Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Fulton County's Economic Black Hole

Before I get into my tirade about good ol' Bumblefuck, let me share a few informational links with you.






On my train ride from NYC to Bumblefuck, I sat next to a guy who asked me what kind of industry we had left. I didn't have an answer for him. I got home around 6 PM, passed out around 9, and woke up at 3 AM. I couldn't sleep, so I got a glass of water. Dad is usually awake at this hour, so we talked a bit about what's been happening.

It started with all of the leather mills. The process of turning animal skin into leather is, to put it lightly, toxic. The process hasn't changed in 100 years. Some time ago, the EPA decided to charge the leather companies to clean up the waste. Well, it cost more to clean than it did to make the leather in the first place. The business owners, who had made their millions moved all production (and poison) to Mexico. Meanwhile, the EPA used federal and local tax dollars to continue the clean up. With fewer jobs left, people moved away. That means less income to tax, so the city plummets into debt, disrepair, and despair.

The owner of one of the small shops that Wal*Mart put out of business sold drugs to make ends meet. He and many others were arrested recently. Drug rehab centers are popping up all over the place. When a town has no industry, no culture, and no hope, everyone turns to drugs. Theft, rape, and murder rates have increased. Welfare is up. New businesses fail within five years. Businesses that move to the area for the tax breaks leave as soon as they expire. There are some who manage to stay afloat as an "independent contractor" but their luck will run out sooner than later. Doctors and lawyers have it made, to a degree. Once the town is deserted, they'll have to move to bigger cities and have more competition.

Am I glad I got the fuck out of there.

Wow, my Future is Fuuuuuuucked.

My grandmothers are both on walkers. Paternal grandma fell last Tuesday. Maternal grandma pulled a muscle in her leg. My dad's knee and back are simply fucked. Mom is exhausted all the time. They're 51 years old, and it feels like I'll have to take care of them soon. They're broke and getting further & further into debt. When oil prices shot up, the companies started charging a rental fee on the tanks for the furnace and stove. Because of Dad's DUI from a couple years ago, both of their insurance rates rocketed. They sacrificed so much for me, and even more for my sister, bro-in-law, and their two kids. I'm JUST starting to get my shit together. I know that in the next couple of years, I'll have to start sending them money. Hell, if I could afford it, I'd do so now.

I Almost got the Lecture. Twice.

Dad asked his annual question of whether I was on speaking terms with my sister. Naturally, I said "no." Dad said "Jeeeeeff..."

I told him, "if you want me to come home again, you'll drop it."

And he did.

A day later, paternal grandma brought it up, much to my dismay. Her line is "sometimes all you have is family."

Considering my family, who the fuck wants that?

Now, because I'm not a total heartless bastard, and I don't want to make my grandmother cry, I did not deliver my ultimatum.

While I know she's not going to be around much longer, and that one of her wishes will be to see us together all happy, I simply can't honor it.

It's been nearly six years since the rotten bitch pulled the rug of life out from beneath my feet, and the thought of apologizing hasn't crossed her empty mind.

And I will be damned if I suggest that she should apologize. If she can't figure it out, then to hell with her.

An Attempt at Writing Romance

Scene: interior, night. We are in a bedroom; the camera gives us a bird's eye view of the bed. The moon outside is our only light source, given a blue sheen by the translucent curtains. There is a couple lying in bed, in a post-coital cuddle. It's probably their second or third time together. The camera slowly spins around the bed, counterclockwise (starting at 6), with quick cuts to close-ups of their hands exploring each other, and an occasional facial expression.

Doug is about 6 feet tall, and somewhat rugged, and slightly overweight. Helen is at least a half foot shorter and just as chubby. Their arms and legs are intertwined; Doug's face is nuzzled in Helen's neck as they lie facing each other on their sides.

Doug lifts his right hand, and slowly glides his fingertips down Helen's ribs, to her hip, mid-thigh, and back up again. He lifts his head and kisses her left shoulder, traces her collarbone with his lips, and moves up her neck.

Helen half giggles, half moans. "I'm still not used to how affectionate you are."

Doug looks up into her eyes and pulls her closer (if it's even possible). He kisses her softly and longingly.

"I'm just so grateful that you've let me into your life. It takes every ounce of restraint to keep my lips off of yours 24/7."

Cut to Helen's face as Doug continues.

"You...you make me feel new."

Thought of the Day

Step 1: Get a Hershey's Kiss (and a significant other who enjoys chocolate).

Step 2: Put the Hershey's Kiss in your mouth and let it melt a little bit.

Step 3: Plant a deep one on your lover and exchange until the Hershey's Kiss dissolves.

Step 4: Lather, rinse, and repeat as necessary.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

200-Mile Annual Guilt Trip

Thursday, I'll be headed north to my home town of Bumblefuck for Christmas.

That is, of course, if I can make it to Penn Station on time. The transit strike has made things very interesting. I saw some video on the news and the line just to get into the station is about a block long. I'll have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to get there.

Speaking of Bumblefuck, the closest computer is about three miles away from my parents house. I already feel withdrawal symptoms.

At least I'll be back on Monday, and I'll be able to type into my phone (but no web or email access).

Bah humbug.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Not a Kodak Moment.

The giant orange Cingular blowup doll in front of the cell phone store is not a historic monument. Please do not obstruct the sidewalk by taking a picture of your wife and small children standing in front of it.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Funky Supervillain

What strikes me most about this album is how well stories are told through music. Aside from jazz, I'm a big fan of film scores. Many are great at setting a mood, few help set the pacing. Storytelling in comics is vital. Without clarity in storytelling, it's all just a bunch of pretty pictures. It makes perfect sense to me that Lyman chose Jim Mahfood, a cartoonist/storyteller with a funky drawing style, to illustrate the cover.

Starting with Tastycakes, we're greeted by Lyman's upright bass. The snare drum snaps into place and the rest of the Lower Level explodes with unbridled joy, like they've just discovered music for the first time. The trumpet blasts with pure LOVE ringing in every note, and duels with the piano. This HAS to be my favorite song on the album.

Immediately thereafter, we're transported to a dark smoky lounge. The spotlight shines on the sweetest voice I've ever heard, on a cover of Feel Like Making Love. The siren song of Jessica Vautor can also be heard on I Only Have Eyes For You. If you don't have someone to share this song with, FIND ONE, dammit!

Funky Supervillain launches us into a spy movie with a car chase, and four lunatics are behind the wheel. It fits right in with a Henry Mancini/Pink Panther composition. It starts with a dark kinetic frenzy, and it picks up speed from there.

Such a Beautiful Girl couldn't be anything else but the story of Lyman's relationship with his wife. From the initial pangs of loneliness, to that special spark, courtship, all the way to marriage and beyond, each tender moment is captured for us to celebrate.

Where Funky Supervillain is a frenetic daredevil car chase, Big Slick is a warm, relaxing drive on a dark, dusty highway between sprawling cities. The music picks up when you stop into a roadside diner. Pay the check and you're on the way to Smoothsville. It's a long journey, but you can't get lost. The solos are local attractions between metropolises. They reinvigorate the driver, and make the rest of the trip enjoyable.

Big City Dreams bids us a fond farewell. It's a joyous recollection of times spent together with great friends, and anticipation of future gatherings.

The only problem I have with the album is the ratio of original compositions to rearranged cover tunes. Beatrice, I Only Have Eyes For You, Snoopy's Search, and Red Baron are all performed wonderfully, and something new is brought to each song. However, they don't quite resonate as well as Lyman's own creations. His greatest strength lies in the personal stories he tells, and how he lets us into his world.

