Friday, December 30, 2011

What December 30th-31st Means To Me: Looking Back And Forward

You know how this is done. 

I wanted to write this post without thinking about it.  I feel it'll be more honest if I do a quick look back on the year without having had time to spend weighing pros and cons and creating pointless competitions.  Because of this, it might not be accurate as, if I wrote this post tomorrow, some of the answers might be different...anyway!

Favorite Song Of The Year - "Midnight City" - M83

You know those songs that make you think, "I hope my iPod shuffles to this while someone else is in the car?"  Or a song that helps you completely lose yourself in thought while inexplicably making the world around you seem sexier?  Seriously, turn it on at night and drive through LA or NYC with it playing loudly.  I bet you'll feel like a character in a movie that just left a precarious situation and now has some thinking to do, and by the end of the song, will decide on an act that will both be bold and life-changing, but probably stupid.  Then try to keep that feeling when you realize all you're doing is going to Subway for a sandwich. 
Runner Up: Set Fire To The Rain - Adele -- As one of my co-workers can attest to, I was never the biggest Adele fan, and was throughouly annoyed by "Chasing Pavements," which I thought was "Chasing Penguins" the first 60 times I heard it.  Anyway, "Set Fire To The Rain" is awesome and poweful.  The kind of song that makes you hurt a little. 

Favorite New TV Show:  Game Of Thrones (HBO)

I never expected to like this show in a million years, but five weeks in I was cursing the fucking Lannisters (except for Tyrion, of course), crying for Eddard, and giving the TiVo the night off because I knew I'd be watching it on schedule.  I'm not one that usually enjoys fantasy or anything that resembles a period piece, but Game Of Thrones, with its rich characters and compelling (if unoriginal) storyline, made me wonder and cringe every single week.  Also, thank you for bringing us the sexiest new girl on TV. 

Oh, let us raise some dragons together
Can't wait for Season 2. 

Favorite Episode of the Year: Last Ep. of Friday Night Lights

I will miss you.

Favorite Movie:  Honestly, none really stand out, but I did enjoy The Descendants, The Artist, Win/Win (that was this year, right?), Dragon Tattoo (I'm sorry the American one kicks the Swedish ones ass...though it also had about ten times the budget...and it certainly showed), and ummmm I can't even think what else.  Regardless, going to the movies is still one of my favorite things in the world to do.

Favorite Book: I hear My Sweet Saga was pretty good.  You guys should all check it out :) 

Favorite Sports Moment: Any of Tim Tebow's comeback's.  My friend Travis said it best:  "When he plays, I go from laying down on the couch, to sitting up on the couch." 

Favorite Personal Moment: Standing in the big square in Malmo, Sweden at 10 am during Midsommar.  There wasn't a peep or a soul around except me and some guy selling Dianetics books.  Felt like I was in 28 Days Later...without the zombies of course.  There was something cool about the emptiness of a city, even a smaller one.

Favorite Snack: Emerald's Breakfast Blend Trail Mix.   I've pretty much eaten this every single day. 

Wow, I must have had a boring year if this is all that's coming to about some 2012 predictions!

1) The Denver Broncos will not make the playoffs, and Tim Tebow will not be the Broncos starting QB next season
2) Barack Obama will beat Mitt Romney (with Marco Rubio as VP) in the general election, but it'll be damn close because of the Spanish vote. 
3) The Hunger Games movie will do for The Hunger Games books what the Twilight Movie did the for the Twilight books...and then some because the Hunger Games movie (story) will also appeal to males.
4) The Miami Heat will win the NBA Championship.
5) The Dark Knight will be the highest grossing film of the year, and I still won't give a shit.
6) The 2012 Olympics will produce a new national hero, and none of us have heard of HER yet. Probably a gymnast.
7) By the end of 2012, no one will give a shit about Kim Kardashian...or her sisters. One will be in jail.
8) There will be an American tragedy, not quite like 9/11, but something that will resonate almost as strong. 
9) The world will not end.
10) Mayweather and Pacquiao will not fight
11) Daniel Day Lewis will win the Oscar for Speilberg's Lincoln
12) I'm gonna complain...a lot

That's all I've got.  Have a happy new year, see you in 2012

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bonus Blogging!

Here's a fun piece I wrote for (awesome travel blog!) about fighting jet lag.


What December 29th Means To Me: Happy Birthday!

I always feel a little bad for people who have birthdays this time of year because they often get overshadowed by Christmas and New Years.  Less fanfare, less presents, more suck!

On that note, I'd like to say happy birthday to my dear friend K, who I affectionately refer to as ML!  She and I actually went on a few dates a thousand years ago before she abruptly called it off and subsequently dodged a bullet  now rues the day!

