Indian Reservation

Who's ready for a trail of tears?

This past week, Eric served as a judge at a downtown bar's gong karaoke contest, so he asked a few of his friends to come along for the experience. I agreed to go, but wouldn't commit to singing because I had lost my voice the previous day and my throat was sore.

We show up at the bar, but it's kind of sketch-ville, since we all got searched for weapons on our way in. You gotta let me have at least one drink before patting my crotch, scary bouncer. I know the point of the search is to make everyone feel safer, but oddly it just made me feel all the more in danger.

We assumed our positions near the stage and encountered this guy who was a total flamer. By flamer, I mean that he was a fire breather. Also, he was very gay. In the process of doing his admittedly impressive bar trick, he managed to spit alcohol into my eyes, causing the to sting. A few minutes later, he hot-boxed the photo booth in the corner of the room. What a character.

Afterward, the contest started. The prize was a huge bong, so I had even less incentive to get in on the game. The first few participants performed adequately at best, a couple getting gonged after a minute or so. Eric was clearly having fun critiquing the contestants like the true Randy Jackson he is. He almost made one poor girl cry and have an Amy Winehouse meltdown after berating her failed attempt at Amy Winehouse.

Since not too many people had signed-up and they kept begging for more singers, Stacy put her hat into the ring and performed the best song up until that point, Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker." It looked like she might have the night's winning score, until the last judge scored her lower for not dancing to his satisfaction. This judge was performing in character as some exaggeratedly flamboyant sea captain. Though sometimes it was funny, his motivation was definitely to say something witty and give a score corresponding to his one-liner more than scoring fairly.

The next girl came on right after Stacy and stole the show with a slow oldie. She sang as well as Stacy, but also had the benefit of hearing Stacy's critique and therefore danced provocatively, caressing her genitals. After receiving the highest score of the night, she advised Stacy that she "should have grabbed [her] boobs more" in order to win. Indeed, the next guy sang terribly, but took his shirt off, so the gay sea captain predictably gave him a 10.

They were so desperate to fill up time that they weren't even gonging anyone anymore. Even though my throat still hurt, I decided the atmosphere was right to put in the funniest, shortest song I know, "Indian Reservation." It's a somewhat forgotten Paul Revere & the Raiders #1 song from 1971, and hilariously offensive. It's a first person narrative about the plight of a Cherokee (yet sung by white people, yay!) relegated to a reservation and how awful his life is now. It's simultaneously earnest and campy, and though it shows no vocal range (which I needed in this moment) I love performing it to get a rise out of people, particularly the lyric, "I'm still part redman deep inside."

Going into the song, I had two thoughts: A) it's such a short song, I could easily get through it before getting gonged and B) if I were to get gonged by the time they realize how ridiculous this song was, I would be laughing with them. So I go up and start the song, and before I'm even past the first page of lyrics on the screen, the gay admiral runs over and gongs me. I was surprised and a little bit embarrassed since I hadn't even got to a funny part yet, so I just looked stupid. The captain screamed, "I don't want to hear a Cher song!" even though it's not a Cher song, which I tried to explain, but it was too late, my turn was over. At least the host made me feel better when he said, "I have never heard of that song before, but I was really starting to enjoy it."

So yeah, it kind of sucked to be gonged quicker than anyone else all night, especially when there were some legitimately awful people singing, but at the same time it was pretty easy to laugh off - as everyone should do at a gong karaoke contest - when I failed explicitly because some guy that looked like a dumb semen seaman tried to make a failed pop culture reference. If there was a Cher comment to be made, it was that the judge's costume made him look like an extra in Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" music video. Besides, I've won hundreds of dollars in a karaoke contest before, so I'm not going to sweat losing some ceramic bong to a girl who degraded herself for it.

At the end of the night, we convened outside, and the gay sea captain came out and chatted us up. I laid into him, "You call yourself a gay? That wasn't even a Cher song!" He insisted that it was and it's called "Half Breed," so I called him a racist for assuming all songs about Native Americans are the same. He asked how many there could possibly be, and the only other tune that popped to mind was "One little, two little, three little Indians," but I still said it as if it were the most relevant point I have ever made. By now, I was actually more irritated with the fact that once out of his costume, he dressed like a typical LA scenester douche and, as my friends pointed out, probably wasn't even actually gay, making his performance all night pretty offensive. Funny how stereotypes are more easily forgiven if that's actually how you are.

It wasn't until outside that I heard the best song of the night. A dapper homeless man approached us asking for money, so Matt and I each gave him a buck. He said that earned us a song, so I asked him what he knew. He said "excerpts of Frank Sinatra, excerpts of the Temptations..." and each time he said "excerpts" I died of internal laughter at the fact that he was making it clear upfront that we weren't getting a whole song. When he said "excerpts from Sound of Music" however, I told him that was the choice, since I knew it would make Stacy happy. I was hoping for Edelweiss myself, but he did a more obscure one, "Something Good" and Stacy dueted with him, just like Julie Andrews would have; it was so beautiful that I didn't want the excerpt to end. I handed him a five as a tip because I was so impressed, and he was very gracious. He said that earned us one more "free" song, this time an original, some depressing yet musically upbeat tale of unrequited love that I merrily clapped my hands along to. At the end of the song, he said, "Since I sang you a song, would you mind helping me out?" which slightly irritated me since I've already given him more money than I ever give to a panhandler and he said I had earned that one for free, so I didn't give him anymore out of principle.

