Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hiatus, But Don't Hate Us

I forgot to mention in the last post that I'm taking a blog break for the next 10 days while I'm in Washington DC for training.  Try and survive.  I imagine all 3 of you who read this are now reacting like so:

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

Ghost Writing? aka The Case of the Other Person's Article

Today, on this auspicious of Pagan turned Christian turned Whorish holidays, I want to change things up a little.  I was prepared to write you a typical, mediocre...on the cusp of being amazing post about my feelings on Halloween, but then I read this post in Gawker by Ken Layne, who encapsulates everything about this holiday so goddamn well.  So I have to just copy and paste his work and give the man credit.  Check out some of his other holiday rambles on American Almanac.

PS - While the writing is not mine, the pictures of the pumpkin at the end ARE.

Blessed Be Halloween, America's Only Honest Holiday

Halloween digs itself out of the chilly autumn ground for a few weeks each year, too weird and primal for governments or religions to claim. It is an ancient pagan harvest festival and a leering plastic skeleton in a front-yard cemetery of styrofoam tombstones. It is candy and liquor, sex and death, and the only "moral lesson" of Halloween is a sneering threat from a child in the night: Give me mine or you'll get yours, mister. It is the only honest American holiday.

Late October is also the happiest time of year, with leaves crunching under your shoes and a hint of woodsmoke in the crisp air. Great piles of squash and pumpkins are stacked around the markets, and people look wonderful again—women in scarves and boots, men in wool coats, the stench of summer forgotten.

Storefronts are suddenly revealed to hold secret societies of retail artists, as strange and whimsical displays pop up in the shops that generally skip the more mundane holidays of Easter or July 4: optometrists, tailors, hardware stores and especially the beauty salons are transformed into camp scenes of undead mannequins and morbid jokes. Halloween has become the greatest city festival of all: a do-it-yourself riot of schoolyard fairs, community pumpkin patches, ridiculous parades, drunken costume parties and temporary social chaos.

There is crass commercialism, of course, but what is America without crass commercialism? From the three aisles of black-and-orange seasonal crap at the Walgreens to the life-sized Spanish-language Elvira beer ads at the liquor store, it is the one time of year when everything is marketed with the nighttime glamour of death, which is coming soon, for all of us.
Handmade tissue ghosts and gloomy plastic yard displays, crows eating candy corn off the sidewalk, giant felt spiders and acres of poorly stretched synthetic webbing, all of it laughs at death, which is one of many reasons why religion and government keep their distance. The afterworld faiths are powerless when you greet the inevitable end of life with a grin. Politicians and their wars and their laws die a little more each time a 300-pound bald man in a Miley Cyrus twerking costume tells a cop to "blow me."

There are those who complain about the alleged intrusion of adults into what is nostalgically remembered as an amusement exclusively for children. But why take offense at American adults finally getting a national carnival after centuries of puritanical oppression? Children have finished their trick-or-treating long before the slutty whatevers and their zombie paramours take to the streets, and masquerade balls were a normal pastime of the American city dweller until the forced conformity of the 1950s. The gays and the punks and the drag queens of New York City finally busted out of those dull chains in the 1970s, transforming Halloween into a hard-earned civil rights celebration of the weird.

The pre-schoolers dressed as scarecrows and superheroes march door to door at twilight in occult solidarity with the lingerie-clad vampires and sleazy popes who work the late shift. Every all-night diner looks like a horror movie backlot or Star Wars cantina scene once the bars close and the Halloween parties shut down after the third noise complaint. Moldy pumpkins are smashed in the booze-soaked rituals of 4 a.m., hangovers are quietly suffered in cubicles and college classrooms, and for a few short days and nights it's actually fun to look at Facebook.

Everybody who wants something from Halloween gets it. Your version is as valid and awesome as anyone else's, whether it's a hyper-violent haunted house or a tasteful block party with local pumpkin soup and upstate hard cider. It is perfectly fine for you and your adult roommates to dress as Hogwarts students or characters from a Netflix series or giant boxes of wine with crotch-level spigots. You are encouraged to hold Satanic rituals in the woods or drink enough of those pumpkin-spice coffees to trigger sugar-caffeine psychosis. Solemn Wiccan ceremonies are as legitimately Halloween as a porch loaded with rubber monster babies from those awful "Spirit" stores that pop up in unloved malls this time of year. Halloween may be your annual stab at bisexuality or a last wild drunk before the pre-Thanksgiving dryout. As a Crowleyan sigil at the end of this month's Google calendar, it will do what you ask of it.

Some people despise Halloween, of course. You'll find them mostly way out there in the exurbs, where the local megachurch franchise demands that even public schools skip the ghoulishness, and you're lucky to even get a "harvest celebration" of smiley-faced pumpkins that suck the joy right out of the autumn air.

If you're stuck in such a place this Hallows' Eve, do your friends and neighbors a favor and host a Halloween party in your house or backyard. You can do a Martha Stewart thing with the bobbing for apples and an iTunes playlist of funeral marches and Carmina Burana, or you can get drunk and watch horror movies while eating pizza. It does not matter, as long as you let the spirit of Halloween inside.

The miserable alternative is to let it scratch on the window glass all night long.

 Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Adventures in Weekending - Chapter 2: The Semi-Racist Pumpkin

This concludes the epic two part series retelling the tales of my past weekend.  Today's article is about Sunday.  On Sunday, some friends and I went up to Wiggins to go find our way through an epic corn maze.  Of course, any time you travel with a 5 year old to anywhere, you must remember 3 things.  First, answer their questions, but on your own time.  Don't let them believe they are the boss of the conversation.  Second, don't treat them like they are fragile.  Talk to them straight and direct, and if you are mad that they are kicking your seat, don't give them a 25 minute lecture in a semi baby voice about why it's not nice to do that and that they wouldn't like it if somebody was doing that to them and its not nice to treat people blah blah blah blah.....  Just tell them, stop kicking my seat or I'll leave you out in a field and nobody will ever find you.  They will stop.  Lastly, always remember its somebody else's kid.  So if they are not keeping up with you in the maze, it's not your job to wait for them.  You can continue on with your life no problem.

So that's how that went.  Other than the intricate maze, the other highlight of this farm, is their homemade pumpkin cannon, which is just a jacked up air compressor that's shoots medium size pumpkins at a car that's about 3000 feet away from the cannon.  Needless to say, it is awesome.  Even if the pumpkin doesn't hit the car, watching a pumpkin fly at ludicrous speeds through the air only to smash into a million pieces is enough to give me a semi.  The other interesting thing about this place, is their corn on the cob booth, and Gummo (see:  Worst movie in the world) like backwoods hill folk that run the booth.  My interaction with them went pretty much like this:

Me - (standing there in front of these two young kids who are just blankly staring at me...) " the corn ready?"
Younger kid - (continues to stare blankly)
Older kid - "Uh...yeah....we just gotta wait for the butttttttterrrrrrrrrr to melt."
Me - (backing away slowly) - "Oh....ok....thanks...."
Younger kid - (opens a trash can lid as if inviting me in....)

It's strange, and extremely scary, but the corn is pretty amazing.  It helps that you dip the prepared corn into a giant tub of melted butter before you eat it.  Much like carnival food, it's best not to think too hard about the preparation when you're eating it.  Lastly, this happened:

This is what happens when you leave me to watch your kid...

After our corn maze adventure, we went back to my house and went crazy on some pumpkin carving.  Literally, including the ones my neighbors brought over, we carved 6 pumpkins!  Also, as I write this, I realize I forgot to take a picture of my pumpkin, which was the whole point behind today's blog post title.  I'll have to put a picture in tomorrow's post so you can see what I'm talking about...Basically, I think half of the face of my pumpkin is sort of racist on old TV-"China-man" stereotypes.  You'll see why tomorrow....

I also told Liam that his pumpkin looked like he had cerebral palsey.  He didn't get the comment, but he did understand the insult to his drawing skills, which I supposed offended him.  He quickly forgot about it though, as during our carving, a large group of kids spilled out of a house and started trampling my flower bed looking for hidden pumpkin baskets full of candy.  This Easter/Halloween crossover was strange enough to think aloud, "what are these kids doing?"  Liam, upon hearing this, opened the front door and screamed out, "HEY WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING!?"

Finally, in a completely unrelated subject, one of my neighbors came knocking on my door last night letting me know that she and her husband found a stray dog and were asking if I wanted it....before I could answer, she immediately backed off saying, no you don't have to answer.  It's probably a bad sign that I'm considering taking this dog more to make my neighbors happy, than for any desire to want a dog.  Probably the same reason people have kids... 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Adventures in Weekending - Chapter 1: Venus' Navel

This post is so good (read: long) I had to split it into two separate "articles."  Today's article is about my Saturday morning cooking demo I attended.  The cooking demo was held at the Stapleton visitor's center, conveniently located two blocks from my house.  There were only about 16 of us there too, which made the whole thing very intimate and one-on-one with the chef.  The demo, put on for free by the visitor's center, featured the head chef of Panzano, a high end Italian restaurant downtown.  The chef has been the executive chef of the restaurant for ten years, and lives in Stapleton as well, which is the only reason she'd agree to do this free demo I'd imagine. 

I've never been to her restaurant, but if the rest of the food is anything like what she made at this demo, I need to get over there immediately.  For the demo, she made a butternut squash, date and mascarpone stuffed ravioli in a rosemary brown butter sauce.  Everything was made from scratch, and everything was ungodly amazing.  My favorite part of the demo were all the tips and tricks she gave to making pasta, making brown butter, cooking rosemary, how to cut a squash.  It's amazing how much stuff you don't know until somebody teaches you the right way to do something.  For example, did you know that the best pasta dough uses half semolina / half flour?  the semolina gives is the strength so that your raviolis don't break apart when you stuff/cook them.  And did you know that using oil in your boiling water helps keep it from over flowing?  the oil bursts air bubbles that boil to the surface, so the pot doesn't boil over.  And did you know you can make your own almond (or any nut) paste, just by grinding the nut with a little bit of sugar?  Simple!

During the two hour demo, there was only one part that got a little weird, and also cemented some suspicions I've voiced to you before about the rampant swinger population.  It happened during her discussion of making tortellinis.  Which was odd too, since she didn't actually make them for the recipe.  She told us a story that the tortellini is called Venus' Navel.  Here's how the story goes:

So back in the day, Roman people ate big meals outside on some big table.  Then, when they were done eating and drinking, they went to sleep.  Didn't bother cleaning the table or anything, which is probably why the Roman empire failed.  Dirty dishes.  Anyways, so the most elitist of the gods who hated eating in the Mount Olympus cafeteria would come down and eat whatever food and drink whatever wine was left.  So these "cool club" gods were Mars, the god of looking hot and mysterious but is probably closet gay, Bacchus, the god of partying to cover up his alcoholism and self hatred, and Venus, the goddess of gauging her self worth on how many guys she could screw because she was touched by her uncle as a kid. So as you can imagine, after eating and drinking they'd find a cozy corner, get naked, and have a threesome.  Seriously...Romans believed this over the fact that servants were probably taking all that food and wine home for their families.  That's civilization for you!  Anyways, the story continues that after once such party, the two dude gods thought it would be funny if they left Venus out in the field by herself, naked as the day she was conceived.  Most likely, Mars wanted to continue the party with just Bacchus in the Mount Olympus locker room.  So Venus is out there by herself, asleep and naked, and this farmer comes along and sees her.  Venus is supposed to be the hottest piece alive, so you can only imagine what happens next right?  The only logical thing!  He creates a pasta that resembles her navel, so that he can always remember for the rest of eternity.  Thus, the tortellini, which is Italian for "blind farmer."

