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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?

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]

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.

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.

Scary Story Time #3 and #4

I was originally going to avoid posting scary stories for a while, since I did it two times in a row, but I'm really enjoying the shitty rainy weather, so all I want right now is spooky stuff. Anyway, I decided to just put up a couple short stories that I really like. Quick disclaimer: I'm a really big fan of horror movies and scary stories. Recently I've been finding a lot of interesting little scary stories written anonymously by people on the internet, so I decided to start sharing some of the ones I like. You should know, before you read on, that I did not write any of these stories, unless otherwise noted. You should also know that I won't always be posting that I enjoy 100%. There could be a ten page story that I post because I like one sentence of it. In that case, I assume I'll explain why I posted horse-shit and what merit I see in it. Sometimes, I'll post "scary" stories that I hate, think are stupid, or maybe even funny. But more than that, you should really know that some of these stories may be somewhat graphic, so just steel yourself for anything, especially poor spelling and grammar (I don't edit these stories). No matter what, though, I hope you enjoy them too, and if you know any stories or sources, please share them with me. Also, if you have any requests, just ask, I have a huge archive of this stuff!

Sarah O' Bannon

Coffins used to be built with holes in them, attached to six feet of copper tubing and a bell. The tubing would allow air for victims buried under the mistaken impression they were dead. In a certain small town Harold, the local gravedigger, upon hearing a bell one night, went to go see if it was children pretending to be spirits. Sometimes it was also the wind. This time, it wasn't either. A voice from below begged and pleaded to be unburied. "Are you Sarah O'Bannon?" Harold asked. "Yes!" The muffled voice asserted. "You were born on September 17, 1827?" "Yes!" "The gravestone here says you died on February 20, 1857." "No, I'm alive, it was a mistake! Dig me up, set me free!" "Sorry about this, ma'am," Harold said, stepping on the bell to silence it and plugging up the copper tube with dirt. "But this is August. Whatever you are down there, you sure as hell ain't alive no more, and you ain't comin' up."

AND:

Last One Today

In Berlin, after World War II, money was short, supplies were tight, and it seemed like everyone was hungry. At that time, people were telling the tale of a young woman who saw a blind man picking his way through a crowd. The two started to talk. The man asked her for a favor: could she deliver the letter to the address on the envelope? Well, it was on her way home, so she agreed.

She started out to deliver the message, when she turned around to see if there was anything else the blind man needed. But she spotted him hurrying through the crowd without his smoked glasses or white cane. She went to the police, who raided the address on the envelope, where they found heaps of human flesh for sale.

And what was in the envelope?

"This is the last one I am sending you today."

So there you go, a couple brief, creative, scary stories. Two favorites of mine, actually. Their the kinds of stories that somehow captivate you from the very first word until the surprising last one.

And because I don't want to give you nightmares tonight, here's a little something to balance out the spookiness:

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.

Scary Story Time #2

Quick disclaimer: I'm a really big fan of horror movies and scary stories. Recently I've been finding a lot of interesting little scary stories written anonymously by people on the internet, so I decided to start sharing some of the ones I like. You should know, before you read on, that I did not write any of these stories, unless otherwise noted. You should also know that I won't always be posting that I enjoy 100%. There could be a ten page story that I post because I like one sentence of it. In that case, I assume I'll explain why I posted horse-shit and what merit I see in it. Sometimes, I'll post "scary" stories that I hate, think are stupid, or maybe even funny. But more than that, you should really know that some of these stories may be somewhat graphic, so just steel yourself for anything, especially poor spelling and grammar (I don't edit these stories). No matter what, though, I hope you enjoy them too, and if you know any stories or sources, please share them with me. Also, if you have any requests, just ask, I have a huge archive of this stuff!

Curious Little Thing

I have an odd habit a friend recently picked up on, a habit I developed about a year ago. He noticed that when I enter a room, any room, and shut the door, I turn my face away from it and close my eyes until I hear the lock click. Only after the door is fully closed will I open them. He gave me a hard time about it until I told him where it started.