I felt a little bad about it as we walked away, but Stacy pointed out that the man was wearing two leather jackets, so how bad off could he be? I laughed a lot at that comment, and agreed. You know who had it rougher? The Cherokees. If only I could have properly paid respect to them that night.


Glee Concert Review

Many people have been asking me how the Glee concert that I won tickets to went, so I should probably recount the experience before I permanently block it out.

While I’m tempted to call it awful, that’s not entirely fair. 90% of the people in attendance loved it, so it’d be more accurate to say that the concert was not too my taste. And in that sense, it was a shame.

Look, I’m a Glee fan. Admittedly, my interest has been waning, but I think it started as an excellent source of satire and cheesiness. At times, the dialogue is outstanding, and even the shoddier plotlines are peppered with clever one-liners. As for the musical numbers, I’m torn. I’m super nostalgic, so when they sing an old song that I love, I’m usually in, especially when they put a creative twist on it or camp it up like some hilarious karaoke performance. But when they sing what I presume are Broadway tunes (boring!) or any other ballad lacking crazy choreography where the point is to just sound nice, I’m pretty disinterested. There were approximately twenty a cappella groups at my college, and do you know how many of their shows I went to see? Zero. I only saw them by accident when they’d sing next to the line for free snacks. And that’s a cool idea, even, just as long as they know we were all actually there for the snacks.

But there’s another way to watch Glee: unironically. There are people, even some friends, who watch the show and care about the high school characters’ romantic relationships, only understand the surface humor, and buy all of the songs on I-Tunes. While I think that’s a stupid way to watch it, I actually think it’s brilliant that Glee has found a formula where it can different things to different people. But my main problem with the concert was that it was entirely geared toward the latter group of fans, people who watch because “Kurt sings like an angel” and not because it’s a funny send-up of high school life and contemporary pop culture. Granted, if you’re going to market to one group of fans, it should be those who watch it at surface level because they’ll be the ones who buy expensive tickets and then $70 Glee sweatshirts at the arena. But you’re headed for a major backlash from the witty crowd who will see the commercialization as a complete sellout.

Before departing for the show, my roommate told me that there would be a lot more people my age there than I was guessing. Actually, there weren’t many people my age, but I had misjudged the amount of middle-aged women that came with friends rather than their kids. Never underestimate housewives inappropriate adoration of singers half their age – it’s half the reason American Idol is still on the air. Other than that, the audience was pretty much as I expected. I had gays to my left, moms to my front, and preteen girls behind me. The girls were the worst. They screeched at everything, including events as insignificant as the lights dimming. Had I had a sharp object, I would have gladly Van Gogh-ed myself for some sweet relief from this constant irritation.

Fortunately, Alice had brought us earplugs. Initially, I was resistant; earplugs at a concert strike me as lame, but since I already felt thoroughly lame in this arena, I obliged. How thankful I was! The show was pointlessly loud. And while I might put up with that for Outkast, I didn’t share the same enthusiasm for someone covering “Sweet Caroline.” Periodically, I would pull one of the plugs out to see if the volume had gone down any, and the result was near deafening.

Also annoying; everyone stood for the duration of the concert. Didn’t they realize how much money we spent - well, myself excluded; I didn’t pay for them - how much money they spent for these seats? Enjoy the seats! Plop your teeny bopping teenybopper asses down!

At one point, a bunch of girls dressed as cheerleaders flooded the audience with free keepsakes: a Glee barf bag. Apparently, the joke is that Sue thinks the show is so awful you’re going to want to hurl. Except that the whole thing reads way more like a bulimia joke, especially since Sue is constantly telling her cheerleaders to lose weight by any means necessary. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to hand an impressionable young audience tools for an eating disorder.

I never buy drinks at concert venues because they’re ridiculously expensive, but fifteen minutes into the show, I told Alice that I needed a beer. It couldn’t be helped. Not only did it help relax me, it became a status symbol of sorts amongst a sea of people who weren’t even of an age to have a fake ID, let alone being of the legal age to drink.

Surprisingly, at least some of the vocals were clearly live: if Finn were lip-synching, I’m sure he would have sounded somewhat in-tune. Merecedes was great, though, and Santana sings way better than I remember on the show. Quinn had no solos and might not have ever been singing for real. She might have even been less utilized than the black guy. You know, the black guy who is just always in the background being his black guy self and filling out the show’s PC-rainbow. I actually heckled him with “Say your first line!” since, to my knowledge, he’s never uttered a single word on the show, but I’m sure my words couldn’t be deciphered over the girly shrieks.

There were still definitely numbers I enjoyed. The “Bad Romance” cover, complete with themed costumes, is probably the closest I’ll get to a Gaga concert, so I relished that moment, and I was excited to see them encore with Queen’s “Somebody to Love” because that song is epic, but for the most part, the performances were just retreads of what we’ve already seen on TV. The fact that they perform in character and act like dorks for kids reminds me of the Sesame Street Live stage shows my parents would take me to as a kid. I’m sure they find the contractually obligated concert tour to be part of the experience at the moment, but I guarantee that as these actors’ fame increases, they won’t find it so fun having to spend their summer hiatuses this way in upcoming years.

