Thursday, November 26, 2009
Yesterday afternoon was the first time Rockville’s seen the sun in weeks, and even then it only stuck around for about 20 minutes. For the past month or so it’s been raining with temperatures holding steady around 50 degrees. It’s like London, without any of the chicness, history, or royalty. Often I find myself wondering if I’m making Rockville out to be worse than it is, not on here but in my own mind. An acquaintance of mine from high school, now a freshman at Columbia, is stupidly excited to come back to “The Roc”. I’ve unfortunately never been but I have a feeling if I sat foot in New York City the only way you’d get me to leave is in a pine box. I guess we’re just different people. More likely he stayed in contact with his high school friends; I haven’t talked to all but the closest of mine since high school, and I don’t really mind. Again, different people.
To help break the boredom I applied for a menial seasonal retail position at an electronics store that more-or-less replaced CompUSA and Circuit City when they packed up and left town years ago. It pays below minimum wage (commission’s supposed to make up for the difference) so it’s not glamorous, but the way I see it getting paid $4 an hour to tell the confused parent they should not buy their ten year old son Left 4 Dead 2 beats getting paid nothing to be in the house for six weeks. But the earliest I’ll hear back from them is in 7-10 business days, so I will happily (?) be missing out on Black Friday.
Funny I should mention excuses to get out of the house, though; I went to visit my grandmother at her nursing home today. She didn’t remember my name.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I can’t believe I got up at 8 AM for that shit. A paltry, somewhat cumulative, 30-some question final exam in a morning class I hated from day one. One of the questions was seriously “who was the last leader of the Soviet Union, known for attempting to reform it but instead hastening its demise?”. I’ve known that since 10th grade; this is not a question I expect to find on a final in my sophomore year of college. At least it was easy, I suppose. But damn. It figures that my most inconveniently timed final would be my last one too. I’m leaving Athens until January in about 9 hours. Haven’t cleaned my room, haven’t packed, but I have said most of my goodbyes. And even though I’m not dreading home quite as much as I was in June I still don’t particularly want to go. The thought of leaving what has become my primary network of friends doesn’t so much make me sad as it does make me…uncomfortable.
Since last night I was busy being social (which was cut unfortunately short because I needed to study for that dildo of an exam) I missed the AMA’s. I know what you’re thinking, who the hell watches the
AMA’s televised award shows anymore? As much as I hate to admit it Gagafever got the best of me; her performance last night was the first thing I looked up on youtube after getting out of my final. Loved the choreography, the burning piano, the bottle smashing, all that. Her voice seemed a bit uncharacteristically weak on “Bad Romance”. Bit of a cold? Couldn’t catch her breath? Probably just an off night. If she’s gonna keep doing them though, Lady needs to work on her ballads. Gaga, you’re a hell of a lot closer to Madonna than you are Aretha Franklin.
I’m hoping to land a seasonal job in Rockville mostly to keep myself busy, but having money will be nice. I’ve got some small debts to clear up, rent to pay starting in late March (steep rent, but it’s a very nice house), and maybe a present or two for some people. Don’t tell anyone but I’ve also got a bottle of the best thing an illiterate Russian peasant has ever created to share with some close friends. A date isn’t set but I’m determined to get this done before January. One one hand I’m interested to see my high school friends drunk. On the other it’s a little bit of Athens I’m bringing back with me.
Ah well, at least I get to see my puppy babies*.
*They’re not actually puppy babies, it’s just what I call them. I love my dogs.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Well it’s 6 AM on a Thursday, I don’t have any finals (or any obligations) today. I woke up wanting to fuck around online but my roommate was still asleep, so I made my way down to the creepy basement study rooms. I figure nobody would be down there at 6 AM on a Thursday, right? Wrong. Fucking moonfolk. Lucky for me I brought headphones. And who should my fancy new iPod Touch think is appropriate for 6 AM Thursday listening but Lady Gaga? Now, I make it no secret that I love me some Gaga. Why? I’m not entirely sure; everything I’ve ever known or felt about music tells me I should despise her, but goddamn I can’t. Ever the unpredictable wardrobe, infectious bouncy jams, fantastic music videos…she’s got this endearing mystery about her and I want to know so much more than I do. Whether or not she has a penis.
