Wednesday, January 17, 2007

How do I start my New Year?

How do I start a brand new year? Let’s see... but, first, let me tell you my story—
I technically “crashlanded” in Western North Carolina – via Asheville Regional Airport in Arden – at the start of the 1999/2000 winter. So 2007 should be my seventh year here in the mountains. This is big deal – because SEVEN is always either my lucky number or misfortune signal. But who cares about the dark side, right? I am still a Madman on a Mission, and in my journey, those who don’t give up, win! Seven is my jersey number, that’s it. I don’t have any plans at hanging it up the ceiling of my grand lunacy yet.
Forget that I didn’t have a superb Christmas season and I wasn’t able to pop a Dom Perignon cork out on New Year’s Eve. But, look at me, I’m still alive and kicking—so let my Seventh Sign’s Sunshine reign! It’s not exactly a brand new life—but it’s always cool to regroup and reenergize as we usher in a brand new year. A brand new gig, alright!
Apart from the obligatory changing of wall calendars and desk planners, responsible first-day-of-the-year emails to my close relatives in the Philippines and the West Coast, plus a week-long pencil-pushing/drafting of my Winter-to-Spring Projects Checklist... I kicked off my 2007 by mooning over NanoNuno, salivating at a CrustaStun, and daydreaming about a pair of Pleo clattering on my bathroom floor.
Uhh, what do I mean by these? Well, aside from rethinking or realigning my philosophical wavelengths and rehashing/reformatting significant tangibles (such as a twice-a-month Indie), I also sort of started to confront my demons, or what I call as First World Demons. Futile consumerism, slothful indifference by way of techno brattiness, and their relative super-guilty pleasures.
NanoNuno, CrustaStun, Pleo. These irksome figments of my techno-intoxications, by the way, cost a grand total of $5,085.00. I don’t really need these electro-baubles, in the same way that I don’t need more hardbound books to purchase online or DVD movies to score 4-for-$20 at Blockbuster or more cheap sunglasses to hang on my kitchen wall... but I’m not saying that I don’t get tempted to buy these stuff and things when I am able to.
I like cool toys... like this newly-issued ultra-compact computer from OQO. Weighing in at only 1lb., this PC is the world’s smallest Windows Vista-capable computer, with a blazing processor to boot. The device is small enough to fit in your hand—and boasts wireless Web access. Or, how about the portable Widget Station? This Web by the Bed plaything from Emtrace lets you access the Internet quickly, check out NBA and NCAA box scores, for example ... by your bedside, before or after making love. Cool, indeed! How much? Forget about it...
Sadly though, right at this very moment, I only have $32.75 nestled like fragments of frozen lizard entrails in my impoverished bank account—after spending $244.24 for 100 gallons of fuel oil, hoping that this temporal heating lasts till end of March...
I actually thought, three months ago, that stocking up on logs and wood would secure me fireplace warmth come winter so I could get me a new laptop. But as soon as the first of autumn’s below 30s temp hit the mountains, and deep into my backside and hipbones, the annoying pain not only frustrated my anticipation of a secondhand MacBook Pro – it also drove me back to my ramen noodle diet for at least two weeks! At least, I could comfort myself by exalting the life of Momofuku Ando, who recently passed away at age 96. Who’s the dude? He invented ramen noodles in 1958, that’s him! Apart from the ever-lovable Cup-a-Noodle, he also gifted humanity with the immortal line, “Peace prevails when food suffices.”
So, as I always exhort – love good, live good, and eat only good food! (But, including ramen noodles...)

