Nov 30, 2006

Anti-intellectual Property

I hate to be an ungracious receiver of information. Megan thought I would like the Beautiful Revolution and I just couldn't get over the flagrancy with which this guy copies David Shrigley!

Here are some examples. By the way, there is no moral to this tale except that one should never copy anything unless the copy is funnier than the original, which, like, never happens.


A Beautiful Revolution :

David Shrigley:


A Beautiful Revolution:

David Shrigley:


A Beautiful Revolution:

David Shrigley:


A Beautiful Revolution:

David Shrigley:


A Beautiful Revolution:

David Shrigley:


A Beautiful Revolution:

David Shrigley:

Nov 28, 2006

Lisa, do you like stuff?

I am in DC today. I actually came down yesterday and stayed at a hotel last night, where I will also stay tonight. Staying in hotels by yourself is boring as all getout, and also slightly existentially jarring (at least for me, but then a lot of things are). I say this because when you are in a hotel room by yourself, you are the proverbial tree falling in a forest with no one to witness it. No one there to see if you use all the towels, or make the coffee or not, no one to see whether you hesitate over the porn channel while surfing the cable options. It's lonely.

So anyway, here I am. I am working in the DC office for these few days to help my nice coworker catch up on a job we're doing down here. (He's the nice one who cracks his gum, but so far so good with that these days. I guess I'll need a pseudonym for him - uh, we'll use DCGuy because he only did the gum thing once or twice, so I feel bad giving him a gum-related moniker.)

I am watching a helicopter go by, and DCGuy says it's either GW or Dick, since no other helicopters have rights to fly over downtown DC airspace. Yesterday we saw Dick going home to the vice presidential mansion. I guess these guys don't exactly hop on the Metro.

Topics to explore in this posting:

1. Why does DC suck? (or not)
2. TJ and I don't have a phone relationship
3. DCGuy went to a meeting and his computer is making weird alert noises
4. Reminiscence over living here in the past
5. Had lunch with Nuge


1. DC - everyone seems to have an opinion about the place. Some people really like it. Others who may not have felt any strong emotions in the past rush to defend it when Megan disses it. Some people seriously hate it; in fact, there's a website devoted to that: why.i.hate.dc.

All I can say is that it is an odd place. I can't comment with full authority, because I've never lived here in a context where I had a community of any kind, or was in school, or had many friends. I did live here for 8 months in 1997-98, but since I was somewhat isolated by my job to having a few friends of convenience, I felt pretty out of the loop. The young-people culture here is very different than what I was used to - people didn't dress the same, there were plenty of boys in ties and girls with pearls. I saw glimpses of a cool, livable DC, but I never got into any real groove here.

2. I already knew this, but the Teej and I don't really have a phone relationship. We never have, I guess because we never conducted any of our relationship from a distance. I first noticed we didn't have a phone thing going on when he was in Seattle for the summer - we'd talk on the phone, but it seemed a little forced, like, "we are engaged, so we should murmur sweet nothings to each other over the phone before we go to bed." Yesterday, I called him from here in the evening... I was walking around in search of a burrito, and I called to say hi. Interestingly, we chatted for a bit and then were like, "Uh, well, ok love you, bye."

I'm not going to ask, "IS this NORMAL???" because who cares? But I do know that I had phone relationships with boyfriends of yore, so at first I felt like one must be able to sustain an hour-long conversation every time one talks on the phone with one. Now maybe it's nice that we have a actual space-time relationship, and we usually get to hang out, like, every day! Still, it must be on my mind a little bit if I bothered to bring it up.

3. DCGuy went to a meeting and every once in a while his computer would make a Donald Duck sound. This was jarring, but it's over now.

4. Living here in the past, I seem to walk past my former 1997 self sometimes. For example, the office here is right across from the YMCA I belonged to briefly. I used to go there, do some ellipting or rowing or whatever I did, and then ride my Huffy home to Logan Circle via Scott Circle. I remember where I used to park my bike, and how I used to go... it's a little spooky somehow.

