Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Witz Pickz: Christmas Eve Edition

I would have posted earlier, but, ironically, celebrating Channukah lasted longer than I thought it would. It's Christmas Eve and I have a few thoughts and ideas that, in the spirit of the holiday, I thought I should share. As a teenage girl was saying to her friend while I was out shopping yesterday, "Christmas is awesome. It's like, people are so different and have so many problems and wars and stuff, but once a year, everyone in the world comes together to celebrate Christmas."

Three Wise Men:
The more I think about it, the more I believe that the three wise men had a "no more than ten dollars" agreement for Jesus's birthday and one of them decided to be a big douchebag.

EXT. Christ Residence -- Night
Three wise men stand outside the front door.


Wise Man 1: Before they answer the door, what'd you guys get the kid?
Wise Man 2: I went with the frankincense...
Wise Man 1: You did! Nice call-- I think it's a good choice.
Wise Man 2: Totally, how about you?
Wise Man 1: Well, I couldn't think of anything, so I just picked up some myrrh on the way to meet you guys.
Wise Man 2: Who doesn't like myrrh?
Wise Man 1: That's what I figure. What'd you get, man?
Wise Man 3: Who me?
Wise Man 1: Yeah, dude, what'd you get the baby?
Wise Man 3: Oh, uh, gold.
Wise Man 1: (beat) Gold.
Wise Man 3: (coughs) Yeah, yup. Gold.
Wise Man 2: You motherfucker.
Wise Man 3: Now wait a minute--
Wise Man 1: We all agreed ten coins of Augustus each on the gifts!
Wise Man 3: I wanted to get him gold!
Wise Man 2: Well, yeah, man, we all WANTED to get him gold, that's why we went with the limit!
Wise Man 3: Look, he's just a baby, he won't even know the difference! The parents are probably just gonna scoop up the gifts for themselves the minute we're out the door.
Wise Man 2: Oh, yeah, right. They're not gonna be able to keep their paws off my frankincense. Goddamn it!
Wise Man 1: Yeah, I hope they don't try and pawn my MYRRH.
Wise Man 3: Whatever.
Wise Man 1: Fuck you.
Wise Man 3: Whatever.
Wise Man 1: Fuck you.

Secret Santa/Elfster/Yankee Swap:
I usually don't do Secret Santa deals because I'm either gonna buy people gifts or I'm not. I don't need to have to buy random crap for someone I don't know and force someone else to do the same. I might as well just buy myself four things I don't want, give a stranger an ugly sweater, and call it a day. Yes, it sometimes happens where you know everyone involved, but it's basically a cosmic rule that if I'm in a Secret Santa, I will inevitably get the guy who nobody likes, but who happened to be nearby when the Secret Santa discussion was initiated. This year, however, I was in the rare position of knowing and liking everyone in the group.

We used for our gift exchange site, which was pitched as a non-denominational Secret Santa site which seems legit right up until you realize that Elves build toys for Santa who delivers gifts on Christmas (unless Kwanzaa has an elf component that I'm missing). Elfster's cool because you can ask people questions anonymously like, "What size shirt do you wear," or my personal favorite, "If you could have anything for $25 or less, what would it be?" (I like being to the point). The weird part about Elfster is that it's a Christmas gift exchange site and yet it lists upcoming birthdays like it wants to be facebook. Do people check Elfster at other times of the year?? Of course not. And correct me if I'm wrong, but if you ask me, should only list one person's birthday. Jesus.

An alternative to the secret santa style gift exchange is what I've heard called a "Yankee swap" or, "Dirty Santa" or, as I like to call it, "Fuck you and your shitty gift, I want the iPod!" I like the idea of a Yankee Swap in-so-much as I enjoy the most awkward gift giving scenario imaginable. Everyone knows what the best gift in the room is, and everyone knows that the last person who gets to pick is going to take it. At least one person is going to leave angry with a snow globe. It's like Christmas morning, only your family is allowed to show their true reaction to everything you got them. "Dad, I got you another book you're not gonna read this year, what do you think?" and he's all, "I think it's a piss-poor effort, Witz. But that's cool, because your sister bought your mom the new Blackberry Storm. So I'm gonna snag that and call it a day." And then I end up with a treadmill or something horrible like that. Oh, wait...

I gave my secret santa some small gifts that added up to a "movie night" theme. Unfortunately, small, inexpensive food items and a blockbuster gift card that doesn't even pay for a full movie rental with tax, doesn't quite overwhelm someone when revealed. FORTUNATELY, I was given one super comfortable sweatshirt, which is currently being worn, and fueling this post.

Commercial Interruption:
A Glade Scented Oil Candle commercial just came on the television (because I clearly write these while being mildly distracted) and I have to tell you about it. They are candles that burn into oil that smell good and then the oil burns up and perfumes the house. Also, it essentially creates a pool of HOT OIL and the opportunity for a child, pet, or distracted adult to HORRIBLY DISFIGURE THEMSELVES.

"What was that thing they did to defend castles against invaders in medieval times?"
"Pour hot oil over the sides?"
"Yeah, that's right. Can we make that smell good?"

I can't wait for the lawsuits to come in.

FYI, I know how to spell "interruption" because when I was in third grade, I was in a town spelling bee and was doing really effing well right up until I spelled "interrupt" with only one "r." That one letter lost me potential scholarship money, but saved me from years of negative social stigma (not the middle school years though-- nothing could have saved me from that). I haven't mispelled "interrupt" wrong since.

Four Christmases:

Writer 1: We're writing a comedic holiday movie about a couple that has the celebrate an unusual number of Christmases."
Studio Head: Hm. Well how many?"
Writer 1: We were thinking three.
Studio Head: Hmm...I'm not sold.
Writer 1: How do you feel about four?
Writer 2: --What about FIVE Christmases!?
Studio Head: --You're fired.

Who let Vince Vaughn corner the Christmas movie market? Bring back Ernest.*

Merry Christmas, Chappy Channukah, and...Successful Kwanzaa?,

*Yeah, I know Ernest is dead (though not as a result of Ernest Goes to Hell or Ernest Scared Stupid aka Ernest Smokes Himself Retarded), but that leaves the door wiiide open for them to make a Weekend At Bernie's/Ernest Saves Christmas crossover film. I'm thinkin' Dead Ernest has to celebrate one too many Christmases...and hilarity ensues.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Witz Pickz: Letter to the Editor

Dear WitzPick Editor,

I have been listening to your new mix (WITZ PICKZ MIX #4) a lot lately. I generally like it. I like that it's small and on the side of the screen, and it streams instantly on my linux box at work. I do not like how the player gets upset with me when I skip too many tracks too quickly (For the Witz Picks readers out there who are looking for a way around this, refreshing the page tricks the player into giving you at least one new random song so you wont have to continue listening to 'Muscle'). Where to being...

Oh, Regina Spektor. Sure. You have chosen a song by her where she sings about finding human teeth, mundane life details and overdosing on drugs, twice. I mostly like this song, I hadn't heard it until you picked it, but it's a fu*king weird song. Towards the beginning of the song she shouts "so chEAp and jUcy" in an unbelievably unappealing way that absolutely makes me resent the song."

Kean" is no good Witz, it's ruining not only the mix, but my work day... when it comes on.

T.I. - "Whatever You Like" - This is a surprisingly great song. I don't know why, because there is no individual part of the song that I love.

Muscles - "Hey Muscles I love you" - Are you kidding me Witz? I also think this is one of TWO muscles songs you have (for some reason) decided to include in your mix. I fuc*ing HATE muscles now. The first 1 or 2 times I heard them, they were okay. Repeat listening exposes just how terrible they are as a band. Are they even a band? It sounds like one guy in a recording booth and a synthesizer. And what the FU#$*(@ is he singing!? "Hey Muscles, I love you, I wanna have your babies". WTF. Isn't that a male singing? Now I'm absolutely no anatomy professor - but I'm fairly confident that this guy is incapable of having anyones babies. And it has nothing to do with me not thinking he would make a great parent, it's sheer science-fact. Fail. Remove it from the mix please.

Senses Fail - "Family Tradition" - I love this song you have picked. I'm probably a little biased since I know the drummer, but every time it comes on, I like it more and more.

Damien Rice - "The Blower's Daughter" - JFC WITZ, I shed tears every time this GD song comes on. Seriously!? It reminds me of "Hey There Delilah", or a funeral... in the sense that they all make me want kill someone, or myself, or just sit in the corner of a dark room as rain streams down the windows. REMOVE, thx.

Gaslight Anthem - Love it. One think I really appreciate about this album is that unlike many modern bands that degrade their sound for no apparent reason, they have titled this album "The '59 sound" and boom, it's acceptable.

Muscles - "Ice Cream" - As I type this, another GOD DAMN muscles song from your mix plays in the background. In this travesty, the singer rants about wanting to "just dance with [his] shirt off". Nobody wants to watch this douche fu*k dance anywhere with or without his shirt on.

Noah and the Whale - "5 Years Time" - Love this one. It's new to me, and it's not really a good song - but I like listening to it. I'm pretty sure if I had the entire album, or even another song by them, I would grow to hate it.

