Monday, December 31, 2007

Shit List

Similar to the doughebaggery, I'm adding people to my shit list.  Here are some new additions in no particular order. 

1.  Three Doors Down.  Yeah, we all loved Superman, but keep that awful song about joining the army the hell away from me when I'm at the movies.  I don't need to watch the full video before the previews start.  I'd rather watch those god awful body spray commercials they used to show.  And that's saying something.  

2.  Anyone one who works at The Apple Store, ESPECIALLY those smarmy pricks behind the Genius Bar.  Have you ever had a conversation with any of them?  First of all, it would help if you had a few drinks before you talk to these cock bags, but no, the genius bar is too smart to serve alcohol.  They want to look down at you for asking them questions, after you waited in line for about 35 minutes.  My friend Margot asked an employee (not a genius) a simple software question, and they guy was like "how can you not know this!?!?!?".  In the words of my stock broker...what a dick.  

3. The Patriots.  Yeah, 16-0* but just as evil as the Dolphins.  Fuck the pats.  

4. The Host at Nookies Tree.  (Yes, unfortunately it's actually called that)  That asshole gave us one of those over sized beepers that buzz you when your table is ready.  He promised us a "ten minute wait", never buzzed us, then crossed us off the list.  Congratulations.  You're a shitty host.  That's why I stole your beeper.  

In other news, I just finished watching Sicko.  It's damn good.  Check it out.  

*You know what the * means, Belichick.  

Friday, December 28, 2007

Close Game

There I was, in double overtime, down by two points. Rush is well guarded. Chalmers hands the ball off to Robinson for a wide open 3. He misses it. Kaun grabs the rebound and calls time out with 4.7 left on the clock. He’s been getting blocked all night inside. Too risky to put it back up. I pass it in to Rush, who drives, then kicks it out to a wide open Case in the corner. He buries the triple as time runs out. The Kansas Jayhawks stay undefeated.

Quite an exciting game I played last night against Boston College. I’m a few games ahead of the real KU in my season. I’m of course talking about the video game College Hoops 2K8, but stay with me.

If I was watching this game in real life, I probably would have shit my pants. KU was down by 3 in regulation, and Rush sends it to OT. Similar scenario in the first OT, but Chalmers was the hero. In real life, I hate overtime to begin with, because it’s so risky. You don’t want to see any mistakes.

The question is this: Do we want to watch our team just CRUSH their opponent, or do we secretly want a close game, with that last second shot, knowing we have a chance to loose. The latter of course does make the game more exciting, and you can enjoy the victory a lot more. I think it depends on the circumstances. If your favorite team is playing their bitter, evil rival, (I don’t know who is more evil than Mizzou) and they just murder them from the start, that’s exactly what you want. It’s bragging rights, it’s revenge, it’s fun to watch the entire game, even when the scrubs take the court. Everyone is pumped up, even when they are up 100-34.

Of course, no matter who your team is playing, you immediately hate them until the game is over. At least I do. So in that case, you always want them to win by 73. But, the truth is, as long as they win, it can go to quadruple OT and it’s fine by me.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Diver down

I like Scuba diving. I haven't been in over a decade though. I've thought of going while here in the Philippines, since the diving is world-class and all, but I don't have my certification card here, which presents a problem. I did go snorkeling, and it was cool, and it reminded me of how much fun diving can be. It struck me, why haven't I been diving in so long?

Well, let me introduce you to the second group in my series on douchebaggery - divers. They're awful. I'd forgotten how annoying they are. At the beach I am at right now, divers are the primary clientèle. Divers, like hikers (another group that can annoy me) get up needlessly early in the morning and then finish what they are doing at like 2 p.m. Why? Why go diving at 8 a.m. when you will finish with 4 hours of daylight left? Why not start at noon for sleeping purposes? This is vacation, right? Well, at 2 p.m. when the divers are done for the day, they drink. To the point of drunken embarrassment (and consider the source here) by 4 or 5 p.m. Every single one of them also wears a stupid "Turd River Dive Shop" or some such T-shirt, in case people couldn't tell they were divers, in case the fact that they only talk about diving and can't stand upright by sunset doesn't advertise this point enough.

