2009-04-30

You Had to Be Careful to Not Startle Them

I love discovering other people's mementos, which is why I'm such a big fan of Found Magazine. When you find notes and photos from someone else's life, it provides a unique vantage point. While walking back from the grocery store yesterday, I saw a crumpled piece of paper on the ground and instinctively knew to pick it up:



If you're not interested in straining your eyes to read that, I've transcribed it here:
4/23/09

Dear Mr. Jackson,

Thanks for rescuing the deer. It was really nice. I hope the deer find a new, good, home. I will retell this story this story to my class. You are a great helper. I think your really friendly. I was unhappy when I heard that the deer were going to get shot. I liked the deer a lot. You had to be careful to not startle them. Maybe you could come over some day. I would love to hear about all the animals youv'e seen. You did a really good job of how you handled the deer. I'm happy we didn't have to shoot them. Thanks!

from,
Sonia [the "i" is dotted with a heart]


While it's not nearly as funny as the note Katy found on the beach, you still have to admire this young animal lover. She should be careful about inviting over strange men to her house, however. Just because he won't shoot deer doesn't mean he won't molest children. If Mr. Jackson is, as requested, entertaining you with stories of all the animals he's seen and stops to mention that he's never seen a beaver before, then run, Sonia, run.

2009-04-28

The Traffic School Preacher

When I signed up to attend traffic school, I read the list of potential schools and was surprised that nearly every place offered either a pizza or comedy theme (they sure have the rule-breaking American public pegged) and several, like PIZZA + COMEDY 4U TRAFFIC SCHOOL, even combined both into one super educational experience. I preferred to find one that didn't claim to incorporate comedy into the lessons, because most people that think they're funny, particularly at the traffic school level, really just aren't, and I didn't want to suffer through hours of pretending to laugh. I opted for the one that seemed the most bland, only to find out after signing up that it was a comedy traffic school, but at that point, I just resigned to my fate.

Arriving at class, I expected to find a hack for a teacher, but I was shocked to find a fairly humorous man hooked up to an oxygen tank. "Is that nitrous oxide?" someone joked. "It's oxygen," the teacher said. "I need it to live." And here I thought his oxygen tank was for recreational purposes. At that point, I realized we could all use some nitrous oxide to help pass the time here.

He explained that he had been diagnosed with lung disease and given between two weeks and two years to live. Eleven years later, eight of which were spent on bed rest, he is still alive and kicking. Then he started singing about being alive and dancing around as best as someone could while hooked up to an oxygen tank. While I was happy for him and impressed by his ability to beat the odds, his life story wore on me as it continued. I checked the time and realized that forty-five minutes had passed during which he had referred to himself as a miracle no less than a dozen times. Never once did he reference driving, the real purpose of the class, in any shape or form.

The teacher is also a recovering alcoholic, proudly saying that he hasn't had alcohol, weed, or coffee in thirty years. That's when he joined a religion that he wasn't allowed to name that required him to give up all his vices, but which ultimately improved his life. I wonder if that includes nearly a decade of being crippled by lung disease. A traffic student asked whether his religion was Mormonism. He nodded his head affirmatively while winking and restated that he couldn't say it, but that he might also happen to recommend that particular affiliation to all of us. Ever since he joined the Mormon church, he's had an angel on his shoulder guiding him through life. He could see angels on all our shoulders, too, we just didn't know they were there yet. "Can you feel them?" he asked. "Do you want to feel them?" Every student remained tight-lipped, presumably annoyed by his proselytizing. "I bet I'll have some believers by the end of class," he said.

"Moving on," he transitioned. To traffic? Not before we get several more stories about his health. Heart attack? He's had one. Strokes? He's had three. Sleep apnea? He sleeps sitting up in a chair and his wife stays up to make sure he doesn't die in his sleep. She also quit her job when he was diagnosed with lung cancer to care for him and their whole family of six lived off $1,000 a month from the government. And we all could do the same, if we'd just stop buying Starbucks. Coffee is the devil's urine, you know.

All right, now that I could produce a twenty page medical history report of my traffic school teacher, I guess we finally felt comfortable, nearly an hour and a half into the class, to finally learn about automobiles and operating them safely. Of course, the stakes had to be large to grab our attention, evidently, so the teacher made a lofty claim that if we listened to him and God, he could guarantee we'd never get in an accident again in our lives. He's managed to never be in a car accident his entire life because he follows every traffic law perfectly. It probably also helps that he was too incapacitated to operate a motor vehicle for a good portion of his life.

"Do you believe me?" he asked me. I had made the mistake of sitting in the front row, so a lot of his questions were directed at me. "Do you believe that I can make it so you never get in an accident again?" It's hard to argue with the "power" of someone who has proclaimed himself a miracle, but he irritated me enough that I wasn't going to just readily agree. "Not exactly," I replied. "I mean, that's why they call it an accident, because it doesn't happen on purpose. I think you can help us minimize the chances of getting in an accident, but sometimes that's out of your control." Some of my fellow students laughed and others semi-gasped. I really don't think the audacity it takes to question the authority of someone in a minute position of power compares to the audacity of claiming to be a miracle-worker. The teacher was a bit taken aback, but said he appreciated my honesty and said he would ask how I felt about it by the end of the class.

