Sunday, July 31, 2005

monco

multimedia navel-gazing

been an interesting week to close out a month marked by generally mixed fortune, yet enjoyable nonetheless in its own manner.

i made a new video to demonstrate my futile search for luck i've posted it here so it won't slow down this site by streaming it automatically. again, nothing special.

to make this post even more focused on me and me alone, here are two pictures which i find illustrate just how large the contrast is between me at my shaggiest and me at my most close-cropped:


oh man, i certainly had a beard back in may, didn't i?

ok well, i've had just about enough of looking at my face. so, instead, here is a picture of some mysterious message i scrawled on the cover of a notebook in my sleep about a month ago. i actually don't know if i did it in my sleep, but that's my best guess.
so if you have any guess as to what this might say ("7-or-lewfew" perhaps?) let me know:

it's well past time i got to sleep. i am tired.

____

ed sent this link to me, it is amusing: http://glowstickcats.ytmnd.com/

Friday, July 29, 2005

ch

first/last post from work.

They're moving my cubicle on Monday, so I've spent the morning packing up all my things into "Corporate Express" printer paper boxes. I feel like I'm being fired or something--but in fictional depictions of packing up one's office possessions, the victim always has but one box, even if they're a senior executive. Whereas, despite being a lowly intern and merely relocated rather than fired, I have four huge ones. Anyway, I'm reading Coetzee rewriting Dostoevksy's life and trying to write about Hemingway and I hear there's this Pynchon book club starting on Monday...and I have to go catch my bus.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

harry j. blige

...and you will know which book it is by the trail of dead


"The book describes a world of unintelligible and unintelligent energies, a world in which the primary fact is not thought or feeling or belief but energy itself."

-George Levine



"...Pynchon seems to say not only that history is in itself a form of repression, but so, too, is the human impulse to make or write history. If this is any proper reading of Pynchon then it should constitute a warning to any one of us who wishes to order or regularize his work by whatever plot, myth, symmetry or arrangement. And yet we persist in doing so, because, finally, it is nearly impossible to feel about our cultural inheritance the way he does. We don't know enough to feel as he wants us to feel."

-Richard Poirier


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

monco

the duck likes hot cross


so i've decided that there should be an increased video component to this blog. i have no idea what this really means, but i discovered that OurMedia with the ceaselessly entertaining and helpful archive.org lets you upload video for free, so that makes me want to use it.
the real problem is, i'm not sure what to post, so here's a video i made a few minutes ago to try out this whole uploading deal.
it's really barely worth watching since it's simply a miniature rubber duck rotating on a hot cross record as it plays but download it here or stream it here.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

He Hate Me

136.25 Hours in Cleveland (sort of Part 3)

And now to continue along the story of my epic journey (I'm hoping this is not becoming a long, meandering waste-of-time like Lord of the Rings), BUT FIRST (a dollar to anyone who anyone gets that reference (and an add'l $.80 to anyone who gets that reference)) a few thoughts.

Eatonomics Part Deux
I know folks are deciding on meal plans right now so I thought I'd use some of my newfound economic analytic skills to help you'se masses better understand the situation.
PlanCostFlex PointsMeal Cost
(Cost - Flex Points)
Cost/Meal$ SavedMeals Lost From Next Highest PlanExtra Cost/
Meals Lost From Next Highest Plan
20$3,298.00200$3,098.00$5.16
14$3,104.00150 $2,954.00 $7.03$144.00180$0.80
10$2,814.00100$2,714.00$9.05$384.00120$3.20
7$2,572.0070$2,502.00$11.91$596.0090$6.62

So basically, here's the deal. The 14 meal plan is a bad option because you only get $144 in exchange for losing about 180 meals a year. The last column means that by getting the 20 meal plan instead, youre essentially getting 180 meals for $.80 a piece. Even if you only use those meals to get Uncrustables at Jo's, you've more than made the money back.

