Hi there

Hi, hope you like my Blog. Actually, no, not really, couldn't care less, this is all about me. Feel free to fluff my ego like it was the least ugly part of Ron Jeremy, and you had made some poor life decisions. Also, if you wanna swap links and are not an idiot, here's the crap email I rarely check: nightfire08@gmail.com Cheers!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Of Leavetaking

Caution: readers (all 4 of you) this won't be a funny post. Moments of humor maybe, but this is my attempt at serious writing.

Well, today is my last day at my day job, which is a job I've held for an ongodly year and a half. It's crazy; beyond college, this has been the longest committment I've made in my life. Also, totally just used a fuckin' semicolon. Proud of that.

I've had a salary. I've supported myself in Chicago. I now have a 401K. I (miraculously) passed a drug test. I've woken up at 630 in the morning for more than a year.

And now that's all coming to an end.

This is my last day. I'm blogging, of course, because my Manager has told me to "stay productive." So I'm producing a blog, and this book:

http://thegcs.blogspot.com/

But anywho, I thought, just so in three months, when I've forgotten all of this, I can look back on all this and have learned something, I'd write down a couple reflections on working generally, what was good, what was bad, so that hopefully, going forward, I can find better places to work when I need to.

Let's start with the bad, so we can end with the good:

The Bad:

Things that sucked. Suck. Continually make me hate this place.

A) Getting up early. Some people are just built for this. I am not one of these people. Every time I hear an alarm clock go off at 6:30 AM the options that run through my head are: A) break phone B) call in sick C) just fucking die so I don't have to go through this again tommorrow. Which is not, in fact, a great way to wake up.

So, my ideal job would be one where I could sleep in if I wanted. I can work until 3 am, just not at 8am. Not a deal breaker, really, just a perpetual thorn-in-the-side. Again, I realize some people are built for it, but much like being republican, receiving anal sex, or some strange combination of the two, I'm just not of them.
B) Slow ass computers. Okay, now, when I'm just fucking around and my computer freezes, it's almost karmic. Fine. I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be, I was wasting paid time, fine, slow up and make me reload the page, or check another blog that doesn't have such an epileptic background. Fine.

However, when I'm doing ACTUAL work and the computer stalls, because other computers are to this computer what most human beings are to a particularly stupid jellyfish, I have a problem. Especially when the company posts 3 billion in profits every quarter, but hasn't bothered to upgrade the software or hardware on their computers since 1945. It's embarrassing, and needlessly inefficent.

It also gives the feeling that those at the top could give a fuck about those on the front lines, which is generally the case with people, but God I wish they'd just say it as apposed to bragging about the wonders of the "corporate infrastructure" at every fucking sales conferance we're forced to attend (and pay for parking at, I might add), they'd just be a little fucking honest about it. It would be brillaint to just use my own fucking hardware, or not have to deal with it. But, in this one, i know I'm whining. This next one though, is legit:

C) Middle management. Now, I'm intelligent enought to seperate the character of a person generally and the douchey actions they occasionally perform. The problem that I have is not with the PEOPLE in middle management, who are all usually decent people trying to support families and other such emotionally weighted excuses for douchery. Fine. Don't fault them.

The problem is structural. See, the people in an office somewhere who have never been in a retail situation, make decisions. The middle managers aren't actually decision makers. They have no more control over their job duties, or the way things are run than the grunts do. Lots of people make this mistake, and attribute choice to authority. Nope. Not middle authority.

This puts them rather in the position of enforcer. They have to act like prison warderns, but they're really prison gaurds. Which is unfortunate, only that they cannot adapt and adjust well to changes on the ground.

Let's say we all work in a factory that produces ducks. Yes, ducks. Now, the owner of the factory tells the manager that it's his job to make sure the ducks have...uh...shit, very shiny feathers or something. I don't know, something arbitrary. But the owner is convinced that this is key to selling ducks, and then makes it the manager's problem.

Now, the factory starts churning out ducks that are very shiny, and selling them. But now, people are bringing back the ducks saying: Hey, this duck sinks! All the shellack you put on it makes it far too heavy, and plus, I think it may be dead now!

The grunts, of course, relay these complaints to the manager, having received the brunt of them, being on the front lines. Now, the manager has 2 options. He can:

1. Relay this feedback up the chain, questioning the judgement of the person who writes his paychecks, or
2. Be a dick to the grunts, and insist they continue shellacking the FUCK out of those damn ducks, just to make sure that when the Owner visits, he's blinded and in awe of just how shiny the ducks are, leaving the grunts to feel unheard and disempowered, and undercutting the sales of ducks generally.

Now, he has a family to support. So, he can risk alienating the hand that feeds him (and them), or he can make enemies over people he personally has hiring and firing power over.

It's almost DESIGNED to create butt-fuckery. And not the fun "lets get high and experiment" kind. It's a rare man (or woman) who has the confidence, social grace, and chutzpah (look it up, gentile) to question the judgement of his superiors on a consistant basis and come out of it not stinking like shit.

People with the responsibility of enforcing policy need the flexibility to adjust that policy on the fly. Not necessarily decision making power ultimately, but flexibility without fear or reprisal from superiors.

