Friday, May 18, 2007

The Carousel of Progress: Melted Cheese/Dead Poets Edition

To pour smelling-salts into the open wound of my recent social-networking-drop-out , MediaWeek's just reported that 70 percent of robots young humans belong to things like myspace and anyone who doesn't will fail at life. Luckily, I've been comfortable since 1981 just chillin' in the outcasted 30 percent [fighting against the grain, etc.] so whatevs, obviously they found their survey-takers on social networking sites, I dunno, I didn't read the article, that woulda been like reading Fitness magazine during a Fibro attack, which I've never done. I'd read People Who Can't Leave Their Room/Bed Magazine, otherwise known as Poets & Writers.

[guess y'all gotta join OurChart now!!!]

Seemingly Unrelated Tangent: There's this period of time in May between when the heat sets in and when your air-conditioner gets set in.

That's happening right now. What did people do before air conditioning? [Continuation of the last blog's opening query: what did Emily Dickinson do without air conditioning?] I was an American-history obsessed child, pining to travel The Oregon Trail, churn butter, befriend the Cherokee, be the Cherokee, etc. Or I'd wish I was Pocahontas [she's my great-great-great-etc-grandmother. See photo, LEFT, in which I wear hand-made Native American "headband" In Earnest, circa '94] or Jo March: climbing trees, playing boy's games, cutting off my hair, and ultimately opening a school for poor boys, a.k.a. "ragamuffins," so that all people can be equal and learn-ed. But now I realize that wouldn't've been much fun without air conditioning. '

So today I introduce a new segment: THE CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS. In which I look back on the century and tell you what's good and what makes me wanna live in a Wigwam.

[One day, I'll progress into a blogger who writes smooth, well-founded transitions and concise, well-founded introductions.]

[P.S.: My track record for "sticking to the 'segment idea'" for all previously conceptualized segments: 0%. This one's good though, I think.]

Four categories: VIRTUAL, LARGE BOX-SHAPED OBJECTS, PORTABLE ITEMS, FOOD-STUFFS. Might repeat these categories for future segments. Might not. You never know what I'm gonna do. After all, lately TB & I's internet presence has felt much like a complicated act of cyber-performance-art.


W/O: myspace, obvs!
Just call me! So I can ignore you! Want a hot photo of me? There aren't any. What if I turned "Sorry" into an abbreviation, like "Totes" and "Obvs"? It'd sound like "SARS," which, as a disease, is something to be sorry about, I mean, SORS about. I crack myself up. Seriously, I'm laughing right now. SORS, dudes! I've considered crafting a new profile; but I actually don't wanna be on myspace, I just want my old comments back, and creating a new profile won't fix that. Honestly, this does feel right-er to me. Like I'm being true to MY space, you know? I only joined it in the first place in May '05 so Tara1 could show me photos of this girl she was about to go out with. I was like What's myspace? Looks retarded. This color scheme blows. Why's my computer freaking out? What's with this annoying music and the glittery icons? Do people still listen to Newfound Glory?

[JK, Myspace rocks.]

This's like, all the parts of the library that you can't bear hiking into anyhow because it smells like dead poets and the books are so heavy you start pining for that initialed Jansport you sacrificed in 1997. It's the best reference site of all time. I can't make any jokes about it, because I'm dead serious, y'all. It'll change your life. It changed mine. E.g. I'm much smarter now then before. And I can hyperlink my heart out.

Vintage Chat Convo, Also Printed in a Previous Blog Entry [not a good one, thus no hyperlink]:
TB: my favorite reference point online is columbia's bartleby thing.
me: hm, wheres that at.
me: "right after that preposition you used to end that sentence, marie."
holy shit. this place is fucking awesome.
TB: it has everything.
me: wheeee!!! the word of the day is "fustian." that's a good word.
TB: interesting. you'd think it was a typo for faustian. or at least i would.
me: i thought it was?


W/O: Forced TeeVee
Last night, I tried to work the TeeVee for the first time since moving in, 'cause I wanted to see which of these young women would become America's Next Top Model. [Unfortunately, it wasn't Hoolihay. Boo.] No dice: I had to actually press buttons on the TV-box itself, as the remote was boggling. Then I promptly sat in front of my ibook, only glancing up briefly to note how little I care about this Cycle, or really any of 'em since the departure of Kim.

