Monday, November 30, 2009

This Week's Stalkerish Shoutout Goes To... beetches up in Wapakoneta, Ohio! That's right...stalkerish shoutouts are BACK!

How timely of me - in this Thanksgiving season - to choose a shout out to a reader in a town most likely named after the Native Americans that were driven out of it. But I'm not here to judge, since I had to copy and paste the city's name as I couldn't even sound it out well enough to spell it.

I've never been to Ohio, but am of the opinion that it is a kind of Promiseland. This is solely based on the fact that Dave Chappelle lives there. If he had a cult, I'd join it. But then I'd try to convince him to move its location to a coastal state because I always need to be able to escape by sea if necessary.

So reader in Wapakoneta - I'll leave it to you to start the foundation of the compound. It will probably need a fence and some huts. You can model it on an Amish community, though I think we should have cars. I enjoy them.

Until the next time (I remember that Google Analytics exists) you lucky bastardos...just keep reading from an actual location and you'll get shoutouted next!

In other it weird that I think this is great? So strangely cuddly.

And there are more.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Pox on All Their Strip Mall Locations

Every time I think I have something to complain about, I need to stop and remember that I don't work at Old Navy.

Those fuckers are going to open their doors at 3:00 AM on the day after Thanksgiving (also called "Black Friday" by those who don't have association issues with the term "Black Death" like I do). That means the employees - who make little more than a pittance and have to wear a headset mic all day with a smile - will need to roll their tryptophanized asses into work at, like, 2:00 AM. And then function.

Kinda defeats the purpose of the holiday. I hope the CEOs of Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic Incorporated rot in a 1st class hell filled with angry ferrets.

But seriously, no alarm will get me up at that hour. Not even the smell of bacon will do it. But it doesn't even matter because there's no sale worthy of getting up that early. I don't care if it's half-priced booze or buy one get one free orphaned children. You can argue all you want that all the cutest and strongest children will be taken by mid-morning, but I'm still not getting out of bed. I'll take the conjoined twins with the lazy eyes, I don't even care.

And if I worked for Old Navy, I'd sabotage their Black Friday nonsense with some destructive shenanigans. Though it wouldn't end up being very inventive because I will have gotten to work at 2:00 goddamn o'clock. Vicious circle.

Anyway - there are some hippies out there touting a Buy Nothing Day on Friday. That pisses me off too, but for a different reason. If I want to buy a slice of pizza and a watery Mexican beer, I will damn well do so and no unwashed bohemian radical is gonna tell me otherwise. Old Navy has no impact on the constant foodless state of my home. And I'm not gonna let their greed keep me from sustenance. My pizza isn't going to change the fact that next year, they'll probably open at 1:00 AM on the day after Thanksgiving.

May your holiday be filled with meat and gluten.

And for those who suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous food allergies or animal cruelty stances...insert the appropriate substitute foods into the above statement.


Friday, November 20, 2009

An Open Letter to the Man in the Stetson with a Shower Cap on It

Dear Man in the Stetson who walked by me at the food carts when I went to get lunch,

I understand that men and their hats are sometimes inseparable. That a hat can cover a unsightly grey hair, or a bald spot or an accidental mullet. Or that in some very sad scenarios, it serves as the mid-life teddy bear or bit o' blankie. Or it could be an issue of identity. A cowboy hat, beret, trucker or baseball or Castro cap can be a visual calling card, if you will. Whatever the reason, I really do see that it might be hard to leave home without it. It's what makes you, you...and therefore, cool.

Well let me tell you something, Mr. Stetson. This does not make you look cool:This is a shower cap. Just because it's on your hat and not your head doesn't make it any less of a shower cap. So let's get something straight: your sense of style should not be adhered to at all costs. I don't know what life coach told you otherwise, but you should fire them immediately. You live in Oregon, where it rains forever. You need to compromise your fashion sense to get from point A to point B like everyone else. Knowing this, you have three options:

1. Put the hat away and wear a fucking HOOD attached to a Columbia raincoat like everyone else. And when the rain stops...well then you can bring the ol' boy back out.

2. OR - I hear these are all the rage across the pond.

3. OR - Spray the hat with those rain repellent bottles of somethingorother they give you when you buy a leather jacket and hope for the best.

Once you have chosen one or more of the above, your shower cap will be freed up for its original intended internal use. And you will cease looking like such a knob.

Your friend (once you lose the head plastic),

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday is for Nonsense

Can you make it to the end of this?

I can't.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Post Wherein the Inner Portlander Fights and Claws its Way Through

There's a Macy's commercial that's been running since the day before Halloween. It's celebrating the 150 years of holiday frippery brought to us by our friendly neighborhood department store. Thanks to YouTube, you can view it below:

The ad actually depresses me every time I see it. For although I was raised watching Miracle on 34th St and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade...I wasn't raised with Macy's. I'd never even been in one. We didn't have them in Oregon.

About 3 or 4 years ago, Macy's bought out Meier & Frank...a Portland-based department store chain that had been around since the mid 1800s.

To be truthful - the company had gotten run down over the last decade. The classic downtown store was looking a little shabby. The old gold elevators slower than just taking the stairs. The dining room on the top floor resembled the mint green interior of a high-end retirement home. But every winter, the windows were dressed in honor of the 12 Days of Christmas and I loved them.

Sadly, I never took any pictures. Meier & Frank was such an old institution - it never occurred to me that it would one day it would just go away. So what you see here has been hijacked from the internet.

And now it's gone. The old store was gutted and given a sterile white interior. It's a Macy's, just like every other Macy's across the country. It's old school character is completely gone...and I'll never get to see the Can-Can geese again. So when that damn commercial comes on, I have to mute it or I get teary.

Today we spent the afternoon in Ikea (hating everyone). There was a need for some shelving and since we were in "relaxed weekend mode", out we went. Half way through the top floor, peckishness set in, so we checked out the cafeteria. The snaking line promised a 45 minute wait. No thanks. The unilateral decision was made to skip the rest of the top floor and go downstairs to the good shit...where we discovered that the dishes we'd been holding off getting a full set of are now discontinued. Ok, keep walking. Our item-filled cart was stolen in bathwares. We ran back through and re-loaded with two full armfuls (too afraid to get another cart) and finally made it to the warehouse only to discover that the shelves we'd decided on were out of stock. Pouts were assuaged with a zippy little ride on a newly acquired flatbed cart, but all in all, we were what one might call "failures" at being productive in Ikea. It's the kind of wasted afternoon that where one can only find solace in a new pair of shoes. Alas.

The point of the above tale of woe is that we live in a world of Macy's and Ikea now. The *little* local shops just aren't there anymore. Not for most of us. If one needs shelves, that need will result in one's Sunday mirroring my own. It's a daunting prospect. And I'm wondering what I can do about it.

I heard on the radio the other day that Walmart has been the only retailer showing profits throughout the entire recession. I say, fuck that. To the extent I can, I'm going to make a more concerted effort to support my local shelves. That's my plan. No Target. No more Ikea. Macy's can bite me. My biggest Christmas gift will be to my local economy this year...and I'm convinced I can do it (even if the "No Target" sentence made me throw up a little in my mouth). So there you have it. A cause. A stance. A plan. I can't possibly fail. Because I'm totally going to go close that tab I've got open right now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Half-Assed Reviews: Away We Go

It's time for another Half-Assed Movie Review!

As you all know, I like to see and consequently talk about movies that everyone else has already seen and moved on from. And since that is often the case, I can't be bothered with doing much more than drinking a big ol' glass of wine and blurping out some film school blurp like "mise-en-scene" and "character-driven archs". Blurp.

I did not see Away We Go in the movie theater for the following reasons:

1. Movies cost a lot of money to see in theaters that don't serve beer. And that's just stupid.

2. If I wait for the movies to go to the second-run theater, I end up spending that money on beer. This is the wiser course of action. I can also occasionally yell things at the screen without getting booed. But we were out of the country when it was in the second-run.

3. I don't trust John Krasinski. He has a shifty nose and I wasn't convinced he could ever be anything other than Jim from The Office...even with Sam Mendes directing the nose to be something other than shifty.

4. It got a negatory review on NPR. Apparently I'm an elitist. Who knew.

Be that as it may - at the beach last stormy stormy weekend, I caught up on watching shit. And this sentence pretty much sums up how I felt about it, though it may make sense to absolutely no one:
Away We Go is my new Reality Bites.

Some backstory: Reality Bites came out in the mid-90s and followed the lives of 4 20-somethings with Liberal Arts degrees with no real skills and no idea what to do with their lives and no real ambition. I watched it a lot between the ages of 19-25 convinced I was the missing 5th cast member.

With Away We Go, I felt invaded - as though our apartment had been bugged for the last year. There were several bits of dialogue where I was all "Hey! That's none of your business!" The story follows a couple in their early 30s who discover they're unintentionally pregnant (Maya Rudolph has what may be the perfect reaction to the news) and realize they have no real direction or home. So off they go to figure out what to do about the latter.

To make this something other than a drama, we're introduced to a veritable line up of wackadoos along the way played by some of my favorites (Catherine O'Hara, Allison Janney, etc.). I think they're supposed to be the sugar rim...but somehow it didn't work. Their inclusion was an aspiration to Wes Anderson levels of character kitsch, but they came off as caricatures.

I'm hard on movies, it's true. Regardless of it's standing within the world at large, if it doesn't affect me on a relatable level, it gets an official rating of "eh". This movie hit me. And I wasn't even drinking. I'm approaching 30, everyone around me is having kids and seems to know what they want, etc. I'm not there. I don't know when I'll be there. I don't know what I'll do when I am there. And there's still that aimless lack of ambition hanging on from the early 20s. Away We Go does a pretty damn good job of reflecting that kind of internalization in a thoughtful, if occasionally cheesy, way.

And they made John/Jim grow a shifty beard to detract from his shifty nose. Turns out facial hair is occasionally useful.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Post Wherein I Give A Kanye West-Style FUCK YOU to Idiots

As of today, 31 of the states who've put gay marriage on a ballot for the popular vote have shot it down. Look - there's obviously some confusion. Let me break it down:

People = People

Women = People (remember, they used to not be allowed to own property or vote)

Black People = People (remember, they used to not be allowed anything at all)

Gay People = People (currently not thought of as people unless someone needs a decorator)

Anyone who comes at me with "it's a choice" can take that argument to
Robert Allen - Florida State Rep

Larry Craig - Idaho Senator
Mark Foley - Florida Stat Rep

Ted Haggard - Pastor of the New Life Church

And they just keep on coming......

IF YOU, as a person, say that a group of people CANNOT do something everyone else of-age gets to do simply because YOU, as a person, do not agree with something about the group of people that is a part of their biological makeup...THAT IS BIGOTRY. THAT IS DISCRIMINATION. THAT IS HATE. And this is YOU. Accept it.

At the same time - someone needs to get the point across that MARRIAGE IS NOT SACRED. All people can end it any time for any reason. And they do. Over 50% of the people who enter into those vows eventually say "eh", label it "irreconcilable differences" and end the union. At the same time, there are untold numbers of marriages that keep on keeping on filled with infidelity...convenience over love...domestic violence, etc. How can gay people have any effect either negatively or positively over the institution as we know it? How? Really. I want to know. Tell me. I want to understand.

Real love is so fucking rare...millions of people will never even get a chance at it. So, if a people is lucky enough to find another people they want to be with for the rest of their life (regardless of whether or not that actually happens), who the FUCK are you, or me to tell them...sorry, but sodomy is only for the heteros. No hospital visitation rights for you. But wasn't it just like the real thing when you had symbolic ring exchange ceremony in the park that half your relatives refused to attend. No? Whiner.


Monday, November 02, 2009

Links! Not Just for Chains Anymore.

B's not home, so I'm watching Family Guy. He hates it. Thinks it's the lowest form of humor. I think laughing at people who accidentally trip is the lowest form of humor, but I do it anyway. It's mostly a lack of self control. And that's why I laugh at Family Guy. Bad things are funny. I also laughed my ass off at Twilight and an entire day of the Hallmark channel. And of favorite thing to sing in the shower is Eddie Murphy's Boogie in Your Butt. So I'll be damned if that randomly British cartoon baby and his deformed head doesn't crack my shit up.

But, you know, it's not all lowbrow all the time around here. I've been known to actually guffaw at Wes Anderson films and Dylan Moran in Black Books slays me. Abbott and Costello can be quoted ad nauseam. I grin for all 22 minutes of a Flight of the Conchords episode. I drop whatever I'm doing if Terry shows up on Reno 911. Never missed an episode of 30 Rock (without watching it online later). Tommy Boy and Clerks remains the most influential films of my formative teenage years. Bringing Up Baby still puts me in stitches, though viewed a kajillion times. I know quality.

But I don't like The Three Stooges. To put it bluntly...I don't get it. It's just not funny. Not funny at all.

Where's the writing? How do you fashion a script out of "woops" and "woe woe woe"s? And how does the gag not get old by the second time chubby half-bald man gets poked in the eyes after having his hair pulled? Someone needs to explain it to me.

In the meantime, I spent, like, a half an hour linking to crap to support my various arguments. Just so you don't have to. Enjoy.