Monday, January 30, 2012

What January 28th-30th Means To Me: Going Away

(Before I get started, I'm writing this blog post from a Starbucks, and am very glad they now have a "blond roast," simply because I can finally make that incredibly dumb joke about liking my coffee like I like my women.  Cross another thing off the bucket list. Dream big.)

Anyway, this weekend, a writers conference brought me to my exotic neighbor to the south...Sannnnnn Diego.  A blog post about a writers conference probably isn't all that interesting, so I can basically sum it up in a few words:  Seminars, keynotes, bad food, worse haircuts, but at least, free coffee.    And, somehow, it seemed like every discussion I went to, I sat next to a kind old lady and her breathing machine that would emit these odd gasping sounds that tricked me into thinking it was constantly breaking.  Thankfully, it didn't, and she seemed comfortable. 

But above all else, my brief stay in San Diego meant one thing: I got to stay in a hotel.


Oh, I fucking love hotels.  Nice hotels, shitty motels, it doesn't matter.  There's something about unlocking a door to a freshly made bed (that always seems more comfortable than the one I have at home) and the hopes that the television has HBO.  When I used to watch 90210, Dylan's friends and teachers felt bad that he had to live in a luxury hotel instead of a house.  I was the one guy who thought that was the coolest thing in the world and never understood why someone WOULDN'T want to have the opportunity to live in a hotel.  Seriously, every time I open a hotel room door, I want to jump on the bed for a while like I probably did when I was five years old. 

But there are some oddities that still exist within the hotel world, as if they are stuck in the past.  Well, at least for the Hilton I was staying at this weekend.  On a side note, the lobby music upon check in was "Don't Stop Believing," and on the way out, it was "Living On A Prayer."  I dunno why, but it just all seemed like a good metaphor for my life lately. 

The Long Distance Phone Call 

Hey, Hilton, we aren't in the 80's anymore.  I would love to know how many idiots actually use their hotel phone to call long distance when the rate is north of 4 dollars a minute.  Yes, you read that right: FOUR DOLLARS A MINUTE.  Hell, if I'm making a phone call for 4 dollars a minute, there BEST be a sexy lady on the other end talking dirty to me.  Hell, fuck that, for 4 dollars a minute, that person at the other end better be telling me the future.  Seriously, are people transcribing the outgoing conversation and sending homing pigeons to deliver it?  Why does it cost so much to make a long distance phone call in a hotel?

That Stupid USA TODAY they shove under your door.  

I once read a blog somewhere that suggested this USA TODAY isn't, in fact, complimentary, and if you do so much as TOUCH it, they charge you like a year's subscription or your first born.  I'm probably exaggerating, but that blogpost stuck with me, so when I noticed it slipped under my door this morning, I poked at it like a dead rat until it was clear in the hallway.  Also, does anyone even read USA TODAY anymore?  Its sole purpose seems to be to give an impatient 5th grader an idea of current events...if that. 

The Breakfast Buffet

If you visit my Facebook page, you'll notice that one of my "likes" is eating.  Which is a good thing because its necessary for survival.  And as a fan of eating and variety, I love the buffet.  And, no, I don't shovel crappy food in my mouth until I'm ready to burst just so "I can get mah moneeez worf." I just like the idea of scooping out a bunch of foods that don't necessarily mix on to one plate.  By the way, I don't know if this is an American thing, but what's with people who eat themselves sick at buffets simply because they can.  It's like these people do this simply because they feel they are getting one over on the restaurant.  Guess what?  If the restaurant is a buffet, their food is ass cheap.  They've won, trust me. They always win. And you making yourself sick in the name of gluttony just means you lose. Both in the bathroom and in life. 

Anyway, one question I have for these buffets is what Frisbee store they buy their pancakes from?  I think I chipped a tooth on one of them this morning. 

The Valet

I'm not a complete asshole, so I always tip the valet, but I do so begrudgingly when my car is literally parked 20 feet away.  I could have done that myself, thanks.

OK, there's a lady talking quickly to herself and looking over in my direction.  I suppose it's time for me to go.

Have a great week. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What January 26th Means To Me: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Many of you have probably already heard about Arizona governer Jan Brewer's publicity stunt discussion with President Obama yesterday on the tarmac.  You know, it's really hard having a rational conversation about politics when the other side willingly places people like this...


...into major national offices. 

I don't really even have anything to say other than...well...this is why we can't have nice things. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What January 25th Means To Me: How You Found My Blog

Yes, kids!  It's time for another edition of How You Found My Blog!  For those who don't know how this works, an explanation/example can be found here, though essentially I just post how your random Google searches have lead you to my humble ramblings.

Here are this past week's favorites in no particular order.

Does Kate Middleton Have Jew Skin

Good question!  Let's see.

Do you detect any Jew skin?

I think I see a...hmmmm

Look at the top right corner of her face..is that...
After careful consideration, she, I dunno, may or may not have Jew skin, whatever that is. 
The blog gets a strange number of hits from Russia, and I'll safely assume that's where this search was generated from. Why? I dunno, why not?  I'll also safely assume this person isn't thrilled by the prospect that Kate has some Jew blood, because if he/she was, the search probably would have been more like "OMG IS KATE JEWISH?????"  Anyway, through my own research, the reason the question of Kate's background even exists is because her mother's maiden name is Goldsmith (pretttty Jew!)  But apparently her side of the family is Christian, though perhaps there's a trace of Jew blood somewhere long down that line.  So, rest easy, Russian searcher, her skin is not Jewish. 

Old Condom Peeling Skin

Ooof.  Someone needs to tell this guy that people don't carry condoms in their wallet anymore.  Or...someone needs to tell this girl not to sleep with men who carry condoms in their wallet.  Either way, this sounds like a problem I'd rather not have. 


What Comes With The Wrap And Fruit

Well, if you're me, it's potatoes.  Seriously though, do people assume Google exists solely to serve them?  What was this person expecting to find?  It seems like he has a restaurant and specific meal in mind, but wanted to know the third item he couldn't remember.  So, instead of visiting that restaurant's website, he thought he'd use a generic search, accessing the World Wide Web, figuring it would tell him with no problems.  If you're looking for an idea of what might be good with a wrap and fruit (potatoes!), you might want to phrase your search differently. 


Peeling Skin How You Found My Blog

Ahhh!  There's a term for this sort of thing, but fuck if I know what it is.

Most popular search this week? 

Bert Stare

(!)

Don't mind if I do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What January 24th Means To Me: More Blogging...and more awards hate :(

I love having the opportunity to guest post on other blogs, and here's another for the great travel site worldwinder.com   Its about my love affair with the airport...and how I hate everyone who hates it.  Well, not really...well, sorta.  Anyway!

http://www.worldwinder.com/2012/01/24/what-to-do-in-an-airport/



Also, the 2012 Oscar nominations came out this morning, and I ... just...can't...help...myself.

On NPR, some correspondent discussed the "best actress" category, and more importantly, who she thinks will win.  And Brett gripped the steering wheel of the car extra hard in an effort to vent frustration.  She mentioned that The Help's Viola Davis should be the frontrunner (as if this was a 100-meter dash and her qualifying time was the lowest), but then said you can "never count out Meryl Streep.  She's a veteran of the Oscars."

Is it time for a Bert Stare?   OH, YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT'S TIME FOR A BERT STARE.  So...


There's your Bert Stare!

Ok...