What a way to start my 2007, right?
That’s okay though, no big deal... While staring at teardrops of rain hugged my window, overlooking Dunwell Avenue, at least I was able to excise tiny snatches of positive vibes within my funk-weary system to amuse (or entertain) myself. Hence, I wondered out loud, “What would more endowed souls somewhere in America be spending on as the New Year ushers in?”
Well, my front neighbor just bought her wife a Honda Element EX SUV. My Long Island homey, Minnie The Ripper, gifted herself with an Oliso steam iron – a cool gizmo that automatically lifts itself to stand about an inch above the board. (To resume ironing, Minnie emailed, just touch it again, and the legs gently retract!) She bought her twins, Tom and Rom, an iPod nano and iPod shuffle, respectively. Minnie’s kids move and talk like tiny microchip human figures that sometimes I think they actually emanated from inside a Dell. I never met their Dad, by the way... oh well.
Meantime, my 35-year-old nerdie cousin Brigham The Gum (he has this thing about talking while chewing gums) stocked up on PlayStations... especially those kind of soldier-at-war stuff that they advertise on primetime TV, in between NBA games, behind an ultra-mawkish tune by Five for Fighting, I think. Brigham wrote me, “Who cares about Cheerios and Twinkies? I got a dozen Ps2, man!” This cousin of mine is absolutely mental! I wonder if some genetic dislocation or cosmic evolutionary configuration gone nuts sort of made us first-degree cousins... Brigham and Pasckie—weird, isn’t it?

A year ago, I listed 10 stereotype New Year’s Resolutions – this time, I didn’t even bother to think about it. I’ll just do better, that’s all... I’d like to be more practical, realistic, logical, sensible, and smart – although I must admit that, if I have some extra dough (like maybe couple of thousand bucks), I’d also dive down this perfumed shithole of consumerist hedonism.
It would be cool if, for even one year, I quit shopping at Goodwill and Habitat each time I am able to save $35 off my monthly food budget... I’d like to save up some dough so I could score a NanoNuno umbrella. This little fancy thing dries after a quick shake, so you don’t have to park it outside the door on rainy days. The canopy’s nanotech polyester surface is designed to repel water droplets, so they don’t end up on you or your door. It costs $95... my little polka-dot umbrella which I bought at a Family Dollar in Myrtle Beach SC three Julys ago costs $2. It’s still okay but a NanoNuno isn’t bad at all, isn’t it?
For a change, I’d like to add a Pleo as a new member to my “multi-cultural” collection of miniatures and bobbleheads and dolls – which include Chucky, Elvis The Pelvis, Janis Joplin, Harry Potter, Indra, Jessica Simpson Barbie, Kiss Army, monkey-see/monkey-do etc. Pleo, which is modeled after a baby carnarasaurus (a plant-eating dinosaur), aims to be more lifelike. When it walks, its whole body sways. It’s equipped with more than three dozen touch, sound, light and tilt sensors, and it even has moods. Way cool! But, alas, it costs $250 each. You see, I got fifteen ceramic Peter Pan table ornaments via eBay for only $20...
Tough, isn’t it?
Just for kicks, if ever – well, if ever my beloved Blue Sky God/dess drops me few thousands of greenbucks – I’d sure get me a CrustaStun, as a constant reminder of how deep Orwell’s human beings have succumbed deep down life’s catacomb of oblique contradictions.
British barrister Simon Buckhaven devised a kinder way to kill lobsters. Hi CrustaStun electrocutes them with a 110-volt shock, dispatching them in about five seconds, against the two minutes it takes in hot water. Think about gas chamber versus electric chair, versus firing squad, versus guillotine, versus stoning, versus crucifixion... whatever, we still kill, uhh—murder the crustacean. This exterminator, by the way, costs $4,740! You see, I can’t even afford a pound of lobster (around $15 to $20 at Ingles?), why would I bite Mr Buckhaven’s bull? Just because there’s an easier, more humane way to murder a crustacean before we gobble them up or sell them for $65 a plate?
The point is—there will always be cool stuff and things to purchase and consume and throw away in America. As long as I live here, I’ll always be battling enticements and flirtations to buy this and that. I am such a willing victim, sometimes... Look, just because I told myself that I’ll do more kitchen tasks, housework and yard chores this 2007, I convinced a relative to buy me a magic chopper (“safely chops or dices in one motion!) for $9.98; a cordless rechargeable swivel sweeper for $34.98; and, a lantern with TV and AM/FM radio for $49.98 (“keeps you entertained and informed when the electricity goes out”).