I work for a water-seal company in St. Paul. We produce sealant for exposed wood — decks, boats, that kind of thing. You hear about sealant being a dirty word in the Ashland-Ichor Falls-Ironton area, but not all those companies were part of the infamous “Ethylor summer” that wiped out the local economy in the ’50s. I got sent to an industrial park outside of Ichor Falls on business.
I checked into this dismal hotel, the Hotel Umbra, that looked like the decor hadn’t been changed since 1930. The lobby wallpaper had gone yellow from decades of cigarette smoke, and everything had a fine layer of dust, including the old man behind the front desk. I hoped that the room would be in better shape. Mine was on the fourth floor.
Being an old place, the hotel had a rickety cable elevator, the kind with the double sets of doors: one of those flexing metal gates, and a solid outer pair of doors. I shut the gate and latched it, and pressed the tiny black button for my floor.
Just as the outer elevator doors were about to close, I was startled by the face of a young woman rushing at the gap between them. She was too late; the doors shut, and after a moment the elevator ascended.
I thought nothing of it, until I needed to take the elevator back down for one of my bags. I entered, pushed the button for the lobby, and pressed my tired back to the elevator wall opposite the doors. They had nearly completely shut when again I was surprised by a woman’s face moving towards the gap, staring into the elevator through the gate, too late to place her hand in to stop the doors from closing. This time I sprang forward and held the “Door Open” button, and after a moment the doors lurched and slid open.
I waited a moment. From the opening I could see partly down the hallway: no one in sight. Still holding the button down, I slid open the metal gate and craned my head into the hallway to look down the other direction.
No one. No trace of the girl, no recently shut hotel room door, no footsteps, no jingle of keys.
I released the button, but did not lean back against the wall. I stood directly in front of where the gap in the doors would be, in the center of the elevator. After a pause, the outer doors again began to slide shut, to move towards each other until the space between them was the width of a young girl’s face.
In that quarter-second several fingertips appeared, followed immediately by her face again, rushing from around the corner, staring at me as the doors met. I had been watching the gap where I thought she might be, so I saw her — she was about thirteen years old, and very plain, almost homely, with a pale complexion and neck-length dark brown hair that looked mussed or slightly dirty.
I didn’t have time to glance down at her visible shoulder, to see what she was wearing; from her behavior I wondered if she was a runaway or a homeless person who had gotten into the building. She had had a glassy, blank expression, tinged with a little desperation, some distant desire or need. A look that could easily be accompanied by the words “Please help.”
The next time I passed the front desk, I asked the old man if he’d seen a young girl running through.
“Heard the stories, then,” he said between throat-clearings, rocking gently in his seat. “Young Maddy has been here a long time. Takes a liking to gentlemen guests. Always been shy. Never says a word, not a word. Just curious.”
I told him I hadn’t heard any stories, and that there had been a girl taking the stairs and standing in front of my elevator on every floor.
“That’s our Maddy,” he said. “She likes you then. Sweet on you. She just wants to see, that’s all, just to see. All she ever does. Curious little thing. Just wants to see.”
I stayed at the Hotel Umbra for three nights. It was a four-night business trip; the last night I tried sleeping in my car. It didn’t help.
Let me tell you about Young Maddy. You only catch glimpses of her, of a face with a resigned look of quiet desperation, dominated by a pair of wide, dark eyes. Locked doors, barricades, nothing made a difference; she gets inside. I never saw her longer than half a second. Every time I laid eyes on her she retreated instantly, only to appear again an hour or two later. An hour or two if I was lucky.
Let me tell you about where I saw Young Maddy.
Every time I shut the door to my bathroom, in my hotel room, I saw her. If I watched as I shut it, at the last possible second I’d see the crescent of her face moving fast at the gap. I’d throw the door open to find nothing.
Every time I closed the closet door I saw her. If I watched that gap, she’d suddenly be inside the closet, leaning her head to watch me just as it shut. It’s as if she knew where to go, where to be, so that my eye would meet hers. But there was never an impact, never a moment when she’d make contact with the door or the wall.
The first time I sat at that writing table I saw her. As I closed the large bottom drawer. She rushed at the gap from inside the drawer, her wide eyes pleading for something I could not give. I pulled the drawer from its rails and threw it to the floor.
I did spend that last night in my car, but like I said, it did no good. Tossing and turning on that rental car seat, the back ratcheted as flat as I could get it, I’d have to open my eyes sometimes, and if there was a place for her to dart from my view when I opened them, she did. In the side-view mirror, or peeking over the hood of my car — once upside-down, at the top of the windshield, as if she was on the roof.
I’m back in St. Paul again, and I’ve been back for a year. But Maddy hasn’t stopped. If I keep my eyes open long enough, if I watch a place long enough, I’ll eventually catch sight of movement — near the copier in my office, a pile of boxes in an alley, a column in a quiet parking lot — and my eye will get there just in time to see her eye retreating from view. There’s never anything there when I go to look, so I’ve stopped looking.
That’s how I’ve had to change things since the Hotel Umbra. I’ve stopped looking. I keep my eyes shut when I close doors, when I shut drawers and cabinets, fridges, coolers, the trunk of my car. Not all spaces. Just ones that are big enough.
At least, that used to work. I was getting ready for bed a few nights ago, standing in front of my bathroom mirror, door shut, cabinets shut. Watching myself floss. I opened up wide to get my molars.
I swear I saw fingertips retreat down the back of my throat.

