There are so many intelligent and articulate people covering the hard-hitting
issues in our country these days, that I felt it was my duty to cover the
rather inconsequential bullshit that tends to make up the vast majority of
our lives. Actually, I'll just be griping a lot which, if you weren't aware,
doubles as a synonym for complaining, and as a descriptor for
a sharp pain in the bowels.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't Dine, Just Dash

Today I stopped in at the Vernon Diner in Vernon, CT on my way back to Jersey and had a less than stellar experience. As a native of Jersey, home of the diner, I've got fairly extensive diner meals to use for comparative purposes. My first sign that things might go awry should have been that I was in Connecticut. I'm just going to go out and say that I've met seemingly a disproportionate number of inconsiderate jerks in my time there. But the true first sign was that I stood in front of the "Please Wait To Be Seated" sign for a minute or so before someone acknowledged my presence. This wouldn't be so bad if three employees hadn't been sitting right at the bar counter.

After being seated at a table without silverware and not being brought any water for close to ten minutes, a host flagged down a waitress for us who took our order. All would have been well except that twenty-five minutes passed. All we ordered was two sandwiches, egg salad, and grilled chicken. Now, again, perhaps if the place were exceedingly crowded I'd understand, but it was moderately populated at best. At that point, though hungry, we decided it was time to hit the road because we still had three hours of driving to go. The thing I have to wonder is if they ever came out with our order, or if they ever even noticed. Glad to be ignored. Haaapppy holidays ya bums.

Anyway, I was just browsing Alaska Airlines website in preparation for a flight and I noticed the following awesome notes. My favorites are in bold:

The following items may count as your "one" carry-on bag and may exceed the carry-on dimensions as long as they can be safely accommodated in a proper stowage compartment in the cabin of the aircraft.

* Art/Advertising portfolios
* Paintings
* Delicate scientific equipment
* Fishing poles
* Human organs

All items brought onboard count toward your carry-on limit except the following:

* Coats, hats, umbrellas
* Reasonable amount of reading material
* FAA approved child/infant restraint seats to be occupied by a child
* Stroller
* Mobility assistive devices (e.g. wheelchairs, canes and crutches)
* Medical supplies and small medical equipment (e.g. CPAP machine for sleep apnea). Visit Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions on the TSA website for more information on allowed medical items and screening procedures.
* Small musical instruments (e.g. violin, flute, clarinet, or a small guitar) provided they are of a size or shape that can be safely stowed in an overhead bin or closet. Any musical instrument (e.g. oversized or odd-shaped) that cannot be properly stowed, must be checked or travel as cabin seat baggage.
* Ashes in an Urn. Ashes must be in a sealed, leak-proof container that fits in an overhead compartment. For information about TSA screening requirements, visit the Transporting the Deceased section of the TSA website.


It's not so much that people would never be transporting human organs or ashes in my estimation, I'm just surprised that it comes up frequently enough to make the standard list of regulations. But shit, I've got some packing to do. I hope everyone had an excellent holiday and has a wonderful new year. Boooyaaaaahhh...

Monday, December 22, 2008

NJ Trans[h]it

Frequently I talk trash about NJ Transit on here. It's true that I find it frustrating at times, but is it really worth complaining about? If my biggest gripe is late trains and rude passengers, I'd say I have things pretty good. That said, I have to say that it's been smelling like a hot dump on the train pretty frequently of late. I found amidst many notebooks and notepads that I scribble nonsense on a scrawl detailing that, last Monday, not just the train, but all of Penn Station had a distinctly fecal odor about it.

Aside from the Penn Station experience, I have to wonder if it is really just someone in my train car periodically dropping a deathbomb of a fart, as opposed to an ingrained doodieous scent, as the smell never seems to linger too long after my entering the car. Either that or I'm guilty of olfactory fatigue/adjustment after sitting in its presence too long.

On a non poop-scented train ride last Thursday night, I had a bit of a strange experience that probably isn't really that strange but allow me to explain. I got on an 8:35pm Jersey-bound train, seating myself next to a woman in her 40s or perhaps 50s. An announcement for all the intended stops of the train was made, which included my own, Edison. Shortly thereafter, a passenger seated just behind us could be heard conversing with a conductor to purchase a ticket to Edison, which he obligingly sold. The conductor then came to where myself and this lady were seated. After we flashed our respective month passes, this woman proceeds to inform me, having looked at my pass evidently, that "this train doesn't stop at Edison." I thanked her for her concern but assured her that it did in fact stop there. She refused to believe me and I left it at that. Shortly thereafter, another announcement was made, again detailing the arranged stops, and again listing Edison among them. I was a little tempted to say, "see you dumb bitch," and perhaps enlighten her to some other context clues that would have informed her I was on the correct train but, seeing as how she really hadn't been mean about it there wasn't any point.

I did ponder mightily for a minute or two, however, why she would even point this out. You might think, "well she was just doing you a favor," except that, if I were on the wrong train, wouldn't the conductor have mentioned something (in my past experience when i have witnessed people on the wrong train, the conductor has mentioned it to the passenger)? Wouldn't he also not have sold a ticket to that very stop to another passenger. Also, doesn't she have ears? Couldn't she hear them announce my stop. She certainly had eyes though, as she had to read my ticket to know where I was going as I mentioned. So maybe she missed all these initial signs. I hope she heard that second announcement, however, and realized she was a retard.

Hooooot pockets...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just Whistle [On Your Way to] Work

As I was walking to work today (yes, I've noted it before, but I'll note it again, an inordinate amount of my content concerns my commute) I was listening as usual to some iPod jams. A tune came on that either contained whistling, or that I deemed whistle-worthy, as soon I found myself whistling. This was surprising because it was gloomy and I would rather have stayed at home and, on a more pressing note, I had a fairly strong urge to defecate. Now defecate is an ugly word in my estimation, I think "crap," "shit," "dump," "deuce," and "poo" as well as presumably many others all strike me as less vulgar. Anyway, there I was whistling when I noticed another whistle joining me. Now, I guess this isn't that unusual, except that I realized I couldn't remember the last time I heard anyone whistling as I traversed the streets of NYC. And I'll be damned if it wasn't suspicious that this guy started whistling when I did. I further noted that he was whistling a similar, if not the same tune to me. In fact, it seemed as if perhaps he was performing an echo or time delay of my own whistle. It was kind of like Joe Satriani vs Coldplay except that I didn't write the original tune I was whistling and there aren't millions of dollars involved and, okay, not really a lot of similarities, except somebody copying someone else and that someone else not knowing but wondering if it was intentional.

The rest of this post was going to be about poop, but I think I've decided to cut it here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Karate Whirled

This past weekend I attended my first ever karate function of any type: blackbelt testing. In this instance I am going to speak in vagaries to protect the innocent (and the guilty), but the festivities were interesting enough that I felt they couldn’t go without comment.

In my limited knowledge of it, karate is about memorizing a series of forms, and your ability to recall and execute them properly is what determines whether you successfully ascend the ranks and achieve the corresponding colored belts. Once you have risen to blackbelt status, you can then advance in degree, each degree now based on your strength along with your ability to execute the moves.

The students at this particular venue were of varying ages and background, from probably nine or ten years old, all the way up to fifty-five. Because a lot of family and friends turn out to watch their “student” test, the Master judged that it should be spectator friendly. This not only included choreographed groups of students performing various forms in unison, but the addition of a ridiculous soundtrack as well. As I had never attended a class at this school, I can’t say whether the music is standard practice, but one look at the Master, sort of a conglomeration of Fabio, He-man, and the Incredible Hulk – complete with ludicrous hairpiece – seemed to confirm that it was.

The choice soundtrack included:
Ozzy Osbourne “Crazy Train”
Drowning Pool “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor”
Disturbed “Down With the Sickness”
Metallica “Enter Sandman”
Survivor “Eye of the Tiger”

When blackbelts and diplomas were handed out:
Star Wars theme, on loop.

While it could be considered admirable and impressive for those more advanced in years to be participating, a couple of these adults downright scared the shit out of me. One woman in particular who broke down and said, “I left ______ for two years, and it was the dumbest decision I ever made.” Another guy, part of a father-son duo, made a long speech documenting all the good the school had done for him and his son. I am all for sentimentality, but a lot of this was so contrived that the cynic in me was having a hard time. Even when people get emotional, it can be hard to be original, and that shined through. Mostly the first lady I mentioned could have used a good shot of thorazine. If I saw her on the street, I would be frightened, and not because she is a blackbelt.

I doubt I really painted an adequate picture of the scene, but I’m cutting coverage there. The last little snippet I want to share was something I observed on my run last Sunday (November 30th). I was running down Commonwealth Ave in the direction of downtown Boston when I happened upon a man running in faded navy/grey Dockers (colors are not my strong point), a pair of large gloves, and that’s it! Now, I frequently under-dress for the weather, especially when running. It was probably about 30°F out there and I was wearing shorts, but I was also moving at a goodish clip, which facilitates maintaining bodily warmth. But here is this guy, who I would estimate as late 50s or 60s, and he’s slogging along in no shirt. The Dockers and gigantic gloves really added to the scene I promise. To his credit, his back was absolutely ripped, and also purple and red in splotches. I am wondering if this guy is a Boston regular; I feel he must be. There’s even a chance I’ve seen him in the past, but it could just be that he looked reminiscent of a couple of crazy old drunk guys I’ve seen out dancing at bars over the years. The one I witnessed in a New York City bar looked oddly similar to a Brattleboro, VT regular. I’m really hoping they’re just all the same guy and he just manages to appear in my life at random moments and locations.

