|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, June 17, 2005
Latter-Day Da Vinci
I think my Internets are broken or something. (EDIT: Well, they were about two hours ago.)
I'm waiting and waiting and waiting for these pages to load up, but it's just not happening for me. I've tried everything. I've smacked the CPU box, I've jiggled the plug... Hell, I even pulled the cartridge out, blew on it, then put it back in almost all the way and pushed it down so the front edge scraped the edge of the console (bonus points if you get that).
Nothing seems to be working.
It doesn't matter though. Even without my Internets, I can get all bloggy anyway.
As you can probably figure from my writeup of our Vegas dinner, I'm pretty handy with a wine list. More specifically, being the point person when the bottle is uncorked is not a pressure-packed situation for me. I know that he'll show me the label which confirms my purchase. I know I'm going to be shown a cork, which I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT FEEL THE NEED TO SMELL. Actually, you check the bottled end for signs of moisture which ensures that the bottle was stored (properly) on its side. I know what to do with the tasting portion too. I'm not the guy who can tell you it has faint whimsy of elderberry or some such shit, but I can at least tell if we have gotten a skunked bottle or not.
So I go get my oil changed last night... I'm sure better comedians than I have assessed the "show me the dipstick" situation, but damned if I don't have a little Niles Crane panic attack when we're getting close to the end of the service. The dude with the tats and the peasy mustache is going to pull the dipstick and show me I'm full, and I'm just going to have to take him at his word with a nod and a smile.
I'm horrifically inept when it comes to cars. I can change a tire and a blinker bulb, and I can absolutely fill my washer fluid without consulting the manual. But what does it say about a guy who can check a cork for rot, but doesn't know that dark oil on his dipstick is generally bad?
Every cartoon I've ever seen with an oil well tells me oil is black, and you're telling me my oil is dirty? How would you know?
It embarrasses me a little that some fucking troglodyte D-minus retard with a GED ends up with more expertise than I have in an area that doesn't involve kicking the shit out of some dude for lookin' at his woman funny. As a civilized man I'm above a good bar brawl, but cars are complicated. I'm a smart dude, but cars and me are like girls and math. It's just not sinking in.
(Heh heh heh)
I've thought about maybe learning a little more about cars, taking on small scale repair as a hobby. That being said, my family reads that last sentence and immediately issues a "NO-SELL" order to the local Sears tool departments. There'll be a picture of me behind each register issuing a ban on allowing me access to even the most entry-level of socket sets.
I can't do it. I can't be a renaissance man. I'm no latter-day Da Vinci. I think to be that kind of man in today's society I'd have to bow down before the masters and learn. Click and Clack. Rodney Yee. Billy Blanks. Ron Popeil. Thomas Kinkade. Andrew Lloyd Webber.
I just don't have the patience.
I'm going to have to settle for being somewhat witty and reasonably well-read, and for having impeccably good taste in music (pats self on back). I'll take my logical nature and love of wine, my predilection for bad television and inability to stop telling you guys every last little thing that haunts me, and I'll just be content with that.
Renaissance my ass. I'll take what I've already paid for and run with it.
Speaking of Bad TV
I just want to take the host of "Hit Me Baby 1 More Time" and punch him in the mouth. I can't place the accent, but if I had to guess, I'd go with "dickwad."
Unfortunately, I like his show.
I Tivo'd the Bravo re-run of last week's NBC show and watched it last night (a week after it happened "plausibly live"). I had watched the first episode, and agreed with what CJ said last week. Arrested Development blew the roof off the joint. They trotted them out, unsurprisingly, for "Tennessee" in the first half of the show, and then they did a song called "Heaven" by Los Lonely Boys in the "cover a hit from today" portion of the program. Both were really really solid performances.
And then you had Loverboy and a bloated Mike Reno, who exemplified the "train wreck" nature of reality TV.
Last week's episode was actually pretty solid up and down. Recapping...
The Knack: Capably ran "My Sharona" up the flagpole, announcing at the end they were set to cover Jet's "Are You Going To Be My Girl." I had been trying to figure out which band exactly Jet was derivative of for quite awhile, and I think they may be the heirs to what the Knack had been trying to do before getting mired in one hit wonderdom. Anyway, very capable cover. It was right up their alley.
