Monday, October 31, 2005

My Halloween Suggestion Box

I don't much care for Halloween. Pretend to be surprised by that. I hate adults getting dressed up, and I hate kids, period. However, I've decided that I can at least respect adults who really make an effort, who become actor-for-a-night and totally embody their otherwise puerile game of dress-up. Unlike Mom, who got dressed up as a hippie because all the other teachers in her school were doing it. (Because that's an important lesson to impart on our impressionable kids: always cave into peer pressure and follow the crowd.) Mom stole one of my white t-shirts, tie-dyed it, and told everyone she was a hippie. Lame! Where's the Grateful Dead wig? Where's the anti-war poster? Where's the hemp?

But my point is that Halloween needs to grow the hell up. You go through phases: First, you're harassing your neighbors for candy. Then, you're vandalizing. Finally, you're hiding by the side of your house with a garden hose, spraying people who walk by. (Only the teenage punks, though. Even I'm not mean enough to hose down innocuous trick-or-treaters.) We need an adult Halloween, and that's why I think we should give out Kit-Kats to the kiddies and flaming tequila shots and Xanax and condoms to the poor parents forced to take them out.

I wish I thought of this back in college when the condoms were free.

I'd like to see Halloween turned back into the devil-frightening bacchanalia it's supposed to be, with drugs and orgies and thrash metal. Fanwood's Halloween parade is so saccharine it would even make Jesus feel like He'd just eaten a whole bowl of candy corn. We can only listen to "Monster Mash" so many times before we regret the killer in Saw II is only a fictional character. Even the big dogs, the "Nation’s Most Wildly Creative Public Participatory Event in the Greatest City in the World" somehow got perverted into a mindless anti-Bush, gay-rights, puke-till-you-drop puppet show shelling out free ad space for the Chocolate Buddha (which I'm tempted to get Anne for Christmas). I want to see the village banding together as a community for one night against the Devil's minions, and also against those retarded-ass inflatable Frankensteins that my idiot neighbors with bad taste put on their lawn.

Seriously, someone should inform the zoning board.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Tis the season to start bitching about how stores are honoring the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by putting up their Christmas decorations earlier and earlier. We used to complain, "But it's not even Thanksgiving yet," and I guess Macy's didn't want to hear any of that crap so they've got the holly and poinsettia hanging from the ceiling before Halloween. Do they have their Martin Luther King Day sale in November?

Thirty. That's the number of kids I counted at the mall this afternoon, which I thought was more than a little odd since I was at the mall from around noon till two and I'm like ninety-five percent sure today's not Columbus Day. I'm not talking about little tots getting pushed around in strollers either; I mean children old enough to waste their disposable income on Green Day CD's and Lucky Brand jeans. I wanted to stop one of these parents or legal guardians shopping with their offspring and ask, "Shouldn't your kid be in school?" This is why Americans are so freaking stupid: we're letting our children run around the mall, irritating me, rather than out of sight, getting an education where they belong. Not that I want to tell these parents how to raise their kids, but seriously, they took their children out of school for a shopping spree — someone needs to play Dr. Spock and tell these parents how to raise their damn kids.

I was at the mall because I can't walk around outside without a shirt now that it's winter. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I hate clothes shopping because I ain't got no style. I used to have style, but it was the style you'd find in the weekly K-Mart circular. I was particularly oblivious for the first decades of my life — the pre-Queer Eye decades — like, I didn't even realize that you could tell if it was a men's clothing store or a women's clothing store by whether the mannequins have tits.

But now, I want sex. From superficial women, apparently, so I did something new: I went from one store to the next trying to find clothes that would look good on me, rather than simply purchasing the first garment I see, whether it fits or not. I went to Old Navy, to Express for Men, J. Crew, and Abercrombie & Fitch — and they all sell the exact same freaking shirt. You know the one: it's a button-down collared shirt, pastel colors, with the vertical stripes. For some reason, it costs sixty bucks at the upper-middle class stores and only twenty-five at the lower-middle class store. If I'm paying more than thirty bucks for a shirt, it ought to give me superpowers or something. Otherwise, I'm just throwing my money away.

