Monday, December 31, 2007

The Great Pretender

Yes, I'm the Great Pretender,
Pretending that I'm doing well.
My need is such
I pretend too much
I'm lonely but no one can tell.

Yes, I'm the Great Pretender,
Adrift in a world of my own.
I play the game
but to my real shame
You've left me to grieve all alone.


One adjective that will never, in any circumstances be used to describe me is 'inscrutable.' I do not play poker, because I cannot bluff. In fact, even when I'm trying very, very hard to be tactful and polite, my face pretty much gives away "God I hate everything about this" more often than not.

So, it's somewhat strange to me that I've been going through the most hellish three months I've had since at least college, with no real, in the flesh friends to confide in regularly, and practically no one has noticed. At work, my hallmarks as an attendant remain my constant smile and sense of humor, my near endless resources of patience, and my high, some might say frenetic or manic, energy levels. All of my coworkers knew about the disastrous ending to my relationship with Rachel, although not all knew the full extent of it, and all of them know about the neverending run of troubles I've been dealing with since then. Everyone thinks I'm fine, and that it's amazing that I'm doing so well and keeping so positive. The only coworker who truly knows what's going on is Kelli, who is pretty much my best friend these days, and that's because she cared enough to ask me about it, early and often.

So I've been wondering why, when everything else in my life appears to be falling around me, practically no one at work is aware that something serious is going on with me. Why can't anyone figure it out, when usually people can practically read my mind simply by looking at me?

And it hit me. I'm happiest at work. By far. Home consists of lots of pacing, lots of calling people to see if anyone is up for me to talk to, and lots of frantic searching for something, anything to occupy my time.

(Quick plug: ChessMaster 9000: Available for $10 at your local electronics store, featuring hours and hours and hours of chess strategy lessons by international grandmasters, including a course in competitive psychology by the guy that Searching For Bobby Fischer was about. Plus, dozens of AI Personalities of all skill levels to practice against. Practically guaranteed to keep your mind off of everything if you've ever wanted to learn to play chess.)

At work, though, I've got people to talk to, problems to solve, residents to counsel, on occasion pretty women to flirt with, and I love every second of it, and everyone at work likes me. And by everyone, I mean everyone. Even people I thought did not like me, like me. "Accepted" might not be the word to use; I'm still looked at as a ways off from the norm, and probably always will be, but since I'm a friendly and effective crazy, people tend to like me.

And so, for the first time in my life, I'm able to go through a slight depressive episode without everyone looking at me and asking me what's wrong with me, or if I'm doing all right, or telling me I look like crap and should probably go take a nap. Which sort of makes me think it's not really a depressive episode at all. It's just a temporary hole that needs to be filled with a friend or two. Now it's just a matter of finding worthwhile candidates.

Monday Morning YouTube

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Best of Jackson Browne

Here's what I knew about Jackson Browne about 6 months ago:

1. He sang "Stay" and "Running on Empty".
2. He collaborated with Warren Zevon semi-regularly.

Upon repeated listenings of Running On Empty, I've decided I really like it. While shopping for Christmas presents for my family tonight, I found The Best of Jackson Browne on sale for $6. For six bucks, why not? asks I. You can't miss, I reply. So, here's my running thoughts on The Best of Jackson Browne, while I kill time until my mechanic opens at 7. This might not actually be interesting to read, since no one else can hear the album unless you happen to own it. It will, however, take a long time, and that's the goal at the moment.

1. Doctor My Eyes: Hey, I know this song! So this is Jackson Browne too. I could probably recognize his songs more easily if his songs weren't the archetypal example of baritone singer/songwriter. You know, the theme of people going to doctors to solve their emotional issues is not a new one in rock and roll. Except Jackson Browne wrote this one, so it's like that, only done better than pretty much everyone else who ever did it. Favorite line: "People go just where they will. I never noticed them until I got this feeling that it's later than it seems."

2. These Days: Not much to say about this one. It's a nice, moody ballad, pretty much exactly how you'd expect a nice moody ballad to sound. This one I don't relate to as much, as when I'm moody and down about my life, I tend to be more extroverted to try to jump start me out of it.
Favorite line: "Now if I seem afraid to live the life I've made in song, it's just that I've been losing for so long."

3. Fountain of Sorrow: Man, Jackson Browne has not lived a happy life. He's like an anti-rock star. Or like Emily Dickinson, if Emily Dickinson had ever been within a thousand miles of Cool. Actually, perhaps in past lives, Jackson Browne dumped Emily Dickinson for being a whiny whiner, and their future selves couldn't stop writing poetry about it.
Favorite Line: And while the future's there for anyone to change, still you know it seems easier sometimes to change the past.

4. Late for the Sky: I think everyone has sleptwalk through a relationship or two, just automatically saying easy things, and realizing there was nothing there except that both people wanted something to be there. Jackson Browne, however, seems to have done this with every woman he ever dated.
Favorite line: How long have I been dreaming I could make it right if I closed my eyes and tried with all my might to be the one you need?

5. The Pretender: You know, sad, reflective love ballads don't really move me too much. Yeah, yeah. Love ends. It's sad. Blah blah blah. But this... this... ok, now I'm depressed. Congratulations.
Favorite Line: Say a prayer for the pretender, who started out so young and strong, only to surrender.

6. Running on Empty: Ah, the Springsteen Gambit: Disguise your moody lyrics that might not make people feel good when they sing along with them by using an upbeat tempo and driving chords. I personally find this song to be completely awesome.
Favorite Line: In '69 I was 21 and I called the road my own. I don't know when that road turned into the road I'm on.

7. Call it a Loan: Apparently sometime in the late '70s, Jackson Browne discovered he could get more radio play if his songs had choruses. The regrettable side effect is that it cut into his lyric writing freedom. I can't really find any gripes about this song, but I can't find any particularly favorite lyrics either. It simply could be that I'm ODing on break-up songs too.

8. Somebody's Baby: I know this song too! I've never been particularly impressed by it when I've heard it on the radio. It's one in a million songs that do not prompt me to change the station, but don't prompt me to run out and buy an album or even worry about who sings it. Now, however, it makes much more sense in the context of Jackson Browne's body of work. Even the really attractive people that everyone wants to date are consigned to lives of loneliness becomes everyone assumes they're taken, to the point that they try their hardest to not notice them.

9. Tender is the Night: At some point in every rock career, you begin to say "I like the earlier stuff better." I think we've arrived here. Jackson Browne is straying from his tried-and-true "I'll just do what everyone else is doing, only much much better" plan, and trying to incorporate the pop sounds of the early 80s. It's not a good move. Not at all. The lyrics are stil pretty solid though.
Favorite Line: I can't walk back in after the way we fight when people outside are laughing, living lives we used to lead.

10. In the Shape of a Heart: Hey, uh, just re-read that last paragraph. Good lyrics, but I'm just not a fan of the instrumentation. I mean, I was ok with The Cars in the '80s, because they at least went all out with the electro-pop sound. This folksy synth mix doesn't work for me.
Favorite line: "[People] Speak in terms of belief and belonging, try to fit some name to their longing, People speak of love."

11. Lives in the Balance: Wait a minute, this isn't about breaking up with a girl and feeling really bad about it. In fact, this isn't about anybody breaking up with anyone at all. And it's not even a depressing acknowledgement that you'll never be as cool as you wanted to be. Are we sure this is Jackson Browne? Of course, the really depressing part about this anti-war, anti-crappy media anthem is that it could be written about pretty much any time in U.S. history.

12. Sky Blue and Black: Out of the 80s, thankfully, and Jackson can go back to his original style, only a little mellower. In case you were wondering, Jackson is still breaking up with people, and still feeling really bad about it. In fact, he wants to be friends and make her feel better. This, I think, is a bad idea almost 100% of the time.

13. The Barricades of Heaven: Also, Jackson is still coming to terms with the fact that he's not as cool as he always hoped he'd be.

14. The Rebel Jesus: This isn't really a true "Best of Jackson Browne", rather, it's a new song tacked on to the end. It deserves to be included; I like it better than the last five or so. It's a nice little anti-hymn about how not Christlike actual Christianity is, and how the real purpose is to make people feel good about themselves. Very ethereal sounding.
Favorite Line: In a life of hardship and of earthly toil, there's a need for anything that frees us.

15. The Next Voice You Hear: Hey, I know this one. I don't know how. I think it must be the radio, as it was released in 1997, which puts it way too late for me to hear it via one of my older sisters. Despite the moody and generally depressing tone of all of Jackson Browne's songs, this is the only one with what I would call a dark sound. Most of the others are simple mellow grooves.
Favorite Line: Throw down your truth and check your weapons.

Hmmm, I've still got four hours. Time to watch The Godfather Part II, I suppose.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Jolly Happy Soul

One More Time

Pause it after 6 seconds. See that T-shirt? That's what I want for Christmas next year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Godfather (1972)

Hey, I finally saw The Godfather. My expectations were tempered, because I'd already read the book, and I really liked it, so I pretty much assumed the movie wouldn't be anywhere near as good. Well, I was wrong. The Godfather is pretty much as good as everyone says it is, and most of the parts they cut from the book were parts I didn't care for anyway, like the Nino and Johnny in Hollywood parts and the Johnny wants his ex-wife back parts. Those were pretty boring, and I didn't miss them in the movie.

