Monday, January 30, 2012

A Case of Mondays, Alleviated by Office Hottie

So last week at work I successfully read 700 pages of epic fantasy, gained a hard-to-shake reputation as the new kid with the disgusting hacking cough, and was actually assigned something Friday afternoon.

On Tuesday, though, I sat in on a meeting where the heads of the creative and accounting teams came together to discuss a series of commercial pitches they're delivering to a company this week. It was super exciting because the budgeting lady was listening to the script pitches the creative team had put together and was saying things like, "with this budget we'll never get two locations" and "can we just have one principal (actor) speaking?" and "now let's keep in mind we need this translated to French and German, as well, so the more narrative voiceover we can get away with the better." Every time they referred to "Creative" as a team I perked up a bit, though I didn't get to contribute an opinion once. They favor the "fly-on-the-wall" approach to interns here much more so than over at Wikipedia.

Then on Friday one of the lead Copywriters gave me an assignment, which is to come up with two of the five tag lines that are going to circulate across the lead banner of a high-traffic website. I would totally tell you which website so you could see my work in a few weeks, but I still don't understand all the confidentiality stuff I signed, and I'm pretty sure this falls under what I promised I wouldn't talk about, so you're going to have to settle for vagueries (new word!). He sent me all these documents that have the company's mission statement and ground rules for creative work laid out, and I've been distilling the "primary message" from these two distinct portions of their web entity to come up with two sentences that describe who they are to a soulful, resonating Tee. The guy I'm working on this with is an old English fellow who dresses proper and has wild grey hair and huge bottle-rim glasses, and he basically stumbled from some unmentioned classroom at Hogwarts to start working here I'm pretty sure.

Otherwise, not much is going on. Actually, a lot is going on, and I have 600 words written to fill the space between these two parentheses right here: " ". But I'm not going to tell you what they say yet until an undisclosed thing happens and I feel I'm in an appropriate place to paste away and let you all read what's there but isn't. And if this is confusing, no matter... it'll all make sense soon enough.

***Evening edit: Forgot to mention anything about the titular Office Hottie. He's tall, handsome, has a great smile, dresses well, and initiated conversation with yours truly TWICE already. Which is about 1.5 times more than anyone else can claim credit for. Either he's a really nice straight guy who just has my best interests at heart, or he's thinking the same thing I am. But how to find out? And what to do once that happens? Shit, man.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The New Job

It's 9:20 am, I'm sitting in a corner office of the 19th floor of some big building or other downtown, and I'm apparently being paid to work on my blog and read. Serious: my boss here has me sit in on meetings and draft commercial voiceovers for him when they're available, but when they're not (which is about 75% of my day), I'm left to my own devices. And it's not as if there's a big library here housing all the great advertising tomes for reading up on. Mind you, this is only day 2.1, and I know I'm about to get swamped, but for the time being the calm before the storm has been just that: Calm. Really, really calm.

Everyone is nice, though settling into a new office environment isn't without its share of adjustments. I grew too used to Wikipedia's exceptionally high ceilings, free food, and immaculate bathrooms. Plus, everyone there was hyper-intelligent to an intimidating degree, and I think because smart and awkward equals less interpersonal drama, I didn't even stop to consider how lucky I was to be working in a utopia-like zen atmosphere everyday. No one yelled, because everyone was so grateful that everyone else was pitching in and doing really, really hard work to spread free knowledge globally. There just wasn't incentive to get all up in someone's grill. This new office seems a bit more prone to drama, and the coffee room is a closet. Literally.

There's also the whole 9 - 5, day after day after day after day concept that I'm still adjusting to. I mean... it's Wednesday, and by the time I walk out of here this evening, I'll have worked as many hours in the past three days as I did at Apple in an entire week. I can feel my ass getting bigger in this chair, and it's actually grossing me out. The gym is a car ride away, though, and if I drive there's a chance I'll lose my parking spot, which means I'd need to get up early to move it into a proper all-day spot before work, which means I'd be waking up at like 6:30 to bust my ass navigating frenzied SF traffic, all for the sake of going to the gym. But I guess I just need to suck it up. Because I really don't want Office Ass.

