Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I'm going to kill Samil. But I'll get to that later.

Yesterday morning Samil realized he had to iron clothes before work. He found this to be "such a drag." Welcome to the real world, buddy. Now, if you're planning on ironing clothes, with a hot iron, you might not want to plant yourself just around a corner of a hallway, kneeling on the floor, using one of those tiny ironing boards. Because I won't see you until its almost too late. And then I might knock you over. And you're holding a hot iron. Luckily, despite my being exhausted and all, I managed to see him at the last second and avoid catastrophe.

Samil was not so lucky a little later on when he burned his clothes. He didn't burn them so bad that they looked like an ironed shirt in a cartoon, with a big black iron outline on the back. Just a little nick down at the bottom of a pant leg. Still, this was clearly not his fault. He was, after all using one of those "high tech looking irons" that apparently, because of their high tech looks, are clothes-burning proof. Even if you turn the iron to the high setting. And even if you don't put any water in the high tech water reservoir. (this is totally irrelevant, but Samil also couldn't work the high tech automatic electricity cord winder upper, which also tells me he's going to have trouble using my high tech vacuum.) What's most bothersome to me is that he expresses these problems in a way that implies that its my fault because its my stuff. You see, its all my stuff because I lived in an apartment before and bought all the things one has in an apartment.

Later on yesterday I had my after school program while Samil came home and met out landlord to pick up keys for the permanent apartment we'll be staying in (right above this one). When he left the place with the landlord, he for no reason locked the door knob. The door knob is busted up and has no functioning key. The only way into this apartment is through that door. So last night when I went to start moving stuff in, I found myself locked out of my own new apartment, holding a box of books, confused why I couldn't open the door when the new key was working just fine.

So Samil has me call our landlord because he's too busy munching on Chinese food. He also informs me to ensure she doesn't know it was his fault. After going back and forth with the landlord to just explain "yes, the key works, but no the door doesn't open," she got really confused until she remembered the busted lock on the door and said "oh, yes, there is another lock but nobody has ever used that lock and we've never had a key for it, ever." The second ever made me die inside a little. Somehow, our landlord did have a very clear memory of Samil NOT locking the door, or a vivid memory of something that didn't happen. Still, good for him, I guess. "Okay, well, I'm in South Jersey, and I can't get back until tomorrow some time. I don't know what to tell you."

After getting off the phone, I told Samil the news. "That sucks. Man, why would you not have a key for the lock?' This was when I almost killed Samil. Some of us have schedules, and we stick to them. Some of also, I think at least, take ownership of mistakes and things we do wrong.

But I won't kill him, because right after this happened, Samil sprinted to the kitchen because Chinese food was too hot. That was pretty funny, wimp.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Too Much Information, or Not Eating Crap

For the last two weeks, Samil has been really concerned about being healthful. I think he got on this kick after talking to one of his friends, Toast (who I have been told is someone who I should not trust, just because of his name, but of all the people in the circle Samil and I met in, he is possibly the most trustworthy). Toast was talking to him about a lot of the things in Omnivore's Dilemma, and Samil thought I would be a good expert on these matters, since I previously worked at an evil national food chain selling only good foods.

The problem though, is that on issues like this there is a ton of information going around, and its not very well catalogued or filtered. I blame the Internet, since without the Internet people would only have access to information placed in context and organized to give a broad understanding. Instead, Samil can just wander around the information looking for Good Information, even if said Information is totally unrelated to what he is concerned with.

On top of that, Samil is plagued with a pretty massive case of indecision and confusion, so this massive influx of Good Information re: eating well is not exactly healthy for him. So Samil is stuck trying to balance the Local Food issue with the Organic issue with the Whole Ingredients issue with guides for Raw Food diets. If you haven't spent time thinking about each one individually, it can be overwhelming. That doesn't ease the pain for me when he asks questions like "But its not healthy to eat raw foods if like, you get the food from California, right?"

The scenario plays out something like this: Samil is looking for foods with a small number of ingredients, all from natural sources, but is looking on highly processed, full of artificial additives that we call the Internet to identify these foods. So before he even has a chance to eat well, his mind is so polluted with high fructose corn syrup type information, leaving him so confused about what to do that he ends up just eating a falafel for dinner.

