Thursday, July 30, 2009
BUT, I will have a full report for you when I return. And I'm taking the ol' laptop with me so if I get time and free (stealable) wireless internet I might even post as I go. So check back.
Also, I love you.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
OTTER WITH BEER
OTTER WITH BEER!!!
GIMME BACK MY BEER, OTTER!!!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
In my continuing quest to get me some more culture, we (the lady and I) took a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago to check out the new modern art wing.
If I'm going to go see modern art, I prefer art that kind of looks like something. The modernest of modern art tends to look like lines and blobs of randomness, but I'm trying to teach myself how to appreciate it and not get angry that people presumably made money for making a giant finger painting.
One thing I do NOT have to teach myself to appreciate would be video of clowns.
I didn't think it would be my favorite piece at the time, but I keep thinking about a piece by Bruce Nauman called Clown Torture. It's an "art installation" featuring a bunch of videos of a clown performing various bizarre actions. From the Art Institute's intraweb explanation:
In "No, No, No, No (Walter)," the clown screams the word "no" over and over
while jumping, kicking, or lying down. In "Clown with Goldfish," he repeatedly
opens a door, which causes a bucket of water to fall on his head. And in "Pete
and Repeat," the clown becomes increasingly horrified as he repeats the nursery
rhyme: "Pete and Repeat are sitting on a fence. Pete falls off. Who’s left?
It was surprisingly entertaining. And I've thought about the piece quite a bit ever since. Not that it's inspired some sort of deep introspective reevaluation of my life - it hasn't - but the images were just very memorable.
Go check it out if you get the chance. And go check out the new wing of the Art Institute. Admission is free 5 - 9 pm Thursday and Friday nights I think through the end of summer.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Friday: Internet Snarkery
Last week I wrote a post about the Interwebs and stuff I had read that suggested the Internet may actually be making us smarter. This, of course, in addition to hardcore Danish pornography.
It turns out it can also be used for correcting people in a sarcastic and dickish manner.
Take, for example, http://www.loseloose.com/, which is a website that explains a common word usage error. Someone devoted a whole webpage.
My favorite, though, is Let Me Google That For You. Here, let's try it.
Say you are talking to someone, and they ask something like "I wonder who won the Heisman two years ago."
You would then say, "Hang on, I think I have a link for that..." and then send them this.
The site will sarcastically search for you, and then pass judgment on you for not simply doing it yourself.
Next time you're looking to impress an online buddy with your dickishness, feel free to use those.
Okay bye bye.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Recommencement of Unabashed Pluggery
Two big things coming up:
(1) I'm acting in a one act festival in Chicago for a group called 20% Theatre Company. The show is called Snapshots 2009. I'm pretty excited about the one act I'm in, and I'm sure the rest of the pieces will be equally exciting, if not more exciting. Here are the details:
Thursday, Friday & Saturday August 6th, 7th and 8th @ 8PM.
Sunday, August 9th @ 7PM.
Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL.
To reserve your ticket call 312.326.3429
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(2) RvD has another show coming up! Hooray!
This one will be at the Gorilla Tango and the dates are October 16th through November 22nd. We're still writing the sucker so no title or details yet, but it's going to be a good time.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Taco Souls Are We... in Heaven?
That's right, Gidget the Taco Bell Chihuahua has died. Here's the article. Not to be disrespectful (which is code for I'm about to be disrespectful) but it's a good read for anyone who thinks that some dog owners can be, well, a little ridiculous. Don't have time to do it now, but someone needs to write up a true Hollywood story for this little minx.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Yeah, I Saw Harry Potter and I WILL FIGHT YOU
I love sports. I love football and baseball and basketball and I even like hockey. I love movies with explosions. I love buffalo wings and beer. I love the rock and roll music that features minimal instruments and maximum ass kicking.
But I cannot deny my nerdier inclinations either. Inclinations that lead me to reading gigantic history books or going to museum exibitions entirely devoted to old maps or taking vacations to other countries for the sole purpose of watching old plays.
And, of course, there's also Harry Potter. Which is a series of children's books and movies. Meant for children.
