Friday, November 30, 2007

Judge This

I am the kind of guy who gets mad at people who think girls should be altar boys (or altar servers). Shortly afterwards, I am the kind of guy who makes fun of the people (who think girls should be altar servers) for spelling it "chauvenist." I laugh and laugh, and don't make my point very well, and they get incensed (liturgical zing).

The point is, aloof as I sometimes pretend to be, I am a boringly rigid traditional conservative who liked Ronald Reagan, doesn't think affirmative action makes sense, submits to no "rape/incest exception" to the no-abortion tenet, thinks that reason works, and that George Bush, in addition to being a lovable clumsy bumbler, is not only a good man, but also a good president. So sue me.

Most of the time, I like to laugh and have fun, because let's face it, having fun is more fun than... I don't know, not having fun? I am sarcastic and ironic and especially love the phrase "double-in-your-endo."

But there are times, let me tell you, when normally funny, off-the-cuff satirists get too into the liberal mindset and John Stewart forgets that what makes him great (and made him rich and famous) was not that he was a liberal, but that he was funny. There are literally millions of liberals, John. Very few bordering on none are also hilarious like you. So be funny and concentrate on that; it's what you're good at.

Then there are folks who get so caught up with what seems like a good idea that they lose all perspective, and cling onto a pretty mundane idea as if it were all that mattered. What's getting my goat this time is the commandment "Don't judge." Two Arrested Development quotes spring immediately to mind: "I don't think that one made it down the mountain," and "new-age feel-goodery."

Don't judge? Are you kidding me? Is that a message for your kids? How about "judge everyone," is that more realistic? "Don't talk to strangers." Hello? Don't go get in the guy's car when he offers you candy. Don't go on that mean neighbor's lawn. Don't ride your bike on that side of the tracks in the bad neighborhood.

Another example: why do we say that a first impression so important? Because everyone is judging everyone around them ALL THE TIME. It's how people work, and there's nothing wrong with that.

A girl walking down an alley in a bad neighborhood at night will not recognize a five-year old girl as a potential threat. A six-four guy on the other hand... she'll get nervous.

Why? Is she accusing that guy of being a thief or a rapist? No, she's just recognizing that a much higher percentage of rapes are perpetrated by men than girls.

And again, did you know that a significantly higher proportion of black men are violent criminals than white men? So if you're a little more nervous passing a black guy in an alley than a white guy, what does that say? That you're racist? That you think all black men are criminals? No. It means you recognize that a higher percentage of blah blah blah whatever.

Same thing with Arabs being terrorists. I mean, I guess it sucks for all those groups, getting sketchy looks from everyone all the time, but you know what? I'm a guy. A big, 6'6" guy. And if people are nervous when they pass me in a dark alley, I'm not offended. They know very few things about me: I am much bigger than they are, I could probably overpower them physically, I am out late at night, and I am a man. Odds (as far as they can tell) that I'm a rapist? Still not very good, but a lot higher than average. So, please, judge me (not that you need my permission, or that my wanting you to or not will affect you at all).

And you know what else is true? You're judging me right now. You're taking what I'm saying, digesting it, and arriving at conclusions about what I am and who I am. That's what people do. It's OK. That's why we have interviews, and dates, and conversations.

I am one of the people (I don't know how many there are these days- and I don't mean that condescendingly, I mean honestly, it could be 60% or 5%, I really don't know) who believe in absolute truth- that there is only one truth, and it's the same for everyone. What's right for one person is right for every other person and what's wrong for one person is wrong for everyone else.

I am not a person that will say, "ok, you believe that, I believe this, that's ok, we can both do that and not contradict each other." No, they do contradict each other. Jews and Christians and Buddhists and Muslims cannot all be right, because they disagree. This seems very obvious to me. If one person says A is B, and another person says A is not B, then one of them is wrong. It doesn't mean they're going to hell, or that their mother doesn't love them, or that they're going to suffer from premature baldness. It just means that they're wrong.

To deny that, it would seem to me, would be to deny reason. And if reason goes, then I'm confused, and I think most other people would be too. Maybe that's why a lot of people already are confused.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My sweet love dances with the stars. Seriously.

I would like to take this moment to say: I TOLD YOU SO!!!

The Dancing with the Stars finale was in. tense. last night. But that might be because I was so emotionally invested. But whatever, you can't blame me-- that was my future wife up there, for heaven's sake!

Tom Bergeron (or however you spell his last name) didn't give his final announcement as much lead-up time as I expected, and I had just taken a mouthful of wine. Needless to say, I couldn't swallow for the agonizing, slow seconds that followed. The screen was dark, I was leaning forward slightly. Love and fear were in my heart. I was frozen. I didn't breathe.

And then [!] the explosion of joy. I raised my arm in triumphant silence (I would have spewed my wine if I had yielded to the urge to cry out in jubilation). My tightly clenched fist shook twice. I was overcome with emotion.

Julianne Hough. I can't wait to marry this girl. What a doll! What a babe.

Fine. Fine. I admit it, she looks kind of dumb, kind of ditzy. I agree. She might be awkward and a little too giggly. Fine, a lot.

But since I'm never going to meet her anyway, I don't need to worry about the fact that she'd probably bore me to tears. I'm going to stick with the following truths: she is happy, bubbly, vivacious and wonderful; she is unbelievably gorgeous, especially when she's got that husky voice going (don't tell me it's from hours of mindless shrieking- we're past that, remember?); and she can move. Dancing is sexy, and she is pretty damn good at it.