Also: I've seen roommate-Zoey do fancy things with the remote, like making live TV rewind and fast-forward? I don't know how this DVD-R thing works and probs never will.

But ANYHOW SERIOUSLY: I despise teevees in random public spaces. I think we should be forced to choose a program and commit if we want TV. Not like: Hey what's up, I'm waiting for the doctor, reading my Highlights for Children, oh HEY TV what's up genocide? Like, gimme my laundry before I have to watch one more moment of Keith Ablow, please. Thanks. When someone says "Lets just see what's on TV," and just clicks it on, I want to gouge my eyes out with mechanical pencils and run away to Walden Pond. That's why I don't know how to click it on.

[Side note: Yes, I have an L Word blog. Totes Paradox.]

W/: Air conditioner, obviously.
As a kid, we went without. Mom insisted it was a waste, so we'd sleep in the basement when the weather turned unbearable, which was fun, like a camping adventure but with Legos and a damp-basement smell. In '95, we moved to a place with central air but Mom insisted on keeping the house steamy-hot til we almost died of heat-stroke. I always envied the rich kids who kept their rooms ice-cold even while out of the house. It was just waiting for them, like "Sure, whatevs, whenever you're ready, I'm here for you, cold as ice, baby!" But this habit emitted toxins into the air, etc., thus global warming, etc.


W/O: Cell Phones
I might just be saying this 'cause I've dropped my month-old Sidekick on the floor so many times already that now the screen's slowly cracking, suggesting impending breakage. That being said, I love that I can get email on it. I also love it's size. I wish it was bigger. I hate talking on tiny phones, it makes me feel like Shaquille O'Neal eating a White Castle burger. Or Alice when she's 10 feet tall.

W/: Ipod
Not because it can store ten gazillion songs (hypothetically, if it wasn't jam-packed with six-hour audiobooks and ten podcasts), but because it's teeny-tiny. I never liked discmans. Skippity skippity cumbersome monster-things. I stuck with my Walkman/mix tapes 'til I got an ipod. I like my music portable and my phone cumbersome. I prefer Ira Glass and Patti Smith to Voicemail.


W/O: Restaurant Menus Featuring Cheese n' Onions n' Whatever Smothered Nonsense
It's just lazy, really. Why be a real chef when you can just de-frost a hunk of filet and coat it in melted cheese, onions, peppers, bacon bits, chives, sour cream, and whatever else Applebees can think of to send its patrons into immediate cardiac arrest? I mean, a frat boy or a drunk person could do that. In fact, they are doing it right now, and as my ex-the-frat-boy always said: "When in doubt, add melted cheese!" Except there was no doubting about it. He was CERTAIN he wanted melted cheese on EVERYTHING, especially the hot dogs he exploited with chili-beans and Kraft Singles in our microwave. They were like: "Help us, Marie!" but I was like "Sorry, I'm busy making my veggie dogs in a pot like a civilized person."

[JK, I microwave veggie dogs when there's no one around to be smug to. Heather2's sister Annie microwaves everything, even Twizzlers. She got inspired by Haviland, who also microwaves everything. I refrigerate everything, like cookies and nuts.]

I love melted cheese as much as the next person--in fact, MORE [along with peanut butter, it's 50% of my daily diet]--but that brainstorming new-menu-item session coulda been spent creating a fun spring salad for Haviland and I to enjoy. Also, all that Monterey Jack doesn't disguise the taste of injustice, Benniganbeehollihays! I know there's body parts in your meat, I read about it in Fast Food Nation. P.S. for NYC-Dwellers: there's a "meatpacking industry" as well as a "meatpacking district" [which's a cool place to party for people who like to leave their apartments], and this industry's mainly centered in the Southwest, relies on cheap "disposable" immigrant labor, and is evil.

Summer '99, fresh outta high school, I visited my best friend Ryan in NYC, where he'd snagged a $400/month apartment on 79th and Broadway and was interning at MTC. This sublet had a catch: it was smaller than our dorms at boarding school by about 70%. Ryan told me he lived on Kraft Dinner, but I didn't believe him: he had no stove! I observed his "preparation" of "Kraft Macaroni and Cheese" in the microwave, and though it did involve the contents of the KMC box, the resulting dish was not anything like actual KMC. As in: the noodles were still hard. Luckily, someone's wheels of invention were already turning and EasyMac debuted just in time for me to go to college.