Tommy Tutone: Surprisingly, they didn't play "867-5309 (Jenny)." Okay, they did. Sounded the same as ever. Their cover was a pretty good version of Blink-182's "All the Small Things." They did it in a straightforward fashion, but it was solid.
Haddaway: The only redeeming part of the "What Is Love?" portion of the program was one backup dancer I couldn't take my eyes off of. She was so freaking juicy with those deep eyes and big ass and... WHOA! Her dress at one point rode halfway up her ass and gave the crowd an AWESOME view. I fast forwarded through Haddaway's cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic" after he crawled onto the stage in that pseudo-sexy sort of way. Ugh.
The Motels: Or, rather, Martha Davis. I forget the name of the "hit" they/she covered, but was fascinated during the "where are they now???" segment. She was up in Seattle doing a circus-themed cabaret dinner theatre sort of thing where she'd emerge in full Cleopat-regalia from a sarcophagus and belt out a number or two. Nice gig if you can get it. Like everyone else, she said she was working on a new album. Uh-huh. Don't hold your breath. She did breathe a breath of fresh air into Norah Jones' "I Don't Know Why" by turning it into an up-tempo rocker. Nice effort.
Vanilla Ice: I really had thought this might be the biggest train wreck on the show. If I were Robbie, I'd be pretty irritated if anyone even brought up my big hit. It's embarrassing. But he did an okay job with "Ice Ice Baby," even breaking out into one of those trademark goofy b-boy dances he used to do with an ironic grin on his face. At the end of the song he told the host his next would be a cover of Destiny's Child's "Survivor." Hmm... Well, good for Robbie. Like a good hip-hopper should, he took the chorus from the song, tweaked it just a touch, and added his own verses around it. I'm not rushing out to buy the single or anything, but thank you Robbie (and thank you Martha Davis) for showing a little creativity here and not just covering someone's song straight across. Nice job.
Robbie ended up "winning," whatever that means. I think that he's probably fully come to terms with the fact that he's a symbol for everything that went wrong with hip-hop in his era, and isn't afraid to embrace who he is anymore. Good for you Robbie.
I still want to crack that fucking host in the jaw though. Ingratiating turd.
Musing on the Big Three-One
Was out of coffee at home and had to stop on the way to work for some this morning... so I picked Starbucks.
I know, I know. I should stick with the smaller non-corporate houses. Whatever, the coffee is gooooood.
Anyway, I had been wanting to pick up a thermos for awhile, and bought one this morning. At Starbucks. At a 210% or more markup.
$19 for a 16oz thermos, and they still charge you $1.80 to fill it up with coffee.
I also got crumb cake, which I certainly didn't need, but was tasty and awesome anyway.
So I'm getting a coffeemaker from my old man for my birthday. Since he's in Milwaukee, I'm likely getting it this weekend while I'm over there. I asked for a Bunn model, or at least one that didn't act all proud of itself on the box for "fast brewing" capabilities. A 45 second pot of coffee is a bad pot of coffee.
So this marks three of four people from whom I am getting a birthday present that have already told me about and/or given me my present. My birthday being nine days away and all, that's kind of depressing. Bob got me a coffee table book on thoroughbred racing, I'm getting the aforementioned coffeemaker from the old man, and Mikey's coming through with a year's subscription to Playboy. For the articles.
(Actually, that's pretty true. I like boobs, but I do have the Internets. I'm not in need of boobs, but I rather enjoy the Playboy Advisor Q&A every month, so there you go. Oh, and I actually do have three issues of Playboy buried in a drawer somewhere. The Kristy Swanson issue (awesome body, too artsy with the faraway looks and such), the Kiana Tom issue (she looked good, was always curious what she looked like naked), and the "Girls of Real World/Road Rules" specifically for Gisela for whom I am still holding a torch.)
My mom has no idea what to get me. I have no idea for what I should be asking.
