Uncategorized

Jury Duty and The Stenographer

A month ago I got a summons in the mail stating that I would have to go to the local courthouse for jury duty. Two days ago, I went.

For that month long wait, I probably thought about the upcomming date at least twice a day. I wasn't pumped about missing a day of work, and I definitely wasn't excited about the possibility of being selected for a case.

The night before I went, I found out that they were actively trying to select the jury for the Tyler Clementi case.

I got more nervous.

I asked my girlfriend, Allie, if she would drop me off at the courthouse, and on the way there, we listened to the radio, when, amazingly enough, an NPR reporter brought up the case! He said that they were having a difficult time assembling a jury for the case, because many of the potential juror's had a viewpoint that got them instantly dismissed.

While Allie and I stared at each other in amazement, the reporter elaborated that many of the jurors believe that the existence of the trial itself suggests that the defendant must be guilty of something. Why would they have a trial unless he did something to warrant it?

There it was. The key to my freedom.

We pulled up to the courthouse where a line of half-awake zombies wrapped around the block, and I could see several Court TV news vans gearing up to report on the big trial.

A little more confident of my dismissal, I hopped on the line.

15 minutes later, I sat in a huge room watching a quick instructional video about how we are serving our country by appearing for jury duty. It looked exactly like every dystopian future I've ever seen in a movie. Just footage of a man's head explaining to us how lucky we are for living where we do, and how we must give back to our country.

Another 15 minutes later, a few of us, split off from the massive pool of jurors, are stuffed into an elevator, on the way to a court room to learn what case we'll be interviewed for. I rehersed my story. I practiced the lines in my head.

"Well why are we here unless some of the charges are true?"

The moment I entered the room, everything changed.

First, we weren't being interviewed for the Tyler Clementi case, which made me breath a sigh of relief, and then realize that I would have to come up with a new excuse.

Second, I almost instantly stopped worrying about that the moment I noticed the court stenographer.

She was fascinating.

Either superhuman or subhuman.

Possibly a ghost.

More likely a zombie.

Sunken eyes, sallow skin, long spindly Nosferatu fingers.

I have no idea why her typewriter thing had such a small keyboard, but her frightening goblin fingers flew over the little keys, while paper the width of a standard receipt spewed out of the back. Why don't they use regular paper? Do they have teeny filing cabinets?

As she typed, her empty eyes fluttered around in her hollow skull. They found me, and stayed. She had chosen me.

To be fair I was staring right at her, likely with a mask of horror on my face, so I can't blame her for staring back.

I still don't know what I was really looking at, though.

Her life is based on converting the sounds she hears into words on a page. Without a break. For hours. There's no way that she has a mind. It would get in the way!

She's just a funnel. Sound goes in her ears and becomes an electrical impulse which flows down her arms and out of her fingertips. She can't possibly process all the legal bullshit that's being hurled at her without end.

Why don't they just use a recorder? She's basically a modern equivalent of the birds in The Flintsones movie that are meant to "record" conversations just by remembering everything everyone said!

She's not real! She's an animal who serves a singular purpose.

Speaking of being an animal, she must be completely wild outside of that courthouse, right?!

From 5:00 in the afternoon until 7:00 the next morning, I bet she's chugging whiskey, joy riding, and hitting mailboxes with a baseball bat.

She must have SO much pent up energy.

It's either that, or she's just as hollow outside of work and she walks around staring at everybody, listening in on conversations and reflexively moving her fingers in the air, phantom-typing.

Maybe they roll her chair into a closet at the end of the work day, and she sleeps in there.

Maybe I'm just wrong and that's not a person. She's a very sophisticated machine used to transcribe conversations, and they wanted it to look human.

They almost got it right.

I kind of hope that she has some sort of effect on what she writes. I hope she's able to add something personal. I hope the transcription of my interview went something like this:

"Judge: Can you think of any reason why you would not be right for this case?"

"Fat Moron: I can't afford to miss work."

"Judge: Fair enough, you're dismissed."

"Fat Moron lumbers out of the room."

"Someday I will absorb his soul."

Welcome to the New Site!

Hey guys, thanks for making the jump from my previous blog! I always wanted to buy the rights to my own website, and now I've got it!

Over here, I still have every single post I'd previously written. Everything was imported over, including typos and comments. Every Scary Story Time, every rant about types of people I'm annoyed by. So forget the old site, it's been swallowed up by the new one.

You'll notice that it's easier to navigate my posts now. Over on the right hand side bar, you'll see a section called "Categories." There I list the different types of posts you'll find here.

If you want to have an easy list of only scary stuff, click on the "Scary Story Time" category. For posts about my podcast, Will and Bobby Know Everything, click on exactly that! To avoid those common types of posts, click on "Uncatagorized," and you'll get just the posts that I wrote about anything else. It's simple.

Along with the new WillRogers2000 site, Bobby and I started www.WillAndBobby.com where you can go to get content not only about our podcast, but also additional posts from both of us about whatever we think of, as well as exciting upcoming new projects!

Bookmark both sites, because why not?

Ongoing: Film School

I think this'll be my first post that I constantly return to with updates, assuming anyone gives a shit.

In the past few months, my girlfriend and I have decided that it's time to make an important change.

We need to watch all the movies that people criticize us for having not seen yet.
Have you ever been talking to somebody when they bring up...lets say The Godfather? You tell them that you haven't seen The Godfather so you can't really say much about it, and they fire off with, "Oh my god, you've never seen THE GODFATHER?! It's so good!" You sheepishly shrug and they urge you that you "HAVE TO SEE IT!"
That happens to me all the time, and I'm sick of it. 
And those people are right. 
So a few weeks ago, Allie and I sat down and watched The Reservoir Dogs. I had seen it before, but she hadn't. It was amazing. The other night we watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I loved it, I can honestly say that it's one of the better movies I've ever seen.
Maybe we're way overdue for these things, but we're making up for lost time. The movies don't even have to be classics. They just need to be movies that people love.
So here's a brief list of movies I haven't seen that I know I'm supposed to, just off the top of my head:
The Godfather Trilogy
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Leon: The Professional
Amelie
Annie Hall
Casino
Boogie Nights
Magnolia
Eyes Wide Shut
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
12 Angry Men
Rear Window
Citizen Kane
Dr. Strangelove: yadda yadda yadda
Full Metal Jacket
Raging Bull
You get the idea. I'm sure there are a lot I'm missing, and this is my first attempt at creating an actual tangible list, so please write to me here, on Twitter (click here), or on Facebook (click here) with your suggestion of movies I need to see. Especially because I'm sure there are a lot of movies I can't think of that I need to see, so help me out!
Also feel free to write in with what movies people give you shit at because you haven't seen them!
Tonight Allie and I are taking care of another movie we've been urged to see: we're going to the State Theater to see Midnight in Paris.
Booya.

A Tale of Two Bullies: Me and My Murderer

I'm a bully.

At least, I was
I might still be, but that's not the point.
I'm not going to justify myself, or make it seem like my bullying ways were legitimate or fair, or excusable, but I'll tell you right up front that I didn't intend to be a bully. I meant to be the funny guy.
It's a popular myth that bullies are afraid of the people they attack, but I think that's actually an accidental result of the mocking rather than the immediate cause.
Bullies attack people that are just different, it's that basic.
It's where racism comes from.

This post isn't expressly about me, but I'll tell you a quick story about myself:

When I was 17, I was sitting in stand-still traffic, in the right most lane. I was listening to music and hanging out, when I saw a big muscular black guy walking up the side of the road. Before I knew what happened, I instinctively locked the doors of the car.

My heart sank...

What did I just do!? Did I assume this guy was going to try to steal my car and sit in the traffic?? Was I a racist? What the fuck??

I was seriously worried that I had just revealed myself to be a bigot. I thought about it a lot.

A few months later, I found myself sitting in more traffic. In the right most lane again. Listening to music. This time I looked up and saw a little old white lady walking up the side of the road. Before I knew what happened, my hand reached out and locked the doors again.

HOORAY!

I'M NOT RACIST, I'M JUST AFRAID OF EVERYTHING!


Especially little quiet people who wear bow-ties. Which brings me to my story:

There's a guy that I used to be "friends" with on Facebook, who, for the sake of this story, I'll refer to as "Elmer."
Elmer is a fucking asshole.
On Facebook, Elmer is constantly posting statuses, usually around three times a day, which are typically centered around how abortion should be made illegal (this is technically up for debate, but it's not the point of this post. If you have a problem with giving people a choice as to how they should conduct themselves and decide their future, go ahead an give me a reasoned argument for removing someone's options), and how any non-Christian is a fool. He posts about how "boughetto" (a crude word which is a combination of "bourgeoisie" and "ghetto") people are loud and stupid and annoying. He frequently deals in stereotypes about black people. On Martin Luther King day, he posted something fucking crazy about having the day off and whether or not it's deserved, and how MLK Jr. himself would say "Ni**er please" in regards to...something...
Elmer has blocked me on facebook, so I can't easily quote the post, but if I can find a way to quote the "Ni**er please" post in the future, I'll add it in. If you're friends with this prick and you can find it, send me a screen cap at WillAndBobby@gmail.com!
Anyway, I find him infuriating. He's a bully. And so I fucking bully him.
Most of the time I just post asinine shit.
For example:
Last week he posted something about how he couldn't wait to go home and have his "supper."
I thought it was absurd that he called "dinner" "supper," so at first I was going to post, "haha, what the fuck? You call it 'supper'?"
But it didn't seem funny enough.
So then I was about to write, "Oh boy, I love 'supper.'"
But then it wasn't weird enough (that's important to me), so I finally posted, "Oh no, my supper is cold :("
Perfect!
It's fucking stupid and irrelevant and not worth getting angry at, while still being weird and funny. And he mostly used to let me get away with just posting weird shit on his page, which was part of the fun.
Not all my posts have been benign though. I've called him out about threatening people.
A year ago, he wrote about how he never forgets the people who wronged him, and how one day they'll pay for it.
It set me off. And I wrote something along the lines of, "So you're threatening people now? I guess someday we'll see your face in the papers."

He went OFF! He freaked out and wrote a long post about how I had compared him to Jared Lee Loughner (a comparison which I didn't intend, but nonetheless find accurate).
I was mostly worried that I might lose the place where I posted absurd bullshit. And this guy is an accidental comedic genius.
That seems like a good enough background to explain what happened a couple of days ago.
Elmer posted this:
How's that for some racist bullshit?!

Really, the fact that black people were once discriminated against and hated means that black people should have learned not to be rude to anybody?
If you're going to use the argument that racism should have an effect on how black people "should" act, it would be that THEY ARE FREE TO DO WHATEVER THE FUCK THEY LIKE after white people did whatever the fuck they liked!
You stupid asshole!
You racist piece of shit!
You bow-tie-wearing human trash!
Now I'm not trying to big myself up or make my role in this world more significant than it is...And YES, I am (or WAS) willingly "friends" with Elmer, who I would usually just mock with goofy bullshit, but man this set me off.
He was seeming to revel in his own bullshit and awfulness. His anger is well documented. And more than that, he has people who read his bullshit and agree with him. I don't presume I'm going to change the world, but I also can't very well look at small-minded shit like this and move on. I wanted to call him out on his fucking prejudice.
At first I wrote, "Hey [Elmer], which do you hate more: racism or black people?" But I ended up deleting that and coming up with "It's a good thing white people and Asian people aren't rude at all." 
Compared to what I was originally going to write, that's nothing. Even still, I received a fucking frantic, lunatic, rapid fire, SUPER angry response back about how I had twisted his words and how I was spouting "fallacies," which is a bullshit old-world, biblical term meaning "falsehoods." 
...Which is also old and biblical. 
Fuck...
Anyway, he went on to attack me by saying something along the lines of (I'll add actual quotes if possible) "how do you know I won't post something negative about white people or Asians in the future."
To put it bluntly, he's a defensive nut.
I wrote back "Feel free to surprise me but..." and I went on to point out that even if he eventually posts about how white people can be rude in the modern world, he's currently talking about specifically black people...who he has written about before...in the same shitty negative tone.
I'll say it now: Go fuck yourself  "Elmer."
After this most recent outburst, where I blatantly point out his racism, he finally decided to block me. 
He should have done it years ago.
Unfortunately for me, this son of a bitch gets the best of me here:
He says that I have been antagonizing him for years (again, I'll post the actual quotes in the future if possible). And he's right. I have been. But I'll say again that it's because of his misogyny and racism that I lash out.
He also makes a point of saying that he remembers how I treated him in middle school and high school.
Now we're back to that Jared Lee Loughner bullshit.
What, may I ask, is the point of saying to somebody that you'll remember them for the way they mistreated you, unless you have some plan for how to get back at them?
I'll suggest here and now that "Elmer" has, at least in the back of his mind, some idea of lashing out against the people who has wronged him.
Which means that now I have to explain myself:
I bullied Elmer in middle school, and I have to own up to that.
In 8th or 9th grade (I honestly don't remember), I took a wood-working class which I shared with Elmer.
He was quiet, and I had no reason not to like him, but he shared a work station with me and a girl, whose name I don't remember.
I flirted with the girl, and we joked around, and we were goofy, and we made fun of anything and everything, including Elmer.
I'll remind you again that "Elmer" is a nickname for the actual guy. It's a similar name to the real thing, though, so when I tell you that me and that girl called him "Smellmer," you may well work out what his actual name is.
"Smell" was definitely a part of the name, is what I'm saying.
But it had no true basis.
He wasn't smelly, he wasn't weird, he was just quiet and fine.
I'll tell you right now, that by calling him "Smellmer", I thought the natural perception was not I was calling Elmer a loser, but that by calling him "Smellmer," I was calling myself a loser!
It was a joke on a joke.

