Friday, December 16, 2005

December 11th, 2005

Yesterday I blew out my tire on the highway heading back home from Ann Arbor to check out the Berkley wrestling tournament. In light of the unexpected turn of events, I stopped by to see Poppie who appeared to be more unhappy than I’ve ever seen him. It’s because they have him basically locked up in a drab hospital room in a building filled with people who passed their prime back when central park was a flowerpot. I wonder if there’s a more feasibly humane way for him to live out the remainder of his life. Never in a million years did he ever fathom life would be like it currently is for him, and the scary part is that he’s making me realize it at only 21 years of age.
I went out to lunch with Auntie at Rams Horn before dropping in to see the ‘rents’, who while might have been happy to see me, as usual expressed it in the most conceivably opposite way. Upon returning back to Ann Arbor later in the evening, Allen treated Brian and I to an extravagant feast at Red Lobster. We filled ourselves up on lobster, crab, shrimp, heavily buttered biscuits, grilled trout, mashed potatoes, veggies, and of course I washed it all down with my usual order of cherry coke. And also as usual, Allen made all sorts of indecisive revelations on topics ranging from food, to girls, to teleportation, and of course circling back to girls again.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Laners & I at Marshall Fields  Posted by Picasa

Latin, menial work, autumn, and aimlessness - excerpts from letters


I spend time with my roommates, watch a few movies here and there, lift weights,occasionally work at the dining hall, am constantly bombarded with questions about future plans, and study latin. I turned 21 on Monday and got a blender, a juicer, some new chord pants, and a nice shirt and tie. I also got a pictureframe that I put a polaroid of me and my parents in. Lane's currently visiting from his Buddhist Monastery abode in California for mine and my father's birthday. Daddy dearest turns 60 tomorrow. Not a whole lot else going on,though I keep trying unsuccessfully to find time where I can take a trip somewhere.
I didn't observe Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, so I guess that makes me a bad Jew (not that I ever do). I've been too busy thinking about things that I have to do but can't bring myself to do. I often feel like I'm headed down a path to homelessness. Intensive Latin is overwhelming (even though I don't even do as much as I'm supposed to for the class), and I get nauseas thinking about the applications I have to fill out for internships and jobs for when I graduate (even though there’s only two and both are relatively easy). I don't know how I'll ever survive. It’s a running joke in my life that I lived in a plastic bubble until just recently. Present times for me are like being in a Woody Allen movie with all of the neurosis, minus most of the fun.
I gave my friend Allen (the Australian exchange-student) a concentration pill a couple of weeks ago in the hopes that he would write a screenplay we mutually conceptualized. Considering I haven't been able to write one to date (because God knows why), the plan was for him to write a masterpiece that we could both take credit for and become famous. He would do all the work, I'd do all the musing, and together we'd ride one another's coattails all the way to the top. I guess I'm always looking toward other people to save me, but maybe one day I'll learn the moral of the story that says only I can save myself (or Jesus, depending on who you ask).

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Sometime in late August...

