Thursday, July 31, 2008

Getting High On Blog

If you are reading this, you may be suffering from a horrible and debilitating disease that is rapidly spreading throughout the world. No, not syphilis - though I do tend to get a lot of those types here. No, I'm talking about Internet Addiction.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Internet Addiction.

As it turns out, I myself am addicted to the Internet. Ironically, I was blissfully unaware of my condition until I was surfing the Internet this morning and happened upon a website describing Internet Addiction.

I use the Internet all the time. I use it for work, for personal email, for checking sports scores, finding information about local restaurants and events, keeping in touch with friends and family members, and for porn. But is it possible that this is truly an addiction?

"Internet addiction -- an online-related compulsive behavior that interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and work -- is a psychological and behavioral problem that is spreading around the world, experts say."

Oh no! Experts say?! Why then it must be true!

This is not my first addiction. I was addicted to the game Snood when I was in college. I also am currently fighting an addiction to Cheez-it crackers and I have even been known to occasionally 'crave' White Castle double cheeseburgers which, I am told, is also an addiction. In fact, for a long time I've suspected that I'm addicted to addictions. This new-found Internet Addiction just adds fuel to the fire.

But what can I do? Surely there must be a drug or something that I can take to cure me of this addiction, right?

"There are no real drugs for this yet..."

Yet? YET?! But what am I going to do now, while I wait for the Pharmaceutical companies to cash in on this new 'condition?' Am I to just sit here and continue using the Internet completely and entirely against my will, all the while knowing that I'm suffering from a horrid addiction?! Surely there must be something you can do to cure me of this Internet contraption over which I have absolutely no control.

"...It's not about medication, it's more about therapy."

Oh thank God. At least there's therapy. At least I can pay someone to sit down and offer me gems of wisdom like "Don't use the Internet so much," or "Maybe take a walk or something today." Oh what a relief. Maybe if I'm lucky, someone will let me pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of my lifetime to help me avoid the scourge of Internet Addiction.

"This [problem] can reactive itself any time if a person does not keep working on the recovery," said Moore. "We see recovery as a lifelong endeavor."

I'll bet you do, Moore. I'll bet you do.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Weekly GW Asks, "Is That All You Got, Punk?!"

As you regular readers may or may not know, apparently there's some jerk out there in the blogosphere who is getting his jollies by "reviewing" my blog. By reviewing, he means making snarky comments and providing an insulting ranking system with which he demeans my posts.

Hey, it's the internet. It's free speech (for the moment) so if he wants to spend his time being a big poopie-faced jerk-nob let him knock himself out.

That said, though, I'm going to take a day out of my week now to respond to this jagass.

Well, this Monday was a busy day for our favorite internet curmudgeon because he posted three entries. This is crazy productive given that he's been known to go entire months without posting anything (or, entire years without posting anything interesting).

His first post, Ground Rules For Critiquing Nat's Blog, systematizes the methods by which he will make a jackass out of himself for as long as he's latching on to my blog. I'm particularly a fan of the Rating system where he comes ever so close to being clever with "*** = I puked a little, but it stayed in my mouth." Hilarious! Oh GW, your urbane and sophisticated wit never ceases to amaze!

Alas, he falls short from there on out with the rest of the post, by both explaining why he failed to criticize my blog last Wednesday (If he hasn't posted by 2:00 then I'm free of my self-imposed daily obligation to make snide remarks) and why he will fail in the future (If I don't post it's because I really hated Nat's blog and not because I'm lazy). Way to set the bar nice and low, my friend!

Speaking of lazy, his second post of the day, Nat is In a Richard Simmons Rut, criticized two blog entries from last week in the same short post in which he says about two unique things. Wow, GW, slipping already?

His final post for the day was a review of a review of a show that I saw where, unfortunately, this odious GW person was also present. His post is mildly amusing, however by far my favorite part was the comments section where I wrote:

"Also for the record, I could smell you from where I sat. If there was one thing I did not like about the show, it was your loathsome presence in the audience. I did not include that in the review, however, as I can hardly blame the cast and crew for your refusal to wash yourself."


He also reviewed yesterday's blog in which he implied that a robot would experience rage by reading my blog. Nonsensical? Yes. Maybe a stretch? Yes, probably so. But let's not fault him too much. He was probably tuckered out from Monday, when he wrote three blog entries and changes his background layout twice.

FYI, you can check out Greg's post on this post here, where he includes a picture of people in front of mirrors, as well as a picture of his favorite childhood companion.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lame Robots

Somebody made a robot that displays emotions and failed to include violent rage?