Therefore I will revel in my love for her- you know, that breath-catching second-grade love that makes you clench your buttcheeks together in your chair and giggle. I'll watch her from afar, imagining that I'm not afraid to go right up and talk to her, and living a thousand charming encounters in my mind.

And in the meantime, I won't feel bad about lording it over you that I predicted her repeat victory after the first effing episode of the season. Because I had faith in the one I love.

[insert buttsquirm and giggle, mental image of my wedding with Julianne on top of a mountain, cherubs are hovering like hummingbirds and dropping white rose petals that cover the green grass where the white cuppola stands, Julianne and I are holding hands under her bouquet and giggling, possible butterfly kisses]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Recaps, retrievals, redolence

Before I get into anything else, here is the answer to the “One question picture quiz” from last Tuesday: A. My picture is a picture of me doing an imitation of a retarded man who lived two apartments down from us in college. This guy had a really bad speech problem, and generally sounded like the rudest impression of a retard you've ever heard, but a little more snarly and less intelligible. And one day, Randy (we named him Randy after one of my friends-- his real name was Sam) came over and gave us a Van Halen CD, and tried to explain to us that he didn't know who was on it because he couldn't see, and kept putting his hands over his eyes. We made fun of him for weeks behind his back, and never gave the CD back.

Is this true? Yes. Am I proud of it? That’s a stupid question. Does it make me an asshole? Hey, I don’t like your tone. Besides, I was an asshole long before some lonely tard cruised up to my porch and started distracting me from what I was doing, which was cutting class, drinking the morning away and hitting on cute freshmen girls.

Speaking of drinking all the time, my Thanksgiving break was very relaxing, even though I found out Wednesday afternoon that I don’t get paid for skipping work on Friday and if I don’t work eight hours the day before a holiday, I don’t even get paid for the holiday. So that blows. Still, I said “eff it, I’m done,” and left at 1:30 on Wednesday. And got to work at 11:00 this morning.

In the meantime, I hung out with my family in Michigan, reading by day and drinking by night. Here are a few highlights:

We stopped for McDonalds on the way Wednesday evening, and I ate a Big Mac, a crispy honey mustard chicken snack wrap, large fries, a large coke, a McChicken sandwich and a triple-thick chocolate milk shake. My bowel movements were irregular for the rest of the weekend.

On Thanksgiving morning, my dad brought down a deer, a one-and-a-half-year-old doe which I thought was two-and-a-half. I was shouted down, the deer was strung up, the kids gathered round, the fire was near, the bowels were left in (Chronic Wasting Disease fear), the skin was taken off, the carcass was taken apart, the meat was cut out, and prepositions were all about. General merriment, slight disgust, primal satisfaction, and some hunger ensued. We cut some of the more tender rib and tenderloin meat off the ribcage and roasted little pieces on spits over the fire.

My hilarious niece amused us as we stuffed ourselves, referring to hors d’oeuvres as “duverves,” and pumpkin pie as “punkmin pie” or “punkpin pie,” alternatively.

I read two novels in one day (Saturday), which I think is a first for me, though I could be wrong. Tony Hillerman’s “Skinwalkers,” and James Patterson’s “When the Wind Blows.” Neither was that good, but I’d recommend “Skinwalkers” if you like Indians, police, witchcraft or murder.

We read in the paper on Saturday that Thanksgiving morning (when my dad got his deer) a hunter had been shot in the head with a shotgun about ten miles from where we were.

Interesting statistic: there are more men in the woods with rifles in Michigan on Opening Day of the hunting season than there were men in the Allied invasion force on D-Day.

The girls beat us two nights in a row at Trivial Pursuit. No excuses. It is amazing, though, how impatient old people get when they play this game. And disturbing how much toddlers love to put small plastic game pieces in their mouth—not that I’m worried about choking, but that we can’t play when some kid is eating the dice.

Grammy burned the shrimp chowder on Friday. Damn it. I was really looking forward to that, and we just had to throw it all away, a giant cauldron of scorched chowder.

So we came back yesterday, picked up a bunch of gyros and subs and garlic fries and watched the best Bears game I’ve seen in a while. Fanfrickintastic. I think ever weekend should be four days long.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving is English for Eucharist

Everyone is putting up their Thanksgiving posts. Mostly memories of past holidays, and mostly bad memories of past bad holidays. And a few pre-emptive bad memories, when someone predicts how awkward and awful his weekend will be, and how full of arguments and dramatic confrontations and unpleasant, understated, tight-lipped heart-to-hearts about the gay brother of the brother-in-law.

And I have to say, I can’t relate. I don’t have family issues. At all. We (my brothers and sisters and I) are so close we don’t even think about being close. We hang out all the time, we have dinner together on Sundays most weeks. We’re softball teammates, drinking buddies, and best friends.

I don’t know, maybe it sounds like bragging. Maybe it is bragging. But indulge me here. These people are the best.

I’m leaving in a couple of hours for Michigan, where we will hunt, lie around, drink and eat. I’m leaving work early to grab my brother and sister in the city (with my brother’s car), and we’re going to hit the road. And it’s going to be a blast.

I was reminded of good family by this post, and I think it’s because it mentions prayer, and recognizes prayer as an important part of coming together and staying together as a family. We pray in my family. We’re real, honest-to-goodness Catholics who go to Mass every Sunday, and believe that there are such things as mortal sins and hell.

