Friday, December 21, 2007

Controlled Spontaneity, and This is Why My Family Hates Me.

Two, two, two posts in one!


Picture it, Christmas party, December 9. December 9, people. That's like 12 days ago.

Random conversations abound, and I'm flitting back and forth between a few of them. Eventually, I approach my friends Ann and some other friends. Without having to say a word, Ann turns to me and says, "So, want to go to Mexico for Christmas?"

I stop for second.

"Sure," I tell her.

Turns out the conversation before I arrived was along the lines of Ann saying "I want to get away for a little bit for the holiday. Just a quick trip." And then I showed up.

For my part, I haven't left this city since my Provincetown vacation last July. I'm itching for a vaca. And given the season, well, I had the time. And my credit cards will hurt, but oh well.

We did about three days of research before we ruled out any destination in Mexico. No to Acapulco, Cancun, and any of those other cool (warm) touristy cities. We opted instead for either New Orleans or Miami.

Almost without trying, we settled on New Orleans. Cajun food, casinos, non-stop drinking... in the bag. We found hotels rooms for under $100 and airfare for a reasoanble price.

I swear this is the first time I've ever booked a flight less than 14 days before the departure date.

The feeling of spontaneity was exhilirating. I've always said I wanted to wake up one day and say, "I'm doing something big," but this is so far the closest I've come. Let's just call it a controlled spontaneity. Not quite 24-hour spur-of-the-moment, but definitely less advanced notice than one is used to having to plan for.

I leave this morning. I'm horribly excited.


I'm also unacceptably bad with my own familial relations. I'm an awful person and I hate myself for that.

Quick background: My mother is one of a dozen children, which means my generation of cousins is tremendous. We range in age from 45 to something like 9. It takes me about 5 minutes to go through each aunt/uncle to count up the number of children each of them has. It's crazy.

Of course, this also means it's a little difficult to keep track of all of them. Many of them were born well after I reached adulthood, meaning I've really never met them. When I went to college I moved quite far from home -- and thus pretty far from all of my family -- which somewhat further disconnects me from my family.

So how does this relate to this post? I had this trip to New Orleans planned for about nine days... and had completely forgotten that my cousin Jay lives in New Orleans now. He's finishing up medical school at Tualne. He's freaking 25 years old. He makes me feel totally old.

Of course I love my family. But it's so hard for me to keep up with them. And I feel like a total tool for being excited about this New Orleans trip for over a week without it ever even crossing my mind that I have kin down there and that it would be criminal for me to go there without having drinks or dinner with him.

Thankfully, I found his number and texted him my travel plans and asked him if he'd be available. He said he would, and I now totally look forward to catching up with him.

New Orleans here I come!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why Not?

I walked by a homeless person on my way to the grocery store tonight. She asked me for some change. As I usually do, I politely refused by shaking my head and holding open an empty palm.

I passed by her again on the way home.

She: Spare some change?
Me: No, sorry. [Shaking head and holding out open palm]
She: Why not?

Huh? Did she really say "Why not?" I hate to break it to you, lady, but I owe you positively no excuses for my decision not to do something that's wholly my choice to make. There are probably millions of reasons I could have chosen not to give you any of my money. Let's list some of them, just for fun:

- I don't have much money of my own
- I don't like panhandlers
- I give "at the office"
- I don't give to street panhandlers
- I don't like you
- I prefer to give directly to charities
- I think you're probably some lazy ass who should get a real job
- I just spent my money
- I am a Scrooge, and proud of it
- What the hell have you done for me to deserve any of money at all?
- I don't give money to people wearing blue hats
- The little green martians told me not to, and I obey their every suggestion
- A homeless person once bit my leg, so now I avoid them at all costs

What do all of the items on that list have in common? No, not "it's the truth," because I don't actually subscribe to all of the reasons listed there. The one characteristic shared by every single item on that list is that each one is perfectly valid reason for me to have chosen not to give you any money, lady.

"Why not?" I have my reasons.

My Language, or I Just Had a Margaret Cho Moment

This conversation actually occurred at my local Whole Foods earlier tonight. Really, I don't make these things up.

I approached the cashier with my purchases and loaded them onto her platform. She started ringing up my purchases, and then:

She: How are you?
Me: Fine, thanks. You?
She: Fine.

[Wait for it.]

She: Paper or plastic? Hey, how do you say 'paper or plastic' in your language?

[And there it is. I momentarily lost the power of speech.]

Me (internal): Did she...?
Me (external): Wha...?
She: How do you say 'paper or plastic' in your language?

[Oh no she di'n't! Except that, well, yes, she did. She actually repeated it.]

Me (internal): Are people actually still like this?
Me (external): Uh, you mean, in English?

[I didn't see the need to go through a long explanation that, despite my facial features, "my language" is English. Shamefully, my Chinese skills have deteriorated dramatically in the past ten years. Sadly, I'm better at French and Spanish -- hell, even Italian -- than I am in Chinese.]

She: Oh. I thought... no, I really thought you were from...
Me (internal): Please don't. You'll only hang yourself.
She: I don't even know where.
Me (internal): That's a pretty good dial-back. I'm glad you didn't actually try to guess what Asian country I'm from.
Me (external): [nervous laughter]

I was immediately taken back to Margaret Cho's routine I'm The One That I Want. Part of her routine talked about an exchange during the run of her (short-lived) show All-American Girl. A local television station (I forget where) had just switched over to an ABC affiliate, and she was talking to a reporter.

Reporter: Why don't you tell our viewers, in your native language, that we're switching over to an ABC affiliate?
Margaret Cho: [looks into camera] They're switching to an ABC affiliate.

That's me. Know how I say "paper or plastic" in my native language? "Paper or plastic."


Am I the only one who is seriously disturbed by this little caveat calmly thrown into a commercial for Lunesta, a sleep aid drug?

"Call your doctor right away if after taking Lunesta you walk, drive, eat, or engage in other activities while asleep."

Seriously, what the hell? Sleep-driving? That scares the crap out of me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Virtual Networking

It seems like only yesterday that my friends insisted that I get a myspace page. "It's so much fun!" they told me.

"I'm not 16 and in high school!" I protested.

"No, seriously," my 25-and-over friends repeated. "It's fun, you should join."

So join I did. And I quickly linked up with the friends whom I knew were there. Then I branched out and found more friends of my own, people who I didn't even know had myspace accounts.

At first I vowed only to have "friends" as myspace friends and not clutter up my page with all kinds of random, stupid friends. That resolution quickly got tossed, and I started linking up with random bands, just to keep up with their tour dates. Then other more indie people would find me by noticing who I was friends with, and they'd ask me to friend them (it's a verb, you see) too. That's kind of how I got turned on to Ryan Huston (great voice, doesn't hurt that he's very easy on the eyes) and Royal American. Then I just started friending my favorite bands just to be able to keep track of their tour dates, in case I was ever actually able to go.

Then slowly, my closest friends started getting too busy to log on to myspace with any frequency. So where posting random silly comments was one of the most fun things you do on myspace, such frivolity rapidly curtailed itself. I started to bore of myspace.

Then some people (not myspace people) told me I'd have to sign on to Facebook.

"Uh, I'm not some 20 year old college student," I protested.

"No, seriously," my 25-and-over friends repeated. "It's fun, you should join."

And the cycle begins anew.

Most of my myspace friends are not on facebook. But facebook has all these mini-feeds and stuff on them that makes it so much more dynamic. You can see all kinds of things that other people doing. Most of them goofy, but some of them pretty fun. I happened to find a high school classmate on there -- who knows two of my close friends. What a small world.

