Blather Family Friendship Observations People Pointless Narcissism Rant

Dear Mercury: Fuck You.

So apparently Mercury went into retrograde yesterday. Yeah… That fits.

Yesterday morning I had another of a series of bizarre dreams in which I’m cooped up in a small space with a bunch of crazy and annoying people I don’t know. I’m attributing these dreams to:
a) The fact that I’ve been hanging out with a guy that I really like, but cannot figure out… and
b) The fact that it’s August. Slow walkers, hordes of prosti-tots, loud Jersey women, pretentious dicks with black AmEx cards and the world’s worst drivers have all convened on Martha’s Vineyard for a free-for-all. Every local I know is either practicing “zen parking,” seething with road (and sidewalk) rage, or hiding in the woods with their cell phone off.

Yesterday was also the day that I woke up in a frenzy of anxious productivity and started slaying the Unpleasant List like a champ. I got all of my errands and unpleasant phone calls done, deep-cleaned the bar like a crazed maniac (think Monica from Friends) without being asked to, and stayed up until 4:30 a.m. brainstorming on how to fix the Biggest Problem In My Life.

A friend who owed me money that I wasn’t chasing came through with the best timing in the world and paid me in full at a moment when I was grasping at every possible source of cash (see: Biggest Problem. Note: Biggest Problem needs lots of money I don’t have to be thrown at it).

Two of my best girlfriends have had MAJOR SHIT happen in the past couple of days, and I’m not talking good shit. My niece, who I love more than anything in the world, is spinning around frantically in her own particular orbit, trying to figure out what to do with her life, and there have been facebook posts that indicate that Mercury has SNAFUed her SNAFU even more. My best guy friend, who’s 44, is apparently dating a 21-year-old with awful tattoos–and he’s a tattoo officionado. There’s a stranger on my couch, and the cat is completely out of his mind. I can’t stop sneezing, but I don’t feel sick. It’s August, and I’m tempted to put socks on because my toes are cold.

And the boy, as usual, texted just when I’d given up on hearing from him and shifted into “another one bites the dust” mode. Go figure.

Mercury, you’re winning. I don’t know which way is up, and I hate you for it… but I’m thankful for the good surprises. I’m not accustomed to many of those.

Take it easy on me this weekend, though. I need it to be a good one.

People Rant Work

Hanging Out On The Chopping Block

Somehow, I’ve found myself working for people who expect their employees to defy their humanity entirely. For the past five months I have been working at a brew pub on Martha’s Vineyard, and I have enjoyed the job immensely. It’s a fast-paced, yet relaxed environment, with coworkers I like and food and beverages I can honestly stand behind.

However, the returning summer staff from previous years has come back, and with one of them has come a giant pile of problems for yours truly. On two separate occasions, at the end of a twelve-hour double shift, I wanted to go home. Apparently expressing that desire to my coworker is enough to get me fired. He took my saying, “Is there anything else you want me to do before I go?” and reported to the boss that I asked repeatedly to leave and had an attitude that showed I didn’t want to be there. I have been brought into the office twice to talk about my attitude–in reference to complaints made by this one particular person. This person who has given me nothing but the cold shoulder despite repeated attempts to be friendly to him AFTER the first time he ratted me out.

I have been suspended from work for a week while the powers that be decide my fate as an employee. Not because I left a shift uncovered, or showed up abominably late, or neglected my tables, or gave attitude to customers. Because at the end of a very long shift, I expressed verbally my desire to go home.

During the meeting, my boss asked me to take a few days and think about whether that was really the place for me–if it was the right fit. At the time I said yes, I didn’t have to take a few days because I already knew it was where I wanted to be. I’ve been thinking a lot about it, though, and I’ve realized that if I do keep my job, I’m probably going to be under constant scrutiny, and it’s not going to be very comfortable. I’m going to be wary of my coworkers, waiting for one of them to run to the boss with a twisted version of something I’ve said. I think I’m over it. I am a good employee, and a loyal employee, and I feel that I’ve been brought to task unfairly for something that everyone does. I will miss the coworkers I could trust, and I will surely miss the money, but I will not miss the feeling that I’ve got people hanging over my shoulder, watching my every move, waiting to find a reason to fire me.