Now, the thing is, this type of (productive) behavior is good for the company, grunts, and customers, but in NO WAY benefits the manager. So it takes a fucking saint to get this done.

And of course, once you start disempowering the grunts, it becomes habitual and weird values like someone's "attitude" (translation: willingness to eat shit with a smile on your face), and "loyalty" (the unflinching, enquestioning, Nazi S.S. gaurd type) come into play.

Again, just DESIGNED for butt-fuckery.

So, ideal job lacks middle-management. Owners can be ruthless, but at least they and you both have the ability to negotiate terms with employees. This is key. Life is a goddamn negotiation, so the lack therof is fucking DEATH.

D) Monotony- human beings are not age-old computers. Well, some are. We need variety. The same goddamn thing all the time sucks your soul out through your ass.

E) Sales. I know it sounds cliche, but I really to beleive being a salesperson is bad for you. Like, medically. In addition to the boatloads of stress and lack of security, at some point you are forced to, by necessity of paying bills and eating, decide that your need to get money is more important than the person your selling to's right to fully understand and agree with what they're signing up for. Everyone does it. Anyone who says they don't lie.

Business is a dirty, dirty thing, not built on trust and respect, but rather those less favorable human practices that people use platitudes like "beneficial self interest" "motivation" and "self-interest" do describe. Problem is, these terms only describe half the interaction. When you start to include the "at someone else's expense" part of it, it becomes something else entirely.

Mind you, I'm not talking about the ideal here, they way it SHOULD work. I'm talking about the reality of how it does. Now, internet, if you're thinking: the minority of large companies might work like that, but most have my best interests as the consumer in mind: mortgage crisis, bank bailouts, enron, gas prices. Yeah, so fuck off.

Again, the problem is structural. The people at the top's bosses are the stockholders, who could give a fuck about ethical treatment of customers, so long as their brokerage account balances grow. And you don't bite the hand that feeds you. Especially if it feeds you millions of dollars per year.

So, yeah, just designed for butt-fuckery.

And finally:

F) Annoying co-workers. Okay, so be it the guy who relentlessly steals my and only my sales specifically (and still doesn't hit numbers every month, which is funny) or the late-50's guy who insists, among other things, that a) he sat in a high ranking position on the london stock exchange until his bitch-exwife somehow screwed him out of it b) was a prominent jazz musician until his bitch-exwife somehow screwed him out of it (not even making this up, by the way) and c) was able to fly without the aid of science, until his bitch-exwife screwed him out of it. He also has the great habit of talking incessantly about how his "body feels" after excersizing, like every day, and gawk at 13 year olds (regardless of gender) who come through the door.

And the thing about these people is that they never cross the line. Or, rarely. They get just fucking EXCELLENT about dancing along it, to the point where you never really say anything big. It's not a big enough deal to make a thing out of. You don't respect them enough to battle it out to resolve it, and don't really beleive there to be a resolution anyway. You can't fix fuck-ass creepy.

This isn't a really legitimate complaint, because humanity is creepy, and you're gonna run into that everywhere. So, finally:

F) F for FUCKING CUSTOMERS. OH MY GOD. (fucking as an explitive, not a verb). I don't think I should want to kill old people (except when I'm driving) but my God, I've come pretty close. Young people too. Just, everyone.

Here's a tip though: Karma's a bitch. If you're one of those people who assumes I'm there to serve you, feels entiteled to whatever the fuck you want, and thinks you can get it by being loud or insulting, I will make your life fucking difficult. I've been in far too many sketchy situations to be afraid of you, and I've send people (assholes) to do things that take them 5 hours and cost hundreds of dollars, that I could have done for free in 5 minutes.

So actually, go ahead, be a dick. This is much easier to deal with, and in fact, occasionally fun and satisfying when you really stick it to someone, than the people who are just crazy or inept.Which is fucking everyone.

I think it's clear I've been at this job for two long. All of these things individually would be bearable, it's just all the little butt-fucks chiming it at once that echo in the chambers of monotony to make a veritable butt-fuck cacaphony, drowning out anything but writing funny things on the internet and looking for other gainfull employment.

So yeah. That's the Bad.

The Good:

Just 2 things, but 2 big things:

A) The Money. Bought a car, had back surgery, supported self, saved and invested a bit. Money is like air and sex, in only becomes desperately important when it's in short supply, but having this job has allowed me to establish myself in a city and give me a decent base to build on, to pursue the career I actually want to have.

B) The People. This is where it gets all gushy, like...well, I can think of several unpleasant and wholly inappropriate images from which I shall refrain, because I mean this sincerely.

There's a person who started around the same time as me, who is in love with Harry Potter (the books, I think) and who is one of the genuinely sweeter people I've met. For secret santa I got her a Harry Potter magic wand, which made her day.

There's another person who's currently traveling Europe, because he's far more awesome than me, with whom I would have endless political debates, and also smoke pot. Cool guy.

There's another person who I spent half the time fighting with, and half the time joking with, because she's crazy, and I am to.

There's another who speakes 8 languages (so he claims. Who the fuck knows, really)

There's another who I've had great talks about religion with.

There's my boss, my ass't boss, and my co-workers who drove into the city to see me in a show.