Well, I hope they can stomach it, anyway, because even with free tickets, I won’t be going again. If I could offer some advice to the Entertainment Weekly contest runners: when you’re dealing with tickets to a show this cheesy, don’t select winners who take pride in crafting clever insults. I couldn’t help but be critical, it’s in my blood!


Dinner Theatre

The LA Times published a picture of me, 'cause I'm some awesome socialite who attends hip, local, cultural events, namely my friends' gallery's dinner theatre fundraiser.

Right before the photo was taken, I mocked Jessica for grabbing two plates to go through the buffet line. No, she wasn't making a second plate for someone else, she just wanted two plates full of food.

So of course the LA Times photographer walks over and snaps her picture. Just after it was taken, I laughed at her and told her she was going to look like a fat-ass in the paper. Granted, the photographer took hundreds of pictures that day and there was no real reason to believe that photo would be used, but I just know as a rule of life that if you are photographed pigging out, it's guaranteed to be published.

I must apologize, though, because clearly Jessica does not look like a fatty. If anything, and I think the camera angle contributes to this, it showcases her gangly arm. She could use a third plate full of food, actually.

And why not grab another plate? That buffet spread was mighty impressive and tasty. When I go to brunch with Jessica, she often orders a "white trash omelet" - her own invention consisting of onion and American cheese. So when she's presented with an opportunity for classy food, she should by all means have at it.

The classy part ended at the food, since she proceeded to pull a jelly jar full of wine out of her purse. Most of us were under the incorrect assumption that it would be an open bar, and Jessica bragged, "I had inside information." Annoyed, I told her that her LA Times caption would read "Hungry, boastful Jessica." Too bad they didn't get that part right. At least I had the largest piece of broccoli I have ever seen to console me. Allison and I ate it simultaneously from both ends Lady and the Tramp style.

Other than that, how was the play, tubby?

Ah, right, the theatre portion, here I am focusing on the dinner. The play was a Greek tragedy adapted from the myth Tereus. Oh, and it was fucked up. I say that with all due respect to the actors and director involved; I'm sure they wouldn't be insulted by this comment anyway, because by all accounts it was a fucked up story. Catch a whiff of this plot:

So there's this king Tereus and he wants to get married, so he hits up this father with two daughters. The dad gives him permission to marry Procne, and so it is so, and they have a baby. But, turns out Tereus really wants to bone Procne's sister, Philomela, so he rapes her. So that she won't be able to tell anyone, he cuts off her tongue and hides her away where no one can find her. Philomela stitches Tereus's wrong-doing in message form in a blanket and sneaks it to her sister. When Procne learns the secret, she gets revenge in the most sensible way imaginable: she kills and cooks her baby as a meal. Tereus eats his own baby before learning what he is eating. Enraged, he goes to kill the sisters, but suddenly all three characters magically change into birds. THE END.

So yeah, rape and baby eating. Also, that was the full plot, it's not as though I left out the boring scenes, it all just happened like that in succession. That said, it was provocative and I actually enjoyed how it threw me totally off-guard as an unsuspecting audience member, but there's no wonder why the LA Times skipped over specific details about the play.


American Legion Hall

I attended an event at the local American Legion Hall this past weekend and became fascinated with the building. With strange architecture and even stranger wallpaper, it seemed like the perfect venue to host a murder mystery. While no one was looking, Matt and I ventured into the basement to snoop. Even in near pitch dark, it was readily apparent that it was cobwebbed and disgusting. It was also a place where wheelchairs went to die. Broken walkers and wheelchairs littered nearly every corner. The only thing I found in decent condition was a cot that was clearly a fucking cot. You know, a cot in a private location for people to sneak away and fuck on. Even veterans get it on, evidently.

Or at least they try to. While on the subject of veterans, Jenna told us, seemingly out of the blue: "I really want to help out veterans with E.D." I swear, I can't make something that hysterical up. As always, there was a background story: her cousin is working with a team researching erectile dysfunction in young veterans. Apparently, there are high levels of impotence in those who experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Naturally, we teased Jenna as to HOW she would help veterans get erections and why, of all causes, she was so drawn to this one, but her heart is in the right place. A horny place, but a right place nonetheless. It's hard (sorry, veterans) difficult to argue Jenna's point: "These guys risk their lives to fight for our country and then they can't even get it up anymore!"

Maybe you can't argue with it, but you can make light of it, as Allison did: "I went to war and all I got was this limp penis."

I would sooooo wear that slogan on a t-shirt.


Lost Finale

Yeah, yeah, this is an obligatory Lost finale post. But don't worry, my post is way more about my experience watching the finale than the episode and theories. And you're going to want to know how I watched it, because it involves me SEMI-NUDE!

That's not just a teaser, I really did watch the finale in my underwear in a room with nineteen people, half of whom were strangers. But this wasn't just a case of Kevin being an exhibitionist, there is an actual explanation.

During the first commercial break, I had to pee, but getting to the bathroom was difficult since the nineteen of us were packed into the room like sardines. To get past the crowd, I took an exaggerated step over the head of someone sitting cross-legged on the ground and, mid-step, I heard a distinct ripping noise. I looked down at my left leg and discovered that my shorts had split all the way down.

