Monday, October 13, 2008

If only they had something like this for food consumption…

Gmail has a new application called “Google Goggles” that helps you refrain from sending embarrassing emails when you are drunk by using mathematical puzzlers. And who said you would never use math again once you got out of high school?

Basically, before you can send an email (only on nights/times you specify as party nights), a few basic arithmetic problems come up on the screen that you must answer correctly within a short period of time in order to send the message.

Seems pretty genius, I know. I don’t think I will be utilizing this service personally, usually when I get home and I’m drunk I don’t head right over to my computer to send emotionally charged emails. Rather, I check out foods that are available for immediate consumption, or beds available to pass out in.

And even though it is the first of its kind and pretty revolutionary, I do see a few flaws with this system:
1. People who just aren’t good at math in general may be seen as drunk all the time.
2. People who are really book smart (but usually not super street smart) will easily trump the simple math problems and send their drunken messages to the world.
3. Really emotional people may damage expensive technical equipment over frustration after not being able to send their innermost uninhibited thoughts. Have we forgotten where the term “RAGING alcoholic” came from?

Anyways, it’s a funny application and I give mad kudos to its creator, as well as Gmail, mostly for it’s clever name.

But I had one more qualm with the system, though it is entirely my own fault. I was a little disappointed because at first I thought they had developed some sort of algorithm that could determine that you were typing in a drunken stupor. Like based on the amount of misspelled words, spacing problems, etc… I don’t know I’m not an algorithm scientist, it just would have been way cooler if that’s how they did it. (note to nerd somewhere: develop this algorithm. I’ll find great uses for it)

(totally unrelated note: UCLA scientists recently discovered a 13-million digit prime number. It’s the first Mersenne prime number with more than 10 million digits. I’m sorry for people doing jobs like that.)

So anyway, back to those Google Goggles. A novel idea, and I hope we see something like this soon that will send an electric shock through your body if you are trying to eat too much pizza when you’re drunk. Just kidding. When you aren’t eating enough pizza while you’re drunk.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Women Fantasy Sports Update

Very interesting article in the AM Metro today about a new site that was launched by women who are sick of their significant other spending so much time playing fantasy sports. I thought this was especially relevant and kind of amusing after my post the other day about my look at fantasy football.

The site features a place for fantasy "victims" to vent about their neglect due to the importance of fantasy sports is even selling apparel - black panties that read "CLOSED For the Fantasy Football Season." I mean, in some cases you're just hurting yourselves ladies...

I understand that fantasy sports can take up a lot of a man's time, and that once in a while you wish your man was looking up cute presents to surprise you with rather than researching the hottest defenses in the NFL, but it's a hobby. It's a way to connect with friends, and for a lot of men, there's also pride at stake. When you're getting ragged on for leaving a pitcher in your lineup who got hurt during his last start, the best defense is probably not saying it was because you didn't have time between shopping with your girl and making her dinner...

I mean I guess I am probably not the norm in terms of women and knowledge/interest in sports, but from my experience if you kind of enjoy the sports that your man is playing fantasy sports of, it's a way you can actually become closer. Watching games together, keeping up on their fantasy players and rooting their team on may not seem like fun to women, but if you do this for him maybe he'll watch a chick flick or two...

Anyways, check out the site. And for all the ladies out there who are neglected by their fantasy sports lovin' men, try to get into it with him. I bet that's one of his fantasies....

Monday, October 06, 2008

a woman’s look at fantasy football

I recently saw a newscast about fantasy football leagues, and they highlighted one such league that was comprised entirely of….women! How weird! They then showed all these young women sitting around in newly purchased Reebok NFL Women’s gear, watching a football game, referencing their laptops frequently, and making jokes about how cute Tom Brady is.

And I’m not writing this post as a feminist or anything (even though I still hold a small grudge against my high school guy friends for kicking me out of their league when it became “guys only”) because my fantasy football league kind of proves the point that female fantasy leagues are oftentimes silly. There’s only four of us in the league, and we don’t even have a draft, Yahoo does that for us… my friend had Tom Brady as her starting QB until week 5, and you can pick up just about any other league’s first round draft picks on our waiver wire. But that’s not the point, is it? I mean, we have a league! And we’re girls! Give us props.

But it is exactly the point. Our league is silly, and no one cares who wins. Last year, one of the whopping four team owners forgot her Yahoo password and so did not make one change in her lineup all season. And still won a majority of her games with her automatically drafted team led by big Tom Brady in his glory day.

But if this is possible, how do men in these leagues seem to have mediocre teams at best when they research the players, make reasonable trade offers and carefully peruse the waiver wire for viable free agents? Easy. Fantasy football is a little about picking good guys, and a lot about luck. In the NFL, as long as you step foot on the football field, you can have a good week. Sure, some weeks are better than others (6 TD passes Favre?), and some are more consistent than others (Lee Evans can make or break you), but every Sunday there’s a chance that your back up running back could have the game of his life, and you got him sitting on your fantasy bench to start Larry Johnson (held to 2 rushing yards this week…).

It’s the flip of a coin, gentlemen. I guess the moral of the story is: take some chances on your fantasy team, because they might just pay off. And if not…it’s just fantasy right?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Alicia Keys & Jack White - Another Way to Die

''It's kind of like a roller coaster because it gets really big and loud, then it gets pulled in and soft. There's also a fly part where Jack's soloing on the guitar and I'm scatting. It's a dope mixture of our styles.''
-Alicia Keys in EW

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Buffalo Bills Moments That Have Literally Made Me Cry

Tonight brings the start of a new NFL season, and with it new hopes for my beloved team, the Buffalo Bills. Every year they never cease to amaze me with their ability to find a way to lose in any situation. You have to give them some credit though, I mean what other team has gone to the Super Bowl four years in a row and come away with zero rings? No other team. So I have decided to list the five greatest Buffalo Bills letdowns that I can remember. Hopefully the Bills will not add anything to the list this year. I’m not even sure how much more heartbreak Buffalonians can take. I mean Drury’s long gone. And even the steel mills are closed. We don’t have much left.

5. The Dallas Monday Night Game Last Season
After forcing six turnovers and being up 24-13 at the end of the third quarter, the Bills managed to score zero points in the fourth quarter and give up 12 points (three of which being a last second field goal) to lose the game. I watched this game at a bar with some friends and obviously celebrated wildly with each Bills turnover as they started accumulating their unexpected lead. Then as the Bills allowed the Cowboys to score 9 points in the final 20 seconds of the game, I sat stunned at my barstool and withheld my urge to punch the obnoxious Cowboys fan that had stuck around just waiting for the Bills to give away the win.

In the last 20 seconds of the game, the Cowboys scored, missed a two-point conversion, and then recovered their on-sides kick. Then the Bills allowed them to complete two passes to set up a 53-yard last second field goal. Sometimes it’s like they’re TRYING to lose.

You’re killing me, Bills.

4. NO GOAL – (okay this is the Sabres, but it’s relevant)
How about when Brett Hull scored a goal in TRIPLE OVERTIME in GAME SIX of the STANLEY CUP FINALS in 1999? Could Buffalo get any closer to winning any big things without coming away with the win? Anyway, there used to be a rule in those days that if an offensive player had a foot in the goal crease, any goals scored during this infraction would NOT COUNT.

Brett Hull shot the puck, got the rebound and kicked the puck to his stick. At this point, his left foot went into the crease. He then shot the puck and scored. With his foot in the crease. Yet for some reason the NHL officials decided that this did not break the rule that a person’s foot could not be in the crease when they score.

What a disappointment. I stayed up mad late on a school night just to cry when we lost. You’re killing me, NHL officials.

At least this was less the Sabres giving away a win, and more of an officiating thing (not usually the way it works with the Bills)…

3. Losing 4 Straight Super Bowls
My mom had this Buffalo Bills hoodless sweatshirt back in the day that said “FOURPEAT.” Because it was the Bill’s fourth Super Bowl appearance in a row. The year before the sweatshirts all said “THREEPEAT.” That one made more sense. Either way, the Bills lost each and every time they made it. So that pretty much scarred my childhood.


