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Willie's Off-Brand Web Journal: February 9-February 14, 2004

Saturday, February 14, 2004:

PHARMACEUTICAL STUDY 3000-21: OVER-THE-COUNTER COLD REMEDIES

Overview: In order to test the efficacy and gauge the effects (both primary and secondary) of a number of readily available over-the-counter cold remedies, subject CWW-4F was unknowingly exposed to a particularly resilient strain of rhinovirus, AKA the common cold. Following the virus's brief incubation period, subject was provided with a number of commercial medications purported to alleviate unpleasant symptoms of illness. Subject was secretly observed for a period of one week, and his choices of medication and responses to same were recorded.

Treatment #1: Vicks DayQuil LiquiCaps.
Observations: Subject commented that recommended dosage of 2 softgels with water every 6 hours was "bullshit," and quickly began consuming 2 softgels every three to four hours depending on severity of his symptoms. Although only mild decrease was noted in amount of coughing, sneezing, and nasal secretion, subject seemed to enjoy slight feeling of disconnection from world at large imbued by medication. Discontinued treatment when he accidentally dropped only remaining two LiquiCaps in garbage can.

Treatment #2: TheraFlu Severe Cold & Congestion Non-Drowsy Hot Liquid Formula, Natural Lemon Flavor.
Observations: Subject remarked that one packet of TheraFlu, dissolved in mug of boiling water, "tastes like evil," though three heaping tablespoons of sugar per mugful helped disguise the taste. Relief from cold symptoms was much improved over that caused by DayQuil, but subject seemed disappointed by lack of corresponding lightheadedness from TheraFlu. Discontinued treatment when he realized that TheraFlu was available in pill form.

Treatment #3: Vicks DayQuil LiquiCaps swallowed with mug of TheraFlu instead of water.
Observations: Subject loved this treatment. Spent bulk of afternoon listening to Mirwais's "Disco Science" on repeat, boasting of ability to "see the music." Then fell asleep for 11 hours. Discontinued treatment when he realized that TheraFlu was available in pill form, and not even the pleasant effects from this medication cocktail were enough to overcome the fact that consuming TheraFlu liquid formula "is like drinking a mug of ass."

Treatment #4: Celestial Seasonings brand Echinacea Complete Care tea.
Observations: Subject responded favorably to koala bear pictured on box. Tea had no other measurable effects, although act of consuming it seemed to irritate subject. (Sample comments: "Tea is for chumps," "Wish I was dead," etc.) Discontinued treatment after one mugful.

Treatment #5: Halls Plus cherry-flavored cough drops with medicine center.
Observations: Overconsumption of cough drops dried out subject's tongue in short order. Successfully reduced instances of coughing and soothed sore throat. Subject found gooey "medicine center" slightly unsettling, made strained joke about merger between Pfizer and Nickelodeon to produce cough suppressants of such odd textures. It may behoove us to seek out less quippy subjects for future studies. Subject continued to consume cough drops in alarmingly large quantities for duration of illness.

Treatment #6: Alka-Seltzer Plus Orange Zest Multi-Symptom Cold Relief.
Observations: Although the spectacle of two Alka-Seltzer tabs dissolving in water struck the subject as aesthetically pleasing- and caused him to giggle inexplicably- glee was cut short by taste of product. Proclaiming it "worse than TheraFlu," subject used the Dykstra Lightweight Technique of holding breath and chugging contents of glass to consume medication as quickly as possible without tasting it. (For more on this technique, see Study 1900-B: Effects of Bailey's Irish Cream on Postcollegiate Inhibitions.) Many comments to the effect of "Agh- never again!" from subject. No measurable improvement of any associated symptoms.

