The Blogging Affairs Desk

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

TidBits: Snowed In Edition

On Friend Requests:

I have this guy I used to be best friends with growing up.  In high school we sadly parted ways.  He went with one crowd and I another – that shit is real elementary, it happens to everyone.

I literally hadn’t heard jackshit from this kid in close to almost ten years, and suddenly, as soon as I turned my Facebook account back on, I get a friend request from him.

I know what you’re thinking, or perhaps even saying to yourself:  “Who cares?”  I care.  That shit fucked me up a few different ways because one, I like to keep my “friends” on Facebook to a minimum; it keeps the News Feed clear of unneccesary crap as well as limits the amount of information about me that gets out there.  The other reason why the friend request was bothersome was because it was nothing more than just the request.  No attached note or message saying “hey what’s up, I’d love to reconnect, we had good times” or anything.  Nothing asking me about what I’m doing now-a-days, just a blank “add me” button to stare at.

I was friends with this guy for like… five or six years.  And by “friends” I mean basically sleeping over at each other’s houses every other night.  We were inseparable, we did everything and went everywhere together.  When he slipped on a patch of ice and broke his ankle as a kid, it was I who ran and got help.  And he couldn’t take two seconds to pound out one sentence to go with his request?

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I have a high expectation for people, or maybe I’m just a prick, but either way he should’ve/could’ve asked how I was doing in the very least.  No, what he was doing was just trying to inflate his Facebook “Friends” numbers and turn around and shit all over my News Feed.  And I ain’t havin’ that.

So I took the intiative and sent him a message telling him how I felt (by now I had received two of the same request, I had ignored the first one a few days ago) about his seemingly ambivalent approach towards me.  I was a real ball breaker, with the hopes that he won’t bother sending me another request.

Does it make me an asshole, yes.  But at the same time it saves me from two days of awkward conversations that peter out into me inevitably deleting him.  I’m just trying to save myself time and aggravation.

On Televised Violence:

I’ve been keeping half an eye turned towards Mtv’s Jersey Shore (read my review at the IRdC here), and was recently informed by my wife that a female character nicknamed (presumably by her pimp) ‘Snookie’ was physically assaulted at a bar after running her mouth – and it was caught on tape.

Of course I had to watch the footage.

If you haven’t seen the web-only footage (Mtv won’t air it, more on that in a sec), basically the diminutive skank with a love of trucker hats is standing on a bar stool and calling out some asshole who keeps stealing her and her friend’s pre-paid shots of booze.  She goes on a five minute long, insult-laden tirade on this guy, putting her hands in his face and coming within inches of assaulting him first.  The guy has enough and cracks her in the face with a straight punch.  He then (kinda) hustles out of the bar while a small army of guidos (kinda) chase him outside, where he’s met by the local constabulary.

Do I condone what happened to Snookie?  No.  Do I think she kinda asked for it?  …Maybe.

Either way, Mtv had decided that on it’s televised episode, they wouldn’t show the actual punch.  Instead, they black out the screen but give you the audio.  The audio consists of shit-talking abruptly silenced by the sound of a handclap, followed by a chorus of “ooooh”s, followed by a bunch of bleeped out cursing.  The shot comes back in with the assailant in retreat and Snookie on her side, crumpled up like a bumper after a head-on collision.

My beef is this:  Mtv won’t show a random stranger, who happens to be a dude, striking a female he didn’t know, in a public place that served alcohol.  They will however, show a promo for their other ultra-trashy reality television program “Teen Mom” where one of the teen mothers backs her baby’s daddy into a corner and slaps the shit out of him in anger.

And I’m not talking about like, one slap here.  I’m talking about taking this dude (who’s admittedly bigger than her) by the throat, slamming him into a corner, striking his chest multiple times, and then cracking him across his jowls.  Mtv has no problem airing this, let alone using it in the commercial for the next episode.

It’s a double standard.

I think it’s far worse to show domestic violence than just regular, standard violence.  I think it’s also a bad idea to show violence of any kind that’s centered around rearing a child, on a show that’s decidedly marketed towards teenage women, oppose to “Jersey Shore”‘s demographic which is conceivably slightly older in age.

Hey Mtv:  Just because it’s chick-on-dude violence doesn’t mean it’s ok to show it.  Just because the guy’s bigger than the girl doesn’t make it ok either.  That young woman on the show (Amber is her name, I watched a few eps this morning…) is psychologically unbalanced and dangerous.  You have untold amounts of footage of her crying in her car, on the phone, and in public places.  What makes you think it’s ok to air footage of her acting out in violence towards the father of her child?

It’s bad enough that there’s a stigma out there that men can’t be abused by their partners, but please don’t add to it and make it seem like it’s “normal” because it’s not.  Hundreds, maybe thousands of men take physical abuse from their spouses or girl/boyfriends in silence, because they’re afraid no one will understand them.  It’s a real problem.

So next time, how about you run that same stupid PSA text from that episode of “Jersey Shore” over the next episode of “Teen Mom” ?  It’d make up for running those Kid Rock videos back in 2002.

On The Holidays:

I wish Xmas was over with already.  I have all the gifts wrapped, trees up, lights are plugged in and I’m broke.  I’m really broke.

After paying all the bills and getting the last minute items shipped out, my bank account is tapped and it’s still like, ten days before my next paycheck.  I’m thankful that I’m on vacation for the next few weeks, because I’m not even certain that I’d be able to afford to put gas in my truck right now to make the commute.

I’m exaggerating obviously, but money’s tight, and that’s no joke.  The Holidays are rough on people for different reasons; maybe you’re broke, so broke you can’t afford gifts for Xmas, maybe you’re away from family, maybe you’ve lost people this time of year?  For all the joy the tv says that this time of year is supposed to bring, there’s a lot of long faces in the crowd.

