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.

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?!

Do You Need Help to Your Car with those Broceries?

January 26, 2012

The other day I was in the self checkout line at the Walmart and I was doing what I always do when I’m in line anywhere, which is look at what other people are doing in that line. Mostly it’s not awesome. This time it was sort of funny though, because the guy in front of me was buying the most bro-ed out shit I have ever seen hanging out together in one shopping cart. To start with, he had about fifty Gatorades (the big ones), next to which were many Slim Jims (maybe five baker’s dozenses). Also he was buying multiple different products with the word MUSCLE written in bold letters across them. To simulate what this looked like, I wrote the word ‘muscle’ in bold letters for you there. Also there were a lot of red boxes, which means he was either stocking up on Weight Watcher’s Smart Ones (doubtful, as he was probably trying to build mass, judging by all his muscle goods), or he was loading up on Tyson Any’tizers. These are among the bro-est things you can eat. If you don’t believe me, take some ganders at this advertisement (Any’tizement?!):

SPORTSCHICKENFRIESSPORTSFUCKINGSPORTS

Eat Chicken Fries! Think about sports! 10 DOLLARS, BRO, SHIIIIIIIIIT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sports seem fairly irrelevant here. The promotion has, as far as I can tell, nothing to do with sports. You just have to buy a shit ton of chicken, and then you get rewarded with $10. Obviously, the balls are there so that bros know this promotion is plenty bro-friendly. The kicker is that I think boneless (BROneless) wings are bro enough to stand alone (aBRone). For example:

The B stands for Bro!!

See what I did there? I took out the sporting equipment and replaced it with three Susan B. Anthony-s (AnthBROny-s). Will bros still buy pre-made freeze-dried quesadillas in sprite of/because of a triple portrait of this Quaker BROad? TIME WiLL TELL.

I guess this isn’t as bad as that Dr. Pepper advertised as being ‘not for women!’, which is the worst example of a beverage discriminating against a group of people since Baskin Robbins came out with that Meat&Milkshake, which was advertised as being ‘not for Jews!’.

You’re So Welcome!!!

January 6, 2012

For what? Oh nothing, I’m just going to fucking totally help you with your New Year’s Resolution, that’s all!

Why am I not focusing on my own? BECAUSE IT’S TOO HARD. (My NYR is to pull off calling people ‘hoss’. So far every time I’ve tried I just end up sounding racist. Racist against…cowboys? I don’t know it just sounds racist.)

Last year by this time I had also given up on my resolution, which was to become the kind of person who has a lot of different mustards. I know what you’re thinking, ‘sounds easy. Couldn’t you just buy them in a store? This is America.‘ And to you I say, ‘First please stop talking like a Brett Easton Ellis character, it is terrifying; and second, you clearly DON’T GET IT.’ It wasn’t about the mustard at all, really. It’s about the lifestyle that the mustard alludes too. For instance: A guest could ask me, ‘Michela, Do you have any Champagne mustard?’ and I would reply haughtily, ‘Of course, Admiral, I have plenty left over from the feast of One Dozen Honey Baked Hams that I held last week’. I don’t want to just buy mustard, I want to be in a position to need many mustards. For my guests.

So having already failed two resolutions in a row, I feel just the right amount of qualified to help you out.

If your resolution is to lose weight, which I understand is a pretty common one, I have an excellent diet that I can recommend to you. I invented it and it’s called the Manic Housewife with Body Image Issues diet. Basically, instead of eating things that taste good, you eat only baby carrots and cheap Riesling wine. They taste awful together. The best thing about this diet is that due to the nature of the character you will be playing, there are periodic binges built-in to the structure of the diet, though to stay in character, your binges must be things you purchased for your fictional children. For example, you will have to eat a whole box of Gushers or something nuts like that. You probably won’t lose any weight (I certainly haven’t), but you will wake up every day feeling just terrible with a gross taste in your mouth!

