Thursday, September 06, 2007

What was I doing one month ago?

I was in New York City, leading my NYC virgins along the southern edge of Central Park on the way back to Times Square and their subway station so they could get back to Brooklyn.

Conflicting Interests

Sorry for being a stranger.

The problem I'm facing right now is that I have a blog for a class that I'm required to post to on a regular basis. The entries on this blog are generally class-related, but still, they sap a good deal of my creative blogging juices. Also, very few funny/interesting/tragic things have happened in my life recently that seem worthy of a blog post.

Still, I'll give it the old college try.

- In Best Buy, I watched a man decked out in Wranglers, oversized belt buckle, and cowboy hat briefly scan the new DVD releases before grabbing "Delta Farce" and walk directly to the register.

- I had a conversation in which we discussed how dirty Disney movies really are. For example, the refrain of The Little Mermaid classic "Under the Sea":

"Under the sea
Under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me"


" Each little clam here
know how to jam here
Under the sea
Each little slug here
Cuttin' a rug here"

And so on.

- For my class, we have to make a "vlog" post, which is essentially a blog post in video form. My idea for the video was to investigate dog fighting in Lawrence with a visit to the local Humane Society. I would ask various questions about dog fighting and film puppies playing while uttering phrases such as "Chilling..." and "I can...I can hardly watch..." At some point, I would want to fade the screen to red, possibly superimpose a skull over the puppies scene, complete with the appropriate sound effects. At some point Conan's Evil Puppy would make a cameo. It would have been hilarious, yet poignant and maybe even educational.

Instead, we're doing a piece on how people are rude in KU parking lots.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


"History always repeats itself, except for those golden opportunities." - Anonymous

It's late, I've had a bit to drink, but sometimes you just get the urge to fucking blog!

So I really don't believe in cosmic shit, but sometimes life throws you a weird coincidence that hits a little too close to home to attribute to pure chance. Without going into too much detail, I've associated the song "Starlight" by Muse to a certain situation in my life. I'd never really paid much attention to the words. I just thought it sounded cool, and my initial notice of said coolness coincided with the initial stages of this aforementioned situation. So I've always connected the two.

Tonight, after a conversation that I felt went fairly well despite its negative outcome, I took some time to listen to the lyrics, which now seem almost prophetical:

Far away
This ship has taken me far away
Far away from the memories
Of the people who care if I live or die

I will be chasing a starlight
Until the end of my life
I don't know if it's worth it anymore

Hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold you in my arms

My life
You electrify my life
Let's conspire to re-ignite
All the souls that would die just to feel alive

I'll never let you go
If you promise not to fade away
Never fade away

Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations
Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations

Well, there you go. A brief glimpse into the tortured psyche of Floyd. If you know what I might be talking about, kudos. If not, there's a reason for that. Now if you don't mind, fuck off, I need to make another drink if I'm going to be able to function tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What was I doing 24 hours ago?

I was returning to my 85-degree apartment after a short stroll along Ohio Street in the 97-degree heat, during which I was literally forced off the sidewalk three times by drunk teenagers looking for "Steve's" party.

I Wish I Could Quit You

Bet you weren't expecting a Brokeback reference today, were you? Ok, maybe you were.

I ran across this post on our friend's blog Irrelevant, where he details his struggles with nicotine addiction. I have also undertaken the long, arduous process of attempting to quit sucking on cancer sticks, and, believe it or not, it's harder than it sounds.

I've been contemplating the lifestyle change for some time now, mostly because smoking is gross, expensive and life-threatening. (Very similar to unprotected sex with Haitian prostitutes, except for the expensive part.)

But smoking also has many positives that I feel the anti-smoking Nazis refuse to acknowledge in their jihad to help people live healthier lives. For instance, when you're sitting at home alone drowning your sorrows with bourbon, nothing helps stoke the thirst for more bourbon than drying out your mouth with a Pall Mall. Smoking is also a great way to overhear interesting and humorous conversations, particularly on crowded smoking patios at bars. Sometimes you'll even meet people because of the habit. Smoking is a great short-term antidote to work/relationship/financial/loneliness-related stress. And nothing tastes better after a meal than a smooth, refreshing trip to Flavor Country.

But lately, I've been looking to the future, and my future self doesn't smoke. So I've made the commitment to begin to start to consider quitting smoking. I even made the dramatic gesture in New York (after some light-hearted nagging from my friend) of tossing my half-full pack of smokes into a subway trash can (knowing full well I had another two packs in my bag back at the apartment.) I don't think she bought it.

