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Last Build Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2010 22:31:07 -0800

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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Food Bank

Tue, 16 Nov 2010 22:31:07 -0800

So: I put in notice at work, where I have resided and bumbled for the last eleven years. I must note right away that the people I work with--those good folks who have for over a couple decades steadfastly refused to cure cancer out of fear of having to become janitors or depilators or lizard handlers--had nothing to do with the decision. They are all nice people, except for the ethnic ones, whom I fear and avoid.

Truth is, I just burned out. Spend a decade anywhere, doing [job that isn't necessarily your super-dream and I guess that's going to happen. Around six months ago, the Wife was all like "You need to get the fuck out of there, because you're bringing it home." I couldn't disagree. Well, I could, if I felt like being an obstinate asshole, but I didn't, because I was too depressed. So I just sat there like a cornered marmot and nodded my head woefully.

So the decision was made, and I'm out of there as of year's end. ("The decision was made . . . " who doesn't love the passive voice?) Although that's sort of not true: I have enough accumulated vacation time to bail on the Jesusmas-New Year's week, so my last functional office day will be December 23. I'll get paid for all that time to hang out at home and relentlessly yank it at! 'Tis the season!

After that, when remorseless January hits . . . well, I don't fucking know at all. Does your lawn need mowing? Leaves raked? Browser configured to the bonkotopia home page? Let me know! I'll probably need the cash.

What I can't help you with is help on the whole cancer thing. You're on your own with that one. Because I'm out.

Comfortably Dumb

Mon, 08 Nov 2010 23:14:03 -0800

Some of you have been nice enough to inquire as to whether or not I'm okay. I am okay, and I fully plan on ROARING BACK like a . . . roaring thing, not unlike a jungle cat or a Texan. Frankly, this year has been a huge pile of shit on pretty much all fronts (to the extent that a huge pile of shit can make crafty tactical maneuvers), and it's been a little demoralizing and a lot making-Skot-not-feel-like-doing-much-ish.

So I'm sorry for the terrible lapse in failing to provide you with puerile rips on movies I have not yet seen and the dearth of stories about the places I have peed on in my storied history. THIS SHALL BE RECTIFIED! For all my snideness, I thank you for your kindness in inquiring after me.

Soon, my pretties. *pets ugly white cat* Soon, I will destroy civilization. Wait, is that camera on? I meant to say, "Soon, I'll stop being such a putz." Get lost, cat! The shit I say when you're around!

Is The Sun Out Yet? Yes? You Should Go Somewhere Dark.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 22:46:02 -0800

Well, here we are at the beginning of summer, and the hot summer movies are coming at your face like a pack of hungry coyotes! Let's take a look at what's in the offing and how terrible they will be sight unseen! As always, I have never seen any of these things, nor do I intend to (which is a complete lie, since I will probably watch them all some starless, bible-black night when nothing else is on cable). Knight and Day With a title that inspired, it's got to be good! See, why doesn't everyone in Hollywood be this creative? If only "Cagney and Lacey" were titled "Frilly and Lacey" they could have squeezed out a few more decades of television's favorite lesbian cop team. Kramer Versus Kramer could have been so much more had they called it Kramer Versus Krammer, a tense actioner pitting Dustin Hoffman, a reluctant dominant, against Meryl Streep, the woman who is simply tired of being relentlessly fisted every damn night. I frankly don't know why I'm not writing for Hollywood. Anyway, this noxious thing pairs up Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in some sort of doubtlessly ludicrous caper film; I'm guessing that at some point Diaz dances in her underwear and Tom "Tom (TM)" Cruise shoots several dozen ethnically-something goons while Diaz screams girlishly and then dances in her underwear again. The film also features Peter Sarsgaard, a fine actor who apparently only wishes to appear in dreadful garbage, and Paul Dano, who probably fruitlessly wished that, like the first half of Little Miss Sunshine, he didn't have to say anything. Grown Ups "Saturday Night Live" has been an American institution for decades now. We watched through thick and thin, and we made a lot of these people a lot of money. We sat through the great--John Belushi, Eddie Murphy when he was genuinely hilarious--the middling--Tim Kazurinsky, you were intermittently grin-worthy!--and, well, the rest. Let us not speak of Victoria Jackson. So what do we get in return? Vicious dick-twisting like this fucking thing. Adam Sandler! David Spade! Rob Schneider! I ask you, Christians: what part of God's plan do these guys fit into? The same part that includes fleas and mange and back hair? Eat hot shit, SNL. Maximizing the cruelty, the cast also features Kevin James--hey, he's pretty fat! That's funny. Certainly funnier than Chris Farley, because that guy died, which was pretty weak. And there's Chris Rock--who is funny, when he's not squandering his talent, which is apparently now always. And then there's just the weird, like Salma Hayek, Maria Bello and Steve Buscemi. Then again, I guess even these guys have comedy backgrounds: Hayek's eyebrows in Frida were good for an extended laugh; Bello famously cradled Bill Macy's junk onscreen; and Buscemi was in Con Air. So maybe I'm shortchanging them on the comedy front. Excerpted from an IMDB user review: "One or two sections were flat and a few too many fart-jokes" NO WAY. The Last Airbender Nobody could have predicted that after the very fine and atmospheric ghost story The Sixth Sense that M. Night Shyamalan would move to an extended series of knee-slapping comedies such as Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, and, perhaps his pinnacle as a comedic filmmaker, The Happening. (If you didn't laugh at Marky Mark attempting to reason with murderous trees, I simply don't know what to say to you.) This auteur's career arc has been nothing less than breathtaking, and the idea of him welding his unique slapstick sensibilities to tiny little headshaven kung-fu masters who--evidently--bend air is really the ne plus ultra of what the film medium is capable of. What is next for Mr. Shyamalan? I'm guessing porn. It's really the last frontier for him. I even have a script for him. It's called She Sucks, and it's the chillingly hilarious story of a vampiric porn star (Christy Canyon, out of retirement!) who has to give blowjobs to exist. (Haley Joel Osment won't stop calling me asking about the status of this project.) Gary [...]