Oh, and you can play a Scrabble-ish game on there, as well as poker. And some stupid cute little game called Diverman.

Strangely, given that these are "social networking sites," I haven't actually met anyone off of these sites that I didn't know already.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Me to Gift Horse: Say Aaah.

I got an early holiday gift from a girlfriend of mine recently. (I say "holiday" gift because she's Jewish. This means that technically I was late in giving her a holiday gift. But then she went out of town, so it's all good.)

Anyway, so I got this gift. I don't have a tree, so I really have no place to store unopened gifts, so... well, I just open my gifts as I receive them. It's much simpler that way.

So anyway, what she got me was awesome! Great gift, perfect, timely, definitely something I'll read and use. I was totally excited when I tore open the wrapping.

Inside the front cover: a receipt. At first, I figured it was a gift receipt. But it wasn't. It was an actual receipt.

And the book was $4.99.

I'm torn. On one hand, it really is a pretty cool book and I like it. On the other, it cost five frigging dollars! I know it's the thought that counts, but wow.

Worse yet, I have no idea what I'm going to get for her now knowing that she didn't spend all that much on my gift.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"Bad Financial Choices," They Say

WaPo today reports that the government has brokered an agreement to freeze interest rates for those homeowners who risk foreclosure under the whole sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Proponents argue that this is a great idea, and would stave off tons of foreclosures. Critics -- labeled "conservative" by WaPo -- say the plan "amounts to a bailout of people who made bad financial decisions."

On some level, I can understand the criticism: people bought their houses knowing their payments would balloon after a certain amount of time; they took that risk; it's tough cookies that they can't now afford it. It's not much different from getting a fixed-rate mortgage knowing that your income stream was going to severely plummet a few years down the road.

But where I hit a philosophical problem is this: these people are in trouble, and these conservative critics would just as soon toss these people out on their butts than do anything to help them. Where are these people supposed to live? Do you really think apartments will be willing to rent to them if their credit history reflects a foreclosure?

More importantly, the critics here cite "bad financial decisions" on the part of the owners and would just as soon leave them to their own devices. But then I end up asking the same question I'd ask of conservatives who advocate for privatizing Social Security: what happens to those among us who make bad decisions?

Social Security was meant to be a safety net, allowing people at least some amount of money upon retirement (admittedly, not a whole lot). Privatizing Social Security -- under this whole "it's my money, dammit!" rubric -- means that instead of people putting into the system and getting back something come retirement time, people would keep their money and "invest" it.

But what of people who "invest" the money unwisely? Sounds like we'd find conservatives saying to their 68-year-old grandparents, "hey, you stopped contributing to SS taxes long ago. That money didn't grow for you? Too damn bad."

You know we as a society would never do that. We'd have to provide them with assistance. So again, really, we'd be "bailing out people who made bad financial choices."

And if the solution to this apparent conflict is pointing to the fact that even privatizing Social Security provides a floor so that seniors can't squander all their money, then... well, why is that any different from Social Security in the first place?


I tried to make some ravioli tonight. It was a dry run of something I was planning to take to a party this weekend. I thought I was becoming some master cook or something, adept at the ways of food.

I was wrong.

And just because I am a glutton for idiocy, I will tell you just how stupid I was, so that real master chefs out there can tell me just how big of an idiot I am.

I had some egg pasta sheets in my fridge and I needed to make an appetizer for this party. So I had this thought that I would cut the sheets up into the right shapes and fill them with fruit flavors like raspberry jam or something. Then I thought that instead of boiling the ravioli (like one normally would), I would fry them. Breaded.

Does that sound good? It sounded good in my head. The execution was a whole different matter.

First failed attempt: I cut the sheets into square for purposes of folding them into triangles with filling. It didn't even make it to the breading stations. The pasta was so brittle that it kept cracking whenever I tried to fold it.

Second failed attempt: Perhaps if I boiled the pasta first before filling it then frying it, it would come out better. That failed because (1) the pasta started breaking before I even removed it from the water, or (2) if I got it out of the water intact, it broke as I tried to stuff it -- this time because it was just too soft.

Third failed attempt: In a stroke of genius, I broke out the little round cookie cutters I had just purchased from the Whole Foods a few weeks ago on a whim. I would cut the pasta sheets into little rounds, I figured, then layer one on top of the other. This would prevent anything from breaking prematurely. Finally, I managed to assemble the ravioli and get them through the egg-wash-and-breading process. I heated some canola oil in a frying pan and started tossing the breaded ravioli in.

That was strike number three. Oh, and by the way, I used a cookie shape that was just too large. I couldn't taste the fruit filling at all. The ravioli was terrible. (Perhaps some confectioner's sugar sprinkled on top would have helped, but I seriously doubt it.)

In short, it tasted like crap. I will not be making this for this party this weekend.

Thankfully, I formulated a backup plan while I was grocery shopping, and picked up a few tins of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. Now instead of little mini-ravioli filled with a fruit flavor of some sort, I will be bringing crescent rolls dressed with fruit filling (and raisins).

Well, I'm taking that, and some lemon bars and creamy onion canapes. I love Paula Deen.

I need a better kitchen. And some actual skills.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Geek Love

I have a whole new wonderful celebrity crush.

I'd been avoiding Iron Chef America for a while now. It never really interested me, frankly, because speed-cooking is not something I cared about. As of a few months ago, cooking was something I barely cared about, let alone speed cooking.

Then I got addicted to Giada de Laurentiis and Paula Deen, and, well, Food Network in general. The fact that I can even speak competently about some of these television personalities, comparing and contrasting their cooking styles and kitchen demeanor, speaks volumes about that particular change with me.

So how could I resist when I found out that Giada de Laurentiis was going to be on Iron Chef (working against Rachel Ray, whom I'm far less excited about). On top of that, on another episode, Paula Deen competed as well. I love those two women -- how could I not watch those episodes.

You know how they say you show up for one thing and fall in love with another.

My new celebrity food crush is Alton Brown.

Alton is not what I could generally call "hot." Sometimes he's kinda cute on his show, but in general, I'm not at all sure he'd turn my head if I walked past him on the street. At least in terms of physical appearance.

But listening to him serve as the primary host/commentator on Iron Chef truly takes the cake (no food pun intended). What makes him sexy is not the way he looks, though it doesn't hurt. What makes him super-sexy is the fact that he's so freaking smart. The fact that he's able to pull from such a vast array of food knowledge from nowhere so he can provide such rapid-fire -- and if you haven't seen the show, I really do mean rapid-fire -- during the show is incredible. Without saying a word, the chefs just launch into their work. They start cutting and chopping and frying and mixing almost without a word, and all it takes is Alton watching them, observing what they're putting into their pots, and coming up with precisely what these chefs are doing. Being able to pull from the top of his head the "classic" elements of certain dishes just from the very beginning of the chef's work.

His comments are truly amazing.

(If someone comments that he's really being fed this information from Google during the show, I will never speak to you again.)

And they're intoxicatingly sexy. He's like the Tim Gunn of food. They're both smart and articulate and able to command such a vast degree of specialized knowledge off the tops of their heads.

Knowledge is power, y'all. I'd carry their children.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I often find myself wishing and hoping that someone, somewhere, of whatever deific persuasion, is keeping tabs on me for the many times I find myself generously resisting my baser impulses.

I casually mentioned (over GoogleTalk, 'natch) to a friend of mine just now the fact that GoogleTalk now offer GroupTalk -- kinda like a conference call on IM. His response: "Yeah. So what. Who actually uses that anyway?" I refrained from telling him that he dragged me into several group IM conversations several years ago, albeit back on MSN messenger.

