Sunday, August 28, 2005

Park it.

There was this vehicle on the highway today that had a hand-printed sign in the window: "Park your Hummer." I would have honked and gave him the thumbs-up if he hadn't been driving a truck.

Which brought me to the point of realization. It really isn't the Hummers on the road that drives America's black hole oil consumption. It is the sheer volume of commuters. You remember...we're the ones who took our bourgoisie ass out of the city to make a better life for our children. Yeah, we're the ones to blame. So, here's the sign I'd like to slap on my back:

SAVE AN IRAQI AND RIDE YOUR BIKE TO WORK.

Course, I'd look like an ass if I put it in my back window. Sha.

The Quick and the Dirty

Realizing that my fans are champing at the bit for new words descended from on high (moi), I have taken a few moments to direct some words right at their blessed little hearts. Now I know that many of you are seething from boredom when I am not posting, so I have decided to give you a taste of the excellence in viewing that I enjoy so much, i.e. rockin' cool movies. So, here are a few quick and dirty recommends to get the job done.

Stylish and Clever: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

At the top of my stylish and clever category is the balls-to-the-wall Cockney scam-fest by director Guy Ritchie. The heavy cockney accents and east-London slang may leave you a little bewildered in the first half hour, so, if you are a speed reader, use your closed captioning to keep up. This movie moves at a lightening pace, virtually studded with grifters bent on getting the best of somebody. The punk-soul soundtrack keeps things jumping until the unbelievable climax. You won't be tossing old guns off a bridge after this. Guaranteed.

Movies to Impress: Primer

Hey, let’s face it. Sometimes we just want people to think we’re smart. This indie film by Shane Carruth and David Sullivan, two green grads from director school, will fool ‘em for sure. This movie is so smart I literally watched it straight through twice just to figure out what the hell was going on. Which was ok, because not only is it smart, but it’s also freaking amazing. If you don’t drop jaw, someone better check to see if you are breathing. Virtually shot in two locations on a budget somewhere under $25,000, these two guys not only convince you they are Hollywood caliber, but they put Mensas to shame. Rock on, little director grads.

Twistedly Funny: Drowning Mona

I gotta say, if it’s twisted, I probably think it’s funny. That is why I so dig this movie. Listen:

"Does anything about this murder strike you as odd?" said the sheriff.

"You mean like the fact that no one cares?" said his deputy.

"Exactly."

"She's dead, Wyatt. Whoever killed her did us all a favor. As far as I'm concerned, ding-dong the wicked witch is dead. End of story."

No one in Verplanck, New York gives a flying fig that Mona Dearly was killed. Not her husband. Not her son. And certainly not the grease-spoon floozy playing Wheel of Fortune with her husband. The only movie in the history of movie-making that features a Yugo car chase, this movie abounds with quirky characters and off-beat humor. It’s worth the watch just for that. With stellar performances by everyone in the cast including Casey Affleck, Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Will Farrell and Danny DeVito, you’re sure to get your laugh off. And I love the stylin’ sounds of the seventies soundtrack. Righteous.

Sexually Repressed and Explosive: Girl with a Pearl Earring

Boy, you gotta hand it to those Dutch people. They sure were repressed. And religious. But it is precisely the repression and tightly-bound religiosity of this movie that gives its powerful impact. In a household brimming with the intensity of insecurity, jealousy, creative genius and slightly mad passion, Scarlett Johannson plays a pawn in a sexual chess game of the wealthy and powerful. But it’s the eye candy of Cillian Murphy and Colin Firth that makes my mouth water. Yum. The silence and low-tempo movement of the film only heightens the anticipation of what’s to come, like slow-moving heavy petting. Despite a complete lack of any gratuitous flesh being exposed, it’s one of the most sensual movies I’ve ever seen. Hands above the covers, now.

Enjoy, my people. And we'll talk later. Peace out.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Not exactly uninspired.

