7.29.2008

Did the earth move for you?

I just survived my first second third most recent earthquake!

This one was by far the scariest, mainly because:

  • I could feel it
  • I was sleeping at the time
  • The resulting disorientation did not help my mental acuity
  • The ground was fucking swaying
So having spent all of last night awake with an anxiety attack I finally fell asleep around 6 this morning. On my couch. Then around 10 I woke up and actually went to my bed.

I woke up again with my bed shaking beneath me and my bedroom door swinging open. It took me a second to really process what was going on. I swung a leg over to get out of bed and promptly fell to the ground.

"Okay, the ground is definitely swaying."

I started to get nauseated, but I don't know if it was because of the movement or panic. I realized I should probably put pants on. I don't want to have to evacuate naked, and I sure as hell don't want to be crushed to death naked. I don't know why that's more embarrassing to me.

So I got dressed while sitting next to my bed rocking on the floor and by the time I stood up it was over. Just like that.

I still say tornadoes are worse, but I'd be okay if I don't have to deal with either for awhile.

7.24.2008

IS IT ILLEGAL TO CUT GRASS?!

This makes me laugh out loud every single time I watch it. It starts out kind of typical "COPS" stuff but plays out like a bad SNL skit. Skip to 1:45 if you're interested in just the highlights.

Among my faves:

"I mean...my wife said if I didn't get her another beer she was gonna stab me in the face."

*hillbilly throws an empty can over his shoulder* Officer: "And then you're litterin' on top of that." Hillbilly: "I'll get that."



And what happens after that defies convention. I've been really drunk (never while driving), and I've even had to deal with police while drunk, but I don't have an arrest on my record because I resisted the urge to urinate while the cops were hassling me about being drunk.

What follows makes me squeal with laughter every single time. The repeated "I gotta go, I gotta go," to the cop as if the that justifies him pissing in the officer's face. The screams of "I KNOW MY RIGHTS!" over and over which, incidentally, is usually a tell-tale sign that someone does not actually know their rights.

The highlight though, is the Braveheart-esque "IS IT ILLEGAL TO CUT GRASS?!" I can imagine Mel Gibson in the film adaptation screaming these words in his faux Scottish brogue while the evil officers subdue him.

He kinda loses points for that last part though: "My wife will kick your ass!"

C'mon. Have some dignity.

7.23.2008

I'm about to shoot down a helicopter.

For the last, I dunno, four hours or so a helicopter has been circling around my neighborhood.

Seriously. Four hours.

First it sounds far away, like it's just flying by and on its way out. Then it swings around and its path crosses DIRECTLY OVER MY APARTMENT and my windows shake. This has been going on all goddamn afternoon.

At one point they were broadcasting something on the mega-loud speaker, but I couldn't hear it over the roar of the helicopter blades.

So there may or may not be: horrible traffic, a race riot, a murderer on the loose, a terrorist attack, a radiation leak, or Hancock outside my little apartment complex.

So fuck it. I'm closing the windows.

7.21.2008

Give your loved ones a complex. Anonymously.

Hey, no offense or anything!

When I first saw this site I figured it had to be some sort of promotional tie-in. Most of the emails you can send anonymously to friends and family are body-centric: body odor, dandruff, bad breath, and the red herring bad table manners. I figured this had to be some sort of Proctor & Gamble viral marketing scheme for some new product or products.

But it turns out, it's just the product of a know-it-all housewife who wants to help you criticize others. From the site's "About Us" section:

The idea for NoOffenseOrAnything.com began in a conversation between a work-at-home mom and her husband. Her husband had a colleague with terrible body odor but didn't know how to tell him. His wife suggested he try one of those anonymous emailers on the internet. However, this still didn't solve the problem of what exactly one should say. So, she decided to put her advice-giving skills to work and create pre-written content to help others out there in the same situation as her husband.

