Monthly Archives: March 2009

Grin and bear it?

I’ve been flying through Eric G. Wilson’s Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy. It’s funny how sometimes books come along at the moment you most need them and will most appreciate them.   Though really any book probably would have done–the lowness of my attention span is kind of terrifying me lately.  With all the staring at television, computer, and cell phone screens of late–I’m still detoxing.  Picking up something over 100 pages with the intent to finish it has become almost daunting.  And that’s disgusting.

 But there are reasons why this book in particular is blowing my mind.  The things Wilson writes are this beautiful combination of intellectual and spiritual–two things I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring together in my life lately. Wilson writes, “Our world is quickly becoming nothing but a glazed sphere, uniform as glass.”  And specifically on modern road trips and wrinkle-free faces:

There is nothing to break the monotony along the way but bland green exit signs pointing to the obvious eateries–McDonald’s or Subway or Taco Bell–or the expected convenience marts–Shell or Exxon or Amoco.  You pull off to grab a bite or fill your tank.  You realize that this exit is exactly like every other exit around the country.  Everything is the same–safe, clean, predictable.  This is smooth travel, flat as a stainless steel iron.

The same is true of faces these days; they’re as unblemished as flat plastic.  You probably increasingly long for those world-worn gazes, crisscrossed with strain.  You realize the beauty of those countenances that have pressed against the oncoming years, that have suffered honestly the abrasions and contusions of life…

But what do we say about those ubiquitous guises of our contemporary scene, those appearances Botoxed to the max?  You catch these smooth and expressionless faces when you walk down a city street.  You can find no trace of existence in these frozen masks…  You don’t want to stare too long at these overly finished exteriors; you might be blinded by the glare.  Or worse, you might actually see this person for what he is–a husk, nothing but an unfilled form.  Then you fear the worst.  Our world is teeming with these phantom creatures, these zombielike beings.

I’m not even sure why I decided to pick up this book–I’m very pro-happiness.  But the happiness Wilson’s against is, as the passages above imply, shallow happiness.  The happiness that does not allow for brooding in the dark.  The happiness that tells you to run to the self-help section at the first sign of sorrow. 

When you deny sorrow, though, you deny the possibility of profound revelations, inspired creativity, and yeah…happiness.

*Dejected Sigh*

Just got back from the library.  Nearly took out this book:

But I thought better of it. You know those AXE body spray commercials in which women flock to men who spritz themselves with that god awful stuff? Well, that’s how I am with cats. Not in a sexual way. Just in that frenzied, I need to touch you or I will die way. In line at the drug store last week, the cashier was showing the customer ahead of me photos of her cat on her cell phone, and I practically tackled the magazine and candy rack trying to get a peek.   I didn’t destroy any merchandise, but I did screech, “I WANT TO SEE!”

It’s not normal.  So, I took these books out, instead:

Well see if I actually devote time to its pages.

We'll see if I actually devote time to its pages.

And then, one with a matching cover that I think will be oddly inspiring despite the subject matter:

Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy

Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy

Speaking of melancholy…a collection agency called about an outstanding dental bill before I could finish writing this post.  This clip instantly came to mind as I reminisced about how awful that damn dentist was:

Sex, Love, and Oatmeal

This one time, I worked at a law firm. All I did was photocopy and file Elvis Presley music copyright documents. For hours. It’s pretty mind-numbing. And then all of a sudden you see Johnny Cash’s signature and you’re like, “That’s cool.” And then you go back to fixing the paper jam.

I was listening to Etta James’ “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” on YouTube when I found this awkward Elvis fan video:

My favorite part is at 1:25 when there are TWO replays of him catching a pair of panties. We humans are a horny bunch.

Speaking of horny bunches, I was catching up with a friend online who I met years ago in a college dorm room. I don’t really know why we talk to each other, except that a few drinks in I told him that I read his blog. And we’ve just talked ever since. See? Keep a blog, make friends.

We were talking about sex, love, and happiness, and how sometimes, or often, those three things go hand in hand…or, you know….other things in other things. I have absolutely nothing profound, funny, or interesting to say about love, but my friend did:

Somewhere deep down in my dark twisted soul, I’m a romantic. Underneath all the science, atheist books, and gigabytes of porn, I can appreciate love for what it is.

