” The last time I weighed myself I measured in at about 250 lbs. I was surprised since the last time I’d measured myself before that I was 30 pounds lighter.

Sometimes I think back to my first couple of years at Towson University and I catch myself — I had a gym membership at Bally’s, and one summer I actually took up with Weight Watchers. Yeah, I know, “Isn’t weight watchers for women?” but the fact is I knew a guy whose roomate used weight watchers to drop a punch of weight, and until my will-power gave up (about a month in) I actually had some success shedding pounds. Then I found the frozen food aisle at the grocery store and budget-saving “eat at work!” brainstorms and out the door went Weight Watchers. As for the gym membership, it’s hard to get yourself out the door at 6am three days a week once you’ve stopped for a period of time — there again, my will power simply wasn’t up to the task.

With the help of a secret-conspirator who is currently a Weight Watchers attendee and who has offered to duplicate her Weight Watchers’ materials, I will be resuming the Weight Watchers diet which, as I recall, is actually pretty painless — limit calorie intake, don’t eat after seven, and every now and then, eh, use your flex points and binge. I should take a photo of myself sometime soon and at the start of each month do a “Resolution Update” and post more recent photos of myself.

(An overwhelming urge to bellow “The Snay Gut Challenge Begins NOW!” thankfully passed without me belting out those words.)

Second, I resolve to get a Job.

“What’cha talkin’ ‘boot, Snay? Don’t you already have like, two, jobs?”

Yeah, and pizza delivery has its advantages — flexible schedule, it’s easy, the money’s good [& stuff I don't want the IRS to know], free food … but the simple fact of the matter that while it’s cool as a college-job or a second-job, there’s nothing really beneficial to a person doing it as a “career”, which, frankly, I’ve sort of been treating it as. Unless you’re willing to go into management (limited career opportunities & a huge cut in pay), a “future” is very limited, and there’s essentially zero self-respect to be had in this line of work.

I’ve worked with (past & present) several older folks — older by ten, fifteen, even thirty years. Some do this job as a post-retirement hobby. Some do the job on weekends so they can have a bit extra cash to help send their kid to college. Some do the job because it’s all they know how to do. It really scares me when I think about The Future and I think, “Holy cow, am I still going to be working this ten years down the line? Heck, five years down the line?”

It panics the hell out of me.

I’ve worked pizza delivery in some form or another since December of 1998. I did it part time most college semesters, and one semester I worked delivery only one night a week — the other six nights a week I waited tables and worked in the English Department’s computer lab. Actually, it was my last handful of semesters at school that brought me to where I am now: overworked at work and overloaded with classes, I finally burned out Fall ’03 and decided to spend some time “just working.”

Two years later, I’m still “just working” and not really getting anywhere in life, which brings me to …

… Three: I resolve to go back to school.

Even if I’m not back in classes by the fall semester, I’d at least like to be working a job that provides for tuition reimbursement, and figuring out what I need to get re-enrolled.

I’ll be honest, I probably should’ve left school for a few years after my first couple of semesters — I’ve never been a great college student. I was inattentive, unmotivated, and I squandered a good opportunity for a decent education. By the time I was focused on my schoolwork, I was already many thousands of dollars in debt and rapidly drowning in a completely packed schedule of eighteen-credit-hour semesters and working three jobs at the same time.

So I gave up on school. For the time being, anyway. I’m starting to get anxious about going back. I really have no idea how to start the process of getting back into Towson, but it’s something I need to start thinking about. Part of the problem — and why I’d like tuition reimbursement — is that my first few semesters I hadn’t figured out the “withdraw” system, so in addition to the 9 credits I need for my degree, I’d probably be well off retaking half a dozen or so classes for a new grade and a higher GPA.

Ideally, I’d like to at least have the option to go for my Master’s Degree in the not-entirely-at-the-moment-forseable future, but really just getting my Bachelor’s would be enough motivation for me to dance around my apartment in my underwear singing something, well, something catchy enough to sing while dancing around in my underwear.

I think I’ve got my work cut out for me this year.

