Thursday, July 29, 2010

Occupational Pastimes

I'm a big fan of the saying, "Work smarter, not harder!" First off, there's some truth in that; innovative methods will get you further than mindlessly toiling. I'm sure you can come up with your own example to show this. More importantly, cheerily smiling and telling yourself "work smarter, not harder!" is a great excuse to do all sorts of slacking; after all,you can't start working smarter until you stop working harder. Let me tell you this: the key to working smarter is being well rested.

Unfortunately, for those of us who have more engaging pursuits than sleeping, it's often difficult to remain well rested. Really, the best solution is to nap at work. Napping is pretty simple - it requires only a few props, and can be done at any time during the work day (try not to let naps interfere with your personal life, though. Best keep them 9-5).  The first tip I would give is try to have something on your computer screen that at least makes it look like you've been productive at some point during the day. That way, if anyone comes over to check on your progress, you'll have something to point at while you try to rub the sleep out of your eyes.

Once you've got your defense mechanism up, go for some of these positions. 

"Despair" position. Props needed: None. Cons: Someone might try to comfort you.
"I'm despairing, but don't bother waking me" Position. Props needed: towel.
The "I'm working hard!" Position. Key here is to make sure the eyes are hidden. Necessary props: pen/pencil, strong elbows.

"Bomb shelter" position. Props needed: desk. Pros: You're lying down, safe in case of an emergency. Cons: Someone might check to see if you have everything you need (possibly sarcasm)

"Well-Prepared Bomb Shelter" Position. Props needed: desk, towel, canned food and opener if available. Cons: Someone might try to join you if you're too well prepared.
This last position is really only for the really ambitious nappers out there. First off, it involves preparation the day before, and you'll have to leave your computer on, so it also wastes energy. The benefits are enormous if you can perfect it, though. Really, only try this if you have an unhealthy disdain for your job or are completely irreplaceable.

Part 1
Part 2. Necessary props: Lack of concern for consequences of your actions or lack of foresight.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back from Colorado

I'm normally only capable of having one conversation at a time. By that, I don't mean that I can only keep track of one conversation at a party, or something like that. I mean that for extended chunks of time, there's often only one thing I'm really interested in talking about. Up to last Friday, that conversation often went along the lines of, "So, did you know I'm going to Boulder?" Well, I'm back now, so the only conversation I've been having recently starts out, "So, did you know I went to Boulder?"

It's true, I did go to Boulder, and it's also true that it's fantastic. As  I mentioned before, I was visiting my friend David (he's really the only friend I've mentioned, so it's fair if you assume that he's the only friend I have), who was kind enough to put me up here:
Available where all Mattel toys are sold. Assembly not included.
This was very kind of him, especially considering he had to kick his parents out of their room to do it.

The hiking portion of the trip began with a warning: If you are attacked by a mountain lion, don't quit!
I would never quit on a Mountain Lion without giving my two weeks notice.
For other pictures from the trip, I'd refer you to the album where I've uploaded them all here. Unfortunately, my photography skills never really advanced past the stage I was at when my parents let me twist the dial on disposable cameras to advance the film and then took them away from me so that I wouldn't take blurry pictures up my nose (this will hopefully change soon). What I'm trying to say is, don't expect any artistic value or much story-telling merit from my pictures.

What I really noticed about the area (besides the fact that it is stunningly beautiful) is that people there are generally happier than what I'm accustomed to. I'm not trying to say that no one in New York City is happy, or that my college friends are all depressed (they probably just act that way when I'm around to make me not  want to spend time with them... once I'm gone they're all fun and games), but people have a different attitude out there. Those that I met there sincerely love where they are, and many rearranged their lives to be able to live there. For example, David introduced me to Karen, a new friend of his who had moved to the same town  David lives in just two weeks ago. She came with a car full of stuff (one of the things was a telescope, which was awesome), not knowing anyone, but confident she would find friends and be happy there. And so far, so good. Deep down, I'm a little jealous. I really respect her for being so confident and making the decision to do what makes her happy, even if the path isn't sure, and I wish her the best of luck.

And lastly, I'd like to show you that just because you can't hold something in your hands doesn't mean you
can't still express confusion.

How the heck am I supposed to get up there?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Too much workday excitement

I was greeted at work this morning with more scowls than I am used to. Not more than I can handle, mind you. I used to work with children, so scowls, tears, and tiny fists have no affect on me (my impervious armor is useful for dealing with both children and women*), but one likes to know the reason behind scowls directed in one's general direction. Fortunately, I was not left to ponder this mystery for long. Sitting down at my desk was like turning to the last page of a whodunnit - everything was perfectly clear to me without straining the eyes or running the risk of paper cuts from turning pages. Unlike most good murder mysteries, however, the culprit was not the butler. If anything, it was actually a lack of a butler that had rendered me about as popular as Jimmy Carter. "Yesterday's soccer socks!" I gasped.
Too late to save Mr. Boddy, I realized it was the socks in the Study with the Candlestick

Still, I like a lack of workplace hostility, so I gathered up my socks and left them in the sun to dry out (That'll teach you to club your host over the head while he's trying to relax!), and then wandered over the the cafeteria to quench my thirst with the best drink known to man, Snapple (surprisingly, Snapple did not pay me to say any of this).

