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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

They're Both Funny, Just Sort of Different Funny

If any of you happened to catch this week's episode of The Family Guy (Nov. 13th -- "Brian Goes to College"), I hope you enjoyed it. A very good friend of mine wrote it -- it's his first paid writing gig in this hell-hole of a town. Congrats, Matt!

Matt's wife hosted a party and screening of the episode Vitello's, an Italian restaurant noted both for their delicious food as well as being the place Robert Blake, um, didn't, kill his ex-wife. After drinking a few glasses of wine, someone had the courage to ask the waiter which booth Bonnie ate her last meal in before Robert, um, didn't, kill her. So the waiter showed us. "That's where he left his gun," the waiter said. Then he brought us to a window and pointed out the place in the parking lot where Bonnie was(n't) shot by Robert.

How insane is it that Robert Blake's alibi for not killing his ex-wife is that he forgot his gun in the restaurant?!?! I couldn't have shot her! My gun was in the restaurant! But maybe it's not that insane, because I guess they tested the gun and it hadn't been fired recently. So, maybe he's a genius. He set up the most insane alibi of all-time -- using the (seemingly) smoking gun as proof of not committing the crime, and said smoking gun is shown to literally not be the smoking gun. One time when I was a kid my mom yelled at me for eating an Oreo cookie before dinner. I should have showed her the vanilla cookie crumbs on my sweater to prove I didn't do it. If O.J. was smart, he would have carried a machete around with him -- one that matched Nicole's wounds exactly but with no blood on it at all. "I couldn't have stabbed Nicole. I was getting my knife sharpened at the time she was murdered."

If there ain't no stain, you can't arraign!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Time is On My Side

I need to wake up at 8:30 to be at work an hour later. Three times this week I forgot to set my alarm. Three times this week I woke up on my own out of a dead sleep at 8:30 (twice after being out drinking until 2am).

Apparently my circadian rhythm was made in Switzerland.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How a Fat Man From the Dominican Republic Is Making Me Feel Old

I feel old.

And I'm not old, and I'm aware of the fact that I'm not old, and if someone ever said I was old I would protest the accusation. But I feel old. Or, better put, I am aware that I am getting older. And I blame Bartolo Colon for this.

I've always been nostalgic for earlier periods of my life. I wish I was still in college. In college, I wished I was still in high school. In high school, I wished I was still in grade school. Most sports teams I played on I wished I was still on my old team. Before I moved to Los Angeles, I lived in New York City. Right now I wish I lived in New York City, even though I hated New York City while I lived there. The whole time I was there I wished I was still in college. And the whole time, including right now, right this second, I wish I was in 8th grade because 8th grade was nothing but street hockey all day after school and all weekend. That is all I want.

And it's a fact that this past summer I witnessed 8 pairs of my friends get married, and a few weeks ago I attended my friends' son's first birthday party, and this weekend I am going to a co-ed baby shower. And while on some level I kind of hate my friends for moving on with their lives, leaving me to drink alone at the bar down the street, these are not the things that make me feel old. Rather, Bartolo Colon has me feeling old.

Why? Because today he won the American League Cy Young Award, and while reading on online article about his achievement, it dawned on me that I will never, ever, win a Cy Young Award. And this makes me feel old.

When I was in 8th grade and playing street hockey every day, I was at the same time not playing baseball everyday. I played only one year of organized baseball (4th-grade), and while I was athletic enough to compete in any sport, I was far from being considered a good baseball player. I was actually terrified of the ball (yet oddly I was a very good street hockey goaltender where the point is to get hit by the ball), and otherwise had no interest in the sport -- despite the three paternal-side generations before me being extremely talented baseball players (great-grandfather was offered a contract by the Yankees; grandfather was a local high school all-star and hit a home run off of Warren Spahn in high school; father went to a regional Pittsburgh Pirates try-out).

So, my point is, I was never really on a path to win a Cy Young Award, yet when I was younger it was always a possibility. Maybe someday my latent baseball skill would surface and I'd go on to play in the Major Leagues. This holds true for any number of things. Maybe I would become an astronaut. Maybe I'd be president. Maybe I'd win an Olympic gold medal. Maybe I'd become a rock star.

