Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Problems. Technically Speaking.

I have made a huge mistake.

It wasn't one of those "play Your Song on the ex's lawn with a ghettoblaster and have her not be there and be scolded by her dad who never really liked you in the first place" mistakes. Nor one of those "seriously, I didn't see the hole before I put it in" mistakes. Or even deciding that you can dance on a table top after that last keg stand kind of mistake. No, mine was a good idea that backfired in an un-winnable situation. What I did was mindless, stupid, and hurtful.

I convinced my family to get a new home computer.

It has been a week and I still don't know why I did it. Seemed like a great idea at the time. All I heard was complaints about how the computer was so slow, that e-mail took forever, that Outlook Express would simply not work and the computer would have to be restarted (a 15 minute ordeal). I heard the horror stories of crawling through cyberspace on a cable modem. I saw them languish in a corner after the computer would show the Blue Screen of Death or simply just shut down without any rhyme or reason. The 1998 Gateway (remember them? the cow box company?) should have been put out to pasture about four years ago. But as an e-mail and Word machine, it could have gone on for my parents for a few years. I was too busy tooling around on my brand new Powerbook G4.

Finally the time came where I told my parents that their computer was on life support and needed to be put out of its misery. It's too old, and keeping it around any longer would make everyone around it suffer. It was time to Old Yeller the family computer. We shared great times. The first time I...you know...was thanks to that computer and a Yahoo search for Chloe Jones pictures. I played the Sims for days at a time, since you literally forget that any time outside of the one on the computer is actually passing. I wrote on my wrestling opinion board there. It's where the BWF website started. But it was now a piece of shit. On second thought, that is disrespectful to fecal matter.

I decided it would be easiest if the next computer was an apple. The iMac model was just a screen, a keyboard, and a mouse. That's it. It really can't get simpler than that. I should have seen the snags coming when my mom asked why we couldn't keep our 70 pound 15" monitor that is so used it would kill an epileptic. "Why would we use the old monitor when we could get you a new, clean, fresh one that won't make you go blind as quickly as this hunk of crap currently is?" Her response was, "but I like the old one." This should have been my red flag. Onward I pushed, as it was my manifest destiny to get a new computer.

My mom, my friend Scott, and I all went to the Mac store a few minutes from my house. We bring along Scott because he is our resident computer expert. It has come to the point where my parents don't trust me enough to do anything without his approval. Sure, he works at the Geek Squad at Best Buy and really does know his craft, but christ, I know how to buy a mouse. We work our way over to the iMacs. Immediately I run away because my mom needs a lot of questions answered that would drive me insane. Luckily, Scott is trained to sell computers. He sells her on the iMac. I look at a bluetooth mouse.

My mom asks about an iPod. I cringe. One thing at a time apparently isn't enough. To the iPod Nanos we go. Scott pulls out a white model that gets a resounding "I want a black one!" I have to explain that we can get one, but this is just the model. Scott just picks up a black one. I should have taken notes. Scott starts a quick tutorial about how to get music, how it's sorted by artist, album, song, and shows how to play a song. My mom sees the "podcast" option. Scott starts to go into his spiel and I stop him and say "it's not worth it." She shoots me a look; I know it's for the best. Scott agrees.

As we're on line buying the machine--and fighting off the applecare option with the asshole behind the desk who is rolling his eyes at my non-purchase--my mom asks, "can I play my casino game on there?" Uh oh. We've hit Defcon 1. I explain to her that no, you cannot, because our computer at home uses the obsolete-as-soon-as-it-was-created Windows ME and this is a Mac. They do not work together too well. It's like a Klansman and G-Unit. The panic sets in. "Can I play spider solitare? You mean I CAN'T play it? You never told me this! When were you going to tell me this?" Defcon 2. She and Scott frantically start looking for software that would replicate the experience. I quickly sign the credit card receipt and get the hell out of the store.

We get home and I set the computer up. I nearly get a hernia moving the old Gateway monitor. I get everything moved out and set up the new computer in minutes. God do I love Apple products. My mom comes down and I have to have her put in a password for her account on the computer, so that her and my dad can have their own desktops, screen savers, e-mail set ups, etc. etc. It works out better for everyone. "Wait...what is this password for? Do I use my e-mail password?" I explain the concept to her. She half-heartedly assigns a new password. I call her down some time later to set up her e-mail program and ask her to put in her password. "Do I put in the old one or the new one?" The one you use for that e-mail address. "The one I just put in?" Yes, if that is the same password. If it isn't, then no. The one you use for thta e-mail address. "Oh, ok. Cause I put in the wrong one." And before she goes upstairs, I get the "I don't know why you can't just use the old keyboard. This new one is completely different." Completely different means that there isn't a whole shitload of plastic around the outsides for me to spill Yoo-Hoo on. Raise it to Defcon 3.

The next day I carry over all of my parents word documents and everything that they saved in their own li'l places (Ken's Work Place and Cathy's Den). I figure this is more than enough for them to have. My dad says to wait for the weekend to explain it all to him. My mom is eager to start using the iPod, so she comes downstairs with me to show her how to use iTunes and the iTunes music store. I don't think it would be that hard. iTunes is the program with the cd and the music note prominently displayed on said audio cd. You buy music in the iTunes store. You buy each song where it says "buy song." She should know how to do this.

Of course, she doesn't. I explain it to her painstakingly; getting upset half way through because she simply isn't thinking. Instead of trying to figure it out she is in her own world of shell shock, too dumbfounded to reasonably look at this technology as something she can interpret. It is easy. It is! It's MADE to be easy. I told her to go downstairs and do it on her own and she got the hang of it in a few minutes. She even found things I didn't know about. Defcon 3 is holding. I'm somewhat relieved that she figured something out on her own. The iPod isn't even a problem! Things are looking good.

I sign Dad up on the computer. I run through everything, show him how to do certain things, and where his folder is. He is happy. A few days later he asks where all of his e-mails are. I figured it would be known that you sort of start new with a new computer and start a new stack of e-mails. Of course, he waits til 11 PM to inform me of his need to find this one particular e-mail sent to him a month ago. Why could he not have realized that he only has two messages on the new computer that the rest never made it over? Defcon 4.

