3/28/07

I am pretty sure Snow Patrol has things in common with Milli Vanilli.

I just got back from a trip to NYC. I went down for a concert -- Snow Patrol, OK Go and Silversun Pickups. We missed Silversun Pickups waiting in line for drinks. That sucked. They had Ketel One, so that did not suck. OK Go were great. They looked like they were having a blast, and I love seeing that.

Snow Patrol looked and sounded good too -- a little *too* good, truth be told. For instance, the background vocals sounded like a full chorus at all times. I could make out at least two distinct women's voices, and there was nary a woman on stage or off. At one point the bass player was playing something completely different than what we were hearing. It looked like he wasn't even plugged in. It didn't seem to matter to the teenagers in attendance, however. Damn, I felt old. But fuck it, we had fun anyway. A side note: The open cellphone camera is the new lighter. It looks pretty weird to see all these kids holding up their little screens.

Before the show, we went to dinner to sort of celebrate my friend's engagement. He made the reservations since he knows NYC. He's marrying a lovely woman from Australia, who happens to be a vegetarian. He has since become one himself. Needless to say, since he is now too physically weak to lift a fork and steak knife, he picked a vegetarian restaurant for our group dinner. That way we all got to eat with two very light bamboo sticks.

First, though, let's clear something up. I am not a vegetarian. I like to eat animals. In fact, I'll go a step further, and say we're supposed to eat them. That's why they taste so damn good. Granted, they're probably not too pleased with this arrangement, but the way I look at it is like this -- the animals had a good run. For thousands of years predators of all types hunted and killed humans for food and sport. Then our opposable thumbs allowed us to make the .308 and it was all over. So I feel no qualms about eating meat. Especially chickens. Those little bastards were ruthless right up until the early 1600's.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be -- however, I think a lot my willingness to eat stuff-I-know-not-what had to do with how much wine I consumed before dinner. Everything I ate tasted like an egg roll dipped in soy sauce. Or slime.

That being said, you know you're in trouble when "Protein" is an actual menu item. Also, the reviews of this place boasted "The best approximation of meat anywhere!" I wanted to order that, if only to actually utter the sentence, "Yes. I'll have the approximation of meat, please." but it wasn't on the menu. They weren't lying, though. This stuff tasted exactly like meat, if meat was actually flavorless and rubbery in texture. Unfortunately, my mother's famous pork chops aside, it's not. This was nothing at all like meat. Of any kind. This was coagulated soy milk through and through. I will say this, however. I am willing to bet that you could take a dog turd and deep fry it in their batter and then soak it in sweet and sour sauce and you wouldn't be able to stop at one.

There was something on the menu called "Autumn Rolls" and so we ordered them. We were curious as to whether they'd be full of brightly colored leaves. They weren't. I'm not sure what was in there, but big surprise -- it was deep fried. I'm not sure why, but I was continually caught off-guard by the appetizer plate. Mostly because I didn't know what was going to be hot or cold when I put it into my mouth. When you're expecting a nice warm egg roll sort of thing, and instead you get a mouthful of cold wheat gluten, it's tough to follow through.

Also, don't eat too much of this soy crap. From what I've read, it isn't the perfect food most vegetarians would have you believe it is.

Regardless, we had a great night in NYC. Drunk chicks, rock n' roll, vodka, you name it. I managed to get out of there without a tattoo on my ass, so there's that. Wait...goddammit.

3/24/07

McSweeney's Rejected Submissions #1

I've decided I'm going to try to write something for McSweeney's. If you haven't read the stuff there, go do it now. Some of it is hilarious, and some of it will leave you scratching your head and thinking, "Huh?" It's that sort of writing, and I love it. I've never submitted anything there before, and I'm sure I'll collect a virtual pile of rejection e-mails in the process, but I figured I would post my rejects here on the blog, you know, since it's mine and all that.

Here's my first rejected attempt:

Via E-mail, The Real Spiderman Addresses His Issues With The Movie Franchise of the Same Name

Sam,

I realize your third Spiderman movie is due out soon, and you're probably wondering why I didn't come forward with my concerns earlier. Well, to be honest, I thought I could just ignore it, but my therapist has convinced me otherwise. He said that the only way I'm going to get past this is if I learn to deal constructively with my anger.