Speaking of crazy, what should I see on my Google News page but a story about Sarah Palin’s new book? First off there’s a name I happily haven’t heard in months. Second off, I didn’t know she could string together enough coherent thoughts to make up a book. And not just any book, a “tell-all” book. I was unaware there’s something about her curious life that we didn’t already know. Where Gaga is the eclectic, artistic crazy I can love, Sarah Palin is the dim-witted, short-sighted crazy I can love to hate. Everything that falls out of her mouth sounds like something a political science 101 student would say, thinking they know everything there is to know having managed a B+ in the class. Sometimes I think inept is a better word to describe her than dumb, but any synonym for stupid perfectly matches her base. What money they don’t give to her they likely spend at Cash4Gold. At the very least she should have released her book much closer to 2012 so she could ride the inevitable wave of superficial popularity to a Presidential nomination. Maybe she thinks the world’s going to end in three years so she’s cashing in now.
But back to happier thoughts. Thriller homages, pincer heels, and faux polar bearskin dresses galore! With her sort-of sophomore release out as of yesterday, let’s hope Gaga sticks around for more than 15 minutes.
Monday, November 16, 2009
“Gay Puerto Rican Teen Decapitated, Dismembered, and Burned.” What does one say to that? It was one of the first things I saw this morning as it showed up in my facebook news feed. As my comment showed, all I really could say at the moment was a blank, run-that-by-me-again “what”. Apparently if you’re the lead investigator of such a crime, what you say to that is “people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen.” I’d like to believe the investigator’s true intent was lost in translation, but it’s not hard to find someone who speaks fluent Spanish in the States and its not hard to believe such an attitude would be held in the sometimes deceptively easygoing Caribbean.
A couple hours later I reread the story. I can’t say it made more sense to me the second time–cutting up and burning anyone, much less a 19 year old kid is almost nonsensical by definition–but the words made their way through my head easier. I’m not much of an empathetic person at all and reading about this twice did nothing to change that. If he had just been stabbed or shot or even beaten, I could have written it off as just another hate-driven murder in my mind and gone on about my day. But the fact that they cut off his head, severed the rest of his limbs, and then lit the pile of body parts known in life as Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado ablaze on the side of a remote road, well, pardon the pun but its a grisly image that burns itself in your mind.
What will come of this example of inexcusable barbarism? Excuses, disappointment, outrage, maybe major media coverage (that’s a big maybe), hopefully no copycats, probably not an arrest, if there’s one of those probably not a conviction, and if there’s one of those probably not much of a sentence. To be fair it’s not always as doom-and-gloom as I fear it to be; the events in Laramie 11 years ago ended in two consecutive life sentences for each murderer, the effective martyrdom of Matt Shepard, and (11 goddamn years later) federal hate crimes legislation protecting LGBT people. But as a triple minority, being optimistic about these sorts of things is damn hard.
I’m so sorry Jorge.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Fall 2002 was a very scary time for me, and a lot of people I knew. I remember one day after they shot that kid, almost killed him, I was too scared to walk the one block to my bus stop. That was when they were still looking for a white van and there were tons of those in my neighborhood. I took the cushions off the couch, stuffed them in front of the windows, drew the blinds shut, and sat on the floor all day calling the cops on any white van I saw drive past the house. Eventually I did uneasily go back to school since there was no indication these guys were going to be collared anytime soon, and I couldn’t afford to miss indefinite amounts of class. But after about 3 weeks of looking at everyone with burning suspicion Police Chief Charles Moose came on the TV and said they had arrested a John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo over by I-70.
While they were caught in Maryland the pair were soon extradited to Virginia where a) they shot and killed FBI agent Linda Hamilton, and b) the second highest number of American convicts are executed annually. Malvo only kept his life because he was 17 when he pulled the trigger, but Muhammad had no such saving grace. After that they were sent back to Maryland to go on trial for the shootings they did there but by then nobody really cared because neither one of them was ever going to see the light of day again. With that, the two went off to jail and while their month-long spree certainly wasn’t about to be forgotten, it became less and less prevalent with time.
Two days ago I headed over to CNN.com for shits and giggles (and their redesigned website actually looks really nice) and what should I see but ‘Virginia ready to execute ‘Beltway sniper”, above the comically titled video ‘Chris Brown wants Rihanna to shush’. It’s not often I’m aware of executions taking place, especially executions pertaining to crimes that affected me. Obviously I could use this as an opportunity to make some grand statement about the rightness or wrongness of capital punishment, and while I personally think the death penalty should only be reserved for people who remain a major threat while in prison, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Muhammad being executed. It’s easy to make a sweeping statement about moral rights or wrongs until the decision affects your life. I do, however, find a bit of irony in executing Muhammad, a Gulf War veteran, one day before Veterans Day. Intentional? Probably. Lulzy? Yes.
Thursday, November 5, 2009