Shut Up About Amercia

Unpopular opinion:

"Amercia" isn't funny. It's just a typo, and not a funny typo, even. If it said "American fag" instead of "American flag", now that would be a funny typo. Nonetheless, everyone's talking about Amercia like Mitt Romney made some huge mistake, when we all know damn well he had nothing to do with programming a smartphone app. 

You want to make fun of Romney? There's hundreds of things about him to legitimately criticize, and most of them are laughably awful. But we - the 20-somethings on the internet, the media, the Amercians - like to talk about the meaningless campaign issues like typos and birth certificates. I guarantee way more young folks have blogged and forwarded "Amercia" shit rather than anything about drones, the legalization of indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, or the slow revocation of first amendment rights. 

I tell you what - Romney loves that you're talking about a typo. That's an issue so frivolous that it won't cost him any votes ultimately. And one day when he sells this country to the corporations, you're going to wish he only changed the name to Amercia rather than something like "The United States of the Bank of America." 


Eurovision 2012 Final: The Performances You Need to See

Given my expressed fanaticism, I’ve been asked to do a Eurovision final recap. Initially, I didn’t see the point because I already compiled a video of the funniest Eurovision songs and many of the most absurd songs were (justifiably yet infuriatingly) eliminated in the semifinals. After going to great lengths to track down a projector and inviting friends over and, if Eurovision weren’t as entertaining as I had promised, it would have been a major letdown.

Thankfully, the Eurovision final didn’t disappoint one bit, as there was still plenty of hilarity to go around. Allow me to give you a rundown of some of the live performances you shouldn’t have missed:

1. Moldova

The cheesy, not quite sensical English lyrics are great, but it’s the harsh, angular steps of the background dancers in clashing dresses that really steals the show. Best believe we at home immediately tried to recreate our favorite moves, particularly the one where they roll on their stomach like a rocking horse while positioned underneath someone (at the 2:10 mark).

2. Russia

Perhaps nothing summarizes Eurovision better than this song by some dancing grannies that finished in second place. No really, Europe declared this the second best song in the whole continent this year. Granted, they’re really cute – they even bake cookies on stage – but there’s no actual talent here. Maybe Europeans are in on the joke, too.

3. Albania

 You are going to be so confused yet entranced by this video. You have to see this woman’s hairy chest to believe it – what exactly is going on with that world’s longest, misplaced rattail? Is it supposed to distract you from the fact that she’s screaming rather than singing? She doesn’t even stay on key as she wails, but still managed to finish the competition in the top 5.

4. Turkey

This seventh place finisher “sings” like some karaoker whose sole objective is to make his drunk friends in the audience giggle. If you can somehow manage not to laugh at the effeminate, caped, vampire-like background dancers, just wait until they turn their costumes into a boat toward the end.

5. Sweden

Sweden is the night's winner, and well deserved, I’d say, considering the competition. It was easily one of the best songs performed, and yet she also kept things entertaining with her unusual dance moves. The way she swooshes her arms around the stage, and oh my gosh that epic crabwalk… we agreed we’d be borrowing some of her moves the next time we’re at a dance club.

6. Greece

If you’re looking for one song that’s the most typical of Eurovision, I offer you Greece’s entry: simple lyrics, awful but wholly amusing dancing, and more than a hint of sex. Also, this song easily has the best chorus of the night: “Oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh/You make me dance like a maniac/Oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh/You make me want your aphrodisiac.”

7. Ireland

Of course I have to mention the Ritalin-deficient twins who do flips, high five in the air, and put their hands together to form a heart. Oh, and then the performance culminates in the brothers taking a shower together.

8. Lithuania

This young guy sings while wearing a bedazzled blindfold (the song is called “Love Is Blind”, get it?) until things take a turn for the super awesome. At the 1:30 mark, he tears the blindfold off, does a one-handed cartwheel, and starts thrusting inappropriately like some kid who is about to get chastised by a chaperone at prom.

You guys, I’m telling you that this shit-show is terrific. Eurovision 2013 cannot come soon enough.