THE ACADEMY AWARDS IS NOT A SPORTING EVENT, HELL, IT'S NOT EVEN AN ACT-OFF.  What they are being "judged" on ... is DONE! It happened MONTHS ago! And it's all subjective and political anyway!  Why do people make it sound like Meryl Streep is Brett Favre and can use her "experience" to win the big game?  Does Meryl Streep have the ability to turn back time and alter her performance?  What does being a veteran of the Oscars have to do with anything?  I just can't believe we have serious conversations like this....then I remember what society I live in.

OK, rant over.  Fin.   Enjoy the day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

What January 21st-23rd Means To Me: Weekend Thoughts

Some basic thoughts from a weekend mostly spent in front of the computer.  However, I did manage to lift my head long enough to notice a few things.


MY GOD THE ARCLIGHT FINALLY HAS PRETZELS

When people ask me my weekend plans, I often just tell them what I plan to eat.  "That's cool that you're going skydiving, jetskiing, and visiting Grandma in London all at the same time. Me? I think I'm just gonna eat some sweet potato fries."

For 8+ years, I've watched movies at the Arclight in Hollywood and, for 8+ years, I've been unimpressed by the concession stand. That's right, unimpressed. Every time I've approached the counter with a friend, I've mentioned how much a soft pretzel would enhance the experience, while simultaneously wondering why in the hell they didn't have them. A pretzel!  What can be simpler? Well, the movie gods finally heard my prayers, and the Arclight has been visited by the pretzel fairy.  I was so excited by the prospect of pretzels that I fumbled through my order, while also expressing my gratitude to the guy behind the counter for finally putting them on the menu.  Unfortunately my...



was met with ...

Oh well, it's a victory for me.

Also, if in a few months you are looking for a DVD copy of the film, "We Need To Talk About Kevin," check for it in the "Family Planning" section next to the condoms at Rite Aid.  Seriously, its a fantastic argument for never having children.

Good Football Games!

Two evenly matched football games both decided by special teams gaffes.  While both the Ravens Billy Cundiff (who missed a chip shot field goal that would have sent the game into overtime) and Kyle Williams (who turned the ball over TWICE on punt returns) do deserve criticism, it's also important to remember, and I agree with Bill Barnwell, that humans have a tendency to only blame players who fuck up late in the game, while ignoring missed opportunities that could have been converted to avoid those late situations entirely.  I've been incredibly critical of Joe Flacco, but I must admit he played pretty well in tough circumstances against the Patriots.  However, Flacco made two critical errors earlier in the game, and both probably would have led to touchdowns.  After a bad first quarter, Ravens cornerback, Ladarius Webb, made a great interception which was immediately followed by Flacco hitting Torrey Smith for a 42 yard bomb that finally put the Ravens within striking distance.  A decent play, sure, but due to blown coverage, Torrey Smith was WIDE OPEN and, because of Flacco's bootleg, it appeared Smith was his first option (meaning he should have noticed he was open RIGHT AWAY).  Flacco was WAY late on the throw, and threw an off-balanced duck that was good enough for a long completion, but had the throw been earlier and more accurate, it's an easy touchdown. Unfortunately for Baltimore, the drive ended in a field goal.  In the 3rd quater, near the goal line, the Ravens called another bootleg that left Flacco with two options in his line of sight: his tight end in the endzone and his fullback in the flat.  Without even looking at his WIDE OPEN fullback who would have walked into the endzone, he instead tried firing a pass to the covered tight end that fell incomplete.  This drive, too, ended in a field goal.  That's eight points left on the field that they could have used.  After the game, Flacco was back to his douchy, whiny self, insinuating that the media is unfair to him.  Wah, wah, wah, go home and count your money.  Regardless, Cundiff has to make that field goal.  As far as Kyle Williams is concerned, he's a bit more to blame because his mistakes really changed the the outlook of the game.  Check Barnwell's article for more on how much his gaffes, statistically speaking, cost the Niners.

Incidentally, after Cundiff missed that field goal, this past post   got a bunch of hits.  I wonder why. 

On a side note, I have lots of friends who are Giants fans, and no, I'm not happy for you:)  At all:)  When it comes to sports, I'm definitely in the "misery loves company" camp.  After all, you did nothing to earn this happiness other than make an arbitrary choice years ago.  Does that make me a Bitter Barry?  You bet.  Does it change my mind?  Not a chance.

And Finally....ATT, you've outdone yourself.

5 Months ago, I moved and cancelled my DSL service through ATT.  This month, it magically reappeared on my bill, along with a 30 dollar reconnection charge.  I kind of shrugged it off as an obvious mistake, until I called ATT and the representative condescendingly said, "Well, sir, we connected the service, so (duh) you have to pay for it (laugh)." 



And the curses were flying.  Listen, I know those representatives are just doing their job, and I'm generally cognizant of that and am very patient.  If I do get angry, I always qualify it with "I know this isn't your fault, but allow me to vent.  I'm not yelling at you, I promise."  That all goes away if you, unprovoked, start treating me like an idiot.  Of course, after my cuss filled rant, his response was an annoyed "we don't need to use curse words, sir," which made me more angry because I've long considered these "curse" words to be benign if they are not specifically directed at someone.  I wasn't calling him an asshole, a cunt, or anything, I was just using some "fucks" to make my rant a bit more colorful.  Anyway, that saga will continue when a manager calls me in 24 hours to start another argument. 

Anyway, let's enjoy the week?  Cool.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What January 20th Means To Me: Childhood Dreams

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer.  And ahhhhh...I actually have proof! 

When my buddy Clinton and I were in the 4th grade, we didn't just waste time playing video games, we spent entire nights giving Tom Clancy a run for his money writing "suspenseful" crime stories (until his parents told us to go to sleep). In those days, we spent numerous hours at the typewriter (ugh, I'm old) crafting "police" stories that I think were influenced by the old computer games, Police Quest and Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego.  The series of stories involves Clinton and I as policemen (imagine that?), chasing a drug cartel all over the world in an effort to rid the planet of whatever special drug they created that week.  We really thought these short, one-page stories were awesome and would grace the small Barnes and Noble bookshelves at the local mall (remember when Barnes and Noble had small shops? Again, I'm dating myself.)

Anyway, thankfully, we never trashed these, and while looking through my closet last night, I found the thirteen stories we wrote way back when we were just innocent optimists, and figured I'd share one with you (numbered footnotes below). You know, for some Friday lulz.  So hold on tight, because the following, Story 13, is one compelling read (I corrected the spelling mistakes so it's not too painful...unfortunately, I can't re-create the tremendously odd spacing errors that are unique to typewriters ).  Here we go:

THE HYPNOTIC HYPOCRITES (T)
Festya and Brett. We are police, and we're back(1).  People have been hypnotized by a gas called cornucopia(2).  The gang, Samooroos, have been controlling this gas.  People who are hypnotized have been rampaging the city with killing, robbing, and vandalizing(3).  So Festya and Brett were on the case.  We saw a person being hypnotized, so we went to check it out.  We started to(4) get hypnotized, but luckily there was a shootout nearby and a bullet hit a waterpipe(5). Water splashed on us and we were saved.  We went back to the station and got gas masks and a homing device to find the source of the gas.  We followed the trace to an abandoned warehouse where we expected to find Samooroos. We made a raid and found no one in sight.  We searched for clues and found a spare travel pass (6) to Flingenflurgen, Norway (7), so we went there because thats where the gas was made (8). We were walking to pick up Sniffer at the Tucus Kennel (9).  When we got there, the man showed us Sniffer and Sniffer bit Festya. Festya said, why did he bite me?  The guy said all the dogs are acting like this.  We took him to the vet.  He said poisonous gas is in Sniffer and we were mad (10).