"You're so young," he continued. "How old are you?" he asked. "Twenty-five," I replied. "That's so young," he cried, as if that explained why I'm too naive to believe in his power. "I have a rash older than you!" he exclaimed, gesturing to lift his shirt in order to show it to me. Rudely perhaps, I said, "Please, please, I'll take your word for it" and he mercifully stopped.

He then approached a woman wearing a t-shirt with an image of Frida Kahlo, the unibrowed painter, and asked if it was a picture of Bob Marley. And I had thought I wouldn't end up laughing out loud even once. As it turned out, he wasn't joking, but I guess I can't say the class was completely devoid of comedy.

One student got impatient and wanted to know about the comedy aspect of the class. "Well, what do you want?" the teacher asked, seemingly offended. I wanted to tell him that we all appreciated him babbling about himself and his religion, but I didn't have the guts. The student countered, "I don't know, you could make jokes about Asian drivers or something." For once, my teacher and I were cringing at the same time, and I have to imagine the two Asian students weren't too crazy about the comment either. "I don't like racial stereotypes!" the teacher said. "Just stop that! We're all Christians here, and we don't discriminate." Whoa, then I was cringing again. I'm pretty sure being a Christian was not a prerequisite to the course. Also, given the apparent diversity of the students, I'd put a lot of money on the fact that not everyone in that classroom was a Christian.

Plus, the teacher was hardly the epitome of racial sensitivity. At one point, he had us write our personal information on a roll sheet. An Indian man (which is to say he is of Indian descent, not Native American) turned in the paper, then doubled back to check he had included the correct information. While he re-grabbed the sheet, the teacher asked, "Are you an Indian giver?" and chuckled. Do I even need to mention that I cringed again?

According to the teacher, our most important lesson of the day was to know what to do if we got in an accident, which ultimately was useless information considering he guaranteed it would never happen to us again. Since police will often not come to the scene for minor accidents and "people get raped all the time when trying to exchange information" (no data on this claim was provided), we were to immediately call a friend and give as much information about the car and other driver as we could in case the worst happened. For five minutes, he used a falsetto voice and "demonstrated" how to make such a call. He had a little too much fun with it, continually referring to the other driver as a dirty pervert. At the end of the demonstration, which I feared would never end, he smiled and said that now if he were to be raped, his friend would be able to tell the police who had done it. Feeling fully sassy by this point, I pointed out that the only description that he had given his friend was that the other guy "looked like a pervert" so that wasn't really too helpful. The teacher insisted that he just abbreviated the description part "for time" and would otherwise give race, hair color, eye color, etc. I probably shouldn't admit this, but at that point, I daydreamed about the tube that connected him to his oxygen tank accidentally wrapping around his miraculous neck.

Coincidentally, he took his oxygen tank off, stood up, and put his hands on me without even asking first. He explained he wanted to demonstrate some self-defense movements in this situation, but I'm pretty sure he also wanted to retaliate for how uppity I had been. I just froze up and let my glare explain that I didn't appreciate being touched and he soon backed away. I think he misunderstood my glare, though, because he told me, "Don't worry, I'm not funny!" "Oh, I know," I said. I realized that by "funny" he meant "gay," but rather than get offended, I decided to pretend that he had meant funny in the amusing sense, and that I was merely agreeing that he was the worst comedy traffic teacher ever.

I quit paying attention about then, but perked up again when a fellow student made a dismissive comment about the angel on the teacher's shoulder, which the teacher, naturally, didn't like. He then resolved to tell us a story that would have us all believe in our angels. Apparently, whenever he would sit in the front passenger seat of the car, his wife would sit in the backseat immediately behind him to better take care of him. That day, his angel told him to have his wife sit on the other side, so he instructed her accordingly, and she obeyed. While crossing through an intersection, another vehicle ran the red light, striking the car in the place where his wife usually sits. That angel saved her life! Oh, poppycock. I wanted to point out that he had said he had never been in accident, but I had already resolved to stay clammed up the rest of class, so I was glad when another student called him out for this contradiction. The teacher explained that he wasn't the one driving, so that doesn't count. You know, had he been driving, I'm sure he would have been able to avoid another car running a red light and striking him. He is a miracle, after all.

Fortunately, I wasn't required to do as many hours as most people, so I got to leave shortly thereafter before I received the entirety of his wisdom. The teacher is in a cushy position, too, because as infuriated as I was with his religious agenda and bullshit lessons, you ultimately just feel so bad for him you don't have the heart to complain to the company and put his job in jeopardy. Even if a lot of his stories are made up or exaggerated, he clearly hasn't had an easy life, and I couldn't bring myself to send him and his shoulder angel to the unemployment line with oxygen tank in tow. Plus, while I don't think I learned a damned thing about being a better driver, I did ultimately feel the incentive to obey the traffic laws so I'd never have to spend time with this comedic genius again. Perhaps the ends justify the means. If there is a next time, however, I'm opting for a legitimate wannabe comedian. Give me a hack that tells me jokes about how the chicken crosses the road only after checking its mirrors and signaling.