It seems too, that The Holidays get longer and longer every year.  And I’m not talking like, they start decorating the stores earlier, I’m talking about how I seem to be ready for them earlier and earlier each year.  This lends itself to me sitting in front of the tv, watching the days tick by.  When I was a kid, this would be because I couldn’t wait for Xmas to get there, because the tree would be surrounded in a wall of wrapped boxes.  As I’m an adult, it’s because I’m just ready for all this shit to be over with – I’m waiting for the day AFTER Xmas, where I can wipe my brow, look at my bank account and sigh in a little relief.

Thank god Google’s been kicking ass in the stock market, that’s all I’m gonna say.

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December 20, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Getting Older, Smells Like Children, The Great Indoors, Why Am I Watching This? | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

@Recant: Tweet?

@Recant:  Tweet?

A while back I posted an article where I pretty much took a match and a can of gas to Twitter.  For those of you who somehow still haven’t heard of Twitter, it’s the “microblogging” website that allows it’s users to post “status updates” in 140 character increments that are broadcast around the web to all those who mindlessly “follow” you.  In turn, you “follow” other people’s “tweets” – what it’s called when you “Twitter” but no one calls it “Twittering” because that just sounds like something a gay would do.

I’ve been largely conflicted as of late about Twitter.  Initially I was a huge naysayer of the service mainly because I had no real need for it; I updated my status regularly on my Facebook page which in essence is the same thing that Twitter does, so I saw no need to be redundant, even though you can link the two together.

But then one night, Ang and I had a friend over for drinking and bullshitting around the living room and the subject of Twitter came up.  I, being two beers in, loudly and quickly made my opinions known that Twitter was crap, that it was “simple blogging” or something to that affect, as from Twitter we get the lovely term “Microblogging” as seen above.

My argument was that Twitter makes blogging easy, so easy in fact, that my mom can do it, not that she does, thank god.  My stance was largely based around the fact that I work my ass off to maintain my blog, put out fresh article ideas, and try to promote the shit out of my site.  Twitter pretty much opened the door even wider for Civilian Journalism – a market with an expanding waist line and no foreseeable over-saturation point in sight.

Which brought up my wife’s point:  During our discussion, it came to light that she had a Twitter account (I was actually shocked and maybe a little pissed), which she says she created in light of the political protests in Iran regarding the reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  The Iranian Government pretty much shut down cell phones and internet access across the country, but a few people were able to “Tweet” what was happening at ground zero, which made for invaluable journalism.

I had to admit that she had a point, that Twitter, in that case at least, served a purpose, oppose to allowing Ashton Kutcher to post pictures of Demi Moore in granny panties.

So fast forward a few weeks and with Twitter all over the news, everyone talking about the service, a million fucking Apps for the iPhone related to Twitter, it kind of dawned on me that I was fighting against the tide.

I could easily stay the course I am now and just try to ignore the inevitable; I could be the technology resistant North Korea of sorts and try to keep myself in the dark regarding Twitter’s presence in the world, or I could make it work for me.

I regularly will post a weekly update of this blog on my Facebook page complete with a primer, a picture I found on the web that somewhat ties together my general thesis, a funny caption, and tag all of my friends who I think might be interested in the article.  I try to keep it as non-intrusive/abrasive as possible by not establishing a link to the article but rather just writing out the web address telling people they can “read more” at my site.

But these little “notes” only reach maybe twenty people because of the security settings I have in place on my Facebook page (see also: Fort Knox).  So of the 20 people I ‘tag’ in the note, maybe two or three will wander over to my site and glance over the whole article.

By the way, these notes on Facebook are the only real advertising I can do for my site, aside from handing out flyers to people on the street.

With Twitter I can potentially raise my readership exponentially, as I use it as a catalyst for my own brand of advertising.  In the same sense that I blogsurf and leave a few thoughtful comments on some random guy’s blog (which tends to prove futile half the time because … well I’ll get into that in a minute) I can do the same on Twitter by “following” people and getting them to “follow” me in turn.  I can post links directly to freshly written articles and keep updates hot and fresh from my phone throughout the day without feeling like too big of a douche bag for flooding my friend’s News Feeds on Facebook.  With my Facebook only being about 40 people in size, I could grow my Twitter account to ten times the size, and see ten times the readership with little cost to any real friendships I have.

(We)B-logging (remember when it was still called that, circa like, 2000?) is becoming somewhat of a lost art on the internet anyway, as everyone a few years ago jumped on the bandwagon and soon the internet was a flood with people thinking they were special enough to post a few pictures of their cat and write a few half hearted articles in relation.  Soon they’d lose interest and move on to some other fad.  Now the tubes are messy with discarded blogs which lay in the middle of the road like a splattered squirrel.

In relation to blogsurfing, the waves, you could say, have died down to nothing.

Twitter seems to be the next logical step in order for me to get my name (and this site) out there.  I hate to admit when I’m wrong, and I hate to succumb to a fad so trendy, but to survive is to adapt.

You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/BADorg

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Shameless Self Promotion, The Great Indoors, World Wide Events | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Dress Like a Douche

So the other day, the wife and I went out to the local mall to go clothes shopping.  Mind you, this is not something I regularly do with my wife, because normally she’s fussy and indecisive.  Watching her pick through a pair of pants is akin to waiting to be shot by a firing squad.  But we stoically persist, we married men, to smile and tell our wives whatever they want/need to hear in order to buy a pair of overpriced denim pants.

Regardless, during our outing, we came across one particular store that I had no honest intention to go into, even on a goof, ever.

If you have a Hollister Co. store in your mall, you’re probably aware of it by smell before you even lay eyes on it’s dark, foreboding tiki-like surf shop appearance.  This is because there is a paid employee who ritualistically stands at the front of the store spraying a Lysol-sized bottle of their overbearing, overpriced cologne on the mannequins at the entrance.  How do I know this?  Because as we walked by, some oafish clown decked out in Hollister Co. clothing was doing just that.

I smelled an article for this blog, along with the overpowering aroma of douche at the same time.