Damn, I'm sleepy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving

I decided that I needed a really original subject heading to talk about my favorite holiday. Now that I've grabbed your attention, I figure I should tell you what I'm thankful for. Actually no, instead I am providing something that perhaps some googlers can be thankful for. I'd noticed a recent surge in traffic at the blog lately and, since I judge that, if anything, my posts are getting shittier rather than better, there had to be some sort of explanation behind things. So I noted that an awful lot of redirects came from internetters looking for pictures of Mary-Kate Olsen drunk



In sort of a more Christmas spirit I suppose then, I've opted to not murder hollywoodgrind with redirect bandwidth traffic (even though it is negligible to their overall bandwidth) and host the photo here myself. And by that I mean for free on google.

In any event, I hope all readers and non-readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving because to me it is the bombinest holiday of them all featuring the five f's: food, family, farts, forties (at least at my Thanksgiving), and...Happy Thanksgiving you sons of bitches...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Morning Emo

As I was walking (and periodically jogging as I am perpetually running late) to the train this morning I was aided, as always these days, by some tunes from my iPod. Sandwiched in between a couple of Daft Punk tracks was none other than the classic Dashboard hit Screaming Infidelities. That song always takes me back to the summer of 2003 when, for whatever reason, I was frequently listening to both that album and this one. Oh yeah, that's right. Why I brought this up in the first place however...no idea.

Of late I've taken to toting my month-pass (drumroll for irony please) in this velvety light blue pouch that normally houses well, the linked image will enlighten. The first day I did so, I am pretty sure the train conductor, a female, recognized the velvet casing as she seemed to give me a mildly disapproving frown. The frown, however, could also have been prompted by my face. So then this morning I get my ticket holster out (needlessly it turned out as tickets were not checked) and to my right I see the exact same light blue velvet case for a train pass. The woman to my right was, I would judge, a roughly 40 year-old Indian woman, and not that all shapes and sizes (and ages) don't use birth control, but it was still a bit of a shocker to me. What I wonder is, did she see that I had the same? If so, did she know what it was? And then, did she know that I knew about her and that I might know that she knew that I knew? Who knows.

Last night my television viewing took a step in the right direction when I ignored Grey's Anatomy. I am now down to Gossip Girl, and I guess Lost when it returns but I think not having shows I tune into regularly is a good thing. Anyway, that's all I've got for now. I'm intending to throw up something of some sort (or perhaps some sort of something) before my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, but if not, have yourself a great one.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Who in the Hell are the Oklahoma City Thunder?

One thing I've been trying to do, as I've mentioned before, is get caught up with sports once again. Though the internet makes it easy to see scores, and video highlights and, heck, even full games, I don't like to spend that long in front of a computer if I can (girlfriend shakes head) because I am in front of one, like many people, all day at work. So, this morning I was checking NBA scores and the headline Pacers beat Thunder despite Durant's 37 really caught my eye. My train of thought was: Thunder, who are they? Kevin Durant, I thought he was the top pick by the Sonics last year? Yes, I was literally that slow in putting it together. I knew that the awful shitheads in charge had decided to pass the Sonics franchise over to Oklahoma City, but somehow it had slipped my mind in the months between its announcement and the start of the season. Man, Frasier went to Sonics games...what the fuck?!?

Anyway, Gossip Girl. For a long time I had avoided watching it because I generally, well, don't watch TV. I'm not sure it's always been on Monday nights at 8pm but, if it has, that also proves an inconvenient viewing time for yours truly. I decided, however, to get ahold of the first 26 episodes (everything prior to the last two weeks) and I have no shame (although, maybe I should?) in saying I watched them all in a two-week period. Now sure, I'd watch them on my train commute, but I'd also be viewing them full-size on my laptop. So really, if that's not no shame, I don't know what is. But, as quickly as I was hooked, I already fear the shows demise.

First of all, Dan and Serena (this will make no sense if you don't watch the show) get together on pretty much the first episode. I think the writers have links to the OC so they should know that while interest can be stirred early, the relationship can't happen that early on if they are planning to keep the show running. But, unlike the OC, GG is based on a series of books, so perhaps this follows the book timeline.

Anyway, I'll spare you the total synopses details and just say that a lot of characters on this show are violently annoying, including Dan and Serena. The most reprehensible, however is Jenny Humphrey. When she decided to leave home (spoiler alert) I was really rooting for her to be murdered while hitchhiking. Sadly that hasn't happened...yet! And if you think that's fucked up, just remember, this is TV and she is not a real person. Also on the deplorable character list is Agnes who is recycled, surprise surprise, from her shitty role as the youngest Cooper on The OC. I will only mention that Serena's new love interest sucks (and is physically unattractive to boot) and is far inferior to Marissa's post-Ryan replacement from the OC, Volchok. Volchok gets style points since Cam Gigandet knows Krav Maga.

The most redeeming characteristic to the show is Chuck Bass, who is undoubtedly everyone's favorite character. He is meant to be sort of sleazy and evil, with a heart beneath it all, and a bit of a damaged background to maybe justify and explain it all away. But the real reason he works, along with Blair Waldorf and Nate Archibald, is that they are the most complete characters on the show. Everyone else is, for the most part, pretty much a puppeted (not a word, but you know what I mean) caricature lacking realism. Yeah, I know it's a TV show, but I want some glimpses of humanity. That's why I struggle to keep up with Grey's Anatomy these days...everyone on the show seems to be the same character.

But shit, that is a lot of talk about Gossip Girl, and my tongue (keyboard) has been pretty loose with the profanity these past few posts; I've got to clean that up.

In closing, I long ago was a fairly religious reader and fan of perhaps the original internet blogger Maddox. He's been writing less frequently over the years, and his grumpiness can only be alluring for so long (to me). I did, however, come across this recent gem on puns, courtesy of the gf. The reason it kicks so much ass? I certainly fall under the umbrella of targeted hatred in that post.

Rock over London, rock on Chicago...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Anger is a Gift

Shout out to my boys Rage Against the Machine. Lately I have been one testy son of a bitch on my daily commute. I don't know precisely why, maybe it is the change of season, but good lord, for a generally mild-mannered Bruce Banner, NJ Transit and NYC walking manage to make me mighty testy.

I have taken to periodically leering at people who walk obliviously with their faces glued to their iPods, phones, and PDA devices. I'm not sure how expertly these people might walk anyway, but trust me, they certainly can't manage to walk while operating any of these devices. The thing is, like other walking-related issues I've mentioned in the past, I'm sure if I managed to bump into them they would consider it entirely my fault. Amen to that.

As usual though, it only takes little things to distract me from my silly anger. This evening approaching the tracks for a departing train was a perfect example. People tend to push and shove much more than seems necessary and the other morning I actually glared at a lady that literally kept slamming into me. This was on a packed track in Penn Station when no one was moving much, so the slamming motion seemed unnecessary. She gave me a good three feet or more halo after I evil-eyed her. So tonight I feel a mass slam into me, but at an awfully low height. I turned around, prepped to glare or perhaps even mention that the perpetrator should watch themselves, only to see an Indian boy, likely aged about six, who had barreled into me in the way that children will in public or private places. This brought a smile to my face, and I happily let the family walk ahead of me. After all, we're all riding the same train.

Anyway, next up I need to talk some Gossip Girl and mention how people always think I work at stores, so now I just strike preemptively and help them out anyway. Shit, I need to make like Stella, and get my groove back...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Running (Your Mouth)

So for Halloween, my lack of creativity reared its head as I opted for my fallback costume of "runner." This was simple enough as I was/am a runner, and have a college singlet to accompany some awfully short shorts. I've often wondered, perhaps even in this very blog, what it is about runners that bothers people so much. I receive a LOT of feedback while running, and while some is positive and uplifting, a lot is rooted in seeming intense dislike that I've decided I will chalk up to jealousy. Honestly though, I have no idea. I should probably go around and ask people what it is that bothers them about a guy out in a pair of shorts and no shirt.

On this evening however, I was in fact shirted. Halloween spawns a lot of revealing costumes. For females, the stock costume is "slutty _______." Males have been known to dress as females or wear minimal quantities of clothing and, in a place like New York City, you surely will see some unusual sights (not just limited to Halloween). Point being, my outfit was far from the most ridiculous to be seen. And yet, as I sauntered through Chinatown with a friend in search of some dry ice, I found myself confronted by seemingly the only other non-Asian inhabitant of that section of the city. This guy got right up to my face, looked me in the eye and said, "I know what you are for Halloween, you're a fag." I assume he was expecting a bit of a rise out of me, but being called a fag is old hat for me at this point. I simply smiled and made my way into the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Honestly though, when I'm running, I expect it (even if I don't understand it), but just walking around, and on Halloween no less? Guess we haven't come all that far.