This is truly a fantastic piece of work. I've listened to the album at least five times a day over the past six days. When I'm not able to listen to it, I find myself humming it.

The Funky Supervillain. "Learn it, live it, love it."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Don't Panic

After spending hours on hold today (and finally getting my shit together all week), I've found the cause for the new student loan payment booklet:

ACS bought loans from CFS. Without bothering to tell my sorry ass.

Like Henry Rollins in Russia for the first time (see his spoken word album THINK TANK), I'm always the last to know anything.

Panic: ended. Nuclear Meltdown: averted. Apocalypse: postponed. Towel: secure.

Breathe, Jeff. Just breathe.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

And the word is: PANIC

"Panic" is precisely what you do when you find out you owe an additional $17,300 in student loans and receive a payment booklet out of the blue while your budget is stretched slightly beyond the limit.

Oh well. No gym membership or therapy for me. I was SOOOOO looking forward to that whole "happiness" thing. I keep hearing great things about it.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Very Nice Compliment

Lynne, Alex and I were chatting about random shit, while searching myspace for SVA alumni. The conversation turned to how Alex and I need Lynne for art projects, and started to pay each other compliments. Lynne said:

"Jeff has an atonishing strong moral sense, and a generosity that most people, unfortunately, seems to not recognize due to his quiet demeanor. Despite his fatal flaw of not being able to move beyond the black color spectrum in his wardrobe he has wonderfully outspoken viewpoints on life which, said author enjoys by reading his blog."

No wonder why I think of her as my best friend.


It’s all my parents’ fault. It was Mother’s Day, 1990 (I think that was the year.) It was a Sunday. We took mom out to McDonalds’ for breakfast. My dad’s favorite radio station, usually Classic Rock programming, was featuring its Sunday Jazz Brunch. After almost a minute of his “what the hell is this shit” mumbling, dad switched it off. By the time we got home, it was over. But the next weekend, I got up early, and listened through the whole thing. A lot of it was what’s played on NYC’s “Smooth Jazz” station. Some of it was Swing/Big Band. Nice stuff, but nothing really moving. But I taped a lot of it off the radio anyway, cause I wanted to hear it during the rest of the week.

Then it happened. A few weeks later, I heard The Trumpet. That’s when I discovered real Jazz. Miles Davis and his Quintet playing a live version of “All of You.” The song was over 14 minutes long, and I got it on tape. It took me a decade to find the CD. In that time, I checked out every Miles CD I could find with songs that were over 10 minutes long, and anything with the name “All of You.” All the recordings of that song sounded NOTHING like the one I taped off the radio years ago. While I did find a lot of great music by Miles, including my all-time favorite (In a Silent Way), I was still frustrated. But then, I started looking for live-recordings only. I’d forgotten that one little part.

“Miles Davis: The Complete Concert 1964. ‘My Funny Valentine’ + ‘Four’ & More.” This was it. The song I had spent ten years looking for had finally come into my possession. The February 12th concert was a benefit for the registration of black voters in Louisiana and Mississippi. It was performed in what is now called Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, the same building where my SVA graduation ceremony was held. I didn’t know it at the time, but for a brief moment, I shared the stage with my favorite musician.

A Fucking Travesty

On my cab ride home from work at 5 this morning, I heard a horrible bastardization of jazz saxaphonist Paul Desmond's composition Take Five.

It was playing on the 'smooth jazz' radio station, which provides endless hours of shitty elevator/dentists' office music to the NYC Metro area. The problem with most of what's on this radio station is that it's not jazz. It's over-produced crap. There is no improvisation or syncopation. No call-and-response. Virtually every synthesized note is strategically placed.

Can you tell I took a History of Jazz class in college, and that I'm a total snob about the subject?

The cover tune I heard was 90% synthesizer, 10% Kenny G-style saxaphone. The "drum" beats sounded like too-tightly wound bass strings being violently plucked.

Paul Desmond wrote Take Five for the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1959, for the album Time Out. It was meant to be a drawn out drum solo for drummer Joe Morello "to release himself from the rigidity of the 5/4 pulse" (from the album's liner notes) as Paul's alto sax played off of him, while Dave played the constant piano vamp and Eugene Wright drove his sly bass line down Broadway at 3 AM on a cool, rainy summer night.

Paul has to have spun in his grave a million times by now.

Later today, I'll tell you more about how I got into jazz. Monday, I'll review Lyman's jazz album Funky Supervillain. I already know it's going to be good. I just haven't heard it all yet. Check out his blog & myspace. He's got a few songs up there.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I am extremely thankfull for all my friends who have offered their love and support in the past week through emails. I'm truly overwhelmed; I don't know what I'd do without any of you.

Thank you all.

Joe Haircut

Now that it's been revealed that I'm going to get my hair cut next year, I figure it'd be a good time to discuss possible hair styles. While I'm always open to suggestions, I've found my favorite option so far. Tell me what you think.

(No, I'm not serious. Sheesh!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


"The great Fly on the Wall invented Sucksgiving several years ago. Before Seinfeld came up with Festivus, but it always gets compared to the TV thing, which sucks.

Sucksgiving is held on November 22 because John F. Kennedy was assassinated on that day, which sucked, and C.S. Lewis died the same day, which also sucked, but nobody noticed because of all the attention on Kennedy, which also sucked. Also, November 22 is the birthday of Rodney Dangerfield, the comedian whose entire act was built around how much things sucked. He is the Patron Saint of Sucksgiving."

- Jim MacQuarrie, on the Comic Book Resources forums.

It was a cold, snowy Wednesday, twenty seven years ago. At 1:08 PM (the same time JFK was killed) after thirty six hours of labor, I begrudgingly entered this world with a broken heart.

My childhood was half idyllic and half horrific. But you knew that already.

My birthdays have a history of sucking. I really don't care for them anymore. It's just a week I'd prefer to forget.

On my 13th birthday, I slipped in the shower. I found myself lying on top of the toilet, with my head on the TP dispenser, and my legs still in the tub. The shower curtain rod had come out of the wall and sliced into my stomach. It was but a scratch (“just a flesh wound”), not deep at all. But I have the scar, two inches to the left of my navel (an “innie” in case you were wondering. “Outties” are fucking weird, man).

Three days after I turned 16, Tara died. I haven’t had a haircut since.

Tara Marie Giardino was quite literally the embodiment of school spirit. Cheerleader, soccer player, actor in school plays; you name it, and she had something to do with it. And once in a while, she was actually not mean to me. One winter, she went on a ski trip with her family. I don’t know the exact details, but on her way down the slope, she fell and broke her neck. It wasn’t until the next school year that we saw her again. She had high spirits, although she was bald and had to wear a neck brace. She still did as much as she could…she lived her life. During a routine CAT scan to check on her progress, the doctors discovered something in her vertebrae. The bones that were healing properly a month ago were now seeded with tumors. The docs identified the tumor as a rare and incurable type.

Tara put up a good fight. From the ski trip till the end, she fought hard for almost two years. It's because of her that I'm donating my hair to http://www.locksoflove.org/

On my 17th birthday, I went outside to check for the newspaper. I stepped onto ice, slipped, and landed on my ass. I felt my hips push into my chest as my spine telescoped into itself, and my body kept going down the few remaining steps in the staircase and into the snow. I’ve never felt so much pain, not even when I broke my wrist in 4th grade. This felt so much worse. Amazingly, there was no permanent damage. No bones broken. I could walk on my own within a day, and was back to normal by the end of the week.