Part of me wants to excuse this with little disclaimers and qualifications, like "I don't actually own any of the books," or "I haven't read the last one," or "It's not like I went at midnight to the first showing," or "I also read big boy books like I've read War and Peace." Or I try to defend the books for their literary value which, of course, is an even nerdier way of defending something that is already nerdy.
So you know what? I'm going to try to stop doing that.
Because I happen to think that wizards are awesome. And I like stories that require you to use your imagination. And, fine, the books have their fair share of corniness and teen angstiness and silly named foolishness. But there are also explosions and shit like that too.
I saw the new Harry Potter movie. And I'm not ashamed to say that I liked it.*
Besides, it's way cooler than any of those stupid vampire movies you like.
(*I am still slightly ashamed. Working on that.)
Monday, July 20, 2009
RvD Monday: Fakes It, For National Pride
Friday, July 17, 2009
Friday: Happy Blogiverary!
Speaking of which:
Love Bears! Never meant to be! Love Bears! Society!
Let's do as we do every Friday, which is to look back at the week and make random and inane comments.
The Worst Week in Sports! the All Star Game is supposed to be one of the highlights of the baseball season. It is not. I don't know anyone who watched the entire game. I managed to get home from a rehearsal in time to put it on in the back ground while I surfed for porn on the interwebs, but that's about it.
Maybe I'm a bad baseball fan in that I root for my team and not the sport in general. Who knows? But from my standpoint, we have to take a four day break from playing games I care about so that there can be a home run hitting contest that I can't watch because it's on ESPN and an All Star Game featuring pitchers who pitch one inning a piece before chilling out for the rest of the night.
And it's not like there are any other sports to watch in the meantime. Baseball is it this time of year.
To that, I give a big fat Meh.
Side note, can football season come soon enough?
Enough of Sports. Let's dish on some...
Gay Penguin Drama! Courtesy of CNN, the arbiter of all things newsworthy, comes a video about two gay penguins who finally have broken up. I tried to embed the video but either Blogger or CNN hates me, so you'll need to click the link.
It's like a soap opera for penguins. Which is actually kind of a great idea. I just wish they could have had Morgan Freeman narrating the clip.
Out of Work Comedians? Have you thought of working for the government?
The Department of the Treasury is looking for contractors to "conduct two, 3-hour, Humor in the Workplace programs that will discuss the power of humor in the workplace, the close relationship between humor and stress, and why humor is one of the most important ways that we communicate in business and office life."
Hot damn! Load up the Whoopee Cushions, Marsha! We's heading to Washington DC!
"The presenter shall refrain from using any foul language during the presentation."
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Interwebs: More Than Just a Stupid-Machine
When I started this blog almost exactly two years ago, my first post joked about how any ignoramus can hop on the Internet and start spewing random, made up bullshit.
I think there is a widely help belief that the Internet, like television, is slowly eroding our mental capacity. We point to texting and the abbreviation of language as proof, and hold up such inanely entertaining websites as lolcats to cement that point.
But the older the intertubewebs get, the more I'm convinced that it's not just for porn.
A case in point, earlier today a friend forwarded me a video called "Demographic Problem." I'm not going to soil my site by embedding it - I prefer to soil it with my own special brand of drivel - but for those of you who want to watch it, here's the link. I don't necessarily recommend it.
Basically, the premise is that Muslim people are having babies so quickly in "white countries" like France, Russia, Canada, the U.S. that within an incredibly short amount of time "our white culture" will be erased!
So, get to the sexing, White People!
Naturally, upon watching this shocking portent of my future marginalization, I asked myself "Is this true?"
If I didn't have the Interwebs then I might have just assumed that it was true, gone out and found a White lady to make babies with and then lobbied my congressperson to go out and outlaw Muslim peoples.
Instead, I hopped on the Interwebs and immediately found sites debunking the video, showing mathematical analysis that featuring sourced data proving that the video is basically a gigantic hunk of bullshit.
Just like the infamous Lorne Baxter video about "Barack HUSSEIN Obama!!" that I lovingly fisked on this here blog about a year ago.