So let's open this up to the floor for debate in the comments. My mom is going to be spending around $100 on me. I'm covered with kitchen stuff, don't need more music at this point, and probably have enough unread books on my shelf to last awhile (including Harrington... and Ray Zee's Hi-Lo Poker). The only two lame-ass things I can think of are sheets for my bed (hate spending my own money on that crap) and a frame for a print I've had for awhile.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
156PM - 216PM
Let's try fifteen more uninterrupted minutes, shall we?
I type that, then Al pings me on the Instant Messenger. Can a man not type in peace?
I made the page at OddJack again today, which is always kinda fun. Second trip in for me. This time, instead of pulling something that might be marginally gambling related (like the Stuey Ungar book review that was my first OddJack link), they pulled yesterday's fifteen minutes of typing piece.
Which was derivative crap, I'll admit. Tony Pierce has nothing to fear from me.
Anyway, I was just amused by the whole thing, that's all.
Okay, so I want to close the book on the post below by saying that while those of you that have read me for awhile know that I often give you the cringe-iest cringe-worthy stuff I can dredge up from my past, I promise you that no single incident in my life has left me as irritated as that one. I mean, this is coming from a guy that blew the one chance he had with an incredibly attractive, way out of my league girl because he (I) was convinced she was just using me to pass the time until her brooding prettyboy ex got back from a semester living with his mom in Kansas.
I was wrong, but at least I had a justification on that one.
I blame Utah, in case that didn't come across effectively in the last post. I remember watching this MTV show, which I think was called "FM Nation" awhile back. They followed maybe three groups of friends out on a Saturday night to have a good time, and tied it all together by having them in their cars listening to the same radio stations. Nifty idea I guess.
I don't remember much about MTV shows, they're designed to be instantly forgettable. But I remember the Utah episode.
Some college-aged doofus was driving around, and decided to drop in on this girl he knew from church and High School. He called her up, and said "This is Bryce, from your ward, do you remember me?" I italicize that because it's crucial to the story there kids. Anyway, he convinced her to go out for an ice cream cone with him.
Awww... isn't that quaint.
Anyway, she's ambushed by him and the MTV crews, but decides to get in his car and go. They get the ice cream, and he parks the car so they can eat and talk.
What happens next is something I could not in a million years make up.
The guy reaches behind him and grabs a plastic toy boat. He asks her, "Do you know what this is?" She shakes her head in befuddlement. "This, is a friendship," he says. He then grabs another toy boat and sails them along side-by-side, pantomiming some marginally rough seas. He says something about how two boats can sail side-by-side because they're friendships and all. Then he produces a bigger plastic toy boat and says again, "Do you know what this is?" Fear is creeping into her eyes, she's thinking "The boat from which you'll be dumping my concrete-laden body?" She doesn't say that, but you know she's thinking it. The guy says, "This is a relationship." Holy shit. Dude came prepared with props. He's like the Carrot Top of seduction all of a sudden, and he wants a relationship with a girl he had to use the "do you remember me?" line with about an hour ago.
But this is the utter insanity that is par for the course with the youth out there. You pine for a girl, you hope you can take her to a dance at some point, then you... well, then nothing. You don't get to pork her, Russ. It's not happening for you. You'll hang with her friends, she'll hang with yours, you'll sit next to her in the theatre when a dozen of you go see Shrek.
Do you see now? (It puts the lotion in the basket)
Bob even has a little bit of the scar tissue remaining from Utah, although he was too young to really be dealt the same crippling blow. I mean, that kid and that line of bullshit... you'd think he runs through women like toilet paper (ewww...), but it ain't working out that way for him. He's surprisingly nice and respectful to women - or at least women who don't try to hang all over him or get in his grill about gambling.
Damn. If I could trade my haircut for his smoothness? Heartbeat baby.
I really wish I was ending up in AC with a lot of y'all this weekend... Not that I could really afford it, but a little horse racing and a few drinks in Chicago will have to suffice in the interim. Should be fun.
Not Vegas-esque, but fun.
Three minutes left - since the hot chick left downstairs, I've been more comfortable walking around the house in my underwear. Not that she ever came up for a visit (ever), but there was something about having someone downstairs that always reeked of a dangerous spur-of-the-moment visit.
Again, never happened, but I always wanted to be prepared with pants.
