“Sometimes I look around for something to comment on because I feel like making fun of something. But everything’s just too busy making fun of itself.” — Mark

An essay on Poynter.org, about why writers should stop whining: “The writer’s life is so hard, Hemingway and his ilk taught us, that only drinking, drugs, and infidelity forestall the dissolution that awaits us.”

the next big thing — just you wait
While I was driving with Mark last week on a random roadtrip, I had a realization. It was just an ordinary Sunday, and we were going from Richmond to D.C., through a fairly unpopulated stretch of Virginia. And yet, we’d been stuck in traffic for two hours, in an endless line of cars creeping along. There are too many cars on the road, I decided. And then, in a flash of inspiration, I decided that the public needed to be educated. They must realize the absurdity of having an enormous interstate highway that moves no faster than a kid on Rollerblades.

Thus, Mark and I brainstormed an idea called The Traffic Channel. It would do two things. 1) Entertain viewers enough to make them watch. 2) Secretly infect their brains with anti-auto propaganda by showing them nothing but cars and stupidity. Potential shows:

  • Shotgun: A camera rides along with a funny, pissed-off driver commenting on the stupid actions of other drivers.
  • Stupid Car Chases: Because people will watch those things for hours.
  • The License Plate Hour: Dumb vanity plates and interviews with their owners, alternate state mottos, and maybe even some License Plate Bingo.
  • Road Rage: A Cops-like show of people’s reactions to traffic mishaps.
  • In The Field: Daily Show-esque breaking news reports from rural and suburban locales where there are more people on the highway running through town than living in the town itself.
  • Did That Pay Off?: A game show based on video clips of drivers making “time-saving” moves like changing lanes at tollbooths, riding the shoulder in traffic jams and cutting other drivers off. Contestants predict whether the driver actually saved time.
  • How’d That Happen?: A similar game show, based on interviews with drivers about their dented up, smashed up vehicles. Contestants predict what happened.
  • Car Karaoke: Because who doesn’t like to sing in the car?
  • And… you get the idea.

    So. What do you think? Will the Traffic Channel become the next big thing? As big as… the Weather Channel?

“It’s a fight. It’s a mad fight. It’s like getting on the school bus… people pushing and shoving. I don’t know why they do it this way.” — man to his obviously scared children, on Southwest Air’s open seating policy

I’m home in Buffalo for the weekend. I’ve been seeing grandparents and high school friends, and noticing some oddities. Once again, I’ve seen how my quirks come from my mom and her mother. My grandmother, while digging into a container of hot fudge: “I wish I didn’t like chocolate so much. But I do.” My mother, at dinner: “You know what my favorite thing to do is? Sleep.” I couldn’t agree more.

Deanna had a birthday party Saturday night, and I saw a few people that I hadn’t seen in years. That’s always weird. It’s weird how guys got bigger and girls got thinner. It’s weird how we had four years of stuff to catch up on, but really, when you have so much time to talk about, it seems like there’s not much to say. It’s weird that people spent a portion of the conversation making gay jokes. Maybe that sounds elitist, but so be it. And it’s weird how sometimes they talked about people just as cruelly as when we were actually in high school. Alhtough, there was definitely some obvious remorse for calling that kid “Twinkie” most of his life — and shock at how, looking back, teachers really messed with our heads.

It’s also weird that I played volleyball that night and had fun. I think the combination of darkness and alcohol leveled the playing field. Basically if you could serve it over the net, chances were slim that anyone could hit it back. Plus the ball kept landing in the pool. I’m glad I went to the party for two reasons: To see Deanna and Sarah, and to be the best player on a volleyball team for once.

Seven days without an update? Has something gone wrong? No, no, everything, for once, has gone right. Even when things went wrong, they went right. I had AmeriCorps training in D.C. this week, prefaced by a weekend of roadtrips with Mark. More soon, but among the highlights: Winding through endless marshy nature preserves on tiny roads in the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland; finding not a single hotel with vacancies in the town where we ended up; being stuck in crawl-speed traffic on the Interstate; finding out that I had the world’s most random connections to other AmeriCorps volunteers (explanation later); eating the hotel’s catering for every meal (all meals were just variations on a theme of steamed vegetable/rice/greasy meat/salad) and learning that I can survive AmeriCorps next year. Maybe, just maybe, I can even enjoy it.

“Your request has been successfully processed. Thank you for being with us.” — the auto-reply when I unsubscribed from an old dorm listserv

Back in good ole P.A. …. it’s been an educational weekend. Among the lessons:

-Merging/passing on highways should be less a function of crossing my fingers and more a function of speed and timing.

-It’s nice to be in a house (like Patrick’s) with furniture and many rooms. And, you know, certain people.

-There is a quintessential chocolate milkshake, and I have tasted it.

-The people who say they don’t value emotion as much as reason are probably forgetting about music. I knew a kid in high school who said that emotion was all fake, didn’t matter, and didn’t affect him. But he loved Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

-D.C. looks like a nice place to live.

I’m in D.C. right now, and I spent the day looking for apartments. Patrick drove us through the impossibly twisty streets of Rock Creek Park and the weirdness of Northern Virginia. Nothing definite yet, but just looking at places has been fun. It’s a little license to peek into some stranger’s life and look around for a second, which is always interesting. It’s hard, though, to relax and sound normal when you’re thinking of a million things at once: Do I like this apartment? Do I like this neighborhood? Do I like this roommate? What are they thinking about me? It’s easy to get nervous and end up just saying “Uh…”

Eliina has been sending me homemade postcards lately. One was covered entirely in eyeballs cut out of magazines. Another one featured Johnny Depp, with a speech balloon saying that I’m really hot. Thanks, Johnny. I need to send some in return. Eliina needs to read this.

non-rhetorical question
Is it more attractive if your significant other a) Kind of likes your favorite band b) Is completely indifferent to your favorite band or c) Hates their guts? Leave a note in the guestbook (Also suavely labeled “comments” over on the right).