Wednesday, August 27, 2008

b.i.n.g.NO: part 1

This happened last summer but i've been writing and avoiding writing this for a while, yet it's still ironically very much a first draft...part 1:

I almost purposely overlooked the B-10 the announcer just called; I wanted to throw my game, my bingo game. I was heart-racing-nervous-twitchingly-intimidated by my bingo competitors. Over sixty senior citizens all in varying shades of pastel polyester blends. Many of them were armed: canes of various solid, strong materials, impact resistant walkers and the occasional skull crushing oxygen tank. Of course many of them couldn’t lift the objects but their sheer seriousness in the game and determination to succeed was enough to send the most optimistic bingo player running to the handicap accessible exit.
It was to be one of the more exciting, and certainly the most spontaneous, of my sisters’ and I activities while visiting my grandparents down in their retirement village in Southern Florida. We conveniently arrived at the apex of the summer “love-bug” season and the hurricane season, so outdoor activity was neither welcomed nor a realistic possibility. Even without the insects or horizontal rainfall, the town’s vast quantities of tattoo parlors and chain restaurants didn’t quite satisfy my tourist thirst. After ninety some years on earth my Grandpa had little desire to do much more than obtain “the usual” at the community restaurant and watch Larry King Live with an almost army like dedication. Unfortunately his body agreed with him, and being confined to the Jazzy motorized scooter makes a good argument against having vacation adventures. Luckily our Grandma agreed to accompany us to the weekly Bingo game despite her much vocalized disappointment in the removal of cookies and birthday refreshments from the Bingo games of the past. We agreed to each play a board for our Grandpa.
The retirement village was set up like an all-inclusive town for the “citizens.” A barbershop, café, bank, pool and fitness center, and other small shops and centers were located in between the residence buildings. Bingo was held every Saturday night in the Town Hall, a room that resembles its name, complete with “cowgirl” and “cowboy” nameplates on the restroom doors.
Like most of our ventures out of their fifth floor apartment it moved at a glacial pace. Since my last visit, nearly ten years ago, my Grandma has required the assistance of a walker if moving more than five feet. While never the speed demon, the walker and her bum foot moved her at a degree of slow I was not previously aware of. Normally a fast walker, often viewing getting anywhere as a sort of Olympic race, I was having an especially hard time matching my pace to hers. The first few days of our trip my sisters and I were much better at making the effort to restrain ourselves but it was now the last night of our trip and our patience was growing as thin as the hair of the retirees. One of us would frequently “suddenly” think of a pressing matter that we could address while we were all in transit that allowed us to break from the slow motion pack and meet at the final destination. Even though we’d still eventually have to wait while the rest of the group arrived, there was some satisfaction in knowing you got there at a rapid pace. I sensed that my sisters weren’t going to cash in an excuse during our voyage four floors to the Town Hall. After rounding a hallway corner on the first floor I said I had to go to the bathroom and would meet them inside the hall. Like a closeted smoker, I slyly ran off to satisfy my fast-walking craving. I moved swiftly to the bathrooms on the far edge of the village complex. Upon exiting the bathroom I inadvertently got stuck behind a woman in a motorized scooter, much like my Grandpa’s. Not practicing normal roadway courtesy this maniac was driving in the middle of the sidewalk path blocking my potential pass. Clearly as punishment for my abuse of the bathroom excuse I was forced to walk at an awkwardly close pace behind the woman who most likely considered me a purse-snatching hoodlum after I followed her across the complex and straight into the town hall. I held the door open for her, trying to appease my unintentional stalking but I’m sure she spread her mistrust of me to her bingo-enthusiast friends. The handicap woman put my bingo game at a handicap.
Outside the town hall poorly parked scooters and scattered walkers resembled the haphazardly parked cars outside a suburban house party. Inside the feeling was slightly less rowdy although everyone could have benefited from a keg or two. Three large tables spanned the length of the town hall; the first two of the tables were filled with determined bingo participates. The third table had a few clumps of players near the front and middle of the table and then my sisters and grandma at the furthest end. The standard amount of boards was four except first time players (Saturday night bingo virgins!) were allowed a fifth board free of charge. My sisters and I each had five; my grandma had two. Despite being somewhat secluded in the corner I tried to size up the competition. I titled the group closest to us (about five chairs down) as “the Elite”. The Elite consisted of a couple, in matching cornflower blue polos, and two women. As far as I could see they all had the standard four boards except for one of the women on my side of the table that had an unthinkable six boards. Although the group (besides the couple) didn’t have matching boards or uniforms, they did all have special magnetic wands that scooped up special game pieces they brought for the game. While we fished out quasi-round, dull, red game pieces from empty “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” containers with the rest of the players, the Elite dropped their magical purple coins onto their boards. And when a game was over, their cleanup simply required a swift pass of their magical bingo wand giving them ample time to look around in disgust at the plebeians and their standard issue playing pieces.
It was like third grade all over again except this time I wasn’t feeling intimidated and inferior to the crowd sporting the latest Nike sneakers, it was the Bingo elitists who eyed us not as loving, young, adults but as greedy, young, competition. Thoughts were quickly silenced once the emcee took the mic.
“The pot is hot tonight ladies and gentleman, first game is regular bingo and four-corners” His festive tropical shirt and relocation south did nothing to diminish his thick New York accent.
“No attempt to explain the rules to the newbies or Alzheimer’s patients?” I thought to myself as I grabbed a handful of the little red playing dots. I scooted up in my seat, on the alert.
“I – 42, that’s I…4, 2,” New York shouted.
The set up in the Town Hall was more legitimate than I thought; the numbers appeared at the push of a button from a vortex like chamber and then as New York read the numbers loud they illuminated on a large board in the front of the room. All the numbers that had been called during the game were lit up and remained illuminated; it was nearly impossible to not know what had been called. Needless to say I was sure one or two senior citizens were happily marking numbers arbitrarily; part of me hoped for an old jokester to scream out “BINGO,” right before bursting into laughter. It would help take the ever-increasing edge off. But the jokesters never called out, in fact with every silent round I was growing more and more tense. I wished to be my blissfully unaware Grandma, six numbers behind, two measly boards down and one pair of questionably effective reading glasses. For some reason I felt compelled to keep accurate account of my game boards even though each successful number literally made my hands shake and palms sweat. The last thing I wanted was to draw more attention to myself. I felt as if I was the only driver in the room that could see over their Oldsmobile dashboard, all too aware of which direction I was headed. As I laid down more and more tiny discs of doom I realized my fate was laid out diagonally, B-10 to O-shit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Camera Shy