Halloween turned out dope, as I was lucky enough to attend a gathering hosted by Jared of Just Jared fame. Jared=nice, generous, and pretty regular guy. A big highlight for me was meeting the blogger behind I'm Not Obsessed. Vera and her husband are good people and were kind enough to indulge me and my many tales of vomit and overconsumption.

Anyway, that seems like a good place to cut it. I feel at some point I should address that lately I've been having some bowel issues on my runs (having the runs, on my runs), but I'll save that for a whole separate entry, or maybe just confine it to my running log.

Gooooooooooooooooo Obama...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowmean

It seems I fell off the map there for a while on the whole blogging thing so, welcome back me. I've had plenty of retarded thoughts as usual just not quite the energy and/or time to put them down I guess. Anyway, I figured on this sacred holiday I would have to take the opportunity and put at least a little something together.

Corny bastard that I am, all day I have been thinking they should have a separate (or concurrent) holiday called "Hallowmean" on which people will deliver formulaic put-downs to those around them that they do or do not like, via sarcasm and "pretend" sarcasm. Example jokes include, "Hey, is that your costume? What are you supposed to be an ocular feces detector." Admittedly that one sucks, but after eating four donuts and some other halloween candy at the office, not to mention my cart food lunch, I am feeling a little warm in the face and slow in the mind. Also factor in that I woke up at 5:40am did some sit ups and push ups, went for a five mile run and watched the most recent episode of Gossip Girl on the train commute. And since this had my brain reaching for any recent information, the prevalence of the denunciator "shiteyes" in the Hunter S. Thompson book I'm reading was the first thing that popped into my gourd. But you get the idea. Unfortunately, this idea sucks. How about instead "Hallowmean" defines the average Halloween. Eh, eh? Yep, I'm extra fucking retarded today.

Another thing bothering me a lot recently is something I probably already wrote about in here. But since I can't be sure (I could be, by looking, but that would be logical), I'll talk about it anyway, and pose it in classic Seinfeld style. So really, what's the deal with doctors? I have to give them 24 hours or more of notice to cancel or I get charged, but they can cancel on me whenever they want? Shouldn't they be paying me? Or give me a voucher for a free visit or something? And what's the deal with public transportation? If it comes early I'm screwed. If I come early, I just have to wait. Same goes for if it's late. If I miss the train, the train doesn't miss me...There seemed like more to complain about when I was discussing this on not the internet.

Anyway, that's more than enough. I'm gonna try to get my ass back to blogging a bit more regularly. Oh, and Happy Halloween mmmmmmmuuthhhhaaaaafuuuuccckkkkkkkaaaaaaasssss.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blink 182 - A Semi-Live Blog

For whatever reason my wireless connection has gone bunk on my home laptop, so the idea of the laptop is defeated in that now I must plug it in. That, and it is old enough that the battery life is all of about half an hour.

Anyway, the blink title is merely in reference to Senator McCain. If you're watching this debate, I wonder if you are noticing how much this man blinks! I think I read somewhere that increased blinking is a sign of LYING. I might have just made that up, but either way, McCain is looking shady. I also wish he would stop talking about Joe the plumber from Ohio. At this point I guess he has, but damn, he was really on that for a few minutes there.

Are you kidding me? If Joe the plumber is going to make more than $250,000 a year, I'm not that sad that he has to pay some more taxes. Sure he might work harder in some senses of the word than others earning the same amount or exponentially more, but he's still bringing home a big chunk of change and, should I ever earn anything near that amount, I won't mind forking over the additional tax.

I can't continue to watch this I don't think. I actually didn't really have anything against McCain until the last couple of years, if not less. And, as I mentioned in a recent post, that new article in Rolling Stone is doing absolutely nothing to win him over for me.

If McCain is that worried about people "realizing the American dream" and "owning their own home," maybe he could offer them one of his seven? I think it was seven...I guess neither of us knows. I guess I can just sum it up as FUCK YOU MCCAIN, YOU ARE A PIECE OF SHIT! Now go out and prove to me that you aren't. I actually don't mind being proven wrong.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

RIP iPod Shadow Man

On my way to work this morning, I was dismayed to see that one of my old standbys, iPod Shadow Man, had met his demise. I couldn't find the exact billboard with a quick google, but it kind of had this guy's hair, with a pose more like this lady, although not quite. Still, if you walked south past 30th St and 7th Ave anytime in the last well, while, you'd have caught a glimpse. He was replaced by the vastly inferior nanocrapmatic ad. To be honest though, I wouldn't have even been satisfied if he was replaced with this...that's how much I liked that iPod shadow. He was a source of comfort in what can sometimes be a judgmental city.

In other iPod related news, here is a look at the second item I might add to my home after a waffle iron.



No more will I have to crank my stereo and leave the bathroom door open to shower to tunes. Of course, I could always just have a radio in the bathroom, but I promise it just wouldn't be the same. Also, when bathroom trips are not long enough to require reading, or involve such hand-intensive activities such as the brushing of teeth (rendering page-turning difficult), music would be great. It's not so much that I always need music to fill voids. I am not afraid of silence (although I admit, sometimes it is creepy), I, like many others I am sure, just really like the idea of having a soundtrack to my life.

Also, did I mention here that I burned my left oblique type area with a pan after removing chocolate-chip cookies from the oven? That reminds me, I am long overdue to continue my very short-lived "recipe of the month" tradition. Maybe before Halloween. In the meantime, something something something, something something...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Commuter Tales

Look, I swear that the most interesting thing going on in my life is NOT my work commute, but I intentionally try to keep this blog from being too personal, which certainly precludes discussing things like work itself and, to some extent, limits my discussion of certain endeavors to vaguish descriptions. Another limiting factor is that I hate repeating stories so even if people I have told them to are not reading this blog, well, it still feels as if I'm repeating myself. But before some griping (it's been a while since I've used that lovely word), I'm going to throw out a link to Rolling Stone's cover story on John McCain. It's a long article, but worth the read in my opinion. I feel as if I don't even know what truth ever is with a lot of people, especially politicians, and while there may be bias in this article — it is OpEd after all — I have a feeling it's an awful lot closer to the truth than "McCain the hero" and "McCain the straight shooter" and all the other positive post-its tacked onto the man. The thing about post-its, after all, is that the sticky wears off.

So, originally I planned for this to be about commuting, but I'm losing steam on that front. I have a feeling this is going to quickly devolve into a Seinfeld-esque "what's the deal with ______." One thing you've got is the general breakdown of people you see on the train and their weak-ass attempts to have no one sit next to them. The first line of defense is always to place their bag on the empty seat. This is basic, and is generally accompanied by any number of slightly more advanced tactics which include the following:

1. listening to an iPod. Somehow, when the ears are occupied, the listener is also unable to see people that wish to sit down.
2. the multitasker. Not only will a bag be on the seat, but a laptop will often be on the lap and, for good measure, a couple of documents, and maybe even a Blackberry will be out, to make it appear as if they would be too busy to move their things.
3. the fake napper. Sure, I can be a bit tired when I step on the train in the morning and, more frequently, in the evening, but if I was able to make it to the train, chances are I can stay awake an additional three to five minutes. This tactic is also employed by passengers attempting to avoid paying their fare. In addition, this can sometimes be executed in conjunction with an iPod (or other media device) as an extra layer of defense.
4. the blank and/or "through you" stare. These individuals are seemingly so in their own world they can't conceive of other passengers being on the train, let alone sitting next to them. Again, this is often used in conjunction with another of the defense methods, with the stare often situated out the window.

As I said, this is a fairly basic synopsis and characterization of these types. To counteract them, I generally try to sit next to an individual who seems most opposed to my sitting next to them. This is enhanced further when I have walked quickly to the train, causing a rise in temperature in my body, the response action of which is to remove my outer layer and reveal, on most days, a wife-beater undergarment. Just this past Saturday, I found my train back to Jersey delayed and, as a result, even more people than usual had crowded around to be seated on the train.

I sat down next to a young Indian girl probably around my age (does it matter than she is Indian, not really, but by my adding that descriptor I may or may not be telling you something about me) who happened to be on a cell phone. I noticed her look over at me a few times and something was telling me that it wasn't because she thought I was incredibly handsome. The whole time she was either in conversation or dialing up someone with whom to be in conversation. Soon she not only started looking over at me, she was looking all around, as if she was feeling a form of clostraphobia, that she was trapped and needed to get out. Rather than making me nervous of course, it really just pissed me off and I was, as always, on the verge of telling her, "What the fuck are you looking for? And why don't you get off your phone and shut the fuck up?" As always I say because, when you call out people on their social improprieties, you generally commit one yourself. As I relayed this story the other day, I noted I am considering post-it notes that I leave as casual reminders to these people for the wrongs I feel they have committed (marking my second post-it reference this entry).