She's just putting her advice-giving skills to work! That's all, you smelly, sloppy lard ass! How could you be upset by receiving anonymous emails critiquing your appearance? Why would knowing that someone in your life thinks you smell be disconcerting?

My issue isn't with letting people know about their hygiene issues per se - although you've got to be pretty good friends with someone to broach that, otherwise you're just a dick - it's the idea that you're doing them a favor by sending them an anonymous note commenting on something very personal.

Why not hire someone to drop ransom-style letters in their mailbox? "I'M WATCHING YOU. YOU STINK. PLEASE SHOWER." If you're genuinely interested in "helpfully" notifying this person, then you do it tactfully and in person. Yeah, it's an awkward conversation and it sucks, but if you are doing it out of the kindness of your heart and not to shit all over someone who's probably horribly self-conscious as it is, then it shouldn't matter.

The other issue is that anyone receiving these notes will immediately dismiss them as a prank. I say this only because since stumbling across the site all I've done is write this in short spurts and take time out to anonymously accuse my friends of having B.O.

So if you're even remotely aware of how the internet works (i.e. hurling scorn, vitriol, and shame upon strangers) you would get this email, accuse your roommate of fucking with you, and delete it. The message wouldn't even get across.

However if you are the shut-in type and extremely uptight about your body, this just might be enough to put you over the edge and into the bell tower. It's a bit of a stretch, but I can totally see some poor, fat college freshman slitting his wrists in the bathtub because someone emailed him saying he has dandruff. Well just in case, you can notify the folks at No Offense or Anything as to how you took their casual advice. No radio buttons for "ruined my life" though.

Maybe I'm projecting. Do I smell? Fuck, now I'm all paranoid.


Pickling with God


Ooooookay. I haven't had a use for religion since I realized it all amounted to groups of manipulative people taking advantage of people for money and blind loyalty. That said, I completely and totally recognize that it's different for everybody and I don't judge you if you want to worship Jesus or God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I have several religious friends, two of which are or were pastors at one point.

But it's really hard not to lay into the spooky father figure crowd when you see videos like this.

So this "really neat" demonstration shows us how Christianity can make a difference in people. By electrifying pickles. We start off by pointing out how similar all these pickles are. Don't think I missed the "I bet they even taste the same" innuendo, either, pal. Catholicism has given Christians in general a lot of bad PR to overcome and it means comments like that will never be taken at face value. Ever.

So first we have to pierce this pickle with some forks (like Jesus was pierced with nails!) and hang it in a sling (like Jesus was hung from the cross!) and then hook up the forks to an electrical outlet and run a current through it (like...well, being hit with lightning).

And what happens? It glows! Christianity and love for god makes you glow and sparkle like the special, unique snowflake you are!

"I hope that you'll be just like this," Grandpa John says to us in that calm, placid tone of voice usually reserved for leaders of various sects.

Except that the pickle is STEAMING FROM ITS INNARDS BEING FRIED BY THE ELECTRICAL CURRENT COURSING THROUGH IT. So the metaphor is do a bunch of unnatural and painful things to yourself (preferably with forks and electrical current), and you'll become unique and special for a little bit until it all becomes too much and you explode in a scalding, briny mess. Well if that's the new church sign me up!

The kicker? "Don't try to do this at home!"

Hey kid, god is great and all, but your parents are gonna beat your ass if your love of the creator winds up blowing a fuse.

I Wanna Cuddle You.

Being engaged and all, I don't usually have much use for singles sites, online personal ads, and other contrived ways of letting people know that you "like going out and having fun but also like just sitting at home and watching a movie sometimes" (note to anyone who DOES frequent personal ads: that line actually means "I might get out of the house if you can drag me, but don't look to me for ideas").

But I admit my interest was piqued when I stumbled across:

http://www.cuddlela.com/


I used to joke with my friends at work about inviting them to cuddle parties; I had read of the idea awhile back but the link to Cuddle LA popped up in my gmail ads and I was hooked.