Man, it was embarrassing to suddenly be pantsless in front of friends and strangers alike. My life is such a mess sometimes. Thank goodness for underwear! In another situation, I would have gone home and got some pants, but this was a moment in television history years in the making, so I wasn't about to miss any of it. Instead, I sat through the whole thing wearing just half a pair of shorts, revealing a lot of leg and some boxer shorts. You know, just sexing the place up.

I didn't entirely understand the episode. Part of that can be chalked up to Lost being Lost, but the rest is due to a lot of alcohol consumption. Our drinking game was a little too successful. A drink for every time Hurley says "Dude," Desmond says "Brother," Sawyer uses a nickname, and a "dead" character reappears proved to be a bit much. Another deadly one was a sip whenever one of the audience members asked a question. That one alone could have killed us all.

At least we had some bomb pizza to go with the beer. You know it's a good night when someone pulls out a tape measurer to gauge a pizza's size before ordering it. I'm just surprised that the tape measurer didn't get reintroduced when my shorts fell off... especially when the show gave me boners at the reunion of SHAYID!

All season long, I've been talking about how my one wish was for the show to reunite former lovers Sayid and Shannon. As adamantly and often as I spoke about it, it was only a joke. You see, they were the worst couple ever. Sayid is smart and awesome, while Shannon is insipid. Their pairing was totally a case of hormones and a limited dating pool on a deserted island and even then it still didn't make sense.

I wanted to start a one-man internet campaign all season that pled, "GIVE THE FANS WHAT THEY WANT! SHAYID 4EVA!" just to laugh at how angry and indifferent people would respond to this statement. But never once did I actually think the show would pair them together, especially with the implication that they lived happily ever after for eternity. Ridiculous! Those two were only in a relationship for a handful of island days before the writers opted to just kill Shannon off rather than figure out how to actually make their dynamic work in a believable fashion. Besides, I thought the love of Sayid's life is Nadia, as established through several flashbacks/forwards. Why isn't he spending his eternity with her? Also, I'm pretty sure the love of Shannon's life is her brother, Boone. And this isn't just another case of Kevin needlessly championing incest, because Boone and Shannon totally boned in the first season, though I know people like to block that out.

When Sayid and Shannon started sucking face in the final episode, everyone took a drink because one of our rules was "lovers reunite," but my friends encouraged me to chug my drink since this had been the moment I was pretending to wait for all season, and I obliged.

Overall, it was an awesome night, in spite of the wardrobe malfunction. An ice cream truck stopped right outside the house and you know we pushed past the neighborhood kids to get our treats before missing too much show. Allison and I did interpretive dances for several characters: the Smoke Monster was both fun and easy, while capturing the essence of Jack through movement proved surprisingly hard. Also satisfying was that I was correct about some plot twists other than Shayid, namely Juliet being Jack's sideways baby mama and Hurley being the island's true candidate. Sometimes I can out-predict your unpredictability, Lost. See you on the other side, brother.


But the People Need Pancakes!

If I were a diabolical arsonist, I would set a building ablaze during my community's annual Firefighters' Pancake Breakfast.

I think about this a lot. (This girl knows what's up.)


Predictive Text

Sometimes I wish predictive text were more predictive. Like, “Yo, read my mind, cellphone, my fingers are lazy.”


My Issues with Snorkeling

One thing I was able to do in Hawaii before heat rashing it up was snorkeling.

I found snorkeling to be rather difficult, although I doubt most snorkelers find this to be the case. When you take a simple, natural activity like breathing and ask me to switch it up a little bit, I, excuse the pun, flounder. I honestly can't walk and chew gum at the same time, though that has everything to do with the fact that I'm not supposed to chew gum due to my jaw problem. But if you'll recall, I also had great difficulty figuring out how to walk and hold sticks at the same time while nordic walking, so I'm not the most coordinated fellow.

To my knowledge, I don't have trouble breathing normally, but add a tube into the mix, and I am perplexed. It wasn't that I was scared, just that my inclination was to keep breathing with my nose, so I had to constantly remind myself to breathe with my mouth in order to stay alive and submerged. When a pretty fish would swim by, I would become distracted and start reflexively breathing with my nose again until I recognized the oxygen deprivation and had to internally yell, "Mouth, Kevin! Mouth!" Snorkeling: surprisingly hard for a dolt like me.

So while that seems like a deal-breaker, that wasn't even my biggest problem with snorkeling! You see, my favorite thing to do in the ocean is urinating. It's both liberating and warming; unlike at a public pool, there are no chemicals to rat you out for relieving yourself. In a snorkeling environment, however, this act was essentially impossible. At any given point, there were a handful of people around me with high-vision snorkel masks that would be able to detect my tinkle torrent.

Repeatedly, I tried to swim to a secluded area where I could pee in private, but then some dumb awesome-looking fish would meander my way and a couple of people would follow. Finally, I found a spot with enough of a buffer between other snorkelers and myself. As I prepared to piss, I noticed a pair of fish beneath me and became shy. It's like when you're naked in the shower and you see a bug on the wall and become self-conscious. "What are you looking at?" After a momentary pause, I got over it and urinated, because like the bugs, I'm pretty sure fish can keep a secret. Plus, I have a pretty good idea of where they use the restroom as well.


Winners Go to Glee in Concert

I WON tickets to go see Glee in concert tomorrow night!

Truthfully, the emphasis and excitement rests more on the word "won" than the concert itself, but I will gladly reap the reward.