Seems perfectly normal so far right?  So after telling us this story, the chef tells us that during valentine's day, she has this romantic dish which features two tortellini's in some kind of broth, which reference's the love of two people.  So one year when her sous chef is plating up this meal, he starts putting three tortellinis on the plate, and when she questions him and says it's only supposed to be two, he says, "yeah...but three is better...."  *wink wink*  What was interesting, is that while the other Stapletonians giggled at the joke, nobody seemed shocked by it at all....which is proof to me that there were definitely some swingers in the group!  Or at least swinger-adjacent.  It's clearly the only explanation.  And if that's true, it's only a matter of time before I run into some weird naked pagan neighborhood orgy of people screwing, and sauteing!  (Did you know saute is french, and means to jump or leap?)

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Most German of Fist Pump Fridays!

The first ever recorded Fist Pump Friday came from a man named Geoff who texted a picture of Tiger Woods wearing his classic red shirt, black slacks combo, fist pumped furiously in the air after making a hole in one and beating racism once again.  This was pre-scandal days, so he was much more celebrated for everything he did, but perhaps no more than for his fist pumpery.  Geoff (pronounced Jeff.  He's either German or his parents are just a-holes), may have started the tradition many many many years ago (2007 yo!), but he then fell off the face of the earth, leaving it to us mere mortals to continue.

So today's FPF is in honor of this fallen fist pumper.  No, not T-Woodz, as he called himself to strippers, but Geoff, (pronounced Gee-off), who brought the acronym to a day sorely lacking acronyms.  Everybody else gets one right?  Manic Mondays, Two for Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays, and now and forever, Fist Pump Fridays.  Of course we're too lazy to come up with clever sounding names for the weekend, so we're stuck with the Fantasy Football Sundays, and Spend $300 on pointless shit at Ikea Saturdays.

It's rumored that Geoff (pronounced Guy Uff) actually created the fist pump, when watching Tiger Woods play at Augusta.  But it was by pure accident.  He, being a fan of Tiger both pre and post scandal, badly wanted to show off his awesome muscles to Tiger Woods so that they could become best friends.  Geoff (pronounced Goo hoof) was in a frat, and that's what I assume frat guys do to become friends with other dudes.  But when Tiger looked his way, and saw a man making the biggest muscle he could muster, Tiger confused it for some new move of celebration.  Because anybody looking at Tiger at that time was probably celebrating the fact that he existed on this planet....the black son of black God.  And that's how the fist pump was born.  Well that's the tale anyways....told through the ages, until it became legend, and legend became myth, and myth became heroin dream, and heroin dream became the bible.

So here's to you, mighty Geoff (pronounced Jack Off), you creator of things, you!  May you rest in peace, although you're probably alive.  Here's a grainy picture that I assume is you, which I pulled from the internet, since I've never actually met you.

Happy Fist Pump Friday!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Introduction to Societal Myopathy

There's a certain social awkwardness that arises whenever I meet someone.  And not just the first time I meet them, but usually every time thereafter.  I don't know if there's a name for anything I'd call it has already been taken.  Wandering eye....ADD...none of it describes it perfectly.  The syndrome is best described as my ability to be hyper focused on a particular physical "flaw" that a person is exhibiting during some close conversation I'm having with them.  And know I'm not saying that I can't handle people with Cerebral Palsy or something equally douchey of me to be horrified by.  This could be something as unimportant as a stray nose hair sticking out during the conversation, or some nervous muscle tick...doesn't matter.  If it's happening, it's ALL I can focus on.  And then of course I start exaggerating the situation in my mind.

That's what happened on Tuesday when I dropped my car off to be looked at by the body shop.  At this body shop, I met Melvin, a seemingly genuine older guy who was walking me through the estimate.  When I first shook his hand, I noticed that he only had 3 fingers.  This of course was my focus for the entire estimate, to the point where I'm not really sure what he told me at all.  Of course, not paying attention to an important conversation is my forte.  But in my effort to try and make up for the fact that I was obviously staring at his hand, I tried to shake that hand as many times as possible, to try and make him not feel like this:

I have empathy...

I'm convinced that Melvin was fully aware of the fact that I was staring at him, a fact that I'm keenly aware will affect how I interact with him the next time I see him.  Which makes me more nervous and in an effort to try and avoid looking at his hand, it is ALL i will stare at.  You have to understand it's not the disfigurement itself that bothers me.  It's the fact that I know I'm not supposed to look at it that focuses my brain on that and only that.  It's like staring at the sun.  I never think to do that, unless I actively think about the fact that it's not something I should do.  Then it's all I want to do.  I want to stare at it, just to prove that I wasn't doing it before.  What is that?!  That doesn't even make sense.  It's a deeply rooted psychological issue that I'm sure I don't want to ever address directly.  But if you and I ever interact, and you notice that my eyes are focusing on something other than your words, please know that it's nothing serious.  I apologize in advance for how self-conscious I am making you feel when I do that, and I promise I'm listening to what you're saying.  I know that's just a small mole you have there on your face.  It's not your fault that what I'm seeing is this:

 You should have sympathy...

