The Daily Dump

A place where everyone (me) is welcomed to express their opinions openly and honestly. I encourage free thinking, free wheeling, off-the-cuff banter and monetary donations.

Wednesday, August 31

Time Warner Comes Tonight [Oh, it's on.]

I get a lot of mail at the office from legal staffing firms offering their services. I’m considering hiring once of these firms to staff us with a legal assistant who will do my job. It’s the responsible thing to do. It’s not as though I do any work here. And I am in charge of making sure the work gets done. So it would stand to reason that I would actually be a good employee for doing this. Maybe I can even get them to write my blog for me.

I’ve added a list of blogs I like to the page. It’s a work in progress, as I find a few new ones each day, some better than others, though I listed them in alphabetical order so as not to play favorites.

dude.man.phat is my favorite.

Time Warner comes tonight to try to fix my internet, which at the moment isn’t even broken. I have no idea how I will explain to this guy that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but as of now it’s working. He’s going to hate me, and he probably won’t believe me that it was the Time Warner technical support girl’s idea to send him out, not mine.

Not that I care, Time Warner can lick my balls after what they put me through last time. I would wear a dress tonight for my appointment just to make the technician uncomfortable. If I had a dress that fit me. Instead, I’ll have to settle for walking around with a towel wrapped around me like a woman who just got out of the shower – while chugging iced tea out of an old Jose Cuervo bottle.

Sometimes the posts just write themselves.

Only in F---ing . . .

Tuesday, August 30

And until further notice, “Weeds” is the best new show on television.

FYI

By the way, in case you didn’t notice I’ve enabled anonymous comments. It took a few month’s time, but I finally readied myself to have two or three random people a day make comments like, “Huh?” and, “If you’re looking for a low cost mortgage, try my website.”

And is there a more pointless show on television than “Rock Star: INXS?” I’d rather see an entire reality show about the chubby guy from the Capital One commercials.

Wearing Your Stupidity On Your Wrist

A guy sitting next to me on the subway this morning was wearing one of those rubber wrist bands, and written on it was “ECUADOR.” I don’t think I get this. Is it mean to raise awareness for Ecuador? For people that might not know it is a country? Does he support Ecuador? When did these things move past the disease/warfare threshold and into a sector of advertising typically reserved for trucker hats and 3 for $5 t-shirts?

Turns out I’m naïve (not the first time). Wristbands saturated the disease market a long time ago (including blindness – the bracelet is in Braille, apparently to promote your cause to all blind people who touch your wrist) and have moved past such mundane topics as your country of origin or what idyllic virtues you support. It’s evolved into a truly special phenomenon where we are apparently trying to raise awareness for things such as:



















There hasn’t been legitimate Hulkamania in the air in 20 years. I refuse to raise awareness for a thing of the past, which is why you’ll never see me wearing a CIVIL WAR bracelet either.















If the breast cancer bracelet isn’t the right tone of pink for you, you can always support being egotistical.












I was the class of 2002. Why would I support the class of 2005? Plus they’ve been graduated for all of three months, and yet they threaten to take my job.









Too vague. What is “IT?” What if I inadvertently encourage someone to murder their fiancée or impregnate Tara Reid?

So, in an attempt to be “progressive” and “not, like, totally out of it” and contribute to society using my sociological sensibilities, I’ve come up with my own ideas for bracelets – some things I support and for which I want to raise awareness.












It’s not just a medical problem, it’s really embarrassing. People need to realize that it really sucks to have diarrhea.












A long time ago, New Hampshire was a really important state. We need to bring that back.












When there’s nothing else on TV, cooking shows are always entertaining. And they’re educational. Kids could be home watching cooking shows instead of out dealing crack, except WATCHING TV SHOWS INSTEAD OF DEALING CRACK doesn’t fit on a bracelet.












It’s free and it makes everyone happy. If that’s not worth supporting, I don’t know what is.














Pollination is a really important part of the circle of life. It’s not their fault they sting you – you’re so big and you can hurt them. They’re just trying to defend themselves. And then they die! Just for trying to live! It’s nature’s saddest story.












This is a confusing one, because you don’t want people thinking you support FAT, but you want to raise awareness that people shouldn’t be FAT. It’s not healthy, and it makes the kids in the sweatshops work a lot harder to make all those big clothes.













PEACE is too generic a term. I think we need to get specific about what we’re supporting. I support people not raping other people, that’s the kind of person I am.












Why would people do this to each other? It’s a plague on society. I won’t pick up a rifle for oil, but I’ll sure as hell pick one up for a broken promise. They’re golden.

Monday, August 29

Dan Goes to Harlem

Yesterday, despite a wicked hangover induced by a college-like night of drinking (involving drinks with too few iced cubes, Eurotrip playing on the TV, unintentionally intimidating freshman girls, intentionally intimidating freshman girls, eating pizza and then going back to a bar and playing Oasis on the jukebox), The Girlfriend dragged invited me to a party a coworker of hers was throwing for his new apartment – in Harlem. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

The problem was, in my hangover haze, I threw on a pair of soft, comfortable jeans, flip flops and (wait for it) a pink t-shirt with green piping. I figured if I’m not going to wear my pink t-shirt when I have a wicked hangover, I’m probably never going to wear it.

So, when I finally made it out of my house and over to The Girlfriend’s apartment and found out about this party, I was presented with this depressing dilemma: Go home and change, even though the walk over had left me dizzy and oddly full of gas, or go to Harlem in an outfit that was the verbal equivalent of shouting: “THIS IS MY FIRST TIME HERE! I HAVE CASH!” I opted for the latter, if for no other reason than because my tolerance for hate crimes is higher even than my tolerance for laziness.

Running with that decision, The Girlfriend and I finish eating dinner and she goes into the bedroom to get changed before we leave. I’m watching the TV in her living room as we have this conversation screaming back and forth to each other:

TG: “Should I wear open toed shoes? Do you think there will be used needles in the streets?”
Me: “Probably not . . . but what if you have to run?”

