Friday, June 29, 2012

What June 29th Means To Me: Why We Can't Have Nice Things - Healthcare Edition

A friend just posted this to her Facebook wall:

Now, I'm not picking on her, she's more than entitled to her opinion (and a very smart girl, to boot).  But the above drives me absolutely crazy.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record (because I've written on the subject before), I'm, well, going to sound like a broken record. 

Here's some facts:

1) Healthcare, unlike gum, should not be a luxury (OK, this is more of a widely held opinion). 
2) Prior to yesterday, America was the only first class economy in the world without universal coverage.
3) Our healthcare system was (probably still is) broken.

But regardless of cost controls, economics, health providing, and all that ... what makes me sad is the complete lack of awareness we seem to have.  I'm just sick and tired of people bitching and moaning about pitching into something that is greater than them.  I don't care how rich you are, how famous you are, no one on this Earth is a demigod, and we owe it to each other to provide a strong base so that everyone can have a shot at a comfortable life.  Doctor bills can be debilitating, so much so that people avoid going to the hospital because they can't afford it.  It doesn't have to be this way, and it shouldn't.  And if that means some extra taxes so that we can have a more functional system that everyone can enjoy, then that's what we should do.  And, if you ask me, it shouldn't stop at healthcare.

Other countries in the world do it, and then some.  We consistently boast about being "the greatest country in the world."  How can we be that if we treat our own people with such disrespect?  How can we be that with our level of ignorance?  Maybe we wouldn't be such a divided country if we weren't such assholes to each other.  Paul Krugman jokes that the only thing to unite us these days would be an alien invasion.  Sadly, he's right. 

I understand that the healthcare bill is a long, complicated bill.  But I also know that people are mostly against it for political reasons.  When the bill, as a whole, is polled, it does poorly.  But when the features of the bill are polled, it does very well. That's because there's lots of good in the bill. Social Security and Medicare were unpopular at the time of their signing too, yet now they are crowning acheivements. 

As mentioned, the healthcare law is not perfect, but well, when SS was first released, black people weren't even entitled to it.  Hopefully we can improve upon it and get our health system to where it should be.  But regardless, don't compare it to gum, or broccoli, or anything else that could be considered a luxury. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What June 27th Means To Me: Pictures With Celebrities And A Random Thought

This will be one of those posts where I pose a question, and have no clue of the answer...but will annoyingly pick at it to find some kind of truth.

I attended a private event last night where a certain celebrity showed up with numerous bodyguard to ward off fans.  At first I found it to be a bit unnecessary, considering the party was exclusive to begin with, but I quickly was convinced otherwise when I saw a herd of professionals surround him, each waiting patiently for a meaningless moment, and perhaps a quick picture for a keepsake.

And as I was watching the crowd swarm him like bees, I couldn't help but wonder why.  What is the appeal of possessing a picture with someone you barely know, but other people would recognize?  Obviously, the keepsake is completely self-serving, as the celebrity in question takes thousands of these, and will not remember the moment in any nostalgic way, so what is the value in the picture, which is clearly taken so that the non-celebrity can show friends?

Does the photograph represent a type of quick ascension of social status?  Like if you're in the same place as a well known actor, then you, too, are well known by proxy?  Does the picture suggest to friends that you hobnob in exclusive circles, thus an attempt to make said peers jealous?  Or is it just cool because you see them on television and want to feel apart of that world each time you look at it?  Is it just for an interesting conversation piece?  What do people really get out of that moment, and why would some wait in line for inordinate periods of time to get it.

The idea of celebrity in general is strange to me, mostly because we're all human and they don't possess any special powers.  I don't think I'll truly understand the appeal of tabloid journalism (though I fully admit sometimes it interests me. Kim Kardashian said what??), though I'm sure many many many people much smarter than me have already broken it down.


Also... on a completely different note...perhaps this was always the case, but listening to Mitt Romney speak about how he can cure America reminds me of a high schooler running for student body president that promises things like televisions and hot tubs in every classroom and cheerleaders in every locker.  I hear him waxing poetically about how he can get the economy back on its feet, how he can fix the student loan issue.  He throws out statistics about post-graduate unemployment and guarantees that he can create job opporunities with the flick of his magic wand.  And I suppose many may take him at his word because of ignorance to the political process and the global economy.  We live in a world where we currently have to rely on European and Chinese growth to sustain our own, not to mention commodities like oil are set on the global market, not the domestic.  Not to mention, the president's magic wand is generally parsed into thousands of pieces by congress, a governing body that has a habit of creating strange Frankenbills that are so watered down by corporate influence that they don't actually do much.  Perhaps I'm jaded, or maybe I'm right, but I'm not sure it even really matters who is president after 2012.  I just don't think they'll have the power to make that much of a difference. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

What June 25th Means To Me: Dogsitting

Puppehs. For the next two weeks, I'm a dog owner again.  Can I get a baroo?

A couple of friends are vacationing in France for a fortnight, leaving me to tend to their two adorable, white pups.  I know what you're thinking; why would anyone leave me in charge of something that walks and breathes?  Well, I have owned a dog in the past, and am capable enough to both feed and keep them alive.  After only a few hours of dogsitting, I was quickly reminded of all the things I love about dogs. I'm always amazed by the little things they do.  Like when they throw the ball back at you during fetch. How cool is that?  And who doesn't love the enthusasitc "hello" when you walk through the door? I think we could all learn something from that kind of unconditional love. Or maybe I'm just insecure? Whatever.  It's nice having them around.  

But I was also re-introduced to the most frustrating part of dog ownership:  the gap in communication.  Like suddenly all language is emited in an indecipherable code. It's incredibly frustrating because you're only trying to convey the most basic of messages, and you trick yourself into believing that if you simplify it just enough, they might actually fully understand you.  But in reality, you can't reason with a dog, and, lets face it, most of their thoughts are probably something like...

Ya know, with circus music on a loop.

I was painfully reminded of this at five in the morning, when I was jolted awake by three or four urgent, sharp barks towards the hallway.  Of course, my first reaction was "oh shit, someone is here."  But, of course, no one was there, they were probably barking at an ant or shadow, and they quickly turned their heads in unison towards me, eager for me to tell them why they barked in the first place.  And I'm like, "how the fuck am I supposed to know? Shouldn't you be telling me why we are all awake right now?"

