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futile but funny

from an email sent to us by a HAVC professor:

This was not hard to recognize as a fraud. but should you warn others?

Professor Emerita of History of Art and Visual Culture
University of California
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

>From: [redacted] <[redacted]>
>if you can’t write proper english you should go soak your head.
>At 04:02 PM 2/23/2009, you wrote:
>>Dear campus e-mail User,
>>  A Computer Database Maintainance is currently going on. This Message is
>>Very Important. We are very concerned with stopping the proliferation of
>>spam. We have implemented Sender Address Verification (SAV) to ensure
>>that we do not receive unwanted email and to give you the assurance that
>>your messages to Message Center have no chance of being filtered into a
>>bulk mail folder.
>>  To help us re-set your password on our database prior to maintaining our
>>database, you must reply to this e-mail and enter your Current Full email
>>address ( ) and Password ( ). Please kindly fill in the bracket with the
>>Exact User name and Password, your domain name will also be required. If
>>you are the rightful owner of this account, Our message center will
>>confirm your identity including the secret question and answer
>>immediately and We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause you.We
>>assure you more quality service at the end of this maintenance.
>>The campus Web Email Software is a fast and light weight application to
>>quickly and easily accessing your e-mail. Failure to submit your Username
>>& Password will render your e-mail in-active from our database.
>>Thank you for using the campus Web Email!


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wherein the author attempts to forge substance from an overly esoteric lexicon

a plentitude of occasions
great happenings in quick succession
many miles driven
fortunately for you, reader, I will curate the past four weeks carefully and present to you only the most delicious morsels from the heady stream of excitement that is my life:

an episode concerning the contemporary gauche
new year’s eve found the author in dire need of sartorial accessories, for his current outfit was lacking in the “formal” qualities that were (to his knowledge) required for the gala he was committed to attend later in the evening. Along with good friend and temporary chauffeur [the author is highly proud that he spelled that correctly on the first try] Ms. Melissa Rachel Black, our intrepid voyager found himself standing awestruck in the foyer of the largest and most chaotic retail establishment he had yet experienced. The branch of “Forever 21” located upon Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade is comprised of three expansive stories, and at the time visited was seemingly the site of some international shopping championship, given the volume of shoppers (competitors?) and the speed at which they shopped (raced?).

okay, I give up. way too hard. uncle. maybe someday I’ll have the literary muscle to ape such a style for an extended period of time but not yet. I’m still at the knees-down pushup stage of writing. welterweight at best.

so the forever 21 was fucking huge, so big as to actually sport a small men’s section, which was our goal. I required a tie for christopher’s party and those offered at Urban Outfitters were overpriced, while H&M was sold out. I had little hope for Forever21, because their men’s section was pretty much a few large tables upon which were piled shirts, pants, and other garments. I didn’t see any tie-like objects, but after asking a sales associate who was attempting the sisyphean task of forging order out of the chaos I was rewarded with the sight of his arm reaching deep into a mound of merino cardigans and withdrawing with a small black box clutched in his hand, like a raccoon finding a grub in a rotting log. Within the box was my treasure, a fine tie at the eminently affordable price of $9.98.

which now only left the actual purchase of the tie. The store was closing in 5 minutes, and apparently the championship mentioned earlier only encompassed the brutal sport of shopping, and not also the subtle art of queuing. The three lines emanating from the three active registers quickly combined into one massive column of shoppers, each holding their chosen items close in eager anticipation of ownership transferal. I found myself behind a young woman, maybe a sophomore in high school. I noticed her because either she had recently suffered the tragic loss (housefire?) of all her clothes or she was the winner of the aforementioned shopping competition, if judged on pure volume of purchases. seriously, the only situation where you should be holding so many clothes at one time is the few seconds it takes to load and unload a washing machine. She was accompanied by her bear-like father, wearing a poorly-cut suit and sporting a bright and shiny bluetooth earpiece. When it was obvious that the wait was going to be extended, and the girl had commenced whining in a shrill manner that her arms were tired from holding “ALL MY STUFFFFF,” her dad decided he would take her spoils and find a place to lounge until she reached the front of the line. The father, who had up to this point made a few overly-loud complaints about his daughter’s piglike pile of love-subsitute, began to relieve her of it. With each item he removed from the pile, he got more and more vocally unhappy with her choices and their aggregate volume. “You need THIS? … You already HAVE this! … These are the SAME THING!” “No they’re not daaaaaa-aaaad, one’s short sleeve and one’s LONG SLEEVE!” And so on, ad nauseum. Finally, only one piece remained. He took the last item, a baby-blue short sleeved shawl-necked shrug with rhinestone edging and blah blah blah off of the pile, and froze. His excavation had finally revealed the final straw, that which broke the clothes-horses’ back. A pair of turquoise faux-Uggs boots. “WHAT. ARE. THOSE.” “booooo-ooooots!” “You. don’t. need. those.” “But, daaaaa-aaa-aaaaaaaaad! [i shit you not, she attempted the triple drawn-out whiny teenage squeal and it is a testament to her embrace of such an identity that she actually pulled it off]”. It was decided after a minute of deliberation that she would not purchase these specific boots, but after hard lobbying by the whiny-bitch caucus Father conceded that she had the option of purchasing “a better pair” in the near future.

Soon after that, I learned that there was a miscommunication and the party had no specific dress code—I would have been somewhat overdressed anyway.

COMING UP NEXT: another episode in my stupifyingly exciting life—80% truth, 20% its-gotta-be-funny!