Otherwise, yay.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh, George

I know I spent 15+ months updating this blog (on my MacBook Pro, while listening to iTunes) with rants about how much I hated working at Apple and how all the sniveling, overprivileged customers who came in griping about their iPhone or their iPod touch were more or less the foulest, least deserving people ever, but now that I have my iPhone I totally get the fuss. It's like when I first adopted my cat Squeakers and I spent like two hours every night playing with her in the garage before bed, and I'd always wonder how I used to spend my time before bed prior to owning her. This was pre- learning how to masturbate, of course. I think.

But so now I have the iPhone, and the best part is it could actually help me masturbate, if I wanted. No but seriously, the best part is like literally every second I have with my hands on it, which is a big number by the end of the day. From the battery life left in the little fella, though, you'd never know it. I play Words with Friends like a fiend, and deliberate over wallpaper images, and keep up to near-constant date with Michael Ian Black and Roger Ebert on Twitter, and still there's like 85% of a charge left by the time I plug it back in for the night. What a trooper.

About two weeks in, though, a pixel on the screen went black. I was so used to its flawless performance that it seemed a much bigger deal than it actually was. I wanted a replacement, and I wanted one *now*. Rationality didn't factor in at my base impulse level. But then I was like, "wait a second, AJ, if you're the douche that tosses an entire phone's toxins into the environment because of a single dead pixel, then you are NOT starting 2012 out right. Plus you would hate the person who came in for that if you still worked at the store." And it's true. What ultimately upset me most about the situation was my day-long assimilation with the greedy assholes who unceasingly march themselves to 1 Stockton Street by the thousands, daily, angrily demanding replacements for phones and laptops because of something so measly as a single dead pixel.

So instead I named my phone Freckle and am calling it even... but if Freckle gets another one I'll be in for sure.

Also, I've been reading more Game of Thrones this past week and that George R.R. Martin is one clever bastard. Just when I think I have his methods for plot twists figured out, he goes and throws a wrench in. A fantastic, marvelous wrench all the colors of the rainbow! My thoughts went from, "oh great, here goes Jon Snow blathering on about which side he's on, and it's going to take 500 more pages for any of this to come to a head, and meanwhile he's like camped out right next to Bran but he'll never know it, and gahhh," to "holy shit! He decided and Bran's direwolf saved him!" within the span of fifteen pages. And if you don't know what I'm going on about then you should probably start reading (Simone).

So yeah. It's off to the pho shop for me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


It's here...

Kind of. I have to admit that when the creative team behind the Jejune Institute self-combusted last year, I didn't give much thought to what Nonchalance's next massive project might be simply because I didn't think there would be one. Sure, I'd take dates on late-night detours down side alleys in the Mission to check out a relic or two from the former experience, though that was about as extreme as I thought my immersion into a fabricated alternate reality was ever going to get again. But then this website arrived, and it's already hooked me:

I'm not titling the link because I think its more mysterious as is (as if my preferences even make a difference to you all). Also, I keep bringing this up, but I wish the big button that you're clearly supposed to push at the bottom of the page had "conceive" correctly spelled on it. Perhaps the typo is part of whatever insane game Jeff's cooking up next... but it probably isn't.

Regardless, I've sent an email into the "inquiries" address listed, and will be keeping everyone who reads this informed of any minute update. And by minute, I mean minute - though a little bird tells me nothing will be officially happening until much later in the year.

Commence speculating. Now.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Lately the world's been wowing me.

For example, today my friend and I were at the gym, running next to each other on treadmills (which was the least sensical thing to do, what with Crissy Field literally outside the window... but she had a really sore throat and thought the outside air would be too sharp on it, so...). We made a point of starting the machines as close to the same nanosecond as possible, and we ran the same speed the entire time. Still, when 25 minutes were up, I'd run farther, burned more calories, and my timer was a full seven seconds ahead of hers. I'm not suggesting I time traveled, but some serious discrepancies were going down between those two machines. If we had done nothing for 25 minutes but run and stare at our respective countdowns, would I have perceived seven extra seconds of time? How does that work?