Also, call me Debbie Downer, but I'm not totally convinced that we will be able to travel from New Jersey to California in two hours or less any time soon. This literally shocked Samil. Samil is now on the record as believing wholeheartedly that we will in just a few short years develop such a strong Artificially Intelligent machine that all of our energy problems will be solved without us having to lift a finger. They'll also solve a bunch of other things too, he said. I didn't pry.

How is this related, you ask? Well, he became very concerned at one point with the problem of defining Local Food. The problem defining it, to him, was not whether one should be looking at regional America maps or restricting their foods to some place they could drive in a day (this is an interesting issue to me, which I would have loved to discuss with him for a while - the Local Food movement is just as much about carbon foot prints and developing a more stable regional economy as it is eating fresh nutrient rich foods. Unfortunately we never got to have the discussion). The problem, of course, is when we have super rapid transportation, what will be the cutoff for earning the Happy Sticker signifying that a food is local?

Personally, though, I find his assumption of free gigantic amounts of power to be very convenient, which really plays into his personality. Of course scientists (or said robots) are going to figure out how to make a super duper fast train. Why? They're going to do it because Samil wants his nectarines, and he wants them in his fridge 3 days after they were picked, so its going to happen. Of course Human Resources should be available to him whenever he feels like showing up, regardless of whatever other responsibilities they may have during the course of the day (and no matter how clearly they post this on District's website) His thought process normally goes from "what would I like to happen" to "this should happen because" or if not possible "that's dumb because." This thought process occurs in all sorts of places, from super duper fast trains to how his boss should behave. I wouldn't even be surprised if I saw him arguing with some nutrition expert telling him that 'no, its not healthy to eat a box of Newman's Own cookies, because the cookies were made naturally. Its just more convenient inside his head.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Belly Rubbing Goodness

Samil just talked to me for a half hour on getting a Ph. D in English Education, with twenty five of those minutes spend looking in our window and watching himself rub his belly while rambling. This might be some sort of pre-party ritual for him as he just left to go to a party, a pajama party actually. That shouldn't surprise you, I guess, since you aren't here in the apartment. If you were here in the apartment, you'd say "that's weird, I could have sworn Samil was wearing jeans when he left." You, dear readers, would not have been mistaken because Samil did decide to wear jeans to a pajama party. He was, and I quote "not going to spend [his] Friday, after wearing dress pants all week, wearing anything but jeans."

Also, this conversation was unique this week because it didn't involve Samil figuratively or literally cornering me to talk. Twice this week we had extended conversations where I had no possible escape from. I wish I could tell you what we talked about in the first one, but to be honest, I spent the entire conversation going "yeah?" "oh" and "interesting" while I read a magazine on my exercise bike. This conversation went on for exactly 14 minutes because I was timing my workout and it ended when I got off the bike and went into the shower. Have you ever talked to someone for 14 minutes where the person didn't respond with more than a word at a time?

The second conversation was a pretty diverse one, but generally centered around Samil trying to rearrange the world to make things easier for him. For example, he thinks we need to rewrite the Constitution because he finds Delaware annoying and they shouldn't have so many members of Congress. Ditto all those big states out West. They're in his way. Also, he wants our President to essentially give up on the health care fight and not pass any legislation and try this again in two years. For some reason he thinks this is a good idea - I tried to figure out why so I could tell all of you, but all I got was some stammering and teeth sucking.

Also, Samil wants to legalize pot. This is not surprising. He wants to legalize pot for two reasons: 1) it would generate tax revenue for social programs and 2) it will get him laid. To his credit, I do think I learned in algebra II that:

Samil + Marijuana + Public Places + Hot Ladies = Samil + Hot Ladies + Apartment - Clothes

(If you simplify that equation, it looks like this:

Marijuana + Public Places = Apartment - Clothes

In other words, getting high in public is the same as being naked in your apartment, which I find hysterical for some reason)

This may become a recurring theme, but yesterday when I got home from work, Samil was sitting on the couch reading Vanity Fair (aside, I didn't know people actually bought and read Vanity Fair - I thought it was the sort of magazine that people just talked about without reading. who knew) with the two rolling chairs in the living room facing him. On one chair was his container of soy milk, and the other a cereal box, as if he had been having a round table discussion with his breakfast foods.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'll show YOU a WRIT

Its been a while, and I apologize. I’ve actually been working on this post for a bit but haven’t had a computer to upload it with, so its just been getting long and longer and longer.

