Who ordered the scrambled brains?

All things Mike .

Fuel: Empty

Dang. I been so unmotivated to write lately. And I have so much to write about. I just haven’t wanted to. Maybe I don’t really have anything to write about. Maybe I’m just lazy. Maybe I’ve lost interest in blogging. Maybe I’ve been too busy. Maybe I haven’t been keep that proverbial eye proverbially peeled for things in my daily life that could be of blogging interest. But, ah, what the heck, let’s go for it. Got time to kill till the machines are done drying my laundry anyway.

My cousin started a couple new hilarious blogs, with some of her cohorts, in which she chronicles her neighborhood from sober and non-sober perspectives. So far, classic. See for yourself. She’s got personality and complexity enough to ignite a thousand novellas.

Updates… My birthday came, my birthday went. I had a lovely birthday dinner with Natalie at C+O’s in Venice, with Franken-cake and (fake) rat-nibbled cupcakes. (Fast and furious fact: a bit is a binary digit, a byte is 8 bits, and a nibble is 4 bits.) The whole quarter-of-a-century-old freak-out thing is not a big deal to me. I’m satisfied with my life progress overall. OK, got that update out of the way.

My last quarter as a UCLA peon is over half complete. I have what others call senioritis, but I call sophomoritis. Yeah, I’ve been apathetic since about my sophomore year, and the only reason I’m doing well now is ’cause the glorious liberal arts professors at UCLA have almost no expectations for their students. It is so truly amazing. But the problem is structurally inherent. Let me break it down for ya’ll. Professors want prestige, otherwise they’d go to private industry. But prestige comes from research; the teaching part’s only there to sell to kids (known as “students”), which augments the university’s research grant fund. To lure more of these investors, and also to gain some prestige from other academics, the professors spoon feed the young drones what they’ll be tested on to yield impressive test results. The only intellectual challenge students face is making it to class for these feedings. Later in the year, the professor will extol, “Look, nerds! The average GPA for students in our department is 4.9! Billion!” One reason I can get by in Political Science while spending exactly no time studying.

And to make it even more pathetic, the kids complain about how hard it is. …One reason I give exactly no intellectual or creative credence to having a degree. (To be fair, exceptions exist: some students are there to actually learn, not just to get drunk/party, to obey their parents/society, or to get that ticket to a cushy job, and some professors are dedicated to challenging their students.) While we’re on the subject, I feel the need to express that I freakin’ hate professors that exaggerate or make up statistics to drive a point home. I know they’re thinking “kids these days, with their cell phones and microwave pizza and walkmen, have such short attention spans, the only way I can keep them engaged is to make the material more interesting.” It’s totally obvious when a professor is rambling and struggling to stay on topic yet has statistics and examples to back up every random thing that flies out of his mouth. A professor that sticks to the topic and sticks to the facts has so much more respect from me, and if he has my respect, I’ll try harder and learn more from him. Anyway, back up, I got senioritis, I’m apathetic, and the only way I’m gonna make it through this quarter is relying on the professor’s low expectation to lower my own expectations. Four C’s = end of suffering. God, enough about this crap already.

Anyway, my project at CIS is finally getting serious attention. I’ve been meeting with two other full-timers and the lead programmer to hammer out formal specs for the project. Whee! This got me thinking that if I’m an integral part of a serious big project when I graduate, that’ll give them huge incentive to keep me full-time. I guess they were thinking along the same lines, because I’ve had some promising informal discussions a couple weeks ago related to this with the director. But no more on that until it’s on paper. Which has been causing me loads of stress lately. I got four weeks left in the quarter till I’m done here (still need to do foreign language requirement via SMC night classes), I’d like to be able to relax the rest of the way through. But I’m fixated on the prospect of signing papers and negotiating salary. Blthpthphtphtt.

Went to Opium at Forbidden City last week. Crazy night. Got to the door after friends had already arrived, heard $20 cover, did an instant 180. Stood outside while Nat phoned Corn. Corn by the way, is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the privilege of befriending. So in the meantime, the guest list coordinator approached us and basically comped us in. I’m guessing it was our stunning apparel. American Apparel that is (which, to my exaggerated shock and awe, has become trendy). forbidden city guysNeon-yellow thermal shirt under a lavendar cotton polo. Nat had a Madonna inspired get-up that was also lavendar, complete with striped kerchief/necktie. Coincidence I swear. But the reason I think that got us in is because inside, inside! Everyone was dressed the same. When did slacks and diagonal striped Express Men’s dress shirts become the uniform? I’ve heard about girls having clubbing uniforms, but until last Friday night I hadn’t identified the guy’s version. No matter, we got in, and were treated to affordable drinks and a stunning 80’s DJ. His hardened gangbanger exterior of given-up cholo-dom was clearly nothing more than a facade masking his love for synth-driven dance music. It wasn’t Physical Attraction by Madonna that had me convinced, but the mere opening riff of This Charming Man by The Smiths that did it. That was the background music to some good ol’ fashioned booty shaking, inebriated brotherly bonding (”I love you, man!” or the 00’s version, “You’re in my Top 8 on MySpace, man!”), and strange chats with freaks. When the next DJ started playing (generic non-progressive) house, we moved from the patio to the VIP lounge. I still don’t remember how we got in there, but I it involved some of Corn’s renowned charm. Then we played bartender with some deserted VIPs (Vacated Important Persons) bottle service, which in retrosprect was downright stupid. Ahh…

