Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How I See The World Differently Now Since I Started Watching “Mad Men”

On my way to work the other day, I passed this ridiculous set up in the middle of Broadway.

The life guard, ironically named because this guy needs to get a life before he starts guarding them (hey-oh!), was blowing his whistle and yelling at passers by, whose polite reactions ranged from “Shut up!” to “Asshole.” I’m guessing that probably wasn’t the feedback the ad men were hoping for when they came up with the gimmick to promote Discovery Channel’s 10th annual Shark Week.

(Note to Madison Avenue: Lifeguard towers stationed on busy sidewalks? Why not monogrammed kicks in the groin, or dead bear cubs perched atop air conditioning units with the slogan: “Heat unbearable?”)

Besides the unsavory ad campaign, I can’t for the life of me understand why they’re still doing Shark Week. I imagine back in 1998 when it started it was a revelation for people who had always wondered about the secret lives of the sea’s majestic rulers. But now with YouTube, you can learn about sharks any time you want.


Talk about hunger pains!

Besides, how much is there to know about sharks? You’re telling me there’s 10 years worth of content? I had Puppy figured out three weeks in – four tops. And even if there is that much fishy information available, what are you going to do with it? The way I see it, the entire reason people watch the Discovery channel is to impress people in everyday situations, like if you happen to be lost in a forest and you think you may have a fever, you can capture a bird and take it’s temperature, explaining to your fellow campers as they look on in astonishment that a bird's normal body temperature is usually 7-8 degrees hotter than a human’s, so if you know the bird’s temperature you can subtract 7 degrees to determine if you have a fever. That’s helpful knowledge. But here the Discovery channel is devoting an entire week to a creature that the vast majority of people will never come into contact with. And if you did have contact with it, are you really going to spout some random facts you learned?

Jason: (while being dragged out to sea by a shark) “Did you know that the shark currently attached to my leg can grow to be over 40 feet lon- blub, blub, blub?”

Of course if you’re Ryan Seacrest throw all that out the window because apparently he was attacked by a shark the other day.

"I thought it was a stick," he said. "I wasn't sure what had happened."

Then, he said, "I saw it swim! He took a bite, and he left."

Seacrest, 33, said the shark's tooth "wasn't a great thing to find. It was like finding a splinter!"

Although he said he was "in pain," the "American Idol" host wasn't hurt too badly, but said he "needed to take an Advil."

Took a bite and left? More like shark weak.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hooray for Happy Endings!

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* Google image search: “massage”. Scariest massage ever?

About a month ago, after Brooke and I had finally settled into Miami life (leased a car, relearned to drive, ultimately learned to drive with reckless abandon and the intent to kill), we sat down at a bar along the beach and had The Discussion. We’d touched on the topic from time to time, but we’d make a conscious effort to not have The Discussion until we were completely aware of our current circumstance, i.e. we now lived in Miami. So we ordered a couple of mojitos and I went first.

“Do you miss New York?”

It quickly became apparent that we fell on two very different sides of this fence. On the Pro-NY side sat Brooke, extolling such benefits as culture, seasons, intelligence, and a general expediency of everyday living. On the Pro-Miami side sat me, extolling boobs, beaches, and a quality of life so much less expensive that I’ve actually become accustomed to ordering an appetizer AND an entrée – a privilege previously reserved for special occasions or when your parents visited and took you to dinner.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t love New York. I have a huge sexy crush on New York. In fact, that’s part of the problem. I went on to flesh out this paradox thusly:

New York is like a the prettiest slut at the party. And you met her when you were a little vulnerable and awkward and didn’t quite get how your equipment works, and she taught you how to bang like a rock star. So of course, you fell in love. But then one day you couldn’t afford to take her out to the hottest new martini bar and she was like, “Whatever, loser,” and slept with your best friend. And took a video of it. And showed you the video the next time you guys hung out, all the while on the phone making plans to hook up with some bankers and lawyers later on that night. And while you’re crying “Why don’t you love me?!” New York is all, “Can you keep it down? I’m trying to get laid here.”