A porn pop-ad comes up, while I'm working mind you, and then when I tried to close it, it starts questioning my sexuality.

What I want to know is, does this actually work? Is there any dude out there who was like, "Fuck no, I'm straight. Let me pay for you porn in order to prove it!"? 

It seems like such a cheap tactic, but if using society's homophobia to provoke insecure men into forking over their credit card numbers is actually a successful method, then more power to them.


White Guy With Guitar Mars Another Season of American Idol

I never for a second expected a different outcome, yet I still can’t shake the disappointment of seeing the 5th consecutive WGWG (White Guy With Guitar) crowned the winner of American Idol. Phillip Phillips – the man who’s so mediocre they had to name him twice just so you’d remember him – won despite being outperformed by his competitors week after week. Clearly fans care more about how cute his mouth is (look at his adorably stupid little pout as he sang the closing note of his last song that people won't stop discussing) than the quality of the voice that comes out of his mouth.

Idol prides itself on the fact that more votes were cast for its final episode than the presidential election, but conveniently leaves out the fact that fans can vote an unlimited number of times. This system gives all the power to the people who don’t mind spending two straight hours texting or dialing the phone: namely, teenage girls. Why should someone like me even bother to throw a couple of votes toward a good contestant, when I know they will be dwarfed by the blind (or in this case, deaf) hormonal devotion of young girls?  

Shame on me for watching a de facto rigged competition, I suppose. I avoided Idol for years but joined a while back when unemployment provided me with way too much free time, and now I still find myself watching. (But not the results shows because why spend an hour watching filler just to hear them read one name when I can do the same on the internet in two seconds?) This year I stuck around due to the talent. Idol is often a shit show, but this time there were so many great singers who deserved to compete for the title. Phillip Phillips just wasn’t one of them.

Hollie, Elise, Skylar, Jessica, Erika, and Jeremy could all SING, yet sadly never stood a chance due to their vaginas (or in Jeremy’s case, obesity). I’m not saying Phillip is an awful singer, he managed a few good songs throughout the competition, but it is embarrassing to see him nonchalantly walk away with the win while the others sang circles around him.

I can’t just blame the voters, but the useless judges, too. The judges nitpicked with the best singers while just licking Phillip’s asshole the whole time, never mentioning any of his missed notes or flawed approaches. The worst feedback the judges gave is that he never could sing the melody, but they’d forgive him for it anyway. Being unable to sing a melody is a big freaking deal for a musician if you ask me, but what do I know? I’m not a perverted Alzheimer’s patient like Steven Tyler or a joke who spouts clich├ęs like Randy Jackson. Lord help us that Jennifer Lopez was the only one with it enough to provide comprehendible criticism, yet was too smitten with little Phillip to say a bad word.

At the end of the day, I don’t even dislike Phillip. He seems like a nice, humble, funny dude who refused to follow the producers’ fashion and music advice and without any explanation never participated in any of the show’s product placement moments. I imagine I could be friends with Phillip – the kind that would chronically make excuses for being unable to attend his gigs – but a friend in other situations.

The good thing to come out of a Phillip victory is that his coronation song is amazing. Idol coronation songs (generally the first single) are notoriously awful, but “Home” is an amazing track, regardless of who sings it. Steven said Phillip sounded like Paul Simon while Randy more accurately compared it to Mumford and Sons. Oh, and Jennifer said that it sounded like “nobody else”, which was funny coming just seconds apart from the other critiques.

Anyway, I love the drum line and wordless sing-along chorus, and I think radio would embrace this song. Though I figured Phillip didn’t have the chops to succeed off the show, this song could actually do it for him. Unfortunately, Phillip wants nothing to do with it. “I don’t write songs like that,” he said in an interview. “The song that I did tonight that supposedly is my single, it’s not really my single, I told them it’s not my single.” Oh good, so sabotage yourself young man. Discard a song that was loved by your fans and haters alike and write your own melody-less songs that feature you scatting out-of-tune and see how that works for you.

