Wednesday, August 30, 2006
You know what bugs me? More specifically, you know what bugs me about movies? More specifically still, you know what bugs me about movies that take place in New York City? Well, I'll tell you what bugs me about movies that take place in New York City. It's this. In any given movie that is set in NYC, a character in that movie will inevitably need to go somewhere, and will decide that a cab is the best way to get there, and will go out onto a street corner and throw his or her hand in the air, Heil-Hitler style, and yell, "Taxi!" This bugs me. It bugs me a lot.

Why? Because no one in New York does this. Not the hailing a cab part, but the shouting "Taxi!" part. No one says anything when they're hailing a cab. They just silently stick their hand up and a little out into the street, and usually within a minute a cab pulls over and you get in, and that's the end of it. Sometimes they don't even use the whole hand. Some people use just a few fingers. My brother uses one finger. (No, not that finger. He wants the cab to actually stop.) But never does anyone say anything to go along with the hand or finger. Yelling "Taxi!" gets you absolutely nowhere. The driver sure as hell can't hear you, and if people who are standing alone in New York City are talking to anyone, it's usually themselves.

I'm not sure why directors and scriptwriters feel the need to include this in cab-hailing scenes, but sure enough, in every single New York City-based movie ever made since the beginning of time in which a character hails a cab, he or she is always out there yelling for it like a clueless tourist. In fact, I'm pretty sure the tourists don't even yell "Taxi!" because it's obvious to everyone (except people in the movie industry, I guess) that doing so won't help you at all, and might even garner a few shut-the-fuck-ups, depending on what neighborhood you're in. So yes: that is what bugs me. About movies. That take place in New York.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Feeling both stressed and bored. How is that possible?

Friday, August 25, 2006
Usually, on this last Friday in August, I'd be dreading next week because normally, next week would be the start of school. And, of course, the end of my summer. But this year? No problem! Thanks to a slumping end-of-the-summer tourism rate, the governor passed a law (a law!) stating that school can't start until after Labor Day so that people could feel free to extend their summertime travels. Tourism, as you may or may not know, is huge in Michigan. (To west coast readers and also especially to east coast readers, many of whom I am probably related to: really!) The state depends on people traveling to the various lakeshore towns and islands and dunes and such for revenue, and apparently, education was getting in the way of those valuable tourism dollars. So, next week is still mine. Although, technically, I am on the clock as of Monday morning and do have quite a few things to do before the kids come back. But there will be no kids next week. So that's nice.

As stupid as this law sounds, I'm actually in favor of it. It makes sense and it's good for everyone. And really, in August, no one wants to be in a classroom. It always took a while to get the kids into any kind of flow (or maybe it was getting me into any kind of flow), so hopefully this later start will give them the rest they need (and I need). Besides, I and many others never started school before Labor Day, and look how well we turned out! Coincidence? Probably not, but you never know.

Monday, August 21, 2006
A busy day to end a quick trip. After wandering around South Street Seaport for the first time in so long I can't even remember, my brother Randy and I met up with cousin Eric for some lunch. We hiked over to Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown for the legendary soup dumplings. They were very odd and, after we figured out how to eat them without burning our soft palates and without spilling all of the soup held within the dumplings (because what's the point of a soup dumpling if you don't get to eat the soup?), also very delicious. Then Randy and I looked all over for the Tenement Museum and couldn't find it. We eventually gave up and met up with Andrea for a glass of wine at the apparently trendy 'inoteca. (I guess if there's an apostrophe at the beginning of the name, it's trendy.) And, what's more, when we asked the server for a recommendation, she recommended a blush. "They're cool again," she told us. We were skeptical, but she brought us a taste, and it was good! So we sat and caught up and dished, and Andrea, who is always good for a forgotten catch phrase, made "Looks like a pump, feels like a sneaker" cool again -- maybe cool again like pink wine is supposedly cool again.

Driving back tomorrow.

Friday, August 18, 2006
I'm back home in New York for a wedding on Sunday and some good ol' family time before and after. Today, after I got my teeth fixed and my eyes checked, mom and I did some intense mall shopping with cousin Stef, who drove up to meet us after getting out of work early. We walked a lot, bought some cool pants for fifteen bucks, and smelled the Cinnabons. We also had dinner at a surprisingly good mall place called Stir Crazy, where they do it up Pan Asian style. Tasty, but I'm so thirsty now. Anyway, I usually get annoyed by the mall, but when it's not too crowded and I need clothes anyway (and mom's paying!), it's actually alright. Oh, and Stef brought me a case of gum. A whole case! A case of gum looks really small, but it's a lot more gum than it looks like. I like gum, and Stef works for a company that makes a lot of gum, so when I see her, she usually gives me some. And then I bring it home, and Paul and I chew it constantly. Paul calls it "cousin gum." We like cousin gum. Thanks, Stef!

