The River

I had a lot of things that I wanted to talk about today, but all of that just got pushed aside. I found a place, you see. It’s not in Brooklyn but in a part of Queens that is very near to Brooklyn. The place is nice, and while it’s unfurnished, the asking price (by NYC standards, anyway) is fairly reasonable. So what am I upset about? Simple: I’m getting cleaned out. My roommate told me that the move-in fee was $1700. I paid, he gave me the keys, and I told him I’d move my things in on the 1st. Yesterday, he called me to let me know that since he’s only just moved in and the two of us will be signing the lease together, we owe the realtor $1500 in broker’s fees or some such bullshit. It sounds fishy, but I’m pretty sure he’s telling the truth. For one thing, he straight-up admitted that he didn’t mention that before he’d cashed my check because former prospective roommates had been scared away when he’d told them. Should I respect him for owning up to being such a little weasel? I think not. You see, I might have moved in anyway if he’d told me about this. He’s offered to pay $1000 out of that $1500, so assuming that he can produce the paperwork to back this up, I might write him that check, even though it will almost completely empty my bank account. With the paychecks I’ve got coming and the security deposit from the place I’m moving out of, I should have enough to make next month’s rent, assuming no more unforeseen catastrophes arise. Beyond that, I have no idea.

Some people from my program graduated and started traveling. Others started at jobs that they’d had lined up since the spring semester. I just kept working my student job, which ends this Friday because I am no longer a student. I was hoping that I’d have something to show for all of my efforts, that while everyone else was seeing the world and living it up, I might at least have some savings or a full-time job to replace the one I’m leaving. I have neither. What I have is a living situation with somebody I don’t like very much and a father who will send me money if I ask for it (which I’ve already done multiple times). They say that something that seems too good to be true probably is, but this apartment didn’t look too good to be true, it looked good enough. I guess even that was too much to ask.

I get very tired of hearing old people reminisce about how quickly youth goes by. They talk about how much faster time moves as you get older, and that by the time you’re 70, the years all blur together as you hurtle right into the grave. Excuse me if I find that almost too depressing to contemplate. I like to think that by the time I’m a senior citizen (and I will live to be that old, because there is one thing that I am not, and that is easy to get rid of), I will have developed the patience and self-awareness necessary to take every day as it comes, so that time doesn’t speed by, it moves at just the right pace. Patrick Stewart is 73, bald, and still sexy as hell. We should all aspire to be like him.

Seriously, look at those arms. I'll bet he throws a mean punch.

Seriously, look at those arms. I’ll bet he throws a mean punch.

My summer was pretty dull. I hung out with about five people, masturbated a lot, and failed to accomplish anything of interest. So don’t worry about me, because I’m pretty sure that if I jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, only a dozen or so people would even notice. My time at grad school feels like it was barely even real; this summer feels like it happened to me whether I liked it or not. As of now, I don’t even have someone to help me move in, so I’ll have to haul my bookshelf up the stairs by myself (that, or hope a random passerby stops to help). I knew we would all graduate and go our separate ways, but I didn’t think it would happen quite this quickly. Just once, I’d like to plan my finances for the next few weeks or months and have everything go according to plan. See, it’s nice to have a rainy day fund, but when your primary source of income is a $10/hour job that isn’t even full-time, you have to depend, up to a point, on people not extorting you. I’ve had to tighten my belt already, but the Flying Spaghetti Monster decided I hadn’t suffered enough.

You again, huh?

You again, huh?

On a side note, when I told Greenpeace that I was cancelling my membership, they sent me an email with the subject line, “But the honeybees will be sad if you cancel!” I think that’s kind of funny. Greenpeace gets shit on a lot, but I think they’re one of those organizations that means well, even if their methods are sometimes laughable. I was signed up for membership by a canvasser, fittingly enough. I don’t regret that. I like being a tree-hugger.

I was going to talk about Douglas Adams and the guilty pleasure I take in crappy fantasy, but I just don’t have the time or the energy to do that right now. At the moment, it’s all on me. I have no prospects for a job, no money, and I’m about to sign a one-year lease with somebody I intensely dislike simply because the alternative is moving back to California, and fuck that. Make no mistake: I deserve better. Much, much, much better. And if you think I don’t, I’m coming for you.


Worse Than Hitler


She really is, isn’t she?

