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Willie's Off-Brand Web Journal: June 13-June 19, 2004

Wednesday, June 16, 2004:

I want to formally apologize to Erica for implying that forgetting her wallet when we went out to dinner and to see Super Size Me the other night was a premeditated act designed to get me to pay for everything. I was just joking by putting the word forgetting in quotation marks, but sometimes I fail to take into account that my "jokes" aren't always clear as such in text form, because there are no facial expressions or vocal inflections to mark them as ironic. Erica is a person I would never think twice about loaning money to, because I know she's trustworthy and she would never take advantage of me that way (or any way... except maybe the one), not to mention the fact that she's a terrific person who I will always help out in any way I can, because she's such a great friend to me in the first place. I have a rule about not going back and editing my previous entries because... well, I could give a fancypants justification for it, but it's basically because I'm anal. So by way of apology, I'd like to write a brief appreciation of Erica:

I mean it as high praise when I say that Erica is among the most complex people I've ever known. You know how sometimes one of your friends will toss off a remark that's so casually insightful and brilliant that it makes you admire her in a whole new way? Not that you'd previously underestimated her intelligence, but that her comment has revealed a new facet of her personality that just makes you think, "Wow" and realize even more what a cool person your friend is? It's no exaggeration to say I've had that experience with Erica probably twice as often as anyone else I've ever met. And I know lots of cool people. (Dozens of douchebags too!) She is constantly saying things that impress me and make me look at the world from a perspective that I hadn't before considered, and it's not as if she sits and pontificates for hours on end like I do; she just matter-of-factly blows my mind.

So there's that. She's also got a wonderful sense of humor. When Erica finds something truly hilarious, it's an infectiously happy sight: she raises her eyebrows and drops her jaw into an open-mouthed smile, and there's a pause of exactly one second before a stream of "hahaha"s flies from her throat. When you make her laugh in such a way, you feel like you've accomplished something. And she, in turn, is hysterical. You have not lived until you've seen her impersonate the Sims. Alas, that's hard to reproduce here, so instead, I'll share the text of a note Erica wrote to Jon and me after we'd left work for the day in January, to ask us to return a box of muffins that was wrongly delivered to the Barnes & Noble cafe. I kept it because it cracked me up. The note is written on a folded-up holiday bargain sign, and the outside reads, "HAPPY STINKIN NEW YEAR BY THE WAY! (I might have spelled shit wrong in here)." Inside, it says, "Dear boys (J + C): I know that it isn't your job, but Mike is working tomorrow and we all know that he may not be able to handle what I'm about to ask you to do. OK. You know the muffins? Well... when the US Foods guy comes to drop off the Toffee Almond Bars, could you please go in the storage room & give him the box of muffins? The box is in the freezer, on the left side, second shelf. To be thorough, I'm going to tell you that it's the box that has a white paper with a pickup number on it. Can you please trade the US Foods guy that box for the Toffee Almond Bars? I know you two aren't dumb & you COULD handle this task w/out a big note but I like how the marker feels in my hand 'cause I miss my boyfriend HA HA HA. I love you two! [hearts] Erica"

Thirdly, she is everything you could want in a close friend. Bev (my girlfriend, in case I haven't yet made that clear) hasn't yet met Erica, but she commented not long ago that "everyone should have a friend like Erica" when I was telling her some stories. Because Erica will not bullshit you, nor will she let your own bullshit fly by without calling you on it. She's always considerate of your feelings, but she will not indulge your self-pity, play along with your rationalizations for obviously unhealthy decisions, or ever let your own ego get in the way of your behaving like an adult. If you make a dumb decision and then start trying to pull a woe-is-me act, Erica will just flat-out say, "Yeah, I guess you fucked that up, then, didn't you?" and encourage you to set about finding a solution instead of simply whining. Again, she's not mean; just honest to a point that people rarely are. I've never seen her go spoilin' for some roilin', except when people are already cruisin' for a bruisin'.

Okay, there are a million other great things I could tell you about, but I'm going to stop before it gets creepy and stalker-like. I hope everyone gets the point: I am very lucky to be friends with Erica, she's very important to me, and I hope my careless comments yesterday haven't hurt her feelings or made her think that I'm more of a creep than I actually am. (Which is a considerable amount.)

CURRENT MUSIC: Century Spring by Mason Jennings.
AMOUNT OF SATISFACTION DERIVED FROM THE PISTONS GAME LAST NIGHT: Surprisingly, lots! I ordinarily loathe basketball, but the Pistons play with such an electrifying sense of fun, and the Lakers are such giant gasbags of arrogance that are waiting to be popped (which I originally typed as "pooped"... and that fits too!) that I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.
4:13 PM.

Doot? | |

Tuesday, June 15, 2004:

I'm in the mood for some bullet points, as I was reading US News & World Report in my therapist's office this morning, and I now realize that there's no need to write anything in depth. So here are some important things to know:

·I got to speak briefly on the phone with Jon Walter this afternoon. He is friendly and has a much more animated speaking voice than I was expecting. (Not that I expected him to sound like Steven Wright or anything, mind you.)

