Friday, September 30, 2011

What September 28th-30th Mean To Me: Chaos

I'm really bad when I'm out of my routine.  It's not that I don't enjoy the changes, it's just that they stress the fuck out of me and nothing feels "right," even if I'm enjoying the process.

On that note, my week has been a little hectic.  The book was released, I'm incredibly busy with other work, I'm feeding dogs, friends are crashing at my place, all this along with the normal bullshit.  Hell, on Tuesday I forgot to eat dinner! How the fuck did that happen, eating is my thing!  In fact, I actually dropped three pounds this week alone.  And before you mockingly say "oh, poor you, you lost weight, poor you," I don't really need my pants slipping off my waist like molasses.  I am, however, now shoving anything edible (and some things not, like my SmartWater bottlecap that, for some reason, I'm chewing on right now) in my mouth every chance I get. 

Now, most normal people probably take a quick step back and evaluate priorities during really busy times.   After all, there's probably a few things that can wait. But, hmm, haven't really done that.  Writing everything down so that I won't forget anything also is a great idea, but I haven't done that either.  Committing it all to memory?  Please, maybe when I was 18, but now I can't remember shit 3 seconds after you tell me it. 

So, what have I done to combat the problem?

I started making the bed. 

Not my bed

But it's a nice one, and perhaps something to aspire to.  For the record, I never once made my bed at home as a child.  It's not something my parents ever forced me to do, and I never saw the value in it considering all that work would be for naught come night time.  I was, however, forced to make my bed every morning during Jew camp, though I don't really remember being all that good at it, and I definitely struggled with something people called "hospital corners?"  Or something like that.  I've never really been someone you would describe as "neat," and rarely take the extra time of putting stuff back in its place. 

But look at me now, I'm like Martha Stewart.

I'm not sure what inspired me to start making my bed, but I've found it somewhat therapeutic and have admired my own work for a good ten seconds after it's done.  The actual bed probably still looks horrible, I'm sure a seven year old who is a veteran of bed making due to anal retentive parents would probably scoff at it, but it does look like some sort of effort has been made. Regardless, there is something nice about the neatness of a made bed that creates an odd sense of order.

So, I might forget half the shit I need to do over the next couple of weeks because I'm too dumb to write them down, but, well, at least my bed isn't a complete mess. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How a Migraine, A Handful of Pills, A Swedish Girl, And a Wild Imagination Became A Novel

So, guess what?  I wrote a novel.  Yep! It has words, chapters, pages, a cover, and hopefully will have a destiny greater than being a glorified coaster. Yes, yes, please cue the clip of Stewie criticizing Brian for his noble writing attempt, but I actually did it.  It’s called My Sweet Saga and it can be purchased here (and liked on Facebook here). I attached some advanced reviews to the bottom of the post in a shameless attempt to show you other people have enjoyed it, so it can’t be all bad. But the following blog has little to do with the book itself, and everything to do with the inspiration behind it, as I would love to share why this absurd novel was more than a simple result of a hobby or just a way to kill time. It was actually the most important thing in my life over the course of the past two years for a number of reasons beyond the obvious.  

Early June ’09: 

There were tons of reasons I was sitting on my bathroom floor, holding a handful of sleeping pills, but at that exact moment, I just wanted a bad migraine to stop.  I don’t get them often, and for those who get violent migraines, I’m sure you can relate.  But for the lucky ones who do not, picture a pulsating ice cream headache times 50,000…except these don’t go away for hours. Add incredibly blurry/clouded vision that enhances the pain and, oh yeah, imagine that even limited exposure to light infinitely compounds the problem.  To put it mildly, they are fucking hell. Generally in these horrible moments, I try to think of happy thoughts or songs, just something to concentrate on until I pass out from the pain.  I mean, anything that could pass for positivity will do. Boobs, an upcoming party, hell, even a five-dollar, foot-long from Subway. But that night, I could think of nothing.  Nothing at all.  Just a void. And I never realized that had become the sum total of my perceived existence. So I swallowed the pills, chugged water, and hoped there wouldn’t be jolts of pain that would precede death.

I fucking hate the word ‘suicide.’  I try to never use it.  In fact it hurts to even write it.  And I never, in a million years, thought I’d ever be one to try it.  Sure it was something I’d think about during tough times, but I figure everyone probably has fleeting thoughts until they push them away like annoying cigarette smoke.  It’s absurd, really.  In retrospect, I try to think of my life up to that moment and, with new context, attempt to see where I went wrong.  But, to this day, I’m honestly not sure.  There’s nothing to pinpoint.  I simply just wasn’t happy, and it manifested itself in slow, strange ways.  I realized I really preferred to be alone, and therefore, would spend more time doing solo mundane activities.  Sure, I’d go out with friends, but as soon as those nights began, I’d find myself checking the clock until I felt it was an acceptable time to go home and sleep.  Saturday afternoons were filled with walks, long walks.  In fact, one late morning, I set out down the block for coffee and didn’t stop walking until I reached Santa Monica.  Not the boulevard, the actual city.  Which wouldn’t seem like such a big deal unless you know I lived east of Beverly Hills.  Mirrors became my enemy.  I couldn’t look in them anymore; in fact, I took to brushing my teeth in the dark.  All I saw was a rounding body, thinning hair, sunken eyes, and, in hindsight, everything in my life I was missing.  I had come to LA to become a writer, but I found myself not caring near as much.  In fact, the crap I handed my manager was completely uninspired to the point where he’d actually yell at me.  I was just going through motions.  That was life. I like to think I kept a good face, laughed all the time, and I probably did.  In the moment, and this is the 100 percent truth, I honestly didn’t think anything was wrong.  There were no cries for help because it never even occurred to me that I needed it. 

Seconds after I swallowed the pills, my body rejected them.  Maybe it was the way I chugged the water, maybe it was just effects from the migraine, perhaps it was my body telling me “not yet,” but I immediately vomited pretty hardcore.  I remember feeling conflicted about it, but not strongly so.  Trust me, I wasn’t thinking of picking up the pills from the floating vomit chunks, but I wasn’t thanking God I tossed my cookies either.  Regardless, a short time later I felt myself get very sleepy; I guessed I hadn’t vomited them all.  I didn’t know what would happen, and I wasn’t all that scared.  I figured if I woke up, I’d be fine with it.  But if I didn’t, I was at peace with myself too. 

Obviously, I woke up. 

I’ve heard accounts of people jumping off bridges.  How they say the second they commenced free fall, all they wanted to do was live.  Like they just made the biggest mistake of their life and they would do anything to take it back.  I didn’t feel that way.  I just felt kind of numb. Actually, I felt as if it wasn’t such a big deal and that I shouldn’t be dramatic about it.  And, also, I thought none of it was scary.  But I knew I didn’t want to get back to that place I hadn’t even known I was near.  So, that dreary weekend, I decided to change things.  And since I love making lists, I made one.  A list of all the things I wanted to do to change my life.  I wanted to get in shape so I wouldn’t be afraid of the mirror.  I wanted to change my entire persona and look so I wouldn’t be reminded of the person I was (anyone wondering why I’m all tatted up now, well, now you know).  I made a point to be more social. I would force myself to write something meaningful. There were many other little things on the list, but arguably the most important was the item that simply said…TRAVEL.