Okay, Abercrombie & Fitch. Some of us appreciate being able to go into a store without some extreme-sports-dude employee shoving a "lifestyle brand" in my face. "Hey man, can I help you find something, me and my frosted spiked hair and surfnoid necklace? You wanna hang out at Lizzie's tonight? I hear Dan's gonna be bringing some X." This is why I never had any style, folks. Anyway, I'd like you to meet Matt Ratliff and his abs. He's the newest Abercrombie spokes-adonis, and the Abercrombie store is wallpapered with this picture of him, blown up like a thousand times: . Um... okay, Abercrombie marketing geniuses, what's wrong with this ad? Let's think about it... you're trying to sell me Abercrombie apparrel, so... there aren't any fucking clothes in the goddamn photograph!!!! I'm not really an expert, but I can't imagine anybody being both so gay and so stupid they're thinking, "Today I buy an overpriced shirt that says 'Abercrombie' on it, tomorrow I get hot gay sex with Matt."
By the way, I got that picture from the Abercrombie & Fitch website, here. I want to quote you some of the copy on Abercrombie's website, just so you can see for yourself how out of touch these morons are: "Browse through this season's images in the Gallery. Send a Postcard to your crush." Yeah, let me find a girl I like and send her an e-postcard of a guy who's like fifty times more attractive than I am. That's a wonderful idea. Assholes.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tyranny of the Majority

I guess Election Day is coming up because I got my sample voting ballot for the 22nd Legislative District in the mail today. Since I'm not retarded and don't need to study the ballot two weeks ahead of time, I usually just throw the thing out and I never noticed before that our gubernatorial candidates get to make a personal statement on the back. I was kind of happier not knowing about the freakwads vying to be our governor — now I'm scared for democracy because it looks like any moron can run for the head office in the state.

There's a part of me that's amused by the third-party candidates and wants to waste my vote on one of them. Like Edward Forchion from the Legalize Marijuana party. Gee, I wonder what his platform is. In case there's any doubt that marijuana's bad for your brain, here's the opening of Ed's personal statement:

"The reason I'm running for Governor [sic] isn't because I think I will win, but for the opportunity running gives me (and anyone who votes for me) to give the "FINGER" state-wide to our Demo-publican party politicians who wage their LIE based "WAR on US". "Us" meaning; [sic] "we the people" who freely choose to use substances regardless of what the "do-gooders" think is best. I personally chose to use the "GOD GROWN HERB MARIJUANA" so I fight our governments [sic] war on it's [sic] "POT-FRONT". The fact that I can obtain marijuana any day of the week I chose [sic] is testimate [sic] to the failure of our Governments [sic] racist war on drugs....
Seriously, Ed, put down the reefer for ten minutes while you proofread. I mean, the hell does "testimate" mean?

The rest of Ed's statement can be summarized as, "I'm sick of the Man arresting me for smoking pot, so I'm running for governor." Or Governor, as Ed enjoys capitalizing words that should be in lowercase. I have to give him props for going straight to the top, like I'm sick of the stop sign in the middle of Park Street so I'm gonna run for president and when I win, I'm driving right through that damn crosswalk, yield to pedestrians my ass!

What's striking about these third-party candidates is their passion for better government, their pathetically, utterly misguided passion for better government. The two-party candidates make the job seem perfunctory, but these little guys would totally shake up the state, before inadvertently sending it to hell. Since it seems like any drug-addict idiot can take a shot at political office in this great democracy of ours, I'm thinking that four years from now, I might give it a try. And heck, I'm not even a drug addict. This seems like a great opportunity for me to run on my sending people who were mean to me in high school and college to the plutonium mines platform. I can secure the all-important bully victim vote.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A few weeks ago, I was driving through Summit, getting pissed off because apparently no one in town was creative enough to come up with as many street names as Summit has streets, leaving the town with both a Beauvior Avenue and a Beauvior Place. Frankly, when I'm driving, I have too much on my mind, like not steering the car into a mailbox, to deal with shit like this and if the people of Summit care at all about keeping their mailboxes intact, they'll rename one of those roads.

