Leaving so soon?

29 March 2009

Mmhmm.

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When you’re not blind

27 March 2009

I need to read writing worth reading; I need to write writing worth reading.

EDIT: I think’ve covered the first part of this sentence.

I Issue: A Complaint.

21 March 2009

I’ve never come so close to theft in my life.  As I read, my brain feels like its collapsing on itself and churning a green goo into the pockets of my skull.  My stomach does the same, except it churns nothing except the gastric acid that is deteriorating the cells of its container.  Every time I open my door, that open box of Quaker Chewy bars stares at me atop the dresser of my neighbors.  Their room is dark, their door open.  If K– isn’t sitting in the dark working on her homework or if she isn’t using her laptop at her desk behind the door, and if I act in the opportune moment…

via ElsaGold

18 March 2009

(Methinks the precision with which she writes is excellent.)

The Worst Part about being Unemployed and Looking

I think I’ve hit it.

The worst part about being Unemployed and Looking is …

Feeling that I am a burden to others.

I’m pretty positive that people don’t look at me and think, “Oh God! It’s The Burden! Not The Burden! Away, stay away!” I believe that most people understand what I should also understand: that our modern world has some obligations to the next up-and-coming generation (the “Millennial Generation,” they call us) built into it. Most jobs require references, sometimes several. What’s more, a basic level of courtesy is expected in social interactions. And yet, I always feel uncomfortable when I call or email people to ask them for their time-to ask whether they could answer just one more question. Should I focus on getting answers? Or do I perform an unnoticed act of politeness by keeping myself out of their life, thus sparing them from another pressure on their time?

This is a problem. Because not only is cold calling one of the pillars of the journalistic practice that I mostly enjoy, but because it has become abundantly clear to me that “networking” and “connecting” and “knowing people” is really. freakin’. important. You gots to know people if you want to work with them.

The world is full of smart, connected, interesting people with stories, and what I want most to meet them and share their experiences. But how do I do that without feeling as if I am a cockroach who gorges myself on their valuable time and institutional knowledge, clinging to it for sustenance? What can I give to them besides my indebtedness? And how can I become a legitimate person in their eyes? If Harvard ingrains anything, it’s a deep sense that you’re not a person unless you’re a really fucking “important” one. I’ll probably spend a few good minutes every day trying to shake off that one, so I can carry on living my life, without that distracting neurosis.

The life I live now is taking out credit on the future, when I can give back to all the people who are giving me job advice and buying me coffee because I have no income, and to the people whose couches I’m crashing on as I tour the potential workplaces of my future. Thank you notes seem pretty pathetic in comparison, but that’s all I’ve got at this point. So until you receive my thanks in print, thank you, everyone I have spoken to so far. My sister once blogged about how the Japanese have one word-Sumimasen-that means both Thank You and Sorry. I need that word now.

And then-this I know-I need to just get over feeling like a sorry, useless sack of dirty laundry, because these feelings are not going to stop me from trying to find a personally meaningful job that I can enjoy. It’s just another neurosis, after all-part and parcel of the modern world.

I wish that I had the insight and strength to use the mix of ultramarine blue and cadmium red in the portraits I paint.  I don’t know how to portray light properly, thus revealing my limited use of colors — I tend to mix this generic, Crayola crayon version of the color of  “flesh” (this silly peachy pink) instead of the range of colors that best portrays what I see: all of these reds and greens and blues that make up the face.  This bothers me very much.  When will I finally begin to paint what is actually in front of me?  Better yet, when will I finally learn how to express my experiences in such a way that is representative — through writing, painting, speaking, what have you — with the slightest tinge of satisfaction?

Work harder.  (…young one.  ZOMG, if any one understands this reference, please comment.  I will love you forEVAR.)

15 March 2009

headphone_man_by_kweli

Guess Who?

14 March 2009

claire-thumb

eric-thumbmaria-thumb*By Surplus Bargains

Javier Palacios

12 March 2009

Funny Little Things

12 March 2009

Generation Awkward
The turtle is dead. Long live the turtle!

Published On Monday, December 08, 2008  10:44 PM

By ALEXANDRA A. PETRI

Kumquats. Ice dancing. Middle-aged people in love. College students who wear pantsuits. Addressing someone with the wrong gender. That guy in section who responds to the reading with passion and insight. Realizing you’ve been mispronouncing your roommate’s last name for the past three years.

