Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Feminist gamers are in an uproar.
They essentially say that this perpetuates the stereotype that men must rescue the damsel in distress, but also adds making fun of fat people.
Now, before I anger any feminist that might read my blog, let me point out that making fun of fat people has been going on for years. Since about the time of kings and queens and princesses where being fat was a sign of social hierarchy. Nowadays however, those that make themselves fat by underexcercising and eating like slobs, I feel, somewhat deserve the tough love of getting made fun of. It all goes with my thought that America is a wussified, baby eared nation.
Back to the feminists at hand. I took a gender studies class because I thought it would be interesting. I'm all about seeing things from another person's point of view, and not having the female genitalia, I couldn't see thing from a pure female p.o.v. I could only empathize with how females felt.
I didn't however get to expand my horizon. I found that most the people in the class (most not all) hated me merely for being male. There was no discussion. I was either a male pig or sitting in silence and being talked about like I wasn't there. I remember spending an entire class period arguing that Brokeback Mountain was a horrible love story, not because it involves two homosexual males, but because it was boring and horribly written. The people in this class saw it as an attack on homosexuals.
Basically what I'm saying is, how are you going to argue a point or try to fight for your rights, when there is no discussion. It seems that you're either with extreme feminist (this is only for the extreme feminist because I've had many great discussions with many feminist) or they call you names until you give up and leave.
Monday, July 28, 2008
He has an oversized red and black basketball jersey and cargo pants on. I make my selection, and as I'm doing it a manager screams, "HEY!" and scares the bejesus out of me. I turn to look and the shop keeper is pointing to the kid who has shoved a bottle of Evan Williams whiskey and a cheap vodka I've never seen before in his cargo pockets, and takes off running toward the back of the store. My only thought was, if you're going to steal liquour at least steal good liquour.
Customers are already forming little groups to talk about their little bit of excitement for the day. About three customer service reps, a produce guy, and a cart guy take off after the little shoplifter in the back of the store.
I checkout and leave the store. As I get into the car, I see the shirtless shoplifter running across the street with the bottles wrapped in his shirt. I notice his destination, a beat up blue car, with two redneck parents in the driver and passenger seat. The dad has his shirt off, long flowing mullet hair, faded tattoos covering his body, and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. The mom had ratty hair and lack of makeup and she was looking in the one rearview mirror on the car (like I have room to talk) for her son.
The kid jumped in the car and the unpleasantly still sober family drove off.
I briefly considered going Batman on them and boxing the car in, waiting for authorities to show up. Then the faces of the kids I taught at Lighthouse Care Center popped into my head and I started thinking about the stories in their files. Parents mercilessly beating them with belts, pots, pans, chains, fists, and baseball bats. I knew that this kid getting into that car with that cheap alcohol might help him escape a beating for a night. I know that parents that would send their children to shoplift for them, don't take kindly to kids that fail. I let them go, and didn't even call into the store to tell them where the shoplifter was. I thought perhaps I saved this kid for a night.
If I was Batman, and had a costume I could've chased the kid down an alleyway and explained to him why it was wrong. Perhaps give him an option of safety with D.S.S. and the authorities. Twenty years down the line, if this fantasy follows normal comic book progression, this kid would grow up to be a superhero too because I gave him a second chance.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The first thing I noticed was the entire crowd at Riverport (or UMB Bank Pavilion/Verizon Wireless Amphetheater) was pretty much composed of tweens and their parents that think tie-died shirts are still cool concert-wear.
The next thing I noticed was a large amount of obese young children. Its disgusting honestly. There's a reason why America is the fattest country in the world, because parents let it happen. Sallie noticed that the line to Papa Johns pizza within the amphitheater was filled with this fat people all buying their own personal pizza. Not only were a large number of these girls overweight, but an even larger number were dressed like... well whores. They had tons of make-up on, tween cleavage hanging out, and baby Gap thongs sticking out of their pants. What has surburbia done to parenting?
I think beer sales for the night were higher than that of Ozzfest. Every parent stuck at this concert from 5:30 until 11 slammed beer after beer. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the kids won't live to see their next Jonas Brothers show.