Speaking of which, there's a movement underway in Greenwich, Connecticut to rename one of the streets because someone, who I have no doubt was a fifteen-year-old boy at the time, thought it would be cute to call it Hooker Lane. Maybe cause it's on the seedy side of town? It's particularly absurd because Greenwich is quite possibly the WASP-iest place on the planet, and I'm guessing it's one of the neighborhood's little pleasures asking one of the prudish Stepford moms of Hooker Lane to repeat her address because you didn't quite get it the first time.

That would never get old.

As per usual, they're doing this for the children. The kids of Hooker Lane are getting teased in school: barbs like "You live on Prostitute Street" go by unpunished while Jane Olenchuk's son has to deal with, "Dude, you must be kidding." Take a moment to dry your eyes. Being a kid is rough. Seriously Jane, tell your kid to crap his pants during a math test, that way no one in school will be making fun of him for his address anymore.

What? No good? You think your child has it bad living on Hooker Lane, remember that the street's eponym is a family actually named Hooker. Imagine the shit those kids had to take. But don't look on the bright side, Jane. You just have to redraw the maps, buy new street signs, replace the mailboxes, fill out all the change-of-address forms. Where exactly was this paper-thin skin of yours when you moved onto Hooker Lane in the first place? This is my absolute hugest pet peeve with homeowners — they buy a house and then they go on this Elizabeth Bennett crusade to overhaul the crappy neighborhood. When I was in high school, for instance, there was this local protest to prohibit parking on the streets near the school. The people living in around the school didn't appreciate all these cigarette-smoking high school kids with their torn jeans and loud rap music parking their '92 Mazdas in front of these million-dollar houses. Of course, the students don't get any say in this because we weren't exactly allowed to vote. (Not that the residents actually voted either, unless something on the ballot affected them personally.) It infuriated me, and I just wanted to smack some sense into these idiots: "Why did you buy a house near the high school if you didn't want any high school students in your neighborhood?" Like, when I get my own place, I don't want any prostitutes in my neighborhood. So I'm not gonna live next door to a fucking whorehouse.

Okay, there's my rant. Back to Greenwich. The official proposal is to change Hooker Lane to "Stonebrook Lane," which is inspired by a Westchester development one of the residents passed on his way home from the golf course and is also, therefore, the most white bread street name in history. You want my opinion, they should call it "Whinypants Road," and then see how Hooker Road sounds. Jane doesn't care: "Who cares?" she said, a springer spaniel at her heels as she unloaded her car in her driveway. "Anything is better than 'Hooker.'"

Really? Anything? Personally, I think Gonorrhea Boulevard is worse, but that's just me.

Another Day, Another Genre

I rented Chan-wook Park's movie Oldboy last night because I'm still hunting around for "my" genre, and for some strange reason, I thought that Korean sadomasochism films (or just plain Korean films, since they're pretty much all about sadomasochism) might be it. Don't read too much into that.

I should probably clarify. Apparently, sadomasochism has been running through Korean storytelling for generations. In my Asian humanities class, we read something from the nineteenth century called The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong, about this king who's imprisoned in a box for like thirty years, goes mad (naturally), and kills a bunch of people when he gets out. Fun, fun stuff. Cut to a hundred and thiry years later, when people like Quentin Tarantino and David Fincher have perfected the art of stylized violence, and Korean cinema is basically high-concept excuses for chopping people up in various ways. Tarantino, in fact, awarded the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes to Oldboy, no doubt comparing it to his own misguided revenge drama in theaters at the time.

Oldboy is higher-concept than Kill Bill, with less of an excuse and less need to copy Peckinpah and those crazy seventies Hong Kong films. Park actually starts off with an original idea: a businessman, played by some Korean guy you've never heard of before, is kidnapped and held in a mysterious apartment. Fifteen years later, he wakes up on a grassy rooftop with a change of clothes, a cell phone, and a wallet full of cash. Then he eats an octopus. A live octopus. Ewwww. Anyway, who kidnapped him? Why? Why was he released? These are questions you ask while reading the copy of the back of the DVD case.