Although we left out the passport jokes, which we typically reserve for our travels to Brooklyn (“We can’t go to Brooklyn, I forgot my passport!”). Priceless stuff.

After a subway ride that can only be described as “unusual” (You go above ground, then back underground?), we arrive in Harlem and make our way to the party. At this point, it’s still early in the evening (8:00) and still decently light out, and I’m thinking to myself, “Hell, I could live here. It’s nothing.” It wouldn’t be until walking back to the subway later than night that I would realize that walking down the street in the daytime is nothing. I’ll walk anywhere when the sun’s out.

At the party, which consisted of The Girlfriend and I, a few brave souls who may or may not have been a gay couple (we’re still arguing this one out), the super of the building (think: 50 year old Mexican man named “Chino” sporting coveralls and a moustache) and the host, who was undoubtedly the most frenetic person I’ve ever met, to the point where when I asked him for a corkscrew I half-expected him to reach way down into his pants and pull out a mallet, a jack-in-the-box and a pair of cymbals before pulling out the corkscrew.

His personality, though, was by far more intriguing than his sometimes matrix-like behavior. He had a habit (and a knack) for making outlandish and pithy comments in such a way that everyone would find it hilarious. Now, this is a quality I appreciate in others, and also one I like to think I possess, so much so that, as the night progressed and we drank our “mojitos from a bucket”, conversations inevitably devolved into a competition of one-upping the other on bizarre, witty comments, culminating in this:

The Girlfriend and the host are involved in a discussion about how, when the host worked at The Girlfriend’s company as a temp, he made more than The Girlfriend did - even though he worked for her - and how this resulted in some friendly resentment.

The Girlfriend: “No, I didn’t hate you. Not at all.”
The Host: “Wow, you really hated me, didn’t you?”
The Girlfriend (laughing)” Stop, you know that’s not true.”
The Host (chuckling): “I always knew I sensed some rage underneath it all..”
The Girlfriend (still laughing): “Yeah, sooo much rage.”
Me: “Are you kidding? She and I got drunk on night and plotted ways to kill you!”
The Girlfriend (not laughing): . . .
The Host (not chuckling): . . .

Bottom line, just because the party is in Harlem doesn’t mean I can’t take a running start and jump far over the line of propriety and make everyone in a room extremely uncomfortable, including our pal, Chino, who, I’m pretty sure, slightly misunderstood me and was reaching for a knife . . .

Needless to say, we left the party soon thereafter, exiting to the street where there were, quite literally, sirens, screams, more Latin music than at the Puerto Rican day parade, and guys drinking bottles of liquor while standing outside their running Dodge Caravans. (Note: I was once with someone who got a ticket for drinking a paper cup full of wine on the sidewalk in front of his apartment.) Just a bizarre scene. The Girlfriend and I hustled back to the subway and headed home, none the better, none worse for our trip. Which just goes to show you: You can take a pink shirt into Harlem, but that’s still not a valid reason to wear a pink shirt.

Turns out ALF wasn't the weirdest part of the show...

Before you get up for that final snack, I want you to know I’VE GOT YOUR CRACK.
























This man was on an episode of “Murder She Wrote” for christ’s sake! I wish someone would get Angela Landsbary’s opinion on this . . .

Friday, August 26

The Top Five List (Vol. 2)

I remember a time when, about six years ago, a good friend of mine and I were in Mexico for a vacation. We were naïve college freshman and decided to drive across the border in Arizona where we continued down to a nice hotel in a resort town called Puerto Penasco. The rest of the town, besides the resort area, was sketchy, to say the least. The roads navigating this place were a maze of one-way alleys congested with cars, bikes, crates of produce and, what I hope, were only “napping” Mexicans.

At one point in our trip, we were driving down one such one-way alley when suddenly we were faced with the fact that we were going the wrong way. We knew this because several cars were attempting to come at us head-on down the street, but had to move over so we could pass. We waved and yelled combinations of “I’m sorry” and “Lo siento,” or “I’m siento,” until we made our way through the street laughing at the absurdity of the experience.

It wasn’t until later that night that we discussed the horrors could have happened if la policia had been in that alley while we were driving through. You hear horror stories all the time of cars being impounded, people getting thrown in little town jail cells for breaking traffic laws or Mexican “authorities” charging you thousands of dollars to “get out” of the tough situation. But we laughed about it because we were at a bar where you stood on line with a shot glass and waiting for you at the head of the line was a girl in a bikini who poured you a free shot of tequila, at which point you would turn around and get back on the end of the line again. Hell, we were probably drunk on tequila when we were driving down the one way street.

What’s my point in telling this? Well just give you a reference point on what this week has been like. It was exactly like that time in Mexico, only instead of laughing about it over tequila, we were arrested by the cops, thrown in el prison and forced to cook tortillas for the guards’ families before we were released, naked, at the American border three months later. It’s been that bad. At one point, I self-medicated myself with codeine cough medicine at 11:00 in the morning just to quell the head ache. And that was before The Girlfriend’s bathtub backed up like an Atkins colon and we had to deal with a plumber who, on his answering machine, referred to himself as “Ralph . . . the plumber.”

So, in keeping with the theme of and of me being too mentally and emotionally drained to write anything of substance, I’ll close the week with a Top Five. It’s one my friends and I discussed via email sometime last year, when we did stuff like this to quell our ever growing boredom. Here were my five (plus some bonuses from my friends):

Top Five Most Annoying One-Liner / Sayings:

5. "My bad" – Yeah, take an adjective and make it a noun. Bright. We could do it for all words, it'll be great.: "Hey, you've got my dick in your ass." "Oops. My gay."

4. "It's the pot calling the kettle black" – I still don't get it. I've had everyone I know explain it to me, and I just don't see it. You pick two things that are the same color and make as though they're calling each other a name - which is their color. "It's like the futon calling the lemon yellow." And my pots are silver.

3. "Stop Mr. Murphy, it hurts now" – Toughen up kid, Jesus.

