Magic-less Mike

My household hosted a Magic Mike party a few weeks ago, organized by my friend Alex. His plan was to invite over only women… and himself. He never ran the event by me, only my female roommates, but I got to attend anyway by virtue of living there. By the time the invitation spread, the male/female ratio was 50/50 anyway, so if Alex's plan was to get the ladies hot and bothered and to be the only male there once they were riled up, that got foiled.

It wound up being a wild night, which I guess I should have anticipated given that we were watching a stripper movie. Some people consumed a lot of Mike's Hard Lemonade (yeah, it's gross, but it's also super thematic) and two people ended up throwing up - one before the movie was even half over.

The event was extra special because I invited over a couple of friends who had actually worked on Magic Mike but hadn't seen it yet. They aren't really the Hollywood types, but in LA, it's how you get paid. They were able to annotate the experience with background information like that one extra kept doing a Catholic cross and praying between takes because she felt so sinful having to lust for half-naked men. Or that Matthew McConaughey (I'm not going to bother to look up how to spell that) wanted his character to have a photo of himself holding a snake in his home so they had to arrange a photo shoot with him and a snake. We clapped for them when their names appeared in the credits and when one even made a really quick cameo.

It was good that they were able to give commentary because otherwise the movie was pretty… boring. There really was no plot. It's not that I was expecting a good one, but having one in general would have been appropriate. All of the sudden the movie was over and I was shocked. How is that an ending? I realize the main point is for hot people to take off their clothes, but even Showgirls has a clear arc, dumb as it is.

All the same, the movie did put me in a stripping mood. I put on my tear-away pants that used to be basketball warmups and yanked them off dramatically in one quick move* to the delight of my friends. Then I put on roller-skates and circled around them in my briefs until I got too self-conscious. Although I spent half of college pants-less, I'm not really an exhibitionist anymore. However, sometimes you gotta ask yourself, What Would Channing Tatum Do?  

* The downfall of tear-away pants is you can whip them off effortlessly but then it takes about five minutes to snap them all back up again. This is why strippers might be the hardest working people in the world. 


Once in a Lifetime

I'm not sure why I thought I could get away with making a miscarriage joke on Thanksgiving (I suppose I had just hit my head), but I guess people are pretty forgiving when they recognize you as a clumsy dolt.


Soldier Standing at Attention

I was trying to watch some football and instead I was subject to this FILTH!
Just kidding. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, nor is the soldier. I think any man who hears the National Anthem and doesn’t respond by saluting and wanking is not a true patriot. 


Thanksgiving Playlist

You need a Thanksgiving Playlist?? WE'VE GOT YOUR THANKSGIVING PLAYLIST!!

That's right, 13 songs that gratuitously use the phrase "thank you." Play it while you're stuffing the turkey, play it while your family watches football, or best yet, play it when you all sit down for a meal. If you're like my friends, you might find yourself putting down the utensils, grabbing each others' hands, and swaying back and forth while singing along to Dido mid-feast. (I blame delirium… and alcohol.)

Thanksgiving Playlist
1. Thank U - Alanis Morissette
2. Thank You - Boyz II Men
3. Kind & Generous - Natalie Merchant
4. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) - Sly & the Family Stone
5. Mr. Roboto - Styx
6. Thankyou - Dido
7. Thank You for Being a Friend - Andrew Gold
8. I Thank You - Sam & Dave
9. Thank You, Girl - The Beatles
10. Thanks for the Memories - Fall Out Boy
11. Thank You - Jay-Z
12. Thank God I'm a Country Boy - John Denver
13. Thanks a Lot - Neko Case & Her Boyfriends