We left Sniffer at the hospital. We tried to find the place where the gas is made.  We went in to a diner to try to find information (11).  We found out they were somewhere in Norway and they were not getting out until they were all hypnotized.

Festya ate something and broke his tooth, so we had to go to the dentist (12).  When we got there, we waited in the waiting room and the song playing was we love we share we love and share so much the itchy and scratchy show (13).  We knew they were there (14). Brett said, I'll wait at the door and when they try to inject the gas, yell. So he got in there and when they tried to inject the gas, Festya yelled and Brett jumped on him and pulled an arrest (15).  He was part of the gang.  He said his name was Coopa and the gang was using the gas in Snoop, Russia (16). We flew over there (17) and at the airport was a gang member and we chased him all over the airport and finally caught him.  He said he was in charge of the gas with Coopa.

We flew back to Norway to see how Sniffer was doing.  The doctor said he was all better.  We flew home, locked them up, and got 7,000,000,000,000 dollars (18).  We were ready for more. (19)

The End

TITLE - I don't think we knew what "hypocrite" meant, but we sure liked the word.
1 - Not sure where we escaped to, but I guess we were back.
2 - Cornucopia.  I actually remember exactly where and when we learned this word. We were on a winter field trip to some colonial village area, and we had to perform a play we had been rehearsing for weeks. I was the lighting guy, which just consisted of flipping an A, B, and C switch (and if I recall, none of it was necessary, but I liked playing with the mechanism).  All I remember about the play was Colleen Fitzgerald belting out the line, "YOUUUU ARE A BUFFFFOOOOOON!"  Tons of lulz. Whether rehearsal or showtime. Lulz. We all knew it was coming, didn't matter, lulz were had. Well done, Colleen. Anyway, afterwards, we made paper cornucopias.  I guess we liked the word.
3 - That's a lot of action.  Maybe we can sell this to Universal.
4- This is a bad writing habit I STILL have.  Sometimes I'll write that I'm "starting to" do something instead of just, I dunno, doing it.
5 - Dangerous town we were from, apparently!
6 - Spare travel pass? I....  <shrug>  Lelu Dallas Multi Pass. 
7 - Hey!  I was writing stories about Scandinavia way back then!  How bout that!
8 - Fucking Scandinavians.  I guess I never learned.
9 - A few things:  Sniffer was a crime dog who appeared in some of the stories.  "Tucus Kennel" I'm SURE made us laugh and laugh and laugh, which would have made Clinton's nostrils flare and flare and flare ("Tuchus" means "ass" in Yiddish).  But why was Sniffer chillin' in Norway?  Your guess is as good as mine.
10- Fuck yeah, we were.
11 - Diners in Norway.  The go-to source for information about criminal activity.  If they exist. 
12- Kind of an unfortunate thing to happen while doing important police work.  But hey. 
13 - We were Simpsons fans and...eehhh, its a long story. And we weren't very funny. 
14 - Well, where else would Norwegian criminals hang out .... other then the Dentist?
15 - That just makes no sense. I don't even get the method at all. At least I was the hero this time 'round, but very disappointed in how we cheated the reader out of an exciting climactic moment.  I'm sorry, truly. 
16 - And this is BEFORE "The Chronic" was released.  Also, this was written towards the end of the Cold War.  Everything was always Russia's fault.
17 - This is one expensive police mission for local cops.
18 - No clue why we figured cops made money off arrests.
19 - Duh.  


This is going to be worth nothing some day.

I know what you're thinking ....



Concise, beautiful storytelling.  I should have opened a Paypal account so I could charge you for that entertainment. Shakespeare couldn't have done it any better.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What January 19th Means To Me: Lana Del Rey

Lana!
Before this week, Lana Del Rey, to me, simply existed as the obscure singer of a song I enjoyed (Video Games), but frequently skipped on my iPod.  But now, she's mizz talk-about on the interwebz, all though not for the good.  Last Saturday, her SNL appearance was so roundly criticized that it spawned a whole wave of internet hate, but not just because of her admittedly awkward performance (she just seemed nervous), but also because of her past. 


Apparently, before Lana became a sultry, sexy indie star, she was "Lizzie Grant," a failed, mainstream pop wanna-be.  Just type in Lana or Lizzie's name into Google and you will be bombarded with hate posts claiming her to be a fraud, and some bullshit about being true to yourself...as if it was some evil plan to dupe the public into forgetting all about her past attempts at success.  They laugh, they point, and they criticize as if their "discovery" will sink her back into obscurity.  To which I only have one thing to say:


Seriously.  Fuck you.  Anyone living on this Earth, especially anyone with their finger on the pulse of the American zeitgeist is image driven, and uses their selected image to create a persona that they hope will be interpreted as "interesting" by both their immediate community and general public.  And this is unavoidable.  No one lives in a vacuum and the vast majority of us are continuously carving out our little space in society in an effort to be perceived as unique.  All our style choices (whether a haircut, clothing selection, car choice, etc) are all for public consumption, whether directly or indirectly.  You can say to me, "hey Brett, no one ever sees my nipple rings, that's just for ME!"  To which I say, "that's bullshit."  That nipple ring still represents a form of rebellion to the norm.  And even if this rebellion is "personal" and "only seen by a few," it still gives you an inner sense of strength and uniqueness that you will use, either consciously or subconsciously, when projecting yourself to those around you.  Even if you live by the motto "I don't care what people think about me," you actually do, because you've chosen this lifestyle as a way of standing out, even if as an outcast, because you not only feel comfortable in that space, but also think it will help define you within your immediate community.  We all need this because if we don't have a strong sense of self, what are we?

Lizzie!

On a personal level, I can completely relate to Lana, even if our plights are different.  After a incredibly depressing time in my life, I, either consciously or subconsciously (perhaps a little of both), attempted to change my image to become something different in the public eye, in order to satisfy my own need to overcome personal insecurity.  In a very short time period, I traded my rounder body for a leaner, shaped one, covered it in ink, and buzzed off my hair.  While, at the time, all these decisions seemed like simple lifestyle choices that were incredibly "personal," I realized there was much more than meets the eye. After years of feeling "weak" and "lost," I wanted to, at least, portray an image that was "tougher" and "stronger" and, therefore, used social conventions in an effort for others to see me that way because I felt, either justly or unjustly, exposed.  Because so much of our self image is derived from other's opinions, I subconsciously figured that if I presented myself with these obvious signals of "toughness," I could overcome the weak insecurities, or at least trick people into thinking I was something I was not.  Simply put, if my outer appearance immediately signaled "hard" to the people around me, they wouldn't judge me with the preconceived notion that I was actually something else.  And using that as fuel, whether accurate or not, I, therefore, felt different than I once had.  Perhaps this is stupid, but it's the way it is.   