Another problem arises when he can't print. "The printer doesn't work." I go downstairs, check the usb cable, check the paper, check to see if it's on. Everything is a go. I realize the problem is that the Excel program on there isn't fully installed yet, and you can't print. Microsoft makes it a little tough to pirate their software because you have to install it on Macs (unlike almost all of the Apple programs). I explain to him that I need to pirate the software. This gets a no reaction. "It was on the old computer, why can't it be on this one?" Well, if you want to pay the $200 for the legit thing, I'll get it for you tomorrow! "I just don't understand why." Things don't usually go smoothly between an eight year old Gateway and a brand new Mac. It just doesn't. "Well I don't know that! I just want it to work! Make it work!" Defcon 5. The nukes are shaking in the silos, folks.

Tonight I got the talk that I never said--explicitly--that the e-mails wouldn't come over. It was as if I could magically take everything that they wanted (without telling me) and put it over in the new computer. "You said the new computer would be faster, better, blah blah blah. We believed you." It's not like I'm lying - it is faster and better in almost every way. "I could lose my favorites, that's fine, but my address book? How can you not bring that over?" There is a way, but I need to get a program first, the same one that Dad needs. "Well I don't get how it all doesn't work and you never told us. We were led astray. And you better get the new program fast or your father is going to go apeshit."

Why do I even bother? Isn't it common knowledge that Windows and Mac don't always get along, let alone machines that are separated by nearly a decade? I'm not making a stretch here. Why can't our parents' generation accept computers? Sure, we have been working on them our whole lives, and our generation can really fool around with anything. But it's the lack of basic computer knowledge that baffles me. Our parents use computers every day. They aren't perfect, and they aren't all the same, but there are certain similarities. For example, almost every Mail program is the same. Almost every web browser is the same. But why can they not make the connection?

They simply refuse to learn. This is the generation that doesn't think that any music after '72 is worth listening to. The generation that laments EVERY single that change that has ever come, including anything that is priced. Oh really, that's great, but movies are now ten dollars. If you don't want to pay it, shut the fuck up and try and find a Nickelodeon, stupid. This is the same group that tried to change the world through peace and love and got nothing out of it but bitterness. Now these jaded middle-aged folk are flat out refusing to take part in anything based on the grounds of "I can't learn" or "I don't need it."

Yes, you can and yes, you do. I don't get the stigma with computers. Is it the lingo? The idea of a portable communication device that allows you access to the world scares people who remember having a black and white TV wheeled out in the 50s? "We don't like change." No one likes change. But, we all learn to accept it begrudgingly and move on. You are not an exception. You are not special. You know how to use a computer but are afraid to confront it. It's so much easier to throw your hands up in the air and give up. Stop being a quitter. There is nothing to fear but paper jams and error messages.

The upside is I think that I got a new computer to take to college with me.

Monday, June 19, 2006

We All Believe It

One night, much like the one in which I'm currently writing this, I got introspective. That really doesn't take much for me. All that involves is little sleep (between five and seven hours) and listening to Coldplay. Some fine examples are here, here, and here (the last one is my mom's favorite post...no idea why). As you can tell, I get really deep maaaaaan. Wait, who am I kidding? No one clicked those links. I get very emo, just take my word for it. Anyway, the point of one of these sessions of loneliness at 3:30 while my roommate slept feet away and I plugged away on a laptop like a zombie with the eerie glow of the monitor was to find what unified everyone.

There is no real universal anything anymore. Some would say music, but if you listen to some Sweedish death metal or some German trance or Chinese folk songs (had to watch a movie, don't ask) it's unintelligible gibberish. Great literature doesn't translate with all cultures because of religious problems and different locales. I don't think a child in Bangladesh will really grasp the significance of Charlotte's Web without understanding what grass or half of the animals are. There is, however, one idea that is linked across everything: faith.

I don't mean Faith in the George Michael/Limp Bizkit way, because I'm far too straight and not hardcore for that. I definitely don't mean a faith that has anything to do with religion. When you read some of the things in the Bible, it doesn't take a leap of faith to believe. It takes a complete shunning of common sense. In a whale? Really? Pillar of salt? Uh huh? Slaves? Yeah, ok, they existed, too. Faith in and of itself is secular.

Faith is a common day appliance, with even more uses than the can opener and the dishwasher combined. For example, any time you drive you're using incredible amounts of it. The only thing that keeps you from smashing into the car who is also cruising at 45 miles per hour at you--but just 5 feet to your right--is a painted line...and a general unwillingness to kill oneself. Throw some alcohol into the equation and that painted line doesn't mean anything. But, we all believe that we will all drive safely...or just enough to not maim each other. All of that is predicated on a series of laws, most of which are enforced by glowing colored lights, paint, and aluminum signs.

Schools are all faith based, especially colleges or private high schools. You believe that you're paying X amount of dollars so that in the future your money will be paid back to you in some sort of profession. Of course, we are all vastly overpaying (I swear that the first Passover would be less costly than 4 years at a private liberal arts college) so we're already behind the eight ball. But we always think that we'll get something good out of it at the end. If I work hard enough in Screenwriting 1, and if I suck enough Producer dick, I might actually have a job sometime in the future. I also have faith that bananas are a good training method in order to write Garfield 3: The Lasagna Chronicles.

Relationships are incredibly faith based. You put yourself into a situation where you put all of your emotional eggs in someone else's basket and hope that they don't completely fuck you over and leave you an emotional wreck. If you have a significant other at college and you're back in town, you both have to believe that your connection is strong enough to withstand temptation. Without faith, there is no trust. Without trust, well, you have nothing. Except maybe good sex. That is not depended on faith. Waking up the next day and seeing the results of "no, really, I don't have crabs" is all about faith, however.

Governments are run based off of our willingness to put someone in charge who will make the proper decisions when needed. Hell, to elect a president we put faith behind the electoral to put their one Presidential Point to who we all vote for on a state level. On a second note, that's not faith. That's idiocy. Who the fuck came up with that idea? Has anyone seen an electoral voter? Do they have to register for that like the rest of us? What if he's just a douche and always votes against the state, if only to show off his prick powers. We're an actual government people, and our votes literally mean not a thing in the grand scheme of things. Why hasn't anyone thought this through? Fuck faith based voting.

The point is that a lot of times things might not swing your way. There are moments in your life when things just fall apart, and there isn't enough crazy glue to miraculously piece it all back together. We wallow in our self-pity, we feel sorry for ourselves, and we lament what we lost (or what we didn't realize we had). What keeps us going? For some, nothing can pull them out of the rut. But what about the vast majority? We are built to believe in something better for ourselves. Be it a better grade, a new love, or coping with the loss of a loved one. Genetically, we are inclined to believe in a positive; it is our greatest survival mechanism.