Since Verizon Wireless now sponsors the venue, you could pay several dollars and get a text message put up on the 8 or so giant televisions. 95% of them was some variation of "Emily, Abby, Kaytie, and Jilly LOV (Insert first name of Jonas bro) Jonas. Scream if you love (Insert name again) Jonas <333" Then all of the girls in the stadium would scream. Out of the 200 text messages displayed, 150 of them all commanded the crowd scream or holla'. All 150 times the crowd erupted into eardrum piercing shrills. It never got old for them.
The first act, Demi Lovato wasn't bad, but I didn't want to see her. Her being there meant the show was going to be 30 minutes longer than I wanted. Then the surprise of the night, Avril Lavigne wasn't the headliner. She opened for the Jonas Brothers and you can tell she didn't like it. She had this disgustingly fake smile, showed very little energy. She even toned down her songs for the PG crowd... I guess to the happiness of baby eared tweens everywhere. This is Avril Lavigne. She doesn't use enough cursing to get a Parental Advisory sticker, but she skipped songs with adult messages and instead went for the "girl power" show.
Lastly was the Jonas Brothers. For those of you who don't know, these guys are the newest sensation in the tween market. They're clean, they're Christian, and they're gorgeous. They kept showing videos of the brothers talking about what its like being on the road and being brothers, and I'm sure it was interesting, but anytime one of their smiling faces appeared on screen, 20,000 girls screamed at the top of their lungs.
The three brothers came out on stage, but disappointingly only one brother, little Nick Jonas, wore a tie. (And what a tie it was, burnt orange with black, gray, and white stripes.) How long does it take a Jonas Brother to lose a tie? According to the text messages I was sending to people about 37 minutes. Ole Nicky loosened the tie when he sang a song on the piano about his diabetes. Yes, the Jonas Brothers take up causes.
At one point studmuffin Joe pulled a little four year old girl on stage to sing a song with him. She flipped out, and only managed to sing about 75% of the words. Then when Joe would touch her, excitement would take over her hands and she would wave them wildly in front of her face. ADORABLE!
They actually put on a pretty entertaining show. (Even the ugly one, Kevin.) They had fireworks, pyrotechnics, raising platforms, 15 person backup band, acrobatics, and their 10 minute diabetes documentary. (Little Nick is type 1, for those of you quickly becoming fans)
Overall I was fairly entertained. People watching was at its best, and if it wasn't for the Shania Twain song the brothers covered, I might have gained some respect for the band. Apparently, for the moment, these guys are like Elvis or the Beatles. Girls were actually crying during the concert, and from what I can tell, they weren't tears of pain like one would believe. And until the next big tween sensation pops up (I'm guessing its going to be Megadeath or Slipknot) the Jonas Brothers will reign supreme. Then they will join the ranks of Debbie Gibson, New Kids on the Block (yep their back on tour), N*Sync, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Vanilla Ice, Menudo... just look at the cassette tapes you've owned. Most of them are prime examples. At least we know VH1 will have a nice rebirth waiting for them on the Surreal Life or Behind the Music.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Besides the writing on greeting cards being mostly atrocious, I don't see the sense in people giving them because most of the time people simply write "Happy Birthday" or "Happy Anniversary" and sign their name. It's almost a selfish jester. Maybe three years from when you get it, you find it hiding in a box, you can open it and see... oh Uncle Joe was at my birthday. What a nice guy? People want it to stick in your head that yes, you cared enough about them to give them a card.
Cards also remove the need of being at events. Yes, people that show up at events usually bring cards too, but Aunt Susie that doesn't want to come can mail it. It takes the intimacy out of seeing relatives you don't care to see in the first place. Where's the uncomfortable small talk?