So I suggested to Ang that we go check it out, on a goof, to see what they had to offer, not telling her that I was using this experience as fodder down the line for an article when I got home.  She agreed and the goon at the door stopped hosing down the poor plastic mannequins long enough for us to walk by without being maced by a riot-sized can of his scent.

Allow me to take you on a tour of Hollister Co.’s store, if you will.  It’s dark, that’s what you’re going to notice first after your sinuses clear themselves from the clear-colored gunk that’s clotted them up.  It’s so dark that you can’t even see what the hell you’re really looking at, as far as merch is concerned.  Is this shirt navy blue or black?  Where the hell is the price tag?  Did I just bump into someone or was that a low table?  Why is there a baby crying somewhere around here?  Where the hell is the exit?

And that’s probably what they want, they don’t want you to be able to find the exit once you’ve walked in the door.  Lobster and crab traps work in similar fashions, only instead of fish bait, Hollister uses sensory deprivation, canceling out your vision, smell and hearing.

That’s the other thing, the terribly trendy music you’ll find inside this store is cranked up to bluddy twelve, so you have to shout at the top of your lungs to be heard.  The US Army uses a similar tactic when trying to drive narco-dictators out of hiding.  This apparently works opposite for gushing teenagers and 20-somethings bent on being walking billboards for Hollister and their sister company Abercrombie and Fitch.

Did you know, that… before Abercrombie and Fitch sold out to being trend whores, they were fine purveyors of high end garments and luggage?  It’s true, look it up.

Anyway, you can’t find a sales associate to save your life, because number one, it’s dark as shit in the store, almost to the point that given the thumping music and acrid, acidic musk-like smell of their cologne, you’d think an orgy was taking place around the polo shirts, and two, they blend right in with the lifeless plastic mannequins.  They mimic the mannequins so well in the fact that they too are fake-looking, no personality having walking, barely talking, shirt folding counterfeits of real people.  Getting one of these impostors to help you with anything is as frustrating as waiting for Ang to pick out a pair of pants she can settle on enough to purchase.

I know the decor is supposed to be a surf shop mock up, but how many surf shops have you been in that can’t pay their electric bill while open at 11 at night?

I’m not going to get into what I think is fashionable and what’s not, because my own taste in fashion differs probably from yours, but what ever happened to wearing clothing that wasn’t adorned in a fucking giant label across the chest, un-centered, that wraps around the back?  Since when did flying the flag of a corporation become trendy?  I mean, I used to wear Nike t shirts when I was in middle school, but that was nearly 15 years ago, and I was an impressionable moron.

No, now-a-days, if I wear a t shirt, it might have some funny, ironic slogan on it, or it’s just a plain white v-neck from Calvin Klein.  Usually, for me, it’s jeans, and monochromatic tops of neutral colors, blacks, whites, a splash of red or blue, and that’s that.  Though, I’ve been told I look handsome in kelly green.

I can’t picture myself being a bluddy pitchman for some company because I think people will like me better, or think I have money to throw away on some poorly manafactured piece of garmetry that was stitched together in Mexico, I just can’t do it.  But then again, I don’t really care about what people think about me, especially if those opinions are based upon my cover and not at least my table of contents.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Divided

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that President Obama’s appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor would result in the first Hispanic to be seated in the Highest Court in The Land, if confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.  While the barrios are a flush with pride, the appointment of Judge Sotomayor has rubbed some white Americans the wrong way, as would the aspect of any person of color reaching a professional zenith would.

The problem that most of the mouthier Americans who happened to call into the morning sports talk radio programme I happened to tune into (right, because to sharpen my political views, I tune into Sports Talk Radio….) brought up the point that the only thing that separates Ms. Sotomayor from the pack of other deservedly appropriate judges is the simple fact that she’s 1) Hispanic and 2) a woman.

I tend to agree, but only part way; I agree that she is a woman, and possibly Hispanic, but I doubt that these are the reasons why Mr. Obama has gone to appoint her to the Supreme Court.

The real reason is that she probably has a liberal slant to help off set the conservative Roberts Court.

But the simple fact that white America has become so quick to pull the anti-Race Card as it were, is telling of a strange racial self conscience that hasn’t been fully realized until Mr. Obama was elected president back in November.  This polarization has laid dormant since the Civil Right movement, and not since then have we seen such segregation out in the open.  A few examples:

In this latest incarnation of Vh1’s “Charm School with Ricki Lake” there’s pretty much two cliques:  Girls from “Real Chance at Love” which are predominantly African American, and girls from “Rock of Love Bus” which are mostly (99%) white.  The terms “ghetto” and “trash” get heaved around liberally by both factions.

Also, McDonald’s fast food advertising has been somewhat black-centric in the last year for some reason.  The last time I checked, everyone, except maybe Eskimos love fast food; Big Macs know no color barrier.  But Mickey D’s seems to be only targeting Urban Dwellers, age 19-34 with their radio and television ads.

This isn’t to say you don’t see/hear white people in Golden Arches ads, but check out their website’s employment opportunity section, and you’ll be greeted by a jolly-looking black management type and a plethora of multi-cultural employee stand ins, all grinning earnestly because they’re being paid to have their pictures taken together, oppose to the inner-city-style work force you’re bound to find at any urban McDonald’s morning shift whom barely acknowledge each other as people, lest a bullet target for after work.

Even the radio and tv ads are not aimed at me, a late-20s white guy, but some “hip, smooth, has-every-Common-album-on-vinyl” black guy.  Whether it be some silky lounge music or just straight up be-bop hip-hop about two all beef patties, I’m obviously not the targeted demographic any more.  Apparently McDonald’s thinks that white people are too busy running each other over to get to the pull up at Sonic and are looking to do further damage to the arteries of the American Black.

And hence, we are divided peoples again.  Everything Abraham Lincoln, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr fought so hard for, wiped away in a fearful bitterness fueled by biased fast food and brain damaging television programming.  The very root of our country’s psyche has been eviscerated for a viewing medical procedure audience and systematically dissected in a matter of catchy jingles and fake tits barely contained in bras meant for breast tissue twice as small as what’s being crammed into them.