The 10 and 7 meal plans seem much more reasonable given the "Extra Cost per Meals Lost by Not Choosing Next Highest Meal Plan" measure. However, the problem with these is the high cost per meal ($9.05 for 10 meals and $11.91 for 7 meals). For that amount you could eat really well on Thayer Street or just pay for each meal at the Ratty, etc. Get this: you can buy a meal from one of the Jose's at the Ratty for:
Breakfast $6.50
Lunch $9.30
Dinner $10.95
(and obviously Gate, Blue Room, Jo's, etc is cheaper)
YOU ACTUALLY SAVE MONEY BY BUYING EACH MEAL INDIVIDUALLY THAN WITH THE 7 MEAL PLAN ($11.91 per meal vs. $10.95 per meal assuming 7 dinners, the most expensive optio). The 10 meal plan isn't much better as, assuming you're eating 5 lunches and 5 dinners a week, you only save a dollar a week and are stuck with BUDS food options.

That leaves the 20 meal plan as the only economicallly viable solution (besides going off-meal plan entirely and paying per meal as discussed above). Hopefully that helps folks.

Thank You


To Housemates, Assorted Folks and Jews, Angela, Whit, Mel, Sara, Annie and everyone I'm forgetting:

Thanks for all the Birthday gifts. I apologize for not getting back to some of you sooner but between phone issues, failing classes, avoiding being fired again, jetsetting, blogging, BB6, and the BoSox I haven't gotten a chance to get back to some of y'all. Thanks for honoring me in gift form.

Dysablity in Dysgiuse?
Premise #1
As y'all know, I've always hated reading. The only books I've read cover-to-cover in the last ten years or so are Long Bomb: How the XFL Became TV's Biggest Fiasco, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, The Reality TV Handbook, The Five Chinese Brothers, and the Sims Strategy Manual.

Premise #2
I've always been incredibly slow not only at reading but at taking tests. I barely reached the last page of my Econ test before sensei told us that time was up. I got a 67 on the test and am in danger of failing the class mostly becuase I left the majority of that page blank.

Premises #3, 4, and 5
In PS110 class, the future Mrs. Chacon, Wendy Schiller corrects me on the fact that I transposed the numbers in a budget figure. At the library I transpose numbers when I ask for a book on reserve and the attendant suggests that I may be dyslexic. When dialing the Rhode Island lottery to ask them what the expected payoff is on scratch cards (that's another post), I transpose the numbers.

Conclusion
I may be dyslexic. According to this test, I'm sort of borderline. Having come to the end of this tale, its not as interesting as I thought it might be (i.e. a Nathan story), so I apologize.

Problematic
The WWE (formerly the WWF before the panda WWF mauled it and took the name) has a character by the name of Muhammed Hassan who is an Arab-American (Kaysar anybody?) who is a heel (industry term for "bad guy"). Go to wwe.com ASAP and click on the TONIGHT: Hassan vs. Taker link. Soooooooooooo problematic. So problematic in fact that that link will probably be taken down in the next few hours as the character Hassan has been removed from the roster after angry letters to WWE HQ by those affected by the London bombings.

UPDATE: The link has been taken down but here is a link to the original video (opens in web browser). The WWE and "Hassan"'s response to the controversy in what is presumably his final WWE appearence is here for now but I bet that will be taken down soon too. If so, then this is another copy of Hassan's response (opens with RealPlayer.) . If you ever wanted to know how Red State ppl think, watch this craziness.

Returning to Our Regularly Scheduled Program
12:15 - So it's less than an hour til the Closing Ceremony and I'm furiously helping the 8th grade speecher with the turns of his speech as I eat my traditonal Jr. Bacon Cheesburger, Biggie Fry lunch. As I've mentioned before: the crux (sp?) of the speech is him making the turn from "Benjamin Mays once said 'The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach'" to the so-called Hooters story. Speaking of which, here is (from what I remember) the Hooters paragraph of the speech:

"My most memorable experience from the [DC] trip was when [the director of the program] told us that we had an hour and a half to eat, shop, and explore the Baltimore harbor. We were all hungry and decided we were in the mood for some wings. We found the restaurant and ordered burgers, wings, and quesadillas. It was only 20 minutes left and we still hadn't received our food. Finally, the food came. And so did the bill. 178 dollars. We combined all of our money and were still 15 dollars short. There was only 10 minutes left before we had to be back on the bus so I paid the last 15 dollars. The waitresses at the restaurant were so nice that they gave us 50 extra wings. [The director of the program] always said that if we were gonna be late, we should at least show up with extra food. We actually got back early which allowed me to retrieve the 15 dollars from my classmates. [The director] was happy we were on time and even happier to get those wings."

