Saturday, June 21, 2008

Story #19: The Producers
So we're sitting around at one of the local hotspots for nightlife in Smalltown, one of the few places for the hip and trendy that are open late, a disreputable establishment and local favorite called Wendy's. Janine has come along because she is allured by the smell of grease and preservatives, and we are all sighing contentedly at the table, looking down at demolished brown plastic trays of hamburger wrappers and fry shavings.
In the glorious food-induced coma that we all are in, we decide it would be a good idea to write, direct, and produce a theater production for the residents of Smalltown. Matt immediately cottons to the idea of doing Macbeth, while Ryan wants to do Macbeth...In Space! (Actual quote: "So she'll be like, 'Out, out, damned spot!' and there will be little globules of blood floating in zero gravity...") Janine suggests doing a musical.
This rapidly deteriorates into a rapid-fire stream-of-consciousness set of suggestions for a diverse set of possible productions, including:

-Rosencrantz and Guildenstern....In Space! (The Musical)
-Glengarry Glen Ross...In Space! (The Musical) [Sample song: Where are the ****ing leads, my leads, my leads... *snap snap snap*]
-Ayn Rand: The Musical...In Space!
-Moby Dick...In Space! (The Musical)
-AppleShop in Space: The Musical!
-The JFK Assassination Musical: In Space! [Sample setting: he sits there on the twentieth Space-floor of the Texas Space-Book Depository with his Space-rifle and Oliver Stone doing his Space-"Documentary"...]

And finally,

-World War One: The Musical! (In Space!)
Which would open with a group of townspeople/chorus in Space-Serbia floating around in zero gravity singing "The Archduke is dead, the Archduke is dead, the Archduke is dead, all praise the Black Hand for the proper application of slugs of lead...laid him to rest now the Archduke is dead..." and some Space Austro-Hungarians consulting the Space Ghost of Otto von Bismarck on the wisdom of starting a two-front war...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Story #18: The Publishing Gig
So Ryan and Lauren have decided to co-author a co-memoir together, called "Skinny Guys and Macho Jocks: The Story of an Unlikely Friendship", the title referring to the kind of men they enjoy chasing after. They are struggling with what to do with the cover art, as the original cover (intentionally left without a title) looked like this:



I suggested something more "edgy", but they shot me down. I don't understand why; after all, who wouldn't want their memoir to have a cover like this:



Friday, June 13, 2008

The Difference Between Myself and That Girl

So That Girl is currently working at a high-profile, well-paid job in a lab doing molecular biology, similar to what I was doing last semester (actually, technically, similar to what Jordan from my high school was doing last semester) and curing the world of sickle cell disease.

Here's where she and I are different. I present to you the titles of the last five blog posts she has written on thatgirl.com since she started her job:

1) The Joy of Work: Productivity = Pleasure
2) How I Spent My Summer
3) Easy, Breezy, Beautiful: The Layman's Guide to Maxi-Preps and PCR cloning
4) Staying up until 2 AM to read "Science" and "Nature" articles
5) Wow! Orgo Really Was Useful In Real Life!

Meanwhile, here are the five blog posts I wrote on this blog after starting my job last summer (from the archives):

1) Lunch Break Ain't Over 'Till the Fat Centrifuge Sings
2) How I Spent My Summer Wages on Hookers and Drugs
3) How to Get a Tan via Gel electrophoresis
4) Hiding the Good Pipettes from Scott [my boss]
5) Dry Ice Bombs and Other Scientific Tools