And it’s not morbid, it’s glorious. I’ll say a prayer for all of you who don’t know where you are in your life, and maybe you can say a prayer for me. Happy thanksgiving.

Don’t even get me started on my extended family (again, no issues, pure bliss). This is an email exchange I just had with my cousin who delights me.

Her: hey, I just wrote my own defense of poesie. Take a look and see if you agree.

"What is the good of reading?" I cannot leave a question like that unanswered. It would be a betrayal of everything I believe in. So, I am sorry if you are over it and are not interested, but I have to respond with the answer that came to me while I was (guess what) reading.

Reading is beneficial in too many ways to enumerate, but I will give the top four.

1. Superficially. (I have to put this first so that hopefully you will forget about it by the time you get to the end.) People will look at a person who is reading a book, and will think "wow, this person is intelligent, sensitive, and cultured! Cool!" This is, of course, not a good reason to read, but it doesn't hurt the cause.

2. Practically. Reading will help with grammar, spelling and style. Since our use of language and communication is one of the things that separate the human from the animal, doesn't it make sense that we should speak and write this language correctly? And really, there is no better way to get in the habit of speaking properly than by reading.

3. Intellectually. Reading stimualtes the mind, and sharpens the imagination of the reader. It leaves the reader with a sense of interest and wonderment in the world around him. The habitual reader will question theories, explore ideas, and will think inventively and creatively. A reading mind is an active mind that will never go dull.

4. Truthfully/Philosophically. (This is the most important reason). Reading provides a completely unique creative escape, that cannot be experienced through any other activity such as watching tv. One might think that watching a movie, which creates a new world of imagination, would supply the watcher with as much creative scope and intellectual fuel as a book. This is incorrect. A movie spoon feeds the reader every single aspect of the created world. Nothing is left to the character's imagination. The watcher cannot imagine how the characters look, how they speak, how they interact with each other. Everything is decided for them by the moviemaker and forced upon them. When reading however, the writer and the reader combine forces to create a completely personal experience. The reader can provide the emotions and the subtle inflections which transform a plain volume of paper and ink into a different world. The reader is the partial creator of this world, since the writer is limited as to what he can portray through the written word. The writer provides the base, the walls and the roof. The reader enters this structure, and provides his own individual embellishment and decoration. In other words, (and I CANNOT help using this cliche. It's really screaming to be used.) The reader makes the house a home.

Me: Very nice. I am going to put it on the internet.
Isn't it fun being smart? Seriously, I can't imagine how boring it would be to be dumb.
ps - guess who is leaving for Michigan in an hour and a half. I'll give you a hint-- it's me.

Her: don't put it on the internet!!! People will plagiarize me!

Me: I'm totally putting it on the internet. I'm not even joking a little bit.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A one question picture quiz

Someone gave me an idea for a post (ok fine, it was myself). What is the deal with that picture you've got up?

Well, I'll give you multiple choice:

A. It was a picture of me doing an imitation of a retarded man who lived two apartments down from us in college. This guy had a really bad speech problem, and generally sounded like the rudest impression of a retard you've ever heard, but a little more snarly and less intelligible. And one day, Randy (we named him Randy after one of my friends-- his real name was Sam) came over and gave us a Van Halen CD, and tried to explain to us that he didn't know who was on it because he couldn't see, and kept putting his hands over his eyes. We made fun of him for weeks behind his back, and never gave the CD back.

B. I am playing charades, trying to act out "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."

C. I just got maced. But it was really funny mace.

D. I am jokingly covering my eyes as I retell the story of finding my roommate making out with my friend from Chicago that he didn't really know. And the making out and subsequent finding-by-me had happened the night before. On the exact patio I was standing on in the picture. Mere seconds after the picture was taken, my roommate's embarrassment turned to anger and he tackled me into the wall, irreparably tearing my shirt.

E. I am wiping tears of laughter from my face at the prospect of my roommate making out with retarded Randy who lives two apartments down.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stupid things to write, I guess

I just finished an article that includes the following excerpt:

"But your [Christmas] presents might not be safe even when you get them home, tucked on the top shelf of the closet where Jimmy and Jane won’t find them. Just like the crooks knew there were presents in the car, the crooks know there are presents in the house. And crooks love presents."

I feel a little bit bad, because I have no idea if that is true or not, but I'm learning more and more each day that good journalism consists chiefly of making shit up, but making sure it sounds believable. Like "crooks love presents." Do they? I don't know. But presents are fun, right? So why wouldn't they love presents? I place the burden of proof on the skeptic, not the reporter who made the statement. In fact, I think I'm going to go back and add "and crooks love cake too, even more than presents. Except crooks that are on the Atkins diet."

Speaking of retarded things to say, I would like to take this opportunity to point out a few phrases that many, MANY bloggers (including many good ones) use way too often:

"Blog fodder," as in "an excursion to the Hungarian rave with that old guy that had given me a roofie on our blind date sounded like a bad idea, but it would make great blog fodder, so I went for it."

"Bated breath," as in "I am super-duper busy this week, so it'll take a little bit for me to post the pictures of the wrestling party in the pool full of chili we had for halloween. I know you're all waiting with bated breath..." Except sometimes people spell it "baited breath," which makes me want to knee-drop them all the more.

"In other news," used just as a cute segway. Well, I've got news for you. A segway is not a cliche, it's a gyroscoped scooter that Gob Bluth and dorky policemen ride.