From there, it makes a turn back to the Mays quote and gets soppy, as Beri would put it. A couple notes on the story. First, remember that "the restaurant" and "the waitresses" are codewords for Hooters and titties. Second, it wasn't the waitresses that bought them the wings but some sketchy (I believe this a correct use of the term) guy. In the hallway, the students are beginning to line up to enter the the final ceremony. It's game time. And we must protect this house...

ch

Raymond Williams
Originally uploaded by cdhu.
One never reads about Brown English concentrators in the news, but those damn semioticians are all over the place. One of them, Steven Johnson, has written a book about why TV and video games aren't as corrosive as people--or rather, people like me--think. It's reviewed here in the Washington Post.

And in an attempt to bury the hatchet in our house-wide (or rather, downstairs-wide) arguments about the relative merits of various media, I'm offering up a picture of Raymond Williams, an English professor who also wrote about televison. Let's hope the Oxford DNB doesn't have people paid to search blogs for copyright infringement.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

He Hate Me

136.25 Hours in Cleveland (Part 2)

One of the most frustrating things about blogging is that when you have plenty of time to blog there is very little to blog about and when you are drowning in ideas, there is no time to share them. My first idea was a rambling post on several unrelated topics to be named "Big Brother 6, Eatonomics 2, LeBron 3, You're Fxcked 2, and John Q." Here is what I had finished before I was once again unable to finish a post:

"So I was jerking off the other day when Nathan knocked on the door. Now that I have your attention, let me see how long I can keep it. I've often remarked that when you start talking you have a maximum of ten seconds to pique someone's interest before you lose their attention. As hard as it is to get that attention in the first place, its harder to keep. My unusually low attention span has certainly been tested by both of my daily 1hr 45min classes. I bring this issue up becuase this will be an unusually long and meandering blog post and I always feel the need to be self-referential.

I'll start with the topic that probably interests the fewest of you: reality TV. For the most part this summer, its sucked. Usually at this point I have 3 or 4 shows I watch religiously and a few others I keep up with but up until this week my only appointment television has been BoSox games and the Daily Show. Thankfully, things have begun to pick up. MTV's Real World: Austin and the 70's House are solid disidentification/Schadenfreude TV for any college student. NBC's "Average Joe" and Bravo's "Being Bobby Brown" offer similar pleasures for all ages. VH1's Surreal Life 5 should also provide much trife.

However, it is clear where all my attention is focused right now. Big Brother 6 premiered last Thursday to solid ratings overall and compulsive obsession to the BB faithful. BB, DR, FOTH, ChenBot, PB&J, PoV, and HOH have once again joined the lexicon of those of us that put our lives on hold for three months to enjoy the backstabbing, knife-wielding, lying, cheating, and loving of the houseguests."

So now that I've provided several cliffhangers, let me try to incorporate the answers into my experience in Cleveland. So let me continue where I left off...

Friday, 7:30 AM - After 7 hours sleep (that's 11 hours sleep out of the last 48), I wake up and ride with LaJuan to the final ceremony at the lower school. At this point the 6th and 7th grade speeches are complete but the more important 8th and 9th grade speeches are in shambles. Once we arrive, we work non-stop revising and re-writing speeches and hunting down disks and printers with which to output them.

10:30 AM - Though writer's block, computer problems, a severe time crunch, and discussions of the signification of the fart threaten to keep us from our goal, we manage to crank out some pretty decent speeches (thanks in part to the Hooters story). There is now less than 2.5 hours until the closing ceremony and the students haven't even seen the speeches that they are about to give. I decide the 9th grade speech still sucks so I cross out entire sections and make the speecher navigate through the maze of proofreading marks I've provided him.

The bigger issue is the 8th grade speech. The speech moves from a serious quote to silly antecdotes to the Hooters story back to serious resolution. This kid would have to put in an amazing performance on this speech to make these tough right turns and deliver these lines with the right attitude and we gave it to him at the 11th hour.

12:15 - Furious practicing with all the speechers is yielding so-so results. It is now 45 minutes to showtime and problems are abound:
  • One kid has a line about a teacher where he says, "If you mess up, he'll mess you up." Unfortunately, he's delivering it too fast so it sounds like, "If you mess up, he'll F you up."
  • All of the speakers are racing through their speech.
  • The 8th grade keynote speaker has not had a chance to practice on the mic and parents are beginning to stream in.