There have been times this summer where I have sat alone in my room listening to Coldplay. I get miserable, lonely, depressed. I think about what was, what never was, what could have been, and what never will be. I lament impossibilities. There is a great skill that I possess to really kick myself when I'm down. There are times where you find out your ex might be seeing someone else while you and your male friend scour the mall for a soccer videogame where you just feel at your most pathetic. When all is said and done, I am sitting here expecting something better. For all the hurt (big and small), all of the "what ifs?" and the put downs I put upon myself, I'm still standing. More so, I know things will get even better, cause shit, they're pretty good right now.

I don't know. I'm just faithful, I guess.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Let's Get Random

Below is a compilation of the weird thoughts that will run through my head over a few weeks. Thank god for post-it notes or these gems would be tossed to the wayside. Forever they would languish alone, not being able to be shared with all of you wonderful people. I think I need help. Also, if I lose you before the 10 paragraphs of…whatever this is, I highly recommend adding Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang to your Netflix queues. Incredibly dark and funny flick that didn’t get anywhere near the box office numbers it should have. Now, on with the randomness….

I was watching a commercial for Old Navy (cause they are always such a joy) and everyone was wearing "Madras." I had seen the fashion trend at school and believed it to be a joke. For those of you not in the know, Madras looks like this (from Polo):

Quick question - when did my uncle's terrible shorts that he has worn at barbeques for my entire existence become "in?" Is it inevitable that every single fashion taboo will eventually come back? If that's the case, when the hell are parachute pants coming back? Leisure suits, too. We are a society of dummies.

There was another commercial shortly following the plaid abomination about a car company who will donate a hundred dollars to a group that takes care of families who lost members in the war in Iraq. The slag line was "if you thought about buying a car before, now is the time," before showing a child in a tire swing (or something equally heart string pull-able). Have we really gotten to the point where we are exploiting the war in Iraq to sell cars? How shameless is this? Where's the line? Will I be donating to kids in Africa with the flies on their faces for my next Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich?

When the hell did "true story" become an acceptable substitute for "yes, that is correct?" I can understand someone saying "true story" after I say, "remember that time I waited around too long to piss while watching Jaws at the town pool so I pissed myself but it was ok because I was still wet, covered in a towel, and wearing a bathing suit when my dad was like two feet away clueless to what liquids were being sloshed around on my person?" But when I say something like "yeah, the US kinda ate it against the Czechs," that is not a true story. It might be true, but it wasn't a story. Or when someone goes "those are some damn good cheese fries," saying "true story" is just simply not applicable. How about this? "Indeed." Or "certainly!" Even "affirmative." They all fit this silly idea called English language comprehension. The other weird part is that my ex Josie picked it up in Connecticut, my friend Ley got it in Worcester/Boston, and my cousin(s) who hail from Long Island say it, too. What the hell is the connection there?

If you're Martin Luther King Sr. now, wouldn't you feel a bit unfulfilled? Every time you hear about the Reverend and Civl Rights activist MLK there is almost always a Jr. at the end of the name. What did MLK Sr. do? I think about it all of the time. And whatever he did, nothing will compare to his son. "Well, I did make my own hardware store and maintained it for thirty years when no one thought it was possible!" Yeah, well your son gained civil equality and marched on the capital to say one of the greatest and most memorable speeches ever you lazy ass. The best thing MLK Sr. ever did was create MLK Jr. I just feel bad. I hope my kid doesn't do shit so I look better (happy father's day!).

I have figured out why Americans are fat. It's very simple. In fact, it has been going on for generations. It is custom for the children at the dinner table to clean their plates. "Finish your meal," you are told, because "there are people starving in !!" We have been raised to be gluttons. Now, with Wendy's making mediums larges, larges extra larges, and extra larges to be deadly in 23 states, we are eating more and more just to fix our guilt from wasting food. I think that if we wasted more food we would slim down. Don't blame your lack of exercise and motivation for being large sir, blame your parents for forcing string beans down your gullet. Also, blame the other people in the world for not having enough food. Selfish bastards.

Fuck you Starbucks. Not because you're a giant, faceless corporation bent on world domination. Not even because you have made a nation addicted to your super-caffeinated drinks. No, fuck you for your arrogance in believing that you can waltz right in and change the names of sizes. What the hell is a tall? Why is it the smallest one? What weird ass brainwashing is this? Every time I leave I feel like I might turn into the Manchurian Candidate. When I (rarely) get the 'bucks, I order a medium cafe mocha. It's bad enough that I have to call coffee "cafe mocha." I refuse to call medium anything but what it is. People have problems with "press 2 for Spanish" and are completely ignoring this vital fight for our culture. Don't let those communist hippie corporate fucks take away our freedoms. And give them crap for not leaving enough room for putting in sugar and milk while you're at it. Dunkin Donuts is better, anyway....

There needs to be a new joke for a nosebleed. I put up an away once about how my nose bled and I got five cocaine-related ims. Can't there be something else? I'm not asking for crazy originality. I don't expect a "I guess you got into another 'who can head butt the hardest in the nasal cavity' contest." Simply put, come up with something else. I'll even take "stop snorting perks." Just be somewhat original, folks.

Do you think old people are cognizant of how the world views them? I was waiting in line at the drive thru (because it's fast, and doesn't have time to be spelt "through") at Wendy's and an old couple to my left was attempting to back out of a handicapped spot. With no one behind me, I back up about 50 feet, just enough to get completely out of the way of the crash radius. The car in front of me moved up about 30 feet with the rest of the cars following in line. The old couple backed out with the older gentleman guiding the woman back before hopping in the car and leaving. They were very appreciative and waved a great number of times, thinking I was some sort of a gentleman or a kind fellow. Just the opposite. I was just scared that those old liabilities could greatly harm me. Kindness through fear of people who can't even go the night without pissing twenty times; am I a pussy or a genius?