2009-04-26

Smith-Smith

"You should marry your sister and hyphenate your last names." - Andrew

It's backwards, yet progressive at the same time!

2009-04-23

Feed Jake

The Garzas recently adopted a new dog, which they named Jake. While we were decorating Easter eggs, in addition to our savior, the pig, I decided to honor Jake by crafting an egg with a cartoon dog that read "Feed Jake."

For the record, I'm not concerned that the pup is malnourished - it's a reference to a song that shares that same title performed by The Pirates of the Mississippi. Who? I'm not really sure either, but Jessica and I were kind of obsessed with it our freshman year of college. As you might suspect, "Feed Jake" is a painful country ballad, but if you take the time to listen for these lyrical gems, you'll be a fan, too:

"Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
And if I die before I wake, feed Jake
He's been a good dog"

"Now if you get an ear pierced
Some will call you gay
But if you drive a pickup
They'll say, no, you must be straight"

"Now Broadway's like a sewer, bums and hookers everywhere"

Convinced? Check out the official music video, which apparently was a mainstay on CMT in 1991.



After viewing the video, I was struck by how the protagonists' relationship seems fairly homoerotic, supported by the fact that our mulleted-city-dweller later shares a knowing gaze with the I'd-think-he's-gay-were-it-not-for-his-truck guy. The reason the dog was the kids' only other friend is because he isn't able to call them "fags." I recognize my interpretation might be a little out there considering this was early 90s country music, hardly known for being a progressive genre, so I went to the YouTube comments section to see if anyone had anything to do with the subject.

In the past when I've read YouTube comments, I tend to be shocked at the fact that people use the N-word more often than punctuation marks, so I'm not sure why I thought I might stumble upon some legitimately enlightening information. Of the nearly 300 comments posted, half of them claim to connect to the song because they are similarly mourning the death of their dogs. While "Feed Jake" may be up for some interpretation, it's not about the death of the dog. You don't ask someone to feed your dog if it's dead.

Allow me to share some of my favorites:

stopsignsarecool77
this song makes me cry about my little baby dog who died of lung cancer...

Can puppies even contract and die of lung cancer that quickly?

rtzpkoq
My dog was an unwanted gray lhasa apso, 100 pounds of dog in a 12 pound package. She woke us up one night and saved us from an impending explosion in the basement. She was always bossing me around. When she was 15 or 16 her great heart gave out, and she died quietly, lying at my feet. I'll be mighty glad to see her again.

I want to know more about this impending explosion.

corky10158
Makes me cry because I lost my dog, Jake, even though he was a springer spaniel and not a lab? or golden retriever?

This person sobs for a dog? whose breed? they don't quite remember?

bombk2
My dog Jake was a yellow lab, it was raped to death by a grizzly bear in the summer of 2007. RIP Jake

Though it is likely this comment is just a joke, I'm having more fun picturing a grizzly bear raping a dog than I should probably admit.

Neverannoyed
It's been 4 months since my best friend died; instead of a puppy to feed, I got seven emotionally wrecked teenagers and twenty year olds. A dog would have probably been easier. I discovered this song on Pandora years ago, but this video means a lot more this year--I know that journey

I just keep thinking she's up there tormenting my cat. (Which is highly probable.)

Untrue to eir name, this commenter sure seems annoyed at the situation. Just when I thought this person understood the song and knew that the deceased in question is a human, Neverannoyed references her "best friend" as tormenting a cat, which sounds remarkably like a dog.

geaux88
Hey Michael Vick....Here is what REAL Americans think about dogs....What a disgrace you are. Thank GOD I didn't go to Virginia Tech and have to deal with the shame of having to be identified with a piece of shit street thug punk like you.

Finally, someone takes Michael Vick to task! He's bound to read this statement, too, given his proclivity toward 20-year-old country music. Unlike grizzly bears, at least Vick never raped the dogs.

jennirawr0
it's funny cause my boyfriends name is jake :P

Teehee! That is funny! But let's get back to what's important: what does the song mean?

randyfloyd07
The dog is a metaphor for simpler times. When all you really had to worry about was who would feed your dog when you're gone.

And what a metaphor! To live in such simple times again...

GhostdadandPirates
This is the greatest song ever created I will never forget to feed jake.

Hmm, this person seems to take the song quite literally. I thought it was a metaphor?

fromthispoint
so what is the story he went back home to see his childhood boyfriends funural? yes music like this is very polular with humanity at all ages.

Well that clears things up. Okay, but what about the gay thing? That is addressed sporadically, but most people are offended by this notion.