Eventually, you decide your relationship with New York isn’t healthy. That’s when you meet Brooklyn – the nicer, less whorey sister of New York. So maybe New York taught her how to give a blow job, but Brooklyn still likes to cook regional Mediterranean food and rent a movie. And everything would have been great, if not for the fact that New York was still there ALL THE TIME. I mean, you ran into that bitch everyday, and everyday she made you feel like shit, what with her phallic skyscrapers, overtly sexual subway tubes, and design stores selling “modern antiques” at real antique prices.

This is about where I lost control of the metaphor and Brooke seized the opportunity to sum up her argument by sipping her drink and pointing at a guy with a rooster on his shoulder riding by on his bicycle while everyone on the street stopped and clapped.
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Flash forward to present time. Brooke and I are back in New York together for the first time since we left. We’ve been here for a week now, and are staying until Sunday. And while being away from New York has worked wonders for me (tan, healthy, flush), I can’t help but be immediately thrust back into my previous position when confronted with New York living. We’re staying in a tiny, expensive corporate apartment in over-crowded Nolita, walking down bustling streets, riding scorching hot subways, and, in my opinion, being oppressed in every sense of the word.

(Note to employers: Hi! Please don’t mistake my bitter grumblings for something like ungratefulness. I love the apartment. The other day, I walked outside and I swear I heard the “Sex and the City” theme song! It turns out there was just a “Sex and the City” tour passing by the apartment, but if my favorite tu-tu had been ironically splashed by a bus with my picture on the side, I probably wouldn’t have cared at all! So thanks.)

Of course, this isn’t how Brooke sees it. She thinks of us as liberated from the shackles of geographical redundancy. Puppy seems to agree, excitedly peeing on everything in sight with a look in his eye as though he understands he is urinating on hundreds of years of historic importance.

All of which is to say that we haven’t come to any concrete conclusion except that at some point (be it a year or five) we will be back living in New York. And the stress of that idea alone was enough to wind me up so tight that I resorted to getting a massage, leading to what might be the most awkward naked moment of my life (and that’s counting this incident).

At the beginning of the massage, the masseuse (who looked like a 47-year old Mid-Western mom, dressed in smart khakis and sneakers) asked if I had any trouble spots. While I considered saying, “My groin!” (hahaha), I instead complained about a crick in my neck I’d had for a few weeks (which doubles as therapy because any time I complain about it to Brooke she tells me to “Man up.”) She asked if I slept on my stomach, and I told her that in fact I did. She said after the massage she would show my some sleeping techniques to avoid neck pain, which I thought was odd considering I can barely perform specialized techniques when I’m awake, let alone when I’m asleep. But whatever – she’s the professional.

So after the massage, while I’m laying face up on the table, covered in a towel and half asleep with cucumbers over my eyes, she whispers that she’s going to find some pillows to show me those sleeping techniques we were talking about. I mumble something like, “Whatever,” and off she goes. A few minutes later she returns and takes the cucumbers off my eyes. I see her standing there with a pillow in each hand and immediately recognize that this situation is about to get awkward. She proceeds to lift my head up and place a pillow underneath it. Then she tells me to roll over on my side, facing her, and bend my knees towards my chest. She then lifts my arm and nestles the second pillow up against my chest.

To review: I’m naked . . . under a towel . . . in the fetal position . . . hugging a pillow . . . looking up at my masseuse.

“Now cuddle the pillow,” she says.

I comply, because what am I going to do, say no? And while I squeeze the pillow tight and say, “Yeah, this feels great,” I kind of rise up outside myself and am suddenly looking down on this situation from above and I decide that it is not an OK situation.

