Team Amiricah: World Police

Another dodgeball season has come to an end. Team Amiricah: World Police has been one of my favorite teams to play on, actually.

Named after our lovely captain Amirah (Captain Amiricah, as we call her), Team Amiricah was a theme I was initially apprehensive about because I wasn’t sure whether everyone would “get” the concept. I mean, it only works if we’re mocking patriotism rather than celebrating it, and fortunately, everyone was in sync. Here’s what we decided America means to us: guns, beer helmets, small pox blankets, sitting down, Neil Diamond, ATVs, and never having to admit you’re wrong.

Yeah, sometimes we got cocky on the court, but I’d argue it was thematic. Besides, who doesn’t like a good, incessant “USA! USA! USA!” chant? Getting to call our opponents terrorists was an extra perk.

My favorite part was picking out ridiculous red, white, and blue attire to wear. The thrift stores were ripe with unintentionally hilarious USA garb, almost none of which were in a reasonable size. As Preston pointed out, it’s hard to find patriotic shirts in any size smaller than an X-Large, which is a pretty good commentary on America in itself. Regardless, I’m a big fan of the flag shirt that Preston did manage to find that read: “Try Burning This One… Asshole!!”

In the tournament on Wednesday, we gave it our all, playing so hard that you’d think we knew that the Supreme Court would uphold our health care the next morning. And yeah, maybe some would say we lost anyway, but whatever. A couple of us started declaring “Mission Accomplished!” anyway – if I know one thing about being an American, it’s that you don’t need to actually win the war to declare yourself the victor. Amiricahns can rewrite history all they want, and so with that, I would like to announce:


Fuck yeah!


Airplane Applause

When did passengers start clapping for the pilot when the airplane lands? 

Has anyone else experienced this? Perhaps I just keep winding up on planes full of rubes. Come to think of it, it generally happens on the budget airlines that don't even pretend to have a business class. 

The only occasions where it might be appropriate to clap when the plane lands are:
  • You are the Wright sister accompanying your brothers on an early flight and are impressed to still be alive.
  • The on-flight showing of We Bought a Zoo coincidentally ended at the same time.
  • You have Tourettes.
  • The pilot suffered a heart attack and Lindsay Lohan volunteered to finish the job herself. 
Other than these circumstances, save your applause for your kid's choral concert. Clapping only seems warranted if you think there might have been a different outcome, and if you think there's anything but a microscopic chance of not landing safely, you probably shouldn't be flying. I don't ever clap for people who do their jobs exactly as I expected.

I have even less respect for the people who start clapping as an act of conformity. They also don't understand the point of clapping, but feel obligated to join in anyway. Just stop! You are complicit. You are perpetuating the practice of clapping for a pilot who probably can't even hear you all the way up in the cockpit. By the time we all have to start clapping for the flight attendant when she pours our ginger ales, you'll realize where you went wrong. 



I am now 29-years-old and still love the Crossfire jingle. Once every few months it'll pop in my head and I will be unable to stop singing it. 

you'll get caught up in the

you'll get caught up in the crossfire



Part of my adoration must stem from the fact that I never got to own that toy. (Don't cry for me, I'm sure my parents gave me five other toys from my Christmas list instead.) But still, the commercial makes the game look nothing less than epic. 

I've never performed at an open mic event before, but if I ever did, I'm just going to copy this guy's performance because it's genius:


Blind Luck

I went miniature golfing with my family this weekend. It was a fun time, but also a bit of an experiment considering that my 93-year-old grandfather joined us. He can barely walk, which makes traveling around 18 holes challenging, but his sight is even worse. He's completely blind in one eye and has limited vision with the other one.

As a result, he could see neither the flag nor the hole just ten feet in front of him and had no idea what he was putting toward. My aunt would describe each hole to him ("the hole is at the top of a hill", "there's a sand trap on the right", "there's a bunch of rocks near the hole") and kind of angle him in the right direction before he swung. 

I'm not going to pretend he did well. I scored twenty strokes fewer than he did, and that's after some pretty generous scorekeeping on his behalf. However, my grandfather did manage to Mr. Magoo his way to two holes-in-one. For the record, that's two more holes-in-one than any of the rest of us got.

I spent all this time strategizing, aiming, and using my actual sense of depth perception to put the ball in the hole on my first try, but always fell short. Yet my grandfather did it twice, effortlessly, and wasn't even aware of his accomplishment until someone informed him since he couldn't tell the difference.

Talk about a humbling experience. I've heard of golfers having a handicap before, but I didn't realize that blindness could be an asset. 


I Don't See Breed

You know those people who are so "progressive" that they claim they don't see race? Well, that's just like me… except with dogs. In other words, I don't see breed.

