I’m Shipping Up to Boston

I have been struggling with how I should tell the internet that I am moving soon. Must I even tell the internet? Shouldn’t the internet come to me and ask me when I’m going to move? Why is the impetus on me to keep up my relationship with the internet? Shouldn’t it also put in some effort?

Long story short, in less than twenty-four hours I’m moving. I’ll spend a few weeks getting used to the city and finding a job. School starts in September. This is going to be interesting.

As I have been getting ready to move my life to a city 600 miles away, some questions have come to mind, questions which I have been far too busy to begin answering.

  • Why didn’t I decide to get a real job instead of going to grad school?
  • Why did I decide to go to grad school so far away?
  • How different would my life be if I were married?[1]
  • Why didn’t I spend more time with friends and family?
  • Why do I have so much stuff?
  • Why am I still lacking so much stuff?
  • Why didn’t I go on more dates?[2]
  • Why am I so bad at keeping in touch?
  • Whose idea was this whole Boston thing anyway?

I guess this is what growing up is all about.

———

[1] Seriously.

[2] A.K.A. Why didn’t I go on a single date?

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Hell is. . .

Salsa, no chips.

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The Greatest Tale You’ve Ever Been Told

There are times that I think I am a good writer, and even if the world happens to disagree, I would rather hear about the disagreement firsthand than just assume what the world thinks. So, as in the past, here is something that I wrote for a destination other than my blog. This was the second of two short stories I wrote for my Creative Writing class my final semester of college. I delayed posting this story because I thought some of its adult themes and language would be a bit offensive to some readers, and instead opted to post the less controversial first story I wrote for the class. Irony.

So here is the second story, because I have determined after much thought that the adult language is justified by the characters that use the adult language. I do not intend for any part of this story to be offensive, language and content included (nor do I ever intend to offend when writing). The characters in the story below are fictional, and any resemblance to any real person is purely coincidental. Kmart is, of course, an actual corporation that I have mentioned by name. I do this solely because I, as an employee of Kmart, am familiar with the store, and I have often hoped that the following story would happen to me. Readers should take note, however, that this story could take place at any retail store anywhere in the country (a.k.a. Kmart don’t sue me).

Additionally, and since I don’t think there has been enough distractions yet, I have included a musical playlist to accompany this story. Listen if you’d like (click here then click “Play All”).

As mentioned above, this story has some adult language and themes, but I think it is safely PG-13. Normal PG-13, not like Titanic PG-13, so hopefully you are not put off. Now that all that is out of the way, and without any further ado, I give you “The Greatest Tale You’ve Ever Been Told.”

———

The Greatest Tale You’ve Ever Been Told

Sit back and I will tell you the story of how I wrote the greatest tale you’ve ever been told.

Not really—I thought that would be a pretty dramatic intro, but I don’t want to oversell this. I mean, yes, the short story I wrote did win some awards (mostly local stuff—intensely local: my best friend Zach’s “Best Short Story That I’ve Just Recently Read” award and my grandma’s “Oh honey, I was confused the whole time but I’m sure it would have been just lovely” honors).

It all began one fateful day some time ago. I was halfway into a shift at Kmart—get your laughs out now. I work at Kmart. I’m a cashier, putting my college degree to good use. I scan people’s stuff and take their money and tell them to have nice days. It gets worse though; the Kmart where I work is, well, ripe for comedy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been handed cash that came not from a purse, pocket, or wallet, but from the inner part of some white lady’s bra. Seriously. At least three different times. “Your total is going to be twelve seventy—oh god!—yeah, you can just set the money right down on the counter there, thank you.” I see more people in sweatpants than I see teeth. I would take a cut in pay to have more attractive girls come through my line. (I should be grateful though, because I think the average age of my customers has just recently dropped beneath one hundred.)

Working at Kmart isn’t without its perks however. It’s given me plenty of time to think, to wax philosophic, to work on my writing. Living life as a full-time writer is tough—especially when you have a nagging mother who keeps claiming that you’re “wasting your education” and is always lamenting about “her hard-earned money to put you through college”—but moonlighting (or daylighting) at Kmart gives me time to work on all my masterpieces. But when I’m not working on my masterpieces, I’m interacting with other delightful members of the human race. It’s about the only social interaction I get anymore. But man am I good at it now. I can extract conversation from even the most salty of customers. “Hi! How are you today?” No response. “Oh, did you put on your grumpy pants this morning?” That usually gets them laughing. Or there’s the overly friendly customers, the ones who look at your nametag and then say “Hi” to you as if you’re old friends.

“Hi. . .Hero!”

“Hello,” I say. “Were you able to find—”

“What a fancy name! Hero.”

Trying not to roll my eyes, I respond, “It’s a winner.”