Now, I do want to address the part of The Godfather that annoyed me ten years ago when I read it and annoyed me again when I watched it. This would be the "Michael is exiled to Sicily and gets married only to see his wife murdered by his traitorous bodyguard" part. It annoys me because Appollonia has somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 lines in the movie and possibly less in the book, but I'm supposed to believe that Michael is close enough to her to fall in love with her while at the same time he's engaged to Kay Adams (at least, I think he was in the book; he wasn't in the movie). This part irked me in the book because it had no bearing on any other part of the plot, and is never even mentioned again. After Appollonia's car explodes, the very memory of her existence vanishes. The entire episode struck me as senseless; killing Appollonia off so that she won't have to be written into the rest of the plot is lazy, but there was no reason whatsoever we had to know what Michael Corleone did while exiled if it was going to have no bearing at all on the rest of the plot.

But the rest of the movie is really good. Hell, even that part is pretty good, just completely superfluous and mostly senseless. Update the Board, and move on.

Monday Morning YouTube

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Platoon (1986)

First, a big thank you to everyone who wished me birthday greetings, including Casey, Mom, Dad, Lindzy, BerryBird, Nadine, Liz, Galen, Tavis, Nando, Kelli, Walter, and anyone else I might have forgotten.

Now, on with the review. I'll admit I was not very pumped to see this one. It's about the Vietnam War, and I feel The Deer Hunter covered this territory as well as any movie ever could. I got a little bit more pumped when I read the opening credits and saw lots of familiar names in addition to Willem Dafoe, who I thought was the star of it and also is fricking awesome.

I genuinely liked this movie, but it suffered from my biggest pet peeve when it comes to movies of any kind: pretentious, preachy dialogue that no one in real life ever actually says. In this movie, they try to pass that stuff off as Taylor, the main character, narrating letters he's writing home, but it still doesn't work for me. I'm plenty smart enough to figure out that the soldiers are fighting themselves as well as the NVA, and that the conflict between Barnes and Elias is a physical manifestation of that struggle without Taylor telling me that's what's happening. I've not seen enough of Oliver Stone's work to know if this is a regular tactic of his or not, but it really needs to go.

As I said, I liked this movie, I'd recommend it, and I probably wouldn't mind seeing it again. It suffers from the fact that The Deer Hunter, a movie that I'm not going to see again because it almost traumatized me, preceded it by 8 years and forever set the standard for movies about Vietnam. However, it is helped by the fact that it deals more with the atrocities of war as opposed to its effect on its participants, and because 19 years later, Crash would come along and take preachy, pretentious dialogue that nobody says in real life to new levels of ridiculousness, which makes the few instances of it in Platoon seem much more forgiveable.

So, in all, good movie. Excellent acting, good directing, a bit heavy-handed writing.

Also, what are the odds that two stars of this bleak, dark drama about the atrocities humanity is capable of would go on to star in popular, light-hearted sitcoms? Probably better than the odds that two stars of Predator would go on to become governors, but still doesn't seem likely.

Time to update the Board.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

One reason I love my job

Conversations like this:

Client: Who cut my fingernails?
Andy: I don't know.
Client: Who cut my fingernails?
Andy: Um, Santa Claus?
Client: Noooooooo.
Andy: Um, Jesus?
Client: (scoffs) Jesus can't have scissors.

Things that aren't worth their own post

1. Flirting: It turns out I've upped my game. This was not hard, because if my game was Super Mario Bros., I went from the first level where you might have to jump on a couple slow moving enemies or over some small pits, and which can be completely bypassed via pipe, to that crazy Bridge Level where all the fish come flying toward you and you have to dodge them all and the flying turtles while not falling off the bridge, and everything is much more exciting. Does this make any sense? Ok, well, the point is that today I flirted my way to a free drink, a free order of fries, and a free brownie. Before too long, all of my meals at Hardee's will be completely comped! And who knows, maybe flirting is useful in ways not related to getting free food that is terrible for me. Only time will tell.

2. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" is still the best Christmas song. "Christmas Shoes" is still the worst, but it now has some serious competition.

3. Movies: taking a bit of a break from the Best Pictures to watch more Christmasy fare. Also, I watched The Iron Giant again the other night. I'm thinking if you don't like The Iron Giant, you just simply don't have a soul. Also on the movie front, a coworker brought in Black Dog for the clients to watch today. Why? I don't know. But, ever since that fateful day in 2004 when I saw it for sale in Wal-Mart headlining the acting talents of Patrick Swayze, Randy Travis, and Meat Loaf, I've simply felt compelled to watch it. I don't understand how I've not seen it. I mean, it's about truck drivers, and the cast consists of a dancer, a country singer, and, a rock musician. It strikes me that the appeal of this movie might not be universal, but I cannot imagine a reality in which this movie is not awesome.

4. eHarmony. During my spending binge on Tuesday, I decided to take advantage of a super low 3 months for the price of one dealie from, and it's already bearing fruit. After doing whatever it is the eHarmony RoboMatcher 9000 does, it has found a cute social worker who sounds really cool in her profile that appears interested in me. Granted, it had to extend its search to the outskirts of St. Louis in order to find this woman, but you can't say it's ineffective. Plus, I already have a friend in St. Louis, so if this works out, I've got a vacation to plan and save up for. Then, in maybe another year, I'll have enough time saved to take another trip to see her. Go team.

5. The Wizard of Oz: Don't you think it would be much more entertaining if Dorothy actually sounded like she was from Kansas? "Wayle, I's a fixin' to see the Wizard! I reckon if he can get me on back to KANzass, he shore can get you a brain."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Can't. Stop. Pacing.

What the crap. It's 6:00 am. I've been walking around my apartment building all night long, up and down stairs, doing 6 loads of laundry. In between loads of laundry, I've been tearing up and down my hallway, back and forth, all night. And I'm still not tired.

I think my toes are getting calloused from all the walking I've done tonight. Seriously. Somebody pass the Ambien. Where's The English Patient when I need it? Or maybe a copy of The Old Man and the Sea would do the trick. I don't know.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thoughts on Songs I Heard on the Radio

Today I was positively bored out of my mind. After being awake for 2 hours, I realized that I had already done everything I wanted to do, and was facing the prospect of at least 10 more hours of consciousness and little else. So I decided to go spend some money, since I have some extra cash to do so for the first time in months.

It was awesome, and I'm in one excellent mood. I felt the urge to get Waffle House hasbrowns at one point, and since there are no Waffle Houses in this area for reasons beyond my comprehension, I had to cross the Ohio line in search of one. Due to my ridiculously high spirits on this gratuitous excursion of capitalism, my radio comments were a little more manic than usual.

"Homeward Bound," Simon and Garfunkel: You know what's more than a little creepy? What Paul Simon says his "loved one" does while he's out touring: Sitting around silently waiting for Paul Simon to return while listening to Paul Simon's music. I suppose that's possible. I think, given Paul Simon's track record on marriages, that it was far more likely that she was having affairs.

Also, current and aspiring rock stars: you may think someday that it's a good idea to write a song about how hard it is to be a rock star. Unless you have Paul Simon's talent at writing lyrics, I don't recommend it, because you'll just sound whiny.

"99 Luftballons," Nena: I really like this song, but I'd never heard the German version on the radio before today. I had quite the wonderful time pretending like I could sing along in German and waiting for a few words I recognize: krieg, minister, kriegminister, Captain Kirk. I'm not sure I understand why the radio went for the German version other than, "Hey, we're Mix 107.7 and nothing we do makes any sense, ever." I suppose there's probably a rabid Nena fanbase that denounces the English version as derivative drivel that doesn't compare to the original German, or something. At any rate, I think we can all agree that there's not nearly enough nuclear holocaust on the radio these days.

"Bohemian Rhapsody," Queen: I think I need to reevaluate how I decide if a band is good or not. Has this song ever been covered? Because I cannot imagine anyone ever doing it and it not being a complete train wreck. But somehow it's awesome when Queen sings it, because they're that good. But, just for fun, try to imagine what Bohemian Rhapsody would sound like if Creed tried to cover it. Just try.

"Summer Nights," the cast of Grease: Apparently the radio station was giving away a free copy of High School Musical 2 to the third caller after they played Summer Nights. This, I'm afraid, is not nearly enough justification to play the Grease Soundtrack on the radio. If Grease is coming on the radio, the prize in the accompanying contest should be at least a new car. And if you simply must play something from Grease in the middle of December, wouldn't there be something a little more appropriate than "Summer Nights"? Although I always chuckle at "We stayed out until ten o'clock!" Crazy kids.

More disturbing than the simple fact that the radio was playing this, however, was the statement that "Summer Nights" is the most popular karaoke song of all time. The thing is, it takes two people to sing it. I'm now having mental images of annoying, overintoxicated couples slurring through this song, messing up all the harmonies in the duets, missing all of the key changes, and forgetting most of the words except for "Tell me more, tell me more," much to the dismay and horror of everyone else in the bar. The world is a frightening place sometimes. God. Whoever won that copy of High School Musical 2 better enjoy it for putting me through all this.