I've been back home for about three weeks now and I've had so much time on my hands, I don't know what to do with myself. School doesn't start for another few weeks and I haven't been able to get a job, but that hasn't stopped me from hopelessly applying for a bunch. I've been watching tons of movies, doing a bit of reading, eventless hanging out with friends, and much staring at the wall. Did I mention that I've been looking at tons of internet porn? I probably should have left that part out.
In case you're interested, here's a summary of how the rest of my travels turned out in Fiji: From the moment I stepped off the airplane I felt like I was getting royally hustled. My flight out of Melbourne had been delayed a day and I hadn't been able to get in touch with Dan and Chris. I was greeted at the airport by a bearded Fijian woman who mysteriously knew me by name. She swept me away to her office and I found out she had been the travel agent for my friends. She told me I owed her $67 cash for an up-front deposit and was supposed to meet Dan and Chris on some island the following morning. I was forced to pay in cash, there was no receipt, I had no way of getting in contact with the guys, and my ATM card miraculously stopped working. Meanwhile, some girl that I had just met on the flight over named Anna was waiting for me while I tried to sort through all the nonsense. Turns out she was the past president of JCH college.
Somehow things wound up working out, and somehow Anna and I had to share the last bed left at some shady hostel that night. When we walked into our room, there was some guy just standing in there naked. Mind you it was a multiple-person room, but this guy made no effort to throw on any clothes even after acknowledging Anna's presence. Total weirdo.
The next morning I set off for Mana. It was like paradise, except that I got sick on my second night and puked up everything in my system. While on the island, we stayed at this cheap lodge but kept leeching off the resort and all of their activities. The first night I won three times at Bingo for a grand total of $35. At coconut ice cream making the next day, though, I got busted for being a backpacker and they kicked me out, but not before I got to have my ice cream. Because we were backpackers eager to save money any way we could, instead of taking a proper boat from Mana over to Beachcomber, they put us on the smallest ghetto jetboat while the weather conditions were terrible. The waves were incredibly choppy and I'm pretty sure I broke my tailbone, not to mention that I might have just as well jumped in and swam by how soaked I got during the ride. One of the waves hit me so hard that I was knocked straight backwards and almost out of the boat. Another near death experience was while watching the fire twirlers at a bar one night. Three times the flame stick flew out of the twirlers hand and landed in the audience, once even setting a guy's clothes on fire. Don't worry, though, the flames for those shows aren't typically as hot as a normal flame. 
After Mana we went to this crazy party island called Beachcomber. Instead of picking up any cute single girls, we managed to befriend this 24 year old associate professor of neuroscience from Ottawa who was getting harassed by this shady guy from LA all night. I also sort of won the chess tournament on the island earlier in the day and was rewarded with a free jug of beer that I couldn't even really drink because my stomach was still recovering from the bad fish that I think I'd eaten the night before. Dan and I and Chris were the only three that showed up to the chess tournament at first, then some other random stragglers, I beat Chris, he beat two other kids, I refused to play another game because I was mentally drained, so I won somehow. We also played tons of scrabble (the weather was pretty bad outside). I still had two days on the mainland after Dan and Chris left, so I spent them latching onto this British couple.
So that's Fiji in a nutshell.

Monday, June 20, 2005

June 20, 2005 - 6:11pm

IH is turning into a cemetary and I'm getting kicked out of here in 5 days. Not too long ago I went to Sydney where I had a grand ole' time. Riding on the coattails of mommy and daddy's bank account, Lane and I got to take a fancy tour around the city and visit the Blue Mountains. Later that night we went to see an amazing dance performance at the Opera House called "Grande". There were all these different dances set to famous piano pieces (with the piano as the focal point of the whole show) and some avant-garde multimedia shenanigans thrown into the mix to keep things interesting. The piano player even started plucking on the piano strings like a guitar during the performance. Early the next morning, the family split and I was left to my own devices. I scoured the entire city on foot, hit up the Sydney Film Festival with a screening of "A Day Without A Mexican" (about what happens when the Latino population of California mysteriously dissappears overnight), and finally settled in at a hostel in the seediest part of town, Kings Cross. I quickly made friends with these two Irish guys, Jamie and Ray, and we headed off for some partying at The Rocks (the oldest part of the city). We wound up at an Irish pub, and miraculously enough, everyone was Irish, not just people of Irish blood, but those actually from Ireland that speak with an awesome accent. Ray and Jamie said it was as good as being in Ireland. Afterwards, we made the long trek back to Kings Cross and visitied the shadiest strip club imaginable. The following day, the three of us took the ferry to Manly Beach, which provided us with quite a dandy view of the city. When dusk started to roll around, I said goodbye to the Irish lads and set off for a new hostel as far away from Kings Cross as I could get. In my new room, there were 4 guys and 6 girls: 4 Americans, 1 Canadian, 1 Frenchman, 1 Israeli, 3 British, and a partridge in a pear tree. We chatted it up for several hours and the other Americans kept trying to convince the others that peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches are actually tasty. The next morning I set off for Bondi beach with two girls from Montana. In an effort to prove to me how nice Montanans are, they packed me a PB&J sandwhich and fed me Tim-Tams. At 2pm, it was time for me to set off for the airport to make it back in time for dinner in Melbourne with the European crew.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

June 10th - 3am

I've got an exam in ten hours and I have yet to begin studying. I'm pretty sure that I don't care about it too much, though it is a little disconcerting watching everybody else around me frantically studying their asses off - kind of makes me feel like I'm just killing time before a brutal demise.