Katy Perry - "Hot N Cold" - Get this chick a dictionary, or a thesaurus, or a 5th grade vocabulary cause this song reminds me of something you'd find on the floor of an elementary school girls bathroom. Only in this 'song' it's put to 'music' and a shitty dance rock beat. Here's a sample of a REAL line from EITHER a note found by a girl in grade school, or a Katy Perry song: "You change your mind like a girl changes clothes." Hummm, it doesn't rhyme, so i'm gonna guess "a real line from note found by a girl in grade school". Wrong.

In closing, I'd like to say, Thank You. Thank you Witz for providing a community service with your new playlist; But GOD DAMMIT, lets get rid of those failures please. I'm just trying to give back.

Love Your Reader

p.s. I can't get enough Muse and Bayside... and Rise Against in your mix.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Witz Pickz: Hobo Joe

"Make new friends, but keep the old
one is silver and the other's gold,"

That's from a song I remember they made us sing when I was little. While the song means well, it's a little weird to assume that some friends are gold simply because you've known them longer and other friends are the equivalent of a lesser valued metal simply because you've known them a shorter time. Also, I bet the song never expected it to apply to homeless people, but that's what we're here to talk about today.

Last night, on my way home from the train station, I stopped to get some gas. While I was finishing filling my tank, a pretty obviously homeless man walked over to my car with the squeegie (say "squeegie" out loud a few times, it'll make you happy). He was a pretty thin black guy with a few layers on-- clearly cold, but with a genuine (if not somewhat desperate) smile on his face. He began apologizing, saying, "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't mean to forget about ya, I was just finishing up some other cars!" to which I replied, "That's ok, I'm all good, thanks," because I still operate in a world where I don't get jealous when homeless people ignore me. I wasn't about to come back with, "Well, you SHOULD be sorry! How dare you solicit other vehicles, but leave me waiting in the cold, hoping with crossed fingers for your charmed voice to reach dearly for my ears." So I really was "good."

On the other hand, "That's the thing, though, I'm not..." he replied, but the fact still remained that, "I don't have any cash..." which was mostly true. I usually don't have any cash, but because of a recent grocery pickup for my roommate involving kale (which also involved a crazy Greek woman showing me what the hell kale was), I actually had a five dollar bill in my pocket.
"You don't have any change on the floor in there?" he asked, and I conceded that I probably did, mostly because I knew I had a ziplock bag full of change in there. The thing was, that's my meter money, and when I thought, "How much change would this guy want?" the answer was clearly, "All of it." I told him I'd check, but that he didn't have to squeegie my car, but he said that he wanted to and it makes him look busy so the guy inside the store doesn't make him leave. I told him that dynamic sounded very familiar to me and has he considered working in events? I was starting to like this homeless guy, and it didn't hurt that he reminded me overwhelmingly of a friend of mine. He was quick, cognizant, and friendly-- the kind of homeless guy you could take home to mom (while still thinking in the back of your mind that he's probably going to steal your stuff and leave when you're not looking).

I dug into my change and pulled out some quarters. Thinking about it, I snuck my hand into my pocket and pulled out the five. Turning back to him, I gave him the $5.50 and told him I'd found it in my change holder. He was thankful, and chose to tell me a story verifying what all white people want to hear: I'M NOT RACIST! Apparently, there's this other white homeless dude who is super unfriendly, but sometimes shows up at the same gas station and steals my guy's customers. A lot of the time, I am told, white people take a look at them both, and even though the white guy is way less friendly and "Monkey's all up in your face," white people will pull away from one pump and pull up to his. "That's bullshit!" I said, which really meant, "You're right, I'm NOT racist!" to which he replied, "Damn right!" to which I replied, "What's your name, man?" which really meant, "I like you as much as one man can like a homeless man without having spent significant time together or shared an experience that both bonded them as friends and gave insight into each other's shortcomings."

"Hobo Joe," the man replied. I gave a disbelieving chuckle and replied,
"Alright, Hobo Joe, I'm Jon," (this is a huge Witz Pickz moment. It's on par with finding out which state Springfield is in on The Simpsons or learning what "Big's" real name is on Sex and the City...not that I've seen that show before)
"Actually, my name's Jon, too!" Hobo Joe announced.
"That sounds a lot like a lie, Hobo Joe. You just told me your name was Joe!"
"Well, those are my initials. J-O. It makes it simpler. Hobo J.O."
"Clearly. Well, nice to meet you," I reached out my hand and we shook. I wasn't worried about it at the time, but when I got home, I reached for a piece of bread before remembering and washing my hands thoroughly. You know how when some people meet a famous person, they don't wash their hands for a while? Yeah, well it's the exact opposite of that for homeless people-- regardless of how friendly they were. "I'll keep an eye out for you the next time I come by," I added.

"Thanks-- sometimes people are scared of me," he confided. I fought the urge to tell him about how I had been homeless once-- for two weeks between moving out of my South Bay apartment and moving into my SF apartment. I was forced to sleep in my friend's guest room which had only a king-sized bed and its own bathroom. The wi-fi was only "pretty fast." So I could relate. Instead I said, "You seem nice enough," which really meant, "Let's be super best friends."

And off I went. A little ways away, I began wishing I had just offered to buy Hobo J.O. dinner somewhere and learned a little more about him (but within walking distance-- I wasn't gonna get knifed in my own car while driving to Mel's. Sorry J.O.). A little farther away, and I wished I'd hit up an ATM and gone back to help him out (it was cold outside). And a little farther away after that, as I got out of my car, I noticed that my car smelled vaguely of urine-- but that could have been any number of things.

ANY DONATIONS I GET ON THE SITE BETWEEN NOW AND NEW YEAR'S, I WILL BE GIVING TO HOBO J.O. -- that's not saying much now, but if you feel like donating for him, that's a good way to do it....OR we can put together a beat squad to take care of the white dude who's blowing up Hobo JO's spot.

I Gotta Get Me Some PLATINUM Friends,

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Mom! Can I bring +1 to your birthday party? Note: His name is Hobo J.O. and we're in love!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Witz Pickz: Cupcakes and Cheese

You know how they say that you only find out about the times the C.I.A. fails? You never hear about their successes and the close calls. Well, consider yesterday's no-post one of those. I had an entire post written and ready to go, but at the last minute decided to get rid of it and spare all of you the time and effort of both reading a post and thinking less of me afterwards. Let me just say that I did an in-depth exploration of the DMX song "Ruff Ryders Anthem." I'll chisel it down to one joke:

Stop, drop, shut 'em down, open up shop
Ohhh... Nooo
That's how Ruff Ryders roll

Fuckin' wit' the wrong crew, (What!)
don't know what we goin' thru (What!)
I'ma have ta show niggaz (What!)
how easliy we blow niggaz (Wha-- wait what??)

photo courtesy of Nitro

It only went downhill from there...

Ever onwards to today:

Last night I learned that very few things in life are more depressing than eating a cupcake alone in your room. I had bought five of the most expensive cupcakes I'd ever seen earlier in the day (from Sprinkles, which they named after the part of a cupcake I enjoy the LEAST), and gave four of them to some friends. I had to leave before I was able to have dessert with them, which left me back at my house with a lone red velvet cupcake. I didn't have any more to give my roommates, so I went up to my room. I couldn't even turn on any music because it was late and my walls are paper thin, so I sat in my chair, alone, with the door closed, in silence, and stared at my $3.25 Red Velvet with Chai Butter Frosting treat. Eating an expensive cupcake alone in silence makes you feel like you are either celebrating the one year anniversary of your pet's death, the five year anniversary of quitting smoking or drinking, or the long forgotten ten year anniversary of getting your stomach stapled. It also looks remarkably like you're about to kill yourself. I considered putting on headphones and listening to some music while I ate, but then I thought, "What if I have a heart attack and this is how they find my body-- flopped in a chair, half a cupcake lying in my lap, with a Kate Nash B-Side on my playlist?" So I ate in silence. Here were my other options and why I passed:

-Eating a cupcake alone in the kitchen is just plain fat. Hang on a second there, Tubby, there are other rooms in this place...
-Eating a cupcake alone in the hallway seems like gloating.
-Eating a cupcake alone in the bathroom is illegal in 48 states (but not the contiguous ones like you assume)
-Eating a cupcake with the tv ON in the living room is totally acceptable, but doesn't put enough focus on the deliciousness of the cupcake.
-Eating a cupcake with the tv OFF in the living room feels like you and your ever expanding belly are on a date. That's both fat and depressing. If somebody walks in, you have to start making excuses for what else you might actually be doing, so it doesn't just seem like you plunked down on the sofa to throw down some pounds. "Can you find the remote? I can't find the remote! I'd be turning on the tv, but the remote seems to be missing!"

On the plus side, the cupcake was delicious.

Cheese or Body Odor?
My friend Jersey Girl posed this question to me last night: If you had to smell one thing for the rest of your life, would you rather it be body odor or cheese? After some careful thought, I decided that the answer has to be cheese. My thinking is that even though some cheeses smell bad (some at least as bad as B.O.), if I was constantly smelling cheese, then it most likely meant that there was constantly cheese around me. If I was hungry and needed a snack, cheese would be plentiful. On the other hand, if it constantly smelled like B.O., it would mean either a) I smell overwhelmingly of body odor or b) Someone else who smelled overwhelmingly of body odor was constantly around me. Option "A" is just not socially acceptable and option "B" is over the top creepy. Why is this person always around me? Do I have to interact with them? If I'm playing FIFA '09 can I play the computer or online or do I have to invite them to play. If my buddies and I are playing, do we have to make it a round robin tournament? Can I expect this person to do favors for me, either out of the kindness of their heart or because they know how bad they smell and recognize how they must be affecting my life? Am I trading unpleasant smells for a social slave? I'm not sure...and I'm not sure I'd do it. That's a much better question:

If you could have a social slave, but they smelled like body odor and you always had to smell their body odor (and you probably end up smelling like body odor because they're around you all the time), would you choose to have one?

