November 19th, 2007

Irrumipotpourri Part 1

Who Wins the T?


There were several applicants for the haiku contest that would determine who has the right to use the letter “T” as his or her signature (ironically, only one of them has a first name that begins with T). The haikus:


Simian Sensei,
Tea in paw, kimono-clad.
Do not throw feces.




oil of bergamot
a key flavor of earl grey
too bold for monkeys




Rare monkeys pick tea
Toiling daily in China
They swear off the drink




I rearrange tea

To eat, the way monkeys would

With cool fridge magnets




(Trevor had several entries; he’ll probably post the others, which were also quite good, in the comments section.)


Man, this is a tough decision. I don’t feel right rejecting anyone who spent the time to write such a beautiful poem. Seriously, they’re all fantastic haikus. But I have to make a decision. It’s what they pay me for [Editor’s Note: Currently, no one is paying Jamey to do anything]. With all due respect to Pat, Trevor, and Jean, I am selecting Neeraja’s poem (which I’ve entitled “Monkey See, Monkey Doo”) as the winner. I was looking for a haiku that moved me on a personal level, and that’s the one. Neeraja, you have earned the right to use “-T” as your comment-section signature. Congratulations. To the losers, I offer you the consolation of the letters “V,” “W,” “Z,” and the “@” symbol.


The Old Man and the Couch


Recently, Caroline has been trying to convince me to buy a sectional couch. I’m easily coerced, so I entertained the offer, despite the fact that I’m personally against buying new furniture. It’s the third worst investment you can make, right under buying a new car and purchasing horse hair futures. I don’t own a single piece of furniture that I didn’t get for free from a friend, buy from a friend or yard sale, or make myself (see Exhibit A: The Cat Condo).


But with my new job, I plan on being in St. Louis for another couple years at the very least, so I figured getting a comfortable couch on which to lounge would be nice. So Caroline and I dropped by a furniture store in Brentwood the other day, where we learned that sectional couches are really expensive. The salesman sounded like he was willing to negotiate, so we walked away (the best possible thing you can do when making a big purchase), and I left a message on his voicemail the next day. I basically told him that I would be willing to take the couch off his hands for $600 less than the asking price. Needless to say, he hasn’t called me back, but his store is going out of business, so if he hasn’t sold it in a few weeks, he knows he can sell it to me for the price I named.


Except that Caroline and I re-measured our tiny living room and realized that no sectional couch can possibly fit into it. We’ll have to wait until we get a new place. I’m fine with that—I like the couch we have—with one caveat: I need to get a cushioned tray on which to put my dinner plate when I eat on the couch. Currently I use one of our two couch cushions for lumbar support (yes, I’m the oldest 26-year-old you’ll ever meet) and the other as a tray. Caroline ends up with no pillows, which is fine with me, but she doesn’t seem happy about it.


Jameywulf 3D


Does this photo make it look like I’m leaping off your computer screen? Are my emotions all on the surface, or are they multi-dimensional? Do I appear…all too real?


If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re not imagining things. You’re viewing this photo in 3D. 4D, really, if you count time as a dimension (as 9 out of 10 physicists do). The key to making the average photo jump into the third dimension is, obviously, disposable 3D glasses, as pictured here.


I obtained these glasses at a Friday screening of Beowulf 3D. I had read that Beowulf would make a clear case for the future of films, paving the way for surefire blockbusters like James Cameron’s Avatar. Now having experience Beowulf in 3D, I’m unsold on the format. It’s cool in action scenes, granted, but otherwise it felt like the director went out of his way to include unnecessary objects in the foreground to create that 3D feel. A random shoe or branch in the foreground took me out of the experience of the film instead of further immersing myself in it, as was the intended effect. But it definitely left me curious to see what Cameron can do with the same technology.




Call Me Old Fashioned

Weekly Scrubs Comment

Down to The Wire


Irrumipotpourri Part 2

Call Me Old Fashioned


I’ve spent some time over the last month and a half writing and revising a few short stories for the purpose of submitting them to literary magazines. I don’t pretend to think that anything I write is worth being published, but I figured if I never try, I won’t know what I’m missing out on (the fame, the drugs, the rock-and-roll superstar status that comes with getting a short story published). So I formatted four of my stories to meet submission standards, I poured through my 2008 Writer’s Market to select the magazines to which I would submit, I typed out the cover letters and filled out SASEs, and then I dropped ten precious envelopes into the gaping mouth of a post-office box.


One thing I really liked about the process is that it’s so old fashioned. Actually printing out pages and sending them across the country via snail mail. That’s so 1863. It hearkens back to better, purer days.


One thing I really don’t like about the process is that some of that magazines won’t even let me know if they’re accepting or rejecting my stories for 6 to 9 months. What?! You’re telling me that it takes over half a year to decide whether or not you like a story enough to publish it? I understand that a lot of these magazines are small operations with shoestring budgets (a phrase that gives a bad name to shoelace manufacturers) and only a few employees, but surely they know before 6 months if they like my story. I actually treated that information as part of my criteria for sending in my stories—if the magazine listed more than 4 months as their response time, I didn’t submit to them. In the first round of entries, at least.


Weekly Scrubs Comment


Despite the fact that it’s my least favorite show that I watch regularly, I seem to have something to say about Scrubs every week. While watching another subpar episode this week, I started playing a game that was far more entertaining than Zach Braff and company. The game? Spot the hot extra.


The next time you turn on your favorite sitcom, shift your attention from the name-brand actors in the foreground to the extras in the background. It’s like peeking into another world, a fascinating subculture of people who pantomime for a living. These are people who get paid to look like they’re doing or saying something. Imagine this: You show up at work tomorrow, and your boss says, “Tneeraja, today your job is to walk around the office with this empty folder in your hand. Whenever you pass cubicle 3, point to the cubicle and mouth the word ‘featherbottom.’ Then continue walking.”


People get paid for this! Would you accept money for this? I guess you get to appear on TV, so maybe it’s not that bad. Do extras ever make it to the big show, or are you once an extra, always an extra?


Back to my point. There’s a really hot extra on Scrubs. She’s a dark-haired woman in pink nurse’s scrubs. She’s usually walking behind JD and Turk or sitting in the cafeteria (where there are frequent continuity errors). Being in the background, she’s kind of out of focus, but she still seems really hot. So I spend most of the Scrubs episode looking for her and thinking about what she might be saying. “Featherbottom? Featherbottom. Featherbottom.


Down to The Wire


Netflix has informed me that the fourth season of The Wire, HBO’s amazing cop/drug dealer drama set on the streets of Baltimore, is coming out on December 4. That gives all of you just enough time to rent and watch first three seasons. It’s hard for me to explain why this show is so good, but I think the best way to say it is that the show doesn’t cut any corners. The cops don’t have a huge database from which they can pull up any piece of information about any person or criminal in Baltimore. They don’t have hundreds of informants who know everything that’s going on in the city. If they want information, they have to get it the hard way—patiently monitor suspected criminals and slowly build a cases against them. Although it might seem that this approach would make for a really boring show, the opposite is true. Everything and everyone feels so real.


Do yourself a favor. Netflix disc 1 of season 1 of The Wire. Watch all four episodes (don’t stop after one or two—I told you here that it starts slow), and if you’re not hooked by that point, I’ll post the other photos Caroline took of me wearing those 3D glasses.



I like pretzels and chips, but I have a qualm against them: You can’t fit a standard pretzel or chip into your mouth whole, so crumblies often fall onto your lap after each bite. I bet if you gathered up all of the lost crumblies the world has ever known into a giant mound, you’d have a major ant infestation.


The thing is, there’s already a solution for this problem, but it’s not being implemented globally. The solution? Bite-size pretzels and chips. But why isn’t everything bite size? Is there any size for your mouth other than a single bite?




No Crusty for Old Men

Tax This, Please

Smear Campaign

She Will Carry Your Baby