Archive for February, 2008

What you know ’bout me?

Today is Leap Day. I treat Leap Day the way kids treat Halloween, the way Cajuns treat Mardi Gras, the way sports fans treat the playoffs… This is one extra and one extra-special day where I feel less responsible for my actions than a normal day. Due to certain societal rules which I am pleased are in place, I can’t rob garages, start fights, or tip cars without lasting consequences, but there will be mischief. Oh yes, there will be mischief.

The great thing about Leap Day is that no matter how many dumbass moves I pull, February 29th will cease to exist for the next three years. Therefore, I will have no anniversary date to serve as a reminder of the said dumbass moves until the very distant future. At that point, their impact on my incessantly spasmodic mind will be muted or completely obliterated, and I won’t be tempted to call up uncomfortable memories as a result of something as innocuous as a date on a calendar.

Not that I ever do stuff like that now. Because I totally don’t. Just like I didn’t notice that I was about to pay for lunch with a Texas edition quarter yesterday, so I put it back in my pocket and paid with a different set of loose change. This small token that makes no difference to anyone didn’t cause me to reminisce about my happy life in Austin for the next hour as I noshed on spinach and tofu. No. Not at all.

I spent part of my afternoon in a meeting that discussed mostly items that don’t concern me, so I made a list of stuff I can do when my contract is over.

1. Move to San Francisco. Live with eight other people. Abandon all sense of ownership and privacy. (Nudity?)

2. Bring some shit to Florida. Find out if Chirag is actually cool. If he is, sleep on his couch until he tells me to leave.

3. Fly around the country in search of the perfect hearse. Buy hearse. Drive it to LA to have it painted. (Difficulty: Making friends in LA.)

4. Go to Texas. Hide. Spend afternoons in outdoor cafes drinking, smoking, and writing. Avoid the north side.

5. Go to Baton Rouge. Hide. Sleep in Clark’s old room. Sit by Sean while he writes his thesis. Write great American novel.

6. Go to Central America. Become awakened by poverty. Wait tables. Get chased back to the states by stout older men and their relentless come-ons.

7. Return to New York. Sell everything. Have long-time-no-see-breakup-sex with Gus. Apologize. Leave forever.

8. Catch a ride to Portland. Figure it out when I get there.

9. Travel around Europe like a fucking hippie. Spend all my money on “experiences.” Find myself. Lose it again.

10. Get another job. LOL… whut?

Did that just happen? Did I just see that? Did he just say that? Yes, yes, and yes. Welcome to another recurring segment of platkat.com that I may or may not continue.

1. I was meditating at the zendo last night and someone came in late. No big deal. She sat down. A few minutes later her cell phone rings. In a place like this, you shouldn’t even have your cell with you. There’s a coatroom for valuables, or if you have a car, you can leave it there. But then she bowed and took the call.

Really? Is no place sacred? Everyone is sitting in peaceful meditation and you’re taking a call, saying you’ll call back in 20 minutes like it’s business as usual. No one’s DYING? Really, GTFO. (Get the fuck out, for the unenlightened.)

2. Fox News.

Really? Do people still watch that channel? Some punk at the gym had it on when I came in this morning, watching it like he was learning something from all the shoddy reporting and blatant editorializing. Really, they’re the gossipy breakroom bitches of cable television. Change the channel, Beavis.

3. I used to be a member of 24 Hour Fitness when I lived in California. There was this Asian guy who would come in wearing spandex and a leotard. The leotard was salmon-pinkish color and the spandex were aqua-blue.

Really? Wear what you want, but when you get the crap beaten out of you by a gang of crackheads looking for easy money, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Really, I know it’s California and we’re supposed to be all peace signs and flower children, but come on. Hit the Goodwill and buy some jams or something.

4. You’re a guy. I’m a girl. You like me. I say, “How ya doin’?” or “What’s up?” You respond with something like, “Eh, I don’t have anything going on” or “My life is pretty boring.”