I'd like to think this blog provides you with some insight into my mind.  I'm sure I'm too afraid to get too deep into how this mousetrap I have under this full head of hair works, and I'll probably never be brave enough to do a Donald Glover style Instagram rant on Marriott stationary, but at least you get to know me a little bit better.   After reading this you know that in any conversation, my mind splits into two parts.  The one that listening to what you are telling me, and the other that's wondering how soon before you realize that I know that one of your arms is longer than the other, and that i'm imagining this...

Hints of Sociopathy...

So why do I do this?  I"m sure it's a projection of my own perceived flaws, that I need to see in others to humanize them more in my eyes.  But it's dark, right?  I feel like it's kind of a dark thing, to actively seek out the disfigurement in somebody else....I have no idea what else to say in this post.  This one went in a real weird direction.  I need to stick with top 10 lists and rants about fox news from now on.  Or maybe just get back to watching You Tube all day.  So yeah....weird Thursday.

Monday, October 21, 2013

At Least It Was Here

Twitter just said to me that the show Community is coming back for its 5th season on January 2nd.  I'm currently (and have always been) obsessed with this show so this is great news for me.  I'm guessing they only agreed to this 5th season for a show that's been on the chopping block every year so that they could get up to 100 episodes, which is perfect for a show in syndication for the network to make any real money.  But whatever the reasoning behind it, and unfortunately to the chagrin of all the #sixseasonsandamovie fans out there, the show will at least be back for one final season.  This season will see the departure of Donald Glover after the first 5 episodes, which is a real loss, but will also exclude Chevy Chase's character, which almost makes up for it!  But for those of you who don't watch Community and are patiently waiting for me to move on to something else, just wait a second!  Because this WILL effect you, if say, you're a Parks and Recreation fan.

We all know that TV networks are soulless succubi hell bent on playing with our fragile emotions all the while making Scrooge McDuck type money that they swim in.  It's common knowledge.  In fact the extended sitcom like documentary, 30 Rock, focused heavily on this very fact.  With the departure of The Office, and let's be real, that show left like 3 seasons before it was finally over, NBC has been on a free fall in the ratings, especially in that once coveted Thursday night spot.  With the cancelling of some other shows in that lineup, they've decided to also put Parks and Recreation on a 3 week hiatus, and will pump our cracked out minds with shows like The Voice.  Then when are brains are soft and mushy, they'll attack us with 2 weeks of 4 P&R episodes in mid November, just to keep their peacock like grip on us.  Then the show will go away again until January, when it will reemerge in the new re-tooled Thursday night line up following the premiere of Community.  You see!  I told you it would affect you!

NBC used to be the network that would buck the standard for sitcoms and put out some of the most unique shows ever.  And they were quite successful at it!  Shows like Seinfeld and Friends were never before seen concepts, and 30 Rock allowed the network to make fun of itself; but there's been a change somewhere along the way...I guess when other networks decided to make television too, and NBC fell to the immediate feedback and ratings.  Rather than making good television that was unique and rewarded loyal viewers with running gags and smart references, they chose to pander to the doe eyed masses who need everything spoon fed to them.  And of course NBC is not alone.  Other networks gave in.  ABC ran with Scrubs for years, before determining that they no longer could sustain quality sitcoms that didn't pull in the ratings.  Instead they gave up on fantastic shows like Happy Endings, Pushing Daisies, and Better Off Ted.  You can still catch both seasons of that last one on Amazon Prime and it's worth it!

So what's the message?  What do these Network Nazis want us to do?  How do cope when these tyrants of TV....these Barons of the Boob Tube....these Pied Pipers of Programming keep replacing quality comedy with vapid shows like American Idol, the Bachelor and The Voice?  They want us to watch mindless competitive singing and dancing shows.  They want us to watch "news" with it's political bias and yelling over telling segments.  They want us to watch prime time soap operas, or one of 15 versions of a fake police drama where the police are imbeciles (to help prolong a poorly written storyline) and the criminals are psychotic, that we start assuming that any kid in school with ADHD will one day murder us.  Which is true.  TV told me so.

It also explains the explosion of cable television, or more specifically, AMC and FX, which has  shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead and Justified, and doesn't give a damn about a subscription only service.  When you can get such gripping television without paying for HBO, network TV better watch out.  And just wait until they break into the sitcom market.  What if cable TV was showing new episodes of smart sitcoms...then network TV would really be on its way out.  Right now, I think TBS making Cougar Town is the only one on the radar.  But 10 more shows on 9 other networks, and I think the Four Horseman of the TVpocalypse will find themselves out in the lurch...and no amount of Mariah Carey style over-singing on American Idol will save them. 

Fingers crossed anyways....

