The Blogging Affairs Desk

When It’s Good, It’s Good, When It’s BAD, It’s Better…

Buy My Motorcycle

Really, come and buy it.  Here’s the ad I’m currently running on craigslist.org along with some pictures.

I could write long lines of curses about what it’s like to try to sell something on craigslist, and I wouldn’t be charting into unfamiliar waters, as my Hokie has already done an article on the frustrations of dealing with people on a free forum.  Needless to say, I’ve had a lot of fucking tire kickers, and it’s getting to the point where I’m likely to start responding to emails with “stop wasting my fucking time.”

It’s not an easy decision to just up and sell my bike, especially after the huge fuss I made about getting it out of storage in Maine to get it down here on Cape.  I’ve ridden once since I’ve had it down here, and that’s all it took to jog my memory about how much I can’t stand riding a motorcycle down here on this god-forsaken hook-shaped island.

I’ll give you the same analogy that I gave Ang when she asked me why I hadn’t been riding:  It’s like dating someone for about a year, but during that relationship you discover all their problems and are somewhat forced to put up with them.  You spend a little money, hoping to correct those problems, but in the end, you just part ways as winter comes along.

But as time goes by you get to thinking about them again, and as the seasons change, you forget about all the crap you had to put up with and start to miss them.  Next thing you know, you’re anxious to hang out again.  …Until you do, and remember all the bullshit you put up with last year and wonder why you’d get pulled back into this mess again.

See what I’m saying?

I love riding, but just not on Cape Cod and not on that bike in particular.  It’s a great bike, very fast, but it’s heavy and it’s designed to travel over great distances without a lot of hard cornering, since it’s some-what top heavy.  It’s old too, 12 years old, and has a lot of miles on it (the previous owner rode it out to California, twice.), and I’m certain the last time my dad rode it, he filled the tank with regular gas, and not the premium like you’re supposed to, making the bike run like shit.

I love the freedom of riding, the wind beating against you, the weaving around traffic, the higher speeds, everything.  But here on Cape you spend about 95% of your time during riding season (which is from just about May til October, maybe November) sitting in traffic behind a van full of tourists with children clutching foam pool noodles and making obnoxious faces at you.  I basically walk my bike from Point A to Point B.

It’s also a tad more dangerous riding out here, which takes a lot of getting used to.  People who come to Cape Cod have their heads so far planted up their asses because they’re on vacation that they aren’t paying attention to what’s going on around them.  How many times have I nearly been hit at an intersection, run off the road because the guy failed to yield, or nearly run into someone because they slammed on their brakes to make a left handed turn into some fucking road side fried seafood restaurant when there’s another one the next mile down?  Too many times.

It’s bad enough I’m riding a rocket on two wheels with little in the way of protection other than a helmet, kevlar jacket and a gun, but add into the fact that idiots driving SUVs distractedly, tapping away at GPS screens or phones or screaming at their kids, only adds to the chances that I’m going to become a stain in the road.

To compound things, my job is rolling out with a new regulation that all employees are going to be mandated to take a “special class” on riding safety.  The class is like 400 bucks, unless you want to travel down to Connecticut on your own time and money, spend a night in a motel, and take the two day “riding class” for free.

No thanks.  I took my riding class, I got my MSF card, I spent 300 bucks already.  I’m not taking this extra class that’s only going to tell me what I already know and practice.

So yeah, I want to upgrade, even though I love my bike for all of it’s faults and aggravations (being stuck on the side of a road for four hours waiting on a tow last summer, ring any bells?) but I want an upgrade to something made in this century.  For next summer at least.

July 30, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , | 1 Comment

Why You’ve Been Paying Four Dollars A Cup….

William Shakespeare once said that “A rose by any other name still smells as sweet,” or something like that.  I say, “a piece of shit, no matter what you call it, still stinks.”

Starbucks, the conglomerate coffee chain that is the ire of anarchist hippies and adored by square-spectacle Apple users everywhere has come up with a new marketing strategy for some of it’s stores this week.  On the heels of shuttering 4000 of its traditional brown and green corporate ogres earlier this year, Starbucks has now rolled out with its “15th Ave” selection of stores, mostly on the West Coast.

The idea, if you haven’t yet heard, is that Starbucks plans on “recreating” the local coffee house that you love so endearingly, and ram down your throat some sort of corporate version masterminded by research groups.  Did I mention that none of the new stores will feature anything labeled with “Starbucks?”

The aim is “generic quaintness.”  Is there anything more appalling?