I had never really been anywhere in my life.  I’d driven across the country a few times, but they were hardly enlightening experiences.  I’d been to Disneyworld many times as a youth (which were always fun) and there was a trip to Canada or two.  But I never had that semester overseas or that post graduate trip to Europe where you discover that the “world is so big, yet so small.”  I didn’t feel particularly strongly about travel even when I wrote it on the list, but I figured it was something I should try.  But I didn’t want to go to general tourist destinations like London, or Paris, or Tokyo.  I didn’t want to visit anyone anywhere; I preferred to go somewhere alone.  Looking back on it, I wanted something I could, as ridiculous as it sounds, call my own.  I’ve long admired Swedish politics and, when I was young, someone told me all Disney fairy tales took place in Sweden (100 percent completely untrue.)  Anyway, because of those details, Sweden always had appeal to me, so I went on and, with some prodding from my buddy Mike, booked a 6-day trip to Stockholm.  People found this choice strange, and I never really gave them much reason to consider otherwise.  But I felt it made sense.  

I started checking things off the list in the weeks leading up to my trip, but didn’t feel much better, to be honest.  The new exercise regimen gave me something to focus on, and the other small items on the list provided goals to keep me occupied, but even with only a few days left before the trip, I considered not going.  I’m not sure how seriously, I never once voiced this uncertainty (because in moments I generally was thrilled to go), and anyway, I think I just knew I wouldn’t turn back. 

So, on August 10th, 2009, I, armed with a camera, clothes, and well wishes, boarded a plane from LAX to ATL, where I would then take an 8 or 9-hour flight to Stockholm, Sweden. 

And, to make this incredibly melodramatic, that’s when everything changed.

I always thought it would be cool if the universe tipped you off to life altering moments minutes before they occur, if for nothing else so you’d be mentally prepared for them.  I had no intentions of “finding myself” in Sweden or anything like that.  In fact, I’d given basically no thought to what I’d do, what I’d see, if there would be serious culture clash, and etc.  I didn’t know if there were touristy things to fill up my time, or if I’d be bored shitless.  In short, I didn’t really know shit about the city, a word of Swedish, or even a Swedish custom. I figured I’d just wander around, talk little, and eat herring or whatever the restaurants provided until it was time to come back home.

Just like my LAX->ATL flight, I was placed in the waayyyyy back of the plane, right in front of the toilets; it was the exact same seat I occupied during the first leg of the trip. Strangely enough, the girl sitting in front of me was actually the same one who did on the initial flight (she probably used Orbitz too), and we soon struck up a conversation regarding the coincidence.  After the flight attendant informed us that the plane was only half full and that we could find any seat we wanted, me and said girl escaped from the shitty seats and picked adjacent rows in the middle of the plane, both taking advantage of the extra space for prime napping.  But while talking to her about movies featuring killer pigs (yes, this happened), a young, lightbulb blond girl parked herself in the row right next to mine and, in retrospect, I now ponder how I ever doubted the idea of “love at first sight.”  I honestly can’t remember exactly what I felt then, but I do remember my body tensing and my heart racing a bit.  I remember, hmmm, not being confused, but the thoughts running through my head weren’t exactly lucid.  This beautiful young girl quickly interjected herself in our conversation (I think we were on to zoos at this point…ones without killer pigs); her slightly accented English giving away that she was native to Sweden.  Soon after, the girl from the previous flight went to sleep, and the conversation with the Swedish girl continued for the remainder of the flight. Eight or nine of the quickest hours of my life later, the plane landed, we were still talking, joking, and whatever.  We exchanged information and a thought to see each other again, even though she had to travel a few hours south to her home somewhere in southern Sweden.  In retrospect, I should have followed her, but well, I was on zero sleep, of muddled mind, and, most of all, I just suck in certain situations. 

After we parted, I took the train into Stockholm, quickly found my hotel, and immediately laid my exhausted, yet lighter body on the queen-sized bed.  I remember spreading myself out and just staring at the ceiling of the hotel room.  Silence. It felt good. And, fuck, for the first time in God knows how long, I felt HAPPY.  It was all so fucking cliché, right?  Depressed, travel to Europe, meet a girl, get happy? Movies were made about this bullshit.  But there I was experiencing that exact feeling.   I don’t want to dwell too much about her, but there was something beyond her great smile and a quirky personality.  She was a bit guarded and mysterious, but also incredibly open in brief moments.  Like there were small cracks in her personality that would quickly reveal themselves, and there was something about it that was incredibly compelling.  Mostly, it was the unexplainable, animalistic feeling that overcame me (and I don’t mean sex).  Sometimes you just meet someone and your heart pounds, you fumble over your words, you just know this person will become an important part of your life.  I could remember feeling such emotions in the past, and maybe it was amplified because of my circumstances, perhaps the whole thing was just too damn romantic, but everything about the incredibly brief time we spent together was amazing, and more importantly, I knew, more than anything, that I didn’t want to lose that feeling.

And I didn’t. 

The week that followed was probably the best of my life.  No, unfortunately I never saw that girl again, but we talked throughout the entire week, often, and the specter of seeing her reigned over it.  It gave me something to look forward to, even if it was false. Perception is reality, anyway.  And it gave me a confidence in the strange city where I knew no one and nothing.  I had originally expected to speak to no one, but there I was, out there. I met people, conversed with them, dined with them, and never felt judged.  I learned new things and did new things that were completely out of my routine.  The weight was wholly off my shoulders, as there was NOTHING around to remind me of Los Angeles and all the baggage I left there.  I felt like I couldn’t be exposed in Stockholm. In a word, it was ‘beautiful.’  It’s funny because I think for the entire time I was there, I only did one touristy thing, but I was constantly occupied and busy.  In fact, here's actual footage of me at a Stockholm club. 

When the vacation came to a close, I felt like I wasn’t done.  I wanted more time there.  Perhaps I was deluded, but at the time, it’s probably what I needed. 

Upon returning home, crossing the threshold of my bedroom, looking at the bathroom floor where only a few months ago I had decided to take my life, I knew I didn’t want to be back there.  But really, what choice did I have?  So I decided to do that next best thing.  To write.  A story that captured the feeling of that past week.  So I figured I’d write about what it might be like to spend more time with that girl. Just one day. One crazy day.  And to spend it with her in Stockholm.  As mentioned, she was mysterious and complex, and I wondered what kind of trouble we might have gotten into, and what secrets she may have been hiding. I didn’t know what kind of story would transpire, and I didn’t care that living inside some fictitious novel was probably unhealthy.  A week or so later, I wrote the first words that would become My Sweet Saga.  And every day after (for five months), I would rush home so I could work on it, so I could lose myself in it.  And I couldn’t WAIT till the chapters that took place in Stockholm.  I just wanted to relive those six days, and in many ways, I did, though my unfair imagination created a MUCH wilder, and more painful ride. 

I felt genuine melancholy when I completed the last four-word sentence of the book.  I knew I’d be in for months of editing, but also knew that another journey had concluded.  But what I didn’t realize was that the book became my anchor during a really tough period.  Things that may have dragged me down or effected me, had I not had the book, didn’t bother me in the same way.  I didn’t care as much about daily doldrums cause I knew that, at night, I could escape into my writing.  And by the time I was done with the book, I felt a lot better. 