I've had other things to worry about. Tonight I discovered that my credit card has been frozen (and now cancelled) after somebody in Ohio was running up my tab. Before I could sort this out, though, I nearly had a nervous breakdown upon realizing that there is no general telephone operator in Australia. This made things especially difficult trying to purchase my last minute ticket to Sydney for tomorrow.

Lane and I went traveling to the Gold Coast for 6 days. I wouldn't be going out on a limb to say that it probably wasn't the ideal place for us in that everyone was very pretty, dressed very fancy, and were very superficial. There's not much of a place for a straight-edge buddhist crazyman in a party town, though the kid can sure dance like he's drunk even when he's sober. The world just ain't ready for Lane Robbins (nor Jared Robbins for that matter). We still had a jolly good time nonetheless, even if Lane keeps trying out his newly discovered Australian accent. We hung out with two English blokes the first couple of days, Stu & Raj. They all attempted to eat part of a red chili pepper and paid for it miserably, especially Stu who after fingering the seeds thought it wouldn't be such a bad idea to rub his eyes. Lane took a surfing lesson with a guarantee that "if you're not standing up by the end of the lesson, the next one's free." Well, Lane didn't stand up, and he didn't get another free lesson. He did get several vouchers for free Big Macs at McDonalds, but that doesn't do much good for a vegan.
Stu & Raj were traveling around on holiday throughout Australia in a camper van they rented (decked out in tag lines like "Man created alcohol, God created Pot. Which do you trust?" and spray painted portraits of Cheech and Chong on the side). It was all pretty ironic considering neither of them smoked, but Lane and I hitched a ride with them up to Brisbane for a day. We split off from the Brits, hit up a Koala sanctuary, and upon returning to the Gold Coast, were placed in a room with two English girls. They were straight outta high school, taller than me, and somewhat attractive. It was pretty awkward in the beginning, but nothing like a good episode of Australian Big Brother to smooth things out.
In sum, traveling with Lane made me feel like Tom Cruise in Rain Man. Regardless, I wouldn't trade him for any other brother in the world (though maybe a sister).

Sunday, May 15, 2005

May 15th - 9:24pm

It was a good weekend. On Thursday night I got a massage from Lily (even though it makes Neil jealous) and then went out for a late bite to eat at a Malaysian restaurant called Bis Me. The food was pretty similar to Indian, except there were these two amazing dishes I've never tasted before: a Roti Bomb (basically a pastry doused in a sugary butter sauce) and banana and coconut paste-filled rotis. Friday night was an IH party at the Union Bar. Later on I had an extensive chat with this Canadian born-Australian citizen-educated at an American International school in Oman-ethnically Pakistani Muslim girl named Maria. We talked about religion and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nothing really new, provocative, or truly opinionated was said, though I always feel a personal responsibility for dispelling the common misconception that Jews can't be cool. Saturday I woke up early to go work with Neil on his parents' pseudo-farm in Sunbury. They own 57 acres and have 3 cows (some kind of miniature Galloways), a bunch of sheep, and an alpaca that thinks it's a sheep. We made $60 each for 4 hours of somewhat half-assed work that consisted of stacking the fireplace with wood, raking leaves, removing covwebs, stacking more firewood, and chopping down dead blackberry bushes. I accidentally snapped one of the pitchforks while trying to use a metal ledge for leverage. Afterwards, Neil had to coach his 15 year old sister's basketball team. She's 6 feet tall and looks older than me. Neil is 6'4", his dad is 6'7", his middle brother is also 6'7", and the oldest brother is 6'9". When I got back to Melbourne, I went out to a traditional Japanese restaurant with two Japanese friends (Hiro and Moe) where I spent $35 on a meal and sake that made me cringe. Today I played footy for IH and had a few good tackles. We lost, but still did better than expected. Afterwards I napped for four hours.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

April 8th - 17th

The week after East Coast Odyssey:

THURSDAY, April 8 - International House Ball (bought my outfit at local thrift store, Savers. Spent most of the night futilely trying to reconcile with some girl after telling her honestly that she hangs on every guy.