My 18th is a very complicated story. Sometimes, I have the strangest precognitive dreams. I just wouldn’t realize it until after the fact. I’d walk into a room, sit down, and out of the corner of my eye, I’d notice the way light would reflect off of something, or a certain smell…a completely trivial detail would spark the memory of a pre-cog dream. “Oh yeah, now I remember. I dreamt about the way light glared off the metallic clip of my mechanical pencil.” Stupid, meaningless shit, right? I mean, if I’m going to be psychic, give me Professor X abilities, or don’t give me ANY. All or nothing, not this puny half-assed “I will eat a bag of cheesy poofs in the near future” crap.

Despite everything I suffered through in high school, I did have a few friends. Thom, Jennifer, Mary, Chris, Dan, Joan, Chad, John, Jamie, and Eric were people I could relax around. I met John & Jamie in kindergarten, and we were buddies throughout our academic careers. To this day, though, I’ve only kept in touch with Thom. He lives in a suburb of Seattle with his wife. I ruined my friendship with Jennifer by falling for her two years too late. Chris, Dan, Mary, Joan, and Chad were all from different schools (we met at the local BOCES/Vo-Tech school in the graphic arts class)…it was hard to keep in touch. They stopped writing six months after college started. But John, Jamie and Eric were the ones I saw the most in school. Eric had transferred from Gloversville (a neighboring town) in the 9th grade. I was one of the first people to talk to him – he was a geek like me. He was into comics, too, but was more into role-playing/Dungeons & Dragons stuff, and I’m into superheroes, sci-fi and fantasy. God, we were such dorks…Anyway, in 11th grade, as I took the BOCES class, Eric kind of took my place with John & Jamie. Which was okay. They were still my friends, I just got to see them less. I started to really concentrate on the future, on my ambitions, on my career.

The four of us, we could be lined up right with the four South Park kids. John is definitely Stan. They’re both football geeks…I’d be Kyle, the smart one (although I might as well be Timmy [“TIMMAH!”] sometimes). Jamie would TOTALLY be Cartman. Holy shit, they’re both really fat, and totally in denial about it. “I’m not fat, I’m big boned” are words straight out of Jamie’s mouth. They’re both spoiled brats, too. The similarities are amazing. As for Eric being Kenny…

In the weeks between the end of classes and actual graduation, I had a dream regarding Eric’s fate. When I woke up, though, I couldn’t remember it. I was grasping for the sense of dread that slowly left my body.

Graduation went off without a hitch. It was nice. There was a moment of silence for Tara, tears flowed…it was a good ceremony. And I promised that I’d never enter those halls again, not under any circumstance, not even a class reunion.

I had better things to look forward to. I was going to the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York Fucking City. (Not many people know that that’s the official title of the city. It’s really in the original town charter, written by the Duke of York’s equivalent of a secretary. No, really, I swear! I learned about it in my History of NYFC class. Go look it up.) Bright lights, big city, stench of urine at the 14th street PATH station. Oh my god, there are people here with a plan. Holy shit, that girl is really hot! You can’t find that in Bumblefuck! Pearl Paint! Comic shops within walking distance!!! Within a month at SVA, I met most of my greatest friends. Friends who are in my life today, friends I wouldn’t give up for anything.

Some of you reading this may remember this week:

I spent Friday, November 22, 1996, in my miserable painting class. I hated that class. I don’t paint. I can’t paint. Yet, because of SVAs requirements, I had to paint. Fortunately, there was an absolutely gorgeous red-head seated next to me, with whom I had made my very first attempt at flirting. Unfortunately, I found out later on that she was more interested in one of the guys across the room. But still, I got home that evening feeling high on oil paint fumes and testosterone.

Then the phone rang.

“Jeff, Eric killed himself yesterday.”

“Oh, happy birthday.”

As I looked through the yearbook, I remembered the dream I had months prior. If I had any brains worth a damn, I could have saved him. I’ve never felt so empty in my entire life.

Eric had a decent life; a great girlfriend, weeks from entering the Marines, nothing to complain about. It turns out that he lived with his grandmother. She died a few days earlier. Apparently, they were very close. He didn’t leave a note. Heather, his girlfriend, turned up at school, crying, asking why it happened.

I immediately called John & Jamie, and left messages with their parents. I went home for Thanksgiving. The train I was on from NYC to Bumblefuck broke down between Hudson & Albany, for two and a half hours. Because of that, I missed Eric's funeral. I was beyond pissed at this point. I called everyone again when I got home, just leaving messages. No one called me back.

You guys sure picked the worst time to NOT be a friend.

I saw Jamie a couple years later. I was landscaping during my summers between school. My boss was hired by Jamie’s neighbor to mow his (the neighbor’s, not Jamie’s) lawn. As we finished up, I saw Jamie standing on his porch, looking right at me. I stood and stared at him. It was like a movie; two friends who had become bitter enemies facing each other for what seems like an eternity before they square off for the final battle. All we needed were a few tumbleweeds. I tried to convey the message, “if I ever see you again, I will thoroughly and severely bludgeon you.” But that’s all that happened. We had to move on to the next job.

John got married in 2000. He even sent me an invitation. What the hell was he expecting? That I’d just go in and act like the past few years never happened? Ignore all the pain from his betrayal? I don’t think I’d be able to control myself in his presence. It would not have been a happy occasion if I decided to show up. So I didn’t.

John & Jamie are on my Shit List, by the way. They're tied with my sister & brother-in-law.

In 2002, my maternal grandfather died from Alzheimer's complications. Ryan, a childhood friend, was killed in a car accident. He's the son of my moms' best friend.

I know you all mean well when you say "happy birthday," but at this point, it's virtually impossible. I appreciate the thoughts behind it, though.

Happy Sucksgiving.

Project Jeff 4.0

Our bodies' atoms go through a complete turnover due to a metabolic process that takes seven years. In essence, we become a new person. It's an interesting scientific fact that's been on my mind for the past few months. Since I turn 28 next year, what better time than now to make further changes?

As some of you may know, I'm a bit fucked up.


I know it seems like I have a good attitude, but that's mostly a facade. When I'm with friends, I'm pretty comfortable. I know most of you well enough to relax and let my guard down. At the ripe old age of 14, I was anti-social, misanthropic, and suicidal. I've been struggling with depression, fear, confidence, weight, worth, & esteem issues for a very long time, and I'm just now getting to a point where I can start to do something about it. I've been taking baby-steps lately toward improvement (self-help books, socializing more, etc). I actually have a plan. I'm just gathering the tools (and funds) I need to carry it out properly.

My problems boil down to one main idea: I don't like myself very much. It's something that I've been aware of at an unconscious level. Talking with Lynne (I talk to her and Alex a lot) a few weeks ago, she pointed it out to me. A lot of it has to do with Eric's death; it must be my Catholic heritage, all this guilt weighing me down. Another thing she brought up is that I'm very stubborn and resistant to change, mostly out of fear. However, that's fed by my low self-confidence. Almost everything 'wrong' with me is circular. Like Fat Bastard says in Austin Powers 2, I'm fat because I'm unhappy, and I'm unhappy because I'm fat.