It's a phrase I use a lot. When people ask what kind of dog I live with, I honestly can't answer the question. It's not that I don't love the pup, it's just that his pedigree is irrelevant. It would be nice if they, too, just got to know the dog for who he is rather than making judgments based on the stereotypes they have about the breed. Dare I say it's bigoted when people say things like: "What kind of dog did you own? A golden retriever? He must be so playful!" How is that any different than being like "What race is your new roommate?" Black/White/Asian? She must be loud/an awful dancer/pay really high car insurance rates."? 

So quit acting like I'm an idiot when I don't know the difference between dog breeds. It's not nearly as ignorant as learning the differences and then insisting on labeling them. I believe in a world without labels, where a dog can just be a dog - judged on the content of its character rather than its breed.


Old People Farting

The last two senior citizens I've spent substantial time with have been incessantly flatulent.

I wouldn't say incontinence is a perk, but it must be nice to be so old that you get away with passing gas so freely and frequently that it's no different than breathing.

I'm having a conversation with one of them and she's like, "My husband was [FART] diagnosed with liver cancer and [FART] just six months later he was [FARRTTTTTTTTTT] dead."

It's like, forgive me for being distracted during such a serious story, but it can be difficult to follow when your butt is louder than your mouth.

I don't fault these seniors for something that is undoubtedly beyond their control, but it is a real test for me to not react at all. If you can't control your bowels, how am I expected to control my laughter? All of my life I've been taught to giggle at a fart. But now, their constant wind-breaking is the big brown elephant in the room. I don't think I could repeatedly toot that loudly and have the chutzpah to act as if it never happened. Maybe that in itself is a reason to respect the elderly.


Everything You Did Today

For a crowded train, the car I'm on is relatively quiet outside of this semi-PDA couple (no kissing, but a lot of unnecessary stroking of body parts) sitting near me. She asks him to tell him "everything" about his day, and he takes that question to heart, blathering about any and every mundane detail of his life. When he finally finishes, he asks her "what did you do today?" "Everything I did? Okay…" she says. I find it funny that she adds the "everything" part when he didn't say that, but I soon find out why. If I thought he was sparing no detail, she really put that notion to the test when she listed everything short of "I took a breath". Here's her monologue:

"My alarm goes off. I press snooze. It goes off again. I get out of bed. I get dressed. I brush my teeth. I make coffee. I watch some videos on YouTube. I read pretty much all of ESPN.com. Sara calls. I drive to Sara's house. I stop for gas. I get to Sara's house. I walk through Sara's door. We sit on her couch. Then we go to [some restaurant I don't remember]. I want breakfast, but it's past when they serve it. I ask them for breakfast anyway. They say they only have breakfast burritos left. I say "perfection". I pay for the breakfast burrito. I eat the burrito…"

"Oh, I forgot to mention I had a burrito today, too," he interjects. "That was part of my lunch, though, not breakfast. Sorry, I interrupted. You were eating your breakfast burrito…"

As she continues her list that brings dull to a whole new level, I actually get up and move to another part of the train. For crying aloud, it had been a few minutes and she hadn't even got past breakfast! I'll put up with a lot, but I have little patience for someone who thinks "I get out of bed" "I stop for gas" and "I walk through Sara's door" are sentences that need to be mentioned! 

If they enjoy each other's company, though, more power to them. May their relationship last as long as their pointless stories. 


How I Received a Job Offer to Be a Life Coach

My former landlady hired me to help her son on the computer. I didn't want to do it, but I have trouble saying no, plus she offered me a good rate for it, so I finally agreed. Evidently, her 31-year-old son is a collector of expensive sneakers - $1,000 to $4000 pairs of shoes. Not to wear, even, but to store in his closet as collector's items that he hopes will increase in value over the years. (Talk to my sister about how that worked out with her Beanie Baby collection.) And since he doesn't know how to use a computer, he needs someone to go on eBay to help him buy his shoes.

An hour before our first appointment, she cancelled because her son "wasn't ready." Okay, fine. She wanted to reschedule the next appointment to be before 6 in the morning this past weekend, and before I could find a polite way to tell her to shove it, she promised to pay more, and I accepted. 

I show up, and the kid - he's older than me, but still very much a kid - still isn't ready. Instead, I sit with his mother in the kitchen while she bitches about how worthless he is. Here's the gist: he has no education, no friends, no driver's license, no work experience ever, no real ambitions, and has never moved out of the house. So how, then, does he afford the sneakers? Mommy pays for them. "Maybe I spoil him," she said. You think? Maybe he does nothing with his life because he's never had to? Plus gets treated to pointlessly expensive sneakers for being a lazy lump? 

After nearly an hour, I'm still just sitting and waiting, and his mother goes to buy me breakfast as a nice gesture. It was from McDonald's. I've never had McDonald's for breakfast before, and given how it resulted in almost instantaneous diarrhea, I can't say that I ever would eat it again. As I pick at the food, the son is finally ready. It takes me all of five minutes to click on "buy instantly" to purchase a $1000+ pair of sneakers, and then we're done. I ask him what other pairs he wants to look at, and he says he needs a break. A break from what? Spending his mom's money? 