"Storybook Love," Willy Deville: Hearing this on the radio made me think, "Hey, what year was The Princess Bride released? Because, assuming it was not 1988, whatever movie won that year probably did not deserve to win Best Picture." It turns out it was 1987. Since I haven't seen The Last Emperor yet, I'll try to withhold judgment. As it is, it merely joins The English Patient and Around the World in 80 Days on the list of movies I'm already pretty sure didn't need to win Best Picture. Meanwhile, "Storybook Love" lost out to "I've Had the Time of My Life" for Best Original Song, ensuring that 1988 joins pretty much every year the award has existed that the Academy screwed it up.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Morning YouTube

A Conversation From Work

Kelli: So what movies did you watch while you were off?
Andy: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Unforgiven.
Kelli: How'd you like Unforgiven?
Andy: Good. Really good.
Kelli: Yeah, I thought you'd like it. What's next?
Andy: The Sting.
Kelli: Never seen it.
Andy: It's from '73, and it's got ragtime music.
Kelli: Um, ok.
Andy: Should be awesome. I'm considerably more pumped for the '70s than any other decade.
Kelli: Why's that?
Andy: More movies I've heard of, more movies that sound cool.
Kelli: What do you have to watch still?
Andy: Hmm, 70 is Patton. Meh. I've got it, so I'll get it out of the way soon.
Kelli: Yeah, I don't want to see that.
Andy: 71 is The French Connection. I've heard it's cool.
Kelli: Yeah.
Andy: And then we have The Godfather, The Sting, and The Godfather Part II.
Kelli: Man, I wish I could watch those with you.
Andy: Then I've already seen Cuckoo's Nest and Rocky. Network should've won in 76.
Kelli: Hey, I like Rocky.
Andy: And 77 is, is, is... Annie Hall.
Kelli: I don't know how I feel about Woody Allen.
Andy: And 78 was the Friggin Deer Hunter. ::shudders and twitches:: And 79 is Kramer vs. Kramer.
Kelli: Oh my god. I love that movie. Have you seen that one?
Andy: Nope, but I've heard it's really good.
Kelli: Wait, wasn't that from 81?
Andy: No, 1979. 1979 was Kramer vs. Kramer.
Kelli: Oh.
Andy: 81 was, was, Chariots of Fire. 1981 was definitely Chariots of Fire.
Kelli: Guess I was confused.
Andy: Yeah, 1979 was definitely Kramer vs. Kramer. Because 1980 is Ordinary People.
Kelli: Hey, calm down. How many minutes until Wapner?
Andy: (checks watch) Oh no. It's 6:16. I'm definitely supposed to be on break. Definitely going on break now. Can't talk to Kelli while I'm on break. Gotta go to Hardee's on break. Hardee's. (wanders off talking to himself).

The Sting (1973)

I'm really glad The Sting won Best Picture. People in Best Pictures suffer from mental illnesses, get traumatized by wars, get shot up by mobsters, lose boxing matches, and witness genocide. It all gets very draining after a spell.

Here's what I knew about The Sting going in:

1. It's about confidence men.
2. It takes place in the '30s and features a Scott Joplin adapted score.
3. It has Robert Redford and Paul Newman in it.

And somehow, it managed to be even cooler than I thought it'd be. Everyone walks around with sinister mustaches like Mark Trail villains and pull slick shenanigans while delivering slick lines. Even Eileen Brennan is cool in this, and the only thing I've ever seen her in is Clue, when she played the hopelessly annoying and dorky Mrs. Peacock.

All in all, it's an entertaining and engaging little show that I can't find any reason to dislike. Nothing too deep, but it's a nice change of pace from the dark, dire, and depressing that usually dominates this list.

Time to update the Board. I'm now 1/3 of the way finished with the list. Next up: People get shot and killed in a war. Should be a good time.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Unforgiven (1992)

I'm tired, and I have to wake up in time to go to a party tomorrow, so I'll do this really quickly.

When asked about the criticism surrounding the thematic material of Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood remarked, ""I've gone around in movies blowing people away with a .44 magnum. But that doesn't mean I think that's a proper thing to do."

Unforgiven is a movie made by a man who was in too many movies where he ran around blowing people away with a .44 magnum. Every character in this movie is exposed as a fool for trying to solve their problems by shooting people. I didn't like it as much as I liked Million Dollar Baby, but I liked it enough that "Directed by Clint Eastwood" is all the endorsement I need to see a movie. "Directed by Clint Eastwood" + "Starring Morgan Freeman" = "I better have a damn good reason why I haven't seen this movie yet.

Time to update the Board. And then time to sleep.

Friday, December 7, 2007

All in all, an awesome day.

My car is fixed. I took it to Weesner's, the local garage in town, and the mechanic regretfully told me that I won't be able to get it in until the 18th. Since I can't drive it anywhere else, I agree, and go to drive it home, only to have it die completely in front of Dollar General, half a block away.

Just when all hope was lost, however, Boomhauer came out of Dollar General, helped me push the car into a parking lot, looked at the engine, and found the problem: a missing belt that powered the alternator and power steering. Then he offered to take me to buy a new belt, all the while talking very very fast in a strong hillbilly twang. We arrived at the part store, and lo and behold, his good friend Bill was working. Bill, not being a regular employee at the store, which apparently has no organizational system whatsoever, got lost while repeatedly asking what kind of car and engine the part was for. Then we found the belt, which cost $30. I pull out the debit card, and Bill informs me that he doesn't know how to work the card reader, so he needs cash. No problem, says Boomhauer, who then runs me to my bank to get the money. Along the way, I learn that Boomhauer's daughter worked at the Burger King that adjoins the Shell I worked at. We pay for the belt, tax free because Bill couldn't add up the tax, and then Boomhauer and I rush back to my car to install the belt.

Regrettably, the belt proved to be tough to install. Even after I went back to my apartment to get my deluxe tools, Boomhauer couldn't get it attached, and I was my usual automotively-useless self. So we hatched a plan: Boomhauer jumped my car, and we drove into Dublin to his friend Dale Gribbel's garage. After a long conference, Dale decided to take the tenser wheel out completely and burn the stuck bolt off. He then berates Boomhauer by saying "I can't believe you didn't think of that one." I keep mostly quiet. Dale then installs the belt with no further hassle, and no one accepts any payment. I pay them $20 anyway. I gave it to Boomhauer, who gave it to Dale.

So my car was fixed for the low, low price of $50, parts and labor, plus two hours of entertainment provided by some rather overfriendly blue collar types. But, since they fixed my car, please understand that my tone is respectful mocking, not to be confused with malicious mocking.

Now I'm doing my laundry, and it turns out that I forgot to put a couple of packets of parmesan cheese from a dinner at work into our condiment drawer so we have them when we need them. Instead, they stayed in my pants pocket, and as a result all of my jeans smell faintly of baked pasta.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of three movies to win all five major Academy Awards (Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay). Since I saw the play in college, I knew the story and knew what to expect, so I was mostly watching this one for the acting, which was stellar without exception.

Louise Fletcher's portrayal of Nurse Ratched, in particular, was amazing. According to the special features, the cast and crew were encouraged to spend most of their time getting to know the patients and staff at the hospital it was filmed at. Fletcher must have paid close attention. I recognized many of the tricks she used to manipulate the patients on her ward. For instance, taking a vote is always a surefire way to stop an upstart. On my unit at work, we have on patient who will say no to everything, another who will say yes to everything, one who always insists she's watching the show but cannot name a single thing that happened, and two more who will throw conniptions if they don't get to watch their programs but will leave the room until it's over. Staff can control any vote, and it's difficult for patients to argue with them.

I liked the play when I watched it in college. I watched it a little differently now that I've worked in a mental hospital myself.

Also, Jack Nicholson in The Departed isn't worthy to be Jack Nicholson in One...'s understudy.

Nothing left to do now but update the Board.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thoughts on Songs I Heard on My Mom's Van's Radio

"My Hands," Jewel: I heard this on the local Christmas station. They added a backup choir and some chimes, and all of a sudden, "My Hands" is a Christmas song, despite having no holiday themed content whatsoever. That move is so brilliant that I'm surprised most soft adult contemporary pop stars don't try similar hijinx.

"Here Comes Santa Claus": You know what's awesome about this song? Very little, BUT, the last line "Let's give thanks to the Lord above 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight!" is certainly awesome. If there's one thing I do not do enough of, it's thanking a being who may or may not exist that a fictional character who everyone above the age of 12 knows does not exist is coming tonight, even though he's not because he doesn't exist. That sounds like a productive use of my time, right there.

"Hey There Delilah," Plain White T's: I like this song, and probably would not make fun of it if I were in a better mood, but that line about how the singer will be making history, well, I'm just not seeing the world being set on fire by three chord acoustical guitar and a five note singing range.

That's Totally Messed Up, Dudes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Of course, I'm an excellent driver.

I got a late start to work today, and in an attempt to make up time in bad weather, lost control of my vehicle and ended up in a cornfield.

Then I got to pull myself out of the car and stomp through snow banks looking for someone with a phone. After three houses, I finally found someone who was home. It was a mean old lady who refused to open the door for me, even when I made the universal "I really need to make a phone call" hand signal. I was soaking wet, and it was freezing outside. Evil, evil woman.

Luckily, some friendly dudes were moving into another house a few houses down, and they called a tow truck for me, who succeeded in pulling me out of the cornfield. In the process, some dude didn't see us, didn't slow down in time, and ended up driving into the cornfield himself. I felt bad.

Now the poor car has electrical problems of the "no power steering or lights" variety. Not only that, but the radio isn't working, killing off at least 80% of my blog's content.

