Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stereotypes When Traveling

This is all based on my personal experiences while traveling, and mostly through Eastern Europe in the late '80s.

1: Americans are loud obnoxious pricks.
We are. If you're a normally vociferous person (like me), everyone will hear you coming. Chatting is fine, but keeping it barely audible is best. Think museum-level voices, but everywhere. If you hear someone speaking English but can't see them, they're probably a block away and American. Or hooligans.

2: Stay away from hooligans.
Seriously. You'll just end up dead, broken, or with more knowledge of the Spanish penal system than you'd like.

3: Tourists attract pickpockets.
This applies anywhere you travel. The best thing you can do is have good situational awareness, and keep your important documents in the safest pockets you have.

4: Bring toilet paper.
This is more of an Eastern European recommendation because those commies sure don't like their cornholes. Most of their tp could double as sandpaper. You may find yourself using a public toilet, wondering how did I get here without any toilet paper, and then you'll be sorry.

5: Bring cash.
Credit cards aren't as useful in Europe. This is changing, but slowly. My burser on my last trip only paid for hotel rooms and some train tickets with a credit card, everything else was cash. You can get foreign currency from your bank if you give them enough notice, you can usually get a decent rate, or a better rate than you'll get from a cambio overseas.

6: McDonald's is worse in Europe.
Ok, so the last time I went to a McD's in another country was Turkey in 1987, but still it was horrible. Fucking coffee flavored milkshakes instead of chocolate. No wonder they lost the war.

7: If your flight lands in the morning, stay awake until night.
Best way to get over jet-lag, no matter what hypochondriac punkbitches say about melatonin or seratonin pills.

8: Bring American condoms.
You know your favorite brand, you trust it, so why use some commie condom from a former Soviet republic? Those things probably wouldn't stop a cold, and you wouldn't know the good local brand anyway.

9: Frommer's.
Good enough for Eurotrip, good enough for you.

10: A few words about swimsuits.
It's Europe, you don't need a top, baby.

Finishing Projects

I've been known to spread myself to thin at times. I'm currently working on a short story, a novel, and a couple of screenplays while also trying to find a day job, read three books at a time, proceed to some form of self-awareness, and maybe even find some happiness. Let's not forget my hobbies: two Warhammer 40K armies, mounting a horse head on my wall for a hat rack, dating, and blogging. I should probably focus my efforts so that I can actually finish some of these projects. I think I might be a bit scattered in my efforts, but then I hear about this, and I can only respond with, "lolwut."

Perhaps you may want to finish wrecking the game with Wrath of the Lich King before you go and annihilate it with a Cataclysm. And seriously, did the game really need Gnomes on the Horde side? I predict a whole new wave of dumb jokes on the forums written by kids with in depth knowledge of the find/replace command, and the words "gnome" and "goblin."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


One of these years, I am going to learn to recognize when leftovers have gone slightly bad, or die from food poisoning. My record indicates that the latter is the likeliest of the two options.

Or maybe I need to stop reading while on the bus within 20 minutes of eating. Or maybe don't have a pb&j after having the last bits of spaghetti.

Fixing My Internets AKA Re-plumbing the Tubes

I've been adding links to my blog little by little, as I've taken to using it as a one stop place for my favorite time wasting. Since I still have yet to find employment that allows me the luxuries of services that are rapidly becoming utilities, I still have neither broadcast television access nor internet access, and rely almost entirely upon my local library for serious internetting. I can't even pirate a wi-fi network since people in my building are so stingy. Er, I mean, knowledgeable about network security.

