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08.23.01 7:30 p.m.

As a confirmed melancholic, I can testify that the best and maybe only antidote for melancholia is action. However, like most melancholics, I suffer also from sloth.

  - Edward Abbey  

Suffering from New Paltzy
Today, Emily and I went to New Paltz in the failed hope that we could get all of our necessary tasks done. I needed a parking pass, books, and a job. In three hours. Applaud our optimism.
I look like Lennon in my ID picture. I shall have to scan it and put it up.
The parking pass was relatively easy. Evidently, the woman has lost all will to live since Emily first dealt with her and was pretty much willing to give me a pass so long as I promised the vehicle existed. Still $60 down the drain, as I could have just used Emily's parking pass, which she won't need living near campus as she now does. Ah, well.
We then tried to buy books, however we clearly tried too late (or too early) as freshmen abounded. Much as we scurried and enlisted the help on my mother's friend Donna, I discovered that I could only find books for one out of my six classes and the CD for the class had yet to have been sent for the publisher. As such, I would be forced to buy my books from the monopolistic Ariel's bookstore, near the school. Evidently, the teachers often request books through them rather that the college bookstore for some reason that I failed to grasp. As Emily lamented, Ariel's makes it difficult for the students to get books and charges a pretty penny for them. I see not particular benefit to the students, teachers, or college. Then again, I am an English major, not a business one.
But the kicker of attempting to buy books was that it was only an attempt. New Paltz or my bank (perhaps an unholy union of the two) did not deign me worth of book purchase. My card was rejected, despite having a limit far beyond the price of the two small books I was able to find. Lacking sufficient cash, my efforts at the bookstore were wasted.
Emily fared slightly better, relatively, as she got a back breaking load of books. Still, as would give cause to her discontent, she found nowhere near enough books for her classes. She is ordering the remaining books she needs on-line once she can figure out just what she needs.
As what was afterward labeled the zenith of this day, I made a small fuzzy sheep doll in a New Paltz t-shirt talk to M. Well, mainly is cooed "Sheepa sheepa sheepa!" with the odd word or phrase mixed in. Then a small beaver spoke in a deeper, gravelly voice. He avalanched out "Beaver! Beaver beaver." It was a very long line, you understand. Emily was highly amused by my capering and slightly embarrassed because I was doing it just as loud as conversation and could plainly be heard by anyone in a ten-foot radius. To ease this, I stated that at least she should have no worries of anyone being so inclined to try to steal me away from her. She smiled brightly at my assertion.
After this particular debacle, we decided that procuring me an on-campus job was highly in order. I had remembered all the requisite forms, which alone was cause for celebration. Still, my not being permitted to buy two highly expensive Spanish books had curdled my mood and greatly increased my stress level. After finally finding the right office, owing in no small part to Emily's correctly directing and guiding me, we were told that she should just go to offices in which we wished to seek employment. Had they told me this on the forms, I could have saved twenty minutes of my time. But, how silly, that would be efficient, expedient, and - above all - helpful. These are the banes of pointless bureaucracy and must be therefore avoiding in all dealings.
Primarily, given my particular skills, we went to the library. There some old surly man told us that we were not needed in the library, they were all filled up. We somehow doubted that this was at all the case at hand. I intend to call tomorrow morning and see if I cannot find a more becoming truth.
We sat in the lobby, I stressing, Emily being genuinely helpful be crossing off the departments we were either not qualified for or not interested in. We decided to approach the theater department, as it would allow us to be around stages. The woman we encountered was condescending to an extreme and clearly ill-educated as my inquiry involving the phrase "we seek gainful employment" fell on deaf (or perhaps dumb) ears. In addition, when she inquired after my computer experience, I listed my somewhat impressive credential, using such difficult terms as "HTML" and "Adobe." I got the distinct impression these terms were foreign to her. She smarmed that (as I did not have an official schedule) she could not help us and sent us away. Emily grumbled that she was an extraordinarily and unnecessarily bitchy woman for and with whom we two would find no joy in working.
Emily told me that, at Trenton (her old college), students who wished to be employed merely filled out surveys describing skills and interests and were chosen by the jobs. This I see to be a far superior system for obtaining jobs and employees. At New Paltz, whoever gets to a job first evidently gets the job with no regard as to aptitude. In this, the college departments lose by potentially hiring useless employees. And I lose because I cannot get the jobs I am qualified for because a girl from Long Island that read a book once and understood some of the words is occupying them. (Ye gods, I can be an elitist prick when in this mood.)
As we were told in the work study office originally, should we have no success at the departments, we should return and speak to a woman officed therein. Which we, of course, did only to discover quite a line before us and a true dearth of time. As such, tomorrow we shall make a second attempt, both at books and at employment.
I do not like this sort of thing.