Oh man. So freaking close. With 8 seconds left to play, the Bills only trailed the NY G-men by one point. ONE POINT. Scotty Norwood steps up to go for the 47-yard field goal for the win. And misses. Wide Right. Words that will forever haunt the dreams of Buffalo fans everywhere (though most of them can be found exclusively in Buffalo).

I feel really bad for Scott Norwood. The guy has to live with this for the rest of his life. And people like me who won’t let it go and keep writing about it on blogs and such.

But that’s beside the point. The bills found another way to lose. 20-19 final score. The closest score of a Super Bowl ever. Figures.

1.The Music City Miracle (aka FORWARD PASS) (aka the most I cried ever because of a Buffalo Sports Team)
NFL Wild Card Playoff Game, January 8, 2000. The Bills make a field goal with 16 seconds remaining on the clock to go ahead 16-15. Then the Bills kick the ball off to the Titans, hopefully to hold them from scoring in the last seconds of the game. But then this happens:

If you happened to miss that, they threw the ball across the entire width of the field and then ran it back for a touchdown. With no time left. To win the game. And knock the Bills out of the playoffs.

Also, if you missed it, it looked suspiciously like that pass across the field went FORWARD, which is illegal on kick returns, they are only allowed to pitch a ball backwards on a return. Yet, after the play was reviewed, “The ruling on the field stands.”

This was when I began to sob uncontrollably and yell about how stupid football refs are and how I hate the NFL and life. Then I calmed down, ate some chicken wings and sobbed softly for a few more hours.

Saddest part about this? The Bills haven’t made the playoffs since that season. Nine years ago. What a way to go out.

So, as much fun as it is to reminisce about the times that Buffalo Sports Teams have ripped my hopes and dreams of a Buffalo held title to shreds, it’s time to start new and hope for the best this season. And if it doesn’t work out, all of us Bills fans have gotten real good at saying, “There’s always next year.”

Monday, August 25, 2008

And the winner is…

I am very sorry it has taken so long to tally the votes…the child laborers I hired did not work out. They were working such long hours that I figured things were coming along smoothly, but when I finally decided to check on their work, they had woven multiple baskets. But no vote-tallies. So I sat down and did it myself and without further ado…

Here is the moment that you’ve all been waiting for (or just the announcement of what you all already know if you’ve read through the comments)…

The winners of the Old School TV Awards!!!!

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
This category was one that was easily determined in the popular vote, giving Sean Hunter the prestigious Best Supporting Actor Statue. No one really said much about their pick in this category either, as the mere vote could stand for itself without any pomp and circumstance. As one voter so clairvoyantly put it, “Hunter in a landslide.”

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
This was a really tight race between Topanga and Kimmy Gibbler. But as one voter put it succinctly, when it came down to edging out the competition by just one vote, the winner was “Kimmy Gibbler—hands down.” Sure, she was obnoxious at times, but she managed to be more endearing to our voters than Topanga, based mostly on two factors I like to call “Topanga’s Double-Downfall. Hair and weight.

Sure, one voter had a “huge crush on her huge boobs,” while another commented on her “great hair,” but she let others down by being “plain old unattractive in the entire middle half of BMV,” and when “she got fat.”

This is where good old neighborhood weirdo Kimmy Gibbler stepped in for the win, mostly because, as one voter put it, “she was always there for a laugh.”

Best Actor

The nominations for best actor were obviously lacking, and if the nomination team (me) did a better job of thinking things through before I listed these nom’s, I think we’d have a clear-cut winner (Will from Fresh Prince). But alas, I messed up, so it turned into a close match up between Zack Morris, freezer of time, and Urkel, suspender-donning extraordinaire.

And when it came down to the wire, apparently being able to freeze time gave Zack the edge over Urkel’s ability to morph into Stefan, the smooth talking hottie who had all sorts of bitches (Laura and Myra) fighting for his love. But, as one voter mentioned, “nailin’ Kelly Kapowski? Get out of here, no one can live up to that.” And it’s true; no one did live up to that. And so Zack has won Best Actor.

Best Actress

Alex Mack took the cake here, for her ability to appeal to voters of both sexes—girls appreciated her ability to play a pile of glowing toxic muck, while the men appreciated her fine young tail. One voter even went so far as to say if he could have “opened a spank-bank account in those days, she would have been my first deposit.” Very eloquently put, Dan.

I guess that pretty much sums it up for her. Congrats, Alex.

Best Villian

A tie! A tie! Two very different villains. One male. One female. One’s a real jerk. One’s a real bitch. One’s a person. One’s a cartoon. Roger Klotz and Libby Chessler came away with the award for best Villian(s)… even though one voter suggested that Roger was not even close to evil enough. That’s what everyone said about that white lions that attacked Roy of Siegfried and Roy. Never underestimate the evil within.

Best Voice of Reason

A unanimous decision, and the right one in my book…Mr. Feeny (excuse my previous misspellings) came away with the win in this category easily. He was so far ahead in the race, he had time to stop and give life lessons to Corey, Sean, Topanga, Eric and The Matthews Parents INDIVIDUALLY and still beat the others to the finish. One reader stated “a vote against Feeny here might as well be a vote for communism.” And nobody likes China. They cheat in gymnastics. Good votes, readers. Good voice of reason, Feeny.

Best Cartoon

Doug. Just look at him… How could he not win?

Best show on SNICK

Alex Mack was squeezed out of another trophy by scary favorite “Are You Afraid of the Dark.” I would usually watch up until they threw the sand in the fire and said the name of the story. Then I’d pee my pants and run away to my room. And change my pants.

Best show on TGIF
Boy Meets World, baby. This show had a lot of nominations and is having a very strong showing here in the results…just a great show.

Best Nick Daytime Show

Hey Dude came away with the trophy here, beating out The Adventures of Pete & Pete by a mere 2 votes. People really liked the idea of the show though, as one voter said, “my grandparents once went to a dude ranch when I was younger. I was so disappointed when it wasn’t the same one.” This voter also believed it when her dad told her if you cut a 1 inch hole in an airplane when you are inside the airplane, your entire body will be sucked out of the aircraft. What a sucker.

Best Game Show

Legends of the Hidden Temple—everyone really loved that giant talking stone head, the color/animal team name generator, and the temple guards that were far too scary for the young children running through the maze to have to deal with. Every time a Temple guard jumped out when I was watching, I would have a heart attack. I had high blood pressure as a child.

Best Theme Song
A tie! A tie! Reading Rainbow and Family Matters – both great themes… The Reading Rainbow theme “to this day spends a good percentage of the day stuck in my head,” one voter truly stated, while another said of the Family Matters theme that he “learned more about life during that theme song than I did during 16 years of formal schooling.”

So true.

And that about wraps it up! Thanks for your votes, thanks for your complaints, and thanks for reading!

This has been the first edition of Old School TV awards. Check back soon for more pointless awards, countdowns and rants.

Until next time – enjoy

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I am currently a vagabond.

A vagabond is a (generally impoverished) itinerant person. Such people may be called tramps, rogues, or hobos. A vagabond is characterised by almost continuous travelling, lacking a fixed home, temporary abode, or permanent residence. Vagabonds are not bums, as bums are not known for travelling but preferring to stay in one location.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Old School TV Awards - Sorry I Missed It!

Everyone complains nowadays about how people in our generation don’t really care about anything important, aren’t passionate about events in the news, politics, etc… Well I have found that people our age do not lack passion. You just have to talk about something they care about. Like television shows from the 90s.

While the votes are being tallied, before the winners are announced, I would like to take the time to honor some old school TV shows and characters that were not nominated for awards, mostly due to oversight by yours truly. And let me tell you, the comments I received due to these non-nominations were harsh. One voter told me I should be ashamed of myself, another “had a huge problem with some of the nominations” due to snubs. And though I tried my darndest to cover all my old school tv bases, it appears I missed some biggies. And it pissed people off. So without further ado, I will give some props to the shows I missed.

