Monday, December 14, 2009
So listen, folks. The fall semester has ended, and I won’t be tutoring the next five weeks. I’ll have the semblance of a normal life and will be focusing on my various literary projects and less on blogging or blog reading. So don’t “unfollow” me or I’ll find out where you live and kidnap your pets for my voodoo.
I’ll be in touch.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I’d like to regurgitate a small resentment that’s been festering in my heart for some time. So, a reason for my directionless plight of so long is because an English degree standing alone is only an intrinsic reward, as I mentioned once upon a time. Initially, I was going to be teacher certified, so I could enjoy the same high school disrespect that I offered to my teachers in the 90s. I quickly discovered that the renowned teacher certification program at Texas State University is a joke. The two classes that I took, and I’ll be singling out instructors in a few sentences to come, were a complete waste of time, all exaggeration aside, I can’t think of a single useful thing I learned in either class. The first of my Curriculum & Instruction classes was taught by a very nice man named Hal. Professor Hal was genial and entertaining, but he didn’t know the material beyond his interesting personal experiences as a teacher and principal. His test reviews were his tests, verbatim, and they required almost no memorization or utilization of study habits. Again, I liked the man, but he struck me as a fellow who was placed at the head of a class whose subject he understood through years of experience but didn’t understand the science behind his knowledge. The second C&I class was taught by a man named Christopher L. Sisto. Unlike Professor Hal, Sisto was a complete idiot. His lectures involved the literal reading of the textbook. That’s it. He was an extraordinarily lazy educator, who reminded me more of a high school coach than a real man. Fine. I could have just quietly despised him if I were able to simply skip his class and show for tests, but the strict Education Department policy, which he arbitrarily enforced, established an entire letter grade drop after three unexcused absences, and I had no choice but to sit in his classroom and squirm with outrage. So to my immediate regret, I dropped the certification part of my English degree and have suffered financial hardship ever since.
But the gold medal for the world’s shittiest teacher goes to a man not in Texas State’s Education Dept. but the English Department. His name is John Hill, and if he’s not dead from old age, retired, or beaten to death by a seriously disappointed student, avoid his class. At the beginning of my college career at Texas State, I noticed an interesting class called “The Concord Writers” in the school’s catalog. It wasn’t offered ever semester, so I was delighted to find an opening in both my schedule and the school’s, allowing me to enroll. I brazening skipped almost the entire semester, showing for maybe eight days of class in the four months of schooling. Why, you ask? Because Dr. Hill was an even lazier teacher than Sisto, but he was tenured and involved with many English- and Academic-related committees for the school. This academic involvement left him untouchable in his position, and we never, never discussed any of the Concord writers in his Concord Writers class. The preferred topic was Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. No shit. The closest thing to covering Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Melville were questions like, “What kind of car do you think Thoreau would drive today?” to which an idiot student (much to my distress) replied, “I think he would have driven a Prius because he liked nature.” We only had two grades in Hill’s class: two papers at 40% and 60%. I received A’s on both but got a B in the class, probably for attendance. I never complained about any of my teachers. I regarded it as bad karma, and I didn’t want to be responsible for their losing their jobs, but after all these years, I still feel cheated, so I thought I’d at least mention it, here, on my low platform.
Update: Dr. John Hill retired in 2008, and Christopher L. Sisto is now Senior Lecturer. Professor Hal is still at large.
Friday, November 13, 2009
So yes, I supposed I could try my hand at sensational screenplays like Saw or...or whatever other paycheck movies the kids are droning to, but Charlie (that's Mr. Kaufman to you) would judge me. I'm sure of it. Or, maybe not. Maybe he likes Saw. Roger likes Saw, and he's an intelligent man. Maybe it's me. Is it me? Crap, it's me. I'm in an ivory tower on an island of conceited stupidity, an all I have is Internet access. Sigh. You see the delineation of this short blog? It's taken me three days and many "between moments interruption" to complete it. I don't even like the damn things after three days, so why would I concern myself with proofreading and transitions? Damn you people and your external pressures. Damn you Kaufman for making me realize that screenwriting is a legitimate form of literature. I'll just blog until I grow bored and leave it laying half-finished and half-passioned among the rest of my quarter creations. What monsters they would be if electricity were to jolt them to life. Would they try to kill me, their negligent father? Bah! I'm done.