Finally, I think there should be some sort of Friend Free Agency. There is always the one friend in a group that you want to boot out, but they've been around too long, or they have the party house, or what have you. This way, everyone's on contract and could be on the move. The best friends get the no trade clause. For girls, you get the option of "if she hits on/cheats with my boyfriend, she is tradable." There could be a draft and trades as well. If you think you can get a younger guy and a prospect coming up through the system, trade away that burden for something new. You always want the kid in the contract year who goes out of his way to be nice to everyone, in a constant supply of drinks, smokes, and good favours. This could work. No, this could be amazing. Just think of trading your sports enthusiast to the dorky group for a prospect and two first round draft picks.

Why the hell am I so fixated on the World Cup? In 2002 I would wake up and watch the matches before school. Nothing major, really. Now, I watch almost every game I possibly can. I was so into the US/Italy match that I sat on the edge of the couch with my hands covering my mouth making high-pitched squeals, screaming obscenities, and muttering "ohmygodohmygodohmygod" for the entire second half. I have been swept up into a four-year event that is dominated by pretty much any other country but my own and features a sport that makes hockey seem incredibly popular. Personally, it has to be the commercials. God damn you Gatorade and Joga Bonita. Let's just hope that we beat Ghana, Italy beats the Czechs, and we have the joy of drawing Brazil.

Don't feel bad for Ghana, though. Next time I'm avoiding grey-haired oblivious assassins my chicken nuggets will feed one of their countrymen, or at least give enough to send them a pair of those hot plaid shorts.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Best Five Days Ever

Every so often the stars align and a person has a few good days. After a lot of cash, gas, and time was spent, guzzled, and used, I had the greatest five days in my life. I really don't believe that any consecutive days will ever take the mantle. From June 1st until the 5th I was the happiest boy alive. If there is a sponsor for these days, it's eBay. Thanks to that wonderful little service, I got my second pair of Pearl Jam tickets, a Radiohead ticket, and a ticket to Yankees/Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

The first day on the list of awesome was Thursday, June 1st, where Pearl Jam played Continental Airlines Arena. It was a great show, memorable mostly for the fact that they finally played Rearviewmirror and Jeremy. There was a weird part where I drove home a kid I knew from high school. That part wasn't odd at all; Jeff's a cool kid, really enjoyed the show, and was a pleasure to stick in the backseat and not hear thanks to the megawatts of sound that obliterated my eardrums. The weird part was when he called me. My cell phone rang, showed his number, and I had no idea who it was, and therefore very tempted to not answer it.

How spoiled have we become that we refuse to use a phone like it has been used for the last 80 or so years? If I see a number pop up and there isn't a "Dave" or "ChickAtPartyWhoTouchedMyAssOnPurposeMaybe?" there is no way in hell I'm picking it up. How do I know who's on the other end of that conversation? It could very well be someone I don't want to talk to, which is why they aren't in my phone in the first place. What, am I to blindly answer when there is a myriad of possibilities, both good and bad, waiting for me? That's preposterous! In fact, someone called me today from a number I didn't know and turned off the ringer, watching the screen light up and pulsate until the calm came. I know what it was like to live in London during the Blitz every time "Private No." calls me.

The second day of ass kicking was Friday. Honestly, nothing good happened on Friday. I just couldn't not include the first PJ show and make it "one day...and then three days straight of sweetness." Just doesn't have the same ring to it. I probably played some Halo 2 on Xbox Live at my friend Blood's house where I was degraded verbally by 10 year olds and 30-year-old hicks. If only we could take an English comprehension test instead of capture the flag classic on Temple. I'd totally kick their asses. Well, as long as no one looks at my mistake-riddled blog. That would REALLY hurt my chances.

Saturday night was the second Pearl Jam show, and consequently, the greatest show I have ever seen. eBay (and almost 200 bucks) netted Russell and I two seats slightly behind the band on the side of the stage (Pearl Jam sells so many seats that they sit people behind the stage). When we got through the massive crowds trying to buy $8.00 Bud Lights and found our seats, there was a girl sitting in them. We sheepishly told her that she was sitting in our seats and regretfully informed her that she had to get the fuck out (politely, of course). She turned to us and said, "boys, listen up. I want to sit with my friends, so we can trade your seats for mine on the floor by the mixing board." There we were, now with floor seats, watching Pearl Jam rip through 31 songs in 2 hours and 45 minutes. This is the greatest trade since "we give you syphilis and you give us all of your land or we'll kill you and ruin your heritage and lives forever until you can make casinos and fuck us over out of valuable tax dollars" of 1810.

Sunday's event--Radiohead in concert--was being held in Boston. I manned the 225-mile trek alone, surviving all of the terrible Massachusetts drivers. While driving on the Mass Pike, I did a few of the dorkiest things ever. For example, when I saw "Charles River" on a little sign on the divider, I yelled out "YES!" As I went under the Newton Sheraton, I pumped my first. Finally, when I saw Agganis Arena from Storrow Drive, I said "YEAH BABY!" Believe me, I'm already searching or a small fire arm to chew on. Either way, I parked on Bay State Ave, right outside of this past year's dorm, because parking is free on Sundays until 8 AM Monday. Bunos! I saw my friends Emily and Haley who were abroad this past semester before meeting the woman with the tickets and my Beirut partner, Pam, who was also abroad. It was a 30 minute quickie reunion which took place in a Bed, Bath, and Beyond and an Engineering library. There is no point to that - I just want to point out how incredibly random my friends are at times.

The concert had two points that I would like to share with you. First were the complications with Boston's public transportation. Boston's MTA is blazing ahead with new technology (introduced about 7 years ago in New York) where a person now plays with a "Charlie Pass" instead of tokens. You get these handy cards by going to a computer kiosk, inserting your preferable method of payment, and then having the valuable piece of paper pop out at you for all of your transportation payment needs. Pam and I get off at Park Street station to transfer over to the Silver Line where you are now forced to use Charlie Passes. Here is where I saw humanity knocked down to its purest form, like the apes at the beginning of 2001.

Some of the machines simply didn't work. A few would only accept credit cards or debit cards, while others were cash only. What would have been helpful is some sort of placard displaying which machines were which, instead of you finding out independently halfway through your transaction after waiting on line for 10 minutes. Luckily, there was a helpful young man from Dorchester barking out instructions. "Da Chaaahlie Caaahd can be po-chasssed by using yo credit caaaaahd, debit caaahd, or caaaahhhsh. Just simply press the correct buttons on da displaaaayyyy." Oh, oh that's how it is? I figured I'd just shit on the li'l screen and the magic token fairy would place the card in my hand and sprinkle a li'l pixy dust in my hair to brighten my day!

