Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Not to be a total bummer on a Wednesday afternoon, but has anyone else read about this?

I don't even know what to say about an article like that. There are so many people, politicians and businessmen, that should be held accountable for this kid's death that, were we to get them all into a courtroom, it'd look like the starting line of the New York Marathon. But that, of course, will never happen. There will be a statement of apology issued and... that's probably it. Last I checked, though, a statement of apology hadn't yet been the cause of someone rising from the grave.

Seriously, shit like this makes me want grab "The System" by the ears and shake it as hard as I can. It makes me want to take the Fung Wah down to D.C. and start cold cocking people on Capitol Hill. It makes me want to break things in an liberal guilt-inspired, white-boy rage.

Cruel, unnecessary tragedies are the key to my Hulking out, I guess.

Movie Poster A Go-Go: Lucky Number Seven

All of these posters have some variation of a black, silver and red color scheme. Weird. Anyway, let's make fun of them for reasons other than that!

The Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

It takes a lot more than a naked silver dude to get me to rise, ifyaknowwhatImean!!! Heh... heh... yes, well. Anyway, this is a poster of the movie's main special effect and it looks just about as impressive as the T-1000 looked in 1991. Way to rest on your laurels, CGI people!

Skin Walkers

It bothers me immensely that there's at least a handful of guys out there that are going to jerk off to this poster. Because you know it's going to happen; unavoidable, really, if the marketing people are going to insist on putting the blood bukakke production still up there. I don't know what's worse: That there's a group of people for whom that's a fetish, or that the studios are openly courting that market.

Perfect Stranger

I've always thought that Bruce Willis would make a good Cousin Balki.

The Girl Next Door

I cannot believe that they've made this into a movie. Jack Ketchum's book is one of the most disturbing things I've ever read, containing as it does some of the most horrific acts of violence towards children that you can ever possibly try to not imagine. That being said, if you've got the stomach for it, the book's a fantastically tense read; one of the darkest thrillers I've ever been party to. Oh, and the poster is appropriately ominous.

The Hottest State

The best part of this poster? "Un Film Di Ethan Hawke." That's pretty much the best example ever of, as my grandfather would say, "putting a prom dress on a pig." I know that this is just the French version of the poster, but still... who does he think he is? You're the kid from Explorers, not Louis Malle.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I've Got 99 Problems But A Bitch Aint One

Various Problems of My 99:

99. My gold teeth just aren't shiny enough. I feel I look like a fool, what with my dull, unimpressive golden teeth. And they cost me quite a lot of "skrilla."

74. I'm pimpin' alright, but am I "stone cold" pimpin'? Is there a test I can take because I want to be sure?

65. I told a guy that I killed a cop in a drive-by, but really I just rear-ended an off-duty cop in a drive-thru. We traded mad insurance.

51. I am so scared of clowns that I shat myself at a dimly lit McDonalds. I'm ashamed, true dat.

37. I got ge-iz-nital w-iz-arts.

18. If there's no god up in heaven, then who in the hell am I going to thank when I win my Grammy for Best New Rap Artist? Who, I ask?

9. What if I never find the right bitch? The Escalade of my heart will forever be missing the silver rims of its skanked-out companionship. Oh wait, bitches ain't one of my problems... shit... uh... I'm worried I might get audited, yo!

5. People barely even remember this song anymore, thus it makes the central joke of this post dated and lame. I got issues with my comedy skillz!!!

1. One of these days, people are going to realize that rap music sucks and I'm going to have to learn how to actually entertain people. Either that, or I'll have to knuckle down and finally finish my Art History degree. Either way, that's wack.

Quality Poop Humor

"Jerry" by the oddly-named sketch comedy troupe, Derrick.

I'm still waiting for the tests to get back from the lab, but I have a strong hunch that this is the funniest thing I've seen in at least a year.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Where The Girls Aren't

For those of you who've never had the pleasure of attending a comic book convention, allow me to set the scene. Usually, it looks like this:

In other words, it's big, it's loud, and there are a ton of people there; more than you'd ever think would be present at an event that's basically a celebration of things that make you anti-social. I suppose you could think of Cons as the one social event a year that comic book fans get to attend with their heads held high; an event where owning every single issue of "The Fantastic Four" could actually get you laid (or at least it's not outside the realm of possibility, anyway). It's basically a prom for people who never got invited to the prom. And, truthfully, it's kind of neat, albeit in a way so incredibly geeky it can make you spontaneously reacquire your virginity.

This is my second year covering the New York Comic Con for the magazine, and, as with last year, I felt like a bit of an interloper. Comics and the assorted miscellanea surrounding them aren't my world, really. Yes, I've been known to peruse a graphic novel every now and again, but I never really got into the whole superhero, D&D, I'm-going-to-buy-a-sword-for-no-reason side of geekdom. As I'm sure you've figured out by now, I was always the horror movie nerd; the kid who got in trouble in junior high for wearing an Evil Dead t-shirt that was too "violent." Being a horror nerd isn't better than being a comic nerd, mind you; it'd be kind of like a methadone addict condemning a heroin addict. I'm just saying that, walking around the Con this weekend, I didn't have the slightest clue as to what most of the stuff was that I was looking at. I can attest, however, that everything was very shiny and colorful. Which is nice for those of us with no attention spans.

Anyhoo... some further notes:

-The Wes Craven interview ended up being a bit of a bust, as I posted earlier. The Eli Roth interview went slightly better in the sense that I actually got to talk to him, as well as Hostel: Part 2 stars Heather Matarazzo and Roger Bart. However, due to the asshole film crew that interviewed them before me taking for-fucking-ever to break down their shit, my allotted ten minutes ended up being about three. That kind of sucked, especially since I'd sat around all day specifically so I could interview them. Lame!!! Surprisingly, Roth came off as a very nice guy; very enthusiastic about his movie, that's for sure.

-While waiting for the aforementioned interview, I sat in a long hallway amongst a bunch of people auditioning for the new season of Who Wants To Be A Superhero? I don't know specifically what powers these folks possessed, but judging solely by their costumes, they would be, for the girls, Extreme Sluttiness, and for the guys, The Ability To Get My Mom To Sew A Superhero Outfit For Her 28-Year-Old Son. But those would just be guesses.

-Trying to find a place with good cellphone reception, I accidentally stumbled into the last half of Kevin Smith's Q&A session with his legions of fans. Gotta say, no matter what you think of the dude's movies, he can tell a story better than just about anyone. I'd pay actual money just to hear him talk about his farts, because I can guarantee it'd be the best talk on farts ever given.

-I'm going to attempt to put this delicately... there were a lot of, shall we say, plus-sized Luke Skywalkers running around. Full costume, with the glowing lightsaber and everything, but much, much larger than Mark Hamill to the power of ten. Now, I'm a chubby dude myself, so I've no room to point and laugh... however, I do, because I don't dress up like Luke Skywalker with a thyroid problem. All I'm saying is, if you want to dress up as something Star Wars-y and you're on the husky side, you might want stick with, say, a nicely paper-mached Death Star costume. If you take your time, it'll look cool and, as a bonus, it'll conceal your bulk. Also, you don't have to grow out your hair, 70's-style, which isn't a flattering look on most thin people, let alone those of us who frequent buffets.

-They had a John McClain action figure from Die Hard. I wanted it so bad, it was like I had to throw up. But I restrained because, at 26, I have a very hard time justifying the purchase of an action figure to myself anymore. Especially when that money could go for liquor.

-Despite my "oh-so clever" title, which I just couldn't resist, there actually were a surprising amount of lady-types there. Not anyone I'd date, necessarily (not so much into the goth thing), but still. I was surprised. Though I suppose that's terribly sexist of me; girls can nerd out just as good as the guys.