I’d be concerned, but concern requires surprise, and that I hardly am.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, People I Hate, Those Crazy Politicians | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Hobo On The Corner of 59th St Had a Sandwich Board Sign That Read: @ Everyone: THE END IS NEAR!!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Twitter, the micro-blogging site that keeps the kids tapping on their keyboards and smart phones while you try to have a civilized dinner for once.  Twitter is the fastest growing web-application-based program on the internet as of the time I write this article (Sunday evening), meaning that by the time I post it sometime tomorrow afternoon people will be pretty much over it.

If you’re part of that 2/3rds collective that still has no clue what Twitter is, but frustratingly keep hearing about it in every news media outlet, let me explain it to you:  You get to update your friends and “followers” with “tweets” or 140-character-or-less posts on the Twitter site.  When you post one of these “micro-blogs” everyone who has been following you will be notified of the update telling them that you’re waiting for your laundry to finish up in the dryer, or doing other fascinating things in your mundane life.

I don’t Twitter; I see no need to Tweet the banal ins and outs of my day-to-day life because I already do this for the most part on my Facebook page.  This brings me to my next point, which is Twitter is essentially a status update for people without a Facebook page, or want to update their going-ons without all the hassle of setting up some ridiculous social networking site-page.

My other gripe with Twitter is that it’s a flashy “of the moment” kind of fad that I can see Dave Navarro commenting on in the next “I Love the 00s” episode.  At 140 characters, is there enough room to really get the point across that you’re out of bread or that the line at DMV is too long?

I did hear a report recently that a heart surgeon tweeted one of his open heart surgeries.  Awesome… as I’m lying on my back with my chest open and heart in a stainless steel dish next to me, the surgeon is busy bending over his keyboard instead of my slowly cooling body.

Oprah is now Tweeting too.  Great, so now my mom can be more thoroughly brainwashed.

Twitter is a lazy way to get attention and be inundated with ridiculous advertisements should you decide to “follow” a particular commercial brand or product.  My comrade in blogging arms, Hokie recently wrote about his falling out with a local brewery that he had been following on Twitter, after the company tracked him down and DEMANDED he follow them.  What came were a bunch of lame ads.

In a culture where we digitally record our favorite television shows just so we can fast forward over the commercials, we are now volunteering to be bombarded with ads from our favorite places to shop.

And maybe that’s just the ticket that companies and advertisers alike have been looking for.  Commercials On Demand.  Instead of making viewers of whatever sit through three and a half minutes of ads that we don’t care about (local used auto dealers, heavy flow maxi pads) we could curtail what ads we are subjected to by just clicking on the brands that we favor the most.

I have done this on my Facebook page, where I have become a “fan” of different brands, stores, etc, and I receive regular “status updates” from these pages which are, in fact, basically ads.  I found this to be very irksome at first, however I’ve grown to accept it.  I clicked on those items and to be associated with them, I pay the price:  which is being bombarded by daily updates from fucking Banana Republic and Outback Steak House.

But back to the topic at hand:  I hate Twitter, and I feel like its one more step in the direction of the Fall of Man.  Text messaging has crippled civilization, socked the art of conversation in the mouth, and kicked polite etiquette down a set of stairs.  How soul crushingly annoying is it to be with another human being in the same space, an in mid conversation, the faint sound of a buzzing cuts through the air, they stop mid-sentence to dig into their pocket, and return a text message on the fly.

I’m just as guilty as the next guy, because I do the same thing.  I resent my dependency on connectivity to everyone at all times, and my inner Luddite dies a little more when I follow through with ignoring of my wife, therapist, co-worker, mom, whoever  for a few seconds to send a babble of short words or phrases through the air via cellular stream.  I need to work on this; but like I said, since about the age of 16 I’ve been addicted to being connected.

This week, starting on Monday is “Digital Detox” Week, which is leading up to Earth Day next Sunday I think.  I’m not sure on those dates, and my caseworker, …er… fact checker is out of the office for some goddamn reason, but it’s a week where we can unplug ourselves from technology in order to reconnect with a life less complicated.  As granola as it sounds, it wouldn’t be the worst idea for certain people to try to get back to a life before Blackberrys, high speed internet downloads, online poker tournaments and “sexting” your high school-aged next door neighbor.

…Wait, what am I saying?  You know how many hits to my site I’d lose?!  Jesus!

Anyway, forget I said anything….

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, People I Hate, The Great Indoors | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Your Online Advertisement Sucks

We recently sold a couch through an ad I posted online.  I’d like to think that we sold the couch so quickly (in roughly less than 12 hours from when I posted the add, also given the fact I posted the ad to craigslist.com at 9 at night) because I had a great little write up about the couch and a good picture to go with it, and not so much the extremely low price we were asking for this shitty couch.

The point I want to make is that I cruise a lot of online bartering sites like craigslist, unclehenrys, etc – ebay on occasion, you get the point –  and I see the same shitty ad style.  If people ever wonder why they don’t sell their shit online, it’s because their ad sucks balls.

Let me give you an example of an actual ad I saw for a Suzuki GSXR 1000 I saw posted on unclehenrys.

Ok, first off buddy, allow me to address the elephant in the room:  We’re clicking the icon for your ad to read about and view your bike you want to sell, not to see some douchey picture of you and your girlfriend, that shows only a certain percentage of the bike itself.  No one cares about you or your girlfriend- and the fact that you probably nabbed the pic off your myspace page shows the same level of effort you exhibited when you wrote the whole eight word ad that was in half abbreviations and numerals.

Congrats asshole, you’ll be spending another spring/summer/fall adding more miles to your bike and taking value off from it.

And on the same topic, a lot of the ads I see have terrible pictures to go along with the descriptions; those ads that actually manage to attach a digital photo.  To those posters who can’t be bothered to post a pic or simply don’t know how, welcome to 2009, where you must know someone who at least has access to a digital camera or camera phone and who can upload it to your email and show you how to attach it to your ad.