Obviously my diet will not be enough to succeed with the resolution, you will also need to incorporate an exercise regimen. If you’re like me and you don’t like the look of all these modern gyms with their windows, I have an EGGSELLENT and needlessly complex solution for you. First you’re gonna have to apply, and be accepted to New York University. You’re then going to need to be assigned to live in the incomparable Third Avenue North residence hall, where you can take full advantage of the generously titled ‘Fitness Center’. There are only three machines and one of them is haunted (the others are broken), but there are no windows and the room has a certain dank veneer that you will no doubt find encouraging. While working out, you will be motivated to not become the human version of this room, who is the overweight ghost of a murderer whose day job is to calibrate thermostats on industrial refrigerators (which he fills with the remains of victimsOMGGGGGGGGG!!!!!).

If your resolution is to read more, then first let me congratulate you, because reading is fucking awesome and super goddamn important. I recommend that you model yourself after my go-go library-hold-placing, jet-set lifestyle. It is incredible glamorous, according to both ‘Modern Pajama Schmo’ and ‘The Weekly Hermit’ magazines. Most importantly, get on goodreads.com and friend me, because my double secret plan B resolution is to get more friends on Goodreads.

If you want to build an arsenal of interesting tales in 2012, an easy way to do this is to hitchhike and/or pick up hitchhikers. Your friends will love to hear stories from the road, everybody does! That’s why Jack Kerouac is famous, despite all evidence that he is probably a shitty friend (he just left Neal Cassidy in Mexico! What a shitty move!).

I’ve heard that getting organized is a popular resolution. This one is easy. All you have to do is get so super disorganized that your friends and family submit an audition tape for you to that show ‘Hoarders’. Then those fuckers will come and clean the shit out of your house for not even any monies. Yaht. Zee.

Apparently the most popular resolution is to spend more time with your friends and family. I’m flabbergasted that you even need to resolve to do this. Who are you spending your time with instead? Are you the Phantom of the Opera? Do you live in a network of tunnels beneath the Paris Opera and have no contact with people, friends or otherwise? Are you spending all your time with your enemies, undercover, to learn their ways as part of a revenge plot? You will never be happy. If you want to spend time with your family and friends, I recommend that you…just do…that? They probably would love to see you.

If you need any other help, just let me know.

The Really Great Idea I Just Had

January 4, 2012

This idea is struck me as being so great, that I decided to resuscitate my long dormant blog to share it with you, my family and three or four college friends who read this.

The idea came to me while I was milking the dregs out of a wine bladder that I had extricated from its box-home (incidentally, is there such a thing as ‘the dregs of boxed wine’? If there is, I’m sure that you can read about it on this website: http://bumwine.com/).

I think what really got the inventive juices flowing that enabled me to come up with this idea that I think is just so great is that someone in my dumb house was blasting Harry Belafonte’s ‘Shake Senora’, which has long been one of my favorite songs, mostly because it makes me think that anything awesome is possible. Dance with these spectral offensive linemen in my spooky Connecticut home (is there any other kind?! Am I right, Mom?!) during finals week? Of course I will be doing that. That is within the realm of possible activities, because ‘Shake Senora’ exists and is great. Some of you might not get this Beetlejuice reference, because you’re busy doing other things. (Some really rough endings to that sentence that I tried before deeming them simply too harsh to be said by someone sitting cross-legged on a bed littered with multiple former egg nog vessels (Side note: A fun thing to put on my resume/make into a TV pilot would be Egg Nog Vassal, where I describe my relationship with this seasonal beverage as being feudal and full of mutual obligations and I have to call Nog ‘my Lord’) are: busy doing absolutely nothing better with your life, and, busy not deserving to live. Obviously, these sound way too mean and I would never write them down.

I promise that I’ll tell you my great idea, but for right now just let me think a little more about Egg Nog Vassal. Maybe it is not too edgy to be the name of a mostly saxophone folk trio? No, you’re right, too edgy. That band would obviously be called Just the Sax, assuming ‘just the facts’ is a real expression and I’m not just trying to convince myself that it is for the sake of Just the Sax.

Okay here we go.