I have enough money in the bank to last me for a while, and I have another part time job, so I think I may go in there today and tell them that yes, I would like to still work for them, but unfortunately for them, I value my own pride more than the money I can make in their restaurant, and I’m going to seek employment elsewhere.

I hate leaving jobs I like. But what I hate even more is being represented in a false light, expected to fail, misunderstood. And I hate watching the bad guy get their way. And he’s getting his way already given the fact that I’ve already been called into two meetings. Whether I get fired or not, he’s already won. The least I can do is walk away with my head held high. They want me to beg for my job, and I’m not going to do it, because I don’t deserve to be on the chopping block and I know it.

Blather Making Fun Of People Music Observations Pointless Narcissism Pop Culture Rant School Think

“Molly’s Lips” Are Still Sweeter Than Dave’s “Halo.”

…or, A Big Fat Raspberry For Dave Grohl, And Other Irrelevant Thoughts.

I’ve just finished a thirty page project in which I had to write about people writing about music. For my magazine publishing class (from last semester, I’m that far behind), we each had to choose a magazine to do a final project on, and since Rolling Stone was not one of the acceptable choices, I chose SPIN. I’ve read SPIN from time to time since I was a teenager, and have enjoyed it, albeit less than I’ve enjoyed Rolling Stone. Doing this project made me realize several things:

1) I hate SPIN magazine. The articles are too short, the subjects are too mainstream, and the writing is unexciting. And the design is absolutely atrocious. Having done my research, I know that this is because there was a major overhaul in 2006, when the magazine was sold. If I knew where Nion McEvoy (the buyer) lived, I’d slap him in the face for ruining a good magazine.

2) I love music (this is not something I’d forgotten, but it was reinforced). While working on this project, I thought it would only be right to listen to music I hadn’t listened to in a long time, thereby resurrecting the music in my own collection the way I wished that Bob Guccione Jr., or someone else who cared, would resurrect SPIN. Because the project took longer than I anticipated, I rediscovered Nirvana’s Incesticide, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Mother’s Milk, Frank Zappa’s Lather, The Pixies’ Doolittle, Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell, Helmet’s Meantime, Black Sabbath’s We Sold Our Soul For Rock N’ Roll, The Ramones’ The Ramones, and about a dozen others. In addition, I also listened to a CD from a friend of mine’s band, Counter Clockwise, as I would listen if I were a critic–I played it at least six times during the time I spent on this project–and it turns out I quite like it (big shocker there). I also pulled out one of the two Foo Fighters albums I’ve owned for some time but never listened to. It’s on my stereo right now. I haven’t thrown it across the room yet, but I’ll get back to you after I’ve heard the whole thing.

3) I love writing about music. In picking apart the articles I was reading about the music, I found myself weighing in on it, tearing apart the writers’ assertions or areas of neglect while filling in my own opinions and trying to back them up enough so that they were interesting to other people. One of the most satisfying blog pieces I’ve ever written was a post called “Saving Grace,” and writing for this project made me nostalgic for [[I have to interrupt here to say that song #2 on the Foo Fighters album is tempting me to chuck it at the double door]] the feeling I got while writing that post. I can’t put my finger on exactly what that feeling was–I guess the idea that I had something to say about that particular album that other people might be interested in reading.

4) I can’t wait to get back to writing for my own reasons. Although what I’m doing right now is technically “writing for my own reasons,” it’s something I rarely have time to do, and I’m doing it now only because I’m too inspired not to. I miss the freedom of not having schoolwork hanging over my head, telling me that I have higher priorities than babbling on and on about the petty little things I give a shit about, like why Grace is an album that every human being with a heart should listen to at least once all the way through, and why I just might snap a CD I paid for in half in about two minutes.

5) I want to have my own radio show. It’s something I’ve thought about before, but the desire has been cemented by spending the better part of a month closely reading successive issues of a music magazine and realizing that I care about music enough to want to spend the time and energy to expose other people to the music that I love. In coming up with ideas for potential stories for SPIN as part of the project, I started thinking about the demise of radio, and how much I actually care whether or not independent radio–and the possibility of learning about new music from listening to the radio–survives. I care a lot, and I want to be part of it.