Look, I realize that the whole Anthony Weiner scandal is a goldmine for dick jokes, and not just because the dude’s last name is…well, you get the point. But the self-righteousness and ignorance that I have seen, both with the initial scandal several years ago and right now, is mind-boggling. What, exactly, did he do that he was wrong? If he didn’t tell his wife what he was doing, then she has every right to be angry at him, but that’s between him and her, and anyway, that’s not what everyone is so angry about. No, they’re angry at him because he sent out dirty pictures and messages. I’m still waiting for the part that’s shocking or wrong. John Oliver even referred to him as a “freak”. Oh, get over yourself. The Daily Show, as much as I love it, has always had an obnoxious tendency to stick to the safe and easy jokes, and on this matter, Oliver has selected hypocritical moralizing over the cut-through-the-bullshit approach that made the show so beloved in the first place. (It’s a lot like what Stewart did with the Benghazi/IRS “scandals”. Fucking pathetic.) Anthony Weiner made an idiot out of himself in the name of sex, which puts him in the same boat as, oh, let’s see, how about EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING WHO HAS EVER LIVED IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING HISTORY OF PLANET EARTH?!?!!?!?!?! Spare me the bullshit about how we hold our public figures up to higher standards or whatever nonsensical argument you have to justify your finger-wagging. Weiner went to therapy after the first pics surfaced in 2011. Why? Being horny isn’t a disease, and it’s sheer naivete to think that being a politician somehow makes someone immune.

There’s a layer of misogyny to this, even though it’s a man who is the target of all the criticism. What would we say if a female politician had been caught tweeting pictures of her tits? She’d be run out of office. People lost respect for Hillary after she stayed married to Bill. I say she was doing the right thing and forgiving him. It looks to me like they still like each other. So good on her for toughing a rough period in her marriage out. I hear Bill has not stopped philandering, but so what? Every relationship has its own set of rules. Not that I could blame Huma Abedin if she decides to divorce her husband. I’m just saying it’s none of our business. If Weiner stays in the mayoral race, he’ll have my vote. Suck on that, assholes.

I know I’m not going to win this one. There is too much ignorance built into our society. People will complain that he shouldn’t have lied about sending out those dirty pictures. Yes, that’s right: He shouldn’t have lied. But if you honestly think he’s going to lie about key political issues just because he didn’t want egg on his face after getting carried away on Twitter, you need a little lesson in false equivalencies. Larry Craig isn’t an asshole because he solicited anonymous sex in a men’s room, then insisted that he wasn’t gay. No, he was an asshole because he did all of that while being one of the most homophobic politicians in Congress. It would be one thing if Anthony Weiner were drugging interns and raping them while they were unconscious. Instead, he sent pictures of his penis to young women. As sexual harassment goes, that’s pretty weak. The blame lies on us for expecting a man who clearly gets off on that shit to simply get over it, as if getting over what gets you off is even possible. He probably could find a healthier outlet for his proclivities if he didn’t feel so ashamed of them.

I think we need to have a talk about the divide between one’s public and private life. Lana Wachowski said that even for the non-famous, one’s existence constitutes a negotiation between the two. Part of the reason I chose this “Robot King” persona for my blog rather than using my real name or image is because I want to see how people react to me when they don’t know what I look like and can’t hear me talking. It’s not like any P.I. or investigative journalist couldn’t track me down inside of fifteen minutes if they were so inclined. There is more than enough info about me on this blog to do so. But this isn’t about anonymity, and it’s not even really about privacy. It’s about what people really need to know. I just don’t see why I need to know that Anthony Weiner tweeted pictures of his junk. It has no impact on his ability to govern. He does not have narcissistic personality disorder. He does not have a sex addiction. Public office has a way of magnifying a person’s faults, so that indiscretions that might be forgotten or forgiven if committed by the rest of us are suddenly blown way out of proportion and plastered all over every newspaper. Maybe the women Weiner “preyed on” were deeply traumatized by his actions, but I have been sexually harassed before, and I think that if some random dude sexted me, I’d shrug, delete it, and get on with my day.

At the end of the day, I’m not too worried about what people might find out about me if they want to go hunting for skeletons in my closet. First of all, it would take some real digging to uncover anything much, and even then, the only thing that I really care about is whether the people close to me are going to judge me for it. I don’t think they will. I’m not married and have no kids, but if my future husband Jon Hamm is as awesome as I think he is, he’ll be okay with anything I do. I’m pretty permissive when it comes to sex. Ultimately, I’m just trying to have a good time.

jon hamm2

The Light Fantastic

earbudsI’m not sure why certain things annoy me the way that they do. Last weekend, I threw a fit when my earbuds stopped working properly. At first, I thought it was my mp3 player that was malfunctioning, which made me very upset, as that would most likely mean that I would have to buy a new one. Then I tested my earbuds on a computer (having to go out of my way to do so, as my new computer had not yet arrived) and realized that all I would have to do is spring for a new set of earbuds. That was a relief, but it didn’t undo all of the strain from having gotten so worked up in the first place.

Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m not moving to Brooklyn. I did everything that I was supposed to do: I gave my landlord notice, started looking at ads on Craigslist, commuted to Brooklyn multiple times over the course of several weeks to get a look at places, told them I was interested, and they all gave me the cold shoulder. But I still have to move out at the end of the month. So I guess I’ll just go back to hostel and couch-surfing while checking out places in Queens. I know I don’t like Manhattan. It’s too crowded and noisy. I like Brooklyn–or at least, I did. When I first started thinking about moving there, I had no idea that it was booming. I just…liked it, no matter which neighborhood I was in. But since all the trendy young urban professional hipster types are flocking there, I’m getting phased out. I told somebody that I’m not a hipster, but I feel comfortable around somehow, and he responded that it’s always hipsters who say they’re not hipsters. Well, now I think I have proof that I’m not a hipster. If I were a hipster, I might have gotten a place. But nobody gave it to me. They said they’d get back to me and they never did. I could not have foreseen this.

I’m trying not to get too whiny and self-pitying here, but it’s kinda tough. I haven’t been getting out much lately. Well, I have but I’m always alone. My friends are all either out of town, too busy to talk to me, or nonexistent. I’m still single. That never changes. Seriously, I’m in my mid-twenties, and basically, all I have to show for it is a couple of degrees, a lot of debts and missed connections, and a staggering knowledge of all sorts of obscure pop culture. So, uh, I think I’ll just post this speech again, which I posted a year ago but have never gotten tired of.

I maintain that very little of what happens to me is actually my fault. Honestly, I’m not sure what I could have done differently with the whole Brooklyn thing. The last place I looked at was nice, with a reasonable rent and a lovely interior (the dude was a cat-owning security guard whose mother had decorated the place before moving out and leaving it to him). I shook his hand, told him that I was quiet, clean, and respected his privacy, told him I was interested, and thanked him for showing it to me. He just said that lots of people had responded to his ad and he would have made his decision by Wednesday. Well, now it’s Friday. I don’t think he’s getting back to me, do you?

There seems to be a disconnect here. When somebody turns me down, they seem to be saying that I’ll find another place if I just keep looking. But I don’t want a place; I want this place. That’s why I gave up my search. I looked at a place that was technically in Queens (but very, very near to Brooklyn) last week, and while I didn’t get it, the lady who lived there had the decency to email me and tell me she’d found somebody else. Earlier in the week, I thought I’d clicked with a lady in Ditmas Park. We chatted about They Might Be Giants (who are playing in Prospect Park in a few weeks) and I figured I had this one in the bag. Then I didn’t hear back from her, so I texted her to find out what’s up. She sent me a four-word text telling me I didn’t get the place. I started throwing shit around. In public. I couldn’t help it. I’d take a hundred of the Queens lady over one of her.

You don’t have to feel bad about saying no to somebody. But you need to think about your reasons for saying no. If you’re only saying no because you’re sure they’ll have luck getting a job/apartment/date elsewhere, stop. You’re “othering” that person, telling them, basically, that they might matter to somebody else, but you have no idea who that would be. If you’re saying no because you honestly don’t think it’s going to work out, good on you. I’m used to hearing the word “no”. But I still get angry when people give me no answer at all. Fuck them. Fuck them hard. What was the security guard looking for, if not a responsible young professional to stay out of his way and pay his rent on time? I guess he wanted somebody who would, I don’t know, pet his cat or suck his dick or something. People are moving to Brooklyn because it’s in. I think I understand it better than they ever will. So for now, fuck Brooklyn. Fuck everyone in it. It might be harsh, but it’s all I’ve got.

My father has offered to let me move back in with him if I like. I’ll sleep in a box on the street before it comes to that. I moved to New York for a reason–namely, to get away from California. I don’t like the city very much right now, but it is an improvement, albeit a marginal one. I just don’t want people to worry about me. I have no use for pity.