2. "Pop a cap in yo ass" – Ill conceived from the start. Meant to be a street-tough gang threat, the hommies dropped once they realized you can't be tough when you say "pop." so the whities made it their own. (Side note: the literal translation is ridiculous, although we did try to do this to my friend Scott with a champagne cork one new years eve.)

1. "Say it don't spray it, I want the news not the weather" – The only thing good about this saying was that you had plenty of time to punch the asshole in the face before he finished saying it.

Bonus Answers:

"I’m quirkyalone" – Haven't heard anyone use this yet . . . I didn’t even know it existed until you mentioned it yesterday, and I’m already sick of it.

- Matt

(Editor’s note: This was at a time when the latest fad was to create “buzzwords” by combining two words into one and making it a whole new word . . . that meant what the two others mean. This just blew my mind when I first heard about it. I mean, didn’t people realize that it's two words said very fast? Could I create a buzz creating a word like "nothanks." Just think, why say two words when you can say one!

"Hey you seem quirkyalone, want to lick my ass?"

"Nothanks!"

I’m crude today. It fits nicely with my mood.)

– "That's so...(insert date of when something was popular)" – Not to many people will call you out with a "That’s so 1994..." but when they do it burns me up. Mostly pretentious asshole pricks do this, and it makes me want to take a lead pipe to their head and than look down at their broken skull saying, "Your death was so three seconds ago."

- James, King of the bitter rant

Thursday, August 25

Pigeons Can Be Revolutionaries Too

I just booked a service appointment with Time Warner for my cable modem. Those of you who know of my previous exploits with Time Warner will understand the mental and emotional implications of having to deal with them once again. I waited as long as I could, but it’s to the point where I have to reset my cable modem every day and, sometimes, unplug and replug several TV cables into the modem just to get the thing to work; nevermind the fact that they did a bit of a shoddy job in capping off the cable last time. They seem to have left some wire exposed, so every time I touch it I get a mild to moderate shock – which can’t be good.

So next Wednesday between 6:00 and 9:00 I’ll be getting rip roaring drunk waiting for the cable guy to show up. This time I’ll see if I can get him to pose.

In other news, I really need to start carrying my camera with me at all times. Today on my way home from work, I saw one of the most bizarre New York scenes in the six years I’ve been living here (seven if you count Brooklyn, but no one counts Brooklyn).

Walking down my street I noticed traffic was backed up quite a bit. I looked down the block and didn’t see any double parked cars or large delivery trucks. Finally, I get to the head of the line of cars and see two pigeons in the middle of the road. One is lying on its side, apparently dead, and the other standing in front of the one lying on the ground holding off traffic! The car at the head of the line was inching forward, trying to force the bird to move, but it wouldn’t budge. It was like Tiananmen Square. I was utterly riveted – until the pigeon on the ground stood up, shook off and walked away with the other one following him. I guess he was just taking a nap or looking for a contact lens. Not as dramatic as hoped, but still a great spectacle. I’m sorry I didn’t have a camera to capture it. my guilt has compelled me to try to recreate the moment for you.. I did my best with what I had:



You get the idea. It was awesome.

Wednesday, August 24

Brangelina, The Homeless and Sitcoms

Some random stuff for Wednesday:

Pitt, Jolie Visit Canada Dinosaur Exhibit.

Can we quit now and call a winner in the “Most Ridiculous Headline of the Year?”

“The couple visited the gift shop, bought toys and left.”

That’s an actual quote from the article.

I understand the public’s fascination with them as a couple, but isn’t this going a little too far? What’s next:

Brad and Angelina Get Soft Serve: She Has Sprinkles.

“I was surprised. I thought she would get nuts,” commented the frozen yogurt seller.

– Have you heard of the sperm donor reality show? I’m unabashedly giddy about this. I have long been of the opinion that the only place reality television can go is down. We need to hit the bottom. Over a year ago (this is pre-“Swan” mind you) I proposed that reality television probe the depths and exploit a heretofore untapped resource: the homeless. For example:

"Queer Eye For The Homeless Guy"
"Survivor: Homeless"
"The Homeless Apprentice"
"Average Homeless Man" (20 girls are brought to a castle in Scotland thinking they are meeting the man of their dreams, and it's a homeless guy? This is more than genius. Don’t try to convince me otherwise.)

In fact, I think that with this “Sperm Donor” show, the ultimate twist at the end should be that, after Yessica has chosen her lot and been inseminated, she is told that one of the donors was really a homeless man who may or may not have been mildly retarded. And she won’t find out if she choose him or not until the first sonogram!

And the fact that it’s competing against a show which follows five former prostitutes starting a café? Are you kidding me? I’m lightheaded.

– Speaking of TV, it’s no secret that I’m addicted to it, or that I’m completely unashamed of being addicted to it. I agree that kids shouldn’t watch a lot of TV and should be outside playing Kick the Can and Freeze Tag. But I haven’t been a kid in like five years. So those rules don’t apply to me anymore. TV is important to me at this age, where I come across very few stimulating people and feel the need to bond with characters of a sitcom instead. It’s for my emotional health.

Point being, the summer lull in new programming provided me with the (and my Tivo) the opportunity to catch up on some shows that we otherwise neglected during the regular season as well as try out some new “summer shows” – the ones networks launch over the summer to take advantage of addicts like me who need their fix and will get it any way they can.

Normally these shows amount to a hill of crap, and, after testing about three, you go back to your “Seinfeld” and “Law and Order” reruns. But this summer, like mana from the heavens, I was given an abundance of fantastic TV shows. And I feel compelled to share them with you:

“Arrested Development”

OK, so some of you will read this and say, “You’re a little late on the boat, asshole.” And I’ll say, “I’m not an asshole! You’re an asshole!” And you’ll say, “Whatever, asshole.” But the point is, even though this sitcom won an Emmy for Best Comedy, it is still a hidden gem. I will not hesitate saying this is one of the, if not the funniest comedy on television. It has the look and feel of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” with the plot and dialogue of a British sitcom on American crack. Understated and bizarre at the same time, it is the comedy I have been waiting for for a long time. I am actually mad that I never watched it in the past, probably because it conflicted with my Tivo’s season pass for something like “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” So the question remains: If the same conflict arises this season, what will I do? Generally speaking, the drama always wins. But I might have to make an exception here. Or at least have The Girlfriend tivo one while I tivo the other.

