Friday, June 27, 2008


My day with Casey took me to Paris' premier Jewish/Gay neighborhood. There's nothing like seeing a pair of orthodox jews followed by a couple of men wrapped in leather and wearing ball gags (okay, there was no ball gag).
Anyway, one of the neighborhood's most brightly colored buildings is a bar/café called Cox.

"C'mon! Even in a second language, that title lacks ingenuity!" I complained.

The lack of ingenuity, THAT is what I found most offensive about Cox.

Parlez-vous American?

Yesterday with Casey, we started talking about how living abroad can somehow turn apologist liberals like ourselves into rabid patriots. This change occurs gradually as attacks on your nationality grow increasingly repetitive, hypocritical, and banal (pronounced buh-nahl. Thanks, Mom!).

You hear things like:

"In America, you are so racist. Now, go barter with that Algerian negro."

"You have problems with black people and we have problems with Eastern Europeans. Now, I don't hate Romanians, it's just that stealing is in their blood."

"In America, you like your pasta soft and you use ketchup as tomato sauce."

"Why do you call foreign people 'aliens'? What are we, from outer space?" ("Seriously?" I responded to this certain Quebecois)

Eventually, this gets so frustrating that you start responding in the same way.

Responses may include:

"Well, at least we don't generally risk hepatitis by using a public restroom."

"In America, I generally don't have to crouch on my knees to take a shower."

"In America, we're friendly."

This back-and-forth grows so tiresome that you end up arguing for things that you don't even believe in:

"Fuck yeah, WMDs!"

Or, as Casey shouted, "George Bush is awesome!"

I assured her that I never fell quite that far.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bonjour, Paris!

Well, I've arrived in the city of light, but only after about 24 hours of travel, a sore throat, a bout of constipation, 6 advils, and a xanax. What did I do for my first day here? I slept. And ate some pizza. And had a nightmare about Dexter.

Today, however, will be very different. In a couple of minutes, I'm catching the metro to meet with my friend Casey who has been au pairing in Paris for the past year. The last time I went on a trip with Casey was to see Lilith Fair when we were in fourth grade. Everybody thought that our moms were lesbians. Needless to say, this time should be very different (i.e., more booze, less Paula Cole).

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ou est le bibliotheque?

Alright, gang! Bright and early tomorrow morning, I’m off on a three-week jaunt across France and Italy. I imagine that it will be a mix of What A Girl Wants, Breathless, and Top Gun. I guess that means that I plan to take up with a French criminal, look like Jean Seberg, fall down in front of high society types, and finally make Colin Firth realize that he is my real father. I threw Top Gun in there because I think that I would like to be called Goose or Ice Cubez or something.

Anyway, I’ll try to blog my happenings as much as possible. Until then:

My Old Bush

Yesterday, I went with my friends Dustin and Veronica to visit Dustin’s parents’ land in Dodgeville. Everything was beautiful—the air, the country, their hospitality, etc. Perhaps most beautiful of all, however, was the amount of innuendo.

First, my friend Veronica keeps talking about how much she loves to toss salad, but not with tools. Oh, no. She likes to get in there and really get her hands dirty.

Second, Dustin’s grandma, talking about her garden, waxes on about how her old bush is really thick this year. While imagining this, please keep in mind that she wasn’t saying THE old bush, but kept saying “MY old bush.” And she keeps repeating it over and over again.

Finally, over dessert, there is a big conversation about pie, providing lots of material for my internal eleven-year-old boy. The cherry on top of the immature cake was when Dustin’s dad, shaking his head, says, “If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a runny pie.”

Pop Quiz Kid Endorsed

This Saturday, I went to see Tarsem's The Fall. It was cinematically beautiful and features the delightful Lee Pace. I cried like a little girl (not the feat it used to be) and held my pee for the entire second half of the movie for fear of missing anything. It's definitely a big screener, so catch it while you can!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Clever Taxi Title"

Tonight, I took a taxi home after meeting up with some friends for a drink. The driver, obviously bored from dragging people all over town, decided to make my ride as uncomfortable as possible by telling me how he can’t pay the rent or electric bill and needs two thousand dollars.

“I’ve had such a stressful day,” he said. “Basically I’m gonna get evicted and my house will be dark when they take it away from me.”

What does a person say to that? My mind was blanker than Jerri.

“Well, at least you’re leaving it worse than when you found it,” was all I could think of.

“Hey, if you know any rich women who want me to do things to them,” he joked.

“Can’t help you there.”

This cab ride lasted six more excruciating blocks in which he told me how supportive his daughter has been, how this will never happen to her, yadda yadda yadda.

Pulling up to the house, I gave him my money. He counted it and sighed. I think he expected me to toss him a thousand and wish him luck in his future endeavors, but he over-estimated my kindness and the depth of my wallet.

Trust me, internet friends, I’m generally a bit nicer, but (a) there was a meter running,(b) I was a captive audience, and (c) this was the THIRD time I’ve had this cab driver and the THIRD time that he has given me uncomfortable personal information. I actually planned to write this blog two weeks ago when I encountered him a second time.

Here’s a summary of the previous encounters:

Conversation #1:

Pop Quiz Kid: Did you get to enjoy the weather today?
Taxi Driver: No, I was in court all day. My girlfriend was trying to get her daughter back from the government.
PQK: silence
TD: Yeah, when they said she could have her back, we all just started crying.
PQK: silence
TD: Now we just have to go back for her son.
PQK: Reaching for the door, ready to throw myself into oncoming traffic

Conversation #2:

TD: How was work.
PQK: Fine, but I’m glad to be done.
TD: I’ve never been to that restaurant before.
PQK: You should try it sometime.
TD: My girlfriend’s on Weight Watchers, so we only go to places that have food points listed.
PQK: Oh, sure.
TD: You know, I lost seventy-five pounds.
PQK: Congratulations. aside Jesus Christ.