To quote LL Cool J, "I'm that type of guy."
I Hate This Story, But Here You Go...
I have been getting an absolutely ridiculous amount of phishing (you have no idea how I loathe that word for the way it's spelled) spam lately. My inbox is cluttered with missives from various banks to which I don't belong telling me my password is corrupted, I get the ebay and PayPal ones, but the most aggressive ones lately are the emails from SUPPORT@GAMBLINGBLUES.COM or ADMIN or SECURITY or whatever else they hope lures me in.
Considering I am all those things, I think it's safe to say I can ignore them.
I really wish there was some respect for the purity of my inbox. These come ons are so sordid.
Maybe that's just the Mormon in me talking. I mean, I'm not and never have been a Mormon, but you live long enough in Salt Lake City, and the infection is hard to cure. It's kinda like my Uncle Gary, who had as thick a "Yooper" accent (think "Fargo" crossed with Canadian) as you could imagine, but picked up a twang less than two years into his Tennessee residency. Salt Lake City just gives you that Pollyanna-esque wide-eyed disbelief that's impossible to fight.
It's been awhile since I told an embarrassing story, and I've been saving this one up for awhile because I have been doing my damndest to block it from my head for about the last fourteen or fifteen years. It very well might be one of those symbolic moments that not only spoke volumes about the warped teen years in which I was mired, but also set the stage for the enormous dysfunction with women I seem to have as a recurring theme since.
I was a sixteen year old virgin. Well, to be fair, I was a nineteen year old virgin at one point too, but we're winding back the clock here. I was this skinny self-conscious kid with a mean streak a mile wide. There were no limits to my cruelty. All I wanted to do was take a swipe at you before you had a chance to do the same to me. It was a hell of a way to get through my teen years, especially in an environment where I just didn't belong to begin with.
First off, I wasn't Mormon. Ninety percent plus of the people I encountered in Middle and High School were. Secondly, my High School was something right out of a fucking John Hughes movie, save the sex and profanity. It was nestled in the foothills of a pretty tony area of the Salt Lake suburbs. Million dollar homes dotted the mountainside, and various country clubbing executives kept their kids in Girbaud and Guess and brand new Beemers.
I knew the proverbial "girl who never wore an article of clothing twice." I went to a "Sweet Sixteen" party where dinner was easily $75 a plate (and over 50 kids attended).
My dad earned a good living, my mom chipped in, and we were comfortable. Comfortable, but $85k a year as a family income might as well be poverty level in this school district.
The kids there were brutal as well. I'm really not exaggerating when I say that the football team had little better to do than talk about me. Me. In a school with 2,500 students, I was a topic of discussion with the football team. Bob was friends with the brother of one of the captains and he told me once that the captain's friends just walked in his house without knocking. I said, "Wow, that's weird. Even Nate knocks, and he's over every day."
I was thrown up against a locker by an offensive lineman the next day. He snapped, "I heard you've been saying bad things about (the captain)."
It's unbelievable I didn't get my ass handed to me once. I probably deserved some of it, but not stuff like that.
Since we're talking Utah here, I can vouch that I didn't know anyone who drank, smoked anything, had sex, or even really dated outside of doing things in groups.
Until I met Steve.
Steve was a senior when I was a sophomore, but we shared the back row in theatre class as well as wicked senses of humor. He wasn't Mormon, which was a plus, and our theatre class alliance became a friendship.
One of the things I liked best about hanging with Steve was that he had a completely different set of life experiences compared to all of my other friends to that point. He had been on drugs - pot and hallucinogens - and had twice been kidnapped off the street by paid thugs and dropped off in one of those teen rehab desert survival Bataan death marches in his mother's futile effort to get him cleaned up.
We had a mutual respect, and never once did I see him do or on drugs despite what my parents thought.
Anyway, dating in Utah was a funny thing. The formula goes: pine for a chick for six months, finally work up the nerve to ask her to a dance, if she likes you back maybe you can do homework together a few times a week. Very innocent, leave-it-to-beaver sort of shit. Not in Steve's world. He was easily the most normal teenager I had met out there, and managed to find the girls who got shipped out to those "alternative" high schools. Bad girls - or at least ones who fancied themselves that way. Steve would always give me crap about the latest girl for whom I was carrying a torch, and his joking enthusiasm became a mantra.