With the money I'm getting from a couple of freelance jobs, I'll be able to join a gym in January. To put it lightly, I'm extremely unhappy with my physical health. I have let my creative side go fallow; I will re-learn how to draw, and I'll be better at it than I ever was before. With weight loss and improved artistic skills, I will gain confidence. I will make an effort to be more social. I will try to volunteer at an animal shelter. I will stop wearing all black clothes so I won't be as intimidating. I will get a haircut. I may even try speed-dating or whatever other ridiculous match-making services are available.

I will find happiness, dammit, even if it kills me.

* Please note that parts of this post are culled from an ongoing conversation with Tara, Carlos' fiancée. She's been reading this and has offered many kind words of support, and has helped me organize my thoughts a bit better. Thanks for your help, Tara.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stop the Madness

Jheri curl mullets have GOT to go. It's not just a crime against humanity, it's a crime against society, and a crime against nature.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Few Random Memories

In my third year of college, life seemed pretty cool, but school was bewildering and stressful. My main source of escapism was watching two particular cable channels: Comedy Central and Cartoon Network.

My roommate Moe had a very interesting take on life, and he exposed me to new ideas, comics, and music. He's an insightful person. During the year we lived together, he asked me, “Why do you watch Comedy Central all the time?” I replied, “Because my life is not that funny, and I need to laugh more often.”

Moe said, “That’s pretty sad, actually.”

“Yeah, I know.”


One morning (while I still worked 'normal' hours) I was walking to the train station. It was a warm sunny day in August, shortly after I moved to Astoria. An older gentleman of the cloth was walking in my direction, and although the sun was behind him, he was squinting. He stopped me and looked closely at my chest. It turned out that the ankh hanging from my neck had caught the sun just right and glared into his eyes.

He said, "from farther away, it was as if the light was coming from inside you."

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Animated Event of the Year

That's right, bitches. The Boondocks hits Adult Swim Sunday, November 6th at 11 PM. The show has already gotten great reviews. If you don't know what it is and don't understand the finer points of Google, here's a link:

The Boondocks

Now, let your eyes (and mouse) wander over to the Links section and click on artist extraordinaire Khary Randolph's site. He worked on the style guide for the Boondocks animated series. Go and give him some money, dammit.

Inger Update

About two months ago I told you about my friend Inger and her dealing with brain cancer. She's recently finished the radiation treatments. Our friend Cary briefly filled me in. She's very exhausted, and a little forgetful, but otherwise okay. She also has a little more hair left than expected.

I'd love to see her again, or even just to hear her voice. But I know she needs to rest.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Unable to Speak

I'm feeling better now (thanks for asking, Trish!).

Wednesday I pulled another 12-hour shift. One of our clients is a telecommunications company that recently merged with another. That meant that every single cell phone store needed to replace their signage right away. It's a job we've been working on for two months, and it needed to be finished. Yay, more happy-fun-time for Jeff! I set up two of the printers to keep going and I got a cab at 4 AM. I got home a half hour later feeling miserable and passed out.

I couldn't speak at all on Thursday without enduring a bit of pain. Whispering hurt. The day was spent typing notes in my phone to communicate. One of the guys asked if I was playing a game (pfft, not until cell phones can handle Doom 3). I had to erase what I was typing to answer his question. The most annoying part was that two other people were out sick that day, and no one would answer the phone.

Aside - I HATE the office phone. The ring circulates from one phone to another until someone picks up. It's fine for surround sound systems, annoying for offices.

Anyway - I was sitting there working and the Big Boss asked me to answer the phone. I looked at him, pointed to my throat, shook my head and thought, "answer your own phone, dammit." You know? Thanks for paying attention. I've been in for a few hours, and you haven't heard my voice once. I guess it's hard to concentrate when you're scanning Travelocity. Give me a raise and insurance, jerk!

Friday I woke up feeling a lot better, my voice somewhat returned. It's a little scratchy, but I can speak if I need to. I was also dizzy for most of the day, even as I type this.

There's a lot of drama going on in the office surrounding a certain sales rep. While I've never had a high opinion of him in the years we've worked together, he's never been this much of a dick. He just creates more problems, and solves none. Everyone bitches about him, and soon, the Big Boss is going to have to talk with him. Too bad the sales rep doesn't care. He's trying to move to Florida and do something else. He's not in the office most of the time, he doesn't know what his clients are up to, and he forgets that the others have placed jobs in the first place. We get blank order forms for jobs that we know nothing about. We have to track him down, call his cell phone, he tells us to call his client when HE'S the one who should know what's going on. There are plenty of other problems, but since half of my co-workers are Chinese, I can't understand what they're saying.

Ugh. I'd like to spend the next 48 hours not thinking about work. I don't hate my job at all. I'd just rather do something else. Like watch Looney Tunes: The Golden Collection Volume 3. There will be much rejoicing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Drugs. Lots of drugs.

It was only a matter of time before it happened. There's nothing any of you could do to help me, even if I did ask for help.


I have a cold.

I woke up Monday morning with that tingle at the back of my throat. I bought many pills and cough drops when I got out of work, and ingested a couple of red pills to hopefully fight it as much as I can. Of course, this is all in addition to my regular vitamin supplements.

Tuesday I woke up with the tingle and a few sneezes. I knew then that I was fucked. It hasn't gotten worse, thankfully.

Sunday, October 23, 2005



Could we just get some UBB code that's used on message boards? Or even better, have Blogger automatically figure out that I've put a weblink in a post? Fuck, I had to refresh at least TWENTY FIVE TIMES to make sure I got it right.

Ugh. Dammit. No amount of exclamation points can express my nerdy frustration.

Darwinism in action. Almost.

This past Thursday I was standing on a street corner, across the street from my place of employment. I was patiently waiting for the sign to change from "don't walk" to "walk" as cars whizzed by at 40+ miles per hour.

On the other side of the intersection, there was a middle-aged construction worker who would not wait for the sign to change. I watched in disbelief as the guy played Frogger with traffic. He yelled at each car that almost hit him. When he finally made it across, he noticed that I was watching.

This knuckle-dragging motherfucker had the balls to complain about nearly dying.

Let's review pedestrian right-of-way laws in NYC, shall we?


"Can you believe the people in this city?"

Yes. Yes I can. If you're going to walk out into rush hour traffic, you should expect to be endangered.

At this point, the sign had changed and I started to cross the street. He started to shout.

"I'm going to kill everyone in this city, and I'm going to start with YOU!"

I laughed it off, and encouraged him to try as I walked into work.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Seven Months of Grey

Last weekend saw the start of the craptacular season I call "Grey." Sure, Daylight Savings ends on the 30th, but when it rains for nearly a week, that's got to count for something.

It's time to bury the air conditioner, unearth the trench coat, plug in the electric blanket, get some hot, pure liquid chocolate from Starbucks - yes, I am the Chantico's bitch. I get a Really Big Cup of it with whipped cream and somehow NOT go into a diabetic coma (haven't had one since April) - and revel in the giant boxed set of Monty Python's Flying Circus DVDs. (Hmm, remind me to get a decent copy of John Phillip Sousa's "Liberty Bell." Not a bad tune to start off a British sketch show with.)

From now until May, we can expect about seven sunny days per month. Since I'm a terrible creature of the night and work second shift, I'll forget what the Sun is by December. By March, I'll take a page from Lewis Black and start cutting myself just to see some color. April will roll around and various passers-by will look on in amazement as to how pale I am, and will suggest that I'm a vampire. I will respond by actually biting them, just to fuck with their heads. May will slap me in the face with some much needed warmth, and everything will be back to normal.