6) I really wish Dave Grohl would go back to reaping the profits from the untimely death of the creative powerhouse behind the band that made him famous. Or maybe fire his entire band and start over from scratch–as the drummer. Having now listened to four songs off of the aforementioned neglected Foo Fighters album, I’m ashamed to admit that I paid four dollars for it in 2003. Yes, it was a clearance sale at my college’s bookstore, and yes I got the CD, brand new and sealed, for only four bucks, but I still want to hide my face in embarrassment because it’s garbage and I should have known that before shucking out my hard-earned $4 for it. Boo, Dave. Boo. I think I might have to listen to Incesticide again just to rid my head of the catchy but obnoxious melody of song #2.

Politics Rant Think

Two Cents

When I heard last night on TV that Ralph Nader has thrown his hat into the presidential race again, I was appalled, again. Can’t the man take a hint? Doesn’t he realize that he and his dreadlocked, patchouli-stinking minions are the reason we’re stuck with George W. Bush? In an ideal world, perhaps his politics would be nice, but the plain truth is that he’s unelectable, and due to the fact that he’s an independent candidate and won’t be weeded out through delegate process, he’ll be in the final race if he chooses to be, which means that every vote cast for him is a vote cast for the Republicans. I can’t figure out if it’s pure egomania that keeps him going for it, or if in his delusional little mind he thinks he has a chance to win–or if perhaps he’s just a really good Republican decoy.

I’m almost as liberal as they come, and I’m damn ready for a change in our government, but I’m also smart enough to realize that change is not going to come from Ralph Nader. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of tree-hugging idealists who are not smart enough to realize that when they vote for him they’re voting for exactly the opposite of what they want.

Give it up, Ralph. The limelight’s shone on you one too many times, and it’s high time for you to do something that will help your supporters see the change they’re looking for: walk away.

Blather Fashion Health Making Fun Of People Observations People Pointless Narcissism Pop Culture Rant

On The Corpulence Of Santa Claus and Other Social Problems

My friend Mike, a close friend of my dad’s who later became a close friend of mine, looks like a member of ZZ Top. He’s got a long white beard and a long white ponytail and he rides a Harley. He’s a Harley mechanic, actually.

Due to his natural resemblance to the Jolly One, Mike’s been playing Santa Claus at his church for the past few years. This year, he was asked to ride a motorcycle dressed as Santa for the local Harley Riders chapter’s annual Toys For Tots run–a look that was perfected by the Santa hat sewn on outside his helmet and the dark black ZZ-esque shades he wore. There was a photographer on the run with us, and he took a picture of Santa Mike with a horde of bikes behind him that ended up on the front page of the Calendar section in the local newspaper (I was on the run with another friend, and although we were in the picture–my very bundled-up face and the side of my friend’s helmet–we were so teeny tiny you’d only know it was us if you’d been there). The people who organize the annual arrival of “Santa” on the ferry in Vineyard Haven happened to see the picture, and as their usual Santa had fallen very ill, they called up Mike to see if he’d be willing to do the job. We spoke on the phone several days later.

People are real weird about Santa nowadays, he said. You know in Australia, Santa’s not supposed to say “Ho Ho Ho” because it’s sexist, or degrading to hos, or something. So everyone who plays Santa in Australia is supposed to say “Ha Ha Ha” instead.

And now the Surgeon General says that Santa can’t be fat, Mike said. Apparently it’s misleading to children to present such a positive role model as being obese. So that’s the reason American kids are fat. I always thought it was the fact that there’s a fast food restaurant on every corner and a big screen TV with 500 channels in every living room in the country. Boy was I wrong.

First there were the worries about inappropriate touching (“Okay kiddo, I hope you’ve got good balance because I can’t put my hand on your back to hold you up, I might get arrested”). Then there was the trouble with Hos in Australia (“G’day, Little Dibbie. What’s that? You wunt a paony? Ha Ha Ha!”). Now, Santa’s not even allowed to be round. What’s next, PETA claiming that it’s unethical for Santa to use reindeer to drive his sleigh, or the American Association of Little People protesting the use of the term “elf”?