Thank You, Terror

I got to say the blessing at our early Thanksgiving feast this year. Around a dozen of our friends held hands around the table as I closed my eyes and begin sharing what I was thankful for:
“Thank you, India.
Thank you, terror.
Thank you, disillusionment.
Thank you, frailty.
Thank you, consequence.
Thank you, thank you, silence.
How ‘bout no longer being masochistic?
How ‘bout me enjoying the moment for once?
How ‘bout how good it feels to finally forgive you?
How ‘bout not equating death with stopping? 
Thank you, India.
Thank you, terror.
Thank you, disillusionment.
Thank you, frailty.
Thank you, nothingness.
Thank you, thank you, silence, eee-yeah-aaaa-yeahhhh.”
As many of my friends realized at some point, I was essentially just doing spoken word (partially misremembered) Alanis Morissette lyrics to the song “Thank U.” I kept my eyes closed the entire time so I wouldn’t be tempted to laugh, and it’s a good thing because Dan was not familiar with the tune and was frantically making eye contact with everyone thinking I had gone off the deep end and was calling for some kind of revolution. “You thanked the terrorists!” he said afterwards. But it was terror, not terrorists, and for the record, that song was recorded a few years before 9/11.

Anyway, if you want to trip out your family this Thanksgiving, I recommend reciting Alanis’s prayer. It’s hardly sacrilegious considering that she played God in the film Dogma, so it’s kind of like sharing words from God’s own lips. Plus, she bares it all in the video, which I think is the best way to express gratitude. 


Fuck Off, US Airways

Deep Blue Something is not considered oldies. I'm not only insulted at the implication, but I'm feeling really insecure about my age now. The thought of turning 30 doesn't scare me, but having my favorite song from when I was a preteen dubbed an oldie made me more emotionally distraught than I was prepared for. Next time just crash the plane if you want me to be less upset. 


Help Me

  • T: I only know how to say two words in Spanish at this point.
  • S: What, like "taco" and "burrito"?
  • T: Yeah, and "Ayudame." So I guess three words.
  • K: You know how to say "Help me" in Spanish? Welcome to Obama's America.


Racism at Target

Two weird incidents at Target today:

1. An older man was pacing with apparent frustration, and as I tried to navigate around his frantic steps he said, "Excuse me, do you know where they hide the sporting coats?"

"Um… I don't, I'm sorry," I said. Truthfully, I'm not even sure what he meant by a sporting coat. And by my best guess, they don't carry that sort of clothing at Target. That or they "hide" them really, really well.

2. On my way out of the store, I was stuck behind a middle-aged white woman who was moving too slowly with her cart. I resigned myself to being patient and following behind, but a Latina woman and her kid decided to bolt ahead of her, which startled the white woman and prompted her to stop her cart. "Niggers," she said.

She said it aloud, not as a shout, but not under her breath either. I couldn't tell for certain whether the mother and daughter made out the racial epithet, but they definitely heard her anger and each gave her a dismissive look before continuing ahead. 

As for me, I had to stop myself from cracking a smile. Don't get me wrong, in no way do I think using the N-word is funny, but the people she was angry at didn't even look black. Being a racist is ignorant, but this somehow managed to be ignorant. Does she even know when this word is supposed to be used (overlooking the fact that it really should never be used)? 

It's gotta suck to have that much hate in your heart.


Occupy Lives

When I’ve talked about Occupy with friends lately, I often receive a variation on one of these reactions: “Oh, you still do that?” “That’s still happening?” “I haven’t heard anything about Occupy in ages.”

It’s still a thing, y’all. Rumors of its demise have been exaggerated. If anything, Occupy has just been quietly brainstorming and, as a result, is now better than ever.

There are three big things that Occupy has been doing that I am so proud of. And you should be proud of, too.

  1. Defending foreclosure-threatened homes. The banks are despicable; the majority of foreclosures happen with either faulty or outright fraudulent paperwork. As Occupy LA has found, even when homeowners have court documents showing they are permitted to stay in the homes, the police still side with the banks to boot them anyway. Occupiers are now occupying such homes and fighting these illegal practices.
  2. Occupy Sandy. Occupy, with all of its community organizing skills, is killing it on the hurricane relief front. FEMA who? I wrote an article about how awesome these efforts are.
  3. And most recently, the Rolling Jubilee, a plan to buy up and forgive individuals’ outstanding debt. When you default on a debt, companies don’t generally fight you for it. Instead, they sell it for pennies on the dollar to debt collecting businesses who then hound the individuals for the money. Do they give the debtors the opportunity to pay off their debt for pennies on the dollar? That would make sense and show kindness, so of course not! So Occupy’s plan is to buy up this drastically reduced-price debt and just forgive it. It’s flipping genius and exposes what a sham this system is.
Go ahead, try to demonize that. These are good, intelligent people trying to do what they can to make the world a better place. It’s a movement everyone should want to be a part of.