I really like it. I could be wrong, but I feel like those are two sentences that most people could change a few of the adjectives and nouns to make it sum up their general feeling, too. For insance, Elvis Presley’s might read something like:

Somewhere deep down in my pelvic thrust of a soul, I’m a romantic. Underneath that weird lip thing I do, the rhinestone-laden leather jumpsuits I wear, and the terribly depressing way I will die on my bathroom floor, I can appreciate love for what it is.

And now, for no reason in particular, I will speculate on how the man on the boxes of Quaker Oatmeal would adapt those two sentences. Wikipedia says, “It is popularly believed that the man on the box is Province of Pennsylvania founder, namesake and Quaker William Penn. The company states that ‘The Quaker man is not an actual person,’ but is instead a generic representation of a ‘man dressed in Quaker garb.'” Mysterious. I’m not sure I buy it.

Somewhere deep down in my pedophiliac leer, I’m a romantic. Underneath the illegal paraphernalia I store within my billows of white locks and underneath my traditional black cap, I can appreciate love for what it is.

He creeps me out.

Happy Spring

Warning: Nostalgia ahead.

Suddenly things are happening.  It’s as though I’ve been chanting a transformation mantra for hours each day.  Only I haven’t because the transformation mantra was given to me by members of a cult.  So, it must just be the vernal equinox.

The daffodils and the crocuses are almost in bloom!  The days are longer.  (I get outside before dark without even meaning to.)  Bruce Jenner is making it onto the golf course multiple times a week and his hair is starting to bleach in the sun.  Isn’t life beautiful?

Speaking of beautiful, I’ve been thinking about video games a lot lately.  I don’t play them.  I’m pretty terrible at them…except for Wii Tennis and American Idol.  But when I was younger, I would watch my brothers play for hours.  And then, when they left to build skateboard ramps out of plywood or give their lunch money to the local drug cartel, I would try my hand.  Below is level one of a game that I don’t think I ever enjoyed playing, but played regardless.  I was usually killed off by one of the elderly women with grocery bags:

The مهبل and other topics (but not Cher’s مهبل)

I promise not to devote this post to the word vagina, but I do feel like I need to pay regular homage to the word and the genitalia since it now refers so many people to my blog…my blog that I neglect terribly.  So, I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll try to seamlessly allude to the vagina in some way in every post from now on.  Or maybe not.  Anyway, in case you were wondering how to write it in Persian, here it is: مهبل. 

On to less important things!  Back in January I explored my questionable habit of talking about my mom and the people/places/things she likes with too much frequency.  Then yesterday I realized that I’ve been neglecting to tap into the flip side: things she doesn’t like! 

It came up while on the phone with her the other day.  I mentioned that I had watched Moonstruck for the second time in three months the night before, and how much I’d enjoyed the experience.  And that’s when she declared, “I don’t like Cher.” It wasn’t said offhandedly either. It was said in a tone that implied some sort of deep disgust and disapproval with the woman. I’ll have to investigate.

Myself, I’m kind of indifferent about Cher.  I remember it was awkward when she guest starred on “Will & Grace.”  And I remember being exposed to all sorts of biographical information on her when Sonny Bono died.  How she used to have terrible stage fright.  How the light rock favorites radio stations love to play her songs (especially “The Shoop Shoop Song”).  How she has long hair.  Stuff like that.

Anyway, Nicholas Cage’s performance in the clip below blows my mind.  I want to memorize the lines, dress up in an apron, chop off part of my hand, and recreate his performance because it looks like he’s having that much fun.  His character is just insane (I especially like the “HUH? SWEETIE?” part).  God, it’s sexy. And, it’s a little tragic. Nowadays Nicholas Cage is all whored out in those Disney action-adventure movies meant to rape families of a hard-earned 50 bucks. Also, I worry about his gaunt face and rapidly thinning hair. I know there’s that whole aging process thing, but what happened to this dude:

Hmm. I didn’t know Cher was so feisty! An illuminating conversation with Sonny, Cher, and Dave:

The recreational activities of female genitalia.

Oh. My. God. Something beautiful has happened. In the past few days, HUNDREDS more people than usual have viewed my blog.  And it’s all thanks to a little search term called…vagina.

Plain ol’ “vagina” is bringing in the most people, but runners up include “big vagina,” “dirty vagina,” “vagina is purple,” “piece of vagina” (ah!), “light up vagina” (OOH!), and “how to make a finger vagina.” That last one sounds like it came from a terribly confused soul who inquired about a noun when a verb was intended.