Treatment #7: Vicks NyQuil Liquid.
Observations: Subject's only quibble with this product was the mysterious, unidentifiable flavor of the syrup. Finally decided that it was just "green flavored," though after run-ins with Alka-Seltzer and TheraFlu products above, NyQuil was judged to be "a veritable sock-hop for my tastebuds" by comparison. Cold symptoms, if not necessarily improved, were at least made moot by the medication, as subject fell into a deep and heavy slumber soon after consumption of NyQuil. One unpleasant but minor side effect: subject dreamt of being forced to spend a day with the cast of Sex and the City. Subject continued NyQuil regimen for the duration of illness and then some.

Other observations: Although subject had no knowledge of surveillance, his habit of talking to himself made it remarkably easy to get a bead on his opinions regarding the various medications he consumed. As well as his opinions regarding his neighbors, the staff of Kinko's, the Patriot Act, the 3M corporation, assorted forms of footwear, potential methods of Ethan Zohn's demise, the water pressure in his bathroom, various newscasters, his aching back, faux finishes as a design technique, and the "unbearable" smell of grocery store bottle-return departments. Any statistical error in this study may be the result of subject's superhuman caffeine intake, which could have had as-yet-unmeasured effects on the healing process.

Conclusion: Consumers interested in effective cold symptom relief with a minimum of unpleasant side effects would apparently do well to consume DayQuil LiquiCaps and TheraFlu caplets using NyQuil Liquid instead of water, and then suck on Halls Plus cough suppressant lozenges until awareness of cold symptoms returns, at which point the first cocktail should be taken again. Repeat until cold is eradicated or improper usage of medications causes coma.

CURRENT MUSIC: Pithecanthropus Erectus by Charles Mingus. Lots of tootin'!
CURRENT MOOD:
Proud of myself for not going down the predictable path of woe-is-me-I'm-alone-on-Valentine's Day ranting. That's my present to all you happy couples out there. Assholes.
CURRENT READING MATERIAL: The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka.
TIME: 6:05 PM.

Doot? | |

Friday, February 13, 2004:

Tracy from Math Reviews just called. I didn't get the job. She said that it was really close, and that my interview was great, and my writing sample was one of the best she'd ever seen (I submitted my "Best Films of 2002" article from No Ripcord), but the other candidate had so much more experience that she won "by a nose." Funny- I'd always thought that I would have the edge in a battle of probosces.

But anyway. Tracy was very nice- almost apologetic- and told me that she and Lisa both liked me a lot, and that they definitely would like to take me on the next time there's an opening. However, they don't expect to have another opening till August. While she was very encouraging, and I certainly can't blame them for selecting the person with more experience, I'm incredibly depressed right now. This job would've been so ideal for me...

So it's back to square one. And Mr. Glitch is bearing down on me with his gaping tornadic jaws.

And I just realized the mocking irony of that reference several minutes after I initially typed it.

CURRENT MOOD: Disappointed and still sick.
TIME: 5:39 PM.

Doot? | |

Wednesday, February 11, 2004:

The Village Voice released the Pazz & Jop 2003 poll results today, and I'm in it! My song "Hell," you'll be baffled to know, is the 398th best single of 2003! (Here I am, right between the Dirtbombs and the Dismemberment Plan.) And I'm tied with the Decemberists, the Delgados, DJ Shadow, Dntel, and... well, Dexy's Midnight Runners... but still, the fact that my song is considered good enough to be tied with anything off the Delgados' masterpiece Hate is quite the ego boost. Quite the ego boost indeed. So thanks, Scott, for voting for me!

Horrible sore throat this morning. Why? Why was I programmed to feel pain?

CURRENT MUSIC: Acid Eaters by the Ramones.
CURRENT MOOD:
Sick, but enjoying a mild buzz from DayQuil.
CURRENT ANTIHISTIMINE-INDUCED CRAVING:
For some reason, I'm feeling an intense need to stay home from work and watch Tommy Boy.
TIME:
9:25 AM.