We’ll call these the Voter’s Choice Awards.

“A lack of acknowledgement of ‘The Fresh Prince’ is a glaring omission from this post.”

Yes, I agree with my whole heart. Fresh Prince of Bel Air with it’s awesome characters and great theme song would have taken home a fairly good share of these awards, or at least given Boy Meets World a run for their money. It also would have given us perhaps a better Best Actor nominee in Will, which would help ease the pain of another voter, “I can’t believe you just made me choose between Zach Morris and Uncle Jesse.” It also would have made the Best Supporting Actor race a bit less land-slideish with the addition of Carlton. There was also an off the record write-in for Uncle Phil in the voice of reason category:

“that scene
where wills dad comes back as a trucker
and then leaves him again
the hug at the end

And so it is with deepest regret that I apologize for the omission of Fresh Prince.

In the Best Theme Song category, there were many write-ins and disappointed voters. For this I do not feel so bad, because even though I did miss some of your favorites, all the theme songs back then were just so good, it’s hard to choose. I had to use some sort of judgment here. Nevertheless, here’s what I missed:
The Adventures of Pete & Pete’s theme was deemed “a great one”
The missing themes of Step by Step as well as Saved by the Bell really got one voters blood boiling.
And Doug’s theme, with the timeless beat box at the end was also mentioned as one that was failed to be mentioned.

And so yet again, I do apologize for missing some theme songs you loved the most.

In regard to Jessie Spano’s snub for Best Actress, one voter vented, “HELLO!!! The whole episode about her taking drugs to stay awake…PRICELESS.” I agree with this completely. And you know the write-in was a good one when a future voter uses it as their vote, which one such voter did with Jessie Spano. So although she was forgotten, and ultimately did not win the award for Old School TV Best Actress, Jessie wins a Voter’s Choice Award, or as I like to say “A Votie.”
Asked to comment on her recent win, Jessie responded, “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so….SCARED…”

Moving on to more snubs, let’s talk villains. One voter actually asked me to “be ashamed” that I forgot John McFlemp of Pete & Pete off the villain ballot. To this I say, I will not be ashamed, but I am sorry because I do not even remember who John McFlemp is (note to self: go back and watch Pete&Pete more.. probably won’t.). Anyways, sorry. Zeke the Plumber, from Salute Your Shorts, and Stuart, The Professor played by Fred Savage on BMW were two villains referenced by one angry voter…neither of which I seem to remember distinctly either. Which is why I probably snubbed them.

But again, I apologize for missing these villains, it is most likely because they scared me as a child so I blocked them from memory. So they ultimately win.

Lastly, one person had a problem with the nomination of Lori-Beth Dinberg as a Best Supporting Actress, asking “where did we find these people? I feel a Suckadapeepee rant coming on.” To this person I say, sorry, but I will agree to disagree. Firstly, where would we be without all her vital information, such as:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. A bird in your pants could make it very uncomfortable.

It's not nice to push your friend Billy off the roof and scream, “Look Neighbors! It's Raining Billy!!”

Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony. He stuck a feather in his hat ...and later realized he'd ruined a perfectly good hat

And in addition to all this vital information, I believe the category is best SUPPORTING actress. I bet I could lean a lot more stuff up against Lori-Beth Dinberg than Topanga and Kimmy Gibbler combined, if only purely based on her weight. So although I value your opinion, humble voters, I will stand up for LBD’s place on the ballot.

And I will leave you with one more comment from a non-voter, which I do completely agree with.

i feel like allen matthews needs a should out also
oh damn
yeah the matthews parents were good parents
auerbach.andrew: yeah but allen was just really good

So true.

Thanks for your votes, the winners will be announced shortly, and again I apologize for the people/shows I neglected.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Voting has ended for the Old School TV Battle!

Thanks for your input, results will be up shortly. In the meantime, enjoy this picture -

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Old School TV Awards – Nominees

From TGIF to Snick, weekends rocked my tv watching world when I was little. And if I was lucky, I might even catch an episode of Wild N' Crazy kids on a Saturday evening after I came in from playing made up games outside with my next door neighbor. We all know that television shows of our childhood rival any "critically acclaimed" show we watch now, even if we were to go back now and watch we'd realize that Fraggle Rock was so unrealistic, and Sam would never be able to just hoist that ladder up and down on Clarissa's window without anyone noticing.

With this post, we’re going to do things differently. Instead of me just picking the winners, I’m going to let you, the readers vote. This will also entail getting more readers than usual. I’ll work on that. Anyways, post your votes as a list in the comments section of the blog. I will total them and give a results post. Make sure you vote by August 13th. Or it won’t count!

Here are the nominees (note, people are referenced by character names, because we are more emotionally invested with the characters than the actors…)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Cody Lambert, Step by Step- he'd always pour the chocolate syrup into his mouth for a long time and then drink some milk right from the carton and swish it around. I dreamed about doing that sometimes…
Donkeylips, Salute Your Shorts – this one doesn't really need to be explained. It just is.
Sam, Clarissa Explains It All- a best friend who would enter your 2nd floor room via ladder? That's pretty badass.
JTT, Home Improvement – remember the episode where they thought he had cancer? The hearts of preteen girls around the world all stopped for a moment.
Sean Hunter, Boy Meets World – Rebellious best friend. What a hottie.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Kimmy Gibbler, Full House – she was always there for a laugh, gotta give her that.
Patty Mayonaise, Doug – stoic performance.
Topanga, Boy Meets World – she changed a lot throughout the years. From weird hippy’ish girl in class to hottie and love of Corey’s life. Gotta give the girl props for climbing the ladder.
Lori-Beth Dinberg, All That AND Figure It Out – She did double duty on Nick shows back in the day. And who could have lived without her “Vital Information?”

Best Actor
Urkel, Family Matters
- beloved by all for his extreme dorkiness, we wouldn't have "Thanked Goodness It's Friday" every week if Urkel weren't waiting for us at 8PM.
Tim "The Toolman" Taylor, Home Improvement - so some people may not agree with Tim's nomination in this prestigious category, given his manly grunts and general clumsiness. But my dad really loved him. So here he is.
Zack Morris, Saved by the Bell - ultimate heart throb for preteen girls in the 80s everywhere. Unless they were an AC Slater girl.
Doug, Doug - Some may argue that he is a cartoon, and therefore not an actor. I agree to disagree.
Uncle Jesse, Full House – no one could rival that hair. Or the look in his eyes at his wedding when he tenderly played the piano and sang “Forever” to Becky.

Best Actress
Stephanie, Full House – she was more of a main character I guess, and I didn't want to put her as supporting because she'd hit me with a "How Rude!"
Laura, Family Matters – no one else could play the pure hatred of Steve Urkel with the lovable goodness of Laura.
Suzanne Sommers, Step by Step – the role she was playing at the time of the Thighmaster may be the most important role of all.
Alex Mack, Secret Life of Alex Mack – I didn’t see any of these other people turn to silver ooze. That’s good acting.

Best Villian
Ug, Salute Your Shorts – the guy always had sunscreen on his nose! What a douche!
Roger Klotz, Doug – he was pretty mean.
Ferguson, Clarissa Explains it All – what a stupid nerd, he always got in the way.
Libby Chessler, Sabrina the Teenage Witch – I didn’t actually really remember her until I researched for this post. But I did find this quiz where you can see how much you remember about this bitch of a villain…

Best Voice of Reason
Mr. Pheeney, Boy Meets World – the man brought the characters we love from elementary school all the way through adulthood and managed to stay relevant in their lives, following them from middle school to high school to college. Love him.
Wilson, Home Improvement – never saw the guy’s face. But it was what inside that counted most. He gave great advice.
Mr. Dink, Doug – he was always making wacky inventions and didn’t seem to be the smartest person to turn to, but Doug always counted on him for advice when he needed it most.
Dana, Step by Step – she may have been one of the kids, but Dana was the most level headed person in the household. She was also a real bore and nerd-o.