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

I had to give this show at least four episodes before I wrote anything about it because I wouldn’t imagine that it could keep up the hilarity that was the first two episodes. I was afraid I would recommend it, and then the third and fourth episodes would fall flat. But after four solid episodes, I can confidently say that this is a fucking hilarious show. I mean really. Granted it’s not for everyone. You have to be open to humor that is so politically incorrect that the episode guide for the first four shows reads:

The Gang Gets Racist
Charlie Wants an Abortion
Underage Drinking: A National Concern
Charlie Has Cancer

Check out the descriptions, because I can’t even begin to try to do it myself. Bottom line, if you enjoy over-the-line (but smart) comedy, you’ll love it.

“Starved”

Who would have thought that I would ever think of F/X as anything but a great Brian Dennehy movie? Now, all of a sudden, F/X not only has one of my favorite drams in Nip/Tuck, it also has some great comedies, including this show; which I wouldn’t call tier one, but I would also say has potential to be better. A show about four friends living in Manhattan and dealing with eating disorders is a tough sell as a comedy, but if you can get past the taboo of it the show will drum up some genuinely funny and also some genuinely sad moments.

And would I watch this instead of 85% of the sitcoms on network channels? Absolutely.

– Final thought: I’ve realized I’m a little afraid of Microsoft Excel. It’s like a really good prostitute – I can use it, and I do what I need to do, and that’s fine; but I also know there’s a whole world of stuff it can do that can’t even begin to fathom. And that’s intimidating.

Tuesday, August 23

So I made a big mistake in my post yesterday linking the item about Courtney Love saying she was pregnant with British comedian Steve Coogan’s baby. Love is saying today that she, in fact, isn’t pregnant, and now I’ve got egg on my face. It’s my fault though. I broke the cardinal rule of good journalism: Never trust a woman in rehab. And kids – not a bad rule to follow in general.

Bush Supporters, Activists Clash in Calif.

The pro-Bush caravan planned rallies in several California cities before heading to Crawford, where Sheehan opponents have formed their own camp.

"It's time to lay down the anger. We need to continue to uphold those people over there, to uphold those men and women with their boots on the ground," said Deborah Johns of the Northern California Marine Moms, who helped organize the caravan and addressed supporters outside the Vacaville Reporter newspaper in Sheehan's hometown.

Other members of the group were overheard saying, “War protestors are communists,” and “Maybe we shouldn’t let Deborah do the interviews from now on . . .”

Turkmen President Bans Lip Synching

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan - He has outlawed opera and ballet and railed against long hair and gold teeth, but now Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov is determined to wipe out another perceived scourge: lip synching.

Niyazov has ordered a ban on lip synching performances across the tightly controlled Central Asian nation, citing "a negative effect on the development of singing and musical art," the president's office said Tuesday.

I was going to make a joke about referring to this as “Ashley’s Law” (you know, for the less talented [ouch] Simpson sister), but I did my due diligence this time and it turns out “Ashley’s Law” is already being used – by The Sexual Offender Registration Program in Texas. Wouldn’t want to get those two confused.

So instead I’ll just point out how the Turkish president bears an uncanny resemblance to William Shatner:














And while we’re at it, for a long time I have though Ashley Simpson reminded me of someone, and I finally figured out who it is:




















From my friend and field reporter BJ Kiernan, comes this item concerning the Israeli evacuation of the West Bank:

SANUR, West Bank - Thousands of troops overcame the main bastions of resistance to the evacuation of two settlements Tuesday, clearing out hundreds of extremists who had barricaded themselves inside houses, synagogues and a fortress to protest Israel's first dismantling of West Bank outposts.

BJ notes: Not that I side with Israel because they should have foreseen this disaster 50 years ago, but I love how someone is considered an extremist because they are trying to stay in their fucking house. "When the angry mob washed into household extremist Mr. Kiernan's house to whisk him away to some deserted field to live out his days, his grip on the kitchen faucet took three soldiers to break."

Meanwhile, in Catholicism, THIS is a nun I can get on board with. I think she’s even wearing Air Jordans . . .

Monday, August 22

Memo: Bite Me

This is shaping up to be a dangerous day. Let’s just say that if I had weapons, I’m not sure who I would go after first; or if, like a helpless torture victim, I might bludgeon myself with whatever I have handy, be it a stapler or a toner cartridge.

I just have to keep telling myself: At least I’m not Courtney Love’s kid, at least I’m not Courtney Love’s kid, at least I’m not Courtney love’s kid . . .

Friday, August 19

It's All the Rage

Apropros to my post yesterday, I’ve been filled with a curious rage recently. Kind of like road rage, but without the car. I’m not sure if everything has been going wrong or if I really did trigger some sort of chemical imbalance by laying on the beach for 8 hours a day everyday from Thursday to Sunday this past weekend, then came back to NYC to a 1000 degree apartment, a triple digit electric bill that belies the fact that I try not to overrun my air conditioner (hence 1000 degree apartment) and a work week highlighted by, on three separate occasions, one of the oldest, most annoying co-workers of all time calling in and asking me the following questions:

1. Is anyone in my office?

2. Is it raining outside?

3. What time is it?

I’m not kidding. And each time I think I blacked out for a solid ten seconds before uttering a word in response. Then, at my breaking point yesterday, said most annoying co-worker asked me to do something utterly trivial for him while I was swamped with other, more important things, leading to this exchange:

Him: "Dani-yell (the Jewish pronunciation), I hope you are working on my stuff now . . ."

Me: (typing feverishly, not looking up from my computer) "You'll get it,” said in a much louder, sterner voice than I probably intended, followed, again, by a similar wave of darkness. I really hope this isn’t doing any permanent damage.