Also, while I can peruse some websites on my phone, it is really no replacement for a broadband internet connection, or even a dial-up connection. Reading internet articles on your phone is a lot like reading under the covers when you're twelve and Mom and Dad told you to go to bed. It's bad for your eyes, and you'll end up embarassed when you admit to what you were reading later in life, because Dungeons and Dragons novels are just horrifically embarassing.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Miss Your Comments, Too

But sending me blank text messages is an odd way to generate more hits, Brando. I'm out looking for a hot dog stand that also sells buckets of cold spring water, when I get back to my neighborhood, I'll hit the library and leave some comments on your hilarious bloggio.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Morning Random: Ghost Jukebox Edition, with Genius Commentary

If you leave the jukebox alone, it plays random songs every twenty minutes. Last Sunday, the jukebox chose the following six songs to play:

1. Elvis - In the Ghetto.
Makes anyone want to drink.

2. Monkees - Daydream Believer
Makes everyone look at the jukebox to see who selected this song.

3. Avant - Separated
Makes everyone go outside to smoke.

4. Four Tops - Need Your Lovin'
Makes all the lonely servers and patrons stare at the wall in regret.

5. John Roe - Izzy
Makes, uh...I can't even remember this song. Maybe it's a psychic trigger and we all have the same 3:43 minute memory gap! Or maybe not.

6. Commodores - Easy
I got nothing.

So there you have it. I'm surprised the 'box didn't toss in any lame country. The 'box will frequently pick Bottom 40 Country Misses and horrible R&B when bored. It seems to only play songs that no one ever selects, as if saying, "put some money in me, or I play more terrible bar music." It's an aural terrorist.

Additional commentary on selected artists and the Jukebox's selection thereof:
Coldplay: A customer reacts to my face when Yellow comes on for the third time in a night by saying, "Wow, you really hate Coldplay." It's like trying to drill a hole in your skull to gain superpowers, except the drilling never stops.

Muse: Coldplay with Enhanced Suck. Ross Perot never imagined how bad the sucking sound could eventually be, but now we know.

Vampire Weekend - A-Punk: Ok, we get it, you're fucking hip. Now shut the fuck up and enable more VW songs, or The Genius is gonna Lou Ferrigno your ass right off the wall.

NOFX: Without Liza & Louise, how can I make Facebook friends with my lesbo coworkers?

Toby Keith: Someday you will face the Wrath of the Beastly Brows, Toby Keith.

Knickelback: Flames. Flames from the side of Res Publica's face.

Journey: I'm gonna hurt you in the no-no place, jukebox.

M.I.A.: If I weren't such a feminist, I might request that guy come beat our jukebox.

Kelly Clarkson: I received a note from Justin to Kelly, and it said only, "I gave up, why can't you?"

Hannah fucking Montana, and the Jonas Brothers: Hah, Disney tries to be all coy, and claim that they don't sell sex to children. Liars. Dirty, rotten, filthy, liars.

Metallica: Three songs from St. Anger, and three songs from the Black Album? Hardly equivalent, but I'm sure the band needed to redo the gold plating on all seventy of their toilets. Guess which three songs play over and over?

Louis Prima: I like this guy. I only play it when I've made more than a bill, and feel good. I don't want to ruin the five songs on the 'box by over-playing them.

MGMT - Kids, followed by PB&J - Young Folks: These two songs play together so often, I am hanging by my fingernails over the abyss of the soul. My rage waits patiently, eagerly, and ravenously to feast upon a delicious supper when the day comes that I can no longer bear these two songs together. It's almost as bad as the Vampire Weekend/Flobots combo. The 'box taunts me by straining to ruin so many bands, and succeeding so thoroughly. I dream of my sweet revenge.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Celebrity Dream Cameo: Ecto-1

I'm not sure how this one started, but my brothers and I were operating a Ghostbusters franchise in the District. We had just finished restoring an old ambulance or hearse to Ghostbusters International standards when we got a call. I tossed my tan BDUs on and jumped in the driver's seat with my brother riding shotgun, and my other brothers in the back seat. I immediately noticed that we had made a slight error when restoring the vehicle because we had installed a bus-sized steering wheel. The wheel was one of those slick, black plastic ones from an old Greyhound or something similar in size, and was approximately three feet across. It did have some nice chrome on it, though. The seat was also a little broken, so that it was stuck leaning back to far to really see out of the window. I either had to lean forward and hold my arms out comically far to drive, or lean back and drive using the bottom ten degrees of the wheel and let my brother's screaming guide my driving. At one point, I turned onto a one-way street and had to dodge a few cars before getting fed up and turning on the vintage lights and sirens. They sounded exactly like the original Ecto-1, probably because of the MP3 player hooked up to the sirens and stereo. Cars began getting out of our way, but I still had to bump onto the sidewalk for a couple blocks. I even cut a huge u-turn in the middle of an intersection to make it to our destination, people, segways, and cars were leaping out of the way. Turns out our first caper was at the Museum of American History. I woke up at this point, but I'm betting we had to go clear out all of the ghosts leftover from those "Night at the Museum" movies.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Leave a Message, Fool!