Over the weekend, I didn't do anything interesting. I ate crackers and cheese for dinner on Friday, and then drank a couple bottles of wine and watched TV by myself. On Saturday, I watched football all day and did about eight loads of laundry. When 7:00 rolled around and I realized nothing was going on, I got real hyper and drunk on gin and cleaned my room for about two hours. Sunday I went to Mass, ate four hot dogs, and went to sister and brother-in-laws to watch the (disappointing) Bears game and drink three manhattans, three glasses of wine a bourbon and two doses of Drambuie. Oh yeah, and we ate dinner. Well, that sounds depressing.

Today, I laughed and laughed at this post. Really, it's worth your time.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The internet is a funny place

For my friend John's intermediate (Sophomore level) French class requirement, which he was finishing up second semester of senior year (this spring), he had to make a video for a project he was working on. Our other roommate's brother had visited a month before and left us with a new awe for four things: Right Guard RGX body spray (still use that stuff), the sexual attractiveness (to coeds) of a college graduate who plays guitar, the potential for screwy relationships with hot women from broken homes, and the French rap song La Belle et Le Bad Boy, by MC Solaar.

Naturally, for his project, John decided to make a music video of La Belle et Le Bad Boy, consisting chiefly of jiggly shots of him walking down the hallways of a recording studio and lip-synching. But there were other scenes too, including a shooting, a funeral, cars with underlighting at night, and a shot of the two young lovers (two more of my friends) counterfeiting money and doing lines of fake cocaine off the coffee table.

And now? The thing just blew up on YouTube. 51,000 hits or something? (I can’t check because YouTube is blocked at work.) And guess what the number one result on a Google search “MC Solaar La Belle Le Boy”?

This video took him a few hours to put together and now he’s practically famous. I was almost in the shooting scene, but I didn’t want to put down my bourbon because I had to finish it before my baseball game (what? I wasn’t pitching that day).

But I think I deserve a little acknowledgement in the credits for the “fake cocaine off the coffee table” scene. I guess you’ll need a backstory for that.

At the end of the fall semester, at a flag football game (which we won—actually we won the whole shebang—championship, yeah bitches), John broke his finger… really fecked it up as a matter of fact: the middle bone of his middle finger was snapped into four pieces, and it was bent directly sideways. The two of us were collaborating to stop a kickoff return on the play, and he got his hand caught in the flag belt and twisted around. When he turned to me and showed me, I told him he should get a sub (I think maybe he knew that). And then I yelled over to the sideline that one of the girls should drive him to the hospital (I was into the game).

After a sort-of botched surgery (his finger is still kind of crooked), he got a prescription for Laritab, which is basically Vicodin to the third power. Strong stuff. One of those days when we were all sitting around drinking and various people we didn’t invite were coming into our apartment to drink (there were a lot of those days in those days), John thought it would be a good idea to grind one of the pills up and snort it.

He went and got one of the pills (gigantic! 1000 milligrams aka a gram), and set to dicing it with a paring knife on a kitchen plate. We took a few minutes chopping and grinding, and a few more minutes finding a twenty dollar bill for authenticity’s sake. But when push came to shove, there was still a great deal of awkward laughing and “Are you fucking serious?” and more laughing and “I’ll do it if you do it” and then awkward seriousness, and then a little more giggling.

I had never done drugs of any kind, except for antibiotics and Capri Sun, and I wasn’t interested in doing any, but I just wasn’t sure if this qualified. But after enough mooning, I grabbed the bill, bent down and snerked up a column of powder.

It burned. Not because it was acidic or anything, it was just a bunch of powder up my nose. Ouch. So I sniffed a few times, took a drink of beer, and sat back. Everyone took their turns, and that was that. It didn’t make me feel funny, or feel good, or feel bad.

So the episode was pretty much forgotten. Every once in a while, one of us would whip out some aspirin or Vitamin C and convince some freshman to do it because we though that was pretty funny, but soon the novelty wore off, and we let it go.

Until they made that video, and the video made it big. Now, if you please, I would like credit for being the first person to snort a line of imitation coke off the coffee table that so many thousands have since seen.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Copping Out, and why I shouldn't

Well, Tiff threw a meme out there, and unoriginal little soul that I am, I decided to go ahead and resort to it.

Blog’s Self-Description
Hello, I am Fort Knocks’s blog. I don’t know my own name, since I’m alternately referred to as Impatiens and Pellinore. I guess Pellinore was a goofy king from Arthurian legend and Impatiens is a kind of semi-edible flower. I have no idea what those two have to do with each other; maybe Fort Knocks has schizophrenia. Or at least ADD, hopefully. Anyway, I’m 6’2”, have a white beard and receding hairline, and I like mutton.

How would you really describe yourself?
I probably wouldn’t. Or I would be excessively boastful and hope people thought it was sarcastic, self-deprecating and cute (when really I’m just an arrogant prick). See? Like that.

What motivated you to start blogging and what do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
I was bored, and my sister had one, so I said “what the hell?” This is what I say immediately before most of my worst decisions. I hope to conquer the world and garner a lucrative shoe endorsement contract from Nike.

Why did you pick your blog name, is there a story behind that?
I changed it a couple of times. It used to be called “Turning the Cornered,” and then it was “Corner” for a little bit. Now I guess I think “Impatiens” just sounds cool. Plus Dean Koontz uses the word a lot, and I sort of have a crush on him.

Name 3 of your favourite/best beauty buys you’ve ever purchased, and why?
1. I bought shampoo in college once, when my roommates told me to stop using theirs.
2. I got a hair clippers/buzzer thing for Christmas.
3. That’s all. So since they’re the only two, I guess they’re the best two.