And... yes, that's pretty much the sum total of my experience. An interesting, if exhausting, way to spend a weekend. I did want to leave on this note: At one point, towards the end of the events on Saturday, I stood about five feet away from a very pissed-looking Gary Coleman. What he was pissed at, I'll never know, but I can say this: It was magical.

A Bit About The Oscars, Then We Can All Get On With Our Lives

-First, and most pissed-off, how does that totally whatever song from An Inconvenient Truth beat out all of the good stuff from Dreamgirls? How, I ask you??? While I support the movie and it's various bummer themes, it needs to leave the song-singing to the faux-50's girl groups and focus on getting us to use recycled napkins. Or whatever.

-So, apparently, the way to not win an Oscar is to make a movie like Norbit. Good to know.

-Abigail Breslin was absolutely adorable, in an Easter basket-y sort of way. And I loved how they kept cutting to her at every mention of Little Miss Sunshine; yes, I know she was the titular role, but still. Leave the kid alone.

-Maggie Gyllenhaal and Eva Green... Hi, how you ladies doin' this evening? Can I buy you a sexy, sexy drink?

-Reese Witherspoon, I'll buy you a girl-next-door-ish drink, too.

-Those shadow dancers will haunt my dreams.

-Clint Eastwood translated Italian about as well as I could, only much more squinty.

-The "Screwie" Award, awarded to the person most screwed at the Oscars, goes to: Guillermo Del Toro, for not winning, himself, a single award for his brilliant Pan's Labyrinth. Better luck next year, I'd say, as if this wasn't your only chance!

-Martin Scorsese won his first Oscar and I'm surprised at how emotionally melty I got at that. If for no other reason than this is a guy who absolutely, 110%, more than anyone else, looooves film, than he was the right choice. Also, The Departed was a fantastic movie.

-Oh yeah, The Departed also won Best Picture. Ha! Suck on that, Babel!!! Although I've heard you're a very fine movie. So... you know... sorry I told you to "suck it" just now.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Wes Craven Interview That Wasn't

Hey kids... don't have long to chat because I've got to get back to Nerdville, but I did want to post a link to my coverage of the Wes Craven thing from this morning. Sadly, it didn't turn out to be much of an interview due to time issues on his part, but at least I got up really early in the morning and had bad food. So it wasn't a complete waste.

Anyway, here’s the link to my brief report.

Oh, and also, Wes Craven stabbed me with a haunted dagger. It was awesome.

Friday, February 23, 2007

New Gig

I totally forgot to tell you guys... I managed to score myself a new writing gig. It's for this movie blog called Screenhead and it actually pays (a little), which is nice. Anyway, if you can't get enough of my particular brand of dicking around, you can go there to find all-new, non-ZFS! stuff.

So, here's the direct links to my First and Second posts for them. It's basically going to be a lot of horror-related list-y type things (like the first one) and news-y tidbits (like the second one). Still, should be fun. Oh, and no, it's not going to affect anything with ZFS!, so worry not, loves.

Big thanks to Carly for the gig-getting assist!

Long, Nerdy Weekend

I can't remember if I've mentioned this yet (and I'm certainly not going to check), but I'm covering the NY Comic Con this weekend for the magazine that I occasionally write for. I'd love to tell you that I was selected by my editor to take on this fairly Herculean task based on the brilliance of my past reporting, my technical acumen as a wordsmith and my unswerving dedication to getting the "hot scoops." However, it's more technically true to tell you that I'm covering the Con because I was the only reporter available.

Side Note: Is "Hot Scoops" a new disco-funk jam band, or a shockingly deviant sexual act? Discuss.

Anyway, so yeah... I'll be spending the next two days jammed in a convention center by the Hudson River with a few thousand of the tri-state area's most dedicated nerds. I'm kind of looking forward to it; nerds are definitely my people and there's usually an abundance of cool crap to look at these sorts of things. Also, and I admit this only to you guys, I totally dig getting to strut around the joint with my press pass prominently displayed like I'm the coolest thing since those lightsaber replicas that actually make the "swoom, swoom!" sounds. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, more satisfying than getting ushered into events past a two-hour-wait line up of people. Makes me feel like a badass.

(Oh, what? Don't look at me like that. It's not like this gig pays or anything. A self-satisfied feeling superiority is my only reward)

I am nervous as hell, though, about having to interview people tomorrow. Because it's, as previously stated, a large collection of nerds, movie studios are using the Con as a chance to roll out new footage and parade around some stars in an effort to bang the publicity drum. I've been asked to interview Wes Craven(!) and Eli Roth, the director of Hostel and Cabin Fever. I have almost no idea what I'm going to say to these people. Well, I'm going to ask Wes Craven to sign my ass because he's one of my heroes, but otherwise... well, this is what I've got thus far:

"So... horror movies, huh?"

"Isn't gore cool?"

"Hey, did you see that one movie where it was all chicks and they were in a cave and there were monsters in the cave and it was real scary?"

"You sure you won't sign my ass?"

"Is Freddy Krueger real? Because New Nightmare kind of implied that he was and I want to be prepared if he shows up."

And that's it. Anyone else got any ideas, because I'm tapped like a keg at this point.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Does anyone else remember when she was hot? It wasn't, like, that long ago, was it? Because now she's starting to look like a crystal meth version of Aileen Wuornos with alopecia; not a great look for a pop star (unless you're currently Peter Gabriel, though he's more in the Uncle Fester mode, these days).

Anyway, this whole situation's gone beyond funny and landed squarely at sad. Not to end it on a morbid note or anything, but I'm predicting she'll be either A) dead or B) a born-again Christian by years end.

Three Things I Learned Yesterday

1. Catholics are easily riled when it comes to their religion. Or at least some of them are. I got just as many comments from their lot that didn't condemn me to a lifetime of eternal damnation, which I really appreciate.

2. I'm a bit of a pussy when it comes to angry people on the internet. Which is weird, because I don't particularly think of myself as a pussy in real life. Yesterday, when the bile started pouring in, my first instinct was, "Oh god, apologize... APOLOGIZE!!!" and I'm really not sure why or where that came from. I came to my senses after a bit and retracted my apology but, still, the undermining had already been done and I hate that. Anyway, so that's something else to add to my list of Things Clinton Needs To Fix About Himself (the list is 12 pages long, single-spaced, and resembles a militia member's manifesto).

3. I really like A1-flavored beef jerky. Okay, no, that's not terribly relevant, but still, it was something I discovered yesterday and I needed a third thing to fill out the list. Don't judge.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Used To Work For Her

UPDATE: This was down for a while. Now it's back up. Hooray!!!

The "her" in question being Park Slope author and Salon-contributor Cintra Wilson.

A few years ago, I answered an ad on Craigslist for a personal assistant job, mainly because it would be working for an author and, at the time, my dream of being a writer hadn't been thoroughly kicked to death by reality. I'd never heard of her before, but she and I seemed to get along well enough in the interview and she hired me on the spot.

Let me say, for the record, that I was wildly unqualified for the job. I have zero organizational skills and, on top of that, I'm quite lazy. What I am good at, however, is pretending that I'm neither of those things. When I've shaved, had a haircut, and put on a clean shirt, I look like the preppiest go-getter ever to spring forth from the Ivy League system. Also, I'm pretty sure I lied and said that I'd had just tons and tons of experience doing the sort of things she asked me to do; filing, clearing out office clutter, cooking at dinner parties, etc. What can I say? I wanted the job. Also, I was drinking pretty heavily at the time, and that always makes those sort of things sound like good ideas. So, with that, I got the job.

I was fired after three weeks.