And Lana Del Rey really is just doing the same thing, even if it was a more conscious decision.  Her ex-bubble gum persona, Lizzie Grant, didn't work in launching her music career, so she re-invented herself into a more interesting artist with a completely different style that she felt would be more accepted as "unique" or "interesting" by today's public.  I don't know if she completely changed as a person during this transformation, but she clearly understands we live in an image driven world, that she has chosen to immerse herself in a completely image-driven industry, and that she needed to embody an image that would thrust her into any sort of spotlight.  This doesn't make her a phony any more than it makes you one for buying a new dress or new pair of glasses that you think will make you more appealing or interesting to the opposite sex.  After all, as I've said one million times before in this space, we live in an incredibly interwoven society where all our actions affect the ones around us, and all our decisions are actually made collectively, even if we seem to have complete autonomy.  To ignore this fact is ignorance at its height.  And if this is shallow, well, sorry, we're all guilty of it. 

So, don't blame Lana Del Rey for reinventing her image in an effort to fit in or create some unique space in society for herself.  We all want to stand out, be accepted, or even be shunned for the sake of personal happiness or comfort. We all do this every single day.  And, really, in the case of Lana, your criticism comes from envy because she managed to use this societal feature for her own personal gain. 

Still need to blame someone for all of the above?  Just take a look around, start pointing fingers, and blame everyone until you've counted into the billions. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What January 14th-17th Means To Me: Weekend Thoughts!

Ugh.  Double Ugh.  Triple Ugh.  Quadruple Ugh.  Fipple Ugh.  (What is the word to denote 5 times?  Let's just go with Fipple). 

Vegas:  Every year around this time, my buddies and I travel to Vegas to become degenerate gamblers (and, let's face it, degenerates in general) while getting a nice glimpse of our possible, respective futures.  I don't want to tell anyone how to live their life, and I really don't want to pass judgment on others because happiness is a relative thing, but if I ever become the overweight dude in a huge orange tent whose hopes and dreams rely on the fate of several horse races...well, kill me.  Hey, if you want to fake a disability just so you can use a wheelchair to get a better spot in the sports book, by all means do it, but at least stick to your ruse.  The fact that you kept jumping out of it while rooting on your horse (who never once won) not only makes you look like an asshole, but also shows your inability to complete a scheme.  Anyway, on a personal note, I lost pretty much every single bet I made, and it wasn't even close.  You know how some parents will make their kids smoke 80 cigarettes in a row if they catch them smoking just one, in an effort to gross them out and say, "Daddy, you right, smoking bad <cough cough>" That's how I feel about gambling at the moment.  Losing 11 hands of blackjack in a row will do that to you. 

Broncos Loss:  I didn't expect to win that game, but showing up would have been nice. 

Golden Globes:  Rich people having a televised dinner where they pat each other on the back while having the following conversation:


Yeah yeah, if this sounds familiar, it's because I already discussed it here.   Hollywood's reaction to my thoughts?

Well, at least we got that settled.

Great First Date:  Unfortunately, not mine.  I was enjoying dinner at a cafe I frequent next to two people who were clearly on a first date.  These sorts of things are easy to tell, especially when the conversation revolves around how many brothers and sisters they have and whether or not they have a dog.  They barely made eye contact with each other, and the girl kept tapping her nails on the side of her tea cup in a manner that suggested...


But after 20 minutes of boring conversation...she mentioned The Legend Of Zelda...and suddenly...


A connection was made. Smiles replaced frowns, awkwardness took a day off, angels grew wings, fairies danced, and the air was full of woo.  It was actually nice to witness because that moment of excitement is exciting and rare.  In an instant, the guy went from planning his escape to planning the rest of his life with this girl.  Obviously a hyperbole, but his body language changed completely and his voice exuded thrill, as did hers. No sads were has'd in that cafe.  I left soon after the discussion turned to their favorite Nintendo 64 game, but I'm fairly certain the evening concluded with the sex.  And probably a post-coital round of Wii.  It was nice to see some positivity at the end of a fail weekend, even if it wasn't my own. 

Fuck it all....at least I'm going to Islands today.



And, really, what's better than that?

On to another week....Happy Tuesday everyone.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What January 13th Means To Me: Happy Birthday, Mom!

I'm terrible at remembering birthdays. Remarkably bad.  Generally, I can get within a week or so..."I know its in late June, right...right? July, maybe?  Wait, no it's June." But hey, that's what Facebook is for! 

Anyway, I never forget my Mom's!  And I'm sure she'd kill me if I did. 

I not so secretly blame my mother for my uninteresting writing.  While lots of writers can harken back to dark times in their childhood for inspiration, I really cannot.  They just didn't exist.  Unless you call Space Mountain being closed during a family vacation to Disneyworld tragic.  Bad example, that actually is. 

I was listening to NPR this morning and a guy was telling a story about how, when he was younger, his mother drove him out to the country, held him against a tree, and put a shotgun to his head, while warning him that she'd take him back to that tree to shoot him if he didn't stay in line (actually, she said she'd shoot him if he were ever a "faggot," but that makes the comparison less apt.)

Where was this kind of tough love, Mom?  I probably could have written a nice memoir had you done something like that.  You didn't even need to waste gas and drive me to the country. You could have done this in the backyard.  C'mon. 

I was reading an article yesterday about football player, Demaryius Thomas, and how his entire childhood was spent visiting his mother in jail. She was incarcerated because of cocaine trafficking. 

Mom, you couldn't have pushed a lil coke for the sake of my writing career? Heroin? How about some weed?  I could have written some awesome short stories about visiting prison as a child.  Perhaps Dad could have said, "we are just visiting your Mom at camp!"  C'mon Mom, you shoulda lived a little.

No attempted murder?  Unexplained absences?  Nothing?  You could have cared less about my grades, at least?  Told me to play in traffic once or twice (well, maybe you did do this). 

So, thanks. Because you were/are a great Mom and gave me a fantastic childhood, my writing is shitty and boring, and I have to rely on dick jokes and manufacture my own drama.  Great, thanks for nothing.

Anyway, all kidding aside, she's a great caring person, and I hope she enjoys her birthday.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What January 12th Means To Me: MOAR FOOTBALL FOR DUMMIES - MOAR TEBOW

Because of my allegiance to the Denver Broncos, a lot of non-football fans have curiously asked me about Tim Tebow.  But what's been surprising is that they aren't JUST curious about his religious beliefs and media attention...they are sick of hearing about that, and now want to know about him as a football player.  The conversation generally goes this way:

Curious Person:  So, what's the deal with Tebow?
Brett:  Timothy Richard?  Hell of a guy, tough, good looking (ok, maybe thats just for you, Jenn)
CP: But he sucks right?
B: No, he's raw.  But he hardly sucks.
CP:  But everyone says he sucks, how are the Broncos winning if he sucks?
B: Because he doesn't suck.

In case you live in a cave, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos won a pretty big football game last week (against all odds!) and now head to New England to play the devil Patriots.  Though much has been made of Tim Tebow's playing style, I want to discuss the issue that all of his success is due to nothing greater than "good defense" and luck.

So let's talk a little football in Layman's terms, and I'll try to partially explain what makes the Broncos unique and effective, and how Tim Tebow is the driving factor behind this.  Let's start with...

The Broncos Rushing Attack (you know, when a team doesn't pass and instead hands the ball off to the running back to run):

The Broncos lead the league in rushing this season with an average of 164 yards a game (a lot of yards!).  Yes, because Tebow isn't a great passer, they rushed more often than other teams, but they did at 4.8 yards a carry (pretty high!), which is well above the league average of 4.0 (see). 

Pre Tebow:

FACT: Tim Tebow didn't start every game this year for the Broncos.  In fact, the first 5 games were started by this guy:


Boooooo...Kyle Orton
And he quarterbacked the Broncos to a 1-4 record in this time.  Also, take note, Kyle Orton is completely immobile (not wheelchair immobile, but on a football field, no one is afraid of him running).