So I’m thinking what I’ll do is save the bladders from the box wines, fill them with water and sell them as incredibly inconvenient CamelBak-style hydration solutions that you have to carry like a slithery football, or, more accurately, like a fucking bag of water. You’re probably thinking ‘this doesn’t sound like such a great idea, not blog-revival great, at least’, but that’s because I haven’t told you the kicker (it’s called a kicker, because it makes you want to ‘kick in’ some start-up capital to get this idea off the ground, obviously). The kicker is that I won’t rinse out the bags, so the water that you’re drinking will taste vaguely of old $12 per 5 liters White Zinfandel.

This product can also be used as a posture de-stabilizer because if you are interested in using Fun Bladder (that is its working title) in a hands-free capacity, you will need to drape it over your shoulder and walk around pretty hunched over so that it won’t fall off when your wineter sloshes around. Wineter is obviously the name of the water and wine mixture with which your Fun Bladder is dangerously over-filled. Winter Wineter is a special edition Fun Bladder that I will release seasonally, where your wineter contains traces of a very Christmas-y mulled wine. Winetar Weiner is a promotional event where competitive hot dog eaters have to dip their dogs in wineter instead of water to scarf them down. There are no survivors.

 

Weird Sandwiches and the Increasingly Embiggened Role they Continue to Play in my Daily Life (A confessional/recipe collection)

September 18, 2010

One time some bro posed to me the fairly common hypothetical ‘if you could only have one food the rest of your life what would it be?’ and without even having to think about it, I said sandwiches. I was then told that my answer was unacceptably open ended and that I had better try again. I don’t remember what the stakes were or why it was so important that I really nail down a solid answer to a totally bullshit question, but it seems to me that we were being pretty fucking serious. I refused to alter or narrow down my answer, and to my recollection this confrontation was followed by a duel in which I ended that bro.

Just kidding?!

But for reals I love eating things in sandwich form. Lately though, that passion has taken a distinct turn for the weird. This past winter I perfected a pretty good, not-too-grotesque sandwich that has ended up being a sort of gateway sandwich into much more outré shit. That sandwich, named for the town wherein I purchased the ingredients, was as follows:

The Farmington- A pita pocket, slit open about 180° around, inner topside slathered in a generous portion of spicy brown mustard, inner bottom side coated in a thick enough layer of roasted garlic hummus to hold in place 14 mini carrots (NOT baby carrots)* in a gracefully geometric, spatially efficient design. Insert any piece of round white cheese (preferably part skim mozzarella, but provolone will do), and keep that shit mustard side. Between the carrots and cheese goes about 4oz. of mesquite spiced turkey. This sturdy sandwich goes great with a nice stout or brown ale, or a tall glass of skim or 1% milk.

The thing that I like most about The Farmington is that it’s creative without being alienating. I ate this sandwich a lot this past winter and when people asked what I was eating, I had nothing to be ashamed of. I would give a beat-by-beat description of it’s contents, which usually garnered an optimistically curious ‘Mmmm?’ and sometimes even a ‘holy shit that sounds like a hell of a sandwich!’.

Lately, this has not been the case. Or rather, I’m pretty sure it would be the case if there was anyone around to witness the aberrations I’ve been coming out with in the past few months.

The moment I really realized that I was really in a bad way weirdness-wise in sandwich town came at Trail Days in early May of this year. A friend of mine who had justifiable qualms about the security of his pack asked if he could store it in my tent, as he had only a hammock and was not content with it as a storage unit. I told him sure, no problem. Well cut to a few days prior when I was in the checkout line at the Roanoke, VA Walmart with an incredibly queer assortment of groceries, the which were to be my supplies for my week in Damascus. All things considered, I did all right in the supply department, and managed to come out of that Walmart with a decent array of goods (at least, they were enough to keep me alive for a demifortnight). I will offer as my defense that it is not easy to enter an entirely overwhelming store with no list or plan of attack and come out on top when you’ve spent the previous day/night in the company of an old friend staring down the business end of a gravity bong and chasing it with the straw end of a taqueria at happy hour. Any way you slice it, though, I stared at my wares and realized that what I had was the fixins for a weird sandwich.