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In Between Times by Mice Parade

I have never been a lyrics man. I haven’t. It’s not that I don’t like words—quite the contrary—it’s just that I listen to other things before I listen to the lyrics—the all-encompassing idea of Music: rhythm and chord and melody and all the rest. But on two occasions do I learn the lyrics: (1) when I have listened to a song enough that I subconsciously absorb the exact words, usually when I’ve listened to the song more then fifty times. A similar thing happens after just a few times listening to a song, but the words are mere approximations. You know what I mean; kids are great at this—the confident vowel sounds of a song surrounded by uneasy (and incorrect) consonants, resulting in that odd sort of delay apparent in a sing-a-longer who thinks he knows the words but clearly doesn’t. And reason (2): when a song is that musically striking that I can’t help but to look up the words so that I might better know what the creators are thinking.

“In Between Times” by Mice Parade is one such song. But this song is too indie for even the internet, and hours of searching has left me with roughly 0% of the lyrics of this fantastic tune. So I have set out in trying to right this terrible wrong—to correct the errors of the internet and inform the world of the lyrics of this terrific song. Continue reading

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I cleaned out my bookmarks

No reason or anything, but I decided to look through some old bookmarks and delete a few that I no longer need. A Euro 2008 schedule, a whole bunch of workout stuff, some (in hindsight) really stupid things that I must have thought were funny at the time, gardening sites (inexplicably), “How to Wrap Meat Like a Pro” which I swear isn’t bad or anything. . .but I did find one or two good things that I thought I might mention. This is what I would do if I had a Tumblr (but I can’t figure out why anyone would have a Tumblr).

On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning

How to make roses from maple leaves

The Wedding Song – Angus & Julia Stone (cover)

Boy Slams Himself Into Wall

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R.I.P. Razor

R.I.P. Razor

May 1960 (or January 2010) - May 2011

A little piece of me has died with the razor which was so faithful to me for over a year, my great grandfather’s Gillette Ball-End Tech safety razor. Its fifty years were no match for a plane ride to Brazil, the security (I thought) of a leather shave kit and a hard-sided checked bag was not enough as I discovered it broken upon my first attempt to shave.

Once again, therefore, I am shaving like a modern man. But only so modern, as I am still using a shaving brush and old-fashioned shave soap with a Gillette Fusion razor until such time as I can purchase a new metal safety razor.

Why even bother searching for a new metal razor?

  • Cost. Certainly, the razor I am currently looking at right now is pricey at almost $32, but if lasts as long as the Gillette I used to have, it is a price well worth it. (But if I opted to replace my razor with the same model, it would likely cost a mere ten dollars on eBay or at an antiques store. This is why many recommend the Tech as a good beginner’s razor: cut your teeth on this thing while you learn how to not cut your face.)
  • Cost, pt.2. Gillette Fusion replacement cartridges usually run some fifteen dollars for a pack of four. Replacement blades for safety razors can be found almost anywhere still (Walmart, even Kmart) and are no more than fifty cents each. And they last just as long, despite being just one double-sided blade compared to the Fusion’s five blades.
  • Comfort. During my days of modern shaving, I would often experience irritation around my neck and chin, resulting in little red bumps that would last the entire day. Once I switched to the other razor, these bumps stopped, chased away by a sturdy design that has stayed relatively unchanged for over a hundred years. It took a bit of practice (or a change in philosophy) to perfect this style of shaving—getting the angle just right, letting the weight of the razor do all the work—but after a week or so I was shaving better than ever before.
  • That certain awesomeness that comes from shaving with a metal razor and a mug and brush. The crap that my friends used to give me for it be damned; I feel pretty cool.

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The Things I’ve Learned – Brazil

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So I went to Brazil. And it was awesome. Perhaps someday I’ll write at length about my experiences, but for now I’d rather think about my time there than write about it. So instead of getting something terribly informative, you’re getting this: a collection of things that I learned while in Brazil. I collected this list throughout my three weeks there, and have decorated it with pictures from the trip. To keep it interesting for you, I have not included pedestrian facts like blue collar workers in Brazil getting to nap after lunch or the similarities and differences between Spanish and Portuguese. Perhaps you will enjoy it anyway.

The Things I’ve Learned From My Trip to Brazil

Going to Tatuí

1

Family is the most important thing. You may need help to figure this out.

Lunch at Tia Andriana's

1b

But there is such a thing as too much.

2

Language barriers are tall and thick, but what an adventure to find ways to tear them down.

Lombada

2b

But they have the frustrating habit of reappearing at random.

3

Americans need to kiss more. I don’t mean the “Let’s make out” kind of kiss but the “Hello nice to see you” kind of kiss. If I weren’t certain to be arrested for it, I would try to make the Brazilian kiss part of my usual greeting. Note: you don’t actually have to kiss the person. Simply touch cheeks and make the kissing sound. It may sound silly, but it is lovely. But keep it to one cheek; otherwise it seems affected. Continue reading

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