Chunklet: Indie Cred Test

I contributed some stuff to a new book managed by indie / punk / garage uber-savant Henry of Chunklet fame a while back. The book is being self-published, so check out the fundraising video (which is F'ing hilarious, BTW.) 15 bucks = a copy of said book. Either way, watch it.


That Too Did Pass

...and so ends the weirdest class I've ever taught.

Normally, when you teach college kids, the whole trick is to get them engaged. You're usually staring out at a room full of glazed eyes, with the students texting or updating stuff on Facebook while you're talking, the one kid in the back taking a nap, and your three good students sitting up front nodding diligently, reminding you that they should really get A's.

This session, however, was the weirdest pedagogical clusterfuck I've ever had to deal with. I had one complete big-mouth dickweed who interrupted my lectures every sentence or so with either an irrelevant tangential comment (a.) or an obscure question (b.) I didn't have the impression that he was being a jerk deliberately; it was more like he was compulsively driven to be a jerk because of deep-seated mental problems. Besides him, I had about ten other students who interrupted and made tangential comments as well, albeit at a whole level of magnitude lower in intensity and frequency that Captain Blowhard. Collectively, the class was way too engaged, making it almost impossible to keep the narrative thread of my lectures together. I felt really bad for the dumb kids, who invariably lost track of what I was talking about as I had to fend off question after question and try to keep the anachronistic comparisons to a minimum.

I told B the other night that each lecture was like trying to land a plane with all of the engines out, desperately trying to keep the lecture on course as you plummet.

Anyway, I finished grading the finals and essays I had to do this morning and handed off the rest of the stack to my homie M (who is my TA), so that's done and done.

And the worst of it? Captain Blowhard totally got an A. As much as I wanted to report him to Homeland Security with some made-up threat and get him waterboarded, the fact is he wrote a really good essay and did a fine job on the exam. Crap.


Hating the Heat

The elements of enjoying hot weather might include the following:
  • A/C.
  • A porch with chairs or a couch.
  • Cold beers.
  • Screen doors.
  • Water? For people who like that kind of thing?
We have none of these things.

The elements of why I hate hot weather do include the following:
  • Third-floor apartment (note: heat rises.)
  • Tattoos make being in sun inconvenient.
  • I am always about five degrees warmer than everyone else.
  • I can barely swim.
  • I try not to leave the apartment in Santa Cruz.
That all said, I guess I can't complain too much - it's been about 67 degrees here all summer. The good times couldn't go on forever.


Untapped Ironic Affectation

In the spirit of our imminent move to Portland, I wanted to offer a sartorial suggestion to that oft-maligned class of citizen, the "hipster."* One of Portland's defining quirks is the massive population of hipsters, which frankly I always kind of liked because it meant a great music scene and lots of people who were fun to look at. In turn, one of the defining characteristics of hipsters is the ironic fashion; consider the following trends from just the last ten years or so:
  • Big nerdy glasses (like Elvis Costello.)
  • White belts.
  • Mesh trucker hats.
  • Mustaches.
  • Huge mountain-man style beards.
(Side note: One good way to keep track of the east-coast version of hipster fashion is to watch Ace of Cakes on Food Network. That one cake decorator started dressing all 80s as a kind of fashion thing, but now she has an actual perm and wears actual mom dresses, apparently having forgotten that it was supposed to be ironic.)

Anyway, may I humbly proffer an item of enormous ironic potential, as yet untapped: THE COMBOVER.


The way I see it, hipster dudes who are actually bald / balding (like, uh, me) could sport the real deal. Hipster dudes who aren't could have their heads shaved and configured to achieve artificially-induced combovers! All the hip, swingin' guys in town would look like my AP Biology teacher from high school! Triumph!

Think about it, hipsters of Portland (and other cities.) We can make this happen if we try.

* There is an enormous internet literature on the "hipster." It's one of those appellations that almost no one admits to being, but clearly exists in huge quantities. Personally, I think hipster is fine as long as the hipster isn't a dickhead.


The Worst-Case Scenarios

Editor's Note: This blog post will use the F-word a lot. On behalf of all of us at kungfuramone.blogspot.com, I would like to apologize about this fact to my mom, who doesn't like it when I swear too much in my blog.

The apartment building next to ours is just awful. It's run-down, ugly, and inhabited, mostly, by very sketchy people. We actually looked at an apartment there on the first day of our hellish hunt for housing in SC four years ago, but B wisely called bullshit on the ambience. Through weird coincidence, we ended up in the adjacent building instead.

At some point in the last six months, a gang of idiots I like to call the "Word-Case Scenarios" moved in to one of the upstairs apartments there. These guys play really, really loud hip-hop and stand out on their porch shouting about getting in fights and "the primest jack I ever saw."* They invite over every hostile idiot in town and have parties about four days a week. I cannot imagine what it must be like living in one of the adjoining apartments. Thankfully, our apartment doesn't face theirs, so even when they're blasting their music at 110 decibels and doing their best to emulate the Insane Clown Posse in both appearance and behavior, we don't really have to deal with it.