Anyway, I ended up eating almost nothing but this sandwich all week, and lived in constant fear that my pack-storing friend would eventually catch me in the act of totally ogre-ing one of these little monsters during his frequent forays to my site to retrieve various items from his pack. I should also mention that almost all of my daylight hours of trail days were spent in my tent, recovering from the previous night, so the odds of catching me in the act of eating this sandwich were pretty high. Nearly every time I heard his approach, I was obliged to bolt down the carcass of my WS and every time he hailed me with a cheery query about what I was up to, I was inclined to respond ‘not eating a weird sandwich, that’s for sure!’. I managed to play it off and I don’t think he ever suspected anything. I have named this sandwich for the book that I was reading while eating it, as well as the way I felt about it.

The Needful Thing- Take a fajita-sized flour tortilla and make a large ‘M’ (also a Σ will work, depending on which way you’re looking at it) out of off-brand yellow mustard. Next, throw a slice of Valu Time brand Swiss Flavored Pasteurized Imitation Cheese Food on there and use it to sort of spread around that mustard. Sprinkle a couple of pieces of teriyaki flavored beef jerky onto the cheese and roll it up into a blintz-shaped torpedo of weird. Eat it really fast. Goes great with warm Old Milwaukee or untreated river water.

This sandwich was really the turning point. As much as I was ashamed of it, I was also enamored of it. In my move to Huntington, West ByGod Virginia I have found myself living alone for the first time in my life, and it really couldn’t have come at a more opportune time heterodox sandwich experimentation-wise. I’ve really been able to go goddamn nuts in the sandwich department over these last five months. And nuts I have gone! Here are some more of my total abominations:

Agent Orange- Named in part for the color of its ingredients, and partly for the fact that it just tastes like fucking poison, this sandwich, like its predecessor and it’s usurper, was born out of my general lack of motivation to go to the grocery store and pick up anything to eat that wasn’t just a lonely ingredient of a vague recipe. Agent Orange starts with two pieces of honey wheat bread, both light-mayonaissed to the nines and covered in a loose assembly of baby carrots (NOT mini carrots)**, then sprinkled with a pretty decent amount of shredded taco cheese, and garnished with a few sloppy drunken shakes of parmesan. Goes great with boxed white wine and general malaise.

The Lo-Fi Pizza Open Face- To be honest, calling this open face a ‘lo-fi pizza’ is a bit of a stretch. It’s basically a no-fi pizza, because its fidelity to its inspiration is almost not even discernible, as it gets lost in its weirdness. What you do is take a couple of slices of that honey wheat bread that I mentioned earlier, and put some pizza sauce up on there. Then you garnish it with Kroger’s finest pineapple tidbits (one size down from chunks, one step up from crushed. I was incredibly jazzed to find out that this cut of canned pineapple existed), cover those bad boys up with some shredded mozz’, and sprinkle a little bit of garlic salt and cracked red pepper on there. Now this sammich would probably not even be that weird if it was heated up. It would really be like a little pizza. But here’s the thing- I don’t have a microwave. Here’s another thing- I am so fucking lazy. So one thing you need to keep in mind when eating this sandwich is that you have to hold your breath when you’re going in to take a bite, because if you breathe at the wrong moment you will either find that you have inhaled a sizable portion of shredded cheese and garlic salt, or else you have blown it all the fuck over your lap (that is, if you’re like me and you like to enjoy your weird sandwiches sitting cross-legged on a futon that is permanently set to the bed position, otherwise you probably just got it on your plate or table). Tastes great in the dark with poorly mixed Country Time pink lemonade.

I know that there are some other unusual sandwiches that I have recently enjoyed, but I can’t seem to remember them. Probably because I have repressed them, because they are just to weird to be stored in my memory alongside normal things like ‘how to tie shoes’ and ‘mom’s cell phone number’. I know that my experimentation is far from over, and I look forward to what the future holds for me in this department. And by ‘look forward to’, I mean accept with a not inconsiderable degree of resignation laced with fear.