But, thankfully, we never lost contact and now pretty much speak on a daily basis..though our conversations are generally variations of the below.

B: ML!
K: Peanut!
B: Are you excited for your date tonight?
K: Not really, its not really a good match
B: Have you never heard of self-fulfilling prophecies?
K: Shut up, you're starting to annoy me.  You always make such a spectacle of my life.
B: Whatever.
<couple of seconds pass>
B: Are we in a tiff?  This epic silence is killing me
K: Oh peanut, lets never fight again.


Have a happy birthday, ML! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What December 22nd-28th Means To Me: Silence and New Year's Plans

I love the week between Christmas and New Years because America seems to go to sleep (as have my blogging habits).  But seriously, is there another week of the year that we as a society collectively punt?  Sure, some people work, but they usually do it half assed, there's nothing on TV, all the good movies have already been released, and most spend much of their day talking about the upcoming year and what they are doing for New Years.   Because I'm pretty nostalgic, it's nice reading all the retrospectives, look backs, and see what the past year has actually brought in the world of news and entertainment.  There's something nice about shoving it into a neat cubbyhole for posterity.  Magazines and newspapers speak about this week's issues with finality like, "THE LAST ISSUE OF THE YEAR," as if they won't start up again a week later.  I'm not sure why we view the end of the year this way, but I'm glad we do.

Anyway, as for this New Years, I'm actually strongly considering doing this ...

He sure looks happy

For some reason, my apathy for New Years Eve has reached a fever pitch, and I don't feel motivated to 1) make plans or 2) pay a hundred dollar cover just to kill time till I can go home. 

I used to really enjoy New Years, but now it seems like a competition to have the "greatest night eva" and it rarely ever materializes as such.   Either way, I'm all for breaking monotony, and, if nothing else, it provides that. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What December 21st Means To Me: Holiday Commercials

I know people who have TiVo may not realize that commercials still even exist, but I certainly do because sports are meant to be watched live, therefore I've been subjected to a slew of holiday commercials that confound the mind (though I have to admit that Pizza Hut Box O' Dinner makes me hungry every time I see it.  I'm not sure how many it's supposed to feed, but I'm firmly convinced I could take the entire thing down myself). 

But anyway...

Zales, Jared, Kay Jewelers:  I understand why these commercials are shown a zillion times during football games: because only a man would ever buy jewelry at Zales.  I grew up in New York, and now live in LA, so I'm not in tune with the Middle American zeitgeist, so maybe Zales is the Tiffany's of Nebraska.  But, to me, I'd assume buying my hypothetical girlfriend something from Zales is just an invitation for her to fuck other men.  Jewelry, of all gifts, should be personal.  It should require thought.  So how much thought is behind buying some mass produced piece of shit you saw on a commercial during halftime of the Packers game?

And for the ladies: isn't wearing an "open heart pendant" (or whatever) today's version of a scarlet letter?  I can just imagine wearing that out and having every other woman thinking "wow, her man cheap!" How do these stores stay in business?  Maybe I'm being a snob, and for those reading who are now clutching their open diamond heart pendant with trepidation, I apologize. 

Lexus - Hey, the jingle YOU created and are now trying to make iconic is not the rich white person's version of the ice cream truck.  Not sure how many of you have seen these commercials, but I guess a while ago Lexus created a simple jingle for their ads that they figured everyone would recognize.  So, in their new commercials, they use this dumb music as a harbinger for awesomeness.  For example, a lovely white couple is riding in an elevator and, suddenly, the elevator starts playing the "lexus music."  The woman smiles and the guy immediately knows that when those doors open, his eyes will be greeted by a brand new car.  Then they'll kiss, hug, and laugh about how rich and awesome they are while snow falls behind the windows of their completely glass house that's no doubt in Aspen.

I would like to see this tried in real life. 

BP - New Orleans Commercial - This one is special.  Hey BP, we know your oil spill ruined the Gulf of Mexico, and it's nice that you created a tourism commercial for the area.  But then to plaster your logo at the end of the commercial as if you're doing them some kind of favor? As my friend AJ says.."COOOOMMMEEEEEEE OONNNNNNNNNNNNN."  We know what you're up to.  You're an oil company, not our best friend.  Clean up your mess, stay out of the public eye, and go fuck yourself. 

Geico Cavemen - Brian Orakpo is the best you can do as a spokesman?  Hey, if you have to remind us who is hocking your product every single commercial, then you probably need a new spokesman.