Twinney94
Think about it. With him and his friend and the pup, it was in black and white. To be gay in 'those times' you would have been locked up. It's NOT about being gay. It's about FRIENDSHIP... Had it been a gay video, there probably would have been more.. hugging or something involved.

Not enough homo hugs. Case closed.

parke257
I want this song played at my funeral. It is very nice. I also love it because it is about Jake the dog. I love my dogs and will always will. It would be a perfect send off. The guy who said they are fags is one.

Burn! That last sentence is my favorite. My favorite commenter, however, is camizowner, who wrote a story so long it required multiple comment boxes to tell it all. If camizowner is to be believed, she's had enough drama to fill a whole country album.

camizowner
My son & I were always afraid if something happened to me, what would happen to our beloved dog Simba. My 2nd son, my son's little brother. We knew my younger brother would take care of my son-But would he be able to take Simba? We sadly lost Simba 1yr,4months, & 14 days ago-it emotionally KILLED us. Then my female bunny heard us crying so much that she went into depression & stopped eating spent 5 days in the hospital & almost died several times-She is still being fed by syringe, but feisty!!!

My nic is my bunny Cami's name. Some people NEVER get what's it's like to have NO family! My evil dad killed every pet we owned, beat us for NOTHING every night he got drunk, held loaded guns on us all night, my 17 yr old brother had to shoot & kill him in self-defense to save us in front of me at 10. Our mom died 3 yrs later. My brothers at 20 & 23 raised me & my younger brother. My 3 sexual abusers were protected to keep my dad then brother from killing them & going to prison..

Because I couldn't tell them, they assumed I was a bitch for NEVER going to see them, esp the one when they came in town. Even when the brother who was forced to kill our dad to save us demanded to know what he did that made me stay away, at 1st he was going to kill him, then my older brother somehow convinced him it wasn't true, he worshiped this man & tried to get me to LIE & say it wasn't true-his excuse was to keep our other brother from killing him, I can't believe they all turned on me...

I didn't want my brother to kill him or I would have told sooner! The man's wife knew my aunt-she use to beat me & literally made me her slave-until we moved. From the time we moved there after our dad was killed, she Forced us to get rid of the dog we had-the german shepherd that we got lucky our evil dad hadn't got the chance to kill before he died. Even a puppy-she forced my brothers to get rid of-which meant kill in Ky because she couldn't stand me being happy & they wonder why I hate her!!!

They HATE me more than they love my son-their ONLY nephew! The go out of their way to visit these ppl & when I shattered my leg Only my younger brother stepped in to take care of my son-but he was 5 minutes away from me carrying through my plan to kill myself-when I thought he was trying to steal my son. He doesn't have a clue to how close I was because of his actions! Losing Simba was the most heartbreaking thing my son & I went through!!! We still grieve for him!!!! We lost our ONLY family!!!!

I've been interested in publishing my autobiography, but I've never considered doing it via YouTube. Thanks for the idea, camizowner. You can find my life story in the comments section of "Da Butt" video.

Oh, and Garzas: Feed Jake.

2009-04-22

Angels in the Outfield 2

"I just got a great idea for Angels in the Outfield 2." - Eric on the day that Angel's pitcher Nick Adenhart died in a drunk driving collision.

(Yeah, yeah, that's barely topical anymore. But as Eric asked after posing the joke, "Too soon?" Probably. I mean, I laughed immediately, but I figure you'll be more likely to appreciate his twisted humor after a two week delay.)

2009-04-21

He Died for Your Dinner

On Easter Eve, my friends and I were at a bar for a 90 Proof concert. While talking about the impending holiday, Allison stated what would make her happy: "I just want to eat a shitload of ham and sit in a hot tub." Coincidentally, she shouted it just as a loud song came to an end, meaning practically the whole bar heard her intentions. It was hilarious, and certainly no one could disagree with the idea.

Thankfully, the Garza clan had offered to host an Easter feast, featuring both pulled pork and ham. And a hot tub to boot. It was amazing. I wanted to make a dish to share, but my cooking abilities leave something to be desired, so I opted to bring a couple dozen hard-boiled eggs and some dye instead. Last year I had such a fun time coloring eggs (we made slutty eggs, anti-Semitic eggs, and I even accidentally tried to dye an egg in my rum and coke) that I knew it would go over well again.

Look at those beauties:

We didn't have any crayons, so we improvised by writing on the eggs with wax from a candle. I had difficulty mastering that technique however, resulting in this laughable mistake:

"Jesus Chris" That will be the first and middle name of my future child.

After eating both pork and ham, I also wanted to pay homage to pigs, so I drew a pig being crucified and captioned it with "He died for your dinner."

Wait, was does the pig look like, Allison?

Ah, yes. Thanks.

We not only dyed eggs, but we hid them! I enjoy that seven people in their mid-twenties are still game to have an Easter egg hunt. You're never too old to celebrate Jesus (that's Jesus Chris to you, sir!) with a pagan ritual.

(Thanks to RJ for hosting and providing these photos.)

