Saturday, September 08, 2007

Of Montreal - Care of Cell 44/Starman

Things I Heard In Class

On my first day of classes I was inspired to write down a line from each of my teachers' introductory lectures. As it were, my three teachers ended up being completely different from one another but had all said at least one funny line. My Psychology teacher was the original inspiration for this project as he was my first teacher of the day. He spoke the words "I'm a masochist I guess, but it's fun"... Most impressionable first time community college students would be horrified to hear the first teacher of the day speak such a line but as usual, I laughed in the face of adversity.
The second Line of the day came from my Mythology teacher. This all took place two rooms down the hallway from the Psychology class in the Arts & Sciences building, an area of the building eerily reminiscent of the English hall at Hastings High School. "You want it? Take advantage of me". Anyone could understand the use of these sentences when in the proper context - which they were - but he repeated himself over and over again. " I'm here, take advantage of me", "take advantage of me, that's what I'm here for". Two days later he called in an order to the LCC magic movie phone and a movie miraculously started playing itself in our classroom. The process of starting the movie was much better than the video itself. I can only imagine what kind of movie he would order when a student was finally there to take advantage of him.
The third line comes from a Woman who reminded me of a high school teacher in another building that reminded me of a high school. This woman was proud to tell us that she had been teaching at LCC for almost 25 years! "What's wrong with working somewhere 24 years"? I wondered. I was answered with what became the most inappropriate display of control I had ever encountered in a classroom. Sure, I had to put up with a Feminazi in highschool and her hand chosen replacement for while she was out giving birth to a very unlucky baby. This was a new experience, this woman was really proud of herself for accomplishing what many retired high school teachers accomplish - Teaching community college. What's worse is that there is a Big Ten University one mile down the street. "You know how there's a state called Maryland? Well, this is Diane-land". She then made us whip her up a writing sample, even though we had all placed into her honors level class through standardized testing. Diane thought it was great that LCC had an open door policy and all but she wanted to comb through the group herself, after all three people were on a waiting list to get in to that very class. I wrote something stupid about McDonalds wasting a lot of food after it expires minutes after being cooked and dropped the class the next day. Now there are two people on the waiting list and I'm $500 richer. Unfortunately they won't get to see Diane's opening credits or get the LCC drop class policy handed to them on their first day of school in 4 years. I wonder what she thought of my essay?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Drop that zero and get with the hero

After clocking out on Tuesday Chuck said he had some bad news. "Dude, we're getting evicted". "What"?, I replied.
He explained how we were getting evicted.
The Of Montreal concert was a beacon of hope in the great depression. Unfortunately Chuck lost his and two other peoples' tickets and set about ransacking the house in a quest to find them. He never found them, but the venue, on the other side of the state, allegedly had 30 tickets in their possession and were to sell them at the door. This meant that in order to get a ticket, one must arrive very early and stand in line. So we did and of course, it was raining. We all got in alright, but I was tired as hell for work the next day, and after that we had a show to play.

Our band was set to play in a town too far away at a venue called "Blingerz". This was quite a dumb name for a venue but in comparison to the experience as a whole, the name could have been anything for all it mattered. When Mitch called the number provided for the person in charge of booking, a high school secretary answered the phone. He asked for the Man and was, I assume, put on hold until the person finally was on the line. Mitch took care of the business then asked the guy if he was a teacher. "No" he replied, "I'm a student. My mom works for the school and she forwards my calls".
After looking at Blingerz's website, I realized that we, a country/bluegrass band, were scheduled to play with numerous bands of conflicting genre. Instead of being nervous about the impending awkwardness, I was excited, as is the nature of the other band members and I. We were going to play in a strange place with emo/hardcore bands. Grand.