The novel is probably 95 percent fiction, in the sense that the characters are based on people, but most are composites or figments of my imagination.  None of the events actually occurred as written, save for some of the dialogue, but I refer to the novel as a memory that never happened.  Because, in tons of ways, the main character of the book is me.  I admire some things about him, mostly his courage, but also despise parts of him too.  James Frey referred to his controversial book, “A Million Little Pieces” as a Picasso portrait of himself. You know, where it’s completely distorted and inaccurate, but the essence is still there. I kind of think this is a similar thing for me.  I figure a few twists of fate and something like this could have happened.  So, as mentioned, the book is silly, whimsical as hell, but it is easily the most important thing I’ve ever written, to me anyway.  And I think it has a certain honesty.  I expect you will find it light, and hope you think it’s funny, but also hope you will discover heart and self-reflection that will cause you to think twice about the book once you read that aforementioned final four-word sentence.  And I hope it stays with you.

Because the book was so paramount in my life for so long, it’s weird to now let this go to the world and move on to the next chapter of my life.  In fact, it’s strange to now feel pretty much everything about that time becoming a distant memory, even when I still try to conjure it as new.  I did visit Sweden, once again, fairly recently, and as amazing as the second trip was, I found myself chasing the ghosts of the first.  But those memories will always remain locked in time along with the Aqualung and Sufjan Stevens songs I listened to while running along the river, the smell of the hotel shampoo that I will never forget, and all the wonderful people I met.  And, as for the girl, we talked for a long while, but have grown apart.  I still think of her more than I should, but now she exists more as a footnote with each turned page and much less like the plot.  Either way, I’m glad she entered my life for many reasons, but maybe none greater than inspiring me to write this book that means so much more than silly words on a page. 

Anyway, I thank you for reading this and would, of course, be honored if you purchased this book.  I would love to hear your thoughts on it and for you to spread the word on my behalf. Mostly, I just would love people to enjoy something that was such an important part of my life. 

Though if you’re just in search of a new coaster, I’m sure it’ll be the perfect thing to support your drink. 



Shameless Advanced Reviews!

Incredibly hilarious and surprisingly heartfelt, My Sweet Saga is a wild ride across the Atlantic and back again.  A must for anyone who has ever found love in the strangest of places.  – Simply The Best Magazine

Disturbingly funny and strangely unpredictable, Sills' story is replete with crazy, yet believable characters and clever dialogue. My Sweet Saga is an engaging journey into the world of those who travel and find love. A fantastic debut.
-Angela Stubbs, The Nervous Breakdown

In between teaching me useful new racial slurs like 'Nazi Tankbanger', My Sweet Saga entertained me with my two favorite things: guys who are complete boobs, and aging strippers with giant fake boobs. – Simon Hill, Author – Grandpa Won’t Wake Up

“One of the better Portnoy’s Complaint-type novels I’ve read in a while,” - Ron C., Editorial. 

“This book is so well written and so perfectly executed. Brandon’s internal (and external) dialogue is absolutely hilarious. Excellent storyline. Brilliant characters. I loved every minute of reading it!" - The Book Hookup

“This didn’t embarrass me near as much as you said it would.” – My Mother

Monday, September 26, 2011

What September 24th-26th Means To Me: The Amazing Race

This asshole has the coolest job in the world.  Hands down
AHHHHH, the Amazing Race is finally back.

Now, who the hell do I have to fingerbang to get on this show?   Seriously, male, female, I don't care, I'm willing to go the distance!

For those who do not know, and there are a surprising many of you despite the fact the show has been on twice a year for the past, I dunno, ten, The Amazing Race is a CBS reality show that is, well, a race around the world.  Teams of two hop on planes, arrive in exotic destinations, and take part in fun (and often challenging) "obstacles" that are relevent to the culture of the country they happen to be in.  They are constantly rushing to beat their fellow competitors, and the editors do a fantastic job of building suspense. Brett=constantly tittilated. Edge of my seat. Nipples stiffened.  You know, the type of show where I shout encouragement to the teams I support as if 1) they can actually hear me and 2) this isn't all pre-recorded.

But I don't just adore this show, I'm a lost puppy without it.  During the entire summer, I'd sit on my couch at 8pm on Sunday night and stare aimlessly at a blank TV screen, wondering why the Amazing Race can't be on 365 days of the year.  It's not fair, really.  So, instead, I pout, look around for an answer, and then shrug and wander aimlessly (both mentally and physically) until it's time to go to bed.  When the Race is in season, I'm a more complete human being.  It's sad, but strangely true.

So, how cool would it be to actually race?  Really fucking cool!

Unfortunately, you generally have to have some kind of interesting story to be considered for the Race.  This years teams include Olympic Athletes, Identical Twins, Two past Survivor winners (how is that fair?), and so on.  As for me, there's nothing all that unique about a New York Jew living in Hollywood, and I'm not all that good at anything except sitting around with my thumb up my butt.  Perhaps if I found someone equally as unimpressive and unmotivated, we could brand ourselves the "not that good at anything" Amazing Race team (we'll just call it "Team Moron" for short).  The race teams consistently believe that whatever they do in their everyday lives will aid them along the race.  The annual "pretty girl" team always claims they will "use their looks" while simolteanously informing the audience that "just because they are pretty, they aren't dumb."  My everyday skills would amount to jackshit on the race, unless snarky, self-deprecating blogging would somehow help.  But I'm not sure this skill would come in handy while talking to Buddhist monks in China. ( By the way, one girl from this year's installment of the "Pretty, but we're smart. No really." team actually left her passport at a gas station during the beginning of the first leg. )

Why would I be the perfect candidate for Team Moron?  Well, consider my performance in the elevator at work this morning.  I got in the crowded elevator, watched the numbers rise, the door opened, some people left.  I "realized" that I never pressed the button for the 4th floor, but when I quickly did to ensure I'd get off at my floor, it didn't register.  So, I tried again, nothing.  So I jammed that button a bunch more times wondering what was wrong.  Well, the reason it didn't register is because the elevator was already on the 4th floor and I was too dumb to realize it.  So, in shame, I let the door close and rode up to the 5th floor.  Why did I do this?  I guess I felt like I deserved some sort of punishment. Sort of like the time I dropped my breakfast in the lobby and refused to buy a new one because I was too ashamed.  Anyway, I assume this kind of stupidity would hinder me in the race.  So, let's see where else I could fail?  Cooking challenge?  Watch out, I've never cooked anything beyond a Poptart in my life.  A memory challenge?  My short term memory rivals a goldfish's.  Now, if there were a "Denver Broncos trivia" challenge or a "Beverly Hills 90210" quiz, I'd probably do quite well.  But since neither of those are culturally familiar to, say, Siberia, I'm probably shit out of luck.  But that will be our thing.  The "we can't do anything right, so watch us overcome our stupidity" team.  Or try to anyway.  So, who wants to race with me and shock the world by overcoming our own ineptitude? 