You have $1000, where would you go (which stores), why, and what would you look for?
I do have a thousand dollars. But I have far more than a thousand dollars in debt. Ok, that’s a boring answer. I guess I would go to Kohl’s, but first I would go to the Army store and buy a flamethrower with the thousand dollars so I could burn Kohl’s down because they sold me a suit with a missing button, and I didn’t notice and my mom did and I was embarrassed.

What’s on your “need-to-buy” list at the moment?
Socks. I swear.

Pick 1 dish you could eat forever, for the rest of your life. (5 if you really cannot decide)
Chicago-style deep dish pizza with sausage, spinach, pepperoni, onions and peppers. I would seriously have no problem with that.

Do you have a signature style, fragrance, accessory? If so, why, what made you choose it, and how does it make you feel?
Are you serious? I borrowed my cousin’s cologne a couple of times. Oh, wait! I have a breast cancer bracelet that I’ve been wearing for the last year and a half. It’s kind of yellow-peach by now, but whatever. Lay off, my mom had cancer. It makes me feel like it’s too small, because it is.

What is your go-to, fail-safe outfit for work, and for play?
For work: pants and a button-down shirt.
For play: jeans and a button-down shirt.
I guess being a guy is really easy. Or at least being a lazy guy.

What is the one gadget or item that you absolutely could not live without?
My phone? I think I’m the most boring person in the world. I hate this survey for making me realize it.

What are the top 3 most frustrating things about going shopping?
1. Buying a suit without a button and not noticing and having your mom notice and being embarrased.
2. That was the only time I’ve ever been shopping.

Well, it’s been nice knowing you all. Realizing what an uninteresting person I am has been a painful, but necessary process. I am going to go kill myself now.

No, wait! Salvation! Maybe I’m only boring when I’m talking about myself. Maybe I’m just not shallow enough to dither about what I like and don’t like for pages upon entertaining pages. Maybe I’m more interested in issues around me and outside me. Maybe I’m a gold-hearted philanthrope. So maybe all the rest of you self-involved losers should go kill yourselves. And then write a really entertaining blog about how you felt at the time to try to penetrate my self-righteousness. Good luck.

In the meantime, any of you who feel like it, have a crack at the meme. I won't be jealous of your interestingnessitude, I promise. Well, not that jealous.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Big city, big tabs, Jamaican accents, and other shit

I spent my Monday and Tuesday at an industry symposium. Interesting stuff, some of it.

Monday morning, I was out of the house by 6:30, ready to do the whole city thing, wearing a suit and taking the train instead of the oh-so-suburban business casual and driving (driving a suburban, interestingly enough, which is what I usually do).

Today I had my usual accoutrements plus more cash and gum, which I stopped for at the White Hen on the way to the train. It’s convenient having an El stop two blocks from my house.

This symposium/seminar/meeting was at the Drake Hotel downtown, a place I had never been. It is as nice as you would imagine (if you imagine it really nice)—rich dark woodwork and fancy upholstery, and chandeliers everywhere, even in the bathroom stalls, which is a little bit awkward.

The first couple of keynotes were interestingish. Jon Kaplan from Google spoke first, and then a panel of a few different dudes. Third was an extremely boring old man with a toupee and wickedly bad teeth. I swear, this guy had one idea: automate your marketing campaigns—and that was it! And he talked for forty-five minutes without explaining anything further than that. So on our evaluation forms (on a scale of 1 to 5), I just ranked him “?” and wrote in the comments, “I don’t even know what this guy was talking about.”

But enough of the business talk. After the last session, all the industry people shuffled back into “the Gold Coast room” for a cocktail reception. Holy goodness, was that something (especially because I had skipped out of the sessions after lunch, and had been drinking all afternoon).

Open bar at the Drake: I encourage any of you who can to give this experience a try sometime. The bartenders are generous, and especially generous if you give them a tip, and Especially generous if you sound like you know what you’re talking about. So even though I didn’t especially want one, it was necessary to order a “Manhattan, down, rocks, and a vodka cranberry with a twist.” The old bartender loved it, even though he didn’t crack a smile, and I could tell as he whipped bottles hither and thither, and sloshed liquor over an already-full measuring shotglass that he preferred serving me to serving the other ignorants.

The second time back, he seemed a little distracted, and I asked him to hit it again with the bourbon, which he did. And I didn’t have any change, so I left him 20 bucks on the bar. And I felt equal parts cool “I hope people noticed that,” pretentious, “oh crap, whoever noticed that is going to think I am a huge douchebag,” and stupid, “wait, what are you doing, dumbass? You really can’t afford that at all. Not even a little bit.” The two guys immediately to my left immediately started yelling. “Hey, whoah! Look at that! … Hey, high-roller, huh, Fort Knocks? Who-ho-hoah!!!”

I don’t think I had met these guys, but I was wearing a name tag. I didn’t acknowledge them, of course, just turned away trying to hide my embarrassment with smugness, which made me even more embarrassed. But I was pretty loopy, so it wasn’t that bad.

At dinner, I found myself at a table with the organizers of the whole damn conference, so we had a couple glasses of wine and talked things over. It seemed like a really good idea to tell the one boss guy Tom how boring the third speaker had been, and I don’t think he was offended. He asked me if I wanted to go outside for a cigarette with one of the boss-women after we finished eating, so I did.