Take your local coffee spot, the place you love to go to and just get a cup of fucking coffee and read the paper or tap away on your phone or computer.  You know the owner, or at least the girl behind the counter personally, and they know what your “usual” order is, without hesitation.

Now take that, remove the warm familiarity, replace it with some jaded high school or college kids that don’t give a fuck about you, some false ambiance, a sprinkle of the cold mechanical heart of an automaton and you’ve created Starbucks’ new “15th Ave” store location.

Think Olive Garden versus the little local Italian place.  Turns my stomach.

Starbucks claims that this revamped version of their coffee store locations are going to be wholly different than their traditional stores, mostly in the way that you’ll be able to order beer and wine, cheese plates, and other snooty bullshit that dudes who wear sweaters rear-round will no doubt cream themselves over.

Who’s falling for this bullshit?

One writer for a dining blog in NYC made an excellent point on how the 15th Ave-style stores are going to fail.  To paraphrase:  “People are going to just go to the regular Starbucks if they want coffee, and if they want an alcoholic drink, they’ll probably go to a local pub, not the knock-off Starbucks that’s trying too hard.”

And that’s my feelings as well, that Starbucks, of all people, is now trying too hard.

Why would a globally recognized brand now want to shun it’s image by being even more pretentious than it’s former incarnation?  Seriously, if I were to draw out a spectrum of pretentiousness, it would work like this:  From the far left, which is the least pretentious, you have just regular coffee shops.  To the right of that you have Starbucks, the bootleg coffee shop where you can’t take anyone seriously if they were to hang out there on a regular basis (could you imagine being like “Oh, I know of this great spot to get coffee, it’s real laid back,” and you follow them back to a fucking Starbucks?  That’s like saying McDonald’s at the mall’s food court is your favorite diner.) and at the far right of the spectrum, you have Starbucks’ 15th Ave locations.

Honestly, because what’s more pretentious than copying something of a lesser level of pretentiousness and trying to pass it off as your former pretentious self?

I can’t forsee this business model working out for Starbucks on any economic scale, be it macro or micro.  Our economy is just starting to show signs of life again, but expect joblessness rates to still slide higher and higher for the rest of the year.  No one is going to want to go spend their time or money in an overrated/over decorated Starbucks and spend twice as much on coffee, beer or cheese than they would at a real local coffee joint or wine bar.

I frequent two coffee spots two towns over, and I couldn’t imagine forgoing either to try out the new Starbucks, unless it were a recon mission for an article to talk shit about it.  I like supporting the local businesses and I shun the behemoth of looming corporations pretending that we, the consumer, can’t see the shit on the walls around us.  Do they really believe that we’re going to be so impressed with some glammed up, dressed down on purpose, Starbucks, to rival the locality of the places we’ve grown to love and call our own?

It’s like waking up one morning and find out your dad has been replaced by a robot replacement designed to sell you Sony merchandise every time you talk to it.

July 28, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Out and About, People I Hate, The Great Indoors | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Future In The Palms Of Your Hands

Do you remember being a child and watching television shows like “The Jetsons” and uh.. I dunno, “Lost In Space” or any other Sci-Fi shit?  You wished that you had your own Wookie and light saber if you were a nerd or Tricorder if you were a bigger nerd.

All that technology at those people’s fingertips, in a galaxy far, far away.

No more.

I just picked up the iPhone 3GS, and the ads you see on television are honestly no lie.  There is an App(lication, a third party DLC that ranges from calorie counters to animated guns) for everything, all at the tips of your fingers.

Literally.

When the iPhone first rolled out like, three years ago, I scoffed at the hordes of nerds who waited in multiple hours-long lines that stretched for city blocks as far as the eyes could see.  I even blogged about people being trend whores, who had to race out and get the newest, latest thing.

And while I still feel that those who would take off days (plural) off from work to sit in a lawn chair on some Manhattan sidewalk to wait to spend 300 dollars on a new gadget, the new iPhone makes me a big fucking hypocrite.

For the last year and a half I’ve had the pleasure of having a Blackberry Curve 8830, a hand set that was a touch bulky and a lot slower, but was a good instrument to teach me the ways of navigating the internet (or whatever the hell you’d call the “internet” on a Blackberry) while simultaneously answering phone calls and text messages.  It also gave me pause to think that now, I was literally reachable at all hours, at any given time, and that privacy was forever diminished to the period of time when I would actually shut the damn thing off, which was never.