I thought I was making fun of people who make fun of people.

"Smellmer" is the dumbest, most illogical name in the world, so by using it, I was making fun of people who might actually use it.
But no matter what, whether I intended that fucking stupid name to be hurtful or not, I have to own up to the result, which was evidently that I hurt Elmer's feelings.
I feel bad about that as a 9th grader. If at all possible, I would definitely send a message to my 15/16 year-old-self saying "leave Elmer alone," but as a 25 year-old man, I think "fuck you Elmer, you racist fuck."
So that was middle school. He has every right to say that he remembers how I treated him then, and he has  every right to hate me for it.

But high school? I don't remember shit about him then! I don't think I spoke to him at all!

So once again: fuck you Smellmer! You're talking out of your smelly, racist, ass!
No matter what, he posted that thing about how he remembers me for how I "treated" him in middle school and high school, which I interpret to mean he'll one day show up on my front step with a gun.
I'll be waiting...To die I guess...Because I don't think I'll dodge those bullets like Batman.
Yes.
I was a bully.
10 years ago.
But Elmer is a bully now.
He blocked me, and he's way smarter than man, and he works for the fucking government, but still I say, "fuck you, you racist piece of shit."
Honestly though, how awesome will it be if he tries to murder me? 
If I'm found dead, seek Smellmer. 
Actually, first check if it was a heart attack, I'm pretty overweight. If there are bullet holes, though, drive straight to Smellmer.
If you're reading this, and you know who "Elmer" REALLY is, then I suggest you go nuts on his wall, denouncing his crazy views. Fuck that asshole and his asshole friends.
Facebook is a public forum. You're free to think whatever crazy bullshit you want, but when you put it on a public site like that, don't expect it to be the same as putting it in a journal you keep under your bed. People can see it and respond. Facebook is a place for conversation and debate.
It's like being at a party, and everyone you know is there, and a few hundred people you've never met, and you see someone you used to know and you happen to notice they're saying something horrible about somebody else. Do you walk up to them and say, "hey man, that's not cool," or do you just pretend it didn't happen?
What I'm saying is that in a moment like that, you feel compelled to do one of those two things: step up or move along.
I couldn't help myself, so I stepped up. Frankly I wish I had been more brazen and given him more shit.
Life's too short to let people get away with hurting each other.
The last thing I got to say to Smellmer before the block was that I do regret being a shit head in middle school, but I'm going to call out bullshit when I see it.
He followed up with a fucking knockout punch. He really got me good. He wrote:
"Enjoy spending the rest of your life pretending to be humble while mistreating people."
Fuck. He was right: I was pretending to be humble and I was accidentally writing like some small town super-hero.
He'll never fucking see the last thing I wanted to say to him though, because I was blocked JUST before I could send it... 
My last message to Elmer is:
"Thanks!"
Bully the bullies!
Concerns, thoughts, questions, stories? Comment here or email me at WillAndBobby@gmail.com!

A True Blog Post. I'm Not Sorry.

Sleeping is total and absolute bullshit.

Last week I had a minor cold, and because of that, I was sleeping A LOT.
More than I'd care to.
If there was some way I could work this out, I would never sleep. Honestly, if I didn't get so goddamn groggy and messed up due to a lack of rest, I'd stay up 24 hours a day, doing nothing but going to real work, doing my own goofy work (Will and Bobby Know Everything, boom), hanging out, and doing whatever I want.
Sleep is 6-8 hours of completely wasted time.
I don't accomplish a single thing during those hours. 
Worse than that, they're WAY too mandatory:
If I'm sick, like I was, and I sleep for 18 hours of a day, doped up on Nyquil, despite getting more than twice (maybe triple) the amount of sleep that the typical person needs in one night, I'll still wake up with enough energy for about 13 hours of the waking life before I have to fucking sleep again.
It's a weakness. If I sleep for 18 hours, I should be able to stay awake for 3 days.
You can't bank those hours.
However, if I stay up for 48 hours, a typical 8-hour rest won't be enough. I'll need to sleep longer.
What a joke.
Moving on.
I haven't got anything fun to examine, really, but I do want to quickly discuss this:
More than likely, you've heard about how Norway recently has had a shortage of butter.
It sounds weird, just on the surface, but the actual reason why is almost more unreal. There was a diet craze, not unlike the Atkins diet, which says that if you eat a diet with high butter-content, you'll lose weight.
That's all it takes.
In American, whenever the fucking McRib goes on sale, we line up around the block to fucking kill ourselves, but whatever, Norway freaked out over a diet fad.
(Also, in America, we don't need a goddamn excuse to eat butter).
Anyway, in response to all the stupid jokes about the situation, some dude in Norway posted the following video to us, in an effort to shut us up. 
He took a stand and said "NO MORE!"
And trust me, it's WAY fucking worth watching. It's unreal. At first you might feel bad for him, but power through it and keep watching, it's the best. Keep reading when the video ends:
See, I was right.
This is the worst fucking decision this guy could have made. In an effort to make America stop mocking his country's situation, he released a video of his shiny face where he accidentally says the cake they make is called "Pussy Cats," and he generally stumbles and fucks up through the whole video. I have to give him credit for trying, I guess.

Actually, I don't. If we ran out of butter, and fucking Norway started making fun of us, I wouldn't post a video to them. I wouldn't speak broken Norwegian while trying to mock them in accidentally hilarious ways.

Maybe I would, actually, that sounds kind of fun. Especially the threat of eating butter in front of a bunch of  people.

As angry as he is, which makes me want to take him seriously so that this video doesn't COMPLETELY paint him as a fool, I have to point out a few things...
There are edits in this video! I haven't done my research, but I think this is exactly what the guy posted online, himself. Occasionally you'll see the video "jump" as he finishes a point and moves on to another. There was stuff he decided to edit out! Sure, he leaves in all the bumbling missteps, and embarrassing sequences, like when he fakes you out into thinking maybe there's butter in the container he holds up. Speaking of which, I was fooled... But --
I lost my train of thought...
Christ, that pussy cats thing is unreal.
What the hell would you do if this guy actually DID come to your house and went into your refrigerator and ate a bunch of butter right in front of "your family's eyes"?
[Door gets kicked open]
"Whoa, who the fuck are you?"
Tommy storms up the hall, and turns into the kitchen, as your family, sitting on the couch, turns and watches, horrified and confused.
"Honey, do you know this guy?"
Tommy rips open the refrigerator and furiously grabs a stick of butter from the little butter cabinet thing.
Your family's mouths hang open, agape.
Tommy walks into the living room, stands in front of you, and, with great pride, defiantly takes a fucking huge bite out of the butter.
"Kids, cover your eyes!"
Tommy eats the whole thing, while you're mostly just confused. He goes back to the fridge and eats another, and then that little tub of whipped butter. You all just sit in stunned silence.
Then he has to go because he has to catch a plane back to Norway.
I really want that to happen.

I'll pay for the flight.

You have to hand it to him, really. No one actually gave a fuck about this Norway/Butter situation, but he had the guts to release this dramatic/ridiculous/unnecessary video, which got some views.
It takes a real man to draw more attention to a completely absurd situation, while also throwing himself on the fire.
I'm going to try and sleep now.

Here Comes Santa Claus

Last night, from about 9:00pm to about 3:00am, Allie worked on making me a Santa costume:

I looked horrible. 

Fortunately, she wasn't done at all. But I'm getting ahead of myself, here's why this happened:

The "Dan" she mentioned is her boss, by the way. She didn't accidentally call me Dan. I think. Actually I'm not sure. I'll ask her later.

So there you go. I was forced into it...Kind of. I knew this was coming. To be extra careful, I practiced the voice and stayed in character for the past month just to get it right. I'm kind of like Daniel Day Lewis. Anyway, the video we shot came out really well, I actually looked and sounded legitimately like Santa Claus, and hopefully I never have to do this again. 

But here's the thing, take another quick look at how the costume and makeup look in that picture and video. It doesn't look great, but Allie is a freaking genius, because look at what all those weird individual pieces ended up as:

Incredible.

You'll never see the final video though.

Happy Holidays.

Oh Good, Unsolicited Opinions and Advice

It seems to me that there are a few things that everybody in the world agrees are annoying. For example: every single person in the world thinks rubbernecking is a pain in the ass. We all complain about traffic caused by idiots who gawk at every fender bender. I've yet to hear a single person say, "you know what I like? Car accidents. Everybody slows down, and I get to take a good look." Likewise, everybody seems to hate it when people talk during a movie. These things are universal.

You know what else we all seem to hate? People who push their opinions and beliefs on us. So why do we always tell each other what to think and do?
The other day I was driving home from work, and I had to merge into a lane on a highway. As I was trying to squeeze in, a guy assertively sped up to get ahead of me, rather than let me glide in front of him. It was no big deal. It was definitely because they didn't want to be behind me, and they had to drift into another lane to get around me, but it really wasn't a completely shitty maneuver. It was blah. I didn't give it another thought, until I squared up behind them. Thanks to their swoop-around, I got to check out their bumper sticker, which I managed to find an image of online.
It may be the teeniest tiniest picture in the world. Start squinting........now:
If you can't quite tell, that's a bumper sticker which says, "Abortion: One Dead / One Wounded," and it has a picture of a distraught woman on it.
I'm not about to debate the issue of whether or not abortion is moral or should be legal, so relax, I'm going to talk about how this person is a fucking asshole for not being able to shut their goddamn mouth.
I don't care what you think. About anything. You have your opinions, I have mine. The only time the two of them should be expressed is in some sort of public forum where we are each able to make a case for our beliefs. Even then, I probably don't want to talk to you.
Most people are insufferable, and if one thing is certain, it's that while I'm in my car, I should be free from your bullshit ideas.
Are we so self righteous and self centered that we think we need to be stating a "fact" or crafting an argument even when we're busy driving?
This person has this bumper sticker stuck to their stupid car! It's not even a matter of caring about the issue of abortion, it's a matter of thinking that their opinions need to be presented and respected at all times.
What exactly do they think is going to happen? What are they accomplishing? Are they under the impression that I am pro-choice, but once I see this cheap two-tone bumper sticker I'm going to rethink my beliefs? They must think that I'm about to have an epiphany sitting here in traffic, and change my whole life. Should I thank them? Do they want to spark fury in me? Do they want a debate?
Do they want to know if I'm anti-abortion and if they can be friends with me?
No.
Nope.
Nah.
They're just a dog barking. They just want to bluntly barf out what they think. They haven't really thought it through. They found something which expresses what they believe, and tossed it on their car because they're simple.
They must understand that this is an issue on which people strongly disagree. People fight tooth and nail over abortion, and they've casually placed their stance on the bumper of their car to challenge all the people on the other side of the coin. Really, just fuck off. We all have enough shit to think about without some simple, small minded moron throwing their opinions in our face. Now I'm barfing.
Why do people seem to want to have an impact on our lives? Are they bored, or just self obsessed?
It's not all about hot button issues, either. For example, here's something which I see on my way to work every damn day:
A few months ago, someone spray painted the impossible phrase "Smiles everyone! Smile" on a walkway in New Brunswick. I get annoyed every time I drive under it.
Part of the reason is that the phrasing is all screwed up. First we're ordered with "Smiles everyone," which is clearly addressed at the population at large, hence "smiles" being plural. But then it's followed up with the reinforcement of "Smile," which is singular and therefor seemingly directed directly at the reader (Though my personal theory is just that this was scrawled out by some drunk idiot Rutgers freshman who thinks they stumbled across a brilliant and simple way of solving all the world's frowns, but whose brain screwed up the phrasing).
The other part of the reason I hate this is the same reason why I hate the abortion bumper sticker: Don't tell me what to do or think. Leave me alone, shut up, and keep your opinions to yourself.
I know that this is all a bit rich coming from me, considering that I have a blog where all I do is write what I want without input, but the difference is that you have the option of ignoring all my shit. I have to drive under this bridge every morning, and there's nothing more annoying than someone telling you to smile when you're tired and grumpy. Just let me grump in peace.
I'm just going to start spray painting "Frowns everyone! Frown!" on every bridge I see, because I think my views deserve to be seen and appreciated.
I could have just posted this video to illustrate my point:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_1FbjuJp4E]

Conspiracy Theories

A few minutes ago, I glanced over at my phone and saw that I had gotten a couple of text messages. I tapped on my inbox and saw that I had received both messages at the exact same time from two different phone numbers, neither of which are in my phone book. Just random digits.

