Sunday, September 29, 2013

Superheroes and punctuation

You know how people say, "Look! It's Batman!", or, "Look! It's Superman!", or, "Look! It's Iron Man!", right? Well, if I could be a superhero and pick my own name, it would be Ellipses Man. That way, people could say, "Look! It's ...!" I think that would be cool.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'll bet Viagra makes life hard

You know that erectile dysfunction commercial (I think it's Viagra) they're always playing, the one with the blues guitar in the background, and guys with salt and pepper hair and a three day growth of beard? It always shows a guy working on a car, or loading horses into a trailer, or starting a campfire, and then the voice over says, "This is the age for getting things done." So, what are they implying? That it is easier to "get things done" with an erection? I'm not following how having a boner is going to make getting those horses into the trailer any easier, much less changing your oil or keeping warm (well, I guess you COULD wrap your hands around it). Trust me. I'm a guy. There's precious few things an erection makes EASIER (save one). It generally makes everything much harder (pun intended). Just ask any 16yr old male in an algebra class...

Bears, Lilliputians, and American clothing sizes

I went looking for a sweatshirt the other day. Apparently, Americans come in two sizes: XXXXXL "I can't stop stuffing food into my mouth oh god please somebody help me why haven't my friends staged an intervention", and XXXS "Apparently people have been having lots of wanton unprotected sex with Lilliputians for the last several generations and I didn't even know it". If you're neither of these sizes, you're essentially screwed (and not in a good way). You may want to consider saving yourself a whole lot of time, and go right into the woods and kill yourself a bear and wear its pelt for the winter. Not only will it fit better, you'll find it a less frustrating experience as well. Plus, you get to eat its still beating heart and consume its soul, thus becoming one with the bear. So...bonus.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pet Peeves

So, on occasion, I have out of the blue, unprompted, tangential conversations (usually via text) with a certain individual about pet peeves. We like to share, as it's nice to know you're not the only soul who finds life's minutia an occasional exasperating pain in the ass.  Tonight, I experienced two that I thought I'd share with the world wide web.  And what are these pet peeves you may be (probably not) asking yourselves? Smoke alarms and Redbox video rental kiosks.  Let me explain...