Similarly, remember my friend who chastized me for not sending timely thank you notes three hours after I received a birthday gift? I totally bit my tongue with him too.

This past weekend I had dinner with a friend Lisa. She tends to blab a lot, monopolizing conversation, even to the point of interrupting my thoughts as they come out of my mouth. (I don't think she means to, but she does.) She's done this for years. I have never called her on it.

My brother is annoyed at the fact that I have Answer Call on my cell phone (the caller hears a song rather than the sound of my line ringing). The last message he left me was "Dude, you really need to change that feature. It's annoying." I want to tell him to suck it. I know that I won't.

These are relatively petty things, and things I know one really shouldn't score karmic points for, but I kinda hope they're building up somewhere. I hope they're sitting there alongside holding the elevator door open for bitches who don't even acknowledge the effort and telling the hot-dog guy that he gave me too much change. Small stuff that adds up, you know?

The problem, of course, is that once you sit there and hope that your good acts are going to pay you back somehow, you've removed yourself from the realm of pure altruism and relegated yourself to the selfish standard: doing good because you hope it comes back to you. Booma-booma-boomarang.

But I can't help it: I do still hope that those times I've volunteered at a soup kitchen help make up for the fact that I never give panhandlers money. I hope that my being the designated driver at a party helps make up for the times I've been an obnoxious boor to random strangers at a bar. And I hope that for all the times I overlook over people's faults because I want to give them the benefit of my good graces, I hope others are willingly granting me that same leeway.

They tell me the energy you send out to the universe is what you get back, in spades.

Here's hoping only the positive vibes I send are susceptible to magnification.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lawyering on Demand

I've decided that I want to shoot the guy who first came up with whole "If you have a phone, you have a lawyer" tagline.* Because it's stupid shit like that that makes my life just that much more annoying.

I work in a very small law office. There are not many lawyers here and therefore we can't justify a huge support staff. And that means that, from time to time, we lawyers have to answer the phone, like when the receptionist is busy on another call.

Trust me, when I'm busy doing other work -- billable work -- talking to a random person who thinks they "might" have a claim is the last thing I want to do.

First of all, far too often there's an expectation that I'll dispense free legal advice over the phone. Once they spill out the facts of their situation -- usually a long a drawn out process -- they'll demand that I immediately tell them that they have a case. Guess what: that's not my call. And even if it were, why would I tell you? If I tell you that you've got a case, nothing prevents you from then running to another firm and hiring them. And seeing as you haven't paid me for the time I spent listening to you and telling you that you have a case... well that pretty screws me and my firm.

I simply do not understand how it is that people feel like they have the right to pick up a phone and get immediate access to free legal advice from private firms like mine. I have to earn my keep here; that means working on client projects that actually generate money. The time I spend listening to you blather on, as well as the time I spend thinking about your case to come to a reasoned conclusion about the merits of your situation, is time I could spend doing other paid work. It's a simple function of economics: the time I spend listening to you is likely to generate no return whatsoever. That's why I usually refer you to an assistant who will listen patiently to you, take down notes about your situation, then bring them back to the attorneys for later evaluation.

Now, just because this is a small firm ("Law Offices of Joe Schmo"), why do you think you can pick up the phone and say "I'd like to talk to Mr. Schmo, please."? Really, do you think Mr. Schmo does nothing with his time but sit around and wait to dump free advice onto random callers? He's busy. The lawyers are busy. That's why they have support staff to answer the phones. It would be pretty silly to have them there answering phones if they then really only had to push them over to the Big Guy, now wouldn't it? Think of it this way: Sullivan and Cromwell is a rather large firm in DC. I'm pretty sure that no one ever picks up phone and demands to speak with Mr. Sullivan or Mr. Cromwell unless and until they've established a prior working relationship with them (or unless they're personal acquaintances).

Plus, let's face it, more often than not your case isn't anywhere near as strong as you think it is. I once had someone call and tell me she knew "for a fact" that she had a case. Not knowing anything about her matter, I was ready to lay odds that she was full of shit. Another person called this morning demanding to speak to a lawyer because she had an urgent need for one. Sorry, but I can't drop everything for you right now -- kinda busy. Talk to the hand.

So stop with this whole "entitlement to a lawyer" thing. You don't have one (at least not in a civil case). Just because you have a phone does NOT mean you have a lawyer. This society is too damn over-litigious anyway.

* DISCLAIMER: I do not literally want to shoot him. I just want to inflict serious bodily harm upon him.**

** FURTHER DISCLAIMER: This, too, is not true. But I think you get my point by now.***

*** STILL FURTHER DISCLAIMER: Just in case any lawyers out there get any stupid ideas, no, I am not encouraging or forecasting unlawful or illegal action against this person. I'm just writing a damn blog post expressing some frustration. Seriously, get over it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If I Had a Million Dollars....

I have a special rapport with the guy who sells me lottery tickets. Not that we tried to develop one. I was just being goofy. I keep giving him shit for never selling me winning tickets. (If I win at all, it's something like $3. Which is stupid when I've spent something like $10.)

With the Powerball up to $155 million for tomorrow's drawing, I popped in to purchase $5 worth of tickets. Another customer was in there at the time. The following exchanges occurred after I finished my transaction:

Other Guy [to Lottery Guy]: How much is the Powerball up to for tomorrow?
Lottery Guy: 155 million.
Other Guy: Hm, maybe it's worth it for me to get some then...
Me: Don't you dare buy tickets if it means that I'll have that much more competition to win!*
Other Guy: [laughs]
Me [to Lottery Guy]: Seriously though, dude, if you sell this guy the winning ticket and I get squat, I will cut you!
Other Guy: Yeah man, sell me the winning ticket.
Me: Dude, if he wins, I will cut you.
Lottery Guy: I don't really care which one of you wins it, if one of you does, I still get $100,000.**
Me: Dude, if he wins, you could have $100,000, but then you'd still be cut.

Then we laughed and I left the place.

But if someone else wins the jackpot with a winning ticket from that store, I will never ever go there again. At least not without a switchblade.

* I realize this does not make sense, because there's no guaranteed winner for any drawing, but I just wanted to make a stink.

** Apparently lottery vendors get little prizes for having sold large winning lottery tickets.

Check Me Out!

Dear Random Lady at the CVS:


I wanted to write an open letter to you briefly after I observed you this afternoon at my local CVS. I had gone in near around lunch time to make a quick purchase a roll of aluminum foil and a birthday card.

I noticed you were in the process of using the self checkout kiosk. Those things are cool, aren't they? Kinda sorta fun to use, until they get all HAL 9000 on your ass. And yet sometimes they're great, and they allow you to avoid having to interact with an actual human being (which I'll admit, at that CVS is sometimes a dicey proposition).

See, here's the thing though: usually self checkouts are supposed to allow you to finish your transaction faster than if you had to deal with a real person.

You didn't have the same problems I did with the machine. In fact, from what I can tell, you had finished scanning your items before I even stood in line. Thankfully for me, I noticed that the line in front of this one checkout lady was only one person deep, so I stood there instead of behind you.

Lady, was it really that difficult for you to finish your transaction? Good gravy, I literally was halfway done with my transaction (slow checkout lady and everything!) while you were still at that machine! I noticed you fumbling around to try to sign the little pad (obviously you used a credit card -- I'm going to venture to guess that you didn't have the card anywhere near out and ready when you approached the kiosk in the first place, just to speed things up), then you spend something like two minutes tucking things away in your purse and gathering up your things. How many things did you manage to accumulate that you had to gather them up? Did you even notice that there was a guy behind you in line -- who only wanted a freaking Coke, for Pete's sake -- who was waiting on you while you just stood there like an idiot?