Monday, July 28, 2008

Metaluna and the Amazing Science of the Mind... Review

In the interest of full disclosure, I know Joe Janes, the playwright of Metaluna and the Amazing Science of the Mind Revue, as well a couple of the actors. This probably won't be the most unbiased review I've ever written but I saw the show for free and they asked us to help spread the word so I'm writing this entry anyway.

I've seen two Dada shows since moving to Chicago, the last Soire Dada and now this show, I've read a little bit about it and I also studied it very briefly in college. I won't profess to be an expert on the subject. In my limited experience, though, I'm starting to see a pattern.

Dada is supposed to be a rejection of art. Whatever art does, Dada is supposed to reject it. If art is commenting on society, Dada refuses to comment on society. If theatre tells a story or teaches a lesson, Dadaist theatre presents the audience with meaningless nonsense.

Yet even knowing what Dada is supposed to do, knowing that it's not supposed to mean anything, I still cannot help but look for meaning, find connections and invent my own lessons. I kind of had an inkling of this when I saw Soire Dada last year, but I think it took Metaluna and the Amazing Science of the Mind Reveu to put that into focus for me.

Joe's play takes a troupe of Dadaists from Germany and places them in a town called Metaluna in Indiana, ostensibly to help a doctor obsessed with the functions of the brain with his research. The result is more or less Dadaist chaos, a freewheeling collection of comic curiosities and strange moments of randomness. Thoroughly entertaining and engaging, you couldn't help but watch with wonder at the spectacle in front of you.

The show is worth it just for the sheer fun of that randomness. The fact that the actors, a very evenly talented cast, are so committed makes it all that much more enjoyable to watch. It's well directed and housed on a beautiful set. It's the kind of thing that you won't see anywhere else. But if you were to ask me for a detailed description of the plot I don't know that I could tell you.

So here you have a play, which is supposed to provide a meaningful story, about a group of people who reject the need for both meaning and story. It's a weird little quandary to be in as an audience member: I'm at a play, I'm sitting in the audience and there's the stage, I should be getting a story and yet I'm getting just enough plot to keep the crazy going. There was certainly a climax but it resolved no plot points. There was no d'enouement that I can remember. I didn't even realize the show was ending until the lights came down and the curtain call music started.

I left the theatre and my immediate thought was "What the hell just happened?"

But as I was walking home I thought back over what I just saw and my brain began to put some pieces together. By the time I had reached home I had something, not really a lesson or a moral but a little pattern that I had noticed. It took a little extra leg work, but I had found something for myself. It's an oddly satisfying experience.

Given that the show is loosely about the study of the brain as well as being a cacophony of Dadaist nonsense, you wonder if this kind of oddly satisfying experience - that of creating your own meaning from meaningless nonsense - isn't the whole point to begin with.

You can find out more about the show, including show times and location, at the WNEP Theatre Company's website.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ask Richard Simmons' Dalmatians

First of all, I wanted to say thank you to all of those visitors who came here looking for news on Richard Simmons' impending run for Congress. Feel free to browse, take a look at some other non-Richard Simmons' content, and leave a comment or two if you like.

For those of you who haven't read, evidently Richard Simmons' Dalmatian dogs are like oracles, who impart wisdom on those seeking to make big life decisions and need solid advice that they can trust. With that in mind, I've created a new feature on Clever Title called...

This week's request comes from Amy of Checotah, OK. Amy writes:

"Dear Richard Simmons' Dalmatians,

I have two dates lined up for tonight and I'm trying to decide which boy to go with.

On the one hand, there's Ryan. I've known Ryan since we were little kids, and he's finally gotten up the courage to ask me out to the church social. We've been friends for a really long time, and I know that Ryan is really going places. He's Varsity track and he's smart, he has a 3.4 GPA.

On the other hand, though, is Dax. Dax has a motorcycle and I once saw him punch a guy in the face and he broke the guys nose and knocked out his front four teeth like it was nothing. He drinks hard liquor and swears a lot, and I'm not sure how old he is although he looks like he's early thirties maybe. He wants to take me to a bar - he says he knows the bouncer who can get me in - so that he can show me what a mechanical bull is like.

I don't know what to do. I really really like Ryan, but I really really like Dax too I think. I'm all torn up inside. What should I do, Richard Simmons' Dalmatians?


Checotah, OK

Thank you for your question, Amy. I've asked the Dalmatians, and this is their response:


Go with Dax. He's going to rock your world and Ryan sounds like a pussy. You can sober up in your 30's just in time for Ryan's first divorce.

