This morning was the first time in my life I have felt like a drag queen, and a bad one at that.
My beard, as seen in a flickr photoset near you, was really fucking unruly, to the point that my wife balked at kissing me. At least she said it was the beard. To be honest it was getting out of control and really pissing me off regardless, but when Krissa starts pushing me away it's a good indicator that something has to be done.
This is the usual stage at which I decide my beard needs a trim. Only when it gets that bad can it warrant the effort of actually getting the trimmer out and spending those valuable extra ten minutes in the morning slashing off the errant hairs that are shockingly longer than their companions and generally messing up my facial style statement. For someone who hates shaving, this once-every-three-weeks-to-a-month ritual is an excellent substitute.
Anyway. I'd given the chops a good once-over with the guarded trimmer and whipped off the guard to rein in my moustache, when I spotted an aura of light fluffy hair that had somehow escaped the general slaughter. I don't usually drink coffee before getting to work, which might explain the reason why I cackhandedly tried to get the wispy bits with the unguarded trimmer, leaving a huge swath of bare skin on my cheek.
At which point there was no going back. I went over my whole face with the trimmers, leaving a bizarrely unfamiliar salt-and-pepper stubble all over. (Is New York aging me that much?)
I've had a beard for over a year now, in which time we've had countless bathroom reorganizations AND moved apartments. All that was left of my wet-shaving paraphenalia was some green sludge that used to be my shaving gel and the handle of a Gillette Mach 3 razor. I tore the (immaculately organized) cupboard apart to no avail, but that is when I noticed the bag of razor heads Krissa uses for shaving her legs, also made by Gillette.
And I thought 'They'll fit on this handle, surely. No company would design two separate attachment mechanisms...'
Which, for someone who just took a chunk out of his facial hair with an electric trimmer, is pretty advanced fucking reasoning.
So I pulled the bag out of the cupboard and looked inside. There were four or five little plastic containers with 'Gillette Venus' on, and one with 'Gillette Venus Divine'. This is where it starts going a bit girlyman.
I naturally chose the 'Gillette Venus Divine'...because, I mean, who wouldn't want the best razor they could get? I've got really sensitive skin when I shave (hence the hate) so why the hell not?
So off we start with the green sludge remnants and the Venus Divine and things are going well until I get to my mouth. Men's razors are small-headed, whippy little things, made for manoeuvrability and getting into hard-to-reach areas. Women's razors are large, barge-like constructions, made to make you think of words like 'glide' and 'smooth' and most importantly to shave LEGS. Big, noseless expanses of skin. So I have to pull parts of my face into eerily flat shapes by wrenching my nose and lips this way and that, so that by the time I think I'm finished I feel like I've had my face attacked by a masseuse with a meat tenderizer.
Only I'm not finished.
Peering into the mirror I realize with horror that it is the end of July.
Despite my best hermit-like tendencies, the top half of my face is darker than the lower half. The lower half is, in fact, so pasty and white that the tiniest stubble from a distance makes it look grey.
A grey face is really fucking weird.
Freshly clean-shaven, and I have 5 o'clock shadow.
So I reach for the Venus Divine again and I'm leaning forward into the mirror to try and rid myself of all traces of shadow on my chin, when it occurs to me that I have no aftershave and I start wondering where Krissa's moisturizer is and THAT's when it hit me that I was having the morning of a bad drag queen.
Craige tagged me a couple of days ago and I wasn't paying attention.
I'm not usually one for memes and whatnot. Longtime readers will know that's a complete lie, and this new stance is wholly because I'm not popular enough of late, but the snooty anti-meme pretence helps me maintain a modicum of self-respect. Seeing as I'm in a Sir Postalot sort of mood today, why the hell not?
Okay, so the point of the meme is to post 7 random things about yourself.
1. The contents of my bag are:
Front Zipper Pouch:
-Two pencils - one mechanical, one traditional.
-A Staedler Mars Plastic Eraser.
-One pen, Sanford Uni-ball ONYX micro, in blue.
-Eight business cards (mine) held together by an elastic band.