Fortunately, I found that Greg Holden, the song’s cowriter, has performed the song previously. Now I can listen to a song I like by someone who sings it even better. Yeah, he’s a cute white guy with a guitar, but that’s not a problem because he can actually sing. Idol should be sure to screen their WGWG better in the future so when they inevitably get stuck with one as the winner, they can at least claim he deserved it for being able to carry a tune.


A Gump Cut

Two awkward things that happened at the bar tonight:

1. I came in with a new haircut, and a guy - named Guy, incidentally - told me I look like Forrest Gump now. I was instinctively insulted, but Guy insisted that it was a good thing because Forrest is nice and everybody loves him. I tried to rationalize in my head that, despite his disabilities, Forrest accomplished way more than I ever will in life, so maybe it really is a style to aspire to, but then Guy's wife said, "You can't tell someone they look like Forrest Gump because he's retarded." Guy promptly left the bar for home and I'm not sure what to make of the incident.

2. After explaining what a bad day she was having, a drunk woman found a dollar bill on the floor. She tried to give it to everyone nearby, but I told her "finders keepers" and that it was a sign her luck was turning around. This made her happy, and I started singing, "The sun'll come out tomorrow!" to keep the optimistic vibes going. She thanked me for singing to her and I joked that I was only doing it in the hopes of being tipped her dollar. And that's when she took the dollar and shoved it down my pants. No, not just the pants, but down my underwear, too -- there was quick penis contact, even. I was speechless, as were my friends, but I finally reached in and fished the dollar out to return to her. "You need to keep your luck," I said. She accepted the dollar back, put it up to her nose and sniffed it with all of her might. Just when I thought things couldn't get any stranger, she then crumpled the dollar - which had just been on my crotch, mind you - and put it in her mouth. And that's precisely when I decided it was time to take my Forrest Gump haircut home.


This Is Why I'm Fat

I found an unopened jar of Fluff in the kitchen that expired this weekend. As soon as I saw that, I vowed that I wasn't going to let a single bit of marshmallow goodness go to waste before it went bad. Unfortunately, I came disgustingly close to fulfilling that promise.

UPDATE: Let the record show that THIS fluff is better than that fluff, but good luck finding it on the west coast.


Figure It Out

"Figure It Out" Is Returning to Nickelodeon

I posted about the most important entertainment news of the year on Hello Giggles today. Figure It Out may be one of the lesser Nickelodeon game shows, but anything that opens the door to a Legends of the Hidden Temple return - or a Lori Beth comeback for that matter - is a great step.   


The Price Is Neither Right Nor Wrong

If you've followed this blog since the beginning (thanks and condolences to whoever has been reading my babbling for nearly seven years now), you'll know that I went to a taping of The Price Is Right in 2005 shortly before Bob Barker retired, and it was pretty awful.

Years later, my seatmate Susan made the most of a wasted day by using a picture of us for a poster she had to make for a class she was teaching at a prestigious university. It was an inside joke because it was an obscure detail that would go unnoticed by most of her students. (I added the circles.) When she brought the file in to be printed poster size, the worker at the copy center offered to find a better quality image from the internet to use instead, not realizing that the blurry photo she took of her TV screen had sentimental value.

So much sentimental value that she gave me the poster at the end of the class. I proceeded to hang it over my bed for two years so I could wake up to thoughts of that miserable experience on a daily basis. I know our faces are grainy, but can you see how bored we look? The rest of the audience is engaged in calling out prices, and we couldn't be more disinterested in the charade anymore. 

Despite it all, I'm just glad that my trip to The Price Is Right played a small part in educating some of this country's finest undergraduates. That's worth more than the dining room set we didn't win.


My Roommate Is Going Through Something

I've only been in my new home for a couple of weeks, but it's already been an adventure.

First, a housing inspector came by for a routine check. Since our house isn't zoned for a stove, the landlady had us remove it from the kitchen… and put it in my roommate's room. To hide it, the landlady suggested throwing a sheet over it and covering it in laundry. "Just make it look like you're going through something," the landlady instructed. Sure enough, the inspector did not even ask about the massive pile, even though it must have been quite a sight to see a messy and inexplicably boxy mound in the corner of an otherwise meticulous room. "Going through something," indeed.