But my Curve was a lumbering ox pulling a hay wagon compared to the Lamborghini that is the iPhone 3GS.  Hell, according to Apple’s website, the “S” stands for “Speed.”

But the iPhone isn’t exactly perfect – at least for someone coming from the world of Blackberry, who’s used to pressing on buttons to type, oppose to touching a screen.

I had heard stories that the iPhone’s touch screen required some getting used to, especially for those of us who were used to the tiny blackberry-seed-esque keys found on Blackberry phones (hence the name).  The typing isn’t that bad, but I notice I have nearly 50% spelling errors as I try to type one handed, as my thick clumsy thumb will hit between two “keys” at once.

Texting while driving?  Forget it.
However, Apple’s software is intuitive enough to recognize potential spelling hazards and will often auto-correct on the fly without you really even noticing.  For instance, while sending a text to Ang, I literally typed “I dound a new one” or something to that effect.  The auto-correct changed “dound” to “found” because it was the most logical word that would replace a nonsense word like ‘dound” according to the sentence’s context.

Though I’ve seen the auto-correct overstep it’s boundaries and correct a word that I meant to type, often acting like an overzealous-yet-polite butler waiting in the background for his master to make some sort of boorish statement at his own dinner party and vomit all over himself at the table.

With the new 3.0 OS software, Apple added the long-awaited cut-and-paste feature, which to me is a tad less intuitive so far in the last few days.  I’ve been confounded as to moving the cursor from the end of a type sentence to the middle of a sentence to correct a spelling mistake that auto-correct failed to correct itself.  In the process of this, I’ll tap the sentence and get prompted as to whether or not I wanted to cut, copy or paste the selection, when all I want to do is delete one too many spaces between words or correct a punctuation.

If the auto-correct is a dedicated butler, the cut-copy-paste feature is your overactive nephew.

Another thing I’m getting used to is the fact that I don’t get email and text message alerts as fast as I’d like, or at all for the matter until I adjusted how often my phone would go and check the digital mailbox (the default was set to “manual” meaning I had to go in on my own if I wanted to see if I had mail.).

My one other criticism is that the battery life is less than expected.  Even at the end of it’s service to me, my old Blackberry would be able to go at least two or even three days without a visit to the wall charger.  Since picking up my iPhone on Monday, I’ve charged it three times, and it’s Wednesday as I’m writing this.  In it’s defense however, it was once that I really felt that it needed to be charged, whereas the other two times I found the battery to be half empty.

But for the few detractors (the battery life and tying being the biggest so far) I’m in love with this fucking gadget.  The picture and video quality (see below) rival, if not surpass our Nikon point-and-shoot digital camera.  When I’m at home, it automatically sync’s with our wireless network, so I get twice as fast surfing speeds as I do on the lackluster AT&T 3G network.  The new internal compass makes my truck’s GPS almost inadequate, if I could figure out a way to mount my phone to my windshield.

I had a chance to sit down briefly with a friend of my wife’s who works in the tech field and has experienced the evolution of the iPhone from it’s infancy to the latest, newest model.

Over a few beers and a glass or two of wine I asked him what his favorite aspect of the new 3GS was, to which he replied:  “Oh, the digital compass by far, only because now you have turn-by-turn navigation,” which is awesome to behold.  The other day while looking for a dry cleaners closer to home than the one I used to go to all the time, I simply did a Google Map search from my phone’s desktop of “dry cleaners, _______, MA” and found one in somewhat close proximity.  I simply touched the “directions to” button, followed by “use current location” as a start point, and I was literally watching myself, on this tiny screen, maneuvering through town in real time.

I then asked the lanky hipster if the next generation of iPhones could improve on anything, what would it be?

“Blow jobs,” he said without hesitation, meaning that the only thing that could make this gadget any better is if it started fellating it’s customer, which I admit, wouldn’t be that bad of an upgrade next time around, Mr. Jobs.

All an’ all my interviewee was beyond impressed with the latest version of the device, and had the same hang ups as I did, especially regarding the tactlessness of the cut-and-paste, but encouraging in regards to typing.

“You’ll get it, it takes time,” he said as he finished his first Hoegaarden.

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, The Great Indoors, World Wide Events | , , | 2 Comments

Ever Wanted To Know What Goes On Inside My Head?

This is exactly what goes on inside my head every time I look in the mirror naked.

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Living in an Insane Asylum, Shameless Self Promotion, Why Am I Watching This? | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Cup Best Served Cold

I finally get my revenge.