Oh, and before I go any further, I do want to say this... despite what ended up happening, Cintra Wilson was always, always perfectly nice to me. No, I didn't exactly care for her personality. I'm not a fan of people who are self-consciously wacky, which is pretty much her shtick (see: the above video) and, yes, she's like that to one degree or another all the time. However, she was never mean or angry and even when the eventual firing happened, she was even apologetic about it and was nice enough not to call me on the, at that point, fairly blatant lies I'd told about my skill set. Just want that to be clear; I want to be totally fair.

Anyway, the real problem was the garden. She lived in a large brownstone and, behind it, she had a sizable (for Brooklyn) yard/garden that had fallen into disrepair. Not Grey Gardens bad, but still; unkempt enough that it definitely needed attention. I'm fairly certain that this wasn't mentioned in the interview, so when it was brought up, after a couple of weeks of office work, that I was expected to do the gardening myself, I was shocked, needless to say. My thoughts were, and are still, why would you hire a personal assistant to do gardening? Why not hire... I don't know... a gardener??? I did a craptacular job, obviously, because I had no idea what I was doing. This came on the heels of the first (and only) dinner party that I helped her throw. Let's just say that I was in over my head and it showed.

So, a few days later, I called her to find out what time she wanted me to come in and she said, "No, that's okay, this isn't working out." When I asked why, she told me that the garden was still awful and that it looked like I hadn't done any work on it at all. My first thought was, well, duh. But, because she was being pleasant, I opted to not get all indignant and "hire the right person for the job" about it.

I never heard from her again and I never did read any of her books.

Ash Wednesday Alternatives

Depending on where you live, you're going to see a lot of people walking around looking like this...

Actually, they'll just have the head smudge; it's highly unlikely that people will be walking around your city with a priest's thumb on their forehead. If they are walking around with a priest's thumb on their forehead, they're probably a serial killer. Run away! (Yes, they might also be a priest and it might be their thumb; best not to chance it, though) Look, the point is, there's going to be a lot of "Smudgies" out there. Do not be alarmed. It's because it's Ash Wednesday today. For those of you don't know, the story of Ash Wednesday is this: Jesus wanted some ashes on his forehead, so he did it. Then everybody else started doing it too, like that one time in the eighth grade when I started wearing a different colored Converse on each foot and everyone started copying me. Of course, when I called them on it, they all said that they'd seen it on an episode of Blossom and that only girls wore their shoes like that and, what was I, a girl? Huh, Davis, are you a pretty, pretty girl!!! Anyway, that's why I spent most of eighth grade crying in the nurse's office.
Wait, what were we talking about...
Oh, right: Ash Wednesday. So, Jesus started wearing ashes around and so did everyone else and it became the hottest fashion accessory in Jerusalem since not being covered in camel poo. And so, every February 21st, people who want to be like Jesus wear the ashes to prove how cool they are. At least, that's my understanding of the situation. I'll admit I didn't research this whole thing as carefully as I could have, however, whatever.
Now, I, personally, am not one to go around rubbing ashes on my head. Seems a little icky. However, I do think that Jesus had a pretty good idea, style-wise, about wearing a nifty symbol on your forehead. I mean, the forehead is basically just this big, blank billboard that we're not doing anything creative with; hell, some people even try to hide their foreheads with Ugly Betty bangs. That just seems like a waste. So, because I really care about the good of my fellow peoples, here's some alternative to the smudged ash cross:
Ash Wednesday Alternatives
NOTE: These are good for any day of the year; don't let the calender tell YOU when you can wear crap on your forehead!
Lipstick Kiss - This says, "I love the ladies!" Which is perfect, if you're a guy who does in fact love the ladies and doesn't care who knows it. What's more, by adjusting the shade of red, you can go from "I like gentle, Librarian types" to "I love whores."
Sparkly Star - This one will give you an awesome, Bowie-esque look that lets everyone know you're a glam, fabulous space-being. Be warned, though: Glitter gets all over the damn place. Also, people might ask you to sing "Ziggy Stardust," so make sure you know the words.
Nike Logo - People will assume that you're an athlete and, as we all know, athletes get laid like all the time. Mostly, they don't even have to pay for it. Nike might sue you, though.
An Adorable Teddy Bear - Awwwww!!!! AWWWWWW!!!!!
Swastika - Er... I mean, you can do what you like.... but... probably not such a hot idea. I'm uncomfortable just talking about. I really wish you'd stop bringing this stuff up.
Peace Symbol - It's nice that you like peace and all, but it's 2007. Peace is kind of "done." Also, people will think you're a hippie and, thus, will assume you smell bad.
A Picture of George W. Bush, But With a Big "X" Over It - Yeah, that'll show him who's boss of this country!!!
Boobies- Heh... boobies.
Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Best. PostSecret. Ever

Thanks to Girlfriend for the tip, via PostSecret

Amazing Tales of Slothfullness

UPDATE: I just reread this and I'm pretty sure that this post is the most self-indulgent thing ever written in the history of everything ever. So, you know... fair warning.


Yeah, that whole bachelor’s weekend thing that I was talking about the other day? Ended up pretty lame. Not even "what a wacky tale of woe where just everything went wrong but it's okay 'cause we'll always have these funny stories" lame. Just "lame" lame. But, for the sake of all you ZFS! completests out there, here's a rundown of the last three days. I'll try to keep it brief so we can put this all behind us once and for all.


-Starts off promising. I go to my office and watch a bunch of archived TV shows online. It's a pleasant, if a bit nerdy, way to spend the afternoon.

-Meet up with friends. We hit a bar. The bar's pressing charges for assault (HAHAHAHA! I'm hilarious? Right?).

-I drink a few pints of stout and a few glasses of whiskey. I experience that "maybe I've got a problem" moment when I realized that I'm well into my third cup whilst my friends are still lightly sipping their first. I heroically ignore that feeling until it limps away, which is how I handle any and all feelings of any sort. I am a rock. I am an island. And so forth.

-We stumble out into the street, the evening stretched out before us like a college graduate's dreams; unendingly hopeful and full of possibilities. Our destination? A party in the Bronx. We're all a little legless at this point, which is going to be my undoing in about thirty minutes.

-We make it to the subway platform and we wait. And wait. And... wait. No train. We're debating just saying "Fuck it" and going back to the bar when, of course, our train arrives on the opposite platform. Because I have, at this point, more than a little (that would be "a lot") alcohol coursing through my bloodstream, my reaction time's a little slow up the uptake. I realize, "Shit, I'm going to have to dash if I'm to make that train!" Unfortunately, my friends have realized this about ten seconds before me and are already down the stairs. I run. I am immediately stopped by a large, cruiserweight of a woman who is, along with her linebacker (I assume) friends, taking up the entire breadth of the staircase while moving at a speed that common garden slugs find "a bit too slow for our taste." By the time I make it around them, through the corridor, up the other set of stairs and on to the platform, the train is heading out of the station. With my friends on it.

-My options at this point are to A) Wait for the next train and try to catch up, or B) throw in the towel. I opt for B, because I don't technically know where I'm headed, what stop to get off at, where I'd go from there, etc. and the 9,000 coordinational phone calls that would be required to get me to the party seem like way too much of an effort. So I'm homeward bound.

-I attempt to read on the subway, but the words in my paperback insist on moving around too damn much, the hyperactive bastards. So I stare off into space.

-Once home, I proceed to drink a six pack of Hollandia 16oz-ers, I make some phone calls that I don't remember making the next morning, I stagger around and, finally, I pass out.


-I awake monumentally, colossally hungover. It's the kind of hangover where you break out into randomly-spaced cold sweats and you have to carry a trashcan with you at all times because you're always thisclose to yawning in a technicolor fashion.