The self checkout kiosk has a functional purpose. It's meant to be used. And it cannot be used by more than one person at a time. Get in, finish your business, and promptly leave. It's not like you're in the aisle pondering your decision about which shampoo to purchase -- people can walk around you in that instance. But in this one, you are actually a colossal waste of space.

In and out, people. It's not that hard. If you're going to waste that much time in front of the kiosk anyway, you may as well interact with a human cashier.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving

Hope everyone reading this had a great Thanksgiving. Really, both of you.

I was given Wednesday and Friday off from work, so really it's been the shortest week ever. This is good and bad for me, because when I get into a goof-off mindset, it's harder for me to snap out of it. Going back to work tomorrow is going to suck. Hard.

(PS: Random pet peeve: I hate it when people refer to Thanksgiving as "Turkey Day." I guess I'm a sap in that I do still enjoy looking back on Thanksgiving and thinking just a little bit about my blessings and things to be, well, thankful for. I feel like calling it "Turkey Day" devalues that sentiment and turns the holiday into nothing but its material tradition. It's the same as if we had collectively changed the name of Christmas to "Presents Day.")

Thanksgiving dinner went okay. I helped make the bird, and the stuffing, and some pie. All in all, it came out pretty well. My friends continue to annoy me, but oh well. In the words of Ouiser Boudreaux -- "I've been in a very bad mood for the past forty years." Okay, not forty years, but hey. I've been in a bad mood for a while, and I feel bad, but I'm trying to snap out of it.

So, what to be thankful for this year. Basically, the same things I've been thankful for for years now: a great set of friends, a decent apartment, a decent job. Just this year I emerged from long-term credit card debt (yay!) and picked up a lead on a new job. Even if I don't get that new job, I have exciting new plans and prospects. I've got more than a lot of other people and I need to focus on that silver lining that says there's a lot I should be happy for.

Life is pretty good.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I am Turning Into Martha Stewart

I am so addicted to the Food Network it's not even funny. For a guy whose kitchen sucks, and whose culinary skills are marginal at best, I am making a huge go at trying to my hand whenever I get a chance.

For time to time, I volunteer to go over and make dinner for my friends Jason and Jessica. They have a nicer kitchen and more supplies. I provide some of the labor and try to come up with a decent, and decent-looking, meal. It's all about presentation.

I feel so gay when I do that.

Tomorrow promises to be the ultimate challenge, though. I have somehow managed to volunteer to make the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner with some friends. I got the turkey recipe off of Food Network. I am also planning on making a green bean casserole and homemade stuffing.

What the hell have I gotten myself into?

If I don't post tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why Do I Do These Things to Myself?!

Okay, so two posts ago I blogged about what I thought was the grossest video I have ever seen. I enjoy the reaction videos because, well, it was fun to watch everyone else get all grossed out. And it doesn't get old -- if I were to watch it again I would puke all over again.

Then I watched this reaction video, starring Michael Buckley on his YouTube video blog What the Buck:

(He does two video blogs. He's hilarious and fun and totally gay. You should totally subscribe.)

If you haven't seen the "2 Girls" video yet, he describes the video pretty well, so don't listen too long if you don't want to know what's in that nasty video.

Why am I blogging about this again?

Because I am an idiot.

I read through a very brief portion of the comments posted to Buckley's post, and found reference to another site.

Another site, which I stupidly enough had to check out.

You thought "2 Girls 1 Cup" was bad. "2 Girls 1 Finger" is pretty gut-wrenching too, and definitely not in a Terms of Endearment sort of way.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Okay, just a quick gripe.

It's JEW-EL-RY, people, not "jew-le-ry".

It's REAL-TOR, people, not "re-lah-tor".

And Mr. President (and everyone else who uses the word), it's NEW-CLEAR, not "nu-cue-ler".

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For... The Grossness of It All.

Where the hell have I been? I just watched Best Week Ever and heard about this viral video that's so nasty that most public-access file-sharing platforms have yanked it. So of course I went to look for it.

BWE was quite vague about what this video was and, in fact, would even provide a clip name so I could do a google search to find the video. My curiosity having spiked to huge levels, I knew I had to find it.

I started on the mother of all video websites, YouTube (natch) and did a quick search. BWE had indicated that it was disgusting (which is why, thankfully, VH1 declined to air it), and that it involved two girls, so that's the search I did. BWE also indicated that it was so viral that now the reaction videos -- videos of people reacting to watching the video -- were as popular as the video itself.

And they were right.

My search on YouTube was for "disgusting two girls" and immediately turned up pages and pages of reaction videos but no actual video. (This is when I first realized that YouTube would not be hosting this video.) Anxious to find it still, I google searched it.

Naturally, the one reliable link I could find for it was on Perez Hilton. I won't link to it here just because it's so... but I will do you the honor of telling you what the name of the clip is: "Two Girls One Cup." There. Have at it.

Have a vomit bag ready because I really was ready to hurl at several points in the video. No, I did not watch the whole thing all the way through. I spent most of the thirty-second video with my eyes squeezed shut.

I will say this, though: The reaction vids really are pretty funny. (If you do watch these videos, some of them will pretty much give away what happens in the video itself.)

Some guy who "turns gay" as a result:

Some random person's mom -- I think she threw up in the kitchen sink after:

Another person's mom:

Blonde dude cracks me up more than anything:

(First guy has a kinda cute smile but mediocre bod.)

I can't tell if this guy really puked or just half dry-heaved:

I love this one. And the boys are pretty hot:

I don't think this guy made it:

Two poor innocent unsuspecting women:

("Just watch the whole video," he says. "It's not that long," he says. What he doesn't say is that it's the nastiest 30 seconds ever.)

These guys are kinda cute... even if one of them does toss his cookies:

(The sadism of the cameraman is hilarious too.)

Even goth/stoner/skater dudes are grossed out (or maybe it's just that they're German):

I think it turned this chick on:

(I think it gave them an idea and they had to turn off the camera to go try it.)

Bandana boy is kinda cute:

I don't know why I'm still so amused by these reactions:

I love that this video is letterboxed. Letterboxed, people!:

Dude says he's throwing up in his mouth. Little does he know what's coming up:

Okay, I'll admit it, now I'm just looking for cute boys reacting to the vid:

I love the boy in the hoodie -- and his accent is adorable:

Kinda grainy, but still funny:

These guys don't actually start watching it until over a minute into the video:

Okay, this has to be the last one or I will seriously be up all night watching this shit:


Thursday, November 15, 2007

New Dinosaur

A paleontologist at the University of Chicago, Paul Sereno, has unveiled his discovery of a new dinosaur, one that was more bovine in character and goes against the archetypical view that dinosaurs were tall, majestic carnivores. This one appears to have spent its life with its head hunched down, enabling to eat vegetation from a few feet off the ground. Apparently its teeth were formed in such a way as to make this kind of chomping easy too.

It's being called the Nigerasurus taqueti, or just Nigerasuraus.

I'm just waiting for the for the hue and cry that will surely burst forth that this name is racist.

Suspicious Minds

I know in this day and age there's this heightened awareness with respect to both national security and personal security and all. I know I bought a personal shredder at home just to get rid of credit card offers, for example. But is there a point where one's cynicism just goes too far?