Is it really so hard to leave a simple message after calling someone and missing them? I've been getting a lot of calls lately from numbers I don't recognize, and even from some "Private" numbers, but no one leaves a message. If you don't leave a message, how the hell am I supposed to know to call back or whatever? Maybe Verizon is just messing with me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peter Coyote versus James Woods: Totally Tarantula Tuesday Celebrity Edition

Nature show voice-overs versus Family Guy cameos.
Advantage: James Woods.

Making wolves interesting versus looking vaguely sinister.
Advantage: Tie, because both are cool.

Sphere versus Contact.
Advantage: The only person in the world to have seen neither, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Having a name evocative of the rugged American West versus having a name evocative of a metaphor about details and plans.
Advantage: Peter Coyote

The Verdict: His Holiness wins! Enlightenment is the only path.

Fooled you!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not a Great Idea, Nor a Great Rationale

My boss told the Real World crew that it wasn't his decision, but he would prefer if they stayed out of his bar, due to their extreme propensity for causing fights in every bar they visit.* I told him that I would come in on a day off to wait on the Real World kids. I had two goals beyond making money when I got this job: the first being to drink a lot of new beers and the other to win a bar brawl. So far, all I've done is frighten shitty tippers and stare down morons. I'm not a violent man, but I would happily issue justified beatings in order to end a brawl.

* According to an inside source, some punches were thrown at Buffalo Billiards when the kids went there.

Creatures of the Night

I have never been sure of my habits. Am I a day-sider masquerading as a night-timer, or a night-timer with day-side longing? Or am I some desperately bisexual crepuscular fiend, hiding in the fringes, receiving no convincing arguments from either side, and yet hoping for any indication of a hoped-for success in any lifestyle? Whichever the case, I've still got more miles to go before the comfort of my bed, and, oddly enough, a few graveyards to cross on my way, like a goth Jimmy Clif.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Evening in the Park

I'm lying on a picnic table in Battery Kemble Park, listening to the wind rustle the leaves. The air is unusually cool for September, and the clouds drip now and then. To the east, the city's glow casts a depressing orange on the vaporous ceiling in an ugly false dawn. The crickets chirp, calling a desperate, last hope for sex before death. The breeze tosses my damp frizzled hair about my face, and I ignore it. Dead trees claw at the sky, silent accusers. The sky is a mottled grey, slowly morphing and mutating as my eyes adjust and the wind exerts its will.

Depending on your definition of parallel universes, on a planet n meters away from my spot, there is someone extremely similar to me, lying on an extremely similar picnic table, thinking extremely similar thoughts, asking extremely similar questions, and just as hopefully depressed about the future. I think the Germans probably have a word for this feeling, but it is 93 characters long and I can't do umlauts on my phone.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Penny Arcade Predicts the Summer Blockbuster

This comic from February 19, 2009 is mighty impressive. It was written in reference to a Resident Evil trailer that I was unable to view at the library, but I was immediately reminded of while watching District 9. I have been describing D9 as apartheid with ray guns. Weeks later, that movie still sits at my number one spot. I disagree thoroughly with Howard Tayler's rankings, but that's Freedom of Speech in action and I thoroughly agree with that principle.

