Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sooo...being a woman is hard.

I spent a good portion of this weekend in a wig and makeup (don't ask--it should be explained in the next six months or so) and good god, that is uncomfortable. I understand the wig is somewhat warmer than actually having hair that long, but it kept blowing into my face and getting stuck in my lipstick, which my lovely girlfriend Amy tells me is a regular occurrence, and why she doesn't like breezes or wearing lipstick. The lipstick dried out my lips and generally felt gross and my eyes burn from taking off the eyeshadow and mascara. I felt like I couldn't touch my face for hours.

Not to mention the looks I got. I thought people in Park Slope were a little more progressive-minded than that.

The things I suffer for my art.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

True horror...

Here's another transplant from my old blog:

The other day, while enjoying a DVR-ed episode of Reaper, I was treated to a particularly horrific commercial break. I was just about to fast forward, but this dreaded harpy sunk its claws into my brain before my thumb could act, and just as in the case of the fabled car wreck I could not avert my eyes.

I know the face of terror and it is Ped Egg. The first image that stopped me was that of a young woman's horned and jagged footskin tearing through her delicate hose as she tried to put them on. I was then treated to another young lady journaling in her teenage bedroom, but once the camera caught her hobbit-feet in its frame she became mortified and covered the lens with a pink bunny pillow. The final horror (so I thought) was that of a woman not unlike my grandmother sitting on a closed toilet attempting to shave the death from her soles with an array of surgical tools, but alas her Parkinsons/Alzheimer's/SARS prevented her from maintaining the steady hand she needed.

Then I was shown the solution to these indelible nightmares: the Ped Egg. A small egg-shaped (surprise) piece of plastic with a cheese grater on the bottom. A cheese grater. For your feet.

My shrieking brain was briefly calmed by shots of women (and one dude) gently caressing their feet with this miraculous product, lovingly flaying the hard dead skin cells off their toes, heels, eyelids, you name it. Just as I had relaxed and was once again prepared to fast forward to see how Sam finally nailed the soul of the week, Ped Egg delivered its deathblow.

With all this skin sanding, one might expect a small amount of debris to accumulate. Ped Egg has the answer. Ped Egg has all the answers. Behind Ped Egg's innocent cheese-grater-for-your-foot face lies its terrible secret, its black hole, its annex to one of Dante's circles of the netherworld. Simply crack open the egg and dump all your footshame into the nearest trash receptacle. Of course they show this. Twice. Twice I bore witness to the same shot of a model's hand dumping into an open can enough shredded skin to cover the spaghetti tray at Mr. Gatti's. I retch to this day at recalling the image.

How does one explain this can full of foot remains to company? "Oh, that's just filth I scraped from the bottom of my feet with this instrument of evil. I got two for the price of one, would you like to try it?"

And what are these people doing to accumulate so much foulness on their heels? I took karate for three years, which involved a lot of barefoot scooting-about on hard-nap carpet. I've also been running for at least ten years. Not once have I have had need for a piece of unholy metal to lay waste to the evil collected on my walking surfaces. Maybe they're all professional fire walkers. Or they work in industrial waste dumps in third-world countries. Or they're double-arm-amputees and have become accustomed to opening cans with their feet. God himself does not know.

And now you know what you're getting for Christmas.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Unabashed Stupidity in the Public Eye

I'm going to do my best to avoid discussing anything political or even moderately relevant here, but sometimes I just can't help myself. This is one of those times.

I'm talking about this story right here. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and general d-bag, is accusing Obama of skewing the Bible in a speech Obama made two years ago, in which he questioned the wisdom of governing with the Bible when considering some of the silly laws in the Old Testament that have no practical basis any more. Firstly I'd like to recognize the brass tacks it took for Obama to address that in a public speech. Second, I'd like to state that I think Dobson actually has a point about Obama's theology.

Theology aside, Dobson says this: "What he's trying to say here is, unless everybody agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe. What the senator is saying there, in essence, is that 'I can't seek to pass legislation, for example, that bans partial-birth abortion, because there are people in the culture who don't see that as a moral issue. And if I can't get everyone to agree with me, than it is undemocratic to try to pass legislation that I find offensive to the Scripture. Now, that is a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution."

Yes, Mr. Dobson, it is indeed undemocratic (not to mention unconstitutional) to pass legislation that not everyone agrees on. Actually, we need at least a majority vote on almost any bill/law, if not 2/3 or 3/4 depending on the circumstances, so if something were to get passed with a minority in favor, you would be violating not only our laws but the foundational principles on which those laws were built. That's sort of the whole purpose for the structure of our government.

It's also unconstitutional to govern based on Scripture. First amendment, jackass.

How do people say things like this without getting laughed into submission?

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Inauspicious Beginnings

So I've had a blog at Myspace for a while but I like the interface here way better, plus it feels more official, so I'm gonna bring over a few things from that blog as well as add new stuff when I feel like it. So this is one of my previous posts, and I thought it was a good one to start with.

I was a very lame child. It's true, and I've come to grips with it. And for the sake of comedy, I'd love to tell you all about it.