2009-04-20

Caucasian Rubbish

During college, the way to attract us hippie kids to an outdoor event was not with a keg, but a paint-your-own-shirt booth. Of the five shirts I made during my freshman year (I strove for an entirely homemade wardrobe), I've only kept the one that earns me compliments each time I wear it:


"I'm not white trash, I'm caucasian rubbish" is a saying I coined while having a conversation about race and political correctness. It was popular amongst my friends, so, when given the opportunity, I decided to immortalize it on my clothing. As you can tell, I am not exactly skilled at using puff paints, but I feel the mess corresponds thematically.

2009-04-17

A Homeless Mindset

Remember when I posted about dressing up like Noah's Ark and racing in the LA Urban Iditarod? Yeah, that was awesome. There's one more anecdote, a prime example of my dumbassery, from that day (well, that night, technically) that I forgot to share.

After the Iditarod, I stopped to visit some other friends before driving back to Jessica's house, which rests atop a shwanky hill. Located at the bottom of the hill is a small park where I noticed several people dressed in funny outfits with shopping carts in tow chatting and drinking. I chuckled at the sight. Here we were a far distance from the race course and many hours later, and coincidentally, Jessica's neighbors had been there and were now keeping the party going.

Arriving at the house, I immediately told Jessica and Katy about what I had seen with excitement, and they, too, agreed that that was a funny coincidence. A short while later, I drove Katy home, and I pointed out the fellow Iditarod racers.

"Uh, Kevo..." Katy started. "I think... I think they're homeless."

I slowed the car to a near stop to get a better look. Indeed, Katy was right. These weren't flippant twenty-somethings, these were impoverished individuals who kept their every worldly possession in a shopping cart. They weren't wearing costumes, they were just wearing whatever they had. Oops. I felt like an idiot who had just completed an idiotarod.

This visual did help me realize, though, how entrenched the Urban Iditarod is in homeless culture: shopping carts, booze, awkward attire, and evading the cops. Come to think of it, "homeless" might be a good theme for next year's race, although it might be taking the task too literally. Plus, you just know we'd be the first people to actually get arrested.

Truthfully, since the race, I've semi-adopted a homeless person's mentality: I'm obsessed with shopping carts. Anytime I see an abandoned shopping cart somewhere (and I've realized they're everywhere now that I'm hyperaware of them), I pause to size them up. When Michael Michael came to visit, he pointed out that each time we were driving, I'd either slow down to look at the carts or make comments as to the quality of them. I hadn't even realized how preoccupied I've become with the carts until he mentioned it. It's super strange, and more than a month later, I still catch myself doing it in spite of myself.

2009-04-15

Pirate Party

My roommate's mom bought her this balloon for her birthday. Given the recent nautical incidents in the news, I find this particularly tasteless. Why not celebrate people who violently take hostages with a PARTY? Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

It's difficult to be a fan of contemporary pirates. They lack all of the quirkiness of pirates of yore while maintaining the treachery. As far as I can tell, none of today's pirates have peg legs, eye patches, parrot-topped shoulders, or planks to walk off of. I prefer my villains flamboyant; if the Somalian pirates donned some garish garb, all of their raping and pillaging would be forgiven.

The media is all over pirate attacks like it was with shark attacks a couple years ago. At least I always knew sharks could legitimately pose a threat to human life: I still can't help but chuckle each time a pirate story hits the media because it's a bit surreal. I've always considered pirates to be fictional predators from literature and film, or at the very least, a thing of the past. It sure puts all of those Johnny Depp movies in perspective.

Truthfully, all of this pirate business frightens me. Not the pirates themselves, per say, as people have only a 40% chance of being kidnapped by a pirate in their lifetimes. What concerns me is that perhaps other scary entities that I thought were relegated to the movies might actually exist and try to kill me. Like zombies - it's fun to make zombie references or go to zombie-themed parties, but while we're all yucking it up at their expense, they might be laying in wait to attack and eat our brains. Then there's vampires, werewolves, ninjas... so many deadly creatures that I've never thought were real. But if I can go 20+ years without realizing that pirates actually existed, who's to say that vampires aren't going to be featured in the news in the near future?

Brace yourselves, friends. Pirates are only the beginning.

2009-04-14

Comical Comics

In addition to the litter and hookers, one of my favorite parts of urban life is the spray painted murals. I'm not interested in the graffiti, but the cheesy cartoon-laden masterpieces. It's not uncommon for independent businesses to appropriate copyrighted characters to use for advertising purposes. Hence, you'll see the occasional crude Garfield painted outside a local pizza parlor or a shaky rendition of Bart Simpson on the wall of a barber shop.

Generally, the paintings are about as good as they are legal, (which is to say not in the least), but that makes them all the more fun. Perhaps they're intentionally done poorly so that there's plausible deniability in case Disney takes them to court.