And, as I write this, for the second time today he has asked me how to forward an email to someone. I thought the button that said “Forward” was self-explanatory. I was wrong.

So, for the sake of mental wellness, I am going to force myself to focus on the good things from the past week.

Best Insurance Coverage Ever

'Desperate Housewives' star hit by pole on TV set

Actress Eva Longoria, co-star of the ABC hit "Desperate Housewives," was struck in the head by a falling pole while filming a scene for the show on Wednesday, but was not seriously hurt, her publicist said.

The petite actress, who plays the conniving, adulterous Gabrielle Solis on the series, was taken to a nearby hospital where she was treated for a bump on the head and released, spokeswoman Liza Anderson said.

Best New Game To Play At Work

gridlock

Three words: Ad – dict – ed. And while I love the game, I won’t lie to myself and say that levels 30-40 weren’t contributing factors to my feelings of rage.

Best Back-up Commentary

I said it way back then, Sports Guy says it now – “Prison Break” could be the hit of the new television season.

Most Astute Pop-Culture Query (the Sports Guy)

If Alanis Morrissette can re-release a 10-year anniversary acoustic album, what's stopping the guy who played Ray Pruit on "90210"? He carried the Peach Pit After Dark for like two years ... that wasn't as impressive as "Jagged Little Pill" selling 10 million records? Couldn't he release a "Best Of" CD called "One T Was All My Momma Could Afford?"

Email of the Week (Maybe of the Year)

From: My Mom
Subject: technology 2 mom 0

I decide to take a chance and re-register so I can comment. God help me.

The first username I pick is gimpy, no good.

The second one is reggie, no good.

The third, for the fun of it, is Klsedm, NO FUCKING GOOD (I am screaming now).

I give.

Easiest Way To Make Money Without Answering One Of The Ads On Craigslist With The Subject “Nice Feet? Make Money”

The focus group I attended on Tuesday night, where me and eight other guys discussed beer, John Stamos and the Jamaican guy from the Red Stripe commercials for a couple of hours and then got an envelope with $135 in it.

Absolutely painless. In fact, it was fun. I love beer. Of any focus group I could do, beer would have to be in my top five, along with:

- New TV shows
- Hot girls
- Sports
- “Dawson’s Creek”

Highest Praise I Can Give To The Apartment I Was At Least Night For A Party

The place was so friggin nice, I was compelled to wipe the rim after I was done using the toilet. And they actually had “guest” soap put out, which looked like a marble cake and smelled just as good.

It was an “industry” party for people in the theater/TV/movie industry, leading to a lot of exchanges like this:

Rich Person #1: “So what do you do?”

Me: “I’m a paralegal.”

RP1: “Oh.”

But everyone was surprisingly genuine and nice. And my friend John (the one who was invited to said party) and I may have made the discovery of the decade (I won’t even flinch saying “decade”) – the caterers were serving the most delicious coconut shrimp we had ever had, to the point where between the two of us we probably finished an entire tray, walking from one side of the party to the other when we spied a server coming out with a new tray, paying them compliments like, “You can really taste the coconut!” and “It’s like a shrimp wrapped in a delicate cake,” as though they were the ones making the shrimp. In other words, they were a goddamn revelation.

My friend John comes to find out, in a drunken confession, that the shrimp were actually from Costco. I’ve already instructed my mom to pick up two bags for me the next time she’s there. I’m legitimately excited.

However, as good as this party was, it wasn’t . . .

Most Shameless Plug

. . . the best industry party I went to all week. That honor goes to the Novelty Organ Records cd release party I attended on Wednesday night, celebrating the release of the company’s first album, Jessica Guerrette’s “What’s One More?” Party was awesome, music was even better and, goddamn if it isn’t true, they’ve got some of the best looking talent around.


Thursday, August 18

Most Likely The Only Time In My Life I Will Sympathize With Someone Named “Bitch Dog”

CHICAGO - LaChania Govan said she got bounced around by her cable company when she called to complain. She made dozens of calls and was even transferred to a person who spoke Spanish — a language she doesn't understand.

But when she got her August bill from Comcast she had no trouble understanding she'd made somebody mad. It was addressed to "Bitch Dog."

This story was forwarded to me by my friend Brendan, who noted that he was surprised I never got a letter like this from Time Warner Cable. Time for a walk down memory lane . . .

So the Time Warner cable guy is coming to fix my internet tonight. Most of you don't know the saga of my lost internet. Basically, it started two Sundays ago when, for no apparent reason, my internet wouldn't work. All conventional remedies failed and I called customer service. Time Warner customer service is sort of like waiting in a long line for a beating. I always try to go in calm, but after 7 minutes on hold I feel the rage build inside me.

Anyway, a woman with a southern accent picks up my call and I immediately know that I will not have internet in my home for another week, at least. She is not going to help me solve ANYTHING here. And, true to twang, she does not. I beg her to let me go to the Time Warner service station on 23rd street and let me trade in my old modem for a new one, thinking that that was the problem. She says, "That's not the way we do business." No, the way they do business is more akin to the way a violent hooker does business - rapes you into thinking you're enjoying it then steals your money anyway. So I schedule an appointment for that Saturday and, hoping to quell my rage, hang up the phone and slap around Marissa for a few solid minutes.

Saturday comes and I am prepared to be at my apartment from "10:00 to 2:00" - the designated time for the repair guy to come. I'm up at 9:45, debating whether I should go in the shower or not, terrified that he may show up while I am in the shower and I will never have enough time to towel off before he makes it up to my door. So I sit there, unshowered, hoping I won't get the first hot female Time Warner technician in the history of the company.

Time rolls on and I am wanting more and more to take a shower. 1:00 comes and goes and I smell myself at every turn now. I also get the sinking feeling that this guy isn't coming. So I call Time Warner to "confirm" that I have an appointment today. I get another southern lady on the phone and she reassures me that someone is on their way. I want to say, "Hearing you say that means nothing to me. I could call dunking donuts down the block and, if someone was paying them to do it, they would tell me that my service technician was on the way." But I just say thank you, a phrase I will use less and less in the upcoming dealings with Time Warner cable.

