My Halloween costume: Rufio.

As in "Ru-fi-OOOOOOOOOO"
As in "Looky looky, I got Hooky"
As in "I wish I had a dad like you" ::dies::

But if you even needed clarification as to what my costume is, you suck at nostalgia. And life.

I usually have trouble taking compliments, but I've been accepting all lauds for my costume this year. I don't always try so hard at costumes anymore, but since Halloween occurring on a Sunday essentially means three days of partying, I invested a lot of time and money into my Rufio getup this year. And the satisfaction of hearing strangers across a party chanting Rufio has made all of the effort worthwhile.

P.S. Did you know Hook is now 19 years old? It's frightening facts like that that make me have to dress like a Lost Boy so that I don't feel like an Old.



Halloween in the Halls

In college, the single project I worked the hardest on wasn't even a school assignment, but a giant installation art piece.

Each year, kids who didn't have a safe place to trick-or-treat were invited to collect candy throughout the dorms, and residence halls were encouraged to compete to see who could decorate the best.

Since our hall was packed with artsy types, we decided to go for it and turn our hall into a giant monster. With no budget and little time, I thought this was an impossible feat. Fortunately, I've never seen a team synch up so well together, and we managed to collect nearly every material by dumpster diving.

The kids loved the experience of walking through a monster's body.
We even created had that thing that dangles from the throat.

The heart.

The ribs.

And the guts.

In a vast oversight, I failed to take a picture of the monster's butt that the kids had to spread the cheeks to escape from. If that doesn't sound juvenile enough, there were also a bubble machine and fart noises playing.

For our efforts, we actually won the contest and earned a $100 Root Beer Float Party. We never cashed in on this prize, however, preferring to attribute the money toward the fines we amassed by getting paint and trash everywhere. Regardlessly, it was easily one of the best college and Halloween memories I've ever had.


Monkeying Around

On Saturday, I volunteered at the Tour de Fat cycling event. If bicycles and Mardi Gras were to have a baby (and you KNOW Mardi Gras would sleep with anyone), it would look kind of like the Tour de Fat. Music, costumes, drinking, and cycling: not a bad day, so I donned my famous monkey costume and headed over.

Stationed at the beer tent, I was tasked with pouring all of the Ranger beer and keeping ahead of the demand. It flowed from a spigot from a truck, but every cup I filled was way too heady. No matter what tricks I tried, my beers were at least half foam, which was pretty embarrassing as I watched the others pour effortlessly.

Naturally, I felt incompetent. I assumed the problem was me, since I’m easily the dumbest smart person I know. Considering I can foul up the most menial of tasks, I wanted to quit so I didn’t keep delaying the beer line. The other volunteers, some dressed as Superman, Sweet Dee, and a gender-bending tooth fairy, though friendly, kept critiquing my style because they “knew” what the problem was. The quickest way to get them to shut up was to let them take a turn at pouring and realizing that they couldn’t do it much better.

For once in my life, the problem wasn’t me! Apparently, this kind of beer and overheated and would just be interminably foamy no matter what, so I just had to do the best I could with it. It kept me busy, anyway. My solution was to shake out the foam and combine the liquid from a few cups into a single cup that would have an adequate amount. Essentially, I was pouring three beers for every one that got served.

In my haste, I spilled a lot of beer on myself, making me grossly sticky. I was also getting drunk. We were not allowed to drink on shift, but if we were to randomly step away with a beer for a few minutes and return without explanation, that was okay, wink wink.

While pouring foam out into the grass toward the end of the day, a pair of people approached me, saying they knew me from somewhere. Not recognizing them, I figured they must be mistaken, explaining that I wasn’t normally dressed as a monkey and covered in beer. After guessing a bit, one pinpointed how he remembered me (the real context is too embarrassing to share, so we will henceforth refer to it as “art class.”) Then I joined them and like ten other people in a port-a-potty for karaoke. It was a handicapped stall, so roomier than your average transportable toilet, but as a dozen people flailed around singing and dancing to “Love Shack,” I was concerned that we might end up tipping the port-a-potty over.