When I started diving in the early 90s, I thought it might be an interesting way to meet girls. Oh, no. Not even close. Your average female diver makes your average Western female English teacher in Korea look like, I don't know, who's hot today to complete this analogy, um, a Barker's Beauty? The worst part while diving, you become excited to see a manatee, only to discover that it's just a female diver.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you all. It's 1:20 in the afternoon on Christmas Day in the Philippines, so I need to buy a bottle of rum before the divers get back to keep my sanity.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last night a DJ ruined my life

Okay, so I've been in the Philippines for 4 days, and I have lots to write about it. For starters, here in Boracay, there's more tang on sale than I've ever seen in my life. Surprisingly, I don't mean whores, I mean the ghetto astronaut drink. It's everywhere. There are convenience store signboards just announcing: TANG! While I haven't partaken yet, there's only so long one can go without indulging in the homeless man's Kool-Aid.

Anyway, I want to start a running series on, for lack of better term, douchebaggery. I must ask, is there a field more full of douchebags (not counting suburban police and mall security) than DJs? Is there a less educated/less talented person that could have more effect on your life in certain situations? I mean, these are high-school dropouts with czar-like power over a given club. Granted, I am not talking about high end DJs that are good at what they do, and often work at the top clubs in LA, Vegas, Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and Tokyo, nor am I talking about the up-and-comers working in lesser lights anywhere from Seattle to Stuttgart to Seoul. I am talking about the 99% that work in the clubs that you (and when I'm slumming it, me) may actually go to.

Why is it so easy to hate DJs? Well, first off, they all dress the same. Same tilted cap (and almost never one of a sports team, but of some bullshit snowboard magazine or something), same tank top, often an NBA jersey, same overly baggy track pants or jeans. This is true of all DJs, be they black, white, hispanic, or Asian, despite the fact that none of the white, hispanic, or Asian DJS are actually cool enough to pull this off.

Of course, their greatest crime - playing horrible music. Like, only top 40 or shitty mainstream hip-hop. I was at a club last night during happy hour, and they were playing cool, original laid back trance/house type of shit. Music you really won't here anywhere else. I returned to the club later at night, and it was just shitty generic Beyonce and other really boring mainstream shit, music that even as you here it for the first time, it seems familiar. I left immediately. I went to the club next door, which was showing a Rod Stewart DVD. I mean, Rod fucking Stewart. Yet, the people in the club seemed to dig it, though I didn't. Then, they muted the DVD and the DJ started playing - the exact same songs as the club next door. Only the bartender's glacial closing of tabs slowed the exodus to the door.

I'm just saying - DJs - you have an easy job. A really easy job. 5 years ago, the job consisted of changing cds, now its a matter of clicking a mouse. Is it so hard to play something decent that the club next door isn't playing?

By the way, when's the last time that you had a really good time at a club with horrible, unoriginal schlock playing?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dry Heat vs Dry Heat

I’m waiting at my gate for a flight to Arizona. The flight’s delayed, of course. Mine always are. The one good thing is the flight is not full. In fact, there are no B’s at all. No middle seats necessary.

I take a look at the gate next to us. They are overbooked. It’s the Friday night to Vegas. In their waiting area, there are guys in suits, girls in dresses, everybody ready to go out. Laughing. Excited. All of them attractive, young, and every ethnicity is represented.

I take another look at my side. Lots of old white guys either asleep or reading the paper, all wearing a holiday sweater.

The Vegas side is dressed to go out as soon as they land. They’ll probably get the party started in the air. ipods and Sunglasses. No one’s going to bed any time soon. In their immediate future, I see cubes of ice with the last remains of their first drink. My immediate future? Working, on my own stuff, which is good, but not nearly as fun or exciting. I’m watching the people at the gate next to us thinking about the time they are gonna have vs the time I will have over the next 72 hours.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could change your mind after you went thru security? If your boarding pass would get you on any plane? Hmm...San Diego sounds better than Cleveland. Ship it. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to the airport and not wanted to change my destination. The option you don’t plan on is automatically more adventurous.

In fact, I think I’ll slide over and join the party. You can find me at the Mirage. Just ask for Joe Kickass.


