Friday, November 30, 2007

web-based memberships

over the last few years i have been involved with a few different online memberships where i pay a monthly fee in order to receive certain goods. i have enjoyed these for the most part. some are better than others, at least based on my needs. here's what i have learned.

emusic.com

emusic is a music downloading service. it differs from memberships like napster and rhapsody in that the files you download are yours to keep forever. it differs from services like the itunes store i that songs are cheaper than 99 cents/each.



when things were great


i originally signed up in january 2006. after a free trial of 30 songs, i really liked their selection of varying genres of music with a lot of harder to find independent stuff. i decided to go for their highest membership level of 90 songs/month at $20/month. it worked out to be about 22 cents a song and another nice things was that i could cancel anytime...so it was very low risk. it was a great way of downloading stuff legally and on the cheap. the downloading process was very user-friendly. i discovered a bunch of bands that i didn't really know about prior. some of those include:
  • antony and the johnsons
  • beirut
  • the unicorns
  • islands
  • cannibal ox
  • girl talk
  • midlake
  • the subways
  • dozens of other bands/musicians that now fill my ipod

when things went bad

ok, so things didn't actually go bad as much as i started to run out of things to download and i also did not have enough time to really listen to 8 or 9 new albums a month. after a while i ended up with a lot of music that i had not listened to at all. often times louise would play some band on my ipod and i had to ask her what was playing. so my collection grew faster than i could handle. so while i really enjoyed the service and would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of good and often times not mainstream music, i had to eventually cancel it this summer. i may one day return to emusic after i have had time to digest all of my current music.

overall grade - 8.5/10

gamefly

after spending absurd amounts of money on videogames, wasting my money to feed the evil empire of gamestop, i finally had had enough. all too often i would get excited about a game, but it for $60 only to not be that into it and then selling it back to gamestop for a third of what i had paid. i joined goozex, which is not a monthly-fee service, is a good and fair way to trade games. i also signed up for gamefly, the videogame rental service. it is an online service that send you your games via usps. i signed up for the 2 games out at a time for $22/month.

when things were great

ever since i was a little kid, i have always loved videogames. i have an xbox 360 and they have been pumping out the games this year. joining gamefly would allow me to try out all of these games before buying. it was exciting getting games through the mail. i had heard horror stories about delivery time since they only had a west coast distribution center. well now they had one in pittsburgh. so there was basically a 2 day delivery time. if i were to send a game back through the mail on a monday, they would receive it wednesday, ship my next game and i would receive it friday. not great, but reasonable. on top of this, i found a site, britghspot.tv, where i would watch commercials and they would pay for $10 of my gamefly membership a month! i got to play a lot of games (some good, some bad) and as a result, save some money:
  • call of duty 4
  • earth defense force 2017
  • beautiful katamari
  • various sports games

when things went bad


well i am still currently a member, but i won't be for long. first of all, brightspot shut down. secondly, like emusic, i had begun to run out of games that i really wanted to rent. thirdly, the service has begun to slip. now the delivery times are usually 3 days, which is pretty unreasonable if you ask me. on top of that, they just do not carry enough copies of popular games. you really have to time your returns right if you want to have any chance at a new popular game and if you shorten your list to better your odds of getting a new game, they just don't send you anything....which is the case for me right now. i have currently had only one game in my possession for about a week and a half. unacceptable. i plan on canceling this service next week before the membership renews for another month. i would recommend this service hesitantly and only if the person was a huge game nerd.

overall grade - 5/10

netflix

i joined this dvd rental service in 2004. for $18/month i get 3 dvd's out at a time. they have a gigantic selection of movies and they deliver the movies through the mail.




when things were great


movies galore! i love watching movies, especially on my giant tv. the turnaround time shames gamefly's. i put a movie in the mail on monday, they receive it tuesday, send one that day and i get it in the mail on wednesday. now that's how you run one of these services. they have like 5 million (i am making that number up...but it's a lot) movies to choose from that you set up in a queue for delivery. the website is easy to navigate, does a good job of recommending movies based on other movies you have rated. there is even a friend system that allows you to see what your friends are watching as well as leave them notes and recommend movies you think they would like. this year they have added a very nice feature that allows you to watch a number of different movies and shows on your computer. over the last 3 or 4 years...way too many movies to remember.

when things went bad

ok, things never went bad with netflix. their service has always been great. i never run out of movies that i want to watch. they seem like a company that is always trying to provide a better service for their customers. i find their pricing to be very fair. although if i am being picky (and cheap) that is probably the only aspect that they could improve upon. i would recommend this to everyone i know, even if you don't like movies, it's just that good of a product.

overall rating - 9.5/10

ugh...don't read this...i'm already embarassed

i have to hand it to me, i've stuck with this blog thing for a solid month, authoring around 25 posts. it has been fun. i guess i haven't had an outlet for creativity in a little while and i missed it. i know that i am still not a good writer, but i think overall my posts have been successful, at least in my eyes.

i know i had written originally that i didn't care if anyone else read this and that it was just for me. but as with any creative process, it's important to receive feedback, which has been tough to say the least. i guess i jumped into this blog thing about 4 years too late, so i really don't know the first thing about getting people to read my stuff. i never really was much of a discussion board poster, so i was never really involved in any online communities. i have been urging most of my close friends to read the blog, although i get the feeling that about 90% either don't actually read it or briefly skim it and think it's lame. i mean, they all work and have busy lives and do not really have the downtime that i have at my work, so it's understandable. i also don't want to be annoying and constantly update people on stuff that they could care less about. i guess i need to decide whether or not i should really push it on people and hope that if given the time, they will read it and like it, or else, just stop asking people to read it. currently i am straddling the line in between and it is simultaneously making me feel needy and embarrassed to keep asking people as well as disappointed that nobody actually reads this.

this week i have made some attempts at venturing out to getting strangers to read my blog. i joined blogrush which is actually a really cool site from what i can tell, that would be a good way to connect blog readers to content that they would be interested in reading. i have also posted comments on other blogs and discussion boards using my blog's url as my signature. that has worked ok, in as much as interacting with strangers, but it has not had any effect on getting more people to click on my blog. i am not delusional with hopes of hundreds of readers...but if say 5 people i didn't previously know were to read and comment on my blog, that would make a big difference.

i believe another obstacle for this blog is that i write about too many subjects that are not really related in any way other than the fact that they are things that i personally am interested in. so unless theres a bunch of people out there just like me, i'm kinda sol. i was considering breaking this up into multiple blogs that are more subject specific. that way i could "promote" it easily and possibly attract more readers. the problem is, while i have basic knowledge and interest in many of these subjects, i am in no way an expert in any of them. in diluting my blog with various unrelated subjects, i can make up for my lack of expertise in all of them, but if i were to focus on specific ones, the posts would not be up to par with those written by people that actually know what they are talking about.