I swear I'm not high right now.

1/2 of the view from the gym. Not included: Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge.

Second, my relationship with John, the guy who runs the corner market below our apartment, totally floors me. I'm actually one of those people living in the big city who's on a first-name basis with the gregarious, over-the-top, somewhat sleazy corner market guy. What's more, he thinks I'm a stand-up human being and is always inviting me to hang out and help him rearrange his shelves of overpriced wine. In other words, he doesn't sense anything the least bit fucked up about me, which I always consider rather remarkable a slip-up for any observant individual to make. (just kidding, prospective employers!) The only truly odd bit is that I've definitely done my fair share of late night canoodling in front of him, and the guy still thinks I play for his team. I always consider just telling him straight-up that I'm gay whenever he gets to talking about "the women with the breasts" that come into his store, but I have no idea where that would lead and frankly I think he'd forget by the next time I came in, so I'm letting this particular sleeping dog lie. For now.

Finally, I'm reaching a point in life where alcohol is still super great and all, but I'm finding it increasingly less necessary (is "increasingly less" a paradox?) to slug down in order to have a good time. During college, when the name of the game was fitting into a straight party full of straight sexual tension, I'd need me a whole lot of Vodka to even consider playing the part. Now, though, after coming out and after gaining quite a bit more self-confidence than I used to possess, I'm discovering it really doesn't make a difference to my fun levels whether or not I'm good and schnockered. In fact, I'm probably more fun (and a hell of a lot sexier) in my coherent, non-bloated format. So I'm trying to practice the more-water-less-booze principle these days, but to be honest by "these days" I mean the past *TWO* days, so this may or may not be a turning point decision for my own personal history books.

Definitely NOT a young, gross me drinking beer from a bowl

Still recommended for all you Netflix Instanters out there: Weekend (Tom Cullen + Chris New = eye candy man sandwich), and Peep Show (the most fun you'll ever have being awkwarded the fuck out***).

*** Did anyone catch that super clever Peep Show / Creepshow tagline reference? God, I'm delightful.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bringin' in the Bacon

My blog just made $0.46! Someone clicked on that lonely little advertisement to the right, and voila!

Maybe if I just plaster this thing with ads I'll have enough to buy me a sandwich next week. You'd be hard pressed to scrape together enough of an artistic statement on Minor Fiascos to even think about saying I'm selling out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Storm of Swords

Another landmark reached over this past holiday weekend was my officially cracking open book III of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords. I spent all summer re-reading Infinite Jest, and it looks like I'm destined to spend all fall/winter/spring creeping through this epic fantasy tale, which for the most part I have no problem with. My one concern to date is that each book seems to be following a longer page count / smaller font trend, and I'm thinking it might be one of those paradoxical situations where the closer you get to an exact measurement of something, the clearer it becomes that exact measurements don't exist. Make sense?

Some thoughts:

- Everyone in the Middle Ages (especially in made up fantasy worlds) is totally okay with dying. Peasants, knights, whores, chefs, small children, kings... they all run with a sort of eager fervor into the sharp end of a sword whenever one presents itself, which is frequently. I get that unless you were born into royalty, life was almost uniformly terrible. Still, though, it's as if these characters (and thousands of unnamed extras) are lacking some crucial brain function that says, "hey, wait a minute, I'm like 23 years old and I have all this stuff going on in my life... maybe I shouldn't jump in front of this angry knight's battle axe." But no, every last one jumps, and as such the reader is treated to epically gory paragraphs detailing severed limbs, mangey dogs munching on spilled entrails, crows pecking out eyeballs before the fresh corpse hits the ground, etc.

- I still have no idea what a mummer's farce is, but it's fun to refer to literally anything preposterous that happens in real life as one. Example: "If Sean even thinks I'm going to meet up with them at the bar at this hour, he's living a mummer's farce." Or: "Did you see the price of that enchilada? What a mummer's farce!"