Smoke alarms are nothing but a governmental, big brother, nanny state, pointless feel good law mandated requirement for American homes.  They are an utter nuisance and a colossal headache inducing torture device.  They should all be ripped out of our homes, and in a flurry of brilliant irony, set aflame and allowed to smolder and we dance naked Druid style in the shadows cast by their flickering combustion (I'm imagining this happening somewhere near the Salisbury Plain, at night, during the summer solstice.  It just seems ..right).  "But John!  Smoke alarms save lives!  How can you say that???"  Smoke alarms save lives?  Really?  Do they?  You know, in my four decades (plus) of life, I've met a lot of people.   Easily in the thousands.  And in all the information sharing,  the exchanging of stories, and basic knowledge swap you (the proverbial "you" by the way, not necessarily "you" the current reader, although unless you're a hermit who lives in a seaside cave ((OK, any cave)), "you" too ((reader "you" that try and follow along)) are probably familiar with this sort of encounter) normally engage in typical human interaction, you learn a few things.  One of the things you learn is most human beings have a multitude of common experiences.   Love and loss, winning and losing, yin and yang, the alpha and the omega, the peanut butter and the jelly, the mangled tape cassette in your in-dash car stereo (like I said, I'm 40+), repeatedly stopping your car and throwing up on the sidewalk of a major metropolitan coastal city as you try and make the hours long drive back home only to be trapped in a traffic jam on a suspension bridge wondering if life could suck any worse (What?  Just me?), etc., etc., etc.  Human beings are ultimately not all that different in most respects, and we can relate to a great many shared experiences. Want to know what is one experience not one single person I have ever met  EVER, has experienced?  Having their lives saved by a smoke alarm. NOT ONE.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Want to know what IS the common smoke alarm experience most human beings experience?  The low battery  ear piercing chirp they emit when the battery needs to be replaced. This, for reasons that are not clear, always seems to happen at three in the morning on a Tuesday before an especially stressful meeting is scheduled for work at 8am, sharp.  The really awesome thing about this is, you can go all caveman and rip the goddamn thing right out of the ceiling, eat the now depleted battery, and back repeatedly over the smoke alarm with your car, and it will not stop chirping.  It's as if it's powered by the will of Satan, and his evil wishes WILL NOT BE DENIED.  Now, I know what you're thinking: "Hey, just replace the battery".  Right.  Generally what happens in this scenario is this: you go to the "junk drawer" (every American house has one.  It's usually filled with mismatched screws, a book of matches with one match left, a flathead screwdriver, rubber bands, expired coupons, a Chinese take out menu, a random Tic-Tac or two, .13 cents in change, and an eleven year old stick of spearmint gum.  It also has batteries in it) and look for a battery.  You'll have a plethora of AA, AAA, a couple of "C" cells, and a miniature watch battery to a watch you no longer own.  But, no, I repeat, NO, 9v.  So, you think to yourself, "Hey, you know what?  I JUST replaced that 9v battery in the (fill in electronic device of choice here), and it's practically new. I'll just swap that into the smoke alarm until I can get a new one." Ha ha ha!  You poor, delusional, pathetic fool!  That battery is no longer fresh!  It's .006573 percent depleted!  A smoke alarm would not accept that filthy, used, whorish battery!  It has another device's stink all over it!!!!  Your smoke alarm MUST have a VIRGIN battery for it to cease its migraine inducing, Voldemort (hey, he's a dark lord too) induced shriek.  Oh, and god forbid the battery in question is not the smoke alarm manufacturer's suggested battery.  You might as well expect it to run on hopes and dreams.  Anyways, now you're at a crossroads. You either have to throw on those dirty clothes on the floor next to your bed and schlep your ass down to the 24hr market at 3am to buy a new battery, or, check into a hotel for the evening.  Thing is, this is a toss-up, as the price of a two pack (the powers that be have determined we're not allowed to buy just one) of 9v batteries at a 24hr. supermarket rival the price of a one night stay at The Four Seasons.  So, you'll have some deciding to do. 

Anywhoo, my point is this: a smoke alarm is nothing more than the lobbyists of the battery producers of America convincing our legislators (via a steady stream of cash, liquor, Rolexes and know...the good, solid, logic induced reasoning lobbyists are known to provide) that the American home doesn't have a high enough demand for an outdated source of temporary power, and gosh darn it, we just can't have that (unless of course, you're not interested in hookers and Rolexes).  

Moving on...another thing that annoys the hell out of me...

Redbox video kiosks.  

"What? You mean you have a problem with a service that only charges $1 for a video rental?  Are you kidding me?  What the hell is wrong with you???"  No.  I am not kidding, and the only thing wrong with me is my clarity of understanding.  They are the ultimate bait and switch. They CLAIM to only cost $1, but I've never had a Redbox video rental that cost me less than $37.50.  Why?  Because who in the hell watches a movie, and then immediately (less than 24hrs is immediate in my book) races back to the kiosk to return it?  NOBODY.  That's who.  Generally, these movies are rented on a Saturday night when the family is going to hang out, share a pizza, and watch the latest Iron Man movie (Iron Man seems a good example.  Another would be Argo, or, if dad gets his way, anything with Jason Statham).  So, what happens?  You eat the pizza, you watch the flick, and you go to bed.  Then Sunday rolls around.  This is YOUR day to rest.  You work tomorrow, so who in the hell wants to leave the house?  Leaving the house means you have to shower, miss football games, brush your teeth, and maybe even talk to somebody beyond your door.  Ain't gonna happen, baby.  It's Sunday.  We're going to watch football, drink coffee, and maybe eventually shower...maybe.  But I'll tell you this, we sure as hell ARE NOT going to make a special trip that consumes three dollars worth of gas just to return a $1 movie.  Eff that noise.  I'm on the sofa, and Argo (sorry lost on the decision via majority rules) is just going to have to sit on the coffee table.  No worries.  I'll just return in Monday.  No big deal.  Well, it IS a big deal because it's Monday, you're late, and you'll go flying out the door with no time to go to the Redbox kiosk.  Welllll.....Tuesday then.  Nope.  Not Tuesday either, as your car has to be smogged (the registration is already overdue), and you'll completely forget.  Wednesday?  Nope.  It's your child's birthday, and you'll have your already crowded mind solely focused on remembering to get a birthday card.  Thursday?  Maybe Thursday.  By Thursday, you'll actually remember to put the DVD in your car, but then it will slip into the crack between the seat and center console and you'll forget about it...and it will become your silent and forgotten travel companion for the next week and a half.  Then, one day, as you can't find your wallet and are frantically searching for it in your car, you'll run across the DVD, say, "Holy overdue is this thing????" and then, and only then, actually return a cost of the afore mentioned $37.50.  And the thing is, Redbox KNOWS this, and are (literally) BANKING ON IT.  And they will Hoover our bank accounts over and over again, so much so that you'd be financially better off if you simply produced the actual movie yourself, and were given a free copy of it at the cast party.  