·I heard the ice cream truck drive by while I was in the washroom, and by the time I finished my business and got my shoes on, the truck was long gone. My craving for a Choco Taco remains unsatiated. Make of that what you will, psychology students.

·Sudden, forehead-slapping realization: in that one Far Side entitled "Amoeba Porn Flicks," they're watching one amoeba undergo asexual reproduction! For some reason, I'd always seen it as two amoebae flowing into each other.

·At the post office this afternoon, a grumpy old crank told his grandchildren that he refused to learn his own address because "I know where I live! As long as you can find your house, that's all you need to know! All that letter/number stuff is bunk!"

·My song "Fixing a Hole" is going to be played on George Maida's radio program The Electric Croude (88.9 FM in Richmond, VA) this Saturday night.

·In the pile of unexamined job applications at work, I noticed an application to which one of my coworkers had clipped a note reading, "Was very different and rude. Wore midriff shirt."

·Super Size Me is a very good film. I saw it with Erica last night, and paid for her ticket because she'd "forgotten" her wallet. I am a generous man. We also ate pizza.

·Bucky's a sweetie baby! Where's your ball? Dance! [This bullet point supplied by Bucky the quaker parrot.]

·Tracy from Mathematical Reviews called me yesterday to see if I was still interested in the job for which I interviewed a few months back, as they will have a new opening soon. This is very promising indeed, as I am still interested.

·Yesterday, I received a three-disc "Best of the '70s" compilation in the mail from Ben. He also e-mailed me comments about some of the songs, and he perfectly summarized Nilsson's "Coconut" as follows: "Not good, but catchy in a nightmarish way, which I guess counts for something. Maybe."

·The chips I am eating are stale, but there are still too many of them in the bag for me to throw it away in good conscience.

·There's a Travelodge on Woodward Avenue that says, "SHAQ WOULD RATHER BE STAYING HERE" on its marquee. (The Lakers are staying at the Townsend hotel. Pistons fans have been making as much noise as possible from the nearby buildings in the hopes of depriving the LA team of sleep.)

·FUN FACT: United States mail carriers are not required to even get out of their vehicles and approach your doorstep in an attempt to deliver a package that requires your signature. If you aren't standing by your mailbox when he arrives, you can be considered "not home."

·Sandy told me that she would buy me a new CD of my choice if I watched Something's Gotta Give. (Her idea; she wants me to see it and I said no way, so she bribed me.) I think I'm going to make her get me the most recent album by The Tied & Tickled Trio, but if the movie is actually worse than I expect it to be, I may require one of those exorbitantly priced Casiotone for the Painfully Alone CDs.

·The new Beastie Boys album is encoded with copy-protection software (as explained in a lengthy "sold as is" disclaimer on the back of its package), which means that not only will it be difficult for you to make the backup copy you're legally entitled to by the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, but it will likely not even play on your home computer. Since the Beastie Boys have always been a pro-MP3 band, and Capitol Records is a label with a long history of mistreating its artists (see Crowded House, Butthole Surfers, etc.) and, as part of the RIAA, screwing the consumer, I see no problem with simply downloading the album for free.

·A horny cat has sprayed my neighbors' lawn. I've smelled more pleasant things in my time.

CURRENT MUSIC: Dog in the Sand by Frank Black and the Catholics.
20, counting today.
6:37 PM.

Doot? | |

Sunday, June 13, 2004:

I spent most of the morning lying on my bed, next to the open window, reading The Verificationist by Donald Antrim, which is a wonderfully odd novel that Bev's sister, Aud, sent to me. Just as I finished reading, I happened to look out the window and saw four middle school-age boys riding by on their bikes. I caught this snippet of their conversation:

KID #1: I wouldn't mind hitting that from the back!
KID #2: Hell, I wouldn't mind banging any rich girl!
KID #3: I would. They're snobs.

I collapsed and pressed my face into the bedspread, shaking my head at these kids' delusional self-images, unsure whether it was really funny or really sad. Then I imagined what Midnight Cowboy would've been like had it starred four young men whose voices hadn't yet changed, and decided that it was hilariously sad.

CURRENT MUSIC: The 555 EP by Mytwilightpilot.
CURRENT DISAPPOINTMENT: I bought Adrienne a copy of Emily Post's Etiquette, and it's been modernized, so it doesn't contain all the great, archaic advice that the 1922 edition offered: "Don’t put ribbon trimmings on your table. Satin bands and bows have no more place on a lady’s table than have chop-house appurtenances. Pickle jars, catsup bottles, toothpicks and crackers are not private-house table ornaments. Crackers are passed with oyster stew and with salad, and any one who wants 'relishes' can have them in his own house (though they insult the cook!)."
2:11 PM.

Doot? | |

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