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06/01 Direct Link
“I'd like to return a cabbage.”

“Very good, what seems to be the problem?”

“It has strange broccoli-like growths on the inside.”

“I see, sir. This is a Napa cabbage, Brassica Rapa, a member of the family Brassicaceae and a relative of broccoli. These growths are natural. Also, you seem to have eaten most of the cabbage already.”

“Don't talk down to me, grocery boy. Do you know who I am?”

“Sir, in our classless society a mostly-eaten cabbage is still a mostly-eaten cabbage, no matter who brings it in.”

“That's a myth and you know it.”
06/02 Direct Link
Maybe I'm actually a bug-eyed alien in disguise or a complex robotic probe. It strikes me that I was probably sent here to observe human beings, and any day now I'll be called back to make my report. I don't suppose I'm doing a very good job, because I have no idea what I would say. I'd probably just shrug my shoulders or tentacles or whatever, severely disappointing my bug-eyed alien leaders.

Don't be alarmed, I guess I'm on your side now after spending so many years here. Can I be an honorary human? Is there a certificate?
06/03 Direct Link
I made a pot of tea and sat at my desk, staring out the window at the rain. Some Chopin preludes trickled quietly out of my speakers and strange questions crowded into my thoughts. I tried to push them out; I only wanted to relax, but some of them were persistent.

“Am I too passive?”

Where did that come from? I watched the thirsty plants in the courtyard dancing under the weight of the raindrops, and let the question slip from my mind.

“Am I too...”

Shhh... Just be quiet for a minute. Enjoy your tea and watch the rain.
06/04 Direct Link
The romance of being broke is starting to wear a bit thin. I've had to cut the budget in several key areas, including alcohol, dessert, and coffee. I don't think I can afford to go shopping at all, actually. For the next few weeks, I'm just going to eat whatever I can find in my kitchen. How many different recipes can you get out of dried beans, pasta, and oatmeal?

TODAY'S SPECIALS:
Pasta and beans
Pasta and oatmeal
Beans and oatmeal

How many places should I set? You guys coming over for dinner?

Thank God for credit cards, I guess.
06/05 Direct Link
Going to sleep is usually the highlight of my day so I might be the only one who thinks so, but isn't having to wake up before you're ready really unpleasant? Can we get together and create a new economic system that puts a good night's rest ahead of the pursuit of profit?

See, my internship started today, so I had to get up early. Soon enough I'll get used to this new schedule, but until then I'm going to shamble around and moan and pray that someone will mistake me for a zombie and hit me with a shovel.
06/06 Direct Link
Steamed Dumpling's Guide for the Sartorially Perplexed

US $14.95
CAN $19.95

Fashionistas beware! Steamed Dumpling brings you his philosophy of just barely meeting recognized standards of presentability as a reaction against an image-obsessed society. His emphasis on inner beauty will appeal to the destitute and unattractive.


“The author, who barely knows how to dress himself and often looks more rumpled than Ralph Nader, offers laughable fashion advice in this slim, overpriced volume. The chapter on alternatives to ironing is especially pointless.” -- Associated Press

“Oh, honestly! Hawaiian shirts are not nearly as sexy as Mr. Dumpling seems to think.” -- Glamour
06/07 Direct Link
“...and pray that someone, mistaking me for a zombie, will hit me with a shovel.”

“... I'm going to shamble around and moan. Maybe someone will mistake me for a zombie and hit me with a shovel.”

“Maybe if I shamble around and moan loudly someone will sneak up and hit me with a shovel. They'll get credit for killing a zombie and I'll have an excuse to sleep in tomorrow.”

Isn't writing fun? At first I wasn't happy with the clumsiness of that sentence, but now I think it conveys how exhausted and zombie-like I felt on Tuesday. Graaaah!
06/08 Direct Link
I have a big blue fountain pen in a mug on my desk. It looks like it's made out of lapis lazuli or something, but it's actually just a cheap plastic thing I found online.

Right now I want to put some ink into that pen and write a seven-page letter to someone. I'd pour my soul out onto cream-colored paper and feel the exhaustion and relief that come with self-expression.

It's hard. I don't know who I would write to. I wouldn't know where to start. I guess I'll just have a beer and watch TV.
06/09 Direct Link
Some guy wanted to rape my ex-girlfriend last night. She is sweet and trusting, and this guy had her in his car and groped and slobbered all over her and wouldn't let her out. He finally let go of her arm after she put up enough of a struggle. She was lucky.(?)

I don't want to live in this world any more. If I have to, let me be a tree or a stone or anything but what I am: a member of a nasty, violent, greedy bunch of damned, dirty apes.

I advised her never to trust anyone.
06/10 Direct Link
MEMO

Dear Women,

Below I have outlined my plan for gender equality. Please get back to me with comments ASAP.

-SD-

I. Start lifting weights and become gigantic freaking she-hulks.

II. If some dude tries to fuck with you, crush his skull with your bare hands.

Seriously, how much of the problem has to do with physical strength? The guy from last night was a coward, I have no doubt. If he'd thought there was a chance she would have kicked his ass, he would have been a perfect gentleman, right?