About the same time, our internet stopped working. After more than a week, we finally got a professional to come by to fix our router. I was the only one available to be home during the appointment, which I said was fine, until the guy asked me to tell him the internet password. You see, the password, which pre-dates my living in the house by years, is a combination of a slang term for a certain body part, the size of said body part, and a reference to a sex act thrown in for good measure. Yeah, it's a funny password to share amongst friends, but once I was faced with having to tell a stranger, I couldn't say it aloud, so I wrote it down instead. 

I warned the internet guy that it was embarrassing and that someone else came up with it. He was young, so I hoped he would laugh, but when he looked at what I wrote on the pad, he made a disgusted face. "I swear it wasn't me!" I said defensively. Assuming it must have been the handiwork of my roommate whose name was connected to the account, he said, and I quote, "She must have been going through something."

That means in the span of just a week, two workers entered our house and were left to surmise that my roommate was "going through something". I can only hope that this trend continues.


I Still Prefer "Liberry"


- A large banner I saw two preteens holding at yesterday’s Pasadena LitFest. To be fair, they made a really strong case for their cause. 


Bless Her Heart

"That's the best part about Texas: you can say stuff behind someone's back - total character assassination -  and then just say 'Bless her heart' afterwards and it's fine." - Allison


Overheard at Trader Joe's

Woman 1: Well it was so good to run into you. Let's get together soon.
Woman 2: I know, we'll make it happen. Goodbye!
Woman 1: Bye!… Oh wait, one more thing, how do you like Fifty Shades of Grey?
Woman 2: (astonished) Wait, what?
Woman 1: Have you read it?
Woman 2: I'm reading it right now! How did you know?
Woman 1: I just figured, of course you'd read that.
Woman 2: I love it, I can't put it down.
Woman 1: Yeah, I just tore through the whole trilogy!
Woman 2: I'm still reading the first one.
Woman 1: Well enjoy it!
Woman 2: Oh trust me, I AM! I still can't believe you knew I was reading that.

She knew you were reading that because you have the same awful taste as her. She knew you were reading that because you don't read anything unless ten million other women read it first. She knew you were reading that because you wouldn't know good writing if it tied you up and performed oral sex on you.  


Maurice Sendak Is the Kind of Old Man I Want to Be...

...dead! I kid! Maybe.

I feel like I missed out on an important childhood experience as I see everyone memorialized the newly deceased Maurice Sendak today. The thing is, I've never even read Where the Wild Things Are. The closest I came was when my 3rd grade teacher cut all of the words out of the book (she said the story was rubbish) and had us write our own plot to accompany the illustrations. 

Nonetheless, I'm sad, especially because I had been hoping to get to know the man better. I am a newly converted fan of Sendak thanks to his interview with Stephen Colbert a few months ago. I think it's my favorite televised moment of 2012. If you haven't seen it, watch it. If you've already seen it, you know you love it enough to watch it again. Part 2 gets even better, particularly when Sendak starts sniffing markers to get high. 

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak Pt. 1
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak Pt. 2
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

I know that "Crazy old Maurice, he's always good for a laugh" is a line from Beauty and the Beast, but I think it applies to these videos, too. Sendak may not have had a profound impact on my childhood, but he will definitely influence how I spend my elderly years. I aspire to his standard of curmudgeon-dom. 


My Crazy-Face Neighbor

I moved last week. I’ve enjoyed living in my previous home for the majority of my past three years, but then things went sour when a psycho moved into the other half of my duplex. By the end, she legitimately had me fearing for my safety, so it was time to go.

I knew there was going to be a problem from the start. She knocked on my door the first day to complain that her electricity had gone out like I was her super or something. I introduced myself, but she refused to shake my hand and glared at me rather than telling me her name back. But I was still kind enough to try to play with her fuse box; I’m not an electrician so I couldn’t figure it out, but she could have at least thanked me for my effort. “Not friendly,” I thought, which was a shame, because I was good friends with the old man who lived there for the previous several years.