Don't worry Amazing Race casting team, I'll find someone.  This world is full of idiots. So, I'm waiting for your call.  This is, if I can figure out how to pick up the phone. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

What September 23rd Means To Me

Not much, and I'm not feeling particularly inspired today but ...

High school Brett loves this.  Really used to love that movie and probably should sit down with it again.  One day I'll write about my high school obsession with indie rock and its subculture.  Not today though, I'm too tired. 

It's almost becoming odd that anyones making anything on DVD these days!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What September 21st-22nd means to me: The Post Office And Assholes

I like to think I'm a pretty decent guy.  I always try to say "please" and "thank you."  I, more often than not, help friends in need, and am willing to be generous if I can be.  Ants and spiders?  Never fear when Brett is around.  I'll pick you up and take you outside instead of simply killing you (well, unless you were that humongous spider that landed on my head a couple of summers ago at my parents house.  I'm sorry that I killed you immediately, but you were the size of a baseball and ...

you made me do something like that across my mother's new kitchen floor.  But anyway, typically, if I am an asshole, I'm generally not a gaping one. 
But every so often I spread those cheeks wide, and well, it usually happens when I'm sitting behind the wheel of a car.  I'm not sure why I'm prone to road rage, but it probably has something to do with the fact that I feel the other person is summing up my entire existence based on one driving maneuver. Yesterday, while talking to my mother, some guy incessantly beeped me and flipped me off for...get this...following the rules.  Hey Jerkoff, just because there's no left turn on La Brea between 3 and 7 pm on weekdays, doesn't mean the rule also applies to whatever the hell the next street is.  And if you could fucking read, you'd see you can make a left turn after 6.  And if you took the time to look at the clock, you'd see it was 6:30.  But because he didn't, my mother was treated to a symphony of "fuck yous" directed at the other driver, though she did miss the histrionics of the whole display.  Luckily for her, and for you, here's actual footage from the street light cam:


OK, I'm getting worked up again.  Calm down, Brett. Anyway, this incident, combined with my first visit to the post office in what seemed like forever, conjured the following memory; not one I'm all that proud of:

August 2006.  Getting your car stolen might not be the greatest tragedy in the world, but we can all agree that it's pretty annoying.  Combine this with unemployment and general malaise, and it's not exactly a recipe for a great mood.  But luckily for me, three weeks after the car was stolen, it was actually found.  In Monterey Park.  Outside a police station.  Hey, Tanisha Olliveri (I'll never forget her name), I've never driven a stolen vehicle, but if I did, I'd probably steer clear of, I dunno, police stations.  Oh yeah, and if you steal my current car, please fill it up with enough gas to cover, at least, 1/64,000th of the tank, so that when I pick it up from the impound lot, I'm not scared of running out of gas after moving seven feet.  Thanks in advance.

After an hour drive to Monterey Park, I dropped off my rental car, and was given a ride to the impound lot only to wait an additional hour to discover the car now had no airbag.  Naturally, my insurance company figured I stole my own airbag, but I can't blame them for this assumption.  After all, I am an upper-middle class Jew with no record, clearly a prime candidate for selling my airbag on the black market. Totally acceptable.  After more hassle, I went back to Enterprise, got a different rental car, and, about six hours after this whole ordeal started, returned home to a post-it on my mailbox informing me I had a package at the local post office.

So, again, it's not like I just found out I had cancer, but well, I was in a shit mood.  So, on the way to the post office, I cut off this California raisin of an old woman by accident.  Now, I was going MAYBE five miles an hour, but still, I immediately realized I did a bad thing, gave her the universal symbol of mea culpa, and I figured it was all good.
But clearly it wasn't because she actually followed me into the post office parking lot, and wasn't shy about pressing her horn 37495437854375934 (approx) times until we both parked. After exiting my car, the woman was so offended by my move, that she needed to tell me more about her near death experience.  I immediately said "that's my mistake, I'm sorry for that," but I don't think she could hear me over the "what's wrong with you's," why don't you watch where you're going's," and "hey asshole, what are you some kind of asshole, asshole's"  Again, I kept my cool.  It was a little old lady after all.  Perhaps she ran out of Ensure earlier in the day and was a bit cranky. 

But she must have seen her life pass before her while I cut her off at 5 miles an hour because she kept at me.  All the way into the post office.  Yelling, screaming.  I tried to tune her out because she was probably like 3 months from dying, but she was just getting plain nasty.  Finally fed up, I turned to her and said, "I got it.  I apologized, it was my fault, but you need to please stop."

And she did.  But not without her parting shot:

"Well, you need driving lessons!"  And she said this a little too loudly, I might add.

And for some reason ..


Oh yes, Khaleesi.  It was go time. 

All the stress I had from those past few days suddenly weighed heavily on my shoulders, and the only way I could release it was by saying ... "You need lessons on how to be less of a fucking cunt!"  And I said it a little too loudly, I might add:) I immediately regretted it and brought my hand to my mouth like I could shove the words back in. It was so loud that the collective post office conversation halted and 20 or so heads spun in my direction.  At least the old woman walked away and it was business as usual within seconds.  Perhaps this happens a lot in the company of the USPS. 

No closing thoughts really.  Just thought I'd share one of my "finer" moments. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What September 20th Means To Me: I can't win

Last week:  Fairly intense pressure on the left side of my head/ear.  Didn't feel like going to the doctor.  Per usual, convinced I'll die, thinks that sounds like a shitty way to die.
Yesterday: Doctors says it's allergies, prescribes Flonase, probably won't die.
Last night: Flonase actually seems to work, pressure subsiding.  I guess I can skip funeral arrangements and can reinstate the plan for the next few years of my life. 
5 AM: Dizzy as fuck
5:03 AM:  Oh, is peeing an adventure.
7 AM: Dizzy as fuck
7:01 AM: Sees Flonase's main side effect is Dizziness.
7:02 AM: Decide to skip the morning Flonase considering being dizzy is no fun and I somehow have to function at work. 
7:55 AM: Somehow arrived at work without hitting anyone on the road.
8:05 AM: Accidentally walked into a wall.
8:10 AM Accidentally walked into a wall a little harder.
9:30 AM:  Hey, I'm actually somewhat comfortable!
11:00 AM: Dizziness subsides.
12:00 PM: The pressure has returned.
12:01 PM: Brett realizes he can't win. 
12:02 PM: But Brett is thankful it's not a tumor
12:03 PM: Brett remembers all he did was go to urgent care, perhaps it is a tumor after all
12:05 PM:  Brett thinks its probably not a tumor
12:10 PM: Maybe it's a tumor. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

What Septemeber 16th-19th Mean To Me: Award Shows. I Fucking Hate You

I have an annoying quirk.  When I feel that the mass public consumes something utterly pointless and dumb, yet actually takes it seriously, I can't seem to keep my dissent to myself.  In fact, it probably produces too many annoying rants that my poor friends have to sit through while they wonder why the hell I care so much. 

On that note, the Emmy's were on last night.

Hey, I didn't say it, Maurice Jones- Drew did. 

Allow me to explain why I think awards shows might be a microcosm of why we suck as a society.  Now, I know I'm in the minority here, I know tons of people enjoy them (I actually used to be one of them) and discuss the results and the "snubs" by the water cooler, so I'm willing to admit I'm the asshole here...anyway...