We embarked on the seventy mile drive to our intended destination and arrived to find that the destination was just as we had imagined it. The venue looked like the home of the old hippy couple in "Cool As Ice", the movie appropriately starring Vanilla Ice. There were fluorescent imitation-gang-tagging-style murals that glowed in the blacklights, backlit panels displaying the silhouettes of rotating fan blades, strobe lights, fog machines, tacky furniture, candy, canned soda, game cubes, ironic factory warning signs on the walls (not too entertaining when you actually are afraid of being run over by a forklift at work every day), non-rhyming folk music, no sound guy, no pay, no smoking, no drinking and a full hour of free-form blues. By the time we actually performed, I was contemplating suicide. After our set I lost my sunglasses. Andrew got on the microphone just to tell everybody "this place sucks". It was true. Lately, I've been finding out that I no longer react to problems the way I used to. At first I thought I was getting soft or losing my "edge", but I just may be getting smarter. I now realize that dealing with reality as if it were a joke is quite prudent because reality is a joke if you view it in the third person.

The same day I learned of our eviction, my "service engine soon" warning made itself visible on the dashboard. This added to the stress of the week, especially since the mechanic said it couldn't be fixed until the following Monday. Driving all over the damn state was made even more nervous. I leave for work early in the morning which meant I would have to drop the car off at the shop on Sunday night. I asked Andrew if I could borrow his bike so I could ride it back home. It's a pretty long trip on a bike, a BMX especially. I was offered a ride in a car, but I felt like doing something challenging. I bought a Sunday paper so I could find an apartment, pumped up the bike tires at the gas station, dropped the car off and started riding. I took a shortcut through the park, and took the pedestrian bridge over the river and through the woods. A dog was crossing the bridge in the opposite direction, obviously on its way to something important. We scared the hell out of eachother.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fiction 3

She's My Alcatraz
OR My Aim is True
OR Hard Luck Story

"I'm going to the bathroom" She said.
I looked at the clock. Instict. I knew there was a 50% chance that she wouldn't come back.
She got up to go to the bathroom, knocking the lamp off the dresser in the process. "do you need some help"
"no, I'll be alright"
I got out of the bed and turned the light on. She was scratching at the closet door. "I'm going to help you" I said. I helped her to the door, then into the bathroom.
I looked at the clock again just to be sure as I got back in bed.
I heard her open and shut the bathroom door, then again five minutes later, open and shut the bathroom door. She didn't come back.
I picked up my dusty old guitar, and instantly added a verse to the sad song that I wrote the first time she had acted that way. fifteen more minutes passed before I decided to go make a point.
She was obviously very drunk at the time, which made no difference to me.
I found her in the basement sitting on the couch laughing. I stood in the doorway for 5 minutes waiting for her to acnowledge my presence. no such luck. So it goes. I sat down on the couch next to her and asked her where she was sleeping that particular night. "your bed"? She responded. "Then you'd better get up there pretty damn fast". I ran up the stairs before she could respond. I got back in bed, disgusted. I looked at the clock again.
Fifteen minutes later I was back on the attack. As I walked out the door into the kitchen everyone wore a sad face. a face that wouldn't be explained until later the next day. She was kneeling on the living room floor talking to the voice of reason. The voice of reason had the same damn look on his face.
"what the hell are you doing" I asked
"she's really really drunk" the voice responded.
Then she fell on the floor crying.
To me, crying in front of someone is an extremely irrational action, on par with yelling or physical violence (for non self-defensive purposes).
I put my hands under her arms and literally stood her to her feet. Adrenaline induced pissed off strength. I escorted her into the bedroom and guided her to the bed. Light push. All was well.
Sleep that night was next to impossible. Crammed between a non responsive girl and a non responsive wall, I listened to the party ramble on.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Things I heard at work today 1

-You notice how there's all these bank robberies when the economy is bad?

-Well you really know it's bad when there's all these home invasions, when you gotta go into someone's house it's pretty bad.

-I'd rob the boss's house, that's where all the good shit is. See all that nice stuff hangin on the walls.

(boss) - The first thing you'll see in my house is the shotgun

-The only thing worth stealing at your house are the cows, but that's too much work for me.