I tapped on the first one. It simply said, "Like."

Then I tapped on the second one: "Love."

Weird. Really weird. The likelihood of receiving two anonymous texts from two different numbers with similar messages has got to be slim.

I sat up straight in my chair. It was time to play detective.

I'm always down for a good mystery. Always. I'm not a conspiracy nut, really. I'm just a big fan of having something odd happen, as long as it's harmless. I seek it out.

There's a huge book store in New York called The Strand, which boasts an inventory of "18 miles of new, used and rare books." When I was 18 or 19, I walked into the deepest darkest corners of the store on the off chance that I might find a creepy old tome hidden behind some Sue Graftons. No luck. Bummer.

It's exciting, though. It's fun to think that that there's something taking place that relates to you, but you're not privy to all of the information. I love the idea of Urban Legends that have some basis in reality. Fascinating. Why couldn't there be a magical book laying flat on a low shelf in a dark basement corner of a bookstore? I've seen that shit in movies MANY times. It happens!

One of the biggest events of modern history to be enshrouded in mystery was the JFK assassination. Thousands of people believe and investigate numerous theories as to how and why he was killed, as well as who did it, and whether or not the government was involved. There's even a theory which suggests that after he died, his body was taken, and his wounds were modified to make it appear as if he were shot from a particular angle. Why? Well who knows. We'll find out the truth in 2017 when the documents regarding the event are released.

I should say, before I get back to the mystery of the friendly texts, that I'm no stranger to high stakes intrigue.

About four years ago, I was leaving a class at Rutgers with my messenger bag over my shoulder. It held a few notebooks, a pair of headphones, and my Sony PSP (one of the most advanced handheld gaming systems the world has ever known [it kind of sucks]). I walked to my parking space, and put my bag on top of my car while fumbling with my keys. Ten minutes later, I pulled into my driveway and realized I had driven home with my bag on the roof of the car.

OH NO!

I got out of the car, but obviously, the bag wasn't there anymore. I quickly drove back to Rutgers, and looked around my parking spot. No luck. I then took the same route home as I had earlier, desperately looking for my bag. It was gone. Maybe for good.

The next day I was sitting in one of my classes which took place in a large lecture hall. About ten minutes into the lesson, the professor was interrupted by a student who addressed the room and held up a bag. My bag. He said he had found it on the side of the road the previous night, and based on a schedule inside one of the notebooks, he figured out that the owner must be in the room. Excited, I claimed the bag, thanked the guy, and he left. I walked back to my seat and checked the bags contents.

As I expected. the PSP was gone. Being that I had expected to lose everything however, I was pretty fine with it. Especially considering the PSP kind of sucks (as I mentioned).

So there I was sitting in class with my stuff again, talking to a friend about how lucky it was that the guy thought to check for a schedule, and how it was cool that he actually bothered to do a decent thing such as bring the bag back to it's owner. I assumed that he wasn't the one to steal the PSP, based on how helpful he was, and that someone else probably found the bag first. Realizing that, I said this:

And seriously, I actually said this. Honestly. I swear. Here's what I said:

"Y'know, it's weird, but how cool would it be if there was a message scrawled on a page of one of my notebooks, like an old detective story."

My friend basically rolled her eyes at my geekiness. So I just sat there. But then my curiosity got the better of me, and like how I actually looked for an old cursed book in The Strand, I childishly checked my notebook for a secret message.

And I found one.

As of when I'm writing this, I can't post the proof, but rest assured that I'll update this post TONIGHT with a picture of the message.

But anyway, what I found was a message lightly written in pencil on the last page of a marble notebook. It was a phone number with the instructions to "Coll Pedro" written beneath it.

EDIT:

I told you I'd give you proof. I just took a picture of the page and the message, but I scribbled out the guy's address and phone number:

I was stunned. And really fucking excited. This was exactly what I was hoping for.

So obviously I pretended I didn't care for a couple of days. Because as much as it was thrilling, it was also kind of scary.

Eventually, my curiosity go the better of me, and I called the number. Pedro answered. I explained that I was the guy who had lost the bag. I said I got his message.

He told me he had something that belonged to me.

Like a fucking film noir! Awesome/terrifying!

He asked me if I knew what it was. Also scary.

I said it was a Sony PSP, and he confirmed that was what he had, he just needed to verify that I was the owner.

Now I realize that this whole thing doesn't make any goddamn sense, but I hope the insanity of this story is itself proof that the tale I'm telling is true. Truth is stranger than fiction.

I know that it's illogical that somebody should find a bag, take the expensive gadget out, leave a scrawled message, and go. How would he know the bag would ever get back to me? How would he know that somebody else would find the bag and be smart enough to check for a schedule? How would he know that same person would also be decent enough to go looking for it's owner? Finally, how would he know the owner would be a goofy man-child who goes looking for secret messages?

 There are so many variables at play there that you can't truly expect those events to play out properly. It's incredible.

But fortunately they played out EXACTLY right for me to be on the phone, getting quizzed about what he had in his possession. This means that he also thought it likely that someone would find a bag and go looking for secret messages and phone numbers, and care enough to call. Mind you, the message in the book said nothing about recovering a lost item. It merely said to "coll" Pedro! Very bizarre.

But I passed the test. He gave me his address and told me when I could come by to pick it up. I questioned whether or not it was worth it. His house wasn't exactly in a bad neighborhood, but it was certainly a strange enough situation that I was considering letting him keep it. After all, I had already thought it to be gone forever.

Then I realized I was only half way through Crash Bandicoot. I grabbed my coat and ran out the door.

(That's a joke, I actually talked about it with a friend who said he'd come with me. Curiosity got the better of me once again so we went.)

I called Pedro from outside his house, and he told me to come right in.

Fuck no.

I said I was running late for a class, and so I wasn't coming in. Instead asked if he could meet us outside. A couple minutes later, who I can only describe as a human version of Super Mario walks out of the house, with a dirty grocery bag bunched up in his hands, which, by the way, are completely covered in white powder up to his elbows. Got the image? Mario. Short, fat, mustachioed. Arms covered in white powder. Dirty grocery bag.

He quizzes me again to confirm that I'm the owner of the bag. The odds of me being some crook who correctly guessed that he had a PSP are unreasonable, but whatever, I confirm who I am, and he hands me the dirty bag. My PSP. Great. Let me get the fuck out of here now.

He explains that he found the bag in the street, looked inside, and took the PSP because he didn't want anybody to steal it. It doesn't make much sense, but I just want to get out of there, so I thank him again, take the PSP (battery completely drained...I hope you enjoyed Crash Bandicoot, Mario!), and my buddy and I take off.

Mystery solved, although I had to wonder why that guy's arms were covered in white powder. I asked my friend what he thought, he quickly answered, "He's probably a professional gymnast. He was in great shape."

Another riddle un-riddled. And it's this experience that has made me a master detective.

So now all that's left is to reveal who those texts ("Like," "Love") were from. Well it's simple, really. They were messages accidentally copied to me intended as responses to a picture Bobby had mass texted to his friends. This is the picture:

All this bullshit because of a picture of a cat. An awesome cat, yeah, but all this crap I wrote is because of a picture of a cat. Sorry.

Case closed.

The Buddy System

On October 6th, 2011 (I give the year because it's almost over), my dog Daisy died. If you have any concept of who I am, you likely know that because I haven't stopped talking about it. Based on the past couple of months, I don't think I ever will. I've written previously about how talking has helped me cope with her death. And I have to take that previous point of view for what it's worth, because now I'm a month and a half removed from saying it, and I can tell you now, on December 6th, 2011, that I can hardly stand to think about my girl, let alone talk about her.

I'm still very upset. And I'm very angry. Not in general, I should say. In general, I think I'm pretty okay, but when it comes to my dog, I'm very, very angry.

Being that I aspire to someday have a career based on my writing, I usually try to revel in ANY extreme emotion, and given how extreme I become when thinking about Daisy, I've tried to write from this mindset. I can't do it. It's too much. I'm so overwhelmed by how much I'm hurt. If that weren't enough, I'm actually annoyed at myself for letting my hurt turn into anger.

We adopted a new dog, partly because the house was too empty without my big goofy girl, partly because we needed someone new to focus on, and partly because of our OTHER dog, Harley.

Lately, out of the blue, I've begun to slip. I'm calling people by the wrong name. More specifically I've been calling our new dog Daisy. Her name is Penny. I slip and call her Daisy. Somethings wrong. I've lost a girl who should have been a long term family member. She was my pet, my friend, and my family. And my brain is trying to reintroduce her, because I can't quite stand life without that stupid fucking dog pouncing on me.

Worse than my interpretation of her death, which is inherently more informed because of my human brain (and because I was there), is what seems to be happening to poor Harley.

Harley is approximately 12 years old. And I have to approximate that age, because, just like all of our pets, he was a rescue. I don't intend to get on a high horse here, but I kind of do, because I'm proud of my family for always adopting a pet who NEEDS our help. There will always be people who buy from breeders, and there will always be people who just shop at puppy stores, but not as many people will welcome an older, potentially abused dog into their house. But those are the dogs who need a home. Daisy was one of them. Harley is one. We don't know what happened to him, but when we got him, he was approximately 3 years old, and was very nervous around men. I have to assume that he was hit by a man.

To take a quick tangent: If you are a human, and you are reading this, and you have EVER abused an animal, you are actually an inhuman fucking monster. One time I was at a party with my friend Bobby, where we saw a guy put his foot down on his cat's neck in some bizarre joking/frustrated manner, and we were inches from fucking killing him. Don't abuse animals. I'm going to turn into a real-life Batman who defends animals. My story parallels Bruce Wayne's: His parents were murdered in front of him. I had a doggy who died and I found out later. Chilling similarity.

Anyway, Harley has been in our family for 9 years, and in that time, he has seen many animals come and go. And he's always been a great dog, but he's been aging. When Daisy showed up 3 years ago, he suddenly got a good burst of speed, and somehow he seemed to be really interested in that girl. He kept step and pace with her, running around in the backyard, despite the fact that Daisy was 4 times his size. She kept him young. Now that she's gone, he's slow, sluggish, and man does he look old.

With any luck:

We're born into a world where we have an established family. We're born into a world where we have parents, siblings, and extended family, all of whom have a distinct love and interest in us. We're coddled as babies (because there's no such thing as some weird, self-sufficient baby), and then during our formative years, our families take care of everything for us. We have homes, clothes, food, an education, and in the unfortunate circumstance that a member of our family dies, magically a funeral has been planned, and all we have to do is show up. Maybe. If we're too young, we probably don't even have to go. Basically, we're accounted for.

At some point, though, we start to expand our interest outside of our families. And I should say that I don't limit "family" to blood. Our family is whoever takes care of us. At some point, we expand our interest outside of those who take care of us out of a sense of duty. And if we're lucky, we meet someone who will take care of us because they want to.