A couple of months ago, Stacy told me that she was excited to see Glee in concert. The conversation proceeded something like this:
Me: "Really?"
Stacy: "Yeah. You wouldn't want to see that?"
Me: "I don't know. I guess I'd see it if it were free, but I'd never pay for that."

That is what former English teachers like myself call foreshadowing.

While browsing Entertainment Weekly's website yesterday, I saw a contest to win tickets to the show in LA on Thursday. If it were a sweepstakes, I would have just overlooked it altogether, but since it was a writing contest, I thought that might be fun and read the specifics. As it turned out, the objective was to write an original insult that Sue Sylvester might deliver to one of the other characters. Not only is that fun, I knew I could win at that.

I have Sue's dialogue down to a science. She says something mean, then shows her egotistical side by going off on a tangent about herself and how awesome she is even though most people would interpret what she brags about as insane. To be clear, I don't mean to say her lines are predictable. Actually, Jane Lynch, who plays Sue, is easily the best part of Glee. If anything, I call it a science because she always gets it right. Plus she delivers the dialogue so quickly that you don't have time to predict where it's going before she's done and you're laughing. Following the format, I banged out this: (For the uninitiated, Quinn is the former teen cheerleader who is currently knocked up.)

To Quinn: Listen, Bristol Palin, you say "pregnant," but I say "fat." You're a push-over as long as you allow that parasite you call a baby to live in there without paying rent. I have a strict policy against freeloaders. When my cousin stayed in my guest room last weekend, I charged her a reasonable rate and made it clear that I expected a mint on MY pillow.

Look, I don't get cocky often. I'm underemployed and have little self-esteem, but as soon as I submitted that, I started clearing my Thursday night. I just knew. Plus, I was able to see the other entries, and while some of them were good, most of them were about Will's hair. Though a deserved target, not original.

Within a couple of hours, I heard the news officially, and I contacted Stacy. I was more excited for Stacy than myself, truthfully. But she told me she can't go! I probably wouldn't have even entered if I knew that up front. And all of the sudden I had this "Oh my gosh, I am an adult male with two Glee tickets and a dilemma." They're expensive tickets to a sold-out show, so naturally I considered hawking them, but a large part of me also wanted to experience the prize. I won a humor-related creative writing contest, which is what I want to do with my life, so it would be nice to experience the reward, no matter how cheesy the event ends up being. Fortunately, Alice agreed to accompany me, so we'll go be losers together. She also agreed to bring some earplugs from her costume shop, because you just know there are going to be a lot of screaming pre-teens. My one hope is that Justin Bieber dies earlier in the day so that a lot of the kids stay home in mourning.

This morning, I caught up on some Glee episodes since I've been behind; Tuesday nights are for Lost, obviously. When Glee first came out, it was one of my favorite shows because it was ridiculous and included some biting satire and a lot of karaoke. Yes, I consider the show to be karaoke. I don't care that some of the stars have been on Broadway, they're still singing popular songs in an exaggerated manner. Karaoke.

Look, I want to still like Glee like I once did, but lately they try to make every episode as sappy and melodramatic as possible. Where is the humor? Where is the insightful social commentary?

I was distracted by the latest episode for a couple of reasons. Recently Chris Kelly wrote a popular Tumblr post with a list of complaints about Glee including this:

I know - I JUST FUCKING KNOW - you’re eventually going to have a dream sequence episode where that wheelchair kid is going to imagine he’s not crippled, and he’s going to get out of that chair and tap dance. And let me just tell you right now: I do NOT want to see that shit. It’s clear as day that this show’s going to be on until the world ends, and this actor - who can walk in real life - is going to bitch to the executive producer about how he wants to show off his dancing skillz, and then we’re all gonna have to watch him dance-masturbate for an at least an entire episode.

And then this happened:

It's like he had read the upcoming script! I couldn't believe it, and at the same time I couldn't help but notice the interior of the mall during the wheelchair kid's dancing scene. It looked just look my local mall! Granted, I've barely been in any malls lately, I avoid malls as much as possible, call it a lifestyle choice. But it distracted me so much, that I did some research, and found that they did film that scene at my local mall.

Now first of all, you might not recognize it because they packed it full of extras. No one goes to the Eagle Rock Plaza. If it weren't bookended by a Target and a Chucky Cheese's, no one would go there at all. I think if you added up all of the people who visited that place in a month, it still wouldn't be as many as they had in the background of that scene. If the question, "What if there were a flash mob and no one was there to witness it?" were a commonly used hypothetical, it could be put to the test at Eagle Rock Plaza. I bet they didn't even have to shut the place down or film at night just to get this scene without interrupting anything. Even if there were some people there, Tina wouldn't be one of the few Asian people. Nearly every store space inside that mall has been vacated, except for the Asian Seafood Supermarket, right across from where they filmed. Let me tell you, it stinks and attracts a very specific crowd.

That said, I did get excited at thinking, wow, the Glee kids filmed at my mall! I can walk there! Granted, it's a few miles away, but I have walked there, so yeah. Maybe this means I will be more excited to see them in concert than I thought. But I hope the concert won't feature the wheelchair kid dancing. And I also hope, again, that Bieber will be dead.