In unrelated news, I watched episodes two through four of that new HBO vampire series Tru Blood. Given shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the success of that new Twilight series of books, not to mention the many incarnations of Dracula, one could conclude that a lot of people find vampires pretty interesting. I fall into this category, which includes my love of the Castlevania series of games. Point being, I think Tru Blood is great. Sure, Anna Paquin's accent and acting are awful, and there are many other unintentionally funny bits to the show, but between the laughs, intended and otherwise, and the the fact that it deals with vampires — sexy vampires no less — makes it a fun watch. Don't bring the kids though.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bills Bills Bills

No, I'm not talking about Destiny's Child, I'm talking about Marshawn Lynch and company. As I type, the Bills are on their way to starting the season 4-0, and if you've been following the Bills at all, that hasn't happened in a while. It's tough following the Bills, and not just because they so frequently lose heartbreaker games, they just don't get a lot of airtime when you live in the New York [City] metro area. So I suppose I can be thankful for the internet providing me viewing access rather than sitting watching a box score update that gives me no real idea about the flow of the game.

I'm actually not that huge of a football fan, at least when you compare me to a lot of my friends. I used to be a sports fanatic, embracing the lazy Sunday especially, but I have to admit my general sports knowledge has fallen off precipitously, though I am doing my best to get back into it. In unrelated news, this is one of the more hilarious articles/potential criminal charges I've seen.

I can't recall whether I actually managed to post about it, but advertisers and TV execs are in my head, musically at least. It's as if they have access to my playlists. The most recent surprise spotting, a horrendous cover of Morrissey's Everyday is Like Sunday in an NFL commercial. It's not as if I think I am the only person listening to songs like this, I just find the timing to be interesting. This would be better corroborated with additional musicological evidence, but the other references I had were old and if I managed to write them down, I have no idea where they would be. Actually, bam, just confronted by another example, The Silversun Pickups in a Chevy commercial. Appears I'm just a bit too mainstream.

This post sucks. Happy 5769 just a bit early to all the Jews. Borai P'ree Ha-Gofen!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fringe and Product Reviews

Freshly returned from a trip to the bay area out in California, my body is still a little out of whack. So it was that when I got home from work tonight I really had the desire to just watch some boobtube. Unfortunately I also decided to run, so it got pretty late and though I caught the end of House, I mostly had to settle for Fringe, aka shitty X-Files. The acting was the opposite of top-notch and all it left me thinking was that I wish I wasn't so lazy and instead just popped in an early X-Files DVD.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to sample the [relatively] new Three Musketeers with mint bar. Though I've really lost my taste for candy bars over the years, I still feel the need to sample new entrants to market. I have to say, that I was met with disappointment here as it basically amounts to a poor man's Peppermint Pattie. That said, I don't know what I could really have been expecting, except maybe the delicious texture of Musketeers' nougat with a hint of mint. But alas, I am not head of candy bar design.

In successful and delicious candy news I opted for some gummy bears on my flight home. Now I am often excited by the prospect of gummy bears, but frequently disappointed with the execution as texture is nearly as important as taste in such matters. Well "Snak Club" brand got it done. I may even try to order them up wholesale, where I believe there are two for a dollar as compared to the airport terminal $3.99. But as good or better than the gummy bears themselves was a note, under the ingredients that states "Product of U.S.A. or Mexico or Brazil or Czech Republic or China or Indonesia." Awesome.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pieces of Me

I have been an extra poppy mood of late, so when Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me" came on my iPod on my run this morning, I was pretty stoked. Unfortunately there is a fine line between catchy pop and shitty pop, and there is of course shitty catchy pop and catchy shitty pop, any maybe none of these are really any different but, alas, I digress.

With Ashlee bumping through my headphones, it got me thinking about "accidentally pregnant" celebrities. I can't drag up too many names right now, but Ashlee and Jamie-Lynn Spears come to mind, and I'm only mildly ashamed that I know that off the top of my head. Anyway, the pill. Do celebrities not take birth control? Are they worried it will make them fat? Is it 99% effective for regular citizens, but less so for celebrities? None of these are good questions, but I haven't got time for good questions, I've got a train and a plane to catch. California, here we come...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Century Mark

Without realizing it until now I've hit my hundredth post here. Since it snuck up on me, I've got nothing more enterprising than that offering, which I more than likely posted in the past. I think you might find it quite hypnotic-notic-notic-notic...

Before some quick thoughts on our nation's capitol, I've got to shout-out Lloy Ball, who I somehow failed to mention in my last post, which is rather astonishing as he was in fact the impetus for my discussion of favorite Olympians. During one of the matches I swear the color commentator made reference to Ball being a used car salesman before joining the national team, which just makes him that much more endearing in my estimation. I can't find any corroborating evidence to back this up, but he does have a tattoo that says "anger is a gift." Whether it is a homage to one of my all-time favorite bands or not, I'm not sure, but I'll just go ahead and say it is.


Since I couldn't find any photo I felt truly captured Ball's grittiness, I opted for this one because a) it looks like David Lee has a volleyball for a head and, more importantly b) Lloy's jersey says "1 Ball."

So I spent the extended weekend in the District of Columbia for what I will call my first "real" visit. I'd gone once on a high school field trip, and another time about six years ago, but on neither occasion did I stay overnight, nor did I even take the metro. I'm not sure if it (the metro) has this effect on other new visitors to the city, but I certainly felt like I had stumbled into the future, or at least an 80s movie set representation of the future (I'm thinking Total Recall). I'm a metro amateur however, with only New York and Boston as reference, but I'll go with DC completely dominating them.

It's also always interesting, for me at least, to see the style of the people in a city. DC seemed to have a healthy dose of pink polo and khaki shorts, and that was not only out in Georgetown. I also managed to have pleasant interactions with all of the locals I encountered, perhaps the most pleasant of which was with a homeless man in the metro. Still, I admit to being slightly scared in certain neighborhoods when houses looked a little more rundown and people were staring at me a bit, but I expected it after all the stories I have heard, and I didn't manage to make it to the more depressing neighborhoods.

Perhaps the most hilarious and simultaneously borderline frightening interaction I witnessed was a man stopping dead in his tracks on the sidewalk to heavily ogle a woman, literally dropping his jaw - though not enough to let his cigarette drop - and saying "mmm, mmm, goddamn!" In the moment I didn't think much of it, as I'm sure the average DC-er might not either, but looking back I really don't know how many times I've witnessed anything quite like it.

Quickly then, as I'm a bit of an ice cream fanatic, I decided to drop in at a Maggie Moo's. I'd never been in one, or heard of one for that matter I don't think, but I can't be entirely sure. Immediately upon entering I thought, "It's Coldstone with a different color scheme." After eating it, my conclusion changes little. Like Coldstone I found the ice cream overly sweet and heinously over-priced but so it goes. The saddest bit might be that I fully expect I will eat at one or both establishments in the future. So much for standing ground.

Anyway, that's my brief and boring summation of the nation's c[r]apitol. Shout out to "Foggy Bottom" as a nominee for most amusing neighborhood name.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

MFO

Alright, I can't deny that all I've been doing of late is viewing the Olympics. I have been a bit pissed that NBC does not show any of the track events live since, well, I'm a runner dork and that interests me just a bit more than other Olympic sports. Still, hasn't stopped me from seeing NBC's six Olympic commercials approximately 438,000 times each. Sadly that isn't much in the way of hyperbole.

Quickly then, my favorite couple of idiotic commercials, which I have already mentioned, perhaps ad nauseum, to actual humans. The first is an ad for the Buick Enclave, an SUV. It begins with some stupid white guy saying "A lot of people think the words SUV and fuel economy don't go together." He's right, I don't associate them, so this is where I wait to be proven wrong. But I'm denied this when I'm told that Buick Enclave has better fuel economy than the Acura MDX because, yes, that's right, the Acura MDX is also an SUV. Congratulations on your totally worthless advertising campaign. If people will vote for Bush twice though, I doubt they'll notice this clever effort from Buick.

Oddly enough, I'm blanking on my other most-hated Olympic ad, so as filler I'll say those Chevy "gas pumps hate us" ads suck some rather significantly-sized ass.



Anyway, let's be joyous and move on to my "Most Favorite Olympian," or MFO. It very well could be the girl pictured above, Shelly-Ann Fraser. She's just so damn jolly, and she wears braces, which makes it better. I also dig Lolo Jones, and was very sad to see her nick the second-to-last hurdle as she was well on her way to gold. You never know I guess, but again, she seems like a nice person. My bias is obvious here on the track front, as I also dig Walter Dix and how do you not like a guy like Shawn Crawford, who races giraffes and zebras?

With great love of track athletes, there are inevitably those I don't love. The big talk of the games for anyone but me is probably Usain Bolt. Maybe it's the cockiness, maybe it's just that it makes the seemingly impossible look so easy (sometimes I think they call this jealousy), but I just was not rooting for this guy. The 100m record was amazing and of little consequence in my mind, but the 200m...I remember watching that from the Atlanta Olympics and I really never thought that record would be broken while I lived. Hell, a lot of people thought that, including Ato Boldon, whose trackside commentary is one of the few things I enjoy in the NBC coverage. Records are made to be broken, but somehow I just wanted Johnson's to live on a while longer.

