February 25, 2004

We return to our quest in progress…

And find our heroine hunched over a computer, neglecting her other work.

Today I was emailing my mom, and I mentioned in passing a few things I'd done to prepare for the move, to which she replied, also in passing, "Well, I think it would be important to have a job and a place to stay all lined up before heading out if at all possible." Which neatly demonstrates that my mother's preferred literary device is understatement. My parents have expressed, several times, their entirely justified concerns over the job situation. Specifically, the part where I move to foreign country without having one. I've tried laughing it off with a gay, "Where's your sense of adventure?" to which they replied, "We pawned it to pay the vig on your student loans, you ungrateful Large Private University graduate, you." These conversations leave me heartsick and guilty, because I realize, deep down, that they're right on the merits, but I can't seem to overcome the irrational feeling that if I don't do something drastic now, I'm gonna wake up a 30-something paralegal in slightly nicer apartment with a vastly larger collection of regrets….

So, I've been trying to do something practical to alleviate the situation --- took the entirety of adolescence and then some, but I've begun to realize that "moping about" and "alleviating" are, in fact, different things --- namely, learning how to write a C.V. (the European version of a resume, for any Merkins that are reading), so I can hit the ground running and start applying for jobs immediately when I get there, or even a little before I leave.

I was very concerned about writing a C.V. The only profession in which they're widely used here is academia, especially the sciences, and so the only ones I've seen have an Education section which contains a doctorate, and includes a six-page list of published works stapled to the back.

Now that I've read a bit about them, the only thing I'm really worried about is the education section; I don't think my pretty good American G.P.A. is going to convey much, and over there it seems customary to include your grades on the universal school-leaving exams, which we don't have. Other than that, paragraphs like these two

"We are not concerned with standard CV's, those boring grey documents which exude nothing but the lack of imagination of the writer. What we aim for is the 'Killer CV' that goes straight for the jugular and screams out to the reader.

By combining razor sharp content that is clear, concise and instantly accessible with striking layout that adheres to the tried and tested conventions of CV writing, you will be half way to getting the perfect job."

have convinced me that CVs are pretty much exactly like resumes, bullet points, action verbs, and all. "Turn your C.V. from a cud-chewer to a vampire bat! Grab your future employer by the throat and slurp up a salary increase! Learn how to disguise your basically pedestrian qualities and practically universal general office skills, or, Selling the Brand That Is You! Go get 'em, tiger! Er, bat!"

Well, maybe not exactly like. For some reason, (possibly a lack of non-discriminatory hiring policies, or sexual-harassment suits) some people seem inclined to put things like marital status and nationality on CVs. And almost everyone puts their driving record, including points. Which seems really, really odd. I keep imagining something like this:

"Congratulations, Mr. Jones."

"Have I got the job?"

"Your qualifications were excellent."

"Thank you."

"You have demonstrated leadership skills, time-management skills, zeal, determination, and a native ingenuity which has led to increased productivity at every turn in your career."

"You're very kind to say so."

"Our inquires to your former places of employment were answered with nothing but praise, from both your superiors and your subordinates."

"I don't know what to say."

"You are loyal, thrifty, brave and true. You are modest, generous, and kind. You give off a natural, fresh scent which delights all whom you encounter."

"Well, gee, I…that's very nice to hear."

"It gives me pleasure merely to state it. But."

A pregnant pause.

"Though your qualifications were in other respects excellent --- nay, perfect --- due to your inability to parallel park, we must, regretfully, decline to offer you a position as our executive vice-president. Good day, Mr. Jones. Good day."

Posted by Diablevert at 02:27 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2004

I prefer "Man-whore" myself

Was reading Calpundit, and he had a question on the meanings of "cad" versus "bounder," which prompted this comment:

"Which leads me to wonder - what is the modern day equivalent word for shiftless, no-good, take-advantage-of-young-women kind of guy? Jerk is too broad."

Speaking on my broad authority as a young'n:

"Playa" "man-whore" or "himbo."

"Man-whore" can be used to mean one who is pursued by women in like they were construction workers and he a dame in a short skirt; witness the Outkast lyric, "But I was looking at them, there, there on the dance floor/ Now they got me in the middle, feeling like a man whore," in which the speaker is surrounded by dancing women leering at him salaciously.

But "man-whore" is more often used derisively, i.e., "He is such a man-whore," to indicate one who will have sex with anything that moves, including someone who a) is far more drunk than she should be, b) has broken up with a long-term boyfriend earlier that evening, c) dating one of his best friends, and/or especially, d) all of the above.