Ah, the glorious art of Internet fisking.
In addition to catering to our kinky foot fetishes, the Internet puts us in touch with vast amounts of information - some of it actually credible - that allows us to discern whether or not a statement is true or false.
This means that you can't just go around saying whatever you want, because there's going to be a nerd out there someone who would love - LOVE - to take three hours out of their day to prove that you're wrong.
I received this in my email spam folder earlier today:
I know that this might come to you as a suprise (sic) as we do not know each
other before. I am Matthew Wright, the fund manager of Fidelity Investments
International, UK. I will need your assistance in investing some money in your
country. If you are interested and you want to partner with me, kindly get back
to me for more details. You can use the below link to verify my identity incase
you are having doubts. Reply to me via email or phone call.
Fidelity Investments International,
I took Matthew Wright's name, along with Fidelity Investments, threw it into the Google machine and immediately was notified on twenty sites in no uncertain terms that, in case I'm too stupid to tell on my own, this is indeed a trick.
Earlier this month, I read an article in one of Katie's Smart People Magazines. This article suggests that maybe the sheer amount of information, bullshit and otherwise, available to us on the Internet is slowly making us smarter simply through evolution. The idea is that we are forced to make sense out of the vast array of available knowledge and, as a result, our processing ability sharpens and becomes more effective.
I'd like to think this is true, despite the shouting of those who believe it's a machine for at best idleness and at worst evil, and I'd like to think that the evidence of this evolution already exists with every fisking.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I'd Call This a "Pet Peeve" But I Hate Words Like "Pet Peeve"
In the city of Chicago every car that parks on the street is supposed to have a city sticker, which one can get from the city for a "small" fee. If you live in certain areas of the city you may also need a residential parking permit, which will allow you to park in the higher traffic areas without being ticketed and is also available for a "small fee."
The point of all this is nominally to prevent people who don't live in my neighborhood from parking in my neighborhood overnight while I have to park four hours away and walk. The real point would be, as always, to make money for the city so that they can spend it on Olympic bids and bribes.
Well every year I go through the hoops of standing in line and bringing the right documents (car registration, lease, etc.) and writing a check to the city, and I still have to park four hours away and walk.
"Why Nat, that is unjust!" you cry in disgust, "How is such a monstrous thing possible?"
I'll tell you why. It's because people don't know how to parallel park on the freaking street. People leave themselves huge gaps in front and behind them - gaps that are just large enough to make you think you can park there, but just small enough to keep you from parking there.
If people actually took the time to actually learn how to parallel park, instead of pleading with your driving instructor not to fail you when you're fifteen or whatever, then people would know how much space they need to leave themselves and then there would be more space for people to park.
This is why I would like to propose that the city make a parallel parking test mandatory for anyone trying to get a neighborhood permit. They can charge money for this, people will have to learn how to park, everyone's happy.
Am I alone, here? Hello!
Okay, end bitching. Go about your day.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
RvD Monday: RIDE THE BULL
Friday, July 10, 2009
Now a days, a summer Friday rolls around and I am elated. It’s like the beginning of 12 mini Summer vacations.
At least, that’s the kind of crap I tell myself to get through work.
Calling All Comedy Scholars: My girlfriend found this article on the Chicago Reader. They are interviews with some comedy writers who came out of Chicago – people like Bob Odenkirk of Mr Show fame, Robert Smigel of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and Harold Ramis – and they are really interesting.
Also, Speaking of Scholars: This is why history is great. It appeals to both my inner nerd and my inner perv. Apparently back in the middle ages, they named streets Gropecunt Lane. These were the streets where the prostitutes hung out. Makes sense. Note that they didn’t call them Prostitute Streets or Hooker Road. No, my friends: Gropecunt.
These are our ancestors, people. I don’t know about you, but I’m swelling with pride right now.
That didn’t come out right, did it?
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Generic News Broadcast About the Death of a Celebrity
And now, we turn to a more tragic note with the passing of a beloved celebrity. Veronica is live and on the scene. How’s it going, V?