There we continued to chat, and after I made a few blunt remarks, the woman told Tom, “you should give this guy a job. He tells it how it is.”

“Oh, I don’t think you fogies could keep up with me,” I said and sort of laughed, and then went back to talking about how Mark Zuckerberg should have sold Facebook for $4 billion when he had the chance, because the demographic on social networking sites doesn’t have any purchasing power and ad revenue is getting artificially inflated. They went inside soon, and a younger organizer woman came out and started smoking a really thin dark brown cigarette at me.

We spoke; she mentioned that a few of them were heading up to the Signature room on the top of the John Hancock building, and I was welcome to come. I said what the hey?

The following are notes on what ensued. (This is getting too long, so I’ll just summarize. Besides, things get a little blurry at this point.)

1. I rode up and down to the top of the John Hancock building three times. Those elevators are ridiculously fast.
2. An $80 bottle of champagne is not that different than a $40 champagne to the uneducated, drunk palate.
3. Knob Creek doubles are always a good idea. Always.
4. Random hilarious guys who swear a lot but not in front of ladies, who tell you “we’ve got to hang out at this bar up the street right now,” and give you their phone number and then you say, “wait, who the hell are you? What’s your name?” and they leave are confusing.
5. Text messaging “Are they both named Cathy?” to someone across the table about two other people at the table is entirely acceptable. And useful.
6. The $255 tab had better be refunded by my company, or I am well and truly screwed.
7. That bar really is awesome. The best view in the city, and plus it makes you feel really important.
8. The next day we heard from Devon Harris, the guy from “Cool Runnings,” you know, that movie about the Jamaican bobsled team. He has a Jamaican accent (not surprising) and told the following joke: A priest and a cab driver die and go to heaven. At the pearly gates, they meet St. Peter, who gives the cab driver a white silk robe and bids him welcome. The priest is excited at first, but disappointed when St. Peter hands him an ugly plaid bathrobe. “What the hell, St. Peter? Can’t you see I’m a priest?” he says. St. Peter replies, “Well, when the cab driver did his work, people prayed; when you did your work, people slept.” I didn’t say the joke was that funny. But for a Jamaican, it’s not bad. (but not his best, which must be read with a Jamaican accent. Go ahead, try it: “When we heard ‘bobsled,’ our first reaction was… ‘Bob Who? The only Bob we know is Bob Marley. And he’s dead.’” Ok, I guess you had to be there.)
9. I had never been in Holy Name Cathedral and I didn’t know where it was, but I randomly passed it walking the next day so I went in. It’s ok.
10. No way. Our CEO just walked up with the president of the association that runs the meeting for an abbreviated meet'n'greet and some post-mortem grilling (this happened while I was writing #4). How was the breakout session? Um, I missed it because I was still asleep, and the Cool Runnings guy was the only thing that looked interesting for Tuesday? No, that won’t go over well; just bullshit.

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been for the last two days.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Short and sweet-- and a challenge

Is it proof of a hyperactive imagination that I enjoy reading movie transcripts online, I mean from start to finish, while I'm at work? I've done it a couple of times in the last month, and if I know the movie well enough, it's almost as good as watching it. I'll sit at my desk, laughing at Anchorman or Kingpin, or smiling my way through and old Star Wars, having a great old time.

Also, this is cool as hell. Online vocab quiz, 50 levels (although they say it's very rare to get past 48). The organization donates ten grains of rice through the UN for every word you get right. So I'm a level 44. Bring it on, bitches. You got the word in you?

Finally, I just finished an article about a few studies (by both traditional family institutions and by pro-gay, progressive institutions) that claim that gay men die as much as 20 years younger than the average man. 20 years. So I guess being gay is bad for you. What do you think about that?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sometimes I am just retarded

Nope, there's nothing more to it than that-- no sad backstory or funny anecdote. I just read my post from yesterday, and wow! It's retarded. No other way to describe it. So I apologize. I have no excuse for my behavior and I promise to do better in the future. I hope I didn't drive anyone to hara-kiri, or even worse, to stop reading me.

It puts pressure on you if anyone ever says, "you're funny," or "you're not retarded," because it means they expect funniness and nonretardation forever in the future. But rejecting nonretardation is not something I can avoid at all times; just look at this sentence.

Anyway, I am leaving work [cue jealousy] to meet my family downtown for lunch. No meetings, no more work for me today. I'm sorry for my shameful display yesterday, and I hope we can still be friends.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The absolute zenith of mixed signals

First, I would like to say the following: telling me that there is a surprise ending to a movie "but I won't tell you what it is!" is almost as bad as telling me. And then giving me a paper cut right on my butt so it stretches out every time I sit down. And you soak all my underpants with lemon juice that gets in it.

Because, duh! when I'm watching the movie, I'm going to be guessing what the twist at the end. Surprise!!! Well, no, not really; I knew it was coming even if I didn't know what it was. "It's a surprise ending, so don't let anyone ruin it for you."

Well, dick, it's too late.

Fidelity is out this season.

Women in a Nepal mountain village have been mailing condoms to their husbands working overseas to protect them from sexually transmitted diseases, a news report said Tuesday.

My only question about this whole situation is how awkward do you think the first conversation is when he gets back?

Husband: "Hi! Oh, I love you. Great to see you!"

Wife: "I love you too. We missed you!"

Husband: "Yeah, I missed you all too. I wish there was an easier way to have made some money."

Wife: "Me too. But I really appreciate that you did it. I know it must have been hard."