Next: Solving economic gender inequality with concealed firearms.

06/11 Direct Link
There was a weird vibe outside today. I looked at the sky and hurried to my destination.

Everyone was out on the street, distressed and frantic, as if they knew they had to do something, but had forgotten what it was. The drunkards and crazy people were also out, converged in the same place, apparently aware of what was happening.

I half expected the sky to split open and a legion of demons to pour out. The time has come. Lord, rain your sweet, fiery wrath down upon us.

He didn't, of course. I admit I was a little disappointed.

06/12 Direct Link
I put my card into the slot, knocked on the door, paused for a second, and went inside.

“Hey,” I said. “I didn't know what kind of drinks you like so I got a few different kinds.”

“Thanks, I'll just have whatever...” she said, staring intently out the window.

“So what's...”

“It'll look suspicious if we head down too soon after checking in,” she said. “He's down there by the pool, and I don't think he's going anywhere for a while. Let's wait about an hour.”

“Fine with me.” I kicked off my shoes and crashed on my bed, exhausted.
06/13 Direct Link
Part of my internship involves creating a disaster plan for the small library where I'm working. If we have a flood, we have to do this, if we have an earthquake, we have to do that, etc...

Today I came home with a big white envelope with “DISASTER PLANNING” written on the front in big, black letters. There were people who glanced at the folder, then studied my face for a long time.

“Hey, check this guy out,” they were thinking. “He knows the disaster plan.”

Honestly, I just want to go everywhere with that folder. I like the attention.
06/14 Direct Link
She had made up her mind, and in a few seconds I would have to stand up and leave. Until then I rested my head in her lap, embracing her knees, kissing her unresponsive hands.

Like a man who has spilled the last of his water in the desert sand, I tried vainly to extract something of her so that I could survive the next few days. I wanted to pull her inside of me somehow.

When I realized this was impossible, I stood up and left her apartment without saying anything.

(This is the sequel to March 26, haha.)
06/15 Direct Link
When you're a teenager and you don't know who you are yet, you try on a few different personas to see which one fits you best. I tried, in order:

* the sarcastic kid
* the sensitive kid who acted tough
* the passionate musician (I played trombone)
* the human doormat
* the kid who thought he was better than everyone else (severe insecurity)
* the slightly angry, antisocial kid

I eventually settled on “the quiet, sensible, nerdy kid,” and I've more or less stuck with that one. Sometimes I wonder if it's too late to try something else, since it's really not much fun.
06/16 Direct Link
A really boring day. I spent part of it reviewing embarrassing things that I've done in my life and then feeling embarrassed about them. I really am embarrassed about the person I was five years ago, and last year, and last month, and five minutes ago. The present and future are filled with potential for me to become less of an embarrassment to myself, and it is only through a powerful kind of optimism that I am able to carry on.

When I review these events chronologically, it becomes clear that I am actually getting slightly better, hence the optimism.
06/17 Direct Link
My restaurant wouldn't really have a menu. You'd just show up and sit down at your table, and say “I kind of feel like having spaghetti tonight.” Then the guys in the kitchen would make some spaghetti for you. They'd pick some basil and tomatoes from the garden to make the sauce.

We'd have a big, open area in the front with overstuffed couches, where you could sit and eat popcorn and watch movies.

After work you could sit at the bar and eat pistachios, have some root beer, and maybe play board games with your co-workers.

Nice, right?
06/18 Direct Link
I really liked this girl, one of my friends. One night, while we were both visiting a friend of hers, I realized that I had to tell her how I felt. I spent that whole night trying to find the words I wanted to say to her. The next afternoon I spit out something clumsy, and in the nicest way you could imagine she told me that she didn't feel the same way.

She did it so gently, I barely even noticed that I was hurt. I got falling-down drunk every afternoon. I'm falling-down drunk right now, too.
06/19 Direct Link
(con't – I'm breaking the rules a bit)

Maybe that's why she's on my mind. I eventually realized that I had quit my job and moved thousands of miles to be near her. I relied on alcohol to numb my emotions and keep me from jumping in front of a truck. I was actually trying to be an alcoholic, and after a few days I realized that I just couldn't do it. I think some people are alcoholics and some aren't... and I'm one of those lucky sods who isn't. Please don't say that guys are cold-hearted bastards. (more rules
06/20 Direct Link
will be broken tonight)

because we're more sensitive that you give us credit for. We have a capacity for caring and understanding that is concealed by society's expectations of masculinity. Those things are fucking BULLSHIT, did you know that? All of the repression that is required, it isn't worth it. Can we please re-evaluate our conceptions of masculinity? It would do the whole world a lot of good, I'm sure. I have a stake in this because I'm not your typical “dude” but guys all over the world would benefit, I am sure. 100words.com MY ASS! I will comply.
06/21 Direct Link
Doo-dee-doo, going downstairs to check my mail. A student loan check? A box full of candy? An anonymous love letter? A phone bill?