That being said, I'd like to get a few things off my chest. First of all, Kirsten Dunst??
Seriously?
Listen, I've been married to Mary Jane for a long time now, and Kirsten Dunst is no Mary Jane, I can tell you that. In case you haven't noticed, Mary Jane is a hot model. Just for the record, Kirsten Dunst is not a hot anything.

Secondly, Tobey Maguire looks like a nice kid. Unfortunately, he also looks really, really gay in tights. You might want to have him hit the gym a little more. Just a suggestion.

Also, I know you'll find out about this on Monday, so I wanted you to hear it from me first. It's not something I'm particularly proud of. Last night, I had a few too many and I tracked down the casting director and well ... I webbed his ass shut. I'm not normally that violent by nature, but please understand. You have no idea how tired I am of hearing MJ bitch about it. If I have to hear "I do NOT look like that flat-faced cow" one more time, I'm going to climb the fucking walls. More so.

Casting problems aside, do you want to know the one thing that really bugs the shit out of me? This whole organic webbing concept of yours. Somehow, you arbitrarily decided that the movie version of me can just shoot organic webbing directly from his wrists. That is so disgusting to me that I can't even think about it -- not to mention the fact that it completely marginalizes my college degrees in chemistry and engineering.

Do you think I just ordered the plans for my web shooters from the back of Popular Mechanics? Well, I didn't. I spent six long, painful years in college learning what I needed to know in order to build my web shooters from scratch -- and this Maguire kid gets to just "magically" squirt webbing? Fuck that, Raimi. I thought we were friends. The least you could do is invite me to the set for a consultation, but have you?

No, you have not.

And that, Sam, is truly what I am most upset about. You know I don't make much money taking pictures of myself for that dickhead Jameson. You know where I live -- you've been to my apartment for Christ's sake. I could have used a little help here, but no, instead you hire that asshole Johnny Storm as your so-called "consultant." He lives in a penthouse at the top of his family-owned building and he doesn't even know me. And so far, I haven't seen dollar one of those royalties you promised me.

You know what? I'm done with this. I'm done with you. This whole deal sucks. I hope you get hit by a car, you greedy son of a bitch.

Sincerely,

Peter Parker
Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman

ps - nice CGI job on the alien symbiote costume.

3/22/07

I am willing this week to be over. It's not working.

Tonight, I'm supposed to have my piano lesson, but this week I'm on something called "Pager Duty" which basically means I am a slave who is required to stay near my laptop and a high-speed internet connection at all times. It also means that I don't get a lot of sleep at night because my pager is nice enough to alert me every time one of our gazillion servers gets a little gassy and needs to be burped. I haven't had time to practice my sad chops at all this week, so I'm skipping it. I'd probably just end up rebooting servers from the piano bench all night anyway.

The lessons are going slowly, but I don't have brick hands any more. Now I just have these completely uncontrollable and apparently boneless protuberances between my middle finger and my pinky that don't seem to be connected to anything resembling my brain. In fact, even though on the outside they look like fingers, they are not. They are imposters, and I think they may actually be chinese spies. They just sit there and take detailed notes as they watch all my other fingers do stuff. They are shitty spies though because you'd think they'd want to blend in more so their cover doesn't get blown, but who knows. I don't speak chinese finger.

Oh, and if I haven't mentioned enough about pager duty sucking, here's another thing -- when it's your turn, it goes from Monday morning to Monday morning. Included in that stretch of time, for those of you who may not be awake yet, is the entire weekend. Also you might be surprised to learn that it's generally frowned upon to be intoxicated during potential crisis calls. You put those two things together and it means that right around 11pm on Saturday night, you almost hope your pager goes off so you don't feel even more cheated.

In other news, the pot-hole infested dirt road that leads to my piano teacher's house caused me to bottom out my car, and now something is effed up underneath. Whatever it is, it's making horrible sounds, and I know it can't be good. I haven't looked yet, but I am pretty sure I have been dragging this around under my car all week:



OK, I gotta go, my pager is going off and I think that means the tamagotchi needs to be fed or some shit.

3/15/07

Two things I do not anticipate ever needing.

I was at the drugstore yesterday trying to find a deodorant that doesn't smell like something my dad would use. The problem is that I am out of the stuff I normally use (Polo Sport), and you can't buy it at any drugstore around here. Because I'm a sucker, it's ridiculously expensive and I have to go to a store like Macy's to get it. I have been using some sort of shitty smelling Mennen Speed Stick called "Ocean Surf" which smells less like the ocean and more like some kind of automobile air freshener. It was supposed to be a stand-in until I could get more of my normal stuff, but I couldn't stand to smell it one more day. So anyway, that's how I ended up cruising the aisles at CVS. I bought something made by Adidas, and it smells OK-not-great. Servicable. Only slightly whorish.