2:00 - no one there yet. I call Time Warner cable. Another 10 minutes on hold. I have it to a science now when to press "0" instead of trying to go through the voice enabled menu. I made the mistake of trying to navigate that the first time I called and almost blew an eye socket the third time the recorded woman’s voice said, "I did not understand your answer; please try again," as I screamed into the phone "INTERNET PROBLEM! INTERNET PROBLEEEEM!" This time a guy picks up the phone and says that a service technician is running late, but still scheduled to show up. I put NO credence in this statement whatsoever. As a rule, I NEVER believe male service technicians in any field. I just feel like if this is their job, they don't care about anything. I simply can't fathom that this guy on the other end of the phone is thinking, "Man, I really want to help this dude out. It's important to me that this guy gets the best. He's a paying customer, man, and he deserves it."

3:00, no technician. Another call. Total of almost 45 minutes on hold so far. Same response. 4:00 rolls around and still no one. I'm starting to twitch as I dial the phone. After ANOTHER 12 minutes on hold, I get a technician who tells me that the service guy tried to call me at 3:34 and there was no answer. The reason? - THEY WERE CALLING THE WRONG NUMBER! I never even bothered to ask why this guy was calling me. Was he calling to say, "Yo dude, sorry but I’m not going to be able to make it?" I mean, why did HE need to call? The only reason I would have wanted to talk to him would have been if he was asking if I wanted him to pick up anything at the store on his way over.

So this is where it gets interesting. I ask this person if it would be possible for me to go get a new modem NOW, because they failed to bring one to me. "Sure," they say. "No problem." I mention, while fighting back the tear of rage, that the first person I spoke with said that wasn't Time Warner's policy. "of course you can, that's your decision." I swear, if there was a puppy in front of me I would have kicked it. Then I ask, "What time do they close?"

"5:00."

So much rage. So much. It's 4:20. I haven't showered all day. They're closed on Sunday. I'm so fucking determined I hang up on the person, throw on clothes and RACE down to 23rd street to get a new modem. I get there at about 4:50, just in time, and I walk into a scene out of a horror movie entitled, "Most ugly people ever congregated into one room." I get a number, apparently the "number" customer I am. It says 179. Wow, that's a lot of people. What number are they up to?

54.

On a rage scale of 1-10, 1 being that passing wave of dizziness you get when you're really angry and 10 being justifiable homicide, I am at a 9, approximately "shitting in my hand and throwing it." I am laughing a little and decide to just wait on line. While I am on line I call Time Warner. Another 15 minutes on hold and I get a service technician. At this point, I am starting every conversation with the words, "I know this isn't your fault, but..." I tell this person the whole story the same way a mobster might tell an innocent witness an ironic story before shooting him in the head. "so THEN (would you believe it!) The guy tells me that I could have picked up a new modem all along! Would you believe that? Ain't that a kicker?! BANG!" Then I ask to be transferred to a supervisor - the first conversation with a supervisor. I like talking to them better because, even though it's not rational at all, I feel like they are more responsible for my troubles. I feel like I can use the word 'you" instead of the phrase "Time Warner" when making accusations. "so what you're telling me is that it's your policy to lie to customers and make them schedule appointments they don't need? And then when you fail to send a technician it's my responsibility to clean up your mess?" It's more gratifying.

As the technician is transferring me to the supervisor, though, he cuts me off. That's the 10 right there. I am officially plotting ways to blow up something Time Warner owns. I am also planning my speech for when I call back. I think about calling back right then and there, but I fear that my speech might be too impeded with rage to get a coherent sentence out. I needed to at least slide back down to a 9 before making such a call.

An hour and 20 minutes later (thankfully they had internet there) I made it home with my new modem. Plug it in . . . Fucking thing still doesn't work. I'm just laughing. I mean, you have to. I audibly laughed. But it was that kind of laughter you might hear out of a drunken father before he beat his kids. The dangerous laughter. I needed a shower and a drink. After pouring my second scotch, I sat down and called Time Warner back. I am not shitting you at all; I called Time Warner THIS many times. I got a supervisor on the phone and explained everything to them. I was drained and almost pleading for help. I really thought I might cry if the wrong topic was brought up. I made it short and said I wanted someone to come when I was available, not when THEY were available. They said they couldn't do that and I said, in my most calm tone, "You're going to have to." They put me on hold and say that the best they can do it give me a smaller window of 4:00 to 6:00 on Tuesday. I say I’ll take it, but I also want a free month of service for the inconvenience. They sound confused, but concede, sensing, I think, that I might be dangerous.

Tuesday rolls around and I am going crazy trying to get out of work early. I am LOATHING Time Warner as the stress level is skyrocketing, finding solace only in the fact that in a few short hours the whole ordeal would be over. I make it home at exactly 3:55, get into my apartment and plop onto my couch. I look at my cell phone and there is a message.

"Hi Mr. Murphy, this is Time Warner cable. It's 3:46 right now, I’m outside you're apartment, if you're there please let us up or call back if you want to reschedule."

I've just shattered the rage scale. If I had a hostage from Time Warner cable, I would have killed them right then and there to show Time Warner that I meant business, even though I knew that once you kill a hostage you never make it out alive. Just pure, irrational, homicidal rage. I get someone on the phone from Time Warner and skip them directly to the supervisor. After I tell them the whole back-story, we have this conversation:

Me: "You need to call the technician and tell them to get here before 6:00."

Them: "I’m sorry, we can't do that. We can only reschedule the appointment."

Me (channeling Seinfeld): "I made and appointment between 4:00 and 6:00. It's not 4:30. I HAVE an appointment. Doesn't that mean that I own a timeslot for a technician to come? Isn't that what an appointment does." She tries to speak and I interrupt her. "or is it just that you tell people that someone will come between a certain time to appease them and get them off the phone, is that how you run your business?"

