One man's attempt at literacy

Tag Archives: Terrible

I walked down the street in Clinton Hill, my hopes low. My stomach gurgled familiarly, demanding ice cream in penance for putting my psyche through such torture. The light was fading as the sun set, twilight silence engulfing the neighborhood where neither man nor beast seemed to be awake. I studied the buildings and the streets with attentive disinterest, the same way you might look at that thousand dollar dessert in Manhattan, knowing it was probably delicious but that you would never taste it unless you seduced a rich widow. And in the back of my mind, I remembered being in this same position one year ago.

I strolled across the south side of Prospect Park, enjoying the view of autumnal leaves cascading around me. I was on my way to Sunset Terrace to view a three bedroom. The meeting was in a half hour, so I might arrive a bit early, but I knew it’d offer me the perfect opportunity to surround what was, I hoped, to be my future neighborhood.

I casually took my phone from my pocket, completing another neurotic check to make sure I had the right address and time. As I searched for the email, a new one from the very man I was about to meet loaded. Confused, I opened it hastily.

The message was brief: “Hey Greg, we found someone to fill the room. Good luck!”

Well, crap. I turned around.

As I turned the corned I quickly saw the building I was heading towards. A young man in his 20’s was adjusting the blinds as I peered up, and our eyes met for a moment. He waved like he knew me as more than someone answering a Craigslist ad, and I waved gingerly back, knowing if I let myself feel any form of enthusiasm my hopes and dreams will be as crushed as when I discovered Santa was a farce.

Moving to the door, I pressed the buzzer. I bit my lower lip in nervousness like a teenage girl who had been asked to prom by the most popular boy in school but suspected it was just a ruse to get covered in pigs’ blood.

A few moments later, the door opened to the the same friendly man from before. “Hey, Greg? Nice to meet you.”

As I walked up the stairs to the house in Astoria, I began dialing the number I was given. As it rang a girl went to the window and looked at me briefly, before turning around. Through the glass I could hear a muffled, “Shit! He’s here already!” Then she fled from my view as I stood, baffled.

I waited five minutes in the dark, confused by what had happened, a constant inner monologue about whether I should leave or not. As I began walking down the stairs in bafflement, the door opened. The same girl I had seen earlier greeted me. “Oh, hi, Greg? I’m sorry, I just noticed your call, my phone was off…”¬†

Sure, tootsie.

She showed me the room, her words slurred and her footing wobbly, as three of her friends stood awkwardly in the kitchen, their voices a whisper as if they were afraid I was keeping track of what they were saying. As she took me back down the stairs into the living room she turned to me briefly and sputtered, “Okay, I have a confession; I’m a little wasted.”

Well, no duh.

“That’s fine,” I simply said. She stammered a bit more and introduced me to her friends who were also sloshed, and I feigned interest while mostly questioning my ability to get into these situations.

She turns to me and starts talking about the other guy who would be living there, and I feign interest as I prefer to actually meet someone. In her drunken stupor she insists on showing me his room even though he’s gone, and I appease her, fearing the wrath of a drunken event planner scorned.

She knocks on her roommate’s door briefly before opening the door. “Oops,” she happily stutters, a hiccup almost escaping her lips. She quickly closes the door of the other man who lives there and turns to me once more. “They’re in there.” I can only imagine what she saw.

At that point, I politely flee. A day later she offered me the place, but I decide I’d rather not live with the woman who seems to regularly get drunk on Tuesday and the guy who I first encountered when I almost walked in on him and his girlfriend.

“This is Phoebe, the other roommate,” the man explains as we enter the apartment on the second door, gesturing to a woman in her late 20’s eating a huge sandwich. She waves to me, her mouth full of meat and cheese.

The man, Josh, shows me my room, the bathroom, the living room, before we sit down with Phoebe. Everything is gorgeous, and, with the exception of my room being a bit small and lacking windows, it’s perfect. So perfect that I knew that, in the shadows, there must be something sinister lurking. There always is.