During Kyle's starts, the Broncos rushing offense was putrid, with only a 3.2 per rush average (as was customary for Denver over the past couple of years with Orton at QB).  The Broncos offensive line (the fat dudes who block), according to the respected football site Pro Football Focus.com, is basically putrid and, if I recall (I can't access the stats as they are hidden behind a paywall, but take my word for it), each one of their lineman graded out negatively for the entire season.  Simply put, they aren't very good.  But when Tim Tebow was inserted into the starting line up, the Broncos rushing offense "magically" skyrocketed to the best in the league, averaging about 5 yards a carry.  When you have a successful running game, your team can eat more clock (allowing your defense to rest more and stay fresh..which has directly lead to a defensive resurgence in Denver), and it helps open up the passing game.

So, the question is...how?

OK, I'm assuming if you've gotten this far, you've all watched enough football to gain a basic understanding of the game.  Let's talk about a basic running play engineered by, Patriots Quarterback, Tom Brady (the Broncos opponent this weekend) for example.  Tom, like Kyle is immobile, therefore not a threat as a runner (though unlike Kyle, Tom is an AMAZING passer...but anyway...)

If the Patriots, or any team with a "normal, non running" quarterback runs the ball, he generally takes the snap, turns around, hands it to the running back (the quick black guy who stands behind him) who finishes the play.  The defense immediately recognizes this motion and has to assume one of two things:  1) that Tom will hand the ball off to the running back or 2) that he will fake the handoff and drop back to pass.  Either way, they don't have to account for Tom Brady ever RUNNING the ball, and the defense can concentrate on either the running back or the pass.  Because of this, a defense doesn't need to commit a defender to tackle a running Tom Brady. 

The Broncos do things a little differently because of Tim's unique running ability.  Though the Broncos will run the ball several ways, they often use a concept called the "read option." (any college football fan sees this every week, but its basically unheardof in the pros).  On this play, the Broncos keep their formation tight (ie using several blockers) and line up in a "shotgun formation" (where the Quarterback stands a couple of yards behind the center pre-snap) with a running back directly alongside him.  Each time they run this play, the defense now needs to account for THREE things: 1) Tim handing it off to the running back 2) Tim keeping it and running himself or 3) Tim faking the handoff (or his own run) and throwing a pass. 

For the sake of this conversation, let's just assume the Broncos will run the ball.  Each time Tim takes the snap, he reads the defense and decides, within a second, if he will run the ball himself, or hand it off to the running back.  Now, simply put, if he keeps the ball, he will run to the weakside of the formation (where there are less defensive players and offensive blockers lined up pre snap) , and if he hands it off, the running back will go to the strong side (where there are more defensive players, but also more blockers).  He makes this decision based on what kind of pursuit the defense takes.  If a defense is to "properly" defend this play, they will have to commit one/two defenders to the weakside to discourage Tim from running.  Because of this, it creates a natural mismatch on the strong side (the Broncos will have more blockers than the defense has defenders, usually by one guy, seven against six).  This, naturally, creates more yards.  If the defense overcommits to the strong side, Tim keeps the ball and runs to the weak side (with generally no one touching him for at least 5 yards).  Go to 4:57 of the video for a visual.  You'll see number 96 of the Raiders (black shirts) overcommits to the strong side and Tim take it around the weak for a big gain.  




Because of this constant misdirection, defenses tend to be kept off balance,and it allows an inferior Broncos line to dominate an indecisive defense on running plays.

Now, to defend this, a defense needs to keep more defenders at the line of scrimmage than they would against a normal team, which is why you generally hear that defenses have to play "8 in the box" against the Broncos.  What that means is that teams place one (of two) of their safeties (generally the last line of defense) near the line of scrimmage to help stop the run (against good passing teams, that safety would remain deep to guard against the pass).  Because defenses have to constantly account for this, there are less defenders to cover Denver receivers, creating simpler passing reads for Tim and one-on-one match ups, which are easier to exploit.

Lets take the 80 yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in last weeks Overtime for example (I'm sure you all saw this).


So, you see the Broncos are in a bunched formation and bring Eddie Royal (the receiver at the bottom of the screen) in motion to the slot (towards the rest of the fat guys) just before the play starts.  This signals to the defense that this will be a RUN play, because 99 percent of the time, the Broncos run out of this formation, and its hard to stop without an adequate number of defenders close to the line of scrimmage.  Knowing this, you'll see the safety at the top of your screen run towards the line of scrimmage to help stop the run.  Because he did this, there is NO one deep to help in pass coverage.  The Broncos fake the run, and pass over the top to exploit the one-on-one mismatch between Demaryius Thomas and Ike Taylor (Pittsburgh cornerback...the guy covering the receiver) for a touchdown.  Broncos win (yay!)

Now, New England will not employ a similar defense (nor will any other team) as Pittsburgh did, but the point of me showing this is that, because teams have to commit extra defenders to the run (due to the presence of Tim Tebow), it creates potential big passing plays for the Broncos (as long as Tim can be accurate to complete them, which has been an issue for him this season, though clearly not last week).

All the above is fairly unique to the Denver Broncos and, if Tim is playing well, it causes headaches for defenses because it becomes a "pick your poison."  Tim is still a raw QB, a young one (only starting his 15th game), so he still has a ways to go, but as he continues to improve, he will continue to be a mystery for opposing defenses.  You might ask, "why doesn't every team do this?"  Simply put, most teams don't have running Quarterbacks big enough to absorb NFL punishment, nor do they want to put their multi-million dollar investments in constant harms way.  The plays described above were once thought of as merely "college" plays that wouldn't "work" in the NFL, but that perception is changing.

Again, this is a very simple explanation...but you'll see, it's not all "luck." 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What January 11th Means To Me: Pretty Theives

Last summer, a close friend of mine sublet her Parisian apartment to this girl ...


...Who ended up robbing her blind, while taking photos like the above in her apartment. 

We should all be so lucky.   Only in Paris. 

That's all I got today.  What more do you need?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What January 10th Means To Me: 90210

My friend's blog made mention of the 90210 soundtrack this morning, and it got me thinking about my fav show from my teen years. 

I grew up in the 10920 Zipcode (I used to love this fact.  A hell of an anagram).

Now, with partial thanks to 90210, I now live in 90038.

Tons has been written on the expansion of cable television, and with it, targeted programming to pretty much every demographic imaginable.  Due to all the choices we have to watch, along with the rise of the internet and the DVR, appointment television is essentially dead, making it hard for networks to find iconic shows that not only are accepted by an entire generations, but also defines them.

But when I was growing up, Beverly Hills 90210 was that show. No, it was THEE show.  The show that had me calling my buddy during commercial breaks to quickly discuss what just happened, and what the future might hold. Sure, it dealt with hot bed issues such as rape, cheating, drugs, and other situations most other shows wouldn't touch, but it's "risque" programming was not why we loved this show.  We loved it because it made a complete fantasy world seem incredibly accessible.  It was escapism at it's purest...especially for 13 year olds sitting in their living rooms when it was freezing cold outside.  It depicted LA/BH as a type of panacea, a device that clearly burned itself into my brain as it, no doubt, partially motivated me to move here (even if only on a subconscious level).

