Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Army (Ben Folds Five)

Language: Portuguese

So yesterday was the actual last day I worked, and I was the last person not related to the owner to work, and that was all kind of interesting, in a way, but it's beside the point now, since now I have to come up with something else to do. Hence the song.

So far, the only place that I've found that I would actually like to work in is a greenhouse / garden center which is . . . well, not too far away from my place, and I'm pretty sure I could handle the work, and I think I'd probably even enjoy it some, a little, but unfortunately they put up the sign saying that they were hiring and then the person in charge of hiring went on vacation for a week. Or so I was told on Saturday. Which means I'm in limbo.

It might even have been two weeks, actually, since I didn't get called about it yesterday, and I'm pretty sure nobody's called my references either.

Late January is a very bad time of year to be looking for work in a college town: all the students are back, so every place is back up to their normal amount of business, but on the other hand, they have all already hired the people they need in the last couple weeks, and it is going to take a while for the various employers to find out that they hired some jerkoffs, which means that people will be hiring again in a month, but for right now there's almost nothing. So the greenhouse thing is all I've even seen since the announcement came that the grocery store was folding. It might yet work out for me, since it's at least a job I really want, and I only need the one job, but there's some waiting to experience first. And probably some more looking. And thinking.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Well I thought Dad said,
"The army is rising, son; you are high,"
and I thought, yeah, a first time for everything.
So I made an examination of my old man's advice,
over three semesters, where "sad"
was the only thought in the fifteen great bed expenses.
I left the army to fall for itself
and joined a band instead.

I grew one moustache, and one mullet, and
started a work in the Chic-Fil-A.
Citing differences, that band broke: inside it, that artistic thing.
And in June, without me, it remodelled
and started a different name. I nuked
the apple pie of my other grandma, and
hung my head in the shame.

Very much thinking today.
Thinking very much today.

Oh! I think I will write one screenplay.
Oh, I think I will examine the make of LA.
Oh, I think that I will start it yesterday. (Done!)

At this time of introspection,
in the eve of my election,
I say to my god of the reflection,
"please cause more rejection." For the care of
my pairs, I criticize myself,
and my former wives all despise me.
Behind me, it's all for the attempt,
but my jumps are pinching my rednecks.

I have thought
I have thought today, very much.
I have thought that today, very much today --
I thought on the army.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Good-Bye to You (Michelle Branch)

("She's a sad tomato" --R. E. M., "Crush With Eyeliner")

Language: German

Well. So originally, the idea was to keep the store open until about the end of the month, but everybody's exhausted, and there's not much stuff left, so it's looking more like sometime this weekend. Possibly even today, though I think that's unlikely. In any case, it's going to be my last day.

Which is fine, though I still don't have anything to go to yet, not really having had the time to look into much. Still nothing from the possible job (which I really want -- plant-related). My co-workers mostly have moved on already, which good for them, I guess. I had hoped to maybe get everybody together one last time, ideally with alcohol, but I don't think there's time left to coordinate something like that, so probably nothing is going to happen to mark the occasion.

I don't actually know if I'm sad or not, but in either event, this is kind of an appropriate song. Goodbye to something, for sure.

UPDATE: Well, maybe not the last day after all. About a 50-50 chance I'm working Monday too. But for all practical purposes, today was it.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I believed all the things inside that, which
I would like to keep straight. Moreover, with it
behind my eyes, tears form,
but I do not cry.
Counting the past days leads me.

I descend into my soul, have deep
words, become old. I begin to search for that audition,
like I believe it again.
The last three straight years were pretend?
I said,

Good-bye to you,
good-bye to everything I thought. (I knew that.)
You were that which I loved,
the one thing I tried, which also held on.

I keep still in your eyes, lost
without you, and it seems that I cannot live. One day,
my thoughts closed away, and my eyes are
made blind by the light. I am in a place to hunt, which
isn't quite


At the same time, I wish nothing. It hurt to wish over everything, and
what is mine is theirs. And I wish . . . what?
I wish for you, which
this time, don't give it to me.


