Saturday, November 29, 2008

Things I like more than you

I am a big advocate of advocating things that I like. I decided to spend a couple of minutes going over a couple of things that I think that everyone should check out. (Is anyone sick of my using the same word twice in each sentence yet? I hope so, because I sure am.)
(In no particular order)
I was born in the mid 80's and I remember commercials for all the cool stuff of the day. I remember plastic Transformers toys (which were impossible to get back together once you tried to transform them) flying through the air, with the help of disembodied hands to go destroy (knock over) the enemy toys. I remember the great songs at the beginning of bad television shows, and previews to what seemed to be the coolest movie ever. has cataloged Commercials, introductions to television shows, and previews for movies by decade and then alphabetically so you can see how stupid all the crap you were so excited about, really was. It will bring back some fond memories of toys long since lost, but it will also make you feel ashamed at how excited you were over something that now seems so corny.

2. Yatzee
Yatzee?.....really? Heck ya really! You play a round of this with your spouse or friend and see if you don't want to play another. Your constant desire to beat your score and the constant being possessed by the devil and never letting you get a freaking four of a kind, of the dice will keep you playing and hating it for hours.

3. Mike Tyson's Punch Out
I have shamefully admitted this before. I play videogames, and one videogame that I seem to go back to over and over again is "Mike Tyson's Punch Out." All the fights are scripted (the opponent does the same thing at the same time) but this game is still a blast to play, and Mike Tyson is ridiculously hard. I have never beaten this game, nor have I seen it beaten, but even if you could get a single punch off, on Mike, it seemed like a win.

4. The New Dylans
In filing through my brother's CDs I found this band. I am not sure how he heard of them. I have never heard of them outside of their two CDs, but it is great. It's folksy rock with well written lyrics. I have never come across another person who has even heard of them, so I feel it my responsibility to spread the word.

5. Strangers with Candy
This show was the "After Hours, After School Special" on Comedy Central. It's essentially a satire of after school specials, but way over the top. I would advise buying all three seasons of this masterpiece, but there was a movie that came out recently as well. The movie is nothing more than a long episode so it should give anyone an accurate idea of what to expect from the series. The series stars Amy Sedaris. Stephen Colbert plays a hilarious part as a jaded teacher having an affair with the art teacher. (if Stephen Colbert helps sell it). Sex, drugs and racism (everything you would expect from a great “after-school special” are fodder for some great comedy in this underappreciated series.

6. A nice pen
This might be because I am a writer, but I have a thing with pens. I love nice pens. A nice pen can really make you feel good. It makes everything you write seem more mature, better, more rich. I notice that I have better ideas for writing when I do it with a nice pen. Everyone should own at least one nice pen. When you have to sign an important document (like a marriage certificate) you deserve better than a $0.10 Bic. Actually the document deserves better. Do it a favor and sign with a nice pen. It somehow feels more official. It feels more special.

7. Cap Guns
I didn't realize they still sold these things. I just assumed that this is one of those toys that someone used to blow their own finger off and thereby winning millions of dollars and assuring that the future generation would never know about cap guns. Sometimes I like to go into a store and look for the most random item I can find. I was in the toy section in the local Bashas and saw a cap gun. This is the kind with the roll of caps that is pushed from the orange plastic gun like receipt tape as you fire off the small circular pockets of gun powder. My friends and I used to take the cap roll and smash it with a rock, because, let's be honest, bigger explosions are way cooler.

8. Live acoustic music
As I mentioned previously, I am not a fan of karaoke, but I am a fan of one person on a bar stool with their acoustic guitar, even if that person sings worse than a drunken yodeler on her 21st birthday trying to sing Tina Turner songs. There is something simple and beautiful about this style of music, and if you are lucky, you may just hear someone with talent.

9. Showers in the dark
My favorite place to get away when life gets hectic is in my own head. I do this many different ways, but one of my favorite ways to just shut everything out is to get in the bathroom, turn off all the lights, and make sure there is no light leaking in from cracks in the door. I take a nice warm shower and just lose myself in my thoughts. It's soothing to be in pitch blackness, because your mind goes wherever it wants. Thoughts are not influenced by sight (you are not torn to how sucky your house is because you see cracks in the tile), but rather your mind is free to make natural, uninterrupted progressions. The darkness is way more soothing than the shower, but the shower helps to be relaxed as I lose myself in my thoughts.