Check out this PARTY SUPPLY shop that Eric posed/passed out (there's a fine line) in front of:


Mickey Mouse has never looked fatter. Evidently, he gnawed off his own arm, then ate Goofy while he was at it. Elmo looks to be vacant, but also appears to be tickling the conveniently pants-less Pooh up the pooh-chute, which is why he is gladly flashing two thumbs up. Sponge Bob is on heroin and is a cannibal (sponges can eat other sponges, right?), while Eeyore is clearly a child molester.


Dora is the best, though. Lil' red eyes couldn't possibly be more stoned and for whatever reason she's foaming at the mouth. Who wouldn't want a piece of that, Eeyore?

Also, who wouldn't want to buy products from this party supply store? Thanks for supporting the arts, piƱata vender.

2009-04-10

Same-Sex Marriage: Now In Twice As Many States

It's been getting warmer lately. It's not just the change of season you're feeling, but the hellfire resulting from more states permitting same-sex marriage.

That's right, those same couples that are already in love can now get pieces of paper that say they are committed. Of course, people are outraged by this. In their defense, it's not because they're bigots like they're often accused of being, but because they're environmentalists and hate wasting paper.

Also, when gay people get married, it causes hurricanes or something:

These people make some solid points. I'd join their "rainbow coalition," but, truthfully, it sounds kind of gay.

Nevertheless, I do somewhat agree with the critics: allowing gay marriage in Vermont and Iowa is dangerous. Those states are notoriously boring. With nothing else to do, people might get gay married as a way of passing the time. You can only go bowling on so many consecutive Friday nights, you know? Where is our commitment to protecting the sanctity of same-sex marriage?

All kidding aside, this news is exciting, and a credit to all who continue to champion equality in the wake of Prop 8. I still don't give a hoot about marriage and even encourage people of any sexual orientation to not participate in it, but anytime our country makes progress in striking down discriminatory laws, that's something to cheer for. It's a matter of principle, really.

I'm not sure how many people continued reading my blog after I conjured up every Mormon with a dial-up connection in what is by far the most commented on post on this blog's history. I suspect that many of the readers were here for the debate and disappeared since I haven't mentioned the subject of same-sex marriage since last year, but I'd like to acknowledge those who have stuck around and open the topic back up, as I had promised commenter Katia I would in the future. Now that there's some significant movement in the movement again, what are your takes on recent developments? Where do we go from here?

2009-04-09

The Sperm Bank

While at a thrift store several years ago, I encountered a truly amusing yet confusing box:


A Night Deposit Sperm Bank? What could that be exactly?


The side of the box says, "For Lovers Only" and advises "For Best Results Store In Warm, Moist Place."

This text didn't clear up what was in the box, but it did thoroughly arouse my curiosity. Unfortunately, the box was aggressively taped shut, so I couldn't sneak a peek at its contents. Needing to know, however, I decided to spend the 87 cents just to find out what this sperm bank "for lovers only" was all about.

I brought the box home and was pleasantly surprised at what I had discovered:


Quite literally, this is a sperm bank. Piggies are for prudes! What better place to store your loose change than in an oversized ceramic sperm?

2009-04-08

Vegetarianism

I'm planning on becoming a vegetarian. Everyone assumes it's because I love animals, but that's bogus. In fact, I hate animals. I hate them so much that I won't even eat them. I don't want them to think they've done anything for me.

2009-04-06

A Framed Photo of a Framed Photo

On an end table at my grandparents' house, a framed photograph of me from high school sits next to a potted plant. My mom likes the set up so much that she even takes a picture of these two objects next to each other. Seeing my mother take this shot, my grandmother requests a copy of the photo because she likes it as well, even though it is just a representation of a scene she sees in her own home every day. Happy to oblige, my mom later gives my grandmother this photo framed, which looks like the picture at the top of this post.

It's fairly absurd and meta considering that it is a framed photo of a framed photo. But wait, it gets more absurd. If you have a picture of the decor in your house that already exists elsewhere, where then do you choose to display this photographic replica as a decoration? How about right in the spot where the photo was originally taken?

Why am I so nutty? Clearly, it's genetic.

2009-04-05

The Job Hunt

I'm undergoing a job hunt at the worst time to be hunting for a job. (Dear Anyone: Please employ me. Love, Kevin.) My lack of success reminds me of a similar search I conducted years ago during my summer vacation from high school.

The want ads in the newspaper were hardly ripe with summer jobs for teenagers, so I was excited when I found a listing that had just my experience level (i.e. "no experience necessary.") The details of the job itself were vague, but I was hopeful all the same. (Subsequent experience has taught me that when employers are hesitant to say what the job is, it probably involves feces or a pyramid scheme, or in the case of one unfortunate job prospect gone wrong, a pyramid scheme selling feces.) I called the number printed in the paper and the interviewer on the other end was really enthusiastic. I said next to nothing about myself, but he could just tell I'm a great person. Yeah, I get that a lot. In as polite a manner as possible, I tried to inquire about the specific duties of the job, but I was told I would learn the details of my exciting sales position when I showed up for training on the first day.