After I bought it, I was thinking about the whole idea of Adidas making pit sticks. That's pretty diverse, since I only remember Adidas from their sneakers and warm up suits. I also think I remember both of these things being very popular with black guys. I'm hoping I'm not breaking any unwritten rules by rubbing this stuff on my whitey pits. I will have to run that by Special Dark.

So now that you are intimately familiar with the olfactory nuances of my armpits, I will get to the meat of this post. While I was perusing the aisle of the stuff of man-whores and picking up some more shampoo, I saw a couple of hair care products for men that I (with luck) will never use. The first is not so much a hair care product as it is a lack of hair care product. Check this out:



Yikes. Head Wipes. They are kind of like those little moist towelettes you use after you eat chicken wings, except they are more expensive and a little bigger. They claim to gently clean and freshen your head. The gentle part is good, because really, who wants to brutally clean and freshen their head? Not me, I can tell you that.

I have to confess that I didn't realize that bald heads can sometimes have that not-so-fresh feeling. Also, I just sort of figured that a shiny head was normal, and maybe even desirable in the bald circles, since that's normally what I see. Perhaps someone should step up and simply claim it to be so. Then you wouldn't need to chicken-wipe your head three times a day -- you could just Turtlewax that bad boy once in the morning and be done with it. And can someone please get Foreigner out of my brain? Thank you.

The other hair treatment I saw was this:



Now, as I've said. I am not bald -- I have hair. Some might say a lot of it. Too much, even. So I am a prime candidate for this product. I am this company's target market. That being said, there is no fucking way I am putting this stuff in my hair.

The Henna part, OK -- there's some wiggle room there. The 'n' placenta part is where I draw the line. I don't care if this shit is like stem cell rejuvenation for my scalp and smells like fresh strawberries and cream, I am not rubbing placenta on my body. Anywhere.

Why do they have to call it what it is? Doesn't this company have a marketing department? If they do, I'm betting it's still in the embryonic stages.* They may as well have called it Henna 'n' Afterbirth for god's sake.

This product has to win the worst marketing of the year award for, hell...for ever. All I'm saying here is that they need to change this name if they are serious about wanting to sell it to normal and fine people who do not paint their fingernails black and worship satan. They could maybe stick with the afterbirth naming convention, but call it HENNA/AB. Make it sound scientific instead of disgusting. I mean, even the guys over at Purina know you don't call your brand of dog food "bull penis and chicken guts" if you want to move units. You call it something like "Beef 'n' Chix.*"



*I think I rented that video once in college.
*I know, and I'm sorry.

3/11/07

I want my eggplant, goddammit.

Last night was my company's big annual dinner/dance, and I decided to go -- mostly because my friend Gutu kept badgering me until I said I would. I figured at the very least, it would be some good food, good company and some decent music. I was wrong.

It was a cash bar, and even though I knew that going in, I didn't think a glass of wine and a G&T would cost $12.50. We had planned ahead though, and my wife had a purse full of mini-vodka bottles. That doesn't make me an alcoholic by the way - it just makes me cheap. We stood by the window with our drinks and had sort of a poor man's red carpet view of the people coming in. As we were commenting on various coworkers as they strolled to the front doors, we spotted the Big Boss and his wife. They had flown in from the old home office just for this occasion. To give you an idea of where we sit on the totem pole in relation to him, this is my and Gutu's boss's boss's boss's boss. There may even be one more in there somewhere. I can never tell without an org chart.

For the purposes of this story, we will call him Big Boss, or BB for short. After I spent about fifty bucks at the bar, and passed on all but one of the hors doovers, it was time to go into the dining room and figure out who to sit with. Gutu had a plan, and I backed it -- we would go in first, find a nice table in the back, and then wave over the people we deemed cool enough to join us.

With that plan in hand, we set forth and snagged a nice table. It was far enough away from the DJ's speakers so you could still talk, yet close enough to the dance floor to watch your co-workers do the robot to a country song. As we sat there waiting for the rest of our group to come in, Gutu turns to me and says, "Can you imagine if BB walked in and sat with us?" Ha ha ha we all agreed. Good laugh. I am pretty sure I could rob this guy at gunpoint and he wouldn't recognize me as one of his employees.