July 22, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, People I Love, The Great Indoors | , , , | 2 Comments

The Fruits (And Other Foods) of Our Labor

Disclaimer: Ang wants me to say that she makes me dinner from scratch “all the time.”  She does not like how this article reflects the idea she hardly ever cooks.

With that said, on to the article.

Ninety-nine percent of my life, I’ve eaten like most every other American who wakes up on American soil, drives listlessly to work, and ponders life’s great meaning.  And that would mean I eat out of a box.

Think about the meals you consume and unless you either live on a farm or are Giada De Laurentis, you eat out of a fucking box.  The box is the old/new feed bag for Americans, and it wasn’t until the other night that I came to loathe the chains that bound me for the last twenty-seven sum-odd years.

I can’t really blame my upbringing on the fact that I’ve never really ventured further in my diet than something pre-made, designed to taste awesome, and be loaded with so many calories that no one, not even an Olympian mid training could ever possibly burn off.  My mom didn’t really “cook” for me in the traditional sense.  Up until the other night when Ang and I literally slaved over a hot stove to make dinner, I had never made something from “scratch.”  I thought I had once, blueberry muffins that we had to make in middle school cooking class, but then I realized that I think to speed up the process of 12 year olds banging pots and pans together, the decrepit old bag of a teacher, some product of a failed vault towards something professionally culinary, popped a few Klonopins and gave us the pre-mixed shit.

No, mom never cooked from scratch, but that doesn’t mean she was a bad cook or that I hold it against her.  At a young age she got her proverbial dick stomped by her entire family (aunts and uncles too) when she tried to make a home-made pasta dinner for everyone in order to get a Home-Ec badge for the girl scouts.  Apparently the pasta didn’t come out just perfect, so everyone around the table, in their traditional French Canadian ways, berated the 9 year girl about her lack of prowess in the kitchen.

So mom stuck with simply reading instructions off the backs of boxes which didn’t amount much more to “pre heat oven to 350, put mix into plate, set for twenty minutes, let stand and cool for five before serving.”

So yeah, I didn’t know what else was out there.

So Ang got this wild hair up her ass at some point and decided she was sick and tired of my ignorance when it came to “good food.”  Admittedly, my idea of “good food” was something out of a “fancy” box.  No, Ang wanted to make an entire dinner from scratch, with all wholesome ingredients, not unlike how the goddamn Amish do it.

I should point out too, that seldom do the two of us ever get along in the kitchen at the same time.  This is because when it comes to organization, reading instructions, following instructions, patience, and everything else that comes into play that relates to an individuals personality regarding cooking, we’re completely the opposite.

Ang won’t wait for the oven to be fully pre-heated, for instance.  I’m usually too concerned about the dishes.  I want to read the directions very carefully multiple times ahead of time, Ang tends to breeze over them and wing it.  So on, so forth.

So the two of us in the kitchen, at the same time, making a meal from scratch has the potential to become very explosive, heated, and dangerous, once you’ve added to the fact that we keep about a thousand knives bolted to the wall over the sink.  Can we do it?  Read on.

It turned out rather well, actually.  The meal we chose was a somewhat healthy ground turkey meatloaf, with au gratin potatoes with a strawberry-rhubarb crumble for dessert.  Everything to be made from scratch, and that means nothing artificial or out of a fucking box.  Even the whip cream for the crumble was made from scratch.

The place got hot real quick.  We were constantly standing over each other, trying to take turns with the cook book, working off of recipes ridiculously spread apart from each other that we had to use kitchen utensils as book marks.  We also have no real counter space, so all the prep was being done on our small pub-style table, the chairs, the sink, the stove top.

Every ten minutes we had to stop and do the dishes just so we could make room in the sink, as well as re-use the same dishes again, such as the deep bowl for mixing both the ground turkey and the crumble crust part of the pie.

It took nearly two hours from start to finish, with the meat loaf (which will serve 8 people mind you) coming out first, and the potatoes coming out last, the pie in the middle, which was fine since it had to cool.

The result?  I was impressed beyond belief, especially since I was skeptical about the ground turkey as a substitute for regular hamburger in the meat loaf.  What I did notice however was how… for lack of a better word….   organic everything tasted.

When you buy something prepackaged out of a box, it always tastes bangin’.  That’s because it’s loaded with sugars, additives, preservatives, etc that are designed to make it tasty, so the consumer will want to buy the product again when he or she travels back to the local food market.  With the meal from scratch, you don’t really have all that other added in shit, so it tastes good, but not in that hypnotic sense that makes you crave for it again.

