Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Big, Fancy Red Carpet Party

I got an e-mail today from the "Hudson Union Society," which sounds like a bank, but is in fact a social club. Here's the subject line: "Birthday Party with Steve Guttenberg - Please Come! Free To All." That's right — I was invited to Steve Guttenberg's birthday party. The poor man's Q-rating must be lower than dirt, because I don't even get invited to my friends' birthdays, and none of them co-starred in Amazon Women on the Moon.

I assume. At least, none of them have come out and told me.

I'm a sucker for curious desperation, Hudson Union practically begging me to show up — Please Come! Free to All. Drinks Will Be Served! Like they already know I have better stuff to do than meet Steve Guttenberg. Call me when Judd Hirsch or Emilio Estevez or that robot from Short Circuit stops by. The way he can't comprehend human emotions is hilarious!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pre-Emptive Movie Review

I want to mention how much I'm looking forward to not seeing Saw V this weekend. I'll be missing out on the cinematic genius of the production designer on the made-for-Animal Planet movie Cybermutt ("Part Dog. Part Machine. All Best Friend.") and the second unit director of Saw IV, plus what I'm sure is a brilliant, pithy, philosophically insightful screenplay by the guys who probably got paid more to write Feast 3: The Happy Ending than I make in a year, but I have toenails that need clipping, carpet fibers that need counting, and three Takashi Miike DVD's in my Netflix queue.

Aside: has anybody, anywhere ever seen Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds — Oh! I get it! It's dirty! — or Feast 1: Original Flavor?

Second aside: If anyone does see this, feel free to spoil the ending for me. I will totally pay eleven bucks to watch Saw V if it turns out that Luke from Gilmore Girls is the killer.... Well, probably not, but I might check out ironically on DVD.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Please don't post on your okcupid profile a picture of you at the freaking Holocaust Memorial. Sure, you're smiling, not blinking, not a hair out of place, but is that really your best photo from Berlin? There's not one of you at the Pergamonmuseum or the Brandenberg Gate or with the polar bear?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mating Calls

I work near a bunch of construction sites in the city, so for the first time in my life, I got to watch some dirty guy in an orange vest and a hard hat whistling at a woman passing by. I didn't think anyone actually did that outside the movies and stereotypes. Catcalls are the perfect combination of ill-timed lust and laziness for failing to attract women, or anyone, really. Beagles and taxicabs, maybe, but a human being, with consciousness, already moving towards a destination? Please tell me no one has fallen for that since our neanderthal days.

But this dude whistled and the woman ignored him and his construction buddies were congratulating him and — okay, it's not about the woman; he's flaunting his masculinity to his co-workers. Fair enough.

The other day, same thing happened, but now I'm utterly baffled. This time it was a cab driver, maybe in his mid-fifties, no passengers, waiting for the light to change. Woman in her twenties walking the other direction, and the cab driver opened his window, stuck his head out, and called to her. "Hey girl, wanna ride?" or whatever generic substitute for charm and affection the pop stars are saying these days. The light turned green and he drove off.

I have no idea what the point of that was. "Dear Penthouse Forum: I never thought this would happen to me, but..." it didn't happen to him. Did he expect her to forget about wherever she was headed, turn around, and chase down his cab? I can only imagine his disappointment — another one got away. Damn that traffic light!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This ad's been popping up all over the train I take into the city every day, and I'm kind of perplexed:

Because it's ostensibly about prescription drug abuse — the best kind of drug abuse — but really it seems more anti-Grandma than anything else. Grandma kind of needs those drugs to, you know, stay alive, so I'm not really clear on how the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey wants me to handle the situation. Honestly, I never even thought of stealing Grandma's prescription drugs until the anti-drug people mentioned it.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I was thinking about my side in the iPod revolution ever since yesterday, and waking up every day a square peg in the grown-up world. I wrote that the Star-Ledger article was "out to offend me, personally, into falling in line," which I suppose is what reactionaries do. They split the world in two, those like us and those who aren't, so what's incongruous to me isn't so much the name-calling from one of "them," but that I'm taking it personally. I can't be — I'm not, the article makes it clear — the only one who sees no conflict between headphones and professionalism, or who feels the corporate wardrobe is superficial and frivolous, or who'd rather send out a conversational résumé. So how is it that Convention alienates me (or us?), that I (or we?) accept its value judgments, as if my (or our?) own normality was real rebellion threatening to tear a stable society apart?

I had a job interview a few years back where the hiring bosses specifically handed me a "business formal" dress code, and I wore a tie and jacket and it turned out the company was run by a bunch of jerks — sartorial demands aside — who were barely worth combing my hair for, let alone looking nice over. I wish I had the guts to walk into that interview in my standard jeans and dark T-shirt: "The business is computer programming. I can program computers perfectly well dressed like this. If I wanted to dress unprofessionally, I would've worn mittens."

Attitude like that will get you nowhere — not that presenting myself well got me very far either — and the more I think about it, the more that seems like a tactic of the old morality, flipping every ordinary, arbitrary, moral value on its subjective head: It's not that you're a horrible fit for the culture, it's that you're a unique horrible fit. Maybe it's time for a change, acknowledging the conformist cultures of non-conformity. You don't hit people, or steal, or litter, or talk on your cell phone during the movie... so you're okay, and you're not alone.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Jobhunter section in today's Star-Ledger tackles the dicey issue of listening to music at work. This can't be good. An innocuous work habit holding employees' sanity intact in this insufferable sick existential joke called a job scares the status quo, like someone will come into work one day carrying a boombox on their shoulder and start breakdancing on the boardroom table right in the middle of a big presentation. I spend most of my work day with little white earbuds peeking out of my head — even when I'm not listening to anything — so this article, like the past ones headlined "Dress For Success" or "Interview To The Top," is out here to offend me, personally, into falling in line.

The Star-Ledger interviewed some power-drunk "managing partner" dude Mario Almonte, of the public relations firm Buzzkill & Partners, where "listening to music on the part of employees there is frowned upon." I'd actually find it really funny except that Reverend Moore probably makes more money than I do and enforces his will on people. The biggest stumbling blocks in Almonte's quest to destroy all things fun are the interns, "young people whose experience with the company is limited," and presumably whose souls haven't irreparably crushed and recycled in, say, a gaudy fountain or chandelier decorating the world's largest whatever in Dubai. "If you are really concentrating on your work, music will distract you," not that an intern's job couldn't be done by a retarded monkey.

"It doesn't occur to them that anything's wrong with it," Almonte says. Almonte, mind-reading, claims the other employees are distracted by the iPod buds — and jealous, too — but it's all just a cover for him, not begging the question but dodging it. There's not anything wrong with it, unless you're a micromanaging tool and there's some kid chair-dancing around the filing room, not even rebelling, but just plain oblivious. The article ends by pointing out that the children of the LP are a dying breed and Gen Y is coming into its own in the workplace; what once was lousy kids upsetting the social order will soon become the social order, and I believe one of our generation's projects should be moving every Elks lodge and canasta house into the bathroom of an underground rave.