The premise for Cuddle LA is not unlike an orgy. You sign up, arrive at a predetermined location, and lie down with several strangers. As with orgies - and I'm going off of a very limited scope of experience here - there are only two rules:

1. You always ask for what you want, and
2. It's not only okay to say no, it's encouraged.

Seriously. That's straight from their site (minus the ham-fisted orgy analogy). The site has a lot of talk about learning relationship skills and teaching women to empower themselves by saying no.

I'm all for people learning relationship skills, but I'm not sure what cuddling teaches you other than how to fool yourself into thinking your partner can't feel you grinding your hard-on into her jeans.

And, again, I'm all for women empowering themselves. Legitimately. I don't say that as a hollow gesture like some men do without realizing what it really means. I take issue with the fact, though, that anyone PAYING (that's right, even coerced affection will run you a whopping $40) to cuddle with strangers cannot possibly gain enough of their self esteem back by occasionally shooting down an aggressive cuddler. I also think it's hilarious to imply women are empowered by engaging in what amounts to an anemic form of prostitution.

For your safety, and to maximize embarrassment, Cuddle LA has "Cuddle Lifeguards" who "create a safe space" and "facilitate cuddling." Presumably this means the whole time you are snuggling there's a therapist-in-training hovering over you with a rape whistle and a can of mace.

So let me get this straight: I pay $40, I show up in my jammies (no shorts allowed, according to Cuddle LA), I have someone supervising my cuddle technique to make sure I don't get too "rape-y," I have to ask each woman individually if I may cuddle them and, naturally, they are encouraged to say no.

I should also mention one last orgy/cuddle party similarity: the sausage quotient. Here are the next two events scheduled on Cuddle LA's site:

Saturday, July 26th, 7:30-11PM
There are currently 2 women and 5 men signed up for this event.

Saturday, August 9th, 7:30-11PM
There are currently 1 woman and 3 men signed up for this event.

That's right. Surprise, surprise, guys are way more willing to do this than women. So not only are you most likely paying to be shot down or scolded by a lifeguard for...I dunno, diving in the shallow end, you're gonna be cuddled by a bunch of lonely men willing to pay for the privilege. That begs the obvious, "Well if you're gay that sounds awesome," but just because you're gay doesn't mean you forgive the fact that the guys are strangers. Paying to cuddle.

It's quite possible that I'm missing the female perspective here, but I don't see how any of this is safer or more empowering than just picking a class at the local Learning Annex and hoping to meet people. It might be a few bucks more expensive, but at least when you get down to the cuddling you can set your own rules.

7.18.2008

I Hate Jimmy Pardo!

I hate Jimmy Pardo!

I went to see "Running Your Trap With Jimmy Pardo" tonight at UCB with my pal Ryder. Jimmy Pardo is one of the most hilarious yet simultaneously intimidating guys I've ever seen. He's very self deprecating (to the point of self loathing) and good natured, but he's SO fucking quick-witted it's scary and his "shtick" (I use that for lack of a better word. I have negative connotations with the word shtick, but "gimmick" sounds even more insulting.) is taking pot shots at the audience.

Jimmy and his pal Pat Francis shot the shit for awhile, riffing on some really awful music Pat had brought for the show. It was then that they pointed out Samm Levine, who was sitting right next to me, was in the crowd. I have to this day never seen an episode of Freaks & Geeks, but I know enough to realize it's got indie cred as the Arrested Development of its time so I thought sitting near a celeb was pretty cool.

The first guest was Paul Scheer, who had the most hilarious story of the night about being cut from and then re-cast only to be cut again from the abomination known as Meet Dave. He also spent some time talking about seeing The Love Guru on purpose and, of course, midgets with huge dicks.

But then came my time to shine! They drew two contestants from the audience to play a game in which they played a Styx video on the screen ("Too Much Time On My Hands") and Jimmy would occasionally pause it, then ask us to guess what would happen next.