And if the stars fall,
I'm awake. You lied,
my shooting star.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Stayin' Alive (Bee Gees)

Language: German

Well. So the going-out-of-business sale continues apace, and the percent reduction in prices continues to increase (it's now up to 40%), and I'm hanging in there, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to be happy when it was over. Most days, we're selling about four times as much stuff as we were over Christmas, and there are about half as many people to do this, so I'm working, I figure, about nine times harder than I was just a few weeks ago. And even that was sometimes exhausting.

I have more or less made my peace with the closing, I suppose. I have one possible job to move to, though I haven't interviewed for anything, and it's been a few days now since I brought in the application and haven't gotten called back. Not sure if that signifies anything or not: I'd follow up by going in or something, except that I have no time in the morning to do anything, and I get home from work after this other place is closed already. So at least until the weekend, I guess I just have to keep my fingers crossed and hope to get a call.

The customers continue to be stupid. I try to help them regardless. I babysit their groceries1, I find products for them (when we have then -- we're obviously out of a lot of things right now), I even double check to make sure that the discount is getting applied to all the stuff it's supposed to be getting applied to2. And a lot of them whine and bitch and accuse me of keeping their receipts and act like I should carry their groceries a couple blocks out the door for them3 anyway. We're still getting the occasional question about whether there's a sale going on -- this two weeks after the original announcement was made, with about 3/4 of the items gone from the shelves, and giant-print signs by every entrance. God, I hate people.


1A completely ridiculous percentage of customers, exclusively women over the age of 50, don't want to push a cart around or carry a basket: they want to leave their stuff at the checkout counter and then wander back and forth. I'm not sure why this is happening -- if carrying a basket is too heavy, then use a cart -- but the leading theory is pathological egocentrism. I am always tempted when people do this to start re-shelving their stuff, though so far I haven't.

2For some reason, certain products aren't in the system to take the discount. It's easy enough to figure out whether everything got it that was supposed to, and easy enough to correct if something didn't ring in right, but it does take extra time and effort.

3There actually is a customer like this. She has a bad back, she says. Also she has/had breast cancer. But she's so personally nasty -- mostly just to me -- that I come away a little disappointed that the cancer didn't finish her off. And she seems to think that because she has a bad back, we should be willing to carry her groceries up several flights of stairs to the parking garage next door for her. As opposed to her coming out of the parking garage and pulling up to our door like everybody else. I knew, the first time we agreed to do this for her, that it was trouble, because then she'd expect us to do it every other time. Yesterday was the first time in months that she ever didn't request that, but she ruined the moment by making a point of telling me that she would carry her stuff out herself, like I should be grateful or something.

She's also so slow one always suspects she's doing it on purpose to fuck with people, so every time she shows up, the lines start getting really long. She's never given any indication that she notices this or cares about it. I wish her tumors. Big honking tumors.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Explain to me the way property can use you.
I'm the man of a woman: no time to speak.
Music loud and warm, a woman myself,
I've stepped around since I was born.
And now it's completely OK. It is.
And you can look the other way.
We can try to understand
the effect of the New York Times on man.

Whether you are a brother, mother, or nut, you
remain alive, and remain alive.
He shakes the city, and each one who believes, breaks,
and remains alive, remaining alive for us.
Ah, hectar, hectar, hectar: lasting, and remaining alive.
Ah, hectar, hectar, hectar: lasting, alive.

Now, I keep low wells, and I keep high
also, and if I cannot receive, I really try not to.
My shoes' wings received the sky.
I'm not a dancing straight man, and I can lose.
They know that it's completely OK. It is.
I live in order to see another day.
We can try to understand
the effect of the New York Times on man.

Whether you are a brother, mother, or nut, you
remain alive, and remain alive.
He shakes the city, and each one who believes, breaks,
and remains alive, remaining alive for us.
Ah, hectar, hectar, hectar: lasting, and remaining alive.
Ah, hectar, hectar, hectar: lasting, alive.

Someone help me: life doesn't go anywhere!
Someone help me, yeah.
Someone help me: life doesn't go anywhere!
Someone help me remain alive, yeah.

Explain to me the way property can use you.
I'm the man of a woman: no time to speak.
Music loud and warm, a woman myself,
I've stepped around since I was born.
And now it's completely OK. It is.
And you can look the other way.
We can try to understand
the effect of the New York Times on man.