*Note: The reason it is important to use mini carrots instead of their much girthier cousins, the baby carrots, is that the pita, once split open lacks the structural integrity to bear thata kind of a load. The mini carrots are thin and light enough that when arranged properly they can act as a sort of vertabral column, reinforcing the bottom side of the pita instead or shredding it to ribbons (which will absolutely happen with the baby carrots, so fucking leave them out of this).

**Another Note: The reason this sandwich is better off with baby carrots is simple: they don’t sell mini carrots at my local grocer. They have these things ‘petite carrots’ but I don’t like the look of them. Also, I’ve recently switched to buying carrot chips, because they’re easier to dip in hummus, so hopefully this sandwich is a thing of the past anyway. Good riddance.

Openings to Letters I’m Not Ever Going to Write

June 11, 2010

Dear Sweaty Hillbilly Ohio State Fan who Installed my Internet,

Firstly, let me thank you for installing my internet– it really feels great to be reliably connected to the world wide web after a year of stealing other people’s wireless and trying to finish writing various f’book status updates while one of any number of the adorable old lady Rangeley librarians shut off all the other computers around me in a way that felt very passive aggressive and menacing. But moving on to more serious matters, do you really think that that story you that told me about the lady you know who just got sent to jail for delivering heroin that ended with the sentence ‘what I want to know is how many times has she given that ass up for some drugs, because you know it’s happened’ was an appropriate way to represent Comcast Cable to one of their newest customers?

My Dear Rabbit, Joey Chaos Thunder,

You might think I’m just some monstrous, terrifying fool who doesn’t realize that you’re only pretending to nap next to those wires so that you can start chewing them to useless electrified ribbons as soon as I get up to refill my water, but let me just say this: I bet I can wait longer for a drink of water than you can wait to run off to your litter box and shit. Who’s the fool now, old friend?

Dear New Apartment,

Thank you SO MUCH for not being haunted!

Dear Toilet that Won’t Stop Flushing due to a Rare Rubber Malfunction in the Tank,

While I appreciate your vigor, your enthusiasm, and your truly admirable level of job satisfaction, I feel obligated to point out that your eagerness to completely rid yourself of my waste and that of my guests is most likely going to end up costing me a small fortune in water bills. So, as much as I hate to be wet blanket/party pooper (*Note: Choose your own pun adventure!) I’m going to have to respectfully ask you to cease this behavior and please start acting like a regular toilet. Thank you.

Dear Cup Phones,

I was always only pretending that you worked. I could never actually hear any one talking to me through you.

I don't even know which science to blame for this...

Two things about driving in Rangeley

June 3, 2010

This post was originally going to be titled bumps do not equal dips, but then I realized that that is not enough to fill up one whole post, so I decided to included some other thoughts on driving here as well. But that’s the most important part so I am electing to discuss it first.

So, yeah, we should all have that straight by this stage of the game (the game being automotive history and development, or even human evolution and its effects on mankind’s ability to perceive the concavity of sections of asphalt). Not only do bumps not equal dips, but they are the exact opposite of dips! Bumps are even less like dips than level road! The reason that this is relevant is that recently someone whom I can only assume is not affiliated with the Department of Transportation has put up between 3 and 5 home made bump signs to indicate some dips in this one 4 mile strech of road. I think this is total horse shit. The reason we even have a DOT is so that any old yahoo can’t just wil-nil erect nonsensical road signs! This is potentially a very hazardous pastime. For example, on this same road as all the bogus bump signs there is a hair-pin left curve called Geneva Bog (I always accidentally call it Fisty’s Bog after a level on this game World of Goo that comes as a free demo on the Nintendo Wii). What if some ambitious (/totally batfuck) amateur sign enthusiast were to opt to hang up a big sign with an arrow bent 90 degrees to the right? Many people would crash into the snowbank is what would happen there. That would be just awful! This same person could wander out to Dead Indian Pass in Wyoming putting up signs that said ‘NO OPEN RANGE, DO NOT WATCH FOR LOOSE STOCK ON ROADS’, or out to Grafton Notch in New Hampshire and erect notices that indicated ‘THERE ARE NOT ANY FROST HEAVES, MAINTAIN SPEED AND CONTINUE FIDDLING WITH YOUR IPOD RADIO TRANSMITTER, MICHELA’. This would result in many collisions with things and people and cattle.