Obviously, most of the 90210 audience wasn't from Beverly Hills, or Los Angeles for that matter.  When you're young, especially during the period when I grew up, there was nothing sexier than Hollywood.  After all, most TV shows seemed to take place there, while glorifying it, and movies were made there.  It was glamorous. It was where all the action went on. It's where girls like Kelly Taylor lived. That's what life was about.  It was a universe that seemed as foreign as Mars to most, but one made understandable because the  90210 creators successfully made the audience the main characters of the show. 

Brandon and Brenda Walsh, the shows literal main, teenaged characters, represented everyone who didn't live that lifestyle.  They were two "normal" kids from Minnesota trying to find their footing in this hyper realistic environment, and they gently waded in waters that none of us were accustomed to, while allowing us to live vicariously through them.  Their best friend, Steve, had a famous mother.  Their other friend, Dylan, lived in a hotel and rode a motorcycle (and had cool hair before it started receding like a lake during a year long draught).  Kelly was just hot and otherworldly to most of us boys with thick braces and bad acne.  Hell, even their high school looked like a college campus and featured a newspaper (run by the Ancient Andrea Zuckerman...*** funny story to follow) that seemed to rival the New York Times in resources.  Palm trees swayed, great parties often occurred, a sexy adult lifestyle for teenagers was clearly established.  Essentially, it suggested that if we moved to Beverly Hills, our lives would be 15x more exciting than they were.  Brenda and Brandon constantly questioned their new environment, had apprehensions about it, and were awed by it much in the same way we would be if we were the one's experiencing it.  They generally didn't dive into any situation headfirst, and were always hyper aware of the absurdity (for lack of a better word) of their situation.  Their reactions made the transition seem plausible. 

And though this world might have seemed overwhelming, there was a MAJOR detail that grounded it all:  The Peach Pit!  Even though these kids seemed adult, sometimes engaged in "adult" activities that would seem unimaginable to someone not used to the lifestyle, the episodes often ended with the cast sitting in their comfortable 50's style diner sharing malts and grilled cheeses.  In retrospect, it was a brilliant touch because this detail, above all else, grounded the show in a reality the rest of us non BH kids could understand.  It made the entire environment seem like something we could  feel comfortable in because all of us had similar experiences in diners, Friendly's, whatever.  No matter what hijinks we might get into, we know we'll end the night eating french fries with Nat (and, really, whats more comforting than that).  Even though the show got soapier as time moved on, it generally remained positive, somewhat funny, sexy, and, most of all, safe.   And, strangely enough, the entire viewing experience satisfied a social need for "dorkier" thirteen year olds who were 1) not accepted into the "cooler" circles of their high school and or 2) too scared by it.  It provided an outlet to feel "cool" even if you weren't.  Again, escapism at it's finest. 

That's why I miss watching this show...but what I miss more is being 13 years old and watching this show.



*** The funny story.

Nesting doll...for those who don't know.
I was in Prague a couple of years ago, and found, deep in the corner of some gift shop, a 90210 nesting doll.  Once I saw it, I knew I had to buy it for the aforementioned friend that I used to make the phone calls to.  So, I grabbed the doll and handed it to the gruff, old Czech shop keeper (picture Hagrid from Harry Potter...seriously) who looked like he hadn't smiled in 16 years.  He started opening the nesting dolls to make sure they were all there.  He opened the main one, revealing a smaller one with Jason Priestley's likeness. Satisfied, he grunted.  He opened that one to find one with Shannen Doherty's.  Again, he grunted.  He opened the Shannen one to find a smaller one with Jennie Garth's face painted on it.  The same grunt.  Finally, he opened the last one to reveal the smallest part of the doll: One with Gabrielle Carteris's picture on it.  He squinted one eye and held it close to inspect it.  Suddenly, a big smile graced his bearded face and he said .... "Andrea!" a few octaves higher than I figured his voice could go.  I couldn't help but laugh, and immediately hoped he wouldn't be offended.  After all, Eastern Europe, Hagrid...who knows. 

90210...making the world a smaller place.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What January 7th-9th Means To Me: Weekend Thoughts

Ever have one of those weekends where you just don't remember what you did?  Not because you were drunk, but because your memory sucks it was mostly mundane?

Welcome to my weekend!  I'm not complaining though, my next few will be quite busy.

Anyway, here's some random thoughts:

1) Denver Broncos Victory

 Epic game that saved an otherwise boring wildcard weekend.  Fantastic team win for the Broncos, but lets face it, no one wants to talk about the Broncos, they just want to talk about Tebow.  So, lets do that.  When Tebow throws like he did last night, he's incredibly difficult to stop because you have to account for his running (and the Broncos read option).  The blueprint to stop him over the past couple weeks was to play a press man cover-1 (or cover zero), thinking he was unable to beat the man coverage with his throws.  He proved them all wrong yesterday, and it's back to the drawing board for defensive coordinators.  I don't think the Broncos will win against New England next week, but I do think they have a punchers chance (played them well a few weeks ago until the Broncos pissed away the game with careless fumbles).


Also, many questioned whether the Broncos should move forward with Tim as their starting quarterback.  He did prove he's capable of sublime games last night, so now it's an issue of consistency, which is only born from experience and repetition.  He's earned the right to be the Broncos unquestionable starter next year, and I'm excited to see what he can do with a full off-season.  I'm not claiming he'll be the next great thing, but let's remember the conversation about Tebow started with, "can he win games in the NFL?"  He just beat the best pass D in the NFL, in a playoff game, amidst rumors that he'd be benched.  Pretty impressive stuff. 

2)  So, What Do You Do? 

There's a cafe in my neighborhood that I frequent enough for the lady behind the counter to immediately ring up my order before I say a word (which is common for me, as I've mentioned in other posts).  She never really engages me in conversation, but she did this weekend.  While waiting for the credit card payment to process, she asked me "So, what do you do?"  I said, "excuse me," to which she responded, "you come in here a lot, so I wondered what you did for a living."

Um, OK.  I can see how that's relevant.   Only in LA.

3)  I discovered the Rabbi at my old temple (where I was Bar Mitzvah'd) was fired years ago because...of a foot fetish issue!

This really needs no comment.  It speaks for itself.  Thankfully, I was an asshole in Hebrew School, never gave more than half a shit, so I certainly never participated in extra curricular activities that would have put me in one-on-one situations with him. Plus, I don't like my feet touched. 

See Mom and Dad?  There's another good reason why sending me to Hebrew school was dumb. 

4)  Thank you, Mr. Barista, for putting peppermint flavoring in my caramel latte.

Great ideas often come from mistakes:)  No sarcasm, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.  Methinks I'll get it again.

5) To the asshole in the huge SUV who yelled at me for walking "too slow" through the intersection...while I had the walk signal.





That's all!  Have a good Monday.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What January 6th Means To Me: Another Edition Of "How You Found My Blog!"

There's a lot going on in politics these days, the Republican shitshow primaries have started (and are already entertaining), the economy actually seems to be gaining a bit of steam (200,000 jobs this month...a better sign), but each time I write about politics, most of your eyes just completely glaze..  And I suppose you have a point.  You could just read the New York Times or capable political bloggers for any sort of meaningful insight. 

I'll stick to what I'm good at: 

Meaningless, annoying noise
On that note, on to the fun!

So, in case you don't know how this works, I dig into the blog's stats page and discuss some of the Google searches that lead wayward readers to my humble musings.  And there are some good ones this week, so let's begin! 

1) Skin Flaking In Anal Region

Dr Brett says ...

Use more lube? 