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Story #16: Lost
So some interesting (like the Chinese curse) things happened in Atlanta, and Lex has a Mexican fake ID. Then we decided to go to dinner.
Zach is coming along later, and Carissa has a babysitting gig, so that only leaves 7 of us to cram into Alex's car: Alex (in the driver's seat), Lauren and Lex (in the passenger seat) , and one happy family of myself, Matt, Ryan, and Joy in the backseat. Alex is playing calm, cool, and collected, idly switching between satellite radio stations (stations for the 70s, 90s, and the song "I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It", which is *constantly* playing and has become one of the unofficial theme songs for this trip, along with "Four Minutes" and "Piece of Me") and remarking on the weather, trying to conceal the fact that he has no idea where he's going.
We pass, in rapid succession, a Marshall's, the only Chipotle in Atlanta (mmmm, Chipotle), a four-toed statue of a foot, an oddly-shaped McDonalds, and Tyler Perry's house.
Following some advice he received earlier, Alex sets Laura Bush to a heading of 325 and tries to drive towards Buckhead. Lex begins to play an amusing song parody (for the song, listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AB7qL3volo ); meanwhile, the four crammed in the back shift to the left side and sigh as they think about food. Alex wheels the car around a corner.
We pass, in rapid succession, a Marshall's, the only Chipotle in Atlanta (mmmm, Chipotle), a four-toed statue of a foot, an oddly-shaped McDonalds, and Tyler Perry's house.
"Have we seen that Chipotle before?" Ryan asks. People laugh weakly but are still thinking about food, or even about chasing after the polar bear which is running through the jungle like a non-sequitour. Alex frowns and tries to find a different way. Joy explains the popularity of Tyler Perry's work. Lex wonders if we should call Zach and tell him we'll be a little late.
We pass, in rapid succession, a Marshall's, the only Chipotle in Atlanta (mmmm, Chipotle), a four-toed statue of a foot, an oddly-shaped McDonalds, and Tyler Perry's house.
"Hey look, it's a Chipotle!" Ryan says. She may or may not be being sarcastic. As the song "Love Shack" comes on, Lex and Lauren start banging on the ceiling of the car and singing along. Matt calls Zach (Matt: "What's his number?" Alex: "Uhh, four eight fifteen sixteen twenty-three forty-two"). Alex tries a different direction.
We pass, in rapid succession, a Marshall's, the only Chipotle in Atlanta (mmmm, Chipotle), a four-toed statue of a foot, an oddly-shaped McDonalds, and Tyler Perry's house.
"Harrison," Joy says, "This isn't funny anymore." Harrison raises an eyebrow, and wonders if she is referring to Alex's inability to find a way off the Island, or the metafictional touches he keeps putting into the blog.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Story #14: Hearsay
JORDAN: Hey Matt, want to walk around the Casa naked?
MATT: Umm...why?
JORDAN: So it will go on the blog.

Story #15: Fear and LOLing in Hotlanta
So I was supposed to be writing about the experience of going down to Atlanta to visit a few other friends we had but I'm lazy, so it's coming in bullet point form, and not necessarily well written, and not necessarily good (so like a certain author I hate, except he didn't have an excuse):

-Matt was driving Lauren, Ryan, and I through a series of odd little highways and a LOT of byways, including one where the left lane was shut down and blocked with cones, asphalt trucks, and bored-looking workers being paid to stand around and do little. This led to the following exchange:
MATT: Wow, the left lane actually is closed, the sign back there wasn't a lie...
RYAN: Yeah, usually after you see that sign there's nothing in the left lane and they're like, "SIKE!!! Left lane totally open, BITCHES!!!"

-After passing about 2,038,371 advertisements for Taco Bell's scattered around the highway like Kudzu, Lauren and Ryan are sitting in the backseat and have named themselves "The Backseat Coalition" (Matt and I consider calling ourselves "the Dynasty" so...). The Backseat Coalition has declared that they want to go to Taco Bell, and Laura Bush (our beloved GPS system, which also goes by the name Angela Merkel, and who I submit should be named "Margaret Thatcher") obligingly directs us to the next Taco Bell...which is 20 miles out of our way.
When we arrive, the ordering process goes something like this:
LAUREN: [Stereotypical Panhel voice] Hi, sorry for using abrev's (which, btw is so tot's hott and also really kosh) but we didn't want to go to the caf to get a sammy since the guy was tot's drunk and a little belig, and I thought it was feas to ask him -
WOMAN AT TACO BELL: Look, do you want tac's or not?