By the way, could we get some fucking THUNDER and LIGHTNING with the melancholic rain? A little meteorological drama isn't too much to ask, is it? A bit of Neodämmerung, perhaps?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Great news!

Victor Gabriel LoParco was born at 8:16 AM yesterday, October 4th. He's 7 pounds and a few ounces, and about 20 inches tall. A little taller, but a little lighter than Isaiah when he was born.

Congratulations, Chris & Yanellie!

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I had my very first anxiety attack yesterday!

I was walking home, carrying a few bags of groceries. My heart started to beat very fast, I could barely breathe, and my eyes welled up with tears.

Man, oh man, I can't wait until I can afford therapy.

A Strange thing happened last weekend...

I'm not a big fan of kids, children, rug rats, etc. There are a few exceptions, though.

When I hang out with Francis & his family, his sons are generally playful, smart and curious. The boys are naturally mischievous, but well behaved. Fran & Mickey actually talk to them, and they LEARN. In short, good parents, good kids.

Last weekend, I had arrived at Chris' house in a miserable, zombified state. He said I looked really pissed off when I walked through his door. I chugged 32 ounces of sugary, caffeinated goodness, sat down on the floor of Isaiah's room with his mother Yanellie & grandmother, and just relaxed.

I hadn't seen Isaiah since he was but a blob in his crib. Now, he's over a year old, walking around, and has a personality. He's also fascinated by the magnetic clip of my cell phone case. He already likes wrestling, thanks to his dad. He's a pretty bright boy, very curious about the world around him, and very playful. Like I've said before, good parents, good kids.

There was a really sweet moment when Carlos & Tara arrived. Tara sat down a couple feet from me. Isaiah walked right up to her, gave her a hug, and kissed her on the cheek.

Chris said, "Look out, Carlos, you have some competition!"

As I was sitting there playing, I became a bit more relaxed. Maybe it was the insomnia, maybe it was the caffeine coursing through my veins, but something that resembled paternal instincts kicked in.

Later on, when we all came out to the living room, I'd pick him up to sit on the couch. Chris said, "I never thought I'd see the day..."

I was pretty surprised, too.

I've realized I DO want to have kids; I DO want to be a father.

It's just going to be at least 8 years before I even consider procreating. The whole tired screaming and dirty diapers stuff, I'm not ready for.

So, yeah, my charred, scabbed black heart isn't as charred, scabbed and black as we all thought it was.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Let me tell you about the time I went to a goth club.

Last winter, I made a couple attempts to come out of my shell and try doing things that normal people do, like drinking and going to clubs. I'd try a few drinks my roommate would mix for me, and no matter how little alcohol she'd use, I'd still hate it. I don't get it. The alcohol simply burns right through any flavor the drink might have, and it's fucking nasty. Even Bailey's on ice cream was gross. With that in mind, I've never been drunk. I'm too grossed out to drink enough to get plastered.

Later on, a bunch of us went to Contempt. My roommate, her boyfriend, and a few of their friends somehow convinced me to go. It was a freezing cold, windy Saturday night. They were all gothed up with varying levels of makeup, and I dressed as I normally am: button down shirt, khakis, boots, trench coat; all black, of course.

We got there, paid the entrance fee, and descended the stairs to the bar. Further down was the dance floor. Obscenely loud (and some of it was crappy) techno/metal was blasting and reverberating through the entire club. I was introduced to people, and then they flocked to the dance floor. I watched for a few minutes, checking out what the kids call dancing these days.

That's another thing I don't understand. Well, I do understand it, but I don't "get" it. I've never felt the compulsion to dance. Without trying to sound like a snob, I process music intellectually and emotionally. If I tap my feet or fingers, that's as far as it goes physically.

One of the guys in our group wasn't much of a dancer either, and suggested we go upstairs to the viewing booths. There's a bunch of black and white video cameras placed all over the club, and at the top of each of the screens. You can cycle through all the cameras. If you see someone you like, you can pick up the phone, hit a button, and talk to them.

We scrolled through and played around. There were a few cute girls, but they were not in my league. We came across the camera for the booth we were in, and Frank made sure the camera had me in its sights. I IMMEDIATELY became self conscious and turned away.

After a while, we went back down stairs, and watched everyone dance. I stood in a corner, trying to stay out of everyone's way. A couple of people stopped a few feet in front of me to pose for a picture. I closed my eyes so I wouldn't get blinded by the flash. They stopped, looked at the pic on the view screen. I was in the background of it. They then took the pic from a different angle.

Yeah, I already felt unwelcome in the place. Thanks for dehumanizing me, too.

I went back upstairs to sit down and rest. It was late, I didn't care for any of the music, and just feeling more out of place than Britney Spears at a MENSA convention.

My roommate, on a break from dancing, came up to see how I was doing. We chatted with the DJ for a few minutes, and I decided that I should leave.

I walked out, said "good night" to my friends who were smoking outside, and went on my way to the subway station. It was so cold that night, my breath didn't even hang in the air; it dropped and shattered on the concrete.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Katrina News

(Of course I'm still awake. Ice cream, remember?)

Here are some blogs, news, & photo sites about people surviving in New Orleans ad other areas devestated by the hurricaine. I am purposely leaving out politically charged sites and trying to focus on the actual experience of living there. If you come across any other blogs, please contribute, and I'll edit them into the post.




; includes a link to a 3 MB sattelite photo. If you have problems viewing it, save it to your desktop & open in a photo-editing program.



Allow me to explain. Or not. See if I care.

I work second shift at a small printing company in lower Manhattan. I get into work around 4 PM, and leave shortly after midnight, occasionally later depending on how busy things get.

This past Thursday, I worked a 15 hour shift. I did not leave work until 7:13 AM Friday morning. What tends to happen when I pull all-nighters is that I get mentally wired. My body gets pissed off, but my brain refuses to shut down. I took the train home, picked up some groceries, and chatted with my one of my roommates, who just finished breakfast. My goal was to stay up the rest of the day and crash around 10 PM, so I could experience the weekend like a normal person. I wanted to get up early so I could visit Chris & his family, two weeks before their next child is due.

I did sleep for about two hours Friday, from 11 AM to 1 PM. I forgot to switch off my alarm clocks (yes, "clocks" is plural for a reason). I was up and about again, and spent most of the time reading message boards and news articles. When prime time came around, I watched a couple hours of television. It made me a bit drowsy. I reset my alarms for 7:30 AM, and shut everything else off in anticipation of a temporary coma.

I fell asleep around 11 PM, but woke up again at 1 AM, FOR NO REASON. The brain just would not stop working. It was playing four vastly different songs on top of each other, trying to re-write the ending of the story I wrote two days ago, reminded me about a mail-in rebate form I need to fill out, pondered what time of day I need to take reference photos for the story and when I'll get my camera back from Bowie, reminded me that one of my roommates' birthday is on Sunday and that one of the gifts I ordered hasn't come in yet, and contemplated how gloriously smooth Godiva's milk chocolate ice cream is.

After many attempts to silence my mind, I finally passed out around 6 AM Saturday. The alarms went off on schedule, and I hit the snooze buttons many times. A little after 8, I turned on my phone and sent a text message to Carlos that I'd be late meeting him & Tara at Grand Central Station, and not to wait for me. I finally got out of bed at nine, and left the house at 10:30.

The subway had some delays due to construction, and I was able to catch the 11:37 train with minutes to spare. When I got to Port Chester, I chugged two 16 ounce cans of a Red Bull-like substance, and started to wake up. Little Isaiah was adorable, and that helped a bit, too.