I know owners get used to their dog's sounds and looks, and can eventually decipher what they mean.  But I can't for the life of me understand why one of these pups sits and stares at me for minutes at a time with his adorable little underbite.  "Do you want to go out? (nothing). No? Ummm, are you hungry? (nothing.) How about a treat? Do you want a treat? (nothing)  OK, do you wanna know if the Dodgers won last night?  Cause I don't know. I can look.(nothing).  Would you like me to explain the economic crisis in Greece? OK, well it's complicated. No? Well, alright then, I don't know how magnets work either."  Then I wonder why I'm talking to myself, and spend the next few seconds feeling stupid about it, while scruffing his ears and telling him he's a sweet puppy, because what else am I really supposed to do?

Back when I was a dog owner, I often wished the universe would give me just thirty seconds of complete clarity with the dog. That's it. Thirty seconds. It seems like the key to a great relationship is simple, and if clear ground rules could be set between the two of you within this thirty seconds, it would lead to a pretty harmonious understanding.  I'd say, "It's simple really. Don't eat the furniture and don't shit in the house...."

...Then I guess I'd use the last twenty seconds to discuss politics or something.

Anyway, Happy Monday.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What June 22nd Means To Me: The Killing And Other Random Thoughts

I've long thought AMC's The Killing existed within the world of a flawed concept.  Shows that center around a murder investigation are nothing new to television, but creating one that would last two entire seasons was supposed to be something new and exciting.  But there are only so many red herrings you can give an audience before we get bored, and there's only so much crappy backstory you can distract us with while attempting to plod the plot forward to its irresistible finale.  In the end, all we got was relief that it was over.

Two years ago, AMC splashed the question "who killed Rosie Larsen?" across commercials and billboards. Unfortunately, the creative staff behind the show became obsessed with it, but perhaps it was all they knew. While they certainly were given enough time to create a unique world around an interesting question, they instead only serviced the murder case and fed us hackneyed drama until the clock ran out. Showrunner Veena Sud cut her television teeth as a writer for the show Cold Case, and fell into the trap of her background.  Essentially, The Killing became, well, a 26 hour episode of Cold Case.  We knew the murderer couldn't be Bennet, or Balko, or whoever, because there was still multiple episodes to go before the finale.  But instead of unraveling Rosie's life, creating a compelling backstory that killed the myth of the virginal Rosie, we were sent on a pointless scavenger hunt of poor clues before discovering she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And, along the way, we were treated to hours of Rosie's parents asking themselves the same question, Holder's "drug addiction," Linden's custody battle, a pointless race for mayor, and a whole lot of rain.  In the end, all these subplots were pink slime filler, and did nothing to create any intrigue behind the central question or the dark setting of the show.  Perhaps there was nothing that could have saved The Killing from its difficult concept, but I have to believe that the effort put forward was not the best.

Also, the last twenty minutes of the show simply sucked.  And Rosie's all too perfect eulogy to herself (via her film) was manipulative and worthy of an eye roll.  If you wanted us to be sad, perhaps you should have made us care about Rosie in the first place.  Oh, and I don't think teenage boys give a fuck about having a swingset in their backyards. 

... on to other thoughts!

Now I can't hear! You know how they say when your ear rings, you lose the capability of hearing that tone for good?  I sometimes think I've lost so many tones over the years, that some people's voices just become inaudible to me.  This happened again yesterday when I was trying to order coffee from a perfectly nice, non-mumbling barista.  She asked simple questions like "what size would I like?" but I had to ask her three times to repeat herself because I couldn't understand what she was saying.  I even leaned in, ear forward, like an asshole.  Maybe it's just a brain tumor that's gumming up incoming information.  I bet it is. 

LeBron James:  He's a champion now.  He just completed a historic playoff run.  Enough with the crap about him being a beta male or a fraud or whatever.  Just enjoy the greatest player of our generation.  I sincerely think the HATE surrounding him is more a product of 24/7 media than anything he actually did.  Due to oversaturated sports coverage and social media, we're in a constant discussion, which often makes us double down our opinions to help us form identity.  If this took place in 1995, you may have had negative feelings about LeBron, but weren't asked to defend them constantly.  Now you are...thus the overreaction. 

You know what's awesome?  Ice cream. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What June 20th Means To Me: Game Shows

How cool are game shows?  When I was a kid, there was nothing more exciting, and I basically watched every single one I could.  I always vowed to be on one, but, ya know, laziness and apathy are also strong feelings. Unfortunately game shows, like everything else, have gotten completely out of control, but I still hold a special space in my heart for the ones I grew up with...


6) Supermarket Sweep!:  Ironic, because I really never liked the Supermarket much.  But give me the opportunity to RUN in the supermarket and find products based on clues? Heaven.  Hell, give me the opportunity to run anywhere I'm not supposed to and I'll be happy.   And I always thought it was cool that the entire set, at least, appeared to be an actual supermarket.  Did they really keep those shelves constantly stocked? 

They need to reboot this game show with a bit of a twist.  A contestant could receive a clue and figure out that he needs to find, I dunno, Charmin Toilet Paper.  Then he could rush to the aisle only to discover a large man in Spandex who goes by the name "2000 flushes."  An ex-American gladiator, of course.  The contestant would have to evade this muscle bound keeper of the toilet paper in order to get his desired product.  Repeat.  Who wouldn't watch this at least once? 

5) Hollywood Squares: I grew up in the 80's, so I remember the game mostly with Joan Rivers in the center and Jim J. Bullock in the upper left corner, I believe.  It wasn't my favorite show of all time, but since I was an avid television watcher, it was cool seeing some of my favorite stars in the different role.  I was always a bit of a curious child and, once, I got the bright idea to lick part of the freezer Yeah.. Ya know, inspired by the pole scene in Christmas Story?  Naturally, the tip of my tongue got stuck and bled a bit when I ripped it off.  Cry, cry, cry.  Then my mother calmed me by turning on Hollywood Squares because she knew Alf occupied one of the spaces that evening.  Tears vanished.  Life went on.  Thank the heavens for Alf.

4) TIE!  Classic Concentration/Scrabble:  In my history of watching Classic Concentration, I don't think I ever guessed a puzzle correctly.  Not one.  In fact, all the squares could be uncovered and I'd still be all ...

...I bet I'd have a similar reaction if I played today, too. I'm just no good at puzzles. But I am good at matching.  Remember the game "Memory"?  Unstoppable. (as a it'd probably take me all day to match those yellow sock cards.)  So, I enjoyed the matching aspect of Concentration, and that would keep me occupied for a while because I was a simple child.  As for Scrabble, I didn't care for the game much, but I loved the sounds.  Seriously.  All I wanted to do was drop the tiles in the little slot because I loved the clunking sound they made on the way down.  See below for the memory.