She ended up being all sorts of loud. She had two kids, an eight year old and a baby. She screamed at the 8-year-old incessantly. Honestly, it was her primary way of communicating with him. Through the walls, I could easily hear her letting out a string of expletives at him on a daily basis. Granted, I couldn’t see what the kid was doing, but I rarely heard him, so I had no idea what was pissing her off so much.

And the baby was crying all of the time. Now, I know it’s a baby and that babies cry a lot, but its mama didn’t help the situation any by ignoring it. For example, a baby cries when it needs a change or is hungry, but my neighbor didn’t care because she was always otherwise occupied on the phone.

For real, the majority of her day was spent yacking (and generally yelling) on the phone; her conversations were all audible to me, too. They fit into two categories: her in a verbal fight with someone, or her complaining endlessly about how someone had wronged her. I didn’t understand how someone who never left her house could have that much drama going on, but then I realized it must be because she actually loves the drama. She was so bored with her life, she was inventing fights to get into.

And so it was only a matter of time before she started drama with my roommate and me – pretty much the only adults she had human contact with on a regular basis. Her first complaint was that we slammed the door all the time. This wasn’t even true, mind you. We had an iron door that made noise even when you shut it gently. I pointed out that she slammed the door on purpose all the time, but she said she didn’t care. So why was she pointing this out, then?

The problem, she said, was that her baby slept in a crib next to the door. She had a lot of space in her home to put that crib, but she put it right next to the communal doorway so it would be as far away from her own bedroom as possible so she could sleep undisturbed. (Again, what a good mother!) We were foiling her plan by making noise going in and out of our door at ungodly hours (as late as 10 or 11pm!) and waking up her baby and thus her, too.

More than me, she shouted at my roommate. She didn’t like that my roommate invited friends to our home. All of her friends were nice, respectful people, by the way, but my neighbor resents other people having fun and said that she had to stop bringing other people around or she’d complain. She then emphasized that we wouldn’t want for her to bring her “friends” around and then insinuated

It’s no surprise that that roommate moved out quickly after that, and I don’t blame her. So I got a new roommate. She was super nice, super quiet, and super respectful, and that’s not even an exaggeration. But my neighbor started screaming at her almost immediately. Her first gripe was that my roommate was taking her parking space. Here are two very important facts that you need to know about this dispute: 1) Our parking was on a public street with no restrictions, so anyone can park wherever they want whenever they want – there are no “spots”. 2) My roommate did not even own a car, so whoever was parking in my neighbor’s non-existent space was not my roommate. But she got called a bitch for it anyway!

Soon after, the neighbor lied to my landlord about how loud we were, which was laughable since she was the one yelling (be it to her child, whoever was on the phone, and us) all the time, and that we had a third person living in our house, which was also false. We barely had two people living at my house since my roommate stayed at her boyfriend’s place most of the time, which made it even stranger that she unjustifiably hated my roommate so much. My landlady threatened me with eviction without even speaking to me about any of this first, and so I rattled off a lot of reasons why these complaints were preposterous. My landlady’s suggestion was to avoid her entirely by only using my side door. (So I was supposed to avoid my own front door to appease a crazy neighbor? Great advice.) That may help her, but I still heard her screaming every day.

Then one day she confronted me. She wanted to have a “discussion” but that meant her yelling at me and cutting me off every time I tried to say anything in response. She declared that I didn’t respect her because she’s a woman, which was funny because I thought she was the one who had a problem with women since she went after both of my female roommates more than me. She also accused me of “taking advantage of her kindness,” at which point I laughed aloud. For that to happen, she would have to show even a smidgen of kindness at some point, right? It just didn’t make sense.

But my neighbor’s biggest complaint of all was that WE were rude because we weren’t friendly with her. I couldn’t believe such a rude person was upset with us. If your first interactions with us are mean and you continually yell at us, how can you expect us to smile and wave when we see you? As I tried to point this out, she admitted that she’s a “bitch”, but “that’s just who I am, so oh well, get used to it.” (Similarly, as for yelling at her kid, she said “that’s just how I parent, so oh well, that’s how he’s going to be raised.) As far as I’m concerned, this woman is nuts, and I was afraid of her, and she was clearly missing some screws if she was accusing us of being unfriendly.