He'd kneel in his pew and say, "It's just work, all that matters is work."

Mon, 24 May 2010 22:58:15 -0800

I've been thinking lately about work. Mostly about how I don't fucking feel like doing at it any more.

Let's look at this empirically. And by "empirically" I of course mean "ridiculously." I mean, seriously, look at all the words that rhyme with "work." Jerk. Murk. Shirk. Lurk. Clerk. Quirk. Smirk. Do any of these words conjure up positive images for you? Don't even get me started on "glurk," which is not a real word, but I choose to think of as something gutterally spoken aloud when prematurely ejaculating. "GLURK! Oh, no, I've ruined your snap-front blouse!" (My hypotheticals tend to be oddly specific.)

"Work" also rhymes with "perk," which might seem to wreck my premise, but as someone who works in the same building as actual statisticians, I will simply throw it out of the dataset as a weird outlier. Similarly, it too rhymes with "Kirk"--the name of the best man at my wedding--but Kirk is being held at The Hague on charges regarding genocide. It also rhymes with "Turk," and not to malign the good people of Turkey, but it's well known by schoolchildren everywhere that the country was named after a spectacularly dumb bird that frequently drowns in the rain.

So, work. Having comprehensively demonstrated above, it blows dead dogs. Therefore, I suggest we stop doing it. I can cite examples of how this can work. Europeans, for example, do not work. Even the hairiest-pitted ogres stand around all 32-hour week doing nothing but getting head, and then they get nineteen weeks of vacation where thy get head all the time at the beach. (See figure 12.*) By contrast, the Japanese work like they are all under the lash, and what do they get out of the bargain? Tentacle porn and noodles. See what work gets you? No blowjobs but lots of natto. Does this sound like a good deal?

Join with me and chant mindlessly! NO MORE WORK! NO MORE WORK! LET'S BURN KIRK!

Ugh, man, carry on without me; I'm wiped out. Gotta get up early tomorrow for . . . yeah.

*Figure 12 does not actually exist.

Yakima Sax

Mon, 10 May 2010 22:00:21 -0800

Last week was our seventh anniversary, and in order to properly celebrate the dismal slog that has been our marriage, the wife and I decided to travel to Yakima, where we spent the entire joyless time playing golf, and when exhausted by our efforts, watched golf on television. Not really. I mean, not about Yakima; we did go there, voluntarily. We went there because Yakima is surrounded by approximately nine million wineries, and it was our intent to pillage them all. Seriously, fuck golf. Golf courses should be stormed by right-thinking people who happen to own assault rifles. Anyway, we didn't do that either, as we are a shiftless couple who probably wouldn't be bothered to climb out of bed without the allure of free (or cheap) wine tastings. The ride over to Yakima was . . . well, it sucked. Driving over the pass, I was subjected to twenty-yard visibility in the driving rain; I white-knuckled it for miles as insane assholes in SUVs screamed by me doing at least 80, throwing up rooster-tails of road spray at me. I hope they all drove up the ass of some fucking semi and died screaming in their fiery cockmobiles. I thought once I cleared the pass I was in the clear, but no: soon after our descent, I was greeted by risible signs advertising "very strong crosswinds," but they turned out to be no joke. Certain sections of the freeway--particularly where there was no hill cover, which was everywhere--meant that I struggled to keep the car from becoming airborne. It was like being buffeted by Hell's own flatulence. However, my superb automotive skills and our Plymouth's natural surefootedness prevented us from becoming a meteorite. Eventually, we reached our hotel--a suite, actually, with, like a kitchen and stuff--generically named something like the Bonestone or Feathernerf or Eyebrow Suites or whatever. I don't really care, as long as the sheets aren't encrusted with an unreasonable amount of filth, and the Eyebrow Suites did not disappoint: I've seen much worse filth. I immediately turned on ESPN, which has been scientifically proven to allow the average traveler to ignore ambient filth, as the average ESPN commentator has been shown to be far more repellent than an encrustation of dried semen. We went out to dinner the first night. We selected---I selected--a Mexican restaurant. Wineries attract a significant amount of migrant labor, so I reasoned, hey, they won't tolerate shitty Mexican food! Right? No. The wallpaper loudly argued with the surrounding artwork; the former featured weird frilly grandma touches; the latter included at least one haunting painting of a clown. I imagined John Wayne Gacy tucking into some woeful mole before enthusiastically slaughtering a few teenagers. The wife mercifully ordered some reasonably edible burritos, but I made the colossal blunder of trying out the place's Cubist interpretation of chile Colorado. It was like no chile Colorado I have ever seen. Nor tasted. Nor spat out in utter revulsion. To begin with, to put it not very delicately, it looked like a loose bowel movement on a plate. Have you ever seen a chile Colorado that had absolutely no relation to the color red? I have. It haunts my dreams. In the new remake of "Nightmare on Elm Street," this is what Freddy serves to his victims. Buried in its depths, mysteriously, were quartered tomatoes, left whole, as if to mock their previously healthy red life. It was like a recipe served up by William Burke. On the other hand, nobody that Burke killed, to my knowledge, was coated with slimy onions and served with refried beans topped with gumpaste cheddar. I could be wrong. Happily, this inedible meal was the only one to be had on our trip. As an example, our next night at the Eyebrow, we went to the Fuddruckerish establishment happily located right in our parking lot, "Bob's Burgers & Brews." Lacking only half a convertible (and Hans Moleman) sticking out of a wall, Bob's did not falsel[...]