I drove in yesterday, and the drive was fairly uneventful. Lots of construction in Pennsylvania. It seems like they spend every summer paving the PA I-80, and every summer it's bumpy and in need of resurfacing, and as I bump along, I think, didn't they just re-pave this last summer? They probably did. Oh, and I thought I'd be clever and take a new, slightly different route through Michigan and down and around Toledo, but it backfired on me: the 475 highway that connects the little highway from Ann Arbor to the 80/90 was closed, and I got detoured through this little Ohio town. That sucked, and it probably added 30 minutes to my drive time. The moral is, never try anything new. I know I've learned my lesson. One other thing of note, drive-wise: at some point in the morning, I stopped off at a rest stop on the highway in Ohio for a freezy coffee drink. I love freezy coffee drinks because they taste so good, and also because they get me really jacked up. I don't drink coffee, or even much of anything with caffeine, so a good frozen mocha gets me totally wired. Not good at 10 at night, but good for staying alert on the road. I got one at Panera, an I.C. Mocha to be exact, and it was super delish, but I learned that at Panera, when you get a freezy coffee, they give you this super wide straw to drink it with. At first I was like, this super wide straw is awesome! It gets this super delish freezy coffee up to my mouth really fast! But then I drank it all much too fast, and I was like, oh no, this super wide straw is giving me a wicked ice headache. Which normally wouldn't have been a problem, but I couldn't lie down and sleep it off because I was driving, and also because all the caffeine made me wide awake. So I drove all jittery and thought about my stupid ice headache. Next time, I'm asking for a normal straw.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Dear ABC,

What the fuck? Seriously, what the fuck? Come on, don't act all innocent, like you don't know what I'm talking about. You know what I'm talking about, and what the fuck?

Finally, after years of shitty programming, you finally show something good like Lost, and people like me get into it, but because we're not rabid tv watchers, we get into it a little late and have to rely on summer re-runs to catch up on the episodes we didn't see, which are most of them. And every week I check your website, and every week it says right there that Lost will be on Wednesday at 9. You did this for the first half of the summer, and it worked out. I was catching up. I was finding out about the Dharma Initiative and those other people from the tail section and that creepy guy who says that every 108 minutes, the button must be pushed. And it was fine. But then at some point, maybe a few weeks ago, Lost wasn't on anymore. What the fuck?

Oh sure, it says on the website that Lost will be on, but then Tuesday or Wednesday morning, you change your mind, and suddenly Lost won't be on this week, but here's four episodes of that crap-ass George Lopez sitcom. Who watches that crap? Or are you hoping that people who like Lost and appreciate a well-arced storyline will tune in like drones at nine and just watch whatever canned-laughter-overdubbed drivel you decide to air? Or what? Or maybe you want us to buy the episodes we've missed from your iTunes store, so you can make two bucks a piece off of us? Whatever your logic is, it sucks.

Please stop airing George Lopez. And Freddie. And any other show of that ilk. It's not that I'm against comedians of minority ethnicities. They're fine. But their shows are formulaic and stupid, and they're not Lost! I know you've been releasing bits and pieces of the Lost Experience, and it's entertaining and all, but seeing your Rachel Blake actress ask "Have you no shame?" ten times at ComicCon, while entertaining and, I might add, very clever of you to plant her in the audience, isn't the same as watching an episode that I have yet to see! I've missed episodes, and you need to show them! It's like the unwritten rule of summer reruns! If a show is good, you rerun it to get more fans and appease those of us who might have missed some. You don't cut it from the line-up and show something stupid in its place. This is how you make people angry, ABC. What the fuck? Please. Put Lost back on and cut back on the crappy programming.

At least you moved up the release date for the season two DVDs, so I can catch up before season three starts. If you switch that back, I'll really be pissed.


