Monday, June 23, 2008


I've only ever drank red bull and vodka twice in my entire life and both times things have gotten to be "a bit much." You see, it's not a sipping drink. It's the kind of drink that in my case, is offered, re-offered, and ultimately made for me, even when I don't think I'm gonna drink it-- but then I do, because "whoomp, there it is."

For those of you who don't know, haven't had it, or can't do the math, the red bull and vodka is one of the more traumatizing drinks out there. The red bull says GO, but the vodka says SLOW. Inevitably, the raging bull god kicks the crap out of the russian with the AK-47 and let's just say you get a little amped up. Also, it tastes like sweet tarts. It's the kind of drink that someone like me, who is already "a bit much" at parties doesn't need. I'm already kickin' jokes left and right when I get a little buzz going (or are stone sober), so I don't need energy to be social and mostly it just converts my one liners into short stories. The best way for me to drink a red bull and vodka would be to dose myself with a little GHB so the whole chemistry evens out. Worst case scenario, I bet I sleep better than I have in a while. Speaking of which, that's the most fun-- you wake up the next morning with your heart dancing to a samba rhythm, and you can tell that the dancing is mostly elbows and finger snaps. It's like you are alternately having heart attacks and being recessitated by the very energy that is causing the attacks (that may or may not be what scientists and engineers call a "closed circuit system.")

"Really? Engineering references? Just give us the stories, Witz! We want the embarassments!"

The first time I drank red bull and vodka I was on a rooftop in Seattle, chilling in some chairs and listening to an ipod stereo. I don't know where the RBV's (I like to think the initials are appropriate not just for the ingredients, but because you're barrelling ahead like an RV with a big fucking BOMB ticking away waiting to make you explode) came from or why they seemed like a good idea to anyone while we were on a roof, but they happened. The rest of the story becomes blurry, but how I understand it is that we proceeded to listen to about 90 minutes of The Black Keys, before I suddenly started yelling at all of my friends for absolutely no reason (I probably had a reason, but it might have lacked a certain logic) and kept it up for some time. The next memory is of me taking a leak in some bushes that may or may have doubled as a heroin den, stepping high so that my sandle wearing feet wouldn't get stabbed by any needles. And that was that. A "full lid" as they say in the white house...or at least on The West Wing... And how did I find out about the music and berrating? Well, the next day I asked my friend earnestly, "Have you ever heard The Black Keys?" Yeah.

Swearing I would never drink it again, I found myself sitting at a bonfire on Saturday night, being handed an RBV by one of my friends. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the word, "Nokay," but I think it's Icelandic and it translates roughly to, "Yes."

You see, the thing you have to understand is that the group of people I was hanging out with, who I will call The Presidio Crew, are not only some of the best people I've met, but also some of the most insanely energetic and upbeat. Hanging out with them is like getting on a bullet train where you ask the conductor where the train is going and they say in Japanese, "You'll find out when you get there." To give you an idea, the last time we hungout, we went out until 2am, ended up back at their house at 2:30am, played Rock Band until it died at 3:30am, and then without a moment's hesitation, switched over to playing Mario 3 on old school Nintendo until 4am. On Saturday, we were up until 4am and then received a text saying, "It's cool to play music at the house tomorrow-- the earlier the better." And wouldn't you know it, but we were there at noon, awake and ready to go. Hanging out with them is like flying too close to the sun, so that you pick up some of their radiation and gain momentary energy and health properties formerly unknown to man. So as you can imagine, drinking RBV's with them is like blowing a few pounds of coke and then taking a seat on that bullet train for the next four hours.

I only drank two RBV's, but it was plenty. I didn't berrate anybody, which is always good, but this time around, it had a different effect on me-- it made me sprint. It turned me into an energetic puppy, and I didn't know it until it was upon me. The first time, we were walking back to get a taxi when all of a sudden a small asian guy who we'd never met before that night, but ended up at our bonfire in the woods zipped by us on his crotch rocket with one of our friends clinging to his back and whooping with joy. Without a moment's hesitation, the red bull spoke to me and it said very clearly, "Are you gonna chase that or what?" Before I knew what was happening, I was sprinting at full tilt after the motorcycle. When I finally slowed, I wasn't tired, nor was my heart racing. Apparently, when you've had RBV, your heart is ALREADY going at a "sprint pace" so there's no need for it to speed up during the run or slow down afterwards. Business as usual. But I guess I liked it, because a little while later, apropos of nothing, I sprinted forward, stopped and did a cartwheel, which is something I was not aware I was still capable of doing. From a third person perspective, I probably looked like someone trying to learn the controls for a video game. "Ok, sprint. What's B do? Ok, cartwheel. How about A? Oh yeah, right, sprint. What's this button do? Oh, it makes you sing loudly and out of tune to an acoustic bondire edition of 'My Own Worst Enemy by Lit. This game's fucking nuts.'"

The final sprint came when we had already missed our first taxi and the new one showed up in it's place. Someone was wandering ahead of us and tried to steal the cab, and that's when RBV spoke loudly and clearly, "GO!" And so I did. While the taxi drove at us, I sprinted headlong at the taxi, knowing that RBV probably wanted me to jump in front of it if need be and slam my hand into it causing THE VAN TAXI to stop, and thereby making me a lot like how I imagine Hancock is going to be. Maybe that's how that movie happened. "Let's make a movie where Will Smith drinks a shitload of red bulls with vodka!" Then some producer was like, "What if instead of that, he had superpowers?" to which the other guy replied, "Can he still be drunk and later hungover?" to which the producer replied, "Absolutely. We respect the integrity of your project." Unfortunately, had it come to that, I would not have stopped the taxi, but would have been like Bill Murray in Groundhog's Day, getting hit by the bus, which would hopefully have left me like Bill COSBY in Ghost Dad, and I could have haunted the woods for a while. FORTUNATELY, RBV backed down as the taxi slowed and stopped and as the taxi driver rejected the wandering guy and accepted us into the taxi. We achieved our goal, RBV was content, and sleep was soon to follow-- until I woke up at 9 the next morning, feeling completely intact and not surprisingly, very energetic. In fact, while everyone else is here on 6/23, I'm pretty sure I'm still living three or four days in the future. As the energy wears off, it'll start to even out, and with any luck, Friday will hit right about the same time.

"I'll never drink red bull and vodka again." It's like the Bible, more of a parable than a real statement. But that's enough for now.

RBV Vaccine,

Friday, June 20, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Reverse Toilet, Jeans, False Assumption #42

Here's what happened to me in my dreams last night, one directly after the other: I was beaten by 3 guys for my money and left for dead, I was in an Earthquake at the top of a tall building and had to run down a disability access ramp all the way down while the building collapsed, I was attacked by a bear while walking in my backyard in Connecticut, and then I was at a party in India-- where a monsoon struck and my nose bled uncontrollably for no apparent reason.