Really? Oh, that’s superb. How do I get in on that shit? I was hoping we could sit here in awkward silence for a few hours while you think of something to say. Really, I’m anti-social and hate everyone, but I still make an effort to go out and do stuff and read stuff and talk to people. If you think you’re up to the task of going out with me, you should try some of those things too.

5. I’m thinking about putting tinfoil in my windows.

Really? Yeah, despite the fact that my recent break-up left me with practically nothing, I managed to get a job and a place and now I have some money. I can afford curtains, but all the places I could get some require a trip out of the city via car. I actually have enough money to buy a damn car, but why go through the trouble? Really, all I have to do is hit the QFC and buy some Reynold’s Wrap and my sunlight problems are solved. It’s pretty ghetto, but I don’t think the discriminating clientele at Vito’s across the street will mind.

Last night I left the comforts of solitude to participate in Open Mic Night at The Comedy Underground. My last open mic (almost a year ago at The Velveeta Room in Austin, Texas) proved tragic: I went onstage late and shitfaced, bitched about T-Mobile and forgot all my jokes, and pissed off at least two people because I couldn’t figure out how to get back to Miranda’s house. I can’t say that’s the main reason I’ve been away, but it sounds like a good one, so I’m using it.

I had to get to the club early to sign up, so there was some chill-time before the show. I talked to some other comics, who were quick to inform me of their experience and other comedy-related stuff going on in the area. Someone gave me free tickets to Laff Hole at Chop Suey! Although a whopping $5 value apiece, they were a nice gesture to a strange girl who just appeared out of nowhere.

One emcee and 26 comics performed that night, but things moved relatively fast. After the first few acts, I was appropriately intimidated. These bastards were fucking funny! I was really surprised that the level of quality was consistently better than the bringer shows at Caroline’s on Broadway in New York. Bringer shows at bigger clubs like that are considered a cut above open mics where punks like me can just walk in and sign up. Bringer shows involve planning, schmoozing, and coercing, and even then, a club owner could be a real dick and not let you perform.

The open mics I’ve seen in New York were very mixed concerning talent and stage experience. Here, a few people brought notebooks, but most people had everything memorized down to the perfect hand gestures. You could run for office on an independent ticket with all the confidence swirling around in that club.

Most of the comics were relatively young. Per usual, the male:female ratio was about 7:1. My fellow bitches consisted of two Jews and a black girl. Also pretty standard. The funniest one predictably talked about being a big fat Jew, the other Jew was less ostentatious but still good, and the black girl, while her energy was amazing, told period jokes. As in menstruation. Shocking, sure. But I was more grossed out than humored.

Someone busted out a Heath Ledger joke and pulled it off pretty well. There were a few misogynists who ended up being pretty funny. People talked about sex on a level that left me slightly disheartened with the non-edgy material I planned to share. And a bunch of people talked about their divorces.

Then, they called me up… early! I figured I would perform second-to-last, since I came alone and they had no reason to bump me to a better slot, but someone did a little rearrangin’. No matter; this opened me up for a great proximal joke. “The Industry” may have already coined a term for this type of situation, but a proximal joke (in my warped imaginary world of sparkly colors) is one made fitting to tell only by that particular night’s previous comics and events.

So when my name was called, I ran up to the stage screaming, “I’m coming I’m coming I’m coming I’m coming I’m coming!!” I grabbed the mic and said, “Like half the people here, I’m also divorced so it’s been a long time since I’ve said that.” Everyone laughed. I should have just ended there.

I brought my notebook, just so I’d have a lineup. Even when sober, I have a habit of forgetting which jokes I want to tell. I talked about some Seattle stuff, but most of my topics were a little New Yorkish. I need to write new stuff. (For those of you saying, “So do it,” give it a try yourself. Writing clever, concise jokes to tell in front of a live audience is hard.)