I Prejudge Movies: It's Been A While

Tue, 13 Apr 2010 23:02:12 -0800

Oh, boy, it's springtime! You know what that means! It's right before the summer movie blockbuster season where the studios quickly offload their awful second-rate fodder to the masses! It's the most wonderful time of the year, and there's no better time for another round of I Prejudge Movies, where I review movies that I have not seen and probably have no intention of seeing! Hooray? Let's see what swill is about to be dished out to YOU! The unfortunate audience! Kick-Ass Tired of comic book superhero movies yet? I hope not! Because here comes Kick-Ass, based on the comic by the ridiculous hack Mark Millar, a comic book author noted mostly for stepping in to destroy established, decent franchises. But maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe everyone but me really is excited about a movie adaptation of a rock-dumb comic book in which allegedly endearing smart-ass kids (and it's about time Hollywood paid attention to this long-neglected demographic) sass and beat the shit out of dimwit adults. It'll be like Home Alone, only with poorly-constructed hero costumes and no Daniel Stern mugging. Which I think is what everyone has been clamoring for. BONUS POINTS: features one Mr. Stu 'Large' Riley as "Huge Goon." I expect Mr. Riley to be as tremendously winning and large as he was as a bouncer in The Adventures of Pluto Nash, another movie that I have never seen and would not watch at gunpoint, and neither did you, nor would you. In summary, parents with kids of a certain age, I'm sorry in advance. I recommend bringing a flask. Death at a Funeral SUGGESTED VARIETY HEADLINE: "Death at the Box Office." Variety editors: call me! I like the electrifying tagline listed on IMDB for this . . . object: "This is one sad family." Does this make you want to actually see the movie, even in context? Or does it make you want to sit on the couch and eat Pringles? How about if I told you that the director is Neil LaBute, whose best and only comedy to date was the eye-popping, jaw-dropping, face-mopping spectacle The Wicker Man, a movie so unhinged that when we watched it, all our doors and cabinets fell down? Then we were attacked by angry bees, so we lit ourselves on fire. This seems to happen a lot when we try to watch LaBute's clumsy, misanthropic hairballs. Except for Possession, which was actually genuinely hilarious. (That's a joke. Literally nobody on earth watched Possession, including the reviewers who wrote reviews about it. They didn't see it. They went into the bathroom and jerked off into their popcorn. Nobody who was unfamiliar with the book could give a shit, and everyone who actually read that terrible book already felt punished enough. It's the first movie ever made that nobody watched, even the cast and crew, who spent red carpet night doing whippets and playing Cranium. The projectionist came closest to watching it as he dolefully sat in the empty theater, but he quickly and mercifully had a massive stroke and died.) The Back-Up Plan Hey, did you know that Jennifer Lopez has a prominent, attractive ass? ROLL CREDITS! Seriously, this could be the most efficient rom-com in recent history. Anonymous white guy falls in love with spicy Latina scat star; J-Lo's underwear comically falls off; someone pitches forward into some sort of cake, dip, or bowl of mustard; wedding! Then anonymous white guy aggressively fists J-Lo while a soulful Elbow song plays. Hollywood directors: call me! Iron Man 2 This doesn't really properly fit here on this list, as it will definitely be a blockbuster and will make a shit-ton of money. And why not? The first one was certainly a very nice surprise thanks to some awesome casting and a pleasingly light touch. Hell, it opened the door for even more superhero movie roles for Robert Downey Jr,. as evidenced by the recent Sherlock Holmes, in which he played a two-fisted brilliant detective/pugilist/opiate enthusiast/indestruc[...]