-I feel much better after a breakfast of peanut butter and crackers and some light dry-heaving

-I go over to my friend Lisa's house, where she's been nice enough to make lunch. Lisa is a recipe tester for a forthcoming vegan cookbook and I'm here to help her try out a new entry: Beer-Marinated Tempeh Tacos. I'm not what you'd call the biggest fan of vegan food, but having Lisa as a friend has opened my eyes wide enough to realize that it's not all bean sprouts and plates of mashed yeast. This dish proves that rule; it was spicy and flavorful, full of peppers and avocado and contained a great, crisp slaw. Damn good, when you get right down to it. I'll always prefer a burger in a side-by-side comparison, but it's nice to venture off into uncharted territory every now and again.

-I get home and decide to nap. I do so.

-I wake up too late to bother attempting to make plans with friends, so I get some pizza and settle in with some DVDs. A few more beers, some SportsCenter, and then I fall back asleep. This time, it's until morning.


-Up bright and early. Run some errands and get the house back into shape for Girlfriend's arrival. She's had a spectacularly rough time at home (a post about that unholy mess is forthcoming) and I want things to look nice when she gets here.

-I wait for the cable guy.

-While I wait, I manage to watch both commentaries on the Shaun of the Dead DVD; an activity I'd been saving for precisely such an occasion.

-Cable guy shows up. Fixes the Internet, finally for good, we're 90% sure.

-I drink the remainder of the beer that's in the fridge while I hunker down with the King of the Hill marathon on FX. The day slips away and suddenly, it's time to head out.

-I wander around Penn Station, having gotten there way earlier than I had intended. I avoid the bums and manage to not get trampled by the stampeding Jersey-ites running for their trains. Penn Station is a horribly depressing place, FYI. It's not as bad as Port Authority, of course (shudder), but it's still got a high level of general skank. Girlfriend's train shows up, two hours late, and she has the overall demeanor of a recent evacuee from one of the war-torn regions of our world.

-We make it home. We shower. We sleep.

The Natural Bardo Tells You What To Drink

For a while, I've been planning on doing a post about, essentially, how to order a drink in a bar. Being as how I've spent a goodly chunk of the last 8 or 9 years firmly ensconced in various drinking establishments across the US, I've always felt that I was as qualified as anyone to tell you what should or should not go into your face-hole come drinkin'-time. Sadly, what with me being me and all, I've always put it off because, truthfully, it's seemed like a lot of work. Fortunately, however, someone has finally bothered to ease my burden and, I might add, has done a much better job than I would have.

Please do check out the Natural Bardo today; this is the most entertaining and dead-on accurate piece of writing I've read about the art of drinking in bars since I last paged through the screenplay of Barfly.

Monday, February 19, 2007


The internet's fixed, however, there's the matter of a King of the Hill marathon on the FX Network of which I was previously unaware. Also, there has been the addition of more beer.

Updates coming soon(ish).

The Wait Begins REDUX

Once again I find myself at home on a Monday, waiting breathlessly in my jammies for a repairman. Yes, because it's apparently been blighted by God, our internet has gone out for the second time in as many weeks. So here I sit, drinking before 10am, a bag of doughnuts and Girlfriend's cat as my only companions, waiting and waiting and waiting, etc. At least this time I'm not playing hooky from work; President's Day and all that. I'd complain that this is a waste of a holiday but, eh... who would I be fooling? Pretty much, this is how I spend my days off anyway.

So, that's the situation. When we're operational, later today, I'm going to post the long-anticipated recap of my Bachelor Weekend's which, I guarentee you, was nowhere near as exciting as it should have been. It seems I'm even too lazy to properly party down.

See ya'll in a few hours. The doughnuts are calling.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Idols Talking Awkwardly

Yeah, it's kind of a long clip (over 10 minutes!), but it's a weird kind of genius and it's worthy of your valuable, handsome time. Please, watch it once, won't you? Oh, and yes... it is from a movie. Something having to do with coffee and cigarettes. Wish I could remember the title....

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Already Gone

It's 6pm, I'm at my office, which is deserted, and I'm already drunk. The bachelor weekend is starting off great. Heading to a party in the Bronx. Gonna start some trouble. I assume.

Keep ya posted.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Bachelor's Weekend

I've got this idea in my head of the archetypal "Swingin' Bachelor." He's a guy who's always in a sharp suit, who drinks martinis drier than Vegas concrete, who wears a snap-brim fedora and knows which nightclubs are the best for talking to dames with great gams who all speak a mile a minute like the Gilmore girls. He works in some sort of nebulous advertising job that never seems to require his presence, he drives a car that hasn't even been invented yet and he probably knows how to get a robot maid if he really wanted one, which he doesn't, because robots are square, man. Now, I'll admit, this idea of mine is based entirely on movies that I've seen; Rock Hudson/Cary Grant-era films that make bachelorhood seem like a never ending recess where New York city is your sandbox. Where the bars at night are big and bright, not too deep and pretty heartless, all things considered, but everyone knows the score and thinks it's awesome anyway.

I know that this idea is all a lie. At least it is nowadays.

Today, bachelorhood is quite the other thing. Sure, there are the American Psychos of the world that live the post-Millennial version of the above lifestyle, but everyone hates those guys. They're slimy and they all smoke cigars (gross!) and they talk loud about the "deals" they've pulled off at work as a way to distract people from their crippling lack of personality. Their days are filled with skin cream and lunch meetings and their nights are filled with the worry that they'll have another genital herpes outbreak before the business trip to Amsterdam. It's a caustic, cold life and no amount of limo rides or caviar eaten off the buttocks of a 1000$-a-night whore can change that.

The other version of modern bachelorhood, the real version, can best be summed up in two words: Deadbeat Dad. His life is a shitty job at a hardware store, a bar tab that he can't pay and a drinking problem he can't control. He's got one nice pair of slacks for court dates and he hasn't had sex with a girl who was sober in 10 years. His kids hate him because he's worthless, his family doesn't talk to him because he's mean and his only friend in the world is the drug dealer who lives across the hall, but he's only friends with Deadbeat Dad because he's occasionally good for a lift (when his car is actually running). Dodging the IRS and eating day-old bread; that's a bachelor's life in 2006.

I bring all of this up because, for about 72 hours this weekend, I will be among their ranks. Girlfriend is going to her parents for the weekend, leaving me to my own devices; a frightening prospect for all involved. As much as I bitch and moan about wanting "to do whatever I want, dude," I'm like the bad kid at school who secretly craves structure. I genuinely like having Girlfriend around because she, among other things, gives my days shape; without her they become a formless blob of drunken, couch-dwelling laziness. Which, I'll admit, does have it's charms. But after awhile, when the hangover is standing up and shouting "Hello" and my shirt's so stained with Slim Jim grease that it looks like the Shroud of Turin, I begin to miss that girl of mine.

However, I can't change the inevitable. She's got to go upstate and I've got to deal with being one man against the city. Fortunately, I was smart enough to make some plans in advance to occupy my time. A party in the Bronx (because I need to socialize and also, the Bronx is great exercise, what with the running from gangs of roving thugs and all), drinks with friends, a play to work on, errands to run, etc., etc.

I'll manage. But I won't like it.

I'm sure I'm just being over-dramatic, a fact which I'll blame on my current hangover that's a direct result of the fun Girlfriend and I had last night. Which is probably also a factor in my melancholy mood.

And, if I may contradict myself just a bit, I probably will enjoy having the house to myself for a couple of days. Watching the movies I want to watch, listening to Tom Wait's "Closing Time" album at an unreasonable volume, drinking beer in the shower and so forth. However, it's nice to know that my bachelorhood comes with an expiration date.

It's good that it has to end. Because bachelors are a creepy lot. Which is all I'm trying to say.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"The Bitch of Living" by Spring Awakening Original Cast

Well, since I clearly have nothing of interest to say today...