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Columbus Day....A Day That Was

Columbus Day is an auspicious day celebrated around the world (slash America...slash minus people on facebook who slander it's very name, and also minus people who don't get that day off.)  So it's celebrated by a very small percentage of people.  But if everybody celebrated it, there would be nothing left to discover in this world.  Because at its heart, Columbus Day is a day of discovery.  Much like in ancient times (Pre discovery of the USA), people would go ask their queen if they could have a boat and go sail over the edge of the ocean, in an almost Japanese honorable death scenario.  So you can understand why Columbus, dressed to the nines in puffy shirts, was all pissed off when his honorable death over the edge of the sea was interrupted by a lush utopia of land which he thusly named, "Awww Shit."  Later this was called America because his Italio-Spanish didn't translate well into English.  Many many years later, it would be changed once again to Murrrica.  But anyways, irritated by this obstacle to his ultimate goal, he decided he would make the most of it.  After killing off all the Indians, that he named because he figured who cares, nobody knows what an Indian really does anyways, he sent word back to the Queen that he had discovered a never before inhabited land filled with trees and Starbucks as far as the eye could.  Which wasn't very far because of the trees.  Excited that he might have the first piece of waterfront property in this new land, he was further dismayed when the Queen wrote back once more saying, "Hold on there buddy...beachfront property belongs to the Royal family."  When it was all said and done, Columbus settled somewhere in central Ohio, which brought him full circle back to wanting to kill himself.  But for the sacrifice he made to live in Ohio, and for perhaps that alone, we celebrate Columbus Day every year in America.

So this week, or this weekend, go out and discover something new!  I mean you have a solid 2 weeks to really get out there and find the thing you didn't even know you were looking for.  Why 2 weeks?  Because after that, the ghost of Columbus comes back to haunt you on the day known as Halloween!

As for me, I discover new things every day!  Its because I have access to this magical monster known as.....The Internet!  From deep within its loins (perv. sentence of the day), I've found tantalizing treasures, and horrifying atrocities.  I'll leave it to you to decide which is which....

Like this interesting take on a person's favorite meal....

Or this website about foods from different states.  I only really like it because it reads like the kind of review I would probably do.  PS - this link is for you Hollins.

 Finding out that this movie is being made...

And Nick Offerman, and Everything He's Involved In.

So that's your Internet Education.  Your Anthropology of the World Wide Web.  You have Discovered...You're a Discoverer now.  You're Columbus.  No go kill some inaccurately named Indians!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Orange is the New Vomit

Over the weekend I went to Houston to celebrate my niece's 1st birthday.  My brother and sister-in-law threw a rager that had upwards of 60 people.  It's sad to know that my niece, who is 1 years old, has a larger social circle than I do.  If my neighbors ever found this out, it would further ostracize me from their bearded, dogged, child rearing ranks. 

Every time I visit my brother, I go into robot mode.  This means, I sit quietly in a recliner until my services are called upon.  This mindless staring at a television helps me avoid having to have any conversations with anybody during the visit.  Then, when my brother asks me to come help set up for the party, I can go move furniture, hang deocrations, set up face painting stations, move furniture again, all with no complaining, and I look like some deocrated hero, saving the day, when all I'm doing is counting the hours until I come home again.

Another theatrical nusiance that results from the visit, is that I'm always expected to color coordinate to some theme that htey're having that day.  It's what I liken to visiting Martha Stewart, except with worse food and stock tips.  In this case everybody was required to wear orange, a color that looks terrible on me.  I know because the one and only other time I wore orange was at my high school graduation.  With my dark skin, I literally look like a pumpkin.  If only I had applied myself a little more I could have worn white like the top 20 students did.  Or better, if I had applied myself even less than I was already doing, I could have worn a much more flattering blue.  But I digress...

Anyways, my niece was extra cute the two days I was there, despite the fact that she would  tears streaming down her face cry every time I picked her up.  I would like to think this because I was wearing orange and she saw how hideous it looked on me, but it was most likely due to the fact that I see her once every 3 months, and usually just point my finger at her and tell her to shut up.  Like a good uncle should!  This was her orange outfit at the party....

Before I forget, I also wanted to mention that my flight to Houston and back was on Spirit Airlines.  This was my first experience with them.  After hearing all the horror stories about all their fees, flight delays, terrible customer service, and old planes, I was pleasantly surprised to find the flight to Houston a comfortable and roomy experience.  Of course this was because I was sitting in an exit row.  On the flight back, I sat in what is considered normal seating for spirit airlines.  The rows in the back of the plane are so cramped, that my knees were digging into the metal bar in the seat in front of me.  And this was me, at 5'7, wondering if I'd ever walk again.  How a tall person would sit in that seat without needing the jaws of life to get out is beyond me.  I liken it to the Jews getting transported to a concentration camp......let that one sink in for a second.  I totally went there.

After the flight, Spirit sends you a 2 question customer survey.  Question 1, on a scale of 10 to go eff yourself Spirit Airlines, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends?  Question 2, Why?  You'd think with an effective survey like that (i.e. one that tells you up front that they only have 2 questions), that you'd get a sufficient amount of feedback about their awful seating conditions and would remove the seats.  Most likely some malevolent overlord at Spirit Headquarters in the 8th circle of hell is reading these emails and just laughing maniacally.  I mean, they must have got their seating model from a Tokyo subway at rush hour!  (come on...ONE of you saw that History channel special!)  Anyways, you can guess my answers to those questions and know that know amount of cost savings was worth know...until the next time I fly.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Today's Fist Pump Friday is Brought To You By the Good Makers of Honey and What Not

For many many years, proponents of intelligent design, which holds that a supreme being rather than evolution is responsible for life's complexities, have long criticized science for not being able to explain some natural events, such as how bees fly.  Scientists for years were confounded by this...the small size of the wings, relative to the size of a bee's body made traditional flight seem impossible.  Then one day, scientists, using modern cameras and also, "science", determined that bees actually flap their wings on average at 230 beats per second.  Compare that to the much smaller fruit fly that beats its wings 200 beats per second.  This was an astonishing find, since until that point, the going belief was that as insects get smaller they are less aerodynamic, and have to compensate with with a more rapid wing flap.  So this tiny insect, the buzzing bothersome bully of a bee, works harder than any other creature alive, just so that it can hover around and move nectar and make honey.  Cos don't forget, all of it's work is for its human masters, as we exert our lordship over all creation (which is by the way another belief by the "intelligent" designers I'm sure.