Searching For Answers

Wed, 31 Mar 2010 22:15:34 -0800

Some of you may have been wondering where I've been keeping myself. Well, the truth is, I've been doing hard research. Hanging out at Yahoo! Answers, I've been tracking trends among question topics, and the findings are . . . well, they're strange. Y!A has recently seen an uptick in questions regarding zombies, monkeys, pirates and extreme violence. My initial thesis so far: Obama's presidency has unleashed an outbreak of insanity on society. Also, zombies. What follows are representative examples of these trends. Zombie Temp Has No Brains So since the zombie apocalypse hit, I've been having problems with our most recently hired temp Theresa. I'm the IT guy in our office, and I'm a little stumped as to what to do. Theresa has moved from being a pretty steady data entry gal into being a gurgling zombie who shouts for BRAINS! and has taken to hitting and shaking her monitor and eating her surrounding cubemates. I mean, she really beats the hell out of those monitors. Is this going to invalidate the warranties? They're Dells and I'm in Wichita if it makes any difference. Thanks! Helper Monkey NOT HELPING Long shot, probably. Does anyone have any experience with helper monkeys? I'm a quadriplegic, and I rely on my little guy to help me out with everyday tasks like steaming the couch cushions, grooming my proud golden beard and light typing. Lately, though, Carl has started to SEND BANANAS IMMEDIATELY TO BARRY SCHULTZ, C/O CARL, 187 BEARDO PLACE, WICHITA, KANSAS 67276 and it's starting to drive me nuts. I've tried having close relatives beat him savagely, but it always just ends up with bared fangs and hurt feelings. Any ideas appreciated. Kosher? Last week on the ESPN show "Pardon The Interruption," zombie Tony Kornheiser ate the face of his co-host Michael Wilbon. As Wilbon screamed haplessly and flapped his arms comically while Kornheiser devoured the flesh from his skull, I idly wondered if Michael Wilbon was considered kosher. I am not Jewish, so I'm pretty ignorant of the details. It is, however, my understanding that Michael Wilbon is part hyrax, which complicates matters somewhat. Anyone? Wikipedia is unclear, except for the hyrax part. ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! That's what I screamed when a crocodile ate both of my hands. (Don't ask.) A pirate by trade, I find myself having to consider new job avenues now that I have hooks for hands. I've recently begun performing massage therapy, and my clients seem to appreciate the deep pressure I'm able to apply with the rounded backsides of my iron hooks. Now here's the issues. I tore one guy up pretty good when my mind wandered and I forgot to invert my hooks; I'm now being convicted of manslaughter. Like I needed that. The other complication is that every now and then I've inadvertently killed several back-spasming faeries with the touch of my cold iron hooks. There's a whole stack of them in the basement, and it's beginning to be awkward explaining the gently glowing pile of dead mythological creatures to my wife. Have any hook-handed ex-pirate masseurs experienced similar issues? Hairball Highball So! Last month I was visiting Wichita and I went to a bar (don't remember the name . . . I think there was an ampersand in it) and was served an incredible cocktail and I can't find it anywhere else! It's killing me! I remember that the bartender called it Pat Morita's Hydraulic Arm, and it was some mixture of rye whiskey, cat dander, bitters and human hair. I've tried making it at home with some limited success, but my cat now just hides all day and my girlfriend is pretty pissed off at me for shaving her head in the middle of the night and she's bald. I can always scam some dander from the local kennels, but the human hair thing is a sticking point. So here's my question: does anyone have Sam Waterston trapped in their basement dungeon? I'd be willing to offer fair market pri[...]

Getting With The Program

Tue, 09 Feb 2010 22:16:39 -0800

Today at work I had a meeting. It was three and a half hours long. Now, let us stipulate that there is nothing remotely interesting about turgid blog posts about turgid work meetings. They are universally dull and wrist-slitting. This is a blog post about my interminable work meeting. Enjoy! It actually wasn't the worst thing I've endured. After all, I've seen "Ace of Cakes." But it was a PowerPoint presentation titled "Back to Basics," which gave me brief hope that it was going to be still shots from a little-known sex comedy from 1980 with Bill Murray pulling faces and faceless women taking their shirts off. It emphatically was not. It was, as advertised, a PowerPoint presentation, with multiple images spinning their way into view in various whimsical ways, occasionally with sound effects like screeching tires, Yakety Sax, and my silent mental screams. At one point, a demo of an updated piece of software was given. Seriously, you can stop reading any time. Anyway, this piece of home-rolled software is titled GUP. That stands for "General Update." It was created back in 1999 in-house to replace a profoundly primitive but similar piece of software called MUP. That stood for "Manual Update," and it looked exactly like Zork. ("You are in a maze of green text . . . ") MUP, apart from its tendency to inspire me to chant "MUP MUP MUP!" in my office, was a truly horrid program whose interface was akin to performing delicate ear surgery with a two-by-four. GUP, on the other hand, was a slightly slicker replacement bit of software that was extraordinarily ugly, but less Zork-esque in that one did not actually fear for being eaten by grues. On the third hand, GUP was not without its problems. Its main deficiency was the fact that if one had to alter multiple rows in multiple tables, GUP required you to enter the patient chart information every single time. For each change, you had to enter three different identifier fields. This was not unlike visiting a supermarket where, when purchasing several items, you had to buy one thing at a time and then go to the back of the line for every separate item. Now, it's probably useful to realize that, again, these programs were created in-house in 1999. It's also helpful to realize that I'm a total moron who topped out with BASIC and then promptly forgot even that. It's ALSO perhaps amusing--or something--to know that the guy who hammered out most of the code behind this misbegotten app, a legendary maniac named Owen who was famous for being tasked for these awful assignments, would disappear into his office for weeks at a time and then, after long hours of cramming walnuts up his ass or painting surrealistic depictions of fanciful giraffes, would eventually emerge from his office with a wholly-formed program ready to be deployed. I talked with the other programmers at the time (many of whom were utterly cracked themselves, including one avowed Libertarian who enjoyed sending emails in Latin), who described his methods as either "brilliant" or "utterly insane." Or, often, both. The original GUP program was intended as a very temporary fix, as even our AppDev folks recognized its annoying aspects, namely its outrageously inefficient access mechanisms, its hideous interface, and the inescapable fact that once Owen left shortly after its creation, nobody had the faintest idea how or why he had created it in the way he did. Owen became our lost Dr. Frankenstein, a mad genius who had foisted a shambling, mad creature into our world, realized he had no earthly way of explaining it or controlling it, and then just threw his hands up and split, off to some other Pythagorean world where there were always orchards of walnut trees laden with nuts to cram up his ass. GUP is the temporary fix we've been living with for over ten years. Today, at our deathless meeting, the new version[...]