Obviously, my car might have made it TO work, but driving home in bad weather at 10:45 pm without any headlights seemed a task I was not up for, so I had to turn around and go home, where I epically failed to find a car to use to get back to work and had to burn my last, precious sick day. I'm going to have to dip into personal days now. Luckily, the timekeepers allowed me to reschedule the holiday that I was planning to use for something fun from my birthday to tomorrow so I can try to get my car fixed with my new paycheck, which was going to be the first paycheck in almost two months that I was going to be able to keep.

And that's the crushing part. I had made it. I had lived for two months in abject poverty, but had managed to cover the bills without bumming any money off of my parents, and now I was going to be able to do things again. Except my car needs to be fixed now, and the next paycheck is going to go toward rent and utilities. My hopes of having money are dashed before I can even pick up the paycheck. The fact that these wounds are all self-inflicted doesn't make me feel the least bit better. Argh.

The Bridge On the River Kwai

Movies about war frequently irritate me. A lot of them like to preach to the audience about how noble and selfless and courageous the soldiers are, and characterization is frequently one-sided: the noble Americans take on the evil Japanese, or Germans, or Vietnamese, or Russians, or what have you.

Thus, my expectations were not too high with The Bridge on the River Kwai. First, it's a war movie. Second, it was written in the fifties. Third, well, I don't have a third, but the fifties were pretty dang annoying, so it should count twice. My fears were pleasantly proven wrong.

TBOTRK works because it does not fall in the trap of painting good guys and bad guys, and every major character is portrayed sympathetically. About half an hour before the movie was over, it occurred to me that there was no possible ending available that I would like, because I felt invested enough in every character to care about what happened to them. Also, the message I took out of the movie was one about the inherent lunacy of war, and that the officers who run it are rather nuts and not heroes at all. This is one of only two possible messages that make for acceptable war movies, and I already watched "War is mind-breakingly terrible and utterly destroys everyone involved with it" in The Deer Hunter.

Finally, I'm not really old enough or enough of a classic movie buff to be familiar with the works of Alec Guinness outside of Obi Wan Kenobi. I made several hilarious jokes to myself early on involving Jedi Mind Tricks.

As for other complaints, the only female of note in the movie is Nurse Screws The Male Lead, so I could critique the utter lack of women in this one, but I'll give it a pass since it was made in 1957, when it was illegal for women to leave the house without the permission of their husbands. That's completely true. You can trust me; I was a history major.

So yes. Excellent movie. Well worth the buck I spent renting it. Time to update the Board.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Best Idea I've Had In Months

Oh man. Oh man.

It's rare that I have an idea that I like this much. And let me tell you, I like most of my ideas quite a bit.

I was reflecting on Casey's advice in the last non-YouTube post, about how maybe I should meet women outside of work. The trouble is that I don't actually belong to any organizations of any kind, and not being available from 2:30-10:45 every night sort of kills any interest one could have in joining one, so going places to meet women who I don't work with is tricky, since I'm not much of a clubber.

But then it occurred to me. The idea. The best idea I've had in months. I do, in fact, know a highly entertaining woman that I do not work with. I haven't spoken to her in about 20 months or so, but suffice to say that I'm planning on contacting her to see if she is available to hang out some time. My blog will become approximately one million times more awesome if this plan works, too. More than this I cannot say in case the plan falls through. If the plan works out, I'll make sure to write a post bringing everyone up to speed.

Stay tuned.

Monday Evening YouTube

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Some Very Random Observations

1. I had a dream last night. I dreamed the sanitation department came into my apartment and took all my garbage out. It was about the best dream ever. You can imagine my sadness when I awoke to find that there was still garbage in my apartment.

2. Prior to typing this post, I was idling away time by reading other blogs and clicking a click pen. Then I read the click pen, and it says "Minnesota State High School League" on it. I don't have the damndest idea where it came from or why I have it.

3. I watched The Departed tonight. Since I haven't seen any of the other nominees for 2006, I can't tell you if it should have won or not. The only post-Oscar hype I remember was, "Hey, Martin Scorsese finally won," so I guess there was no big controversy. I can tell you that DiCaprio was pretty good in it, Matt Damon was Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson was Jack Nicholson, and the plot and dialogue were good enough to suck me in for the whole two and a half hours. I can also tell you that acting-wise, the supporting triumvirate of Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and Mark Wahlberg were superb.

As far as how good it was, it regrettably had the misfortune of following The Deer Hunter, a movie which left me with a severe case of second-hand post-traumatic stress disorder. The Departed was not quite that powerful, you could say.

Finally, if there was ever a movie that did not pass Bechdel's Rule, this is it. I think the only female character had all of 20 lines, all of which were said to either DiCaprio or Damon, and got credited below Mark Wahlberg. At any rate, time to strike it off the Big Board, and plan my next move.

4. Just as an indication to how not awesome my week was, up until today I considered the highlight working with Paula Who Stood Me Up A Few Months Back on Tuesday and keeping enough dignity to not ask her out despite her heavy flirting with me. Then today, I got asked out by a different coworker, and said yes, because I desperately need people to hang out with.

5. I think my life would only improve if I could somehow take it upon myself to stop going on dates with coworkers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Other people have said it better than me.

"If I had my way, I'd shuffle off to Buffalo, sit by the lake, and watch the world go by."

"For reasons I cannot explain there's some part of me that wants to see Graceland."

"It's not hard, not far to reach. We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach."

"And all of it is yours and mine, so let's ride and ride and ride and ride and ride."

"Hitching on a twilight train. Ain't nothing here that I care to take along."

"Working on a mystery, going wherever it leads, running down a dream."

"I'd love to stick around but I'm running behind. You know, I don't even know what I'm hoping to find."

"Everybody needs a place to stay to work on all their schemes and scams. If I could get my record clean, I'd be a genius."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In a world where movies win awards, One Man must see them all...

Confession: I have a hidden resistance to watching good movies. They are frequently depressing. Or boring. Or shocking. Or something else. Good movies tend to make you feel things. Or think about things. I usually find it much more enjoyable, and comforting, to watch a rather silly flick and make sarcastic comments about it. Or, even better, make all kinds of pompous and pretentious claims about the 'symbolism' found within it as if it were some weirdo arthouse show. There's no real downside to well made cheesy movies. For example, I can watch Steven Seagal save the environment by beating the crap out of ugly mulleted dudes and enjoy it on face value for an hour, and then the rest of my days I can laugh at the inherent goofiness of the movie and enjoy watching it again in search of more goofy stuff to pick out.

Also, it turns out that I probably have terrible taste in movies. If I get bored in the near future, which is a distinct possibility since I talked myself out of asking out Paula at work today, I might blog just exactly how bad my taste is. For now, just know that I just clicked through the 100 worst reviewed movies on Rotten Tomatoes, and frequently found myself saying, "Come on, that one wasn't bad. It had plenty of entertainment value."

Lately, though, I've been passing up the Frankenfishes and Stay Alives of the world and been grabbing your critically acclaimed types instead. I think Rain Man caused the change, mainly because this is probably about the fifth time I've mentioned it in the past three months. Maybe, I thought, I should give these Oscar nominee type movies a shot. Perhaps I enjoy good movies more than I think I do.

And so began one man's quest to watch all of the Best Picture winners. Let's pull up the Big List (ones I've seen are in bold):

2006 The Departed*
2005 Crash*
2004 Million Dollar Baby*
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2002 Chicago
2001 A Beautiful Mind*
2000 Gladiator
1999 American Beauty
1998 Shakespeare in Love
1997 Titanic

1996 The English Patient
1995 Braveheart
1994 Forrest Gump
1993 Schindler's List

1992 Unforgiven*
1991 Silence of the Lambs
1990 Dances with Wolves
1989 Driving Miss Daisy
1988 Rain Man*
1987 The Last Emperor
1986 Platoon*
1985 Out of Africa
1984 Amadeus
1983 Terms of Endearment
1982 Gandhi
1981 Chariots of Fire
1980 Ordinary People
1979 Kramer Vs. Kramer
1978 The Deer Hunter*
1977 Annie Hall
1976 Rocky
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest*
1974 The Godfather Part II*
1973 The Sting*
1972 The Godfather*
1971 The French Connection
1970 Patton
1969 Midnight Cowboy
1968 Oliver!
1967 In the Heat of the Night*
1966 A Man for All Seasons
1965 The Sound of Music
1964 My Fair Lady

1963 Tom Jones
1962 Lawrence of Arabia*
1961 West Side Story
1960 The Apartment
1959 Ben-Hur
1958 Gigi
1957 The Bridge on the River Kwai*
1956 Around the World in 80 Days
1955 Marty
1954 On the Waterfront
1953 From Here to Eternity
1952 The Greatest Show on Earth
1951 An American in Paris
1950 All About Eve
1949 All the King's Men
1948 Hamlet
1947 Gentleman's Agreement
1946 The Best Years of Our Lives
1945 The Lost Weekend
1944 Going My Way
1943 Casablanca
1942 Mrs. Miniver
1941 How Green Was My Valley
1940 Rebecca
1939 Gone With the Wind
1938 You Can't Take It With You
1937 The Life of Emile Zola
1936 The Great Ziegfeld
1935 Mutiny on the Bounty
1934 It Happened One Night
1933 Cavalcade
1932 Grand Hotel
1931 Cimarron
1930 All Quiet on the Western Front
1929 The Broadway Melody
1928 Sunrise
1927 Wings

Total: 32/80
*watched since Sept. 07
(Also note that this is a good opportunity to make "Oh my God you've never seen Gone With the Wind?" type comments.)