This is an imaginary character, people. An imaginary big fat man in a fuzzy white suit, who smokes a pipe (or at least he used to when I was a kid, I’m sure the pipe was nixed sometime in the 90s) and rides around the entire world in the span of 24 hours, managing to climb down the chimneys of 6 billion houses–a character sketch which completely explains why most people cease to believe he exists by the age of five. So what’s the big deal? Isn’t there something more important the Surgeon General could be worrying about?

Leave Santa alone, for fuck’s sake. And if someone is willing to put on a terrible, itchy, silly-looking suit for three hours and play pretend so that a bunch of kids can pee on him and yank his beard and spit in his face and walk away convinced that Christmas is something to look forward to, then damn it, leave that person alone, too. We’re raising such a cynical, superficial generation of kids that Santa Claus will probably be obsolete in ten years anyway.

Besides, a skinny Santa would be really, really creepy.

Books Insomnia Observations Rant School Think

A Torpor Only Joyce Can Induce

I had thought, with the terminus of Robinson Crusoe, that my sentence of terrible British literature had been served, but I was mistaken. I didn’t realize that Defoe could be outdone in the realm of boring, redundant and pointless prose–that is, not until I tasted Joyce. I have just spent the past six and a half hours reading A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my reading speed, I could have read all of Jane Eyre (some 500 pages) in the time it took me to take down this thin little wisp of a book. Though I have barely moved the entire evening, I am exhausted from trying to derive meaning from what is supposedly a great book. The only truth I have gotten from it is this: Anyone who willingly reads Joyce is either a zealot (religious or aesthetic), or a masochist, or both. And to think, people actually read Finnegan’s Wake, which is easily four times as long.

Everything hurts, and the Vicodin is not helping. I’ve wasted an entire night for the sake of a sophomore class in which I currently have a C. I’ve never had a C in my entire college career. If I ever sign on for another class in British literature, someone please have the decency to smack the shit out of me.

That is all.

Blather Insomnia Observations Pointless Narcissism Rant School Think

Lament For The Death Of My Pen

Going to school for writing has all but killed the writer in me.

Throughout my adolescence and into my early adulthood, I was a writer. Any chunk of spare time I had, I devoted to writing. I wrote poetry, short stories, letters, journal entries–I even attempted to write plays and screenplays. I did all of this without prompting or purpose–I did not write with the intention of getting published (though it was always a fantasy of mine) or because I had an assignment, I wrote because it was what I wanted to do, all the time. I stayed up late almost every night, writing and collaging journal entries, or typing out letters on a second-hand typewriter I’d borrowed from a friend. I composed opening lines of poems or short stories in my head as I walked or rode the bus from place to place. I looked forward to the end of every shift at every job I ever had because I had something in my head I wanted to commit to paper. Everything I read inspired me to write.

My poems were mostly bad, and my short stories were worse, but the words, terrible as they may have been, came out of me as though a geyser had been loosed. I had no control over them–they were there, and they had to be committed to paper. Though I did have temporary bouts of writer’s block when I was too happy–I’ve always written better when depressed–for the most part, I was never without inspiration. I carried a journal or notebook with me always, and for many years not a day went by when I did not write something in it.

Going to school for writing was an eventuality. Writing is a profession that requires–unless you are stricken with an exceptional innate brilliance, which I was not–at least a college degree. Unfortunately, that eventuality appears to have taken the writer in me and put her into severe hibernation, without a foreseeable date of release. With the exception of this blog, which is usually nothing more than narcissistic ranting, I do not write for pleasure anymore. Though I am always up late at night, usually it is for work, or drinking, or the excessive consumption of inane television. The 8 1/2 x 11 hardbound journals I used to carry around and tape all sorts of things into have given way to a compact black journal which is mostly neglected. I haven’t filled a big fat journal in years. I don’t write poetry anymore–not for years.