Side note, re: Ryan's apartment, air conditioning:
'Cause he had no AC, Ryan had a sadistic pre-bedtime ritual which I was submitted to during my visit. He'd shuffle me into the shared bathroom, turn the water to ice-cold, thrust me under, and stand/leap like a jumping-bean on the other side of the shower chanting mind over matter mind over matter until I turned blue. Then, teeth a-chatterin', he'd usher me into bed and explain: You have to fall asleep within the next ten minutes. Otherwise you'll get hot again and need another cold shower. Hurry, hurry.

Which's probably what Emily Dickinson did, too. She mentioned, then forgot; then lightly as a reed, bent toward the water...

These girls should be familiar, but just in case:
1 Tara: Tara's a regular character on this blog and Auto-Straddle, and the core of the circle of craigslist. Lives in my hood with Lainy and goes to Columbia and helped me move. Not to be confused with TB, who's first name is also Tara, but it's pronounced Tah-rah.
2 Heather: Haviland's girlfriend, duh, and faithful Auto-Straddle humorist. Stage Manager of Altar Boyz and whatever else needs to be managed/taken care of. When she gets off the train she says This is Me! even when no one else is around.


Crystal said...

For what it's worth, I think this segment should be a keeper. I'd even support a category mix-it-up. Goodness, the potential here is in abundance.

Razia said...

O-M-G that cold shower thing is HIGH-LARIOUS!! I'm reading this from my laptop in a lecture and totally had to bite my lip to stop from laughing/smiling and looking like a douche. Lecturer is giving me a "I know what you're really doing on your laptop look" but whatev, she wishes she could be reading this. Anyway I can totally see how you'd fall asleep though coz like when we moved houses the other week the people forgot to turn the hot water on so I had to have the coldest cold shower on the face of the planet (bc it's winter here) and as soon as I got dry I totally just passed out. It was like "Warmth. Sleep. Now"

Mercury said...

Haha, it's hot there. That's really all I have to say. We hadd a nice cool breezy day here in AK.

I get to rub it in in the summer, because all winter long I suffer.

PS it's also 10:45 pm and light outside.

You're brilliant as always. And I agree about TVs. Ours isn't even plugged in anymore, we have a bigscreen computer on wich to play DVDs and a lot of books.

yay for not remaking your myspace.

word verification is trying to write a poem: lnsnkm. Like,
If only we knew what it meant...

kate said...

Re: what did Emily Dickinson do without air conditioning?
Maybe it was the lack of the good old ac thst led to her excessive use of half-ryhme as a viable literary technique... ahhh If only Em had of been a little bit cooler...

The Spaz said...

I love how you like to shorten words, I'm guilty of this habit myself. The two I find myself using most often are vish/vicious and redic/ridiculous.

Hmm, I've actually never spelled them before, they look kinda reets/retarded...

blox-tox said...

Yo Riese!!

Me and my friends actually abbreviate "sorry" but it doesnt turn to "sors".. we add z in our abbreviations; so its "soz".

more examples;
probably = probz
body = bodz
totally = totz
sorry= soz

and when we text, email etc; we like to add z just for the sake of it... even to all the LOLs so its like lolz... laughing out loudz?? yeah; dont ask...

holy shoot!! i microwave everything... and i mean; EVERYTHING including cup of coffee; is that weird??

i always have a late shower so then i'd go straight to sleep when my body is still cool. The air-con is only in my parents bedroom and the living room so when i cant stand the heat i just sleep on the sofa in the living room...(i live in a tropical country) so; i can kinda relate..

OMG; i laughed like a fool reading what ur friend Heather does when she hop off the train... 'This is me!' lmao!!

Anywayz; you've been posting alot Riese... I LOVE IT!! well; hope to see more of them, have a g'day!

caitlinmae said...

you're like a magical distraction fairy, Riese! you're so on top of posting exactly when i need to be working. Maybe I should delete the internet. Could you do that? Not even just off your computer, but like, forreals forever delete the whole thing. THAT would be the most extreme act of international terrorism... which, coincidentally, is the subject of my paper. Deconstructionist philosophical ramifications of (terrorism.) I hate liberal arts.