3) Card Sharks: 

Was there a more baller game than Card Sharks?  It might explain that giddy feeling I get each time I walk into a casino today.  For those who don't remember, it was basically a game where you were given a playing card, and had to guess whether the next one was higher or lower. Pretty simple  Big cheers and sighs of relief if you drew a 2 or an Ace, obviously. I always wondered if they were playing with a deck of 52 though.  Probably not because that would make the game beatable.  They could have made a movie about this staring Andrew Garfield instead of that 21 crap.  This is the place where I'd have manipulated the 21 movie poster to say Card know, if I had any photoshop ability at all.  So just use your imagination?

I used to play this all the time during indoor recess in elementary school.  Too bad we didn't have those sweet big cards.

2) Double Dare:  I always thought there were two kinds of people in this world:  ones who could get up the Sundae Slide, and ones who couldn't.  Just fucking climb up the sides!  How hard is that?  Then again, once under the bright lights and the time clock, this might be easier said than done.  And, if you know me at all, you know I have a knack for choking under pressure, so I'm sure I'd have been one of the assholes who kept slipping down the slide. A total Double Dare fail I'd never get over. 

Could it be rebooted? Oh yes, with adults.  How fun would this be?  But in this age of continuously upping the ante, I fear the physical challenge would involve eating a zeebu's anus and the obstacle course would feature live ammunition.  Not to mention, the quiz section would probably be replaced by some sort of "Truth or Dare" type aspect...ya know because people love hearing despicable shit about others to make them feel better about their own miserable lives.  Ever watch the show Baggage?  Exactly.

1) Press Your Luck:  What happens when you mix a a square board, "Big Bucks," "Whammys," and three of the craziest motherfuckers this country has to offer?  Press Your Luck! 

Need I say more?

Easily my favorite game show as a child.  It was simple to play, it had a fun board, and people would scream "Big Bucks" like they were seconds away from a coronary. All while wearing plaid jackets.  What could be better?  It also gave us this amazing story.  A guy who sat at home for months memorizing the permutations of the Press Your Luck board? Then he actually gets on the show and wins over 110,000 dollars?  That's the true American dream.  But seriously, check out that link if you never heard the story.  It's beyond fascinating.

You know what a network should do?  During Summer Programming, they should reboot a game show a week.  First week it can be Scrabble, the next Concentration, the Next Card Sharks, etc etc.  I'd probably watch on the nostalgia factor alone. And it wouldn't be on long enough for it to get boring.  Just make the stakes real high and others will follow. Like if you lose, you die.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What June 19th Means To Me: The Most Interesting Character Of The Spring Television Season

The show might be called Girls, but any discussion of it naturally centers around the sometimes thoughtful, often insightful, and always mercurial Adam.  The ladies at Grantland recently had a virtual roundtable in an attempt to grasp the meaning behind his eccentricity, though they seem to be as confounded by him afterwards as they were before, suggesting a "beauty in the eye of the beholder" mentality. And, whether intended or not, Girls creater Lena Dunham admitted that, after several discussions with her peers, Adam's character has become a barometer to measure what kind of person you might be.  But in reading the various character studies imposed on Adam, I find him to be a bit misunderstood as both an individual and how he influences/affects Hannah's life.

Though we never get a true understanding of Adam's past, the snippets we do receive suggest scars of varying degrees covering an ever growing body that's difficult to harness (which stays true to Adam's actual physical lanky nature.)  While it's impossible to say what sort of demons he is hiding, we do know that he frequents AA, and also chooses theater as his odd form of therapy when dealing with his formative years.  He doesn't seem to leave his house often, we don't know too much about his social life, other than it doesn't seem to thrive, but he's found, at least, a path to some sort of inner peace (misguided or not) through his own myopic vision.  I do agree with those who say Adam is not unhappy. 

But whatever Adam's past, he's shoved himself into a small box of simplicity in an effort to cope, and doesn't quite understand when others don't do the same.  To him, love is simple and genuine; it doesn't need to be considered or intellectualized.  Following directions is simple; it's why he melted down when his co-actor unilaterally changed his play.  It's why he yells at cars; because he doesn't understand why people can't be considerate to others. He keeps himself in shape; why wouldn't you treat your only body as best as possible? But though Adam has boiled his life down to brass tacks, he's hardly co-opted a "zen" sensibility in which he goes with the flow.  There's anger there.  There's anger because he gets frustrated when people continuously fuck things up like there's some outside evil forcing them to do so. So, he lashes out at those that complicate the uncomplicated.  It's why we fear that he may hit Hannah at any moment, even though he's probably just a scared kitten underneath.

But it's his volatility that also makes his relationship with Hannah so interesting; he is a mentally unstable Holden Caulfield desperately attempting to save the life of a somewhat privileged white girl who embodies everything opposite to his beliefs.  Hannah is a smart, capable young woman.  She's a talented writer, and Adam finds her to be a beautiful girl.  Unlike Adam, who doesn't necessarily "go with the flow," but deals with the hand given, Hannah spends her time wallowing in insecurity, which is counter productive to anything worthwhile.  He sees Hannah as the girl she may eventually be, not the one skipping through her self-created minefield.  During their blowout in the finale, Adam doesn't explode on her because he's necessarily heartbroken over her decision not to take his thought to move in together seriously, he does so because he honestly doesn't realize how she can't embrace something both simple and beautiful.  While Hannah's mind resembles a whack a mole that's constantly being fed quarters, Adam's is a slow jog along the beach with his eyes closed, ready to instantly overreact to a beach chair that's been carelessly left in the way. 

Along this metaphor, Dunham's final shot of the season involved Hannah sitting on the Brooklyn beach, eating a piece of cake, overlooking the water, without her shoes or purse which had been stolen on the train while she slept.  It's a simple shot, a simple scene, and one that can't be interrupted by a cell phone ring or even a shouting pedestrian.  Perhaps she'll now take a step back and realize that not everything in life has to be complicated, but most of us spend a lifetime trying to grasp that one thing that seems so obvious. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

What June 18th Means To Me: Random Weekend Thoughts

I Barely Watched TV All Weekend: No, I suddenly didn't get a life, there just wasn't much to watch.  Oh, I guess the world finally found out who killed Rosie Larsen on "The Killing."  But I also suppose I don't even care, considering I just remembered this fact right now.  Does anyone even still watch that show?  Another thing thats weird:  turning on House Hunters and discovering the subject is a kid you grew up with. 