The amount of time that I must devote to studying and reading for school has made pleasure writing a thing of my past. I write assignments at the last possible moment before they are due, and with the utmost resentment for their necessity. I frequently have ideas for short stories, and even novels, but I force myself to abandon them because if I were to sit down at my computer and attempt to commit them to writing, I would be taking up time that should be devoted to schoolwork, and I’d fall behind in my classes. I have learned to look at writing with a practical approach–what do I reasonably have a chance at getting published?–and have almost forgotten how to write creatively and without abandon as I used to do.

Right now, in fact, I am ridden with guilt over the fact that I should be working on a paper that’s due Thursday instead of sitting here with this delicious glass of Pinot Noir and typing this blog. The guilt is the culprit, I know. The fact that I have learned this regimented approach to learning, with its deadlines and due dates and page requirements, has killed my ability to write and read spontaneously and for my own enjoyment. The threat of bad grades and irresponsibility–something I never considered before I embarked upon the “college experience” has made it impossible to approach writing as I once did. Right now, with this glass of wine in hand, I could sit on my porch and type for hours, and create something either beautiful or terrible–but I know that I have to get up early, hours before my class, and do the reading. Then, after class, I have to write a paper for a different class. After that, I have to get up and go to school all day, after which I’ll be too tired to endeavor anything creative, and the next day I begin a weekend chock-full of work.

How is it that when I was no more than a waitress or a retail employee, I wrote five times as much as I do as a writing student? And why did the writing process itself feel so much better? Have I made the wrong choice in attempting to make this love of mine into a career? Should I have pursued something entirely different and not requiring of an education in order to afford myself the time and mental tenacity to write?

When I think of myself in the abstract, I see a rebellious girl, or woman, sitting in near-dark with a glass of wine or whiskey, with either a big book or a notebook in hand. I see a woman who lives entirely by her own desires, a hedonist who bends to no one’s wishes. I see a romantic, a person willing to live on nearly nothing in order to be able to create. But that is not who I have become. I have become a “normal,” a person who prioritizes responsibility and deadlines to the crushing expense of her inner desires. For the first time in my life, I’m depressed, and I cannot write because I keep convincing myself I have more important things to do with what little time I’ve got. I watch TV because it requires little participation, and I’ve come to a point where I’m too tired to participate. I don’t craft anymore. I don’t collage. I sleep, and when I wake up I’m always late for something.

I miss the girl I used to be, and I don’t know how to get her back without quitting school and abandoning the path which I’ve always thought to be the only one worth pursuing. I’ve come too far, and it’s cost me too much time and money to give up now, but when I get this degree–this expensive degree that I’ve worked so hard for–will it have been worth my time? Will I be so destroyed as a writer and creative person that I’ll just take the paper and walk away to a life of office work or bartending?

How do I get me back?

Blather Books Observations Pointless Narcissism Rant School Think

No Wonder Sir Thomas More Was Beheaded

Someday, and I hope it is soon, someone will give me a legitimate and sufficient reason why, pure sadism aside, college professors routinely insist on assigning to their students the most laborious and unreadable muck. Often these assignments are preceded by something along the lines of, “well, it’s a bit dry and not very engaging, but…” Well, if it’s dry and not very engaging, then why the hell should I subject myself to the task of reading it?

I have, as of five minutes ago, officially given up on reading Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, for which our class was granted a total of two days. I am a fast reader, and I take down Shakespeare like it was the Bobbsey Twins, but I liken the attempt to read More’s tireless manifesto to riding a bicycle through wet cement.

The great irony here, too, is that in another class, Magazine Writing, the text insists that one must be as concise as possible in writing, and avoid unnecessary and arrogant clutter. Yet, in my British Literature class, in which I expect to be reading the “greats,” all I have gotten so far is clutter. Of the 110 pages I’ve read so far (and the book is about 145), I would guess that the whole of More’s statement could be conveyed in no more than 50 pages, and that would be generous. His sentences are so long that before you reach the end of them, your eyes begin to cross and you must return to the beginning to recall what exactly he was talking about to begin with.