FRIDAY, April 9 - Was up till 5am writing one of three big essays for the semester, this time on whether war is likely over the Taiwan issue. Spent a good amount of the day flying around on Adderall and asking British Craig all about England.

SATURDAY through MONDAY - At the Grampians hiking around and eating lots of Pistachios. I returned home to find that my room had been ransacked. Turns out it was this girl Louise playing a prank on me, but then I pranked her back by saying that her scholarship had been revoked and she was being kicked out of college because of the incident. She began tearing up immediately, so I had to tell her I was kidding or else she would have had a nervous breakdown. Word to the wise, don't pull a prank if you're a baby.

TUESDAY - Marcus and Jordan came over for dinner at IH and we partied afterwards at College Square (the American student microcosm) playing quarters with the rest of the crew from Melbourne Welcome. Jordan basically took over my role in the crew at College Square after I went off to live at IH. We often joke around that he's my doppelganger.

WEDNESDAY - Dinner with Marcella at IH followed by one of her usual "I'm so deeply troubled inside and make it obvious but won't tell anyone about it" moods. We walked back to College Square in silence, parted ways, then I went to the East Coast Odyssey reunion party (complete with fingerfood and wine).

THURSDAY - Popped an Adderall to make screenwriting class more interesting. IH scholars dinner was at night followed by lots of dancing and drunken fun at Puggs (the local bar where everyone goes).

FRIDAY - Daniel the Swede's houseparty with Shannon, followed by meandering around Fitzroy St. with 2 Danes (one of which was Jonathan, my tentmate from East Coast Odyssey), Daniel, Shannon, a crazy German and some American. The other Dane (not Jonathan) kept trying to get Shannon in the sack all night to no avail.

SATURDAY - Watched "The Medallion", "Last Tango In Paris", and "Trekkies". At night, I got dressed up and went out to the casino with the College Square guys. Jordan and I pooled together our money to come out $5 on top at the roulette table and I retired from gambling. Upon returning back to IH, I looked at porn circa 4am in the computer lab and prayed there weren't any hidden surveillance cameras.

Notes - Been spending lots of quality time with Neil and Lily lately. Neil is a 6'4" white Australian while Lily is a 5'1" Chinese girl who is told by other Chinese that she doesn't look Chinese. I think she looks Chinese.

- Been listening to lots of A.C. Newman and Snow Patrol.

- Poppie's been moved into assisted living and the burden of transferring all his belongings along with everything else has fallen on Auntie's shoulders.

- Lane is still struggling to graduate within a few weeks and there's a possibility his advisor might not pass him for the third semester in a row.

- Played ping pong tonight for the first time in a while and it felt good.

Monday, March 21, 2005

March 21 - 2am

- Back home, Poppie continues to grow more feeble and disoriented. He fell a few more times and it has been decided that he can no longer live on his own in the retirement home and must be moved into assisted living.

- Nobody had even heard of refried beans when I first got here, and now I just discovered another set of tortillas, beans, and cheese in the community fridge that undoubtedly belongs to one of the newly enlightened Malaysians on my floor.

- I took a long nap tonight at 8:45pm knowing full well that it would only exacerbate my already fucked-up sleep schedule, but I was too unmotivated, bored, and tired to care.

- Ethnic cliques have begun to solidify at International House, though there are definitely some exceptions.

- Ironic thought: How many racist white kids have Asian tattoos?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Mar. 12, 2005 - 4:37am

I still haven't done my laundry. I did shave my head bald for the Leukemia fundraiser, "Shave For A Cure", and people have been calling me brave and commendable all day long. What they don't realize is that it wasn't really that big of a deal for me to chop off all of my hair. In fact, I've been looking for an excuse to do it for quite some time, and essentially, this allowed me the opportunity to do a good deed and get a free haircut at the same time. Now I've got to worry about not getting sunburnt on my scalp.
Today (I guess it's actually yesterday) also marks my first day of Self-Help at International House, in which a person helps out around the college and in turn receives a deduction off their housing bill. I was assigned to maintenance, and so I trimmed hedges, mowed a lawn nobody ever even sees, and moved around furniture with the woman in charge of Self Help, Dot - a 70-something year old lady that's 5 feet tall and loves to swear.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Mar. 8, 2005 - Noon