A good time was had by all, and I got home around 8:30 PM, obviously very tired. I was asleep by 10.

I woke up 90 minutes later, for no reason. I thought, "did I sleep for 24 hours or something?" I walked around the apartment, no one was home. I didn't feel very tired, and since I wasn't sure of what day it was, I turned on my computer. Sure enough, it's still Saturday. I shut it off, and tried going back to sleep.

Then the mental noise kicked in.


What's an insomniac to do?

I've read more message boards & blogs, started writing this, and enjoyed more ice cream. The ice cream probably isn't a good idea. Like I need more sugar.

Before anyone suggests it, I've tried sleeping pills. They don't work.

Once I get insurance, I'll see a doctor about it. Until then, I'm screwed.

And very tired.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Sorry for squealing like a kid, but I wrote up a quick story for a comic anthology my friend Francis and I are SLOOOOWWWWLY working on. It's been a while since I've come up with anything creative, and it felt pretty good. I was typing it into my phone today on the way to work. I need to finalize the script, lay it out, take some photo reference, and maybe...just maybe I'll DRAW this mother fucker.

Also, I'm buzzing from some chocolate chip cookies my mom sent in the mail yesterday. Fucking AWESOME!

Rant Bomb, part 5

Last year, I went upstate for Christmas and visited my family. I don't really fit in with any of them. I'm either a few years older or a few years younger than everyone else in my generation. And we all know how I feel about my sister, who's only three years younger than I am.

I have family scattered across the country, mostly in the west. Those I would feel most comfortable with live in Minnesota, Arizona, and California. However, I have two cousins in New York that I don't feel terribly out of place with, so the 200-mile annual guilt trip isn't a total wash. Logan and Danielle are roughly the same age (19), just five months apart. They both have skills and/or natural talents, A PURPOSE, outside of being 1/2 of a baby factory. Logan's becoming a computer scientist or something like that. Danielle, aside from myself, is the only person in our generation with artistic talent. It's only developed in the past four years, but she knew she had something that could grow. Danielle is an only child. When she was younger, she was more of the girly princess type. In her mid to late teens, she became more tomboyish, with a hint of gothness. I guess all that came out with her artistic abilities.

Last Christmas marked the end of their first semesters in college. Danielle came home with her boyfriend, a guy from Canada, who's my age. He seemed decent enough at the time, but I got a vibe from him I didn't like. I left it alone, though. Danielle made a decision to drop out of college and live with the guy and his mom across the border. I put on the façade of "hey, fine, whatever," but my brain was screaming, "are you out of your fucking mind?! Go back to school, stupid!"

A few weeks later, Danielle moved back with her parents. Her boyfriends' mother said there was no more room at the inn. Oh, and by the way, she's pregnant. Imagine that. Little Noah was born last week, premature, weighing just under five pounds. He's in an incubator in Albany right now. Meanwhile, Fuckstick McDouchebag is in Canada, with his mom, his girlfriend, and their kid.

Now, she's yet another single mom, another sad statistic, without much of a future other than raising her son. Her hopes and dreams died the day she gave birth. She argues with her parents a lot. She's unemployed, stuck in a small, shitty town. My family has a Catholic background; abortion was never considered. I certainly wasn't going to suggest it. Despite all my liberal ideals, I really don't like that, even though I believe it should stay legal. One sentiment that got passed around by some family members was hope for a miscarriage. It's an extremely sad idea, and you can't even think it without feeling like a monster, but when you look at the situation everyone's in, you start thinking about alternatives. Who knows, maybe she'll decide on adoption?

With all of that in consideration, actually going forth with the pregnancy and deciding to care for the child and taking responsibility for her actions is a pretty brave and noble thing. I'm not about to fault her for that.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Rant Bomb, part 4

One cool thing I've noticed since I'd become a vegetarian in April of 1998:

Bugs don't bite or sting me. They fly towards me, hover for a second, and buzz the hell away.

There are a couple of exceptions, but that happens when you push an industrial lawnmower over an underground hornets nest a few times.

Rant Bomb, part 3

The view from my old house in Brooklyn. One month before on the left, two weeks after on the right.

I'd been living in Brooklyn since April of 2001. I was still getting used to the city after being away for so long, and I'd NEVER been used to lower Manhattan. The street layout never made any sense to me. And since that day, I don't think I'll ever get used to it.

I got off the train at 9:03 AM, as I was running a little late for work that day. I came up out of the Franklin Street Station on the 1/9 line, and saw lots of people on the sidewalk, looking up and pointing. I looked up.

“Well. This will be an interesting day.” I plugged into my radio to find out what was going on as I walked three blocks to work.

A month previous, the production supervisor had left for greener pastures. We needed all the help we could get. So I put in a good word for Carlos. He used to be a messenger in the financial district, running back and forth between Wall Street and Jersey City via the PATH train. When I got to work, he was there holding down the fort. Everyone was making phone calls. People walked in off the street to use the phones.

I called my parents house upstate and left a message; mom was out walking Tasha, our adorable black lab.

"Hey, Mom, you might have heard something about the WTC blowing up or something. I'm 15 blocks away from it, so I'm fine. I'll check in later. Love you."

Then she called my dad at work; he was out of the building at the time, so he was out of the loop. When he got back, he saw the news. One of the secretaries said, “Some lady called and said that ‘Jeff was okay,’ whatever that means.” My dad, who was already a wreck from his father dying a few weeks previous, was relieved.

After the north tower fell, we locked up the store and walked uptown. We ran into one of Lynne’s (and mine) freelance clients, and walked with them for a little while until they found their friends house. Carlos & I were worried about Bowie. He worked on the floor of the stock exchange. But there wasn’t much we could do. After I had worn a hole through the cuff of my left pant leg, we entered SVA’s main building at 23rd street. We sat in the cafeteria, listening to the radio, eating junk food, trying to make sense of what was going on, trying to put together a narrative for the events. After all, that's what Cartoonists do: construct a sensible story. After a while, we needed some real food. I offered to buy Carlos lunch; I had a hunch that the “last hired-first fired” rule was going to happen (and it did). But Carlos told me, “If you hadn’t got me that job, I’d be goo right now. I’m buying you lunch.” As the minutes passed, we called just about everyone we knew. It was a relief to hear everyone’s voice. Lynne, who had immediate Internet access, kept everyone else in our Cartoonists community updated on who has checked in and was okay.

By three o’clock, the subways had resumed service. We sat on the R, shell shocked just like everyone else. I got home and sat with my roommates, just trying to make sense of everything. Every so often, I’d call Bowie’s house and leave a message. By 7:30, I went up to my roof. The pillar of smoke extended from the pit all the way up, over and behind Brooklyn. I was bending over backwards, Matrix-style, trying to take it all in. The smell of the barbecue was setting in. And I was ready to give up on ever hearing Bowie’s voice again.

Naturally, that’s when my caller ID lit up with his name. He had walked from Wall Street to 125th street. There, he found one of his friends, who gave him a ride home to the Bronx. After he called his mom in St. Croix, he called me. The 25+ times I called him had registered on his caller ID, so he could tell I was freaking out. The next couple days, Bowie couldn’t walk; the blisters on his feet were numerous and excruciating.

Everyone I knew was okay, but not everyone was untouched. Chris’ dad knew two people that died.