Greeting cards own at least two or three aisles of every Wal Mart because there is a greeting card for every occasion. According to Wikipedia, Hallmark started out making cards just for Valentine's Day (a fake holiday... but we'll discuss more come February 14) and Christmas. Then Mr. Hall got greedy. Fast forward 90 years and you can buy greeting cards for birthdays, thank yous, birth announcements, birth congrats, wedding congrats, generic congrats, get well wishes, and condolences. Yes, for one of the most depressing and horrible moments of a person's life, you can spend $5 on a flower print card, just to remind people how sorry you truly are.
Technology has even spilled into the greeting card industry, and with new technology, my annoyance with the greeting card company has grown. Hallmarks new line of cards speaks to you. These $7 treasures weigh about 10 ounces too much and in the worst sound quality will scream or sing phrases that were already annoying in print.
The other technology of the greeting card company, and probably the thing saving the industry disgusting amounts of money are Ecards. These lovely flash programed cards can be sent via email to assault your monitor and speakers at the same time. I dont' normally open these when sent to me because of the recent rash of phising schemes and viruses being hidden in the links, but I do know many people like sending these. (Cough cough... grandma...cough... Aunt Lisa) And I do open them and enjoy them... but I only open them on my birthday. All other holidays I just don't trust it. (Unless someone specifically tells me to look out for one)
Before I leave you all hating me I will say two validating things about greeting cards. In my hate, I do find myself picking up dozens and reading them anytime Sallie is looking for one to send off. Every now and then I'm surprised and impressed by what I come across, and it passes the time. (I'm going to be sexiest here, but it takes women twenty minutes to find the perfect greeting card. Then the one they want almost never has any envelopes left. Am I right guys?) Second, when someone actually does write something in the card, I keep them. I have a box that has every worthwhile greeting card from the past 10 years shoved in it. So if you truly want me to keep your card for longer than it takes me to walk to the trashcan once you leave, write something in it.
There's nothing wrong with that. Giving money to something you believe in is important, but I have to ask, is Mr. Washington giving money because he actually supports this or is he attempting to get back the career that one comment made in private and later in public cost him? Isaiah said the word "faggot" on at least two accounts. This isn't a proper word to throw around once you graduate eight grade, but did Washington deserve to get kick off of Grey's Anatomy and essentially blackballed throughout Hollywood? This jobless man is throwing what money he has left trying to get people to feel alright around him. I thought homosexuals reclaimed that word in the mid-90s. I thought it was now considered a term of power.
Should we give words that much power? It is us that give those words power. I think that's something people forget. Everytime someone drops the "n" word, they feel they have to apologize to Al Sharpton, because sometime in the last ten years he was voted official diplomat to all black people.
I think this is just a by-product of a wussyfied and lawsuit happy America. It all started in 1994, when Stella Liebeck bought a 49cent cup of coffee from McDonalds, burned herself, sued, and won $640,000. Since then, anyone with money or anyone in the public eye has to worry about everything they say and do. This is because instead of just settling for a lottery ticket a day and not winning for years, America found a quicker and somewhat more realistic way of getting a butt load of money.
Stop being such wussies. If someone says something offensive to you, calm down. Calmly tell them that it offends you. Don't hold it inside, only to let it explode later. Don't tell everyone that this person is a racist. Perhaps you misheard or misunderstood what was being said. All I know is Isaiah Washington messed up, and now his dream of being an actor might be ruined. Something seems disgustingly wrong with that picture.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The highschool faces shown beautifully as if untouched by life, hidden away in a time capsule. The new faces that were there fit in as if they always belonged, and the ones that weren't there I expected to show up at every second. Money was a nagging factor, but I just couldn't bring myself to drink a beer and chance blurring this second chance.
I smiled in the background a lot tonight.
My birthday is in a week and somehow the excitement I once got for it has dissapeared. I somehow think its because this is the first year no one has asked me for a birthday list. I think birthday lists are one of the most innocent and sacred things, and people just stop believing in them around my age, like you stop believeing in the toothfairy.
Why do we create this world where we just work ourselves to death? Who decided the 40 hours workweek, rush hour traffic, large lawns to take care of, leisure time in front of the television? Why can't we reclaim and keep those things that are important to us?