Pictures sell:  Figure it out, because I only click on the ads with pictures.  There could be a briefcase with a million dollars in it being sold for a dollar, and I would totally ignore the ad unless it said “pic” next to it in highlighter yellow.

And of the pictures, people, I’m not asking you to be Ansel Adams or anything, but at least take a decent pic of the item.  Don’t take the pic from a million miles away and leave me to wonder what the fuck it is I’m looking at.  Don’t use some fancy college photography class “rule of thirds” mumbojumbo and try to get all artsy with the ugly dinette set you’re trying to sell, just take a regular plain picture and post it.  And for the love of Cheese ‘N’ Rice, post a photo that’s in focus.  It’s a digital camera, you can see the pic seconds after you take the shot, so if the pic looks shitty, take another until you get it right.

And do you proofread your ad before you post it?  I don’t want to come down on everyone like the Hitler of Grammar, because if you’ve read my blog enough I’m sure you can find more than a fare share of errors both spelling and grammatical, but if I’m going to consider buying a refrigerator from someone, I want to know s/he at least passed 6th grade.

I write how I speak, generally, but I don’t spell how I speak.  When I end an article with “I’m Just Saying….” What I’m really saying is “I’m just sayin'” but I hate how it looks when I type it, because I’m a fucking snob.  People, if yur gonna sel sumptin, u shud try to at leest sond untellijint.

I’d rather perform self brain surgery with a handgun than read through some ads.  It’s really that bad.

Also, could you try to make the ads a little entertaining?  Something to keep me interested instead of just specs and crap.  I don’t care that your roommate paid “big bucks” for this armoire five years ago; from what I can tell from this grainy photo you’ve attached to the ad, it looks like the doors have been chipped and there’s a fucking sock stuck to the side there.  At least I think that’s a sock.  And what’s making it stick I don’t wanna know.

Make me want to start AND finish the ad.  I’m way more inclined to shoot the guy an offer via email if I think he’s going to have an articulate response for me, not something to the effect of “shure, cum on bye l8r!” and neglect to give me an address or phone number to reach them with.

Below I’ve attached my ad for the couch.  I was flooded with calls all day as well as having my inbox almost explode with emails.  It could’ve been the price, but I think it was more the ad itself.  (Note:  I’ve highlighted the lies for you)

Amazing Couch with Built-in Drink Holders and Reclining Ends! – $400

This couch is a thoroughbred, and that’s all there is to it.

We bought this couch at Bob’s Discount Furniture about a year ago for 1100 dollars, and if you check their site, I’m sure you’ll still find it listed for that price. Either way, we’re practically giving this couch away for the low price of 400 dollars or BEST OFFER.

The couch is crescent shaped and made of a soft suede that contours to the body of whoever’s sitting in it after just a short while. The couch is tri-sected by two deep cubby holes and four drink holders, making this the ultimate home entertaining furniture. Relax and put your feet up and lean the end bucket seats back and take in the full effects of watching Star Wars if you’re a nerd. Or Star Trek if you’re an even bigger nerd.

And just so your guests won’t get jealous, there’s a matching ottoman that they can use to put their feet up too! The ottoman opens up and can be used for storage; blankets, remotes, snacks, whatever you can fit into a 3’x3′ space, you can put into the ottoman.

The only reason why we’re getting rid of this great couch is because we’re moving and we don’t have room for it. It’s super comfy and super clean, no pets or spills, well maintained by adults in a non-smoking environment.

You’re getting the deal of year by calling Jim at XXX-XXX-XXX or emailing me at the above link. Act fast because I’m taking any reasonable offer on this awesome couch.

The CouchI’m just saying…

February 28, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Hate, Pic Post, Shameless Self Promotion, The Great Indoors | , , , | Leave a comment

Burger King Helps You Cut The Fat!

Feeling a little heavy after the holidays?  Believe it or not, but Burger King can help you.

If you’re like me, you keep about a bazillion tabs open on your browser so you can flip from one page to another; NYT, HuffPost, NPR, Craigslist, etc.  And if you’re even more like me, one or more of these tabs will be dedicated to your Facebook/myspace page, so for whatever reason someone can contact you or you can quick post a photo or article or something that you found interesting.

And if you’re EVEN MORE like me, you have a conversation with your wife that bleeds over from Gchat to Facebook chat, even though the two of you are sitting RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER on the couch.

But back to what I was saying, if you’re feeling a little fat in the Facebook, maybe eating a whopper will help you lose some unwanted friendship weight.

That’s Burger King’s genius marketing strategy at least.  According to the NYT article for the price of ten of your Facebook friends, you can get a free Angry Whopper (whatever the fuck that is) from Burger King.  All you have to do is download their Facebook App, purge the ten hanger ons (yeah, I used ‘purge’ and ‘Burger King’ in the same thought) and you get a coupon in the snail mail for this free new Whopper.

And honestly, what better way to both get a delicious bit of fast food (and as I write this, I can hear the whip crack of my Diet-Gestapo wife) AND shed a few pounds of dead friend weight.  Let’s face it, if you have a public profile on any Social Networking Site you’ve probably gained a certain percentage of people whom you don’t know, nor care about.  These might be a spouse’s friend, or a friend of a co-worker you met one night at a bar when everyone went out, that decided to ‘friend’ you, or maybe some random guy from high school that you were really never friends with ten years ago when you still saw them in person from time to time.  I honestly can’t wait to get home, upload this app, and start dictating who stays and who ends up on the Whopper Chopping Block.

Old ex-girlfriends that for some reason still exist on my friends’ list, gone.  Awkward co-workers, gone.  Inherited friends from my wife, you’re toast!  Now where’s my free Whopper?!