Not 30 seconds later, BB and his wife walk up to our table. BB says, "Hi Gutu, are these seats taken?" And Gutu responds in the only way she possibly can. She says, "Yes. Go sit somewhere else." No, unfortunately, I'm kidding. Obviously, she says, "No, BB. Please, sit down."

So they did.

And nobody else did.

As every one of our friends filed into the room, they took one look at who was sitting at our table and literally ran to a different table. So the 6 of us sat at a table for 12. I don't know how he knew Gutu's name, but he did, so this is all her fault, damn her. Damn her to hell. He's a nice guy and all that, but there's a little pressure to be on your best behavior if you know what I mean. In other words, doing shots from my wife's purse probably wouldn't have been in my best interests.

My wife and I also got screwed by the waiter. There were three choices for food: Beef, Fish and Vegetarian. We asked what the vegetarian dish was, and the waiter told us it was roasted eggplant, red peppers, mozzarella and ricotta over pasta and that sounded pretty damned good. "That sounds pretty damned good," we said, and placed our order.

A little while later, after about 30 minutes of polite chit-chat with our boss's boss's boss's (boss's?) boss, our food showed up.

We got pasta. We got Broccoli. And nothing else. No Eggplant. No delicious cheeses of any sort. No roasted red peppers. No goodness at all, damned or otherwise. When the waiter came back, I said, "Dude. What happened? You screwed us." and he said, "Oh yeah. They changed it to 'pasta vegetable medley.' Sorry about that."

You know what? The definition of a "medley" is this: An often jumbled assortment; a mixture. I am here to tell you that two ingredients do not make a medley, or an assortment, or even a mixture.

Since we ate almost nothing, we stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up a frozen pizza. As I was preheating the oven, I saw this on the front of the box:

I may not know a good way to smuggle a tiny booze bottle out of a woman's purse when I'm sitting at the same table as a guy who could ruin my life with one phone call, but I know a shitty serving suggestion when I see one.

3/4/07

I haven't pissed in 24 hours.

I am an avid "24" fan. If any of you reading this are also fans, then you know that we are all forced to forgive inconsistencies in the timing of pretty much everything related to the actual 24 hour day. Like how it takes people less than ten minutes to practically cross the entire state of Califonia by car. That's fine. You have to take some shortcuts to keep the story moving. The one thing I can't help but notice, however, is how nobody ever eats or goes to the bathroom. For an entire 24 hours. I don't know if it's just because I drink a lot of coffee or I have a bladder the size of a peanut, but I have to take a piss about every 2 hours. So just once, for the sake of realism, I'd like see Jack pick up his cell phone, call CTU and say, "This is Jack Bauer. Put Bill Buchanan on the phone. What? Well, number one or two? One? OK, I'll wait."

I know some of you will point out that Morris was in the can during the last episode, but I am convinced he was only drinking whiskey and not dropping a duece, so that doesn't count.

So now I can't seem to stop wondering exactly when it all happens. The suspense of the show has shifted for me. There could be a ticking nuclear bomb ready to explode any second, yet when they cut from scene to scene, all I'm doing is trying to figure out who's going to the bathroom where. I will actually turn to my wife and say, "I am 87% sure Karen Hayes just took a dump right before this. It's the only time she had free in the last three hours." or I will just casually mention, "You realize that Wayne Palmer is pissing like a racehorse as we speak, right?"

These comments are not going over well, probably due to the unwanted mental images they conjure up, yet I can't seem to stop.

Now you won't be able to either. You're welcome.

3/3/07

Soilent Green is people

I got a cereal sample in the mail the other day. I don't usually make it a habit to eat stuff that shows up in my mailbox, but in this case I was intrigued. They are called Mighty Bites, and they are apparently made for kids. Here is a picture of the box I found on their website:



The interesting thing is, nowhere on the box does the manufacturer give any indication as to why the individual pieces of cereal are made to look like tiny people. They just don't mention it at all. I am not sure if you are supposed to feel like a giant man-eating monster when you are eating them or what -- but I found it hilarious. Here's a close up:



It's not bad enough that they look like little people when they are lined up on your countertop. It gets worse when you pour in the milk:



Then it looks like the horrible aftermath of a torpedoed cruise ship and a subsequent shark attack.

Not only did they taste like crap, the bodies got soggy and started to decompose pretty quickly.

Long story short, these things bite.

Mightily.