And speaking of, I always found it peculiar that company's continuously hire random C list celebrities to help advertise their product.  Do they really think it lends them credibility?  Will I be more likely to buy a vacuum cleaner because David Caruso told me to?  I also question the value of paying A-list celebrities millions to voice cartoon characters in animated movies, but I admit this may help in the marketing of films, even though I think its dumb.

But if I were making a holiday commercial, I'd create a normal advertisment that I could air any time of the year, except I'd include a little elf that continuously says "buy mah shit!" He could just stand in the corner of the screen and chime in every once in a while, just to remind you to buy whatever it is I'm selling.  It may be crude and uncouth, but I bet you'd remember it much more than you would Brian Orakpo. 

Buy mah shit!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What December 17th-20th Means To Me: Being a Jew On Christmas

Remember when you were young, and your sibling would stand close to you while extending a finger only centimeters away from your face, as they repeated the phrase "I'm not touching you?"  Now you know what it feels like to be a Jew on Christmas.


Christmas is probably America's most festive holiday.  Has to be, right?  Entire communities drape themselves in various shades of reds and greens, shopping malls morph into elaborate versions of Santa's workshop, specialized holiday music dominates the airwaves, and commercials featuring Rockwellian-type family dinners that make Christmas seem like living in a greeting card are all over television.

It's a great thought.  It's warm and comforting.  But when you grew up in a Jewish household, it fucking sucked. 

In elementary school, they used to subject us to the annual, embarrassing torture otherwise known as the winter concert.  Parents would pack the auditorium to hear their kids sing numerous off-key renditions of Christmas songs about Jesus, trees, jingle bells, and whatever, with only a brief respite for one crappy Jew song about lighting the menorah that most of the Christian kids yawned through. Then they subsequently blamed me and Brian Spielman for putting them through that kind of torture, as if we had any kind of say.  I begged my mom not to go every year, but each December I was up there lip syncing hymns about Bethlehem, wondering why we couldn't sing songs in Hebrew.  Not because I liked Hebrew songs, or even being Jewish, I was just that asshole kid who told my peers that Santa was fake, and I wanted them to experience the pain that I had to go through at Jew school twice a week.

(On a side note, one Christmas eve, when I was seven or eight, I actually stayed up the ENTIRE night with my neck arched to the sky, seeing if I could spot Santa.  Of course, I didn't see him, and was all too happy to tell each and every one of my classmates when school reconvened, as if I discovered a hidden secret.  "But how did I get my cabbage patch kid?" they asked.  "Who else got me my Nintendo if not Santa," they bellowed.  YOUR PARENTS WENT TO TOYS R US, YOU DUMB SHIT! I probably said those exact words too, I cussed a lot as a child.  So, that day at Congers Elementary School was all..


And a simple trip to the principal's office was earned.  Actually, come to think of it, that might have been the first moment in my life where I was treated as an adult.  The principal and teacher never told me I was wrong, and in fact gave me the wink and nod that suggested they understood my position, but asked that I not ruin it for the duped who believed a bearded, white old guy actually delivered presents.  Let's just keep this "secret" to ourselves, they suggested.  Now go back to class and stop being a dirty Jew. 

Anyway, these days it's much easier to be a Jew on Christmas because 1) I'm an adult and 2) places are open, great movies are released, and there's more on TV than just the burning yule log.  By the way, do they still do this?  I'd really like to know if a channel still airs a burning log for 89595739857835 hours while playing Christmas music in the background.  When I was a kid, it seemed like the only thing on, and my brother and I would watch it like....

Hey look, it's still burning

... before we started playing with a paper bag to kill the boredom.

Hey, I like Christmas, don't get me wrong.  It's incredibly festive and generally people are in a good mood.  And though it doesn't bother me now, as a child it was hard not feeling left out.  And when people ask why I didn't celebrate Christmas (or don't now), as if it's a secular holiday, it's because just the thought of putting up a Christmas tree makes me feel like a fraud.  Not just because I don't believe in Jesus or God or what have you, but because I never had it, so to suddenly embrace it wouldn't seem genuine.  So, it will remain something that I admire (for lack of a better word) from afar.  If I do get married to a shiksa one day and have little gentile children, then perhaps I'll start celebrating it.  But I'm sure it will still feel weird even then. 

So, on that note, Merry Christmas everyone.  And sorry to tell you, Santa still ain't real. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

What December 16th Means To Me: Tim Tebow And How He Helps Us Define America

If you were to turn on ESPN right now, commentators are probably talking about Tim Tebow.  If you log on to the New York Times opinon section, you can probably find an article about Tim Tebow.  Sports Illustrated?  Oh, look who is on the cover this week...Tim Tebow.  Talk radio?  They are probably discussing Tim Tebow.  Even the Global Language Monitor (whatever that is) now officially recognizes the phenomenon of "Tebowing" as an actual word.  For 2,000+ years this was known as kneeling to pray, now its been named after the polarizing Denver Broncos quarterback who is in the midst of a historic run. 