So I apologize if I'm not at my funniest this morning.

Reverse Toilet:
Not just a great name for your next metal band, at an event I worked last night, the toilets actually flooded causing the restaurant to close down. As Hello Leslie described it, the toilets actually starting pluming water back up exactly like, "Old Yeller." After a little confusion, she amended the description to, "Old Faithful," which really makes a lot more sense in the long run. Especially because I don't remember Old Yeller ever leading to a vile river of human excrement. Oo, there's another band name: And You Will Know Us By The Vile River of Human Excrement."

Someone needs to tell the Jeans companies to get their shit together and have a little consistency. I went to buy a pair the other day and it was absolutely impossible. The shear number of styles negates any pre-conceived knowledge of sizes, and then, even WITHIN a style and size, there is a difference is color and texture that is shocking. Why aren't any two pairs of jeans the same color within a style? I was under the impression that denim was a fabric created by us, not found in the wild. Is there some Denim Beast running around that Levi's shoots for the clothing? Are the hides stretched and tanned in the sun? Because otherwise, I wouldn't mind being able to pick up two pairs of jeans in the same style and have them look remotely similar.

But let's get back to the styles. Straight Cut, Relaxed Fit, Slim Fitting, Low-Waist, Boot Cut, holy crap. I have no idea. All I know is that my size in Regular jeans looks like I'm wearing a freakin denim rectangle in Straight Cut (straight from the hips to the foot). When I wear those kind of jeans, it looks like I'm an old west cowboy on Casual Friday. That same size in the slim fitting and I feel like I'm going deep sea diving in a wet suit. And who's deciding what goes on my back pockets?? Because in the pundit square of Witz Appropriate Jeans, the combinations are few and far between. "Oh, these jeans fit me, but I'm not wild about the INEXPLICABLE DIAMOND STITCHING ON THE ASS!" Is someone really just sitting there going, "What should I stitch across these pockets? Oh, I know-- an oversized equals sign." I've tried to buy jeans three times in the last few months and have yet to buy a pair.

False Assumption #42:
I don't like the fact that if I use a restroom that is not the one near where my cubicle is situated, and someone sees me and recognizes that fact, they assume something awful. It's probably as prevalent as racism, but this effects me much more. If I'm walking back from somewhere and decide to pee or just wash my hands in the fine privacy of a one person bathroom, that's my prerogative. It doesn't mean the world is ending.

It's the Freakin' Weekend,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Witz Pickz: Airport Grab Bag

A few airport details to tide you over until tomorrow:

Airport Security:
I was mis-stereotyped at the airport security area, or at least I was judged to be "the sketchy guy" which is a little more fair. While everyone else went through the lines no problem to get to the x-ray area, I apparently got the guy actually doing his job. He took a good long look at me as I walked up and this encounter ensued:

ME: Hi, how are you today?
HIM: ID Please.
ME: Here ya go...
HIM: (staring at it intently, he looks back up at me. I make the "monkey face" which is my go to expression for when I don't expect someone to look at me or for when people look at my ID's. It doesn't make me look more like my photo, but I do think it makes me look stupid and harmless, with nothing to hide. Apparently not.) You get this photo taken pretty recently?
ME: Uh, nope. Like, three years ago.
HIM: Looks pretty recent to me. You look exactly the same.
ME: Thanks? I haven't really changed much since high school-- it's the hair. (I laugh-- he doesn't)
HIM: And where are you going today, Jonathan? (is that supposed to trap me? Am I supposed to say, "Well, first Chicago and then I'm gonna bomb the-- WAIT! You got me! You are GOOD!")
ME: San Jose by way of Los Angeles.
HIM: Hm.
ME: Then to Stanford, where I work and live. (when in doubt, drop the name of a large university)
HIM: Alright. Have a good one. (He then flash lights my ID and bends it. Finally, he hands it back to me and stares at me, just in case I slip up and stick my hands out to be arrested)

I can appreciate the man doing his job, but what type of person is going to mess up under those circumstances? Anyone who's gonna do harm will be prepared, and everyone who will get nervous are just innocent people who aren't good under pressure. Fortunately, after that, they had to scan my bag a few times while everyone else waited, probably because I had a GPS Device at the top of my luggage-- but I also had a bagel with cream cheese, which I assumed would be ok, unless it was C4 Spread. The best part was when the guy asked if I had a laptop in the laptop bag and when I said no, he stared me down like I was a raving lunatic. "But I have cinnamon rolls," I joked, hoping immediately afterwards that there wasn't some new weapon called "Cinnamon Rolls." It's like when I make sure to say Lip GLOSS instead of Lip BALM, even though it makes me sound like I like dudes. Anyway, after I got through security, pretty much everyone stared at me like I was the next big threat, especially this one old lady in a wheelchair who probably had MS or Parkinson's but maintained a terrified blinkless stare at me for the 45 minutes leading up to my flight.

Flight Attendant:
There was this guy on the flight who looked about 90% like Jake Gyllenhaal when he smiled and sounded like him when he talked. "Why isn't that guy acting or selling something, or anything besides flight attending?" I thought as we flew out of LA. After a while he turned to face us and I saw why-- if I were to give him a show on Bravo, it'd be called Queer Eyes On the Flight Guy. The dude's eyes were shockingly close together, and raised up like they were in the middle of a 20 year feud with his nose. If I'd had a laptop, I probably would have IMDB'd Life Goes On just to see if the kid who played Corky had a brother. So I guess what I'm saying is that it must be tougher than it looks to be Jake Gyllenhaal. Genetic Probability-wise anyway.

New Kids On the Block:
While I was on the flight making that "Queer Eyes" joke in my head, I wondered what happened to the actual show Queer Eye For the Straight Guy. Did people just get over it and let it fade into oblivion? Did the cast have irreconcilable differences? Was the Red Sox episode the pinnacle of enjoyment? That led me to thinking about other things like WHY THE HELL IS NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK BACK?? Not only are they realllly old now, but their brand of music isn't even popular anymore. They should have made a comeback during the Backstreet Boys years (I know, I know, they're coming out with a new CD too...), not now! It seems like a flagrant gimmick, but it'll probably work.

Open Middle Seat:
Either because of the terrorist looking thing or casual luck, I was one of maybe two people with a middle seat open next to them on one long leg of a flight. Which was cool. Only, the weirdest thing happened. This guy sitting across the aisle and back one row says in our general direction, far too loudly to not be on purpose, "Looks like SOMEBODY got lucky!" I turn to look at him and he's glaring at us like we had something to do with it. Now, admittedly, I have my tricks-- I don't make eye contact, I try and frown out the window as if I'm not long for this world, and 9 times out of 10 I'm sick and make sure people know it. BUT, this time, I was just sitting there reading my book and waiting for the inevitable. It was supposed to be a completely full flight. The next thing I know, we're rolling back from the gate and some guy across the way is calling me out. I'm pretty sure the correct response would have been to slide out and punch him right in the face, tell him never to speak to me again, and make him buy me an in flight adult beverage, but instead, I just gave him the "monkey face" and stretched out into my super comfortable seat and a half.