so i am currently at a crossroads in my blogging experience. i dunno. i find my posts to be funny, and although technically poorly written, they effectively communicate my intended points. maybe if i wasn't so happy with so many of them, this wouldn't bother me as much. if i had just written posts and was like "eh...nothing to write brown about...", then i would just continue along posting my thoughts and not be so neurotic about it. but it's a creative product, along with some of my efforts in the past (king kevin, forresstfeud, beautiful art) that i am proud of and think that if anyone actually checked it out, would enjoy it, share it with others. but alas, they all continue to go unappreciated. i dunno, maybe i am grossly overestimating my abilities and my projects are actually not very good, but i love them just because i created them, like they were my children. that could be it too.

so yeah, i want people to read my blog like the awkward wow dork wants the hot goth girl to ask him out. i want to interact with readers, read their blogs, be a part of some online community that shares similar interests and sensibilities. i am tired of "alerting" my friends when i post a blog cause i feel ridiculous when i do it. i believe my blog is good and can improve. i am enjoying the writing process so far. i need to be more organized, consistent and persistent with my efforts to share my work. all of this is really way more personal and embarrassing than what i usually write about, but hey, chances are only i am reading this..am i right?...yes you are me. as i read over what i have written, it definitely has a tone of feeling sad or sorry for myself, but i'm not...just a little frustrated and unsure what to do. as with some posts in the past, writing stuff out has helped me focus my thoughts and i am hoping that this post helps me move forward with my blog in a good way.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

do you think i should trust you with my english to navaho dictionary?

as i have become tired and annoyed by about 95% of adult reality "stars", i realized that kid nation would provide a refreshing cast of characters that didn't fit into the 5 or 6 of the general cliches found in every reality show. what's that? 40 kids are gonna be left alone in a ghost town to fend for themselves? oh...it won't be like jamie kennedy's child island? that's ok...i guess.



well i am pretty much hooked and have watched every show. first of all, it is very nostalgic in reminding me of my younger days at summer camp. in that sense it is fun to imagine how you would personally interact and fit in with these kids, say at age 12. secondly, these are kids, and while they have some sense of self awareness and the cameras, it's much less forced and viewed as a chance to become a celebrity, as it would in shows with adults as the stars. thirdly, there is a class system based on competition performance. the upper class gets paid the most and have no work to do, then the merchants get paid half of that and have the easier, cleaner jobs, then the cooks, get paid half of that and have a tough but not awful job, while the lowest class are the laborers who have to do all the shitty manual work and get paid the least. it's fucked up, unfair and awesome all at the same time. lastly, the producers did a very good job of casting many kids that you either love or hate. sounds wrong...i know.

kids that are cool
  • laurel - the leadah from baaahstun
  • alex - genius 9 year old with missing tooth
  • sophia - also way smarter than everyone, independent thinker, acts and sounds like she is older than me
  • michael - smart, very nice, a little too "teacher's pet-ish"
  • jared - the kid who is from outer space

kids that are lame
  • mike - deposed leader, spaz, is it wrong to call an 11 year old a loser?
  • taylor - little beauty pageant, annoying and obnoxious
  • divad - every week she hilariously (unintentionally) nominates herself for the golden star (weekly prize)
  • kelsey - taylor's mindless cronie
  • greg - biggest kid, bully, in love with 2nd biggest kid

anyways, the episode that aired last night was pretty indicative of why i enjoy this show. sophia, who i think a 12 year old kevin would have an unrequited crush on, decides that the town should have a big chicken feast. that meant killing a bunch of chickens that taylor had befriended. while i am against killing animals, i am for upsetting awful children.

the town receives some history books, which many realize would be integral to that day's challenge. well everyone in town is studying, taylor and one of her cronies decides they don't like school and refuse to participate. the leaders tell them that they won't be able to share in that weeks prize as a result. i think 12 year old kevin would go along with the crowd and study, hate it, but secretly love it.

then there is the challenge where the host would ask questions based on the history books, and then team members used sling shots to pop balloons that had the incorrect answers, leaving only the correct answer. ok, this was lame, but i know 12 year old me would really like shooting the slingshot...actually, 29 year old me wants to do that as well. anyways, teams win and lose, but the town as a whole wins the big reward, which is a choice.

option #1 - a library
option #2 - an arcade (where all the games are free)

well the choice is quite obvious to me as even the 29 year old me would choose the arcade without hesitation, but the 12 year old me? i would have crapped my pants. this is seriously the kind of thing i dreamt of as a kid. meanwhile, taylor is stewing on the side, hoping that they choose the books since she won't be able to participate. well the town's leaders make the obvious choice and the kids go apeshit. taylor is about to cry and i smile like when the grinch's heart grew. is that wrong?


hahahahahahahahahaha






the kids are unprepared for the effect of the arcade as it essentially becomes a drug. nobody is doing their work. sophia wants nothing to do with the arcade and decides to start her own makeshift tee-pee library, which prompts adorable alex to pop his head in and ask "do you think i should trust you with my english to navaho dictionary?" yes alex, you should.










at the same time, we get to see more of this southern kid, hunter, who was a beast in the challenge with his slingshot skills. he's the quiet, polite kid that works hard even when he doesn't have to and never makes a big deal about it. well he ended up winning the golden star that week and had a sweet conversation with his parents afterwards.

so this show gives me entertaining, but mostly unfiltered, non-manufactured personalities, fighting, villains, kids to cheer for and a chance for me to imagine how i would interact as a kid. there's still a few more episodes left, but i believe they are already filming kid nation 2. yes!

wwedmption

dave and i were chatting online today when he passed along this video gem:



it got me thinking...what are most of these guys up to these days? we should propose a show about old wwf wrestlers from the 80's and 90's living in a house together working on making comebacks to vh1. they have done very similar shows, and i could very easily see them putting this show on the air. with the writers' strike continuing with no end in sight, the demand for addictive reality shows is high.

preliminary pitch:


a group of 6-8 former wwf/wwe stars sign up to live in a mansion in an effort to revive their wrestling/entertainment/other careers. along with general training, they are put through a series of varying (and sometimes comical) tasks and competitions that show the home viewers new sides of the former wrestlers. it helps humanize them to their fans and viewers.

all of this progresses as the former wrestlers work to reach their own specific goals. some of the younger wrestlers would obviously want to return to the ring. some may want to pursue acting or some other profession. some may want to simply be of relevance again and enjoy the media exposure. others (and this may be a bit of a stretch, wishful thinking...i dunno) may want to use their publicity to bring a cause/charity/issue to light.