The nominees for our favorite classic shows will have no introductions, as they speak for themselves:

Best Cartoon
Ren And Stimpy
Bobby's World
Rocko's Modern Life
Ahhh! Real Monsters

Best show on SNICK
Clarissa Explains it All
Secret World of Alex Mack
All That
Kenan And Kel
Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Best show on TGIF
Full House
Family Matters
Step by Step
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Boy Meets World

Best Nick Daytime Show
Salute Your Shorts
Hey Dude
Adventures of Pete and Pete

Best Game Show
Double Dare – classic.
What Would You Do – Pies in the face! Weird bugs! Eating odd things! Marc Sommers!
Supermarket Sweep – I always wanted to go on a Supermarket Sweep. So badly.
Guts – “take it down to Mo, MO!”
Legends of the Hidden Temple – green monkeys, blue barracudas, purple parrots, silver snakes, orange iguanas, red jaguars… how could we forget?
Wild N' Crazy Kids – how did they think of these weird games? And deal with the millions of wild n’ crazy kids on every show?
Figure It Out – I hated when the judges would guess really stupid things just for a laugh. You’re trying too hard, Lori-Beth Dinberg. If the Secret Slime Action was trying too hard, you’d be drenched.

Best Theme Song
(clicking on each show will take you to YouTube to relive the theme song, in case you may have forgotten for a moment)
Hey Dude
Clarissa Explains it All
Family Matters
Reading Rainbow
Salute Your Shorts
Full House
All That

That concludes the nominations for this Old School TV awards post. Let voting begin immediately, she cried out!

I look forward to seeing the winners.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Comparing Movies.

I just saw this posting on Craigslist for a company looking to hire someone to write for their movie comparison company something or other…not really sure. I didn’t apply. But for people who wanted to apply, you had to take your favorite movie, and list 5 movies that people would also like if they enjoyed your favorite. And about a 20 word reason why. I thought this would be an interesting exercise, so I decided to try it out. But instead of my favorite movie, I’m going to use…

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

For all of you who didn’t have HBO last summer when it was on every single moment of the day, or those who just didn’t care to watch, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is about four high school aged girlfriends who find a pair of jeans in a thrift shop that surprising fit all their varied figures perfectly. They then go their separate ways for the summer (soccer camp, Greece, to visit a divorced father, and one just stays at home) and send the pants around to each other with notes to keep in touch.

It’s a coming of age movie. First loves, first look at tragedy, realizations about family and friends, and the losing of virginity at soccer camp with a counselor (happens all the time).

So let’s take a look at 5 other movies you should watch if you loved Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (and why in 20 words or less)

1. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 – It’s coming out soon, and I bet it will have the same characters, actors, and kind of the same plot.
2. Now and Then – Four girls, coming of age, way better than the Traveling Pants. Plus it’s funny when Ramona duct tapes her boobs.

3. Rumor Has It – I got nothing for you. Except it was played on HBO all the time last summer, too.
4. My Girl – I hate those bees that killed Macaulay Culkin. Weird that her dad owned a funeral home.

5. The Babysitter’s Club – Self explanatory.

This post sucks. I would never get this job.

Wait, let me try again.

Movie we’ll start with: Rocky

5 other movies you would like:
1. Rocky 2 – there’s boxing. And Sly Stallone.
2. Rocky 3- there’s boxing. And Sly Stallone.

3. Rocky 4 - there’s boxing. And Sly Stallone.
4. Rocky 5 - there’s boxing. And Sly Stallone.
5. Rocky Balboa. - there’s boxing. And Sly Stallone. But he’s old. But it’s okay. It’s still him.

That’s more like it. Maybe I would get this job.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What’s in an age?

With the upcoming election pitting “old man” McCain vs. “inexperienced” Obama, people have been focusing a lot on the ages of candidates. Maybe a little more than they should. After all, shouldn’t the election be about the issues, not the number of wrinkles on someone’s face, or the ability to blow out all of the birthday candles on your cake? Especially if they are those trick candles that you can never blow out. Those aren’t even fair.

So I’ve decided that in order to take the edge off this age debate, I’m going to feed into it even more! Without any more introduction and throwing all reasoning out the window, let’s not just compare the candidates based on their ages, let’s compare other famous people that share the candidate’s ages.

Starting with…. Sports figures.

Wayne Gretzky (January 26, 1961) vs. Clay Counsil (71 years, birth date not readily available)

Here’s a tough match up for sure. Take someone once called “the greatest player of all time,” and pit him against an old dude who never played pro ball and what do you get? It’s not as clear-cut as you think. Who didn’t get the chills watching the Homerun Derby last week while Counsil pitched to Josh Hamilton as he shattered records and hit 28 homeruns in the first round of the competition? Everyone got chills. Unless they aren’t human. Or didn’t watch. Or were under a extremely warm blanket.

Fact is – sure Gretzky’s great, but Counsil showed last week that despite age, people can always inspire. And get things done.

Sorry Obama. This round goes to age. Because I am throwing athletic strength out the window and leveling the playing field. People of any age can get the job done and inspire people. Which is exactly what Counsil did.

Round one goes to : The Geezers

Next round….Musicians.

Billy Ray Cyrus (August 25, 1961) vs. Buddy Guy (July 30, 1936)

Okay, here’s a tough one. We’ve got one of the greats of the blues and rock, who’s won five Grammys and inspired such acts as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaghan pitted against the man who’s given us Hannah Montana.

Of course, that’s not all Billy Ray Cyrus has contributed to the music world. There’s always Achy Breaky Heart, and he’s had eight top-ten singles on the Billboard country music charts.

But it may be silly that I’m even still trying to compare these two. Although Miley Cyrus has given us some real hot pop culture tracks lately, no one can deny that Buddy Guy has been more influential on American music as we know it. And since Billy Ray can’t even get his daughter to stop posting trashy pics of herself on the Internet, round two’s winner is quite clear.

Round two goes to: The Geezers

So far it looks like age doesn’t detract from someone’s greatness, in fact as we’ve seen so far, age may just make people better.

Now let’s look into a different type of entertainment – Acting.

George Clooney (May 6, 1961) vs. Robert Redford (August 18, 1936)

The battle against these two stars could be a whole post in itself. First I’d like to take a moment and say how surprised I was to find out that Robert Redford is 71. When I was researching for this intelligent post, at first I thought this was some sort of mistake. But yes, it’s true, Redford is old.

So both these men are very accomplished actors, as well as directors and producers. They are also both what I would consider to be real Hollywood men. Big names, big budgets, but also smart guys. They don’t just act, they think.

But when it comes down to it, I think we must give Clooney the edge here. Sure Redford is iconic and has truly done a lot, including winning an Academy Award, but Clooney has also won an Oscar, as well as a Golden Globe. And we all know that the only thing that really matters in an actor’s life is the number of shiny trophies they have to polish (or if you’re Rosie O’Donnell, let your kids paint all over).

Clooney also does a lot of advocacy work, even named in January 2008 as “a Messenger of peace” by the United Nations. That’s big time shit. Almost up there with Angelina. Maybe he’ll get there someday.

And, truth be told, if you think about it, Clooney deserves to win this round merely because he is the epitome of a Hollywood star. Like old school Hollywood star. And I think if you put a 46 year old next to a 71 year old and can honestly say the younger of the two is more of a classic American star than the elder, then youth trumps age.

So round three goes to: The Youngins

Let’s move onto Round 4 – Directors
Peter Jackson (October 31, 1961) vs. Philip Kaufman (October 23, 1936)

Great directors, like great presidents, need to have a vision to be successful. So this is an especially important round in this very important comparison piece. Peter Jackson has definitely proved his vision with films like Lord of the Rings and King Kong. He doesn’t mess around with his vision, and is very well respected in the industry.

Philip Kaufman, though less known to this generation, is still influential in the field of directing films. His directorial debut, Goldstein, won some French-named prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Acclaimed French director Jean Renoir called it the best American film in 20 years. Pretty impressive.