And truth be told, I love them all. They're amazing, and have turned my time here from something merely bearable to something that was, despite all odds, very enjoyable. And I will miss them dearly for it.

Ah, sad. Well. A year and a half. Another chapter in life, done. It's strange. And sad, and happy too.

Life is a constant state of change. That's the definition. If you're not changing, if things aren't moving around you, you're gone. There's no escaping or denying it. It comes, and it's best to enjoy it, because it's impossible to resist. Well, you can try to resist it, but all you'll end up doing is straining something.

So, the verdict on this chapter?

Well, I don't know if I'd do it again, in fact I never intend to. But it was good. It was quite good.

Cheers.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Beer Designs

So I had the joy and honor of drinking last night with a man who makes his living consulting with breweries to make their beer better, and he liked the beer my friends and I brewed together, which is very exciting. These are the Labels and beer descriptions for our recipes:

Easy Win Wit: A strong belgian wit with hints of citrus, ginger, and cinnamon (we thought it was a hefeweizen but it's not, and photoshop is time consuming so I haven't gotten around to it yet):


Which is pretty exciting. Also, since I'm not working off of my office computer which was built at around the time of Christ, I can embed photos, so yay.

Next: The Bastard Prince: a belgian style sour brown ale, with a strong flavor of cherries and hints of oak and maple:


Which is pretty cool too. I have the next one, "Man's Country," an irish red with toasted coconuts to do, as well as "Lonely Heart's Stout" a heavy milk stout with bergamot, earl grey, and pepper. All very exciting.

Making beer is like baking, but with baking, I can't get drunk. Or I suppose I can, but that just means I'm drinking while baking, which is considerably sadder. So yay that.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beer Grenades and The Hangover Part II

So I went with my good friend Liz to see The Hangover II, because Liz is awesome, and I'm trying to squeeze in lots of time with people before leaving for the summer to act in Michigan.

Liz is great. She's smart, she's funny, she's the director of a theater company I'm a part of. She's kind of like this:

http://www.thebodyplanner.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/batgirl.jpg


But an actress, with less confidence in herself than she fully deserves.

I also have confidence issues, just the other direction. For instance, when I look in the mirror, I see this:

http://fastcache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/8/2010/03/bats

but just oozing sex appeal as well.

The primary difference between Liz and I, and part of the reason we compliment one another well as friends, is how we deal with risk.

Liz likes to plan things. There is a mental model in the way things will play out, and if things adhere to that model, the endeavor is a success. It's what makes her good at running a theater company.

I, on the other hand, need things to go off track on a pretty regular basis so I have stories to tell.

I like to think without friends like Me, Liz wouldn't have any fun. Or it would just be subdued, and boring, and she would eventually end up being fairly unhappy.

Liz likes to think with her and friends like her, I would be dead. Which is fair, in a way.

So, when I suggested bringing our second successful homebrew batch into the theater, she was, as Liz usually is with me, apprehensive but willing.

The second batch is called "The Bastard Prince," modeled on Samaels by Avery of Colorado, it's a Sour Red Ale with cherries, oak, and maple syrup. I can humbly say it pretty much tastes like this:

http://media.techeblog.com/images/batman_lightsaber_2.jpg

but just oozing with sex appeal.

Anyway, we sneak a couple in, settle down for a couple of somewhat promising green lantern previews in a very full theater.

I decided to open the beer on the armrest of the seat. Then this happened:

http://courses.ulisesmejias.com/videogames09/img/wiki_up/mk_fatality.png


Now, I should explain.

What makes beer beer, or rather any type of alchohol alchohol is the triumvirate of yeast, sugar (or starch) and water. If you crumble up crackers in water, douse it with table sugar, and add yeast, it will create

A) Alchohol
B) Carbon Dioxide
C) Never actually do this, as it would be disgusting.

So, in the initial fermentation, you use the yeast to make sugar into booze. Carbon Dioxide is a waste product, which escapes via a little airlock type of thing. It looks like this:

http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/assets/0002/5801/homebrewing.jpg?1279043272

Now, after the beer is nice and alchoholiscious after a week or two, you put it in bottles.

You put more sugar in first, so the yeast start up again though. Again, yeast plus sugar makes

A) alchohol
B) carbon dioxide.

When in a sealed bottle, the carbon dioxide has nowhere to go, dissolves into the beer, and carbonates the beverage.

http://www.smalldoggiesmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/thumbs_up.jpg

Nifty, right?

Now, Beau, who is a friend a brew with, is a bit like me when it comes to doing anything: Leap first, look later. If we were to go bungee jumping together, we would both die, having forgotten the bungee part.

So, after tasting our awesomesauce beer before bottling, we put in the priming sugar, we forgot to properly stir it into the beer, which means it settled at the bottom of the carboy in a very concentrated fashion, which means some bottles received alot more of it than others.

Remember, sugar turns into carbonation. So we ended up with some beer like this:

http://nickshell1983.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/calories-in-a-banana-jpg.jpeg

And some like this:

http://www.wanderinggoblin.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/hand-grenade.jpg

AND NO FUNCTIONAL WAY TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM.

I should also mention: We'd only opened three of the bottles. One had been just right, one had been flat, one almost overflowed. We figured that was as bad as it would ever get.