At this point, the most important thing is the 8th grade speech. Originally, it was stilted and impersonal but its actually pretty good now that we've added the Hooters story. The right turn into the Hooters story, the delivery of the story, and the right turn out of the story are crucial.

So once again, in true 24 fashion, instead of wrapping up my points I've just provided more cliffhangers. On that note, let me add a couple more. In this series expect to hear: your name, an explanation of every decision you've ever made, what meal plan you should choose, what you should do Saturdays and Thursdays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 9pm, several more references to farting, deep thoughts about life and death, and what I was jerking off to when I was interrupted by Nathan. beep BEEP beep BEEP beep BEEP beep BEEP...

ch

Archive fevers.

I finally got my laptop back yesterday, hopefully bringing to a close the frustrating saga of transit to and from my workplace in the Back Bay and the Cambridgeside Galleria, a mall which is temporarily inacessible by T because of condo development around the Lechmere station. Of these lunch-hour journeys I can only say...well, they were expanses of misery and rage relieved only by the agreeable taste (and cost) of the no-longer-boycotted Taco Bell in the mall's food court.

Because I'm under warranty, a lot of hardware--including my highly defective LCD screen--has been replaced for free. The drawback is that despite what the despicable cargo shorts-wearing tech people at the Cambridge Apple store* assured me, the hard drive was completely erased. I'd backed up everything except what was most valuable and difficult to replace: my nearly 20 GB of music.

So now begins the painful process of reloading all of my CDs--and learning to cope without the loss of the albums I'd misplaced over the years, or left around Conmag for others to take, or downloaded from Jason Ng. Unlike the time that my dad lost my books in the mail, I have no one to blame except for myself and my cavalier attitude towards backing up files.

But outside of the world of self-pity, I've been reading a great book: the (second?) London Review of Books anthology, which encompasses the mid 1980s through mid 90s. And the house feels alive with activity, with myself and Adam gearing up to write review articles and the possibility of a Gravity's Rainbow book club seeming more and more plausible by the day (or not). The Red Sox are in possible decline, though Mark Bellhorn's thumb injury may open the space for a triumphant new surge ahead of the AL East pack. Even Big Brother is getting interesting. Personally, I'm planning a little project to help me fix my writing, so that you won't have to suffer through the solipsism and torturous sentence structures of posts like this.

* I was told to "Save it for the blog," but I couldn't hold it in, and so spent most of my ill temper in an incomprehensible outburst against the Apple store employees--and the marketization of the nerdy more generally--on our ride back from Shaw's yesterday.

Monday, July 18, 2005

monco

never trust a barber

i just received the WORST haircut of my life. i don't know how it happened, but before i knew it i had no bangs. NOTHING. I HAVE ALWAYS HAD HAIR OVER MY FOREHEAD.
this will take MONTHS to regrow.
i am in shock at how bad this is.

what the fuck?
who the hell did that lady think she was?
i look like such an asshole now.
maybe it's time i wore a hat.
every day.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

monco

name fame

here is an item of little interest: this is a picture of a man who shares my name. he is probably the most well known person of this name alive today. he acheived such great heights by being a professor of zoology at the unversity of manitoba. perhaps some day i will overtake him in reputation.

it is a somewhat reasonable goal for most people, i believe, to become the best-known person with their name. in most cases it won't be too hard except for all the other oprah winfreys, thomas pynchons and edward goreys out there. since relative academic notoriety is the bar i have to clear, i think i have a shot at this.
if google searches are any indication i am currently in second place for name fame though perhaps third if you were to count my long dead great-great-great grandfather who has a reasonably significant internet presence for a maine farmer who died in 1867.
i also may have competition from a rising young australian actor who has been making some gains recently:

i suppose in real fame he beats me, but i'm first in google, so i'll take what i can get. (thanks, college hill independent)
i'll be intermittently following their careers, quietly hoping for their failure in an uninteresting manner lest the day come when i introduce myself and instead of being compared to the reverend from the simpons it'll be "oh, like that famous australian actor."

yes, like him.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

He Hate Me

136.25 Hours in Cleveland (Part 1 Complete)

Correspondent to the Infamous Grouse
Reporting from Cleveland Heights, OH

A while back, the Hu sent me a link from the NY Times travel section about the author's 36 hour journey through Cleveland. The following is my journey over my four-day weekend across the Rock and Roll city:

Thursday
5:40PM - Arrive to Cleveland Hopkins airport to meet the parents. It is 94 degrees outside. Regardless, the city is a welcome retreat.