But none of these things, along with countless others, are ever going to happen. I will not play in the Major Leagues. I will never go to space (at least on a scientific mission). My radical politics and spouting off about them and yelling at my friends in drunken states precludes any hope of a political career. I do have one idea of how I can still win an Olympic gold medal, but despite all attempts to make it so, I will not be a rock star. Once I graduated from college decisions had to be made and some of these decisions took forever away certain opportunities -- whether they were ever legitimate or not. So, winning a Cy Young Award was probably always a fantasy, but it was always hypothetically possible. It isn't even that anymore. I have come to grips that neither the American League nor the National League will ever recognize me as the best pitcher in a specific season.

And this is why I feel old.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Freebird Sucks

A quick little music note. I haven't been into big guitar solos at all for awhile. I can't explain why not, I just haven't. And I understand that bands like Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters and people like Stevie Ray Vaughn are extremely talented, I'm just not interested in their art. Those people, to me at least, are like painters who paint these amazingly realistic-looking still-lifes where you could just reach out and grab that apple and eat it. They are technical geniuses. They've studied and practiced their craft and are easily among the most skilled people in the world at what they do. But to me, a realistic-looking still-life is a boring painting. A really dull piece of art. And then you look at a Monet expressionism still-life (did he even do still-lifes? If not, you can imagine what it would look like) and, I mean, you're not going to think it's a real framed apple, but it's so much more interesting and, in a way, even more apple-y.

And so lately I've been feeling that these well-put-together guitar solos in the middle of songs are still-life apples.

Except the other day "Marquee Moon" by Television came on mu ipod. It's gotta be around 11 minutes or so, and there are two huge guitar solos in it where Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd sort of duel back and forth. It's so brittle and thin and meandering... and it's brilliant. I'm not smart enough or musically intuitive enough to really know why it's so good or why I respond so much to it -- especially when it's at a time when I'm bored with most (what I perceive to be) ostentatious solos.

I spoke to the man down at the tracks,
And I asked him how he don't go mad,
He said: "Look here, junior, don't you be so happy,
And for Heaven's sake, don't you be so sad."

But dammit if that song doesn't always put me so happy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

For someone who has never been to India, I have a lot of Indian friends. One of my closest friends from college is Indian, I've dated a few Indian girls before, and recently in a hang-out-enough-with-friends-of-a-friend-they-become-your-friends kind of way I have, well, become friends with a whole new group of people, most of whom are Indian.

One result of this is I'm a pro at pronouncing Indian names. You get used to how letter combinations are said and you no longer stumble over them. I don't need phonetical spellings of names to "translate" in my brain how to say them. When I meet someone with an Indian name, I no longer have to do that thing where you repeat the name a couple of times to make sure you get it right. It's the same thing with Russian names for me; I watch so much hockey seeing something like "Afinogenov" or "Khabibulin" or "Afanasenkov" is nothing. A month ago I had to set a meeting with a Russian woman whose first and last names were very long. When I spelled her name to her just to make sure I had it right, I could hear a gasp on the other end of the line. She was amazed I knew it.

But so, like I said, I have enough Indian friends now to not be phased by the unfamiliarity of a lot of Indian names. But recently I've noticed one drawback to this.

It takes me longer to scan through my email box to get rid of spam mail.


Because most spam mail subject lines I get are filled with misspellings and gibberish. So when I get an email proclaiming "Greentea news" my immediate thought is, "wait, who is Greentea?" and then I get tricked into thinking "Greentea" is someone I know and something has happened in their life. And so I open the email and only then do I realize it's really just spam mail referring to "green tea."

Now add in emails from Padraig and Siobhan and other Irish relatives and friends and my email inbox is the U-fricking-N where vowels are at a premium.

Salad Fingers

So I found out about this from here.

The here part of that is a very funny site. The this part is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. The kind of weird where you stare wide-eyed and gape-mouthed at the computer screen, simultaneously recoiling in horror and wrapping it around you like a blanket.

It's called "Salad Fingers" The link above takes you to the 5th installment in a series of 6. The guy who does them has a whole slew of cartoons you can watch at his main site.