This story actually legitimately freaked me out for a while, but that's probably just because I already have a fear of people staring at me. Now I occasionally think of this stupid little girl ghost whenever I see that there is a cabinet or something open across a room. I swear to god, if I EVER see a stupid freaky face peaking at me from under a bed, I'm just going to die on the spot. Oof...Okay, here's something to help us all calm down:

Look at these guys! So silly!
I'm still scared. Send me your favorite scary stories, guys!

Scary Story Time #1

This will be the first of many! Quick disclaimer: I'm a really big fan of horror movies and scary stories. Recently I've been finding a lot of interesting little scary stories written anonymously by people on the internet, so I decided to start sharing some of the ones I like. You should know, before you read on, that I did not write any of these stories, unless otherwise noted. You should also know that I won't always be posting that I enjoy 100%. There could be a ten page story that I post because I like one sentence of it. In that case, I assume I'll explain why I posted horse-shit and what merit I see in it. Sometimes, I'll post "scary" stories that I hate, think are stupid, or maybe even funny. But more than that, you should really know that some of these stories may be somewhat graphic, so just steel yourself for anything, especially poor spelling and grammar (I don't edit these stories). No matter what, though, I hope you enjoy them too, and if you know any stories or sources, please share them with me. Also, if you have any requests, just ask, I have a huge archive of this stuff!

Here we go: The Subway Ride I live in the UK. A colleague at work heard this from her boyfriend. He works with someone who said that his sister’s friend got the last tube (subway train) home a couple of weeks ago. When she got on there were 5 rows of seats empty but the last row had three people sitting in them. As she was a little afraid, she went and sat opposite these people. She settled down and looked up to see the woman sitting opposite her really staring at her. So she got out her book and started to read but every time she looked up the woman was still staring. The train pulled into the next station and a man got on. He looked up and down the carriage, took a look at her and the people opposite her and came and sat next to her. As the train left the station the man leaned back and said quietly in her ear “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll get off at the next station with me”. She was scared but thought the best idea would be to get off at the next station as he asked as there might be people around. The next stop comes up and she leaves the train with this man. The man says “Thank God, I didn’t mean to scare you but I had to get you off that train. I’m a doctor and the woman sitting opposite you was dead and the two men either side were propping her up”. According to the guy who told this story, the girl and the doctor called the police who stopped the train at the next station.

Pretty scary stuff...I'll bet you could use a pallet cleanser. Here you go:

Feel free to send me any stories you see or like!!

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.

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!