The other day DC Blogs highlighted a site that I thought was kinda fun: Free Rice. It appeals to so many parts of me: wanting to help other people, not being to get up off my fat ass to do so, and dorking out over vocab words.

If you didn't bother to click over to Free Rice, let me give you a quick summary of its content. Really, all it is is an elaborate vocabulary quiz. The twist: for each word that one can correctly define, "they" will donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. Seems to me like a win-win: test your knowledge of 50-cent words (or learn some: "picaroon" = "pirate". Did not know that) and help stack up some rice for starving people. According to the stats they post, people are helping to raise almost 2 BILLION grains of rice so far.

(Okay, I know in the grand scheme of things that may not be many bowls of rice, since rice by definition is small and is generally eaten more-than-one at a time. But still, it's not bad.)

So I told my a good friend of mine about the site. Check out this exchange:

Dennis!: hey, check out this website:
Dennis!: the more vocab words you get right, the more they donate rice to some anti-hunger fund
Dennis!: and the words are kinda cool.
Friend: 1 word = 10 grains of rice?
Friend: what's the angle?
Friend: 10 grains of rice is less than a penny's worth of rice
Dennis!: then you kind of keep going until you get to a decent amount of rice...
which is kinda win-win, because you'll also test your vocab at the same time.
Friend: what does this site get though?
Dennis!: ?
Friend: people don't spend money for nothing.
Friend: someone has an angle
Friend: not sure what
Friend: i read it

The FAQ I linked to, by the way, explains the goals of the site and how they donation process works, and how the vocab twist on it is educational. Apparently not enough for my friend.

Personally, I think it's kind of sad that we've reached a state in this country where an effort like Free Rice -- which doesn't cost anything at all -- is met with such skepticism. Instead of saying "Hm, looks like fun, why not give it a shot?", my friend instead immediately responds with "This is clearly too good to be true, it must be nefarious, and I distrust it inherently."

Let me reiterate: it's free. You can learn some vocab words out of it. Who cares if it's really some huge sham and really no rice is going anywhere ever? You can still pick up some words from it. Unless you have some legitimate fear that somehow that site is either broadcasting brainwashing zombie images at you, or is busy snatching your password information while you blithely guess at vocab words, then really, what's your damage?

Live a little.

Surprisingly, this post is quite unrelated to the one immediately below this one. Perhaps I've just got incredibly stupid friends.


I hate my current work situation (in particular, certain projects I'm working on, and asshole opposing counsel), and as a result, it's putting me in a bad mood. I hate that.

(Okay, to make sure that last paragraph is complete, I should add that my boss was also a source of my immense frustration last week too.)

I won't go into details here of how annoying my opposing counsel is -- let's just say that I've worked with many opposing lawyers over the years, and many times our exchanges have been cordial, friendly, and professional. The kind that make you think that maybe you wouldn't mind hanging out and having a beer at some point. Not so this guy.

But what's really upsetting me is that I'm letting it take over my life in such a way that I'm in a very bad mood lately, and this means that I take it all out on people who don't deserve it. Those people would be my friends. (Oddly, I still make sure I'm polite to strangers, like the people from whom I buy things.)

Thankfully, my friends are text-addicted and therefore communicate with me mainly through thumb-relays. What this means is that I am at liberty to ignore things rather than unfairly blow up.

Here's a non-exhaustive list of things that my friends have done that bug me lately:

1. Responded to one of my texts with a lame joke.

One friend has this tendency to make the same stupid joke over and over. It's pretty stupid even when he does it in real life. Basically, when he doesn't hear what you've said (or when he claims not to have heard), he'll make something up completely (usually something crass and sex-related). Example I'm just making up now:

Me: I think I'll get the salad.
Him: You tossed that guy's salad? What?

Yeah, told you it was lame. It's not terribly funny in real life. But imagine that exact same conversation, in text. It makes even less sense, no? For some reason, I was ready to blow up at him for how lame that joke was when I got that text. Thankfully, I didn't.

2. Turned all Sybil on me about Thanksgiving.

We're planning on having Thanksgiving dinner at one friend's house. He's notoriously flaky, but given that it's Thanksgiving and he's inviting a bunch of people, he can't possibly totally flake out on it. So every so often, for about a month, he'll say something like, "We should go grocery shopping." And I'll say, "Sure. I have a menu in mind, so we can go get stuff." Then later I'll say, "So are you free to go shopping this weekend?" and he'll say, "Eh, we should wait until the weekend before Thanksgiving. There's really no need to go early." Then two days later he'll send out another email: "We should be getting ready for Thanksgiving." Gaaah!

3. Sent me inappropriate an text message.

I think just because of my mood I'm hitting (artificially depressed) tolerance levels with respect to how completely retarded my friends can be. I got a text the other day from one that was a picture of a guy in a gym shower. It was captioned "A guy at my gym."

How completely stupid is that? I mean really, who does that? That is just NOT cool.

When I finally told him never to send do that again, or at least never to send me shots of naked people who don't know that they're posing, is when he finally told me that he actually just snapped the shot off of a gay porn site.

4. Can't bother to get simple facts down.

I've mentioned on here that I had a job interview recently. It's for a counsel position at a federal agency. I have repeatedly told my friends what Agency (let's say, for the sake of this post, that it's the USDA).

This friend -- and I'm sure he's only trying to express an interest in my life -- keeps asking me "So have you heard back from DOJ yet?" No. No, I haven't heard from DOJ. Ever. Because I didn't apply for a job with them, as so I did not interview with them. I interviewed with USDA. Is it really so hard?

Just to turn all sexist for a brief moment here, I feel like I'm more irritable right now than Naomi Campbell during her monthly visit from Aunt Flo. I hate this, and I'm blaming work-related stress for it. Hopefully this stress patch will soon pass, and I shall be back to my normal, happy self again.

Wish me luck.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I've had a crush on Milo Ventimiglia since The Gilmore Girls.

So, of course, I was terribly excited when I saw that he had a pretty prominent role in Heroes.

Now I'm just thrilled that this season -- finally -- he's being given a good deal of skin time.

One word: Schwing!

Deep Breaths

My office mates are bugging me. Not the ones I actually work with (they're a different story), but the ones we share office space with. They're the older Chinese married couple I mentioned earlier.

As I mentioned last time, whether he realizes it or not, The Husband's remarkably dependent on His Wife. When she's here, she cooks his meals for him daily (I sometimes wonder if she ever actually gets any work done for him in the office, because all she ever really does is show up, stock the fridge, and start making lunch -- sometimes it takes up to an hour), she also does his dishes when they're done eating. Don't even get me started on the smell when she decides she's going to make some sort of fish dish for lunch.

Well, notice in my last paragraph I said "when she's here"? That's the point: for about a week and a half she hasn't been here. (More on that later -- foreshadowing!) And when she's not here, he doesn't seem to realize that his indentured servant isn't there to wipe his ass for him. Translation: he acts as if there's still someone around to clean up his crap.

The other day he came up with a lunch of some sort. (Don't ask me how.) It must have been a decent lunch, because he used some 4 dishes/bowls in the process. When he was done eating, where do you think it all ended up? In the sink.

For hours.

He clearly had no intention of washing it. His Wife usually does the dishes. I really think he had completely forgotten that with the Wife gone, it really necessarily had to be up to him wash his own damn dirty dishes. He pays to sublet space, not for maid service.

(Eventually, out of sheer frustration, my office manager washed his crap.)

But what really took the cake was today. As I was walking into the kitchen, Husband was in there getting ready to do something or another. We all heard something fall -- it was so loud my colleagues in their offices down the hall heard it. I was touching nothing at the time and was probably some three feet away from the nearest surface.