Himbo has a similar connotation as its female equivalent, "bimbo," one whose assets include sex appeal but not intelligence, and who uses that appeal to its fullest extent in making his way through life. More of a theoretical term than one used in everyday conversation --- it brings to mind somehow the beefcake birthday cards middle-aged women sometimes exchange, and carries a bit of a taint from that association.

Playa, although used almost universally, is more associated with black slang and hip hop, although playas as an object of emulation are being replaced by pimps. "Playa" usually means one who will say anything to get a woman in bed; a true playa will be pursuing relationships with several different women at the same time, each of them thinking he is theirs exclusively. Some feel that "will say anything to get a women in bed," is more a fit description of "guys" in general, or as the philosopher George Clinton has put it, "A dog, is a dog, is a dog. Atooomic Doooo-oo-ooog." Thus has arisen the companion term, "playa-hater" one who denigrates men unfairly for merely obeying their nature. A playa-hater often acts as a "cock-blocker" when a group of women are out of an evening, preventing a playa from cozying up to his target or taking her home. ("Cock-block" is also used a verb, as in "I was gonna walk her back to her dorm, but her friend totally cock-blocked me and they went to get pizza instead.") The "wingman" is employed to divert the cock-blocker and occupy her attention.

If you would like to learn more about such terms, I suggest you hang out with some frat boys, (aka "white hats" or "chipsters.") Thus concludes our brief tour of the Modern American Sexual Slang of Today's Youth.

Posted by Diablevert at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2004

I Hate My Nostrils.

And my sinuses. (Sinusi?)

This cold has been creeping up my respiratory system --- Wednsday it was a little tug in the chest, Thursday it was a scratchy throat, Saturday it had begun to clog every crevice of my cranuim. Now my throat's mostly healed, but sleep has become for me a flutter-by experience. My eyelids droop and my brain relaxes ever so soflty, sweetly, into sleep's succor, only to be yanked back to consciousness in fifteen minutes, because I've begun drowning slowly in my own snot. Foghorn, wipe, repeat.

I look like the ravel'd sleeve of care. Also, I alliterate a lot.

And I think I'm getting an ear infection. To be followed shortly by brain feaver, if the Up From My Chest Cavity progression of the disease continues, but it's the ear infection that bugs. During the score of years between my infancy and last winter, I'd never, ever had an ear infection. Last year, my unblemished record was, painfully, dizzingly, blemished. And now, my ears feel as I'd just been swimming, and that hold-your-nose-and-blow trick doesn't do a thing. Well, except make my nostrils stick together for about thirty seconds. It's beginning to dawn on me that each advancing year is nothing more than a chance to accumulate another infirmity --- fallen arches, weak ankle, trick knee, slipped disk, brusitus, arthritus, bridgework and a bum ear. According to the actuarial tables, I have another 50 years of this shit to go. I'm going to be a half-deaf gelantinous blob by the end of this, a sack of old bones held together by surgical pins. It's a damn good thing I took up smoking.

Not that I've even been able to enjoy that vice in days. And the cable's out. (Picture me waving aloft my Time Warner bill, in a pose reminiscent of Grandpa Simpson's "Man Yells at Cloud." Go on, picture it. I swear I'm doing it right now. Damn you, Time Warner! You are as remote, jealous, and vengeful as an Old-Testament God!) All I have left is tea and the ability to tap out crank-rants on the internet.

Damn, I wish I had cable.

Posted by Diablevert at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2004

Idle Hands

Was talking to my brother today, and he said: "So, are you really going to Ireland?"

To which I replied, "Yes."


"In June, after Sull graduates."


I realized as I ws saying it that it sounds rather unbelievable, spoken aloud. On the one hand, I often wonder why no one believes me when I say I'm moving to another country; you'd think that'd be a piece of information that sticks in your brain, right? I imagine it'd be right on the top of the Temrinator-style display we all have when navigating parties, the little pieces of information that front-load in the corner of your mind when you're scanning the room:

Friend of ERIC.
Dating: Tall Blond Guy."

('Course, my mental display often has a blinking red box around the empty slot for NAME, even when things like, "Interests: HIMSELF, the GREEN PARTY, JAPANESE PORN" are filled in.)

When random acquaintences ask me what's up with me, I tell them I'm planning to move to Ireland. Then months later I run into them again, they ask me again, I tell them again, and they get this look on their face that starts out, "Oh, right! Major life change of which you have informed me previously, and which I had completly and utterly forgotten, making me look like an ass," and then fades into a raised-eyebrow, very slight lip curl, "But, you're still here, aren't you." Before they politely ask me when, again.