Please don’t call me V. I’m here at the home of the beloved celebrity, who was pronounced dead earlier today upon arrival at the city hospital. This city is still stunned and shocked at the news, with the people on the street trying to cope with the loss of this well loved and beloved public figure who we all loved.
"I don’t know what to do with myself. It’s like I lost an important family member. Like an uncle. Except, not related to me. At all. And also, I never met the celebrity in person. So, maybe like a second uncle. Or third. A third uncle who I never met who died and to whom I never got to say goodbye. It’s very tragic."
Tragic indeed. Cause of death has not been determined yet, but we have not yet ruled out murder, suicide, overdose from various legal or illegal substances, sudden heart failure, sickness of various types, random circumstance, lightning, assassination, act of God or old age. The police have yet to comment, other than to state that the investigation is ongoing, that they still need to speak with some people close to the situation, and quote: “get out of the way and let us do our jobs, you vultures.”
Meanwhile, the outpouring of shock and grief from fans around the world has been sizable, with various demonstrations celebrating the life and achievements of this well loved celebrity despite the incredibly controversial life the celebrity lead. We may never know the complete circumstances surrounding this shocking, grieving, tragic, surprising, unanticipated, tragic and otherwise tragic event, but what we will always remember is the way we felt.
"I mean sure, the celebrity might allegedly have slept around on the spouse, or allegedly physically battered innocent victims, or allegedly molested things, or allegedly laundered money or allegedly got involved in some shady business deals, or allegedly cheated in some way, shape or form, or allegedly lived an awful awful life behind closed doors, but what I do know was that this person was famous. And I will always remember them for that.
"Wait, who are we talking about again?"
Don’t call me that…
What a shocking, tragic story. Stayed tuned after the broadcast for the first in a series of thirty two-hour specials documenting the life, times, death and reaction to the subsequent death of this important celebrity.
Coming up next, an important politician resigns from office. Find out why, and what effect this might have on her slutty painted-whore children. But first, an unnecessarily loud commercial.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I Dream of a Place
I dream of a place where I could go, a hovel nestled away deep in the woods of Siberia or isolated out in the middle of the Sahara Desert or on the side of a mountain in the Himalayas or in a giant glass bubble beneath the Pacific Ocean.
I dream of a place where I could go to sit on a simple wooden chair beneath a giant tin foil cone to block out all of the broadcast waves of incessant information and finally enjoy some respite, just a little respite, from being bombarded by COVERAGE OF MICHAEL JACKSON’S LIFE / DEATH / FUNERAL / ALBUM SALES.
NO MORE, I say! Stop it! Talk about something else!
What’s A-Rod up to?
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Strange Little Patterns
We went up to the north woods of Wisconsin for the weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July - we being me and my girlfriend Katie. Katie's family has a cabin there.
Anyway, we decided to get an audio book for our six and a half hour jaunt up to the top of Wisconsinland. We picked Middlesex, which is a Pulitzer Prize winner by a dude named Jeffrey Eugenides. Heady stuff for a guy used to listening to the sports radio and the rock music whenever I go anywhere, but Katie heard it was a good audio book and I probably needed a change of pace anyway.
The story is about a Greek family that comes to America in the 1920's and everything that led up to the birth of the narrator, who is a hermaphrodite. We didn't finish the audio book - it's seventeen CDs long - so I can't tell you how it ends but what we listened to was good.
We got through the first couple of CDs about the grandparents leaving Asia Minor by the time we made it up to the cabin.
The big town near their cabin has a bunch of gift shops, a book store, and a movie theatre. The movie theatre was showing Public Enemies, the new Johnny Depp movie about the infamous bank robber John Dillinger, which I saw and subsequently enjoyed.
While in town, Katie bought a couple of smart people magazines: Harpers, the Atlantic something or other, etc. Since I brought nothing to read for myself and neglected to get anything at the bookstore, I ended up stealing her magazines and reading them. One of the articles in Harpers compared Obama to President Hoover, who was the President at the time of the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression.