My hate for awards shows is pretty much embodied in the following quote from this article:

"After weeks of speculation over who would win for best actor in a drama (the long-denied Jon Hamm for "Mad Men" or Hugh Laurie for "House"?), Kyle Chandler's name was called for his performance as a Texas high school football coach in the final season of "Friday Night Lights."

For the record, I love both Mad Men and Friday Night Lights.  But why does this quote bother me?  Let's break it down starting with the first line "after weeks of speculation," which obviously suggests that some assholes were actually spending WEEKS discussing this and worrying about it.  There are numerous wars in the world, our country is on the brink of financial failure, but ummm, people are spending weeks discussing who is the best actor in a television show! Que Lastima!  Secondly, should I feel bad for "the long denied Jon Hamm?"  Last I checked, Jon Hamm was rich, extremely good looking, and the star of the TV show.  The only thing he's probably denying is the 8th beautiful woman who tries to fuck him on a random Sunday night because his dick is too sore from the first seven ( Sorry, Jon.  I've actually heard you in interviews and you seem like a good dude, none of this is your fault.  I love Don Draper. Forgive me!)  You know when I'll feel bad for Jon Hamm?  When he suddenly wakes up and has my life. 

OK, you're right, enough with the self-pity.

Let's discuss what they are actually "awarding" during shows like the Oscars and Emmys (for the sake of this argument, I'll just limit it to these two shows).  Now, last time I checked, taste was completely arbitrary.  There are no numbers, no empirical evidence that proves one performance or one show better than another.  You might, personally, like a show better than another, but that doesn't necessarily prove that something is actually "better." And let's set aside the fact that humanity decided to weigh drama more heavily than comedy (for example, you wanna know whats hard?  Playing Ace Ventura for two hours, yet that would be a laughable Oscar nod).  In fact, the only thing that could pass for empirical evidence (In the case of TV, ratings, and for movies, box office retention rates) are routinely ignored, and sometimes with films, the box office numbers actually act as a detriment to Oscar chances.  Yet, despite these facts, I still hear regular people CARE about these results.  In fact, if I had a dime for everytime someone approached me and said "Can you believe Jeff McFuckamee got snubbed for his amazing performance in "Who Gives A Fucking Shit?"" I'd be a wealthy man. 

On that subject...


In fact, it's crazy to understand why a regular person gives even a smidge of shit.  For those who don't know, the Emmy's and Oscar's aren't decided by public votes.  The actors, directors, producers, and whoever are VOTING FOR THEMSELVES.  So, essentially, its a nationally televised event, put on by the rich and famous, to celebrate being rich and famous, and the peasants all gawk and are tricked into giving a shit.  Not to mention, this stuff is incredibly political and votes are lobbied for on a regular basis.  You know what would be the most honest three hours of TV history?  If the Emmys and Oscars actually showed the word what they really are.  It would be a really simple show:

Three hours of all these people in their nice dresses and tuxedos patting themselves on the back.  Yes, for three straight hours.  Now, naturally, their hands will probably get tired (try patting yourself on the back, its uncomfortable), so they may take breaks to smoke cigars and discuss their bank accounts.

Matt Damon: "So Leo, how much did you make for Inception?"
Leonardo DiCaprio: "You know, I don't really remember.  Probably alot."
Matt Damon: "Who cares, we're rich!"
Leonardo DiCaprio: "So true!"
<big laugh, fist bump, go find JJ Abrahms and ask him similar questions>

Most folks will find this boring.  But, for the record, if this actually occured, I promise to do...

For that same three hours.

Now, let me get something straight.  If these actors, producers, and directors want to have an award ceremony where they congratulate each other on being teh awesum, by all means, go ahead and have it.  But to parade yourself on national television? 

I know, right Bert?

Maurice, come on, I know you feel strongly about this, but its a family blog.

Fine, OK, go on.

So, in short, for the life of me, I don't really understand the fuss over these shows, and why people get emotionally involved.  In fact, why is their competition at all?  This isn't sports, everybody is winning anyway.  Do we have to compete over EVERYTHING in the name of inequality?  Ahh, apparently we do.  So, fuck us all, I suppose.

OK, my fingers are starting to hurt from all my purposeful typing.  I'm gonna go relax and contemplate why I just spent 20 minutes writing this at all. 

Back to self-deprecation tomorrow!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What September 15th Means To Me: SATs

Piggybacking on the recent "back to school" posts, since we are still in September, I'd like to welcome the latest sign of the "idiocracy."  Low SAT scores!

With this recent data, how long before the below is actually true:

I don't have any particular strong thoughts about the SATs, other than I do believe it is a decent barometer of both individual intelligence and the effects of education.  Over the years, I've heard many claim that the test doesn't really prove intelligence, to which I both agree and disagree. 

I just came by to say hai!

Glad you could stop by, Zack, to help discuss my point.  The SAT is a test that has the ability to separate the truly intelligent from the "booksmart." You know, those kids who study 15 hours a day, raise their hand all the time, shove their heads so far up the teacher's ass, all in the name of the elusive "A+"  Zack Morris, by all means, was a poor student.  He skipped class, was a pain in the ass to Mr. Belding, nearly failed out, was a much worse student than both Jessie and Screech, yet he demolished them both on the SAT...with the impossible score of 1502.  But none of this was all that surprising because, although Zack wasn't a great student, he was cunning and sharp.  It wasn't beyond the realm of possibility that he'd have the wherewithal to navigate a test like the SAT.  I've known a few people who were poor students because they were unmotivated, but the SAT did prove that they were exceptionally intelligent.  On the flipside, I've never known anyone I've considered "dumb" or "stupid" to fluke the SAT and score Morrisian type numbers.  If you have, then that person is just a really good guesser and, I bet, would do poorly on the next test. 

But what about me!  I was Salutatorian of Bayside and only got a measly 1205.  Did I fool them all?  Am I a ruhtard?
Rest assured, Jessie, you are not a ruhtard (probably not, anyway).  Though I've never met a dumb person who scored high on the SAT, I have met some pretty smart people who have scored abnormally low.  Though the SAT features many exercises that measure basic intelligence and learned knowledge, it's administered under a time limit and, of course, does have questions that call for a specific knowledge.  For example, if you come across a math problem that requires a specific formula that you simply 1) forgot or 2) never learned, I don't see how failing to answer correctly is a sign of stupidity.  Similarly, if you never learned certain vocabulary words (or the roots of these words) or grammar rules, you might have trouble in the verbal (this is what Shaq was talking about when he claimed the test was "culturally biased" in the crappy movie, "Blue Chips.")  Simply put, if you were never given the tools to figure out equations and vocabulary words, it's virtually impossible to conjure up answers out of the blue. Therefore, a poor test score can be an anomaly  The only way to figure out if this is true is for the student to take a hundred SATs, but who really has the time or the energy.  But in regards to my comment above about the "booksmart," the SAT may weed out the kids who just try hard.  After all, teachers aren't machines, they have feelings and emotions, and it's human nature to award hard workers with, in this case, high grades.  How can we tell the difference between the "booksmart" and the intelligent who don't do well on standardized tests?  Fuck if I know!