When the Academy Got It Wrong (also to be updated as I see more also-rans):

1999, American Beauty over The Iron Giant. The Iron Giant is as good as any movie on this list. It's considerably better than Shakespeare in Love, and Gladiator doesn't even come within shooting distance of it. I just say this to point out that if it had been released a little earlier or a little later, I wouldn't have to feel bad about ousting my favorite Kevin Spacey movie, and one of the few movies on this list that could give The Iron Giant a run for its money, from the list. Luckily for American Beauty, The Iron Giant is animated, and is therefore only for kids and can never, ever be taken seriously by anyone else.

1990, Dances With Wolves over Awakenings. Nothing against DWW, but Awakenings was just better. Also, for those keeping score at home, this makes two movies involving Vin Diesel that got jobbed out of an Oscar, and unlike most people I don't even count Saving Private Ryan.

1981, Chariots of Fire over Raiders of the Lost Ark. I base this on the fact that all of the Indiana Jones movies are fun to quote, and the only thing I've ever quoted from Chariots of Fire is the theme. Plus, Chariots of Fire is a movie about Olympic runners that somehow manages to be slow.

1976, Rocky over Network. I risk losing my share of the inheritance over this, but Rocky is one overrated movie. Underdog nobody boxer stands up to arrogant image-conscious champ. Well-made, inspiring, cool soundtrack, great movie all around, but pretty standard plot. Network, meanwhile, is witty, cool, and prescient in all its superbly acted lunacy.

1964, My Fair Lady over Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. As a rule, I don't make these decisions unless I've seen both movies, but God I hate My Fair Lady. I've never seen Dr. Strangelove, but the title alone is more interesting and better written than anything in My Fair Lady. The Musical Era is going to be tough to endure, I think.

As I see more, I'll update my list, and then maybe write a review of it or something.

Last movie: Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Next movie: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thoughts on Songs I Heard On the Radio, Christmas Edition

"Santa Claus is Coming To Town," Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: I like Bruce Springsteen well enough, but, I don't think there's hope for this song, no matter who sings it. It's designed for four year olds to sing, and I think it should be left to its target audience.

"All I Want For Christmas Is You," Mariah Carey: This has to be the most played Christmas song. I heard it twice yesterday. And as much as I would like to make fun of Mariah Carey, I can't really find much about this song I don't like. I like the full-sounding instrumentation with the ambient bells, I like the use of the back-up singers, I like Mariah eschewing the crazy diva soprano lines in favor of a simple, catchy melody line, and I like the simple, straight-forward lyrics. It's not my favorite Christmas song, but it's upbeat and innocuous, so it can stay in the Christmas canon, as far as I'm concerned.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra: I'm not sure if the TSO names their songs. The radio never tells me. I have yet to hear a song that does not make me think, "And here's another track from that beloved holiday favorite, Jim Steinman Saves Christmas." Actually, that sounds like a good idea for a Christmas special. Jeff Lynne can play his eccentric, goofy sidekick. Together, they can use the power of bombastic, over-synthesized rock to raise enough money to stop the orphanage from closing. Or rouse Santa from his post-Thanksgiving food-induced slumber in time to deliver the presents to the children of the world. Or melt the heart of closed-minded cynic who has forgotten what Christmas is all about. Really, the script writes itself from this point. Pity the WGA is on strike, otherwise I'm sure they'd jump on this idea.

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid: Meanwhile, a group of baritone pop stars banding together to end world hunger with music is a siren song I can't resist. I heard that on my way to Meijer on my break, and had to buy one of their $10 sacks of food to be donated to the food pantry that they have every Christmas, even though I don't have the money to feed myself right now, let alone the world. Then I came back to work and was still singing it, and got in a fight with my coworker Kelli. It went something like this:

Andy: Feed...the...WORLD...
Kelli: God no. No.
Andy: What?
Kelli: I hate that song. Worst Christmas song ever.
Andy: what?? What???
Kelli: That song---
Andy: "Christmas Shoes" is the worst Christmas song ever.
Client: Let them know it's Christmastime!
Andy: Yes. See? That song is awesome.
Kelli: No. It's lame and cheesy.
Andy: No, it's about saving lives.
Kelli: It's still stupid.
Andy: But there won't be snow this Christmastime in Africa.
Kelli: I don't care.
Andy: Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you.
Client: Feed... the... WORLD!
Kelli: Dear God. Are you happy now Andy?
Andy: Let them know it's Christmastime!

Which brings us to today's YouTube.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

So I haven't gotten around to working any overtime yet. Last night my brother was in town and wanted to hang out, and I am not in the habit of passing up opportunities to chill with Aaron. So I came home and played video games. A good time was had by all.

Tonight there was no OT available, so I'm home again.

At work today, a coworker brought in some Christmas specials, and our clients had a good time sitting around watching them. I requested "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" because I love stop-motion animation and it's an old favorite. Now that I've watched it through the eyes of an adult, I find it a lot more disturbing. First, there's Fireball the Reindeer. He wants to be Rudolph's friend until he sees he has a bright red nose, and then decides to lead the other reindeers in teasing and taunting him. I had forgotten about him, but as soon as I saw him, I knew he had to be an evil jerk, because he has gratuitous blond hair on top of his fur. Remember Andy's Rule of Hair: Assume any blond-haired male in a movie is a villain until proven otherwise.

Then there's Santa. I'm not sure there's a bigger jerk in the history of film. When I'm being exceptionally assholish in an over-the-top kind of way for the amusement of all around me, I'm still not as mean as Santa is in this movie. This is hardly the only instance, but it is probably the most heartless: After Clarice tells Rudolph she thinks he's cute at the reindeer games, he gets all excited and has a perfect take off and flies around a bit. He lands beside Fireball, and they celebrate by horseplaying, and his false nose falls off and everyone is shocked by how bright red his nose is. Santa comes up to Donner (Rudolph's dad), and says, "Donner, you should be ashamed. And he had such a good takeoff, too." This is exactly one scene after he tells the elves that he hates their singing. When the lion who rules the Island of Misfit Toys tells Rudolph he wants Santa to find homes for the misfit toys, I half expected Santa to jump out and say, "Fools! I personally instructed the elves to screw these toys up so they'd live out their days in misery exiled in an Arctic wasteland. Muahahahaha!" When he picks them up in the end, if you listen closely, you can hear Santa say, "We can give this garbage to those worthless crybabies at the orphange." Seriously, Santa is a dick.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

That reminds me...

If anyone wants to buy me the perfect Christmas gift, I would really like a fountain drink machine installed in my kitchen. And if I could take it with me in the outside chance that I ever decide to leave this apartment, that'd be nice too. A portable fountain drink machine. Yes. That will do.

Just When Mark Trail Was Getting Even Awesomer

My millions of readers.

I apologize for sucking in the near future. You see, my bank account yesterday was sitting pretty at negative $43. Today I got paid, but this paycheck was for the rent, and I basically have almost enough money left to buy gas to get to and from work.

Normally, at times such as these, I'd turn to blogging because it's cheap entertainment for me. However, this time, I'm a little bit too broke, and I'm going to need to turn some overtime, quickly. I could be working for the next 10 days straight, pulling double-shifts 2 out of three times. I'm afraid it might be necessary after the $1000+ of unforeseen expenses killed all of my savings and the last couple paychecks. And my soul via proxy. I find few things as soul-killing as working overtime, and I try to avoid it at all costs.

Seriously, I'm so broke at this point that I'm beginning to twitch as I realize I'm not going to be able to buy pop for the next two weeks. And I buy the $2 Meijer variety. My backup plan is to flirt my way to free fountain pop from the cute chicks at Hardee's who flirt with me. I'm thinking they might just take good looks there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Curious Link Between My Blog and Mark Trail

One of the recurring topics of this blog is Jack Elrod's awesome serial newspaper comic, Mark Trail. For those unfamiliar, the comic revolves around a freelance reporter who works for various outdoorsman magazines. Your typical plotline will involve Mark investigating his new story, uncovering some unspeakable crime against nature, discover the perpetrator of the heinous crime, usually a man with an evil looking mustache and/or mullet, and punch him in the face. If you've ever seen Fire Down Below, you'll know the basic story.

8/16: Mark Trail wraps up the extremely awesome and gripping political drama that was the bird strike storyline. An intriguing new plotline is introduced, involving a shopping center being built at the edge of Lost Forest. I get tantalizing visions of Mark Trail punching the crap out of a construction crew to protect the Lost Forest wildlife preserve.

8/28: In two short weeks, it's obvious that the Shopping Center story is going to be about a depressed construction foreman named Homer who decides to dedicate his life to protecting a duck and her eggs that would be destroyed in the construction. He names the duck after his ex-wife, Shirley. It gets really, really boring really fast. Also, I lose interest in blogging.

9/22: For reasons no one realizes, the duck story refuses to end, despite the fact it has already appeared like it is about to wrap up a couple times. The internet has neither seen nor heard of me in nearly a month.

10/28: The extremely boring and horrible epic of Shirley the Duck finally, finally comes to an end.

10/29: The new storyline appears to involve a French-looking hillbilly named Johnny Malotte and his gigantic family. And by "Gigantic family," I mean "wife and 6 kids," which is the same size as my family. They apparently have to entertain two businessmen.