What does this have to do with anything in my life you ask?  It's merely an example of how hard others in this world work every day, and a reminder not to complain as much about my own life.  What have I done today?

1.  Played Candy Crush Saga (on level 111!)
2.  Watched youtube videos of interviews / blooper reels / episodes of some of my favorite TV shows.
3.  Cursed my job for not letting Hulu videos play on our network.
4.  Ate lunch at 10 AM.  Yeah I was so bored, I ate my lunch at 10 o clock in the morning.
5.  Shopped for a couch online....even this proved to be too much work so I just left the web page open...and abandoned.
6.  Shopped for a redbox movie to watch tonight.
7.  Regretted eating lunch at 10 AM...right around noon.
8.  Looked up an article on bees.
9.  Continued making my fake Linked In's starting to gain traction by the way!
10. etc.. ec...

Hell, I've done so little this whole week, it wasn't even worth blogging about the last 2 days!

But that's why I'd like to dedicate today's FPF to those men and women out there who, like the mighty bumblebee, are working hard every day for their human masters, and for very little reward or recognition.  Just know that I recognize you, and thank you, because if it wasn't for what you do every day, I'd probably be furloughed...doing exactly the same stuff I'm getting paid to do now...I just know that together...

Also, not all of my youtube scouring was wasteful.  I mean, it did lead me to this wonderful little video of our nation's (excluding Jim Gaffigan) favorite treat...


My favorite comment for this video was, "this is the most Japanese commercial in America I've ever seen"

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

We're Gonna Party Like It's 1998

1998 was inarguably the worst year of music since the beginning of sound.  You had songs like:

Eve 6 - Inside Out
Semisonic - Closing Time
Third Eye Blind - Semi Charmed Life

But gets worse.  You also had:

Shania Twain - You're Still the One
K-Ci and JoJo - All My Love
Will Smith - Gettin Jiggy Wit It

You think that's bad???  What about:

LeAnn Rimes - How Do I Live
Marcy Playground - Sex and Candy
Faith Hill - This Kiss
Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On

But of course, worst of all, in the annals of vomit inducing sounds, was:

Chumbawumba - Tubthumping

Of course this was at the height of boy bandery, when America, and subsequently the rest of the world, had given up on trying to make actual music anymore.  This was when P-Diddy was still Puffy, and Beyonce was still pretending to need a group.  These songs were the opposite of the yearly HTD I'm always talking about.  These weren't songs that you ever liked.  They were always so awful, that you  don't know why they kept playing them over and over and over...and for bands like Semisonic, why Denver keeps playing them over and over and over still!  No, these were the songs that just never go away.  You hear them and you instantly want to just take that wheel and drive your car off a bridge immediately just to end any memory of that song.  Why did 1998 even happen?  What conspiracy was this to destroy our sense of self worth with mind numbing cackling coming through the car radio?  And worse, we were buying these CDs.  Take stock of your life right now.  How many of you actually have some of these CDs stashed away in some box still?  I bet you have more on this list than you'd care to admit.  It's ok to destroy these now.  I'll give you a minute to do that now...

....annnnd we're back.  Didn't that feel cathartic?  Hold your head high, the weight of musical shame has been lifted from your shoulders.  You can now move forward, just like America did...for a brief time.  Because in one post soon, we're going to have to start going through your 1999 know..the year Britney burst onto the scene.

Of course times are not infinitely better now, when we celebrate "artists" like Miley Cyrus.  Although, at least we have mechanisms like SNL to make us both hate her weird and gross ways, while respecting her ability to turn a song into a parody about the Ridiculan Party.

We Did Stop!

Monday, October 7, 2013

This Post Has Been Interrupted by a Car Crash

On Saturday night, on my way back from the liquor store, where I bought a bottle of wine to bring to a housewarming party that evening, I was rear ended by some jerk while stopped at a red light.  The culprit would later recount that the sun was in his eyes and he "couldn't see what color the light was..."  You'd think he'd at least be able to see the two completely stopped cars right in front of him, but maybe he was staring right into the sun?

After pulling over into a parking lot, he presented me with his insurance information.  He was insured through some bogus agency out of Texas called Fred Loya, for approximately one month.  That means he has month to month automobile insurance, which I didn't even know was a real thing.  So that's strike 1.

Strike 1 - When your insurance company won't even insure you for an entire year.

I tell this guy that I'm going to call the police so they can file an accident report.  Because as trustworthy as I'm sure this guy was, I've definitely been burned by the person who caused a car accident before, when they decided to change the story.  Plus I'm not sure that CO is a no-fault state so having it on record that it was his wrong-doing was a definite plus.  So this guy proceeds to try and convince me not to call the police.  He kept saying, this happens all the time and his insurance company always pays.

Strike 2 - "This happens all the time"

Then he says, if the cop asks can you say she (the passenger in the car) was driving?  I don't want the points.

Strike 3 -

So then, the police get there, take 30 minutes to pencil scratch in an accident report, and I'm on my merry way.  later that night, I try to file my claim with this "Fred Loya" insurance company, only to find out that they are only available during working hours Monday - Friday.

