Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Struggle Sees the Light

One of my favorite television shows, Happy Endings, had a line in it this season that almost perfectly summed up my feelings about the universe. One character says to the other, "And to what degree of shambles would you say your life is in?". And that's how I feel most of the time. It's not a matter of "are you okay" it's a matter of "how much of a struggle are you undergoing, is it the labors of Hercules or is it trying to get a prescription pill bottle to open" (PS: Prescription/vitamin/painkiller companies, according to Jewish law I've been an adult since my Bat Mitzvah so WHY DOES CHILD SAFE PACKAGING STILL ELUDE ME?). So you must trust me when I say this has been a strugglesome year and know that I truly really deeply mean that on many levels.

You know, when I was young, I kind of assumed that the older you were, the more you would have figured out. And in college I thought, it's okay that everyone around me is an enormous struggle because soon enough we will have graduated and then we will get everything together. But now, having worked for the past year with a group of strangers, adults, people who really should by all rights be complete human beings by now, I understand that that was all a lie. Because people? Are a flipping mess.

Maybe it's because I work in the non-profit sector, specifically in arts management (by the way, shoot me in the FACE with arts management, my god, some days you step out of a meeting having just spend two hours arguing about what to do with audience surveys and concept of surveys in general, emotionally, artistically, financially, spiritually, and you think, aren't people starving, somewhere?), but the people around me sometimes seem like they are back in high school. Which I suppose is what happens when you spend your life playing pretend and drinking whiskey. Still, that's no excuse for not paying your gas bill, or doing your laundry once a month, at least, or, I don't know, having an honest conversation about your needs? As a person? In life? I just don't know. But if this is adulthood, i.e., just like adolescence but with more bills to pay and more concerns to have, well, I don't think I want any part of it.

So I'm going to graduate school. Just gonna extend my pre-adult life for as long as possible. I've see the other side, people, and I'm not having anything to do with it. Instead, I'm going to go to playwrighting school i.e. clown college and pretend that reality is indeed the stuff of dreams.

Still. I'm going to NYU-Tisch to join greasy hipsters and pretentious poets and learn how to write for Law and Order. I'm sure that's not going to be a struggle AT ALL. Smooth sailing. Bring it on. And until then, there is the summer. Stay tuned, people, I know I've got a lot more to say these days.

All that being said, check out some particularly strugglesome photos I've shot recently:
Oh good god.
Something about all of these people eating just really perturbs me. 
I don't even know how to say what the best part of this image is. The guy? Is HE the Messiah? The website? Or the fact that there is a NUMBER you can call? To, I assume, SPEAK to the Messiah? God, who even knows. 

But hey, that's some good news, right? Whatever other struggle is happening, at least the Messiah has come! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Struggle Gets Train Rage

Lately it has been of a chilly nature here in my fine city of Struggledelphia, and despite the odd warmer day, I've been taking the El fairly frequently. What, say you, is this "El" of which you speak? Well, it's our sorry excuse for a subway. It has a plethora of lines! (It has two lines.) It can take you anywhere you want to go! (If you want to go somewhere around those two lines.) It's an easy way to get around! (If getting around means living, working, eating or hanging out around those two lines.) In a word, it's miserable.

The subway in Philadelphia is not like the subway in other cities. In New York, for example, all kinds of people take the subway, hipsters off home to Brooklyn, yokals desperate to catch that showing of Legally Blonde: The Musical, hungry interns and annoying Columbia students, all together in harmony. That's because it's an efficient system of transportation. And I've been to many cities like this. When I lived in Moscow I saw people literally take the subway back home to Kiev. KIEV. That's not even IN Russia anymore! (Note, this may or may not be a slight exaggeration). This is not the case here in my hometown. I take the subway, because I happen to live right by it. Other people who take the subway include the homeless, illegal immigrants, Temple University students and the gently insane. That's about it.

For example, my subway rides, if they had titles, could include ones such as "neck tattoos have I known" and "smoking inside, a how-to-guide" and "subway tracks: the untold garbage cans of our time" and "how many rats can you see at once?" and "singing to strangers, do or don't?" and "bling my burka!" (which, by the way, is an AMAZING reality television show idea, so someone make that, please. Thanks. Oh, yeah. It's a thrill a minute on the Philadelphia subway.