Hawaiian Getaway

Recently, I went to Hawaii for a week to celebrate my parents' 30th wedding anniversary. Apparently once you've been married that long, it doesn't seem strange to have your grown children tag along with you on a romantic getaway. Regardless, it was very nice of them to include my sibling and me, especially since it was my first trip to Hawaii. It is positively beautiful, so now I understand the hype.

Unfortunately, my trip to Hawaii was hardly a dream vacation. A few days in, I was overcome with an intense itch. For whatever reason, the itching started in my crotch region. I kept trying to find ways of scratching that area while laying out on the beach without looking obscene, all the while worrying about what was wrong with me. I'm not going to lie, I actually went back to my room and WebMD-ed "crabs."

It wasn't crabs, it was heat rash, and it quickly spread. It looked like I had red goosebumps all over the majority of my body. Evidently, heat rash forms when your body overheats and sweat is unable to properly escape from your body. I guess I had an adverse reaction to my suntan lotion (gotta buy the non-pore blocking stuff from now on) and it clogged me up. Heat rash is most common in infants, which makes me pretty darn awesome.

So once the heat rash ravished me, I couldn't be in the sunlight. Unfortunately, the number of Hawaiian activities that do not involve sun is practically nil. This directly contradicted with my sibling's sole Hawaiian plan: sitting in the sun. She literally wanted to do nothing else the entire trip. For her, it's all about what people will "think" when she gets back home, so she wants to be as tan as possible. Even though she can be a little bigoted, in this instance she wouldn't mind being mistaken for a different ethnicity. So while my family laid on the beach, I stayed inside or found spots in the shade near elderly people.

The itching came to a climax at the luau. We sat a table with another family which included a cute four-year-old girl. This girl came to EAT. At first I thought she was making the classic mistake of filling up on bread, but she was still revving by dessert and her parents had to limit her to two desserts. The girl put me to shame, but to be fair, I was focusing on my itchy rash. The whole time I hoped that the other family was too busy watching the fire dancing on stage to notice me rub ice cubes on my thigh or doing over-the-pants groin scratching with a fork.

As soon as the dancing stopped, my family bolted to a pharmacy where I picked up some Benadryl - both cream and liquid. The cream said "do not apply to large areas of the body," but I lather nearly my whole body with it anyway. As for the liquid Benadryl, I'm not sure whether you've had Benadryl lately (what up? to my recreational drug using readers!) but that stuff knocks you out, so I spent the next couple of days not only avoiding sun, but nearly incapacitated. You know, just living the dream!

At any rate, I was pretty ready to take my gnarly-skinned self home by the end of the week. Some of my friends were nice enough to compliment me on my "tan," which was nothing short of kind considering I actually looked red and splotchy.

Until we meet again, sunshine!


Embracing Identity Politics

Sasha lives in Arizona. As a good Californian, I considered boycotting her, just as my state is doing to all of Arizona for daring to pass that discriminatory "If you look brown, show us your papers!" law. If they were to enforce a similar law in Los Angeles, this place would look like a ghost town, or maybe Asia. Ultimately, however, I decided not to boycott Sasha. Turns out she even has a Mexican friend! (Apparently, the friend looks white though, so don't judge her.)

Naturally, Sasha is defensive about the situation and got riled up when she read a relevant article. While the article wasn't supporting the recent legislation, it was making a generalization that everyone in the state is bigoted. Both Sasha and her friend decided to write letters to the editor to express their objection.

I read the letters over and her friend's was more powerful, probably due in part to starting the letter with some identify politics, namely the phrase, "as a Mexican-American woman." I found this amusing since, from the person's name, I had assumed this friend was a white dude and had lied to give his letter more credibility. My assumption was wrong, however, because this friend really was a Mexican-American woman. Nevertheless, that didn't take away from the fact that the introduction with identity politics strengthened the argument.

So I offered Sasha some constructive criticism: She should have started her letter by saying that she was "probs gay" as that would add some instant street cred.

In all actuality, I think I would die with joy if I read a letter-to-the-editor that begins, "As someone who is probably gay,..." It's simultaneously brazen and non-commital. And honestly now: aren't we all probably gay?

I also called dibs on blogging this topic, but as soon as I said that, I knew she'd beat me to the punch. She's not only an asshole but a predictable asshole. Probs gay? More like totes gay.


Lost Update

This show is so meta that it hurts.

Actually, last night's episode of Lost was my favorite of the season. What popular show, in it's third to last episode, doesn't include any of the main characters other than in a quick flashback? One that wants to win me over. After investing so much time in this show, I know it seems crazy that I don't give a crap about any of the characters right now, but I am so over them. It felt great not to see Kate, Sawyer, and those other tormented souls, and I look forward to not seeing them anymore on a regular basis.

Rather than characters, I want answers, even half-answers to the larger mystery. I still like the show, I just don't care about the protagonists; I figure this perspective is how the writers want me to feel since they've de-emphasized the characters. In the first two seasons, this show used to be about its characters; it had some of the best character development ever on television. So go ahead, Lost, take your characters and kill them, ignore them, or whatever. I know it sounds like I'm complaining, but I am legitimately fine with it at this point. It's all about the bigger picture, so let's do it!