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better than navel contemplation

first off, so I don’t forget: Inga, you still owe me a burrito. The new year will not invalidate this delicious debt, only the finest mexican food tube from taqueria las cabanas will.

Please provide the following information:
Department: ITS
Building and room: Kerr 61 (basement level)
Phone (or update your profile): 9-4357
OS: Mac
Describe the problem:
bored at work, tried the times crossword but lost interest. philip roth novel compelling but ultimately unable to provide long-term (4+ hours) diversion. could write letter to grandparents, as have been meaning to for the last 3 months, but imminent visit makes it seem redundant.  would also miss pangs of guilt and feelings of ancestral inadequacy.  internet’s vast posibilities are inversely proportional to the amount of worthwhile content.  both computers at home are dead, not the disaster I would’ve expected.  forced to use on-campus computer labs to write papers.  much less distraction, still resulted in leaving campus friday morning and watching the sun rise as I drove home.  regardless, the black hole of time wasting created by such easy connectivity has only made itself apparent once it was neutralized.  didn’t realize how much time I spent sitting at my computer doing, thinking, learning nothing of importance.  information flow is not indicative of retention or relevance, apparently.

finals are almost over, wrote two 10-pages for architecture, both were really interesting and I find myself lecturing people about their subjects when we have nothing else to talk about. hopefully they find it as interesting as I do. did you know that before germany was defeated in ww2, there was already a concrete plan signed by churchill and fdr that aimed to completely strip germany of its industry and return it to a country, “primarly agricultural and pastoral in its scope.”?  pretty crazy stuff.

45 minutes until I am off work
pilgrimage to egg machine perhaps
or maybe ping pong or other -pong variants, brian brought home a full-sized ping-pong table that now dominates our garage just as brian dominates me in ping pong.

30 more minutes now
finished the crossword from yesterday, james agee and debbie meyer held me up
not in the colloquial sense of the term, but being mugged by a dead pulitzer-prize winner and an aged olympic swimmer would make a great story

holly you don’t read this so hopefully it’ll at least remind me: I need the book I left in your van over break back from you so I can see what happens to a certain mr angstrom and thus complete the nytimes-newyorker-updike perfect triad of american cultural whiteness to which I have strove for so long. I can taste it and it tastes like chèvre and CDOs.

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“If you can’t have the perfect family, at least you can Photoshop it.”

self-deception for the digital age, I guess the impulses have always been there but this is taking it to a level that I find kind of disquieting.

[I was there, just ask photoshop.]

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impossible to miss

stereoscopic signage in a australian parking garage, such a great idea because the vast majority of people are going to be in automobiles and so will share similar vantage points…

[more from ridelust]

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obvious finals-related procrastination


Michael Chabon pens, “An essay in unitard theory,” in a recent New Yorker, discussing the phenomenon of comic-book superhero attire, and the rich symbolism within. It’s an interesting article, and he keeps it from become too abstract and pretentious by including, throughout and primarily with a vignette that closes the essay, thoughts on how his childhood was shaped by such fantastical characters. The whole article is worth reading, but I really liked this passage (especially the end, which I found a particularly effective analogy), which follows commentary on the futility of those who attempt to recreate their favorite superhero’s costume for various festivals and conventions:

This sad outcome even in the wake of thousands of dollars spent and months of hard work given to sewing and to packing foam rubber into helmets has an obvious, an unavoidable, explanation: a superhero’s costume is constructed not of fabric, foam rubber, or adamantium but of halftone dots, Pantone color values, inked containment lines, and all the cartoonist’s sleight of hand. The superhero costume as drawn disdains the customary relationship in the fashion world between sketch and garment. It makes no suggestions. It has no agenda. Above all, it is not waiting to find fulfillment as cloth draped on a body. A constructed superhero costume is a replica with no original, a model built on a scale of x:1.

Now playing: Iron & Wine – Freedom Hangs Like Heaven

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whilst I wait for steve to return from the vancouver public library’s bathroom, a quick update.

as the more observant of readers may have already guessed, I’m in vancouver.  the one in canada.  there’s one in washington, too, but it’s way less cool.  so far the trip has been pretty much awesome, even considering how damn expensive alcohol things are here in the frigid north.

a list, for I am too lazy to write things out paragraph-style:

  1. the Negroni = my favorite drink ever.  It pairs the classiness of classic cocktails without the obviousness of martinis, old-fashions, etc. and it tastes good, to boot.  $9 is a small price to pay for sophistication, I feel.
  2. It’s cold.  I like that.  I can wear winter clothing without being overheated and overdressed.
  3. strip clubs close too early on sundays
  4. when the same woman asks you for spare change (after you gratified her the first time) six or seven times, it’s okay to get annoyed and ignore her.
  5. if someone offers you a bike for $1 at 2 am, it’s probably not a kosher deal.
  6. there are weed stores here, but they can’t sell it to you, they can just smoke it behind the counter and taunt you with it.
  7. 24-hour portland hotcake houses are surprisingly busy at 4 am
  8. it’s best to let the drunk canadians talk to the hookers, then you’re not the one that gets slapped
  9. it’s easy to get lost on the way to H&M, and old-fashioned maps are helpful only if you have a general idea of where you are in the city (north vancouver ≠ east vancouver)
  10. canadians seem to have a freakish affinity for cheesy sentimental music
    1. steve seems to harbor a subtle yet malicious prejudice for the canadian people
    2. steve is also a bad person for it

more to come when I am better-rested and clearer-headed.

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