After beating technology Pam and I hopped onto the Silver Line. Unlike the Red, Green, Orange, and Blue lines that are a mixture of trolleys and traditional subway cars, the Silver Line is a bus on power cords. I swear to you - these assholes use Disney rides as a means to get to and from places. What boggles the mind is that it IS a bus...but it's connected by wires that power it. What about, I don't know, gas? The Silver Line also travels in these concrete tunnels, which reminded me a lot of something like the Holland Tunnel. I am completely befuddled as to why this thing exists. Later, we took a regular bus the same route back. I have come to the conclusion that Boston is a giant black hole of transportation logic. I will just accept this and move on.

We got to the venue which was a stage, a very large tent, and thousands of rusted, steel folding chairs plastic-tied together. I shit you not. It was like taking the concept of outdoor venues by the sea and putting it in your backyard. Radiohead was amazing, falling into second place all-time for concerts. There are a few strikes against Radiohead, such as the lack of singing along with the crowd, the weird ass venue, and the fact that I only knew half the songs. There is a point at a show where you think to yourself "man, I didn't know this song or the last one...I really don't deserve to be here." I hit that a few times. Well, actually, there was another sour point.

I saw, far and away, the worst couple, ever.

They weren't just bad, or atrocious, or any other synonym for "horrible" that you want to throw out. They were so bad they negatively affected a great show. They were so bad that I could not stop watching them. It was a transifixing ball of vomit inducing love. Right off the bat, these two had no right being together. The girl looked just like my friend Allison Murphy. This is a rather common phenomena, as I have seen about 20 girls who look just like her. It's apparently not that strange to see a red haired girl with glasses and freckles in Boston. I can't imagine why. This version of Murph had a nose ring, as all versions of Irish girls are like snowflakes: each a bit unique compared to the rest. The guy looked like any "alternative" goofball with the shorthair, thin, gangly arms, and little hair under the chin. They were as compatible as apples and throat cancer.

The entire show they were far too cutesy, even Eskimo kissing at times. They also really enjoyed dancing. The problem is that they did not know how to dance. They were slow dancing, and tried to tango standing still. The guy always was touching her in some way, be it the hand in her back pocket, or awkwardly grabbing at her back to maintain contact while shaking left and right as if he was waddling in place. She attempted to do some hipster 50s beach party back-and-forth with her hips and arms, but couldn't get the rhythm right. She abandoned that idea before shaking so much I thought I might have to hold her tongue. They also did this odd hip swivel to the left and the right during a slow slong, because waving your hands is "old hat." The bottom line is I wanted to throw a fucking spear through the two of them, creating a makeshift suck kabob.

Monday started with finding a parking ticket that was given out at 8:13 AM. Thanks Boston Police. For some reason you can be punctual when I miss my meter but you come 15 minutes after a kid was shot twice in the head on Commonwealth Ave at 10:30 on a Friday. Go fuck yourselves. I drove back to Jersey on 4 hours sleep, attained by sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. The Best Five Days Ever came at a premium on sleep, with roughly 15 hours over those days. I came back home with a bitching head cold, but it was alright, because I was going to attend my second Sox/Yankees game. The first one came in 99, I believe, before the rivalry really took off again. I was proudly in the bleachers to see Pedro strike out 19 while getting verbally humiliated by Dominicans. They took my dignity and my friend's Dad's hubcaps.

Monday was different. My friend Steve and I were in the upper deck, surrounded by white Red Sox fans. When the game started, we clearly saw we were outnumbered. And then, from out of nowhere, four drunkards stood up and started to cheer, and we knew we would win the battle. There is nothing greater than sitting behind obnoxious, bombed, asshole Yankee fans. They do not shut up, so the opposition cannot get a word in. They throw in cheers at inappropriate times ("BOSTON SUCKS" on a 2-1 pitch from Mussina...why?). And, most importantly, make complete asses of themselves. The most vocal (wasted) of the bunch turns backwards to Steve and me and goes "OOOOOOOONE.......TWOOOOOOOO.....THREEEEEEEEEE.........LEEEEET'S GOOOOO YAAAAANK-EEEEEEES!" From the time the counting (with fingers included) started and the chant was actually called out, our batter got out and the inning ended. What also helped is that we won 13-5.

Here is the summation of The Best Five Days Ever:
-Man is Hail, Hail a great song. As is Footsteps, Gone, and Army Reserve.
-Radiohead has no reason to be that great live - they're studio geniuses. Stop it. And their new stuff sounds like The Bends, which makes me a happy, happy boy.
-Guys at concerts who don't care who smokes their weed rule. When these guys are like 40, they still rule, but are a bit...creepy.
-I'm proud that Haley and I worked to be a couple that wouldn't be hated. I will continue that trend forever, because no one likes shitty couples. If you are a couple, believe me, it's very possible that you are hated with the passion of a thousand suns. Fix it, for everyone's sake.
-I'm 0-for-3 in hearing Betterman live. This does NOT please me.
-Fucking fuck parking tickets.
-No one probably cares about my Best Five Days Ever and this was a waste of a good post on Faith (coming soon).

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ask Manton Part 2

In an effort to try and keep things shorter I cut the Ask Manton column into two parts. You might ask yourself, "hey idiot, if you knew ahead of time you were going to make this into two parts, why not write two first, so the reader can naturally read from the top down through both posts seamlessly?" Good question. The answer is...just fucking scroll down and scroll back up. This isn't going anywhere, and you obviously have nothing better to do if you're reading this. So just take the time and enjoy my nonsensical answers to the questions that plague the readership of Almost Enlightening (or "Manton" as its known in some circles - hi girls I don't know!).

From Someone Else Who Refuses To Even Put Down A Nickname:
dear anton,

is it possible for humans to have sex with monkeys? i always wanted to know. please get back to me ASAP. thanks

Oddly enough, Monday is the 25th anniversary of AIDS, so this is a topical question. It is most certainly possible for humans to have sex with monkeys. The problem that you might run into, however, is while trying to seduce the monkey, it climbs on your face and savagely rips it off of your skull. The danger factor of having sex with a monkey lies somewhere between a belt sander and a Latino girl with a boyfriend (and his butterfly knife). Just a heads up, though. If you think herpes is bad, christ only knows what lies inside that adorable little creature. It would be like opening Pandora's box...just with a monkey box. Wow was that terrible and distasteful.