This is all an advertisement for Burger King, I’m not stupid.  It’s basically one big commercial, which lends itself to becoming smaller advertisements in media, such as this blog post, or the article I referenced earlier.  But the argument this creates is good v. bad advertising; good being what can keep your entertained attention through the length of the ad, versus bad, which is just about any (I was going to put ‘obnoxious’ here, but I realized there’s no such thing as a subtle ad for a used car dealership) car dealership ad you’re forced to listen to on the car radio while waiting at a red light, inexplicably clutching your gun.

Burger King is killing in the ad wars between it’s main competitors McDonalds and Wendys with it’s absurdist (good ad) commercials.  Where Mickey Ds strives for some sort of Urban Outreach (have you noticed how the majority of their ads in the last year seem black-centric?) and Wendy’s shoots for something akin to “wholesome goodness” through their ingredients, its The King who’s thinking outside the proverbial fry box.

Granted, it’s all about what ad agency one company hires over another, but the decision to hire one particular agency stems from the leadership of that company.  It’s all about the message the captain wants to convey to the rest of the crew, if you will.  For every McDonald’s ad I see, I feel I’m not being spoken to; I feel like I’m not being targeted in their demographic.  For Wendy’s it’s a preachy “oh we use all natural ingredients in our products,” blah blah blah.  Listen you red-headed bitch, I want fast food, not an all organic colonic, and while your food is incredibly delicious, why do I have a feeling that if we saw the rest of your body from around that little circle you stick your head out of, we’d find you with dirty bare feet?

Burger King’s ad strategy doesn’t necessarily make me want to run out and buy their product, but it does entertain, which in the long run put their message into my brain longer with a higher resolution.  That creepy sneaking king with his gilded plate of fast food goodness randomly popping up from behind a couch, to me, is pretty funny.  Watching back country Eastern Europeans and Burmese mow down on Big Macs and Whoppers, only to choose the Whopper in a somewhat “blind taste test” is interesting, and now being “allowed” to “kill off” so-called friends from my SNS page of choice boarders on gleeful sinning (choosing food over friends I’m sure will piss God off to some capacity) and surpasses my expectations for outstanding advertisements.

Literally, BK has created the first truly interactive advertisement.

With this though, there are bound to be some morale entanglements that are sure to arise.  The app let’s these people whom you cut know they’ve been cut tersely, by saying they’re not carrying their all-beef patty weight anymore, and that I’ve cashed them in for burger bounty, but honestly, I wasn’t communicating with them all that much anyway.  And there are probably two or three people on my friends’ list that have yet to put up a picture of themselves, let alone any substantial information.  So for those sorry sacks, I feel nothing but my hunger pains subsiding.

And the others, who might squawk that I cut them loose out of gluttonous rapture, well, I’m sure they’ll get over it, and I’m certain that once word of this spreads (according to the article, over 75K people have been cut so far for a burger, and rising) I wouldn’t be surprised if I wind up on a few people’s chopping blocks myself.  It’s the circle of life, Simba.

And seriously, if someone starts a … beef… over being cut from my Facebook friends’ list, they need to get out more.

I’m just sayin….

UPDATE! — As of 1400, EST, 1/12/08, I accomplished the “Whopper Sacrifice.”  My only qualm with the whole thing is that I still have way more people I’m willing to sacrifice.  Any way I can get more free shit for bumping off buddies?

January 12, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Too Much Time, Why Am I Watching This? | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Maybe Dickens Was On To Something…

A lot of people post articles that bitch about the holidays, and honestly, this one’s no different.

I think the most aggravating aspect for me is that I’m FORCED to buy shit for people I don’t like, and this comes in the form of the two jobs I have.

I’ve already written about the whole yankee swap thing, and now at my other job I have to buy a gift for someone because I’m their “secret santa.”  Fuck that.  This goes to prove that the holidays are completely commercialized when I have to go into my pocket, waste my time and money on something for someone whom I wouldn’t piss and spit on if they were on fire.  Some shapeless, thoughtless gift that I either A) am re-gifting, or B) didn’t even put an iota of thought into, just randomly grabbed it off of a shelf at some box store, haphazardly gift wrapped, and then left it some place for that person to find.

There’s been actual times that I was equally surprised/embarrassed as the recipient opened the gift, because I completely blacked out when I picked out whatever to get them.

“Oh shit, I did get you slippers…”

I don’t mind getting things for my parents, in-laws, The Lady, her sister, or my friends.  That’s all fine and well.  But when someone twists my arm and says I HAVE to get something because I’m automatically lumped into a fucking yankee swap or a secret santa, that’s bullshit.  That’s greed in its highest, ugliest manifestation.

I like to consider myself a decent Catholic so I stopped putting the ‘Christ” in “Xmas” unless it refers to “Jesus Christ this traffic!” because the idea behind Christ has become so bastardized from the actual celebration of Xmas that it’s now a complete abomination towards what Christianity supposedly stands for.  When Jesus was born, which was actually in the spring or late summer -I can’t remember, but according to that whole legend, a couple of guys on camelback showed up and gave him some gifts.  It would make more sense if this is how we derived our practice of gift giving on birthdays, oppose to Xmas.  But because of this, we’re all now forced to nearly kill each other (or actually kill each other if you happen to shop in NY State Wal Marts of Toys “R” Us’s) every year in some sort of frenzied spending orgy between the days right after Thanksgiving til right up to Xmas Eve.

And don’t get me started on the whole “After Xmas Sales” which is insulting because stores that were selling their shit for exuberant amount of dollars are now trying to sell us the same shit at dramatically reduced prices, making it seem that all our silly and ridiculous rampaging through malls looking for a deal on a goddamn GPS or fuzzy boots was pointless.

Ugh.

So for my ‘real job’ I went and got two lbs of Dunkin Donuts Coffee and a ceramic mug to put it in.  It came out to just below the twenty dollar cap that “everyone” agreed on.

Apparently I missed that meeting.  Had I been there, I would’ve strongly advocated that there be no cap limit and watch these animals eat each other alive, trying to out do each other with expensive and pricier gifts, all to see who’s got the biggest balls and/or wallet.