Hair Today, Guantanamo Tomorrow,

Witz Pickz: Airport Water and Ridiculous Email

I didn't post yesterday because I was on another day long fiasco with the good people in aviation. Southwest Airlines did their usual thing, which is to say, they gave me the low low prices I desire, flew me bafflingly from CT to CHICAGO to Los Angeles on time, and then promptly fucked up all my plans by delaying the 50 minute hop to San Jose. Why? Because there was a storm in Dallas that held up a plane now coming from Albequerque. Maybe that's why you shouldn't have a plane expected at a certain time on one coast, when it's flying to five or six other locations beforehand. Buy a few more planes. Then you can raise the price of drinks from the confusing $4 to the reasonable $5. I mean, in the airport, they charge about $3-6 for bottled water, so I think $5 for a white wine on an airplane is reasonable (esp. since mostly alcoholics must be buying).

Speaking of water, I capped off my trip by finally arriving at San Jose and taking the shuttle to the Long Term Parking lot, which from my estimate and landmarks I passed is located roughly back in Los Angeles. I hopped off the shuttle at the first stop (someone else had dropped off my car so I didn't know the exact location) and took a look at the sign. "10." I then found out, as the shuttle pulled away, that the car was located at section "110." Awesome. So, laughing with obvious horror, I grabbed my two carry on bags and started running. All the joy of not sweating grossly on the plane was washed away with, well, sweat, as I ran the length of a few football fields to my car.

But Witz, that doesn't have anything to do with water. Fair enough reader, you are honest and wise beyond your years. That part comes now. When I finally made my escape to freedom, not entirely unlike the Underground Railroad, but with far more Eve 6 playing on my radio than I imagine Harriet Tubman was bumpin', I had a conversation with a friend I'll call Titan AE. She claimed that airport water is overexpensive and not even name brand. She then somewhat surprisingly claimed that the market for airport water is not yet saturated (oh, puns). I was a bit taken aback by the claims, and while I agree that airport water is expensive (although my NAME BRAND Aquafina was 1.99 for a liter), and that the rules are annoying, I'm just not sure that there's room in the market for another brand.

So I need you all to tell me (via the poll on the right) whether or not this business sounds like a good idea. Here's how it would be: obviously, we'd slip in a price-war style campaign, where the new water would cost roughly 10-25 cents cheaper than the other water (which changes things, because instead of saying, "Oh, just keep the penny," you'd say, "Oh, just keep the 11-24 cents.") Then, we'd clearly give it a cool name, like Fly2-0 or Aquaviation, or Travel Water. I like the first two for their names, but I like the third for the marketing. I mean, when someone is looking at waters AND travelling, it'd be ridiculous of them to pass up the water that appears to be specifically designed for their situation. ESPECIALLY if we also sell water called like, "Athletic Water" or "Six Flags Water." That way, they'll THINK that there's a difference and we'll only need one or two of the decoys in each store.

We'll also need a slogan that demands people buy water from us-- something aggressive and condescending like, "Don't Be Retarded, Buy Travel Water," or, "Ugly People Drink Other Water. Aquaviation: No Uglies." Throw in a "down home" feel to it and I think people would be sold. We can do regional advertising to make people feel like they're connected to the product. "New England Travel Water: So Puritanical It'll Make You Want to Burn People At the Stake." Maybe, "South Carolina: Water So Holy It Burns the Jews (and Lesser Christians) When They Touch It." Maybe even, "Alabama & Mississippi: Water By White Folks For White Folks." With the power of flight (and vending licenses), I'm not sure there's an end to how big this could get. But the initial question remains: Is there room in the Airport Water Market? LET ME KNOW!

Ridiculous Email:
I got an email from Gamefly today. I'm a little surprised I even have a Gamefly membership (like Netflix for video games), since I don't really use my PS3 much more than to play MLB 08: The Show occasionally and lead young Witz through the minors to the big leagues (fun note: you can have the announcers use a nickname, and they have one which says, 'Wiz' which I thought would be cool and sound kinda like "Witz." It does, and is, not). But My Friend Formerly With A Pool gave me a free month subscription which was followed by a great bit of marketing and salesmanship:

ME: Cancel membership.
THEM: Why?"
ME: Just trying it out.
THEM: Why not get another month for the price of $23.95/mo.
ME: Cancel membership.
THEM: Why not get another month for the price of $14.95/mo?
ME: Continue membership.

They knew that 14.95/mo was the exact price I'd be willing to pay-- very clever.

Anyway, today, I got this email from them with the subject, "News Flash: Our email address is changing-- Update your address books!" Really, Gamefly? Why would I do that? I can't imagine a time when I'm going to send an EMAIL to GAMEFLY. "Dear Gamefly, BBQ This Saturday! Follow the Evite link!" or maybe, "Hey Gamefly-- just wanted to check in and say what's up. ttyl..." or maybe, "Gamefly-- I'm bored at work, what are you up to?" to which I'd probably get, "Hey Witz, I'm a successfully expanding corporation! I embody both employer and employee and am working to get your games to you faster-- because while I don't sleep and am constantly looking to be more productive and effective, you apparently have some down time to sit on the couch and play Lego Indiana Jones. Love, Gamefly."

I'd Fly Virgin America, But I Want An Airline With A Little More Experience...,


Some Quotes From J-Kow and K-Rey's Wedding:

To Bartender at Reception Open Bar Closing Time: "Alright, I think to close out the night I'll haaave......Four beers please..."

Priest At Tail End of Ceremoney: "You are now man and wife in the eyes of god-- oh, and while I have your attention, if you parked in the back parking lot of the church, please move your car across the way to the Old Sea Pines Inn, as we have another wedding at 3 and a reception at 5..."

"Check this out, it's called a Grateful Dead. It's grapefruit juice, vodka, and blue caracao..."
"What does this drink taste like?"
"Urinal pucks. It tastes exactly like urinal pucks smell."
"Wow. You placed that astoundingly quickly. Well done, sir. I'm a little creeped out."

To Person I Haven't Seen In 3 Years And Am Not Great Friends With: "Yeah, it's been a long time-- I mean, I haven't even seen Jason since graduation (cringe)...(read: And I'm WAY better friends with him!)"

Monday, June 16, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pick: (You) Doing (My) Laundry

When I was little and didn't show enough appreciation for my Mom's household efforts, she would say to me, "Who do you think cleans up your room and does your laundry-- fairies??" At the time, I knew it was rhetorical (although I was clearly being given mixed messages-- I mean, on one hand, the Tooth Fairy dropped off money under my pillow, but apparently it was totally unreasonable to assume that her cohorts would also clean my room and do my laundry...), but after some recent events, I'm not so sure.