An Open Letter to Shitty Canvassers

Dear Childfund International Canvassers,

Let me begin by saying that you probably believe in your cause. You may not have met the children that you’re fundraising for, but I’m sure that you are well aware of the squalid conditions in which they live. Believe me, I know what that’s like (being passionate about your cause, not living in squalor. I grew up middle class). I’m about as big of a pinko liberal commie tree-hugger as you’re likely to meet, and in fact, I even canvassed myself for the ACLU a few years back. Even though I was working in the general area of one of the most liberal universities in the world (my alma mater, which I won’t name but is easily guessed), I still met people who didn’t like my organization. Some would tell me that they were sympathetic to my cause, but couldn’t help me today. And others just didn’t like talking to canvassers. Canvassing is the fine art of knowing just how far you can push someone. If they say “I dunno”, you keep pressing them. If they say “Fuck off”, you fuck off. After hours on the job without getting a single contribution, you start to get down on yourself. I’ve been there. It’s no fun. And you have to face your manager at the end of the night, who will be encouraging even if you are no good at your job.

But none of that excuses the treatment I’ve been getting from you guys lately. You don’t spread yourselves out properly; you cluster together so that I will tell one of you I’m not interested, walk a block, then tell another I’m not interested. You guilt-trip people. I told one that I wasn’t helping him today, to which he responded, “I don’t need help. The children do!” I halted. “Oh, you get it now!” he said, as if he were dropping a hot mike at my feet. Actually, jackass, it’s you who doesn’t get it. You ever hear the expression, “No means no”? It’s usually a slogan for rape prevention, but it actually applies here (and if you think comparing a guilt-trip to rape is inappropriate, you have obviously never been guilt-tripped or raped). I am not a bad person just for refusing to give you money. In fact, I gave money to Planned Parenthood just a few weeks ago. I like Planned Parenthood, but more importantly, I liked the canvasser. She was polite, confident, and handed me her clipboard like a pro (a move that any good canvasser rehearses like a circus trick). So I gave her money. It was that simple.

It’s hard for me to put into words just how stressful canvassing can be. A former coworker of mine told me this story: He knocked on the door and greeted the man who opened it, who promptly slammed the door so hard that the house shook. As my coworker went around the rest of the cul-de-sac, the man came out of his house to glare at my coworker. He accused my coworker of being a thief and, when my coworker wished him a good day, he responded, “If you get run over, it will be a better day.” What was that man doing when my coworker knocked? I picture him staring at the wall and foaming at the mouth. Literally anything is more productive than that: smelling your own farts, watching Jerry Springer, killing puppies and making a necklace out of their skulls, anything. Canvassing, you see, isn’t really about money. It’s about spreading love. If somebody walks away from their encounter with you angry, you have failed at your job (unless they were angry to begin with, and since I’m always angry, I don’t count).

I’m not being dramatic in calling the night I made staff for my canvassing organization one of the defining moments of my life. After four hours-plus of knocking on doors with almost no luck and no bathroom breaks, I made $146 on the last two houses of the night, which was more than enough to make quota. You should have seen my face. “You must have misheard me,” I wanted to say. “I asked you for money. You’re supposed to laugh at me, then close the door. What are you doing with that checkbook?” It was a secular miracle, if such a thing is possible. I tripped and fell into a ditch, and when I stood up, I had $146.

It is impossible to reason with someone who is convinced that you “just don’t get it”. I’ve heard all the statistics about how poor Ndugu eats only one meal every six months and has to spit-shine iPads in a sweatshop for 30 hours a day to survive. Why do you need my money so badly? If you think the point is to help some poor girl or boy go to school, then fly them out here, stick them on the street corner, and let them fundraise. I have debts to pay off. Nobody begged for money for my education. I moved from California to New York, took out a fuckton of loans, and now I’m trying to find work in my field while simultaneously scraping together enough cash to pay off these fucking debts. It’s a lot to handle, and I don’t accept that Ndugu’s problems are necessarily more important than my own. Besides, I was on my way to the library to pick up my reserved copy of All-Star Superman. In the grand scheme of things, I’m more concerned with Superman than Ndugu. Supes needs someone to believe in him. Ndugu needs to believe in himself first. The rest is history.

In conclusion, you fucking suck at your jobs, and anyone who wants to donate to Planned Parenthood can do so here.


The Robot King


A Moment in the Sun

"The Best Day Ever: Where I live, it's difficult to view the night sky very well. Having an interest in astronomy, a day where I can view the things I study on my own time would satisfy me." --Maria I., Grade 7, New Jersey Sorry for the blurry photo. My hand shook

“The Best Day Ever: Where I live, it’s difficult to view the night sky very well. Having an interest in astronomy, a day where I can view the things I study on my own time would satisfy me.” –Maria I., Grade 7, New Jersey

Sorry for the blurry photo. My hand shook.