This is a clip from the musical Spring Awakening, which, if you'll remember, was the subject of this post from Tuesday. Sadly, there's no boobies present in the video, however it's a pretty nice representation of what the musical's all about. A little heavily edited for my taste, but what can you do? It's an MTV world and we're just product consumers. Or something. Anyway, enjoy!

(I just bought the soundtrack to this on my lunch break. I'm predicting my cubicle-mates will kill me by... let's say... 3pm.)

Rocky Balboa: Saviour

Sorry to be all link-happy this morning, but I can't let this sneak by without a mention:

Apparently, a Serbian village is erecting a statue of Rocky Balboa in an effort to ward off their supposed bad luck. Really! Seems they've had a lot of landslides and floods and what have you and they feel that a statue of Rocky will give them a more positive, less landslide-y, less flood-y image. This idea was dreamed up by one of the village's residents, one Bojan Marceta, and I for one think it's a pretty spectacular example of "thinking outside the box."

Town besieged by natural disasters? Put up a statue of an 80's-relic action star! Why the fuck not? If it doesn't work, people will just go, "Obviously," and everyone can get on with their lives. But if, all of a sudden, everything gets better, you'll be the genius who said, "I'm pretty sure Rocky can save us all" and now you're a town hero. Guess where they're going to put your statue? Right next to the Rockster, that's where.

Seriously, this made me ten kinds of happy. Almost makes me forget the Hardaway thing. Almost.

Tim Hardaway: Douchebag

It never ceases to amaze me, the kind of stupid shit people will say in front of a live microphone. Seriously, it's not like the technology was invented last week or something. And, because it's an athlete we're dealing with here (notoriously thickheaded, them), I'd cut him some slack if he didn't know he was being recorded. But he spouted all this nonsense in a radio interview!!! C'mon man... there's dumb and then there's Tim Hardaway, proving conclusively that he's the biggest douchebag on the planet.

Furthermore, who hates gay people in this day and age? I can't wrap my mind around the concept that it's 2007 and people are still scared of the gays like they'll turn you into "one of them" if you breathe the same air. You have to be willfully ignorant these days to feel like Hardaway does, in my opinion, and even more so if you think spewing forth your bile on the radio is a good idea.

Grow the fuck up, morons. Or sprint headlong into traffic; either one's good with me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oh Yeah, Happy Valentine's Day

And I mean that; I really do. Hope everyone has a pleasently love-filled and squishy day and, if not, well I hope you've got enough booze stockpiled to weather the storm. Girlfriend, unfortunantly, has grad school tonight, so our Valentine's will pretty much consist of a late meal of take-out Chinese and some TV. But that's okay. After all, nothing says I love you like egg rolls and a new episode of Lost.

Anyone got big, exciting plans they feel like sharing with the class?

For more incredibly cool, creepy valentines like the one above, head on over to my boy Buzz's site Camp Blood. They're the perfect gift for the one you love/stalk.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Changing My Vernacular

Here are some words and phrases that I'd really like to eliminate from my daily life, mostly due to gratuitous overuse:


I don't know where this one started, but it's been a boil on my verbalizations since I was in High School. It's not like I'm from a beach area or anything, nor did I frequently keep company with surfers during my formative years.Yes, I have lived in the Southern California area, but this "dude" business started way before that unfortunate circumstance came to pass. It's gotten so bad that my mother has had to tell me that she's not my "dude," and it takes every ounce of fortitude I posses to not say "Yeah, dude, I've got your invoice processed" to the various people I have to deal with at work. Mainly, though, I want this word gone because it makes me look like an idiot and, believe me, I don't need any additional help in that area.


Okay,this is a direct result of me being born in the South and, when I'm back home, it flies just fine. Here, though, in the unfriendly North, it's going to eventually be responsible for a diner waitress applying her knuckles to my eye sockets until I weep blood. I assume. Anyway, calling women "hon" is just so... condescending, I guess. Also sexist. And I'd really like to think that I'm neither of those things.

"Anyone got any gum?"

This isn't, strictly speaking, a verbiage issue. However, it is something that I say so regularly, my co-workers are beginning to send me anonymous hate mail. See, I have a pretty large and frightening addiction to gum, mints, breath strips, etc. I'd call it an oral fixation, but I'm waaaay to immature not to giggle at that term. It's just that when I've gone to the trouble of buying my own mints, gum, breath strips, etc., I have a tendency to eat them all as rapidly as possible, usually within an hour or so of their purchace. Then I drink more coffee. And there I sit, mintless and with skanky breath, damning myself for my mint consumption and begging up and down the aisles of the cubicles like a leper. My options here are to either stock up on said products at Costco, or just eliminate the phrase entirely, forcing me to just shut up and deal with it. I choose the latter, as I don't want my teeth to rot out (any further).

"That's what SHE said!"

I'm not a thirteen year old boy any more, therefore, this is a phrase that's just got to go. Except that it is really, really funny. Hrm... may have to consider keeping this one in. THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Yeah, we're keeping that around a little longer.

Monday, February 12, 2007

"Spit and Boobies," or, My Night On Broadway

So, Girlfriend and I caught the "hot, new Broadway sensation" last night, otherwise known as Spring Awakening. It's based on a play from the late 1800's by this guy named Frank Wedekind and it's about students in a strict German school who discover their sexuality and lust and so on and so forth. Anyway, they've taken this play and "rock n' rolled" it up a bit by adding modern-sounding pop songs as it's score and loosening up the story to the point that it's kind of like a bunch of semi-connected scenes rather than an actual narrative. I get what they were doing with it, I do (very conceptual) but, eh. It ended up, actually, giving off a strong 90210 vibe, what with it's tales of teenage pregnancy, abusive parents, unrequited teenage lust, etc. Pretty sure that's not what they were going for.

Fortunately, a somewhat trite story was the only problem to be found in Spring Awakening. The songs were uniformly kick-ass and the actors were all quite talented, as well as just stupidly attractive. The production it's self certainly looked good; it had a very nifty staging with all the usual trapdoors and hanging platforms that you expect for your Broadway dollar. My opinion, overall: It was good, not great. Not quite as "explosive" as some people are saying and it's for sure not "the next RENT;" I don't know where the hell people are getting that from, other than that they both have rock music in them. But what do I know? People up here are going ten kinds of apeshit for Spring Awakening and that's just fine with me. I've seen way worse shows get the lavish, critical treatment, so, whatever.

What was particularly of note about last night was our seats. Being as how Girlfriend and I are perpetually on the brink of financial ruin (okay, I am perpetually on the brink of financial ruin, Girlfriend is just fine) we always go for the cheap seats when we hit up a Broadway show. Usually that means we're in the last row of the theater, behind a concrete barrier, and are asked to work the spotlight for a few minutes while the technician goes out for a smoke. We're fine with this. We're seeing a show for 30$ that most people are paying 150$ for, even if we do have to sweep the stage up afterwards and occasionally perform in some minor chorus roles. The cheap seats at Spring Awakening, however, are quite a different story. They're on the stage. And I mean, literally, on the stage with the actors. See:

See where it says "Stage" and see the seats on either side of that? That was us, on the right there. The actors were all around us, sitting next to us, climbing on the wall behind us; we were as immersed in the show as is humanly possible without having a background in vocal training and modern dance. It was, in a word, neat. Other thoughts:

- Broadway actors spit a lot. I mean, a lot. I know that it's just because they have to super-enunciate to be heard clearly all over the theater, plus they're all "in the moment" and what not, but still. We're talking great clouds of expectoration here. It's hard to concentrate on the story when, during a big confrontation between two of the leads, the only thing you can think is, "Oh man, that one guy just totally horked all over the other dude's jacket and now it's just hanging there. Eeewww!"