I hate having the birthday song sang to me, and I hate having birthday parties, but I almost miss them. If only to have a little bit of that back. Take some significance away from bills and paychecks, and create and ultrasignificant counterbalance with a couple days a year.
This year for everyone's birthday I want a list and I don't want anything practical on it. Put a toy you want on it: a videogame, trainset you never got as a kid, remote control car, dolls, action figure, album. Stop asking for knifesets and matching curtains.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Sallie and I went for a 10 pm swim tonight (remember I told you our Vista empties out to the poolside, lucky us) and after the swim I decided to drip off for a second outside. I came in, dried off properly, and changed my clothes. Then I felt something crawling on my leg. I looked down and there was what at first appeared to be a large slug on my shin. Then it bit me! Slugs don't bite as far as I know. Turns out I had a freaking leech on me. I grabbed a paper towel, squished it, and threw it away.
Now leeches (or parasites in general) already freak me out. If I ever got a tape worm and the doctor said I was going to have to poop it out, I would seriously consider keeping it and ignoring it was in my body. Let me explain why. I am not scared of spiders, insects, the dark, heights, poor people, criminals, guns, aliens, or anything else people are often scared of. However, things that don't appear to have any bone structure such as leeches, snakes, eels, and various worms (Except earthworms. I cut one open in highschool and they just seem less threatening) scare the living crap out of me. The idea of having one in me scares me even more. Somehow though, the thought of a leech attaching itself to the outside of me is the scariest scenario yet. I wanted to burn him and my leg.
I thought I handled it well. I definitely had distress in my voice when I was begging Sallie to bring me a tissue, but I don't think I was to the panicked fifteen year old girl in a slasher movie screech yet. I pulled him off of me and then put hydrogen peroxide all over my leg. If leeches can get me at my own home, they can get me everywhere.
Monday, July 14, 2008
July 9: Being back in
Wandering around and seeing all the places I love and loved is almost heartbreaking. It feels almost like when you see the ex-significant other in the hallways of the high school with another man. I hate seeing the freshmen coming in, not knowing exactly what a great place they are moving to. Sometimes I wish I could be put into a time capsule to continually relive these moments. Even when I’m with some old friends, they don’t quite ignite the same invincibility I once felt. I was drinking a Coors Light and looking around at the mostly empty bar and thinking I feel the same way… kind of empty here. I want so badly to stay here, but I don’t know if there’s enough for me to stay for. I miss worrying about grades and money for pizza rather than money for bills and where I’m going to work and live.
July 10: Less emo kid today. I woke up irritated that we didn’t walk home through campus last night. I sort of tried to direct our group through there, but everyone wanted to walk on the perimeter of campus. Tonight, I have to walk through campus. It’s just tradition. I used to walk through campus every chance I got.
I like walking everywhere. I want to be able to survive with limited vehicle assistance. Being here furthers my extreme need to live in a city somewhere. A place we’ll only need one car for running to the grocery store or making it out to the suburbs or country to see family and friends. I hate having to drive. I hate needing a car. I hate how we keep building towns to necessitate driving everywhere. I’m tired of spreading out. I want to be within thirty feet of my next door neighbor. Try to reinvent the closeness of neighborhoods.
For the most part, the town is still intact from when I left. The bike lanes are still on every street, large amounts of the 84,000 people walk to anywhere they can, and as far as I can tell, besides Nikai and C.C.s City Broiler (goodbye ten year anniversary of Sallie and my engagement), nothing downtown has gone out of business since I left. In fact a bar notorious for bad cover bands blazing through frat boy music still has the same cover band, playing the exact same Dave Matthews, Sublime, and Jack Johnson songs they’ve been playing since 2004.
Three super Wal Marts opened in the last few months I was here, and the aftermath is starting to show. Stripmalls that once were filled with mom and pop shops are starting to look run down and abandoned. New stripmalls are being built next to the Wal Marts, but the mom and pop shops remain gone. Instead Sprint stores, Kohls, EB Games, and Subways spring up creating the suburban look that I loved
Some people get funny when they’re drunk. Some people melodramatic. Some become jerks and some just get stupid. I saw all of the above tonight. The honeymoon period of everyone missing us and not seeing us for so long was over, and slowly things that happened in college started surfacing again. Drama I had forgotten about. The uphill battle of keeping everyone happy. Trying to entertain everyone at the same time.