5 Cups Of Coffee + One Diet Coke + 3 Glasses of Water In One Lunch = Peeing!  And a lot of it. 

Ghost Pianos: So, the Ghost Piano at the Magic Castle, which apparently has an encyclopedic knowledge of songs, doesn't know Downeaster Alexa?  What's the point of being a ghost piano if you can't play a tune about the plight of Long Island fishermen?  By the way, if you want to make that movie "The Perfect Storm" more enjoyable, just sing that song throughout the entire film. 

Memoryfoam Bed: I need one.  I was waiting for my friend to make a decision on endtables while at a furniture store on Melrose, and spent the time laying on one of their beds.  I didn't want to get up.  Ever.  Who wouldn't want to be hugged everynight by the warmth of form-fit?  I wish I wasn't so lazy; I'd buy more things I need.

Buffets: I can never get enough.  I just need to have ALL THE THINGS.

Bad Lyrics:  I should do a whole post about this, but it always surprises me when songs written by multiple people rhyme lines with the same word. 

Adding: Malaysia to the places I'd like to visit.  Australia too.

I Get To Dog-sit Next Week:  Puppehs!  I'm excited that I must accompany the dogs while they play in the backyard, not to entertain them, but to protect them from hawks and coyotes.  Yeah, the chances are low, but I'd like to think if a coyote entered the yard, I could take it with a large stick.  Vegas should put some odds on that. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

What June 15th Means To Me: Finals

This time of year always reminds me of "cram week," or whatever term your region had for those days before final exams.  It feels like it's been a while since I last took a test, even in college the majority of my "finals" were just glorified papers, but I'll never forget the last final I actually did take.

To say I was awful at chemistry was an understatement, but it was a required class in the core curriculum at my college.  Not only was I terrible with anything math related, it was the first time I had to exercise that part of my brain since high school ... and let's just say I was a little rusty.  Also, because I was such a diligent student, I found it hard to care about something that didn't make a ton of sense to me. So, I did what I usually did when I didn't care about something: punted trying and copied my friend's homework. So, when it came time to take the intimidating final, I was in a bit over my head. 

You know that anxiety dream where you show up to your final and realize you hadn't attended class all year?  That was more or less me. A week or so before the test, I attended a private help session with the professor who already disliked me because I wrote some stupid op-ed in the school newspaper about how dumb the science requirement was for English majors (I actually stand by that, but regardless, this woman was in no rush to rescue me.)  She asked what I needed help with, but wasn't amused by my "everything" answer.  After 30 minutes of her explaining some basic concepts, and me doing this ...

 ... she "politely" kicked me out of her office with a half-assed well wish and the delight that her test would eviscerate me.

But, despite the setbacks and my own retardation, I made it my mission to pass the test.  I filled the coffee pot, cracked open the book, and made sense out of the formulas and numbers that once hadn't.  I enlisted the help of several friends to guide me through the chem maze until I could somewhat speak the language.  After a week of some of the hardest studying of my entire life, I felt PREPARED.  I was gonna go all...

...on that chem test.  And while I sat there in the lecture hall, flipping through the pages of the exam, I actually felt confident.  The questions might not have been easy, but they looked familiar, and I felt prepared enough to guide myself through them.  After two hours, I completed the exam with the sensation that I'd actually done OK.  In fact, I walked out of the building with this enormous sense of accomplishment, and probably raised my fists to the sky in triumph. Maybe the rumors were true after all; I was capable of anything...just like all that bullshit my Mom and Zack Morris said all those years.

For some reason, our grades weren't written on our tests, and instead were told to us by the science secretary; a person I didn't even know existed until that fateful walk to get my grade.  I must admit I was pretty nervous when it was my turn to hear the results, but as said, I was pretty damn confident I did well.  I gave her my name, she scanned her list and said ...

" got a 76."  A WHAT????

Birds sang. 

Angels grew wings.   I'd done the impossible.  The nice secretary let me bask in my glory for a minute with my friend Jenny. She could tell it was quite a moment for me.  But once I quieted down, she smiled and continued...

"Out of 200."

I did pass the class, though. Thank God for Bell Curves.  And the fact I'll probably never have to take a test again. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What June 14th Means To Me: Broccoli

I like broccoli.  I like it steamed, raw, sauteed, whatever.  It tastes good and is good for you!

For those who have been paying attention to the Supreme Court healthcare debate, broccoli has become the symbol of conservative rage in regards to the healthcare bill, the commerce clause, and its constitutionality.  Basically, conservatives/libertarians argue that if the government can mandate you to buy private health insurance, what's next?  Can they force you to buy broccoli because they deem it healthy? 

Well, they fucking should!  Kids are fat and most parents clearly have no concept of nutrition.  It wouldn't kill anyone to eat something green everyonce in a while, and I'm not talking about this:

Hostess Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pie!  Remember these things? Though I think the last one I bought ended up smashed against the side of a friend's car.

All kidding aside, the idea that providing the government the power to mandate health insurance will suddenly give them carte blanche to force consumers to buy broccoli or General Motors cars is absurd.  Unlike those things, which can still be seen as luxuries, healthcare is not, and every American is already entitled to it.  If your appendix bursts at 3 AM, an emergency room is forced, by law, to treat you, regardless of whether you have Blue Cross or not.  Listen, I'd much prefer a single payer type system where the government isn't forcing you into the private sector, but since that's only a pipe dream, we have to work with the system we have.  Which will make our healthcare bill "uniquely American."  Mouthbreathers love the sound of that. 

The healthcare system is bloated, for a multitude of reasons, and because of it, premiums are high, leaving millions of people uncovered.  Similarly, American healthcare cost is the leading reason for future deficits, which obviously need to be reigned for the good of our future finances.  Since we live in a society (last time I checked) and are accustomed to supporting public works that benefit everyone anyway (those little things called taxes), I believe it's our duty to pay into the system to ensure that every American has the ability to see a doctor, while helping control costs.  It's really simple, actually.   I honestly don't get the problem.  The rest of the world does this exact thing.   If you saw someone writhing in pain in the middle of the street, you probably wouldn't walk on by, because you're not an asshole.

In fact...

The healthcare mandate should be called the "dont be an asshole" clause.  I just named it!  Because if you bitch about paying so that everyone has access, you're a fucking asshole.  A selfish one actually.

Enough of this "what's mine is mine" Ayn Rand shit.  We wouldn't be here without each other, so let's start acting like it. 

And go buy some broccoli.  Your knees are sick of holding up that fat gut of yours. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What June 13th Means To Me: Striking Oil

The best part about being a kid has to be the optimistic naivete. And I miss believing that the improbable isn't impossible.