Strike 4 (yes there's many strikes here) - An insurance company that doesn't have a 24/7 Claims Department.

This morning, I get to work and call the company to file my claim with them.  I get this lady on the phone who barely speaks english and can't seem to listen to more than two letters or numbers at a time before needing things repeated.  Yet when she repeats them back to you she uses absolutely no known format to repeat the numbers so it's like hearing some scientific equation that you're supposed to confirm or deny.  The conversation went something like this...

Strike 5 - Lady:  What's your phone number?
                   Me:  555-5..
                Lady:  55? ok....then?
                  Me:  555-5555
               Lady:  I'm sorry, it was 555-445-5542?
                  Me:  No....ok let's start over, it was 555-555-5555
               Lady:  Ok, so, Fifty Five Five Five Hundred Fifty Five Five Fifty Five Five
                 Me:   Uh.......sure.

So after that 30 minute claim call, I'm still uneasy about this whole transaction.  Who is this not 24 hour insurance company that sounds like it's handling a claim for the first time in their life?  So I google them online.  And sure enough, my fears are inflamed with the complaints of a thousand angry users of this crap rate insurance.  The worst were the number of very similar incidents where people were rear ended by somebody with that insurance and getting them to pay out the appropriate amount was a horrendous experience.  Although, a lot of those people were claiming medical expenses, pain and suffering, so maybe my situation is not as complicated.  Oh yeah I'm totes fine by the way....not sure if I mentioned that.  I'm not like writing this using a computer operated by a straw because i'm now a parapalegic or anything.  Although that would def. be enough to ensure a 5K Race for the Cure / Awareness would be named after me.  And maybe even one day a Hurricane!  That's the dream anyways.

Anyways, I'm supposed to take my car in on Wednesday morning to get it inspected for damages.  We'll see how it goes.  At least I have good insurance so I can just go through my company if these jokers turn out to be...jokers.

In other news, we celebrated the last few days of my friends Julia and Steve in Denver on Sunday, with football, beer, paella and brats.  The way Americans and like one Spanish guy are supposed to celebrate Sunday.  While I'm sad to see them go, I'll remember them through all the free stuff of theirs they ended up giving me.  The list includes tables, shelves, glassware, a recliner and best of all, an extra bed!  If they held out for like another week, I bet I could have squeezed them for a car.  Which would have been pretty timely considering!

Also this weekend, other than the housewarming party where I introduced one set of neighbor friends with no children, to another set of neighbor friends with no children (we're starting a coalition of neighbors with no kids....I hope I don't get kicked out for being single.  I know how exclusive these clubs I make up are), we also got all judgy about these people's house.  A few noteworthy things included how the husband is relegated to a sub basement (OK just a regular basement) where he has photos of what I can only assume is his other family.  I also noticed an inordinate number of owl statues and figurines.  And not all throughout the house, but concentrated along the basement steps as if to tell any passerbys...."We're watching you.....HOOOOOOT!!"

Another purpose of the housewarming party, it turns out, was to get as many people to turn against my next door neighbors as we could.  These are the weird people with the yapping dogs and worse, the children of the corn demon kid who stares at me from the window all the time.  Most of the neighbs knew about the weird anti-social parents, and the annoyingly loud and aggressive dogs...but news of the possibly undead child horror was news to many of them.  I tried to tell as many people as I could, while secretly rejoicing at the fact that THEY are the weird neighbors and not me!  Because you know, if you don't know who the weird people are in your neighborhood, it's probably you!  This young terror is making me question what kind of Halloween decorations I can put up in the house too.  I'd like to go full on scary, but not so much that she identifies with her own kind.  So I'm trying for family friendly, but a little edgy.  That way when she comes by and says "trick or treat!" I will have that treat option, and not be devoured by some flesh eating soul sucking tax evading Hitchcock birds inducing monster child from the 5th dimension.....(yes all of this is based on the fact that she likes to stare out the window.....I have a Walter Mitty mind!)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Unaffordable SCARE Act is what they probably call it on Fox News

Last night while searching for some batteries for the new TV remote I ordered, I slid over my new wood flooring and managed to get a splinter lodged deep into the sole of my foot.  I removed it, but am not clear if I’ve gotten the whole thing out.  Needless to say to it hurts like hell.  This morning, having to walk from the bus stop to the office, in what is only a 2 block walk, was hell.  So as you can guess, I’m in a pretty foul mood.

Which makes today the perfect day to get ALL POLITICAL UP IN HERE.  So if you can guess where this is going, and don’t like it, well, close your browser now.  If you continue to read this, and are mad at me afterwards…well…fuck you, I told you not to read it.

Because in my foul mood, and annoying pain, I want to talk about my favorite question.  WTF are the Republicans doing to this country?!?  We’re in day 3 of the government shut down, and yet they don’t to give up their fight against “Obamacare” as it’s annoyingly been called, in order to fund the government and give 800,000 people back their jobs.  I forgot what an awesome, inclusive healthcare system we’ve always had in this country that fighting the pervasive attack on that system is worth destroying the entire country over.  But it’s for the American people…you see, they don’t want Obamacare.  That’s why on its first day, the system was completely clogged by people scrambling to review and obtain insurance under the new policy.  I’ve never in my 32 years (ok fine only in the last 11 have I probably cared about politics), seen such an overt and stubborn group go out of their way to what can only be described as pouting, to get their way.  But that’s what happens when your entire party has it’s sack tied by a handful of people known as the Tea Party.  And just who are these unsung heroes…these “True Americans” that are holding the entire country hostage in a way that even Bruce Willis couldn’t save us from?