With good reason, I was a bit wary of the job. Why so secretive? Would I be selling drugs? Worse actually. I turned to the internet for potential answers, which is when I was first introduced to the infamous scam known as Cutco, the world's most obnoxious peddlers of knives. I read testimonials from former sales-teens who outlined in no uncertain terms to not enlist with the company. The business model was clearly bunk, with the worst offense probably being arming so many disgruntled employees with large knives. Nonetheless, after a month of searching fruitlessly, this job was still my best prospect yet, so I cried and decided not to go to the training. In retrospect, I did go on to earn the nickname "the nice boy with the knife," so maybe I missed my calling.

Dejected, I hit the want ads again. This time, I found a listing looking for a cashier at the local country club. It seemed a little preppy, but I could do that. I could sell tees and buckets of balls to the town's elite. I put on a polo shirt and inquired about the job. The manager told me he wasn't hiring and told me he hadn't placed the ad. Knowing what I read and miffed that this guy was clearly lying probably because I didn't fit the typical golf douche mold, I told him he better check the paper since it was there.

Arriving home, I locked back to the ad to confirm that I wasn't crazy. Well, I wasn't crazy, just illiterate. The ad was not for Hopmeadow Golf, but Hopmeadow Gulf, a gas station down the street from the country club. Apparently, I had read into the ad what I had hoped rather than what was really there. Frustrated, I cried again.

I never did obtain employment that summer.

2009-04-03

2002 - A Hit Song

Everyone's least favorite reappearing feature is back after a four month absence: Free Design Friday!

Though Free Design, a late 60s family band, produced a lot of songs that are popular with me, they never achieved much mainstream success. Consequently, the band received a lot of pressure to write a song that could be turned into a hit single, so the members, whose creativity is clearly lacking, wrote "2002 - A Hit Song."



2002 - A Hit Song
The Free Design


Hello, teenie bopper,
Hello, deejay.
We’re goin’ to sing a whopper
and you’re goin to make it pay for us.
Hello! Hit, hit, hit.
Sure to be a hit, hit, hit.
Gonna make a hit.

Uniqueness is rule number one,
No weakness to hinder the fun.
Now sing it with reckless abandon
and go to the bank with your mon, mon, money
It’s a hit, hit, hit.
Sure to be a hit, hit, hit.
Gonna make a hit.

You take a little drums
Add a little bass
And let the guitar play
at a teenie bopper’s pace
It’s gotta be a hit.

Hello, teenie bopper,
Hello, deejay.
We’re goin’ to sing a whopper
and you’re goin to make it pay for us.
Hello! Hit, hit, hit.
Sure to be a hit, hit, hit.
Gonna make a hit.

Promotion will cause a big commotion
So, deejay, teenie bopper answer me this:
How can this hit miss?
We’ve done it all right and sealed it with a kiss.
There’s just one fact that we can’t quite shirk:
We did all this last time, and it did not work!

But! This time we’re sure to have a hit, hit, hit.
Sure to be a hit.


I must admit that this tune is one of the catchiest in Free Design's oeuvre, so it was, in fact, sure to be a hit, right? Alas, no dice. Would you believe that this song was also not a commercial flop like every other Free Design ditty? Even after the lyrics indicate that they know all the tricks to the trade! I'm not sure why they include "2002" in the title. Perhaps because it's a palindrome, or perhaps because they knew people would appreciate this song much more decades in the future. Either way, this song sure should have been a hit. Hmm, maybe better late than never? I'm going to call some local radio stations to demand that they play it. You should do the same, teenie boppers.

2009-04-02

The Room: The Best Bad Movie Ever

I've recommend some great bad movies on this blog. While you still should see Sleepaway Camp and Troll 2, you absolutely must see The Room.

The Room was made in 2003 by Tommy Wiseau. It's an instant cult classic and has slowly been gaining popularity since, screening once monthly at a theater in Hollywood. I heard about it last week from Ted, who made me promise to learn nothing about the film but just see it. Coincidentally, a couple of days later, I made plans to see Stacy, and she invited me to see the monthly screening of The Room. I assumed she had heard about it from Ted as well, but that was not the case. I felt like fate was telling me I had to see the movie, so even though I had to catch a plane the next morning, I went, abiding by my promise to learn nothing about it first.

In fact, if you're willing to take Ted's recommendation (and mine as well), perhaps you should just stop reading this post now and see it first. If you need more convincing, read on.

While standing in line for tickets, I overheard the person behind me get upset that he had left his bag of plastic spoons in the car. I snickered at the absurdly out of context statement until I realized that there were other people present holding bags of spoons. So wait - the audience brings props? It's that kind of film? Suddenly, I was more enthusiastic than ever.

Indeed, The Room is the Rocky Horror Picture Show for this generation. Hundreds of people showed up to the midnight screening with props in tow, many of whom have seen the film several if not dozens of times. There were so many people that they had to devote four of the five screens to the film.