Too bad I stopped caring like fifteen minutes into the movie. There's something about the revenge drama genre that demands mindless, one-dimensional characterizations incapable of truly appreciating their vengeance. I can think of examples dating back to Titus Andronicus — revenge isn't merely cooking up the boys who raped your daughter and feeding them to their mother, revenge is a reversal of fortune: the haughty are brought low as the humble exalts himself. Otherwise, the whole deal is empty and you wind up with these hackneyed speeches about how killing so-and-so won't bring your partner back, which would've fit nicely in about ten different places in Oldboy. Maybe in place of that moronic sequence showing how our protagonist was hypnotized. (And no, I didn't ruin anything for you. Park ruined it by throwing in the hypnosis thing.)

However, since Park mistook style for genuine characterization, Oldboy rings very loud, and very hollow. Part of it is Park being completely oblivious to the fact that his antagonist is a total bastard, but Oldboy's bigger problem seems endemic to the whole Korean New Wave. Park is manipulative, from recurring themes mixing metaphors (the opening scene, with some random character almost falling off a roof, gets seen again, in the lamest of lame contexts, at the end), to the protagonist prying out this dude's teeth with a hammer, to the thing with the octopus, to the electronica operatic score, all of which are vacuous with a facade of resonance. "He's got a knife in his back but he's still fighting. Wow, he must really be pissed!" Well, yes, we get that. But maybe we can take a slightly less dispassionate look at our characters: yes, he's angry, but he's probably also confused and relieved to be free and a bunch of other things that Park never bothered to think of. Maybe Justin Lin will do better with the American remake. Ha!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Human Rights Watch is questioning whether Saddam Hussein will be getting a fair trial tomorrow. And while a fair trial is nice and all, I have to say, it's freaking Saddam: does it really matter?

Don't get me wrong — I totally support Human Rights Watch and the work they do, and I know that there are plenty of places in the world, not the least of which being America, where people are thrown in the gulag without any sort of day in court. I just think that the human rights organizations should devote their limited resources to the people who got caught up in this geopolitical net without being brutal dictators.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I own a hideous coat. It's maybe six or seven years old, from back in the days when my mom picked out my clothes, as opposed to now, when I pick out my clothes and Mom lodges ridiculous complaints about them. I'd include a picture of the offending jacket, but like I said, it's hideous. (Like that's stopped me before....) I don't really know where I should go to buy a new coat, but I do know that Burlington Coat Factory has "coat" right in the name, so it seemed like a good start.

I don't like buying clothes because I have a history of looking foolish while shopping. (The fact that, until recently, Mom insisted on clothes shopping with me because I "refused" to try anything on probably had a lot to do with that.) Usually what'll happen is I'll purchase something that makes me look like a member of the Addams family or I'll get myself caught in a zipper or something, but I totally wouldn't be surprised if I managed to unwittingly walk out of the store with a purchase from the plus-size misses department.

Maybe I was in an outlet store without knowing it, but Burlington Coat Factory has the crappiest clothes I have ever seen. Like Kohl's clearance-bin crappy. Seriously, there are clothes stores in Harlem and Chinatown that don't have names but have nicer merchandise. I'm not the most stylin' dude in da hood (what, you don't believe me?), but I don't think Burlington Coat Factory is the place for me. Also, pretty much all their coats are XXXL or larger, so I'm not quite sure who does buy stuff there. Like, is their entire customer base Shaq?

I'm blogging once again from the Chelsea Market because I don't feel like going to my self-esteem class, but my parents will get pissed off if I come home early and they think I didn't go. I note how this class had the odor of disaster from day one. There I was, feeling like an ass on icebreaker day, so I don't show up for the second class. And then I actually sort of feel like going to the third class, but I can't go cause someone will inevitably ask me why I wasn't at the second class. You can pretty much figure out how it'll snowball from there.