When I was young, my friend Clinton lived at the end of a long quiet street called Waters Edge.  It might as well have been the end of the world.  His house bordered a dense wooded area that seemed to go on forever.  We were entirely too old (and I guess too smart) to believe that those woods held any mythical creatures, magical powers, or buried treasure, but we'd explore them just the same in hopes of finding something undiscovered. After all, when the rest of our surroundings were paved streets and perfectly, manicured lawns, the chaos of the woods made it feel uncharted.

No one ever explained to us how the 1970's era Chevy ever got there.  But the rusted, white vehicle sat smack in the center of the woods, and we visited it like James Cameron would the Titanic.  We'd prod the car with tools and sticks, exploring a different part of it for a few minutes each time.  The car had been there a while, we weren't sure how long, but long enough for it to be stripped of most of its features.  It still had a steering wheel and gear shift, but the passenger side front seat was long removed. We never gave this a second thought, for all we knew, the car had been there since George Washington and his men traversed the woods a few hundred years before.  It was rumored he'd stayed at an old house nearby during the Revolutionary War. We were obviously aware that this was impossible, but the distant past was the distant past and bled together as such. Once, we lifted the extremely tattered back seat of the car to find a family of rats, and for some reason Clinton became hellbent on catching them, so we ran back to his house and returned with a plastic pumpkin basket from McDonald's that would act as a trap.  I believe the pumpkin's name was McBoo. It all seemed like a good idea, catching rabid small animals.  That's what happens when you're a kid.  Regardless, the rats were long gone by the time we returned.

I can't remember if we always knew of the barrel that sat under some branches about a hundred feet away from the car, but once we inspected it, it had become the thing we had always hoped to find.  It was large, round, and silver.  It said "Firestone" on the top.  You could hear the slosh of liquid inside when you rolled it.  It could only mean one thing: we struck oil.  We didn't know much about oil, but we knew it was society's lifeblood, therefore expensive.  I'd recently seen a cartoon where the characters found oil.  They called it Texas tea; they filled up tea cups and pretended to drink it.  They discussed all the things they would do with the money, and how much it would change their lives. I told Clinton about the cartoon, and it inflated our expectations to way beyond reasonable  It didn't occur to us why a barrel of oil sat in the woods, but that's what made the area special.  As far as we knew, we were the only ones who still walked through it, it was entirely possible no one ever noticed the hidden treasure.  Like we stumbled upon an undiscovered Pharaoh's the middle of suburban New York.  And like those cartoon characters, we quickly dreamed of how this barrel full of oil would change our fortune.

Since the woods didn't exactly provide an even terrain, transporting the barrel back to Clinton's house proved to be difficult.  We couldn't carry it; it was entirely too heavy.  We couldn't roll it; there were too many rocks.  The only thing we could do was flip it, end over end, for a hundred meters until we reached his backyard.  Unfortunately, game as I was, I wasn't strong enough to flip the barrel more than a couple of times, so Clinton provided the heavy lifting, while I kept it balanced so it wouldn't fall and roll away.  We wondered what kind of oil it was, and how much it would net us.  We decided that there was probably 600 dollars worth in the barrel, though I have no clue how we arrived at that number. But we knew 300 dollars a piece would by a bunch of Nintendo games. Probably eight for each of us.  A combined sixteen games?  What more did we need.  It all seemed reasonable. 

After two hours, we finally reached Clinton's house and stormed inside to find his father.  He was a science teacher, a smart guy, he'd be able to help us.  He was always a measured man, but generally played along with our curiosity, so he approached the barrel with a similar excitement.  He told us that we found something, indeed.  A commodity, of sorts.  But it wasn't a barrel of oil, it was a half empty keg of beer.  We weren't too young to deflate.  There went the rest of our lives.

We never saw that 600 dollars, but did split a ten dollar bill.  That's how much the liquor store gave us for the keg.  I can't remember what we did with it, but I hope it went to something worthwhile.  Regardless, we never visited the car again.

A few years later I got a phone call from Clinton.  The woods were on fire; somehow the car had ignited.  We never learned why or how, but it burned to a charred, black shell.  A year after that, the town sold the land to a developer who cleared the woods in favor of an idyllic street filled with McMansions.  It turned out the woods did not sit on the edge of the world, after all.  In fact, the road to our elementary school, the place we went everyday, sat on the other side. 

Anytime I receive 600 dollars today, I think of that barrel of oil.  That was going to change our future.  And, in many ways, I guess it did. 

Anyway, it's Clinton's birthday today!  33. We're fucking old!  But I bet we could carry beer kegs pretty easily now. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What June 12th Means To Me: Eating Candy. Top Ten Childhood Favorites

This post is for Augustus Gloop.  For Stillwell "Angel." 

Before little boys and girls grew older and obsessed about other boys and girls, we had candy.  It's what we looked forward to.  It's what our parents bribed us with.  We'd behave, we'd stop crying, we'd stay in line, we'd do whatever for some candy.  Even if it was crappy candy.  You've all heard of that famous study where they leave a kid in a room with ONE marshmallow and the promise of another if they can wait 20 minutes without eating it?  And most couldn't?  A fucking marshmallow? Really?  That's the power of candy. 

I don't eat much candy these days, but I know a bite into my favorite childhood treat would act as a time machine to my youth.  So, let's celebrate candy with my top ten childhood favorites below:

10) The Chipwich

You delicious bitch

OK, so not a candy, but this ice cream treat is worth noting because I'd eat em on, pretty much, a daily basis.  The Chipwich could be a temperamental lil beast, though, if not stored at the perfect temperature.  If it was too hard, it'd break your teeth like any other over-frozen ice cream bar. If it was too soft, like the one above might be, the sandwich would collapse after the first bite.  Then you'd quickly eat the edges so none of the ice cream would fall to the ground, while the melting shit got all over your hands.  Totally killed the experience.  But the perfectly stored Chipwich?  A true joy.

9) Warheads:

I actually couldn't stand Warheads.  Or Eye-Poppers.  Or any of that overly sour crap that became all the rage in the early 90's.  But they were memorable due to their popularity, so I wanted to include them.  I can't recall the chronology of which candy came first, but it seemed that the first sour treats were sort of mild, then once they caught on, companies upped the ante with more powerful selections:  enter Warheads.  A 100 percent, completely unenjoyable "fruit flavored" shit bomb in a small tablet. They were so bad, and so powerful, that you can actually go on YouTube and find people shoving a bunch in their mouth to film their horrific reactions.  It's not a treat, it's a challenge.  But, when I was in junior high, most kids had em and claimed to like em.  I'm still not sure how.  They were designed to endure, not enjoy. 

8) Caramello

Lets see.  Chocolate. Caramel. Magic. Genius! 