"We have got to get you laid."
God bless him, he actually tried.
Some summer Tuesday afternoon I get a call from Steve, telling me he's going to hook me up with his latest girlfriend's friend. Real easy he tells me. Sure thing. She's a slut. I ask him if she's cute, and he says sure. Sure she's cute. I nervously accept the invite for an afternoon of bad horror movies at his mom's place on Thursday. She'll be at work all day, we'll have the run of the house.
This could be it, I thought. I'm finally going to get laid.
These weren't comforting thoughts. I didn't have a smooth or predatory bone in my body, and started fretting about the encounter. What if I didn't think she was cute? What if I blew it? Do I even know what I'm doing? I haven't so much as gotten a girl's shirt off before. What if I'm terrible? What if she didn't like me?
Thursday came, and I drove over to Steve's. I was early. Real early. Early enough to try to soak up some of Steve's cool to quell my own fears about this whole thing.
I wanted to run. This isn't how it's supposed to go. I'm supposed to meet a girl, we get to know each other, get to like each other, then I get her pants off. Can all this happen before Ash chops his possessed hand off?
Still, the thought that I might actually get laid out of all of this mess was appealing enough to swallow the rock in my throat and hop in the car to go pick up the girls.
We drove a few miles into another district to my "date's" house with Steve in my ear the whole time. "Play it cool, girls dig a guy who's cool." Is that Steve McQueen cool? Miles Davis cool? Shecky Green? I can do Shecky Green. "Just relax and have a good time. Everything is all set up."
Whoa whoa whoa... All set up? What is that supposed to mean? I didn't ask this out loud, but all of a sudden this whole thing felt cheap. Cheap like Steve had just paid off a prostitute and gave her my room key. It was too late to turn around, but those five words, "Everything is all set up," were enough to make me mentally dig my heels in and promise myself that whatever happened today - I wouldn't enjoy it.
We pulled up to a weatherbeaten stucco ranch with a dead lawn and honked the horn. The girls were waiting, and came out to the car. True to alternative high school form, my "date" was in jeans and a black heavy metal t-shirt, wearing a bleached blonde haircut real short. She was a year or so younger than I was, maybe a ninth grader, and still had the slight stockiness a short girl has before the baby fat is outgrown. She had this blank look in her eyes, just a sign to me that maybe "easy" was all she was.
She wasn't bad looking I guess - if you're into girls who like Poison. She wasn't my type, and Steve should have known that right off.
Then again, type doesn't matter if she's supposedly easy, right?
I knew Steve's girlfriend already, and she made what was easily the most awkward introduction I've ever been a part of. "This is BG, he's the one you're supposed to fuck today. BG, this is (whatever her name was). She'll be taking your virginity later." Okay, it didn't happen like that verbatim, but it certainly felt that way.
Since I was driving, Steve hopped in the backseat with his girl to play a little kissy-face. I was left up front to try and make small talk with my quarry.
I couldn't. I had nothing at all in common with this girl. I think we talked Pink Floyd for a few minutes, and I pulled the "I love this song" bit in order to turn up the radio - both to cover the uncomfortable silence as well as the slurping and sucking noises from Steve and his girl.
We got back to Steve's, where in a slick move he had cranked the air conditioning up past the point of "meat locker." Completely intentional, this was the only way we were getting the girls under blankets for the movies in the middle of June. Steve and his girl took a spot on a futon, me and mine on the floor.
I think "Evil Dead" was probably the first movie.
I was side by side under a blanket with a sure thing. An easy girl. A slut. One who was brought to me specifically for the taking. And I wasn't trying anything. At all.
I couldn't even watch the movie. I had seen it a dozen times, but I was fighting an internal struggle in my head. "Don't you want to get laid? Are you ever going to get an opportunity like this one again? What the hell is wrong with you?"
"What's wrong with me? What's wrong with you? You don't even know this girl, you don't know where she's been! She's not your type, and she was only brought here to hook up with you. That basically makes her a hooker!"