Fuck yeah,

-Richard Simmons' Dalmatians"

So there you go. If you have a question for Richard Simmons' Dalmatians, please leave it in the comment box. If you're lucky, maybe we'll pick yours for the next installment of Ask Richard Simmons' Dalmatians.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Richard Simmons for Congress?! YES!!

This is quite possibly the best idea ever.

Richard Simmons for Congress!

Holy God, what a brilliant freaking idea. Hold on, I have to sit down and catch my breath.

Okay. Okay, I'm good.

Oh my God, I can't believe how great this idea is.

You remember Richard Simmons, right? Here's a picture:


Aparently, the mastermind behind Sweatin' to the Oldies 4 is visiting Capital Hill today to promote more sequined jumpsuits in our public school system. While there, he was asked by reporters this morning whether he would ever consider running for public office.

His reply?

"If my country wants me, I'll be there for my country."

Oh my God, Richard Simmons, on behalf the country: Yes! YES! A thousand times!

Can you imagine the sheer amount of potential comedy even just from a Richard Simmons campaign? Forget whether or not he wins, the run in and of itself could be mined for jokes for decades to come. But wait, no; imagine if he does win! I'm drooling on my shirt. I mean, here read this. This is from the aforementioned article:

"(The new president) is going to have to look at the statistics of what's happening to our kids," Simmons told CNN Radio, "And then he's going to say who can we turn to? And it certainly isn't the Ghostbusters."

YES! Richard Simmons, save us from the fat kids! Wait, did you make a Ghostbusters reference? Seriously? That was topical what, like, 20 years ago? Priceless! Who wouldn't want that kind of clear critical thinking ability, not to mention eloquence and exuberance, behind important decisions like whether or not to go to war with another country?

But wait, there's more:

"After this congressional hearing, I will go home," Simmons said, "I will talk
with my Dalmatian dogs, I will pray to God and then I'll see what else I can do
to help."

I want to make sure that we have our priorities straight. First, we talk to the Dalmatian dogs. After we have talked to the Dalmations, THEN we pray to God. And then, taking the advice of both the Dalmatians and God into equal consideration, we make a decision.

I'm feeling light headed. I might pass out from sheer glee.

Go. Go now to Richard Simmons' website in all of it's Simmonsful glory, click 'contact us' and DEMAND that Richard Simmons run for office.

I have never been more excited for our political process than I am right now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ha HA!

Well, it would appear that GW has nothing to write about today because I had nothing to write about today. Here is his most recent post:

"Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nat Doesn't Appear To Be Posting Today

Well Nat Topping's blog
readers, Sir Topping does not appear to be blogging today. Perhaps he's taking
some time to reflect on my post from yesterday. I really don't know what he does
in his free time, and frankly, I don't want to know.

So to cut to the chase, Nat's blog is definitely not worth reading today."

Well, looks like somebody may have jumped the gun! Eh, GW?! For someone who makes their blog living reviewing other another person's blogs, it may be best to wait it out and let them post before you come to your own conclusions!

"Reflect on your post from yesterday?" Dream on, D.B.! And by the way, I spend my "free time" eating jerks like you for breakfast!

In your face! YES!

Oh God. Look at me. What have I become? I spend all of my blogging time fighting imaginary wars with people instead of blogging about important things. Like Space Porn.

I've lost my way. I don't even recognize myself anymore.

Oh God.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some People Are Just Jerks... know what I mean?

It's come to my attention that someone in my comments section took issue with yesterday's post and decided to write a whole blog about my blog.

I guess when your last post was June 3rd and it was about hand puppets you must be grasping for things to write about.

Normally, I wouldn't take time out of my busy day to bother responding to this kind of trash blogging, but today I'm actually not so busy. So let's take a quick look at his post, cleverly titled "No, Nat's Batman!" No need to click on the link, as I will save you the pain of sifting through his tedious scribbling by posting the only pieces worth reading.

Basically, he rambles for a little bit about who I am and why he reads my blog all the time. Then he reposts my entire post from yesterday - real original - and then adds this little gem onto the end:

"Hey, big spoiler, Nat said something really unique that no one else has said
and that no one will ever say again, and that's how great Heath Ledger is as the
Joker. Whoa! Can you believe he stepped out on a limb like that and gave such
laud and honor to Heath Ledger? Gee whiz, I sure hope the whole world listens to
Nat on this one so that everyone will stop talking about how awful Heath Ledger
is in The Dark Night!"

I can't tell if he's being sarcastic because he never writes in his blog so who knows what he's actually like?