The End of the Holiday

A fairly uneventful three day holiday is, for me anyway, over.

Starting today, I’m working both jobs afternoon, evening and night through the end of the year and into the start of the new. I don’t mind so much — I’ve got rent due at the end of next week, and a host of Christmas-related debt to tackle. New Year’s Eve and Day are both busy times to work, and the tip average is generally pretty high because folks with severe hangovers are very appreciative that they’ve gotten their hot food and maybe, just maybe, the pizza guy’ll stop banging on the door with his flashlight now.

Hopefully, maintenance men from my landlord will show up sometime today (preferably when I’m at work) to figure out why the sink is backing up. I thought it had to do with the dishwasher — nope, I didn’t run the washer last night and there was some sediment residue in my sink this morning. Gaaaah!

Over the holiday:

I pissed off the Devil Cat. Simply by being in the house. I swear, if that cat was all I had to go by, I’d never get a cat. Never. It’s a hideous creature. Sunday night I tried to get from the guest bedroom to the bathroom. The cat was stretched out between the two rooms. I decided to wait until the morning.

My grandmother’s sight is just about gone. I was mistaken several times by her for my father, my Aunt Ann, her husband Bill, my mother, and (I swear I’m not making this up) our lord and savior, Jesus H. Christ.*

My cousin Maggie is also moving away from Oahu at the end of the school year, back to New England. She’s a northerner by heart — she misses seasons.

I read The Kite Runner and was pleasantly surprised — it was hard to put down when I finally finished the book. I also read — and will admit to being somewhat disgusted by — In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, which describes the events surrounding the brutal murder of four members of the Clutter family in rural Kansas. When I bought the book (for myself) — Wednesday at Barnes & Noble in Towson as I finished some Christmas shopping, the clerk asked me, “Have you seen the movie?” I wasn’t really paying attention, so I just sort of faked my end of the conversation, then walking to my car realized he was talking about the film Capote.

Relating to In Cold Blood, my father had two antecdotes which he told me during the car ride to Scranton on Christmas Day. The first was that he’d once blown off a night of studying before a test in college because he was so engrossed in the book he couldn’t put it down. The second was that Robert Blake starred as Perry Smith — one of the killers — in the 1967 film. (That’s what those of us who aren’t Alanis Morisette call “ironic.”)

I’m wrapping up the evening watching one of my favorite war movies ever — the fairly recent Master & Commander: Far Side of the World about the crew of the HMS Surprise, and their skipper, Jack Aubrey played by Russell Crowe. Hunting a French man-of-war along the South American coast, a very brutal attack cripples the Surprise, which still must pursue the French into the Pacific and prevent them from carrying The War (in this case, the Napoleonic one) to those waters. I won’t claim to be an expert on the life of a seaman on a nineteenth century warship, but from what I have read on the matter (I have an illustrated cutaway, “Stephen Biesty’s Cross-Sections Man-of-War” and the collected works by CS Forester on the matter of one Horatio Hornblower) the movie is faithful to the way these men lived on the high seas.

*Either that or I startled her and she said “Jesus H. Christ!” as an exclamation, not a gasp of misinterpreted recognition. I’m sticking with my story.

The Unknown Actor Dies (1948-2005)

… unknown by name, I should clarify, and unknown to most in that fashion, although I think it’s a rare person who won’t recognize his very well known face:

vincent

Vincent Schiavelli, RIP.

His IMDB biography is here. What an amazingly eccentric collection of work … everything from a guest spot on Star Trek The Next Generation to (I assume: really classy) foreign films with titles I can’t pronounce.

Sediment in my sink

I came home to a sink full of dirty water. This is odd since I’d cleaned the kitchen Christmas Eve night, knowing I’d be in Scranton until today. This happened a few months after I moved in here, and the poor maintenance guy had to get like four different plumber snakes, each larger than the previous, before he was able to unjam whatever was blocking the pipes. It’s an occasional hazzard of living in an old(er) apartment complex, but I’m really not looking forward to having maintenance guys in my kitchen for a few hours tonight or tomorrow looking to clear whatever’s blocking the pipe now, y’know?