Still, congratulations Bolt, you are an absolute freak of nature. In the meantime I'll hope for a sick men's 400m final tonight and for my man Bernard Lagat to get to wag his tongue in the 5k after not advancing to perhaps beat stupid Rashid Ramshit in the 1500m like at last year's world championships. Maybe if I knew why he really moved to Bahrain and was able to drop his 1500m pr from 3:39.xx to 3:30.xx in one year and didn't speculate it was drugs and money I wouldn't dislike him so much. Until then, he can continue to not give a shit that people like me think he is a disgraceful cheater doped to the gills.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Five Rings for Patriotism


If there's ever a time to get me feeling particularly patriotic, it's the Olympics. I enjoy the Olympics so much that I start referring to teams and athletes from our country as "we." This is fairly common in sport, but I try to avoid it because, let's face it, I'm not part of the team. However, a case must always be made for the fans and their impact. Would athletics exist without fans? Sure, but not on nearly the level.

Anyway, that requires a little more discussion that I'm not in the mood for, so why not go right to Michael Phelps. Dude is an absolute beast. Again, this is obvious but, for whatever reason I never was all too into Michael Phelps. Now I've got a 106° full-fledged Phelps fever. And I'll further admit that the NBC humanizing introspective on his eating gargantuan quantities (as well as a shot of a box of Honey Smacks...which are actually inferior to Pathmark Brand frosted puffed wheat, but no matter...) only made me like him more.

So, like many of the rest of you I hope, I have been tuning into every Olympic event possible. Are there a few sports I don't see as belonging in the Olympics? Most certainly, but that's for corrupt committees to decide, not me. I will say this as well - for as much fun as it is to watch scored events, you are just opening up one ugly ass can of worms. Maybe if I understood the scoring systems a little more it would help, but it never sits quite right with me.

And I can't mention scored events without citing gymnastics and, more importantly, crazy-as-batshit Bela Karolyi. This guy is totally off his gourd, along with his wife Martha, and they are the only thing that detracts slightly from my rooting for the home team in gymnastics. Thank goodness they have lovable fourth chipmunk Shawn Johnson. If she should decide she wants some mystery-solving adventures after gymnastics, she can always join Chip 'N Dale. But seriously, Bela and Martha seem to run a bit of a frightening cult, even if it might not be as worrisome as the Chinese athletic system practice of removing prospective athletes from their families almost entirely to live in training facilities. But hey, again, that's for the big boys in places like the government to decide. You know, people like President Bush...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Always Wrap Your Turd Nuggets in a Two-Dollar Bill

Last week—Thursday morning I believe—I took the mother of all dumps. Not sure this was the largest bowel movement of my life, but it only took one look to tell me this was going to need a plunger unless I wanted to risk dangerous overflow. The term "mother of dumps" makes a lot of sense as it would then be a large dump that would be capable of giving birth to smaller dumps. Much like a 135lb woman might give birth to an 8lb baby, calling an average dump one pound and following this model, the "mother of all dumps" would correlate to something like 16lbs. I think my numbers are quite off here (or I hope so). Anyway, since I love word play, it got me thinking about "the father of all dumps." I think this can be nicely summed up as your bowel-cleansing-inducing food of choice. For many people this is Taco Bell, but a standard cheeseburger does the trick for me if I haven't had red meat in a while.

Moving on but not really past the fecal then, Saturday I found myself at The Levee: home of the two-dollar bill wrapped turd. I've given it that lovely subheading because, while I was tossing some darts, my companions were discovering just that. I don't know who has the presence, or dementia rather, of mind to place a piece of poop inside a two-dollar bill and lay it on a bar surface, but the answer is at least partially "someone who was in The Levee Saturday night." The culprit could certainly benefit from this product from the Brown Corporation. And aside from some slut in heels stomping on my flip-flop clad foot (my fault for wearing flip flops to a club, but I think this was going to hurt even with a shoe on and I'm mostly just pissed because the bitch went on her merry way like it didn't happen) it was a good night. Hell, I never expected to see a dollar slice of pizza again in New York City, but there it was, and not even that bad.

As usual, my the train back to Jersey was lots of fun. Rarely do I go an entire round trip without witnessing several incidences of out and out jerkery. On this occasion it was an elderly and presumptuous slag that decided it was the duty of others around her to help her off the train. Shortly before her stop (which happened to be the same as mine) she pronounced to two girls seated ahead of me that one of them could help her off the train. Yes, not asked, stated...they should be so lucky...When it came time for our stop, I stood there clad in my moderately-to-highly douchey get-up of tight jeans, white v-neck, sunglasses and iPod. Still, this did little to deter said slag from declaring "he can help me off the train." He was me in this instance, and I had little choice as her greasy claws (they weren't greasy, but it makes for a better effect) were upon me as she made this declaration. She thanked me after I helped her off and I just walked away shaking my head and laughing. The thing is, I would gladly have helped this lady had she simply asked, but I never like presumptuous self-important fuckers.

I've got a potty mouth, but what I don't have is the patience to proofread this post. Catch you on the flipside.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Jeb's Summer 2k8 Playlist

A little while ago I'd gotten a couple of emails basically calling me out on my own musical tastes (on the coattails of posting something about musical elitism). I think I said it then, and I'll say it again, they are pretty varied. What I decided to do, then, was comprise a list of 30 songs of Summer, one for each day of August (retroactive to yesterday). Picking only thirty was tough, I admit, and there are probably some glaring omissions (e.g. Sublime) but, in the meantime, here are some jams, most of them Summer-esque.


1. "Escape" - Enrique Iglesias. This song makes me happy every time it comes on my playlist.

2. "Naive" - The Kooks. Love the British enunciation.

3. "Lean on Sheena" - The Bouncing Souls. "Here we are after dark, knocking back the Maker's Mark..." Could be the Jersey in me, but I love the Bouncing Souls.

4. "Eventually Anyway" - Edna's Goldfish. From my ska-loving days. Still good.

5. "Paper Heart" - The All-American Rejects. This track can be my dirty little secret.

6. "Just a Little Respect" - Erasure. Obviously.

7. "Bizarre Love Triangle" - New Order. Original, or extended dance remix. All-timer.

8. "My Egyptian Grammar" - The Fiery Furnaces. A friend of mine recommended this band to me a while back. Upon first listen I gave it the seal of disapproval, but somehow this track was on my iPod and when it came on I had no desire to turn it off. In fact, I just kept wanting to hear it.

9. "This is Such a Pity" - Weezer. Newish Weezer (from "Make Believe) and for some reason I love this jam.

10. "Apart" - Elkland. I don't think I really like any other Elkland songs, but they've had me with this one.

11. "Trash" - The Whip. Saw these guys at a free concert in McCarren park a couple of weeks ago. I immediately needed this song.

12. "Walcott" - Vampire Weekend. These guys seem not to like Cape Cod, but I dig this song.

13. "Macy Day Parade" - Green Day. Not new and not classic, but I've been feelin' it.

14. "Kids" - MGMT. I admit it, this song still gets me pumped.

15. "The Gambler" - Kenny Rogers. Probably the only Kenny Rogers' song I can name. Great stuff.

16. "Semi-Charmed Life" - Third Eye Blind. Du-du-du-du-du-du-dude I have been listening to this song since probably eighth grade or so. When it gets sunny out, I like to hear this.

17. "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing" - Jack Johnson. Every summer needs at least one Jack Johnson song. This summer this is that song.

18. "Under Pressure" - David Bowie & Queen. This song just rules.

19. "Common People" - Pulp. At least one Pulp song needed to be on this playlist and this seemed the right fit.

20. "Goodbye Horses" - Q Lazarus. Okay, maybe this doesn't belong on a summer playlist, but it's summer and I've been listening to this and this is my playlist, so there it is.

21. "Always On My Mind" - Pet Shop Boys. Again, can't have a playlist without Pet Shop Boys. This narrowly edged out "Flamboyant."

22. "Somewhere Only We Know" - Keane.

23. "Ayo For Yayo" - Andre Nikitina. I just like to hear this song any time of year, so why not summer.

24. "Back in The Day" - Ahmad. Summer eventually draws to a close and summer always makes me think of summers past, or what it was like, "back in the day."

25. "The Seed" - The Roots. Just a good song.

26. "Mardy Bum" - The Arctic Monkeys.

27. "Change Your Mind" - The Killers.

28. "Yours to Keep" - Teddybears. Yes.

29. "Hawaiian Superman" - Israel Kamakawiwaole. The deceased artist everyone knows for his "Somewhere Over the Rainbow Medley." RIP.

30. "African Queen" - 2face Idibia. I don't understand how you wouldn't love this song.

If I have time tomorrow or the next day, I'll try to youtube link for song samples. As they say on the posterboard at my old middle school: "Have a Safe and Happy Summer."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back to the Lab Again

Yesterday after returning from a run I had taken off my shoes to stretch in the grass behind my house. This is pretty standard practice for me, and as it was rather steamy out yesterday, I noted some bees traipsing through the grass. I don't have much to back up this observation, but any time I seem to see bees out in the grass, it is also hot as balls. So, shortly after taking note of how much it would suck to be stung by a bee and moving out of the way of one that seemed particularly smitten with me, I found myself in a bit of a distracted daze until I felt a shitty little pinching in my left arch. As luck would have it, there was a bee, still attached no less, and I had to pluck the little bastard off. Luckily I'm not allergic, so some ice did the trick pretty well, but still, fuck you bee.