But supposing he is trying to be sarcastic, then how original, "GW!" Way to take my statement and really turn it around by saying that I'm not saying anything new (yes, this is sarcasm). Is that all you got? Guess what? By reposting what I already wrote and then writing that other people wrote the same idea, you're not writing anything new either. TIMES TWO! Oh, and guess what? Heath Ledger's dead. Way to be insensitive, prick!

Then, he has the gall to write this:

"If you want my humble opinion, don't waste your time reading his blog today if
you're planning on seeing the Batman movie anyway. Don't rely on Nat Topping to
feed you your own opinions about this movie."

Humble opinion? Really? By 'humble' do you mean 'stupid?!' How about I feed my opinions to your face?! Using my fists like they were forks?

I did not want to do this; I never wanted my blogging to come to this. I always said I was going to stay above the fray of petty bickering, but sometimes you get these big jerk faces who come in here and want to rip on your blog because they don't have their own opinions and it just makes me so angry. If it's war he wants, then come get some.

If "GW" didn't have a baby-face and a smile like a golden rainbow, I would smash his teeth in.

P.S. Do me a favor. Go to his blog, I'm So Tired and leave him a comment letting him know how much of a jerk-faced a-hole he is.

Whatever happened to Madge Fairwell?

Monday, July 21, 2008

No, I'm Batman!

For all the hype that there has been for this movie, I don't think The Dark Knight is going to change anyone's life. As good as it is, The Dark Knight is not the perfect film, it will not send you to Nirvana, and it won't inspire transcendent epiphanies about the meaning of life. I mean, it's a superhero movie. It's based on a comic book that we've all either read or at least know about from it's nearly 80 years worth of existence.

That said, it's really freaking good. Not so good that I would wait in line for hours out in the rain to get tickets, but still the kind of good that makes a grown man want to gush about it with his friends immediately afterwards.

I don't want to talk too much about it because I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone. Basically, it was everything you liked about the last Batman movie - in all of it's dark, brooding, kick-ass glory - plus Heath Ledger as the joker.

Now that I think about it, the Heath Ledger playing the Joker thing actually does live up to the hype. He was great. That's really about all you can say. He was great.

Having seen all of the Batman movies, watched the cartoons and read a healthy portion of the comic books, this was the first time that the Joker has ever felt dangerous. In this movie, the Joker is the kind of guy whose craziness never really gets explained but in watching the way the character acts you know that there's an explanation buried somewhere. All of the nuances, the little character ticks, and the creepy moments that are still somehow funny make the performance so much fun to watch.

Also, let us not forget that the stunts and special effects were awesome. Combine that with some beautiful shots of Gotham (played by the city of Chicago) and you have some compelling movie-making.

The movie does include conceits about terrorism and power and the proper way of dealing with crime and violence. There's even a moment where we get to ponder whether or not it's morally just to spy on the entire city of Gotham using their cellphones (the answer is a 'yes, but only this one time'). There wasn't enough there to really develop a lesson, though and really this felt more like a framework on which to hang character motive and awesome action sequences than it did a definitive statement on society.

At the end of the day, it's a summer blockbuster. This is not a knock against the movie. I loved it. I may see it again. But people have been acting like it's the second coming of Movie and it's not. It's just a lot of fun.

Solid performances with solid stuntwork and solid storytelling. Go see it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Why I Only Got Maybe Three Hours Worth Of Sleep Last Night

When an apartment listing says something along the lines of 'quaint' or 'historic,' beware.

The electrical wiring set up in my apartment building actually predates the birth of electricity. I don't know how they managed to do it - they being whatever schmuck designed the damned place - but they did.

It's very easy to overload the system, at which point the lights cut out and I'm left searching for the door out so that I can find my meter, which is where I can reset the circuit breakers and thereby turn my electricity back on.

Since the electricity is billed separately for each apartment, if I overload mine it doesn't take the whole rest of the building down. So at least I'm not hurting anyone else.

After three years of living in this 'classically Chicago, historic courtyard apartment,' I've managed to figure out a method of calculating what I can get away with. For instance, if I want to run a vacuum cleaner, I can turn on my window AC unit but I cannot put it on high and still have the TV on simultaneously nor can I use my microwave. Et cetera.

Quaint, right?

So last night I had an improv class and afterwards thought I might go socialize with a couple of my classmates. I got back to my classic Chicago rat-hole of an apartment a little before 1:00 and decided that nothing would go better with what essentially turned out to be a pitcher's worth of Pabst Blue Ribbon than a couple of microwavable frozen White Castle cheeseburgers.

Don't judge me. It was almost 1:00 in the morning.

I had the AC on and I put the lovely little morsels in the microwave and let it run. And then, momentarily forgetting the intense amount of calculus necessary to avoid losing my electricity, I decided on a whim to plug my phone in to charge.