Think about it for a couple minutes, and you'll realize that your parents are nothing more, and have never been anything more than two people who like each other. It's a basic analysis, but it's true. Our parents are two people who like each other so much they wanted to spend most of their time with each other. They liked each other so much that they had children. They maybe liked each other so much that they decided to live in the same house, and forever sleep in the same bed.

Our parents are not obligated to each other necessarily. They just really really like each other. They're what we aspire to not only because they are our reference point for how we're meant to structure our lives, but because family can only go so far.

I love and respect my family. Every member. And in my family, each and every member is particularly interesting (or I'm bullshitting), but the world we're born into is limited. Most of the people we meet the moment we're born are already adults. As we grow up, they're getting older. I don't mean to be grim (which is to say that I'm not being grim for the sake of being grim, I'm being grim because the concept I want to explore is inherently grim), but these people are likely going to die before we do. It happens generation after generation. We should know that. I've tried to. It's fascinating and inescapable, and the fact that it can truly happen at any moment is major bullshit.

When we get to the point that we are expanding our interests outside of our family, we're met with absurd trepidation and apprehension, and rejection. We accidentally make new friends and form complex relationships, and we stumble into traditions and layers of responsibility toward each other. We date a lot, and we try each other out. And it's awkward and dramatic and fun, but eventually we get to the point where we truly want/need to settle down. We build a group of people with whom we hope to share our time in the future, and it's because the world we've always known inevitably has to fall away at some point. In all of these relationships though, most of us obviously hope to have a relationship with somebody that we can create a family with. We want to have children who can one day theorize that their parents are just really tight friends. It's nature. It's ethereal and spiritual. It's evolution. It's done out of love and fear. I can safely say that without the woman I love and without the family and friends I love, I'm an old man. I'm an old man yelling at you to get off my lawn.

Everybody who I care about and who cares back keeps me young and sane. I've seen what happens when you lose your anchor.

It can ruin you. It can turn you into a shell of who you were because you were so invested in their life, and they were so invested in yours. It's disheartening to watch. It's heart breaking. But it's a true testament to the power we can create and share with each other. And it should be comforting to know that people can be so capable of loving one another. I can love all my friends as much as I can stand to, but no matter how much I pour out, I'll still be a shadow if I lose it all.

Have a big satisfying meal. But in a few hours, you're still going to need breakfast. Does it cheapen the meal you enjoyed?

I hope not. But I'm feeling differently. I've mentioned that when I walked my girl, I made her pause and sit at each intersection. The truth is that I really hoped she would connect the street corner with the sound a car makes. I hoped that when those two pieces of stimuli occurred at once, she would respond by sitting and waiting, as I made her do. I was invested in her future. I enjoyed her at the time. I loved her without end at the time. But here two months later I feel less than empty. I feel vacuous. It isn't that there is "nothingness" in my heart as a result of her loss, it's that the space in which she once resided is actively yearning and trying to fill the space. It can't be filled.

I come back to Harley. I am able to intellectualize my loss. I am able to question why my pain is here. I can write a repulsively long blog post dedicated to the feeling. But my poor old Harley is simply vaguely aware that there used to be another animal around. Maybe. Who knows how a dog's mind works, let alone that sad abused boy. Maybe he doesn't remember feeling so happy running through the grass with Daisy. Maybe he doesn't remember rolling and playing with her, but I'll bet that the opposite of those feelings is registering heavily with him.

Daisy was a dog. And she was a good one. But she was a dog. And as hurt as I am, I can reason out the pain. I can riddle out the reasons. I can think. But for Harley, she was there when he woke up and went to sleep. She focused on him. She loved him. She played with him. And he loved her. And without her, he's reeling. Harley lost his buddy.

It's all just some kindergarten buddy system on a global scale. Harley needed Daisy and without her, he's falling. I loved her, and I wanted her forever, but she was always going to get away from me. If life had played out the ideal way, Harley would never have to know a future without his friend.

I don't know where this is going. I can't cap off this theory in a nice clean way. I'm 25 years old, which is a short span of time when gauged against the time of the people around me. I'm inexperienced. I'm a child. But simultaneously these 25 years have been an enternity, because they're all I have known. I'm lucky. I love my family. And I've picked my friends carefully. But I'm still trying to stand up after having been sucker punched by the car that hit my Daisy.

We all need our buddy. We need someone to check in with. No one is obligated to care for us, and I'm one of those who has been lucky enough to find someone who is invested in my happiness and in my health. I hope I don't take it for granted.

I'm sorry that I'm not being very funny right now. But this is a massive side of my personality that I don't want to shelf in favor of writing quippy, sarcastic posts about people I hate. I'll get back to that soon enough. I haven't written a single blog post in over a month, but it's about time that I should try to "speak" again. This is what I have to say right now.

I wish I could say that this is the last time I'll talk about Daisy, but I know for a fact that isn't true. Someday I still have to tell the full story of the night she died. It's a story that I need to tell and which needs to be told for how shocking, horrible and FUNNY it was. It was all those things. But I will say here that I owe a significant debt of gratitude to Bobby Koester, Michael Costa, Allie, and my whole family for helping me to survive it.

I'll put that off for a while.

I guess if there's anything I truly want to say with this post, it's that I think it's okay to need someone's help. And it's okay to talk. And that as much as I talk about how you need the people in your life, the flip side of the coin is that those same people will likely need you one day.

I also want to say that, across the board, I think women are stronger than men.

Coming soon: jokes.

Sorry guys.

Daisy the Dog

As I write this, it's Monday, October 10th, and I'm tired. I'm tired because my stupid fucking cat kept waking me up last night. First he was doing some weird meowing/howling thing at the closed door, and then he started pawing at the door with his goofy claw-less oven mitt hands. The sound was surprisingly loud. But let me back up, and explain why I put up with this all night.

On Thursday, October 6th, at about 8:15 in the morning, I was about to walk out the door and go to work, so I called my dog Daisy over to me and scratched her behind the ear, saying goodbye. When I came back home that evening at about 6:00, I found out that she had gotten out of our fenced in backyard for what felt like the millionth time. It sucks, but it's not uncommon, and no matter how many times I've patched that fence, she's always found a new way to get out. It's just in her nature. She's big, strong, and determined to run around. She almost always comes back on her own after about 20 minutes. She sits on the front step and waits for us to open the door. It's awful, but it happens all the time. Once, a couple of years ago, she disappeared for 6 days, eventually being returned to us a little skinnier than when she left. It was infuriating. But she seemed pretty bulletproof. Just a goofy animal who wants to run around, but is always okay and means well and wants to see us again. Unfortunately, an hour after she got out of the house, we got a call from a cop. Daisy had been struck by a car. The driver took off, and my dog died.

It was horrible. It was incredibly surreal. I felt woozy. I remember everything I did that night as if it's a story I made up. It still feels unreal today.

I loved my dog. So much. She gave me a sense of responsibility that I never felt before. I felt like she was mine. It was almost a paternal experience. She was such a weaselly pain in the ass, always pushing to get her way. So as much as I got to play with her, I also had to be an authority figure.

And I was always afraid of her in the road. When I walked her, I would make her sit and stay at every street corner, only allowing her to walk again when any cars had passed us. I knew it probably wasn't clear to her what I was trying to teach her, but I always just hoped that she would realize there was a reason why I did that.

I'm getting off-point.

Anyway, in that evening, I was a wreck, but I had a focus on taking care of her. And I did. After all of the necessary my-dog-just-died stuff was through, it was worse.

It was literally done. In a matter of hours. Just over.

I didn't really know what to do. I thought I would be okay. You can hardly be in denial over something you've been actively dealing with, so I figured I would just struggle to stop missing her, and then I'd be okay.

Friday I went to work, and I had enough to do that I was suitably distracted. That evening I crashed on my bed, exhausted from the previous evening. Saturday, I woke up feeling almost catatonic. I didn't want to move. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything. All I wanted to do was torture myself over Daisy's death. I missed her so much. So much. So goddamn much. So much that I really can't do it justice. I can't really accurately describe how weighted down I felt. My hands were heavy useless anvils, my feet were dragging. And I was dizzy just looking around. It was almost as if I was looking down from the top of a tall building, standing on the ledge. I had that uneasy feeling like I was about to fall. That's probably actually a very accurate comparison. I think we all know that "standing on a ledge" feeling. All I wanted was my dog.

I didn't start feeling better until I was talking about her with other people and discussing what happened, how much we loved her, and how much we'll miss her. It was against all my instincts to share like that. I've always felt like it's some lame cliche that you need to open up with other people. I felt like it was a weak thing to do. But I definitely can't deny it's importance now. I was able to move on just a little bit.

Now I realize that I'm talking about a dog. And believe me, I'm fully aware that there are worse things happening everywhere. People have lost siblings and parents, and I don't at all mean to trivialize the loss of a family member or friend, as extreme as I say I feel about losing Daisy. But I should also say that I spent every day with this dog. She had a distinct personality. She was intelligent and pushy. I know her voice. She used to alternatively get pissy with me if I wasn't waking up early enough for her liking, or try to pretend she didn't hear me if she was still in bed and I was up. Some days she would pounce on me and huff at me for staying in bed. She'd poke her big fat nose into my face to prod me awake. Other days, I'd call her name to get her up and out of bed and I'd see her eyes dart over to where I was standing and then quickly look away again, as if maybe I didn't know she was awake. She was trying to get away with something. She was funny. She was big. She was really really important to me.

She loved my family so much. And she loved our other dog, Harley. And everybody loved her. We're all pretty wrecked. One of my favorite things about Daisy was how much she loved my girlfriend. Daisy would literally tackle Allie, so that she could lick her face. She was so excited all she wanted to do was freak out and great her. I used to joke around and say that if Daisy didn't approve of Allie, we'd have a problem. But it was so the opposite of that joke. Sometimes Daisy seemed more excited to see Allie than she was anytime I came home. I fully expected to be living with Daisy for another 10 years. I'm killing myself writing this. Stupid.

I've got to wrap this up.

So now I come home and I don't have some goofy dog jumping all over me, ecstatic that I'm home. I don't have Daisy lying at my feet, extending her leg at me, trying to get me to hold her paw while I read or watch TV. It's over. Last night, in her absence, I decided I didn't want to sleep alone, so I grabbed one of the cats, Merlin (who seems pretty stoked that she's gone by the way. Now he can do whatever the hell he wants) and brought him into my bedroom. Nothing but bullshit all night.

All this to memorialize a dog and to establish that cats...kind of suck.

