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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?

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.

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!