-One small key, location of lock it matches unknown
-Three US dimes, two US pennies and a British five pence piece
-Five keys for my apartment building and one for the mailbox, on a Varsity keyring.
-One pocket-watch style compass, held closed by an elastic band.
-One small wooden clothes peg.
-One small yellow legal writing pad covered with scrawled comic script ideas
-One elastic band
-Two receipts from Borders bookstore, one from a birthday card purchase, another from purchasing Bach's Brandenburg Concertos 4-6 on CD.
-One pair of Sony MDR-V150 headphones, black.
-A wad of important receipts I should really file
-One 30Gb iPod, white.
-PopCo a novel by Scarlett Thomas, paperback advance reading copy.
-A paycheck dated July 13th, 2007
-Two unidentifiable plastic wrappers, possibly from a birthday card and a CD
-Two large paper clips, steel
-One piece of paper from a reserved library book with borrower code and initials printed on, badly crumpled
-One 5.5"x8.5" Strathmore Premium Recycled Sketchbook
-Three paper napkins, crumpled
-One yellow post-it note, crumpled, old note to boss. 'Will get drawings to you by Monday'
-Four receipts, crumpled: Strand ($2.95 for manga 'Samurai Deeper'), Subway ($6.28, Turkey Breast and Ham sub with chips and drink), Brooklyn Burger Bar ($53.50, Dinner for two, I think), La Placita de Brooklyn (our local supermarket: no idea)
-One pen, Sanford Uni-ball ONYX micro, in black.
-One pop-up map of Manhattan
-One hole into the bag lining.
AAAAAH messing with your mind now, aren't I? that was a meme within a meme. A memememe, if you will.
2. I like carrying an umbrella around with me when it's not raining. English stereotypes aside, it's a prop. It's something to do with your hands when you're walking. You can balance it on your palm, use it like a walking stick, poke your wife with it, reach out and stop the elevator doors from closing with it...the possibilities are not quite endless but nonetheless pleasantly vast.
3. In the strangest, only pop-culture-related dream I have ever had to date, the other morning saw me waking up after walking along a boardwalk giving generic life and relationship advice to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake after a big party held to retire an Isle of Wight pleasure cruise steamboat. I have never been so bewildered by my subconscious.
4. I am routinely flabbergasted by litterbugs. This morning I watched a man at a stop sign drop a match out of his car window, and then reach for a cigarette packet and throw it out as well. I swore involuntarily and one of the Jehovah's Witnesses near my subway stop looked shocked at me. I cannot understand how anyone could do this. I often rehearse conversations in my head...of going up to people who just drop shit in the streets mere feet from trash cans and asking if they think the city they live in is clean...because they're the ones making it so dirty.
Perhaps I'm confused and maybe a little jealous that there are people who give no thought whatsoever to the implications of their actions, however small they seem to be. I'm not sure I could live like that.
5. Two commonly found Internet arguments bring me to the brink of chipping in, even when I know there is no way I could write anything to sway proponents of the opposite mindset: Creationists vs. Evolutionists, and Environmentalists vs. um......Twats I suppose.
6. I occasionally get a craving for the hob-nob-esque oat biscuits you used to get in NAAFI ration packs. There. That's enigmatic for you...unless you know what I'm talking about, in which case, you don't happen to know where I can get some, do you?
7. I've been fiddling with this post so long I need to go to the toilet now.
That'll do, right?
I'm not going to tag anyone to do this, because...um, I don't know, actually. You can volunteer in the comments - and remember...you can post seven one-line things.
Only I didn't because I'm feeling garrulous.
I've been mucking about with brush pens. They're pretty ace - I think I'll be playing around with them a lot more.
This is a caricature of some business-related chap who happened to have his picture in New York magazine.
...and this (bar that hovering face up there...I was just doing all sorts of shit on this page) is an attempted reproduction of a frame from 'Two Lives', a story in Will Eisner's The Spirit. Also with the brush pen but made me realize a) There's a lot more to brush/brushpen work than meets the eye and b) holy crap was Will Eisner amazing or what?