As much as I’d like to say I rushed home to shower after these unhygienic experiences, I ended up spending the next ten hours barhopping with these near-strangers. Well, considering I just took one person’s word for it that he knew me even though I had no recognition of him, I guess it’s fair to call them complete strangers. Not only did they not judge me for lugging around a monkey costume all night and having hands so sticky that people recoiled when they shook my hand, these strangers also didn’t rape and murder me. So, like, new friends!



Cracked a joke before attempting to make my Halloween costume, but as is usually the case in my life, the joke is on me. What a mess! (Me AND the bathtub.)

On a related note, I know blackface is offensive, but what about blackhands? Can I go out tonight without the NAACP calling a boycott on me?


Theories on Foreskin

Last week, I attended a nice dinner party. If you had seen us from a distance, you would have thought, "What well-mannered, sophisticated young adults!" However, if you had overheard our conversation, you would have wondered, "Why are these people discussing circumcision so much?"

But circumcision is a legitimate social debate. Is it right to painfully cosmetically alter infants for mild and contested health benefits? I'm not even sure myself. I enjoy my circumcision, though I'm not sure I'd make the same snippy decision for my kid.

Dan offered his theory on the matter. Because circumcised men have sensitive skin clipped, the same skin that is designed to make contact with the female body, it dulls men's sensitivity to women overall. He speculates that for this reason, men have trouble emotionally bonding with women because their primary source of connection has been tampered with.

The best part of this monologue was before he could even punctuate this thought, Sarah, who had been skeptically but politely hearing him out, shouted louder than I've ever heard her, "BULLSHIT."

I'm inclined to agree with Sarah. That sounds like an all-too-convenient explanation for an emotionally distant guy to tell his partner. "Baby, I want to be attentive to your needs, but I'm circumcised!"

Yeah, pretty farfetched. But that doesn't mean I won't try to use the excuse in the future.


Spirit Day FAIL

You know what sucks? Bullying.

I say that not only as someone who was bullied, but as someone who occasionally bullied others, as well. Kids are cruel. In many cases, they don't know better and grow up to not be bullies. But the point is that they have the chance to grow up, and kids who kill themselves in the face of bullying never get that opportunity.

Today, thousands of people wore purple to support the recent suicides of gay teens. As a symbolic act, I don't believe it will stop many kids from bullying, but I am happy to show solidarity and support with those who might feel alienated.

Since I only own one purple shirt, it was an easy choice on what to wear. Except partway through the day, I reflected on how it might be a poor choice. It says, "The Bible Tells Me So." That's the same line some bigots use to harass gay people! Talk about sending a mixed message.

Fortunately, I work from home, and literally two people have seen me wear it, neither of whom were gay teens.


Happy Days?

Sunday, Monday: happy days. Tuesday: mourning day.

Tom Bosley is dead. I have an awesome story about a time I ate dinner with Tom Bosley, except that it didn't really happen.

I don't mean that I made up the story completely, although it would be fun to fabricate tales of special encounters I've had with celebrities when they die. This activity could also be called "living in Los Angeles."

My true-but-not story comes from a day when I volunteered at a charity celebrity golf tournament, collecting tickets at the tequila hole. At the end of the day, there was a large dinner buffet, which I opted to stay for in order to get a free meal. I sat at a corner table to stay out of the way of the the donors and celebrities, but then Tom Bosley* and the guy who stars as Hellboy asked if they could join my table.

Excitedly, I texted my Mom. "I'm eating dinner with the dad from Happy Days!" She commented back that she was surprised because Tom Bosley must be pretty old. Both Tom Bosley* and Hellboy were friendly, but I was thrown for a loop when he kept responding to "Dan" and spoke briefly about working on The Wonder Years. I sent a correction text to my mom saying that I was actually eating dinner with the dad from The Wonder Years. To which my mom replied, "Dan Lauria? I love him!"