Them: "Um, sir, I’m very sorry..."

Me (interrupting again): "Yes, I know you're sorry, but actually it doesn't matter to me if you are sorry or not. All that matters to me is getting a service technician to my apartment today."

Them: "I’m sorry I cannot do that."

Me: "That is unacceptable."

Silence for about an entire minute. I'm not saying anything, just letting the awkwardness build. They then ask to put me on hold and when they come back on they reiterate that no technician is available. Then I go off on my tirade this is what I actually said:

"your business is as much a joke as it is insulting. Customers pay you a lot of money to provide a service and you disrespect them. That is awful. Just awful." She tries to apologize again and I interrupt her. "I will make another appointment for when you are available because that is how you run your business - the customer accommodates you. I want 3 free months of cable, one for the first missed appointment, one for the second missed appointment and one because the way your company treats its customers is reproachable." She puts me on hold (perhaps to cry) and comes back and tells me that they will give me the three free months. Then I scheduled an appointment for tonight, from 6:00 to 9:00.

SO, this is a ridiculously long email and perhaps utterly uninteresting, but my therapist told me that it was good to talk about it to help alleviate the rage. So we'll see what happens tonight. I fear that if the guy can't fix it tonight, I might knock him on the head with a frying pan and call Time Warner telling them I have a their technician and they're not getting him back until I can connect to the internet. Maybe it's the dependency of technology that our modern culture has foisted upon us that is driving me to such dire straits, but I think it's more about old fashioned respect, and feeling like you're getting something for your money. That and a man's god given right to new porn. No man should have to look at 3 week old porn. No man.

The resolution to the whole matter was even more amazing . . .

I've realized that what hurts the most is that it is supposedly designed to help us, so when it hurts us the wound is doubly deep - the difference between a stranger stealing your girlfriend and your best friend stealing your girlfriend. I also partly blame the invention of the telephone. These customer service representatives are at too safe a distance from the callers. Like the saying goes, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me." We need to be on a line, in person, in front of a customer service representative with sticks and stones in hand. I have a feeling they would listen more if that were the case.

Anyway, onto the continuation of the Time Warner saga:

Tuesday afternoon, I get home from work, pour myself a scotch, and call Time Warner the first time in order to confirm my appointment. This time around, I am wise and take down the names of the representatives I speak to. Not because I will use those names in the future, but taking down their names scares them - it shatters the glass wall of anonymity and lets them know that you could call back and ask for "Sarah" and get "Sarah" in trouble if you had to. I considered asking for their home address and the names of their children too, just to let them know that I wasn't playing around.

The appointment is set up for 6:00 - 9:00. I order Chinese food around 7:00 and patiently wait. 8:00 rolls around and I decide to call Time Warner again. The tone of my voice is mildly psychotic, and I have decided that it shows desperation when you don't use subjects in your sentences: "Just making sure someone's coming! Had them cancel a few appointments on me! Don't want to miss them this time!" I can only imagine what my "Time Warner file" looks like at this point; every representative I have spoken to (a total of about 15) jotting down notes like, "He's crazy!" or "Don't share personal information!" or, as I envisioned my current representative typing, "Please, please don't skip him this time. He knows my name!"

Finally around 7:30 my buzzer rings. I buzz the guy up and open up my front door. My customary practice is to kind of hang out my front door when someone new is coming up, because it's not clear that my apartment is on the fourth floor. So I’m standing there and waiting . . . And waiting . . . And waiting . . . Every so often hearing a voice that might be considered a footstep. Finally I see his Time Warner hat rise up above the horizon of the stairway . . . . . Very slowly. Turns out he is limping horribly and not really bending his right leg. Curious...

He comes in the apartment and I have conveniently rolled out the entertainment cart so he would have easy access to the modem. I point it out to him and, abandoning all attempts at bending down to look at it, he half bends his left knee and then somewhat clumsily falls to the floor onto his side. Then he stretches out so he is lying completely spread out on my floor (please see attached picture for clarification).


















This whole scene is blowing my mind. I'm sitting on the edge of my bed trying to make like I’m busy with something, when really all I want is to get the piece of cake and glass of milk that I poured for myself in the kitchen. But doing so would require me literally stepping over this man sprawled out on my floor. So instead I rustle through ATM receipts that I have been meaning to throw away, acting as though I have seen something new and interesting on each one.

He is making noises that indicate he is not happy with what he sees. For a solid five minutes he is motionless on the floor and I am afraid he has fallen asleep. However, every so often I see a branch from the Christmas tree rustle that indicates he is still moving at least. Finally, he moves into a sitting position (think how an infant might sit, both legs straight out in front of him), brushes a good amount of pine needles out of his hair and tells me that there is a problem with the cable on the roof and I’ll have to make another appointment for someone to go up there. At this point, I don't even care - I am just afraid that this man will ask if I have some liniment oil for his wooden leg. I graciously thank him and he goes on his way.

So this Sunday, between 10:00 and 2:00 is the time of reckoning. Who knows what will happen next. But stay tuned to find out....

Finally, the next visit, they got my internet working again. I didn’t pay for cable for four months after that. I haven’t come to a steadfast conclusion yet whether or not four free months of cable is an equal trade-off for a few degrees of sanity. I mean, I get the premium package, plus on-demand. So yeah, maybe . . .

Wednesday, August 17

Finally, Common Sense Prevails.

Diddy Drops the P.

The rap mogul last switched it up--from Puff Daddy to P. Diddy--in 2001, while seeking a "fresh start" after being acquitted on gun charges.

As for what brought about the latest change in moniker, the entertainer admitted that his previous name change left his fans uncertain of how to address him. "I felt like the 'P' was getting between me and my fans and now we're closer," Diddy said.