I know that as the class progresses, and the timeline moves forward, the reading will get to be less tiresome, but I like to think of myself as a diligent student, and it pains me to cast aside an assignment out of frustration in only my first week of classes. Were this the only time this has happened, I would not be so annoyed–but it has happened multiple times, and I’ve started to notice a trend. While I understand that much of 16th century writing is thus cluttered and long-winded, I’m sure that there could be chosen another example of the time period which would at least engage a reader to the point of completing it. I can only imagine the trouble this awful book has given the other students in the class, mostly sophomores, some of whom undoubtedly read more slowly and retain less than I do. I finished Tristram Shandy (which, for those of you who don’t know, is a 700 page book with neither plot nor point, which moves around at random and has a jillion footnotes) and I think I was the only one in the class who did.

If I can take down Sterne as I did, then my inability to finish this godforsaken piece of (completely irrelevant at this point in time) political rubble should be recognized for what it is: proof that More’s writing is dull, overly puffed-up ego-tripping. So what if it was a stab at Henry VIII? So what if More was beheaded for it? I’d behead him, too–and not for the insult. So what if he was sainted by the Catholic Church? I find myself in direct disagreeance with nearly everything the Catholic Church has to say. His complete madness should be evidenced by the fact that he wore lice-ridden hairshirts and whipped himself, for fuck’s sake. And this is someone whose teachings I’m supposed to be enlightened by? No one who purposely mortifies his own flesh with goat hair should be taken as anything less than a lunatic.

So there. Now you all know what I’ve been doing, and why I’ve been so silent lately. I have gone back into “school mode,” which due to my self-defeating class choices means that I will have very little time to write long-winded, puffed-up diatribes of my own.

Family Health Insomnia People Rant

The Bullheaded Tiger With The Indelible Stripes

There comes a time for most of us when the roles of parent and child are switched, and the children start caring for and watching after their parents. As I am an only child, I knew that this would happen to me–that eventually I’d be the person responsible for my father’s health and welfare. I just didn’t think it would be so soon, and–though I knew it would be hard–I didn’t expect that I’d have to sit by and watch while he made decisions that could put him in serious danger.

My father has end-stage liver disease, and is currently awaiting a transplant. He has been in and out of the hospital since March, and each time has been a terrible scare, because my father’s personal habits are negligent at best, and terribly dangerous at worst–he has had open wounds that have been in danger of becoming infected, and it seems that nothing short of a miracle has prevented an infection.

This past week, he was hospitalized and had surgery to repair the destroyed skin on his abdomen from where a buildup of abdominal fluid paired with an abdominal hernia caused the skin in his belly to rupture multiple times. This has been a gory and messy process, and painful. The surgery was successful, and he recovered from it well, and after a week of sitting prone in a hospital bed, the doctors were ready to release him to a rehabilitation facility today, where he’d have medicine monitoring, constant nursing, food provided, and most importantly physical therapy to help him regain the strength in his legs after having spent a week in bed. Surprisingly, my father agreed initially that a “nursing home” was where he needed to go–he felt that he’d be best cared for by professionals who could be completely vigilant and he’d be much safer than he would be at home, alone.

However, my father is a classic-case Type-A control freak, incapable of accepting the fact that anyone other than him is able to do anything correctly. He left his house last week expecting to go in for a daytime doctor’s visit and was gone for a week. During that week, he fretted constantly about his bills, his cat, the fact that his shop was unlocked, and numerous other minutiae. After he’d agreed to go to the rehab facility, he got it in his head that it was absolutely imperative that he go home for one night to “put things in order.” The things he needed to put in order, from what he told me, were all things that could be handled easily by other people, but every time his not going home was mentioned, he got upset and distraught, and insisted, “You don’t understand, I NEED to put my things in order!”

My father’s medical care is covered by MassHealth, and the rehab facility would have been as well, but if he were to go home for one day, the insurance would not cover his stay at the rehab–they will only cover it if a patient goes directly there from the hospital. He had worked up a plan in his head and become so attached to the idea that it was essential for him to go home, that when the social worker informed him his insurance would not cover the rehab if he went home, he decided to forgo the rehab, not the completely unnecessary visit home. The hospital, having no more reason to hold him there, had no choice but to release him, and I, after numerous appeals that he reconsider, had no choice but to accept his foolish and dangerous decision. When he noticed that I was not happy with his decision, he pleaded with me, “Why can’t you just be happy for me that I’m going home?”