Now that you're off myspace for good, can I suggest substituting Goodreads? Maybe you're already on, but it's social networking (sort of) for lit-nerds. You can have a million friends and it updates you on what your friends have read and what they're reading and not only can they post reviews (which is a more tactile recommendation than when someone's like- oh hey I read this book you'd like, it was by that guy, you know, he wrote the other book about manhattanite twenty somethings feeling the stirrings of middle aged ennui..) you can comment on their reviews or fight with other people about their (illegitimate) opinions about literature. My forever-ex-boyfriend are currently in a fight on GoodReads surrounding my visceral distaste for The DaVinci Code (which is a pretty tired opinion) which he thinks is just closet elitism.

I just think that book destroyed reading for me for about two months.

Haviland said...

Look at you and the qualifiers!!!

It's only taken you a year of knowing me to tell people who other people are...

Seriously, this is making me so happy today.

(Obvs bc I am terrible with names and always need a reference...but probably some of the auto-fans need that, too, right?)

Lozo said...

i just wanted to say that you are my new, what people would call, "blog crush." i think i've only had two ever.

but i prefer to call it what it really is, a blog horniness-toward-a-girl-i-really-don't-know-who-may-or-may-not-be-a-lesbian-because-i-haven't-read-everything-yet-but-i've-seen-"L-Word"-a-lot-so-i'm-not-sure-but-i-totally-want-to-have-sex-with-her-anyway-because she-looks-like-elliot-from-scrubs.

i hope you appreciate all that hyphening.

riese said...

Thank you , minions, for the warm reception to this new segment. It speaks volumes for the power of progress itself, and I'm glad it's timeliness and my (temporary? permanent?) post-frequency.

People have laptops in class now? Really? Maybe that deserves a spot on the carousel...

I remember Alaska in breezy/beautiful...oh, and the magical long days! I remember reading about those long days in school. Like never-never land.

I'm glad we can be myspace non-friends together, rachel. Go us.

Perhaps it was extreme heat that led to Emily's half-rhyme, like she wanted to finish the rhyme but she was too sweaty? Needed a cold shower?


I think the abbreviation thing comes from the over-textization-of our society?

Also though, it just reads faster, yeah? Which's always good.


1. who are you? it's driving me..."mad"..if you will. TB's alter ego? Altar ego? Hmmmmmmmm
2. Re: "if you think SORS is a bit diseasy then how would you categorize TB?" [sors]"
Answer: I categorize no man.
Other Answer: Alpha/Omega's a start?
3. Because life is f'in amazing: the word of the day is "maenad"--A FRENZIED WOMAN. Latin Maenas, Maenad-, from Greek mainas, raving, madwoman, Maenad, from mainesthai, to be mad. See men-1 in Appendix I.
4. Yes, totes for the VICTORY GIN.
5. The problem with 1981 is Ronald Regan.
6. Love the link. Love the re-use of control-rhetoric in the headline

Soz. Totz Soz.

I think it's ok to microwave coffee when coffee is cold. Right?

Once I tried to get my internet to not let me read my boyfriend's other girlfriend's livejournal but i couldn't find a parental control to do that, unless she decided to go nude on the site.

But that would be, you are right, the ultimate act of international terrorism.

I'm totz going to join GOODREADS Y'ALL.

How's this for closet elitism--no, I'm sorry, overt elitism--I haven't even read The DaVinci Code and I distaste is viscerally too. Violently, even.

Haviland: mostly I did it for you because Heather's told me about how you're like "um, who are you again? What are you doing in my bed?" I know--I learn! I learn, in time, I learn. I'm such a fast learner. I'm hooked on phonics.

TB suggested Homerian epithets, which he did obvs to keep his readers informed, which is something I might start doing...cuz I love the readers...a la fleet-fooded Achilles, rosy-fingered dawn, gray-eyed Athena. Or, like, at nerve, I was "intern marie." How's that for descriptive? "actress-BFF-Haviland?"

And SPEAKING OF EPITHETS....Lozo, you've created the best one EVER. I appreciate every last hyphen.

Abby said...

I have a hard time dealing with most abbreviations (why IS it such a long word?), I don't know if they are common in the States but words like pressie, brekky, bickie (biscuit), cuppa, really annoy me. I very rarely shorten words when texting, I use predictive text so it's still quick and easy. When I first started to explore the word of internet chat I was very embarrassed to have to ask a friend what LOL meant, now there are websites to help us with that stuff etc.
One I do like though, that I think originated in NZ is S'you, it needs to be said very quickly as you exit or watch someone exit.
Riese, really loving the regular posts!