This is probably because I had just graduated from college and had no clue what I was doing in general. I was here by circumstance, working a term job that I extended briefly out of ambivalence. I lived, among other places, in a house with three slightly older people who had distinct points in life and career vectors, and that made me feel all the more confused.

I listened to a lot of music that year, some of which Tara laughed at me for when she came to visit. For example, I loved Sublime. (I still maintain that they were hella groovy.) I also somehow wound up listening to a lot of Henry Rollins spoken-word comedy stuff, which I found hilarious at the time, and also to a lot of David Byrne. Now, when I hear David Byrne, I am transported to the room in the house on Logan Circle, with the tan carpet and random furniture and a borrowed sewing machine and nothing else but a mess of Sublime CDs and that "Speculations on Seagullism" thesis I was working on. (Come to think of it, I also associate working in DC with Joel Boardman, because I remember he was a very good email correspondent and he was working on his "metro" web project at the time, which accepted the Seagullism thing once I figured out how to scan it and do some image-mapping so it was all clickable and interactive.)

I still think that DC will never be neutral for me, and even if I had to move here and made a million friends, it would still evoke the emotion of wandering-aimless-among-neutrally-dressed-driven-types. Not to mention the physicality of the place, which I find unappealing. Every single building is exactly ten stories high, so it's a bunch of ugly cubes with retail in the bottom if you're lucky. How could it ever compare to the vertigo of New York in that respect? It can't, and I imagine it's supposed to be more humane for that, but it's instead very drone-like in my own personal architectural opinion.

5. Bright side of being here is that I got to catch up a little with E.Nuge, who is now an avid reader of this blog as of yesterday. In fact, even though we hadn't seen each other in forever, she knew almost everything already because of the blog! How convenient, right? Anyway, we had lunch (too short for that much catching up) and as always I was reminded of the unique things about her: she remembers stuff you told her a long time ago, she's hella funny, and she's an all-around good girl who I wish had decided to go to law school in Philadelphia instead of here. See you next time I'm in DC, maybe, and we can move on past 2003 and continue the updating process! xoxo

Nov 18, 2006

The Extreme Vigilance of our Public Servants

Today, I went out to the car and found a ticket for an outdated emissions sticker. (I knew ours expired at the end of October, so I was in the wrong).

I got in the car and drove to my haircut appointment, and when I came back there was another ticket for the outdated emissions sticker, $41 penalty, as well as a ticket for parking longer than 2 hours (my bad). Ouch. I realized I'd better go get the emissions test done today, but it was already dark and I didn't know if that would be possible. I resolved to get home and see if Pep Boys would be open tomorrow.

So I go park at my last errand -- I went to Ross Dress-for-Less (or RD4L as we call it) to get a pie pan. Sidebar: Yes! You can get a pie pan at RD4L! You can get almost anything at RD4L.

When I came out I found the third ticket for the outdated emissions sticker. Total for the day: $144.

That's the end of this little story, have a lovely evening all you people out there. (I am now in Ignore-Bad-Things mode, given the laughability of this situation. So, now would be a good time to tell me something I don't want to hear, in case you've been waiting for just the right moment to do something like that...)

Update: After I posted the above tale of woe, I realized it was almost nine o'clock and I had better take Carmen to the dog park before she flipped out ninja-style and attacked me. I took her in the car, even though it's only a little over a mile away and we usually walk, because it's cold out and I wanted to get home and be warm. So we go in the car, and since it's nine p.m. I park in a slightly optimistic parking space, thinking it's late at night on a very quiet street on a Saturday, with no one around. Forty minutes later, I come back to the car to find a PPA car pulled up behind me issuing me my fifth ticket of the day for a grand total of $185.

I should feel lucky that he missed the fact that my emissions sticker is out of date, and only issue me the ticket for being partially in a no-stopping zone. Instead, I do not feel lucky. I feel like a complete asshole. I am completely humiliated, but also completely in awe of the Parking Authority. I wouldn't have thought it possible to get five tickets in one day if one was TRYING to. I am now numb to all parking-related emotions. Tomorrow, when I go outside to find what will surely be yet another emissions ticket, I will simply put it in my purse with the rest of them and head over to the Pep Boys.