More like electronically challenged. With only moments to post messages between calls at work thanks to the 20 lb boat anchor I used to call a computer at home, I'm not able to adequately develop the pearls of wisdom floating about my lovely head. Sad for you. But I'm working on it. I hope to have a computer up and running at home in the next couple weeks. And then you guys are gonna get it. Pearls of wisdom strung together like the finest necklace extending out from here to next year. Happy reading. Later.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ode to Food

5 for a dollar macaroni and cheese. Buy one get one free packages of bologna. Endless plates of spaghetti. These and other culinary cheapies have left me feeling rounder, curvier and more tightly packed into my clothing. My boobs are happy, but the rest of me is groaning. It is time to place aesthetics over pricing, and stop pacing the bargain aisles in a mad search for high-volume, low-cost eating. And in doing so, I would like to say goodbye to the things I love, things that make my palate salivate. Little somethings I'd like to refer to as....tongue crack.

Goodbye, Burger King's Spicy Tendercrisp chicken sandwich. You make my eyes water.
Goodbye, Cherry Garcia icecream with Hershey's Chocolate syrup and maraschino cherries.
Goodbye, Famous Dave's BBQ cheddar bacon burger with the best fries on the planet. Guaranteed heart attack on every plate.
Goodbye, homemade southern Frito pie (Fritos corn chips and homemade chili smothered in cheddar cheese). Aka, how to get fat and really enjoy it.
Goodbye, Apple Avenue Cafe's stuffed hashbrowns. Many an ass you have widened.
Goodbye, BW3's Smoky Southwest buffalo wings. I've killed too many chickens as it is, thanks to your Two for Tuesdays special.
Goodbye, Cole's cheese garlic bread. You make my breath stink, but my tongue quiver with joy.
Goodbye, Dolly Madison's Raspberry Zingers. Best twinkie on the planet.
Goodbye, Papa John's pepperoni pizza and cheese bread sticks. Into a food coma you've ushered me on many an occassion.
Goodbye, homemade swiss steak. The best damn steak you'll ever eat.
Goodbye, Mexican Casserolle. Stroganoff. Pizza. French toast. Zupa Toscana.
Goodbye, all the comfort food in the world. It was nice knowing you. But you never tasted as good as thin feels.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I'd just like to say...

People are stupid. I know this does not come as a surprise to any of you, but this is just one of those things that needs to be said in a formal way every once in a while. And today is a great day to do it because all the stupid people are calling me today.

Like the woman who could spend 30 minutes trying to convince me that I should make her new high-def TV work (which I already explained I couldn't do) instead of taking five minutes to look in her owner's manual (which I advised her to do repeatedly). No, instead she wanted to explain to me - yet again - that the SERVICE TECHNICIAN (who specializes in setting up video) couldn't get it to work.

Or the woman who repeatedly yelled at me because the technician didn't arrive when he was supposed to. After I told her that I'd sent a message to dispatch. After I'd assured her that dispatch promised they would do everything they could to get a tech out. After I'd explained that we had done everything we could do. She STILL wanted me to know what she would do IF the technician didn't show up and IF her cable wasn't fixed and IF we lose the war in Iraq and IF hell freezes over....

You get my point. People are just freaking STUPID.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Transfixed

I have a crush. It came upon me unawares. I was walking across the bullpen here at work when he caught my attention. I saw him out of the corner of my eye and was riveted. A bolt of electricity ran through my body. Although I had seen him on so many occassions, I had never really absorbed what I was seeing. But that day two weeks ago I saw....and was mesmerized.

Yes, George W Bush is my new crush. It is a mystery, but I find myself strangely attracted to his squinty blue eyes and devil-may-care, heigh-ho silver Cowboy Attitude. I know there is a rumor running around that cowboys don't exist anymore, but I would like to say this to those people: you're wrong. And even if you were right (Bill Maher), women don't care. Ask any woman the best line in the history of the world and she'll say Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday: "I'll be your huckle-berry." But George...he has the intensity of God behind him when he cocks his head to the side, narrows his eyes, looks right into the camera and delivers yet another Bushism: "Hear me now or hear me later, there are no massive weapons in destruction of Iraq for our troops." Sends thrills right through me. I lovya dubya!

And for my money, it just doesn't get any better than Jon Stewart's crooked-finger, squinty-eyed impression of studly Texan Cowboy. Yeeeeeee-haw! Ride 'em cowboy. I'll be your huckleberry!