Things took a funnier turn the next week when I heard her outside my door late at night swearing up a storm and threatening to have us beat up. This made me afraid, but I decided to open my door and ask her if she wanted to talk about it calmly. She then retreated to and slammed her own door. She was upset about a noise she was hearing that she was sure we were making just to piss her off. It was the sound of rushing water, to be specific. A plumber was soon able to confirm that we were not the culprit of the noise; instead the pipes under the house had burst and were leaking, thus the rushing water noise.

All of this time, I remained calm around her. I didn’t call her names (to her face anyway) even though she had no qualms about calling me a “fucking asshole” or whatever, but I decided I would not stoop to her level. All the same, she made me mad. Furious even. I didn’t want her to win, but she was making me an angry person like her, and I didn’t like that. So when my roommate, after just a few months, decided she wanted to move out in part because she was tired of being threatened and screamed out (I wonder why?) I realized it was time for me to go, too. Things were not going to get better with a new roommate, and they were getting increasingly worse for me. I realized none of this was normal and that I deserved to live somewhere without being afraid of my next-door neighbor.

In my last week of living at my old home, there was a sudden windstorm. She had left a giant umbrella attached to a table, and when the wind whipped at the umbrella, it caused the whole table to topple over and break. Unfortunately, it occurred during one of the rare moments my neighbor wasn’t home, and when she came home she immediately screamed about how she knew I did it and was banging on my door repeatedly and saying that I better “watch out” because she was “going to get” me. I had already put in notice, but I wanted to get out of there ASAP. This woman was nuts and escalating the threats to something more specific. “Better watch your stuff, it’d be a shame if it broke, too.” I began parking my car a few blocks away because I thought she might slash the tires.

Honestly, I didn’t touch her table. I don’t feel about it happening as it couldn’t have happened to a “nicer” person, but I honestly wish it hadn’t happened because it would have made me moving out way nicer. The only reason she thinks I was responsible was because a) she’s nuts and b) unprovoked, she called my roommate “a fucking bitch” the night before when she was just entering the house, and she probably figured we retaliated. Even her 8-year-old said, “It was the wind, Kevin didn’t do that!” which didn’t make her happy, obviously. The wind was the act of karma, I tell ya.

Moving out was a nightmare in itself. If you’ve ever moved large appliances and furniture through a tiny doorway, you know it’s not a quiet process. It was certainly loud when she moved in! Even thought it was my last day and I was clearly on my way out, my neighbor still managed to flip a total shit about the “noise” and “disrespect.” It was a nonsensical rant that included her calling me white trash and saying that she was “sick of my fucking ass.” The feeling was mutual, but I didn’t say it. The only time I tried to respond, she just mocked me in a funny voice by repeating exactly what I said, which is totally normal behavior for a 43-year-old woman. “You’re fucking lucky this is your last day!” she screamed before deciding, “You know what? It’s too late, I’m having you beat up, you deserve it!” Then she either called someone to come over and kick my ass. I wouldn’t put it pass her crazy mind to actually arrange for that, truthfully. I was gone with the moving truck before anyone showed up, thankfully.

I’m just so happy to be free of this nightmare. True – she wins, she got me to move out which was her aim from the start, but I might win even more because I don’t have to ever see her again. The landlady thinks she’s fixed the problem now that I’ve moved out, she’s mistaken. Because the odds are nearly 100% that she’s going to go psycho crazy on the next people, too, so good luck with that.

And yeah, I suppose I hate my former neighbor, but more than that, I just pity her. It must suck to be so unhappy with your life that you can think of nothing better to do with your time than to try to make everyone else miserable, too. And I feel really bad for her kid who seems pretty nice and has to face her verbal abuse every single day. I can’t even imagine being raised by a monster of a single parent.

