since leaving work, i've had to abstain from any big purchases or any purchases really. food and cigarettes have been priority, and a weekly bottle of wine have served me well over the past two months. i also purchased four seasons of battlestar galactica so i could catch up prior to this past week's series' finale. but in essence, i've tried to enjoy the company of my other possessions. instead i've concluded that progress, being a natural part of my personality (or so i'd like to think) includes growing both as a person and in terms of items i own. i write this both in the hopes that someone foolish enough will shell out the bucks to purchase these items for me, or perhaps as i take my journey back to work that i'm reminded of why i left in the first place.
1. amazon kindle 2 (MSRP $350.00) - eBooks have been around for years. i think i first saw ads for these in reader's digest, though i never paid much attention to it. i have waves of reading. it peaks and i do nothing but read, and then the tide recedes temporarily. an example was my first semester at pitt. instead of reading the textbooks that i spent five hundred and some odd dollars on, i found the company of stephen king's books more interesting. i'd arrive two to three hours ahead of time to read before class. i could never get reading done at home. this costs me some grades early on during my four year school career. slowly and surely video games took a dramatic hold over my life, and reading was minimalized to quest directions from world of warcraft. and after a time i even skipped over that, and looked at the requirements to complete. (five of six rabbit tails, "WHY THE FUCK WON'T THE LAST RABBIT TAIL DROP. forty five minutes later, and one hundred a sixty three digital rabbits, i finally was able to loot one.) The Original Kindle was something of a joke to me. It looked bulky and was capable of being a real pain in the ass from the sight of it. It's design seemed more suited for a Neanderthal, than that of a homo sapien. I apologize in advance to any Original Kindle addicts I upset with that comment. I realize I am attempting to pose on the new Kindle train. Acting like a fan, but really just an outsider looking for attention.
The Kindle 2 has wifi, larger capacity, wikipedia, 20% faster page turns, and UR (a novella written exclusively for the Kindle by Steve King.) The Kindle is truly the shape of things to come. A recent yahoo.com news article talked about the death of some major newspapers nationwide. I would guess that within the next ten to fifteen, daily print will become cost prohibitive and obsolete. The Kindle is able to receive daily newspapers that download automatically in the morning. The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and some other major news magazines such as Time and NewsWeek all have Kindle capability. Textbooks are also making their way, albeit slowly, to the Kindle. Solely for the purpose of getting my hands away from an Xbox Controller, and onto something more intellectually stimulating, I desire a Kindle.
2. Tablet PC. (MSRP $1500-$2500) - The first time I heard of this concept was a few years before they came out. In a class in high school called Futures. We referred to it as a digital notebook in the class, but essentially this is the same thing. Or at the very least, Tablet P.C's. are the precursor to digital notebooks (the ones we talked about in the class, anyway) After the flood, and a generous donation from Uncle Sam, I hoped on the laptop bandwagon that was so popular in my group of friends. Josh bought an hp something or other, and Scott got this bulky Dell that redefined mobile personal computing. Redefined in the sense that the Dell was so fucking big, carrying it anywhere was both time consuming and humiliating. Josh and I both bought the same laptop, branded with a different name. There is a previous journal entry detailing the recall on the battery (which I was not a part of, sadly.) The laptop was fun though. Until it succumbed to what I have affectionately called "porn syndrome." The details of this disease, I will not go into. It's self-explanatory, and crude. Needless to say, towards the end, my computer was like a geriatric in the final stages of life. In and out of consciousness, and not enough power to keep going. I blamed myself for the longest time, but I've come to realize that HP is good at making products that last a while and then require capital to keep performing. I've looked at some Tablet PC's and have read they are on their way out. I disagree with this, but at the moment am reluctant to buy one until they are slightly more perfected. If they do die, I'll regret not owning one, until something better comes along. My reasons for wanting one are both immature and unnecessary, but like most purchases, desire outweighs reasoning. I believe I have the capacity for logical decision making, at least that's what economics teaches. But occasionally conflicting neuro-chemical processes, or emotions, lead to irrational market behavior. A more recent example is the HDDVD-Bluray Media war. Two sides fighting for market control, and consumers that choose a side without promise of victory. I am a recent causality of this war. And now, I lobby for neither side, instead maintaining that disc media in general will be gone within fifteen years, and everything will come over those lines hanging from the poles outside your house.
3. Cabernet Franc (MSRP Varies by Bottle.) I've never tried this varietal because I was oblivious to its existence until recently. Doing a search on PA's liquor control board website says that the state only sells two brands of this wine. Both are fifty dollar bottles. While I desire to begin a nice wine collection, with bottles that need time to peak, and other bottles to collect, my pocket has never been deep enough to enjoy some good wine. I believe the most I ever spent on a bottle was in the forty dollar range. In any case, the two bottles offered by the state are only available at some locations, and this only fuels my anger over PA's neo-prohibition style to alcohol distribution. In an effort to control consumption, the state minimalizes what is brought in. There are thousands of different wines, liquors, and beers that are produces by micro(breweries, distilleries, wineries) that never make it past the borders of our great state. It is also illegal to have wine shipped to your door from out of state. Never mind that, cabernet franc is what is being discussed here. Not propaganda, and prohibition campaigns against controlled substances. After reading about this particular wine, my palate was contemplating the pleasuregasm it would receive during consumption. It's a medium body red, similar to merlot, but possibly heavier. depending on the description. Raspberries and black currants are also contained, and it leaves a taste similar to green peppers, according to one source.
4. ECig (MSRP $100) My first cigarette was a disgusting and vengeful adventure. During a camping trip with the Boy Scouts, the others thought it was cool and grownup. Like those classes teach us, I bowed into peer pressure and had my first puffs. We all enjoyed the "dizzy" feeling associated with the nicotine high. But I embarked from that day with no real desire to continue smoking. For a time, it was just something stupid we did, because our parents didn't condone. Growing up, it seems we were always looking for some way to separate us from our parents. But then you find out that you really are your parents. (Both of mine smoked, and my mom says to this day that if she had just one, she'd be hooked again.) Maybe it's genetic, or maybe it's Freud's Psychosexual Oral Stage. Maybe I was weaned too soon. Maybe my mother smoking during pregnancy is to blame. I don't know. It was one afternoon at Subway. We had been really, absurdly busy. I stepped outside to have a smoke with my manager/mentor. I remember that feeling, because euphoria simply washed over me. I felt like a I could have worked forever after that cigarette. And that's when the desire began. The need and want of smoking really began because I was too dumb to realize that Subway was the worst job I ever had, and the best. It's really stupid how I look back on those days with disgust, because I was more motivated to get out of there than I have been since I left. The desire to work has left, and instead I'm left with a great big void, as the future begins to look far more grim than I had ever imagined. I start to realize that my appetite for nicotine is something that has gone far out of control, but I also recognize it may be something I am never able to beat. I present the Ecig. Dubbed a safer alternative to smoking (though there is debate over this), the ecig uses an atomizer and puts nicotine into a vaporous form. There is no burning of tobacco, which they claim reduces the risk of cancer. I remember the fourth Planet of the Apes movie, entitled Battle for the Planet of the Apes. During a quick tracking shot through a downtown area, a woman is sitting at a table talking to her friend. She is puffing on a cigarette and remarks "Funny. Now that I know they won't kill me, it just doesn't do anything for me." If I could switch to the Ecig, and get off regular cigarettes all together, I wouldn't feel that sting of guilt when I light up around non-smokers. The smell of smoke, and all the rest may go away too. Several companies offer these products, though none are FDA approved yet. I suppose I'm waiting, just to make sure that instead of cancer it doesn't cause ball shrinkage or something silly like that.
4. House (MSRP $100,000-$(numbers to high to comprehend)- On the day I signed the lease for my first apartment I ran around work giddily commenting that I was a home owner. My manager Pam shot this notion down responding every time "You're a renter." She was right, but signing that lease was my first journey into post-parents life. Living at home during my last two years of high school, at times it did feel like I was living on my own. My mother was concerned with her well-being(and rightfully so) and so I needed to behave and survive in an independent manor. I suppose that's why moving out was not a big thing for me after the first week. I still had rules to follow, such as not playing music or movies or video games loud. But I had a girlfriend and regular sex. What more could I ask for? Ah(money.) Problem solved four months later. I moved into my brother's apartment, living room :(.... Met some new people, began school, started a new relationship, ended relationship, and worked. Since the month after I moved, Scott and I have been talking about moving. To Dormont. To Oakland. To Crafton, To Carnegie, To Squirrel Hill, To Shadyside, back to Oakland, SouthSide, Oakland, Dormont. Writing it out like that, it's kinda sad that it hasn't happened. Not kinda sad, it is sad. Lately I've been wondering, if we really were that determined to move, we would have done it by now. Since this past semester, I've looked around at these walls with anxiety, depression, and sometimes joy. But late at night when I can't sleep, those walls begin to taunt me. I see myself ten years from now still confined by this place, for some reason unable to get out. Like a chain has me attached somewhere. Then I consider where we are moving. Dormont. Of all places. Dormont, at least for me, is just another Canonsburg. The difference for Scott is that there are bars within walking distance. That serves him well, but I've come to realize I rarely go out and get drunk. I'll go out for a beer, maybe four or something along those lines. Maybe I would get into that more, if they were in fact in walking distance. But Dormont seems like another dreary area, where I can right the next chapter in my dreary life. Furthermore, I no longer want to rent. I'm tired of the constraints of being a tenant. I'm tired of the bird shit on my car cause I park under power lines. I'm tired of the down the hall drunk fights of my tenants. Watching my Dad redesign his house into this amazing sculpture of his personality has been both interesting and cathartic in a sense. I can see the freedom one has over their destiny with a house. Home for me these past few years has been the place I lay down, smoke a bowl, watch t.v. or drink at. I suppose I just want something more than that now, feel a need for something more. There has been incidents since moving in here. Incidents that could affect me in huge ways, and they were completely out of my control. I suppose I want a greater grasp on my fate than being a simple bystander during a robbery.
5. Fulfilling employment (8 to 12 hours a day, five days a week, (weekends off for football) - March of the year 2000. The great Y2K apocalypse had come and gone. My final year of middle school, with a decent but somewhat defiant group of friends. Many enjoyed their high school years because of the friends they made. I enjoyed middle school far more. Hot off the heels of the Blair Witch Project, I borrowed (without permission of course) my Dad's clunker of a camcorder. We were producing this fun video called the Dude Project. To this day Scott and I are searching for this video, but it is believed to be lost in the great flood of 04. It was Friday Night, weather cool. My mother had given me money to pick up cream cheese in my travels. This money was spent on BK and cigarettes. With time running out, I went into Giant Eagle and attempted to steal it. Wouldn't you know it, I got fucking caught. It set my Dad back a hundred and fifty and I skipped further charges. I promised to pay him back, but he didn't believe me. That began a five month search for employment that ended when I lied about my age to get a job at Subway. With my first paycheck I paid my Dad back, and purchased the Fincher authored paper bag two disc edition of Fight Club. That thrill, of buying something, with my own bucks was different. For a kid trying to become independent, self reliable, working and buying stuff with your own bucks is amazing. Or at least it was for me. I built a sizable DVD collection. Invested in stereo equipment, t.v. computer. I also saved half of every paycheck (totally eight grand at the end.) By my senior year, I grew disillusioned with my job though. I'm not sure why, but I felt the need to prove that I could do what I did at Subway, somewhere else. I was looking for acceptance, but in the wrong place. And so I left and went to Applebee's. By the end of the summer I was back at Subway. And so I spent my senior year leaving school early, working at Subway, and then going to Applebee's at night. I wasn't burnout like I am now. Something was different then. I worked odd jobs in between those years (Tuesday Morning, 84 Lumber) When I couldn't stand Subway anymore, I left and went to Atria's. I had a good thing going there. Three days a week. When I couldn't stand Atria's anymore, I left and went to Applebee's. I had a good thing going there as well. Three days a week. I wasn't making a shitload of money, but enough to stay alive. When I couldn't stand Applebee's anymore I quit. I've been unemployed since. There was a brother aspect to this. I was simply following in Scott's footsteps and instead of carving my own path, I simply piggy backed on his. There was the monotony, which played a crucial factor. Once you start seeing the barebones task, and the same format, it grows tiresome. And then there was my head. My stupid, stuck up head, which kept telling me that I could do something else, that I was smarter than this. I've seen no evidence of this though, and I guess that's what I'm struggling with now. My own colliding thoughts about what I'm capable of doing. Another aspect praying upon me is the overall opinion of my decision. There's some unsaid animosity, but how do you fight your own emotions and desires. That's how people go crazy, by trying to suppress what feels natural. I can't help but feel that whatever I'm doing now, just isn't what I was meant to do. This entails nearly every aspect of my life.
6. Washer and Dryer (MSRP $(i don't know)) I used a plastic garbage bag for a while, to carry my clothes to and fro the laundry mat. Then I got this red hamper thing that is still kicking. But I cannot overstate how much of a pain in the ass it is to go to the laundry mat. It's comparable to going to the DMV or getting a phone call from an Army Recruiter. Speaking of which, is there any phone call more obnoxious than a Recruiter. One time they called, and I immediately said I was not interested. The dude said that if I answered a few questions he could take me off their call list. I was like hell yeah. Forty five minutes later, he tells me I got enough of the answers correct to be a Marine. I'm sure if I came from a family with a proud and cherished military tradition, I would have excepted this as a compliment. Instead I was somewhat appalled that he wasted my time asking questions about drug use and my libido. During another such call, I told them I would have no way to come out and talk with them, because I didn't own a car. They offered me a ride. If these measures are needed, is democracy worth saving? I don't know. Doing laundry at a mat is hellish nightmare I don't wish on anyone. The worst is when you get there and all the machines are in use. You have to stand off to the side waiting for a machine to open. Another time, I put my money in, lowered the lid. I came back twenty minutes later to find the machine had filled with water and then simply stopped. So I had to pull my wet ragged clothing from the machine, fill up another, and wait an additional twenty minutes, minus a buck seventy five. While my dad was out of town last week, I utilized his washing area to save money and time. And now that I've spoiled my self with home detergents and thorough wash cycles, I can't imagine going back to the mat. I could get one of the fuddy duddy wash boards and then hang my clothes up, but that seems like more work than it's worth. I just thank god I don't have to clean those awful Applebee's shirts anymore. I swear to god, some of the shit that would be on those things...
7. A cat (MSRP $50 for adults, $80 for kittens) Honestly, what could be more fun than an adorable little kitten, running around, clawing and terrorizing?
8. Ship Round the World (MSRP $20,000) I looked into many different places to take a vacation. California, was atop my list. Napa, Sonoma, Anderson Valley. A few day's in Yosemite. Maybe do the whole drive up the coast thing. Prices were out of my league, even if I had been working. But in my search of vacation destinations, Princess cruise lines came up. They offer a four month, twenty thousand dollar cruise around the world. Visiting 108 different Ports this is literally one of the most bad ass things I've ever heard about. The price seems like a lot, but if applied for twenty credit cards, each with a thousand dollar credit limits, suddenly this doesn't seem like that bad of an idea. If I worked straight for a year, and didn't buy anything, I could afford this. On the way I would lose weight too, from the sudden decrease in calories. I figure I could go to my moms for dinner two nights a week, my dads a night a week, and then just starve myself the remaining days. I would siphon gas from all the cars on my street, give up xbox, internet, t.v. Instead of drinking coffee, I'd have water. Instead of going to the movies, I'd act out Shakespeare in the kitchen. It could work. However, these are just the playful mutterings of a man confined to Western PA for the time being. Giving up food for me, would be like the Pope giving up Christ. Just ain't gonna happen.