I was not in touch with popularity, both in culture and in my personal life, for a long time. I didn't start listening to the radio or watching MTV til well after all my friends did. No, most of the music I listened to came from soundtracks. The quality of the music varied greatly, and often depended on the time period of the movie we were such a fan of. I say "we" referring mostly to my mother and I. Oh yes, I was, am, and will be a mother's boy, which of course contributed largely to my lameness. Mom was a stay-at-home type, so she drove me everywhere. In doing so she put me at the mercy of her tastes. I distinctly remember dozens and dozens of listenings to the soundtracks of Dirty Dancing (highlight: Swayze's "She's Like the Wind"), Miami Vice (highlights: theme song and Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight"), Lost Boys (highlight: Echo and the Bunnymen covering "People are Strange," which of course I did not know was a cover), Good Morning Vietnam (highlights: "What a Wonderful World" and interstitials of Robin Williams' radio riffs), and the finest work of Kenny Loggins: Footloose and Top Gun. Highlights here? Tough. Footloose I'd probably pick the title track and "I Need a Hero," which got me pretty pumped. Top Gun? "Playing with the Boys" (I am absolutely amazed that I'm attracted to women after hearing that song as much as I have) and the instrumental theme song, which was the last song on side B. These were all cassettes. Mom knew how much I loved the theme song and would have it cued up for months when she picked me up from school. It also pumped me up immensely, but as a lame 9-year old I had very little to actually be pumped up for.

I missed some huge pop culture moments while living in soundtrack-cassette-world. I had no idea what this "Ice Ice Baby" song was all about, but you can be sure I knew who Vanilla Ice was after he appeared on the soundtrack to the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (Secret of the Ooze) with the Ninja Rap. I did, however, know the song he sampled for "Ice Ice Baby," which of course is "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Queen. See, my dad had Queen's greatest hits on cassette, which I stole when I shed a few layers of lameness, and I knew it well. I'd never really heard or seen the New Kids but I could rock out to "Fat Bottomed Girls." Thanks mom and dad.

Mom liked Air Supply, Billy Ocean, and George Michael's Faith. I heard "I Want Your Sex" a lot when I was a kid. I, being lame, had no idea how strange it was for a young boy to listen to this with his mother all the time. Mom, knowing full well how lame a child she'd produced, clearly wasn't worried. I also didn't understand why Mr. Michael was friends with someone whose pet monkey would not let that person go ("Monkey"), nor why he was so unhappy about it. I did understand that "Father Figure" was about a woman that he probably wanted to be more than friends with, which brings me to an interesting point. I was aware that there was something different about George Michael. I thought he either wasn't very interested in women, or that he was really interested in women. I don't think I was actually alone here. Everyone knew how gay he was in Wham!. It was just obvious. And everyone knew how gay he was in the 90's, because he tried to touch/get touched by a few male police at different times. But somehow he fooled everyone in between, during the Faith years. I clearly remember Dana Carvey playing Michael on SNL as a straight, kinda rugged Englishman. Women swooned over George's tight jeans and leather jacket, his calculated stubble. How did he fool us like that?

Anyway, I remember a girl in fifth grade asking me what radio stations I listened to. I literally didn't know any. She didn't understand, and neither did I. What was on the radio? I just thought they played old songs our parents grew up on. I finally just told her I listened to soundtracks, and named a few. She looked at me funny and didn't talk to me much for the rest of the year.

I began to discover my own tastes late-fifth grade, early-sixth, so this was around 91-92. I believe the first CD I bought was Def Leppard's Hysteria. I honestly have no memory of discovering who they were or why I wanted that album. Then in 92 I went on a trip with school to a camp for a week. While there everyone kept playing the same song out their windows, and it was all you'd hear as you walked through the camp. That song sounded unclean, repetitive, and completely unintelligible, and its name was "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I had an absolutely terrible time that week, being as lame as I was (one specific memory is someone I considered a friend laughing loudly, publicly, and for a long time at my matching striped flannel button-up pajamas), and that song became strongly entwined with my misery. When I got home, I couldn't get it out of my head. I tried to understand it more by tuning regularly to channel 25, which I wasn't very familiar with. That was MTV. I finally saw the video, and I believe it actually frightened me. But I couldn't stop. I tried to watch that video as often as I could. Mom finally walked in once when I had it on, and I felt the need to distance myself as much as I could. "I don't actually like this, really, it's just that everyone else does so I guess I should watch it," which is really the reason that everyone turns on MTV. Suddenly I was aware of bands that other people knew as well. I sheepishly started looking at music at the Sound Shop in our mall, when mom would take me every Saturday. I recognized some of the names I saw. With guilt I started buying cassingles. Remember those? What was the point of that? But I did it. I went overboard. I bought every popular song I could find, which was quite silly considering how often you heard them on the radio. "I'm Too Sexy" (little-known fact: the B-side is the same song in Spanish). "Jump" (the words were too fast; I had no idea what most of it was about). And yes, "Informer" (which noone understood). I went whole-hog into the scene and very quickly regretted most of the things I got. I would listen to a tape once or twice and never hear it again. I finally narrowed my vision down to the field of hard rock, with Guns N Roses and Metallica (still a die-hard fan of all GNR, and Metallica's Black album), and made a slow progression into discernment.

On the flip side of my musical journey, I was watching stuff like RoboCop, Predator, and Twin Peaks at age 9 or 10, which is also when I began devouring Stephen King's entire catalogue. If I'm not mistaken my fifth-grade English teacher began fearing me when I walked in with mom's 500-page hardcopy edition of Skeleton Crew. That year I also read Cujo, Tommyknockers, and It, if not more. Strangely this still managed to convey a certain image of lameness to my peers, though I can only imagine mom encouraged my consumption of this material to counteract my sad, sad musical tastes.

In the next installment, I discover girls through Married...With Children and comic books.

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