We stayed this way for five long, uncomfortable minutes, with the masseuse describing why this is the best way to sleep, me constantly trying to prop up my head to have a more normal conversation while she insistently tells me to relax, put my head down, and hug the pillow. After I promise her I will buy a “big, fluffy pillow” (the memory of saying “fluffy” makes me shudder), she leaves the room and I decide whether to cry here or when I get home. (I opt for home.)

The point being, if you’ve never had a frank conversation with a Midwestern mom masseuse while naked on a massage table curled up in the fetal position and cuddling a pillow, well then you’ve probably never been to New York. And at the end of that day, that’s kind of a shame.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

An Inspirational Pep Talk from Coach Taylor That I Could Have Used To Write A Blog Post Today*

“Son, you’ve done everything I’ve asked of you. You’ve done your work, you’ve caught up on your emails, you even called your mom back after about the fifth voice mail message. But son you’d better listen to me when I tell you that if you expect to succeed – at anything in life – by doing ‘just enough’, then you’re mistaken, alright? You’re mistaken. You’ve got readers out there, people who are relying on you to distarct them from work.

So I don’t know, go do whatever it is you do. Go write some haha jokes, find a funny video out there on the internet. Heck, go take some picture of your dog. (What is that thing? Is that a dog? Really?) Anyway, my point is I’m proud of you, son. But don’t let that go to your head.

Now get out of here.”

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* As long as I am still having dreams about “Friday Night Lights” (Oh, Lyla…), then you can expect posts like these. And if you’re all, “But this is stupid, I don’t even get it,” then here’s what you do: grab your left wrist with your right hand, and, using only your right hand, force your left hand to slap yourself in the face repeatedly. Then go watch the show.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Q&A Friday!

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Tonight it a big night. You see, my beloved Brooke works for a certain company, and that certain company put out a certain book, and let’s just say Brooke played a large role in creating said book. And tonight she is hosting a book party at Books and Books in Coral Gables (that’s in Florida, in case you were wondering). So I know it’s late notice, but you should all fly in to attend. (Note to people already in Florida: Do not fly in, that would be silly.) Not only will there be champagne and cupcakes, but there will be a real, live pretty girl who created a book with her own bare hands. If that’s not enough to impress you, I will try to get her to do other things with her own bare hands like tear a phonebook in half or wrestle an alligator. But if you’ve never met anyone with a book before, trust me: It’s pretty impressive.

On to the questions.

I find myself in a quandary. A guy friend of mine has found himself recently single. While his heart is broken, I find mine swooning.

You didn’t waste much time between The GF and Brooke. How does a girl move in on the wounded prey and not end up the rebound girl?

Sincerely,
Strategically Plotting.

Jeez, way to get personal. Want to know what I was thinking during my first kiss, too? I was thinking about ice cream, alright? Ice cream. We were at summer camp and she kissed me while everyone else was off getting ice cream sandwiches and all I was thinking was, “Does this mean I don’t get an ice cream sandwich now?” There, now everyone knows. Are you happy?

To answer your question, I’m pretty sure that the way a girl moves in on wounded prey is with her shirt off. But if you want to be more subtle about it, why not try being there for him in his time of need with your shirt on first. Have coffee with him. Listen to him tell awfully boring stories about how he and his ex used to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond together and giggle while one rode on the front of the cart. The key is to just listen. Don’t offer opinions. And resist the urge to take off your shit, just like in that scene in Braveheart when the British army is charging on their steeds and the Scottish are ready to raise their spears but William Wallace is screaming, “Hold! HOLD!” And then, right when he finally offers up some negative commentary on his ex, you say, “You’re right – I think you’re better off without her.” And then take off your shirt as he raises his spear.
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Have you ever been unemployed? If so, what did you do to deal with the boredom? I feel like it is consuming my being! (to the point that I am now counting down the hours until my next meal and/or snack).