Well let’s see….you have Steve King from Iowa, who once asked elementary schoolers where they stood on the abortion issue.

Then you have Steve Stockman from Texas, who has advocated before for arming fetuses with weapons.

Then there’s the favorite of the furloughed employees, Phil Gingrey, who famously whined that he was “stuck” here in Congress only making $172,000, while his aides could go make $500,000 as lobbyists.  He also said that Todd Akin’s comments about legitimate rape were partially right, so you know, super classy guy!

Don’t forget Louie Gohmert from, of course, Texas, who said that the reason Obama wants to raise the debt ceiling is so he could celebrate his birthday.  Just sound logic right there!

Or how about Paul Brown from Georgia who laughed when a Town Hall questioner asked, “who’s going to shoot Obama?”

I didn’t even bring up my favorite of the lot, Michelle Bachmann.  I would need to dedicate a whole post just that that strange mutant.

Of course there are several more better known and lesser known fools involved, but you get the general idea of who we’re holding in high regard in the House and Senate these days.  Of course it’s just Obama holding the country hostage.  Forget the fact that most people believe the Republicans should just drop the Obamacare issue in order to fund the government.  Then they can start focusing again on their true cause:  Hanging unwed mothers and gays down in Texas.

It’s gotten to the point where Republicans just strategizing to confuse the American people.  Maybe if they keep saying they’re comprising, like Rand  Paul and Mitch McConnell talk about doing here.

Or maybe, if they yell at Park Rangers and blame them, they’ll shift the blame away from themselves. 

Or better yet, they’ll just be even more sexist a-holes and respond to legitimate questions by calling the female anchors “young and pretty.”

But in the end, I’m sure the end will justify the means right?  Because again, this is for the good of the American People, who just can’t stand this healthcare act that they have full looked into and think it’s so lacking.  I mean especially when there was another great plan offered to fix the system that nobody ever talks about anymore!  Instead of Obamacare, why can’t we just have the much much better Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act?!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NSA? Please...I'm Part of the FIG (Facebook Intelligence Group)

Yesterday, possibly one of the greatest things to happen in my field of advanced neighbor stalkery was discovered.  A facebook group was created just for the neighbors of Conservatory Green.  What does this mean?  It means, when i want to know who the weirdo is that walks their dog at like 5 AM, I can check the group and probably find out.  Or if I want to know if the hot girl that I saw jogging the other afternoon is married, I can check the group.  If I want to know where everybody is?  you guessed it...Group!  And joining this group has already started paying dividends!  I've already rekindled my almost lost friendship with the couple I was stalking, and have made plans to see them this weekend.  This group has done for me what no amount of walking a friend's dog by their house could ever do.  No amount of curtains can hide your facebook updates from me!  And yes, that is perhaps one of the most Lifetime Movie creeperish things I've ever said on this blog.....

But having access to this group is a double-edged sword.  Because as much as I can learn about others, they can learn just as much about me.  I've already posted on the group how stupid I am about homeownership, asking questions like, "are you still watering your lawns?  should I stop?"

I"m also tempted to use this group as a way of finding all the swingers.  I might post something like,

"Hey!  Any of y'all swingers?  Just wondering....*wink wink*"

or as another friend suggested,

"New to the neighborhood.  Wondering what the swinger code is - fern, rock, or cracked garage door.  Need to know by Thursday.  Thanks."

As hilarious as all of these posts would be of course it would get me in trouble.  People would be all like "Hide yo kids, Hide yo wife, and Hide you husbands, cos there be swingers all up in here"  Being the single, dog-less, beard-less guy living in Stapleton, I'm already the social pariah.  Today, somebody explained Stapleton to me as a place for newlyweds and people who are starting families to move because they need a little more space.  They said it was basically a place to breed.  So I, the single guy in Stapleton, have moved into a breeding ground.  I've been to a horse breeding farm....the images still haunt me.  Add that to the fact that I'm trying to find out who the swingers are and I'm basically a Fox News story about a slow infestation of liberal  trying to break up families and destroy lives.  IT'S BECAUSE OF OBAMACARE!

Speaking of Obama, as many of you know we're in a government shut down scenario.  HOLD ON THIS ISN'T A POLITICAL POST!!!

I was just going to say that while other government agencies might be shut down, I'm still here at work.  Is this because I'm essential?  Hardly.  I can't think of a time in my life where I've been any less  In fact the other day I turned in an "accomplishment report" which will be used in my year end review.  Normally this is my chance to talk for pages and pages about how I single handedly saved this organization from crumbling to its' very foundation.  Unfortunately, I've become so bad at my job, which is already so pointless, that I couldn't find a single word to write in favor of what I do.  Despite all the praise I've received from my boss for doing it.  But then, if I'm so non-essential, why am I one of the 10% still working after the shut down?  Sure I could throw around fancy words like non-appropriated and independent, but why play smoke and mirrors?  You all are too smart for that.  You have probably already figured out that there's only one real explanation for all of this.  In fact, I AM essential...because this job is clearly just a cover for my real work....with the CIA.  I'm in such a covert, double black, platinum member, basement level mission, that even I don't know about it.  All I know is, I'm in so deep, that it's taken over every aspect of my life.  Which totally explains my last trip to McDonalds....

That has to be the only explanation....I mean...why else would I still be working in this mundane job after 10 years....right?  RIGHT????