Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Food Poisoning of the Spirit

And to think, I was on a roll there for a while.  But alas, I relapsed into non-posting laziness, and now here I am again.  Writing the same apology sentence that I do every time.

Meh.  You all have been around these parts for a little while.  You know what to expect.  I'm not too upset about it.

What I am upset about (other than incredibly well thought out transitions...) is food poisoning.

It sucks.

That's what I did with my day today.  I spent the early part of it unable to keep water down, followed by several hours of sleeping, followed by a couple of hours of feeling achy and that I generally wasted an entire day on something ridiculous.

So, yeah.  I don't know what to say other than 'fuck you, food poisoning.'  Same to you, leftover Chinese food that I probably left out for too long before refrigerating.  And also, fuck me for eating it in the first place.

This is where I heave a sigh, and then promise to write something less bitchy and dumb tomorrow.  Or at least sometime within the next week.  Or month.  Or at least I'll put up another picture of a puppy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday to the Rescue with a Puppy

So you say you’re in a bad mood because it’s Monday, and Mondays always suck – unless you have a Monday off, in which case Tuesday is now Monday which is even worse – and you don’t know how you’re going to make it through the day without trying to three-hole-punch your face off or staple yourself to death.

Well guess what, grumpy pants? I’m here to rescue you, and here’s how:

Boom! A picture of a puppy:

You might be allergic to dogs. You might hate dogs in general. But I defy you to look into this puppy’s eyes and tell it that you’re going to strangle yourself with your phone cord. Let that puppy’s adorably mussed hair and loving disposition warm your heart. Hey, you know what? Monday’s not that bad. Because even at the beginning of a most likely awful work week, even puppies still exist.

Puppies exist, and they love you.

(/takes very long drink of Jack Daniels on the rocks from a water bottle sitting on my desk, grimaces and then sighs)

Yup. Today’s not so bad after all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday: Disgraceful Public Figures Disgraced

Remember when we used to do this every Friday?  We'd all gather 'round the blog on a Friday afternoon and just link a bunch of things we haven't been able to get this week?

Yeah.  Why?

Let's take that walk down memory lane, shall we Bold Type?

You got it buddy.

Do it up.

Who Saw This Coming? And When I Say ‘Coming,’ I Mean… That… Er… That’s Inappropriate, Sir!

In a move that was simultaneously inevitable and dumb, New York representative Anthony Weiner – best known for living up to all of the schoolyard taunts about his last name - resigned his post. Presumably, he will now focus on his true passion: photographing himself in little to no clothing and then using the internet to disburse his Sexy.

I’m not sure why this is confusing for so many people: The Interwebs are not private. Anything you put on The Interwebs will be seen by someone, and if it’s embarrassing and you’re a public figure you can bet your ass it’s going to show up on the news. This is the way of things now.

In related news, I have no plans to resign from blogging.

You Know Who Can Fix That For You?

And of course any time a public figure gets caught being naughty somewhere, inevitably someone offers the greatest panacea: Jesus. This time, it’s Albert Mohler. Because if there’s one thing Jesus probably knows all about, it’s how to keep your junk off of Twitter.

I like to imagine Representative Weiner sitting down with Jesus and then asking his advice. Jesus just looks at him, and then says, ‘Here’s an idea: don’t do that.’ And that’s it.

Can we please just leave Jesus alone and let him concentrate on important things?

Speaking of Disgraced Public Figures…

I love it when people smile for their mugshots.

Remember when that guy could have been President?

And Finally…

James Franco is either some sort of super genius who has figured out a way to get away with literally anything, or he’s insane. Although really, can’t he be both?

This time, he’s figured out a way to sell a tiny card as a piece of ‘Non-visible’ art. Brilliant commentary on the art world, or attempt at duping people out of large sums of money? Who knows? Who cares! He’s James Franco!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vancouver: What the Hell?

If stereotypes are to be believed – and generally speaking they should be until such time as they shouldn’t – Americans are a loud, independent-minded, obnoxious and selfish people. The Irish are drunkards, the Scottish are cheap, the English are effeminate and the French smoke a lot and get kicked around on the battlefield.