"So? At least try something for chrissakes! You've got a ready and willing girl right next to you here, you haven't so much as tried to touch her, and the movie is half over! Do not screw this up for me. You hear me? You don't have to like a girl to get laid."
"What if I want to like a girl before I sleep with her? What if I don't want this one? What if she doesn't like me anyway?"
"Does that matter? She's waiting for you to do something, SO DO SOMETHING ALREADY! Goddamn you're a pussy, I swear to god."
"Asshole. Fine. Have it your way."
Unfortunately, I didn't know what to do to "get things started." I had already laid next to her, stiff as a board, for almost an hour. I assessed my options. I could just roll over on top of her and start kissing, but that was probably a little too forward at this point. I could maybe just lean in and start kissing her on the neck and ears, but I didn't know at this point how my advances would be taken.
I decided to float a test balloon.
Under the blanket I found her hand with mine and held it.
ASIDE: Can I tell you how sad I am to have a story like this? I mean, throw the lack of self-confidence on top of that bullshit Pollyanna Utah mentality, and you've got a guy who has to hold hands with a hooker just to find out if "she likes him" before he can do anything else. This one little tiny incident in my life is quite possibly a top two to four most embarrassing moment. Easy.
Needless to say, going from step one to step two took a little more time, and it was all baby steps from there. And no, I didn't get laid. I did get a shirt off, which was a milestone I suppose, but for something that was supposed to be a sure thing, I just whiffed on my chance.
I got to make out with a girl, had what was in effect my first "one night stand," got under a bra for the first time, but still feel incredibly ashamed that I had talked myself out of anything more than what I got. I mean, my first time ended up being pretty damn good all things considered, but I looked the gift horse in the mouth on this one.
I never saw the girl again, which is how this was supposed to go. And I'm sure that somewhere... some women's prison, halfway house, trailer park, somewhere... there's a pudgy lady in a ratty Warrant t-shirt that's telling the tale of the guy that would rather hold hands than get her pants off.
Goddamn I hate myself sometimes. Thank you Utah, you certainly did what you could to help me deal with women in a constructive fashion.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
746AM - 801AM
Fifteen minutes of straight typing - assuming no one interrupts me... Well, I went last night to go see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and I... Well, no I didn't - I just wanted to see how that would look in print.
Actually, I did my damndest last night not to come home and glue myself to my laptop. It's a bad habit. I'll sit down, read and re-read some of what y'all have been posting during the day, maybe goof around with a little poker, and just wander until my eyes burn through from staring at the screen all day all night.
So I watched TV instead. Good move.
Anyway, one thing I had been putting off for a little while was getting started with the new cholesterol medication the Doc (not The Doc) is trying out on me. I ran through a couple of the big names, but they only succeeded in exacerbating my liver problems past the danger zone. This time, I'm on some pill combo that includes a 500mg dose of Niacin.
The Doc gave me three months worth of sample pills about a month and a half ago, but I couldn't bring myself to try the pills yet. Why? Well, because the side effect of the Niacin is almost a guarantee.
Niacin, in doses like these, causes flushing. In other words, hot flashes.
I fucking hate being uncomfortable. I don't mind being a little hot - if it's hot outside - but I do mind being unnecessarily hot. And yeah, I got hot. At least three times last night I woke up from a deep sleep feeling like I was braising myself to medium rare. Granted, I got back to sleep almost immediately in each case, but I just hate feeling like this.
Of course, I'm going to hate angioplasty even worse, so I'll give these pills a shot.
The weekend will feature a trip to Chicago to see an old friend, with a jaunt to Milwaukee to visit my old man for Father's Day as well. Me and the dog are hopping in the car Friday after work, rolling the nearly four hours to Chicago to stay the night, making it out to Arlington for opening weekend on Saturday afternoon, then buying my dad dinner in Milwaukee that night.
It's going to be expensive, but not Vegas expensive.
Paragraphs struck because I'm a tool - you can't tell me anything these days without me spreading it around like a high school girl.