Friday, November 6, 2009
And who is at the greatest risk for this plague-like nightmare? Oh no one special, just your BABIES! Your babies and your pregnant wife and secretary. Do you want them dead? Because they will be. Grandma, Grandpa, you’re cool. You’ve got grit, and I admire that, but we need you to unsnap your pocketbooks now and start shelling out dough for little Timmy and his preggo mama’s vaccination. They were sniffling this morning. Whoa, whoa, not too fast now. The healthcare cartels have a delicate balance here. It’s important to bank on this, of course, but it’s also important that they create the right demand as well as the right shortage for the government to appear incompetent with its distribution. Damn, dirty apes.
Anyway, I’m still paranoid.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
This here’s the Texas Book Festival. It was conceived and executed, so to speak, in 1995 by Laura Bush to promote Texas authors, but it has since gone international and attracted tens of thousands of literary aficionados, year after year. The festival's tents stretch several city blocks in front of the Capitol for a single weekend out of the year. There are readings, performances, and demonstrations, and you can often times meet a favorite author or two. There’re usually panels of ‘em pompously speaking from House and Senate floor podiums within the Capitol building or they're signing within tents. You can find local and statewide publications ranging from cookbooks to periodicals to fiction to...The New York Times? Why was that there? I don’t know. Anyway, I ran into Mr. and Mrs. Bash along with a sibling Bash, and together we met a friend who works at the Capitol and received a guided walk through with an inside man’s knowledge. That was cool.
For State rights Guaranteed under the Constitution. The people of the South, animated by the spirit of 1776, to preserve their rights, withdrew from the Federal compact in 1881. The North resorted to coercion. The South, against overwhelming numbers and resources, fought until exhausted.
During the war, there were twenty two hundred and fifty seven engagements; in eighteen hundred and eighty two of these, at least one regiment took part. Number of men enlisted:
Confederate armies, 600,00; Federal armies, 2,859,132.
Losses from all causes:
Confederate, 437,000; Federal, 485,216.
If you’re not schooled or interested in American history, you can trust me when I say that this is fucked up and even a little unsettling. You’re free to draw your own conclusions, but I may be returning to this subject later so that I may help you see it my way. I’m still scratching my head over the audacity of "to preserve their rights." The book festival, however, is barrels of geek fun. It’s over now, but it's still small enough to be a great opportunity for recently published authors, so drill down here for more info.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Well, my first rejection has reared its ugly head. Harper’s Magazine politely told me to eat shit in a SASE (that didn’t contain my short story by the way) I received Saturday. In a way, I’m glad I heard from them so quickly. Of the 11 publications I submitted to, around three are major magazines. Had a smaller one immediately decided to print my short, I’d have always wondered if a larger publication would have scooped it up if given enough time. Regardless, my reflexive response to instantaneously being jilted was, “Dicks!” How could they have given my story “careful consideration” in such a short amount of time?! My obsessive mind immediately broke down the US Postal timeline: I dropped my bundle of envelopes in a mailbox on Saturday the 17th (where they laid patiently until Monday morning); Sunday the 18th goes by with no delivery; there’s no possible way it could have arrived on the 19th; it’s likely the envelope to Harper’s arrived mid morning to early afternoon on Tuesday, October 20, where the editorial assistant “Julie” read the first two pages, realized my story was a self-indulgent piece of sexist literature, trashed it, and happily dated a rejection form letter for the 20th and mailed it back to me.
That was my immediate response, but then I got to thinking. I didn’t submit to Harper’s Magazine because I’m a huge fan of their work. In fact, I’ve only ever skimmed the magazine. A smart writer would have cased out a magazine and whored his or her style in order to match up. But then what’s the point of writing? I like the way I write. I’m hyperaware myself and how you, dear reader, might be reacting to the words “shit,” “dicks,” and “whored,” but still, I make controlled decisions to use them, and I sneer with vulgar accomplishment at the thought that you’re tastefully averted. I’ve said before: there’s virtue in being awful. Perhaps I’m just a sore loser. Perhaps I’m just a troll. That doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t perform any quality research on who exactly might be interested in my literary themes. Oh well. One down, ten to go.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
This is the 360 (Pennybacker) Bridge, shown from a favorite vantage point that most Austinites have seen overly reproduced on murals, photo galleries, and genius blogs. I’ve affectionately dubbed it (the vantage point), “Hold My Cowboy Hat So I Can Drink Sixteen Cans Of High Life And Fall To My Death Peak” since I’m not aware of any official title for it. Notice the spotted homes among the green hills in the distance? That’s Westlake, where rich people live. I try to avoid going there because local lore has it that most of them belong to a sodomist sect, founded by none other than Texas’ own Stephen F. Austin. I made that last part up. But, they are rich.