Last week, I put a load of laundry in the communal apartment washer and went back upstairs to watch something really really life enhancing, like "So You Think You Can Dance" ( After about an hour, I went back downstairs only to find that my clothes were gone. Like GONE. At first I thought maybe I was crazy. The laundry room looks and feels a lot like a mental hospital, and the overhead lights, patterns on the walls, shaking of machines and noise vibrations, always make me feel like I just licked a small family of toads. Anyway, I started searching through all the washers. Empty, empty, empty, empty (there are more than 4, but you get the idea). So my initial thought is, "Somebody stole all my clothes!" followed immediately by, "Who would want my Nintendo Themed boxers?" followed conclusively by, "Everyone!"

I began to freak out, which is easy to do when you're one padded wall away from a psychiatric institution. I went back to the elevator and waited for it to arrive, pretty sure that I was gonna get stabbed at any moment by whoever stole my stuff. The elevator opened and thankfully, it was empty (I have had two poor elevator moments in that basement. The first time, I went to get on the elevator and bumped my head squarely into the stomach of the tallest man I've ever seen, which led to an awkward exchange, and the second time, I was ON the elevator late at night, when the doors opened to reveal a small Japanese girl staring right at me that actually made me yelp-- thanks Battle Royale).

Back up in my room, I decided to give a few long shots a chance.

"Hey, Witz Gal, when you said something before and I couldn't hear you and then we decided not to move an inch to make that conversation a reality...did you happen to say, 'I put your clothes in the dryer?'"


"Damn, well, do you remember ME going downstairs and saying I put things in the dryer even though I don't remember doing it?"


"Damn. Didn't think so."

So I went back downstairs. I get back down there and take another look. Still nothing. The only washer going is one that is locked and one dryer going with 27 minutes to go. I figure at this point one of three things happened: either someone stole my clothes and they're gone forever, someone took all of their laundry out and accidentally included my washer with their stuff, meaning it's gone forever because nobody is gonna email the building saying they did that, or someone inexplicably and hugely against social folkways, put my laundry in the dryer.

Another important fact is that every other time I have ever done laundry, I have things that need to be dried, and things that CANNOT be dried. If these items are dried, they shrink and don't fit, and then I have to explain to Witz Gal why I can't fit into my clothes. I don't know how familiar you all are with that line of conversation, but let me tell you that after one or two uses, the explanation that, "My clothes must have shrunk," no longer plays well. "Uh-huh, I'm suuuure it did-- it can't possibly have anything to do with that incredibly delicious looking, 2/3 of a pound burger and fries you got at The Counter the other day...(flagrant product-placement)." This ONE TIME, however, was the only time I have ever washed ONLY items that could be dried (in preparation for my flight the next day).

So, with very few hopes and even fewer clean boxers, I opened the dryer and waited as everything rolled to a halt. You know how if you are waiting for a car to meet you or pick you up, you always think you see the car, but it's never actually it, and you eventually give up and then the car comes right along? Well, I had completely given up on the fact that the ONE dryer in use had MY clothes in it. But when I opened that door, there they were. All my clothes. Dryin'...I had no idea how long they'd been in there, but there they were. Which brings me to my point-- WHO THE HELL TAKES SOMEONE ELSE'S CLOTHES AND PUTS THEM IN THE DRYER??? WHO DOES THAT. YOU CAN'T DO THAT! That's MY stuff. Your stuff is your stuff, that's why they call it YOUR STUFF. But MY stuff is MINE. That's why-- well you get it. But SOMEONE doesn't! Because I have to assume that someone thought they were doing me a favor-- a small mid-week mitzvah, that backfired and sent me into a stressful tailspin. I just can't understand who would think it was a cool move. MAYBE you put my stuff IN the dryer but don't turn it on. MAYBE. Look at me, I'm all worked up again. All I knew was that if I found someone else down there that might have moved my clothes, I was gonna give them a good talking to, probably with some sarcasm and most definitely with some condescending phrases and contorted facial expressions of shock and disbelief.

As I went back to the elevator, the doors opened and I stood face to face with a small, slightly older Indian woman. We caught each other's eyes for a minute, and I smiled, not able to bring myself to ask if she had moved my clothes. She smiled a smile that either said, "You're welcome," or, "how you like dem apples?" it was unclear. I got onto the elevator and headed back up with my very dry clothes. I thought back to when I was little and when my Mom asked who I thought did my laundry-- fairies? If I'd known then what I know now, I would have replied, "No, not fairies. A small, middle-aged Indian woman." I bet my Mom would have found that disturbingly specific.

Clothes Laundering Is Not A Crime,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Witz Pickz: Auto Lights On and Airport Oddities...

You ever walk into an office bathroom and the automatic lights go on, and just get excited? There's a kind of freedom in that that you can't find anywhere else in public. I immediately start having crazy ideas of what I'm gonna do-- rollerblade, play some wiffleball, watch a movie on my laptop, maybe set some traps for future "guests." Maybe you take a look in the GIANT mirror that's all yours and start to get crazy ideas about choreographing a dance or stage jump, or play a little air guitar. If you're like me, you take the opportunity to open wide and snoop out your tonsils, just to get a good look at the next week-- it's like the Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog's Day, if my tonsils are red, spring and life are on their way, if they're white, it's gonna be a long unhealthy winter. If you don't need to check your future health, maybe get some crazy faces going-- because nothing makes you feel more free in the workplace than making INSANE, ridiculous, faces into a giant mirror in the bathroom. That is, until someone walks in and sees you mid Crazy Face and you have to fake like you were doing something reasonable, like flossing (which is difficult without floss) or...fighting lockjaw. I like to freeze everything completely as I am and say as clearly as possible with my frozen face, "There's a spider somewhere in here!" Try sauntering up casually to the urinal now, buddy. Inevitably, someone DOES walk in, and the freedom is gone, back to the world, without a single movie watched, ball wiffled, or blade rolled. That is why it is so exciting to begin with. Potential.

It's important to note that the "excitement" of the auto-light entry into the bathroom only applies to work hours of 8am-6pm. After hours, the "excitement" should turn to "terror and paranoia." Instead of "endless possibilities for fun" there is "a good chance of murder and death." Even if you check under all the stalls you don't feel safe, because who knows what's lurking or might enter the room? Have you ever tried to pee INTIMIDATINGLY? It's very difficult-- I don't care if you're a guy or a girl. You have to exude an air of authority and rage, as if to say, "Yeah, I'm getting rid of this and when that's done I'm getting rid of YOU!" Now, as a guy, try doing that over your shoulder while you face the toilet/urinal. The result is almost always a cross between Zoolander and Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Maybe you think you're saying, "Fuck off," but what the rest of the world interprets that look as is, "I'm passing a kidney stone."