But since we are Americans, we don’t care what French people have to say. Instead, let’s focus on something Kaufman did that we all can relate to—helped write the story for Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. This was a pretty important feat.

Kaufman is also still working today. His next project will be a film for HBO about the life of Ernest Hemingway with James Gandolfini.

But when it comes down to it, it seems that the more influential director at this time is Peter Jackson. Many statues, several incredible movies that drastically influenced a culture, and an imagination and attention to detail that is renowned among Hollywood directors.

Round four goes to – The Youngins.

Let’s take a look at the leaderboard after four rounds:

Seems to be a 2-2 tie at the moment, and the Geezers, despite their age, do not look like they are losing steam. More 71 year olds include Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, beloved actress Mary Tyler Moore, and James D. Sinegal, the CEO of wholesale giant Costco. The 46’s aren’t lacking in talent either, with mover and shaker Michael J. Fox, fashion designer Issac Mizrahi, as well as Bob Woodruff, journalist with World News Tonight.

But there isn’t enough time in a day to write about all these aged rivalries. The point is, people can achieve great things when they’re young (Elian Gonzalez), or old (the entire cast of the Golden Girls). We need to put the wrinkle debates aside for the next few months and focus on the real issues of this election…like who has the prettier wife.

Stay tuned for my next post:
People who share middle names with the Presidential candidates and what effect this has on their chance of victory.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Salute to America!

Well it's that time of year again—July 4th's coming up, people are getting in gear to take a nice long weekend, enjoy some American favorites like a cold Bud Lime and a hot dog right off the grill, and maybe watch a little baseball. And all the while knowing that our country is better than every other one in the world. And to prove it, we'll set off fireworks. Discovered by the Chinese.

So I'd like to take this post to honor America with some of the things I remember from US History from throughout the years. And without further ado… 5 pieces of American History I appreciate most because they are a little bit funny:

5. Filibusters
Okay, Filibusters are funny for several reasons. One, they just have a really silly name for something that is supposed to have a higher purpose. And two, they make people talk for absurd amounts of time. Three, they just seem like the silliest thing in the world. Why do they even exist?

Quick recap—a filibuster is a way to stop legislation from being passed by literally talking forever so the vote cannot happen, or is very delayed. To me, it seems like a childish idea at heart, but there's a competitive spirit to it, and Americans love to compete. So I guess it fits well with the USA way.

Best Filibuster moment: in 1957, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina set a record by talking for 24 hours and 18 minutes straight. Now that is commitment to a cause. Unfortunately for him, the bill ultimately passed. And he can never got that 24 hours back. Or his voice.

4. Preston Brook’s Senate Beatdown of Charles Sumner.
In 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gave a very passionate speech about how slavery should not be tolerated anymore in the United States. He called out three prominent men in particular for their views and political actions regarding the issue—Stephen Douglas, James Mason, and Andrew Pickens Butler of South Carolina.

Butler, who had recently had a stroke and was recuperating in his state of South Carolina was given special attention by Sumner’s ridicule. Listening from the back of the Senate chamber, Stephen Douglas reportedly said, “that damned fool will get himself killed by some other damned fool.”

Good foresight. This nearly happened. Except instead of death, Sumner was just bludgeoned by a walking stick by Congressman Preston Brooks, who took offense to Sumner’s comments. (and was the nephew of Andrew Butler, one of Sumner’s targets. It’s all so Soprano-esque…)

Instead of asking Sumner to duel like a real gentleman would, Brooks just waltzed into the Senate chambers and started beating him with a stick. The beatdown continued for a whole minute as Sumner, who was tall, struggled to get his lanky legs out from under his desk and defend himself. And everyone else in the Senate Chamber got up from their lunch tables and started chanting "Fight! Fight! Fight!" until the principal came and broke it up.

I guess if you look at the reality of this situation, it’s not that funny. But to me, the fact that an elected official acted like a drunken idiot at a bar and just started beating the crap out of someone because he made fun of his uncle is a little bit funny.

And I think when we learned about it in high school it was funny because we didn’t get all the details. Just that a Congressman beat a Senator up. That’s funny when you’re 16 for some reason. Then we all went home and watched WWF Smackdown. And gave each other high fives.

3. The Scopes Monkey Trial
Aight, yo. Basically there was a law in Tennessee (obviously) that said there was to be no teaching of evolution in public schools. Actually nothing that went against "the story of Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible." Well, John Scopes, a high school teacher looking to spread the gospel of truth, was charged with teaching evolution and showing ideas from (gasp!) Charles Darwin.

So they settled it the American way. Went to a bar, got drunk and fought for a couple minutes before the bartender kicked their asses out. Just kidding, they went to court! The trial "pitted two of the preeminent legal minds of the time against one another," William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow (I like the way Wikipedia referred to this fact).

But I guess the main reason this piece of American history really sticks in my mind as funny (besides the fact that the word monkey is in it—instant American funniness), is the way Mr. Herb taught it to us in AP American. Before he got fired. But that's beside the point. He taught me about the Scopes Monkey Trial so well that I will never erase the picture of him in my mind performing a piece of a play based on the Scopes trial, standing behind his lectern and yelling, "GOD TELLS BRADY, BRADY TELLS THE PEOPLE; BRADY, BRADY BRADY!" Then he hung upside down in the doorway and did his impression of a three-toed sloth. Great teacher.

Anyway, thanks Mr. Herb for forever eternalizing this evolution case with a funny name. And giving me one of my favorite pieces of American History with a funny name.

2. Colonial Wigs
So the founders of the Constitution did a pretty good job of drafting a document to dictate the future of our country. And it still holds true today. To think that they could have the foresight to craft a set of truths that would withstand the test of time as our country grew from infancy in 1776 until now, over 200 years later, is a outstanding feat. But the real kicker is that the whole time they were cooped up in that ol’ Pennsylvania state house drafting the damn thing, they were wearing ridiculous wigs. What was the meaning of this? Did people not grow hair then? Maybe they were “thinking caps.” I gotta try one on someday and see if I can write something as timeless as the Constitution.

I’m sure these wigs were hot as hell. And itchy to boot! But I guess you can’t beat fashion like this:

It just makes the whole signing of the Constitution thing seem a little bit silly. Every guy in there was wearing one of these. And I bet there were trains of sweat running down their faces from underneath their cumbersome wigs. I wish I could travel back in time to see it! In a bonnet.

And the whole signing of the Constitution wasn’t the only time people wore these—these wigs made prominent appearances in events like The Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s famous ride, and also during big Revolutionary War battles. Think about that. Not only are you dying on a battlefield, but your last moments are going to be with an itchy head. Bummer.

So that’s why wigs are funny. And an integral part of American History. Even though they looked ridiculous.

…And don’t think I’m letting you off the hook, Abraham Lincoln. Your hat was a little outrageous. And wooden teeth? You were the President for goodness sake. Have some self respect.

1. William Taft getting stuck in a bathtub.
This one really doesn't need too much explaining. Picture it—William Taft (our 27th President for you unAmericans out there), our heaviest president at 332 pounds, getting literally stuck in the White House bathtub. They had to have an oversized version brought in for him to use. And a crane to get him in and out of bed. Just kidding. Not really.

Whoever is blaming juices and energy drinks for the current obesity crisis, please stop! I think we found the root of the problem—kids are just trying emulate our 27th President, but come on, can't we give them a break? They just want to run the most powerful country in the world. And get their own custom bathtub. It's the American dream, man.

And, the kicker, which I just found out while researching Taft's exact poundage, is the fact that "Taft liked milk so much he brought his own cow to the White House. The cow's name was Mooly Wolly."

Thanks, William Taft, for being hilarious.

And thanks, America. For being the great country that you are.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wino slug fest!

Amy Winehouse, gotta smack some bitches before the emphysema totally kicks in. I hope no one paid for this performance...
I think a drunken Colleen sang this song better karaoke-ing in Myrtle Beach :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Everyone loves a pregnant girl.