No, it's a flyer for an Italian restaurant.

Everything at this place is made with cheese. It's full of cow pus, you know. And rennet, probably. Also, under the “desserts” section they have a special treat called “Conoli.” Do you think they meant “Cannoli”? This flyer has failed to impress me, in spite of the yellow paper. I throw it away.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get a box of candy for no reason.

...

IT COULD HAPPEN.
06/22 Direct Link
Wow, all of those except for the 21 were written in a drunken stupor. This is a sign that I should get out of this game. Will I be kicked off this site? Maybe! I guess the fact that I skipped several days in a row in a drunken, depressed haze is a sign that I should give this up for a while. Before now, I wrote every night before I went to bed. But now I am bad. I need a hiatus.

What surprises me is when you are super drunk you retain your spelling, you lose your inhibitions.
06/23 Direct Link
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Blah-blaaaaah!

My reverie in the park was broken by loud, annoying shouting. The source of the noise was a small woman on a platform, her voice amplified by a pair of speakers. She delivered her jive about heaven and hell to a bored-looking group of about twenty people.

I come to the park to be with the grass, the trees, the sky, and the squirrels... it's the closest thing to “worship” I have. I'd like a direct relationship with nature, unmediated by clergy, tradition, or imaginary friends.

No preaching in the park! It frightens the squirrels.

06/24 Direct Link
When a song is really and truly stuck in my head, its rhythm influences my every movement and gesture. The way I brush my teeth, the way I drain the spaghetti, the way I swing my arms in the supermarket -- they're all subject to the bwoww (cha-chik) bwowww

...

When I sat down to dinner as a kid, I would shake the table with my bouncing legs and bobbing head. My Dad would say that I had “more soul than I could control.” I tried to explain about the hijacking of my body by the bumm ba-ba-ba bwowww
06/25 Direct Link
I usually avoid the mall because I find it depressing, but today I went there and bought three shirts. What's more, the shirts were carefully chosen to reflect the latest styles and I actually tried them on to make sure they looked good on me. I guess I must be smitten, huh?

I haven't really been this smitten for a long time, but I recognize the signs. I'll act like a fool for a while, daydream on the bus, and generally set myself up for disappointment.

FRIENDLY ADVICE: Don't fall for your friends. But... I know, you can't help it.

06/26 Direct Link
Dear Advice Columnist,

The problem is, I figured out the punch line to his joke before I was supposed to, and I started laughing about thirty seconds before I should have. Everyone turned around to look at me, and I sort of ruined the poor guy's joke. Is there anything I can do to make things right?

Apologetic in Albany

----------

Dear Apologetic,

This is nothing more than thinly-veiled self congratulation disguised as social awkwardness. “Oh, look at me, I can figure out jokes before everyone else – give me a gold star!” Criminy! Get over yourself, will you?

Advice Columnist
06/27 Direct Link
In a quiet moment, Ahab is on deck, watching a group of fish as they travel along the side of his ship. When they suddenly swim away, he says, “Swim away from me, do ye?” with “a deep helpless sadness.”

Yes, the fish did swim away, but it's a mistake to take it personally and say that they're swimming away from you. It's more than a little bit crazy to interpret everyone's behavior as a reaction to you, but people do it all the time. I do it all the time. There's a difference between knowing something and knowing it.
06/28 Direct Link
3:00 a.m. Her shrieks cut through my dream and urged me to the telephone. I explained to the 911 dispatcher that this woman sounded as if she was screaming for her life.

By the time I got back to my window, the screaming had stopped. I was too late to help her.

The police arrived fifteen minutes later. By then there was nothing to see, and they moved on quickly enough. The eerie, deserted city reasserted its silence in the aftermath of whatever had happened. I tried to get back to sleep, but those terrible screams echoed in my ears.
06/29 Direct Link
IM argument:

Do you know which bar I mean?

(pause – eating my sandwich)

(impatience) Hello?

(annoyance) Yeah, I'm right here

(annoyance) I guess you aren't interested in what I have to say?

(frustration) I am, I was just gone for a second, go on with your story

(no idea, a female thing?) If you're not interested, I won't tell it...

(pride, arrogance) So don't tell it...

(fury) Don't you care?

(pride, covering ass) I do, but if you don't want to tell your story...

(restrained fury) Maybe next time...

(pride, anger) Whatever...


{We made up because we're cool like that.}
06/30 Direct Link
I'm so embarrassed by my drunken ranting (18, 19, 20, and 22) that I seriously considered leaving today's entry blank and letting this batch disappear forever. The only thing that stops me is the idea that I'd be robbing the world of my 'cabbage sketch,' and I couldn't live with that.

The knowledge that I'm a windbag with nothing interesting to say has caught up with me, though, so I will take my psychotic, drunken advice and have a little break.

Maybe in the interim I'll learn to say what I actually mean, or meditate, or become a better person.