spider club, corn nat sam mikeSo we all got nice and sloshed, drinking whatever we could get our hands on. When the lights came up, we went across the street and somehow weasled our way into Spider Club. Past a throng of drones. By normal standards, it was a bust. But including the novel-factor, not a waste of time by any means. This adventure, strictly involving my two favorite night-time excursion people, Nat and Corn, involved navigating unnavigable labrynths, declining illicit substances from acquaintences, having phantom conversations with old friends (still don’t remember a word I said to you, Sam), bladder punishing doorlines, multi-talented doorman/drummers and general insanity and bonding. The kicker was meeting up at Sonia’s to fall asleep to George’s tirade/lament about a Big Mac that had just been stolen from him moments earlier. Phew!

With the ending of any brain activity, (such as that involved in the telling of the story you just read) lately my mind always quickly refocuses on my financial broke-ness. I need money! I need money! I drove to Starbucks today, found a spot for my auto-mo-bile, started feeding the meter precious quarters when I realized it was a fifteen minute only spot. God-damn frahooking son-of-a-bismuth! I imagined punching myself in the face, HARD, and then proceeded to get right back into my car. With only a buck fifty left, I couldn’t even afford a cup of coffee. A cup of coffee!!! AAAHAHAHHAHHHHHH! Yes. It’s true. So I drove back home, thinking about how broke I was. And how in two months I’ll probably be working at UCLA making real money! Finally! It’s just a matter of time. Like the gods are giving me two last months of fiscal agony, pain, embarrasment, humiliation, feces-flinging, two last months of coffee-deprived mental face-punching, two last months of cloudy skies, two last months of chains, until, until, UNTIL the coffee will pour freely! It’s such a weird position I’m in.. To know that I’m broke now but that I will, with very reasonable certainty, have financially stability… in two months. I can’t be excited about it because I’m so broke, but I can’t rationalize being stressed about being broke because in two months I (hopefully) won’t be. So I’m being pulled in two directions, and basically stuck feeling nothing about it all. By nothing I mean agony and punching myself in the face all the time. OUCH!!

New black plastic Versace framesI think I activated some metaphysical law because a couple days ago, after weeks of punching myself in the face in my mind, my glasses broke in real life. They lasted a couple years and I broke that same frame a couple times before. I was being extra careful with these, but I guess plastic can only withstand so much metaphysical punishment. Natalie bailed me out and we picked out this number at the village Lens Crafters. They seem to creak a lot. Which terrifies me. Creaking plastic is not a good sign.

Souplantation has become my favorite restaurant. Sure you can get tastier meals and fattier meals and cholesterol-ier meals at Ramenya, Cheesecake Factory, or Bally’s Las Vegas Big Kitchen Buffet. But only at Souplantation can you eat healthy, eat cheaply, and eat lots. Salad buffet is only the half the story. I usually start off with their Caesar salad, which is simply to kill for. Then I go soups, usually four at a time. Cream of rosemary potato, clam chowder imported from the country of New England, ultra-hearty chicken noodle made with whole little chickens and branches of processed semolina, and the November secret weapon: chicken pot pie stew with fresh biscuits. Which is simply to murder for. And you can’t leave without cracking open a brownie and smothering it with chocolate soft-serve. That, my friends, is simply to commit genocide for. I’m just kidding, fer Chrissake!

Christ, my laundry’s been done for an hour already, why you keeping me up so late?! I’m going to bed now.

(Didn’t even feel like writing in the first place.)

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Commenting options at bottom.
Tom said:

Your mailing list failed to notify me of your last two posts. System problems?

Tara Bartolome said:

Man, We’s gots sum mad writing skills in dis fam-ly.

Hmmm…Always yearned to be a decent writer and now that I can write a proper sentence I find myself wandering through random sock departments at the local…shall we say…lemmings’ cliff. Now if I could only concentrate on one thought at a time…

marcus said:

man…that’s a long post! do i have to read all of this? haha just kidding.

marcus said:

…and be-lated Happy Birthday!


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