"During concerts, half the crowd is saying 'P. Diddy'--half the crowd is chanting 'Diddy'--now everybody can just chant 'Diddy.' "

I just . . . I mean . . . What can I say? The “P” was getting between him and his fans. It’s so obvious. I bet he’s embarrassed he ever used the “P” in the first place. What was he thinking? Nevermind the fact that his first name was “P” and his last name sounded like “Doody.” Pee Doody? You’d have to be a real asshole to keep the “P.” I mean a reeeeal asshole.

Tuesday, August 16

The deli that screwed me over with the M&M cookies screwed me over AGAIN, this time by substituting my usual chicken caprice panini with an inferior “Italian chicken” panini. When did it become good business practice to replace good food with bad food? I need to say something to these people. (Isn’t it hilarious that I have a girlfriend? One that actually likes me? I think it is…)

Anyway, the good thing is that the subsequent rage from the panini fiasco has inspired me to get something done at work. Not work, of course, but at least the Yahoo news.

Police seek diaper-clad man who pesters women

This guy seems like he’d be fun to hang out with. Can you believe they’ve got the cops after him? My friend ran around New York City in a gorilla suit asking girls: “Do you have any gorilla in you? [wait for it…] Would you like some?” One of them asked him to hang out in her limo . . .

And British police talk like this?

"There have been several reports of him having been seen in Eaglescliffe dressed only in a nappy and we are keen to trace him and speak to him," police said.

I’m supposed to put my life in the hands of a guy who calls it a nappy?

Pa. Couple to Wed at McDonald's Drive-Thru

The Girlfriend and I are thinking of doing the same thing. We want to get married at a college frat party, where we first met. It will be so romantic with the maid of honor doing a bong hit as we exchanged vows.

And the last line slays me. Just slays me. Why can’t I have a cool nickname like “Hamburger Happy Meal Man?

Picture of the Day













Baby elephant Fahim, right, flies through the air after being tossed by his father Maxi, hidden left, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2005 at the zoo in Zurich, Switzerland as mother elephant Indi, at left, watches the first confrontation between father and son.

Reminds me of a Dylan Thomas poem I once read. (Oh that’s right. I went there – Welsh poetry humor. That’s why my readers keep coming back.)

Wild chimps prefer to use left hand when collecting termites to eat

A three-year study of 17 wild chimps in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, found that 12 of them used their left hands when using sticks to probe for termites. Four were right-handed and one was listed as ambiguously handed.

THREE YEARS! THREE! You’re really going to tell me that two years into this study the researchers didn’t look at each other and say, “Boy this is pretty pointless, isn’t it? What should we call this guy who uses both hands? Ambiguously handed? Oh well, we’ve got another year to figure it out.” I’ve done more in the past three years – and I’ve done nothing!

And finally, congratulations to The Notebook for cleaning up at the Teen Choice Awards this year, snagging 8 awards. And everyone knows how I feel about The Notebook.

Other notable winners include:

Choice Music Album: Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway (And we know how I feel about this.)

Choice Music Make-Out Song: "Oh," Ciara featuring Ludacris (a favorite of The Girlfriend and me).

Choice TV Show Comedy: Gilmore Girls (I don’t tivo it, but let’s just say that if it’s on, and they start that witty banter at 500 words a minute, I find it difficult to tear myself away.)

Choice Hottie Female: Rachel Bilson (Not my first choice, but a much better choice than an Olsen twin or a Hilton sister.)

You would also think that me, being a 25 year old guy, wouldn’t care about things like this . . .you would be wrong.

Tune in tonight for the rest of the winners. Or at least tune in for the look on Kevin Federline’s face when Bo Bice beats him out for Choice Reality/Variety Star – Male. Or when Hillary Duff recites the “awards handed out earlier in the evening” and shows footage of the Choice Parental Units winner (The OC’s “Cohen’s” or the dark horse “Alias” dysfunctional family unit of spies and world terrorist organization leaders? Do these people really come upon stage and accept these awards and make speeches? I’ve just convinced myself to go to the tivo website and program my tivo to record the Teen Choice Awards.) You can’t recreate moments like this. You just can’t.

Weekend at Bernie's II: Still Dead

I just can’t get back into the swing of things here at work. I don’t know what the problem is. The only rational explanation is that, while spending last Thursday through Sunday at a beach house on Fire Island, I became too relaxed. I mean so relaxed that doing anything that is more strenuous than lying on the beach or mixing a mojito is beyond the pale.

So far today at work I have:

1. checked my email

2. went to the bathroom three times, hoping that I would come back with more energy (?)

3. had a cup of coffee, which I almost didn’t have because the milk in the refrigerator wasn’t open yet.

4. gave my boss a note about how I tried to call Dell to find out about a computer we ordered, but they wouldn’t talk to me because I wasn’t the name on the credit card. I never tried calling Dell.

And now it’s somehow almost 1:00 and I guess I should go buy lunch? I’m just in awe of the state I am in right now. I might even have a container of cereal and some Hostess cakes from the convenience store in the lobby just so I don’t have to go outside. (Speaking of, how does Hostess stay in business? I see their products everywhere, but I never see anyone eating them. Those fruit pies? Sno-balls? Ho-ho’s? Who’s eating these things?)

Maybe I’ll have more energy after lunch. Or maybe I’ll fall asleep at my desk with a the phone receiver against my ear so people think I’m on hold.

Monday, August 15

Weekend at Bernie's

First day back from the loooong weekend at the beach was a semi-success. Successful in the sense that it’s over, and not successful in the sense that I managed to shirk any sort of professional responsibility and, at the same time, make others around me feel guilty for not doing enough.

On second though, this might have been the most successful day of my life. Too bad it’s ending with me watching “The Comeback” while eating Raisin Bran (only because I finished all the Mini-Wheats about five minutes ago) after having drank too much left over Long Island wine at what can only be described at “The Best Dinner Party of 2005” as rated by the Too Young To Be Having Dinner Parties Review.

The point being, consider me eased back into the harsh world of reality. More to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10

The Rule of Three Completed

The cursed Rule of Three . . .

R.I.P. the giant guy from Big Fish. You were big, you were funny and your feet were the size of my torso. You will be missed.