Whether you're during office hours or not, the key is to make sure that you're aware of the situation when those lights go on. Make sure no one else is in there with you if you're gonna start to get your Drumline on. Don't go running around the bathroom recreating Stomp before you make sure there's no one in the handicapped stall. The only thing more awkward than being caught looking ridiculous in the bathroom is being someone in the bathroom when the lights go out. That pretty much means that they have been completely inactive and motionless for 10+ minutes, but they're cool with it. That's when the excitement of the auto lights on, turns into the bastion of the auto lights off. Please someone name your band Auto Lights Off.

Airport Oddity:
Ever read the instruction manual to A BACKPACK? I know an elderly woman who has! In the airport yesterday while waiting for my inevitably delayed flight, I watched as an old lady literally read her backpack instruction manual from cover to cover-- and loved it. Her slightly embarrassed looking husband sat coolly a couple seats away, and tried to hide the annoyance in his voice when she said something to him like,

"Oh, look at this! They elastisized this strap so it fits tight around your chest!"
"How 'bout that," he responded less than enthused.
"What do you think this clip is for?" she inquired.
"That's for clipping most anything to, I imagine," he replied, losing some of his authority.
"Well, look at this! This zipper is actually a way to expand the inner pocket!" she trilled, VERY excited by the development.
"Uh-huh," he quipped, clearly a man who was well aware of expanding backpack pocket zippers.

And she went on like this, every now and then exclaiming excitedly about a basic backpack feature. "They have these small pockets on the sides for your cell phone or whatever else you'd like to put there! Look how this secures around your waist! Look how your water bottle can go in this mesh pocket!" It was literally like she had never seen a mildly recent backpack. I obviously got all excited, thinking that this was a rich couple who might hire me to teach them very very basic tasks and equipment usage (i.e. my dream job of teaching the Lost Boys of Sudan how to use things like microwaves, and other basic actions that I'm fucking great at). I played out a whole fantasy of me showing her how you can hang the backpack on a hook from that top strap, and having her demand I go with them to the Bahamas before returning to their mansion in California where I would have a floor to myself, a recording studio in the basement, and all I had to do in return was astound them with my expertise of the digital cable.

Automatic Lights Are Robbing Me of A Skill To Teach the Elderly and the Newly Immigrated,

P.S. Sorry for the no posts the last few days, my good friends and Witz Pickz readers are getting married tomorrow, so I've been busy leaving and arriving. Congratulations to Jeff and Karina (aka J-Kow and K-Ray in posts), to whom I say, congrats, good luck, and I'm as baffled as you are that I chose the vegetarian option...L'Chaim!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Facial Hair Maintenance and Anarchy at 40

My beard is getting out of control. Not in the too long way that you'd expect beards to get out of control, and in fact, I feel a little weird saying that I have a beard-- I prefer "facial hair." But it's out of control. I had a stand up joke where I said, "You ever wonder if Hitler planned on having the tiny mustache or if he just kept taking a little too much off each side until finally-- BAM! Hitler Mustache!" Well, that's kind of what I'm dealing with with my facial hair.

In an attempt to free up some cheak space (aka face tattoo canvas), I shaved a little lower on my jawline. Then I had to even it out on the other side. And so on and so forth, until I passed sea level and suddenly found the line running BLL (below lip level). In order to keep me from looking bat-shit crazy, I have to maintain the chin hair right up to my lower lip, which means that my facial hair now DIPS and then SWELLS to reach back up to my lip. I have VALLEYS. I'm one false move away from having a David Ortiz chin strap-- which would be fine if I was 6'4'' and Dominican, but being 5'10'' and caucasian means that I won't look like a pro baseball player, but more like someone constantly fleeing a sex crime. There goes running.

As I try and fix things and put a little barrier between myself and wanted posters, I keep having partial hills, making my beard line look like a wave. Like there is a swell. Like when I look at myself in the mirror, I get motion sick. I don't even know how to fix things at this point besides shaving entirely and nobody wants that. Maybe I'll just grow the Hitler stache and take some heat away from the beard. At least then I'd be, "taking it back." The Hitler Mustache Monologues:

"I. am. a. MUSTACHE. I am a HITLER MUSTACHE. I am small and I am powerful! When I speak, people listen. When I yell, people move. 'Hitler Mustache.' Say it with me-- we are taking it back one, one follicle at a time-- 'Hitler Mustache.' Hate the playa, not the game. I am beautiful. I am free. I am a hitler mustache."

I think we can agree that was weird for everyone involved, but I always said if I could make a stab at a half-decent Vagina Monologues parody, I would. They're not all gems.

Anarchy At 40:
I was at BFD in Mountain View, CA over the weekend, which is a big music festival that happened to have a lot of bands that I like(d). One such band is Pennywise, a punk band that has been performing for over 20 years and has always been political in some respect. I'd seen them in high school, but this was the first time I'd seen them in years and something struck me: Pennywise when they were 30 and I was in high school was cool, political, rebellious, and powerful-- Pennywise at 40? Bigtime assholes.

I mean, maybe it's just growing up, but I've apparently grown past the point when anarchy is a viable option, and when concerns like health care are pertinent. Pennywise has always been political, like in the song "My Own Country" that they performed to everyone's enjoyment. And that's cool. But then they play songs called like Your Own Rules or something, and it's basically saying to do what you want because it's your life and your world and fuck everybody else, you should be able to party and go crazy, and do what you want all the time. I found myself staring at the stage thinking, "No, no, please don't do that. My friend lost his wallet, and we need someone to turn it into the lost and found." Meanwhile, people are throwing shoes, wallets, and phones that they found in the pit every which way with glee. Woo. Anarchy.

Why not something more along the lines of, "Have a reasonable amount of fun while respecting others!" It doesn't sound as catchy, but that's a message I can roll with. In addition, right after Anti-Flag played and gave a speech about taking action in one form or another no matter what you believe, Pennywise declares, "It doesn't fucking matter who you vote for, they're all liars and say one thing and do another!" Which got a whole bunch of cheers.

Fuck, dude.

I mean, yeah, sure, but at forty years old, aren't you at the point where MAAAAYBE you see some point to getting people to vote? Maybe Obama's not gonna solve healthcare, but when you get one of those girls on stage pregnant, wouldn't you at least like her to have the option to consider a legal abortion? And how are gas prices working out for you? I've actually started converting gallons of gas to baseball caps because they are a far more stable currency. Telling people that you're broke because you bought 10 gallons of gas means you spent anywhere between 30 and 70 dollars depending on when you bought it. Baseball caps have been $20 since the early 90's and for the most part will continue to be. I bought 2 baseball caps of gas. So vote.