DMX Spells Things With a Z Too! DMXPickz.Com

Monday, December 08, 2008

Witz Pickz: Monday Melange

Today is a big day in my life because today is the day I decided to take my own advice and take a stand. "Cool kids don't say 'maybe.'" Whenever I've typed in a password for the last...couple of years...Firefox has asked me if I want it to remember my password: "Remember, Never For This Site, or Not Now." (For those of you way out of the loop, I'm referring to the Mozilla Firefox internet browser and not a mystical vision quest beast that suspiciously inquires about my passwords, probably with intent to steal my identity).

And for YEARS now, I've continued to say, "Not Now," putting off the decision for the next time. I can try and rationalize it, saying that maybe I DO want Firefox to remember my passwords-- maybe it IS a good idea. In reality, I'm just leading Firefox on-- sorry Firefox, but I don't EVER want you to remember my passwords. Not only could you slut it up with some third party and get all my money stolen, but if I rely on you and your memory to store my passwords, then if we break up and head separate ways, I won't remember any of my passwords, and I'll be shit out of luck. So from now on, starting today, whenever I sign in to something and it asks me that question, my answer is going to be, "Never For This Site." Never for any site. Never.

Wanted and Vantage Point:
I saw two horrrible action movies over the weekend and while I didn't have high expectations, I still managed to be shocked by the absurdity. First, I saw Wanted, which both promised, and delivered, the curving of bullets. Beyond Without giving too much away I'll say that a group of assassins operates exclusively on the secrets that WEAVERS (actually referring to people who weave) sew into fabric. Much like Wonder Yak, who commented about poor Christmas Gift decisions, these weavers asked for a loom for Xmas and decided to make obscure use of it. Sitting in a basement, they now use BINARY CODE STITCHING to send messages to a group of people who include the rapper Common (who's assassin role is in stark contrast to his lyrics about peace), Angelina "Seriously, how is Jon Voigt my Dad" Jolie, and Morgan Freeman, who is clearly the frontrunner in what Hollywood thinks God looks like (There's no way God is black though-- he's constantly helping sports stars win games-- he must be the universe's all-time assists leader-- definitely a white guy). What Wanted teaches us is that bending bullets isn't entirely necessary, innocent people aren't important, and you don't need to name a movie after anything relevant to that film. There is one inane reference to "wanted" in the entire thing, and unless I'm missing a super obvious double entendre, they just didn't want to name it "Curvy Bullets." I did appreciate the extreeeemely long "Guy From Atonement Getting His Ass Beat Down By Guy From Hu$tle" sequence though. It went on for like, 20 minutes.

"It cuuuurves!" Curving bullets is
to white people what spinners are to black people.

Vantage Point was another gem. I can just imagine the writers getting all pumped up about how cool perspectives are. They decided to tell the same 20 minute story from seven or so perspectives. Unfortunately, what any history teacher will tell you, it's not just the number of perspectives that's important, it's WHICH perspectives you choose to show. They showed several different "vantage points" where we, as the audience, didn't learn anything. It was just like, "Oh, so after that guy does something important, he wanders off and stares at the sky. Awesome." One entire 20 minute sequence showed Forrest Whittaker and His Wacky Comedy Eye following someone whose perspective we'd already had. Which means I saw the same scenes twice, once from about five feet behind the other. It was like changing the camera on a video game. Ultimately, Vantage Point teaches us that you don't need a very good reason to try and shoot the President, that you don't need a very good reason to make a movie, and that if you decide to base a movie on gimmicks, you better at least show some goddamn curving bullets.

Radio Commercial For Night Rider:

"Only one show has a talking crime solving car that shoots missiles! OH! And did we mention the missiles?!"

Yes. Yes, you did.

Don't Even Get Me Started On "Jumper,"

P.S. Thanks to Nitro for the Witz Pickz logo. Also, checkout the comments section of Friday's post for an interesting response from a Caltrain conductor. Also, be my follower, effers, I'm not lookin' any cooler here....(click to add your name on the right)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Train Fatalities (Going out on a Limb With This One, I Know...)

Every now and then I'm willing to take a stand on something and this is one of those times. CalTrain, Northern California's answer to the question, "How can we force people to know the name 'San Bruno,'" has had more and more fatalities in recent months, including another one this morning. While I'm sympathetic to the deceased and those who cared about them, I continue to be baffled at how you end up as The Meat on a Train N' Tracks Sandwich (I wanted to say how you end up on "The business end of a FREAKIN' TRAIN!" but it occurred to me that the business end of a train is actually just a seat on the train because it is literally a business and you would have paid for a ticket. And I completely DO understand how that could happen). I assume there are only two ways for this to happen:

The obvious explanation for how someone could get hit by a train is that they placed themselves in its path specfically for that purpose. I don't know about you, but that annoys the hell out of me. In fact, I would be willing to believe in Hell just so I can think these people went there. It has nothing to do with religion and suicide, but simply the fact that these people didn't just want to kill themselves, they wanted to kill themselves and make everybody else late. Every time the train hits someone, the train has to stop, they clean up the body (which has to be emotionally damaging to both the people cleaning it up and the conductor and passengers who just found out they HIT A PERSON), and all the trains are delayed by *FUN FACT ALERT* about half an hour (approximately the same amount of time it takes to watch an episode of Weeds). Killing yourself is your own business, but getting in the way of a COMMUTER train just isn't necessary. Find some cargo trains and hop in front of that. You know what doesn't feel emotional stress? Coal.

Sometimes, it's not just people. Cars and trucks also get hit by the train, sometimes killing the drivers. If any of these are suicides then I'm completely baffled. Why would you possibly feel the need to destroy your vehicle and put the train and its passengers at risk? I guess if you're not fully committed, you might end up living through the accident, but I can't imagine post-Not Dying From Purposefully Placing Your Vehicle In Front of a Train life would really be stellar. The only other explanation I can think of is that they want to be sitting comfortably in a controlled atmosphere when they go. Get the heat or AC just right. And more likely, have the music that you want playing-- to which I say, "BUY AN IPOD! They're not that expensive and it's not like it's gonna matter anyway! Don't worry about breaking a perfectly good iPod either, because it was probably going to die soon anyway!"

Also, orchestrating a soundtrack to your death is risky business. Whether you're in your car or listening to an iPod, there's a big problem with timing. SURE, trains usually run on time-- maybe that's why people keep jumpin' in front of them, it's reliable. BUT, occasionally they don't. Even when they are on time, there's some wiggle room of a few minutes. One minute you're listening to "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," ready to go, and the next minute, the train's bearing down on you a little after it was supposed to and you're listening to that The Darkness song that you thought you deleted a long time ago. That's definitely what would happen to me with my luck. I can just imagine people talking afterwards:

"I heard he was listening to "Umbrella" when he died."
"Me too! I heard he had the whole album!"
"Not just the one song?"
"Nope, the whole thing!"

Meanwhile I'm struggling from the grave to tell them it isn't true just to keep my music cred. That's no kind of legacy. So please, stop stepping in front of comes off as needy, and reaks of desperation. Nobody like desperate.

Total Disregard:
The only other way you end up getting hit by a train is complete and utter disregard and obliviousness towards your surroundings. Trains run on tracks, make lots of noise as they approach, and have warning lights and sounds that go off as they approach a stop. One article about this morning's fatality states, "Caltrain categorized the victim as a trespasser." I kind of assume they mean "homeless person," but yeah, I'd say they were trespassing. Anyone standing ON THE TRACKS is clearly trespassing. It also says that he wasn't at a crossing. Even if you're not at a crossing, how do you possibly not see or sense that a train is about to hit you? When you feel the tracks shaking, do you stop and check to see if you just got a text? And even if that's the case, wouldn't you check to make sure it's a good time to pause on train tracks and check your phone??

As mentioned earlier, it's not just people. Cars, trucks, semis, all sorts of vehicles have been hit by the train. This is even weirder to me. If they ain't commiting suicide, they have to just be saying, "Welp, I recognize that my vehicle is physically blocking train tracks...and I understand the light is red and those other warning lights are flashing...and I see a train coming towards me...but fuck it, I was here first." My only explanation that I'm willing to partially, mildly, understand is that these people are victims of craving adventure too much. Here's why:

A few years back, I was exiting the highway on a long exit ramp, minding my own business. All of a sudden, the car in front of me inexplicably swerved to the right and slammed into a light post. The light post started falling across the path of the road and I had a quick decision to make. Having seen way too many movies and played out this scenario in numerous video games, my immediate thought was "SPEED UP!" How many chances do you get to zoom underneath a falling light tower?? I started to push down the accelerator when I suddenly remembered that instead of riding in an ATV or a plane or a motorcycle, or a sports car, I was riding in my Subaru Station wagon, and even if I didn't die from getting hit by the light, it was my only mode of wheeled transportation-- uh, also, I'm a good samaritan. So I swung my car to the side of the road, parked it, and ran over to the guy in the other car (aka my Adventure Catalyst). I still regret my decision.

