“When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.”—Mark Twain, from his rules for writing.
I had this crazy virus on my computer the other day. The kind that makes it so you can’t access your C:// drive? The kind that doesn’t let you CTRL+ALT+DEL to shut down whichever .dll is screwing with you and making stupid fake alerts pop up every five seconds telling you to go buy some fake antivirus. The kind that turns your background wallpaper into a red warning symbol which itself is a clickable link (that takes you to the fake antivirus website). Also (and this I thought was super clever) it knew when you were searching for how to get rid of it on Google, and so it would just change the link to some other website. I searched, “privacy_danger” which I found out was the name of the thing, and all these sites came up. Then when I clicked them, they sent me to random unregistered domain names and porn websites. Cle-e-ever.
Anyway, I was amused with it. So I ran some antivirus thing (no change), and then did one other thing. And all was well again. I won’t tell you what the other thing was, because you don’t care, but it only took 20 minutes.
Yeah. I didn’t know what else to write about. I was supposed to go out tonight, to a party, and then when that fell through, a bar, but that fell through too, and so here I ended up. Pontificating about my virus-killing powers to the eighteen tumblr followers I have + whoever else arr-ess-esses me.
Also, USC lost to Oregon State. I always like watching kids from the team upsetting the top-ranked team in the nation storm the field. It’s a great time, and I wish it was my team.
I was just thinking how weird it was that the proper way to say some word combinations in English is to mix consonants together to make a new sound, or to ignore one of the sounds. I find it happening with contractions.
It’d = Idd. Idd be great if you did the dishes.
What’d you do last night = Wuh joo do last night? A case where the “tdy” combination actually turns into the J sound. Whoa.
Of course, the real correct way to say “What’d you do last night?” is to pronounce every part of it. The t and the d and the y. But who actually does that?
Peter Fogg was fifty-nine when he disappeared from the streets of Chicago on March 15, 2002. He was a lawyer in the court system, working in a firm that represented accident victims and wrongful death cases, and after he kissed his wife goodbye and stepped out the front door of his house, he was never seen again. After his missing persons case was closed and he was presumed dead, the contents of a safe deposit box in his name were turned over to his wife and fifteen-year-old son. Among the items in the box was a fifty-page memoir, handwritten in blue pen on yellow legal paper, and it was this memoir which Mr. Fogg’s son handed to me no more than three months ago. He thought it unique in context and content, and I agreed. As far as being a true story, I’ve done extensive research on the people and places mentioned within, and most of them check out. Okego Falls was in fact a small town in Nebraska until twenty-five years ago, when it was absorbed into the greater suburbs of Omaha, and though I’ve found no newspaper mention of any Wheelbarrow Man in or around that area during the time in which the account takes place, I still have no reason to believe what Mr. Fogg wrote was a work of fiction. What follows is that same story, and excepting some revision for clarity and the filling in of a few small gaps, this is the story he meant to tell.
I hate nothing about you more than that grin; it hides your face, replacing you with some gloating mannequin that has stolen your hair and teeth and makes your voice into my pursed lips, the lines above my brow, the vein in my temple. The synthetic you knows what it is, knows I see, watches my wet anger with the joy only a plastic bitch can muster as I turn the spaghetti on my fork again, grind my teeth flat grin by grin.
And later, in the dark with your hands small in mine, the taste of your neck the beating of our blood to get out your bitter words on my skin I love nothing about you more.
Last night I found a tumor Wart or growth or whatever On the end of my thumb I watched it reach toward my knuckle With its white doughy fingers So I put the bolt cutters between my knees And pinched it off The thumb, not the tumor Satisfied, I went to bed But I guess whileI was sleeping It grew back The tumor, not the thumb Pudgy, pale and throbbing reaching toward my wrist
This is in response to a few things. First, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding on what Not Voting is, and what it means.
What is Not Voting?
It’s when you don’t vote. On purpose.
Why is Not Voting not apathy?
Just as it seems there are always two choices in any said situation, it seems to follow that during election proceedings and such that there is also a two-choice system. If you want your vote to actually mean anything at all, you have to vote for one of the two incumbent powers (Republican or Democrat). It’s the bipartisan split that’s divided this country for hundreds of years.
However, this sort of choice implies that one of the two possible chosen outcomes is the correct one. If, perhaps, you believe that neither Obama nor McCain is the right person for the job, but you do believe that a third party independent would do better, are you not supposed to vote for that third party independent? Except, as I’ve already stated, only one of two possible outcomes exists. Republican or Democrat. If you are going to the polls to vote for an independent third party, at least in the presidential race, you’ve essentially done nothing. You’ve basically Not Voted.
And yet, voting for an independent third party is not frowned upon. Vote for whoever you want, we say. It’s a free country. But somehow, once a person chooses to vote for no one at all, it’s no longer okay. It’s something else. Apathy. Squandering of a constitutional right. Ignorance.
But think of it like this: Two wholly disgusting foods are put before you, and before forty other people as well. You are asked which one you would rather eat, and told that no matter which you said, you will still have to eat the disgusting food that the majority of the victims chose. If, A) You know each food will taste equally bad and B) You know your vote has little, if any, chance of changing what will already be the majority vote, would you feel as passionate about your right to vote?