But Canadians?

Words like ‘Polite,’ ‘Diplomatic,’ ‘Peaceful,’ and ‘Good People’ come to mind. Until such time as they’re not.
How many do you think we could fit in the penalty box?

So when the rest of the world woke up this morning and began surfing the web instead of actually doing their jobs (cough), they were shocked to find that a riot broke out last night in Vancouver. Most of the world forgot about Playoff Sports after the Big Three of Miami were summarily destroyed by a team from Texas – and of course by a certain SPORTS CURSE, MWAHAHAAA!!! But no, a game 7 was played last night in a little sport called Hockey.
And when the Bruins, one of many loathsome sports franchises from Boston, beat the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 4 to nothing, everything went to hell and suddenly your local, friendly neighborhood Canadian was flipping over a police car, looting and setting shit on fire.

The crazy thing is this isn’t the first time either. In 1994, Vancouver rioted when they lost to the New York Rangers.
In 1886 Vancouver rioted when they lost to a team called ‘The Chinese.’
Vancouver: the East Lansing of Canada (ZING)?

Why so much ANGAR? Yes, Hockey is the national sport of Canada (along with Lacrosse, but who plays Lacrosse other than privileged preppy brahs from private schools?), and yes it sucks to lose to Boston in anything, but holy hell Vancouver, it’s just a game. This is not Egypt, or Tunisia, or Syria. This is the Pacific Northwest, the land of seafood, coffee and chilling out with nature. I mean, you just hosted the Olympics. What the hell?

And this is coming from a guy who goes into a pouty funk anytime certain teams from a certain city (also known for rioting) lose a game, to Boston or to anyone else for that matter.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Birthdays and the Passage of Time

Diary-type post. Good Lord, run for the hills and hope for something funny soon!

When last you read anything new on these electronic pages, your humble host was a mere 28 years old. He is now, through the magical processes of time and over the course of a scant few days, one whole year (365 days) older!

A magic trick? An act of time travel or accelerated aging? Or simply the passage of an arbitrary date which people use as a measure of progress?

At what moment in life are people capable of driving a car? At what hour does one suddenly develop the ability to handle a large metal piece of machinery and use it for transportation and not for running into curbs, mailboxes, parked cars and bushes?

At what second does one instantly mature to the point where one can be trusted to responsibly intoxicate oneself?

(At what point will the questions stop and an actual definitive sentence be written in this godforsaken post?)

Presumably, only once a clock somewhere strikes midnight is one suddenly transformed from a caterpillar into a glorious beer-drinking, cigarette-smoking, car-driving, draft-dodging, all-knowing butterfly.

There is a template out there somewhere in the collective consciousness that from time to time we lay across the course of our own lives, and from this template we expect to measure our advancement. At X I am supposed to graduate from college; at Y I should have made a certain amount of progress in my profession; at Z I ought to have a spouse and a certain amount of children, etc. Have I met X,Y and Z? If so, am I happy? If not, am I unhappy? How’s my 401(k) lookin'?

I don’t know what we expect, really: to turn 30 and suddenly, like a shiny new driver’s license, we are presented with a a promising career, a young family and a guaranteed retirement by no later than 60. The longer I live, though, the more I believe life isn’t lived from milestone to milestone, not from year to year, but from day to day and moment to moment.

I’m not sure exactly what to do with this revelation/delusion. I recognize that I’m rapidly approaching the point where the aforementioned template is supposed to become a very real gage of progress. I’m not entirely certain I really care (yet). Given the most recent passage of an arbitrary milestone, as well as an expansion of ‘alone time’ I’ve spent, it seems as good a time as any to reflect.

Man, if this is what you get at 29, imagine what will happen when the clock strikes 30!

Friday, June 10, 2011

POEM: Process Change

And now, to finish the week out with another poem.  Been reading a lot of Horace lately, so I probably just have that on the mind.  Enjoy.

I’m glad you’ll be working with us.
I’m really excited about
Your potential and your future.
We’ll have some fun; we’ll do some work;
We’ll live our lives.
You’ll just be nailing in this board.
You just place the board, take some nails,
And then you pound the nails in there
So that the board is stuck in place.
You should probably use a hammer.
Real simple, shouldn’t be too hard.
Just let me know when you’re done, k?