Regardless of these examples, one can certainly score better on the SAT through test prep, as many companies offer courses and literature that teach you the basics to help you improve your score.  So, really, this overall, nationwide downward trend is probably a failure in preparation and education.  I sincerely doubt the world has suddenly been flooded with Jessie Spano's.  Though, with recent technology and the emergence of new media, it wouldn't be shocking to see a correlation between declining SAT scores and attention spans of teenagers.  The SAT, maybe more than anything, is a test of mental endurance.  I remember feeling absolutely wiped after taking them.  Is today's generation of children, the texting, "what have you done for me lately" generation up to that task?  The consequences of their spastic nature certainly has manifested itself in other ways.  Did I just hit on something that I didn't originally intend on discussing?  MAYBE I DID. 

Thanks Michelle!

Maybe someone smarter than me could look further into that relationship.  After all, I didn't score too high on the SATs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What September 14th Means To Me: I Hate When The Broncos Lose.

It's football season and the Denver Broncos, my favorite team, are shit again!  And, of course, two days have passed since the opening Monday loss, and I'm still not over it.  Why?  Because I'm a fan and I enjoy placing emotion into a bunch of overpaid athletes who couldn't give a shit about me, of course. 

Remember that Hootie and The Blowfish song with the lyric, "I'm such a baby cause the Dolphins make me cry?"   I should write a sequel to that song featuring a lyric about the Broncos making me want to commit mass homicide.

While crying.

But this touches on a bigger issue that I'd like to discuss: the relationship between a team and its fans.  And how people who are not die hard fans do not understand it.  I recently saw a commercial for some new sitcom called "Whitney," in which the "sassy Whitney" condescendingly questions why men wear football jerseys while watching games on TV.  She "jokes" that she doesn't dress like a dead hooker when she watches CSI as if 1) she's being funny or 2) thats an apt comparison. 

Life is incredibly complicated, but sports, in comparison, are fairly simple.  There are finite rules and it's easy to pour emotion into something where the results are completely black and white.  This makes it easy to either feel 1) happy or 2) sad, and there's something thats naturally compelling about the promise of a simple result (either good or bad.)  But the fanship of a professional sports team, for better or worse, is also a kind of religion.  We generally form alliances when we are quite young and stick with them straight into adulthood.  During this time, our lives change constantly and dramatically, but the sports remain the same.  No matter where I move to or what my circumstances are, I know I can pour emotion into the Denver Broncos because its a virtual guarantee that they will be playing football on Sundays in the fall. Sports are a natural, unpredictable drama where the fan feels that they play a collective role in the success of the team.  Now, this may or may not be true, but while watching the game, there is a sense of participation that is hard to explain. Sports also create communities of like minded people.  God knows I spend enough time on Broncos message boards, communicating with others on a subject I love.  I suppose this creates kind of an echo chamber, the more I discuss it, the more involved I get, the more I feel apart of something that's bigger than me.  And that's a nice feeling. 

So, Whitney, that's what makes sports different from watching some dumb TV show.  When someone wears a jersey, its a show of support for a community they feel involved in, it's a representation of an extension of themselves.  It's really no different than someone wearing a cross or star of David to show the world they belong to a religion. 

That said, an hour of church probably doesn't make you want to do this:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What September 13th Means To Me: The Day The Delivery Died

Mika Sushi Delivery, who effectively delivered the 3-item Bento Box with brown rice to Brett nearly every Sunday, died this week. It was 6 years old.

The cause was a change in delivery policy, the new guy who answered the phone, Rick, said in a statement.
Mika Sushi, located near the Beverly Center, was a relatively unknown restaurant, mostly due to its uninspiring fare and fast-food, take- out atmosphere.   But six years ago, in search of decent delivery for good value, Brett took a chance on the small restaurant that he once referred to as “the shitty Japanese place near the Beverly Center.”
“You know, it started out on a whim,” Brett said in a statement from his home.  “I just wanted a nice companion for Sunday night television.  The relationship was surprising, exhilarating and just…perfect from go.”
Mika Sushi employed a 3 mile radius delivery policy over the course of the past six years and had acknowledged Brett’s status as a repeat customer and a VIP.  It was an elite status that earned him the right to forgo the process of producing his credit card at the door for an imprint, and instead just signing the bill.   
The two knew each other well, so well that just the sound of Brett’s voice immediately registered with the staff, and his overly complicated order would be implemented in seconds. 
“It was like Montana to Rice, no pun intended, on the phone,” Brett said.  “I’d place the order, they’d deliver it, I’d eat.  Poetry in motion, really.”
With the return of Sunday Night Football and his favorite Sunday show, “The Amazing Race,” Brett will have to make due with his new circumstances, though he expects a grieving period that will include impotently staring at a bunch of menus for restaurants he doesn’t want to order from, while looking around like a lost puppy.
Mika Sushi Delivery to Brett is survived by another local place, Sushi Ajito, which attempted to replicate Brett’ s meal.
 “It was OK,” Brett said.  “The tempura was good, but the whole thing was 15 dollars more.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get off my ass and drive the 3 miles to Mika next Sunday.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

What September 12th Means To Me: Fantastically Horrible Roommates

College Roommates:  The Unholy Roulette.

Sure, pairing up two complete strangers to share a lunch box as living space for a year could be an interesting character building exercise, or it could devolve into a Hunger Games type of atmosphere that results in having one roommate ejaculate in your Pert Plus, while the other uses your homemade batch of salsa as a urinal. 

Last week, I was having a discussion with a friend about horrible roommates and, since we're still in the early stages of September, which will forever be associated with the beginning of school, I was reminded of my college roommate situation the first semester of my sophomore year.  In an earlier post, I mentioned that I attended Reed College.  As discussed, Reed College is an incredibly unique institution that is one-of-a-kind in both academics and campus life.  But though these features were considered as pluses when I was applying to the school, there was another little fact about Reed College that may have put it over the top:

I wouldn't have to have a roommate freshman year.

Yep, some people base their college choice on a desired major, some attend school to play a sport, I picked mine because I didn't want anyone seeing me naked.  I didn't care that my freshman door room was the size of a walk in closet, it was my walk in closet.  So, considering this, some would find it odd that I chose to live with a roommate my sophomore year in a 2br/1bath apartment just off campus.

In the history of dumb choices it was:

Ok, maybe second. 

Let me tell you a little about Noah:  And I don't hesitate to use his first name because I have no doubt that he will wear everything I'm about to say like a badge of honor.  But let's get something straight about Noah:  He's a fantastic guy and, though we live on opposite sides of the country, I still consider him a friend.  He's easily one of the smartest dudes I know (one of those assholes that can change your opinion on anything) and he's both incredibly talented and funny...often displaying both traits at the same time.  Ask him to do an impression of a German folk singer covering Bob Dylan: "De Ahnswer my friend, ees blowing een da vind, De answer ees blowing in een da vind."  It's hilarious though, obviously, me typing it out doesn't do it justice. And I believe he's the only friend I've ever described as "presidential." 

All this aside, Noah was the gonorrhea of roommates.  Here's a few reasons why no one should ever live with a 20-year-old Noah. 