potential wrestlers i would want in the show:
  • the ultimate warrior
  • the honkey tonk man
  • the iron sheik
  • the junkyard dog
  • jimmy superfly snucka (sp?)
  • koko b. ware
  • rowdy roddy piper
  • bam bam bigelow
  • big john stud
  • ricky the dragon steamboat
  • rick flair
  • jimmy hart
potential hosts
  • jim mcmahon
  • the fabulous moolah (i have a sneaking suspicion she is my next door neighbor)
  • that old wwf ref with the moustache
  • some current wwe superstar
  • the rock (he would be the #1 option i think)
tasks/competitions
  • dance contest
  • working with kindergarten kids
  • baking competition
  • karaoke
  • debate
  • other dumb stuff that is funny since really big wrestlers are doing it
ideally there would be a good blend of drama, fighting, hilarity, bonding, heart-warming moments and silliness. many people who grew up in the 80's and 90's would want to revisit their favorite wrestlers from back then. others would simply tune in to watch people with crazy personalities clash and argue and compete. as i mentioned before, i could see this as a show on vh1, and i have no doubt that it would be very successful. phil and dan have already raised their eyebrow in skepticism, but that's all phil knows. hate hate hate. i know i would watch every episode. dave and i will need to tighten up the premise and details and then submit it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

i'm pretty sure that's not an appropriate use of "torrential"

i've been kinda slackin on my blog a little after my torrential start this month. i guess there have actually been more things than usual to blog about, thus making it tougher for me to focus on anything specific. thanksgiving was good, although i had to go to 2 thanksgiving meals...ugh. i learn that gilbert arenas had surgery on his knee, thus severely hurting both the wizards and my fantasy team. matt "the terror" serra gets a herniated disc in his back and has to pull out of his fight with matt "the douchebag" hughes. i was so looking forward to serra smashing hughes and his chipmunk smirk. gsp, my favorite mma fighter, will be filling in as a replacement and will undoubtedly destroy hughes, but i am still torn since i have been so hyped about seeing serra vs. hughes. injuries are part of the game, and really gsp was the only replacement that made any sense.




matt hughes senior picture checklist


1. neatly coiffed mullet - check

2. trusty, reliable suspenders - check

3. stylish bolo tie (for the ladies) - check!






on a very serious and sad note, redskins safety sean taylor passed away this morning after being shot in his leg during a break-in in his home. he will be missed. he was an intimidating force who was having his best season ever before getting injured a few weeks ago. he made a few mistakes off the field, but by all accounts was maturing and becoming a leader on the team. it's a shame.

so, yeah, there have been a lot of things going on that would normally lend themselves to their own entry. instead i will mash them all up here and try to end on a positive note, mainly, this picture below that made me smile.

Monday, November 26, 2007

awesome ref



wow! that was awesome! my favorite penalty call of all time. i'm glad he announces the call with a straight face. i also hope that he was planning on calling a normal penalty, but after witnessing the play, he realized that that was a more fitting call to make.

hopefully this trailblazer of a ref will open the door for more expansive and descriptive calls. how about "personal foul..offense...#32...he was up in his grill..." or "personal foul...defense...#72...for not backin up off..."

anyone else have one?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

it's tofurkey time!



thanksgiving in 2000 was the last time i chose to eat meat. it's kind of crazy to think that i have been vegetarian now for 7 years. and while i have softened my stances on most subjects political and ethical, choosing to not eat meat is one thing that has remained constant and unflinching in my personal actions and views. during my early 20's i had a political fire lit under me. i was extremely liberal, idealistic and angry about not only the way our government dealt with issues both abroad and domestically, but also the way many people just went along with everything, never questioning what the government was doing. well eventually i realized there was not much i could actually do. i know, that sounds awful, but it was true. i was tired of arguing with right-winged idiots about the war, all of the anger burned out and i became much more indifferent to all of the shit.

it seems a little inconsequential compared to wars, corrupt governments, food and water shortages, other awful things, but being vegetarian is something tangible to me. it's something that i have direct control over (except for the time i accidentally ate crab dip at the rivetti christmas party). it hasn't been much of a struggle for me, like my parents probably assumed it would be. my reasons for being vegetarian remain sort of the same as when i started 7 years ago.

ethical
- i love animals, and while i used to love eating turkey sandwiches, hamburgers, etc. i no longer think of animals as food. there are many excellent meat substitutes as well as other good forms of protein available in every grocery store due to the growing number of vegetarians. i just could not justify killing an animal when it is not necessary...and it's not. we are not living in a world where humans need to eat animals in order to survive, and if it's not necessary, i would obviously rather go the route that didn't involve killing an animal. while the animals are living, many live very painful lives in horrible conditions.also, most of the animals that we eat are cute and smart. seriously...pigs are like big dogs. having a pet like jessie has given me a new appreciation for animals in general. although i don't ever like hearing the standard vegetarian question "would you eat meat if you had to kill the animal yourself?", it is something i think about whenever some meat eater is eating something that looks appetizing to me.



environmental - animals take up a lot of space. they need to graze. we breed them at abnormal rates. in order to handle all of this, a lot of open area must be used and forests are cut down. i forget the exact numbers, but basically the land, water and food used for breeding animals could be used to grow vegetables and grains that could feed everyone and end starvation. the large amount of animals housed on these farms also generate a lot of methane which contribute greatly to the destruction of the ozone. the runoff from their waste is getting into our waterways, polluting our water.

personal health - admittedly, this was one aspect that barely concerned me 7 years ago. i considered it more of a positive side effect. now, as i become more health-conscious, it matters more to me. ideally, eat lots of plants and vegetables, while still making sure to eat sufficient plant-based protein. staying away from meats means you eat less saturated fats, lower your cholesterol, your risk for many types of cancers and a whole bunch of other health perks. i guess for a while i somehow managed to be an unhealthy vegetarian. i am working at getting better about that, staying vegetarian, but eating a more balanced diet, not just a lot of empty carbs.

so that about breaks down why i am vegetarian. it hasn't been too tough, though i have been tempted. i hope to continue this for a while, but there are moments, where i consider trying things like raw sushi. i am interested in the health benefits of eating fish. while i was not a big seafood fan before, i think that my sense of taste has evolved and matured over the years to the point where i would enjoy eating fish. i dunno. we'll see.

this thanksgiving, i will eat my green bean casserole, potatoes and possibly some tofurkey and be happy that i am doing something that i think is right; good for me, the planet and many animals, and also be proud that i have stuck with something that would be so easy to give up for so long.

Monday, November 19, 2007

fantasy update


it was another downer of a week for me in fantasy football. i had originally thought i lost all 4 of my matchups, as i closed my laptop in disgust. but then t.o. started to go off. too bad it was against my redskins and he was the main reason why we lost...but it did help me salvage the one victory in my keeper league. the redskins are awful and do not deserve to go to the playoffs...thanks again dan snyder...(i know you can't be fired so hurry up and die so we might be good again...hmm...that's much harsher than i intended...)

instead of my failings in fantasy football, i prefer to focus this week's update on my success in fantasy basketball. after winning week 1 by the score of 7-2, i narrowly edged out my week 2 opponent 5-4. this week i dominated my opponent 8-1, only losing the category of turnovers to my overwhelmed foe. the west laurel cogs now currently reside in 1st place with a record of 20-7, 2 games ahead of the 2nd place team, blumpkin.

while i have been very pleased with my team's early success, i had a few minor issues. first and foremost, my 2 top draft picks have not performed as well as i had hoped. both arenas and bosh have been slow to return to form following their injuries. also, my team is very deep, where all of my players have value to my team. now this might not sound like a problem, but i am a fantasy player that likes to make moves. i enjoy having a roster spot that serves mainly as a spot for taking a chance on a hot player.