Quite simply put, it was good the way good is supposed to be.  Plus, we have leftovers for the next couple of days, apparently.

This doesn’t mean we’re going “off the box” by any means.  Given the amount of effort we both put in (Ang, I think put in a little bit more, but that’s ok) I can reasonably see us doing something like this again once a week, but not more.  By the end of the cooking, we were both almost too tired to eat the food.  I can still see us getting a frozen pizza and throwing it from the freezer into the oven every once in a while when neither one of us feels like spending a bunch of time working out a meal.

I call frozen pizzas “get out of cooking free cards.”

July 18, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, Corporate America Hates You, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Love, Shameless Self Promotion, The Great Indoors | , , , | 1 Comment

GNC

It’s gotten to the point now where I’m officially hooked on Cake, and that any divergence from taking this protein shake has severe consequences for me, such as aches, soreness, muscle spasms, and increased appetite.

As a product of this, once a month I have to go down to the local GNC and get my month’s supply of Cake, as well as a thermogenic that I’ve recently started taking to supplement my workouts.  This is where the trouble tends to start.

If anyone works for GNC who’s reading this, maybe you can answer this question:  Why is it every time I walk in the door, I feel like I’m getting raped by you people?  Seriously.

The sales staff at General Nutrition Centers are like, trained to make you feel like a total asshole if you don’t go and buy the most expensive product they sell.  At first I thought it was just the particular GNC I was going to, where the kid behind the counter would always ask me “so, uh, what kinds of vitamins are you taking” as I was cashing out.  I don’t take vitamins; I don’t see a need to, yet, at least.  I just want to be a regular customer and pick up the shit I want, pay, and leave.  I don’t want to be asked questions and be forced to think on my feet.

“Uh, I don’t take a vitamin,” was the wrong answer to give.  The kid, with freakishly long hair and with the voice of a stoner goes on to tell me how I can really ‘get this stuff to work’ for me if I supplement it with the new GNC Vita-Paks, which are individually sealed packets of B12s and 11s and Cod Oils and all sorts of wild shit I know nothing about.  The only thing I do know about them is that for a month supply (which is apparently the minimum required to buy for the shit to “really” work) is 60 bucks.

Obviously, I pass, say no thanks and swipe my card.

“Ok man, its up to you,” the hippie behind the counter says dismissively as if I’m not really that committed to improving my body, etc.  Forget for a second the fact that I’m running between ten and twelve miles a week, working out in a gym at least three to four times a week, and eating nothing but protein shakes and “good foods” now.  Now I feel like an asshole despite the fact that I have rippling abs and I’m cut like an underwear model.

So after a few instances of this go-a-round, plus a move to a town further away and closer to a different GNC, I decide to try a different location, maybe this hairy dick is just a poor customer service rep for the company?  Let’s find out.

No.  No, now that I’ve been to two separate GNCs, it’s likely that somewhere in the company’s SOP or charter or something, it says that employees are required to stalk customers around the store, asking a bunch of questions that make the customer uncomfortable.  Motherfucker.

Son of a bitch.

I walk into the ‘new’ GNC and am greeted by the wife of a guy I work with.  I find the humor or irony, whichever, that I only recognize her from Facebook photos and not from personal interaction.  I introduce myself and tell her I work with her husband.  She laughs and we chitchat about the particular person and I go on about getting my Cake mix, thinking that yes, I can shop in peace!

Nope.

She haunts me like the disembodied spirit of workouts past.  Over my shoulder the whole time, asking me a bunch of questions about my diet and work out.  When I pick up my canister of Cake she instructs me that if I want to really optimize my protein potential, I should go with this product, over here…. A shitty tasting Soy Protein shake.

Followed by “all the Cape League players come in here and use this,” a plug for the local college-aged semi-pro baseball league we have on Cape.

I don’t know if it was because I wanted to be polite and couldn’t say no, or what, but I bought the inferior product, and it’s still sitting, barely used in our kitchen as a tombstone to caving to bad customer service, and poor choices.

I vowed never to go back to a GNC ever again.

Now I order online, which is actually kind of convenient; what I’m spending on shipping, I’m saving on gas.  I know I’m not supporting “local business” but I don’t care since these guys can’t get their shit together enough to provide me with some simple customer service, ie, let me walk in, get what I want without a fucking hassle, pay and leave.  Maybe a smile thrown in there for good measure, a comment on the weather, whatever.  Let’s keep it at that, and all move on amicably.