7) Six Foot Bubble Tape

Yes. Hubba Bubba was better.  Gatorgum was better.  Big League Chew?  Much better.  But did they come in a roll?

There was nothing special about the taste.  In fact, it was kind of a pain in the ass because it didn't come in individual pieces. So why did I love this product? Because it was never six feet long and I got a thrill out of constantly pointing this out.  Like I was the Woodward and Bernstein of gum. I'd buy a pack, roll it out on the kitchen table, and grab the tape measure each time. 5 feet and 6 inches? Sometimes.  5 feet and 2 inches?  Maybe.  6 feet?  NEVER.  

A fun little sidenote: I once tried to stick the entire "six foot" roll in my mouth and almost choked on it; it was a strange experiment, I admit.  Kind of like the time I got a popcorn kernel stuck in my nose for a couple days.  Not sure what I was trying to prove there either.


The all-time worst ingredient to put into a Dairy Queen Blizzard, but a fun treat on it's own.  I always liked how the packages came in a couple of flavors, with two compartments that separated them.  There was something nice and orderly about it. 

5) The Strawberry Pack Of Starburst

Before boys started dreaming of other pink things, there was the strawberry Starburst.  (ugh, I'm sorry for writing that).

I can't even find a picture of this all-strawberry package on Google, but I'm certain I'm not making it up because I always bought it at my local diner.  I used to think Starburst put that awful lemon flavor in its variety pack just so the eater could further appreciate the strawberry.  Having a pack full of them was one of the only opportunities in life where you could have your cake and eat it too.

4) Pop Rocks

First off, look at that tagline.  Ugh. But I digress.  What could be better than a candy that exploded in your mouth?  A candy that came with a warning.  And a rumor that your head may burst if you drank a soft drink while eating them.  I don't even remember how these things tasted, I assume bad, but they were a fun novelty.

3) The Atomic Fireball

I don't really like hot/spicy flavored foods much, and I didn't love the fireball.  But in the 1980's, these little candies acted as currency.  Especially in my summer camp.  Wanna make a friend?  Give em a fireball.  Need a favor from someone?  Give them the promise of fireballs.  The reward for a job well done?  Fireballs!  The directors at my camp would keep them in their pockets as some kind of cheap version of crowd control.  Seriously, if the campers tried to revolt, it would have been easily squashed by someone holding a fireball like a carrot just out of reach.  Like if you were distracting a zombie by throwing a slab of meat off to the side.  To this day I can't understand why these things were so popular.  Who likes a cinnamon flavored candy anyway?  People, they're the worst. 

2) The Cookies N Cream Twix

At some point in the late 1980's, Mars inc. added two new flavors of Twix to their arsenal: the Chocolate Fudge and the immortal (to me) Cookies N Cream. It disappeared as quickly as it was introduced, and for a while only lived in twelve packs on grocery store shelves, but school lunches were never more exciting than they were when I had the promise of a Cookies N Cream Twix conclusion.   I always had the same eating method.  I'd first gnaw off the cookies n cream filling (which replaced the caramel in the regular Twix), and then finished the cookie portion with tiny bites.  Similar to a mouse.  The whole process took around ten minutes. I'd smile for a while and think to myself...what a wonderful world.  Then the bastards took it away. 

1) Chocolate Bonkers

I'm not sure if everyone was truly bonked out by the chewy chocolate Bonkers, but for me, it was love at first sight...err taste.  In fact, I still remember the first time I had 'em.  I can't recall whose birthday party it was, but it was at some sort of Color Me Mine-esque ceramics place, and the goodie bag featured an entire pack of Chocolate Bonkers. ALL FOR ME.  First bite?  I think angels sang that day.  Not sure when these were phased out, and I've heard rumors of a Bonkers revival, but the world would be a better place if they graced our candy shelves again.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What June 11th Means To Me: Random Thoughts

Sunday Night TV:

Another weekend, another finale, as MadMen's morbid 5th season came to a close.  There is a ton to discuss this season, mostly Don's power struggle with himself, his age, and his all-too-quick evolving world, but I give kudos to the season finale for making me laugh at something normally reserved for an eye-roll:  two dogs humping.  Sure, Peggy's business trip to tour a tobacco company isn't exactly traveling to Paris, but it is a baby step in the growth of her career.  When she looks out the window of her shabby motel, hoping to see an Eiffel tower-esque view, the sight of two dogs humping makes for a poor substitute. But it's something. She knows this is one of those things she'll one day laugh about while sharing the distant memory during a cocktail party at some fancy European hotel in a fancier European city. 

Speaking of distant memories, I'm excited for AMC's lesser show, The Killing, to become one.  I stick around because I'm a glutton for punishment I want to know who killed Rosie Larson, but I've actually started fast forwarding through her family's plot line, which feels more like that artificial pink slime meat filler than anything of substance.  As if the writers of the show can only come up with 40 minutes worth of police plotline, so they have to fill remaining time with Rosie's parents talking about how hard it's been for the boys.  I did, however, pause long enough to see Tommy's "muslim woman" halloween costume...though I think he was supposed to be a ninja.  Well, he was carrying some sort of sword anyway.

Another good episode of Girls last night!  HBO's logline for the episode was "Shoshanna goes out on a date."  The simplicity of the line was intriguing, and any fan of the show could understand why, but the episode really wasn't about Shoshanna at all.  In fact, I think she only appeared in one scene where she not-so-casually mentioned she's going on one. 

Big Sports Weekend:

Miami Heat in the finals: LeBron's great play bought him a couple days of critical silence.  I'm sure they'll be back to blast him after the Heat's next loss.

Manny Pacquiao:  I didn't watch the fight, but did see the highlights of him controlling it.  I also saw that he outpunched Bradley in virtually every round.  So ... how did Bradley win the decision?  I don't know why I'm constantly surprised by boxing's corruption.

Los Angeles Kings: They came into the weekend up 3-0 in the Stanley Cup final series, and leave it up 3-2.  I look forward to the Kings completely blowing it, and LA pretending to be upset for a while before they forget about it.

Euro 2012: I'm surprised I'm interested as much as I am. 


My neck hurts.

It's been an exciting weekend. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

What June 7th and 8th Mean To Me: Prometheus

Many fans of the hit TV show, LOST, felt disappointed by the nebulous conclusion of the epic, mostly because a plethora of  questions asked throughout the show's run either weren't properly answered, or weren't addressed at all.  But if these disappointed fans stopped to think about it for more than three seconds, they'd realize LOST's most interesting queries weren't answered because they were actually unanswerable.  As much as we'd love to know "why we are all here?" or the reason behind, "how did we get here," a television show cannot tell us "the meaning of life," regardless of whether or not we were tricked into believing it might. And if you ask any fan what ending they would have preferred, they could not come up with one.  I long thought the only conclusion to LOST that would satisfy all the fans involved one where twenty dollar bills flew from the TV screen and into living rooms across the world.  It was an impossible task.  