From the same perspective, this is our lovely, drought-resistant sagebrush. It’s wild and native and fragrant, and it’s a pleasant opposite to the also native rattle snakes and cacti with which most of us are more concerned. It's purple. Just trust me. If you follow the Colorado River, it’ll cut through downtown Austin. True story. See the buildings?
I like this picture because it captures these gnarly cedar trees, sagebrush, and that orange monster in one frame. Cedar trees as well as high humidity, molds, and pollen combine year-round to make Austin a kind of allergic nightmare for people who first arrive. I couldn’t breathe out of my nose for the first 15 years of living here, but my manliness overcame and now I eat a bowl of cedar chips with pollen sprinkles every morning. Notice the tree roots breaking the limestone? That’s called mechanical weathering, kids.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Here’re the rules.
1. “The Honest Scrap” award is not one to hold all to your self but it must be shared!
2. The recipient has to tell 10 true things about themselves in their blog that no one else knows.
3. The recipient has to pass along this prestigious award to 10 more bloggers.
4. Those 10 bloggers all have to be notified they have been given this award.
5. Those 10 bloggers should link back to the blog that awarded them.
I don’t eat for pleasure. Eating, like sleeping, is an irritable chore that my body has committed to without my permission. As a result, I have a remarkable capacity for consuming the same bland food over and over and over again. Ice cream, of course, is a different matter. The only reason I eat ice cream is because I can’t liquefy Rocky Road and inject it directly into my neck.
Old people tend to enjoy the same crap that I do, and I have been the only person under 65 in line at Luby’s Cafeteria on many, many...many occasions.
If I were to call myself well-versed in something, it’d be that I roundly suck at Spanish, French, the violin, and the guitar, but I’ve studied enough of all four to not get rid of my books or instruments.
People who aren’t interested in everything are boring assholes without substance. I’m sorry if that’s you, but it’s time you heard it with honest constructiveness.
I love music but rarely watch local bands here in Austin, “the live music capital of the world,” because I have an unhealthy jealousy for other people’s ambition and success. I also don’t like people.
My girlfriend is an unbelievable ray of sunshine on my life, and I’m overwhelmingly thankful to have met her.
I have tattoos on my right forearm, left shoulder, and right latissimus dorsi. They enhance my sexy by three, and I’ve analyzed several different responses to them: 1) the woman who couldn’t care less about them but pretends to be fascinated in order to strike up a conversation and eventually remove her clothing for me; 2) the cold and detached woman who’s genuinely curious about them but doesn’t want to appear as though she’s pretending to be fascinated in order to strike up a conversation and eventually remove her clothing for me; 3) the woman who only brings them up in order to safely expose the butterfly, flower, or heart on the semi-private places of her body. The revelation is an instant turn-on that I resent for its frustrating results. Men don’t ask about my tattoos unless they enjoy the spooning company of other men.
I have no tolerance for intolerance (my favorite paradox) and only suffer fools because my college degree is worth as much stapled to my ass as it is printed on my resume, and I can’t find a good full-time job. But, I do suffer.
I would have been a much better European than American.
Here are some bloggers whom I read and am passing this torch to:
Sara Says Awesome
Something On Your Face
Good Twin/Bad Twin –already posted something like this but gave me a Kreativ Blogger award, so kudos to her.
I switched everything to 9 because I’m a wild man.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I haven’t heard back from The New Yorker, but it’s only been a couple weeks. Their submission guidelines warned me that I could wait up to six months for a response, but my defense mechanisms require I stand detached and distant from hope as there are many, many writers who write...buttloads better’n me. The Sun will have the next honor of receiving my prose. It’s less well known than The New Yorker, but it values personal essays, and though mine is only a few simple pages of my jiggling ding-dong, I find it very agreeable.