Still, I would take a couple more bee stings in exchange for the behemoth blisters I managed to get right behind both big toes, between the end of the toe and the beginning of the sesamoids. The bitch of it is, that this is right where the toe bends, so once you have improperly treated your blisters, they don't exactly feel peachy. I think blister etiquette says something along the lines of wait it out or, if you do drain it, to leave the skin intact. For me, my MO has always been to cut the whole damn thing off with a pair of nail clippers maybe slap on a bandaid, and hope for the best. This has actually worked surprisingly well in the past, but these bastards want none of it. Note my use of bastard once again.

Anyway, in non foot-related news I also baked one of the most attractive and delicious blueberry pies this afternoon. I actually took a picture with my camera because I am that much of a loser, but not so much of a loser that I bothered to upload it and post it here.

Seeing as I am on an accidental "b" theme here, I feel I must mention my most recent Sunday morning. After a long evening of booze and food (read also: wedding) I was feeling decidedly money. The food and booze had seemingly offset one another perfectly, leaving me in that wonderful state of sociable, standable (since this isn't a word: capable of standing), and able to remember the nights events. So it is that I blame a spot of eggplant for my Sunday morning woes. Awake by six AM and feeling poorly in the belly region, I lay there, sleeping intermittently, until eight or so. At that point I knew a number two was coming, and perhaps a bit of a boot as well. Sitting there, essentially having completed my deuce session, I knew I was about to hurl but had not the time to flush the toilet so, seeing as it was a hotel room, yacked in the sink. I blame the eggplant I say because that is pretty much all I saw in the sink. I can't describe the fun as I flushed the toilet, commenced booting anew and then transferred chunks from sink to john. Another sure sign of foul vegetables afoot was that I felt absolutely like a million dollars after the yack. Hell I popped out the door to run five or so miles right after.

Catch you on the flipside...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Redundant

Today at work I was made redundant, as they say in Britain, so I figured I'd post a little send-off from this IP just once more.

And if you haven't seen the The Dark Knight yet, I suggest you get out there and do that.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Start Your Day Off Right

Whenever I listen to a new comedian that I dig, rather than simply having their jokes in my head, I also start to craft my own jokes that rip on their style. A similar thing takes place when I read a book that I like, and I find myself somewhat adopting the author's writing style. I'm not a parasite or anything though, I swear, instead I liken it to Rogue's super power, just less cool and less well executed.

In the last week, my comedian of choice, courtesy of a coworker, has been Demetri Martin. Just prior to this I was on a huge Gaffigan kick (see past posting that I am too lazy to link to), and before that it was all about Sir Digby Chicken Caesar (posted same vid before, but what the Hell...). I'm still loving those, I just spend more time listening to Demetri these days. So, this morning while I stretched after my run, I composed a couple of Demetri-esque jokes I thought I would share. In fact, I'm still thinking I'll share them, as I'm putting them down here right now.

The other day at work a guy asked me how I was feeling. I told him, "Usually with my hands." When he looked at me funny I said, "Well it has to do with nerve endings and synapses..."

The last week at work I signed myself up as a kitchen monitor. So someone asks me "How's the kitchen monitoring going?" I told him, "Well, see for yourself, it's still there."


After writing these down on a piece of notebook paper while I was taking a dump this morning I realized, "Hey, maybe I'm not thinking like these comedians, maybe they think like me." But actually what I mean is that I think I end up liking comedians that tell jokes I would tell only I wouldn't tell them because they are better comedians than me, but if I were a better comedian, those are the kind of jokes I would tell. When I started typing that, it seemed like a revelation (actually more of an epiphany), but really I just said that I have comedic tastes, just like everyone else. Still, no way I am deleting that paragraph.

Anyway, in addition to my low-grade Demetri copycat efforts, I feel compelled to share this video clip as well because it will make you feel retarded. At that point, if you're as hooked on his humor (and in awe of his brainpower) as I am of late, go ahead and check out his website.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Epicenter of Hip

This past weekend landed me in Williamsburg aka hipster central. As a graduate of Wesleyan University, I was already pretty familiar with the hipster but, whereas in the past such an individual might easily inspire rage in me, the new, softer, version 1.8.7 (not quite at 2.0 yet folks, sorry web entrepreneurs) I was straight up McDonald's.

One of the weekend's events, was an "international" kickball all-star game. I don't know how international it was, but there was definitely at least a team from Toronto. That's the thing, while some hipsters are stealthily tremendous athletes, these Torontons were anything but. Granted it's kickball and there can be speculation about precisely how athletic one needs to be to compete but, again, this was supposed to be all-star weekend. Fittingly the Williamsburg crew stomped their Canadian opponents.

Another thing that stood out in my venturing to Williamsburg was the free concert(s) at McCarren Park. Of course, the free concert isn't just a McCarren Park thing, but it was a very cool space. For instance, a couple of weeks prior I was at a free concert in Prospect Park. McCarren gets the nod for acts I was more interested in and beginning early in the day. Prospect gets the nod for greater ease of smuggling in booze.

The last, and perhaps greatest thing I noted, was the block party being held outside my buddy's apartment. It was just a bunch of hispanic family enjoying tasty looking food, blasting music, and having their kids run through the loosened fire hydrant. If you believe in reincarnation, then I think that I was hispanic in a prior life because I love the idea of having a huge family that hangs out together and on a hot-ass summer day enjoys the things that make you happy: family, food, and tunes.

And on that happy note, tomorrow maybe I can bitch about my favorite thing(s): the train and the generally thoughtless/selfish/jerkface nature I observe in so many of my fellow humans. Happy hump day (SFW)...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Still Love Safin

This Sunday was the epic Wimbledon final between Roger Federer, the Swiss superstar I dislike for no reason, and Rafael Nadal, the youthful genetic beast. It was a pretty tremendous match and I admit I was awfully nervous that last set-plus, wondering if Federer was going to pull it out. R-Fed is amazing, no doubt, and I am going to try to stop hating him, but it's going to be tough. I think it's not just the dominance, but the cool dominance. I just want a little more emotion is all I think. After his victory, Nadal crawled into the stands. Chances Federer does that? I'll go with a number rapidly approaching zero.

I am a Nadal fan, no doubt, but he will be no higher than second fiddle on my list of favorite players as long as Marat Safin stays on the courts. And why? Again, no good reason. Like so many other things in life, I just go with the vibe of the thing, and I love the vibe Safin gives off. He talks about quitting, he drops out of the Top 100, he beats the world's number three ranked player (and only other winner of a Grand Slam final this calendar year), Novak Djokovic aka Dontchawanna Chokdabitch. To be fair to Federer, I don't like Djokovic either, and I vastly prefer Federer. Heck, maybe it was just a couple of minor dents in his armor for me to start liking him.

No matter, it was a great weekend of sport, even if I had to watch Safin go down on a Friday and Alan Webb fail to qualify for the Olympics. I still love you Alan, and I have no doubt you'll pull your shit together and prove all the haters wrong. There will always be haters (see also my feelings towards Federer and, moreso, Djokovic) but I hope Alan knows he's still got bigtime fans. Dude's an absolute beast.

I'm also still riding the high of Spain and my man Fernando Torres winning Eurocup. Considering my native England didn't qualify, Spain was my desired champion, although for the sake of the Dutch, I was hoping they'd put it together a bit more.

We're also at exactly the one month mark to the Beijing Olympics. 8/8/08...some marketer probably rode that one to retirement. I have to say I am pretty stoked as there almost isn't a sport I don't enjoy watching during the Summer Olympics, and with modern technology (which I often bitch about), I could spend the couple of months after the Olympics watching shit I missed. And you've gotta love the Asian touch on the Olympic mascots (which are historically awful). So let's rejoice in the beauty of athletic competition and pray everyone's not on drugs.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

iPod Nation

Starting this past Tuesday, and so far straight through today I have joined the iPod Nation. I love music, but for whatever reason I avoided the iPod until I was gifted one this past April. Leading up to this I'd been singing fairly frequently on my walk to work (sort of an advanced mumble-hum really) and I'd been getting some strange looks. So far similar instances while donning my iPod? Nobody bats an eye...

On my walk Monday I noticed an elderly gentleman (probably 60s, not that old in our modern world) struggle to open a door and exit a building while managing to push out his walker at the same time. Unless he had the presence of mind to back up through the door, or the wingspan of Shaq, this was not happening. So I did what I consider the natural thing, and opened the door for him. He smiled, thanked me, and was generally very appreciative. What bothered me was that, after I held the door, tow other people scuttled through, two people that could easily have opened the door before I did, especially as they were going into this building (which I was not). Discourteous bastards.

For a pointless photo, here's Mary-Kate Olsen drunk at a party in high school:


Moving on then, Jim Gaffigan remains my favorite comedian of the moment, so here's a sweet bit of his from Letterman last week.

I also feel compelled to share this effort from Ole-E and Wally J. "Booty on My Youtube." High budget and, more importantly, a serious effort. How many hits will I get if I put your booty on my youtube?

