From Allergies to Imbeciles
2003-11-05 - 2:03 p.m.
I have 4 possible reasons for why my brain refused to function today:
A number of people around me have been complaining of allergies. Now, for some odd reason, mine have been relatively dormant this year (knock on wood). I am assuming that this is due to a combination of yoga and vegetarianism, although I'm not exactly sure how. However, the first symptom of an allergy attack for me is that I become completely deranged. I say random thoughts out loud and become very frustrated with everything that happens, no matter what. It's like I have a pollen-induced case of Tourette's or something, because the random curse words just start flying. So I am willing to accept that at least part of the cause of my mind having the cohesiveness of runny oatmeal is something biological. However, that can't be everything.
The last few days have been very stressful at work, as we have been doing billing. This means that we take our employees timesheets, create invoices based on these timesheets and on equipment purchases, attach timesheets and equipment receipts to the invoice, and send them back to our parent telecommunications company. This sounds easy, and it should in fact be easy. However, this is Notorious RRZ's place of work, and the Imps of Decreased Productivity that follow me around wherever I go were happy to discover that they have plenty of friends who already lived here, so that they wouldn't have to go to some ersatz Imps O'DP restaurant that was really catering to the regular imp population.
Because after I spent an entire afternoon messing with QuickBooks and playing the Hours'n'Invoices Match Game Extravaganza (featuring a grand prize of $93.14!) hosted by Wink Clusterfuck, I was told that our parent company had decided to change the way it did our billing, meaning that I had to do the same thing over again the next day. Of course, at that point, the hours on the invoices and the hours in the timesheets no longer matched, and didn't seem to want to match no matter what anyone did. It was only this morning that we were finally able to come to grips with this train wreck of an internal procedure. It makes me wish we didn't just let our receptionists quit without giving notice. It would be nice to have learned something about our own internal procedures by now. As is, it's something of an oral tradition, subject to reinterpretation and fiddling with facts until it is one day taken down. For the moment, we remain a pre-1000AD Beowulf in a 21st Century world.
Now why would I bring up Beowulf at a time like this. Well, I'm studying for the Literature GRE, which involves me becoming better acquainted with all the dead white male authors that I didn't want to study in college. This test just became more important as my chances of going to study in London, where the GRE isn't required, have now been cut in half. I have spent the past few evenings reviewing poems I hate, epics I loathe, and writers I wish had never learned to read. Granted, I also get to read works I love again, by John Donne and Ben Jonson, but it still doesn't mean I'm looking forward to reviewing Dickens, Pope, and all the other schmucks that made me thing that theatre might not have been so bad a major after all. All this so I can study Joyce, Rushdie, Winterson, and a bunch of other crazy modern folk. Blow this test, and I might find myself up a creek without a grad school.
As terrifying as this idea is, there's still more to it than that.
3. Entering a Higher Level of Consciousness
It might just be that I am completely useless on a practical level because I am about to transcend the mundane. No, shut up, I'm serious! Last night I got to this really clear meditative state while doing yoga, where I got to really ask myself questions about my personal inner nature (which is what I think you're supposed to do when all that proud-warrior-downward-dog-simple-camel-lotus-bridge-right-hand-blue-left-foot-green-nonsense makes you lightheaded). It was actually very cool, especially considering that I managed to acheive this state while watching That 70s Show at the exact same time. I feel that, on some level, I couldn't attain nirvana without the wisdom of Hyde and Fez to light my path.
Also, I had my first lucid dreaming experience last night. I was in high school, and there had been this big party that the school had found out about because people had been arrested, and we were all going to get a huge angry lecture all day long. While walking over there, annoyed and apprehensive, I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm in a dream . . . I'm going to have some fun." So while my high school teachers were ranting I went up to the stage, took the mike from then, and defended the entire student body in a style that would have made Clarence Darrow proud. Then everyone applauded. I woke up and was like, "Hellz yeah . . . I should do that in all my dreams!" Hopefully the next time that happens I'll be able to pull some I Dream of Jeannie thing and get Orlando Bloom to appear before me wearing nothing but his LOTR elf-wig by crossing my arms and doing a bobble-head blinkie thing.