I go back to the kitchen where his mom chats me up again. She says his one real ambition is to go to a special school to learn how to be a certified Mercedes mechanic. That's a very technical, skills-based job for someone who can't work a computer. It turns out that his real passion is to own a Mercedes. (Again, he can't even drive.) He apparently throws tantrums at his mom for not buying him this expensive car because once he has one he can learn how they work, he claims.  

But that's when things get really interesting. My landlady says she wants to hire me on a regular basis to tutor him. Tutor him at the computer? I ask. "Teach him how to be a real man," she says. I nearly laugh, because I don't know that I even consider myself to be a real man, how am I going to tutor someone to do that? "Show him how to make friends and get a job." It's clear that what she's asking me to be is her son's life coach, which is absurd. I could probably use a life coach of my own, there's no way I'm qualified to get this man-child into working order. I swear, only in comparison to this guy does it seem like I have my shit together. 

Finally, the son, who is close enough to hear everything his mom is telling me, announces that it's time to send me home. "I thought we were buying more sneakers?" I ask. "I don't want to do it today," he says. "We'll reschedule for you to come back another time." He is so lazy that he can't even agree to sit down for another hour to buy $10,000 worth of shoes (that was the amount his mom said I was permitted to spend) he wants with his mom's credit card. I indicate that I might not be available in the future, and he says, "We'll pay you more than, you'll come back, it's cool." This leads to a fight with his mom. "You're wasting his time and my money! I do this to make you happy! You say, 'Mommy, I need someone to buy me sneakers' and then I hire someone nice, and you send him away! What am I supposed to do?" I accept my money for my 2 hours of service (which amounted to five minutes of actual work, and much longer than that of listening to their family drama and having to eat a McDonald's breakfast, which, in fairness, were much harder tasks) and exit as they continue to bicker.

I just wonder - if he doesn't know how to use a computer, what is he wasting all of his time doing, then? When I have time to kill, I futz on the internet, so what the hell is he doing? At least I can safely blog this story without fear of him discovering it.

In the meantime, I'm going to have to learn how to say "No" really fast before the landlady poses the life coach question again. That guy is a hopeless case who could sooner benefit from euthanasia. If anything, I should be the one hiring him. Even when I think my life is going nowhere, it's a real self-esteem boost to see someone like him and be like, "Well, at least I've got a lot more going on than him." 


Important Bloody Alley Update

I purposefully avoided that alley where someone got stabbed last week when I was in the area again the other night, but a friend told me I should check out how it looked now. Apprehensively, I walked through the alley: in the same spot where the victim's blood was previously, I spotted a strange puddle of liquid (origin unknown) and a whole lot of red stains from crushed Flaming Hot Cheetos. It looked disturbing, but perhaps it was a recreation of the crime scene. Or maybe an homage of sorts. 

A few feet away from the blood, I also saw a Blackberry on the ground. A clue! I thought. Normally, I'd pick it up and try to find the owner, but in this case, I was wary of getting involved in what might be a dangerous situation, and I certainly didn't want to touch anything. 



Um, great question, Trivial Pursuit. I honestly thought the answer was "Vomiting".


But I Need a Second Chance

OMG. I put all my $ into a reincarnation-themed t-shirt line but this POS "YOLO" fad made my business DOA. FML. 


Blood in the Alley

So I walk through this semi-sketchy alleyway about once a week on my way to a bar I frequent. Last night, I saw this bloody mess and just kind of leaped over it and laughed. It was too much blood and just too bright red to be real, so I figured it was either part of some gory photo shoot or some prank meant to scare people. 

Once inside, all of my friends were talking about it. A couple of them joked that it looked like some kind of botched abortion (it was in an alley, remember), but one insisted that it looked real because there was gauze. "There's no way that's real!" I insisted.

But it was real! As I later learned, somebody got stabbed - a lot - in the alley not too long before. The police took the victim to the hospital, but nobody bothered to clean up all the blood that remained. The guy at the art gallery next door had to pester 911 to finally send someone to clean up the crime scene that I guess Los Angeles's finest saw fit to leave sitting there. Gross. 

This has me seriously rethinking my whole "it's fine to walk alone at night" stance. I'm just glad I didn't think it was real at the time or I would have probably peed my pants and vomited. 


Hello, Dolly

"I can't say I'm a fan of Dolly Parton. I mean, I think she's good, I guess, but I only know her big ones." 
- Me, babbling. I meant her most popular songs, I swear I did.


Now I'm Just Some Troll That You Used to Know

Oops, I accidentally trolled some of my friends. I honestly didn’t expect anybody to take the bait. But I do think it’s safe to say that this has become a good inadvertent test for determining the someones that I should only used to know.*  
* Lena gets a pass because she lives in Korea.