Ah, 2007!
How do we really start a “better” year when it’s simply impossible to run away or evade the world unfolding and flashing like naughty, malicious emoticons before our blinded-by-the-light eyes? You want to consume lesser paper products (so we may have trees in the future?)—and then, the mailperson dumps ten pounds of store catalogues, bills reminders, and cartons of pre-ordered merchandise into your front door, almost on a daily basis; you want to keep your body well-taken cared of so you go make a weekly list of organic food staples to purchase—only to realize that your monthly salary isn’t even enough to pay the basic bills (rent, power, heating, water/utilities) and unavoidable expenditures (gasoline allowance, family financial obligations, health/car insurance etc). So you end up, well, stocking up on ramen noodles or the usual “poisonous” chows for the carnivore.
So I guess, I just have to take it easy this time out. Never mind that it’s also almost impossible to take it easy these days...
As the Holiday unwinds, we see Saddam Hussein with a deadly noose around his neck on primetime TV for our kids to ogle about—many, many times a day for almost two weeks! Then, after the news, we remind our 10-year-old son not to surf because that is a bad thing to do. Sex isn’t good for kids, real-life violence is – so let’s all coax our children to play passionate ice hockey, with arms and fists ready to break a nose or two, and be good, God-fearing citizens. Hang the man on cable TV, google it up—better shots, man!
So how am I suppose to promise myself that I will not rant and rave anymore this year? We wanted something more positive and enlightened on TV but this is what I get one snowy evening – a New York woman made national TV because she just found her long lost high school ring in Florida! If that was indeed news, then I’d rather amuse my synthetic sarcasm with Rosie O and The Donald’s tabloid crap.
But, hey, this one is news — Robert Nuranen just paid a public library in Hancock, Michigan $171,32 in penalty for not returning a copy of the book “Prince of Egypt” for 47 years. I mean, with that money, he could have bought himself two pairs of NanoNuno umbrellas, with spare change more to score The Beatles new “Love” CD plus a huge U-Haul carton of Cup-a-Noodles. “Prince of Egypt”? Why not Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying” or an Anais Nin diary, for cryin’ out loud...

But the craziest, of course, is this neverending issue of – when are we going to pull out troops in Iraq? From $48 billion in 2003, to $59 billion in 2004, to $81 billion in 2005, to an anticipated $94 billion in 2006, war budget has steadily increased as body bags keep on piling. The US government is now spending nearly $10 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, up from $8.2 billion a year ago, a new Congressional Research Service report found. Annual war costs in Iraq are easily outpacing the $61 billion a year that the United States spent in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972, in today’s dollars.
Damn, remember that super pissed-off dude in Florida who bludgeoned his roomie to death because the poor soul didn’t buy new rolls of toilet paper? Maybe the guy didn’t have money, c’mon? I mean, $61 billion to kill and be killed... while the average trailer park resident, minimum wage earner couldn’t even afford a roll of freakin’ toilet paper? Surreal world...
According to Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize-winning economist and a Harvard budget expert, the real cost to the US of the Iraq war is likely to be between $1 trillion and $2 trillion (£1.1 trillion), up to 10 times more than previously thought.
So, anyways, this 2007, need I talk more about the war, consumerist limbos, a loudmouth dude named Glenn Beck, highrises on Merrimon Avenue, roaches in my merlot, Charter’s phantasmic billing, or whiny downtown condo primadonnas? Nah, my 2007 will be less stressful. I’ll sure gonna get my Pleo, read more Britney and Lindsay online vs daily dose of “Law & Order,” rout for Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady of the Rockets and Duke’s Alison Bales (she’s my new crush!), throw down more Cup-a-Noodles, watch more slasher movies (“Saw, Part 96?”), eat more clams and oysters at East Buffet, read more sappy poetry at Malaprop’s, drink more Coke and piss off the Immaculate Souls of Asheville forever, and build more Bonfires, baby!
Woo-hoo! 2007 is my Seventh Sign’s Sunshine! Rock ‘n roll!


Post a Comment

<< Home