From Pam:
Ok, fine. How bout: Why do guys feel the need to yell out their car window at girls? I am SO SICK of this. What does it accomplish? Yeah, um, GREAT way to pick up girls, douchebag. Chicks really dig you and your sketchy car, cruising down Comm Ave and yelling things like, "Yo girls!" and "Woooooo!" or (my personal favorite) "Titties!" I'm at the point where I want the female population to rebel. Yell back, chase after the car, carry silly string or tomatoes (just in case) or... I don't even know. *sigh*

...and Cara:
MANTON....I can't think of anything right now, but the next time I have something about which I want to rant, I promise your blog will be the first to know. I will, however, second the "yelling out the car window at women" topic TENFOLD! Don't do it. Just...don't do it.

I have never, and will never, understand this inclination for the male population to yell shit out at girls. First off, the idea of picking up a girl in a car is fundamentally flawed. You are in a machine that is created to move, not giving a person enough time to even procure a phone number. No one is going to just hop into your car, no matter how nice it is. Well, not unless you have candy. All this action does is infuriate women. Although I do see the comedy of yelling out "titties" for no reason because, well, "titties" is a funny word. It is sort of like how "faggot" is an inflammatory term to denigrate gays and lesbians, so you shouldn't say it. But it's so much fun to say! There is hope in the future, however, as "bitch" is now becoming universal for all of the sexes. We are waging battles on many fronts my friends, but we are winning the war.

My explanation for why it happens is that it's harmless. Here you can yell out flirtatious things and not have the fear of striking out. There's no way you're going to get anything but attention, so go for it. I have been involved in a similar situation down the shore that started with one of my friends pointing to a girl walking and saying "damn, she's hot." We all agree, and one of the guys in the car is like "yeah, yeah...I gotta tell her." You quickly try to window lock and roll it up so that your friend can't yell that out, but he does, and everyone in the car giggles nervously. In some cases ladies, it's not about you as much as embarrassing the hell out of all of your friends. In this way, you are merely objectified by men. Nothing new, right?

From Another Coward:
aright i wanna talk about how wonderful online pictures are. People have fucking huge albums full of pictures of themselves online and they all look the same. It doesn't make any damn sense.

I love it when people are looking away from the camera in a picture like something else is going on. "Alright I got this shot set up perfect here we g...whoa a monarch butterfly, those kick ass ::click:: damnit."

or talking on the phone like they couldnt hold the call for a picture for 2 fucking seconds, like they went "Shit I was going to take this picture but I gotta take this important call real quick ::click:: damnit oh well I guess I'll have to save this pic of me looking disinterested and busy with a phone call."

or flexing like "whoa, didn't see you there I was in the middle of this set"

fun times.

There are many times while writing these 60+ posts where I rant and rant and become hypocritical about the subject at one time or another. Hell, I said I'd never have a blog and here I am, whoring it out like it's going to bring me anything but the attention of my friends and friends of friends. I will freely admit that I am a culprit of the "looking away" picture, and will defend myself, mostly because I think it's my favorite picture of me ever:

There are many plusses to this picture. Stephanie, the girl in the picture, is trying to do a pose and I am doing nothing of the sort. She tries, though. Bless her drunken heart. I am a fan of any pic of me that can be put on an album cover ("where's he looking? Man, he's deep, just like track three, "Loveball"). This picture was also taken without my knowledge. I turned to my left and all of a sudden there was a girl with a camera and a pose to my left. As you could tell, I could care less, as all that's running through my mind was "oh christ, Emily's going to fall off the dresser and break her fucking head open, and I don't want to clean up brain matter." Not every "I'm totally not looking...dude, take it now cause I'm not looking!" picture is actually planned.

What baffles me is why some people on facebook have 300 pictures...of themselves. What term is there that is akin to "super self-masturbation?" Sure, this comes from someone who feels it necessary to tell other people his thoughts on such trivial things as internet pictures, but how many pictures does a person need to feed the beast? Do you constantly forget who you are (and if so, doesn't it suck that YOU did it?) and need to be reminded at all times? "Who's that? Oh yeah, me! ....but who's that? Oh yeah, me! ...and that's....oh, that's me, yeah, right." More so, who the fuck wants to see 300 pictures of you? Unless you're a millionaire who takes a weekly trip somewhere else in the world, no one cares. Yeah, I'd love to see a slide show of you in your dorm with random people from the hall. Sure. Go for it. I'm fucking captivated.

The creepiest thing about so many pictures is how a lot of them are exactly the same. There is the one girl who has the same smile in every single picture, no matter the circumstance or who they are with. You flash through every pic quickly and imagine that this could only happen in The Omen as some sort of clue that he or she is, in fact, the spawn of Satan. My ex had a series of pics with her friends that were eerily similar no matter the location, clothing, or time of day. It was the same number of girls, doing the same pose, in the same order. I never understood the necessity of taking 30 pictures of what is essentially the same thing, nor will I ever comprehend why girls love pictures so much. At that same Cinqo de Maio party I talked about earlier I took these three girls' picture three times: one in the basement, one in the kitchen, one by a wall by the door. Same girls, same pose, same smile. Don't girls have memories, or is that standard issue with males only?

The silliest thing in the world is taking a picture of yourself and you're looking away. You're taking it yourself. You know when the camera will flash. You know where the camera is aimed. Why, oh why, must you look to the side? There is no possible way that you can't plan that picture; your god damn arm is RIGHT THERE holding the camera. The acting in those pictures, or ones where you just "don't know it's coming," are always horrendous. As the reader mentioned, it's the flex and the look of "oh wait there's a camera here?" when that same guy is already in five previous pictures holding on to some girl around the waist with the "I'm a stupid looking drunk frat boy" face on in full blast.

The creepiest thing I have ever seen involves internet pictures and taking pictures yourself. There was a kid who wrote into the Daily Free Press and complained about something innocuous...which, of course, infuriated me beyond the telling of it. Doing what any sane and rational person would, I immediately hopped on facebook to find anything to make me hate him more. "He likes Episode III? What a fucking asshole! Ew, O.A.R? I knew this kid sucked! Now I have the undeniable proof!" What I did not see coming was his photo album, composed of 14 pictures of this boy posed in front of famous landmarks in England. He either went alone or has no friends because each picture was taken by himself He has the same carefree smile, slight glance above the camera, and general features one would find in a super pedophile--the kind they make movies about. I went from anger to sheer horror. It is still the most horrific thing I have ever seen...mostly because I refused to watch the beheading videos.