- The one flaw in the otherwise swell seating arrangement, one I hadn't really considered, is that all of the audio in a Broadway theater is designed to project outward, into the audience. When you're on stage, you're really not getting the full oomph of the sound design, which makes it a little hard to understand what everyone is saying. Not helping matters is the fact that the band is actually on stage, at the back. The overall effect was people singing unintelligibly in my right ear and loud, thumping rock music playing in my left. You get used to it, but still, it was a little disconcerting.

- One of the evening's highlights was the sex scene between the two leads. It was pretty hot, in that post-adolescent fumbling sort of way, and it featured some just spectacular nudity from both parties (though I wasn't exactly watching the man-ass being thrust at me). Remember, this is happening about five feet in front of me and, well, I love theater so much I can hardly stand it. Beats the hell out of a trip to Scores. Also, let me just say that boobies are awesome.

- There was this one part, near the end, where the whole cast just kind of goes nuts. It's during this big song called "Totally Fucked" and everyone is just freaking out and dancing crazy and the lights are at full power with neon everywhere and people are climbing the walls and the singing is reaching a crescendo and the music is pounding and... I was right in the middle of that. That right there is Broadway magic. Certainly worth 30$, at any rate.

- In conclusion, I'd like to reiterate that I saw boobies last night. That is all.

Back In Business

Glory be to the Time Warner repairman who did cometh and did fixeth mine cable and mine internet!!! A thousand Hosanahs!!! Praise be his name (Roger)!!!!

Er... anyway, yes, everything is finally all well and good around here. Turns out, we needed a new modem and some new cables; whatever, it was all free which is all I care about. So, being as how I haven't had TV for the last few days, I do believe that I'm going to go veg the fuck out right now.

Regular postings will resume tomorrow (going to see the "hot, new Broadway sensation" tonight, so that'll probably be what's up next).

Be good, kids.

The Wait Begins

The cable repairman should be here at some point between the hours of 10 and 2. I'm fairly a-quiver with anticipation right now; it's kind of like driving home after prom with the really hot girl you've somehow managed to trick into thinking you're awesome, knowing that when you get back to her parents house (which is convienently desereted) you're going to get spectacularly laid in a variety of interesting and groundbreaking ways. Except in this particular instance, when the moment arrives, I can finally watch some Food Network.

Honestly, at this point, I don't know which I'd prefer more.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dark Ages

Wanted to give you kids a heads up: Things are going to be a bit slow around ZFS!, through Monday.

Our cable has gone out, taking with it the internet, leaving us stranded in an apartment with nothing but a DVD player, some books and our own ability to create pleasent conversation. Girlfriend is handling the situation just fine, of course; I, on the other hand, am climbing the walls. I've got cabin fever so bad, it's making our neighbors restless. The problem is, not only are we sans cable and internet, but we're also broke; can't go to the movies or anything like that. And, yes, I know that there's a ton of free stuff to do in NYC. Well, it's also really cold outside so, fnyeh.

What's worse, my weekend is going to be even longer because I have to stay home on Monday to wait for the repairman. Bleh. Seriously, I don't know how people in prison do it. My brain would melt.

Anyway... oh, for the curious: I'm writing this on my beat-to-shit laptop that's boosting someone in the area's wireless signal and running a version of Netscape so old that I occasionally have to get out and push. It's real fun; like traveling back in time to 1993. I'm going to try to score some Nirvana t-shirts while I'm here.

Right, so it's going to be kind of slow around here. Which was my point, originally. I'll try to keep you guys posted as events transpire and/or my madness develops.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm Your Comics AGAIN


Ain't I a magnificent bastard? Thanks, as always, to the Offical Zombie Fights Shark Cartoonist, the handsomest man I've ever met, Braden.

The Pogues in NYC!!!

Ack! How am I just now hearing about this?

The Pogues are one of my favorite bands of all time; very big influence on my late-high school, early-college days. They don't tour in America very much, so I've never gotten the chance to see them in all of their drunken glory. This is one of those "sell all your stuff, damn the rent, offer your body to strangers for money" kind of situations; I will be at this concert. Hell, highwater, whatever, no matter. Besides, I've got to see if Shane MacGowan is as skanky in person as he is on video. I'm betting yes.

Anyway, with all of that in mind, here's a selection of videos so you can see what I'm on about:

Rainy Night In SoHo

Dirty Old Town

Fairytale of New York

Scary Movie

Seriously guys, ugh. I knew going in that Jesus Camp was going to piss me off, but even I was shocked at the degree of sizzling, hot rage that had welled up in my guts by the movie's conclusion. You know how when you stub your toe really hard on a doorjamb and you're hopping around, swearing up a storm, and all you can see is a bright, white hate and then you kick the crap out the door like you're a primal monkey-man? (Or woman. Whatever.) It was sort of like that.
These people, lead by the "Kids on Fire" camp's founder Becky Fischer, are brainwashing children so that they can use them as tools to benefit their political agenda. That agenda, which is clearly and openly stated in the movie, is to re-mesh the ideas of Church and State. Forgetting, I guess, that the last time those two ideas were rubbing up against each other, we were burning people alive at the stake because they were witches. Actually, they're probably not forgetting that. That's what they would prefer, I'd wager. Keep in mind, these are the people that teach Creationism to their kids. That, to them, is science; that's the kind of people we're dealing with here. They tell their kids that global warming isn't real, that we should use up our planet's resources because, hey, Jesus is coming soon anyway and then we'll all be up in Heaven eating ice cream sundaes and giving each other hearty backslaps because we're all just so motherfucking holy...
Okay, maybe I shouldn't try to recap the movie. Rage issues and all. Probably end up flinging my computer across the office.
(deep breath)
Okay. So. I'm really interested to get some other people's feedback on this movie; I know that Girlfriend and I, while both being repulsed by what was presented, had different reactions. Girlfriend, who's a Presbyterian (the "singing Christians," as she calls them) was comforted that her faith isn't exclusionary and deranged as that of what we were seeing and it reaffirmed and strengthened her choices on the spiritual path. As for me, it made me want to run farther away from organized religion than I already have. All I saw was a perversion of faith; God beaten into the shape of a cudgel that's used to bash the brains from anyone weak enough to bow their heads.
I find that fucking terrifying. I imagine you guys do to. Because if I'm alone on this, I'm moving to a cave somewhere and not coming out.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith Is Dead

I always find it really weird when pop culture icons (or pariahs, in this case) die. It's like you start to think of them as weirdly immortal because they're so omnipresent in the media. And then suddenly they're dead and it's like, oops, guess not.

Hm... anyway. Sad that she just had a kid, though.

(This is pretty much where Britney Spears is headed, just FYI. Give it five years, max.)

Conjugal Visit: THE UPDATE

Last month, if you'll remember, we were talking about conjugal visits. You can re-visit the post if you'd like, but my basic point was that they were probably really gross and just about the unsexiest place on Earth to get down with your respective partner outside of a live battlefield. And even with the battlefield, there's at least the drama of bullets to get your motor running, as it were (check out this movie for a vivid depiction of what I mean).

Anyway, turns out, I'm an idiot. Or, at the very least, misinformed.

Today is the day that my friend of a friend (FOF) is having her conjugal visit with her husband and it couldn't be farther from the torture-chamber-in-Hostel-esque experience that I had envisioned.

How I Was Wrong About Conjugal Visits:

NOTE: This is based entirely around this specific situation; I don't know what prison he's in, nor do I know what level of security it is. However, I'm assuming that it's probably minimum, given the evidence. Also, my information is admittedly second-hand, but I feel it's entirely reliable. Take that as you will.

1. The conjugal visit is for three days. That's right, three full days and nights.

2. They get a state-provided apartment adjacent to the prison grounds that's theirs for the duration. It comes equipped with a bed, TV w/cable, a full kitchen and even laundry service, which automatically makes it a better deal than my apartment in Brooklyn.