Daisy was almost 4:

Movie Review: Scream 4

Before the review starts, I want to quickly say that my interest in the Scream franchise isn't just some bullshit, kitschy interest. I genuinely enjoy these movies as a sort of classic "whodunnit" story. I've been a fan of these movies since I was 10, and while I'll readily admit that maybe part of my enjoyment is based on nostalgia, I also really believe that these movies have a lot of potential. Also, what I'm posting now is a modification of a review I wrote just after the movie hit theaters, you can find a variation of this review on most movie sites. Anyway, here we go, my review of Scream 4: I can't believe just how bad this movie turned out to be, but more than that, I can't believe all the appropriately negative reviews I'm seeing that are missing the reason why this movie fails. Forget all the claims of "the series is starting to show it's age." If that's true, it's only because the writer(s) can't seem to get his (their) crap together. At it's core, this series is about a masked killer with a knife. He's watching you, and no one knows who he is. Evidence suggest it's someone you know.  That should be able to work.  It worked in the first two (mostly).  Here's a good reason to give for why this movie sucks: No one in this movie cares. About anything. Not each other and not the circumstances they find themselves in. I can buy that this series is set in a world where everyone is obsessed with horror movies. It's contrived, but that's fine with me. I just can't understand why it is that, in a group of friends, when one person gets murdered, the others go to a party just after they're done screaming.  I should say, though, that I'm being a bit unfair to Neve Campbell (Sidney), Courtney Cox (Gail), and David Arquette (Dewey), whose characters remain fairly consistent with the earlier movies. You do get the idea that these characters truly exist for one another. When one of them is in trouble, the other two come running. The supplemental (they never really take hold) cast, however, are the worst example of expendable 2D nameless victims as I've ever seen. They're all young and pretty (with the exception of Raury Culkin...His lips and eyebrows...Jesus...), but they're all too clever for their own good and lack charisma. They're not interesting or captivating! There are only two new characters in the whole movie (which is PACKED with new faces), who come across as reasonable and interesting in any way, and they aren't given enough to do. The film is also suffering horribly from what used to be the series' defining factor: it's wit.  All of a sudden, every damn character that walks onto the screen has some quip to make about horror movie clichés. It's no longer clever to make fun of yourself if that's ALL you do, in the same way that George Lucas' overuse of CG reduces the intrigue of CG. Too much is too much! And not only that, but we're subjected again to the movie-within-a-movie Stab, which was once used by the film makers to show why they're good at making horror movies. In the Stab series, characters are attractive and dull and the writing is unrealistic and goofy.  Scream 4 suffers from every stupid b-movie hiccups that the Stab movie wanted to point out as being a mistake.  So here we have a "real world" horror movie where, for some reason, characters are quipping as they're bleeding out. Far too many characters have a quick little insult or joke they'd like Ghostface to hear just before they die. It's gruesome to watch, especially one absolutely cringe-worthy moment about midway through the film where a boring character whose hardly been used dies from what might be a physically impossible stab, but not before blurting out a great little reminder of a previous joke. Barf. The wit of the series is gone, replaced with characters who faint with perfect comic timing, and who just won't shut the hell up. Everyone is a horror movie expert, and everyone knows all about Sidney, Dewey, and Gail. To illustrate that point, 18 year old kids refer to Sydney Prescott as "Syd," as if they've known her for years. It's annoying. There's no mystery here. People are dying on screen, but they don't seem to mind, and possibly worse, the world around them doesn't seem to either.  So why should I?  I got lost in the plot. I've been a very dorky fan of the series for years, watching Scream 3 without hesitation (if you know the series at all, you know how significant that is).  I don't watch these movies to watch people die in funny clever ways. The humor isn't supposed to be at the fore front, it's not meant to intrude on the human life-or-death situations these kids find themselves in. It's meant to be human and natural, establishing who these people are and why I should care. For these reasons, the reveal to the killer(s) falls flat.  I will say, though, that moments after falling flat, it blows up into one of the most embarrassingly overacted sequences I've seen of any movie.  I've read a lot of reviewers talking about how the ending to the movie is very modern. They're right, to be sure, but modern doesn't mean clever or creative. I do think there's some merit to the general idea, but ultimately, it comes across as corny and contrived. I'm a big fan of this series, and if you are as well, then I say without hesitation go see it, but if you're just in the mood for a good movie, you won't find it in Scream 4. You deserve better. TL;DR Scream 4 sucks. Don't see it unless you want to spend the following hour picking apart how the mistakes could have been avoided.

Just Let It Go

This is a new commercial for those new Back to the Future Nike shoes...and jesus...Aside from it being annoying as hell (why is Bill Hader here? Why can't Kevin Durant [no idea who that is] act? Why are they shoehorning in as many movie quotes as they can, even though doing that seems to be widely acknowledged as obnoxious?), they got Christopher Lloyd to dress up as Doc and kind-of be funny. It's clear they had no idea what to do with him. But that's not my problem. Here's my problem:

Can we leave this fucking guy alone? Every couple of years, it seems like there's a new commercial where Doc is being annoying, and saying things that aren't in keeping with the character. That's a geeky concern, but I'm geeky. For example, here's a Direct TV commercial from a couple years ago:

Before I criticize this commercial, I should mention that it got nominated for awards. It got nominated for Least Flattering Cinematography and Biggest Nostrils. Anyway, nobody said ANYTHING about his flux capacitor, because no one knew about it! No one knows that time machine exists except for him and Marty! But back to my point. Because companies know they pretty much everybody loves this dude, occasionally they'll come up with a reason to make him play Doc again. But what they're actually doing is forcing me to watch a character I love die slowly. I don't want that guy to be getting smaller and smaller! I don't want to want look at him and realize that he sort of looks like he's wearing Planet of the Apes makeup (the original, not the nobody-is-at-fault reboot).

And actually, I'm not saying don't use this character anymore. Now that I think about it, if they would just write something halfway decent for him to say, I'd be down with this old man popping up every now and then. But don't make him wear the same costumes as in the movies. It's reminding me of my mortality.

We just can't seem to let shit go. That's why we're rebooting everything, or making fucking dumb ass movies based on toys. They're creating a Battleship movie. No shit. It's about alien ships that can't be detected by our radar, so we have to fire blindly in their general direction and hope we hit them. What a stupid idea. It's going to make millions.

Let it go. I know I sound like a dick for saying that I don't want to watch an old man on TV, but that's not really what I mean. I don't want to watch that particular character get frail. Christopher Lloyd himself is fucking awesome. If you don't believe me, go watch the episode of Fringe he was on. He plays an aging rock star, whose mind is starting to slip. That character is also, if I remember correctly, a former drug addict. It was incredible. It was totally awesome, and Christopher Lloyd's age was a big part of it. He's a writer, he writes for Modern Family, and while I haven't seen much of that show, what I have seen is pretty funny. So let's move on. He's capable of more, and watching Doc get weaker is freaky.

Also, it doesn't make sense, in Back to the Future Part II, he got his blood replaced, so that he would live longer. Furthermore, maybe the FIRST time he reprised Doc in a commercial, it was cool and weird and nostalgic, but this happens to frequently that it's expected and mundane, and, again, spooky.

I realize this rant isn't cool or anything, but whatever, I'm sick of watching the same old shit get rehashed constantly. Leave stuff alone and move on.

People are already begging for more Harry Potter. I am too, but I just want something from that world, people are begging specifically for more Harry Potter, a new story about him. He battled evil for 7 years, let that guy have some fucking rest! He had the worst luck for 7 years, he's earned a quiet vacation.

However, I fully expect to one day watch an 80 year old Daniel Radcliffe wheeze his way through a fucking commercial for all-new wizard shoes.

Self Entitlement: A rant against self obsession written by a dude with a blog

Right now, I'm really angry. I know I shouldn't be. I know each and every logical counterpoint to what has got me so pissed off, but right now, I don't fucking care for that logic. What I'm angry at is irrational, so the way I see it, I'm allowed to be irrational too. Out of respect, I won't discuss the particulars of what has got me so riled up. I mean that I just don't think it would be at all nice to say exactly what happened tonight, I'm sure I'll talk about it candidly sometime in the future, but a good way to summarize the issue is to say that I'm becoming increasingly fed up with the sense of entitlement I see in most people in public.

When people are in pain, the night belongs to them. Unless you count among their numbers, the night isn't yours. You are not allowed to criticize the people grieving. You are not allowed to try and garner sympathy for your separate issues, and you are most definitely not allowed to compound the evening by letting your personal squabbles take over.

You are not the center of attention just because you feel your issue is worth our time. It doesn't work that way.

Self entitlement. What's wrong with you? Tonight I went to a funeral, where people acting selfishly, but it's not my night to discuss, so I won't. However, I see the same disproportionate behavior almost everywhere I go.

Maybe a year or two ago, I was sitting in a Starbucks, reading or writing or staring. The place was packed, absolutely packed. Do you know why it was packed? It was because it was a Saturday afternoon, and Starbucks is a pretty popular, busy place. We all know that. Except for this fucking dickhead:

Some gangly clown walks into Starbucks, takes a look around, and frowns. I noticed him do it, and I imagined that maybe he was meeting up with somebody, and upon looking around, saw that the person hadn't arrived yet. I was wrong. He walked up to the counter, impatiently ordered his drink as if the cashier should have anticipated it fully, and barely finished his request before he asked/ordered, "And where am I going to sit?"

"Excuse me?" The kid seemed legitimately confused.

"Where am I going to sit? All the seats are taken."

If I were this poor employee, I wouldn't have had any idea what to say, and I worked 4 years in a fucking TGI Fridays, where my job description may as well have read, "appease assholes."

"Uh...Well, I mean, we're pretty busy."

The asshole met this with total silence.

"We have some tables available out front."

The man's lip curled in revulsion, "I don't want to sit outside." (Note: This was said as if only sub-humans ever have to venture outdoors."

"Well, I guess you could wait for someone to get up? Some of these customers have been here for a while, so maybe they'll be leaving soon."

Well spoken, well explained. Poorly received. The guy looked downright insulted. Livid. He scoffed. Without saying a word, he handed over his card, paid, and walked out of the store.

That was weird. Really weird. It looked like the guy was walking out on his order...but he had paid. So whatever, I went back to whatever the hell it is I was doing. I was interrupted from it again a moment later.

The door flew open, not as if violently thrown, but rather as though someone massive was trying to get through. It was that piece of shit, and he was dragging with him one of the wrought iron tables from outside. It was a distracting, huge sound. He wasn't fully carrying the table, he was literally dragging it.

The iron was screeching against the tile, and, as I said, the place was packed. There wasn't room for an additional table. If there was, there would probably be another table in there. He had to place it awkwardly in a foot-traffic area. Anyway, the guy went back outside to get a chair. When his drink was ready, he said at the table and read a book. He did so pointedly, not casually. It was clear that he was trying to make some sort of bullshit statement.

What an asshole. What an utter dick. When you venture out in the world, you should know that things aren't guaranteed to go your way. They just aren't. If you want to have total control over your surroundings, stay inside your own place and interact with no one. At all. When you're out in the world, you're subject to the same laws of likelihood as the rest of us. Sometimes you're going to want to drink a cup of coffee and read a book. That's great, I love that. I do that. But when I feel this way, and I decide to go to a Starbucks to do it, I know that I'm entering a building where other people are trying to have a similar experience. Sometimes all the tables will be taken, because a whole lot of people had the same popular idea as me. In that case, all I can do is shrug, and move on. Do I still want the coffee? Well I'm there already, so I'll buy one. Do I still want to read a book in here, sitting at a table? Well maybe I'll get lucky, and I'll see someone pack up their stuff and leave. Barring that, oops, oh well, things didn't go the way I hoped. No big deal, do ANYTHING ELSE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.

If it's the employees fault that the place is full, then you're equally at fault for showing up when everybody else decided to be there. It's the luck of the draw. It's random. How fucking dare you try to change the circumstances around you to accommodate your whimsy, your personal preferences. You aren't required here, and you aren't in charge. In short: go fuck yourself.

Without getting too specific, tonight somebody was, through pain, trying to express themself. It was clearly difficult and upsetting, it was hard to do, but they were doing it. That's all that mattered. Someone in the back of the room shouted, "speak up."

You son of a bitch. You piece of shit. Who the fuck are you to criticize someone for trying to speak about something so personal. It was supposed to be a shared moment. No. It was supposed to be a personal moment in confidence, shared with a group assembled for a shared cause. No one grieving needs a heckler. Shut your fucking mouth. If you can't hear him, that's a shame, he isn't speaking for your benefit, he's speaking for his. Maybe you should be sitting closer. Maybe you should have gotten there earlier. This same person had already complained about how long it took him to get there.

Some people just want to be heard. Scratch that. Some people need to be heard. And that's okay in and of itself. Just like most things in life, it's the way that you cope with that need that's important.

I'm a big fan of a podcast (internet radio show) called Tell 'Em Steve-Dave! It's a podcast hosted by three guys from a comic book store in Red Bank, NJ. On Labor Day, Allie was being really awesome by going to that shop with me to watch the guys record a new episode. They had posted on Twitter that they would be doing a few small competitions, and wanted people to come to the shop to watch. Currently, Bobby and I are gearing up a podcast of our own, and so on top of wanting to see these guys I'm a fan of, I wanted to get an idea of what it looks like when professionals do it.

I'd heard them say before that they didn't have a ton of fans, and even though there were only 20 or so other people who went to the shop, it was kind of cool. It felt like a legitimate cultural event. The guys were sitting around the microphones, talking to each other. They didn't engage the "audience" at all. They didn't have to. We were there to watch what we presumably all knew was a private show. We're there for fun, not to participate. Except for one guy. This idiot was sitting in a chair, arms laying casually across the back of it, feet stretched out in front of him, looking cool and casual. With every joke that the hosts made, he would burst out in an obvious artificial laugh. If one of the hosts asked a hypothetical question, he answered it loudly. It became clear that he was desperately trying to be involved in the proceedings, hidden under the guise of enthusiasm. He just wanted his voice on the mic. He would probably listen to the podcast and get a thrill out of hearing his voice echoing quietly in the background. He'd tell his friends. They'd show a vague interest. I hated him for it. It was desperate. And even though it was a pathetic move, I don't excuse him from the underlying narcissism. Who is he to interrupt (or try to interrupt) the show that the rest of us enjoy just because he has some childish need for attention, or an unfounded expectation that anyone gives a shit about what he has to say?