Brad Company

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 23:59:21 -0800

A couple years ago, I was in Chicago on a business trip. My good friend Brad L. Graham met me at my hotel lobby for a night of dinner and subsequent carousing. We hugged warmly, despite the fact that I had met him only a couple times in, as they say, "real life"--but I had known Brad for the better part of a decade; first through a website called MetaFilter and then via another more private site where I and a bunch of other degenerates and perverts hang out and bullshit all the live-long day in order to avoid doing work. Brad, a tremendously energetic and unapologetic flirt, immediately engaged the staff. After we hugged, he turned to the bell desk attendant and said, in his improbably deep voice, "Excuse me, lovely lady. Could you recommend a restaurant where I could take this devastatingly handsome man?" (I am emphatically not handsome in any conventional sense. I sort of resemble a shorter Toxic Avenger with slightly better skin.) He flashed his trademark snaggly grin, and you could see her respond in kind. She pointed us to some place that I do not remember, but seemed to feature attractive ashtrays. The flirting towards me was of course harmless and vaguely ridiculous, since he knew very well that I'm straight and married, but he also knew my weakness for wordplay and playful repartee, and so as we sparred throughout the evening, gradually endrunkening ourselves (the business meetings the next morning were murder), we found an easy groove. We shared the same vices and spent the evening reveling in both of them--nail-biting and tearing the legs off of earwigs. (Not really. I'm of course talking about drinking martinis and smoking shitty domestic cigarettes.) It was a simply *jazz hands* fabulous evening, with Brad making his trademark groantastic punny jokes and occasionally making utterly silly salacious remarks about nearly every male or male-ish person who happened to enter his ambit. My friend Brad was found dead on Monday, apparently from "natural causes" in his bed. He was 41 years old. I will myself turn 41 in June this year. I am devastated. I hate the phrase "natural causes." What the holy deep-fried fuck is natural about dying from some handwavey horseshit at the age of 41? Let's leave aside the idea that "natural causes" generally elides the whole idea of providing an explanation of "causes" at all. What fucking causes? I'd like to see some fucking newspaper article describe some poor bastard's death as "natural murder." Fuck. You might as well state that he died from "Stuff." I am also pissed off. It's difficult for me to make sense of, and I don't know how to articulate it, other than to repeat the completely worn-out trope that death is a bitch, and it's unfair, and frankly, can go fuck itself. I don't really want anyone to die (though of course I've engaged in hyperbole to the opposite, as we all do), but Brad? Really? In the words of I.I. Rabi upon discovering a subatomic particle that nobody had ever predicted, "Who ordered that?" And it's strange to me to have these feelings--these cloudbursts of tears that have been coming on me for a couple days--over someone who I met physically only a couple times, but who I knew what I would considerably fairly intimately over eight or so years on the fucking Internet. I don't think I'm the only one. The MetaFilter thread announcing his death (technically a subsite called MetaTalk) brought dozens and dozens of old members out of the woodwork (many of whom had to obtain help from the administrators to restore long-lost login passwords) simply because they felt the need to express their utter grief. I won't go into the details of his storied life. You can look it all up. You should. The man was an Internet legend for a lot of reasons, but those details are boring compared to the man qua man. He was one of the [...]