So, imagine Liz and I, nestled in a crowded theater space, laps covered in popcorn and sweets, getting ready to watch Hangover Part II, which I'm excited about because it's gotten mixed reviews, and all my favorite films do.

Lacking the foresight to bring any type of beer-opening-tool, I was attempting to open our little time bomb very subtly on the edge of the arm rest between us.

This is a fairly accurate representation of what ensued:

http://www.geographicguide.net/europe/scandinavia/geiser-iceland.jpg

I'm sorry, I'm prone to exaggeration. It was actually a bit more like this:

http://www.delvedigger.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/atom_blast.jpg

Liz was not impressed. She was even less impressed when I offered her the last third of the beer left in the bottle which was, strangely enough, fairly flat at that point. Very not impressed.

She was, in fact, quite angry. For like, the whole movie. She did eventually forgive me, but we had to cut short the evening so she could go home and do laundry, as she was traveling tommorrow, and I'm a giant asshole.

Her: "Why would you possibly bring that thing into the theater? What can you possibly say for yourself?"

Me: "None of the other ones did that."

Lesson learned. Stir the Priming Sugar.  Also, risks can have unforeseen consequences.

Which brings me to: Then Hangover Part II

http://planetill.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/the-hangover-part-ii-sequel-580x331.jpg

First off, and I don't say this a lot: Good Movie. Even more rare: Good Sequel. Stuck with the tropes established by the first film without copy-pasting anything. It was just more of the same, it was MORE than the first as well.

It's pretty dark, which is a great way to go for a sequel. The structure is the same: Everyone drinks, ends up somewhere crazy, no recollection of how, has to peice night back together.

During the course, though:

Someone Gets Shot
Someone loses a finger
Someone starts a riot with thaiwanese police
A monkey performs felatio on no less than 2 cast members.
Ed Helms gets butt-sexed by a thaiwanese lady/boy.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3470/5752446138_de202cdbe1.jpg


Yeah, so, like a lot darker. And still, somehow, hilarious. I would argue more so because it's not afraid to go almost over the edge.

The whole movie, the audience is kept on the edge of being just too grossed out / uncomfortable to stay engaged. The line is even crossed several times, and then the laughter that ensues is a cathardic release of tension. It's brilliant, and incredibly engaging.

Also, Ed Helms gets butt-sexed by a lady boy.

http://www.onlineusanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Transvestite-Meanings.jpg

I would argue that it's in fact, even better than the original. Here's why:

At the beginning of the film, Ed Helms starts out trying to walk the straight and narrow. Through circumstances beyond his control, he ends up in a world he's not used to (Bankok) where he experiences several trials and tribulations, all of them VERY CHALLENGING (this is key) to him personally. He in fact, has to accept several new things about himself, and if you don't know what that means, click on the link above one more time.

Through this he gains a new understanding of himself that allows him to go back to the world he knew and live in it in a better way. Before the adventure he is quite the milktoast, and afterward he's able to stand up to and thereby gain the implicit approval of his bride-to-be's father.

He accepts the dark side inherent in him, and is better for it, as opposed to trying to oppress it. He shows real, actual growth that won't be undone.

And that's cool. The first one did all of those things but less so, and everything at the end is pretty much the same as the beginning, which is actually classical comedic structure: the world is circular.

Now it's not a perfect film by any means. Zach Galifinfuckthisspelling's lines usually cap the scenes, and after some time the whole "crazy guy is funny cuz he's crazy" thing gets old, but that's the writers' fault, not his. He ends up being a little like the crazy guy on the subway: funny for 20 minutes, annoying for 40, although it doesn't really ruin the film in any way.

http://homelessmanspeaks.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/tonys-thumbs-up-feb-23-2008.jpg

Also, Ed Helms's bride to be is a very (hot asian) set piece, and has all the emotional complexity of, oh I don't know, this:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_OqRt93Jia-E/TJiYxLfXqUI/AAAAAAAAAEQ/76vOlc6c1gs/s320/Plank+of+wood.jpg

Admitedly a hot, asian version of that, but still. A missed opportunity, to be sure, and frankly a bit unfair to the ladies, in a movie where even the ladies have dongs. Women are surprisingly and suspiciously absent throughout the whole affair, but whatever. It might have been nice to see the wolf-pack interact with a she-wolf or two, but that's another movie entirely.

But still, these things don't spoil it. It's quite good. Better than the first, in fact.

http://www.buddyhead.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/home-alone1243399120.png

Why I would argue Part II is the better film, actually, is because it has dramatic structure: through a fair amount of torment, things actually change by the end for the better, irrevocabely, and that's satisfying to watch. You have to work for the emotional release at the end, and therefor value it more.

It's the quality that, you might say, makes a story very compelling in the first place.

http://www.smalldoggiesmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/thumbs_up.jpg

So, to recap:

A) Mix your priming sugar
B) Risks have consequences
C) The Hangover part II is a better film than the first, go see it.
D) Liz still thinks I'm an asshole, but good friends forgive.

It think the best way to draw all this to a close is this:

Liz's reaction to the film: That was awesome! But I'm NEVER going to Bankok!