I don't usually post picture entries but I also don't usually find a picture of myself that so clearly captures my internal expression. The following picture (regardless of the actual environment I was in) truely is worth a 1000 words in my opinion (and thus one of my longest posts!):

Wake Up, Subconscious!

There have been multiple times this summer where I have fallen asleep while reading personal ads I know I’d never respond to. Tonight I transitioned right into a dream where I was walking around an unlit room where sad, lonely, horned-up people where sitting around waiting. I woke up without really realizing I had fallen asleep. I need to start falling asleep to or maybe to the literature found on the backs of cookie and cereal boxes; even if the dreams were still depressing. I’d wake up to a box of cookies.

There is always a sense of disappointment when you remember your dreams, but remember them for being so completely literal to your waking life. I’ll be worrying about an exam all week and then the nights before the exam I’ll dream I’m taking the test, finish, and then freak out over the impending grade. When I wake up I roll my eyes and say, “come onnnn” to my lazy sub-conscious. “I’ve been worrying about this all day, do I really not even get a break when I’m passed out?!” This is the same brain that could create years of extravagant superhero battles and adventures with a few Mattel figures and the slightly disfigured tree in my front yard; now it can’t even piece together a good unconscious episode. No cooking frogs, no bizarre person from my past, no wild celebrity romance, not even a cliché alien abduction. The only positive thing about having a predictable dream-life is the sense of relief that I’m not in therapy. If I was in therapy I’d be too embarrassed to have them ask me about my dreams, which in my naïve view of therapy is a standard question. Regardless of how accurate this portrayal is I’d like to keep myself blissfully unaware for in my mind this all occurs in an office disgustingly tasteful, where you are brought to tears just at the sight of the Eames chair. Hopefully most of my emotional breakthroughs in life will not be furniture induced but I’m not saying I’d be too disappointed or surprised if they were. Sitting in whatever chair provided I’d be worried that my mental musings would be so transparent the psychiatrist would later ask her colleagues if they sent me in as some sort of practical joke. Simply remembering my dreams is analyzing them. I’ve literally had dreams in which I’m going about my daily routine: eating breakfast, watching tv, running errands. Nothing out of the ordinary, and possibly what I was planning on doing that Sunday afternoon.