So it is pseudo-vaguely plausible that these people were driving quickly, making green lights, and all of a sudden saw the train tracks beam coming down to block their way and thought, "Speed up or slow down?" Their adventure instincts kicked in, and with nobody in a car accident on the side of the road (ironically), they chose to speed up and succeeded in dodging under the giant wooden beam....and then they got hit by a train. We'll call it a half-victory.

Either way, suicide or obliviousness, please please please keep your bodies and vehicles off the tracks when the train is coming. It's not that we're all dying to get to work, but delays can get boring, and I would have put an episode of Weeds on my iPod to watch...right after I listen to Umbrella.

Unnecessary Simile Usage: The Train Hit Him Like A Ton of Bricks*,

* (No, it hit him like a FUCKING TRAIN)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Witz Pickz: They're Not All Gems -- Biggest Mistake Gifts That I've Asked For

In my family, we celebrate Christmas and Chanukkahj (I'm making a big push to convince people there's a silent "j" at the end of Hannukah), but Chanukkah is more about being awkward, and failing at religion, and laughing at inconvenient times that makes my Dad mad because it makes my Mom mad because nobody's taking Not Her Religion seriously. Long story short, Christmas is the bomb. Here's a preview, even though I'll probably get into it in more detail another post.

Our Christmas routine includes waking up later and later as time goes on, having something happen that leads to an argument (usually the phrase, "Thanks for ruining Christmas, Witz!" can be heard), followed by classic Witz Family "We're stuck with each other" family bonding. Then, my sister and I make brunch and we get to the actual presents part. Stockings first, then the tree, ultimately ending with the "Big Gift." The "Big Gift" is always from Santa Claus. This is weird primarily because we know it's not from Santa Claus and when my sister and I say "thank you" to our parents, they say "You're welcome," and not, "Don't thank us, thank Santa Claus." They're willing to play along for the tagging of the gift, but are damn well going to get credit for what they spent their money and thoughtfulness on. Anyway, through the years, I've made some weird "Big Gift" requests, some of which were better thought out than others. Here are a few of the ones I maybe shouldn't have asked for:

This was the "Big Gift" that I asked for sometime in high school. I can't imagine what I was thinking. I hate running. I played sports every day of the week. I wasn't morbidly obese. And yet I felt the need to ask for the fattest sounding gift I can think of. The weird thing is that there was clearly a moment when I asked for it and my parents weren't immediately like, "This won't be a good gift." I've neglected to use good gifts before, and yet they spent hundreds of dollars on a TREADMILL. They had to have known I wouldn't use that-- which I suppose makes them really great parents, but I'm surprised they didn't at least push me a little on whether I really wanted it instead of some sort of video game system or something. Even if they knew I wanted the treadmill and were ok with me not using it, they had to have realized that it only fit downstairs in our super creepy basement. Beyond being super creepy, our basement has a really really low ceiling. Our ceiling is so low, there was discussion of redoing it and that spawned this little tete a tete:

WITZ: Are we going to raise the ceiling like you were talking about?
DAD: I don't know-- why do we need to raise it!?
WITZ: Well, because we're in middle school and my friend The ATX can't even stand up down here.
DAD: You have other friends besides The ATX!

With the added height of the treadmill, my head would literally be inches from the ceiling every step I took. But they went ahead and got it for me. Even more shocking is the fact that there was actually that "Uhp-- we have one more gift for you......why don't you take a peak downstairs!" moment when I got excited, ran downstairs, and was psyched to find a machine TO RUN ON. In the end, it turned out to be a great gift...for my sister. Between the low ceiling and the constant threat of spiders, murder, and ghosts, I barely used the thing, but my 4'11'' gymnast sister still runs on it today.

Pool Table:
I wanted a pool table. I was probably in middle school or younger and thought it'd be cool to have a pool table in my basement (possibly to make it less creepy). I didn't think much about the whole logistics of the size and placement, and that resulted in me getting a mini-pool table. If you can have sex on regular sized pool tables, this was a pool table you could hold hands on...with one of you on either end of the table so it didn't tip over.

When I got it, it was alright, because I was smaller-- but as soon as I was a reasonable size, the table became ridiculous. My Dad never wanted to play with me because it was so goofily small, and then when I got bigger, I never wanted to use it. Due to a warp, it also had this habit of making all the balls roll towards the holes right after the break, and the pockets had a tendency to fall off when more than one ball was in them (due to a lack of staples-- yep, the table utilized staple technology). So every time you played "pool" you were basically saying, "I really want to clean something up."

It turns out there was one major upside to this gift. I'm not very good at pool, but a few weeks ago, my friend who I will call Nitro (as opposed to just saying "My friend Nitro" which sounds like I'm either friends with an American Gladiator or banging some huge dude from the gym) and I were at a bar where there was (oddly) a mini-pool table. WELL, I DESTROYED HIM. Like, all the angles and bounces of my old shitty table came flooding back to me, and I just trounced him three games straight. Totally worth it.

Bruins Hockey Jersey:
Now this was back when hockey was less of a joke and The Hartford Whalers existed and The Boston Bruins were my other favorite team because of guys like Ray Bourque. So it's not weird that I asked for a Bruins hockey jersey-- I played street hockey after school, ice hockey on ponds, and I went to hockey games when I could. What's completely random is that I decided this one time that I not only wanted a Bruins jersey, but I wanted MY NAME ON THE BACK of the Bruins jersey. Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time, but apparently I didn't factor in how incredibly mockable having your name on the jersey of a team you don't play for is. Did I think, "Hey, you know what are cool? Name tags! How can I make name tags even more prevalent in my life?" It wasn't made any better by the fact that I hadn't ever played organized hockey in my life. It wasn't inspirational. It was just basically a 12 year old kid reading off the old list of what he wanted to be when he grew up:

1) Soccer player (I severely overestimated America's love of the sport. I also drastically underestimated the amount of commitment and effort this would take, along with how puberty would treat me.)
2) Baseball player
3) Hockey player
4) Events Assistant at a Major University... (YESSSSSSSSSSSS!)
5) Writer

I'm still shooting for baseball player. So anyway, it was awkward wearing the jersey around my friends, and it was even more awkward wearing the jersey to actual games.

"WHO THE HELL IS WITZ??" drunken fans would ask?
"Oh, that's me."
"Because I'm that cool."

That pseudo-real conversation wasn't even funny-- it was just informative.

Non-Digital Camera:
I still feel bad about this one. I asked for the cheapest film camera possible and got a nice, somewhat expensive camera. I already had a digital camera for taking most pictures, but I wanted to be able to mess around with photography a little. Facts about me:

1) I've never taken a photography class in my life.
2) I never intend to take a photography class in my life.
3) It doesn't take much for me to quit on something.
4) I don't like drawing attention to myself in public.
5) When I was eleven, I threw a wood block at my sisters head and broke a window in our basement. I'm pretty sure I didn't actually want to hit her, and I'm also pretty sure she ducked, but maybe it's another example of why I'm not a pro baseball player. This is only relevant because that window is still broken and was never replaced by my Dad, which means maybe he's a bit slow to follow through on things as well at times (the story also gives you a better idea of the creepiness that the basement has captured so well). Genetics + Socialization = Witz is never going to use his camera.

Let's just say I still have the original roll of film in the camera (because someone else put it in for me, because I never took a lot of pictures, because I don't know how to take it out, because I don't want to pay to get it developed if I do get it out, and because I don't need to be the douchey-artsy hipster guy taking photos in public).

There's A Fine Line Between Funny and Spoiled,

P.S. Checkout the new music playlist I have on the right, along with an RSS feed you can sign up for AND a new "Fans of the Site" thing you can/should sign up on to let me know you care. Who knows, maybe I'll even send everyone who signs up something sweet for the holidays (read: maybe I'll scrounge up something cheap from work that I can send you-- whooo liiiikes post-it paaaaads??)

Witz Pickz: Venting and Shooting Yourself in the Leg...Literally.

The vent in our bathroom collects dust the way I collect amusing ailments. I don't know if it actually affects much in the bathroom, but once it became extremely clogged up, I started taking notice and decided to do something about it. See-- I'm a man of action-- maybe not "daily" and maybe not "appropriate," but action all the same. I'm also a big fan of cleaning or organizing when other things seem out of my control. If you can't evade a larger life problem by physically solving a minor house-cleaning problem, then somebody shoot me right now.*

So this past weekend I decided to tackle the vent. The problem is that our bathroom ceiling is inexplicably high. It's like they decided to make up for the lack of space in our bedrooms by giving us obscene headroom in the bathroom. It's the bathroom equivalent of a Honda Element (or the Scion Xb). If aliens saw my bathroom, they would assume that humans expanded in water. Other things aliens would assume if they saw my house:

1) Marriage is between three men and a woman
2) Mostly girls like Star Wars
3) A fun game humans play with ants when they come streaming into their homes when it rains is called "tag" and is played with a paper towel or fingers. A fun game ants like to play with humans is called, "Hide in the sugar until someone reaches in to grab it and then swarm over their hands like a terrifying scene in a movie and make them shriek like little girls." Sometimes ants "play too hard" and swarm into the bathroom and shower, and that's when humans call the exterminator and rain down hellfire in the form of poisonous traps and "knock-down spray." Humans are kind of dicks.