-Lauren is in the mood for meeting guys, and, like a salmon going upstream to spawn, finds the urge to grow stronger and stronger as she returns to The South. While driving through South Carolina, she goes into hysterics at seeing three mildly cute young gentlemen play golf in polos and plaid shorts, and then locks on to the sign that says "UGA-Athens". She latches on to the back of Matt's driver's seat and begins begging him desperately to turn off there ("I WILL PAY YOU MONEY TO LET ME GO THERE!!!!"), using every slimy trick she's learned from watching various politicians ("There are Hot Guys there...we can go there....YES WE CAN!!!!") but using my Jedi Mind Tricks, I manage to keep her from diverting our course. I obviously cannot have someone diverting attention from our quest this late in the game for prurient reasons; it's wrong to drive somewhere else just for lust, especially because I want to see That Girl soon...

More soon...
Story #13: The Appalachian Candidate
So Lauren and I drove out to see Obama's kickoff campaign (after beating Hillary 48 hours earlier) to write about it for a daily news outlet that Lauren works for. This was somewhat distasteful for Lauren, as she is a diehard Republican, and very distasteful for me, as I like the movie Die Hard, and am a Republican.

Obama's kickoff is at a local high school, and is held inside a gym slightly smaller than my high school's. I tune out the bull$#!^ of political discourse and instead try to focus on the *people*, with the following observations (no jokes today, this is a serious blog post):

-Obama is uncannily charismatic, even for a politican. The way he holds the crowd's attention with a mike in his hand makes me wish I could have studied tapes of his oratorical techniques when I was a Mock Trialer. He is also extraordinarily well-coached by his political advisers, and knows how to tailor his message to appeal to the crowd in terms of regionalism.

-One of Obama's secret service agents was a dead ringer for Kyle Singler, the Duke basketball star, right down to the paleness, buzz-cut, and slightly bemused expression.

-From Lauren: "OH MY GOD THESE SECRET SERVICE AGENTS ARE SO HOTTTTT!!!!"

-There was an annoying cameraman who set up a massive '80s-style clunker on a tripod in front of our seats, completely blocking our view. If Obama promises to kill him, the Dems definitely have my vote (as well as the vote of the exasperated older lady behind me)

-Security definitely wasn't nearly as strict as it could have been, as Lauren distracted the guard at the security check with the following dialogue (approximate):
LAUREN [Puts the camera she borrowed from Ryan down on the table, flutters eyelashes] *subvocally* OMFG so hott...
GUARD: Is this yours?
LAUREN [Flutters eyelashes some more]: Oh no, it's not.
GUARD: [Winks] You thief.
LAUREN: Don't tell anyone.

Meanwhile, people without tickets, illegal immigrants, the Joker, and Manchurian Candidates all slip by without being noticed.

-Totally true story: while obfuscating the answer to a question, Obama tried to tell a sob story about a young boy who has an asthma attack due to the machinations of the evil insurance companies:
OBAMA: And, if they had just paid for his ventilator...I mean, his breathalyzer...I mean...you know what I mean...I'm sorry, I haven't had much sleep in the last 48 hours.
LAUREN: *subvocally* Yeah, but you've had a lot to drink...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Story #11: The One Where...
So Jordan asked if I could write about her in the blog, so....If being in Smalltown is like being on the X-Files, then Jordan, Polly, and Sylvia are the Lone Gunmen: the next generation of main characters who are soon going to leave us, get their own spinoff show, and eventually eclipse our popularity 30+ years from now. They are the three Next Generation interns...anyways, in an oddly postmodern (I think?) or perhaps metafictional (that's better) touch, someone leaked them the blog, and so, I am told to write about Jordan. She injured her neck today and ended up having to rest, before coming back in a yellow dress and cowboy boots, which are apparently a very popular item of clothing here in Smalltown (Sylvia and Lauren both have a pair). There was an amusing anecdote that was supposed to be written here, but I forget what it was supposed to be.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dreams of Being a (Bad) Hero
A lot of people dream of being heroes in all sorts of ways, for all sorts of reasons. The "Hancock"-esque nature of these dreams is something we don't always like to talk about...So here's my dream:
I've always been blessed with things I don't deserve, and many of those things I wish I could have used better. One of my little fantasies is to win the lottery and give all the money (save for a little bit) away...as anonymously as possible, so when I went to present the checks to the organizations they can coo and tell me what a good person I am and generally inflate my ego. Also, it would definitely give me a HUGE boost in improving my "game", especially with those hot liberal-environmentalist-feminist-activist girls that I am apparently deathly attracted to...