I'm trying not to make this a recycled link post once again, but I'm struggling to find a relevant way to reference this clip of guys putting helium in their jeans. My buddy Dan pointed out yesterday that they disproved this being possible on Mythbusters, but one of those dudes wears a beret. Do you honestly expect me to take you seriously in that hat?

Finally, as it is Olympic Trials week, I present the following article about a former Olympic Gold medalist who has flown under the radar for the past forty years or so.

Have a great long weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Link Parade

I want to apologize in advance for anyone who was hoping to read about sausages in this post. That said, I received a couple of emails recently saying that my update pace has been pretty lackluster so I went and looked at the previous months for some perspective. As it happens, after completing this post I'll have hit five for June, only one under the six I dropped in May. I'd claim writer's block or lack of interesting things to discuss, but as I always like to say, that has never stopped me in the past. Anyway, I've stumbled upon some sites I'd deem "of interest" in the past week or so, so I figured I'd just go ahead and promote/denigrate a few of them.

The first link I present is actually an old one entitled The First Annual Myspace Stupid Haircut Awards. Like real life, much of the basis of the internet is to appear as cool as possible. This generally is done in one of two ways: 1) try really hard to be clever and look good in photos or 2) try really hard to be clever by making fun of the people that do number one. In many ways the internet is just a long-distance and fairly up-to-the-minute giant pissing match. This is pretty hilarious to me in that the internet remains, by and large, anonymous. Am I starting to enter the hypocritical zone? Surely slightly. Snarkiness, which is apparently not a word, but henceforth will be in my lexicon, is the weapon of the tragically hip. The goal is to be as witty as possible and make fun of as many people as possible. Hell, here I am critiquing a site that critiques random people on the internet. Anyway, I like the sweet comparisons to Marvel characters and I have to say, with all of the ridiculous photos of people on there, I find myself wishing I had seen some of those people in real life.


Following that same theme I can't help but mention Hot Chicks with Douchebags. I can't remember what first sent me to this site a while back, but I did find it fairly hilarious. The commentary that forcibly uses the word douche, etc. gets old quick (for me), but it's certainly adopting a style, and they stick to their guns over there. I have the same sentiment about this as I do about the above link: rarely do I see such crazy-ass folks in real life. This tells me two things about myself in a hurry: 1) I am not spending nearly enough time in the hippest clubs and 2) I am getting old because I think things like "what do their parents think?" What I really wonder, though, is what these people do as their day jobs because a lot of time, effort, and money are required for these looks.

Still on this theme. Celebrity rag blogs abound and yes, I find myself reading them from time-to-time, but what is the deal with so much coverage devoted to random strangers who aren't famous? Still some pretty classic photos up on that site. Besides, this is all just a rant about hating my own nature. Sure it's bad that people post lots of stupid shit on the internet (see also: this blog), but far worse is that I spend time reading it.

Moving on, when I first went to Wingchicks I was thinking of some combination of women and buffalo wings. Instead it seems like an excellent escort service business model. Plus, you gotta dig the name.

Then there is Animoto, a site that auto-generates videos from photos and music you submit. As someone who is sometimes in the mood for a slideshow well-synced with choice tunes in the background and, at the same time, too lazy or perhaps just not talented enough to do it himself, this site seems great.

Saving the best for last, and my favorite, by far, is Something Store. I have been telling whoever I can about this one. For $10, they ship you something in the mail. Most of the items they show seem to cost well over ten dollars, so it seems like a great deal. Given the choice between ≤2.5 gallons of gas, and something completely random being mailed to you, I think the choice is obvious. Plus, I think we can all agree it's fun to get shit in the mail. Genius.

Lastly, a quick plug for the The Stranger, a Seattle newspaper I would otherwise ignore were it not for good chum BTB. Where else am I going to get my stories of the Mile High Club and disturbing tales of homeowners shooting strangers. For all of the efforts to make human-powered search engines these days (mahalo and the like), I've got my human-powered search and it's name is Bryan Bissell.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

"Amanda Hates Nick Jonas." That's what it said on the blacktop outside of my elementary school, which I pass every day when walking back from the train station. At first I was thinking "why would they allow a child to write that on school grounds," especially when nicely juxta-posed with "you should always try to love everyone." Then the pop culture reference sunk in and I realized it pertained to The Jonas Brothers, the latest manufactured pop sensation. My girlfriend's ten year-old sister loves these bastards and has their posters all over her room. Frankly I wouldn't mind except these guys don't have crap on Backstreet and 'Nsync, in looks or musical talent. Hell, even O-Town is better. But some evil conglomerate keeps churning these out and the youth keeps eating it up, the youth that is, minus Amanda.

The day after observing this scrawl I found myself strolling through school grounds as per usual and came upon a mother and her daughter. At the time I am passing through, school has been out for several hours, so clearly this was an after-school function for which people were returning and the party I am about to examine in slightly more detail need not have been an elementary school student, but she certainly could not have been older than thirteen. As I am walking past, said eleven year-old (I know I said thirteen, but whatever) gives me a sultry up and down look that made me feel pretty disgusting and, perhaps worse, old. No, but seriously, what are they putting in milk these days? Actually, it must be something else, because I eat a lot of cereal and I'm not an overdeveloped, oversexed nine year-old.

Anyway, I'm writing this from the toilet and I don't want my ass to fall asleep, nor do I want to get to bed too too late, so my closing remark will revolve around my disturbing link of the day, which isn't totally unrelated to being checked out by seven year-olds [credit Dan on link].

Tomorrow (maybe) a list of some hilarious sites I came across today and in the meantime male readers go ahead and register your johnson.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Love Sports

This past Sunday was a reminder of just that. I started it off by going for a run in the ball-dripping heat and then settled down to breakfast while witnessing Rafael Nadal beat the absolute shit out of Roger Federer. I've said in the past that I am not much of a Federer fan, but I really don't have any reason to feel that way. He's a gentleman on and off the court and his skills are astounding. Hell, I don't have any problem with Tiger Woods and he's a fairly dominant SOB.

Later in the day I had a rare treat as NBC televised the Prefontaine Classic. I'm always disappointed by televised track meets, and I think it has a lot to do with a commercial being inserted after every event, and distance events never being shown in their entirety. The commentators are also laughable as their knowledge of race competitors alone is fairly poor. Don't they have the start lists and someone provide them info anyway? Sure, track is a bit obscure in the United States, but why not have someone who knows their shit be a commentator? So it goes.

An excellent sporting Sunday was capped by game 2 between the Lakers and Celtics, with a Celtics victory being a bit of icing on the cake. As New England sports go, I might hate the Patriots, but this is a likable Celtics squad. It's hard not to like Garnett, Ray Allen is just about my favorite player, and then there is the lovable Rondo, who makes me think of the foot clan for some reason. Hell, I'm even warming up to Paul Pierce.

Moving on from sports, I will remind readers of when, back on April 1st, I wrote about the google April Fool's Day prank. Only, while google was joking, the folks over at Big String were not. As you can see from the link it lets you do all sorts of crazy shit like create emails that have a limited number of views before they are destroyed and even unsend emails. Apparently it's been around for at least three years judging from the date of that article, but I'm surprised more creepy and/or shady underhanded people aren't taking advantage of this.

Anyway, I'm going to devote my full attention to the fourth quarter of this Celtics game. But before I go I leave you with this Jim Gaffigan hot pockets clip. Kudos to the Boneyard for reminding me about this total gem and causing me to subsequently listen to all of the Gaffigan stand-up I could find. I feel as if I were to reach my apogee in stand-up performance I would fall short of Jim, but it would be in a similar vein. Hooooot pockets...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Foester

Social networks are all the rage these days. They aren't wholly unavoidable, as I know people who have yet to succumb, and I envy them. If you couldn't guess from that statement, I am not in this group that seems like an ever-increasing minority(does that make sense? wouldn't an increasing minority become a majority?). Still, at least I'm only connected to facebook, right? And hell, I love it for the ability to keep up with a broad range of friends spread far and wide. But with love comes the capacity to loathe and I freely admit there are people in my friend group that I loathe. And in just the same way as I view some photos and think "wow, douchebag" (or slag, etc) I can't help but think anyone viewing my photos without context would think the very same thing.

The only real reason I mention it is because my brother was telling me about his buddies thesis proposal or something of that nature to complete his computer science degree. This was BF (before facebook), but not BF(before friendster). Friendster was kind of the progenitor of social networks from what I remember, but I could easily be wrong and Myspace could have been daddy. It wouldn't take long to find out, but I'm not going to bother. Moving on then, this guy's website proposition was for a site called "foester," which, just as it sounds, allowed you to track your enemies rather than your friends. It's perfect as we've all got those folks we "love to hate." Hell, it helps make Howard Stern and Simon Cowell what they are.

I had also meant to discuss how so often on the train it seems as if people wait until every possible seat is taken before someone chooses to seat themselves next to me. I can't tell if I look menacing, smell bad, or simply spend too much time thinking about it. I'm even fairly certain I may have made almost this exact same statement in this very blog in the past. Commuting and pedestrian traffic flow are oddly fascinating to me.