I guess for the most part I had a great time tonight with a couple of annoyances. Overall I guess I’m over college. It’s a great place to visit time and time again, and an even better place to visit the vast and great memories I created while here, but overall I just don’t think the magic I once felt can ever be recaptured. I want to come back, but I want to come back with expectations that things will be different.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Nikai- Forced to shut down thanks to shooting
Lee St. Deli-
Tropical Liquers- Check
Things of interest
See the Place on last time- Check
Hang on the stoop- Saturday night plan
See Allie's dog- About to do this
Go shooting guns- Saturday afternoon plans
Walk through campus-
I think I can accomplish almost all if not all of this list.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
The demise of the VHS rental and the grocery store rental center hurt our culture. Rarely will someone get to peruse an aisle and rent a movie based on its cover. Netflix is in place to let you know what you will like. There seems to be a lack of stumbling upon a good movie nowadays because everyone is trying to shove the large comedies like "Old School" or the blockbuster summer movies like "Spiderman 3" down your throat. I frankly feel ripped off.
And where's the society of film enthusiasts urging each other to check out the latest Bergman film, or discussing the demise of Woody Allen's comedy while standing in the comedy aisle. I find myself force feeding people movies I deem worthy, just so I can discuss them.
I miss when my most irritating part of video rental was when the previous renter didn't rewind the film, or when I would tape three movies onto one VHS tape and I had to try to get to the start of the middle film. I mean, how much money was made off of those quick rewind machines? They came late in the VHS life. And VHS head cleaner. Or what about when your VCR ate the tape and you had to carefully pull it out and respool the film? People don't have to earn their movies anymore. You can pop them in and have subtitles, scene skip, and special features at your fingertips.
DVDs only have a limited amount of time left. Blue Ray has won the war and Netflix is switching their library to a digital format. Will we be able to brag about our DVD collection, or will everyone have every movie at their finger tips over the internet?
I'm all for digital most things, but I feel you lose something when movies and books become electronic copies only.
Monday, July 7, 2008
We have both of our dressers, our bed, tv, tv stand, lamps, and entertainment center set up on a 15' by 15' patch of carpet where at one point my brother's drum set and family workout equipment once reigned supreme. Sallie and I were both concerned that privacy would at some point become an issue, but with our new sheet fort technology (also known as getting older and a bit smarter) we've essentially created something we've both wanted for fifteen years.
Very little light comes in. We have room to hang out, run around, and even break dance if we wanted to. The TV and DVD player are set up and running well. And thanks to Boeing, wireless internet is at our fingertips.
The cats love our new area. I think this is because neither of them have ever had this much space to rampage around. When I first introduced Slider to the space he was going to occupy, he's eyes just about fell out of his head. I've never seen a cat's eyes open this wide. He honestly doesn't know what to do with his new found freedom. Crash has found one thirty foot lane of concrete she can run back and forth on. She's been chirping a lot and allowing you to pet her, which means she happy. Slider's only issue is he wants to be around us all the time. Especially when we enter the main floor and he's not invited. (Although he's already figured out how to open the cat door from the inside it seems.)
Our villa opens up to a pool and deck. Has a fridge and bathroom within five feet. It stays the perfect temperature all the time. We have yet to see a single, living spider down here. Yes, life might just work out fine for the next several months.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
After we got out of the main Myrtle Beach area, we made it to and through most of the Smokies with little interference. We had actually commented on how easy the first five hours had been. Then we hit a couple patches of rain. There's nothing scarier than driving down a 7% grade and getting pelted from above with rain and having your vision from the road roughed up from the steam coming off of it. It was about this time that our overly active (but extremely lovey) cat, Slider, kind of woke up from his tranquilizer induced coma. You could tell the drugs were still in full affect because the little film that covers cats eyes when they sleep, still covered most of his eye even though he was awake. He couldn't decide where he wanted to go and continues to climb over us and the seats until finally coming to rest in the litter box. After the rain and the cat we decided this trip is going downhill quickly and it was time for our first caffeine fix, 2 twelve ounce Redbulls.