1) Noah Didn't Like To Move.  Ever.  For Anything - In the middle of our apartment, naturally in front of the TV, was a green bean bag chair.  And when Noah would sit in his chair, he wouldn't get up. For hours. Class?  Fuck it.  Plans to go out that night?  Fuck it.  The apartment was on fire?  Fuck it.  It was as if the little balls in the chair were quicksand.  Because of this, Noah also had a loose relationship with cleaning, though he did, however, rise from his hippie throne every so often to bring his disgusting dishes to the sink.  I recall one time lifting up his stack of week old dirty dishes, only to be greeted with some kind of insect that shows up to feast on week-old food, to which he calmly stated "Cool, we have more pets now."  The "more" in that sentence was probably in reference to my dog (RIP) who was just a small, insolent puppy at the time.  Oakley, like Noah, had no problems making a mess of the house and was known to poop on the carpet from time to time. Upon returning from class one random afternoon, I opened the door to a horribly pungent odor that punched me in the face like a heavyweight might.  Just in front of me was a steaming pile of dog poo, and just beyond that was Noah sitting in his beanbag chair smoking a pipe.  Without looking at me, but obviously noticing I walked in, he calmly said, "I was just letting it fester."

2) Noah's Bizarre Movie Watching Habit On My Dime - Noah loved watching movies.  Noah loved criticizing movies.  Noah loved pay-per-view movies. Noah loved criticizing pay-per-view movies.  Noah loved watching every single pay-per-view movie on cable so that he could criticize every single pay-per-view movie on cable.  And oh yeah, Noah didn't like chipping in for the cable bill.

I can recall one incident specifically:  He was watching a movie called "The Borrowers" that, till this day, I still have no clue of what the plot is.  Why?  Because Noah turned it off after five minutes. Why?  A technicality.  In the beginning of the movie, the featured family is kicked out of their house for some reason I cannot recall.  Noah immediately called bullshit on this:  "They can't do that, under section 41 in the blahbleedablah housing code, the landlord isn't allowed to evict them for the reason stated. So, you sue, movie over." Click over to the next pay per view movie.

Now, you're probably thinking I'm complaining too much, and all of this doesn't sound nearly as bad as sperm in your Pert Plus (actually, it probably isn't).  But I haven't gotten to this yet:

3) The Blow Gun:  Otherwise known as Noah's favorite toy.  A blow gun is very easy to use really, you stick a sharp dart near the top blow hole, blow into it, and it sends the projectile flying at a great speed towards the target.  Is it lethal?  I'm not sure.  Could it cause some serious damage?  Abso-fucking-lutely.  Did I enjoy these darts flying centimeters over my head while writing papers at my bedroom desk?  Not so much.  Noah didn't seem to care though, and I was never safe from his little hobby.  I was never injured fortunately, though I believe my hair actually was at one point.  

Much to the delight of my physical well being, Noah was asked to leave school at the end of that first semester (that sounds insensitive) because, as mentioned, he never went to class.  I never worried for him, not because I didn't care, but because I knew that he could be a miscreant and still end up completely fine because he was that smart and talented.  There were some pluses to living with Noah, though.  Even though he never paid me back for movies, he did have zero problem charging insane amounts of money on his father, Steve's, credit card.  Often times I'd be tired after a long day, and would have no interest in going out to dinner, but it was hard to turn down an offer when told: "don't worry, it's on Steve."  I heard this many times that semester, and I believe we racked up over 2k one month on food alone.  Perhaps that made the whole thing worthwhile.

Though I could have done without the near accidental manslaughter. 

So, anyway, let's hear your horrible roommate stories?

Friday, September 9, 2011

What September 9th Means To Me: Nothing, so...Worst Songs Of The 1990s!

This week, Rolling Stone conducted a reader's poll to discover which songs were the absolute worst of the 1990's. I always find these lists kind of humorous because of the obvious irony involved with them.  For these hated songs to even make these lists, they had to have been popular once, so the same people who are now hating on them obviously once supported them.  So, America, take a good look in the mirror, punch yourself in that smug grin, let out a good cry, and let's proceed.  Anyway, I'll save you the trouble of clicking on the link, here are the top ten:
10) 4 Non Blondes - Whats Up? (I actually had to YouTube this song to remember what it was.  Then I couldn't understand why it was singled out.  Sure, it wasnt great, but it was more forgettable than OMG WORST SOOONG EVA!!!!111!!! lulz!)
9) Right Said Fred - I'm Too Sexy (I once saw a classroom of mentally disabled kids perform this at a school function, which was just..I dunno, wrong.  I think the audience would have been more comfortable watching a public execution).
8) Baha Men - Who Let The Dogs Out? (Did we ever discover the answer to one of the most important questions of the 1990's?  I do think Chris Rock admitted to it, though I can't remember. But CR screaming "I LET THE MOTHAFUCKIN DOGS OUT" for some reason stands out in my mind.)
7) Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On (The only reason people hate this is because of general Celine/Titanic backlash.  It's not different from any other "diva" song. So, douchtards, think for yourself, remember that when you first saw Titanic you actually DID cry, and figure out a way to deal with it. That said, James Horner, the guy who wrote this song...supertwat)
6) Hanson - MMMbop (You only have yourselves to blame for this one)
5) Chumbawumba - Tubthumping (I still have this on my iPod and will actually dial it up when I start getting tired on my runs. Yeah, that's right, it's fun!  Its about people getting drunk, getting knocked down, then getting back up again.  Whats the problem?)
4) Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby (See Hanson)
3) BIlly Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart (This song has a similar effect on me as a strobe light does on an epileptic.)
2) Los de Rio - Macarena (It gave us something to do during time outs at sporting events? I dunno, I don't find it that awful)
1) Aqua - Barbie Girl (I thought this song came out in the 2000's.  I'm an idiot)

While the reader's poll provided some nice choices, I strongly believe there were some fantastic contenders left out.  So here goes and feel free to flame away:

5) Warren G. "Regulate"  (1994)  --- I can already see my friend Oscar's reaction:

I know.  Hey, shut up.  I know.  The beat is great, it's still on my iPod, it's an incredibly memorable song.  But have you stopped and listened to the lyrics?  It's actually kind of strange that I have such a negative reaction to this song, because Warren G is actually just describing a normal Friday night for me:  Cruise the streets lookin for ho's, see some guys gambling on the corner, ask the guys if I can play, have those guys point guns at me, then my friend comes and kills them all, then I resume my search for the aforementioned hoes as if nothing happened, find said hoes, take em to the Eastside Motel for a huge orgy with the hoes and my best friend. 

I mean, hey, who can't relate to that?

Worst Lyric: "Now Nate got the freaks and that's a known fact/before I got jacked I was on the same track back up back up cause it's on/N A T E and me/the Warren to the G."   --- Shakespeare, really.  I love when hip hop artists can't figure out a rhyme, so instead just spell their name to fill the space.  In fact, I should inject this into casual arguments when I don't have a good comeback.  "What?  That statsitic I pointed out was incorrect?  Well, B-to the R-to the E to the double T don't give a shit."  Actually, that does sound kind of cool. 