Sudden darkness. Quaint, quaint darkness.

Is it so wrong that I would like to microwave food and charge my phone in the comfort of an airconditioned apartment all at once? Is that really too much?

Anyway I fumbled around my room for my phone. Then I used the light from my phone to fumble around for my flashlight. Then I fumbled out the back door and down the stairs to where the electric meters are. Or, were.

You see, as it turned out our steam heating system predated heat. I don't know how they did it - the same they who fashioned our antiquated electrical system out of string and hair product - but they did. So the rental agency who owns our building decided to switch to electric baseboard heating. I'm not sure why, but this necessitated removing all of our electrical meters. Theoretically, the electrical company is supposed to replace them months ago.


But I forgot all of that. Which means that I was standing around in the room where the electrical meters were supposed to be but were not, wondering what the hell to do now.

Call the building supervisor? Tried that. Left a message.

When I was a kid, we used to lose power at our house all the time. My parents turned it into a game by lighting a bunch of candles and then gathering us all in the kitchen so that we could play board games together. I would have obviously rather been playing Mario Bros. 3 at the time but, as that was not an option without power, board games were not a bad way to cope with the situation. It was like camping, but in a good way.

Current Nat has no board games and, as he lives in a studio apartment, has no roommates to play board games with even if he had one to play.

All Nat had was half-warmed White Castle cheeseburgers, a cold shower and an AC unit that doesn't work without electricity.

So I opened all of my windows as far as they would go, set my phone alarm hoping that two bars' worth of battery was enough to get me through the night and, for lack of anything else, attempted to sleep under the weight of the historically muggy second floor air.

I had very quaint dreams last night. Maybe three hours worth of them.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

One Whole Year's Worth of Blog

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. The blog you are looking at is today officially one year old.

It seems like only yesterday when I decided definitively to pollute this magical Inter-Web Spacenet with my inane ramblings. And now here I am, one year out and looking back.

For those interested, here's the original post entitled Everyone Needs a Blog!

It's been a good time. I'd say I write anywhere between two to five posts a week, which is about as close to consistency as I'm likely going to get. I'm up to four people who regularly read the thing. And, the most important part, I get to pretend like I'm a published writer.


So, thank you four people for reading. I hope you'll all come back. While you're hanging around, check out some of these other blogs that I read all the time:

Joe Janes' Bite and Smile

Don Hall's An Angry White Guy in Chicago


RVD Chicago

And for my Michigan Sports Fix, MGoBlog

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Danish, Anyone?

I've found a compelling reason for me not to vote for Obama in the upcoming Presidential elections.

Actually, I have two. The first has to do with Joe Janes' apparent third-party candidacy, and my hope for his endorsement in 30-some years. The second has to do completely with the potential for comedy.

Say what you will about 'W' but he has been great fodder for jokes and will continue to be for a long long time. Same thing is true for many of our recent Presidents (Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford, etc. etc.) Hell, I make Martin VanBuren jokes all the time, and he's been dead for over a hundred and fifty years!

McCain presents plenty of opportunity for humor. And Bob Barr who is the libertarian candidate does as well, particularly when you consider his former affiliation with the GOP (mascot: elephant) and his name's similarity to a certain cartoon children's book character.

But Barack Obama? Apparently, at least according to this article, not funny. And that worries me.

Making fun of politicians and, in particular, world leaders is one of the greatest benefits of our freedom of speech. We have a time honored tradition in this country of making fun of our Presidents, even the really really good ones. I mean, who doesn't love a Lincoln joke?

But with Barack Obama we are looking at a possible drought in Presidential ribbing, not only because he is not an apparent dribbling moron or sex addict but because the backlash to making a joke is becoming more and more extreme by the day.

Take this New Yorker cover debacle.

The New Yorker put this cartoon on their cover for the July 21 issue. Since then many pro-Obama people have been flipping out. Here's an example:

"What explanation -- other than everyone at the New Yorker being turned into a
Pat Buchanan clone -- can one find for the fact that the best magazine in
America has produced the FOX News/Karl Rove poster of the Obama family?"

Yikes. For a famous bastion of east coast liberalism like the New Yorker, comparison to FOX News is possibly the biggest insult imaginable.

Now to be fair, I am the one who wigged out when I saw an Anti-Obama smear video and felt the need to write a 30 page dissertation on why I thought it was a load of crap. But before you all start calling me a hypocrite, I'd like to point out that this is a cartoon.

And that goes to everyone. This is a cartoon, people.