Razia said...

Minions? Really? Oh my...

Yeah laptops in class are totally carousel worthy. It's pretty pointless coz I don't learn anything unless I actually physically write notes but then how am I supposed to send e-mails?

riese said...

razia: I just like the way that word sounds, yeah? "minions"? It's almost like filet mignion. Which I clearly can't spell.

abby: yeah, i recall "brekkie" and "pressie" from australia (clearly my visits there are lapped with luxuries like breakfast and presents). But I like abbreviations for words that we use often, e.g. obvs and probs, though not necessarily for nouns, you know?

lk: I'm Magda-Lyn, remember?
Speaking of minions.

stef said...

i live in a loft with no ac - it is too huge to be financially feasible to air condition it.. and last summer i worked at a job with no ac. the only place i had air conditioning was on the L train heading from one sweatbox to another. i sweated out 90% of my body weight, took 14 cold showers a day and ate a box of freezepops an hour. even the pink ones that nobody likes. it was amazing. sometimes i pretend i'm going to visit my parents because i miss them, but it is basically because their house is -30 degrees all summer long.

i can't imagine deleting myspace. i think i would die. saying that makes me feel disgusting. srsly how do you LIVE? this is 2007! you need picture comments and top 8 drama like oxygen! this is the same thing i say to anybody who doesn't have a cell phone or a computer in their house. i have met these people. they walk among us.

and i admit that whenever you write about tb, i temporarily think your girlfriend's name is tuberculosis.

s said...

too huge for it to be financially feasible for it to be air conditioned. great. whatever. coffee.

riese said...

stef: I understand the tuberculosis misunderstanding. I assure you she's a real live girl.

See, your feeling about myspace is how I feel about air conditioning. Financially feasible, financially shmeezible...I'd charge it.....

when visiting friends w/o AC, I seem to sweat twice as much on the way there, just knowing there's no real relief in sight. The L train during rush hour is so full of people sweating that I can't imagine the respite is long-lasting..howevs, it's totally cold now, so we're all good, yeah?

I've been considering a myspace rebirth. We'll see. Right now..I guess...I like the respite. If I do, you'll have to give me your name, I'll make you number one on my top 8, before beethoven.

MoonKiller said...

To start if this makes no sense it's cause i'm semi/VERY drunk. I love this entry I can relate to it an awful lot. It's fabulous if you will. Like I nearly alwys say U never fail to make me giggle and donnt half cheeeer me up. I thino tojnihght I might be the drunkenust I've ever been inmy hole lige ever. So sorry if I'v said anythinnng offenive lol.
I wil most prbhely cokmmt angain in teh morning sorrecting mistakes in thikis scomment

ps. Taken me 4 ettempys to do the word veri.

riese said...

Moonkiller, I hope you don't erase or correct that comment because it's the best drunken comment pretty much of all time. I mean, seriously. It made me giggle if you will, or, should I say mhdasdie mi ghasingle.

MoonKiller said...

Mate,I havwnt had a drink in like 2 hours and im still pised ooff my face, me cheeks feel of the virtues of drinking at 15. Oh, how I do love 18 burfday parties. = ].

[post-redacted] said...

no need to get all renaissancey on me ... goes against the whole Carousel of Progress ideal, no?

guess you sort of auto-win this one -- TOUCHE!

bonus: "just try closing your eyes"

also: this is beginning to feel a lot like cyber-comment performance art

Razia said...

It's a good sounding word.

lol@the drunken postings...thats sooooo *speechless*. I've got to admit, although I'm totally ashamed and should probably keep this to myself, I have come home from a big night out and instead of going to bed I decided I should check my myspace comments. If you like think "New Comments!" makes you feel good now, imagine it at 4am after a solid drinking session when everything is sooooo much better than it really is.

[totes careless fucktard] said...

my bad

stef said...

i really truly feel that if somebody offered me air conditioning in exchange for deleting my myspace, i would say no. but right now it's cold outside and my heat is on. ask me that again in july and i may have a different answer.

[totes careless fucktard -- aka. lk] said...

delete one comment, keep two?...why not delete all and explain your modus tollens?

[excuse the unbecoming latin]

happy to clarify any vagueness so as to qualify as a "keeper" in your comments realm -- especially since i kinda liked (and somewhat laboured over) my answer to your "who are you?" query

how did it get so complicated?...really