It's kind of annoying that I'm confined to this one spot in the Chelsea Market — it's the only electric outlet I can find. There's this mother sitting next to me, trying to feed her toddler, and this would usually piss me off, but not today. The kid would rather play with a plastic bag and cry and slump out of her stroller than eat — and looking at what this woman's trying to shove down her throat, who can blame her — and the mother's getting all frustrated and flustered and every now and then she just snaps and yells at the kid or slaps her or shakes her, like that's gonna calm her down. I'm like six inches away from them and finding the whole scene much more amusing than anything that could possibly happen in the confidence class.

Seriously, I'm twenty-three and if someone's beating me, it just sort of makes me a bit more aggravated. This little kid can't possibly have any idea why Mom's bitching at her... or maybe at the age of two she already realizes that her mother's totally insufferable.

Oh, that reminds me, the other day I was at the train station enjoying myself while I listened to this lady bitch and moan about my towns-kin. We weren't even outside, and she's all but yelling into her cell phone about how she's been sick for a week and the doctor's office won't give her an appointment and she can't get any of her neighbors to help out with the kids even though she's helped all of them out — you gotta appreciate, too, that this whole diatribe is in one of those awwful Lawwng Oyyland accents — and the realtor sold them a house that's falling apart and she can't make any friends (I totally sympathize) let alone any Jewish friends and none of this happened back when she lived back in West Orange and no one's being nice to her and.... Holy crap, Lady, no wonder! I've only known you five minutes and I already hate your guts. Your poor neighbors...

No, that's not very nice. In my experience, the townsfolk are pretty callous. But you get my point: let's please do our private toddler slapping and talking about our neighbors behind their backs in private for once.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Apparently, we're all going to die. I don't mean that in some metaphysical, philosophical way; I mean that the news media, which would never in a million years sensationalize a story, is already laying odds on how and when Armageddon will come. The fashionable predictions for the annihilation of mankind right now include the avian flu and the always-popular terrorist attack on a subway, and that means that you'll get much better odds betting on something obscure like mutant zombie experiment gone horribly wrong or a black hole collapsing the university into a singularity of infinite density and temperature. I'm personally going with the fifty-to-one odds on self-replicating nanotechnology consuming all the planet's resources for their reproduction. Of course, it'll be a bitch to collect if I win.

By the way, did you hear that New York's well-to-do got word of the subway threat before the rest of us plebes? Normally, shit like this would piss me off (the real issue is how rich people can take taxis and avoid mass transit soft targets altogether), but since the threat turned out to be nothing, I'm kind of amused how the rich folks got punked. In fact, I think we should send more spurious terror warnings the socialites' way, like someone within Homeland Security leaks a classified memo about how al-Qaeda's dumping arsenic in our nation's supply of seruga caviar or Hamas planting a pipe bomb in the Knickerbocker Club.

I used to be the type of person who'd hear that killer bees have been adapting and migrating north and east across North America and I wouldn't leave the house for like a week. Thanks to delicious, delicious drugs — and I'll also give a little credit to maturity — I've gotten better about putting that stuff out of my mind. Nevertheless, I'd appreciate it if someone would tell me what I genuinely need to worry about, because all these warnings from a zillion different sources are becoming a little more life-consuming than I'd like. Take the bird flu, for instance. Now, this sounds suspiciously like that SARS thing that freaked everybody out two years ago or West Nile virus, which I actually caught and it was the shortest cold ever. I mean, even Robitussin could whip West Nile's ass and Robitussin normally can't do shit.

So I'm no longer sure what to think, but thankfully, I'm also no longer sure that the media isn't fucking with me. With the anthrax scare back in 2001, my dad insisted that I open my mail in a well-ventilated area wearing latex gloves and a face mask. My friends don't even mail me birthday cards, but all of a sudden Osama bin Laden's gonna become my pen pal. Or how parents were freaked out two years ago when pretty blonde girls suffered a spate of wacko kidnappings, or beachgoers and the "summer of the shark" and miraculously we're all still here. By the same token, I don't recall A Current Affair saying one damn word about the weakened levees in New Orleans or terrorists flying planes into buildings or any of the crap that we actually should have been worried over.