Cowgirl king of the rodeo
Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll
-Kings of Leon

Monday, August 15, 2005

Yours Truly, The Ass

I realize that this will come as a complete shock to most of my dear readers, but I have done something Completely Stupid. A momentary aberration, you are no doubt thinking. Tis not so! Unfortunately, this is only the latest installment of many mishandled situations in my life all harking back to one minor itty-bitty flaw: the inability to need someone. Or need help. Or need anything I can't supply myself.

What happened was this: you know those pivotal moments in life when you really need to just be completely transparent, even if it makes you look completely needy and weak? Well, I'm really bad at those. When I'm in that situation, my mind instantly reverts to ANY other position than weakness or neediness. To be quite honest, I get this mind-block thing, almost like a panicky thing happening and neediness or weakness or vulnerability actually ceases to be an option. It goes right out of my brain. It isn't a dishonesty thing. It's just that neediness, weakness or whatever presents itself in my mind as a problem to be addressed, so I address it by putting myself into the un-needy or un-weak position. So instead, I make these stupid decisions that put what it is that I really need and really want in jeopardy. Those of you who know me are thinking of many examples of this right now. Come on, I know you are....be honest.

Oh, and before you get started, yes, I know this is a global village and that truly no one does anything on their own and to be completely honest, the only thing we all have in common is our need for other people, our need for help, our inability to provide everything we need for ourselves. I know all this but my knee-jerk reaction independant-ness prevents me from taking advantage of these realities in my personal relationships. To be quite precise, the knee jerk reaction keeps me from having personal relationships. And quite recently, this damn knee jerk reaction made me say some really stupid things to someone I really care about all because I couldn't utter the words embedded in my heart, the undeniable truths: I love you and I need you and more than anything, I want to enjoy your company every day of my life because I genuinely enjoy who God made you to be and having you as a part of my life - just knowing you are there - makes me very, very happy. You want to give me what I want? Give me you.

But nooooooooo. Instead I basically said I don't really need you in my life. I said I don't really want to hang around, I've got other people who want to be a part of my life. Like I said, truly an Ass.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Drowning Man

Ever notice how sometimes when you really want to do something good for someone in a bad circumstance, instead of doing good, you only end up inflicting more wounds? It's like that old bit of Polish wisdom that says you should never try to rescue a drowning person that is conscious. They'll take you down with them. See, that would be bad for both of you.

So, here's what happened to me. I have this friend who is continually making the same mistakes over and over again. Now, this is a very lovable person, but the repetition is getting a little old. So, I thought I would help him out by giving him the best lesson I've learned this past year, and I learned it from Captain Jack Sparrow. You remember, he's the staggering swaggering swashbuckling heart-throb of the blockbuster kiddie hit "Pirates of the Caribbean." There's this scene where he tells innocent Will Turner that his father was the black-guard pirate, Bootstrap Bill. Of course, Will threw a fit and Capt. Jack had him literally out on a limb in moments. The next words out of his mouth were profound ones. He said, "There are only two things that matter in this life, matey. What a man can do and what a man can't do. Now, you can hang there sputtering about your old man or you can accept your fate and help me dock this ship at Isle de Morta." Or some such gibberish as that. But the important part is the first part. That whole what a man can and what a man can't do part. That, matey, is profound.

You see, we expend a ton of energy contemplating the what if's of life. And, in reality, most of our what if's boil down to how other people are going to act - or react - to the decisions we make in life. As if the what if's determine whether the outcome of our decision or action is successful or not. It does not! We are absolutely in no way capable of controlling the decisions that other people make. We can not even influence the decisions other people make most of the time. The truth is, people do what they want to do, whether they want to admit it or not. All we can do is choose our own actions and responses. In the end, you see, it is not what they do but what we are going to do about it that matters.

The choice is ours. We can choose to accept things the way they are or choose to make things different. In the end, we can't make people do what we want them to do. We can't make people accept the decisions we make. But what we can do is know ourselves well enough to make decisions that we can live with, regardless of the circumstances. And we can only do that once we know 1. what we can live with and 2. what we can live without.