Let’s not even discuss the fact that elections are already rigged. That popular vote (which, at this point, would be the only way a single vote would change any outcome of any election) no longer decides who is the winner, because it’s been replaced with some convoluted ass-backwards electoral college system that actually made George W. Bush President in 2000 even though Al Gore had the most votes. Let’s not even make a point to show that it’s mathematically impossible in this system for one vote to make a difference. Or that absentee ballots aren’t even counted until after the winner has already been chosen.
None of this matters. The winner will be Choice A or Choice B. But, as an American citizen, If I think anyone else will do a better job, it’s my moral obligation to vote for them instead. However, seeing as my choice is not Choice A or Choice B, there is no point.
I wrote a letter back to my grandparents this morning. Enclosed with it a short story, and sent it off.
Of course, it’s still sitting in the basement, but in my mind it’s sent off.
Today’s bowling scores: 122 and 92.
The cute girl in my bowling class is named Carla, and I heard her speaking Spanish today. She left early because her team only had two bowlers and so they finished their game in twenty-five minutes. She may have smiled at me several times. I’m unsure.
Update on the “Someone” in my phone - I texted the number with “Who are you?” and received a minute later, “I’m Michele. Who are you?” I don’t know any Micheles. What I’m thinking is that it’s the girl who I was trying to make feel better by getting her to dance, the girl who said she sprained her ankle. I think she was a Michele. Only I can’t for the life of me figure out why she’d give me her number.
Seriously, I’m baffled over this. I usually am very good at remembering all things, inebriated or not. Unless she put the number in my phone? If so, why put herself under “Someone”? That’s stupid.
Therefore I have spent the days inside, reading, writing, and sleeping.
So why does it feel like such a waste? Because I was forced to forego three or four things I was planning to do? Or because it’s already 8 on Sunday night and I feel like it should still be Saturday somehow.
I feel cheated. And tomorrow it starts right back up again. Whoopee.
Today was the day I had three classes each with things due in them/things to do in them.
First came bowling. I completed the scoring test and proceeded to bowl an 86 and an 85. Whoa. Yeah. This is after Tuesday, when I was coming off of an all-nighter and bowled 126 and 144.
Anyway, then I had to get my butt over to Hubbard in twenty minutes (which is almost impossible to do, and I almost always have to bring a bus into it at some point) so I could take this Philosophy quiz which I have suspicions was actually an exam. Quizzes don’t usually happen in a blue book, where there are two short answers, three longer answers, and one essay.
So I did that as fast as I could, then I got back and ate some food. UPON LEAVING the cafeteria I realize I still haven’t written my story thing for Advanced Fiction, which is at 1:50. I realize this at 12:30. So I bust it to my room, crank this two pager of an epistolary story out, and get over to the building my class is in to print it out. (I won’t go into detail about how I couldn’t print it and had to go to three different computer labs to find one without a class in it - this is problematic since Berkey Hall only has one computer lab) So I bring it in, we end up talking about three, the middle of which is mine. What I want to get to here is the fact that for the most part, everyone liked it. There were some sentencey things, and believability things (can one twin live if the other one has died in utero?) but for the most part I don’t think anyone would have known that I wrote the thing in less than an hour.
THE OTHER PART I WANT TO GET TO is the fact that one of the kids, an engineer, gave my copy back to me, and on the bottom of the second page he’s written, “Invest in E.B. White’s Manual of Style - easily fixable ways to improve strengthen your voice.” Which was cute to me, and perhaps a little irking. Because the voice I’d written the piece in was that of a 19th century Russian female. Also, because I’ve read Strunk/White. That book has killed more (potential) writers than any other.
Maybe the reason it irks me is that I felt like I got away with doing the story superfast (I’d been thinking about it all week, just the actual writing part never happened) and he caught me.
Mitch Hedberg is alive again, even if for only forty more minutes.
Listening to him makes me think of a lot of things. Mainly, how he inspired me to try stand-up comedy. Because he was my favorite, and then I met him, and then he died.
Then, when I did stand-up, I was really bad but people still laughed. It was a great time. I want to do it again. For Mitch.
Here are some throwaway jokes I thought of while I was asleep.
My parents bought these little bikes at a garage sale. The wheels are half as large as a regular bicycle’s, and the seat and handlebars come up on long pipes. I saw my Mom riding one, she looked like she could have been in the circus. My Dad said the guy at the garage sale had a wooden leg. I imagined what his sales pitch must have been. “What would you do-ooh-ooh, for a clown bike, Arrr!”
I ask pretty girls to coffee once in a while. Not because I like coffee, but because I want to know how many ways there are to say no.
I was asking this girl if she played frisbee, and she was telling me how bad she was. And I said, no one is that bad, I’m sure you’re exaggerating. And I was sure, until she told me that one time she tried to throw it and she threw it backwards. Then I was debating whether or not to tell her that a frisbee is round.
I would say I do stand-up comedy, but that would be an insult to those who actually stand up. What I do is more slouch comedy.
“In FRANCE, Jacques LeFevrier left nothing to chance when he decided to commit suicide. He stood at the top of a tall cliff and tied a noose around his neck. He tied the other end of the rope to a large rock. He drank some poison and set fire to his clothes. He even tried to shoot himself at the last moment. He jumped and fired the pistol. The bullet missed him completely and cut through the rope above him. Free of the threat of hanging, he plunged into the sea. The sudden dunking extinguished the flames and made him vomit the poison. He was dragged out of the water by a kind fisherman and was taken to a hospital, where he died of hypothermia.”—A Darwin Awards runner-up from 99. I love it.