Continental Drift

Mon, 21 Dec 2009 22:19:35 -0800

Right before Thanksgiving, the wife and I traveled once again to Bruges. It was our third trip over there and my first to Amsterdam, where we flew in and out of. I've been thinking a lot about how to write it up, and have largely been stymied. I'm still not quite back yet. General notes, I guess: weather-wise, we got utterly creamed. There was exactly one day in which we were not rained on, and we're not talking Pacific Northwest polite rainfall: we got doused every fucking day. On our first night there, we sat glazed in front of the hotel TV, trying to get our bodies adjusted to the jet lag (with occasional fun bouts of me throwing up nothing), when a truly epic thunderstorm descended upon us. Naturally, I chose this very moment to wander downstairs for a cigarette. The lightning was close and intense, so it was a smart thing that I was holding an umbrella up in the air. As a rule, I like to feel safe by holding a largely metal object up in the air when there's massive amounts of atmospheric electricity in play. I struggled to light my smoke in the ridiculous gale, and was largely unsurprised when my umbrella got inside-outed by the wind. "I've really got to stop smoking," I thought as I stood battered by the storm. I watched a middle-aged lady attempt to cross a canal bridge, and her hopeless umbrella met the same fate as mine. I stood under my crippled, useless bumbershoot, shivering and staring at the twisted tines of the poor thing and welcomed myself to Europe. I hope it goes without saying that neither of us could give a ripe fuck about the bad weather. We had a week of the town to ourselves before we were met by our traveling companions Will and Julea (and, for a brief couple days, Warren). We had set ourselves up in a two-story apartment with a rooftop balcony that overlooked the city's famous belfry. The three of them had a rough ride to Bruges from Amsterdam, and arrived hours later than they anticipated due to four different train changes necessitated by things like dogs wandering onto the tracks and train operators needing to stop for gum in Ghent. After such a harrowing trip, one thing was called for: a ridiculous bender. The wife and I had laid in a solid liter of Jameson's whiskey, which we attacked like Huns. Warren in particular went after the luckless bottle as if it had done Warren some grievous wrong in the past. (I confess I wasn't far behind Warren in draining the thing.) At some point in the evening, Julea took exception to a hideous oil painting in the apartment, a depiction of some long-forgotten matriarch glaring out with a secret fury at the living world, and clambered up onto a decidedly unsturdy desk to cover it with a blanket. That's when my wife went a little pale and announced she was going to bed. Some of us were to be discovered, the next morning, a bit on the moany side, and we laughed over our night of excess. Warren, for his part, blamed the brand of whiskey. "Fuckin' Jameson's!" he howled. "Every time I drink that shit, I wake up miserable!" We attempted to offer an alternate theory--that he had drunk a simply unreasonable quantity of high-octane moonshine--was met with scorn. "Fuckin' Jameson's!" He would occasionally yell this while looking to Zeus for answers that were not forthcoming. It wasn't all debauchery, of course. We made sure to get our culture on, visiting some museums, taking in public sculptures, and in general freaking out over the absurdly adorable local architecture. We climbed the belfry tower, noting that, while cruel, Colin Farrell's observation from In Bruges that morbidly obese people could never make it all the way up was completely true. We were at the top when the clock struck 2:00, causing certain female members of our party to scream, which was also charming. Further evide[...]

Skotty Got His Gun

Mon, 16 Nov 2009 22:26:40 -0800

As we all know, last week we celebrated--by which I mean "didn't go to the bank" or "receive mail"--Veteran's Day. My dad is a vet, so my inability to buy stamps was important to me in complicated ways. As it turns out, that particular week ended up being harrowing for me in a way that true veterans can understand. Much like huddling under machine gun fire, I found myself in a similarly nightmarish scenario.

I was compelled to attend a training class on Office 2007.

I WAS THERE! As a fully grown man in a gray ponytail explained how Outlook was now "pretty neat." In fact, everything was "pretty neat," including programs that I routinely do not use, and in fact would actively resist using, such as PowerPoint and Excel.

"You see how you can import all this information from other programs like Access? It's pretty neat!"

Dear Mr. Ponytail:

Not only do I not give the slightest red rubber fuck about Excel, I give an even flabbier red rubber fuck about Access. I do not use either application, and if I did, I would surely put a bullet in my brain. I sure hope you die soon, Mr. Ponytail!



It was all just horrifying. We spent about fifteen minutes learning about how to put in watermarks into Word documents. My document consisted of the words "Blarg! Snuh! Guh!" Which I then overlaid with a bright orange watermark that read "SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM!" I felt I was making progress.

Later, when I was pointlessly learning about the fabulous new version of Excel, I made a column entitled "Pig Corpses." I promptly assigned myself a really impressive quantity of dead pigs, all of whom are destined for ignominy, since I then fucked everything else up and made the table completely unreadable. I hate Excel. On the other hand, I love pork.

I particularly liked the presentation on PowerPoint, another program that I find hideous and that I never intend to use again. Ponytail: "You can import older PowerPoint programs into the new PowerPoint." Hey, that's fucking amazing. It's like saying "You can pump fuel into this old Chevy simply by removing the gas cap!"

"It's pretty neat!" he concluded. I fruitlessly rubbed my temples.

This training session went on for six hours. Our company paid for this. Most likely through the fucking nose. Hey, speaking of, where did the phrase "through the nose" come from? Presumably not through interminable Microsoft training courses, which make me want to relentlessly pick mine, but I don't know. It is entirely possible in my mind that Microsoft only exists in order to make average citizens feel a deep desire to claw around in their sinus passages.

Microsoft: Pick Your E-Nose! It's Pretty Neat!

(PS: Microsoft fully endorses Veteran's Day, and in no way supports the idea of soldiers going back in time to be killed by enemy fire.)