But if you felt a little empty after the final moments of LOST, then you probably will feel similarly during the closing credits of Ridley Scott's, and LOST co-creator Damon Lindelof's, highly anticipated "Alien prequel," Prometheus.  Much like LOST, Prometheus goes all in when it poses the questions of "Who are we?" and "Why are we here?" In fact, it completely centers the movie around these interesting concepts, which creates a bubble of anticipation that will inevitably pop.  Set in the late 21st century, Prometheus tells the story of two scientists who discover a cave drawing that "proves" the existence of, not only other life, but other life that created humanity.  These scientists organize a team and travel to a distant world to, essentially, meet their makers.  Instead, they find an abandoned area that provides many more questions than answers. 

Prometheus is not without its charm.  The visuals are gorgeous and stunning; the abandoned world they have created makes you wish you could spend some time exploring it yourself..  There are memorable scenes that will cause some to run to their Twitter feeds, while alternately sending others to catch their breath while gripping the toilet.  The set-up is full of both mystery and intrigue that actually trick you into believing that the universe's greatest questions might be answered.  But, of course, when it comes time to face these questions, the movie talks in circles, only to punt the important issues to some probable sequel...where they will undoubtedly do the same thing again.  Unlike LOST, Prometheus doesn't really bother with pesky things like character development (or polar bears), which makes the movie forgettable beyond a few moments and images. 

Aside from the existential questions posed, there's an alternate parallel plot line that might be the so-called genesis of the Alien franchise.  There's not a whole lot to it, it doesn't necessarily fit in with the main story being told (and is also less interesting), but if you're a fan of Alien, you'll be pleased to learn of some of the back story. 

If you do choose to watch the movie (and its not a total waste of time), here's a word of advice:  Remember the first scene, and constantly keep it in mind while you watch the rest of the movie, it'll answer some of the questions that the characters don't bother to address.  Also, remember the movie's namesake, Prometheus, who was the Titan "credited" with the creation of human life, and the one who provided them fire to ensure their existence.  Trust me on this. 

Oh yeah, and try to see it at night, or at least keep your sunglasses handy.  The film is incredibly dark (in color), and between that and its 3-D capability, it'll take your eyes a while to re-adjust to the daylight.  Unless you love squinting.

Have a good weekend, everyone

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What June 6th Means To Me: Sports Snobbin'

One of the great things about sports is its ability to bring likeminded people together for an exciting moment.  Last night, at the gym, several people slowly halted their workouts and arched their necks towards the television to watch the final two minutes of the tense Heat/Celtics playoff game.  We all shared an "ohh" when Pierce hit his jumper, perhaps an "ahh" when Garnett nailed the game sealing free throw, and then resumed our activities once the final buzzer sounded. 

But, within groups like this, there's always one asshole who is a little louder than the rest.  And, when I watch Broncos games, I'm probably that asshole. I get into it, you bet. I was screaming during all Tebow's comebacks this past year.  I often watch games with my friend Rebecca, and I'm not sure how she puts up with me half the time.  I become a different person. But, at leas,t I'm an asshole that's a huge fan. I know shit. There's nothing worse than when that asshole is horrifically unknowledgable, and is just getting caught up in the fact that it's playoff time (or whatever), but pretends that he's the biggest fan in the room.  And I know all big sports fans will agree.

Last night, within the crowd, there was one, very loud individual, wearing his Rajon Rondo t-shirt and screaming at anyone who would listen (or wouldn't). But here's the reality:

1) If he was a huge Celtics fan, as he claimed, he would have been watching game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals ...anywhere but the gym.

2) He'd know basic basketball rules.

3) He'd know Kevin Garnett isn't a bad foul shooter.  "Oh no, they fouled our worst foul shooter!" he exclaimed at the end of the game.  Wholly untrue. That one actually got a lot of eyerolls. 

4) He'd know Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis haven't been on the team for quite a while.  Actually he didnt even know their names, he just referred to them as "one of our bigger fat guys."  I just assumed thats who he meant because no one else on the current Celtic team fits that description.

Does this make me a snobby a-hole?  Of course.  And I have no problems with casual sports fans, I just take issue when they pretend like it's life and death to them when it's clearly not. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What June 5th Means To Me: Game of Assholes

Game Of Thrones -Season Two came to a close this past Sunday (boooo!).  Moment of silence please. 
I know, Paris, me too
Game Of Thrones is probably filled with the greatest collection of assholes on television. Maybe in history! Seriously, even the good characters are mostly deplorable (Jon Snow, you are far). So much so that it could probably be re-titled "Game Of Assholes." Imagine that opening title sequence.  But the question of "Who Is The Biggest Asshole On The Show?" is a good one...and one I'll try to answer below:

First!  Honorable Mentions:

Littlefinger (I can never trust you), Robb Stark (you could be a little nicer to your own mother), The Unseen Dothraki Who Cut The Head Of The Dude On The Horse (how dare you kill the blood of my blood!), The Spice King, The Weather in the North (cold), Wildfire, The Dude Who Sleeps With His Daughters and Kills His Sons, The Red Waste (hot), and The "One Or Two" Guys Who Tried To Sleep With Briene Years Ago For Shits And Giggles.

On To The Top Five Biggest Assholes In Season Two Of Game Of Thrones!

5) Melisandre

Ah, you came into this season with your ginger hair, blustering about Gods, and power, and then you had to kill off one of the show's best, Renly, with your crazy vagina monster.  But all that, of course, does not catapult you into the top five alone ... making Stannis relevant does.  You with your prophecies and promises motivated the most boring and uninspired character to take a shot at the throne, and took us away from more enjoyable plotlines.  Of all the throne's suitors, Stannis is the Mitt Romney. I half expected him to take over King's Landing by buying it through Bain Capital. And even his defeat at the hand of the Lannister army didn't deter your passion for the passionless leader, as you made him stare into some prophetic fire bullshit and alluded to the fact we'll be seeing more of him in coming seasons.  Wench!