My reaction: Totally! (While looking up the price of flights there on my smartphone)

http://www.onlineusanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Transvestite-Meanings.jpg

Cheers.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Joys of Car Ownership, part 1

Ah, internet, hello, and good morning. I've just arrived to work 45 minutes late, after riding the dreaded CTA, which if you refer to earlier posts:

http://sparkithdark.blogspot.com/2009/01/public-transit-and-titties.html

I'm not a great fan of.

That, in addition to a slew of back problems that can only be medically described as God's revenge on me for all my wrongdoings, prompted me, about a year ago, to buy a car.

As I have not, until fairly recently, been actively blogging, I'll have to bring you up to speed, in my new, what I'm sure will be multi-part series:

THE JOYS OF CAR OWNERSHIP

Part One:

So, last night I was at my friend Beau's house, brewing a milk and outmeal stout, flavored with earl grey tea and a hint of vanilla extract. See, that's the best part about brewing beer- I can write a sentence like that, include all the subtleties and flavors, and it still sounds very manly, because we're making beer. If I'd be making an earl grey tea cake with a hint of vanilla extract, let's be honest, would have very gay. But it's not gay! Because its BEER! And Beer is poisonous to gay people, or something, because the two things are somehow culturally antithetical, but, I digress.

I drove there, because we had to go pick up supplies first, and there's no reason why we'd ride the L and play the russian-roulette-of-sitting-in-someone-else's-pee game if we could avoid it.

I parked behind his apartment in one of two parking spaces there, through a short alleyway that, in terms of width, can only be likened to the birth canal of a particularly pious Nun.

There was barely enough room for one car to fit through, and behind it, there were two spaces, one of which was already occupied by a black honda civic. Fine.

I pull in to the spot breathlessly, mere inches from brick on all sides but one, and on that side mere inches from a honda civic that looks quite a bit like a brick, and immediately dread pulling out in reverse.

But, Beau assures me that if it can be done forwards, it can likewise be done backwards. I remember having a similar arguement with a girlfriend about "cowgirl," just on the other side of it, but once again, I digress.

So, we gather our supplies, brew some beer, and good times are generally had. Great.

Now, i arrived at around 7pm, and am attempting to leave around 10:30 or so. I step outside into the brisk night air, feeling as though I've accomplished something, having both brewed some beer and fully enjoyed a previous batch that turned out particularly well, when I see this:

http://www.boatshoes.com/images/0799023large.jpg

That may be an approximation, but that's about what the car looked like that was blocking my means of escape from the Nun-Uterous (utyrous? youtearus?) parking lot.

Fuck.

Uh. Oh.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Now we have a problem. I work 45 minutes away from where I live by car, and have to be there at 8 AM the next morning.

At this point Beau has come out onto the back porch as well, and recognized the problem at hand.

"Ooh," he says, "guess you gotta knock on some doors."

I sit in stunned silence.

"I'll knock with you," he offers graciously, the proceeds indoors to clean the kitchen. He did emerge a few minutes later, and help me knock, I just thought the juxtaposition of "I'll help" then immediately leaving was pretty funny. We also discovered that Beau has not one, but two pretty hot neighbors, so that's pretty good.

Anyway, the knocking proved fruitless. We only knocked on doors with lit windows, Beau not wanting to anger his neighbors, and me not wanting to get shot because we were in Roger's Park. We discovered the aforementioned hot chicks, as well as really pissed off either a small dog or a large rat, could have really gone either way on that one, really, but no one would claim the large shoe blocking my exit. Not even the rat.

Now, internet, I just want to tell you that I decided at that point not to get mad. I'm still not really mad. I mean, to block the exit of two cars as apposed to just, I don't know, finding street parking, would at first glance, seem a bit of a dick move. Normally, this would have garnered a my knee-jerk "FUCK YOU" response, but, shoe car had a couple of things working in its favor.

1) It was late. Finding street parking by the lake after 9pm is about as likely as finding unbiased journalism on Fox.

2) It's not a great area, so if you were to park, you'd have to walk a ways.

3) The plates read "Michigan." which means the owner of the car was from Michigan, and that's hard enough as it is.

4) This is the clincher, really, that validates 1 through 3. The plates looked like this:

http://stores.platedog.com/catalog/2010-01-23-1432-47_thumb.jpg

Which, based on the pictoral on the left, leads me to one of two conclusions:

A) The owner is handicapped, and me, being a giant (unaware, to be fair) asshole, stole their spot late at night in a bad neighborhood, so out of a survival impulse, they parked their car in the love canal so as to avoid the aforementoined issues 1 and 2.

or:

B) The owner of the vehicle has a HUGE butt. Look again:

http://stores.platedog.com/catalog/2010-01-23-1432-47_thumb.jpg

In which case, I'd like to avoid angering them, lest they decide to use it as a weapon against me.


Either way, there's not really a culprit here. Or if there is, it's me, and I was an unwitting one. There were several victims though- Me, again. The black brick car man, who the neighbors say is a dick, and I'm hoping isn't having my car towed as I type. That poor, large-butted person whose spot I stole.

Owning a car is a humbling experience, in that God, if he exists (yes, he. God isn't a woman. Sorry, nothing against women, but in my defense: Periods, childbirth, glass ceilings, breast cancer. If she's a woman, she's a bitch) because God finds ways to constantly remind you that you're just not that special when you have one.