The worst part is I know I can do better; I’ve had dreams where I was sampling the different quality of paper…orally, for God’s sake! For a while I even kept a dream journal and when I’d recount some of the dreams to pseudo interested friends they’d actually have a genuinely shocked reaction. So as 4:30 a.m. slips away from me I question if my subconscious has finally given up on me. It’s worn out the auto-pilot feature on my brain and thus without even banal things to dream about I slip back into insomnia. I can only hope that when I finally do go to sleep I wake up next to a box of cookies.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


There is a candy jar at work that may as well be my glove seeing as my hand is constantly seeking shelter in its sweet contents. It's cleverly labeled "eat me" and when you have directions that simple you feel bound to oblige. Instead of counting down the time till work ends I'm usually contemplating how much time should pass before it's socially acceptable to get more candy. When the downstairs jar is down to the bottom, filled with the relegated, reject candy (ambiguous hard candies, stray sugar packets, an encrusted skittles or two), I often shamefully sneak upstairs to the office jar. Just doing my part to keep management lean and cavity-free I tell myself.

At this point I'm really just waiting for the diabetes diagnosis.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Making the Cut

I worry about my hair a lot; then I worry that this worrying will cause my hair to fall out. The masochistic, endless cycle of hair stress is only temporarily relieved on the sporadic moments I get a good haircut. My head has been shag-city for a good six months. I broke down in May and decided to give myself a big birthday haircut but was too charmed by my hairdresser and the constant supply of mimosas to achieve any sort of drastic change. It was the kind of haircut you had to announce to people. Realizing they hadn’t noticed I’d have to think of ways to casually integrate it into the conversation. “I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. . .maybe you should treat yourself to a great trim like I did…today.”

While British rock bands and California surfers kept subliminally telling me to stick with it, it’s hard to ignore evidence to the contrary when it’s literally in front of your eyes. An experiment with a straighter let me know that my hair had the ability to reach to the tip of my nose but sans iron my hair curled up after a few inches, as if altering its natural route and reaching for the heavens. I resembled less of the rock bands I pretended to like and more of a slightly disheveled Florence Henderson.

Like a crotchety old man I like to blame the weather whenever slightly applicable and in the current crux of a Boston summer I find it’s easy to do just that. Whenever I’d be a particularly shaggy moment in my hair history my styling regime would consist of simply putting on a tight knitted hat post shower. The beanies acted as a sort of cast for my recklessly thick mane. Seeing as New England enjoys 6 month long winters it’s easy to use this method and still look like a sane part of society, but once the hellishly humid summers come wearing a knitted cap in 85 degree weather is less ironic and more idiotic. Not only was my hair corset seasonally unacceptable but with the increase in temperature came the increase in amount of cold, drawn out showers. Plagued with another catch-22 I accepted defeat and made an appointment, determined to rid myself of the hair that was not only attacking my head but attacking my ego as well.

This particular summer I’ve taken up temporary residence in a charming Cambridge apartment with friends. Moving from the sheltered life of on-campus housing to that of a “real-world” apartment I barely noticed anything except the ability to drink whenever possible and a kitchen that included more than a trashcan sized fridge and overused microwave. What I failed to see was that most real apartments don’t include auditorium sized laundry rooms that are hooked up to your campus account. Doing laundry on campus was not only easy, fast and practically free but you could check the availability of the machines via the Internet and get a message delivered to your phone when your load was done. I wasn’t just washing my clothes with Tide, I was washing my clothes with technology. In the real world I discovered my Laundromat was almost five blocks away and held hours that would make the average bank complain. Needless to say I found myself three weeks into dirty clothes and sheets and running out of creative solutions to the growing underwear epidemic.