And this place, people, is absolute freedom. It is freedom because it gives us the power to say, "Hey! This is what I want, this is what I need and if you can't accept it, you can go to the deuces." The reality is, no one lives our life but us, ourselves. What we can live with and what we can live without is a complex amalgam of our personality, circumstances, inherent temperament, childhood scars and current resources. No one can assimilate that complexity for you, therefore no one is qualified to tell you what the resulting "live with" or "live without" should be. It is just you and the person you shave with every morning. We all need to get to a place where we can look at that person we shave with every morning, right in the eye, and like what we see. But if you look that person in the eye every morning and ask, "WTF are you doing, you stupid asshole?!?" chances are you need to make some choices. And changes.

And if you choose to NOT make a choice, and if you choose NOT to make some changes, the least you could do is just try not to take anyone else down with you on the way, drowning man. You've got a lifeline. Pull yourself to shore.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

And the award for best dressed goes to...

Moi! Although it may not come as a surprise to my fans, it did come as a surprise to me, being humble as I am. My graduating class from Charter University, the in-house training program that - gasp - can even teach a person how to use Windows, voted yours truly as the best dressed student in our huge-mongous group of 23. However, I must toot my own horn just a tad. There were some pretty cool people in my class and winning their accolades...good stuff. Other people...not so much.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Scourge of Lottery

So, I'm in Wesco this morning in a slight hurry because I wanted to run into work and get this stuff posted on my blog. Ok, so it is not necessarily the most critical thing in the world, but it is hugely satisfying to me to improve your lives through the example of mine. And I had some deeply insightful things to share with you today. I was eager, you see.

Unwittingly, I got behind the wrong person. I was standing in my usual state of equanimity (HA!) when I heard the cashier ask the woman in front of me whether she'd like her winnings in cash or lotto tickets. It took everything within me to keep from audibly groaning when the woman in front of me began rattling of a HUGE, looooooooong series of numbers so that she could take her winnings in tickets. I exaggeratingly rolled my eyes for the edification of anyone clever enough to look to see what my reaction was to this unseemly development: a handful of fanned lotto tickets and then about ten of those expensive scratch-offs. While I waited.

Being sociologically aware, however, I used the opportunity to critically observe the woman so I could reinforce my already disparaging views of the type of people who buy lottery tickets. I was not disappointed. Now, let me preface my observations with a bit of a nod to Dave Ramsey, best known for teaching people how to get out of debt and achieve Financial Peace. While I don't know if he was the first person to say this, he is the person who says it best (and most often): lottery tickets are a tax on the poor. A voluntary tax. This woman standing in front of me physically represented what could be construed as "poor." She was wearing flip flops (the $1.99 kind you can get at KMart in which the rubber begins to fray around the edges after day two), a cheap looking pair of shiny athletic pants that were too short and a nubbly-worn pink tshirt with an advertisement for the Bahamas on it.

Now, people can dress any way they want. It was not her attire I disapproved of. It was the fact that she was obviously poor and she was there spending good money on a statistically improbable chance at winning millions. She has a better chance of getting struck by lightening than winning the lottery. Even worse, instead of using her winnings to pad her obviously depleted wallet, she used it to perpetuate her long-odds hope.

I believe this situation makes a deeply striking statement regarding human beings and how we will grasp at toothpicks even as we go down, flailing, in the water. Let's think abut this woman in Wesco and use her as our example. Now, she's obviously poor. As a poor person, she's got a few options to turn her situation around. Undoubtedly, the hardest option open to her is to continue working at whatever godforsaken shithole job she currently occupies while she attends higher education part time until she educates herself enough to either get promoted or get a better job. Ten years down the road. While it's the hardest, it is also the most profitable. Her lifetime earnings would statistically be three to nine times higher. Another option would be to get a second job. That would suck, but it would also probably serve to get her to the Bahamas occassionally. Or she could sell various consumer products, both legal and not. Or she could go to the casino/buy lottery tickets. But the farther down this road she goes, the longer her odds get at actually getting a return on her investment. Unfortunately, she doesn't realize this because she is not educated. If she were, odds are that she wouldn't be in line buying lottery tickets. She'd probably be in line somewhere to buy concert or theatre tickets, things that could actually enrich her life. But no....we find her wasting away my precious time buying her one in seventeen million chance at untold riches. Like I said, a tax on the poor.

Oh, and while I am busily improving the world, let me make another suggestion: could convenience stores make a lottery-only line so the rest of us could zoom through our transactions, please? My excellence thanks you.