I think it's because owning a car is a luxury, and we wouldn't want us feeling to smug now, would we? And I suppose that's fair enough.

Another example: Whenever you spend more than 40 minutes looking for parking, walking back to your apartment, you will invariably see a closer spot than the one you found.

It sure as hell seemed like that, at least, so I started keeping count. And I can honestly report that the ratio of times I've parked and seen a closer spot to times I've parked total is actually 6/10.

6 out of 10

MORE THAN FUCKING HALF.

That defies some sort of statistical probability, I'm sure.

I think, very good arguement for God, and that he is trying to remind me that the universe does not, in fact, revolve around me, nor does it cater to my wants / needs / hopes and dreams and that I should be lucky to have a parking spot, or really, a car at all.

Now the car is currently sitting behind my friends' apartment. Beau has been in 77 car accidents to date (conservative estimate) so I left the keys with a slightly less accident prone friend and roommate, in hopes I won't return tonight to find a smoking crater where my car had been.

Ah, the Joys of Car Ownership.


##UPDATE##

Because # means important, and four of them means quadrupley so.

So, I rode the dreaded "L" train back to my friends' house, and lo and behold, shoe car was gloriously moved.

I retrieved my key from Neal, another roomie and all-around good guy who happened to be home when I got there, and backed my way out of Nun-birth-canal alley. NBC alley. I like it. Gives the whole peacock thing a couple of levels.

http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/blog/nbc-peacock-logo.jpg

Anyway, my car is back in my hands, thank God.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kim Kardashian and other Thoughts

Okay, so: take a look at this picture.

http://crazy.nerast.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Kim-Kardashian_2.jpg
How....how do you always look like you wanna fuck someone in a picture? Not sometimes. Always.

Like, when someone takes a picture of me, I usually look retarded. I don't mean that in a duragatory way either, I mean actually functionally handicapped.

For a long time I thought people who posted facebook photos were making a game of it, it happened so often.

I suppose the two things are not mutually exclusive. Maybe that's just how I look when I want to fuck someone, which would explain a recent dry streak, but still.

http://www.shockya.com/news/wp-content/uploads/kim-kardashian-dating-football-player.jpg

You have to practice that. It takes lightning fast reflexes. Especially if you're famous. People take pictures of you all the time.

You'd imagine that if you were famous, you could respond to the sound of a shutter clicking, even a digital one, turn, ninja-cobra like, and pose.

http://thekimkardashian.com/UserFiles/2009/11/21/Kim%20Kardashian.jpg

But no. The sound happens AFTER the photo is taken. Light travels faster than sound. (but neither travel faster than love, or the quantum "spooky action at a distance." theory: same fucking thing. am I right?)

So essentially, Kim Kardashian has to be either A) a jedi or B) an x-men pre-cog mutant.

I'm gonna go with B), because if she has full use of the force, she's damn unimaginative, because frankly her sex tape wasn't that interesting.

Still:

http://www.yourgossipfix.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/kimkardashian4_0_0_0x0_399x600.jpg

She has to be able to sense a picture is about to be taken somewhere in the room, whip towards the camera, and make the SAME. DAMN. FACE. EVERY. TIME. The fuck?

Now, I'm not sure I fully agree with Porn, in the same way that I'm not sure I fully agree with Capitalism, idealistically, but still spend most of my day as an active practitioner, because what choice do I really have, it's there. More on that later.

However, you have to admit that the ability to, at any given time, SENSE a camera in a fucking room, turn towards it, and convince that camera that you want to shove it where the sun doesn't shine until sweet jesus returns is a fucking skill.

Oh yeah, and she's engaged, I think. So there's that as well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Old people on the Internet / An open letter to the Dude on Lincoln Ave

I was recently on Digg.com, which is kind of like the Mos Eisley of the internet, if you catch my dorky drift, but without the cool music or lightsabers. Seriously, it's 2011 people. Fucking lightsabers, it can't be that hard.

Anyway, I got into a pitched comment debate with an old man over the new ObamaCare thing, and entitelments in this country.

At least, he said he was an old man. Here's a sample:

From "Harry Fox" which is totally not a euphamism.
"I'm a great-grandfather of one, and a grandfather of five, and I think these entitlements suck. We need to be free of all these entitlements."

First off, I don't beleive you're a great grandfather and also are on Digg.com. I think you're a stupid middle aged person trying to prove a point.

If you are, in fact, a great grandfather on the internet, I offer to, if you promise to stop spouting Fox News bullet points, come over and A) Program your VCR B) Use it to tape matlock and C)warm you some milk. In return for this, all I ask is your social security, since you seem to despise it so much.


Secondly: If you are actually the same person who cut me off on Lincoln Avenue (because I like to think there are far less stupid people than there seem to be, they all just have multiple identities) on the way to work this morning REPEATEDLY, to prove you were, in fact, master of the road, I have this to say:

A) I didn't intentionally cut you off the first time. I was pulling out from behind someone turning left, and didn't see you, because it was raining and your lights were off.

B) You had plenty of time to slow down in any case; it wasn't even close.