I sat in the apartment in Carroll Gardens, my legs going numb. The man on the couch with me continued talking, changing subjects like a stereotypical teenage girl debating what to wear. Four others stood in the room, too, listening to him talk, barely saying a word as they couldn’t keep up with his word diarrhea. Half of what he said wasn’t about the apartment or himself at all, but rather things like the pros and cons of Trader Joe’s or the effects of Celiac Disease.

As we were leaving, he somberly said, “What I’m looking for in a roommate is someone who is clean, nice, and, mostly, someone who can put up with my shit.” I turned without saying a word, knowing that I had no desire to handle anyone else’s shit.

Phoebe, Josh and I talked for 20 minutes — which might be about as much bonding as I did with my previous roommate after 3 months. Despite my gloomy nature at this process and the impending sense of doom I generally felt, I was actually hopeful.

We parted ways, both sides making it clear that we were interested in — to use as sterile of terms possible — interested in proceeding with this venture. I walked out the door, my heart uplifted at the prospect of living with sane people in a neighborhood I liked and an apartment that wasn’t haunted. I would hear back from them that night, they had said.

I waited for an email from the man in Prospect Heights, and when I opened it I was a little despondent; he said everyone he had shown had loved the apartment and a bidding war had erupted. But then, the silver lining; he had liked me more than any of them and would be happy to have me be his roommate if I would simply pay him $300 more per month than he had originally said I would.

I tensed, my reptilian brain slithering about, debating what to do. “$300 is a lot of money! … But it’s in Prospect Heights. But $300 is a lot of money! But he seemed cool. But $300 is a lot and this is probably me being a sucker. BUT I LIKE THE APARTMENT!”

In the end, I took the apartment, and my hunch that I had been a sucker was consistently reaffirmed. But that was coming to an end.

The email arrived 3 hours and 20 minutes after I had left. As it loaded my brain was in turmoil, a mix of fear, hope, hunger, anger, happiness, and zestiness clouding my thoughts.

The email started nicely enough, saying the pair had enjoyed meeting me and would like to have me as their new roommate but — at that word my stomach always lurches — their current roommate had decided to stay.

My head did a free fall onto the desk, my brain turning into a puddle of mush and seeping out of my ears, pooling into a formless mass in front of my face. After so many terrible run-ins I thought I had finally found freedom, only to be gunned down all the same.

And that’s why looking for an apartment makes me want ice cream.

As we are becoming a more self aware society, we constantly discuss poorly- or under-represented groups in the media. I myself have written about how, even as gay people have started having more positive characters, the vast majority of homosexuals in the media have been unintentionally negative stereotypes. If you read things about Doctor Who (you mean you DON’T read about people’s opinions on Doctor Who?!) you have probably seen an essay or two about how problematic and sexist female companions and the always-male Doctors are. And, of course, there are constantly issues with Latinos, Blacks, American Indians, Middle Easterners, Asians every ethnicity but whities on TV and in movies.

But the real, most misrepresented minority is so overlooked that they haven’t even been discussed in these injustices. I’m, obviously, talking about people who rarely seem to be main characters, instead being relegated to, at most, the sidekick. People who you see in real life every day but can go hours without seeing in movies or shows.

That’s right: glasses wearers. Foureyes. Um… Is there another disparaging word for glasses wearers? Because, if there is, pretend I’m saying it righttttt HERE.

Little House on the Prairie owns DIS

Let me mock you more, visually challenged girl! Mwhahaha!!!!

You get the idea.

As a glasses wearer, I have to strain my already strained eyes to find representations of glasses wearers in pop culture. Let’s start with my favorite show: 30 Rock. Who on that wears glasses? Firstly, Tina Fey — though she actually stops wearing them as much as time goes on. Why do you abandon your roots, Tina? Why don’t you embrace your identity? The other character on 30 Rock who wears glasses is Frank, the porn-addicted super nerd. That last bit will come up later. And that’s still only two of the seven main characters, and there are basically no supporting characters with glasses, either.