Whether you are a brother, mother, or nut, you
remain alive, and remain alive.
He shakes the city, and each one who believes, breaks,
and remains alive, remaining alive for us.
Ah, hectar, hectar, hectar: lasting, and remaining alive.
Ah, hectar, hectar, hectar: lasting, alive.

Someone help me: life doesn't go anywhere!
Someone help me, yeah.
Someone help me: life doesn't go anywhere!
Someone help me remain alive, yeah.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

And She Was (Talking Heads)

Language: Italian

I don't know what it is about Talking Heads lyrics, but for some reason, like Aerosmith, they always seem to work really well when Babelpopped.

I am very nearly the last employee of the store now who isn't related to the owner. It's hard to tell if this is a good thing or not: I have, at least theoretically, money coming in for another couple of weeks that the rest of the employees don't have. On the other hand, they're all ahead of me in the finding-new-work department, having had lots more time to try to find something. So possibly I'm not better off but not worse off either, just a couple weeks later in time.

The wind-down of the store is kind of emotionally difficult. Former employees are angry about various things. Some of the few remaining part-time people are taking the opportunity to unleash varying amounts of abuse on the customers (which really is a temptation, though so far I'm pretty nice, if occasionally blunt). The customers themselves either want to tell me how sorry they are that the store is closing (which I've heard hundreds of times now and can no longer respond to with any kind of sincerity: I've never known what to say in the first place, and having to come up with something twenty times an hour is pushing me to some kind of edge or another), or they are completely oblivious about what's going on. Some of the better customer questions lately:

Are you guys hiring?
Soooooo, do you know when you'll be getting more bananas in?
Are you guys having some kind of a sale?
What do the ["Going Out of Business: Everything 20% Off"] signs mean?
How come you're out of so much stuff?
Is [item] included in the [Everything 20% Off] sale?
Are you guys really going out of business?
So, why's the store going out of business?
Do you know if you have any [item] in stock?

And you just want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them. And shake them. Until something important ruptures, and they collapse on the floor and start twitching and drooling. Some of them are, obviously, pretty close to the twitching-and-drooling thing already.

And you get angry with the customers who say "Maybe I should have shopped here more." And you get angry with the customers who say "Maybe if your prices hadn't been so expensive." And you get angry with the customers who want you to explain what went wrong, why the store didn't work out. And you feel kind of sorry for the owner and his wife, because you're well aware that they did try to make the place work, and they're no more happy about having to close the place than you are2. And you're kind of pissed at the owner and his wife, because the owner, at least, was always kind of an ass to everybody -- disrespectful, dismissive, superficial, overbearing, secretive -- and it's difficult not to get pissed at people who are like that. And you're anxious whenever somebody asks you where you're going next, because you don't know, while simultaneously being pissed whenever people ask how the owners are doing and don't even seem to realize that you, also, are affected by the closing, and it's like by not asking they're telling you that you don't really count, that whatever happens to you is of no consequence compared to the OWNERS, who are actual people, worth caring about.

And so, ultimately, you wind up in a state of being nowhere in particular all day. The world is moving, and you're right there with it, and you are. Too many emotions from too many directions to deal with, so you just kind of push them off to one side somewhere and focus on giving the right change and shrugging in what you hope is a pleasant manner. And then when you get home and find out that the husband has dumped over a tray of plant cuttings that you were trying to start, everything comes up all at once in such overwhelming intensity that you literally find yourself unable to speak for half an hour.

Really not going to be able to take much more of this.

1The answers, by the way, are:
That we're going out of business, and everything is 20% off.
Because we're going out of business.
Unless it's beer or wine, yes.
Because it wasn't making money.
No, because I can't keep up with what we're sold-out of. Learn to fucking read.

2Though, muting your sympathy is the awareness that they have a much more substantial financial cushion than you do. They might be hit harder emotionally than you are, but they're not in any particular danger of having their electricity turned off, either.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

And they found themselves in the grass,
and she could feel the respiration,
and the factory could see nearly to the main road.
She's making sure it's not dreaming,
sees that the lights of the neighboring house
are beginning to increase. The hour
to return to the concentrated one: a minute,
and the world opens its eyes.