So I guess Dan Lauria is more impressive. But as nice as it was to eat dinner with him, I wish it were actually Tom Bosley, because now I'll have never have a chance to catch dinner with him, unless there's an Arnold's in heaven.

Remind me to schedule brunch with the Fonz before it's too late!


So, Down to Her Knees?

I like my women's pants 100% off.



Urban Iditarod 2010: Recently Deceased Celebrities

Apparently, running around in public dressed like the dead Olympic luger makes people cringe; I had a blast, though!

This happened seven months ago, but old news can still be great news! After last year's successful Urban Iditarod, six of us decided to make another go of LA's annual dress-in-costumes-and-get-super-inebriated-while-pushing-shopping-carts-around-public-streets festivities. Needing a new theme, we decided to push the envelope by dressing as recently deceased celebrities.

Jocelyn as Bea Arthur

Ben as Ed McMahon

Jessica as Michael Jackson

Me as the Georgian Olympic luger

Jenna as the Sea World trainer

Bear in mind that the Iditarod took place just one and two weeks after the deaths of the trainer and luger respectively (yet not respectfully), so we were really pushing the tacky meter with that one. But then, no one pushed the tacky meter as much as...

Allison as David Carradine.

What's worse than dying of autoerotic asphyxiation? Having someone portray you with a belt around her neck and a baby doll's arm protruding from her pants.

Our cart was a gilded coffin, which our Michael Jackson sat in a lot, both as our most esteemed colleague and because she had a bum leg and couldn't do much running.

We were a hit!... if being a hit means being highly offensive. Actually, a bunch of the people saw the humor in our costumes and admired our creativity, but there were plenty of people who said things like, "That's just wrong." Though we never came up with a team name, one was decided for us by strangers' consensus: "Team Too Soon." We thought it was a great monicker and took it as a compliment. Besides, coming from a largely fratty crowd, I find their lifestyles too offensive to be offended by their offense.

A drunk guy dressed as a skier came up to me and said, "Hey, I just got back from the Olympics, too!"
To which I deadpanned, "Oh, I didn't make it back. I died."
Then he walked away.
This is why I have trouble making new friends.

David Carradine didn't have trouble making friends, though. That baby doll arm dick was a dude magnet. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the it's-not-really-gay-if-it's-attached-to-a-girl factor, but a lot of bros were all about touching, fellating, and eating a bagel off the mock-dick.

Other exciting moments included people repeatedly using the inflatable whale to beat up Trainer Jenna, Ben awarding drunks large novelty checks signed by God, and random dance breaks on the Venice boardwalk. This year the cops didn't even chase us, instead letting us run around foolishly. However, when we tried to congregate in the dog park, they disbanded us way too quickly. That just meant we took our beer to the beach, where we rested in peace on the sand.

See you next year, Iditarod! At this point, you're only five months away!

Overhead video:

And I love the curling team clearing way for a large truck:


Living in an Arcade

Got some important new furniture in my living room.

Yup, that's an arcade version of NBA JAM. It's from 1991, so it's a little dated, but it has better graphics than the sofa. Besides, Boyz II Men debuted in 1991, so you know that's a year for good things.

Matt bought it and asked whether he could store it here temporarily. I question what "temporarily" will end up meaning considering it required a difficult process of hiring a mover and disassembling it just to get it through the door, but for now I'm just finding it hilarious.

If you want to get your dunk on, or maybe just want to digitally control your old favorites like Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, and Isiah Thomas, come by my house for some JAMZ! But bring some quarters. No freeloaders! (Okay, okay... freeloaders.)


A Fire in My Kitchen

Hey, did you all know not to put tinfoil in the microwave?

Of course you did, you are competent adults.

I, on the other hand, had to learn the hard way: by catching my microwave on fire.