Some of the things that amuse me most about living with Samil are his idiosyncrasies that I can’t figure out how he learned, ever. Like, when I came home on Labor Day, he was sitting on our droopy* couch, with a bowl of cereal at his feet, two different types of cereal boxes arranged like the top left corner of a picture frame around the bowl, and some soy milk over to the right of the bowl, but not neatly placed, at least compared to the boxes. It looked like he hadn’t gotten off the couch in a week, and he was just staring at the wall when I walked in. I don’t know.

I am pleased to announce that our trash has been taken out. Though, it did take Samil three tries to figure out that the trash bag goes in the can, not next to the can and that a shopping bag was not big enough for a medium sized trash can. After reminding him a few times, he finally put a bag in the can, though instead of using the trash bag sitting on the counter, he used a small shopping bag. So, by the time I went to throw any more trash in there, it had already fallen deep into the dark emptiness of the trash can, invisible with the Chinese food boxes and banana peels covering it on top. I calmly explained to him that this didn’t work after he told me about what he did, and so he eventually found the trash bag and dumped everything into it…. And then left it next to the trash can. Still, I think we can proudly stamp Mission Accomplished on this saga.

Later he told me we needed bigger trash cans, because it only takes a day to fill these up. This was no where near clear, since we hadn’t taken the trash out for a week and the bag he just put stuff in was clearly not filled. I understood his point, but I still don’t understand where he got a day from. Maybe he was thinking of the shopping bags getting filled in a day. I don’t know.

He also volunteered to get trash bags since that was the last one we had. He called me from the grocery store yesterday and said “what size bag do we need?” I was engrossed in a challenge in Arkham Asylum, so I just aid “Thirteen.” He asked me if I meant inches.

Remind me to tell him that if he’s walking through my room at night, to not leave his door open if he turns the light on. It’s a little distracting for me to sleep when a light is suddenly shining on my face.

Additionally, I have had a friend visiting for the last week. Lenore is one of my closest friends, and I’ve known her since High School. She now lives out in the Midwest, though so we’ve been hanging out a fair amount since she’s only in the area every three months or so. Before starting these (semi-)regular accounts, she was able to hear all the exciting things Samil would do. So this meeting between the two of them was pretty exciting, for me at least.

The first time she came over, we ran into Samil as we were heading out to an awesome local restaurant that serves local food. I showed her the place before we left, though, and she described his bedroom as someone who looks like they live in a shelter. Its true. I’ll get a picture of it ASAP, but he’s sleeping on the mattress part of our couch and all of his clothes are overflowing from his suitcases on the floor. He has nothing else. Personally, I’m hoping he has a lady friend over at some point soon to show off his place. Because nothing says swoon like sleeping on a stained bed thing and your underwear laying all over the floor.

*(Quick aside, our couch is almost unsittable… in fact Lenore ran for the chair when she saw how low it was and didn’t give me a chance to even clear it off.)

We went back to my place after dinner for beers, where Samil was patiently waiting to interface. The three of us ended up talking four about five hours. Actually, I think there were a few half hours where I didn’t say a single word and Samil kept talking, requiring Lenore to say SOMETHING.

The conversation revolved around really mundane small talk topics, namely god and politics. I should also mention that Lenore spends her free time blaming the Patriarchy and studying earning a Masters in Divinity, focusing on law, while Samil read a few books about God in middle school, smokes a lot of pot, and can become extremely distracted if he walks past a picture of a celebrity.

The two of them talked back and forth about why Lenore was an atheist and Samil was an agnostic. Samil kept trying to emphasize that there was a chance that there could be a god, and one shouldn’t ignore that. In my mind, I thought that logic was about as good at saying ‘there’s a chance a bear could fly if you throw him out of an airplane,” but I tried to keep my mouth shut. Lenore was just making the point that if you’re a reasonable person, you can be open minded if presented with new information, and that its lame to be a fence sitter. She was really polite though, which only gave Samil more reason to continue trying to hammer his point home.