Nov 16, 2006

Oh, I haven't forgotten all y'alls...

I could update you on the status of our "skit," which after a total upheaval is looking pretty good and I think it's going to be funny (we are essentially making a funny music video to a stupid pop song starring people in the office, it's totally goofy).

Or, I was going to write an open letter to Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania's Clintonesque governor, asking about why and how he can support opening up the state to legal slots parlors. Even if a state could generate a lot of tax revenue from casinos, isn't that the most regressive tax anyone can think of?

Alternately, I could tell you about "Brita," our latest dog-sitting charge, who is a Miniature Schnauzer. It's funny to see me or TJ walking her with Carmen, because Carmen's big and Brita's small; Carmen's young and Brita's old; Carmen's reddish and Brita's greyish; Carmen's sporting an au-naturel-look and Brita's got manicured facial hair; and basically they look like an odd couple with Carmen loping around and Brita shuffling madly to keep up. One of the funny things Brita does is when you pick her up and put her outside to pee (she can't get over the threshold on her own) you have to put her down gingerly or else all four legs splay out. As it is, when she figures out where she wants to pee, her rear end drops and her two rear leg shoot out straight sideways. She can't climb the steps by herself, or so she thinks. She also has thyroid pills and glucosamine powder and prescription dog food and aloe vera extract and eye drops and all that. Carmen already ate her three squeaky toys for her.

Another thing I could talk about is how I actually filed some receipts today and sorted through the mail, and it feels really good to even take a small bite out of organizational tasks. If it feels so good, then why can't I do this all the time instead of assuming that everything will have to be done as one monumental effort on the weekend? Because the weekend never comes, you know...

In actuality, those are all a bunch of one- or two- liners, so I've already exhausted the topics. I leave you with this bizarre diagram somebody drew to explain the main features of a Miniature Schnauzer like Brita...

Nov 7, 2006

Challenges in the Workplace

...but not related to work.

I have to make a skit. Stop snickering. It's a skit that is going to be put on video and shown at our upcoming 40th Anniversary Gala Event. Interestingly, it came to be my particular honor to compose and direct this skit (jointly with another person at work) because one of the PR people decided that we were the two "funny" ones in the Philadelphia office and therefore we should prepare some kind of spoof or satirical treatment and have it shown on video next month at the big soiree.

Now, this is kind of a setup for failure. There are at least three hundred employees in several cities, the majority of whom I don't know. We don't share any common stories, and only 50-60 of them work in my office in Philadelphia. I've worked for the firm for four years, but since I work in a satellite office, I'm not even up on all the injokes and funny bits of the main office. And what's a skit if not full of inside jokes and specific humor? Hmm.

Another thing is that the other guy who is doing this with me is not who I would have chosen to be on my comedy-writing team. I mean, I don't think he's funny. And I don't think he thinks I'm funny (yeh, I know, weird but true). Have you ever had the experience of trying to work with someone on a humorous skit, and you suggest something and they look at you blankly, and then they say something and you try to conceal your displeasure, and it goes back and forth like that? Uggh, it's been awful.

Anyway, I am going to take charge and write it however I want based on out earlier discussions. But I need help. I think the basic premise is ok if not the most original, and this thing has to be ready to tape on Thursday! Help me with funny ideas!

40th Anniversary Gala Skit

Basic premise: Spoof of The Office, but we incorporate some elements of spoofing other shows within that context. Other shows to spoof: Lost, Office Space (the movie), the Geico ad with the caveman, etc…

The logo of The Office appears in the lower left-hand corner throughout the show.

Starts with me insisting that I can't go to the office lunch meeting because I have to stay at my desk and punch in the NUMBERS. If I don't punch in the numbers, something terrible will happen, so I just have to stay and punch in the numbers.

Then there's some more office nonsense akin to the TPS reports thing from Office Space.

Then some things specific to our work, which you couldn't be expected to help with.

But, you CAN help with more universal stuff! If you had to write some kind of humorous parody of YOUR office, what would you do?

Seriously. I'm becoming despondent.