luckily arenas and bosh have been improving and the wizards have won 3 straight. arenas actually sat out the last game, but i am keeping my fingers crossed that this will help in the long run. also, one of my players, john salmons, who had had such a hot start to the season due to ron artest being suspended, was placed back on the bench, did not play well and had a tantrum after the game. well i decided to go ahead and drop him and pick up the new starting point guard for the kings, beno udrih. he played ok.

then i discovered that the new jersey net rookie, sean williams had just started his first game and responded with a team-high 22 points, eight rebounds, two steals, two blocks, shot 7-11 from the field and made 8-of-10 free-throws. wow. while i already had an overabundance of very good centers (bosh, chandler, kaman and hawood) who all produce rebounds and blocks, i had to grab this kid and dropped udrih. i am a sucker for upside.



now if he works out and starts to average 16/8/2 with good percentages, i will have some decisions to make. that would be 5 top 20 centers on my team. ideally i could trade one for another point guard to pick up any slack in the assists category, although arenas, iverson and rondo have all been quality contributors there.

looking ahead to this week, i am facing 9-18 chicago hustlers. his noteable players include:
  • pg deron williams - ok, this guy is a beast in just about every category, particularly points and assists, but so far has been having an erratic season
  • sf lebron james - superstar, top 5 player in the nba, contributes everywhere, not as funny as shaq, etc.
  • c ben wallace - former defensive stud...is looking real old now
  • sf luol deng - he is a future all star, but has been hampered with injuries, and really all of the bulls have looked bad this year
that's about it. the rest of his team is pretty scrubby. he's got darko, brad miller, mopete, nene, luther head, ryan gomes and white chocolate. my team should seriously crush this one...but you never know. arenas could stay hurt, my guys could get cold and we could see lebron and deron carry his team to victory....but i doubt it. i predict a 7-2 victory for me, losing the turnover category (which i will probably lose every week due to the baller status of all of my players) and maybe a shooting percentage or possibly assists.

in the meantime i will keep up with the hot players, constantly decide who my most expendable players are (right now stojakovic, due to his streaky play, although i would hate to miss out on the potential 10 3's any given night) if i have to grab a hot player and make the best lineup calls i can make. fantasy is a lot of fun when you are winning.

better quit before i recycle your face


there is this old guy that lives a few houses over. he is kind of weird. he goes by many names in our house, but we most often refer to him as "abraham lincoln". i've noticed that he parks in front of our house a lot, even when the spots in front of his house are empty. he has a son that louise, dave and i refer to as "fake louis" due to the fact that he kind of looks like louis and drives a similar car. his son does the same thing. many times i will get home at the same time as one of them, only to see them park right next to me, while there are plenty of empty parking spots directly in front of their house, get out of their car and walk the couple of houses over to get to their house. now this never really bothered me. i always thought it was weird, but there is usually plenty of parking in front of our houses, so whatever...

now that louis has moved out, dave and i have been left to handle the house recycling. the last few times we have left out our recycling bin, we received a warning note telling us that they will not take our recycling if we put plastic bags in it. i just assumed that we accidentally put some bags in there, so i made it a point to make sure and check the bin before we put it out. a few weeks ago we got the note again and i was like "these recycling guys are crazy." i know for a fact that there were no plastic bags in there.

then one morning after i had taken the bin out for collection, i was making breakfast when i happened to look out the window and see abe bringing a bunch of plastic bags filled with cans and dropping them into our bin. wtf? why? now he is like 3 houses down, and if for whatever reason he wanted to put his recycling into someone else's recycling, that meant he skipped over a couple of the other houses' bins with the specific intention of putting his cans in our bin.


well now i realized that that's why we kept getting those warnings. so i went outside, emptied the cans into our bin and put the plastic bags on his front porch, hoping it would send him the message that we were onto him. well the bags were still there 4 days later, so i think any potential message was lost.

we got home late last night, so dave went ahead and put our bin out for collection. he told us that abe lincoln struck again! dave went outside like an hour after he put the bin out and noticed a plastic bag full of magazines were now in the bin. dave took the magazines out and placed them in a common area in between our houses that is yet another spot that you can put your recycling. what a weirdo.

this morning as i was leaving to go to work, i noticed another mysterious plastic bag in our yet to be collected recycling bin. apparently not satisfied with putting just his magazines in our bin, he decided he would step it up for a second round and put a giant bag of cans in our bin. so i took out the cans and placed them next to the magazines. i am not sure if the recycling guys will pick them up or not, but abe needs to stop.

this is one of those issues that's tough for me because i really shouldn't be that annoyed by it. it's not a big deal at all. i mean, besides the threat of not having your recycling picked up because some weirdo puts plastic bags in there. but it really is very annoying. it's such a mundane issue that really makes no difference in my life and yet i am bothered by it.

i guess the recycling combined with the parking issue together make a semi-viable complaint or else a questioning on why? why us? if you were living directly next door...maybe. but you don't. you can order a recycling bin for free from p.g. county and even if you didn't want to be bothered, you could leave your recycling outside without the bin and they will still pick it up. or if you didn't like that idea and were worried about your recycling getting lonely, why not put it in the bin of one of your neighbors? or in the common pickup area almost directly in front of your house? you bypass their bins and walk over to our house and put your shit there. why? it seriously boggles my mind.

because it is an issue that appears to be of minimal importance and because they don't know that we know, i will feel sort of silly going up to them and asking why or telling them to quit doing it. i also might not want to know why they have chosen our house. hopefully they're not stalking one of us (and if they are...hopefully it is jessie) instead i plan on being passive-aggressive and post a note on the bin saying something like:

To Whoever Is Putting Their Recycling In Our Bin,

If you do not have a recycling bin, you can order one for free here:
http://www.co.pg.md.us/government/agencyindex/
der/about_recycling.asp


If you still need to put your recycling in our bin, for whatever reason, please note that they will not take plastic bags and have refused our recycling in the past because of this. PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOUR PLASTIC BAGS IN OUR RECYCLE BIN!!! Thanks.

phil thinks that the exclamation points and all caps end to the note are a little too much. i'm not sure yet. i want to make sure that they notice it. but it might be too dark anyways when we put our bin out, so i dunno. maybe i can print it out on some crazy neon paper, or i can wait until the morning to put it out, hopefully getting it out there before the collection guys come through our neighborhood. we shall see.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

time to come clean tina

there is this girl who has kinda got the internet goin nutz. her name is tina and she posts videos of her singing covers of various pop songs. obviously this girl would not be getting thousands of views on her videos if her singing wasn't completely awful, but she is also extremely awkward, and has a very strange voice. she seems like a nice kid, i dunno. this blog post was a pretty funny take on the whole thing.



but as she has set the internet ablaze, most people fall into one of three camps. they either a) laugh at her, mock her and find this hilarious, b) feel very sorry for a young girl who is embarrassing herself and making a spectacle of herself or c) love her for being herself and not caring what other people think. i on the other hand take a different angle.

i think she might be a genius performance artist who may or may not turn out to be like 35 years old in an awesome milonakis-esque twist. i can envision her recording these videos in her new york city loft, using a bunch of oversized props to make her look like a kid. she's laughing the whole time, smoking cigarettes between takes, while i am sitting here wondering why i can't think to do these things.