So what's, ultimately, my point?  Nothing really...other than the obvious conclusion that we're nothing but self winding automatons that exist to consume and fork over our hard earned capital to our corporate overlords.  And you know what?  It's time for the revolution!  I'm as mad as hell, and I don't have to take this anymore!  It's time we stood up and...wait. Is that the latest Star Trek movie at Redbox?  And it's only a buck? Sounds great!  I'll order the pizza...    

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bikini Etiquette

OK. I'm just going to say this just once: women in bikinis wearing high heels look ridiculous. Not ridiculous "hot", but ridiculous "retarded". I'm looking at you celebrities posting selfies all over the internet. Just stop it. A bikini has two foot gear options: barefoot, or sandal/flipflop. A third choice is acceptable, but only in unique situations: the tennis shoe (if you're having to hike over a few rocks, etc., to get to your destination, or, are wearing a pair of cutoffs over the bottoms as you walk along the boardwalk or something...or if you're in the mountains). There is no fourth option. EVER. Just sayin'.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dairy and Narcolepsy

After a rather hearty breakfast, I think my pores my be leaking pure, grade A, creamery butter. This, by the way, is not a bad thing. I'm attempting to nullify its narcotic sleep inducing effects with coffee stronger, and blacker, than Darth Vader's dress socks.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Here come the holidays...

The holidays are inherently depressing because nothing you experience in reality will ever measure up to the spice scented, baking cookies, steaming hot chocolate, cheery fire, warmth of kith and kin fantasy being offered up by Hollywood (or to the yearning of our own pathetically ever hopeful hearts). To take this scenario a step further, factor in always seeming to break up with somebody right at the beginning of the holidays and you get to be the token single person at all your married friends holiday parties. This leads to a witches brew of holiday “meh” syndrome. I’m also a person from a very small, somewhat anti-social (and mildly dysfunctional) family, and I tend to be able to feel oddly isolated, uncomfortable and alone in a crowded room full of people (although you’d never know it, as I fake being at ease really well). A scenario like this makes me want to run for the door when I’m forced to make chit-chat with essential strangers about “How come I haven’t remarried after ten years” (answer: I may be a masochist, but I’m not stupid) or “Aren’t you seeing anybody? What ever happened to so and so?” (confession: nobody has ever said “so and so”. Confession #2: I am often tempted to answer this question with the most sincere face I can muster and say: “She died of anal cancer. It was gruesome. Just horrible. She died in complete agony. Just…just…awful. I’ve only, well, just today actually, stopped crying over her and have only recently gotten off of my meds, but talking about her now….it seems…I don’t know…I just….will you excuse me?” and then start uncontrollably sobbing and make a huge scene. Who knows? It’s holiday party time right around the corner…I’ll keep that one in reserve in case I’m truly bored). Point is, the holidays tend to leave me with a big ol’ empty hole in my gut…a total lack of fulfillment. I suspect I’m not alone in this regard (obviously). The upside to having nothing but married friends is they usually throw the above mentioned parties, so I get to have a few weekends of free food and drink. But the hustle and bustle of the family/social lives of others around the holidays makes one (well…me anyways) reflect on their deceased parents (my father passed away twelve years ago, and every Thanksgiving/Christmas I think about how he continually ruined the holidays with his alcoholism…when I’d rather not think about him at all), their own failed relationships, or the seeming pointless consumerism of it all. It seems to me the holidays are a giant bait and switch, except with lots of food, booze and forced smiles. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…um….ennui….”