3. FOF is allowed to bring food. Like, boxes and boxes of food so that they can cook their own meals, have plenty of snacks, etc. Yes, the food is thoroughly searched by the guards before it's allowed into the room, but... still. FOF is also allowed to leave whenever she wants to restock supplies, should the need arise.

4. The only guard interaction with the couple is a camera on the apartment's only door, and two "headcounts" a day; one in the morning, one in the evening. Otherwise, they're left to their own devices.

So there you go. Not exactly an hour in a dank, fetid closet with a dirty mattress and a guard on the other side of the door, as I had previously assumed it would be. It seems downright pleasant, actually. Certainly better than some of the dates I've been on. At any rate, I hope they have a good time and that they absolutely fuck each other's brains out (pretty much a given). They've been apart for a long time and they deserve a little happiness, no matter what your thoughts on the rights of a criminal happen to be. They're still humans in love and that, end of the day, is all it is.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

James Mercer Interview

It's likely that a healthy lot of you are already AV Club readers, but, should that not be the case, I highly recommend you click here.

After the jump, you'll find a really great interview with The Shin's lead singer James Mercer that, in deference to Valentine's Day, focuses mainly on his thoughts regarding the subject of love. Mercer comes across as a very affable and intelligent guy who just happens to front the most popular indie band in the country and I totally dig that. It's refreshing to find a musician who's not an obscure freak or "too cool" or just generally a douchebag. Pleasent human beings do, in fact, make the best interview subjects.

Anyway, because I liked the interview so much, I just listened to all three Shins albums back-to-back-to-back and I enjoyed myself immensely.

Astronauts in Love

By now, we're all familiar with this story about the crazy, kidnappin' astronaut and the man she loved. Besides being an extremely entertaining story, as well as redefining the word "wacky," it was also the subject of...

Yesterday's Best Conversation

Me: Hey, did you hear about this thing with the astronauts?
My Cubicle-mate, Andrew: Kinda, what happened?
Me: This one lady astronaut was in love with this dude astronaut, who was their shuttle captain, and so she attempted to kidnap and murder this other lady astronaut whom she thought was a rival for his affection.
Andrew: (pause) Did this... happen... in space?

Love it. If the crazy astronaut woman had been smart (and not just crazy), she totally would have waited until they were all up in space to go on her attempted rampage because, right there, you've got the best love story ever. The film rights practically sell themselves.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Learning Curve

You guys have got to check out this movie:

Girlfriend found it through Netflix because she's been on this "movies about teaching" kick, what with her recently acquired educator status and all. We've seen some good stuff and some bad stuff along that vein, but this movie, Learning Curve (sometimes called Detention) is by far the best thing we've ever seen. And by "the best thing we've ever seen" I mean, of course, "the most fascinatingly bad, yet we're unable to turn away, thing we've ever seen." Naturally.

Let me give you the horrifying facts of Learning Curve:

Fact #1: It features a protagonist, a substitute teacher named Mr. Walmsley, who's got the most aggressive Dad-beard in the history of movies. He's practically a Muppet from the nose down and it's disconcerting to watch him speak with the knowledge that he hasn't got an arm up his ass.

Fact #2: It's, at least at first, a movie about a school overrun by "bad kids." The bad kids are, of course, all played by actors so suburban-ly high-school-drama-department that they come off about as threatening as the cast of The O.C. The script's idea of acting tough consists entirely of swearing, throwing one, ONE, book and having a student with the most arrogant sideburns I've ever seen attempt to sexually assault a female teacher. Keep in mind, this "sexual assault" is portrayed by the student leaning on the teacher up against some lockers. Again, all of these kids could be knocked over with a light shove.

Fact #3: After a looong hour of our Mr. Walmsley being variously manhandled and abused by our group of ur-Outsiders, he devises an unlikely, easily discredited job placement field trip that allows him to kidnap the main offenders. Of course, everyone is fooled because this movie takes place in an alternate reality where fact-checking doesn't exist. He takes them to a ranch and tortures them by putting them in electrified cages and making them be naked. This is disturbing until it becomes clear the he has no intention of harming any of them in any way.

Fact #4: During these "torture" scenes, there's just an inordinate amount of penis. I mean really unnecessary. There are boobs too, for sure, but the ratio of boob-to-penis is way out of whack and it's kind of like watching an episode of Oz, but without, you know, the class and talent.

Fact #5: Also, in an effort to break his students down, he used the Toni Basil song, "Mickey," played on a loop, as a form of psychological warfare. Yes, it's an irritating song, but... why? At any rate, it's clear that the producers paid a lot of money for the rights to that song because we hear it roughly 28 times during the film. Oh, and we don't ever hear any other song. Or music. They spent their whole music budget on "Mickey" and I think that's hilariously sad.

Fact #6: It turns out that Walmsley's insidious plan is to force these kids to learn a lot of useless knowledge about math, language, and economic philosophy. What? Exactly.

Fact #7: And, because we just can't get a break, the entire movie takes place in Texas. Not only that, but it was filmed on location in Ft. Worth, which is only a few miles away from my hometown. Seriously, can nothing good come out of Texas? Besides me, of course.

Anyway, check out Learning Curve because there's way more weirdness than what I've outlined above. Also, click here for the best IMDb movie comment EVER.

Ways To Beat The Cold

- Make a steaming mug of fine, imported coffee. Add to it a few dashes of hazelnut syrup, perhaps a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Dump it down your pants.

- Stand in the shower with the hot water pouring directly on the top of your head. Your roommate may try to get you out of the shower (usually siting some sort of "I have to get ready for work" bullshit), but do not be deterred. Remember, if you move from your curtain of heated liquid, you'll be chilly again. Defend your position. Don't be afraid to throw the soap.

- When the temperature drops below 10 degrees, it becomes legal to build a bonfire in your apartment. Your landlord knows this, so it's totally cool.

- Two words: Boiling Everclear.

- Begin dating someone who's running a high-grade fever. Snuggle them at every opportunity.

- Putting your head in the oven isn't just for Sylvia Plath anymore. Don't over do it, though; having your head closely resemble a pot roast is not a desirable outcome.

- Listen to albums by Hot Hot Heat, The Arcade Fire, Hot Chip, Rev. Horton Heat, The Fiery Furnaces and The Flaming Lips.

-Do that thing that high school kids do where they hold their hands over someone's Zippo while it's lit so that they can prove how manly they are, thus ensuring that they'll get on the Varsity team and get to have sex with a cheerleader. Barring that, you should try to have sex with a cheerleader. You won't be successful, but it will help take your mind off the miserable, miserable cold.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fancy Food and Romance

Saturday, Girlfriend and I got our romance on. We're talking fancy food, dressing up like we were respectable, and long, moony looks over candlelight; the works, in other words. Because we're a forward-thinking Couple of the Millennium, Girlfriend payed for the evening. In effect, she "took me out." I'm okay with this because I'm a thoroughly modern male whose sexuality isn't threatened by the action of his female counterpart picking up the check. Also, I'm broke right now and free food is free food, regardless of whether we're subverting our society's cultural norms or not. In truth, Girlfriend wanted to take me out because we don't do a lot of romantic stuff as a general rule (that would be entirely my fault; I tend to be about as romantically inclined as a bag of old laundry), so she figured that she might as well take the reigns herself and make it happen. And I'm glad she did; we had a blast. Actually, we had so much fun, it made me want to attempt this whole "romance" thing myself; I suspect that me realizing the benefits of romance might have been her secondary motive for this whole affair and I'm okay with that. When the girl's right, she's right (Ed. Note - She's right almost always; it's freaky how right she always is). Anyway, so I shaved off the universally-hated-by-everyone-but-me beard and I got a nice haircut. I threw together an outfit that didn't closely resemble the clothes of someone who frequently rides the rails and Girlfriend wore this awesome dress that's like if Stevie Nicks had some actual fashion sense. And we were off.