"do not say my videos suck! or you are a whore! bye-bye!"

now if i am wrong, i am not sure how i will feel. i guess she has gotten her 15 minutes doing what she loves to do and while many will laugh at her, she has a lot of non-ironic fans. as i delve deeper into her library of video gems, i think i would consider her a genius, intentional or not...but i am waiting for the "gotcha!" video when her prank on the world is all revealed.

melora hardin...i'll be diregardin'

i watched the office last night. this is one of my favorite shows on tv. while jenna fischer is one of my top celebrity crushes, there is another actress on that show that i have waffled back and forth on since the beginning.

melora hardin plays the ex boss and current girlfriend of steve carell's character michael scott. many of my friends know that i will get the occassional crush on an older woman (lori) and melora hardin instantly caught my eye. it's tough to pinpoint what it was that i found appealing about her, but i just knew that she was borderline on my list. i really liked the character of jan that she played on the office. i would see pictures of her outside of the show and she always looked hot.

at the same time there was something holding me back from full-on endorsing her and placing her on my list of celebrity crushes (which i will discuss in a future blog). she seemed like a very normal, smart, down to earth person. i read an article about her and found out she is also a professional singer! well that sealed the deal, she was going on the list and i would plan to induce eyerolls from louise as i explain my reasons why she was now crush-worthy.

that is until i saw her sing one of her songs off of her new cd on some late night talk show. now she has a great voice. that was not the problem. she explained her album to the host and how it was "very sexy" and witty, filled with innuendo, or something along those lines. i am not usually a fan when someone describes something they do as "sexy". it seems a little too self aware and presumptuous, 2 traits that i did not assume melora had. but i thought "she's pretty hot, maybe she can pull this off without my opinion of her sinking..."

here's her video. what do you think?



ugh. seriously? a song about a boy and his "cat"? hmmm...pussy is a boy's best friend? that sounds like a song idea a 12 year old would come up with...and then quickly realize it's not very good...and then become embarrassed that she thought of it.

kid's inner thoughts: ok...i want to think of a song that will make all of my friends crack up...hmmm, i got it...a song where i talk about cats...but then i start saying "pussy"! and how boys like pussy! genius! and how pussy likes to fiddle with his BALLS...of string!..ok that's kind of gross...and on second thought...that's a pretty obvious joke to make...hmmm....it's getting less funny to me by the second, that can't be a good sign...ok brain, let's forget we thought of that one...they can't all be winners...i feel sad inside....oh well, i am gonna go play with my bratz dolls and then videotape myself doing the souljah boy dance...




anyways, back to melora. this song is anti-witty, with the innuendo beating you over the head. i should submit my youtube video response "let me get my nixon up in you". maybe i shouldn't have had such high hopes. unfortunately she is no longer eligible to be on my list and i can never look at her the same way again...so disappointed...so very disappointed...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

this probably explains a lot

as a kid, there were many popular games that i enjoyed. i spent many years honing my skills in all of them. there was mercy, which was basically you and another kid trying to break each others' fingers. i was pretty good at that one. i managed to bring the pain and win almost every match. i had a few different techniques. the move i usually liked to start off with was what i like to now refer to as "swinging for the fences". this involved crushing my opponents' fingers between mine with a vice-like grip, then quickly transitioning into a bilateral twist that would put both of our wrists pointing up. then i would torque on their wrists, hands and fingers, pushing mine in the direction towards their waist, thus having them scream mercy all in about 3 seconds. it was a nice transition between moves that i compare to efficient brazillian jujitsu moves. this worked on about 2/3 of my opponents. if they were stronger or more experienced, this maneuver usually wouldn't work. now i think i have kind of a low threshold for pain, so i had to analyze what my best options were. if they were a little slow, i might try the ol' "what's this game called again?" i might also try to use distraction, make a quick move and hope for the best. either way, i was not trying to have my hands mangled the way i mangled hands.



arm wrestling was another favorite of mine. while i was stronger than the average kid, most of the kids who had any interest in actually arm wrestling were generally stronger than me. i incorporated a few techniques (cheats) that allowed me to stay competitive in this arena. i had learned a little about leverage and quickly realized that the further your arm reached from your body, the less power you were able to exert. so i was always sticking my hand out first, keeping it close to my body, alligator arm style, and made my opponent meet my hand, thus having him extend his arm out. i also employed the move where you use your non-wrestling hand to push the side of the table and thus give you additional power. this technique became too obvious and i was subsequently called out for it, deservedly so. arm wrestling was fun, but i was only ok at it, having beaten aaron sheer at it, but never winning once (after dozens of attempts) against ian alestock.



six inches was a game where you and your opponent took turns punching each other in the shoulder from six inches out. this was another game i was ok, but not great at. a couple of my opponents overreacted and hammed it up when i hit them, so everyone seemed to think that i was this guy who punched really hard. i always thought my punching power was average, and i didn't really like getting hit in the shoulder, so i let everyone continue to think i was good. people didn't really want to play me after that, so i just coasted on my reputation.

finally there was hot hands. ah...hot hands. this was the game i was the best at. this game involved holding your hands out in front of you, palms up. your opponent would face you with the hands, palm down, placed directly on top of yours. you would them try to slap their hands. you could try to fake them out and if they flinched 3 times, you get a free hit. once you miss them on a slap, you switch places and it is their turn to try and slap you.

i'm not particularly quick, but in hot hands, my hands moved like louis' when he's cutting coupons. i brought the power too. it was a deadly combo. literally. sike. but i did put the hurt on my unsuspecting opponents. when i hit your hand, the slap can be heard in the future. i've made hands beet red, bloodied and broken blood vessels, though i put the blame on the opponent for not knowing when to stop. most people would put a limit on the times i could hit them or they would simply quit after 3 or 4 slaps. but occasionally i would come across a player that would let their ego get in the way and refuse to quit, thus the aforementioned outcomes. it's too bad that hot hands never developed into a sport, cause i think i could have done something in it. nowadays, everyone is all "grown up" and doesn't like playing hot hands, so i am probably a little rusty, but if they ever start up the ultimate hot-hander...i'm trying out.