- George R.R. Martin employs a ripple effect to fantastic use: he features dozens of main characters, the actions of each affecting everyone else uniformly. I'm almost tempted to think the only sane approach to writing such a HUGE story in this manner is by coming to terms with the fact that you have no fucking idea where each book is going to end, and then just writing in a very cause-and-effect type manner until you get to scoot from your desk, put your hands behind your head in a gesture of exhausted satisfaction, and just hope it all makes sense. Except for each book ends so cohesively I don't know how this could be the case. I'll resist making giant LOST comparisons... for now.

- If I was a character I'd totally still be alive, Tyrion and I would be best friends, and I'd eventually gain back Winterfell from Theon via some sort of sexual conquest. Assuming Theon isn't dead and someone else isn't claiming Winterfell... the end of book II got confusing.

- OR I'd be a total bitch locked up with Sansa in King's Landing, crying and asking where all my friends went (news flash Sansa: they're dead, yo!) and trying to be a good little boy so that blah blah blah. Basically, Sansa sucks but I could totally see myself going her route. Sad, but true. 2012 is also the year for embracing sad truths.

PS: Just Googled Theon Greyjoy to include an image of him, then realized he's kinda ugo. Goddamned HBO. These casting directors need to recognize a potential sex symbol when they read one.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Beginning of the End

There's a special kind of careless planning that has to go into every New Years Eve agenda for the night to really work. Too much stressing and advance-ticket buying and you're toast, too little and you're plain fucked. I have a good friend whose true art, it could be said, is his ability to just kind of make things work on the fly. Or at least it seems on the fly: in reality, the music and the zaniness and the shouting and the alcohol and the zen-like feeling of a good time are all finely orchestrated to present to the participant (in most cases, me) something of a vacation from reality, the kind of vacation where the destination is reached and you were having such a good time in the back seat you didn't even realize you'd traveled.

But anyway, 2012 is here, folks, and I had a heck of an evening ringing it in. Mostly because I've been telling myself this is the year I pull it all together, and so I wanted to send out 2011 with such a sonic blast of excessive buffoonery that I wouldn't know whether to cry for leaving it or to just be glad the hangover's over. Which it is, by the way.

In order to not slander approximately three dozen other rambunctious twenty somethings, I'll skip over last night's details. Suffice it to say, there was a burrito involved. And that's all you're getting. And yes, I just ate it as a really late snack. And no, I know that's not exciting. At all. And of course, this paragraph was a complete waste of your time. But please, do keep reading.

I didn't sleep before my shuttle to PDX, and soon found myself sandwiched between one of those by-now cliche 300-pound seatmates and the window. He left me so little room I literally couldn't remove my sweatshirt and jacket, which wouldn't have been too big a problem if the flight attendants hadn't quickly taken to announcing there was a serious problem with the heating system, and that we'd all just pretty much have deal. I sat in an agonized state of sweaty horror watching the t-shirt clad row of women in front of me fan themselves and make little moaning sounds in between bouts of declaring they just couldn't take it much longer. Meanwhile, I just hoped the fat guy felt really, really bad, though his thug attire and footlong chin beard suggested otherwise. Or maybe that's just me making assumptions. Big, fat assumptions.

I know I shouldn't be so pissed about something so trivial as literally sweating the balls off that I didn't use to gather my courage and ask the fat homie to please just fucking stand up for thirty goddamned seconds so I could remove my warm layers, but doesn't it seem like something he should have just been keenly aware of? I feel like if I was that fat and inconvenient I would make every effort to provide a comfortable flying experience to the unlucky chump assigned a seat beside me, and that would include realizing maybe he couldn't take his jacket off because I'm too fat and he literally can't move his arms and he would probably ask me to move but I look really scary, what with my tattoos and my chin beard and my considerable bulk.

So but anyway, this year I shall: drink less. Run more. Land a kickass job, stat. Spend more time working on this blog. Stop apologizing for my behavior, unless it's warranted. Prepare for the apocalypse (which really just means get as much action as possible). Find some way to further renounce Catholicism. Contemplate law school, then scoff at it yet again. Sell my LSAT books on eBay.