6:30PM- It is decided that we will have Hunan on Coventry that night. After having decided on a medley of deliciousness, we call to discover that Hunan is on summer break. As Nathan well knows, the asians at Hunan work hard 11 months out of the year but unfortunately take July off.

7:15PM - We finally decide to have Hot Sauce Williams -- home of the greasiest, most distingustingly delicious chicken wings (and ugliest paint job) around. I arrived to find that there's a Wednesday special of 4 legs and 4 thighs w/ sauce for $5.29 and cum on myself a little. Though it may be delicious, this is black folk we're talking about so it takes about 20 minutes for them to complete the order. It was worth it.

10:20PM - We flip between Joe Scarborough (who my mom claims looks like a comic book charachter) on MSNBC and Greta Van Susteren (who I claim looks frightening) on Fox News. After some Daily Show action, we retire to bed.

Friday
7:45AM - Wake up to get ready for REACH. For those of you that don't know REACH is a program for middle-school students that I've either been a student or faculty member in for the last ten years (since 1995). I ride with my friend LaJuan to the Lower (Elementary) School where the students are practicing for tommorrow's closing ceremony. As I walk in the director of the program is on the mic and announces to the assembled crowd my entrance. Most seem happy to see me. Highlights are:

  • Hearing that on Olympic day, the students went out to the track for the first time in about five years and kids were vomiting from the intense heat and one kid had to be sent to the hospital.
  • Seeing that in addition to our choir director that we have a choreographer that one teacher described as "jazzy." Another teacher (and fellow Brown student) referred to her as the "saggy ass woman" who "looked like her anus was dragging on the ground." This year the kids are singing "Shining Star" by Earth, Wind, and Fire (w/ hand movements and all) in addition to the regular Lift Every Voice and Sing and such.
  • Being reminded that the more things change, the more things stay the same. Holliday's stuck at the Excel program. The old men are still old. The trifling kids are still trifling. Life moves on.

11:05PM - We drive to the Upper (High) School for the rest of the day's activities. The kids eat snack and recieve their Olympic Day awards as I go up to see my ninth-grade English teacher Ms. Fazio (who is most notable for formetly having a crush on Donald Rumsfeld). I am happy to report that she's moved to the Blue side and finds herself having to restrain herself from strangling her Republican students. Apparently, according to her students, the Enron execs were innocent victims in the downfall of the company; they blame "that whistleblower woman." Seriously.

11:45 - We head to Chipotle for burritos. It is a damn shame that we don't have one of these on Thayer Street. Once there, I see a former classmate of mine with whom I'd watched several Wrestlemania's. It's nice to be back among the pussy-less.

1:25 - I visit my old film and video class. My old students take great pleasure in telling me how much more fun they have with their new teacher. As irrational as it may sound, its comments like that that make me feel the most loved and appreciated. I've always believed that insults are more loving than compliments.

2:10 - The fun begins. Every year at the closing ceremony (now 23 hrs away) students from each of the grades give speeches on their Reach experience. They are usually done by Reach institution, White boy Will. However, like I, he has left the program after many years of service. And it shows in the speeches. They're all fucking awful. I always gave Will a hard time for basically writing their speeches for them but now I know why he does. It's time to go to work.

5:30 - After three hours of re-writing speeches, they're still a mess. Panic begins to set in. The speeches are stale and black folks don't so stale. However, we do find a story for the speech that we can work with. Apparently when the students went to DC for their 8th grade trip, they stopped off at a Hooters and had a bit of an adventure. It is decided that this story (minus the mentioning of "the restaurant) will become the centerpiece of the speech We head home for the night.

7:30 - We revive the tradition of gossip and wings at Champps. Though we missed karaoke night, its always good to hear about the trife that others have gotten themselves in. Will was I went over the speeches and he pretty much ripped them apart. It became clear that the success or failure of the closing ceremony would depend on our work in the next 18 hours.