Needless to say, Tim Tebow has completely dominated the national conversation, has completely overshadowed other historic football stories (like Green Bay's run for an undefeated season), and actually has transcended sports in general. The question is why.  Is it because Tim Tebow is THAT interesting, or is it a sign of the times? 

By all measures, Tim Tebow seems like a nice guy.  He constantly says the right thing, visits sick kids in hospitals, is overwhelmingly positive, and is secure in his faith.  But there's nothing about him that is inherently annoying or all that interesting, in fact his personality borders on bland.  He never really says anything inflammatory, and his off the field actions, if anything, are admirable.  People point to his Christianity as a lightning rod, but praise for God is certainly nothing new to football, and there are probably more vocal Christians actually playing in the NFL. Certainly, part of the reason for Tebow's "popularity" is due to his recent play.  His repeated last minute comebacks, defying all probability, have caused wonder among both analysts and fans, but the Tebow conversation and argument about his place in both the NFL and American society started long before that.

As I've said many, many times on this blog, we live in a much different world than we did 10 years ago.  Because of the rapid rise of the internet and cable television, we now officially live in a 24/7 media world, a world where we all can easily dispense our opinions and voice, and choose to do so in the name of noteriety (look no further than YouTube).  Our access to one another has shrunk the world to the point where we believe we all can manipulate the conversation and be "important," and because we have multiple ways of gathering information (TV, blogs, social media sites, constantly updated news sources), we consistently consume it, providing us more facts and opinions to help us solidify our own beliefs.  And its this solidification that causes us to form a defined opinion that is often not malleable. At some point in this process the opinion becomes validated by the multitude of likeminded people.  Essentially, we shout our beliefs into a kind of an echo chamber, and they get amplified to the point where, in an effort to be heard (whether subconscious or not), we calcify them until they are as hard as granite.  Then, we continue to dispense this opinion in an effort to stay relevant in society, even if its on a miniscule level. 

And since humans often care more about being "right" than having an actual conversation, and also because social media doesn't really allow for natural conversation, we immediately define ourselves to the community through our opinions.   And because of this, there's a natural divide where the public generally falls into two camps and becomes so dedicated to their belief that they can no longer see outside of it.  Look no further than our political discourse.  The two sides cannot agree on ANYTHING to the point where it's laughable.  We don't just view people with opposite opinions as "wrong," we see them as absurd.  And the more we say it and see others sharing our opinons, the more it becomes truth in our minds. 

And that's exactly what happened with Tim Tebow.  Granted, he's not some random guy we've all decided to argue about.  He's probably the most decorated college football player of all time, but the controversial thing about him is his playing style, not his religious beliefs.  During the draft process in 2010, NFL commentators and fans alike either thought one of two things:  Tim Tebow could be a successful quarterback in the NFL despite his unorthodox playing style, or he'd crash and burn.  And over time, this conversation became so amplified that we're still having it despite that fact that we now actually have results to go by.  Since then, others have tied his social beliefs into the argument, which were then followed by stereotypes (racial and otherwise) and everything Chuck Klosterman has to say in this article.  And yes, Tebow has made some "believers" out of his detractors, but these guys usually dispense their new found faith with a caveat.  ESPN commentators Stephen A. Smith and Merrill Hoge said, time after time, that Tim would have no success in the NFL because of his lack of skill, but now say that they were wrong, not because they underestimated his physical skill, but that they never considered the emotional aspect of his play in regards to the rest of his teammates.  Essentially, they are saying they are wrong because they never considered an "unpredictable" quality to his play that is totally beyond comprehension.  In other words, they are saying "nobody could have predicted this."  It's their way of absolving themselves from perceived fault.  So, really, you're not admitting you're wrong because to do so would be admitting you are a flawed human since, in regards to the national conversation, you've defined yourself by your opinion.  Think I'm wrong?  Ask any knowledgable fan about Merrill Hoge, and right now, their first reaction is probably "oh, he's that guy who thinks Tebow sucks, right?"