An hour later we go for caffine fix two, a soda called Cheerwine (delicious) and a normal Coke.
We still had roughly ten hours of road to cover at this point and we had already resorted to caffeine. With relatively few hold up and distractions (The road was almost clear since everyone else on the planet was off BBQing and watching fireworks) we made it through Nashville, through Kentucky, and into southern Illinois.
During this, nightfall came and we watched fireworks explode from our car. At one point we crossed the Tennessee River and I looked out over a valley to my right and saw a huge factory, with smoke, and orange lights, with fireworks exploding in the background. I swear that a flashback of news footage popped into my head. I through that I had driven across the ocean and was watching Bagdad get bombed. The entire situation felt eerie.
We started hitting patches of fog in southern Illinois hampering our vision to about thirty feet in front of us, and in true idiot driver fashion, we had about 15 billion people driving around with their highbeams on, blinding everyone else. Eventually we needed another Redbull fix. This time I complemented it with two off brand packets of jerky. We filled up at the only gas station for a 55 miles stretch of road and paid $4.19 a gallon. Ouch! I suppose it did its trick and we made it to St. Louis at about 4:30 a.m. Eastern time.
The arch was beautiful and I had a new found excitedness about being back. We unloaded the car, threw some blankets on the floor and slept. I woke up this morning to find a sticky note on my forehead from my stomach. It said, "Dan, you're an idiot. Red Bull and jerky that late in the morning? Really? Since you did that to me, I'm going to go ahead and give you cramps. Good luck with that. Love Stomach." Total time being awake: 22 hours Total Drive time: About 16 hours Next trip to Myrtle Beach in a car: Never Something’s money can't buy, for everything else... there's always packing up and getting out before it gets much worse.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Yes, we need an emergency fund since Sallie and I are both jobless currently. I couldn’t justify keeping two videogame consoles in our time of need.
I’ve been trying to sell it on Ebay for the past three weeks with a $275 reserve on it. I just wasn’t hitting the mark. I thought I was doing everything correctly. I figured paying the extra dollar to have my Wii featured on Ebay might capture a couple more eyes. Maybe if I had lower shipping than the rest of the sellers (I did $15 instead of $25) getting rid of their Wiis. I even made sure the auction ended on a weekend day during the night, assuming I would attract more gamers when they are active. Turns out I was wrong.
The first time the final bid was $235. The second time it was $232. This just wouldn’t do. I mean I was packaging about $100 worth of accessories with the Wii. If it was just the system I would say maybe.
The last time I put it up I took a gamble. It ended in the afternoon on a Wednesday and I also put free shipping. Turns out I wasn’t thinking. The hardcore gamers that chug down Mountain Dew and play Halo all weekend don’t want a Wii because as our good friend Neil would say, “I has nothing but a bunch of baby games out for it.” Hardcore gamers don’t want to waggle their Wii-motes around. They want to decapitate terrorists. So my audience I was trying to sell to was 8 year olds and parents.
Then something about the word “free” being next to a product makes people go insane. I had twice as many bids and finally ended the auction at $320. That means just by getting rid of the $15 shipping fee I made $100. I can understand though because I gone insane for the word free. Last week at the grocery story I bought two boxes of Frosted Flakes because it was buy one get one free. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Frosted Flakes, but I’ve been forcing myself to eat bowl after bowl to justify having two boxes in the house and I’m just about sick of it now. But because it was buy one get one free at the grocery store, all common logic went out the door and my brain said, “yes, you could eat 2 lbs of sugar flakes… no wait… you NEED 2 lbs of Frosted Flakes.”
So anyway, Wii is gone. Assuming Sal and I have jobs soon, maybe I’ll trade in our unused emergency money toward a PS3 and sell my Xbox. I think that’s the way things are going right now anyway.