And while the smear video was intended to sew the seeds of fear in the minds of those who unwittingly open their email, this cartoon is intended for comic purposes, namely to take all of the myriad irrational fears about Obama and place them in the same picture in the hopes that people find it ridiculous.

Is it funny? Well, when the editor of the New Yorker has to explain the joke to everyone, the answer is pretty much a resounding 'No.' But this should not come as a surprise; the New Yorker's cartoons are never funny. In fact, I have never seen a New Yorker cartoon that was anything but lame. If you all know of one, let me know.

I have memories from childhood of sitting in waiting rooms trying to figure out the cartoons. "Cartoons are supposed to be funny? Why aren't these cartoons funny? Why would someone draw a cartoon if it wasn't supposed to be funny?"

Side note, who reads the New Yorker anyway? Seriously? I can't remember the last time I saw someone actively reading a New Yorker.

But to fear that the hope of an Obama Presidency is so tenuous that any attempt at a joke could cause that hope to vanish, even when the joke is just a snobbish attempt by the New Yorker to make fun of people and their irrational fears, is in and of itself ridiculous. So ridiculous that I would ridicule it except that I have my own ridiculous fear that these ridiculous people would find out about it and hunt me down. I mean, who is this guy that he can't take an obvious bad joke from a New Yorker cartoon?

Again, Yikes.

So here's hoping people calm the hell down. As someone who likes to make the occasional joke, I would rather not live in a world of people with no sense of humor.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sex and the City: Yeah, I Saw It. So what?

Wanna fight about it?

There comes a time in the life of every boyfriend or girlfriend - actually more than likely it will be several times - where you suck it up and go see a movie that you know you won't really appreciate but you see it anyway because your significant other wants to see it.

A couple months ago Katie did me the favor of seeing the new Indiana Jones movie even though she knew that the plot was going to be flimsy, that the action sequences would be over the top and that Harrison Ford was going to be old. But she did it anyway because, damn it, I wanted to see that movie. And she didn't want to put up with me moaning about not seeing it.

This last weekend, I returned the favor, sucked it up and went to see Sex and the City.

It wasn't that bad.

Oh sure, maybe I was a bit confused to begin with because, although vaguely familiar with the premise, I never really watched the television show so I had no idea who was what at the start of the movie. And sure, maybe the charm of a girl's weekend or of library weddings and the like are lost on me. And, okay, maybe all of the designer names just sound like funny made-up names to me and I can't really appreciate the clothing, shoes or purses because I wear the same t-shirts I wore eight years ago.

That said, there was just enough to keep me interested. And I'm not just talking about naked breasts and the occasional brief sex scene, although that does usually make up a good chunk of enjoyment for any captive boyfriend. I'm talking about the tiny female dog that loved to hump pillows. That's classic funny.

So, for all of you fellows on the brink of seeing the movie but holding back on principle, I'm not going to advocate capitulating and sacrificing your principles. I'll just say that the humping dog is funny and leave it at that.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Last Night's Dream

I wonder what causes us to have weird dreams.

I remember once as a little kid my family and I went to a Thai restaurant for dinner. That night, I had a very strange dream where I vividly remember seeing a UFO. The next morning, we all kind of decided that it was probably the Thai food because everyone in the family had wacked-out dreams.

So I don't know what my deal was yesterday. Maybe it was because I went pretty much straight from work to improv class last night and, because it rained a lot yesterday and I didn't take an umbrella, I ended up sitting around for a couple of hours in cold, damp clothing. Maybe it was the fact that I threw some food down immediately before going to bed so that my stomach would stop bothering me.

Whatever it was...

I had a dream last night... there was more to it than this but this is the only part I can remember right now: I decided that I was going to shave my beard off. I got a straight razor with an old wooden handle and went into a room with an old mirror with a guilded frame - I don't know if I was in like an old Victorian home or what, but it was me as I am now. So, I just started hacking away at my beard and, as I shaved, I revealed like all these pimples underneath and left razor knicks. I put whole pieces of tissue paper on my face to cover them. And then I came to the part around the left side of my chin and that part of the beard just would not come off no matter how many times I whacked at it with the straight razor.

And that was my dream last night.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shocking Blog-fession!

I have a confession to make: this is not my first blog.

I know, you're shocked. But it's true.

We at RVD Chicago have created a blog for ourselves and I've added myself on as one of the contributors. While I was doing that, I found my old long-since-forgotten blog: "Nat's Page of Self Worship and Adoration."

You see, two years ago my sister spent a few semesters of her college experience in France. She created a blog to document her experiences. The link to it appears under the links section of the column to your left under my sister's blog.