But that means when they started killing primary characters off last week, I didn't even flinch. They tried so hard to give Jin and Sun meaningful deaths, but how can that be taken seriously when the moment is a total rip off of Titanic? Besides, those two were an awful couple. Regardless of which dimension they were in, their relationship was always miserable. Each time they decide they love each other, they were separated for long stretches of time and absence made the heart grow fonder. If Jin had spent even five more minutes by Sun's side before drowning, he would proven himself a dick or she would have proven herself ungrateful, and they'd fight and yet again realize that they hardly have the "greatest love of all" like the show tries desperately to convince us of. One of them should have opted to survive rather than dying together considering they have a kid waiting at home. But more on bad parenting in a moment.

Their deaths even more stupid coming just after Sayid's hasty, unceremonious death. I suppose we're supposed to be satisfied since his character so often grapples with good and evil that he went out in a "heroic" blaze of glory. Let's make our prominent Middle-Eastern character a suicide bomber who saves people! Twist! Ugh. May he find eternal joy in heaven with his one true love... Shannon. <3<3 Shayid 4EVER <3<3

Oh, but back to this week's episode. I liked the casting of Zac Efron's little brother as emo smoke monster kid and that West Wing lady as crazy Mother Nature. During the show, Melinda noted, "This show is so-anti mother." "Happy Mother's Day," Matt added. It's true, practically every character on this show has deep-seeded issues that can be blamed on his mother. And if not his mother, than his father. Basically, parents are evil. Good theme, Lost.

I'm not sure I need the redundant black and white imagery. Trust me, even the dumbest viewers get the symbolism by now. They should use that time to show us more somethings we don't know. At least they've reinvigorating my interest by portraying Jacob as pretty daft. Previously I thought he was omniscient, but it's clear that he just lucked into his position and has no real clue as to what's going on. So - maybe all of this show has been pointless? A long series of people doing elaborate things with murky motivations and the joke is not only them, but us? I will be the first to laugh if it plays out that way, and I'm kind of cheering for it at this point.



Quick! I gotta comment on this viral video before no one cares tomorrow.

So I guess the deal is that he's kind of like Justin Bieber? I'm only familiar with Bieber through his Saturday Night Live appearance and the website Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber, so you could have told me this was him and I wouldn't have known the difference. Actually, I might have been able to tell since this guy's haircut isn't dykey enough, but we all can improve at something.

I'm not sure how he managed to have only girls in the background while playing at a school function, but I love how even with a stacked deck, most of them are wholly disinterested. Granted, there's the blonde girl in the top row who is learning what hormones are during the performance, but I'm drawn to the blond girl whose head is situated between the kid's chest and the piano. Her expression doesn't change once and I am the one swooning... for her apathy.

Meanwhile, my favorite part is checking out the healthy rump of the teacher at the clip's conclusion. Hey, it's not my fault the footage is framed without her face! I'm digging that schoolmarm outfit. And there's such poignancy in her final words: "He just taught Lady Gaga a lesson." That lesson? No matter how talented and innovative you are, you will never be as popular as a pre-teen with moppy hair.

What is this guy's name, by the way?! I want to twitter trend him!!!


Turtle Racing

Last week, Alec was in town on a business trip (I'm sure he wouldn't want me discussing the particulars, but it involves spaceships!) so it prompted a couple of meet-ups from the Los Angeles Pitzer crew. The first night was Thai in Pasadena. Though it wasn't "eventful," it was remarkably pleasant. The second night involved a separate but equal group of people meeting at Alex's swanky house cottage (it's cute and beach-accessible like that) in Venice. From there, we hit up a local Irish pub that hosts turtle racing on Thursday nights. I had no idea what turtle racing was like, but I knew I definitely wanted to participate in what sounded like a silly activity.

As it turns out, there is very little turtle racing in turtle racing. Each person who buys a turtle (you can also BYOT if you own a turtle, apparently) picks a hot girl, the shorter the skirt or tighter the jeans the better, who will gently place the turtle at the starting point. Here's the catch: the girls can't bend their knees in the process, meaning the audience gets prolonged views of the women's butts. If a woman bends her knees, the referees will throw a flag on the play and make her do it again, this time moving her to another area so a different portion of the crowd gets the best perspective.

Alas, there was no winning in the turtle placing game. Not even once did a woman do it satisfactorily on her first try. That's not to say some didn't do it perfectly, just that no matter what, the referees would deem it unsuccessful and make her do it one or two more times. Sometimes they'd make up new rules on the spot like "you went too fast" or "you went too slow."

I can't say I'm shocked, because Los Angeles is the capital of objectification, but as a feminist, it made me somewhat uncomfortable. And though my party was five guys and one badass chick, I think we all agreed that we were a little embarrassed at how it was playing out. Still, I think these women knew what they were getting themselves into, so I didn't refuse to look or anything.

There was a guy who stood near us who bought a turtle and the referee recommended he find a woman to set the turtle down on his behalf. Belligerently, he insisted on doing it himself until he realized the game's gimmick shortly after it started. At that point, he offered the closet lady $20 to do it for him, since he didn't want to look gay. For the next half hour, he kept repeating that he isn't gay and telling the lady that this was going to be the easiest $20 she ever made. Sure, in essence, placing a turtle on the ground is easy, but it comes at the cost of objectification. At least she made $20 though, the other women all probably agreed to put their butts on display for free.