And I hope I hear him on the podcast. He's a warning. He is an example of how not to be.

I could easily blame this behavior on the social-networking-generation, but I think that would be a myopic view of the problem. Realistically, I think it's just another kind of social behavior. It's a social affect. It's not new. Some people are just over-valuing their voice; their opinion. Some people think that it's necessary to make clear their satisfaction or dissatisfaction despite the lack of involvement. Tonight I was sorry to see a heavily significant event be somewhat tarnished by people over-extending their opinion. We don't need to hear your criticism, we don't need you to smile awkwardly because you're uncomfortable here, and we don't need your bullshit personal issues to get in the way of our collected emotion.

We are not so enthralled with you.

We are all in the same boat, even you, and when you make clear your dissatisfaction, your discomfort, you are embarrassing not only yourself, but the rest of us.

I fear I'm getting vague again. And I don't mean to do it to attract attention, I'm just so incredibly anxious about these things. Tonight was just another example of a widespread problem. Like I said, to blame Twitter and Facebook for making us all feel like our opinions are essential is absurd. Twitter and Facebook are invitations to express ourselves, not archives of uncontested genius. They are places for debate and conversation.

I'm sorry if this feels like the equivalent of posting "Some people really piss me off" on Facebook, and I hope that I've given enough real-life examples to satisfactorily express myself. I'm just feeling bleak. Like people won't give each other an inch. That no one's really listening, just planning how best to respond. On any other day, I could have written about these jerks comedically, but I'm viewing them through a filter of blind anger right now.

In case you haven't had enough of them, here's one quick final prime example of this self obsession:

I took a class on public speaking a few years ago, and predictably, pretty much everybody in my class was an egomaniac (either positively or negatively), myself included. Everybody had something brilliant to say, and everybody else was just surely waiting for their turn.

Well anyway, this one particular day, our professor was talking about his weekend, which involved some mis-communication between himself and his daughter. It involved his cell phone glitching out and behaving oddly. To help explain his story, the professor interrupted himself, and asked the room at large,

"Do any of you know how a cell phone works?"

A woman sitting next to me raised her hand and answered,

"Idon't."

Sweeney Todd

I'm jumping right in. So Allie found out that the local theater is putting on a production of Sweeney Todd. The only background you need for this, essentially, is that Allie and I were in plays together in high school. Once she found out that they were doing this, she immediately told me that I should audition.

That I NEED to audition.

It was said with that very specific urgency, that makes it clear that that this isn't a suggestion. But it's not an order, either. It's something else. It's a strongly encouraged opportunity that, if you don't take it, you're making a big fucking mistake.

I'm not auditioning.

Not out of some look-at-how-cool-I-am bullshit. I think. But I'm definitely not auditioning for the show. Why should I?

My viewpoint on the matter is that, yeah, I was in TWO WHOLE SHOWS in HIGH SCHOOL. Who cares? I enjoyed them, sure. They were a really big deal at the time, but now it's not something I'm interested in.

(Full disclosure: I'm pretty intensely interested in performance and storytelling and stuff. So I definitely understand the reasoning behind the strong suggestion. For example, I recently auditioned for an acting agency. I'm irrational, but nonetheless...)

Sweeney Todd is a really really entertaining play. I'm a fan. Not a huge fan, but I like that show. I've always thought it would be funny if I could produce a version of the play expressly based on the movie. From memory. For the sole purpose of having the audience think, "why are they adapting the movie into a play? Are they stupid?" That's what I want.

I bought the soundtrack to the movie on iTunes. It's not because I think it's superior to any play version, but just because the movie is my main exposure to the show and I like it. I sing the songs. Even when I'm not actually playing the songs from my iPod. I like this show.

Allie knows ALL of this. I still don't want to be in the damn show. But I have very specific, very valid reasons.

I'm 24 years old and fat. Those are the facts. The plot of this show revolves around a barber who was young and married a young beautiful woman, but the town's judge (the villain) cooked up a reason to have this barber exported so that he could steal the wife. The man returns at least 18 years later as Sweeney Todd, and along with woman who owns his old house, he plans to kill the judge. Sweeney Todd and the woman are insane, and now he'll pose a barber to practice killing people so he's ready for the judge, and she'll repurpose the bodies by making pies out of them to keep her business going. Win-win. Great show. But again. I'm a fat 24 year old.

This show is comprised almost exclusively of middle aged men. Who aren't fat. Specifically. Very specifically.

I brought this point up. It was waved away.

I enjoy singing. I personally think I'm a decent singer, but I'm also socially conscious. It doesn't happen much, but when it happens, I pay attention: if I happen to be singing, anybody nearby turns away, politely. It's no big deal, I don't care, I sing for no reason other than fun, but clearly other people aren't impressed. Sweeney Todd is a musical.

Again, this argument is nothing.

I can't do a British accent. Non-issue.

I don't want to do this fucking play. I'm perfectly happy to be on stage or talk in public, but I don't know how well I can act for a couple of hours. I'd LOVE to get up in front of people to say whatever I want, but acting? Being dramatic and singing? I'm not interested.

The way I see it, even if I audition for the experience, the best case scenario is that I have another story to tell. At best. The most likely, most boring scenario is that I audition, it's generally fine, but there's no place in the show for an "actor" of my caliber and age/physique.

What I would LOVE would be for them to watch me act and sing, and have to acknowledge amongst themselves (producer and director) that I have no place in the show, but to somehow really covet my talent and wish they could get me in somehow. They'd fruitlessly argue to each other that I look old...maybe I could be Sweeney Todd. Maybe Sweeney can be fat...no...no...Yeah, you're probably right, no good...The judge. Maybe...yeah! Maybe the town judge can be 24 years old....Right? Yeah! Ugh...no. No. Shit, where can we put this guy...?

Here's where you put me. This is what I want. I say this without a shred of comedy:

It's local theater. It's a local playhouse. Create a new character for me. But not a good character. What I want is for the producer to be so enchanted by me that they're willing to remodel the script to accept a new character. But oddly enough, the character they create to accommodate me is a village-idiot type.

Fatso the Village Asshole. That's my character. With a throwaway line of dialogue it's explained that I'm American. They write it so that I don't have to work for it at all. So I'm American and stupid and rude and fat. I barely have to act. They just want me in the show. I don't even sing. I'm just Sweeney Todd's idiot sidekick. And even though the role is written for me, because they love me, it's totally offensive. I'm constantly tripping over myself and farting and eating and shit. That's all I want. That's what I'm asking for.

Allie didn't seem interested. More than that, I'm pretty sure she stopped paying attention once I started laughing at my own jokes.

Doesn't she get it? Listen man, this blog has several readers from foreign countries. Several from Russia!

I'm a big shot.

So local theater? Not for me. Although I think the real reason is that I just don't like acting. I like writing or performing the crap I write.

Also, I can confirm that my Russian readers come here because of a weird mistake result on a Russian search engine.

C'est la vie.

I'm sorry.

EDIT:

I thought more about my created role. In addition to having to play a total slob, I also want to be some sort of sidekick to Sweeney Todd. I'm totally involved in the murder and involved in using the bodies for pies. But every now and then, my character will stupidly pick up one of the pies and take a bite as if oblivious to what's going on and mention to Sweeney how good the pies are. Sweeney rolls his eyes at me, and the play moves on.

A Couple of Stupid Dates

I’m going to very quickly tell you what the worst date I ever went on was. And since I’m already being a dick by posting this online, I won’t use the girl’s name.  I’ll just call her Barf. Or not, because that’s also really mean, so I’ll just go with Girl X.
This is at least maybe 5 years ago, and Girl X and I were not really dating. I also wouldn’t say we were really friends, but we did have one of those stupid and tense sorta-relationships that teenagers have. That being the case, we were fighting around the time that we went on this date. I don’t remember what we were fighting about, because I couldn’t care less, but I guess she was trying to make nice with me, because she told me that she wanted me to go out for dinner with her in the city. I was working at TGI Fridays when she texted me that, and even though I was grumpy with her for whatever reason, and even though I generally find going to New York to be a pain in the ass, I agreed. Because who knows, maybe it would be nice or maybe even romantic. She said she knew a great little place, and that I would love it.
                I picked her up that night, and we took a train into the city. Let me quickly say that even now, at 24, I can’t navigate NY very well, but especially then, I had NO idea where anything was, or how to use the subway. So Girl X is taking me on the subway and we’re just talking and having a good, if somewhat tense, conversation. Eventually we made it to the cute little place she knew of.
She took me to the Chevys near Time Square.
Chevys.I worked at a TGI Fridays at the time, basically the exact same kind of place. I felt like I was at work.

I smiled as well as I could, while internalizing “the fuck?” This is a nice little place?
Dinner was ok I guess. Frankly I don’t really remember any of it, because of what happened afterward. For the sake of the story, let me quickly suggest that it was 10:40, and that there was a train back to Jersey leaving at 11:00. It was the equivalent of that. Girl X checked her watch and look at me worried. She told me that we needed to catch that 11:00 train, so we’ll have to run. I’m fat now, I was fat then, I didn’t want to run. I asked her if we could just catch a later train, because the trains generally run for a couple more hours. With no explanation, she said no. So we ran through New York like idiots. Dodging and weaving through the other people who are walking like normal people usually do. We barely caught the train, got back to Jersey, and I was ready to split off from Girl X, but then I remembered I had driven her to the train station, so I had to drive her back.
This isn’t horrible of me, but I’m still not proud of it. I was so fed up with Girl X that for the drive home, I cranked my iPod and sang, just so that there wouldn’t be a chance for conversation. That was probably the worst date I've ever been on.
Now here’s a story about me being a total loser and idiot. Around when I was 18, my family had six pets: three dogs and three cats. That being the case, every year there were a good few weeks in a row where I’d have to take the pets to the vet for their checkups. At the vet’s office, there was a really cute nurse who I always got along with. Now, I generally try not to be too presumptuous, so even though she and I would chat and laugh, I assumed that it was just friendly banter. I was mostly making fun of dogs for being afraid of her, and she would laugh and say she was used to it. On maybe the third visit that year, the nurse asked me if I’d like to maybe meet up with her at the local dog park on Friday.
All of a sudden, I realized that we weren’t just making small talk, we were flirting! I would have been disappointed by my fucking stupidity if I wasn’t so stoked that a nurse was asking me out, so:
"Yes. I would like to go to the park with you."
I was so caught up in the magic of love that I was back at my house before I realized that:
       1.) I never got her phone number
And
2.) I didn’t even know her name
Obviously I couldn’t call the vet’s office and ask what her name was, so I just started using the code name Mulva in my head while waiting for Friday to come.
That day I made it to the dog park early, which was no mean feat considering that I took my fat lazy dog Jewel. She was half basset hound and really slug-like, so the fact that I managed to get her out the door to the park early meant that I was way over-eager.
I may as well have been wearing a suit with a flower in the lapel. I may as well have had my hair slicked. I looked like I was trying to look nice. So I was there, all the other dog people were put off by me, and I waited. I waited a realllly long time.
She stood me up.
At this point, I realized that it really isn’t worth it to get so goofy about a date, I was actually glad she stood me up, because I was about to embarrass myself. I considered it a freebie and a lesson, so I went home feeling semi-okay.
Unfortunately, because of how many damn pets we have, I had to go to the vet the very next day. On the drive over, I learned another lesson: dating sucks. I didn’t want to have to see the girl that stood me up! Not because I was in pain or something, but because I didn’t want to have to have her looking at me awkwardly. I’d just as soon pretend it never happened, but I was certain she wouldn’t. I wasn’t looking forward to the appointment.
Incredibly, the moment that I stepped through the door, Mulva ran up to me to apologize. She said that her friend had been attacked by her dog, so she couldn’t come. That took me by surprise. At first I was going to assume that she was lying, but let on that I believed the lie just to make everything okay again. Then I was going to pretend that none of this had ever happened. But I was taken aback, as she looked legitimately apologetic, and that's a crazy thing to lie about, so I believed her. Even still, I wasn’t about to ask her out or anything. The appointment went like normal, we still flirted, and then I was walking to the door, thinking that clearly nothing was going to happen, and I was a little bummed. Just then, she called out my name, I turned around, she put a little note in my hand, said, “I have to go assist the doctor, but call me!” and ran away. The note had her name and phone number on it. But I’m still going to call her Mulva.
Now we jump to one year later.
It was again time for me to start taking all those stinkin’ animals to the vet, and on the drive over, I started thinking about Mulva, and wondering if she still worked there. She did, and we joked and flirted a little bit, even though it was awkward after all that time. But it was cool.
On the drive back, I thought about all the events of the previous year and about how I was actually kind of cool back then. This older hot nurse was asking me out, and even when she stood me up, I never begged her to give me another shot, which I probably should have. She was definitely too good for me, and I started thinking that if she and I still flirt and stuff, I should just flat out ask her to dinner. Because of all the animals I have, I figured I’d just do it on my next appointment. I psyched myself up to do just that.
Then I started wondering why things never really took shape between me and Mulva the previous year. I couldn’t remember how it all ended…And then…I did. She gave me her number on that piece of paper, and that was it.
I never called her! What the fuck, why didn’t I call her?
Suddenly I didn’t feel like a cool badass about to ask out a nurse. Instead, I felt like an asshole who never called this girl who kept asking me out! At the vet’s, it wasn’t awkward because it had been a year since we’d seen each other, it was awkward because she thought I was a dick!
Well, I calmed myself down, and I reasoned out that since I still had her phone number, and since I couldn’t really change the past, maybe I would just wait a day, call her, and ask her out. I figured I could just come up with some reason why I didn’t call or something. I didn’t really know, but I figured it would be okay.
The next day, I scrolled to her name on my phone, steeled my nerves, and called.
The phone rang. And rang. And rang. I started getting nervous that maybe she didn’t have the same number anymore. Finally, someone answered,
Man: “Hola”
Me: “Hi, is [Mulva] there?”
Man: “¿Que?”
Me: “I’m trying to reach [Mulva].”
Man: “Uh, sorry. No hablo inglés
That’s when I realized…
Me: “Sorry, thank you.”
I hung up. And my heart sank. I remembered. I DID call her last year…but THAT guy answered the phone! I must have put the wrong number in my phone!
So…I’m pretty sure I made my sister go back to the vet’s in my place, the next week. I never saw Mulva again. And thank god for that, because that would have been really uncomfortable.
The end…
Now tell me the worst date you’ve ever been on.