So here I sit, a week later, and I'm still smoking. I've tried to quit three times since New York, and even though my bank account would make a hobo snicker, each time I've gone and purchased a pack within hours of smoking my last. I blame my weak will, my current agonizing solitude, and my chemical addiction to nicotine.

So, basically, this is my cry for help. I want to quit; I need to quit. But how? How do I satiate my oral fixation, my need for nicotine, my insecurity-fueled need to look cool? I'm begging for suggestions.

Dan, be nice.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New York, New York

Because of potential issues that are as yet unresolved regarding the Ithaca situation, I will save the accounts of last weekend for a future date. I know, I know, you all really want to know about exciting new innovations in the field of online community journalism, but you'll just have to be patient until this thing plays out.

As for the New York City portion of the trip, I was about three paragraphs into my adventures when I realize it will be better to simply provide the highlights of my two days and three nights in the Big Apple.

In approximate chronological order:

1. Getting to ride next to Heather for the entirety of the 5+ hour bus ride, rather than the foul-smelling meth addict that two members of our group sat next to during portions of the trip.

2. Heather falling asleep with her head on my shoulder. (It's nice to feel useful.)

3. Upon exiting the bus, Matt's very audible comment that the meth addict "smells like a hamster cage."

4. Feeling useful again, I successfully guide the other members of our travel group onto the correct subway train.

5. Whupping Mulligan and Tom in six straight games of ping pong while drinking PBRs in a Village bar.

6. Eating a slice of Two Boots pizza with Mulligan and Tom while having an intimate discussion about baseball.

7. Playing with an iPhone in the Apple Store. (They actually work really well, although the keyboard thing is pretty useless if your fingers are larger than a toddler's.)

8. Eating brunch with Heather, her cousin Sarah and Sarah's husband (whose name regrettably escapes me) in the Village. Sarah and her husband are aspiring actors/playwrights who live in Brooklyn.

9. Taking dirty pictures of the Wall Street Bull's huge brass balls.

10. Taking dirty pictures with the Statue of Liberty using the clever skill of perspective.

11. Enjoying another meal of Two Boots pizza with Heather in Grand Central Station.

12. Stumbling upon the HBO summer film festival in Bryant Park, finding a table to sit at, and watching most of Marilyn Monroe's last film "Bus Stop."

13. The short yet inspiring conversation about people, life and God I had with a homeless man in Brooklyn. He didn't even ask me for any money. For a hobo, that guy really had his shit together.

14. Enjoying part of a crumb bun Heather bought from a farmer's market in Brooklyn.

15. Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

16. Splitting a massive "sandwich" with Heather at Carnegie Deli. (The "sandwich" was essentially a huge pile of pastrami and corned beef placed on top of two slices of rye bread.)

17. Walking through (and getting lost in) Central Park.

18. Eating dinner in Little Italy, even if my veal tasted a little too much like chicken fried steak.

19. Enjoying drinks with Mulligan and friends at Pravda, a Russian bar with expensive vodkas.

20. The kindly Asian cab driver that saved my ass by giving me a ride to LaGuardia on Wednesday morning in time to catch my flight. (Which, of course, was delayed by two hours. Awesome job as always, US Airways.)

And for a few of my least favorite Manhattan moments:

1. (Unnamed group member) interrupting a perfectly good conversation between me and Heather on the bus to talk about her husband in Iraq. (Although I do sympathize with her situation. Plus, she was sitting next to the meth addict, so she can hardly be blamed for poor social etiquette.)

2. A certain group member's shitty attitude during our walk on our first night in New York.

3. Getting lost in Chinatown, mostly due to my not listening to Heather's directions.

4. Trying to catch a freaking cab on Wednesday morning, when the subway tunnels were flooded by the early morning storm that dumped three inches of rain in an hour and actually spawned a tornado in Brooklyn.

5. The 15 hours of travel on Wednesday, leaving Mulligan's apartment at 8 a.m. and finally arriving in Lawrence just past 11 p.m.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Coming soon!

I'm working on a recap of my adventures in Ithaca and New York City. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Straight Trippin'

So in a week I'm making my return trip to Ithaca, where we'll talk about innovation and other nonsense for three days, and then I'm spending three glorious nights in the Big Apple. That is, assuming I can get my freaking life in order before it's time to leave.

The project is going pretty well. We have our presentation nearly complete, although I'm not terribly optimistic that the video I spent approximately 8 hours working on is going to be completely cut and edited (and worth a shit) by deadline.