Wish me luck.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Earlier today, I was sitting at Barnes & Noble, celebrating my three-day abstinence from coffee with a coffee, the purchase of a new book Chariots of the Gods, and a settling in to seriously adjust one of my short stories for submission when irony presented itself. You see, when I write in public, I enjoy looking at people not talking to them. But it’s people that I enjoy. I rip snippets of conversation and tuck them away for later artistic use; I ogle beautiful women and pretend that I’m a super intellect who types really fast; I relish being present for awkward first dates; I thrive in the gushing accommodation I hear in public job interviews: “Judy? Hi, I’m Over-Dressed-And-Nervous-And-Not-Going-To-Get-The-Job. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” “Hello, Over-Dressed-And-Nervous-And-Not-Going-To-Get-The-Job. I’m sorry I’m so late! Traffic was backed up all the way to the office, and I had to make an emergency stop at a Diamond Shamrock before I shit my pantsuit.” “Oh, it’s no trouble, Judy. It’s only been 45 minutes. May I buy you a coffee?” “Yes.” I judge, but I’m never engaged. I’ve been told I have an unapproachable exterior. It’s the eyebrows I think. But, morons and degenerates don’t seem to mind, and they lovingly gravitate toward me as though I’m Mother-fuckin’ Theresa. I can spot ‘em a mile away too. It’s awful. Anyway, a mentally unsound degenerate approached me today.
The café at B&N was spilling with people, but when I arrived, there were two tables pushed together along a long bench seat lining the wall. I cleaned one off, and pushed the other a respectful distance from mine, so someone else could use it. I had just snugged in a pair of earbuds to drown the deafening chatter when a mismatched sociological study materialized across the café, spied the empty table and then my holiness. He squeezed beside me and immediately started commenting on how he was surprised my computer wasn’t a Mac as all people from the University of Texas have MacBooks (I have no and have never had any affiliation or signifiers to indicate an affiliation to UT (Unless you count an ex-girlfriend who actually shat burnt orange feces, the school’s most recognizable gang color)). He asked me to watch his stuff and stood again to collect the cheesecake and coffee he had ordered. His ass bumped my table upon his return, spilling my coffee and pissing me off. In his defense, he said “Sorry, sorry, sorry” right away, and I actually felt a little guilty for assigning him to social incompetence solely based on his appearance. He was a little younger than me, pale and lanky, disheveled and dandruff sprinkled hair and facial hair, coke-bottle glasses with smudged and dirty lenses, and a fisherman’s jacket. A fisherman’s jacket, folks. Was I wrong to immediately wish he would not sit next to me? He settled into his region of our bench and picked up his fork. “What are you doing?” he asked, peering at my computer screen.” I heard him fine, but I popped my earbuds out to emphasize the inconvenience and told him I was trying to log onto a network. “You can’t do it?” he asked. “Still trying,” I told him as I screwed the sound-dampening devices back into my ears. He gawked at my laptop a moment longer and started gobbling his delicious-looking cheesecake. A minute later, his plate was empty, and my peripheral vision detected his attention again. I ignored him but stiffened when his hand hesitantly reached out, and I felt his long thumbnail press my elbow. “Can you watch my stuff?” he asked over the calming sound of Iron & Wine’s “The Trapeze Swinger.” I uncorked my ears, and he repeated his request. His cheesecake had liquefied in his mouth and frothy strands of pink and white saliva connected his upper and lower lips like stalagmites that made it. “I won’t be here very long,” I told him, unwilling to be responsible for whatever gamer magazines he had within his store bag. “Well I know that,” he said with a laugh that stressed his wet cheesecake into gossamer strands. “Just watch my stuff.” I deflated a little but committed. He collected his fork and plate, returned it to the ordering counter, five feet away, and sat down again. When two tables by an electrical outlet cleared simultaneously, I gathered my stuff and relocated in order to recharge my computer battery. We were adjacent to each other now, and I could still see him out of the corner of my eye, staring. “Oh come on,” he called across the café. “You know you like this seat. You just moved.” His insight was as startling as the distance his voice had carried, so I pretended not to hear him. He waited for acknowledgment then grabbed his gamer mags and mumbled to the table directly behind me.