Monday, November 12, 2007

the weekend

phil was celebrating his b-day on friday night at adams morgan. dave and i got there around 11, after dealing with the ridiculous feat of finding a parking spot. phil said he was at tom tom's to which dave told me to get ready for some serious bro'in down. it was raining so i brought my hooded sweatshirt, but when i got to the club, the bouncer told me i had to tuck the hood into my shirt. what the hell? seriously? were they worried i was hiding something dangerous in there? cause i hope they know that i can easily fit my fists into my pockets. or maybe they thought i was planning on stealing stuff and cleverly carrying it out of the club in my hood. "aww man...we lost 2 ashtrays and a beer mug tonight...he struck again...damn you hood burglar! damn you!" either way, i now looked ridiculous and had a pretty sweet hunchback going on.





















well dan and laura were there, as was phil surrounded by a bunch of girls and some other dude who i have to assume was his cousin. gina arrived a little later. i chatted with phil a little and he was saying that he wasn't feeling so hot. something about his stomach and sushi, i think he said he pooped his pants...i don't really remember. i met some of his girls, one of which noticed that my collar was messed up and went in to fix it, but she missed and managed to scratch my face like a jungle cat. she seemed sort of apologetic, and i was like "oh, don't worry, it's aight...", but i was losing blood and muttering under my breath. we also witnessed a near fight between some nerd and a really big bouncer. phil didn't seem like he was gonna stay out much longer, so dave, gina and i left to continue to get drunk.

we went to bourbon, which had this ridiculous menu of hundreds of different whiskeys. i chose to go with j.t. brown. it was actually pretty nice, definitely a step up from kentucky gentleman (which they also happened to serve there). i also got into a strange altercation with a gay guy. i was looking for the bathroom and trying to get past a few people, one of which was the guy in question. he looked at me, got in my way and started lifting up his shirt to present his bare chest to me. then he started gyrating. well i knew this was not what i wanted to deal with at the moment. i asked someone else where the bathroom was and they pointed in the opposite direction. i quickly went that way and the gay guy yelled at me, 'you're no fun! don't touch me!" also, for almost the entire time we were there, there was some guy standing outside the bar pleading with the bouncer to let him in. he was dressed in a suit and looked completely miserable that they weren't letting him in. he kept showing them his i.d. like they were suddenly going to realize that he should be allowed in. he looked like he was going to cry and provided some decent entertainment outside of our window.

after that we made it to the falafel hut and feasted. that toppings bar is no joke...i remember wishing i had more room in my pita so that i could try out more toppings. then we stopped by gina's house. i got to see her roommate's tiny dog and i almost walked into her roommate's room at 3:30 am looking for the bathroom.

saturday i had to get up early, after getting home after 4am, to drive dave to enterprise so he could pick up his rental car. well i didn't have time to shower, so i was a little hesitant to go into the office. i slept on one side, so all my hair on the right side of my head was mashed up. i looked like a mental patient. nobody said anything and dave got his bright blue pt cruiser.

sunday was a rough day for me in fantasy football. also, the redskins lost, but at least the wizards finally got their first win of the season. i went to nam and jess' pizza making party. jess made this really good pizza dough and everyone was making their own personal pizzas. i put broccoli, roasted garlic, jalapeƱos and mushrooms on mine. i also added a bunch of this crazy shark hot sauce that nam warned me to be careful with. of course i considered this a challenge and went a little crazy. that was some serious hot sauce. i think i drank like 8 glasses of water, and i still felt it when i got home. i also wondered why nam does not have an hdtv yet...seriously nam, it's not 2003.

Friday, November 9, 2007

a very louis christmas
















dave, louise and i have discussed writing and recording a christmas album with the central theme being louis brown. if you have spent any time with dave, you have undoubtedly heard him sing songs in the key of brown, often changing the lyrics of popular songs to involve louis. we were thinking of what our song list might include...
  1. jingle brown
  2. brown christmas
  3. here comes louis claus
  4. the 12 nights of louis
  5. o holy brown
  6. brown to the world
  7. o come all ye louis
  8. silent brown
  9. i'll be home for louis
  10. deck the browns
  11. we wish you a merry louis
  12. little drummer brown
  13. winter wonderbrown
hopefully we can get working on this and have it ready for when louis comes to town for the holidays. i will post mp3s if they ever get recorded.

you want bean sprouts with that?

a little while ago nam and i were discussing random business ideas and we started talking about the restaurant business. we both have zero experience in this, but it was more just fun to think about. i am a vegetarian as is nam's wife, jess. while it has been getting better over the last few years, many restaurants do not offer much in the way of substantial meat-free meals, with chinese and indian restaurants providing the most options. otherwise i am often left with the choice of garden salad (since all other salads now require chicken), a plate of nahcos/onion rings/some random deep fried appetizer that makes me feel slightly ill or a microwaved veggie burger. not really ideal.

i have to assume that there are many other vegetarians that face similar dining conundrums every day. so the idea was a vegetarian (or at least vegetarian-friendly) restaurant that served american food. i started thinking of names:

  • tofu junction
  • don't eat that, it's meat! sike!
  • veggie city
  • orange you glad you didn't eat an animal?
  • tempeh town
  • the sizzlin' soy
  • plants don't cry

there were a bunch more, but that's all i can remember for now.

i also started thinking about the menu. this requires a lot more thought, but for this post i am going to start with appetizers. many of these things i have made, think i might be able to make or assume someone i know can make it.

  • seasonal vegetable crudite
  • mushroom turnovers
  • sesame green beens
  • grilled and marinated tofu skewers
  • spinach-artichoke dip
  • veggie buffalo wings
  • roasted onion rings
  • the royal sampler

next time i will work on the soups and salads. if you have any other ideas for appetizers or restaurant names, please leave a comment.




hey man, my name is river and i'll be your server tonight...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

the gamestop kid


this is one of my favorite pictures. whenever i am really bored, i find this picture on my cell phone and laugh. it seriously cheers me up. go ahead, look at this guy and try to frown. it was an ad display in gamestop last year. i hate gametsop for a lot of reasons, but my hatred cannot resist the awesomeness of this picture. i like imagining the photoshoot and everyone who was involved.



that's not funny part 1

i was considering compiling a list of celebrities that i hate, but soon realized that most of the celebrities that are targets of my hate tend to be the ones that think they are very funny but are clearly not. other hateables include too-obvious celebrities that erryone else hates as well as most politicians, but i am focusing on "entertainers" who so desperately want to be funny, but alas are not.

jay leno

why?
this horribly unfunny dynamo has hosted the tonight show and done so with the most vanilla, obvious jokes, spinkled with some random issues of manhood and not being gay. his high-pitched, nasally voice reads joke after joke that anyone under the age of 60 should be ashamed to laugh at.

well on the other hand...
he seems like a genuinely nice guy. i have a feeling that if he was some guy that you worked with, he wouldn't try to force his "comedy" and actually be an ok guy. he tries so hard, which makes everything seem kind of sad and much more amazing in it's spectacle, sort of a comedy train wreck where many viewers are stuck in channel surfing rubbernecking.

hatred level - 6

dane cook


why?
if i was a biologist, he would be classified as douche-sapien. he steals jokes, is a spaz on stage and along with leno, tries so hard, but strikes out every time. his comedy is a combination of dumbed-down frat guy stylings, mixed with completely random "observations" that have the approach that they are so "out there", that they become funny. not clever. awful.

well on the other hand...
he made it happen via myspace, and was probably the first one to do so with this level of success. it's tough to come up with too much positive. i will let the fake video below sum things up.


hatred level - 8

carlos mencia

why?
this guy is awful for a number of reasons. he uses his "mexican" heritage as a way to make incredibly racist and insulting jokes. he's half german and his real name is ned holness. it's one thing to have jokes that are racially insulting, but his comedy tends to also insult the intelligence of his audience. along with dane cook, he has been known to steal jokes from lesser-known comics.

well on the other hand...
science has proven he's just not funny, plain and simple.