At the time, being ignorant of the ways of blog, I believed that I needed to be a member of the blogosphere in order to leave nasty comments in my sister's comment sections. I also believed that I needed to bribe the Google-gnomes before they would let me have one. Of course, I now know this to be untrue.

The part about the comments, that is. I still suspect that Google-gnomes exist.

I think I posted a total of five things over the course of a month and a half before I gave up on the venture. Why is it that I'm able to write quasi consistently in a blog now as opposed to two years ago? No idea. Maybe it's because I now know people who blog every day so I have something of an incentive to blog. Maybe it's because I feel like I need somewhere to plug my shows and stuff. Maybe I was doing it for the wrong reasons before (leaving nasty comments in my sister's comment sections) whereas now I'm doing it for the right reasons (talking about Space Sex and shopping for women's underwear). Who knows?

Of the five posts I wrote, I only really liked one. In lieu of writing anything new today, I'm just going to post it now. Enjoy:

"A Page From My Boss' Daily Planner:

7:00 Wake up after night of drinking and attempting to score with woman at end of bar. Shower and breakfast. Coiffe hair.
8:00 Ride train to work. Scratch self discretely in back of car. Give girl who caught me the "what the hell are you looking at" look.
8:30 Come in to work. Check ebay for deals on comic books.
9:00 Yell at coworker. (note to self, appologize later but not sincerely)
9:15 Take break. Breathing excercises.
9:45 Return to work, make several personal phone calls that involve my credit card number.
11:15 Cat nap.
11:30 Lunch. Hummus and pulled BBQ pork. Wash down with alcoholic beverage in my Nalgene bottle.
1:00 Return to work. Yell at coworker, then slam imaginary door to my cubicle.
2:00 Pout.
3:00 Meet with department head to discuss poor performance of department. Blame general laziness of coworkers. Outline five-point plan to punish peons.
3:15 Admire that bit of alliteration just now.
3:30 Fake sick, head home early. Put department in hands of coworker who I yelled at earlier to make up for everything (note to self, berate coworker when I return tomorrow on how poorly they managed the department).
3:45 Train home.
4:15 X-box."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Coming Soon: Space Porn

Yes, wars rage, the economy seems to be taking a nose dive, Iran gets crazier by the minute, food prices soar, and Amy Winehouse burns big holes in her lungs. But for all the negative news floating around the InterWeb these days, it does my soul good to see that people can still take time out from the oncoming apocalypse to write about having sex in space.

I love the idea of this senior staff writer calling NASA for interviews. I imagine Ed Harris, ala Apollo 13, in the midst of a tense crisis moment getting a call on the red phone from someone at asking about intergalactic nookie.

Not that this is a surprise. I'm sure we've all thought about it. Hell, I'm thinking about it right now, and it isn't the first time either. But we guys think about that kind of thing. Men will think about having sex in a broom closet. With a broom.

Think of the possibilities! Seedy Space Motels or Space Brothels. Space porn! Will Uranus be the center of the intergalactic sex industry? Who knows! (Stop groaning, you knew that Uranus pun was coming the moment you read the title!)

The possiblities are as endless as my perverted imagination!

For me, the most disappointing part about the article was that it spent most of it's time asking questions like, 'Do people have sex in space?' and 'How long before us regular people (non-space nerds) can have sex in space?' and not enough time asking, 'How does that work exactly?' More specifically, I would like to know where the tears go, and if you can still feel shame in zero gravity.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Patriotism, Pepper and Professionalism

Well, it's July 7th, which means that America's weekend-long birthday celebration extravaganza is over and those of us normally shackled to a desk five days a week must return, heads bowed and hands outstretched, to our masters the good businesses who provide our livelihood.

But, as we whittle our finger tips away writing emails, typing reports, punching phone numbers and giving our bosses the finger behind their backs (not my boss of course, in case he is accidentally reading this, but the proverbial bosses at other less awesome companies....), let us not forget to take a moment out of our torturously long day today to give thanks for this past weekend.

I was fortunate enough to spend the three day weekend with my girlfriend and her family in the north woods of Wisconsin. While there I relaxed, slept, read medieval literature like the nerd I am, watched two fireworks displays - one professional and one not so much, ate some surprisingly good pizza, and finally kicked a fish. All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience. Hopefully, you all had your own similarly enjoyable holidays.

There is a temptation when you have a blog to write entries around the national holidays, particularly the Fourth of July, that are statement posts. Some will write grandiloquent essays expounding on the greatness of our nation, calling us to support our troops and the government, etc. etc. That's fine. Others will choose to highlight our negative past and present, to point to the damning sins of our nation, call for the heads of our leaders, etc. etc. I have no problem with people doing that too and, as a blogger, I am also often subject to the enticing promise of making a statement in front of an audience, albeit an audience of approximately three people.

