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January 2000

Failure and Friends

Did I mention that I totally failed my road test? Oh yeah, baby! I was all confident and capable going into it, picturing with DVD crispness every detail of everything I would have to do. I was gonna rock. Of course, I discovered once I got to Red Hook that I was going to have to stand on an ice-covered sidewalk and face a negative-20-degree wind chill for a while while I waited my turn to drive. By the time I got in the car, my feet were all slushy and I couldn't even tell whether or not I had toes. When I was parallel parking, I wound up holding down the brake and gunning the accelerator at the same time because I didn't know where the top of my foot was. DENIED!

Ah well, so it goes. At least I get more time to practice now.

I went to the Bronx for the first time on saturday. Well, Riverdale, at least (which is in the Bronx, but the people there will never admit it). Fran and Peter were having their first post-wedding get-together, and that was reason enough for me to brave the elements and make the endless subway ride to their pad. A very nice time was had by all. I have to admit, though, that it was a little weird for me to hang out with all Fran's old friends and her sister and all these other people and think about the fact that if I hadn't been such a big fan of cute guys, I might have tried to marry Fran years ago ('cuz she rocks the party like you wouldn't believe). so it was a little like peeking into what my life may have been if things had worked out a little differently. Not bad by any means, but certainly very different. Luckily for Fran, Peter is much better husband material than I ever would have been. (And, of course, there is that little detail again about me realizing how much I liked dick.) It always makes me vicariously happy to see people I love settle down with someone awesome.

Twinkle Toes

Gene Kelly really is the perfect man. I swoon like a schoolgirl at a Backstreet Boys concert whenever I watch those musicals he made for the Freed Unit at MGM. He's got the best smile I’ve ever seen.

Scholarly Data

Overachiever fails out of grad school! Yes, it's true. I got my report card from Pratt today, the one with all the classes I decided to blow off as a means of effectively quitting grad school. In a way, it was very cathartic to just let those grades go. I’ve never failed a class before — I’ve never allowed myself to fail a class before. (Considering where I am today, it's a little funny that my only low grades in high school were for Computer science and Algebra II. so much for my nerd credentials.) It was a good feeling when I realized that a bad transcript wasn't going to haunt me the rest of my life, not when I’m actually more than capable of learning and doing well on my own. What a revelation: Grades actually ARE just numbers!

For the record:

spring 1999 Courses



Typography II



Visual Communications I



Communications Technology I



Corporate Image Planning



Fall 1999 Courses



Communications seminar



History of Communications Design



Cumulative Grade Point Average: 2.0

If you're familiar with the GradCommD program at Pratt, you'll notice that I failed my basic requirements but aced all my upper-level courses. Basically, this is because when push came to shove and I still had to work full-time while going to school, I devoted my energy to the more challenging, more interesting stuff and blew off the irritating stuff they made me take. Oops, my bad.

I think I may take a stab at finishing the work for the history class. The professor was a fun old queen who I liked a lot, and who wants me to submit the one paper I finished (on Piet Zwart) to the Pratt library since they don't have any good reference materials on him. I wouldn't kill me to write a couple of other small papers over the course of the next few months. After all, I certainly like reading up on designers and whatnot. Maybe I'll finally write that essay about Art Chantry that I’ve been meaning to for years now. Art Chantry totally saved my life as a designer, but that’s a story for another day...

Subsisting on Snacks

"Lots of snacking does not make a satisfying meal." Every once in a while I manage to phrase a little pearl of wisdom just right. If only I were as good at paying attention to the good advice I dole out. That pithy little bit came up in the midst of an e-mail exchange in which I was talking about how disappointing it is to live someplace where sex is easy enough to find, but more substantial company is not. In the words of another pundit, "A little experimenting here and there can be fun, but mothafucka! I don't think it's fun no mo'." I agree totally.

I'll admit that I go through periods of carnal self-indulgence (usually fueled by frustration or boredom), but in the end I’m a big ol' softie whose primary goal is not short-term adventure. Not only do random hook-ups rarely give me the boost of sexual self-confidence I’m craving, but they tend to undermine the things about myself that I really am confident about, 'cuz those qualities just don't matter in that particular game.

Romeo, Romeo, where the fuck art thou?

