Captain Inertia
Friday, April 23, 2004
 
SURSUM CORDA ON SEEING BOTH SIDES OF THINGS

One of the reasons I like this guy's blog is that he's so darn nuanced. (Of course, as he says himself, the flip side of 'nuanced' is 'wishy-washy,' a charge I've had thrown my way more than once as well...) Interesting stuff.


Wednesday, April 21, 2004
 
BEST. ALBUM. EVER.

I picked it up at Virgin yesterday, after hearing it in a bar with Greg over the weekend and deciding I could no longer resist its' many allures.

Whoa, mama. "Rocket"? "Animal"? "Love Bites"? (Mention this song to my sister and she'll tell you how it was her 'special song' with her junior-high boyfriend Walt. True story. I don't think I'm jeopardizing my relationship with my sister by revealing that.)

Between QW getting into the Sweet and my blasting "Love Bites" at work after everybody's gone home...jeez. I'm sorry, is it 1984?
 
I AM SUCH A DORK.

Post yesterday about how you won't be hearing anything from me, and here I am. Hah.
 
OH, COME ON!

You've got to be kidding me. (sigh) The really killer part is right at the end: "I didn't marry my wife because she was a kind, sensitive woman," says the guy who's helping to found the club. "I married her because she is a complete package. I married her because she takes her butt to the gym, and she keeps it tight for me. I want it all, and I got it all. There are men who want the same." Does that mean you're going to ditch your wife the second she turns 40 and starts to lose her luster? What if you lose your job and stop earning that six-figure salary? Is she going to stick by you?

Yes, men will probably always gravitate towards hot women. But codifying it like this...yecch.




Tuesday, April 20, 2004
 
E.G.

Does the fact that I get excited over using a new font in Microsoft Word (oh! Garamond!) make me a nerd, a geek, or a dweeb? Or just someone who uses Microsoft Word too much?
 
I AM NOT ON HIATUS.

I am, however, extremely busy. (At least by my standards.) I apologize for my flagrant lack of content, but I expect, unfortunately, that it will continue for the near future. ('Near future' = two or three weeks.) I have been pulled into the maw of work and am being chomped on by the bicuspids of high expectations.

BUT, I promise, I'll return. And I may drop in to post stuff I think is interesting.
Friday, April 09, 2004
 
PRINCE IS NOW A JEHOVAH'S WITNESS

Huh. Apparently that's why he wouldn't play, say, "Sexy MF" at his Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

I can't say I truck much with the beliefs of the JW's, but it seems like it's a step forward for the man. And chew on this for a second, too (from the Get Religion article linked above):

"Alan Leeds, who worked as Prince's tour manager for seven years and ran the now-defunct Paisley Park Records from 1989 to 1992, still remembers a late-night chat he had with his wife several years ago. "I remember saying, 'You know where this is going to end up? This is going to end up with Prince playing on Sundays in a purple church in Chanhassen [the location of Paisley Park],'" Leeds recounts. "People will be dressed in ruffled shirts, looking like it's the Eighties, watching him preach and play 'Purple Rain.'"

Further proof that the distance between rock 'n' roll and religion is smaller than you think.

(EDITED TO ADD: the Quarterwit provides an important point-counterpoint. And also important commentary on MTV's the Real World.)
 
SUBSERVIENT CHICKEN

(Via Something Blue.)

I find this horrifying. Honestly. That chicken-man-creature really effin' freaks me out. What would you do if you came home and found that thing in your living room? Yeesh. Yet, it's also somehow entrancing. Like a silent chicken ballet.

Also, after you've been sucked into its orbit, take note of who its marketing partner is, and ask yourself: guh?


 
BAD BAD BAD

NY Times article on undocumented Latin American immigrants forced to work 100-hour weeks for as little as $250 at a posh spa in Midtown. I've met people through my work who have gone through similar experiences--illegal immigrants, long hours, no pay, inhumane conditions. An advocacy organization I know of won back over $200,000 in back pay from one restauranteur who hadn't paid several staff members overtime for two years. Sigh.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
 
RIP, KURT COBAIN

Ten years? Jeez. You know the guy's been dead a while when they're playing his music on Morning Edition. I remember buying the Cassingle (oh, yeah) for 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' back in junior high. Jeez.

Thurston Moore sums it up in the NY Times.

(Thanks to Seb for the idea.)


Tuesday, April 06, 2004
 
I MEAN, LIKE, WHOA.

Out to lunch with a friend of mine on Monday, I noticed he had a National Review MasterCard. Wow.
Friday, April 02, 2004
 
WHINE WHINE WHINEY MCWHINE-ING-TON

These days are what Charlie would call 'tough sledding over hard meat'.

My boss is quitting, and I’m going to step up to take her place. This is good news; it means Captain Inertia gets a (temporary) promotion. But I’m a little bit worried, too—it means taking on a ton of additional responsibility and work. My work ethic has gotten, well, flabby—the result of two years of not really being challenged at work. I’ve gotten used to the ‘roll in at 9.15, surf the Internet for an hour, work for an hour, take lunch’ business model. The idea of putting in a day of work in which I actually work for eight solid hours seems bewildering, like something out of a Horatio Alger novel.