Remember a few days ago where I said I'm broke? Yeah, that's still the case, except I decided to make things more difficult by losing my ATM card. So not only am I broke, even if I had money, I can't retrieve it. I can't get my new ATM card until after I leave for Ithaca.

So now I'm meeting my mom in Emporia tomorrow so she can give me sufficient cash for the entire 6 day trip. I told her I'd treat her to dinner. With her money. Classy.

My mother also "loaned" me $500 for my checking account until my loan check arrives, which I found out today won't be here until Wednesday at the earliest because there was still a form I hadn't filled out. $300 of that was put onto my nearly-maxed-out credit card, which is to be used to pay for my travel from Syracuse to NYC and back, as well as any emergency expenses. (Read: Bottle of Scotch.)

I have to pay for the trip between Syracuse and NYC because of the ridiculous bureaucratic restrictions of the KU travel office. See, they're paying for our trip to Ithaca and back, which involves a flight out of KCI to Detroit, then over to Syracuse, and back again via the same route. Because I wanted to spend a few days in NYC afterwards, I figured it'd be easy to book my return flight out of NYC instead of Syracuse for three days later. No dice. KU only uses a travel agent, and the flights have to have the same destination and departure, meaning that they were able to delay my return flight until Wednesday (instead of Sunday), but I still have to depart from Syracuse. The trip to NYC in the meantime is on my dime.

Three weeks ago I could have bought a round-trip plane ticket from Syracuse to NYC for just over $100. Checking today, the absolute cheapest round-trip is $184, with the Sunday flight leaving Syracuse at 11:00 a.m., and the return flight arriving at a comfortable hour and a half before my departing flight. I try to call my K-State contact from the project to try to find out which Greyhound they're taking, to see if I can't still save some money. No answer. I send a text. 30 minutes later, she replies "I think 9:45." I text back, "You think?" She promptly replies, "9:45 from Ithaca."

I check, and that bus is full. The next available is at 10:25, getting to NYC in a brisk five hours. So if I were to choose to take a bus there, at the price of $61, I'd be riding alone. Not a big deal, but still, it would have been nice to have some familiar company. A return trip on the bus is out of the question, seeing as how I need to be back in Syracuse on Wednesday in time to catch my 4:20 flight home.

So, it looks like I might bus it out there, then fly home. A return flight that gets me into Syracuse at a comfortable but not too early time will run at least $114. So, if I bus-and-fly, I'm still looking at about $190. Fuck that noise.

I then recheck my flight. It's expired. I have to reenter my data. Remember that flight that left at 11:00 a.m.? Well, now it's gone. All that's left for Sunday, at the price of $184, is a flight that leaves Syracuse at 7:15 p.m. Fuck me. For just over $200, I can get flights with better times, but Christ, my estimated travel expenses have literally doubled from what I originally planned on.

I pour myself a drink.

I check the Amtrak schedule. Not a chance. Not only is the train actually a LONGER trip than the bus (by a full hour), the times are absolutely ridiculous, and I can't get back in Syracuse in time for my flight unless I leave NYC in the dark hours of the morning.

So now I'm constantly checking and rechecking travel sites, Greyhound schedules, trying to keep all the various times, costs, and other numbers in my head to find the perfect, cost-effective travel plan.

I pour myself a second drink.

I can't make up my mind. Is riding a Greyhound for five hours, by myself, and flying back worth saving approximately $30? Should I just bite the bullet and buy the more expensive flight out of Syracuse so I can get to NYC during daylight hours? Should I just stay in Syracuse, use the money to buy a new identity, and try to craft a better life than the rancid shit-brick that's currently known as Floyd Masterson?

I make a third drink. Oh, and I'm chain-smoking. The killer combo.

Just as I'm considering running out into traffic to end the pain, I realize that it doesn't matter which travel package I decide on, as I can't use my credit card to buy anything tonight anyways. My payment doesn't go through until tomorrow.

I pour a fourth drink, and step outside to smoke.

Addendum: It turns out that the bus the others are riding is not, in fact, booked full. In fact, due to my checking the wrong schedule (see: "9:45 from ITHACA", not Syracuse), I can still buy a ticket for the 9:45. In fact, I can buy a ticket for any of the TEN 9:45 departures.

Fuck my ass with a cactus.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What was I doing 24 hours ago?

I was unsuccessfully attempting to perfect the art of calligraphy in 15 minutes or less in order to shoot a scene for a video about letter-writing.