I still rocked out in the pit to Bro Hymn Tribute.

"Who's the narc?",

Friday, June 06, 2008

Witz Pickz: Casual Friday

It's almost shocking that Casual Fridays exist. Don't get me wrong, I love em, but the idea is fairly baffling if you actually think about it-- which I did-- because apparently that's what I do. It just seems odd that there was a discussion at some point and people decided:

"You know, work is horrible."
"Well, how can we remedy the situation?"
"Hm, well, what if one of those days, people dressed like they weren't at work?"
"But still uncomfortably?"
"Most definitely."
"I like it. Now, I'm a bit wary of what the men will wear..."
"Oh, they'll wear the same thing as always, but with jeans."
"Hmm, so CASUAL really means JEANS?"
"Intriguing-- how we feel about tucking in shirts?"
"Oh-- the men will definitely still have to tuck in their shirts. That way they're CASUAL, but still look goofy and uncomfortable."
"I like how that makes them all look like 30-something single Dads."
"Me too!"
"Let Casual Day begin!"
"Wait, but when should we have it?"
"How about Monday so people can ease into the week?"
"How about Wednesday so people get a break in the middle of the week?"
"Nah, how about Friday so that the weekend is so close they can freakin' taste it, and can wear jeans if they don't forget, but still have to wake up early and stay until 5?"
"Excellent-- let us implement it everywhere!"

And as much as I'm a fan of being able to wear jeans (let's be honest here, by Friday I'm pretty much out of dress socks and am not psyched about which pair of pants have "one more good day in em") it's a little shocking that when we only work 5 out of 7 days a week, someone said that it's cool to dress poorly on one of those days. "I'm fine dressing nicely and professionally four days out of the week, but you gotta be fucking kidding me if you think I'm dressing up FIVE days a week while I'm at my place of employment! I mean-- it's FRIDAY!" Still, I'm obviously all for it, even if it means I look like a goofy 70's Dad for 8 hours a week.

My Backup Deodorant:
No secrets between friends, so here's somethin' for ya. Yesterday, I ran out of my normal "go to" deodorant and therefore, I ran out of my comfort zone. Apparently deodorant is important enough for me to wear daily, but not important enough to get me out of the house to buy more, so I took a quick look in my bathroom and found that, yes, I did in fact have a backup bar. It was only today, as I interact in the world, that I realized why it was my BACKUP bar. The freshness is best described as aggressive-- like it's not content just to be there, but feels the need to let everyone else know as well. It's outgoing. If this deodorant were at a party, it would be the guy drinking too much and talking too loudly and making women feel uncomfortable. What I'm trying to say here is that I'm pretty sure I'm making women uncomfortable. I think they think I must have woken up and thought, "Hm..I'd like to smell like gum, toothpaste and sweat today-- oh good, Speed Stick!" The fact that people who are near me might read this before the day is through only makes it all the more awkward. Fortunately, it's Casual Friday, so maybe I can chalk it up to me just feeling VERY casual.

Tick Tock,

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Witz Pickz: Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream

I realized after yesterday's post that I've probably come off as extremely bitter and crotchety lately, what with my lack of enthusiasm for disabled runners, my lack of support of blind people, and my dream vomiting and whatnot. So today, I decided to step up to the plate and make some picks to set things back in balance. This should even out everything negative I've said before.

Puppy Dogs:
Puppies are amazing. They're all yappy and energetic with love and friendship, and the fact that they're small means they win bonus points on the adorable scale (the scale runs from "a kitten with a ball of yarn" on the high end to "Louie Anderson with a bag of pork rinds" on the low end). In the movie Swingers, there's a line, "You start talking puppy dogs and ice cream and of course it's going to end up on the friendship tip." Puppy dogs are wholesome and friendly. During a documentary film class, this exchange took place, and while I cringed painfully and wanted to hit somebody, it proves my point:

Guy 1: Ok group, I need something, like an image, to represent like, love and happiness....
(group pause)
Guy 2: How about a puppy?
(Witz and My Friend With A Pool almost vomit in own mouths)
Group: Yeah! Oh my god, that's perfect! Puppies!
Professor: That's a great idea!
(Witz and My Friend With A Pool proceed to skip the next month of classes)

Ice Cream:
Unlike some false slogans like, "I'm lovin' it," (which should be, "I'm broke as shit") ice cream has rolled with their honest slogan, "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream," for years. It's a risky slogan because nobody LIKES screaming, and it usually reminds them of something terrible. But Ice Cream knows that they already won the battle. There's no war between ice cream and other similar products. Frozen Yogurt got it's ass handed to them years ago except for the occasional health break, and the only true ice cream competitor is Dip N' Dots-- and unless you sleep under the bleachers at Fenway Park, you aren't going to run into Dip N' Dots very often. So ice cream can say whatever the hell it wants-- it's ICE CREAM.

Here's the other thing about the slogan-- it's true. When you ask a little kid if they want ice cream, they invariably scream, "YEAHHHHHH!" People get pumped for ice cream. At the same time, even if people aren't excited for ice cream, they still scream. Sometimes, it's because they bit into ice cream and have sensitive teeth. I think we've all done it before. "GAAAAHHHHHHHHH-- OH!...THIT!" Still-- screaming. Then, there are the people who are lactose intolerant. If they eat ice cream for some reason, they eventually start screaming and moaning as they feel the effects. More of a, "Uhhhhhhhggg!" If they want ice cream, but KNOW they can't have it, they scream because of the frustration. "C'MOOOOOOOOOOON!" So really, Ice Cream's slogan should be, "Yeeeeaaah! Gaaaaaahhhhh! Uhhhhg! C'moooooon!" but I think there's is catchier.

And finally, to win the day, and set me back on the track towards joy and stability, here is the damned cutest thing ever, courtesy of Dre(a), M.D.:

George Lucas: And then we'll have a tiger!
Steven Spielberg: And it'll just pop up out of nowhere!
George Lucas: And it'll HUG the person!
Steven Spielberg: Thereby exhibiting vaguely human emotions!
George Lucas: God, that's gonna be cute as hell!
Steven Spielberg: It'll be the cutest thing they ever saw.

And So It Was,

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Witz Pickz: Gold, but not Blind People Money

Each and every day we have the opportunity to discover something about ourselves. This morning, while in search of a nail clipper (I was at that point when you just straight up forget to clip your nails or there's never a nail clipper around, and then all of a sudden your co-workers are looking at you like you're growing out a cocaine pinky) and completely unexpectedly, the first one presented to me was GOLD. That's right-- GOLD. Instead of a simple grooming tool, I had been handed treasure which of course always implies the possibility of MORE treasure!