10/30: I laugh heartily to myself when Malotte tells his oldest son, Paul, "If they like our camp, maybe we can get a lot of business, and you can go to college." "Great!" comes the reply.

10/31: Paul Malotte is in danger of being run over by a boat. Also, I start blogging again.

11/10: After hearing that a competitor swamped his son's boat and stole his customers, Johnny Malotte begins speaking in BOLD PRINT CAPITAL LETTERS, grabs a gun, and jumps in his boat to confront his rival. My posting increases in frequency.

11/17: After a week of fisticuffs, bold print, and goofy dialogue, a strangely-attired Mountie/Park Ranger/Highway Patrolman breaks up the fight by saying, "I don't object to a little brawling, but you two hotheads are getting out of control." Needless to say, I'm back to blogging full time.

UPDATE: And today, there's a sniper waiting for Johnny in the shadows! I tell you, this is looking to be the most awesome Mark Trail storyline ever, and Mark hasn't even entered the plot yet.

Wasn't yesterday Monday?

And once upon a time in these parts, that meant a YouTube video was posted. I'd like to thank the fine administration of Richmond State Hospital for giving me the opportunity to watch this one. I have adopted it as my pet cause, and spread the truth to everyone.

In fact, I'll start a review of all my favorite parts in comments. I'm sure you'll all have several as well.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thoughts on Songs I Heard On The Radio Today

"Don't Stop Believing," Journey: I swear this song haunts me. Anytime I'm in a bad mood, suddenly Journey appears on my radio, as if to add insult to injury. I know this song was meant to be uplifting or something, but Lord does it suck. Plus, I end up singing random snippets of it for a couple hours. I am 98% sure this song will somehow be the last thing I hear in my life.

"Come and Get It," Badfinger: I have no idea why this is considered an acceptable rock song. Yes, it's catchy. Yes, it's easy to sing along to. But it lacks elements like verses, or a bridge, or cool solos, or interesting guitar riffs, or cool instrumentation, or really anything outside of "If you want it, here it is, come and get it." Did Paul McCartney just write this on a napkin, throw it in his suit pocket, forget about it for a couple years, then just give it to Badfinger so they'd have something to sing? I cannot think of a single other song that has no verses whatsoever.

"Angie," The Rolling Stones: Have I mentioned this song in this occasional feature before? Seems like I have. I love the poignant interplay between the violin and the piano in this one enough to make me consider starting a rock band with just a piano and a violin. But the thing I really love is Mick Jagger's singing in it, because it's so loose and not concerned with being exactly on pitch that I can sing along with it even though it's probably way out of my normal range and still sound good.

"The House of the Rising Sun," The Animals: The Animals, on the other hand, believe in singing at the very edge of my normal range perfectly on pitch, which usually means I sound terrible for a couple beats when I sing along with it. This makes me sad, because I really like this song and I want to sing along with it but hate sounding terrible. The discomfort this situation causes always makes me want to change the station, but I stay for the cool organ solo. I'm a sucker for cool organ solos.

"Sultans of Swing," Dire Straits: Dire Straits, meanwhile, somehow made a music career out of nonchalantly breathing four notes for three and a half minutes backed by catchy guitar riffs. I'm pretty sure tone deaf toddlers could handle Dire Straits' vocals with minimal difficulty. I like the groovin' guitar solo in the middle of this one. I suppose the lesson here is that decent lyrics, catchy guitar riffs, and groovin' solos can mask ridiculously simple vocals, because I never noticed them until I sang along with it after struggling mightily with The Animals.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Somebody needs a vacation

First, sinuses... sini... whatever you call yourselves, I'm sick of you. Because you always make me sick. I'm not sure what you're supposed to do, what vital part you play in the mystery of human anatomy. I like to think that you're probably part of the immune system, and it's your job to make sure I don't get sick. Well, news for you, sinuses, you suck at it. Damn you and all the gallons of day-glo green snot you produce.

Second, car, why do you continue to irritate me? It wasn't cool when the vacuum that prevents the engine from sucking all the gasoline straight into the engine when I press on the pedal broke. It wasn't cool when heating knob broke, preventing me from doing anything but defrosting my windshield. It wasn't cool when the tire spontaneously developed a hole. Previously, it was not cool the front headlight literally flew off the car, and it wasn't cool when the tie rod decided to snap. It was sort of cool when you ran over that ladder, but that's not cool enough to redeem you. Gyah.

Third, health insurance, why do you not cover any of the prescriptions I want to buy? Wait, that's because I selected "Healthy young single male insurance." I'll give you a pass.

Fourth, JJ, why do you continue to puke on my floor right in the doorway where I absolutely have to walk, usually without shoes on? And why did you knock my cough syrup under that damnable bike in my apartment, where I wouldn't find it this morning? Why do you spend all night meowing at a wall? And what in the name of all things holy did you do with my glasses?

Fifth, Cute Chick That Works At Meijer on Night Shift, why do you look the other way anytime I'm walking toward you? You are supposed to smile and flirt shamelessly with me, which will no doubt make me uncomfortable and all stammery. Please correct this in the future.

All right. I'm not all gripes; no, I'm all for solutions. Here are my solutions.

1. Sinusectomy.
Pros: Sinuses will never be infected again.
Cons: Probably not covered by worthless insurance (see solution 3).

2. Give the car to charity, buy a scooter.
Pros: Better gas mileage, at least as much climate control.
Cons: Difficult to pick up groceries. Or chicks.

3. Move to Sweden.
Pros: Fish! Meatballs! Chefs! Bikini Teams! The lovely lakes. The wonderful telephone system. Many interesting furry animals. And the Majestic Moose!
Cons: A moose once bit my sister. No really, she was carving her initials on the moose with the sharpened end of an interspace toothbrush given to her by Svenge, her brother-in-law, an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian movies: "The Hot Hands of an Oslo Dentist," "Fillings of Passion," and "The Huge Molars of Horst Nordfink." Mind you, moose bites can be pretty nasty.

4. Squirt guns. Lots of friggin' squirt guns.
Pros: Cheap.
Cons: Since I'm not around when he does it, it'll seem like random meanness instead of legitimate punishment.

5. Actually go up and talk to her.
Pros: I would get noticed.
Cons: I would get noticed.


5. Flirt with the cute girls who work at Hardees instead.
Pros: They usually flirt with me first. There is two of them.
Cons: It's probably because I'm the only customer who isn't a smelly 55 year old obese trucker. Also, I can't afford to eat at Hardee's regularly.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Most Annoying Feeling Ever and Other News

There are a great many things in this world that make me feel stupid and frustrated, but I think the most annoying of them would have to be losing my glasses.

First, my glasses are probably number three on my important things to never lose list, behind my wallet and my keys. I should always, always know exactly where my glasses are.

Second, I don't really have a lot of places where I could leave my glasses. I either take them off on my computer desk before heading to brush my teeth, in my bathroom after brushing my teeth before heading to bed, or on my bedside stand before falling asleep. When they do not seem to be in any of these places, my mind just shuts off and I end up looking everywhere imaginable, throwing all logic and reason out the window. Was I watching a movie or playing XBox before I went to bed? Maybe the TV is the right place. Did I get a snack before going to bed? Check the pantry. What about the piano? Maybe I was practicing. Check there. Did I take them to work and leave them in the car? It's possible. Check the car.

Third, and this is the most frustrating thing, I know exactly where the last place I had them was. They were on the roll of toilet paper on my bathroom sink. They're not there now.

Fourth, I'm sick, and any time my head is positioned somewhere other than directly above my neck and shoulders, I get a horrible pounding headache. This makes getting on the floor and looking for my glasses a literal headache that I just don't want to experience right now.

Bah. If anyone finds my glasses, could you let me know? They could be anywhere at this point.

Other news: I went to the doctor and got charged a good million dollars for my prescriptions. My deductible is higher than I could ever fill in a year. Oh, I went to the doctor because I have a sinus infection from hell combined with a touch of bronchitis. This has resulted in my sneezing and coughing continuously. On the plus side, I put on a clinic on how to properly sneeze and cough for my coworkers on Thursday. On the downside, I had to use my last sick day until December 2, so I could be in a spot. Also on the plus side, depsite the fact that my prescriptions cost a buttload of money, they seem to be working, so the next time I have a sinus infection, I'll have the Nasonex at the ready.

Also on the downside, I'm going to be broke until my next paycheck, which is pretty much already spent on bills. Having no money for a month is probably not a feasible option, so I now I'm going to have to, horrors, work overtime.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

You know what sucks? Having problems, that's what. It's such a total drag that my personality and behaviors have been aligned so as to avoid ever having any problems at all. Because they suck.

You know what else sucks? Having problems that are totally not as important as everyone else's. My problems are so not serious that I feel guilty even complaining about them. It'd be like me going up to a leukemia victim and saying, "Yeah, that cancer business is probably rough, but I've got some serious respiratory issues too. I've got this zit right under my right nostril that is constantly agitating my nose and making me sneeze frequently. It's pretty rough."

But anyways. Here's my list of stuff that's bumming me out:

I'm not sorta kinda dating Rachel anymore, and that makes me sad in a very, very selfish and personal sort of way.

- Also I am exceptionally awful at meeting women, so it doesn't appear that I'll be dating anyone anytime soon.