So, I was on the weak end of the scale in terms of relatability, but I didn’t bomb and I’m going to Chop Suey tomorrow, so the night was a success. I might try going onstage again, but not for a few weeks. I think I should start recording my rants and somehow make them funny, since that’s what everyone seems to expect when they look at me.

I could get into a whole rant about how fickle audiences are when you don’t give them what they expect, but I wouldn’t be able to use it. Dissing the audience is retarded no matter how you do it.

Me to male monk: “I decided to wear pants this time.”

****

Succinct female monk to me: “I strongly encourage you to come on Tuesday when we can work on your sitting posture.”

No offense meant, and no offense taken. I’m used to being the tallest girl (and sometimes kid) in the class and have decades of experience hunching, slumping, and leaning to keep with the pack (or at least hear what they’re saying), so I know my posture leaves a lot to be desired. I guess I have plans on Tuesday now…

I had to run an errand in desolate, industrial Georgetown today. Because I am fucking insane really hardcore, I decided to walk back to Downtown Seattle. I knew the walk would be long (as you can see from the map, it’s five miles), but I had the city skyline in my sights and figured I could handle it. This proved to be one of the most ridiculously dangerous advantageously healthy ideas I’ve ever had.

Yeah, I’m google-earthing this shit, just in case you can’t already infer the lunacy of trying to cross over from “ghetto” to “normalcy”. Cities have “natural” man-made dividers to keep these worlds separated, and I would have just taken a bus back to town if I’d given any thought to the giant highways I’d be required to traverse.

The map shows a direct route, but my journey involved a lot of zig-zagging. I kept heading west in hopes of hitting the viaduct and walking along the water. I ended up getting stuck at Marginal and faced with another highway. Zoom in on the map and notice the amount of large buildings (all abandoned on Saturday), empty lots, and train tracks.

Surprisingly, I saw no homeless people. However, as I crossed through the truck lot of yet another giant distribution center, a rig pulled up beside me. We had the usual What-the-hell-are-you-doing-here? conversation, and I implied that I needed directions without appearing lost. I was not in fact actually “lost”. I used to live in the Bemis building, conveniently located on the edge of Hell, so this part of town looked very familiar to me. But a little direction with the pedestrian in mind would have been nice.

Instead, he said, “Is there a way I could contact you, call you sometime?”

I smirked, almost laughing, “No, actually. No.”

I continued on my way, knowing and not minding that I can be a condescending jerk when things aren’t going the way I planned. (I believe I’ve mentioned this before; I’m not sure if this is something I want to change.)

He was a young, decent-looking guy, but we were in a fucking truck lot. Come on. Plus, he was one of the types I’ve been running into lately, where the question is not, “Do you have kids?” but “How many kids do you have? And how many different women are hounding you for child support?” Christ almighty.

Anyway, I made it back to Pike Place Market in one piece. I got a chocolate milkshake and sat down on the ground by the sound… relaxation-bound.

John Marchione
Mayor’s Office, 4NEX
City of Redmond
15670 N.E. 85th Street
PO Box 97010
Redmond, Washington 98073-9710

Dear Mayor Marchione,

I write to inform you of a horrific traffic signal malfunction that costs me and possibly dozens of uninteresting, less garrulous people valuable minutes every day. The pedestrian walk signals on 40th Street to cross the access roads of East and West Highway 520 do not sync with one another, nor do they sync with the walk signal to cross 40th Street. Because of this abomination of city planning, those traveling on foot to the northwest corner of 40th and 520 suffer extreme losses of time, productivity, and overall quality of life.

Like many Seattlites, I ride the 545 bus to Redmond every day to avoid the cost of rising gas prices and the ridiculous amount of traffic on 520. I considered simply living in Redmond and walking to work instead, but I found upon further investigation that your fair city has the potential of sucking what is left of my black, angry soul from my unassuming, caffeine-saturated body. I’m sure Redmond has its own unique set of amenities, perfectly fitting for Microsoft zombies, soccer moms, and people who don’t like good times and fun. However, as mayor you have an obligation too great to ignore to accomodate the commuting masses, most importantly those who ride the bus from Seattle like myself.