The doctors and social workers are convinced that he’ll be back in the hospital within the week–which would not have been a danger had he gone to the rehab as planned. I will not be able to see him because he lives in the middle of goddamn nowhere, and therefore will not be able to ensure that he’s following the doctor’s orders and, most importantly, maintaining decent hygiene (which I absolutely KNOW he will not do). I suppose I can only hope that the visiting nurses will stress the importance of this to him, but then again, he’s notorious for not listening to anyone’s voice but his own.

I am at a loss. I’m responsible for the life and wellbeing of someone who’s still technically of sound mind, and therefore can legally make asshole decisions that could jeopardize his life. As his friend says, “You can’t wipe the stripes off of the tiger.” But I don’t want to see the tiger die from something that could have so easily been prevented. And I don’t want to go through another week like this one, where he’s cooped up in the hospital, connected to a zillion wires, miserable, and taking it all out on me. Rehab would have been a step forward–this is a giant leap backward. He says he’s fully committed to his recovery, and yet he’s consciously made a decision that puts that recovery in tremendous jeopardy.

I have nothing left in my arsenal. I’ve used everything I had, and I’ve got nothing.

I haven’t exhaled in weeks.

Blather Fashion Making Fun Of People Observations People Pop Culture Rant

A Random And Unprovoked Attack On Contemporary Fashion

I have been reading a lot of Chuck Klosterman lately. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Klosterman’s writing, he’s a pop culture and music writer (critic, sort of) with a consistent ability to both esteem and make fun of almost everybody, including himself. I have also been doing quite a bit of traveling between Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, and have been routine witness to some of the most ridiculous fashion trends since Hypercolor.

With that in mind, I took the hour-plus I spent on the subway this afternoon to compile a list of some of the most bothersome developments in recent fashion:

    Five Trends That I Loathe.

5. Diaper Bag Chic

What I’m referring to is the cadre of supposedly stylish women who cart around purses (and if they’re traveling, duffel bags) made of brightly-patterned quilted material, the likes of which were, until recently, reserved for the transportation of Pampers, Similac and the occasional Nuk.

These bags are ugly, tacky, functionally useless in the realm of stuff-protection (as far as I know; they could have Kevlar innards for all I know, I’ve never gotten that close), and tend to get grubby rather quickly. And did I mention that they’re ugly?

4. Overly Tanned White Person Skin

We all know that most people, particularly white people like myself, look healthier and more attractive if they’ve got a tan. This is because tan skin hides many blemishes, goes better with more colors of clothing than “pasty” does, and masks the appearance of bodily flaws such as cellulite, wrinkles and spider-veins. It is also because the Vitamin D absorbed from sun exposure makes you actually healthier, bot just apparently so (everything in moderation, though, of course).

As long as I have been alive, it’s been considered attractive to be tan. It seems, however, that recently a number of young American women (and perhaps foreign women as well) have fallen prey to the predominantly Floridian and Las Vegan belief that “tanner is better.” As evidenced by the legions of crocodilian grandmas in Naples, this is not true.

Of course, unlike many of the melanomic grannies, the young girls have been warned by their moms that too much sun is bad, so they’re getting tan without sun. This is unnatural, and results in a sickly orange color that is apparently so prevalent now that cosmetics companies are producing foundation to match it. These girls don’t look sexy, they look like aliens. I wish someone would tell them.

3. White Trash Hipster

I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I dislike the “hipster” fashion enough that I routinely declare it to be an actual allergy. I believe people should bathe regularly, and I believe that if people have bathed, they should appear clean (sorry, Bumble & Bumble), and not as though they may be harboring Scabies. I think the donning of more than one belt at a time, no matter how cool the belt, is both hideously impractical and, well, stupid-looking. We are humans, after all, not armadilloes. This, along with the leggings-and-miniskirts fad (which went out with Madonna’s cone-tit bra if I’m not mistaken) makes the majority of hipsters appear as though they’ve been dressed by enthusiastic five-year-olds (1). This is not cool, or sexy, regardless of what the girl in the hot-pink skull Keds might tell you (the girl who wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing anything with a skull on it until they became incredibly trendy in 2005).

But what is even less cool, and less sexy, is the recently-championed “white trash” aesthetic.