Husband: "I know it was hard for you, too."


Wife: "It's good to have you back... So did you get letters we sent?"

Husband: "Yeah, yeah. Thanks, they were great. A real pick-me-up on some rotten days."

Wife: "Good... good."

Husband: "Yeah."

Wife: "So did you get the condoms we sent you?"

Husband: "Um, the what? I mean, yeah, yeah, I got those."

Wife: "Oh."

Husband: "Yeah, they were um... yeah, so. Why did you send them to me?"

Wife: "Well, you know, the Caspian Sea's not the same place it used to be..."

Husband: "Oh. Yeah."

Wife: "Yi got elected class treasurer last month."

Husband: "Did he? That's great. Way to go, bud."

Yi: "Thanks, dad."

Wife: "The Changs got a new donkey."

Husband: "How about that. I remember them talking about that."

Wife: "So, about those condoms. How many other women did you nail on you stupid extended business trip, huh?"

Ok, I am sorry. That was even awkward to write. I'm sure it was awkward to read, if you even made it through that crap. Whew. I'm uncomfortable now.

And then on the way home, our little Nepalese family is driving along...

When all of a sudden, a 600 pound cow comes screaming down from a 200-foot cliff and lands on their tiny hatchback, killing all three occupants.

See? Isn't a surprise ending better when you don't know it's coming? I mean, damn, that could practically be an M. Night Shyamalan movie.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I used to like him and I hate myself for it

Lance Armstrong playing the Dating-Age-Limbo Game. And winning.

"Ashley Olsen has been spotted exchanging affections with cycling champion Lance Armstrong, sparking speculation of a romance.

The unlikely couple-- with 15 years between them-- enjoyed an intimate evening at the Gramercy Park Hotel bar in New York on Monday night, according to reports.

A source tells Page Six, 'They came together with a group of friends. Ashley drank red wine, sat on his lap and they were making out all night. They left together around 2 a.m.'"

It's the latest in a slew of flings for Armstrong. "I really like those little bony chicks, you know?" said the Captain of Faggotry. "I mean, I knew her sister had the whole anorexia thing, so I'm hopeful we can steer her in the same direction."

Armstrong had previously cheated on his wife with apeish pop-squealer Sheryl Crow, who supplanted Armstrong's wife on the Tour de France stage. "Sheryl was great timing," said the retired cyclist. "I mean, my wife was the one who nursed me through the terrible battle with cancer, so after I got better, seeing her always reminded me of the bad times. I don't need that-- much better to chase some strange ass when you're on top of the world, am I right?"

Olsen was superlatively giggly of the attention. "I remember when he had that cancer, or HIV or whatever it was, because I was in fourth grade at the time, and my mom thought he was cute. Well, actually it wasn't fourth grade, because I dropped out after second grade to be a star." The impossibly whoreish Olsen smiled impishly to reporters, and continued, "I'm going back to school though, cause it's important, right? I mean, I know. So I'm gonna get that eighth grade diploma, hopefully sometime in 2020. Wait, is that a year? I thought that was like, vision or something."

Armstrong was confident of the pair's future. "I realized when I won my seventh Tour de France in a row that I can do anything, man. I mean, I really can. I dated this tennis chick for a while, sandwiched between Sheryl and Ashley-- I mean timewise (God, wouldn't that be nice)-- I can run the New York marathon, I can hang out with Matthew McConaughy and crush ass in SoCal, and yes, I can get with this 90-pound waif of a harlot. Don't doubt me."

The famous balding toolbag had only one worry. "Plus dude, I gotta pass on these genes however I can. Because I've only got one nut, dude. I better get crackin."

Experts speculate that the pair's potential offspring would have larger-than-average hearts, negligible intelligence, cadaverous eye-sockets and bounteous egos.

"Yeah, our kids would be the best man, the best. Especially cause of me," said Armstrong.

"What? What's that? An average baby weighs like, more than me, though, right?" said Olsen. "I don't think I could even vomit one out of my belly. Or wait, you don't poop them, do you? That would be sooo gross."

Armstrong didn't reply, just winked to reporters and put on really cool sunglasses before the two resumed canoodling.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Don't drink and dress

Yes! In your face, Cosmos! Now I have another great title for a post-- and a post to go with it-- or at least a question.

And that question is... Did I go out on Saturday wearing a left shoe and a right shoe from DIFFERENT PAIRS OF UNMATCHING SHOES? I'll give you three guesses.

You guess "no"? Wrong!

You guess "31"? Wrong!

You guess "anal beads... no wait, leotard!... wait no, Haiti..."

Wrong again. The answer, nitwit, is yes. But perhaps a little background is in order.

Friday afternoon I got home from work after my parents had already eaten dinner-- but my dad still had the food on the stove, and cooked up pasta just for me (they're both on the Atkins diet right now). Scallops, onions, red peppers, peapods, mushrooms and a disturbingly creamy sauce: phenomenal. So my dad made me dinner and sat with me at the dining room table and he had a glass of wine while I had a steaming plateful of food. and a glass of wine.

And then we both had another, and talked about various and sundry things until my mom got back. She told me that there was a lot to be done around the house, and that tonight was going to be a good night to stay in. I nodded and poured myself a nice vodka on the rocks.

A little later, a couple later, I was going out to buy some cigarettes, because I felt like it, and decided to call my brother who was down in the city. And right when I was talking to him, I happened to be crossing Harlem right next to 290, so it was the work of a moment to spin the wheel when he told me "sure, come ahead down," and I was on my way.