It was moving, and it was right here, (and it was) with
the world; she was moving, was floating over it (and was).

And she was going to drift through the courtyard,
and dressed. Removing her
lot slowly, and moving, she was
to increase in and over the earth.
The universe enters, in that
sense: this all goes to that drift.
I'm not moving that earth on and over the yard.


She was happy to doubt this purpose: without this purpose,
she isn't sure where the time has gone. No,
to think what not to say to them, that next
time they think.
That is approximately what was made.

And she was watching,
and things were similar to the film.
She has had a pleasant height, and is
moving, in all the "outside" senses.


They were joining the dispersed world:
missing enough to think that's in order, all right.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Idioteque (Radiohead)

Ordinarily there would be a picture here, but Blogger is not permitting me to post one at the moment. UPDATE: Got it.

Language: Greek

So, well, the going out of business sale began on Friday. So very many people came in after seeing the giant "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS" signs and asked me, or somebody else, "Are you guys really going out of business?" Sometimes, "Why are you going out of business?" Well why would you think. Money coming in < money going out.

Which, you know. You understand why they're asking: it was sudden for them if not for us. And they're being nice about it, saying that they're sorry and that it's such a nice store and they loved shopping there1 and blah blah blah. But at some point it gets to be too much. Any one conversation about it is fine, but what they don't realize is that I'm having to have this same conversation every fifteen minutes, and it's hard for me. This is not really something I want to be thinking about much right now.

And no (while we're at it), I don't know what I'm going to do for money now, and no, I don't actually qualify for full unemployment benefits, because I've worked there less than six months, like almost everybody else, and no, I'm not even one-hundred percent sure that I'm going to get paid for the time I'm spending here right now talking to you, as I know the former Human Resources / Accounts Receivable person didn't get paid when she came in on Friday, and the rumor has it that there's a whole department that wasn't paid either. So while I sympathize with the fact that you're going to have to start walking another six or seven blocks to buy your groceries, and this is a terrible, terrible hardship for you, allow me a moment or two to not fucking care. Either offer me a job or shut the fuck up.

Anyway. So here's a song. There's also a video.


1Impossible not to think, yeah, well, but I guess you didn't love shopping here all that much, now, did you?

Picture (c) Kari Christensen

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

(Deposit in whom?
Deposit in whom?)
The women and children first,
and the children first,
and the children.
I will laugh until the toy comes from my head.
I will swallow the toy until it bursts,
until the toy bursts:
it's up to me.

(Deposit in whom?
Deposit in whom?)
I've seen a lot of very --
I haven't seen enough of that. Him
you have not seen.
I will laugh at you until toys come from my head.
The women and children first,
and the children first,
and the children.

Here. I have the authorisation
for all time. In all, the
authorisation is here, where I have
all the time. In all, for

the coming age of ice.
The age of ice that comes
allows me to hear the two sides. Also,
I allowed myself to hear. Also, the two sides
allowed it. Also, I hear my two
coming ages of ice,
ages of ice.
It throws him in the fire,
throws him in the fire,
it throws him.

We aren't worrying about news distribution:
it happens. This is
really happening.
We aren't worrying the distribution.
Really: it happens,
Mobiles that --
chirp. Mobiles.
He takes the money and runs,
takes the money and runs,
takes the money.

He has the authorisation here,
the time for it, all in all.
Here is where I have the authorization
for time, all in all.

Here I have the authorization.
All in, for all the time
I have the authorization. Here, where
the time is for all

of the first children.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What to Do With the Love He Obtained (Tina Turner)

Language: French

Found out yesterday that the store where I work is going out of business. Traditionally, I leave jobs by getting really mad at everybody and quitting, which then leads to extensive periods of obsessive second-guessing. Having a job leave me instead is new, and kind of confusing.

Nothing is actually official until Friday the 12th, when the Going-Out-of-Business sale commences. (It would have started today, but there was an issue with the sign they were getting to advertise said sale.) In fact, I'm not supposed to know yet. I figure I can post this because I've been relatively careful to avoid anything that would identify the place unambiguously on here, and because in a couple days it won't matter anymore.