So I was reading my Time magazine the other day, and apparently there’s a high school in Gloucester, Mass. where 17 girls in the senior class were preggers. Things in this small fishing town seemed a bit “fishy” when girls were coming to the school clinic and getting tested for pregnancy multiple times, and then seeming disappointed if the results were negative.

After some questioning of these biddies, school administrators were able to find out that the girls made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. You know, like when you talk with your friends and say things like “let’s all live on the same street and our kids will be best friends.” Only they the whole buying houses near each other step and just going right to the shootin’ out a baby phase of the process.

The principal also found out some information about one of the baby daddys that probably made the girl’s parents a bit uncomfortable. And anyone else who hears it: “We found out one of the guys is a 24-year-old homeless guy,” the principal says, shaking his head. First of all, if you were the principal of this school, would you really release this information to the press? That some messed up girl in your school wanted a baby so bad she banged a homeless dude? She couldn’t find some horny high school guy? I think she wasn’t looking hard enough.

And forget celebrating high school sports—these girls cheerlead for the baby-making team. Apparently after the girls found out they were pregnant in the clinic, some reacted to the news by high-fiving each other and making plans for baby showers. Sure, the miracle of life is something to celebrate, but do these girls realize they’re going to have stretch marks at the age of 17? I wonder if they’ll still be raisin’ the roof when they’re changing diapers.

I think the most ironic part is the fact that when the school nurse and doctor decided that maybe they should make birth control available in this school of fertilized eggs, they got resistance, even from the mayor. “Dr. Orr and Ms. Daly have no right to decide this for our children,” said Mayor Carolyn Kirk. Orr and Daly resigned in protest.

And I agree with them. I resign too. To the fact that teenage girls are crazy!!!! Sleepovers galore! We can talk about cute boys, baby names, stroller companies, and natural childbirth.

Count me in.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

…and five things I like about nyc.

With the aim of not sounding like a completely ungrateful Miserable Marci, I’ve decided to include a list of things I *like* about living here in the Big Apple. Well there’s one thing right off the bat. The apples I mentioned in the previous post (that I spilled all over the ground) are actually delicious, some of the best apples I’ve ever had. And now with that glass half full attitude we all love to hate, here’s a list of 5 things I kinda like about my new lifestyle:

1. being able to go to Yankees’ games.
I love the Bronx Bombers! And it’s cool that when I have nothing to do at work I can just browse craiglist and/or stubhub and score some bleacher seats to basically whatever game I want. Even a game on a weeknight! Sure, the two games I’ve been to so far have been extreme cases in weather (the hottest 98 degree Sunday afternoon ever and a Wednesday night hour and a half rain delay), but nothing compares to hanging at Yankee stadium, hearing the girl in the row behind me talk on her cell phone about how “fucking hot Derek Jeter is,” and watching the field crew dance to the YMCA during the seventh inning stretch. You can almost see little thought bubbles emerging from their heads—“this whole dancing thing is not worth seeing every game for free.” But it really is worth it.
best part about this nyc perk: the Jason Giambi “power of the stash” graphic they put on the video screens when he bangs a hit out.

2. hanging with my bro.
Another key to things that make me happy around here is the fact that my broseph is around to chill with. He’s been here since his college days, so not only is he a good guy to cook dinner with after a hard day at the office, but he’s a reliable resource to call for: directions anywhere, what to do when the subway is being worked on and they won’t take me to my usual stop, and what plays are good to see. Even though he takes offense to my rants about hating city-life, he’s a good guy to have around none-the-less for some family when you need it most. And his friends are funny, too!
best part about this nyc perk: he always walks to my apartment to hang out so I can maximize laziness

3. Jersey City/the Chili’s in Jersey City
I love Jersey City. My friend Hoover lives there in this amazingly huge, bright, beautifully decorated apartment that I like to refer to as home on the weekend. Sleeping on the orange couch in the room formerly known as the “no girl’s allowed” room just makes me very happy. It’s so much quieter then the city, there’s a real live shopping mall just down the street, they’ve got a sick view of the city (it’s nicer to be outside looking in), and the kicker – a pool! Who would have thought I could find a place to plant myself next to a beautiful chlorinated oasis and suck up the hot rays of the sun in New York? After my stint in LA last summer, I’ve got to keep at my run towards skin cancer. There’s already some suspicious spots on my neck…

But back to Jersey City. Because even though everything I’ve told you about the Disney World of an apartment complex Hoover lives in is great, I haven’t shared the best part. There’s a Chili’s across the street. Only the greatest restaurant ever. Just thinking of those frozen margaritas and bottomless baskets of salty chips and salsa makes the sides of my mouth turn up in a slight grin. This quickly changes to a full, blown out SMILE once I step inside. The wait staff is friendly, the drinks are tasty, and the Cajun Chicken Sandwich is out of this world. I’ve been there at least once a weekend since my nyc debut, and I’m looking forward to keeping that up.
best thing about this nyc perk: big screen tv’s, PJ Ryan’s, and a rockstar bartender named Jamal.

4. my unlimited ride metro card.
If I’m going to be forced to ride these devil trains, I may as well be able to swipe my damn card anytime I want. Unlimited access to the subway kind of feels like being a VIP at a party you didn’t want to go to in the first place. But hey, as long as you’re there you might as well be treated like royalty…

Well I guess just because I pre-pay for my subway rides every month doesn’t make me much of a celebrity. But it’s satisfying every time I walk by the people standing in line at the machines to buy their LIMITED ride subway cards. Because with my metro card, traveling the humid tunnels of underground Manhattan…is limitless.
best thing about this nyc perk: gas prices up the wazoo.

5. Ithaca people. everywhere.
Who would have guessed that after I graduated college I would come in contact with more Ithaca people than nyc people? We pretty much own the place I where work, the copywriter above me graduated the year before me, as did three account people on the floor above me, and a senior level guy here graduated about 20 years ago. Which may explain the tendency to hire new Ithaca-grads…

All of the Jersey City people I love to stay with are Ithaca people, and we even ended up at a bar on Saturday night in Manhattan that was just opened—by an Ithaca grad! Who was a senior when we were freshman…he’s doing pretty well for himself.

And in the bathroom at that bar, as I stood by the sink, I saw a girl who was in one of my classes in college who told me to send her my resume and she’d get me a job! And all I had to do was wash my hands!

Thanks, all of Ithaca, for moving to nyc so I can see you and make those so called important “connections” people keep saying are so important to get a job. And it’s pretty nice to see people you know around in a big scary place as well.
best thing about this nyc perk: seeing a guy wearing a Cortaca Jug shirt on the subway.

JC Penney loves Teenage Sexcapades??

hehehe a fake JC Penney's commercial. Apparently the company's got their knickers in a knot about it. They don't want loyal mom shoppers to turn in their JC Penney credit cards because the company condones their kids gettin' it on...

Monday, June 23, 2008

noticed something watching Friends tonight...

New Yorker.

So I moved to New York City. For the summer at least (an internship and a sublet won't get me past August, so if I want to stay I've got some work to do). I wanted to write something about an aspect of being here, everyone's been asking how it is, how I like it. But I couldn't really decide what to focus on. And a writer with no focus produces work that (usually) is hard to focus on.
So I sifted through my impressions of the city, things I could comment on. And I've come up with a list of let's say… 6 things that I would like to talk about in regard to my new place of residence. Here they are (in no specific order) –

1. Subways.
I really had to give up my beautiful blue spaceship car to ride in these crowded, dirty, loud, uncomfortable underground railroads? Every morning, despite the fact that I have to wake up before I feel like it and go sit inside for eight hours while the sunshine of the outdoors is begging to shine down on my pre-cancerous bronzed skin, I also have to wait in a muggy, smelly subway station until a train rolls in and I finally think, "thank goodness, air conditioning." Until it brakes with the sound of Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2 dragging her fingernails against the blackboard and the doors open to already full cabins of miserable people going to their miserable jobs and I have to file in with the masses and push and shove my way into this horrible train I don't even want to be so it can take me to a place I don't even want to go.