Pretty Crappy

Described the last poop I took as "pretty crappy." Did not immediately recognize the pun.


"HIDE" Your "Valuables"

As an established grammar nerd, I've long enjoyed laughing at the use of gratuitous quotation marks. I've taken pictures of signs and more signs that demonstrate how some people don't understand how quotation marks are meant to be used.

Near my neighborhood, there is an electronic sign that is run by one such person. Months ago, the sign advertised "Free" English classes, which I thought was actually a cruel prank considering that non-native speakers aren't as likely to know that "free" actually comes with a cost. (To steal a patriotic phrase, "Free"dom isn't free.) 

More recently, the sign programmer has upped his or her game with a new warning from the Los Angeles Police Department:

Yeah, the quotation marks are probably meant for emphasis, but it's laugh out loud funny when you read it dripping with sarcasm instead.

"Don't" be a "Victim"       [Translation: Please be a "victim." Victim should always be in quotation marks because you brought it upon yourself. Quit your whining and take some accountability.]  
"Lock" your Vehicle       [Translation: Or just leave your door wide open, see if we care. I'm surprised Vehicle isn't in quotations either, CAN YOU EVEN CALL THAT PIECE OF SHIT YOU DRIVE A CAR?]
"HIDE" your "Valuables"       [Translation: Just leave your crap lying around. As if you have anything of "value" worth stealing, you impoverished fucks.]

Then again, if the quotation marks are included intentionally to point out that LAPD doesn't actually care about you, then I'd say this message is spot on.


No, YOU'RE Wasting Your Vote

I'm voting for a third party candidate tomorrow, despite all the lectures people throw at me. My fellow Californians and non-swing staters (in other words, just about everyone), we are ALL wasting our votes. The electoral college renders our votes for president fairly pointless.

In my state, a vote not cast for Obama is not, as you assert, a vote for Romney. Maybe that'd have some validity in Ohio, but there is no chance California will go anything but blue, so why wouldn't I take the opportunity to vote my conscience?

The reason my vote for a third party candidate is less wasted than others' votes for Obama or Romney is because at least it symbolizes a want for real change. While I wouldn't argue that there are no differences between Democrats and Republicans, I would contend that they are frighteningly similar in the ways that should alarm us most. My vote for a third party is a rejection of the two-party system that uses its power to shut out alternative voices. It's a vote for someone who is not bought and controlled by corporations. It's a vote for a candidate who does not feel that constant war should be a foregone conclusion. It's a vote for someone who will actually acknowledge and substantially address global warming.

Will a third party candidate win tomorrow? No. But there needs to be a momentum shift. Some people need to take the leap initially before others will feel comfortable to follow suit. In a sense, my vote is one for a movement that will (hopefully) happen years down the road. How is that a waste?

If you're a non-swing stater and vote for one of the two major candidates, then you're buying into the myth that we need one of them. Ignore the rhetoric. "This is the most important election ever." Yeah, they said that last time. And the time before. And I kept ignoring my values and have little to show for it. Which election will be "important" enough to vote the way I want rather than the way I'm told I have to? At any given point, it may seem like a good time to choose the lesser of two evils, but at what point does it stop? Who wants to look back at their life and say, "I always voted for evil"?

This election, there are actually multiple third party candidates I wish I could cast my vote for. I wrote profiles up for 7 of the most prominent choices for Care2. Check them out, maybe you'll become smitten, too. Together, we can start the process of defeating a corrupt system by using one of that system's flaws - the electoral college - to confidently cast our votes for someone other than the two preordained choices with no fear of consequences. 

Or, you know, you could just waste your vote.



1: [babbling on for minutes]
2: Mmm-hmm.
1: I'm pretty, uh... I'm pretty... I make fun of myself a lot.
2: Sure.
1: I was going to say "self-deprecating," but I was scared I'd say "self-deficating."
2: [laughs]
1: What?
2: I wouldn't guess you think that far ahead when you're talking.