From my pal Ryan Lambert:
There's this episode of the Twilight Zone where there's a nuclear apocalypse, and one person (a farsighted bank teller who loves reading) survived because he had fallen asleep in the vault during his lunch break. When he awakes and finds the world he knew to be a ravaged cityscape, except for a few parts of a few larger buildings, including the local library.

Instead of feeling infinitely sad and lonely, he is glad that now has all the time in the world to read anything he so chooses. He goes to work making stacks of books that he will read, arranged by month. But then he trips walking up the library's front steps, and his glasses break, rendering him unable to read any of these books that he had worked so meticulously to organize.

I find myself thinking how much I envy him whenever I read your blog.

I love how this heavy-handed bastard had to explain every single part of the show to get his two-dollar punch line over. What kind of car did he drive? Did he wear slacks or sensible pants? Jesus christ, meander a little more before hitting the funny, stupid.

From Luke:
Dear Manton,

You've written about a lot of personal moments on this blog. Has anyone ever gotten really upset that something was written about them? If so, can you relate other embarrassing moments of said person?

Also, you should mention my name a lot more than you do.

For the most part, everyone is fine with being mentioned here. What really surprised me is how little flack I received for the Manton vs. Woman series. The only one that got some raised eyebrows was the Sasha post, but there was no real way to beat around the bush there. I asked all of the girls I'm still in contact with if they were ok with the posts and none of them had a problem (not like I would take them down anyway). I try to be fair in everything I write. I am a self-depricating, self-esteemless boob, so it isn't like I use this to bolster my ego. One of the unforseen advantages of this nonsense is that it could help people. One girl read an entry and had an epiphany of sorts. It was over the fact that she wasn't the nicest of people and it devastated her...but it led to good! Also, it just shows that Marsha doesn't read this....

There was one big flare up, however. I live in a very small town where everyone knows everyone, and most importantly all of their personal business. This curiosity does not lend itself well to a blog that I use to voice my opinions and exorcise some of my own demons. In fact, while discussing my break up with my girlfriend back in Jersey, this place (apparently) became a perfect place to find drama, gossip, and rumors. It got to a point where I got fed up with how immature some people are. Don't fucking read this if you're going to use it against other people; that's not the point. I have only received one complaint, and it was from my ex. It prompted this post, which tried to explain in no uncertain terms "how about you leave her alone, k douchebags?" just with a more civil tone.

My mom got the link to this around my 50th post a month or so ago. She fervently read though everything (except for Manton vs. Woman, a play on Man vs. Woman that no one seemed to get) and asked me bluntly, "why do you tell people these things?" I never had a problem voicing my opinion or my personal affairs mostly because I love the easy laugh. I grew up, like most people, as a self-hating, miserable middle schooler. My mom would always say "everyone else is going through the same thing, they just hide it better." As I looked around my schoolmates, I could never see that crack through their exteriors to clue me in that such an idea was true. Around freshman year, I decided it was time to unabashedly show my thoughts, faults, etc. in little writings in an effort to show other people that if they do feel the same way, they aren't alone, and here is concrete proof. That noble deed was coupled with my yearning for attention and a pension to write out my feelings and frustrations as a catharsis.

Not much has changed in the years, except that I am now somewhat readable. I am always surprised when people I do not know read this (and I know for certain that it does happen every now and then) because you would think that there should be some link to me to read about my life, my thoughts...well, about me. One of my friends said, "well, it's interesting reading about stuff from a college kid." While growing up I never had anything to read or base my actions off of. There was no easy teenage guide. If I could somehow provide some sort of a safety net for kids who are a bit younger than me, then I have done something more than I ever intended. That also sounds like I'm really full of myself.

To get on topic, the biggest complaint that I have ever had came from me, cause I simply don't really grasp what this thing means. It could mean nothing to someone, and a lot to others. I could be making this out to be more important than it is, or conversely not giving it its proper weight. There was an air of importance in writing about breaking up with Haley because I wanted to get all of those feelings out, but also to relate to other people. I sent a friend of mine something I just wrote to get my own head straight, she identified with it, and I put it up. There is a delicate balance that I have to reach, I guess, and I hope I can figure it out one day.

David Sedaris wrote in one of his books that his family became very wary when talking to him, concerned about what might be published in one of his memoirs. More than the balance, I hope to reach THAT level. Shit that was a wordy answer to a three sentence question.

hey. im still waiting for an answer on that monkey question. hurry... its been a week since ive gotten any.. and that chimp over there looks pretty delishh.

This kid goes a week and is already peeling off into bestiality. I've gone about a month and a half with no future prospects to "get any" from, so what am I supposed to nail? Should I give up on living things and just go with inanimate objects? Does anyone have an inflatable dolphin I can deflower?

Thanks to everyone who participated. I'll take a stab at this again down the line if anyone is interested and enjoyed this li'l back and forth. If no one did, well, it was good while it lasted.

Ask Manton Part 1

It seems my pathetic plea for interaction has paid off quite well. After pretty much begging like a groveling dope, I got nine responses to have my first real Ask Manton column on this ole' blog. What surprises me the most is the variety of questions, rants, and random comments that accumulated in the comments and in my email. The annoying part is that some of these topics are so well written and funny that I'm really going to have trouble following them (especially on four hours worth of sleep). The original comments/questions/diatribes will be in normal text, and my comments will be in bold...because I'm important.

From Anonymous:
aright.. ill start this thing off to help manton. i think a good topic to talk about is myspace and the rediculous drama it brings to people. What the fuck is up with people abusing the shit out of online now icons and who is creating these abominations?

I just went to someone's page and instead of an "online now" icon it just had a sparkly text that said "FUCKING." That shit is ridiculous. Are you really fucking all the time? Even while you are online?

I just want to know if someone is online not some shit that tells me " DrInKiiNg CoRoNaS!" That doesn't give me any information other than the fact that you are a stupid asshole.

Ok, I get it, you want to customize your page so everyone can see how original you are for finding a shitty source code from some other site, nicely played, but let's not let sacrifice functionality for some borderline aesthetics.

You might as well have an online now icon that constantly says "Swallowing Jizz" you cockmouthed html-absuers.