Next, let’s look at some other shows: Parks and Recreation, which is about government employees, has zero glasses wearers; Grey’s Anatomy, a show about doctors, has zero glasses wearers; and don’t even get me started on the CSI shows, which are about forensics specialists who seem to all be super models (also, I don’t watch CSI so some might wear glasses but I’m ranting so I can’t take the time to verify that!). The list goes on and on, and continues to be saddening.

How is it that there are so few people with spectacles in the media when national studies show that 64% of adults in America have eye wear? The answer, again, is staring you in the face, but you can’t see it — sort of like the proverbial person with a heavy correction who refuses to wear their glasses because they’re afraid of being labeled a nerd; if you wear glasses, you will be labeled a nerd!

Quiz Rocket's a thing?

Well, if the glasses fit…

To wear glasses is to be instantly considered both smarter and geekier, both of which are impediments to sex appeal. There is actual advice out there about how people should wear glasses to job interviews because they will look more competent. Somehow, having terrible eyesight is linked to having a bigger brain, as if the reason my eyes are awful is because my bulbous brain is protruding onto my optical orbs and causing them to malfunction. Similarly, when I prattle on about which Final Fantasy game is my favorite and why, people simply nod their heads and say, “Of course you can immediately list that! Your eyes are terrible, THUS you love video games.”

In the time of the war on women, the war on race, and the war on religion, the closest analog to addressing people’s differing perceptions of you based on whether or not you wear glasses is the issue of nerds vs. jocks. Because, OF COURSE, if you have glasses, you are a nerd — not bad eyesight — and if you don’t have glasses you are a meaty, meaty meathead — or, at best, a secret contacts wearer who wants to avoid being ridiculed as a nerd.

Clark Kent Super Man

“Well, Clark is super awkward, but that’s just ’cause he’s a dork.”

Think about it with one of the most famous characters in American pop culture: Superman. When he’s being awesome and saving the world he wears no glasses; when he is being a lame reporter and generally hiding his bad social skills, he is bespectacled.

And you also have the same with Peter Parker and Spiderman in the last completed movie trilogy (we’re talkin’ Tobey Maguire, here). When he’s a boring nerd at the start, he’s got glasses; then he gets bitten by a radioactive spider, and the ultimate way the director can illustrate his drastic physical improvements is GASP! He no longer needs corrective eye wear!!! Praise the lord, he is saved!

Rachael Leigh Cook


Or go back to CSI; the show is actually largely about nerds (“I can tell where his fruit soda came from based on the protein compositions in his milkshake, teehee!”), but they still can’t wear glasses because, as soon as they do, they lose their sex appeal. I mean, like, EVERYONE totes knows if you wear glasses you can only be cute, not sexy, duh! It’s the ultimate “She’s All That” scenario, where someone goes from being an unpopular geek to a super popular prom queen the moment they discard their useful eye wear, despite the fact they were Rachael Leigh Cook the entire time.

As a glasses wearer and a nerd, I must insist you respect my identities! No longer should my physical impediment be linked to my love of Doctor Who and Star Trek. The fact I happen to love geeky things and can very fairly be called a foureyes is pure happenstance, no more related than my lack of religion and my love of puppies.

With all these misrepresentations about glasses wearers, we as a culture need to discuss eye wear and what it actually means versus what it is symbolic for. Can someone do that? Anyone? Because I’m certainly not the one you want to lead a serious sociological discussion.

My apartment has what I like to call “The Giving Sill,” where people put things they don’t want anymore but are too good to be thrown away. It’s sort of like the Salvation Army without the homophobic lobbying activity.

A barren Giving Sill

A barren Giving Sill

One of my old, ahem, “roommates” (he lived in the loft space over my roommate’s bed for free for six weeks… Did I mention there was a window from the loft into my room?) once found a pendant on The Giving Sill that he managed to sell for $130, so I decided to try my hand at it. One day, I saw three pairs of decent looking shoes and figured, “Why not?” I started an eBay account.