And the “twenty dollar cap” idea is pretty much bullshit; ask anyone, and likely the “cap limit” is more like a “minimum” in disguise, because no one wants to get fucked over when they dropped 20 bucks on something nice and wind up getting Air Supply’s Greatest Hits from the gas station down the street.

For my other job, which instituted the “secret santa” thing, I drafted my boss, who will receive a re-gifted scarf that originally I got for another co-worker at my real job, but who got fired just before the holidays, so she won’t be needing it now.

Or maybe she will need it.  It’s cold outside.

***

I won’t waste your time giving you examples of how Xmas is completely commercialized based on television commercials alone, but the recent Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum tv ads make me want to rape myself with a broken glass bottle.

In these ads, a “Captain Morgan’s Xmas Miracle” occurs at a party.  Examples include:  a man in a festive sweater can’t seem to locate the Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum until another party goer moves out of the shot.  Another involves a man who drops an ice cube and has it replaced by another party goer unbeknownst to him.  I could go on, but I’m giving that broken glass bottle over there a hard look now.

These are not “Xmas Miracles.”  A True Xmas Miracle probably involves someone being able to walk again, or a homeless family that lost everything in a house fire being able to stay with relatives through the holiday season.  To consider finding misplaced booze at a party a ‘miracle’ is a sign of alcoholism.  Have all our standards dropped so low?

Don’t get confused, I’m not against having a good time; drink all the delicious Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum this holiday season as you like.  Hell, pour me a tall glass too, hold the Diet Coke.  I’m just against using Xmas as an excuse to push your shit in my face and forcing me to buy it.

***

I do a lot of my shopping online, because a few years ago I got into a very heated argument with an older man over a parking space at the local mall.  As I had circled the parking lot for twenty minutes I finally found some sap pulling out of his space, so I did what any rational person would do, and give them room to pull out while using my blinker to signal that I was taking over his spot, even if it was roughly ¾ of a mile away from the Sears.

As this guy is pulling out, I observe a truck slowly turning into this aisle of parking spaces, all the way down at the opposite side.  I don’t pay him much heed because I figure by the time this guy pulls out of his spot, I’ll be mostly wedged into it with my little truck and this other guy’s shit out of luck.

Granted, some of this is my fault:  That particular year I had waited til just about two days before Xmas to do my shopping.  My mentality at the time was that I’d rush in, knock everything out in one swoop, and be home in time to watch the Pats play at four.

So I see that far away truck is picking up speed, and to my horror this asshole backing out is taking his sweet time:  checking his mirrors, breaking every 6 inches, etc.  Before I know it, the rogue truck has gotten within stealing distance of my spot.  And the guy’s pulling out in a way that left me some what blocked.

Even though I had been sitting there with my blinker on for the better part of two or three minutes (after following the guy up through the rows of cars til he lead me to his vehicle and spot) this asshole in his truck swooped in and threw his front end into the space.

Now, I’m all for competition and survival of the fittest, and when it comes right down to it, I’m the biggest opportunist there is, but there’s just something so wrong with someone stealing your parking space right from under you.  Especially at Xmas time.

So I did what any calm, rational person would do, and put my truck into park, got out and confronted the man.

At first he ignored me and started walking towards the mall entrance, as if there was some one else being followed and shouted at besides He Who Stole A Parking Spot.  I could see his head somewhat dipping down into the collar of his parka so I knew he heard me.

“Hey, hey, asshole!”  I called after him.  He stops suddenly and turns around.  He’s roughly my dad’s age at the time, and when he actually stopped I hesitated because I didn’t expect him to turn around.

“What’s your problem!”  He yells at me from two or so spots away.

“That was my spot you stole!”

“Stole?  I didn’t see you there,”

“Liar!”  And I pounced on him and beat his face in with a chunk of asphalt.

…Or wish I had.  What had really happened was we exchanged pleasantries with each other for a few minutes and once or twice I thought I actually was going to knock his block off, but didn’t.

God, even reliving that whole experience has gotten my neck muscles all tight, ugh.

***

On the subject of stores, I understand you retailers want to be in the most festive of moods, and want your shoppers to think you’re not some atheist heathens who celebrate a pagan wood nymph with naked forest dancing and howling at the moon.  So you pump in varied Xmas carols to blast the aisles of your fucking CVS or Best Buy or whatever so your shoppers are hypnotized into thinking they NEED to buy your holiday themed shit that two days after New Years will be cast aside in a closet somewhere.  You even go so far as to get “hip” European DJ remixes of classics like Rudolph The Ecstasy Snorting Reindeer, or Frosty the Blow Man.  But seriously, if you spend more than an hour shopping in a store, these songs tend to tear apart your mental stability.  And this goes on from Black Friday up through New Years Day.

Soon you’re a babbling incoherent immigrant.  And no one wants that.

I work in retail.  We’re somewhat “encouraged” to play the techno-y Xmas cds found in our storage closet.

Fuck that.  The other night, because I was working til after 11pm, I first started my “All Neil Diamond” mix, because people were still coming into the store and it was against my best interests to repulse them with real gangsta shit.  Then when it got a little later, I switched up to Gnarls Barkley, which was still somewhat safe for parents.  By the end of the night I had switched over to the new Guns n’ Roses “Chinese Democracy” which one shopper commented on:

“This is the first store I’ve gone into all day today that wasn’t playing Xmas music over its speakers,” she said with a mild tone of relief in her voice.

Seriously, the Xmas music has to go, and it’s not only stores at the mall, but on radio stations too.  While flipping through local radio stations, every once in a while an old Xmas standard comes on and I immediately want to throw the wheel of my truck over and crash myself head on into a tree at high speeds.  And just because you play some “rocked up” version of an “old classic” carol or a “funny” parody is no excuse.  They’re all equally grating.

I wish I could sit here and write to you that I’ve taken this list of crimes and decided to do something about it.  Outright cancel Xmas, take the money I was going to spend on gifts and either donate it to a local charity, or just save it for my ever growing stack of bills.  I wish I could tell you that I convinced Ang that on Xmas morning we go down to the local homeless shelter and volunteer for a few hours, to help us reconnect to the fact that despite being under a mountain of stupid debt, we still have a lot of nice things, and most importantly we have each other, all in the face of those who literally have NOTHING.