In case you only recall there ever being talk of Barbara Walters lap dances or Tom Brokaw sex dreams on this blog, click here to see a giant bicycle vagina. That also sounds like it was meant to be a verb (giant vagina bicycling), but it really is a noun. It’s a giant bicycle vagina. And it’s amazing.

Well.  I got completely distracted by vaginas in this post.  Here are some less interesting things I may have done had vaginas not stolen the show:

  • Complained tirelessly about banks and their exorbitant overdraft charges.
  • Cooked you a steak like Cher in Moonstruck.  (You’d have eaten it rare while wearing a wooden hand.)
  • Wished you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Referred you to this Craiglist ad.
  • Compared Kim Jong-Il to a summer’s day. 
  • Presented a hypothetical question asking: “If you were a predator, would you be less likely to pursue as prey someone who walked down the sidewalk wielding a fork?”
  • Reminisced about the Halloween I dressed up as a fork.
  • Mentioned the fork that is literally in my road, in the tar of my road.
  • Displayed an obvious affection for bullet points.
  • Retracted Kim Jong-Il comparison.

Women in their midforties do it, and so can you!

Do you ever get so excited/moved/transformed by something you’re reading that you exclaim “Oh my God!” and have to stop to reflect?  Usually it happens when I’m on the subway.  I look up, full of awe, and make eye contact with whoever is there.  And I get really disappointed that people have no idea what I read to make me so excited.  I find myself looking at people and yearning for them to understand, or to be confused enough to ask me what happened.  People tend to be too engrossed with their iPod playlist or the Sports section, though.

Tonight the moment came after I read a passage in the book I just started, Your Sixth Sense: Activating Your Psychic Potential.  It’s by this woman Belleruth Naparstek who’s a psychotherapist.  She talks about how intuition and psychic “pops” have helped her be a more effective therapist.  She says that everyone has psychic potential, it’s just that it’s an undervalued ability in our culture and given a bad rep by 900 numbers and that coin-operated thing Tom Hanks uses in Big

Belleruth thinks that some people are “more wired than others.”  She interviewed 40 intuitives/psychics for the book.  I haven’t gotten to that part, yet, but she writes, “If I had to create a composite profile from my sample, I would find a woman in her midforties with an advanced degree in one of the mental health professions who would say she was born with her psychic ability and could likely point to a parent or grandparent who displayed a lot of it, too.”

That part didn’t excite me, it was the part that came right after.  Mostly because a lot of it sounded eerily familiar, and because some parts were just ridiculous:

Other typical features would be a tendency toward bilateral dominace (some degree of two-handedness or two-sidedness as opposed to leading strictly with the right or left side); a stronger-than-average likelihood of being an only child; the presence of some talent and experience in the arts, often in more than one modality (music, dance, art, theater, poetry, design, and so on); a tendency to be either a little dyslexic or else an exceptional student and sometimes both (with a greater-than-usual chance of having a photographic memory, too); lots of experience as a meditator; a powerful need to spend time alone and time in nature on a regular basis; a higher-than-average likelihood of finding broken watches, light bulbs, and small appliances in her proximity, at least at certain periods in her life; a tendency to experience phases of temporary endocrine system dysfunction, popping up and then subsiding, especially an over- or underfunctioning thyroid gland or set of adrenals; the tendency to be a night owl and sleep very little, with frequent interruptions in sleep; and a greater-than-average chance of having reported sighting a UFO or even encountering an extraterrestrial.

Yeah, these things can be attributed to lots of people, but it’s still exciting.  I’m ambidextrous, I’ve got the arts things, I have dyslexic moments, I stay up all night, I’m an annoyingly light sleeper, and I choose/like to spend the majority of my time alone.  I don’t recall ever seeing a UFO or encountering an extraterrestrial, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened or won’t happen.  I don’t know about the small appliance thing, but my coffee maker did break a couple months ago and I’ve been known to blow a fuse or two.  What else…  Oh!  You probably can’t call it “lots of experience” with meditating, but I did go to that cult’s meditation workshop.  And my endocrine system didn’t really kick in until, like, two years ago.

Anyway.  That’s all.  But since I’m sort of on the topic…I wish Patricia Arquette didn’t whine so much as Allison DuBois on NBC’s “Medium.”  I’ve only seen it twice, but she’s CONSTANTLY moaning to her husband.  It’s nice they have that whole support system going.  It just that…she could be such a strong female character and instead she looks and sounds like she’s always on the verge of bursting into tears.  Woman up, ya know?