C) You seemed to assume that I didn't merely accidently cut someone off, I INTENTIONALLY CUT YOU PERSONALLY OFF, which is funny to me. It must be difficult, having everyone out to get you personally, and the government listening through the radios and things. This point was exacerbated by when you pulled up beside me in a school zone, rolled down your window at 30 miles an hour, and shouted for several minutes, soaking the inside of your car in the rain.

D) I, having given you both the finger and ample space to pull ahead, then turned my brights on, because fuck you.

E) Your sudden stopping in the middle of the road didn't really catch me off gaurd, neither did your swerving into my lane within a few feet of me once, but twice.

And finally:

F) I wasn't terribly surprised to see you pulled over a few blocks ahead, because I was the one who called the cops and said there was a drunk driver with the vanity plate "Slap Hpy" (true fucking story) on Lincoln. Ah, we live in a wonderful age.

The moral: Fuck you.

The second moral: Don't be a dick. The offer still stands about the social security though.

So I saw Thor with my stupid friends

My friends aren't actually all that stupid. They can walk around and talk and things, dress themselves, exist and not get hit by cars (yet, knock on wood), and that makes them more intelligent than most labrador retreivers.

So, when the call came to see "Thor," I, considering myself to be a fairly decently well cultured and discerning labrador retreiver when it comes to my time, energy, and the much more hard to come by "money" as it is known among the riff-raff, I politely declined.

Then they said "But it's saturday, and you don't have other plans."  And I sulked a bit, like I'd just brought in a dead bird as a gift only to be chided about it, licked myself for a while, then drove northward to witness the power of the mighty "Thor."

I think I'm dropping the "dog" metaphor because it has ceased to amuse me. Here's a breif list of other things that have recently ceased to amuse me within a few minutes:

People who use "bunny ears" to emphasize, rather than indicate a quotation
Life, generally,
Thor, God of Thunder (the movie. he's quite nice personally)

So, I arrive, high as a kite, because fuck if I'm going to go see Thor sober. I, of course, as a high person, tend to share things.

Not personal things like daddy issues or herpes, but rather my weed. So, as I arrived at my friend Beau's house, (Yes, his name is Beau. Yes, I tell him all the time it means "pretty" in french. Not handsome, specifically "pretty." Yes, that's incorrect, but he hasn't figured that out yet, so it continues to be amusing.)

I began to proffer my weed around like a be-candied parent on halloween, offering my friends the chance to focus on just how nice the popcorn tasted at the theater, rather than having to subject their entire psyches un-sheilded to the soul-fuck that would be "Thor, God of Thunder." They, however, being mostly 30, and also being quite lame, declined, which set a bit of an awkward tone for the rest of the evening.

Now, internet, you may be wondering exactly why I'm so down on "Thor, God of Thunder." Couple of things:

I had no idea Thor was even a comic book until the TV started rubbing a large blond man's pectorals in my face repeatedly, and therefor didn't have the childhood nostalgia factor to get my naughty bits all good and wet for it. Ha. It was fun to put those 2 things next to each other.

Given that, my perspective of the story became something along the lines of a 2011 pectoral-centric bastardization of an old religious figure, which is what "Thor" was to the vikings. It would kind of be like if in about 300 years, somebody made "Jesus: Zombie of Jerusalem" which, now that I think about it, I would totally pay to see. Please contact me for liscencing rights at sacreligion@gmail.com. Actually don't, I'm pretty sure that's the contact email for a Gay Club in Philadelphia. In which case, email if you wish.

Lastly, it's directed by Kenneth Branaughughugh, who is a classically trained actor. I, technically, am also a classically trained actor, albiet a much less prodigious one, and am fairly familiar with the works of Mr. Branmuffin. He likes to get a whole bunch of money together, and use it to masturbate right in your face. Which is all well and good, especially if you tend to be the type of person who likes to watch Shakespeare AND attend Sack-Religion, of Philadelphia, PA, but I'm only one of those things, and even then, only on thursdays when it's rainy and I'm feeling blue.

So, I expected Thor: Wad of Blunder to be technically impressive, as Mr. Br;alksdkfagoh (okay, joke dead) usually is, but fairly trite, shiny, and soulless. It's like...oh, what's it like? It's like getting a blowjob from a wife who no longer loves you. The steps are all there to bring the issue (which I'm heretoforth referring to my manparts as) to completion, however, because there's not HEART in it, it somehow becomes a sad mockery of what once was, or perhaps what could be.

That's the problem. Thor is not of the popular consciousness, so you could, say, do a very original story that is innovative, heart-felt, and moving (if you were Christopher Nolan, you could do it DESPITE the lead figure being iconic). Or you could try your damndest to make it look like that while giggling atop your giant pile of money. And we're back where we started.

So, the movie begins:

Thor, who I will hitherto refer to as Pectorals, is an arrogant asshole, mainly because he has a kickass hammer that can...apparently do whatever we could think of and fit within the special effects budget. Great. Favored son of Pirate Hannibal Lector, older brother to Emo Dead Fish.

Through an accident of fate, Pectorals is ejected from heaven-analog-if-heaven-were-designed-by-a-gay-world-of-warcraft-player onto "Urth" where he is hit by a bus by Nevernude, i. e. Natalie Portman.