Back to Chicago for a second... You know, I live less than four hours away, but have never in my life been to downtown Chicago? Embarrassingly enough, my only Chicago trips have either been to the zoo (fourth grade bus trip), or to IKEA (because I'm cheap). I've never been to a blues or jazz bar in Chicago, and have never made a weekend of a trip down there.
Well, now that my boy has moved there from Florida, I've got a good excuse.
Two minutes left... Quick pimpage - Jason Kirk has written a pretty terrific article on Tilt for Poker Player, and Pauly continues to kick ass with his WSOP live-blogging.
Oh, and if you didn't get the post immediately below this one, I was just having a little fun. It's an inside joke.
Talk to you later blog,
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
I'm Better Than You
A Random Thoughts and Thoroughbred Selections reader emailed me, hoping I could revisit my thoughts on what it might take to ascend from generic schoolyard insult techniques into something on a higher level. Followers of this blog have long understood my stylistic gibes are oft-imitated and rarely duplicated so far as quality and content are concerned. It is in my most beneficient spirit that I choose to deign upon my readers the tips and techniques contained herein. Perhaps it is best to open up the following supposition for discussion before proceeding. Please do feel free to leave a comment below to address the apriorism with your gentle response.
Posited: While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it is also the mechanism through which satire may take her most caustic of tones.
Addressing the above postulate from a practical perspective, one must first thoroughly understand the bias from which his or her mark may be basing their style. Let us identify as our quarry in this endeavor: one who uses a passive-aggressive approach to belittle their victims. It is apparent, my friends, that the depth and breadth of supposed subtlety behind passive-aggressive derision provides us with ammunition which is not at all slim in quantity.
Let us further suppose that this passive-aggressive style is couched in an imaginary intellectualism, a pseudo-punditry if you will. Much like the ink smeared text of the dog-eared and thumb-worn thesaurus from which this loose literati formulates his facade, there remains a residue of his threadbare ministrations. It is incumbent upon the satirist's wit to derive both the overt and subversive connotations from these embers, and fan the flame of duality back at the pseudo-pundit mark - firing the reply wrapped in the same style from which his opponent began.
The mark, when faced with a satirical return volley, is doubly distressed. On one hand, the teetering effect felt of a bitch-slapped ego is discombobulating at best. The other? When the duality of his poorly-disguised denigration is uncovered and exposed, the passive-aggressive approach is often discarded for the ham-handed simplicity of the direct and personal insult. The victor, in this case, is invariably the banterer whose bon mot does not end up classified in the "I know you are, but what am I" realm.
You might be wondering why it is I, and not you, who is the Boy Genius.
I, the Boy Genius, do not come to suffer the the insufferable willingly. The Boy Genius plays for satire, and plays for the crowds.
Monday, June 13, 2005
My hot neighbor spent the weekend moving out of the downstairs apartment in my house. This isn't a big blow or anything, as she was significantly out of my league and dating (in her words) some "train-jumping goofball." Said goofball is barely 20 years old, drives a beat-up mini-van with ski goggles hanging from the mirror, pro-life bumper stickers, and likes to walk around without a shirt.
If I had six pack abs and a face that was at least 40% more attractive, I'd probably walk around bare-chested too. I don't know why a 30 year old chick would want to waste her time with some moron pretty-boy, but when you've got more problems than a math book maybe even hot chicks take what they can get.
Anyway, I mention the neighbor because I've been living in the house for nearly a year and a half, and it wasn't until just this weekend that she turned on the central AC. The house's heat and air is only controllable from a downstairs thermostat, and because the AC hits only the downstairs electric bill, she never ran it last summer. Since she's leaving, she popped it on for me.
Thank god, it's been HOT in these parts.
Fans or no fans, without the AC on it's been nearly impossible to take mid-day naps on the weekends. I rather enjoy collapsing on the couch in that dead zone of two o'clock Sundays and ekeing out an hour or two of sleep. Since I"m up so damn early every day (six AM neighborhood consistently), these naps are one of my favorite things about a weekend. I normally sleep right side down, so I have a spot on the couch I normally reserve so I'm not breathing into the back cushions while I sleep.
Problem was, the dog was there already, and I didn't want to move him. So I took the other end, the other pillow, found a spot for my feet that wouldn't disturb Frye, and crashed.