Thanks!
-Marissa

What is this: Let’s talk about Dan day? Why all the personal questions? It feels so invasive, like when the bank asks me what my mother’s maiden name is and I have to make one up because my mom grew up in an orphanage and never had a last name, so everyone called her Curly, but not because she had curly hair but because she had scoliosis.

But no, I’ve never been unemployed. Oddly enough, when Brooke and I first moved to Miami I had planned on being unemployed for a while, but that just wasn’t in the stars for me. But I do work from home, so unemployment is always just a few steps to the couch away. And let me tell you, it is tempting. I don’t know how anyone can be bored when they lack any and all responsibility. I like to think of responsibility as a bear trap clasped tightly around my bloody ankle, causing me to limp through life.

But hey, to each her crazy own. So here are a few suggestions to deal with boredom:

1. Learn to cook. It’s educational, time consuming, and delicious.
2. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. (Hahaha.)
3. Masturbate.
4. Plot the perfect murder.
5. Internet dating.
6. Make up stories about how your mother grew up in an orphanage. Spread them liberally.
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My girlfriend really likes when I (wait, is this blog rated PG-13?), well I think the technical term is cunnilingus. But it’s really confusing and I’m not sure I’m doing it right. Any pointers?

- Tim

Tim, Tim, Tim. Trying to give advice on how to orally pleasure a woman is impossible. You see, women are like snowflakes – each one is cold and unique in her own way. One woman’s tongue flick is another woman’s circular motion. In truth, it is a bit unfair. Going down on a girl is like trying to put together a piece of furniture from IKEA: It doesn’t matter whether you’re assembling a desk, entertainment center, night stand, or book case – all you’ve got is the same gold allen wrench every single time. The real trick is learning the right way to utilize it for the job.

(Safety Notice: I just realized this could be a dangerously mixed metaphor if someone actually tried to use an allen wrench during oral sex. Let me make this clear – that rarely works.)
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Nobody likes me. Should I go eat worms?

Best regards,
Ryan

Not so fast, Ryan. It turns out ingesting worms may actually be healthy for us.

Bowel expert Dr. Joel Weinstock (who isn’t a big hit at cocktail parties) notes that before gut worms were eradicated 50 or so years ago, allergies were virtually unheard of. Now one third of the UK suffers from some sort of allergy. So when mother-of-two, Anna Glanz, who suffers from incurable colitis, came to Weinstock, he gave her a special treatment: a drink full of worm eggs.

"Worms require humans to survive. In essence the worms are part of us and it's possible that we've become interdependent and removing worms has resulted in an imbalance to our immune systems.

Although Weinstock is quick to note that "People have what I consider an irrational fear of worms. Nobody wants to go to the toilet and look into the toilet and see something wiggle.”

So no, you shouldn’t eat worms. You might get healthy and disappoint everyone.

(Think you’ve got what it takes to have a question? Email me at redactedblog@gmail.com)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Puppy Has Security Issues

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While I was away in New York a few weeks ago, I got a phone call from Brooke. She sounded upset. I was concerned, so I gave her the Upsetness Test.

“How many bowls of Cap’n Crunch did you eat after dinner tonight?”
“None.”

And that’s when I knew it was serious.

After some hemming and hawing, she finally let it out. She didn’t want me to get all worked up, but after coming home from a night on the town, she discovered that Puppy had peed on the living room rug.

Peed. On the rug. And in case you’re wondering, no the rug isn’t made out of grass with a faux fire hydrant off in one corner. (Not for my lack of trying, but Brooke didn’t think the motif skewed “adult human” enough.)

I know this may not seem like a big deal for a dog. Dogs pee on all sorts of things. I used to know a dog who got so excited when people came over to the house that it would jump up and pee on them. But it’s different with Puppy. He is the epitome of a chill dog. The last time he got really, really excited, he had to stop halfway through his jumping and panting celebration to get a drink of water and lay down. And if he ever really, really has to go to the bathroom and Brooke and I aren’t around, or around and asleep, or around and really into an episode of “Friday Night Lights”, then he’ll just go into the bathroom and pee on the bathmat. Which is fine with me, because hey, close enough right? I half expect him to come trotting out with a newspaper under his arm like, “I’ll clean that up later.”

