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Wii.

Time could not be going any slower.

I have no work to do at the moment, and it's become risky to harvest crops on iFarm while at my desk, so here I am. No calls coming in, no calls to make, no workplace conversations to be had. Oh, what I wouldn't give to work for Nintendo of America. I can see it now. I'd be sitting at my desk, surrounded with brightly colored posters of Mario and Link, spending my time in between work playing New Super Mario Bros Wii on the Wii console at my desk, while my neighbor on one side pummels Ganon and my neighbor on the other side hunts for Elebits. The whole office is full of video game music and the characteristic Boiiing of Mario's jumps as we all shout in frustration at our television screens at how we can't crack an egg in Cooking Mama or paint that tall building in De Blob. We'd all pull weeds and dig holes in each other's Animal Crossing towns for hours, and get paid to do it. Then at the end of the day, I'd hang up my Wiimote by its wrist strap on the wall of my cubicle and tap the power button on my flat screen monitor and punch out for the day, and I'd come home with a smile on my face, knowing I did something really great by saving all those Hylians from the wrath of the dark power.

If only I worked for Nintendo...

Also.

More and more lately, I find myself paying attention to only about 10% of what 98% of people say to me.

I'm happier that way.

Gym.

I really wish I was one of those people who could put all their daily frustration and anger into a rockin' workout...

Cause today, I got a lot of it.

Seriously.

I need to get out of here.

Shopping.

Happy Consumerism Day everybody!

As I am sure you are already well aware if you have a pulse and you leave your house/read the news/watch television/know what the date is, today is that most horrible of all the "holidays", BLACK FRIDAY. Yes, today is the day on which people all over the country brave the elements, traffic, lack of food or water, and threats of violence in order to save a couple of bucks on useless crap that their friends and family won't even remember was given to them next year. Black Friday has always sickened me. I've never seen the appeal in getting up at 2am to make it to Best Buy by 4am so that I can stand in line in the freezing cold, listening to morons talk about how excited they are that plasma televisions are $2449.99 when they're normally $4229.99, only to get shoved through the doors by greedy jerks once the store has opened so that I can get pushed, elbowed, and punched while trying to get 20% off Blu-Ray discs. It saddens me what the holiday season has devolved into.

It seems that with every year that passes, the holiday season gets longer, people get ruder, and stores and consumers alike get greedier. Every year the radios start playing Christmas music sooner, and decorations at the malls now go up the day after Halloween. I've even seen some people put their Christmas lights up before Halloween! Normally I'd just think that people were excited about the upcoming holiday season, and merely wanted to jump-start it a bit in the hopes of having some of those feelings that only the Christmas spirit can bring. In reality, I think that people just want more stuff, and putting up Christmas decorations the day after Halloween is just a way of reminding themselves that there's only 27 more days until they can freak out and go tearing around the malls like packs of The Infected from 28 Days Later, tearing each other apart over the last My-Size Barbie or latest creepy Talking Elmo creation (the newest of which I hear stands under his own weight, turns his head, opens and closes his mouth, and moves his arms and hands emphatically - you mark my words right now, someday we will be living under the tyrannical cyborg rule of Elmo dolls).

My distaste for the day after Thanksgiving reached its peak last year when throngs of pushy, greedy, maniacal consumers actually pushed down the doors at a Wal-Mart because they didn't feel like waiting anymore, crushing one or two employees of the store to death in the process. As these poor workers lay either dead or dying on the floor of the store, people trampled over them to get inside so that they could be the first ones to the sales. To top it all off, when the store was cleared out after it was discovered that people had died because of this greed, people actually had the stones to complain to the media about how they were ushered out of the store and couldn't complete their shopping. In my opinion, anyone who stood in front of a reporter that day bitching about how they were missing out on the sales inside of the store should be examined for psychiatric care and then locked away to ensure the public safety. Since when has the desire for material possessions exceeded the value of a human life? How is anyone able to look into a camera and say that shopping is more important that the lives of the workers of that store? What kind of person do you have to be to say that and mean it?

Don't get me wrong, I like my gadgets and toys as much as the next guy, but I'm not going to kill for them. My iPhone is not worth the cashier's life, my Playstation is not as valuable as my friends, and my laptop will not replace my family. To me, the best Christmas presents are the ones with a little thought behind them. Homemade candles, cookies, or cards. Hot cocoa mix, handmade candies, and knitted sweaters or blankets. Photos in a nice frame, or a handmade piece of art. These are the things that mean something, that the recipient can cherish and place their memories in when they want to remember good times. Christmas should be about being together and enjoying what we have, no matter the economic climate. It should be about fuzzy blankets and plush, festive sweaters, and hot cocoa and christmas lights, peppermint tea, and decorations made out of construction paper, snowy nights and stories around a fire, and excitement on Christmas morning to give someone special something meaningful. It shouldn't be about breaking other people's limbs so that you can go broke buying the last one of the must-have items this year.