I may be the customer, but I sure as hell don’t like being sold on any anything.

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , , | 1 Comment

Loud Pipes Save Lives (And Annoy Neighbors)

The wife and I had a wonderful evening last night.  We went out on the town, did a little light shopping, held hands, got a beer and some (gross, disgusting, blech) pizza, looked at a collection of glass dildos… Ang summed it up perfectly when she said “it feels like we’re still dating.”

She looked so hot too, I kept stealing these little glances at her all night, and she was the most beautiful woman out under the moon.

It all came to a crashing end this morning around 0730 when the sounds of an obnoxious asshole on his fucking Harley was not just gunning his throttle, but laying on it, hard, right out front of our open bedroom windows.

Listen:  I own a bike, and I love the freedom of riding, the thrill of taking high speed corners, the sound of a deep, low grumble of chrome pipes, the whole bit.  And yes, I believe because of a process of nearly being killed by some half distracted motorist at least once every time I take a ride, that loud pipes do tend to save more lives.

Watch as some D-Bag texting from behind the wheel gets jerked back to reality as you crank your throttle right next to his driver’s side window because he’s about to smoosh you off the side of the road, while trying to merge, not understanding that “Yield” sometimes means “STOP FUCKER!”

But just because you own a big mean muscly motorcycle does not give you the right to bomb down Main Street at seven-fucking-thirty in the morning, on a Saturday, and rattle every window within a quarter mile.  And to do it at least four times within half an hour, is fucking tits.

We were both jarred out of our sleep at 730 when this asshole made his first, obnoxious pass.  Our little apartment is right at the end of the Main drag here in town, by a three-way-stop intersection.  We tend to hear a lot of the traffic, the idling delivery trucks, the cars with the whiny, loose belts, and yeah, the ever present summer motorcyclist who has to roll to the stop sign with his engine glug-glugging.  But this guy, and it was the same guy all morning, and he’s still out there, because every half hour or so I hear him screaming by on the other side of the house, was just laying it down so fucking thick, at such an ungodly hour.

After 8 am, sure, dude, do your thing, most people are up, unless you’re an alcoholic or work third shift.  But any time before 8 am on a weekend, you’ve got to be kidding me.

So in the end, I discovered another side to my growing adulthood and I leaned over and called the local cops, still in somewhat of a sleepy shell shock.  I was so out of it, that when the dispatcher picked up the phone I had to ask if I had contacted the police department.

“Yes, this is the ______ police department, how can I help you?”  She said.

“Yeah hi, I’m over at _____ by _____ and this guy… this guy on his motorcycle has been just, bombing up and down the street since about seven-thirty and it’s really obnoxious,” and the teenager who still resides part time inside of me (for instance, ask Ang about the long boards I was looking at last night at the local surf shop) screams in protest, a wailing deathchoke.  “Can you guys, like, send someone down here to… and you know, I have a motorcycle too, but this is just out of control, you know?”

The woman on the other end of the phone has to have me stop and slow down my gravely babble and take the notes I just gave her.  She repeats everything back to me and has me spell out my last name.  She tells me she’ll forward it up to the head officer in charge, which is, from my experience, a polite way of saying “thanks for calling, but we’ve got more important shit to deal with, go back to bed.”

As I’ve stated already, this guy is still out there, and the cops haven’t done a thing yet.  Maybe I was the only person to complain, because typically when enough people complain, something gets done about it.  At least a patrol car will slowly meander up the street – make a presence or something.

But now, unprohibited, this jackass has been flying what I assume is to be an F16 Tomcat engine on a motorcycle frame, up and down the streets all morning.  I may take Ang’s suggestion as she left for work this morning, and lean out of the bedroom window with my shotgun and blast this asshole into the next life.

July 11, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate, The Great Indoors | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why I Hate Nepotism

Warning:  The following article is grossly filled with statements about how awesome I am, and how I’m getting a raw deal for no reason.  If you don’t want to hear me complain, move on to the next blog on your Google Reader or blogroll or whatever.  Please refrain however, from leaving me snide comments about how I have it “so tough.”  I mean you, Angela.

That said, I was just reading an article in the NY Observer about this 24 year old kid just got signed to a major publisher.  Turns out he’s also the son of a quasi-famous columnist for both The New York Times and Redbook.  That in of itself is like, boarderline piss-me-off material.  What allows this fucking story to cross over into The United States of Anger is the fact that the publisher is like, best friends with this kid’s mom.