He looked at me, and gestured/pointed at what just happened. "Uh, yeah, I guess something fell." And then he went about his business.

I was so dumbstruck I couldn't even speak, although the first thought I had was along the lines of "Uh, yeah, we heard that." My second thought was, "Yes, well, fucking pick it up then, motherfucker!"

Seriously, though, how does one actually survive into relatively old age not knowing such basic rules as "if you drop it, pick it up"? This is particularly bizarre when you have learned the rule that if it falls, it should be picked up. Clearly the "who should do that" part was totally missing from the lesson.


Meanwhile, The Wife is gone without a trace. I honestly can't even remember when she was last in the office.

It should be noted that Husband and Wife are not Ward and June Cleaver. Husband (it is alleged) cheats on Wife rather flagrantly. Wife can't divorce him because, well (according to her), it's just not something Chinese people do. (Never mind that she is actually Husband's second wife.) If Husband had his druthers, she would be out on her ass and he'd be with Hot Mistress. Don't ask me why, but that's not happened, and instead they all maintain some strange detente.

Wife left the office one evening and, I'm told, hasn't returned home since. I don't know where she's staying, nor do I know what she's up to. But the rumor continues: she hasn't heard from Husband at all since her unexplained departure.

So now she's trying to use my workmates to play mindgames. Apparently she has called the office now to recruit my colleagues into this bullshit: "Hi, it's me. Don't tell him I'm calling. I haven't seen or talked to him in over a week, and he hasn't made any attempt to call me. If you get a chance, you should ask him, 'Hey, where's Wife?'"

I, for one, know that no one in my office is so overflowing with spare time that they're willing to inject themselves into this stupid domestic cat and mouse game.


Seriously, some of these people need to grow spines and shut the fuck up. If I had my druthers (that's twice in one post!), I think I'd boot both of them from our suite already.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Beginning, and an End

A very dear and close friend of mine got married this weekend. The ceremony was charming and wonderful, and I couldn't be happier for her and her new husband and family.

And yet somehow I'm feeling a profound sense of sadness. My brain tells me I'm being totally stupid in that regard. But we all know brains don't always have the last say on these things.

She'd been seeing this guy for almost two years now anyway, so it's not like he just swooped in and swept her off of her feet. Indeed, truth be told, she's been exceptionally good at keeping her pre- and post-boyfriend lives pretty consistent, so it's not like she suddenly spent all her time with her new man and stopped ever calling me (as I understand happens frequently).

And I know that the truth of the matter is things probably won't change now that she's married either. I am confident that she will make every effort to continue to get together with me and our other friends -- with or without her husband -- on a somewhat regular basis, and that we will remain very, very close friends even after the marriage.

But another part of me still can't help making a huge deal of what a significant change this is. I mean, it's huge. It doesn't have to be, but it just is. She's got a whole new family now, and from what I can tell they're a pretty cool bunch of folks, most of whom live around the area. Will she start having to divide her time up between Her Friends and The Husband's Friends? (I realize they'll be "Their Friends," but truly it's somewhat inevitable to remember which people were in which spouse's life before The Marriage.

It's the stuff of advice columns and at least one real life friend: people get married, then suddenly their social lives suffer a substantial hit. One other woman we know moved from the city to a 'burb after she got married, so our invitations to join us in the city for anything are usually met with polite regrets. Her social schedule is frequently spent with her husband's friends and family, and her time with the friends she had before the wedding have been curtailed dramatically.

I hope this won't happen with us. I'm confident that it won't happen with us.

But those tiny shreds of doubt are still there.

I suppose all that's left now is that I have to deal with it, and take whatever happens as it comes. It's been a good long run... and there will still be good times to be had.

Friday, November 02, 2007

And Here I Thought I Was Being All Slick.

I love my job. I do. (I had to get that out of the way early.)

That being said, I did have a job interview this week for a position that sounds fun, challenging (substantively) and, most importantly, could represent a HUGE pay increase for me. Let's face it, the day to day litigation schedule I get at my current job can be a strain; I'm not generally happy in wholly adversarial relationship, either professionally or personally.

So I had an interview last week.

Of course, I didn't tell my current boss about this interview. I figure I'll wait until it becomes somewhere closer to concrete. No sense stirring up the hornet's nest until it becomes closer to becoming a reality.

What I did do, though, was basically just sua sponte* took a half day off from work on Tuesday. Just plopped it on the calendar: "Dennis! is out of the office from 2:00 on." Didn't explain it to anyone. Figured no one would ask.

And usually no one does. Because usually it's for things like doctor's appointments, etc., and I'm glad my colleagues are generally rather cognizant of being too nosy about specifics of doctor's appointments. "What's wrong with you? Why are you seeing a doctor for three hours?" is not something I'll ever imagine them asking. (This is a good thing because the one time I decided to seek talk therapy for an issue I was having -- thankfully it only lasted something like 4 sessions -- it looked strange that I kept booking doctor's appointments on a regular basis at lunch.)

On the day of my interview, my boss and one assistant went out for lunch. I reminded them that they wouldn't see me when they got back, and that I'd see them tomorrow. Then, as I made my way out (thankfully I live close to work, so I went home to change into a suit then hitched a cab), I told my other colleague that I was gone for the day and that I "had something to do."

I thought I had handled it well, and I was being effectively evasive without raising too many eyebrows.

I may have been wrong.

I had asked my office assistant to order more business cards for me recently, as I was down to the last few in my box. The day after my interview, she came to my office. "So, I have a weird question," she started. "Do I still need to order business cards for you?"

"What?" I asked.

"Well, you ran out of here all secretive yesterday, I figured maybe you went on a job interview or something."

Damn! Busted.

"Ha!" I laughed. Without explicitly denying that I had been on an interview, I just said, "Just go ahead and order me the cards." (Internally, I'm thinking that if I do get this new job, I can just reimburse them for these cards.)

I really hope my other colleagues didn't get this thought in their heads too. I feel like I'm lying to them by not telling them about the opportunity, but then again I also don't want to get my hopes to high. I've been down this road before: literally three years ago I told my boss I was getting sick of litigation and that I was going to start looking for a new job -- and yet I'm still here. Strange how hard it's been.

Anyway. All I have left to say is: Wish me luck. Second round callbacks are sometime in the next few weeks.

* I know you're impressed by my random injection of a Latin phrase in here. You are, you know it, admit it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What a Drag

Tonight was a blast. Hit up the Annual High Heel Race on 17th Street with a few friends. What a fun night! Not too much to say other than that, so here are a random spattering of photos from the evening.

Most of the photos from before the race started are really bad because there was pretty much no light on the street and the flash wasn't remotely powerful enough to help me out.

I just like the composition on this one.

Nice ass.

The Washington Monument guy.

Ugly Betty.

You can't see it, but this salt bottle has legs. Of all my friends (and the people around me), I was the first one to figure out just what this costume meant. 'Cause I'm smart like that.

This is a very elaborate headdress. I was trying to get a shot of the guy along with the headdress, but he moved.



Not sure what this was.

Judy Jetson (we think).

Good times, good times. My friend Laura wants me to be in the race next year. I might actually consider it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's a Small World After All

I am often amazed at how small the world can be sometimes. Sometimes this is a good thing; more often, it's a somewhat awkward thing; from time to unfortunate time, it's a metaphorical herpes outbreak that just won't go away.


Picture this, Washington, 1999. I'm in my mid-20s and in what I now realize to be the prime of my life. I have long come out of the closet and am comfortable with having gay friends and frequenting gay venues.