I too have rednecks in my family tree...

A while back somebody wrote a story about their having attended a semi-professional wrestling match, and their realization of all the white trash glory it represented, and their inescapable conclusion that they were genetically composed of some white trash genes themselves.  This got me reflecting on a childhood experience of mine that allowed me to realize I wasn't so different:

There was an episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia that used as its main plot device a semi-pro wrestling match that took place at a low rent rec (veterans?) center. Naturally, watching the show poke fun at the DBO* (*”ditch bank okies”, i.e. rednecks, white trash, etc. I’ve often wondered ((ok, not often…rarely)) if that term is widely used or just a Fresno thing?) crowd in the audience and at the poorly disguised fakery of the amateurish, semi-pro wrestlers, I assumed there was a fair amount of hyperbole and exaggeration on display in the name of getting a few laughs. However, after reading a particular story on the subject, the episode now looks like a documentary. Wow…I can almost smell the stale beer, dirty feet, and the abandonment of dreams (I know…the last one was redundant. Everybody knows the abandonment of ones dreams smells like dirty feet and stale beer…apologies for being pedantic). It was a glimpse into a world I did not suspect actually existed.
Also, being of white trash stock myself, I think I can match the semi-pro wrestling experience with something equally resplendent that I attended with my father when I was 7 or 8 years old: a demolition derby at a county fair. A county fair quality (in the late 70′s no less) demolition derby makes a modern day monster truck show look like the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Sitting in the seats was like being lost in a testosterone fog produced by mustachioed, inebriated dock workers (this was San Diego) who were all wearing the same trucker hat (back when the trucker hat was merely called a “hat” because thats what hats looked like back then, before they became cool and ironic 30 years later) and Coors t-shirt. Smoke (in hindsight, probably mostly of the cigarette variety...this was the 70's after all), auto exhaust, the sound of crunching metal, the whoops and hollers of drunk men and yes, the related smell of stale, cheap, spilled beer…was all pretty heady stuff for an 8 year old. And only just now, upon reflection, do I realize that there is a good chance I was one of those unsupervised feral children described in the story I had previously read, and this has allowed me to turn back the pages of time and essentially view my young self through the eyes of an independent 3rd party observer. Consider my mind blown…and somewhat mortified.

I hate to fly...but sometimes you just got to give yourself over to the universe

The following is a thought I shared with somebody, so I thought I'd post it here as well:

I think, on some level, we all fear flying to some degree. It’s just unnatural. My problems with flying are somewhat tied to my analytical brain…oh, and entropy. The thing is, if you pause for one second to consider the thousands of mechanical and electrical processes that have to work perfectly, and in harmony , to keep an aircraft aloft, and then consider the inescapable 2nd law of thermodynamics, nobody would ever fly again. Things break. They fall apart (right Yeats?). Decay. Crack. Warp, bend, and shatter. Entropy dictates things naturally progress from orderly, structured, harmonious states to disordered and deconstructed states (this is, of course, until they reach a point of equilibrium, which is pretty harmonious if you think about it…but equilibrium means your plane crashed…probably thousands of years ago). Anyways, every time I fly, I just look at it as me giving up and turning myself over to the universe, and essentially gambling that the metal, composites and plastics holding me aloft are, at least on this day, relatively fresh on their entropic journey of falling apart. I’ve never felt the need to gamble (with money), I don’t see the appeal. I figure flying, and gambling with my life, is thrill enough for me.