Hey man, how are you adjusting?
You’re doing some real strong pounding
Really getting those nails in there.
Everyone has been really pleased.
So, Process Change: going forward,
Could you communicate with me
Every time you complete a step?
You grab a board, just let me know.
You get some nails, just let me know.
You hammer them, just let me know.
When you’re done, just let me know too.
No big deal. Just a process change,
To help us monitor the change
In the process. So, keep it up,
You’re doing some really good work,
Let me know about those milestones.

Hey there brother man, how are ya?
Doing good? Happy? Productive?
Good, good, good. Hey, so, Process Change:
Higher ups want a paper trail
To track when each milestone is met,
And at what time, and so that way
We can track when milestones are met.
Make sense? So, just, every time
You do anything –grab a board,
Grab the nails, hammer in those nails,
Et cetera – fill out a slip.
Write the time and date and sign it.
And everyone will be happy.
Sound good? Good deal. You’re doing good.
Keep up the good, my good buddy.

What’s up excellent coworker?
My team player? You doing well?
Guess what? I have a gift for you!
Technology has just arrived,
And it’s going to make life easy.
We’re canning the ticket system
And we’re going electronic.
There’s a new system we will use:
It’s like a website. You log in,
There’s an entry for every board,
And you update every entry
The way you were before BUT
Instead of writing the stuff out
You just type it. So, you log in,
Mark that you grabbed yourself a board,
Mark that you grabbed yourself some nails,
Mark that you hammered them all in,
Tell me you finished, then mark it.
This Process Change really pulls us
Into the industry’s future:
Leading the charge in advancing
Unique board pounding services.

Hey, buddy. Things going okay?
Yeah? Listen, we’ve noticed a dip -
I don’t want to say ‘a dip’ – no,
That sounds worse than it is. A lag,
Yeah, better, a lag in your times.
Your productivity is down.
You used to bang board twice as fast.
Not sure what changed, something must have,
Could be your personal life, or
Something of that nature, but DUDE
You have to step it up for me.
I know you do really good work
I know that, but the higher ups,
Well, they’re looking to improve things
Across the board. No going back,
You know. It’s just not possible
To lead when you’re falling behind.
Also, while I’m here, Process Change:
We now have separate fields to use
When noting the system note fields
So that we can delineate
Between the notes about the boards
And the notes that you send to me.
And include the exact amount
Of nails utilized for each board
As well as the size of each board
And weight to the nearest kg.
All this info should assist us –
Well, at least the procurement peeps –
In keeping our costs down so that
Profit continues to increase
Despite across the board laggage
In our board poundage department.
Anyway, keep up the good work,
Look for ways to improve your times,
I am still really excited about
Your future.
                 And keep an eye out
For future Process Changes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

POEM: Angar

"I Am ANGAR!!!












Monday, June 6, 2011

Your Weekly Reminder: Sarah Palin is Woefully Inadequate

I don’t particularly like politics.

Oh sure, I love to make fun of politics. But I have problems taking a serious discussion of it seriously. You see, beneath my cheery exterior lies the dark soul of a cynic. Where other people see ideological differences between Republican and Democrat, I see a difference of branding.

As a result, I am not deeply surprised when an anti-war President continues the policy of fighting several wars at once. Nor am I surprised when the party in power during the gigantic subprime mortgage nightmare tries to blame the subprime mortgage nightmare on someone else. With precious few exceptions, they’re all vying for the same campaign money and the same votes. The rest is just noise.

It’s all part of the shell game that is democracy in the age of mass media.

However, as deeply cynical as I am, there is one that I simply cannot abide under any circumstances: flat out stupidity.

Sarah Palin is one of those instances of flat out stupidity.

Recently, Sarah Palin was asked to expound upon Paul Revere’s heroic ride through Massachusetts – and by expound, I mean ‘just tell us very simply what he did, you know, like a grade school student could do.’