(boss continues) - Wolverines took the tail off a deer, If I see that thing I'm gonna kill him.
Coyotes got all my chickens too. I don't know how much coyote hide is worth, but I'm gonna find out.

the end.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Ron from Blog of The Hurricane, and I co-wrote this paper for a friend's high school criminology class. The Subject is Charles Michael Hedlund, Convicted Murderer

Of all the choices God had made in giving the gift of life, the most brutal and morally unacceptable gift was given to an undeserving world –and two unassuming parents- when their child was born on November 22, 1964. It wasn’t until 27 years later that anyone had any idea of the sadistic nature of the once innocent, young Charles
Michael Hedlund.
On March 10, 1991 Scotty Merten was feeling optimistic about his future. He had just received his acceptance letter from Brown. To celebrate, he made arrangements to meet his beloved mother at the local Mongolian BBQ. But, his mother never showed up. The waiter continued to refill his diet coke as he watched the minute hand on his watch tick away into an impoverished oblivion. Twenty minutes go by. Forty five. The sun set on an unforgiving horizon as Scotty was forced to conclude that his mother was not going to be showing up. Scotty progressed towards his Buick LaSabre where he had left his cell phone. No answer. He headed towards his mother’s house on the outskirts of the town. Oh….what Scotty was to find. His mother. His beloved mother. Who fed him at her generous breast. Tonight the only ones to have an acceptable meal, were the cats.
Charles and his half brother, James Erin McKinney proved just how sadistic they could be that night. The two of them muscled their way into the home of 40 year old Christine Mertens and ended her life in the most violent fashion. They pillaged her bedroom and dumped out her purse before shooting her and beating the life out of her panic stricken body. Three nights later the two men proved that their remorseless killing binge and insatiable thirst for blood was no fluke, for they broke into the home of the 65 year old James McClain. The men gutlessly shot him in the head while he lay in his bed. Oh the dread. The two men stole two lives in the pursuit of personal Items and Firearms. Clearly, the booty was of much lesser value.
This crime would prove to be too much. The heartstrings of the Arizona judicial system had been tugged so hard that the perpetrating fingers poured out their hot blood on the icy porch steps of justice. The state of Arizona would bring back the death penalty for the sole purpose of witnessing the glorious demise of one Charles Michael Hedlund. Weep not, Mr. and Mrs. Hedlund. That’s not your baby boy walking towards that chamber, but a shell - A shell that had once housed the soul of your sweet progeny, who portrayed St. Joseph in the annual Christmas pageant, who portrayed little Michael in his fifth grade class’s production of Peter Pan. That is not who is walking towards that chamber. No.
And who was this venerable man in black to bring down the gavel on Hedlund’s poor excuse for a life? None other than the Honorable Steven D. Sheldon. And who was the man unabashedly propositioning the court with the will of the people? That would be the man they call Louis Stalzer. And how long did it take them to conclude the guilt of one Charles Michael Hedlund? A mere thirty days, from the thirteenth of October, 1992 till the twelfth of November. And how long did it take them to conclude that Hedlund’s life was not worth sparing? A while longer, as the conclusion was not reached until the thirtieth of July, the following year! But, what of the mitigating circumstances? How about previous drug and alcohol abuse coupled with an abusive childhood? Oh for shame, Mr. and Mrs. Hedlund. Oh…for shame.
I, Brittany Cotant, Believe that a man of such pure evil, a man of such pure shame and heartlessness should pay with his life for the two he yanked from their nests of comfortable obscurity. I believe that Charles Michael Hedlund should be hanged from the highest mountain peak in an exhibition of justice so obvious and true that no man dares to follow a similar path of physical and emotional mutilation. I hope his bodyless soul serves as a sponge so that all the pain felt by the loved ones of Christine Mertens and James McCain can seep into his lowly existence and torture him for an eternity spent pushing red hot rocks in the fiery pits of Hell.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I'm eating waffles in lieu of a bowl of rice
I'm using butter in lieu of margarine
the cold syrup makes the toasting of said waffles rather pointless.
The trick-or-treaters rarely come to my parents' house because the neighborhood elderly are slowly dying and the families with children are constantly moving away. Sadly, that means I get to eat a lot of Junior Mints.
I work in a factory in lieu of going to school
I'm using the internet in lieu of watching TV.
I've been reading in lieu of writing.
The growing trend is to donate to charity in lieu of flowers.
I turned to a friend about one of my problems in lieu of trying to handle them ALL by myself and I remembered what it was like to be able to resolve them that comfortably.
I also remembered what it was like to have friends who listened and understood.
She was returning the favor in lieu of being selfish I guess.