Chicago Loop

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 23:16:24 -0800

I stopped by a neighborhood bar on my way home from work today. An old burnout guy was sitting there a few stools down--I think his name is Tom--and he's of the horrible sort who likes to talk to strangers (like me) by way of chuckling to himself and trying to invite conversation. Today, he managed to engage the indefatigable Josh, the bartender, thusly: "I mean, don't you think the moon landing was a scam? They wanted to embarrass the Russians, after all." I glared fixedly into my newspaper; Josh was all like, "Yeah, uh . . . that shit was crazy." Tom chuckled some more after Josh scampered away; he was trying to get me to ask him what was so funny. I declined his chuckly advances. Meanwhile, the hellish radio station that Josh had on blared away with songs like "I'm Too Sexy," "I Am Your Venus," "The Heat Is On" and "Your Love." The latter song, by the Outfield, by the way, has been shown, upon prolonged exposure, to drive spiders absolutely insane, causing them to spin webs that look like line drawings of Marlonn Wayans' face. Nobody knows why, but that's the God's truth. White Chicks 2 will, I'm sure, explain this bit of Wayans ephemera. This is all, of course, meaningless, except to sort of outline how shitty my lousy afternoon was, what with the Wayans-related-arachnoid-chuckling-burnout case and all that, other than to alert me to the fact that this afternoon was in every way superior to last week. See, last week, I had to fly to Chicago for work for our semiannual conference. It's a combo buffet of a training seminar along with dreary meetings where everyone gets together to discuss the various ways in which we have been utterly unsuccessful in finding ways to cure cancer. "So here's how you fill out these web forms. Now, in a few minutes, we'll talk about the relative uselessness of bisphosphonates." Tuesday--all day--was a travel day for me, so no heavy lifting there. Just the usual rectal invasion by the TSA. ("You have a muppet up your asshole." "Oh, that's where Grover likes to nap.") I checked into my hotel room without incident and was improbably ensconced in a weird suite at the Hyatt on the 34th floor, where I immediately bounced on the king-sized bed for sixteen minutes and marveled that I had two different phones. Then I came to the dispiriting realization that every time I wanted a cigarette, I'd have to travel down 34 floors. I let my bed-bouncing gloomily subside, and decided to get a beer and a bite. In a not-rare moment of terrible judgment, I opted for an in-house hotel bar of a weak--very weak--Irish theme called, ominously, "Daddy-Os." I ask you. "Daddy-Os?" That's like going to an allegedly Scottish place called "Paul Haggis" or a lesbian joint titled "Furburgers." I'm a moron. Anyway, I got this pulled pork sandwich (oh, shut up). It was fire-engine red and tasted like a fire engine. I got about four bites in before my dead-tired brain finally realized, "Hey! This tastes like death." I pushed the thing away from me to the perplexed bartender, who asked if everything was all right. "I'm in the most inexplicably named Irish bar ever," I explained. The Daddy-Os bartender shrugged and dumped my sandwich into the garbage, and I raised a tired mental cheer over its demise. My duties the next morning were easy: I was to preside over the "drop-in" desk, where I registered people to our conference who where too distracted or simple to register online via a rather simple set of checkboxes. It's a lot like, I would imagine, screening contestants for "The Price is Right." There were four of them who registered; I resisted the urge to ask them how much a can of Del Monte green beans retailed for, but only barely. I also grabbed a cheap latte. By 11:00, my stomach was in[...]

This Isn't Funny

Tue, 06 Oct 2009 22:50:26 -0800

Say! Elections are coming up again! Granted, it seems like we just did this--and we did--but these are off-year elections. Who fucking cares, right?

Well, I do. And listen, my tens of readers, you should too, particularly those of you fellow Washington Staters. Because of Referendum 71. (Jesus fucking Christ, give me strength to tolerate the referendum process.)

Here's the (very abbreviated) deal. Last spring, the legislature voted to expand domestic partnership protections. In response to this, a bunch of lying fucking assholes whipped up a frenzy of "OMG the fags want to get hitched!!!!!" nonsense and managed to get any number of mouth-breathers to sign up for a referendum that's tantamount to asking us, "Are you suuuuuure? Because if this becomes law, you might be, you know, a faggot." Voting "no" on R-71 would repeal rights for same-sex domestic partnerships. Never mind that it says nothing about gay marriage. Never mind that the liars are spreading all kinds of toxic horseshit about teaching about gay sex in schools. Never mind that the issue is (once again) being flogged by a bunch of motherfucking ignorant goblins.

Okay, that may be a little over the top. Let me clarify: those who are against same-sex domestic partnership rights are motherfucking ignorant goblins who should be thrown under a glacier. There! Didn't mean to sound cruel.

Look, I'm appealing to you as a friend. Maybe that's overreaching. How about just as someone who would have my back, even if you don't know me? I like to think that, say, if I were hanging out in a bar and some fucking douchebag punched me in the face for no reason, and you were also hanging out, maybe you'd come give me a hand and pull that fucker off of me. I like to think that I'd do that for some poor guy minding his own business in the same situation. I'm not even gay, and this goddamn bullshit feels like getting sucker-punched for sure. After eight stinking motherfucking years of feeling punched in the face every goddamn day during the Bush years, it's getting old. So can a dude ask you--my imaginary friends--to please stand up and give me a hand? Give my friends a hand? Can you help pull these wretched ass-goats out of the fucking bar and help me kick them to the curb?

I mean, for Christ's fucking holy choad, it costs you a stamp if you've signed up for voting by mail. You don't have to go anywhere! You don't have to smell kindly old ladies in vests! You don't have to endure faceless municipal buildings or desiccated church lobbies! And even if you still want to physically travel to your local polling place at the Denny's conference room . . . WELL, COULD YOU, PLEASE? I'm begging you.

I guess I lost my "be nice and ask nicely" tone somewhere. I'm fucking tired of being nice (not something I suppose I'm regularly accused of). But I'll try again. Please, guys, get out the vote. Approve R-71. Stand the fuck up for that nice guy over in cubicle 2043 and his live-in boyfriend. Leslie in HR can use your fucking help. You know these people, right?

