June 29, 2007

Re-education: A Definition

Kazoo :: [kuh-zoo] :: -noun

The Microsoft Word 2000 suggested replacement for the word "Kosovo".

Usage :: My father's last tour of duty before retirement was in Kazoo.

June 27, 2007

Get Rid Of Your Car

I'm not going to tell you to get rid of your car for the environment's sake, to sacrifice convenience for the well-being of the planet. I'm not going to mention the environment at all--no global warming guilt trip, no climate crisis lecture, yada yada--nothing. Because ultimately it shouldn't take that to convince you. Getting rid of your car is just plain common sense. In fact, getting rid of your car isn't a sacrifice at all. Your life will be all the better for it and I'll explain how. Don't do it for the world. Do it for yourself.

Let's begin by listing just a few things that drive you crazy. Perhaps you have a long commute. Maybe heavy traffic puts you in a bad mood. And wow, those gas prices are not going to go down (maybe another war would help!). But you have the power to leave all these troubles behind. You're not giving up anything by giving up your car unless you think you're going to miss the big ‘ol pain in the neck that the automobile is. It's weighing you down. It's restricting your freedom. And it's burning a hole in your pocket.

I know what your number one priority is, so let's talk about that first. You want to get to work and back home as fast as possible. No matter how far away your workplace is, you can get there faster in a car as opposed to any other method of transportation, right? Obviously, if you're using public transportation it'll take even longer to get to work. I won't argue that point. If there's anything we can both agree on, it's that public transportation in the United States does not work (excepting New York City) and in too many towns it is nonexistent. Anyone who depends on public transportation is doomed to a long life of waiting, whether it's for trains or buses.

So here I am, trying to tell you that everything's going to be swell if you give up your car, and you know this is not true because it will take you three transfers and two hours on the bus to get to work. Well, then...I think you may have found the solution to your problem all by yourself. You're going to have to move. Your home and workplace should be close together. They should be within walking distance of each other. It's that simple.

Yes, giving up your car means moving, but that's okay. You'll be happier in your new neighborhood. You want to know why? Because since you don't have a car, you'll choose a neighborhood that has everything you want in it, all within walking distance. You'll go to the grocery store, post office, library, restaurants, bars--you name it--all on foot. Everything will be right there, including your work. It will take time to relocate and you may also have to find a job in your prospective neighborhood but it is all worth it. You'll even save money.

I know--living in this type of neighborhood could cost you an increase in rent or force you into a higher mortgage payment. And it's normal to worry about costs like this. But before you draw any conclusions, I want you to total up all your car repairs and car payments and the money you spent on gas last year. Still think you can't afford a change in location? A better question is: how do you afford your car in the first place?

You did do the math, right? No? Okay, then, we'll do it right now. Let's assume your car payment is a reasonable $200 a month. Let's add in modest car repairs and regular maintenance of $300 every year, a pretty good insurance rate of $150 for six months, and of course $3.50 per gallon for every 30 miles you drive (let's assume you only drive 10,000 miles per year). I'm not even counting how much you spend on registering the vehicle, or even taking it to the car wash. Add all these costs up and you get a total of $4,167 per year. Is that a pretty significant portion of your salary? I thought so. Even if your rent goes up $200 a month because of your move to your new neighborhood, you still save $1,767. Could you use that money? Would you like to go to Europe? And the estimated costs I used above are fairly conservative. You might spend five, six, or even seven grand, depending on what you drive and how far you drive it. Getting rid of this vehicle will save you money, money enough that even if you rent a car once a month to go to PodunkTown to visit relatives, you're still coming out ahead of the game.

But wait--the savings don't stop there. You'll save money on health care costs, too. Why? Because you'll be healthier. You'll accomplish this by walking. You'll be in shape in no time, because you'll be exercising everyday, everywhere you go. And then you'll go in to see the doctor and the doctor will wonder how it is that you're so fit when you don't necessarily do anything but walk (by this time, you will have realized how absurd it is to drive a car to a gym in order to walk around a track for a half hour before driving home).

So now you're saving on your gym membership, too. But the benefits are not all about money. You'll be happier, whether you go to Europe or not. You'll be healthier, sure, and perhaps you'll have a little bit more money to spend, but you'll also begin to truly enjoy your community. You can't know a place until you walk it, and you'll walk through your neighborhood on a daily basis. You'll get to know it well and this will make you feel connected. It will make you feel like you are a part of the world instead of a cold, dead body in a metal shell. You'll see the world in a completely different (and natural) light.