I was going to do ten, but I was unable to think of ten things and I would rather write a good list that wasn't even, than try to think of some garbage that doesn't really deserve my endorsement (Now that's pride!).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I hate to be a bother, but your existence is embarrassing me

A couple of days ago I had one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life, but first I should say that I am pretty easily embarrassed. I can't watch "The Wonder Years" for more than about 45 seconds at a time, because it is so excruciatingly embarrassing. I feel embarrassed when I feel other people should be, and because it seems more and more that people just have no sense of shame, I spend a lot of my time with my head down and cheeks flushed.
Yup, that is still very hard to watch. I just get chills and goose bumps, then I have to turn it off after only a couple of seconds.

In meetings, whether they are work, church or otherwise, I spend the time with my head tucked neatly in between my legs, embarrassed out of my mind for people who make comments, ask stupid questions or a combination of the two. So it is in this spirit of feeling the embarrassment that others feel so immune to, that my job is trying to shame me to death.
Once a year my company has a work party to show they are not the heartless zombified soul sucking vampire mutants that they appear to be throughout the rest of the year. This year they decided to have us eat at a western themed restaurant and have corresponding activities.
I don't do well with themes. As a matter of fact, I went to Outback one time and when I was forced to order the "Kangaroo Hoppin' Pork Chops" (yes, I would love to order a $21.5o piece of poorly cooked meat and have to sound like a total moron when I order it.) I decided I would never set foot in an Outback ever again (mission accomplished).
Anyway, so we go to this restaurant with sawdust on the ground, which is fine, if it weren't neatly swept into perfect squares around each table (on second thought, no, it’s never fine to have sawdust on the floor). I felt as though it would be a crime to disturb their beautiful representation of filth, but it's like not shoeing away the fly on my food because it would obstruct the overall experience they were trying to create. My boss spoke to the company using "y'all"s and other terms that mad me wish the plastic guns that the waiters carried were real so I could just unload on myself. They told us it was "chow time" using a cow bell. I felt herded. When I got there I looked at the first person I saw and said, "I could not be more embarrassed than if that had been their intent." Bless the heart of the poor employees that have to role-play for $6.00 an hour. I don't know how you do it. You must spend half your paycheck on alcohol and the other half on shame suppressants (if they don't make those then some other drug that just makes you feel nothing or not realize where you are and what horrible things you are doing.)
I spent the 4 excruciating hours sitting on a ledge looking over the city. I couldn't decide whether to throw myself off or just enjoy the view. In hindsight, I probably should have done the former. People were dressing up in old western costumes and getting their picture taken.
And then there was karaoke. You never lose respect for someone quite as fast as when you realize they have no problem making a total ass of themselves in front of hundreds of sober people. I don't drink, nor have I ever, but I can't imagine any drug that would make karaoke tolerable, let alone entertaining. I like the Smashing Pumpkins, but when I heard "Tonight" screeched out by a sales manager I hate myself, not to mention everything associated with that experience. I am sorry Smashing Pumpkins, I just can't be reminded of that experience again. I could go on for pages, but meh. No one seemed to share my anti-enthusiasm. My mom (who also works for the company) kept me sane with doses of cynicism (thank you Mom; you may have saved my life and my soul).
It's hard not to get depressed at events like this. I sit on the outside and think, "Really? this what life is going to be? This is the highlight of these people's year? This party that makes me want to shoot myself in the face?"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Repressed memories are like little gifts you get in therapy

I won't say that I had a traumatic childhood, but maybe to someone else it would have been. For every story of playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on each other's face and the subsequent concussion, there are two stories of love and support. The stories of torture are now shared over holiday meals and card games with our wives.
Here is what I remember: I was about 5 years old. Kindergarten was great. My teacher used to give me packs of hockey cards (like baseball cards, but for crazy people who like hockey). I couldn't give a crap about any sport at the time (that hasn't changed) but they were cool and the idea that one day they would be valuable intrigued me. My family had a Nintendo with Dr. Mario(to which my parents were severely addicted (I remember trying to go to bed, unable to do so because my mom and dad were in my room playing Dr. Mario)) and a couple of other games (Super Mario 3 is still the best game ever). My childhood was a time Ghostbusters (the cartoon) Double Dare (Nickelodeon Game show), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (I was playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one time and gave a flying kick the face of one of my brothers.)
Back to the story at hand: I am five and thus is my life. I am home with my brothers and my eldest brother offers me some chocolate. I hungrily take the chocolate and consume the whole bar. It didn't great, but it was chocolate and nothing will stand in between chocolate and my consumption of it (at that time). I don't remember anything after that.
What actually happened: My mother was a drug rep at the time and as such we had an abundant supply of all sorts of fun medicines, including but not limited to, X-lax. I am not sure how it comes now, but in the early 90s X-lax used to come in a series of chocolate looking cubes connected by a thin lining of more chocolate looking chalky substance. My brother wiped off the X-lax logo from the top of each cube and wrapped it in tin foil. He left the house for a few minutes saying he was going to the PDQ (the gas station near our house). He came back and offered both my older brother and I the chocolate. My older brother tasted the chocolate and realized it was disgusting and ate no more, but he didn't stop me from eating an inhuman amount of X-lax. (Thank you) The story (that will soon be told around a table at Thanksgiving) is that I had diarrhea so long that my parents almost took me to the hospital (and of course they had no idea why). It became so bad that my brother actually confessed what he had done (I don't remember, but for my brother to confess, I am sure it had to be really bad).
So what do we learn from this? Older brothers are cruel, but only because kids are stupid (specifically me). I don't know if I gave you a funny story or an idea for future shenanigans, but in any case, there are more torture stories/lessons to come.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Repressed memories