Impressive Technology

I don't know whether or not you read my last post, where I talk about Ryan Dunn's death and think about death itself, but at the end of it, I joked that the next time I posted, I'd just write about Nintendo. Well guess what: evidently I wasn't joking. I'm going to talk about Nintendo.

I bought a 3DS recently, and it really makes me question the universe and what happens when we die.

It also makes me ignore my girlfriend and play Zelda.

Now, I could easily write a long entry here about how awesome Zelda is, and how awesome I am for playing Zelda (which is awesome), but instead, I want to talk about the 3DS system itself.

I'll actually start by explaining the 3DS' predecessor, the Nintendo DSi. It had two cameras, and because of that, it had a lot of fun filters and programs to take crazy pictures. You could take a picture of yourself and a friend, and the system would then determine how alike you look, and then guess at your relationship. For example, here is a picture from the DSi of my sister Kristen and me (from YEARS ago):

Pretty stupid. Pretty fun. You could also use different wacky frames for a picture. Here's Bobby showing off that feature:

You could also add in little pictures of cat ears and big eyes and stuff. Or even distort the image your taking. To illustrate those points, Allie and Daisy:

My favorite feature of the camera, though, was it's ability to combine the faces of you and your friends. First you would take a picture of yourself, and then your friend would try and take a picture of themselves from the same distance, with the same expression, and you'd wind up with some cool/funny combination of your features:

So you can see that the resulting pictures are pretty blurry, but they're also pretty generally well done. I mean, the merged picture of Kristen and me is horrible, but that's because we were being horrible. We look like an old woman. But that merged picture of Bobby and me looks like a combination of the two of us. Pretty weird and cool.

So now we're back at the 3DS, which is, again, the successor to the DSi. It has 3 cameras this time. One on the inside, two on the outside (so that you can take 3D pictures). I've been playing games on it since I got it, but when Bobby came over the other night and was checking it out, we remembered how much fun it was to screw around with the camera on the DSi. We wondered whether or not you can still combine faces on the 3DS. And we found out...You can:

....And:

...Jesus.

Talking about death. ENJOY!

By now, pretty much everybody knows that Ryan Dunn from CkY and Jackass died yesterday, and the issue has been discussed to death, but I don't care. I want to talk about it, myself. I was surprised by how bummed out I was when I found out. Bobby posted a link to the news story on my Facebook, and my heart instantly dropped. It was weird. What/why the hell do I care?

HERE'S why I care: As absolutely weird and gross and stupid the stuff he did was, I think it was all really great.

I remember getting the first CkY (precursor to Jackass) video as a bootleg VHS. I think I still have it, it's pretty much unwatchable. My family had just recently moved to New Jersey, and I was pretty angry, so this bootleg tape helped me make friends with people who also knew about it. I think I was about 14 years old, and I'd never laughed so goddamn hard at something in my life. It was just a bunch of dudes being idiots. It looked like they basically just had a camcorder and fucking weird, funny ideas. It was essentially Looney Toons with humans. Hilarious. It starred Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, and Brandon Dicamillo. I think I forgot about it almost instantly.

Then Jackass came out and it included all the guys from CkY and more. Now they had Johnny Knoxville (pretty much Bugs Bunny) as their accidental leader. The show was hilarious, and I mostly remember watching it at 3:00am when I couldn't sleep. The show was really actually kind of quiet, so when I think about that show, I think about how silent everything around me was, except for when somebody got hurt and I'd frantically turn down the volume. Stupid moron kids started imitating the show though, and hurting themselves, so the show was cancelled. This was the first real controversy surrounding the show. I knew that it wasn't reasonable to blame the stupidity of these kids on the show, and I always talked about just that with friends, but there was always the nagging truth that by having a popular show on television, those guys (whether they wanted it or not) had become role models. Which is weird. I can laugh at a dude jumping off a building holding an umbrella without wanting to try it myself.

Things, for me, started getting really interesting at this point. After the TV show ended, a couple of spin off's popped up. One was a nature documentary starring two of the Jackass guys, and the other was a sort of reality show following Bam Margera's life, and Bam had been friends with Ryan Dunn since they were kids. Ryan was in, I think, every single episode, and instead of just having 3 minute skits, there was a full storyline for each episode, and you started seeing what these guys were actually like. Bam Margera is a real asshole. I think he's really funny, but I also really hate how much he loves himself. And I hate that he wears top hats without a shirt on and shit. He's an ass. Everything in Bam's life rotates around doing what he wants to do, except for Ryan Dunn, who will make fun of Bam and sort of take him down a peg. It turned out that Ryan Dunn was just as crazy as Bam, and just as willing to hurt himself to make his friends laugh, but he also seemed to have a side of him that couldn't help but acknowledge how stupid it all was. He was sarcastic, but he always stuck around. More than all that, really, was that Bam's parents were a huge part of the show, and you could really tell that they loved Ryan and Ryan loved them. That wasn't the point of the show, but that's the vibe that exists behind all the other bullshit.

Then they did the movies, which were all really funny, but they were now tinged with the fact that you'd seen a little more of everyone's personalities. It made them more accessible and amusing. They also started making sure that, for each segment, everybody was around. Instead of one guy hurting himself in silence, now all of his friends would be there, laughing at him. By the end of the third movie, you really got the sense that these guys were all really good friends, and they just wanted to have fun and make each other laugh. I don't give a shit what you say about those movies. I know they're gross (LOTS of poop) but I'll defend them to the goddamn death, because you NEVER see genuine friendship in a movie. During the credits of the third movie, all of the Jackass guys sing the song Memories with Weezer. I hate that song, and I'd heard it before I saw the movie, so when I heard it starting up, I groaned, but then I had to change my mind. The credits of the movie, while everyone is singing the song, go person-by-person through the whole cast. They show a baby picture of each guy, then a picture of them as a teenager, then a little older, and older, and older, and then it's a current photo. By pretty much the 3rd picture of each guy, they're instantly recognizeable, because suddenly you're reminded of what these guys looked like 10+ years ago. It brought me back to that stupid bootleg tape.

It's like when you know someone really well in real life, and then you see a picture from a few years ago, and it's alien. You were too close to see the gradual change in them. That's exactly what happened during the credits. I didn't realize that I'd accidentally been consistently watching these guys for so long.

So I was really bummed out when I found out Ryan Dunn died. I don't think I ever thought about him unless I was watching a show/movie he was in, but there was something about having to acknowledge that after having watched him do shit for years, he was dead. I'm sure there was also something in there about how much he's hurt himself before without lasting effect vs. how he burst into flame and died, but I don't care to examine that.

It's really fucked up. Reallllly fucked up. Everything about it. What he was doing, how it happened, and the aftermath of it. So we all know that he tweeted a picture of himself drinking at a bar just hours before he was pronounced dead on the scene. We all know that he had a passenger with him, who also died. Everybody on the internet (who had an opinion) went insane. Some people were arguing that he was an asshole for speeding while drunk with a passenger. They called him a murderer and said that this is what you get when you live your life like a Jackass. Some people thought it was a failed stunt for a fourth movie. Some people said that he was a great guy, and he was so funny, and they can't believe he's dead. Some people said they didn't want to consider that he was drunk or speeding until it was indisputably proven. I think I was basically saying all of those things.

Knowing all the facts now, I have to say that I really liked Ryan Dunn, and I still do. I think that he was hilarious and down to earth and entertaining as hell, but you can't forgive the dumb fucking decisions he made on Sunday. He was stupid that night. And his actions got not just himself, but a friend killed. It's unreasonable to deny that. But I have a lot of crazy thoughts about death, and the BEST thing about this situation is that he probably only had a few moments of worry and pain. Everything before that was partying and being crazy like he got paid and honored to do his whole life. Death is great for the dead. He doesn't have to deal with the fallout of what happened that night. It's over for him. He had a crazy great life and blew himself up. So that's all great for him, but what about the people who cared about him who are left here without him?

Another huge issue around his death has been the media outcry over how irresponsible and senseless his death was. Again, it wasn't just him. He caused the death of a friend, who was recently married. I'm sure that you all read what Roger Ebert said, "Friends don't let Jackasses drive drunk." He's right, but I think the tone of the message was off, as was the timing (the day of the crash). Bam Margera, who had until then not publicly spoken, bashed Roger Ebert on Twitter, talking about how he was crying his eyes out all day and said that Ebert should keep his fat mouth shut. Aside from evidently not knowing that Ebert's mouth hasn't been fat in a long time, I think that Bam is ALSO right. It really fucking pissed me off that everybody decided that this was now a fight or debate between Bam Margera and Roger Ebert. Everyone was debating online who was right, whose argument was more valid. But Bam Margera wasn't making a fucking argument, he was upset.

A friend of his who he'd grown up with had just died in so violent a way that he was identified by only his tattoos and facial hair. I mean, for all I know, the coroner wasn't a fan, but I feel like this might mean that Ryan Dunn was otherwise unrecognizable. He was mangled. Bam Margera telling Roger Ebert to shut up was not his way of condoning driving drunk or something, he was reacting to the fact that he didn't like his friend being referred to as a jackass on the day he died. Just as a side note, why exactly did Roger Ebert need to throw in his advice? Kind of unnecessary. Whatever.

So today I watched footage of Bam Margera going to the scene of the accident. He's clearly inconsolable. He's just shaking and crying, and blubbering, and he's fucking entitled to. I've read so many comments about the appearance on the internet today, talking about how Bam is weird and weak, and Ryan Dunn deserved to die, drunk drivers should go to hell, etc, but it pisses me off, because he wasn't there to show off or defend his friend, he was there to mourn. He was upset. You're allowed to be upset. It's almost like we expect life to move as quickly as information moves on the internet. "Christ, it's been TWO DAYS already, get over it Bam!" It's unfair. It's bullshit. I don't like Bam Margera, but he can cry as much as he fucking wants, and he can say whatever the fuck he wants without it being interpreted as an official statement. Death sucks.