I just took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is a famous personality test that sorts everybody into sixteen different types. The results were interesting. I got INFJ (introversion, intuition, feeling, judging), which is the rarest type, and describes less than 1% of the population. (I’m special!) Famous INFJs include MLK (awesome!), Jimmy Carter (great humanitarian, unfairly maligned president), Mother Teresa (actually, I have issues with her), Mel Gibson (um…), and Wilson from House. I’m still not sure why that surprised me so much. I’ve been compared to House before, but not Wilson. Wilson, for those who’ve never watched the show, is the eponymous doctor’s best/only friend. He is nowhere near as manipulative or showy as his friend, but has a keen insight into the way that people tick and, in one of my favorite moments, he finds a clever way of getting revenge on House for playing pranks on him that proves that he is, in his own way, quite brilliant.

Motorcycle Details

You would of course be a fool to think that a simple personality test can tell you who a person is, but much like a magazine profile, they can tell you how and what they are, to an extent. I’ve often said that a lot of people these days are worried about privacy, and just what it says about our society that we live so much of our lives on social media. I think it says that we are not so very different from people in any age before ours. Most of us like attention, but we like having some degree of control over it. There is a reason that people post pictures of them with their significant others at the beach on Facebook, but spare everyone the details of the argument they had in the car on the way over (and, for that matter, the makeup sex later that day, unless you want to put it on Xtube). Seriously, who wants to see that? (The fighting, not the sex. Everybody wants to see the sex.) If you get engaged or break up, I’m all ears, to offer congratulations in the case of the former and consolation in the case of the latter. Everything in between is between the two of you.

I’ve been thinking lately about, of all things, the 2012 presidential election. Mitt Romney, in my mind, is proof positive that money actually can buy you love and happiness, and he said as much. But there is something that money can’t buy, and that’s respect. I don’t know how happy Barack Obama is. He seems to like his wife and daughters, and I certainly hope that by now, he has a deep enough understanding of this country’s mood swings to know that he can, in fact, weather the political storm in Washington and possibly see this nation through to a brighter day. You have to give him credit. Whether or not you like him as a politician or a human being (and I do, on both counts), you have to admit that he has accomplished a great deal in his lifetime. Even his opponents seem to have a grudging admiration for him. I don’t have much respect for Mitt Romney, but so what? It looks to me like he is enjoying his life with his wife, kids, and grandkids, and good for him. Losing the election doesn’t seem to have broken his spirit, but then again, he never had one to begin with.

I have never made any secret of my hatred for Ayn Rand. I despise that woman with a passion normally reserved for child molesters and people who talk at the theater, and it’s not because I think that her idiotic “philosophy” doesn’t work except as a masturbatory thought experiment, because it totally does. No, her problem is that Galt’s Gulch/Rapture could never actually exist because you’d still need somebody to mop the floors and serve drinks, and you never know when one of those people will have a brilliant idea that will change the world. The barrier between the geniuses and the plebeians must be a permeable one, or the geniuses are just a bunch of pompous douchebags who want to believe that 47% of the country is just lazy and entitled. Steve Jobs wasn’t a visionary because he gave off a warm glow everywhere he walked. His shit stank too, but he had an idea (many, really), he worked hard to put it into practice, and a lot of people benefited. Bill Gates revolutionized the computer industry, for better or for worse, then turned around and decided to give back by becoming a full-time philanthropist. If Ayn Rand had offered them a spot in her exclusive community of job creators, I suspect both of them would have told her to cram it up her ass. Maybe I’m just projecting, but then again, maybe not.

It’s getting time to wrap this up here, so I’ll conclude by saying that there is a passage in the Bible that I could never quite wrap my head around until recently. In Matthew 19:21, Jesus tells a man who has just asked him how he can achieve salvation, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” If you don’t read carefully, Jesus can sound like a FOX News parody of an Occupy protester, but all he’s really saying is that if you want to find yourself, get lost. Stop trying to force people to act the way you want them to and accept that people do what people do, and that if you want their love, support, and yes, respect, you have to first show that you can live without it. You don’t need money to be happy. But it certainly helps.

Speaking of which, I want a private island. And I’ll keep whining until I get it. Don’t blame me, it’s in my nature.