That's not what the holidays are about, to me.


Michael Valentine

Return.

Hello my much smaller group of readers!

It has been a long, long time. I know that many of you have probably fled from LJ, fleeing to other networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, or even :*shudder*: Twitter. Livejournal does seem to be a relic of internet networking that has been replaced by shinier technology. My friends list is ragged and I do not remember anymore who most of the people on it are, I do not know how many of you are even reading this, so maybe it will be more for me than for others, but I've been feeling a longing to return lately.

Don't get me wrong. I, like everyone else, feel the compulsory need to check my Facebook every few minutes to see who thinks my latest status update is witty. I just was never able to adjust my introspective thoughts and feelings into the Facebook format. Others appeared to make the transition just fine, and began writing "notes" for people to read in the same manner they used to write LJ entries. I could never make the change. After the user-friendliness and customization of Livejournal, "notes" just seemed so impersonal and not at all a representation of me. I missed my user icons, and the decoration on the page, and the ability to make my comments link say anything I wanted it too. I missed being Michael Valentine.

Much of my lack of writing and attention to other networking sites had to do with not feeling like I had much creativity in me anymore, that I was somehow no longer able to put my feelings into words on the electronic page. It's so much easier to be creative and witty in a one-line Facebook status update, there's less planning and phrasing that goes on. Even though I felt like I couldn't write interesting and engaging pieces anymore, I still found myself "living in journal mode" quite often. What I mean by that is that I often narrated my life in my head as though it were an LJ entry, and several times I felt almost an uncontrollable urge to sit down and write those narrations out, but I could never do it. By the time I sat down in front of the computer, I was too tired, or too distracted by something else, or the well-worded thoughts had escaped me. Sometimes, the narrations came in tid-bits that would look odd and fragmented in the Livejournal medium, pieces much better suited to Facebook or to be kept in my mind.

But with my partner's recent surge of renewed creativity, I seem to have been re-energized as well. Now, Livejournal, though it still appears as a desolate and rarely-used wasteland, has the capability of posting your entries to Facebook (if you use the LJ website to update, which I don't normally do, but still, it's a good option to have). Hopefully this will be the jump-start I need to start writing again!

It's good to be back.

Michael Valentine

Experience.

Ok, here's the deal. I need to just rant for a minute.

John McCain and Sarah Palin keep talking and talking about how scary it would be for Barack Obama to be at the helm during a time of international crisis.

I don't understand why everyone doesn't find this laughable.

John McCain may have served this country since he was 17, but he seems like a hothead who will bomb first and think about it later. This country is already laughed at and hated in the world because of GWB, the last thing we need is a jumpy president who will make our country an international bully. He doesn't strike me as having a steady hand in times of crisis, and if we're attacked by another world power, I can see him leading us into WWIII.

And then there's Sarah Palin, or as I like to call her, "Scary" Palin. She is ultra-conservative, anti gay marriage, pro-life, and loves fishing and hunting, and she would be a heartbeat away from the top office in the country. That thought chills me to the bone. If something were to happen to John McCain (and let's face it, with his advanced age and health problems combined with the possibility of disaster, anything could happen to him), she would be in charge of this country, and I definitely don't want her hand on the button. We would be nuked before we could think twice.

Barack Obama may not have a lot of foreign policy experience, but he has surrounded himself with people that do. He would definitely think before making any rash decisions. And if something horrible were to happen to him, Joe Biden would be a much more capable leader than Gov. Palin.

Think about it. Do you want a duo of hotheaded, shoot-first-ask-questions-later, bullying GWB copies with their fingers on the button? I don't know about you, but that thought keeps me up at night.

Then there's the endless stream of hate-filled speech that has come from McCain, Palin, their surrogates, and the attendees at McCain/Palin rallies. I just can't resolve in my mind how anyone can align themselves with such hatefulness. Especially when you come from a minority group that is the brunt of hate on almost a daily basis, how can you justify being a member of a party that is so hateful toward others? But even if you are not a member of such a minority group, nowadays everyone knows someone, is related to someone, loves someone who is a member of such a group, and I would think that if you truly love your kids, or your partner, or your friends, or your community, or whomever it is that is affected by daily hate, that you would refuse to be a part of a hateful campaign.

I guess I just don't understand what positives you could get from being a McCain/Palin supporter. With all their lies and accusations and desire to divide our country, it just makes me really sad to see that people buy into their slimy campaign.

But that's just my two cents.

Arctic.

Well here I am again, hanging out in the library. This time I'm waiting for Aaron to get off work so we can hang out. 

Rosie was nice enough to drive us over to Circa after class so we wouldn't have to walk all the way from Manoogian. It ended up taking the same amount of time as if we had walked, but at least we were out of the cold for a few minutes. 