I didn’t know it at the time, but one of Francis’ friends, Evan Forsch, was on the 89th floor of the north tower. A few minutes after the second plane hit, his floor was being evacuated. He and his co-workers made it out moments before it collapsed. Evan, a fellow Cartoonist (go figure), wrote a short story about his day called “Down and Out” for the 9-11: Emergency Relief comic, from Alternative Comics.

Rant Bomb, part 2

Let me tell you about my friend Inger.

I had been living in Brooklyn for a month. My good friend Francis, who had already hooked me up with a decent place to live, also had some artistic friends in the city who could help me out with getting a job. He gave me Inger’s home and work numbers, and her email address. I called her up eventually.

“God, I’m so sick of helping people. I’m just fucking tired of it, you know? But Fran & Mickey [Francis' wife] said you were a good kid, so it’s probably the last favor I’ll do for them.”

That was one of the first things she said to me. So, I was a little uncomfortable. Inger was able to get a few of her & Fran's friends, to meet us at a bar downtown. I was to bring my portfolio and sketchbook. I met her just after 5 on a Friday at her company. She took one look at me and froze for a second. And so did I. “If she and Fran had a kid…”

So we walked over to the bar and I was introduced to everyone. Cary, a very cool cartoonist & illustrator, was the first one to ask how I met Francis. I explained to him about the printing company I worked at upstate, where I met Francis, and the Kids in the Hall & South Park quotes. Cary’s response was, “Ohhhhhhh, you’re that guy. I get it now. I was wondering how Fran would meet a 21-year-old upstate. I mean, you’re a bit out of his age range.” All these people are in their early thirties.

After an hour of talking, Inger understood exactly why Francis told her that I was a younger version of her. We both have similar relationships with our fathers, and while she was at Pratt, Inger used to dress a lot like I do now (all black clothes). As our ranks thinned, and as she became a little drunk (well, only three or four beers, but she barely weighs 100 pounds), we found ourselves holding hands, like we’d known each other for ages. Inger exclaimed "You're so touchy, too!" I'm very physically affectionate to those who are open to it. She began to talk about her problems with family. It wasn’t long before she was crying in my arms, kissing me on the cheek, and thanking me for listening. “I don’t even know why I’m trusting you with all of this…I just met you two hours ago. I’ve never met anyone that I’ve been able to open up to like this.” She looked into my eyes, and it felt like she was begging for an answer.

After a moment, I told her, “Some time ago, one of my more thoughtful teachers [who was also a psychologist] suggested that maybe it was my purpose to bear witness, and to help whenever I could. Maybe it’s true. I mean, look at us. Look at our friends. Maybe it was fate that I met Francis. I know I certainly wouldn’t be here without him. If I had never met him, I would still be trapped in Bumblefuck, losing my mind. Francis helped me, and he made it possible for me to help you now, even though he doesn’t know you need it.”

After she had recovered, she told me that there was a spare computer in her office, and that I could come in whenever I wanted to use it in my quest for employment, and to practice with programs. Inger would give me some practice assignments to put in my portfolio, and helped me write my resume.

We had come in on a Saturday. She had to work on a project that needed to be done by Monday, and Inger didn’t have the time to work on it the previous night. When she came to the door to let me in the office, I could see that she was a wreck. I asked her what was wrong. One of her friends had done something particularly nasty. I held her for hours as she cried, her tears soaking through my shirt. “God, I’m sorry, I’m getting you wet,” she said between sobs. “Inger, I don’t care. Just let it all out. I’m here for you, remember?” She held me so tightly, I could feel her abs flex against mine, wrought with fear. All I could do was pull her closer. I didn’t want to…no, I wouldn’t let her feel alone. Not in the shape she was in. At one point, I almost cried. Seeing her in so much pain was taking its toll on me. I suggested that we go get lunch. We walked along, holding hands, to the South Street Seaport. We each got a slice of pizza and a soda, and sat on a bench looking out at the river, our arms around each other. That was when she told me about Mickey calling her up. “She said, ‘I saw Jeff; when the hell did you and Francis have a kid?’”

That became a running gag. At a birthday party later that year, Fran & Inger were sitting across the table from me. I pulled out my camera to get a shot of them. Cary commented, “It’s only fitting that Jeff gets a picture of his parents.” Some people looked at Cary like he was nuts. He said, “What? Look at Fran & Inger, then look at Jeff.” They looked at the couple, then at me. “Holy shit!” was the most common response.

A couple weeks ago, Inger wasn't feeling well. Headaches, dizziness, puking, fever, trouble standing up; your basic flu symptoms. Inger's about 5'9" tall, and maybe 100 pounds soaking wet. With that kind of build, the flu is going to knock you down a few pegs. What was odd, though, was she didn't get better after a week. Her fiancée Michael, with whom she bought a house with last year, was getting worried. He drove her to the hospital to find out what was wrong. The doctors ran some tests, and found there was too much pressure on her brain. So they cut her open and drained some fluids, and got a bit of a surprise:

A sizeable tumor. Phase 3 Astrocytoma, to be precise. They took out half of it, but not enough to leave her a vegetable. She was in a coma for a few days. Right now, she's being treated at a very reputable hospital in the city. She's on chemotherapy, steroids, and blood thinners to prevent clots forming in her brain…although she's probably off those by now.

She's kind of weak on her right side, so they gave her a cane. Of course, she tries to beat people with it, but she's too weak to do any damage…for now.

I just found out all this stuff, and still in a bit of shock. I've been getting most of my information through Cary, who's one of her best friends. Because of a bad relationship with her parents, they're trying to give Michael Power of Attorney over her in case something happens.

I can never get in touch with her, but letting her rest is probably best. Cary will be up in mid-October. Hopefully I can squeeze in a visit then.

While everyone else in our circle of friends is being optimistic, I have to stick with my pessimistic nature. I actually PRAYED for Inger. If you know me, you know how much she means to me. She taught me it's possible to be massively fucked up and still find happiness. She is very dear to me, and I can't help but worry.

Rant Bomb, part 1

What did I have in common with the levees in New Orleans? We're FUCKING BROKE.

Seriously, though, DONATE, if you haven't already. If I can scrounge up $50, if extremely poor kids can donate $1, so can you.

Monday, August 22, 2005

BlogThings, because I can't help myself

Ugh. So sorry. Most of these will come as no surprise to you (heh. Scroll down to the Logic one). In fact, you'll most likely be yelling "DUUUUUUUH!" at the screen as you read this crap. I know it's a lot, but it's probably the only time I'll do this.

Also, I've procrastinated on my entry about college. I'm a lazy, lazy bastard. If any of this is hard to read, just highlight the damned thing. I'll re-format it later (mother-bloody-fucking HTML code!).

Your Dominant Thinking Style:


You thrive on the unknown and unpredictable. Novelty is your middle name.
You are a challenger. You tend to challenge common assumptions and beliefs.

An expert inventor and problem solver, you approach everything from new angles.
You show people how to question their models of the world.

Your Secondary Thinking Style:


Super logical and rational, you consider every fact available to you.
You don't make rash decisions and are rarely moved by emotion.

You prefer what's known and proven - to the new and untested.
You tend to ground those around you and add stability.

Your Ideal Relationship Style is Serious Dating

You're not ready to go walking down the aisle.
But you may be ready in a couple of years.
You prefer to date one on one, with a commitment.
And while chemistry is important, so is compatibility.

What's Your Ideal Relationship?

How You Live Your Life

You seem to be straight forward, but you keep a lot inside.

You're laid back and chill, but sometimes you care too much about what others think.