That said, there was a brilliant moment two days ago when I went to take out the recycling. The recycling bins for my building are under the WCS' apartment. Here are the lyrics to the song they were playing this time, as best as I could make out:

"Fucka-fucka fuck fuck fuck FUCKA! Fuck fuck FUCKA fuck fuck! FUCK FUCK fuck fuck FUCK!"

It was like...their theme song.

Here's hoping wherever we end up in Portland has a much lower per-capita moron count. Portland as a city has about 15% of the morons of SC, so I'd say the odds are on our side.

* As in, "the most entertaining robbery I have ever witnessed."


Don't Bother With the Psychologist

"Yeah, uh, go ahead and don't call again."

Editor's note: We all know that talking about your dreams is stupid and tedious. To help deal with the phenomenon, I established a rule many years ago for talking about dreams: you get two sentences to describe a dream in all of its intricacies.

In my dream last night, I was confronted by a faculty member at UC to the SC, who informed me that I had not, in fact, finished my PhD. I broke down in a kind of whiny semi-freak-out, telling her that I...I...I just had to get out of SC.

You could assign this dream to high school students studying Freud and get pretty accurate readings, I think.

P.S. B, completely earnest, just now: "We need more disco beats!"

(this after a successful Goodwill-gathering mission in the kitchen set to the Scissor Sisters.)


Rocking My 30s


Not really. I don't have the energy for it. The baby croc's latest trick is to vacillate between getting the 5am shift person up before 5am (a.) and being totally dead asleep at 5am, thereby necessitating this whole song-and-dance to get her awake and eating (b.) Also, a few hours ago, she screamed at me like I was plotting her murder (not true!), then a minute later was openly baby-laughing with delight as I danced around the room with her going "doo-pa-doo-pa-doo!" (true!)

Anyway. I do have a few things I've been thinking about.

First, I realized that real estate developers are Satan incarnate. The reason California is broken, permanently, terribly broken, is that real estate speculation over the last twenty-something years pushed home prices completely beyond the level that anyone earning actual wages or a salary could afford them. Home prices rose so much faster than did wages that there is now an insuperable divide between means and ends in housing. That same pattern happened and continues to happen all over America, of course, but it's so bad here. The only people who benefited from this bullshit were the real estate developers themselves. IMHO, they should be hung on hooks like pigs in a slaughterhouse (feeling feisty today!)

Second, Santa Cruz, California. I'm always interested to hear from other people about their opinions and observations about this little dump. Two people I know (one a friend, one a neighbor) noted recently that they've watched things go to shit in this town. My homie H told us about her eight years here, watching the town getting dirtier and more dangerous and generally sketchier in every way, and neighbor A just said it's gotten so expensive she's thinking about moving up north just like we are. It's nice to know I'm not alone in noticing these things.

Money. Money money money. I just want an income, one that I can feel reasonably certain will keep our very, very modest standard of living going indefinitely. This summer is the perfect hodge-podge of random jobs bringing in scraps and I have no idea if/how things will change when we get to Portland.

Getting older...I really noticed that in pictures lately. Looking at pictures from years past is always shocking, that amazed "I look like a fucking KID in that picture!" reaction. Unfortunately, I'm now at the point of looking at recent pictures of myself thinking "I look like a SKINNY OLD GUY in that picture!" Part of that is probably the stress and sleep dep, but part of it is just that I am, in fact, older than I used to be.


Probably the Greatest Picture Ever Taken

Our homie C got us this Motorhead onesie when she was in England recently. B took this picture of Plan C in it a few days ago...I'm pretty certain this makes Ansel Adams look like a rank amateur.

P.S. I should add that the awesome blanket was created by our homie K.


Ride a Cock Horse

"Ride the Horse:

If you're like most parents, you'll soon become your baby's "horsie" and will be for quite a long time. These games help your baby bond with you and improve his ability to create and maintain social relationships. It also helps develop his muscle coordination and balance.

While singing the song "Ride a Cock Horse," cross one knee over the other and place baby on your free foot. Holding his hands firmly, gently swing your foot up and down, bouncing him while singing:

Ride a cock horse to Millbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon her white horse.
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall hear music wherever she goes.

When baby laughs, laugh back at him! He'll love the interaction."

-Glade B. Curtis, M.D., M.P.H. and Judith Schuler, M.S., Your Baby's First Year, Week by Week (Da Capo Lifelong, 2005), page 200.



Road Warriors

And, 1500 miles later, we are back in SC...

This is the view from the front porch of my brother in-law's new house in St. Johns. We're going to stay there for a while when we arrive in PDX next month. STOKED.

This is the friendly fellow who just got married!

And lo, the happy couple! They are brilliant and beautiful and fun.

Our baby is amazing. She put up with two 11 - 12 hour drives and bitched about it less than we did. She's also getting huge; she's over 25 inches long / tall and weighs about 12 1/2 pounds.

We've got a lot to do in the next month. SC friends: get in touch. We're almost out of here.