If you stuck with me through all of this, thanks. I needed to – now that I feel safe – get out my story. She has been my life’s major source of agitation the past several months. I was filled with rage and hate because of her, but that’s gone. By sharing this story, I’m putting it behind me. Now I have it on record, and now I can move on. Here’s to no more psychos irrationally threatening me!


Things I Wish I Said

Why is everyone breeding? I’m going to have to have negative kids just to counteract the rest of you. 


RIP O'Sheas

As of this past Monday, O'Sheas, one of my favorite casinos in Vegas, shut down. It's kind of devastating, y'all.

While just about every casino on the strip is fancy (though still tacky, obvs), O'Sheas was a safe haven for the non-ritzy types. O'Sheas was like "Fuck yeah we'll have cheap game tables. Fuck yeah we'll devote a section to beer pong. Fuck yeah we'll have a little person dressed as a leprechaun outside." I go to Vegas for the trashiness. Let's not pretend to be something else.

If people want to go to a nicer place, they can go to literally every other casino on the strip. Why not leave one place for the people who want to score a cheap beer and equate being Irish with getting blackout drunk? But I guess the casino owners want to class up and rebrand the space to make billions rather than just hundreds of millions. This is gentrification in action! Even Las Vegas isn't safe from this phenomenon, apparently. 

I'll miss O'Sheas for sure, though. I have some great memories there. It's where novice gambler Kirstin won $100 at video poker. It's where I made a killing at blackjack one night. And it's where Lindsay and I wowed the crowd with our karaoke rendition of "I Want It That Way".  

Fortunately, I got to visit O'Sheas one last time on my previous trip to the city. Matt noticed a funny sign by the wheelchair ramp at the side entrance: "THIS ARCHITECTURAL FEATURE 'RAMP' IS NOT ADA COMPLIANT." Oh so the super steep "ramp" (if you want to call it that, as the quotation marks suggest) is just an "architectural feature". Ghetto! But also amazing. I can only imagine how many old Bingo-playing ladies in wheelchairs lost control on the "ramp" and shot into the street before they had to post that sign.

Safety isn't everything, though. Besides, Vegas is all about the gambling. And I'd much rather risk my neck at O'Sheas than nearly an other casino in the area.


May 1st General Strike Account

Yesterday, I limited my tale of May 1st General Strike to sharing that I overloaded on fiber and had a gassy day. Obviously, the day was much more significant than that, and since my account of the Occupy raid was well received, I typed up an account of LA's M1GS events for Care2.com. So go read it there. While you're there, check out some other stories I've written for the site recently, which are generally things that make me worry about the world presented in a somewhat journalistic fashion.

With love or something,
Kevin Babbles


The Gassy Protestor

Apologies for being a negligent blogger this past week. I've moved out of one place and into another (post to follow about why) and yesterday I participated in Occupy's May 1st General Strike.

The strike might have been my most fun, rewarding day of 2012 yet. There's nothing like being with ten thousand other people and busting through a police line to remind yourself that no matter how much money and power can oppress you, when you have the power of the people on your side, you cannot be stopped.

It was also exhausting though. I was on my feet for about 14 hours and estimate that I walked (or "marched") somewhere between a half marathon and a full marathon over the course of various actions. I'll post a full write up of the day soon, but in the meantime, here's a funny anecdote:

Since part of the strike was to buy nothing, I shopped the night before for on-the-go food to throw in my backpack. I was going to get granola bars, but then I spotted fiber bars and thought, "Hmm, I probably don't get enough fiber in my diet."

In a short span yesterday, I then ate four high-fiber bars and figured I had a great poop coming later in the night. Instead, my stomach tossed and turned and I couldn't figure out how to settle it. Then things got gassy. Insanely gassy. Granted they were wimpy farts, but incessant all the same. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my body.

Later I looked at the packaging and saw this warning: "NEW USERS: Increase your fiber intake gradually. Gastrointestinal discomfort may occur until your body adjusts." So basically I OD-ed on fiber and made myself sick. I ate well over the recommended amount of fiber for even a regular fiber eater, and now "discomfort" was an understatement. But I pushed through anyway because activists can't quit because of a little gastrointestinal problem.