The day of my haircut my dwindling clean laundry had me wearing pants tight and thin enough to be considered long underwear and an old t-shirt that passed the sniff test, finished off with patent leather dress shoes because the only clean socks I had were dress socks. Immediately after my haircut I purchased a new pair of underwear because it was the only realistic way I was going to have clean underwear the following morning. When I arrived at my appointment with Manny I mortified when his first question was “Do you need a wash?” I didn’t want to respond in sudden Bridget Jones like hysterics “Desperately, myself, my hair and every item of clothing and fabric in my room.” Fortunately he asked this right before he ran his hands through my hair which gave him all the assessment he needed, I wasn’t quite sure because I was in the euphoric stupor of a professional hair wash but he might have triple washed my hair and then triple washed his hands after.

When Manny asked what I wanted done I simply responded, “I’m sick of having long hair.”
He translated what I said into what he assumed I meant, “Okay so you want basically the same thing but shorter,” to which I corrected him by saying “much…much shorter”.

When he was finished I had a clean, almost militarily clean cut. While I was beyond pleased with trading in Florence Henderson for Joan of Arc it was what Manny said in the beginning of my cut that really pleased me. As he began he asked where I normally got my hair cut. I told him I usually wait long enough so that I can get it cut when I’m at home. Manny, dear sweet Manny, responded by asking if I was in a band and tour a lot. I’m not sure if it was the eccentric clothing, the bad hygiene or the uncontrollable shaggy hair but I finally got the comparison to the dirty, indie rock bands that romanticize the look I had stumbled my way upon. The only sound sweeter than Manny’s mistaken assumption was the sound of his scissors making sure it would never happen again.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Classifieds Information

I’m not above peer pressure. I’m very much not above peer pressure. People begin to say that old adage, “if all your friends jumped off a cliff would you?” to me but stop because my feverous nodding already gives them an image of my flattened body grinning from the bottom of the Sahara. This is not to say positive peer pressure doesn’t affect me just as much as negative; such is the case with Emerson College and the internship panic that spreads throughout spring semester. The respective student body usually migrates to Los Angeles or New York. Once final grades were posted I was determined to avoid standing on Boylston Street holding a shameful retail time card with a single rain cloud of self doubt pouring down on me.

With impending homelessness, fleeting optimism and an empty inbox I made a decision about three weeks ago to stay in Boston, to stay with friends, and to stay employed. I accept not defeat for I’m currently still quasi-pursuing internships in Boston (Central Productions if you’d like to check your voicemail there are approx. 30 new messages from me begging to do menial labor) but I can honestly say I put up a valiant fight. Over the course of the internship battle I came in contact with an unforeseen enemy, an enemy I am forced to deal with and an enemy that will continue to be a presence in my life for an undetermined amount of time; I speak of the dreaded “cover letter”.

I’m not against marketing myself and in certain contexts I’m not against formality, but producing these detestable documents became the bane of my existence. It started to become a problem when I began applying to the—whatever-might-as-well—internships such as: writing intern on “All My Children”, animation podcast intern, and an ambiguous pilot involving Spanish people in a laundromat. Not only would I have to feign interest, but I would have to convince them that my film production background makes me the perfect candidate to write about Tristan’s love affair with her Grandfather’s cyclone business partner. I mastered the art of using one cover letter and simply substituting and cutting certain lines, like those thank you notes you’d write in the 3rd grade to relatives after a bountiful Christmas. “Dear _____ thank you for the _______, it was really great, how’d you know I wanted that!? Hope to see you soon!”. Instead these letters were written in the hopes of acquiring a gift, the gift of a (temporary) professional peace of mind. It goes without saying I place a bit of importance on cover letters. When the weeks would pass without reply I’d fear I’d left in a sentence or two from the previous draft and thus revealing my lazy application work ethic. I had roughly a dozen different drafts of my resume put didn’t want to name them according to the place I was applying to for fear of looking unprofessional and exposing my all-inclusive job hunt, so I devised a system of letters for differentiating. Let it be known I’m no Dewey Decimal, my system was more than confusing. So my fears were only intensified with the thought of sending the resume inflating my fine arts background to the writing.