One of probably many pissed off fans, you stinking jerks

Monday, August 14, 2006
We did it! We caught a raccoon! We went out last night about an hour after we set the trap, and there it was, all caught and everything! And we thought, we could take it to some rural area now, or Paul could do it in the morning. We decided not to do it then. And then...and then it escaped. Some time between last night and this morning. How the hell did it get out? Those sneaky bastards and their opposable thumbs! So we'll try again.

In other animal news, our cat has become quite the vicious hunter. It takes care of all the small rodents in the yard, which I am totally in favor of -- I'd rather he get some sport out of it then have to get mouse traps and deal with little gnawed areas on the house. And he scares the squirrels, which keeps them away from the attic (apparently a problem for the home's previous owners). But last week, the cat found a nest of bunnies and killed two of them. I probably shouldn't discriminate between cute animals and non-cute animals, but that was a little sad. And he's gotten into the habit of eating his kill to the neck, which means he leaves the face for us! It's gross and disturbing, and I hope it's not some creepy way for him to account for his kill, like this Japanese invasion of Korea that I read about where the Japanese soldiers would send back home the noses of all the Koreans they killed, as kin dof a tally or something. Ugh. And then when he doesn't eat his kill, crows come. So now we have crows, and they're loud and ugly and annoying, and I think the cat's a little freaked out by them. I don't think he can kill them, but he sure as hell can get other birds. Last week he had a bluejay and a baby bird. The birds are the worst, because he doesn't kill things immediately, and whereas the mice just play dead and get all scared, the birds can still scream. We've thought about interfering in the bird killings, but it's not like we can save them. We've kind of accepted that this is the food chain, and we shouldn't interfere. It's like the goddamn Nature Channel in our backyard.

Friday, August 11, 2006
As part of my job, I get the summer off. That rocks. But this summer, I've had to take classes so I can get certified and keep my job. That sucks. But everyone else is like, oh, you have the summer off, so you have all kinds of time to do stuff. And then I get asked to do something, and I'm happy to do it, but then all of a sudden it's Friday already and I haven't written here all week. Yeesh.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006
In Michigan, it's hard not to notice how well the Tigers have been doing lately. We went out to Comerica Park on Sunday for the game, and it was a total difference from the game we went to two years ago. Last time we were at the ballpark, it wasn't all that crowded, and parking was easy, and no one expected much from the team. Now, finding a place to park is a real chore (the park has only VIP parking for season ticket holders and other important people, and I am neither, which means that we had to look for a private lot, and the people running these private lots sometimes do stupid shit like take your money and let you in when they know perfectly well that there are no spots left in the lot, and then it can become a bit of a hassle), and the park was packed, and everyone was going nuts after every play. But mostly, it was hot. Not as hot as it maybe would have been the previous weekend, but it was 85 degrees, and we were sitting in the sun. And you know what happens to me when I'm sitting in the sun and it's 85 degrees? I sweat. No, not glisten -- I sweat. Like a fat man. After two innings, the back of my shirt was wet, I had sweat marks under my arms, and I had soaked up half a dozen napkins from wiping off my forehead and the back of my neck. And all I was doing was sitting! We took a walk to get out of the sun and cool down (the frozen lemonade I had also helped), and the sweatiness and lightheadedness started to go away. By the time we got back to our seats to watch the rest of the game, it felt a little cooler and breezier, and we could just sit and watch the crazy defensive battle. Oh, and the Tigers won, too, one run to none. I'm not a Tigers fan or anything, but everyone at the ballpark seemed real happy about it.

And I guess this game was better than the last game we went to at Shea in April, where the game got hailed out and we were freezing, and then later we wound up taking the subway back to Manhattan and eating soup. Maybe next time we can go to a game and not have to deal with temperature extremes. But it was fun.

Saturday, August 5, 2006
Meat Now America's No. 2 Condiment. Paul forwarded me this link earlier in the week, and even though it's from The Onion, I thought maybe it wasn't a joke. People like meat, and they like it on everything. And, restaurants are willing to put it on anything for you. Why wouldn't it be the number two condiment in America? I've seen it.