Hmmm, you'd think it was a year or so ago that the long, slow, excruciatingly painful process of me getting dumped began. Or something. Granted, that was an inevitable result, considering how ill-suited he and I were for each other. We would have realized sooner or later that we'd managed to confuse one another for the idealized, fictionalized memories we had of each other from the first time around. But damn, what a gruesome way for it to have happened.

Can you tell what kind of mood Sparky's in today?

Groveling at the Feet of Our Leader

Oh, for Pete's sake!

Public apology to Jonno:

I’m sorry I referred to you as "stocky." I really meant "cute" to be the operative word, although "handsome" would have been more appropriate. Let's face facts, a flabby, scrawny pipsqueak like me understands what's it's like to have a few body issues, and so it was a poor choice of words to describe someone who I think is cool, and who certainly doesn't have a bad physique at all. Frankly, I think is Jonno is much more attractive than the standard Chelsea-issue muscle-zombie. (And if that offends anyone else, big deal. show me you're sassy and smart as a whip and I'll apologize to you, too.)

Sorry again, cowboy.

By Grabthar's Hammer

Never give up, never surrenderGalaxy Quest. Brilliant. Hilarious. Who knew? This was the shocker of the weekend for me. This movie was so good, and I had totally dismissed it beforehand because the trailer looked so bad, and because... Well, because Tim Allen is so Tim Allen. (Although including the Toy story movies, this now makes three flicks of his that I really like. Eeeek!) But he holds his own alongside longtime faves like Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Tony Shalhoub. (I never hear anyone else talk about Tony Shalhoub, but he's always really good.) And talk about special effects! Go see it, especially if you've ever enjoyed a moment of star Trek in any capacity whatsoever. Adam, his cool friend Laura, and I laughed our asses off, and the film even drew applause at the end, which, for a movie being viewed by a jaded NYC audience, is like getting an Oscar.

Although after geeking out by seeing science fiction and hanging out at Forbidden Planet, we were forced to retreat to Diner for a dose of the obscenely good-looking crowd and the world's most succulent burgers.

The bummer to the weekend was discovering that I’ve almost completely forgotten how to drive since I last got behind the wheel at Thanksgiving. I'll be the first to admit that I react really badly when I have to do things that I don't know how to do well, and this driving thing is throwing all those issues right into my face. Hopefully, I'll get the hang of it a little better before my road test in two weeks. Clear the roads! At least I understand why people don't want to drive in Manhattan, though. At one point this morning I had to dodge a speeding cab, a clueless bicycist, a jay-walking pedestrian, and a freaking pigeon as I turned onto a "quiet" side street. Fuck that! I can't wait to drive through the desert or something.

That is all.

No More Pontificating

As of last night, I am no longer a college teacher. Technically, of course, I was an instructor of a basic computer skills class at Pratt's school of Professional studies, but it was basically teaching college. I loved teaching, and I’m glad that I'll be doing a lot of training as part of the new job at Miles 33, so I'll still be able to scratch the itch.

One nice thing about teaching a class in basic Mac skills is that I get a chance to start people off on the right foot, and explain to them early on my whole philosophy about how computers are still just tools, not creative solutions. And that once you get the idea of how a system works basically, you're armed with the ability to make educated guesses and teach yourself more, rather than just operating like some kind of trained monkey doomed to a lifetime of crappy production jobs.

Having never taken a computer class in my life, and just figured all this crap out for myself over the years, it's nice to try and save someone else from wasting just as much time as I did being mystified by the glowing box with keyboard in front of it.

Loaded Gun

Oh lordy, lordy! One of these days that boy is going to make my head explode. And I'll probably have been the one to hand him the match.

Yo Yo Yo

Music and movie stuff for today:

I stumbled across an incredible deal the other day. If you love the Beastie Boys (and even if you don't love them like I love them), then go to their web site and check out the offer to make your own anthology. Their new 2-disc anthology, The Sound of Science, looks good and all, but they're doing this thing with MusicMaker.com where for the same price as the new set, you can make your own 2-disc, 40-song anthology by choosing from their entire catalogue of songs (except for "She's On It," unfortunately), domestic and imported. It rocks! I got all this extra stuff that wasn't on The Sound of Science, and disn't have to worry about paying for songs I already had on other discs.

Oh yeah, and Beck's Midnight Vultures is still making my head spin because it's so damn good.