Here's how it would go down:

Assuming, of course, that I can dream big in this fantasy, let's say I play Powerball and win $50,000,000 (Fifty Million Dollars) with the lump-sum payment (I have no idea what the difference is between the lump-sum and the annuity payments but let's say $50 million). The moment that money entered my checking account, it would go out to:

-$20,000,000 to my Alma Mater, with the requirement that at least 50% of it go to establishing scholarships/financial aid and recruitment for underpriviledged students: This is a big one. Building a pipeline that does not consist of rich white Catholic kids will do wonders for my old school.

-$10,000,000 to the JDRF, for Diabetes research: To prove something to myself/exorcise demons.

-$10,000,000 to the Boys and Girls Club where I used to volunteer: I never did anything worth a damn for them other than yell at kids; maybe this will buy me some absolution.

-$5,000,000 to Miqlat/Bowy House: Even with the dollar being weak, this will still buy a lot of aid (no pun intended) in South Africa.

-$1,000,000 to the Jewish Community Center where I used to volunteer, with the requirement that at least $10,000 is used to buy a copier with a collating function: I once spent an afternoon collating 150 copies of the 30-page newsletter the JCC sends out. It was terrible. May this gift somehow keep another poor intern from having to do the same.

-$1,000,000 to the Tin Roof Foundation

-$1,000,000 to the Red Cross

-$1,000,000 to Appalshop

-$500,000 to my university:
Those bastards have so much money it's not even funny. You don't get 7 figures from me.

-$50,000 for my father's wristwatch: My dad has always wanted to own a really, really classy European watch but can't bear the thought of sinking this much money into it. Well, now he can.

-$50,000 for the Intervarsity Scholarship fund at my university: As much as I grumble about them, they are doing good things for people

-$50,000 to bring all my mom's sisters together for a big family reunion: I'm not really sure what they would want to do, but this might help get them together...

-$50,000 to the chapel at my school

-$50,000 to the church that rejected my mom's side of the family:
again, to prove a point

-$40,000 to my brother's band fund: on the condition they never come by my house again to solicit money.

-$200,000 for my brother's college tuition: so he can go wherever he wants

-$10,000 to send my little brother to E3 in May: Because this is the only thing that will really make him happy.






Story #9: Pooltime
So we have a new intern to live with us. Her name is Sylvia (Lauren and I had a long debate about the exact spelling of her name, since we got her a birthday cake to commemorate her 21st birthday, which Sylvia spent in Smalltown with none of her friends from home and all of her friends here) and she wants to find out if the pool is open.
So Matt and I pile into the car with her and we drive down to the somewhat ghetto-looking community pool next to the abandoned high school, and discover that the sign that says "11-6" means the pool is open from 11 am to 6 pm, not the contrapositive (closed from 11 pm to 6 am) or something.
Sylvia and Matt, however, decide that they do want to figure out how long the track is at the field next to the pool. They decide to do so by running around the track for 10 minutes (the approximate amount of time it takes them to jog a mile) and then counting the number of laps done and doing the proportions in their heads. I feel as if I've walked into a fifth grade math problem: "If it takes Sylvia and Matt 10 minutes to run 7 laps at 6 miles per hour..."

Story #10: Ghetto Scrabulous
The synopsis: Matt declares that he is not really very good or very competitive at Scrabble, right before he declares that only words included in the dictionary "agreed upon to be used before the game began" will work, and that no, "Skype" is not a verb because 1) its common-usage form has not percolated through enough for it to become a generic word like "Xerox" and 2) he didn't come up with it, and it's far too many points for a rank amateur like me.
The finale: Matt comes up 3rd out of 4, losing to both Jeanine (who is a kick@$$ Scrabble player) and Ryan (who claims to be terrible at both Scrabble and chemistry yet still managed to use the word "AZINE". Gah)

(I'm not bitter at all for coming in 4th)