Doot? | |

Tuesday, February 10, 2004:

I'm feeling like I should've done something productive tonight instead of just eating falafel and watching the Election director's commentary. I attempted to read A Child's Life by Phoebe Gloeckner, but had to put it down halfway through because it was making me too upset. Though the subject matter isn't directly similar, it made me think of Carlie Brucia and how awful that whole situation is, which in turn made me think of this 19-year-old girl my mom knows who was abducted from a gas station in December, taken to a crack house in Detroit, raped, tortured, forced to watch at least one murder, and held there for a couple weeks until she managed to escape. (You didn't hear about it on the news because she's not telegenic enough for her disappearance to have been a major story; I saw only a brief blurb on the local news.) And that just made me think once again about how terrible and evil the world is and how hopeless things are, etc. You've heard my thoughts on this before. So I thought I'd go do something else for awhile.

On a happier note, I got my Christmas package from Anne today! (My awesome friend Anne in the Netherlands, that is- not the Anne who wrote that essay about my album.) She sent me four albums by the great Dutch band Skik, an instantly addictive album by Spinvis, and two mix CDs. And anyone with whom I've shared "Alle Leidjes op de Radio" by Fay Lovsky knows what great musical taste Anne has, so I'm in for a treat. I'll e-mail her in the morning to thank her (don't feel up to any communication tonight), but if she's reading this, you rule, Anzie! Dankjewel voor de zon!

CURRENT MUSIC: Spinvis's self-titled album.
CURRENT MOOD:
Porous.
TODAY'S DISAPPOINTMENT:
Downloaded the single "This is Ponderous" by 2NU, and it's not nearly as entertaining as it was when I was in fifth grade. It doesn't even bring back any nice memories or feelings that would allow me to enjoy it on a non-musical level. Bah.
TIME:
10:27 PM.

Doot? | |

Monday, February 9, 2004:

I had my interview with Mathematical Reviews this morning. From my perspective, it went really well. I was interviewed by two women, Tracy and Lisa, both of whom were extremely friendly and made me feel comfortable while we talked. The building itself, from what I saw of it, is strangely labrynthine, with hallways and rooms and catacombs jutting off every which way. For instance, I was interviewed on the 2½ floor. (Lisa chuckled when I made the inevitable joke about Being John Malkovich. I imagine she's heard it before.) A cool environment.

I'd arrived in Ann Arbor about 50 minutes prior to my interview due to my incurable tendency to overestimate driving times. So I decided to look for a Starbucks, because I am a patsy for The Man. And I could not find a Starbucks. On the campus of the University of Michigan. Read that again: on a major college campus, I could not locate a Starbucks. That's how hopeless I am. I drove around for 20 minutes before I spotted a cool little independent coffeeshop called Espresso Caffe or something like that, and got a peanut butter mocha there. It was much better than anything Starbucks has to offer, so I decided to chalk that up to fate. (A slightly less impressive intervention of fate: the Mathematical Reviews building is located next to "The Argus Building," which I happened to drive past as I was listening to "The Argus" by Ween. I'm not certain what fate is telling me there.)

But yeah, after the interview, I had to take a proofreading/copy editing test, which I'm fairly confident I aced. My years of being a snotty little grammar stickler have finally paid off! Admittedly, not for the people who've had to deal with me for those years, but... Anyway, good experience. Feeling encouraged. Which probably means I won't get the job because I've jinxed myself by feeling almost semi-happy. D'oh! They promised to let me know their decision next week either way, "because we don't want to leave anybody hanging," which I thought was very courteous, and made me feel even better about the prospect of working for such a place. I'll let you all know.

Finally, here's a snippet of an exceptionally curious piece of penis-enlargement spam I just received: "develop half guess horse scale arm block suit order mouth could big hat pass except join earth circle require slow double his hope chord stay color brother raise segment system... develop half guess horse scale arm block suit order mouth join earth circle require slow color brother raise segment system double his hope chord stay could big hat pass except." And so on for a few pages.

CURRENT MOOD: Flat.
CURRENT FAVORITE TYPEFACE: Helvetica.
TIME:
7:25 PM.

Doot? | |

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