If you read the article, it explains how this “metalhead” has previously had two books, marketed towards teens (see “Twilight” series) and is now moving into adult mainstream fiction publishing.  The plot for his upcoming book (which he reported on his own Twitter page, was worth “fat greenbacks”, awesome) deals with some conventional, albeit, controversial issues that honestly sound interesting.  But I’ve come up with better, to be truthful.  I’ve come up with similar plot ideas and plodded out some twists and characters and … I’ve thought of better while laying in bed not being able to sleep, and he gets a fucking book deal.

I’m currently working on some fiction, but it’s dragging.  It’s dragging in a good way where I’m not rushing just to write about the good parts.  I’m developing, and yeah, there’s some fucking hiccups, but it’s a good story with a lot of drama and theatrics involved.  So what if I don’t take a controversial issue and make it into fodder for business-types stuck on a layover from their flight from Minneapolis to Chicago?  And who the fuck cares about being a NY Times “Best Seller.”  EVERYONE IS A GODDAMN NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER!  GOD!

Fuck.

I understand too, that this is where I “put up or shut up” and tell you some of my ideas.  Well, my ideas are my intellectual property and are somewhat trade secrets, so fuck that.  They’re mine.  Just believe me when I say I’ve got ideas too, … I just wish MY MOM WORKED FOR A HUGE NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE!

Just saying.

I’ve never been lucky enough to have nepotism work for me.  My parents were humble, hard working people.  The only cool thing I’ve gotten from my parents, as far as publicity is concerned, was I followed my mom to work one day for “bring your kid (daughter) to work” day, and a reporter came out to my mom’s work and did a story on us.  I got my picture on the front page of the shitty little paper.

I also looked like a huge tool, but I was in middle school and it was like 199-something.

But that’s it.  And I’m really sick of people just being handed shit while other people are working their asses off for it.  In this day and age, with electronic media so fucking abundant, the competition to get published by a major publisher is incredibly deep.  There are millions of blogs out there, and there’s no discernible way for me to stand out in the crowd.  I try to update as often as I can, but… my daily traffic hovers in the 20s, with the occassional spike to the fifties if I post something really awesome.  I try to blog surf on other people’s blogs, leaving thoughtful comments and suggestions on their pages in their article threads, but it gets me nothing.  Hell, one of the shitty little blogs I added to my blogroll a while back hasn’t fucking updated since I visited and left a comment, almost a month ago.

Jesus.

I understand that like any art, writing is mostly talent-driven.  Like sports, not everyone is born with a beautiful swing or the ability to throw a curve ball that breaks three feet from the plate.  A lot of “artists” are starving.  It’s hard to picked up notoriety while you’re still able to enjoy fame.

But I’m not in this for the fame.  I’m in this to have a voice that people hear and respond to.  I guess you say I’m in it for the power that the written word will bring me, and ultimately bring others.  It’s just a shame that my voice gets drowned out by all the other voices talking over it, without mommy to hold a bullhorn to my face.

July 8, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Hate, Shameless Self Promotion, Written Works | , , , , | 5 Comments

Independence Day Debrief

For the second year in a row I had to work over Independence Day, and the irony doesn’t escape me.  Working over Labor Day makes sense for two reasons:  The name and the fact that seldom have I worked in a field where it was afforded to employees to take that day off.

But Independence Day, the day that we celebrate our independence as a Nation, or from an alien scourge if you’re Will Smith, Jeff Goldbloom or what’s-his-face, Bill Pullman?  Bill Paxton? -has eluded me twice now.

As you’ve previously read, I view most modern celebrations of Independence Day as Ebenezer Scrooge views Xmas; with carefully placed disdain and contempt for those celebrating.  I’m not going to get back into it, I’ve exhausted the subject, but to me there’s more focus on Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest than there is Thomas Jefferson drafting the Declaration of Independence on July the 4th.

So what’d I do all day as my friends partied, drank, went to parades, etc?  I worked.  I worked at my office, because it was my turn to pull the weekend duty.  I had been off for two weeks, and I had somewhat planned (after the fact) that coming back on a holiday weekend wouldn’t be a bad way to calmly enter the waters around my job.  Little in the way were supervisors and bosses and company presidents to ask me how the move went, how my little trip to Connecticut went, etc etc.

So come Saturday the 4th, I was up early and in my office, sitting in front of a screen banging out five or six pages of the fiction I’ve been slowly working on over the last few months.  A phone call here, a buzz at the front door there, and the overwhelming sense that a huge party was going on around me and not only was I not invited, but politely asked not to attend.