Anyway, it's time to slap on my aviators and play the douchebag roll I long to fill. It seems to have clouded over a bit...all the better...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bloggin' on the Train

In the interest of time and because I am not too into Everything is Illuminated so far I've resorted to blogging on the train. That, and I just like how it sounds just enough like that classic Milli Vanilli jam.

This past weekend I attended graduation at my alma mater where the big story was Barack Obama, or Oback Barama as I've become fond of referring to him, replacing Ted Kennedy as keynote speaker. The speech I would give a "B," but turnout an A+ or so. Not surprisingly, after Obama spoke, shit cleared out in a hurry, which I actually thought was a little offensive to the graduates, but they probably didn't give a shit since they all shook hands with the Senator and presidential hopeful.

I honestly was expecting to drop some stuff here, but as I tend to get nappy on the train ride home, I'm already getting pretty close to my stop. I will say that on my ride in this morning I had a fairly fulfilling experience. Despite the fact that the train is packed because it's rush hour, many a commuter insists on not simply placing some item on the seat next to them to discourage a passenger joining them, but also looking ahead so as not to have to make eye contact with a potential seat sharer or, better yet, pretend to be asleep. Normally I just think quietly to myself what dicks these people are, but this morning I decided to assert my rights a little. A spotted an Indian gentleman in a fairly nice suit, covering the adjoining seat with a light folder, a seriously weak effort. In spite of this, his look away tactic had thus far been successful until I inserted a gruff "excuse me." He still kept his legs spread wide so as to give me less than my entitled allotment of seat.

Boring story I know, except that when he thought I had nodded off to sleep in the tunnel I observed him digging ferociously in his right nostril and then examine the spoils before placing it on the floor. I admit I was hoping he would eat it, but not every commute can be this action packed.

On a less boring note for the time being, I suggest you check out my buddy Blake's blog. A lot of funny shit happens to Blake, plus he has a gift, I feel, for placing it on the page. Whenever I get around to taking an extra three seconds to change my layout, I'll post a permanent link.

Finally, before I am likely without interweb for a few days I must post a link to the first episode of my current obsession,
Sir Digby Chicken Caesar, a recurring bit on the BBC sketch comedy show That Mitchell and Webb Look.

You must dine at my club sometime.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Poorscription Belts

The other day I scheduled myself an eye exam in the hopes of once again being able to wear contacts. I have glasses, I just rarely wear them. Reasons for this include, in no particular order: worry that they will fall off my face, that feeling and indentation they leave on the bridge of your nose, lack of peripheral vision, and vanity/attempts to not look too nerdly.

The reason I had stopped wearing contacts hearkens back to my days as a camp counselor, when some campers decided it would be a great idea to put hay all over my head. As it happens, this was not a great idea and instead resulted in my eyes becoming violently inflamed. An exam at that juncture noted the presence of bumps on my eyelids. I took some prescription anti-histamine eyedrops, resumed wearing contacts, and resumed having big-ass problems for a year or so before I just decided to call it quits.

So the guy I went to see the other day, and I must preface this by saying that I liked him and he seemed knowledgeable, prescribed some eyedrops to use for a week before retrying contacts, and to continue use of ever after. They turned out to be motherfucking expensive so I went and had a read of the pamphlet that comes with the prescription. Here it is, verbatim:

Uses: This medication is an anti-histamine used to treat itching and redness in the eyes due to allergies. This medication is not recommended for the treatment of eye irritation due to contacts.


And since I was discussing medication side effects only just last week, here is a prime example:

Side Effects: Headache, blurred vision, burning/stinging/redness/dryness of the eye, eyelid swelling, or a feeling as if something is in your eye may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist
.

Considering I have no current eye irritation symptoms, I've decided to go ahead and veto this prescribed course of action.

In much more important news, I was sitting at a meeting yesterday when I realized something I may have been doing incorrectly my entire life, namely belt direction. I have always fed the tail of the belt through the right front belt loop, so that the buckle is on the right and, when the tail of the belt is tucked, it's to the right. What I noted in this meeting, however, was quite the opposite. I am fairly certain every single other belt wearer in there had the tail fed through the opposite loop and thus ended with it tucked to the left. Feeling that this could be some sort of salad fork/dinner fork etiquette question, I tried buckling my belt the reverse and, perhaps, correct way today. Needless to say, this did not work. It was like trying to throw a ball or write with your non-dominant hand (assuming you aren't ambidextrous). When I went to the bathroom I found it so annoying to undo my belt, that I ultimately returned it to my usual set-up. It got me thinking it might be something like button up shirts, where men's and women's have opposite sides, and that I was perhaps belting my pants in a feminine manner. Anyone with any insight, feel free to chime in on this one.

What's with the cold-ish weather these days?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Back to Work...Slave

Having recovered in large part from leg surgery, I jumped on a 6:30am train and made my way into the office for the first time in precisely five weeks. One can get used to working from home, let me tell you. There is a certain solitude on the 6:30am train as opposed to my more rotuine 7:47am. Certainly the train was less crowded, and it was also one of those relatively spankin' new double-deckers. As it was, at Secaucus, the last stop before New York, an oafish fellow sat down next to me, despite many other open seats. Brief disclaimer: I expect to sit next to people on a commuter train during peak hours, I just ask that you not be a jerk or, in this case, smell like baby food vomit and old diapers. Maybe it wasn't this guy giving off the scent, but circumstantial evidence points in (draws stench lines emanating from) his direction. Man sits down next to me, bad smell ensues. Perhaps not causal, but certainly corollary.


Ridiculously cute bunny for pretty much no reason. Photo credit: The GF.

I was in the freezer section of my local grocer the other day and I always have to see if there is ice cream on sale. My brand of choice is Edy's or Dreyer's, depending on your coast. And while they are my favorite ice cream from the freezer section, they have gone the way of Dannon yogurt, and decreased their package size and kept prices the same. Ice cream drop-off was from 1.75 to 1.5 quarts (~14%), not as significant as the the yogurt drop from 8 to 6 oz (25%). I don't know if companies think this is clever and people don't notice but I NOTICE. In this case it's actually just as well, as I tend to eat containers in one-to-four sittings, so my arteries are probably thankful to not be flowing with as much ice cream, but still. The cost of everything is going up, and while that is a bummer for those of us without boatloads of expendable income, all I'm saying is, don't try to lie to me about it. You can't pull the wool over my eyes, unless it's cashmere, because otherwise that shit is just so itchy.

In medical irony news, you know how at the end of commercials they always give those disclaimers about the possible side effects of the medication and how you should ask your doctor? With the pleasant female or male voice, meant to be soothing, probably so that you're not like, "oh shit, this might cure my diarrhea but cause internal bleeding and memory loss? Oh man, and maybe rectal bleeding? Not again..." This is where I should insert a great link to one of said commercials, but a prime example is escaping me. The point is, the potential side effects always strike me as way worse than whatever it is they're supposed to be curing. Maybe it's not perfectly ironic in every case, but this Elidel bit fits the bill. After all, Elidel is a prescription cream meant to deal with eczema but, according to that case, is being linked to skin cancer. Tough call, but I might choose eczema.


Also, I'm thinking I should learn Krav Maga. Sure I've been in pretty much zero fights in my life, but you never know.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Keep On Rockin' In the Free World?

Neil Young just popped up on my playlist, and it got me wondering why exactly Keep On Rockin' in the Free World is the only song of his I ever seem to hear on the radio, with perhaps an occasional Harvest Moon. I used to revile Keep on Rockin' for whatever reason and due to it being my only Neil association, I pretty much wrote him off. I liken it to how I gave up PB&J at about age eight on account of over-consumption. Then one day, aged nineteen or so, I rekindled my love for the sandwich classic and it's been smooth sailing ever since. I guess this isn't quite the same as my Neil experience as I didn't love him to begin with, but I was overexposed, at least to said track. My dad actually played Horse With No Name a fair amount, but I think I thought it was by The Doors because they had that song Riders on the Storm and my mind operated under the assumption that riding on a storm and going through the desert on a horse with no name were fairly synonymous and thus must be written by the same folks. Collectively I associated them with Dune. Funny how the mind works.

Anyway, short story long, after living with some chums in Vermont for about a year, one of whom breathed Neil Young, I became fond of Neil, especially this song and for semi-comedic reasons this one . With respect to the latter, the echoed chorus of a deep, throaty, off-key "piece of crap!" just works for me.

Before I forget, I have to show some love to The Daily Mail, which I generally find to be about as tasteful as gossip can be. Take for instance their coverage of Putin and that gymnast. And where else was I going to read so in-depth a synopsis of Patricia Cornwell's lesbian affair?

Lastly, before I forget, a quick shout out to chum Bridget Palardy, videographer (man I hope this is the right word) of this fine piece for Nylon Mag on emerging musical stars MGMT. This is the part where I say we all went to school together, back when they were "The Management" and Kids wasn't as jazzed up. While I used to get wrapped up in that "I knew about them first" bullshit, the fact is, I probably was not remotely as into these guys as most other people on campus. I do like Kids though, and Destrokk. And despite Kids being played at many a college party, I will always have the image of one dopey hipster in particular dancing in a shitty manner. I had to get one little gripe in there. After all, it's in my blog description.
Thanks for stopping by…you stay classy Planet Earth.