I can't blame them, really; talking to my brother I felt the same sense of unreality, the same sense of mouthing a patently unprovable assertion with a look of conviction on my face that they seemed to see when they spoke to me. (Note to self: If the writing thing doesn't work out, try for Press Secretary?) I don't think I quite believe myself yet; that I'm really going, abandoing my comforts and my lassitude for whimsy, chance, and ambition...

I don't think I will believe it until I do something truly concrete, which is why I've taken to crusing for airfares. AerLingus (robbed of context, "AerLingus" sounds less like an airline and more like something involving a sex swing, at least to my cold-medicine-addled brain) runs its deals three months ahead at the max; which means at the moment, I can only scope out until May. Sigh. Maybe I'll just go shopping for footlockers.

Posted by Diablevert at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2004

Duly Noted

"They are pretty fucking darn good."
--- My friend Elcaire describing the band British Sea Power, an Echo and and the Bunnymen-like band.

Aware as I am of the diffrences between the music Eclaire likes and the music I like, I don't know if I'd feel the same about the erstwhile band British Sea Power.

But I feel "pretty fucking darn good" ought to start being a quality I seek in things.

Over and out.

Posted by Diablevert at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2004

The First Step Is Admitting You Have a Plan

So I came out of the closet at work today about wanting to move to Ireland.

Yeah, y’know, the subject of this blog? What’s that? I’ve never mentioned that before? Damn. I have to come out of the internet closet. (The internet closet is paneled on the inside with one-way mirrors.)

I want to move to Ireland. I want to go backwards.

My ancestors are from Ireland. My paternal grandmother emigrated from there most recently, in the mid-50s. That’s how I’m sneaking past customs: as a Citizen of the Republic.

Why? For the hell of it, mostly. Because I want to travel. Because I’m bored.

But also because I’m interested in something, something hard to put your finger on. In America, when someone asks me what I am, I say I’m Irish. In Ireland, I say I’m American. What am I? Not so easy: Americans ask, they wonder what I am. In Ireland they know I’m American. (Well, I am sometimes capable of disguising it, but of that, later.) In America being American is not enough. And in Ireland, is it too much? Can I never be Irish to an Irishman, if I was born in America? Maybe I can, I dunno. I have a lot on my side --- hell, I have cousins in Cork. There are others, my fellow Irish immigrants, who face much tougher obstacles; what of them? I am trying to return to the fold, in a way; what if my ancestors were from Laos or Lagos? America is an idea; is Ireland? Is Irishness?

The contrarian in me likes the idea of backwardness, as well. Americans don’t immigrate, you know. They only emigrate. They are émigrés, or more frequently, expatriates. America is, as we all know, the Greatest Country on Earth. To leave it can never be a seeking of better, only a perverse rejecting of best.

I enjoy being perverse.

And in my perverseness, I feel Ireland deserves it. ‘Tis, In America --- these are the two examples that leap to my mind first, but there are more. Many more. Decades more. The experience of the immigrant to America is a genre, of which the Irish immigrant experience is an established sub-genre. We Americans have reams and reams of your sliver-tongued opinions of us. But I can’t think of a one that goes backwards.

So, with what do I arm myself in this quest? Complete and total ignorance, mostly. (Dear god, I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a bildungsroman. Oh, dear.)

I know a spot or two of Irish history. Let’s see if I can recite it in a paragraph:

Celts; Druids; Giants; Lir, Children of; behive monks; St. Patrick kicks out snakes, brings in Catholicism; Vikings, pale; Irish Save World (Of Literature, see: Book of Kells); English invade; Brian Boru’s in there somewhere; plantation, Boyne, Cromwell, massacres; Flight of the Lords; English Protestants Are Here to Stay; Oh No They’re Not, Take 1: 1798 revolution; Rev. soundly defeated, unification’s in there somewhere; Famine, boycott, curséd Trevelyan, soupers, near death of Irish as a living language; Oh No They’re Not Take Two: Irish brotherhood, Home Rule; Parnell cheats, is destroyed; Joyce and Yeats in there somewhere; WWI; Oh No They’re Not Take Three, It Almost Takes: 1916, the post office, Paidrig Pearse; the poor bastard who was shot sitting down; WWI ends; the Unionist Pledge and Sinn Fein in there somewhere; Oh No They’re Not Take Four, Frickin’ Finally: Anglo-Irish War, with a side of Partition; to be followed immediately by Civil War, death of the Big Fella, reign of Eamon DeValera, really pretty boring in there for a while; Troubles start in the North, persist; boring and poor, everyone’s leaving; Hey, Bono!, Celtic Tiger; Tiger takes nap; and fin.