hatred level - 9.5


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

jessie cellphone test

My Awesome Dog



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

scene it?


there is a new scene it? game coming out for the xbox 360 this week. i am very interested in this game, especially since it comes with 4 new wireless buzzer controllers. anyways, this got me thinking about movies in general as well as making movies. over the years different combinations of me, nick, dave, louis and others have had different movie ideas. we have made a few with varying success (l.a.u.r.a., the one where louis played the hyper-erotic mad scientist who moved around on little scooters, and the one where i travel back in time to borrow money from myself) but there are many more movie ideas that were never made.

movie plot 1

nick plays a guy (named either autumn or august) who hooks up with a lot of random girls. dave and i play his chaste roommates who for varying reasons do not agree or approve of nick's lifestyle choices.
we convince him that being a virgin before marriage was the best way t live your life. nick sees the light but wonders what he can do now. i tell them about a legend i had heard where if you bathe in the mythical lake virgin you can reclaim your virginity. we all agree that this is something nick should do and we head off to the woods in search of the lake.

along the way nick is tempted by various distractions, like sexy hikers and horny park rangers. with our encouragement he stays strong and continues on with his journey. when we are feeling lost and on the verge of giving up, we cross paths with a mysterious figure. a crazy old man with long white hair and a full white beard, played by simon, approaches us. he asks us what we are searching for. when we explain our intentions, he announces that he is in fact the fabled "great virgin", a 100 year old virgin living in the woods to serve as the gate keeper for virgin lake. he puts nick through a series of grueling and demanding tests and obstacles. once nick completes them, we are granted entry to virgin lake. nick calmly enters virgin lake in an emotionally-charged transformation. the end.

that was a movie idea that had us all laughing. hopefully we will make it one day.

Monday, November 5, 2007

are you ready for some basketball? i clearly am.


i have many fantasy football teams. i am in one league with my family, one league with a coworker and his friends, a keeper league and one league with a bunch of my friends. it has not been a kind year for me in fantasy football, particularly in that league with my friends. i have assembled a decent team, but continually lose to the high scorer in the league each week, to the point where it is getting ridiculous. i played steve this week, who has been on a 3 game losing streak, he manages to beat me and everyone else in our league by like 30 points. nice.

anyways, i will still enjoy the rest of the season, do my best with my sad teams (although i am actually doing well in both the keeper and family league), rout for the awful redskins and boo the asshole patriots.

but now i am onto more important things, namely, fantasy basketball. now i have been really bad about this in the past. due to my enjoyment of the drafting process, combined with what i consider a pretty good understanding of the nba in fantasy terms, i end up with a few too many teams. i usually end up juggling around a dozen teams to where it all just gets muddled and i am never sure which players i should be routing for. this year i showed serious restraint. first i tried to drum up interest amongst my friends to join a league. most of them played with me 2 years ago, but nobody seemed to like it much and i of course dominated the whole season. well, only chris was up for it. i kept hinting for people to give it a try, but people couldn't even be bothered to respond. anyways, i was set to try and coordinate a league that chris and i could both be in, but by the time i gave up on everyone else, the season was about to start and i just had to join a 12 team, 9 category league quickly, thus not having chris in it. i think his response was something like "eh."

well, my draft went pretty well, considering i was a little rusty when it came to the nba. much of my attention has been paid to the weird nfl season and me attempting to keep my teams afloat. i ended up with the 7th pick. since i was only going to have 1 team, i really wanted to get gilbert arenas, so i could cheer for him every game. well i was surprised when he fell to me with the 7th pick and i took him without hesitation. here's the rest of my draft:

2nd round - chris bosh
3rd round - allen iverson
4th round - brandon roy
5th round - tyson chandler
6th round - danny granger
7th round - peja stojakovic
8th round - chris kaman
9th round - rajon rondo
10th round - paul milsap
11th round - robert swift
12th round - marvin williams
13th round - andray blatche

overall i was happy with my team. getting arenas just made me smile. bosh and iverson give me a nice big man/little man combo and both should be all-star producers.

i took a chance on brandon roy, who was last year's rookie of the year. he has a really nice all-around game; sort of a poor man's d-wade. he has had some heel problems, but he's all upside, which is kind of my fantasy kryptonite.

tyson chandler gave me another big man who could lead the league in rebounds and blocks. he's not much of an offensive weapon (although he will benefit a lot from having cp3 pass him the ball), most of my other picks excel at scoring.

i thought granger was another nice upside pick and he will give me tons of points and 3's.

my first iffy pick was peja in the 7th round. i remember i had somebody else pegged as the guy i wanted that round, but the guy right before me took him so it sent me into a little bit of a panic as i scoured the list of available players. i saw peja still there and decided to roll with it. he was an all-star a few years ago, he's got one of the quickest, purest releases in the nba, and while he had some serious back issues which limited him last year, he is supposed to be almost 100%. it was a high risk/high reward pick.

chris kaman in the 8th round gave me another center who could blow up this year. with no elton brand, kaman and his newly cut hair will be eating up tons of boards as well as giving me 15 points and 2 blocks a game.

i liked rajon rondo from last year. while he might have the worst jump shot of any guard in the nba, he's one of those jack-of-all-trades kinda guys who will get decent, if not impressive assists (he will be setting up the offense in boston, dishing to garnett, ray allen and paul pierce...ridiculous), decent rebounds and he will probably lead the league in steals with his catcher mitt hands.

paul milsap was a poor pick. i had another situation where i was scrambling for a player, i looked at team needs and wanted a decent power forward. i had him on some teams last year, and remembered that he was very efficient and got decent points and rebounds. well barring an injury, he's not starting for the jazz and while he will have some decent games, that was essentially a wasted pick.

robert swift is the gawky, red-headed high school kid who got drafted a few years ago by the sonics. he was injured all of last year. i had heard he was looking good in practice, was in line for some starter minutes and had bulked up, gaining 20lbs of muscle. seemed like a nice upside pick at the time.

i was actually giddy when i noticed marvin williams still available in the 12th round. this kid was the #2 overall pick 2 years ago. the talent is there. that atlanta team is young and rising fast and williams is gonna be starting. i'm thinking 15 points, 5 boards, a couple assists, a block and a steal are very possible.

and with my last pick, i bookended my draft with another wizard, hoping blatche would have some value as a backup center/power forward/small forward. he's 7 feet tall, can shoot and handle like a guard and he seems to always be improving. another pure upside gamble.

i defeated my first opponent by the score 7-2. i remember this was the guys that shooting his mouth off at the end of the draft. so that made the victory a little sweeter. i beat him in fg%, ft%, 3pt made, points, steals, block and turnovers. he bested my team in assists and rebounds.

since the season started, i dropped blatche and picked up john salmons who is starting for the injured mike bibby. he should help me in assists until arenas starts producing more. but i still think blatche could breakout, so i will be watching closely and will grab him again as soon as it seems like the right time.