That summer your best friend spent interning at Lehman Brothers.

There’s only one word for these things. Awkward. And if you weren’t cringing or muttering it to yourself as you read, you’ve been somewhere else for the past half-decade.

These are awkward times we live in. As early as 2006, college students were editorializing about the rise of the awkward turtle and its cultural significance. But now, as the turtle vanishes from the common hand lexicon, even the Washington Post is starting to notice the awkward zeitgeist.

Yet as its staying power indicates-even with the turtle on its last, feebly gesticulating legs-awkwardness is more than a passing phase. Awkward isn’t a mere word like “rad” or “phat” or “e-zines,” embraced by media outlets and hopelessly dated in six months. It isn’t even being misused. Awkward is a state of being. And it has come to define our generation. From the Clinton scandal-or, as we remember it, that time in fifth grade when our parents were suddenly compelled to explain the concept of oral sex-to the Kanye outburst after Katrina, our lives have been a nonstop parade of awkward. Even Collegehumor.com’s evocative Awkward Rap-“If you say ‘How are you?’ I’ll say ‘Not much!’/My hand and your boob accidentally touch…If I see you waving, my hand goes in the air,/Even though you’re waving to that guy over there”-fails to capture the full impact. Forget Gen XXY, or whatever our most current label is. We are Generation Awkward.

Previous generations had awkward phases. Woodstock? Awkward. The 80’s? Awkward. Valley Forge? I missed it, but I’ve heard things. But somehow they weathered them and went on to live productive lives. Growing up used to mean overcoming your fear of awkwardness and calling Peggy Sue on the rotary phone to invite her to a sock hop. But thanks to technology, our generation has been able to bypass those stages. Why call Peggy when you can IM her instead? Not only won’t she hear your voice trembling, but you’ll also have time to come up with witty, inventively spelled retorts.

But now that we’ve dodged these awkward milestones, we’ve become defined by our desperate efforts to evade awkwardness. Everything that marks us as a generation stems from our fear of the awkward, from our internet obsession to our political preferences. Consider college social culture. Relationships are awkward. Hookups? Like relationships, but without the awkward parts where you go bowling and talk about your feelings. Calling people on the phone? Awkward. Texting? Less awkward, unless you tend to type in complete sentences with proper capitalization.

Indeed, anti-awkwardness explains the ironic, mildly anti-intellectual culture that many of our generation, at least on the surface, seem to espouse. Talking in section? Awkward. Enthusiasm? Awkward. Having serious beliefs and thoughts about issues? Awkward.

Poetry? Awkward. Poetry readings? I’m wincing just typing this. In general, sincerity is awkward. So are most things that require effort or enthusiasm, which explains the awkwardness of rhythmic gymnastics. Serious beliefs are awkward, especially religious ones. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with them, it’s just that people’s real, heart-felt, deeply held beliefs are, well, “not easy to handle or deal with, requiring great skill, ingenuity, or care”-in a word, awkward. (Merriam Webster) . And on the whole, our generation would rather disengage than risk stepping on an awkward landmine. This is why we don’t have relationships or read books anymore.

Awkwardness even explains our politics. McCain? Awkward. Obama? If awkward has an antithesis, it is probably Barack Obama.

But does awkward have an antithesis? This is perhaps the most puzzling aspect of this generation-defining term. Awkward has no real antonym-the words that come closest, from “cool” to “pleasant” all fall somehow short. Indeed, in our generation’s frenzied opposition to awkwardness, we have become the very thing we so desperately sought to avoid. Instead of risking mispronouncing our roommate’s name, we spend three years coming up with inventive terms of endearment. Rather than call someone, we send text messages that take up three whole screens.

Perhaps Generation A will have to grow up soon and face the awkward music. But why rush things? We’re still in college. We’ll have plenty of time to talk face to face when the economy crumbles, obliging us to sell our cell phones, dress in drab burlap ensembles, and stand in long lines waiting for soup. There’s a reason we consider sincere intellectual engagement awkward. The longer we can postpone that, the more time we can spend making lists of verboten terms like “moist,” “dank,” and “tender” and quietly hoping someone else will fix the economy.

Yes, we’re generation awkward. We’re here. And we’re awkward. So, get used to it, um, I guess.