Friday, May 30, 2008

The Lava Lamp

The lava lamp sitting next to the TV was rarely turned on. Once it had been used often - during parties, when he was playing video games, when he had a girl over. But lately, none of those things were happening much, so he just left it off, sitting there, the wax a solid lump at the bottom.

He bought the lamp several years ago because he thought they were fun, kinda kitschy and he figured if nothing else, it'd give him some extra entertainment when he got high. At first his friends thought it was a little stupid. It was just a lamp filled with green moving slime. They didn't understand how all the hippies in the 60's could have thought these things were fascinating. But then, one night, in the midst of a debate about justice, Brian made a comparison between fairness and the lava lamp. His argument said that justice could be just as malleable as the lava in the lamp. It could change with seemingly invisible forces and what we once accepted as just was now something completely different. This incongruous comparison sparked an hours-long conversation where the lava lamp was used as a metaphor for everything.

The lava lamp, or the goop inside the lamp, was like Barack and Hillary - competing entities forced to work together within the confines of the democratic party. It was like the lack of beer in the refrigerator - annoying yet fascinating. He kept a list of all the ways the world was like the lava lamp. Each weekend, they'd come up with more and more examples. Eventually the list started to get dumb. Entries like "the lava lamp is like oil on top of a pan of water" was true but hardly a revelation.

As the ideas started to dry up, the lamp was turned on less and less and his friends moved on to other amusements. Lately it was kicking each other in the balls to see who could best withstand the pain. He'd taken to wearing a cup most of the time. He was thinking of selling the lava lamp on Craig's list and getting a new set of friends.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Richer than I thought

The other day, Mr. H. sent me this link: Have you ever seen it? It's pretty cool, and it definitely puts even what you think is the paltry amount you make into perspective. Even if you were to take out all of our so called high taxes and just put in your take home pay, you probably still are doing better than most of the people in the world. It's nice to be rich isn't it?

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Why is it that sometimes people get on the train and then look around at all of the empty seats trying to decide which is the best one to sit in? Tonight on my way home not one but two guys did this. Meanwhile I'm standing behind both of them waiting for them to make up their minds. The first guy couldn't decide if he wanted to face backwards or sit in the hobo corner. He chose the hobo corner. The second guy then had to decide if he wanted to sit facing backwards or in towards the middle of the car. He chose facing backwards presumably so he could stare out the window - which is exactly what he's doing now. Finally I got to sit in the facing inward seat and here we are. I should have sat down next to one of them and then moved to the other after a couple of stops.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008


That's just too cool.

Sent from Gmail for mobile |

I'm sitting at my desk playing around with all things Google. I'm seeing how the mobile blogger works. Supposedly I can send an email to blogger and they'll post it to my blog. If this works you'll be getting all kinds of blogging updates from me.

Sent from Gmail for mobile |

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Letter from a Damen Ave. Bathroom

While confined here in my bathroom, I came across your years' worth of dirt and grime. Seldom do I pause while cleaning the bathroom to respond to previous tenants' filth.

I think I should indicate why I am here scrubbing the Bathroom, since you seemed content with its disgusting state. I am here because filth is here. I am aware that the cleanliness of this one room is interrelated to all other rooms in the Apartment. I can not sit idly by in the Kitchen and not be concerned about what happens in the Bathroom. Dirt anywhere is a threat to sanitation everywhere.

You deplore the efforts taking place in the Bathroom. But your actions fail to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about these efforts. It is unfortunate that cleaning is taking place in the Bathroom, but it is even more unfortunate that I was left with no alternative.

In any massive cleaning effort there are four basic steps: assessing the problem; gathering materials; donning of gloves; and direct action. We have gone through all the steps in the Bathroom. There can be no gainsaying the fact that immense filth engulfs this room. The Bathroom is probably the most thoroughly disgusting room in the Apartment. Its ugly record of unsanitary conditions is widely known. These are the hard, brutal facts. On the basis of these conditions, you, the former tenants should have cleaned. But you consistently refused to engage in even rudimentary cleaning.

Then, last April, came the opportunity of the landlord to right your wrongs. In the course of a lease signing, certain promises were made by the landlord -- for example, to clean the apartment before we moved in. As the weeks went by, we realized we were the victims of a broken promise. A quick sponge wiped over allowed the underlying dirt to return. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present ourselves armed with cleaning supplies. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of Bathroom purification. We began on the wall behind the door, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: "Are you able to clean years of cobwebs and hair from under the sink?" "Are you able to endure what must be urine splatters on the wall next to the toilet?" "If the stains do not come off the floor, can you live with that?"'

You speak of our activity in the Bathroom as extreme. At first I was disappointed that fellow Apartment dwellers could see my efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Bathroom community. One is the force of complacency, made up in part by tenants who, as a result of long years of living in squalor, are so drained of self respect and a sense of hygiene that they have adjusted to filth. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred toward tenants who do not keep their apartments tidy. It is expressed by Landlords who have lost faith in tenants.

I wish you had taken it upon yourself to clean the Bathroom. Yet, one day this Apartment will recognize its real heroes. They will be the scrub brush with the noble sense of purpose that enables it to wash away years of soap scum. They will be wringed and battered sponges who rose up with a sense of dignity and decided not to fear the underside of the claw foot tub. One day the Apartment will know that when these forgotten implements of washing found their way to the Bathroom they were standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our fight against germs, thereby bringing our Apartment back to those great wells of sanitation which were dug deep by Clorox and Lysol.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Objects in mirror no longer there

The red jetta has suffered an indignity of reflective proportions. At some point between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, someone decided to rip the passenger side mirror off said jetta. They didn't quite accomplish their feat as it was still attached but hanging forlornly down. Mild outrage consumed me as I pictured some young kids walking by the car and picking on mine rather than the others. Was this a not so subtle message to move the car? It had been parked in the same spot for a week. Or was it a bout of drunken vandalism - there is a four a.m. bar just around the corner. Mr. H. doesn't think we were the only ones targeted, which means it was probably kids, or drunks, or drunk kids. But I don't care about those other cars. I only care about my ability to parallel park without the aid of a side mirror.

I also wonder if possibly it was the car trying to pull them plug on herself as Mr. H. and I have been discussing purchasing a newerish car. I guess we should stop having those conversations while we're driving.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Blonde on Blond

Yesterday, after a meeting with some IBM sales people, one of them, a brunette woman, explained to some of my coworkers that she was late to the meeting because she "totally had a blond moment and went to the wrong building." She was standing right next to me and had been talking to me right before she said this. I wasn't really upset, but I did have a second of "I can't believe she just said that" incredulity. She promptly apologized and later treated me to a Starbucks.

Will the discrimination never end?

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