And once you get on a train, even though it takes you out of the horribly humid, hot station, you are forced to stand in uncomfortably close quarters with strangers you don't want to be near. And there's always that one person who shoves themselves into the space right by the doors that they don't fit in right after the helpful, polite robotic subway man has clearly stated "stand clear of the closing doors please, " so then everyone who was already shoved into the train car gets pushed that much closer to one another.

And then there are the metal bars that you must clench in your once-clean hands to ensure that you don't get jostled into the passengers around you. Because even though people are for the most part very apologetic and understanding on the subway about people accidentally brushing against others, there's always one person who genuinely takes offense to the fact that someone has nudged them and feels the need to respond with an over aggressive "Excuse me," or a comment to a friend they are standing near about how "bitches will best stop bumping me or I'll smack them." To which I always respond to (in my thoughts, for fear of starting a subway riot) with "we're on a really crowded subway I'm sure they don't really want to touch your gross body anyways but thanks for making everyone else's morning that much more pleasant with your passive aggressive bullshit. Why don't you just really smack someone so we can get the party started and do this up right?"

And when I finally get to my destination, it's a struggle to weave through the mess of people, around the group of tourists who somehow find it enjoyable to "culture themselves" by standing around a group of musicians who are playing as loud as they can in the echoing enclosed space of the muggy subway station, around the slow moving people who apparently enjoy moseying around the ol' subway station and finally file up the stairs until you hit the light of day again. And your cell phone commences to work once more.

Even though gas prices are at an all-time high and blah blah blah, every morning (and evening) during my commute I yearn to sit in my car with the windows down and one of my cd's blaring. I almost miss sitting in the horrifying LA traffic last summer on the way home from work. Because I'd much rather rock out to my jams in the privacy of my clean, personal vehicle than turn my I pod up way to high for my ear's sake, attempt to not fall forward and make out with the weird man standing face to face with me in the jammed packed compartment, and try to drown out the most horrible sound of all – "Ladies and gentlemen we are delayed because of train traffic ahead of us."

2. My Apartment (specifically, my bedroom)
So my apartment is in Brooklyn, in the hipster neighborhood of Williamsburg, and I guess it's not too bad of an area. But the apartment is small. Very small. And my bedroom is – very, very small. If I was some sort of gnome I might be rejoicing, but since I am a full-grown person with lots of things I like to keep in my room, it's not the ideal situation. I don't mind the cramped space, there's just enough space to fit my bed, nightstand, small fold up table for my computer and the closet provides just enough space to shove in most of my clothing, but the kicker is that there's no windows. A room with no windows.

I could walk in the room at one in the afternoon and it would be dark. If there were no clock on my nightstand, I'd never know what time it was. My body is confused. It wakes up in the morning and wonders why it is the same level of darkness that it was when I went to bed. It tells me, "don't get up yet – it's still dark." But it's not still dark in any normal room with windows. It's just still dark in my small dungeon room.

And when it gets hot – like two weekends ago when it was reaching the high 90's to 100 degrees, my apartment becomes a pressure cooker of heat and sweat. Just sitting on the couch produces the sweat output of a hard 30-minute run, and fans must be dragged out and positioned in front of wherever your immediate position is in order for living to even be tolerable.

But it gets worse. When it's really hot and you live in the room with no windows, your room is UNBEARABLY hot. Like, so humid you can't breathe and all you have is a small fan that hardly even helps because the small amount of cool air it produces cannot cut through the heavy heat filled air that is stifling around your room and you're sweating even with no sheets on you and by the slight chance that you actually fall asleep in your uncomfortable state, you wake up naked because your natural body's response has been to rip all clothes off to try and survive. And you're still sweaty. You get the idea.

So that's the deal with the small apartment.

3. Nowhere to Work Out
So at school, in return for me paying thousands upon thousands of dollars to sit in several classes every day, I also got a free membership to the Ithaca College gym. Which actually was a very nice gym. If you got there before or after the 4 o’clock treadmill rush, you could basically do any workout you pleased with the equipment there – they even had rowers and the girl-sized padded bar weights. But here, in the city of dreams, I can’t afford a gym. There’s actually a place by my work that’s touting it’s big “Summer Sale!” with banners outside and brochures on a little table. So I picked up one of these handouts and called about it (I should have known it was out of my price range when the prices weren’t specifically stated on the postcard…) For one month, their special price is $219. Now I don’t know how much other gyms cost around here, because I haven’t really shopped around too much, but if I decided to take this summer gym deal, it would cost me about one-sixth of my hefty intern salary. And the little apartment I live in – would be an additional 2/3 of my monthly stipend. So going to a gym is not in the stars for me. It would mean that I definitely couldn’t afford to eat at Chili’s in Jersey City once or twice a weekend. And if I can’t do that, it’s not worth getting up in the morning.

On the brightside, there is a park about a half-mile from my apartment. With a track! While this is a free easy place to go run and stay in shape, it is always absurdly crowded. With runners, walkers, little kids riding their bikes on the track, people playing numerous soccer/Frisbee games on the field in the middle of the track, racquetball court players, families just sitting around, and teenagers just hanging around on the track. Now I’m not that anti-social that I hate being around people, I just hate being around them when I’m trying to work out and they are in my way. I don’t mind weaving in and out of the other joggers/walkers when I’m trying to run around the track and no one is following the convention of leaving the inside lanes open for faster runners, but I also have to be on constant lookout for stray soccer balls, Frisbees, racquetballs, and teenagers moseying around the track. The first time I was there I was in my running zone when all the sudden I was struck on the leg, mid-stride, by a soccer ball. I didn’t fall or anything, but it scared me! And if it happens again, and I was to fall, it would be so embarrassing because of the sheer amount of people around hanging out at the track.

And who hangs out at a track anyways? Teenagers, the country is talking about the absurd amount of overweight young Americans, and I’m glad you are taking note. But merely planting yourself at the track and hanging out with friends while others struggle to run around you to get by does not qualify as exercise. Lace up those running shoes and get moving.
It’s also hard for me because I was really getting good at pull-ups (or assisted pull ups on the machine at least). But now I have nowhere to practice my sub par pull-ups, no machine, and even if I could find a bar I wouldn’t be able to pull myself up even once. Come to think of it, that may be my own fault for being too weak to lift my own bodyweight. I’ll work on that.
So I guess there is a place to workout if I really want to – the track is sufficient, and I even have room in my little backyard to swing my 20 lb kettlebell around. It’s just hard to leave the comforts of a gym and end up at an overcrowded track. With no rowers.

4. Elevators at Work
Going to work isn’t something I necessarily enjoy. And once I’m there, even getting to my desk becomes a hassle. Riding the elevator up to my floor (36 out of 38) is a task that takes forever. First, the wait in the lobby for the elevator to arrive seems to take forever, and if you’re there during rush hours (anytime around 9:30 in the morning or lunch time), as you wait for an elevator to arrive more and more people flood the waiting area. So when the “ding” of the elevator finally arrives, you have to be strategically placed in front of the correct elevator door to have a chance of squeezing in.

Then the ride begins. I’m usually squished somewhere near the back or side of the small enclosed area, and I’m glad that I am not a person who is frightened by riding elevators, because it’s not a straight shot of a ride. We usually stop about at about 7 to 8 floors before we finally reach my humble floor of 36. And since the car is so packed, once you get to each floor its usually the person standing all the way in the back who says “excuse me,” and then everyone files out, giving them room to exit, and then everyone files back in, ready to stop at the next floor. It’s also funny when the jam packed car stops at a floor and the doors open to someone waiting to get on who takes one look at the full to the brim elevator, looks confused for a moment as if they want to try to squeeze in but know they really can’t do it, then steps back and lets the door close once again.
And lastly, probably the most uncomfortable part is the unwritten rule of elevators that you can’t really talk to people who you don’t know, but in the case of this elevator, you’re actually with them for an extended period of time. At least long enough to make an acquaintance. Or even a friend. But instead you just stand looking up at the floor numbers and count how many are lit up, mere stepping stones on your way up to your desk.