And that's what American society has become.  A bunch of people who cannot think objectively.  Judging ourselves by our opinions has become our way of standing out and defining us as humans.  Once we make decisions on our point of view, we'd rather stick to that than ever admit we were wrong because that would challenge both our inner strength and sense of self.  And thats why Tim Tebow has become such a prominent figure in our national conversation.  Not because he's an interesting guy, but he's a guy that caused all of us to form a finite opinion, and then beat that opinion into the ground.  Whenever there is a chance for deep factionalism in this country, that's the kind of story that will take off because people will triple down on their beliefs in the name of being dominant and right.  And because of modern society, we have easy access to dispense our opinion to the community.

God (or Tim Tebow) help us all. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What December 10th-15th Means To Me: I Forget (So How About Some Google Searches!)

Because many details about everyday life are interesting, I often come up with things I'd like to blog about throughout the day...then subsequently forget them when it comes time to sit in front of my computer.  I remember small subjects, like why I always spit in the urinal, but these are hardly worth a blog post.  So, until I remember, how about another addition of "How Did You Find Brett's Blog: A Post Dedicated To Random Google Searches That Lead You To My BS Ramblings."

Some from this week:

1) Sweden Vacation Fucking:   If looking at what searches lead to my blog has taught me anything, it's that too many people think Google is their pimp.  I'm not sure what to say other than whatever I posted probably didn't give you any insight on how to get laid on a Swedish vacation, in fact, nothing I write will probably help you get laid anywhere.  Though I have to wonder what kind of information this person was looking for.  Was he expecting to find a website dedicated to places where loose Swedish women (there's no way a female plugged this search term into Google) are just waiting to be it was some "tourist destination" only known by the locals?  You know, like in the movies, when the wide eyed, innocent American tourists find this guy...

So, who wants to see the Real Sweden?

...and he takes them to some den of iniquity where the dress code is topless?  Or perhaps I'm way off and "Sweden Vacation Fucking" is some newly invented sexual position all the kids are doing, and I'm too old and lame to know about it..speaking of...

2) Fuck I'm Old: This exact term was searched 5 times last week.  There's a lot of sad people coming to this realization and, of course, turning to their old friend Google for some sage advice and some sympathy.  I haven't bothered to see what pops up if you type in those three words, but I assume a bunch of Viagra ads and perhaps a nudge to an Ensure website.  But speaking of, I'll share a little story about the time I realized I was getting old:

I was about a month away from my 30th birthday, and was watching the movie Lucas, you know the one starring a young Corey Haim.  In the movie, these crazy locusts visit the town and Lucas explains to his wanna be girlfriend that the locusts come once every twenty years.  And I think the characters discuss where they might be the next time the locusts visit.  I thought about the writer of the movie and how, when he wrote the scene, 20 years probably seemed like an eternity. Then I realized 20 years had already passed since the movie had been released, and that I was alive the entire time.  For whatever reason, this caused a panic attack and I lost my breath for a while.  So, yeah, Fuck I'm Old.  But I probably will never type this into Google. 

3) Get Laid Height:  Ahh, this is the height I want to be.  I wonder what the "get laid height" is....6'3"?

4) Kate Middl: Were you just too lazy to type the rest? 

That's all for now!  I think next time I come up with something good to discuss, I'll actually write it down so I'm not staring at my blank screen wondering how to discuss spitting in the urinal. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

What December 9th Means To Me: December Movies

December is a fantastic time for movies.  All the Oscar bait rolls out, the feel good, distracting Christmas shit is released.  I figured I'd review the movies coming out this weekend, even though I haven't even seen one of them.

New Years Eve -

Description New Year's Eve celebrates love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts, in the intertwining stories told amidst the pulse and promise of New York City on the most dazzling night of the year.

Review:   An entire movie that suggests the world is the first floor of Macy's during December.  While I'm sure the movie is shallow crap, I suppose there's some value in shallow crap this time of year, considering much of the holiday season is...shallow crap.  We all rush to stores to buy people presents, not because we really want to, but society dictates that we do, so most of us exchange tons of gifts with little thought behind them.  But, hey, 90 minutes of a world where the snow is never black, where people smile every second, and we all fall in love?  That does seem better than real life, so ummm...hooray for New Year's Eve?  Bah.

The Sitter

Description: When the world's most irresponsible babysitter takes three of the world's worst kids on an unforgettable overnight adventure through the streets of New York City, it's anyone's guess who's going to make it home in one piece.

Review:  I don't know if Jonah Hill is thin in this movie, but I've completely lost interest in Jonah Hill as a comic actor the second I saw him thinner.  Yay for health, bad for business. I think I liked Adventures In Babysitting when I was younger, this is obviously some reboot of that, but I noticed it's only running 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and I'm all too often swayed by public opinion.  If 80 percent of the critics thinks it probably sucks.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Description: Based on the classic novel of the same name, the international thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th Century. George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government - which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets.