We went to one bar then another. Then one more, and then over to the cousin's apartment, where we listened to the loudest parts of the Fellowship of the Ring on his new, large sound system, and sucked down a tasty Tanqueray and Tonic. By the time I got home, it was 5:30 in the AM.

I woke up five hours later, maybe six, and I wasn't hungover. This was always a bad sign for my roommates and me in college. We'd ask each other, "you hungover?" as we stumbled out of our rooms and onto the couches in the living room to watch consecutive movies and eat greasy delivered food of one species or another... "Yeah, I'm really hungover-- it was a pretty tame night," you might say. But more typically, a cheerful "Nope! It was crazy last night, man!" Yes, I'm saying what you think I'm saying. I was still buzzed when I woke up Saturday morning.

So we all know how to handle that situation, don't we? I'll give you a hint: it starts with "Pour yourself a tall..." and ends "orange juice." Mmm-hmm, tasty. Oh yeah, and in the middle is "strong vodka and."

But I put too much ice in at first, so some of the vodka splashed out onto a piece of paper on the counter. Which, I shook off, blotted, and recognized as my to-do list for the day, prepared thoughtfully by my mother.

"Clean the back hall," the note said to me, insinuating that there might be dead mice hidden behind the galoshes. "And then clear out underneath the back porch."

"There's so much crap under there," I protested, but the note would have nothing of it. "It's just an old Christmas tree, recycling bins, kindling, and those two giant tarps that smell like old people," it said.

So I set to, shuffling items here and there, and drinking my screwdriver and having a fine time.

"Ah ah ah," the note scolded as I washed my hands at the kitchen sink. "Clean the laundry room, put down all the storm windows, and put away the grill and all the lawn chairs."

"Fine," I said, "I'll get the storm windows, and the grill and the furniture." And I did. "But I'm not going to clean the laundry room," I muttered under my breath, but the note didn't say anything. I think it was probably taking a nap, like all authority figures do in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, the Notre Dame game went to triple overtime before they lost (surprise, surprise), and I had time for one less nap and two more beers than I had planned.

So I guess it's not surprising that when I changed after dinner, I ended up putting on shoes that didn't match. And didn't notice when one shoe clicked and the other shoe landed softly the rest of the night.

Then on Sunday, I don't know why, but I farted pretty much the whole way to church. I think if I had had a skatboard and a lighter, I could have saved my legs a lot of effort. But I probably would have burned my pants.

And now, for the award of the weekend: Best response to the question, "Hey idiot, why were you just making out with that chubby girl over there? Are you in love?"

"I was getting pretty hungry, and I mistook her for a pork sparerib."

Friday, November 2, 2007


So I've officially registered for NaBloPoMo, a day late, but I posted yesterday, so I'm still in good standing (I think-- if not, whatever). I had actually thought of trying NaNoWriMo, which is the inspiration for NaBloPoMo. In fact, I had a really great plan to shift my working hours, take up smoking at least a pack a day, grow my hair really long or wear a wig, and basically pretend I was an author for a month. But Apathy is my middle name. I was actually going to get my middle name legally changed to Apathy, but then, ... eh.

What I've discovered is that since the NaBloPoMo is still pretty small-ish, people hitting 'next blog' or 'random blog' or 'waste more time' or whatever the button is get to my blog a lot more frequently than from Blogger. In the last four hours, for example, I have had IPs check in from locales as various as Chicago, New York, Sprinfield, IL, Springfield, VA, Beltsville, MD, Victorville, CA, San Antonio, Arlington, VA, Ann Arbor, MI, College Station, TX, Grand Rapids, MI, Mesa, AZ, Portland, OR, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, AZ, Manila, Philippines, and Prior Lake, MN, among others.

Why do you care? I'm sure you don't. It just surprised me a little bit. Usually I just get a very few regulars and anyone who googles "europeans with immodest undershirts," or "thick laid-back softball merkin sucking bacon," both of whom I hope were disappointed. I mean, jeez, I don't even know what that means. I'm getting the heebie-jeebies just imagining someone hunched over a computer googling this, let alone imagining a "thick laid-back softball merkin sucking bacon." Gross.

Much more reassuring to think about things like this: A judge who ordered a woman to drop her pants and decided a custody dispute by flipping a coin was removed from the bench by the Virginia Supreme Court on Friday.

"a black lacy thing," the judge said of the mental patient's underwear. "... it looked good, didn't it?"

Whatever you say, your honor.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Exes and Owes

A quick note for your consideration. When we sign off a message with “hugs and kisses,” we write xoxo, x for a kiss, o for a hug. When we draw a dead stick figure, we put x’s on his eyes (as opposed to the more realistic flat lines, which are used for the eyes of stick figures who are asleep or Asian… or both). Coincidence? Ever heard of the kiss of death? Ok, fine, it makes no sense. Forget I said anything

Top two things that are quick and dirty:

1. The draft I have prepared for a new article.
2. Break-up sex.

All right, I admit, I really didn’t have anything to write regarding the title of this post, but I had to write something, because, come on, how awesome is that title? I guess I’m in debt for college loans, but I don’t have collection agencies on me about it, let alone much fiercer creditors like my friends. And I don’t have any exes, because either I’ve never had a relationship, or they’ve all ended in murder. Awkward silence.

Anyway, I might need to hire someone who’s more familiar with the subjects, like I don’t know, Kevin Federline or Joey Tribbiani.