The Day in (Brief) Review

Since we’re (the folks, the sister, and I) are heading up to Scranton on Sunday to spend Christmas Day with the extended family, we all met up in Columbia for an un-traditional gift-opening Christmas Eve. We started out watching Batman Begins, then broke for dinner (lasagna — yum!), went on to open gifts, and then finally got back to Batman.

My dad was diasappointed that I’d brought down Batman, although after watching it he said he’d enjoyed it more then he expected to. “I was hoping you’d bring down Shaun of the Dead again,” he told me. Last year, Shaun of the Dead was released on DVD the week before Christmas and we’d watched it as a family Christmas Night. “My favorite scene is where they’re beating on the bartender with the pool cues,” he added. That was a great scene. “KILL THE QUEEN!” “WHAT?!” “THE JUKEBOX!”

I’m taking Classic Risk to Scranton. Even though we’re leaving for Maryland early Monday, I’m hoping Christmas Night can find me, my dad, Uncle Bill and cousin Will embroiled in a contest for the fate of the world. Peaceful night my ass! I can’t remember the last time I played Risk, even though my collection of Risk-themed boardgames borders on the ludicrous: Risk & Castle Risk; Classic Risk; Lord of the Rings Risk; Risk GodStorm; Risk: Star Wars The Clone Wars (I currently have two copies of this, good effort though, Mom!); and Risk 2210 AD. How many of these Risk board games have I played? Uh, let’s not go there (although getting some peeps together for a Risk night might be a good idea).

That’s about it for me. One act of blatant rudeness on the road tonight, but my driving was limited and I don’t mind it as much when I’m only in a car for an hour. Signing off until, I dunno, Tuesday?

Happy Holidays folks.

Yielding

Traffic today in Hunt Valley was awful. Many accidents, as evidenced by dozens of emergency vehicles running everywhere with lights and sirens, in all different directions. At one point, two cop cars came running up McCormack. One went straight, another made a left. Another cop car came flying down the opposite direction a few seconds later and made a turn in a third direction.

Oh, also: hey dipshit, it’s a fucking emergency vehicle, don’t accelerate to get past them quicker … come to a fucking STOP.

If I was a dictator, driving recklessly would be a death penalty offense.

The Zebulon Action Figure

Steve and A. bought Greg a 12″ Napolean Dynamite Action Figure for Christmas and gave it to him Wednesday night. The figure remained in the store office last night and it occured to me that it made much more sense to be a gift for Zebulon. Hence, I re-dubbed it “The Zebulon Action Figure” and promptly spent ten minutes following Zebulon around the store repeating the phrases the figure says: “This gang wanted me to join them because I’ve got awesome bo-staff skills.” “I spent like three hours on the shading on your brow.” “So, does this mean we’re friends now?”

It didn’t take long for Zebulon to roll his eyes, sigh, and say: “You’re such an idiot!”

Which, surprisingly, The Zebulon Action Figure also has that as one of its programmed responses!

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Gary

Gary pays a lot of money to rent space in our shitty strip mall for his pizza shop. Because he pays a lot of money to rent space in the strip mall, he takes a very displeasured stance when solicitors come by trying to sell paintings or cheap toys or makeup or whatever out of the back of their minivan.

“They want to sell that shit? I’ve got nothing against them. They can come and rent a space in this strip mall and pay a lot of fucking money to rent a fucking space and they can sell their shit. Until they do that, fuck ‘em.”

So this afternoon I found myself picking up the rest of Zap’s shift, and I was leaning against the front counter doodling on the back of an order sheet as Gary talked to his buddy He-Man. I don’t know exactly what He-Man does except that its something related to landscaping. I think he builds decks and patios. Last year a falling tree and a storm put a (thick) branch right through his leg. He still has the blood-stained branch. (And, uh, he looks like He-Man which is why I call him He-Man).