Kanye West's Sexist New Song

Kanye West has a song, "White Dress", on the new The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack. At first I liked the tune, until I started paying attention to the lyrics. There's a lot of underlying sexism to "White Dress". It seems that Kanye thinks women are objects to be married (or, at the least, objects that want nothing more than to be married) and, I kid you not, raped. Here are the top 6 sexist lines from the song:

6. "Remember I used to do things that'd make you laugh/ Like orderin' a girl drink in a masculine glass."

What the hell is a masculine glass? Kanye's eccentric, though, so I can totally picture him demanding a cosmopolitan in a beer stein.

5. "We had problems, but it's all in the past/ Everybody got problems, baby, algebra class."

Is he making light of the female achievement gap at math? Just kidding, this line probably isn't sexist, but it does crack me up.

4. "You the type of girl that probably deserve a new last name."

Girl, you could to be a kept women. You're not like one of those women who should pretend to be happy being single. A man could totally validate your existence by marrying you. You should have the privilege of taking my name instead of your own. In fact, you deserve it!

3. "Plus I don't like none of her girlfriends/ Quote unquote, 'Cuz her girlfriends got girlfriends.'"

Listen, baby, you gotta get rid of those lesbian friends of yours. That just ain't right. It's not that I'm homophobic (I am), but they keep trying to tell you I'm no good. Even though I just admit a few lines prior that I've been lying and cheating, they're the ones to blame. I'm not sexist, I just hate all women because they hate all men.

2. "Even though I met you in a club in a tight dress/ At first sight, I could picture you in a white dress."

Yeah, you looked pretty slutty when we first met, but I still saw the potential to wife you up. 

1. "Just a satin gown, you asleep with no makeup/ I'm just tryna be inside you 'fore you wake up."

That'd be really sweet, Kanye, were it not criminal. What you are describing is rape. She needs to be awake to consent, dingy.   

I know this song is supposed to be romantic, like, "we should stay together because I could see myself maybe marrying you", but Kanye's chauvinism shines through. Reducing your lady friend to a bride and penetrating her while she's snoozing is - if nothing else - problematic. You know, like algebra class.


Get a Clue

For Halloween, I dressed as a member of the Illumanti.

Actually, I was a Clue board. It was a last minute costume. I asked my Facebook friends whether I should be a Clue board or a SEXY Clue board and, obviously everyone voted for sexy. I didn't know how to actually pull that off, but I did suggestively tape the "CONFIDENTIAL" folder that you put the cards in over my crotch.

I tried to up the sex appeal in this photo I posed for just before going out. I know how to work my angles from my brief employment at America's Next Top Model. I'm holding a knife, but it's hidden behind my hat, so clearly I wasn't there long enough to learn all of my angles, unfortunately.   

On the streets of Hollywood, no one wanted to take my picture this year, not that I expected it. This was a subpar costume. To make matters worse, the cards and pieces I had taped all over my body kept falling off over the course of the night. You could have collected an almost complete Clue game if you had followed behind me.

But at least I wasn't Mario and Luigi. Half of Hollywood was dressed as those two characters. That and Waldo. When you can plainly spot three different Waldos in your general vicinity, it really takes the fun out of the game.

The most interesting part of the night was when some not-totally-sane man came up to me and said, "I get you, I get you, you've got a CLUE! I know what you mean. I've got a clue, too, man, but you shouldn't put it out there like that." He then lifted up his shirt to reveal a second shirt underneath and winked. "We each got clues, but we shouldn't give clues to other people that we have those clues, you know what I mean?" 

I didn't know what he meant, but he rambled on, occasionally lifting his shirt, which had some cryptic text. "Look, man, I know you can't talk about it, but I know you're in the Illumanati. As you can see from my shirt, I am too. But I gotta say, when you wear that clue out like that, you're too obvious, people are going to figure it out." I just kept agreeing with him because what else was I going to do?

So apparently my last minute board game costume was accidentally semi-covert Illumanti attire. Who knew? Maybe it was a better costume than I thought.