I'm suprised my hair isn't grey already.

I'm Supposed to Agree With You

Stuff I'm not supposed to like, but do
Rod Stewart
Folding Laundry
Driving in the rain
Genesis (Phil Collins)
getting my hair cut
Alice in chains
getting my oil changed
half of my friends
Mechanical Pencils
The History Channel

Stuff I'm supposed to like, and do
The Postal Service
Public Radio
cellular phones
French toast
Elliott Smith
The Beatles
Weezer's Pinkerton
Birthday Presents
Chinese food

Stuff I'm supposed to like, but don't
Deathcab for Cutie
Going for walks
swimming in lakes
The O.C.
Sex & the city

Icelandic electronic music
Birthday attention
the video game Halo

Stuff I'm not supposed to like, and don't

Being sick
the emotionally handicapped (figuratively)
High winds
car problems
being late
rock/rap fusion
linkin park
Metallica's St. Anger

Stuff I like the idea of, but don't really like
rent to own
being a good listener
writing songs
being single.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Good Life 5/20/05

Smells like you have cats

Every time I walk through the door these days I'm overwhelmed with the comforting friendly pheromone of get the hell out of here.
It seems like any simple misunderstanding can lead to a [nearly] groundless, inappropriate and flamboyant flexing of power - right in my face, right in front of my friends. No warning. If the look on my face and the subsequent stare-down didn't accurately portray my feelings of complete confusion, I don't know what could. Everyone constantly contradicts themselves, including me. But I can't help but believe that my conscious contradictions serve a good purpose as opposed to the purpose of pure intimidation. Needless to say, nothing ever gets done around here.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

"working hardly"

Maybe it was because of the snow slowly melting or the fact that the geese were now flying North in V formation. Maybe I was just bored, but a few months ago I decided to seek a new job. The melting snow and flying geese are not supposed to be reason for employment but when you're me you fall into a routine and until you start to think about it, you're stuck. Without geese, I'd still be riding my bike and wearing a satchel at work.
The job looked really great! The sign posted on the board at the coffee house reminded me of a personal ad - using terms you would never use in any given assembly job. It seemed like me, so I took to thinking about it for a week before finally making my way to this fantasy land of a workplace to inquire.
I arrived with 5 minutes to spare before I needed to be leaving for my real job. It took me long enough to even find the place, holed up & building recumbent bicycles in a Mafia meeting room-type-building. The size of the building alone threw me off enough to where I forgot to try to act like I fit the description of the desired applicant. For nearly two years, I've been taking 5 minute walks across my workplace just to get to the bathroom and this place was like driving up to a gas station. When I opened the door, I was greeted with being briefly glanced at by one of the three gentlemen in the room. I had enough time to notice bike parts all over the place and two guys at a table assembling one bike. I immediately thought "whoa, that's totally inefficient" then stood there for around 5 seconds, which seemed like an eternity, until one of them spoke.
"Can I help you?"
"are you hiring?"
"are you hiring"
(the clearly socially inept guy then threw it over to his associate)
"I'm sorry, the position was filled"
"the position was filled, you're about aaaaah....week or two late. But thanks for stopping by!"