Please direct your attention to the following illustration:


Figure 1-1: The Shittiest Walk in the History of Mankind

As you can see from the professionally charted map I have provided (Figure 1-1), the current traffic light situation is in dire need of reform. The process begins when I exit the bus and walk toward 40th street. Upon viewing the illuminated “walk” signal, I cross the eastbound access road and walk onto the bridge that spans the width of 520. From a distance, I see that the “walk” signal to cross the westbound access road is already illuminated! Now it’s counting down! This happens every day! What the hell??

I reach the crosswalk and wait a full light cycle so I may safely cross the westbound access road. I will safely cross this street when the light dictates, for if I don’t, a large surly crossing guard who probably gets paid more than I do will shout at me and give me a lecture about jaywalking.

Once I have crossed this street, I must wait another full light cycle to cross 40th Street. By this time I have already slain three dragons, fought a pack of hungry wolves with my bare hands, and avoided being eaten by 50 sharks with lasers on their heads. I am very tired, and just want to get to work where I can pour myself a cup of free Starbucks coffee and try to edit protocol documentation before I contemplate stabbing myself to death with a loosened support beam.

Although I do not live in Redmond, I hope you will give this correspondence the attention it so obviously deserves. Remember, dozens of people are counting on you, but most importantly, I’m counting on you to put aside whatever mayoral issues that currently require your attention and see to it that mitigation for this atrocity is delegated to the appropriate department.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with further questions.

Sincerely,
Rev. Kat Taylor, Esq., MD, CNN

Addendum: I never sent this to the mayor, or anyone, via e-mail or otherwise. Although it would be nice, I do not actually expect this problem to be rectified. This letter was intended to be a satirical format through which I could laughingly bitch about my morning commute. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. That is all.

Awhile back I said I’d tone down the absolutes… last night I should have turned down the Absoluts. Now I feel like I’m trapped in an MC Escher drawing.

There is beauty all around me, but I cannot stop climbing stairs.

1. I have black hair.

2. I wear a black coat.

3. I smoke cigarettes.

4. When I’m laughing or smiling, it’s usually at someone else’s misfortune.

5. Whenever I’m in the middle of a conquest, I overconfidently divulge my whole plan and all of my secrets, which leads to my ultimate demise.

6. My lair is high above ground. Its location is well-known, but few are willing to face the perilous journey of trying to enter.

7. I have henchmen (in other cities… *sigh*).

8. I use my intelligence for antisocial purposes.

9. I have theme music that is dark and moody, but strangely magnetic.

10. My plight is relatable, therefore you are attracted to me in a non-traditional sense.

At the moment, I’m lacking a worthy adversary. This gives me more time to plot against the world in general, but it’s nice to have some focus sometimes too. If you think you’re up to the task, leave me a comment and I’ll start devising a plan to destroy you. In addition to an arch-nemesis, I would also like a pet to lovingly stroke as I sit on my perch and cackle at the wreckage crashing down before me.

I saw you looking at me, Jason #1. You and your coworker/ex-girlfriend/friend-with-benefits. Still picking the low fruit, I see!

Anyway, I just wanted to address the question burning in your mind as you stared intently through the gelato shop window, waiting for me to notice you: What was I listening to?

Well, the songs on this album are most comparable to Jen Buchert’s down-tempo, atmospheric style. The track playing as I graced your presence is pretty similar to the last three songs you lifted from my myspace profile before I deleted you from my friends list… but 10 times better.

You know what? This artist is actually pretty obscure. You wouldn’t be able to find most of his stuff, even if your web knowledge did somehow transcend the frequent usage of a social networking site.

Whoops, gotta go! I hope you and your little friend (I use “little” in a figurative sense) enjoyed the eye candy. Bye-bye now!

Addendum: That moment was so Seattle, my head is still asploding.