Her response was this:

Wait, sorry. Wrong video. Let’s try that one:

Oh no, that’s the Beastie Boys. This song is almost as historically accurate as what Sarah Palin actually said, which was this:

Yeah, play that back again real quick and soak it in. This could have been our Vice President. Which, granted, Biden spends about half of his day asleep. But at least he’s not saying that. I mean… come on.

Of course, once the spin cycle kicked in, we get articles like this claiming that while perhaps not the most eloquently put statement ever made in the history of, well, history, it is technically sort of kind of factual.

Apparently, when captured, Paul Revere bragged to the British that five hundred Americans were on their way to kick some ass. Whether or not he said ‘We are gonna be secure and, ahhhh… we are gonna be free” is up for debate. Although, considering Paul Revere was Paul Revere and Sarah Palin is Sarah Palin, I’m willing to bet the “ahhh” was added at the very least.

But go back and replay that third video. And ask yourself ‘Is Sarah Palin trying to share with us a little known fact about the American Revolution? Or is she just trying to bullshit her way out of not knowing the most basic facts of the single most important period of time in the history of her own country?’

Although, she did get that he rode a horse. So hey, that’s something.

So America, please: if worse comes to worse and she’s on the ballot at any point during the whole election process, DO NOT VOTE FOR SARAH PALIN.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Twitter: 100% "Nat Topping's Junk" Free

Given the recent media storm currently bearing down on Rep. Anthony Weiner for what may or may not have been a picture of his man-junk, which may or may not have been posted on Twitter by the Representative himself depending on who you ask and which phony-baloney news stations you frequent, I thought I would take a moment to clear the air.

Like Rep. Anthony Weiner, I am also a Twitter user.  Also like Rep. Anthony Weiner, I have man-junk.

But I would like to give you my word: my Twitter account is a Nat's-penis-free zone.

Go ahead: follow NatTopping and you will find 140 character complaints about the weather, bus service, 'those damn kids' and other observations that are best made by a 75 year old man. What you will not find, my friends, are digital pictures, lithographs, wood-block representations or any other depiction of my penis - covered with fabric or au naturale.

If you do find something on the twitter claiming to be my penis, know that it likely is not.  But that, if it is, I most certainly will recognize it.

For those of you disappointed by this (I'm sure hundreds of thousands are you are gnashing your teeth), here is a list of places where you can find depictions of my penis:

  • The Harold Washington library
  • My shower
  • The Lincoln Park Zoo
  • In the courtyard next to the Starbucks at Sheffield and Diversey
  • Facebook
  • Next to The Bean
  • Your rear view mirror
  • In an airplane flying above rural Iowa
  • The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, back row balcony on the left aisle
  • The Double Tree in Denver, CO
  • Wherever you like, provided you give me enough advanced notice and are available by email, text message or fax
  • Hot Doug's.  I love that place.  But it tries to get there early because the lines get a little hectic.
If I'm missing anywhere, please let me know in the comment section so that I can be sure to notify everyone.

And you thought new look = more professional, huh?  Silly you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June = Changes

Being the observant readership to which I've grown accustomed, you might have noticed a couple of things are different 'round these parts.

Your eyes are not bold-facedly lying to you.  The colors are different, and there's a big ass picture of my name in a speech bubble at the top of the page.

Have I sold out?  No.  That would imply that I've been paid anything; I haven't.

No, instead I am trying to sell myself. 

June means 'time to get myself an agent and start trying my hand at voice over stuff.'  Because, contrary to popular belief and as much as I "really love" my day job, I would much prefer to make money doing things that I actually, you know, really love.

One of those things happens to be the possibility of stepping into a booth, talking at a fuzzy thing, and then getting paid moneys.

So, here I am.  I've made a voice over demo.  A family friend by the name of Pete Moreau made me a logo of sorts.  I've put together a 'Voice Over' page (on which I will eventually place things).  I'll be calling (begging) agents shortly.

So yeah.  That.


Second of all, I will still be writing the same inconsistently produced drivel for your enjoyment.  It's just, well, you'll have to get used to seeing my name in a speech bubble when you show up.

Hope y'all like it.  Suggestions?  Complaints?  Random angry statements?  Please leave them in the comments.