Gold is so valued in our psyche and so absent from our culture on an everyday basis, that simple things like this could vastly increase our enjoyment of life. When I started using the gold nail clipper, my mind's only recourse was to assume that I had just found a relic from a spanish armada that had sunk a hundred plus years ago. I was no longer "attending work," I was treasure hunting. At any moment, I thought Indiana Jones might swing out, punch me in the face, and say, "This BELONGS in a MUSEUM!" I'd be like, "Duude, just aaask me for it!" and then I'd get his ass thrown in jail for assault and kicked off medicare.

Things don't even need to be made of real gold (I assume the nail clipper was fake gold, but not necessarily fool's gold, which is the most hilarious of metals. I want to open a jewelry store that only sells fool's gold jewelry. It'll be super cheap apparently to get the metal, and the result will look exactly the same), they can just be a gold color and our minds will be equally pumped about it. Which do you like more? Quarters or Sacajawea dollar coins? Would Charlie have been as motivated to buy a chocolate bar if he was only trying to find a "Silver Ticket" to Willy Wonka's factory? If you're of the Jewish persuasion, how do you feel about Hanukkah Gelt? Precisely.


Witz DOESN'T Pick: Money For Blind People!
The more I post the more I realize I'm a conservative bastard. And not for the big issues-- I mean, I'm all for same sex marriage, I think it's insane that they'd overturn Roe v. Wade, and I don't see any problems with polygamy if that's the boat you wanna float in. I think Wesley Snipes should pay his taxes, but I understand why he tried not to, I think there should be a graduated income tax because I'm poor, and I think that if the illegal immigrants working in America got through the fence, we should go ahead and make em legal-- we all enjoy a good game of Red Rover. HOWEVER. When it comes to ridiculous, minute, absurdly specific issues, I'm an uninformed conservative bastard (see Cheetah Legs).

I heard a story recently about how people are saying that, "Money discriminates against blind people." You see, because blind people aren't able to tell what denomination each piece of currency is (bills), money discriminates against them. It is, therefore, the government's job to make money that is able to be felt by the blind. When someone said something along the lines of, "Blind people should just have a friend or family member organize their money or tell them what is what," the response came, "That's like telling a person in a wheelchair to just crawl up the steps," or something similar. While it's not actually like that (it's more like telling a person in a wheel chair to just have his buddies haul him up the steps), both sides have a point. Yet, for some reason, I'm taking the conservative side of this one.

Maybe it's just because the phrase, "Money discriminates against blind people," makes my eyes twitch-- as if money is actively doing something:

"Are you a five or a twenty?"
"Fuck you, homey."
"No way, peepers, get your ass some Lasik and we can talk."
"But lasik won't help me!"
"Not my problem, bro. YOU'RE the blind one!"

Money is not discriminatory. Blind people just have a problem and maybe we should do something about that, but also, maybe that's just one of those obstacles that needs to be overcome with ingenuity. I mean, if you're blind AND alone, life already sucks-- maybe money isn't your biggest problem. Also, if we give blind people a system of money that isn't easily exploited by crooked shop owners who don't give them enough change, what incentive do we give the blind to become OBSCENELY RICH? None! If they are able to keep the money they rightfully have, they won't be forced to earn excess money, and improve the economy. And we all know that at least 45% of our customer service economy is supported by short-changing the blind.

I also will refer to my previous comments regarding gold, when I offer this solution: ONLY CARRY CHANGE. You can feel the difference between coins, and carrying around a Sack o' Jaweas would be cool as hell. When my friends and I discovered in high school that a particular snack machine was paying out change in sacajawea dollars, we dropped a 20 in there, pressed B5 for the "Dolphins and Friends," and watched like we just hit it big at a casino when the coins started pouring out. Plus, there are physical strength benefits. It would also eliminate the ability for owners to short-change them-- because they'd always be giving exact change. This is a solution to a real problem, but discrimination has nothing to do with it. If we deem money discriminatory for blind people, what will come next? Basketball hoops are discriminatory to me, because I can't dunk. Good wine, first class, and a full tank of gas are discriminatory because I can't afford them. And don't even get me started on super-models.

With A Little Bit of Gold and a Pager,

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Witz Pickz: Quotes and Thoughts

Here are some quotes I heard and thoughts I've had over the last couple of weeks:

QUOTE -- Overheard Phrases Of A Mad White Woman:
I went to the A's/Red Sox game two weeks ago, and while it was probably THE worst game I've ever been to, the blowout and horrible weather allowed me to focus on other things, like the insane duo next to me. The guy was a SF greasy hipster who was talking to everyone and cracking jokes about the game so often and loudly that I'm pretty positive he was on meth or coke. He sounded completely confused and bored by the woman talking next to him, but he kept reaffirming what she was saying. What she was saying was that she has a ton of intense stories from the 70's that she wants to turn into a movie. Friends of hers OD-ing, her brother killing someone and going to jail, big parties and lots of drugs. The kicker quote was, "Yeah, the only thing I've seen that's at all like what I'm talking about is Tyler Perry's 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman'-- and that didn't even have no white people in it!" It took a lot not to burst out laughing. Especially when the guy came back with, "Fuck it, let's shoot it!" I realize I haven't SEEN Diary of a Mad Black Woman, but it is a Tyler Perry movie right? The last Tyler Perry written thing I heard was on a commercial during the NBA Playoffs-- let's just say the punchline was, "I said black! Not BROWN!" Man, that joke kills everytime. I just hope they do film this woman's script so I can watch it.

THOUGHT -- Quiznos:
I am shocked that Quiznos doesn't sell Grilled Cheese. They have bread, numerous cheeses, and their whole schtick is a GIANT TOASTER in the middle of their assembly line (which makes it awkward for the "thank you's." I know that as soon as Guy 1 who cuts my bread and puts SOME stuff on it puts that sucker on the conveyor belt, I'm not gonna be seeing him again. So I say thank you, like, "Thanks for making HALF my sandwhich," and move on down the line to Guy 2 who concerns me because he wasn't there during the initial ordering process. My sandwhich is flying in blind and now this new guy has to slap some lettuce on there and call it a day? What happened to Guy 1? I had a relationship with Guy 1. So then Guy 2 chucks a little shredded lettuce and maybe something else on it and wraps it up. He might not even be the guy who rings it all up for me. So then I have to thank him? He gets the final thank you? He barely did anything? That's like when fifty people write a script and then someone steps in at the last minute to add one thing and suddenly gets their name on it. My sandwhich is not a Guy 2 Production). With a toaster in the middle of your assembly line, all it takes to make grilled cheese is two slices of sourdough, a quick butter dusting and boom, "grilled" cheese sandwhich. They could sell them for NOTHING and still make a huge profit. No good chains sell grilled cheese at a reasonable price-- Sonic is the closest, but that's still pretty expensive and NOT crispy at all. They make Microwaved Cheese Sandwhiches...but they're still delicious.