What made matters worse, my wife Ang was spending her second Independence Day in a row alone as well, although she was able to escape up the road from our new house to the pond-side cottage and, as she put it “inject some cancer under her skin.”

Christ, even as I write this, I can smell someone’s grill going… Jesus, that smells awesome.

About noon time I broke out of my office, complete with a view of the harbor, and made myself a turkey sandwich and went to my little room and watched like four hours of The History Channel’s run of “The Revolution” a marathon of hour-long shows detailing the fight of colonists against the British Regular Army.  For a channel that’s been dropping the ball lately (attention History Channel execs, no one gives a shit about Ice Road Truckers, or loggers, or fucking whiney professor-types running across Africa) they were the only ones to get it right today.

By five-ish, I decided to go out for a run.  Because I’m at work, I can’t drink, play with explosives, fire any of my guns off into the air, gamble…- I can’t do anything fun.  It’s like I’m on a Fun-Diet when I’m here over a holiday.  But nothing says I can’t go for a run through town, right?

So I gear up: an UnderArmour long sleeve pull over and running shorts, my iPod and my Nikes, and take off.

Now, my office is located in a gay neighborhood.  That is to say, it’s not a bad neighborhood, it’s just gay.  As in, homosexual.  As in, two shirtless gym-buffed dudes holding hands and whispering to each other about their favorite style of nipple rings.  Being that I’m not gay, but easily confused as one because I keep a short head of hair and I’m in good shape, I tend to get a lot of cat calls and whistles as I pound the pavement during this time of year.

I don’t care.  I’ve never had a problem with the gays; do whatever it is you need to do to get off, that’s been my mantra.  If sex with another guy or kissing another girl or sitting on a cake and farting into it get you off, than by-golly, do your thing.  It’s what our Founding Father’s fought for in a round about way, and what better way to celebrate that than on Independence Day?

But when I’m crossing over to my fourth mile under a hot sun with little shade, and I’ve been listening to nothing less than angry thrash metal, I can be a bit temperamental.  Add into the fact that I’m weaving in and out of a circus of colorful people who have no idea how to move in a crowd because they’re collectively tourist bovine, all while pushing up a 25% incline.

So this guy, a gay guy, a fabulously-gay gay in a pedicab sees me working up this hill, drenched in sweat, shining, grunting, let your imagination run wild, starts staring at me, to the point where I actually notice I’m being raped with his eyes, I get a little pissed.  Just because you have an exuberant style and are surrounded by others like you, and it’s a holiday weekend, does not give you the excuse to be rude to others.  I’m not meat for you to fantasize about while you lube up, asshole.

So as I get closer and he’s staring me down from behind giant faux-Prada sunglasses (and I know the difference, ask Ang), breathlessly (which added to his fantasy, I’m sure) I say “take a picture, it’ll last longer,” to which he gasps in a stereotypical way, then produces a tiny silver digital camera and snaps a picture of me as I’m running ahead of him.

What a fucking asshole.

I pull in through the gated lot of my work and take a long walk to cool off.

Later in the evening, after a lackluster dinner of ribs and salad, I head back into the office.  Ang doesn’t feel like making the twenty minute drive out to my work to watch fireworks with me, and I don’t blame her.  To drive twenty minutes out, only to have to sit through two hours of traffic to get back home, is hardly worth it.  So, alone, I sit in this office looking out the window at a fireworks display that barely holds my interest for more than ten minutes.

I conclude that fireworks have hardly been improved upon in the last twenty-five years.  The firework displays I watched as a kid, ooh’d and ahh’d about back then are the same boring displays I see now as a jaded adult.  Slow, painfully slow explosions and bright lights over a dark sky make the throngs of people below my window in captured astonishment seem like a group of cavemen who have just discovered fire.

I don’t want to sound like the Grinch Who Shit on Your 4th of July Picnic, but people, it’s just colored phosphorus.  Its lame, I’m sorry.  I’m sure there are things I take pleasure in that you will find equally lame.  But really, you clap like a retard at loud noises and bright lights.  Think about that.

I turned away from the fireworks out of my window and started writing this article, in a bad mood because everyone I cared about was not with me and they probably had easy access to alcohol and/or grilled meats.  I, on the other hand, am kicking myself for not extending my vacation by three measly days.

Now, someone bring me ice cream, lest I perish.

July 5, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Out and About, People I Hate, Shameless Self Promotion, The Great Indoors, Why Am I Watching This? | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments