Archive for February, 2012

My Unpopular Opinions

February 24, 2012

If you don’t say ‘pfft! What?!’ to any of these things, maybe call me and we’ll hang out.

If however, you, reader, are anything like just about every person that I know, then you will probably drop a ‘pfft! What?!’at some point while reading this. Because this is a disgusting confession of my most crotchety feelings.

1. Paul is the Worst Beatle.

In other controversial news, George is the best Beatle. ‘All Things Must Pass’ is, song for song, the best solo album made by any Beatle. Note for note, ‘Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time’ is a worse song than ‘Single Ladies’, which is the worst song. Viva George!

2. Thai Food? Boooo. Dyed food? Yay!

One thing that I’ve noticed is that everyone loves Thai food. I do not. The only time peanuts are all right with meat flavor is when you drop a glob of PB into your ramen to bulk it up a little. Otherwise? Keep peanuts outta entrees. Blech! Crab rangoon, I grant, are about as bangarang as appetizers get, but I’m not sure that Thailand is their country of origin, so maybe this isn’t even relevant. On the other hand, it turns out that everyone except me doesn’t think that food coloring should be used to color food (could I have made that less stupidly written? perhaps.)! I always have food coloring in my kitchen. Why? Because it is hella fun. Making French toast? Throw some blue in there! I did that for a friend once and he refused to eat it. Also, for a French Honors Society Mardi Gras celebration in high school I made what I thought were some very festive gold, green, and purple crêpes. Everyone said they were stupid and gross, and that I should throw them away before the boys arrived. Fuck that! Dyed food is fun as shit. Except ketchup. Leave it red. That color is already plenty fun.

3. I hate Eric Clapton.

Not just his bullshit adult contemporary, but his old stuff too. His best stuff. Everything. Fuck that guy. ‘But ‘Slowhand’ is such a good album!’ you say. Oh yeah? How about if I want to listen to black American music, I listen to a black American making music? I don’t care how many of my favorite guitarists have been influenced by Clapton, Leadbelly would kill him in a guitar duel. Or a real duel! Leadbelly is all killer, no adult contemporary filler. Also he’s a for real murderer. Killed a bro in 1918. I don’t even care, fuck Clapton.

4.Blue Moon is Gross.

It has a fucky aftertaste. I don’t get why it’s so popular. Woof.

5. If wars were won by looking sharp, the Nazis would win every time.

Listen, I hate Nazis as much as anyone does, don’t get me wrong, I hate them. But man oh man do those bastards look sharp. Especially the SS, whom, let me be clear, I just absolutely abhor. But man! That black and grey? Sharp! Even those symbol-of-hatred arm bands set the whole thing off nicely. I love my country, and as a result I am a big fan of the outcome of WWII, and not to sound like a total broad here, but if an aesthetics competition had played a role, I really don’t see the Allied Powers coming out on top. Really, mein only kampf is not getting the vapors when I watch this scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

Damn it looks good to be a Nazi.

Fun Fact: I always thought that ‘the vapors’ had something to do with farting. Turns out, it means female hysteria. It is apparently no longer recognized by modern doctors as a legitimate condition. Obviously, they have not seen Last Crusade.

6. I’m not 100% sure what ‘Dubstep’ is, but I am 100% sure that I hate it.

I think it sounds like garbage. Overproduced, bass-heavy garbage. Also insufferable? People who say things like, ‘I’m just really getting into dubstep right now’. The town that I inhabit loves this shit. Earlier this winter their was a whole lame festival full of it. It brought what I consider to be the least savory element to town: stoned 18 year old white kids with dreads, flat bill caps with the stickers still on, day glo skinny jeans and just the worst possible taste in auditory stimuli. It was weird day for me when I realized that I’m older than a lot of pro athletes, and being such I realize that I’m probably not the most in touch with kids and the dumb shit they think is okay, but if dubstep is an indication of where youth culture is heading, I think we should start Hunger Gamesing these kids. Right away.

7. Grape is the best flavor of everything.

Candy, gum, jelly, juice, that weird flavored cement shit orthodontists use to make a mold of your teeth, everything. If it comes in grape, then that is the best one. I’ve noticed that most people disagree, and grape is often the only flavor remaining in communal candy situations. I can’t imagine why this is. I always go for grape first. Because it TASTES THE BEST.

8. Fuck Dolphins, man, I’m sick of that shit.

I don’t know what is it about dolphins that just rubs me a rotten way, but I am just super unimpressed. I know that they’re allegedly very smart, and probably cute, and maybe cunning, but for some reason I just think they’re shitty. I have nothing against aquatic mammals in general, in fact orcas are way the hell up my list of favorite animals. They’re majestic and unforgiving, like the ocean itself, and I love them for it. Dolphins always seem to just be fucking around and I think they should cut it out.

I could literally go on for days with this list, but I already feel like I’ve probably lost a friend or two, so maybe I should quit while I’m being incredibly alienating and unlikeable.

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Such a Useful Guidebook: Sports Edition

February 24, 2012

Obviously, there was a great deal that I failed to cover in my previous installment of this fucking excellent travel guide, so I thought I’d pick her up again and offer you plenty more awesome tiiiiips! Mostly about sports.

1. Fenway Park

You might think I’m being cliche with this one, but I straight up could not even care less, because Fenway is an incredible place to watch a bangarang sport. Fenway celebrates its centennial this year, and still has a badass hand-operated scoreboard. Try to look over there before the guy changes the count– you can’t do it! He’s too good! Also, have you ever had Absolut Boston? It is a really pretty gross vodka, but on the bottle is this heartwarming paragraph about the Green Monster. Note: It may have only warmed my heart because I was more than 3/4 in the bag and I love New England. As a person obsessed with the number 37, the Green Monster is an excellent park feature. Looking over at all 37 feet of majesty, eating my Fenway frank while my tiny souvenir Red Sox helmet full of fro-yo slowly melts in my lap, maybe kicking my beer cup over because there’s not enough room for my giant schooner feet (people were smaller in 1912, apparently)? Big slice of Broncosaurus Heaven.

2. The Indianapolis 500

I attended this incredible spectacle for the first time in 2011 and could not have been more surprised and delighted by how much it ruled. Florence Henderson singing God Bless America? Marching bands doing all sorts of great shit? Big roaring engines making so much damn noise you can feel it in your teeth? It is awesome. Also, you can BRING YOUR OWN FOOD AND BOOZE. This practice has all but vanished from spectator sports, which is why everything is getting awful now (example: last week I saw a man in his 50s wearing a read shirt that said ‘I enjoy pussy’ in a Coca-Cola-esque font. That is unfuckingacceptable on like a baker’s dozen levels). Imagine being able to get as drunk as you want over the course of 6 hours, without having to pay $8 per beer! You just have to pay retail and haul your own cooler! You can smoke too. File it under W.

3. Kanninhoppning

Competitive Rabbit hopping. Fuck? Yes?

Look how high that little fucker is jumping!!! That’s like a person jumping over a building! This is the best thing.  Mostly this is popular in Europe, but as this is an American travel guide, that does you no good. I looked up some upcoming events through the AASER (American Association of Sporting Events for Rabbits–IT EXISTS, GET EXCITED), and it looks like there’s one coming up in early May in Wisconsin. Let’s go?

4. Any College Sporting Event

Though I don’t regret attending an urban liberal arts college (fun fact: my alma mater was recently ranked the #1 hipster school in the country! Reading that made me yark a little into my hand!), I do regret that I’ll never see my school on ESPN. Sure I could head down to the Coles Sports Center and take in a rousing game of Girl’s Intramural Water Polo, but it isn’t quite the same rush you get heading into a big Division 1-type environment. So if you’re in my boat, first off let me welcome you to the boat, and second off may I recommend hitting up some college sporting events. I saw Michigan State play Ohio State at basketball in Columbus last year, and even though the Spartans (whom I support) lost, the game was a damn blast. Also there was free parking! I should however caution that you will probably end up hating The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ after attending an OSU game, because their student section sings the melody to it almost constantly whenever any Buckeye does anything even remotely praiseworthy. Unless you love Ohio State, then it’ll probably amp up your affinity for that jam. I guess. A fun thing to do is speculate who among the players will go pro and then wait a couple years to see if you were right!

5. The City of San Francisco

And if you’re going to go, make it snappy because the 49ers are moving to Santa Clara, where only Mark Zuckerberg will be able to attend games (season tickets come with a $30,000 fee. File that under MBS, for most bogus shit). Objectively, I can say that San Francisco is empirically the best city there is, and watching sports there is finally fun again now that Barry Bonds is done disgracing his sport, his city, and himself on a regular basis. I like Pac Bell Park, because I hate Pepsi, and that stadium is nothing if not aggressively pro-coke. Also, on a sunny day, rare though they may be, there is hardly a lovelier place to take in a game. Candlestick Park I like because of its enduring commitment to unrelenting griminess. That place is grimy as Hell! I’m sure a lot of people see it as a disgrace to our fair city, but I see it as a tribute to our city’s history of squalor and weirdness. Remember when there were hardly any wine bars and everything smelled of urine? Candlestick Park Remembers.

Such a Useful Guidebook.

February 10, 2012

One thing that I’m pretty sure everybody probably is into is my unsolicited advice on domestic travel. So here is some!

These are, for my money, the best places there are to go in this country (missing from this list? Anything located in the dozen or so states to which I have not been. Also missing is anything in Kansas because that state is the worst).

1. Bramwell, WV

One thing that’s cool about Bramwell is that the ‘w’ is silent! Another cool thing is that it’s my favorite shit in the Southeastern Midwest. It used to have more millionaires per capita than any town in the US (thanks to filthy, sexy, coal money) and all the millionaires built dope copper houses. Also a malt shop! Also there’s a store front with nothing in it, just a boom box that blasts warbly doo-wop music to freak you out while you do the walking tour! As an added bonus, my GPS will take you over a rickety, haunted railroad bridge on your way out of town. Malt shop! Seriously, though, Bramwell is awesome. It’s part of the National Coal Heritage area, which has my third favorite park rangers in the country (after Fort Smith National Historic Site, AR, and Big Bend National Park, TX. Outstandingly friendly motherfuckers all round).

2. The Fuzzy Duck, Ironton, OH

Not to favor the Ohio River Tri-State Area too much here at the beginning of the list, but the Fuzzy Duck is a must-see, fellow travelers. Have you ever wanted to be drunk and depressed at the same time, but drinking alone in the comfort of your own home just wasn’t cutting the mustard? Look no further than this excellent saloon! About six patrons enjoying the Fuzzy Duck’s fare at any given time are wearing Jack Daniels T-shirts with the sleeves cut off, and all of the drink specials have the word ‘snake’ in their names. Snake Bite, Snake Eyes, Snake Gender (this last one, like its namesake, is shrouded in mystery), and are about $3/pitcher. This is a great place to find your friend getting fellated by a toothless woman with prison tattoos on her throat and face while you’re running to the back alley to throw up on your feet! All in the quaint setting of a dying foundry town. Try the wings, they’re adequate!

3. Wayfarer’s Chapel, Wapiti Valley, WY

This isn’t an actual chapel. Well it is, but it’s some kind of goofy non-denominational outdoor chapel. It’s actually just a hill you drive up and you can drink and hoot and holler and carry on and what have you and there’s nobody around to hear you scream. For MILES. Also, if you take the mats out of your truck, you can lay on them and watch shooting starts. I don’t mean watch for shooting stars, that would imply that you might not see one. There are shooting stars like every 27 seconds here. It is bananas! You can see the Milky Way and shit!

4. The Barbecue Store, Whiteville, TN

As I understand it, there is a great deal of competition in this country about where one can find the best barbecue. It is a ridiculous competition, because the only contender is West Tennessee. Absolutely perfect BBQ. This spot in Whiteville, conveniently located on US Hwy 64, not far from my friend’s mom’s office, is just one example of excellent damn eats. Not too far down the road in the town of Somerville there’s a BBQ joint that serves these potatoes the size of rugby balls full of shredded pork and sauce and sour cream and all sorts of shit. Slaw maybe? I can’t even remember, it was so good, it’s like a dream to me now.

5. Pinnacles National Monument, Paicines, CA

I didn’t really want to even put this on the list, not because it’s not awesome, because it is so awesome, but because it’s one of the better kept secrets in the National Park System. No one goes there! You can have the whole place to yourself! I had to share, though, because I feel super selfish keeping it to myself. Located near the excellent town of Paicines (it meets my one criterion for municipal excellence: readily available Big League Chew in all three classic flavors- Outta Here Original, Wild Pitch Watermelon, and most importantly, Ground Ball Grape.’What about Swingin’ Sour Apple?’ you ask, ‘Go fuck yourself!’ I reply, with no shortage of gusto!), this geologically awesome place will knock your sweaty synthetic wool hiking socks off. There’s condors there, and no shortage of rocks that look like dicks for you to remark upon! Also, plenty of sweet talus caves (I tried to look up how to spell this, but all I got was a bunch of shit about beating a boss in Zelda? Any way, they’re caves formed by boulders that you can slip through without getting too frightened, as I normally do in cave situations). So many trails, so much radical volcanic history, an overabundance of tourist-free peace and quiet/picnic spots: paradise.

6. This quilting shop in Rutherford, NJ

I cannot for the life of me remember what this place is called, but the lady who runs it is a total bad ass with a masters degree in photography and a guinea pig who lives in the store! Also, she fosters rescue bunnies, so most of the time, you will also get to see at least one bunny there. Also, there’s wine and fabric and shit! Yeah, I guess if you were just interested in seeing buns you could hit up a pet shop, but the great thing about this place is that it doesn’t smell like some one pissed on a wood chipper. And there are only awesome animals there, not creepy ones like those fish that hibernate in mud for like twenty dozen centuries. All right, I’ll level with you: if you know of a pet store that has one of those creepy fish, let me know about it. I…want to meet that fish.

My Ever-Growing Grown Up To-Do List

February 5, 2012

I’ve done my ‘best’ to cram a whole lot of adulting into the three years that have passed since graduating from college. I’m always doing grown up shit like registering vehicles and cleaning my rice cooker, and yet it doesn’t seem to be doing anything in terms of transforming me from an irresponsible duckling into a beautiful salaried swan. For example, my shirt has a large wet spot on it a few inches north of my right breast right now. Why? Because some ketchup exploded out the bottom of my breakfast sandwich (which I ate at noon, half an hour after waking up) and this is my second favorite shirt, so naturally I treated the stain immediately. While wearing the shirt. That seems pretty goddamn stupid. This happened 7 minutes ago and I already can’t remember what i was thinking.  So amateur.

So I’ve decided to take a quick audit of my life and try to identify and (eventually) eliminate practices that are holding me in this state of totally non-enchanting childhood.

1. Twin-Extra-Long linens. Part of why I can’t grow up is that every night I tuck myself into a bed made up for an 18-22 year old. The full bed on which I sleep came with the house, and included a really delightful set of sheets (probably taking these with me when I go. Don’t tell my landlord.) and also a comforter, but my first order of business upon moving in was tearing the top layer off and replacing it with my awesome college blankets. Not only are these blankets intended for use by students, they’re also bunny-damaged to the nines and have spent more time in the woods than most adult linens have. (If you don’t know what bunny-damaged means, I’ll tell you: It means that it’s been utterly ravaged by the inexhaustible teeth of a domestic rabbit. Most things that I own that were purchased before June of 2010 when my bun stopped thumping, God rest his tiny soul, bear the unmistakable signs of bunny damage. Most grownups would probably have replaced those things. You know what I did? Nothing.).

2. Tummy = Full of Candy
You know who I don’t see buying candy very often? Every adult. I, contrarywise, am absolutely full of candy right now. Specifically, ‘Sweet Fiesta’ Starburst (have you guys tried these? They are the dopest fruit chews on the market as far as I’m concerned, which is VERY FAR INDEED). As I kid I assumed that a great thing about being an adult was that you could just have candy whenever, and not have to hide it. I was mistaken. You should still hide your candy, because eating a shit ton of it is SHAMEFUL. Also, using the word tummy isn’t exactly winning me any grown up points here, is it?

3. Can’t Shake Story Time
When I’m feeling extra film student-y I like to think that my almost compulsive need to hear a story being read to me by someone else before falling asleep is the result of my deep commitment to narrative tradition. The truth though is probably just that story time rules, and always will. It’s a habit I might want to play down though, because you know who doesn’t like hearing Robert Inglis read me ‘The Hobbit’? Every gentleman caller in the history of gentlemen, callers, and Robert Inglis. It’s a real game salter.

4. Paycheck – Bills = COMIC BOOKS
Other than candy, what I most enjoy acquiring is comic books. After blowing an entire, very generous Amazon gift card (thanks again, Nick!!) on comics this Christmas, I had to start rationing the amount of money with which I could indulge this frivolous and probably not very grown up habit. At first I decided on one comic book per paycheck. That seems reasonable until I tell you that I have two jobs, and get paid every week. Fifty two comics a year? Too many monies! A lot of times I’m in Costco trying to rationalize not buying $16 worth of Jelly Bellys (Bellies?) and I tell myself ‘just think of the comics you could buy with that bread’, and then  later I very maturely decide not to buy the comics anyway, and just save the money. It’d be an excellent system if I didn’t just blow the whole fortune on hats.

5. Doing Stupid Shit All the Time

I spend a lot of time doing things like dreaming up hybrid cars. Not combination gas-electric vehicles, that would probably be very beneficial and grown up. No, I mean mash ups of cars I’ve owned with animals I’ve enjoyed. Like this Broncosaurus:

BRONCOSAURUS!!!!

The 1979 Broncosaurus, in its natural habitat, the American West, viewed from an oblique angle

That was the first one I made, and, obviously, it’s really good, so I made this feisty 1997 SubaROO:

subaROO

Look how tenacious it is! Trying to box that lightning at Ayer's Rock! Shiiiiit!!

In the time it took me to draw those, 10 grown ups filed their taxes. Ah well, I guess it could be worse though, right? Better to be an adult acting like a child than a child acting like, say, a turtle. Or worse yet, a SubaROO! That would be unbearable. A kid just boxing everything and being  really expense to repair in certain parts of the country? No thank you! Am I right?!


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