Sunday, March 9, 2008

Daylight Saving Time

Each spring, when the clocks change, I always seem to lose my hour at the most inopportune time. While officially the 2 AM hour disappears each year, the time change usually sneaks up on me in a manner that causes it to take me by surprise when I show up an hour late for something. I had one year where I was trying to get to a gig a half-hour early and wound up being a half-hour late. The worst was the year I was in Paris during the spring semester. Each Sunday, I would go to the latin quarter and watch The Simpsons at an anglophone bar that had a British satellite TV hook-up. I have since then broken my dependence on The Simpsons, although at that point it had a pretty powerful hold on my life. Each week, I would get a "sandwiche grecque" and a Coke and get my Simpsons fix. On that particular day, I was planning on watching at least some of The Simpsons at 6, and then going to a dinner party at my friend's fantastic Parisian duplex apartment by around 7. When I arrived at the bar, I found out that not only had The Simpsons ended, but I was also late for the dinner party. I remember calling my friend up from a pay phone, since my cell phone had been stolen a week or two earlier, and asking her what time it was. Everyone on her end was laughing at how ridiculous this question was. The worst part was that I had essentially wasted the entire day sitting around my apartment on a beautiful spring day.

Recently, there has been lots of warning for daylight saving time. Apparently, the media found it necessary this year to do multiple stories about why we have daylight saving time, and also to point out that there is no "s" at the end of "saving." This is a common mistake that I have always made, as well as everyone I know. It's not something that has ever bothered me, as opposed to the "s" some rogues feel they need to attach to the end of "anyway." But now that I have been informed, and I am beginning to train myself in this arbitrary correctness, I'm sure I will begin too feel annoyance whenever someone refers to it as "daylight savingS time." Or perhaps I'll simply rebel against the oppressive language establishment at make it a point to always us the extra "s." Either way, I've had no problem remembering the time change, although I do miss the occasional displacement that I feel when I realize that I've been walking around in my own personal time zone while everyone else is in a totally different hour and thinks nothing of it at all. It makes one wonder how arbitrary time is and how as humans, maybe we are better adapted to sleep and wake with the sun. But then I remember how inconvenient it is to wear a sundial around my wrist. Might as well drop it and just focus on getting to where I need to go on time, whether or not I have any idea what time it actually is.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Elementary School and the 1988 Presidential Election

In 1988, I was in 2nd grade. I didn't know a whole lot about presidential elections, but I knew I supported Michael Dukakis over George Bush. I didn't know why I supported Michael Dukakis. I got this opinion from my parents. To this day, I don't know exactly why I feel the way I do about certain things as opposed to the way I do about other things. I wonder how arbitrary it is to have the opinions I have, and if I had just been born in another part of the world, how normal it would feel to believe, say, and do things that I currently find unthinkable. In fact, what if I had been born up the block and around the corner, in a similar symmetrical suburban-style house, to the parents of a kid I knew quite well growing up. I had a political discussion once with this strange, awkward kid named Michael where I tried to espouse my belief that Dukakis should be the next president of the United States of America. He informed me that if Dukakis were to be elected, he would "cover the sidewalks with poopie and pee pee," and that George Bush should become the president.

I was jealous of my sister, who was in 5th grade. Her entire class made campaign posters and buttons. They also came up with catchy, and inflammatory, slogans. For some reason, most of the kids were Bush supporters. I come from an overwhelmingly liberal area, so I find it hard to believe that everyone got their positions passed down from their parents. Maybe it was because Bush was leading in the polls. Or maybe it was the slogans. The Bush supporters were chanting "Dukakis is a duke, and dukes make me puke." All the Dukakis supporters were able to come up with was "Bush is a bush, and who wants to vote for a bush." So of course, Bush won the mock school election.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Minor Accident

On one stormy summer afternoon, I was rear-ended while driving on the highway. The traffic was stop-and-go, and heavier than usual. We had just entered a tunnel, or maybe the overpass directly before the tunnel. Either way, the rain was coming down hard, but we were protected by a concrete umbrella. I've never been in a major accident, and this one did not change that fact. We pulled over to the side of the road and a large man wearing a ratty t-shirt and paint-stained jeans stepped out of his Dodge minivan and ran over to me. With his hand on his head, he repeatedly shouted "I'm so sorry," but in a way that seemed more like an accusation than an apology. He took a good look at my bumper and saw that it was all torn up. The bumper had pieces of black plastic and white styrofoam protruding with jagged edges, and calculated looking scrapes along either end. I was somewhat embarrassed to explain to the bombastically apologetic man that all the damage had been done over 10 years ago, and that my bumper had looked like that for almost as long as I could remember. I don't know what sort of retaliatory action I would have really taken for damages to a car that is old enough to get its own drivers license and drive itself. The man was so relieved that he frantically offered to buy me a pizza, or maybe a 6-pack of beer for the road. And had I not been in a rush, I might have taken him up on the offer.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sometimes I drop the soap in the shower. It's those times when I'm thankful that I'm not in prison.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


As a child, I wrote poetry. I'm not sure why. In retrospect, some of the stuff I wrote could be construed as poetry, even though it was not intended that way. That's partly my parents fault. In preschool, I used to love hammering wood together with nails. My parents couldn't accept that maybe I had a great aptitude to become a carpenter. My wood creations became "artworks." Just like the words I wrote in a thin marble notebook became "poetry." It might not have been any more than some well-spaced scratchy words that I thought of as stories about how Min loved Mon. I think I was Min and Mon was that girl with curly hair who sat next to me who had her jaw wired shut for 6 weeks that spring. Or how a bear put a bucket over its head and then went to the grocery store. In fact, that one got published in a book which might still live in my elementary school library. But it was poetry, and no less than the high art of a 6-year old.

Later, in 5th grade, I actually did write a rather substantial volume (maybe 10 pages) of cheesy rhyming poetry. In one of them, the words were in the shape of a christmas tree. I think another was just some sort of a list. We published them into a book, which was called "Circles, Squares, and Many More." Seriously. I don't think I could make something up like that. I'm not sure why I didn't continue down this path. I might have discovered that not all poetry needs rhyme. I might have figured out how to use language to evoke emotions that can't be reproduced be merely poking someone with a stick. Either way, maybe I would not be reserving my main literary output for blogs and emails.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I guess I have to write in this now...

The 80s were awesome. Not at the time I'm sure. Of course, I was only 9 when they ended. But in retrospect, its like, there's a whole culture based on material with no real idea that it is destroying itself. On every level, its like watching an animal play with something, having no idea what it is really doing or what are the consequences of its actions. Musically, they had all this electronic equipment that just came out and all they can do is make these cheesy sounds. And they have all this money flying around and all they can do is pour it into their cars and the fashion and entertainment industries, and they don't have a clue. I only like the 80s to laugh at them. Oh, and I'm a sucker for any girl with leg warmers. But don't tell anyone I said that. Seriously.
- from an email, sometime in 2004

Sunday, January 14, 2007


When I was in preschool, I used to scribble on a piece of paper and say that it was a drawing of a donut. I think I knew that it didn’t look anything like a donut. It was roundish, at least, but thats where the similarities ended. It didn’t have a hole. It was all squiggly with crayon lines going every which way. It was tree green or sky blue or whatever color I pulled randomly out of the box. But it captured at the time what I must have felt when I thought of a donut. And sometimes, when I’m in Dunkin’ Donuts or Tim Hortons, I still think of those squiggly crayon donuts I used to bring home.