Monday it was raining, and I didn't see a single copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Tuesday I counted 17 copies over the course of the day - riding the M and D trains in the morning, having lunch at Subway, and taking the R and D train in the evening.
Wednesday I was off sick.
Thursday I saw 12.
This morning on the M there were six people IN THE SAME CARRIAGE reading the book. Two of them were forced to stand up while reading because there were no seats.
My heart goes out to their poor, cramped hand muscles.
They're trying to work things out.
THE TORTURE IS GETTING WORSE.
I'm going out.
Ostensibly for Tonic Water to go with some gin.
Truthfully it's because I don't trust my face.
Krissa finished Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince a good day before I did. When I finished the book she was there with a face to match the emotional response of the ending. I didn't enjoy that at all because I could read how she felt and had done for 24 hours.
I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows about two hours ago.
Krissa and Biscuit have about a hundred and fifty pages each to go, and Krissa is reacting so emotionally to every character surfacing, words said between people she's crying and laughing...Biscuit is shouting when things happen...
I know how involving it is so I've cooked for both of them and followed where they are.
But I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.
And I am finding this very hard to deal with. The two of them are so in the moment, so caught up in everything, and I'm not a good enough actor to conceal everything...but hopefully good enough that my snapping 'KEEP READING!' every time they stop to gasp or talk happily or sadly is covering up any inside knowledge.
I am enjoying the moments in the book as they pass more this time with the two of them, but...KNOWING...worrying...anticipating how they'll react...
It's bloody torture.
It's a video of a presentation for some software called PhotoSynth and Seadragon...look, time I'm explaining is time you're not sitting in front of your monitor with your mouth slightly open at what these guys have done...click the link!
Link via Shana and her enormous collection of RSS feeds.
This has pissed me off ever since Krissa patiently explained it to me a couple of years ago, and I still have a hard time understanding why it still exists.
I'm talking about mail-in rebates in America.
I have a stalwart yet faltering cellphone that Krissa palmed off on me when I arrived two and a half years ago. It's the longest I've ever had a cellphone, but I'm still not particularly fond of it - the predictive text messaging dictionary never remembers my swearwords, no matter how many times I program them in, and the sound it makes when the battery dies (the battery lasts anything from 13 to 36 hours) is a plaintive tone sound like a death-knell. No matter how hard it is to hear the phone actually ringing in the depths of my bag, the death-knell is heard for miles.
So with my two and a half years of reasonably on-time billpaying behind me, T-Mobile are looking to hook me into another two years, and they're offering a large array of phones - some free, some reasonably priced, others way too much money. But what I hate is that the Razr (not a phone I'd consider getting, because Krissa's not fond of hers) costs $99.99 up front, but you get a $50 mail-in rebate so it only really costs $49.99.
I am precisely the sort of person this rather shady business tactic is targetted at.
I have $100, but also a giant heap of reluctance to part with said $100. I like it.
It is my friend.
In addition to $100 I have a swiftly-settling case of forgetfulness and apathy, which means there's a very good chance that after the two week waiting period I will forget to mail in the rebate slip, or I'll be distracted from the lunchtime errand by something else and end up not bothered, or every single day I will intend to send it in until it's too late...all of which means I'll have paid $100 for a $50 phone.
Which is ridiculous.
T-mobile and all the companies that use this fucking irritating tactic to lure in customers are coaxing, wheedling, teasing you with your money. They're standing in front of you with a hoop wafting your own money around in the breeze on the other side, saying, "Come on! Come on! All you have to do is jump! Jump little doggy, jump!"
I have a hard time understanding why the little doggy that is the American buying public hasn't turned round and bitten the hoop-bearing companies on the arse.
If you're going to offer a good price, offer a good price. Don't put a system in place that means you'll make more money off some customers through their own inaction...what message does that send to your customers? I admit if anyone can look at the telecommunications industry and not see the universal message of "We're trying to make money out of you any which way, fools" they must be a bit stupid, but spelling it out?
Can anyone tell me the accepted "reason" the companies give for offering mail-in rebates?
Er, also...hi. Almost left it a month between posts there. Sorry about that.