I love the smell of Snapple in the morning. Smells like victory.

"Made from the best stuff on earth!," I tell myself out loud (I got more scowls for this). "No wonder this is so good." With my next sip, I remember that drinking Snapple is not only delicious, but informative, too!

Holy sh*t! No frickin' way!

"No. It can't possibly be true. No way do cats have that many muscles in their ears. This must be some cruel joke by Snapple," I think to myself. Alas, it was a cruel, cruel joke. It was as if they knew me. I snapped out of my incredulous, glassy eyed state only to find that the shock had caused a tragedy easily on par with Mel Gibson's meltdown:

Look, it's like the dead snapple is flipping me off

So I found a quiet corner of my office where I could hide until my tears dried up. Some mornings, it's best to stay home.

*Haha! Just kidding. Women's fists affect me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pre-Trip Excitement

As everyone who has been anywhere near me (friends, coworkers, my religious twitter followers, people silly enough to sit near me on the bus) during these past two weeks knows, I'm going to visit my good friend David out in Boulder Colorado this coming weekend. Of course, I tell him I'm excited to see him, but there's more to my apparent happiness than just the prospect of seeing a great friend. I'm also hoping he'll feed me. David and I have had our differences about onions and whether or not they should be the primary (or only) ingredient in any recipe, but he's a pretty good cook, as long as you hide the onions from him in advance. And honestly, anything is better than what I have laid out to eat for the following week.

My meal options: Sugar, Mushrooms, Peanut Butter, ICBINB Light, and Lemon Juice.
Please suggest appealing combinations.

Really though, I'm looking forwards to the chance to get out of New York City for a bit. I've always found that it's good to clear my mind from time to time by rusticating myself. The city has a way of building up stress that no amount of traditional medicine can get rid of. I've found that a getting a few days outdoors always makes me a happier person. I think of it like a prozac alternative whose side effects include, but are not limited to, mild allergies, sunburn, hypothermia, and depending on how long treatment lasts, a beard.

Another good reason to look forwards to escaping travelling out of the city is that it is a dangerous place to live. On that note, I'm looking for a stunt double to help me document the dangers of the city. If you look like me and are fearless, preferably indestructible (or at the very least, lack common sense) and dedicated to warning people of the dangers, and occasionally, some of the joys, of living in New York City, talk to me. You'll recognize me because I'll be the one talking about how excited I am to be going to Colorado.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


A few days ago, I was eating my morning grape nuts and preparing for social interaction by watching Saved by the Bell (most of what I learned about people, I learned from reruns of that show. Add in the fact that the other show I learned from was Johnny Bravo, and you will understand a lot about me). At some point in those 23 minutes of brilliance, Zack was told to non-verbally express interest in a girl. The girl expressed her disinterest, also non-verbally. "Hah!" I thought to myself, "I could do a better job expressing myself non-verbally! I hope one day I get the opportunity!"

As luck would have it, I was riding a bus today and got just such a chance. I sat down and leaned my head back for my normal commute nap. Strangely enough, my head hit the headrest and kept going. Not far, but rather than the good, firm-sponge-like feeling I was expecting, there was a little wiggle. I turned around and grabbed the headrest to see what was the matter, only to have the thing come off and be left holding it confusedly! For a good ten seconds, I looked at it helplessly, hoping some caring parental figure would take me by my free hand and explain all that was wrong in the world, starting with the headrest and ending with the BP oil spill, and perhaps why 7-11 sometimes didn't have working slurpee machines. You know, important things. Instead, nothing happened, and I was just left there, confused.

It was at that point that I realized that the one non-verbal expression I have mastered is confusion. So, for those of you looking to master this expression, I offer you a few examples of me expressing confusion non-verbally. Enjoy!

I have no idea how to use these.
Confusion plus distrust is often a good combination.
What is this, and why does it sound like it's my mom?
Honestly, what's the use of a finger-charrer?
I don't even know what this is. I'll go ask my mom.
Shoot, I can't think of anything useful to do with this.

Cover Page

Madness is one of those themes that pops up in literature fairly often, and with good reason. The title of this blog is a reference to two short stories: Gogol’s Diary of a Madman and Liu Xun’s story of the same title. What makes madness so fascinating is the perspective it offers. Sane people assume that they perceive the world just like their sane friends; the mad perceive the world differently from the sane. Sometimes, the perception of the madman is more appealing.

Now, I’m not mad. Just ask most of my (imaginary) friends, they’ll tell you. I don’t think I’m the King of Spain, my nose is happily attached to my face, and I don’t suspect that everyone is trying to eat me. But every now and then, I see things differently from most people, and I’d like to share some of those perspectives.

I never kept a diary when I was little except for summer journal assignments, and I normally ended up fabricating those entries anyway. I never felt the need to tell myself what I did. I’m not addressing myself in these entries; I already know what I think, and I spend half of my days chuckling to myself at the absurdities I think of. What you’re reading is meant for you. Drop by every few days or so to see if I’ve thought of anything interesting, read anything interesting, done interesting things, or in times of hardness, if I’ve stolen someone else’s interesting ideas. But if you’re looking to find out my deepest secrets here, good luck, but you’re mad.