PART 2 to come once back I get back to Brown...

monco

14th

i am feeling very corporate.

i arrive at work with an iced coffee, turn on my computer, check my work e-mail, look at the stack of papers i need to go over and think about how i'm going to re-design the annual report.
very corporate for someone working at a very anti-corporate place.

i am usually a model employee when it comes to focus and diligence, rarely procrastinating. but today must be different because on my walk over, all i could think about was posting on this blog.
mostly i was going to post an anecdote or two about last night that would serve as a sort of public apology (hey ed, wasn't that what the drummer wanted to call our short-lived, misguided band?). but i won't do that as it might only lead to increased regret: a feeling i generally do my best to minimize.
but i will say that the lesson learned (once again) from these anecdotes would be to not drink so much on a wednesday night. my 13th and 14th may have been improved if i had never met up with evan, jim and bud yesterday evening. but perhaps i was just preemptively shooting myself in the foot, because if i do it myself, other people won't have to.

and i certainly wouldn't have needed to buy iced coffee on the way to work this morning.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

monco

who would have thought the 13th fell on wednesday?

more often than not, it seems, the 13th day of the month is a significant one. it tends to be a day that brings changes, both good and bad, and shakes things up. perhaps this is because i was born on the 13th day of a month or perhaps this is simply another paranoid construction springing from my superstitious streak.
either way, i have yet to see what this 13th day will serve up. will it leave me with a smile or lead to a downward spiral?

or, perhaps, simply because i'm expecting significance, there will be none at all.

Monday, July 11, 2005

harry j. blige

dude, your blog is so "po-co"

Today (when I was supposed to be looking for shoplifters?), while one part of my brain was daydreaming about where I might go once through with 17 Thayer St., another part made a visit here:

"That the native does not like the tourist is not hard to explain. For every native of every place is a potential tourist, and every tourist is a native of somewhere. Every native everywhere lives a life of overwhelming and crushing banality and boredom and desperation and depression, and every deed, good and bad, is an attempt to forget this. Every native would like to find a way out, every native would like a rest, every native would like a tour. But some natives--most natives in the world--cannot go anywhere. They are too poor. They are too poor to go anywhere. They are too poor to escape the reality of their lives; and they are too poor to live properly in the place where they live, which is the very place you, the tourist, want to go--so when the natives see you, the tourist, they envy you, they envy your ability to leave your own banality and boredom, they envy your ability to turn their own banality and boredom into a source of pleasure for yourself."

--from Jamaica Kincaid's "The Ugly Tourist"

And so I thought about this passage, and my prospective semester away from Providence, and squinted my eyes.

I was only interrupted from all of this when a large group of high-school aged students--ostensibly on a tour of the University--fell into the Bookstore like a former All-Star into six years and a hundred million dollars with the Yankees: ugly, ugly, motherfuckers, they were--saying lots of pointless things, laughing even though completely sober (this is possible?), and getting their sad, oily hands all over books I had wanted to read... that is, before the tourists got there. Jamaica K and I simply do not have time for the youth of America--so I put down my book and glared at the group until they were convinced to never visit my Bookstore--and hopefully Br--n, and hopefully Providence, and hopefully the Blogosphere--ever again. Tourists.


Then, this one time, Jamaica Kincaid (in the hat) said THIS:

"Americans like to be funny, they like to laugh and they like a happy ending -- which accounts I think for the sorry state of American writing life."

And again, this was something worth thinking about, right?--but again, I was interrupted... by a sound that could've been nothing else but that Brandon, laughing like a ghoul at what HAD to have been something related to reality television, or his trifling, pitiful housemates.

So, yet another precious, precious moment of contemplation was broken, forever. At least I wasn't at work, though--work, which is not the same place as 17 Thayer Street, because here in this apartment there is nothing to shoplift except shoplifting itself.

(Unless, of course, I patent the use of "po-co" as slang for post-colonial, and sell it out of the basement... to tourists...) Alright, enough.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

ch

21.5.


Ken Dryden
Originally uploaded by cdhu.
Last night, Nathan, Lisa, and Brandon took me to Bugaboo Creek, the Canadian Rockies–themed 'steakhouse,' for my half-birthday. This particular Bugaboo Creek, located across from the Wal-Mart in Seekonk, MA, features mechanical 'talking' animals, faux-vintage posters of Mounties, and exactly zero vegetarian entrees. Needless to say, I had difficulty containing my excitement.