So I needed to come up with some way of reaching the vent. Standing on a chair and reaching didn't cut it, so I decided to put some paper towels on the end of a broom and reach up. I wanted it to collect the dust, so I wet the paper towels. Reaching up, I proceeded to turn the dust into cement, and mash it down into a thick layer, completely blocking the airflow. I needed a solution fast. "Where do people turn when they need fast solutions?" I thought and it suddenly hit me. I ran into my closer and grabbed what I needed. Utilizing classic abortion technology, I reached up with my unbent coat hanger and cleared each strip of soggy dust from the vent. Minutes later, the vent was completely clear and I felt worlds better. Thinking that this would probably happen again, I placed the hanger on my "bathroom shelf" in the closet, and then hesitated. As it turns out, having an unbent coat hanger on your bathroom shelf is EXTREEEEMELY creepy! Shaving cream, Nyquil, Vitamins, Sunscreen, hook-fashioned coat hanger. So I did what anyone would do-- I placed a box of condoms next to it and turned the shelf into a mini anti-pregnancy diorama.

...these are my friends and readers...

Plaxico Burress:
I know I don't usually get topical here, but it's not everyday a football player has to miss games because he SHOT HIMSELF IN THE LEG. For those of you who haven't heard, the Giants wide receiver announced that he'd be missing some games because he managed to shoot himself in the leg. The trump card is that he is now pleading NOT GUILTY to HAVING A GUN. In case his explanation of what happened wasn't enough evidence, the GAPING WOUND IN HIS LEG might be held against him in court. One explanation I heard for what happened is that he tried to look badass by putting his gun down his pants, but the gun fell down his pants, and when he tried to pull it back up from INSIDE his pants, it went off and shot his leg (totally and completely badass). This explanation does further my theory that the best home protection would be to place tons of guns all over your home. If somebody broke in, the odds of them picking up a gun and shooting themselves would be pretty good. Plus, it might not even get that far-- just seeing that many guns might be enough to make them think twice about robbing you. I don't think that's actually what happened to Plaxico, though. I'm pretty sure he was trying to see if he was Hancock.**

I Hope Plaxico Uses the "Leg Stigmata" Defense,

*Note: Just an expression, you will be prosecuted. Also, if I were to be shot and killed, I still expect my corpse to be preserved, at least well enough for me to go posthumously tandem skydiving. I don't care if it's with a buddy or an instructor, but one way or the other, you better get my Action Corpse onto and out of a plane. I'm not saying I'll haunt you if you don't, but I can't promise I won't do my best to convince the ghost of Bernie Mac to wake you up by rehashing scenes from The Bernie Mac Show. Too soon?

**Surprisingly, shooting himself in the leg does not mean that he is not Hancock. It either means a) He's not Hancock or b) He IS Hancock, but is too close to his soul-mate and therefore his power is diminished and he can feel pain. If I just shot myself in the leg and my wife ran in about to scream at me, I'd probably try and explain option b. And yes, I liked the movie Hancock-- who doesn't like Will Smith? I even saw Hitch. Twice.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Witz Pickz: Post Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I decided that the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving after the fact is for me to attempt to recall the story of Thanksgiving. Feel free to help me with the details.

A long time ago, before ipods, but after dinosaurs, a group of oppressed white people came to America to escape persecution and parking tickets. They arrived on a boat named The Mayflower, so named because everyone agreed it sounded, "too gay," for any pirates to attack it. You don't get street cred for blowing up "The Mayflower." These people were called Pilgrims and they believed very strongly in buckles. They put them on their hats, they put them on their belts, and they put them on their shoes. As my friend Turbo put it, "The Pilgrims were to buckles what Pimp My Ride is to LCD screens." I don't know why they were so into buckles, but it either had to do with keepin the Lord in or the Devil out, or maybe just to keep all their clothes on as they slowly starved to death.

Starving to death was not part of the plan, but they hadn't accounted for the extra energy they would expend being extremely racist. They knew they had arrived at the prime location because they found a really big rock to step out on. They named their town Plymouth after a shitty car company, and dubbed the rock, "Plymouth rock," thereby showing their vast creativity and love of the outdoors. Finally after much anticipation, the murdering, raping, and pillaging got into full effect and these things tire a white dude out. So they all huddled down into a house that Abraham Lincolm made out of the logs that now bare his name and prayed for the best. When praying didn't workout, they turned to the Native Americans who decided it would "Most definitely, I promise," help them in the long run to keep these intruders alive. WOW, WERE THEY WRONG!

Running Bear: I think we should save these white people.
Walks On Wind: Hmm, I have my RESERVATIONS!
Both: Ahahahahaha-- awwww :(

So the Indians showed up and taught the Pilgrims how to gorge themselves on loosely associated foods. They then read the children a book where they taught them that the english word "corn" is the same as the english word, "maize." They did have a sneaky ultierior motive-- to make the Pilgrims' intestines fill up, press against their absurdly prevalent belt-buckles, and kill them all like that one fat dude in the movie Seven (Se7en). Unfortunately, there wasn't enough food for that, but there was an act of God that day.

There was very little turkey left. Everyone was worried and so the Pilgrim leader, George Washington Carver (inventor of the Turkey Carver sandwhich at Boston Market), started making everyone trace their hands on the turkey that was left. In this way, the meat would be rationed and everyone would get one handful of turkey. He was asked to "guestimate" how many days the turkey would last and he said the answer was one day (in his best guestimation, which he was never very good at). To everyone's surprise and excitement, the turkey ended up lasting the next EIGHT days-- and it was deemed by all to be a Miracle. That is the story of Thanksgiving and that is why, to this day, we eat a haphazard assortment of obese foods on the last Thursday of November, why we eat turkey leftovers for the next week, and why Sacajawea is on the dollar coin.

In the years that followed, Thanksgiving became much more of a social holiday. It became a time when families could get sneaky drunk together and inevitably learn something sexually explicit about their grandmother. Thanksgiving became a time when the line between joyous celebration and horrific obligation became thin and vague, and this was only made more true by Adam Sandler's "Thanksgiving Song." Strong unions (no, conservative Californians, I don't mean between two people of the same sex) led to getting both Thursday and Friday off of work, meaning people could stuff themselves longer, drink more, and get even more sexually explicit with their inappropriate family stories. It also meant that everyone could shop the day after Thanksgiving. They decided that nothing complements the stress of planning or attending a family get together like gathering millions of people into tiny stores with limited merchandise at ungodly hours of the morning. Thus, Post-Thanksgiving-Shopping-Day was born. The inventors decided it needed a catchier name that sounded less like work and more like a movie starring one of the Wayans brothers. Black Friday was created. The Thanksgiving story continues to unfold, each and every year, as the middle-aged earnestly embarass themselves with what they are appreciative of, and the youth come up with amusing, ironic, sarcastic examples of what they are thankful for-- just like the pilgrims did.

Throw Your Hand Turkeys In the Air, If You's A True Player,
"Thanks for killing my friends, effers!"
"Totally and completely BADASS!"
I tried to give it feathers, but it turned out to be backhair. Hm.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Witz Pickz: Bacon-Chocolate, Calling Shotgun, and Gettin' His Friggen Post On...

Bacon Chocolate:
Yep, I had bacon chocolate. Let's start with the product and then we'll move on to the implications. Bacon chocolate is exactly what you think it is-- chocolate with bits of bacon in it. It mixes salty and sweet and actually tastes pretty good. It alllllso tastes a lot like you ate some bacon for breakfast, said screw it to brushing your teeth and had a late morning Hershey bar (aka the Sunday Special). And let's be honest, the chocolate disappears in your mouth much faster than the bacon, so you end up with a mouth full of bacon bits and basically just feel like you're eating bacon...which doesn't feel fat at all.
The IMPLICATIONS of Bacon Chocolate are far worse. Bacon Chocolate is to food now what interracial marriage was to society in the 50's ( in some places. Also, ironically, the chocolate in this metaphor is the white person and the bacon is the other person). You're going to get some looks, some people will scorn you, and at least one person will yell, "NOT WHAT GOD INTENDED!" But, like we all know, it IS what God intended. Bacon comes from pigs. Where do pigs live? In mud. What's mud look like? No, not that. Chocolate, exactly. All these years, we've been up in arms about pigs being filthy animals, while The big G to the Hyphen to the D (an awesome rapper name would be G-Hyphie-D...ok, that's sooo my rapper name now) has been pulling out His hair yelling, "NOT THE POINT, EFFERS! NOT THE POINT! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU FIGURED OUT 'EATING EGGS' AND 'MILKING COWS' BUT YOU CAN'T QUITE GET YOUR MIND AROUND 'BACON-CHOCOLATE!'" And yet people are still wary-- and possibly for good reason.