Either Madison needs more cab drivers or I need to find another mode of transportation because I am terrified of Conversation #4

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ain't nothing gonna break-a my stride

Remember that blog a couple of posts back where I talk about trying to be braver through the voice of Al Swearengen? Well, my new attempt at bravery is causing me to do some crazy fuckin’ things—like life-changing fuckin’ things, things that I wouldn’t of even tried before.

I just e-mailed a sort-of estranged friend and… gulp… told him how I feel. No, not in an “I’m in love with you” way, but a “we’ve never recognized that we barely talk anymore and I’m sick of it” way. My heart is beating about a mile a minute and I think that it’s moved into my throat. Does that say anything to my abilities regarding confrontation? Yikes.

It’s not just that. I’ve got a couple big things in the works… things that I’m keeping under wraps until I know that they’re for sure going to happen. That way I won’t have to announce to the entire internet that I’m a cock sucking FAILURE.

My, this blog was a weensy bit personal. Just goes to show that once you allow a woman to let one thing off of her magnificent chest, she won’t stop until she’s dead… or until she wakes up tomorrow morning and thinks, “Oh, god. What the hell did I publish?”

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oh, I'll come over. I'll come over at 'night'

The other night, I was invited over to a couple of friends’ air-conditioned apartment to avoid the rain and humidity while helping mix and roll out some hand-made pasta. Six delicious ricotta-stuffed ravioli, one beer, two glasses of cava, and a glass of wine later, I polled them on a question I have been thinking about lately:

Is sex appeal something that can be learned or is it just inherent?

I admit it. I had ulterior and personal motives to my question that my friends saw right away.

“What is this really about?” they asked.

How shall I put this in a way that isn’t exaggerated? Alright, here we go. I am probably one of the least sexy people that you will ever meet. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have poor body image. If I may so myself, I think that, on the ugly-pretty scale, I definitely lean towards pretty. It’s not a personality problem either. As you can tell from this blog, I spend a lot of time in my head and, believe you me, it is a great place to hang out. It all comes back to sex appeal and my lack of it.

For example, despite the amount of times that it has been explained to me, I don’t know or understand what flirting is.

“You just act more interested in whatever that person has to say,” they say.
“So, it’s being fake,” I say.
“No, because you really are interested.”
“So, it’s just talking?”
“No, it’s more than just talking.”
“What about fart jokes?”

Oh, I also feel uncomfortable touching people, so those lingering handshakes and under-the-table footsie games can be ruled out.

My little poll evolved into a thoughtful critique on my romantic abilities.

“Ha! It’s like when Kenneth on 30 Rock says ‘I’m a good sex person!’” I interrupt.

“Maybe your problem is that you focus more on 30 Rock than you do on sex…”

That little taste of truth was quite the conversation killer, let me tell you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Like Peter Pan, but without charm

This afternoon, I walked over to my parents’ house for a little (more) R & R. I didn’t feel like they were paying enough attention to me, so, naturally, I did what any mature twenty-one-year-old would do:

I threw a tantrum about my new highlights and left.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Rainy days and mondays always get me down

Forecast for the next week:

Saturday: rain, Sunday: rain, Monday: rain, Tuesday: rain, Wednesday: rain, Thursday: rain, Friday: rain.

Gee, I sure am glad that winter is over and we can finally enjoy the great Wisconsin outdoors

How much of this blog must I devote to complaining about the weather?.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Age impedes my stream, no fuckin' fear of you

Recently, I’ve decided to try and be more ambitious. To be more ambitious, I’ve decided that I first need to be more assertive. Now, I don’t consider myself a doormat by any means. I come across as pretty confident (a brilliant façade) and I can talk big, so people generally let me be—growing up on the mean Wisconsin streets, this is quite the accomplishment for an O.G. like myself. However, there are certain times, particularly times involving my advancement in the world, that I totally fall apart like when asking for a raise (to be truthful, I’ve never been ambitious enough to have a job where you get raises) or applying for college (my mom decided I should go to community college—Thanks Mom!). I panic, apologize, excuse myself to go stifle my sobs in the bathroom stall (done multiple times at various jobs and once at an orientation for UW), etc. In fact, my voice has a certain point of volume which, when exceeded, unfailingly breaks into crying. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but no. This is not has sexy as it sounds. Anyway, coming to a point in my life where I’m exhausted by my lethargy and ambivalence—a point where I actually want to test my own abilities in becoming what I might want to be—I’ve decided to assert myself.

Some people might do this by reading self-help books; others might do this by being aggressive assholes to people who are weaker than them (also a valid choice). Me? I’ve decided to do this in true PQK fashion: converting my thought process into the voice of Deadwood’s Al Swearengen.

Warning: This clip is on the vulgar side

So basically I’ve been thinking in iambic pentameter and peppering my internal sentences with words like fuck, cocksucker, and cunt. I haven’t confronted any prospective employers yet, but I do break it out while speaking to the decapitated head that I keep in my closet (rent the show, it’s only three seasons for Christ’s sake).

This internal change might be because I have finally finished the show’s final season and it may also be because I’ve realized my calling as a surprisingly good-hearted thug/pimp/leader in an 1870’s South Dakota mining town. Either way, I enjoy thinking, “Does that cocksucker mean to give me fuckin’ pause?” while waiting on a table at work.

On related HBO note, I saw the Sex and the City movie and 14 of my 15 predictions come true. Carrie does not wear a hat shaped like Marx. Rather she wears a hat shaped like Ezra Pound.