I often get these medical searches and feel bad when these frustrated people find themselves on my blog.

As far as this one is concerned...all I can say is that I'm really sorry.   I wonder if the searcher got excited when they saw the title of my blog and was all "FINALLY!  A WHOLE WEBSITE DEDICATED TO MY FLAKING ANUS PROBLEM!"  Then they clicked it and was subjected to my BS.  However, I think "skin flaking in the anal region" is probably a fantastic metaphor for my writing.  Either way, because of what I just typed, I look forward to finding a "FLAKING ANUS PROBLEM" search in the coming weeks. 

2) I'll Pick You Up At A Whole Ordeal

I'm with you, Blanche
I can't even begin to imagine what this person was searching for.  I thought maybe it was the title of some indie movie I hadn't heard of.  But when I cut and pasted the phrase into Google, guess what was the first thing that popped up?  Me!  (I win!)  Then, I thought maybe this was something that a person meant to email a friend ("Cool, we're on for Saturday night?  Should I drive? I'll pick you up at a whole ordeal!"), but mistakenly put it into a Google search. 

3) This Girl Named Whitney Long Blonde Hair With Blue Eyes And Works

I have no clue who this person is searching for, but I hope its some random girl he stood behind in line at Target.  Like I picture this dude staring at a beautiful girl and thinking, "how can I talk to her..what's she buying? Maybe I can start up a conversation about that...toilet paper? Hmm...I could suggest a softer brand, but she probably doesn't want to hear about the skin flaking in my anal region." Then her phone rings and she answers, "Hey, it's Whitney...no, I can't, I have to work today."  And with that, she was out of his life.  To the Google, he thinks!  After all, what's not to love? She has long blonde hair (woo!), blue eyes (woo!)...and a job! (triple woo!).  I'm sure he'll find her. 

4) Fuck Old People Hard

I don't want to know.

5) Fuuuuuck You Denmark You're Gay

C'mon, Dad, stop using Google.

It's just weird to me that someone would type in that search. Like, if you had a negative experience in Denmark (and judging by all the U's, let's assume they did), why not type in "bad experiences in Denmark" or even "Denmark sucks."  Then again, maybe the guy standing behind Whitney in line at Target was named "Denmark," and that's just her response to him.  She's mean.

6) Brett Sills Sucks


This Weeks Most Popular Search? 

 "Zack Morris." 


Still got it

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What January 5th Means To Me: Farewell To The Two Shows That Made Me Miss New York

Oh, Bored To Death and How To Make It In America...we hardly knew ye. 

It seems like hundreds of television shows use New York as a backdrop, while simultaneously attempting to create a character out of the unique city that specializes in both creating and crushing hopes and dreams, while duping you into feeling that your entire pursuit is, in fact, romantic.  After all, Frank Sinatra crooned that if one could "make it there, (they) could make it anywhere," and there is truth to this as New York has this embedded mystical quality that rises like warm steam (or nitrous oxide) through sidewalk cracks and intoxicates its citizens, causing them to think that its canyons are actually some kind of concrete Garden of Eden (just have one five-minute conversation with anyone who lives in New York and you'll know what I mean).  But although small screen depictions of New York mostly fail, HBO shows like Sex And The City, and the recently cancelled, low rated half hours Bored To Death and How To Make It In America actually did capture complexity and exhilaration of living in the city that doesn't sleep.

By all accounts, How To Make It In America was not a great television show. At all.  It featured strange subplots that created an abnormal jigsaw puzzle that never quite fit, resulting in a half-hour of disjointed storytelling, starring a strange, yet somewhat interesting stew of Bryan Greenburg, Victor Rasuk, Luis Guzman, and Kid Cudi, that was compelling enough to watch, but never satisfying enough on an emotional level.  It was, perhaps, unintentionally introduced to audiences as a replacement for Entourage, except the show never approached the fringes of "funny," and actually never really tried.  And, unlike Entourage, which exhibited just how fun a celebrity's life can be, while creating a fairy tale of Hollywood where a character's biggest problem is the size of his calves (I'll miss you, Johnny Drama), How To Make It In America was all about the hustle of trying to even get a sniff of that success.  The two main characters, Cam and Ben, are poor, but never hungry, on the precipice of failure, but never deterred, and in a sense, How To Make It In America became a show about dream survival for an entire generation who inherited a shitty economy, and less opportunity, but still retain hope (perhaps out of naivete) that they, too, can follow their creative pursuits. It provided a three-walled safe house where failure seemed admirable, and success perhaps inevitable, which easily allowed us to effortlessly live vicariously through them, even if their daily trials and tribulations weren't all that interesting, in a world (fashion design) that most of us don't really know or care about. But even though this all sounds depressing, and I suppose at times it was, they successfully, and subtly, characterized New York as that sexy place, where "only the strong survive."  Though Ben and Cam never got their "Crisp" fashion label into Barney's, they still seemed to be able to tap into a fun, NYC subculture that gave their pursuits credibility and would provide them motivation to keep going.  With constant use of cityscapes and street shots, How To Make It In America proved that the hustle can still be fun, and spoke to a generation that continues to dream and be optimistic, even while getting kicked in the teeth.  In this way, it's kind of like an anti-Entourage, or the "realistic" Entourage for the unemployed.  Either way, we'll never know if Crisp jeans will become popular. 

Bored To Death, another love letter to New York, is a completely different animal from How To Make It In America, though also succeeded at using New York as a character that seemed to play an active role in the show's constant calamities.  Also, unlike HTMIA, Bored To Death was, by all means, a quirky, hilarious, smart, and subtle thirty minutes of television, even if it was more of an acquired taste.  The mixture of Ted Danson, Jason Schwartzman, and Zach Galifianakis created for one of the best ensembles on television, and though the plot lines were often beyond absurd, they did seem to make sense in their small world that seemed completely plausible thanks to the mystery/assumed possibility of New York.  Whether dealing with an S&M club raid, the opening of a Brooklyn organic restaurant, a shootout on the docks, or Mommy and Me meeting in Central Park, the show expertly used the heightened reality of New York and tapped into the thought process that hundreds of strange and unknown subcultures do exist, and that exploring the vast seedy underbelly of America's most popular city is as interesting as it sounds.  Whether or not any of these crazy subplots were inspired by actual truth is completely irrelevant because the world created within the show, mixed with preconceived notions of New York as a city of endless possibility, allowed for the insane storylines to exist and added extra layers to an already sophisticated brand of comedy.

All the above said, it's not a shock that both these shows were cancelled.  They either didn't attempt to appeal to large audiences or failed in their quest to do so.  But they both did capture the idiosyncrasies, possibilities, and sexiness of New York, and I, personally, would have loved to see where more time would have lead them. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What January 4th Means To Me: Potatoes

Here's a quiz.  For a brief moment on Monday night, what did me and the below have in common?

Oh, to be Irish in the mid 1800's

Answer?  Everything.

Ever have one of those weekends where it just seems like nothing goes right?  Everything from the serious (like health, career, love life) to the not-so-serious, like choosing the wrong exit lane in a pay parking garage, and getting stuck behind a guy who tries to pay his ticket with an argument?   That was last weekend for me.  Just one enema of a weekend.  But even though I was prepared to just punt the sadness and lick my wounds, I decided to put all my energy and hopes into one thing (I am a gambler, after all).  There was one simple idea that would make it all better and catapult me into a week of awesome:



Oh yes, potatoes.   But not just any potatoes, those wonderful potatoes from the California Chicken Cafe.  I'm not sure what they put in them (oil, garlic, and magic?), but I love them.  In fact, they are the only reason I even go to that restaurant.  And my body agrees.  In fact, just the thought of them?