Bacon-Chocolate is a Gateway Treat. Once you eat a bar of chocolate laced with flesh, anything seems acceptable. Case and point, checkout this recipe for Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. Oh, it's ok to eat bacon in things? Might as well have that human meat on rye sandwich I've been pining for (Ok, I'm going to make my first and only "Alive" the movie/book/real-life-experience joke/pun here so get ready-- "as all old people know, Andes Candies have been puttin' human flesh in their chocolates for years." Boom-- not all gems). It's a slippery slope to slovenly death once you have bacon-chocolate, but it's a slope lubed by chocolate syrup ridden down on a sled of crispy pork product. Or as some like to call it, "Hershey Park in Pennsylvania." Shockingly, the park has provided a picture which perfectly sums up everything I've said here today:

Calling "Shotgun":
It was brought to my attention yesterday that somebody tried to call shotgun on Thanksgiving leftovers. This struck me as a) fascist b) homeless and c) against the rules. Let's deal with "c." I don't know what's it was for previous generations, or in other geographic locations, but growing up, calling "shotgun" applied solely to cars. You can call, "no bitch" if you're worried about the middle (because as we all know, only BITCHES sit in the middle). If you were worried about your chair when you got up you'd call, "Fives" (note: I've learned that some people called, "Fire on my seat" which is both more creative and less than cool), and if you wanted anything else, you'd simply, "Call it." For example, in 2000 and 2004, George Bush won the election simply by "Calling it" (just to get in one G. Bush joke before OBAMA!!!). You could try calling "dibs," but there was only a 50/50 shot of anyone recognizing that as a legitimate claim and not simply something to mock you with.

Calling "shotgun" is a whole other thing. You can only call shotgun when it comes to cars, and you can only call it when the car is in sight. Unless you are planning on cutting a hole in the food and consuming it at great speeds (just open up your throat, the mashed potatoes go right down), it's not the appropriate call. Even if you COULD call shotgun on leftovers, this person's claim wouldn't count yet. It would have to come RIGHT as the LAST person at the table stopped eating and not a moment sooner. That is the moment food becomes leftovers (it's in the Bible somewhere). The BEST way to claim leftovers is to load up your own plate with food and then NOT eat much, if any, of it (also in the Bible-- if you look at The Last Supper close enough, you will see Judas sneaking food scraps into a 'to go' bag. This is also called anorexia). Regardless, shotgun refers specifically to the front seat of a car. HOWEVER, the one thing that trumps even calling "shotgun" is motion sickness. I get extremely motion sick in the back of cars, so I usually just wait until someone else joyfully calls "shotty" and then call, "throwing up on person in the front seat" which almost always results in a seat exchange and a few choice phrases from the former shotgunner. But as they say, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but inner ear imbalances leading to nausea last forever."

So, Leftovers Shotgunner, time to grow up and play by the rules. Without the rules, we're just a bunch of wild barbarians, running around making a mess, with bacon in our chocolate.

You Down with G-Hyphie-D? Yeah, You Know Me,
Justin Timberlake Shotgunning a Beer-- you know, for the ladies...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Witz Pickz: Fry-Day -- A Food Post

Eff it-- let's talk food. I had a grilled cheese and fries for lunch, which was awesome, because it's delicious, and it was also telling, because eating a grilled cheese and fries at work is like screaming, "DESPITE MY THOROUGH HATRED OF SCHOOL, I STILL YEARN FOR COMFORT FOOD THAT REMINDS ME OF MY CHILDHOOD AND THE SCHOOL CAFETERIA BECAUSE I'D RATHER BE THERE THAN HERE TODAY!*" Here are some other food thoughts:

We Want Food Within Other Food: If there's one thing my twenty six years on this planet have taught me, it's that us humans want our food served the way we expect to be at the end of the meal-- stuffed. If we are immediately able to deduce what our food is, simply by looking at its exterior, then something is drastically wrong. Thanksgiving is the perfect example:

JOHN SMITH: Whoah whoah whoah-- what the hell is this gaping hole in the turkey? Now that we've ripped out all the guts...why WOULDN'T we stuff something else in there??
SQUANTO: Sounds logical-- I vote for seasoned bread cubes!
JOHN SMITH: Good call, Squanto! (They high-five)

But it doesn't end there. Chicken Cordon Bleu suggests that when we eat chicken, we're all secretly disappointed that we aren't eating ham. Chicken Kiev suggests that we secretly want butter hidden inside everything, and for that butter to surprise us in a painful explosion of burning hot liquid. Eating a pepper and eating rice seems ill-conceived, so why not throw the two together? I'm sure everyone will still eat the pepper and not just the rice...Most recently, I have discovered goat cheese and walnut stuffed figs...that were wrapped in prosciutto. I don't even have a joke for that one-- I'm just really excited they exist, and it just goes to show that the stuffed food theory is thriving.

Mr. Phipps' Pretzel Chips: I wonder if Mr. Phipps was fated to make pretzel chips just for the sake of end rhyme-- like maybe he would rather have made scones, but that was not alright with his food company. I imagine him saying to his Dad, "When I'm older, I'm going to make SCONES!" and his Dad angrily replying, "Goddammit! You're a Phipps! You will make chips, like your father, and my father, and his father before him!" and Little Phipps screaming, "I hate you! I hate you!" and running to his room. Sad.

Breakfast for Dinner: Was anything more falsely exhilirating growing up than "breakfast for dinner?" I have vivid memories of my mom popping into the kitchen after a long day, usually in her sweatpants and a sweatshirt, and whispering to my sister and I, "Hey...let's do BREAKFAST FOR DINNER!" as if her parents were going to run into the room at any moment and tell her to behave like a respectable adult. Maybe she was whispering because she didn't want my Dad to hear, as if he would put a stop to such shenanigans, but the only reason I remember him sighing whenever my mom said, "Let's be ridiculous! BREAKFAST FOR DINNER!" was because it meant he was the one who had to make us omelettes.

Which was the thing-- Breakfast for dinner never meant our ACTUAL breakfast for dinner. If it meant our ACTUAL breakfast for dinner, we would have had to jump up excitedly and shout, "HELL YEAH! TOAST FOR DINNER!" or my mom would have had to say when we got home from school, "Now don't spoil your appetite before we have YOGURT FOR DINNER!" Because actual breakfasts consist of cereal or less. I do that NOW. I have breakfast for dinner because I can't afford more or can't drag my ass to the store to fix myself a real meal. If my mom said, "Hey kids, what about breakfast for dinner??" and it meant toast and cereal, I'd have to ask if we had suddenly become ass poor. "Jesus, Mom, breakfast for dinner? What happened? Were we robbed? Did Dad go Willy Lohman on us? Do-- do I need to get a job to help support this family?...Because I'm eight." But that wasn't the case. Breakfast for dinner meant eggs or omelettes, and fruit, and bacon and maybe even waffles or pancakes. Sometimes it meant bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel, which my dad served like it was gourmet and Dunkin Donuts serves like it couldn't care less.

"Breakfast for dinner" should be the rebellious slogan of a generation. When 50's values were thrown to the wind in favor of the unconventional, the indulgent, and the syrupy freedom of post-work waffles.

The Color of Cheese: Not the name of an unpublished Toni Morrison novel and not a collection of Maya Angelou poems, the color of cheese is actually a sensitive issue within our society as a whole. On numerous occasions, I have run into people who have a problem with yellow cheese, and as a kid, I remember PREFERRING yellow cheese to white cheese. I'm pretty sure Velveeta and Kraft capitalized on this color rift and succeeded in putting a greater divide between those on the left (yellow/orange) and those on the right (white). Well, I'm gonna put myself out on a limb and solve this one once and for all: THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO! It's just food coloring. If you can taste the difference between orange and white cheese, then you can taste the difference between blue and brown M&M's and that means you need to either join the marines so your skills can be put to greater use (I have no idea how this would be utilized) OR you need to tell us which M&M is the best, because I ASSUME that it's blue, but that could be waaaaay off and I think marketing has a lot to do with it. Also, you must waste about 80% of your M&M's.

Sweet N' Low: When I was little, my friend Zak Jazz and I were at a Friendly's and proceeded to take all of the Sweet N' Low out of the holder and hide them in the cracks in the booth. When the waitress came over and asked us what we were doing, Zak shouted, "Uh, we're stopping CANCER!" because we believed Sweet N' Low caused Cancer. The waitress looked at us blankly, because that's probably the last thing she expected to hear and because what can you say to that really? You can't say, "Well, put it back," because then you're Pro-Cancer. So she left. The point of the story isn't whether we were brats or whether or not I now realize how annoying we must have been to a sad, tired Friendly's waitress. The point is that I still have no idea of Sweet N' Low actually contributes to Cancer, and I'm not sure I ever truly will.

Top Chef: The newest season of Top Chef has started, which is cool, because it's the only socially acceptable show to watch where people cook amazing food. If you sit watching the Food Network for too long, you a) can't talk about it with anyone and b) feel like a tubby bitch. "Hey, what'd you do last night?" someone asks you the next day. "Oh, I sat around eating dinner, watching people make more dinner, and then felt hungry because theirs was better than mine." Not cool.

Top Chef is acceptable because it's a competition. It's like The Real World if everyone on the show was super responsible and focused on their careers. All these chefs from around the country/world compete to out-delicious each other. They very rarely create drama and when they do, it's usually because someone turned the oven up too high or they're out of cumin. Despite the omnipresence of knives, nobody ever attacks anyone else, they just yell in a way that would make my family say, "Amateurs," and then they go back to making their five course meals. It's not dramatic, but it's enjoyable. Because these are people who can cook really effing well. They are the MacGuyver's of the culinary world, and since we all eat (mostly-- Sorry India!), we all can connect with what they are doing.