Sadly I lost, but the consolation prize was my very own "I HATE Jimmy Pardo!" bumper sticker! And after the show I got it autographed! By Jimmy himself! That totally beats a lame ass iTunes gift card.

So now I'm home enjoying my spoils of war, and by enjoying I mean hanging this thing on my fridge.



*On a completely unrelated note, someone just emailed me a link to the Avril Lavigne sex tape.

I've seen worse sex tapes, and I've seen better (this might not even be her, you don't see the front of the woman at all), but if this IS Avril, I say boo. BOO to you, Avril. How fucking stuck up are you that you have to not only film yourself fucking, but PLAY YOUR OWN GODDAMN SONG IN THE BACKGROUND.

Seriously? I realize 9 out of 10 guys would probably sign up for that in a heartbeat, but have a little class next time Avril. Put on some Bee Gees like the rest of us.

7.01.2008

What do you say to that?

Saturday afternoon I had lunch with my friend Ryder and some people from our Improv class. After class let out we wandered down Melrose aimlessly since I was the only one hungry and I felt weird about dragging three people to a restaurant to watch me eat.

Finally the novelty wore off and I picked a sushi place. It was small, but had the typical layout of sushi bar with chefs behind it and a few tables scattered throughout. We sat at a table and stared at the menus for 20 minutes before ordering what could only be described as an "ungodly" amount of food and digging in.

Not long after a woman entered and sat at the sushi bar. She was directly to our right, but her back was to our table. She had a bottle of wine with her for some reason, but since this is Melrose and eccentric people rich enough to buy and sell me do way weirder things all the time in LA I didn't think much of it.

We were having a loud and boisterous conversation and I could tell she kept picking up on parts of it. Her head definitely turned when the one woman at our table regaled us with the story of how she once had semen shoot out her nose, for instance.

Eventually this woman got up the courage to turn around and offer Ryder some wine. She was very beautiful; she revealed her heritage was African and Italian, and her dark, supple skin and ebony curls running down to the small of her back made me think she should probably be frolicking on an island somewhere. She was worldly, too, having just gotten back from a four month stay in Brazil and casually mentioning bumming around Italy and Germany.

And she was into my pal Ryder, who was completely oblivious. She offered the rest of us some wine as well, and only I was brave enough to accept. The other two in our group commenced actively shunning her while she tried to strike up a friendly conversation in the one city on earth where people will judge you for doing that sort of thing.

She went on and on about the wine and how she had discovered it in Italy and fallen in love with it. I don't know much about wine, but it was sickly sweet and sparkling red wine. It reminded me of Communion, which I whispered to Ryder when our new friend Kimberly wasn't looking. He promptly told her. Luckily she wasn't raised Catholic and took it as a compliment.

Right about then she mentioned she was celebrating today and that was why she was drinking a bottle of wine at a sushi place at 4pm on a Saturday. Ryder asked what she was celebrating, exactly.

"Well," she beamed charmingly, "I just got my AIDS test back and it was negative!"

There was a half a beat where I considered actually laughing out loud to relieve the tension, but I thought better of it and raised my glass.

"To your health!" I toasted. We clinked glasses and drank.

What followed was a half hour or so of clumsy exchanges between Kimberly, Ryder and myself as she tried to converse with us from far enough away that we couldn't hear much of anything she said.

Eventually our two companions decided they'd put up with enough and got up to leave. We wished Kimberly well and took off. Once we were outside the three of us showered Ryder with scorn and mocking derision for missing his cue.

"Yeah, but I was a little turned off by the AIDS test thing," he mentioned.

"Hey. She's responsible. She's clean. And who knows? Maybe she's not even at risk; she just uses her annual test as an excuse to celebrate," I don't know why I was trying to coerce my pal into getting this girl's number, but I've narrowed it down to either living vicariously through a single friend or secretly wishing Ryder was at risk of contracting AIDS.

He never went back and so maybe the opportunity was lost, but later that night I realized one minor detail we overlooked:

She said "AIDS test," not "HIV test."