I haven't seen Gamer, G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra, Wolverine, Land of the Lost, or Angels & Demons (nor will I, Dan Brown blows) but I will eventually. I have seen all of Trueblood season 1, and the shame runs deep as the darkest parts of your soul.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The National Archives of Amateur Porn

Or, The Secret Service Would Prefer a Penis-Free Evening in Lafayette Park

It was the end of a long, slow night at work when she walked past my seat, and perched on a bar stool. Petite, blonde, and wearing an entirely pink* outfit, she looked simultaneously lost and totally confident. My manager asked if I had noticed the woman, whom we'll call Violet, and I said yes. She then asked how old I thought Violet was, so I said, "let me get my shift** and I'll go find out."
"Oooh, Chuckles, don't embarrass yourself," she said as I left to get my beer.

I sit down one stool away from Violet, and proceed to sip my beer and my water. I glance over a couple times, Violet catches my glances, and reciprocates. At this point in time, I can not be certain what I said to start the conversation, but I know it was going well until a tremendous fool, whom we'll call Cuban Pete, interrupted. We had been talking about faith, religion, and belief when Cuban Pete turned around and asked, "who talks about God at a bar?" Before I can say anything, Violet is handling the situation.

I am then witness to a full-throttle ego destruction as Cuban Pete tries to use lines designed to prey on a woman's insecurities*** on Violet and she retaliates with a withering display of intellectual firepower. She wrecks him so handily, and he is so utterly unaware of himself, that I just sit there and laugh at him. I know when to shut up and watch. Eventually Cuban Pete's friends show up and try to drag him away, and we duck out the back while Pete was trying to tell his friends that he was going home with Violet.

While leaving through the back exit, we run into my asshole boss who proceeds to try yelling at Violet, "Hey little girl, what the hell? Where you going? No way!" Violet walks into the downstairs entrance as I tell the Boss quite firmly that "I got this, it's under control. Go back in your office, I got this. Go back in your office!" Boss stops and stares at me, and then walks off muttering. I sit Violet down at the bar, run upstairs for my bag where I find my boss ranting about me and "the crazy teenager." I grab my bag and say, "she's no teenager. I'll see everyone tomorrow." Violet and I leave for the Big Hunt.

At the Hunt, we each have a Bell's Oberon and a great conversation. The topics range wildly, and humorously, despite a complete lack of discussion about flaky fish. If I remember correctly, we were discussing our varied education in dancing when a neighboring table asked us about the aforementioned piscine delights. Violet is classically trained in ballet, while I was classically trained in ballroom, in the same way that Animal House is a classic.

After a pleasant time on the Hunt's roof patio, we leave and I offer to walk her to her hotel. She thought it was near a park, and as we approach the address, we see the Washington Monument peeking over some rooftops. A block or so beyond her hotel is Lafayette Park and the White House, so we mosey over. Violet worries that it might be off limits after dark, but three bicycle cops say otherwise. We sit down in the dewy grass near the fountains and continue chatting.

At this point in the evening, I am thinking two things: holy shit, this woman is attractive both mentally and physically, and I doubt we're going to make out with all of these cops walking around. Ninety seconds later, the latter was proven wrong when Violet pushed me onto my back and leapt on top of me. I would proceed with details except that there are certain things that I would prefer to keep to myself, specifically the way her skin smelled (lovely), the way her blonde hair caught the light of the fountains (beautifully), and the way she felt in my arms (wonderful). After that, all I could think about was whether an FOI request would get me the footage from the security cameras because no one will ever believe this happened.

After an unknown period of time, subject to the L.L. Cool J Theory of Relativity,**** a police officer crept up to the far side of the fountain in his SUV and then sauntered over to us. Violet slid off me, and we said good evening to the young officer. "Just checking in folks, thought I saw, uh, something that looked like, um, oral going on, and that's, uh, illegal, but everything is all put away, so we're okay." Nothing of the sort was going on, I'm a gentleman and Violet is not that kind of lady, but he's got a job to do and it was just dark enough to leave some doubt. I am not sure who felt more awkward, but I was ready to jump up and demand a high-five.

Violet and I ask the cop about the rules on make-outs in the park. Apparently, the rules about nudity in the District are far more lax than I had previously thought. As long as the genitals are clothed, anything goes! No acts deemed lewd are permitted however, hence the diligent officer's investigation of any possible intimate internship.