Now, in fairness, the examples that I have provided are not quite right, because in reality, you do the same thing to prepare for a bump as you do for a dip, which is (hopefully), slow down. But slowing down isn’t the only preparation that I undergo in readying myself for a bump. Not by a long shot! The major preparation involves tightening all my muscles to theoretically increase my chances of shooting up like a spring at the crest of the bump, so I can get a little air even as my car is gliding safely  over the bump. For a dip, I loosen all my muscles, causing me to sort of melt downwards into the seat, then I tighten them halfway through to try to get that spring shit going. *Note: none of this actually works. All that usually happens is I almost fart. When I’m taking for granted the road alterations promised by the counterfeit signs, my whole body is preparing for a sensation that never comes. Like the first time I rode Splash Mountain and I kept telling everyone in the boat to prepare to scream, as each drop was going to be The Big One and once it was just a sharp turn and I said it sucked and my mom made me apologize to everyone in the raft for saying ‘sucked’ and the whole raft was full of bros who probably didn’t care anyway and I was mortified. So I guess that makes the bump/dip signs total karmic retribution for my actions that day? Oh…shit…Thank goodness I blogged it out or I may never have reached that enlightening conclusion. Whew. Case closed then! On to my next driving in Rangeley anecdote.

I’m the first person to admit that I am not a perfect driver. Though others may disagree, I will also say that I’m not an awful driver. One thing on which we should all be able to agree, though, is that I do not cut people off. If anything, I am overly cautious when turning into traffic and often miss opportunities due to playing it safe! For some reason, though, the only 3 times in my life I’ve ever cut some one off, it’s just been this one old lady. Three separate times. Same old lady.

Rangeley is a real small town, and like all real small towns, you see and recognize the same vehicles on the road all the time. Especially if you drive an enormous red land monster. This old woman happened to drive a slate blue Rav 4. So in short, we could easily recognize each other.

In my defense, the only reason I cut her off (all three times) was because it was a choice between cutting her off or T-boning her. As some of you know, the Bronco didn’t really have any brakes, so downhill stop signs were a real white whale for that truck. All stop signs were a little iffy, but down hill stop signs were a real roll of the dice. Each of the incidents went something like this: I got to the stop sign, stopped, let go the ‘brakes’, realized she was coming but that it was too late to stop again, gunned it, offered an apologetic wave while she made this face:

Exactly this expression, but an old lady making it...and more hurt surprise and disbelief and less unbridled yuppie rage.

The face got more and more surprised with each incident, as if to ask ‘are you serious, 20-something Bronco driver? Do you ever not cut people off?’. Because the only times she ever saw me were when I was cutting her off she must naturally have assumed that I was just cutting everybody off all over town. This was not the case, but I can’t blame her for making logical conclusions. I was going to describe each incident in loving detail, but I realized that to the vast majority of you who are unfamiliar with this particular small Maine mountain town, these details would mean nothing. So I drew this really excellent map instead:

Slate blue Xs mark her position at time of cut-offs

Please note that in my rendering of the Saddleshack (our devilishly clever nickname for our house. It works on 2 levels- 1) all the residents worked at Saddleback, 2) it was actually a total shack), I accidentally drew it slanting the wrong way. The degree of the slant is accurate, but the roof should be pointing to 11 o’clock, not 1 o’clock. Also please note that it took me like an hour to draw that Bronco, so be sure to take a good long look at it so as not to make my efforts a total waste.

I know that the odds of that old lady reading this blog are miles beyond calculable, but if any one who does read this knows who she is or is in a position to contact her, please let her know that I am so, so sorry.


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