I just can't bring myself to do laundry. I've completely run out of clean shirts and I think today is gonna have to be the day; this is the point in a game of Russian Roulette where the gun goes off. A lot of times I even have a hard time bringing myself to shower because I just don't want to be bothered. The previous 5 days are one such example, but the streak had to end because there was no way Regine was going to be a happy camper sitting next to my smelly head - even with a hat on - seeing "Lawless Heart" last night.
This past weekend I took a trip to Lorne on the Great Ocean Road with some kids going to compete in the Victorian Lifesaving State Championships. They all came in last place. One kid not only finished last, but he actually came in with the first kids in the 2nd heat of a swim race when he had started in the first heat.
The weather was quite cold and rainy, so I never even made it into the water. One of the days in Lorne we went to see the waterfalls and hiked 8km in the rainforest. On Saturday night at the pub, I ran into this Dutch-Indonesian girl who had been in the Melbourne Welcome program with me. We talked for a bit, then I made a joke that I'd never been kissed and she suddenly landed one on my lips, subsequently telling me that I could no longer use that line now. That's as far as it went, and soon afterwards a brawl broke out between an Aussie Footy Club and the bouncers. The police eventually came, but not before the footy players dropped their pants, smacking their asses and flapping their cocks out in front to further taunt the bouncers.
Lorne was fun.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

March 2, 2005

The pace of life here is slowing down. My hair is growing longer and I haven't looked at internet porn in over a month.

Feb. 27, 2005 - 3:50am

I think that I've tried to call Lane more times here than in my entire life and I have yet to get through to him once. How can a mobile number always be fucking busy?

19 hours, 13 minutes later

People often make excuses for why they haven't accomplished the things they want to in life. I'd have to say that I've long placed the blame on being single for 20 years. The quintessential problem/distraction for me has been girl trouble and the subsequent insecurities/bitterness it has produced. Just because I haven't gotten my love life in order, though, doesn't justify a lack of forward progress in pursuing my creative ambitions. Now that I've recognized the problem, the trick is to rediscover what those creative ambitions are and do something about it. (editor's note 2.5 years in hindsight: I'm absoutely cringing)

When you believe everything that can be said has already been said before, it's easy to see why people are cynical and disenchanted. Of course life is going to be boring when you think that everything there is to do has already been done before. But for fuck sake Jared, don't be one of those people... (editor's note: Did I mention I was cringing?)

Feb. 26, 2005 - 5:45pm

-Dilworth got DQ'ed from districts after he'd already qualified for regionals due to unnecessary roughness in the consolation finals match. He'd been consistently ranked top 8 in the state at his weight class throughout the entire season.

- I had to babysit this girl named Alex last night while she was hammered to ensure that some sleazeball Aussie didn't take advantage of her, but I think she wound up hooking up with him anyway. By the way, they don't call it hooking up here, they call it picking up.

-My group won trivia night for International House's O-Week (orientation week for all you lame-o's out there) and I carried on the IH tradition of maneuvering underneath a table and around back on top of it without ever touching the ground. I was the only person this year of 160 kids to accomplish the feat without fucking up at all.
They consider me a fresher at International House considering it's my first year here, even though I'm older than mostly everyone else. Melbourne University (along with all universities outside of the United States) don't have a greek scene, so instead they have various colleges that serve as pseudo-fraternities (they're even called fraternitas) within the larger university. It's kind of like the greek scene on a larger scale, minus the negative stigma, though I did experience my fair share of hazing. I had to do this three-legged ice kick around IH with my leg tied to another fresher (some poor guy from Malaysia or Singapore - I can't remember) and every corner we turned, there was an o-week leader waiting there with some kind of sick substance to throw on us (ala soy sauce, honey, flower, tang, clumps of shit I don't even know what, etc). It was all in good fun, though, and now I don't feel so bad about not rushing Delta Sig back as a freshman at Michigan.

note: I was never forced to participate in any of the hazing activities, but the o-week leaders kept using reverse psychology on me and said that I would regret not taking part in such rich IH traditions for the rest of my life. What can I say...I'm a neurotic sucker!