But it was after all a holiday and, instead of worrying about all of that issues stuff, I just kind of took the time to enjoy my life. There will be plenty of time to debate politics. For as loaded a holiday as it is, for me the Fourth of July is less about our political differences and more about the fact that, despite our national faults and successes, I like it here.

Sappy. Yech.

So for today I'll just be thankful that over 200 years ago some backwoods crazies got together and gave the finger to their boss - to his face - and as a result we now get an extra day off every year.

And now it's back to work.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

11:00?! That's It?!

Well it's the work day before a holiday which means that I will spend most of today trying to will time to move faster. So far, despite developing a "time chant" and building a tin foil hat for myself to maximize my psychic potency, I have had little success. And my coworkers are starting to look at me strangely.

Maybe if I spin my chair counterclockwise I can affect the Earth's rotation and speed up the day by some fraction of a second....

There's no doubt about it, though. There's nothing worse than being trapped at work with the prospect of a long day off looming. It just makes the day longer.

If I can't work this speeding-up-the-space-time-continuum thing, my other option would be to try and convince the bosses to let us - or at least me - go early. This is a tricky dance, though, because you want it to seem like there's not enough work to be done but at the same time avoid looking like you're avoiding work.

On pre-holiday days past, I tried sighing loudly and shouting 'God, I wish there was something for me to DO on this day before (whatever holiday is next up), I wouldn't be so bored.' However, this tactic opened me up to extra busy work to get me to shut up.

'Funny you should say that, Nat; we were thinking about changing the whole filing system for the office....'

Today, I'm thinking about maybe just staring in a catatonic state and see where that gets me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Happiest Country in the World!

Well, after scouring the globe and asking hundreds of thousands of people, a U.S. government funded survey discovered who the happiest country in the world is. And guess what, it isn't us!

Who is the lucky country, you may ask?

It's Denmark.

When I think of Denmark, I usually think either 'fish' of 'Vikings.' Sometimes both. But I guess there's more to it than that.

I decided that I wanted to know more about this tiny little land and their happy, happy people, so I headed straight to the interweb land. Denmark has their own website (how quaint!) and, after briefly looking over the offings, found this explanation:

"The Danes

The Danes are generally well educated, well informed, yet at the same time enjoy a distinctly Danish lack of formality. This gives the Danes a relaxed and often humorous attitude to authorities and life itself"

'Relaxed? Humorous? Well educated? These people don't sound like Vikings at all!' I thought, 'Oh wait, what's this little factoid here? The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen has been decapitated twice. Huh. Maybe there's a little Viking left in them after all.'

For a brief moment, I fantasized about my potential life as a Dane. How I would wake up in the morning to the sounds of relaxed laughter, how I would bicycle through the quaint cobblestoned streets to the shipyards, where I would build Viking warships. For lunch, I would eat herring that I caught by myself straight out of the crystal-clear seas, maybe read the newspaper to stay well informed and then laugh about the unhappiness in the rest of the world. Then I would bicycle home, making sure to appreciate the picturesque streets and plazas. Maybe that evening, I would head out to a local bar and enjoy a large mug of mead and relax with my politely humorous post-Viking neighbors and friends. Then at night, I would dream of Danish fairies carrying me off to the sea, where I could make sweet love to a mermaid!

Okay, maybe it wasn't just a brief moment of fantasy. Maybe it's become a nightly obsession.

But then I realized that the grass is always greener in Denmark and, besides, in order to live in the happiest country in the world, I would have to be Danish. I'm not sure that's a price I'd be willing to pay. I mean, have you seen these people?

Yikes! No, I think I'll stay here in humble Chicago, where I at least know the language. After all, I've invested a lot of time in figuring out the public transit system here. If I left, I'd feel like I wasted two years of my life.

Incidentally, the Happiest Country in the World study found that overall the world is getting happier. So for those of you who are complaining about skyrocketing gas prices, the fact that people are stealing manhole covers and funeral urns to sell for scrap metal, or any of the other crazy quasi-apocalyptic catastrophes happening every day, keep that in mind.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back to Work

The first day back to work after a vacation is always a pain in the ass. I was only out for one day, but when I got in this morning I had a hundred or so emails waiting for me in the inbox. Typically I'll come back from vacation and inevitably something is now screwed up and I'll have to spend the next couple of days bending over backwards to try to fix things.


Ah well. At least it was a good weekend. Now if only this week would hurry up and go away.