September 16th, 2004

Wedding day

Garden State, my friend Robert, and why I don't like the "parties" my friends throw.

Tom came up to Madison for the Kerry rally yesterday, so we hung out last night. Tom was unable to attend the rally because he was carrying a backpack. His plan had been to stash it in one of the pay-per-use lockers at the Union, but apparently they've been removed. I never used them so I've never noticed. Anyway, he was upset about that. We had dinner at Ian's By The Slice and I finally tried macaroni and cheese pizza. The verdict? Meh. 's okay. It's pizza topped with macaroni and cheese. There's not much you can do to make it fantastic.

After dinner we headed over to Westgate for a movie. Once again our plans to see Napoleon Dynamite were thwarted, this time by the schedule of the bus taking Tom home. We ended up seeing Garden State which I was less interested in seeing, but is probably the better movie. The story is one you've seen over and over and over, and the direction is a little inconsistent (sometimes deliberately, sometimes not), but the overall presentation is good. I'm not otherwise familiar with Zach Braff who wrote, directed and starred in the film, but it's exceptionally impressive for a freshman effort. He'd be worth keeping an eye on. I loved the soundtrack but would probably not listen to it outside of the movie, which is an extremely positive review. You should probably see Garden State which, for the record, is the best film I've ever seen Natalie Portman in. I still don't understand your obsession with her.

Anyway, from Tom I learned that our friend Robert is coming in to town this weekend. Robert has probably been mentioned in conversation (and on this journal) before, but you probably wouldn't remember. He's a great guy, but he hasn't been employed in... I don't even want to think about it. Maybe four years? At least? The man is twenty four. He's living in Iowa with his girlfriend who is employed, and he's coming home for the weekend to alleviate some of the tension that's been building up because of this. Robert -- who spent one semester in college, and "didn't feel like" attending his classes -- believes that most non-tech jobs are below him. At one time his skills might have been enough to get him a job, but with four years of arrogant unemployment and no formal certifications, it's probably hard for employers to take him seriously. The last job he worked was at a Pick 'n' Save grocery store in (I think) summer of 2000. His parents were sick of him being unemployed, so he applied, was hired, and then fired after three days for working so slow.

"Could you have worked any faster?" we asked him.

"Well yeah," he said, "but it wasn't worth my time."

I can understand not wanting to take certain types of jobs. I've never worked in fast food, and would like to keep it that way. After a couple of weeks of unemployment, however, I'd like to think that I'd swallow my pride and hock tripe for Lips 'n' Tips™ while I search for another job. If Robert had a college degree his "too-good-for-the-job-market" attitude might be enough to get him an upper management position. He doesn't though, and the gap on his resume between June, 2000 and September 2004 pretty much contains Lucasarts games.

Incidentally, I hope very sincerely that Robert isn't reading this.

Anyway, Rob is home this weekend. I'd like to see him, but it would be a drive all the way to Janesville for what? LAN gaming. I don't game. Period. I know what these parties are like. There'll be some action movie full of explosions and nudity on in the background, and nobody will really be watching it. If I manage to wrest somebody's attention away from the game, I'll be perceived as an annoyance. At some point they'll want to eat, but given the financial state of those involved it'll be a quick run to Taco Bell, after which they'll reglue themselves to their PCs. On Sunday a larger group will assemble to role play. I don't care to take part in that.

Now that I think about it, I probably won't see Robert this weekend. I'd like to, but it's not likely to happen.
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