Gary likes it when his buddies stop in during the afternoon. Since we’re generally slow, he’s got time to talk with them about real-estate, construction, home remodeling, or how some people really change when they go from making $50k a year to making half-a-mill. Talking with his buddies about these subjects are essentially the closest thing to relaxation Gary has at work. It’s best not to disturb him if it can be helped during this time.

So I knew there was going to be trouble when a guy and a girl walked into the shop carrying paintings. They were cheerful and trying to be good salespeople. Of course, since there’s a “No Soliciting” sign on the door — and since I take my lead from Gary — I didn’t feel bad about telling them to get lost. I didn’t phrase it like that, I actually said something like, “No thanks, please leave.”

But of course, they didn’t listen, and kept babbling on about the unique pieces of work they were trying to offload for a mere twenty bucks, and what an incredible bargain these paintings were, and how’d they’d brighten up –

“No thank you, please go.” Gary said, interupting his conversation with He-Man.

The above quote — paraphrased, of course — is essentially a miracle. Gary must’ve been having some good conversation because he’s rarely polite, particularly to a bunch of cheap-assholes who can’t be bothered to pay a lot of money to rent a store in a strip mall.

Did they stop?

Of course not. They continued their pitch and I put down my pen, stopped my doodling, and asked again that they leave. Refusing to take the hint –

– Gary slammed his palm down on the metal surface of the cut table, walked to the counter — pushed me aside — picked up the phone over the register (the phone hidden by the wall) and dialed. “Police?”

Finally, the two duntzes shut up and mouthed “Police?” at each other.

“I’ve got tresspassers in my store who are refusing to leave and causing trouble with my employees.”

I don’t think I’ve seen any two people move quite that quickly, but by the time Gary was finished the sentence they were in the parking lot. Gary put the phone on the counter, walked to the door, and shouted after them that they needed to clear out of the lot — and never come back! — or he’d see to it that charges were pressed. Needless to say, they hightailed it out of the lot. It remains to be seen if they’ll return.

Walking back to He-Man, Gary looked at me and said, “So, apparently it’ll be sunny and fifty tomorrow.”

I picked the phone up from the counter. “… what was that listing again, sir? Sir? The police department?”

Gary. He’s such a joker.

I Almost Died Tonight

Dear Dumb Asshole,

Just because you drive a tank and can’t see any oncoming traffic in the northbound lanes on York Road, please don’t decide to drive south on the “supposedly” empty northbound lanes. It’s a bad idea — I already knew it was — and you learned it was a bad idea when you pulled around that car, trying to make a turn across southbound traffic from the center lane, and you pulled onto the northbound lanes and you saw … oh! Me!

I saw you too, at ten after five, when your brain shut down. I slammed on my brakes because your tank was where I was going to be in just a few seconds — coincidentally, this was almost exactly where I had my accident back in October (except I was in the right-hand northbound lane, as opposed to the left-hand)! I think the section of York Road should be renamed “People with really good insurance”, because if there had been an accident, oh my god, my first stop tomorrow morning would’ve been at Fool’s office for a consultation to find out how much I could sue you for (this, of course, assumes I hadn’t died because I was doing about fifty and, y’know, I was in a sports car and you were in a tank). I also don’t know if you noticed, but I gave you the finger before I pulled around you. I also screamed at you in the quiet of my car for several minutes. It wasn’t as therapeutic as this post has been.

-Me

PS — I thought it was hilarious that the assshit behind you followed your lead and was pulling out into the northbound lanes too. I hope neither of you were able to get back into the center-turning lane and got a lot of grief from northbound traffic. You both deserve it because you’re both douche bags.

PSS — If I was a cop and I saw what you did, it’d've been tickets for “Failure to Drive Right of Center”, “Unsafe Lane Changing”, “Reckless Driving”, “Negligent Driving” and just for good measure: “Failure to Obey Traffic Device.” And I’d've double-triple-quadruple marked the court date on my calendar to make sure the Judge didn’t let you off.

PSSS — Patience. Seriously, you should look into it. Patience.

PSSSS — Really? My car wasn’t very quiet when I was cussing at you. This just proves I should’ve joined the Navy.