After smelling smoke, I discovered that there were actually large flames inside, which I had to slap out. I don't think that plate is going to spin anymore.

I'm so convinced that I'm accidentally going to kill myself one of these days that I regularly contemplate penning a suicide note to leave lying around. It's not that I want to kill myself, but that way when it inevitably happens, people will say, "Oh, at least he did it on purpose" and not "What a dumbass." It's important to me that people will still speak highly of my intelligence, even after I've died in some bizarre kitchen explosion.


Body Wash

Look, I'm not a fan of gender norms. Tell me how a man is "supposed" to act, and I'm prepared to have an hour-long debate with you on the topic.

But there's one thing I just can't get behind: Body Wash. Is there anything less manly? What's wrong with a bar of soap? And don't get me started with loofahs. You're essentially washing yourself with a puffy, colorful flower. Did you know it's actually impossible to wash your balls with a loofah? It's true because if you're using a loofah, you must not have testicles.

My roommate has this bottle of body wash in our shower that loudly declares "MEN." Bullshit. Soap is soap, but admittedly, it's a good marketing strategy because they need to trick men into thinking it is an acceptable product for them.

What gets me more is that it bills itself as having a "classic masculine scent." What the hell is a "classic masculine scent" anyway? A fart? Because the first thing I think of is a fart. Maybe mud? Every "classic" male odor that comes to mind is a filthy one, so I don't know why I'd want that to be a part of my personal hygiene.

No thank you.


Making out with Yourself

I am such a compulsive multi-tasker that I will save the last twenty minutes of my book to read on my walk back to the liberry. Though I definitely walk slower while reading, I consider this act to be time-saving overall.

Plus, I kind of like having my nose in a book on my regular walks because I pass so many schools. I can't help but be paranoid that, as an adult male, when people see me walk by schools, they assume I'm some sort of pedophile. It's not the case at all, and perhaps part of the reason I still carry around my old teacher ID (well, that and discounts) so that if questioned, I can show that I am certified to work with kids, not an abductor. Never has any of this stuff been a problem, but I just prefer to have my eyes averted and credentials ready just in case.

However, on today's walk, I almost missed the most amazing scene because I was reading. Across from the liberry, I heard laughter right beside me. I turned to see a tiny kid making kissing noises and hugging himself tightly. My first thought was "Holy autism!" but then I realized that he had his back to a group of girls who were watching him pretend to make out with someone, as kids sometimes do. As with real kissing, however, he had his eyes shut, so he was unaware that only a few feet and a fence separated us. The girls, seeing my shocked expression, laughed even harder. Noticing the amplification, he opened his eyes, saw me staring at him, and jumped backward screaming in embarrassment. It's one thing to perform for a specific audience, but another thing when an adult crashes the show.

Toying with the kid, I decided to give him one of those, "Yeah, you're kind of funny, but cut it out!" looks I perfected as a teacher, prompting him to hide his face. I kept walking, but behind me I could hear the girls begging him to do it again, to which he obliged. Only then did I realize the reason I was so drawn to this scene: this kid was me. That's something I would do at his age: make an ass out of myself for a bunch of girls in the hopes of earning their affection. Later he'll probably ask if any of them want to kiss for real, and when they decline, he'll tell them he was having more fun making out with himself anyway.


Local Music Festival

This past weekend was my neighborhood's annual music festival. I love it because it establishes a great sense of community as the main street is closed down and I get to sample local bands. Except that this year, I barely listened to any music, which I feel bad about, but I had other priorities, apparently. Instead, I got: a) drunk b) exercise c) jock itch.

Since I'm just a brief walk away, I hosted a barbeque before the event and an unexpected twenty people showed, putting us off to a late start. Despite power walking the mile+ to our friend's band's show (his stage was the furthest away possible), I didn't arrive literally until the closing notes of his last song. Of course, I acted as though I had been there for much more time when I spoke to him briefly, but I can honestly say those ending seconds were legitimately a "good job." As Allison arrived at the stage, she beelined for the bathroom out of desperation, then accidentally peed on the floor.