5. Grocery Shopping / Laundry-doing
As I mentioned before, I gave up my wonderful car when I moved here because of the availability of the wonderful subway system and lack of parking. One thing that my car had is a lot of trunk space. For groceries. Let’s compare the amount of groceries I can carry in my car:

To the amount of groceries I can manually carry the six blocks home from the grocery store:

As you can see, the difference is staggering. And the other thing about the grocery store (besides the fact that anywhere you go that’s not Wegman’s is a downgrade), is that you have to go to the grocery store for most items, and then a separate store for your fruits and vegetables. Why must we make things more complicated than they have to be? And as I showed before, since I don’t have my car for transport and two hands can’t hold that much, it’s always a task to carry all the grocery bags and make sure all the fruit and veggies don’t fall on the floor. Last week I spilled my apples all over the store. Not only embarrassing, but I had to eat bruised apples all week.

The last problem I have with grocery stores here is that they don’t have all the things I like! Last week they didn’t even have original Triscuits. Only those weird flavors. Come on, get the plain ones.

I’ve also decided to group laundry doing into this itemized rant because it is another chore that is made harder because it takes a five-minute walk to get to. Then you must get about 5 dollars worth of quarters to get just one load done. And since I don’t really want to spend hours of my day sitting in the Laundromat, I have to walk there, drop my stuff off, walk home, do something that cannot last more than 20 minutes, walk back, transfer to dryer, walk home, do something that cannot last more than 50 minutes, then go back to get my clean clothes. I miss the days when doing laundry meant walking into the room next to mine throwing my stuff in (for free!) then leaving it there until I felt like moving it. Or my roommates yelled, “Whose stuff is in the dryer!” Then I simply had to walk next door and get it. Those were the days.

6. Crowds and/or Noise
And the last item that I can think of that really upsets me as a New Yorker is the fact that it’s always loud. And crowded. Wherever you go. Whenever I’m doing any of the other things in New York that upsets me (subway riding, grocery shopping, etc) it is usually accompanied by loud noises and lots of people. Even just walking down the street involves careful weaving through and around people, and even when you’re just standing on the subway, the squealing of the train on the track can sometimes be enough to make your face scrunch up.

For example, I’ll get out of work and want to chat with someone on my phone as I walk down the street, but we won’t be able to have a conversation of any sorts because a bus or truck will be motoring by, people are yelling, cars are beeping for no apparent reason other than to promote noise pollution, and some sort of emergency vehicle will have it’s siren blaring and will be headed in my direction. Apparently anytime I talk on my cell phone triggers an emergency of some sort. Maybe I should lay off the calls and numerous fires/crimes will be avoided.

And even if you are walking down the street with someone who is physically present, right there next to you, there are numerous times in a two block radius where you cannot hear a thing they are saying. And sometimes, if you want to walk briskly, you’ll lose the person you’re with completely. Especially when you’re in high traffic areas (Times Square) crossing a street. It’s a block of people crossing a block of people and it’s hard enough not to smack into anyone without trying to stay next to your friend as well.

And get this - the subways are so loud when they roll into the station, or even when you are on them, that I can have my I pod buds in my ears, and have the music turned almost all the way up, and not hear anything except the roar of the train. Which I think is probably really bad for my ears. So mostly now I just reserve myself to the fact that I can’t leisurely listen to music when on the train, but instead I have to hear the loud sounds of the underground subway machine. And whatever crying kid is on my subway car.

And it’s not like I don’t like people—I think people are very wonderful for the most part; I’m not a hermit or anything—but I hate large crowds of people. When they prevent me from doing something, like moving. Or getting where I want to go. And that seems to happen a lot here.

So, there you have it. 6 reasons preventing me from buying a 5$ tee shirt from the next street vendor I see and proudly proclaiming to the world:

And I would like to take this last sentence to apologize for sounding like a huge miserable Debbie Downer throughout this whole post.

“But Marci, there are so many things to do in New York, you’re lucky to be living in a city where dreams come true for millions of people… …”

Waaaah Waaaaah.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Karaoke Superstar.

I have a tee shirt that says Karaoke Superstar on it. I didn’t buy it because I think it’s funny, or stylish, or because it’s just that right shade of green. I don’t take the slogans on shirts lightly. I honestly believe that I am a Karaoke Superstar. And it’s not because I have a really good voice, because I don’t. It’s also not because I have a really awful voice that’s fun to imitate (William Hung). In fact, I’m not really sure why I think I’m a Karaoke Superstar…

Maybe it’s because last summer in LA I lived down the street from DIMPLES, the first ever Karaoke bar in America. And the first time I went there, I performed Celene Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” with my roommate who I didn’t even really know that well. And we rocked the shit out of it. I’m not just saying that because I felt good up there. Or because I was drunk. Because I was completely sober. I’m saying it because when the song started, the completely packed house was moaning because of our selection. But by the end of our rendition, after I growled out the climactic “BABY, BABY, BABY,” the audience was screaming for more. And for us to make out. So as I stood up there, watching the video play back on their large projection screen, and seeing the gems on the crown I had put on shine as I belted out lyrics from my favorite French Canadian diva, I just knew that me and Karaoke were meant to be.

That summer, my roommate and I took every opportunity we could to hone our karaoke skills. We were the only people to sing songs in English every Margarita Monday night at our favorite Mexican joint down the street, we continued to frequent Dimples regularly, and we even sang among the child stars at the open mic night in the Oakwood Community we called home. I think I finally knew I hit the big time after we performed at one such open mic night (Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway”) and was approached by a showbiz mom who eagerly told me, “I love your voice. It’s very unique.” What she was thinking was “I wish you were my daughter. I would have had you in auditions at the age of four.” That moment was when I graduated from Karaoke novice, to Karaoke Professional.

How did I become a superstar, you ask? Well after leaving Los Angeles, I sort of fell out of my Karaoke ways…back at school in Ithaca I wasn’t accustomed to the places that provided the sport of imitation singing, and I seemed to be busy every Wednesday night, the one day each week the locals came out to sing their hearts out at The Haunt. But I kept at it, singing in the shower, and sometimes jamming out to Oxygen OnDemand, which allows you to perform primitive Karaoke in your own living room. But it just wasn’t satisfying my itch. I needed a stage, I needed an audience…I needed – Spring Break.

Mrytle Beach. March 2008. Six girls and one dude (mega pimp) trucked it down to South Carolina to lie on the beach during the day, and drink the nights away. After a pricey dinner at Senor Frogs, and a frustratingly expensive tequila shot, we decided to try and find a cheaper way to spend our first Spring Break night. We found it. And boy did we love it. It was called Broadway Louie’s. And it just so happened they had Karaoke every night of the week. After two of us were selected to be judges for the Karaoke Contest that night (and given a $40 bar tab), we decided this was the place for us and sat back to enjoy the show. It took a little while to get back into my singing to the masses mode, but I decided to sign up to sing my girl Rihanna’s “Shut up and Drive.”

As I found my way to the stage and looked out into the audience, I thought to myself, “This is it. This is what I’ve been dreaming of.” So I sang that song. And I did not hold back. I dished out RiRi’s lyrics with the grace of a woman, not the timidity of a girl. And as I held my microphone out into the crowd of my friends in front of me so they could sing the famous “Shut up and Drive” line for all to hear, I knew that I had finally become – A Karaoke Superstar.

Every night that week we frequented Broadway Louie’s. And every night we rocked the house, acquiring fans and friends. We may have left Myrtle Beach at the end of the week, but we were forever in the hearts of the folks at Broadway Louie’s. They even took a photo of us as we left on that last faithful Friday night and posted it on the homepage of their website.

And that’s the most important thing I’ve learned about being a Karaoke Superstar – that even though it’s about the fun and glory, you gotta look out for your fans. Because when it comes down to it, they’re counting on you for a great time. So as I pick my next Karaoke hit to grace the stage with, and look out at the drunken masses I sing to, I will smile and sing my heart out.

Because I am a Karaoke Superstar.