Although this mastery of my own subconscious mind might be leading my brain to higher energy planes, there are still things dragging it down.
4. Stupid People
It all comes down to stupid people, doesn't it? There are so many of them to deal with.
I watched The Reality of Reality last night, and let me tell you, when I watch a show that features a number of people jerking off, I prefer that they be pretty. Instead, I got a lot of talking heads offering profound insights along the lines of "Reality TV is very manipulated" and "Producers can effect the outcome of the game" and "This raises important ethical questions." I did not need an hour of programming to tell me that reality shows do not depict "reality," particularly if no one raises any questions about "The Real" or "Performance" or anything else that might interest me. Instead, it was a bunch of smug TV critics and pundits smugly talking about how the networks put one over on the public.
No one cares. No one cares, ever. Talk about portrayals of the masculine and the feminine in dating shows. Talk about standards of beauty. Talk about something that has an effect outside the little box you're watching. If you're not going to do that, don't bother. Also, get a real intellect up there. It would be interesting to hear what Jeanette Winterson thinks about reality TV. Emily Nussbaum? Not so much.
Speaking of which, I also was directed to an interview with another GenX talking head, Chuck Klosterman, who appears to be one of those people for whom sincerity and irony have become hopelessly intermingled, to the point where you wonder about their sense of identity. Also, he's seems to be one of those people who enjoy saying offensive things because they'll be edgy of controversial. For example, his statement, "I also think every heterosexual male goes through a
Led Zeppelin obsession at some point between the ages of 17 and 25. I don't
trust any man who hasn't" manages to piss me off in its assumption that 1) anyone should automatically love any band, 2) that gay men don't necessarily have to love Led Zeppelin (for the record, II is one of my Top 10 albums ever; I love me some Zep, people, they're tied with Lou Reed and the Velvets in terms of favorite classic bands), 3) that women don't necessarily have to love Led Zeppelin (most women I know do in fact love Led Zeppelin, and it was Tori Amos who got me into them, as they are her fave band ever), and 4) that either he doesn't trust gay men who haven't gotten into Led Zeppelin, or worse, that he simply doesn't group them in the category of "men." Also, he thinks Britney Spears is a more powerful sex symbol than Madonna because she is unaware of her own sexuality, whereas Madonna's is calculated.
For me, that's exactly why Britney is so repulsive, that she stand for unaware, powerless objectification. And also, I feel like his first response should have been "Which Madonna are we talking about, because there is a big difference in hottitude between Like a Virgin Madonna, Blond Ambition Madonna, and American Life Madonna, and that's just three of her."
Of course, Klosterman is just a reporter for Spin Magazine (that little magazine is a whole other entry full of invective). There are worse things that I hear from the people who run this place. Our Favorite Stupid Bully, for example, signed into law a ban on partial birth abortions, claiming that he is trying to create "a culture of life" in America.
Please tell me he's talking about, like, bacteria and yogurt, or something. Maybe he's trying to brew his own beer in the Oval Office?
Now, I am not going to get into the abortion debate here. My problem is with that little soundbite: "culture of life." Now, if you believe abortion is murder and want it stopped at the first opportunity, then by all means say that. I disagree, but I can understand why it would be an important issue for those who genuinely believe that abortion is murder. If I believed that, I would be shouting every day from the rooftops: "Don't you people understand that innocent children are being killed!" I wouldn't come up with something as lame as "culture of life." Don't talk about creating "a culture of life" when you've been the governor of the state famous around the world for executions only to send American troops overseas to their deaths--not to mention causing the death of heaven knows how many innocent Iraqi civilians--as soon as you're promoted. Oh, wait, Stupid Bullykins, I know how you can still say that you want a culture of life; order all executions of death-row inmates to take place in Iraq! That way we'll have our culture of life and all the death can happen over there. We can even send the veterans who'll die because of your cuts to their healthcare to Iraq as well! Yay! Culture of Life!
Yeah, the stupid people drain my brain. However, seeing as Stupid Bully already got the Shut Up, Stupid People! Thought of The Week last week, I dedicate this one to Chuckie Boy:
Why jerk off to Britney Spears . . .
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