With regards to the politics, Lenore really kept her mouth shut as Samil continued to put his foot in his mouth. To try and explain through an example, Samil is the type of person who told me that Maggie Gyllenhall is a good actress because 1) she is a WOMAN (say that in a really excited "boy do I wish I could get with her" voice) and 2) she was apparently really good in a role where she had to flirt with her boss, but he never actually saw that movie. In other words, he doesn’t go around hitting women, but he generally has a conception about what a woman should be to be ‘correct’ that generally involves them being objects around him. Not exactly something that meshes well with someone who views all men as brought up to be rapists to one degree or another. So Samil kept talking about how he has a very particular view of what is attractive, and how lots of women will overly PC about his humor concerning women and traditional roles. Being insensitively funny, clearly, is proof you actually care. The way these conversations would go is that he’d say something, she would nicely say “I don’t think so” and Samil would repeat what he said two or three times, eventually moving on to something else that Lenore didn’t agree with.

Truthfully, I thought the night went pretty OK. Samil didn’t do anything really amazingly dumb, I thought. When I talked to Lenore the next day, she just said, “he’s weird, and awkward, and I didn’t want to keep talking to him.” Oops. I guess I’m a little desensitized (now, I only find talking to Samil awkward when, say, he’s standing just inside my door looking right at me, trying to tell me what he thinks about Eddie Murphy being the Riddler in an upcoming Batman movie while I am clearly trying to change into pajamas). Samil also proved able to top himself in Lenore’s next encounter with him.

This was when, at the end of the conversation, Samil animatedly jumped up and imagined himself yelling at some snotty law student “I’ll show YOU a WRIT!” and then proceed to pummel him with face and body shots, using his imagined Black Belt worth of Martial Arts Skillz. The context of this was Lenore talking about law students that hide books from each other, and Samil imagining himself dropping all other responsibilities in his life to track these people down and catch them in the act. Not doing his job was a pretty consistent theme for the evening, as he started the night talking about how he was going to quit his job (again – music to a roommates ears in the first month of a twelve month lease), move to Chicago, live on a couch, join Second City, and become famous. I politely told him that not everyone becomes famous after joining Second City, and he modestly said “But this is me we’re talking about.”

Some more house cleaning… We still haven’t set up our stove. I don’t have a lighter, which we need to take care of it. He does, and has for the last two days not been able to figure this out. The first day he couldn’t find the manual for it, which was fair, except it only took me thirty seconds to find it and clip it to the fridge. Not so fair the second day when he couldn’t find it and didn’t notice the gigantic manual that appeared on the fridge. I wonder if it’ll be done tonight. I would kind of like to make dinner in this apartment, but I’ve been getting home at 7pm or later every night, and it takes two hours to do, and I am normally hungry before 9pm.

I’m going to be out of the house this weekend, so few things to update on then, and hopefully I’ll have a computer to use the following week. See you around.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

To get this out of the way...

I imagine anyone reading this right now is about to say... "If this guy is such a terrible room mate, why would you move in with him?" That's a very fair question. Honestly, part of the reason I'm living with Samil is for the Lolz. Also, him and I have a fair number of shared interests and do get along pretty well.

That, however, does not excuse the fact that 3 days in, he hasn't set up a single thing or unpacked a single box of stuff we use communally. I mean, really... we have no forks right now that are accessible without digging in a box also containing all of our plates and larger utensils. Nor does it forgive the fact that even though I told him three times, he still threw trash in a trash can without a bag in it, when I had a shopping bag of trashing going right next to it. I don't care if we get along, I'm still not going to pick out his trash for him.

On an unrelated note, I wonder, exactly, how many of you would love to hear your brand new room mate say to you "Oh man, if I got laid off, duuuuude, that would be great. I'd gladly fall on my light saber just like Obi Wan if they told me I was getting RIF'd." (RIF=Reduction in Force, ie laid off because the school is reducing the number of teaching positions) I mean, I know I wasn't thinking about anything like 'how would you pay rent?' Nope.

We're still without Internet, so I'm not going to give him the full introduction and life story here, but I also wanted to mention that I would not be surprised if this space also starts dealing heavily in education matters. We're teachers. We talk about teaching. We're both very opinionated and I'm becoming more and more informed on my views. I may periodically call him an idiot when I talk about education matters, but I use 'idiot' as a term of endearment. Just ask my students.