Meeting gay people is difficult for me, mostly because meeting people in general is difficult for me. I'm not naturally outgoing, and making lifelong friends with guys who just happen to be standing next to me in a bar just never seems to click for me. So in whatever diverse ways I meet people (usually on line or through friends), I end up developing several small networks for friends, none of whom I have ever introduced to the other.

And for (relatively) good reason: in the context that I meet these people, I am a different person at different times. Sometimes I feel like a social chameleon: I can be a party animal with one set of friends, and the quiet, brunch-and-International Coffee kinda guy with another group of friends. I can be pretty comfortable in both worlds. I think that as a result I developed several sets of friends, each one catering to one of my moods. Call me Sybil. "I ain't no slut!"

One night, I and some of my friends decided we were going to hit Nation, the warehouse dance club which was such a hit among The Gays in the '90s. I was looking forward to dancing, hanging out, staying up to all hours with this crew of friends...

... and as we were in the bar area waiting for the main dance hall to open, I bumped into another, complete distinct, set of friends. "Hi!" we greeted each other happily. I felt so popular, knowing so many people without even planning it that way.

Being the polite guy that I am, I (however grudgingly) introduced my one set of friends to the other): "Blah Blah, this is Blah Blah."

And, of course, they already knew each other. In fact, they were pretty good friends.

Here I was, thinking that I had given myself so many different options for my own personal gay posse, only to realize that really I was just cherry-picking from the same large group of friends.


On Thanksgiving Weekend of 2004, I visited some friends from high school who have now moved to Seattle. Joining us was C.W.T., another high school friend. Sometime during the course of that weekend, C.W.T. -- who until then I had considered a friend, if only one who made cameo appearances in the screenplay of my life -- referred to me as "the most superficial person [he] know[s]," in absolute seriousness. In fact, when I made clear how taken aback I was at the characterization, he took pains to defend it.

I reflected on the situation for a long time after it happened, and I decided that I didn't want to remain friends with C.W.T. any longer. I was, and am, perfectly comfortable with the decision to voluntarily remove myself from the life of someone who thinks so little of me. I generally don't think of him much anymore. Were I to visit the metropolis that he lives in, I would not really be inclined to look him up.

We take you now to Provincetown, July 2007. I am standing outside of the Paramount Video bar with my friends trying to figure out our plans for evening when I feel a tap on my shoulder. Turning around, I find that the finger belongs to none other than C.W.T.

How, oh how, is it that of all the times and places for us to end up vacationing, we end up vacationing in the same place at the same time? Oh strange Fate!

We exchanged various pleasantries -- oh everything's good, I'm having a great vacation, there are my friends, we're going to go find more drinks now, bye! -- and I departed the scene. C.W.T. suggested that we catch up, but I definitely knew we would be doing no such thing, not if I could help it.

I flash you ahead now again to the events of these past two weeks. I had been itching to go see a play, so I contacted my friend David, with whom I have developed a theater-buddy relationship. It had been a while, so I just sent him an email rather than bug him on the phone.

He was too busy to respond to my email promptly (my bad anyway), but when he did, he included this P.S.:

P.S. I met two friends and former classmates of yours in New York
recently. One was Blah Blah,* who has been a friend of mine for years; the other was another gay Asian guy who was a classmate of yours (but I'm blanking on his name right now).

* It's shocking how many friends I have named Blah Blah. It's quite a common name. Sometimes I'm surprised I can tell them apart.

Knowing this Blah Blah as I do, there is no doubt in my mind that David is referring to C.W.T.

I feel like my world is becoming smaller and smaller. My worlds are colliding, and it scares me.


It is, indeed, a small world after all. And now that damn song is going to be stuck in your head for the next 12 hours. Ha ha!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wherein I Turn Strangely Catty About a Topic on Which I Know Nothing

Dear Fellow Metro Traveller Who Happens to be Waiting Next to Me the Platform This Evening:

OH HONEY. Those pants are atrocious. I mean, really. Is that flannel? Whatever the material is, it most certainly doesn't look comfortable. More importantly, though -- the stripes. What. The. Hell. Multicolor thin vertical stripes all the down the leg? Did I blink and miss my trip back to the 70s? Because if I have, it's terribly unfair that I somehow missed my opportunity to drop acid to see that. If I'm going to be subjected to those colors, I kinda want to be on a mind trip when it happens.

But wait... are those SNEAKERS? RED sneakers? Woah, those pants don't look good to begin with, and you pair them with THAT? They're not even remotely stylish! Ugh. Oh Lord I wish I could take a picture, but my phone has horrible resolution and the lighting in here sucks. It would be horribly rude of me to try to use an actual camera camera.

But... well, wow.

At least, I suppose, your pants (and shoes) aren't half as bad as this guy I snapped a shot of in Amsterdam last May.

Horrific. You lose a sense for it from the back, but take my word for it; they looked HIDEOUS from the front.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A&F Got Pwned!

Okay, I'm not a huge fan of Abercrombie and Fitch to begin with -- it's pretty body fascist, in my opinion.

But apparently in the old-school style of Flash Mobbing, a group called Improv Everywhere put together a little prank on the A&F store in NYC.

Sorry about all the random video posts lately. But come on, it's some funny stuff.

Oh, and hat tip to QueerClick [NSFW!].

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Uh... No.

My office rents out part of our office space to a solo practitioner and his assistant (who's also his wife). They're this older Chinese couple, and the woman has basically taken to treating me like a surrogate son because she feels bad that I'm so far removed from my own Chinese family. From time to time she brings me some leftover food, either stuff she's made or stuff they had at some restaurant. She's very traditional Chinese.

One afternoon, my office was having lunch in the conference room when she wandered by. I had made a rather large recipe of pasta and vegetables the night before, so we were all eating my food which I had shared with the others.

"So what are you eating?" Chinese Lady asked.

"It's pasta with vegetables. Dennis! made it," one of my colleagues told her. We have a makeshift kitchen in the office (consisting of a rather large toaster oven and a microwave) so oftentimes there are rather impressive cooking projects going on for lunch. Even salads are a big production sometimes. I usually buy my food, but sometimes I bring leftovers.

"You should cook more often!" Chinese Lady tells me. "See, that looks good!"

"I know, but it's hard when you're single," I tell her.

Chinese Lady stopped for a while... then piped up again: "You know what you need? You need a girlfriend to cook for you." Have I mentioned that she makes her husband his lunch every day?

My colleagues and I each looked up and kinda chortled. Really, how does one respond to something like that tactfully?

Have I mentioned how traditional this woman is? On top of that, she's very religious; her church creates a large part of her social life. Once I remember a number of us sitting around at lunch chatting and the subject veered to same-sex marriage. "What's your opinion?" my boss asked her. I think she was caught off guard, because the first things out of her mouth were words to the effect of how "those people" are "sick." (She then slightly changed her wording but it was clear what her position was on the subject.)

The conversation just got more bizarre after that: You could almost see the light bulb go "ding!" over her head as she suddenly said, "Oh! I know! You should meet my niece! She's in New York now, but I think she's coming down to visit!"

I couldn't hold it back. Almost immediately after she finished, I responded: "Uh, NO."

She persisted though. I'll give her her perseverance. "No pressure, really. Just a relaxed evening. We'll all go to dinner. Really it's just you guys meeting each other."

My boss tried valiantly to extricate me. "I think Dennis! is really quite the happy free-wheeling bachelor...."

And yet she insisted that it would just be dinner, no big deal, no pressure, just a fun night out. She insisted that I give her my cell phone number so that she could set it up.