So, on Monday before we left, I ended up being forced to go to the University of Arizona’s campus, and if that wasn’t bad enough, having to go into their gift shop. But, fret not, my friends. I was prepared. I had on my blue KU shirt. I made sure to unzip my hoodie so everyone could see it. How foul is that? I got a bunch of strange looks. Honestly, I can’t believe nobody said anything…actually, what could they say? “You guys suck…at 10-0…after beating us…yeah…”

Rock Chalk, baby.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Economy Plus (or my announcement)

United Airlines, my hero of the skies (not sarcastic, I love United) created a new class of service a couple years ago. They call it “Economy-Plus.” Basically, it’s a coach seat in the emergency exit row with twice the legroom of a regular coach seat. Most airlines have extra legroom in the exit row due to logistics, but United further extended that legroom and created a sort of half-coach, half-business row. For a couple hundred dollars extra (or a couple $10 extra, depending on the route) United fliers get a lot more room to stretch out, and can take advantage of the business/first check-in line at the airport. But, no entry to the business/first class lounge at the airport, no free booze on the flight, and the same food that coach eats (assuming food is served) are the drawbacks that make this a half-way endeavor. From a business perspective, I can understand United’s reasoning here. I could also understand why a passenger may wish to indulge in this product.

Yet, I would never fly in Economy Plus. Why? Because it’s mid-range. I don’t believe in mid-range. Usually, you end up paying too much to get out of the low-end with too much of the low-end bullshit involved. So, I fly economy, or business (rarely), but never Economy Plus. I don’t stay at Holiday Inn or Raddison or the like. I stay at the Super 8, or Motel 6 or some lower fleabag, or I stay (rarely) at the Ritz. I drink rotgut store-brand liquor (some of my favorites include Jewel Premium and Commander) or I drink Grey Goose. I never drink Absolut or Johnny Red. I’d use a beer example here as well, but that would imply that Budweiser or Coors or whatever is of higher quality and taste than PBR. It’s not.

This has long been my philosophy. I am not one for half-assing it. I’m of the opinion that, while there are many flavors to life, most can fall into two categories: sustenance and living it up. As I have never been a rich man or a successful man or a smart man or a handsome man or - wait,, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Due to budget constraints, I generally opt for the sustenance option, but if I am to occasionally splurge, I do it right. I feel no need to frequently eat at the Applebee’s of the world when I can stick to Taco Bell most of the time (dear god how I wish that were a valid option here) and occasionally hit up, I don’t know, Charlie Trotters.

What does any of this have to do with right now? Well, not half-assing but instead, I don’t know, none-assing and full-assing goes beyond the economic realm as well. It also involves major decisions on my horizon. This, combined with the cold weather and thus lack of convenience store table to booze and write at, has played into why I’ve been shunning this blog the last few weeks. My contract ends, for all practical purposes once vacation time is considered, in 2 days. Thus, I am faced with a pretty big decision on what to do for winter vacation/2008/the rest of my life.
I saw my options as 4-fold. I could renew my contract with my school and go on vacation somewhere in Asia for shits and grins, but not go home for another year. Or, I could go “home” for a couple weeks, back to the land of my roots -Lawflortimorgo. And yeah, I hate those commercials too, but a two-week trip to the States demands stops in Lawrence, Florida, Baltimore, and Chicago. Or, I could take my free plane ticket home that I would get for quitting my job, bum around the aforementioned 4 places for 3 months or so (in the dead of winter) and get a new job in Korea in April or so. Finally, I could leave Korea entirely, so I could settle down in the city of X, drive a brand-spanking new Y, and work for the fine people at the Z corporation.

I’ve made a choice. Options 2 and 3 are off the board, because those are the half-ass options. And because Option 4 is both too much of a stretch and also too much of what I always do - raise up stakes and move somewhere new- I’m looking at option one now. I’m sorry to everybody I wanted to see and everybody I love, but it just seems like it makes the most sense to skip going home. So, I’m going to go to the Philippines ( a place where the Ritz costs 70 bucks a night) so I can sit on the beach and drink 30 cent beers. And, to take a proper vacation for the first time in forever, one that isn’t just 4 or 5 days. I hope you aren’t mad, and that you decide to come visit. I’m always open to visitors. Plus, I should be totally rich, so if you come out here for a visit, I’ll buy you tons of beers.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Not Arm Out. Arm in.