You're open to new people and friends, which makes you a pretty popular person.

Some of your past dreams have disappointed you, but you don't let it get you down.

Your Hidden Talent
You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.
And while this may not seem big, it can be.
It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.
You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.

Your Power Color Is Red-Orange

At Your Highest:

You are warm, sensitive, and focused on your personal growth.

At Your Lowest:

You become defensive and critical if you feel attacked.

In Love:

You are loyal - but you demand the respect you deserve.

How You're Attractive:

You are very affectionate and inspire trust.

Your Eternal Question:

"Am I Respected?"

Overall, Your Observation Skills Get: B+
Your senses are pretty sharp (okay, most of the time)
And it takes something big to distract you!

Your IQ Is 120

Your Logical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your General Knowledge is Above Average

According to a few different IQ tests, it always turns out to be 123. Genius level IQ is 140 & above.

The True You

You want your girlfriend or boyfriend to be more relaxed, calm, and composed.
With respect to money, you spend carefully and save your pennies.
You think good luck doesn't exist - reality is built on practicalities.
The hidden side of your personality tends to be methodical in your ways - with trouble adapting to the rules of society.
You are tend to think about others' feelings a lot, perhaps because you are so eager to be liked.
When it comes to finding a romantic partner, you don't have any particular type in mind, but you are inclined to look for someone who will say yes when you ask him / her out.

Your #1 Love Type: INFJ

The Protector

In love, you strive to have the perfect relationship.
For you, sex is nearly a spiritual experience, a bonding of souls.

Overall, you have high expectations for any relationship you're in.
However, you tend to hold back a part of yourself.

Best matches: ENTP and ENFP

Your #2 Love Type: INFP

The Idealist

In love, you crave a long term, harmonious relationship.
For you, sex doesn't come quickly - it takes time for you to open up.

Overall, you are supportive, nurturing, and expressive.
However, you tend to be shy and protective of your personal space.

Best matches: ENFJ and ESFJ

Your #3 Love Type: INTJ

The Scientist

In love, you tend to be very private and withdrawn - even when things are going well.
For you, sex is important in a happy relationship. Less important when things aren't going well.

Overall, you are confident, intelligent, and serious about commitment.
However, you tend to hold back and not show your emotions.

Best matches: ENFP and ENTP

Your #4 Love Type: ISFJ

The Nurturer

In love, you are quietly intense, devoted, and tend too hold on too long.
For you, sex is a way to get closer - and a way to take care of your partner.

Overall, you are altruistic and eager to please your sweetie.
However, you tend to also be non-confrontational and secretly frustrated with relationship issues.

Best matches: ESTP or ESFP

Your #5 Love Type: INTP

The Thinker

In love, you are honest and serious about commitment.
For you, sex is something you think about and desire a lot of the time.

Overall, you are pure in your affection and feelings.
However, you tend to be suspicious and distrusting at times.

Best matches: ENTJ and ESTJ

Your Birthdate: November 22

While sometimes employing unorthodox approaches, you are capable of handling large scale undertakings.

You assume great responsibility and work long and hard toward completion.

Often, especially in the early part of life, there is rigidity or stubbornness, and a tendency to repress feelings.

Idealistic, you work for the greater good with a good deal of inner strength and charisma.

An extremely capable organizer, but likely to paint with broad strokes rather than detail.

You are very aware and intuitive.

You are subject to a good deal of nervous tension.

What Your Dreams Mean...

Your dreams seem to show that you're a bit disturbed... but nothing serious.

You may have a problem you're trying to work out in your sleep.

You have a very vivid imagination and a rich creative mind.

You secretly want to hide your dreams from your waking mind.

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.

In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved.

You'd like to your lover to think you are loyal and faithful... that you'll never change.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was ruthless, cold-blooded, and sarcastic.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred.

In this moment, you think of love as commitment. Love only works when both people are totally devoted.

You Are 10% Extrovert, 90% Introvert

You avoid people at all costs

You aren't one for social interaction

And you limit your interaction to a select few

Thank God for self checkout!

You Are 90% Psychic

You are so very psychic.

But you already predicted that, didn't you?

You have "the gift" - and you use it daily to connect with others.

You're very tapped into the world around you...

Just make sure to use your powers for good!

You Are 22 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

What Age Do You Act?

For the record, I'm actually 26 (nearly 27).

Your EQ is

50 or less: Thanks for answering honestly. Now get yourself a shrink, quick!
51-70: When it comes to understanding human emotions, you'd have better luck understanding Chinese.
71-90: You've got more emotional intelligence than the average frat boy. Barely.
91-110: You're average. It's easy to predict how you'll react to things. But anyone could have guessed that.
111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt.
131-150: You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin.
150+: Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

You Were Nice This Year!

You're an uber-perfect person who is on the top of Santa's list.
You probably didn't even *think* any naughty thoughts this year.
Unless you're a Mormon, you've probably been a little too good.
Is that extra candy cane worth being a sweetheart for 365 days straight?

You are an Atheist

When it comes to religion, you're a non-believer (simple as that).
You prefer to think about what's known and proven.
You don't need religion to solve life's problems.
Instead, you tend to work things out with logic and philosophy.

You Are 60% Weird

You're so weird, you think you're *totally* normal. Right?
But you wig out even the biggest of circus freaks!

Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent.
Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art.

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

The worst career options for your are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary.

You Are Strawberry Ice Cream
A bit shy and sensitive, you are sweet to the core.
You often find yourself on the outside looking in.
Insightful and pensive, you really understand how the world works.
You are most compatible with chocolate chip ice cream.

You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.

For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.

The World's Shortest Personality Test

There were three other options for the short personality test that were very accurate. If you guess which ones, I'll give you a cookie.

Your Political Profile

Overall: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

You Are A Good Friend

You're always willing to listen

Or lend a shoulder to cry on

You're there through thick and thin

Many people consider you their "best friend"!

You Are Incredibly Logical

(You got 100% of the questions right)

Move over Spock - you're the new master of logic

You think rationally, clearly, and quickly.

A seasoned problem solver, your mind is like a computer!

How Logical Are You?

Go ahead, Alex. Say it. You know you want to.
(If only there was a number between 2 and 4...)

You Are In a Decent Mood

You aren't turning cartwheels, but you're having a pretty good day.

Some ups, some downs, but overall you're coming out ahead.

And who knows? Tomorrow could be even better!

You Are A Romantic Realist

You are more romantic than 30% of the population.

You tend to be grounded when it comes to romance.
Sure, you can fall hard... but only for someone you've gotten to know.
And once you're in love, you can be a total romantic goofball...
But you'd never admit it to your friends!

Your Dominant Intelligence is Spatial Intelligence

You've got a good sense of space and how the world around you looks.
You can close your eyes and "see" images. You have innate artistic talent.
An eye for color and shapes, you're also a natural designer.
Since you think in pictures, visual aids and demonstartions help you learn best.

You would make a good navigator, sculptor, visual artist, inventor, architect, interior designer, or engineer.

You Are a Seeker Soul

You are on a quest for knowledge and life challenges.
You love to be curious and ask a ton of questions.
Since you know so much, you make for an interesting conversationalist.
Mentally alert, you can outwit almost anyone (and have fun doing it!).

Very introspective, you can be silently critical of others.
And your quiet nature makes it difficult for people to get to know you.
You see yourself as a philosopher, and you take everything philosophically.
Your main talent is expressing and communicating ideas.

Souls you are most compatible with: Hunter Soul and Visionary Soul