QUOTE -- Homeless A's Fan:
After the brutalizing of the Red Sox at the game, we left early and headed back to the train. Already downtrodden, I was unenthused when a very homeless looking man shuffled up towards us and declared in a voice not entirely unlike former Cubs announcer Harry Caray, "Hey A's fans!" I ignored him and walked on past. That's when I heard his sales pitch: "Read my poem I wrote about the A's!" My ears perked up and I stopped dead in my tracks, exclaiming, "Wait!" and turning back around. My Uncle Joe Heavy always told me three things: take care of your teeth, "It was Christmas Eve and everybody was feeling Merry-- so she left!", and ALWAYS read homeless sports poetry. I rushed back towards the man, with a fiver in hand, ready to make him a more professional writer than I can claim to be, when I saw an actual A's fan take the poem. It was gone. I will never know what that poem said, but I really really hope he rhymed "breakfast at Denny's" with "reliever Alan Embree." And what if the poem actually had ridiculous baseball insight?? "I hear the crowd cheer, while I ask folks for manageable food/Jack Cust may be slumping, but he has intangibles like attitude." He could be a GM.

QUOTE -- Spelling Bee Humor:
Let me just say that I was excited to watch the Celtics/Pistons Game 6 on Friday night. I was ECSTATIC to watch the 2008 National Spelling Bee Championships. Unplanned, but always awesome, The Color Thiel aka The Original J.T., and The Color Thiel Part II aka ENT, and I flipped from the game when it was over, and after landing on Man vs. Wild and remembering how sweet Bear Grylls is, we discovered the Spelling Bee. As usual, the characters were amazing, the children potentially scarred for life, and the parents way too peppy. We quickly declared our favorites and our most hated (hating middle schoolers reminded me how awful middle school was). Things were going well until our four faves were suddenly sent out one by one. Finally, only one fave was left-- Sameer. I'll let the video do the rest if you haven't already seen it, but let me just say that the pronouncer guy was at fault, it's awesome the crowd laughed, and I love that the announcers repeat it. Spelling Bees really are hilarious.

Posted, P-O-S-T-E-D, Posted,

Monday, June 02, 2008

Witz Pickz: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Guess who's back-- back again. Witz is back-- tell your friends. Witz is back, Witz is back, Witz is-- Are these 2002 Eminem references doing anything for ya? No? Fine, I'll get to the point. Sorry for the wait, but it's times like these when we remember that you proooobably haven't read all 240 posts on this site and that true commitment is being there when the times are tough and someone can't necessarily be there for you. I have a bunch of great posts for ya'all this week, though, so get pumped.

Indiana Jones 4: Don't worry, I'm not going to give away anything for those of you that reallllly wanna see Indiana Jones, but juuuust didn't seem to get your shit together to see it in the last two weeks. Here's my brief review and then I'll get into the more pressing issue. I thought Indiana Jones was good and enjoyable, given that I had watched the old ones recently and reminded myself that they were ALWAYS a bit on the cheesy side. I mean, c'mon, the nazis got trounced by the Ark of the Covenant. Indiana Jones had his Dad's Grail Journal autographed by Hitler, and Indians were depicted as demon-worshipping, child enslaving magicians who eat monkey brains and baby snakes. Bad Dates. So remembering that, I went into number 4 with a pretty open-minded point of view, and aside from a few moments when I had to cringe, I enjoyed the usual ride, the historical references, and Shia Lebouf's hair. Hey, Shia, Ben Savage called-- he wants his face back. Ultimately, my only real problem with it is that at the end of the two hours, it doesn't seem like anything that occurred actually had to happen. The world is no better or worse after the adventure. So it's worth seeing and I think in ten years, I will probably be able to watch it with more enjoyment and won't immediately count it out with Terminator 3, Aliens: Resurrection, all the new Star Wars, and both Matrix sequels.

Having said that, here is the problem with the movie: George goddamn Lucas and Steven fucking Spielberg. While they are or at least have been great at what they do, I feel like something has shifted in their brains, and the general viewing public has to suffer because of it. Spielberg has some sort of obsession with the supernatural and outter space, and Lucas appears to be totally obsessed with obnoxious characters. The problem is that I think Spielberg backs him up. I imagine a conversation went something like this:

Lucas: So we open the film with a bunch of soldiers driving fast on a dessert highway.
Spielberg: It sounds delicious.
Lucas: Oh, sorry, a DESERT highway.
Spielberg: Oh.
Lucas: Right. Then, an old car comes speeding along with a bunch of 50's teens looking to race.
Spielberg: Oo-- that'll give the audience a sense of time and place.
Lucas: Exactly! And then, out of nowhere, a CGI prairie dog will pop up!
Spielberg: That'll be cute as shit!
Lucas: Oh, it'll be fucking cute as hell!
Spielberg: And then it'll exhibit vaguely human emotions?
Lucas: Exactly.
Spielberg: The crowd will love that!
Lucas: You bet your ass they will.
Spielberg: Well, what then?
Lucas: Well, I'm I dunno, but LATER, I was thinking about monkeys!
Spielberg: Real monkeys?
Lucas: No, no, CGI monkeys!
Spielberg: Much better.
Lucas: And Indy will be in a big chase, and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, monkeys will pop up!
Spielberg: Holy shit, that'll be cute!
Lucas: Oh, it'll be fucking cute alright!
Spielberg: And then it will exhibit vaguely human emotions?
Lucas: You got it.
Spielberg: The crowd will LOVE that!
Lucas: You bet they will.
Spielberg: What about ants?
Lucas: Excuse me?
Spielberg: I'm thinkin' we need ants. Like...lots of em.
Lucas: Where are we gonna--
Spielberg: --CGI ants.
Lucas: Oh, right. But what are they gonna--
Spielberg: --I'm thinking they just kinda pop up.
Lucas: Out of nowhere...
Spielberg: And exhibit--
Lucas: --vaguely human emotions?
Spielberg: That sounds cute as hell.
Lucas: Does it?
Spielberg: George. Do you want me as your director or don't you?
Lucas: Of course I do! I'm sorry I ever doubted you. The people love anthropomorphism.
Spielberg: You're damn right they do.
Lucas: Alright, well, let's get those shots done and then we'll work on a script. How old is Harrison nowadays, anyway?

The additional benefit of going to the show was getting to hear this quote, which I'll tell you as a sneak preview of tomorrow's, "Quotes and Thoughts" post. I overheard this while exiting the theater, in the midst of a completely baffled crowd unable to decide if they were happy or not:

Girl: I thought it was really good!
Guy: Yeah, me too.
Girl: Drinking wine during movies is AMAAAZING!
Guy: I can't believe we haven't done it before.
Girl: I know.
Guy: I wonder if it that's why we liked the movie...

So maybe that's the trick.

Broad-Shouldered Shady,