A Pen that lights up

At work last evening, there was a pen on my desk that said on the side, “Jesus is Light Daryl and Barbara.” It was clearly a favor from some pair of zealots’ wedding.

Slightly cool about this pen: the top quarter of the pen was a clear plastic cylinder with what appeared to be a DNA helix in it (ironic, right??!), and there was a little button below the clear plastic part that, when pushed, lit up the little DNA helix with this lovely bluish light.

But to me, there was no dispute about whether or not to keep and use the pen. The punishable “Jesus is Light” is far too corny to grace my coffee cup full of pens.

So I gave the pen to the boy who sits in the cubicle on the other side of my cubicle’s wall who does–in earnest–believe that Jesus is Light.

Later, I found that my other colleague left it on my desk, thinking that I’d have a quandary: the pen is cool, it lights up. The pen is uncool, it’s about jesus. Keep it? Get rid of it?

If I had know that part of the story, I might have kept it as a souvenir of the fact that somebody besides me had put that much thought into my pen taste.

John Cusack & Nick Hornby

I’m rereading High Fidelity because it’s great, and because I just rewatched the movie–or, after three consecutive evenings of falling asleep at various key points, put together something like a viewing–and there is, surprisingly, nothing at all offensive about the way Nick Hornby’s books and the movies made from them coexist in my head.

Now, and because my New Car has a six CD changer in the dash, I am analyzing myself as an appreciator of music. Here’s what’s in my six CD changer, in order:

1. Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black
2. She & Him Volume 1 (it’s incredible how MySpace can make even famous people seem kinda’ normal!)
3. The Proclaimers, This is the Story
4. Robyn Hitchcock, I Often Dream of Trains
5. Joanna Newsom, The Milk-Eyed Mender
6. The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow Which is the only Shins Album I can’t seem to get enough of.

Reading High Fidelity makes me wonder the following things:
1. Would Rob, Dick & Barry approve of this selection?
2. Why would I give a shit if they did or didn’t?
3. Why is it that on this reading, I’m more focused on the music than the way in which the book seems to be Cliff’s notes for the (often) dysfunctional workings of the male brain?
4. Why don’t I have time for farting around with songs of my own anymore?
5. What’s with the English snobbery toward the word “horny” when they use words like “snog” and “shag” for adults-only activities?

I’ve also been thinking of the ways in which my music taste has calmed down a bit over the years. I was, in my (much) younger incarnation, one of those obnoxious people who considered themselves “punk” about 10 years after anybody was authentically punk. By the time my posturing occurred, everything about punk had watered down a bit. Though I will say, in my own defense, and maybe even to my credit, that I was aware of all of that, even then, and I did try VERY HARD, which now seems far less admirable than it did then, but isn’t it true what they say about hindsight?

In some ways, what I like now is (appallingly and startlingly) like what I listened to before I could choose, my mom’s music: ’80s radio country, and the AM station 960 which was then “The greatest hits of the forties, fifties and sixties!” She also likes and liked The Carpenters, Barry Manilow (gasp!), and Neil Sedaka.

I do still listen to Led Zeppelin’s IV from time to time as well as Green Day’s Kerplunk and The Violent Femmes, which are still far less hardcore than the music I convinced myself I liked 12-15 years ago.

There are some living affections for me, best among them They Might Be Giants.

Where do I find the time to read?

In the time during which I am not doing things I should be doing, like now, when I should be cleaning, washing bed linens, working on a pasta salad, etc.

my life is REEEEEEEALLY exciting

I wish I’d been saving up millions of interesting things to say. But I haven’t.

lately, I’ve been daydreaming and brainstorming about my linen closet, the presentation I’m supposed to give at the Pennsylvania Poets’ society conference on May 2, the creative writing classes I’m supposed to teach this summer at Carlisle Arts Learning Center, how to fix my house, how to save money, and how to eat only the food that is required to sustain my life without feeling like I’m NOT indulging culinarily, being a FEMALE car salesperson, how to get employed from home without going in the toilet financially.

She&Him: Volume 1–that Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward thingy I alluded to in the last blog that I heard Teri Groce talking about–is fucking awesome. If you don’t have it, get it.

Get The Shins (forever–they’ll change your life, just ask Zack Braff)

Been watching a lot of Spongebob & Northern Exposure.

Spongebob is awesome. Everybody should have such a great attitude: I’m Ready!


Should the blog have a particular topic?

I’ve been thinking. Maybe if I want my blog to serve a purpose, I should use it to do something that I HAVE THE TIME to do, instead of trying to think of it as writing practice and possible venue for the rougher draftings of the novel pages, short story tries, etc.

Wouldn’t this blog be cool if it were devoted to reviewing movies? Kids’ movies? Surf’s Up was fantastic. It is satirizing this other movie that I didn’t see. It’s smart, funny and extremely well-casted.

I heard this thing on Fresh Air about Zooey Deschanel and how she’s also a singer. If I’d seen Elf I would have already known that.

See how writing only about movies wouldn’t work?

Then I thought I could spend a lot of time writing about Sales. But I don’t know anything about Sales.

Food. But the Food network is already saying it. So is Epicurious.com, recipegoldmine.com, foodnetwork.com, marthastewart.com, et al.

So I will continue to write about whatever occurs to me.

And it will continue to be boring and vain sometimes.

And I will continue to feel conflict over the whole idea of blogging and whether or not I’m the kind of self-promoter who does it. I am. But I have guilt. Thanks Protestantism. I am so glad I was raised in your clutches.

I think I converted my brother to the Libertarian way of thinking this past week.

This boy I used to love asked me if I would vote for Obama. I said I would not. He said I should vote for Hillary because she is a girl (do you see why I no longer love him?).

Why doesn’t Hillary have a last name? All the other candidates are known by their last names. Hillary is just Hillary. Is the notion that women will not always have the same last name so deeply ingrained? I don’t have a last name at work. I only introduce myself as April, even though I love my last name.

Busy Busy Busy Busy

Sometimes, yes. Being a grown up does suck immense amounts of donkey schlong. But being a grown up rocks sometimes:

When I make decisions that will save money (canceling the cable aspect of my bundle and cutting the extra media cost in half, changing the cell phone bill, making more coffee at home).

Small successes at work (beating the senior member in sales during March).

Being able to replace the broken washer and dryer.

Light at the end of the EXTREMELY bad credit tunnel.

Small, nice things that make my highly overwrought mother’s obscenely difficult life just a wee bit easier (cooking dinner sometimes and enrolling Pearl in day care for two days a week).

Staying up late with Northern Exposure and a glass of wine (that was on sale).

Doing all of these things and still being able to drive to Baltimore on my day off to visit my younger, fabulous sister, get Pearl new clothes for Spring, and go to Trader Joe’s for good cheese, inexpensive organic milk and marvelous produce.

Oh sometimes life is just good.