Who knows the reason behind my lack of an internship: typo-ridden emails, resume goof, “better” applicants, racism…at this point the reason is unimportant. While I’ll be enjoying a relatively carefree summer I thought I’d keep my cover letter writing skills sharp, while using a new “fresh” approach.

June 2, 2008

Rodney Uhler
64 Pleasant Street Apt. 2
Cambridge, MA 02139

Anonymous Company
1234 Broadway Street
New York, NY 00911

Dear Jane Smith,

I’m currently a panicking senior film production student at Emerson College in Boston. I’m extremely interested in having some fresh additions to my resume in the hopes of it helping me land a non food service job post college, and your company was one of the many I found in a desperate search. Ultimately I’d love to work with film and writing, and as you can see by my bull-shiting abilities within this letter my writing skills are not to be ignored! On that note an opportunity at your company fits right into my ultimate career goals and would provide me with a terrific learning experience.

An internship with your company would be a mutually beneficial experience (I hope that sentence appeals to you because I got it straight from a sample letter!) My strong work ethic would allow me to be a valuable part of your team. Just this past month I’ve applied to countless internships spanning many different genres despite fleeting interest and feigned enthusiasm, but my work ethic, and fear of professional inferiority, drove me forward.

I am currently committed to being on campus until late May, for I’m a Resident Assistant which means I’m not only responsible and good with people but it also shows I’m not above jeopardizing a social life for a job. From June 1st to September 1st I am available any hours or days necessary save for an hour lunch break a day so I can gorge on food and call as many people as I can to complain about my work schedule. Please feel free—seriously I’ll use all caps if it will drive the point across—to contact me via e-mail or phone with any questions or concerns. If interested I will be happy to arrange an interview at a mutually convenient time and place. I have no issues with skipping class, dental appointments or family obligations.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you in the future. But I’m not optimistic, I’ll secretly wish today is the day you’ll call but I’ve been burned before and I know the sting of rejection.


Rodney Uhler

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

hanson4prez says.... (Desk Sitting Entertainment Continued)

Okay there is no getting around it, I was watching the Hanson – “Weird” music video tonight, which led to watching their “If Only” music video. Granted we all know that “If Only” pails in comparison to “Weird” both in song and video quality but in terms of youtube user comments, “If Only” packs some SERIOUS heat. I didn’t venture into the pages of comments because I knew I would never leave and homework would suffer, but I really didn’t need to because the first page far exceeded expectations. What follows is an intense Jonas Brothers vs. Hanson debate that was continuing as I copied the text, which meant, hanson4prez and kimthegreatest were also watching this video today, as well as others. The internet continues to baffle me but frequently with beyond amusing results.

Ps. A real blog post will hopefully happen soon.

(15 minutes ago)
Oh please.
Hanson is the greatest, and the Jo Bros can never even be compared to them!

..It's like trying to compare Miley Cyrus to Brittany Spears (pre K-Fed days). (:

Hanson lives on! <3 style="font-weight: bold;">

AceEliot (3 hours ago)
ooo. Burn!

socorevsfan2 (3 hours ago)
you were obviously a pitifully small child when Hanson was huge. does the song MMMBop mean anything? honestly. they still have a huge fanbase, but ignorant imbeciles like you are just to slow to actually consider things like that before you flame an excellent band

coldpinkflame (7 hours ago)
Haha. Are they gay.? Omg they can't even be compared with the Jonas Brothers. Not them or their fame. Hanson was never as famouse and JB is a fairly new band.

If anyone responds to this im nt replying. I dont care what you say most of the population agrees with me. HANSON ARE FAGSSSSSS.... and at that ugly fags.!!!

jaxtrent (9 hours ago)
exactly, as far as I am concerned the Jonas Brothers are Hanson wannabes, sorry but they will NEVER be what Hanson is and that is ONE OF THE GREATEST BANDS GODS HAS EVER CREATED!

hanson4prez (1 day ago)
NO DONT EVER COMPARE THE JONAS BROTHERS TO THIS GREATNESS OF HANSON!! And plus you can clearly tell they and men/boys!!

daughterxxnature (1 day ago)
true dat

XxcherrypoprocksxX (1 day ago)
I love Zac!

Sigh. you said it XxcherrypoprocksxX, you said it.