Example? Sure. The town just south of here has a large number of chain restaurants. About two years ago, they tore down a perfectly mediocre steakhouse belonging to a regional chain to put up another mediocre steakhouse belonging to another regional chain. I don't usually go to steakhouses since I don't eat red meat, but I will go if that's where everyone else wants to eat; they usually have something made with chicken and something made with fish on the menu. Anyway, about a year and a half ago, we went to said mediocre steakhouse, and if the menu had had any more meat on it, it would have had parents. Let's just say the place wasn't vegetarian friendly. And, what's more, you could add bacon to anything on the menu -- anything! -- for such a small price that it was almost stupid not to add bacon to anything and everything. After we ordered a couple of diet Cokes, Paul and I quietly joked about adding bacon to them. Oh, and for just a few pennies more, you could "load it up" ("it" being your entree of choice) with bacon and cheese! Who wouldn't want that? Yeah, it felt like we were the only ones. No, no thanks, no bacon and cheese on my Caesar salad, thanks. Crazy, I know.

So it makes sense. People love meat, maybe even more than they love ketchup or salsa or mustard or delicious delicious mayonnaise. I guess I should know that The Onion doesn't print true stuff, but sometimes, their articles reflect reality more than actual news articles do. (Closely related sidenote: Have you seen this meat cake play-by-play thing? Just short of genius, yes, but gross. So gross.)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Gibson: I am not an anti-Semite. Hoo boy. Where do you begin on something like this? My first instinct is to come right out and say something like, are you fucking kidding me? If you were any more of an anti-Semite, you'd have a rectangular moustache under your nostrils. But maybe I should say more. In fact, yes. Yes, I will say more.

You know how sometimes a person will have a little slip of the tongue and say something sort of close to what they meant to say? Maybe because it sounds similar, or starts with the same vowel sound, or something? Yeah, people sometimes do that. Sometimes they do it because they're thinking of something else. When that something else is sex-related, we laugh and think it's funny because we caught someone thinking about sex. Haha, we say. You were thinking about sex. But of course, it's not always about sex. Usually, the slip is related to that person's true feelings, or the thought that was occupying their grey matter as they were trying to say something else. Based upon my limited and popular knowledge of psychoanalysis, I know that Freud thought that this was the subconscious bubbling up into our conscious thought. We thought Freud was right, and have since named such faux pas in his honor.

But usually these Freudian slips are little things. Maybe you are an anti-Semite, let's say. Or maybe you're not. Maybe you're just thinking about the current situation in Israel, or maybe you're thinking about what to get the head of the studio that just produced your last movie for Rosh Hashanah. And let's say you are wearing your least favorite footwear, and you wish to make this clear to the person next to you, who may or may not be a cop out on drunky patrol. And let's say instead of saying something like "I hate these shoes," you make a Freudian slip and it comes out as "I hate these Jews." Forgiveable? Nah, not especially. Does it mean you're an anti-Semite? Yeah, probably. But you see, that's a slip, and you can easily defend it in the tenacious court of public opinion. "No no no," you could tell a group of reporters, who may or may not work for Us Weekly. "I was just thinking about what to get Mort for Rosh Hashanah. Mort is a Jew, and Jew rhymes with shoes, and my shoes hurt, and instead of saying 'I hate these shoes,' it came out as 'I hate these Jews.' Heh heh. See? Not an anti-Semite! Not an anti-Semite!" That's what you could say, and while no one but anti-Semites would really believe your explanation, at least you would have an explanation that sounded halfway plausible.

But you really can't explain away much more than that, because if you were to have said any more, then yeah, you really are an anti-Semite, and no matter what kind of bullshit story you concoct to tell the enraged media circus, you're still an anti-Semite, and you really can't convince anyone otherwise. Which brings me back to our favorite son of a Holocaust denier, Mr. Mel Gibson, who allegedly blurted out, "Fucking Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and then tried to explain it away by suggesting it came in a moment of insanity and then profusely apologizing to the Jewish community. What's he apologizing for? For being an anti-Semite. Because you know who says things like "Fucking Jews" and "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world"? Anti-semites, that's who.

So really, this whole thing makes me laugh. I appreciate the need for celebrities to keep their public personae in check, but there has to be a point after which you just stop and say, well, people know I'm an anti-Semite, and you try to embrace it and hope for the best. (You know, like how some country singers embrace the whole redneck ethos.) Without playing too much into stereotypes, though, there are a lot of Jews running the show in big Hollywood, and for an actor in Hollywood to say "Fucking Jews" is a little like walking into the Def Jam offices and saying "Fucking Blacks." At best, you've hurt your career. At best. At least Mel Gibson was timely in his remarks in terms of possible retaliation. The Israeli army seems to have their hands full these days. Not an anti-Semite. Fucking Mel Gibson.

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