Review:  The feel good movie of the year!  I hadn't heard of this movie until two minutes ago, but Gary Oldman is cool, so there's that.  Since I have no input, I do have a question.  Last night there was a premiere for that movie Angelina Jolie is directing at the theater alongside my gym.  Near the red carpet, there was this sectioned off area for fans to gawk, many of them having Angelina paraphernalia.  My guess is they stood there for hours cheering and whatnot.  I guess I just don't understand this mentality.  I'm not going to suggest that meeting someone famous can't be a cool experience (I still get star struck by athletes), but what is the benefit of standing like cattle for a few hours on the off chance you get to glimpse a celebrity walking the red carpet?  Are these people under some kind of delusion that Angelina would walk over, strike up a conversation, and invite them for dinner?  What's even the story you relay to other people?  "Well, last night I went to the premiere of whatever and just stood outside for hours and watched people walk the red carpet.  Jealous?  Oh, and I shrieked and cried a few times too."

Young Adult

Description: Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary, a writer of teen literature who returns to her small hometown to relive her glory days and attempt to reclaim her happily married high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). When returning home proves more difficult than she thought, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate (Patton Oswalt) who hasn't quite gotten over high school, either

Review:  I like Charlize Theron, and love Patton Oswalt and Jason Reitman, so count me in if I can find time for it this weekend.  I'm also a nostalgic butthead who probably secretly wishes for a second chance at high school (so I could change EVERYTHING), so perhaps this is right up my alley.  And, judging from the trailer, the word "cunt" is probably used a few times, and I do enjoy that word.  So, yay. 

Thats it!  Have a good friday. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What December 8th Means To Me: Great Accomplishments

Goals.  Accomplishments.  Since childhood, we Americans have had those two words drilled into our brains as the thing that defines our self worth.  Work hard, they say!  Be proud of your abilities, they claim! Because of this, we are either a motivated people, or a scared people.  A proud people, or an insecure people. Some obtain higher educational degrees, some climb the corporate ladder, some travel around the world, some get married, some paint, some become astronauts, some raise children, some set Guinness records, some run get the picture.
For me?  I made a big rubber band ball at work. 

Thank you, thank you. I do what I can

Dec 2011

Dec 2010

Dec 2009

Beautiful, ain't it?  And, no, there is no core to that ball other than rubber bands.  In fact, I'm insulted when someone assumes there's a golf ball or tennis ball in there, how dare they.  Do I accuse your children of cheating on tests when you tell me they get good grades?  Do I assume your 5 year old is taking performance enhancing drugs when he scored the winning goal in his soccer game?  If you want to x-ray the ball like Kim Kardashian x-rayed her ass to prove there are no implants, feel free.  Also, no, I did not buy a huge box of rubber bands to create it.  I don't spend my days just wrapping rubber bands around a ball. Do you assume I have no life?  Well, in that case, you assume correctly, but still, I don't cure boredom by creating rubber band balls.  Every day, twice a day, the work mail guys bundle the mail in numerous rubber bands, and every day I sneak to the drop off box to steal them.  So little by little, as years pass, I've created my masterpiece.  One drawback is that I've become the "rubber band guy."  If people need rubber bands, they come to me, which is annoying because if you needed paint, would you chip some off a Picasso?  Of course not.  Plus, because of its size, all my rubber bands are kinda stretched out and useless anyway.  Which is why I named the ball "your mom." 

Anyway, since this ball is the closest thing I'll probably ever have to a child, if my co-workers see me approaching the elevators with it, it's a good sign I'm never coming back. 

Ten most common comments about the ball:

1) "Wow, that's a big rubber band ball!"   (Yep.)
2) "Does it bounce?" (It's rubber, what do you think)
3) "Can I bounce it?" (Sure, but it might annoy the people on floor below us)
4) "You think?" (Yes...)
5) "Oh" (they bounce it anyway)
6) "Damn, that's a big rubber band ball" (Thanks)
7) "How long did it take you to make?" (4 years?)
8) "Cripes, that's a big rubber band ball" (I know)
9) "I hope your bosses don't see that" (Why?)
10) "Whoa, that's a big rubber band ball!"  (woo!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What December 6th and 7th Mean To Me: Memories

I have no clue why I woke up thinking about this, and it has no relevance to anything other than I find it funny.

When I was 8 years old, and my brother 11, we sat down one random night to watch television.  And, per usual, we fought about what to watch.  I definitely cannot remember what I wanted to see that night and, of course, it didn't matter because my brother was older and controlled the television anyway.  For whatever the reason, he selected a show premiering on ABC that looked...well, boring.  But he was adamant on giving it a shot, probably for no other reason than annoying me.