While I was away from our table so that the others could convince our waitress to subject me to the Bugaboo Creek birthday ritual (which culminates in the victim being asked to kiss a stuffed moose puppet), I had a minor revelation: The reason I like Canada so much is that it offers me an appealing alternative to American masculinity. Ice hockey instead of football, peacekeeping in place of invasion, politeness rather than machismo--oh, and trade unionism.

Figure 1: Ken Dryden, the Montreal Canadiens goalie who studied for a law degree in his playing days, and has now become the Liberal MP for York Centre.

But this theory quickly unravels. First of all, I find it grating when people talk about moving to Canada to escape the Bush administration--it really is a more bland and boring place, and hardly a social democratic utopia, not least with the impending crisis of the health care system. And also, my imagined Canadian masculinity doesn't really hold in Québec, or in the rodeo-loving, free-market west, despite its pockets of NDP-and-Propaghandi radicalism. Really, I'm only thinking of industrial Ontario--places like Windsor, where my maternal grandfather was born. But he wasn't a very nice guy, and I'm not sure I can blame that on the fact that he moved to the United States.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

ch

Mumble! Mumble! MUMBLE!

Well, I hate to push down Nathan's post, just as I did last week. So I'll just remind the reader to scroll down to his post about Scotland/crazy storm picture.

Here I'm adopting one of the generic conventions of the Nathan/Ed school of blogging--namely, a tenuously (or completely un-)related photo to liven up what might otherwise be an ordinary post.

Thanks to my two hours on the commuter rail every weekday, I've been getting a lot of reading done. Right now I'm working my way through Robert Scholes' Textual Power, a short book about the applications of literary theory to real classroom instruction (and vice versa).

Anyway, the photo. I can't think of Robert Scholes without picturing Paul Scholes, the Manchester United midfielder. This photo in particular is a great one because Scholes isn't much of a tough guy, whereas the player he appears to be kicking...well, they have a chant about him that goes something like this:

He's only five foot four
He'll break your fucking jaw.



In this case, Dennis Wise is probably analogous to Stanley Fish, with whom Scholes has had a lot of beef over the years.

Friday, July 08, 2005

monco

wentscottish


i decided to re-read much of my scottish blog just now. so i did. and i'm thinking that i actually kind of enjoyed re-reading it. the posts were simple enough, amusing enough and made it seem like my life over there was kind of interesting. i guess i just have less to post about here because i'm not in some sort of new place. have i reached my blog-peak and am now on my blog-decline? i believe this is the case. this is why it is good to share a blog with the more-often-than-not amusing roommates (i almost typed "flatmates" that's just how long i spent reading my own former blog).

in addition to being dismayed by a lower quality post i also realized, despite my expectations, i sincerely miss scotland. not to say i'm not thoroughly enjoying my time here in providence, but as with most things, time is the best polishing agent.

i guess i'm trying right now to re-create the tone of my gonescottish posts, but i'm not so sure it's doing that. perhaps it's the whisky, perhaps it's the time/polish but probably it's both or neither.


___

ok, uh, it's much later in the night and i didn't want to make a new post but i wanted to post this picture because it is a choice specimen of storm photography:


i am off to bed now, then northern massachusetts in the morning, then back to here in the afternoon/eve

Thursday, July 07, 2005

monco

good news

i probably don't have cancer

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

He Hate Me

Rolling with a Caravan of Fools

It is 2 hours and 58 minutes since the celebration of 21 years of Brandon has ended and I must say that I am pleased. Surpisingly, over that time I have been neither hungover nor naked. Of course it doesn't take an economist to know that there is a strong correlation between the two. Highlights from the weekend include psychiarty, USPS box fighting, shooting people in the face with water guns, discussing how "cleaning your dick is hella overrated" and stories of "waking with hella dicks on your face", my mom scolding the Hu for not getting me a cake, and bonging a 40 of OE as my housemates sang Happy Birthday. I will go on more about the weekend's activities at a later time but I just wanted to thank everyone for making it an awesome weekend. Special shout-outs go to the kickballers, the new jews AKA the IJ, and my infamous housemates for their contributions of trife.