I did some research for about 5 minutes before setting each shoe up at a fair (IE a bit cheaper than other people’s) prices, with a couple pictures and a short comment.

Now, what you might not know about me is that I am amazingly obsessive about projects. Like, check my email every five minutes when there’s one I’m waiting for. So this was bad.

The morning after setting it up, I checked to see if there were bids. Of course, there was not. I panicked and so I lowered the prices for them. I had set them for 7 days and actually lowered the prices for all of them about once a day because I was so nervous they wouldn’t sell. I figure that’s strike one.

A week later, the first item I had listed, a pair of grey and green Adidas sneakers, had 3 minutes left so I pulled them off and relisted them for cheaper ($12 to buy instantly instead of $15 to bid). Almost immediately after, I got a message from someone saying he had installed a program to bid at literally the last moment. I suggested they just but it now, for $3 cheaper, and they never replied back to me.

At this point I got angry at the guy — why not just BUY the shoes now for cheaper than what he had admitted he had planned on buying them for — so I raised the starting bid from $9 to $12 because I refuse to reward such a cheap jerk!

Shortly after, I did not sell my other two items, despite not taking them down, and gave up on them. The Adidas were still there; they could still be sold and make this effort and paranoia worthwhile.

Finally, it was 2 hours until the original pair of shoes were out of time with no bids left, and I get a message asking for more pictures. I was very weary at this point and about to go out, so I ignored it. Two minutes after the shoes failed to sell, I got a message saying they would’ve probably bought them. I respond with a message that simply said, “Well now I’m lighting them on fire.”

End of story: I am the worse salesman ever. I should never try to actually sell merchandise (though I’m good at pitching stories and such) because I would probably berate customers who were looking for good deals. Like, literally berate them. If I was a car salesman and someone was giving me the run around I would probably end up vandalizing the car in front of them just to prove a point. It’s safe to say my eBay days are over.

In the last month, there’s a new app that has come and taken the world (or at least the interwebs) by storm. Its name: Snapchat. As with all those other popular apps that become briefly popular and are not far from being uttered on the lips of the tech savvy, Snapchat has a certain whimsy and simplicity to its concept that makes it charming. Unfortunately, it’s also terribly dumb.

Property of the Snappiest, Chattiest app ever.

This is the 100% real picture associated with Snapchat from the app creators. “Ohhh girl, look! Pictures through my phone! That’s, like, sooo unique!”

The concept of Snapchat is simple: it’s a quick way, through your iOS devices, to send pictures to your friends. Sounds nifty, right? Who doesn’t love sending people pictures? Nobody, that’s who!

However, there is a dark truth to Snapchat, and that black veracity is that Snapchat is both redundant and inferior to iMessages. It’s like what North Dakota is to Montana — just as many tiny towns, less impressive cities, and noting but flat wastelands.

Property of LogoTV and such.

Commence dragulation.

It’s redundant because, well, you can already send pictures through iMessages. Actually, you can send pictures through many apps, and some of them even make the pictures more unique, like The Dragulator. It’s inferior because the gimmick that makes Snapchat unique is that Snapchat only sends someone an image for a second or a few seconds, depending on the sender’s settings.

If this sounds fun to you you are insane. More than being useful, this is the equivalent to some valley girl saying, “OMG look at this!” flashing her phone to you, and then pulling it away before you have any idea what you just saw, all in one app! Hooray!

So there we have it: Snapchat, the worst app ever. There is, however, one potential use to Snapchat, as pointed out by a friend of a friend; you can send dirty pics on Snapchat without fear of them being spread around¬† — unless the receiver knows how to quickly do a screen capture… Okay, it’s still useless.

Awhile ago, they announced yet another reboot of a franchise I loved as a kid: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And I was pretty thrilled. Growing up, I loved the show, and the games, and gosh darn it if I didn’t view Donatello, the nerdy one with the purple bandana, as my hero.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles totally owned by Nick and such, cowabunga!