So, we watched the show in its entirety and, by the end, were both very satisfied and vowed to watch more. In fact, we threw around such effusive praise for the show that you could say we were giddy for our new discovery.  We were there from the beginning.  In before it was "popular!"  Perhaps we'd go to elementary school the next Monday and rave about the fun, new sitcom we found.

And just as the show ended, he said, "See? Aren't you glad we watched that?"

What a decision.  The night was made.

The show?

True story! Just some Wednesday morning lulz for ya.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What December 3rd-5th Means To Me: Weekend Thoughts

Here are some basic fail thoughts on the weekend:

1)  Basic Brett Fail

This is becoming an alarming issue.  Sunday morning, I went to my local Starbucks to buy the biggest, most powerful venti caffeine IV to combat exhaustion that can only be earned from three hours sleep.  While on line, the gentleman paying for his order in front of me turned around and asked, "Hey, what are you getting? It's on me."

I immediately found this odd; how often does a complete stranger offer to buy you coffee?  Perhaps I looked incredibly tired and therefore he had sympathy, I wasn't sure, though never really believed that anyway.  But the Jew in me overrided my senses, and I took him up on the offer, though I neglected to also ask for the blueberry scone I had my heart set on because I didn't want to seem greedy. Thus, I remained hungry. Scone fail. Hunger fail. Stomach fail. All fail. 

Anyway, while we are waiting for our drinks (which took way too long), he engaged me in all too friendly conversation about my iPhone and my weekend, and while humoring it all, I'm also wondering why in the world is this guy being so nice.  Finally, after some small speech he gives about how much he loves working so much, I asked him what he did for a living.  He looked at me curiously, responded and, suddenly, it hit me. There was a reason he gave me a strange look, and there was a reason he was being so friendly.  The reason? He's told me what he does several times because, duh, we've met several times.  That's generally what happens when someone is your next door neighbor.  And he probably bought me coffee was because I actually gave him a set of speakers I wasn't using only a couple of months before.  Once again, here's someone I met a handful of times and I didn't recognize him. 

Fly high, Brett, fly high

This is not a case of me being lazy or not paying attention when I speak to someone, I just have lost the ability to place people I don't know that well out of context (even people I consider friends).  I know I'm not the only one at least, a number of months ago, while killing time before a movie, I picked up some Nora Ephron memoir from the Barnes display table and opened to a chapter where she discusses a similar problem...except, at times, Nora doesn't even recognize her sister.  We're doomed!  At least she's rich. 

2) Society Fail

I'm convinced humans are scared of one thing above all else.  It's not death, it's not heights, it's not tigers, its not crime.  Humans are deathly scared of being wrong, or more specifically, admitting they were wrong.  I'm going to use a sports example, so please do not roll your eyes.  Anyone who has given NFL football even a passing glance this year is keenly aware of the Tim Tebow situation going on in Denver.  But for those who haven't: Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, has been a divisive figure since his first NFL pass, with numerous commentators calling him an embarrassment to quarterbacking and guaranteeing that he'd have no NFL success.  Seven weeks later, since named the starter, Tim has led a pretty bad Broncos team to a 6-1 record, often winning games in heroic fashion.  It's been historic and unprecedented. And after every win, I'm excited to see what these blowhards have to say about their one time "guarantees."  So, each post-victory Monday morning, I open up my web browser, all...
Justify! I'm ready for them to turn the page and admit, God forbid!, that they were wrong.  I'm ready for the mea culpa.  I'm ready for them to say, "Hey, this kid can play a little, I'm a fucking moron!"  But...Nope. Not even a little. They keep changing the argument to support their original point even though all evidence suggests otherwise. 

There's something about the competition in sports that brings out the worst in people.  For some reason, it's something we all take all too seriously, as watching sports conjures an all too raw emotional response.  This weekend, I tried explaining this to someone I don't know very well, and who didn't understand why people cared so much, and I probably just wound up looking like a fanatical jackass in the process.  We take so much pride in our allegiance and our stances that, inexplicably, we form finite opinions we refuse to change.  In the end, we all look dumb.  There are better things to worry about, but, generally speaking, we could all diffuse a lot of arguments by simply saying, "I was wrong."  Humans are incredibly imperfect.  We should be admitting this every second of every day.  I'm not sure why its so hard to do that. 

3) Predictability

The girl behind the counter at the California Chicken Cafe on Melrose now starts ringing up my order before I even say a word.  This is now the 7957348579358 restaurant that does this.  I really need to start mixing up my choices.
4) I'm Old

I think the true measure of adulthood is not getting married, being a parent, or having some high ranking's losing the ability to sleep in.  It's so sad that the backside of 8:30 AM is now considered a late sleep for me.  Even if I went to bed at 4am the night before. 