Actual footage of my taste buds upon the thought of the potatoes

Sure, I also buy a some bullshit wrap and a side of fruit, but that's just for show and the sake of balance. I really just want the potatoes. And each time I eat that meal, I ration the potatoes so it's my last bite.  I make sure to eat half the wrap and some of the fruit before I even dig in to the potatoes, just so I can stare them down, make my mouth water, and deprive myself as if that will somehow make them taste better.  Like I earned their love. 

Early last Monday, towards the end of the aforementioned shitty weekend, I decided to make a last stand. If circumstances, bad luck, and BS had prevailed for most of the weekend, I'd fight back. I decided that, not only would I get the potatoes that night, I would do something bold.  Something I'd never done before.  I'd get the bigger size. Yeah, that's right.  I'd eat more potatoes than I previously ever had. And it was all I could think about all day.  In fact, I went to lunch with my friend R and just stared at my food with pity. And though I knew R was telling me about her Christmas vacation, all I could hear was..



Anyway, finally, after putzing around for a few hours, the moment had come: potato time. I high tailed it to the cafe, walked up to the counter where the girl immediately started inputting my order (I'm beyond predictable), but I said "you know what, lets get the bigger size of potatoes today."  She gave me a daring look (no she didn't), and a few minutes later, I held a bag with my wrap, fruit, and, most importantly, a large container of potatoes. 

And that's when things got weird.

After about 7/8th's of my walk home, I was visited by a ghost.  The ghost of the great Harry Houdini. And, feeling this presence, I glanced at my bag only to notice that something was just a bit off.  I inspected the clear plastic bag. Wrap? Check. Fruit? Check. Fork and napkins? Check.  Potatoes?  Where the FUCK were the potatoes. Now, when I left the restaurant, I knew they were in the bag, hell, how could I miss them, I got the bigger size, remember?  You know that brief moment of surprise, where your mind doesn't quite grasp reality, and you think ever so irrationally?  That was me in that moment.  My thought wasn't "hmm, did I forget the potatoes?" it was "where are the potatoes hiding?"  I searched every nook and cranny of the bag, as if the potatoes shrunk themselves to the size of a pea and were hiding somewhere between two slices of honeydew.  And it was during that search that I saw it.  The hole in the side of the bag...

inconsolable


Which quickly became...


Fuck it all.

If the fruit had fallen out, I would have shrugged.  Had the wrap fallen out, well, I would have been used to that because the restaurant slathers it in mayo 25 percent of the time, rendering it inedible to me.  Why couldn't the fork and napkins have escaped?  I walked back to my apartment completely defeated, and ate my wrap and fruit with contempt, as if their jealousy had pushed the potatoes out of the bag.  Then I showered, curled up in bed with a pillow, and cried. 

Truly, a modern day tragedy. 


Universal, Paramount, Miramax, Fox, Fox Searchlight, Summit...the rights to this story are officially on sale. 

Let the bidding begin. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What January 1st-3rd Means To Me: Weekend and New Year Thoughts

Happy new year, everyone.  Here are my pointless observations of the weekend:

Hey, so I guess another New Year's Happened:


Same Old Shit. 

New Years is one of those holidays that makes me wonder about humanity.  Many consider January 1st as some sort of "fresh start," as if the clock striking midnight actually eliminates any sort of problems you had only minutes before.  It doesn't.  That said, there is something cathartic about watching the ball drop, and something mildly intoxicating about the communal celebration of the New Year.  It's just strange that people wait till this day to find a sense of false motivation ... which leads me to...

THE RESOLUTIONISTS ARE BACK!

Ah yes, the gym cup hath runneth over with new people in search of a better body in 2012.  I've discussed them before, and true to form, there they were early Monday morning blocking me from the front desk with all their sign ups and questions.  I could just see them all only a week earlier, staring down that 4th piece of cake while commenting to their friend, "well, might as well enjoy it now, because I'm gonna start dieting after New Years!!!   TEEEE HEEEEEEE HAAAA HAAAAAAA!"  Then, I figure they both sponteanously sing RESOLUTION to the tune of that "Revoltution" song from the early 90's. You know the one I'm talking about?  Unfortunately YouTube doesn't either, but I swear it exists. 

Regardless, these people are generally gone by February and the gym returns to normal. 

NEW YEARS MEMORY:

Just about midnight on the East Coast, an old buddy of mine texted to inform me it was the 10 year anniversary of the time he had horrible diarrhea on New Years.  If anything is worthy of celebration, I suppose this is it.  That evening, a decade ag,o starting innocently enough, with his purchasing of an egg salad sandwich at a diner, and ended a few hours later with a whirlwind search for an available toilet. After deciding the line for the bathroom at the club was too long, after being denied by the local McDonalds who told him he'd have to buy something first, after a futile search for a vacant alley to do this business, he decided to cut the long line for the club bathroom and deal with the consequences (which apparently was a minute long tirade courtesy of the people he cut).  For me, that night, I spotted a cute girl that I had been waiting hours to talk to.  Finally, she freed herself long enough from her friends for me to engage her in conversation, but that fateful conversation was soon rudely interrupted by my sick buddy, post poo, slamming me on the shoulder while saying "WE'RE GOING!"  I turned to the girl, shrugged, and said "duty calls," a double entendre that was only humorous to me.  I still tell him, to this day, that I'd probably have married that girl, and he ruined everything.

Anyway, that friend is now married with two kids (and another one the way), but I'm still pleased that his first thought this past New Years was not to kiss his wife or children, but to text me about a shit he took ten years ago.

COUPLE MORE NOTES ON COMMERCIALS

A few days ago I was hating on recent commercials, but wanted to mention two more.

Time Warner Commercial Where Guy Oversleeps: 

I'm not sure if this commercial is local, but it has to be the most retarded thing airing on television. In the ad, a sleeping guy is rudely awaken by a phone call informing him that people are "at the gate" (his house?) and that he "better have the presentation ready."  Panicked, he quickly jumps out of bed, downloads three things (what could this have to do with a presentation?) and gets dressed.  Then, he rushes back to his computer to put the finishing touches on his "presentation," which is the downloading of what appears to be ... a movie ticket! Yes, a movie ticket! What a strange presentation! What does this guy do for a living, I'm dying to know. 

My guess is (well, I hope) that this was some kind of stock footage and the "presentation" bit was stupidly added afterwards.  It's the only explanation.  Either way, they couldn't come up with anything better to show that the Time Warner cable modem is fast? 

Sloane From Entourage...Is This The Only Work You Can Get?

There's a national Budweiser/NBA ad featuring two rappers (who I guess I'm supposed to know?) that excitedly sing about Budweiser to the tune of "12 Days Of Christmas."  Anyway, the commercial features festive set pieces with the two dudes singing, and Luke Wilson chiming in every so often (about basketball and beer or something).   Interestingly, two of the frames feature Emmanuelle Chriqui (Sloane) simply pointing at people with this nod that suggests "yeah, that's right."   And that's it.  It's one of those strange moments because she's instantly recognizable, yet filling the role of some glorified extra  Get that money made, I suppose.

Oh yeah, it was hot in LA this weekend.  I love 80 degree weather in January.

Keep Calm And Carry On.