And clearly advertisers are beginning to pick up on the more charming aspects of my morning commute by offering us signs like this:

and this gemstone, sparkling in the morning dew:

Let me give you a close up, because that's fun:

But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can top this little number:

Let me break it down for you, shall I? Number 1, those are two pieces of sperm. That's what that's supposed to be. Sperm. Anthropomorphic Sperm. Chatting. Have a bit of a tete-a-tete, if you will. And the one sperm, that knows about sperm banks (don't worry about the logic of a sperm wanting to be contributed to a sperm bank, there's no time for such a thing now) is obviously richer, better educated and more cultured then the other sperm, as evidenced by his briefcase. And suit. And the other sperm is just some punk, with a sweatband, like all the kids are wearing these days, and a sports costume of some sort. So if you do donate sperm and get that sweet sweet 150 dollars, you should go out and blow it on a suit and a (presumably) empty briefcase, and then go tell your friends/strangers you meet on the subway, about it. That's what I'm getting out of this.
Just because context is important, I thought you might like to know that this ad is sandwiched between an ad for a different kind of bank and an ad for the Henry Ossawa Tanner show at the Academy of Fine Arts

So that's my morning commute. You stay classy, struggledelphia! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aud Land Struggle

This is a taxidermy coyote in a rain slicker. Like you do. 

So, for some reason blogger wouldn't let me post this last week, because it's seen the title of this blog and decided to contribute to my continuing pain and sorrow. Like blogging platforms do. But enough about that, happy 2012, people! Assuming the Mayan calender is wrong (I mean, can we really trust people who could figure out about chocolate but NOT about adding sugar? That's like inventing paper and then being like, this will be perfect for clothing!) I think this is going to be a great (strugglesome) year and that the world will not (possibly) be ending. Why, you ask? Well, honestly, at lot of that has to do with the fact that I've gotten really into some new TV shows and looking forward to them is pretty much the only thing that keeps me going. I kid. Do I? Yes (no).

But most of it has to do with my new mantra, which I straight up stole from my friend Kate (thanks Kate!). It's, "Let things go, or you will be dragged". It's simple, it's effective, and I have pretty much a 1% chance of keeping it. I am just not a person who can let things go. For example, last year around this time I was having a  conversation with someone and I brought up Fredrick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis from the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair (like you do, over drinks, you know) and he (the person, not Turner) was like, yeah, but that was over 200 years ago. And I was like, I feel strongly that that is incorrect, but I didn't say anything, I just internally cringed. AND I'M STILL CRINGING. Somewhere that knowledge lives inside of me, and if I might be perfectly candid, from that point on I've always thought less of that person (again, the guy, not Turner). These things LIVE inside of me, somewhere, grating against my nerves like a spoon playing a washboard in a hillbillie band. I am, on many levels, the Vendetta Kid.

And obviously this is not a particularly healthy way to live your life. In theory I truly believe that if you just breathe and give in to the universe, good things will happen. I've just never actually be able to do that. Instead I write bible-length emails about the 1893 Worlds Fair which, and this is very VERY important, NEVER GET SENT. It is the only way I've managed to avoid being tarred and feathered by angry villagers. So when I have a strugglesome vendetta I just spew all of that out into a notebook or an email or a handy google document and then there we go. Oh, don't mistake me, I still have black-out moments of mindless rage and fury over an insult I received a good 10 years ago, but it's lessened, somehow, by the knowledge that somewhere out there is a 14 year old's notebook with a well crafted scathing response to "Dude, your sister has more underarm hair then I do" (I was 14! And I wasn't aloud to shave yet! God, what a JERK!).

Still. Someday, when future generations find said notebooks and google docs, no doubt they will publish them like the brilliant pieces of personal petty grievances they are. In which case, Cosi salad guy who put blue cheese on my Greek salad instead of feta because you want to make me CRY, you will finally get what's coming to you.

Yeah. I'm totally going to get dragged, aren't I. 2012. Already a great year.