4) Ace Of Base - The Sign (1993) -- Ace of Base not so successfully carried on the Swedish tradition of creating genre-less "dance music," which was started years ago by ABBA.  Chuck Klosterman first pointed this out when he suggested ABBA created a genre all their own.  It was a bunch of Swedes singing songs that sounded like Disco, often about Latin English!  It was as if ABBA existed in a vacuum and created music that they just figured would be popular to Americans (and congrats, it was).  I think Ace Of Base lived in the same vacuum, but only after someone used it to clean up a whole lot of cat hair.  After the cat rolled around in it's own shit for a while.  By the way, wikipedia describes Ace Of Base as "eurodance, ska pop, and reggae fusion."  Exactly.

Worst Lyric: I'll just save you the trouble of reading the entire song.  But, well, the entire song.  (Incidentally, I once played for a softball team called "Ace Of Base ....Ball"  On the back of the uniforms were the words "I Saw The (Steal) Sign."  So, if nothing else, Ace of Base did provide me with a cool T-shirt fifteen years later.  By the way, that team never one a game.  Not even close actually.

3) Skee-Lo "I Wish" - 1995 -- Skee-Lo attempted to do for short people what Larry David does for the bald.  Spittin rhymes on behalf of every guy who doesn't think he gets girls because of his height.  Well, he probably had an easier time getting laid standing on top of the stacks of cash he made off this clunker of a song.  Sure, the beat was catchy, but ...a song about wishing he was taller?  This sounds like something a first grader might have come up with...or, well, something I might write tonight when I'm home alone and lonely.

Worst Lyric: "I wish I was like six-foot-nine/So I can get with Leoshi/ Cause she don't know me but yo she's really fine." ----  Hey Leoshi, how about ya stop being such a superficial cunt and give a tiny brotha a chance?  (on a funny side note, when I was looking up the lyrics for "I Wish," one of the first sites to provide them on Google was  That just made me laugh.)

2) Another Bad Creation "Iesha" - 1990 --  You know when you're young and you make up a song or dance and perform it for your parents in the living room?  And then they clap and pretend that you are actually talented?  Somehow these kids turned that into a record deal.  And that's how Iesha came into our lives.  Seriously, how old were these kids?  10?  Did we really need to support their novelty by giving them tons of airplay?  Apparently, yes.

Worst Lyric: "(Yo Red, where'd you meet her?)/At the playground, ya know, that's where I saw this cutie/This girl was swingin' and she looked so fly/On the monkey bars, we climbed up to the top and/She touched my hand that's when I fell in love." --  What's funnier...reading those lyrics? Or the fact that we used to sing them in Jew camp, without irony, back in 1990?

1) Spice Girls "Wannabe" - 1997 -- I was completely and utterly shocked this gem didn't make the list.  Isn't this everything we're supposed to hate about the world?  Clearly manufactured pop music specifically designed to manipulate it's audience by jamming it down their throats until it becomes catchy?  And isn't it more annoying that it actually worked?  Anyway, lets just get to it's worst lyric because it might actually be the worst lyric in the history of lyrics.

Worst Lyric: "Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want,/So tell me what you want, what you really really want/I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want,/So tell me what you want, what you really really want,/I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna really /really really wanna zigazag ah"

OK, first you keep me wondering what you "really want" for ten minutes and then, tease me by almost telling me, only to replace the answer with "ha" (this is like holding bacon in front of a dog's nose only to pull it away when it goes to grab it,) after finally revealing what it is that you really really want, it's that you wanna "zigazig?"  Speechless.  Unless this is some commentary on how men and women can't understand eachother, and I can't imagine it is, then this long intro to this incredibly annoying song is an abortion.  Shame on them, shame on us...this is another reason of why we can't have nice things.

So, everyone,  what say you?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What September 8th Means To Me: Ugh, College.

Not surprisingly, these first few days of September still remind me of the start of the school year, but today I'm specifically reminded of the wake-up call otherwise known as college.  College, for most, is the first taste of freedom and some sort of responsibility, but college, for me, also served as a reminder of my place in the hierarchy of the intelligent...or, you know,  the realization that I was the jester's understudy.

You see, I went to Reed College. For those who don't know, Reed College isn't only a left-leaning small liberal arts school nestled in southeast Portland, it's also the most highly concentrated area for intellectual snobbery in the entire nation (unofficially).  Every freshman at Reed is required to take a humanities course featuring ancient Greek and Roman literature, and it was in this very class that I met some amazing people who helped me confirm my cellar dweller status: my good friend Jenny who, without a doubt, is the most interesting person I know (she could give the Dos Equis guy a run for his money), my friend Nico (who was so smart that his comments and observations were generally followed by that reverent silence and head nod reserved for the truly insightful), among others. But it was also the class that quickly made me realize this sad fact:

I was, without a doubt, the dumbest person at Reed College.


OK, perhaps that was unnecessary, but at least I was unique?  Yes, yes, I know, Mom, I'm not stupid, it's all relative and, you're right, I was probably the only person in my freshman class that knew what body part Kelly Taylor was shot in during the season premiere of 90210 that year. I suppose that's worth something. Anyway, I'll never forget the day I officially realized I should probably ride the short bus to class:

That particular day, the humanities class was discussing the meaning and importance of artwork emblazoned on Greek pottery.  Now, this artwork didn't feature actual pictures of humans, cities, animals or anything like that, no, they were mostly random squiggles and circles similar to designs you might see in the bargain bin at Walmart.  The entire class was dissecting the meaning of each brushstroke, each squiggle and relating it, somehow, back to Ancient Greek culture. It all seemed like a lot of bullshit to me, so when finally asked my opinion, I responded with this genius statement:

"I dunno, maybe they just thought it looked nice."

And I suddenly felt like the guy who asked for the jelly in that Polaner All Fruit commercial:

And see the woman at the end there?  The one who almost faints?  My classmate Lily had pretty much the same exact reaction.  I'd make fun of Lily, but I'm sure she's actually doing something pretty cool with her life right now, while I'm blogging and comparing myself to a kid with down syndrome who won a race at the Special Olympics.  So, really, I guess she wins, the kid wins, I lose (and if there is a hell, I'm going to it).  Nevertheless, Lily didn't need to announce to our Spanish class that I was a moron later that day. "You weren't just wrong, you were so wrong, so unbelievably wrong, I think I've seen gorillas who fling shit at the zoo who are smarter than you," I believed she exclaimed.  Well, I'm paraphrasing the last part, but the first part is verbatim.  But hey, I'd have bet 5 bucks that I could have wrecked her in a Saved By The Bell trivia contest!  And, well, I'd bet 10 bucks she wouldn't have given a shit about that. 

Hey Lily,

I'm not ashamed

Anyway, much of the next four years, more or less, mirrored that moment.  I somehow graduated from that place, much to the chagrin of that professor who recommended I fail out of the English program because I couldn't interpret poetry for the life of me.  (Oh, this poem was about a woman menstruating?  Hmm, are you sure it wasn't about boiling potatoes? Really, are you sure because I coulda...a metaphor?  What's a metaphor?)

So, yeah, I suppose this entire post is dedicated to those who suggest I go to grad school.  I wonder if you'll think twice next time the thought crosses your mind.