People are assholes. They're insensitive. And in this case, it's like they're trying to fight for logic and sanity by saying that Ryan Dunn deserved to die because he drank and drove and killed, but then they turn that logic into a reason for why no one should care. You can have it both ways. I'm really fucking angry at how stupid Ryan Dunn was. He killed himself and a friend, and it's a goddamn lucky thing that he didn't hit anyone else on his way down the road. He could have. But I still liked him, he was still somebody that I got to know (in a limited fashion) over the course of years. I think we forget the impact of death.

I used to work at a TGI Fridays, and when I was there one day, I got the news that my grandmother died. I've never been the best at showing weakness in public, so when I walked to the back office, in a daze, I told my bosses what had happened in a really monotone way, with no expression on my face. Like a sociopath, basically, but what can you do? Now, I feel like two things must have happened in this moment:

1: My bosses realized that I was speaking different than usual

and

2: I kind of don't think they believed me. To this day I'm pretty sure they thought I was fucking lying to skip out on the last couple of hours of work.

I think this because they asked me if I could run to the store for them before I went home.

Assholes. Fucking assholes.

I was confused, because in the moment, I didn't process their reaction as skepticism, it seemed more like my grandmother's death wasn't a big deal to them, especially when they were running out of milk!!

I stammered a little and asked if there was ANYONE else that could go, because I wanted to come home and be with my family. They told me there wasn't. The next thing I knew I was standing in a fucking Walmart. I'd been convinced it wasn't important. I'd been royally fucked over because of how cynical they were.

We're all too fucking cynical. Myself included. It's not great.

Oof.

Next time I'll just write about Nintendo or something.

An Afternoon at the Museum/Zoo

Last weekend, Allie, Krissy, and I went to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. It's the museum of medical oddities, and I was really excited about it.

They have a wall of skulls, and each skull has a brief description under them of whose skull it is, sometimes it says how they died, but it always says what makes their skull unique. They have the skeleton of a man whose muscles became calcified, they have leather made from human skin, and they have the skeletons of a man who had gigantism next to the skeleton of a woman who had dwarfism.
The best/worst part of these displays were the goddamn people standing around me, talking about each skull, or skeleton.
I was reading about the guy who had gigantism, and why his spine was bent, when some idiot walked up behind me and said, "Oh gross, look at that guy's spine! Ew, and his ribs are all messed up, wow!" Christ. I'm not saying that I'm a genius or anything, but I'm going to go ahead and take pride in the fact that I wasn't just running from display to display looking at "freaks." Idiot.
I was enjoying the museum until we hit the gift shop.

http://www.muttermuseumstore.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=MutterMuseumStore&Product_Code=000048&Category_Code=

Didn't click the link? It shows you this:
They sell that. It's a best seller. Come on.
They know EXACTLY who their customers are.So that was pretty great, but what was probably the best people listening to/watching experience I've had in years was at the zoo. It was unbelievable.

I went to the zoo with my friends Bobby Koester and Matt Van Auken. Matt was there for school, so he had to actually seriously study the animals, but Bobby and I didn't have anything legitimate to do, so we were just screwing around and looking at animals. We weren't there long before we realized the people are way more interesting.While we were looking at lemurs, standing in a pretty big group of people, we heard a *beep* come from the ceiling. Just a brief tone. I barely would have noticed it if the the woman in front of me hadn't reacted the way she did. She stared up at the ceiling, looking concerned.

I figured she was just curious about what it was, so whatever, I looked back at the lemurs.
Then the ceiling beeped again. The woman, still staring at the ceiling, nervously said, "hello?"
Her husband/brother/boyfriend/guy with a ponytail grunted his theory, "I think a monkey got out."
A monkey.
One of those monkeys we were looking at (lemurs).
I'm pretty sure the zoo sounds off a light beep whenever a fucking monkey gets loose.
Dammit.
About a half hour later, Bobby and I were checking out some seals, because seals are great. After about three seconds of looking at them, I learned something interesting. Seals don't so much make that barking sound that everybody thinks. The sound they DO make is this (Warning: it might be hard to explain this sound if you're reading this at work):

If you didn't feel like clicking the YouTube "video," it's me making barfing sounds. Because that's the sound these seals were making.
So even though the seals were exclusively making this sound, little kids standing near me and Bobby kept doing that "arf, arf" seal impression. Weird. One kid even made the joke, "They're saying 'art!' They want art!" The other kid cracked up. So did Bobby and I.
Also near us was a family who though it was cute and nice to bring a loaf of bread to the zoo. They're the obnoxious group of people who toss little shreads of white bread to all the animals, even though most of the animals at the zoo don't eat white bread.
If that weren't enough, they were were tossing the bread into the water, because not only do seals LOVE bread, they REALLY love DISGUSTING SOGGY WHITE BREAD DISINTEGRATING IN THE WATER WHERE THEY LIVE! It was unbelievable.
It made me so angry.
I honestly can't wait to go back.

This is a very important story. It's also an experiment.

I'm going to go ahead and write out a story of something that really bugged me. When you're finished reading it, I want you to think about what you would have done, and how you would have felt if it had happened to you. Or maybe just how you would respond to me telling you this. Then I'll tell you the correct response.

It all started last November when I got a job temping at Johnson & Johnson. I was the hot new kid on the campus, and obviously people took notice of me. And the people I'm talking about...is actually just one lady who makes sandwiches in the cafeteria.

I mostly kept my head down and worked, but it seems that she just took a shine to me.

It started out small, like asking how my day was. That was already pushing the threshold of my friendliness, but I'd tell her, "fine."

Now, I'm a vegetarian and a creature of habit, by the way, so I was pretty much getting the same damn cheese sandwich whenever I went to her station. Sometimes I might get a veggie burger from the guy across the room, though.

Obviously, I wasn't even safe from her then. She'd shout, "What, are you cheating on me?"

I'd look back and smile/grimace.

Then she started trying to memorize what sandwich I usually got. I'd walk up to her and start ordering, but she'd cut me off, look like she was thinking hard, and just sort of randomly blurt, "provolone...tomato...uhh...and [I'd try to jump in] Wait! Pickle? Then I'd say, "lettuce," and she'd start apologizing to me for not memorizing what I like. Loudly. While other people wait on line. I felt as though it looked like I expected her to know what I get. To other people, I just looked like a prick.

So whatever, that temp job ended, and I went on to better things (such as having Quick Chek sandwiches made by a woman I call Eyebrows Lady). About a month later, I got hired for a different job at the same J&J site.

On my first day back, the damn sandwich lady, who I had mostly forgotten about, asked me where I'd been. I told her that my last job had ended a month earlier. She looked offended and said, "and you didn't say goodbye to me?"

Christ. WE AREN'T FRIENDS!

Okay, so all that to explain this:

The other day I was on the line for a sandwich, because I don't learn. With about 5 people ahead of me, the sandwich woman notices me waiting on line. AS A BUSINESS WOMAN IS ACTIVELY ORDERING FOOD, the sandwich lady holds her finger out to silence the her, turns to me, and holds up one of the rolls I usually get my sandwich on,

"Hey! Here, take this, just in case I run out of it by the time you get up to me."

She said it with urgency that suggested there'd be hell to pay if I didn't get my fucking olive bread, with a twist of doing me a huge favor. So I had to walk through the 5 people ahead of me to take the roll. It was just strange enough to attract the attention of all the bored/boring office people.

A sweaty guy joked, "Hey, no cuts! Heh...heh..."

Some giant went, "Well! I guess we know what YOU'RE ordering!"

A lady, speaking WAY too loud says, "Hey, always good to have someone in the cafeteria looking out for you!" Her voice actually echoed.

And the last guy gives me a fucking pat on the back as I walk back to my place in line.

The worst part is that I could easily see a whole stack of that type of roll.

Office jokes are so stupid and irritating. They're not even jokes, they're mostly just basic observations, spoken through a smirk.

So that's it. I know it's not a big deal or anything, but it is annoying. It's as annoying as any brief interaction can be. Wouldn't you hate that?

And now here's the correct response to me telling you this story:

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

That's what my girlfriend said. And unfortunately, she's right.

"So that woman just tries to talk to you and asks you how you are, and you hate her? She tried to do you a favor and make sure you got the bread you like, and that pisses you off? I don't know why you tell me these things."

"..."

"And then those people tried to be friendly and joke around with you, but you just frown like a weirdo?"

I think I stammered here. Or grunted like a caveman.

"Honestly I think you're a little agoraphobic."

"What, no, you're crazy."

"No, Will, you always tell me these stupid stories about something that freaked you out and it's always like 'someone smiled at me,' and they always end with you talking about how horrible that was. Seriously, I don't know how I'm supposed to respond to this."

"Well, I thought it was funny."

"What are you going to do when we have kids? What are you going to do if you have to go to a parent-teacher meeting, and I can't go? Are you just going to sit next to the other parents and frown?"

I was about to answer, but -

"And then you're going to come home and I'll have to hear all about it?"

Jesus.

To be fair, I'm completely aware of the fact that it's irrational for me to freak out in situations like this, and I usually neglect to mention the part where I contributed to the stupid office humor and got along with everyone. But I can't divorce myself from finding these little teeny interactions worthless and annoying. I feel like it should really be acceptable to say to people,

"I don't mean to be rude, but, oh god...you're really weird. You're being weird toward me. Stop it."

So that's how you should have responded, but I really hope you relate to me about all of this.

I've got some work to do. For starters, no more sandwiches.

Up and Running

I’m not 100% on what blogs are for. Are they really just to go over the bullshit that you do from day to
day, or should they be like a book of essays? Should I be working hard to craft a little story that has a
beginning, middle, and end? Should I just be blurting out what a think, even if it’s a rambling mess,
as long as it’s what I feel?
Who cares? Who reads this shit? The blogs that I know and like are the ones centered on a topic. I read
a lot of nerdy blogs like Gizmodo, which, at this point, I’m hesitant to refer to as a true blog. Sites like that are more like a digital magazines, I guess.
So now I’m going to try having a blog again. I’ve done it before, and I’m pretty sure the result was that
I had long rambling posts about the crap that used to upset me. That was years ago though, and I'm not so angry anymore. I'm mostly confused. What’s the point of all this? Am I supposed to be writing
clever, witty little things for people to read and relate to? Should my goal to get people to comment on
what I write?
Admittedly, I don’t have much experience with reading peoples’ personal blogs, but from what I gather,
most people write about private things, or stuff that pisses them off, and it’s always vaguely written
enough that, as a reader, you’re left not really understanding exactly what the person is referring to:
“At this point, I’m just sick of all this shit. I don’t need a bunch of fake friends telling me what to do.”
What does that mean? Who are you writing about? It’s got you angry enough that you felt like writing it,
but you were careful to make sure you didn’t include names or specific situations. All anyone can do is
wonder, and probably comment asking if you’re talking about them.
To be fair, I guess it’s difficult to specifically name names in a blog where you’re putting a person down.
I’ll be talking about this woman who makes me sandwiches at work (who is SO fucking uncomfortable to
talk to), and while I really think it’s a funny/strange situation, I can’t help but think about the possibility
of her stumbling across this blog (I don’t mean this will be a popular blog, I mean that it’s technically
possible that she COULD see it).
Are blogs personal? I can’t imagine they are because you’re posting what you write on the internet. I
know that’s a common thing to say, but it’s absolutely true. If you don’t want people to dissect what you write, don’t put it out in a public forum. The internet is a billboard.
So I don’t really know what to do here. I definitely do want to have a blog, to have a place where I can
write about stuff that I’m thinking about. But it’s probably not going to be focused on any simple topic like the successful blogs I know of. I HOPE it won’t be a place where I come to vent a bunch of bullshit without
explaining who, what, when, where, or why. And I really don’t want to just treat this like a place where
I advertise how clever and enjoyable I am.
What I’d like this blog to be is a combination of all these things. I want to do whatever I want, basically.
I want to talk about funny shit I imagined, I want to talk about things that piss me off, and maybe I want
to review movies when I see them.
Last of all, I'm thinking of posting old things I've written. Maybe scans of bullshit I thought of in high school or drawings I drew when I was a kid. Just whenever it makes sense to.
Hopefully I'll keep this up. If not, oh well!