OK, now that the unsolicited plugs are out of the way, I’d like to confess that I rented 54 because I wanted to see Ryan Phillippe and Breckin Meyer parade around in track shorts, but the price was too high. This movie is almost completely unwatchable. I mean, it's downright terrible. Awful. (Although Mike Meyers is acting circles around everyone else in it. He's really got it going on.)

That’s all for now. I have to go back to weeding the excess out of my wardrobe. If you have a 30" waist, a 30" inseam, and a size 8 foot, let me know and maybe you can be the lucky recipient of some hand-me-down pants, shirts, shoes, and a leather jacket.

G'night, Gracie.

Dragging My Heels

I’ve been in a bit of a fog this week. Dragging my heels, yawning at work, and sitting slack-jawed around the playhouse just watching movies (Singing in the Rain, Poison, Muppets from Space) or goofing around on the website. As soon as all my houseguests left sunday, my spirits just came crashing to the ground. I always get like that after I’ve had a good time with company around. I guess I’m still not fully recovered from being such an anti-social loser all this Fall — I still feel like it'll be weeks between chances to see friends.

Until there's something worth mentioning....

New Year, New Century, New Cute Boys

Cutie Pie 2000! Here's a fresh batch of pilfered pics, just to mix things up a little. Don't worry, hormone hounds, the old bunch is still here.

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16

Cute Boys on the Web

Chris Bickel, Smashter

Billy, Daredevil

Rex Booth, Exhibitionist

Tom Coates, Man of Appetites

jOnno and Richard Read, Glamourpusses

Paul Kidd, Hunk

Jason Kottke, Webgod

Chad Smith, Minx

Steve, Canadian

Beck, Beasties

Beck just can't stop rockin' my world. His new album, Midnight Vultures, is absolutely unbelieveable. I just got my copy yesterday, and I’ve had to listen to it a bunch of times already just to try and process everything that’s going on. It's the funkiest, most complex mix I’ve stuff I’ve heard since The Beastie Boys came out with Paul's Boutique. You will not believe the stuff that beck weaves together on this: banjo riffs, Kratfwerk, falsetto, and who knows what else. Buy it. Listen to it. Love it.

Life in the Future

The future is now. But I don't have a flying car, and I don't seem to be living in a pod-home on the moon with cool, minimalist, Eames-like furniture. I think I would be laughed at if I went out in a silver unitard. Thankfully, though, I am not taking my meals in pill form.

I think 2000 will be most notable for all the crushed expectations that people will abandon. A lot of people are going to have to get used to the unexciting reality that this is just another damn year, not the dawn of something new and fabulous, or new and apocalyptic. sure, I would love to see some massive transformation take place in global society during the new year, but I’m not holding my breath.

I want to find all those people who promised Li'l Danny his moon-pod, though, and give them a piece of my mind.

As far as news goes, not much. It was great having guests all weekend, although my plumbing problems (my friend Jen dropped a bar of soap into my toilet while flushing last week) detracted from the urbane sophistication of it all. I doubt Noel Coward ever had to snake the potty in front of his guests.

Hello, Millenium

Well, that’s it. since no one really cares about the nerdy truth that the new M-word actually starts next year, last night basically was it. Which is fine by me.

I actually enjoyed myself this year, believe it or not. I NEVER enjoy New Year's Eve. Last year was a looming disaster in Boston, the year before was a massive allergy attack in Brazil. I could go on and on. Last night was awesome, until my delight was squelched by my companions for the evening. Just as I was reveling in the fact that I was enjoying myself trememdously at this totally swank DJ event in a loft in Williamsburg, I turned around and Jim told me that my friend Vincent and his two friends wanted to leave. Oh well, at least I got to hear and excellent segue of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" into Rob Base before I left. We wound up back at my place with me grumpy, Jim sleepy, and the boys chatty. Oh well...

Overall, though, I must say that this holiday season went of without a hitch, once all the school nonsense was over. Christmas was lovely and warm and fuzzy, the week after was a great time to catch up and see a bunch of friends and relax around the house, I’m entertaining a few houseguests for the weekend now, and I met cool people from Thirteen who I’d never spoken to before when I went to meet Adam for lunch on my unexpected day off from work. Much better than last year's total train wreck of a holiday season.

I was actually musing yesterday about how different life is from this point last year. I can do that a lot, actually, since I’m so fickle about apartments and jobs. But last year to this was quite a leap. I’m a little lonely now, but otherwise things are OK, and at least I’ve learned from one of the biggest mistakes I ever made.

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