4) Xaro and Pyat Pree of Qarth

Ah, these two forgot to study their bible.  Most notably, the 8th commandment:  "Thou shall not steal...the Khaleesi's dragons!"  Xaro, how dare you try to entice the Khaleesi into your arms with riches you don't have, slay many of her followers, then sleep with her hand maiden!  Pyat, how dare you lock her in the top of your evil spirit tower like she's sleeping beauty, and try to trick her with images of the dead Khal.  Though how cool was it when she broke free and stormed into Xaro's room, covered in her dragons, with her army in tow. After she locked Xaro in his impenetrable safe, I half expected her to spin like Michael Jackson and moonwalk on outta there.

Though, Pyat, if you loan me your ultra cool spirit house for Halloween, you're off the list. 

3) Cersei Lannister

Ah yes, you find yourself at number three despite your nice cheekbones.  I know it's hard being the Queen of the seven kingdoms! It's difficult having a schmuck for a son. And it's painful to know that your lover, who is also your brother, is a prisoner of the Starks.  It's a rough life for you!  But why do you have to be so mean to Tyrion?  Blaming him for the death of your mother during a difficult childbirth? Cold  Trying to have him killed? Ice cold! Plus, he's a little person!  Did you always pick on the physically weakest? Yes, Tyrion is the only one who can match your cunning wit, but this should be celebrated!  You should work together!  Instead, you're a dastardly cunt. And stop referring to Sansa's period as her "red flower."  My God, I cringe. 

2) Theon Greyjoy

A bit of an upset this season! Would have never expected Theon to make the list way back in April.  It's tough being you, Theon Greyjoy.  You were a prisoner since you were a child, and then were told how lucky you were to be a prisoner.  When you finally came home to the Iron Islands, you were shunned by your own father.  You feel you have no family and desperately want to belong somewhere.  I get it.  But you ransacked your adopted home, killed many of its nobles, burned and hung two innocent children, bullied a crippled child out of Winterfell, and fingered your sister. Oh, and you made fun of that poor girl's teeth who lives in the bottom of the ship.  C'mon. There may be hope for you yet if you don't spend season three at the bottom of the Iron Sea, but you've done well to earn a spot in the top two this season. 

1) King Joffrey

Congrats Joffrey, you're the biggest asshole in Westeros!  Two years running, actually!  If you weren't forcing hookers to beat each other with sharp spikes, you were enjoying bossing around warriors in your constantly cracking voice. If you weren't cowering from battle at your mother's request, you were bitching that everyone in town should be killed because one guy threw fruit at you.  If you weren't neglecting Tyrion's sound advice, you were ordering the killing of every bastard in Kings Landing (even babies) to protect your power because you're an inbred little shit.  And it's annoying to watch you slump in your throne like a dickhole, giving orders to your grandfather and mother who don't take your power all that seriously. Oh, and you're a little cunt to Sansa.  Your day will come!  And I will enjoy watching you die, and I hope it happens slowly!

Monday, June 4, 2012

What June 1st-4th Means To Me: Random Weekend Thoughts

Some Random Weekend Thoughts:

Good Basketball Games:  The NBA Conference Finals are in full swing, and we were treated to a great one last night between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.  I did realize one major thing while watch though: no matter what LeBron James does, people will hate.  He had yet another historic regular season that we, as fans, have taken for granted, and has continued his great play through the playoffs.  He was a bit off last night (though still put up 29 points), but hit a huge, game tying three pointer in the final minute of regulation, which flew in the face of all his critics that say he's "not clutch."  Though, once the game was over, all these critics crowed about is how he didn't take the last shot of regulation (it would have been terribly forced), how he's not Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, or anyone else he's sometimes compared to.  Just let him be LeBron James.  We sometimes put too much of a premium on winning championships to decide a players value.  That's a really fine line, not to mention basketball is a team sport.  If Dwayne Wade sinks that last three pointer in overtime, giving Miami a commanding 3-1 lead, it shouldn't affect how we view LeBron James (who had fouled out at that point), but people will simplify it as such.  Peyton Manning actually made great point about this the other day.  He was telling the story of his great comeback drive at the end of the 2006/7 AFC Championship against the Patriots.  It was an epic drive, one that eventually lead to a Super Bowl victory, but he astutely observed that it would have been completely forgotten had Tom Brady drove down the field shortly after for a game winning score.  Even though Peyton doesn't play defense, and would have zero to do with an opponent's drive, he'd still be labeled a "loser" and a guy "who can't step up to win the big one."  This sort of stuff drives me crazy. 

Found iPhone:  Every once in a while, the universe puts you in a situation to remind you that you are human and generally not a great person. While running back from the gym yesterday morning, I found an iPhone 4S on the sidewalk, and my first thought wasn't "let's find the owner," it was "ooh, what can I do with a second iPhone."  Actually my first thought was to look around to see if anyone was around, but I assumed the homeless guy in the distance wasn't it's true owner.  Fortunately for me, my evil thoughts didn't last long, and I quickly texted the last person the owner did to help return the phone, which was done within the next hour.

I also realized how incredibly personal someone's phone is.  It's like finding someone's diary...except maybe worse.  While trying to find the best person to contact, I learned this woman had a husband and a kid.  I learned she was late on her rent and might need to find a new place to live.  I learned that she has a contentious relationship with said husband.  I learned she likes crafts, never returns her mother's phone calls (several unchecked messages), she just got a new job, and that it was also her birthday.  If I ever lose my phone, I kind of hope it just dies and no one has access to all that info.

Game Of Thrones Finale:  Awesome.  Awesome.  Now what do I do Sundays at 9pm?  Also, was I the only person with stiff nipples after the dragons burned Michael Stipe to a crisp in the house of the undying (or whatever its called)?  Probably not!  Plus, what was with Jaqen?  White walkers!  Ahhh, I might have to read these books after all. 

Girls: The HBO show, not the gender.  Good episode.  Though how cool would it be to have Marnie's Facebook?  Sure, we were supposed to be concentrating on the fact that she was crying over her ex-boyfriend's pictures with his new girlfriend, but all I could think was how lucky she was to have SIXTEEN new messages in her inbox.  Not to mention a friend request!  If I ever woke up to sixteen messages in my inbox, I'd immediately think I won the lottery and somehow was never told.  Now, I'm sure the writers gave her that many messages for a reason, but I do wonder what the reason was.

New Book:  I've been working on a new book for the past few months, and with each passing day it scares me a little more because the story keeps growing and growing.  I'm not sure it's a good thing either, because I'm not positive that it all makes sense.  But I hope it does, because I think it has potential to be really good.  But it wouldn't be the first story I've fucked up if it doesn't!

Insomnia:  I have it.  It's horrible.  I took sleeping pills last night and spent most of the evening tossing and turning while feeling incredibly drowsy.  Quite a crappy feeling.  And my co-worker just asked me if I slept at all this weekend.  Happy Monday, Brett