The Moving of Coral Castle
Yesterday, Zack and I helped Emily move into her new apartment. Well, that is not precisely correct. We were there with this purpose in mind, muscles limber and prepared for heavy loads. We were greeted with a smiling Emily and a trunk and back seat full of boxes. Moving a dozen book filled boxes, to me, does not constitute true moving. I undergo greater effort bring groceries into my home.
As was obvious, the "moving" took less than half an hour. He and I mostly sat on Emily's bed and tried to make her CD player work. I also teased her about her adolescent self's interest in cheesily title fantasy novels. All in good fun, of course, as I have books in my room that sound like boy band lyrics.
The room is fairly nice, a little small but certainly better than a dorm which she would be forced to share with another. There are mirrors against one wall and the desk has a window directly in front of it. The wallpaper, however, is hideous. It hurts my eyes if I spend more than a few seconds looking at one part of it. The room came fully furnished, which is certainly sweet. However, I am given to believe that the wonder if the home does not look kindly on male visitors as she refuses to rent to those of the male persuasion. I do understand this and do not fault the landlady necessarily. It just impedes my freedom of movement, in that I cannot crash at Emily's whenever is convenient, rather the opposite of what should happen when one goes to college.
Though Zack and I did little, Emily fulfilled her promise to buy us pizza and soda for helping her move. If by "pizza and soda" you mean "China Buffet." Which I happen to.
I think I shall someday have to film a China Buffet for a whole day and I tend to have an inordinate amount of fun in them. But on with the recap.
I mistakenly believed that French toast sticks were edible in a China Buffet. Somewhere I am sure there is a racial/sexual joke in that but I am too lazy to find it. It wasn't so much the sticks themselves but the "maple" "syrup." It was the rough consistency of epoxy glue. It clung to the stick tenaciously, nearly bringing the plate in tow. Seriously, all hyperbole aside, epoxy. As we are all mature, intelligent people we promptly decided that it was a toy to be played with. Emily insisted, using half sentences, "Dude... the Aliens movies... you know?" I do so love her. We made the syrup speak. Then, we fed it Jell-O (another staple of the Chinese) in hopes it would become The Blob. No such luck, though we discovered that the syrup actually feared the Jell-O and was thus repelled by it. Good thing or the whole city could have been lost to the Syrup Scourge I unleashed.
As we were leaving, I devised the brilliant idea of going thrift shopping. However, first we needed to go to Barnes & Noble because we clearly needed more books. Always with more books.
We were pouring over the cheap books when a man came out and said, "I am about to make you all very happy." He put out a sign that said "Clearance $1." We quickly scapped up every decent book in sight. I got away with the divergent following tomes:

Zack got And Emily got Clearly I win for variety and sheer weight. Emily and I will likely be trading, but this fairly cheaply appeased my literary addiction for a while. However, we still needed to thrift shop. The books were fairly incidental.
We ended up at Goodwill. Emily warned me away from the $1 a bag clothing bin. We wandered only a few minutes before I found that they sold movies. More over, they sold really campy horror movies. More more over, they were $2 campy zombie movies. One even advertises itself with "a zombie fights a shark! Guess who wins?" How could I pass that find up?! By the way, as we did not get around to watching the movie as yet, we are still taking bets: Zombie or Shark? Or ZOMBIE-SHARK OF DOOM!!!!
Zack came back to my house with the intention to make brownies with Emily and I, however his girlfriend Veronica (yup, they are back together, I am very happy about this) was having family trouble of a rather extreme sort and Zack needed to swoop to the rescue. Dezi saw us driving to my house and followed us, but left to help Zack swoop. I could tell he wanted to return, but did not. Another day, I suppose.

$60.14, plus tip
The evening before, I hung out with Zack at his house. Melissa and Liz also wished my company and I solicited their presence at Zack's home by listing the movies I recently purchased at a larger than necessary fee. Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost finally enticed them enough to join us.
We sat in Zack's backyard for a bit, pondering our next move. Melissa casually mentioned that she possessed her mother's credit card and had something like free reign over its unauthorized use. Such a statement as that could not be ignored, so I proclaimed that we were in desperate need of Friendly's.
We ordered, over the course of an hour or so, a coke, an iced tea, two waters, a Shirley Temple, a Blue Razz, two quesadilla platters, mozzarella sticks, two snackatizer platters, a turkey club platter, at least three sundaes, and a brownie ala mode. At least.
We needed to work some of this off, so we went to Fun Central for a late night mini-golfing game. We abandon scoring after I knocked my ball off a ten-foot drop into the bumper boat pond. Liz won not owning to her score but because she hit the ball so have that is bounced off to brick barrier and bounced back into the cup, making a very cool hole in one. All about the style. As the arcade refused to exchange credit for game tokens, our visit ended soon after our game did.
To Melissa's house we sojourned to watch The Family Guy. Sincerely so utterly hilarious that I could barely breathe at times. Please, dear readers, I beseech you to support this show.

last watched: The Family Guy
reading: Lasher, Anne Rice
listening: Romeo + Juliet
wanting: the vacation not to end so soon
interesting thought: I begin school on Monday. A whole new stage for stories.
moment of zen: Emily's hair after a shower.
someday I must: manage time and money better.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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