Plus, at least for me, it makes me want to cook. After I watch a season of that show, I'm downstairs, laying out my ingredients, doin' a little meal prep. Then, at the end of the night, you can walk in, see me surrounded by vegetables, herbs, empty meat cartons, shredded cheese, heaps of coriander, covered cutting boards, carved out cans, and a sink full of dishes-- and you can ask me what I've made, and I will inevitably tell you, "Toast." Because, as it turns out, I am no top chef. Yet. But at least I can have breakfast for dinner.

Have Delicious Weekends...Better Posts Next Week,


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Witz Pickz: THE RETURN!

Aaaaaaand THAT'S what it would have been like if all my jokes about my immune system turned out to be true or if my comedy karma caught up to me and wiped me off the face of the Earth-- no more Witz Pickz.

I apologize for my inadvertent "Child left in the grocery store" situation I put you in. One minute I'm there and you're eating free samples of "Just Bunches" cereal (which is a ridiculous product! How can we serve a spin-off cereal of Honey Bunches of Oats? Aside from the fact that food products shouldn't have spin-offs, we don't live in a "Just Bunches" world-- giving people just the bunches creates a false reality about how people are able to get what they want. It says, "You don't have to work hard for what you want, wading through the bad times to get to the good; simply wait around until somebody offers you exactly what you want with a price tag on it-- 'Just the bunches.'" What's so wrong with the flakes? Doesn't good need evil? Doesn't right need wrong? Do the bunches taste as good without flakes? Probably. Bunches are fucking delicious!), and the next minute you're swiveling your head around looking for me-- at first casually, then with some confusion, and then with concern. Not that I've disappeared, necessarily, but that you don't have a ride home. Well, people, I'm back-- and my station wagon has room for you all.*

The fact is, it's absurd that I haven't been able to post for so long, and I have an abundance of things to write about. I have stories about meeting Sarah Silverman, horrible New York City bartenders, baffling reservation policies, ridiculous commercials, endeavors in Dallas, and the ever-present tales of public humiliation. Barack Obama is our next President (and your new bicycle), Knight Rider: The Series exists, and I have eaten Bacon Chocolate. There will be a lot to look forward to in the coming days.

Consider this the new season of Witz Pickz-- the one where you weren't sure if the show was cancelled or not (Californication: not cancelled. Arrested Development: still cancelled. Friday Night Lights: sort of's on DirectTV only now...which is weird, but not as weird as the fact that Lyla Garrity is banging Derek Jeter, which may or may not mean that Tim Riggins has herpes), and it didn't effect your life very much, but now that you're watching it again, you're glad it's around.

Here's a pick to get things started:

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Center Seat Surprise
I flew United Airlines for the first time in a long while and was surprised by how smoothly the whole trip was. We left on-time, we arrived early both legs, and thanks to a big booking move by Smokin' Ocken, I got to sit in Economy Plus, where the "plus" stands for more leg room. Unfortunately, my neighbor in the middle seat misinterpreted the "plus" to mean, "for four-hundred pound behemoths." To my dismay (but not surprise at this point in my life), one of the larger human cubes I've seen sidled up to my row and plunked himself into his seat, which I can only accurately refer to as his "ass cage." It was like those egg-like Fischer Price people that fit specifically into rounded "action stations." In this case, his actions were limited to "heavy breathing" and "emmanating odd, difficult to place scents." Also, he had a Nantucket Nectars lemonade-- life is in the details.

As his lower body fit snugly into the seat, his upper body sort of poofed out, so his top half spread over into my seat (which made me think of the song "Do you know the Muffin Man?" to which my answer was a resounding, "YES, and his sweat knows no bounds!"). While I normally sit in a window seat (left side for ultimate sleepability), I was thankfully given an aisle seat on this trip, which meant that while I wasn't squished up against the window praying for death, I WAS in an awkward nodding off predicament. Because the man was so large, his shoulder blades weren't quite able to go all the way back, so as I fell asleep, I sort of snuggled back in behind his shoulder like a makeshift sleeping cave. My only other option was letting my head loll to the side into the aisle, which happened several times and each time resulted in a near tragic Drink Cart Demise, which would have been embarrassing, but predictable (Witz died dignified right? Oh, no, that's right-- he was aced by a drink cart on an airplane). It was impossible to tell if the man was asleep or not, because the difference between sleep and waking was about an inch of space between the man's head and barrel-chest. His belabored breathing was also a constant, which led to an odd thought process on my part:

While I wasn't stuck by the window praying for my own death, I did start to inexplicably hope that this large man would die-- not because I wanted him dead, but because I somehow believed it would make the situation a lot better for the both of us. It would relieve him of his awful breathing struggles and obvious discomfort, and it would allow me to lean up against his corpse without feeling awkward. I imagined it would feel a lot like sleeping on one of those "Wrestling Buddy" pillows from the 90's. Anyway, I realized that if the guy died, they still probably wouldn't move his body until the flight was over, and odds were in favor of unwanted bodily excretions (which may or may not have been happening already pre-death), so I quickly put thoughts of euthanasia out of my mind, and concentrated on not getting smothered like a kitten getting slept on by a gorilla.

While we flew, I wondered how it was possible that a man that large not only was able to purchase only one seat, but how in the world he decided on settling for a center seat. What are the limits for size in seats? My Dad (No Paullution) later asked me why this guy was able to buy just one seat if he was that big, and I guess the answer is that when you buy tickets online, there's no box for height, weight, or morbid obesity. They should just have a link that reads, "If you are built even remotely like Grimace, please click here." I then started wondering if it would make sense to just force anybody that looked borderline huge to climb into one of those "Must be this size or smaller" cases before they can board the plane-- like a money booth without any money. They already make me put my carry on luggage in there to make sure it will fit in the overhead compartment, why not have a little closet for larger folks? If nothing else, the shear embarassment of it will make them deal with the problem themselves, although much like me and my luggage, I suppose it could result in a lot of big people taking off clothes they are wearing and putting them into their backpack in order to fit. These are the thoughts that occupy my time on airplanes.

Four hours later, we landed in Dallas and I was forced to admit that everything is, indeed, bigger in Texas.

Witz Is Back, Back Again, Witz Is Back, Tell Your Friends, Witz Is Back, Witz Is Back, Witz Is Back...,

*Well...four of would have been six, but the whole "Click it or ticket" thing has me uneasy with passengers in the trunk. You understand.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Witz Pickz: Once More Into the Breach...

I know, I know, "What happened to Witz?" Did I decide that my running diary on Bee Movie was the pinnacle of my writing and no more posts were required? Nearly, but that wasn't it. Did I re-read all of my posts, laughing less and less as I realized the horrors of my own life and redundant shame spirals? Nope, not there yet. It's all much more simple than that-- I got busy, and I got sick.

I got busy through work and through awesomeness like

Playing a Skate Park Opening in Sebastopol, California:
Sebastopol is a small town outside Santa Rose, California, which is a small town outside of San Francisco, California. Everything you imagine about the town is probably true. When we got to the skate park, we found three things to be true 1) You could add up the ages of any five people there and they still wouldn't be as old as us 2) Skateboarders of any age are still cooler than us 3) This was a town event. The mayor had been there earlier, and we were slated to play for the slew of teens and pre-teens around 3:30pm. We wandered into the skating area and were immediately greeted by a small child charging across our path with blood EVERYWHERE. We all did the obligatory, "AIDS!" step back and then watched as a panicked father charged toward the kid and the tent. Moments later, the alleged father happily walked away from the tent, announcing to his friend, "That's not my kid! You scared me!" Cue the "Real American Hero" music now. We made a note to dedicate one of our songs to the Absentee Parents of the Bleeding Child at the Med Tent.

Once around the lot and we were ready for some drinks and food. We circled up and decided we'd like some liquor and some sandwiches. Two quick right turns later, and the city of Sebastopol delivered with the almost comedically titled, "Liquor and Deli." The sandwiches were delicious, the drinks were good, and we were ready to rock some teens faces off. And so we did:

Make sure to watch these on the "high quality" mode to the bottom right of the frame.
A Victory Nonetheless - Cookie Jar
A Victory Nonetheless - Bailey Black
A Victory Nonetheless - Agrocrag
A Victory Nonetheless - Ric Flair Saves the World (Sebastopol) and Wasted

A HUGE thanks to Nick, Paller, Patel Me No Lies, and Mark for driving up to the show.

Hello Leslie's Bday Fiasco:
Hello Leslie's birthday was Sunday, and Saturday night we celebrated like the spritely, easily healed teenagers that none of us were. The night reaffirmed my belief that I a) know awesome people and b) tend, when drinking, to end up in conversations with cute girls without having ANY IDEA how I got there or what I'm saying. I'm pretty sure I kept repeating the sentiment that "Good people are good," for a while. We also ended up at a late night diner, eating grilled cheese & fries while I spoke exclusively to the two couples next to us and informed the girls that, "your guys HATE ME right now!" I knew I was a people person.

Don't worry though, the topper of the night came when I was Frankensteining it home (i.e. walking furiously with completely stiff limbs, letting momentum and luck lead me home) and was joined by a girl who decided that the best idea in these circumstances was to make conversation with me. I need to emphasize how dark and rapey my neighborhood is. I need to emphasize how 2am-ey the night was, and how batshit crazy I must have looked. Apparently, though, rapists and murderers don't wear shirts with french cuffs, which honestly, is a pretty fair assumption. She started talking: Where was I going? Where did I work? And then the kicker, "Are you Jewish?" Yes. "You should meet my roommate-- she needs to meet a good Jewish guy." Wow. What a standup roommate! I can't even imagine the horrible horrible guys that this girl's friend must have dated, if a Frankensteinian, google-eyed, 2am, non-practicing, curly haired wanderer constituted, "A Good Jewish Guy." I assumed the entire thing was a dream, until I woke up in the morning, like in so many movies and fairy tales, and found the girl's business card tucked into my pocket. The answer to your next question is No.