But to pee on the rug? The nice, expensive, living room rug? The one I take credit for picking out when guests compliment it even though I inevitably come off as foppish? I was baffled. My first questions was, “Why is Puppy such a dick? I don’t pee on his shit,” to which Brooke responded, “That’s nice of you, but he’s a dog.” Whatever.

Sadly, even after I returned home from New York, it happened again. And again. Suddenly, Puppy was a fountain; a furry leaky faucet. It’s amazing how much less you love something when it starts urinating on your possessions.

While Brooke and I were obviously concerned (if we wanted pee on everything we’d do it ourselves, thank you), we both assumed that it was just his mean-spirited way of getting back at us for leaving him home alone so much. When we first got to Miami, we spent a considerable amount of time inside because we were scared. But like timid house cats, we have been venturing out more and more, further and further lately, leaving His Highness Puppyton alone with his thoughts and no one to scratch his belly, which, in his mind, is like being left home alone without food and water, on a small island surrounded by molten lava, with a Desperate Housewives marathon playing in the background. (He hates Felicity Huffman.)

After some research on the internet, though, Brooke and I discovered that dogs don’t operate like that. (Which is weird, because I could swear that every time I pick up another mound of Puppy’s shit he gets a smirk on his face like he’s recalling how I kicked him off the bed the night before.) Apparently, if a dog has no history of peeing on things and suddenly turns into a doggy Super Soaker, it usually indicates feelings of insecurity. Basically, Puppy pees on things because he thinks he’s fat, or because he’s not equipped to cope with the pressures of everyday life. If Puppy was a teenager, he would be cutting his stomach and drawing pentagrams on the back of his paw.

Immediately, Brooke and I were terrified. Our dog? Insecure? How could that be considering no fifteen waking minutes can go by without one of us addressing him like a high maintenance prima donna supermodel. “Oh Puppy, you’re looking very cute. How handsome your face looks today! If you were a cupcake I would eat you, then throw you up and eat you again!” I mean, it just doesn’t make sense.

We’ve resorted to rolling up the rug whenever we leave the house and when we go to bed at night. Plus, we try to give Puppy more positive reinforcement, especially when he pees outside. (Actual scene from yesterday: Me standing above Puppy while he pees on a fence saying, “Good boy! That’s a good boy!” while an attractive woman approaching us walks a wide circle around us.) And for the foreseeable future, I guess that’s how it’ll have to be. And Brooke and I will be left to decipher the puzzle of how the heck our beloved Puppy developed security issues. I wish we knew…

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Monday, July 7, 2008

The Bachelorette Finale Is On Tonight. Something Else That's On? My Gaydar. Oh, There It Goes!

Hello, and welcome to the new [redacted] format, where the overwhelming weight of the information age has finally crushed our will for intelligence and all we ever talk about anymore is The Bachelorette. (Tag line: “It’s all Deanna’s Pappas, all the time.”)

Seriously though, I have a problem. And its name is Deanna. How I came to care so much about this show I will never know (FACT: I do know. It’s a little cocktail called The Summer TV Line-up-tini, and it’s made with scotch and TiVo). But the fact of the matter here is that tonight is the season finale, and not only is Deanna Pappas going to choose the man of her dreams, but, as she has already publicly stated, she is going to get engaged to him as well.

And us? We’re going to treat the event with the ridiculous excitement it deserves. Here we go.