While we're on the subject, I'd like to write a letter to Nature. Take this down:



Dear Nature,

I'd like to start by saying that I'm a huge fan of yours. Grass was a good invention, especially for lying on in the spring and summer. Breeze is fantastic, and the cool crispness of autumn was a great idea. And trees? Wow. Don't even get me started. I'm writing you today to ask you something I've been wondering for a while now. WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THIS WEATHER? It's f*cking 300 degrees below 0 out there! If it were just one day, I could understand, but it's been like this for a week! I don't think you realize how hard it is to get anywhere in this weather. It takes forever! I have to go out and start the car, let it warm up, then I have to drive very carefully to avoid slipping on the roads like a seal on an ice flow, all the while coming and going from the car and almost turning into a popsicle! I'd like to plead with you to stop this madness. I know it's winter, but come on! Can we PLEASE stay in the positive temperature range? I don't care if it's 8 degrees out there, it's better than -320! I'd appreciate some sort of action taken to correct this matter. If no action has been taken by you at the end of this week, I will have no choice but to contact my attorney. Your swift reply is appreciated.

Cordially yours,

Michael Valentine



I thought our warm and cozy salvation lay minutes away when we got to Circa, but sadly the bar was cold and wet inside. But Rosie and I huddled in a booth with Vince and Aaron Petcoff and had lunch and talked about the nature of language, homosexuality, racism, class, gender, and the school system. I always enjoy having conversations with Aaron Petcoff, even if I don't always have much to say. He's very interesting to listen to. 

So, this is how cold it was the other day. I got up and got ready for work on Sunday, and I needed to be there by 10:30. So I get in the car at 10 and start it up and put it in gear, and I find to my horror that I'm FROZEN TO THE ROAD! We sort of live on the side of a very subtle incline, and all the neighborhoods rain and snow runoff ends up in the street right in front of our house. Well overnight, all that water had frozen solid around my tires and cemented me to the cement! I went back in and got Terry who came out to help push my car while I revved it trying to bust it loose. Neither of us could get solid footing to push or rock the car since we were standing on a slab of ice. I tried cat litter under the tires, and soon mom was out helping too. We were taking turns laying on the gas, pushing, and chiseling the ice away with a shovel. After about 25 minutes of this, mom and Terry went in to get a hammer and chisel. At this point, the frustration and the cold sent me into a blinding rage, so I got in the car and starting furiously alternating between reverse and first gear, rocking the car back and forth. Let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the feeling of relief when your car pulls out of the ruts in the road and onto the street. I am so sick of this damn weather.

And now, your lolcat of the day:




Idiocy.

 I'm operating on three hours' sleep, because I was up way too late at my lame work party. I don't know what happened, the parties the last two years were awesome. Maybe it had something to do with there being no karaoke for the first year ever. I just know I stayed a lot longer than I would have liked to, and now I feel like I have a hangover even though I didn't get drunk last night. Who the hell has a staff party on a Monday night? Oh, yeah. We do. In the past, it's always been on a Sunday night because we close early and more people are able to make it. This year though, they decided to have it on Monday because Sunday is "inventory night". Inventory is done by managers! Isn't this party supposed to be more for the staff, because, you know, WE MAKE WAY LESS MONEY THAN THEM? The past two years, the party has been at 10pm on a Sunday night because we close at 9, giving all the staff ample time to finish closing down the restaurant without missing any of the party. This year the party was at 10pm on Monday night, and the restaurant closes at 10, so the closing staff had to scramble to get out of work so we didn't miss the party. And guess who closes every Monday. Four of the strongest and most hard working servers in the restaurant. Who would have missed the party if it had been on "inventory night"? One manager (who wasn't at the party anyway) and the executive chef. Kind of a lame reason to change the night of the party. We had a lower turnout than we ever have. When we finally got there (at almost 11pm), we arrived to find that the college dropout slackers that appeared to be DJing the party were not set up for karaoke, even though our general manager had requested it. I hope he asks for part of his money back. Melissa, Nicole and I all look forward to singing at the staff party every year, and more than a few of our co-workers made comments about how they were disappointed that they would not get to hear us sing. So we all sat at our isolated tables and talked, and ate, and didn't dance to the crappy music the DJs were playing. The trainers' outing had better make up for this travesty of a staff party we had. I did win a pretty cool prize though, and Aaron was there which always makes things better.

In other, completely unrelated news, my Journalistic Grammar and Style class is full of idiots, and 8am is too early in the morning to deal with stupid freshmen and snotty junior journalism majors. 

Someone in this library is wearing too much perfume. I want to find them and dump a bucket of water on them.



Ugh, I need to go lie down. 


Only 26 days until Aaron and I leave for New York. 

Frostbite.

It always makes me sad when I see cat tracks in the snow outside our house on incredibly cold winter nights like this.

I just hope she found a warm place to sleep tonight.

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