Different people handle those moments that straddle awake and asleep in different ways. My ex-wife was always groggy with just a little grumpiness that suggested she resented being awake at all. I found that kind of cute and endearing. What she found cute on my end were those rare occasions where I wake from a deep sleep and appear lucid, but my conscious self hasn't yet come around to being fully alert. I babble, I'm disoriented, I have no idea what's coming out of my mouth and couldn't repeat it seconds later anyway. It's really kind of funny.
If you're not me.
I slept for three quarters of an hour Sunday, deeply, on the wrong end of the couch. I woke up too soon, and wasn't at all sure where I was. My first thought was to ask myself if I were still in Vegas. I didn't know, maybe I was. I couldn't put the logic together in those first few seconds that it was my couch, my apartment, my home in which I was awakening.
Still here, still me, still...
Life was still there right where I left it, and it took me a moment on Sunday to get my arms around that concept.
Thing is, I'm a daydreamer, but I'm not like Edison or Newton or Dr. Pauly where daydreams are sometimes a lightbulb moment, the apple to the head that spurs constructive thought, or the imagination of some sort of Gonzo project fueled by a publisher's advance.
Daydreams to me are about freedom from this cubicle monkey drudgery, and they are always about the easy way out. Winning the lottery, hitting a pick six, parlaying a parlay score to another parlay payoff. I don't dream about where this job is going to get me in two, six, or twenty years. I don't dream about collecting a book award or signing copies of my latest for a bunch of rabid fans.
Those dreams aren't simple. I'd need to actively work to make those dreams happen.
I can draw a basic picture of what goes on inside my head, but I wish I could take you all inside of my insecurities and understanding of reality for a day or two. Insecurities thrive on this sort of self-indulgent pessimism that I can't shake, but at the same time they battle what I feel is a pretty realistic view of who I am and why these insecurities are largely bullshit.
I wonder why you guys stop by hear to listen to my rambling bullshit. I wonder how anyone could possibly put up with that whiny little bitch side of me. I wonder what your agenda is when you tell me you enjoyed something I wrote, or tell me I have talent. I don't think I'm worth anything but this cubicle monkey gig I've got going.
Thing is, I know I can express myself in a consistently engaging fashion using the written word. I know I have a good idea for a "book" (again, using "book" in the sense that I could write a few hundred pages of semi-fiction, not that you'll ever see it on a shelf in a Barnes & Noble), and I know that what I've written so far for that "book" is actually pretty decent. I know I (usually) have a fairly interesting blog because I'm as open and critical about myself as I am. I know that if I were to "work on it," whatever that means, I could likely improve into a fairly talented guy behind this keyboard. I know that if I were able to earn a steady gig as a writer in some capacity, I could be productive and successful.
I'm my own train wreck inside my mind. It's really quite spectacular.
I opened my eyes on Sunday afternoon and found myself staring with blurred vision into the khaki chenille cushions of my couch, and could not for a moment figure out where I was. I soon figured out I wasn't in Vegas, and I was still me, still at home, still alone, still writing, but still not remotely trying to do anything but be some blog-churning goofball.
Even if that's all I ever end up being is some blog-churning goofball, I'm not really trying to be the best goddamn blog-churning goofball I can be.
I've really spent most of the last twenty years not even trying. It's my trademark. I've got a scary head for remembering details, I write fairly well, I can construct and deconstruct logical arguments if given the chance. I've just chosen not to try.
This should be its own topic, about how I've done everything in my power since Junior High to effectively disappear. Maybe I'll write that post soon. But this has always been one of those areas where the insecurities have shouted down the encouraging voices in my head.
I'm not really sure I even want to try. Not because trying is hard, or I'm incapable. Neither of those things are true. It's more because I can't handle validation or criticism from the outside. I so desperately just don't want to be noticed that it's becoming that sort of self-fulfilling prophecy from which there seems to be no escape.
There is escape, I just need to kick myself in the ass and try to make it work.
Well, that and maybe stop taking naps on the wrong end of the couch.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
My Italian Sauce Recipe
A lousy attempt at taking some pictures with my new digital camera. I buried it back in the archives, and you can reach it here.
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