For a relatively risk-averse person, this is tough, because I've got a finite amount of energy I can spend avoiding things that'll kill me. I made a partial list of things to avoid:

  • rattlesnakes
  • base jumping
  • Iraq
  • drinking antifreeze
  • space travel
Significant risk of death with all of those. What keeps me awake at night, though, are the things I can't really judge, like how dangerous it really is to ride my bike without a helmet or to talk on the phone during a thunderstorm. I mean, I'd hate to think that I'm wearing my seat belt all these years for nothing.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Clearly, I watch too much TV, but tonight's Alias confirmed my hypothesis: The entire Buffy/Angel cast is totally unwatchable outside of Joss Whedon's creations. (As opposed to the cast of Alias, which is totally unwatchable, period.) I include a chart for future generations to study:

  1. Nicholas Brendan on Kitchen Confidential: unfunny and unwatchable.
  2. David Boreanaz on Bones: phoning it in and unwatchable.
  3. Allyson Hannigan on How I Met Your Mother: unwatchable. Despite Hannigan, Jason Segal, and Neil Patrick Harris, this show still blows monkey chunks. I can't even begin to understand it.
  4. Charisma Carpenter on Veronica Mars: highly watchable. But also naked for most of her scenes.
  5. Kristine Sutherland in those commercials for Advil: unwatchable.
  6. I haven't seen James Marsters in Smallville yet, but seriously, it's Smallville.
  7. And tonight, Amy Acker continues J.J. Abrams' tradition of pissing me off with characters who lack any sort of wit, or personality, or more than three facial expressions. I'm seriously suspecting some sort of Jaybrams/Terry Cunningham mind-meld going on here.

So Much Middle Child Syndrome

I found this article on about the epitome of arrogant bastard parents. The headline: Mom delivers 16th child, thinking of more. Apparently, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggan of Arkansas (where else?) are trying to populate the world with their own redneck race, which is, I don't know, a few steps back for mankind. How freaking narcissistic do you have to be when having sixteen miniatures of yourself running around your house still isn't life-fulfilling?

Meanwhile, the New York Times Style Section, also known as "Snobs on Parade" ran an article about parents who have this crazy compulsion to push their snotty little trust-fund kids around in this thing called a bugaboo, which is like if a stroller mated with an amphibious assault vehicle. Actually, this being New York, it's more likely that the parents paid for the bugaboo, but the Puerto Rican nanny is the one actually pushing it. The New York Times article saw the bugaboo as just another sticking point in the yuppie debate of starting a family vs. childless by choice, but that just glosses over the real problem with bugaboo parents: they're selfish and overwhelmed with a sense of entitlement, like they deserve a lucrative career, fabulous showpiece kids, and everybody else getting the hell out of their way. Hello, parents, here's something to teach your kids: the concept of bullshit.

Seriously, Michelle and Jim Bob, did you really need to have that sixteenth kid? You were already only devoting one-fifteenth of your time and energy to each of the progeny you've already spawned. Did you think that would spoil them? How about taking care of the kids you already have instead of contributing to our overpopulation problems.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Actual Size

I saw this woman on the train coming home with an iPod nano, and I'm there with my gigantic four-inch iPod and the two of us are totally jealous. It was my first time face-to-face with one of them, and I can't believe how tiny the iPod nano is. Pretty soon they'll be implanting the iPod zepto directly into your eardrum, and everybody with those annoying white buds sticking out of their ears can simmer with envy at technophiles having Maroon 5 blasted directly into their brains.

Apple will also make the "iPod zepto: U2 Special Edition" that also pumps a feeling of self-importance and a compulsion to exploit human suffering in the name of rock star fame. God, I hate U2. And Angelina Jolie.

On the other end of the spectrum, Apple will be putting out an eighty gigabyte iPod. Meanwhile my desktop computer only has a fifteen gig hard drive. Okay, Steve Jobs — game over. You win. I'd seriously like to meet the person who has trouble fitting all their music on the sixty gigabyte, fifteen thousand song iPod — that one guy in the world with fifteen thousand and three favorite songs.