Also, generally: Emigration, Catholic Catholic Catholic, Stultification that is Rural Life, Music, Blarney, The Drink.

Oh, and: Joyce, Swift, Wilde, Behan, Yeats, Beckett; Roddy Doyle, Seamus Heaney, Stewart O’Nan, The Playboy of the Western World, The Butcher Boy, At Swim Two Birds.

No hands, people, I swear. Well, that’s not true; I typed it. But no googling, which is a bit like having your hands tied behind your back, internet-wise.

So, I got that going for me. But contemporary knowledge ? Barely any. Ever been to Dublin, which is where I plan to move, in four months time? Nope.

It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

The blog is to invite y’all along.

And to ramble about a bijillion other random and totally unrelated things. Hey, it’s a blog.

Posted by Diablevert at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2004

Secondhand inspiration is my favorite kind

Yesterday, I read a post on Pamie.com about people crying at the end of Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, or better say, the kind of people who cry a movies like Win a Date with Todd Hamilton. The post spawned a comments thread which bubbled with indignation, some of it from people who were all, "Rock on! Fuck the Sappy! Thin the Herd!" and some from people who were all, "I like those movies. They touch me in a warm and fuzzy place. AND DON'T YOU DARE JUDGE MY WARM AND FUZZY PLACE! Rrrrraor!"

Reading all this brought out the english major in me.

The pseudo-political english major, no less.

Is the movie objectively bad?

If it is, is it wrong to watch it?

If it's not wrong to watch it, is it okay to be pissed off because people who uncomplainingly consume "bad" movies encourage the creation of other bad movies, and discourage the creation of "good" movies?

I honestly don't know what to think about all of these questions. Part of me --- the part that continually makes fun of everything that's on television --- wants to scream, "Yes, this crap is terrible! Awful! Predictable! Sophomoric! It should be banished! Banished, I say!"

The other part of me clears its throat and quietly reminds me that a lot of stuff I like was considered worthless schlock in its day --- Raymond Chandler got his start in the pulps. And that a lot of other stuff I like I like precisely becuase it's so outrageously, unbelievably, inconcievably bad. And yet in such deadly earnest. Beyond the Vally of the Dolls* comes to mind....

Would I want to live in a world that was all quality? All stuffy, stodgy, occassionally boring and guilt-inducing quality, becuase yes, I really should go see this thing, and think about it, becuase it's Metaphorical Capital Letter Important and the fact that I am extremely bored means I suck and am a bad person. The Art As Objectionable Vegetable Experience, ("Aw, ma, I don't wanna see The Pianist!" "If you don't go see that film, missy, you're going to stunt your intellectual growth! Sprinkle some Adrian Brody on it and shut your pie hole!")

But, on the other hand (dude, I am Vishnu, keep up) what's the point of trying to be a good writer if there's no such thing as good? What's the point of struggling to come up with the perfect way to phrase something, to come up with a new, original story or idea if people are content --- quite content, thank you very much --- with old, re-treaded stories told in patches of dialogue so worn a child could see through them?

It makes me want to shake people when I see the trailers for some movies out there --- Along Came Polly? That movie has been released five times in the past five years --- first it was Forces of Nature, then A Guy Thing, now it's Along Came Polly. I know I'm forgetting a couple. And they're all the same damn movie. The newest one just has more shit jokes, presumably to satisfy the boyfriends being dragged to it. Bringing Down the House: My, but black people are sassy, aren't they! And so different from white people! That Queen Latifa, she's so earthy! And wise! I bet you she knows a lot about birthing them babies!

Mostly I want to shake the people who make movies like that, but partly I want to shake the people who go see movies like that in the theater, becuase I can't help but think if they didn't go see them maybe they wouldn't get made...to indulge in a tired metaphor myself, these are lowest common denominator movies. And a good movie can be so much more than that; it can be hugely enteraining and yet, oh, I dunno, plausible, heck, why not go for the double whammy, plausible and a little unpredictable. It's not so much the formulas that bother me; it's that the whole trick of doing something well, all the fun in it, is in executing the formula in such a way that it still surprises you, a little bit. All you have to do is try, a little bit.

Ay, there's the rub. They're not trying! And you're not making them try, Annonymous Movie-Going Consumer! And my trying is therefore a huge waste of time! I hate you! I hate you all! Recognize my genius!

I ----

Well, that ended up in a weird place. Because when you curl up on the couch at the end of a long day, you're not really intersted in validating my self-worth as a writer, are you? Care more about your own entertainment, don't you, you selfish bastards?