i also dropped swift, who has been hurt, for (gulp) brendan haywood. haywood is probably my least favorite wizard of the last few years. he's a big, strong 7 footer with long arms, but he has hands of stone, takes sloth-like moves in the post and is a constant underachiever. plus he has never gotten along with head coach eddie jordan or the poet, etan thomas. well thomas is out for the season, and his career may be over after a scary heart condition was discovered. he will do more good for this community if/when he retires that he did for the wizards. that opens things up for haywood to experience true starter minutes with little competition. he has responded and is averaging 10 point, 13 boards and 3 blocks. he could finally have a good season.

someone foolishly dropped udonis haslem, who is pretty much guaranteed to give you a double-double every night along with very nice percentages. i dropped milsap and upgraded with haslem.

again, i am really happy with my team for now and since i only have one team this season, i can really focus on it, get to know my players and fine tune the lineups to the best of my ability. i am so glad basketball has started and has given me a chance to forget all of my football misfortunes. go wiz!

this is a long, boring, not well-supported/constructed/thought-out rant that is just for me

I was driving to work this morning, sitting in annoying city traffic, when I read an interesting bumper sticker. It read "I was against Bush before it was cool." Now I am super liberal, anit-Bush, blah, blah, blah...but this bumper sticker annoyed me for numerous reasons. This rant is long and kind of lame in that it was sparked by something as inconsequential as a bumper sticker, but oh well.

Let me make this clear, it is not "cool" to be anti-Bush. Now everyone is anti-Bush. If you go to any elementary school and ask kids about the president, 90% will give you the same mindless, programmed comment about how we shouldn't be in Iraq and how Bush is dumb and a "bad president". It is a safe, culturally agreed upon thing to say now. This is a big change from say 2001, where most people were supporting the president and by extension, their schools and kids echoed that same sentiment. 6 years later, with thousands dead, shady dealings and appointments, an enormous list of fuck-ups, and a general sense of an evil agenda, it could have been considered "cool" back then as it was not a mainstream sentiment, but certainly not in 2007.

Back to the bumper sticker. So let me ask this guy a few things? You say that you were anti-Bush before it was cool? So you were against him when he was governor of Texas? Or maybe you were really ahead of the game and hated the way he owned the Texas Rangers...Do you have a problem with people agreeing with you now? If it is that important that you be recognized for your being ahead of the general consensus (maybe) as far as questioning Bush..goodie for you. In something as important as fighting the evil regime of Bush, should you waste valuable bumper sticker space so that you can feel superior over others who are supporting the same cause?

I have been on both sides as far as appreciating things earlier than most and later than most. I understand the feeling where you like something that seems unnoticed, not yet appreciated and "cool", only to see it reach mainstream audiences and you get into eye-rolling conversations where some idiot is like "dude, you gotta check out this band ________, they're pretty underground, so you probably haven't heard of them, blah, blah, blah." This type of encounter is disheartening and can sap your appreciation for said band, movie, book, whatever. It's like someone invited the obnoxious frat guys to your secret nerd club. I understand this and have encountered it, but complaining about it makes you look like a complete ass, and not a "that guy is hilarious, he's such an ass", more of a "that guy is an ass and a douche and i kinda want to punch him." After the initial thought of "I don't like that this guy and I enjoy the same type of music", I am glad that this band or whatever is getting the appreciation and recognition it deserves.

I have also dealt with some elitist assholes who criticize others and try to make you feel lame along the lines of "oh, you're just now getting into _________, haha, man i was into them like 6 months ago!" Shut the fuck up.

So, yeah, everyone and their idiot kid is now anti-Bush, and it is not "cool". It is mainstream in fact, the opposite of "cool". So your bumper sticker and aforementioned statement is not only douchey, it is completely incorrect. I guess your bumper sticker could have said "I was against Bush while it was cool" or "I was against Bush before it became mainstream" or "I was against Bush before it became the MTV of political statements". So congratulations on being wrong (not in hating Bush, but as to what is cool) as well as being a big ol' elitist d-bag.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

montreal


look at that, 2 posts in 1 day??? well hopefully i can write this today, because if a post transpired over multiple days...i'll be honest, wouldn't get finished. maybe if i am on a roll, there will be 3. so this is me trying to catch up on things.

the #1 major event over the summer was probably going to montreal with louise. and since this happened about 3 months ago, it may not be the most accurate account of what happened. anyways, i had been there once a few years ago and really enjoyed the city. louise had never been there or out of the country. the weather would be nice and it was a slow time at work, so we booked it.

we had an early-ass flight...like 6am i believe, so that meant we had to be there at 4am. not fun, but i guess when you want to save money, these are the things you have to do. anyways, dave was nice enough to sacrifice sleep and drop us off at bwi. from there we had a layover somewhere and the made it to montreal, i believe around noon. you, the loyal reader may be asking yourself, "why am i writing so much about getting there?". excellent question, the answer: brown.

this is getting long, so i am going to break down the trip with some of my famous bullet points:

  • we stayed at hotel omni mont-royal, which was a pretty nice hotel, had a little balcony and was also right in the middle of the city.
  • i drank a lot of 40 oz beers, usually making my choice based on the alcohol content vs cost ratio...i was drinking some sick 12% beer
  • we did a lot of walking - we really did a lot of exploring through the city, and i had to listen to lot of complaining from louise :)
  • we hiked mount royal - it wasn't a very tough hike, but it was kind of long and the view from the top was really nice
  • we had a very nice picnic at some park where we sat under a tree, ate giant sandwiches and read
  • we went to the botanical garden that had tons of crazy orchids and other plants, my camera battery died halfway through....we also stopped by the insectarium there...kinda lame
  • we checked out the underground city, which wasn't as cool as i remembered it, but i might appreciate it more if it were winter
  • montreal is probably the most vegetarian place i have ever visited - chu chai, la comensal, etc. - almost all restaurants had numerous vegetarian options
  • many of the citizens of montreal were friendly, attractive and often times both
  • louise and i went to a hookah bar - we sat outside at our table, sitting on pillows, which was a nice, louise was all gung-ho and was planning on ordering like 3 different tobacco discs, but as we found out, 1 was more than enough for 2 people, as she eventually ran to the bathroom to puke
  • we visited notre-dame basilica, which was ok
  • old montreal was pretty uneventful..but did feel a little bit like being in europe
  • we ate at an italian restaurant and got shitty service
  • we ate at a breakfast place called chez simon, which made me laugh





























anyways, that covers most of what i can remember. it was a very nice trip, in a great city with the girl that i love. it goes without saying that we both had thoughts of moving up there, but i would have to learn some french.

back from the brown

well it's been like 4 months. after starting things off strong, i kinda got lazy, as has been known to happen, and i also felt unfocused on where this blog was going. there are lots of different subjects that i like to convince myself that i can pretend to be knowledgeable about. i dunno, i guess my headline leaves things pretty open.

either way, i feel like this is something i would enjoy doing, even if i am the only one who reads it. i would like to be a better writer and i would also like to have strongly slanted, pro-kevin accounts of events in my life, both trivial and major. plus, i could use another hobby.

hopefully this means i will be blogging somewhat regularly and i can jot down what goes on in my life from age 29 on, as well as impress myself with my vast knowledge and ability to critically analyze many of the topics above. brown.