After a hilariously awkward conversation about catching people fucking in the park not twenty minutes prior and other nights of streakers at the Lincoln Memorial, the officer left saying, "good night. And good luck, dude! But, uh, not here, please." Violet undid several more buttons on her shirt now that we understood the rules and I am now Agnostic, because I was ready to proselytize for whichever deity smiled upon me at that moment. I won't divulge more details because incoming links from Filthbot may be funny, but the comments that result are sorta grody. I will say that we were chaste, and I will also say that as good a time was had as could be had without requiring a lawyer. I walked Violet to her hotel, she kissed me goodnight, and I walked home wishing I could high-five all my buddies. Or even the men I passed on the street. The night's events are the top of the list of All Time Best-Ever Events Without Nudity, The Genius Edition, and even pretty high on the Nudity Required version of the list.

Unfortunately, the rest of Saturday was an unending string of missed connections and miscommunications. I had a small voice in my head saying that I would never hear from Violet again, and sent her an poorly-worded email about meeting up on Saturday night. When I wrote the email, I expected it to bounce or never receive a response. It was far more blase than I felt. Over the course of the evening, the combination of working in a basement and missing calls and messages resulted in an enormous level of frustration in both Violet and I. I thought she knew I was working, and she thought I was playing it cool. If she could have seen me obsessively checking my messages every twenty minutes and rebooting my phone to double check that it was actually downloading messages, she would know that I was being anything but cool. At one point, I missed her call by three minutes. The people smoking on the stoop all jumped when I shouted in dismay.

The string of emails that followed on Sunday and into the night were mixed in tone. Like so many emails, if she was smiling when she wrote them Violet is hilarious. If she was frowning, then I had to wonder why she was bothering. Most women I piss off so thoroughly simply stop communicating with me. Fortunately, I seem to have convinced her that I am not a giant jerkfaced asshole, and she seems amenable to giving me another chance the next time she is in town.

I hope the weather is still warm because I hear the Jefferson Memorial is beautiful by night.

* Or blue. Definitely a pastel to my cursed eyes. Probably both pink and blue.
** Victory Prima Pils.
*** This technique had probably worked well with the Bachelorette party he and his pals had been hitting on, but Cuban Pete was too drunk to notice that he had just gotten himself unlaid by starting this.
**** As related in Deep Blue Sea, "Get your hands on a hot pan, and a second can last an hour. Get your hands on a hot woman, and a night can disappear in a second."

Friday, September 04, 2009

Embarassed, But Not Really

You can't keep the lessons and forget the incidents. I don't know if I would if I could.

My Birthday is Less Than Twelve Months Away

But you can still buy me one of these for an early gift.*

* Early birthday gift giving does not exempt you from the Annual End-of-Year Gift Tithing.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Guest Blogger

The other day I was walking out of work with a co-worker. When it was time to say good bye we awkwardly hugged, as only co-workers can do, said good bye and then proceeded to walk down the street in the same direction.

One time I peed on my hand by accident on the way to a keg party. I was young and in college and hopeful of a one night stand so I had to rub my pee-stinky hand in people garden flowers on the way there.

I woke up this morning and poured my cereal into a bowl, then I realized we had no milk so I had to pour it back into the box. Fuck my life.

This week was really hectic at work and we had this big deadline. I don't get paid enough to care about deadlines and I think my boss knows this so he sent us an email that started like this:

Guys – I can feel the progress. Can you feel it?? I can feel the energy pulsating from our pods!!

Great progress was made last week and I’ve seen firsthand things progress quite a bit over the last two days. I love the activity guys – love it!

I think it had the opposite effect that he wanted. He even ended the email like this:
Thanks guys – only one thing left to say before I leave, and that is…


Whatever, David Brent...

You know you've got to get a new job when you log in password at work is 'fuckthisplace.'

My last bit of truth: This blog has been high-jacked!

***Editor's note: This post was written by my brother and i think he was attempting to tap into the Tarantula Preserves.