Other than being busy, I've been sick. In fact, I'm sick right now, and decided instead of annoying the hell out of everyone on gchat at work, I should probably put my house-ridden insanity to use right here.

Being cooped up in a house for 3 days with no one to talk do does wonders for your creativity. Like always, I started out by watching House episodes to try and find cures for myself (far superior to WebMD). Unfortunately, I don't think I am the recipient of any recent transplants, and my symptoms pretty solidly suggest that I have a cold (which is JUST what NOT A COLD would want me to believe!). Moving on, I started tweaking on vitamins and cold medicine so that while I lay in a half-sleep, coughing, congested daze, I was able to think about such things as, "Which pair of shoes is most likely to come to life and kill me in my sleep?" The answer, incidentally, is my Self-Loathing Homosexual Penny Loafers, which I haven't worn since high school and have stuck behind another couple boxes beneath my dresser. Next, I had some brilliant insights like, "Why do they have dayquil and nyquil, but no napquil?" and, "it shouldn't be called a comforter if you wake up beneath it sweating like you just ran forty miles across a desert in a wool unitard."

Eventually, I fell asleep which was awesome, because who hasn't wanted to dream that the cat that lives in your house can talk, and is trying to kill you, and that, in case this psycho cat isn't enough, your house is scheduled to be shipped to New Jersey in a week, so you better find a new place to live or start loading up on warm jackets (and the aforementioned comforter)? Oh, yeah, and Red Sox fans, I've experienced the next two games of the ALDS in Oliver Stone-like clips, and let's just say that the voice-over announcers who set the scene for me are very confident.

I'm growing a "sick beard" which is like a "playoff beard" only instead of being lucky, it's just lazy. I think I've just about discovered the maximum number of pillow configurations that I can have with my two regular and two memory foam pillows (which both seems and IS too many pillows for one twin size bed). Just looking at what the memory foam pillows have remembered gives me chills when I see them in the morning, or maybe that's the shockingly hot/cold breeze that is simultaneously cooling me down and making me sweat feverishly. There may or may not be ants on me. I occasionally start to sing invented alt-country tunes. I am CONSTANTLY considering starting to watch the DVD box sets of The Wire that one of my roommates has. I am both furious and perturbed by the fact that our toilet paper is softer on my nose than my kleenex. The books that I have in my bookshelf are not remotely a representation of myself, but more so a representation of everything I am not (they are all the books I HAVEN'T read yet...). The number of bottles of wine I have in my room and shirts I wear to work are equal. My poker chips are called, "Professional Poker Chips" but I don't think I'd be allowed to use them in a casino. My "Right Guard Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant" claims to be a "Stealth Solid" when all this time I've assumed it was simply "clear." And most importantly-- how can there be SO MUCH EUCALYPTUS in my backyard and NO KUALAS IN SIGHT???

Got Me Lookin' So Crazy Right Now, Got Me Hoping You'll Save Me Right Now,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Witz Pickz: Bee Movie -- A Running Diary

Remember that "guy watching Bee Movie alone in the dark" scenario that I'd described earlier? Yeah, well it's happening. To make the whole debaucle more group oriented, I'm going to keep a running account of the experience:

08:00 - Well, I'm eight minutes in and I'll say this-- Bee Movie does not fuck around with their theme. I haven't heard so many bee puns in my entire life (I guess it'd be weird if I had). It really makes me wonder if Jerry Seinfeld has been sitting around his apartment the last ten years just going effing insane with Bee themed jokes. Did he try and throw down 45 minutes of Bee themed material at comedy clubs and got ridiculed off the stage? Probably not-- because these jokes ain't that bad.

12:20 - "Stem-sucker" is not nearly a different enough to make its way into a PG movie about bees.

20:00 - Cool, Seinfeld threw Puddy some business-- and he's really funny. Eff- I'm way into Bee Movie!

26:50 - This chick wants to bang Bee Jerry Seinfeld. It's amazing. Not only is she unfathomably accepting of a talking Bee, but she clearly wants him. Then again, I guess she's married, so she's right in Seinfeld's wheelhouse (ooo-- nice decade old Seinfeld dating burn). Speaking of which:

33:30 - Ray Liotta burn!?

35:00 - I can't believe I'm watching a movie about talking Bees and their secret lives, and yet my reaction when a random Hispanic Honey Packer starts talking and fencing a bee with a thumbtack is still, "That's a bit unbelievable."

36:00 - A mosquito with Chris Rock's voice? I smell a buddy flick!

40:00 - Whew, shit just got real. You're not gonna believe what us humans are up to-- gassin' bees and stealin' honey. Don't worry though, it's JUST AS MUCH LIKE THE HOLOCAUST AS YOU THINK.

42:00 - Ooph-- Bee Larry King burn. Is Seinfeld going through and crossing off his "Enemies" list from 1983?

43:30 - Bee Jerry is taking legal action against all humans for their stealing of honey, along with some more minor accounts including using bee-related names for things. Man, I'm glad our judicial system is so accessible.

44:00 - Possible quote of the movie between Puddy and his Bee Lovin' Hussy Wife:

VERONICA: Listen, you better go, we're busy working...
PUDDY: But it's yogurt night!
VERONICA: I'm sorry, but I have to...

46:00 - 1950's Bee Movie Joke Commentary: "A black supreme court justice? This movie really IS UNBELIEVABLE!"

47:00 - I didn't know it was possible to over-act when you're only doing voice-over, but John Goodman has proven that it is. I'm very uncomfortable.

50:00 - Sting! They're raggin' on STING!? TOO FAR BEE MOVIE! Oh my god, they're railing on Ray Liotta again. Why not just run him a bath, put on some Tom Waits, and hand him some razor blades?

53:00 - Bees have retard strength.

56:00 - If this chick bangs Bee Seinfeld, it's gonna be like that scene in Seven all over again.

58:00 - Remember those Bee concentration camps I mentioned before? Yep, turned out to be the key to the whole legal case. Bees win the day! Jews and African-Americans remain shocked.

1:02:00 - Oh, see, now Bee Jerry has gone too far...his frivolous lawsuit against the humans has resulted in TOO MUCH honey being in the Bee economy, thus making work less necessary and disrupting the entire flow of bee society. I think he's gonna learn something very valuable about the status quo (is this an uber-conservative "stay the course" movie??)

1:05:00 - I was apparently way off base with that buddy flick comment. Chris Rock is AWOL.

1:12:00 - I space out for FIVE MINUTES and the Cuckolding Bee Jerry and his Inter-Species Love Interest (which sounds like the name of a jam band) are flying an airplane?? What happened?? And how come THIS is the part of the movie where I think they took things too far?

1:08:00 - I just went back to see what I missed. Apparently Bee Jerry and Veronica are taking a plane somewhere because it will solve everything-- and I was wrong before-- the most unbelievable aspect of the movie so far is that the plane took off on time. Bee Jerry seems to have his own seat, which makes me wonder if he really had to pay for it, and if he did, was that really necessary? It has to be at least a $300 flight, and that money can't possibly be his on account of his lack of a currency based economy, so is Veronica sugar momma-ing him on this trip? Couldn't he just have sat on her lap? Can BEES make it through airport security?

Anyway, once onboard, Bee Jerry charges the cockpit, scares the shit out of the pilots (who, apparently haven't been keeping up with the biggest news story on the planet that illuminated the existence of talking bees who are sueing humans), who freak out, pass out, and set back my general comfort and sense of airplane safety twenty years.

1:15:00 - Bee Jerry Seinfeld just domestically abused his stolen wife.

1:19:00 - I don't know what "You gotta think Bee," means, but all the bees have started saying it and I really wish they'd had Luis Guzman or David Ortiz doing the voice and saying, "Joo gotta think, b..."

1:30:00 - The bees land the plane safely, and everyone ignores the fact that it was Bee Jerry in the first place that caused the incident (I'm sure there's a political/foreign affairs comparison here, but I sure don't know what it is-- I only know 3 current events newspieces: Travis Barker and DJ AM are severely burned, but should make a full recovery, Tampa Bay is up 2.5 games on the Red Sox with 6 games left, and the stock market looks like the opening scene from the movie Twister-- oh and Megan Fox is on the cover of GQ.).

The bees and humans live in perfect harmony, and, rather uncomfortably, Bee Jerry now co-owns the flower shop that Veronica runs, and has stolen Puddy's wife and life. "That bee is living my life!" Puddy announces, and it's funny, but also very, very sad. I would love to make a sequel that is the same story told from Puddy's perspective and show how absolutely batshit crazy the whole thing, including his wife, really is; how his entire life goes to shambles because of a vengeful, horny bumblebee. How he works hard all day long, and isn't even able to have a relaxing, uncomplicated yogurt night. He would end up broken, devestated, and alone-- all at the hands of a bee. Which is just how Bee Movie ends.

Bee Cool Bitches,