I am the third of four boys in my family and as such, I have a few interesting stories about abuse (torture) that I will be sharing with everyone. I just wanted to write to let you know that I am alive and you can expect a traumatizing story from my childhood tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Would you kiss me if I smelled like curry?

I am taking Romanian 201 this semester. "Why Romanian?" You ask, because ASU apparently requires 2 semesters of another Latin based language for a Spanish degree, and Portuguese sounded to easy to me. I though Romanian would potentially teach me more about Slavic languages and thereby help me expand my language base even more...... not true. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, but the first day of class my teacher said, "There will be no homework, there will be no tests, and even though this is technically a Monday through Friday class, I don't want to be here on Friday, so you don't have to be here either." This is like a dream sequence from a college slacker movie. Last semester was all about movies. We watched a plethora of movies that made me never want to step foot in Romania. This semester is split in between movies that make me want to spoon my eyes out with my pencil and going out to eat. We don't eat Romanian food, rather we eat..... anything really. We went the Ethiopian restaurant a couple of weeks ago and today was the Indian buffet. Needless to say, I smell like curry. Curry is one of those smells that just stays with you. If I pass by people and they smell, it's either they didn't bath in a week, they just smoked a cigarette, or they were within a mile of curry. There is no masking it. I am going to have to take off all my clothes and burn them before I enter my house tonight. I will then take a tomato sauce bath and use a steel wool sponge to remove the first 3 layers of skin from my body. It's not that I don't like the smell of curry, but if all you could smell were roses, you would be pretty sick of roses too. The smell of curry is like mold: it sticks to anything and you may not notice it at first, but in no time it has overtaken your home and everything in it. (I need a shower)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Disclaimers give us freedom

It's hard not to think about race and racism (not racist thoughts but rather thoughts on racism) today. I have gone out of my way to avoid being political and even criticize those self important blogs that think that their opinion really means anything. (I am too much of a realist to think that anything written while half awake at work, no matter how I flower it, would affect or inspire anyone or anything to do anything but laugh (I hope).
Disclaimer given, I tend to think the best of people. I don't think people are hate-filled, I think they are stupid. (and no that doesn't have anything to do with politics, just in general) A coworker was talking about the "mortgage crisis" and said, "I am no racist, but you know it was black people (whispered) that can't pay their mortgages." I am no judge of character, but you are a retard. I think it's funny that people believe if they put a disclaimer in front of what they are going to say and then whisper whatever contradicts their disclaimer that what they say is just fine. I am no anti-Semite, but the Jews (whispered) will be the end of this world with their bagel eating, Hollywood owning, only look out for their own, big noses, oh but I am no anti-Semite.
Don't reach too far into this post to take out your preconceived political biases. The post is just about what it is about and nothing more.
Off topic:
As a writer I hate literature classes, because I think that we make geniuses out of average writers by looking too hard for deep meaning. Nothing makes me want to take a gun to my face like a poetry unit in school. I have no prejudices, but it's always some hippie princess who hasn't showered or shaved in months and while the real world escapes her, it's fine because she wants to live in nature with her books and weed.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I wouldn't make you cry if your tears didn't taste like chocholate

I wish I had a post to go along with that title, but I don't. I was driving to work and I thought of the title. I think it's hillarious, but I don't really have any life experiences to share that tie in, but I will probably use it in some unusually cruel poetry.
I will write a longer post in a day or so (get off my back), but for now, I just wanted to share the title more than anything (and this very creepy picture).