The night had barely started.

The next band was this new age thing with a harp. Even though we all agreed they were good, the vibe was for stoners rather than drunkees. In retrospect, this shouldn't have been a problem for some of my friends who had just got caught smoking weed in an alley by teenagers. Regardless, the decision was to leave for a different atmosphere.

We didn't even make it to the next stage before getting derailed at the local restaurant. People wanted beer and a bathroom. The bathrooms both had "out of order" signs, which I think were faked to avoid having thousands of people use them throughout the night, and the line for drinks was at least half an hour long. Allison and I, who you can hardly call exercisers, decide we will walk the mile or so back to my house to pick up alcohol for everyone.

We were desperately thirsty and desperately had to pee. The more we had to pee, the more we just decided that the solution to our problem was moving faster. When we finally arrived at my house, despite practically leaking from my genitals, I did the gentlemanly thing and allowed Allison to pee first (in part because of her, uh, accidentally earlier.) You know how you get to a point when you are THIS close to a toilet that you mentally let yourself go a little bit and you have to pee harder than ever before. I had to bounce up and down for a full minute before the bathroom was available in order to avoid wetting myself.

Allison dumped out the entire contents of her purse to make maximum room for beer, while I lined my pockets with bottles of rum and coke. Before we left, I applied jock itch medicine to my groin after having worked up a scratchy sweat from walking so intensely. Unfortunately, this medicine caused my testicles to stink on our walk back to everyone, but at least we had beers we could covertly drink to soothe the pain. Before encountering police, we ditched the cans where a homeless person would be appreciative to find them (they were gone the next day!) but if I could do it over again, I'd have left him a full one, too, for his trouble.

When we finally got back, you've never seen a group of people so thirsty. As it turns out, all of the alcohol we could smuggle in only lasted about twenty minutes with our group. And it made everyone have to pee again. Unable to wait the hour in line it would take to access a real bathroom, Sarah, Ted, and I crept into a nearby yard to conduct our business. Sarah is a new friend, so what better way to bond than to simultaneously urinate a few feet a part while nervously scanning for angry property owners?

I saw a little bit of the Submarines, the one band I was really excited to see, but was sort of underwhelmed. And then most people asked to go back and hang out at my house instead, which required a lot more walking - and irritating my jock itch - but whatever. It was a lot of fun. But next year, I'm going to listen to a lot more of the music. Or, more likely, do it exactly the same way again.


Going Down

If I tell you that I've been watching this video on repeat, will you forgive me? I'd like to say that it's because I'm a fan of morality more than morbidity, but I'm sure the morbidity plays a large factor.

But really: Patience is a virtue. A life-saver, too, apparently.

Another important moral lesson might be "Don't fly into irrational fits of destructive rage."

Part of me feels for this rascal in a Rascal: he didn't have the option to take the stairs. The remainder of me laughs at his stupidity and rejoices in his Darwin Award. Take comfort in knowing he died doing what he loves: falling down an elevator shaft. Only a handful of soap opera characters can say the same.


Homosexuals around the World

Jenna: All of the guys in Puerto Rico have their eyebrows waxed. It was the first thing I blogged about. But there it doesn't mean they're gay.
Jared: They've got to be gay. All of that salsa music, how could they not be?
Ilana: I think being a gay Armenian would be the hardest. Everything about their culture says no. But then, everything about their outfits say yes.
Jared: Plus they have to have sex with Armenian women, so...


Christine O'Donnell, I Have an Offer

It's been really difficult trying to avoid this Christine O'Donnell nonsense. Since she's in the news every day, I accidentally catch the headlines about her odd stances on masturbation, evolution, and witchcraft, but I read no further because - who cares?