5) Once The Amazing Race Ends, What Will I Do On Sunday Night?

I guess take really long walks?

Friday, December 2, 2011

What December 1st and 2nd Mean To Me: Holiday Toys!

A recent Grantland article concerning bad 80's toys got me waxing nostalgic about my own childhood and, more importantly, about gifts I either wanted and/or received as a kid.  Growing up Jewish in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood had one distinct advantage:  Hannukah generally fell a couple of weeks before Christmas, so who was consistently the first kid on the block with the cool shit?  This guy.  And because I was a materialistic kid raised in a materialistic world, I wore this privledge like a badge of honor.  If I could have affixed a chain to my Nintendo console and wore it like a necklace to taunt my friends, I would have.  "Oh, did you get up to level 5 in Kung Fu yet? No?  Oh, that's funny, because I did.  Sucks to be Christian!"

In fact, one of my fondest childhood memories was entering my living room to find a large wrapped box, with 4 smaller, similarly wrapped boxes on top of it.  Clearly, it was the aforementioned Nintendo and four games.  My brother and I ripped that shit open much like the famous Nintendo 64 Boy and played it for the rest of the night.  My parents were great about fulfilling our wishlists (and I can't imagine how much trouble they went through to get these gifts), but even though they always got us the gifts we wanted, it doesn't mean the 80's toys were as cool as advertisers and companies promised.  Below is the List O Fail!

1) Rob The Robot:

I was put on this Earth as a Marketing ploy...and to waste your time

Ahhh, well, just as I praised my Nintendo as, perhaps, my most memorable childhood gift, allow me to hate on it for a second.  For those that do not remember, all first generation Nintendos came with the above robot.  Looks cool and futuristic, right?  Only if the future is complete shit.  Here's a bit of a history lesson:  In the early 1980's, several companies and toy makers invested in video game systems (like Intellivision and Coleco) only to watch them crash and burn.  When Nintendo created their system, they knew they would not be able to sell it to stores if it was just a video game.  So they had to market it as a "toy."  Enter Rob the Robot.  Rob was created to "help" the user navigate certain games, but all he did was 1) not work and 2) confuse.  I still have no clue what his purpose actually was, but his mere presence fed into the future obsessed culture that made movies like Back To The Future so popular.  We were so idealistic then, weren't we?  Now he just exists as a fun relic with a purpose no greater than a paperweight.

2) Robotix

"The Motorized Modular Building System"

3) Bingo The Bear

While You Sleep!

I'm not sure why I ever wanted this toy, but I was in second grade, and for some reason a talking bear that wasn't Teddy Ruxpin appealed to me.  Bingo was a puppet that said a few pre-programmed phrases that, if anything, just proved that Bingo had zero confidence and was an attention whore.  For example, his musings included "Are you my friend?," "Can I have a hug?," and "I don't understand" (which was said in a sad tone, as if you just rejected his offer of friendship).  But although Bingo seemed friendly and affable, my personal memory of him is one of terror.  Because simply touching his mouth would cause him to speak, I was often woken up by one of his exclamations or questions when I rolled over him in my sleep.  Imagine being woken up, time and time again, to questions like "Why don't you have paws like me?" or the demand "Give me a hug, will ya." 

4) Rubiks Race

I sincerely wonder if anyone, in the history of the world, the creators included, ever figured out how to play this.

5) Cabbage Patch Kids

The IT toy of the mid 1980's.  Dolls that were "babies" grown in a cabbage patch.  We are a weird culture.  Anyway, because I hated being left out of ANYTHING, I wanted one of these toys.  And for anyone that read my book, (My Sweet Saga!  Now only 2.99 for your Kindle!!), they know its fate.  But for those who haven't read (shame on you!), I received a Cabbage Patck Kid, hated it because it had freckles (I still don't know why), and relegated it to the closet for years.  It eventually became the mummy in a 6th grade history project on Ancient I suppose it served its purpose.  I remember some classmates of mine collected up to 10 of these dolls, for reasons unknown...I wonder where most are now. 


As for unexpected toys that I DID enjoy...anyone remember the game Dark Tower?

I have ZERO recollection of how to play this game, or the objective, but it did feature a mechanical rotating tower that was somehow integral to the experience.  I'm not even sure how many times I played this game, but I remember it being teh awzum.  Though I bet if I tried playing it today, I'd get bored in about five minutes and check my email sixty-five thousand times instead. 

Have a great weekend, all!