-- Well, ok, my mom has been trying to introduce me to a new teacher at the elementary she thinks I'd like. According to Mom, "She's blonde... and she's tall. Those are good things."

--- However, if she teaches during the day, and I attend psychiatrically during the evenings, that leaves approximately half an hour a day that I might be able to talk to her. I am not optimistic.

---- I cancelled my subscription to Yahoo! Personals after it insisted for months that no one within 50 miles was interested in dating me.

----- Moving on.

My car is falling apart, one light and knob at a time. My passenger tire randomly went flat.

- I have no spare.

-- My car's vacuum is also not working properly, I'm told.

--- I've been dead broke up until today, and next paycheck is already earmarked for bills, so my hopes of having money in the bank for a couple of weeks have been absolutely shot.

All of my friends, Rachel included, are going through way worse stuff than this right now. Worse, only two of them seem vaguely concerned or aware that I'm having problems.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Remember my blog?

It was pretty cool. I want to come back to it. I think I'll work my way slowly.

Where to start? BerryBird tagged me with a meme. It involves posting my desktop. My desktop is not the slightest bit cool. I need to cool it up a little before I participate.

A research study was done that showed that of all segments of the workforce, direct care staff at mental institutions and nursing homes are the most likely to suffer from depression. You know what's hard? Seeing your coworkers being depressed and feeling useless. You know what's harder? Actually taking care of people while you're depressed.

What else we got here? I'm sort of kind of dating someone now. It's my coworker Rachel. She was dating someone else when she started working at the hospital, who is also employed at the hospital, which has made for several uncomfortable moments. Also, the other interested party was perusing my blog for awhile, looking for dirt to dig up on me. Most people, it turns out, publish all their dirty laundry on the internets for the whole world to read. When I told Jeff this, he said, "What was he going to find out? Your new awesome method for ranking your favorite bands?" I told Jeff to shut up. This was another reason I didn't care to recount my life adventures for awhile. I felt it would keep some wounds open a little too long, and I don't particularly enjoy hurting people. In fact, I don't enjoy hurting people at all. Ever, really.

But, Rachel has a daughter, which means when I'm sort of kind of casually seeing her, we have to be at her house, which means we mostly watch movies, and since Rachel has a soft spot for low-budget B movies that went direct to DVD, I get to see quite the eclectic mix. I've watched a few zillion movies over the past couple of months. I could easily turn this into "Andy Comments on Movies, Both Silly and Serious." Here are a few vignettes:

A Beautiful Mind: Dad recommended this. I really enjoyed it, which surprised me, as it stars Russell Crowe. However, it's about a subject near and dear to me, so I got into it.

Cheerleader Ninjas: You know, I don't ask for a lot in movies. They don't need to be smart, or particularly funny, or even good. They just need to entertain me for at least an hour if its your typical 90 minute movie. You'd think a movie called Cheerleader Ninjas could accomplish this meager task. After all, how hard could it be to make Cheerleader Ninjas. You take cheerleaders, give them katanas, send them on a mission, and zany sexy hijinx ensue. None of that happens in this movie. For that matter, nothing happens in this movie. At least, nothing that makes a damn bit of sense. The cheerleaders aren't even frickin' ninjas, for pete's sake. The movie ends up being one long in 'joke' about how bad and stupid the movie is. Gyah. I can't even write how bad this was. All I wanted was some cheerleader ninjas.

Frankenfish: On the other side of the low-budget coin we have this gem. Do we have giant, man-eating mutated fish? Why yes, we do. Do we have a creepy locale for these fish to hunt near helpless humans? But of course. Do we have easily recognizable character archetypes, allowing astute observers to try to predict order of death? We certainly do. Were the deaths gruesome, yet memorable and creative? You know it. Was there at least one decent actor in the cast? Actually, yes there was. Was there at least one absolutely terrible actor? Yes, but she was hot, so we forgave her. See, Cheerleader Ninjas people? This movie making stuff isn't so complex after all. Frankenfish even managed to work gratuitous nudity into the plot more smoothly than Cheerleader Ninjas, and there was nary a cheerleader in sight for the entire course of the plot. All of these pluses let me forgive the fact that the ending was a bit rushed and anti-climactic. Oh well.

Rain Man: When I tell people I saw Rain Man for the first time a couple weeks ago, they look at me like I'm crazy. I think it might be in contention for my favorite ever, up there with O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Benny and Joon, which is surprising since it co-stars Tom Cruise. You know what my favorite line is? "Definitely trapped... in some sort of box... with no tv... and 10 minutes 'til Wapner." It's followed up by "They're making legal history in there, Ray, and you're missing it. LEGAL HISTORY!"

In other Dustin Hoffman-related news, I saw The Graduate for the first time ever, and the ending of Wayne's World 2 is suddenly much more entertaining.

Ok, that'll do for now. I'll try to keep up a little better now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

How Did I Not Know About This?

So considering video games and rock n roll music are two of my all-time favorite things, with ironic mocking sarcarsm coming in at a close third, how did I not know that Journey had its own terrible arcade game in the early '80s? Apparently, it was conceived to be released at the same time that their American tour was happening in 1983. You control the five members of the band as they fly through the galaxy in a spaceship, traveling to different planets to recover their lost instruments. Then you play a concert while an actual tape deck in the machine plays "Separate Ways". Working machines are very hard to find.

Here's an action-packed clip, because I don't think I would've believed this without proof.

You'll notice that once Steve Perry recovers his microphone, it turns into a high powered auto-cannon.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Question On Everyone's Mind

"Andy, if you met a space alien visiting Earth and he wanted to know what Rock 'n' Roll was, who would you instruct him to listen to?"

Glad you all asked. You certainly would not send him toward ELO, what with the uncommon emphasis on the strings. You wouldn't tell him to listen to The Beatles, either. At the beginning, they have too much of a stripped down pop sound, and towards the end, they venture too far into arcane psychedelia to be considered representative. Warren Zevon is too weird. Elton John is too piano-centric and soft. Journey is too ridiculous.

Instead I'd point him in the direction of Jackson Brown. I'm not familiar with the entire Jackson Brown canon; in fact, my knowledge is pretty much limited to his cover of "Stay", "Runnin' on Empty", and "The Pretender," but I feel pretty comfortable recommending him. See, when you listen to Jackson Brown, the piano does exactly what you'd expect in a rock and roll song. The guitar follows suit. The vocal line doesn't try anything too daring and relies on the singer's warm low baritone to fill out the sound. Some simple but entertaining solos might pop up here and there. The tempo stays at a fair, mid-tempo clip. The lyrics are thoughtful without being shocking or relying too heavily on dumb cliches. The female back-up singers come in at appropriate times and sing the expected words.

In short, the song never deviates from the formula. It sounds exactly as you'd expect a rock and roll song to sound. Not that this is a bad thing; just an example of beauty found within the form.

Anyone have a different suggestion?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Remember when I used to have a blog?

Well, now I have something that I've heard of, but never experienced firsthand. It's called a "social life." Apparently, it involves having people known as "friends" who invite you over to "hang out."

And it's the bane of bloggers everywhere. I hang out with people all night, then come home and sleep all morning, then get up in the afternoon and work. I used to be a bloging wunderkind, but these friends have turned me into just another person with better things to do than write dumb crap on the internets. Like talking about dumb crap with my friends.

So, posts might be a bit more sporadic in the near future. Until this new-fangled friendship thing loses some of its luster.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Original Favorite Band

The year was 1990. I was in second grade. The world was in love again. We were marching hand in hand. The ocean levels were rising up. Then there was a brand new record: They Might Be Giants' brand new album, Flood.

And my sister Jessica bought it, and played it for me for some reason. I'm not sure if she ever got to listen to it again, because I remember playing it for myself, pulling out the tape liner notes, reading the lyrics, and wondering what the crap they meant. Little did I realize that even if I knew what the actual words meant, I still would be fairly clueless about the song's true meaning. Nonetheless, I pressed on, and soon I became the only second grader to know what an Argonaut was.

Flood supposedly hasn't gone platinum, but I find this difficult to believe, considering I have bought 4 copies of it over the years, as copies got lost, destroyed, or never returned. The last part didn't bother me; how could I begrudge someone for liking They Might Be Giants so much that they never could bring themselves to return it?

My interest in TMBG would wax and wane, but every couple of years I come back to them and find them just as awesome as they were when I left them. In high school, I expanded my collection to Apollo 18, Factory Showroom, and John Henry. I'm certain I bought their debut album too, but it has been lost. I bought A User's Guide and The Spine when they were released. When my nephew Simon, Jess's son, turned three, I bought him the DVD version of Here Comes the ABCs. I pointed out a conifer to him last Labor Day, and he was able to sing "C is for Conifers" to me, although he said that he didn't like it, he liked Pirates of the Berry Bean, but mom always makes him watch ABCs.

Now, They Might Be Giants has a new album out. It's called The Else. How did this happen without me knowing about it? I must be off my game.

I nearly purchased it, but then I realized the time commitment required to buy a They Might Be Giants CD. Odds are good that I haven't heard any of the songs from it. It takes hours and hours and hours of listening to fully absorb it, to entangle one's self in the lyrics and work one's way out, to catch all the subtle instrumental effects. I bought Factory Showroom at the same time I bought John Henry, and never put the time in that it required until I started working at Shell, seven years later, when I bought The Spine. Instead, I'm going to spend a couple weeks listening to all their CDs again, and probably insert their lyrics in everyday conversation to subtly show how awesome I am.