The following does not necessarily represent the opinions and views of Starbucks, its partners, subsidiaries, or affiliates.

The Way I See It #36

Mother-love is not inevitable.
The good mother is a great artist ever creating beauty out of chaos.

--Alice Randall
Novelist, The Wind Done Gone and first black woman to write a No. 1 country song

Monday, October 10, 2005


Starbucks is putting these inspirational quotations on the back of their paper coffee cups. Here's today's heartwarming quote that came with my overpriced caffé latte

The Way I See It #58

I have faith. Faith in our wondrous capacity for hope and good, love and trust, healing and forgiveness. Faith in the blessing of our infinite ability to wonder, question, pray, feel, think and learn. I have faith. Faith in the infinite possibilities of the human spirit.

--James Brown
Emmy-winning sportscaster and co-host of FOX NFL Sunday
And then, there on the bottom of the cup, in tiny, tiny print, Starbucks' legal department weighs in: "This is the author's opinion, not necessarily that of Starbucks."

Sunday, October 9, 2005

I like the warning on the back of Johnson's Head-To-Toe Baby Wash.

safety tip: Keep out of reach of children.
I should call up their product helpline and hassle them about this: "So I gotta wash the kid with this shit, but I can't get it near him. How exactly am I supposed to work this out?... Oh, no, I don't actually have children. Children suck."

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Worst Nap Ever

Health care professionals say that something like one-hundred fourteen percent of Americans are chronically sleep deprived, and I'm one of them. Back in college, I got myself into a naughty mid-day napping habit that drives both Mom and me crazy. Mom hates how my perennial lethargy keeps me from achieving maximum productivity (and she's an elementary school art teacher, not a middle manager, in case you're interested) while I realize that I'm generally unproductive whether I'm sleeping or awake but I nonetheless find my dozing off depressing. Think about it: you're supposed to six to eight hours of sleep a night, minimum — which means if you're getting a full night's sleep each and every night, you're spending a quarter to a third of your life in bed. Twenty, maybe twenty-five years asleep total.

It would be nice, I have to admit, to run out of steam at the end of the day instead of in the middle, or to wake up refreshed like I went to sleep with a coffee IV stuck in my arm. I was actually tested for mono, for vitamin deficiencies, for weirdo thyroid problems and came back clean, so the next step was to spend a night in the hospital for a "sleep study," which is where I spent my last night.

It was... uncomfortable. In so, so many ways. Sleep studies take place in the nicest rooms in the hospital, with private bathrooms and full-size beds and a comfy recliner in the corner and a night-vision camera in the room. There's also an always-on microphone, and a nurse-technician who's got the most boring Friday night in history, watching and listening to me sleep. I worried I'd be caught cursing or masturbating in my sleep or something.

The whole sleep observation experience starts with electrodes: four on my legs, two on my chest, and about thirty all over my head. I include pictures so you can mock me. You can also make fun of my electrodes.

Then the technician tells me to fall asleep, which is tough because, first of all, it's not even eleven o'clock yet and, second, I HAVE A BUNCH OF WIRES STICKING OUT OF MY HEAD!!! They get tangled and hold me hostage in bed, and every few hours the technician reminds me over the intercom that I'm not sleeping too well. Gee, thanks. Did the EEG you glue to my skull tell you that? It's not an ideal way to get some shuteye.

Anyway, if I can my hands on that video of me asleep, I'll post some of the highlights, just in case your life is a little too exciting. It also makes a good cure for insomnia.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Toad Hall

I'd like to introduce you to the most freaking ostentatious place ever born of the mind of man: ABC Carpet & Home in New York City. It's the place I go to when I need visual overstimulation because you're pretty much shrooming as soon as you walk in the door. I found out about this place freshman year of college, when I was living in a dim little cubbyhole where the nicest furniture were these Yaffa blocks Mom made me buy, and Yaffa blocks are like what Scandanavian rednecks use instead of stereo racks. They're modular, and they say, "I'm poor, but I'm not so poor that I'm putting my TV that works on top of a TV that doesn't work."
And here I am at ABC, surrounded by all this baroque, super-expensive furniture and just downright puzzled, "Who is fucking insane enough to put this ugly-ass crap in their house?" It's not just the cost of the furniture and decorations, but then you'd have to pay off all your guests to stop asking you what the hell you were thinking.