John Dillinger robbed banks during the Great Depression. People loved him for it because he was sticking it to the banks who were the recipients of Federal assistance at the time but who refused to restart lending practices and instead foreclosed on people's homes, farms, etc.
One of his big shootouts happened at the Little Bohemia lodge, which is in Wisconsin, in the North Woods, not far away from Katie's cabin. John Dillinger was gunned down outside of the Biograph theatre in Chicago a couple of blocks away from where I live in Chicago. They closed the street down last year and rebuilt the block surrounding the theatre as though it were 1934 to shoot those scenes for the movie.
Last night, on the ride home from Wisconsin, we heard the portion of the Middlesex audio books that dealt with the Great Depression, which the main characters experienced while living in Detroit, which is where my family is from and in whose suburbs I grew up. The narrator's grandfather made a living by rum running and operating a speakeasy; both of these were illegal during Prohibition, much like bank robbing which remains illegal.
So, three different facets of the trip dealing in some way with the Great Depression, while we are experiencing our own recession where the banks are receiving bailout money but aren't really passing that on to the general public, featuring three locations where I have either lived or spent significant amounts of time and of two counts of people resorting to a life of crime to get by.
I don't know if that means anything - other than something to think about on a long traffic-filled ride into work - but I just kind of though it weird how little patterns like that come up.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
*Disclaimer: Wisconsin may not be the most patriotic state in the union.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Since a high number of Americans have difficulty even finding such exotic foreign countries as Hawaii on a map, I thought I would take this opportunity to enlighten my blog readership (of three people) with a couple of quick, little known facts about our friends.
Canada Facts that are Little Known by the General American Populace!!
(I love bold letters and exclamation marks)
- The name “Canada” comes from the Iroquoian word “Kanata,’ which means “village.”
- Contrary to popular belief, Canada does have ketchup. It’s not used as liberally as it is here, but they do have it. Most likely out of courtesy for travelers taking a holiday.
- Canada is the second largest country in the world, even larger than the US. Much of this is very, very cold.
- While effectively Canada makes its own laws and so forth, it is not technically an independent country. It’s technically a dominion of Great Britain, and the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. Do not mention this to a Canadian, though, as it is not polite conversation and will draw you into a long argument where you will most likely end up just kind of looking like a dick.
- Canadian beer is relatively strong and typically quite delicious.
- The most popular sport in Canada by far is Hockey, which is the official national past time despite the fact that “Hockey Town” is a nickname for Detroit, Michigan. Many Canadians are resentful of this fact, and will mention it anytime the Detroit hockey team loses despite the fact that the Stanley Cup finals this year were played between two American cities.
- Canada is home to a large population of French speakers (Quebecois) who, though of French descent, are typically despised by the French people from France. Kind of like people from Louisiana except their food isn’t so hot OH GOD MY MOUTH IS BURNING HOT!
- Their legal age for drinking alcohol is lower than ours. This has often been misconstrued by Detroit area teenagers and twenty year olds as an excuse to go to Windsor and act like asses. If you are a Detroit area teenager or twenty-year old then do the right thing, which is to just have your older friends buy you booze.
- Canada does, in fact, have an air force.
A quick note on Canadians themselves: If you ever have the chance to engage a Canadian in substantive conversation, you will find them on the whole polite and friendly. I quite like them as a group, have been to Canada several times, and have been fortunate enough to have many Canadian friends. They’re good people.
Occasionally though you might run across a Canadian who wants to discuss politics, regardless of the amount of times that you assure them you have no hand in actually constructing foreign policy, or that you have no influence in regards to shaping the American heath care system, and that you don’t really know anything about Nicaragua, or that you didn’t vote for Bush or that outside of one vote every four years you have no power to run the country so why the hell are you shouting at me about things over which I have no control? JUST LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET ME ENJOY MY BEER! Christ!
Try to avoid these conversations as much as possible as they are on the whole unpleasant and pretty much nothing you can say will make you not look like a dick.
Your best course of action is to smile, be polite and friendly back, and try not to refer to their currency as “Monopoly Money.”