Thanks for the help. I have never understood MySpace. I don't get what it's for, why people are on it, and why people outside of pedophiles enjoy it so much. Every picture is the same, with that moody "I'm taking it myself because I have no friends and that makes me awesome" picture, usually in black and white with thick, black emo glasses. Every page is pretty much the same, and any "customization" is just new buttons and flashy objects that could make an epileptic have a fit. I don't care about your personal stats, your answers to 400 questions about you, or that you're a princess (and you have to show how pretty a princess you are by having the announcement take up half of my screen and sparkle).

Your problem, dear reader, is that you actually expect some sort of worthwhile information off of the page. I hope that the person isn't just online, but is always drinking Coronas when they're on myspace. This will naturally lead to liver failure at 30 and get that schmuck off of the Earth as quickly as possible. Thinning the heard, people.

How creepy is that "online now" thing anyway? Do you really need to know that someone is searching around myspace for jackable material? I don't, thank you very much. I refuse to become a part of the myspace community outside of my radio show. Whenever I bring up the fact that myspace is for creeps, they immediately knock me down for being on facebook. Facebook is easier to use, navigate, and is there to accumulate friends and names you acquire at parties so that when you wake up the next morning, you don't know who that person is. I did this on Cinqo de Maio, by befriending two girls named Chloe. Oddly enough, they were both at this party, so I totally rule without even knowing it.

There is a new game I want you to try out: putting anything after myspace.com/. For example, /manton is a girl from Illinois, /cocknocker lives in Jersey, and /bartsimpson was taken by a guy named Michael, which doubly fucks over anyone who is actually named Bart Simpson. Try out your own name, celebrities, random combinations of words, and see the results. Sometimes sexy, mostly frightening, this is why the world hates us.

Oh, and "you cockmouthed html-abusers" is probably the best line ever. And no, YOU rock, sir, ma'am, or tranny.

From Anothernonymous:
hahha the person who just wrote is amazing. but not as good as anton. aright. i have a topic id like to discuss too. I think i will title this: TROUBLE PICKING AN AIM SCREEN NAME?
It seems these days every cliche' Louis Vuitton bag owning, sloppy-mouthed girl has found herself online. It only took a casual 17 some odd years for it to catch on to their demographic. Nevertheless, this presents a clear problem for AIM and Yahoo users, how can we accomodate so much heavy flow of useless mundane conversations about implied glances and how "he totally used this fake, well not fake fake, but a voice that like was trying to say, well something, you know?" sort of comments? We need a regimented formula for lame people to pick their screen names. Originality is a hard bag I tell ya.

Don't start off picking something random like naming yourself after an office product you see lying around. The name "staplerfuckwhiteout" is probably already taken, plus it doesn't let the intelligent people know to stay away from you. You need to give people fair warning about who you are. Clothing brands of an expensive nature usually or any materialism let people know that effectively represents you. Like for instance, my aim name is "HotAbercrombiefuckmyassbutnotgay" see how it conveys exactly what I am into in a concise manner?

You don't need to be an invaritable Faulkner implementing anadiplosis and shadow imagery: its just an AIM name. Just be formulaic take like a base word like "hot, sexy, kitty, gurl, nymph" and add some decorative xx's in front of perhaps a 69 or 420 or 666 at the end for good measure just so people know where you stand on the issues.

Like if I were a lame girl trying to be cliche my AIM name would be like "xxsexdeepthrt4u69" But I think that is too many letters, dangit, and I don't have a vagina, double dangit.

Well its a simple formula, just slap those together and be on the lookout for perverts online, contrapositively, 13 year old girls look about 35 these days, so duly note that as well. well, I'm off to my vaginoplasty surgery so I can make the aforementioned screen name when i get back...

There are a few points I want to hit on this. First, the only screen names that I know of that are like "xxsexdeepthrt4u69xx" are the ones that used to im me constantly asking if I wanted to see pictures of a girl, a donkey, and loose morals. For whatever reason, that has thankfully stopped (I prefer horses, anyway). In fact, I think that aim screen names go the opposite direction. The problem with screen names is that once you have one, it's almost impossible to change it. I've had the same screen name since I was 14, and I'll be damned if I'm going to im 200 people to tell them I changed my name. At college, there are tons of people with downright silly screen names because they made them in their pre-teens and are as lazy as me.

The worst part about screen names is the anonymity, and the idiots that don't realize when you get an im from "GiantsLovr1986" is Jeff. Why the christ wouldn't you say who you are when you im people? When did ims not become like a telephone? You don't call someone and wait for them to guess who it is on the other line. I have had countless ims from people who just start conversations with small talk and keep going while I sit, confused, trying to piece the identity together from seemingly useless profile information. "Ok, ok, they have a girlfriend...who do I know has a girlfriend that I don't talk to online?" I've reached the point now where if you don't care enough to inform me of who you are, I just don't care. Keep talking, we'll keep small talking, and you can go your merry way while I try and find more girl and horse porn.

From Anonymously Anonymous:
Dear Manton,

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

-A concerned reader

An empty bottle of Jack, a pack of untouched condoms, a cotton mouth that reeks of bad decisions, and someone else in your bed who has some cold sores you swear you didn't notice last night. Other clues are scratching until it bleeds, having the sudden urge to clap (that's where the name came from, right?), or having intimate relations with me.

Oh shit, Luke, sorry dude. I should have given you the heads up. Whoops. Oh well, we'll get'em next time.

From Lizzie:
I just wanted to say that I am a faithful reader- I have yet to miss one blog. Gerri Ann is also a supporter. In fact, when you wrote the Manton and Women blog, Ger texted me to inform me that you mentioned me in it (the braces... yea).

Thank you for keeping us interested! I have nothing to ask but if i do, I know where to come to.

Keep up the good work!

It's always weird to me how I try and act like I don't know the people who right in. For example, I know exactly who Lizzie and Gerri Ann are. In fact, I probably know who most of my readers are. To look more professional and also to try and pull off the illusion that I have more readers than I really do, I'll try and not recognize the name or the personal touches in an email or comment. So thanks Madios for reading, I appreciate it. Also, it wasn't braces, the line was distinctly "I'm much better without my retainer." And that is the best pillow talk line ever. It's nice to know that if you have a question in the future that you'll come to me. I will give you the answer right now: only if the price is right.