I get the media's obsession. It's easy to make fun of a Tea Partier, and similarly easy to discredit women, so why not just make O'Donnell the focal point of a divisive movement and have some fun? I mean, it worked with Sarah Palin as the target, and since she hasn't provided any non-Dancing with the Stars sound bites in a few weeks, why not run with O'Donnell? She's at least as crazy as Palin, and if you were to put glasses on her, they could be easily mistaken.

I'm not defending O'Donnell. Certainly she sucks and represents positions I can't even begin to comprehend, I just don't need to hear daily updates about how much she sucks. But I was finally motivated to read an article that reported she lied about attending Claremont Graduate University, my alma mater.

There are days that I'd like to lie and say that I do NOT have a degree from this university, making it all the more comical that someone would falsely claim to have attended. If you'll recall, a friend of mine actually used his diploma from the same school to write a note about how he briefly was running errands at Target, which should probably give you a sense of its perceived value.

With that, I have an offer: if Christine O'Donnell wants my diploma, I'll give it to her. Honestly, she can have it. I know that's not technically how an honorary degree works, but that way she can utilize her skills of "creative truth-telling" and confidently state "I have a degree from Claremont Graduated University." Just don't tell anyone that my name's on it. No, really, please don't tell anyone.


Bus Ride

Last weekend was free museum day, so Andrew and I met downtown to see a couple of museums that we would otherwise never pay for: the Grammy Museum (tourist trap!) and the Neon Art Museum (seizure-inducing but kitschy fun). Rather than trying to deal with parking, I took a bus. Most people I know rag on public transportation, but I like it as it is eco-friendly, affordable, and I can read during the commute. Also, you get to encounter some strange and trashy people and things that you could only encounter on a bus.

Sitting in the back of the bus (it's cool, Rosa, I chose that seat), I smelled marijuana and spotted this shady dude unabashedly lighting a pipe and taking a hit. You can get away with that shit on the bus apparently. It reminded me of my teaching days in that sometimes I saw mischief occurring in the back of the classroom that I should have addressed, but it was just easier to pretend I didn't notice and push forward.

A few stops later, this guy, limping and loud, came on, screaming the stoned dude's name. He sat down next to him, popped open a bottle of beer, and explained that he hadn't been around for a while because he had been incarcerated for the past seven months. It was easy for him, he claimed, because seven months is nothing compared to what he's had to do in the past. Also, he had the love of a bus driver waiting on the outside. Not our current bus driver, but "a bus driver." He was in love with a bus driver, and each time he referred to her, he didn't use a name, just calling her a "bus driver." I wasn't even sure the bus driver was a she until he pulled out his phone and showed a picture of the bus driver to the stoner, who replied, very unenthusiastically, "Yeah... she's all right."

At one point, the drunk guy stood up, and when the bus braked hard, he tipped over, spilling his beer and landing on the laps of a mother and young child. The family promptly moved to the front of the bus, and the bus driver-lover acted as if nothing had happened. He then started telling his same exact story again ("in prison... in love with a bus driver") because he only had a few things to talk about and the stoned guy abruptly said he had to get off, even though I'm pretty sure he just wanted to not be a part of this scene anymore. You have to be pretty crazy to scare a guy who just smoked weed on public transit off of the bus altogether.

The drunk guy finished his beer and lit up a cigarette. I don't know if these people think that being on a bus is like being in international waters and they can get away with anything, or if he just assumes his bus driver girlfriend could get him out of any trouble that might result from his behavior. Within a couple of stops, a man with a shirt so tattered that it could only be considered "clothing" nominally greeted the drinker-turned-smoker. Now it was his turn to hear his friend's simple tale of jail and love, and it was no less horrifying/amusing to listen to a third time from my position a few seats away. I was tempted to lean over to see the picture of this hottie bus driver he was showing yet again, but decided that I'd rather be a passive audience member than a part of the fiasco.

I know this experience isn't the type of story that is going to make people say, "I should really take the bus more often," but there is no way you're going to get that much amusement while sitting in traffic on the freeway.