I know. I've been there too.

(Which is weird, because it's my self-worth. Like I said, Vishnu.)

*Those of you who've seen BtVoTD, can we just share a meditative minute considering the fact that a) that movie was written by Roger Ebert, and b) Roger Ebert is one of the world's most famous film critics? These two facts in conjunction say something deeply disturbing about our universe. Also, drink the black sperm of my vengence.**

**You really have to see the movie.

Posted by Diablevert at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2004

A Dialect on Ghetto Etymology.

Overheard on the subway the other morning.


Girl Number One: Blue denim jacket, short, carefully curled brown hair with gold streaks. Medium sized, trapezoid- shaped, punched-gold earrings. Pale cafe au lait skin; could have been Latina, could have been black, could have been just about anything.

Girl Number Two: Short, skinny, a little chickenlegged. Tight dark jeans, bright white high-tops, red sweatshirt with a poofy Michelin-man-style vest over it. Hair similar color and color job, but much longer, with a spiral curl frozen in mousse. Pulled back under a bandana. Gold hoop earrings, braces. Same cafe au lait coloring as Girl One; they could be cousins.

Both look about fifteen. Conversation below to be rendered in breathless giggles, punctuated by screeching brakes of L train at regular intervals.

Girl Number Two accidentally stumbles into another passenger.

Girl Two: My bad.

Anonymous passenger nods.

Girl One: You shouldn't say that shit. That's ghetto talk. You should say, "I'm sorry."

Girl Two: You think?

Girl One: Damn, girl...

Train screeches

Girl Two:...body talks like that any more. It's almost weird.

Girl One: Y'know, that's true, one time ...train pulls into station, announcements and general babble... and so my Moms says to me, you need to tell that man you're sorry. And I turn to him and go, "My bad."

Girl Two laughs. The continue to converse, but the noise of the train covers their conversation, until...

Girl Two: ...and so she found out about him and that girl, and goes up to him and starts screaming at him, and he stands there like, "My bad, baby, my bad."

Girl One and Girl Two dissolve in giggles.

End scene.

Posted by Diablevert at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2004

Baby Shoes, and now this.

I was checking my email, and saw in the sidebar a link to a compendium of stupid celebrity quotes. Spotting the opportunity to waste five minutes of my life, I clicked. And read this:

"There's a sculpture in our bedroom, a solid brass replica of Antonio's manhood. It's very expensive, he gave it to me as a romantic gift."
---- Melanie Griffith

Makes you think, really.

Points to ponder:

Mendacity: You'd think "Antionio Bandares brass penis" would turn up more hits on google, if this story is true. Can it really be that the fetid sewer of our nations's subconscious, or The Internet, has never bubbled up this particular image? There's hope: "Bronze penis" does turn up a couple.

Historical: Speaking of bronzing your penis --- which we indisputably are --- there's a rumor Rudolph Valentio had a silimar item made for Roman Novarro, and that Novarro was later beaten to death with it by two steet hustlers. That he was beaten to death by hustlers is an established fact, there's just a dispute about whether the blunt force trauma was caused by a lead dildo. See? Now you know that. And you can never unknow it.

Psycological: What does it say about a person, if they a) gave someone such a thing, b) wanted to have such a thing, c) would inform the general public that they owned such a thing?

Proceedural: Supposing one were to have such a thing made, it would have to be...well...wouldn't it?

Plaster of Paris apparently takes a half an hour to dry. During the course of drying, it can warm up, causing 2nd degree burns.

So that's out.

Liquid latex requires five to six coats minimum, five to ten minute drying time each, to make a permanent mold which will retain its shape after removal. Nairing and lotion are highly recommened, beforehand, to facillitate the removal of the latex.

Seems unlikely, therefore.

Cythina Plastercaster used dental molds.

A strong possibility.

Craftsmanship: Who one could get to perform the task at first seems quite a puzzle, but perhaps bronzers are more open-minded than I thought; this site does a brisk business in baby shoes, but under the sorbiquet "Unique Items" offers to bronze your memory-filled athletic supporters for $175 and bras (up to 34B) for $262.95. (Athletic supporters? I don't...under what circustances would you...I...never mind.)

Display: This area presents a multitude of possibilties. Okay, it's kept in the bedroom, away from the prying eyes of the casual visitor. But beyond that, where? Nightstand? Dresser top? Closet? Shoved in a corner, or softly-backlit? Up, down, sideways?

Upkeep: Is it dusted bi-weekly by the maid, do you think?

And finally, in conclusion: Oh. My. Fucking. God.

Posted by Diablevert at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)