THE CONTENDERS

jason
Name: Jason
Age: 31
Occupation: Account executive
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Current residence: Kirkland, WA
You may not know this, but: He has a three-year old son, and looks like a girl when he smiles.

jesse
Name: Jesse
Age: 26
Occupation: Professional snowboarder
Hometown: Amherst, OH
Current residence: Breckenridge, CO
You may not know this, but: “Professional” is simply a code word for “instructor”

A brief recap, by the numbers:

25 – men she started with
2 – men left in the running
3 – men she distributed Bang Cards to
5 – times her father cried that night
1,289 – awkward moments involving forced, on-camera intimacy
1 – number of times third runner up Jeremy was likened to American Psycho
6 – number of pieces he will cut said commenter into with a dull ax
5.5 – number of guys Deanna kissed
2 – on a scale of 1-10, how the “.5” felt when he tried to be the sixth one to kiss her and she cheeked him
17 – number of times Deanna was shown in a bikini
15 – number of pounds she seemed to have gained in the recently televised reunion show
70 – percent probability that she is already knocked up

OPINIONS

The show is fascinating for a bevy of reasons, but what I’m most intrigued with right now is which guy is going to win Deanna’s heart, and, subsequently, be driven totally batshit insane by her in less than three years. (You heard it here first – Deanna is a certifiable rice ball of craziness.)

So I asked Brooke and two of her co-workers a few questions to see what they thought about each contestant’s chances tonight. The overwhelming response to my inquiry was, “Are you gay? Does Brooke know yet?” But there was also some insightful commentary. Take a look.

Allison

Profile: Southern; sassy disposition; uncanny knowledge of grammar and etiquette; gets annoyed at people who cry.
Who will win: Jason.
Who should win: Jason.
How crazy Deanna is on a scale of 1-10: 7.
What each contestant should do tonight to win the competition: Fist fight the other guy.
Commentary: Jesse is a good time, but Deanna's biological clock is in overdrive. If she’s serious about getting hitched and having 3 kids by the time she is 30, she's going to need to go with the guy who can give her a short-cut.

Ashley

Profile: Mid-western; won’t take shit; will give out shit; has a stroller for her dog; will give you shit if you comment on it.
Who will win: Jessie.
Who should win: Jessie.
How crazy Deanna is on a scale of 1-10: “standard crazy”
What each contestant should do tonight to win the competition: Bang the shit out of her.
Commentary: Who cares about Jesse’s job? It’s not like Jason is rich, so the quality of life is not that much different. He probably sells insurance or some shit. A snowboarder can give her a good time with his big dick.

Brooke

Profile: New Yorker; my girlfriend; when she laughs, the world laughs with her; if they don’t, she dismisses them as stupid.
Who will win: Jason.
Who should win: Jason.
How crazy Deanna is on a scale of 1-10: “regular crazy”
What each contestant should do tonight to win the competition: Have violent angry sex with her and then make her chocolate chip pancakes in the morning.
Commentary: I think this is a perfectly legitimate way to find a husband. Dan says it’s impossible to find a soul mate out of a mere 25 men. But I found Dan and only 23 other guys applied.

(Ed note: Out with the flowers, men! Apparently, the best way to a woman’s heart is through violence, sex, and violent sex. Sure, three women can’t be counted as any kind of “majority”, technically speaking, but you know where they are a majority? In my heart.)

So what’s my ultimate prediction? I think Jason will win. Allison brings up a good point that this girl isn’t just run of the mill crazy, she’s baby crazy. You just get the feeling that she is the kind of woman who would absent-mindedly wander off with someone else’s baby stroller in the mall and when confronted say, “Finders keepers. Get your uterus off my baby,” or something quippy like that.

However it shakes out, I still can’t imagine how either of these guys could come away broken-hearted if he wasn’t chosen. I mean, you boned her once. Consider it a free pass, and move on. Take your celebrity to the next level and land a younger chick who is more interested in things like “going to the movies” and “fun” than things like “getting married” and “having babies.” Seriously, start up the website iwasjessefromthebachelorette.com, and the women will line up to “open themselves up” to you. This is exactly* how I found Brooke, after all.

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* Sort of.