We went to this little French restaurant called Quercy, which is in the Cobble Hill part of Brooklyn. It was great because it was an appropriately cozy place that managed to achieve the desired levels of romance without ramming them down your throat; no cutesy "private booths" that are so intimate you feel you should be fucking in them or lighting so dim you can't see how much salt you've put on your food. And speaking of the food... actually...

Side Note: Neither Girlfriend nor myself are what you'd call "foodies." We both like to eat, yes, and we prefer it if that food is, you know, good food, but we're not by any means gourmets. We tend to cook at home a lot (Girlfriend, by the way, is an awesome cook; I get by without embarrassing myself and/or setting anything on fire) and when we go out, it's usually to the diner or to the Chinese place a few doors down. Eating burritos with a fork equals fancy dining at our place. Make no mistake, we like it that way. It's much more economically viable, for one thing, and it beats the hell out of braving the lines at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's all the time. However, the flip side of that is that we watch The Food Network constantly. I mean, like, it's the default station on our TV. We watch so much Food Network that even The Food Network would prefer it if we backed off a little because we're making it uncomfortable. In particular, we're Iron Chef junkies and on Iron Chef, they use, at minimum, ingredients that cost for an ounce what the entire contents of our kitchen costs without coupons. What I'm trying to say, is that while we don't regularly partake in the finer things that you can shove in your head, we have an appreciation for their existence and we were eager, on our romantic date, to try them by the plateful.

So. The food at Quercy (which was what I was talking about, if you'll remember) was outstanding. Like "Holy Shit!" outstanding. I can't say how it stacks up to other French restaurants here and abroad, but to my Cheeze-Its and Schlitz-saturated palate it was like being smacked in the mouth with a magnificent Gauguin painting while splitting a bottle of wine with Catherine Deneuve. It went like this:

First Course - Terrine of Foie Gras Pate with Plums and Toast

I'd never had Foie Gras before, but I'd read about it in books, seen it on TV, and heard about all the controversy surrounding it's method of preparation (so not getting in to that here). It didn't taste anything like what I expected; being as how it's liver, essentially, I thought it would taste, well, livery. It didn't. It's sweet and meaty, and when combined with a slice of the plum and a bit of this thick, nearly french toast-ish bread, it was unlike anything I've ever tasted. While I did enjoy it, I probably wouldn't get it again. It seems way too much like "rich people" food and I think, to truly appreciate something like that, you've got to have a fat bank account and/or be really snooty.

Soup - Carrot, Ginger and Lobster

Three things I wouldn't put together. Not a big carrot fan unless they're liberally dipped in Ranch dressing, ginger I tend to only enjoy in candy form, and lobster I just never really "got." I understand that a lot of people think it's the best the ocean has to offer but, for me, eh. I prefer shrimp and crab for my shellfish needs. This soup, however, was spot-on. All the flavors were perfectly balanced (I learned that term watching Top Chef) and it didn't taste too carroty, gingery or lobstery.

Wine - Bordeaux

It tasted like red wine. It was good. (I know absolutely zero about wine, other than it's made from grapes, and I only know that because of that one I Love Lucy episode that everyone says is a classic but really isn't that funny, which, incidentally, is kind of how I feel about I Love Lucy in general. But I digress.)

Main Course - A Cassoulet of White Beans and Carrots with Duck Confit, Sausage, and Organ Meat

Oh. My. God. They served this right out of the oven in a baking dish that was roughly 9,000,000 degrees. I had to scoop out its contents on to a plate that wasn't currently hotter than Baptist hell and enjoy it thusly. And, brother or sister, did I ever. The duck was falling off the bone-tender, the sausage was smokey like a glass of whiskey stuffed into an intestinal casing, and the organ meat was earthy and mild, not gamy like (I'm told) it can be. The white beans and carrots the made up the base of the dish were creamy and, okay, I was really impressed by this: some of the beans tasted like the duck, some like the sausage, some like the organ meat, all depending on what protein they were nestled up against during the cooking process. I know that's like, duh, but it really blew my mind. Girlfriend had a Beef Bourginion that was fork-tender and tasted like wine, onions and darkened French cafes during La Resistance.

After our romantic dinner was through, we caught a screening of Pan's Labyrinth which was excellent, though not exactly what you'd call a "date night" movie. Heavy films about war and death tend to extinguish the romantic spark (though to be fair, the walk home in sub-zero temperatures didn't help much either).

And... yeah, that was our brush with the romantic side of couplehood. I really regret not doing this sort of thing more often. I know that money's always a factor and I know that if we did it all the time it wouldn't seem as special. Still. The evening made me want to try harder in the romance department. For the love of my girlfriend, yes, of course... but also because, turns out, romance is accompanied by totally kick-ass food.

A Bit About The Super Bowl, Then We Can All Get On With Our Lives

- I was really glad that the Colts won last night, mainly because I wanted Peyton Manning to have a Super Bowl ring. My girlfriend asked why I cared, which is a fair question. The answer is, of course, because of Dan Marino. Despite the fact that Marino is a millionaire, and despite the fact that he had a Hall of Fame NFL career, and despite the fact that he still holds two passing records (single season and career), I've always felt sorry for him. Like, if I saw him on the street, I'd want to give him hug. Marino was never on a team that won the Super Bowl and, because of that fact, his entire career will forever be blemished with an omnipresent "yeah, but..."; he did this, he did that... yeah, but... he doesn't have that Super Bowl ring. I've always equated his situation with that of Alfred Hitchcock's, who never won an Oscar (Honorary ones don't count) despite widely being regarded as one of the best filmmakers of all time. And, yes, I know that shiny rings and golden statues aren't the measure of either man; they both achieved more than most in their fields and they will go down in the history books as legends. Yeah, but...

- When that guy returned the opening kick-off for a touchdown, I totally lost my shit. Yeah, his team lost, but having done that... something that's never before been accomplished in a Super Bowl... is a pretty fucking sweet consolation prize.

- I like that it rained the whole time. Rain always makes things more atmospheric; it lends drama and importance to what is essentially just a marketing tool used to sell trucks and Coke.

- The halftime show with Prince was probably the best four-song concert I've ever seen. Seeing his Majestic Purple Weirdness singing "Purple Rain" in a driving rainstorm , after doing a perfect cover of "The Best of You," after doing an awesome cover of "Proud Mary," after opening with "Let's Go Crazy," on a giant Prince-sign shaped stage, was something damn special; sure beats the hell out of seeing McCartney sing "Hey Jude" for the billionth time.

- The commercials were lame. (Except for the Letterman/Oprah one)

I'm Your Comics Now

I've always thought that I should be immortalized in comic form. Now that I have been... well... honestly, it feels exactly as good as one would think. Better, even, because not only have I been immortalized in comic form, but I've also been spotlighted as a cautionary example. Which is awesome. Thanks, love and inappropriate touching to Braden; the man who would be king. Of comics.

Friday, February 02, 2007

"Long Distance Call" by Phoenix

It suddenly hit me what I want to do with my life. Kind of late showing up, I guess, but hey, better late than never. What's more, I would never have even thought that this is where I wanted my life to go. And yet, it all makes so much sense. Life's just like that sometimes, suppose.

Anyway, I want to be the wiry, scruffy singer of a French indie band that's involved in some sort of Film Noir-ish activities with an older gentleman in a tan trenchcoat:

Obviously there's going to be some hurdles in achieving my goal, but that's okay. As my people say: "Vous avez obtenu pour casser quelques oeufs si vous voulez faire un omlette."