Where else can you throw away a couple thousand dollars on a Vishnu idol, cause that'll show all those bastards in yoga class how spiritual you are? As if one sofa made from a petrified tree trunk wasn't enough, ABC has three for you to choose from. They run between six and eight thousand dollars, which is a lot to spend to have people sit on something uncomfortable while laughing at you. But there's nothing quite as gaudy as ABC's Adirondack and American Country line, at right.

Here's a close-up of that chandelier. Yes, those are antlers. What is that???!!! Just in case the crazies Trading Spaces got to redecorate your house decide to go with a moose motif.

Dude, I must own this humpy cow. But I don't think it goes with my curtains...

Don't you love how the Channel 4 news had Doppler 4000, and then the Channel 2 news had to totally put them to shame with the brand new Doppler 2 Million radar? I don't get it. Channel 2 has to be aware that Channel 4 can just rename their radar the Doppler 4 Billion, and then Channel 2 will make a Doppler 2 Trillion and we'll have a local-news nuclear arms race to see who can give their radar a higher number. Eventually, someone's gonna wind up with Doppler Infinity-Zillion2 and then it's gonna be game over.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Here's my pet peeve of the day: fat people who take up more than their allotted eighteen inches of seat space on the subway. I need my square foot and a half of personal space. Like today, the ass sitting next to me — if he was any closer we'd be making out. Speaking of which, how come it's always a smelly dude next to me and never a hot chick? Or an average chick?

Until that happens, I'd like to see them install stainless-steel adamantium blades between the seats so we can start training people to keep their appendages to themselves. Cause what happens now is I just get passive-aggressive on my neighbors, like pretending that I have to stretch or something, and that never really works. Maybe if I did that, but stopped wearing deodorant, it would help.

Monday, October 3, 2005

I think it's about time I start finding some new places to get lunch. See, sometimes when I'm in the city, I pick up lunch at this place called F&B, which I usually describe as "if IKEA sold hot dogs." It's just on the far end of walking distance from work, and the food's pretty good and pretty cheap. The only problem is they're getting a little familiar with me — and that means they're getting a little too familiar with me, like the counter girl now sees me and she knows what I want and at lunch today she tried awkwardly to start up a conversation. This disturbs me on many levels.

First, I've been going to F&B since I was a college freshman, and the counter girl, (whose name may or may not be Patricia, so I'll just call her Patricia) has been there at least as long as I have. And I invariably get the same thing; I mean, maybe thrice in six years I did not get the chicken frites meal with pommes frites and a small lemonade (did I mention F&B is European?) and it's just today that Patricia's catching on? Boy, that sure makes me feel like a valued customer.

And second, I don't really like it when the staff all of a sudden gets friendly. That happened once before, at Columbia, with the cafeteria carving station guy Julio. Now, I like my meat, and frankly I think the hunk of cow or hunk of pig or hunk of fowl was the only thing they had in that cafeteria that didn't come straight out of a cardboard box, just-add-water. Suffice it to say, Julio saw me a lot, and he's a generous guy and all and this was before I had my current stunning physique so Julio started piling on the — crap, this is gonna come off dirty — extra meat. Cow or pig or fowl. And I'd thank him, you know.

Then one week, out of nowhere, he started telling me how he's gonna give me extra cow, pig, or fowl to "fatten me up." He'll "send me back home for the holidays all fattened up." Like, every day that week. And there was always coincidentally some junior varsity crew member standing right behind me in line, and Julio'd say to him, "I'm gonna fatten this guy up," and I started to become a little afraid Julio wanted to eat me.

I mean, it's bad enough these people spit in your food and everything....

The moral is: never get friendly with the people serving your meals, because they might let it slip that they're cannibals and then you'll no longer be able to eat dinner in ignorant bliss.