These are not the turtles you’re looking for.

Then I found out it was going to be directed by Michael Bay, responsible for the Transformers movies, which I can fondly say may very well be the worst blockbuster franchise ever. As you could guess, my thrill was replaced with irritation, dread, and a bit of throw up.

Shortly after it was announced that Michael Bay was to direct it, he joyously said, “Oh, and by the by, they’re going to be aliens, lol!” The fan base of the show was not super pleased.

Then something magical happened: the movie was put on indefinite hiatus. There’s a funny thing about that term: in America, we seem to think “indefinite” means “forever.” Indefinite means, you know, not definite. As in we have no idea how long it’ll last.

Prepare for trouble / And make it double! / Michael! / Megan! / Blast off!!!

Alas, the connotation “forever” would have been very welcome in this instance, but it was not true; a few short months after this, TMNATMT returned to life, and with more bad news: Megan Fox was going to star in it. All of this comes together to mean that TMNATMT will truly be the worst movie ever — just as Vampire High was the worst show ever — for three specific reasons:

1) Michael Bay: Michael Bay is terrible. Let’s just admit this. He has an unhealthy alien fetish, blows up anything in a franchise resembling intelligence, thinks any movie under two and a half hours isn’t worth it, and somehow managed to make Transformers and Battleship seem even more ridiculous than they were. I mean, Transformers was about robots turning into cars and he made it worse.

That, dearest readers, is a pretty terrifying set of skills.

Property of Movie Web and such

“Grr, I is alien mutantz!!!”

2) Aliens and Robots: Yep, aliens and robots. Michael Bay loves aliens and robots, so now the turtles won’t be mutants, they’ll be aliens, which (GASP!) are indeed different things. At best they will be alien mutants, which seems just a little like overkill, right? That’s like vampire zombies: sure they could potentially exist, but their existence in cinema really wouldn’t improve the quality of, um, anything.

As far as robots go, since Michael Bay added robot aliens into Battleship, which was originally a game about two warring navies — and the robots had a strong resemblance to Transformers — my great worry is that Shredder is going to be a robot. He’s going to be a f***ing Transformers-style alien robot. His new name will be Shred-Tron.

I will eat your childhood.

3) Megan Fox: You know, Megan Fox, who was fired from Transformers 3 by Michael Bay because she is apparently such an arrogant wench? Megan Fox, who is considered to be the runner up to Kristin Stewart in the overpaid, emotionless trollop awards? Yep, she’s going to help make sure this dismal movie is truly abysmal. Megan Fox is, in short, the Michael Bay of actors.

Maybe it’s just me, but seeing Megan Fox straddling an anthropomorphic, alien-mutant turtle man — and it will happen in the movie, mark my words– will not make my life any better.


Michael Bay has been systemically, retroactively ruining my childhood for years. He does this by reminding me of the things I loved, magnifying everything bad about them, and then shoving a stick of dynamite up the proverbial orifice of anything that was actually good about them.

The worst part about TMNATMT is that it will be a huge success, if for no other reason than Michael Bay has broken records on the amount of product placement in his movies. This means there will probably be two sequels, perhaps titled Shredder’s Revenge and Revenging of Shred-Tron 3.0. Vampire High at least had the decency to end very, very quickly after people acknowledged it was awful.

And after TMNATMT is done, what’ll he destroy next? My prediction: Candy Land. Princess Lollipop, played by Megan Fox, will be an alien who battles giant, transforming robots with the help of her mechanical candy grenades so that they don’t steal the power source from Gumdrop Mountain.

Owned by Hasbro and such

You’re next!!!

While I was in New York I did many exciting things, like eating and drinking and riding the subway. Most exciting of all, though, my friend and I watched a show: Vampire High — which is the worst show ever.

Continue reading

The saga continues with the second of three parts of chapter one. Which might just be the only chapter I post. Also, this is much shorter than the first because the third section is a good deal bigger and I didn’t want to separate it more. Continue reading