They also have a really cool wiki that I'm going to read, Every song they released is rated and ranked by users. I correctly guessed the consensual favorite. My personal favorite is surprisingly ranked #2.

Friday, August 24, 2007



Description: Ash 2001 Indiana Key Club Convention shirt. Slogan is Channel Surfing for Service. I was too tired to get a decent picture of it.

Origin: This was after I left Key Club due to graduation, but my sister was the Governor, so I went to the convention to hear her speech, I think. Either that, or it was Aaron's.

Decision: This one can go.


Description: Dark blue, with light blue collar. No picture.

Origin: Presumably a Birthmas gift.

Decision: I wore this to work one day and immediately a patient realized that he was wearing the exact same shirt. Lots of hilarious jokes were made at my expense. That bit of serendipity is enough to get me to keep it.


Description: Wabash College Blood Tour 2001

Origin: There was a blood drive.

Decision: Probable keeper. I like my blood drive shirts, plus it also has Wally Wabash, who does not look anything like Purdue Pete, on it, which is a plus.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I should've mentioned this a couple days ago

SuperBad is awesome. Really really funny. I laughed very loudly. Everyone else in the theater, which was nearly full, did too.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Dental Hygiene Tag has been neglected for too long

So I have purchased a new kind of toothpaste after spending a few tubes in the safety and comfort of Tarter Control Crest Whitening. However, this new product was such a high achievement of marketing that I couldn't resist trying it out.

It is Crest Whitening Expressions Extreme Herbal Mint, a new flavor in the same product line as the aforementioned Lemon Ice toothpaste I bought. It came in some really slick packaging, green and sparkly, with those cool mirror prismatic effects going on. The box even had a scratch and sniff sticker on it, just like the lemon kind, to let me know exactly what the stuff smelled like. As I said in the last post, if there's a person who can resist scratch and sniff stickers, I haven't met them.

Anyways, this is one of the best named toothpastes I've ever heard of. First, we have "Crest Whitening." Trusted brand name plus whitening. I am the type of person who will not buy toothpaste that does not call itself 'whitening.' One of the main benefits of having good dental hygiene is that you don't look like a gross yellow mess when you smile, and while I'm pretty sure adding "whitening" to a toothpaste box does not require approval from the FDA, it still makes me feel good, so I need it. Next, "Expressions." Now we've entered unheard of new territory for toothpaste. I'm no longer just brushing my teeth, see, I'm now expressing myself. And what exactly does my toothpaste say about me? Let's finish it out: "Extreme Herbal Mint." I am extreme. I certainly do not compromise when it comes to plaque, no sir. But, the "Herbal Mint" says I'm concerned about what goes into my body, and about the environment. No toxic, synthetic, factory mass produced mint for me. Just the regular herbal kind. It's like brushing my teeth with leaves. And, uh, not to bely my botanical ignorance or anything, but, mint is an herb by definition, right?

However, I still was not convinced I should try this kind. It was only after a moment's reflection that I decided to try it, when I realized that Proctor and Gamble's marketing stooges put all of this effort in an attempt to make me think that mint flavored toothpaste was a radical new concept. Job well done, everyone.

Today's Shirt

Description: "Tulsa Hurricane Futball Club" Soccer jersey

Origin: Purchased at a thrift store next to our motel in Tulsa on the Glee Club Trip to Hell. It was $2. I got a good deal.

Decision: I really love everything about this shirt. The internets have told me that the Golden Hurricane is the mascot for the University of Tulsa, a city known solely for its devastating hurricanes. I admit to being confused by the singular form of the nickname (Does the entire team make up one hurricane? How do you refer to individual players? Winds, maybe?), while the totally made up word "Futball," which I like to pronounce "Fuhht Ball," is such delightful Spanglish that I laugh a little every time I see it. However, without looking closely, it looks like I'm just wearing a soccer jersey, and soccer jerseys just make me feel about 60% cooler. Plus, I'm lucky number 7. If only I had a cool nickname on the back, this shirt would be absolutely perfect. You could say this is a keeper, I guess.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Today's Shirt

Description: Indianapolis Colts shirt.

Origin: I think it's a rule that when your favorite team goes to the Super Bowl, you have to buy one of their shirts. Plus, when you consider that God Himself guided the Colts there, not buying it is tantamount to sacrilege.

Decision: I don't own any other Colts shirts, so I guess this will be the one.

Monday Night YouTube

I feel as if I'm in sort of a mini-funk. I lost all my momentum when my computer went down, and then I got stood up, which doesn't help matters at all. So, here's a video that'll cheer me up.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

This weekend's Shirt

Description: Red Glee Club, with city names and dates on the back.

Origin: I got one of these every year before going on Glee Club tour. Although I didn't actually make it to this one because I had a class trip to Central America that spring break.

Decision: Even though I didn't actually go on this one, this is a keep, because it's the best looking out of the 4.

Oh, and I've been crashing with Jeff for the past couple of days, hence the lack of shirt updates. I've just been bumming around in what I had on. Also, since I returned, JJ the cat has not left my side. But he will now. Because I really, really need a shower.

DVD Reviews

1. The Tick vs. Season Two: Is awesome. Most of the episodes on here I remembered, with "Evil Sits Down For A Moment" being a personal favorite. All of them are funnier than I remembered, which is pretty impressive considering I bought it as soon as I saw it because I remembered it being one of the funniest things ever.

2. The Tick: The Entire Series: I was extremely hesitant about watching the live action series. The cartoon was one of my favorite pieces of pop culture of all time, so I was very concerned about my love for The Tick being diminished by a less funny series. Plus, Die Fledermaus and American Maid were the subject of copyright disputes and changed to BatManuel and Captain Liberty respectively, making me all the more wary. My unease was misplaced. The live action series is at least as hilarious as the cartoon was. Watching the complete series resulted in me being angry about its premature and completely incomprehensible cancellation after only being on the air for a month. The Drew Carey Show got terrible reviews in its first year, and the ratings sagged so much they had Tim Allen guest-starring to boost them. But, thanks to the patience and commitment of the execs, the show caught on and now Drew Carey is poised to take over the entire game show world. Meanwhile, FOX, instead of delivering us The Tick, Season 6, is now heavily invested in selling us American Dad, which appears to be a more offensive version of Family Guy without the occasional attempts at humor, even though Family Guy is on right before it. Or it was last time I checked, which was awhile ago, since it failed to entertain me and I don't have television.

So, in summary, The Tick vs. Season 2 = Really good.
The Tick: The Complete Series = Really good, but will leave you shaking your fists at the sky screaming "Why, God? Why?"

Friday, August 17, 2007

My New Dating Plan

In the last post's comments, Casey and Lindzy seem to suggest that I need to meet cooler people. This is not entirely true. I know plenty of cool people. However, come with me on this rare trip into my mind as I reveal my criteria for a romantic interest.

For me to date someone, she has to be

A. Cute, and

B. Awesome.

That's really all I've got. Now, some may say that this is a little too vague, but it's really not. When I say "awesome," I mean that she must inspire some form of awe in people, and particularly in me. A sort of larger-than-life personality, a presence that people can't help but notice, a unique perspective, a polarizing trait or two, a rare talent at something out of the ordinary, or just an interesting job. I know lots of cool people, people whose company I enjoy that I would hang out with on a regular basis. I know very, very few awesome people. I think I'm allowed to use this filter, because people are regularly awed, for good or for bad, when they meet me. They may think I'm strange, or offbeat (I prefer 'quirky' myself), but they do notice me, and they generally seem amused on some level by my presence.

However, this whole experience has just proven to me that my method of getting dates does not work, so I think I need to streamline the process a bit for quicker, clearer results. My new plan is to go up to cute women and just ask them if they are awesome or not, and if they are, then I'll go ahead and ask them out. I really don't see how this can go wrong. In fact, here's how I envision it going:

Andy: Excuse me, but are you awesome?
Random Cute Chick: Huh?
Andy: Are you awesome?
RCC: Why?
Andy: See, I only date women who are both cute and awesome. Cute I can figure out on my own, immediately, so I just have to find out about the awesome part.
RCC: Ok, I'm going to stand over there now.
Andy: I'll take that as a 'no', then. Better luck on being more awesome in the future.

Of course, then there's the problem of what happens when a cute woman says she's awesome, but turns out to not be awesome at all. I don't really know how to politely tell someone that I've been hanging out with them for a few hours and have not been awed even once.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Today's Shirt

Description: White with red lettering that says "This is what Awesome looks like!"

Origin: Rachel gave it to me for my date tonight.

Decision: Keep.

Oh, and how did the date go? It didn't. I was stood up.

Today's Shirt

Description: Black Michigan District Key Club Convention shirt. Slogan "Hooty hoo and a bag of bling bling"

Origin: Abby gave it to me. She got it at the convention, as she was the Indiana Key Club governor and made appearances everywhere at the time. She said it was too big for her.

Decision: I have very few black T-shirts, mainly because my mom was ideologically opposed to them. ("They're too hot to wear in the summer!") Plus, it has the slogan "Hooty Hoo and a bag of bling bling" written on it. However, if I keep one Key Club convention shirt, it'll probably be "New Jersey will blow you away," so I think this is a giveaway.