BTW, Big Brother 6 starts this Thursday at 8PM. The vegetarians haven't started a book club yet so I figure there should at least be a recommended Infamous Grouse TV schedule.

Also, it is rare that I admire anything Asia has to offer (besides perhaps General Tzo's). However, Nathan's Hot Dog Champion and Glutton Bowl Champion Takeru Kobayashi is the fucking man. To be fair, the bear he lost to on Man v. Beast was pretty bad-ass too...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

monco

a warning

fuckers stole my gas cap: better not show your faces round here again

Saturday, July 02, 2005

He Hate Me

35 hours, 19 minutes, 23 seconds...

So I woke up to a phone call from a number I'd never seen and was informed that Brooks Florist was outside the house. I walked out to find a bunch of balloons waiting for me with the following note attached:

"21 Balloons to celebrate your 21 years of life. Happy Birthday + hopefully you will remember this after you sober up. Luv you, Mom + Dad."

BTW, if you want to understand the psyche of a July 4th birthday, I suggest visiting here and here's a list of other prominent Independence Day babies.

Friday, July 01, 2005

monco

the reviews are in!

"your blog is the absolute best procrastination material...i laugh so much. nathan and brandon's posts are so random and trifling, chris' are so ironically political that it's ridiculous, and whoever that other guy is [adam aka corinutero], his are just odd."
-Lee Gilman, expatriate


(be sure to read the several posts from the last 24 hours that have been pushed down)
ch

Brandon's 21st birthday.

We would like to invite our readers to a party tomorrow night. This includes readers in Switzerland who may not have ever met us in person.

Party: Saturday, July 2. 17 Thayer St., first floor. 10pm. Enter around the back. People you know will be there. Please come.

The occasion: the 21st birthday of Brandon Clover English.

Not infrequently, I’m asked, “What’s the deal with that Brandon guy, anyway?”

Perhaps you’re wondering this too, reading your email on a Friday or Saturday afternoon, doubting whether it’s worth leaving the relative safety and comfort of your East Side apartments and venturing out into the pall of listlessness and violence—and more generally, the humidity—that hangs over Providence this summer. All for someone you’ve maybe heard of once or twice, in conjunction with naked donuts or the ass-induced destruction of a Rock photocopier.

It’s worth it, I assure you. Let’s hazard an explanation: Growing up in a middle-class black neighborhood in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Brandon was told by his parents that the fireworks which occurred every July 4 were for his birthday and not, as he might have otherwise thought, for the celebration of America’s independence. How could someone in that situation not develop a tortured relationship with America?

On the one hand, a shameful past of racial oppression and imperialism, and a disturbing present of mediocre white people. On the other...what other nation on earth could have, however fleetingly, willed the XFL into existence? Radicalized by four years at a high school comfortable enough in its privilege to name its mascot “Preston the Prepper,” he is still middle-American enough to persist in calling soda “pop.”

Enthusiast—indeed, theorist—of Reality Television and of the Xtreme, path-breaking Beirut strategist,[1] tireless interlocutor of Asian and Asian American culture, neologist extraordinaire, loyal friend and, on Saturday night at least, both host and occasion for the best party of your July 4 weekend.

One would expect Brandon to reject the notion of having an extravagant 21st birthday party—after all, treating one’s 21st as an epochal moment, as a fleeting opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime debauchery, seems like one of the most obvious ways in which we Americans legitimize state power. We treat “21” as if it were some eternal marker of adulthood, when in fact the drinking age wasn’t nationally standardized in its current form until 1984.[2] But then again, Brandon tells me that he’s more radically (Xtremely?) feminist than I, despite (because of) his oft-repeated claim that “Women are useless.” So who knows.

Anyway, I’ve gone on too long—we’ll see you on Saturday night.

Christopher Hughes
Adam De La Gente
Brandon Engrish
Nathan Ljubljana

[1] As we have been told by incredulous partygoers, this is a game normally associated with a rather different segment of the American college population. But we play Beirut (admittedly, it is a cruel name) much as C.L.R. James played cricket: neither distancing ourselves from its origins (ours is not a vulgar, “ironical” appropriation) nor denying its potential for beauty and for an aesthetized representation of social relations.

[2] This is the line I took with my mother when she asked if I wanted to “do something special” for my 21st birthday. Instead I went to Barnes & Noble. Resistance INNIT?