Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What I Am Reading: The Discomfort Zone

I enjoyed Jonathan Franzen's book The Corrections immensely and upon realizing that I would not be working at Borders much longer I promptly bought the other two books of his that we had in stock.

The Discomfort Zone is meant to be (as the cover says) a personal history; all of 20 pages in it appears to me to be a tamer telling of The Corrections with his real mother and father reflecting milder versions of their counterparts in the Corrections. Makes you wonder if he wrote this only to clear up any misconception that Alfred and Enid were fictional characterizations of his parent. Not all of us can be fooled.

Yet again Jonathan Franzen fails to disappoint in the cover department with this being my favorite book cover of any book I have read so far. My being a lover of maps it isn't hard to believe that a book with a very descriptive map of a man's heart would catch my fancy. Now after doing a little research stemming from reading the back cover, apparently the original map (published in a January 1960 edition of McCall's) came complete with a map of a Woman's heart as well. I have been unable to find a good quality version (here is a poor one) via the internets so I now have plans to look through Northeastern's collection of Magazine's and if I cannot find it there I will hunt it down at the library of congress. To be continued.....

Monday, May 4, 2009

What I Just Read: Factotum

They say never judge a book by it's cover, well then maybe don't read this.

There are two constants in the life of Henry Chinaski; every woman he beds was "good" and every job he has ever had and will have asks far to much of him for far to little pay. Factotum is not different, Chinaski like most books gets himself hooked to a crazed woman who likes to show him some leg while at the same time moving from job to job (mores so in this book than any other) where his bosses don't understand him and ask far too much of him.

I get the job thing, he is lazy by nature, hates being told what to do and above all would rather be sitting in his bed with his back to the wall drinking a beer. I get that.

What I don't get is how a man that looks like this, who considers himself not to be a ladies man can be found giving it to a new woman every other chapter (What is equally as confusing is the year long dry spells he speaks of). Now of course this is fictional and not autobiographical (though Henry Chinaski sounds awfully close to Charles Bukowski) and he probably embellishes most of what he writes but there must be some form of truth to it.

Regardless of an overall meaning I enjoy reading Bukowski if not for the sex crazed boozed up smart ass Chinaski but for the quick to the point writing and the finality of each book. The use of his novels to portray periods of living be it his life from birth to leaving his family, or his work at the post office, or even his preoccupation with only women, each book he writes is about one period in his life and the main issue that his life revolves around at that time (what an English teacher would call a theme).

That being said I am going to leave Hollywood and South of No North for later. I find it hard to believe that anything is going to top Ham on Rye, Post Office or the other two I read, so I plan on reading Bukowski when I'm not likely to feel let down and in reality all I want is my sex crazed boozed up smart ass fix.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Top 5: Things NOT to Say to an IM Official

If working for Northeastern Intramural Sports has taught me anything it has taught me how to take a whole lot of abuse from peers. As a result of that abuse I have come to look at the role of a referee in a new light as well as speculate as to how smart students who attend NU really are. What follows are 5 things you should never say to an IM official unless you are A) looking to make yourself look like an idiot or B) looking to get yourself banned from IM Sports and the Marino Center.

5. He hit me first!

Unfortunately I did not see him hit you first, if I had he would also have a penalty. And no I am not going to take your word for it, if I did that I would be calling a "penalty" on someone every 30 seconds. Besides that, did your mother never teach you about turning the other cheek and being the better person? Or maybe you learned about proportional responses? Sort of along the lines of being pushed to the ground and then turning around and slugging the guy in the face, I think that was not a proportional response on your part.

On top of that I have one set of eyes and unfortunately they both have to look in the same direction at all times. So yes I miss calls occasionally, it happens, get over it, losing a IM dodgeball game should not be up there with the murder of a family member.

4. Have you played Hockey before?

I love answering this question because in fact as a Hockey ref I have played hockey once or twice in my life (wowzers!), to be specific I have been skating since I was 2 and been playing Hockey since I was 4, so what's your next question Mr. Lipton? Do I know how to blow a whistle? Do I know how to lace up my skates properly? Do I sleep at night? Am I blind? I have a question for you: can you read? In particular the part of the rules where it says this is a "non-contact league". I don't care how hockey is played in the NHL because believe it or not this isn't the NHL and you aren't Sidney Fucking Crosby so stop whining like him and serve your two fucking minutes.

3. Shut the #%&@ Up! (and all manner of swearing thrown in my direction)

This one puzzles me; why would someone think it is all right to verbally abuse the person who controls their playing eligibility? It's liking bitching to a cop for a speeding ticket, what do you want a busted tailight and reckless driving tacked on? I can throw you out of this game for looking at me the wrong way (sadly I haven't found a pair of IM eyes I couldn't stare down) and no one from my boss to the President of the University would fault me for it. But yet you think it's ok to tell me to go fuck myself and how to do it? Do I look like the dumbest guy in the world to you? On second thought don't answer that question, just be quiet.

2. What's your name?

What are you going to do with my name? Complain to my boss about me? He likes me and he doesn't like you. More importantly he doesn't like people questioning the calls of his officials. So what on God's green earth do you think he is going to say to you, do you think he is going to fire me because my interpretation of a hooking penalty is a bit different then yours? I think not.

1. You want to fight outside after this is over?
This isn't as much of something not to say to a referee as much as it is a fear I have. I am waiting for the day when I'm walking down the street, ordering a beer at a bar, or grabbing a box of Cheeze-Its from the shelf at Shaws and suddenly someone blindsides me with their fist. And all that because they couldn't understand why I threw them out of a game for jumping over the boards and playing the role of Killer from Slapshot. It's going to happen, maybe not tomorrow and maybe not next year, but someday it is going to happen.

Just keep the audible noises from your throat to a minimum and behave like the decent human being your mother and father brought you up to be. That's all we ask.