But I can’t, because simply that’s not going to happen.  I’m not a saint, I’m not one of those people who get off on volunteering, and if I outright decided to cancel Xmas, I’d feel like an asshole in two parts because inevitably people would still go out and get me something on Xmas, and when I have nothing to give them, causing everyone, including myself, to consider me an asshole.

So it’s a trap, it’s a big fucking mess of a trap, these holidays.  Remember back to those old Road Runner cartoons where Wiley Coyote would set up a trap and there was a big “X” underneath it?

That same “X” now proceeds Mas.

I’m just sayin…

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Hate, World Wide Events | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Young On Cape

Recently, the local paper put out an ad of sorts, asking readers between 20 and 30 to submit experiences involving what it’s like to live on Cape Cod with it’s high cost of living.  Jim answered the call with this post below, with some obvious edits.  -ed.

I’m 27 years old and I’ve been living on Cape for about a year now.  I first arrived here in early January as my first assignment with [REDACTED].

Prior to living here I’ve lived just outside of Boston for a short time and in Brooklyn and Queens, New York.  I have to say that my experience living on Cape has been drastically different than anything I could expect with living in those places previously mentioned.

Being that I’m in [REDACTED], I’m pretty well taken care financially.  Well, I was at the start.

When I first finished [REDACTED], I received a six thousand dollar bonus because I had a college degree with previous Law Enforcement training.  I used that six grand to pay off all my bills, square.  No car payment, no credit card payment, big chunks taken out of my student loans, I was in the black for a short while.

Meanwhile, myself and another new guy both arrived within a week or two of each other, so we decided that we’d both get our own place together, split the rent, and make a little extra on the side.  I should point out that [REDACTED], in some cases, will provide for its members rent money, if not full blown housing.  We each decided to take the rent money, get a place that we could both easily afford, split it, and pocket the left overs, which was about an extra five hundred bucks a month.

The apartment was a modest two bedroom in Hyannis, perfect for two single guys as summer was coming around the corner.  But like most unattached [REDACTED] guys, with the influx of ready cash coming our way, we both found ourselves spending ridiculous amounts of money on high ticket items.

For him, Ed Hardy t shirts, movie tickets, Xbox 360, video games, DVDs, just junk that added up.

For me, a new truck, a new motorcycle that soon stopped working shortly after buying it, as well as the every day expenses – such as going out to eat every night – that here on Cape, are pretty high for a guy who grew up in Southern Maine.

It wasn’t long that I invited my girlfriend, and now soon-to-be wife, to move in with us, to help split the rent down another third.  She’s 23 and works in retail for the last four years.

We got along fine all summer, we three, but as summer came to a close, tensions grew between my girlfriend and the roommate.  It became clear that someone had to move out, and my roommate decided to move in with some other guys we work with.

Since it’s now just the two of us, each with a car payment, my bike payment, left over student loans, rent, groceries, cell phone bills, cable bill, heat and electric, and not to mention this time of year holiday shopping, financially, it’s become kind of tight.

I’ve since taken on a second job at the mall, a few hours a week doing some mindless retail stuff.  And luckily gas prices have come down too, because the twice a week commute to my ‘real job’ was ridiculous in my truck for a while.  So much to the point where I swapped vehicles with my girlfriend for a spell (she drives an Accord, oppose to my F-150.)

So with all of this going on, we’re scraping by.  We’ve made necessary cuts here and there, like dropping our cable down to the lowest possible package, not turning on the heat unless it’s necessary, and skimping on some of the other luxuries we used to partake when we had the extra cash, ie, no more going out to eat.

Now, recently I found out that my girlfriend is losing her job in retail because her boss can’t afford her anymore.  While this couldn’t come at a worse time, conversely I’m in line for a promotion later this year, as well as having an extra 100 dollars in my pocket from my [REDACTED] being paid off at the beginning of 2009.

With the girlfriend newly unemployed, it’ll allow her to get back on track with her education, which means bigger dividends in the long run.  However, this also means she’s going to have to go on unemployment for a short while, just to help out with the bills and expenses.  It’s a little give a take I guess.

We’re getting by, but only by the skin of our teeth.  We have no “emergency money” as in, if something happens to one of our vehicles, there’s no money in our savings to take care of it.  My one credit card is already maxed out again, and smartly, my girlfriend has refused to ever apply for one.  We live pay check to pay check, in the very realest sense of that phrase.  But we’re not Kennedies, we’re not retirees after dedicated years on top of an industry, nor are we celebrities who can afford to live here year round, when things stay at summer time costs.  We’re the very essence of young and Cape Cod, the gritty veterans of Suicide Alley and depressing winters.  We’re the bored faces that paste on a forced smile behind the counter of your favorite retailer, the frustrated line cook at some dismal chain family restaurant and the frazzled grocery store cashier.  Our attitudes are cyclic; we find that we’re short with each other because of external circumstances, and we find we’re short in those external circumstances because of each other.

Without being too long winded about it, we’re getting by.  Barely.

I request that if this, or any portion of this email is used in your article, please omit my name, title and where I work.

I’ll be available for confirmation at the number below all night tonight and all day tomorrow.

[REDACTED]

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Shameless Self Promotion, Too Much Time | , , , | Leave a comment

Iams Home For The Holidays

I don’t go out of my way to advocate for a lot of things on my blog… mostly because the soap box I stand on would break under all the weight…. but this is a genuinely great cause, and I caught the commercial the other night in bed, so I thought I’d share it with all my readers.

Adding a pet to your family is a wonderful way to bring warmth into your home.  You get the joy of sharing your life with a endlessly loving animal, and in return, they get a warm place to spend the rest of their days.

I’m just sayin…

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Too Much Time | , , | 1 Comment