9. Fire Extinguisher (MSRP $20.00) There has been only one time in my life that I've gotten to use one. At the Ole Subway/Dq one of our Pre-WW2 ice cream cake freezers starting sparking and the resulting power line slightly erupted into blue flame. Chances are, it would have just gone out naturally but I wasn't going to pass on this one opportunity to be FireMan Brad. And so I pulled the pin out, and pulled up on the lever. My one and only experience wasted on an electrical fire that was so small I could have stepped on it. Now, my appetite for fire suppression is uncontrollable. Smoky taught me well. There's been some open flame in the apartment recently, and I wondered if there was in fact an extinguisher in the apartment. Upon further inspection, I found that there was none. And because the fire alarm was going off erratically one night, the battery had been removed. Our building is probably a fire marshal's nightmare, and an arsonist's wet dream. There are only two ways out of this building and one entails a jump to a neighboring building. I suppose we could jump out the windows but it's a fifteen foot fall to some nice hard cement. I think, for mortality reasons only, having an extinguisher in the apartment is just commonsense, even though it's never really been my forte. Although I have toyed with the idea of all of the Earth's elements destroying my life. I'm 1/4 of the way done right now. Fire would be the next, followed by air, and then a little earth.
10. Health Insurance (MSRP $hahahahahaha-ripoff-you've got to be fucking kidding?) I had health insurance. Twice. Once provided by my parents, and the other from my first employer Mr. BS. I got health insurance in response to an embarrassing incident involving my genitial region. I assure you it was neither contagious nor grotesque, but needless to say it was the worst fucking pain i've ever been in. the doctor's appointment and prescribed pills cost less than dinner for two, yet I felt the need to insure myself should future circumstances arise that required medical care. After careful consideration, I chose the Legal Rape plan. This plan offered all the benefits of wallet rape, with the same cost cutting, corporate minded, coverage denied service you'd expect from any such plan. So after a few months, when I felt my immune system could handle another disease, and my wallet could no longer take the beating, I discarded the plan and excepted the fate plan. This plan is nice, and I share it with roughly 45 million other Americans. 84 Lumber offered some nice coverage, for low cost, but I never made it past the required thirty two hours to get it. Nor did I want to devote my life to deforestation. Applebees offered health care, but I never opted into for reasons I don't really know. I know in writing this, I'm likely to fall down the steps and break something, but hopefully I can find all the information needed to heal myself on wikipedia. In No Country for Old Men, Anton Chigurh takes a brutal shot gun blast to the leg. He blows up a truck outside a pharmacy to get the materials needed to nurse himself back to health. One serious bad ass. Then I'm left to wonder, the philosophy of medicine. A select few hold the secrets to longevity, which they procure for a fee. What is the nature of longevity, and life in general? Is there really a need to live as long as humanly possible? Homo Sapiens survived a migration out of Africa, crossing from Asia in Australia, walked the Bering Strait land bridge, displaced major fauna in all corners of the globe. All without the help of a doctor. Instead instinct, and a will to survive provided them all they needed. Maybe it will just be some good old fashioned natural selection. Those who want health insurance will pass their genes down, and those that don't will die off. I'd love to make a couple little fugly children. Little Brads running around, punching people in the dick. I'd pay to see that. So if I wanna live long enough to pass on a couple of my chromosomes, I better suck it up and buy some health insurance.
11. Condoms (MSRP can you put a price on safe sex? Yes you can. $11.99 for sixty) I haven't had much use for them recently, but signs point to yes. That's what the magic eight ball said when I questioned it about my sex life. So on the advice of that, I thought I would put these on here as my last item.
now that a few of these things are written down, i implore you to buy them for me. many of you may find that right before you purchase them, you'll question why you are. don't. i cannot overstate the joy of gift giving. i've never done any of it myself, but from what i hear, it's better than sex.
progress. or i need a sugar momma.