Is that not the nature of harassment? The man made me move to another table then followed. I didn’t need to charge my computer. And why me? Outwardly, I’m not a friendly-looking person. Out of some psychological deficiency, I have a perpetually macho scowl on my face. I speak loudly and with crisp depth. My personal bubble extends farther than the average asshole. I’m crotchety for God’s sake. But the crazies don’t seem to recognize that and insist on touching me or standing too close to me or following me down grocery store aisles.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Your best friend,
Carlos "Clint 'The Good' Eastwood" Alderete
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I hope not. This is someone trying to show their support but fucking it up.** It's bandwagon mentality gone awry. It's Rachel Maddow and Keith Olberman's smug fanaticism. It's Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh making love in a Georgia roadside motel.***
I don't know why morons irritate me so. The person driving this car is obviously in relative agreement with my political beliefs, but I'd rather not have him on my side. To be fair, I did speed to 75mph, cautiously changed "shooting modes" on my camera, and greedily snapped several pictures with the intention of making fun of the owner on this blog, for you. But that was for you, and if you have an Obama vehicle alteration, tattoo, haircut, or if you now say "look" each time you're about to make a long-winded point, you're an asshole, but you're reading my blog, so you're my asshole, and I love you dearly.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
It's the beginning of the second half of summer, and the clock ticks closer and closer to my having to visit and speak to classrooms full of students about the tutoring center. I hate it. Public speaking, that is. Every semester, I visit 1, 2, 3, 4...10 classes, tremble for about two minutes and scurry out in flutter of papers. I don't want to be there; the students don't give two shits for my being there; and, the professor jealously regards me as an interrupting student-stealer, which I am. On the plus side, I enjoy the upward, cow-eyed stare of so many freshmen beauties and hope that I'll have the pleasure of sitting side-by-side with each of them, overwhelmed by their perfume, overwhelmed by their young bodies.
Pig! you may cry out. But, I am what I am, a man, I am. Am I? I am. I am just a man, a synonym for pig, so I guess you'd be right. I make no apologies.
It's still quiet in my half of the now divided center. A math tutor enters, and I perk with the opportunity for human interaction. She puts both hands over a chair and wheels it out of my room. Students have bottlenecked into the math side of the center's collective brain, and there aren't any more places to sit. The door opens from down the hall, and a momentary bubble of chaotic conversation swells and dies with its closing. I sigh like an uninvited geek and breathe hotly on my freezing fingertips. The inhospitable cold reminds me that flesh tingles and stiffens, and now would be a grand time to tutor a scantily clad Barbie. Pig! But they must know I'm here, and for that, I must insert myself at the front of their classes and look like a big pussy first.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Please note my shitty car.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I’ve always considered myself a decent artist. When I was a kid, I could draw pictures of family members, superheroes, or just about anything I stared at long enough, and I’d flex my artistic ability by making Christmas portraits for grandmas or pet drawings for teachers. All was well until I hit puberty and decided to use my talent for degenerate purposes.
You see, I was in love with a supermodel named Kathy. Only, Ms. Ireland did not love me back. I know this because to my knowledge, she never posed nude for anything but my imaginative day dreams, despite all the stars I wished upon. Solution? Draw her likeness, sans bikini. So I did. It was lovely and quite realistic with the exception of the massive 70s bush I thought all women packed in their bloomers. Upon completion, I called a meeting of neighborhood boys, and like birds in arrow formation, rode our bikes to the corner video store to mass produce my masterpiece via copy machine. One of the boys’ older brothers was a clerk there, and after feeding several dimes into the copier, I ceremoniously presented the older boy with a warm duplicate. But instead of approving of my gift, he tensed and regarded the reproduction nervously, and through tight lips, he mumbled, “Yule effed thor engine alumass.” I leaned closer and turned my head to hear him. “You left the original, dumbass!” I turned desperately to the machine, not ten feet away, and already a woman was closing its hood and holding Kathy’s portrait before her raised eyebrows. She looked at me and delicately extended the paper as though it were a real piece of art, and she didn’t want it creased. “Here you go,” she said kindly. “I don’t need one.” For the first time in my life, my entire body heated with the most tragic of self-inflicted humiliation, and when I reach out, my chubby and hairless arms were painted red. The woman’s tiny daughter peeped around from behind her mother’s huge purse as I shamefully claimed the filthy illustration. My throat involuntarily gulped to relieve its dry condition, and I thanked her with a timid and prepubescent grunt.
I wasn’t in trouble, of course. She wasn’t my mother, but she was an adult, and she was a she. I had clumsily revealed a dark and deeply rooted male motivation to a female outsider. She saw my secrets on that paper as clearly as if she’d seen me step out of a shower, naked and shriveled. Had a man found the picture, I’d like to think he’d have patted me knowingly on the shoulder and said, “Son, be more careful next time.” Instead, I got a woman who was visibly disoriented, alarmed, and sobered in one expression. It was a significant moment in my young life, and I never drew a naked celebrity again.*
*Unless you count the Disney porn flip-book of ’94, in which Goofy smears peanut butter on his perineum, sets up an 8mm, and whistles for Pluto.