Oh well. The place was small anyways. And I probably couldn't listen to music either. And they probably don't pay very well.
I didn't let myself get too disappointed and instead stopped at vertigo on the way to work and bought some compact disc therapy.
my first job was hardly inspired by geese and melting snow. I needed money for magazines & things, so the day after my 14th birthday, I called the phone number in the paper and got myself an interview for a job with the Grand Rapids Press. A paper route. I was to be an "independent Carrier". The woman from the GRP in charge of the Hastings area came to our house a few days later, my mom signed the forms and I had the job. She drove me on the route the first day to make sure I understood the process of leaving a paper on someone's porch. She gave me a little book designed specifically for keeping track of money collection and a large canvas bag with orange reflective edges and the press logo on the side. She also gave me a gigantic bag of green rubber bands, most likely to keep me occupied after work.
I started off the next day, alone, on my bike. I Lived near the south edge of Hastings, and my route happened to be on the North edge, it was quite a trip considering the incline and my weakling-ness. My papers were dropped off every day in front of the credit union, so I actually had time to rest while I rubber banded each paper and stuffed it into my bag. The neighborhood was mostly inhabited by the elderly... Or lonely middle aged people. The old men were always waiting for the paper. Watering the lawn, washing the car, sitting in a lawn chair in the garage, certain men always asked silly questions. "what's the word?". "uhhh"
I felt sorry for the old men who lived alone. Some of them were married to their lawns, but the others were just plain alone. One guy was always on his back porch around the time I came by at the end of the route, drinking lemonade and reading a book or doing some sort of puzzle. He'd always greet me enthusiastically with a "hey Joe!" when I opened the door to the porch and handed him the paper. One day I opened the door to find him at the table sitting across from a framed black and white picture of a young woman. He was drinking some sort of liquor. He greeted me with an "oh... hey there".

One year later, I was 15 and fed up with my monthly salary. It fell somewhere between $90 and $120 monthly. I tried to get a job at the new Applebees, but was disappointed to learn that the last of the positions suitable for a 15 year old were filled earlier that day. DAMMIT. The paper route had kept me from getting a new job. I relayed my dismay to the boss, and she offered me a new, larger paper route that was closer to home. Left with no other options, I accepted. The new route was much like the old route, but now included an entire retirement community. Retirement communities can be looked at by their denizens in two ways.

1.Pennock Village: A place where older people can enjoy their retirement without the worries of home maintenance and with the convenience of meals on wheels, a health club and a hospital next door (just in case) there's also a golf cart path that leads directly to the Kmart parking lot.

2. A prison... Forced upon you because you cant keep up the house anymore and your kids are pretty busy and can't come help you out all the time. Plus, you can't drive.

The difference of perspectives is made clear when it comes time to collect the money. Half the time, my money was left on the door or mailed to me in the envelope I had provided a week earlier. Half the time, I would have to knock on the door and politely demand my seven or thirteen dollars (depending on the subscription). Half of this time (one quarter of the entire time) the people inside were very nice and would offer me cookies or on warmer days, a drink. I always accepted. Sometimes I stuck around an extra few minutes to converse, and I ended up hearing some pretty cool stories about the old days, the depression, world war, vacations to Yellowstone, fishing, etc.
The remaining time was pure hell. Being a 13 year old left me with little right to argue or even defend myself against the cranky ones. Evidently, knocking on doors was taboo in the earlier half of the century - or so they made it seem. I'd knock at the door and be greeted with an angry expression and unkind words.

"I'm here to collect for the grand rapids press"
"Why do you always come around at dinner time!?"
"I shouldn't have to be interrupted from my meal"
"I'll get your money, but I really don't appreciate being interrupted during my dinner"

I could have responded with "perhaps you should hang some sort warning on the door next time you're eating dinner, bitch, assuming you still refuse to pay me on time with the conveniently pre-addressed envelope I provide you with every month. I know you can mail it, because I know you get the newspaper from outside your door which happens to be 3 steps from the mailbox, which has a large outgoing mail slot...If you can't acquire a stamp, just leave it on the door like some of your neighbors do. I don't think they'll steal it, you have quite a reputation for bitchiness".

Cranky elderly couples are even worse, they work as a team.

I kept up the job until my sixteenth birthday. After a very brief period of unemployment, I was hired at McDonald's.

TO BE CONTINUED - when you least expect it.

Monday, April 18, 2005


the queers Posted by Hello

from The Queers show at Ten Bells - 4/19