At this point, I'm still a bit too much in shock to have anything particularly intelligent to say about the matter. I mean, I understand what's happened, and really it wasn't like it was a surprise -- the store hadn't been doing real well at any point since I started working there (or, possibly, any time since Aprilish) -- but one still assumed that things had time to turn around, until they started laying people off. I suppose I should have known something was up when the low sales suddenly seemed to stop bothering the owner.

This is not really the right song for this situation, but it was as good as I could do, out of the songs that had already been kind of worked on.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

You must include it.
That contact of your hand
makes my impulses react.
It`s only that quiver
of the girls' opposites
that attracts the boys' meeting.

It's only a logical, medical examination.
You must try to be unaware
that it means more than that.

Oh, what is the love with him obtained to make?
What`s love but the emotion of a second hand? What of
the love he obtained to make that with?
A heart can be broken, when a heart needs.

I tend to seem astounded: you can be with me, if it seems
I've read some. I've gotten by, to share the causes.

There`s an expression for it, there`s a name for him,
but reason does it for me. That's it.


I'm thinking from a new direction,
but I must indicate the
protection of my own thinking.
It frightens me to feel this way.

What to make with the love he obtained?
What`s an old love but the love of a concept? What soft mode
is obtained to make with him,
which needs a heart (when a heart can be broken)?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Lucy in the Sky With the Diamonds (Beatles)

Language: Russian

Watched a two-hour History Channel special on cults a night or two ago. In the special, it was claimed that Charles Manson had given LSD to the other members of the cult on a regular basis. Which, so far, so comprehensible. But then it went on to say something like "gave them LSD until they would do anything he said." When did LSD become a mind-control drug? And, if it was a mind-control drug, then wouldn't we see more of it around? Or is the main use of the mind-control to make us think that we're not being mind-controlled and we don't see any LSD laying around?

I mean, clearly Manson's girls were willing to do some pretty extreme things, and clearly there were drugs involved. But there's something missing from the cause-effect relationship here. Is all I'm saying.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Depicted in a riverboat
with tangerine shafts, by marmalade skies,
someone calls you. You answer sufficiently slowly,
with eyes and a kaleidoscope girl.
Yellow and green cellophane flowers are
being raised above your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
and she is gone.
Lucy in the sky with the diamonds.
Follow it up to the bridge by the fountain
where horse people eat rocking marshmallow pies.
you are moved by each smile, in proportion to the flowers,
which grow incredibly high.
The taxis from newspapers appear on the coast,
in order to accept you.
You climb in the tail end with your head in the clouds,
and you are gone.
Lucy in the sky with the diamonds.
The image itself, on the train in the station,
where the porters of plasticine look to glass connections,
someone is unexpectedly located there on a turnstile,
to eyes with a kaleidoscope girl.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Direct Dirty Conversation to Me (Poison)

Language: Russian

Really only the chorus of this song ("The baby of reason will be governing us, etc.") worked out. But I really like it.

As I get older, I find I have fewer and fewer opportunities to swear, and when I do, I'm more likely to use euphemisms of some kind, like the Battlestar-Galactica-inspired "frakkin'." It's not like I'm holding back for the kids' sakes -- we don't have any. And it's not like I'm suddenly more concerned that people think I'm uncouth. I just don't have as many moments during the day when I feel like it.

What do you suppose that's about, then? Maybe some kind of peer-group thing?


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

You don't know me.
I look to you in order to see.
Well, you act expensive; therefore it is you,
but I never love you,
and I know your loves: they are too
expensive. I want you,
I gotta have you,
oh, yes, I'll make you.

You know, I never
remain. I'm never late, which is always . . .
You know that I can await difficulty
in order to see you,
and I know you cannot await it
in order to see me too. In expectation,
I gotta contact you.

The baby of reason will be
governing us, in
the Ford of an old person.
After, the bushes
will be screaming for more.
Lock the basement down from
the door. We will converse
about the baby, and the dirty cellar.

You know I call you,
I call you on the telephone.
I only hope that your domestic
can hear you. Therefore, I
speak those words, when you gotta
whisper to me so softly,
and I hear you.

C.C.: they select that guitar; they speak up to me.