Make no mistake, The Room is laugh out loud horrible. It was fun watching it with the interactive audience (perhaps almost as good as the Snakes on a Plane premiere) that heckled and shouted corresponding jokes, but I'm confident it would be nearly as entertaining just watching it at home with a couple of friends.

Apparently, Wiseau claims he made the film bad on purpose, but I don't buy that explanation. Camp is best when it's unintentional, and this film is some of the best camp I've ever seen. As I see it, The Room is a vanity piece. Wiseau believes he can act, write, produce, and direct, yet he largely fails on every account. Any decent director would immediately cut Wiseau from the film since his on-stage performance is awful. Unparalleled, but awful. Case in point:



Because Wiseau is wearing all of the hats, however, there's no one to stop him from making himself the emotional center of a pointlessly melodramatic tale. Speaking of which...



So good! The one thing I will give Wiseau credit for is managing to raise six million dollars to make the film. How he got anyone to financially back this turd of a flick, I'll never know, but it does indicate potential success as a fundraiser.

The Room (the title, by the way, makes no sense since the film takes place in a couple of rooms and a few outdoor locations) starts with three long, intense sex scenes with minimal transitions. Though they're soft-core in nature, I still wished they had left more to the imagination. The audience wriggled in discomfort between fits of laughter. The awkwardness subsided once a spoon made its first appearance on screen; each time a spoon appeared, the audience threw plastic spoons into the air/toward the screen. At moments, I was literally getting pelted with spoons, which was fun.

If you want a plot, you're barking up the wrong tree, here. Not much happens, and the few times I suspected a story line might be emerging, it just disappeared altogether, leaving the ambiguous conflict unresolved. The main characters are inconsistent in their behaviors, and the secondary characters appear on screen without an explanation as to their role in the film. I'm partial to the guy who shows up for the first time in the last fifteen minutes of the film, speaking as if he knows everybody's business and was there for all of the previous drama, even though he was never present for it. A repeated audience retort to a new, unexplained character coming on screen was, "WHO ARE YOU?!" - a genuine sentiment, if you ask me.

Other scenes are entirely irrelevant like this one, where the actors seem to be saying their lines as quickly as possible:



"I didn't recognize you... [Are there really other people that look like this man, who someone in the audience inappropriately yet astutely compared to a burn victim?] you're my favorite customer."
"Hi, doggie."

What? I still love it. I love the characters' proclivity for tossing a football around mere feet from one another. I love that the male characters are randomly wearing tuxedoes while playing football one day without any explanation. I love that the living room's television set is positioned right behind a chair such that no one could actually watch it. Most of all, I love the last sentence of this clip:


Sharing your terminal illness diagnosis as an afterthought is gold.

Before the movie began, Nikki went to the concession stand and bought a couple of large sodas and popcorn. Unfortunately, she forgot to grab straws, and found herself with her arms full. She asked to no one in particular for some assistance, and Justin Long, (the Mac guy) without Nikki even having to get specific about what she needed help with, grabbed her a couple of straws. Awed by his celebrity, she stuttered that he could just put them on top of the box, but he insisted on taking the wrappers off and putting them into the sodas. (She should have eBayed those!) Long was there with Drew Barrymore, along with a couple of other celebrities like Alia Shawkat (Maeby from Arrested Development). See, this film really is trendy.

We also were treated to a special guest appearance: Wiseau himself was in attendance. He took questions before the show, but didn't really answer them. Instead, he just said random phrases of his choosing in response, or criticized the questions for not being creative enough. Certainly, no one is as creative as Wiseau. The interaction just confirmed that he's legitimately off his rocker and that there's no chance he was clever enough to make an intentionally bad film with the idea that it would gain him some notoriety six years later. Instead, Wiseau is typical of the modern day celebrity, embracing whatever type of attention comes his way and revising history to his own benefit.

If you can find a way to see The Room, you've gotta. If you can attend a live interactive screening of it, even better.

2009-04-01

I Already Have To Go Again

After the recent post about my sibling, Alison, she asked that I write more about her. Well, consider me Casey Kasem -- I'm open to requests. Just be cautious about what you ask for...

My mom and sibling keep in constant contact via phone calls, emailing, and text messaging, putting my own contact with my family to shame. Often I wonder what they possibly have to say to each other so frequently. Now, I kind of wish I were still in the dark.

I was visiting with my mom yesterday. Even though I was in the same room with her, my sibling was still probably communicating more with her considering all of the texts they exchanged. At one point we were out at a botanical garden. We had just entered the butterfly exhibit which was a tent full of butterflies that flutter around the visitors, but my mom was engrossed with her phone. I found it strange that my mom would pay more attention to her phone than the pretty flowers and creatures, so I have her a look. In response, she showed me the text that Alison had just sent her. It said something along the lines of, "I already pooped once at work today and I already have to go again!" There was a sign forbidding touching other butterflies; I wonder how they'd feel about me accidentally vomiting on them. I couldn't believe that this message was an example of what they text to each other.

Note to self: Continue limiting contact with sibling.