Trucker hats. “Wife beaters.” Mullets. Flannel shirts with the sleeves ripped off. Big, blocky Converse sneakers with the tongues hanging out. Ripped fishnet stockings and visible neon bras. Drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) or Schlitz beer (2).

Yes, there is a portion of America which does all of these things simply because it doesn’t know better (or is too broke to do anything else, or is unaware that 1987 was twenty years ago). To consciously mock a rather unheralded group of Americans (and Canadians) by dressing like them, often to a ridiculously exaggerated degree, is not clever or ironic. It’s stupid, and it’s rude. And from what I’ve seen in stores, it’s goddamn expensive. Paying $40 in New York for a plastic and polyester hat that you could get for three bucks in Arkansas–that’s about as bright (and cool) as picking up an ice cream cone off the sidewalk and eating it.

2. Urban Camouflage

Traditional “camo” is ugly, and clashes with every color except brown, olive drab “O.D.” green, and black (3). This is because, according to its intended purpose, it’s not supposed to be worn with colors. Camo is intended to be worn while hiding in vegetation with the express purpose of a) killing something before it notices you’re there or b) avoiding being killed by going unnoticed.

With that in mind, I cannot think of a single reason that “Urban Camouflage” was created. Not only does it look ugly, and clash with everything (4), the odds of Urban Camo making you invisible in an urban setting and thereby protecting you are ridiculously slim. I’d say they’re about equal to the odds of the FBI discovering that the Zodiac Killer was a friendly church marm from Kansas (5).

In my opinion, Urban Camo, due to its sheer hideousness, transforms its wearer instantly into a walking target. If you wear it, you’re pretty much asking for someone to shoot you on principle (6).

1. Frye (or other, knockoff brand) Harness Boots

Don’t read me wrong on this one–I love Frye boots. I love them with a passion only Imelda Marcos ever felt for footwear. I have a pair in red-brown, and I wear them as often as weather (7) or activity (8) will permit. When I become rich and shameless, I’ll buy a pair in every color but yellow.

What I don’t love about the harness boot trend is the “trend” part. Some displaced stylist happened upon a hot girl in Fryes on a ranch somewhere in Montana about two years ago, and all of a sudden Lindsay Lohan’s rented a room at the Chateau Marmont (9) to house her collection. “Fashionable” college students are wearing them with miniskirts, leggings and trucker hats while swigging PBR at frat parties. It’s downright sacreligious.

I’ve been wearing harness boots since I was seventeen (10) and worked in a motorcycle shop, right around the time that Paris Hilton was learning how to read (in the eighth grade). I wore them despite the fact that the prevailing fashion idioms at the the time dicatated that my footwear was clunky, mannish and tough.

I liken the appropriation of my beloved boots by “them” to the proliferation of bandwagon Red Sox fans after the Series win in 2004. You can say you’ve always loved them, but I’ll never believe you.

1. I forgot to mention the neon-yellow “pumps,” which further solidify this theory.
2. Doing this because of poverty is entirely different than doing it for fashion.
3. Debatable. Despite the proliferation of this combo among metalhead circles, I still think it looks awful. I’ve sported it before, I should know.
4. I’m also convinced that Camo, in all its variations, makes everyone look fatter. Even Mary-Kate Olsen and Kate Moss.
5. Which is to say it’s possible, but I’d say the smarter money would be on Britney Spears going to college. Ever.
6. This is also true of anything in the color “chartreuse.”
7. Frye boots in 80 degree weather is as stupid as Ugg Boots with miniskirts, a trend which is so idiotic that it’s not worthy of a full paragraph of ranting.
8. I’d rather have my toenails ripped out than waitress in Fryes ever again.
9. Somewhat reputable sources have claimed that Lohan keeps a room at the Marmont for her clothing.
10. Just so you don’t get the mistaken idea that I am in any way fashionable, I still own a pair of Corcoran military jump boots that are held together with a mish-mash of hockey tape and duct tape, and I love them. I have also been told, on numerous occasions and even by my own father, that I dress like a 14 year old boy, and we all know that most 14 year old boys are as dumb as garden gnomes.