That’s how my friend Armin told me to say his name when I first met him in Baltimore. I spent one year in Baltimore, and it was a strange, yet essential time for me: The first year out of college. Living at the parent’s house. Moving somewhere with no friends, no school, and no job, but a lot of ideas.

I interned at a great theatre, but was working for peanuts. Made just enough to shoot pool and go to the bar on dollar bottles night. Through somebody I worked with, I met a group of about ten kids that had nothing to do with theatre, and loved to go out. Half of them lived in a big Convent, where the best parties were, and by the end of my year in B-more, I had my own room there. I hope my picture is still on the door.

I planned on leaving after a year (to get my shit together, is what I kept telling myself) and I’m glad I stuck to it. More than a year at the Rent’s house would not be good for anybody.

It’s always weird to re-trace your steps, and think how things happened the way the did. If I wouldn’t have interned at The Everyman Theatre, I never would have met all the friends I made. Almost everyone I knew left Baltimore at the same time, and a lot of the connections I made died then, except for a few emails. Aaron is still here, Adam’s not far, and it was good to see half the crew in Chi-town last year, but I have no idea what Mikey or Vanessa are up to these days. I’ll have to visit Ross and Armin out west soon.

Of all the people I met, Armin and I stayed in contact the most since our time in Charm City in 2003-04. Since we are both writers, (him novels, me scripts) we decided to collaborate on a project years ago. I think in 2005, Armin came to Chicago and the project was born…

Shit…Blogs are supposed to be short. Stay tuned for part II. While you’re waiting, please enjoy some shameless self promotion.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My 2 cents

On Kickass's last post.

1. I beat Grid Irony also. Too bad my team is absolutely terrible and pretty much squandered a playoff spot.

2. No Mizzou. Good times. But, I also have nothing more to say here.

3. The Kansas basketball Jayhawks have just beaten 2 solid teams, and with our two best players injured. Just sayin.

4. Um, no question on the evil factor between Arizona and USC. USC could beat Notre Dame for the next 100 years (and may well, it seems) and that still won't be anywhere close to the 1997 KU-Arizona game, which was unquestionably the most painful and evil game in the history of sports. That game was far worse then the Lin Elliot game and the Bartman game combined. Lute Olsen and his great hair can go to hell. That said, USC certainly gained some evil points by signing Lil' Romeo.

5. I watched the end of the Monday Night game. I don't like the Ravens, and I have roto interests on New England so I don't despise them this year. But I have to say, since not a single sports writer has (including in the Baltimore Sun) - The Ravens got jobbed. They made plenty of mistakes, which is going to happen with Kyle Boller under center. But, the Ravens did stop the Patriots on 4th down THREE TIMES during the course of New England's winning drive, and each time the refs found a reason to overturn the play. The last call, on 4th an 5 or whatever with 30 seconds left, the illegal touch call that gave New England the first down seemed to be a very ticky-tack call, and not one a ref should make in such a situation (the closing seconds of a close game.) Of course, it's in the league's best interest for the Patriots to win, undefeated teams get huge ratings since everybody wants to see them lose. Maybe the ESPN announcers somehow made sense out of these calls, but watching the game with Korean announcers, all I had to go by was what I saw.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

There is a God

1. Missouri will NOT be going to the National Championship game. That's all I have to say about that.

2. The KU Basketball Jayhawks defeated Arizona in OT to remain undefeated. We have the equally if not more evil USC tomorrow. Let's roll.

3. Speaking of OT, last week the Bears beat one of the evilest teams of all time, the Broncos. Now we have to crush that pip-squeak Eli. He just looks like he needs a good ass kicking. I hate that guy. And his brother. That's right, I said it. His commercials suck too. I might have to see what Dark Tag can do with it.*

4. I beat Grid Irony. Many of you won't know what that means, but the few that do understand.

*In case you missed any parody vids, check out my YouTube page in the Links section on the right.