I take special issue with Natalie Portman never being nude, because this is pre-poor-life-choices Natalie Portman, who was still VERY hot, and having Pectorals more shirtless than her generally is just a waste of a good couple of million dollars, cuz if you've ever seen Closer, or, fuck, Your Highness, she'll totally strip down. Again, I blame Mr. Branmuffin for another glorious missed opportunity.

Anyway, Pectorals is the equivalent of hit by a bus several times for the next fifteen minutes, just to show how human and relatable he's suddenly become, despite still being Hitler's version of the perfect man, and therefor terrifying to, well, Jews like me. I guess the arguement goes like this: Well, shit! I suppose I could get hit by a bus as well! Look at us, being almost the same! My God, I feel such a deep investment in this person's developement, and shall hold my pee/cellphone calls/google searching "natalie portman butt" on my smartphone until AFTER the film has concluded.

So, Pectorals cooks dinner with some people, and fights some government people, and is generally humbled over the course of three or four relatively unchallenging segments and about thirty minutes, which makes you think his Hubris wasn't terribly well rooted in the first place, and might not have been that big a problem if Pirate Hannibal Lector had just made him pick up around the house a few times as a child.

Emo Dead Fish does some things with CGI ice monkeys- again, was still pretty high at this point, not terribly clear what, exactly, but it turns out Emo Dead Fish is also an ice monkey, and I'm fairly sure it involved waffles as well, though I could be pretty wrong on that point. That's how interesting the whole thing was.

Anyway,  Dead Fish sends a big robot to kill Pectorals, mainly because he's afraid of the whole "Master Race" thing, presumabely, and after half an hour or so of housework, Pectorals sacrifices himself to save his friends in a way that would in no way prevent big robot from turning around and killing the shit out of his friends, but still, it was nice. In doing this, he regains control of his penis metaphor, and re-ascends to gay-Wow-heaven. He there ousts Emo Dead Fish, wakes Pirate Hannibal Lector, and breaks the rainbow bridge that they totally should have changed to something else so we wouldn't have another reason to laugh at them.

Also, there's a black guy with a sword who seems pretty baddass, but apparently it's a problem that he's black, because people are TRUE FANS of the comic books, and TOTALLY NOT RACIST or anything. To be fair, they're really just worried about the Asgaurd property values (ooh, I apologize.)

Anywho, for some reason at the end Nevernude and Pectorals stare up at the sky at each other, although both of them could be totally looking in the wrong direction, and probabaly are, considering that planets rotate not only on an axis but also around stars, and galactic centers and things, and then Sammy Jackson talks to Emo-Dead-Fish in disguise about a Cosmic Cube after the credits.

My stupid friends explained a "Cosmic Cube" to me on the walk home, and I shant repeat it here, because it is SO dorky, that should you read it, internet, your sexual organs will immediately consume themselves so you don't pollute the gene pool. I had to spend several hours talking mine down off the ledge with a nice girl who lives two floors down in my building later that evening just to balance things out.

So, what makes Thor: Rod of Under (not very good, I know, but there aren't many "Thunder" rhymes) truly an AWFUL experience rather than just a mediocre one, is that it has all the makings of a great film.

A likeable, but flawed lead, who is stripped of his power for his flaws, learns, grows, and ultimately becomes the man that both he and the Universe require him to be. Classic Joseph Campbell, heroes' journey goodness.

It even has some decent family drama, and interesting side characters.

The problem is that it phones it in. It dances the steps prettily enough, but the heart's not there. It's just going through the motions. And the fact that it KNOWS THE STEPS makes the dance even worse: it could have been a great film, it KNEW WHAT IT WAS DOING, but just decided the audience didn't deserve or couldn't grok the full monty.

This makes me want to shoot Mr. Branmuffin in the back of the head. With a supersoaker. Full of ink. Because FUCK YOU I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT RIGHT, YOU JUST SHOWED ME YOU KNOW HOW, AND ITS ALMOST LIKE YOUR MOCKING THE PROCESS YOU STUPID BRITISH GIT. Also, NAKED NATALIE PORTMAN! WE DONT HAVE THAT MUCH TIME LEFT!!!!!!

So in conclusion, the whole experience was a bit like watching the Patriots Play:

Technically impressive, slightly homoerotic, and lacking in soul.

To the Pats fans out there who just got mad at me: you know exactly what I'm talking about.

A Review of Left 4 Dead

Alright, so I thought it was about high time, and I mean timely, not time under the influence of marijuana or something, that I talk about something I like, and just how mind/thumb/soul-blisteringly awesome it is.

This thing is-straight up- Valve's new Game, Left 4 Dead. If you want to know why it's good, take a look at my Prince of Persia review, take all the things that it said it did "wrong" and replace "wrong" with some heavy breathing and moaning sounds, followed by an embarrassingly high-pitched squeal, and me shuffling off to clean myself in the nearest bathroom.

But, as I have spent so much of my time, and hopefully, internet, yours, because I'm beginning to have this sneaking suspicion that you're not actually paying attention, which is rather rude of you, since I'm talking and deserve to be heard.

But ah well, anonymous communication, like anonymous sex, makes up in facility what it lacks in general intimacy. I mean, I think.