You'll be more spontaneous. Whenever you feel like it, you will stop at a quaint shop or a tea house. You won't have to worry about where to park your car or if the car will be safe. You won't have to dig for change for the meter or buy a parking stub from one of those machines. You'll just walk right in. You'll be walking along and see some place you want to go--maybe it's a park--maybe you'll walk right by a park and decide to stroll through it on your way to get groceries. You can't cut through the middle of parks in a car. You can't cut through anything in a car. In a car, you're confined to roads, confined to linear thinking. That's why this incredible solution to so many of life's problems doesn't occur to very many people.  They're stuck on the road.  But you--you can be free.

Your whole life will be transformed. You'll forget all about the car you used to own. Maybe you'll travel to see the Pyramids. Maybe you'll just put the extra money away for an early retirement. Whatever the case, you'll be more free than you've ever been.

June 25, 2007

The Speech of Champions

Ask not what your breakfast can do for inattentiveness; ask what inattentiveness can do for your breakfast!

(The answer: char it.)

June 22, 2007

Isn't that just how the world works...

Boo the administration!

The administration gets the top floor, while telling the public that the highest viewpoint is actually lower than it is. They're trying to shut us down!

Incidentally, there is a new 100 Nights adventure up at aarondietz.us: Sluts, You Will Not Faze Me!

June 19, 2007

And that’s just one reason why I don’t answer the phone

The sequence of events:

1. I order a veggie dog at the Cyber Dog Cafe (pretty good, but nowhere near as good as CRIF Dog in New York City).

2. My phone vibrates as I'm putting condiments on the dog. I look to see who is calling. It's Lorna, a cute girl I know. (I've called Lorna a couple times to hang out, but she is always busy.)

My thoughts at the moment: Maybe Lorna wants to have my children now!

3. I don't answer the phone because I'm not rude (usually).  So I finish with my condiments and take the veggie dog outside.

My thoughts at the moment: I'll just wait for her voicemail.

4. I start eating my veggie dog and walking home, waiting for the phone to tell me that a voicemail is ready, but it doesn't happen.

My thoughts at the moment: I guess whatever she wanted wasn't a big deal.

5. Five minutes later, my phone tells me a voicemail is ready.

My thoughts at the moment: She left a voicemail after all! And since it took so long, that must mean it's a very long voicemail and that must mean that she was confessing some sort of crush on me or something, right?! And she at least maybe wants to hang out or something, right?!

6. I dial the voicemail and listen. It is no message after all! It's her phone accidentally ringing me and I can hear Lorna and another woman talking and laughing. I listen to the whole message, unable to hear what they are saying and unable to hang up because I figure at some point, Lorna will discover that her phone is on and she will say, "Hello?  Hello?"  But she doesn't even do this.  She never notices.

June 18, 2007

Reverse Psychology

Whenever I play the lottery, I don't win.

So, if I actively don't play, I might win, right?

June 13, 2007

That dang double space

I am using Performancing, which is great because I can write the blog once and post it all over hell, so that way it's very little work for me to continue posting here so that Joey Polanski can read this stuff.... However, I'm really annoyed that when I use Performancing to post here, it turns my little double spaces after periods into a space and the HTML character set code for the extra space. So then it doesn't look nice.

Sorry, Joey P. I've been trying to remember to not use double spaces after periods, but I'm just not doing a good job of it.

Who Wants Aaaaaaron to Live in Their Town?

I just graduated.

I need a job.

Want me to move to your town?  Find me a job.  What kind of job?

Here's what I'm looking for, in order of importance:

1. Something in publishing (editing, grunt-work, whatever - I don't mind putting my foot in a door).

2. If not in publishing, book-related work (like for a library).

3. If not either of the above, a nonprofit organization or otherwise benevolent purpose for doing my job.  I can be pretty happy simply doing data entry if the data is helping doctors fight cancer.  Take that, cancer!

What possible skills and knowledge do I offer said job?

1. A B.A. in Arts and Literature, focused on experimental fiction and the future of book design.

2. Experience as a freelance writer and copy editor.

3. Experience as an advisory editor of KNOCK.

4. I have been tested recently and can type over 80 words per minute with 100 per cent accuracy.

5. I know a bit about Web design and programming.  I'm not an expert, but I know my way around a MySQL database and can code in ColdFusion.  I've dabbled in other Web programming languages, and it wouldn't take me long to catch up with anything else (PHP, etc.).  I can do a Web site's layout in CSS, design a database interface, or slap RSS feed content onto a home page.

6. I actually care about the work I do.  I want it to be good.  Employers love me, as my references will indicate.

7. I can learn anything and do anything and I will do it better than about 99.9 per cent of the United States work force.  My references once again will have no trouble telling you that this is the truth.

If you think of anything that sounds like it might work, let me know.  If you'd like a copy of my resume, let me know and I'll send you one.

And I promise to start blogging again soon.  Truly.