Feb. 18, 2005 - 6pm

I think I might be bipolar. It should also be noted that I watched The Young and the Restless earlier today. What's worse is that I did it on my own accord and kind of enjoyed all the cheesey drama. I even found myself relating it back to my own life.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Feb. 16, 2005 - 4:42pm

Cat Power is performing in Melbourne tonight, but I just called up the venue to discover that the show has long since sold out. I've now been in Australia for almost a week and just finished up with the Melbourne welcome program, which is basically a five day rollercoaster filled with field trips during the day and crazy partying once the sun goes down. The hosts were Australian students from Newman college and the itinerary looked something like this:

Friday - explore the city, start partying, then off to the pub where Danny Nichols and I lose three games of pool in a row (because the Australian balls are smaller and w/out numbers - maybe I'm just making excuses)

Saturday - off to the beach for surfing where i expend an extreme amount of time and effort putting on my wetsuit only to discover it's inside out, so i go back inside and change it around. when i get down to the beach, everyone starts laughing and i realize that it is now on backwards. it is too much effort to go back and change again, so i just go into the water as is and all the water winds up making its way into my wetsuit anyway. That night I see "Closer" (which is a thoroughly entertaining and provocative film) and afterwards head to Strike Bowling, which is a stylish bar with bowling lanes.

Sunday - Meander around St. Kilda fest and that night go to the 4F dance club. Before this trip, I used to experience great anxiety freaking with members of the opposite sex to nightclub-type music, but a girl named "Grinder" has managed to lift my confidence level to new heights.

Monday - Wildlife sanctuary and aboriginal art museum, then the winery. At night we make our way over to the Purple Turtle where a girl with a 6-year boyfriend suckers me into buying her a drink

Tuesday - I get a mobile phone and take a tour of the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (where I stole a ping pong ball from the team recreation room - so basically, i now have a ping pong pall that once was used by professional cricket and football players). we go to this club called Icon at night where everyone gets up and dances on the bar. I dance on the bar with Grinder for a good hour and feel like a fucking rockstar!!!

All in all, the week was a hit and I managed to get my stomach under control and keep my alcohol down. A job well done, Jared, being able to get hammered five nights in a row and live to tell the tale. I also managed to acquire the nickname, PINCHES. Basically, someone confused Jared with the name Jeremy, there was an actual Jeremy with the last name Pinches, and the rest is history. When the real Pinches caught wind of everyone calling me Pinches, he was justifiably confused and a little angry.

Now I'm at the International House where everyone is pretty much Asian and I'm in over my head because I can't even begin to pronounce anyone's name...

Feb. 8, 2005 - On an airplane to Australia

C'mon Jared, you've gotta be thinking something. Surely you must realize that your life will never be the same again (at least that's what Joanna says). Things can never go back to the way they were before. Here's your chance to forget about all that has plagued you back home; everything that has inhibited you from ever having the courage and focus to pick up that bursh and paint a beautiful picture (bwah ha ha ha ha)...This is fate giving you a chance to break with your past and start anew. Remember, you always thrive in new situations (e.g. summer camp at Interlochen back in the day). Buzz your head, get a tattoo, screw lots of girls, write a slick screenplay - c'mon bitch, it's time for less talk and more rock! (editors note: I'm pretty sure the previous statement was intended to be least partially so) This is the opportunity that will bring you to the threshold of greatness. Remember your goal: to one day be a VIP guest at the Playboy Mansion. (further editors note: I can only hope I wasn't serious, though it's not too much of a stretch)


Her mouth is wide open, the woman sitting next to me. She's asleep and will definitely awake to a terrible case of cotton mouth. Should I do her a favor and try and close it? Probably not, that could turn out badly.
Several hours ago my mood cycled between giddyness and anxiety. Now I'm too numb to care. After enough time on an airplane, one begins to forget what life is like off the airplane. The airplane has become the only life that I've ever known.