Furthermore, my departing boss does stressful stuff. She’s the kind of woman that seems to have a target on her back—lots of responsibility, not a lot of authority, which means she spends a lot of time running around arguing with people and looking worried. That’s what makes me antsy. I’m stepping up into that role, and I don’t know how I’ll handle it. I hate confrontation. I hate pushing people. I hate scheduling meetings with busy people. I hate doing everything under tight deadlines and having to ask people, “Um, not only do I need you to do this, but I need you to do this for me by tomorrow.” I’m anxious about the anger and stress.

I’m also still trying to figure out this divinity school thing. I applied; I got in; I accepted the offer. That means, in theory, I’m going. Only I still don’t feel emotionally right about it. And I feel like a collossal tool for having applied, gotten in, and accepted, and now feeling like I don’t know what to do. (Isn’t that stuff you’re supposed to figure you before you apply, genius?) The whole topic is embarassing and I don’t have it all figured out by any means—but, unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of time to think about it or pray about it right now, because of everything that’s happening at work. And other areas of my life (did I mention I’m going to Ireland in a month? And that I don’t have a passport? Or plane tickets? Or an itinerary? Or a copy of “Let’s Go, Ireland”? ).

Whatever. I’m not Bubble Boy here. The point isn’t to regale you with all my problems. The point is just to point out that there’s a lot of stuff on my plate right now. The real problem is how I’m responding to it. When I’m stressed out, my first instinct is to wimp out. Reward myself by doing less. Have a crappy day at work? Skip the run. Have a fight with a co-worker? Take a walk and forget about the grant proposal for a while. Having a mini-crisis over your vocation?….eh, spend the weekend playing video games on your computer. Don’t clean the apartment. Don’t wash the dishes.

All of which is fine, I guess, except then you end up being the kind of person who’s skipped his run, hasn’t finished the grant proposal, and hasn’t cleaned his apartment or done the dishes. And you feel like crap.

I just struggle to discipline myself. That’s the end of the story. My dad, all throughout my childhood, hauled himself out of bed at 5.15 AM to go run five miles. He did this regularly, in all kinds of weather. I strive to emulate his example, but with more mixed results: every day this week I have set my alarm for 7 AM, with the goal of dragging myself out of bed to go to the gym. And every morning I get up, run over the clock, re-set it for 8, and go back to bed. And every morning, my alarm goes off a second time, and I think, well, Captain Lazy wins again. (And then I think, the NPR anchor in New York is named Satirious Johnson! How is that possible?!)

I came home from work on Tuesday at about 6. I had some things to do—go for a run, work on an essay, yadda yadda—but I just couldn’t bring myself to do them. I procrastinated. I settled onto the couch with a bag of pretzels. The TV came on. Nothing got done. And when I wasn’t thinking wow, these Simpsons episodes stand up pretty well after all this time, I was thinking this: you are such a fucking baby. YOU ARE TWENTY-FOUR. You are an ADULT. If you don’t make yourself do this, who will? What a wimp. You are such a baby.

It’s easy to get down on yourself.

Beating up on myself is pretty much my favorite hobby (after watching the Simpsons, and making fun of the names of NPR anchors in my area, and linking my blog to news stories about gorillas). It’s not fun, but it’s familiar, and it’s easy. It’s like—I have a perfectionist’s standards for myself, but a procrastinator’s work ethic. I spend all my time before something saying, “Oh, jeez, this is too hard,” and all my time afterward saying “Oh, shit, I should have done that better. I suck.” I set my alarm to get up and go to the gym, but I always turn it off, and then I feel bad afterwards. It can add up to a potent cocktail of non-self-liking

But. I am not going to do that, either. Because that’s not the answer. And every time I really flip my shit, and sit on my couch and hate myself, and think, that’s right, I really am a baby, there’s another voice speaking to me in my head, the one that says, David, you are being ridiculous right now. Stop moaning. Just do it. Just get up and do the dishes. And then brush your teeth. And then go to bed; you’re tired. Bob Dylan nailed it: “Stop all this weeping, swallow your pride/you will not die. It’s not poison.” I will not die; none of this stuff is poison. It’s not pleasant—it sucks, frankly, and I wish I could deal with it on my own timetable, slowly, instead of all of it at once. But it’s not gonna kill me.

It—gets—tough. No question about it. I made myself a little to-do list with all my chores on it. (It’s a Word file, and I’ve given it amusing names [Secret Plot to Take over World, the Journals of Commander Fang, etc.] so I’ll detest it less.) I’m trying hard to focus at work to get things done so I won’t be so stressed out. I’m trying hard to get enough sleep, to pray, to stay focused on getting things done, and to stay focused on knowing that this is just a temporary busy and crappy week or two weeks in my life, and that everything will be fine. And indeed, on knowing that by any objective standard I’m ridiculously priveliged, and that my ‘problems’ really aren’t that bad at all.. I’m trying hard to do my footwork, to clean up my side of the fence. But it’s hard.

So please pray for me, if you pray. Do not pray that things will get easier for me. Pray that I will grow up, a little bit, as it is necessary, and that I will remember the ways I’m lucky. Pray I will retain my sense of humor. And pray I will remember to clean my apartment.


EDITED TO ADD: I am now colossally embarrased that I posted 1500 words about, um, all this. But whatever.

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