That was about two weeks ago. I thought it had all blown over, but apparently he niece is coming into town this weekend and she wants me to join them for dinner.

Short of telling her that I'd rather stick an iodine-dipped dinner fork in my eye, I can't imagine politely declining for no reason.

So I'm going to tell her I already have weekend plans. Maybe I'll be going out of town.

To New York.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Color Me Skeptical.

Today's WaPo proclaims:

The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bush administration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq.

"Devastating" and "irreversible" blows? How convenient, given that public support for our occupation of Iraq has steadily declined for months now. Someone somewhere seems to have decided that the American public needs to be fed some good news out of Iraq as the casualties mount and the stagnation of any progress continues. So they decided to tell us that Al-Qaeda is "crippled."

This strikes me as a demure version of "Mission Accomplished." Instead of a press conference with a huge banner, they'll just let the headlines do the work.

I, for one, am skeptical. With more and more of our citizens coming home in flag-draped coffins, I really don't think the resilient terrorist network has really been "irreversibly" "crippled."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hand Job

Oh my.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

SNL on Craig

I'm stealing this from Scott-O-Rama.

My fave lines:

- "You opposed gay marriage. What, do you think marriage takes the sizzle out of it? Really. Or are you just afraid that if gay marriage is legalized there will be fewer single gay guys trying to have sex in airport bathrooms? Really!"

- "So, in conclusion: You're gay, but a married Republican, you're going to vote for anti-gay legislation but you'll solicit sex in an airport bathroom. Wow, you really do have a wide stance."

Gallon Challenge

While doing an image search for this post, I came across this site which somehow I just had to share. (I decline to share, however, the links for puke sex-fetish sites.)

The Gallon Challenge is apparently some ritual that involves drinking an entire gallon of milk in one hour (2% or greater, it says, and no chocolate milk allowed), and then trying to keep it down for another hour. They say the "keeping it down" part is well-nigh impossible. Hence, the photos. Lots and lots of photos. Of puke. Lots and lots of puke. Very, very white puke.

I have no idea how long that site's been around, so those poor kids in the photos might be professionals in their late 20s by now, but still.

I can't imagine that much regurgitation is good for your body in any way, but I have to admit, I think I'd laugh my ass off if I were around to watch this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I submit to you that anyone who actually has a strongly negative opinion of this GWU policy is a serious lush in need of some intervention. "It's just a little puke" is just... not a sentence that should ever be uttered.

**Aside: I did a google search on "puking" to find that picture. Never, ever, ever again.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Wish Me Luck

Hopefully my Tuesday night training will get me somewhere this time!

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7861445

Thursday, September 27, 2007

My Dorkiness is Limitless

Last Monday night, I was walking along 14th Street when I bumped into some friends on the street on their way in to dinner at a nearby restaurant. I was carrying a small Whole Foods bag.

An exchange of pleasantries ensued, and a friend commented on my bag, suggesting that I had my dinner with me.

"No," I sheepishly replied, "this bag has a travel Scrabble board and dictionary. I'm on my way to meet some people to play Scrabble."

And with this, I once again emerged from my Scrabble closet.

A small group gathers at my local coffee shop on a regular basis to play Scrabble. We're pretty hardcore geeks about it; we have the little cheat sheets listing all the two- and three-letter words and we are genuinely excited about bingos and other cool plays (like being able to play a "Z" on a triple letter score that counts twice).

Wow, I am a geek.


The very next day, I was at my weekly poker tournament in the 'burbs. As I've mentioned before (I'm too lazy to look up the link), it's generally a very straight affair with a group of people that I've seen around enough that I consider them (and me) to be regulars. And I've never had occasion to discuss my sexuality with them. (Well, I kinda have, but chose not to -- it would have felt forced.) (Again, too lazy to look up that link.)

So after the cheap beer specials ended, I asked our server (female) for my check. She provided it in the obligatory leather sleeve, and I pulled a $10 bill out of my wallet and slipped it in, with an edge of the bill protruding through the top. In due course, she took the sleeve and returned with my change.

Meanwhile, one of my fellow players (who had already been eliminated from the tournament and was watching away from the table) decided to announce, rather loudly, that I had clearly given my number to our server. "Did you see that?" he practically yelled. "This guy gave his number to the waitress? There was writing on that bill! Seriously!"

I just kinda smiled to myself, because I knew what writing he was referring to.

On the edge of the bill I had left was a handwritten notation: "".

Where's George? is a site where you can log in your currency, then spend it normally. When other people find the bills, they re-enter the number into the system. This way, one can track particular bills as they venture around the country. It's kinda fascinating.

In a geeky sort of way.

I've started making it a point to enter all my bills into the system. And I try not to spend bills I get back as change until I've had a chance to enter them in. And if I see bills that have the mark on them, I'll try to acquire them so I can re-enter the bill myself.

Because I'm a big geek.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Now That I Think of It...

Dear Sen. Craig:

I understand you're trying to withdraw the guilty plea that you entered in Minneapolis. You know, the one wherein you admitted that you had inappropriately moved your foot under the partition of the guy sitting next to you (more than once, I might add). I understand that you think you should be able to take your case to trial, because, hey, the guilty plea was somehow legally defective.

Okay, I'm no lawyer, but --

Oh wait, I am a lawyer.

First things first: Withdrawing a guilty plea is very very difficult. If the trial judge is worth anything at all, he walked you through a big long colloquy in open court wherein he asked you a very very long series of questions designed to elicit whether you were absolutely, positively, super-de-duper sure that you were okay with waiving the large numbers of constitutional guarantees our criminal justice system offers. You were probably asked, possibly more than once, whether you knew you had a right to a trial by jury, that you had a right to confront witnesses against you, to have counsel appointed for you, etc. etc. You were then asked whether you were ready to waive all those rights. You were asked whether you knowingly and voluntarily and of your own free will waived those rights. And you affirmed each and every time that you knew you had those rights, and that you were willing to waive them.

Dude, judges usually have a script in front of them for when they accept guilty pleas. Judges don't frequently mess up guilty pleas for this very reason.

So, uh, good luck with that.

But I'm more curious about the next step after that. You want to withdraw your guilty plea. If -- if -- you succeed, what do you think will be the next step for you? I'm sure you've thought this through, or if not, your lawyer has told you this: the next step would be that you get to go to trial before a jury of your peers.

It's unlikely that you can get the charges reinstated for the purpose of legally challenging the sting in the first instance, or that you were read your Miranda rights.

The sting was clean: even if you think it wasn't, it's unlikely that the judge will be able to conclude on his own that it was dirty. It would be a swearing contest between you and the cop; that means sitting in front of a jury who will decide just what the facts surrounding your arrest were.

And the Miranda issue? First of all, there's a tape recording of the arresting officer reading you your Miranda rights. But even if you wanted to try to claim you were not told your rights again later, what harm would that entail? It would mean any statements you made during the non-Miranda interview session would be inadmissible. But don't look now, your first post-arrest interview contains some pretty damaging admissions standing all on its own.

So, where does that get us: you'll end up in front of a jury of your peers. You're going to ask a jury of your peers to decide whether or not you were engaged in inappropriate conduct. When you ran your hand under the partition. When you scooted your foot over toward that of your stall-neighbor.

Let me tell you this: no man who has ever used a public restroom will ever buy that you just have a "wide stance." We all know that's not appropriate. We all know it's kind of icky. And once the officer testifies that tapping your foot is what people who want stall sex do... well, you're toast.

So seriously, dude... what are you thinking?

Uh, good luck.