Are you tired of getting fucking punched in the face? Are you tired of your friends getting knuckled out? I swear to God I've got your back. Just step up, and there's a whole lot of us who've got your back. Step up.

Howdy, Duty

Tue, 22 Sep 2009 22:04:47 -0800

Coming home a few weeks ago, as usual, I checked the mail. I was delighted to find a couple of my magazines that I subscribe to--Hot Balls and, of course, Shootin' It On Food--and slightly less delighted to find a little fold-out deal that had "JURY SUMMONS" written prominently on its face. I stared at it for a moment and thought what any guy would: "Please let this be addressed to my wife." Alas. No, for the first time, I had received a summons for jury duty, and was scheduled to appear on, of all things, on a Friday morning at 8:00 AM sharp at the King County Superior Court in downtown Seattle. On September 11, no less. NEVAR FORGET! (Your jury duty.) I dreaded this for weeks leading up to the event. I'm not even sure why. I envisioned myself being empaneled for some tax evasion drear party that would lead to eight weeks of existential despair. (Work covers me for two weeks of jury duty, even on top of King County's generous per diem of ten bucks a day.) For the rest of it, I had no idea what to expect. In my mind, I was thinking me and thirty or so of my fellow citizens hanging out in some shitty conference room all day. The wife drove me to the courthouse on the fateful day. Traffic was horrific, so I actually got out a couple blocks early and wandered over to the site. There were literally hundreds of people in line, stretched around the block. It was 8 sharp, but I obviously wasn't getting into the building (and through security) any time soon. Fuck this, I thought, and went to get some coffee. Getting in line, I immediately began smoking like a fiend, drawing grouchy looks from others, but really, fuck them. It was pretty clear that I wasn't going to be skipping out of the courthouse on every whim to satisfy my nicotine monkey. I had brought nicotine gum in anticipation of this fact, but that was a last resort--in the meantime, all these other people could go fuck themselves. A young gal with a cellphone screwed into her ear was standing in line behind me; she was one of the few people who didn't seem to give a shit that I was hotboxing my brains out. Presently, she turned off her phone, and then looked at the jury summons in my hand with some confusion. "Wait, are you here for jury duty?" she asked. "Yeah, aren't you?" "No. I'm here for, like, court. Like, I have to appear in court." "Oh," I said. It's this sort of thing that just goes to show why chicks think I'm fucking rad. "DUI," she clarified without prompting. "Oh," I said again, causing her to immediately fall in love with me and give me a rapturous blow job right there on the sidewalk. Oh, wait, I'm misremembering! She actually then said, "Oh, it's cool." Then she called another friend, causing me to seethe about all of the anonymous blow jobs I seem to be missing every fucking day, somehow. I continued smoking, and the line trudged along as only a line containing people fulfilling a public service can: sullenly. Then my friend Val walked by. I've known Val for probably ten years; she's a fellow actor, and I used to be in a sketch comedy troupe with her. "Val!" I cried. "Have they finally gotten you on those multiple child abuse charges?" (Not really.) She of course had also been summoned along with several hundred of our closest friends. She hugged me and then loped forlornly to the end of the line. I continued chain smoking. FINALLY, after clearing the metal detector, I was inside. "Ninth floor! Prospective jurors, ninth floor!" cried out some guy. Yeah, definitely not just bouncing out for a cigarette any old time I felt like it. I patted the nicotine gum in my pocket for solace. Then, since I was in the neighborhood, I also patted my penis, also for [...]

Let's Put The X In Horrible Beer Ads

Tue, 01 Sep 2009 22:15:02 -0800

[The Most Interesting Man in the World is shown. He is eating a fox that he has stolen from Polish peasants.]

VO: He will eat your foxes.

Pursuing Polish peasants: Come back! We are starving!

[The Most Interesting Man in the World is shown having sex with Mindy Cohn.]

VO: He will fuck former television stars. Here he can be seen banging the shit out of Natalie from The Facts of Life.

Mindy Cohn: He's got such a bumpy dick! It's like he has cleats for that thing.

VO: He can disarm you with his words. Or his hands. Or his alarming penis.

Mindy Cohn: Seriously, it's pretty terrifying at first, but I really needed the money.

VO: He can speak French . . . in Canada.

Quebec Resident: Yes, it is not remarkable.

[The Most Interesting Man in the World is shown playing a game of contract bridge.]

The Most Interesting Man in the World: I meld these hearts for nine hundred points.

Opponent: Have you ever played this game?

VO: He is clinically insane.

[The Most Interesting Man in the World is shown sticking circus peanuts into his ears.]

Mindy Cohn: He wasn't that rough with me. I've had worse.

VO: He routinely receives barium enemas. Not for diagnostic purposes. He just loves those enemas.

The Most Interesting Man in the World: My asshole, it is a Chernobyl.

Mindy Cohn: I got so tired of those enemas. Talk about no fun.

VO: He is the most interesting man in the world, if you find complete douchebags interesting.

The Most Interesting Man in the World: I don't always drink beer, which seems like the last thing you'd want me to say for a beer commercial, but when I do, I vaguely prefer Dos Equis. They almost never make it out of donkeys any more.

[Final tableau shows Mindy Cohn's mutilated body staring blindly into the camera.]

I really hate Dos Equis' latest ad campaign.