The rule that might have offended me more then no bending over was the "Do Not Point at the Turtles" mandate. To their credit, they made this rule abundantly clear, even having us repeat it aloud, but that didn't make it any less of a racket. The excuse was that pointing at the turtles "distracted" them, as if it were the slight motion of fingers that made for less than ideal racing conditions for the turtles instead of the hundreds of drunk people screaming in close proximity. Each time someone was caught pointing, he or she was fined $10. with subsequent infractions growing in price.

You'd be surprised at how many people pointed at the turtles. Turtle racing is actually exciting (once it finally happens after all of the butt flashing) and they can be surprisingly fast. Caught up in the moment, it's actually hard not to point at a speeding turtle! I found myself starting to do it, but set it down before a referee caught me. From then on, my strategy was to put one in my pocket and keep the other wrapped around my beer.

Still, many in attendance were not so smart, and they pointed, and were forced (yes, forced, most people were not happy to comply) to hand over money for their infractions. It was amusing the first two times, but just awkward thereafter. Since the rule was pointless, in my opinion, this amounted to major extortion. Then again, extortion is probably LA's second most prominent claim to fame after objectification, so maybe it's only appropriate.

In it's purest form, however, turtle racing looks like it would be a lot of fun. Let me know if you know of any venues that host the sport for the love of the game rather than sex and profit.


Betty White

Happy Betty White Day!

Get excited for her Saturday Night Live episode tonight, because I think that the writers, knowing the hype, might actually have some A material for her to work with.

More importantly, there's a marathon currently running on the Game Show Network of Betty White's Match Game episodes. Turn it on now, I promise you won't be disappointed.

As if I didn't have enough reason to get excited for Betty White, I just learned last week that my friend (we lived next door to each other in college) was Betty White's stuntman on The Bonnie Hunt Show, as seen at the beginning of this clip.

He even had his make-up done right next to her. JEALOUS!


Can't Keep Her Shit Together

Mom: How is Mila* doing?
Alison: She lost two phones in the past month!
Kevin: An I-Phone?
Alison: Yes, two I-Phones.
Kevin: That's expensive.
Alison: She literally can't keep her shit together.
Kevin: Literally?
Alison: Yeah.
Kevin: So what, she has diarrhea?

(Look, I'm prone to this mistake, too, but that one is especially amusing.)


Lena the Killer

My friend Lena killed her neighbor.

Technically, he killed himself. But it wouldn't be inaccurate to say she was partially responsible. Lena insists that she is "indirectly" a part in his death, but the rest of us agree that she is at least "tangentially" entangled in the mess.

The neighbor lived in the unit directly below Lena. She and her roommates are a boisterous crew, so her first interactions with this neighbor involved him complaining about the noise and her roommate telling him to cram it.

Besides, it's not like he wasn't noisy, too. He frequently could be heard arguing with his longtime girlfriend. Over time, Lena befriended the girlfriend and encouraged her to leave. The girlfriend had two kids with the man and felt trapped, so Lena suggested that she enroll in school and make a fresh start, advice that the girlfriend took. To make a long story short, the neighbor threatened to kill himself if the girlfriend left, the girlfriend moved out with the kids anyway, and then he hung himself.

So before you condemn Lena, know that she was trying to be a good person by empowering a helpless young woman; she didn't know her meddling would result in a fatality. In fact, she saw him just before he killed himself and didn't notice anything strange. She was having trouble installing new windshield wipers on her sister's car and the neighbor stopped to help. Lena got rude with him because he was going too slowly and they were in a hurry to leave, but she swears she would have been friendlier had she known his state of mind.

While explaining the story, Lena interjects, a little too excitedly, "We get his parking space now, so that's awesome!" Immediately sensing our dismay, she adds, "No, but it's terrible, it's really really terrible."

So not only did she "tangentially" kill him, but she's benefiting from his death. Still, that's not to say she got away with murder, since she now believes he is haunting her. Right after her neighbor died, her toilet started making this awful screaming noise. She thinks her neighbor's ghost is coming up through the pipes and is going to attack her through the toilet, so she's been squatting over it in general and avoiding it at night altogether.


Blind Item

Dad: That's the terminal where I saw Stevie Wonder.
Alison: Did he see you? (simultaneously with) Mom: But he didn't see you!
Me: Wow, you guys really raced for the obvious blind joke.
Alison: (sincerely) Wait, he's blind?

My sister lives in her own world.


That Lady Grabbed My Dick

When I woke up this morning, I went to Gawker to read the latest news and found this as the top story:

I took one look at the photo and exclaimed to myself, "That lady grabbed my dick!"

What? It's a true story!

In the video, Nicki Hunter, amongst other "stars," requests that you don't pirate her work because she has a family to support. Initially, it made me feel bad for not paying for her video, but then I remembered I procured it by virtue of screaming the loudest at the bar. So, it might be okay to pirate Smokin' Cracks since they're just giving it away, but please check with Nicki first.

I also just realized that the two most significant porn stars in my life* have the last name Hunter. The other, Heather Hunter, is the world's greatest author and the one Facebook friend I have that I have never met in real life. I'm not sure whether "Hunter" is a stage name for either of them, but if not, parents might want to add it to Bambi and Candy on the list of names to avoid giving their daughters to help prevent them from becoming strippers.

*It brings me great shame to use the phrase "the two most significant porn stars in my life." Sorry. I'd also like to apologize for having two cougar-related posts on consecutive days, it won't happen again. You can check the archives, I've never blogged the word cougar prior to yesterday.